Saturday, September 16, 2006

Zoe demands an explanation from Jazmine. Jazmine asks who this Inara person is. Cocoa is drunk and cookies are snagged. The plot advances.


Disclaimer: All characters property of Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Except the ones I made up. I’m not getting any coin. Read at your peril.


Scene 1: (Bridge)

MAL: It all sounds good, but I think I’ve found a flaw in your plan. Isn’t the Alliance gonna notice if there’s a whole lot of sudden extraneous traffic out rim ways? JAZ: Good point. Already thought of that, though. Last year or so there’s been a call put out for settlers on several smaller uninhabited planets and moons. Right now an asteroid with a stable orbit’s fair game. Add to that the immigration rate to settled places and a steady birth rate and you’ve got your excuse. MAL: A year still seems kind of sudden like. JAZ: That’s why we started out all subtle nigh on four years ago. We were hoping to be sneaky for another decade. Didn’t quite get that wish. MAL: No such thing as too much time to prepare in my experience. JAZ: Tell me about it. MAL: River ‘fessed up about reading you on all this you know. JAZ: She can still sit? MAL: (laughs). Don’t think turning her over my knee didn’t come to mind. Seems to think you’re up to good and isn’t sorry much. I reminded her that a captain needs to keep abreast of things. JAZ: So did you pee on a post to let her know who’s boss? MAL: No, but if you think it’d help I’ll try it. JAZ: You’d just encourage Jayne. Better stick to bellerin’. MAL: MY SHIP!! MINE! JAZ: (snaps to attention... marginally) Aye, Sir! MAL: Don’t you forget it woman. (Pulls her in for a kiss) JAZ: This beats a flogging any day. ZOE: (enters) Don’t you have a bunk? Two if I recall? MAL: Have to maintain discipline somehow. ZOE: If you can spare your cook? I’ve been meaning to have a talk with her. MAL: (to Jaz) Now? JAZ: Now. (They separate) MAL: Whatever you’ve got to say can be discussed in front of me. ZOE: Hemorrhoids, Sir? MAL: Or you could chat in private. (moves to exit) ZOE: Sit down Sir, it concerns you. JAZ: He has his moments, but he’s not that irritating is he? ZOE: (shakes hand “so so”) MAL: Hey.. ZOE: So exactly what happened with the NIskas and how much baggage are you hauling, Shanty? MAL: It’s more of a mule train really, possibly an armada. JAZ: Come on, it’s a convoy at best. Speaking of which we need to get moving. ZOE: Clarify. MAL: QBG here’s really a wealthy widow. She moves in mysterious circles and is attempting to overthrow JAZ: Ah, ah! (waggles finger) MAL: Sorry. She is not attempting to overthrow the Alliance. She is planning for its self induced imminent demise and attempting to save as much of the ‘verse as possible that’s worth the effort. (looks at Jazmine) Better? JAZ: Better. MAL: She furthermore wants to use us to quietly reallocate goods and information to strategic points. As captain of Serenity I have agreed to accept employment as it comes our way and have not summarily spaced her for keep keeping this from me. ZOE: Why not? JAZ: ‘Cause I told him he has pretty eyes. MAL: That and Simon’s cooking. ZOE: Deceit doesn’t bother you anymore, Sir? MAL: It bothers me plenty and we have discussed the matter in full, believe me. JAZ: I didn’t lie outright so much as I withheld sensitive information temporarily. I realize it is a fine distinction. I am quite relieved that I no longer have to make it. ZOE: And the rest of the crew? MAL: Need to know basis. It’ll seem like we’re getting steady work, but other than that it shouldn’t seem too suspicious. ZOE: Steady work? JAZ: Good pay too. MAL: You’re right, they’ll never believe it. JAZ: Just keep doing what you’ve been doing without anyone getting shot if possible. If it seems like work’s too readily available we can cut back a little. ZOE: So how wealthy are we talking here? MAL: She’s buying me a pony. JAZ: Am’n’t either. (To Zoe) Depends on what form of wealth we’re talking about. ZOE: Enough to buy a ship of your own? JAZ: Yes. But I like this one and enjoy working with her crew. MAL: And her captain. JAZ: I love my captain. ZOE: (gives them a look) JAZ: To put it bluntly, I own a small planet. MAL: You wha? JAZ: It was an impulse purchase. Mostly because I could. It’s not ready for settlers yet. At least not in large numbers... MAL: You wha? JAZ: You should see the moon rise over the orchards. They’ll be bearing fully in a few years. ZOE: A planet. JAZ: Yep. Small, but mine. ZOE: You’re serious about this Captain? MAL: I didn’t quite realize the scale of it, but yes. So why can’t I have a pony? JAZ: Because I’m not cleaning up after it. Look Zoe, I’m part of a loosely associated group of wealthy and not so wealthy individuals trying to make sure that when the Alliance collapses people don’t suffer any more than they have to. We don’t have a name or a secret handshake. We’re trying to keep communications open with the outer reaches of civilization. That’s where I come in. ZOE: Moon hopping and music? JAZ: Got it in one. I’m stashing provisions out here as fast as I can without raising any eyebrows, but since the news about Miranda got out I’ve needed to speed things up a bit. (shrugs) Blew my schedule all to Hell, but that’s the nature of it. (Mal and Zoe exchange a look) ZOE: And what’s your take on this job? JAZ: Satisfaction of knowing I tried my best. I’m plowing everything I earn right back into the effort. MAL: Could be an opportunity to save a lot of sufferin’ Zoe. ZOE: Could at that, Sir. The lack of cloak and dagger foolishness appeals. I’m with you. MAL: River sussed it out. Can’t keep a thought to yourself on this boat. Just don’t tell Jayne if it can be avoided. ZOE: Shr Ah. They deserve to know before it gets iffy. Even Jayne. MAL: (over com) River! Get up here girl, we’ve got work to do. (cuts com) They will. You know that. Why don’t you two little mamas go get yourselves a snack? ZOE: (Raises eyebrow at Jazmine) JAZ: You’re due first. ZOE: Two pregnant women on one ship? This should be interesting. JAZ: Misery loves company, especially company with swollen ankles and mood swings. Come on, I’ll make cocoa. (Kisses Mal before leaving). MAL: Ooooh... JAZ: (sighs) I’ll leave it in the pan for you.

