BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - SUSPENSE

CHRONICTHEHEDGEHOG

Family
Sunday, February 26, 2006

Based on an episode idea suggested by Tim Minear a while back. It was suggested when the series was going to be much darker than it turned out to be so, you know, expect darkness.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2930    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Apologies for the bizarre double-spaced formatting, not quite sure what's going on. Will happily send anyone the nice, easy to read, .doc version if they'd prefer.

TEASER

FADE IN:

EXT. SERENITY/DEADWOOD – DAY

Serenity, landed at one of Deadwood’s busier spaceports. It’s a border moon, but by the looks of it it’s one of the better ones. Think Scorsese’s ‘Gangs of New York’.

Out of nowhere a repetitive THUD-THUD-THUD is heard.

INT. SERENITY – DINING AREA

MAL, at the head of the table, holds his mug in the air and taps it with a spoon. A small cheer and slight applause from the gathered.

ZOE Speech!

Assembled are ZOE, WASH, JAYNE, SIMON, RIVER, KAYLEE and BOOK sitting around a half-eaten feast. The atmosphere is light and they’ve all been drinking.

MAL If ya’ll’d raise your glasses I’d like to make a toast.

Everyone raises their cups.

MAL (CONT’D) To Durran Haymer. Whose love of all things age-ed just made us some of the richest petty thieves this side of the system.

ALL Durran Haymer!

Everyone but Book drinks.

MAL Not drinking Shepherd?

BOOK Cheating a man on his own property isn’t exactly a Christian affair.

MAL We didn’t cheat! We came to an amicable agreement that saw his property returned unharmed.

BOOK You sold him his own gun Mal.

MAL And at a severely discounted price. Besides, ain’t no-one else in the verse gonna buy it. Nobody lost out here, Shepherd. Have a drink, this is one of our better days.

Book drinks cautiously.

JAYNE While we’re talkin bout better days, when’m I gonna get my share of the take?

ZOE Not now Jayne.

WASH Why not now?

Zoe shoots Wash a disapproving look.

MAL I’m sure ya’ll’ve noticed I’ve not been so quick to divide the haul as usual, but there’s something we need to talk about first. The proceeds from the Lassiter mean each of us’s a mite richer than we expected to be and it comes to mind some of you might be wanting to set up elsewhere, maybe even on a ship of your own.

KAYLEE Leave Serenity? I’d never!

MAL Well Kaylee you weren’t first to come to mind but it’s good to hear you say it.

SIMON With the Alliance after us there’s really nowhere else for us to go.

ZOE Our place is here sir.

This time it’s Wash’s turn to look disapprovingly at Zoe. Mal turns to Book, but before he has a chance to reply all other eyes turn to Jayne.

JAYNE Can’t say the thought hasn’t cropped but the way I reason it, you guys get another big haul after I’m gone I’ll only have to come back, pinch it off you anyway.

Kaylee beams and hugs Jayne. Jayne, a little awkwardly, hugs her back.

JAYNE I ain’t signing for no long haul or nothin’.

WASH You sentimental fool, you.

RIVER (absent mindedly) I think I’ll stay too; its awfully cold outside.

Smirks from the crew.

KAYLEE Then it’s decided, everyone’s stayin’.

MAL (stone faced) Right. Everyone’s staying.

INT. INARA’S SHUTTLE

INARA and a CLIENT having tea. He’s slightly older than most of Inara’s clients, late forties, but handsome and clearly a gentleman. It’s formal, but they both seem to be enjoying it that way.

CLIENT Can I ask you a question?

INARA Of course.

CLIENT Why do you... All this... How do you do, what you do?

INARA (not unkindly) I didn’t know a man of your experience would require a description.

He laughs, slightly embarrassed.

INARA Do you feel shame in coming here?

CLIENT No, of course not. I was, most pleased to hear you selected... Oh dear, this isn’t going well is it?

INARA It’s perfectly fine. In answer to your question it’s the life I’ve always known, a life I’ve always taken pleasure in and I feel no shame in taking yours, or anyone else’s company.

CLIENT And now I feel the fool for ever asking such a question.

The both smile, finishing their tea they both stand and kiss slowly, it’s perfect, the definitive romantic kiss. One practiced to perfection in a life lived for these moments.

INT. ZOE AND WASH’S QUARTERS - LATER

Zoe and Wash kiss, but this is the complete opposite of the previous one, it’s pure passion and lust.

Wash suddenly pulls away.

WASH Stop, stop. We need to talk, about earlier.

ZOE Can’t it wait?

She goes in to kiss him, but he stops her.

WASH No, it can’t.

She sighs, resigned.

ZOE What’s wrong?

WASH We couldn’t at least discuss our plans now there’s money to be had?

ZOE You wanna leave?

WASH I don’t know, Maybe. Might be nice to find a small world, settle down...

ZOE You’d go land-crazy in six months. We both would.

WASH Not if we started a family...

ZOE We could do that here, turn one of the other rooms into a nursery, maybe even talk to Mal about renting the other shuttle... WASH Not this again.

ZOE What’s wrong with having a boat-child? I was one, didn’t do me any harm.

WASH Can you imagine Mal with a kid underfoot? You even talked to him about it? How many jobs do you think he’d let you avoid because the baby’s sick?

ZOE You could look after it yourself you know.

WASH And if I’m working too?

ZOE Then Kaylee. Or Inara. Or Book. Even Jayne’s from a big nest. There’s a whole family here for a child, more than willing and bigger’n any we’d have on our own.

Wash sighs.

WASH This is getting us nowhere, maybe we should just get back to work. Discuss it later.

Wash moves in to kiss her. Zoe holds him back.

