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Author Topic: "Solace in a Stellar Night" (with illustrations by Lee and others)
Brother of Dawnstar

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A story of other possibilities for these characters, written two years ago. Clicking on the illustrations will open larger versions. A few notes follow the story. I hope you enjoy it ... Grey

§ § §

Solace in a Stellar Night
A Tale of Two Legionnaires

A scarlet-and-black-clad figure raced through the skies toward the portal in Earth’s polymer shield. He’d had enough of what was around him, and he had to get out.

Six months of leave won’t be nearly enough, thought Lar Gand. I have too much pressing in on me. I’ve had enough of the Legion. And it’s not just ... Tasmia.

He reflected the dull light from the Earth’s albedo as he passed through the permeable membrane of the portal. He set his hands along his sides, held onto his blue cape, aimed for the L2 libration point, and prepared to enter hyperspace as soon as the Earth’s and Moon’s gravity wells cancelled each other out. He wished he’d done so months ago.

As he prepared to fly into the crackling heart of a hyperspatial opening, a yellow-clad figure sped unerringly on the same path through the same shield portal, at nearly three times his speed. Her white-feathered wings flashed for a few moments in the crescent Moon’s light, just before she dived into a similar warp entrance.

The two high-powered breaches of spacetime, annihilating stray molecules in space as they closed up, coming within a fraction of a second of each other, turned night into day for a moment on the dark side of the Moon.

§ § §

Tasmia, whispered the energies around him. Or perhaps it was a mere reflection of the electromagnetics in his brain, in a realm where they were made subtly different.

Mon-el realized, at length, that he could divert some of his attention from celestial navigation. Just getting “out there ... thataway,” period, as some starship captain said in a flattie film from the 20th? To get some simple light-year-age behind him, not to reach a destination? That didn’t take much concentration. He could relax a little.

And he could let his mind drift back to what had happened at the Science Asteroid, for the millionth time or so in the year just past.

He had refused to listen in detail to what Dream Girl had told him. She said that some whisper of prophecy in her recent dreams had seen disaster for him ... but that the signs around it had suggested it may have come from an alternate reality. One closed off, but only imperfectly, by past events.

That was too cryptic for him, as Nura usually had been. He and Shadow Lass had beaten back a threat to the scientific outpost before, just the two of them. It was Khundish, even, an overgrown robot, and they’d always built their menaces on the principle of “nothing succeeds like excess.” So what would half a dozen Legionnaires have to fear this time?

A well-wrapped black hole, as it turned out.

Someone among the Dark Circle’s staff of researchers had watched him, a few months earlier, as he’d carried a tiny white dwarf star to Legion headquarters. It was to be placed in Brainiac Five’s containment field. The scientist had observed his movements as he’d corralled the five-meter-wide ball of plasma, herded it with his heat vision, used swooping movements at super-speed to create a gravity-wave funnel in spacetime to carry it in.

It didn’t matter that Mon-el’s efforts hadn’t worked. That Brainy’s power-taps had failed miserably. That Lar had been forced to hurl the dwarf into the Sun. That the damage from the EM pulse, a side effect, had injured thousands, and had revealed and quashed a well-meant Legionnaire conspiracy to avenge Kal-el’s death.

Someone had been watching, from a distance, and had turned his work inside out.

This similarly bound black hole, though only a pinpoint in size, had been enough to sap their strength as they approached it. Even more so, he saw in despair, for Shady—where it pulled on all her substance, as if it had a magical affinity for how she, also, could obscure all light.

He could still hear the crackle of her voice in his ears, as she straddled the event horizon, struggling and gasping in her transsuit, at the end of his arms:

::Lar ... let me go ... my love ... you’re tear ... -ing me apart ... I don’t fear the ... night ... I’ve had you—::

And as she slipped into oblivion, he had cursed himself for what he knew, rationally, he couldn’t have done. For his not holding on.

His remaining strength had swept the rest of the team away, to regroup on the asteroid and use its equipment to chase the black hole into a tesseract for disposal. Though not before the marauding singularity had started earthquakes. They were strong enough to pound the miniature planet and its costly achievements, those that the Legionnaires couldn’t remove, into rubble and dust.

The Legion had broken the heart of the Dark Circle’s designs, once again, and they were feted as heroes ... and the ceremony back on Earth for Tasmia had been all too brief, however heartrending, it should have lasted years, not hours, he thought ...

Shady’s younger cousin from Talok Eight had tried to reassure him. Grev Mallor had also asked for Mon-el’s presence, when he was being sworn into the Legion, using his shadow talents to take her place. But Lar’s heart still had a hole in it, and he sat brooding in the stellar-cartography room instead.

He became impatient with everyone. The Legion now seemed to be acting too often like a swarm of busybodies who couldn’t mind their own business. And too many of his friends were leaving him. Kal. Kara. Val. Laurel the deceiver. Brainy the still-imprisoned.

Now, the one who above all others had lifted the dusk of his thousand-year Phantom Zone waking nightmare, who’d renewed his spirit with her love, had vanished.

I’ve had enough reminders, he thought, as he hung poised in hyperspace, with the stars’ visible signatures whipping past from one cluster ahead of him to another behind him.

The others can take those burdens on their backs for a while, he mused. I’m too conscientious for my own good. I’ve had enough. I want quiet and peace. The cold light of the stars. Seeing this universe, not saving it.

As he pushed whispered thoughts of glistening blue skin and adoring eyes toward the back of his mind, he didn’t sense the quantum fluctuations that were changing their transition curves around him. Nothing would much disturb the statistical average shape of the hyperspace “bottle” around him, when in a warp, except other matter—anything bigger than dust grains, at least.

A rock or other piece of debris that was anywhere near his size would be drawn blindly toward his mass, at the heart of his individual “bottle” zone, and could kill him with its impact. Yet this had never even remotely come close to happening to him, nor to anyone else he’d observed while being the eternal watcher in his Phantom Zone exile. Anyone he’d traveled with kept to a separate warp, bottled up and resonating next to him, a few gravity wavelengths apart.

A mindless rock, of course, was different from matter with its own mind ...

He was jolted out of his reveries by seeing, in the ultraviolet spectrum, that the local light was bending differently around him. Nothing seemed to be ahead of him in the warp. He turned his head to look behind him—

::Dawnstar!:: his mind gasped into the telepathic plug in his ear. He stared at the copper-skinned, black-haired, white-winged woman flying several meters behind him, so different in aspect from the darker-hued love he’d been cherishing in his mind’s eye.

::What, by the moons of Daxam, are you doing here? We can’t share a bottle, Dawny! You know that!::

::Mon-el, I am sorry to have startled you,:: the Starhavenite replied. ::We are safe, please believe me. I traveled many times in the same warp bottle with my parents, as a child, while they showed me the galaxy. It simply requires great care. I have even accompanied freight or prisoners in the same bottle, years ago, when I worked for pay before I joined the Legion.::

 - by Dean Lee

He turned his body lengthwise, carefully, to fully face her. ::I never doubted your skills. Well ... why, then?::

She paused for a moment before answering.

