A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw - Ch. 31
Saturday, December 16, 2006

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



Spade slams the mic on the table, then angrily holds it up to his mouth.

SPADE: Gorrammit! I said meet with him and deliver a simple message, not frag his ass into kingdom come!

NISKA (VO radio): I sent usual team with clear instructions. This method has always worked in the past, however not so good outcome this time.

SPADE: You mean strong-armin' 'im. That wasn't part of the deal. I'm thinkin' you and he have history you neglected to mention.

NISKA (VO radio): One of unfortunate consequence, I'm afraid.

SPADE (sighing, sounding defeated) Woulda been good to know that yesterday. Tickles me deep to know your men got bested, though. What a shame. Serves you right for muckin' up a simple message transfer.

NISKA (VO radio): May I inquire as to what exactly is to be delivered...?

SPADE: No way in heaven or hell.


Serenity swoops in over the ravine, her belly opening up to rain debris on and around the crashed cry-baby. The ship then lands a hundred yards away.


Mal is descending the fore/starboard stairs dressed in the Alliance uniform, hat tucked under his arm, and the case in his other hand. Inara watches from the catwalk.

Zoe and Jayne descend the stairs not long after Mal, Jayne carrying a very large weapon. Simon and Kaylee sneak in from the Infirmary.

MAL: Now, to give my story some dramatic flair... Jayne, light it up.

Jayne drops to one knee on the ramp, aiming the large-barrelled weapon at the debris. He squeezes the trigger and a half second later the debris is rocked and tossed about by a fiery explosion. A ploom of smoke rises from the junk, half of it now on fire.

Paul darts though the aft entrance of the cargo bay three seconds later. Mal holds up a hand.

MAL:Sorry 'bout that, Seafood. Shoulda warned you were aimin' to misbehave.

Jayne grins, hefting the weapon.

PAUL: (unaffected) Need a hand?

MAL: Nope. Just gonna go for a roll.

PAUL: You do look a little too tidy for a crash survivor.

Mal pauses, cocking his head.

ZOE (off Mal's look): Doesn't take a genius to figure out what we're up to here, sir.

PAUL: (half-smiling) I'm not sure how to take that, though you are correct.

He bows his head and turns to exit.

MAL: Well...

Mal strides down the ramp toward the wreckage, Zoe and Jayne flanking him.


Mal, Zoe, and Jayne approach the smoking debris. They stop when Mal reaches the scorched dirt. He sets down the case.

MAL: This oughtta do.

He kneels down and starts rubbing the blackened earth on his face and through his hair. Jayne snorts.

JAYNE: C'mon, get dirty, you panzy.

MAL: Workin' on it. Gotta make it look believable.

Mal lays down on the gound and rolls around. Zoe stifles a laugh while Jayne grins like a fool. Mal stands, holding out his hand toward Jayne.

MAL: Blade.

Jayne removes his knife from its sheath and slaps the hilt into Mal's hand. Mal makes some cuts in the uniform fabric, proceeding to tear them a little wider, then hands the knife back to Jayne. He holds out his hands.

MAL:Whatya think?

Zoe nods her approval.

Mal crouches and grabs the case. He proceeds to scrape it along the ground, ruining its finish. He stands up in all his dirty, scuffed-up glory.

ZOE: One more thing, sir.

Mal looks at his Alliance hat, then throws it harshly to the ground, stepping on it once. He picks it up, beats it back to nearly its original shape, then puts it on.

MAL: Now that gave me the warm and fuzzies like I ain't felt in some time.

Zoe shakes her head with a smile.

JAYNE: If only there'd o' been a purple-bellied puke still wearin' it at the time.

Mal nods.

MAL: Well, ready to be charitable to yours truly?

ZOE: If the price is right.

Mal fakes a look of shocked indignation.


Mal is lying back on the exam table with Simon standing over him. Simon has one hand on the back of Mal's head, the other is holding a contac on the tip of a gloved finger. River sits on the nearby counter, watching curiously.

Simon brings the contac within a centimeter of Mal's eye, only to have Mal pull his head away.

MAL: Gorrammit, doc, give me a sec. First one still burns like a son of a bitch.

SIMON: I have drops to help with that. You have so much dirt on your face, I'm trying to be as precise as possible. Now hold still.

Simon brings the contac close again.

MAL: Just hold on...

Simon pins Mal's head to the head rest, pries the eye open, and pops the contac in. Mal yells in protest.

SIMON: Now, blink it out while I prep the drops.

Simon pulls a small plastic bottle from his bag, pops the cap and takes hold of Mal's head again.

SIMON: Open for a second.

With visible effort, Mal opens his eyes while Simon applies a couple of drops to each one. Mal blinks some more.

MAL: Ah. (blinking slows) Ah, that's better.

SIMON: You whine less over gunshot wounds.

MAL: Well, I ain't never been shot in the eye.

Mal’s blinking returns to nearly normal. He stands, straightens his torn, dirty jacket, then puts his hat back on.

MAL: Ident’s downloaded? (Simon nods) Well, time to wave the locals, let ‘em know one o’ their fellow purple-bellies is doin’ okay.

ZOE (appearing in Infirmary door) And we were so worried. Ready, sir?

MAL: As I’ll ever be for this piece of insanity.

Mal and Zoe exit the Infirmary and head up the nearest stairs. Simon retrieves something from a drawer and follows soon thereafter.

Click to go to Ch. 32

Click to go back to Ch. 30


Saturday, December 16, 2006 2:27 PM


Uh...maybe I am just sadistic, but won't the fact that the tears in Mal's disguise don't expose even minor cuts and scrapes be suspiscious?


Still...loving this to bits, HeWhoKicksAlot:D


Saturday, December 16, 2006 2:40 PM


I hope this caper doesn't back fire. Have my fingers crossed that all that mussing up will pay off. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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