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03. Сценарий эпизода «Нападение» (Bushwhacked). Автор: Тим Минеар (Tim Minear)

Firefly - "Bushwhacked"

Written & Directed by: Tim Minear

Teaser

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY

BANG! MAL lands hard against a wall. Ouch. He's sweaty, out of breath. We're in the middle of some violence. Now a winded Zoe appears, coming to his aid.

MAL: We're dead.

ZOE: I believe we still have a shot, sir.

MAL: Haven't really learned a terrible lot about: losing -- have you, Zoe?

ZOE: Only since I've been under your command, Sir.

MAL: Fair.

She pulls him back into the fray of a BASKETBALL GAME. Or some raucous, post-modern version of one, anyway. Book joins them as they head back into it --

BOOK: I think we've got 'em on the run now!

MAL: Our cunning strategy of getting our asses plainly: whooped must be starting to confound 'em.

The teams are: MAL, ZOE, BOOK versus JAYNE, KAYLEE, WASH. It's a messy free-for-all, with everyone pretty much all over the place. Kaylee has the ball, gets past Mal, passes over to Wash. Wash shoots to a sideways hoop which hangs high, connected to the hoist chain. Scores!

Mal goes after the ball, but Jayne barrels through, steals it, drives past Book, past Zoe, passes the ball back to Wash. Wash dribbles, looks for an opening.

WASH: Somebody cover my wife.

JAYNE (has appeared at his side): Everytime you ain't lookin'.

Jayne moves off. Wash to Kaylee:

WASH: He's dampening my team spirit.

Kaylee has noticed --

-- SIMON appears on the uppermost catwalk level with RIVER. Here to watch. Kaylee sees him, grins. Simon smiles.

KAYLEE: Gimme the ball.

He does. She drives forward, Mal tries to intercept, but she sidesteps him. He goes sprawling. Kaylee, intensely aware of the handsome doctor watching, shoots -- scores!

MAL (aside to Zoe): Don't s'pose I could threaten to put her off the boat,: she does that again?

ZOE: You could, Sir. But she's the only one who knows: how anything works.

MAL: There's a point.

The bash and crash of the game resumes. Jayne gets the ball, passes it, but Zoe intercepts. It's keep-away time.

INARA emerges from her shuttle. Smiles at the camaraderie.

Wash scoops up the ball. Zoe is hot on him. Kaylee clatters to an upper level. Wash passes over Zoe's head, Kaylee catches the ball. Mal tears off after her, coming up the steps, gonna get her from behind.

KAYLEE: Ah! Jayne!

Jayne runs up, gets under Kaylee and she climbs up on his shoulders. She just escapes Mal. As she rides Jayne toward the hoop, she sees --

-- Inara is moving along the catwalk, over to:

SIMON: Hello.

Kaylee shoots. Misses. Badly. The rest of the players dive in. The chaos is on again, as above... Inara stands next to Simon. They both watch the game.

INARA: Who's winning?

SIMON: I can't really tell... they don't seem to be playing: by any civilized rules that I know.

INARA: Well, this far out, you kind of make your own.

She glances over at River who seems delighted with the game unfolding below her, but we can just see that her mouth is moving, muttering to herself...

INARA: How is she?

SIMON: She's... good. Better. She has her days.

INARA: Don't we all.

SIMON: There're even moments when she seems like the little: sister I used to know... but then it passes. She still
won't talk about what it was they did to her at the Academy.

INARA: Perhaps she's not sure herself.

SIMON: She dreams about it. I know that much. Nightmares.: I can't begin to imagine what the government... (then): You know I supported Unification?

INARA: So did I.

SIMON: I believed everything they told us. How The Alliance: would solve our problems. Right the wrongs. I wanted: to be a part of that.

INARA: Things are better for a great many.

SIMON: It would have been unthinkable, three years ago, that: I'd be on a ship like this, with people like that.

INARA: They're good people.

SIMON: Yes. And I'm grateful. Very grateful that Captain: Reynolds has allowed us to remain on board. I just... I: don't know if I'll be able to help her here. And I need: to help her.

INARA: Simon. You are. I think your sister understands what you: risked to rescue her from that place... leaving: your whole world behind. That was incredibly selfless.

SIMON: I "selflessly" turned us both into wanted fugitives.

INARA (a wistful smile): Well. We're all running from something, I suppose.

He looks at her, curious. She doesn't expound. But her wise smile hints at something. The moment is interrupted by an ELECTRONIC BEEPING, an alert.

The game is halted as everyone reacts to the BEEPING.

ZOE: Proximity alert. Must be comin' up on somethin'...

WASH: Oh, gawd! What could it beee? We're dooomed! Who's flyin' this thing? (then, deadpan): Oh. Right. That'd be me. Back to work.

He tosses the ball to the others, heads off.

KAYLEE: Hey, guess that leaves us a man short, don't it?

JAYNE: Little Kaylee's always a "man short."

Kaylee slugs Jayne in the arm as she calls up to:

KAYLEE: Say, Doc? Why don't you come on down, play for: our side. Inara won't mind.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE

Wash arrives on the bridge, the proximity alert still beeping. Through the cockpit window --

A DERELICT SHIP

A vessel about the size of Serenity, eerily rolling in place.

Wash slides into the pilot's seat, absently switches off the alert, leans forward peering through the window to get a better look at the... DEAD BODY that lolls into view, directly in front of him. Eyes just black staring sockets in a pruned-up purple face, mouth stretched back in a grimace. Wash recoils with a start, instinctively grabs the controls and banks the ship hard.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY

Simon is coming down the metal steps as the ship lurches. Simon grabs hold of the rail, manages not to take a tumble. Everyone reacts to the sudden shift --

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE

The entire gang, Mal leading, appears.

MAL: Wash, you have a stroke or something?

WASH: Near enough.

ZOE: What happened...?

She trails off as they all now see the Derelict Ship.

JAYNE (in Chinese): Mother of god. [Wuh de ma.]

MAL: Anyone home?

WASH: Been hailing her. But if whoever's there's as healthy: as the guy we just ran over, can't imagine they'll be
pickin' up.

MAL: Bring us in a little closer.

WASH: Get you close enough to ring the doorbell.

SIMON: What is it?

Everyone craning to get a good look now at the dead ship just rolling, rolling... We move past this discussion to find...

...River who has pressed herself tight against the wall in the foredeck hall, just outside the cockpit. From where she is she can't see the ship, and still she says to herself:

RIVER: Ghosts.

Off that -- BLACK OUT.

END OF TEASER

Act One

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE

Where we left off. Everyone eyeing the DERELICT SHIP silently spinning in the distance.

MAL: So what do we figure? Transport ship?

WASH (nods): Converted cargo hauler or short range scow,: maybe.

KAYLEE: You can see she don't wanna be parked like that.: Port thrust's gone, which is makin' her spin like: she is.

SIMON: A short range vessel? This far out into space?

WASH: Retrofitted to carry passengers.

ZOE: Travellers pick 'em up cheap at government auction.: A few modifications and they serve well enough for a: one-way push to the outer planets.

