Credits. Supreme Court Justice Scalia can't take this guy from me. Nyaaaah!
We return to Inara's shuttle, as she's chatting with Nandi through her video phone. Inara says her problem sounds like something the Serenity crew might help with, though she's not sure how well. Nandi starts, "If they've got guns and brains at all " Inara responds, "They've got guns." Heh. Nandi says payment won't be a problem, what with all the whore money they've got. Nandi also worries that Inara won't help them, because apparently Nandi left the companion guild and Inara was ordered to "shun" her. Inara says the guild can carry a swan's egg across a river of milk on a silk pillow. That's how I translated the Chinese, anyway. They both make bland comments about how surprising it is that they're both out there in the middle of nowhere. Inara promises to get back to her on whether the crew will help. Nandi signs off in Chinese blessing ("My new fall show is already on the air, while yours is just a mid-season replacement. Ha ha!").
And of course, it turns out that Mal was eavesdropping on the conversation. I think I really would have grown to hate Mal if this series had continued. He's just very condescending and patriarchal and gets his back hair up about his own moral code, but has no respect for others. Inara fills him in on the details. Mal makes a comment about a whole house full of "companions." Inara explains that these folks aren't companions -- they're "whores," because they aren't registered with the guild. Remember, folks: Always look for the union label on your hooker. That's how you know you're getting a quality blowjob. Inara offers to pay them with her own money, but Mal won't have it, because, of course, these hookers are of the "noble poor" variety and are therefore deserving of Mal's ersatz noblesse oblige. Inara thanks him, but insists on paying, because she wants to keep things strictly as a "business relationship." She sits over by the monitor as she says this so that she doesn't to make eye contact, lest the UST finally overwhelm them and they fucking do something about it already. Mal says he'll speak to the crew as he leaves.
Down in the cargo bay, Zoe has apparently filled everybody in on the mission. It's strictly a personal choice among the crewmembers whether they want to participate. Jayne is hesitant because they haven't negotiated a specific dollar amount for the gig. Book blathers about people needing help, and that's why Jayne should help them. Shut up, Book. Don't you get it that Jayne doesn't care? Nobody cares. Shut up. Zoe reminds them that it's strictly volunteer. Jayne says, "Good. Don't know these people. Don't much care to." Mal says, "They're whores." Jayne says, "I'm in." I'm wondering how Zoe managed to describe what the mission is without ever saying they were protecting a whorehouse. Mal tells Wash to plot a course. Man, that was a long way to go simply for a joke about Jayne liking women with loose morals. I mean, duh.