A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw - Ch. 15
Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A screenplay taking place not long after the events of "Serenity." Friends, enemies old and new...



Two second still.


Two second view of engine turning.


Two second still.


Two second still.


River stares wistfully at the stars. Her head turns slightly when she hears footsteps climbing the stairs to the Bridge.

RIVER: Mornin', Captain.

Mal steps up behind her, looking half-asleep, his hair tussled.

MAL: Ain't late enough in the day to rightly consider it mornin'. I'll take the next shift. Even you need to sleep now and then. Anything rear its head on the radar?

RIVER: Not a thing. We'll pass behind the vessel we scanned earlier.

MAL: Shiny. Now, hit the hay.

Without argument, River stands and exits the Bridge. Mal drops into the pilot's chair and leans back. He reaches out and places his hand on the console.

MAL: Just you and me now, girl. Why don't you tell me what's on your mind...

Mal punches a few buttons and types on the keyboard, hunt-and-peck style. Information starts to scroll down one of the monitors. In one corner of the screen we read 0105 hours.

MAL: (sighing) Looks like the Mule might have to rest a hair longer...(reads on) Damn, girl. Can dress you up, but can't take you nowhere without you bustin' a nail...

ZOE: Who you talkin' to, sir?

Mal jumps at Zoe's voice. He looks over his shoulder at Zoe as she steps up behind him.

MAL: My one true love.(off Zoe's expression, he pats the console) ZOE: Aahh. Is she... talkin' back, sir?

MAL: (defensively) In her own way, yeah. The self-diagnostic reads like a veteran hospital wounded list. Those Alliance boys tried their best to patch her up, but I'm thinkin' they were guessin' a whole lot more'n knowin'. Kaylee's been workin' her usual voodoo, but there's still plenty need'n some TLC.

ZOE: Ain't that always been the case, sir?

MAL: Well, I asked a helluva lot more of this ol' girl than I ever did before, so I conjure she deserves something in return.

ZOE: So, Mule repair's on hold... again.

Mal nods.

MAL: Mule won't do us much good, can't get within atmo. Take from this job should fix near all still ailin' 'er.

ZOE: If nothin' else ends up... ailin' her, sir.

MAL: There's that undyin' optimism I look to you for. Always the bright side of things.

Zoe smiles her “I hope I don't have to say I told you so” smile, and starts to exit the Bridge.

MAL: Zoe, I gotta know somethin'. (Zoe pauses, looks over her shoulder at Mal) River's fortune-teller brain pan aside, why'd you countermand me? Ain't like you to trust folk right off. Hell, took me nearly gettin' shot to shreds...

ZOE: Had a good feelin', sir.

MAL: A feelin'. (Zoe nods)

Mal leans back in the seat and places his hands behind his head, contemplative. Zoe disappears.


CU of screen clock. 0255 hours.

Mal is practicing his quick-draw in the fore area of the bridge, trying to stay awake.

View down Mal's gun sight. He's targeted the largest star in sight.

MAL:(to himself) Bwah.

INARA: Shooting out the windshield might not be our most effective defense.

Mal grins as he turns toward Inara, holstering his pistol.

MAL: (gesturing with both hands at the storage area) I was thinkin' of mountin' a couple of gun-ports in here, you know, like the ships of old Earth-That-Was. Always wanted to yell, ”Run out the cannon!”

Inara laughs her melodious laugh. Mal walks up the couple of steps to the main Bridge deck and stops for a moment.

MAL: I... uh... appreciate you takin' up a watch shift. Bein' a man down an' all, it's made things...uh...

INARA: Wash was irreplaceable, in a number of respects. It's the least I can do.

Mal appears unsure as to a response as he looks down and shuffles his feet for a beat. His eyes don't meet Inara's.

MAL: Well, g'night.

Mal retreats from the Bridge rather hastily. Inara stares after him for a moment, her mouth slightly open in quiet surprise. She then shrugs and sits down in the pilot's seat.


Mal descends the stairs into the fore passage, shaking his head.

MAL: (to himself) Gorram fool.

Mal pushes on the ladder to his bunk. He stops for a moment, turns toward the Bridge. He then seems to think better of it and descends into his bunk, muttering in Chinese.


View travels through taped-up window Jayne and Jig smashed. Travel through room and around corner to main room. Nobody is visible yet. Travel upstairs and through the secure door revealing...


Nils, Zig, and Jack stand at a large screen, one of three that hang on the front wall, each screen the size of a bed sheet, each cycling between scrolling information and various schematics. The room is filled with large and small processors and communication gear. It is the pinnacle of electronic modernization.

Camera focuses on largest processor, phasing through it to chase the wires leading out the back. Chase wire into wall, up though wall void into the attic. Several communication dishes come into view, concealed in the attic space.

Back to Nils, Zig, and Jack. Jack is typing on a nearby keyboard. A particular ship diagram unfolds on the screen and freezes there.

NILS: Gorram fools. Gunship like that'll show up on every scan in the quad.

JACK: 'Course, it can wipe out every ruttin' ship in the quad.

ZIG: Hope your boy knows enough to steer clear.

NILS: He knows. Just 'cause the 'lliance is hurtin' some don't mean they'd balk at the chance to erase his skinny hide.

JACK: Puttin' a lot of faith in that hide.

NILS: Boy's smart, and he's got guts.

ZIG: Better be enou...

Jig comes running up the stairs, out of breath.

JIG: Monk's gone. He's cleared out.

NILS: When?

JIG: Dunno. Maybe this mornin'.

NILS: And I'm privy to this now? (looks back at screen) That man smacks of trouble. Just can't conjure who for yet. (to Jack) Get on the Cortex. Start sniffin'. Quiet-like.

Click to go to Ch. 16

Click to go back to Ch. 14


Wednesday, October 11, 2006 8:14 PM


Seems things just got a mite more interesting...not that they were boring before.

The 'Bwah' moment brought a smirk to my lips. Such a Mal moment.

Dammit Mal, just harden the hell up and talk to Inara!

Lovin' this story, I can't wait to see wher it goes!

Thursday, October 12, 2006 2:34 AM


I love the teasers you end the chapters with - make me want to read more! Keep up the good work!

Saturday, October 14, 2006 12:05 PM


So Paul represents an interest Nils posseses, eh? Get the feeling that this will mean a lot more fun our BDHs;)

And come on Mal...just one conversation with Inara! Just one!



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