Last Firefly script that was never filmed

vbimport

#1

This is old, really old now. But I hadn’t seen it until today. Firefly was brilliant, and cut off too soon, but I hadn’t realized they wrote a script that never made it to film.

So for anyone else who loved the show and never got to see this script, here it is. I got sad just reading and visualizing it, knowing I’ll never see it for real.

Firefly 1x15 ’Dead Or Alive’ - Complete Transcript

Firefly

“Dead or Alive”

Episode # : 1AGE06
Story # :

Written by : Cheryl Cain

Directed by : Marita Grabiak

WRITERS DRAFT : August 16, 2002


TEASER

EXT. SERENITY RAMP - NIGHT

After they donate car a motley group of immigrant workers walk down the ramp onto the dirt of a border planet. MAL and an equally motley bulbous man, the CASHIER, count them as they walk off.

MAL
Thirteen. Fourteen. Fifteen.
Seventeen.

CASHIER
(bored)
Sixteen.

MAL
Hey, that beefy guy easily ate enough
for two.

CASHIER
Sixteen. Seventeen. Eighteen.

Mal points to a skinny guy off to the side of a larger guy.

MAL
I believe we’re up to nineteen.

CASHIER
He was number seven.

MAL
Guess you could be right. Must’ve
forgot his knapsack. Eighteen.

ZOE follows the last two guys down the ramp.

CASHIER
Nineteen. Twenty.

MAL
And done.

The cashier hands Mal a wad of bills. Mal starts to count it.

MAL (cont’d)
Not that I don’t trust you… but I
don’t trust you.

Mal counts the last bill. Looks at the Cashier. Beat. The Cashier gives him two more bills. Grumbles, ambles off.

ZOE
Ever full with the customer
relations, sir.

MAL
He works for the Alliance.

ZOE
And we worked for him which would
technically mean we also worked for
the Alliance.

MAL
Yep. Have to say not unhappy to be
makin’ a buck off ’em.

ZOE
Ah, change is good. The crew ?

MAL
Like the makin’ money off the
Alliance bit, but really don’t want
to push it by takin’ part in their
celebratin’… makes me all twitchy.

Zoe just looks at him.

MAL
Fine, but —

KAYLEE comes running down the ramp. Followed by JAYNE and BOOK.

KAYLEE
We’re goin’ to the fair.

MAL
An hour. Sixty minutes. Nothing
more, nothing less, Miss Kaylee.

KAYLEE
No need to do a flippy-hiss, Capt’n.
We gotcha.

Mal gives her money. Then Jayne and Book.

MAL
Don’t spend it all in one place.

Kaylee puts one arm through Book, another through Jayne.

KAYLEE
You can win me stuff.

BOOK
My pleasure. Always have enjoyed
guessing games.

JAYNE
Nope. I win it. I keep it.

Mal hands money to Wash. Wash swings his arm around Zoe’s shoulders.

WASH
Let’s go get us some of those curly
carrots. Love ’em deep fried.

Wash starts to move her off. Zoe stops him, turns to Mal.

ZOE
Capt’n ?

WASH
(dropping his arm)
Yeah, dad. Can we go ? Promise to be
home before midnight.

Zoe gives him a look.

MAL
Go. Wouldn’t want to be responsible
for cold curly carrots.

ZOE
Thanks, sir.

They move off. Not quite as happily as before. Mal, money in hand, turns to the next person in line. It’s INARA.

MAL
(bit awkward)
Guess I’m not giving you money.

INARA
No.

MAL
(smilin’)
Well, unless there’d be some kind of
benefit for the exchange of said
money…

INARA
Definitely, no.

MAL
Then I suppose the least I can do is
escort you to the fair.

INARA
How adolescent… and charming of you.

They start to walk off when Mal notices SIMON at the top of the ramp. Mal approaches him.

MAL
Hey.

SIMON
River has never been to a fair and
she hasn’t had a chance to do much
that is fun in awhile…

MAL
Alliance jail could be fun.

SIMON
Of course, I just, had to ask. For
River. She’ll understand.

MAL
(beat)
Sure.

Mal moves back down the ramp to Inara.

INARA
Everything okay ?

MAL
Kids wanted to go to the fair.

They step away. PULL BACK AND UP to the windows of the bridge where RIVER wistfully looks out.

DISSOLVE TO :

EXT. FAIR - NIGHT

It’s a wonderland of lights, tents, games, a carnival atmosphere. The fair’s splayed out in a field in front of a large factory. A mixed crowd of border folk and Alliance meander the festivities. Kaylee with a coiled-shaped cotton candy walks into frame alongside Book.

KAYLEE
You shouldn’t feel bad you didn’t
guess the fat lady’s weight. I
actually thought it was quite sweet
to drop fifty pounds.

BOOK
Seemed a wise choice.

KAYLEE
She was an awfully big lady.
(spinning)
Don’t you just love a fair ?

BOOK
(chuckling)
Have you always been this happy ?

KAYLEE
From the day I was born’d. Seems
like on all the choices, happy just
belonged to me.

They pass ;

JAYNE

Who’s throwing darts at the last yellow balloon left on a game wall. Five unsuccessful darts surround the balloon. Jayne steadies, carefully throws his last dart. It misses.

JAYNE
Gorramn it !

Jayne pulls out his knife and just skewers the last balloon. The vendor quickly hands him the big prize, a green fuzzy TURTLE, then struggles to pull out Jayne’s knife. Jayne happily admires his turtle. Passing him are ;

ZOE AND WASH

Wash eats from a carton of fried curly carrots.

WASH
Just sayin’ that every once in awhile
it’d be nice to not have to clear
every single thing.

ZOE
For the last time, he’s the Captain.

WASH
Let out some of the starch, darling.
You’re not in the military anymore.

ZOE
It’s not that, it’s…

WASH
Yeah, yeah. Who you are. The code.

They pass ;

MAL AND INARA

Inara has her eyes closed and a plastic ring in her hand. In front of her in a booth is a SPINNING BALL with lots of long pointy sticks attached. Mal next to her, guides her arm.

INARA
Why do I have to close my eyes ?

MAL
Makes it more challenging.

Inara tosses the ring. It almost nails the vendor who’s helping someone else on the other side. Inara opens her eyes.

INARA
How’d I do ?

MAL
Perhaps challenging was not the best
place to start.

Mal picks up a few rings. Tosses one. He makes it.

INARA
I do end up doing the most
interesting things with… since I
came aboard Serenity.

MAL
Now you can’t tell me that an
attractive lady like yourself has
never been escorted to a fair ?

INARA
(laughing)
They weren’t quite the thing where I
was raised.

Mal stops, not loving that comment, then tosses another ring. Makes it again.

MAL
Poor little Inara, not allowed to get
her hands dirty with us common folk.

INARA
(taken aback)
That’s not what I —
(Mal throws another)
I guess not everyone’s lucky enough
to fulfill their lifelong dream of
becoming an expert ring tosser.

Inara stalks off. Mal drops the rest of the rings on the edge. Follows her. Doggin’ her steps.

MAL
Where I was raised, we’d celebrate
the foundin’ of Shadow with a fair,
just like this one. That is until
the Alliance outlawed our quaint
celebration. It was a little against
unification spirit. Guess your folk
wouldn’t mind though, with it not
exactly being “quite the thing.”

They’ve stopped near a stage where an Alliance mucky-muck, COMMANDER TANAKA, dedicates the new factory. A large banner hangs above him, ALLIANCE REWARDS THOSE WHO REWARD THEMSELVES.

