Won’t Get Fooled Again

Characters: Tomás Darquin

“We are not ‘buzzing’ Earthdome, Anla-shok Darquin.”

“Sh-yeah. Right.” Darquin threw a glance over his shoulder at the crestfallen Minbari at his side, then sighed. He forgot that Minbari First Officers weren’t used to upstart pilots like him. “Okay, Thecran. Then what are we going to do.”

“A demonstration of our fleet’s abilities.”

Darquin pursed his lips. “We’re firing on Earthdome?”

“Of course not!”

“So we’re better off buzzing ’em. What’s the problem?”

“I do not understand your captain’s insistence that you return and take the helm in such an important mission. This is not childish mischief! These are the orders of Entil’zha herself! There are other pilots here that–”

“Wait, wait.” Darquin stopped in the middle of the corridor, grunting as his Minbari companion walked into him, chuckling to himself. “You’re–what’s your name again?”

“Thecran, of the Third–”

“Okay, okay. So. You’re telling me we’re going to form up with some other White Stars in hyperspace, jump into Earth’s atmosphere–directly over Earthdome–to present ourselves to Earthgov. Have I got that right?”

Thecran paused, his eyes wandering as if in search of a trap. “Well, yes.”

“I hate to break it to you, but us humans call that buzzing someone.”

“Oh.” Thecran put his tongue in his cheek, the first time Darquin had ever seen a Minbari do that.

“See? I’ve been listening.” Smiling, Darquin led the further down the corridor.

Thecran ran after him in a flurry of white robes. “But…isn’t there anything more you’d want to know?”

“I figured you’d tell me. Now we’re going to need some very precise navigational data if we’re going to do a seamless atmospheric jump, right?”

“Yes, very precise,” Thecran added quickly. He sounded relieved–probably was–now that they were talking about something he could understand. “I believe Entil’zha’s personal attache is attending to that.”

“I’ll have to get my navigation signal synched up with their frequency, then.”

“Already done.”

“Do you think we’re going to have enough ships to patrol Earth space and for this thing?”

“Oh yes,” Thecran said with confidence. “Reinforcements will be arriving from Mars at any moment. Once they arrive, all White Stars designated for this operation will meet at the rendezvous point in hyperspace to wait.”

“Then we jump back into normal space, make our big appearance, and jump out again before Earthforce gets really tweaked.”

“Correct. I think.”

Darquin patted Thecran on the back and gave him a thumbs-up. “Then we’re down and solid. This is gonna be so cool! We’ll blow their socks off.” As the doors to the main bridge came into view, Darquin turned to check on his companion, noticing the look of ambivalence and impending dread on the Minbari’s face. “What?!”

“You do feel confident that you can execute these maneuvers…yes?”

“Hey, I was born for it.” Stopping short of the doors, Darquin took Thecran by the shoulders. “Thecran, we’ve survived two wars–back to back. No one’s gonna remember us in the history books, so we might as well enjoy it. Loosen up a little!”

Darquin patted him on the back one more time for luck, then produced a data crystal, tossing it in the air and catching it as they crossed into the bridge.

              VIDEO                              AUDIO

CLOSE on Darquin's fingers              Growl of an electric guitar
tapping his crystal into a data         and a synth phrase, the 
port on the helm.                       opening of the Who's "Won't
                                        Get Fooled Again."

DARQUIN sitting at the crystalline
helm, reaching for a chrome-colored
headset.  As he puts it on, adjust-
ing it to his ear....

PULL BACK across the entire length
of the main bridge to establish--
the command center of the ship--
and all the Rangers, human and 
Minbari, at their stations.

BACK to Darquin, lights from the
console reflecting onto his face
as he works.

OVER THE SHOULDER SHOT of
Darquin at the helm console.
Flat readouts appear over the
crystalline console.

CLOSER on the readouts, which
list the artist and song along
with computer commands:  "Reduce
volume to 1/3 for incoming signals
on command channel."  As the read-
outs ripple like water, images 
overlapping, fading out like
candle flames, they change into
navigation charts....

BACK to Darquin working on the          30 seconds.  Guitars and 
console, smiling as he presses          cymbals crash in for
a finger to the earpiece of his         intro, followed by drums.
headset to listen.  As he 
casually rolls his hand over it,
and....


                         CUT TO:

EXT. EARTH ORBIT

THE ENGINES of the White Star           37 seconds.  Guitars and 
flare brightly as the ship pulls        percussion take over the 
AWAY, flanked by the blue and           intro and build up the
white face of the Earth filling         tempo.
one side of the frame.

