The crew plans a visit to Persephone, where Mal (Nathan Fillion) just wants to re-supply, look for a job, and get out. He walks in on Inara (Morena Baccarin) as she's making plans to visit a regular client on the planet, a well-heeled gentleman named Atherton Wing (Edward Atterton). She tells Mal she'll attend a grand ball with Atherton. Mal, obviously jealous, makes disparaging comments about her profession, and she returns the favor. On the planet, Mal mocks Kaylee (Jewel Staite) when she admires a frilly dress in a store window, opining that his mechanic in such a get-up would resemble "a sheep walking on its hind legs." Later, Mal gets a business proposition from an unfriendly acquaintance, Badger (Mark Sheppard). There's a rich client, Harrow (Larry Drake), who has some goods he wants smuggled off the planet, but he won't deal with the lowlife Badger. Badger suggests that the somewhat more refined Mal hook up with Harrow at an upcoming ball (the same one Inara's attending, of course), and take the job. Mal makes up for his earlier rudeness to Kaylee by getting her that frilly dress, so he can go to the ball as her escort. While Kaylee attacks the buffet table, and wows a group of attentive men with her technical expertise, Mal approaches Harrow and offers his services. Before any kind of deal can be struck, Mal sees Inara and is introduced to Atherton. Mal cuts in on their dance, and Inara tells him that Atherton has asked her to live with him on Persephone. This news provokes Mal to strike Atherton, inadvertently challenging him to a duel. Atherton, an expert swordsman, accepts. Does Mal know anything about fighting with swords? As Zoe (Gina Torres) puts it, "I think he knows which end to hold."
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