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13. Сценарий эпизода «Золотое сердце» (Heart of Gold). Автор: Бретт Мэтью (Brett Matthews)

Firefly - "Heart of Gold"

Written by: Brett Matthews : Directed by: Tom Wright

Episode #: 1AGE12: Story #: E01807

SHOOTING SCRIPT: October 29, 2002
BLUE REVISIONS: October 30,2002
PINK REVISIONS: October 31,2002
YELLOW REVISIONS: December 16,2002



We are in deep space. A planet comes into frame from above, and we rocket towards it, past it to a circling moon, closer, see the landmasses, the landscape come all the way down toward a glittering house in the desert --


A plain but stately-in-its-own-way multi-storied wood frame structure, alone and secluded on this pleasant moon.

A PRETTY GIRL (late teens) and a PRETTY BOY (same age) are currently out front, hanging the laundry. Sheets. They giggle and laugh. Picture perfect country tranquility. They react to the SOUND of POUNDING HORSE HOOVES...


HORSES on the horizon. Coming up fast over a rise. And now, in between them, bouncing up INTO VIEW -- A HOVERCRAFT, a badass SPACE JEEP, zooming over its buffeting hover-current.

THE BOY AND GIRL register recognition. React --


A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN, early 30's, NANDI, the madam of this concern, appears from the house. Sees the trouble approaching in the distance.

NANDI: Get inside.

But they are frozen to the spot as the riders and hovercraft get closer. Some other GIRLS are appearing variously at the door and windows. All of them are varying degrees of pretty -- prostitutes.


The frightened girl and boy head in. Nandi mentally runs through her options. There is only one: stand tough. The horses gallop up. She is immovable.

NANDI: We ain't open for business. It's the: sabbath. We don't do no trade on the: sabbath.

The HOVERCRAFT glides to a stop. Piloting it is RANCE BURGESS. A handsome, fancified imperious GENTLEMAN. But he's anything but gentle...

BURGESS: Shut up, whore.

NANDI: And you we don't trade with at all,: Rance Burgess. You're no longer: welcome in this establishment. You: been told that.

BURGESS: Been told a great many things. I'm: here for what's mine.

NANDI: Ain't nothing here belongs to you.: You don't get gone, we'll be well: within our rights to drop you.

BURGESS: Only rights you got are the ones I: give you.: (to his men): Find her.

The horsemen move to the door, push their way in.

NANDI: She ain't here. Girl left this moon: more'n a month ago. It was you: chased her off.

BURGESS: I got information says different.

Nandi is poker-faced. Some SCREAMING and CRYING from inside. Crying he recognizes. He smiles at the stone-faced Nandi.

BURGESS (cont'd): We'll look to dealing with your: prevaricatin' ways another time.

Rance's men now hustle a struggling GIRL out through the door -- young PETALINE. She'd be the picture of scrubbed wholesomeness -- except for the fact that she's very, very pregnant. 'bout ready to pop. She's terrified. They force her to her knees.

BURGESS (cont'd): Petaline. Good thing you didn't: leave with my baby.

PETALINE: This baby ain't yours!

BURGESS: So you've been saying.

He nods to his men, who rip open Petaline's dress, exposing her belly. Rance pulls a FUTURISTIC HYPO DEVICE from his coat, plunges it into her belly. She winces and gasps in sudden pain. He brings the device away from her.

BURGESS (cont'd): If this DNA is a match to mine --: know I'll be back for my child.

Rance climbs on his hovercraft, his men to their horses.

BURGESS (cont'd): And if you decide to close your legs: for once in your life and that baby: hasn't been born by the time I'm: ready -- I'll cut it out of ya.

They go. Nandi and some of the other girls move to Petaline, who's quietly sobbing. Help her to her feet.

NANDI: Shhh. Quiet, now. It's all gonna: work out.

Among the whores helping to steady Petaline are CHARI, a petite and refined prostitute, maybe the prettiest one here, and HELEN, a more hardy whore. They watch the men leaving.

CHARI: He'll do it too. He'll do what he: says.

NANDI: No he won't. We won't allow it.

HELEN: How we gonna stop him, Nandi?

NANDI: We'll get help. That's how.

CHARI: Help? There's not a soul on this: moon'd go up against Rance Burgess.

HELEN: She's right. Ain't nobody strong: enough. And even if there was --: who'd help us?


in a wicked-cool CLOSE UP whips his gun at us with a stylish rack to the barrel. He's cleaning and checking it, looking casually heroic. Spread out on the dining room table are an assortment of his best guns and such.

INARA enters behind him. He doesn't hear her.



INARA: Sorry. I didn't mean to startle.

MAL: You didn't.: (repeating as if he: meant to, points gun): BWAAA! That's kind of a warrior...: It's a... strikes fear into...: (nothin'): Bwaa?: (then, fuck it): You know, it ain't altogether wise,: sneaking up on a man when he's: handling a weapon.

INARA: I'm sure I've heard that said. But: perhaps the dining area isn't the: place for this sort of thing?

MAL: What do you mean? Only place with a: table big enough.

INARA: Of course. In that case...: (rearranges guns): Every well-bred petty crook knows --: the small concealable weapons always: go to the far left of the place: setting.

Mal bridles at the term "petty crook". Before he can speak, WASH enters from the bridge.

WASH: Got a distress call coming in.: folks asking for help.

MAL: Really? Folks asking for help? From: us petty crooks?

WASH: Well...

MAL: (at Inara): Maybe I should take that right away.

Mal makes to do that, but Wash stops him with:

WASH: Well, it's for her.

MAL: Hunh?

WASH: They didn't ask for you, Mal. Call's: for Inara.

INARA: I'll take it in my shuttle.

WASH: I'll send it back there.

MAL: This distress call wouldn't be taking: place in someone's pants, would it?

She throws a look, goes one way, Wash goes the other. Mal is left alone. A beat.

As Mal whips his gun back up into a heroic frame,

MAL (cont'd): (all cool): Bwaa.



Act One


Serenity gently moving through the big black.


Inara sits at her cortex screen, where WE SEE the live image of NANDI.

NANDI: -- And I got word you were in the: area... I'm imposing, but I got no: one else to ask.

INARA: It sounds like the sort of thing this: crew can handle. I can't guarantee: they'll handle it particularly well,: but --

NANDI: If they got guns, and brains at all...

INARA: They have guns.

NANDI: (worried): Payment won't be a problem. We just: ain't equipped for this.

INARA: Nandi, it's gonna be all right.

NANDI: The House would tell you not to come.: I know they ordered you to shun me: when I left.

INARA: That isn't why I haven't seen you,: Nandi. The house can < engage in a: feces hurling contest with a monkey >: [gun HOE-tze bee DIO-se]. I would: have waved long ago, I just...

NANDI: Doesn't matter.: (smiles): Who'd've thought we'd both end up all: the way out here?

INARA: Who'd've thought.

NANDI: Let me know what your people say.

INARA: Of course.

NANDI: I'll wait to hear from you.: (then): < Blessing on you, dear sister. >: [TZOO-foo nee, mei-mei.]

INARA: And you.

Inara touches the screen. Nandi's image FREEZES there. Inara sits there quietly contemplative for a beat. Then:

INARA (cont'd): I suppose you heard most of that?

Mal appears, peaking around the corner at the entrance.

MAL: Only 'cause I was eavesdropping.: (then, no bullshit): Your friend sounds like she's in a: peck of trouble.

INARA: She is. There's no authority on that: moon she can turn to. They're: totally alone.

MAL: Some men might take advantage of that.