TANAKA
Thanks to the good Alliance people of
Verbena, our gear shift factory is
opening ten days ahead of schedule.

The crowd around the stage CHEERS. Mal claps, HOLLERS.

MAL
Oh, yeah. Let’s all hear it for the
good Alliance.

INARA
Mal.

MAL
Just being supportive. Oh, sorry,
did that offend you. You probably
supported ’em in the war.

Inara doesn’t say anything. Mal stares at her.

MAL (cont’d)
Guess we really aren’t “quite the
thing”, are we ?

Kaylee races up, pulls on Inara’s sleeve.

KAYLEE
You have to come see the tattoo guy.
His tattoos keep changin’ colors.
There’s this one it’s a sunrise.
(looking at them)
Am I interruptin’ ?

INARA
No.

MAL
Wouldn’t touch those tattoos if I
were you, be a shame if you got your
hands all dirty.

Inara lets Kaylee drag her off. Mal turns back to Tanaka.

TANAKA
Verbena was scarcely surviving,
barely more than a piece of barren
rock, but now with the Alliance
factory opening you and your families
will be able to lead full and
satisfying lives.

MAL

Mal turns and runs right into, LIEUTENANT QUILLAN, 40’s, tough female head of security on this planet.

MAL (cont’d)
(fake cheerleader)
Go Alliance.

He turns to quickly leave when ;

BOOOOOOM !!!

The factory spectacularly blows up. A huge fireball goes into the sky and shards of metal and wreckage are strewn into the crowd. The force of the explosion knocking people to the ground, including Mal.

END OF TEASER


ACT ONE

EXT. FAIR - NIGHT

Mal struggles to his feet a bit dazed. Carnage all around. People crying, screaming, bleeding. Parents desperately hunt for their children among the smoke and wreckage.

Mal starts moving, searching the devastation for his people. Like everyone else his clothing is dirty, bits of ash, debris on it. Finally sees Inara laying on the ground on her side. Rushes over to her.

MAL
Inara.

She moves, stunned but unhurt, starts to sit up. Mal helps her.

MAL (cont’d)
Are you okay ?

INARA
Yeah. You ?

MAL
Fine.

INARA
What happened ?
(quickly looks around)
Kaylee ? Kaylee !

KAYLEE (O.S.)
I’m here.

They both turn. A dazed Kaylee walks up. Kneels down next to both of them. Hugs Inara. Inara looks up at Mal.

INARA
The others ?

MAL
I don’t know.

CUT TO :

EXT. FAIR - CONTINUOUS

Over near a decimated tent, Zoe and Wash help each other stand, brush each other off. Speechless as they soak in everything around them.

WASH
Sure you’re okay ?

ZOE
(trying to smile)
Think we lost your curly carrots.

Wash puts an arm around her shoulders, leans into her.

WASH
You can always buy me more.

Zoe leans back into Wash, thankful.

WASH (cont’d)
What the hell happened ?

ZOE
Concussion bomb. Probably tied into
the factory’s power grid. Local
remote trigger.

WASH
Okay. Thanks. Doesn’t make me feel
better.

ZOE
We need to find everyone else.

Wash nods. They move out.

CUT TO :

EXT. FAIR - CONTINUOUS

Jayne sits up, knocks a couple pieces of burnt wood off himself. The turtle, a bit singed, sits in Jayne’s lap. Jayne’s hand clutched around it.

JAYNE

Jayne stands. His turtle’s neck took a hit, it’s a bit floppy with stuffing coming out. Jayne pushes the stuffing back in. Tucks the turtle under his arm, starts moving.

CUT TO :

EXT. FAIR - CONTINUOUS

Mal and Kaylee help Inara stand. Zoe and Wash come up behind. Mal turns to them.

MAL
We need to get out of here.

ZOE
Sir ?

WASH
Thanks, no really we’re good. Fine.
A little bruised. You ?

MAL
This place is going to be crawling
with Alliance security.

He glances at Inara and Kaylee.

MAL (cont’d)
Head back to the ship. We’ll find
Book and —

Jayne approaches, turtle in hand. Holds it up.

MAL (cont’d)
Jayne.

JAYNE
singed my turtle.

They all just stare at him.

ZOE
Let me find a medic.

JAYNE
Thanks.

Kaylee looks around at all the wreckage, sees bodies not moving, crying children, so much destruction. A man, AZURIA CALVERT, 50’s, farmer-type hugs his dead wife. Kaylee turns to Mal.

KAYLEE
Who would do this ?

MAL
Not for us to find out.

Mal nods at Inara.

INARA
(to Kaylee)
Time to go.

Kaylee lets herself be led away. Mal turns to Wash.

MAL
Go with ’em.

WASH
Yeah, I know. Get the ship ready to
fly. Copy.

Wash with one last glance at Zoe, follows Kaylee and Inara. He catches up with Kaylee, puts his arm around her.

Mal looks around, finally sees Book. Book’s picked up a man’s shoulders and is dragging him toward a large tent being used as a triage center. Mal jogs over to him, grabs the man’s feet, walks with Book.

BOOK
Thanks.

MAL
No problem.

They walk into ;

INT. TRIAGE TENT - CONTINUOUS

Where people are trying to help the injured. Mostly confusion at this point. Book and Mal set the guy on a table. A woman comes over to check him out. Mal and Book step aside.

MAL
We need to be leavin’.

Book shakes his head.

BOOK
There’s work to be done here.

MAL
In case you’ve forgotten, Shepherd,
we’ve got two Alliance fugitives on
our ship.

BOOK
(pointing behind Mal)
Afraid not anymore.

Mal turns. Simon’s rushed inside carrying his medical bag. He moves over to a groaning man, starts shouting orders as he examines the man.

SIMON
We need to categorize the injuries,
identify the most critical.

A woman rushes over to Simon as he starts pulling things out of his bag.

MAL
Son of !

Zoe comes up behind Mal.

ZOE
Sir ?

Mal nods toward Simon

MAL
Looks like we’re stayin’ a bit.

BOOK
Good. We can use the help.

Book moves toward the entrance to the tent. Mal looks at Zoe, then follows.

EXT. FAIR - NIGHT - LATER

Mal and Zoe clean off their hands at a pump water faucet. A crowd mills around the open area. Some trying to clean-up, some still moving wreckage. But many just angry and frustrated.

MAL
Simon should be done in a couple of
hours. As soon as he is we’re outta
here.

ZOE
Captain.

Zoe nudges Mal. An officious Alliance officer, CORPORAL GRAYSON, 20’s, comlink in hand, quickly moves toward Lt. Quillan.

GRAYSON
We ran the manifest from the factory
through the cortex and flagged one of
the workers. Suspicious background.

Quillan takes the comlink. Looks at an image of, DECLAN EVERTON, late 20’s, a few paragraphs of text next to the image. Quillan quickly scans it.

QUILLAN
Independent in the war. Let’s bring
him in.

GRAYSON
We’re searching for him now.

MALE VOICE (O.S.)
An independent did this ?

Quillan spins around. She didn’t realize the crowd had come so close to her. An ANGRY LOCAL stands right behind her. The crowd is pressing up behind him.

ANGRY LOCAL
Who is it ?

QUILLAN
Not your business.

ANGRY LOCAL
Not our business ? This is our town.
These were our people.

QUILLAN
(to Grayson)
Reinforcements.

Grayson moves off. Quillan turns back to the crowd.

QUILLAN (cont’d)
Alliance justice will handle this man.

ANGRY LOCAL
It’s one of those gorramn brown
coats, right ?

