A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw - Ch. 12
Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A screenplay taking place not long after the events of "Serenity." A tricky job, a new passenger. Old hat for our heroes.



Paul passes by the infirmary and intercepts Zoe as she enters from the cargo bay.

ZOE: Settling in, Sifu?

PAUL: Yes, thank you. Very well. I have a small request, though.

ZOE: Shoot.

PAUL: Is it too much trouble if I hang a piece of training equipment from one of the flights of stairs in the cargo bay? If it gets in the way at all, I'll take it down again.

ZOE: No problem at all. Just secure it well. Occasionally the need arises for some... creative maneuvering.

Paul smiles at this and bows his head in thanks. As he proceeds up the short flight of steps to the cargo bay entrance, Zoe stops a couple steps up the aft passage stairs.

ZOE(cont'd):(without a hint of malice, almost friendly) One more thing, Sifu. I put my neck out for you in a big way. Turns out I judged wrong, won't hesitate to put a bullet to you myself.

Paul nods with a small smile.

PAUL: I would expect nothing less.

He continues into the cargo bay and Zoe continues upward to...


Kaylee passes Zoe as she enters the passage.

KAYLEE: Hey, Zoe. Dinner's at 1800. Got somethin' special planned.

ZOE: A surprise, huh? Can't wait.

KAYLEE: It's an old recipe ma gave me. I've been waitin' for the proper occasion. I figure a new guest on board qualifies.

ZOE: Especially a respectful one who can pay his own way and appears to not have any psychotic tendencies.

Kaylee laughs and bounds into her engine room, humming as she goes. Zoe proceeds down the passage to the dining area. Jayne is munching on a protein bar, clearly unhappy.

ZOE: Dinner's at 1800, per the master chef.

Jayne replies with a snort, which Zoe ignores. She proceeds through the dining area without breaking stride, up the steps and into the fore passage.

Mal is pushing on the ladder to his bunk and glances up at Zoe as she approaches.

MAL: Gonna catch a few winks 'fore supper.

ZOE: Feel you need some rest to prepare for Kaylee's cookin', sir? I doubt it'll put up too much of a fight.

Mal shakes his head with a grin and descends the ladder.

Zoe proceeds to the bridge. River is sitting in the observation/storage area just fore of the piloting consoles. She is gazing with wonder at the stars.

ZOE: Never tire of it myself, kiddo.

River looks over her shoulder at Zoe, then back to the panorama.

RIVER: When I was little, I memorized the constellations, just to prove that I could. I didn't really appreciate how beautiful they were. I could list their chemical composition, write out the continuous fusion formula that makes them burn, but I never just reached out and tried to touch them.

Zoe joins River in the observation area, taking a seat across from her.

ZOE: They're infinite proof of what nature is capable of without man's interference; our well-intended yet ill-concieved acts of “improvement” on everything we see. (meets River's gaze) Like you. Who knows what you would have become had those fools simply let nature take its course. You'd probably be saving countless lives had they not tried turning you into a weapon. But, hell, I'm just glad you were there to save ours. I don't think any of us have ever properly thanked you for what you did.

RIVER: Not out loud. But I heard it.

ZOE: Of course. But it ain't the same thing. You deserve better than that. Thank you, River.


Kaylee is working hard in the kitchen. Cookware is strewn everywhere. Simon approaches only to be shooed away with a hand gesture.

Paul pokes his head around the aft doorframe, his eyebrows raise, then he disappears.

Jayne passes through, curling his nose at the smell.

Inara glides through with a supportive smile.

Kaylee remains focused on her work, as though her life depended on it.


Paul is carrying the heavy bag on his shoulder, a rope and d-clips in the other hand. He proceeds to hang the rope from under the port side of the center stair assembly. He adjusts the rope to a certain length then snaps a d-clip to a loop knotted into the end. He then suspends the bag from the d-clip. Paul then secures the bottom of the bag to the grated floor with another d-clip.

He punches it a couple of times, testing the sway, and nods slightly at the result.

Jayne descends the starboard stairwell from the fore passage, watching Paul as he goes. He approaches his weight set and sits down, still eyeing Paul.

Paul slowly starts to strike the heavy bag, first with punches, then elbows, then kicks. Within a minute, his strikes are a blur, following each other with blinding speed.

Jayne nods approval and lays down to do a set of bench presses.

Paul kicks the bag with several roundhouse kicks, alternating equally between legs. The shockwave reverberates up the stairs and through the ship.

Inara exits her shuttle into the cargo bay with a curious expression.

Paul pauses for a moment, realizing the sound his actions are creating.

JAYNE:(between reps)Liable to... pop some... rivets, you... keep that... up.

PAUL:I'll have to devise something to absorb the impact.

INARA: I thought we'd wandered into a meteor field.

River bounds through the door to the infirmary, grinning like a child at Christmas.

RIVER: Training already, Sifu?

PAUL:(embarrassed) Well, I had wanted to test out my heavy bag. Bit noisier than I intended.(to River) The matter of real importance is, have you?


INARA: Does she really have to?

PAUL: Were you struck during any of your last confrontations? (River nods)Hardly a soul in this 'verse should come close. If you'd like, we could...


Paul smiles at River's enthusiasm.

Kaylee appears at the top of the the fore/starboard stairs.

KAYLEE: Dinner's ready. Come'n git it.

She disappears back up the stairs, clearly excited.

INARA: Well, Paul, this will be your first true test of loyalty.

PAUL: I've lived on a pretty meager diet for some time now. Hopefully I'm prepared.

JAYNE: I don't know what ya'll are fussin' about. She cooks just like my mama did. Growed me up strong.

Paul, River, Inara, and Jayne file up the stairs to...

Click to go to Ch. 13

Click to go back to Ch. 11


Tuesday, October 10, 2006 3:19 PM


Hehe, I wonder what exactly Kaylee has been cooking...

I love it that Paul/Sifu is already becoming so accustomed to the crew, and (for the most part) them to him.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006 4:07 PM


Love Zoe's comment to Mal about Kaylee's cooking. REALLY love Zoe and River's exchange on the bridge! Your dialogue is so good...I'm jealous!;)

Friday, October 13, 2006 6:30 PM


I personally love how you ensured Zoe wasn't straying with her "Stuck my neck out for ya" line. Now I know Zoe's still in the saddle;D

And the Zoe dialogues with Mal and River were mighty shiny as well:D


Saturday, February 17, 2007 10:01 PM


ZOE: Feel you need some rest to prepare for Kaylee's cookin', sir? I doubt it'll put up too much of a fight.

Great Zoe line. Your character dialog is excellent.


You must log in to post comments.



Nothing Ventured... - Ch. 4
A continuation of a screenplay I started many years ago, taking place shortly after "A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw."

I can't believe how long it's been since I worked on this little endeavor. I hope there are still a few Browncoats out there interested in my work.

And if anyone can help me with the formatting, that would be great. My shortcuts no longer work, I see...

Nothing Ventured... - Ch. 3
Just another face in the crowd...

Nothing Ventured... - Ch. 2
Motivated consumers and money-back guarantees...

Nothing Ventured... - Ch. 1
Clucked, plucked, and ready to...

Nothing Ventured... - Prologue
A screenplay taking place not long after the events of "A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw." Post BDM by a few months...<p>Joss's characters, save for one of my own design. It all belongs to him and this is just for fun.<p>Just looking for a quiet drink...

A Mighty Thorn In a MIghty Paw - Ch. 61- The End
A lot to learn...

A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw - Ch. 60

A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw - Ch. 59
We can't all be doctors...

A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw - Ch. 58
A slight change of plan...

A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw - Ch. 57
Hangin' by a thread...