BOOK (realizing): Settlers.

WASH: Probably squeeze fifteen, maybe twenty families on: a boat that size, you pack 'em tight enough.

INARA: Families...

JAYNE: Tell you what I think. I figure that fella we ran: into did everyone on board, killed 'em all, then decided to: go for a swim, see how fast his blood'd boil out his ears.

WASH: You're a very "up" person.

BOOK: Shouldn't we report this?

MAL: To who? Alliance? Right, 'cause they're gonna run: right out here lickety-split, make sure these taxpayers: are okay.

BOOK: Then we'll have to.

JAYNE: Rudderless boat this far out, probably canned: fish by now.

KAYLEE: You can't know that for sure.

JAYNE: If there's folks in need of help, why ain't they: beaming no distress call?

ZOE (to Mal): It's true. There's no beacon.

MAL (taking her meaning): Which means it's likely nobody's looking to find 'er.

BOOK: All the more reason for us to do the right thing.

JAYNE: How 'bout you just say a prayer while we slide on by? That oughta do it.

BOOK: Shall I remind you of the story of the Good Samaritan?

MAL: Rather you didn't. (then): But we will check it out.

JAYNE: So we a search and rescue tug now?

MAL: No. But the Shepherd's not wrong. Could be survivors.: And if not, well -- then no one's gonna mind if we take a: look around, see if there's not something of value they: might've left behind.

JAYNE (hadn't thought of that): Right. Yeah... No. Someone could be hurt.

MAL (as he goes): Wash, hook us up.

EXT. SPACE

Serenity is piloted in close, locks into the spin-cycle of the derelict ship. Ka-chunk -- Serenity's airlock latches onto the other ship's standard matching bulkhead.

As it does, WE SEE a web of insect like electronic tentacles attach themselves at the seam. RED LIGHTS within this weird network start blinking...

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY

Simon appears, entering. He's carrying his portable med-kit. He slows and stops as he sees --

SIMON'S POV

Over near the airlock, Mal and Zoe suiting up (there are several spacesuits hanging there), going through the checklist as they prepare to board the derelict.

JAYNE (O.S.): Where you think you're headed?

Jayne is there, stepping up behind Simon. We see he's loading Zoe's shotgun, prepping weapons.

SIMON: I thought I'd offer my services, in case anyone on: board required medical attention.

JAYNE: Yeah, well, Cap and Zoe are going in first.: We'll holler if we need ya.

Simon's not looking at Jayne, a bit spellbound, watching as Mal and Zoe pull on their helmets. Jayne reads Simon's discomfort at the suits, smiles.

JAYNE: Somethin' wrong?

SIMON: Hmmm? Oh. No. I... I suppose it's just the thought: of a little mylar and glass being the only thing
separating a person from... nothing.

JAYNE: Impressive what "nothing" can do to a man. Like that: feller we bumped into. Yeah. He's likely stuck up under: our belly about now. That's what space trash does, ya know.: Kinda latches onto the first big somethin' stops long enough.: Hey -- now that'd be a bit like you and your sister, wouldn't it?

Jayne works the pump action on the shotgun. Cha-chunk. He crosses off, toward Mal and Zoe. Off Simon --

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY/AIRLOCK

Mal's gloved hand hits the airlock control button. WHOOSH. The door opens. Mal and Zoe, fully suited and armed, step into the airlock. The door closes behind them.

INT. SERENITY - AIRLOCK

Mal speaks to Wash through the com-link in his suit.

MAL: Okay, Wash. Ask Serenity to knock for us.

WASH (O.S.): Just as nice as you please...

A light on the derelict's airlock door goes from RED to GREEN. WHOOSH. It opens. A beat. Mal and Zoe fire up their flashlights, enter into --

INT. DERELICT

They take a few steps and -- THUNK. The airlock door shuts automatically behind them. The ship is running on emergency power only. Footlights marking the way. Mal and Zoe move with caution, their weapons at the ready. As they go:

MAL: Emergency power's up. Dashboard light.

We move with them as they step carefully down the dark passageways. They pass an abandoned child's TRICYCLE. Share a look, keep moving, to

INT. DERELICT - MESS HALL

Mal and Zoe enter. They both stop, look to --

-- cafeteria style. Several tables set up. A high chair here and there. Slop counter with sneeze guard. And here's what's weird -- plates of food in various states of being consumed. Big ladles still buried in (gnarly old looking) grub in the tins behind the slop counter. Evidence that folks were in line with trays.

MAL: Whatever happened here happened quick.

Zoe nods. Mal starts moving again. Zoe follows, to --

INT. DERELICT - BRIDGE - CONTINUOUS

They enter the bridge -- more of the same, basically: a book is open, coffee cup, some board game in mid-play, etc. More personal detail which suggests habitation. But no people. Zoe looks at the controls, computers, etc.

ZOE: Everything was left on... Ship powered down on its own. (continues looking): No sign of struggle. Just --

MAL: -- gone.

As Zoe moves to the control panels:

ZOE (seeing something): Sir.

He moves to her.

ZOE: Personal log. Someone was in the middle of an entry --

Her look says "shall I?" Mal nods. Zoe hits the log button -- and the screen BURSTS with EAR PIERCING STATIC.

INT. SERENITY - RIVER'S QUARTERS

River sits up INTO FRAME, sweaty and freaked -- GASPS.

Simon pushes into her room, never far from her. He moves to her bed, kneels down.

SIMON: Shhh. It's okay. I'm here. Bad dreams again?

RIVER (shakes her head "no"): No. Can't sleep. Too much screaming.

He looks at her, his sadness for her state right there on his face. Gently:

SIMON: River. There is no screaming.

She looks at him, utterly lucid, and says, darkly:

RIVER: There was.

He holds her look for a beat. He starts a bit at --

JAYNE: Grab your medkit and let's hoof it. Mal wants us: both over there on the double.

Jayne is at the door, loading (yet another) weapon.

SIMON: They've found survivors?

JAYNE (shrugs): Didn't say.

SIMON: Right. (torn): I'll ask Inara to look in on River.

JAYNE: Yeah, whatever. I ain't waiting. (as he goes): Meet you over there. But don't take forever.: Still gotta get suited up.

And he exits. Off Simon --

INT. DERELICT

The airlock door opens revealing... SIMON. All packed into one of the suits. He loathes this. He looks into the dark, creepy derelict. Hesitates. Finally he steps across the threshold.

WHOMP. The door shuts behind him. His breathing becomes more rapid.

As he moves, we play a lot of this from his point of view... through the face plate of the helmet... that thin, transparent sliver of life. The building rhythm of his BREATHING practically scoring this sequence.

INT. DERELICT - MESS HALL

As Simon continues his tense passage.

INT. DERELICT - BRIDGE - CONTINUOUS

Simon comes around a corner, sees -- Mal, Zoe, Jayne and Kaylee. All of them space-suit-and-helmet-less, having a conversation he can't hear. Simon reacts. So do the others. Bemused, Simon clutches at his helmet. It's not coming off. Kaylee runs to him, helps him with it. He's gasping for breath. Before Simon can ask anything --

MAL: What are you doing here? (also): And what's with the suit?

