A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw - Ch. 45
Sunday, January 7, 2007

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

Gifts... of a sort...



Paul and the troops charge through the bay door. Paul leads the men across the expansive deck, past the occasional curious tech, up to the two troops roving around Serenity.

PAUL: There’s one more on board.

TROOP : We searched already. There ain’t nobody in there.

PAUL: I’m inclined to disagree. Let’s go.

Paul gestures for the four troops to climb the ramp ahead of him. He climbs the ramp, discreetly glancing around the hangar. The techs have returned to their work.


The four troops lazily enter the bay, weapons hanging loosely in their hands.

River drops on the two in the rear of the formation, ramming her elbows into the shoulder/neck juncture of each just before her feet touch the floor. As their bodies sag inward toward eachother, she cracks their heads together, their helmets clunking loudly.

River then cartwheels over them toward the other two troops who are just starting to turn around. As one brings his rifle to bear, River inside-crescent kicks it back toward the other soldier, the weapon going off and striking him in the chest. He catapults backward from the sonic round into a stack of crates. River follows through with a reverse roundhouse kick to the soldier’s chin. He spins away from the impact exposing his back. River then rams a two-step side kick into his lumbar spine, bending his back into a painful u-shape. He falls hard on his face and doesn’t move.

Paul steps up behind River who spins, ready to do battle. He holds up his hands in surrender.

PAUL: Beautifully executed.

RIVER (relieved): Sifu!

River grabs Paul in a hug.

PAUL (returning the hug gently): I can’t thank you enough, mei-mei. I owe you my soul. Now, we have one more rescue to execute.

RIVER: I know.

Paul and River quickly pick up the downed troops and carry them behind some crates.

PAUL (carrying a soldier fireman-style): I must admit, it’s a real privelege watching you perform what I’ve imparted, plus a few improvements, I'd say.

RIVER (dragging a troop like a sack of potatoes): I’m only glad you approve. (beat) You may not have realized it yet, but you actually did them a favor by impeding their escape attempt. Half the ship’s compliment would have come between them and Serenity.

PAUL: Fortunately my other side couldn’t help but show off a bit. Pobably saved their lives, though I'm certain they're less than grateful at the moment.

They stow the last unconscious soldier, remaining crouched behind the crates.

PAUL: I have a couple of things in my bunk we’ll need. Let’s go. Quiet as the shadows.

Paul and River creep along behind the crates and equipment, silent as ghosts.


River stands by the door, her eyes averted as she "listens." Paul digs deep in a trunk, carefully placing the contents to the side. He removes a long, thin plastic box and sets it on the bed. He then removes a shorter, wider container and sets it next to the first.

PAUL: I have a gift for you, nian qing day. (snaps open the longer case, removes four long, cylindrical objects) I forged them myself. (hands two to River) The handles are infused with shock-absorbant foam that conforms to your grip.

River accepts the metal escrima sticks tenderly. She hefts them a bit.

RIVER: They’re light as a feather. (takes one in each hand and begins to swing them about in a swift, tight pattern) They’re perfect, Sifu. Thank you.

PAUL: They’re yours. I made them with you in mind. (holds the other pair up) They shouldn’t let us down.

Paul sets his sticks on the bed and snaps open the other case. It contains several smaller metal objects, as well as a leather belt with several loops. He straps on the belt and starts removing the objects. They resemble Chinese throwing stars but are much thicker. A perfect sphere makes up their center, while the three outer prongs are supported on thick posts. The prongs themselves are pyramidal in shape.

Paul hands one to River who twirls it appreciatively.

RIVER: Impeccably balanced.

PAUL: Non-lethal, if used properly. But they’ll disarm or disable just about any opponent, even those wearing armor. I call them stingers. Then there’s this particularly useful attribute.

Paul pulls on a fingerless gautlet that covers his palm. He presses an invisible button on the wrist portion. He then picks up a stinger and flings it toward the wall. It strikes the wall, leaving a tiny round dent in the metal, then shoots back to Paul’s hand.

PAUL: Each one is magnetically attuned to the glove that throws it. When the prong stikes its target, the magnetism is activated, returning it to the glove.

RIVER: Creative.

Paul quickly tucks the stingers into his belt. He then digs around again in the trunk. He removes a sheathed short sword. The sheath is black and nondescript. Paul unsheaths the sword a couple of inches and holds it out for River to inspect.

PAUL: A sharpening sheath. The blade is as hard as man can make it. I’m not a huge proponent of killing, but if you have no other alternative... (hands the weapon to River) These weapons are yours. This all I have to give you, little one. I only wish they were less... violent gifts.

RIVER (tears welling): They’re beautiful, Sifu. And necessary, at the moment.

PAUL: I know you’re already aware of my plan. What do you think?

RIVER: I have the highest of hopes. (beat. Continues, voice distant while looking at Paul but also looking through him) You're struggling. He's defeated, but not destroyed. You have to concentrate to keep him repressed.

Paul nods.

PAUL: I imagine I always will. You gave me the strength, child, and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

Click to go to Ch. 46

Click to go back to Ch. 44


Sunday, January 7, 2007 9:38 AM


Ooh, so glad that Paul is fighting the programming to stop his evil self from spoiling the plan. Can't wait until the next chapter! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, January 8, 2007 2:30 PM


Wow....this was a beautifully-written action chapter, HeWhoKicksAlot! Got to especially give you props for River and Paul's minimal but powerful dialogue at the end:D



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