40 darajeen reunion with harrisEdit
The Aissis Oasis Inn, Jai-Ten, Earth date March 20, Alliance Year 167,
The alarm announced someone coming through the transport without identification. Heart racing, DaraJeen rushed from the kitchen to see who it was before she could stop herself, before she consciously realized what the sound was. Part of her --the part which took action without considering consequences-- always hoped it was Harris. Impossible, she reminded herself every time. She cursed herself for still feeling this way, and fervently hoped her desires would never turn to reality: better for everyone if he never returned to her.
Remembering who he really was and who she really was now turned her hopes to fears for him. She tried not to notice which Ships were tethered at the port or which were expected. The past two times the Marrion Jay had tethered, he hadn’t visited her. [write a timeline of where the Marrion Jay ahs been and why] She hadn’t heard any mention of him for several years. ***[is this realistic in current version?] Apparently her heart still took no news as good news and didn’t listen to reason. In the midst of these mixed emotions she arrived in the hallway just as Harris emerged grinning from the transport.
She stared at him in shocked horror. “Harris! No! You shouldn’t be here, honey.”
He replied without speaking, gathering her up into his arms and kissing her. She wrapped her arms around him tightly and melted into him forgetting everything except how much she loved him and how happy she was to be with him, whatever the risk, whatever the reason, whatever the consequences. The feeling was obviously mutual. He finally stopped kissing her and set her down, but didn’t entirely let go. “DaraJeen. I missed you so much. Didn’t realize how much until I saw you.” He kissed her again, too overcome to say anything more.
Finally, he let go slowly. “Sorry to surprise you, sweetheart. My brother needs your help. He’s from Earth. Dr Jason Scott-Harris. He’s an anthropologist.” Harris picked up Jason’s luggage.
“Take his things upstairs” She told him, Automatically, as if this were just any other guest checking in.
As Harris headed for the front stairs her eyes followed him, longingly. “Harris?”
He turned back.
“How long will you stay?” she asked, her voice soft and wistful. [internal talk form DaraJeen here would be good, questioning her motives, and if she is being just controlled by Thearon or driven by love. She’s torn between wanting to avoid him because she loves him and wanting to protect him, VS the contolling influence of Thearon, and her love for him and desire to be with him]
He abandoned Jason’s luggage by the foot of the stairs, rushed back and kissed her again, longer, and more passionately than before. With his eyes clouded and his voice more wistful than hers, he asked. “DaraJeen, will you marry me and have my children?”
“No Harris. I can’t. You know I can’t. Please stop asking.”
“I can’t. You know I have to ask.”
“You come to me seeking escape. I cannot give you what you really need.”
He held her a moment, indulging in that escape she offered, though it wasn’t why he came, this time, at least at first it wasn’t. Maybe now it was.
He let her go, headed for the stairs. “I don’t know how long. Guess I’m here to prove Sen’tran right about how childish and irresponsible I am.”
“Didn’t start that way. Jason is waiting permission to go to D’zeron. He doesn’t like being alone in Jai-ten, so I came to port with him. Sen’tran got on my case about it, so guess I’ll have to go get drunk now, just for Sen’tran.”
“He’s right you know.”
“Of course he’s right, he’s Sen’tran. Of course I know.” He disappeared up the stairs with Jason’s luggage. Sylvia wolf whistled metallically as she floated up the stairs behind Harris.
“Nice to see you again too Sylvia” DaraJeen called up to her cheerfully, returning to the task she had abandoned in the kitchen, humming a happy tune.
50 arriving at the inn pov jasonEdit
ch 15 arriving at the inn pov Jason
When Jason arrived his luggage was waiting in an upstairs room with a bay window looking out over the city and, DaraJeen assured him, “a perfect view of Aissis rising in the evening sky.” DaraJeen welcomed him as family, apparently accepting unquestioningly Harris’s claim to be his brother even though they obviously looked and sounded nothing alike and she had apparently known Harris well for many years. A solidly built middle-age Terran woman, with long hair more grey than brown braided and pinned up on the top of her head in a neat and practical twist, she had a warm dimpled smile and an uncanny ability to reply perfectly to everyone she met in their own language and dialect and know what they wanted before they said anything. She was a perfect hostess. It was easy to see why Harris liked her. It was not as easy to figure out what sort of relationship she had with Harris.
