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Bova is in the bunkroom, hiding a huge rock, which he picked up on a planet they were exploring. Harlan finds it, teases him, but agrees not to tell anyone about it. Bova admits to the audience that the reason he took it is as a birthday present to himself. But this is no ordinary rock -- when the guys leave, it starts moving, and affecting things in the room.
In class, Davenport gives the kids a new assignment: trace their family trees. Most of the kids are excited about this, but Radu is uncomfortable. Davenport notes that the Starcademy has no family history for Radu, so he will have to fill it out himself as well as he can.
Harlan is trying to be nicer to Radu, but he is having a hard time, because every time he tries to be nice, he thinks of the fact that his father was killed by Andromedans during the war. Catalina promises to help Harlan behave himself.
As the kids research their family history, they find lots of interesting things. Harlan is descended from a runaway slave who worked on the underground railroad and famous explorers. Cat is descended from important diplomats. But Radu is still reluctant to discuss his family. Harlan's attempts to be nicer to Radu, with Catalina's help, prove less than successful. In his clumsy attempts to be agreeable, he says all the wrong things. Finally, goaded by Harlan, Radu begins to talk about his ancestors, Andromedan pioneers and politicians.
Meanwhile, Davenport finds Bova's rock and takes it away. Goddard decides, upon Thelma's advice, to recycle it to use as fuel, and it is stored temporarily in an airlock.
The crew finds out about Bova's birthday, and they get really excited. Radu claims it is his birthday too.
When Radu is alone, working on his project, we learn that Radu made up his family history. We also learn from Goddard that Radu seems to have been lying about his birthday as well.
Radu finds the rock in the airlock, and recognizes it as something wonderful. He wraps it up to give to Bova as a present.
As the birthday party begins, Harlan storms in and reveals that Radu has been lying. He tells them that Andromedans are hatched from eggs in hatcheries, and don't have families or birthdays. Radu, humiliated, runs from the room. Goddard chews Harlan out, and Harlan is mad at Radu for making a fool out of him.
Thelma comforts Radu, telling him that "Family is not just those to whom you are born. Family is those to whom you belong." Radu realizes that the Christa is his family.
Something is happening with the rock. Radu goes back to the team room and tells them that it's not really a rock; its the egg of an Andromedan creature called a gerkel. Radu saves the creature's life. Harlan, watching this, seems to come to terms with Radu.
They take the gerkel back to its home.
Back in the ComPost, Radu turns in his family tree: a picture of himself and the crew of the Christa. Publicly, Harlan calls it sappy, but privately, he apologizes to Radu for embarrassing him.
Bova: I was practicing faking it.
Harlan: Like my dad, in the Stardogs, fighting Andr-and-and-and exploring.
Thelma: It is so inconvenient when machines are confusing and less than helpful, isn't it, Ms. Davenport?
Goddard: Space hates litter.
Harlan (softly): Sorry.
Episode Details provided by Tracey Rich.