Written by: Joss Whedon
Directed by: Vondie Curtis Hall
EXT. RIVER IN WOODED GLADE - DAY
[NOTE: If a river is an impossibility, wagon in a glade will suffice. But water makes it cooler.]
A farmer in a broad-brimmed hat (Amish-ish) sits by his bonneted wife on the front of a flat boat. There's a pole that sticks out to one side harnessed to a team of two horses. The boat is covered with a tarp, almost covered-wagon style.
We see it from a distance, through the trees - and in the foreground, horses snort and paw. Someone else is watching as well.
A beat, and the riders - four of them - clear the woods and circle the boat (the river being shallow enough to ride in.) The men are bandits, the main one (BANDIT 1) facing the cowed couple.
Pardon me for intruding, but I
believe y'all are carrying something of mine.
The Farmer doesn't lift his head, barely whispers:
You talking words to me? You
< steaming crap pile >, you gonna mouth
off after what you done? Did you
think we wouldn't find out you
changed your route? You're gonna
give us what due us and every damn
thing else on that boat, and I think
maybe you're gonna give me a little
one-on-one time with the Mrs.
The Farmer lifts his head - it's JAYNE, smiling.
You might wanna reconsider that last
part. I married me a powerful ugly
MAL looks up from under his bonnet, shocked.
How can you say that? How can you
shame me in front of new people?
If I could make you prettier, I would.
You're not the man I met a year ago.
Over this is the extreme confusion of BANDIT 1, who finally gets pissed enough to go for his gun -
- and Mal and Jayne, in mid-spat, raise theirs first, targeting 1 and 2.
Think very hard. You been
birddoggin' this township a while
now, and they wouldn't mind a corpse
of you. Now you could luxuriate in
a nice jail cell but if your hand
touches metal, I swear by my pretty
floral bonnet I will end you.
A beat. The Bandits all look to each other -
Bandit 4 in the back raises his rifle - and a shot from the covered boat knocks him off his horse.
Then everybody's firing, Mal and Jayne dropping 1 and 2 as ZOE dives from the wagon, dropping 3 as she hits the water.
Much falling, much splashing and --
EXT. TOWN - NIGHT
Much celebration, the town gathered around a bonfire dancing, laughing... all the trimmings.
Mal walks through the celebration with INARA, who is dressed down (for her).
We'll head for Beaumonde in the
morning, give you a chance to do some
work of your own.
I appreciate it. This place is
lovely, but -
Not your clientele. I'm wise. You
got to play at being a lady.
Well, yes. So explain to me again
why Zoe wasn't in the dress?
Tactics, woman. I needed her
covering the back. Besides, them
soft cotton dresses feel kind of
nice. There's a whole air flow.
And you would know that because...
You can't open the book of my life
and jump in the middle. Like woman,
I am a mystery
Best keep it that way. I withdraw
Care to dance?
I've seen you dance.
(off his mock hurt)
Go enjoy yourself. You got hired to
be a hero for once. It must be a
ANGLE ON JAYNE: he sits by the fire, drunk as a butter-churn, as a townsperson, ELDER GOMMEN, hands him a big wooden stick filled with beads, that sounds like rain when you turn it over.
It makes the rain come when you turn
it. The rain is scarce, and comes
only when needed most. And such it
is with men like you.
Jayne's eyes fill with tears.
This is the most... you, friend.
You're the guy.
He hugs the Elder hard.
I'll treasure this.
ANGLE ON: BOOK. He stands far off from the noise and light, by a sheet with four pairs of boots sticking out of it, silently reading last rites. Looks over and sees:
ANGLE: BOOK'S POV
Mal sits in a circle, next to Jayne. Book watches as a shyly pretty girl kneels before Mal and places a wreath on his head.
Book goes on with praying.
ANGLE: Mal - as the girl hands him a bowl of wine. Mal drinks and she smiles, moves off into the dance. Others draw Mal and Jayne into the dance as well, Mal finishing his wine sloppily and Jayne not letting go of his rainstick. Mal looks to Zoe, but she is making out with WASH like mad. These are three soused heroes.
Mal and Jayne join in the dance, noise and movement filling the frame, cutting to -
EXT./INT. SERENITY AIRLOCK/CARGO BAY - MORNING
The noise of the whirling engine coming to life - we pan from it to Mal and Elder Gommen on the ramp, as a couple of townsfolk load crates onto the ship.
Elder Gommen, thank you for your
We owe you a great debt. I'm sorry
we have so little to pay it with.
Though I hope our gifts will show our
I don't think Jayne's ever letting go
of that stick.
Zoe runs up to Mal from inside, whispers in his ear:
Alliance patrol boat is heading into
atmo right now.
Mal smiles at Elder Gommen as Zoe runs back up.
Well, we gotta fly.
He steers him off as Elder Gommen replies:
We will pray for a safe voyage, and
hope to lay eyes on you again 'ere
too long, my friend.
Count on it. Bye now.
He runs back up, the ramp closing on the still waving Elder.
As she takes off and heads up.
INT. CARGO BAY - CONTINUOUS
As Mal is squaring away the goods he comes upon -
- the girl from last night, huddled shyly in the corner between various boxes. She wears the same potato-sack shift she sported before, and sandals. And an expression of extreme subservient fear. Her name, we will learn, is SAFFRON.
Who the hell are you?
What do you mean?
I think I was pretty clear. What are
you doing on my boat?
But you know! I'm to cleave to you.
To wabba hoo? You can't be here.
Did Elder Gommen not tell you...
Tell me what? Who are you?
Mr. Reynolds, sir... I am your wife.
