JC (god_of_belac) wrote in virtual_firefly,
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Season 1, Episode 21: Chains

Chains


Episode 1x21:
“CHAINS”

Written by
Matt Engstrom

Story Consultant:
“giantevilhead”

Edited by
George W. Krubski and Shawn Morris


Producer: David Elmer
Head Writer: George W. Krubski
Art Director: Sean Young

Disclaimer: The crew of the Serenity, the ‘Verse in which they live, and their fellow inhabitants are the property of Joss Whedon, Universal Studios, and/or Fox Television. They are used in this work of fan fiction with love and respect, but without permission.




Act 2
EXT. SPACE – ESTABLISHING

Serenity glides through space.


INT. SERENITY – INFIRMARY – NIGHT

Jayne, Derek, and Isaac stand outside the infirmary, looking in at Simon examining Joshua. Micah is also in the infirmary. As Isaac looks around, studying the interior of the ship, Derek indicates the weapon on Jayne’s hip.

DEREK
That a Tienamin twenty millimeter Model Forty-Seven?

JAYNE
That’s right. You get all that from the handle?

DEREK
It’s the shape of the grip, and the whale-bone inlay. It’s beautiful.

Jayne pats the gun proudly.

JAYNE
She sure is.

DEREK
She?

JAYNE
Name’s Ana. Just picked her up at the Carousel.

IN THE INFIRMARY

Simon finishes up examining Joshua.

SIMON
Your body-fat content is a little low, but nothing a few good meals in a row won’t fix.

MICAH
Thank you, Doctor Tam.

SIMON
There’s a small shower near the guest rooms. Some of the crew have donated their allotment to you all. Help yourself.

MICAH
Thank you for all you’ve done for my family. God bless you.

Micah and Joshua exit the infirmary, almost bumping into Jayne.

MICAH
God bless you.

JAYNE
Uh… Thanks.

Simon looks toward the door, preparing for the next examination. He indicates the next patient should come in. Derek looks to Isaac, and Isaac nods. Derek walks in.

SIMON
Take off your shirt and take a seat.

Derek takes off his shirt. There are long scars across his back. Jayne reacts to the sight. Across his upper right shoulder is a tattoo, with a serial number and “bar code” scanning pattern. Derek sits, and he and Simon talk as the doctor checks him over with various medical instruments (drawing blood, checking blood pressure and such).

DEREK
I s’pose you’re worried about the tattoo.

SIMON
Should I be? It doesn’t look to be infected.

DEREK
You know what I mean, doc. Did some time on Sheol. Made a mess a things for myself there. So much so’s they sold me to Independence. Acted up there s’well.

Derek indicates Isaac, who is in the doorway, studying Jayne, while Jayne simply glares at him.

DEREK (cont’d)
Be dead right now if it weren’t for him. That man’s connected to somethin’ Almighty. Saw right inside of me. Showed me the way. Showed me it’s not too late for a man to change, if he lets God do the changin’.

SIMON
(checking Derek’s scalp)
Well, you’re in for a bit more change, I’m afraid. You’ve got a case of the scalp mites. It’s not too bad, but you’re going to have to lose the hair.

DEREK
Not a problem. Been done before.

SIMON
Let me check your friend first. If he’s got them too, I’ll shave both of you together.

At Simon’s prompting, Derek gets up from the chair, and walks toward the door as Isaac steps cautiously into the room. As Derek nears Jayne, Jayne backs away.

JAYNE
Stay right there, bughead. I like my hairstyle just fine, thank you.

Isaac sits in the chair. His eyes dart around the room. He is tense, agitated, perhaps even frightened. Simon begins to examine his scalp.

IN THE HALLWAY

River arrives, walking up next to Jayne, and looking in at Isaac. Derek checks her out in quick glances.

BACK INSIDE

SIMON
Is something wrong, Isaac?

ISAAC
Don’t like doctor’s rooms. Never have. Light’s too cold and harsh.

SIMON
It is, but it’s perfect for spotting imperfections. Like bugs…

IN THE HALLWAY

Derek looks River up and down. Jayne notices.

JAYNE
(quietly)
You don’t want that. She’s all kinds of crazy. Gut you soon as grapple.

DEREK
Wasn’t lookin’. Wasn’t wantin’.

JAYNE
Right.

DEREK
Tryin’ not to, anyways…

Jayne grins, Derek does not, while

IN THE INFIRMARY

Simon uncovers a STRANGE CIRCULAR SCAR near Isaac’s temple. Simon touches it with his forefinger.

ISAAC
(flinching away)
No! Don’t touch it!

SIMON
Does it hurt?

ISAAC
(calming)
No. It’s just sensitive.

Simon continues to examine Isaac’s scalp, moving directly to the other temple, where there’s an identical scar.

SIMON
Where did you get them?

River speaks from the doorway.

RIVER
Fingers. Fingers of fire touched him. Burned his old self away. Like a lump of bronze inside his head.

Isaac looks at River. He smiles.

ISAAC
That’s… That’s right, child.
(to Simon)
It’s where the hands of God touched me. Purified my mind. Made me see.

Derek nods and smiles. Simon only stares at River, who stares at Isaac.


INT. SERENITY – BRIDGE – NIGHT

Mal’s at the wave monitor, talking to MILDRED, late thirties, matronly, no-nonsense, from the mining colony on Haven.

MILDRED (on the monitor)
They got skills, they’ll have work. Can’t guarantee much coin, but they’ll have a roof over their heads, three squares, and the freedom to stay or leave as they choose.

MAL
You sure about this? Slaves can be troublesome folk. Criminals and such.

MILDRED (on the monitor)
Haven’s a place where people come to change, Mal. Get a fresh start. Some folk just need a second chance. Lord knows I did.
(beat)
‘Sides, they probably know how to use the mining equipment you’re sellin’ better’n anyone.