ZOE Maybe we should just get back to work.

She turns and climbs up the bedroom ladder leaving Wash alone.

INT. SERENITY – CARGO BAY

Mal and Jayne unclip the rope holding stacks of crates together as Inara heads down the stairs from her shuttle.

MAL You sure about this? Staying on board? There’s worse worlds than Deadwood to hang your hat.

JAYNE You want rid of me?

MAL No, just don’t want you changing your mind halfway to Greenleaf.

JAYNE Can’t promise I won’t want to leave eventual like, but fer now I’m at ease where I am.

MAL That’s good. It settles the head knowing the doc’s bounty ain’t so tempting now.

JAYNE Now I ain’t that rich...

Mal would reply, but his attention is suddenly diverted, Jayne follows his eyes to see Inara and her client heading for the airlock. When they reach the main door they exchange pleasantries before the client takes her hand and kisses it. She smiles sweetly at him. He bows slightly towards the captain and Jayne and heads out of the ship. Inara begins to head back up to her shuttle when

MAL (coldly) I thought you were leaving?

INARA Excuse me?

She begins heading over.

MAL (slightly brighter) Your client, thought you were leaving to meet him.

INARA Not that it’s any of your business but I am leaving to meet a client this evening.

MAL Another one? How do you find the time?

INARA I suppose petty theft doesn’t require so much planning.

MAL Will he kiss your hand too? The next one, I mean.

INARA He may, if he’s a gentleman.

MAL Maybe he’ll kneel.

INARA Maybe he will! He’ll certainly act the gentlemen more than some around here.

MAL Well it’s good you’re not going to be around any more then isn’t it?

JAYNE Wait. What?

INARA Just as soon as my previous engagements are met...

MAL (Overlapping) Previous engagements? When’d you make em Inara? Today? Yesterday? You been set to get off for three weeks yet you’re still here, why is that?

INARA I tried to get off at New Melbourne but you convinced me to stay!

They stop, look at each other for a moment, realising the implication.

INARA I have to prepare.

She starts to walk off.

MAL Does it help? The hand kissing I mean. It make you feel more like a lady, less like a whore?

She stops for a second, deciding whether to get back into it. Then, wearily, heads back to her shuttle.

JAYNE I missed sumthin’ there didn’t I?

Mal grimaces and heads out.

JAYNE What?

FADE OUT.

END TEASER ACT ONE

FADE IN:

INT. INARA’S SHUTTLE

Inara sits, still notably shaken from her exchange with Mal when her cortex terminal beeps. She cleans herself up and checks herself in the mirror, satisfied with the result she clicks on the terminal.

A young man, BEN MASON, appears.

BEN Inara.

INARA Ben, how lovely to see you.

BEN I was just making sure we were still engaged for this evening.

INARA Is there any reason we wouldn’t be?

BEN Well… no, but… I must confess to being somewhat nervous. This is my first time

Then, correcting himself:

BEN With a companion, I mean.

Inara smiles.

INARA Don’t worry, I look forward to seeing you. In fact I was just making arrangements to leave.

BEN Oh! I didn’t mean to disturb you, I’ll let you get back to it. I’ll see you this evening.

INARA Goodbye Ben.

She clicks off the terminal.

INARA Eavesdropping again?

Zoe walks in sheepishly.

ZOE I’m sorry I should…

INARA (surprised) Zoe? Are you okay? Come in.

Zoe moves further into the room, obviously uncomfortable.

INARA Please sit down.

Zoe perches on the end of Inara’s chair. Neither of them says anything for a second.

INARA So what can I do for you?

ZOE It’s, it’s a personal problem.

INARA Just tell me how I can help.

ZOE Wash, he, we had an argument and… This is stupid. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have brought this to you.

INARA No, if I can help, please.

Zoe stands.

ZOE I should go. I… Sorry.

She exits, leaving a very bemused Inara. She moves into the cockpit and grabs the communicator.

INARA Wash?

INT. SERENITY – COCKPIT

WASH Right here Inara.

INT. INARA’S SHUTTLE

INARA Is Zoe alright?

WASH (V.O.) You tell me.

INARA I’m sure it’s nothing.

WASH (V.O.) Yeah, we’ll see. You getting ready to leave?

INARA Yes, I should be back before midday tomorrow.

WASH (V.O) See you then.

INARA Wash?

WASH (V.O.) Yeah?

INARA Go talk to Zoe.

WASH (V.O.) I’ll try.

Inara puts the communicator back in its place and takes off.

EXT. DEADWOOD - DAY

A man about Mal’s age watches the shuttle go. He is dressed plainly but holds himself well and people on the street greet him warmly, pats on the back, waves. This is HOROWITZ and clearly he is a man of respect.

Book walks down the ramp and Horowitz looks him up and down.

HOROWITZ You’re new ain’t ya?

BOOK Quite old, actually, but thank you for the compliment.

Book walks past him and heads into a chapel without another word. Horowitz, still looking up at Serenity, grins.

HOROWITZ Now there’s a more familiar face!

Kaylee walks down the ramp with a huge smile on her face.

KAYLEE Well hello there stranger!

She and Horowitz hug. Over her shoulder Horowitz spots River, before Simon motions her back into the ship.

HOROWITZ What’s with all the new arrivals?

KAYLEE Simon and River? They ain’t so new, Simon back there’s our doctor. River’s his sister, they’re… well they’re shy. And I saw you speaking to Shepherd Book.

HOROWITZ A shepherd? A real one? How’d that come about?

MAL In a long and boring fashion.

Mal walks down the ramp, as someone turns and greets Horowitz. Horowitz gives a slight salute back. When Mal reaches the bottom he shakes hands with Horowitz.