HIGH ANGLE on the White Star
and the Earth underneath, 
flooding the screen with ocean
blues and cloud swirls.  The
ship passes THROUGH the frame.

ZOOM IN on the Earth sky,
THROUGH flame, PAST a rapid
in-rush of blue sky, THROUGH
the blinding mist of clouds.            Guitar flourish, then
                                        vocals begin.

                    DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. EARTHDOME--DAY

Bird's eye view of the government       "We'll be fighting in the 
buildings.                              streets...."

TILT DOWN ground-level                  "With our children at our 
establishing shot of Earthdome.         feet...."

                         CUT TO:

INT. EARTHDOME--DAY

TIGHT on a set of polished wooden            "And the morals that 
double doors as they open.  A few            they worship
security men in Earthforce Grey              will be gone"
step OUT, leading Captain John
Sheridan out.


                         CUT TO:


INT. CONFERENCE ROOM--DAY

WIDE ANGLE on the soldiers and
Sheridan as they walk down the
aisle between the rows of chairs.

SIDE VIEW of several Earthforce
generals.

PAN TO INCLUDE Sheridan as he           "And the men who spurred us
sits beside them, the generals          on....
between him and us.  He braves a        Sit in judgment of all
glance across toward them, then         wrong...."
looks downward in apprehension 
and contemplation.


                         CUT TO:


EXT. EARTH ORBIT

In the distance, flanked by the         "They decide and
glowing face of the Earth, an           the shotgun sings the song"
Earthforce cruiser stands vigil.

TILT DOWN to the White Star             "I'll tip my hat to the new
sailing below us.                       constitution..."


                         CUT TO:


INT. WHITE STAR BRIDGE

PAN ACROSS the bridge crew.             "Take a bow for the new
                                        revolution...."

REAR ANGLE FAVORING the                 "Smile and grin at the 
viewports and the sight of space,       change all around"
a blue sliver of Earth flickering
on one side.

CLOSE on Darquin's fingers waving       "Pick up my guitar and
over the crystalline helm controls.      play"
Despite themselves, the fingers on
his free hand tap in time with the      Sliding guitar phrase.
music on the edges of the console

PULL BACK so we can see him             "Just like yesterday"
smiling, looking ahead, still
listening to the music on his
headset.

CLOSE on helm readout, a wireframe      "Then I'll get on my knees 
grid and a dot at the far end of        and pray...."
its horizon.  The readout magnifies
the dot, revealing an Earthforce
destroyer.

Darquin looks on, then straight         "...We don't get fooled 
ahead, uncertain, apprehensive.         again"
The war is over, but a question
of trust hangs in the air.

                         CUT TO:

EXT. EARTH ORBIT

The White Star ship traveling           Dramatic crash into music
AWAY, further toward the EF             bridge that will lead into 
destroyer in the distance.              the next verse.

ANOTHER ANGLE on the White Star
as several other White Stars JUMP
IN into the space behind it.

FAR SHOT to show a loose chain
of White Stars taking positions
to patrol Low Earth Orbit space.

PAN to the first White Star ship        "The change, it had to 
few others FLY INTO FRAME and           come"
begin a formation around it.

                         CUT TO:

INT. WHITE STAR BRIDGE

HELM READOUT, a wireframe               "We knew it all along"
schematic of the White Stars
in formation.  Lines and Minbari
text flash between the ships
as if to measure distance.

PULL BACK to OVER THE
SHOULDER shot of Darquin
at the helm.

SIDE ANGLE on him now.                  "We were liberated from the
                                        fold, that's all"

PUSH IN on his Isil'zha pin.

HELM READOUT, a window showing          "And the world looks just
the ISN logo appearing with a           the same
graphic of the Earth announcing         And history ain't changed"
its special report broadcast.

CLOSE on Darquin looking up at          "'Cause the banners, they
the viewports Off-Screen.               are flown in the next
                                        war"
His POV of the distant Earthforce
destroyer seen through the viewport.

A Ranger on the other end of the        "I'll tip my hat to the new
bridge react with a start, cupping      constitution"
his hand over his headset.  He's
just picked up Darquin's private
datafeed.  He looks around in 
confusion.

TWO SHOT of another Ranger stand-       "Take a bow for the new 
ing at a station near Darquin,          revolution
listening closely at his own            "Smile and grin at the
headset, giving him a curious           change all around
look.  After a while, Darquin           Pick up my guitar and play
realizes that he's been stared at       Just like yesterday
and turns around at the other           Then I'll get on my knees
Ranger, who points at their             and pray...
headsets.  Darquin shrugs and           We don't get fooled again
smiles nervously, turning back to       No, no"
the helm console as the other
Rangers grins.                          Guitar leads new bridge.