INARA: One man.

MAL: And she's lookin' for someone to come: along and explain things to him?

INARA: That's essentially it, yes.

MAL: A whole house full of companions...: How they fixed for payment?

INARA: They're not companions.: (then): They're whores, Mal.

MAL: Thought you didn't much care for that: word?

INARA: It applies. None who work for Nandi: are registered with the Guild.: They're --

MAL: -- independent?

INARA: Yes.: (then): If you agree to do this, you will be: compensated. I'll see to it. I've: put a little aside...

MAL: You keep your money. Won't be: needing no payment.

INARA: Mal. Thank you. I'll contact Nandi: at once.: (he smiles; she turns: away): But you will be paid. I feel it's: important we keep ours strictly a: business arrangement.

Her back's to him now, so she doesn't see the stung look.

MAL: I'll speak to the crew.

INARA: Good.

She never looks back. Off Mal, waiting a beat before he goes --


Mal has EVERYONE assembled (except Inara.) He's letting Zoe brief the troops. He's to the side, the silent commander.

ZOE: Those who have a mind are welcome to: join. Those who just as soon stay on: the ship can do that, too.

JAYNE: Don't much see the benefit in getting: involved in strangers' troubles: without a upfront price negotiated.

BOOK: These people need assistance. The: benefit wouldn't necessarily be for: you.

JAYNE: S'what I'm sayin'

ZOE: No one's gonna force you to go,: Jayne. As has been stated -- this: job's strictly speculative.

JAYNE: Good. 'cause I don't know these: folks. Don't much care to.

MAL: They're whores.

JAYNE: I'm in.

MAL: (moving off): Wash -- plot a course.


Serenity lands amidst cover.


We see The Bordello, in all its tinfoil splendor.

Reverse on our people, in a long-lens tight group, heading towards it.

JAYNE: That's the whorehouse?

INARA: (you're an annoying: idiot) Yes...

JAYNE: How come it looks like a frozen: dinner pack?

KAYLEE: It's solar sheeting. Cheap power.

JAYNE: (genuine concern): Hope the whores is prettier'n the: house...


Our gang files into the lobby. The girls are all hanging about, some making a bit of a show of themselves, draped about as if for customers, some more earnest or just curious. Inara is in the process of coming towards Nandi for a great big hug. Mal is behind her, waiting as is Zoe.

As for the rest, they politely nod and greet the whores, Kaylee guilelessly, Simon politely, Book kindly, Jayne grinningly, Wash uncomfortably, River inquisitively. Much adlibbing from them as have speaking parts. (Chari and Petaline are not present).

INARA: Nandi, darling.

NANDI: It's so good to see you, Mei Mei...

INARA: You look wonderful.

NANDI: And you look exactly the same as the: day I left. How do you do that out: here?

MAL: Sheer force of will.

INARA: Nandi, this is Malcolm Reynolds.

NANDI: I appreciate your coming.

She shakes his hand, firmlike.

MAL: Any friend of Inara's is a strictly: businesslike relationship of mine.

The dig is not lost on Inara, nor is her reaction lost on Nandi

MAL (cont'd): This is my first mate, Zoe. I'll: introduce you to the rest in a bit.: They're good folk.

JAYNE: (calls out from across the room, no: 'tude): Can I start getting sexed already?

MAL: Well, that one's kind of horrific.

Jayne has Helen by the shoulder, is pointing at her...

JAYNE: This one'd could sex me okay...

NANDI: He good in a fight?

MAL: 'Bout the best.

NANDI: (calls out): Helen, why don't you show our new : friend what a Palastinian Somersault: is.

Helen giggles. Jayne looks confused and excited.

JAYNE: Is that good?

ZOE: (ugh): Can we talk business?

NANDI: (indicating lounge): In here.: (to the others): Rest of you, there's good and some: liquor at the sideboard, make: yourselves to home.

The four exit. We stay with the others.

JAYNE: (to Helen): Just let me get a drink in me, and : then we'll get to that Panatarian...: thing you do.

Kaylee nudges Simon and Wash, indicates the two young men.

KAYLEE: Look, they got boy whores! Isn't: that thoughtful? Wonder if they: service girlfolk at all.

WASH: Let's not ask.

SIMON: Isn't there a pregnant woman I'm to: examine?

WASH: (to Kaylee): You'd really lie with someone being: paid for it?

KAYLEE: (pointedly forlorn): Well, it's not like anyone else is: lining up to, you know, examine me...

JAYNE: (joining them): Man, my John Thomas is gonna pop off: and fly around the room, there's so: much tasty here.

WASH: Would be you get your most poetical: about your pecker.

Chari brings Petaline up to them.

CHARI: You'd be the Doctor?

SIMON: Yes. And this is Petaline?

PETALINE: Yes sir.

CHARI: She's feeling a mite weak right now.

SIMON: Well, let's get you lying down, take: a look at you.

JAYNE: Now that's a plan!

He goes off with Helen, Simon goes to the back room with the two girls, River trailing.

We see Book making up a sandwich -- he is approached by LUCY and EMMA

EMMA: Shepherd --

BOOK: No thank you!

They smile a bit.

EMMA: We were hoping we might have a prayer: meeting?

LUCY: We ain't had one in months, 'cept: what Emma here reads out on Sunday.

EMMA: Last Shepherd to come by was: springtime. He only read the one: passage, and he took it out in trade: off both of us.

Book has no response.

Kaylee watches the girls chat up Book...

KAYLEE: Everybody's got somebody...: (wistfully): Wash, tell me I'm pretty...

WASH: Were I unwed, I would take you in a: manly fashion.

KAYLEE: 'Cause I'm pretty?

WASH: 'Cause you're pretty.

KAYLEE: Thank you. That was very restorative.


Mal, Zoe, Nandi and Inara. Mid talk.

MAL: So I take it reason doesn't enter: into this?

NANDI: Not with Rance Burgess. The man is: a taker.

ZOE: You think the kid is his?

NANDI: (firm): I think it's Petaline's.

INARA: But the blood test...

NANDI: Well, he did favor Petaline pretty: exclusively, but she had others.: Fifty-fifty, not that it matters.: The man ain't fit to raise a cactus: plant. His barren prairie shrew: can't bear him an heir, so he takes: it into his head to pull it outta us.: That's not gonna happen.

MAL: (likes her strength): I see that's the case.

NANDI: And you see the way we live here. Go: into town, it's the same. Some: places come up rustic 'cause they: ain't got more'n the basics. Rance: Burgess has money enough to build a: city, a real community. He keeps: people living like this so he can: play cowboy, be the one with the best: toys. Turned this moon into a gorram: theme park. Someone stands up to: him... He means to burn me out.

MAL: He sounds like a fun guy. I'd like: to meet him.

NANDI: This won't be solved with talk.

MAL: I'm gonna fight a man, it helps to: size him up.

NANDI: Well, he'll be at the theatre: tonight, that's a certainty.

MAL: Then so will I. Inara, think you: could stoop to being on my arm?

INARA: Will you wash it first?

He smiles at the light dig, turns to Zoe.

MAL: Zoe, start getting the lay of the: place: fortifications, weak spots and: whatnot. I'll slip into my Sunday: best, and see what passes for: entertainment in this town.


A CIRCULAR SHADOW representing Earth-That-Was FILLS THE FRAME. Silhouetted shapes appear. SPACESHIPS. They radiate out from the shadow sphere. We're witnessing some form of Balinese puppet theater. A nattily attired NARRATOR (speaking in Chinese: see addendum) presides before the backlit gauze screen across which the shadows play. It's the story of the destruction and fleeing of Earth-That-Was.