MAL How is it you don’t get promoted once in the war, yet now you got yourself a whole township to run?

HOROWITZ Lot’ve things have changed since the war Mal.

MAL Ain’t they just.

HOROWITZ You got my crates ready?

MAL You got my cash?

Horowitz pulls out a money bag and tosses it to Mal who weighs it with his hand.

MAL Feels a little light.

HOROWITZ Count it if you feel the need.

MAL I trust you.

HOROWITZ I got another deliver going edge-wards if you’re short on cash?

KAYLEE Shows what you know, we’re practically...

MAL (overlapping) … Broke. Could use the extra cash. What’s the cargo?

HOROWITZ Medical equipment headed for New Caanan. Sensitive stuff, gotta keep it sealed up. It’s good money though.

MAL How much good money?

HOROWITZ Bout three times heavier than that.

Mal whistles, impressed.

MAL Looks like you got yourself a medical transport. When you want to load up?

HOROWITZ I’ll go sort the arrangements. Be back after lunch tomorrow. Say hi to Wash and Zoe for me.

Then, turning:

HOROWITZ (CONT’D) They still work here right?

MAL They do.

Horowitz walks off. Mal starts counting Horowitz’s cash.

KAYLEE How comes you didn’t want him to know we’re flush?

MAL He thinks we don’t need the money he goes elsewhere and doesn’t come back. Serenity’s got repairs need doing, might even buy us a new mule with that extra cash. It won’t last long and we want jobs to come back to.

KAYLEE A new rotator for the engine housing would make her fly a whole lot smoother.

MAL Ask and you shall receive. But, just out of curiosity you understand, how much coin a thing like that gonna cost?

KAYLEE I’ll buy it, got my own share don’t I? Serenity’s home, only seems right I give a bit.

She smiles, and as so often happens when Kaylee’s around, Mal smiles back.

INT. CHAPEL – DAY

The chapel is empty save for Book at the head. He kneels before a statue of (a notably black) Jesus on the cross.

BOOK Lord, I pray for the strength to do what is right, to work your will as you see fit. I ask for forgiveness, for the sins of my past and those of my friends, and I ask for guidance: Am I where you want me to be?

A PRIEST (NOT a shepherd) approaches from behind.

PRIEST Do you come for confession friend?

Book stands and turns to him.

BOOK Just to pray. It’s not often I get chance to talk face-to-face, as it were.

PRIEST Well, there’s nowhere better. I built this place up from scratch, used to be a slaughterhouse. I walked on nearly every world spinning, but after I saw her I never took another step. Never found anywhere closer to heaven as this.

BOOK How did you know, that the journey was over?

PRIEST One day I looked back and realised I’d just, stopped walking.

He smiles, looks around his church.

PRIEST Well, I’ll leave you to your prayers.

He walks off.

EXT. BEN MASON’S ESTATE

Ben stands outside his house (and what a house!) in his finery. The sun is setting behind him. He checks his watch.

INT. ZOE AND WASH’S QUARTERS

Zoe is awake in bed, as she hears the ladder click into place she closes her eyes and feigns sleep. Wash comes down the ladder.

WASH Zoe? You awake?

He removes his shirt and pants and slips into bed. He reaches over to her.

WASH Zo?

She rolls over onto her side, still feigning sleep. Wash sighs and lies back, closing his eyes.

EXT. DEADWOOD – DAY

A truck stands outside Serenity, workers bustle moving crates both large and small into the cargo bay as Horowitz keeps a watchful eye over the proceedings.

Mal and Jayne carry one of the heavy boxes, River carries a little one. Mal looks up to see that Inara’s shuttle still hasn’t returned.

INT. SERENITY – BRIDGE

Mal enters and walks up to Wash.

MAL Cargo bay’s stocked, what time’re we expecting Inara back?

WASH Bout an hour ago.

MAL Get her on comms.

Wash clicks some buttons and Mal looks at one of the comm-screens.

MAL Inara... Inara you there… Inara, put the boy down and answer me.

Just static.

MAL (to Wash) We know where she went?

WASH The uh, Rawlins estate. Couple of hours north of here.

MAL Patch me through.

The static clears and Ben appears on screen.

BEN Inara?

MAL Uh, no. Was hoping you could tell me where she’s at.

BEN She never arrived, I knew she’d change her mind…

MAL Attitude like that it’d be no wonder if she did. Still, she went off last night set to see you.

He turns to Wash.

MAL Everyone else on board?

Wash clicks on the intercom

WASH Anyone not onboard?

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY

Book walks onto the ship.

BOOK We’re all here.

WASH (V.O.) Close her up, we’re leaving.

EXT. DEADWOOD - DAY

As Serenity takes off.

INT. SERENITY – BRIDGE

MAL (to Ben) We’re heading you’re way now, will let you know if we find anything.

He clicks off the screen.

MAL Scan for the shuttle, let me know if you find anything.

Mal leaves the bridge

INT. SERENITY – CORRIDOR

And runs into Zoe.

ZOE What’s going on?

MAL Inara’s not back, never even made it to her appointment.

ZOE You worrying?

MAL Not so much, Inara’s a big girl she can take care of herself. Still, would like to know what’s so important as to cancel a job over it.

ZOE Want me to tell the others?

MAL No need to upset them, might just be nothing. Tell that husband of yours to contact me as soon as anything comes through.

ZOE Right.

Mal enters his bunk. Zoe looks up at Wash, thinks about it, then turns around and walks away.

INT. SERENITY – MAL’S QUARTERS

Montage of Mal pacing his room, trying to read, lying down. Nothing can keep him occupied as he waits.

