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

A screenplay taking place shortly after the events of "Serenity." Many thanks to everyone for your positive remarks.


Paul then takes on a more serious expression.

PAUL: I can only asssume that you're aware of her other... unique capabilities.(the crew nods)I began to realize myself the first time I sparred River one-on-one. The moment we faced off, I could see it in her eyes. As I considered a series of attacks, I could see her calculating her defense.

CU of River's face, her eyes darting about.

RIVER: Low front kick, high back fist, left hook, rear leg spinning leg sweep.

Paul smiles and sits down. PAUL: I decided not to initiate. I simply waited. It was the first time I saw River hesitate. So, I took a gamble. I cleared my mind, then produced one cohesive thought.

RIVER: River, attack me!

The others are momentarily startled by River's outburst. Kaylee grabs Simon's hand. Simon is riveted

PAUL: She had become so accustomed to following my instruction that she struck immediately. Only my own sifu had ever attacked me with such speed and precision. Honestly, it was a great deal of fun, a true challenge. I let her take the offensive for roughly a minute, until I realized just how much she was enjoying it. She was reveling in the chance to lash out, to truly fight. Like a caged animal finally able to strike back at its handler.

River smiles at the memory. Kaylee sees this and squirms in her seat. Inara also witnesses the smile and tries to ignore it, keeping her attention on Paul.

RIVER: He's right. I was a lab monkey with needles shoved into my brain. I hadn't been free in a long time.

Kaylee visibly relaxes, her face revealing sympathy and understanding.

Simon looks back and forth between Paul and River as if not sure to whom his next inquiry should be directed.

SIMON: Did she realize right away that you hadn't verbally ordered her to attack?

PAUL: A few seconds after we stood down, the light bulb seemed to come on. She stood there frozen for a few seconds. That's when two men in white lab coats barged into my training room, spoke a couple of odd words to River and escorted her out. She simply went... limp. Like a house-broken pet.

SIMON:(impulsively curious)What were the words?

River suddenly looks terrified, shaking her head frantically and pulling her knees up to her chest.

SIMON: I'm sorry, mei-mei. I didn't mean...

PUAL:(reaches out a hand to touch River's arm)I wouldn't do that to you, little one. No human being should be turned off with but a word. It's cruel and stinks of...(he looks at Simon)I suppose you already know of this ”conditioning.”

SIMON:(regretfully)Yes. I was forced to use it once.

PAUL: Ren ci de fosu.(to River)I'm sorry nian qing de.

Simon opens his mouth to apologize but stops when he sees the look on Paul's face. It is cold and unequivocal.

PAUL: I hope once is also the last. I realize you're her brother and you've gone to enormous lengths to protect her, but I pray you never make her sleep again.

SIMON: Is that some kind of threat? You have no idea what...

Paul raises his hand. PAUL: It wasn't a threat. I simply want you to comprehend just how horrific it is to be shut down like that, turned off like a light. You don't even have time to pray for mercy.

Simon looks down at his hands.

SIMON: It's not something I was happy to do. Lives were at stake. It was the first time River was...triggered. She was going to kill the captain. I couldn't let her do that.(to River)Mei-mei, I'm so sorry. I promised I would never do it again, and I meant it.

Simon reaches out to River and hugs her. She buries her face in his shoulder for a few moments.

Click to go to Ch. 8

Click to go back to Ch. 6


Saturday, October 7, 2006 9:45 PM


You're a very cruel person. Make 'em longer!!!

Other than that, I LOVE this!

Sunday, October 8, 2006 1:26 AM


Now is Paul really being protective of River or making sure that he is the only one who will exercise control over her conditioned responses? I cannot believe his appearance is a benign one, I want to know what he is really doing there and what - just as importantly - he wants. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, October 8, 2006 4:10 AM


Why do I think when Simon promises never to do that to River again that he will live to eat those words? I imagine it's a matter of when, not if!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 4:06 PM


Gotta agree with Alison and Shiny...Paul's presence and tales somehow smack of something more sinister than sheer education. Also, it already seems like River's been adore and follow Paul. This could definite cause problems:(

Still...amazing work here, HeWhoKicksAlot:D


Saturday, February 17, 2007 9:46 PM


Interesting. They showed before that River hated to have the "safeword" used on her, but I always wondered what was so bad about it. Good conversation, on to the next one!


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