Little Dumplings
Saturday, November 18, 2006

Post BDM, script. Continuation of continuation of series. Delivery and delays. Zoe gets a nanny.


All characters which are Joss’ are not mine, all that are mine are not his. I have gleaned no remuneration for my efforts herein.


Scene 1: (Long shot, moving fast, past nursery where newborns seem to track the passing, down hallway we hear babies, coaching, women in labor, staff conversing. Turn into a room with a woman in hard labor, she looks up as if to say “I’m busy, who are you?”, turn around and try again several doors down and across hall where we see Jazmine and a nurse with a clipboard standing over someone in a bed, move in to reveal Zoe resting and beaming at two small bundles.)

NURSE: Little angels. My gramma always said their eyes were still seeing into Heaven. ‘Course she also said aliens were going to put me in a pickle jar. ZOE: Then they’re talking with their Daddy, pickles or no. Wish he was here right now. JAZ: (rubs her arm) He is. NURSE: You had a hard morning Mrs. Washburne. I hate to disturb your rest, but I need to get their names for the records if you’ve decided. ZOE: Hoban and Matilda Washburne. NURSE: Matilda? ZOE: Something wrong with Matilda? NURSE: No, no. I just wanted to make sure I heard you correctly. The name bank doesn’t know how to spell it. ZOE: But it knows Hoban? NURSE: Apparently so. H-O-B-A-N? ZOE: That’s right. Matilda: M-A-T-I-L-D-A. JAZ: It’s pretty. So where does Matilda come from? ZOE: Me. JAZ: Funny. Really, why did you pick that one? ZOE: I didn’t. Wash loved that name. Said he wanted to name a little girl that if we ever had one. He used to walk around singing this silly song over and over. Something about Dancing Matilda. He’d change the dance every time he sang it. Tangoing Matilda, whatever came into his head. You remember when the Ska-bu promenade came out? That one gave him trouble. He walked around for a week trying to make that one fit, then sang it for another after he did. Something about a ghost in there too, as I recall. JAZ: I’ve heard it. Waltzing was the original version. It’s ancient. Sounds like a lot of nonsense words until you research it. ZOE: That’s the one. JAZ: I first heard it on Nova Nullaboor. The miners there would get roaring drunk and bellow it out all night long. They kept changing the words too, but that was because they were skulled with liquor. ZOE: Did you ever find the words? JAZ: Looked it up on the Cortex. It took some hunting. Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda, Who’ll go a waltzing Matilda with me? (Zoe joins softly) And his ghost may be heard As you ride along the billabong: Who’ll go a waltzing Matilda with me? NURSE: What’s a bill o’ bond? JAZ: Not a clue. I’m still trying to figure it out and that’s just the chorus. You should see the verses. I’m pretty sure it’s about a bandit, or possibly a shepherd. ZOE: Same thing to the sheep I suppose. JAZ: Probably. NURSE: What language was it in? JAZ: English. Very old. NURSE: Really. JAZ: Must have been a regional dialect or something, but really. ZOE: Well it’s a good name and it’s what he wanted. JAZ: Maybe someone will write a new song about her someday. ZOE: Never can tell. NURSE: Hoban and Matilda it is then, we’re all logged. (Turns and brushes past) ZOE: Surely am glad that Burmese drinking song wasn’t his favorite. JAZ: Why not? ZOE: Because I am NOT naming her Beer.

**** Scene 2: (Bridge)

RIVER: This is getting repetitive. MAL: What is, darlin’? RIVER: (taps console) Alliance calling. MAL: He chu sheng za jiao de zang huo. What do they want now? RIVER: Subscriptions to uninformative periodicals? Peddling religious intolerance? Soliciting tasty baked goods? MAL: We don’t want any. Maybe if we just hide all quiet like behind the sofa they’ll decide nobody’s home. RIVER: We jettisoned the furniture last week. No cover out here. (Starts hitting controls) They’ve stopped hailing. MAL: Why? RIVER: (Serenity takes a hit) Because they’ve started firing. MAL: (opens com) This is the captain. Strap in. We’ve got company and they ain’t offering to mow the lawn, folks. (another hit) Ow, hey! Kaylee give us all the juice you’ve got. (cuts com) (another hit) WILL YOU STOP THAT?! RIVER: Dubious likelihood. MAL: Time to earn your keep, Little Albatross. High tail it out of here. RIVER: Switchback? MAL: Might do. Keep dodging until they give up. Don’t want ‘em knowing where to wait for us, now do we? RIVER: Affirmative, going for burn. (hard acceleration) Changing course and increasing thrust. MAL: Once is coincidence, twice is a problem. We’re going nitpicking after we lose these bozos. RIVER: Imminent success. You were referring to the exterior bozos, correct? MAL: That’s two dodges. Mind your manners. How we doing? RIVER: (checks readout) Ditched like a bad date. Once more for statistical improbability. MAL: You mean for luck? RIVER: No such phenomenon. MAL: Luck sounds better, all comforty like. RIVER: (rolls eyes) Correcting course to resume original heading. MAL: That’s my girl. You get the extra bao tonight. RIVER: Permission to fork Jayne’s hand to the table if he grabs for it? MAL: So long’s it’s not his shooting hand. Try not to ding the table, Shanty’s mighty particular ‘bout that. Got to go check for damage, then we’re gonna take a stroll, just you and me. Meet you outside. (He ducks out the door) RIVER: (sets auto pilot) Fresh air, at last.

