Behind the Wall
Wednesday, August 27, 2003

The crew has been asked to test out a new Faster Than Light Drive. (written in radio-screen-play format).


FIREFLY – Behind the Wall By J Leigh (SerenityValley)

1 NARRATOR The crew of Serenity is currently on a mission to test out a new invention called the Faster than Light Drive. No one knows if it will work. Even the crew has doubts, but it pays more than they’re worth. They agreed to do any job. They don’t much care what it is.

[Theme Song]?

NARRATOR Mal walks the halls of Serenity alone.

Other than the background music, there is nothing but silence and Mal’s footsteps. Then there is a loud crash.

JAYNE Whaa!!!

There is a thud. Breath.

MAL Jayne, what in God’s name were you doing in the ventilators? Look…look at that! I’m gonna have to get Kaylee to patch up that hole! Jayne? You wanna give me an explanation for this?

JAYNE I was hidin’. What’s it look like I was doin’? The doc’s got some crazy idea in his head that all us crew members need shots for some air transported virus. I think the doc’s ruttin’ crazy and you should lock him up along with that sister of his…Mal!

MAL Shots? Maybe you should listen to the good doctor. Anyway, we’re going to be testin’ out the Light Drive soon, so best be all gettin’ down to the loungin’ area. It may get bumpy.

2 INARA Yes it will.

WASH No it won't!

INARA It will work. It's been tested out on primates. They came back in tact.

WASH Yeah, but you can't tell if a monkey goes a little pun intended.

INARA Wash, we're not going to get squished. Hi Mal.

MAL Do I hear doubt on my crew? Everything is going to go according to plan this time.

WASH Yeah, unless I end up driving you into all of your deaths. And you know that intestines thing you were mentioning earlier Mal?

INARA Wash! Peace and...?

WASH (grumbling) Quiet.

MAL We’re going in two minutes. Inara, I want you down with the others. Wash, get that thing going! We’re turning on the Light Drive in two minutes!

3 There is the sound of footsteps and maybe music. As Mal enters the room, the hushed conversation can be heard.

BOOK Everything running according to normal Captain?

MAL So far. I want everyone to get strapped down.

JAYNE (entering the room) I’m here!

INARA Where have you been? I hear Simon’s been looking for you.

JAYNE Yeah, well that’s his problem, ain’t it?

BOOK Speaking of the doctor, where are Simon and River?

MAL Doc’s got his sister in the infirmary. Kaylee and Zoe’re helpin’ out.

There’s a jolting thud sound as well as an electrical “bzt” as the lights supposedly flicker.

MAL Hold on to something. It’s starting.

There is a whooshing sound. There are all sorts of sounds including the crew screaming. During this time, the Light Drive has been turned on, so there can be normal ship noises, odd sounds like animals, and even the voices of people in other rooms, what people said earlier and what they will say soon. Eventually it stops.

JAYNE That was a rush.

WASH (through com) Captain, you might want to get up here.

4 INARA I'm going to go down to the medical bay and get something for my head.

WASH Actually, you might want to stay here to listen to this.

MAL What is it?

WASH Well, going faster than light-speed must have confused the computer. It lost track of time.


WASH We were suppose to stay in the Faster than Light Drive for ten minutes. Apparently we stayed in it for half an hour.

MAL What?! How can that be?! Things were supposed to stay to the gorram plan! How could you have let this happen?!


BOOK Where does that leave us?

WASH Out in the middle of nowhere. Off the charts. Unexplored territory. Unable to go back home. I have no idea what direction we came from or which direction we're going or if we even moved at all. Although, I think we did because none of these constellations match any on the charts.

BOOK How much faster than the speed of light did we go?

WASH A lot faster.

BOOK How much faster?

WASH About two or three times faster.

JAYNE Hey we didn't die. Yay for us, right?

INARA Wo de tien ah!

MAL What is that?!

WASH Looks like a wall.

JAYNE A wall in the middle of the universe?

BOOK Or at the end.

MAL You mean, this is how the universe ends? A wall?

WASH What's it made out of?

INARA Looks like rock. Same thing most non-gas planets are made out of.

WASH Well here we are at the end of the universe...let's go in the other direction and maybe we'll find home.

MAL Or we keep going in the same direction.

Suspense music.

5 Drilling sound and some loud breathing like in an oxygen mask.

WASH Are you sure we're suppose to be doing this? I mean, what if we're not supposed to drill through the wall at the end of the universe? What if it unleashes some sort of paranormal chaos that gets unleashed onto the universe as we know it and the universe turns inside-out? What about reavers, Mal? I don’t want to turn into a cannibalistic killer!