We hold on his very stupid expression for a long, long time.
END OF TEASER
INT. CARGO BAY - CONTINUING
Mal is still looking dumb for a while. Finally:
Could you repeat that please?
I'm your wife. That was your
agreement with Elder Gommen, since he
hadn't cash or livestock enough to -
I'm sorry. Go back to the part where
you're my wife.
I don't please you.
You can't please me. You've never
Zoe and Jayne enter.
Zoe, why do I have a wife?
You got a wife?
What's she doing here?
All I got was that dumb-ass stick
that sounds like it's raining. How
come you got a wife?
We're not married.
I'm sorry if I shame you...
You don't shame me! Zoe, get Wash
This is Zoe. We need all personnel
in the cargo bay.
All -- I said Wash!
Captain. everyone should have a
chance to congratulate you on your
day of bliss.
There's no bliss! I don't know this
Then can I know her?
Don't sully this.
Zoe, you are gonna be cleaning the
latrine with your face, you don't cut
Everyone is in now.
Who's the new recruit?
Everybody, I want you to meet Mrs.
ANGLE ON: INARA
True pain crosses her face.
You got married?!
Well, that's -- congratulations...
We always hoped you two kids would
get together. Who is she?
She's no one!
Saffron starts to cry.
(at a loss)
Kaylee goes up to Saffron --
Oh, sweetie, don't feel bad. He
makes everybody cry. He's like a
I'm not a monster! Wash, turn the
Have you got an encyclopedia?
< Of course. >
He goes off. Wash and Mal are still talking throughout:
That's an order.
Yeah, but can't.
What the hell is wrong w --
Alliance touched down the second we
left. And there's already a bulletin
on the cortex as to the murder of a
prefect's nephew - that's right, one
of our bandits had some family ties.
So unless you feel like walking into
a gallows, I suggest we continue on
to Beaumonde and you enjoy your
This isn't happening.
Will you stop crying?
Oh, for god's sake, Mal, can you be
a human being for thirty seconds?
Speaking as one married man to a
I am not married!
I'm sorry. You don't shame me, you
have very nice qualities but I didn't
ever marry you.
I believe you did. Last night.
Mal hesitates. As does everyone
(to Jayne, quiet)
How drunk was I last night?
I don't know. I passed out.
It says here, the woman lays the
wreath upon her intended - which I do
recall - which represents his
That was you?
And he drinks of her wine. This
represents his obeisance to the life -
giving blood of her -- I'll skip this
part and then there's a dance, with
a joining of hands.
The marriage ceremony of the Triumph
settlers, been so over eighty years.
You, sir, are a newlywed.
So what does it say in there about
Saffron runs from the room, to the infirmary.
< You don't deserve her, you fink. >
< Mind your own business. >
(starts after her)
Everyone go back to... whatever.
Really think you're the one to talk
to her, sir?
Way I see it, me and her got a thing
in common. We're the only ones who
don't think this is funny.
His words ring true, and he storms out, passing Inara last, who doesn't particularly feel like laughing either.
INT. PASSENGER DORM - CONTINUOUS
Mal enters, finds no one. A quick look --
He starts up the stairs.
INT. ENGINE ROOM - CONTINUOUS
Mal enters, finds Saffron huddled in the corner. She has been crying, but has stopped.
You all right?
I thought last night during the
ceremony... you were pleased.
Well, yeah, last night I was. I had
some mulled wine, pretty girl gave me
a hat made out of a tree, nobody said
I was signing up to have and to
You don't have marriage where you're
Well, sure, we just... we do it
Are you going to kill me?
What? What kind of crappy planet is
that? Kill you?
In the maiden's home, I heard talk of
men who weren't pleased with their
Well I ain't them. And don't you
ever stand for that sort of thing.
Someone tries to kill you, you try to
kill 'em right back. Wife or no,
you're no one's property to be tossed
aside. You got the right same as
anyone to live and to try to kill
people. I mean, you know. People
that are... That's a dumb planet.
What will you do with me?
Not rightly sure. We're bound for
Beaumonde, it's a decent kind of
planet... might be able to set you up
with some sorta work...
I'll not be anyone's doxy.
I don't mean whoring, there's ...
factories and the like. Some
ranches, if you're more for the
outdoors... I don't know - near a
week before we get there, we'll
A small beat.
I'd be a good wife.
Well, I'd be a terrible husband. You
got five whole days to figure that out.
Five days, we'll be together?
We'll be together on the ship, not in
She stands, visibly cheered.
That'll be fine. I'll do for you or
not, as you choose.
Well, shiny. You hungry? Kitchen's
just through there.
And she slips by him, excited.
I'll cook you something!
No, I meant if you --
I'm a fine cook, everyone says.
Yeah, but --
(She's down the hall)
I ain't ever even --
My name is Saffron.
And she goes. He stands there, bemused. Book appears from the infirmary hall. He has seen that nice moment between the two.
Divorce is very rare and requires
dispensation from her pastor. I can
send him a wave, see what I can do.
I'd appreciate it. She's a nice girl.
Seems very anxious to please you.
That's their way, I guess.
I suppose so. If you take sexual
advantage of her, you're going to
burn in a very special level of hell.
A level they reserve for child
molesters and people who talk at the
Wha - I'm not - Preacher, you got a
Perhaps I spoke out of turn.
Per maybe haps, I'm thinking.
I apologize. I'll make her up a room
in the passenger dorm.
Book goes back. A beat and his head pops back in:
A special hell...
And he's gone again. Mal sighs.
INT. DINING ROOM
Mal sits as Saffron places a plate in front of him, mostly mush (and a few bao), but well presented and aromatic.
