When we last met the Carbonite Beatles (in "Baby Take a Chance With Me" – a story inspired by episode 5 of "The Mandalorian"), John Lennohnaka had been tasked with minding Baby Yoda while his Aunt Peli fixed the Mandalorian's ship. The child proved to be a naturally gifted horn player, and joined John's band on stage at the Mos Eisley cantina for a crowd-pleasing concert, before returning to the Razor Quest to join the Mandalorian on his further adventures.
This story takes its inspiration from Season Two of "The Mandalorian," episodes 10 and 11.
John Lennohnaka formed an F#-major-7th chord on his hallikset and leaned into the mic to sing the opening lines of his song:
"Here come the sun king!
Here come the other sun king!
Everybody's laughing…everybody's happy…"
Then he saw a new customer walk through the doors of the Mos Eisley cantina. His heart leapt with joy and his next words came out in a jumble of nonsense sounds:
"Cuando paramucho mi amore de felice corozon!
Mundo paparazzi mi amore chicka ferdy parasol…"
His bandmate Paul Malak'artney threw John a worried look. Then he recognized the new visitors and also started babbling in excitement. He leaned into his own mic and joined John in singing a gleeful pattern of gibberish:
"Gusto obrigado tanta mucho que can eat it carousel!"
John and Paul's bandmates George Harrisonford and Ringo Starkiller exchanged quick glances with each other and smiled. Ringo played quick flourish on his cymbals to welcome the new arrivals to the bar.
John brought his song to an abrupt close and rested his hallikset on its stand. He started jumping off the stage to greet the guest.
The cantina's owner threw him a dirty look. "You have ten more minutes left in your set!" his boss called up to him in a stern voice.
John rolled his eyes and reluctantly picked his instrument back up.
Paul nodded at his friend, then led the band in singing another tune. He turned towards the small green creature the new visitor was carrying, and shouted out the song's chorus:
"Wait, till I come back to your side!"
The Carbonite Beatles raced through two more quick numbers, drawing little response from the lack-luster crowd. John kept his eyes locked on the booth in the far corner of the cantina where his Aunt Peli was finishing her card game with the ant-like creature Dr. Mandible while engaging the new visitor in a brief conversation. His hopes started to crumble when Peli, Dr. Mandible and the new guest all started walking away from the booth. He signaled to his bandmates to cut off their last song and leaned into the mic. "Hey, nobody leave!" he urged the cantina's patrons. "We've got a surprise for you!"
He jumped off the stage and ran to the cantina's door, blocking the exiting trio's passage.
"Baby Yoda!" he shouted excitedly. "You're back!"
The child squealed in delight and wriggled his enormous ears.
"Step aside, John," Peli Motto commanded her nephew. "Mando needs to get back to his ship."
"Not until he hears how his kid can wail the sax!" John insisted. He called up to the stage. "Hey Paulie, bring us down that piccolo Chinkinkalu flute! Our horn-player's back in town!"
Paul grabbed the clarinet-shaped instrument off the top of his red nalargon and jumped off the stage.
"Here you go, little child!" he exclaimed, handing the miniature Chinkinkalu to the big-eyed alien. "I bought a new flute just for you, hoping you'd come back. It's more your size."
The child cooed and reached out its three-fingered hands towards Paul. Paul gave him the instrument. The child closed his eyes for a short moment to summon his muse, then started playing an exquisite, ethereal melody on the flute. A hush fell over the cantina as all of the patrons stopped to listen. When the child finished his short solo, the crowd went wild with applause.
John leaned towards the Mandalorian. "Please let your little guy play one song with us before you leave. You've gotta hear how he sounds when our band is backing him! This kid is astoundingly talented!"
The child looked up at his guardian with a pleading expression.
The Mandalorian sighed in resignation, then lifted his ward out of his round carrying case and handed him to John. "Just one song," he insisted in a gruff whisper of a voice. "Then I have business to attend to."
"And he's got a Krayt dragon steak hanging off his yoke that I need to start cooking," Peli added. "I don't want that meat to start going bad!"
