EXT. ARRATO ELEMENTARY – DAY (Prologue)
A four-year-old Mayla wearing a bookbag stares at the mysterious building. Shiro is with her on her first day of school.
SHIRO (kneeling): Are you excited?
Mayla looks at Shiro confused by what he said. “What is she doing here? What does daddy mean?”
MAYLA: Are we going in?
SHIRO: Unfortunately, I have work to get to, but I’ll be back to pick you up.
Mayla tries to understand what Shiro is saying.
A shadow falls over Mayla. A TEACHER is standing over her.
TEACHER: Well, hello. Who are you?
Mayla cowers behind Shiro. Shiro stands up.
TEACHER (to Shiro): First day, huh? I know how to talk to them.
The Teacher walks over to Mayla. Mayla shrinks back from the strange, new face. She quivers at what might happen.
SHIRO (O.S.): Mayla.
Mayla opens her eyes to see a sucker. The Teacher is holding it out to Mayla. Mayla hesitantly reaches for the sucker. She takes it, wonders why, and looks back at the Teacher.
The Teacher does not seem as scary as Mayla had thought. Mayla now wonders what lies inside the building in front of her.
EXT. ARRATO HIGH, SOCCER FIELD – DAY
A rundown school that looks overdue for every type of remodeling possible, practically in the heart of the Praires. The sports fields are kept in check so that they are playable.
On the field, Arrato Middle’s boys’ & girls’ soccer teams practice. Coach Long is supervising along with COACH CARTER, the boys’ soccer coach who has the temperament of a veteran drill sergeant. Michael is there doing homework.
COACH CARTER: COME ON. YOU BOYS PLAY LIKE YOU’RE LEGS ARE NAILED TOGETHER. SHOW SOME RUNNING!
The boys & girls practice together.
Ni is showing her partner, NATHANIEL THOMPSON, 7th-grader who is still new to the game, who is boss. The two practice passing, though Nathaniel can’t tell his left foot from his hand.
Ni shoots the ball to Nathaniel. Nathaniel trips on his feet.
COACH CARTER: THOMPSON, I’D SAY YOU KICK LIKE A GIRL BUT ONE IS BEATING YOUR *^(. MAYBE I SHOULD SEND YOU TO THE GIRLS’ TEAM OR IS THAT TOO MUCH FOR YOU!
Nathaniel gets back up and continues to practice.
One of Ni’s teammates, MORGAN, a very pompous & shameless 8th-grader who thinks she is the team’s ace, watches Ni practice.
Nathaniel gets his footwork together and passes to Ni. The two try a running pass. Ni kicks to Nathaniel. Nathaniel misses the ball.
COACH CARTER: THOMPSON, THIS ISN’T DODGEBALL. WHY DON’T YOU PUT YOUR %^* WHERE IT’S SUPPOSE TO BE & ^(&*^*%^( -
COACH LONG: CARTER!
Coach Carter sees that his tongue has gotten out of control.
Nathaniel has the ball. He tries to kick to Ni but fumbles on his own & misses the ball.
Morgan can’t help but laugh.
Nathaniel tries again but the ball goes off the wrong way.
Ni runs for the ball and kicks it up onto her knee. She bounces it around for a bit.
Nathaniel is watching. Ni signals to Nathaniel to keep his eyes open. Nathaniel sees & gets himself ready.
Ni brings the ball down & kicks it to Nathaniel.
Nathaniel stops the ball, first time today. He runs with the ball. Ni follows. The two are in perfect formation.
Nathaniel goes for a pass. He delivers & Ni receives.
The two continue this play until they reach the goal. Ni passes the ball to Nathaniel. Nathaniel lines his shot. He shoots, but the ball hits the post of the goal.
Nathaniel is disappointed. Ni comes over to Nathaniel.
NI: Nice recovery.
NATHANIEL: I wish I had made it.
Morgan & her clique come over.
NI: But the play was awesome. Now, if this had been real, we would have been in trouble.
MORGAN: But it wouldn’t change the fact that you would have still missed.
NI: Oh ‘Ha-ha,’ Morgan. Maybe you could show us what it would look like in an actual game. Oh, wait, you do.
WHISTLE The coaches are calling practice to an end.
MORGAN: Yeah, well… at least I look gorgeous on the field.
Nathaniel & Ni stare. Michael cleans up his stuff.