WASH (V.O) Mal, I’m getting a read on her pulse beacon.

MAL Okay, I’ll be right u...

WASH (V.O.) Oh god…

MAL What? What is it?

He rushes out of his room and up to

INT. SERENITY – BRIDGE

And stops dead in his tracks. Outside we can see the remains of Inara’s shuttle lie at the end of a smoking impact crater.

FADE OUT.

END OF ACT ONE

ACT TWO

FADE IN:

INT. INARA’S SHUTTLE

Mal and Zoe enter the shuttle, it appears untouched.

MAL Inara!

ZOE Anyone in here?!

They sweep the shuttle, it’s empty.

MAL She’s gone.

ZOE What now?

Mal grabs his communicator.

MAL Wash?

WASH (V.O) Right here Mal. What’s going on over there?

MAL There’s no sign.

WASH [Damn]

MAL (CONT’D) You got any life signs in the surrounding area?

WASH Got some small blips, nothing big enough to be a person.

Mal clicks the communicator off.

MAL (to Zoe) Check the log, see if there’s anything there. I’ll go see if...

He stops, stepping on something which breaks. He looks down and a broken syringe under his foot. Next to it sits a half empty vial of dark liquid. He picks it up and looks at it quizzically.

INT. SERENITY – INFIRMARY

Mal enters with the remnants of the vial.

SIMON Inara? Is she...

MAL (interrupting) Gone. I need you to find out what this does.

SIMON Gone? What’s going on? What is it?

MAL I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking you to find out what it is. Found it in the shuttle, looks like she might’ve dosed herself before going down. Might be a clue, if you can tell me what it does.

SIMON How?

MAL I don’t know, you’re a doctor, this is what you do, you… doctor!

SIMON (slightly bemused) I’m a trauma surgeon, this is... chemistry at best. Even if I could find out what that was, I don’t have anywhere near the equipment necessary to do it.

MAL Come with me.

Mal walks out of infirmary and into

INT. CARGO BAY

He pulls the side off the first crate, Styrofoam packing falls out to reveal large amounts of medical equipment. Mal goes through a few crates, repeating the action. Simon looks on amazed.

MAL You think you can find out with all this?

Simon nods, awed. Mal thrusts the vial into his hands.

MAL Good, get on it.

Zoe walks in from outside. Mal walks up to her.

MAL What do we know?

ZOE The whole board’s fried, so nothing.

MAL Get Kaylee and Wash in there, see if they can’t find a way to get her running again.

He turns and heads up the gantry.

ZOE Where’re you going?

MAL Try something stupid.

INT. SERENITY – DINING AREA

Jayne sits at the table eating.

JAYNE We got word?

MAL No, nothing. Look, I gotta ask you something. We first met, you managed to track us down despite our best efforts. Tell me true, that skill or luck?

He thinks about it for a second.

JAYNE Bit o’ both.

MAL [If] Kaylee and Wash can’t get Inara’s shuttle up and running again we got nowhere to go. You feel up to taking a look round, see if you can’t spot something rest’ve us missed?

JAYNE Can do.

EXT. DEADWOOD/SHUTTLE

Kaylee and Wash are on the back of the shuttle, tinkering with the engines.

WASH I just don’t know how to explain it to her.

KAYLEE You do want kids don’t you?

WASH Sometimes I think about settling down, maybe opening, I don’t know, a freight company. We’d have a couple of critters, I’d take them out with me, teach them to fly, then we’d come home and Zoe’s there with a hot… gun, on the table. Teach them about, gun, stuff.

Kaylee giggles.

WASH It might sound funny, but I can see it. Got it all planned out. I’d be happy there.

KAYLEE It sounds nice.

WASH We have a kid here, we won’t leave. Zoe’s right when she says we’d make a family, call me selfish but I don’t want that.

She beckons Wash over, needing a hand pulling out a heavy and burnt out piece of machinery. A heavy and less burnt version sits on top of the shuttle.

WASH I don’t want scary uncle Mal or crazy aunt River next door. I want it to be Zoe and me and the kids, with the crazy big family who visit at weekends. That sounds so bad?

She shakes her head.

WASH Then why’s she so set against it?

KAYLEE Shh!

They points down as Mal, Book and Jayne walk out, Kaylee and Wash listen intently.

MAL What you reckon?

JAYNE Nothing disturbed, means she left peaceful enough. Must’ve run out as soon as she hit.

BOOK You think she was being chased?

JAYNE Could just be scared of the ship going up.

MAL Then what?

JAYNE She’d head towards closest settlement she’d seen.

He points off into the desert and they jump on the mule and head down that way.

MAL Sensors stretch out this far, no way she’s down here.

JAYNE Don’t change that this’s still where she’d be headed.

They go on a bit further.

JAYNE If she wus being chased she’d be got here-bouts.

BOOK There.

He points a little way in the distance, black marks on the rocky floor. The mule heads for it.

MAL Small. Shuttle?

BOOK Maybe a little bigger.

JAYNE Here.

He reaches down and picks up an item of jewellery, almost certainly Inara’s.

JAYNE Got her.

EXT. INARA’S SHUTTLE

The mule arrives back as Kaylee and Wash slip in the new part. The ship hums expectantly.

KAYLEE All ready captain.

MAL Good work. Where’s Zoe?

WASH Inside.

He indicates inside the shuttle and Mal walks in.

INT. INARA’S SHUTTLE

MAL Zoe, you in here?

ZOE Through here sir.

She pulls the cockpit curtain away.

MAL We got the black box working?

ZOE Yeah.

MAL Well what’s it say?