Paul winced. "But it's 'Meatless Monday,' Mrs. Motto. Remember? You said you were going to make this first step towards vegetarianism for me."
"Not today, lad," Peli replied. "Filet of dragon is too rare a delicacy for me to pass up. Now sing your little song so I can take this gentleman back to my space dock. We're expecting a visitor soon."
"Right," John replied. He carried the child back to the stage and picked up his hallikset. "Okay, everybody," he called to the crowd. "Those of you in the cheap seats can clap your hands and stomp your feet along to this next number. The rest of you galactic traders, just rattle your credits!"
He threw a snarky smile at his bandmates, then led them in singing "Twist and Shout." The child came in with a wailing sax solo between the verses and brought the crowd to its feet.
George licked the dragon grease off his fingers and reached for another slice of steak. "Damn, this barbecued Krayt tastes great! Wish we could eat it more often."
Ringo swallowed his bite of meat and smiled. "Yeah. Maybe we should send that Mandalorian out on another dragon hunt! I could get used to this!"
"Honestly, George and Ringo, I thought you two had joined me in giving up meat!" moaned Paul.
"That was before my Aunt Peli cooked us up this delicious filet of Krayt," John butted in. He cut a small piece of steak into small bites and put them on a plate for the child. The child gobbled them up greedily, then held the plate back up to John for seconds.
Paul grabbed the plate away from John and placed some pieces of steak-flavored tofu on top of it. "Here, try these, Baby Yoda," he said, handing the plate back to the child. "It's super yummy."
The child plopped a bite of tofu in his mouth, then immediately spat it out.
John, George and Ringo laughed.
"Looks like you've got your work cut out for you, Paulie, converting our new horn-player to your veggie-mindset," George teased his friend. "I don't know where this child comes from, but his species is obviously carnivorous."
"I don't know where that lady comes from either," Ringo added, pointing to a small, frog-like woman who had just entered Peli Motto's space dock. "But her species can't be native to Tatooine. She looks amphibious. And there's no water on this godforsaken planet."
"I don't know where she comes from either," John interjected. "But she wants to go to Trask, an estuary moon in the system of the gas giant Kol Iben."
Paul frowned. "How do you know that?"
"She just said so," John explained.
Ringo threw John a challenging look. "You speak Frog?"
John shrugged. "A little. I've had to pick up a lot of languages, helping Aunt Peli haggle with her clients."
"I went to Trask once on holiday," George piped in. "It's covered in water. There's hardly any land on that moon. Just one giant ocean with a couple of small islands scattered about."
"What sort of holiday would take you to the Outer Rim Territories?" challenged Ringo.
"A busman's holiday," George replied. "My dad sometimes flies groups of tourists there. People think it'll be a nice escape from Tatooine, 'cause it's so humid. But it's bloody awful on Trask. The rain is relentless."
"Right, I forgot your dad was a bus driver," Ringo replied.
"Hey, where'd the kid go?" Paul asked.
John stood up and scanned the docking area. He found Baby Yoda making a beeline to the Frog Lady's glowing container of eggs.
"Hey, you'd better slow down!" he called to the child. "Baby, now you're moving way too fast!"
He ran up behind the child and scooped him in his arms, then carried him back to the table where his bandmates were sitting. "Leave those eggs alone," he admonished the child. "They don't belong to you. Now sit down and eat your dragon nuggets, then we can have a little jam session before your stepdad takes you away from us again."
George leaned over his father's shoulder and asked, "Are we there yet, Dad?"
"Stop with the whining!" scolded Harry Harrisonford. "We'll get there when we get there. This is a tourist-cruiser, for the Force's sake, not a New Republic E-Wing or a TIE Interceptor!"
"This damned bus would probably take fifty parsecs to make the Kessel run," John groused.
"What are you going on about?" Harry protested. "A parsec is a unit of space, not a measure of time!"
"Oh, I thought…" John started to reply.
"Never mind that," Ringo interjected. "George's dad is flying as fast as he can, so let's all just stop and take the time to smell the roses."
