Nothing Ventured... - Ch. 3
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Just another face in the crowd...



Paul sits cross-legged at the edge of the roof, hands resting on his knees, eyes closed. A deep frown creases his features.

Slow zoom into close-up of his face. His eyes pop open as a yell is heard distantly off-screen. He almost appears to levitate to his feet from his sitting position. Paul cocks his head, ear turned toward the yell.

With a whip of his coat, he turns and sprints toward the far edge of the roof.

* * *


Mal walks about, looking closely at a few more devices. His face belies frustration.

MAL - Maybe you can help.

He turns to the old man, pulling a small object from his pocket. He holds it up for the man to see.

MAL - Think you have the tech’, matches this?

The old man gestures and Mal hands him the object. It looks like an advanced micro-cassette.

SHOPKEEPER - Ya know, I just might. Wait right here.

The old man steps through an open door behind the counter. We hear rummaging OS. Mal glances around as if at a loss.

SHOPKEEPER (VO) - A-ha! I knew it.

The Shopkeeper re-enters, a small tape-recorder in hand. He blows a bit of dust off it and hands it to Mal along with the tape.

Mal turns it over in his hands. He presses a button and the ejector panel pops open allowing Mal to easily slide the tape into the device. He looks closely at the recorder, then presses Play. The unmistakable sound of recorded silence emits from the little speaker. Mal grins and looks up at the Shopkeeper.

MAL - How much?

* * *


CU of Simon’s face, pressed firmly against a brick wall.

Pull away to see Troop #1 holding Simon’s left arm twisted up into his back while he pulls a pair of heavy metal handcuffs from another pouch on his belt. With a twitch of his hand, he jerks Simon’s arm, causing him to drop the small box.

CU of box. Slo-mo drop to the snow-covered ground.

SIMON - Sir, this really isn’t necess...

Troop #1 twists further on Simon’s arm, cutting off his statement as he grimaces. With a flick of his hand the first cuff is slapped onto Simon’s wrist. He roughly grabs the other hand and yanks it back, slapping on the other.

With a single motion, he jerks Simon around, slamming him back up against the wall.

TROOP #1 - Now, Doctor, where’re your troublesome shipmates?

Simon opens his mouth to speak, but then his eyes glance to his right and widen.

SIMON POV - River’s foot lashes out, kicking Troop #1 in the head. He falls to Simon’s left, letting him go. We see that the two troops guarding the alley lie unconscious at its opening, River’s heavy coat lying next to them. The five still standing attempt to raise their weapons as River wades into them.

River’s sweeping inside kick relieves the first troop of his rifle. She continues into a 360 degree spinning back fist that dislocates the man’s jaw. His helmet bounces off the wall as he falls to the ground.

River continues her spinning motion toward the next man, whose rifle is aimed directly at her. River leaps straight up, forcing him to track her motion. He fires wildly and misses as River’s legs snap out into a split, her booted feet gripping the brick walls. She remains suspended there for a second, allowing the men to draw a bead on her. They fire in unison as she drops, her foot lashing out at the nearest troop’s head. He stumbles back into his comrades.

River throws her entire body into a two-step side-kick that striking the same man in his chest plate. He is further forced back into his mates who are stumbling over the bags of refuse strewn about the alley.

River turns to her friends.

RIVER - Go! Now! (her eyes widen) Tzao gao.

One of the troops at the alley entrance has re-gained consciousness and is standing up. He grabs Kaylee by the hair and pulls her to him, his pistol against her head. Call him Troop #2.

TROOP #2 - One more twitch of those pretty little legs, and this wall gets a new paint-job

River freezes. The troops behind her scramble back to their feet, their faces red.

TROOP #2 (to Inara) - You, get over there.

Inara slowly complies, moving next to Simon and River. As she does so, a shadow flashes momentarily over the alley and is gone. Silence for a beat. The snow falls lazily.

* * *


Mal accepts a small paper bag from the Shopkeeper, nodding his thanks. He turns toward the door, then pauses. He turns back to the Shopkeeper.

MAL (uncomfortable) - I was wonderin’. Can you recommend any shop ‘round here what carries, um, pretties and such?