Simon glances over to Jayne who's trying to stifle his gales of laughter. Simon's furious, humiliated.

SIMON (glaring at Jayne): Oh, you're hilarious. Sadist.

MAL (forces back his own smile): Alright. That's enough. We ain't got time for games. (to Simon): Long as you're here, you might as well lend a hand.: You can run with Kaylee.

He tosses Simon a canvas loot bag. (Mal and the others also have their portable salvage kits with them now.)

MAL: Let's do this quick, people. Coupla loads each.: No need to be greedy.

SIMON: Where are all the people?

MAL: Ship says the lifeboat launched more'n a week ago.: We're gonna assume everyone got off okay. Anyway, we're: just here to pick the bones. You two start in the engine room.: Jayne, take the galley.

They head off. As they go:

KAYLEE (re: helmet): You had this on wrong.

That's kind of a horrible thought. Simon blanches. Makes Jayne laugh all the harder. Once Mal and Zoe are alone:

ZOE: Sir... I count sixteen families signed on. Lifeboat: wouldn't hold a third of that.

MAL: I know. (into transmitter): Wash? Any luck?

INTERCUT WITH:

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE - CONTINUOUS

Up on the screen, ship schematics. Wash scrolls through.

WASH: Think I found something pretty well matches that class.: Layout looks about right. Seems to me any valuables, if: there are any, likely be stored somewhere in C-deck, aft.

MAL (O.S.): Good work. Keep the motor running. Won't be long.

Wash signs off, leans back/swivels in his chair. Sees Book standing in the doorway behind him.

BOOK: Can't say I much care for this business.

WASH: It's abandoned, Shepherd.

BOOK: And if that's the result of some violence? What if: that ship's a crime scene?

WASH: Well -- if it wasn't before, it certainly is now.

Book smiles unhappily at the attitude.

INT. SERENITY - PASSAGEWAYS

Inara approaches River's quarters with a tray of food. Knocks. No answer.

INARA: River? It's Inara. Are you hungry, sweetie?

She pushes the door open...

INARA: I brought you a little...

Inara reacts. The room is empty.

INARA: River?

Off the empty room --

INT. DERELICT - AIRLOCK

The door opens with a WHOOSH, revealing River. The gust from the door gently blowing her hair. She seems to be in an almost trance-like state. Barefoot, she pads onto the derelict ship.

INT. DERELICT - PASSAGEWAYS

Mal and Zoe arrive at a storage door.

MAL: This'd be it.

ZOE (tries it): Locked.

MAL: Well -- now I'd say that's like to be a very good sign.

He brings up a mini-blow torch. Sparks it.

INT. DERELICT - ENGINE ROOM

Kaylee and Simon going through the engine room. Kaylee examines the machinery.

SIMON: Aren't you the least bit curious?

KAYLEE: 'bout what?

SIMON: Well -- what happened here. Why would anyone abandon: their ship in the middle of nowhere like this?

KAYLEE: Oh, all sorts of reasons... (as she realizes): Just... not mechanical...

SIMON: What?

KAYLEE (a little surprised): Well.. there ain't nothing wrong with this.: Not that I can see, anyhow. Some of this's: like new.

SIMON: Well, that makes it even more...

KAYLEE (brightening): Oooh, here's a good'n! (as she pries away): Hold the bag open.

She starts tossing pieces in, as --

INT. DERELICT - MESS HALL

Jayne tears the place apart, loading up, and snacking. He pauses, thinks he senses something. Takes out his gun... moves to the door. Nothing. He resumes his work, as --

INT. DERELICT - PASSAGEWAYS

River haunts this place like a ghost herself, drifting along, drawn by something --

INT. DERELICT - STORAGE ROOM

THUNK. The blow-torched door falls forward. Mal and Zoe enter. Very dim light in here. They use their flashlights.

Zoe whips a tarp off some crates, cracks one open. Within, family photo albums, heirlooms, like that. She runs her light along the front of the other crates -- various FAMILY NAMES emblazoned there. All personal stuff.

MAL: Here --

Zoe joins him. Their FLASHLIGHT BEAMS illuminate stacks of government issue terraforming supplement materials. They are emblazoned with the AngloSino insignia of the Alliance.

MAL: Gen-seed, protein, crop supplements. Everything: a growing family needs for a fresh start on a: new world.

ZOE: Hard subsidies for fourteen plus families...: that's...

MAL: ...about a fortune. (rising): We forget the rest and just take this stuff.: We'll need a hand hauling it out of here.

ZOE: Sir... even on a lifeboat. You'd think those: who escaped would have found room for some of this.

MAL (looking past her): No one escaped...

ZOE: Sir?

MAL: I'm feelin' like nobody left this boat. Nobody...

She turns to see what he's looking at... Standing in the storage room doorway is...

RIVER. She seems to not even notice the two of them, her attention is directed above them. Mal turns, aims his flashlight upward, way up, into an overhead shaft. Zoe reacts with disgust...

THE BODIES

are strung up from the ceiling. Three clumps of twisted flesh. The skin pale, almost luminescent (the bits of it we do see.)

ZOE: There's no blood. Not a drop anywhere...

MAL: Just our luck! [Jen dao mei!] (pulls transmitter): I know what did this.

River starts to wander in.

MAL (re: River): Keep her out of here.

Zoe moves to do that, as --

MAL (into transmitter): Jayne --

INT. DERELICT - MESS HALL Jayne gorges and gathers -- Mal's voice from his transmitter.

MAL (O.S.): Jayne -- drop what you're doing and get to the: engine room. I want you to take Kaylee and the: doctor off this boat.

Jayne reaches for it, his mouth is full. He swallows, puts the transmitter to his mouth -- but that's when the attack comes. The THING that ATTACKS him from behind is a BLUR. It comes so fast, so violently, he never had a chance to respond at all. Off his fallen transmitter and Mal's voice:

MAL (cont'd; O.S.): Jayne? Jayne, do you read? Jayne?! BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT ONE

Act Two

EXT. SPACE

Serenity still attached to the rotating derelict, as --

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE

Wash sits up straight in his chair as he hears MUFFLED GUNFIRE over the two-way. He pounds on the mic --

WASH: Captain? Captain? (then): Zoe?

More GUNFIRE.

INT. DERELICT - PASSAGEWAYS

Mal and Zoe, who is steering River by the shoulders, emerge. Mal has his gun out. So does Zoe.

ZOE: Came from above, Sir.

MAL: Galley --

They start to move but nearly collide with --

SIMON AND KAYLEE

coming around the corner, reacting to the gunfire. Kaylee gasps, realizes it's Mal.

KAYLEE: We heard shootin' --

SIMON: River...? What are you...

RIVER: I followed the voices.

SIMON (moves to her): Don't ever leave the ship. Not ever.

MAL (on the alert, to Simon, re: River): Handle her, will you, son?

WASH (O.S.): What the [tyen shiao duh] is going on in there?!