WIDER - Well-heeled PATRONS mill about as the show continues on a small stage in the b.g. The theater itself is upscale, ornate in its own particular way. Asian and Pacific influences abound.

Mal and Inara enter, arm-in-arm. They're dressed to kill.

MAL: I'll never understand rich folk. All: that money, this is what they do with: it.

INARA: It's art.

MAL: It's puppets.

INARA: It's puppet art.

A waiter passes with a tray of strangely-colored drinks. Mal grabs one, takes a sip. His face immediate contorts.

MAL: < Weak-ass sauce! > [LAN-dan JIANG!] I: swear to you, its like money and: good taste are inversely proportional.

INARA: That might make you the most tasteful: man I've ever met.

MAL: Funny.

He swirls his colored drink. Eyeballs it.

MAL (cont'd): Maybe you drink enough of this stuff,: the puppets start makin' sense.

Inara smiles, enjoying him. It fades as her eyes lock on something beyond Mal. Off her reaction:

MAL (cont'd): Found our boy?

Inara nods, and Mal turns to find Burgess lording over a particularly influential crowd. He's holding court, his guests laughing with disturbing frequency and force. On Burgess' arm is his wife, BELINDA. Pale and slight, she's dressed a cut about most every woman there, fiscally speaking. Conservative excess.

MAL: I've a sudden itch to see how the: other half lives.

Mal offers his arm to Inara, she takes it and they stroll up to where a conversation is in progress.

BURGESS: (midstream): ... so I explained to the boy: you: take a clean woman's virtue, you take: the woman. And that's for life. Boy: said his vows right then and there.: Took very little persuading on my: part.

Burgess pats his laser pistol which hangs conspicuously on his belt. LAUGHTER from the assembled. And now Mal is among them, laughing LOUDER and LONGER than any of them. Finally everyone's starting at him.

***Sc. 9 -- INSERT to be shot, (if not gotten already) Rance (double) pulls coat aside to pat lasergun!

MAL: Nice to know there's some places: left in the 'verse where old-: fashioned values still mean a thing.: (to Inara): Isn't that right, dear?

INARA: (forced smile): Mmmm.

BURGESS: I don't think I know you...

MAL: (hand extended): Name's Malcolm. Malcolm Reynolds.

Burgess takes Mal's hand. They shake. Mal doesn't let go as he leans in a bit closer, says:

MAL (cont'd): And might I just say? She is quite: a beauty.

Mal releases Burgess's hand. Burgess looks at him.

BURGESS: Thank you.

He unholsters his laser gun, offers it up to Mal.

BURGESS (cont'd): You ever have an occasion to handle: one, Mister Reynolds?: (offering it): Silk trigger active return bolt laser.

Mal takes the laser pistol, looks it over

MAL: Lighter than it looks. Thought it'd: have more heft to it.

BURGESS: Don't let that fool you. Won't find: technology like that short of: Alliance. And even their issues: don't yet have the auto-target: adjust. Had that one crafted special.

MAL: Didn't think firearms such as this: were generally legal -- for a private: owner, I mean.

BELINDA: My husband makes a distinction: between legality and morality,: Mister Reynolds.

Mal glances over at Belinda, holds her eyes for a beat.

MAL: I've said that myself.

BURGESS: Bending one unjust law is a small: thing when it comes to protecting: one's family.

MAL: I think I understand you.

BURGESS: (smiles): And as you say -- she is a beauty.

MAL: She sure is.: (hands it back): 'course, I was referring to the lady.: (nods to Belinda): Ma'am.

Mal steers Inara away. The others watch them go.

Now Burgess' FUTURE CELLPHONE BEEPS. He takes it out of his pocket, his eyes still on the retreating Mal --



Mal and Inara exit the theater hastily. Mal walks quickly, looking to put distance between himself and the theater.

INARA: Well?

MAL: Well what?

INARA: You said you wanted to look him in: the eye. You've done that. So: what's the plan?

MAL: Plan is -- we get back to Serenity: and we get off this rock just as fast: we can.

Mal hasn't slowed his pace. Off Inara, surprised --


Burgess is in a private-ish corner speaking on his future cell phone. Belinda joins him, expectant.

BURGESS: (into cell): And there can be no mistake? Good.

Beat. Burgess snaps the cell shut. Mulls


BURGESS: The DNA matches. The child's mine.: And Belinda -- it's a boy.

PUSH IN on Belinda. Registering that.

BELINDA: A son... A son.: (then): Come first light, you ride over: there... and you get me my boy.



Act Two


Mal stands in the center of the bordello's lobby, his finery from the previous scene taken down a notch. The crew and the staff of the Heart of Gold surround him.

MAL: We run.

Nandi takes this with stoic calm, but some of her girls GASP with surprise.

MAL (cont'd): Math just don't add up. Our weapon: store ain't exactly overpowerin' at: the moment, and I don't much like: what we'd be up against...

The Serenity crew looks a bit surprised by this as well.

MAL (cont'd): Nothing worse than a monster who: thinks he's right with God. We might: turn Burgess away once, but he'll: keep comin' -- won't stop 'till he: gets what he thinks is his. So we--

NANDI: Captain Reynolds, I understand. You: have your people to think of, same as: me. And this isn't your fight.

MAL: Don't believe you do understand,: Nandi. I said 'we run'.: (Nandi gives no: response): We. My people. Your people. And: whatever bits of precious you got in: this place you can't part with. We: load up Serenity and leave Burgess in: the dust.

Nandi steps closer to Mal, all strength and resolve. Despite the audience of listeners, she and Mal talk with intimate intensity, as if they're the only ones there.

NANDI: Captain Reynolds... It took me years: to cut this piece of territory out of: other men's hands. To build this: business up from nothing.

MAL: Nandi--

NANDI: It's who I am. And it's my home. I'm: not going anywhere.

MAL: He'll kill you.: (re: her people): Kill every last one of them, it comes: to that. And he'll sleep well that: night.

NANDI: And how well will you sleep, Captain?

Mal has no answer for that. Nandi holds her stare on him as she calls to her staff.

NANDI (cont'd): Any of you want to take up the: Captain's offer, you do it, with my: blessing.

Behind her, much head shaking by the whores. No one's going anywhere. Nandi turns to Petaline, voice gentle.

NANDI (cont'd): Petaline, that means you, too.

Petaline sits in an overstuffed chair, sweating, clearly uncomfortable. Simon takes her pulse.

PETALINE: No, Miss Nandi. I ain't leavin' the: Heart of Gold. Ain't leavin' you...

Nandi turns back to Mal.

NANDI: Rance Burgess is just a man... And I: won't let any man take what's mine.: I doubt you'd do different, in my: position.

Eyes still locked on each other, a stalemate of personal cool, until Mal shakes his head slightly.

MAL: Well, lady I must say--: (admiring smile): You're my kinda stupid.

He turns to Zoe and the rest of his crew.

MAL (cont'd): Y'heard my points of contention with: this thing. But I got a lifetime of: good night's rest to consider, so I'm: goin' back on that.: (glances at Inara): There's still money in the job, for: them that want to throw in--

Jayne, arm around Helen, shrugs.

JAYNE: Hell, he ain't expectin' much of a: fight. We might catch him with his: drawers low.

Mal raises his eyebrows. Zoe checks the chamber of her gun, cocks it.

ZOE: (nods): He'll probably ride in by daylight,: but I figure a three point watch,: say, four hour shifts, be on the safe: side.