Captain Hale in the command chair.      HALE:  "Stand by to jump in
                                        formation."

PULL BACK to include Darquin at         DARQUIN:  "Jump engines,
at the helm.                            aye.  Course plotted,
                                        beacon lock confirmed...
                                        ready for jump."

                                        HALE:  "Jump."

                         CUT TO:

EXT. EARTH ORBIT
The White Star formation OPEN
JUMP POINT and fly in.


                         CUT TO:

EXT. HYPERSPACE 

The other side of the same jump 
point as the White Stars JUMP IN.

                         CUT TO:

INT. WS BRIDGE

Captain Hale speaks over her            HALE:  "Bring up ISN.  Low
shoulder.                               volume."


NEW ANGLE on a pedestal, with           LUCHENKO:  "...Their choice
Captain and bridge crew in the BG,      was an uneviable one-- 
as it projects a holo-image of          follow the orders of a
President Luchenko on ISN.              superior officer in acts
                                        that violate your 
CLOSE on Darquin listening in,          conscience...or rise up in
frowning with skepticism.               opposition. Both sides have
                                        risked much and suffered
                                        greatly, but in the end,
                                        the battle they fought was
                                        the same:  to protect and
                                        preserve an Earth they
                                        could proudly call home."

                         CUT TO:

EXT. HYPERSPACE

Around the White Star formation,        Back to vocals:
more of their fellows appear and        "I'll move myself and my
slowly approach to join the group.      family aside
                                        If we happen to be left
                                        half alive
                                        I'll get all my papers and
                                        smile at the sky"
                         CUT TO:

INT. WS BRIDGE

Darquin at the helm, focusing on        "Though I know that the 
his console as the ISN broadcast        hypnotized never lie"
continues in the bg.

The pedestal continues to project       Guitar phrase, punctuated 
the ISN holo as Sheridan stands         by drum beats.
and slowly approaches the podium,
receiving a formal handshake from
Luchenko.

CLOSE on Darquin, following the         "Do ya?" 
broadcast at his console with a
clearly skeptical eye.                  New music bridge.

NEW ANGLE on Darquin.                   DARQUIN:  "Receiving
                                        navigation signal from
                                        planetside."

GROUP SHOT of the bridge                HALE:  "The question is, is
FAVORING Captain Hale.                  it our new lock-on, Mr
                                        Darquin?"

Darquin working at the helm.            DARQUIN:  "Encryption key
                                        and handshake match.  It's
                                        our new telemetry."

                                        HALE:  "Okay, let's get 
                                        everything set up for our
                                        jumps in and out of there.
PAN across the bridge crew at           Double-check those numbers
work.                                   and make sure we aren't
                                        going to plow anything over
                                        when we get through."

                                        ENGINEER:  "Jump engines
                                        will be fully recharged in
                                        about three standard
                                        minutes."


Back to Captain Hale.                   HALE:  "Sounds like we're
                                        on schedule.  All we need
                                        now is our cue.  So how
                                        is our formation doing?"

Darquin at the helm.                    DARQUIN:  "Looks good so
                                        far.  Maintaining distance
                                        and formation."

                         CUT TO:

EXT. HYPERSPACE

TIGHT on their White Star.              Guitar goes back to the
                                        intro phrase.

PULL BACK to include more of the
other ships in the formation.

PAN to show the huge length of the      Vocals--short yell.
formation as more White Stars in
the distance join up.

                         CUT TO:

INT. WHITE STAR BRIDGE

HELM READOUT.  A moving schematic       "There's nothing in the 
of numbers and wireframe outlines       streets"
of moving vehicles and the 
Earthdome complex.

Darquin's eyes.                         "Looks any different to me"
 
PULL BACK for NEW ANGLE on              "And the slogans are
Darquin sighing to himself.             replaced, by-the-bye"

CLOSE on a grainy, transparent ISN      "And the parting on the 
logo.  As we PULL BACK, we find out     left"
out it's the screen bug of the ISN 
holo.

HOLD on Captain Hale watching, as       "Is now parting on the
if we're watching her from inside       right"
the holo.

PULL BACK further so we can see         "And the beards have all
Sheridan speaking at the podium.        grown longer overnight"

                         CUT TO:

EXT. HYPERSPACE

FAR SHOT of the White Star group        "I'll tip my hat to the new
almost to full size...immense.          constitution
                                        Take a bow for the new
                                        revolution"

                         CUT TO:

INT. WHITE STAR BRIDGE

Captain Hale turns to another           "Smile and grin at the
beside her, a wireframe map of          change all around"
the formation.  Then she notices
something OS.

