A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw - Ch. 52
Sunday, February 4, 2007

One final Echo...

Here's a key to assist those who aren't versed in cinematograpy lingo and acronyms.

EXT. - External Camera shot

INT. - Internal Camera shot

CU - Close Up (those close shots where you can count the character's pores)

POV - Point of View (you see what the character sees)

SM - Slow Motion (speaks for itself)

NS - Normal Speed (ditto)

Pan - to move the camera laterally left or right

VO - Voice-over (Character can be heard, but not seen)



Overhead shot of rear of Cargo Bay, the sound of metal-on-metal repeatedly ringing throughout the bay. Pan over to see River and Echo One battling viciously, their movements crisp and deadly, the tide of battle appearing even for several beats.

Echo One snaps out a low front kick at River's shin. She shifts her leg only two inches to dodge it, then brings her sword up in her left hand to block the vicious overhead swing of his baton. With a swirling motion of her short sword, River guides the baton out to her left side (Echo One's right) and follows through with a whistling right roundhouse kick to his blond head. Echo One stumbles a beat, then attacks again, this time stabbing the end of the baton straight at River's face.

Using her empty right hand, River deflects the baton around her head, spinning into the deflection with her entire body, slamming the butt of her sword into Echo One's head. It strikes him in the same spot just kicked. River finishes the spin with a low roundhouse kick to the rear of Echo One's knees, taking them out from under him.

River steps back, sword at the ready.

RIVER: You might want to re-think your strategy.

ECHO ONE (slowly standing, in obvious pain): Even if you win this battle, where do you think you'll go? You'll never get off this ship.

RIVER: Let me worry about that.

Echo One swings at River’s head. His baton is blocked, and he swifly drops into a crouch, swinging at River’s knees. With a flick of her feet, River leaps over the baton, leaning her body toward Echo one and slamming the butt of her sword onto the top of his head. She continues into a forward flip, landing gracefully on the other side.

Echo One starts to stand, but stumbles, taking a knee. River stands, her back to Echo One, sword hanging by her side.


Madsen marches purposefully down the hall, drawing a pistol from its holster. He checks the clip and chambers a round. He rounds a corner to find Bravo Team just coming to. He bolts to the Brig entrance, opening the door to find Kayner attempting to stand on his bad leg and the Interrogator lying unconscious, a trickle of blood creeping from his head wound. All of the cell doors stand open.

With a rueful smile and a shake of his head, Madsen turns from the Brig entrance and jogs down the hall.


Serenity’s crew moves quickly and quietly, Paul and Mal in the lead, Jayne taking up the rear guard.

Paul gestures for them to halt and fan out. As they stop, the sound of jogging boots can be heard. Paul gestures for them to hold, then opens a door near the corner, allowing it to close three quarters of the way.

Charlie Team rounds the corner, awkwardly halting, yelling for the crew to drop their weapons. Serenity's crew appears to comply...

Paul appears behind Charlie Team, wading into the them with his escrima sticks, rapidly striking knees and necks. The team is disabled in under two seconds, Paul standing in the middle of their unconscious forms. He winks at the crew and gestures for them to follow again.


Captain Gibson slams his hand down on a nearby console.

TECH: No response from Charlie Team, sir.

GIBSON: I want that hangar locked down.

TECH: I’m still attempting to gain control of Hangar access, sir. I haven’t been able to break the encryption.

GIBSON: That is your only priority, son. I want that hangar sealed by OUR hand. Even the secondary access points.

The tech nods as he works.


CU Still shot of a water horizontal water droplet. SM track left to another droplet an inch away. Continue track to CU of River’s eyes. We see the droplets are tears. Pull away to see tears arcing from her eyes.

NS - River continues a graceful aerial back spin, her sword extending from her right hand. The blade whistles toward Echo One’s neck.

It halts a centimeter from his external jugular. He remains on one knee, still facing away from River.

ECHO ONE (weakly, not turning around): Am I supposed to be grateful?

RIVER: You know you are. Just like the first time. Even a little regretful now, it would seem.

River cracks her elbow into the base of his neck. He crumbles to the deck.

River sheaths her sword and begins to drag Echo One toward the airlock.


Paul leads the crew down the hall at a fast jog.

CU - Paul’s eyes.

PAUL (VO Mind): RIVER! River, we’re close.

RIVER (VO Mind): I know. I’ll be ready. Be careful. Your father’s sentiment is waning.

PAUL (VO Mind): I gathered that.

Paul reaches the large hangar door, quickly punching an intricate series of buttons on the panel. The flashing red stops, replaced by a green light. The large door begins to rise. Paul gestures for the crew to start under the door while it’s only a foot open. Zoe crawls under first, quickly checking for the enemy. Kaylee enters second with Mal giving her a helpful shove. Inara ducks under, Jayne and Simon in the rear. Paul steps through with one last look down the hall, punching in another elaborate code on the inside panel. The door slowly begins to descend.

