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Dr. Stephen FranklinSeptember 1996: At a sci-fi convention in Rotterdam there was an auction of Science Fiction-paraphernalia. I was bidding on Babylon 5 baseball-cap, autographed by master of ceremonies Richard Biggs (Who plays Dr. Stephen Franklin in Babylon 5). At a certain moment I had reached my limit and the cap went to some else. However, there was another cap, which I could obtain afterwards.

At the end of the auction I went backstage, where Rick told us he had to get the other cap from his hotel room. In an uncommonly bold mood, I suggested that he take the cap back to the States, let all the other actors sign it as well, and then send it back to me. To my surprise he instantly agreed, so I gave him my home address. I asked for his email address, just in case.

October, November 1996: This takes a little longer than expected. I hope he hasn't forgotten.

December 1996: I send an email as a reminder.

January, February 1997: No reply; Oh well, it seemed to good to be true anyway.

March 1997: Wedding plans: We set the date (May 13) and the location (Las Vegas), and decide to have our honeymoon touring the USA's West coast. We fly in and out of Los Angeles, which gives me the idea to ask Rick if he can send the cap to our hotel. After two days there is a reply from Rick: It will be pretty hectic during that period, but if we call him when we're in the States, he'll arrange something.

8 May: We leave for LA. Upon arrival I call Rick's number. On his answering machine there is a message that he'll be back in town after the 11th. On that day, our trip takes us from LA to Las Vegas; this means we can't meet just yet.

12 May: I call from Las Vegas (free coupon) to inform that we'll be back on the 21st. The answering machine: "Yeah, this is Rick, and I'm not home right now, but if you leave your name and telephone number, I'll call you back" records my message.

13 May: Getting married in Las Vegas. But that's another story...

20 May: After a couple of thousand kilometers we are one day away from LA. I call long distance from Monterey to tell that we'll be back in town tomorrow. After the familiar message "Yeah, this is Rick, and I'm not home right now, but if you leave your name and telephone number, I'll call you back". Once again I say my name and hotel. I also mention that tomorrow will be my last day in the States.

Richard Biggs21 May: Our last day. At 3 PM we still hadn't received a message, so I decided to try one more time. "Yeah, this is Rick, and I'm not home right now, but if you leave your name and telephone number, I'll call you back... And if you're Jean-Pierre from Holland, please leave your room number and your last name". I keep my cool and do as asked, wondering how many people heard this message that day...

4:30 PM: In the hotel room, the phone rings. It's Rick! He's at home now, but he has to out in half an hour to do a photo shoot and he won't be available tomorrow. Luckily, our hotel is only a 15-minute drive from his house, so he asks us to come over and gives directions. We run to the car and head towards the Marina Del Rey area as fast as we can. At the indicated address we find a group of condo's with a wall around the block. We find a somewhat distrustful guard at the gatehouse. He verifies our assumption that "we have an appointment with Mr. Richard Biggs" and lets us in, provided we keep a sign marked VISITOR under the windshield. We pull in under one of the buildings and take the elevator a couple of floors up.

Front door. No bell. I knock. Rick opens the door. "Hey! You guys made it!" He lets us in and introduces us to his girlfriend. The interior of the apartment is spacious and stylish yet warmly decorated. They just had dinner - the smell of Italian food lingers slightly. First, Rick wants to know what we've been doing the last two weeks, as we phoned from so many places. We explain about our honeymoon and describe our journey through California and Nevada. After we've told our story, Rick fetches some things from another room and returns, saying that he no longer has the baseball-cap. However, he intends to make up for it and gives us two original scripts (autographed), three 4th season publicity photo's, an autographed Bruce Boxleitner photo, the season 4 gag reel (outtakes and bloopers), and on top of that a 60x25cm (24x10") poster of the Babylon 5 station, autographed by the entire cast.

Authographed poster of the Babylon 5 Space Station

There's not much time for anything else, since he has to go to the studio to do a photo session. As Rick gets his coat we chat a minute with his girlfriend. Then it's time to leave and we join Rick to the garage. As we say good-bye he says he's sorry there wasn't more time as he enjoyed our visit very much. We go back to the car and see Rick leave in a black BMW. Moments later, we drive off as well.

Back in Holland, we frame the poster, watch the video tape (shown at several Dutch Fan club meetings) and raise our home insurance... :)

Hey Rick, our place next time?

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