Buccaneers - act four
Thursday, December 14, 2006

"Imagine the worst thing that you can do to a character, then do it."-Bujold. (Heads up, Zoe!) Time to go home.


Act one - this thread Act two - this thread Act three - this thread


Ext – Serenity on the ground – Persephone. Camera swings around to reveal the cargo doors open. Rhampal and Mal are standing on the ramp.

Rhampal Gonna cut you free now. You, me and the pilot are gonna make the drop. Wingnut and Moira are gonna stay on board with your mechanic to make sure it all goes smooth. Mal Smooth is good.

Wingnut appears with River and his knife. He cuts Mal free – two quick slashes. He steps back to say something to Rhampal, giving River and Mal a moment.

Mal First chance you get, you use that unarmed combat thing you got going to take these guys down. River (Giving him a look) Well, now you tell me.

Mal looks more than a smidgen crestfallen as Rhampal walks up.

Rhampal Let’s go.

The three of them walk down the ramp and out into the world.

Reverse angle – a truck is approaching; it stops and men disembark – one obvious leader and some flunkies. They start to unload some heavy lifting gear, while the boss, Tzu, a very large man, approaches Mal.

Mal Dr Tzu, it’s good to see you again. That diet’s doin’ the business. I swear you musta lost at least 60 pounds. Tzu (laughingly) 47. I think I must have given it to you. You’re started to look a little chunky. Mal I know it. My problem is that every time I sleep with your wife she gives me a cookie.

Angle on Rhampal – he can’t believe this banter.

Tzu Don’t I know it? She does like a man who doesn’t need room in the front of his pants. Mal Ouch. That was below the belt. Tzu Kinda the point, Mal. Mal See that’s probably my tragic flaw. I thought the point was you givin’ me my money and me givin’ you your ore. How’s about we do that? Tzu We could do that. Kurt, zhi fu ta.

One of his entourage steps up and throws Mal a bag of money. Another starts up a forklift and drives it into the cargo bay.

Int –Serenity’s bridge. Mal and Rhampal are standing there watching Tzu’s trucks drive off. By Rhampal’s elbow (well away from Mal) is the bag of money.

Rhampal It always like that? Mal What? Rhampal You chat all friendly-like and go your ways? Mal Not often enough, tell the truth. I’m guessin’ it don’t go that way for you. Rhampal Not since that bastard became Cap’n Mal (Sniffing blood in the water) So he’s not always been the captain. Rhampal Used t’be Cap’n Roberts. Mal Good captain, was he? Rhampal She. Mal She? Rhampal She. Used t’run a whole different operation. We were honest smugglers – no piratin’ – mainly in the Castlebrooke sector. Mal So how come Declan ended up in charge? Rhampal She met him when we was layin’ over in Tangling. Mal Good place for some R and R. Rhampal Bu pi hua. I went to this bar in the old town, y’know. Mal Say no more. Rhampal So when I get back on the ship, there’s Declan with his arm roun’ the Cap’n an’ she like 25 years older and no oil painting. Still an’ all, he was a good first mate. Did the job well for seven months until one day he an’ the Cap’n went out on a job together an’ she don’t come back. He had some story about an ambush, y’know. Mal An’ you’re thinkin’ the ambush was an inside job. Rhampal Mmm. (very long pause – Mal does not want to rush him. Eventually…) Got a job for you.

Angle on Mal. He’s letting this play out a bit more.

Rhampal You help me git rid o’ Declan, you keep that bag sittin’ over there, fly away free.

Camera swings to the money, back to Rhampal.

Mal Keep talkin’. Rhampal You gotta kill him. Mal I’m no assassin. Rhampal You leave him breathin’, he will hunt you down an’ kill you. ‘Sides, I saw you when he took that companion away. I figure what he done with her, you owe him a bullet or three. Mal (Jaw so tightly clenched he can barely get the words out.) You got that right.

Angle on River, moving silently into the bridge.

Mal (Keeping his attention.) Got another issue bothers me. What happens when we go our separate ways and you jack a couple of them missiles into the sky?

Rhampal (Snorts back a laugh.) Missiles! What missiles? We got 22 missiles launchers an’ stones o’ steel. Mal Sheng zhe duan ya pi hua.

Angle on River, very close to Rhampal now. In her hand is Wingnut’s knife.

Mal Ok. We take the job. River – don’t kill him.