::I didn’t want to risk losing a trail for you, at your speed. I couldn’t risk it. I wanted very much to find you.::

He knew that she meant what she said. Dawnstar had never slipped into using contractions, even in merely subvocal telepathic “speech,” unless she was under stress. Or filled with strong emotion ... so Drake Burroughs had told him.

Mon-el sighed, or his cortex imitated the sound of it.

::Dawny ... even if Cham the Fearless Leader has changed his mind about my taking time off, I really don’t care. Anyway, I have to be alone. I want to be.::

::And so did I, Lar. I tried. But it wasn’t enough.::

::What are you talking about?::

::I took some leave as well. You don’t know, I think, that others share many of your frustrations. I’d had more than I could endure, after this past year, of what was expected of us in the Legion. And Wildfire ... well, he’s gone, again, at least from me.::

Dawnstar’s own lover and best friend of many years had finally given up on any intimate relationship, a few weeks earlier, after his efforts at maintaining an energy pseudo-“body” had unraveled. He had despaired of ever having any physical contact, even when she was willing to care for and cherish him without it. Apart from handling essential Legion business, he had made his presence scarce.

::I’m sorry that didn’t work out, Dawny, really, I am. I knew you cared deeply for him. But I think I need some time alone.::

::How much, Lar? It’s been a year for you. You’ve avoided us, when off duty, nearly all of that time. I know that you’ll never leave Shadow Lass behind, and neither will I. She was one of the few who could look past my aloof and awkward feelings when I came to the Legion. I rescued the two of us from Marzal. She protected me in combat. I loved her, too, as my close friend.

::You need to talk about her. I have to talk about Drake. You’re my friend, my comrade. You have the noble outlook of understanding, centuries that the Great Spirit gave to you, without the burden of age. You care about seeing the variety of the universe. I long for it, as well.

::Couldn’t we make something out of all of this? Find some solace and pleasure together? At least for a little while?::

Mon-el was pleasantly surprised, for the first time in ... was it back to when Brainy’s new vaccine cured the threat of lead for him? A few years, then. Dawny had helped him then, too, and without a second thought. She’d rushed to the ionosphere to rescue him, unconscious as he rarely was, too feeble—and maddened—to be able to break through that “wrapper around the Earth,” as she had called it with disdain.

Someone else in the Legion now saw him as less than a monolith, less than an impossibly perfect tower of strength, in that old expression. She wanted to commisserate. She cared about his depression, enough to shake him out of it.

It hadn’t been easy, being one of the anchors of the Legion. Ever since Kal had died, to save an entire dimension from oblivion, the other members had looked to him. The overpowered backstop. Where the Legion’s enemies hit that inertron wall.

They couldn’t quite see his own pain. He had risked obliterating himself because of it, dragging a star into one of Brainy’s cross-time chases. He wouldn’t even be listened to when he tried to take the fall for that failure. At least the penalty would have diverted him, made him forget some grief for a while.

Now it was Brainy who was held in stasis on Labyrinth, where the authorities were once again “curing” what they thought was madness, and was merely ... merely? ... profound grief. Lar had raged then, against Daxam’s gods, against anybody’s gods.

They couldn’t see into him. Dawnstar, of all people, was trying to break through.

Lar suddenly remembered, as he gazed at her face, the day she’d come to the Legion’s attention nearly a decade ago. Helping them find a particularly slippery band of high-powered marauders. Tracking those slimeballs through warps and across part of the galaxy, just as she was doing with him now. Acting from her heart and desire, and, again, without a second thought.

She’d been brash then, arrogant, just out of her first few months at the Academy, cynically “knowing everything” from having long met a payroll, not even 16 years old. She rarely saw into the consciousness of others unless they were giving her a problem to solve, credits to earn.

And, then, how she’d grown up! Returned to the Academy for stellar success in further training. With Legion teams, she’d found and tackled both physical and mental quarries, solved impossible location-finding and investigative problems. She’d even had a fling or two with love, trying to connect with Wildfire, later succeeding with another man when marooned on some theocratic backwater planet. Anxious for knowledge. Fierce about finding it. Empathy, it had seemed, wasn’t much in her makeup. Just drive and curiosity, where that should have been.

Or had she been lacking it? Was this desire for a bond something he hadn’t seen? He had enjoyed her wry, witty presence. She was one of the few who’d ever kept up with him in deep-space travel, or had tried to do so ... though he’d gained the impression, from Brainy, that her speeds could vastly exceed his own, if she needed to do so. And to be as crass as Rokk used to be, or Dev-em still was, she was more than merely decorative, especially from her face to her knees.

Much more. A subtle mind, it seemed. Or perhaps just an unafraid mind, something even more scarce. She had approached him. She cared for breaking through, past his pain.

Drake had assured him: She never said anything she didn’t believe, and to the core of her being. Was that something he should give up? Without even finding out more about it?

Mon-el dredged, from his memory, a line he had always cherished, from a singer whose work was popular back in Kara’s time. Jim Croce, he thought, had known what to say.

::Dawny ... my friend ... if you’re going my way, I’ll go with you.::

He extended his right hand back toward her. She flew forward to take it, smiling at him with a trembling chin, with tenderness in her eyes, with the glow of friendship. They turned to face forward, lying next to each other. Her wings lowered to cover both of them.

::Let’s get a few parsecs between us and that Earth we’d rather forget about, shall we?:: he sent, as he grinned looking sideways at her.

::I thought you’d never ask,:: said Dawnstar, still smiling at him. A single tear hung as an iridescent perfect sphere, at the corner of her right eye, motionless within what was truly zero gravity—and zero every other energy, except the presence of close friends.

They adjusted their mental attention and mutual shape to distort their hyperspatial bottle, making them move far faster against normal space than either had ever traveled on their own. And they pressed their intertwined hands together, as they plunged into a yet darker portion of that hyperspace shroud that was not quite night.

[ October 03, 2003, 01:27 PM: Message edited by: Greybird ]

From: Starhaven Consulate, City of Angels | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Brother of Dawnstar

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§ § §

For many days and weeks afterwards, Mon-el and Dawnstar explored a host of wonders. Most of them were in obscure corners of the Orion Arm—the portion of the Milky Way galaxy occupied by the United Planets, the Khunds, and a handful of other civilizations. When they heard of something exotic, though, they poured on the hyperspace speed to go to see it.

The thought crystals of Genneserab, for instance. Those had been far on the other side of the galactic core, on a dark planet far from any trade lanes ... but to get even an inkling of the color symphony that came from sending their thoughts toward them? Such vivid life and light was worth several days’ journey, at dozens of light years per hour.

Especially when Dawny sent a few ancient Lakota Sioux and Beatles tunes, in her mind, toward them. When her ancestors’ spirit-solace chant combined its colors with “All You Need Is Love,” the effect nearly broke his heart with its beauty.

They revisited corners of their past travels. Mon-el led them to the site of Krypton, since he no longer feared a red sun. Dawnstar brought them into the Dream Nebula, where they both saw symbols of past ghosts and regrets become “tangible” before them, and then whirl away into abstract nothingness.

