A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw - Ch. 13
Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A screenplay taking place not long after the events of "Serenity." Here it is... lucky number 13...



Mal and Zoe are already seated. Each table setting is immaculately placed.

Simon enters from the aft passage and takes a seat, leaving an opening next to himself for Kaylee. River sits on the other side of him. Jayne takes an end chair so he can sit sprawled. Paul takes the only available seat once Inara has chosen hers, which places him next to Mal.

Kaylee skips up to the table, a large bowl in either hand. She places them in the center of the table.

Jayne immediately reaches out to grab one of the serving spoons. Kaylee slaps his hand away.

KAYLEE: Now wait a minute. There's more.

JAYNE: Well, bring it in already. I'm 'bout to gnaw on my plate.

Kaylee steps back into the kitchen, grabbing a plate stacked high with thickly sliced bread. She carries it to the table and sets it between the other two bowls with a flourish.

KAYLEE: Ta daaa!

MAL: Kaylee, I'm just gonna come out and say it. Not a one here gave you much credit. Well, 'specially since the last meal you...(Mal clears throat)...created sent everyone to the latrine within ten minutes. But this, well this smells mighty fine. Let's dig in.

Everyone hesitates for a moment, then Paul reaches out and takes the serving spoon from one of the bowls. Jayne isn't far behind, grabbing the other spoon and attacking the bowl.

KAYLEE: Wait. You're s'posed to put that on the bread.

PAUL: Oh. I apologize.

Paul reaches out to the plate and tenderly picks up a piece of bread, placing it on his plate. He then spoons from the large bowl what appears to be chunky gravy on top. Jayne does the same, though with less grace.

PAUL: The Captain's right. This does smell good.

Soon the others have served themselves and Kaylee stands waiting, hands on her hips expectantly.

Paul picks up his chopsticks and deftly plucks what looks like a piece of chicken from the food he'd spooned on top of his bread. He places it in his mouth and chews for a few seconds. His eyebrows rise.

Jayne follows suit, stuffing a much larger portion into his mouth and chewing vigorously.

PAUL: Excellent, Kaylee. Truly so. Kaylee beams with pride. Soon the others have taken a bite, everyone's face belaying their surprise and pleasure.

SIMON: Kaylee, this is wonderful.

ZOE: I don't know what to say, other than I'm sorry for doubting you.

Everyone continues eating in silence for a few moments. Kaylee sits down and fills her plate, barely able to eat through her smile.

KAYLEE: Wait til you see the second course.

JAYNE: All right!

The bowls are emptied and the bread plate picked clean. Kaylee picks them up and carries them into the kitchen. She then picks up the biggest bowl yet and carries it over to the table. It is nearly overflowing with fresh salad.

MAL: Whoa. Shiny. Haven't had fresh salad since... well, since I don't remember.

Kayle beams again and starts serving Simon first.

Mal opens his mouth to protest, but Zoe hits him under the table to silence him.

Kaylee finishes serving everyone and sits down.

Everyone starts fluffing their salad with their chopsticks.

PAUL: Kaylee, I can't help but be curious. What did you use to make all this?

KAYLEE: Well, we were on Greenleaf a little ways back and I picked up some fresh foodstuffs. Lettuce, carrots, even tomatoes. The chicken was freeze-dried, but it heated and moisturized up nice. Bread ain't hard to come by. Then there came the spices.

PAUL: That's what I'm especially curious about. I think everyone should get up and step out of this room.(beat) Right now.

Mal's head snaps around to face Paul, his hand travelling to the butt of his pistol. Zoe's expression turns cold.

PAUL:(standing slowly) I don't mean that as a threat. Kaylee, did you use Angel spice on the chicken?

KAYLEE: Yeah... PAUL: And did you happen to use Parson's Oil in the salad?

KAYLEE: Sure. Ain't it tasty?

PAUL:(backing up from table) It tastes great, child. However, when the two are mixed, such as the salad being placed on the same plate the chicken just occupied...

ZOE:(also rising from her seat) What?