MAL
Tell Bernabe he married a helluva human being, Mildred, and ruffle the little ones’ hair for me.

MILDRED (on the monitor)
I’ll see you tomorrow.

Mal switches off the monitor. Simon is in the doorway.

MAL
How’d the examinin’ go?

SIMON
As expected. They’re all malnourished. One had a mild case of scalp mites.

MAL
Get a chance to hone your barberin’ skills?

SIMON
Only if you want a shaved head.
(beat)
I think one of our guests has done time in an asylum.

MAL
The preacher-man?
(off Simon’s nod)
Figures.

SIMON
He has scars. They look similar to ones left behind after focused microwave-lobotomies.

Simon pauses. He is uncomfortable.

MAL
What ain’t you tellin’ me, doctor?

SIMON
The scars are similar to River’s.

MAL
You sayin’ we got another reader on board?

SIMON
We don’t know River’s a reader.

Mal let’s it go. He stands.

MAL
What you say’s true, might be best we keep them apart. No tellin’ what might happen those two get to talkin’. Where’s she now?

SIMON
Getting her things together.


INT. SERENITY – CARGO BAY – SAME TIME

River, happy and excited, runs down the catwalk from Inara’s shuttle. She passes Jayne and Derek (now bald), who are lifting weights together on the bench press, Derek spotting. Jayne burns out, unable to lift the weight, but Derek is distracted, watching River. Joshua and Kaylee play a game on the catwalk above. We follow River through the cargo bay to the quarters

OUTSIDE THE INFIRMARY

Where Wash and Zoe chat with Micah. River continues on toward the guest quarters. In the hallway stands Isaac, his hair wet, a towel draped over his shoulder.

ISAAC
It is kind of you making room for me and my friends. Do you need some help?

RIVER
I’m going to a sleep-over. Her bed smells like rose petals!
(whispering)
Can’t let Jayne and Derek see the pillow fights.

ISAAC
(whispering back)
Your secret’s safe with me.

River moves past him into her room. Isaac follows. Zoe notices, and keeps an eye on them.

IN THE TAMS’ ROOM

River packs away her things as if moving for a week.

ISAAC
What is your name, little one?

RIVER
River.

ISAAC
Of course. A name of transformation. Of travel. Of renewal and life. Do you know my Lord received his inheritance from God in a river?

RIVER
The dove fell down.

ISAAC
That’s right. Tell me, River, have you received the blessings of your inheritance?

RIVER
Only swans.

ISAAC
You have been transformed, haven’t you?

RIVER
Ugly duckling.

ISAAC
There is a place for you with me, River. I can help you understand who you are.

She stops packing and turns to look at him. They stare at each other for a beat, then Simon comes in, looking very uncomfortable at the scene.

SIMON
River?

RIVER
I’m ready!

SIMON
Go put the rest of you things in the shuttle, and meet me in the galley.

River exits the room with her things. Isaac looks at Simon.

SIMON (cont’d)
Shepherd Book has prepared a meal for us.


INT. SERENITY – GALLEY – NIGHT

With the crew and the slaves, it’s more crowded than usual at the table. Jayne and Derek seem to be getting along, laughing and joking. Isaac and River make eye contact on occasion, and she often stares at him when he’s not looking.

MAL
(to Isaac)
Just got done talkin’ to a friend of mine. Runs a mine on Haven, where we’re headed. Says they’ll take you all in. Set you up with honest work.

KAYLEE
That’s great!

None of the freed slaves answer. They all look to Isaac.

KAYLEE (cont’d)
Well, isn’t it?

MAL
Don’t all thank me at once.

ISAAC
We do thank you for the gesture, but I’m afraid our journey has just begun.

MAL
Not on my boat, it hasn’t. Haven’s your next stop.

ISAAC
That is not God’s will.

MAL
Here we go again…

ISAAC
You will deliver us into the hands of God. The promised land awaits us. He has told me this.

MAL
I ain’t runnin’ no bus service to paradise. ‘Sides, I don’t seem to remember a planet or moon with such a name.

DEREK
Isaac wasn’t given a name. He was given numbers. Five-two-zero-one—

MAL
That’s enough! Now everyone just be quiet!

The table is silent for a beat. Two beats.

MAL (cont’d)
You hear that? That’s right. Nothin’ but the sound of the engines. Creak of the steel. Your own breath. Nothin’ else. God don’t talk.

ISAAC
How do you know when you don’t listen?

MAL
You don’t know nothin’ about me, preacher-man.

ISAAC
God has chosen you, Captain.

MAL
Well, I don’t choose him. Not no more. And I sure ain’t gonna choose to plug in a set of dreamed-up coordinates and see where they lead.
(gets up from the table)
Haven’s your next stop. Best you all get some shut-eye.


INT. SERENITY – CARGO BAY – NIGHT

Isaac paces amid the mining machinery. His hands are folded beneath his chin in prayer. Serenity is still and quiet. Zoe watches from the door to the infirmary. Book appears behind her.

BOOK
He still going strong?

ZOE
Been praying near two hours now.

BOOK
Why haven’t you interrupted him? He can pray in his room. I do.

ZOE
Probably feels safer here in familiar surroundings than in another cage. I figure it’s best to let him tire himself out. No need to get him worked up again.

Zoe looks back towards the pacing Isaac.

BOOK
Why don’t you get some rest? I can take it from here.

ZOE
You sure?

Book nods and smiles. Zoe smiles and walks away. Once she’s gone, Book approaches Isaac, who stops praying and smiles.

ISAAC
I didn’t thank you for the wonderful meal, Shepherd.

BOOK
It was my pleasure, brother.

