Mal wanders down the stairs to the cargo bay, and is startled once again by Saffron standing there quietly. I suppose I should have known she was up to no good. Writers always do that trick to telegraph when seemingly innocent women aren't so innocent; people are always startled when they stumble across them in unexpected places. She explains that she doesn't want to be wed to "the big one" (fine, more for me), and if Mal doesn't want her, she's interested in that ranch work he spoke of earlier. This inspires a chunk of Mal's life story. Mal grew up on a ranch with his mother and forty ranch hands. That right there is the first sentence of a gay erotic novel. He had no dad. I guess that's an improvement over the typical Joss Whedon "bad dad" archetype. I'm still fully expecting Simon and River's dad to be a complete creep, whoever he may be. Unless he's dead. Anyway, Mal interrupts his own musings when he realizes that he's not the type of guy who generally talks about his past. Yes, the inviting way that Saffron said, "I could be useful on a ranch," really drew Mal out of his shell. Saffron asks him if the crew ever shows an interest in Mal's life. Mal hems and haws a non-answer, then turns it back to Saffron. What's her history? She insists that her past is dull. Mal is down with the dull stuff. He says that this trip is getting just a little bit too interesting as it is. I beg to differ.
Yay! Some rising action, finally, halfway through the show. We see an external shot of Serenity zooming silently through a small asteroid field. On the surface of one of the asteroids, a turret targets the ship and follows it as it goes by. It's a scanner of some sort. We cut to the interior of somewhere. Two men are looking at the blueprints of the ship and bickering. Goon Number One thinks Serenity is worthless. He thinks that it's all a bunch of cheap parts that they'll never unload. Goon Number Two disagrees. He explains that the separate parts are indeed worthless, but put them together and you've got a firefly-class ship. Um, yes. You don't actually have to take it apart and put it back together for that, you know. It's already a firefly-class ship right there. Already assembled. These aren't particularly smart goons. Goon Number Two says that with a decent mechanic, firefly ships will run forever. Goon Number One whines that it's "got no flash." Goon Number Two explains that some people don't want flash. He thinks it's a good catch. He orders Goon Number One to prepare the "nets." We pull outside their vessel to see that it's some sort of space station with a huge hole in the center, where various nodes crackle with blue electricity.