A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw - Ch. 50
Thursday, February 1, 2007

Just throwing more men in the way...



Mal sits on the edge of his cot, looking more coherent than before. He stands gingerly, walking slowly toward the cell door. Jaxx snaps to attention, raising his weapon slightly. Kayner's hands also adjust their grip on his rifle.

Mal holds up his hands in surrender.

MAL: Just lookin’ to get the blood flowin’, son. I got no bluster left in me.

JAXX: Let’s keep it that way.


Four members of Bravo Team are spread out in both directions down the hall, closely guarding both corners.


Bravo One enters the Brig and steps close to Jaxx, saying something too soft for the prisoners to hear. Jaxx adjusts his grip on his rifle and scowls. He follows Bravo One out the door, leaving Serenity’s crew with curious looks at Kayner, who turns to face the door as well, weapon at the ready.

JAYNE: What’s goin’ on?

KAYNER: Seems your pal is hell-bent on gettin’ himself killed.

Most of the crew furrows their brow at the comment.


The cargo bay is eerily bathed in a red glow, more shadows than light.

Echo One descends fore/starboard stairs to the catwalk, slowly walking along the starboard side with Echo Two following. They split up at the cross-catwalk, Echo One holding while Echo Two crosses to check the port catwalk. Echo Three descends to the main deck.

Echoes Four through Six creep in from the rear entrance, immediately fanning out. They snake between the crates, checking all corners.

A loud clang and hum breaks the quiet, yanking the Echoes’ heads toward the center of the cargo bay. The floor is splitting, revealing the second set of doors beneath. The Echoes slowly creep in that direction...

BOOM! Five flash bangs erupt from within the void now exposed beneath the doors. Echo Team roars in pain, hands shooting to their helmets to deactivate their night vision.

River appears behind Echo Two, kneeing him in the lower back and using that momentum to tip him over the railing on top of Echo Four, relieving him of his rifle as she does so. She turns and fires down at Echoes Five and Six, the sonic rounds sending them spinning to the floor.

River cartwheels to her left along the catwalk, dodging the stun darts that spark off the wall, fired by Echo One who has recuperated enough to find a target. In the midst of her cartwheel, River fires at Echo Three below who is standing by the airlock. The stun round tosses him back into the airlock door.

River ducks into the short access hall leading into Shuttle Two. Another dart ricochets off the hull near her head. She presses herself against the wall, her face serene.


An escrima stick rebounds off the wall near Bravos Two and Three, their eyes following it for a beat. Paul springs around the corner a half-second later, stopping between the men. They turn their gaze back and see him, both men raising their rifles and firing. Paul tilts his body backward, the rounds passing by him and striking the troop opposite. Paul grabs Bravo Two and pulls his falling body between himself and Bravos One and Four as they open up. The unconscious troops body absorbs the stun darts.

Paul swipes a stinger from his belt and whips it at Bravo Four from behind Bravo Two. It strikes the man between the eyes, just beneath his helmet. His head snaps back and his feet fly out from beneath him. The stinger returns to Paul’s hand.

JAXX: Sonic rounds, now!


The tech turns to Captain Gibson.

TECH: Sir, Bravo Team has made contact. Bravos Two, Three, and Four are already down.

Gibson smiles a grimly.

CAPT. GIBSON: Intercom? (Tech nods) Paul.


Paul has ducked back around the corner, holding one Bravo’s rifle.

CAPT. GIBSON (VO Intercom): Paul.

Paul’s faces twitches as he hears his name, but he continues, peeking around the corner.

CAPT. GIBSON (VO Intercom): Paul, this is a mistake. You’re throwing away a life truly worth living.

PAUL (checking rifle): Living in a constant adolescent rage, tethered to a so-called father who’d rather progam his son to kill than let him live in peace. I’m throwing away nothing whatsoever worth having.

CAPT. GIBSON (VO Intercom): Son, to quote your very words, do not force my hand.

PAUL: Seems I already have.

Paul dives around the corner, firing a barrage of sonic rounds, somersaulting on the floor behind the opposite corner. Bravo Five is blasted back by one of the rounds. Bravo One and Jaxx retreat behind their corner. They’re both crouching, backs to the wall.