 - by Doctor Vince

Most of what they did, though, in the spirited traveling that took days even within hyperspace, was to talk with each other. Dawny slowly let go of her Drake, helped along by Lar’s willing ear, and his own observations on the difficulties of love. He also helped by telling of his shared adventures with Wildfire and the rest of the Legion, long before she had joined. The same tales, along with describing his encounters with Kal and Kara over centuries past, repaired his own sense of wonder and pleasure, of pride in his Legion life, and lessened his ache about losing Tasmia.

Lar had encountered, and created in the depths of his exile, extraordinary lifetimes of experience within him. Almost no one had ever been so willing to hear about them as Dawnstar was. She was never bored.

She had been, in her Amerind society on Starhaven, somewhat trapped in a cultural backwater—as everyone else in her culture had been, by design. The colonists were far more satisfied with the natural wonders around them, gained after endless travel from Earth in sleeper ships, enjoyed with their genetic gifts of wings and navigation.

She had been restless, and jumped at the chance to earn money in her early teens. Yet she was then kept so busy, criss-crossing the galaxy, as to have little chance to savor what she saw. Mon-el had been the exact opposite of busy, in his years of exile in a waking, ageless dream. He’d seen many of the sights she had. Yet he could provide detail, local color, anecdote, history.

When their imaginations were fired, she knew at once exactly how and where they could point their travel path to find out more. Even with his own depth of knowledge about galactic locations and movements, he came to rely on her instant ability to navigate.

She was pleased, down to a shiver of delight, to be thus relied upon. Some of her Legion colleagues had made less than kind asides, when they thought she couldn’t hear them, about how weak they felt her powers were. Those catcalls, especially from some of the women, were forgotten by the others when she extracted a team from a dimensional limbo where they’d lost all star-fixing travel instruments. Or when she pulled Light Lass out of a wrecked cruiser and followed a mere glimmer of light across a system to find their friends.

The others remembered her talents ... for a while. Mon-el, though, never had realized the range of her subtler abilities, and was amazed at the fine grain of her perceptions. Once he saw what she could do, he never forgot.

Dawnstar had found someone who saw past her defenses and personal reserve. Lar reveled in her subtle wit, and she’d despaired of finding anyone else in the stodgy U.P. culture who still liked it.

He had gained something more, as well. No one had genuinely valued the breadth and depth of his life experience, not like this, not Brainiac when gaining support in his polymath searches for truth, not the other Legion men in tall locker-room tales, not even his beloved Tasmia. Lar felt visible, a sentient being with depth, as he never had before.

What they couldn’t ignore, as well, was a growing physical appeal between them. She was more sensuous, and physically perceptive, about all that they saw or shared than he had seen in anyone else. He gathered that she had more of a sense of her own body than Tasmia had found, perhaps from growing up on a planet where the web of life had been far more lush and varied.

And he, to her, shared the strength of her now-lost Wildfire, but this was embodied in gesture, touch, and sinews. She hadn’t quite realized how true Phantom Girl had been, in an overheard and cynical comment: “Dawny wants a man, not a sack of energy.” The flesh and bone of a man, especially in Lar’s handsome face, were what she’d also longed for, and some part of her mind had always known this ... but she had suppressed it.

Their hyperspace travel was most convenient, and easiest to shape, when they lay next to each other, facing ahead, in the middle of their “bottle.” Usually they had their arms around each other’s waists. The touch they shared progressed from warmth to open affection.

 - by Dean Lee

[ October 03, 2003, 01:29 PM: Message edited by: Greybird ]

From: Starhaven Consulate, City of Angels | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Brother of Dawnstar

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§ § §

Mon-el rolled over onto his stomach, stretching his legs in the warmth of binary suns. He didn’t need to worry about sunburn, of course, but he liked to spread the sensations around his body.

Dawnstar lay next to him, also face down, absorbed in the activity of an anthill in front of her nose. She saw tasks, specialization, sheer strength ... and a sense of wonder, inside her, from idle yet intense observation of something she’d never really seen. Few such moments were possible in her busy childhood. She was gaining what she had lost.

For once, in their two months of travel, they had found some solace in not talking much, in just enjoying each other’s quiet presence. They rarely needed to sleep for long, from having been attentive spacefarers all their lives, but they’d given in to the need for it occasionally. This meadow, behind a narrow strip of sandy beach, had been a comfortable natural bed for the past 18 hours.

It hadn’t been the host for sharing anything closer or more personal, though. They were still cautious, out of mutual respect, rather than any lack of personal desire.

What did give Dawny an illicit thrill was that they were lying on the uninhabited side of her home planet.

“Are you sure you don’t want to see your family, before we head off to that new jazz cabaret on Rigel Six?” asked Lar, a few minutes later.

“Not yet, I think. Too protective. Would ask too many questions about you. Or my kid brothers would. I love them all dearly, but they’re too nosy.”

“Well, this is almost too perfect. I think I’ve lived on Daxam and Earth far too long. The air is so clean on Starhaven, I could almost pass out. Too much oxygen. Better than a Silverale buzz. How did you stand coming to Metropolis?”

“With great difficulty. Besides, you idiot, I didn’t stand in a sleep chamber, I flew to Metropolis.” They laughed softly.

She rolled over onto her side, folded wings rustling, and appraised him, head to toe. She finally settled on his metal necklace, with a cylinder the size of a thumbnail hanging from it.

“Just how did you get all our clothes into that thing?”

He’d done just that, the day before, when they’d decided to get some extended sleep. He was naked, apart from the necklace. For that matter, she was, as well.

“Super-strength is amazingly flexible. Anyway, this was a gift from Kal. It’s a semi-tesseract, helps squeeze the clothes without crushing ’em. Cleans them, too. You can clean your skin up on distant planets, anywhere with flowing water, but it’s a lot harder to find new clothes.”

She reached over to hold the cylinder in her hand. “I like this kind of innovation.” She left her hand there, to swirl a finger in the hair of his chest.

“The day’s getting warm. Do you feel like a swim?” he asked.

“Sure. Take a look over there, I see a good place, fairly deep.”

His gaze followed her hand to the riverbend where she was pointing, about a kilometer away, with a bluff rising a few dozen meters above it. Something entered his peripheral vision, and he looked to the top of the bluff—and she was standing there, beckoning to him. Only two seconds had passed!

“Arrhhh! No fair, milady! You know this world’s mag-field too well,” he growled from standing next to her, three seconds later. She stood with mock smugness, her wings catching the wind, with a twinkle in her eye.

“Shall we dive, just gravity?” she asked. He nodded, leaned over to kiss her forehead casually, and turned to make a smooth plunge into the water. She folded her wings and followed him. It took an eternity of six seconds.

Neither bothered to hold a breath as they entered the water. Lar could stretch his oxygen nearly indefinitely, if needed, in a kind of ultra-hibernation. Dawny had a portal in her chest, a tesseract within a specialized organ, that drew oxygen and cellular energy as needed from whatever Earth-class planet she chose in the vicinity. In this case, from a few meters away.

It was the ultimate convenience, that jaramana, a gift touching the Great Spirit, and she thought again about how easily it allowed transitions, from water to air to space.