WASH: (nods, mock expertise): Three-point, four-hour, should do it.

Mal gives a slight smile, then Book steps up.

BOOK: I'm fair handy with a hammer, Captain.

MAL: That so, Shepherd--?

BOOK: Been following the footsteps of a: carpenter for some time now. I think: I can do something about our: fortifications.

Mal looks over the rest of his people, Kaylee smiles and nods, Simon looks up from Petaline, then back to his task. we feel Mal take understated pride in knowing them.

MAL: OK then...

His strategy wheels start turning, as UNDERSTATED 'GET sHIT DONE' MUSIC starts to build.

MAL (cont'd): We start shootin', they'll most like: try to burn us out, save their sweat: and bullets. Nandi, What's the water: supply here?

NANDI: Underground well. Pump that draws it: up's antiquated, but it don't break: down.

Quietly, off to the side of the action, Petaline stops with a jolt. She puts a hand to her belly.

MAL: Kaylee-- think you can swing an: upgrade for their waterworks?

Kaylee moves closer to him, beaming happily.

KAYLEE: I'll talk to Serenity, see what she's: got we might use.

MAL: Good. And we better find some--

River is suddenly at their side

RIVER: It's starting.

Kaylee gives a little STARTLED JUMP, unseen by Mal.

MAL: That's a sure fact. But time is on: the enemy's side so--

PETALINE: (pained yelp): Dr. Tam--!

Mal sees Petaline, who Simon helps to her feet as she pants with contraction.

MAL: Oh -- It's starting -- Okay.: (a little panicky): It's starting! -- No one panic --: It's gonna be fine--

Simon leads Petaline toward the bordello's back room, nodding to Mal.

SIMON: I got this one, Captain.

Mal looks around at everyone else, who smile, at the brink of chuckling, at his display. He CLAPS his hands, resuming his heroical authority.

MAL: Come on people! Let's get to work.


Various angles:

Book nailing planks

Planks being put on windows

Jayne checking weapons

Wash and Zoe testing booby trap (Already shot)

Feat burying rope in the sand (for booby trap)

Inara passing Nandi with steaming towels


Book wields a hammer, boarding up windows. Lucy and Emma, the "church" whores, assist.

EMMA: The girls and I've been talkin',: Shepherd.

He stops, turns to face her.

EMMA (cont'd): We've been discussin' what we'd like: said over us if we should happen to: fall --


Book reaches out, places a hand on her.

BOOK: I only bury the dead, child. And no: one here is going to die. Not a one: of you.

He smiles and the tension disappears. Lucy returns it.



JAYNE: Now, there's people gonna die.

Jayne sits in front of a large window, its field of view panoramic. Across from him, Helen sits attentively.

JAYNE (cont'd): Ain't no way 'round that. And with: people dyin' comes guts and screamin': and that can bring on all sorts of: screwed-up behaviors, a person's not: used to it. When the time comes, most: important thing is you keep your wits: about you. Clear?

Helen nods. Jayne reaches over to a nearby table strewn with weapons and ammunition.

JAYNE (cont'd): These here are my favorites, and: you're to keep 'em comin' till there: ain't no more to be had. I shoot, I: run out you just hand me the next: biggest and so on. Is there an: understanding here?


JAYNE: All right, then. Lets get to work.

Giggling, Helen hops on top of Jayne, straddles him. She plants wet kisses all over. Jayne craning his neck to keep his mouth out of reach.


Wash seeps a pile of dry earth over a wood-and-rope contraption, securing and camouflaging the device.

WASH: All I'm saying is we're living pretty: deep in the rough and tumble, and I: don't see that changing any time soon.

Zoe rises up behind him, a large spool of wire in her hands.

ZOE: Nor do I.

She crouches, begins to wind the wire between one of two stakes buried deep in the ground, some fifteen feet apart.

WASH: Well, I'm not sure now is the best: time to bring a tiny little helpless: person into our lives.

Wash lies flat, secures the wire to the stake. He takes a pair of WIRECUTTERS and cuts the wire.

ZOE: That excuse is getting a little worn,: honey.

WASH: It's not an excuse, dear. It's: objective assessment. I can't help it: if it stays relevant.

Zoe stands, starts kicking dirt over the lines of their trap.

ZOE: I don't give a good gorram about: relevant, Wash. Or objective. And I'm: not so afraid of losing something: that I won't try havin' it. You and: I would make one beautiful baby. I: want to meet that child one day.: Period.

WASH: And this beautiful baby of ours, you: don't mine that it's going to grow up: on a spaceship?

ZOE: Worked fine for me.

Beat. Wash considers, nods.


Burgess stands in the street, jacket swept back behind his holstered LASER PISTOL, tumbler of whiskey in one hand. He takes a swig then FAST BURNS, firing THREE SHOTS from his laser. Just before the third, we CUT TO:


A stuffed burlap dummy, tied to a rough wood tripod. The last LASER BEAM sears into its head, IGNITING IT, HOLD ON the dummy as it bursts into FLAMES.


Mal looks out the window. We can't see what he sees, but we hear a cluster of gunshots, followed by the barking of Jayne:

JAYNE (O.S.): That ain't nothin'! Y'all are: pulling, not squeezing like I said.: Next one doesn't hit that board is: giving up a special treat, < you: understand? > [dong MA?]

Mal closes the window, smiling a little.

MAL: That man is gonna use up all our: credit 'fore we've earned it.

NANDI: Well, after you've saved our lives: you can do some chores, maybe.

She is getting a box from her bottom drawer. As they talk she lays it on the bed, pulls out a few fancy looking pistols.

MAL: I'm a fair hand with a mop.

NANDI: So your legend tells.: (chuckling): Truth is, I expected a whole lot more: of you to be taking payment in our: trade.

MAL: Well, we're an odd conglomeration.: Got a preacher, a married fellah, and: the doctor... well he'd have to relax: for thirty seconds to get his play,: and that'd be more or less a miracle.: (re: guns): These are fetching little pieces.: They work at all?

NANDI: Don't got many rounds for the: Chaplain there, but the rest'll be of: use.: (picks one up): This is my favorite.

MAL: What's its history?

NANDI: Violence and crime, sad to say. What: about you?

MAL: Similar.

NANDI: No, I mean, when are you planning to: avail yourself of some of our trade?: My girls is clean and kind-spirited.

MAL: Well, I got the job in mind. After,: I'm sure I'll... trade. They're a: fine bunch.

NANDI: You ain't looked at one of 'em as: long or as lovin' as you looked at: those pistols. You're not sly, are: you? 'cause I got my boys...

MAL: (totally comfortable: with the question): Sly? No. I lean towards womenfolk.: Just one thing at a time. Never like: complications.

She smiles, knowingly.

NANDI: I'm certain of that.

MAL: Something to be smiling at?

NANDI: I trained as a companion, remember?: I read people pretty well.

MAL: Well, that's nice for you.

He's examining the weapons, deliberately.

NANDI: She's a hell of a woman, ain't she?: (off his look): Inara.

MAL: (casual): Oh. Yeah. She's a cherry blossom, no: denyin'.: (still looking at: gun): 'spect you know her better'n I do,: comin' up together and all.

NANDI: Imagine I do. She ever tell you why: she left Sihnon?

MAL: Never asked.

NANDI: Yes you did, and I don't know my own: self. I was gone long before. And: I'll tell you, it was a shock, her: leaving. She was special. There's: forty women in House Madrassa and: you'd pick her out in a second.: Coulda been House Priestess, few: years time.

MAL: Is that right.

