A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw - Ch. 36
Saturday, December 23, 2006

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

Time to run... slowly...



Zoe sits at the pilot’s console, River and Jayne behind her. Their eyes are locked on the screen before River. Smith’s face fills it.

SMITH: Serendipity, you are ordered to depart immediately.

ZOE: Serendipity here. We read you, sir. I’m pretty sure our repairs are complete...

SMITH: Completed or not, it is imperative you lift off within the next sixty seconds and head due north.

ZOE: Not a problem, sir. Serendipity out. (kills the wave

JAYNE: Shiny. They want us off their pretty little dock so’s they can blow us outta the sky.

ZOE: Somethin’ tells me if there’s any way they want us, it’s in one piece. Otherwise they wouldn’t have ordered us away from the ship. (rises from seat, River sits down) River, take off, but slow and deliberate. (ironically) Remember, we’re still under repair. I want to get a better read on these happenings.

River presses some buttons and maneuvers the yoke.

JAYNE: What’s happenin’ is that death machine is vectorin’ in on us right this gorram second.

ZOE: (thoughtfully) Lot o’ firepower to squash one lowly transport.

RIVER: I felt no ill will while we were docked, only... contempt.

ZOE: (deadpan) Shocking. Have you gotten a line on their comms yet?

RIVER: Almost.

River continues maneuvering with one hand, typing away with the other, her eyes darting between the windshield and console.

JAYNE: Looks like Mal’s thumbin’.

Zoe shoots him a look.


Mal stares at Powell for a beat. The alarm is still sounding. Powell appears calm as he glances at one of his computer screens.

POWELL: This is an interesting turn of events.

MAL: I would say so. Change o’ heart?

POWELL: Actually, no. The alarm signals a lockdown drill. Now that the infamous Reavers can no longer be written off as myth, the powers-that-be have taken to running the occasional safety check. Gives all of us lowly peasants a feeling of security, knowing that everything is being done to protect us from the “latest threat.”

MAL: Lockdown?

POWELL: All exterior entry points sealed and locked, even the windows. All ships sent packing.

Mal’s face reveals his surprise.

MAL: How long?

POWELL: Roughly thirty minutes. They’ll attempt to infiltrate, then do a performance review afterward. I guess you get to enjoy some more Alliance hospitality.

MAL: Had about enough, thanks.

POWELL: Not much in the way of choice right now. You may rouse suspicion if you stay in here much longer so you might as well get cleaned up.

Mal stands dumbfounded for a beat, then shrugs and nods. He turns to exit, then stops at the door, looking back at Powell.

MAL: Our mutual friend mentioned “sizeable changes.” Care to elaborate?

POWELL: Let’s just say that comm. traffic is about to become a bit more saturated.

Mal cocks an eyebrow, but appears to accept the answer.

MAL: Thanks for yer business.

Powell nods, his attention back on the device in his hands. Mal steps to the door and it slides open.

Guards One and Two stand outside, hands clasped behind their backs. Mal allows the door to close behind himself.

MAL: Gentlemen.

GUARD #ONE: Sir, our Director instructed us to escort you to the guest washroom. He didn’t want you to become disoriented, what with the drill and all.

MAL: (stepping between the men) I take it my ride has been sent away, if what Mr. Powell said is correct.

GUARD #TWO: (turning to lead the way) Fortunately. I’m sure the Director can set you up with more adequate transportation.

Mal’s jaw tightens, but he remains silent as he walks with the guards back to the lift.


The Sihnon landscape is visible on the viewscreen passing several thousand feet below. Targeting graphics are overlayed on the center screen, indicating a target over the horizon.

Madsen stands next to the Captain, his face displaying contempt.

MADSEN: This approach vector is so direct, it’s insulting.

CAPTAIN: Insulting as it may be, this is how the... others maneuver in on their raids. Considering the volume of destruction they wrecked on our fleet, we need to be sure our facilites are secure. Every year they creep a little closer.

MADSEN: (disdainfully) We’d repel them long before they reached this far. The Paladin alone could take on more than half the fleet.

CAPTAIN: Arrogance will leave you adrift, Madsen. Remember that when you’re underestimating a foe.

A tech at a nearby console turns toward them.

TECH: Comm. Plex Nine coming into range, sir.

CAPTAIN: Very good. Run the sweep.

The tech touches his screen, causing it to emit some low beeps. A detailed image of the Comm. Plex appears on the main screen. Several small red boxes appear on various sections, blinking rapidly.

TECH: All entrances and windows are sealed. Blast shields raised and locked down.

CAPTAIN: They’ve improved their response time dramatically.

TECH: I’m reading a mid-bulk transport departing the facility, Firefly-class, bearing 010 degrees.

MADSEN: Ordered off-site the moment the alarm was sounded. Standard protocol for these so-called drills. (turns to the Captain) We should target the ship for just a moment, sir. Show the higher-ups what a bad idea it is to try ‘n run.

CAPTAIN: What little information we have on those... animals indicates their ships are incredibly fast. But we’re here to test the facility’s integrity, not some throwback POG that can hardly outrun it’s own exhaust.

A few chuckles arise from the techs. Madsen grins with malicious delight. One baby-faced tech leans toward his neighbor and mouths “POG?”

TECH: Piece of go-se, Greenie.

CAPTAIN: Once we’ve reached the Plex, have the usual teams rappel down and attempt infiltration.

MADSEN: Yes, sir.


Serenity clears the northernmost end of the Comm. Plex and tilts slightly skyward.

View swings to see Paladin clear the horizon to the south looking immense and dangerous.

Click to go to Ch. 37

Click to go back to Ch. 35


Saturday, December 23, 2006 6:47 AM


Oooh, so enjoying this and while I understand your reasoning about the shortness of each section it is gorram frustrating because I want MORE and I want it NOW! Okay, enough of the gatuitous begging. Can't wait to see what happens next. This is so shiny, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 1:43 PM


Damn it! You can't keep leaving us hanging like this! One can only handle so much tension!




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