She hits a button and we see the playback from cameras on the exterior of the shuttle.

EXT. DEADWOOD/SHUTTLE

A small craft appears in the distance, but we can’t make out what it is yet.

INARA (V.O.) Unidentified craft this is Serenity shuttle one, what can I do for you?

Slowly the ship moves closer into frame.

INARA (V.O.) Unidentified craft, please respond.

It’s hull is covered in scorch marks and it’s torn up to hell. It can only be one thing: A reaver ship.

A dish on the front of the ship begins to glow red and a beam shoots out of it, the shuttle dodges deftly out of the way. A second beam comes and again a nifty manoeuvre keeps her from getting hit.

The dish heat up again.

INARA HELP M…

And all is to static.

INT. INARA’S SHUTTLE

Mal and Zoe stand watching the screen, apparently neither of them can think of anything to say.

INT. SERENITY – DINING AREA

All but Simon and River are assembled.

WASH Reavers...

MAL Hitting a close-as civilised planet.

KAYLEE Is there any chance we’re wrong? I mean, she could’ve got away right?

JAYNE Not less I was tracking someone else.

BOOK She’s been gone nearly twelve hours, if she’d got away she would’ve reached a nearby town or settlement. We’d have heard.

ZOE I checked the cortex, it doesn’t look like they’ve hit anywhere local, means she’s alone up there, or close to.

MAL So that’s it then. We’ve lost her.

They take a moment. Everyone is close to tears, Kaylee cries openly. Then,

SIMON (O.C.) Maybe not.

Everyone turns as Simon walks in, triumphant. He throws the black vial to Mal.

SIMON It’s a designer virus. She must’ve injected herself before they got to her.

MAL I’m no doctor but don’t viruses usually kill folk?

SIMON Not this one, at least not right away. It’s designed so that the person injected becomes a carrier, but receives none of the symptoms. It fills the system, specifically the reproductive fluids, and is then transferred to anyone who comes into contact with them.

WASH So any reaver did, what it planned to do to her...

SIMON Isn’t going to be looking too healthy right now.

They take a moment as this all sinks in.

MAL Good job Doc.

He talks fast, plan formulating as he goes.

MAL (CONT’D) Kaylee, Jayne, get the shuttle reattached. Wash, I need you to find that ship. They’ve only been gone a night, can’t have gone far.

They all sit there, taking it in.

MAL Come on, get going!

They all near jump out of there seats, heading off to respective jobs.

Kaylee heads through the door, then turns back, tears still in her eyes. She runs to Simon and kisses him, it’s short, it’s not passionate, but it’s heartfelt.

And she runs out.

END OF ACT TWO

ACT THREE

FADE IN:

EXT. DEADWOOD/SERENITY

The shuttle now reattached, Serenity sits in the desert by the impact zone.

MAL (V.O.) So here’s what we know.

INT. SERENITY – DINING AREA

Mal stands at the head of the table while the rest of the crew sit around it. It’s all business, a direct contrast to the jovial nature of the opening scene.

MAL Inara got grabbed last night and now they’re drifting.

Mal places a picture down of the Reaver vessel.

BOOK I know this ship, it’s old Alliance, a prison transport.

MAL Congratulations preacher, you just volunteered yourself as tour guide.

JAYNE (in Chinese) [The Whore of Babylon!] (in English) you wanna go in there?

MAL If the doc tells true ‘bout that potion we found, most of them’ll be dead before we hit their radar. But this ain’t just another job, volunteers only. For my part I’d favour you three.

He indicates Book, Jayne and Simon.

ZOE Sir?

MAL We’ll close the doors after we leave but you gotta stay, there’s no-one else can protect Serenity.

WASH Thanks for the vote of confidence sir.

MAL Wash you stay in the cockpit for the duration, keep her prepped. First sign of trouble you get her as far away as you can.

Wash nods.

JAYNE We all forgetting something here? I ain’t going in there.

MAL I don’t have time to argue with you Jayne.

JAYNE Then take Zoe!

MAL Fine. Stay here, sure you’ll be fine, only person armed, Reavers at the door.

Jayne takes a minute, thinks it over.

JAYNE ‘appen you’re right, Zoe should stay.

MAL Any other objections?

Silence.

MAL Shiny. Wash can you get us there?

WASH That’s my job isn’t it?

MAL Good. Get up front, take us up.

WASH Yes sir.

Wash jumps out of his chair and heads for the cockpit.

EXT. DEADWOOD

Serenity’s engines fire up and heads up.

INT. SERENITY – CARGO BAY

Mal walks purposefully down the lower gantry stairs and opens the weapons locker, he pulls out a rifle and starts loading it. He continues doing this as Zoe enters, finishing with a smaller, one handed gun.

ZOE Sir, you board that ship and your luck holds out to reaching Inara, don’t you think she might want to see another woman’s face after what she’ll have been through?

Mal stops loading weapons and turns to look at her.

MAL Maybe, but you want to leave Kaylee in charge? Or River?

ZOE River might be the best shot of all of us.

MAL She also might invite the Reavers to play horseshoe, you may not have noticed but she’s a mite erratic.

ZOE There’s something else we haven’t thought of. What if you get there and she’s... She’s not her, anymore.

MAL I thought about it, ‘bout the guy we pulled outta that derelict and what happened to him.

ZOE And?

MAL Inara’s stronger than him, lot stronger. She’s a survivor, like us.

ZOE And if she’s not?

Mal grips his hostered gun.

MAL Then I’ll do as needs be done.

He finishes up the guns and heads across the cargo bay.

MAL (CONT’D) But it’ll still be her. I know it will.

