Serenity II: The Fall of the Alliance

by Jimmy James

[Story Headers]

FADE IN:

EXT. OUTER SPACE - ESTABLISHING

An Alliance Goliath Class Carrier ship, the biggest and baddest ship the Alliance has, floating though space. Several support ships surround the Battleship...the main fleet of the Alliance.

SUPERIMPOSE: "Alliance Goliath-Class Battleship "USS Armageddon"

QUICK CUT:

INT. BRIDGE OF ALLIANCE BATTLESHIP

There are seven people total on the bridge. GRAND ADMIRAL KANE and his X-O, COLONIEL BRYAN BRYCE, stand in the center. The SECURITY CHEIF stands near the door. The other four officers, OFFICER #1, OFFICER #2, OFFICER #3 and the RADAR OFFICER are at their respective stations. Only the X-O and the SECURITY CHIEF wear their sidearms.

GRAND ADMIRAL KANE:
Damned Independents! They're hitting us all over the solar rim. Even the core planets aren't safe.

COLONEL BRYAN BRYCE:
We're approaching Orion III, Admiral. This was where our source reported where the next attack will be.

GRAND ADMIRAL KANE:
Wearing your sidearm, Colonel Bryce? (laughingly) You don't think you'll actually need it do you?

COLONEL BRYAN BRYCE:
You never know, sir. I understand General Galen Broud is one of the most fierce commanders of the Independents. Better to be safe than sorry.

GRAND ADMIRAL KANE:
Galen Broud. I look forward to seeing the man face to face. He gets more bold with each victory. He will find his match in the Armageddon, the mightiest ship in the fleet. (pause.) They should have learned from the first war that they can't hope to win. Why do they fight us so hard, Bryan?

COLONEL BRYAN BRYCE:
You saw the transmission, Admiral Kane. There are many that don't care to be made into someone else's idea of perfection. The alliance created the Reavers trying to make the 'verse a better place. There are those that would oppose that, sir.

GRAND ADMIRAL KANE:
(Turns to his 1st Officer, with an arrogant concern in his face--perhaps disdain.) The Parliament is made up of men, Colonel. Those men sometimes make mistakes. They meant well, regardless the circumstance. No single mistake, no matter how disastrous, is reason enough to turn your back on the greatest guiding light of civilization the universe has ever known. No matter. When this "Galen Broud" arrives, we'll have quite a surprise waiting for him!

RADAR OFFICER:
Sir! Multiple contacts!

COLONEL BRYAN BRYCE:
You're right about that, Admiral.

COLONEL BRYAN BRYCE pulls his sidearm and shoots the SECURITY CHEIF, the only guy on the bridge with a weapon besides him. He shoots the RADAR OFFICER, and then OFFICER #3. He then trains the gun on ADMIRAL KANE.

EXT. OUTER SPACE - ALLIANCE BATTLESHIP.

Smaller Independent ships fly out...taking out all the support ships...ALLIANCE fleet is getting it's ass kicked. The Battleship noticeably doesn't fire any weapons.

EXT. OUTER SPACE - THE HULL OF ALLIANCE BATTLESHIP.

Several Independent ships are docking with the Alliance Battleship, Securing themselves to the Airlock ports.

COLONEL BRYAN BRYCE:
(speaking to OFFICERS #1 AND #2.)
Power down the weapons and open the outer airlocks. Prepare to receive the boarders.

GRAND ADMIRAL KANE:
Wha--? Colonel, what have you ---

COLONEL BRYAN BRYCE:
There are more sympathizers for the Independents than you think, Admiral.

OFFICER #1:
Ship is secured, sir. Galen has arrived.

COLONEL BRYAN BRYCE:
Let him in.

GRAND ADMIRAL KANE:
Bryan! Are you out of your mind?!!? You're giving the pride of the Alliance's fleet over to it's worst enemy!! You traitorous scum!

COLONEL BRYAN BRYCE:
It is the Alliance who has betrayed US, Admiral. In their search for a sinless world, they created the most vile creatures that ever traveled the 'verse. I will not be a party to such villainy. A rational man must oppose such a government. (pause, sadly.)
Nothing else makes sense. (The 1st officer is clearly distraught. He didn't like killing those men.)

GALEN BROUD with ANNA, his first officer, and BRAWN, his second, enters the bridge. They're proudly sporting their brown jackets, the uniform of the independents. Galen is a grizzled warrior, a veteran of many years in the Independent army. Speaks with a thick southern accent. Anna is pretty but she is kind of War weary, similar to Zoe' on Serenity. Brawn is big, muscular man, he has a disfigured face, replaced mostly by metal....very scary individual. Anna and Brawn have rifles-in-hand, pistols holstered, and Brawn has a couple of grenades on a bandolier. Galen has only the holstered pistol.

GALEN BROUD:
(walking in, with Anna and Brawn behind him, on each side.) Couldn'tve said it better m'self.
(Thick southern accent, similar to Malcom, but thicker.)

GRAND ADMIRAL KANE:
So, Galen Broud, leader of the Independents, I presume.

GALEN BROUD:
Yeah, what of it?

GRAND ADMIRAL KANE:
Know this, Galen Broud. You might as well kill me now, because I will not -

GALEN BROUD:
Okay.

Galen Broud pulls his pistol, shoots the Admiral, killing him. Galen is very, VERY quick on the draw and accurate.

COLONEL BRYAN BRYCE:
(Gasps.)
Kane!

GALEN BROUD:
You did good, getting me this ship and settin' it all up just right. Good job, Bryan.
(he pats the Colonel on the shoulder.) Now, get the rest of my crew briefed on how a Goliath-Class warship is run. After we get things up and runnin', we'll have a drink to celebrate, assumin' a'course this heap got decent whisky to swaller.

(The first officer doesn't move.)

GALEN BROUD:
G'on, boy. Whatcha waitin' for?

COLONEL BRYAN BRYCE:
I - I just shot three men, fine officers that I served with for five years. I just seen a man I served under for seven years, a man I respected, shot down in cold blood...

GALEN BROUD:
Yeah? yer point?

COLONEL BRYAN BRYCE:
This doesn't sit well with me, General Broud. The ship is yours, sir. Just let me go home.

GALEN BROUD:
Lost yer taste for this, have ya?

COLONEL BRYAN BRYCE:
Yes, sir.

GALEN BROUD:
(violently Grabs him by the collar.)
Now you listen to me, you little coward. You don't get to stop. You don't get to quit. I gives a damn about who you shot or what you gave...it ain't enough. This ship you gave me cain't pay back all the lives you took durin' the war. It ain't worth the blood of the fine men and women you murdered on the field of Sturges. You step foot on the battlefield and see within the space of an hour your entire regiment get slaughtered from orbit, THEN you can stop, or you get carried away in a body bag at the Valley of Serenity, then you can say "I quit".... then you can put "paid" on your debt for what you did you Alliance SON OF A BITCH!!

COLONEL BRYAN BRYCE:
General, please...

GALEN BROUD:
(Shoots the Colonel.)

ANNA:
(Glances at Galen with a quizzical look) Sir...?

GALEN BROUD:
If you ain't independent, then you ain't worth spit to me, Colonel. (pause, Galen then holsters his pistol.) If you ever sided with the Alliance, then you're as good as dead.

GALEN BROUD:
You two, (To the two remaining officers.) You in or out?

Officers:
We...ah....left our brown jackets in our rooms, sir.

GALEN:
Best go get 'em.

EXT. OUTER SPACE - SERENITY - ESTABLISHING.

The Firefly-class freighter, the SERENITY, is flying through space.

INT. SICK BAY OF THE SERENITY - ESTABLISHING

SIMON TAU, the doctor, is putting bandages on ZOE's left hand. He's wrapped her hand pretty good and it almost done. ZOE's right hand is already wrapped, but with less bandages.

SIMON:
(Putting bandages on Zoe's hand.)
You banged it up pretty badly. You might want to take it easy with this hand.

ZOE:
Just bandage it up, doc.

SIMON:
There you go.
(pause)
What were you lifting,anyway? Jayne or I could have helped you get whatever it was....

ZOE:
(snaps at him.)
It's none of your business, Okay? Drop it!

KAYLEE:
(Steps in from a corridor.) Looks like you already did, Zoe. (regarding zoe's busted hand.)

ZOE:
It's nothing you could've helped me with anyway. (Zoe exits.)

SIMON:
She's getting worse, isn't she?

KAYLEE:
(She comes up behind Simon and puts her arms around him.) Yeah.

SIMON:
Maybe you ought to tell the Captain. I doubt he'll listen to me.

KAYLEE:
Oh, the Captain's keen as a sharp knife fresh from the grindstone. You bet he's already in the know about Zoe. He'll take care of it. You'll see.

SMASH CUT:

INT. SERENITY - INARA'S SHUTTLE

MALCOM, the captain of the Serenity, and INARA, a registered Companion, are having a conversation (argument.) Start off with a close up on Malcom.

MALCOM:
Noticed what?

INARA:
She's been awfully moody lately. Snapping at her crewmates. I saw her push past River and she made River cry.

MALCOM:
The girl can take on a whole army of Reavers single-handed. I don't see where she needs any a'us to take up for her.

INARA:
Physically River's stronger than any of us, but mentally...? She is the most vulnerable to the pain any one of us suffers. (softly) There's something wrong with Zoe, Mal...and I don't know what to do about it.

MALCOM:
And I do? The girl lost her husband, Inara! She hurtin'. She loved that man. Give her a while and she'll get over it. We lost a whole platoon of folks we loved and fought with, and she was put out a bit by that for a while, but she got over it. She'll get over this. Meanwhile we'll just have to give her a wide berth. Give her time.

INARA:
It's been six months, Mal, and she's getting worse. How much time does she need?

MALCOM:
What do you know about it? You never served in a war. Fightin' and dyin' in a trench...while your buddy bled out. Someone you love dying right in front of you... What do you know...?

INARA:
(Tearing up.)
Shepard Book, Wash. I know sorrow. I loved them both. I know what pain is.

MALCOM:
The girl lost her husband, Inara. HER HUSBAND. Died right in front of her. That's a pain you'll never understand. Loving someone so much and losing them like that is something a Companion will never have to face.

INARA:
(softly.)
Get out.

MALCOM is immediately sorry for what he said but doesn't say anything. He turns and leaves.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. SERENITY - DINING ROOM (CHOW HALL, WHATEVER)

JAYNE is trying to reach for some biscuits out of a basket, out of a basket RIVER is holding. River Tau is clearly having a good time baiting Jayne, and Jayne is clearly annoyed. KAYLEE puts one last bowl on the table then sits down next to SIMON, who is next to RIVER. SIMON are sitting together, next to River. INARA is there too, watching the exchange between Jayne and River. MALCOM is watching the events with amusement.

JAYNE:
Gimme that basket, you feeble-minded girl!

KAYLEE:
Jayne! That wasn't nice!

RIVER:
Oh, he don't mean it.

JAYNE:
Hell I don't! Now gimme those biscuits!

SIMON:
River, stop being mean to Jayne. I don't want you to make him mad and then I'll have to patch him up later.

JAYNE:
Think I'm scared a' this retard? Gimme!

JAYNE is earnestly reaching for the biscuits, so much so he has RIVER's free wrist and reaching for the basket of biscuits with his other hand. At one point he has both arms around RIVER and she is clearly enjoying every minute of it.

ZOE enters the room.

ZOE:
Now, now, children. Play nice.

RIVER stops dead still at ZOE's appearance. RIVER even seems a bit scared. Jayne takes advantage of River's hesitation and snatches the biscuits. He takes an "in-your-face" bite of a biscuit in front of her and then puts a couple on his plate.

JAYNE:
Ha!

RIVER doesn't even seem to notice. She kind of backs up to the wall and seems to try to become invisible and unnoticed, as much as she can without leaving the room.

KAYLEE:
Sit down, Cap'n. This chow is good! I cooked it special!

JAYNE:
Now there's a reason to go vegetarian

ZOE sits down by MALCOM and starts prepping her plate. While everyone is scooping food onto their plates, MALCOM is talking.

MALCOM:
We've been doing pretty well for ourselves for the past six months, since we broadcast that transmission. We caught the alliance with their pants down. They got riots on every planet, and all the sudden, everyone got needs. We've been there to fill those needs, and we've even been getting paid lately. (pause)
Guys, as soon as we do the next job, I'm givin' all'a you a bonus.

JAYNE:
I like the sound a' that!

Everybody gives a cheer.

TIME CUT:
Everyone's finishing up with dinner.

SIMON:
(Speaking to KAYLEE)
The food was excellent, honey.
(Kisses her)
Good job.

Kaylee beams with pride.

MALCOM:
Chow had a good taste to it, Kaylee, but it weren't nothin' like Wash's meatloaf.

KAYLEE and some of the others just look at MALCOM. For a Heartbeat, there is an awkward silence.

JAYNE:
(Totally missing the moment)
You kiddin'? That was some of the worst grub I ever had.

ZOE:
Obviously, Jayne, you never had him make you any of his "special stew."

MALCOM:
(Making a face.)
Now that was an experience worth missin'.

ZOE:
I swear that man could burn water.

SIMON:
(Very uncomfortable)
Guys, let's not talk bad about absent friends.

ZOE:
Relax, Simon. That's how we remember our fallen. We talk about all the things we didn't like about him.

MALCOM:
It's the flaws that make us who we are... The things that make us human. Day we forget that, that's the day we join the alliance.

JAYNE:
Wow, Mal. That was downright poetic.

MALCOM:
Shut up and finish your dinner, Jayne, before your girlfriend gets the rest of it.

KAYLEE and INARA is laughing at him.

JAYNE:
(Taking a bite.)
Now you just shut your pie-hole.

KAYLEE:
Speaking of River, where is she?

SIMON:
I'll go find her.

Simon gets up, leaving the room while the rest are talking.

ZOE:
I think I'll turn in too.
(Stands up to leave.)

MALCOM:
Leaving early, Zoe?

ZOE:
(Pause. Somberly.)
I guess I just ran out of things to say.

MALCOM:
(Pause. After ZOE leaves.
Says to INARA)
She's gonna be just fine.

INT. SERENITY - THE KITCHEN, RIGHT BY THE DINING ROOM.

RIVER is hiding in a cubbyhole in the kitchen. SIMON enters.

SIMON:
River?

SIMON finds her.

SIMON:
River, you didn't eat your dinner. What's wrong?

RIVER is very sad. She sits there softly crying.

RIVER:
So much anger. So much rage. She hurts inside so bad.

SIMON:
Are you talking about Zoe? River, she seems okay. I think she's going to make it through all this. If it isn't Zoe, then who is it? Are they on this ship?

RIVER:
She won't lie down either, Simon. She won't lie down.

SIMON is puzzled by this.

INT. SERENITY - ZOE'S ROOM.

ZOE's room is empty. The door opens, and Zoe walks in. She seems composed, until she pours a tall glass of whisky out of a fancy bottle. Her hand trembles as she does so. She drinks it all in one big gulp. The whisky is strong...because she has to shake it off before she can pour another. It's so strong she winces and her eyes water.

CHANGE TO ZOE'S POV: INSERT - Show a close-up on the steel wall of her room. There's smears of dried blood on the wall.

MONTAGE

1) FLASHBACK: STOCK SHOT of an episode of FIREFLY, where MALCOM and ZOE are side by side, and MALCOM is trying to hire WASH. This is the episode where Wash has a mustache.

ZOE:
I don't know, Cap'n. I got a bad feeling about this one.

MALCOM:
What are you talking about, ZOE?

ZOE:
I just don't like him.

2) PRESENT TIME: ZOE is sitting on her bed, sipping on her second glass of whisky. The anger in her is bubbling, the stress is building.

3) FLASHBACK: Show scene of Reavers, all disfigured in full battle garb, breaking into the bulkhead, attacking the crew of the SERENITY (maybe even use a STOCK SHOT of the First Serenity movie)

4) PRESENT TIME: ZOE is standing up now. She is taking a big gulp of whisky. She's trying to fight it. Trying to be strong. She's pacing the room like a caged lion.

ZOE:
Stop it... Stop it...

5) FLASHBACK: STOCK SHOT of WASH flying the SERENITY.

WASH:
I am a leaf on the wind...watch me soar.

6) PRESENT TIME: ZOE's trembling with rage. She's seething. She's staring straight ahead fighting the rage with every fiber of her being.

ZOE:
Don't think about it...don't...

ZOE finishes the rest of the second glass of whisky.

7) FLASHBACK: STOCK SCENE of the last movie. WASH has just successfully (more or less) landed the SERENITY.

WASH:
I am a leaf on the wind.

Then WASH is skewered by the Reaver's grappling spear.

END MONTAGE

SMASH CUT:

ZOE screams in absolute, ultimate emotional agony. She slams her fist into the wall, again, again, and again, as hard as she can... And she leaves fresh blood marks on the wall. She's so distraught she can't even speak anymore. Now we know where the dried blood came from. Eventually she wears herself down, and lays on the floor of her room crying.

FADE OUT.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. SERENITY - MALCOM REYNOLD's ROOM.

MALCOM is in bed. He's crashed out on his bunk, shirt off, dressed in his drawers. Suddenly, a jarring CRASH! jolts him off his bunk and onto the floor.

MALCOM:
TON-SHAI! (a curse word.) Things were goin' too good for too long. I should'a known.

QUICK CUT:

INT. SERENITY - CORRIDOR LEADING TO THE BRIDGE.

MALCOM is running, he passes JAYNE down the Corridor. Another jolting crash almost knocks them off their feet.

JAYNE:
'Bout time! I was thinking things were gettin' a bit borin' round here!

MALCOM:
You and ZOE get to the armory!

QUICK CUT:

INT. - SERENITY - BRIDGE.

RIVER is sitting in the pilot's chair, trying desperately to evade enemy fire. MALCOM enters.

MALCOM:
River, Girl! What are you doin' to my ship?!?

RIVER:
I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I din' see them! They just came up on me and I -

EXT. OUTER SPACE - SERENITY - NEAR ASTEROID BELT - ESTABLISHING.

SERENITY is flying in a zig-zag pattern through space. Three REAVER ships are shooting at it.

SMASH CUT:

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE.

MALCOM:
REAVERS! and you didn't see them? I let you be pilot because you can sense 'em 'fore they're comin'! You need to keep your mind on the job, girl, otherwise you're no use to me.

RIVER:
I'm sorry! I'm sorry! (Starts crying) But there's so much noise...she makes too much noise...can't block it all out...

SMASH CUT:

EXT. OUTER SPACE - SERENITY - NEAR ASTEROID BELT

A pulse beam from one of the Reaver ships strikes SERENITY near the rear engine. Now the SERENITY is trailing smoke like the Reavers.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE.

MALCOM:
We're slowing down. That's not good.

RIVER:
Oh! We're losing power! Losing power losing power

MALCOM:
(On intercom) Kay-LEE! What is wrong with my ENGINE!

INT. SERENITY - ENGINE ROOM.

KAYLEE:
One of the primary power couplink's took a hit, Cap'n! We're losing power!

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE.

MALCOM:
I can see that. FIX IT!
(To RIVER)
RIVER! Get into that Asteroid belt! Keep it together, girl! Hell -let me fly - (Reaches for the controls.)

RIVER:
NO! I can do it!

EXT. OUTER SPACE - SERENITY - NEAR ASTEROID BELT

SERENITY flies into the asteroid belt. The ship expertly dodges asteroids. One of the Reavers are not as expert as dodging as SERENITY and gets hit by an asteroid, hurtling out of control. A couple of tense seconds of exciting asteroid dodging ensues.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE.

MALCOM:
Watch it...! Watch it...!

RIVER:
I see it!

EXT. OUTER SPACE - SERENITY - NEAR ASTEROID BELT

SERENITY narrowly dodges another asteroid

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE.

MALCOM:
There! There's the edge of it!

JAYNE enters.

JAYNE:
We there yet?

MALCOM:
Almost.

JAYNE:
What hit us this time?

MALCOM:
Reavers.

JAYNE:
REAVERS?! I didn't think there were any left!

MALCOM:
Well there are, and apparently they're aces with a grudge.

JAYNE:
Why didn't crazy girl here have a fit? She can smell 'em a mile away.

RIVER:
She's broke, Jayne. She's broke, and I can't fix her.

MALCOM:
Damn right she's broke. But it's KAYLEE's job to fix her. Jayne, get her out of here. I'll take us the rest of the way.