ISAAC
(looking about the room)
It’s peaceful here.

BOOK
It can be. At times.

Isaac touches the mining machinery.

ISAAC
Do you believe in coincidences, Shepherd?

BOOK
One man’s coincidence is another man’s evidence.

ISAAC
True enough. What kind of man are you?

BOOK
Honestly, I don’t know anymore.

ISAAC
If that’s the case, I’ll be on the side of evidence for us both…

Book smiles. Isaac looks away from him, staring at the mining equipment.

ISAAC (cont’d)
I’ve seen too much for it to be coincidence. The mines… They were hell. Wailing and gnashing of teeth…
(looks away)
God pulled me from that pit, Shepherd. But this serenity is temporary. His will is not done.

BOOK
It never is, Isaac. I know He wants us to keep going. Keep walking with Him. But truly, I feel I’m stumbling more than walking, more every day. Sometimes it’s so dark, I don’t know where my path is leading, but I trust it’s where He wants me to be.

ISAAC
You doubt the path you’ve chosen?

BOOK
No. These are good folk. All of them.

ISAAC
Even a man who hates God?

BOOK
Captain doesn’t hate God. He’s just… lost.

ISAAC
As are we all.
(beat)
God has brought me this far, and I know He wants me to go farther. But I don’t see how.

BOOK
If it’s His will, He will make a way.

ISAAC
God bless you, Shepherd. You’re right…


INT. SERENITY – ENGINE ROOM – SAME TIME

The shiny new INERTIAL DAMPENER sparks and crackles in a way it was clearly not designed to do. A thin plume of smoke rises.

ISAAC (cont’d, VO)
God will make a way.





Act 3
EXT. SPACE

Serenity approaches Haven, the brightest star in the distance.


INT. SERENITY – PASSENGER DORMS – MORNING

Isaac, Derek, Micah and Joshua stand in the hall in a circle, hands clasped.

ISAAC
Serenity will deliver us into the hands of God and to the promised land, my children. I have foreseen it.

DEREK
The captain won’t submit to God’s will, Isaac.

MICAH
Derek may be right. We cannot rely on the captain. Perhaps we will find transport at this mining colony?

ISAAC
Don’t lose faith, Micah. Wait on the Lord. Wait on a sign…


EXT. SPACE ABOVE HAVEN – LATER

Serenity is moments away from entering orbit.


INT. SERENITY – PASSENGER DORM – MORNING

Isaac kneels in prayer in his room. The door opens and Book looks in.

BOOK
We’re approaching Haven, Isaac.

ISAAC
(opening his eyes)
Thank you, Shepherd.

Isaac continues praying.


INT. SERENITY – CARGO BAY – SAME TIME

Kaylee, River and Joshua play jacks.


INT. SERENITY – INARA’S SHUTTLE – SAME TIME

Inara straightens her room. Pillows lay on the floor, and she breaks down a makeshift fort made from her tapestries. She shakes her head, smiling.


INT. SERENITY – GALLEY – SAME TIME

Micah, Simon, Jayne and Derek play cards at the kitchen table, Jayne with a large mug of steaming coffee. We continue on into

THE FOREDECK HALL

Where Zoe climbs out of her room and makes her way to

THE BRIDGE

Where Mal looks out at Haven, looming larger now, the sun disappearing behind it. Wash is at the controls, and both are drinking coffee with cupped hands.

WASH
—have to disagree, Mal. She may be my wife, but Jayne’s is better. The man knows how to make a pot of—
(sees Zoe enter the bridge)
—gold! Hi, honey!
(back to Mal)
The man is a regular leprechaun. With a pituitary disorder, nonetheless…

ZOE
Please. I know Jayne’s coffee is better.
(takes Wash’s cup and drinks)
Mornin’, sir.

MAL
It’s evenin’ where we’re headed.

ZOE
That’s a shame. Bernabe and Millie’s kids’ll be sleeping. Won’t get my fix.
(to Wash)
Wouldn’t need to hold other folk’s babies if someone would get on top of things…

Mal takes a drink of his coffee, averting his eyes.

WASH
Right now? Again? You know I do like to be on top…
(beat)
Of things. Like flying the ship. Which I’ll get back to now.

Wash takes hold of the controls and presses a button. A grinding, thrumming noise sounds throughout the ship as Mal and Zoe rock forward, grabbing at the console for balance. Wash’s dinosaurs spill all over the deck as his chest presses into the controls.


INT. SERENITY – GALLEY – SAME TIME

The stack of cards fan out across the table, and Jayne spills his coffee on his hand.

JAYNE
Ruttin’ hell!


INT. SERENITY – INARA’S SHUTTLE – SAME TIME

Inara is packing her things away in crates. They slide across the deck as she spills to the floor.


INT. SERENITY – CARGO BAY – SAME TIME

The ball and jacks roll quickly through the cargo bay towards the airlock door.


INT. SERENITY – PASSENGER DORM – SAME TIME

Isaac, kneeling in prayer, is thrown forward into his bed. He opens his eyes, and his cross rises with the inertia before his eyes, held fast to his neck by its chain.

ISAAC
It is time.


INT. SERENITY – BRIDGE – SECONDS LATER

Mal steadies himself.

WASH
(making adjustments)
Whoa. Whoa, darlin’.

MAL
What is that? Is that what I think it is? Because it better not be.

ZOE
Didn’t we just replace the inertial dampener?

WASH (into comm)
Kaylee? What’s goin’ on back there?


INT. SERENITY – AFT HALL – SAME TIME

Kaylee struggles up the stairs to the aft hall, stumbling into Book on the way.

KAYLEE
Sorry, Shepherd.

BOOK
Kaylee? What’s—

But Kaylee’s off down the hallway to

THE ENGINE ROOM

Where she makes straight for the shiny new parts. She inspects the INERTIAL DAMPENER.