The Inn was a small pleasant place near the edge of the city, close enough to the ocean that Jason could see it, just barely, from his upstairs window. It was the sort of place that would have called a bed and breakfast if it had been in America, There was a well-kept flower garden in the back, with fruit trees and herbs and vegetables. A neat little building at the bottom of the garden was painted to match the house. Jason later discovered it was a barn.
Pale blue with white trim, in the front a huge vine-covered porch with a sign above it which said “Aissis Oasis.” The house resembled a Victorian style house though in reality it had probably been built less than fifty years ago, at the earliest.,***rewrite this para, it’s confusing.
“Interesting name” said Jason
“It’s a horrible name,” said DaraJeen very sincerely.
“No I like it” Jason insisted
She laughed. “You would, yes. I didn’t name it. I’m sure I would have called it something less interesting, and more comfortable. The name refers to another place, a brothel planet called Moonlight Oasis. This Inn was a brothel before my mother inherited it. We never changed the name. Names are funny that way. Sometimes they say more about where we came from than who we are, but who we are changes the meaning of the name. I haven’t changed the name because we have a very good reputation in this part of the Galaxy. The planet the name refers to is so remote that few here get the reference. I don’t normally mention it, but you’re family, right?
“The dinning room’s right here, no specified mealtimes, just let me know if you want something.” Her eyes met Harris’s. He grinned. She slapped him playfully. “stop that”
“Most Terrans prefer the second floor with it’s bay windows and high ceilings, but Paragangians like the basement for it’s darkness and,” DaraJeen explained, “They can transport directly from the port Depot without ever seeing daylight.”
Harris, however, was apparently staying on the ground floor, with DaraJeen.
60 lunch convo with dara jeenEdit
lunch and legends
“I bet you’d enjoy some real food, Dr. Scott-Harris, after traveling all the way from Earth on a Ship Community. Harris doesn’t like Terran food. You know Paragangians and their denial of death.” She winked at Jason, who glanced at Harris quizzically. Harris sat quietly gazing at her as if in a trance
Jason accepted her offer with gratitude. She knew Harris didn’t like daylight and Jason was uncomfortable being in the city, so she invited them to sit with her in the kitchen. ***show not tell
“What brings you to Jai-ten? Harris says you’re an Anthropologist?”
“I’m a retro-technologist, and I study dreams. I’ve come to visit D’zeron. I have a brother there.”
“A brother in D’zeron?”
“My father, Jonathan Landon, went there forty years ago. His son is there.”
“Jonathan Landon?” She interrupted, giving Harris a quick, questioning glance. “And Alexandreil Teppen?”
Jason grinned “You’ve heard of them.”
“Heard of them?” She laughed nervously “Who hasn’t? They caused Paragangia to be banned from Terran 8 for thirty years. It was one of the most significant events in the history of Jai-Ten.”
“Alexandreil asked me to negotiate with D’zeron for his people, to reestablish open communication. Jonathan is too sick to travel.”
“I’m surprised he’s still alive. He was exiled from Paragangia twenty years ago. How can he still be alive?”
“Twenty-two years ago” corrected Harris
Jason shrugged, confused. “I know more of D’zeron culture than anyone on Earth other than my father. He taught me the language and everything.”
“So Alexandreil’s finally decided to right his wrongs, has he? That sounds like a recipe for disaster. Is he traveling with you?”
“Not this time.”
“Wise of him not to come personally. Uncharacteristically wise.” She seemed suspicious.
“He can’t leave HomeStaion. Rhonda [??????? ***give her a last name different than his, because Jason does not know they are married.] is here to represent him.”
“What?” She seems sincerely terrified. Or was it just my imagination? ***[and flow of dialogue] “Alexandreil is with Thaeron now?” she whispered. “I had no idea.” ***[sort out all these relationships]
“I’m sorry.” DaraJeen shrugged apologetically, smiling nervously at Harris, then returned her attention to Jason “I’ve met Rhonda. I don’t like her. She reminds me of someone.”
