Moral Compass
Sunday, November 12, 2006

Post BDM. Back to scripts. Continuing my series. Witty banter! Daring rescue! Mal is his usual self.


The characters herein are the sole property of Joss Whedon or whoever else has his express permission to use them. This writing is not a for profit venture. The characters not of Joss’ creation are mine and I can do any darned thing I want with them. Nyer Nyer!

Scene 1: (Kitchen. Mal is heading for the Bridge, Jayne following him. Not whining, but coming awfully close.)

JAYNE: Aw, c’mon, I only winged her. MAL: You shouldn’t’ve shot her at all. JAYNE: She fired first! MAL: She missed. JAYNE: Yeah, well? MAL: We startled ‘em, was all. They hadn’t gotten word we were coming. JAYNE: How’s that my fault? MAL: It isn’t. But by rights the damage should come out of your share. Only reason it’s not is because Shanty’d give me the hairy eyeball. JAYNE: You’re whupped. MAL: Could change my mind to prove a point. JAYNE: Whupped is good. Let’s hear it for whuppedness! Hoo - ray. MAL: Just you remember that. Go check the cargo. We’ll be landing soon. Don’t want anything left unsecured. JAYNE: Gorram moon calf likes to break atmo all topsy turvy. Ever think about getting a new pilot? MAL: She is new. Could maybe trade in an old merc, though. JAYNE: I meant additional. ‘Sides, I ain’t old yet. MAL: Not to fret, you’ll get yourself shot first. Go secure the load.

Scene 2: (Bridge. River is grinning, the lights of the flames outside playing across her face.)

MAL: (Entering) Would you mind terribly putting my ship backside up ‘fore we all lose that lunch your brother made? RIVER: You’ll miss it? MAL: Just we worked so hard to get it down is all. Kind of a waste of effort, like. RIVER: No fun. (Moves to execute maneuver) MAL: Nope, Captain. (hits com quickly) This is the captain, Strap in! (cuts com) RIVER: 4..3..2..1..(they spin abruptly then stop) MAL: (over maneuver) Nnnggghh! Uff Da. (Hits com) This is the captain again. Please report in if you’re unconscious. (cuts com) Next time do that before you start the burn, dong ma? My ship isn’t a toy. RIVER: No, but Bitsy Bunny was. MAL: Now you stop that! I was five, give or take, and you can’t hold a man’s past against him. RIVER: Can’t you? MAL: Well, all right, you can. But you shouldn’t. Unless he did something really bad, I mean. Or he owes you money. RIVER: Or picks his teeth with his fork? MAL: Or yours. I’ll just go check to see where lunch wound up. That’s my job. You get us down in one piece. That’s yours. RIVER: The clarification was essential, gratitude. MAL: I know big words too. Don’t get smart, missy. (exits) RIVER: Too late. (back to steering) To yaw or not to yaw, that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to execute a barrel roll or suffer the slings and arrows of outraged soldiers of fortune. Hmm...(gives a wicked grin).

Scene 3: (Engine room).

MAL: (Entering from corridor) Kaylee!? Kaylee! KAYLEE: (from under engine) Yes, Cap’n? MAL: You’ve got 24 hours to get her ready. Gonna make it? KAYLEE: (She pulls out and fixes him with a look) The thermal couplings are stressed, the primary buffer panels’re ready to warp, the compression coil’s frizzled to a mimbledygook and the.. MAL: Stop. Me Captain Dummy. No speak Enginelish. KAYLEE: She’s been running so hot she’ll ping when she starts cooling down. We’re lucky we haven’t blown anything. Yet. Lots of stuff plum wore out we’ve been riding her so hard. Got eight, maybe ten hours of work ahead. Less if I can get Pop to help. Lucky for us we’ve got spares. MAL: That’s my girl. This job goes smooth we can get spare spares. KAYLEE: I’ll remember you said that when we’re arguing over the cost. MAL: You do that. I’ll forget. KAYLEE: That’s the problem. MAL: Get what you can done. I’ll go see if Inara’s up for company. KAYLEE: Say hello for me! MAL: You’ll be seeing her yourself soon. KAYLEE: Still.. MAL: I’ll blow her a kiss, will that make you feel better? KAYLEE: Sure thing. MAL: Will it make you work faster? KAYLEE: Ni chi le ma? MAL: Pick a spot. (exits as Kaylee glares and goes back to work)

Scene 4: (Shuttle console. Simon sitting back looking pensive.)