To space, her mind idly repeated, as she and Lar broke the water’s surface to smile at each other. Space ... above ... something was tugging at her subconscious attention.

She pulled away suddenly from rumpling Lar’s wet hair, as he was doing to her, and looked toward the high part of the sky’s hemisphere, a blankness filling her face.

Mon-el noticed and came closer to her in the water. “You okay?”

“Something is wrong,” she said slowly, as she was reaching out with her tracking sense. Her face began to uncloud. “Starships. Back here, where none are allowed to land. It doesn’t make sense.”

“Your skywatch at the starports has to be seeing them. It’s probably nothing.”

“No ... the traffic from the galactic core is controlled by stations on our two moons. They send all incoming ships over to the inhabited side. But why haven’t they been diverted by now? ... Lar, something is terribly wrong.”

“Let me take a look.” He focused his telescopic vision, far sharper than her tracking sense when within a gravity well.

He saw propulsion nacelles built for deliberate ugliness, or so it seemed, beyond a mere economy of design cost. Only one spacefaring culture thought esthetics was of no more worth than waste paper.

Mon-el swore in an ancient Daxamite ritual language, under his breath, and turned toward an alarmed Dawnstar. “Khunds! Still about a light-hour away, but they’re going to impulse and closing fast—far too fast. They aren’t supposed to be here!”

“So much for treaties, it seems,” Dawny said in a quavering voice. The most recent armistice between the Khundish forces and the U.P. had resulted in aiming Khund trade routes solely toward Earth, and away from the colony planets near the core, to prevent military mischief.

“If they’re planning to cause trouble at Starhaven, they may be seeking your Achilles’ heel. Your defenses aren’t that deep. ... We’ve got to see what’s going on.”

He shot out of the water, arms toward the sky, causing a massive sonic boom within two seconds, reaching half-lightspeed in five. She followed, without hesitation, matching his speed two seconds behind him—for her wings had to dry.

A reminder-thought nagged at her brain behind her trepidation, and her visualizing of the threat to her home and family ... but she couldn’t focus on it. It couldn’t be that important, she decided, and she aimed her gaze ahead.

The two Legionnaires had covered the remaining forty million kilometers to the incoming ships within two minutes, barely within use of space-normal travel.

Or so we thought, Lar said to himself. Now that we’re in front of them, why can’t we see them? Was it a mirage?

Dawny heard his whispered thoughts. ::They’re cloaking themselves, removing most light spectra and radar. Can you echolocate?::

Mon-el could create a radar-like subspace pulse that his ears could interpret, when it bounced back in fractal detail from a nearby target. It was a trick of his voice that Kara had taught him. But it was of no help, and he told Dawny so.

::Let’s go to Z-minus-ten-thousand and follow them for a bit,:: he sent to her. ::I don’t think they’ve picked us up out of this cometary debris yet.::

They moved to 10,000 kilometers “below” the cloaked incoming fleet, matching its apparent vector, but gazing up at nothingness.

::Lar,:: she sent, ::I know why they’re making such speed. I can feel the sharp bending of gravity around them. Only one power source can do that.

::They have harnessed small singularities to power their engines.::

Black holes? thought Lar. They’d be small enough to shape antimatter flows on an atomic scale, and to power impulse engines. How was that possible? Daxam and Earth had been pursuing this for centuries. Nullport had been doing massive research for longer than there’d been a United Planets.

How could the damn filthy Khunds have gotten that far ahead of us? he fumed. And if they’re powering impulse drives that way, how about their energy cloaks?

And why not, he thought, their weapons, as well?

He had a momentary flash of imagination, about what such weapons would do to Starhaven’s small defensive ion-engine fleet. It was state-of-the-art, perfect to stop the odd pirates or madmen, but never adequate for overpowering cruiser-weight force—despite Dawnstar’s own financial help, over the years, in improving it.

The small colony world’s location was too strategic, and it was too usable by all oxygen-breathing lifeforms, to forever be overlooked. It wasn’t any more. That is, if the Khunds were breaking their obligations.

Lar had summed up the combat outlook in a few eyeblinks: A real SNAFU, as they said in the 20th. Situation Normal, he could hear Kal saying when he’d had too many Silverales ... All Frigged Up. (Kal was even then the straight arrow, he thought.) As it always had been with the Khundish, who had no sense of honor. In regard to anybody else, that is.

As he weighed the minimal possibilities for action, Lar was hearing the fear that was creeping through from Dawny’s subconscious. She was contemplating vectors and capabilities, as well ... but her home, culture, and personal values were under siege, and that was hard to lock away from her attention.

They would soon be under siege, that is, if they didn’t try to do something.

And then, in the next instant, her fears crossed with his own. Black holes, he again thought. Those made me lose ... Tasmia. What if I now lost Dawnstar? Could I forgive myself? Shouldn’t we run from this and regroup? How can we stop them?

He floated in confusion. For one of only a few times in his life, loyalties and fears and abilities were locked in conflict within him—so thoroughly that, to a degree he’d never felt before, he simply did not know what to do.

Dawnstar flew over to Lar, and she raised her hands to lightly touch his temples. Her eyes closed, yet kept their look of concentration. She began to chant silently under her breath.

::What are you doing?:: he sent to her, after a moment, breaking from his mental confusion.

::Making a stronger bond between our minds,:: she interrupted herself. ::The teleplugs are far too slow. I can guide you, Lar, but subspace contact isn’t enough. You need to hear my inner voice, to see past their spun illusions in real time.::

::Guide me? To do what? What are you thinking?::

::I can guide you to their weapons and propulsion ports, to disable them. If you’ll just relax—::

::Dawny, I can’t even see them! Not with infrared, or anything else! Not without getting so far away that I can’t do anything! And those singularities, if the engines should breach—we couldn’t get away—::

::You will see them. Trust me, my dear friend, please. We’ll be safe. To do so, I must inhabit some of your perceptions. My grandfather taught me long ago how to do this. Please, Lar, let me come in.::

Mon-el relaxed slightly, as she resumed her sotto voce chant and apparent trance. Within a minute, he saw a new vista in his mind’s eye. Nearby stars spoke to him when he focused on them. They spoke coordinates for flight paths and distances.

And suddenly he and Dawnstar were standing next to each other on an infinite plane of crisscrossing laser lights, or so it seemed, cutting through the visible universe.

“Dawny? What is this?” he ... said. Wait a minute. That wasn’t sent over his telepathic plug, he thought. It was as if they stood in an atmosphere.

“Yes, Lar, our conceptual minds are in direct contact. We can maintain this, including the air illusion, for at least an hour at a time. It’s many times faster than subspace telepathy. And you can see at least the outlines of what I see. You can’t focus perfectly, but I can guide you instantly.”

“Whoah! I like this. And those—have to be the Khunds!” He pointed at a set of rough shadows that floated above them, as they and the shadows moved toward Starhaven. Focusing on the shadows made ::Z +10000—0 mark 270:: appear in his mind. Distance and vector. Only it wasn’t quite spoken, or quite heard, but directly grasped.

“That they are,” she said. “You can’t see fine detail, or as fine as I can, but you now know roughly where they are by sight. And I have intuited where the weapons ports are.” She went blank for a moment. “Lar! They’re powering up! And they can now obliterate our moons!”