Harris laughed and answered Jason’s questioning glance. “Thaeron was the mythical son of a legendary evil Paragangian exile Kaizen Roisoh. You’ll hear many stories about him in this part of the Galaxy. Thaeron’s father Kai-zen left Paragangia and went to the planet called Rhoisoh, a planet of shape shifters. The cat-people you see around Jai-ten? It’s the planet they come from. Shape shifters are very genetically unstable. They often work as prostitutes, and we try to avoid them. They try to conceive half-Paragangian children.”
“Why?” asked Jason
“Trying to improve their gene pool by adding pure Paragangian genes” Harris explained.
“That’s horrible, to conceive a child just for better genetics.” said Jason
“Not really,” said Darajeen “They just want to be able to have babies without dying, like anybody else.”
“What’s terrible is that they exist, and that they still practice dangerous genetic technologies forbidden everywhere else in the galaxy.” said Harris “Kai-zen Rhoizoh had them genetically alter him. We don’t allow those technology in Paragangia because the they cause genetic problems, such as the reproductive instability of the shape shifters, and…” he paused “…other problems.”
“He was almost immortal, with telepathic abilities to control and deceive. Supposedly, according to legend, Kai-zen Rhoisoh traveled the galaxy in disguise conceiving hundreds of children who would shared his many unusual genetically-passed talents for deception. He intended to use his army of descendants to take over the Galaxy. Supposedly, His most loyal son Thaeron could shape-shift and could also control other people’s minds, making them his slaves. So a Jai-tener comparing Rhonda to Thaeron is equivalent to a Terran saying she’s the Devil’s favorite son. I see the resemblance. What do you think?”
Jason laughed “Me too. Fortunately she doesn’t liked me much either. I’ve only met her once. I’ll have to meet with her again tomorrow morning to make final plans for the journey to D’zeron.”
“Thaeron Rhoizo’s a myth. Out here in the far reaches of the galaxy many strange myths are taken as fact by the locals,” added Harris. “ Quite a few Rhoizoan people live in Jai-ten. They come here to get Paragangian medical help, to have babies without dying.”
“Most myth’s began in fact.” Jason suggested. “Maybe there was some misguided character thousands of years ago who traveled this part of the Galaxy trying to rule the world by reproducing himself. Maybe he really had a son named Thearon.”
“Kai-zen wasn’t a thousand years ago, he was just a little younger than Sen’tran,” said Harris “Kaizen Paragan, a son of the Paragan family but far from the line of inheritance, Never to become center, and very rebellious. They traveled together for awhile. Sen’tran left him on the Planet and refused to return until after Kai-zen died, because of what he had chosen to become. All spacers avoided the planet while Kai-Zen lived there. He renamed himself for the planet and ruled it for over 100 years, until he was murdered by his own children. There is no evidence that he ever had a son named Thaeron, or that anyone remained loyal to him after his death. He wasn’t liked, obviously even by his children.”
“Don’t believe him, Jason.” protested DaraJeen “Demons love denial, and power. Evil gains power when you claim it doesn’t exist or call it harmless history with no power.” She seemed much less cheerful after that.
Harris was uncharacteristically quiet, too, and Sylvia appeared to be pacing nervously.
Trying to revive the conversation Jason gestured to his plate. “DaraJeen’s a really good cook, Harris. You should try this chicken.”
“Organically gown, Free-range chicken,” added DaraJeen.
“I don’t eat dead things.”
“Why don’t Paragangians eat real food?” asked Jason
“Why kill things to eat them when we can make food without killing anything?”
“Because real food tastes better.” insisted Jason
“Not to me”
“How do you know? Have you even tried it?”
“No and I’m never going to.” Harris insisted.
“Everything has to die sometime. Without death, there would be no life.”
Harris didn’t reply.
Jason contemplated silently, looking over at DaraJeen. She still seemed troubled. “DaraJeen, I think I see what you were saying about denying death.”
“Hey Jason,” Harris spoke up, “What do you want to do for the rest of the afternoon? You’ve got a few hours to kill before Aissis rises.”
“You are a dreamer?” DaraJeen asked nervously “You travel to the other world, like in D’zeron? The world of monsters?”
Monsters like Thaeron Rhoizoh? Jason shrugged “I Hope so. I dream, but I haven’t been to the other world yet. There is no dream plane on Earth, not like the one on Terran 8. Jonathan didn’t tell me to worry about monsters when he was teaching me to dream. You think I should worry, DaraJeen?”