Harry scowled. "You make even less sense that your friend Johnny there. There are no roses in space!"
"Just fly as fast as you can, please, Mr. Harrisonford," Paul urged their pilot. "Baby Yoda left both of his Chinkinkalu flutes behind on Tatooine, and I want to make sure he takes at least one of him on his journey to join the Jedi. He needs to keep practicing."
"He's already a Chinkinkalu master," George pointed out.
"Yeah, but I'd hate for the little guy to lose his touch," Paul replied.
"And I hate that the little guy is leaving us again," John whined. "He's the best thing that ever happened to our band. Why, with him in our line-up, we'd go straight to the toppermost of the poppermost!"
"There's Trask up ahead," said George's father. "So you lot better fasten your seatbelts. This is going to be a tricky landing. Not much of a runway on this dock. If we're not careful, we might end up splashing down in some octopus's garden."
The ship broke through the moon's atmosphere and flew directly into a heavy rain storm. Thunder rumbled through the hull of the vessel, and the tourist cruiser shook violently.
"Well, if we land in the water, then at least we'll be warm below the storm, in our little hide-a-way beneath the waves," Ringo said, his voice shaking along with the ship.
Paul threw him an anxious look. "That notion doesn't make me feel happy or safe!"
"I'll bloody well get you lads down safely," Harry Harrisonford cursed. "I'm a professional bus driver! Just sit tight and shut up!"
The musicians fell silent while George's dad maneuvered the ship through the clouds and onto the small landing pad.
"Great job, Dad," George said with a smile after they touched down.
"Yeah, we made it in one piece after all," agreed Ringo, his voice tinged with relief.
"So where to now?" Paul asked John.
John clenched the edges of his seat tightly and tried to make himself stop shaking. His already fair skin had blanched a whiter shade of pale. He opened his eyes slowly, swallowed hard, and offered his bandmates a weak smile. "Just give me a minute to find my sea legs," he whispered in a broken voice. "Then we can try to find someone on shore who speaks Frog and can lead us to our horn player."
Paul, George and Ringo huddled together under their shared umbrella while John lifted his face to the rain.
"Don't run and hide your heads, you tossers!" John chided his bandmates. "You might as well be dead, the way you're ducking beneath that brolly! We've been living on a desert planet for years now! Let's enjoy the feeling of precipitation on our skin for once!"
"Fine thing for you to say, John," Paul admonished his friend. "When both of the suns come out on Tantooine, you always slip into the shade!"
"I sunburn easily," John called back to him as the rain drenched his face and hair. "My mum was a redhead. I come by it naturally."
"So now you're trying to get a tan by standing in the Trasken rain?" Ringo challenged.
"No, I'm trying to find someone who speaks Frog," John said testily.
A Mon Calamari dressed in a dark blue cabled sweater and waterproof overalls approached John. "Did I just hear you say you're looking for someone who speaks Frog?" He started to croak.
John cut him off. "Yes, but since you obviously speak our language too, I'll ask you a question in our native tongue first. We're looking for a party of three travelers who were coming to Trask. They probably arrived in the last couple of days. A Frog woman carrying a container filled with eggs, a Mandalorian dressed in beskar armor, and a little green man with giant ears and eyes. Have you seen them?"
"I have indeed," the Mon Calamari replied. "What's it worth to you?"
"I can give you twenty credits if you take us to them," John offered.
"And I'll throw in another twenty if you sell me your sweater," George offered. "That's one fine looking bit of knitwear."
The Mon Calamari threw George a dirty look with his right eye, while keeping his left eye squarely focused on John. "The sweater's not for sale. I can take you to the Frog woman for free. She and her mate are staying in a flat across the canal from my wife and me. But you'll have to fork over a hundred credits if you want information on the Mandalorian's whereabouts."
John's face fell. "We haven't got that kind of cash. We're just a struggling band of musicians, still waiting for our big break."
"That little green guy is our big break!" Paul called out from beneath the umbrella. "He's the best Chinkinkalu flute player this side of Geonosis!"