“Then let’s not waste any spacetime,” he said with confidence. He grabbed her hand and they arrowed “upwards” together, toward the shadows of the cruisers. The imaginary plane of light followed nearly on their heels, helping them orient as they approached the ships’ gravity distortions.

Dawnstar broke off before they reached the near vicinity of the trailing ship, hovering apart about a hundred klicks away, sending her instructions and vectors thundering into Mon-el’s subconscious. He suddenly knew which blobs of shadow were nacelles, and he began smashing into them—not wrecking them all, but enough of them to only allow the Khunds to limp back home.

He delivered a roundhouse right to crush what seemed to be the ship’s front phasers. What had he become, that old Earth term—a whirlwind? where there was no wind?—that he was, indeed, as he dredged up Dawny’s stream of information.

By now, he saw darting flashes of yellow in his peripheral gaze, and he knew that she was drawing the other four ships’ fire, diverting their attention from his own work. They knew who was hitting them by now, those thickheaded Khundish, even by mere visual matching. So why don’t they remember just how futile it is to try to catch or hit Dawnstar, even at phaser speeds? ... Eh, he thought for a split second, better that they don’t remember. I’d just like a foe with more smarts, as well as more honor.

She guided him with precision around each of the five ships, and he was picking off weapons and propulsion with adept flexibility—but with a maniacal concentration of effort that was even draining his own normal reserves.

Finally, he was circling the crippled lead ship, but realized that it was turning to train its largest phasers upon him before he could block them. He rushed toward the firing port, began pounding on it to crush it ... and Dawny was beside him, pounding away, with more strength than he had imagined she possessed. It was barely a fourth of his, by the metal she was bending, but she was incensed. Inspired. And driven by fear for the fate of those she loved most.

For the first time, Lar had a subconscious wisp of a special, tender feeling—that “those I love most,” to Dawny, encompassed him as well. And she had to join the heart of this fight alongside someone she loved. She looked at him for an instant, and seemed to convey this without words.

They returned their attention, in full, to the Khundish weapons port. It had been turned into molten tritanium from their short-circuited attempts to fire, and from the Legionnaires’ incessant pounding. Air was leaking around it, and Lar’s intense hearing could pick up leak-control operations from inside.

Dawnstar began speaking to the invaders with an icy fury, over a universal signaling frequency on her earplug.

::You have broken your word! You are the hellspawn of Katosoweyeh, the Wolf of the Galaxy! Begone, and know that the Legion has broken you! The United Planets will soon be dealing with your treachery! Leave us as you endure the results of your dishonor!::

The Khunds, now fully visible and uncloaked, circled and sped off the way they had come, at a fraction of their incoming speed. But they were now escorted out of the local system by a squadron of Starhaven ion-engine fighter craft, which had just arrived from around the planet, their armaments glowing and ready.

A breathless transmission from the Starhaven fleet crackled in their earplugs as the command ship flew near them.

::We saw what you two did, Dawnstar. Our profound thanks! They are too crippled to try any schemes now. And they cannot cause any more damage, beyond their scattered firing at one of our moons’ observation posts. All they can do now is go home.::

::Swooping Hawk! Is that you, old friend? I haven’t seen you since I joined the Legion. We were glad to be of help. Swooper, please make the acquaintance of Daxam warrior Lar Gand, also known as Mon-el. My Legion colleague and friend.::

::An honor and a pleasure, Legionnaire. Dawny, we have told your family of your presence, and the news has already crossed Starhaven. You will want to see them, and I know the monster of all celebrations is inevitable.

::Besides, er, you two probably are far from comfortable for long that way. May the Spirit guide you!::

::What way is that?:: asked Mon-el.

But before Swooping Hawk could explain, his ship accelerated to join the rest of the escort.

Dawny and Lar took deep inner “breaths,” gazed at each other in their colorful Legion regalia—remarkably un-singed by the phaser fighting, it seemed—and flew the few meters to meet each other, above their artificial orientation plane. They embraced furiously, making each other tremble in joy ... and then she drew toward his mouth for a passionate kiss, long, deep, feeling his face and body, as he felt every dimension of hers.

 - by Dean Lee

As they plunged into the pleasures of physical touch, their deep mind-link gently disconnected. They didn’t want any diversion.

When they parted lips, and looked at each other’s grins, Dawnstar suddenly remembered that something had been missing, as her subconscious mind had tried to remind her before the fighting began. She floated back a meter, to catch her breath again from her jaramana. And then she knew!

Their colorful Legion outfits were gone. They’d only been part of their minds’ eyes, when their forebrains were linked, as if they should be there.

Now they weren’t ... and nothing was taking their place. Their skins were open and exposed to the gentle ion winds from Starhaven’s double primary.

They looked at each other in momentary shock, then embarrassment, then with an escaping chortle from their mouths.

::Dawny, my love,:: Lar sent to her, half-“gasping” through growing laughter, holding up his necklace, ::we can’t fight all our evildoers in the nude. People will talk!::

She began to laugh with him, and beyond him, as she had never laughed before. A rumble soon became hysterics, with tears of joy beading all over her face, as she let loose with the greatest abandon she’d ever felt in 25 years of life. She couldn’t stop. Her wing muscles were aching from her shaking.

Finally, after several minutes, she relaxed, gazing at the man before her, both of them naked and unafraid. A stray giggle of joy escaped her lips every few seconds.

Lar grasped the power of that moment. This was the luminous being who’d restored his joy, whom he wanted at his side, now and forever. He had to tell her.

And it seemed Dawny wanted to know it. She saw a face made, not just of flesh, but also of profound courage and the Spirit’s divine spark. She wanted this man, for every day to come. They both had traveled alone, within their minds, for too long.

They embraced under the glow of the binary suns and the zephyr of free-space ions. And this time, no contact was held back between them. Their mouths drank each other in, from cheekbones to necks. The fires of pleasure from each other grew between their intertwined legs. All the mysteries of the galaxy were now within them, were asked about, were answered, were found.

[ October 03, 2003, 01:30 PM: Message edited by: Greybird ]

From: Starhaven Consulate, City of Angels | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Brother of Dawnstar

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§ § §

Everyone feels this nervous and confused, on a day like today, Lar thought. I shouldn’t be this way. I’ve seen millions of people go through it. I wish Chuck Taine were here. He’d know something silly to say about it, to break the tension.

Several male hands were oiling and brushing his buckskin robe, and the men were talking rapidly among themselves while doing so. It took some work to get the robe to fully behave, to hang flat and in dignity around him, especially in this wind.

Lar looked out through the colonnade, into the canyon that surrounded the stone tower where they were standing. I’ve never seen a more dramatic setting, he thought. The heart of the ceremony will stand on its own ... float, really. But the setting makes it into drama.

Two of our lives are being joined today, he reminded himself. Can’t jump into, or above, anything more profound than that.

He turned his head to look into the full-length mirror, at the reflected faces of three winged men he’d come to know well over the past few weeks. One was Mistrider, whose craggy face still was young, and who looked to be only half of his fifty years.