Paul grabs Jayne by the arm and turns to the right, yanking open a large cabinet. He removes three semi-bulky suits and shoves them into Jayne’s arms. Simon accepts two. Paul drapes two more over his shoulder, slamming the cabinet closed. Focus on the Radiation Warning symbol on the cabinet door.

The crew heads directly toward Serenity, Paul and Jayne alternately watching the hangar door close. They’re twenty yards away when it emits a loud clang and halts its descent.

PAUL: Zoe! (she turns) Take these. Everyone, put them on as soon as you’re on board.

As he says this, Serenity’s ramp begins to lower.

River rides the ramp down into view, a pile of unconscious Alliance troops piled behind her. She grins happily at the returning crew. Simon runs up to her, dropping the suits and grabbing River in a hug. She looks over his shoulder and makes eye contact with Paul. He gives her a wink and a small smile, then turns back to the hangar entrance.

The crew starts to pull on the radiation suits with confused looks. River hops into one, then runs up the fore/starboard stairs. Once Jayne and Simon have their’s on, they begin to offload the troops. Jayne makes use of a large dolly nearby, unceremoniously dumping the men on it.

Mal zips up his suit, about to hit the panel to raise the ramp when he notices that Paul and Simon are still on the hangar deck, loading the five men River stunned earlier onto the dolly.

MAL: Doc, get yer pee-goo on this boat.

Simon dumps one more man on the dolly, then stops to look at Paul. Paul jerks his head toward the ship. Simon nods and jogs up the ramp.

MAL: Seafood?

Paul meets Mal's gaze.

PAUL: Help River get her ready for takeoff, Captain. (beat, more quietly) Maybe we’ll meet again sometime.

Mal steps down the ramp.

MAL: Ain’t no good gonna come from you stayin’ here.

PAUL: Perhaps a little. The bay doors won't open on their own and Serenity will be the ace in the hole to make sure that happens. Trust me, Captain, and trust River. Now, go. Please.

Mal shakes Paul’s hand firmly, their eyes locked. Without a word, Mal ascends the ramp and raises it. Jayne stands behind the ramp. His eyes lock with Paul's. Jayne nods once, then turns away.

Paul maneuvers the dolly toward the hangar entrance. As he approaches it, Madsen ducks under the halted door, pistol in hand. He aims the gun at Paul and approaches carefully.

Serenity can be heard warming up.

MADSEN: Nice work, sifu. You very nearly succeeded.

PAUL: I still see that as tangible.

MADSEN: How can you consider their mission a success without... this?

Madsen removes the vacuum-sealed device and disc from his back pocket.

Click to go to Ch. 53

Click to go back to Ch. 51


Sunday, February 4, 2007 2:15 PM


Uh oh, if it is not one thing it is another. I hope Paul manages to get Serenity away and in the clear and finds a way to survive his own self. I really don't like his evil scheming father one little bit. Fight scenes were awesome once again! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, February 4, 2007 5:21 PM


Again, incredible! I'm wondering how Paul could take down Charlie team that quickly, even though he's expertly trained. And how come he communicates with River in a way that nobody else does? (Not even Echo Leader) Maybe he's a psychic to some extent? Madsen didn't stop to take care of his crew, which shows what kind of an officer he is (the baaad kind!) And exactly what is that little box? Is it some sort of hacking module, or could it somehow cataclysmically take out the Paladin (and this was all planned.) Hey, I can dream. But then Paul wouldn't be staying on the ship...

I liked the samurai-style finish, and I also like how River cries at having to hurt her friend/enemy. It reminds me of Ender's Game, where he begins to love that which he then destroys. Being a psychic, she knows a lot about who she fights against, and at one time there was a whole lot of love inside River Tam. Then the Alliance turned it into a whole lot of kickbutt-ness, but first there was love. (There still is, obviously.)
Keep it up, HeWhoKicksAlot!


Sunday, February 4, 2007 11:08 PM


Wow. After much (appreciated) ass kicking and neck snapping, things finally start to look up. Then it all goes to hell in a handbasket shaped like a sealed bag with a device and disc in it. Bugger.

And, obviously, yay. Hijinks continue!

Monday, February 5, 2007 9:49 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER thinks the whole "BDHs need radiation suits" strikes me as a big clue as to what Paul is gonna have to do to allow Serenity to escape:(

And I gotta give you props once again, HeWhoKicksAlot...the River vs. Echo One fight scene? Brilliantly written, especially the moment where River's almost about to decapitate Echo One. Though my knowledge of cinematography is kinda certain acronyms for shots or angles went over my head;)



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