“From Jonathan Landon you learned to dream?” She seemed horrified,
Jason smiled. Jonathan is a mythical monster here, like Thereon Rhoisoh. “Why does Jonathan have such a bad reputation?”
Exasperated, Harris explained “Jason, he got us banned for thirty years, by taking disallowed technologies to Kaar-taal, [is that what happened?] and then he was exiled from Paragangia for his involvement in the assassination of Desmond Harris. He confessed it, but refused to say who else was involved.”
Jason’s eyes widened “Exiled for killing Desmond Harris? He loved Desmond. Jonathan could never have killed Desmond. He even gave me Desmond’s name.”
“Guilt, perhaps?” Harris shrugged “Jonathan confessed publicly, on the link. I heard him myself. We all did. It’s public record. I could replay it for you, if you were linked. Alexandreil –his closest friend-- declared the banishment, and Sen’tran removed his implant. Before that, Jonathan was like a son to Sen’tran, like a brother to me. He is a traitor to our people. You can’t expect us to love him as you do.”
Jason stared at Harris, startled “What do you mean removed his implant? Jonathan isn’t Paragangian.”
Harris stared back, confused. How could Jason not know this? What else did Jason not know?
Jason do you understand what it means to be exiled from Paragangia?
Jason shook his head, confused.
“Lesser offenders are merely exiled to a planet of their choice somewhere and locked out of the Community Mind. When a Paragangian commits a serious crime --like murder--he is permanently exiled. It’s a death sentence. His memory implants are removed, and sometimes part of his other memories as well. So maybe Jonathan didn’t really lie to you, Jason. Maybe Sen’tran removed all his memories of Paragangia.” Harris paused how much did Sen’tran remove from Jonathan’s memory? “He’s no longer able to receive Paragangian medical care. Most exiles don’t survive long after exile. Jonathan proved to be pretty strong. He’s still alive after almost 22 years. Perhaps because he wasn’t born Paragangian. HE didn’t receive an implant until he was 8 years old.”
“Jonathan isn’t Paragangian.”
“No, not anymore.”
“He never was. He doesn’t have black skin.”
“Neither do you.”
“And I’m not at all Paragangian?” Jason shook his head in complete confusion and dropped the subject. Harris wasn’t making sense, and suddenly Jason really didn’t want to understand his father’s bad reputation. It was obviously some sort of misunderstanding. Jonathan Landon, his father and mentor, seemed to have no connection to this mythical Paragangian troublemaker they called Jonathan Landon.
“As I was saying, DaraJeen, I practiced dreaming on Earth, but it’s different here. There’s more of a dream field here.”
“What is a dream field?”
“It’s the capacity of a planet to allow people on the planet to dream together. On Terran 8 the dream field makes it possible for dream worlds to continue to exist when people are not dreaming together in it. It makes that dream world with monsters possible we call that one the dream plane. Jonathan showed me D’zeron in shared dreams on earth. Earth has enough of a dream field that we can share dreams but the dream plane created by our dreaming exists only while we are dreaming in it. Dream fields cannot cross space, they see to be connected to the material of the planet. So we couldn’t actually travel to Terran 8 in dreams, but we could revisit his memories of places and people here. Alone in dreams I can travel to places I have been either in waking or in dream, or places as I imagine them. If I dream with someone else –like Jonathan-- he can take me to a places he’s been where I’ve never been, or a place he imagines which I would never think of.”
“Like sharing memories through the link,” suggested Harris.
Jason shrugged. “Probably. I wouldn’t know.”
DaraJeen winked at Jason “I don’t know either, Hon.”
“The only way I could reach D’zeron in dreams tonight would be if I found someone here who has traveled there. Not likely. Very few people have traveled to Kaar-Taal.”
“My friend George” said DaraJeen. [this will mess with my story line, but she would certainly say this now]
“You know someone who has been to D’zeron?”
“No, honey, Just to Kaar-Taal. No one has been to D’zeron since the ban. You will be the first.” She looked at Harris as she said it.
“Why did George go to Kaar-Taal?”