NANDI: Had her eyes on it, too. Very: focused. She's like you, more than: a little.

MAL: And how exactly is that?

NANDI: She hates complications.

A moment between them. A small understanding.

MAL: They do crop up though, don't they?

NANDI: Such is life.



Petaline is in bed, letting out an impressive YELL. She's sweaty and breathing hard. Inara is by her side, mopping her brow supportively.

Simon is at the foot of the bed, looking under the tent of sheet they've rigged up. River looks over his shoulder, completely agape.

SIMON: You're not completely dilated yet.: Should be pretty quick but don't try: to force it. These contractions are: still preliminary.

PETALINE: What's he saying?

INARA: It's gonna be a little while, sweetie.

PETALINE: But it hurts! Child wants to be: born, I know it.

SIMON: (to Inara): Can you grab the green vial from my: bag. We can dull the pain some.

Inara crosses, pausing by Simon, whispers --

INARA: How many babies have you actually: delivered?

SIMON: As the primary? This would be the: first. You?

INARA: My first too.

RIVER: (looking even closer): Mine too.

They look at River a moment.

SIMON: Gonna be a long night.

Inara gives him a peck on the cheek for luck.

INARA: You'll do great, Doctor

RIVER: (still staring): Who do you think is in there...?

Petaline huffs and puffs...



Book is standing with his Bible, about half the whores standing or kneeling before him.

BOOK: ....forgive us our trespasses, as we: forgive those who trespass against: us, and lead us not into temptation,: but deliver us from evil, for thine: is the kingdom, the power and the: glory, Amen.


They rise, some squaring away tools and weapons and such.

BOOK: Not much more we can do tonight. I: think it best we all get some rest.: Is there... is there a room I can lay: down in?

EMMA: (sweet but sly): Alone?

They all look at him, guilelessly sexy. He waits perhaps a bit much of a beat.

BOOK: Alone.

They laugh, and he smiles along with them.

BOOK (cont'd): Thank you.


It's very late, and Mal and Nandi are on the couch. He throws back a shot. They've both been drinking for a while.

NANDI: It was the dulcimer

MAL: The Dulcimer drove you out of Sihnon.: What, did you kill a dulcimer in a: terrible passion?

NANDI: (smiles): Actually, yes.

MAL: And that Dulcimer's family is looking: to get even. I get it.

NANDI: I was at practice. You never stop: practicing, you know, not a true: companion. Some baroque place, and: the instructor keeps saying "You're: playing it, not feeling it". And the: fifth time he said it I took the damn: thing and smashed it into kindling.: And that's when it occurred to me: that a companion's life might just be: a little too constricting.

She crosses to the dresser to pour two more shots.

NANDI: So I trucked out to the border,: learned to say "ain't" and came to: find work. Found this place.

MAL: It's a nice place.

NANDI: It was a dungheap. Run by a pig who: had half the girls strung out on: drops. There's no Guild out here;: they let men run the houses, and they: don't ask for references. We didn't: get along.

MAL: Where's he at now?

NANDI: (sitting): Let's just say he ain't playing the: dulcimer anymore either.

They clink glasses. Knock 'em back.

MAL: You are a remarkable woman, you don't: mind my saying.

NANDI: Long as it's you saying it, and not: my fine rice wine.

MAL: It takes more'n a few drinks to: render my judgement blurry. What: about you? Am I getting any prettier?

NANDI: By the minute.

She is so sweetly seductive that they hold on each other a moment. Then he breaks it, all conscience.

MAL: (rising): I should check the barricades, make: sure everyone's ready to --

NANDI: Everyone's asleep. Well, them as: can, night before a fight.

She heads for the dresser, to pour again.

NANDI (cont'd): Can you?

MAL: What?

NANDI: Sleep?

Another beat, as that loaded question settles in. Mal's reply is intimate in tone as well, as he steps forward.

MAL: Miss Nandi, I have a confession to: make.

NANDI: Maybe I should get the Shepherd.

MAL: Well, I ain't sinned yet, and I'd: feel more than a little awkward: having him here when I do.

NANDI: You expect to accomplish something: sinful then, do you?

MAL: If I'm overstepping my bounds, you: let me know.

NANDI: < Extraordinarily impatient Buddha >: [jen mei NAI-shing duh FWO-tzoo],: Malcolm, I been waiting for you to: kiss me since I showed you my guns --

They're kissing. It's soft, but not without heat. He pulls away, looks at her.

NANDI (cont'd): You okay with this?

MAL: I'm just waiting to see if I pass: out. Long story.

NANDI: I want you to bed me.

MAL: I guess I mean to.

A small beat, as he strokes her hair.

NANDI: I ain't her.

MAL: Only people in this room is you and: me.

She hands him one of the newly filled shotglasses, takes one herself

NANDI: So, my child... How long has it been: since your last confession?

MAL: Longer than I care to tell.

NANDI: You gonna remember where everything: goes?

MAL: Let's just say I plan to take it real: slow.

They drink. They kiss. They sink to the bed.


It is later, and they are still in the act. They are both naked, him sitting up at the foot of the bed and her astraddle, sheets pooled about their lower portions of them and clever camera work concealing the more interesting details of the upper. Their movement is slow, deliberate -- and not quite so rhythmic as to be entirely specific. They are drenched in sweat.

He runs his hands along the side of her head, his thumb sliding indelicately into the corner of her mouth, Nandi biting down lightly, eyes closing, then opening again, near startled as his hands slip to her hips and they look at each other with something resembling need.

She brings his head to her breast, still moving, eyes wet with tears not spilt.


BURGESS: So the whore's got herself a: champion, has she?

He is standing in the light of a couple of torches, on the balcony of a two story building, couple of his men behind him. He looks over the railing a moment, amused. Looks back to the person he's addressing.

BURGESS (cont'd): This great man got a name?

REVERSE to see CHARI is the one feeding him info. Why, she's a TURNCOAT!

CHARI: Reynolds. Malcolm Reynolds.

BURGESS: (thoughtfully): Yes, I've met the man. How many does: he have with him?

CHARI: Just a few, and only two real: fighters besides hisself. But they: got the girls stirrin' for a battle.

BURGESS: Well, I certainly wasn't counting on: a battle.

He turns out over the railing, addressing his men.

BURGESS (cont'd): Seems the Heart of Gold has got: itself a few mercenaries. I guess: we'd best call the whole thing off!

As he say this, the camera pans over to take in the view of the men -- and they number at least thirty, many on horseback, and total bad-asses. A ROAR of laughter meets Burgess' statement.

*** SFX add to crowd and/or RESHOOT with much bigger crowd for cheer at end of act.

Burgess grins, turns back to Chari.

BURGESS (cont'd): Earned yourself quite a bag: of silver, little kitten. Got a few: more chores in mind afore you get it,: though.

CHARI: I'm ready.

He motions for her to come closer, puts his arm around her as he addresses the men.

BURGESS: Now Chari here, she understands a: whore's place, don't she?

General assent and applause.

BURGESS (cont'd): But Nandi, and those others, they: spit on our town.: They've no respect for the sanctity: of fatherhood, for decency or family.: They got MY CHILD held hostage to: their decedent ways and that I will not: abide!

More cheers.

BURGESS (cont'd): We will show them what power is! We: will show them what their position in: this town is! Let us all remember,: right here and now, what a woman is: to a man!

He turns to Chari, no longer smiling.

BURGESS (cont'd): Get on your knees.

She looks startled. Looks out at all the men watching. But Burgess is unwavering, and she hesitantly sinks out of the frame.