And two young fellows stood by who were each all of sixteen, yet were both poised and brash. They reminded him vividly of when he’d first met Kal-el, a millennium before. Or Dawny, for that matter.

Dawnstar’s father turned to his sons. “You cannot forget the sash and feathers! Go quickly, Greatfire, to the other chambers, and bring them at once. Greybird, go with him, and tell your mother and the priests that we will be ready here by the stroke of the hour.”

The fraternal twins hurried off, sharing a whispered comment that made them both laugh. Lar turned to the older man, catching a deep breath.

“You do me honor, Mistrider. Just by your presence and steady hand. I thought I had regained some of my resolve, but you helped me take these last steps.”

“It is I who have the honor to join with you, in your joy, as you well know,” the family patriarch replied. “As do Moonwalker, our clan, and all of Starhaven. We all owe our lives to you.”

“What means the most to me, right now, is that you are the ones who made my joy possible, long ago. You and Moonwalker shaped the life and the many gifts of your daughter. Without that, I could never have loved her.”

“That is true, but it is not enough of the truth, my son. Just as only one wing is not enough for a bird, or a man, to fly. The rest of it is that you each made it possible to find each other.

“I had feared for my daughter. She had passion and imagination, from the day her wings first opened up, but she never knew what she wanted. She had sought adventure, and found it with the Legion, but that did not quiet her restless spirit. We valued and cared for her first great love, as well, but something still seemed incomplete.”

“Wildfire told me that he felt quite dismayed at how he might have wronged you, when he broke off matters with Dawny.”

“You may tell him that we bear him nothing but the best of feelings. He had responded honestly to love and virtue. As did Dawnstar, with him. That, though, was again not enough.

“It may sound as if this is one of the Spirit’s mysteries, but my daughter had to learn to endure incompleteness. The quest itself, which has no end. The uncertainties of daily living. That, at last, made it possible for her to open up her heart. And it helped you, as well. You both had scars inside your hearts. Yet you came together from the drive that made you overcome them.”

Mon-el grasped the man’s hand and pressed his own hands around it, with open gratitude.

“You see what I could not, or averted my eyes about for too long. Before I came to the Legion, and until recently, I was obsessed with reaching destinations. Now, I am coming to appreciate the journeys themselves.

“I can’t assure you that all will be perfect between your daughter and me. What is certain is that we will find the beauty in imperfection. And that we can now face our lives openly and without the burden of old fears. I could have no better companion.”

“You have the courage, Lar Gand, of Otonosaweh, our ancient clan totem, the Bear Who Roars His Defiance. It takes courage for the Bear to stand at the abyss of what he does not know, especially about himself. You bring this to our family and people. I shall be proud to stand behind you in the Orbit of Stone today.”

Mistrider turned to don his own buckskin and ornaments, just as the two teenagers were returning. Greybird was gesturing fiercely. “I will put on his sash, ’Fire! I made it, after all!”

“If you say so,” said Greatfire, with a sardonic sigh. “I told you, Grey, it was too short, anyway, to go around his chest. ... Lar,” he asked with a grin, “with having worked out so much, how can you get close enough to our sister to kiss her properly?”

“By the moons, ’Fire! Half the obstacle is on her chest, anyway—” And they both broke up laughing.

“You’ll figure it out, guys, when you dance with your sister afterwards,” said Lar. “You come along after me, your father, and the best man. And you have to do it up close. It’s tradition.”

“Enough of traditions,” said Greatfire with mock disgust, as he walked out, carrying his jacket. “I’ll see you on the aerie.”

“He may not enjoy all this ceremony, but I do,” said Greybird, as he carefully adjusted the sky-blue sash around Lar’s chest. “You are much more cool than Wildfire was. If you are one of our clan, now, you will be around to teach me a lot more about flying in thermals and windshears. That was great! ... Um, when you are not with Dawny, that is.” He blushed for a moment, as he hung eagle feathers from the edge of the sash.

“Grey, part of the fun of being with Dawny is in having you and your brother nearby. I had one once ... before I got lost, and then he got lost. It’s been a long time.”

“He was lost? Your brother? How did that happen?” Greybird asked with genuine concern.

“That, my brother-to-be, is a legend for another time. For now, I have an appointment with your sister and the high priests. So put on your jacket, and let’s go.”

Greybird placed his buckskin over his shoulders, fitting it to the edge of his silver-and-white wing feathers, and adjusted his ear ornaments. They were ready.

Lar walked up a ramp to the highest platform of the stone temple, with the family members following. He met R.J. Brande, who wore an ear-splitting grin, at the top of the ramp.

As his best man guided him to stand in the center of the ancient stone-outlined ellipse, at one of its two focal points, Lar saw Dawnstar’s family and friends filling the elongated curve around them, all joining hands.

Only Brande, their mutual patron and mentor, had been told of this event outside of Starhaven, and he had rushed to attend at once. No one else from their Legion lives was present ... and the more they thought about it, the more they wanted it that way. Teams were important, but this day was their own.

As distant and muted chimes began a steady ringing, he contemplated how he looked. The sash and feathers had been added to an ancient and colorful knee-length robe, colored in shades of red and black, to evoke his long-time Daxamite clothing. He stood in the same dark-blue boots he wore in Legion combat, with his hands clasped in front of him.

 - by Dean Lee

The guests on the far end of the ellipse parted, and Dawnstar slowly walked toward him. She was wrapped in a white sheath of a gown, rising to her chest, utterly simple. Her bared shoulders made his heart skip a beat.

One elegant braid fell from her right ear. Her folded wings stood straight behind her head, with the tension of intense feeling. Her white forearm gloves held an arrangement of yellow flowers that, under an artisan’s touch, formed a replica of the eight-pointed star that was her Legion symbol.

Their tumultuous past, and their purely-felt present, were all now brought together in colors and symbols.

As guests returned to their places behind her, and she took her place at the other focal point, the twenty-meter-long sides of the ellipse parted. Two priests entered, bearing red-and-white wings and simple necklaces on their buckskins, one man and one woman. They stood between the couple. One spoke, softly but firmly, in the ancient Lakota tongue, and the other then repeated what had been said in Interlac a moment later.

The priests alternated, as the guests listened, and they began to rise slowly into the sunlit sky. As did Mon-el and Dawnstar. When the four of them hovered ten meters above the rest of the group, the vows began, in privacy.

When the four began to descend, and Lar was floating toward Dawny to take up her embrace, he knew that a ceremony had changed nothing. He had already found his life partner. Yet it was a token of how their unexpected bond had changed everything.

[ October 03, 2003, 01:32 PM: Message edited by: Greybird ]

From: Starhaven Consulate, City of Angels | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Brother of Dawnstar

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§ § §

Two figures burst together out of a flash of twisted spacetime, at yet a different place where gravity wells cancelled out. They ducked suddenly around a statue of a young Kryptonian near the El-Five Hotel, an opulent floating creation of the tycoon who’d stood behind them at their wedding.

As Lar and Dawny straightened their vector in normal space, they slowed down, to ponder the blue-and-white jewel of a planet that hung before them.