A few more steps then, with his head low.

MAL (to himself) Please God let it still be her.

As he walks past Book we hear part of his prayers.

BOOK When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

Simon and Kaylee stand a little apart from the rest

KAYLEE Do you got to go with them?

SIMON If Inara’s alive, it’s likely she’ll need medical attention.

KAYLEE What if you just told Mal what to do?

Simon says nothing, instead he steps forward and hugs her. Before anything else can happen River comes in from nowhere and moves into the hug. Kaylee, after a moment’s surprise, pulls away and leaves them to it.

RIVER Be careful [big brother].

SIMON I will.

He pulls himself away and moves over to Mal and Jayne. Jayne’s tooled up to the nines, Simon just has his medical bag. Mal hands Simon the small gun.

SIMON I, I don’t know how to use this.

Mal grabs his hand and holds it up.

MAL Point. (he lightly touches the trigger) Shoot. Need me to go over it again?

Book joins them and Mal hands him the other rifle.

MAL I got point, Shepherd following for directions, Doc, then Jayne you bring up the rear. Don’t hesitate, they won’t.

Zoe walks over.

MAL As soon as we’re through you close these doors and lock ‘em. Do not open them unless I contact you.

He holds up a communicator for emphasis.

ZOE Understood.

A shudder is heard as the ships connects.

WASH (V.O.) Captain, we are docked and ready.

MAL (into comms) Thanks Wash.

Mal ushers everyone into defensive positions around the airlock.

MAL (to Zoe) Open her up.

Zoe slowly pulls the airlock door open. It’s pretty dark inside. Mal’s torch lights up and shines around the bay. Seeing nothing they step out into

INT. REAVER SHIP

The torchlight reveals the walls are decorated with the bodies of their victims, trophies of the past. Underneath we get glimpses of the original Alliance structure but not much of it.

ZOE Bring her back to us.

Zoe closes the airlock door behind them.

INT. SERENITY – PASSENGER DORM

KAYLEE (O.C.) River?

Kaylee walks into frame and heads into

INT. SERENITY – RIVER’S QUARTERS

River sits huddled in the corner, never looking up.

KAYLEE River, you okay?

RIVER (crazy ranting) Gonna die...

KAYLEE No-one’s gonna die sweetie, Cap’n’s gonna bring everyone back safe then we’re gonna get as far away from here as we can.

River giggles to herself.

RIVER No. You don’t understand.

She looks Kaylee straight in the eye.

RIVER (CONT’D) He’s going to kill her.

INT. REAVER SHIP

The men slowly make their way through the ship until they come to a corner. Mal peers round it

ANGLE: MAL’S POV

A Reaver falls into frame!

MAL [Shit!]

Mal fires immediately but the body just drops to the floor dead.

MAL Doc get up here.

Simon heads to the front and sees the state of the self-mutilated man.

SIMON Oh my god...

MAL Inara’s poison do any of that?

SIMON I couldn’t say without doing an autopsy. Maybe if I saw another...

He stops looking down the corridor. Bodies strewn everywhere. Jayne comes up to look.

JAYNE [Holy excrement of Buddha]

MAL Both of you, back in line. Lets just get through this.

The group pass through the ship silently. They keep low and alert but the ship is as a ghost. Dead Reaver bodies at almost every turn. Jayne keeps his gun trained on as many corpses as he can at any one time.

INT. SERENITY – CARGO BAY

Zoe and Kaylee and River at the weapons locker. River’s still twitchy, but not as bad as she was. Zoe hands Kaylee a handgun.

KAYLEE I don’t want it.

ZOE Well you’re still gonna take it ‘cause if anything gets through that door then you’ll need it.

KAYLEE Mal said...

ZOE Mal said I was to protect you and the ship, and the best way of doing that is if you’re armed. Besides, Mal’s not here, he’s

RIVER At the door.

ZOE (turning) They’re back already?

BANG! Pounding at the airlock. River screams.

RIVER They’re at the door!

Zoe quickly hands the gun to Kaylee.

WASH (O.S) What’s going on down there?

ZOE (to Kaylee) Get upstairs, seal all the doors. Keep River safe.

Kaylee grabs the gun and ushers River upstairs.

Wash runs in from above.

WASH What’s going on down here?

The pounding continues.

ZOE Back in the bridge! Get us ready to leave.

WASH To hell with that!

Wash runs to the locker, pulls out a gun.

ZOE Wash, I am ordering you back to the bridge.

WASH Yeah, I heard, but you’re my wife so I’m not leaving. Now where am I best set?

Zoe sighs.

ZOE With me, upper gantry.

They take up positions, Wash goes to talk but Zoe doesn’t look in any mood to reply. He focuses his gaze on the banging door.

INT. HOLDING CELLS

A long corridor of cells. They enter and Mal goes to the first one and opens it. The mangled remains of a corpse lie inside. Mal pulls the door closed. The next one, another corpse. And another. Mal’s pace increases. Another corpse, another one, another one and... No, wait.

Mal stops, then slowly turns back. He reopens the door. A body lies inside in Inara’s tattered clothes.

MAL No, please no...

He kneels at the body and pulls it round to reveal Inara’s face. Simon rushes in.

SIMON (to Mal) Move.

He near pushes Mal off her and slowly checks her over. It’s obvious to all how bad her condition is.

SIMON She’s alive, unconscious. We need to get her to the infirmary.

MAL How will she be when she wakes up?

SIMON I can’t tell you.

MAL Will she be like the kid from the derelict?

ANGLE: MAL’S HOLSTER

As he reaches for his gun.

SIMON (impatient) I don’t know. I won’t know anything until we get her back on Serenity. Now help me get her up.

