A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw - Ch. 16
Thursday, October 12, 2006

A screenplay taking place not long after the events of "Serenity."



Paul is fighting four attackers tooth and nail. He sends a vicious back kick into the gut of one behind him. Two in front charge him head-on. Paul forward flips between them, both legs kicking straight out once he's cleared their shoulders. His feet strike them each on the back of the neck. He then somersaults on the deck, springing to his feet.

The fourth attacker approaches warily, his stance well-balanced, hands loose. Paul lets him attack. Two left jabs, followed by a right cross, then two snappy jumping front kicks. Paul deflects the punches, waits for the instant that both of the man's feet are off the ground, then performs a full roundhouse kick to his legs, sweeping him onto his side. The attacker hits the deck with a resounding thud.

The other three have regrouped, encircling Paul. Not hesitating, Paul leaps at the largest one, ramming both knees into his chest and cracking both elbows into the man's temples in quick succession. The man falls. Paul lands and spins, snapping a hook kick across the next man's jaw. Spit and teeth spew from his mouth as he is kicked, his body following his head around as he spins to the floor.

As Paul's foot touches the ground, he snaps a half moon kick into his next attacker's shin. This lowers the man's hands so Paul can backfist him in the temple and finish him with a powerful palm strike to the solar plexus. The man crumbles to the floor, his breath exploding from his lungs.

The third attacker recovers from the hook kick and leaps at Paul with a whistling spinning back fist, which Paul ducks low to avoid. Paul then blocks the follow-up roundhouse kick and sweeps the man's base leg out from under him, crashing him to the deck. Paul finishes him with a solid kick to the head.

Paul straightens and looks around, confirming his opponents' immobilization.

CU of his hand as he reaches to his belt and presses a button on a small remote. View shifts to see the men melt away. He then reaches up to his head and... removes a slim, form-fitting visor that is now visible over his eyes. He unplugs some earbud headphones that were inserted in his ears and the wires retract into the visor.

Paul looks up to see Mal, Simon, and Jayne standing on the catwalk landing.

JAYNE: Heard all that ruckus. Thought you gone stir-crazy.

MAL: Then Simon explained to us the wonders of your magic specs.

SIMON: It's a PNS, isn't it?

JAYNE: What the gui's a PMS?

PAUL:(walks up the stairs, laughing) A PNS. A Psycho-Neural Simulator. This model simulates an attack scenario. Not only visually and audibly. It also stimulates the touch receptors in the brain, simulating the sensation of contact.

JAYNE:(reaching to touch the unit)I'll be dipped in go-se...

Paul hands the visor to Jayne. Simon looks apprehensive about Jayne handling it.

SIMON: Careful...

PAUL:(shrugs) No need. I helped design it. It's quite durable.

Jayne turns the visor over and over in his hands, looking like a monkey attempting algebra. Simon relieves him of it and takes a close look at its workings.

SIMON: You designed this?

PAUL: I was deeply involved in the process, yes.

SIMON: The structure is amazing. The circuitry is thinned out and spread evenly, keeping it balanced. You're fully immersed, yet unencumbered. (he examines the contact points on the interior portion, feels their depth) Acquired during your time at the Academy, I presume. (Paul nods) There is much to be said for the technology they've developed. If only more humane men were in charge of its use.(hands the unit back to Paul)

PAUL: Would you like to try? It can be programmed for a wide variety of scenarios, from a one-on-one street brawl to a ten-on-one master's challenge.

Simon holds up his hands in refusal.

MAL: Had more'n my share of the real thing, thanks.

Jayne snorts. JAYNE: Don't sound like no big deal.

Paul hold out the visor again. Jayne shrugs.

JAYNE: Can't be too hard, smackin' around some 'maginary bad guys.

Paul smiles as he reaches up and places the visor over Jayne's eyes. Jayne reaches up and inserts the head phones into his ears. He then stands there befuddled.

JAYNE: Now what?

PAUL:You'd better head down to that open area. You'll want some room.

Paul reaches down to his belt and removes the small remote as Jayne strides down to the center of the cargo bay.

PAUL:(looking over to Mal) Just how much to you want to see him sweat?

Mal's sly smile answers Paul's question. He presses a couple of buttons on the remote.

Jayne is startled.


MAL: What's he seein'?

PAUL: Only three, to start. (with a twinkle in his eye, his voice suddenly very Jayne-like) They're only 'maginary.

Jayne is flailing about, his movements stiff and uncertain.

Zoe descends the fore/starboard stairwell to the catwalk. She watches Jayne as she traverses the catwalk to the center stairs, her face perplexed. She stops next to Mal.

ZOE: Doc, I think we need to tranq our attack dog.

MAL: 'Parently Jayne ain't too keen on fightin' ghosts.

Paul descends the stairs, approaching Jayne but staying out of reach.

PAUL: Jayne, you need to forget it's a simulation and treat it like a real confrontation. Don't hesitate to get a little... emotional.

Jayne stops his fumbling and looks down for a moment. Suddenly he folds a bit, as though he's taken a punch to the gut, then his head snaps to one side as if he's taken one to the face. Jayne grunts, his face twisting into an angry scowl. His next punches are more direct and focused. He ducks, weaves, and dodges some imaginary attacks, then appears to throw someone over his shoulder. He stomps the ground with a satisfied growl, then peers around.

Paul clicks the remote and Jayne pulls off the visor. He's grinning like a school kid as he hands the visor to Paul.

JAYNE:(breathing heavily)Don't get much funner'n that.Brought back some fondish memories.

PAUL: It's a useful training aide. I was tempted to let River use it, but I think her psyche has been fooled with enough.

Simon nods. As Jayne walks off, he leans closer to Paul, pointing at the visor. SIMON: (dead serious) You'd better sterilize that.

Click to go to Ch. 17

Click to go back to Ch. 15


Thursday, October 12, 2006 6:55 PM


I absolutely love the way you write Jayne! "Brought back some fondish memories." Ha!

Great stuff... my only complaint is that they're too short. You're getting me addicted... when's the next installment?

Friday, October 13, 2006 2:57 AM


As soon as Jayne said, "Don't sound like no big deal", I thought "Ohhh, this is gonna be bad!"

ECamber is right, you do a great job with Jayne. I find him a lot of fun to write myself - there's just so much good material there!

Friday, October 13, 2006 5:27 AM


SIMON: (dead serious) You'd better sterilize that.

Couldn't have written any better.

I have to say, I'm finally starting to like Paul.

Friday, October 13, 2006 6:17 AM


That was funny and what a neat little gadget. I thought Jayne would have kept fighting longer than that though. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, October 14, 2006 5:41 PM


I honestly thought you were gonna have Jayne fighting 10-on-1 with the way Mal was smirking and Paul responding to Mal's gesture;)



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