MAL: Any word, Doc? SIMON: I just cut the link with her Attending. MAL: Up and about yet? SIMON: If you can call it that, yes. For two days now. MAL: She all right? SIMON: She’s...coping.. better than you might expect. The damage was a terrible shock for her. She’s still under mild sedation and taking a large quantity of analgesics. MAL: I’d imagine so. SIMON: She’s keeping to herself, requested a minimum number of attendants. MAL: No witnesses? SIMON: Something like that, yes. MAL: Well, fancy core doctors’ll have her good as new soon. SIMON: Let’s hope so.

Scene 5: (Inara’s hospital room)

JAZ: I’ve retrieved the last of your wardrobe from the cleaners. They sent a large floral arrangement with me. I left it at the nurse’s station. It’s the one marked “From Fong and Petersen’s. Get well soon and go to another wedding please”. You can’t miss it, it’s hideous and reeks of a poor choice on the part of the florist. Fong’s nephew runs the shop. Ma Frye says he’s known to be colorblind and has bad sinuses. INARA: (Using voicebox device. Technology has advanced and it is a digitized version of her own voice) His huge success is no doubt due largely to the fact that he runs the only florist in town. JAZ: It does help. Zoe says hello and she’d rather be here right now. INARA: Bedrest is somewhat limiting. JAZ: Boring as all get out too. How are you feeling? INARA: Flattened. JAZ: Hit by something large or slightly distanced from reality? INARA: You’ve sampled these drugs before, have you? JAZ: Similar. Had a pretty nasty surprise once. I’ve also heard quite a few patients say they felt less than the full 3 dimensions. INARA: Sloppy and flat, that’s me. JAZ: Loopy too. The others want to come visit. You feeling up to it? Kaylee’s practically worn a hole in the carpet you know. INARA: I .. not just now. JAZ: You can’t stay in here forever. INARA: I am not hiding. JAZ: I never say you were. Serenity’s leaving tomorrow with you on her. INARA: Maybe later. JAZ: (pats her hand) I’ll tell them you need a nap. INARA: Xie Xie. JAZ: They love you, you know. INARA: I know. JAZ: Even Jayne. INARA: Now there’s a comforting thought. JAZ: Rest now. You’ve got a busy day tomorrow. INARA: I am aware of that. JAZ: (teasing as she leaves) Somebody’s grouchy. INARA: (after her) I have not yet begun to grouch. (to herself) Tomorrow. Already.

***** Scene 6: (Outside shuttle door. Jayne is stowing Inara’s bag. Inara has covered herself in something opaque to the waist, but on her it looks good.)

RIVER:Welcome home, Inara. KAYLEE: Sure is good to have you back. INARA: Thank you. It’s good to be out of that room. JAYNE: You need anything you just holler. INARA: Thank you Jayne, how.. completely unlike you. You do realize I’m not dying? JAYNE: Don’t need to get all snippy. INARA: That was astonishment. You don’t want to see snippy. KAYLEE: Well, let’s just all let Inara get settled in then. (motions others away). SIMON: I’ll be up to check on you later. MAL: Wouldn’t want to tire her out jabberin’ her first night back. Got four days to do that. INARA: Only four days? I thought it was going to take a week at least. MAL: You start gettin’ all snippy like, we can cut it to three ‘fore the engine starts to feel the strain. INARA: Thank you, that won’t be necessary. MAL: Just let us know if you change your mind. INARA: That will be sufficent, thank you. (shuts the door) MAL: (Loudly) Always happy to suffice.

***** Scene 7: (Mal’s bunk. He is sitting at his desk, smelling a scarf Jazmine had left behind. He notices Inara’s postcard, picks it up, puts it back down.)

MAL: What have we done to you, lady? RIVER: (over com) Oh captain, my captain? MAL: This’d better be important, I was brooding. RIVER: Would you care to brood over the Alliance cruiser which is hailing us at this very moment? MAL: (Looks up, jumps to feet.) Not especially. RIVER: Will you do it anyway? MAL: Gorram, we’re only a day out from the deal, how did they find us so soon? RIVER: How should I know? Maybe Larry didn’t feel himself adequately compensated. MAL: Larry looked happy. Why wouldn’t Larry be happy? I’d be happy with his take on that deal. RIVER: They are here regardless. MAL: On my way. **** Scene 8: (Cargo hold. Jayne and Inara have joined Mal. Simon, Kaylee, and River are nowhere to be seen. A young female and older male in Alliance uniform have entered and are looking at ship’s papers and Inara’s credentials.)