CROWD VOICE #1
Had to be from the factory.

CROWD VOICE #2
That guy, working electric, he never
drank with us.

QUILLAN
Settle down !

CROWD VOICE #1
Yeah, too good for us. Lyin’ sack
of —

CROWD VOICE #2
Saw ’im at the saloon.

The crowd starts surging.

QUILLAN
(shouting) Stop it. Now. Stop !

The angry local just pushes past her.

ANGRY LOCAL
Out of our way.

The mob surges with the angry local.

MAL AND ZOE

Watch from the side. They talk quietly.

MAL
This is gettin’ ugly.

ZOE
What do you want to do ?

MAL
Grab Simon. It’s time to go.

As the crowd moves all around them. Mal and Zoe quietly walk toward the triage tent. They pass a group of bodies.

Azuria touches his wife’s face, unable to believe she’s gone, kisses her forehead, not even paying attention to the commotion all around him. SHOUTS ring out. Azuria looks up.

CROWD VOICE #1
We’ve got ’em.

More SHOUTS are heard as the crowd surges closer to ;

MAL AND ZOE

Who’ve stopped moving. They fade into the background. The surging crowd drags a man past them. The guy wears a brown coat similar to Mal’s. Zoe and Mal look at each other.

The mob drops the guy in the middle of the crowd. They angry local kicks him.

ANGRY LOCAL
Murderous independent.

Azuria breaks through the crowd, pushes the angry local to the side and just starts whaling on the independent.

BANG ! Lt. Quillan shoots her gun into the air. Grayson and a couple of armed Alliance soldiers are with her.

QUILLAN
The next person to touch that man is
dead.

The crowd and Azuria reluctantly back away from the barely breathing man. Quillan reholsters her gun, grabs some papers from Grayson, weeds through the people. Gets to the guy, bends down, turns him over. He’s a mess.

QUILLAN (cont’d)
(to crowd)
It’s not him.

Quillan stands. The crowd starting to quiet.

QUILLAN (cont’d)
We know who the culprit is and he’s
no longer in town. He’s taken a land
shuttle.

She nods to her soldiers who pick up the mistaken guy and move him out of the crowd.

QUILLAN (cont’d)
There’s a bounty for whoever captures
this guy. <$10,000> But he has to
be brought in alive. If anyone harms
the target they’ll face Alliance
justice.

Mal snorts at that. Zoe elbows him to be quiet.

QUILLAN (cont’d)
Every available ship in port is now
under my control. Alliance personnel
and volunteers will be assigned to
each in order to go after and
apprehend the target. Captains
please report to Corporal Grayson.

A couple of men head over to Grayson. Mal and Zoe share a look. Quillan walks straight up to Mal.

QUILLAN (cont’d)
Captain Reynolds.

MAL
Yep.

QUILLAN
I’ll be going with you.

MAL
(beat)
Shiny.

Quillan hands him a piece of paper.

QUILLAN
Our target. Have your ship ready to
go by oh-one-hundred.

She walks back to Grayson. Mal glances down at the picture.

ZOE
We can tell them we’re grounded.
Kaylee can fake a problem with the
engines. Shouldn’t be that hard.

MAL
Pissin’ hell !

ZOE
Sir ?

He nudges her. Shows her the picture of Declan.

ZOE (cont’d)
It’s Private Everton.

MAL
(beat)
Guess we’re going a’posseing.

Mal crumbles up the paper. Throws it on the ground.

END OF ACT ONE


ACT TWO

EXT. SERENITY RAMP - NIGHT

Mal speaks with Inara, who has River next to her.

MAL
Don’t talk to anyone.

INARA
Thanks, Mal. I think I’ve got that
covered.

MAL
Okay, fine. But don’t let moonpie
talk to anyone, either. You think
you can handle these guys but… just
don’t let your guard down.

Inara bristles a bit, but then River motions Mal over to her, like she has a secret.

MAL (cont’d)
Yeah ?

RIVER
Purple elephants are flying.

MAL
Good. Thanks for the update.

Lt. Quillan approaches. Mal turns to Inara.

MAL (cont’d)
The Alliance has assured us the delay
won’t be too long, Miss.

Inara nods, starts walking River down, her hand on River’s arm. Quillan stops her as they pass.

QUILLAN
My apologies for the inconvenience.

INARA
It’s no problem. I hope you catch
the monster responsible.

QUILLAN
We will.

RIVER
(happily)
I’m going to the fair.

Quillan looks at her strangely. Mal steps up, motions Inara and River down.

MAL
If you’ll stop bothering my paying
customers, we can be off.

QUILLAN
There’ll be three others joining us.

Two skeevy looking bounty hunters, JONAH, a talker, and MATHER, a grunter, come up. Jonah checks out Serenity.

JONAH
Well, shoot, doubt this piece of
rustin’ dust would be able to find a
stick of dynamite up a donkey’s ass.

MAL
Well, lucky for us there’s no donkeys
on this planet.

They move into the cargo bay as Azuria comes up. Azuria doesn’t even look at them. Just walks up and into the cargo bay. His big SHOTGUN strapped to his back.

MAL (cont’d)
(to Quillan)
Fun group. Better be able to control
’em. They disrupt my ship and I’m
tossing ’em off.

QUILLAN
I don’t need to remind you, Captain,
who’s in charge here.

MAL
Never had no doubts about that.

QUILLAN
We’re checking the northern sector.
I’ll give your pilot the coordinates.

Quillan walks up. Mal looks around, then follows.

INT. TRIAGE TENT - NIGHT

In a quiet corner, Book prays over an elderly male body. Beat. Pulls the sheet over his head. Then moves onto the next body. There’s a whole row of them.

PULL BACK to see the energy and flurry all around of people trying to save lives. It’s a hodgepodge of folks. Most not really knowing what they’re doing, but trying. They’re making due with whatever they can find.

Simon’s the only one with any real triage experience. He’s currently bandaging a drooping man around his ribs. He sees ;

INARA AND RIVER

Enter the tent. River races over to him.

RIVER
Simon. Simon. The fair.

Inara quickly approaches.

INARA
(to Simon)
I’m sorry. I didn’t think anywhere
else was safe.

SIMON
No, it’s fine.

RIVER
Cotton candy. Play. Play !

Simon glances at some Alliance soldiers helping others over against a far wall. Simon grabs Inara’s hand. Places it on the bandage.

SIMON
Hold this steady, firm.

INARA
(uncertain)
Okay.

Simon leads River over to a quiet corner. Simon sits her down. River drops down cross-legged on the dirt.

SIMON
Please, River. Wait here.

RIVER
Pretty blue ocean. Waves crashed.
Castle all knocked down.

SIMON
You have to be quiet, good. Please.
It’s important.

River smiles. Starts playing. Running her fingers through the dirt, making circular patterns. Simon watches her for a beat. Then moves back to Inara.

SIMON (cont’d)
Thank you.

INARA
What should I do ?

Simon hands her a roll of bandages.

SIMON
Tie it off.

INARA
Simon, I’m good with anatomy, but not
like this…

SIMON
You’ll do fine.
(off her unsure look)
Will you do fine ?

INARA
Sure.

Simon nods, then starts cleaning his tools to go onto the next patient. Inara starts awkwardly to finish the bandage. A flurry at the tent pulls both their eyes.

Two Alliance soldiers with Grayson hovering next to them bring in a stretcher.

GRAYSON
Doctor !

SIMON
Over here.

Simon points to the empty table next to Inara. They bring over the stretcher. Set it down. It’s Commander Tanaka. He’s issuing orders even though he’s in great pain. His arms wrapped around his stomach.