JAYNE scoops up RIVER. MALCOM takes over piloting controls.

JAYNE:
Well, she got us out of that minefield...

MALCOM:
...And into a shooting gallery.

MALCOM is looking out the window. JAYNE looks, as he holds RIVER. RIVER clenches tightly to JAYNE. JAYNE is so shocked he does not notice.

CREW's POV: Outside the window, they can see a HUGE alliance Ship. It's a Goliath-class Alliance Battleship, but the SERENITY is approaching it from the bottom...a different angle from the 1st scene.

ANGLE ON: The Crew.

ZOE enters.

ZOE:
We okay, now? (She's armed to the teeth.)

JAYNE:
(Looking at a side view screen)
Mal! REAVERS!

EXT. SERENITY, ANGLE ON SERENITY.

Behind SERENITY are two REAVER ships, approaching towards her From the port and starboard side.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE.

MALCOM:
They mean to board us!

ZOE:
(Grimly.)
Good.

RIVER:
(Reaches out to MAL.)
He's going to take her away from you, Mal. They're too much alike. They're too much alike.

MALCOM:
The hell he is! JAYNE! Get her out of here!

JAYNE leaves, carrying RIVER with him.

SMASH CUT:

EXT. SERENITY

SERENITY is flying towards the Alliance ship.

SMASH CUT:
INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE.

MALCOM:
You ain't takin' my ship, you Reaver bastards.

SMASH CUT:

EXT. SERENITY

The Alliance Cruiser fires on the two Reaver ships, vaporizing them instantly.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE.

ZOE and MALCOM are the only two on the bridge.

INTERCOM:
Unidentified Firefly-Class freighter, this is the Alliance GoliathClass Battleship Faded Glory.

MALCOM:
(Aside to ZOE.) Faded Glory?
(In the intercom) Hey there, Faded Glory. Thanks for the assist. We 'preciate you helping us out with our Reaver problems.

INTERCOM:
Yes, there seems to be a lot of unusual Reaver activity out here, and other matters, that our commander would like to discuss with you. We're sending coordinates for docking procedures.

MALCOM:
Well, we 'preciate the invite, but we got a stop to make outside Orion III, and we're already behind schedule....

INTERCOM:
You misunderstand me, sir. That was not a request. Faded Glory out. (End transmission.)

MALCOM:
Well, that's a fine how-do-you-do.

ZOE:
I'll be in the Cargo bay.

ZOE charges the charging handle of her rifle, putting the first round in the chamber. She walks down the hallway with grim resolve on her face. MALCOM gets up from the pilot seat and goes after her.

MALCOM:
Whoa, Zoe. Stand down. We can't fight our way out of this one.

ZOE:
(snaps at him)
The HELL we can't! They're going to murder all of us for what we did to 'em. They ain't gonna let us go, MAL. The Alliance aren't the type who "live and let live"...they're going to kill us, or worse yet, turn our heads inside out like they did River. I ain't goin' out like that.

MALCOM:
Maybe you're willing to die, but the rest of the crew might not see it that way.

ZOE:
Don't hide behind the crew, MALCOM. I'm gonna kill as many of them before they take me.

MALCOM:
Hide? What are you talking about, ZOE?!

ZOE:
Every time we cross the Alliance, the first thing you do is RUN. You wait until they kill a couple of friends before you get the guts to stand up. I'm not gonna wait til' they kill somebody I care about before I spill their blood.

MALCOM:
Where is this comin' from? This is about Wash isn't it? You want revenge? Do it when it's only YOUR life at stake!

ZOE:
Malcom Reynolds. Never thought I'd see the day that you'd become a coward!

MALCOM:
(Deadly quiet serious)
What did you say to me?

Tense moment between the two.

ZOE:
Nothing, SIR.

(She turns to go down the hallway.)

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY

MALCOM is standing in the middle of the cargo bay, pistol holstered. ZOE and JAYNE are taking position on the catwalk looking down on the Cargo bay door opening. They have rifles out and aimed at the door.

GALEN BROUD:
(From outside the cargo ramp. We can't see him yet.) Now don't shoot me, MAL. It ain't what ya think.

MALCOM:
Who is that?

GALEN BROUD, BRAWN, and ANNA walks up the ramp.

MALCOM:
(Incredulous)
Galen? Galen BROUD?!?

GALEN BROUD:
Hey, Mal. Been awhile.

MALCOM:
(Suspicious)
What in the hell are you doin' on an Alliance ship?

GALEN BROUD:
ALLIANCE HELL! This here's MY Ship! My jacket's same color as yours, son! A few Officers in the Alliance didn't agree with what th' Parliament did, thanks to that transmission you sent. Now we got us a battleship. We're back in the game Mal. The Independents got a fightin' chance.

MALCOM:
(Still suspicious)
I heard you died at the battle of Sturges!

GALEN BROUD:
I DID die at the battle of Sturges. Well, a part of me did. The part that wanted to keep fightin', the part o' me that still had the sand to stand against the Alliance and their desires to make the 'Verse a better place at th' expense a' free will. I laid low, for a while. Went underground. Laid the groundwork for a time when we could rise again. Good to see you, Mal.

MALCOM:
What the hell kind of game you playin' at, actin' like an Alliance vessel? That's a good way to get shot.

GALEN BROUD:
Aww, I didn't mean nothin' by it. Just playin' a prank on ya. No harm, no foul.

MALCOM:
(Walking up to GALEN, rifle lowered.)
That's one helluva prank, Gale.

GALEN BROUD:
Is it? You remember that time you got me drunk and I woke up naked, duct-taped to a bed and left to the tender mercies of Sue-Lynn Amagado? I told you I'd get you back for that...

MALCOM:
Well, uh...now that you mention it...

GALEN BROUD:
(Pause. With a wink in his eye.)
Gotcha.

MALCOM:
(Pause. Looks at him shrewdly.)
You son of Goch-rah (bitch).

MALCOM embraces GALEN BROUD enthusiastically. Galen picks him up and swings him around. It is a moment of joyous reunion. ZOE gives a soft half-smile and lowers her weapon. JAYNE does the same. ZOE comes down off the upper ramp.

JAYNE:
(More to himself, than anyone.)
Ain't that sweet. It's a reunion of lost causes.

ZOE:
(To Mal)
You mentioned this guy before. Grew up with him, didn't you?

GALEN:
Yeah, he tried to recruit me for the Independence. I wasn't ready then.

MAL:
Then I heard you joined, and hadn't seen ya since. What changed your mind?

GALEN:
She serve with you?
(Indicates ZOE, noticing her brown jacket.)

MAL:
This is ZOE Allenze, my first officer. Yeah, she was with me. We made it through the Valley of Serenity.

GALEN:
This here's Colonel Anna Kincaid, she's my first mate. We made it through Sturges. Here's BRAWN, my chief of security.

CLOSE UP on BRAWN.

GALEN:
(...continuing)
Found him at an Alliance research facility. He's one a' their experiments. Best fighter I ever seen, and that's sayin' somethin'.

CAMERA ANGLE: Back to MAL and GALEN.

MAL:
I ain't heard of too many people who made it through Sturges.

Galen:
Hell I haven't heard of ANYBODY who made it through Serenity. Now I met two. (pause) C'mon you two. Have a drink with me. We got some catchin' up to do.

MAL:
That's as fine an invitation as I ever heard.

GALEN:
Anything I got it's yours. I'll send some folks down here to give ya whatever ya want for your ship. Hell, weapons too. Give ya a fightin' chance next time Reavers come knockin'.

MAL, ZOE, ANNA, and GALEN start walking out of the cargo bay.

JAYNE:
I like your choice of friends, Mal.

MALCOM:
You would, Jayne.

ANNA: (To ZOE)
What's his story?

ZOE:
Jayne likes anyone, as long as he gets something out of it.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. THE FADED GLORY - CAPTAIN'S PRIVATE DINING QUARTERS.

MALCOME, GALEN, ANNA, and ZOE are in the process of getting fairly drunk.

GALEN:
It took a little finagaling, a fair bit o' Plannin...which you know I'm no good at. Never did look too far to the long term...but we did it...it worked, and we got this ship. Snatched it right under the Alliance's nose.

ZOE, MALCOM, ANNA:
YEEE HAAA (Rebel Yells all around.)

MALCOM:
That's the thing about you, Gale. Whenever you set your mind to doin' what needs to be done, there ain't no stoppin' ya.

GALEN:
T'aint just doin' what needs to be done, Mal. It's doin' what's right.

ANNA:
Another round for the General!

ZOE:
(Just as enthusiastically)
Another round for the General!

MALCOM:
I'll drink to that!

They all drink. MALCOM is pouring the next round. ANNA is talking to ZOE for a little background noise while MALCOM and GALEN are talking.

MALCOM:
You didn't even want to join the Independence when I first got in. I didn't even know you joined until I heard you died at the Battle of Sturges.

GALEN:
I wanted to go with you, MAL. I wanted to side by ya, but my wife wouldn't let me.

MALCOM:
What made you change your mind and fight the good fight? What did Trish have to say when you decided to join?

Anna is suddenly quiet.

GALEN:
Trish died, Malcom. (Pause) Alliance killed her.

MALCOM:
I reckon that'll do it.
(pause.)
She was a fine woman, Galen. As fine a woman as I ever known.

GALEN:
Yeah.


INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY

A bunch of browncoats are in the cargo bay, loading stuff into it. JAYNE and KAYLEE are doing various stuff. SIMON is there Helping some. RIVER is there, laying on top of a bunch of crates, stacked on top of each other. She's tormenting JAYNE by dangling a string on top of his head. Jayne is folding up a canvas cover.

JAYNE:
River, girl...if you don't stop buggin' me...

CAMERA ON: KAYLEE AND SIMON

JAYNE and RIVER are in the background, KAYLEE and SIMON is in the foreground. While SIMON and KAYLEE have their conversation, RIVER is steadily tormenting JAYNE, which can be seen while this dialogue takes place.

KAYLEE:
Oh goody! A new power couplink! And they're gonna give us a spare! Wow. I guess it's lucky the captain fought for the Independence!

SIMON:
(Looking at River and Jayne)
Yeah, lucky us.

KAYLEE:
Stop worrying about River so much and help me carry this couplink to the engine room!

SIMON:
River's been spending an unusual amount of time around Jayne. I don't know what to make of that.

KAYLEE:
Might be she likes him.

SIMON:
That's preposterous! He HATES River! He tried to sell us to the Alliance.

KAYLEE:
That might just what draws her like a moth to a flame. She turned 18 just a few months ago.

SIMON:
River is NOT like normal girls, Kaylee. The Alliance did terrible things to her mind. She can't possibly...

KAYLEE:
Her mind might be bust but there's nothin' wrong with her body. A young girl feels with feelins' down here, (points to her stomach)
Not her head. Why, I remember this young boy I had such a crush on...he was so cute and so sweet and even though he'd have nothin' to do with me, I knew he was the one for me. Why, there'd be nothin' I wouldn't do to make him notice me just once... to touch me one time...

KAYLEE stops. She notices SIMON just looking at her.

KAYLEE (continuing)
Well, not any more, a' course.

SIMON:
What are you saying, KAYLEE?

KAYLEE:
I'm just saying nobody liked this boy I was seeing. He was crass and dirty - not clean like you - and he was dumb as a box of rocks and everyone knew it. I was just young then. Maybe that's what River sees in JAYNE. Young girls are just naturally drawn to those that are the worst for 'em.

SIMON looks over to River.

QUICK CUT:

ANGLE ON: JAYNE

JAYNE is bending over picking up a tarp. As he is bent over, a rope dangling down from above tickles his head. He stands up, with tarp in hand, and the rope quickly retreats upwards. River giggles. JAYNE throws the tarp upward over River, who is still perched on top of a bunch of crates.

ANGLE ON RIVER:
RIVER:
(She's covered with a tarp.)
Boooo! I'm a ghost!

ANGLE ON JAYNE:

JAYNE:
That's right, River. You're a ghost.
(Walking away)
Now why don't you practice being invisible!

JAYNE walks up to a crate. Opens it. Pulls out a bottle of good whisky.

JAYNE:
ALL RIGHT! Somethin' decent to drink! You browncoats ain't half bad!

INARA: (Off Camera)
Ask them if they have any decent wine.

QUICK CUT:

ANGLE ON INARA:

INARA is on the catwalk of the Cargo bay. She's dressed all fancy. She's looking down on the activities below her. She is immediately greeted by a bunch of yells and catcalls from the Browncoats.

BROWNCOAT #1
WOO HOO, boys! Lookie HERE!

BROWNCOAT #2
Looks like Cap'n Reynolds lets his whore run loose!

INT. THE FADED GLORY - CAPTAIN'S PRIVATE DINING QUARTERS.

ANNA:
So, Malcom Reynolds, you gonna side with us?

MALCOM:
Excuse me?

GALEN:
Anna, we're still catchin' up.

ANNA:
(To GALEN)
Seriously, General. You two were made for each other. We need men like him to help lead the Independence and I think these two here are leadership material.

GALEN:
She's always plannin' ahead.

ZOE:
(ZOE kind of wants to join.)
Captain...?

MALCOM:
Mighty temptin' offer...

GALEN:
I wasn't gonna bring it up til' later... but the offer's on the table, Mal.

MALCOM:
I don't know. Have to run it by my crew first. See what they say...

ANNA:
You're the Captain, ain'cha? You tell them what to do, they do it.

MALCOM:
It ain't always as simple as that.

ANNA:
It IS that simple, 'less'n a' course you can't control your crew!

MALCOM:
Maybe I don't want to get me and mine involved in another war. I lost too many already!

ANNA:
We all lost! I lost my fiancee', ZOE lost her husband! Galen lost his wife! You want all their sacrifices to be for nothing?!?!

MALCOM:
Now you just wait just one $@$!!@!! minute...!

ANNA:
For once, we got a chance to break the chokehold the ALLIANCE got on us! Thanks to the general we got us a chance to win...and YOU want to turn your back on that!??!

MALCOM:
Girl I ain't turnin' my back on nothin'!

ANNA:
You don't get to quit! You don't get to stop! We keep fightin' til' the Alliance's is done! What right have does a coward like you have to wear that Jacket!!

MALCOM:
TON SHAI GORRAM DADAi!!(Filthy curse word.)

As Malcom curses, he gets up and tries his damndest to throttle Anna. ANNA tries to throttle MALCOM. They are grappling each other from across the dining table. ZOE grabs ANNA, and GALEN grabs MAL. It's a chaotic couple of seconds until GALEN yells:

GALEN:
ANNA! That's enough!

ZOE still holds ANNA, GALEN is in between MAL and the dining table. Anna is on one side of the dining table and Mal is on the other. They finally calm down a little.

GALEN:
(continuing)
This man here fought in the Battle of Serenity, and lived to tell the tale. He suffered and lost more than anyone I ever knew. When the war was over and our side was beaten, he took on the Reavers and found the holovid of what the Alliance had planned for the rest of the 'Verse. That transmission he sent out to all the planets wasn't just a transmission, it was a clarion CALL TO ARMS to any who had an inklin' of freedom. He gave the sheep a reason not to trust the Shepard.
Weren't for him, there'd be no rebellion. Weren't for him, we wouldn't have this ship -- there'd be no us. We'd still be runnin' guns to the warring gangs of new Jerusalem, doing jobs for food. If Mal wants to take a break, he can. If'n he want to hang up his guns, he got the right. I won't fault him for it. (looks at MAL.)
Man's earned his peace.

MALCOM:
I don't aim to hang up my guns just yet. Maybe I ain't real anxious to call anyone "sir" again, General. I had my fill a' that.

GALEN:
Maybe you wouldn't have to. (pause.) It should'a been you leading this rebellion.

MALCOM:
Ain't me, Gale.

GALEN:
(Pouring a shot of whisky in Malcom's glass.) It's always been you, Malcom.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY

ANGLE ON RIVER:

RIVER peeks her head out from under the tarp. She's checking out the situation, and for about ten seconds she's looking around, cocks her head to the side as she reads the minds of the Browncoats. In the background the Browncoats can be heard off camera making suggestive cat-calls to INARA.

ANGLE ON INARA:

INARA is embarrassed by this display of Barbarism. She turns to leave, and there are two browncoat soldiers, BROWNCOAT #3 and BROWNCOAT #4 behind her! They block her path and herd her down the ramp towards the rest of the browncoats.

BROWNCOAT #3
Th' General an' the Cap'n are so alike, they's got the same taste in women!

BROWNCOAT #4
She's is a pretty li'l thing.

As BROWNCOAT #3 and #4 herd her down the ramp, BROWNCOAT #5 grabs her arm. Pulls her down the rest of the way down the ramp to the cargo floor. BROWNCOAT #1 and #2 join in on the "fun".

BROWNCOAT #2
Gonna give us a taste, sweet thang...?

INT. THE FADED GLORY - CAPTAIN'S PRIVATE DINING QUARTERS.

ANNA, ZOE, MALCOM and GALEN are getting rat-assed drunk. There are two (2) empty liquor bottles on the table and a third one is in MALCOM's hand, pouring in GALEN's glass. They're all shit faced.

ZOE:
(Getting up)
Gotta hit the little girl's room. Keep this cold for me. (Indicating her drink.)

ANNA:
Down the hallway, to the right.

ZOE leaves during GALEN's monologue.

GALEN:
Yeah...it weren't all bad. After I stole this ship I captured an alliance transport cruiser...that's where I got this whisky. You don't need an Alliance passcode to tell folks to dock with ya--not when you got the biggest guns in the galaxy pointed at 'em. By God I LOVE this ship!

MALCOM:
I bet it really makes you a hit with the ladies.

GALEN:
Yah...the ladies. Mal, you never did have much luck with 'em.

MALCOM:
Better luck than YOU!

GALEN:
Aw, please. You were always the guy who always kept 'is feelin's to hisself, instead a' just walkin' up and goosin' the girl as God intended.

MALCOM:
I seemed to remember you got slapped more times than I did.

GALEN:
Better to be slapped than to be like you...goin' weak-kneed when some fancy, well-heeled woman comes dancin' into town...

MALCOM:
I never went weak-kneed...

GALEN:
HELL YOU DIDN'T! 'Member when those two Companions came blowin' into town back home...havin' a beer in our bar. They got all high and mighty that our drinks didn't come up to their standards. Who in the Hell were those whores to turn their nose up at our beer?

MALCOM:
They aren't whores...

GALEN:
Yeah...they pick who they screw...an' it wasn't us. We weren't good enough. Little whores. I have me a chance I'll show her who the better man is. It wasn't you, Malcom. I could tell you was in love.

MALCOM:
Enough o' that talk!

GALEN:
What are you gettin' all riled up for boy?

ANNA:
Zoe told me Captain's got hisself a Companion on board. Rents a shuttle from him.

GALEN:
Oh, ho, ho, ho...
(GALEN's just about to GET STARTED on MALCOM. MALCOM

knows this.)

MALCOM:
Look, now...it ain't what you think...

GALEN:
What are you talkin' about? I bet when that high-priced piece o' tail came on board and the moment you saw her you got y' heart caught in your throat. You just had to have her onboard. She gave you a list o' fancy-pants conditions and you agreed to ev'r one a' them...one of 'em bein', a course, that you don't get to sleep with her.

MALCOM:
That's enough.

GALEN:
You probably even gave her a discount.

MALCOM doesn't say anything. He just pours another drink. (He did give her a discount!)

GALEN:
Alliance whores is all they are. Sleepin' with whoever's the richest and the most powerful. Tell you what Malcom... take that whore of yours and not feed her for a week, or give her to the crew for an hour or two...then see how stuck up she is! Nothin' wrong with that Gorram Ton Shai (curse word for "bitch") a good slap upside the head couldn't cure.

MALCOM:
Gorram Shai Tah!
(Curse word for son of a bitch!)

MALCOM throws the liquor bottle against the wall with violence and stands up. ANNA jumps up startled near the doorway where the bottle hit. ZOE walks in from the bathroom. Bottle struck near the doorway when she walked in. She is surprised. Now Anna and ZOE is standing near the doorway, away from the men.

MALCOM:
(Grabs GALEN's collar.)
I said that's enough!

ZOE:
(To Anna:)
What'd I miss?
(Anna shushes her.)