“It’s a lovely place, a troubled place,” mused Dawnstar. She spoke directly to her husband’s brain cortex, in the deeper link that they would now always be sharing. Though now, away from combat, they looked at the universe around them without a tactical-display overlay.

“As is the rest of our Legion life,” replied Mon-el. “Yet it’s worth going back to take it all up again. I can live with the mysteries of the universe and the blackness of the bad guys. As long as I have you to help me figure ’em out.”

“Perhaps I’ll be around longer, now, when we’re fighting them. I have you to thank for that. Along with infinities of other things.”

They had made the most of a two-month resort honeymoon by having first visited Starhaven’s genetic engineers, and investigating how Mon-el might share some of his abilities with others. What they found, to their delight, was that some of what activated his invulnerability could also strengthen hers. It helped her both in deep space and—where she’d been vulnerable—within a gravity well. Gene therapy had succeeded perfectly.

With this rapid success, they’d returned with some more ideas ...

“Still,” Dawny continued, “one thing you’ll have to figure out is how to explain to our friends what’s on your back. It’s not at all like your having made me stronger. That, nobody had to see.

“And you know I wasn’t insisting on them for you. They’re handsome, my parents are thrilled—oh, you know I am, as well. Yet I already had a token of our bond. You’d made these lovely rings!”

She held up her left hand, which was bearing a delicate gold-and-silver-mesh band, mined and shaped in his heat vision, and identical to his own.

Mon-el shrugged. “You knew that part of me wanted these, milady. Almost since you caught up to me, six months ago. Ever since we first met, they had been so utterly beautiful on you. So call them a living token of what’s between us.

“And you can blame your brother, really, for spurring us to go back to the genengineers. Greybird proved to me just how much these would help my pinpoint maneuvering in rough atmospheres. That was the one bit of free-flying I’d never quite licked! I think ‘musclebound and uptight’ would be Timber Wolf’s phrase for it.”

Lar suddenly had to shift position slightly, for he had brushed up too closely against his wife—not with his body, lying alongside her, for they had their arms caressing each other around the waist as they preferred. But with a clash of edge feathers ... for hovering above their backs were not one, but two, pairs of folded wings.

 - by Kyle Baxter

Dawny sighed in mock exasperation. “You are a fool in love, Lar Gand, and anyone who listens to my crazy brothers is twice a fool, indeed. Even if you did make up for it all by asking my advice about the colors.”

Mon-el’s new wings had grown to show a swirl of red, blue, and black tints on off-white feathers, once again evoking his earlier Legion look.

And she had then taken the opportunity to delight him by adding, through her own genes, several subtle streaks of dark blue to her white feathers ... to keep their memory of Tasmia.

“Now, how are you going to be a powerhouse Legion fighter wearing these? I’ve grown up with them always behind me as two more arms, but you haven’t. Answer me that,” she said, nudging him playfully in the ribs, showing him a broad grin.

“You forget, dearest, what else they gave both of us.”

As he concentrated, the wings on his back appeared to vanish, becoming invisible and intangible ... yet they were still “present,” in a portable and flexible tesseract, and still linked to his back. Two ovals on his back showed the connection, in cross section, of living blood, bone, sinews, and energy flows.

She shook her head, conceding the argument, such as it was, as she made her own wings “disappear.”

“Yes, it was a pleasure to redeem the idea from those Khunds and their savage devices. And I was amazed to find it could be genengineered. Yet just what, my overpowered lover, really made you want this wing-cloak of ours so much?”

He made a devilish smile. “It can be far more convenient when we make love, that’s exactly it. Especially when we’re not in free-fall. And you, my dear, can now be a subtle asset for the Legion Espionage Squad, whether Tinya likes you or not.

“Besides, we shouldn’t have to wear our back-holed clothes all the time, as comfortable as they are. And as much as I now like feeling those star-winds.”

They were both clad in olive-colored buckskins and boots, and they’d decided that the Legion would have to live with their new look. He had a fringed sleeveless jacket and a knee-length loincloth. She wore a fringed sheath, showing her sides, arms, and legs fully, anchored by a broad necklace of ornament, with a single braid down her back.

“You’d be even more beautiful in some full-backed fashions, once in a while,” he went on. “In fact, I’m taking you over to Fifth Avenue, on the first day that we have free.”

They were arcing into the highest cirrus clouds above North America. “I wonder how soon that will be ...” she mused idly, feeling distracted.

“Lar? What’s going on down there? Near the headquarters? From the motion I can sense, it feels like a riot.”

He aimed his telescopic vision toward the heart of Metropolis, at a corner of the district, in Kal’s day, called Brooklyn. He saw pulsing lights. “That’s strange. It’s not a holiday, as I remember, and I don’t hear sirens.”

She looked preoccupied for a moment, and then said, “Well, now I know what’s wrong. Try tuning your earplug to 3232 MHz.”

Lar did as she suggested, but with a bit of foreboding. It was a digital radio station that concentrated on celebrity gossip—still popular with commuters, after many centuries, who didn’t want greater distractions in their flyers. The telepathic plug babbled with the manic tones of a star-struck reporter.

::And our top story on the hour at ThirtyTwoSquared is the return of, hold onto your implants, Mr. and Mrs. LAR GAND! Yes, the ab fab Dawnstar tied the knot on Starhaven two months ago, it was kept under wraps until now, but they’re on the way back after their Legion leave! And this party behind me to celebrate their nuptials is really flarin’! Especially when they’re waiting to see a supersecret SUUUU-prise—but WE know a bit of it—call it something new from Birdland! Seven thousand fans joining Our Heroes, with all their friends in high powers from Lallor to the S.U.B.S.’s, rockin’ out to ten centuries of great oldies—::

Dawny shut off her plug. “Brothers. Pfui! Greatfire had to have told the media—he’s just silly enough to want to embarrass me. Practical jokes, hah! I’d like to throw him into an ice nebula, see it cool him off!”

“Ah, my love,” Lar suggested softly, “isn’t that all part of life? If you didn’t want to beat up your siblings ten times a day, you’d miss it. Besides, they’re now my family, too ... and I’d never really had one. Except with Kal.”

She looked into his face, tenderly, contemplating the sum of what they had shared and told each other. And a moment later, she made a wicked grin.

“Well, then! If they’re on to us, we’d better make a grand entrance! Wouldn’t you say so, my dearest one?”

“You, milady, the light chasing away my darkness, are so right. Let’s do it.”

They dropped the cloaking of their wings, spread them wide to display their colors, clasped hands at arms’ length, dived into the lights of Metropolis, and swooped and circled at near-cruiser speed over the heads of the cheering revelers in Weisinger Plaza.

§ § §

For Dannell Lites (1953 - 2002), who adored Lar as I adore Dawny

[ October 03, 2003, 01:35 PM: Message edited by: Greybird ]

From: Starhaven Consulate, City of Angels | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Brother of Dawnstar

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I began outlining this tale nearly three years ago, and became inspired to finish it two years ago by the response in LegionPics and LegionFiction to an art challenge.

