In Trash, the crew steals a very valuable, antique laser pistol known as the Lassiter.

In The Message, Mal mentions that he's having difficulty selling it.

MAL: It's like something out of a fable! I've got this priceless artifact, the biggest score of my unseemly career, and no one will touch it.

INARA: The Lassiter's universally known. Fencing it is like... fencing the Mona Lisa.

In Serenity, which takes place pretty soon after, Mal is so desperate for money that he goes into straight-up armed robbery.

So what happened to the Lassiter? Were they not able to sell it? If so, what did they do with it?

4 Answers 4


This is addressed in the film's official novelisation. In short, they sold it and used the funds to upgrade the Serenity.

This [The Serenity] was Mal's pride and joy. A while back, they got their hands on one of the few remaining Lassiters, one of the early laser pistols. Expensive as hell, they'd lifted it from right under the nose of a rich gent name of Durran from his estate on Belerophon. Took a spell to find a buyer for so major an item, but a buyer they did find, and the funds went to purchase a fancy new mule.

Inara seemed to think that she knew people who could afford it, so it's possible that one of her contacts ended up taking it off them for a fat fee.

MAL: It's like something out of a fable! I've got this priceless artifact, the biggest score of my unseemly career, and no one will touch it.
INARA: The Lassiter's universally known. Fencing it is like... fencing the Mona Lisa.
MAL: Well... Mona Who?
INARA: You're out of your league. You should consider my offer --
MAL: I done thinking about that, and you ought to stay clear.
INARA: I know people in the highest ranks of --
MAL: Jabber jabber jabber. I ain't listening. Just 'cause you helped out on the job don't make you a crook. I will not have you jeopardizing your career over this.

As to the proceeds of the sale, by the time of the film Serenity (supposedly set several months later) we see that the ship has been radically overhauled with a much larger dining area, a dedicated ship's kitchen, a medical bay with a fancy new medi-bed and all sorts of scanners and gizmos, not to mention that the exterior seems to be sporting a new wing design and the flashy new hover-mule.

It seems reasonably likely that that sort of work would require a lot of money, the kind of cash you'd get from selling a priceless artifact, even at a whomping discount.

  • 24
    It's nice to finally find an in-universe explanation for the changes to the ship. Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 21:43
  • 13
    @JoelCoehoorn - I'll be honest with you. I'm rather pleased with myself. More so than normal, I mean.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 21:47
  • 4
    Blowing all his money on a new kitchen? Mal should take a financial responsibility class.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 21:59
  • 4
    @RogueJedi - Keeping your crew well fed and happy seems the height of responsibility for a ship's captain
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 1:56
  • 1
    @Richard Which is why he should spend money on food and not a pointlessly expensive kitchen.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 2:06

The show was cancelled. The Lassiter was featured in the third to last last episode of the series, with the last two episodes completely ignoring that plot thread.

However, we don't know what happened to it, in-universe. Suffice to say, it was too hard to fence; Mal had voiced such in The Message and the crew is later seen to still be quite destitute, later, in the film. This would not be possible had it been fenced, as it was a

priceless artifact


  • There were several episodes between the Lassiter's final appearance and Serenity.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 21:19
  • 1
    @Xantec - Nothing is priceless or unsellable. Many famous (stolen) works of art are used as currency in the underworld, usually in drug transactions.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 21:25
  • 1
    @Richard That'll be one Mona Lisa and two boxes of Tide.
    – user40790
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 21:27
  • 3
    @Richard When the world ends the worth of art will be judged by how many times you can wipe with it.
    – Xantec
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 21:32
  • 5
    @Xantec - Finally, the huge pricetag on this piece of "art" makes sense
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 21:35

The Lassiter was sold before Serenity and that helped pay for the ship upgrades. QMX stated as much when advertising the official blueprints of Serenity they had for sale years ago. I bought a set of them. They're quite shiny.

  • 3
    Can you provide a photo of any evidence you may have?
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 16:06

The one thing everyone seems to be forgetting about is Jubal Early's ship as illegal salvagers and theives the crew would not just leave it in the middle of nowhere they either sold the ship or sold its location to a third party.

That could explain all of the upgrades to Serenity. Its possible they are still holding or unloaded the Lassiter for far less than the 1mil promised or they wouldn't need to steal anymore. Or at least keep Primary Buffer Panels attached.

To put their currency into perspective the first job in the Firefly series they sold a years worth of food and antibiotic suppliments enough for a whole settlement for only $200 (Platinum). Which was enough for Food, Repairs and Fuel. All of this after paying the crew their respective cuts.

For my money they accepted they couldnt sell it them selves and sold it for pennies on the dolar to one of their contacts or unloaded it descretely. Mal would be against carrying large sums of money or valuable cargo for any extended period of time.

  • 1
    What’s the relevance of the bit about Jubal Early’s ship?
    – Adamant
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 9:13
  • 1
    They main evidence the other answers stated to support the theory that they had to have sold the Lassiter are all of the upgrades to the ship. I was simply offering an alternate explanation.
    – OneCookie
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 3:26

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