MALCOM:
(stands up, disengages from Malcom.)
What Th' Hell's your problem? What are you gettin' all high and mighty for? Ya Hated 'em just as much as I did!

ZOE just looks at MALCOM for a heartbeat with a raised eyebrow. MALCOM looks at her back. (Yeah, it was true.)

MALCOM:
That don't matter none! That was then.

GALEN:
(Just looks at MALCOM for a minute.)
Oh Lord, you're in love.

MALCOM:
I ain't in love.

GALEN:
You don't never change, MALCOM. It's the same when you fell in love with Amy Lynn Cooper.

MALCOM:
That...that wasn't love. That was just a crush!

GALEN:
Crush Hell! You was in LOVE, boy! She had you openin' her doors, carryin' her books...doin' her chores... all the while she was doin' every boy in town 'cept YOU.

MALCOM:
What we had...what we had was special!

GALEN:
Special. So special you couldn' stand the thought of her doin' anyone else... She made you so crazy we fought over her... couldn' stand the fact she was a whore, just like your little Companion girlfriend...

MALCOM:
You ain' seen "fight" yet...
(MAL's gearing up to hit GALEN.)

GALEN:
Who's honor you tryin' to defend? You tried to fight me cause you couldn't stand the truth...

MALCOM:
Ever'one else had her body, I had her heart! That's somethin' you'll never understand.

GALEN:
That what you tell yourself when she tells you no, and then sleeps with every Alliance politician with enough clout and even more money?!?! How does it feel to know she sleeps with the men who killed our family and took away our freedom but YOU she won't give the time of DAY!?!

MALCOM hits GALEN, and the fight is on. After the initial surprise, GALEN gets his blood up and both MALCOM and GALEN are going at it, acting like they're gonna kill each other. The fight goes into the kitchen, which is next to the dining area.

QUICK CUT:

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY

Four BROWNCOATS surround INARA. They're catcalling her, and pushing her around menacingly, deliberately trying to intimidate her. Two more are in the background, watching.

BROWNCOAT #4:
We want to know what makes you so special, whore.

INARA:
Don't touch me.

BROWNCOAT #4 grabs one shoulder strap and pulls it down, tearing it. They all start grabbing on her...

SIMON:
Leave her alone!

SIMON punches one, as he yells that. BROWNCOAT #3 punches Simon, knocking him down. BROWNCOAT #3 looks smug as he does so, only to get brained by KAYLEE armed with a pipewrench.

While this is going on, RIVER uses the distraction to sneak out of the Cargo Bay Door, which leads into the docking bay of the FADED GLORY.

ANGLE ON: JAYNE

Jayne spits on the floor, puts the bottle of whisky he's been drinking out of down on a crate.

JAYNE:
I knew this was too good to be true.

ANGLE ON: KAYLEE and BROWNCOAT #2

BROWNCOAT #2 grabs KAYLEE.

BROWNCOAT #2
Don't be like that. We're just havin' a little fun...

KAYLEE:
She's a member of this crew!!

CLOSE UP: BROWNCOAT #2

BROWNCOAT #2
She's an ALLIANCE WHORE!!

JAYNE comes up behind two of the BROWNCOATS messing with INARA And bangs their heads together. He sucker-punches BROWNCOAT#2 when he notices his two friends go down. The last two jump JAYNE but JAYNE throws them off. The guy he sucker-punched (BROWNCOAT #2)gets up... Pulls out a knife...

BROWNCOAT #2
That's it for you, mister.

JAYNE:
(Pulling out his own knife.)
Nothin' wrong with a good knife-fight...

BROWNCOAT #2 charges JAYNE. The Browncoat is good at knife fighting...he cuts Jayne on the arm...but Jayne is better. He disarms him and positions the guy to bring the knife down square in the chest. JAYNE raises his knife to bring down the killing blow, begins it's downward plunge... and a black gauntleted hand grabs JAYNE's wrist and stops it before it can complete it's downward thrust. Stops it cold.

ANGLE ON: BRAWN, GALEN BROUD's LEUTENTANT.

BRAWN with one hand is picking Jayne up by his arm and tosses JAYNE backward, as easy as throwing a bale of hay.

BRAWN:
(With a cold, metallic voice)
Enough.

Everyone stops fighting. JAYNE is struggling to sit up, stunned at the quickness and sheer strength of BRAWN.

BRAWN:
All of you. You're done here. Go back to the ship.

All of the Browncoats are cowed by this man. Limping and rubbing their heads, they leave the SERENITY.

JAYNE:
Thanks for the help, mister. But we were takin' care a' business just fine.

BRAWN:
Were it the General's desire to see you hurt, rest assured you all would be dead. It was not. You have him and him only to thank.

BRAWN turns to leave. JAYNE, watching him go, inspects a cut on his arm he got during the knife fight.

JAYNE:
He's got a bedside manner even worse than yours, Doc.

SIMON just looks at him.

QUICK CUT:

INT. THE FADED GLORY - CAPTAIN'S PRIVATE DINING QUARTERS.

MALCOM and GALEN, for all appearances, seem to be intent on Killing each other with their bare hands. They're having a knock-down drag-out in the kitchen. They're grappling each other.

ZOE goes into the kitchen and tries to pull them apart. They (both MALCOM and GALEN)both stop fighting each other and grab ZOE and throw her bodily out of the kitchen. ALL the camera sees is her fly out the kitchen and both MALCOM and GALEN see her fly, and then they go right back to trying to kill each other.

GALEN finally winds up knocking the crap out of MALCOM. Beats him down. After MALCOM falls, GALEN, the last man standing, slowly sits down beside him. Both of them beat each other bloody. MALCOM's barely moving. GALEN is exhausted.

GALEN:
Couldn't never beat me, Malcom Reynolds. Couldn't beat me on the farm, and ya can't beat me now. No matter how righteous the cause, no matter how right you thought you were. It ain't a matter o' what's right or who's wrong...it's a matter o' mean. Ain't no one meaner than me, Mal.
(pause. Harshly.)
Maybe that's why you got Daddy's name, and not me.

ANNA:
(Gingerly sticks her head in.)
General, you all right?

GALEN:
Yeah, Colonel. Never better...

GALEN tries to get up, but his rage and adrenaline is spent. His knees give out on him and he collapses near MALCOM. MALCOM uses the last of his strength to grab GALEN...

MALCOM:
(muttering.)
She ain't no whore.

AT this, GALEN just busts out laughing. He's laughing as hard as a man can who is exhausted and battered from a bad-ass fight. This statement struck GALEN BROUD's funny bone.

GALEN:
Join me Mal. Let's be brothers again, like we once were.

MALCOM:
You never stopped being family to me, GALEN. I don't need to fight a war to prove it.

GALEN:
(Helping him up.)

You already did.

INT. FADED GLORY - HALLWAY

RIVER is going through the Hallways of the FADED GLORY and turns down a corridor. She knows exactly where she's going.

She enters a room, and there are four browncoats there. She kicks their ass to get to the room they are guarding. There is a door in this room.

CAMERA ANGLE: INSIDE THE ROOM.

The door opens, but we only see River looking in, not what's inside.

INT. SERENITY - MEDICAL BAY

SIMON is finishing up, stitching up JAYNE's knife wound.

SIMON:
Jayne, I've been meaning to catch up with you for awhile now.

JAYNE:
Yeah? 'Bout what?

SIMON:
What, exactly, are your intentions towards my sister?

JAYNE:
Intentions? What in the Hell are you talking about?

SIMON:
You've been spending an inordinate amount of time with River lately.

JAYNE:
Hey, wait a minute. She's been hanging' around ME, Doc. Not t'other way around.

SIMON:
Be that as it may, I just don't want you to be tempted to take advantage of a girl in her condition.

JAYNE:
I ain't gonna mess with her, if that's yer meanin'. How old is she? 16? 17? I've got socks older than her.

SIMON:
She's 18. As of a couple months ago.

JAYNE:
18? (pause.) WELL now...

SIMON:
You wouldn't DARE...! If you touch her, I swear....

JAYNE:
Relax, Doc. I'm just joshin' with ya.

SIMON:
Don't you even think about taking advantage of my sister. That's crossing the line, Jayne!

JAYNE:
You keep your idjit sister away from me and you won't have to worry about any lines being crossed!

JAYNE leaves the medical bay.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY.

JAYNE is walking into the cargo bay, he's flexing his newly bandaged arm. He looks up.

ANGLE ON: CARGO BAY ENTRANCE

MALCOM is limping up the ramp. He's got his arm around ZOE. She's helping him up the ramp. He's got a serious black eye and he's splattered with blood. His clothes are torn, the whole nine yards.

ANGLE ON: JAYNE.

JAYNE:
DOC! You got another one!
(To MALCOM)
Damn, Cap'n. Looks like someone beat the tar out of you.

MALCOM:
You should see the other guy.

ZOE:
Yeah, he doesn't look half as bad as Mal does.

MALCOM:
(Shoots ZOE a cold look, then says to Jayne.) You look none the worse for wear either. What happened on my ship while I was gone?

SIMON enters in from the Medical Bay. He's about to take off one of his rubber gloves...then he sees MALCOM. He shakes his head as he puts it back on.

JAYNE:
Doc picked a fight. I backed him up. No biggie.

SIMON:
Thank you, Jayne. Captain, come on back. We'll get you fixed up.

MALCOM:
Doc, you threw the first punch?

JAYNE:
They were gettin' fresh with INARA. Doc stepped up.

SIMON:
They tore her dress and were probably going to do worse.

MALCOM stands up, serious. His weary, "I-Just-Got-My-Ass-Beat" demeanor is GONE. He half-limps, half-runs out of the CARGO bay. (He favors his ribs. They were cracked in the fight.)

JAYNE:
Hmph. Didn't help none that that idjit sister a'yorn slipped off. We could'a used her help.

SIMON:
River? Where is she?

River passes by. She waves. SIMON is relieved. JAYNE just shakes his head.

JAYNE:
Retard.

RIVER:
(smiles prettily at him, as if he made a joke.) You don't mean it.

QUICK CUT:
INT. SERENITY - OUTSIDE INARA'S DOOR.

MALCOM staggers up. He's banging on the door.

MALCOM:
Inara!

INARA:
(Voice Off CAMERA, From inside the room.) I don't want to talk to you.

MALCOM:
Look, I heard about what happened. I want to apologize. Galen's crowd can be some pretty rough boys...

INARA:
(INARA opens the door.)
APOLOGIZE?!?! There's no excuse for what those savages...

INARA sees MALCOM's beat-up face for the first time.

INARA:
(Continuing)
Malcom, what happened to you?

She touches his face gently. MALCOM winces, as if her gentle touch hurt.

MALCOM:
Galen and I had a difference in opinion also.

INARA:
Oh, Mal. I'm so sorry.

MALCOM:
S'alright. (pause.) Are YOU okay?

INARA:
I'm...I'm fine. They didn't hurt me.

They both stare at each other for a good twenty - thirty seconds.

MALCOM:
I'll, ah...see you at dinner.

INARA:
Yeah.

FADE OUT.

INT. SERENITY - CREW DINING ROOM.

Everybody's there and eating.

JAYNE:
...and the big guy picked me up like I wuz nothin' and tossed me across the room. (looks at RIVER) I could'a used some help, feeb.

RIVER:
Sorry, Jayne.

RIVER is taking extra helpings of food and putting it on her plate. A lot of food.

JAYNE:
NOW what the hell are y' doin'?

RIVER:
(As if the answer was obvious.)
She's hungry.

A couple of the crew who sits next to her are puzzled. JAYNE just shakes his head.

JAYNE:
Now that scatterbrain's feedin' her multiple personalities. As if she wasn't crazy enough.

RIVER leaves with the food.

MALCOM:
Don't go to far, River. We're headin' out in an hour. (To everyone)
After chow, get prepped to go. You all know what you need to do, people.

MALCOM gets up, and leaves. ZOE follows him out into the Hallway.

MALCOM:
ZOE, you and Jayne make sure those straps are secured on those crates we got. When you're done, we'll go.

ZOE:
I wanted to talk to you about that, Captain... I'm not going with you.

MALCOM:
(Heartbeat)
What?

ZOE:
Galen and Anna asked me to join 'em. I'm gonna do it. I wanted to let you know before I leave.

MALCOM:
You think I'm afraid of the Alliance? Is that what this is about? You think I'm...I'm a...

ZOE:
No, not at all, Captain. That was just spoken out of anger. I think you're the bravest man I've ever met, and the best Captain I've ever served under. I couldn'tve asked for a better commanding officer.

MALCOM:
Then...what's all this talk'a leaving?

ZOE:
I don't belong here anymore, Captain. I'm so angry. I want to kill them that made the Reavers.
(holds up her battered, bandaged hands.) I want to break them with my bare hands.

MALCOM:
ZOE, stay with us. We'll figure out how to make it right.

ZOE:
I don't WANT to make it right, MAL! I want to fight! I want to kill every last gorram Alliance bastard I can find! I want blood, sir! I'm gonna get it, one way or th' other!

MALCOM:
You're startin' to sound like Galen, ZOE.

ZOE:
That's why I'm going with him. If I don't, I might hurt one a' you... and I couldn't bear that. I'm sorry sir.

ZOE hugs MALCOM.

MALCOM:
I don't know what I'll do without you.

ZOE:
You'll make do. You always do.

After a moment, ZOE stops hugging MALCOM. Looks at him intently.

ZOE:
Take care of what you gotta. I have to go get packed.

MALCOM:
Don't.

ZOE:
I have to, Mal. Goodbye.

INT. SERENITY - INARA'S ROOM.

ANGLE ON: INARA.

INARA is sitting in front of her mirror, somebody is knocking on her door.

INARA:
Come in.

ZOE enters the room.

ZOE:
Inara.

INARA:
ZOE. Hello. What can I do for you?

ZOE:
I'm leaving, Inara.

INARA:
Leaving...? But why?

ZOE:
I got my reasons. I got some things I need to do, and I can't do 'em here. My place is with Galen now.

INARA:
ZOE! Those Browncoats are animals! If Simon and Jayne didn't stop them...They would've--

ZOE:
I don't expect you to understand Inara, but there's one thing that I would ask from you.

INARA:
(Silent.)

ZOE:
You have to take care of the Captain. He'll need you now more than he ever did.

INARA:
Malcom? He doesn't need anything from me. He's made that perfectly clear.

ZOE:
You have to be the one to help him keep his bearings, make him stay the course. Tell him what to do and steer him straight when he loses his way.

INARA:
Tell Malcom Reynolds what to do? Keep his bearings? That stubborn man? I can't tell him what to do... most of the time I'm not even allowed to make suggestions!

ZOE:
You're the only one that can bring him back when he goes too far.

INARA:
Have you not heard a word I said? I can't make him do anything he doesn't want to -

ZOE grabs INARA and pushes her up against the mirror. Her voice is mean and hateful.

ZOE:
He LOVES you! Don't you SEE THAT? He got beat near to death today because of YOU! He defended YOUR honor when his best friend insulted you and your profession! He fought a duel for you, he took a sword in the guts for you! He came to help you when he thought you were in trouble!

At this point ZOE lets some of that bitterness that is tearing her up inside out on INARA. Turn the hate on full force...

ZOE:
(Continuing)
You turn your back on that and you'll be everything Galen Broud SAID you were!

ZOE now composes herself. She gave INARA a peek behind the surface of her soul. Now she lets go of INARA and steps back, about to go out the door.

ZOE:
He'll need someone to be by his side when the going gets the right level of rough. When it all goes to hell and there's nothin' left, he'll need someone there to hold his hand, when the end comes.
(Heartbeat. ZOE's about to cry.)
When the story's played out and all's said and done, that's really all that matters. Goodbye, INARA.

ZOE exits, leaving INARA with her thoughts.


INT. FADED GLORY - HANGER BAY - ESTABLISHING

The SERENITY is docked inside the hanger bay of the FADED GLORY. (Yes, it is that big!) The crew of the SERENITY are standing near the cargo bay ramp of the SERENITY. RIVER is keeping a low profile inside the SERENITY, every now and then peeking out of the Cargo Bay ramp. (She's there with the crew, just standing back a bit.) About ten feet away from the crew of the Serenity, stands GALEN BROUD, ANNA, and BRAWN, as well as about five browncoats standing back watching the ceremony. Both sides are lined up, with ZOE in the middle.

ANGLE ON: ZOE.

ZOE hugs SIMON and KAYLEE.

KAYLEE:
ZOE, don't go! You can have some of my share if you aren't gettin' paid enough!

ZOE:
Ain't about pay, KAYLEE. It's about payback.

SIMON:
We'll always be here for you, ZOE.

ZOE smiles a grim smile at this, and looks at INARA. She nods, and INARA nods back. ZOE sees RIVER staring at her, peeking her head out from around the wall, inside the SERENITY. ZOE waves to RIVER. RIVER, knowing she was spotted, jerks her head out of sight, as if scared of ZOE. ZOE walks over to Jayne. Punches him in the mouth.

JAYNE:
OW! What'd you do that for?!?

ZOE:
Dunno, just felt like hittin' you.

JAYNE:
(Sarcastically)
Boy I'm really gonna miss her.

ZOE walks over and stands directly in front of MALCOM, looking at him.

MALCOM:
You gonna hit me too?

ZOE:
Would it do any good?

MALCOM:
Prob'ly not.

MALCOM puts his arm around her shoulder and walks her over to GALEN BROUD's line. GALEN speaks as he does so.

GALEN:
Beatings never worked on ol' Malcom. Daddy'd beat him til' he couldn't walk and that would just make him more determined to do it again. Now, his ma would sit 'im down and talk to him, explained to him why somethin' was wrong, then he'd straighten up. A beating never worked.

MALCOM:
Yeah well you never listened at all.

GALEN:
In some ways we're just built differn't, I guess.

MALCOM stands there beside ZOE, in front of GALEN.

MALCOM:
You take care of my girl, Galen.

GALEN:
You know I will, MAL. I'll do right by her.

MALCOM:
(To ZOE.)
You'll always be a member of this crew, ZOE. No matter what.

ZOE:
I know Captain.

ZOE takes her place beside GALEN BROUD. MALCOM shakes hands with ZOE and then turns and walks up the ramp into the Serenity's cargo bay. The rest of the crew follows. Brief glance...GALEN takes a look at INARA. INARA looks back. She gives Galen a withering glance. Galen gives a little half smile and a nod.

QUICK CUT:

INT. SERENITY CARGO BAY.

MALCOM:
(Stressed out.)
Lock this boat down. I want this ship out of here in ten minutes.

INT. FADED GLORY -- HALLWAY.

GALEN BROUD, ANNA, and ZOE are walking down a hallway.

GALEN:
Glad you could join us, ZOE. There's a mission where I'm gonna need someone crazy to lead the troops for the next mission I got in mind.

ZOE:
I'm crazy, sir.

GALEN:
I need someone mean, ZOE. Mad-dog mean. Someone willin' to do what needs to be done to get the job finished and crazy enough to accept it.

ZOE:
Do I get to kill Alliance soldiers?

GALEN:
Oh, yeah.

ZOE:
Then I'm your girl, sir.

GALEN:
We're going to get along just fine, MAJOR Zoe Alleyne.

ZOE:
I noticed the stare that INARA gave you...I thought for sure you were gonna say something.

GALEN:
And get into another fight with Malcom Reynolds? Gorram, woman! I ain't healed from the last one yet!

EXT. CITY OF A BORDER PLANET - ESTABLISHING

The SERENITY is parked on the outskirts of a fairly well to do city. Not quite a border planet, but not quite Alliance either. It's a distant shot of the SERENITY parked on the outskirts of a semi-prosperous city.

INT. MEETING ROOM, ESTABLISHING

JAYNE and MALCOM are sitting on one side of the table, two other businessmen are sitting on the other. BUSINESSMAN #1 slides a bag over to MALCOM.

BUSINESSMAN #1:
Here's your payment for the shipment.

MALCOM:
'Preciate you paying in cash, and in full.

BUSINESSMAN #2:
There's another job...the transport of arms to Orion IV. Five thousand Cred. Half now, half on arrival.

MALCOM:
Orion IV? I'll be running an Alliance blockade. That'll cost triple.

BUSINESSMAN #1
Alliance blockades are not what they once were. There's no fleet protecting Orion IV anymore.

BUSINESSMAN #2
Not since the Independents destroyed their main battlegroup. Most of their ships are massed elsewhere.