Simon beckons him to help.

MAL Wait.

ANGLE: MAL’S HOLSTER

Hold for a second before Mal lets go.

MAL (to Book and Jayne) You two, check the other cells. Make sure we ain’t leaving no-one.

Book and Jayne start checking the other cells. On the fourth, Book opens to a CHINESE GIRL, messed up even worse than Inara. She can barely breathe, a mixture of gurgles and coughs.

GIRL (faintly) Please...

BOOK [Godless monsters!]

Jayne looks over from further down the line.

JAYNE You say sumthin’ Shepherd?

GIRL Kill me, please...

ANGLE: STRAIGHT DOWN THE CORRIDOR

Book steps into the cell.

Jayne checks doors down to Book’s cell as he steps out.

JAYNE You okay?

BOOK We’re done here.

Book walks past him and down towards Mal, who now stands at the doorway holding Inara.

Jayne peers into the cell, and sees only another body.

INT. SERENITY – CARGO BAY

All the exits are sealed off, Zoe and Wash still hold their positions in silence.

The pounding continues until it’s cut off by round upon round of gunfire.

MAL (V.O) Zoe, open her up.

INT. REAVER SHIP

Mal (with Inara in his arms), Book, Simon and Jayne stand as Zoe opens up the door. Mal rushes in and past Zoe and Wash without saying a word.

WASH Oh God, is she...

BOOK She’s alive.

Kaylee comes rushing in from above.

KAYLEE No...

JAYNE Kaylee stay where y’are. Ain’t no need for you to see this.

INT. SERENITY - SURGERY

SIMON Get her on the table.

They do so. Simon checks her pulse, her breathing.

SIMON Her breathing’s shallow, pulse is slow.

MAL What does that mean?

Simon stars running his hands up Inara’s leg.

MAL What’re you doing?

SIMON Checking for breaks.

MAL Is she gonna wake up? Doctor!

SIMON Mal! I need to concentrate here and you’re not helping.

MAL But...

BOOK Mal, there’s nothing you can do here. Let the man do his job. Everyone.

Everyone moves out, Book closes the doors behind him.

MONTAGE:

Simon checks over Inara, everyone waits outside expectantly.

He moves away from the bed while

ANGLE: SIDE OF THE BED

Inara’s hand slowly moves into frame and picks up a scalpel.

FADE OUT.

END OF ACT THREE

ACT FOUR

FADE IN:

INT. SERENITY – SURGERY

Inara pulls herself up on the operating table, she’s scared and brandishing the scalpel.

INARA (In Chinese) [Get the fuck away from me!]

Simon jumps back as Mal and the others run in.

MAL Inara!

She looks at him, barely recognising him.

MAL Inara it’s me. It’s Mal. It’s okay, you’re safe.

INARA (Chinese) [What… Where…]

She looks around at all the concerned faces looking down at her and bursts into tears. She drops the scalpel.

MAL It’s gonna be okay, we’re gonna get you to a hospital, you’re gonna be fine.

Simon moves over to Book and whispers something to him. He ushers everyone but Mal out of the room. Zoe stays looking through the window.

INARA How? Do you know what they did? Look at me!

In the background Simon fills up a glass with water and drops something else into it. He goes to hand it to Inara but as soon as he gets close she pulls back.

He pulls back too, then places the glass just within her reach. She takes it and drinks it down, obviously thirsty.

Whatever Simon put in her drink obviously works fast as she becomes groggy instantaneously.

INARA (groggily) Is this what a lady looks like?

She passes out.

SIMON Sorry about that, she wasn’t supposed to wake up yet. Whatever it was she took seems to counteract my sedatives.

MAL She okay to be moved?

SIMON Well she’s not in any physical danger, mentally I couldn’t tell you, but I don’t see her shuttle being too comforting.

MAL I’ll take her up to the passenger dorm, that’ll be better.

He goes to pick her up when the intercom buzzes.

WASH (V.O.) Mal, Horowitz is on the line, wants to know how his crates are.

Mal looks at Inara then up towards the cockpit. Zoe walks in.

ZOE Go and captain, I’ll get her to a room.

Mal looks at Inara, then pulls himself away. Zoe lifts up Inara.

INT. SERENITY – DINING AREA

Simon walks in as Kaylee almost frantically prepares food. The kitchen is quite a mess and she’s near tears.

KAYLEE Simon! How’s Inara? She okay? What am I saying, course she’s not okay. Stupid. She gonna be okay? Is she...

SIMON She’s resting. Zoe’s in with her now.

KAYLEE I thought I’d make her something to eat but I didn’t know what was best and then I realised she’s got stuff in her shuttle she might like better and...

Simon walks towards her and embraces her, she bursts into tears.

KAYLEE I just don’t know what to do!

River steps through the doorway, Simon, still in the embrace, looks up and sees her. He looks up, his expression questioning if she needs him but River shakes her head and heads out the way she came.

INT. SERENITY – PASSENGER DORM

River walks up and looks into Shepherd Book’s quarters.

ANGLE: STRAIGHT DOWN, AS WHEN BOOK WENT INTO THE CELL

As River walks into his room.

INT. SERENITY – BOOK’S QUARTERS

Book sits on his bed, poring over his bible.

BOOK River! What are you doing here?

She walks away without a word. Book, closes the bible and looks at it.

BOOK (to no-one in particular) Just keep walkin preacher man…

INT. SERENITY – JAYNE’S QUARTERS

Jayne sits at his desk, guns out, furiously cleaning and checking every one.

INT. SERENITY – PASSENGER DORM

Zoe leaves Inara’s new room as Mal walks up.