Morgan, her clique, Ni, & Nathaniel head for the sidelines where their stuff is.
MORGAN: It is true that the only reason anyone watches girls on the field is to impress the boys watching, and I find that better than sweating away my eyeliner.
NI: It might help you see better.
MICHAEL: Hey, Ni, I have something for you.
NI: Do you need me to be your personal messenger while Mayla lies over yonder of town?
MICHAEL: No, it’s this.
Michael holds out the portrait of Mayla.
NI: Oh, you can keep that.
MICHAEL: But I thought-
NI (getting friendly): It’s okay. Mayla said you can have it. It’s fine.
MORGAN: If you don’t want it, then I can get rid of it for you.
NI: Hey, this is my sister’s. She painted it for Mayla and I won’t have anyone throwing it away.
MORGAN: And because she is his boyfriend?
Ni seems as though she is about to charge Morgan. Michael puts the painting in his bag and walks away.
COACH LONG (O.S.): Ni, I need to talk to you.
Morgan & her clique leave.
Coach Long stands next Ni’s stuff. She holds a particular piece of paper. Ni runs over.
NI: What’s up, coach?
COACH LONG: I would like to ask you about this.
On the paper are Ni’s grades. All but one are decent: D+ in math.
NI: Not good?
COACH LONG: You are a very good athlete, but your grades keep you on the team.
NI: Surely, I’m not the lowest.
COACH LONG: Unless you can get your grade up, I’m going to have to cut you from the team.
NI: EH? But I’m only in 6th grade. Surely that seems too early to be cutting someone from an extracurricular activity.
COACH LONG: I talked to your dad & he would leave the decision up to me.
NI: What if I pass my next test? Would you consider overlooking it just a little?
Coach long considers.
Ni hopes Coach Long considers.
COACH LONG: If you can get a perfect score, then I might consider.
Ni has died standing up.
Coach Long & Michael leave.
Ni stands like a statue.
EXT. TULSEN FLAT – DAY
NI (O.S.): PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASE!
INT. TULSEN FLAT – DAY
Kobai reading on the roof with Ni dangles onto Kobai’s back. Mayla is cooking. Xena watches everything going on.
NI (CONT’D): Tutor me, PLEEeeease!
KOBAI: For one, this is your own fault as you have failed to keep up with your assignments. Also, I am busy making sure Xena is caught up with her private studies.
NI: But the test is Thursday!
KOBAI: Then I suggest you get to it.
Kobai flexes her wings knocking Ni off her.
NI: What if I do your chores for a week?
KOBAI: Because either Mayla or Xena end up doing either of them before any of us can get to them.
Mayla stops cooking.
MAYLA: Sorry. I’ll leave something for each of you.
NI: How about that?
KOBAI: Not that it has any bargaining power since there is no guarantee.
Ni stumbles in defeat crashing into the couch.
NI: That’s it. My life is over. I will die a young maiden without a sense of success to take with me to the other side.
Ni pretends to croak. Xena is creeped out.
Kobai continues to read without paying any attention to her what is going on below her.
Mayla comes over to the pseudo-dying Ni.
MAYLA: If you want, you can join me & Michael after school. We’re doing a study session and we could help you.
Ni slowly rises up to life and turns to Mayla.
Ni grabs & shakes Mayla.
NI: SERIOUSLY? REALLY? ARE YOU BEING SERIOUS? DO YOU MEAN IT? REALLY? HUH? HUH?
MAYLA (being shook): Yes.
Ni lets go & jumps up in excitement. Mayla still rocks back & forth.
INT. ARRATO MIDDLE, HALLWAY – DAY
End of the day. Everyone leaving.
Mayla at her locker with Michael.
MICAHEL: Do you think she’s serious?
MAYLA: It’s Ni. Once she puts her mind to something-
MICHAEL: There’s no stopping her. I know. I see her when I have to stay after school with my mom.
MAYLA: If you got that from practice, you should have seen her when she was seven. She almost developed sleep practicing.
MICHAEL: Talk about determination.
MAYLA: We found her one morning in the middle of the lot next to our place with a soccer ball and dirty cleats.
MICHAEL: How are you two related?
NI (O.S.): Mayla!
Ni comes rushing down the hallway. Mayla closes her locker.
NI: Sorry if I kept you guys waiting.
MAYLA: I just finished getting everything.
NI: Great. SO, where are we going? Our house? (to Michael) Your house? HA. A super-secret chamber in the school only you two KNOW?