JAXX: This guy’s a real pain in the pee-goo. Where the gui’s Charlie Team?

BRAVO ONE: On the way.

Bravo One glances around the corner. Paul is now standing immediately around it. He cracks his rifle barrel across Bravo One’s jaw, sending him to the floor in a heap. Jaxx brings his rifle around, attempting to aim it at Paul. Paul swings his own rifle into Jaxx's, jarring it from his grip. He quickly follows up with a side kick to the troop’s chest. Jaxx falters, but doesn’t fall. He steps right up to Paul, throwing several crisp, tight punches at Paul’s head. Paul deftly blocks each, throwing a low roundhouse kick into the troop’s right inner thigh. Jaxx turns his body instinctively to the right, exposing his face as his hands drop. Paul swings a vicious left ridge hand into his nose, tossing him onto his back. He holds his face in agony.

Paul jogs back down the hall and retrieves a plain canvas satchel from around the corner, slinging it over his shoulder and returning to the Brig entrance, picking up his escrima stick on the way. He activates the panel to open the door, remaining out of sight for a beat.


KAYNER (uncertain): Hello?

A hand flashes into view around the doorframe, an escrima stick whipping from its grip. The stick cracks Kayner on the kneecap, causing him to bellow in pain. Paul follows up by kicking the troop’s good leg from underneath him, landing him hard on his back. Paul then kicks his rifle from his grip. Kayner rolls on floor, gripping his wrecked knee, whimpering.

The crew jump up from their cots, watching the scene with obvious surprise.

Paul stands over Kayner.

PAUL (politely): The codes to open...

KAYLEE (excited, helpful): Just punch in the cell number three times.

PAUL (smiling): Thank you, little one.

Jayne grips the bars like a caged animal. Zoe and Simon watch with obvious suspicion. Mal watches with curiosity.

Paul presses the keys, releasing Jayne first. Jayne bursts from the cell, marches up to Paul and slugs him. Paul takes the punch, turning his head and absorbing the blow. He turns back to face Jayne.

PAUL (unfazed): Feel better?

JAYNE: Gettin’ there.

PAUL: Good. Now, if you don’t mind...

Paul punches the codes and releases the rest of the crew. They cautiously step forward, all except Kaylee. She bounds out of the cell and hugs Paul.

KAYLEE: I knew you weren’t no purple-belly turncoat.

PAUL: It’s a bit of tale, for sure. For now, we need to get you back to Serenity. Here... (holds up the satchel) are some gifts.

As they all head for the exit, Paul reaches into the satchel and removes Mal’s Taurus revolver. Mal’s eyes light up like a kid at Christmas.

The Brig entrance slides open. The Interrogator stands before them, hands clasped behind his back, the picture of calm.

Click to go back to Ch. 51

Click to go back to Ch. 49


Thursday, February 1, 2007 9:04 PM


Ooh...that ending doesn't bode welll:(

Still...this chapter rocked massively! Between River's 6-on-1 fight in Serenity's cargo bay and Paul's Bravo Team asswhooping, the action level is sky high!


P.S. Decided to leave the manufacturer of Mal's sidearm as is, eh? Interesting choice, since Taurus Arms only seems to make either snubbies (which is what the gun really is...a disgused Taurus 85) or big-ass hand cannons;D

Friday, February 2, 2007 12:12 AM


Oh Wow this piece rocks, very visual writing style that so suits the action. Flows very well. The appearance of the Interrogator at the end is chilling though. Can't wait for the next part! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, February 2, 2007 4:58 PM



The Interrogator's entrance reminds me a bit of Darth Vader at Cloud City. I hope Mal just shoots him in the face. Where did River get five flashbangs? Oh. Off the out-of-commission troopers. I got it. It seems like the Paladin has a lot more fight left in it, and they're still above the Alliance facility, I believe. But I don't think they'd us the base to broadwave for back up, being the pride of the fleet and all.

This chapter's coolness factor: Omega Twelve.


Sunday, February 4, 2007 10:52 PM



Genius. Pure, kickass genius.

Something tells me that the Interrogator is much more of a match than anyone Paul has yet faced.


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