There is a pause. Then an uproarious cheer.


Act Three


The sun creeps over the horizon. The MORNING OF.


Mal and Nandi are asleep together, in a tangle of sheets, in a tangle of limbs. Content.

Sunlight streams in from the horizon, cutting her across the eyes. They blink awake. she looks at him sleeping awhile.


Mal is coming quietly out of Nandi's room, doing up his shirt, just as Inara is coming from the back hall. He stops, totally busted.

MAL: Um...

INARA: Well.

She is startled, but doesn't seem shocked. That doesn't stop Mal from excusifying.

MAL: I was just, um, I had to tell Nandi: about the... It's near time to... big: fight today.

INARA: Mal. Please.

MAL: Hey, no, I've got, I've been up: thinking...

INARA: (sincerely): So you took to bed with Nandi. I'm: glad.

MAL: Thinking and pondering the -- glad?

INARA: Yes! She's a dear friend, and: probably in need of some comfort: about now.

MAL: Well, I...

INARA: (amused): One of the virtues of not being: puritanical about sex is not being: embarrassed afterwards. You should: look into it.

MAL: Well, I just... didn't want you to: think I was taking advantage of your: friend.

INARA: She's well worth taking advantage of,: I sincerely hope you did.

MAL: So you're okay. Well, yeah. Why: wouldn't you be?

INARA: I wouldn't say I'm entirely okay.: I'm a little appalled at her taste.

Smiling, she turns and exits, leaving him come-backless.


The sun's a mite higher now. Jayne stirs, stretches, as does Helen. Then he rolls over and goes back to sleep.


We see Petaline, having dozed off. Track across the room to find Inara sitting on the floor in the corner. Sobbing her eyes out.


Wash and Kaylee trek towards Serenity, which looms in the distance (for one -- and only one -- shot). Wash sips his coffee from a lidded MUG. He has a PISTOL holstered at his side.

Mal's voice comes in over Wash's RADIO HANDSET.

MAL (O.S.): Wash -- are we there yet?

Wash pulls his radio off his belt and answers.

WASH: All but. Nice day for a last stand,: innit?

MAL (O.S.): Nope. Plan to make a healthy few: stands after this one. Just hopin': for some air support from your: quarter, is all.

WASH: (nods): Couple of low fly-overs, engines : tipped earthward at full blast,: should give our guests something: other than killin' you to think about.

MAL (O.S.): What I like to hear... Out.

Wash clicks off his radio and clips it back to his belt.

KAYLEE: Captain seem a little funny to you at: breakfast this morning?

WASH: Come on, Kaylee. We all know I'm the: funny one.


Mal walks behind some of the women, who stand in position at the bottom floor lobby windows, holding rifles. He himself is now armed for battle. He wears a RADIO EARWIG.

MAL: You ladies all locked and loaded?

LUCY: Yes, sir.

MAL: Good. Remember, shoot the man, not: the horse. Dead horse is cover, live: horse is a great pile of panic.

He stops as a TRANSMISSION crackles in over his earwing.

JAYNE (O.S.): (lewd chuckle): Whoa now, girl, that's just plain: dirty--

He holds a finger up to the women, and hits the transmit switch.

MAL: Jayne-- You aware your radio's: transmittin'?


CLOSE ON RADIO HEADSET - which sits in a twist of bedspread. Jayne's hand enters frame, fumbling for it.

MAL (O.S): Cause I ain't feelin' particular: girlish or dirty at the moment.

Jayne picks up the radio and speaks into it as he untangles himself from Helen. He's dressed for war. She, not so much.

JAYNE: Oh, uh, just up here waitin': Captain. Ready one-hunnert-percent.

He grabs his weapon and looks out his window.

MAL (O.S.): Better be.

Jayne gives Helen a sharp businesslike nod, and she nods back

***NOTE -- Scene 31 (in which Nandi sees Inara's pain) will play before scene 30 (and before A30), and contain looped lines indicated in the script.


Nandi comes to where Mal is. They get rifles ready over:

MAL: Morning. How'er you feeling?

NANDI: Mite tense.

MAL: (indicating upstairs): I'd like you best on the balcony with: me. We can see everyone, and --

NANDI: You didn't give me the whole truth,: Mal.

MAL: 'bout what?

NANDI: 'Bout her feelings for you.

MAL: I really don't know --

JAYNE: (on cam): Mal! Looks like we got some imminent: violence!


A beat of quiet. Then the FAR-OFF SOUND of horses as a cloud of dust rises on the horizon. SMASH CUT TO --

-- MID-THUNDER with the MERCENARY HORSEMEN surging forward at full gallop, flanking Burgess' hovercraft.

Burgess pilots the hovercraft, expressionless, behind stylish mirrored goggles. Over his face, PRE-LAP Petaline's SCREAM OF PAIN --


CLOSE ON Petaline, who writhes in the throes of a contraction.

PETALINE: (continued scream)

Her legs are up and spread apart, concealed by a sheet. Inara holds her hand.

Inara leans in towards Petaline's face.

INARA: You're stronger than this thing,: honey. I can feel it in your grip...: (Petaline SCREAMS: again): Petaline, look at me--

Petaline looks up at Inara, who catches her eyes in an intense, almost hypnotic stare.

INARA (cont'd): This is just a moment in time... Step: out of it and let it happen...

Nandi enters, stopping at Inara's side.

NANDI: How is she, Doctor?

Simon speaks from a counter a short distance away, as he fits a VIAL OF MED into his HYPO-GUN.

SIMON: She's at ten centimeters. Not long.

Nandi turns to Inara. They share a subtle exchange of looks. This should be cut to show they're communicating via expression alone -- Companions wordlessly reading each other.

Nandi smiles sadly, rest a hand on Inara's shoulder.

NANDI (O.S): Inara... I thought it was just him: that...

Inara turns to Simon, sees he's still engaged, then quietly:

INARA: Nandi, believe me. I'll be fine.

They share a look and Nandi exits.


BINOCULAR POV - of Burgess and his riders, charging forward in the distance, trailing a plume of dust.


Mal, now standing on the interior balcony, lowers a slim pair of BINOCULARS. He is not at all pleased.

MAL: Zoe, Jayne -- you seein' this?

JAYNE (O.S.): Gotta be thirty men out there.

ZOE (O.S.): Confirm that. Plus a mounted gun on: that hovercraft.

JAYNE (O.S): What's that you said about runnin': for it?

Mal takes a moment, visibly adjusting to the new odds. He lifts up his RIFLE.

MAL: All right, folks -- We got no: shortage of ugly ridin' in on us. But: that don't change the plan.

Nandi climbs the stairs, gun in hand, addressing the whores.

NANDI: Anybody here goes down, you drag 'em: to the back, then get back to: the shooting. Only way to help them is to: finish this.

She cocks her rifle then turns to Mal, smiles at him sweetly for a quick beat.

NANDI (cont'd): Morning.

Mal smiles back.


Kaylee and Wash enter through the SMALL DOOR. Kaylee closes the door behind them; something's not right-- She scans the bay as they start for the stairs. Mal CRACKLES IN over Wash's radio:

MAL (O.S.): Wash -- gonna be tradin' injuries in: under two minutes. Like my sky a: little less empty --

WASH: Copy that, Mal. We--

Kaylee sees SHADOWY FIGURES on the catwalk above, and tackles Wash just as GUNFIRE rains down at them, SPARKING off the metal.

Wash slams down behind some metal crates, Kaylee on top of him. The radio skitters off into open floor; unreachable. But they have cover for the moment. Wash looks up into her face.