SHOPKEEPER - Ladies’ or Gents’... pretties?

MAL (caught off guard) - Ladies, ‘course.

The Shopkeeper smiles knowingly.

SHOPKEEPER - Well, then, gal name o’ Maxine has a nice little shop just down thataway. (points) Should maybe have what yer lookin’ for.

MAL - Much obliged, sir.

Mal exits the shop.

* * *


Paul crouches at the edge of the roof, his eyes locked on the scene below.

Slow Vertical Pan to see his crew being cuffed by the Alliance garrison. They are then led from the alley into the open street. The group turns left, one of the troops helping the still-dazed man to his feet.

River looks up at him for a brief instant and cocks an eyebrow. Paul nods almost imperceptibly.

* * *


The Alliance garrison leads Simon, Kaylee, Inara, and River down the street, all in handcuffs. Troop #2 still holds his pistol to Kaylee’s head. Two more Troops have their short-range rifles aimed at River. Inara and Simon are closely guarded by one Troop each, while the remaining four take up point and rear guard. One rear-guard Troop assists the other, who still appears dazed.

The townfolk start to take notice of the group, pointing and murmuring. Realization of who the captives are seems to dawn on some faces. We hear the occasional “River,” “Tams,” and “Miranda” in the rumblings.

The Alliance Troops look jumpy as the townfolk begin to converge on the group. Troop #1 hefts his weapon and holds up his hand.

TROOP #1 - Folks, ain’t nothin’ here worth troubling yourselves over. Just some fugitives in need of processing.

The crowd’s rumblings grow louder. Some people move in front of the lead Troops. Others start to form a loose circle around the entire group.

The Alliance men halt. Some begin to raise their weapons toward the on-coming crowd. Troop #1 raised hand tightens into a fist and the men lower their weapons, though their eyes still dart around with obvious concern.

TROOP #1 - People, it’s in your best interest to stay clear of this.

The crowd has pressed close to the group, some people coming within two or three feet. One particularly large man pushes close to Troop #1.

LARGE MAN - You can’t be arrestin’ those folks. Them there are heroes of the people for crap’s sake.

All eyes are focused on the Large Man. Swing view to rear guard Troops. A pair of hands snakes out from the crowd and bangs the men’s helmets together. In another instant, they’re dragged into the mass of people.

The Large Man is raising his hands into the air as he yells, egging on the crowd until the din is deafening.

The Troop guarding Inara glances back to where his comrades should be, eyes widening. As he opens his mouth to speak, a foot flashes from the crowd, cracking him square across the jaw. He falls half-way to the ground, only to be caught and dragged into the throng.

TROOP #1 - People, this is your final warning, back off!

Inara and Simon throw themselves into the Troop assigned to Simon, knocking him off his feet and into the crowd. The Troop disappears as well. When Inara and Simon right themselves, we see their cuffs have unhooked. They look at each other in amazement, then nod. They each tap one Troop ahead of them on the shoulder, forcing them to turn. Inara’s elbow catches one man in the cheek while Simon throws the biggest uppercut of his life into the other’s chin. Inara follows up with a knee to the Troop’s groin that crumbles him to the ground with a whimper. Both men are hauled into the crowd.

The crowd has pressed even closer. Troop #1 raises his rifle and fires a shot into the air. The din does not decrease.

A flash of a brown coat passes behind River and her cuffs fall to the snowy ground, the man disappearing back into the throng.

Kaylee’s guard (Troop #2) POV. A hand snaps into view and touches his pistol. His head jerks to the right to see who dared but sees nothing but angry faces. He looks forward to Troop #1, his fingers flexing around the grip of his pistol.

Troop #1 has gotten into a minor shoving match with the Large Man. The Troop pushes the man good and hard, forcing him back. Troop #1 takes aim at the Large Man...

A pair of hands reach from the crowd and pull the other point guard Troop into the mass. Troop #2 sees this and presses the pistol harder into Kaylee’s temple. She cringes, tears falling.

RIVER - You really should let her go.

Troop #2 spins, not letting go of Kaylee. His head and eyes jerk around in disbelief. River stands, flanked by Inara and Simon, her fists clenched. Her head is tilted down, but her eyes are still visible, boring hard into Troop #2.