PERKINS (the younger): Is this everyone on board? MAL: ‘Fraid so. INARA: Is there a problem, officers? WATKINS: (Handing her papers back) No madam. Everything seems to be in order. If you don’t mind my asking Ms Serra, what is a lady of your status doing on a hulk like this? INARA: It was the only ship headed where I needed to go in my given timeframe. I was attending the wedding of an old friend. Her family’s home is somewhat off the beaten path. I had planned to book passage back on something more.. suitable.. from there, but unexpected events prevented that. WATKINS: Events? INARA: I met with an unfortunate accident while there. (Indicates veiling) It nearly ended my life. This ship’s crew saved me... but they left two members behind on that benighted rock. The captain was kind enough to offer immediate transport back to Londinium where I could complete my recovery. It was again the most convenient available. WATKINS: I see. How unfortunate. Allow me to offer you the use of our ship. Londinium was our next stop, as it happens. You could enjoy more comfortable accommodations with us, and if I may say so we can get you there much sooner than this.. vessel. INARA: You are too kind. How can I possibly refuse such a generous offer? I’ll just get a few things from my lodgings. MAL: Sorry to see you leave us, Ms. Serra. INARA: I am sure you’ll be relieved to find yourself free to pursue employment elsewhere, captain. I assure you I’ll be fine. Now if you’ll excuse me. (She heads quickly to the shuttle.) WATKINS: (Watches her leave. Begins perusing Mal’s paperwork)You might want to tell your pilot to stick a little closer to your designated course next time. (Perkins whispers something to him, shows him screen.) MAL: Sorry ‘bout that, I’m my own pilot right now. Guess I’m a little rusty. WATKINS: Indeed. Who was it, precisely that you left behind? MAL: I lost my pilot. He was a good man. One other is back on that lump of dirt. A good mechanic is hard to find. WATKINS: Ah. That explains why you’re piloting without a valid license. You must be short handed indeed. (Inara enters with an small valise, stands silently near Watkins) MAL: I’m just flying her until I can find a competent pilot, get us back up to full crew. WATKINS: How long has your..(indicates Jayne) MAL: Mechanic. WATKINS: Really? Mechanic then, been with you? MAL: Just stared the job. Not real impressed, but I didn’t have much time to find one. INARA: Quite so. WATKINS: I sincerely hope you are better at repairing engines than flying, captain. MAL: How’s that? WATKINS: I’m afraid I’m taking your mechanic with me as well. (Perkins has gotten behind Jayne, who has been distracted by the story. She slips handcuffs on him before he realizes it) JAYNE: Hey! Whatd’ya think you’re doin?! MAL: Beg pardon? WATKINS: Jayne Eustacius Cobb you are hereby bound by law. MAL: Eustacius? WATKINS: This man is wanted for armed robbery and fleeing an officer of the law. INARA: Surely you’re joking! WATKINS: You really should have run a better reference check before you hired him. MAL: Mr. Cobb, I’m stunned! Stunned I say. You good people just help yourselves to this scalawag. JAYNE: You’re just lettin’ the gorram Alliance take me?! You gonna ruttin’ leave me?! MAL: Looks like. JAYNE: You Hun dan de pi gu! MAL: Gonna miss you too. Watch your language around the lady, mister. Miss Serra, I’m sorry for the inconvenience. I am just so embarassed. We’ll send your belongings along to wherever you chose. My apologies for exposing you to such an unsavory character. INARA: Apology accepted, as the refund for my return passage will be. WATKINS: You charged her? MAL: Man’s gotta make a living. Ma’am. Officers, good day to you. INARA: Captain. WATKINS: Captain. I’m afraid you’re on your own. (motions to Perkins to exit.) MAL: (He closes airlock and starts at a run to the infirmary) Pfft! Eustacius? That’s worse than Jayne! (Starts a long and highly obscene rant in Mandarin. Ends rant as he enters) Well, fuck. SIMON: Didn’t go quite as well as you’d hoped? MAL: (Leans on door frame.)Not so much. RIVER: Not a single untruth passed your lips. Impressive. MAL: Book would be proud. KAYLEE: What are we gonna do, Cap’n? MAL: It’s time we ask ourselves “What would Jayne do?”. KAYLEE: Then we do that? MAL: No, then we turn our moral compass 180 degrees and start walking, but we bring the grenades anyway. KAYLEE: Makes sense. How we gonna get on board? MAL: Quiet like. KAYLEE: Good plan. **** Scene 9: (In a corridor on board the cruiser. Mal and Simon are dragging two unconcious Alliance goons into a room, then returning to corridor.)

