A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw - Ch. 38
Wednesday, December 27, 2006

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

Hitching a ride...



Follow Paul and Simon as they climb the stairs to the aft hall. There they intercept Kaylee coming forward from the engine room.

KAYLEE: (worried) Are we goin’ back for the Cap’n? If they catch ‘im...

SIMON: (feigning confidence) His cover is very good. I’m sure he’ll be fine.

Paul eyes Simon for a second, then smiles and shakes his head. He walks a few steps ahead of Simon and Kaylee.

KAYLEE: Still, feels like we threw ‘im to the wolves.

Follow the trio as they walk through the Dining area. They meet up with Inara as she enters the fore passage from the stair hallway.

INARA: What’s going on?

Simon and Kaylee shrug. Follow them as they ascend the few stairs to the Bridge.

Jayne leans against the back wall, arms crossed, grim-faced. River sits at the helm while Zoe stands between the consoles.

Paul takes a look at the scope to see the Srike Teams attacking the Comm. Plex. He frowns.

PAUL: May I ask what’s happened so far.

ZOE: Definitely. I’m open to your input especially. (beat. Zoe leans heavily on a console) Cap’n’s infiltration appears to have been successful. Kaylee and River did a fine job of faking a breakdown to help us stall til the delivery was completed. Not long after we landed, that warship entered orbit, then broke atmo. We were then politely ordered to depart.

SIMON: By whom, the ship or the Comm. Plex?

ZOE: The Comm. Plex. From the looks of things, that ship wasn’t tracking us after all. It seems they’re testing the vulnerability of the station.

INARA: So, we’ve stepped into a very troubling coincidence.

ZOE: To say the least, though I still have a hard time believing this is just happenstance.

PAUL: I’m assuming there’s been no word from Mal.

ZOE: Nothing yet. If there’s a way, I’m sure he’ll find it. For now, we need to come up with some kind of plan. I’m open to ideas.

KAYLEE: Should we fake another breakdown, ya know, after the ship leaves? Ask ‘em let us land again.

ZOE: That would be pushing it. Got the feeling we overstayed our welcome the first time ‘round. (to River) Do we still have an ear on their comms?

River nods.

PAUL: (eyebrows rise) Impressive work, River.

2OE: We’ll continue eavesdropping. An opening should present itself.

RIVER: (reaching to the console and increasing the volume) I’ve heard nothing but chatter between the ground forces and their superiors.

VO RADIO #1: Firing EM anchors.

VO RADIO #2: Copy. Standing by.

A loud clang, then a deep hum resonates over the channel.

VO RADIO #2: Anchors ineffective.

VO RADIO #1: Copy, Sargeant. Disengage. Repeat, disengage. Operation complete. Return to the ship.

VO RADIO #2: Copy, Command. Disengaging.

SIMON: By the book.

PAUL: They always are.


Mal stands at a small bar, glass in hand, apparently in a daze.

A thin slice of light appears at the bottom of a nearby window, growing larger as the armor outside it rises. This startles Mal from his reverie. The armor rises clear of the window, revealing the Paladin hovering over the station.

Mal’s eyes widen considerably. He glances around the room to see other surprised faces staring out the window.

Guard One enters and approaches Mal.

GUARD #ONE: The Director instructed me to escort you to Control to discuss with the Paladin their next destination. He understands your work is classified, but there’s no talking him out of helping it seems.

MAL: It would be foolish for me to allow foolish pride to hamstring me here. Let’s see what can be worked out.

Mal follows the guard from the lounge, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath behind the man’s back.


Montrose stands in the center of a large room filled with state-of-the-art communication and monitoring equipment manned by fourteen techs.

One large viewscreen covers the forewall framing the form of the Paladin’s Captain.

CAPTAIN: Your facility passed the inspection flawlessly, Director.

MONTROSE: Thank you, Captain. We’ve made every improvement we could. Are you departing immediately?

CAPTAIN: That’s affirmative. We’re to report to Londinium for a bit of well-deserved shore leave.

MONTROSE: Ah, excellent. I was wondering if I could ask a small favor.

CAPTAIN: Go ahead.

MONTROSE: A Level Three Diplomatic Courier crashed his transport not far from our facility. He secured transport here, but now I would like to help him get to his next destination. If it’s not too much of an imposition...

CAPTAIN: None at all. Where’s he headed?

MONTROSE: He should be on his way here... (looks over to the door and sees Mal) I wanted him to be able to talk to you himself, so that security could be maintained. (he gestures for Mal to step up next to him)


The crew still crowds the Bridge, listening intently to the speaker.

MONTROSE (VO radio): that security could be maintained.

ZOE: (smiling down at River) Child, you are a gift from the heavens.

River smiles back, shyly.

CAPTAIN (VO radio): Stand by for ident scan. (beat) Thank you. Give us one moment... (beat) Ident. confirmed. Please make yourself available on Platform Three. Once on board, we can discuss your next location.

JAYNE: That was way too easy.

SIMON: The Captain’s identity seems to be working quite well.

MAL (VO radio): Many thanks, Captain.

Zoe turns to face the crew.

ZOE: Looks like we’re headed to Londinium.

INARA: Let’s just hope he can break free from his “diplomatic” trappings once he’s there.


Mal is being escorted by Montrose and Guard #One.

MONTROSE: I’m so glad we could secure you transport on a safe, reliable vessel. Please be more careful in the future.

MAL: I plan on it. And thanks again for the hospitality.

All three men enter the lift.

MONTROSE: I’m only glad your delivery occurred uncompromised, if not uneventfully.

MAL: Apparently I need to spend a bit more time in the simulator working on my approach.

Montrose laughs heartily.

The lift doors open. Follow the men through platform lobby and out to...


The Paladin rumbles overhead, casting a shadow over most of the Comm. Plex. A round platform two meters wide lowers via anti-grav field to the deck. Mal shakes hands with Montrose then walks to the platform. He tentatively steps aboard and is smoothly lifted into the belly of the Paladin.

Click to go to Ch. 39

Click to go back to Ch. 37


Thursday, December 28, 2006 7:35 AM


Oooh, am I the only one getting a prickly feeling at the back of my neck? While everybody seems really hospitable towards Mal it is really creepifying. I liked Kaylee's comment that it felt like they were throwing the Captain to the wolves and then Simon trying to reassure her but sounding like he didn't care was a mite unsettling though not surprising given the times the two have clashed heads. I hope the Alliance don't get any fancy ideas about Serenity. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, December 29, 2006 12:19 PM


Ya know...this was brilliant work, but the last scene with Mal's entrance into the Paladin? Struck me as a misstep, mainly in the fact that anti-grav lifts are more the domain of "Halo" or "Star Trek"...

Still...definitely loving the tension and interpersonal moments contained here;)



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