Troop #1 glances over his shoulder, his eyes bugging. A leg snaps from the crowd near Troop #1, striking his rifle and sending it flying, one wild shot passing over the Large Man’s head. Paul steps into view, catching the spinning rifle as it drops. He thumbs the magazine release and ejects the chambered round, dropping the rifle.

As the rifle clatters to the snowy ground, the crowd goes eerily silent.

Troop #1’s face takes on a look of vehemence.

TROOP #1 - One more step...

PAUL (ice cold) And what? Your man over there will kill the girl? I don’t think so.

Kaylee whimpers, struggling uselessly against her cuffs.

TROOP #1 - I was gonna say riddle you.

Troop #2 snaps his pistol out, aiming at Paul. He pulls the trigger.

Nothing happens. He looks at the gun in astonishment.

CU of pistol. The safety is on.

Slow Motion - his thumb travels toward the safety catch.

With a scream of rage, Kaylee bites down on the inner part of Troop #2’s arm, an area not covered with armor plating. The man roars in pain, dropping the gun. Kaylee proceeds to stomp on his foot, elbow him in the face, then kick him in the groin. The man falls to the ground, Kaylee not letting up as she continues kicking him. The crowd cheers even as Simon steps forward and pulls Kaylee away, hugging her.

Troop #1 stares at Paul. Paul cocks a grin at him.

Click to go to Ch. 4

Click to go back to Ch. 2


Wednesday, June 20, 2007 2:58 PM


Well now, that action sequence just went by as slick as spit, as Kaylee would say. And I like that everyone on the crew got to participate in their adventure. Can't wait to see what Mal does in a shop full of pretties! Keep it coming!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 5:26 PM


Great, up till Kaylee attacking the guy. Sorry, I just can't see her doing that, no matter what. Well, maybe not no matter, but he wasn't threatening Serenity, so no, I can't see it.

Other than that, very enjoyable, and that's easily overlooked amongst the great writing here!


Wednesday, June 20, 2007 11:08 PM


What made this so terrific was our heroes having the backing of the crowd, so nice to see that they aren't alone and even better to have those gorram purplebellies on the losing side for once. But what did Simon drop? Ali D :~)
Youc an't take the sky from me

Thursday, June 21, 2007 4:20 AM


That was SWEET! I don't think I want to know what happened to those troopers...Now, unless our crew can slip away (which don't look likely,) they're going to be held up by some shindig or other that the locals throw in their honor.
I also like that Inara and Simon got some play. While they're not the type to charge a fully-armed squad of Feds head on, as River does (Which was VERY cool,) they certainly would resort to violence to help their also shows how Simon is becoming Rim-ized.
Great story, as ever, and I look forward to catching up with this when I get back!


Thursday, June 21, 2007 6:54 AM


Mal's first purchase has created more questions than answers. Once again, I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the next installment.

Thursday, June 21, 2007 1:05 PM


Cool. Loving this story. Can't wait for the next part.

Sunday, June 24, 2007 6:48 PM


I dunno, jondesu...Kaylee is capable of violence, but very infrequently and only when having someone shove a gun barrel to one's head and make threats. 'Sides...after Early, I imagine Kaylee not taking as much crap from people using physical force to create an advantage.

Still...this was a brilliant peice of writing here, HeWhoKicksAlot! The action was all kinds of superbly paced and crafted, the humorous moment between Mal and the shopkeeper was great and I can't wait for more;D


Thursday, July 5, 2007 5:24 PM


Yes, I am behind! What I liked best here was the way you wrote River, when she swept in to save Simon. Super visuals. I like also the contrast between the street action and Mal in the shop - I could almost hear the editing, if you know what I mean.


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Nothing Ventured... - Ch. 4
A continuation of a screenplay I started many years ago, taking place shortly after "A Mighty Thorn In a Mighty Paw."

I can't believe how long it's been since I worked on this little endeavor. I hope there are still a few Browncoats out there interested in my work.

And if anyone can help me with the formatting, that would be great. My shortcuts no longer work, I see...

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