It's My Birthday, Too (Yeah!)
Producer: Irene Litinsky
(Bova is in the Boys' Bunkroom, at a table. He is intensely examining a huge rock formation that is sitting on the table. We then hear the jump-tube noise, and see Harlan inside. As Harlan enters the room, Bova has hidden the rock formation and activated a circular piano. He begins to "play" it.)
Harlan: You're getting really good at that piano playing, Bova.
Bova: Thanks! It's just a matter of practicing.
(He puts his hands on his knees, but looks shocked as the piano continues to play.)
Harlan: A matter of practicing?
Bova: I was practicing faking.
(Harlan gets his vest out of the ceiling.)
Harlan: Bova? Are you okay? Something bothering you?
(Bova shakes his head as sets the piano aside.)
Harlan: Hmmm. What are you hiding there?
(Bova spins around.)
Harlan: It's that rock formation, isn't it? The one you found while we were exploring the surface of Cygnus Twelve? The one the commander and Miss Davenport said you couldn't bring with you?
Bova: Maybe. There were lots of 'em around. I figured, who's gonna care?
Harlan: Hmm. And nobody saw you sneak it aboard?
Harlan: (squatting beside him) I'll tell you what. Why don't we just keep this between the two of us. (stands) We're due for class. You coming?
Bova: Sure, why not? It's not like I had any other plans.
Harlan: (stopping in the doorway) Why did you bring that rock aboard, anyway?
Bova: (joining him) A present. To myself. That's all.
Bova: After all, most people get a present on their birthday.
[END OF TEASER]
Narration: The Eye of the Future sees them. Five clever space cadets, snuck aboard an alien ship, flung through a weird hole in space, thousands of light-years from the Academy. Yeah, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but will they ever get home? Or are they forever destined to be... Space Cases?
Davenport: (voice-over) As the noted Earthman George Santayana once said -
(Cut to the Classroom.)
Davenport: - those who do not listen to history are doomed to repeat it. We must remember history and those who went before us, so we can have something to which to aspire.
Harlan: Like my dad. In the STARDOGS. Fighting Andr -
(Radu turns around.)
Harlan: - and - and exploring.
Catalina: Uh, my folks were famous diplomats!
Rosie: My mom and dad are doctors.
Bova: My parents had me!
Davenport: And what about you, Radu?
Radu: I, uh, don't like to - boast.
Davenport: Well. I notice you all speak of your parents. But what of your grandparents? Your great-grandparents? Four, five generations back?
(The kids all look perplexed.)
Davenport: I want each of you to prepare a family tree. My fore-computer has detailed Starcademy records. You should be able to trace your family tree back centuries.
Radu: You have information on everybody?
Davenport: Except you, Radu. Our little space "mishap" occured before the Andromedan government gave us your family history. You will have to fill it out as best you can.
Radu: Oh, uh, that's - fine.
(Team Room. Harlan is working on his family tree, while Catalina and Radu are playing Minbar chess.)
Harlan: Hey, Cat. You should see the stuff I'm finding out about my family tree. Oh, man, it's incredible.
Catalina: I was researching mine earlier, and yours won't even come close.
Harlan: Oh, yeah? (laughs) Oooh! Well! For starters, there's Joshua Band. Four hundred years ago, he was a slave in Georgia. Wound up escaping to freedom, then he went back, and helped others to escape, and then later became a famous explorer.
Radu: Wait. A slave?
Harlan: Yeah. He was actually kidnapped from his home, sold into slavery - it was legal on Earth back then! Crazy, huh?
Radu: So we have something in common.
Harlan: Like what?
Radu: My ancestors were slaves, too! You know, slaves of the Spung during the war.
Radu: I mean, it was terrible for us - I mean, not being in control of -
Harlan: Look, Hairdo.
Harlan: Whatever. There's a big difference. The people in my family, they fought against slavery.
(We see Catalina - she knows where this is going.)
Harlan: The people in your family, they just - knuckled under. They - they didn't even -
(Radu stands and gets in Harlan's face.)