BUSINESSMAN #1
So, five thousand?

MALCOM:
Eight.

BUSINESSMAN #2
Since you are Captain Reynolds of the Serenity, we will agree, to Seven.

BUSINESSMAN #1
Since you sent that transmission, business has been good for all of us.

BUSINESSMAN #1 slides a handful of coin into the bag. Slides it over to MALCOM. MALCOM takes it.

QUICK CUT:

EXT. CITY STREET - BORDER PLANET.

MALCOM and JAYNE are walking down the city street.

JAYNE:
Hot Damn! I knew if I stuck with you long enough I'd finally get paid! Oh hell yeah!

MALCOM is not amused. He looks over and spots RIVER looking at something in the traders section on the opposite side of the street.

MALCOM:
Well, earn your pay and collect our pilot. We got to go to the rendezvous point and load our next shipment.

JAYNE:
Why do I have to pull moron detail?

MALCOM:
Because she seems to respond to you lately. Don't ask me why.

JAYNE:
Crap! (muttering) If I wasn't gonna get paid...

ANGLE ON: RIVER TAM. RIVER is holding up a kitten out of a cage of kittens and RIVER is absolutely in love. The kittens are meowing oh-so-pitifully, and RIVER is looking at the kitten adoringly.

RIVER:
Awww... Kitty!

JAYNE walks up on RIVER.

JAYNE:
Put the kitty down, River. We got work to do.

RIVER:
But Jayne! Kitty!
(She hands JAYNE the kitten.)

JAYNE:
Yes, River, I see the pretty kitty...

JAYNE puts the kitten back in its cage.

JAYNE: (Continuing)
...But we got to go.

RIVER:
But JAYNE...!

JAYNE picks up RIVER effortlessly. She does not put up a fight.

JAYNE:
I don't have time for this.

RIVER:
(as she's being dragged off.)
KITTY...!

INT. SERENITY CARGO BAY - ESTABLISHING

MALCOM comes walking up the ramp. KAYLEE and SIMON are there to greet him.

KAYLEE:
Cap'n! The ships got its first FULL tank of gas for as long as I can remember! Good gas too!

SIMON:
We must be doing pretty well for ourselves, huh, Captain?

MALCOM:
(without much enthusiasm.)
Yeah, we're doing fine.

RIVER walks up the ramp, followed by JAYNE.

JAYNE:
Cap'n wants you on the bridge. Get us ready for launch.

RIVER:
(Smiling at him.)
Yes, Jayne.

JAYNE:
G'wan, now ... GIT!

RIVER exits the room, going to the bridge, almost bouncing with happiness as she goes. SIMON and KAYLEE both see her behavior. SIMON seems particularly disturbed by this.

CAMERA ANGLE ON: MALCOM, SIMON and KAYLEE. JAYNE is in the background.

JAYNE:
Idjit girl.

SIMON:
I hear that the independents are doing well for themselves against the Alliance. Got them running scared. Galen seems to be doing well.

MALCOM:
He ought to. He's got good people under him. ZOE'll steer him straight.

SIMON:
I'm curious as to why you didn't join him Captain.

MALCOM:
Ain't my fight. Not anymore.

MALCOM exits.

KAYLEE:
(To Simon, holding him.)
I wonder how she's doing, out there, with him.

EXT. OUTER SPACE - THIRD MOON OF TITAN -- ESTABLISHING

Near a moon, there is a space station there, orbiting the planet. In the background there is an Alliance Fleet slowly circling the planet. One huge ship is an Alliance "Goliath"-class Battleship, among their number.

SUPERIMPOSE:
"Research Facility GENESIS"
"THIRD MOON OF TITAN II"

INT. ALLIANCE GOLIATH CLASS BATTLESHIP - BRIDGE - ESTABLISHING

SUPERINPOSE: "USS Dreadnever, Alliance GOLIATH-class Battleship."

COMMANDER GREELY:
Any sign yet, Captain?

CAPTAIN STARLING:
No sir. I'm not certain he's going to show up here. Surely he wouldn't be crazy enough to attack even if he did.

COMMANDER GREELY:
Intelligence indicated that the Genesis research facility would be his next target. Under no circumstances is he to get it.

CAPTAIN STARLING:
What is so important on that station that Parliament opted to send its main fleet to protect it?

COMMANDER GREELY:
That's strictly need-to-know, Captain Starling. Suffice to say, should he acquire the technology on that station, could very well be the end of us all.

RADAR OFFICER:
Commander! There's a Goliath-class ALLIANCE battlecruiser approaching from the far side of the planet!

COMMANDER GREELY:
I didn't know we were getting reinforcements. I thought this was the only Goliath-class battleship available in this sector.

RADAR OFFICER:
It's sending out correct Alliance passcodes, sir.

COMMANDER GREELY:
Is it without escort?

RADAR OFFICER:
Sir, I...I can't be sure. There's some kind of interference with the Sensors.

There is a brief pause as Commander GREELY considers this.

COMMANDER GREELY:
Power the weapons. Bring the main guns online.

WEAPONS OFFICER:
Sir...?

COMMANDER GREELY:
POWER THE WEAPONS! Order the fleet to Red alert!

QUICK CUT:
INT. FADED GLORY - BRIDGE

GALEN BROUD is smoking a cigar on the Bridge. There are the two original officers (OFFICER #1 and OFFICER #2) from the first scene here. Plus two others. STEVEN (Weapons officer), and BROWNCOAT RADAR OFFICER.

GALEN:
Wel'p, the jig is up, boys. Let's let 'em know we're here.

STEVEN:
(Sarcastically)
They already know we're here, Gen'rl.

GALEN BROUD turns around and looks at STEVEN as if he was an idiot.

GALEN:
Then it's only po-lite to say "hi"!

GALEN activates the com.

GALEN: (Continuing)
First wave! Go in!
(pause. Turns off the com.)
Steven! Show me what these guns can do! Target that big-un' right there!
(pointing at the other huge Alliance ship)

STEVEN:
(Into com.)
All main batteries, target Alliance Capital ship...FIRE!

EXT OUTER SPACE - VEIW OF BOTH SIDES SQUARING OFF.

ANGLE ON: FADED GLORY.

It is a panoramic view of the battle. The first shot is that of the FADED GLORY firing it's guns, and a horde of smaller ships (that were hiding behind it and around it, trailing in the wake of the bigger ship) coming out and swarming towards the ALLIANCE FLEET.

ANGLE ON: ALLIANCE FLEET

The USS DREADNEVER is struck repeatedly from the FADED GLORY's main guns. It fires back. Many smaller ALLIANCE vessels swarm out to meet the Independent fleet. The War is on. Both sides are dealing each other awesome damage.

QUICK CUT:
INT. FADED GLORY - BRIDGE:

GALEN:
RANGE!!

BROWNCOAT RADAR OFFICER:
100 kilometers and closing, SIR!

GALEN:
(activates com)
Alright, ZOE, ANNA, you're on. Second Wave! Run interference! Clear a path to that station!

EXT. OUTER SPACE
CLOSE UP on one Independent Gunship, flying through space.

INDEPENDENT PILOT (O.S.)
Rodger that, Sir. We'll clear the path.

PAN CAMERA BACK: There's a LOT of Independent Gunships.

INDEPENDENT PILOT (O.S.)
You heard im', boys! Plow the field! YEEEE-HAAAAAAAA!!

CAMERA ANGLE ON: TRANSPORT SHIPS

Lightly armed transport ships - a bit bigger than the fighter corvettes that are guarding them. About four of them in this shot.

INT. TRANSPORT SHUTTLE - BRIDGE - ESTABLISHING.

Two pilots are flying the transport ship. A guy and a girl. (GUY PILOT and GIRL PILOT) ZOE enters the cockpit. She is armed to the teeth with a browncoat uniform, a soldier helmet, rifle.

ZOE:
What's our ETA...?

GIRL PILOT:
About five minutes, commander.

GUY PILOT:
Yeah, if we don't get fragged first!

ZOE:
Think positive, soldier!

ZOE exits the cockpit.

INT. TRANSPORT SHUTTLE - CARGO AREA.

ZOE's POV: There are thirty troops lined up in here, fifteen to a wall. ZOE enters. They all look to her.

CAMERA ANGLE ON ZOE.

ZOE:
Five minutes, guys. You know what to do. Be ready.

ZOE pulls back the charging handle on her assault rifle.

SOLDIERS:
YEEEEEE-HAAAAAAAA!

ZOE:
I don't think I heard you.

SOLDIERS:
(With more enthusiasm)
YEEEEEEE-HAAAAAAAAA!

ZOE:
(Grim smile)
That's more like it.

EXT. OUTER SPACE

ANGLE ON: INDEPENDENT SHIPS

Independent Gunships are clearing the way. Some get shot down, some shoot back and destroy Alliance fighters. A beam comes out of nowhere and blasts one of the transport shuttles. It careens out of control.

INT. ZOE's TRANSPORT SHUTTLE - CARGO AREA

ZOE:
DAMN! What was that?!?

QUICK CUT:
INT. ZOE's TRANSPORT SHUTTLE - COCKPIT.

GIRL PILOT:
ALPHA ONE just bought it, MAJOR!

INT. CARGO AREA.

ZOE:
Shon Tai sai! (Curse word)
(Into comlink)
ANNA! Is YOUR team still with us?

INT. ANNA's TRANSPORT SHUTTLE - CARGO BAY.

ANNA:
We're still 100 per cent, Major. We're on crowd control...but you got the hard part. Need some more men?

INT. ZOE's TRANSPORT SHUTTLE - CARGO AREA

ZOE:
No, ANNA... I think we can handle it.
(To soldiers)
Hear that, boys? We got our work cut out for us. (Yelling)
ONE MINUTE!!

EXT. OUTER SPACE - VERY CLOSE TO THE SPACE STATION

The Independent transport shuttles dock at various points all over the space station.

CLOSE UP: Transport Shuttle

A Transport shuttle docks at an area near the hub of the space station. In the background there's another Shuttle docking on the other side of the hub. In the background Independent and Alliance fighters are shooting each other.

INT. SPACE STATION - EMPTY ROOM

From the ceiling sparks shower down. The Independent troops are cutting their way in. A circular shaped cut-out is kicked down, landing on the floor with a clunk. Browncoats start dropping down. After about six of them ZOE follows.

ZOE:
(To a soldier)
See if the coast is clear.

The soldier sticks his head into the hallway, and he gets shot.

ZOE:
Lewis, prep the hallway.

"LEWIS" puts a grenade into his grenade launcher.

LEWIS:
Yes, ma'am.

LEWIS sticks just the rifle out of the doorway and launches a grenade down the hallway.

ZOE:
GO! GO! GO!

ZOE and a small crew of about 6 browncoats rush out as the grenade explodes down the hallway. They come up to where the grenade went off and shoot everybody still breathing when they turn the corner.

ZOE:
Keep going! Keep going! We can't let 'em blow the station!

Six browncoats go around the corner in a full charge, and they all get mowed down by a M-60 machine gun type energy weapon set up at the end of the hallway. ZOE steps around the corner and fires the grenade launcher. Grenade lands right next to the machine-gun emplacement. BOOM. No more machine gun.

INT. SPACE STATION - COMMAND CENTER - ESTABLISHING:

Here are a bunch of military scientists. There are four ARMED GUARDS, the HEAD SCIENTIST, (His name is Hans) he is male, bald head, older, wears glasses, has a german accent. (He is german) His ASSISTANT, a female, older, dumpy but smart looking. Three other SCIENTISTS standing around. All the SCIENTISTS wear white immaculate lab coats. In the background noise, there is distant gunfire and explosions.

HEAD SCIENTIST:
Mein Gott, they haf broken through the perimeter defenses so easily. Surely the inner hub defenses will hold. These independents, they are but rabble.

ASSISTANT:
They don't care how many of their own they sacrifice...as long as they get what they want. They're like Reavers.

HEAD SCIENTIST:
We haf to hold them back. We haf to!

ASSISTANT:
Hans, we have an obligation. Not only to the Alliance, but to the human race. We have to start the countdown to self -destruction.

The HEAD SCIENTIST looks at the ASSISTANT for a long moment, with a distraught look on his face. The sounds of gunfire is closer now. There is a loud BOOM that sounds a LOT closer. The HEAD SCIENTIST is startled, and then nods "yes" reluctantly. He pulls out his key and puts it into a slot on the console. She pulls out her key and puts it into a similar slot next to the first one.

HEAD SCIENTIST:
Authorization code RZ45792134. Voice authorization: Self Destruct.

ASSISTANT:
Authorization code RZ98345321. Voice authorization: Self Destruct confirmed.

There are voices coming from behind the door. "Hurry hurry get those charges on there!!"

COMPUTER:
AUTHORIZATION CONFIRMED. SELF DESTRUCT SWITCH ARMED.

At this, a panel opens up in the command console, and a red "push switch" comes up, covered in a plastic box-shape cover. The HEAD SCIENTIST lifts up the plastic box, and holds the ASSISTANT's hand.

HEAD SCIENTIST:
(To ASSISTANT)
Goodbye, Gail....

He reaches to press the button... and the Bulkhead door blows! ZOE is the first to breach. Four browncoats just charge into the room. Two more take sentry positions on each side of ZOE.

The HEAD SCIENTIST is distracted by the explosion and doesn't press the button. He is further distracted by ZOE.

ZOE SHOOTS the HEAD SCIENTIST in the back of the head.

A Sentry on one side of the room shoots one Browncoat, then another browncoat shoots him. The ARMED GUARD on the other side of the room did better. He shoots two browncoats but one of the browncoats who was to the left (sentry position) of ZOE shoots HIM. The ASSISTANT is momentarily shocked at the death of the HEAD SCIENTIST, but recovers in a second and reaches for the self destruct button. ZOE shoots her in the arm. She spins and falls to the floor. The Browncoats kill everyone else in the room, except for the assistant. ZOE walks over to the ASSISTANT.

ASSISTANT:
(Pleading)
You're a soldier...you lead these men...please...you don't understand what this technology is. If you use it, all humanity in the solar system will die. Please, you can't do this...

ZOE shoots her. She stands there, for a moment, considering that she just killed a helpless woman in cold blood, for no other reason than because she was affiliated with the Alliance. ZOE briefly feels a moment of guilt.

ZOE:
General Broud, the target is secure. I repeat, the target is secure.

EXT. OUTER SPACE - THE FADED GLORY.

The FADED GLORY is smoking with several impact craters on it. The FADED GLORY is not looking too well.

QUICK CUT:

INT. FADED GLORY - BRIDGE.

GALEN BROUD has an unlit, half-smoked cigar in his mouth. He's sitting in a chair fully engaged in the battle.

STEVEN:
We took major damage, General. Three of our front main guns are gone. Hull breaches in several of our bow bulkheads.

GALEN:
Divert remaining power to the starboard guns. Rotate the ship 90 degrees port.

STEVEN:
Sir...we can't take another barrage like that from that Battleship. It'll take a few seconds to make the change!

GALEN:
S'matter with you, boy? You want to live forever?

STEVEN:
Charge starboard guns to full power. ROTATE 90 degrees port!

B.RADAR OFFICER:
Rotating 90 degrees port!

GALEN:
We gonna give these Alliance bastards a broadside 'fore we go down.

QUICK CUT:

INT. USS DREADNEVER - BRIDGE:

WEAPONS OFFICER:
Heavy damage on our bow, Sir. That first volley hurt us.

COMMANDER GREELY:
Has the self-destruct countdown of the GENESIS research facility begun yet?

RADAR OFFICER:
No, sir. All radio contact with the Genesis has been cut off.

COMMANDER GREELY:
Dear God. They did it. The Independents captured the Station.

RADAR OFFICER:
SIR! The enemy ship is rotating to port! They've stopped firing!!

CAPTAIN STARLING:
Sir! We don't know that! If we fire one more volley into the enemy capital ship, we can cripple 'em...maybe even destroy it!

COMMANDER GREELY:
(aside)
They're going to broadside us.
(to the CAPTAIN)
We can't take that chance, Captain. You know the consequences if they manage to capture the GENESIS intact. (To weapons officer)
Rotate all weapons to target the GENESIS! Power remaining guns to full power!

WEAPONS OFFICER:
Targeting the GENESIS. Diverting all power to remaining weapons!

COMMANDER GREELY:
History will remember us as heroes, Captain.

QUICK CUT:

INT. FADED GLORY - BRIDGE:

WEAPONS OFFICER:
We're ready, sir.

GALEN:
(Takes that cigar out of his mouth.)
Fire.

EXT. FADED GLORY

The Faded Glory fires a massed group of beams out of it's starboard side.

INT. USS DREADNEVER - BRIDGE:

RADAR OFFICER:
S-Sir, they're firing on us!

COMMANDER GREELY:
(Quietly.)
Dear God, we're too late.

CAPTAIN:
(Mockingly)
"target the space station," he says. "History will remember us," he says.
(Captain pulls his pistol.)
Yeah, as the idiots who destroyed humanity, you stupid son of a b-

EXT. USS DREADNEVER

A beam hits the bridge, then two more beams hit the center of the ship. Two more beams hit the aft. The ship splits in half and parts of it explodes in beautiful primary and secondary explosions.

INT. FADED GLORY - BRIDGE

GALEN BROUD is kicking back in the chair. Everyone else is cheering.

STEVEN:
ENEMY SHIP DESTROYED!!

EVERYONE ON BRIDGE:
YEEE -HAAAAAAAAA! (Rebel Yells)

RADAR OFFICER:
The remainder of the Alliance fleet is in retreat!

While everybody else is going crazy, and yelling, GALEN BROUD sits there silent, watching the screen with satisfaction. He quietly puts the cigar into his mouth and lights it with a wood match. He takes a big ol' drag, and then slowly blows the smoke out, enjoying his victory.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY.

MALCOM is helping the others arrange the cargo. JAYNE, SIMON, and KAYLEE are also there. River is no where to be seen. SIMON is helping move a crate with JAYNE.

SIMON:
(Sniffs.)
Dear God, Jayne. When was the last time you changed that shirt?

JAYNE:
Dunno.
(thinks about it.)
A week or two maybe. Why?

SIMON:
You really reek. You need to take a shower.

MALCOM:
Jayne don't take showers. I suspect the man's allergic to water.

JAYNE:
I take showers! Just not all the time.

KAYLEE:
Please Jayne. You're killin' us.

JAYNE:
Fine. I got one clean shirt left.

JAYNE leaves.

SIMON:
I think he's lying about the showers.

KAYLEE giggles.

OPERATIVE: (O.S.)
Greetings, Captain.

MALCOM draws his pistol with no hesitation and points it at someone off screen.

CAMERA ANGLE ON: THE OPERATIVE

The OPERATIVE, from the first SERENITY movie, stands in the opening of the Cargo Bay door.

OPERATIVE:
I bear no ill will towards you or your crew, Captain. I've come in peace.

MALCOM:
Give me one reason why I shouldn't kill you right now and leave your body to the crows.

OPERATIVE:
Kill me if you must, MALCOM REYNOLDS, but first hear what I have to say.

MALCOM:
Speak your peace. Then I'll decide whether or not to shoot you.

OPERATIVE:
Fair enough.
(pause)
The Alliance seemed to think that I would be the best messenger, since we had a...history, together, you and I.

MALCOM:
They thought wrong.

OPERATIVE:
They sent me to entreat your help.

MALCOM:
My help? ME? Work for the Alliance?
(Bitter laughter)
Now I know you folks are a few cards short of a deck. I've heard enough!

OPERATIVE:
Galen Broud's forces converged with their stolen Alliance Goliath-class Battleship at the third moon of Titan II. Alliance forces met them there and the Independents crushed them in a decisive victory. The main fleet of the Alliance was destroyed.

MALCOM:
(Smiling)
And the bad news is...?

CAMERA ANGLE on INARA. She comes walking in on the catwalk to see what is going on. She's looking down on the two men talking. CAMERA ANGLE switches back to MALCOM and the OPERATIVE.

OPERATIVE:
The "bad news", Captain, is that there was a secret space station in orbit around the third moon of Titan II...The Genesis research facility. There resided another one of Parliament's "pet projects"

MALCOM:
What this time? Experiments on young girls? Chemical experiments to turn people into Reavers?

OPERATIVE:
No captain. Armageddon. A doomsday device. It now resides in Galen Broud's possession and our intelligence indicates he fully intends to use it.