Zoe and Wash enter as he tucks in.
Something smells good...
Having yourself a little supper,
Well, Saffron insisted on... I didn't
want to make her feel... it's damn
He can't figure out who to be careful around - so he just starts shoveling it in.
Any more where that came from?
I didn't think to make enough for
But I've everything laid out if you'd
like to cook for your husband...
Wash looks at Zoe for a microsecond of hope - her eyes narrow - and he laughs overcompensationally.
Ta-ha-ha-- Isn't she quaint? I'm
just not hungry.
He sits, Zoe sitting as well. Her hilarious mood has abated. Saffron retires to the pantry.
So, are you enjoying your own nubile
little slave girl?
I'm not... nubile...
Look, she wanted to make me dinner.
At least she's not crying...
I might. Did she really make fresh
(off Zoe's glare)
Remember that sex we were planning to
have ever again?
Y'all are making a big deal and I
would appreciate it if one person on
this boat did not assume I was an
evil, lecherous hump.
Nobody's saying that, sir.
Yeah, we're mostly just giving each
other significant glances and
Is that cider?
By the stove.
(going for Mal's glass)
Yum. I'll give you a refill.
Saffron is suddenly in the frame, grabbing Mal's glass from Wash.
That's for me to do.
She fills Mal's glass, places it by him. Everyone is quiet and uncomfortable as she stands by Mal, waiting for him to continue eating.
You know, you weren't lying about
your cooking. If I hadn't just
You don't want to finish.
No, I just, I have captain-y stuff I
have to do, but truthfully, that's a
fine meal. Thank you.
Do you need anything else?
No, no. You just, you eat something
yourself, I'm gonna go... captain.
If you're done with supper, would you
like me to wash your feet?
There is a pause. Mal exits.
Saffron goes back into the kitchen. A moment and Wash grabs Mal's plate, digging in. Zoe goes for it as well, elbowing in with a fork.
EXT. SHIP - LATER
Through the space she floaty.
INT. INARA'S SHUTTLE - LATER
Inara is working her screen, talking to it as the graphics change accordingly.
Beaumonde, City of New Dunsmuir.
Arrival, October 24, Departure...
Mal comes to the door.
Can I come in?
(touches screen to deactivate voice command)
He does anyway.
See, that's why I usually don't ask.
What do you want?
I just needed to, um... hide.
So I take it the honeymoon is over?
She's a fine girl, don't misread -
hell of a cook too.
I'm sure she has many exciting
Do you ever, um, wash your client's
It's my specialty. We'll be on
Beaumonde at least two weeks, right?
Can't be exactly sure, but --
Well, I need you to be exactly sure,
Mal, I can't make commitments and
then not keep them. That's your
I'm sorry. Are you tetchy 'cause I
got myself a bride or 'cause I don't
plan to keep her?
I find the whole thing degrading.
That's just what Saffron said about
your line of work.
Maybe you should think twice about
letting go of "Saffron". You two
sound like quite a match.
Maybe you're right. Maybe we're
Yes. Great. I wish you hundreds of
Can you imagine that? Me with a
passel of critters underfoot? Ten
years time, I could teach 'em to --
Can you leave me alone for five
Mal is surprised by the force of her outburst. He exits.
INT. CARGO BAY - CONTINUOUS
He calls back as he goes:
I wasn't looking for a fight...
Turns and sees Jayne standing with meanest looking future shotgun imaginable. He cocks it, stonefaced.
I always do seem to find one,
END OF ACT ONE
INT. CARGO BAY - CONTINUOUS
Do I have your attention?
We're kind of going to extremes here,
There's times I think you don't take
me seriously. And I think that
Do you think it's likely to?
You got something you don't deserve.
And it's brought me a galaxy a'fun
I'm here to tell you.
Six men came to kill me one time, and
the best of them carried this. It's
a Callahan fullbore autolock,
customized trigger and double
He holds it out to Mal.
It's my very favorite gun.
The explosive diarrhea of an
elephant, are you offering me a
A trade? Hell, it's theft! This is
the best gun made by man, and its got
extreme sentimental value! It's
miles more worthy'n what you got.
"What I got" - she has a name.
So does this! I call it Vera.
Well, my days of not taking you
seriously are certainly coming to a
Dammit, Mal, I'd treat her okay...
She's not to be bought. Nor
bartered, nor borrowed or lent.
She's a human woman, doesn't know a
damn thing about the world and needs
I'll protect her!
Jayne! Go play with your rainstick.
Mal heads downstairs. Jayne clearly not letting it go, but heading back up to his quarters.
Mal comes to ground level and runs into Saffron - he jumps a bit.
Gah! You do sneak about, don't you.
You're a good man.
You clearly haven't been talking to
anyone else on this boat...
I don't wish to be wed to the large
one. I'd rather... if I'm not to be
yours, I'd rather have that work you
spoke of. I could be useful on a
That's good work. My momma had a
ranch, back on Shadow where I'm from.
Ran cattle, mostly - wasn't nobody
ran 'em harder or smarter. Used to
tell me, don't brand the cattle,
brand the buyer - he's the one likely
She raised you herself?
Well, her and about 40 hands. I had
more family for a kid who -
He stops looking at her.
Well, that is odd.
I just don't - I'm not one talks
about his past. And here you got
Does your crew never show interest in
No, they're, they're... They just
know me well enough to... What about
you? What's your history?
Not much to say. Life like yours, I
fear you'd find mine terrible dull.
Oh, I long for a little dullness.
