Disclaimer: These glorious characters are the sole and rightful property of Mutant Enemy, Joss Whedon, and Tim Minear. I'm only borrowing them for a minute. Note: It's just a day in the life. No spoilers.

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The mess hall on Serenity. The galley has a series of storage bins and cabinets. A counter separates the galley from the general mess area. A coffee pot sits on the countertop. Wash sits at the crew dining table facing the galley. He has a coffee cup in front of him and in each hand he holds a toy dinosaur: a Triceratops and a T.Rex. The dinosaurs are speaking through Wash.

Wash/Tri
This incessant need to dominate those around you. It isn't healthy.

Wash/Rex
Your words are full of weakness. When I rip out your throat, your words will die.

Wash/Tri
This is exactly what I was talking about.

Mal enters from the right and heads for the coffe pot. Pours a cup while speaking.

Mal
We're almost loaded. Just waiting on Inara. She commed in and said she was on her way. Should be here in no more'n 15 minutes. I wanna be in the air in twenty. (Takes a sip.) I figured you'd be in the infirmary.

Wash
I was hovering. I'm not allowed to hover. Hovering will not be a part of this marriage.

Mal
She kicked you out.

Wash
Yes.

Mal (raises the cup to his lips to hide the slight smirk)
Doc said she'll be fine. No need to worry so.

Wash
She's my wife, Mal. I get to worry. I want to worry. I made it a part of our vows: love, honor, and worry. I keep my vows.

Mal (sounding bored)
Right. You've got 19 minutes to devote to your vows. Then we're in the air.

Mal exits left with his coffee.

Wash/Tri
He's so strong. And forceful.

Wash/Rex
I will kill you now.

They fight with much melodrama. Kaylee and River enter right, each carrying a small carton of foodstuffs. They head to the galley and start putting the canned goods away.

Kaylee
Hey. How's Zoe doing?

River
I brought her a flower. (Holds up a single yellow flower.)

Wash (puts down the toys)
Hello, ladies. Simon gave her something for the pain, so she's sleeping. River, the flower is lovely. I'll give it to her when she wakes up.

River (putting the flower behind her back)
It's for Zoe. I'll give it to her myself. (Pause) Kaylee wanted to get her a kitten.

Kaylee
River!

Wash
Oh, did she now? Because my Zoe, she's a kitten lover from, oh, way back. Many years. Kittens and small, fluffy stuffed bears.

Kaylee
You're just teasin' me now.

Wash
Yes. Yes, I am.

Kaylee
Well you know how the Cap'n gets when I bring it up. So I thought that maybe, you know, what with Zoe being all banged up and all . . .

Wash
. . .that Mal would say, 'Kaylee, I believe what we need here is a kitten.'

Kaylee
No, I guess not. (excitedly) But it would be real good for chasing rats. I mean Serenity, she's a clean ship. Cleanest ship there is. But sometimes they just sneak on board, and . . .

Wash
And that's what we have Jayne for.

Enter Jayne and Book from the right. They're sweaty from loading cargo and supplies.

Jayne
What. What do you have me for? (Pours himself some coffee, trying to edge around River and Kaylee.)

Book sits at the table with Wash.

River
Catching rats. You're a rat catcher. (smiles at him) Rat.

Jayne (suspiciously)
You just call me a rat? (nervous now) You're goin' all crazy again, ain't ya? Just . . . get away from me.

Wash
Leave her alone, you big galoot. I was simply enumerating the many exciting and fulfilling duties that you dispatch aboard this fine vessel.

Jayne
You're just as crazy as she is.

Wash starts to retort but is cut off by Book.

Book
Gentlemen! Is there anything more rewarding than the exhaustion one feels at the end of an honest day's work? (They both stare at him.) Yes. Well. How's Zoe?

Wash
She's gonna be OK. Simon said he caught it in time; she just needs to rest and heal.

Jayne: (snorts)
So what - the doc got her roped to the bed?

Wash
Nooo, Jayne. He didn't tie her up. (Lightly) He drugged her.

Kaylee
Oh. Oh, she's gonna be pretty worked up about that. (to River) You should warn your brother he might wanna make himself scarce when she wakes up.

River
Simon is very brave.

Jayne
He ain't never seen Zoe when she's riled. I'd start runnin' for my life.

Wash
Hey! This is my wife you're talking about. My bao-be. (to River) I know of a secret compartment on the bridge that even Zoe and Mal never found.

Book (to River)
He's joking. Zoe has far too much common sense to get angry because the doctor was doing his job. Everything will be fine. (to Wash) The Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways. If Zoe hadn't been thrown, Simon never would have found that parasite until it was too late. We have much to be thankful for.

Wash
Amen to that, Shepherd. Amen to that.

River
She saved us. She and the captain. I'm not afraid of her. And neither is Simon. Besides, (looks at Wash) I understand jokes. I used to have those. (points at the dinosaurs). But I was a little girl then.

Jayne
Yeah, well, Wash ain't that much different.

Wash holds up the T.Rex so that it's facing Jayne.

Wash/Rex
Another of my kind! Large and with a very small brain.

Jayne (putting down his coffee)
Anytime, lizard boy.

Mal enters from left.

Mal
Did someone call a meetin'? Cuz nobody told me. Or maybe it's a strike. That's it, right? You're all sittin' here workin' on a list of grievances. Here's one to add: Your captain is right unhappy and is considerin' firin' the lot of you and takin' on a whole new crew. (They all start stirring) Wash, Inara just hooked up. We're leavin'. Now. Kaylee, lock it up.

Mal exits left and bumps into Simon entering the mess. Simon heads for the coffe pot, finds it empty.

Wash
Zoe? Is everything OK?

They are now the only two in the mess.

Simon
She's fine, Wash. Really. She's going to be weak for a few days, but she'll be back on her feet in no time. (Stretches his arms and yawns.) Between you and the captain, I'm surprised that I was able to work on her at all.

Wash
Excuse me?

Simon
First I had to work around you - until Zoe kicked you out.

Wash
Yessss, I remember that. What about the captain?

Simon
He came in a little later, while Zoe was out. He, I don't know - he . . . hovered. I had to keep asking him to move.

Wash
Hovered.

Simon
Say what you will about Captain Reynolds, he's really quite maternal when it comes to his crew. By the way, please don't tell him I said that. I'm fairly certain that he'd shoot me.

Mal (out of sight)
Wash! Now!

Wash (muttering as he hurries out)
He was hovering. He gets to hover.

Simon sits tiredly at the table. He picks up the T.Rex and absent-mindedly taps it against the tabletop as he thinks of other things. He notices what he's doing.

Simon
Hunh. (Starts to make it walk across the table) Rarrrrr!

The Triceratops rattles slightly against the tabletop as Serenity lifts off.

The End
Jan 03