TANAKA
Grayson, update.

GRAYSON
(to Simon)
They just got him free, the wreckage
had him trapped.

TANAKA
Now !

Grayson rushes off. Simon worried, looks over to River, who still quietly plays, then to Inara. Inara shares his look. Not sure what to do. They hear the RUMBLE as ;

EXT. TOWN - NIGHT - EFFECT

A shiny Alliance shuttle rises. Followed by three spaceships of various shapes and sizes, none of them particularly elegant or new. The final lift-off is Serenity. All the ships going off in different directions.

INT. SERENITY BRIDGE - NIGHT

Wash flies, checks his controls in the background while Mal and Zoe discuss.

ZOE
Everton… come on, he was so by
the book he’d get upset if I pissed
without getting your approval to
leave.

MAL
Remember when he wanted to write up
Winters because he wouldn’t shave.

ZOE
Well, it was a pretty stupid lookin’
mustache.

MAL
Yeah, only time I ever agreed with
him. Just like the Alliance to want
to convict a man with no evidence.

ZOE
We need to reach him first.

MAL
If we don’t, he’s gonna be railroaded
or worse, dead, if that lynch mob
gets to him.

Quillan enters. Zoe goes to check on Wash.

Mal (cont’d)
Lieutenant. Anything yet from the
other ships ?

QUILLAN
No.

MAL
(all conversational)
So, do you guys have anything on this
guy other than he was an independent ?

QUILLAN
I have my men checking other leads,
but to be honest Captain, this feels
right.

MAL
Really ? And you deduced that by some
sort of intuition…

QUILLAN
I deduced that by the fact that he
ran.

MAL
Sure. Gotcha. Good logic. Seems
all matter of smart…
(beat)
Course, guess I’d run too if I had a
herd of yokels lookin’ to beat the
horses’ snot out of me.

Quillan checks out Mal’s brown coat.

QUILLAN
You’re an independent.

MAL
Was called that at one time.

Loaded stare. Then Quillan gets a BEEP from her comlink. She takes it off her belt. Reads it.

QUILLAN
They’ve found a trail.

Mal shares a look with Zoe.

INT. SERENITY DINING ROOM - NIGHT

Jayne sits at the table with Jonah and Mather. They’re comparing weapons. Jayne has out his big-ass gun. Jonah’s more sleek, shiny while Mather has a wicked looking energy powered crossbow. They all ignore Azuria who sits in the corner. Jonah lifts Jayne’s gun.

JONAH
Nice heft.

JAYNE
You should see the hole it can make
in a man.

Jayne holds his hands five inches apart.

JONAH
Sweet. But for pure accuracy can’t
beat my compressed airgun. Cut clean
through a roach’s butt at hundred
yards. Course, not as pretty as
Mather’s.

Jonah picks up the crossbow, tosses it to Jayne. Kaylee walks in, ignores the boasting at the table and goes to get herself some coffee.

JONAH (cont’d)
Nuclear power pack, 200 psi, titanium
arrows, go through ten inches steel.

JAYNE
Could work. Personally, I would’ve
gone with the T4 model at 300 psi,
but it’ll get the job done.

Mather GRUNTS. Kaylee sees Azuria, walks over to him.

KAYLEE
Did they offer you any coffee ? It’s
a bit sludgy and gross-tasting, but
the punch’ll keep ya goin’ till dawn.

Azuria doesn’t look up as he talks.

AZURIA
No, thank you.

KAYLEE
Um, okay.

Kaylee turns to go, but turns back. Heart on her sleeve.

KAYLEE (cont’d)
I saw you. At the fair, well, after
the fair, after the… I’m so sorry.
Was that your —

AZURIA
No, thank you.

KAYLEE
Okay, you don’t want to talk, I don’t
blame you, but if you ever feel like
you do —

AZURIA
No.

Beat, then Kaylee moves away. Cues in on what’s being said at the table.

JONAH
So, me and Mather, all into this
factory gig, just came in on a ship
yesterday. Couldn’t be as bad as
some other we’ve done
before. But now that job’s all and
done.

JAYNE
(shakin’ his head)
Can never depend on no job.

Mather just GRUNTS again.

JONAH
But then this bounty thing came up
and hey, I can shoot. This could be
a deal, maybe be even better. Make
more doing this then working at that
ruttin’ factory for a month.

Jayne sets down Mather’s weapon. Sits up straighter in his chair. Kind of squares off with Jonah.

JAYNE
Nothing personal with all that bad
luck and your fancy weapons and such,
but just so we’re clear… the
bounty’s mine.

JONAH
(squaring back)
Now, not that I don’t appreciate a
man who’s all boasty about his
weapons, but —

Kaylee steps up to the table.

KAYLEE
What are you saying ?

JAYNE / JONAH
Huh ?

KAYLEE
(disgusted)
You insensitive louts. Have you no
shame. People lost their lives and
all you can think about is money.

She smacks Jayne on the head. Storms out.

JAYNE
Hey !

Jayne rubs his head. The other louts laugh. Azuria never moves.

INT. TRIAGE TENT - NIGHT

Inara finishes bandaging a little girl’s arm. Inara wears a white apron over her clothes.

INARA
You’ll be okay now, sweetie.

Inara picks up the little girl and looks around for someone to take her, but everyone’s busy. She’s not sure what to do. Someone taps her on her arm. She turns. It’s River, holding out her arms.

INARA (cont’d)
That’s all right, River. I’m sure
her mother is around here somewhere.

RIVER
(sad)
Mother gone.

River runs her hand down the little girl’s hair.

INARA
(hugs the girl)
Oh.

SIMON (O.S.)
Inara ?

River holds her arms out again. Inara hesitates.

SIMON (cont’d ; O.S.)
Inara !

Inara hands the little girl over to River. River smiles at the girl and then carries her back to where she was sitting.

EXT. VERBENA SKYLINE - NIGHT - EFFECT

The winking lights of the five ships, including Serenity, can be seen in the darkness as the ships fly a similar path.

INT. SERENITY BRIDGE - NIGHT

Wash’s flying as Zoe enters.

ZOE
Captain should be right behind me.

WASH
Thanks.

Wash checks something else on his controls. Keeps watching those as he talks with Zoe.

WASH (cont’d)
Zoe ?

ZOE
Yeah.

WASH
What if this guy, you know, did it ?

ZOE
Trust me, darling, this guy couldn’t
even tie his shoelaces if it wasn’t
described to him using step-by-step
graphics.

WASH
Sure.
(beat)
But, well… people change.

ZOE
All we want to do is hear his story.
We at least owe him that.

MAL (O.S.)
Besides, I trained this guy…

Mal steps into the discussion. Zoe straightens.

Mal (cont’d)
One would hope he’d have a smarter
escape plan that limping along in a
land shuttle.
(to Wash)
What’s up ?

WASH
I’ve been tracking his flight plan.
We’ll be on him in another hour, easy.

MAL
And ?

WASH
For the last the
pattern the shuttle is flying has
continually repeated. Every zig,
every zag. A little too precise with
a human at the wheel.

Mal and Zoe look at each other.

MAL
He bailed out. Knew we’d catch up to
him.

ZOE
Do you think the other ships’ll pick
up on it ?

MAL
Wish I could count on ’em being
stupid, but our luck’s never been
that good.
(to Wash)
Track it back, see where he dropped.
I’ll go explain it to our guests.

Wash nods, turns back to his controls as Mal exits.

INT. SERENITY FORWARD CORRIDOR - NIGHT

Mal talks with Quillan.