INARA Maybe the wall goes on and on forever. What if its thickness never ends? We've been drilling for an hour and still haven't broke through.

JAYNE If the universe can come to an end, so can a stupid wall.

BOOK We've always taken for granted that the universe goes on forever. We can't take for granted that the wall goes on forever too.

MAL (urgent whisper) Bi zui! We’ve made it through!

INARA There’s nothing but more black!

MAL Proceed. Come on Wash. Take us to infinity.

WASH (grumbling) I was afraid you’d say that.

BOOK Do you think it’ll be like a mirror image of the universe that we know, only everything on this side is backward, like a reflection?

INARA Or maybe all Hell will be leashed upon us.

JAYNE (half joking) Maybe we're all ready dead.

WASH Yeah, and this is the wall between life and the afterlife. I can see it now. Oh hi God. Sorry we drilled a hole through the gates of heaven, but we didn't know we were dead.

There is a metal thud noise from above them.

WASH I knew something bad would happen! I knew it, I knew it, I told you, but no! No one ever listens to me! I'm the one who didn't wanna do this, remember? And now I'm the one steering us into this crazy...

INARA Shut up Wash. There's nothing on the radar screen. It must have just been a small asteroid or something.

WASH Or something that is advanced enough to escape our primitive radar system.

There is another clunk and another and another. There are lots of deep clunks from the roof.

INARA (whisper) Sounds like footsteps

MAL(whisper) Wash, get us out of here.

WASH Why? Whatever that thing is, is on the ship, what is it gonna do, fall off?

MAL Now Wash! This is not up for discussion!

There is the sound of the ship taking off. Then it slows to its normal pace.

6 Another thud comes, and another.

JAYNE What the...Holy... Tzao-gao!

INARA They’re coming through the ceiling!

MAL Let’s get out of here!

There is the sound of footsteps as they run out of the room. The sound of scraping metal and tearing metal and a whoosh and the ceiling breaks open and the grinding metal sound as the door slides shut. There is more running. There is another sound of breaking metal and a crash as what ever it is lands on the ground. They have to shout over all the noise.

INARA Another one!

JAYNE Reavers!

MAL Split up!

Sounds of them running and a little struggle.

MAL How many of these things do you think are there?

WASH I don't know. Three? 300? I don't know! Where are we going?

MAL Storage room! There’s a heat seeking device. We’ll be able to tell where they are and how many of them there are.

7 There’s the sound of the door opening and a box being ripped open.

WASH That’s the heat seeking device? What’s all that red stuff there?

MAL That’s the engine room. It generates a lot of heat. If someone hides down there, we won't be able to tell if they're down there or not. The reavers must be cold blooded, they're not showing up on the map.

WASH God! We're gonna die!

MAL Wash calm down!

WASH You're right. Ee-chi shung-hoo-shi...

There’s the sound of breaking metal, a howl, Wash screaming, a thud, a roar, and Wash yelling some more.

WASH Get it off me! Help!

There is the sound of struggle and then a gun fire or two…or three. Then silence.

MAL Wash, how’re you doing? Come on, I’m taking you to infirmary.

WASH (coughing and spitting) Don't bother. I told you I was steering us into our deaths.

MAL Wash! Don’t you say that! My crew doesn’t give up! Wash!

Wash groans again and then there is nothing.

8 There’s the sound of footsteps as Mal walks down the silent halls. He is mumbling to himself, maybe singing a little song. There is the faint sound of whooshing in the background of the oxygen running out, but that is all. The air ducts keep the ship from running out of air very fast or exploding. There is a crashing noise like at the beginning and then Mal’s gun going off.

JAYNE Whoa! What’re you doing, Mal? Trying to kill me?

MAL Wash is dead. Reaver tore him up real bad.

JAYNE (disbelief) What? Mal! This was a bad idea. He paid the price for something he didn’t even want to do in the first place!

MAL We’ll all be dead if we don’t stay alert. Where’s the Sheppard?


MAL (disbelief) Dead?

JAYNE That’s what I said. That thing just came in and…

MAL Spare me. Where’s Zoe?

JAYNE Dinin' hall. Come on.

9 The sound of the door opening.

ZOE It’s about time you got here, sir. We need a plan.

MAL Why bother? Things never run smooth. How many are there?

ZOE Motion detector says four, sir.