“They have a message transmission device at D’zeron, they contact the port Authority every Thursday.[set a consistent day for sure. She knows this because she talks to George]. It wasn’t working properly so they agreed that George could bring what they needed to repair it. They came down to the beach to meet him.”
“See?” said Harris “You wouldn’t get that kind of information from the port hotel.”
“You’re right Harris, Thank you for bringing me here.” said Jason
“Ah, they would certainly also have sent you to see George.” said DaraJeen “Not everyone knows he’s been to Kaar-Taal, but his Museum of Retro-technology is where everyone goes to learn about D’zeron. I’ll send you over there tomorrow morning, okay?”
----[ build a new transition to this]
“In D’zeron, Dream keepers enter the dream plane –that dream world you were talking about, DaraJeen-- through a portal. After passing through the portal they travel around in the Dream Plane basically like the waking world, only without the same physical limitations. There are creatures who live there all the time and have no waking bodies. Dragons dream too, and share the same dream plane as D’zeron, but they have their own portal.” he smiled at her “I guess you would consider them monsters.”
“Dragons? Who wouldn’t!”
“Terran 8 has the strongest known dream field in the galaxy. Several other planets, including Earth and HomeWorld have a slight dream field which allows people to share dreams, but only Terran 8 has portals to a dream plane which exists continuously and can be accessed by one person sleeping alone. On earth we can only share dreams with a person we are in skin to skin contact with. Here people on different parts of the planet can interact in dreams. surface of the planet seems to transmit the dream here as our bodies do on earth. The dreaming skills I learned from Jonathan do not involve portals.”
Harris seemed intrigued “Jonathan brought you to a Dream Plane on Earth without portals/” Why did Sen’tran let Jonathan keep his dreaming abilities? Normally this ability was blocked in criminal exiles. Was it because they wanted Jason to have this skill?
Did they instead remove his memories of Paragangia?why? ****[did he do that? if so, does the reader need to know this at this point? the reader does not know that Paragangians dream? how much exactly does Harris know? How much is in the official story?]
“It’s not a Dream Plane like D’zeron, but we share dreams, and this creates a Dream Plane which exists only for us. When a person has conscious control of a private dream, we call it lucid dreaming. Anyone can learn to do this.”
“Right” nodded Harris, grinning.
His tone revealed too much. Jason stared at Harris in surprise, and then thoughtfully. “So, you’re a lucid dreamer, Aren’t you Harris?”
Even some Terrans could do this. For a person with Harris’s interests, caliming not to be able to do it might seem more questionable than owning the skill. “Yeah, I’ve done it.” He hoped he hadn’t said too much.
Jason’s eyes lit up with excitement. “Few people on Earth learn it. Is it common among Paragangians?” He didn’t remember seeing any mention of Paragangians in dreaming literature. Odd, now that he thought of it. His thoughts raced. I could have dreamed with Harris if I had known. I could have learned so much from him. But there probably isn’t enough of a dream field on the Marrion Jay. But here, we could dream. He thought of Matthias, and felt like a traitor for considering dreaming with Harris.
Harris shrugged defensively, I should not have admitted to this ability. He struggled to reply honestly without revealing any more. “I don’t know. I’m known for being childish. Just ‘cause I play with my dreams don’t mean anyone else does it.” Jason was staring at him silently; perhaps suspicious, perhaps surprised, probably just plotting joint adventures. When he knows so much it’s hard not sharing stuff we don’t tell aliens, but I don’t know how much he knows.
But this was Terran 8 and Harris was…well…like a brother. Almost family, right? Jason grinned at Harris “Maybe you can dream with me, Harris. Shared dreaming should be easy here.”
Jason turned back to DaraJeen “Some lucid dreamers can combine their dreams and create shared dreams together. Jonathan taught me about D’zeron mostly in shared dreams.” Jason smiled, remembering.
Harris watched silently as the emotions crossed Jason’s countenance. He loves Jonathan. He doesn’t want the truth.
“Only a few people can do it. It’s a genetic trait. In D’zeron they breed people for the ability to dream, as horrible as that sounds.
“How is that horrible?” asked Harris.
“Choosing to have a child just for genetic skills, not because you love the child, or the other parent. Doesn’t it seem heartless? Like those Rhoisoan prostitutes you were talking about.”
