A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw Ch. 6
Saturday, October 7, 2006

A screenplay taking place shortly after the events of "Serenity." Thanks and thanks some more to Joss Whedon for creating this 'verse we've all come to love living in.



As everyone takes a seat, Kaylee comes bouncing down the steps and drops onto the couch next to Simon.

KAYLEE: Coast is clear.

Paul remains standing, though River takes the chair nearest to him.

SIMON: I suppose my first question is, how did you end up here?

PAUL: Anonymously. This planet isn't exactly the... pinnacle of Alliance accomplishment. A few struggling farmers, some low-level ne'r-do-wells. I simply faded into the tapestry.

INARA: I speak for everyone here when I ask what part you played in freeing River. Obviously you're privy to information that Simon finds shockingly accurate.

Paul nods, opens his mouth to reply...

SIMON: I can say with the utmost certainty that I've never seen you before. I only met with select people from the movement, and they never mentioned a “sifu.”

Paul starts to pace a few steps back and forth, hands clasped behind his back.

PAUL: I'll start at the very beginning, insofar as my involvement is concerned. I first met River through a man named Dr. Mathias.


Wide view of Paul and River meeting in a large, simple yet elegant training room. Dr. Mathias is gesturing toward River, his hands moving emphatically. Silent scene except for... PAUL (VO): He turned out to be one of the primary doctors working with River. He claimed he wanted her to be able to defend herself in any situation. Hand to hand. Blunt, bladed, and throwing weapons. Even firearms. I was training certain Alliance Military Elite at the time,(CU of Mathias and Paul, Mathias appears especially emphatic. Paul is serene) but was told to clear my schedule in order to focus solely on River.


Paul is still pacing, but he pauses and looks down at River, smiling proudly

PAUL: Our lesson proceeded like any other I'd conducted, for the first day, anyway. When River returned the next day, she flawlessly performed every technique she'd learned the day before, moving from stance to stance like a ballerina.


River is dressed in a classic Kung Fu uniform, executing a Wushu form, and as Paul stated, her movements are picture perfect.

PAUL (VO): I'd been warned by Mathias that River would be a quick study, though I must admit to some surprise at just how quick she proved to be.

Blend previous shot of River performing Wushu form into the next, this form far more intricate. Her movements are also markedly faster. PAUL (cont'd VO): Within a week, she was performing better than any previous student,even the most advanced sash. The following week I had her spar with a high-level student.

Cut to River bowing to another student, a much taller young man. He has a smug smile on his face as he tugs at his eight ounce gloves.

Paul signals for them to begin. The young man attacks River tentatively, as if afraid to hurt her, throwing a weak jab at her face and a low turning kick to her right thigh. She responds by flicking her head to the right to avoid the jab, then lifts her leg to absorb the kick. River's first punch buries her little right fist in the man's midsection, her first kick a fierce roundhouse to his head. A flurry of strikes follows, almost too fast to see, and definitely too fast for the young man to withstand.

PAUL (con't VO): It was obvious to me within thirty seconds that he was no match. In fact, he was extremely fortunate I hadn't taught River any lethal techniques. By the end of that same week, I had River defend herself against two, three, and eventually five attackers, all upper-level students.

Cut to River battling five students. She swims between them, her movements graceful and unhurried. She blocks, parries, and retaliates with ease. One after another, the students fall.


Paul is now standing close to River. The crew is staring at him in rapt fascination.

PAUL: They didn't stand a chance. It was as though she could anticipate their every move. I then moved her on to weapons which soon proved to be where her true talent lay.(Paul's hands move to enunciate his point) Every weapon I handed her became an organic extension of her body.


Cut between River performing various forms with the weapons as Paul mentions them.

PAUL (VO): Three days and she'd all but mastered the staff, nunchaku, sai, and broadsword.


Paul pauses and looks down at River, a proud smile on his face.

PAUL: Two and a half weeks. Two and a half weeks to learn what takes most half a life-time... (shakes his head)

SIMON: It almost pains me to say it, but I'm not terribly surprised to hear that.

The others smile and nod with agreement, as does Paul.

Click to go to Ch. 7

Click to go back to Ch. 5


Saturday, October 7, 2006 7:07 PM


Wel we all knew River was a genius but Damn! Two and a half weeks! I know I shouldn't be surprised by this, but here I am...surprised.

Can't wait 'til Mal and the other gets back..should be an interesting confrontation.

Saturday, October 7, 2006 11:49 PM


This was brilliant, I especially like the phrase 'every weapon I handed her became an organic extension of her body'. What a superb and clinically chilling description of River at her most deadly. And yet. I can't bring myself to trust Paul. Why is he there? And what is his agenda? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, October 8, 2006 4:06 AM


Help! You're posting so fast I can't keep up (panting, sound of running feet)! Nicely done again!

Saturday, February 17, 2007 9:43 PM


Very nice - you paint a picture of what is happening in the scenes very well.


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