Truth to say, this whole trip is
getting to be just a little too
Serenity passes a small (tiny) cracked moon. Zoom in to see a device webbed about the surface of the moon, with a dozen tiny camera faces all firing flashes one after another.
ANGLE: A COMPUTER
As a 3D image forms (fed by the camera's info) of Serenity. Pull back to:
INT. CHOP SHOP OFFICE
As two men, CORBIN and BREED, look at the screen. They are clearly disreputable, their outfits as hodge-podge and junky as the room they're in. Corbin is tough, strong, in charge. Breed is seedier, but also not to be underestimated. Bad guys.
It's a wreck.
No, no. This is good.
It's parts. A lot of cheap parts
we'll never unload.
This is why you'll never be in
charge, Breed. You don't see the
whole. The parts are crap -
I said exactly that -
- but you put'em together, you got a
firefly. Thing will run forever,
they got a mechanic even half awake.
It's got no flash...
Some people ain't looking for flash.
She's a good catch. She comes our
way, you prep the nets.
Lotta effort we're going through
here... hoped we'd hit a t-bird, at
Just keep complaining. The sound is soothing.
He's on his way out.
Kill the crew?
Save me the pretty ones. You know the
IF POSSIBLE - This entire talk has been one slow pull-out from the screen, and now pull-out further, through the window to see:
EXT. SPACE - FLOATING CHOP SHOP - CONT.
Which is basically a giant floating ring - The office sits on top like a giant crab, the rest of the ring made up of connecting tunnels and chambers, and mostly by ships and parts of ships. Some gleam enticingly, some are cannibalized. Electricity crackles silently along the rim, fired up at six key points (this, we will see, forms the net). Ten Serenities could pass through the ring at once.
A flash of electricity flares out to:
INT. ROOM/PASSENGER DORM - LATER
Book is making up a room for Saffron, making the bed. He finishes smoothing it out, admires his work. We hold a still, wide frame as River enters and pulls the bed apart quickly and calmly and exits again, taking the pillow. Book sighs, starts out after River.
Simon is coming the other way, interrupts River. She takes him by the hand, turns back to Book.
What's going on?
Seems River doesn't want me making up
a bed for our young guest. Or she's
starting a pillow collection. I'm
still collating data.
I'm sorry. I'll take care of the
It's not important!
Tell him what?
We want you to marry us.
What? We - no! What?
Two by two. Everyone has a mate, a
match, a dopple. I love you.
No, River, mei-mei. of course I love
you too, but we can't be married.
(to Book, mortified)
She's... really crazy.
River kicks him in the shin.
OW! I don't mean crazy - that's just
not something brothers and sisters
do. I mean on some planets, but only
pretty bad ones.
The captain took a wife...
Well, that's also complicated.
I don't know where this is coming
We'll take care of each other. I'll
knit. You don't love me.
Mal enters with Saffron.
What's going on?
I really couldn't say.
I was gonna show Saffron her
quarters, did they get squared away?
Once upon a time...
I don't need anything, I'm really
just fine -
You're a thief.
Slight beat as Saffron recoils from River's accusation. Book notices that she shrinks a bit toward Mal, who puts a protective hand to her back.
Well, ho, let's play nice here.
Your sister's got some funny notions.
That's not untrue.
They all turn to her, surprised, as she pulls a packet of food from her dress pocket. River responds by stuffing her pillow under her shirt.
(handing the packet to Mal)
I didn't know when I was to be fed,
and I was afraid...
You made that fine meal, didn't eat
That was for you. Weren't but pot
lickings left, so I took this for
later, I didn't know she saw me.
Didn't see you...
Well, there's certainly no harm
And I'd say there is. Good deal
a'harm, and its starting to tick me
Saffron is frightened, and Mal turns her to him.
Now, I got no use for people sneak
around taking what ain't theirs.
Yes, we frown on that here.
But what I got even less use for is
a woman won't stand up for herself.
Five days hence we're puttin' you in
the world, and you won't last a day
by bowing and sniffing for handouts.
You want something, you take it, or
ask for it. You don't wait to be
told when to breathe, you don't take
orders from anyone. Except me - and
that's just 'cause I'm the captain,
and people take orders from captains
even in the world. But for the rest,
damnit, be like a woman is. Not no
petrified child. There's more'n
seventy little earth's spinning about
the galaxy, and the meek have
inherited not a one. Do you
understand what I'm saying to you?
(with quiet strength)
He tosses the food back to her. Looks to Book.
Shepherd, would you show Saffron her
Mal exits, Book leading Saffron the other way. Simon is left with pillow-belly River.
Now we have to be married.
(hands on belly)
I'm in the family way.
Simon cannot think of a response.
She's clearly out of her mind.
INT. BRIDGE - LATER
Zoe and Wash in mid-conversation.
Well, she's led a sheltered life.
Did you see the way she grabbed that
glass from you?
Every planet's got its own weird
customs. 'Bout a year before we met,
I spent six weeks on a moon where the
principal form of recreation was
juggling geese. My hand to God.
Baby geese. Goslings. They were
Of course the man rushes in to defend
I'm talking about geese.
Captain shouldn't be baby-sitting a
damn groupie. And he knows it.
Okay, when did this become not funny?
When you didn't turn around and put
her ass back down on Triumph where it
Oh, hey, now it's even my fault! Is
there anything else on your mind I
should know about? There's all sorts
of twists and cul-de-sacs, it's wild.
I'm getting that.
I'm going to bed.
I'm gonna stay here, where it's safe
and quiet, and I'm gonna play with
some of these dials and stuff.
He's watching her go, confused and unhappy.
I might, you know, steer.
She's long gone. He spins back around.