INT. RESEARCH FACILITY GENESIS - COMMAND CENTER.

GALEN BROUD sits in a chair near the vid screen, he got a bottle of whisky in his hand, contentedly smoking a cigar. He's drunk, but he's quiet and happy. ANNA walks in.

ANNA:
General...?

GALEN:
Colonel.
(pause)
We did it Anna. We're gonna win this war.

ANNA:
I know this space station was important to you, General, but I don't know why.

GALEN gets up. Walks to the door.

GALEN:
Come with me.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. RESEARCH FACILITY GENESIS - MISSILE HOLDING AREA.

GALEN walks with ANNA along a long catwalk set high above the floor of a long room. Down below is a HUGE missile, that runs almost the length of a football field (250 feet.)

GALEN:
There it is. Once we finish repairs on the Faded Glory, we're gonna modify a cargo bay to fire this thing. This will end the war and end the Alliance's hold on us for all time.

ANNA:
Galen, what is it? What does it do?

SMASH CUT:

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY.

MALCOM:
A "doomsday device", you say? End o' the world type stuff?

OPERATIVE:
No Captain. The End of all life. PARLIAMENT wished to create a deterrent, a weapon designed never to be used, whose very existence would bring all errant worlds in line with the mutual threat of total annihilation.
(pause)
In short, this "doomsday device" is a missile, armed with a warhead designed to cause the sun to go supernova before its time.

MALCOM:
You're a liar. You can't be serious.

OPERATIVE:
I would not risk my life to come here merely to lie to you, Captain, I assure you. I bear no love for the Alliance either, but this situation surpasses any petty differences I might have had with them.

SIMON:
No one, not even the Alliance, are insane enough to make such a weapon.

OPERATIVE: (Cont.)
This is the same government that was insane enough to make Reavers, Simon Tam; but I don't believe they are actually insane enough to use it. However, I believe Galen Broud IS.

MALCOM:
You don't know him like I do. He'd never be stupid enough to use that weapon. He got you people up against the ropes and now you're crawling to anyone who will help you stop him. To hell with you, mister.

OPERATIVE:
Ambient radiation will destroy the core worlds, which are losest to the sun, in a matter of months. Within two years, the border planets with succumb to the supernova's solar flares. Within the decade, even the frontier worlds at the edge of the Solar system will be nothing more than irradiated bones and cracked dirt. Nothing with the breath of life will survive, Malcom Reynolds. Not even bacteria.

MALCOM:
The Galen I know would never do that. Zoe's with him, and she'll steer him straight.

OPERATIVE:
You don't know that, Cap--

MALCOM:
(Raising his voice.)
I know I'm DONE cleaning up the Alliance's messes! I'm DONE losing crew to other people's problems! You took Shepard Book, you son of a bitch. Because a' you, we had to take on the Reavers and then they killed Wash! and when you killed Wash you might as well killed his wife, my first officer! Now you're scared and you've come running to me and expect me and mine to put our lives on the line to save YOURS! (MALCOM draws his pistol.)
Tell your people to clean up their own mess. Now get your ass off my ship before I put a bullet in it!

OPERATIVE:
Very well, Captain.

Without further ado, the Operative leaves.

MALCOM:
Shon tai thai shon (curses)

JAYNE enters the cargo bay (He just got back from his room.) He's pissed.

JAYNE:
That's IT! That's the last STRAW!
(Jayne enters.)
It's not enough that she runs off with all the leftovers from chow, it ain't enough she torments me day and night...

KAYLEE:
What now, Jayne?

JAYNE walks by MALCOM.

JAYNE:
The idjit ran off with my only clean shirt!! You got to do somethin' about that girl, Mal!

MALCOM:
(Harshly)
DEAL with it, Jayne!

MALCOM storms off.

JAYNE:
Don't take it out on me!
(To everyone else)
Who the hell pissed in his cornflakes?

SIMON:
He just found out that all life in the solar system is going to be extinguished.

JAYNE:
Well ain't that just peachy. RIVER! Where are you, girl! I want my shirt back!

JAYNE starts looking around the crates. JAYNE knows River's little bolt-holes pretty well.

JAYNE:
I'm gonna find you, it's just a matter of time...

SIMON:
What would River want with your shirt?

JAYNE:
Ask that feeble-minded sister of yours! All I know is I had one clean shirt, and it's gone!

RIVER steps out from behind some crates. She's scared because Jayne's mad at her.

RIVER:
She needed clothes, Jayne.

While JAYNE is talking, he is going over to where RIVER hid and starts rooting around crates and looking for RIVER's little hiding spots.

JAYNE:
Who needed clothes? Your invisible friend? I'm gettin' my shirt back.
(Pulling the lid off crates)
I swear to God, girl, I thought you might be getting a little less crazy, then you start hoarding food, stealing my clothes... I don't know what the hell is wrong with...

JAYNE opens the top to another crate. He looks in. We don't get to see what's in the crate yet. Only note the expression on Jayne's face.

JAYNE:
Well, how 'bout that.

SIMON walks over to the crate, curious.

SIMON:
What is it? What'd you find?

JAYNE:
Found my shirt, and a pair of my pants.

SIMON looks, eyes widened.

SIMON's P.O.V: - We see what's in the crate. It's a girl, her name is KIERA, wearing JAYNE's shirt and pants. What skin she does have showing has purplish bruises on them. One wrist has a cigar burn. She has a black eye that is fading to purple.

KIERA:
Please, don't send me back to him, please.

SIMON:
(admonishing)
River, why didn't you tell one of us?

RIVER:
(pitifully.)
She made me promise not to tell. She made me promise.

SIMON touches her forehead.

SIMON:
She's burning up. Bring her to the sick bay.

KAYLEE:
God, what's that smell? Jayne, I thought River stole a CLEAN shirt to give to her!

RIVER:
I did!

JAYNE:
(Pause)
Well, now, I didn't have a clean pair a' pants.

KAYLEE:
Ewwww!


INT. FADED GLORY - HALLWAY

ZOE is walking down the hallway. ANNA is jogging to catch up. ZOE is tired.

ANNA:
ZOE! Wait up!

ZOE:
Hey Anna. Haven't seen you since the battle. Good fight, eh?

ANNA:
Yeah. Good job, ZOE.

There is a "meow" from off screen. ZOE and ANNA looks down. There is a cat on the floor. Walking around.

ZOE:
Huh. What's with the cats?

ANNA:
Some of the Scientists had pets.

ZOE:
(Just looks at the cat.)
How about that.

ANNA:
Look, ZOE...I found out what's so important about this space station we captured...

ZOE:
Can it wait until tomorrow? Today was a long day. I want to get some sleep.

ANNA:
The Alliance built a missile that can destroy the Sun, ZOE. Galen's gonna use it.

ZOE:
Galen's gonna blow up the sun?

ANNA:
Make it go supernova. Yes.

ZOE:
Whatever. I'm going to bed.

ANNA:
Look, ZOE...I don't think you understand...

ZOE:
NO, Anna, I don't think YOU understand! I DON'T CARE. I don't give a damn WHAT happens to this bastard of a life. I'm through caring, about anyone, about anything. If Galen Broud wants to blow up the sun, let him. As for me? Hell with it. I'm going to bed.

INT. SERENITY - MEDICAL BAY.

SIMON is looking over KIERA (the abused girl). KIERA is lying on the medical couch. RIVER is standing off to the side, as is KAYLEE & JAYNE, INARA comes in, followed by MALCOM.

SIMON:
(To MALCOM)
She's got an infection. She's burning up with fever.

INARA:
(horrified.)
Dear God. She's a companion.

KIERA:
I-Inara...?

INARA:
KIERA...? What were you doing on Galen Broud's ship?

KIERA:
Galen captured an Alliance luxury liner. I was one of the few prisoners he kept alive. He hated me for being an... an...

INARA:
(looks at MALCOM)
...An Alliance whore.

MALCOM:
RIVER! Why didn't you tell me you brought her on board?

KIERA:
(To MALCOM.)
Please don't be mad at her, Captain. I made River promise not to tell you... because I was afraid you'd tell Galen and then he would make you give me back, and once he got me back... (KIERA starts crying.)

MALCOM:
RIVER. You're psychic. You knew I wouldn've given her back. Right...?
(pause.)
Right?

RIVER:
(pause. pitiful voice.)
She made me promise.

MALCOM:
Next time you decide to go on a rescue misson you clear it with ME!

RIVER:
(quiet.)
She made me promise...

SIMON:
(aside to MALCOM. INARA is able to hear.) She has been ...abused... for an extended period of time, Captain. But she should be okay in a couple of days physically, if not psychologically.

INARA:
Kiera, I promise I'm going to get you home to the temple. I'll take you myself, as soon as your able. I promise. (staring at MALCOM) No one is going to take you back to that monster.

KIERA reaches out and takes INARA's hand.

KIERA:
Thank you, INARA. Thank you.

INARA leaves. She's pissed to say the least, but she keeps it together until she's gone.

MALCOM:
(To Simon.)
Keep me posted.

MALCOM leaves to go after INARA.

JAYNE:
Aw man. This ought to be good.

INT. SERENITY - OUTSIDE INARA'S SHUTTLE DOOR.

MALCOM makes a move, as if to knock. He hesitates, and then thinks better of it. He has nothing to say, as usual. He stands in the Hallway, not wanting to leave, not wanting to stay. The door opens. INARA stands there in the doorway. She is momentarily shocked to see Mal standing outside in the Hallway. She recovers, then says:

INARA:
Malcom.

MALCOM:
Inara.

INARA:
I can't believe you were so hard on River.

MALCOM:
(Incredulous)
What?

INARA:
River saved Kiera from that animal, Galen Broud, and you yelled at her for it!

MALCOM:
If you haven't noticed, I am the captain of this ship, Inara! It is my business what comes aboard my ship! I should be the first to know, not the last! River knows that!

INARA:
She's just a girl, trying to do the right thing...unlike some people.

MALCOM:
Alright, Inara. Let's just get right down to it. This has nothing to do with River. Speak your mind.

INARA:
You're going after her, aren't you?

MALCOM:
Going after who?

INARA:
Who do you think, MAL? ZOE. She's a member of your crew! Your first officer!

MALCOM:
Not anymore.

INARA:
(Incensed)
You can't tell me you're not going after her....that you're not going to save her from that...that-

MALCOM:
ZOE's in no danger. She always fought for the Independents. Galen hates the Alliance. He reckons that Companions are with the Alliance, so he hates them too. He won't hurt Zoe...not like that... Companions represent all the things about the Alliance that he hates....

INARA:
It doesn't matter how much you like him, Malcom Reynolds....you can't make excuses for an animal like that... The next portion of the dialogue, MALCOM and INARA start saying their dialogue simultaneously. They're trying to out shout each other.

MALCOM:
(Begin with INARA's 'excuses')
I'm not MAKING excuses, Inara...I'm just tryin' to explain how he sees things...he hates everything that he thinks has to do with the alliance--

INARA:
(Her dialogue starts with Mal's "explain") EXPLAIN?!?!You can't make explanations for someone who rapes an innocent girl again and again... against her will.....

MALCOM:
...and I'm sorry he took that hatred out on Kiera.

INARA:
I don't care if he was your friend - that doesn't give him the right to act like a REAVER!

MALCOM:
He's not my friend, HE'S MY BROTHER!

The Dialogue was so simultaneous that at the same time INARA says "REAVER" Malcom said "BROTHER"

End of Simutaneous Dialogue

There's a moment of silence. Even INARA is quiet for a second.

MALCOM:
He resents that you Companions pick who you're with ....and those you pick are always rich Alliance Bureaucrats--Those who kept poor farmers like us under their thumb since they took over. He hates that you're too good for us....that our money isn't good enough ...that no matter how hard we try, or how much we want you, or how much you burn into our hearts and twist our innards til' they break, it'll never be enough-- that he could fight his own brother to defend your honor only to watch you turn your back on him and sleep with some polished Alliance officer. In his eyes, that makes a Companion a whore, so he treats you like one.

INARA:
I don't have to listen to this.
(Turning to storm out)

MALCOM:
That's right! Cut and run! Like everybody I care about! Shepard, WASH, ZOE.... I drive off everybody that means a damn, or I let 'em die.

INARA:
Not listening!!

MALCOM:
Hell, I TRIED to get rid of you, but you came back!

INARA:
(screaming)
I had a knife to my throat!

MALCOM:
(Almost screaming)
Well there's no knife now! What's stopping you?! GO!! Make me feel ashamed that I won't go and kill my own brother... You turn me round and round til I can't stand no more! You do this to me...you KEEP doing this to me Jesus Christ woman, what is it that you WANT??!!?

INARA attacks MALCOM. She grabs him by the brown Jacket and throws him back against the bed and tries to break his face with a kiss...They commence to ripping each other's clothes off.....and the rest, as they say, is history. I'll let the director deal with this scene. It was a long time comin'.

INT. FADED GLORY - ZOE's ROOM.

ZOE goes into her room. She just flops on her bunk, and sits back. on the nightstand by her bunk is a vidcard of Wash. She just looks at it for but a moment. Her eyes water for a second and she tries to give a half smile. She drinks a glass of whisky and then she puts the picture face down (so she can't see it) and then leans back, staring up in the air for a while then closes her eyes.

WASH:
Zoe'.

ZOE still has eyes closed. She's trying to wake up.

WASH:
ZOE', what are you doing?

ZOE:
(voice breaking.)
Wash...?

She opens her eyes, and WASH is there.

WASH:
Yes honey, I'm here.

ZOE:
Oh, Wash....I've missed you so much.

WASH:
I've missed you too, honey.

ZOE:
Since you've been gone, I haven't been able to sleep. Every time I closed my eyes I see you sitting there with a reaver's lance in your chest and I break, and I get so angry, angry at the abominations that did that to you...angry at the bastards who made them. I've been...(pause) I've been so lost without you...

WASH:
You have been asleep, ZOE. You've been asleep all this time. You've having a nightmare, honey...and it's time you woke up.

ZOE:
How can I? I never knew how much you meant to me, until you were taken from me. You are my guiding light, my north star. You set my course, and you made sure I got there...I never told you how much you meant, how much I loved you, how you so totally made me yours... (pause) (voice totally breaking) I didn't even know how to smile until I met you.

WASH:
I'm still with you, honey...I'm still your north star, but I can't steer you from outside. I have to do it from here. (touches her heart.)
I can't fit, ZOE. Every time you let your anger fester into hate, and every time you let that hate grow so big that it bubbles out of you, you pushed me out more and more. You're so filled with it, ZOE; there's no room for me.

ZOE:
No... No... (sobbing, clutching at him.) Don't say that to me. Don't...

WASH:
You're becoming a Reaver, honey, but no one's doing it to you...no one's putting chemicals in the air or spiking the water. You're doing it to yourself.

ZOE:
How, how can I let this go...? I hurt so bad, Wash. It hurts so much...

WASH:
Remember when we first met?

ZOE:
What...?

WASH:
You didn't like me.

ZOE:
Not at first...but later...

WASH:
When did that change?

ZOE:
I don't...

WASH:
We were all on the bridge, You, me, Mal, and Kaylee. Captain just hired Kaylee after he caught her and the other mechanic in the engine room...

Wash whispers into ZOE's ear. The audience can't hear it.

ZOE smiles wide, then laughs. She opens her eyes. She wakes up, for real. She laughs and cries. A Cathartic cry instead of a mean, self-hating cry.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. SERENITY - INARA's SHUTTLE.

CAMERA ANGLE ON: a spilt bottle of baby powder on top of INARA's dresser. As we pan the camera back, we see that baby powder is all over her dresser. There are hand-prints (and foot prints!) in the powder on the mirror of the dresser. Pan the camera around the room and we see that everything on the dresser has been swept to the floor. The drapes are torn. Clothes are spread all over the place. The mattress of the bed has been pulled off the frame and is on the floor. In essence: some serious sex has been perpetrated here.

MALCOM and INARA are lying on the mattress, on the floor. Spent. Naked except for the bed sheet.

INARA:
(tired, languid voice.)
Is Galen Broud really your brother?

MALCOM:
(pause. Tired, languid voice.)
Same father. Different mothers.

INARA:
(Pause. Jokingly)
Papa was a rolling stone...

MALCOM:
Oh, ho ho ho...now you're gonna get it... (Rolls over on top of her.)

INARA:
Oh, really...? What am I going to get... ooooohhh...!

INT. SERENITY - HALLWAY OUTSIDE INARA'S SHUTTLE

JAYNE is running down the hallway with his hand over his mouth, trying desperately not to be heard laughing. He runs by RIVER curiously observing him as he's acting like an ass.

JAYNE:
(laughing)
Way to go squirt. You finally got Mal laid. Now maybe he won't be so cranky.
(Musses RIVER's hair.)
Did good, kid.

RIVER:
(puzzled.)
I didn't do anything.

INT. SERENITY - INARA's SHUTTLE

Everything is still messed up from the last scene. INARA awakens, still naked and covered with a sheet. MAL is gone from her side. She looks up, and Mal is sitting on a chair, fully dressed. He is finishing putting on a boot.

INARA:
Hi.

MALCOM:
Didn't mean to wake you.

INARA:
Going somewhere...?

MALCOM:
Yeah. I'm goin' after my first officer. Maybe even save the solar system in the process.
(Pause)
We're leaving just as soon as I get you and Kiera to a safe spot.

INARA:
I'm not going anywhere, Mal. I'm going to face this with you.

MALCOM:
Inara, it's going to get real rough real fast. There's a good chance we aren't coming back from this one. I couldn't bear to have anything happen to you. The last thing I want is you gettin' hurt to slow us down.

INARA:
I'm coming with you, and that's it.

MALCOM looks at her intently and embraces her and kisses her long and passionate-like.

MALCOM:
When we get back we're gonna have ourselves a long talk.

INARA:
Wouldn't miss it for the world.

INT. SERENITY - HALLWAY.

MALCOM is a man on a mission. He goes to a hallway intercom.

MALCOM:
(Thru intercom)
All crew members, report to the cargo bay. I repeat, report to the cargo bay.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY.

All crewmembers are present. JAYNE, RIVER sits next to him...SIMON and Kaylee sit together. INARA and KIERA are not there. MALCOM enters.

MALCOM:
All right, people. Here's the deal. Galen Broud's going to blow up the sun, which will kill everything in the solar system. We're going to stop him, one way or t'other. I hope it's not true. I hope he's just going to use that missile to put the fear of God into the ALLIANCE, but worse comes to worse, we'll be the ones to stop him.

JAYNE:
Why do WE have to be the ones to save the world? Let someone else do it!

MALCOM:
Can't no one get close enough, Jayne. He knows me. There's a good chance he'll let me board before he blows us out of the sky. We just might have a chance.

JAYNE:
(muttering.)
Well that's just great. Get him laid and now he wants to be a hero.
(To River.)
Good job, Feeb.

RIVER:
(confused)
I didn't do anything!

MALCOM:
Now, there's a good chance that we won't be coming back. It ain't on the list of things I want to do, but it's gotta be done. If you don't want in on this, speak up now. This is the end of the line. Any who goes with me when we leave stay for the duration. There is no turning back, no matter how bad it gets.

INARA enters the room.

INARA:
I'm with you, Captain.

RIVER walks over to her brother, SIMON.

SIMON:
(With Kaylee and RIVER.)
As are we.

KIERA: (O.S.)
...And so am I.

KIERA enters, coming from the sick bay.

MALCOM:
KIERA, you suffered more than any'a us. Can't no one ask no more a'you. This ain't your fight.

KIERA:
If you fail, all life as we know it will die. This is all our fight. You can tell Galen Broud that you're going to return his "whore" to him, that just might give you an "in".

MALCOM just looks at KIERA, nodding his head. Then he turns to JAYNE.

MALCOM:
Jayne...?

JAYNE:
(Looks at KIERA.)
Girl has a point. I'm not gonna die on some poisoned planet years from now.
(Pulls the charging handle on his rifle.) I'm in.

TIME CUT:

EXT. SERENITY - IN ATMO.

The SERENITY takes off from the planet, flies into outer space.

QUICK CUT:

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE

RIVER is piloting the ship. SIMON enters the bridge.

SIMON:
River, I've been meaning to catch up with you...

RIVER:
You want to know why I spend so much time with Jayne.

SIMON:
Yes...I'm concerned for you, River. I don't understand your fascination with him.

