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.”
“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.