KAYLEE
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<can’t>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

<b>Chains</b>

<lj-cut text="Credits">
Episode 1x21:
“CHAINS”

Written by
Matt Engstrom

Story Consultant:
“giantevilhead”

Edited by
George W. Krubski and Shawn Morris


Producer: David Elmer
Head Writer: George W. Krubski
Art Director: Sean Young

Disclaimer: The crew of the Serenity, the ‘Verse in which they live, and their fellow inhabitants are the property of Joss Whedon, Universal Studios, and/or Fox Television. They are used in this work of fan fiction with love and respect, but without permission.

</lj-cut>

<lj-cut text="Act 2">
<b>Act 2</b>
EXT. SPACE – ESTABLISHING

Serenity glides through space.


INT. SERENITY – INFIRMARY – NIGHT

Jayne, Derek, and Isaac stand outside the infirmary, looking in at Simon examining Joshua. Micah is also in the infirmary. As Isaac looks around, studying the interior of the ship, Derek indicates the weapon on Jayne’s hip.

DEREK
That a Tienamin twenty millimeter Model Forty-Seven?

JAYNE
That’s right. You get all that from the handle?

DEREK
It’s the shape of the grip, and the whale-bone inlay. It’s beautiful.

Jayne pats the gun proudly.

JAYNE
She sure is.

DEREK
She?

JAYNE
Name’s Ana. Just picked her up at the Carousel.

IN THE INFIRMARY

Simon finishes up examining Joshua.

SIMON
Your body-fat content is a little low, but nothing a few good meals in a row won’t fix.

MICAH
Thank you, Doctor Tam.

SIMON
There’s a small shower near the guest rooms. Some of the crew have donated their allotment to you all. Help yourself.

MICAH
Thank you for all you’ve done for my family. God bless you.

Micah and Joshua exit the infirmary, almost bumping into Jayne.

MICAH
God bless you.

JAYNE
Uh… Thanks.

Simon looks toward the door, preparing for the next examination. He indicates the next patient should come in. Derek looks to Isaac, and Isaac nods. Derek walks in.

SIMON
Take off your shirt and take a seat.

Derek takes off his shirt. There are long scars across his back. Jayne reacts to the sight. Across his upper right shoulder is a tattoo, with a serial number and “bar code” scanning pattern. Derek sits, and he and Simon talk as the doctor checks him over with various medical instruments (drawing blood, checking blood pressure and such).

DEREK
I s’pose you’re worried about the tattoo.

SIMON
Should I be? It doesn’t look to be infected.

DEREK
You know what I mean, doc. Did some time on Sheol. Made a mess a things for myself there. So much so’s they sold me to Independence. Acted up there s’well.

Derek indicates Isaac, who is in the doorway, studying Jayne, while Jayne simply glares at him.

DEREK (cont’d)
Be dead right now if it weren’t for him. That man’s connected to somethin’ Almighty. Saw right inside of me. Showed me the way. Showed me it’s not too late for a man to change, if he lets God do the changin’.

SIMON
(checking Derek’s scalp)
Well, you’re in for a bit more change, I’m afraid. You’ve got a case of the scalp mites. It’s not too bad, but you’re going to have to lose the hair.

DEREK
Not a problem. Been done before.

SIMON
Let me check your friend first. If he’s got them too, I’ll shave both of you together.

At Simon’s prompting, Derek gets up from the chair, and walks toward the door as Isaac steps cautiously into the room. As Derek nears Jayne, Jayne backs away.

JAYNE
Stay right there, bughead. I like my hairstyle just fine, thank you.

Isaac sits in the chair. His eyes dart around the room. He is tense, agitated, perhaps even frightened. Simon begins to examine his scalp.

IN THE HALLWAY

River arrives, walking up next to Jayne, and looking in at Isaac. Derek checks her out in quick glances.

BACK INSIDE

SIMON
Is something wrong, Isaac?

ISAAC
Don’t like doctor’s rooms. Never have. Light’s too cold and harsh.

SIMON
It is, but it’s perfect for spotting imperfections. Like bugs…

IN THE HALLWAY

Derek looks River up and down. Jayne notices.

JAYNE
(quietly)
You don’t want that. She’s all kinds of crazy. Gut you soon as grapple.

DEREK
Wasn’t lookin’. Wasn’t wantin’.

JAYNE
Right.

DEREK
Tryin’ not to, anyways…

Jayne grins, Derek does not, while

IN THE INFIRMARY

Simon uncovers a STRANGE CIRCULAR SCAR near Isaac’s temple. Simon touches it with his forefinger.

ISAAC
(flinching away)
No! Don’t touch it!

SIMON
Does it hurt?

ISAAC
(calming)
No. It’s just sensitive.

Simon continues to examine Isaac’s scalp, moving directly to the other temple, where there’s an identical scar.

SIMON
Where did you get them?

River speaks from the doorway.

RIVER
Fingers. Fingers of fire touched him. Burned his old self away. Like a lump of bronze inside his head.

Isaac looks at River. He smiles.

ISAAC
That’s… That’s right, child.
(to Simon)
It’s where the hands of God touched me. Purified my mind. Made me see.

Derek nods and smiles. Simon only stares at River, who stares at Isaac.


INT. SERENITY – BRIDGE – NIGHT

Mal’s at the wave monitor, talking to MILDRED, late thirties, matronly, no-nonsense, from the mining colony on Haven.

MILDRED (on the monitor)
They got skills, they’ll have work. Can’t guarantee much coin, but they’ll have a roof over their heads, three squares, and the freedom to stay or leave as they choose.

MAL
You sure about this? Slaves can be troublesome folk. Criminals and such.