INT. JAYNE'S ROOM - LATER
Jayne sits on his bed, unhappily turning his rainstick over and listening to it.
INT. FOREDECK HALL - NIGHTPHASE
It's empty as Mal starts down his ladder, we follow him into:
INT. MAL'S ROOM - CONTINUOUS
Mal enters, pulls off his shirt. Tosses it in the corner, turning to see:
ANGLE: IN THE BED is Saffron. She is quiet, a bit apprehensive and more than a bit naked.
Wah! Yo - hey. You're, um... well,
there you are
I've made the bed warm for you.
It, uh, looks warm.
And I've... made myself ready for you.
Let's ride right past the part where
you explain exactly what that means.
Didn't you see you got a room of your
And... I'm to sleep there?
That's the notion. Assuming you're,
But we've been wed. Aren't we to
become one flesh?
She is soo insouciantly sexy. Mal looks up where his shipmates would be, resolve wavering...
Well, no, I think we're still two
fleshes here. And that your flesh
oughta sleep somewhere else.
I'm sorry. When we talked, I'd
hoped... but I don't please you.
She says it shamefacedly, the covers slipping down as she sits naked before him.
Hey! flesh! Look Saffron, it ain't
a question of pleasing me. It's a
question of what's... uh... morally
I do know my bible, sir. "On the
night of their betrothal, the wife
shall open to the man, as the furrow
to the plough, and he shall work in
her, in and again, 'till she bring
him to his fall, and rest him then
upon the sweat of her breast."
Whoa. Good bible.
I'm not skilled, sir, nor a pleasure
to look upon, but -
Saffron. You're pleasing. You're...
hell, you're all kinds of pleasing
and it's been a while... a long damn
while since anybody but me took a
hold a'my plough so don't think for
a second that I ain't interested.
But you and me, we ain't married.
Just 'cause you got handed to me by
some < bastard > couldn't pay his
debts, don't make you beholden to me.
I keep trying to explain -
Let me explain.
(he waits, surprised at the grown up tone)
I lived my life in the maiden house,
waiting to be married off for trade.
I seen my sisteren paired off with
ugly men, vicious or blubberous, men
with appetites too unseemly to speak
on. And I've cried for those girls,
but not half so hard as I cried the
night they gave me to you.
Well, what - you - is there blubber?
I cried for I'd not dreamed to have
a man so sweet, so kind and
beautiful. Had I date to choose,
I'd choose you from all the men on
all the planets the night sky could
She stands getting close to him.
If I'm wed, I'm a woman and I'll take
your leave to be bold. I want this.
I swell to think of you in me, and I
see you do too.
Mal looks down, embarrassed.
Well, that's just...
Leave me at the nearest port, never
look on me again, I'll make my way
with the strength you've taught me...
only let me have my wedding night.
They're inches apart. He's dying.
(looking up at the door)
I'm gonna go to the special hell...
She kisses him, slowly and sweetly. He pulls away, his face still close to hers, sad resolve in his eyes.
I really wish it was that simple,
girl. But I just -
She kisses him again, and he gives massively in, putting his arms around her, their tongues intermingling...
He takes a step back, confusion on his face. Puts a hand to his lips.
Son of a -
He is already stumbling as he goes for his gun - it drops to the ground with the same lifeless thud as he does.
She looks at him a moment as he snores. The expression on her face, one we've not seen before, is sly triumph.
END OF ACT TWO
INT. BRIDGE - NIGHT
Wash pilots alone. Saffron enters, tentatively - all shy girl (and dressed) again. Wash hears, turns -
Well, if it isn't the master chef.
Am I let to be up here?
Well, sure, why not. Not like anyone
else is taking up space.
She enters, eyes on the window.
I've never been off world before.
Beautiful, isn't it? Endless. You
stare at it long enough, as long as
I have, it becomes almost...
I don't think you're serious.
'Bout half. You stop seein'em after
a spell, but they are your very first
charts. Time and again, you look up
from your screens and remember that.
It's like a dream.
Planet I'm from, you couldn't see a
one, pollution's so thick. Sometimes
I think I entered flight school just
so I could see what the hell everyone
was talking about.
She smiles at him, her warmth enfolding his sweet reminiscence. A beat, and she moves to the door, quietly shuts it.
What are you doing?
She moves to the middle of the room, stands there, almost trance-like.
Now we're alone. Us and the stars.
No ship, no bellowing engines or crew
to bicker at each other... look.
He's hesitant, but comes to stand next to her. They stare out at the brilliant black
Do you know the myth about Earth-that-
He can feel her closeness, her excitement - tries to be cool amidst the hard-on.
Not so much.
That when she was born, she had no
sky, and she was open, inviting and
the stars would rush into her,
through the skin of her, making the
oceans boil with sensation, and when
she could endure no more ecstasy, she
puffed up her cheeks and blew out the
sky, to womb her and keep them at
bay, 'til she had rest some, and that
we had to leave 'cause she was strong
enough to suck them in once more.
Whoa. Good myth.
She turns to him, eyes nearly moist with pleading.
My whole life, I saw nothing but
roofs and steeples and the cellar
door. Few days I'll be back to that
life and gone from yours. Make this
night what it should be. Please...
Her face is inches from his.
Show me the stars.
They're practically touching and she moves to kiss him, but he pulls away at the last minute.
< Holy mother of god and all her wacky
Nephews > do I wish I was somebody
else right now. Somebody not
married, not madly in love with a
beautiful woman who can kill me with
I've been too forward.
No. Well, yes. But I actually like
that in a woman. That's part of why
Zoe and I are, as previously
I thought... she didn't seem to
Not everybody gets me and Zoe at
first glance. Did it get very hot in
here? I need airflow.
