Inara and Mal head over to her shuttle, because as everybody who has ever watched television knows, unresolved sexual tension is a certified life-prolonging measure in crisis situations. Inara insists that Mal doesn't have to "go down" with the ship. Mal replies that the ship isn't going down -- or going anywhere, for that matter. Mal tells her that Jayne will be helpful if there's trouble, but "don't trust him, and don't let him take over." Mal adds that Inara is paid up to the end of the month, so it's her shuttle to control. However, Mal might have a problem paying the security deposit back. Oh, Mal. Nobody ever pays the security deposit back. They always find a speck of dust behind the refrigerator and insist that it cost $450 to clean it out.
All this talk of rent has inspired another yellow-green flashback. Flashback Mal opens up the door to the shuttle and escorts Flashback Inara inside. Inara is dressed in a black sparkly dress with a matching belly-baring top, and a weirdly shaped veil. She looks like she's attending a genie funeral. Mal shows her around. Inara declares the shuttle to be smallish. Mal says he's not sure Inara needs all that much room for what she does. Besides, there's the whole engine room if things get cramped. Mal says that a surveyor and his wife are also considering the shuttle. They talk about the age and range of the shuttle. Mal declares that it's spaceworthy, just like Serenity. Inara tells him not to be so defensive about it -- she likes a ship "with a few miles on it." So Inara has been tossing anvils at Mal since the moment they've met, and he has yet to even notice them bouncing off the side of his head. Inara gives Mal a speech about what she needs from Mal if she's going to agree to rent the shuttle. First of all, she needs complete privacy on the shuttle. Nobody on the ship can enter the shuttle without Inara's "express permission." Mal gives a vague agreement to that, knowing full well that he's going to violate it whenever he feels like it anyway. Inara adds that under no circumstances will she be "servicing" the crew. "Not even during sweeps?" Mal asks. Kidding. Mal snarks that he'll post a sign. Inara also needs assurances that when she makes appointments with a client, she'll be in the position to keep these appointments. There's nothing sadder than getting stood up by a space hooker.
Mal points out that Inara's got a lot of "caveats and addendums." Inara just wants to make her requirements clear. Mal says that he'll keep that in mind when he's deciding to whom he's going to rent the shuttle. Inara responds, "Don't be ridiculous. You're going to rent this shuttle to me. And at a quarter less than the asking price." We're a forward little space hooker, aren't we? Mal asks why Inara thinks she'll be getting this deal. Inara replies, "You want me." Thump. Ow! Yes, I get it, okay? "You want me on your ship," she specifies. Why? Because apparently having a registered companion adds a little "respectability" to the ship. Mal responds in disbelief at Inara's suggestion of respectability. She says that based on what she's seen of the crew, it's something they can use. What has she seen of the crew that suggests that she's any more respectable than they are? Unless by "crew," she means "Jayne." Mal turns the tables on Inara by asking her why such a "respectable" companion would want to travel with Serenity in the first place. Usually, companions travel with luxury liners and such, but not with small cargo ships. He asks Inara what she's running from. Inara insists that she's not running from anything. Mal says that if she's got Alliance troubles she might want to reconsider, because some of the people on the ship fought for the independence. Inara says she supported the Alliance "unification" plan. Mal responds, "Didja? Well, I don't suppose that you're the only whore that did." That reminds Inara -- she has one more addendum: "That's the last time you ever get to call me a whore." Mal snarkily responds, "Absolutely. Never again." Well, she can't stop me. Whoooooooore! Whooooooore!