A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw Ch. 1
Thursday, October 5, 2006

A screenplay taking place not long after the events of Serenity, introducing several new characters, some from the crew's various



RIVER TAM in the pilot's seat, both hands on the yoke, gazing intently out the windshield.

MALCOLM REYNOLDS watches her every move from the co-pilot's seat.

River's hands maneuver the yoke slightly, her eyes glancing occasionally at the instruments before her.

Mal's eyebrows rise with a measure of impressment.


Serenity touches down, her landing skids barely sinking into the hard, dry earth.


Mal looks over at River and unbuckles his safety restraint.

MAL: Child, you all but made the earth meet you halfways. I can't conjure a time when Wa....

ZOE WASHBURN climbs the metal steps to enter the bridge. Her eyes are locked on Mal.

MAL: ...wa... water kissed the shore with so gentle a touch.

Zoe smiles. Mal's uncomfortability is apparent.

ZOE: I won't kill you for paying the girl a complement, sir. And for all my baby's skill, his landings could get a little... wearisome

Mal visibly relaxes. He hops to his feet and approaches River who is finishing the lockdown sequence.

MAL: My one remaining curiosity is, do you love this old girl yet?

River looks whimsically about the room, not meeting Mal's gaze.

RIVER: Like the sister I could never have.

MAL:(smiling) Well, this sister needs to gain some poundage. Zoe?

Zoe exits the bridge, Mal directly behind her.

River remains for several seconds, pondering her surroundings.

RIVER: I know you won't let me down.


JAYNE COBB stands at the ready by the main forward hatch, a large rifle in hand. The hatch is open, revealing the barren valley outside.

SIMON TAM is standing on the starboard catwalk talking with KAYLEE FRYE. They are laughing.

KAYLEE: Ain't no way in this unholy 'verse you haven't tried one.

SIMON: I swear on everything I hold dear. I simply couldn't... bear the thought.

KAYLEE:(poking Simon's chest)Well, you're gonna have to bear the thought today,'cause you ain't leavin' this spherical heap til ya do.

Mal and Zoe appear at the top of the fore/starboard stairs.

MAL: Bear the thought of what?

KAYLEE: Oh, nothin', cap. I'm just tryin' to... expand my sweety's limited horizons.

MAL: Well, you'll have to expand 'em later. We got us a job, and you know how I hate bein' late...

KAYLEE: But, cap, you're almost always...

MAL: Okay, our contact hates folk bein' late. I could do without the commentary on my punctuality.

Mal turns and descends the remaining stairs to the cargo bay. He approaches Jayne, who looks unhappy, as usual.

MAL: This job pays as it should, maybe we can afford to get the Mule kickin' again.

JAYNE: Said that two jobs ago... sir.

Mal smirks.

MAL: Did I? Tend to lose count, what with work bein' so plentiful, and all...(eyes Jayne's weapon) Do you have to be packin' the most imposin' lead thrower?

Jayne hefts his weapon.

JAYNE: Tends to make folk take us more seriously. Besides, I don't hear ya complainin' when my particular brand of negotiatin' 'comes necessary.

Mal mulls over the statement for a moment, then seems to acquiesce. He turns away and looks around the cargo bay.

MAL: Sorry we had to put down so far away from the meetin' point, what with the Mule still lame and all. Hope you got your walkin' shoes on.

INARA SERRA appears from her shuttle's entry way.

INARA: I still don't see why you can't simply take a shuttle.

MAL: We're goin' for subtle, here. I ain't met with this contact in quite some time. He wasn't too honest then, and I doubt time on this rock has made him see the error of his ways. That's why Kaylee, River, and Simon are holdin' down the fort, so to speak. If we get into an uncomfortable way, ya'll can swoop in and be our saviors from on high. Kaylee knows this boat like she knows her own... well, she knows her well. River's proven herself an ace at the helm, not to mention her other qualifications. (off Simon's look) And doc, well, we won't be requirin' any particular level of respectability on this run, so you hang tight and see after your sister. Inara, of course, will see after everyone.

Mal gestures for Jayne and Zoe to follow him down the lowered hatch.

MAL: And please keep your eyes peeled, 'specially the ones in the back of your head.

Mal, Zoe, and Jayne stride off into the distance, slipping between the rolling hills that create the valley.

Click to go to Ch. 2

Click to go back to Prologue


Thursday, October 5, 2006 5:58 PM


Nice to know Zoe can admit Wash's flying wasn't 100% perfect;)

Definitely can't wait to see how River's cryptic comment pans out...probably nothing great for Mal, Zoe and Jayne:(


Thursday, October 5, 2006 6:30 PM


"His landings could get a little...wearisome." That was nice.

Wonder what horizons of Simon's Kaylee wishes to expand?

Interesting so far...

Thursday, October 5, 2006 9:02 PM


Hmm, wonder who this contact is and how trustworthy he is going to prove? Seems our favourite BDHs have fallen on hard times - again. I got the feeling Kaylee was talking about introducing Simon to some kind of food he'd never had before, from his reaction it could be something like the aversion I have to seafood. All them legs and claws and things... Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, October 5, 2006 11:00 PM


Oooh, I hope the mystery man from the Prologue shows up!

Jayne's packing some mega heat..lets hope he gets to use it, cause hey, since when is Jaune in a firefight a bad thing?

Bring on Chapter 2!

Friday, October 6, 2006 3:30 AM


My sincerest apologies to my fellow Browncoats for the multiple postings. I was attempting to work on formatting, which doesn't become apparent until the fic is actually posted. I'll try to make the dialogue eaiser to discern. Thanks for your awesome remarks.

"Jayne, you aware you're still transmittin, cause I ain't feeling particularly girlish or dirty."

Rob O.

Thursday, February 15, 2007 4:28 PM


Confession time - I opened this fic briefly a long time ago, and didn't read it. It has two things about it that usually make fics unappealing to me, the lack of Wash and Book and the fact that it's in screennplay format. I've yet to read a screenplay that wasn't completely dry, stilted, and hard to follow. But given your shiny and well-written comments on my own little story, I decided to come back and give this a chance.

I'm glad I did! I don't know how you are doing it, but this looks like a readable and fun screenplay, and your characters.....let's say I can really picture them saying the lines, which means you have them well pegged :)


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