MAL: (closing the door.) See? That’s how you do it quiet like. Now let’s get some answers from our little friend in grey. SIMON: Good cop, bad cop? MAL: That’s what I said. SIMON: Which one am I? MAL: Just .. try not to say anything. Put on your angry face. You know, the one where your eyes aren’t so wide. SIMON: Angry face. Right. Like this? MAL: Have to do. Let's go. (They enter the room and cross to Perkins, who is bound with her hands behind her back.) MAL: (all cheery) Well hello there (looks at name tag) Perkins! PERKINS: Fuck off. MAL: (To Simon) Look who’s a grumpus! (stabs Perkins in the leg) Now you’ve got something to grump about. We have some questions for you. We’re in kind of a hurry, so if you’d tell us all quick like we’d purely appreciate it. Where’s my crewman? PERKINS: I’m not telling you anything hun dan. MAL: (holding knife to her throat). Might want to reconsider that stance. PERKINS: Cut the good cop bad cop go se. You don’t scare me. Bye the bye, you're a lousy bad cop. MAL: You don’t understand. I am the good cop, this is the bad cop. We call him Doc. PERKINS: Doc? MAL: You ever take something apart to see how it works? PERKINS: ...Yeah.. MAL: My associate here likes to do that with people. Now you going to going to tell me what I want to know, or should I tell Doc to start scrubbing? (Soon after, in corridor.) MAL: Well, that was easy. SIMON: I feel unclean, somehow. MAL: You can wash up later. SIMON: Also slightly foolish, somehow. MAL: Stands to reason. Let’s go put our new knowledge to use. SIMON: Don’t you mean good use? MAL: Use. SIMON: Not good? MAL: Depends on where you’re standing. SIMON: I really should know better than to ask by now. MAL: Yes you should.

***** Scene 10: (Infirmary on board Serenity)

JAYNE: (hobbling in) Really thought you were gonna leave me for a while there. MAL: Was. Kaylee talked me out of it. Pointed out we needed you for heavy lifting. SIMON: That really was impressive marksmanship, you know. MAL: Definitely something else. JAYNE: Thanks. SIMON: I’ve never actually seen someone shoot off their own toe before. JAYNE: Still had the handcuffs on behind my back. Hit him on the second try didn’t I? MAL: You’re slipping. (to Simon) Must be getting old. JAYNE: It ain’t funny! My foot hurts, gorramit! SIMON: Stop whining. It was still in your shoe. I’ll reattach it as soon as you can sit still. MAL: (Starts out door) I’ll just go make sure we don’t have anyone following. River’s burning hard, but we don’t want to lead a peck of trouble back to Ma Frye’s. SIMON: How considerate of you. MAL: The peck hasn’t done anything to deserve that. SIMON: That was my line of thinking, too. JAYNE: Excuse me! How about seein’ to my foot here? Got a gorram boot full of blood. (holds it up) SIMON: I could just take the whole foot off. MAL: He’d just whine more and limp ‘round in circles. Better put the toe back on. SIMON: If you insist. (He closes door and walks toward Jayne who is looking decidedly apprehensive) MAL: (shaking head and chuckling) I do believe the boy’s learning.