MILDRED (on the monitor)
Haven’s a place where people come to change, Mal. Get a fresh start. Some folk just need a second chance. Lord knows I did.
(beat)
‘Sides, they probably know how to use the mining equipment you’re sellin’ better’n anyone.

MAL
Tell Bernabe he married a helluva human being, Mildred, and ruffle the little ones’ hair for me.

MILDRED (on the monitor)
I’ll see you tomorrow.

Mal switches off the monitor. Simon is in the doorway.

MAL
How’d the examinin’ go?

SIMON
As expected. They’re all malnourished. One had a mild case of scalp mites.

MAL
Get a chance to hone your barberin’ skills?

SIMON
Only if you want a shaved head.
(beat)
I think one of our guests has done time in an asylum.

MAL
The preacher-man?
(off Simon’s nod)
Figures.

SIMON
He has scars. They look similar to ones left behind after focused microwave-lobotomies.

Simon pauses. He is uncomfortable.

MAL
What ain’t you tellin’ me, doctor?

SIMON
The scars are similar to River’s.

MAL
You sayin’ we got another reader on board?

SIMON
We don’t know River’s a reader.

Mal let’s it go. He stands.

MAL
What you say’s true, might be best we keep them apart. No tellin’ what might happen those two get to talkin’. Where’s she now?

SIMON
Getting her things together.


INT. SERENITY – CARGO BAY – SAME TIME

River, happy and excited, runs down the catwalk from Inara’s shuttle. She passes Jayne and Derek (now bald), who are lifting weights together on the bench press, Derek spotting. Jayne burns out, unable to lift the weight, but Derek is distracted, watching River. Joshua and Kaylee play a game on the catwalk above. We follow River through the cargo bay to the quarters

OUTSIDE THE INFIRMARY

Where Wash and Zoe chat with Micah. River continues on toward the guest quarters. In the hallway stands Isaac, his hair wet, a towel draped over his shoulder.

ISAAC
It is kind of you making room for me and my friends. Do you need some help?

RIVER
I’m going to a sleep-over. Her bed smells like rose petals!
(whispering)
Can’t let Jayne and Derek see the pillow fights.

ISAAC
(whispering back)
Your secret’s safe with me.

River moves past him into her room. Isaac follows. Zoe notices, and keeps an eye on them.

IN THE TAMS’ ROOM

River packs away her things as if moving for a week.

ISAAC
What is your name, little one?

RIVER
River.

ISAAC
Of course. A name of transformation. Of travel. Of renewal and life. Do you know my Lord received his inheritance from God in a river?

RIVER
The dove fell down.

ISAAC
That’s right. Tell me, River, have you received the blessings of your inheritance?

RIVER
Only swans.

ISAAC
You have been transformed, haven’t you?

RIVER
Ugly duckling.

ISAAC
There is a place for you with me, River. I can help you understand who you are.

She stops packing and turns to look at him. They stare at each other for a beat, then Simon comes in, looking very uncomfortable at the scene.

SIMON
River?

RIVER
I’m ready!

SIMON
Go put the rest of you things in the shuttle, and meet me in the galley.

River exits the room with her things. Isaac looks at Simon.

SIMON (cont’d)
Shepherd Book has prepared a meal for us.


INT. SERENITY – GALLEY – NIGHT

With the crew and the slaves, it’s more crowded than usual at the table. Jayne and Derek seem to be getting along, laughing and joking. Isaac and River make eye contact on occasion, and she often stares at him when he’s not looking.

MAL
(to Isaac)
Just got done talkin’ to a friend of mine. Runs a mine on Haven, where we’re headed. Says they’ll take you all in. Set you up with honest work.

KAYLEE
That’s great!

None of the freed slaves answer. They all look to Isaac.

KAYLEE (cont’d)
Well, isn’t it?

MAL
Don’t all thank me at once.

ISAAC
We do thank you for the gesture, but I’m afraid our journey has just begun.

MAL
Not on my boat, it hasn’t. Haven’s your next stop.

ISAAC
That is not God’s will.

MAL
Here we go again…

ISAAC
You will deliver us into the hands of God. The promised land awaits us. He has told me this.

MAL
I ain’t runnin’ no bus service to paradise. ‘Sides, I don’t seem to remember a planet or moon with such a name.

DEREK
Isaac wasn’t given a name. He was given numbers. Five-two-zero-one—

MAL
That’s enough! Now everyone just be quiet!

The table is silent for a beat. Two beats.

MAL (cont’d)
You hear that? That’s right. Nothin’ but the sound of the engines. Creak of the steel. Your own breath. Nothin’ else. God don’t talk.

ISAAC
How do you know when you don’t listen?

MAL
You don’t know nothin’ about me, preacher-man.

ISAAC
God has chosen you, Captain.

MAL
Well, I don’t choose him. Not no more. And I sure ain’t gonna choose to plug in a set of dreamed-up coordinates and see where they lead.
(gets up from the table)
Haven’s your next stop. Best you all get some shut-eye.


INT. SERENITY – CARGO BAY – NIGHT

Isaac paces amid the mining machinery. His hands are folded beneath his chin in prayer. Serenity is still and quiet. Zoe watches from the door to the infirmary. Book appears behind her.

BOOK
He still going strong?

ZOE
Been praying near two hours now.

BOOK
Why haven’t you interrupted him? He can pray in his room. I do.

ZOE
Probably feels safer here in familiar surroundings than in another cage. I figure it’s best to let him tire himself out. No need to get him worked up again.

Zoe looks back towards the pacing Isaac.

BOOK
Why don’t you get some rest? I can take it from here.

ZOE
You sure?

Book nods and smiles. Zoe smiles and walks away. Once she’s gone, Book approaches Isaac, who stops praying and smiles.