"Well, you're in luck then," the Mon Calamari replied. "He's staying with the Frog couple while the Mandalorian is off on a mission with three women."
"Three women?" Ringo laughed. "Our masked Mando is quite the ladies' man!"
"He's not romancing this trio," the fish-man insisted. "These women are fierce warriors. And they'll make short work of any fool like you who dares to challenge their skills with a blaster."
"Hey, happiness is a warm gun," John said, laughing nervously. "We have no truck with these ass-kicking birds or the Mandalorian. Just lead us to our little green friend, and we'll call it a day."
"Alright then," the Mon Calimari replied. He tugged self-consciously at his beautifully knit sweater, then led the four young men through the crowded harbor and into the neighboring village where the Frog couple had rented a small flat.
John, Paul, George and Ringo filed into the dark sitting room behind the Mon Calamari. Their guide exchanged a few pleasantries with the Frog man and woman, then waved goodbye and left.
The child recognized his old friends at once and ran to them with his arms out wide. John scooped him up and hugged him tightly.
The Frog woman stepped forward and made a face that appeared to be angry. She opened her mouth wide and made a loud croaking noise.
John listened to her intently. He opened his own mouth wide and croaked a reply. They exchanged a few more croaks. Then John pulled the child away from his chest and dangled him at arm's length in front of his face.
"Is what she says true?" he asked the child. "Are you the egg man?"
The Frog woman made a few more angry croaks. Her husband walked up to her side and wrapped one of his arms around her shoulder in a protective gesture.
John croaked an apology to the Frog couple, then set the child down on the floor and turned to his bandmates. "It would seem that our horn player has eaten a few of his babysitter's eggs!"
The child's eyes brimmed with tears.
Paul took pity on him and scooped him up. He looked the child directly in the eye. "Have you eaten this lady's fertilized eggs, or just the unfertilized ones?"
"What difference does that make?" challenged John. "Mrs. Frog here says it was her last spawn. She's going through the change of life!"
George winced. "Seriously, John? I don't want to talk about icky women's issues like that."
"Well, I don't particularly enjoy talking about such matters either," John harrumphed. "But I live with a premenopausal woman, so I don't have much choice, do I? My Auntie Peli never stops complaining about her hot flashes."
"So that explains it," Ringo said, scratching his chin and nodding. "I thought your auntie was just a cranky old bitch. I hadn't realized she was suffering from hormonal problems."
"Enough of this blabber," Paul insisted. He hugged the child to his chest. "We came here to give this little one back his flutes. Let's not get off topic."
"Fine one you are to talk," John lashed out at his friend. "You give us all a hard time for eating cooked meat from dead animals. But it doesn't seem to faze you in the slightest that Baby Yoda has been gobbling up live raw eggs."
"Well, if they're not fertilized, then they're not really living creatures, are they?" Paul challenged.
John turned back to the Frog woman and croaked. She hung her head and wiped a tear from her eye. Her husband croaked back a reply to John.
John nodded, then turned back to his friends. "She's getting old, so her eggs are also old, and when Mr. Frog here did his bit, well, um…the solution the eggs are floating in should be doing its trick by now, but only one of her eggs has made it to the next stage so far."
George nodded. "So that's why each of her eggs was so precious. And our Chinkinkalu-player might have eaten the other strong ones." He turned towards Baby Yoda and wagged his finger at him. "You've been very naughty."
The child wiped a tear from his cheek and made a whimpering sound.
"I think he's very sorry," Paul insisted.
"Yeah, but sorry doesn't mean much when he's caused so much damage," Ringo piped in.
The child started squirming out of Paul's embrace. Paul rested him gently on the floor. The child toddled over to the glowing container which held one obviously fertilized egg and many other apparently lifeless balls of goo. The frog couple immediately ran in front of him and wrapped their arms protectively around the container.
The child closed his eyes and assumed a meditative expression. Then he lifted both of his three-fingered hands and extended them towards the container.