One of the Rangers from earlier,        "Pick up my guitar and 
mumbling to himself along with          play"
the lyrics.

TIGHTER ANGLE on the Captain
looking in another direction.

The Ranger beside Darquin is            "Just like yesterday"
tapping his fingers against 
his datapad in time with the
music.

Confused, Captain Hale turns her        "Then I'll get on my knees
gaze by a fraction, toward the          and pray...."
helm.

CLOSE on Darquin's fingers tapping
on the edge of his console.

PULL BACK to Hale's POV of the helm.

NEW ANGLE on Terry Hale smirking,       "We don't get fooled again"
now that she's putting it all           Don't get fooled again"
together, shaking her head.             No, no!"

CLOSE on Sheridan in the ISN holo.      SHERIDAN:  "I love Earth.
                                        And for my love of Earth,
                                        I must walk away from my
                                        love of duty...."

CLOSE on Darquin, almost dejected.      Music bridge.

                                        DARQUIN:  "He got us off
                                        the hook...and put himself
                                        on it."

Captain Hale at her chair.              HALE:  "They could've
                                        locked him up.  Or even had
                                        him shot.  It looks like
                                        they're letting him go.
                                        Maybe there's hope for us
                                        yet."

NEW ANGLE on Darquin.                   DARQUIN:  "For Rangers?  Or
                                        Earth?"

Captain Hale turns toward him,          HALE:  "Possibly both...?"
becomes thoughtful.

Darquin presses his hand against his    DARQUIN:  "Sir...G'Kar is 
headset, and turns to Captain Hale.     moving for the podium.
                                        They're going to let him
                                        speak!"

                                        The music begins to build,
                                        drums and guitars getting
                                        more and more chaotic,
                                        leading into the next
                                        section.

Back to Captain Hale, watching,         HALE:  "Can we tell what
thinking, carefully.                    the local air traffic is
                                        down there?

                                        G'KAR (OS):  "For many
                                        years, all of us here have
                                        prized our good relations
                                        with Earth...."

ISN HOLO of G'Kar at the podium.        DARQUIN (OS):  "Yes, sir.
                                        All clear."

CLOSE on Captain Hale.                  HALE:  "Engineering, make
                                        sure the gravity control
                                        will compensate when we're
                                        back in Earth's gravity. 
                                        Even if we have to switch
                                        to manual."

WIREFRAME HOLO MAP beside the           Synth crescendoes.
Captain, showing the expanded
formation.                              HALE (OS):  "I don't want
                                        to get caught short."

ISN HOLO with G'Kar.                    G'KAR:  "Humans form
                                        communities.  In that
                                        spirit, we have voted to
                                        dissolve the League of
                                        Non-Aligned Worlds and
                                        create a new Alliance...."

REACTIONS from Darquin, some of         ENGINEER (OS):  "Jump 
the bridge crew, Terry Hale.  A         engines now at 99 percent."
mix of shock, fascination, and
anticipation.  The breeding             Music cuts out as synth
ground of stunned silence.              continues.

                                        A brief strumming from
                                        acoustic guitar.

                                        G'KAR (OS):  "...based on
                                        mutual cooperation...and
                                        respect.  An alliance born
                                        in the diverse voices of
                                        many worlds...."

DARQUIN looking on, amazed.             Synth now solo.

Back to Captain Hale.                   HALE:  "Tie in navigation
                                        to the rest of our
                                        formation."

Darquin works at the helm.              DARQUIN:  "Data link
                                        running."

                                        HALE:  "Let's keep that

                                        open.  All the White Stars
                                        can handle each other's
                                        error-checking.  If we're
                                        too far off our course, let
Back to Hale.                           the computers take over so
                                        we don't break formation.
                                        What's the status of the
                                        other ships."

Darquin consults the helm.              DARQUIN:  "Reporting all-go
                                        for atmospheric jump.
                                        Telemetry is good.  Quick
CLOSE on his fingers held over the      response on helm.  Our
helm console.                           board is clear...still no
                                        traffic planetside.
                                        Secondary beacon signal...
                                        good."

PUSH IN on Captain Hale.                HALE:  "We're getting 
                                        close, everybody.  Relax...
                                        and stand by."

REACTIONS on Darquin, then the          DELENN:  "This new alliance
Captain.                                will help less advanced
                                        worlds...."

Captain Hale straightens in her         HALE:  "Navigation map off.
chair, her holo map in the fg.          All hands, stand by for
                                        atmospheric jump."