Rhampal whirls around lifting his pistol but River calmly rips it out of his hand before he can bring it to bear. There’s a frozen tableau as Rhampal realises how close he was to death.

River Does this mean that I have to release the other two? Mal Not too much trouble, is it? River They’ll both regain consciousness eventually. Mal Fair enough.

Ext – Serenity approaching the Buccaneer. Her shuttle detaches and flies across.

Int – Inside the shuttle are Mal, Rhampal and River, who is piloting.

Mal Now just stick to the plan; you get River aboard and she’ll take care of everything else. Rhampal I dunno. She’s awful small an’ Declan’s a sneaky son of a bitch. Mal Remember how she took that gun off you. River Locked. Rhampal What? River (To herself) Too many misunderstandings today. (To Rhampal) Time to go. Rhampal You can’t be locked. I’d’a felt somethin’. River If you want, I could detach and do it again (beat) badly. Mal Let’s just go.

Int – inside the Buccaneer. Angle on the airlock door. As it opens we see Mal and Rhampal behind it. Suddenly a shot rings out. They duck back. Lots of action – Mal fires off a couple of rounds, Rhampal lets fly too. They’re being shot at too. River dives forward, rolling and twisting in the air.

River NO!

Suddenly we realise that it was Simon who shot at Mal. Zoe is the other shooter. A lull.

Simon – Zoe – Mal River! – Sir? – Zoe? River River. Mal You mind tellin’ me how come you got control of this ship?

Everyone starts to emerge from cover, a little sheepishly.

Zoe (Re: Rhampal) He on our side now? Mal We’re helpin’ him mutiny. Zoe Really? Mal Pays well. Zoe I heard that. Mal Now, you mind getting’ back to the answerin’ of my question. Zoe Seems the ex-captain tried to force himself on Inara.

Angle on Mal – so livid he burns.

Zoe Seems companions have a way of dealin’ with that. Ten minutes after she goes into his room, she comes out and springs me. Mal Where are they? Zoe One’s sedated in the infirmary… Simon So’s Jayne by the way. Zoe One’s locked up in the brig… Mal They got a brig? Rhampal Not my idea. Zoe And one’s under a sheet in his room. Simon I’d like to do an autopsy, if that’s ok. Mal Make it a messy one.

Ext – Serenity and the Buccaneer go their separate ways.

Int –Zoe’s room. She is on her bunk, looking at a capture. It’s her wedding:

Zoe I take you, Hoban Washburn as my husband, my guide and my light. Celebrant And do you, Hoban, take this woman, Zoe? Wash It’s too late to say no, isn’t it?

Zoe, in the capture, gives Wash a stop-being-an-idiot-now look. Reverse angle on Zoe looking at the capture: she is smiling, her eyes wet. She gets up and heads for the door.

Int – the infirmary. Simon is talking to Mal. Jayne is lying on the bunk.

Simon Absolutely no sign of poisoning or any other trauma. He looks for all the worlds like he died in his sleep. Mal What about Inara? Simon Well, she won’t let me examine her though she maintains he never got the chance to lay a finger on her. It’s just… (doesn’t know how to say it.) Mal Well? Simon Inara’s just about the most self-assured person I’ve ever met – until now. She’s become withdrawn, morose. I think we need to watch her for post-traumatic stress. Mal About halfway through that you start to say “blahdeeblahblahblah.” Simon She may become depressed. Kaylee’s doing her best but after an experience like this. Jayne What’s she got to be depressed about? She didn’t experience no bullet holes. Mal Not now, Jayne. Jayne I’m just sayin’ Mal (angry) Not now.

Enter Zoe.

Zoe Sir? Mal Yep? Zoe Sir, I’d like us to set a course for New Macao. Mal New Macao? (momentarily confused – where the hell…) Simon The industrial moon round Sihnon – that New Macao? Mal (Got it now) That’s a long way out of our regular path, Zoe. Zoe Well aware of that, sir. (Pause; clearly Mal is waiting for an explanation.) Wash’s family live on New Macao, sir. They didn’t come to the wedding, couldn’t get away. Money’s fairly tight, as I understand it. Every now and then, we’d send them a little. But I’ve never met them… Mal And now that you’re having his baby, you think you should. Zoe Yes sir. Mal Then let’s go lay in a course for the core. Simon (Just a thought)Might be good for Inara too. Familiar territory, removed from the trauma. Mal Shiny. (Leaving) Where’s River? Zoe (Following, she is holding back tears again.) Thank you, sir. Jayne See. Tol’ you preg’ant women is always crying. OUCH! (Simon has moved around to “examine” him, a little roughly.) Simon Sorry. (Like hell.)