An image of Superman and Lois kept persisting in my mind from "Superman II," of their flying to the Fortress of Solitude, side by side, with their arms around each other. I wondered how fan artists would depict Mon-el and Dawnstar similarly flying together. Dean Lee and Doctor Vince rose to the suggestion -- especially Dean, who was spurred to create three variations on the theme.

I finished and posted this story to LegionFiction, but only then realized how well those four illustrations ended up depicting the two Legionnaires in my tale. So a note once again of thanks to the talented Dean and Vince, whose work came along before this story found its ending. Along with those four, I included an earlier work of Dean's showing Dawny on her wedding day, which served as another spark to finishing the tale.

Kyle Baxter was inspired to create the final illustration after having read the story, and he developed two line-art versions of it with public comment being solicited on LegionFiction, before creating the final color version. I thank him again, as well.

The story diverges from the Legion timeline just before the "conspiracy" takes place (Volume 3) to avenge the death of Kal-el. Dannell Lites had suggested the pairing of Lar and Dawny originally. She was delighted by the story, and I'm glad it reached her before we fan-fic-fans lost her a year later.

I'd welcome your reactions ...

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Great story, great art. I really love the ending.

Current Obsession: Birds of Prey/Secret Six

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mere mortal

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Grey this is beautifully written, there's a gentle intelligence to the characters that I can't remember reading before - and it works so well!

Loved Dawny and Mon getting together - even though I've never thought they had any reason to get close you definitely convinced me that they are suited to each other...

not toooo sure if I can picture Mon with wings but the final image of them swooping down to the crowds is a beaut!

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Sketch Lad

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Thank you for attaching my art (as well as the others) to your story. I appreciate that generosity.

Do you have a link to a printable version of your story? I find it very difficult to read this much on the monitor. If I could print it out and take it to a more comfortable place to read it, I'm sure I'd enjoy it much better.


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Brother of Dawnstar

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Thanks for your reactions thus far! (I was waiting for two or three to be made.)

Arachne: The ending took months to form in my mind -- and after mulling it over all that time, I'm glad it worked for you. The starstruck reporter came from my surfing past "Access Hollywood" with the TV remote one night!

SB: I greatly appreciate your noting what I'd long felt, that these two were among the more perceptive and quietly intelligent Legionnaires. They weren't in the forefront about that quality, as the less adroit Brainy was, but it was clearly present. And it couldn't be dramatized very well in a primarily action-SF book.

I had Lar gaining wings because I came to see many couples as wanting to share what each could offer, even in the Legion. (Also, I'll admit, as karmic compensation for someone losing her wings in another story ...) He also deserved to be less wrapped in cloth for once. Wings, I'd say, are far more useful than a cape, and certainly at least as dramatic in appearance.

Dean: It was utter pleasure to link your works. Although I didn't have the unfinished story in the front of my mind when I made that Group query, I was delighted that your art came to illuminate it so well.

You can now access a ready-to-print Webbed version, with full typography, and with display .gifs linking to the original art as above, at this address. I needed that reminder. My posting of it at Pteraphiles was no longer available to non-members, since the recent Yahoo! changes.

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Fat Cramer
Rich and flaky

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I'm going to have to comment more on this later. I read it two days ago and I'm still annoyed that Lar got wings. I write that as a compliment, because if the story wasn't well-told or believable (within the realm of comics), it wouldn't get to me that much. Or at all.

Holy Cats of Egypt!

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Brother of Dawnstar

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Well, don't keep me in suspense forever, amiga mia ... and I'm glad the story resonated enough to arouse your feelings, even if you didn't care for feathered elements of it.

It always struck me that not enough was being done to act on a Brave New World of genetics, as was alluded to in many Legion stories. If a couple was very much in love, wouldn't sharing some such qualities become likely?

I also have heard such scapulae-growing wings being described as "like a cape," especially from how gargoyles (such as in "Gargoyles") used them. Living feathers, rather than sticking with dragging cloth ... maybe Lar just needs a change after 1030 years, hmm? {g}

From: Starhaven Consulate, City of Angels | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Fat Cramer
Rich and flaky

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I wanted to take the time to reread this, once I came to terms with the winged Lar ending. IT really is a very enjoyable story, well-written (which I would expect from you) and well-crafted.

There are a number of details which stand out to me. The details supplied about the places they visit in the galaxy are a nice extra, but what is particularly interesting is the added insight into Starhaven - not a Starhaven travelogue, but a few details give us a picture of this as a real world, separate from Earth, but not so alien that this formerly Earth-bound race would have been uncomfortable on settling there. A few other characters, some ceremonies and the use of "Starhaven" words contribute further to the picture. (Are those native words and marriage ceremonies or did you make them up?)

Of course, Starhaven would have "advanced" genetic technology/research - they didn't arrive with wings, after all - but I don't recall this being addressed before.

You do a good job of developing Dawnstar's character - and powers - beyond what we were given in the comic book. I would expect that from a Dawnstar afficianado! However, we also get a few insights into other characters: Drake's confiding in Mon-el about Dawnstar is great. I can't imagine brash, tough Drake speaking about a woman he truly loved and revealing his feelings to just anybody. Mon-el would have been a good choice, having suffered denial of physical contact himself for so many years.

Also, the fact that only R.J. was invited from the Legion reinforces the bond that R.J. and Lar Gand have had - which was certainly reinforced during your dreaded TMK years - but, even if unexplored pre-TMK, those two might have been the Legion's father figures and would have shared some distance from "the kids".

I do have to wonder how much Silverale it would take to get Lar and Kal tipsy, let alone drunk... I would have thought Lar couldn't get a buzz from alcohol, which would have removed yet another "escape hatch" from his troubling memories. A quibbling point.

I guess what bothered me about the Lar's wings was the same aspect which bothered me with Tasmia's wedding mutilation, chopping off her finger. The idea of deforming one's body as an expression of love just doesn't sit well with me. However, it's in no way uninteresting, or even illogical given the characters and the times. The way I see it is that Lar has been alone for a millenium; the one love he did have was lost. Even within the Legion, he never banished his solitude. With Dawnstar, he acquires a family as well as an equal life-partner. It's not unusual for people in our time to adopt the religion and cultural ways of their spouse, so I guess wings are just a 31st century aspect of this. If he's happy with it, who am I to question this?

Dawnstar and Lar really are quite an excellent match, character-wise and power-wise. I always liked Tasmia except for her must-cling-to-Lar scenes. Would Dawny and Lar have gotten together even if Tasmia were still in the picture? They might well have. It's a more logical, mutually supportive and beneficial relationship, in my opinion.

Holy Cats of Egypt!

From: Café Cramer | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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Hey Greybird, this is GORGEOUS!!

"Tempus Fugitive" the final part of the Adventures of Dream Boy series, set in the Three-Boot Universe. Read it only in the Bits o' Legionnaire Business Forum.

From: here, more often than not | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Brother of Dawnstar

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My belated thanks go to both Fat Cramer and Harbinger for their kind comments.

FC's many notes call for a longer response, and now that I'm less distracted by illness (afflicting either our message venue or myself), I will provide it soon.

[ January 27, 2004, 03:56 AM: Message edited by: Greybird ]

From: Starhaven Consulate, City of Angels | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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