Harlan: - not that that doesn't mean -
Radu: Just - just don't say anything, okay?
Harlan: I know, I know.
Catalina: You have got to lay off of him!
Harlan: I know, I know!
Catalina: Well, what are you gonna do about it?
Harlan: I don't know! I try. I really do! I try to treat him okay! But then I think about my dad. Being killed in the war by Andromedans.
Catalina: But you're getting mad at the wrong guy! I mean, don't you realize that?
Harlan: Yeah, I realize that. But only after I open my mouth.
Catalina: Okay. How about if I help you. I can - give you signals. Yeah. When you're talking to Radu, keep an eye on me. And if I tug on my ear, no matter what you may be thinking, say something like, "I absolutely agree," or, "You couldn't be more right."
(Harlan has a "yeah, right" look on his face.)
Catalina: Be as agreeable as possible.
Harlan: (shrugs) Hey! I'll try anything if it'll make the trip back less aggravating.
Catalina: Especially for you.
(We see the Boys' Bunkroom. Everything is trashed, and the rock sample is still rolling around on the floor. As we watch, it crashes into and breaks the piano. Bova rushes in, with Miss Davenport right behind him.)
Davenport: Bova, what was that aw -
(She sees the mess.)
Davenport: - ful -
(She sees the sample.)
Davenport: - racket.
(Crossing her arms, she glares at him, and he looks at her as if to say, "Oops.".
Catalina: (voice-over) Well? What do you think?
(Cut to Catalina and Rosie standing in the Team Room, looking at Catalina's family tree.)
Rosie: It's really nice. Although - I was expecting something, I don't know - flashier from you.
Catalina: But my ancestry is so dazzling, it'd be overkill to do too much with the presentation! Screen off!
(The screen flickers off.)
Catalina: Why? Are you doing something "flashy?"
Rosie: Oh, no, no, um - I decided to keep it simple.
(She turns on her video, and we see a fully illustrated, professional-quality movie. It keeps flashing back and forth from the movie to Catalina's amazed face.)
Announcer: Upon the white-hot surface of Mercury, a group of determined colonists settled and forged a life for themselves. A life that resulted in - the production of - Rosie Ianni!
(Rosie appears on the screen, wearing a superhero costume, complete with waving cape.)
Announcer: Fun-loving! Optimistic! Humble. Rosie Ianni! Daughter of Goonter and Dalya Ianni!
(Rosie's parents appear on the screen.)
Catalina: You call that simple?
Announcer: But, our story doesn't really begin there. It begins with the creation of the universe!
(The screen shows a huge, flashy explosion. Catalina stares at Rosie in utter astonishment.
Cut to Commander Goddard working at the central control console. He tries in vain to work one of the crystals, and is irritated when he still cannot do it.
Corridor. Miss Davenport passes through one of the doors, carrying Bova's sample.)
Davenport: I have to watch them every minute! And if I don't dispose of this myself, I can't even trust -
(She starts to buckle under the sudden weight of the sample.)
Davenport: It wasn't - heavy - a moment -
(She finally ends up almost on the floor, with the rock sitting on top of her hands. She pulls her fingers out from underneath with some difficulty, then leaves. We see the Gizbot go up to the sample, stick out an exploring probe arm, touch the sample and go shooting off in the opposite direction. Then Davenport enters again with Thelma.)
Davenport: Just - just bring it up to Commander Goddard. I do not want to deal with this any more!
(As Thelma picks up the sample, the Gizbot comes flying by, spinning like mad.)
Davenport: What's the matter with the Gizbot?
Thelma: He appears to be malfunctioning. It is so inconvenient when machines are confusing and less than helpful, isn't it, Miss Davenport?
(Miss Davenport has a look on her face like she's trying not to say what she's thinking... namely that Thelma is usually less than helpful...
Team Room. Rosie is walking by Bova, who is sitting at the table looking glum.)
Rosie: Bova, what's bothering you? You're much more depressed than usual. I heard you got in trouble with Miss Davenport, because you snuck some rock sample aboard?
