A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw - Ch. 47
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Student and Teacher... shoulder to shoulder...



Paul and River enter through the common area doorway, moving quietly. They re-check the four unconscious soldiers. Paul chooses the smallest one and flips him on his back, unclipping his flak vest. He holds it out to River.

PAUL: Here, mei-mei. No need to take unnecessary risks.

River accepts the vest slips it on. Paul helps her tighten it until it fits snugly. River moves her arms around, testing its reach.

RIVER: Good fit.

PAUL: You’re everything, little one. Without you, this is all for nothing. No matter what...

RIVER:...protect myself. I will. You too.

PAUL: I plan on it. Now, I’ll head aft...

RIVER: I’ll head forward.

Paul nods.

PAUL: The primary hangar doors are critical. Sealing them will drastically reduce the number of men you'll have to repel. Keep an eye on the maintenance entrances.

RIVER: I will.

PAUL: I have to report to my father before he gets suspicious.

RIVER (gaze shifted): Too late.

PAUL: Is it? Usually he’s more patient.

RIVER: It’s his second in command. He doesn’t want to take unnecessary risks, either. (squints uncertainly) And there's something else about him... Something uncertain...

PAUL: How many are coming?

RIVER (refocusing): Ten. They’re entering the aft entrance now.

PAUL: Well, let’s give them a proper greeting.


Gibson opens his mouth to say something to Mal when Jaxx steps up and whispers something in his ear. Gibson nods, his mouth taking a hard line.

GIBSON: We’ll talk later, Mr. Reynolds.

Gibson exits the Brig with Jaxx.

KAYLEE: Cap, what did he mean, "extract?"

MAL: You don’t wanna know, Kaylee.

JAYNE (groggily): What do we do now?

JAXX: You shut your mouth before I put a boot heel in it.

Jayne attempts to shoot the man a dirty look, but wavers and collapses on the cot.


Paul and River step into the center of the cargo bay, weapons tucked away, hands behind their backs. The ten troops cross the hangar at a moderate pace, weapons up and ready. Paul and River stroll forward, relaxed. Five of the troops jog up the ramp, weapons trained on River. The others encircle Serenity.

TROOP (to Paul): Sir, is everything all right?

PAUL: Everything’s fine. I was wondering if you gentlemen would mind stepping aside while this little girl and I take the Captain hostage and hijack the ship.

The troops pause, exchanging uncertain glances. When their eyes refocus on Paul and River, Paul has leapt forward and rammed a knee into one of their chests. River follows suit with a two step spinning back-kick to another’s abdomen. The men sail backward landing on their backs.

Paul drops and spins, sweeping another man off his feet, while River ducks a rifle swung at her head. She stands back up, grabbing the man’s rifle arm and yanking it in the direction of the fifth troop. The weapon fires, propelling the man backward into some crates. River then raises the man’s rifle arm, driving a side-kick into his ribcage. He folds as she kicks his legs from underneath him, dropping him on his back. Paul has finished off his man with a hard right to the head. The entire exchange lasts less than three seconds.

PAUL: Non-lethal measures, it would seem.

RIVER: Yes, it would.

River picks up two rifles, walks toward the cargo bay door. The remaining five troops have become aware of their colleagues’ fate and approach the ramp. River stops halfway down the ramp, reaching both arms out to the side. She fires, striking both troops approaching from port and starboard. River then brings the rifles to bear on the men in front of her, firing before the first two have hit the deck. They, too, catapult onto their backs.

River drops the rifle from her left hand, throwing herself into a left-handed cartwheel off the ramp. She pivots on her hand, aims and shoots the fifth troop as he runs along the port side of Serenity. River lands in a crouch, eyes and mind searching.

Paul walks down the ramp, escrima sticks strapped to his thighs.

PAUL: Let’s go.

River stands and turns toward the fore entrance. Paul reaches out and gently grips River’s arm.

PAUL: River, there won’t be brain-dead Reavers breaking down the door. These will be highly trained Strike Force soldiers. Please don’t underestimate them.

RIVER (placing her hand on Paul’s): I won’t, Sifu.

Paul releases River’s arm and they each sprint toward their assigned entrances. As Paul nears his door...

RIVER (VO mind): I win.

Paul smiles as he reaches the door and presses the panel. The door slides upward. Paul rolls under, slapping the panel on the other side. The door screeches to a halt and reverses, dropping and sealing tight. Paul punches a series of keys on the panel. It emits an unusual warble, then blinks red.

Paul turns and starts running down the hall.

Click to go to Ch. 48

Click to go back to Ch. 46


Wednesday, January 24, 2007 4:19 PM


Glad to see you back in action, Rob... Now just gotta catch up on my reading.
Keep on Kickin' it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007 5:55 PM


Ooh...that was just freaking cool! Very Matrix-y...but totally better at the same time;)


Wednesday, January 24, 2007 9:14 PM


Loved this, wish it was longer and can't wait to see what happens next. Hopefully River and Paul will rescue our Big Damn Heroes before Gibson gets round to extracting what he wants out of Mal's brainpan. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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