CLOSE on Darquin.                       DARQUIN:  "Jump engines...
                                        ready."

CLOSE on Captain Hale.                  HALE:  "Open jump point."

                         CUT TO:

EXT. HYPERSPACE

REAR ANGLE on the entire White Star
formation as, straight ahead, a 
JUMP POINT OPENS in front of them.
Through it, we can see a patch of 
blue sky.

                         CUT TO:

INT. WHITE STAR BRIDGE

CLOSE on Darquin.                       HALE: (OS):  "Jump."

TIGHT on his fingers moving over        Drum phrase over synth.  
flickering lights of the helm           Pause.
console.

                         CUT TO:

EXT. EARTHDOME--DAY

Establishing Earthdome again, then      Drums again.  Pause.
TILT UP into the sky to the OPENED
JUMP POINT in the distance.

ZOOM IN as the White Stars race out.

                         CUT TO:

INT. CONFERENCE--DAY

CLOSE on a quivering glass of           Drums again, but this time,
water.                                  they aren't stopping.  They
                                        get louder, more chaotic,
REACTIONS from the Earthforce brass,    louder still, building....
the press pool, Sheridan.

Delenn at the podium.                   Delenn:  "Among my people,
                                        they are the Anla-shok.
                                        Among your people, they
                                        are called...the Rangers."

                         CUT TO:

EXT. EARTHDOME--DAY

We start with open sky.  Then the       Vocals--a single, long,
camera RISES THROUGH the moving,        drawn-out scream:
surging, shrieking carpet of White      "Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah"
Stars flying in formation.

                         CUT TO:

INT. WHITE STAR BRIDGE

CLOSE on Darquin, holding his teeth
tight under a wide smile.  He's 
getting away with murder, and he's
savoring it.

REAR ANGLE on Darquin.

PAN over him and HOLD on the ISN        Vocals:  "Meet the new
broadcast on his panel.                 boss"

PUSH IN and we see Delenn already       "Same as the old boss"
continuing her speech.

                         CUT TO:

EXT. EARTHDOME--DAY

HIGH ANGLE on the White Star            Guitars, full of bravado.
fomation over Earthdome.                

                         CUT TO:

INT. WHITE STAR BRIDGE

DARQUIN'S POV of blue sky rolling
across the viewports.

CLOSE on Darquin, beaming, living 
out a dream he never thought could
come true--to him, the ultimate 
act of rebellion.

GROUP SHOT with Captain Hale at         DARQUIN:  "Approaching 
center.                                 location for final jump.
                                        All systems ready."

PUSH IN on Captain Hale.                HALE:  "Time to make a
                                        quiet exit. Jump us out."


                        CUT TO:

EXT. EARTHDOME--DAY

REAR ANGLE as the White Stars
JUMP OUT.

                         CUT TO:

EXT. EARTH ORBIT

JUMP POINT OPENS.  The White Stars      Music pauses to let guitar 
come through and return to their        repeat the intro phrase.
starting place, splitting into two
columns, one going left, the other
right.

PUSH IN on one White Star breaking
from both groups, moving forward.

                         CUT TO:

INT. WHITE STAR BRIDGE

TWO SHOT of Darquin at the helm         DARQUIN:  "Does your board
and one of the Rangers who's been       show gravity control as 
listening in with him the whole         good?"
time.  Darquin turns to him.
                                        RANGER:  "Yes, it is."

Darquin rakes his fingers over the      DARQUIN:  "Good!"
helm.

                         CUT TO:

EXT. EARTH ORBIT

MONTAGE.  The White Star's nose dips    Pete Townshend's classic 
takes the ship into a high-speed        windmill.  One guitar
roll.                                   lick....

Still rolling, the ship leans to one    Two...
side.

Now on its back, the White Star         Three.... 
continues its zero-g pirouette.

                         CUT TO:

INT. WHITE STAR BRIDGE

Darquin sends his hands gently          Four....
gliding over the helm.

                         CUT TO:

EXT. EARTH ORBIT

Like an animal jumping off its back,    Five.  The guitar lets 
the ship rights itself.                 itself die out, cymbals
                                        underneath.

                         CUT TO:

INT.  WHITE STAR BRIDGE

GROUP SHOT of the bridge crew, 
Terry Hale in the center seat,
staring at Darquin as the stars 
and Earth outside slow to a stop.

Darquin turns around to face them,
surprised to see that it isn't
just Captain Hale glaring at him.

Captain Hale just shakes her head,
smiling.

Darquin offers a sheepish grin and      Music ends with a loud
shrugs.                                 flourish.


(C) Copyright 1998 Joe R. Medina. All rights reserved.