Bova: She gave me ten demerits. It doesn't matter.
Rosie: Bova, whatever it is, we can make it okay. At least, give me a chance to help.
(She goes and stands next to him.)
Bova: I was just thinking about my family. Wondering if they celebrated without me.
Rosie: Celebrated what?
(Command Post. Thelma is still holding the sample as Commander Goddard paces.)
Goddard: Kids. We told Bova we'd collected enough mineral specimens and he had to drag that aboard! Not that I care about some piece of rock, it's - the principle of the thing.
(He stops and stands next to Thelma.)
Goddard: Well, we can't just dump it into space. Space hates litter.
(He starts pacing again.)
Thelma: I could feed it into the ship's recycling system when we do routine maintenance on the protomix tomorrow.
Goddard: (turning to face her) Okay. Stash it in the airlock until then.
(Thelma nods and walks off.
Harlan: (voice-over) Now, my great-grandfather, he was on the mission that made first contact with the Rigellians.
(Cut to the Galley. Catalina is getting food from the food-wheel machine, and Harlan and Radu are sitting across from each other at the table.)
Harlan: It was only voice communication, but still.
Catalina: That's nothing. My grandfather was on the diplomatic team that first arranged the colonizing of the planets in the Sol system.
(Harlan nods, impressed.)
Catalina: What about you, Radu?
(He stops in mid-bite and looks up at her.)
Catalina: What's your family tree like?
Radu: Uh, I'd really rather not talk about it.
Catalina: Come on. You'll have to tell us sooner or later.
(Harlan looks up as if to say, "She's got a point.".)
Radu: It's nothing special. Really.
Harlan: No kidding, I'd say you're nothing -
(Catalina, still behind Radu, tugs on her ear and Harlan stops in mid-sentence.)
Harlan: You're, you're - you're right.
(Catalina nods, impressed.)
Radu: I'm right.
Harlan: Yeah, you're absolutely right.
Radu: About not being anything special.
(Catalina tugs on her ear again.)
Harlan: I mean, no, no, you're, you're not right, but, but you're right in a - in a certain way.
(Radu looks obviously confused as Harlan keeps fumbling for words.
Cut to Thelma putting the rock in the Airlock.)
Thelma: Rest well, little rock. This time tomorrow, you'll be spacedust.
(She closes the door and walks away.
Radu: Look, I just - don't have any major people in my family.
Harlan: See, Cat, he's not holding out.
(She looks impressed.)
Harlan: So don't bother him. I mean, so what if he's got nothing in common with us. Big deal. I mean, heck, he's probably got something to hide -
(Catalina, having turned back to what she had been doing, whirls around and frantically tries to get him to stop.)
Harlan: - but, that doesn't matter -
Radu: I've got nothing to hide! You want to know about me? Fine! I'll tell you about my - my father! Umar! Who was a - no, no, I'll tell you about his father, Udar! The uh, the untamed!
(Shot of the rock glowing in the Airlock.
Radu: And uh, he was married to - Omra. Who was, uh, what would you call it?
Harlan: (sarcastically) President?
Radu: Yeah, yeah! Our president!
Catalina: Your grandmother was president and your grandfather was a pioneer? Wow.
Radu: (to Catalina) Right. Wow.
(He turns to Harlan.)
Radu: So you see? I've got as good a family as you. I'm as good as any of you.
(Rosie and Bova come in. She's dragging him.)
Rosie: Hey guys, guess what? Two days ago, by Uranus time, it was Bova's birthday.
Catalina: Why didn't you tell us?
Harlan: (going over to him) Yeah, man, we love birthdays! We're birthday animals!
(He makes animal sounds as Catalina runs over.)
Radu: Hey, uh, it's, it's my birthday, too!
[END OF ACT ONE]
(Boys' Bunkroom. Harlan is tying his shoe as Radu walks by. When Harlan straightens up, he turns to Radu, who is picking up a discarded vest from his bed.)