He moves to the door. She stops him with...
You love her very much.
He turns to open the door. Saffron rolls her eyes with bored exasperation as he continues heading for the door -
I never did meet a woman quite like
her. The first time we -
And Saffron sidekicks him in the back of the head, slamming his face into the door. He slides down, unconscious.
She pulls the door open, drags the body into the space before the stairs, hidden off to the side from view. Shuts the door again, locking it.
She moves to the console, hits the screens, working the nav like an expert. We see the course setting come up on the screen, see her change the coordinates and lock them in. Hits another screen and opens a channel to signal the new destination of arrival.
Just as swiftly and expressionlessly, she slides under the console, chooses a few wires and rips them out, sparks flying. Crosses a couple of others (we see the nav screens wink out) and she's up, back at the door, opens it, looking to see if she's alone.
She reaches under her dress and pulls a strip of tape from the hem, sticks it on the interior lock of the door and pulls off a layer, which causes a bubbling not unlike the burning glue of the pilot. As the lock begins to melt and fuse she slams the door shut, locking herself out of the bridge.
INT. CARGO BAY - MOMENTS LATER
She comes down the stairs, gets her bearings straight for a sec, then heads to the second shuttle. Opens the door and runs smack into:
Are you lost?
Instantly she's subservient Saffron again, looking down. She backs up as Inara comes down a few stairs.
I'm sorry. I thought the other
shuttle was yours.
It is. I was on the cortex and my
screen shorted. This one's out too.
Looking for customers?
What were you looking for?
I don't mean to be rude... A
companion's life is so glamorous and
strange... I wish I had the skill for
such a trade...
By God, she's moving from subservient to seductive...
You'd like to please your new husband.
Oh, he'll have none of me... For
true I'm somewhat relieved... if I'm
to learn of love, I'd want it to be
at the hands of someone gentle...
someone who could... feel... what I
Their faces are close. Inara is as intimate in tone as Saffron:
But Mal said... you don't approve of
Sure and he said that to keep you
from me... I was too curious about
you, ever since I saw you...
They are face to face.
Come to my shuttle.
You would... you would lie with me?
The alarm goes off, red lights spinning - Saffron looks around in innocent alarm, looks back to Inara, who drops the act.
I guess we've lied enough.
Saffron drops the act as well.
You're amazing. Who are you?
I'm Malcolm Reynold's widow.
All the color drains from Inara's face. (okay, not all the color, she's from Future-Brazil so she still has a hue, but she's upset, okay?)
Saffron punches, hard but Inara blocks - a spinning kick from Saffron and Inara rolls out of the way, Saffron moving to the shuttle and slamming the door behind her.
Inara is on her feet in a heartbeat, racing toward the foredeck hall...
INT. COCKPIT OF 2ND SHUTTLE - CONTINUOUS
Saffron pulls some chips from her dress and inserts them into the console, brings the shuttle to life.
EXT. SERENITY - CONTINUOUS
As the shuttle takes off and heads the opposite way.
INT. FOREDECK HALL - CONTINUOUS
Inara comes in as Zoe is at the entrance to the bridge, holding a dazed Wash. Jayne is trying to open the bridge door (it won't budge) as Kaylee is coming sleepily up out of her room. They all overlap:
Baby wake up... He's bleeding...
There's nobody in there -
What's going on?
Inara ignores them all, slams Mal's ladder in and drops down as fast as she can -
INT. MAL'S ROOM - CONTINUOUS
She finds Mal draped like the dead on the floor, rushes to him, fearing the worst -
Mal Mal Mal Mal -
She goes down, pulls up his head - and he moans - still alive. Unwanted wetness springs into her eyes as she gasps, relieved -
And she kisses him, once, hard, then holds him to her, collecting herself - laying him back down and heading to the ladder as she calls out to above:
Get the doctor! Mal's hurt... he...
She starts to sag. Puts a finger to her lips, recognizing the taste - she turns to Mal, scorn in her drooping eyes...
Oh, you stupid son of a -
And she collapses, unconscious, out of the frame.
BLACKOUT AND FADE UP ON:
INT. - SAME - LATER
Fuzzy close on Mal awakening. Gets more focus as he looks about him, blinking.
Is it christmas?
Reverse angle: The entire gang (minus River, Jayne and Kaylee) is staring at him. Simon closest, with his doctor bag, and Inara on his bed propped up like a rag doll.
Well, he's back...
Yes, sir, it's christmas. That
special night when Nick the Saint
comes down your chimney, changes your
course, blows out the navcom, seals
the bridge and takes off in your
What happened about me...?
Your blushing bride was a plant.
(re: him and Wash)
She took both of you out.
A narcotic compound, probably spread
over a seal on her lips. You get it
on yours and pow.
We used to get a lotta guys brought
in on the night shift at the E.R. -
usually robbed and very groggy.
Called it the "goodnight kiss".
So you two were kissing.
(pointedly, to Mal)
Well, isn't that special...?
(trying to change the focus)
Wash? How did -
Hey, I just got kicked in the head.
My man would never fall for that
< cheap floozy >.
Most of my head wishes I had.
You guys don't understand...
Seems pretty simple from here. You
were taking advantage of a -
I was the one being taken advantage
My apologies, you were victimized,
Wash was beaten and Inara found you
(defensively slurred and sleepy)
And then I fell. My head got hurt
I don't get any of this.
I only fell is all.
What the hell is our status?
We're shut down. Jayne and Kaylee
are still trying to get us on the bridge.
All we know is we're headed somewhere
and it ain't Beaumonde.