Scene 2: (Table)

ZOE: This was perfect. JAZ: Always is. ZOE: You seem to know just what everyone’s needin’. JAZ: I aim to please. ZOE: Can’t please everyone all the time. JAZ: True enough. You can cause as little fuss as possible. ZOE: You hurt him, I’m gonna have to shoot you. JAZ: Didn’t for a moment think otherwise. More cocoa? ZOE: (nods) It’s good. JAZ: I added cinnamon. ZOE: No garlic? JAZ: Not every situation calls for it. Knowing when it’s best not to do something is sometimes key. (sits next to her) ZOE: He seems closer to content than I’ve seen him...maybe ever. I don't’ know if you reckon the size of that statement. JAZ: He’s a dear part of my own heart. He’s given me a priceless gift, which you of all on this ship can understand best. ZOE: Second chances don’t come along so often as they might. This ship and his crew’s been his life since he bought her. JAZ: Serenity’s been a boon to me in a great many ways. I’ll not see her harmed, nor those aboard her. ZOE: The touch of cinnamon does add somethin’ special. You seem to know when it’s time to stop. JAZ: Get heavy handed and you’re bound to foul it up. It’ll tell you when it’s ready, you just need to keep an eye on it. ZOE: Or make sure there’s someone reliable to watch it when you can’t. JAZ: You can only try your best and hope. You wantin’ something to go with that? ZOE: No, I’m good. (Puts hand on Jaz’s) This was perfect. JAZ: ( Puts other hand on top) Glad to hear it. (Break hands) How you feeling lately? ZOE: Like an ungainly walrus, and I’m only about halfway to finished. JAZ: Two’s harder, they drain you. ZOE: Don’t know if two hands are going to be enough some days. JAZ: Ten aren’t enough. Luckily you are surrounded by reliable sitters. (Jayne walks through, grabs cookies and sniffs at cocoa). ZOE: Spoke too soon. JAZ: Get your whiffer out of there, it’s reserved. JAYNE: I don’t see nobody else ‘round. ‘Sides, it’s gettin’ cold. JAZ: I’m teaching the captain a lesson in punctuality. There should be a good thick skin on that when he gets here. JAYNE: “Wa” You are pure evil woman. (grimaces, grabs more cookies, leaves) ZOE: Captain’s so used to cold food I think he actually likes it that way. JAZ: Figures. Have to warm it up when I’m feeling contrary. ZOE: I’m duty bound to warn him: Hot drink means icy bed. JAZ: Maybe I’ll just keep him guessing. ZOE: It does make for some amusing faces when he’s all in a tizzy. MAL: (enters, goes directly to pan) Ooh..haven't seen a skin like that since Mom’s! ZOE: Yep, that’s our captain.