ZOE (into transmitter, quickly and: professionally): Not now, dear.

She clicks him off. Nods to Mal that she's ready to roll. Together they move off, guns leading the way...

INT. DERELICT - MESS HALL

Tense beat as Mal enters the mess hall, his gun leading. Evidence of violence, upturned table, gross food on the floor. A noise -- Mal whips around with his gun... and finds himself drawing down on...

JAYNE

who has his gun pointed right back at Mal. They both relax. Jayne is a bit mussed, but not really hurt.

MAL: What'd you see?

JAYNE: Didn't. Came at me from behind. Big, though.: Strong. Think I mighta hit him.

Simon has entered with Kaylee and River.

SIMON: You did...

Simon points to tell-tale blood droplets. Mal moves to him, notes that the blood droplets lead to a grate in the wall. Mal eases Simon out of the way. Indicates to Zoe to hand him her shotgun. He pushes the grate up with the nose of it.

WALL GRATE

Mal's face appears. He squints at --

A YOUNG MAN

Cowering in the shadows. He's feral, fearful, drawing himself as small as he can.

SURVIVOR (muttering): Mercy... mercy... no. Mercy.

MAL: Easy, now. Nobody's gonna hurt you. (noticing gunshot wound in arm): Anymore than we already did...

SURVIVOR: No mercy...

MAL: Oh, we got mercy. We got lots and lots of --

WHAM!, suddenly Mal comes up and gives the poor bastard the butt of the shotgun right in the kisser.

MESS HALL

As Mal pulls the unconscious guy out through the hole and lets him drop to the floor, a heap. Not big at all, just average. Practically a kid.

SIMON (to Jayne): Oh, yes. He's a real beast. It's a wonder: you're still alive.

JAYNE (confounded): Looked bigger when I couldn't see him.

MAL (grim): Let's get him out of here.

INT. SERENITY - OUTSIDE INFIRMARY

In the common area are Inara, Kaylee, Jayne, Zoe, Wash. Book is there, too, sitting, clutching his Bible. Kaylee and Inara are watching as inside the infirmary Simon can be seen tending to the Survivor, Mal over his shoulder.

INARA: I wonder how long he'd been living like that?

KAYLEE: Dunno. Must be real brave, though. Surviving: like that when no one else did.

JAYNE: Yeah, a real hero. Killin' all them people.

KAYLEE: What? No. We don't believe that. (turns toward Zoe): We don't, do we?

ZOE : Captain wouldn't have brought him on board: were that the case.

But she doesn't sound as convinced as she might.

INT. SERENITY - INFIRMARY

Simon has patched up the arm wound. The patient mutters in his delirium.

SIMON: Pulse is rapid, blood pressure's high side: of normal. To be expected.

SURVIVOR: Weak. They were all weak.

SIMON: Other than the bullet wound, there doesn't appear: to be any exterior trauma. Though that crack to the: head you gave him probably didn't do him any good.

The patient rises up a bit, tries to focus on the faces outside the glass. This isn't lost on Mal.

SURVIVOR: Cattle. Cattle for the slaughter.

MAL: Dope him.

SIMON: I don't think that's --

MAL: Just do it.

Simon moves to load a syringe. Mal eyes the muttery patient.

SURVIVOR: No mercy... No resistance...

Simon leans over him. The man's hand grabs Simon's wrist.

SURVIVOR: Open up. See what's inside.

Simon gives him a shot. Pulls away from the man's weak grip.

MAL: Let's chat.

Mal moves to the door. Simon glances at his patient, who is slipping into semi-consciousness. He follows to --

OUTSIDE INFIRMARY DOOR

As Simon appears here, he looks to Inara.

SIMON: River?

INARA: Resting in my shuttle. Not to disparage the: other accommodations on this ship, but I think: she'll find it more comfortable. And the door locks.

SIMON: Thank you.

KAYLEE: So? How's our patient?

SIMON: Aside from borderline malnutrition, he's in: remarkably good health.

BOOK (some relief): So he'll live, then?

SIMON: Yes.

MAL: Which, to my mind, is unfortunate.

The others react, surprised.

BOOK: Not a very charitable attitude, Captain.

MAL: Charity'd be putting a bullet in his brainpan.

INARA: Mal!

MAL: Only save him the suffering.

Mal shuts the infirmary door, bolts it from the outside.

MAL: Nobody goes in there. Nothing more we can do for: him now. Not after what he's seen.

SIMON: What do you mean?

MAL: That ship was hit by Reavers.

Mal turns, heads off. The others don't follow right away as the horror hits them.

JAYNE (fear): Reavers...

Wash looks to Zoe who doesn't deny it -- she knows it, too.

WASH: Crap. [Tzao gao.]

Inara glances back into the infirmary, where the man is writhing in his delirium. She knows what this means.

INT. SERENITY - DINING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Mal's pouring himself some coffee as the others follow him in.

INARA: Mal, how can you know?

JAYNE: He don't, that's how. No way.

Mal sips his coffee. Whatever you say.

JAYNE: It was that other fella. The one we run into.: It's like I said before -- he went stir crazy,: killed the rest, took a walk into space.

KAYLEE : A second ago you were saying --

JAYNE: Don't matter what I said.

MAL: One of 'em was just lucky enough to: get out, that's all.

WASH: He was the lucky one?

MAL: Luckier'n the rest.

JAYNE: Couldn't be Reavers. Wasn't Reavers. Reavers: don't leave no survivors.

MAL: Strictly speaking -- wouldn't say they did.

BOOK: What are you suggesting?

MAL: Don't matter we took him off that boat, Shepherd.: It's the place he's gonna live from now on.

BOOK: I don't accept that. Whatever horror he witnessed,: whatever acts of barbarism, it was done by men.: Nothing more.

JAYNE: Reavers ain't men.

BOOK: Of course they are. Too long removed from: civilization, perhaps -- but men. And I believe: there's a power greater than men. A power: that heals.

MAL: Reavers might take issue with that philosophy.: If they had a philosophy. And if they weren't: too busy gnawing on your insides. (then): Jayne's right. Reavers ain't men. Or they: forgot how to be. Now they're just... nothing.: They got out to the place of nothing. And that's: what they became.

JAYNE: Why we still sittin' here? If it was Reavers,: shouldn't we be gone?

WASH: Have to say I was kinda wondering that myself.

MAL: Work ain't done. Substantial money value: still sitting over there.

JAYNE: Pffft. I ain't going back in there with them: bodies. No rutting way. Not if Reavers: messed with 'em.

ZOE (stop your blubbering): Jayne. You'll scare the women.

SIMON: I'll go.

They all look at him.

SIMON : I've dealt with bodies. They don't worry me.

BOOK : I'd like to go with him. Maybe see what I can: do about putting those folks to rest.

MAL: They're already "resting" pretty good,: Shepherd. Reavers saw to that.

BOOK: How we treat our dead is part of what makes: us different than those did the slaughtering.

MAL (considers): Alright. You go say your words. (then): Jayne, you'll help the doctor and Shepherd: Book cut down those people. Then you'll load: up the cargo.