QUILLAN
You’re not trying to keep me away
from the target, are you, Captain ?

MAL
Yes. Your instincts are incredible.

QUILLAN
Actually, my instincts are usually
pretty dead on. And right now
they’re telling me you’re not sharing
everything you know.

MAL
Fine. I’ll turn the ship back around
and we can follow all the other
dupes, and when we take down an empty
ship, then —

QUILLAN
Okay. We’ll play it your way.

Mal nods, turns to go back to the bridge.

QUILLAN (cont’d)
Captain ?

MAL
Yes ?

QUILLAN
Pulled up your service record.

MAL
And ?

QUILLAN
You were very loyal to your troops.
An admirable quality, but I hope that
you’re not under any illusions that
just because this man was an
independent, that he’s innocent and
needs your protection.

MAL
(shrugs)
The war was awhiles back. Now I’m
just looking to make that bounty.

Mal turns back to the bridge. Quillan’s not convinced.

INT. TRIAGE TENT - NIGHT

Simon uses his fancy tools to save Tanaka. Inara assists, blood smeared on her apron, her arms. Tanaka’s barely conscious. Simon has a metal tool holding the wound open.

SIMON
Keep this steady.

Inara does. Tries not to look down. Simon reaches in to do something icky that we don’t see. Grayson appears. Simon sees him, continues to operate as he talks.

SIMON (cont’d)
Not now. Whatever fell on him caused
internal bleeding and since we don’t
exactly have x-ray equipment here
I’ve had to operate.

But Tanaka stirs. Spots Grayson, struggles to talk.

TANAKA
Report.

GRAYSON
In can —

TANAKA
Grayson !

GRAYSON
They believe the target had dropped
onto land, they’re currently heading
to the estimated drop zone.

Book’s come up near Simon and Inara. Putting clean bandages to the table behind them.

TANAKA
Who ?

GRAYSON
He was a private in the war.
Independent.

TANAKA
(difficulty breathing)
Damn brown coats. Should’ve wiped
out when had chance.

BOOK

Leans closer to Inara as she grabs some of the bandages he just put down.

BOOK
(quietly)
Always thought you needed a bit more
evidence to convict a man than the
color of his coat.

INARA
So did I.

Inara turns back to help Simon.

EXT. SERENITY RAMP / FOREST EDGE - NIGHT

Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Quillan, Jonah, Mather and Azuria come down Serenity’s ramp, each holding glowsticks. They’re part lantern, part flashlight. Mal checks out the landscape as Quillan preps the troops.

QUILLAN
Keep in constant contact. We don’t
know how dangerous this man is.
Assume that he’s armed.

JONAH
(hefting his gun)
Not a problem.

Mal quietly pulls Jayne away from the others. Mal motions toward the opposite side of the clearing.

MAL
(whispering)
That direction. Like we talked.

JAYNE
Give ’em the show.

MAL
Yeah. But —

Jayne’s already taking off, storming through the group.

JAYNE
Watch out.
(sniffin’)
I got the scent.

Jayne examines the bushes. Sniffs one more time. Then RACES headlong into the bushes.

JAYNE (cont’d)
(laughing gleefully)
He’s mine !

The others follow him, except for Zoe. Who heads over to Mal.

MAL
(finishing his
sentence)
… don’t overplay it.

ZOE
Not full with the finesse.

MAL
At least he’s effective.

JAYNE (O.S)
Stay away you freaks !

Lots of Jayne CRASHY noises in the distance. Mal sadly shakes his head, them moves in the opposite direction.

MAL
(all business)
Denser brush this way.

They move into it.

EXT. FOREST - NIGHT

Jayne tromps through the forest. Shining the flashlight part of his glowstick in front of him. Searching behind trees, rocks, etc.

JAYNE
Come out, come out, wherever you are.
We won’t hurt you… much.

Slowly stalking behind him are Jonah, Mather and Azuria. All with weapons out.

EXT. FOREST - NIGHT

Mal and Zoe go carefully through the forest. Zoe squats down to check a bush. Mal sees a broken branch.

MAL
(quietly)
Over here.

Zoe stands, goes to him. They continue moving.

EXT. FOREST - NIGHT

Quillan follows Jayne’s path. Jayne and troop make noise in front of her. She stops. Looks around. Then turns back.

EXT. FOREST CLEARING - NIGHT

Mal and Zoe quietly enter. Mal watching the ground. He stops by a very thorny looking bush.

ZOE
(whispering)
Think he’s holing up ?

MAL
It’s what I taught him to do.

ZOE
So, your superior tracking skills are
gonna find him…

MAL
Correction. My superior tracking
skills have found him.

Mal coolly reaches into the bush and proceeds to STICK himself on a couple of thorns. Quickly pulls his hand out. Sucks on a finger.

MAL (cont’d)
Ouch ! Gorramn it, Declan. Come out !

DECLAN EVERTON, late 20’s, nervous noodge, crawls out, looks at Mal, surprised.

DECLAN
Sgt. Reynolds ? Zoe ?!?

Mal looks at Zoe, smug.

EXT. FOREST - NIGHT

Quillan, now with her gun out, has completely separated from Jayne’s group. She quietly continues on her path.

EXT. FOREST CLEARING - NIGHT
Declan’s shaking Mal’s hand. Zoe’s.

DECLAN
I ran as soon as I heard where that
crowd was headed. Was sure they were
gonna get me… God, it’s good to
see you guys.

ZOE
You, too.

DECLAN
(to Mal)
I didn’t do it, Sgt. Reynolds. I
swear.

Mal puts his hand on Declan’s shoulder.

MAL
I know.

And Mal CLOCKS him. Knocks him to the ground. Zoe looks at Mal surprised. Quillan steps into the clearing, gun raised.

MAL (cont’d)
(calmly)
We’ve apprehended your bounty.

Quillan checks them all out. Still a little suspicious, but she walks up to them.

QUILLAN
Good.

Mal and Zoe roughly pull a quiet Declan to his feet. Quillan finally holsters her weapon, steps forward and cuffs Declan’s hands in front of him. KA-CHUNK. They all turn. Azuria has his shotgun aimed right at Declan.

END OF ACT TWO


ACT THREE

EXT. FOREST CLEARING - NIGHT

Azuria still has his shotgun aimed straight at Declan. Quillan steps between them, into the line of fire, gun in her hand. Zoe and Mal off to the side, assessing.

QUILLAN
You don’t want to do this.

AZURIA
If you don’t move than I’ll just
shoot right through you.

QUILLAN
This man is going back to stand
trial. Step back.

Mal comes closer to Azuria. Azuria doesn’t waver, but ;

AZURIA
Stop movin’ !

Mal stops.

QUILLAN
If you don’t set down your gun, I’ll
be forced to kill you.

AZURIA
I’m already dead. Nothing else
matters except I take this
with me. Now move !

Quillan stands firm. Declan stays entrenched behind her.

Mal
(casually)
This really isn’t the way to do this.

AZURIA
Shut up !

MAL
No, I mean you need to angle higher
if you’re hoping to shoot both of ’em.

Mal carelessly moves forward as he talks. Zoe fades further to the side, watching Mal, unsnaps the button holding her gun.

MAL (cont’d)
Though I’d step back a pace if I were
you, it’ll be a might bit messy with
all that blood and gore and
everything.

AZURIA
(to Quillan)
Move. Please.

Quillan lets Mal talk.

MAL
Not that I don’t get your reasons and
everythin’, but come on you’re not a murderer. And that’s what you’d be,
if you pulled that trigger.