JAYNE Four huh? Well there's the one concealed on the bridge, the one that I blew to pieces when it killed the preacher…

MAL And the one I got in the storage room.

ZOE That still leaves one. It's not on the motion detector. Either it's dead, it left, or it's just not moving.

There is a crashing as the door breaks down and an otherworldly howl of the reaver as it bounds in. There is the sound of struggle, some yelling, and a lot of shooting, presumably by Jayne. There is a pause and one last shot followed by a splatter as Jayne shoots it point blank, making its head splatter.

ZOE Nice shooting, Jayne.

MAL (trying not to sound jealous) Yeah.

ZOE Come on, we should check for survivors. I’ll check the infirmary.

There’s the sound of her opening the door. She gasps and there is a slicing sound. She makes some ‘I’ve just been stabbed’ gasping noises.

MAL Zoe!

JAYNE The reaver from the bridge! It musta gotten loose! Mal! I’m out of amo!

There is some thuds as Jayne throws random things at it in the background.

MAL Come on, Zoe, get up!

JAYNE Mal, we gotta get outta here!

MAL No! She’s gonna wake up!

JAYNE Mal! She’s gone!

There’s the sound of them running, including the reaver running after them.

JAYNE Where are you goin’?! That’s a dead end!

MAL We’re in a space ship! Every direction’s a dead end! I have a gorram plan!

Mal and Jayne’s footsteps slow to a stop. They are panting loudly.

MAL Quick, behind that box! Any second, that reaver is gonna be comin’ ‘round that corner and he’s gonna be mighty angry. He’s also gonna think we ran right straight inside Inara’s shuttle.

JAYNE Don’t you think Inara’s gonna be a bit mad at you for lockin’ a reaver in her shuttle?

The ‘Jayne said something stupid’ music plays. Then there is a howl and clanging footsteps.

JAYNE He’s inside! Close the door!

MAL (sounding cocky) Not only that, but let’s launch this baby into oblivion.

There’s the sound of the door shutting, the reaver howling in anger, and the shuttle being launched. Mal and Jayne laugh. They continue to laugh.

MAL (laughing) Do you know what’s funny?

JAYNE (laughing) What’s funny?

MAL (laughing too hard to breathe) That was so futile! We don’t got a pilot. We don’t even got a bridge! We’re probably the only two left alive on this boat and the air’s leakin’ out the roof. The ships gonna break apart and we can’t even call for help because we’re…(laughs really hard).

JAYNE (laughs nervously) ‘Cause we’re what? We’re what, Mal?

MAL (in hysteria, sort of sobbing) …on the other side of the wall!

Jayne and Mal both start laughing loudly, knowing they’re going to die. Behind their laughing, slowly comes another sound. It gets louder and louder. It is the hum and odd noises of the Faster than Light Drive. Mal and Jayne’s laughing gets more and more distant and the Light Drive noises fade as does the laughing.

10 Now there is just the normal sounds of the lounging area. Mal’s breathing can be heard as the others are talking.

INARA Was that it? Is it over?

JAYNE Hey, we didn’t die. Yay for us. That cash’s so close, I can almost taste it.

BOOK My, that Light Drive was quite a thing. I think I may have gotten a little delusional. It was like I was dreaming, though I wasn’t asleep.

INARA I thought I was seeing things too. How was that Captain? You okay? Mal?

WASH (over the com) We are now out of the Light Drive. We went under ten minutes. Everything seems to be good. All systems check. What do you say Captain? Mal? You there?


MAL Yeah. Wash. Shiny. Turn her around. Let’s go collect our reward.



Thursday, August 28, 2003 6:14 AM


This was very good. I wondered how you were going to get our gallant crew out of this latest fix. I loved the idea of there being a wall at the 'end' of the universe. Well done and thanks for a great story with lots of funny lines. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, August 28, 2003 8:10 AM


Good Stuff! You write the crew well. I liked how you described the experience of faster than light travel. It made me think of how River lives every day - seeing the past, present and future, and everything all jumbled. The reavers that appeared at the wall gave me a notion. Namely, that perhaps reavers also used ftl travel to get there in the early days of ftl travel experiments. It would explain why they are mad perhaps, and why they are there.

Friday, August 29, 2003 5:07 AM


Nice work! Keeps ya' reading. Please write more.


You must log in to post comments.



A Room of One's Own
River tells Simon of a day she remembers while imprisoned.

Behind the Wall
The crew has been asked to test out a new Faster Than Light Drive. (written in radio-screen-play format).