INT. ARRATO MIDDLE, COACH LONG’S OFFICE – DAY
A basic coach’s office with awards on the walls, a desk, chairs, file cabinets, terrible lighting, and a small window.
Mayla & Michael have started working on homework. Ni feels a dying sense of irony being in the office.
NI: Could we have picked somewhere else?
MICHAEL: I’m stuck with my mom until practice is over. She’s taking me to a dentist appointment later.
Ni moans in agony.
MAYLA: Well, might as well start studying. Your test is in two days.
NI: Ugh. Alright. Might as well get it over with.
MICHAEL: Okay then
Michael holds up a complex equation.
MICHAEL (CONT’D): Do you know what this is?
Ni stares at the equation. Her brain tries desperately to try figure out what she is looking at. She stares deeper and deeper. You can hear the gears trying to turn.
ZAP Ni starts sparking. Michael hasn’t noticed yet.
The lights in the office flicker. Mayla notices.
MAYLA: How about we break it down for you?
Ni stops thinking and crashes on the desk. Mayla & Michael see they are going to have a time with.
2 HOURS LATER
Michael has the equation 9+7x5(5-3)
MICHAEL: Okay, can you solve this?
Ni looks at the equation. She tries to stare it down. She stares greater & greater at it, so much that she starts sweating.
MICHAEL: Did you even try to solve it?
Ni gives up. She feels like mush.
Coach Long walks in.
COACH LONG: Well, I see everything is going fine. Come on, Michael. We’re going to be late if we don’t hurry.
Michael puts everything in his bag.
COACH LONG (CONT’D): Sorry girls but I have to lock up.
MAYLA: We better get home as well. I need to start preparing dinner.
Mayla cleans up.
WHISTLE Coach Long blows her whistle. Ni jumps up.
INT. TRIPLET’S ROOM – NIGHT
Ni crashes onto her pillow. Kobai is reading while Mi puts her snacks away for the night.
NI: I’m doomed.
KOBAI: You have only been studying for one day.
NI: But the test is on Thursday. Why can’t it be on Monday?
KOBAI: Because, even given the extended time between one day’s class to the next, most students would slack off rather than put in effort. In simple terms, it’s a grade safety system, and you would be one of those procrastinators they conform to.
NI: Why not make it on Friday? Friday’s the last day of the week. Why Thursday?
MI: If you want, you could always cheat.
NI (hanging off her bed): I don’t cheat in soccer. I don’t tolerate cheating. No thanks. Uh-uh. Not an option.
KOBAI: Plus, if you’re caught-
NI (swinging back up): I know the consequences. You don’t have to tell me.
MI: What if the teacher isn’t there?
KOBAI: Then a substitute would administer the test and the teacher will grade them themself.
MI: Just a thought.
NI: Well, either way, I am not going to let one grade hold back my soccer victories. (stands up in bed) I just have to pump myself up.
Ni starts to energize herself, which causes electricity to spark around her.
KOBAI: How about you release the pressure before we have to replace the lights?
INT. TULSEN FLAT – MORNING
Xena, Calif, & Kobai are having breakfast. Kobai is reading. Mayla is getting her breakfast together.
Ni stares intensely at a textbook.
KOBAI: Memorization can only can you so far in math. Application is the real test.
Mayla sits down.
NI: If this is the only way, then I must go all out with it.
Ni starts sparking again. The sparks get worse.
ZAP Ni fries her brain.
KOBAI: If only you used that excess electricity to power your brain.
NI (coming to) Huh? Is that possible?
KOBAI: And you are passing science? The body is basically a natural power grid. Impulses fire from & control your brain.
Ni has an idea. (Uh-oh)
NI (stands up): Then, all I need to do is charge my brain and become the smartest person around.
CALIF: Do you think that’s a good idea?
NI: Only one way to find out.
Ni concentrates her electricity into her fingertips. The lights in the room start flickering. Xena puffs up into a fur ball.
Mayla’s hair reacts. It’s about to explode. She turns her hair to Ni.
BOOM Mayla’s goo hair explodes onto Ni. The goo is non-conductive.
MAYLA: Maybe you should try that somewhere you won’t ruin everything.
Mi walks in to see another morning going on.
INT. ARRATO MIDDLE SCHOOL, CLASSROOM – DAY
6th period. Ni's science. She looks through her science textbook at a chapter on neurological activity. She studies the images of the nervous system and one of the brain divide into each lobe.