WASH (cont'd): I told you, Kaylee -- I'm a married: man --

Kaylee knits her brow at him, as another SHOT ricochets off their cover.

KAYLEE: (flatly): You ain't all that funny.


The hovercraft HUMS forward, just ahead of the horsemen.

Lead horse SNAPS A TRIPWIRE, and the ROPE springs up out of the dirt, singing taut, catching THREE RIDERS in the throats and pitching them off their horses. The other riders duck, some slide sideways in their saddles, clearing the line.

Burgess calls back to KOZICK, the man on the crafts large MOUNTED GUN.

BURGESS: Open her up, Kozick--

Kozick nods, cranks back a lever and starts shooting -- MASSIVE MACHINE GUNFIRE flares.


Mal sees it coming and swings behind his shielding.

MAL: Cover!

The women do the same, just as a HAIL OF MACHINE GUNFIRE rips through everything that isn't fortified.

MAL (cont'd): (into earwig): Jayne -- I believe that's our first: hurdle. Think you might --


Kozick, FIRING AWAY, is plugged in the chest and FLIPS BACKWARD off the hovercraft.


Jayne pulls his eye away from his sight long enough to speak into his radio:

JAYNE: Think I might, Cap.


Mal calls to his troops.

MAL: Fire!

They all swing out and unleash a BARRAGE OF FIRE from their positions. One WHORE is caught by a shot and falls.

Nandi sees this and bristles, aiming another shot --

NANDI: < dirty bastard sons-of-- > [Wang bao: DAHN--]



A HORSEMAN takes it in the neck and flops off his horse.


Wash and Kaylee under fire. Wash is trading shots with his pistol, as THREE OF BURGESS' MEN work their way along the upper catwalk. Wash and Kaylee fall back behind different crates, finally getting close to the door that leads to the COMMON AREA.


Kaylee darts out, Wash behind her, fire a FLURRY OF SHOTS to cover their exit.

They get through the door.

The men race down the stairs after them. CAMERA FINDS the radio

MAL: Wash -- Where the hell is my: spaceship!?


Horsemen criss-crossing, SEVERAL get hit by GUNFIRE from the whorehouse, dropping them from their steeds.

A HORSE GOES DOWN, crashing into the FG and throwing its rider.


Burgess angles the hovercraft, flying parallel with the house front, still a ways off. He lifts his laser and FIRES a CONTINUOUS BEAM.

The BEAM sears along the front of the house, wavering between the second story windows and the eaves of the roof, which already started SMOKING.


As the LASER BEAM races a RED-HOT LINE along their barricade, FLASHING through the gun-slits as Mal and the others hunker away.

Mal looks up, where he sees SMOKE pouring in from a TORN UP PATCH OF CEILING.

MAL: Ruttin' lasers --: (into earwig): Book-- Zoe-- Second hurdle--


FIRE HAS BROKEN OUT on the front facade of the whorehouse PAN/TILT to what looks like a PILE OF BARRELS AND TARPS on the grounds in front of the house.

ZOE (O.S): Copy that, sir.

The tarps are thrown away, revealing Zoe and Book. Book holds the hose, Zoe covers his back with her rifle. He starts up the hose, and a HISSING JET OF WATER sprays up toward the wall.

A HORSEMAN turns toward them, levelling his gun at Book. Zoe FIRES, taking him out.

BOOK: Thank you--

Book catches sight of PAIR OF RIDERS behind Zoe, taking aim. He swings the hose around, BLASTING them off their horses with its powerful stream.

ZOE: Don't mention it--


Mal, Nandi, and the others continue BLASTING AWAY. Petaline's SCREAMING comes in from the back room.


Simon is in position, Petaline is bearing down hard and SCREAMING between breaths. River is fascinated and smiling.

PETALINE: [screams again]

SIMON: That's it, Petaline, one more push--

She bears down.

SIMON: That's the shoulders... Good--


The horsemen are in chaos now, riderless and wounded horses stymie their efforts to fire on the house. Our guys are kicking ass!


Up on the balcony, Mal talks into his earwig as he scans the battlefield.

MAL: Jayne -- I lost visual on Burgess --

JAYNE (O.S.): Same here --

A BOY WHORE falls away from a window down the line, bloodied by a gunshot. Mal RETURNS FIRE.


Burgess' hovercraft is up close to the house, and he's leaping off of it to the ground. A BULKHEAD CELLAR DOOR swings open. Chari is there, and ushers Burgess inside.


The three Mercenaries move through the dining area, grimfaced, covering it with their guns, cursorily checking its nooks and crannies for their prey.

A DOOR LOCKING SHUT calls their attention to the aft corridor.

They see Wash at its end and raise their guns.

WASH: [that weird Robert Mitchum 'hoot!': from Night of the Hunter]

Wash darts into the engine room, narrowly missed by their FIRE as they move into the AFT CORRIDOR.

Kaylee pops out of CLEVER HIDING PLACE and swings the door shut behind them, then locks it.


Before they can react, Wash swings the ENGINE ROOM DOOR shut as well, locking it. The passage leading off from the middle of the corridor is BARRED BY ITS DOOR (which we have not seen yet in series - a Carey issue). They're trapped.


Wash peers in through the thick glass porthole, issuing adrenaline-charged laughter.

WASH: Got you, you < piss-soaked pikers >: [niao SE duh DOO-gway]: (laughs again, then: realizes he's: trapped in engine: room): Nobody's going any... where...

He massages the headache his brilliant scheme has occasioned.


Simon lifts up a SWADDLED BABY, purple, newborn, squealing. Inara and River look on. Petaline is near delirious from childbirth.

SIMON: It's--

RIVER: It's a boy. Healthy.

A DOOR behind Inara opens, and Burgess is there, laser covering them.

BURGESS: Mornin' Petaline...


Nandi hears PETALINE'S SCREAM first:


Mal is caught in the ebbing FIREFIGHT, but Nandi races down the stairs, toward the rear hall.


Burgess backs out of back room, where Petaline screams. He's got the BABY in one arm, laser pistol in the other. Nandi appears behind him, entering from the lobby, confronts him.

NANDI: Most of your men are dead, dyin', or: run off, Rance.

BURGESS: Don't matter none. Got what I came: here for.

NANDI: Ain't leaving here with it.

BURGESS: This is my blood, woman.

Burgess gestures towards the baby with his pistol.

Suddenly a slim arm snakes a nasty curved RAZOR in under Burgess' chin from behind, digging its tip into the side of his throat, DRAWING BLOOD. It's Inara, accompanied by two ND whores, as cold dead serious as we've seen her.

INARA: (re: blood dripping: down his neck): No. This is your blood.: (nods to a whore): Now you give over that child nice and: slow, or I'll spill more than you can: spare.

Burgess complies, wincing at the wound, handing the baby over to a whore, who backs out of the scene to safety.

As this happens, Burgess takes the pause to ELBOW Inara hard in the stomach. As she staggers back, he FIRES his laser from the hip, searing straight through Nandi's chest.

Mal gets to the lobby end of the hall, just as she drops, dead.


Act Four


The WHORES shout in alarm. They can't believe Nandi has fallen. Even Burgess seems surprised at what he's done. Mal moves to the fallen Nandi -- as Burgess turns and runs for a side door, escaping.

Mal touches Nandi. She's stone dead. He shares a look with Inara, there's murder in both their eyes. He hears the O.S. THRUM of the hovercraft starting up and turns for the front door.



The front door slams open and Mal stalks out, eyes forward.