ISAAC
I didn’t thank you for the wonderful meal, Shepherd.

BOOK
It was my pleasure, brother.

ISAAC
(looking about the room)
It’s peaceful here.

BOOK
It can be. At times.

Isaac touches the mining machinery.

ISAAC
Do you believe in coincidences, Shepherd?

BOOK
One man’s coincidence is another man’s evidence.

ISAAC
True enough. What kind of man are you?

BOOK
Honestly, I don’t know anymore.

ISAAC
If that’s the case, I’ll be on the side of evidence for us both…

Book smiles. Isaac looks away from him, staring at the mining equipment.

ISAAC (cont’d)
I’ve seen too much for it to be coincidence. The mines… They were hell. Wailing and gnashing of teeth…
(looks away)
God pulled me from that pit, Shepherd. But this serenity is temporary. His will is not done.

BOOK
It never is, Isaac. I know He wants us to keep going. Keep walking with Him. But truly, I feel I’m stumbling more than walking, more every day. Sometimes it’s so dark, I don’t know where my path is leading, but I trust it’s where He wants me to be.

ISAAC
You doubt the path you’ve chosen?

BOOK
No. These are good folk. All of them.

ISAAC
Even a man who hates God?

BOOK
Captain doesn’t hate God. He’s just… lost.

ISAAC
As are we all.
(beat)
God has brought me this far, and I know He wants me to go farther. But I don’t see how.

BOOK
If it’s His will, He will make a way.

ISAAC
God bless you, Shepherd. You’re right…


INT. SERENITY – ENGINE ROOM – SAME TIME

The shiny new INERTIAL DAMPENER sparks and crackles in a way it was clearly not designed to do. A thin plume of smoke rises.

ISAAC (cont’d, VO)
God will make a way.


</lj-cut>

<lj-cut text="Act 3">
<b>Act 3</b>
EXT. SPACE

Serenity approaches Haven, the brightest star in the distance.


INT. SERENITY – PASSENGER DORMS – MORNING

Isaac, Derek, Micah and Joshua stand in the hall in a circle, hands clasped.

ISAAC
Serenity will deliver us into the hands of God and to the promised land, my children. I have foreseen it.

DEREK
The captain won’t submit to God’s will, Isaac.

MICAH
Derek may be right. We cannot rely on the captain. Perhaps we will find transport at this mining colony?

ISAAC
Don’t lose faith, Micah. Wait on the Lord. Wait on a sign…


EXT. SPACE ABOVE HAVEN – LATER

Serenity is moments away from entering orbit.


INT. SERENITY – PASSENGER DORM – MORNING

Isaac kneels in prayer in his room. The door opens and Book looks in.

BOOK
We’re approaching Haven, Isaac.

ISAAC
(opening his eyes)
Thank you, Shepherd.

Isaac continues praying.


INT. SERENITY – CARGO BAY – SAME TIME

Kaylee, River and Joshua play jacks.


INT. SERENITY – INARA’S SHUTTLE – SAME TIME

Inara straightens her room. Pillows lay on the floor, and she breaks down a makeshift fort made from her tapestries. She shakes her head, smiling.


INT. SERENITY – GALLEY – SAME TIME

Micah, Simon, Jayne and Derek play cards at the kitchen table, Jayne with a large mug of steaming coffee. We continue on into

THE FOREDECK HALL

Where Zoe climbs out of her room and makes her way to

THE BRIDGE

Where Mal looks out at Haven, looming larger now, the sun disappearing behind it. Wash is at the controls, and both are drinking coffee with cupped hands.

WASH
—have to disagree, Mal. She may be my wife, but Jayne’s is better. The man knows how to make a pot of—
(sees Zoe enter the bridge)
—gold! Hi, honey!
(back to Mal)
The man is a regular leprechaun. With a pituitary disorder, nonetheless…

ZOE
Please. I know Jayne’s coffee is better.
(takes Wash’s cup and drinks)
Mornin’, sir.

MAL
It’s evenin’ where we’re headed.

ZOE
That’s a shame. Bernabe and Millie’s kids’ll be sleeping. Won’t get my fix.
(to Wash)
Wouldn’t need to hold other folk’s babies if someone would get on top of things…

Mal takes a drink of his coffee, averting his eyes.

WASH
Right now? Again? You know I do like to be on top…
(beat)
Of things. Like flying the ship. Which I’ll get back to now.

Wash takes hold of the controls and presses a button. A grinding, thrumming noise sounds throughout the ship as Mal and Zoe rock forward, grabbing at the console for balance. Wash’s dinosaurs spill all over the deck as his chest presses into the controls.


INT. SERENITY – GALLEY – SAME TIME

The stack of cards fan out across the table, and Jayne spills his coffee on his hand.

JAYNE
Ruttin’ hell!


INT. SERENITY – INARA’S SHUTTLE – SAME TIME

Inara is packing her things away in crates. They slide across the deck as she spills to the floor.


INT. SERENITY – CARGO BAY – SAME TIME

The ball and jacks roll quickly through the cargo bay towards the airlock door.


INT. SERENITY – PASSENGER DORM – SAME TIME

Isaac, kneeling in prayer, is thrown forward into his bed. He opens his eyes, and his cross rises with the inertia before his eyes, held fast to his neck by its chain.

ISAAC
It is time.


INT. SERENITY – BRIDGE – SECONDS LATER

Mal steadies himself.

WASH
(making adjustments)
Whoa. Whoa, darlin’.

MAL
What is that? Is that what I think it is? Because it better not be.

ZOE
Didn’t we just replace the inertial dampener?

WASH (into comm)
Kaylee? What’s goin’ on back there?


INT. SERENITY – AFT HALL – SAME TIME

Kaylee struggles up the stairs to the aft hall, stumbling into Book on the way.