***** Scene 3: (Zoe’s room at the Frye residence. Mal in view on portable console)

MAL: We slipped away safe. Close though. Need to stop off for repairs. It’s going to delay us a few days. ZOE: This getting a little too frequent for comfort to you? JAZ: They’re closer in to Alliance territory. Sounds like random traffic stops so far right? MAL: Yep. JAZ: Gui. That’s what I was afraid of. MAL: Found a stowaway on the hull. Should make those random stops a little more random. JAZ: Please try not to lead them to my doorstep. MAL: Searched her end to end. Didn’t turn anything else up. ZOE: Still don’t like it, Sir. How long was it there? MAL: No telling. Probably since that first cruiser. ZOE: Somebody’s got us marked. JAZ: Who are they watching? Tams, me, Inara? MAL: All amounts to the same thing. You two be careful. JAZ: Four. MAL: For I’m frettin’ over you is what for, Lotus Flower. ZOE: (speaking for the slow of wit) Four, Sir. Two more breating air than six days ago. MAL: (visibly following train of thought) Shen me? Oh. Oh! Hey, jing cai! Long life and luck. Joy to you, Zoe. Yi sheng ping an! Twice. Everybody all right? ZOE: Wo shi. Not so sure about you, though. Maybe I shouldn’t let you haul us around after all. Have to outwit pursuit if you’re not fast enough to outrun it. JAZ: Good point. I might have to rethink our arrangement. MAL: Funny. JAZ: You know, I could always buy a large freighter, fit it out with a family deck, find a crew and hire you on as captain. ZOE: Captain Washburne. I like the sound of that. MAL: Not funny. ZOE: Yes it is. Especially when you go all shifty eyed and sweaty like that. MAL: I am not sweaty and my eyes do not shift. Just you remember who’s signing your pay chit. ZOE: Shanty from the sound of it. How much does a captain get paid on this ship of yours? JAZ: Thrice what he’s paying you for base pay, bottomless teacup plus meals, family included. 40% cut of net profits, bonus for hazard duty of which there should be very little, six weeks paid holiday, medical covered completely, retirement investment plan with corporate matching. Company hires a teacher when the peanuts get big enough for schooling. Big tub with plenty of hot water guaranteed. Bring your own bubbles. ZOE: Sweet rice plus tea? I may to have to think about this. MAL: No you don’t. Anybody gets that job it’s me. JAZ: You get table scraps and the privilege of massaging my feet every night. MAL: Do I get to nibble your ears too? JAZ: Maybe. MAL: I’ll take it. ZOE: Better get going, Sir. Gum flapping’s run long. Called the Joyously Fashioned. We leave day after tomorrow. See you in a month. MAL: Right. Do something cute to those babies for me. JAZ: Do it yourself. Meet you at home. (sends signal) Here’s the key to the barn. MAL: I’ll be waiting naked in the orchards. JAZ: You’ll be cold and lonely. MAL: Dressed at the house it is. Mal out. JAZ: (cuts console) Think they’ll make it? ZOE: Always have so far.

**** Scene 4: (Aboard the Joyously Fashioned. Zoe is at the helm. Jazmine is indicating to a large man with luggage where he can stow it down the corridor. She enters.)