AZURIA
Thirty years we been married, last
week. Not always best of times being
out here, but we were there for each
other, always there. Couldn’t think
of my life without her, can’t think…

MAL
Then you need to ask yourself…
would your wife really want you to
throw away your life like this.

Azuria hesitates for a second, then steadies his shotgun.

AZURIA

Azuria’s finger starts pressing the trigger. Mal, realizing he’s going to shoot, moves toward him.

Suddenly, SPOTLIGHTS from the other ships shine down, dirt stirring up from the downdraft. Azuria looks up, startled. Mal wrestles the shotgun out of his hand.

MAL
It’s over.

AZURIA
(spits at Mal’s feet)
It’ll never be over.

MAL
Anger. Good emotion. Let’s get that
all out.

Quillan’s clamped a hand on Declan’s arm. Uses her other hand to talk into her comlink. Mal turns to Zoe, who has her gun sights on Azuria.

MAL (cont’d)
Take him back to the ship.

Zoe pushes Azuria in front of her. Quietly turns to Mal.

ZOE
Movin’ speech, sir.

MAL
Really ? I was afraid it might’ve
come off a little insincere.

Zoe just moves Azuria away. Mal walks over to Quillan. Mal points toward the ships above them.

MAL (cont’d)
Gonna let them set down ? Not that I
don’t think you can keep ’em all from
lynching our target, you know you
being so successful with just that
one guy…

QUILLAN
They’re not landing.

MAL
Good.

QUILLAN
But they will be escorting us back to
town.

Quillan grabs Declan, pushes him in front of her. Starts walking. Mal glances up at the other ships, then follows.

INT. TRIAGE TENT - NIGHT

A weary Inara carries clean water through the room. She loses her grip on the bucket. It slips, dropping to the floor sloshing water onto the dirt, onto her shoes.

INARA

Inara bends down next to the bucket, tired. Bit overwhelmed.

RIVER (O.S.)
(sweet voice)
And the beautiful princess every
night prayed for her handsome
prince…

Inara stands, turns. Behind her is River, who’s currently surrounded by a group of children. Some bandaged, most sleepy. Another child is added to the group as Inara watches.

RIVER
… to fight through the terrible ivy
of thorns and climb up to her room
and slay all the wicked, evil
demons…

Inara smiles at the spellbound children. Then takes a deep breath, picks up the bucket and moves on. She threads back through the people and tables to Simon.

Grayson’s back near Tanaka’s head. Inara sets the water on a table. Starts to clean the blood off some of the utensils, places them next to Simon. Simon’s hands are still in Tanaka.

SIMON
Thank you. I’ve cauterized one
laceration and if I can just reroute
this crushed artery —

Tanaka GROANS. Barely conscious, in major pain.

GRAYSON
Help him !

SIMON
Local’s wearing off. He’s lost too
much blood to be put completely under.

Tanaka GROANS again. Simon loads some liquid into his hypo- gun, presses it into Tanaka’s neck. Beat. Tanaka SIGHS, visibly relaxes. Looks at Grayson.

GRAYSON
Sir ?

TANAKA
Go. Get estimated time.

GRAYSON
Yes, sir.

Grayson hurries off. Tanaka can’t feel anything below his neck.

Gathers more strength without the pain, though still pretty breathless.

TANAKA
Pain gone.

SIMON
You may feel good but it’s just an
illusion. You need to relax. I
should be done soon.

TANAKA
What give me ?

Simon pays more attention to what he’s doing, then what he’s telling Tanaka.

SIMON
Moxoceline B.

TANAKA
Fancy stuff for border doctor.

Inara looks up at Simon. Then puts her hand on Tanaka’s shoulder.

INARA
Please don’t exert yourself.

TANAKA
(ignoring her)
Not to mention tools.

Without Tanaka seeing it, Inara puts her hand on Simon’s arm, squeezing it to warn him.

TANAKA (cont’d)
Who are you ?

Simon glances quickly up at Inara.

INT. SERENITY BRIDGE - NIGHT

Wash at the controls. Zoe talks with Jayne behind him.

ZOE
I want you to have your gun ready.
Be prepared.

JAYNE
For what ? To run or fight ?

ZOE
Either. Both.

JAYNE
No ruttin’ way. We earned that
bounty.

WASH
(spins around)

Wash stands. Faces Zoe.

WASH (cont’d)
Gun handy ? You’re not thinking about
shooting a fed. Tell me you’re not
gonna freakin’ shoot an Alliance
officer.

ZOE
Do you know what they’ll do to Declan
if we take him in ?

WASH
What ? He’ll get a fair trial.

ZOE
Yeah, right. From the Alliance.

WASH
Well, unless he’s guilty.

ZOE
That hasn’t been proven. And until
it is we don’t abandon one of our men.

JAYNE
Hey, I wasn’t in no war with you. He
isn’t one of my men.

ZOE
Don’t be stupid.

JAYNE
What did I sign up on… good ship
suckers.

ZOE
I said be ready, gorramn it. So be
ready.

Zoe storms out. Wash pissed, drops into his chair, spins it back to the controls. Jayne kicks the wall.

INT. SERENITY SPARE CREW QUARTERS - NIGHT

Declan still in cuffs, paces while Mal leans against the downed ladder.

DECLAN
A shuttle. That’s all I’d need.
Okay, maybe a little money, but I
promise I’ll pay you back.

MAL
Hold for a minute. Firstly, I need
the story of what happened back there.

DECLAN
I swear I was just helping ’em build
the factory. It wasn’t the best job,
but it’s a to get any
work after the war. No one wants to
hire an independent. I’m
untrustworthy just cause we lost.

MAL
Yeah. Been there.

DECLAN
You know the Alliance’ll just pin
this on me so it looks like they’re
actually doing something out here.
I don’t want to cause trouble for you
or your crew, Sarge, but… we were
on the same side, you’ve got to get
me outta here.

Boots THUNK above Mal’s head. He looks at Declan. Puts his finger over his lips. Quillan comes down.

MAL
Lieutenant.

Quillan waits until she’s down and facing Mal to show she overheard. Declan sits on the bed, let’s them fight it out.

QUILLAN
You served with this man.

MAL
I was his sergeant.

QUILLAN
And you didn’t tell me.

MAL
Seemed wise at the time.

QUILLAN
Sure.
(beat, then pissed)
Gorramn it, Captain, how do you think
this makes you look ?

MAL
Why don’t you tell me.

QUILLAN
Like you helped him. Like I’m a
sucker for trusting you. God, did
you not see all those people dead.
All those lives destroyed.

MAL
(icy)
I was there.

QUILLAN
Obviously not, if you’re helping this
murderer.

MAL
There’s been no proof that he is or
that we’re involved, but hey, if your
intuition’s goin’ then how can the
facts compare to that.

Beat.

QUILLAN
We know who you are. Your ship, your
crew. There’s nowhere you could run.

MAL
Now you’re threatening me.

QUILLAN
Not threatening, warning. Now get
out. No one is allowed access to the
prisoner from this point on.

Off Mal, pissed.

INT. SERENITY PASSENGER QUARTERS - NIGHT

Kaylee steps in from the corridor. She’s carrying a tray of mushy food for Azuria.

KAYLEE
Thought you might be a bit hungry.

Azuria doesn’t even respond. He’s sitting on the bed. She sets the food on a table next to him.

KAYLEE (cont’d)
It’s not that good, but supposedly
nutritious. Isn’t it amazin’
that the things that are so good for
ya, always taste the worse.