***** Scene 11: (Zoe’s room. Jaz and Zoe are at a portable console, talking with Mal.)

ZOE: That was awfully quick. JAZ: Inara get back safely? MAL: In a manner of speaking. JAZ: Mal, what are you not telling us? MAL: She got a ride to Londinium on an Alliance cruiser. Safe and sound and sitting in the lap of luxury. JAZ: Sounds like a story somewhere in there. MAL: Not really. We got Jayne back. Mostly. ZOE: Mostly? MAL: Missing a little toe. Doc says he can fix it. Would have told you sooner but we didn’t want you fretting yourselves. ZOE: How considerate. I feel much better. JAZ: What else haven’t you mentioned? MAL: We seem to have drawn some undesired attention to ourselves. May have a slilght delaying effect on our plans. ZOE: Am I supposed to act surprised? MAL: It would be the polite thing. JAZ: You’ll only encourage him. Be rude. MAL: You stay out of this. JAZ: You’ve got my stuff. MAL: We can fix that. Put a beacon on it. Pick it up at your leisure. ZOE: I take it you aren’t coming back this way any time soon? MAL: Could be tricky. ZOE: Just how am I supposed to get home? MAL: I’m working on that. ZOE: Why am I not feeling comforted? MAL: You know me? ZOE: That must be it. JAZ: Can we make a rendezvous somewhere? MAL: Like somewhere safe? JAZ: That would be preferable. MAL: We could do that. Just can’t come get you right now. JAZ: You still have the coordinates? MAL: Should do. We can go straight there. Meet you. How soon after Zoe’s done can you be there? JAZ: Depends on how long it takes me to find a ship, what route we take. ZOE: Charter or personal vessel? JAZ: Depends what they’ve got here on the lot that’s suitable. Charter if we have to, but that lets too many people know where they are at the other end. ZOE: Easier if you go through the center of the ‘verse. Faster too. MAL: Serenity can’t do that just at present, else we would not be having this discussion. If we took the scenic route we could be to you in about four months. JAZ: Unacceptable. No reason I can’t stop in the Core, check on my assets. Zoe, how do you feel about a sideline as a bodyguard while you’re on leave? ZOE: Thought leave was like vacation. JAZ: Paid vacation. I’ll try not to get us shot at. ZOE: Best offer I’ve had in quite some time. MAL: Hey.. ZOE: It’s been a slow week. JAZ: Just go, Bamboo. We’ll catch up with you there. MAL: You know River’s setting right here. JAZ: You’d prefer Snookums? How about Pookie? MAL: Wa , stop. ZOE: Not one to fight fair, is she? MAL: Not so’s you’d notice. We’ll meet you there. Blackout ‘till then unless it’s desperate. JAZ: Affirmative. Tell Simon to get out his catcher’s mitt, it’s going to be a close one. MAL: You just hold in there. JAZ:I don’t have much say in the matter. Whose idea was it to get pinched anyway? Not mine. MAL: Wasn’t exactly according to my plan either. ZOE: It never is. We’ll see you soon. You two can finish this fight then. JAZ: Be safe. MAL: Same to you. ZOE: Thank you. You can make it up to me by taking night feedings and diapers for a week. MAL: Don’t push your luck. JAZ: Try not to get noticed in my quadrant. I’m trying to make sure there’s at least one quiet place left in the ‘verse. MAL: I’ll do my best. ZOE: That’s what we’re afraid of. Out. (cuts com) Well. That went about as usual. JAZ: You let him out of your sight for one little trip... ZOE: Tell me about it. JAZ: Sure you want to go back? ZOE: Somebody’s got to keep an eye on him. JAZ: (nods.) Better find someone to take third shift with the peanuts. Kaylee’s got to have a trustworthy cousin or something somewhere. Ma would know. ZOE: Then? JAZ: Then I go shopping. Ever buy a ship before? ZOE: You mean other than the one the Captain picked out? JAZ: Absolutely. ZOE: No. JAZ: Me either. Let’s borrow Pop, shall we? ZOE: Good thinking.


Sunday, November 12, 2006 6:46 PM


I'm not a big fan of script formatting, but the scene with Simon and Jayne in the infirmary was absolutely priceless.

This layout does give you a great opportunity to really highlight the banter and you've got Mal, Simon's and Zoe's voices down.

I was disappointed that Inara went on the cruiser. I understand her need to run and not let the others see her, but she's going to have to confront what happened to her soon. And she's going to have to confront Mal, since it was one of his unstable admirers that almost killed her.

Sunday, November 12, 2006 6:58 PM


Well...that was certainly all kinds of interesting. Not sure how I feel about this - i.e. was this humourous, serious, absurd, etc. - cuz I feel stoned...but I think I will go for "seriously amused" and work from there;)

Seriously, this chapter was entertaining as all hell and the threeway conversation between Mal, Zoe and Jaz was a gutbuster:D


Monday, November 13, 2006 8:00 AM


Loved the dialogue best and Bwah! Jayne shot off his toe? He is NEVER going to be able to live that one down. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 5:20 AM


I like the 'Doc' thing - I can imagine Simon looking very scary indeed.

The Whitman quote - I have River using that too. Different context. But the 'Hamlet' bit - v nice.


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Flying The Coop
The landscape's changing. Serenity's moving on. They'll all be fine.

Garden, With Cakes
Integrating Inara's storyline with other stuff going on. Still sticking to my own little corner of the 'Verse.

Child's Play
Moving the plot along.

Cold Sweat
Short installment in the biggish darned series.

Road Trip
Getting antsy. Jayne hits a house of ill repute and several people. Neither of these events is described in detail.

Imbalance of Power
This is a setup.

Lonesome Albatross
Sniff sniff...sob. Teenage angst. Also flying bullets.

Love Nuns
Serenity returns to Copia. Mal faces the music. Half naked men wrestling.

Big Rosie
Back story for the 76th.

Come The Ressurrection
Fairly short (for me). He's baack!