EXT. FIELD – DAY
Ni stands in the middle of the field. She concentrates electricity into her fingertips.
NI: Here we go!
Ni touches her head.
Heavy rain crashes from the sky.
ZAP Ni shocks herself too much.
INT. OLD STOREHOUSE – DAY
An old, abandoned storehouse that is practically empty. Metal beams and siding line the place.
Ni goes at it again. She touches her head.
ZAP The electricity from her fingers scatters throughout the building, shocking Ni again in the process.
EXT. FIELD – DAY
Rain has stopped.
Ni has covered herself in a plastic hazmat suit. She concentrates again.
Third time, Ni touches her head.
Ni’s fingers stay in contact longer this time. She opens her eyes in relief.
Few seconds pass. Ni puts her hands down. She grabs her math textbook. She looks at the pages, grabs a pencil & paper, and writes down her answer in seconds.
Ni looks back at the paper. She can’t tell if she got them right or wrong but feels confident.
INT. TULSEN FLAT – DAY
Ni thrust her work into Kobai’s face. Kobai is at the table with Mayla, studying, & Calif, drawing. Xena is on the couch.
NI: Please, check my work!
Kobai gives in and checks. Her expression changes into surprise.
KOBAI: How long did this take you?
NI: I think two seconds.
KOBAI: HUH? You’re lying, right?
Ni with blank expression.
KOBAI: You did this in two seconds and got all of them right?
The entire room gasps.
Ni jumps for joy.
NI: It worked! It actually-
Ni looks up and stops. Ni has fried her brain and is completely stupid, moving around lankly with a dumb expression on her face.
CALIF: Is she alright?
KOBAI: I guess the brain-juicing has ran its course.
Ni stupidly cuddles Xena.
MAYLA: That’s not good.
KOBAI: Considering she has math 2nd period, that is a problem. Any other time, I don’t think it would make a difference. Guess we will have to wait until morning to fix that.
INT. TULSEN FLAT – DAY, NEXT MORNING
Ni charges her fingers. Kobai stays close by to help.
Mi lounging in front of the television. Mayla is preparing lunch. Calif draws Kobai & Ni.
KOBAI (CONT’D): So you used all ten of your fingers at once. That would explain the speed.
MI: How much would we save on the electric bill if we hooked up Ni to the T.V.?
KOBAI: From what I can tell, the most optimal plan would be to only use two at a time, that way your mind will still be charged, not super charged to make you finish in five seconds, but enough to pass the test. Understood?
MAYLA: What if she gets- uh…?
MI: What if she gets dumb again?
KOBAI: Hopefully, the effects should be noticeable earlier this time and not as drastic as yesterday. If you do feel like your slipping, use two more periodically. Got it?
Ni nods with confidence.
CALIF: Isn’t this cheating?
Ni loses her pride.
KOBAI (putting on her beret): Well, if you consider school an aptitude test designed to analyze one’s abilities, then this should be considered useful, though no one else besides dad & Aunt Tamiya know of our special abilities, so this is not a proper test.
MI: Basically, we are cheating to them but not for us.
KOBAI: I am surprised you were able to comprehend that.
MI: I’ve lived with you for eight years. You think I can’t understand you?
Mayla rushes out the door. Ni grabs her back.
NI (heading out): Let’s go see if this works.
Kobai follows. Mi drags herself off the couch.
INT. ARRATO MIDDLE – DAY
RING 2nd period, math. Ni mentally prepares for her test. She repeats “Two fingers” in her head.
Teacher hands out the test. Students grab one & pass the rest back.
TEACHER: All right, class. Tests are out. This isn’t your first one, so I hope all of you know the rules, but for those who plan to claim ignorant: no talking; no calculators; if you are found cheating, your test will be automatically graded zero and you will be referred directly to Principal Nelson.
Ni’s eyes dart up at Teacher.
Teacher goes to his desk.
TEACHER (CONT’D): Once you are done, bring it to me. Those at the back, if I gave out any extras, hold on to them until you turn in yours. You may start.
Teacher sits down at his desk and works.
Ni starts the test. She looks at the paper filled with complex problems. Ni can tell she needs to use her ability now but is uncertain of when to do so.
Five minutes pass. Ni has only written her name down. She is waiting for the right opportunity to put her hand on her head.