Harlan: (throwing his arms up in disgust) Can you tell?
Radu: (putting on the vest) Can I tell what?
Harlan: That I'm trying to watch what I say to you, because it's not always going right. And I -
Radu: Just wanted me to know?
Radu: Why are you telling me?
Harlan: Because it's - it's your birthday, and, it's not like I can go out and shop for you or anything, so my present to you is - honesty. And just treating you like one of the guys. Okay?
Harlan: Yeah. That's not too tough, is it?
Radu: Uh, no, no, not at all. Uh, thanks.
(Harlan turns to leave.)
Radu: It's what I always wanted.
Harlan: You finish your family tree?
Radu: Uh, no, I was just about to.
Harlan: Well, good luck. And, uh, happy birthday.
(As Harlan leaves, Radu picks up his CompuPad.)
Radu: Now, what did I tell them? Was it, uh, Umar the Untamed? No, no. That was - that was Udar. Yeah. That was it.
(Cut to the glowing rock, then to Radu in the corridor. We hear, as if from far off, a strange screeching noise that makes him stop in surprise. He puts his hand up to his head, as if he's picking up some kind of telepathic signal as well.)
Radu: It can't be.
(Cut to him opening the Airlock and seeing the rock inside.)
Radu: I don't believe it!
(Outside shot, then cut to the Command Post. Harlan is at his post, with Commander Goddard behind him.)
Harlan: Say, commander, you coming to the party?
Goddard: What party?
Harlan: The birthday party for Bova and Radu.
Goddard: Oh. Maybe later. Although I'm surprised Radu knows his birthday. I didn't think any Andromedans did.
Goddard: Well, this isn't generally known. STARDOGS are still researching it. But I've heard -
Harlan: What have you heard?
Bova: Why does Miss Davenport want to see us?
Rosie: Some new science project, I think.
(Radu comes around the corner with a huge box.)
Radu: Hey, Bova! Bova, I've got something for you! A present!
Rosie: Radu, your timing is perfect.
Radu: Perfect? Why perfect? I don't get it, Rosie. Why was the timing perfect?
(As he finishes his line, they enter the Team Room, where Catalina, Thelma and Miss Davenport are standing. It is decorated for a party.)
Catalina: Happy birthday!
Davenport: We have gifts, a game or two lined up, and a lovely cake.
Radu: (amazed) I don't know what to say.
Harlan: (entering) Oh, yeah? How about, "Thanks, everyone, but I lied."
(We see everyone's shocked faces.)
Harlan: "I don't even know when my birthday is." Or - or maybe you want to say, "Andromedans are born in hatcheries." With no past, no known family, nothing. Because, having no family makes us better fighters. Slaves. Whatever. You were laughing at me, weren't you, Radu. While I was standing there talking about honesty and birthdays, you were laughing at me. I feel like a complete idiot. Because I trusted you.
(Radu runs out the door as Commander Goddard is coming in.)
Goddard: What just happened here?
(We see Radu storm into the Boys' Bunkroom, then lose control and start crying.
Cut to Harlan angrily storming into the corridor, with Commander Goddard following close behind.)
Goddard: You misused that information I gave you. If I'd known what was going on, I'd never have told you -
Harlan: What, told me the truth? Since when is telling the truth something you get yelled at for?
(Harlan storms off. Commander Goddard goes to follow him but Catalina stops him.)
Catalina: Let me talk to him. Okay?
(Team Room. We see the egg shaking inside the box.
Bunkroom. Thelma comes up behind Radu and offers him a tissue.)
Radu: Uh, thanks.
Thelma: Why were you upset at your party?
Radu: Because I lied and they all knew I lied. That's why. I just wanted to have a family. Even a pretend one was too much to ask for. You couldn't understand.
Thelma: I couldn't? My understanding has always been that a family is not only those from whom you are born, but those to whom you belong.
(We see his face as he realizes she's right.)
Thelma: Did I screw up, too?
Radu: No - not at all.