RIVER:
He's quiet.

SIMON:
Quiet? He's the loudest person on this ship. All he does is complain!

RIVER:
No, Simon. Everyone else is so noisy. They're always thinking things they don't say. Not Jayne. If he thinks it, he says it. I like being around him. He's quiet. Not noisy like everyone else.

SIMON:
He doesn't like you, River! You remember he tried to sell us to the Alliance for a quick buck. He's hated you ever since you came on board, and he's mean to you every chance he gets!

RIVER turns and looks at SIMON with her heart in her eyes and says:

RIVER:
Aww, he don't mean it.

TIME CUT:

EXT. SERENITY - OUTER SPACE - APPROACHING THE FADED GLORY.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE

The whole crew is on the bridge or hanging out in the hallway. Malcom in the center.

MALCOM:
All right, everyone. You all know what to do. Inara, take River and hide in your shuttle. Rest'a you, get your game faces on, people. It's showtime.
(on intercom)
Serenity to Faded Glory, Serenity to Faded Glory. Permission to approach?

GALEN:
(From Intercom)
MALCOM REYNOLDS! How the hell are ya! What brings you to my neck of the woods?

MALCOM:
We brought back somethin' a yours, Galen. Little companion girl. On board our ship.

GALEN is quiet for a moment. When he next speaks, there is little joy in his voice. He knows what MAL's gonna do.

GALEN:
(from the intercom)
Well, bring her aboard, MAL. It'll be good to see you again.

EXT. SERENITY - SERENITY DOCKS WITH THE FADED GLORY.

INT. FADED GLORY - AIRLOCK BETWEEN SERENITY AND FADED GLORY.

MALCOM, JAYNE, and KIERA are present.

MALCOM:
Okay, Jayne, don't start shooting unless things start going south. Last resort. KIERA, let me do the talking. We'll have only one shot at this.

AIRLOCK OPENS. They step out into the Cargo bay of the FADED GLORY. GALEN BROUD, ANNA and BRAWN are there, armed to the teeth, and so are about 30 Browncoats surrounding them. As soon as they step out of the airlock, the browncoats aim their guns.

MALCOM:
Galen, what's all this? Another joke?

GALEN:
Think I'm stupid, Mal? Like I'm to believe that you'd bring back this companion girl, after what you thought I done to her? (pause)
You come to stop what I plan to do.

MALCOM:
You're gonna kill everything, Galen. You can't blow up the sun and expect everthin' to be all right!

GALEN:
Des'prit times call for des'prit measures. We're gonna win this war, the only way it can be won, and not you, or anybody else is gonna stop me.
(To his soldiers)
Take 'em to the brig. Search the ship, take anyone on board to the brig as well.

Browncoats take their weapons. Leads them off.

JAYNE:
Things goin' south yet, Mal?

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY

Eight Browncoats are searching the cargo bay. Four Browncoats catch SIMON and KAYLEE. They put up no resistance. Four of the Browncoats (not the ones who got KAYLEE and SIMON) are Browncoats #1, #2, #3, #4 - same as the original four who tried to rape INARA earlier.

SIMON:
What's the meaning of this? We docked in good faith!

BROWNCOAT #2
Take 'em to the Brig.

Four unnamed BROWNCOATS leave with Simon and Kaylee

BROWNCOAT #2 (Continuing)
Let's finish searching this ship.

They are walking down the hallway, and INARA "accidently" steps out of her shuttle airlock. She sees them, they see her.

INARA:
Hi, boys...

And she quickly ducks into her shuttle. They chase after her, and she backs up as far away from the airlock as possible.

BROWNCOAT #4:
Hey there, pretty li'l thing.

BROWNCOAT #3:
Let's take up where we left off.

There is the sound of the shuttle door being closed. The Browncoats turn around, and it's River who shut the door.

BROWNCOAT #2
Lookee here, boys! Two whores for th' price'a one!!

INT. SERENITY - JAYNE'S ROOM:

Two BROWNCOATS, BROWNCOATS #5 and #6 are searching Jayne's room.

BROWNCOAT #5:
Dear God. What's that smell?

Muffled sounds in the distance. Sound of something breaking (probably bone) and a muffled cry of pain.

BROWNCOAT #6:
You hear that?

BROWNCOAT #5:
Let's check it out.

The two BROWNCOATS walk down the hallway. INARA steps out into the hallway.

INARA:
Hi, boys...

QUICK CUT:

INT. FADED GLORY - ARMOURY:

ANNA is collecting some pistols and putting them in a bag. She has two rifles strapped over her shoulder. She looks worried, anxious. The door to the armoury slides open and ZOE is there.

ZOE:
What are you doing, Anna?

ANNA:
Galen's going to destroy all mankind, ZOE. Everything he's ever done, I always stood by him...but I can't condone this... I don't hate the Alliance so much that I have to destroy the sun. Your friends are here to stop them. I'm gonna get 'em out.

ZOE:
I can't let you do that, Anna-

ANNA:
Shoot me then, major. That's the only way you're gonna stop me.

ZOE:
What I was going to say: I can't let you do that...alone. Need any help?

ANNA smiles.

INT. FADED GLORY - THE BRIG.

MALCOM, JAYNE, SIMON and KAYLEE are in the brig. Two Browncoat soldiers are guarding them. GUARD #1 and GEORGE.

MALCOM:
Hey guys, the best thing you can do is let us outta here. Your general's gonna blow up the sun. That's not a good thing.

GUARD 1:
You're lyin'. You jest want to save your own skin.

MALCOM:
You really believe that?

GEORGE just lowers his head. He's not too sure.

GUARD #1:
Gen'rl knows what's best for us. He got us this far.

ZOE and ANNA enters the hallway. They level their rifles at the guards.

ANNA:
All right, boys. Put your weapons down.

MALCOM:
Good to see you, ZOE.

ZOE:
Likewise, sir.

GUARD #1:
Colonel, the gen'rl said to guard these prisoners. Not to let them out 'lessen he says so.

ZOE:
Don't make us kill you, soldier.

GEORGE hits GUARD #1 with the butt of his rifle in the back of his head. GUARD #1 goes down without a sound.

GEORGE:
Is the General really gonna blow up the sun, Colonel?

ANNA:
Yeah. but we're gonna stop him.

GEORGE:
I'm with ya, if you'll have me.

ANNA:
Unlock that door.

QUICK CUT:

INT. FADED GLORY - A HALLWAY LEADING TO THE CARGO BAY.
ANNA, ZOE, MALCOM, SIMON, JAYNE, KAYLEE, and GEORGE are present.

MALCOM:
Anna, I assume you got some idea on how to stop that missile. We're gonna re-arm and re-equip at Serenity.

ANNA:
It's gonna be a hard fight...Galen put a guard detail of thirty men on the airlock to the Serenity. Once we start shootin', the whole ship'll be on us.

MALCOM:
I don't think that's gonna be a problem.

QUICK CUT:

INT. FADED GLORY - OUTSIDE AIRLOCK:

The crew (ANNA, ZOE, MALCOM, SIMON, JAYNE, KAYLEE, and GEORGE) is going through the airlock that leads to the SERENITY.

ANNA:
Where are all the guards?

QUICK CUT:

INT SERENITY - CARGO BAY

INARA is tying up an unconscious Browncoat. She gets done.

INARA:
River! Another one!

ANGLE ON: RIVER

RIVER comes over there and drags the guy off to a room. She throws the guy into a room full of guys that are stacked like cordwood. She closes the door. There are footsteps, in the distance.

ANGLE ON: INARA

INARA:
More company!

The Gang from the bridge enters the SERENITY, coming up the cargo bay ramp.

INARA:
Mal! You got out!

MALCOM:
(Indicates ZOE)
Had Help.

ZOE steps up.

ZOE:
(nods head.)
Inara.

At this point, River is standing some distance away from the party. She's looking at ZOE intently.

ZOE:
River, good job.

RIVER stands there for a second. Still staring at ZOE.

ZOE:
River...?

RIVER walks up to ZOE, stands ten feet away. She looks at ZOE, and ZOE looks at her. No one knows what to make of this. After a few seconds, River RUNS the remaining distance and launches herself into ZOE's arms. She clutches ZOE in a tight, desperate embrace.

RIVER:
Zoe... you're back...!

ZOE is, at first shocked by the furious embrace, and then she softens, knowing what River meant by that. For a second, a brief second, Zoe's hard faade breaks, and she smiles and hugs RIVER back.

ZOE:
Yes, honey... I'm back.

ANNA:
I got the plans of the missile on holodisc. We don't have much time.

ZOE disengages from RIVER.

MALCOM:
Let's see it.

TIME CUT:

ANGLE ON: PLANS OF THE MISSILE

There is a diagram of the missile on a vidscreen. The entire gang is standing around a holo screen. ANNA is narrating.

ANNA:
The missile has been secured in a modified Cargo area, transformed into a launching bay. It's secured by four brace locks that release when the missile is launched. I figure if we can't stop Galen from activating the missile, we can lock it in place, hopefully keeping the missile from launching. Each brace lock must be overridden individually, in order to lock in place. If all four are locked, we might have a chance to holding the missile in place until it runs out of fuel.

JAYNE:
Why don't we just blow it up?

ANNA:
We could, if we had the explosives.

JAYNE:
That I got. We'll just slap some on the warhead and that'll be it.

ANNA:
Well, the only place where it might be effective is on the engines. This missile isn't going to blow up on impact. It's designed to enter the very heart of the sun. It detonates when the core temperature reaches 1 million degrees Celsius.

KAYLEE:
Can we change it to blow up on impact or sabotage the missile?

ANNA:
If you got six hours and a plasma cutter. The access panels are heat shielded. The only other way to change the settings is from the bridge.

MALCOM:
(Grimly.)
Where Galen Broud will be.

ZOE:
If the missile launches?

ANNA:
Then that's it, game over... unless you can shoot it down...

ZOE:
Serenity's got no weapons mounted.

ANNA:
(pause)
Last chance, we ram the damn thing with the ship. Maybe open the cargo bay doors, and catch it as it goes straight for the sun. That's the final resort.

MALCOM:
Or we can stop it before it even gets launched. If I can get to the bridge before he presses the button, we can stop it cold there.

INARA:
Galen's there, Malcom. Can you do what needs to be done?

MALCOM:
You think I can't pull the trigger?

ZOE:
I know you can, Mal... but Galen Broud is one of the most dangerous men I've ever seen. You think you can take him?

MALCOM:
You let me worry about Galen Broud.
(pause.)
Anna, you're with me, show me a short cut to the bridge. Jayne, you and River set a bomb on those engines and over-ride the two brace locks on this side.
(MALCOM points to the starboard side of the missile.)

JAYNE:
Not again...!

MALCOM: (continuing)
ZOE-- you, Kaylee and George go and override the brace locks on this side
(points to the port side of missile.)
When you're done, rendezvous at the Serenity. Hopefully we'll be on board when you're done. We'll have to make a quick getaway when I get back on board.

INARA:
What about me and Simon?

MALCOM:
The doc stays on board. Get ready treat the injured...there's gonna be a lot of us. Inara, if none of us come back, you got to get out of here. You're the last line of defense. It'll be up to you and Simon to guard the ship and, if we fail, to stop the missile. You up for it?

INARA:
I'll do it, MAL.

MALCOM:
You all know what you need to do, people. We leave in three minutes!

Everybody scatters. Malcom steps out into the Hallway and INARA follows.

INARA:
He's your brother, Malcom. Can you kill him?

MALCOM:
I'm going to do what I need to do, INARA.

INARA:
He beat you last time, didn't he?

MALCOM:
That was for fun. This time it's serious.

INARA hugs him.

MALCOM:
In case I don't get to say it later: I love you, Inara. Always have. From the first moment I saw you 'til just now, I couldn't ever say it. You turned me inside out like no one before you, and no one after. I want you to know it.

INARA:
You tell me all this when you're about to get yourself killed? You're talking like you're not coming back!

MALCOM:
Galen Broud is the only man that ever scared the hell out of me. He'd go into a rage and there would be nothin' to stop him. I never seen anyone so much as slow him down when he's got the rage upon him.

INARA:
You slowed him down. For me.

Pause. Malcom's looking at INARA curiously. He's wondering how she knew.

MALCOM
Yeah, I did.

INARA:
You come back to me, Malcom Reynolds.

MALCOM:
Aye ma'am, come hell or high water, that's what I aim to do.

MAL kisses her.

QUICK CUT:

INT. MEDICAL BAY - KAYLEE and SIMON:

SIMON:
Once again I stay with the ship while the rest of you go out.

KAYLEE:
We'll be back in a shake, Simon. You'll see. Anyway, if we don't...you get to be blowed up destroying the missile.

SIMON:
How reassuring.

KAYLEE:
The good news is...

KAYLEE gives the doc a short, passionate kiss.

KAYLEE: (Continuing)
...Either way, we're going to be together soon.

SIMON:
Be careful.

TIME CUT:

INT. FADED GLORY - CARGO BAY - JUST INSIDE THE AIRLOCK LEADING TO THE SERENITY.

ZOE's Team = GUARD #2, KAYLEE, RIVER and JAYNE. ANNA and MALCOM is a team

ZOE:
The missile bay airlock is this way.

MALCOM:
Zoe.

ZOE:
Sir?

MALCOM:
Good luck.

ZOE:
You too, sir.

MALCOM:
If you see the missile fire, haul ass to the ship. Someone's gonna have to pilot the Serenity into it if it launches. If you don't, the solar system's dead. River, you understand? You're the best pilot.

RIVER:
Yes sir.

MALCOM:
Alright, people. Let's do it.

INT. FADED GLORY - BRIDGE:

GALEN BROUD is standing there with his officers. His back is to the crew. He's staring out the window.

GALEN:
No word from the guard detail on the SERENITY?

BRAWN:
No sir.

GALEN:
How 'bout the Brig?

BRAWN:
No one there either.

GALEN:
(sighs.)
Malcom's broke out, and he's comin' here to shut me down. Should'a known.
(pause.)
All a' ya'll... take positions outside the bridge. Shoot anyone who comes near this door, 'cept Malcom Reynolds. You boys let him pass. Take his gun from him first, though...

GALEN pauses. He looks back at his crew.

GALEN:
...cuz I'd hate to have to kill him 'fore we had a chance to talk.

Everybody starts to leave.

GALEN:
Brawn.

BRAWN stops, faces GALEN.

GALEN:
Take some men, and make sure no one messes with my missile.

BRAWN leaves.

GALEN:
(to himself.)
Give that boy enough time he'll talk me out of my shirt. Let me speed things up a bit.

GALEN presses a big red button. A countdown appears. T-minus TEN MINUTES.

GALEN:
Let come what may, live free or die, you sons of bitches. Live free or die.

INT. FADED GLORY - MISSILE LAUNCHING BAY - ESTABLISHING

There's about 15 feet of room on each side of the missile. It's about 5' in diameter and almost 200 feet long. RIVER is being lookout at the missile bay door, located at the starboard side and aft of the missile(where the group presumably came in at) while JAYNE is setting explosives on the rocket exhaust part of the missile. Along each wall, Parallel with the missile lengthwise, are steel bulkheads every 20'. They stick out 3' feet from the wall. Perfect for cover. On JAYNE and RIVER's side of the missile,(starboard) there are some square wooden cargo crates along the wall at various places. At one point the crates are stacked four or five high, forming a wall. Some are filled with ship parts, some have food in them, and some are empty.

JAYNE:
Almost done...

At this point the rockets engines start blowing out a little exhaust...they're warming up.

JAYNE:
(Yelling)
ZOE! Somethin's happenin'!

CAMERA ANGLE ON: ZOE'S TEAM

KAYLEE is working on fixing the first Brace lock on the port side of the missile. (closest to the engine.)

ZOE:
He's begun the countdown sequence! We have ten minutes! (Screams to JAYNE)
JAYNE! We have TEN MINUTES! Fix the brace locks then get the hell out of here! As soon as we're clear, blow it!

CAMERA ANGLE: FRONT OF JAYNE:

JAYNE finishes setting the charges. He runs towards the first Brace lock closest to the engine.

JAYNE:
(To himself.)
I don't know the first thing about overriding a do-hicky. How do I...

JAYNE arrives at the first Brace lock. RIVER's already there and got the panel of the Brace lock open and she's twisting wires. She closes the access panel.

RIVER:
All done.

JAYNE just looks at her. Flustered.

JAYNE:
Well? We got one more to do! Hurry up!

RIVER:
Yes, Jayne.

She bounces happily toward the next Brace lock which is near the warhead.

JAYNE:
Crazy girl.

CAMERA ANGLE: ZOE's GROUP.

KAYLEE's working on the second (and last) Brace lock on the left side. ZOE and "George" is being lookout.

ZOE:
Almost done, Kaylee?

KAYLEE:
Almost, Zoe...but I gotta tell ya, that's a powerful rocket on th' back of this thing. A type 12 thruster prototype with staged separation backblast...

ZOE: (interrupting.)
English, Kaylee.

KAYLEE:
It means the rocket's got too much thrust. When it hits full power it'll probably tear out of these brace locks. If all four are secured, It'll buy us maybe a minute, maybe two, until the rocket reaches maximum thrust. Even with the inner airlock door closed it'll blow right through it.

CAMERA ANGLE: JAYNE.

RIVER is rewiring the Brace-lock. JAYNE's being lookout.

RIVER:
Done!

As if on cue, bullets careen off the missile housing near Jayne. Jayne ducks for cover behind a bulkhead. River ducks behind the Brace lock.

ANGLE ON: MISSILE BAY ENTRANCE

Browncoat SOLDIERS pour though the entranceway into the Missile launching bay. BRAWN walks among them in a manner similar to Darth Vader. His powerful, scarred figure and metal face is a menacing presence among the Browncoats.

ANGLE ON: JAYNE

JAYNE:
ZOE! COMPANY!

JAYNE returns fire with a automatic burst. He hits an enemy soldier.

CAMERA ANGLE: ZOE

ZOE:
Hurry KAYLEE!

She takes a position near a bulkhead, opposite the missile. (hugging the wall near the port side of the missile.) She waits until she sees some soldiers, then she opens fire. Giving Kaylee covering fire. GEORGE is behind a bulkhead 20 feet behind ZOE, which puts him near KAYLEE. ZOE IS BETWEEN THE SOLDIERS AND KAYLEE'S POSITION.

KAYLEE:
Got it! It's done!

KAYLEE gets up to run across the hallway between the missile and the wall, and she gets clipped by a bullet - in the arm.

ZOE:
KAYLEE!

George Grabs her, pulls her to safety. All three of them are against the wall running parallel to the missile. George puts Kaylee out of harm's way with Kaylee's back against the bulkhead 20 feet behind ZOE's position. He starts dressing the wound as ZOE is shooting at the soldiers.

QUICK CUT:

INT. FADED GLORY - HALLWAY:

ANNA and MALCOM are walking briskly down the hallway, and they hear a bunch of footsteps. They both duck down a side hallway. A hundred soldiers, led by Brawn, are running down the hallway towards the Serenity. The soldiers pass by.

ANNA:
Your crew has their work cut out for them.

MALCOM:
That they do. Let's go.

ANNA and MALCOM are moving briskly down a Hallway.

ANNA:
The Bridge is right down this hall.

Soldiers step out into the hallway from both sides. They are 30' away.

ANNA:
It's just me, guys. Gonna see the General.

STEVEN:
Is Malcom Reynolds with you, Anna?

ANNA:
That's COLONEL, Steven! We're going to see the General. Now stand aside, Lieutenant! That's an...

MALCOM grabs Anna's arm, nods to her. No.

MALCOM:
I'm here. Speak your peace.

STEVEN:
You got safe passage...but just you. No one else. Including you, Anna.

MALCOM:
(Whispering)
Go back to the SERENITY. Tell them what happened. If I'm not out in 10 minutes, get the hell out of here. Stop that missile.

ANNA:
Good luck, Captain.

MALCOM walks up to the Browncoats, which include the BROWNCOAT RADAR OFFICER, STEVEN the BROWNCOAT WEAPONS OFFICER--(STEVEN for short), and two other NAMELESS BROWNCOATS. MALCOM walks by, and approaches the Bridge door.

STEVEN:
Gun.

MALCOM looks at him for a second. Gives up his gun.

MALCOM:
That it?