Ni looks to see some students are scratching their heads. She almost grins at the thought but holds it in to not look suspicious.
Ni scratches her head.
ZAP She uses three finger charges. Ni is worried that the spark caught the teacher’s attention.
Ni glances at the teacher. The teacher is still doing work.
Ni feels relieved. She begins her test. The answers seem to fall into Ni’s lap.
25 minutes into the test. Ni has finished the last problem. She waits for the last bell to turn in her work to not look out of character. She fakes that she is still working on the test.
RING Class is over. Some of the students who have finished were either reading or doing homework for other classes. Those who still had their test go to the Teacher’s desk to turn them in.
Ni gets up, fakes a stretch, and goes to turn in her test.
INT. ARRATO MIDDLE, HALLWAY – DAY
Ni walks out of class. She lets of a huge sigh of relief.
Kobai & Mi walk up to Ni.
KOBAI: So how did it go?
NI (thumbs up): I finished with half an hour to kill.
KOBAI: And how do you think you did?
Ni freezes. Kobai & Mi stare at their blissful sister.
NI (shrivels up): I forgot to check.
Mi walks into class.
EXT. ARRATO MIDDLE – DAY
School’s over. Everyone heads home.
Mayla, Mi, Ni, & Kobai walk home to together.
NI (antsy): I’m so nervous. I wonder how I did. I wonder if I passed. I wonder if my mind is going to hold out.
MI: I can answer one of those right now.
NI: My career is riding on this one grade. What if it’s a complete failure? What if it’s not? What if I forgot to right my name? (grabs Kobai) DID I USE THE WRITE “RIGHT?”
Kobai smacks Ni over the head with a book.
KOBAI: We just got out. (walks off) Save your madness for something else.
Mi & Mayla follow.
Ni comes to and catches up with the group.
NI: But I’m not wrong, right? WRITE?
INT. TULSEN FLAT – DAY
Ni paces around frantically. Mi, eating snacks, Mayla, & Xena, sit on the couch. Calif watches Ni and paints her. Kobai is reading on the ceiling.
MAYLA: Why don’t you sit down?
NI: Who can sit when their entire life is hanging by one piece of paper?
MI: I do it all the time.
NI: Oh, this is not good. This is not good. I can tell my mind is losing the power it had from the test.
MI: You can tell the difference?
NI (sparking): I probably failed half-way through without noticing and ended up getting only 50% of the test correct. That’s at least an F, which will bring my grade down lower, (walking up wall) Entirely ruining my chances of (walking on ceiling) every staying on the soccer team or any sports team-
Kobai whacks Ni off the ceiling.
KOBAI: Never step into my territory. Besides, he has 180 students to grade for the exact same subject with the exact same test. Granted, it is math, so seeing if the answer is right or not is not as time consuming, (phone rings, Mayla gets up) but the sheer number of them along with fatigue from a repetitive tedious task can extend the process well into Sunday, (Mayla answers phone) assuming he does suffer from fatigue or does find the task boring.
MAYLA: Michael. I thought we were going to meet Saturday- (pause) Yes, she is here. (to Ni) Ni, it’s for you.
Ni heads for the phone.
MI: I thought I heard “Michael.” Two-timer.
MAYLA: He has something important to tell her.
Mayla passes the phone.
NI (to phone): Michael, you should know not to call your- (pause) Eh? (pause) Eh.
Extend pause. The other girls are curious.
NI: Really? (pause) Thank you. Do want to talk to Mayla? (pause) Okay. I’ll tell her. Bye.
Ni hangs the phone up.
Ni explodes into a rapidly electrifying boundless jump of joy.
NI: (beat): I can stay! I can stay! I can STAY! Wahooo!
XENA: Did you pass?
Ni stops jumping & grabs Xena.
NI: Yes, yes yes yes yes YES!
POOF Xena explodes into a fur ball.
NI: Well, Coach Long told my math teacher to grade mine ASAP so that way she can decide AASAP if I should stay or not, AND I PASSED WITH FLYING COLORS!
Ni drops Xena and continues bounding throughout the flat.
MAYLA: That’s good.
Ni flashes past Mayla & crashes into the wall.
Ni intelligence dropped to the same level as last night.
MI: She can say that she used her brain for once.
KOBAI: Not that it will matter later.
Calif finishes her painting. In it, Ni is aggressively motivated with lightning in her control.
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