Harlan: I tried to be nice, and I tried to watch what I said but it just didn't work out. And he didn't make it any easier! Admit it!
Catalina: Okay! I admit it! He messed up, and so did you, and he said dumb things, and so did you. And he got mad when he shouldn't have. And so did you.
Harlan: Good. I'm glad you finally see it my way.
Catalina: I guess I haven't been of much help. You should really be talking to someone you have a lot more in common with.
Catalina: Like Radu.
(Bova is opening his present. As he uncovers the box, the "rock" comes up out of it. We see Bova's shocked face for a minute.
Radu is in the Boys' Bunkroom. He hears the screechy noise again, and once again seems to be picking up something telepathically.)
(Cut to Catalina, Rosie and Miss Davenport are running out of the Team Room.)
Goddard: All of you! Get as far away as possible! Hurry!
(Inside the Team Room Harlan and Commander Goddard are trying to lift the rock off of Bova.)
Harlan: It wasn't like this before! It seems to be getting heavier by the second!
Radu: It does that when it gets close to the breaking point.
(He picks the rock up.)
Goddard: Get it off this ship!
Radu: We can't! It'll die!
Harlan: Die? It's a rock from Cygnus Twelve!
Radu: No, it's an egg. Like the kind I was hatched from.
Goddard: You mean there's a baby Andromedan in there?
Radu: No, no, it's - it's a rare animal from Andromeda called a gerkel. And it's having trouble being born. Look, if I don't crack it open - if I don't help it - Please. Trust me. Let's not cost this creature its life.
Goddard: Do it, Radu.
(Radu cracks the egg open and we see the little gerkel inside. It looks dead.)
Harlan: It's - it's dead, isn't it?
(Radu starts trying to resuscitate the creature. The girls and Miss Davenport are in the doorway watching.)
Goddard: Radu -
Radu: Wait. Just wait.
(Finally, the thing's eyes open and it shrieks.)
Harlan: You did it!
Goddard: Congratulations, Mr. Radu. You're a father.
Radu: Like they say, you can't choose your relatives.
(He gives it to Bova.)
Radu: Happy birthday.
Bova: (trying to hold the squirmy thing) He won't stay still. What's wrong with him?
Radu: Her, actually. I don't know.
Bova: Wait! I bet I know. There are other eggs back on Cygnus Twelve. I bet she wants to go home. Giving someone a family as a birthday present. That's a pretty nice thing to do, isn't it?
Goddard: I tend to agree, Bova. Harlan, Radu, take us back to Cygnus Twelve.
(Outside shot, then cut to the Command Post.)
Radu: Entering upper atmosphere of Cygnus Twelve.
Goddard: Take us in for a landing, Mr. Band.
Radu: Uh, I don't think that'll be necessary, Commander.
(He goes over to the intercom.)
Radu: If I may?
Goddard: It's your party, Radu.
Radu: Rosie, Catalina, get the airlock ready.
(We see the two of them opening it.)
Radu: Bova, put the gerkel down and stand back. If I'm right, she'll do the rest.
(We see Bova put it down and it flies off, very fast, into the airlock.)
Catalina: Inner door sealed.
Rosie: Outer door open.
(Outside shot as the gerkel flies down to the planet, and the ship swoops back up into space. Cut to the Command Post.)
Goddard: You know, Mr. Radu, the first thing they teach you in command school is that you must never express regret. It undermines crew confidence. If I were allowed to do so, I would apologize for having caused you embarrassment. But you understand I can't.
Radu: Understood, Commander. Miss Davenport, I thought I'd turn in my assignment early. My family tree.
(He puts it onto the screen - it's pictures of the crew.)
Rosie: Oh, Radu! That is so -
Harlan: - sappy!
Catalina: Is that all you have to say, Harlan?
Harlan: Yeah. That's all I have to say. (quietly) Sorry.
Radu: I heard that.
Harlan: I knew you would.
(The two of them shake hands. When they let go, Harlan is obviously in pain.)
This page created on April 30th, 2001.