Scene 3 (cargo bay, loading)

JAYNE: So now we’ve got all this le se where we takin’ it? MAL: Aberdeen. Getting paid in cashy money. JAYNE: How much we gettin’ ? MAL: After fuel and food? 200. JAYNE: Ta ma duh! All that for 200 to split 7 ways? That ain’t even weak tea. MAL: Each. JAYNE: (perks up) Well let’s go see Aberdeen! MAL: Once we’re done there we can swing by Haven to pick up somme of our medical supplies to sell on Athens, then see which way the wind blows us. JAYNE: Speakin’ on which.. JAZ: No, Jayne. JAYNE: Aw, c’mon. Why can’t we.. ZOE: No, Jayne. JAYNE: All I’m sayin’ is.. MAL: No, Jayne. (Jayne stomps off) JAZ: Shall I find you a post? MAL: No point, tank’s empty. ZOE: Am I missing something? MAL: Dinner if we don’t hurry. (He sets off)

Scene 4 (Bar on Aberdeen. Jazmine is playing music where she can keep an eye on things. )

MAL: Here’s your coordinates. (Hands over chip) BUYER: And here’s your payment. (Hands over pouch and leaves) JAYNE: ‘Bout time something went right on a deal. ZOE: It is a refreshing change. MAL: I’m buying. (waves to waitress) ‘Scuse me miss?! DRUNKEN LOUT: I saw her first! Quing wa cao de liumang. MAL: You can have her, I just want to get some drinks. A juice and two beers, please. D.L.: I said I saw her first!! (Stands and draws pistol on Mal, music stops. We hear a click. His chest explodes forward with a quiet “fwop”, and he fires into ceiling. Mal Zoe and Jayne look at each other with a silent “was that you?”, then turn to Jazmine who has puts down crossbow, nods to them, picks up instrument and resumes playing. JAYNE: Nice shot. ZOE: (Nods approval) (To Mal) Now who’s cranky? MAL: (to waitress) Could we get those to go?

Scene 5 (Haven. Dinner al fresco)

ZOE: Miners’re doing well. KAYLEE: Nice of you to keep an eye on our stuff for us. OVERMAN: Doesn’t hurt that you let us have half the take from your holes for our trouble. JAYNE: Still don’t see why they get half. MAL: ‘ Cause it’s more than you’d be gettin’ if they didn’t work those shafts. ZOE: Think of it as takin’ half from them. JAYNE: Sounds better that way. SIMON: You also have access to medical supplies as needed, which no doubt sweetens the pot. OVERMAN: Shanty’s covered our herb remedy needs with a lifetime supply of garlic, for certain. JAZ: It’s a reliable crop. The soil here is pretty thin. The rosemary is going beautifully. They’re doing well for such young plants. MAL: Shephard Book set high stock by it. OVERMAN: We’re planning on adding some olives and grapes next year. Maybe finding a site for a temple. KAYLEE: He’d a liked that. MAL: (raises glass) To Book. He’s smilin’ here, no doubt. ALL: To Book. OVERMAN: When do you plan on leaving? MAL: First thing in the morning. Don’t bother putting the coffee on for us. OVERMAN: Won’t set the alarm then either. Goodnight to you all. RIVER: Regenerative growth from and injured plant can be quite vigorous. MAL: (Looking around) It surely can little albatross, it surely can.

