A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw - Ch. 32
Sunday, December 17, 2006

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

Mal heads into the lions' den...



Mal and Zoe enter the Bridge. River rises from the pilot’s seat to allow Zoe to sit down.

ZOE: (clicking some keys) Everybody pray to your favorite god... (presses one last key) Comm. Center Nine, this is Firefly- class transport Serendipity, come in.

Beat. A stern young face wearing a thin headset appears on the screen. Call him Smith.

SMITH: Serendipity, we show you on our screen. Please state the reason for your wave.

ZOE: (smiling graciously) Well, sir, we have a very grateful official on board who crashed a few klicks from your facility. Thought we’d give him a lift in your direction, that being his original destination.

SMITH: (politely, still stern) Please put him on.

Zoe moves aside and Mal steps into the screen’s view. Simon hands him an ice pack and he places it against his head.

MAL: (miserably) Sir.

SMITH: Please stand by for ident scan.

Smith looks down for a moment, his movements indicating he is typing. Mal glances furtively at Zoe, then back to the screen. Smith looks up, his eyes widening only slightly.

SMITH: Sir, my sincerest apologies for your misfortune. We saw a brief distress signal on our screen and were about to dispatch a unit. Are you injured?

MAL: Only my pride. My approach vector was a bit too steep. Sheered off my stabilizers. I’m rather banged up, but I’ll live.

SMITH: I’m sending you landing coordinates as we speak. Your... transport will be required to depart immediately after you’ve disembarked.

MAL: I understand. However, I would like to compensate them first.

SMITH: Yes, sir. Let us know what you require.

MAL: Will do. Out.

Mal kills the wave while Zoe crosses her arms with an amused look.

ZOE: That was a rosie reception.

RIVER: Diplomatic courier.

MAL: Thought that would give me some extra maneuverability.

RIVER: They command a fair amount of respect, and they’re protected by Diplomatic Law. The most sensitive of packages are sent via courier. Everyone wants to stay in their good graces to ensure proper handling. You’ll have nearly free run of the facility.

ZOE: And we’re being turned away like the village leper.

MAL: Kind o’ used to that by now, though some unforeseen technical difficulties or somesuch might delay your inevitable departure. Long enough, maybe, to allow me to finish the job and sneak back aboard.

ZOE: Just maybe. We have a pretty good mechanic, you know.

Mal, Zoe, and River share a smile. Simon looks like he's going to be ill.


CU of Paul performing slow pull-ups beneath a catwalk using Jayne’s straps. Pull away to reveal he’s performing them beneath the upperport catwalk, several feet above the floor.

Kaylee enters through the rear cargo bay door, takes several steps in, then stops abruptly with a surprised squeak.

KAYLEE: Um, Sifu?

PAUL: (not altering his pace) Yes?

KAYLEE: Yer kinda scarin’ me. What if you break yer neck?

PAUL: (pace unchanged) More likely to break an ankle, though that’s not on my list of things to do.

KAYLEE: So, you’re kinda usin’ fear as a motivator, or somethin'?

PAUL: Makes giving up a less shiny alternative.

After two more pull-ups, Paul reaches around and pulls himself up onto the catwalk. He smiles down at Kaylee.

PAUL: Feel better, kiddo?

KAYLEE: (hand on her chest) Yeah, my heart’s slowin’ a tick.

Paul descends the the center stairs.

PAUL: I take it we’re landing again soon.

KAYLEE; Yep. Cap’n wants us to lay low. Says we shouldn’t be in port too long.

PAUL: Not a problem. I’m going to rinse off, then head up to the galley.

KAYLEE: (turning to exit)Okey dokey. I’m off to break somethin’.

Off Paul’s inquisitive look...


Jayne is lining up weapons on his bed, slapping magazines and clips into rifles and pistols. He then flips a blanket over the arsenal.


Simon is unlocking his cabinets, turning on equipment.


Serenity swoops in to land on a platform. Just as her landing gear touch down, a strange coughing sound emits from the port atmo thruster. It then stalls out. The gear absorb the rest of the landing rather ungracefully. Cut-zoom to Serenity logo on port side. It has been carefully re-painted.


Mal pats River’s shoulder.

MAL: Perfect. (keys mic) Excellent job, Kaylee. Now, take your time makin’ repairs. No rush. (hangs up the mic) Keep a watchful eye, and an ear to the ground.

Mal picks up the case and exits the bridge. (follow Mal) Jayne is ascending his ladder.

MAL: Keep a low profile. Should be back in no time.

JAYNE: You say so. Still think it’s gorram suicide.

Mal continues past Jayne, not slowing his pace.

MAL: That does seem to be our battlecry as of late. And since when did you become such a worrisome little... worrier. (turns down hall toward stairs)

JAYNE: (defensive) Ain’t worried. Just oversick o’ savin’ your ass when the go se hits the fan.

MAL: (descending fore stairs) I don’t pay ya to nap in yer bunk and eat my food. This line o’ work ain’t agreein’ with you no more, you can always take up needlepoint. (Jayne shoots him a look) For now I need ya to lay low and cover me if the... go se hits the fan.

JAYNE: Always do.

They reach the cargo bay deck. Jayne continues on to the rear of the bay. Mal stands in front of the airlock, taking a deep breath.

ZOE (VO intercom): Good luck, sir.

MAL (opening airlock): For a change.

The airlock slides open and the ramp lowers...


View up into Serenity's Cargo bay. Mal is framed by the large opening.


A bank of color monitors cover one wall. Three men sit at a long desk, two larger monitors resting before each man. A tall distinguished-looking man in uniform enters. His simple steel badge reads Montrose.

TECH ONE:(touches screen, picture zooms in on Mal exiting Serenity) New arrival on Platform Two, sir.

MONTROSE: Cleared with Control?

TECH ONE: Yes, sir. Ident checks out. Dip Cour with Level Three clearance. (Montrose's eyes widen) His was the distress signal we heard not long ago. Looks like he was picked up by a Firefly-class. Its ident markers have it tagged “Serendipity.”

MONTROSE: A Level Three? We don’t see many of those. I should meet him face to face and apologize for the manner in which he was rescued. Have Security hold him in the platform lobby til I get there.

TECH ONE: Sir, that violates Diplomatic Protocol. Level Three’s are allowed unobstructed...

MONTROSE: (holding up his hand) It will only be for a few moments.

Montrose exits as Tech One keys his desk top intercom.

Click to go to Ch. 33

Click to go back to Ch. 31


Sunday, December 17, 2006 3:02 PM


Uh oh, breaking with Diplomatic Protocol? Does this mean Montrose is suspicious? Gorramit, I need the next part up NOW! Can't wait to see what happens next, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, December 17, 2006 7:03 PM


Either Montrose is suspicious...or he figures that not apologizing to a 3rd level diplomatic courier could mean lots of problems later on and a minor violation of DipLaw is the lesser of two evils;)

Gotta agree with AMDOBELL more soon!


Monday, December 18, 2006 3:18 AM


You can smell it too right? That funky kinda stink that always preceeds a plan executed by anyone on Serenity?
Because I'm tellin' ya, it's putrid from where I'm sitting.

I can just feel this this plan wil have a rather upsetting hiccup-I mean come on, it Mal we're talking about here.

Can't wait to see it all unfold, it's gonna rock something hard, I know it.

Genius idea to stall 'Serendipity', but I'll bet Kaylee wasn't initially too fond of hurting her girl.

Bring on the next one!


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...