Mal starts up the stairs, the others following. Hold on Inara, who says to Simon...
I'm fine. I don't need to be
examined. I'm comfy.
INT. HALL CONTINUOUS
As Mal and everyone files up (save Simon and Inara) to see Jayne firing up a blowtorch. Kaylee explains -
She didn't just lock it, she fused it
to something. Both entrances.
Why the big act? What the hell was
Besides molesting innocent captains?
You wanna stow it, preacher? We're
in some peril here.
If she can fly this thing why just
take the shuttle?
Simon is entering as well as:
Maybe she likes shuttles.
(Off Mal's look)
Some people juggle geese...
I told you.
They look at her.
She's a thief.
ANGLE: THE DOOR
As Jayne pulls it open
INT. BRIDGE - LATER
Kaylee and Wash are lying side by side under the console, looking up at the wiring.
She's a pro.
This is a masterful job of muck-up.
See how she crossed the drive feeds --
Yeah huh --
So we even try to reroute it'll lock
down. < brilliant >.
And she went straight for the thermal
Yeah yeah! We are so humped!
They're starting to admire it -- a bit too much for Mal to take. He stands there with everyone else, waiting.
I'm glad you two are having a good
time under there, you wanna progress
to the making it right?
They poke their heads out.
That's not gonna happen for a good
long while, Cap'n
We don't have a good long while. We
could be headed straight into a nice
big solid moon for all we know so
hows about you get to work?
Hey! You're the one whose big make-
out session got us into this, sir.
I was poisoned!
You were drugged.
That's why I never kiss 'em on the
There is a moment for everyone's extreme silent horror.
Well, what CAN you do?
Give us some time we could get the
cortex and navcom back on line, at
least see where we're headed.
That's fine, except for the part
where I give you some time. What
What about stopping?
She humped us hard. We're gonna have
to do a lot of --
Do it. It doesn't help me to see
where I'm going if I can't change
The girl really knows her ships.
That's not all she knows. She's well
You mean the sedative? The Goodnight
I only hit my head but Mal... went
through that but no, I mean
seduction, body language, signals...
she had training. As in Companion,
as in Academy.
Our little Saffron's quite a wonder.
I'm beginning to think she married
How do you know? About the training?
She tried to seduce me too.
(trying not to sound too intrigued)
Really? Did she -- did you --
You don't play a player. It was
sloppy of her to try it, but I think
she was in a rush.
But she had professional... so in my
case, it was really...
You woulda kissed her too.
But she was naked, and all
Okay. Everyone NOT talking about
their sex lives, in here. Everyone
Jayne, find me a splicer.
Jayne rummages through tools as everyone else save Book departs. Wash ducks back under with Kaylee.
Do you really think we have a hope in
hell of fixing this?
Not by talking 'bout it, darlin'.
INT. CHOP SHOP OFFICE - LATER
Breed is looking at a screen, call out of the room:
Corbin rushes in.
How far out?
Ten minutes or so. Right on target,
That girl is a wonder.
She gets it done. I'll tell the boys.
He starts out --
INT. BRIDGE - LATER
As Serenities screens pop back to life.
He is looking at them, working them. Kaylee's still under the console, Jayne and book at the ready.
Mal runs in.
You got it?
We got life. We got screens. It's
a qualified "yes". A partial.
What about nav control?
Kaylee comes out to look miserable, shakes her head.
So where are we headed?
(working the screens)
Coordinates she entered... we're
headed for something and it's not too
Did she signal anyone?
< Hold on a second >... she did. Same
coordinates, no I.D.
Who's out there...?
Let me see if her signal wave can
translate to a visual, there might be
a -- < Damn! > Heavy ionization,
electrical interference bouncing the
signal all... look at that.... It's
like a circle.
Mal gets it. He looks at Book, who also does.
It's a net.
I don't get it. Where are we headed?
The end of the line.
Off their looks:
EXT CHOP SHOP RING - CONTINUOUS
As the electricity fires up and does in fact form a powerful net.
END OF ACT THREE
INT. BRIDGE - MOMENTS LATER
The same gang are there, as the explanation begins.
It's a Carrion House. Scrap shop,
takes ships, pulls 'em apart or fixes
Doesn't sound that scary...
That pattern you're looking at is a
net. We fly into that we're more
than helpless. It'll turn the ship
into one big electrical conduit, burn
us all from the inside out.
Some of the newer ones'll just hold
you, then the scrappers'll override
the airlocks, pull the Oh-two, or
just gas you. They're not looking to
deal with survivors.
One day you're gonna tell us all how
a preacher knows so damn much about
I'm trying, sir, but...
Well, you stay on it. We can't fall
into that net.
He's thinking fast, looks about him.
We need a plan B.
He hits the com.
Zoe, get our suits prepped, now.
(to the others)
I figure we got one shot at this.
Give me a visual as soon as we're close.
Won't be long...
What do I do?
Mall turns to him, waits just a hair of a beat.
You go get Vera.
INT. CARGOBAY/AIRLOCK - LATER
Mal and Jayne are suited up, save helmets and gloves. Jayne is loading big-ass bullets into Vera while Zoe checks his suit and Simon hooks his encyclopedia to the com console with Book's help.
(over the com)
We are two minutes out...
This thing needs oxygen around it to
fire, and we don't have a case.
We're gonna use a suit.
Here. We got it.
They look over at:
ANGLE: SIMON'S ENCYCLOPEDIA
Has a visual of the ring on it.
What am I aiming for. The window?
That might kill some folk, but it
won't disrupt the net. See these six
points where it's brightest?