Scene 6 (Common area. Jaz and Jayne playing music. Simon massaging Kaylee’s feet, Kaylee reciprocating. Zoe reading baby having manual. River Reading one on knitting baby things. ) MAL: (enters) Well isn’t this just the cozy picture of domesticity? KAYLEE: Comfy too. MAL: I’m just headed to bed. ZOE: Don’t let us stop you. MAL: I was hoping for some company. JAYNE: Don’t look to me. MAL: I was thinking more Shanty-ish. QBG, would you be so kind? SIMON: And ruin the ambiance?! Fie Captain. JAZ: Sorry guys, better chance of getting my feet done with him. I’m bailin’. KAYLEE: Kuang she de. ZOE: Told you to coddle her. (Gets up to leave) SIMON: I was busy. KAYLEE: I get priority. JAZ: (packing up) Comes from outranking me. Goodnight all. JAYNE: Well if we ain’t playing no more I’m gonna go see to Vera. (starts to put guitar away). ZOE: Get some sleep you crazy sex having people. I’m headed to bed myself. To knit. RIVER: Here’s your book back. You’re short a ball of yarn and you’re missing a curved needle. (leaves) ZOE: Thanks. KAYLEE: Sex, there’s an idea. SIMON: Have we tried that before? I’m game. (They start kissing) MAL: Inspirational. Let’s go try that our own selves. (They start to exit) JAZ: Your place or mine? MAL: Well, we’re headed this way already sooo... JAZ: The hallway it is. JAYNE: (pushes past) I’ll be in my bunk. Scene 7 (Common room. Girl’s night in. Kaylee massaging Zoe’s feet, Jaz brushing River’s hair. Evidence of demolished desserts). ZOE: Look at ‘em. Puffin’ up by day’s end. JAZ: It’s when they stay puffed you need to worry. Put ‘em up a spell when you can. KAYLEE: Simon’s keeping a close eye on you. ZOE: He surely is. Doesn’t stop pokin’ me I may poke back. JAZ: Keep going Kaylee, she’s softening up! (to River) So, you want this braided Sweetling? RIVER: Keep brushing Mom. KAYLEE: This reminds me of In...(uncomfortable pause) JAZ: So who’s this Inara everone keeps not talking about? KAYLEE: (a little too breezy) Oh, just a companion used to fly with us a while back. JAZ: Old flame of Mal’s I take it? That’s the only reason I can reckon nobody mentions her around him and tries not to around me. RIVER: Dubious reciprocity. Arguments and mutual antagonism were typical. ZOE: You’d have to ask the Captain. KAYLEE: And he won’t admit to nothin’. JAZ: So why’d she leave? KAYLEE: Which time? JAZ: Ah, one of those. I’ll have to ask him about her sometime. ZOE: Best be prepared for a whole lotta silence. JAZ: Fair warning.

Scene 8 (Athens. Kaylee and Jaz waiting for return of crew from sale. )

KAYLEE: I always worry when they’re off. JAZ: That’s only because somebody usually comes back with a hole in ‘em, dear. KAYLEE: No, well yes, but I mean. I don’t know, I just.. JAZ: Want to be there watching over them? KAYLEE: Pretty much. JAZ: Fang xin. Zoe’s with them. SIMON: Any sign of them? KAYLEE: Not yet. It’s been too long. JAZ: They would have waved if something had gone wrong. MAL: (over com) Doc get your kit and meet us in the infirmary. SIMON: You mean like that?

Scene 9 (Infirmary. Simon sewing up Jayne’s leg)

Simon: So, tell me how this happened again? Zoe: (amused) Fell on his own knife. JAYNE: It was dark, gorramit! I didn’t see the rock. MAL: (trying not to laugh) I told you to put the knife away. JAYNE: There was noises. MAL: It was owls. JAYNE: Xi niu creepifyin’s what it were. MAL: Well, no real harm done. Simon: 15 stitches isn’t harm? MAL: We got paid. Jayne’s dance number was free extras. ZOE: It was pure ballet, certain. JAYNE: Gai si. MAL: (pats him on shoulder) Meet you there. C’mon Zoe, let’s go reenact it for the others. ZOE: Can I be the creepifyin’ owl?