JAYNE: I don't believe this. Now we're gonna sit: put for a funeral?

MAL: Yes, Jayne. That's exactly what we're going: to do. I won't have these people lookin' over: my shoulder once we're gone. Now I ain't sayin': there is any peace to be had. But on the off chance: there is -- then those folks deserve a little of it.

JAYNE: Loopy in the head. [Fong luh] All of you.

He storms off. Simon follows. Book takes a beat, might say something, decides against it then goes. Kaylee's beaming at her Captain. Inara now moves to Mal.

INARA: And just when I think I've got you figured out.

She holds the look. Might kiss him. Doesn't. Instead she moves off. He watches her go.

KAYLEE: That was real pretty, Captain. What you said.

WASH: Didn't think you were one for rituals and such.

MAL: I'm not. But I figure it'll keep the others busy: for awhile. No reason to concern them with what's: to be done.

ZOE: Sir?

CUT TO:

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE

Mal pulls a visual up on a screen. The tendril like booby trap connected where the two airlocks joined.

MAL: It's a real burden being right so often.

Wash, Zoe and Kaylee at his side, looking at the screen.

WASH: What is it?

MAL: Booby trap. Reavers sometimes leave 'em behind: for the rescue ships. We triggered it when we: latched on.

WASH: And when we detach --

MAL: -- it blows.

WASH: Okay -- so we don't detach. We just,: I don't know, sit tight until...

ZOE: What? Reavers come back?

Kaylee's been studying the image on the vid screen.

KAYLEE: Looks like they've jerry-rigged it with a: pressure catch. Only thing that'd work with: all these spare parts. Could pro'lly bypass: that easy, we get to the DC line.

MAL: You tell me now, little Kaylee -- you really: think you can do this?

KAYLEE: Sure. Yeah. Think so. 'sides, if I mess: up, it's not like you'll be able to yell: at me.

EXT. SPACE

Serenity and the derelict, locked together in a death grip. And under the soundlessness of space, MUSIC, carrying us through...

INT. DERELICT - STORAGE

Simon, Jayne and Book all have paper dust masks on as they lower down the bodies. This is done in an elliptical way, more a suggestion of the carnage than a strict depiction.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY

The bombay doors are pulled open by Mal. Kaylee climbs in first, then Wash. Mal and Zoe stand topside, nervous.

INT. SERENITY - INFIRMARY

The tortured delirium of the survivor in his fever sleep. Somehow his distress seems to be affecting...

INT. SERENITY - INARA'S SHUTTLE

River, who is sleeping in Inara's bed. Her sleep becomes more and more fitful. Nearby, Inara reads a book, not yet noticing River's sleep become more and agitated, as...

INT. SERENITY - INNARDS

Kaylee has to squeeze in tight to the confined space. She's looking at the seam where the two airlocks meet. The tendrils of booby trap are visible, flashing RED.

WASH is in the pit, a bit above her, with a box full of tools. He hands her some wrench-like gadget. She blows a strand of hair out of her eyes, goes to work on the device.

INT. DERELICT - STORAGE

Jayne dragging crates, slamming them onto a dolly, looking over with some disdain, to --

Book reads from his Bible, saying a few words for the dead. Simon shows respect, bowing his head.

INT. SERENITY - INARA'S SHUTTLE

Inara reacts now as she sees River's state, growing ever more agitated, as

INT. SERENITY - INFIRMARY

The patient's eyes SNAP OPEN.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY

Kaylee working on the booby trap.

-- Wash handing her down more tools.

-- Mal and Zoe waiting helplessly, nervously, topside.

-- Kaylee takes a stab at the booby trap. We see her recoil, nervous. Still here. She really concentrates, goes back at it. Cuts into some of the tubing and a dark OOZE drips out.

INT. SERENITY - INARA'S SHUTTLE

River's really thrashing now. Inara goes to her, gathers her in her arms, holds her close, tries to soothe her. River starts to clam, but GASPS with a START as...

INT. SERENITY - INFIRMARY

A drawer of SURGICAL TOOLS hits the floor, and with it returns the SYNCH SOUND. A HAND reaches in, picks up one of the more more evocative and lethal looking surgical tools.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY

WHOOSH -- the airlock door opens and Jayne rolls in the dolly with the cargo. He reacts as he sees -- -- CLANG. As the bombay doors are dropped shut. Mal, Kaylee, Wash and Zoe look over at him.

JAYNE: What's going on?

MAL: Not a thing. (looks to Kaylee): Right?

She nods her little greased smudged face.

KAYLEE: Not a gorram thing.

Mal looks to Wash. Nods. Wash nods back, heads off.

JAYNE: Looks like a thing to me.

Book and Simon enter from the airlock. Mal hits the controls, closing it behind them:

MAL: Thought we might have had a situation, but it: looks to be taken care of. Let's get that: stuff stored.

Jayne, still not convinced, moves to the smuggling compartments, pops a panel.

MAL (into transmitter): Everybody's home, Wash. Let's go.

We HEAR the start of the detaching process.

EXT. SERENITY

As the two ships come apart, harmless remnants of the booby trap tearing away.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY

Mal looks to Zoe and Kaylee. Now they can really breathe. In the b.g., Simon and Book move to Jayne.

Suddenly -- that familiar PROXIMITY WARNING BEEPING. Everyone who was on pins and needles before is right back there -- and Jayne freaks:

JAYNE: No, no. Do not say that -- it's the Reavers! Gorram Reavers come back!

MAL (already on the move): Get that stuff stored.

JAYNE: Like it's gonna matter.

MAL: Just do it!

He's running, now. Zoe right behind him.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE

Wash just sits staring straight ahead, hasn't switched off the alert. Mal and Zoe come running up the foredeck hall.

MAL: Reavers?

Wash absently shakes his head "no." A GREEN GLOW starts to overtake the cockpit. They all react as they see --

THROUGH THE COCKPIT WINDOW -- outer space pretty well blotted out by the green glow of an enormous ALLIANCE CRUISER... Over the radio:

MALE VOICE (V.O.): Firefly class transport, you are ordered to: release control of your helm. Prepare to dock: and be boarded.

MAL: Looks like civilization's finally caught: up with us...

EXT. SPACE

Serenity dwarfed by the looming Alliance Cruiser.

And coming off the Alliance ship: several smaller GUNSHIPS, swarming around Serenity -- BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT TWO

Act Three

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER

COMMANDER HARKEN watches from the bridge as Serenity moves toward us. An ENSIGN approaches. Harken points to Serenity.

HARKEN: No mandatory registration markings on the bow.: Make sure we cite them for that. What is it,: ensign?

ENSIGN: Sir, we've identified the transport ship: they were attached to. It was licensed to a: group of families out of Bernadette. They were: due to touch down in Newhall three weeks ago.: Never made it. We've been hailing the vessel,: get no response. It appears to be derelict.

HARKEN : Continue hailing. Once we secure these vultures,: we'll send a team over. Check it out.

A RADIO OPERATOR sits at a communications station speaks:

RADIO OPERATOR : Didn't we have a flag a while back on a Firefly?