Kaylee and Inara arrive. Clearly Kaylee is checking up on her man.

Kaylee Hey, Simon. Simon (Cold – remembers what Jayne had claimed earlier) Kaylee. Inara. Kaylee You alright, honey? Simon (busying himself examining Jayne’s wounds.) Just a little busy. Jayne Oww. That’s still painful there, doc. Simon Where? (Poke) Here. Jayne OWWW! There! There! Stop that, gorram it! Simon (Seeing Inara smirking a little at Jayne’s predicament) I’ve got some good news for you. Inara Oh? Simon We’re heading back into the core. New Macao. I’m sure the Captain would be able to swing close enough to Sihnon for a shuttle drop.

Angle on Inara – her face drops like a Portuguese winger in the penalty box. She immediately walks off.

Jayne You dumbass. Simon He wo yue?

Ext – New Macao; Serenity’s shuttle is coming in to land in an open space next to an apartment building. They are on a highly developed, but in a bad way, world. It’s industrial, filthy and polluted; the sky is pure smog. Mal and Zoe emerge from the shuttle.

Mal Not what I expected in the core. Zoe I can see why Inara decided to stay on Serenity. Mal (Indicating a building) This the address? Zoe Sir.

Angle on Zoe. She hesitates, gathering herself, then knocks on the door. It is answered by a middle aged man. Behind him are a woman of similar age, obviously his wife, and a younger woman, mid to late twenties, quite statuesque, with a five year old girl clinging to her skirts.

Mr Washburn Yes. Zoe Mr Washburn? Mrs Washburn? Mr Washburn (Now scared.) Yes. Who are you? We’ve done nothing wrong. Zoe No, I’m not a fed. Nor any other kind of law. My name’s Zoe – Zoe Washburn. I’m Hoban’s wife.

Angle on the three strangers: the father looks upset, the mother confused, the daughter angry.

Mrs Washburn Bu. You can’t be. Mal She is, Ma’am, since about two years back, on Persephone. I was there myself. Mrs Washburn But that doesn’t matter. She can’t be. See this (pulls the "daughter" forward) is Inez (beat) and she’s Hoban’s wife.

Angle on Zoe – stunned. Fade to black.



Thursday, December 14, 2006 3:05 PM


And I'm done.

My intention in writing this was to "pilot a new season." Consequently, I've tried to throw as many conflicts and complications into the air as I can: pregnancy and a rival for Zoe, trouble for Kaylee and Simon, how Inara killed Declan and why oesn't she want to go to Sihnon, which is really why she left in the first place.

However, the frustration of formatting has ensured that I won't be writing the next episode any time soon, if at all.

If anyone feels the desire to investigate any of these ideas - help yourself. I have no sense of ownership of Joss' people or setting.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 7:43 PM


You sure that you don't wanna keep this up? Cuz you've got more than a couple of brilliant ideas up in the air...and having someone else catch them right means a lot of trust. Make sure you get someone you trust explictly to take over the reins if you choose that option, hughff;)

So Inara's got some crazy designer virus in her system or something then? Cuz I can't really see how Declan could die that fast when Inara has not seemingly had the time to take anything that would get spread to a sexual partner...and I would expect the Buccaner's crew would have searched Inara after getting aboard...


Friday, December 15, 2006 3:25 PM


Oh, please continue It! I would but I would probably screw up your story. Or I would have to modify some things on this one.

Shiny ^^

Saturday, December 16, 2006 2:10 AM


Pity you don\'t want to continue because you write really good.


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Buccaneers - act four
"Imagine the worst thing that you can do to a character, then do it."-Bujold. (Heads up, Zoe!) Time to go home.

Buccaneers - act three
"Imagine the worst thing that you can do to a character, then do it."-Bujold. (Heads up, Zoe!) When it hits the fan, it splatters on everyone.

Buccaneers - act two
"Imagine the worst thing that you can do to a character, then do it."-Bujold. (Heads up, Zoe!) The cargo on board, revealling conversations need to be had.

Buccaneers - act one
"Imagine the worst thing that you can do to a character, then do it."-Bujold. (Heads up, Zoe!) Two weeks after the BDM, Serenity's on a job in familiar territory.