ZOE: What is that? JAZ: That is your nanny. Kasmir. ZOE: Checked his references? JAZ: Twice. He comes highly recommended. ZOE: Really. JAZ: Knows his way around ships, explosives, and diapers. ZOE: How long’s he staying on? JAZ: End of the line. We can make a straight run that way. May stay on a while after, may not. ZOE: How far you trusting him? JAZ: Once bought he stays bought until the deal’s over. He calls you friend, it’s for life. If he looks familiar it’s because he was on Copia with his ship. If he doesn’t it’s because there were over twelve ships. ZOE: Space gypsies. JAZ: The very same. ZOE: I’m sleeping with a knife. JAZ: Can’t hurt. ZOE: He’s.. big. JAZ: Sly too. You’ll be left in peace unless he decides he likes your hair. Saw him eyeing Jayne at the Hooley. ZOE: That should be amusing. JAZ: Let’s hope not. ZOE: So how did he wind up here? JAZ: His family was dropping off cargo a few moons away. Notice the slight limp? ZOE: Deal went bad? JAZ: On the coin. No medic on board. He nearly lost the whole leg when it got infected. They had to leave him behind to heal. He’s meeting up with them later. ZOE: He really knows babies? JAZ: Ma grilled him. Said he’d do. High praise from her. Has a few of his own apparently. ZOE: I thought you said he was sly. JAZ: Family obligations trump personal preferences. He’s the oldest. Arrangements were made to accommodate the situation. ZOE: He’s coming back. Moves quietly. JAZ: (as he enters) Zoe, Kasmir. Kasmir, Zoe. KASMIR: (Bows over her hand to kiss it). A pleasure to meet the lovely Zoe, whose hair is like a cloud of silk spun by bodhisattvas. ZOE: Likewise. KASMIR: Congratulations on your newfound motherhood. And two! Your loins are truly blessed. ZOE: My loins are truly sore, but thank you. JAZ: Over seven pounds each. Pretty impressive. KASMIR: Please, show me the way to the little dumplings. ZOE: They’re in there (indicates closed door). Sleeping. KASMIR: Ah! Later then. Never wake a sleeping baby. JAZ: Words of wisdom indeed. Why don’t you go make yourself acquainted with the galley? I left the tea brewing. KASMIR: I doubt I will get lost. It is a small ship, but well made. It will do. Tonight: paprikash! JAZ: Excellent. We’ll join you shortly. KASMIR: Of course. (exits) ZOE: What was that about? JAZ: Dinner. And sealing the bargain. Once we’re safely off at our destination, the ship’s his. He wanted to make sure he cleared the door frames. ZOE: He doesn’t come cheap. That’s a lot of rice. JAZ: He will perform to scale as a matter of honor. ZOE: He’ll also be very protective of his potential property. JAZ: Yep. Also solves unloading this thing once we get to Copia. Too cramped in the galley for my tastes. ZOE: No place to hang the garlic. JAZ: I should commission a series of ships designed around the kitchen facilities. ZOE: I’ve seen them designed around worse. Been on one or two I’d swear were one big head. JAZ: Priorities. Shall we take tea before Themselves awake? ZOE: Better hurry, it’s been almost an hour.

***** Scene 5: (Serenity. Around the table.)

MAL: Keep a weather eye out dirt side. Anybody picks your pocket, make sure they don’t leave presents behind. Jayne, you’re on supplies. Bring back the change. KAYLEE: You want us takin’ shifts watching outside, Cap’n? MAL: That I do. ‘Fore we leave, we fumigate. SIMON: Who do you think they’re after? JAYNE: Don’t see as it makes much difference. They’re still chasin’ us. SIMON: No, but it might give us some insight into what they’re likely to do. MAL: Well, they’re probably not after QBG and Zoe or they’d have them by now. JAYNE: Who says they don’t? MAL: Bi zui. We’d have been warned if they did. SIMON: River? MAL: We’d be dead. RIVER: Inara? MAL: Might be. Some hun dan skunks her out, Alliance be apt to keep a close eye on her. KAYLEE: That why she left so quick with that cruiser? MAL: She’d do her best to protect you all. May have done. She didn’t seem to think she was like to have a problem. RIVER: Low level surveillance? MAL: Belike. Time will tell. SIMON: What do we do now? MAL: Keep moving. Make the rendezvous. Hope I’m right and it isn’t us they’re interested in. JAYNE: And if you’re wrong? MAL: We run.