The Browncoats eye the knife MALCOM keeps on his hip. They see it. Malcom knows they see it, but neither side says a word about it.

STEVEN:
Go'wan in.

Steven presses a button and the Bridge door opens. MALCOM REYNOLDS walks in.

QUICK CUT:

INT. FADED GLORY - MISSILE LAUNCHING BAY:

ANGLE ON: ZOE

ZOE is shooting every now and then and bullets drum like rain against the bulkhead she's leaning against. She's pinned. NOTE: ZOE and JAYNE are near the warhead side of the missile, by the 2nd pair of Brace-locks. The Browncoat soldiers are near the rocket-side of the missile, taking positions behind the first side of Brace locks. There is 60 ft. distance between Browncoat positions and ZOE and JAYNE's position. ZOE and JAYNE are directly opposite each other, on different sides of the missile.

ZOE:
(Yelling)
JAYNE! What's your status?

ANGLE ON: JAYNE

JAYNE fires a couple of shots around the Bulkhead, a bullet hits a little close and he pulls back. Shrapnel from some hot lead sprays him and he rubs his eyes. Bullets ricochet off the bulkhead like deadly rain. He and River's pinned down.

JAYNE:
We're pinned down, ZOE. Ain't gonna get through.

ANGLE ON: ZOE:

ZOE:
Shon tai rah go! (son of a bitch!)
(pause.)
Blow the missile!

ANGLE ON: JAYNE:

JAYNE:
What??

ANGLE ON: ZOE.

ZOE:
BLOW THE MISSILE. IT'S OUR ONLY SHOT!

ANGLE ON: JAYNE.

JAYNE:
WON'T THAT KILL US?

Camera angle still on Jayne. From Jayne's P.O.V. even though he's still in the shot.

ZOE:
We're dead anyway, just sooner than later!

ANGLE ON: JAYNE - Camera pointed at the wall.

JAYNE sits with his back against the bulkhead, using it as cover. He unzips his backpack and digs around, pulls out a detonator. He looks at River.

JAYNE:
Well, one good thing comin' outta all this. I won't have to babysit YOU anymore.

ANGLE ON: RIVER

RIVER makes a frowny face at JAYNE, and sticks her tongue out at him. Then she shoots her pistol at the soldiers, which earns her a new volley of bullets. Bullets ricochet off the bracelock as she ducks for cover.

ANGLE ON: BRAWN

A Soldier runs up to BRAWN.

SOLDIER:
Sir! They rigged the missile to blow, sir!

BRAWN boldly walks to the back of the missile, and takes the explosives off the rocket. He takes the explosives and throws them out the missile launching Bay door.

ANGLE ON: JAYNE.

He clicks a toggle switch, on the detonator, a light goes from Red to Green, arming it. Then he presses a red button.

ANGLE ON: ENTRANCE of MISSILE LAUNCHING BAY

SFX: THUNDEROUS BOOM.

Fire shoots out of the entrance. SOLDIER bodies fly out of it. It knocks down some that were closest to it, killing or wounding them, stuns those who weren't. The ones actively shooting at the Heroes stop to see what the hell happened. BRAWN stands there acting like nothing happened, ignoring the explosion.

ANGLE ON: JAYNE:

JAYNE:
Hmph.

JAYNE picks up his rifle, looks at RIVER. RIVER looks back. Both of them take some aimed shots at the same time and fire together.

ANGLE ON: BRAWN.

Soldiers are getting shot. Four soldiers get mowed down in a heart beat before BRAWN says:

BRAWN:
KEEP FIRING!

ANGLE ON: SOLDIER WITH A GRENADE.

SOLDIER WITH GRENADE:
FIRE IN THE HOLE!!

He throws the grenade at ZOE's side.

ANGLE ON: ZOE

ZOE sees a grenade fly by.

ZOE:
GRENADE!

ANGLE ON: GEORGE (GUARD #2)

GEORGE comes out from behind cover. He scoops up the grenade. Leans back to throw it, gets shot in the leg. George manages to throw it as he's going down to one knee. He falls forward somewhat near ZOE. He gets shot six more times. Falls prone.

ANGLE ON: SOLDIERS.

Grenade landed right there amongst six of them.

SOLDIER:
Holy sh--

SFX: BOOM.

ANGLE ON: ZOE

ZOE grabs GEORGE and pulls him to cover.

GEORGE:
Tell my ma I fought...(gasp)...fought for the right side. (He dies)

ZOE gets pissed. She stands up and spins around the corner. She takes aim and fires several single shots (not automatic)

ANGLE ON: SOLDIERS

Soldiers are coming up to take the places of their comrades blown up by the grenade. As they take position ZOE's killing them. She shoots four of them as they take positions and take aim at her. They open fire.

ANGLE ON: ZOE

ZOE is aiming, firing her rifle, braced against the bulkhead. Soldiers lay down covering fire. Bullets all around her. She gets a couple more shots off, until She takes a grazing shot in the left arm. A grazing shot on the left leg. A solid shot to her chest, spins her around-- knocking her away from the bulkhead against which she was bracing. She's driven to her knees with her back to enemy fire. She is shot three times in the back, knocks her prone, she rolls to the wall, behind the bulkhead. She scampers desperately with her back to the bulkhead, just hiding. Her body armor took all the hits except for the arm and leg wound. They just grazed her but she's still bleeding. Bullets richochet like rain as they pour the fire on her position. She's looking a bit desperate and seriously pinned down.

ANGLE ON: JAYNE.

JAYNE takes advantage of a lull in the shooting, and he throws a grenade. BOOM. He peeks from behind cover and shoots, using the bulkhead for cover and as a brace to aim. He fires several shots and then "click".

JAYNE:
Dammit! I'm out! One grenade left and no ammo for the rifle!

JAYNE tosses the rifle, pulls a pistol.

ANGLE ON: BRAWN

SOLDIER:
Sir, we're down to a dozen men. I don't know how long we can cover both sides.

BRAWN is putting on some arm guards. He advances towards JAYNE and RIVER'S position.

BRAWN:
Concentrate your troops on the far side. (Contemptuously.)
I'll take these two.

INT. FADED GLORY - BRIDGE

MALCOM enters the bridge. GALEN is standing by the countdown timer.

MALCOM:
Galen Broud.

GALEN:
Malcom Reynolds.

Moment of silence.

INSERT: the Missile countdown timer. 9 minutes, 10 seconds remaining.

MALCOM:
You do plan to launch the missile.

GALEN:
I wasn't plannin' on givin' it back to the Alliance to use on us, if that's what yer thinkin'.

MALCOM:
You're gonna kill every living, breathing thing in the Solar system, Galen. Not just the Alliance.

GALEN:
Fronteirsmen are tougher than ya think, Mal. We'll find a way to survive the radiation. We'll terraform another solar system somewhere else. Folks are tougher than you think. You just wait and see.

MALCOM:
That's crazy talk, Galen. Folks Got no time to wait. It takes ten years or more to make a planet habitable. Then how do we get to the next solar system? It'll take...

GALEN:
You're ALWAYS doing that! Always puttin' holes in my plans! Tellin' me how wrong I am!

MALCOM:
(nostalgic smile)
Then you do it anyway, thinkin' it's the right thing to do.

GALEN:
The Alliance is stronger than us. They've got bigger ships, better weapons. They've got more money, more supplies, more ammo and more soldiers. We're tougher and got more heart but that ain't near enough to fight 'em. You learned that at Serenity. I learned that at Sturges. They'll keep comin' and keep comin' til' every livin' soul is bound by their laws and made perfect in the eyes of their parliament. Stealin' this ship didn't hurt 'em. Destroyin' two a' their fleets didn't stop 'em, just slowed 'em down. I don't see any way out of this, Malcom, lessen we take the fight to them. (Pause)
It's better to die free, than live a slave. We'll be free...even if just for a little while.

MALCOM:
Who in the Hell made you GOD? Who gave you the right to decide if we all live or die? You'd blow up the solar system to win a war, you'd rape a girl just because she didn't give you enough respect--

GALEN BROUD:
High and mighty Malcom Reynolds! Who th' Hell are you to judge me?! ...Always had to be the good one, always had to be perfect. Maybe that's why you got daddy's name, and not me.

MALCOM:
You're no brother of mine, no one who starves and beats a girl into sleeping with him. You Shon-tai sha (curse word)... You're no better than a REAVER!

GALEN:
REAVER! I ain't no damn REAVER! That's a hell of a thing for you to say to me, Brother!

This short moment of dialogue, Galen is building up in intensity, letting Malcom get him mad.

You call me that to my face?!?!? REAVERS are the scum of the 'verse!! I got nothin' in common with them! you HEAR ME??

MALCOM:
Maybe that's WHY daddy gave me his name, and not you! He didn't want a worthless son of a bitch like YOU to have it!

GALEN:
You gorram Thai shon qui...(curse)

GALEN charges MALCOM. He's caught up in a blood red rage. MALCOM lets him come. He sidesteps, using GALEN's own momentum to slam him into the wall. Malcom knees him in the back, elbow to the back of the head. Galen swings, Malcom ducks under it and knocks the hell of GALEN BROUD.

INT. FADED GLORY - MISSILE LAUNCHING BAY.

CAMERA ANGLE: JAYNE's RIGHT SHOULDER

We're looking over Jayne's right shoulder, and we can see BRAWN advancing on RIVER and JAYNE's position.

JAYNE:
Lookie here. If it isn't tough guy.

JAYNE puts a new clip in the pistol and puts a round in the chamber. RIVER stands up and drops her pistol and clenches her fists.

JAYNE:
River, what are you doing?

BRAWN walks up, 15 feet from RIVER and JAYNE's position.

FLASHBACK SEQUENCE:

INT. RESEARCH FACILITY

RIVER is strapped to a chair, her eyes taped open and a hole in her forehead. She rolls her eyes to the right. To the right is a guy who's head is draped in shadow... a metal mask is being put on his face. He is screaming in pain.

END FLASHBACK.

RIVER:
I remember you. You're like me.

BRAWN:
They left you pretty, little girl. Not scarred, like me.

RIVER:
My scars are on the inside.

BRAWN:
and soon they will match the outside, pretty, pretty little Girl.

JAYNE pops around the corner with pistols out.

JAYNE:
Yeah, well, you're about to get a lot uglier.

He unloads on BRAWN. BRAWN puts up his arm guards. Most of the bullets bounce off his arm guards. Some bounce off his body armor, and one bullet actually staggers him, bounced off his metal skull.

JAYNE:
Jeez, he's bulletproof?
(To RIVER)
All yours, squirt.

INT. FADED GLORY - BRIDGE:

GALEN falls on his ass, but just as quickly gets up...as he gets up, MALCOM hits him with a chair. Malcom is relentless- he does not let up at all - pushing the momentum for all it's worth. GALEN charges MALCOM again to get his hands on MALCOM, and MALCOM judo flips GALEN over the railing where he hits the far wall. (It's only a three foot drop from the MALCOM's floor to hallway floor. Still, it's quite a tumble.

It takes a half-second for Galen to get up. When he does, he looks at MALCOM with a newfound respect... he's in full redneck mode when he bounces up.

GALEN:
Awwwww HAIL...! Little Brother's all growed UP!

GALEN jumps over the railing, so he's in the same area as MALCOM.

GALEN:
You little snot! I'll show yeh who deserves daddy's name!

GALEN charges MALCOM again. MALCOM sidesteps again and slams GALEN into the console of the opposite wall. (The console is flat against the wall, above it is a vidscreen. MALCOM kicks the back of GALEN'S leg, he drops to one knee. MALCOM grabs GALEN's head by the hair, slams Galen's head into the console, then GALEN pushes back and tries to swing a right fist, off balance, at MALCOM. MALCOM easily catches the fist and twists it back behind GALEN's back. MALCOM puts an arm bar on GALEN and holds the arm straight up with both his arms locked on Galen's, pushing GALEN's face into the same console. MALCOM holds the arm in such a way that if he twisted it any more, the arm will dislocate from the shoulder. GALEN's bleeding from the mouth and nose, his face getting smashed into the console.

GALEN:
(laughing)
Like when we were kids, eh? Game a' Uncle?

MALCOM:
This ain't no game, Galen. You're gonna shut that missile off!

GALEN:
Make me say uncle, Mal? (grunt) Think ya can do it?

MALCOM:
Not playin' with you, Galen! I'll break your arm! I swear I will!

GALEN:
Never cried Uncle. Never did! ...think you man enough to be the first? Didn't say it to Cletis...

MALCOM:
TURN IT OFF, GALEN!

GALEN:
Didn't say it to Daddy,when he broke my jaw...

MALCOM:
TURN IT OFF YOU STUBBORN...

GALEN:
...and I DAMN shore ain't gonna say it...

MALCOM:
TURN IT OFF!

GALEN:
...To my gorram LITTLE BROTHER!!!

GALEN unleashes a primal scream of pure rage, and his arm twists from it's socket, dislocated. MALCOM is incredulous, as GALEN fights through the pain and turns around and delivers a screaming left hook to MALCOM's jaw. The punch knocks Malcom backward, THROUGH the railing and to the landing below. MALCOM struggles to get up, with a "what the fuck just hit me" look on his face.

INT. MISSILE LAUNCHING BAY:

BRAWN charges forward. RIVER gives a series of kicks and strikes...she's faster than him, but BRAWN catches one of river's kicks and then pulls her close and knocks the crap out of her. Stuns her momentarily.

In the meantime JAYNE picks up the useless rifle. He runs forward and tries to smash the butt of the rifle into Brawn's forehead. Brawn stops the rifle butt with his hand and punches Jayne in the center of his chest. Knocks Jayne against the wall, knocking the wind out of him.

This gives River time to recover. She attacks, staggering BRAWN. BRAWN hits her, she staggers back. JAYNE jumps BRAWN from behind, and puts a choke hold on him. RIVER kicks BRAWN again, BRAWN grabs RIVER's Leg and throws her against the wall. BRAWN slams his body against the missile, stunning JAYNE on his back. He throws JAYNE up against the missile body, and JAYNE slides down the side of the missile and falls flat on his face.

JAYNE gets up to a knee and one hand, wiping blood off his forehead with the other.

RIVER picks herself off the Ground too.

JAYNE looks at RIVER.

RIVER looks at JAYNE.

They launch a perfectly coordinated strike on BRAWN. When BRAWN goes to swing at one, the other strikes. When he turns around, the other hits. Why, it's as if RIVER could read JAYNE's mind and anticipate and coordinate the coming attack. Fancy that. For a few seconds, they're in the zone. BRAWN can't touch them.

Finally BRAWN knocks JAYNE into a wall of crates. These are stout crates, filled with foodstuffs and heavy metal parts. They don't knock over.

RIVER kicks BRAWN from behind in the back of the neck, staggers him. She furiously punches and kicks him. BRAWN grabs her around the neck. She can't get him to let go. He's too strong.

BRAWN:
Now it ends, pretty girl.

Suddenly, a big crate gets slammed on BRAWN's head, thanks to JAYNE. BRAWN's head is stuck in a big crate. He lets go of RIVER. JAYNE grabbed one of BRAWN's wrists. JAYNE's holding it so BRAWN can't take the crate off. With his other hand, JAYNE's fishing for a grenade. RIVER immediately does a running jump off the wall and does a side kick into the crate where Brawn's face is, kicking a little 6 inch hole in the front of the crate. JAYNE tosses the Grenade to RIVER and uses both hands to hold BRAWN's arm. RIVER pulls the pin on the grenade. BRAWN throws JAYNE off. She comes in close and BRAWN grabs her. She throws the grenade into the hole in the front of the crate.

The Spoon of the grenade shoots out of the hole.

With a roar of panic and rage, he throws RIVER, HARD. She hits the wall about 15' up. She yells in pain for the first time. She falls limp.

JAYNE is there to catch her. Snatches her right out of the air. BRAWN decides that he's going to take RIVER and JAYNE with him. BRAWN moves toward them.

JAYNE, carrying RIVER, runs from BRAWN. HE maneuvers around a crate BRAWN can't see. BRAWN falls flat on the ground in FRONT of the wall of crates. JAYNE dives BEHIND the wall of Crates.

SFX: BOOOM!

The shockwave is enough to topple that wall of heavy crates on top of JAYNE and RIVER. JAYNE sees the crates about to fall.

JAYNE:
Gorram...!

By reflex, he scoots over RIVER's limp body in an attempt to shield her from the falling crates. He's knees and elbows.

SFX: CRASH!

The wall of crates falls on JAYNE and RIVER.

INT. FADED GLORY - BRIDGE:

GALEN sets his arm, slamming himself into the wall to put it back in its socket. He's rubbing his injured arm, and he goes to MALCOM. MALCOM gets up, a little wobbly, but its GALEN's turn to beat MALCOM down. He punches MALCOM a few times, and then picks MALCOM up and throws him up on the main floor.

GALEN:
I cain't stop the clock, even if'n I wanted to! Yer fightin' for nothin'!

GALEN jumps up there and grabs MALCOM in a headlock. MALCOM weakly struggles to pull the arms off as GALEN cuts off his wind. MALCOM is facing the missile countdown timer. (5 min, 13 sec.)

MALCOM is struggling to breath while GALEN is speaking, staring at the countdown time the whole time.

GALEN:
Want to play uncle with me? With me?? Say UNCLE, whore lover! SAY IT! Like when we were kids! You didn't have no backbone then and you don't have no backbone now! SAY IT! I'll break your neck SAY IT!! SAY IT! SAY IT!!!

GALEN screams in pain. He pushes MALCOM off of him as he staggers back clutching his leg. Blood is freely running down his leg.

ANGLE ON: MALCOM.

MALCOM is rubbing his throat, fighting to get breath, as he holds up a bloody knife.

GALEN:
You stabbed me! You stabbed me!

ANGLE ON: GALEN.

GALEN: (continuing)
You dirty little bastard! I can't believe you stabbed me! Shon Thai krom pi (curse) - who taught YOU how to knife-fight...?

GALEN draws a knife from his own hip. He waves it expertly.

GALEN: (continuing)
Oh yeah... that'd be ME.

QUICK CUT:

INT. MISSILE LAUNCHING BAY - RIVER AND JAYNE.

JAYNE and RIVER are covered in heavy crates. A lot of the wood has been blown to bits and they're covered in foodstuffs and metal parts, and whatnot.

JAYNE is there, on knees and elbows, he's straining with every muscle he's got to keep from collapsing under about 1,000 pounds of heavy crates on his back. He's working to bring his knees closer to his elbows so he can get more leverage to lift upward.

He's gritting with clenched teeth. He exhales, and under that much strain a bit of spittle sprays out. RIVER is under him.

A little hits River's face, and she serenely opens her eyes. JAYNE's face is just four inches from her own. She blinks herself to awareness, smiles.

On top of having 1000 pounds of weight on his back and he's tired from being beaten soundly by Brawn, JAYNE starts to become just a little concerned by the look in RIVER's eyes.

RIVER gently puts a hand to JAYNE's cheek, and he's powerless to stop her. He's terrified.

She pulls herself upward four inches, and kisses the corner of his lips, where they meet the cheek. It's a kiss.

Finally JAYNE worked a knee upward far enough he can put a foot on the floor.

JAYNE:
rrrrRRRRRRRAAAAAAGHHHH !!!!!!

JAYNE frees both of them from the crates. He wipes his face as if she had cooties.

JAYNE:
AUGH! RIVER, GIRL...! PAH!

Throws the crates off to the side. Frees River. Helps her up.

JAYNE:
(Sternly)
Get your guns. We ain't done yet.

ZOE's pinned down. Puts a new clip in her rifle, stands up, gets ready to fire a few rounds to let them know she's still fightin'. A hail of bullets knock the rifle out of her arms and shrapnel numbs her right hand. (When ZOE's back is against the bulkhead, her right arm and leg is closest to the edge of the firefight.)

SOLDIER: (O.S.)
Oh, ho ho ho...the traitor's lost her rifle!

SOLDIER: (O.S.)
Might as well give up, honey. You ain't gonna last much longer.

SOLDIER: (O.S.)
If we have to come in there and get you, I cain't guarantee it'll be quick death. For you, or yer girlfriend.

ZOE:
(To herself)
Come get me, shan thai kwon (bastards!)