A vapor starts to rise from Simon's plate, the others soon thereafter. Everyone shoots to their feet and steps back from the table. Jayne is slower to react as he is wolfing down the salad.

PAUL: People, I mean it. We need to exit this room then seal it.

JAYNE: I don't feel so good...

Jayne collapses.

MAL: Everybody move!

Simon and Kaylee escape through the aft door. Zoe grabs River and drags her through the fore entrance with Inara. Mal and Paul trade a look as they tie napkins around the lower half of their faces and stoop to pick up Jayne.

PAUL: This one clearly gets his share of protein.

MAL: That he does, and then some.

Mal has Jayne under his arms while Paul carries him by the legs. They haul the man out the aft door, closing it behind them. Simon and Kaylee stare through the window, Kaylee on the verge of tears.

KAYLEE: I just wanted to make somethin' nice.

SIMON: You did. It was wonderful.

KAYLEE: Up until the... deadly gassing...

Paul fights back a smile. Mal gives him an inquisitive look.

PAUL: It's not deadly, little one. Fortunately, it only has a sedating effect. The large one here will be out for a couple of hours.

Kaylee looks relieved.

SIMON: I'm sure I could give him something to speed up the waking proc...

Mal puts an arm around Simon's shoulders and pulls him toward the aft passage stairs.

MAL: I think we'll let the man they call Jayne lie there and sleep off his latest meal. Won't hurt him, or us, one bit.

Kaylee giggles. Paul looks curious.


Zoe and River look through the window to the dining area as the vapor continues to rise from the plates. Inara looks ready to cry behind them.

Zoe turns away from the scene with a rye smile.

ZOE: That poor girl can't catch a break.

INARA: I'll never comprehend how such a bright and positive spirit such as hers draws so much bad luck.

With a sad shake of her head, Inara descends the stairs to the cargo bay.

A loud repetitive beep resonates down the corridor from the bridge. River and Zoe quickly respond, running up the few steps to...


River checks the scope, then punches some keys. This pulls up a chart on an overhead monitor.

RIVER: A ship is going to cross our projected flight path...(touches screen) I linked the scanners to the navigational computer with orders to continuously sweep our path three hours in advance.

ZOE: Good girl. I'm glad we invested in a more powerful unit. Any idea on the make of the ship?

Mal enters the bridge

MAL: What ship?

ZOE: The scanners picked up on one that'll cross our path in about three hours. MAL: Three hours? Fox promised that new scanning whoseewhatsit would be more powerful, but shoot.

ZOE: Our little albatross here has real talent for getting the most out of our equipment.

MAL: So, are we gonna cross a luxury liner or an Alliance battleship? Should be fun either way, but I'm a curious captain. River's hands dance over the keyboard again. Images flash across the monitor too quickly for Mal and Zoe to see. They come to a halt on a single schematic.

MAL: (whisper) Ren ci de Fo Su. [merciful Bhudda]

Click to go to Ch. 14

Click to go back to Ch. 12


Wednesday, October 11, 2006 3:59 AM


I would have expected the "deadly gassing" to come from Jayne after eating!

Way to go, ending a cliffhanger with a Mandarin curse.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 3:16 PM


Poor Kaylee, all that effort and making such a delicious meal only to find out it gives folk the mother of all wind! At least it didn't kill anyone. Not liking the notion of the ship closing in on them - that can't be a good thing. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, October 13, 2006 7:54 PM


Oh...I feel so bad for Kaylee...but at least she knows how to make a sedative from kitchen items;)

And I too thought the food was gonna give Paul hives or a majorly bad case of wind:D


Saturday, February 17, 2007 10:05 PM


KAYLEE: I just wanted to make somethin' nice.
SIMON: You did. It was wonderful.
KAYLEE: Up until the... deadly gassing...

That there is a line that should have aired on Firefly. This chapter is perhaps my favorite to date - some really funny lines, the tension as Paul says something that might be threatening, the cliffhanger at the end....just perfect.


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