No response, so Kaylee starts moving back to the door. Azuria raises his bloodshot eyes to Kaylee.

AZURIA
(quietly)
You ever love anyone so much that you
couldn’t imagine taking a breath
without ’em being there to hear it ?
To share it.

KAYLEE
(stuck)
No.
(beat)
But if I did, maybe I’d want to make
sure the person responsible for
’em dying would also end up just as
dead.

Kaylee exits into ;

INT. SERENITY PASSENGER HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

Kaylee rests against the side, upset. She pushes herself up, turns to go and almost runs right into Jayne. Jayne’s got his turtle under his arm.

JAYNE
Hey !

KAYLEE
Sorry.

JAYNE
Got any thread ?

Jayne holds up the turtle, neck is almost gone.

JAYNE (cont’d)
His floppy neck’s makin’ me sad.

KAYLEE
No.

Kaylee moves to go around him. Jayne checks her out.

JAYNE
That ruttin’ yokel didn’t pester you
or anythin’ ?

KAYLEE
No. I’m okay.

JAYNE
Don’t look it.

KAYLEE
Come on, Jayne silly, you know me…
I’m always okay.

Kaylee goes past him. Jayne watchin’ her. Jayne looks at his turtle, glances in the direction that Kaylee went, looks at his turtle, like he just might give it to her.

JAYNE
Nah.

He tucks the turtle back under his arm. Walks on.

INT. TRIAGE TENT - NIGHT

Simon’s been fielding Tanaka’s questions, and the strain is showing. Inara’s next to him. Simon never looks up from the surgery as he talks.

TANAKA
From where ?

INARA
Please, you need to conserve your
strength.

TANAKA
Answer.

SIMON
I told you the core.

TANAKA
Why here ?

INARA
Commander.

SIMON
I’d never been off-planet before last
year. I just wanted a chance to
see more of the universe. To travel.

TANAKA
Persphone ?

SIMON
I’ve visited many different worlds
since then, Persephone might have
been one of them.

TANAKA
(beat)
You’re a liar, bad one. Will find
out why.

SIMON
(looks right at him)
If you continue to talk and keep your
adrenaline levels high, then it won’t
matter what you find out because
you’re going to bleed out and be dead.

Simon turns back to the surgery. But not before glancing over at River.

PUSH IN

On River telling her story to the children. She’s smiling, enjoying herself.

RIVER
(sweetly sing-songy)
And then the beautiful princess got
tired of waiting for her handsome
prince and tried to escape, but they
found her and to punish her they
locked her in a smelly, white, cold
room where the evil blue demons
strapped electrodes to her face and
started to shock her. Zap, zap, zap,
until she couldn’t stop screaming.
Only no one could hear.

River’s still smiling, the kids not so much. In fact, they’re just a little bit freaked out by the story and by the freaky lady telling it.

INT. SERENITY CARGO BAY - NIGHT

Mal and Zoe finish checking a weapons stash that’s hidden in one of the secret compartments.

MAL
No one’s gonna tell me what to do on
my ship before I figure out what I’m
gonna do.

ZOE
Then you know what you’re gonna do ?

They close up the compartment, stand up. Start walking toward the door.

MAL
No.
(beat)
But if we run we’ll be flagged in the
cortex and become sittin’ ducks for
any Alliance cruiser sailin’ by.

They walk through the door into ;

INT. SERENITY PASSENGER LOUNGE - CONTINUOUS

They continue to talk as they pass the infirmary.

ZOE
Okay, then we don’t run, which means
we don’t fight.

MAL
Yep.

ZOE
(bit frustrated)
Then we sit on our butts and let
Declan fry ? He’s one of ours.

MAL
Thank you, Queen of the not helpful,
I know that.

ZOE
Well, time’s short and not that I
don’t enjoy watching you mull over a
brilliant plan, sir, but —

MAL (cont’d)
Hey, if you —

Mal stops. Looks at the door where they were keeping Azuria. It’s wide open. He and Zoe look at each other.

MAL (cont’d)

And start running up the stairs. Both pulling out their guns as they go. They end up in the ;

INT. SERENITY REAR CORRIDOR - CONTINUOUS

Mal and Zoe race through that into ;

INT. SERENITY DINING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

And stop quickly as they almost trip over an unconscious Jonah. Zoe bends down, examines him.

ZOE
Alive. But his gun’s missing.

They stand, continue through the dining room into ;

INT. SERENITY FORWARD CORRIDOR - CONTINUOUS

Mal and Zoe step by the open hatch where Declan is being held. The ladder is down. Mal, gun in his hand, slides down the ladder into ;

INT. SERENITY SPARE CREW QUARTERS - CONTINUOUS

Mal lands, turns. But all is quiet. Zoe drops down behind him. Azuria’s on the ground, eyes staring, neck broken, dead.

MAL
What ?!?

A GROAN behind Mal. In the corner is Quillan, knocked out, starting to come around.

ZOE
Declan ?

MAL
He’s going for a shuttle. Check on
Quillan. Tell Jayne to find the
other yokel and sit on him.

Mal starts climbing.

INT. SERENITY FORWARD CORRIDOR - CONTINUOUS

Mal jumps up onto the foredeck, gun still out, races into the forward stairwell leading into ;

INT. SERENITY CARGO BAY - CONTINUOUS

And is HIT in the jaw right as he enters. He goes end over end down the stairwell, ending with a THUMP on the catwalk. His gun goes flying over the edge.

Mal stumbles to his feet. Above him Declan closes and LOCKS the door. Declan turns, has Jonah’s gun at his side. Starts coming down the stairs.

DECLAN
Sorry about that, Sarge. Thought it
was the fed.

MAL
(standing)
Sure. Not a problem. What the hell
is going on ?

DECLAN
That yokel tried to kill me.

MAL
That I can believe.
(rubbing his jaw)
Gotten a little better on the punches.

DECLAN
I’ve got to get out of here.

MAL
You didn’t have to break his neck.

DECLAN
It was instinct, I swear.

MAL
Sure.

Mal moves toward Declan. Declan raises his gun a bit.

DECLAN
You do believe me, don’t you, Sarge ?

Mal stops.

END OF ACT THREE


ACT FOUR

INT. SERENITY CARGO BAY - CONTINUOUS

Declan still has his gun raised on Mal. Declan starts moving back on the catwalk toward the shuttle. Mal casually follows.

MAL
Sure, I believe you.

DECLAN
Just let me take the shuttle. You
can tell the Alliance that I held a
gun on you.

MAL
Which you happen to actually be doing.

DECLAN
Not by choice.

Mal leans back against the railing.

MAL
So, you did do it.

That stops Declan. Declan looks at Mal for a beat. Seems to calm, become stronger, tougher.

DECLAN
And if I did ?

MAL
It was an Alliance factory. Why
would I give a
about that ?

Declan isn’t completely sold.

MAL (cont’d)
Course, am a bit pissed that your
explosion almost took out my people.
Hell, almost took out me.

DECLAN
Would’ve warned you if I’d known.

MAL
No you wouldn’t have. Trained you
better than that. Never take your
eyes off the target.

They hold a look. Declan finally relaxes.

DECLAN
God, Sarge. You had me a bit worried
there.

Mal laughs, moves a little closer.

MAL
Should kick you on your ass for leaving me
with a knocked out Alliance fed on my
ship, though.

DECLAN
We could solve both our problems,
drop her out an airlock, make a run
for it.

MAL
That we could.

Mal casually touches one of the hanging chains.

MAL (cont’d)
Or we could not.