***** Scene 6: (Joyously Fashioned. Galley with mothers. Each feeding a baby. Jaz with bottle, Zoe has one at breast.)

ZOE: Do you ever ask yourself “What if I’m wrong”? JAZ: Constantly. ZOE: So what if you’re wrong? JAZ: Then I’ve got ration bars and blankets to last the rest of my planet hopping life, and I look kinda silly. If I’m right? ZOE: Then you’ve probably saved at least one life, maybe thousands. JAZ: From where I’m standing it’s a win win proposition. (starts to burp baby) Got a bubble for me Hoban? ZOE: And if that great big “they” comes after you? JAZ: I run, and I keep running. ZOE: What if they pinch you? JAZ: Same thing as happens if they do you, more or less. Might be a splashy trial if some hun dan decides to make an example of me. (baby burps) There’s a boy! Alphabet, here we come! (to Zoe) I try to cover my tracks, but nobody’s perfect and there are too many others involved. There’s days I wonder why we don’t just organize into a political faction. ZOE: Why don’t you? JAZ: Howling into the wind won’t help. Maybe a hundred or even fifty years ago. Not now. (to baby) Any more in there? No? (plugs him with bottle) Your turn with Mommy next time, yes. ZOE: So equipping an army will help. (moves Matilda to burp her) Auntie Jazmine’s just a big old rebel funder, isn’t she Baby? Yes she is. JAZ: I’m not equipping anybody other than civilians with anything more than food and warmth. There is no army. ZOE: Civilians take up arms on their own. Defenses can be turned to offense. (to baby) Can you say diversion of equipment? JAZ: Shr ah. I argued against the defensive equipment. I was overruled. (to Hoban) I swear you can hear it hit bottom, boyo. (to Zoe) I’m still hoping it won’t come to that. I just want to make sure nobody starves or freezes if I can help it, try to make sure family at the Core knows what happens to kin on the rim. (to baby) Who’s a hungry little man? ZOE: You really think that will be enough? (blurpage) Burp cloth. JAZ: (hands it over) Probably not, but if local governments can take care of their own it will ease the transition to whatever comes next. ZOE: (resumes feeding) Ai ya! Hey greedy girl, take it easy. JAZ: Just wait ‘till they start seeing how far mommy stretches. ZOE: They get six weeks. Period. JAZ: Make hay while the bosom shines, kids. ZOE: What if what comes next isn’t quite what you’d hoped for? JAZ: Survive and hope it changes again. ZOE: Sounds familiar.

***** Scene 7: (Serenity. Kaylee’s bunk(theirs now.) Kaylee and Simon lying in bed, canoodling)

KALEE: Wonder how they’re doing out there. SIMON: They’ll be fine. KAYLEE: Think Shanty’ll make it? SIMON: Plenty of time to spare. KAYLEE: Still.. SIMON: Stop worrying, that’s Mal’s job. If she needs help she’ll find it. KAYLEE: I can’t wait to see the twins. Zoe must be so happy. SIMON: More like so exhausted, really. (pats her head) I’d imagine she’s thrilled. KAYLEE: I wonder what she named them? SIMON: Probably not Jayne. KAYLEE: Wish he’d thought to ask. SIMON: We’ll find out soon enough. KAYLEE: Seems like everybody’s jumping on the baby wagon lately. Four cousins this year. SIMON: Just so long as River doesn’t join in the fun. Are you content with the status quo? KAYLEE: For now. You? SIMON: For now. Should you change your mind, please advise me. KAYLEE: Dambetcha. SIMON: (kisses her hair) What in my misspent youth did I do to deserve you? KAYLEE: Musta been after. SIMON: Musta been.

****** Scene 8: (Serenity. Common area off kitchen.)

RIVER (over com): Mal? MAL: Hmm. RIVER: You’re not going to believe this. MAL: Oh perfect. What now? RIVER: I’ve been scanning Alliance frequencies. There’s a blockade ahead. Two sectors away. MAL: Can we go around it? RIVER: Not without adding three weeks to the trip. They’re casting wide. MAL: Ta ma duh. We’ll never make it in time. RIVER: Wave Shanty? MAL: Shr ah. Pull over until we figure this out.


Scene 9: (Joyously Fashioned. Galley. Kasmir sitting with tea and plate of pastry)

KASMIR: The dumplings? JAZ:(enters, sits at table) Sleeping. KASMIR: The little mother? JAZ: The same. KASMIR: It is good. She needs to rest more. JAZ: Don’t try to tell her that. KASMIR: So does the other little mother. JAZ: I, for one, will listen. KASMIR: (pours tea) I am growing quite fond of her. Why will she not let me fix her hair? JAZ: I think her husband used to do that for her. KASMIR: Ah, the unfortunate Wash. Such a loss. It is most understandable then. Cookie? JAZ: Indeed. KASMIR: So, friend Jazmine, what is it you need? Hmm? JAZ: How big is the hold on your family’s biggest ship? KASMIR: Big. JAZ: Big enough to hide a treasure? KASMIR: What kind of treasure? JAZ: The kind that flies. KASMIR: More bees? JAZ: No, more like fireflies. One little firefly. KASMIR: are a tricksy one. JAZ: Is the ship big enough? KASMIR: It will swaddle her like an egg cradles a yolk. Room to spare. JAZ: This is not the first time you’ve done this? KASMIR: (shrugs) Perhaps. Your friends will be safe. JAZ: Will Poppa agree? KASMIR: Momma will, which is even better. JAZ: Are they near enough, do you suppose? KASMIR: They can be. Fate blows life at us, we follow along. JAZ: I’ll just see what I can arrange, shall I? KASMIR: Momma will be delighted to talk business with you. JAZ: This will be a two teapot negotiation, won’t it? KASMIR: Of course, it is Momma. She is very thorough. JAZ: Of course.