MAL How’s she doing?

ZOE As well as can be expected. You’re right, she’s strong.

MAL I ain’t so sure no-more. But we should contact the companion house, see what they can do for her.

ZOE Right.

They both look at each other, waiting for the other to leave.

MAL You wanna step out of my way?

ZOE You’re not going in there?

MAL Was plannin on it, yeah.

ZOE I think she needs her rest, sir.

MAL And I don’t plan on waking her, just want to make sure she’s okay.

ZOE She’s fine, don’t worry.

MAL Don’t worry? You looked at her yet? I think that’s reason to worry. Now step out of my way.

Zoe stands firm. Mal walks around her and into the room.

Zoe body droops and she wipes her face.

Wash enters.

WASH Hey, how’s is she?

Zoe doesn’t say anything, merely motions a shrug.

WASH Look, I’m sorry, for everything. I’m just not ready to be a father, not here. Not where things like this can happen. I know one day, you and me, we are going to make one fantastic kid. Just give me a bit more time.

He waits for a response, but doesn’t get one.

WASH Anytime you wanna say something just jump right in.

ZOE Make love to me.

A moments confusion, then he holds out his hand and leads her upstairs.

INT. INARA’S ROOM

Inara lies asleep in her bed as Mal approaches, he stands next to her bed for a moment. She’s messed up bad. Reaching into his pocket he pulls out the necklace Jayne found, and places it at the side of her bed. He kneels down and reaches for her hand.

She awakes almost violently and pulls her hand away. They look at each other for a moment as she calms down and moves her hand back to his. He lifts it to his face and kisses it gently.

FADE OUT.

END OF SHOW

COMMENTS

Sunday, February 26, 2006 5:54 PM

ANONYMOUS


You know, when I read about this episode idea I was a bit uncertain of it, but I think you did a real good job on making it feel real :) And awwww on Kaylee turning around, kissing Simon, I could totally see that happen.
~ misskitten

Sunday, February 26, 2006 6:05 PM

KAYNARA


been wondering when i'd see this ep on the boards...i think you did good, very FF. joss and tim are evil, huh. write the sequel!

~kaynara

Sunday, February 26, 2006 6:29 PM

2X2


yes, sequel please

Sunday, February 26, 2006 6:48 PM

RINNYPJ


I've actually read a few renditions of this episode, and I'm very impressed with this one. Good work.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 8:53 PM

ANONYMOUS


I haven't heard about this episode premise. Where was it mentioned? It was very good! Kaylee kissing Simon was so very awwww...

Monday, February 27, 2006 1:15 AM

CHRONICTHEHEDGEHOG


It was brought up at the Screenwriter's Expo in LA last year (October/November time) where he got asked what firefly stories they never got to tell. There should be a link somewhere in the news section of this site

Monday, February 27, 2006 1:52 AM

OLDSOUL1987


Sequal is a MUST!

Monday, February 27, 2006 5:13 AM

HOMESPUN


You did a really nice job with this, start to finish. When I read about this ep, I decided to pretend I'd never heard it, it bothered me so much. I just couldn't picture it. But you've made it work, and very true to the show and characters. You've salvaged the storyline for me. Thanks.

Monday, February 27, 2006 5:56 AM

ANONYMOUS


I think someone should have commented on the staggering number of dead Reavers and the obvious implication.

Monday, February 27, 2006 5:59 AM

LEIASKY


Very chilling. I do hope you continue this.

Being a Simon and Kaylee fan, I really enjoyed the few moments you gave them. Some episodes had moments very similar and then some completely seemed to ignore that side line of the series (Out of Gas being my primary example.)

Might anyone have a link to a transcript or something where Tim talked about this storyline? I'd never heard of it and am very curious.

Monday, February 27, 2006 7:59 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


chronic,

This is some mighty good stuff here....probably not quite as dark as Joss, Tim & Co. were gonna go for, but maybe a better fit overall.

And yeah, Anonymous (68.57.166.234), I have to agree with ya about the large number of dead Reavers....Inara ain't gonna be all right for a long time if an entire ship (pretty much) full of Reavers gangraped her.

I wonder if this could be applied to canon from the BDH, since Inara is teaching now rather than merely being a Companion...though one would think she would either be joining River in having an emotional breakdown during the siege at Mr. Universe's or going all Rambo like Zoe was if that had been the case.

Oh...and I have to agree with the other requests for a sequel....have to see how our mean ole Capt. Tightpants helps Inara deal with her Serenity Valley

BEB

Monday, February 27, 2006 8:47 AM

ANONYMOUS


Ah! So exciting!

Sunday, March 5, 2006 7:53 AM

VAUGHN28


I agree that a sequel is needed. And yes, this could be canon and help explain why she is in a teaching role in the BDM.

Thursday, March 9, 2006 10:38 PM

AGENTROUKA


How did I miss this when it was posted?? It's excellent!

You really kept the character voices intact, had something to do for everyone and managed to sell the episode's concept to a sceptic. (Me!)

I was really impressed, especially by the subtle way you played the "lady/whore/handkiss/kneeling" reference in the beginning. Very naturally.

Really really well done. I'm glad you mentioned this fic in the fanfic rec thread over in the community section. :)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006 1:59 AM

MINIME


Late to the bandwagon, but I'm impressed. Nice work.

Thursday, May 4, 2006 4:37 PM

RIPTHEJACKER


SWEET!!! This is SO Season Two, Episode 1. *Tries raising a chant* MORE!MORE!MORE!MORE!


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Based on an episode idea suggested by Tim Minear a while back. It was suggested when the series was going to be much darker than it turned out to be so, you know, expect darkness.


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