Declan looks at him and Mal SLAMS the chains into his face. Kicks the gun out of his hand. It falls over the side of the catwalk.

They stand facing each other. The chain swinging between them.

DECLAN
Guess this changes things.

MAL
Might.

DECLAN
You turnin’ me in ?

MAL
Thinkin’ about it…

Declan starts inching toward the shuttle. Mal keeps pace.

DECLAN
It was an Alliance factory. Those
gears are an essential part of a new
line of military skiffs. You do
remember what those skiffs did to our
men on the field ?

MAL
But they’re not using those skiffs on
us anymore.

DECLAN
For now. But the next time a planet
decides that maybe it would like to
celebrate one of their own holidays,
what do you think is going to happen ?
That the Alliance is going to say go
ahead ? Hey, we’ll all bring cake.

MAL
But it wasn’t just the factory you
blew up.

DECLAN
Commander Tanaka is the top-ranking
official in this sector.

MAL
And all those people, children ?

DECLAN
This is war. Acceptable casualties.
You remember that, don’t you, Sarge ?

MAL
Isn’t war when they’re not shootin’
at you. Then it’s just plain murder.

Declan launches at Mal and Mal’s only too happy to throw down with this guy. Mal takes a punch and then throws one.

They grapple on the catwalk. Slip to the ground. Rolling one way then the other, almost going over the sides.

DOWN BELOW

Zoe and Quillan race in though the door by the infirmary. Quillan pulls out her gun. Puts her sights on Declan. Zoe pushes Quillan’s gun down.

ZOE
He needs to do this.

Quillan gets it, nods.

DECLAN

head butts Mal. Mal grabs Declan by the shirt, tosses him over his head.

They both slowly stand, never taking eyes off each other.

DECLAN
What happened to the great Sgt.
Reynolds who had a cause, who
believed in one ?

MAL
The war ended. We lost.

Mal and Declan launch again. It’s nasty and messy. Declan lands a pretty vicious right hook and Mal stumbles back.

Mal grabs the hanging chains and pushing off the railing, he swings, kicks Declan in the chest.

Declan sails over the side of the railing. Lands on a pile of boxes, crushing them.

Mal looks over the side, Declan slightly stirs, out but alive. Mal wipes the blood off the side of his face.

INT. TRIAGE TENT - DAY

TIGHT on Simon’s exhausted face. His freaked out emotions.

TANAKA (O.S.)
I can always smell a liar. Trying to
save your sister, weren’t you ?

Simon furiously looks around. Seems like all the people are watching him. He keeps spinning back to the Alliance soldiers. They seem to be coming closer, closer.

TANAKA (cont’d ; O.S.)
Pathetic ! You can’t help her, you
can’t even help yourself.

A hand reaches out, touches Simon on the shoulder, startling him out of his spin. It’s Book.

BOOK
Son, you okay ?

Simon looks down. Tanaka is dead, been dead for awhile. His eyes, lifeless, staring out. Simon takes a breath.

SIMON
I thought he was going to make it.
(beat)
There must have been another blocked
artery. It burst. He bled to death.

Book reaches down. Closes Tanaka’s eyes.

BOOK
I’m sure you did everything you
could, right ?

But Simon doesn’t answer. Book stares at him, worried.

BOOK (cont’d)
Right ?

Stricken, Simon looks at Book.

SIMON
I don’t know.

Beat. They both look up as the RUMBLE of the ships returning is heard.

EXT. SERENITY RAMP - DAY

Mal and Quillan walk a handcuffed Declan down between them. Quillan has a bandage on her forehead. The other two don’t look much better. No one says anything.

INT. TENT - DAY

Quillan, Declan and Mal enter. Quillan hands Declan over to a couple of Alliance soldiers, goes over to a table. A solider steps up. Hands her an envelope. She counts the money onto the table.

QUILLAN
(to Mal) I believe this is yours.

Mal comes over, scoops up the money, puts it in a leather pouch. Tucks it into his jacket. Saying nothing, Mal turns to go. Declan steps into his path.

DECLAN
We’re fighting the just cause.
Independent thought, independent
dreams, independent lives. It’s a
thing worth dying for.

Quillan steps over. Declan stares at Mal the whole time.

QUILLAN
Thanks. Don’t think we need your
mission statement.

DECLAN
Just repeating the words taught to me
by the man who trained me.

Mal takes that dig. Quillan notices.

QUILLAN
(to soldiers)
Get him out of here.

Declan finally breaks eye contact as they drag him out. Mal turns to Quillan.

MAL
No words about you being right ?

QUILLAN
Would it help if I did ? Give you a
reason to hit me, to hit something.
(beat)
I was right.

Mal walks out.

INT. SERENITY DINING ROOM - DAY

Jayne sits at the table sewing his turtle’s neck. Zoe gets food from the bar by the kitchen. Kaylee walks in with Book.

KAYLEE
Not easy what you did, tellin’ his
family.

BOOK
Least I could do, losing both parents
like that. It’ll just take time.

KAYLEE
(quieter)
Heals all pain, right ?

BOOK
Usually.

Book touches her on the shoulder, then moves toward the food. Kaylee sees Simon come in. Walks over to him. He’s shaking his head, smiling.

KAYLEE
What’s up, smilin’ face ?

SIMON
My sister. I haven’t seen her this
happy in a long time. It’s almost
like she used to be.
(shaking his head)
I guess she really enjoyed telling
stories to those children. She even
wanted to go back.

Kaylee follows him into the kitchen. Where he gets some coffee.

KAYLEE
Heard you were pretty amazin’

SIMON
(not looking up)
Not really.

KAYLEE
Doctor, no need to be all bashful and
such. You should be proud, saving
those lives.

Simon looks up, sees Book watching him. Inara steps over near them, getting coffee as well. Simon gleams onto her almost desperately.

SIMON
If you want to know amazing… you
should’ve seen Inara. Stepping in
with no training. Never flinching.

INARA
It was what needed to be done.

They share a smile that Kaylee notices. Zoe moves past them with two plates of food. Walks toward the bridge. Wash meets her at the doorway.

WASH
For me ?

ZOE
Yeah.

Wash takes it.

WASH
Thanks.
(checks Zoe out)
Everything okay ?

ZOE
(maybe not quite so)
Sure.

Beat.

WASH
You know how I said people change ?

ZOE
Yeah ?

You didn’t, haven’t. You’re still
about the moment, still about the
people, your people. Only this time
your people didn’t deserve you.

ZOE
(taking that in)
And that could’ve gotten the Captain
killed.

Wash isn’t sure what to say to that.

JAYNE (O.S)
Hey ! Looky who’s here.

Mal’s walked in on the other end of the kitchen. Jayne, still with turtle, sits up.

JAYNE
You get it ?

Mal pulls out the money pouch. Tosses it to Jayne.

MAL
Divide it up.

JAYNE
Ruttin’ cool.

Jayne opens the pouch. Mal keeps on walking. Inara steps up to him, sensing all is not right here.

INARA
Mal ?

MAL
Don’t let me interrupt dinner.

He keeps on going. Nods to Zoe and Wash, and exits. Zoe looks at Wash. He motions to her with his head to follow Mal. She does ;

INT. SERENITY FORWARD CORRIDOR - CONTINUOUS

Zoe walks up right as Mal reaches the entrance to his quarters.

ZOE
Captain ?

MAL
Yeah.

ZOE
You couldn’t have known. Declan
wasn’t the man we served with. He
changed.

MAL
(not looking up)
Guess we all have.

Mal kicks his door. The ladder drops with a THUD.

END OF SHOW