Scene 10 (kitchen. Up late over tea) MAL: You should have seen his face when I told Simon to kiss it and make it better. JAZ: That’s worth money to see. I would have been there assisting if he hadn’t insisted on minimal witnesses. He? MAL: Xie xie. How you feelin’ lately? JAZ: Bu yong xie, Malcolm. We’re fine. (waits for him to sip) So tell me about Inara. MAL: (chokes) What? (coughing) JAZ: Arms up . (helps him) There you go. (slips arms around him from behind) I noticed the photo. She’s quite you mei. MAL: (Recovering) What do you want to know? She rented a shuttle a while, was with us on Miranda, then she left again. JAZ: I just figured there was more to the story. (Stands back up). MAL: What’d make you think that? JAZ: Silences mostly. And the stony look comes over your face when her name is brought up. You were sweet on her? MAL: Don’t be silly, fancy companion’d want nowt with the likes of me. Why’d you bring this up anyway? JAZ: It’s a small ‘verse. We could bump into her again. Just want to know what all the anti- fuss is over. MAL: Where we gonna see her, fancy dress party somewhere? JAZ: Companion’s Guild. MAL: Shuh muh? JAZ: That’s the other group. The one with all the access to the high muckety- mucks. Some’re with and some agin’. There’s an even chance she could get stuck working with us again. MAL: Dahng rahn. Gorram woman’s off my ship, you may bring her back? JAZ: I’m not doing anything. Never met her that I’m aware. MAL: You jealous or something? JAZ: Would I have reason to be? We’re not bonded Malcolm. I’m just trying to figure out how hard the sparks are likely to be flying. From the sound of it you two are more likely to shoot each other than take to bed. MAL: Damn straight. JAZ: (Puts her hands on his shoulders) She hurt you pretty badly when she left. MAL: She was a free woman. JAZ: Companions are hardly free. MAL: Wouldn’t know, I never asked her fee. JAZ: I didn’t mean just monetarily. She’s bound by centuries of tradition and a lifetime of training. Leaving all that behind would be like you leaving the ship and not looking back. Buke neng. MAL: That’s pretty much what she said. JAZ: So you two never... MAL: No we never. She said it was complicated and she didn’t want to get into it. JAZ: Sounds like a lot of not talkin’ went on. Pity the two of you never said what you really meant. ‘Course if’n you had I probably wouldn’t be here right now. MAL: See? (pulling her onto his lap) Cussedness is it’s own reward. You’ve got me, I’ve got you. Worked out pretty wall if’n you want my opinion. JAZ: Oh I’m not complaining. Just trying to suss out the landscape. She ever comes around again you do what you feel’s needful. I’m not afraid of losing you to another woman. MAL : Jazmine, what did or did not pass between Inara and me is past and done. She’s made her choice. There’s nowt for me in her world and Serenity’s not exactly her idea of paradise either. She made that plain ‘fore she left. JAZ: Well, since that ghost is banished, what say you hold me a little closer and we see where my place is on ship? MAL: You’ve found it Lotus Flower. Right here. JAZ: I’ve found it, Bamboo, but can you? MAL: That a challenge? JAZ: Take it how you want it. MAL: I like the sound of that. ZOE: (enters) Must eat. (sees them) Didn’t we already go over the concept of rooms? MAL: I need to get doors installed. Everywhere. With locks. And a secret code. JAZ:Waste of time and money. Nothing stands between a pregnant woman and food, for long. ZOE: Where are those cookies hiding? MAL: Jayne et ‘em all. JAZ: I hid a bundle in my locker for you. ZOE: (finds cookies, walks out happily munching) Woman’s a genius Captain. Don’t let her off the ship. MAL: Wasn’t planning on it.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006 11:42 AM


Oh...this was mighty lovely, stinkingrose! Especially loved the jokes surrounding Zoe's pregnancy;)



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