Her right hand is splattered in blood, but it looks worse than it is. Her left hand is dripping blood from her arm wound. WHILE THE SOLDIERS ARE TALKING, She curses in Chinese, then sits back down on the floor hugging the wall. She tries to pull her pistol with her blood covered, numbed right-hand, but she drops the pistol into her lap. She grabs it with her left hand, and can barely manage to pull back the receiver to put a bullet into the chamber.

She stands up, ready to make her stand. All the sudden there is a slew of gunfire, single shots...not automatic. She comes around the corner, and there's three Soldiers running for their lives TOWARDS ZOE's position. ZOE shoots all three.

JAYNE and RIVER walk around the aft of the missile with pistols in each hand, and come into view of ZOE. JAYNE, 60' away, shrugs his shoulders at ZOE as if to say "Come on!"

QUICK CUT:

INT. FADED GLORY - BRIDGE - MALCOM and GALEN

GALEN is squaring off against MALCOM. Both have knives in their hands. The knife in MALCOM's hand looks exactly like the knife in GALEN's hand...except the leather grip on GALEN's knife is black. MALCOM's is brown.

GALEN:
That the knife I made for you?

MALCOM:
Yeah.

GALEN:
Let's see if you learned to handle it.

They meet together in a furious combat. A thin, red stripe of blood almost magically appears on MALCOM's stomach, then his off-arm (the arm not holding the knife.)

GALEN:
Can't beat me, MAL. Should'a never pulled a knife on me.

MALCOM meets him in a furious exchange of knife-play. MALCOM cuts GALEN across the cheek. GALEN is surprised, and MALCOM tries to bring the knife down in a killing blow. GALEN catches the knife with his injured, recently dislocated arm. MALCOM catches GALEN's knife arm with his free arm. Both of them are locked in a classic "holding each other's knives" scenario. GALEN breaks the deadlock by thowing MALCOM's body up against a console and slamming MAL's wrist against it, disarming MALCOM.

GALEN presses his knife up against MALCOM's throat. MALCOM can't stop it. GALEN is too strong.

GALEN:
Give it up, little brother! DON'T MAKE ME KILL YOU!

MALCOM sucker punches GALEN in his wounded(dislocated)arm. GALEN howls in pain as MALCOM uses this opportunity to put both hands on GALEN's knife hand and pushes off the Console. MALCOM pushes GALEN off balance and charges both of them into the consoles of the other side of the room. GALEN hits the wall with his back to the wall, facing MALCOM. MALCOM is facing GALEN. They are so close together we can't even see the knife.

GALEN's eyes widen. He is horrified. MALCOM just looks at him. No expression. Both of them sink to their knees. One of them has been stabbed but we don't know who.

GALEN:
(quietly.)
No...it...it can't end like this...

A trickle of blood issues out of MALCOM REYNOLD's mouth.

MALCOM:
(weakly)
Uncle.

MALCOM leans back, there's a knife stuck to the hilt damn near the center of his chest.

INT. ENTRANCE TO MISSILE LAUNCHING BAY

The missile rocket engine is visible behind the crew. ZOE, KAYLEE (holding her arm), JAYNE, and RIVER are leaving the missile launching bay area.

ZOE:
Now I'm sorry I hit you, JAYNE.

JAYNE:
What? Don't think nothin' of it,ZOE...
(pause)
Besides, you hit like a girl.

ZOE doesn't say anything out loud, but she gives a smile and mouths the word "asshole" at his back. Suddenly, the missile's engines start firing!

ZOE:
Guys! GO! The missile's firing!

KAYLEE:
Missile's engines entering phase two of it's pre-launch sequence. It'll fire in two minutes!

JAYNE, ZOE, and KAYLEE haul their wounded behinds as fast as they're able. RIVER is staggering behind. She got a concussion from that fight with BRAWN. She leans up against a wall. There's a busted crate nearby, and some foodstuffs have been broken into and exposed. A cat is eating the foodstuffs.

RIVER:
Aww... KITTY!

RIVER starts to pet the cat, which is happily eating and lets itself be petted. Cursing and furious, JAYNE comes stomping back and roughly picks RIVER up. HE's so furious he can't even make intelligible sounds. All he can do is pick her up and drag her off. He's been shot at, beat down, kissed, had to babysit a halfwit and about to witness the solar system be destroyed. He's not having a good day.

JAYNE:
RIVER DAMMIT I SWEAR TO GOD I'M GONNA TIE YOU TO THAT GORRAM MISSILE AND SHOOT YOU INTO THE SUN MYSELF!!

RIVER:
KITTYYYYYYY----!

INT. FADED GLORY - BRIDGE - MALCOM and GALEN

GALEN BROUD gently lowers MALCOM to the floor. He's still holding MALCOM's torso, like a child. GALEN's crying. There is a knife stuck to the hilt damn near in the center of MALCOM's chest.

GALEN:
You were too good...you fought too hard. You made me kill you, little brother! Why did you make me kill you?

GALEN's crushed. He's bawling his eyes out.

MALCOM:
Galen...you have to stop it. You have too.

GALEN:
I tried to tell you. I tried. Even if I wanted to, I can't turn it off. I tried to explain what I was tryin' to do but you wouldn' listen. You never listen. I'm only doin' what needs to be done. Don't you understand that? Only what needs to be done.

MALCOM:
(weakly)
If Trish was here, what would she say?

GALEN:
Don't...don't bring her up, MAL. Don't do that to me...

MALCOM:
Gonna refuse a dyin' man?

GALEN:
I don't remember...

MALCOM:
What would she say, if she was standing right there...?

GALEN:
I can't...remember, MALCOM...I can't even bear to think of her...

MALCOM:
What would she say, GALEN? Remember. (Pause)
"...It ain't about doing what needs to be done..."

GALEN breaks down as he utters the next sentence. He remembers, and remembers TRISH.

GALEN:
"It's about doing what's right."

MALCOM closes his eyes, and goes limp. GALEN sees this and bows his head over MALCOM's body. He bawls like a baby. In the background the clock tics. 2:00...1:59...1:58... ect.

INT. SERENITY--CARGO BAY ENTRANCE

JAYNE, RIVER, ZOE, and KAYLEE are there. They're all entering the SERENITY cargo bay. Just about everybody's wounded. JAYNE takes guard, covering the airlock door. SIMON's there, waiting. So is INARA.

JAYNE:
DOC! Where you at?

ANNA and Kiera enters.

ANNA:
Zoe, the captain went in to meet GALEN one-on-one.

INARA:
KIERA!

ANNA:
Couldn't leave without her.

SIMON goes to KAYLEE's side.

SIMON:
Kaylee, you've been shot!

KAYLEE:
I'm okay, Simon. See to Zoe.

ZOE:
Field dressing will do me fine. We have to get the captain.

During the following exchange of dialogue, SIMON is field dressing ZOE's wounds. INARA and KIERA are field dressing KAYLEE.

JAYNE:
Captain ain't back by now...he didn't make it. Galen killed him.

ZOE:
Don't say that! We have to get him!

KAYLEE:
Zoe, the missile is going to launch in less than a minute. There's no time.

INTERCUT: Alliance ships fire on the FADED GLORY.

INT. SERENITY CARGO BAY.

A series of explosions can be heard. The ship shakes.

JAYNE:
That the rocket goin' off?

KAYLEE:
'Twern't no missile. Those were explosions. We're being attacked.

ZOE:
Alliance.

SIMON:
A desperate attempt to keep the missile from launching.

JAYNE:
Let THEM shoot the damn thing down. Let's get the hell out of here.

ZOE:
River, if I'm not back in two minutes, you have to leave. You have to get in between that missile and the sun. Do you understand?

RIVER nods, and leaves.

ANNA:
You stay, ZOE. I know where he is. I'll get him.

GALEN: (O.S.)
Never you mind, Colonel...

ANGLE ON: GALEN BROUD

Galen Broud limps into the cargo bay.

GALEN: (continuing)
...I brought him to you.

GALEN's Weapons Officer, STEVEN, RADAR OFFICER and two other BROWNCOATS enters. They're carrying MALCOM's body.

GALEN:
I hope your doc is as good as you say he is. GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE, SAWBONES! SEE TO MY BROTHER!

SIMON:
This way!

SIMON and the rest of GALEN's men go off to the medical bay. INARA goes with them, worried about MALCOM. She shoots a look of disgust at GALEN before she goes. JAYNE points his rifle at GALEN warily.

ZOE:
We can't let that missile launch, General. We're gonna stop it.

GALEN:
Can't stop the clock, this stage of the game...but I got some ideas.

INTERCUT: The missile fires. The missile strains the Brace locks. Show one brace lock bending a little bit. The crew can feel it.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY.

KAYLEE:
It's launching! The brace-locks won't hold it for long!

ANNA boldly walks right up to GALEN, looking at him in the eye.

ANNA:
(formally)
I'll go with you, General, to make sure the job's done.

GALEN:
Anna, look at me.

ANNA looks at GALEN.

GALEN: (Continuing)
I'm gonna stop that missile, come hell or high water. But the faded glory won't be where you want to be when I succeed. You got things to do. I've done my part. It's your turn now.

ANNA:
(solemnly, eyes tearing up.)
Sir, permission to accompany the General on this last mission.

GALEN:
Permission denied, Colonel. Your stayin' here, on the Serenity. Zoe's your commander now. That's my final order. (to the crew)
After I go, get the hell out of here.

INT. FADED GLORY - CARGO BAY.

GALEN is hobbling for all he's worth out of the airlock. ANNA comes out after him. JAYNE and ZOE's right behind her.

ANNA:
General I wanna stay with you! Let me die with you!

GALEN:
I got no time for your backtalk, woman! I got a solar system to save!

ZOE and JAYNE grab ANNA, they start pulling her into the SERENITY.

ANNA:
Let me go, damn you! GALEN, I LOVE YOU!

GALEN hobbles down the hallway, pretty fast, considering he has a knife wound in his leg.

GALEN:
(To himself.)
NOW she tells me. Damn women. Bitch, bitch, bitch.

INTERCUT: MISSILE LAUNCHING BAY

Missile continues to build up thrust. CLOSE UP on one BRACE LOCK starting to bend. Bolts are starting to come out.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY.

JAYNE and ZOE drag a hysterical ANNA into the Cargo Bay, just as the airlock door closes behind them. ZOE hobbles to the intercom.

ZOE:
(In intercom)
RIVER! Get us out -

ZOE is knocked off her feet. JAYNE is too.

INTERCUT: The SERENITY is pulling away from the FADED GLORY. ALLIANCE ships are attacking the Faded Glory in the background.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY.

ZOE:
Damn, girl read my mind.

JAYNE:
Yeah, she does that.

INT. SERENITY - MEDICAL BAY

GALEN's men put MALCOM on the operating table. SIMON and STEVEN stand off to the side. INARA is holding MALCOM's hand.

INARA:
Hang on, Malcom Reynolds! Come back to me! Come back to me!

SIMON:
Get that shirt off of him. You -(points at Steven)
Get my set of scalpels and the things with the handles and the curve at the --

STEVEN:
I know what suture-clamps are, Doc. Four years o' medical school, eight years combat medic. I know my tools, just no good at the cuttin'.

SIMON:
Congratulations. You're my assistant. Wash up. Rest of you, clear the room.
(pause)
I'm going to need all the help I can get to save this man's life.

INTERCUT: MISSILE LAUNCHING BAY

The missile's thrust increases in strength. The brace-locks are bending even more. They're about to go all together.

INT. FADED GLORY - THE BRIDGE.

There is a trail of blood leading to the bridge door. Inside GALEN BROUD goes to the control console. He presses a switch.

COMPUTER:
Automated point-defense systems activated.

INTERCUT: ALLIANCE SHIPS are getting blown up by automated point defense lasers. There's more of them. They're pressing the attack.

INT. FADED GLORY - BRIDGE

GALEN:
That ought to keep 'em busy.

GALEN hobbles wearily to the computer. He rubs his arm. He's freely bleeding from his leg.

CLOSE UP: COMPUTER SCREEN.

Galen pulls up the missile menu. He changes the setting from "HEAT ACTIVATED" to "POINT-DETONATING" ...when he does that a submenu comes up. "ARMING DISTANCE" GALEN set the setting to "0 meters."

GALEN:
That's right, you Alliance sons of bitches...

GALEN presses a button.

INTERCUT: EXT. FADED GLORY

Amid all the ships attacking and getting blown up, the OUTER missile cargo bay door on the FADED GLORY closes.

INT. FADED GLORY - BRIDGE

Galen is kicking back, relaxing for the first time. He's pulling out a cigar.

GALEN: (Continuing)
...Come and get it.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE - ESTABLISHING

RIVER's at the controls. ZOE, JAYNE, and ANNA are on the BRIDGE.

ZOE:
What the hell is he doing? That's not going to stop the missile when it hits full power.

ANNA:
ZOE, hard burn.

ZOE:
(intercom)
ALL HANDS! Prepare for hard burn!

JAYNE:
ZOE, what's going on...?

ZOE:
RIVER! HARD BURN!

INTERCUT: SERENITY opens up with it's main engine. They pull a hard burn.

INT. MISSILE LAUNCHING BAY

Missile blasts free of the brace-locks.

INT. FADED GLORY - BRIDGE.

GALEN is striking a match for his cigar. He lights his cigar, takes a big ol' puff...

INT. MISSILE LAUNCHING BAY

The missile BLASTS through the inner airlock door like cheap paper. It approaches the sturdier outer airlock door, however.

INT. FADED GLORY - BRIDGE.

He exhales a big cloud of smoke. Smiling.

INT. MISSILE LAUNCHING BAY.

MISSILE's warhead impacts with the outer airlock door.

SFX: BOOM.

EXT. OUTER SPACE - FADED GLORY

We can see the FADED GLORY in the distance. There is a almost tiny point of light indicating an explosion near the bow of the ship. The FADED GLORY is surrounded by Alliance ships. A light-blue halo extends about a kilometer in diameter from the explosion point.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE.

JAYNE:
That it? That's what the fuss was all about?!?

EXT. OUTER SPACE - FADED GLORY

The halo begins to implode, getting smaller, as the point of light (where the explosion was) gets brighter. Alliance ships are getting drawn into it.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE.

ZOE:
(intercom)
All hands, brace for impact.

JAYNE:
Impact?

EXT. OUTER SPACE - FADED GLORY.

Smaller little secondary explosions rip up around the point of light. The halo implodes all the way down, until it disappears into the little point of light which seems so bright it outshines everything.

SFX: BOOM.

EVERYTHING goes up. The Alliance fleet is destroyed, the FADED Glory is destroyed. The shockwave travels outward.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE.

ZOE:
HOLD ON--!!

EXT. SERENITY

The shockwave passes through the SERENITY...it rocks the ship...but apparently they were far enough away. They were a good distance from the explosion point.

FADE OUT.

FADE IN:

INT. SERENITY MEDICAL BAY.

POV: MALCOM REYNOLDS.

INARA, SIMON, ZOE, KAYLEE are standing over him. STEVEN, ANNA and some of the other BROWNCOATS are standing in the background.

INARA:
Welcome back, Mal.

ZOE:
Glad you made it, Captain.

CAMERA ANGLE: SICK BAY.

SIMON:
It was touch and go for a while, but you pulled through.

MALCOM:
(weakly)
Did...did we do it? Did we stop him?

ZOE:
No, Cap'n. Galen stopped it. He blew it up.

MALCOM:
He's my brother...he...he remembered how to be...human...again...

MALCOM is having problems talking, he's so weak.

SIMON:
All right, guys. The captain needs his rest.

INARA:
See you soon, Malcom.

INARA kisses him on the cheek.

FADE OUT.

FADE IN:

MONTAGE:

During this series of shots resolution theme music is playing. No dialogue or sound effects are heard.

1.) The Browncoats and GALEN BROUD's men are being let off at a border world. They're shaking hands with ZOE and ANNA. ANNA hugs STEVEN. SIMON shakes hands with STEVEN.

2.) BROWNCOATS #1 and #2 have their hats off, obviously apologizing to KIERA and INARA, with ANNA and ZOE standing by, hands on pistols. Both BROWNCOATS leave the ship.

3.) SERENITY is flying through Space.

4.) SERENITY is parked near a large sized, fairly well-to-do city.

5.) BUSINESSMAN (from earlier scene) inspects some cargo. He tosses JAYNE a bag of money. JAYNE is happy, until ANNA snatches the bag from him and hands it to ZOE.

6.) Many of the Crew are enjoying R&R. Members of the crew are out shopping, checking things out. Buying stuff.

7.) The crew hangs out in a bar, laughing and drinking. ANNA seems a part of the crew. The only people missing out of the group is JAYNE, MALCOM, and RIVER. ZOE, INARA, KIERA, SIMON, KAYLEE, and ANNA are present. KIERA kind of looks seductively at SIMON, and SIMON blushes. KAYLEE gives KIERA a jealous look and holds SIMON closer.

END MONTAGE.

INT. SERENITY - HALLWAY.

JAYNE is coming from the CARGO bay. He's got a cardboard box roughly the size of a shoebox, except that it opens like a flap, and the front of the box is secured by two buttons tied together with a string. JAYNE looks like he's up to something. He's sneaking around, making careful sure no one sees him.

MALCOM: (O.S.)
What's in the box, Jayne.

CAMERA ANGLE: JAYNE

MALCOM is in the background. He's still favoring his wounded side, and he's pale, but he's up, and he's wearing his pistol.

JAYNE:
None of your damn business.

MALCOM:
(deadly serious.)
Everything that goes on this ship is my business. Now, what's in the box?

JAYNE:
Ain't you 'sposed to be restin'? DOC said you'd be out two months. It's only been three weeks.
(pause)
It ain't nothin'. Nothin' to bother with at all.

MALCOM:
I'll be the judge of that.

JAYNE:
Look, Mal... consider it my share of the earnin's. You can have the rest!

MALCOM:
Now I'm curious! That's a lot you're givin' up just for one little box. None of us got anything going on the side. You know we share all earnin's equal. You ain't special. We all got to eat, Jayne. Not just you.

JAYNE:
It ain't like that Mal! Take my share! Just let me have this!

MAL pulls a pistol on him. Every. Word. Is. Pronounced. Slowly.

MALCOM:
Let me see what's in the box, Jayne.

JAYNE just stares at him. For some reason, he does NOT want anyone to look in this box.

JAYNE:
(Desperate)
Please, Mal. You got to promise not to tell anyone. Can't nobody know.

MALCOM:
I won't tell where the extra cash came from, when I dole out pay.

Malcom looks in the box. The Camera is pointing out of the box so all we see is Malcom looking inside. We don't get to see what's inside. When he sees what's inside, his face is absolutely puzzled.

MALCOM:
(In a quiet, astonished voice,)
Just when I think got you figgered out, you go and pull a stunt like this.

MALCOM walks away just shaking his head.

JAYNE:
(After a moment)
You still gonna keep my share?

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY.

RIVER is on the catwalk, where she likes to hang out. JAYNE is on the floor, sitting on a crate, cleaning his gun. RIVER looks at JAYNE for a second as she walks, and then her eye catches something on the catwalk.

INSERT: BOX.

It's the same box JAYNE had in his hand earlier. RIVER picks it up, opens it.

We don't see yet what's in the box. Only her face. Her face is filled with surprise and ultimate happiness. A KITTEN!

It chooses now to meow. Around it's neck is a hand-written note, attached with a red twine. A single word --looks like it was written by a third grader:

"RIVER"

RIVER:
KITTY!

CAMERA ANGLE: JAYNE.

JAYNE decides he's done cleaning his gun. He gets up, and walks into the camera, shaking his head. In the BACKGROUND up on the catwalk, RIVER is playing with the kitten.

JAYNE:
(harshly.)
Retard.

SAME CAMERA ANGLE. JAYNE exits the scene. RIVER stops playing with the kitten long enough to look over at him and smile.

FADE OUT.

Total blackness, total silence.

RIVER: (V.O.)
Aww, you don't mean it.

PLAY MUSIC

ROLL CREDITS

END.

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Title:  Serenity II: The Fall of the Alliance
Author:  Jimmy James   [email]
Details:  Standalone  |  PG-13  |  gen  |  158k  |  01/31/06
Characters:  Malcolm, Zoe, Wash, Kaylee, Inara, Jayne, Simon, River, Other - Galen Broud (New)
Summary:  The Independents rise again.and they've got the Alliance on the ropes. This time Malcom finds himself on the winning side.or does he?
Notes:  Intense emotions involved. Several characters deal with unresolved personal issues.

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