HARKEN : Check.

RADIO OPERATOR : Here it is. Alert issued for unidentified: Firefly Class, believed to be carrying two: fugitives. A brother and sister.

HARKEN : What are they wanted for?

RADIO OPERATOR : Not available. It's classified.

HARKEN : Forty thousand of these old wrecks in the air and: that's all they give us? Well, I won't have any: surprises on a routine stop. We run into these two,: we shoot first. Brass can sort it out later.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY

Simon helps Jayne and Book finish loading the cargo into the smuggling hold. Mal appears, walking fast, entering the cargo bay. The three look over --

JAYNE: What was it? Was it Reavers?

MAL : Open the stash, pull out the goods.

JAYNE: What? Just got done putting it all in --

MAL: Yeah, and now I'm telling you to take it: all out again.

JAYNE : Why for?

MAL: I got no notion to argue this. In about two: minutes time this boat's gonna be crawling: with Alliance.

SIMON: No...

Inara emerges from her shuttle. Moves toward Zoe, Wash and Kaylee, who have appeared. Kaylee hangs back, Zoe and Wash head further in, toward the others.

INARA : What's happening?

KAYLEE : Alliance. We're being boarded.

INARA: Oh, no.

Zoe and Wash help Book and Jayne with the goods. Simon's in a bit of shock.

SIMON: We've gotta run...

MAL : Can't run. They're pulling us in.

SIMON : If they find us they'll send River back to that: place. To be tortured. I'd never see her again.

MAL (to Jayne et al): Stack everything right here in plain sight.: Wouldn't want it to seem as if we're hiding: anything. Might give them Alliance boys the: wrong impression.

WASH: Or the right one.

MAL: That, too. (turns to Simon): Now run fetch your sister.

A beat. Simon suddenly becomes suspicious.

SIMON : What? Why? Are you going to put her in: "plain sight," too?

MAL: Don't get tetchy. Just do as I say.

SIMON : Is that why you let us to stay? So you could: use us as bargaining chips?

JAYNE : I knew there was a reason!

SIMON : They're not taking her... and you're not giving: her to them.

BOOK (steps forward): Don't be a fool, son. Do as the man says.

EXT. SPACE

As Serenity attaches to the bottom of the Alliance Cruiser, just a little bump now on the big ship.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY

WHOOSH -- the airlock doors open and a compliment of ALLIANCE SOLDIERS streams on to Serenity, their boots clicking on the hard cargo bay floor. Harken appears, looks at --

-- Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Wash, Kaylee, Inara, Book, lined up. No sign of Simon or River. (we may or may not notice the smuggling compartments have been closed up again.)

Harken gives the signal to his lead man. Soldiers move in, start relieving our gang of any weapons.

MAL: Well now, ain't this a whole lotta fuss. I: didn't know better, might think we were: dangerous.

HARKEN: Is this your vessel?

MAL: It is. Bought and paid for. I'm Captain: Malcolm Reynolds.

HARKEN: And is this everyone, captain?

MAL: By way of crew, it is. Though you're gonna: find in our infirmary a fella we rescued from: that derelict. Saved him, guess you could say.

Harken nods to a couple of his guys, they head off.

MAL (calling back): Straight back, next to the common area.

HARKEN (re: the goods): And these items -- I take it you "rescued": them as well?

INT. SERENITY - INFIRMARY

The two Alliance Soldiers force open the infirmary door. The operating table is empty. The place is a wreck. They look over, see something that WE DON'T. One of them turns away, loses his lunch right there. The other one reacts with similar, though less colorful, disgust. Off that --

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY

Harken eyes the "line up."

HARKEN: Looks to me like an illegal salvage operation.

MAL: Does it? That's discouraging.

HARKEN: Alliance property, too. You could lose your: ship, Captain. But that's a wrist slap compared: to the penalty for harboring fugitives. A brother: and sister. When I search this vessel, I won't: find them, will I?

MAL: No children on this boat.

HARKEN : I didn't say "children." Siblings. Adult siblings.

MAL: I misunderstood.

HARKEN : No chance they could have stowed-away? No one: would blame you for that, Captain. I know how: these older Firefly models often have those: troublesome little nooks.

MAL: Do they?

HARKEN: Smugglers and the like tend to favor them : for just that reason.

Now the two Alliance Soldiers return. The not-nauseated one approaches Harken. Whispers something to him. Harken eyes Mal, Mal looks back, wondering what's happened.

HARKEN : We'll continue this conversation in a more: official capacity.

Harken motions to one of his men. Instantly some of the Alliance Men start to hustle our guys toward the door. Harken continues with the order-giving:

HARKEN : Every inch of this junker gets tossed.

KAYLEE (as they go): Junker?!

MAL: Settle down, Kaylee.

KAYLEE : But, Cap'n! You hear what that purple belly: called Serenity?

MAL : Shut up.

INT. SERENITY - PASSAGEWAYS/VARIOUS

A MED TEAM wheels a gurney out with the survivor on it. We don't really get a good look at his current state, under an oxygen mask and sheet and the Med Team members mostly concealing him from us. They're moving fast, we follow them, passing SEARCHING SOLDIERS, and they take us to...

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY

...MUCH ACTIVITY. DOZENS of SOLDIERS searching Serenity -- tossing it. We PICK UP a particular SOLDIER who moves into...

INT. SERENITY - INARA'S SHUTTLE

...Inara's shuttle. Reacting to the lavish difference.

HARKEN (O.S.): You're a Companion.

INARA (O.S.): Yes.

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER - INTERROGATION ROOM

Inara sits in the sterile surroundings. Harken will be doing the grilling. (We'll be INTERCUTTING between INTERROGATIONS and THE SEARCH quite liberally throughout the following)

HARKEN: You were based for several years on Sihnon.: It's only been in the last year that you've: been shipping out with the crew of The Serenity.

INARA: It's just "Serenity," and that's correct. In: a few weeks it will be a year. Why is this: important?

HARKEN: Just trying to put the pieces together. It's: a curiosity. A woman of stature such as yourself: falling in with these... types.

INARA : Not in the least. It's a mutually beneficial: business arrangement. I rent the shuttle from: Captain Reynolds, which allows me to expand my: client base, and the Captain finds that having: a Companion on board opens certain doors that: might otherwise be closed to him.

HARKEN: And do you love him?

TIME CUT TO:

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER - INTERROGATION ROOM

Zoe sitting rigidly in the interrogation room.

ZOE: I don't see how that's relevant.

HARKEN: Well, he is your husband.

ZOE : Yes.

INT. SERENITY - ZOE AND WASH'S ROOM

SOLDIERS moving in here, examining the evidence of Wash and Zoe's private life together...

HARKEN (V.O.): You two met through Captain Reynolds?

ZOE (V.O.): Captain was looking for a pilot, I found: a husband. Seemed to work out.

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER - INTERROGATION ROOM

HARKEN : You fought with Captain Reynolds in the war.

ZOE : Fought with a lot of people in the war.

HARKEN : And your husband?