Without dropping a beat, Mal PLUGS a horseman off his horse, and swings up into the saddle just as the man finishes falling.

Burgess' hovercraft rumbles out from behind the house, heading out for the plains.

Mal spurs the horse hard, and it tears off --

MAL: Hyah!


A WIDE LANDSCAPE SHOT of Burgess speeding away in his hovercraft and Mal in pursuit, his horse kicking up dust as he whips and spurs it into a breakneck gallop.

Burgess sees Mal behind him and stands in his craft, steering with one hand as he turns back. He FIRES his laser--

The LASER BEAM cuts the air by Mal's head. Mal whips a burst of speed out of his horse as another BEAM sears past him.

Mal is closing in on the hovercraft, an easy shot. Burgess takes careful aim, and pulls his trigger. We hear a RAPID BEEPING. Burgess checks the display screen on his gun--


The LCD screen flashes "CHECK BATTERY"

Burgess GROWLS, looking up just as Mal flies from his horse tackling Burgess off the hovercraft.

They slam into a hard roll on the plain.

***NOTE -- SFX The hovercraft flips over and explodes!

Burgess has had the wind smashed out of him and writhes on the ground. Mal ain't much better, but drags himself to his feet using sheer force of will.

He grabs Burgess' shirtfront and hauls him up, pulling his pistol from his holster, bringing its barrel up to Burgess' head.

MAL: You're gonna pay for what you took.

BURGESS: (still out of breath): She was a whore.

Mal seethes with vengeful fury, he's about to pull the trigger, but then -- he flips the gun in his hand and smashes the butt across Burgess' face. Burgess collapses, unconscious.

MAL: That don't enter into it.



Mal and Zoe watch as Inara finishes tying the kneeling Burgess' hands behind his back.

THREE MEN CRASH INTO THE FRAME, as Jayne dumps the bruised and bloodied Serenity-crashers before the bordello steps, Kaylee and Wash close by. Burgess' other men are also tied up.


Petaline appears at the bordello door, the baby nursing at her breast. All eyes watch as she descends the steps and approaches Burgess.

PETALINE: Rance... this is Jonah.: (beat): Jonah, say hello to your daddy.


Smiles like a proud papa. He's actually moved at the sight of his son.

Petaline raises her free hand in which she holds Nandi's favorite gun. She aims it at Burgess' head.

PETALINE (cont'd): Say goodbye to your daddy, Jonah.

Burgess blanches.

CLOSE PETALINE: Camera looking up the business end of a gun, she fires.

Petaline looks up from Burgess' dead body, icy --

PETALINE (cont'd): Anyone else wanna try and take what's: mine?

She scans the rows of Burgess' bound men; every last one avoids eye contact.

PETALINE (cont'd): Go on, then. Go home. Next time I: see any of you... you best be coming: to get your wick wet. You pay up: front from now on... and for God's: sake, tip a girl once in a while --: especially you, Milo.

Milo nods quickly: whatever you say, Petaline. The men start rising to their feet. Petaline indicates Chari --

PETALINE (cont'd): You go with 'em. You got no place: here.

Chari is about to speak, before she can:

PETALINE (cont'd): You let 'em in the back door, Inara: seen it, now go.

CHARI: You can't just make me --

CLICK. Petaline cocks the hammer of her pistol. Chari shuts up, breaks eye contact, falls in step with Burgess' men as they walk away.

Mal approaches Petaline, indicates Burgess' body --

MAL: We'll dispose of that for you.

PETALINE: Thank you, captain.: (beat): Emma?

Emma (Book's churchy whore) appears at Petaline's side.

PETALINE (cont'd): Get the spade from the shed.: (beat): Our Nandi's gonna be buried proper.


As the crowd disperses, we HOLD for a long moment and PRELAP:

LUCY (V.O): Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound...


LONG SHOT: A score of mourners have gathered around a makeshift cross beneath a large oak. This is a fusion of BUDDIST and CHRISTIAN ceremony. A number of mourners are dressed in white robes, with Tibetan prayer beads draped over their clasped hands.

Lucy sings in a simple, quiet voice. (Think Margo Timmins.)

LUCY: That saved a wretch like me/ I once: was lost, but now am found/ Was blind: but now I see...

Lucy continues to sing. One by one, Nandi's staff steps up to the wooden cross marking her grave. At its foot is a low asian-looking table, on which sits a bowl of smoking incense. They bow as they drop pinches of incense into the bowl.


Alongside a couple of the girls, their faces a solemn mask.

LUCY: 'Twas grace that taught my heart to: fear...


Zoe and Wash hold hands. Jayne looks at his feet.

LUCY: And Grace my fears relieved/ How: precious did that Grace appear...


Holds the Bible to his chest, a tearful Emma with her hands wrapped around his arm.

LUCY: The hour I first believed...


Baby in her arms, the stolid look of someone who's been to war on her face.

LUCY: Through many dangers, toils and: snares/ We have already come...


Steps up to the small table, dressed in a white shawl, beads draped, and drops a pinch of incense into the bowl. She bows to it and turns away.


His arm paternally around Kaylee's shoulder, comforting, as tears roll down her face.

Inara takes in the entire gathering now: the unit that is Serenity's crew standing side by side with the bordello gals. She stands slightly apart from all of them.

LUCY: T'was Grace that brought us safe thus: far...

Lucy's singing continues as we --



Serenity exits atmo and glides silently into the black.

LUCY (V.O.): And Grace will lead us home...


Mal and Inara stand on the catwalk outside her shuttle. They are contemplative, subdued.

MAL: I think those girls'll do all right.

INARA: She taught them well.

MAL: Yeah.

A beat.

INARA: I'm... I'm glad you were with: her. Her last night. I am.

MAL: I ain't. Hell, I wish I'd never met: her. Then I wouldn't've failed her.

INARA: That wasn't the way of it.

MAL: It's a kindness, but nothing you: say'll convince me different.

INARA: Well, I'm still glad.

A small beat.

MAL: So you weren't before?

He's looking at her direct. She looks away.

MAL (cont'd): Inara, I ain't looking for anything: from you. I'm just feeling kind of: truthsome right now. Life is too: damn short for ifs and maybes.

INARA: I learned something from Nandi. Not: just from what happened, but from: her. The family she made, the: strength of her love for them.: That's what kept them together.: When you live with that kind of: strength, you get tied to it, you: can't break away. And you never want: to.

They're getting closer to each other, Mal's eyes locked on hers.

INARA (cont'd): There's something that I... that I: should have done a long while ago.: And I'm sorry -- for both of us --: that it took me this long.

A beat.

INARA: I'm leaving.

Another moment, and she goes past him into her Shuttle.

He doesn't move.


Addendum (Theater Show)

A CIRCULAR SHADOW representing Earth-That-Was fills the frame.

NARRATOR: (Chinese): the Earth up. Barren, she had: little left to offer them.>

Silhouetted shapes appear. SPACESHIPS. They radiate out from the shadow sphere, scatter in all directions. Leave it behind.

NARRATOR: (continuing): < Swollen of her, they left. And: for the first time since the Great: Burn that birthed her, she was: alone. >

The ships are gone now. A wisp of SMOKE wafts off the sphere, creates a snake of shadow.

NARRATOR: (continuing): < The Earth cried, and terrible: were her tears. Acid and caustic,: the spawn of the tribes' rape.: They flowed a century. >

The smoke INTENSIFIES, becomes shadowy FLAME.

NARRATOR: (continuing): < The fire that finally came did so: as a blessing. >

The sphere SMOLDERS now, bits of it breaking up and disintegrating under the intense heat.


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