KAYLEE
Sorry, Shepherd.

BOOK
Kaylee? What’s—

But Kaylee’s off down the hallway to

THE ENGINE ROOM

Where she makes straight for the shiny new parts. She inspects the INERTIAL DAMPENER.

KAYLEE
<Can’t we ever catch a break!> Gorram it, work!

She bangs the part with her fist in frustration, pulling her hand back reflexively because the part is hot – shorted out. As she smacks it, smoke rises.

KAYLEE (into comm)
It’s the inertial dampener again, Wash!


INT. SERENITY – BRIDGE – SAME TIME

Wash struggles with the controls. Haven is approaching too fast.

WASH
But it’s brand new!
(beat)
Right?

MAL
<No good chicken-rutting bureaucrat!>
(to Zoe)
It’s almost a shame Cariss is dead, ‘cause I’d like to kill him again!

WASH
Cariss died? How did I miss that?

Mal and Zoe ignore the question.

WASH (cont’d)
I’m going to have to slow her down a lot slower, Mal. Cargo we’re carrying’s too bulky to stay secure if I step on the brakes enough to enter atmo on the first pass.

MAL
And on the second pass?

WASH
There’s a lot of weight back there. No tellin’ what the g-forces will do.

MAL
Wash, enter Haven’s orbit and tell ‘em I’m on the way. I’m gonna get us another gorram new part. Zoe, ship’s yours.

He rushes to the door, then pauses.

MAL (cont’d)
Til, ya know, I get back.


INT. SERENITY – GALLEY – SECONDS LATER

Mal enters, finding Simon checking the burn on Jayne’s hand. Micah and Derek are standing, and Book has joined them.

BOOK
What’s going on, Captain?

MAL
(to Derek and Micah)
Looks like you two’re on my boat for a little while longer. I’m going planet-side to pick up a part. Any of you start gettin’ motion sick, make sure you yak in a bucket.

SIMON
Or just tell me. I’ve got pills for it.

MAL
Or that.

As Mal heads toward the stairs to the cargo bay. Derek and Micah share a look.


INT. SERENITY – CARGO BAY – SAME TIME

Joshua and River look for the ball, peering beneath the swaying mining equipment. Joshua finally spots it, on the other side of the mining drill. He circles around and finds Isaac crouched there, the ball now in his hand.

ISAAC
Found it, my son. Here…

Joshua comes close to get the ball and Isaac leans closer, whispering something in his ear. Joshua nods and runs off. Isaac turns around and sees River, looking right at him, smiling. He smiles in return and nods a greeting.

RIVER
You found me, but you didn’t count in thousands. You cheated.
(stops smiling, backing away)
I should find a place to hide. Cover your eyes!

River runs away. Isaac watches her go.


INT. SERENITY – INARA’S SHUTTLE – DAY

Mal walks into the shuttle, failing to keep his balance, and tumbles onto Inara’s bed. Inara stops straightening her things sent into disarray by the g-forces, pressing her hands against one of her crates.

MAL
(looking into the ceiling)
Never thought I’d get the chance to stare into this ceiling!

INARA
Mal!

Mal props himself up in the bed.

MAL
What? Ain’t I fetchin’?
(beat)
Inertial dampener is on the fritz again.

He rolls off the bed to his feet and continues on into the cockpit.

MAL (cont’d)
I’m going to have to borrow my shuttle. If that’s okay with you. Me usin’ my own shuttle.

INARA
There’s no need to keep reminding me.

Mal sits down behind the controls.

MAL
No remindin’ goin’ on here.
(looks at the controls with confusion)
Might just need a reminder myself, though. Did you make some modifications here?

INARA
I did no such thing!
(beat)
Why don’t you use the other shuttle?

He doesn’t look up, looking over the control panel with confusion.

MAL
Missed its last maintenance check–
(counting silently)
Its last four maintenance checks, with how busy Kaylee’s been with the main engine. Don’t want my dingy dead in the water, too. Now, where’s the pre-flight diagnostic switch, then? Is this the one?

Inara sighs and pushes at Mal.

INARA
Let me do it. Go seal the hatch.

He stands up, letting her have the seat.

MAL
But this is the last time! I better find all my switches and levers back where they’re supposed to be when you’re gone…


EXT. SERENITY – SECONDS LATER

Inara’s shuttle separates from Serenity and drops into Haven’s atmosphere. Serenity continues its orbit around Haven, disappearing behind the moon. We swing around and see the approaching SLAVER OUTRIDER in the distance.


INT. SLAVER OUTRIDER – BRIDGE – SAME TIME

Lachlan stares at the scanning console, then looks up and out the window at Haven.

LACHLAN
Was that it? Don’t tell me that was it.

JESSE
We got a partial scan before it disappeared behind the moon. Looks like a Firefly-class transport.

LACHLAN
Gorram it, we’re too late! I ain’t goin’ to face that gun again!

JESSE
Scanners indicate it wasn’t enterin’ atmo. It’s orbitin’.

LACHLAN
Plot an intercept course. Get the grapplers ready.


INT. SERENITY – GALLEY – DAY

Joshua finds Micah and whispers something in his ear. Micah looks to Derek and they look to Jayne, who is at the sink running his hand under water as Simon and Book stand near.

JAYNE
Ain’t nothin’, doc.

SIMON
It’s blistering, Jayne.

JAYNE
I’m fine. Go check on your sister. She already bounces off the walls most days, no tellin’ what she’s like when she’s actually bouncin’ off walls.

BOOK
I’ll go with you. I should see if Isaac is all right.

Book and Simon leave. Jayne, as if to prove something, snatches up what remains of his coffee and takes a cautious sip. Serenity rocks and it spills on his face.