ZOE : Fight with him sometimes, too.

HARKEN: Is there any particular reason you don't: wish to discuss your marriage?

ZOE : Don't see that it's any of your business,: is all. We're very private people.

TIME CUT TO:

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER - INTERROGATION ROOM

Wash looking much more relaxed in the interrogation.

WASH: The legs. Oh, yeah. Definitely have to: say it was her legs. You can put that down.

INT. SERENITY - VARIOUS

The search continues, moving into the engine room...

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER - INTERROGATION ROOM

Still indignant.

KAYLEE : ...six Gurstler's crammed right under every: cooling drive so that you strain your primary: artery function and end up having to recycle: secondary exhaust through a bypass system just so's: you don't end up pumping it into the main atmo: feed and asphyxiating your crew. What < genius >: thought up that lame design? Now that's "junk." TIME CUT TO:

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER - INTERROGATION ROOM

JAYNE just sits there, closed mouthed. Arms crossed. We play the silence for a moment, then --

INT. SERENITY - JAYNE'S ROOM

Knives. Guns. Girly magazine (with Chinese markings.) Another knife.

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER - INTERROGATION ROOM

Jayne sits silently. Not a word. More shifting. More silence.

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER - INTERROGATION ROOM

KAYLEE : She ain't "junk."

INT. SERENITY - BOOK'S ROOM As the Soldiers toss Book's room: Bible, a cross, etc.

HARKEN (V.O.): Pirates with their own Chaplain. There's: an oddity.

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER - INTERROGATION ROOM

BOOK : Not the only oddity this end of space, Commander.: Way of things not always so plain as on the central: planets. Rules can be a mite fuzzier.

HARKEN : Not for me. Our rules are written down.: In books.

BOOK : I take my rules from a book, too. But just: the one.

HARKEN (smiles): Southdown Abbey. Home to a fairly pious order.: How long were you in residence there, Shepherd?

BOOK: Don't right recall. Didn't tend to keep track : of the days there. Seemed like long enough,: though.

HARKEN : You met up with Captain Reynolds and his: crew on Persephone.

BOOK: That's true.

HARKEN: These fugitives we're looking for, the brother: and sister... they were last seen on Persephone.

INT. SERENITY - VARIOUS

The swarm of the search team continues. One of the Soldiers looks at the panels of the stash. Moves to it...

BOOK (V.O.): That a fact?

HARKEN (V.O.): They also left port aboard a Firefly class: transport. Just about the time you shipped: out with Serenity.

He presses -- a panel opens. He calls some others over. They rip the panels up -- empty.

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER - INTERROGATION ROOM

BOOK: Well, Persephone's a big place.

HARKEN : Yes. But that Firefly isn't. And if there: is anyone hiding anywhere on it -- we will: find them.

INT. SERENITY - DINING ROOM

The Soldiers are starting to pack up, file out. As the swarm begins to disperse... CAMERA pulls back and up, out past the overhead windows, moving to --

EXT. SERENITY

-- the outside of the ship. Where WE FIND SIMON and RIVER both in space suits, clinging to the side of the ship.

Simon is just freaking out, his gloved hands the only thing keeping his sweaty palms from losing purchase on the side of the ship. He touches the seam of his helmet, making sure it's connected properly. He looks to River, worried. But he reacts --

River stares off into the limitless void of space, seemingly taking a kind of deep comfort from the vastness of it. She's doing something that we haven't really seen her do... she's smiling. Off Simon, continually amazed by his sister...

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER - INTERROGATION ROOM

Mal sits alone in the room. Presently, the door opens. Harken enters, carrying a thick folder. Harken moves to the chair opposite Mal. Harken studies his documents. Won't look at Mal. A calculated move to put Mal on edge. Mal breaks the silence:

MAL : I figure by now you been over to that: derelict. Seen for yourself.

HARKEN : Yes. Terrible thing.

MAL: You want my advice, you won't tow it back.: Just fire the whole gorram thing from space.: Be done with it.

HARKEN: That ship is evidence. I'm not in the habit: of destroying evidence.

MAL: 'course not. Be against the rules. I'm gonna: make a leap and figure this is your first tour: out here on the border.

Harken finally looks at Mal.

HARKEN : That's a very loyal crew you have there. But: then I see by your record you tend to inspire: that quality in people -- Sergeant.

MAL: It's not "sergeant." Not no more.: War's over.

HARKEN : For some the war'll never be over. I notice: your ship's called "Serenity." You were stationed: on Hera at the end of the war. Battle of : Serenity Valley took place there, if I recall.

MAL (now let me think): You know, I believe you may be right.

HARKEN: Independents suffered a pretty crushing defeat: there. Some say after Serenity, the Brown Coats: were through. That the war really ended in: that valley.

MAL: Hmmm.

HARKEN: Seems odd you'd name your ship after a battle: you were on the wrong side of.

MAL : May have been the losing side. Still not: convinced it was the wrong one.

HARKEN : Is that why you attacked that transport?

MAL : What -- ?

HARKEN : You're still fighting the same battle, Sergeant.: Only these weren't soldiers you murdered. They were: civilians. Families. Citizens loyal to the Alliance,: trying to make a new life for themselves. And you just: can't stand that, can you?

MAL: So we attacked that ship then brought the only: living witness back to our infirmary? That what we did?

HARKEN : I'd ask him... but I imagine he'll have some: trouble speaking with his tongue split down: the middle.

MAL (realizing): Dear god in heaven. [Wuh de tyen, ah.]

HARKEN: I haven't seen that kind of torture since...: well, since the war.

Mal's stunned into silence for a beat, going internal as the full weight of his realization hits him.

MAL (to himself): Shoulda known... shoulda seen this comin'...

HARKEN: You and your crew will be bound by law. Formal: charges will be transmitted to central authority --

MAL: Commander, I am not what you need to be concerning: yourself with right now. Things go the way they are --: there's gonna be blood.

Off that --

INT. ALLIANCE SHIP - INFIRMARY

Again, we're only seeing bits and pieces of what's become of the survivor. Think Hannibal Lector being worked on in the ambulance. His body lurches and convulses. Team of Alliance medics working to save him.

So involved in their good work are they, that they don't see his hand slip off the side of the operating table, dangling there, clutching the sharp, shining surgical tool that comes up now -- slashing. BLACK OUT.

END OF ACT THREE

Act Four

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER - INTERROGATION ROOM

Harken stares at Mal. Harken's unimpressed as he says:

HARKEN: Reavers?

MAL: That's what I said.

HARKEN: Can't imagine how many times men in my: position hear that excuse. "Reavers did it."

MAL: It's the truth.

HARKEN: You saw them, did you?

MAL: Wouldn't be sitting here talking to you: if I had.

HARKEN: No. Of course not.

MAL: But I'll tell you who did -- that poor bastard: you took off my ship. He looked right into the: face of it. Was made to stare.

HARKEN: "It?"

MAL: The darkness. Kinda darkness you can't even: imagine. Blacker than the space it moves in.

HARKEN: Very poetic.