Scene 10: (Serenity. Mal’s bunk. He is sleeping soundly.)

RIVER (over com): Sorry to wake you, Captain. We just received a wave from Shanty. MAL: Wha? Where? RIVER: Not here. There. Sent and ended. MAL: (yawning) Wha’d she say? RIVER: Her instructions were a little cryptic. MAL: Woman always was a mystery to man. RIVER: Very poetic. MAL: Well? RIVER: Deep subject. MAL: River you woke me up. I’m liable to get a mite crotchety I don’t get some answers soonish. RIVER: She said, and I quote: Qin ren, do you trust me? I used some initiative. It is taken care of. Just sit tight. Do not attempt to run. Once you’re inside, power down and do not leave Serenity. Whatever else happens DO NOT attempt to negotiate with Momma. The woman is frightening and that is coming from someone who knows good lawyers. MAL: Once I’m inside? What is she talking about? RIVER: I’m not sure. Oh my. Captain, you’ll want to see this. MAL: On my way.


Scene 11: (Serenity. Kitchen table.)

JAYNE: So let me get this straight. We just got swallowed by another ship? MAL : Sums it up nicely. JAYNE: And we’re just gonna sit here while it swans through the blockade? MAL: Yep. JAYNE: Buke neng. RIVER: Untrue. Quite within the realm of possibility. Trojan horse variant. Simple really, but elegant. MAL: We read as cargo right now. You heard ‘em earlier packing around us just in case they get boarded. SIMON: So what did our benefactors say, exactly? RIVER: Received a burst just before they took us in. “Sit still. We will let you off there. Welcome aboard. “ JAYNE: Weird. KAYLEE: Saves on fuel. JAYNE: Still weird. SIMON: Problem solved? MAL: Problem solved. JAYNE: Sounds too easy. MAL: That’s what I’m afeared of. KAYLEE: Aw, c’mon Cap’n! What could go.. MAL: (cuts her off sharply) Don’t ask that! Never ask that, cause then somethin’ will. Had enough get in my way this trip, I ain’t lookin’ a gorram Trojan gift horse in the mouth. SIMON: What an ironic turn of phrase. RIVER: Oddly appropriate. JAYNE: All right, fine. We’re ridin’ around in some ruttin’ horse. I just got one question left. MAL: Just what, pray, would that be? JAYNE: When’s breakfast?


Saturday, November 18, 2006 5:59 PM


That, im my honsest opinion, was brilliant.

LOVED the inclusion of Waltzing it weird that I know it off by heart? They made me learn it and the history of it in Primary school and it's still with me.

Your lyrical banter between everyone, especialy Mal and River, as well as Jasmine and Zoe, it absolutely amazing, spot on and highly entertaining. It's just so easy and fun to read.

Love the name of the new ship also.

And the Alliance are looking for Serenity? Most certainly not a healthy thing. But to hide INSIDE another ship? Genius. Trojan horse and all, it's a genius move, so kudos stinkingrose.

Loved this, the whole damn thing.

Saturday, November 18, 2006 11:25 PM


I did smile at our crew hiding out in the belly of the beast while the fearsome Momma gets them safely through the Alliance blockade! Neat solution. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, November 19, 2006 4:29 AM


Loved it. I think you have my muse - give her back!! Sticking forks in folks at the table is an old Cobb tradition, as we know. Glad to see River is getting in on the act.

Sunday, November 19, 2006 10:44 PM


Personally, I would use River forking Jayne as a kinky bit of forplay ritual between the two of them after they had begun a relationship. Could just imagine the scenario: an "Out of Gas" style moment around the table discussing various things, with occasional glances at the pile of bao until the climax moment where Jayne goes for the last piece while River's seeming distracted and River forks him instead. Thereby leading to a staring contest that breaks to a censorship-pushing moment of intimacy before they disappear off to a bunk;D

And the dialogue was definitely spot on, as the conversations between Mal & River and Zoe & Jazmine were brilliant:D


Tuesday, March 20, 2007 3:11 PM


It was going to be a spoon, actually. Changed my mind at the last moment.


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