Those're the breakers. Hit one and
it should short it out.
What do you mean, should?
INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING
Kaylee slams her wrench against metal, near tears.
If I just had a stupid conductor
EXT. CHOP SHOP RING - CONTINUOUS
As we can see Serenity tiny in the distance.
INT. AIRLOCK - CONTINUING
Mal opens the door, and he see him suited up, with Jayne as well, Jayne is sitting, holding the gun. It's in a suit, Jayne holding it through the sleeves (which are duct-taped to his), the barrel pointing out through the helmet. The butt of the gun is braced up against containers against the airlock doors.
Angle: their pov
Through the door, of the approaching ring.
You see it?
Clear as day.
You see, Vera? You dress yourself
up, then you get taken out somewhere
INT. COCKPIT OF INARA'S SHUTTLE - CONTINUING
As Kaylee rips out some wires and parts from it.
She comes up and looks out the window, stops -- mesmerized.
EXT. CHOP SHOP RING CONTINUOUS
As the ship approaches, the net forms fully, electricity silently flaring in a spiders web of power.
INT. EXT AIRLOCK/SPACE - CONTINUING
Mal waits. Jayne waits.
Jayne FIRES, a silent burst blowing through the helmet, air rushing out as the breaker EXPLODES, the crackling web disintegrating --
-- and Jayne continues firing, aims up at the office itself:
INT. CHOP SHOP OFFICE - CONTINUING
Corbin and Breed duck and cover as the bullets rake across the window. We hear it crack and groan -- they look at each other in horror --
EXT. CHOP SHOP RING - CONTINUOUS
And the window and all contents of the office blow out into space -- pan down to see serenity blow through the sparking but harmless ring, continuing on in the distance.
INT. BRIDGE - LATER
Kaylee, Mal, Zoe. Wash is at the controls. We hear things humming to life.
We got it. It's not pretty, but we
can steer enough to turn the hell
Nice work, Kaylee.
Weren't soon enough to help.
Lot easier to pull things apart than
to put 'em right. You're still the
best mechanic floating.
He kisses her on the top of her head. She waves him away, but didn't hate the compliment.
Captain, don't you know that kissing
girls makes you sleepy?
Sometimes I just can't help myself.
Let's go visiting.
INT. HOTEL ROOM - DUSK
Can something be described rustically plush? 'Cause that best describes this little suite.
Saffron sits on the bed, pulling on her boots. She is nothing like the girl we've seen, much more modern and cool (though she still wears a skirt). And she's packing a sidearm in a shoulder holster.
She stops a moment, listening to something.
The door flies open, Mal having kicked it in. Before she can draw, he has his gun to her head.
Honey... I'm home...
A beat. She knocks his gun aside, it fires as she draws hers but he is in close, they tussle -- he wrenches her gun from her hand as they collapse on bed, him on top.
Looks like you get your wedding night
She pushes him, they go tumbling to the floor but he's still on top and this time he's got his gun to her chin.
It's the first time, darlin'. I
think you should be gentle with me.
She lets out a breath, smiles at him unfathomably.
You gonna kill me?
Can you conjure up a terribly
compelling reason for me not to?
I didn't kill you...
You turned me and my crew over to
those that would kill us, that buys
I made you dinner...
Why the act? All the seduction
games, the dancing about folk --
there has to be an easier way to
You're assuming the payoff is the
I'm not assuming anything at this
He sits, gun still well on her. She gets up on her elbows, below but facing him.
How'd you find me?
Only a few places that shuttle could
make it to from where you left.
Happy to find it intact. You always
work for Elder Gommen?
I work with lots of folk. He's
thrown me a few choice fish. What'll
become of the dear Elder?
Oh, he'll be laying eyes on me soon
enough. And to think I saved his
town from vicious bandits.
You're quite a man, Malcolm Reynolds.
I've waited a long while for someone
good enough to take me down.
Saffron... you even think about
playing me again I will riddle you
Her smile goes. This is the closest we're gonna get to seeing what's inside her, and there ain't much to warm your hands by.
Everybody plays each other. That's
all anybody ever does. We play parts.
You got all kinds a' learnin' and you
made me look the fool without trying,
yet here I am with a gun to your
head. That's 'cause I got people
with me, people who trust each other,
who do for each other and ain't
always looking for the advantage.
There's good people in the 'verse.
Not many, lord knows, but you only
need a few.
Promise me you're gonna kill me soon.
You already know I ain't gonna.
You know, you did pretty well. Most
men, hell, they're on me inside of
ten minutes. Not trying to teach me
to be strong and the like.
I got one question for you. Just one
thing I'd like to know straight up.
What's your real name?
She looks at him... looks away, considering the question...
-- and he slams the butt of his gun into her chin, knocking her out cold.
He stands, regards her genuinely vulnerable form. Says with a kind of sadness:
You'd only've lied anyhow.
A beat, and he leaves.
INT. INARA'S SHUTTLE
As she is turning off her vidscreen. Mal knocks, enters after:
We're back on course, should be on
Beaumonde just a day or two late.
Hope that's all right.
It should be fine, thank you. And
does the vixen live?
If you can call it that. All's well,
You're a very graceful woman, Inara.
I... thank you.
So here's where I'm fuzzy: you got
by that girl, came and found me, and
then you just happened to trip and
Wh- what do you mean?
Come on, Inara, how's about we don't
play. You didn't just trip, did you?
She holds his look, and acquiesces.
He smiles, nodding.
Well isn't that something. I knew
you let her kiss you.
Her look changes to one of stupefied disbelief. He exists, chuckling. We hold on her expression for a long, long time.
END OF SHOW