A hush fell over the room. Then a pulse of energy started to radiate from the child's fingertips. It warmed the air of the cool, damp flat, like a tropical ocean breeze kissing the damp skin of a sunbather. A soft glow started to envelope the child.
The Frog couple exchanged nervous glances, then slowly let go of their egg container and stepped to the side.
The glow spread from the child's fingertips to the container. The soft blue light that pulsed from the container's heating unit assumed a purple hue. Then a rainbow of colors lit up the water. The air in the room started to hum.
The child lowered his hands and collapsed on the floor. The egg container returned to its original blue color.
John ran to the child and scooped him up in his arms. "Hey there, Baby Yoda. What did you just do?"
The Frog couple started croaking ecstatically. Paul, George and Ringo gathered around the container and started to laugh.
"Take a look, John!" Paul called to his bandmate. "Each of these eggs has a little wriggling embryo inside it now!"
The Frog couple hugged each other tightly and started croaking together in a joyful Bo-Diddly rhythm.
"You used the Force," John whispered, stroking the soft white hairs on the child's head. "You summoned the Force and used it to make those eggs strong enough to be fertilized."
The child stirred sleepily in his arms.
"I think we all used the Force just now," Paul corrected him. He took a step towards John. "The Force is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together."
"So Baby Yoda used the Force that each of us were individually generating, and redirected it all at the Frog spawn in that container so the weak eggs could become fertile," George surmised.
"Yeah, you know, I thought I felt a little energy draining out of me just then, when the kid was doing his magic thing," Ringo agreed.
The Frog couple crouched down and counted their eggs. They exchanged a quick frown, then stood up and approached John. The Frog man croaked.
John nodded. He tickled the child's ears and managed to wake him. "You did good, lad," he assured the small creature. "You brought all but one of those eggs to life. This Froggie couple here is about to become parents to a clutch of fourteen babies—the one that was already fertilized, and thirteen that you rejuvenated!"
The child opened his eyes wide and stared at John. Then he started wiggling. John set him on the floor.
He toddled over to the container and admired the fertilized eggs floating in the glowing blue solution. He smiled at the tiny tadpoles wiggling within their translucent egg sacs and started to giggle. Then he noticed the lifeless egg that had floated to the top of the surface. He reached out one hand and pointed to it, and closed his eyes once more. He made an earnest sounding noise as he tried to summon the Force once more, then started to collapse.
The Frog woman caught him before he landed on his bottom. She croaked a soothing, sing-song noise to the child. Then she scooped the unfertilized egg out of the solution and slipped it inside the child's cloak pocket before gently handing Baby Yoda back to John.
John hugged the child to his chest. "Don't worry mate," he assured him. "Mrs. Frog said there's always at least one dud egg in every clutch. You did good, lad. You did good."
The child smiled at John with a grin that stretched from one of his giant ears to the next.
Paul patted the pockets of his own coat and found the two Chinkinkalus he had brought from Tatooine. "You left these behind the night you flew away," he said, handing both instruments to the child.
The child accepted the smaller flute from Paul, then wriggled out of John's arms once more. He approached the container of eggs and started playing a ridiculously catchy melody with a waltz rhythm.
The Frog couple draped their arms around each other's shoulders and started swaying to the beat. John, Paul, George and Ringo huddled together in a close line beside their amphibious hosts and started humming along to the child's melody. The tadpoles in their eggs started dancing to the song as well, forming a circular pattern as they passed through their glowing blue substrate.
Paul leaned in towards John's ear. "I've got some lyrics coming to me just now that fit this melody. See if you can translate them into Frog for me, would you?"
He grabbed the Frog woman's webbed fingers with his right hand, and John's hand with his left, and started to sing:
"Win or lose, sink or swim,
One thing is certain – We'll never give in!
Side by side, hand in hand,
We all stand together!"
Inspired by Episodes 10 and 11 of the Disney+ television show "The Mandalorian," screenplay by Jon Favreau (2020), and by the short animated film "Rupert and the Frog Song" by Paul & Linda McCartney and Geoff Dunbar (1984).