MAL: They made him watch. He probably tried to: turn away -- they wouldn't let him. You call: him a "survivor?" He's not. A man comes up: against that kind of will, only way to deal with: it, I suspect... is to become it. He's following: the only course that's left to him. First he'll: try to make himself look like one... cut on himself,: desecrate his own flesh... then he'll start acting: like one.

Harken seems to be considering that for a moment, hits a button on the table. The door opens and a SOLDIER appears.

HARKEN: Let's have two M.P.s up here to escort: Sergeant Reynolds to the brig.

MAL: Lock me up. I'll thank you for it. But me and: my crew're gonna be the only ones on this ship: that's safe you don't move to act.

HARKEN: And let's not put him in with his compatriots.: In fact, let's see to it they're all separated.

Off Mal's frustration...

INT. SERENITY - FOREDECK HALL

A HATCH OPENS and SIMON, still in his spacesuit, climbs down a ladder. He rips off his helmet as River descends down the ladder. He helps her off with her helmet.

RIVER: Let's go again.

SIMON: Later. Maybe. Captain said once the coast was: clear we should lay low in the shuttle.

RIVER (sensing something): He's coming back.

SIMON : Yes. Yes, of course he is. They all are.: Captain Reynolds is used to these sorts of: situations. We just have to be patient.: Come on.

They move off. Simon never saw the BLOODY FOOTPRINT nearby. They're not alone.

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER - INTERROGATION ROOM

The interrogation is over. Harken is off to the side with an M.P. Two more M.P.s are pulling Mal out of his chair, cuffing his hands behind his back.

HARKEN: Your ship and its contents will be auctioned.: The proceeds of the sale will be applied to the: cost of your defense.

The Ensign now enters, looking a little pale. He moves close to Harken, whispers his report. Harken reacts. We can guess what's being reported to Harken. So can Mal.

HARKEN (re: Mal): Get him out of here. (to Ensign): Go to full lock down. I want guards on the nursery --

As Mal's hustled toward the door:

MAL: It won't matter. You won't find him.

Harken meets Mal's gaze, a little lost.

MAL: But I know where he'll go. CUT TO:

INT. SERENITY - PASSAGEWAYS - CONTINUOUS

Simon tries to steer River into the dining room/kitchen area. She whimpers. Will go no further.

SIMON : River. It's okay. They've gone. Come on.

But she won't.

SIMON : We don't know how long it's going to be. Once: we're settled, I don't think we should move around: much. I'll just grab some some food and...

He tries to disengage from her, she's holding him back. He lists away, toward the dining room... CAMERA PULLS back...

...past scattered KITCHEN CUTLERY...

...finally REVEALING the FIGURE just two feet from the oblivious Simon who's trying to back yet closer, as...

INT. ALLIANCE SHIP - AIRLOCK/DOOR TO SERENITY

A DEAD GUARD marks the way of the killer.Mal is there with Harken and armed M.P.s

HARKEN: Why would he come back here?

MAL : Looking for familiar ground. He's on the hunt.

HARKEN : Alright.

Harken nods to his men. They ready themselves to enter. Before they can:

HARKEN (to an M.P.): Get him to the brig.

MAL : You should let me go with you.

HARKEN : Out of the question.

MAL : How many more men you feel like losing today, Commander? Nobody knows Serenity like I do. I can help you.

Harken considers that for a beat, then --

HARKEN : We'll let him go first.

MAL (oh, good): Great.

Harken is getting set again, Mal makes him pause with:

MAL : Uh -- ?

Mal indicates his hands still cuffed behind his back. Harken takes the key from one of his men, undoes the cuffs himself -- but just as quick pulls Mal's hands around front, recuffs him with his hands now in front of him.

MAL : Thanks. Now I'll really have the advantage.

HARKEN (to his men): Open it.

As his men move to do that --

INT. SERENITY - PASSAGEWAYS - CONTINUOUS

SIMON AND RIVER

She tries to hold him back as he backs close to the unseen (to him) Killer. He absently reaches behind himself, sets his helmet on the dining room table, as --

Simon stops suddenly at the SOUND of the AIRLOCK OPENING in the distance.

SIMON: Someone's coming...

The Killer also hears the approach of footsteps... feints out of frame...

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY - CONTINUOUS

Mal leads Harken and his men into the cargo bay.

HARKEN (hushed): We'll split up --

MAL : Best if we stick together. Unless you're in: the mood to get picked off.

Harken considers, nods. Sighs. Fine.

HARKEN (to his men): Keene, Escobar, you two stay here. Watch the door.: Don't need this thing back on my ship.

Harken indicates for Mal to lead on. He does.

INT. SERENITY - OUTSIDE INFIRMARY

MOVING WITH MAL

Schmuck bait as he leads the team past the wrecked infirmary. Through the common area, coming up to the steep stairs which lead to the upper levels.

INT. SERENITY - ENGINE ROOM

Mal leads Harken and his men through the engine room, down into the dining area. Mal notes a space suit helmet sitting on the table. Knows what that means. He steels himself. Mushes on.

Mal sees the spilled cutlery. He and Harken share a look.

They continue on...

Mal steps up into the foredeck hall. Tries not to react as he comes nearly face-to-face with --

SIMON AND RIVER

Pressed tight up against a wall just around the corner, hidden by the lip of the passageway.

Harken's right on Mal's ass now, a step down in the dining room. Mal turns to him as --

THE KILLER

Leaps from out of frame, attacking one of the men just behind Harken. Harken turns. THE KILLER slashes Harken's man. There is blood, splashing across Harken's surprised face.

Harken fumbles for his gun, the Killer knocks it away, lunges at Harken, as --

Mal leaps at the guy's back, brings his cuffed hands over his head and around his throat --

HARKEN'S POV

Of the HIDEOUS MUTILATED FACE, flesh peeled back, mouth pinned into a grimace by bits of metal. It SNARLS and SNAPS at Harken, trying to get at him. Right the fuck up in his face. Being held at bay only by Mal's strength. It is terrifying. Mal pulls hard. There is a crack.

Mal lets the body drop at their feet.

ANGLE: THE SURVIVOR

Mal uses the tip of his boot to turn the dead man's head slightly... Mutilated flesh. The skin of his mouth remains pulled back and pinned into that hideous grimace. Scarcely human.

MAL AND HARKEN

As they share a look. Harken's face sullied with blood. A baptism of sorts. There are no words. Off this --

EXT. SPACE

Serenity detaches from the Alliance Cruiser, floats down.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE

Mal, Wash, Zoe and Jayne. They watch as the big ship gets smaller.

JAYNE : You save his gorram life. And he still takes: the cargo. Jerk. [Hwoon dahn.]

MAL : Had to. Couldn't let us profit.

Mal doesn't stick around. He turns for the door.

MAL : Wouldn't be civilized.

Through the cockpit window, WE SEE the Alliance Ship send out what look like torpedoes. They connect with the spinning Derelict, sending a series of SOUNDLESS EXPLOSIONS through its hull. As the Derelict caves in on itself, glows to embers... BLACK OUT.

END OF SHOW

 

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