JAYNE
(yelling toward the bridge)
Keep her still, little man!


INT. SERENITY – BRIDGE – SAME TIME

Wash struggles with the controls. Zoe is right there with him.

WASH
When the ship’s a rockin’, don’t come a knockin’.
(looks at a gauge)
We’re at 3.2 times descent speed. Coming around our first, outer orbit…

The proximity alarm sounds. Wash looks to the sensors, his eyes widen, and he looks out the window.

WASH (cont’d)
And we’ve got an unidentifed ship, dead ahead!

Zoe looks out through the window. The slaver outrider approaches.

WASH
Isn’t that—?

ZOE
(nods)
Slavers. Seems Chavez sent out a call. Make me proud, baby.

WASH
We’re not, you know, dampened, remember?

ZOE
I’m well aware.
(into comm)
Attention. We got incoming slavers. Strap yourselves in, because it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.


INT. SERENITY – GALLEY – SAME TIME

Jayne looks at Derek, Micah, and Joshua, and points to the sitting area.

JAYNE
Go on in there, and belt yourselves in.

Jayne heads out toward the foredeck hall.

DEREK
Where you goin’?

JAYNE
Get me some assurance. Ain’t goin’ down without a fight.

Micah nudges Derek, who turns to see Isaac standing at the door to the aft hall, and, beyond, the engine room. Isaacs nods.

DEREK
Blessed assurance…
(turning back)
Wait! Let me help!

Derek races after Jayne while Micah belts Joshua in.

MICAH
Don’t worry, my son. We’ll be home soon.


INT. SERENITY – AFT HALL – SAME TIME

Isaac walks to the engine room door, through which Kaylee can be seen working on the inertial dampener.


INT. SERENITY – CARGO BAY – SAME TIME

Book and Simon have found River, hiding, pressed flat against the wall, behind mining equipment. The equipment rocks.

SIMON
River? Come out from behind there…

RIVER
(shaking her head)
No. No…

BOOK
Come, River, or you’ll get squashed.

RIVER
We’ll all get squashed… He’ll squash all of us…


INT. SERENITY – ENGINE ROOM – SAME TIME

Isaac enters. Kaylee is surprised.

KAYLEE
Isaac? It’s dangerous back here. Best you get belted in.

Isaac reaches down and picks up his shackles from the pile, holding them tight in both hands.

ISAAC
Belts. Chains. I intend to never be at their mercy ever again.

KAYLEE
Isaac, what’re you doin’?

ISAAC
I need you to go to full burn.


INT. SERENITY – CARGO BAY – SAME TIME

Simon reaches forward. Book looks around, and retreats.

SIMON
Take my hand, mei mei.

RIVER
Can’t let him find me… Finders keepers…


INT. SERENITY – JAYNE’S ROOM – SAME TIME

Jayne uncovers his WALL OF WEAPONS and starts sorting through. He looks at the gun he’s wearing, Ana, and unholsters her, offering her to Derek.

JAYNE
Since you was admirin’ her before.

DEREK
What about you?

JAYNE
Oh, I think Vera an’ me’s gonna have a dance.

Jayne smiles and reaches for VERA, the largest gun on the wall. As he does so, he notices a store of a dozen GRENADES. Derek does as well.


EXT. SPACE – ORBIT ABOVE HAVEN – SAME TIME

The slaver outrider closes in on Serenity.


INT. SLAVER OUTRIDER – BRIDGE –SAME TIME

Lachlan stands behind his PILOT. Jesse is nearby, behind the grappler controls.

LACHLAN
This is a grab-and-drag job. Don’t puncture the hull. But if you do…
(shrugs)
Oh, well. Seeing them get sucked out into the black is worth the trip.


INT. SERENITY – BRIDGE – SAME TIME

Zoe lets go of the comlink.

WASH
You get a wave through to the captain?

ZOE
Hope so.

Wash adjusts his grip of the controls. Zoe is strapped into the co-pilot’s chair, holding its controls and looking a little on edge.

WASH
Honey, keep a loose grip. Only help me when I start squealing like a little girl.

ZOE
I’m here for you.

WASH
I hope everyone is strapped in, because I like it rough…


EXT. SPACE – ORBIT ABOVE HAVEN – SAME TIME

The slaver outrider ship charges. Serenity dives beneath it at the last second.


INT. SERENITY – CARGO BAY – SAME TIME

The ship tilts and Simon pulls on River, a heavy PIECE OF MINING MACHINERY slamming into the hull where she stood.

RIVER
Squashed. But not that way…

Serenity tilts again, and River and Simon fall to the side of the room in a jumble of limbs.


INT. SERENITY – ENGINE ROOM – SAME TIME

Kaylee looks at Isaac, a little nervous now.

KAYLEE
What—?

ISAAC
Go to full burn.

KAYLEE
Full burn? That‘s insane! Without the inertial dampener—

The ship tilts to the side, sending them both flying.


INT. SERENITY – JAYNE’S ROOM – SAME TIME

Jayne hefts one of the grenades and grins.

JAYNE
You know, I always forget I got these things…

The ship tilts to the side. As it does so, Derek slams into Jayne. Jayne drops both Vera and the grenade, grabbing the wall to keep his balance.

Derek flips the knife around and drives it THROUGH Jayne’s left hand, pinning him to the wall.

Jayne howls in pain and anger. Before Jayne can recover, Derek unsheathes the knife from Jayne’s belt and pins his right hand.

JAYNE
(shocked, looking at his pinned hands)
What in the hell’re you doin’?

Derek picks up the grenade and pockets it. He also holsters Ana in his waistband, and grabs Vera.

DEREK
God’s will.
(chambers the first round)
Now you know how my Lord felt the day he saved our sinful souls.

</lj-cut>
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