“Heartless” Harris and DaraJeen looked at eachother and laughed. “Sure, Jason.”
Jason wasn’t sure why this was funny, so he continued his explanation. “The Dream Plane of D’zeron exists separately from people’s dreams, as if it is the dream of the planet itself. It is connected to --or separated from-- the waking world by the portals. When I dream with Jonathan, we have to be physically touching. The portal is like that point of contact with the planet.”
“Sharing a dream with the planet sounds interesting.” agreed Harris.
“Would you like to try it Harris?” Jason grinned hopefully. “You could go to D’zeron with me. Jonathan never learned to reach the portal from Jai-ten. Since Aissis never shines on the two continents at the same time, he thought it might be impossible.”
“I don’t know. D’zeron seems dangerous.”
DaraJeen, still spooked by thoughts of Dream Plane monsters, seemed relieved that Harris didn’t want to go.
“But if you don’t go to D’zeron, there’s another dream place we can access on Terran 8, even on Jai-ten. Jonathan calls it the Dream Wind. It’s a way access the Dream Plane indirectly without going through the portal. You have to be introduced to it by someone who’s been there. Once introduced you can travel to any place on the planet where you have been, which is on the night side of the planet at the time. Dreamers on the Dream Plane cannot perceive a Dreamer in the Wind unless they are actively interacting. Just like you can’t see the wind unless it moves the trees or something.”
“There isn’t wind in space.” Harris pointed out
“If I can enter the Wind maybe I should be able to observe the Dream Plane safely without entering the portal. Jonathan showed me how, but of course I’ve never done it; I’ve only dreamed about doing it in shared dreams. I should have required the ability since I was able to share dreams with Jonathan. I’m very excited to find out what I can do here”
DaraJeen shuddered. “Now that sounds horrible.”
Harris grinned “How ‘bout you both forget about dreaming and legends and heartless mating customs and come get drunk with me?”
“Why do you want to get drunk Harris? Drinking is bad.” said Jason
DaraJeen smiled gratefully at Jason. “You tell ‘im Honey.”
“Young men need adventures,” Harris defended, suddenly very serious “You travel to other planets and look for dream places. I go to port and get drunk at night. What harm can it do? I’m Paragangian. The Community Mind will repair any damage to my body as soon as I get home. Young Spacers without wives or families often do this when our Ship Community tethers at a port. It gives us a break from the boring routine of community life, and makes us appreciate home all the more when we return.”
He winked at DaraJeen “Now, if you wanna stop me, sweetheart, You know…”
“No, Harris! Stop asking.” she interrupted as if shocked by the suggestion, but then she blushed, and put her arm around him, leaning her head on his shoulder. Jason smiled watching them. He didn’t quite understand the relationship, but they were cute together.
“What do you do while you’re getting drunk, Harris? Talk to people? Have fights? Go dancing? Pick up women?” He listed things his young colleagues and students at KSU bragged about doing when they got drunk.
Harris hugged DaraJeen “I have no need to pick up women.”
She pulled away from him and stared down at the table, sadly. “You should Honey. Proper Paragangian women.”
“Proper Paragangian women don’t go to Spacer bars in Jai-Ten.”
Jason changed the subject. “Does the Community Mind monitor you while you’re here, like Anton?”
“Of course not. I come here to get away from the Community. It’s like a short-term exile. I tell the Marrion Jay how long I’m gonna be gone, and then set the link so that I can contact them if I want but they cannot contact me.”
“Perhaps the poisoning won’t permanently harm you, but what happens if you drink too much and pass out, or you get into a fight with another drunk and they hurt you so bad you can’t get home to be healed?”
“Sylvia will protect me.” He grinned, and the spherical robot floated back to him, waving her wing softly and chattering musically, she nodded her agreement.
Jason laughed. Sylvia didn’t look like she had any power to protect Harris, but he didn’t argue. She could at least call for help.
“Okay, then, Harris. What are you afraid of? What pain do you seek to numb with your Spacer landing ritual?” He asked
“I’m not afraid of anything,” replied the heir of the Spacer faction, very defensively.
Jason laughed “I dare you to prove it. Anton says you are afraid of Daylight and Air cars. I say you’re afraid to dream with me.”
Harris stood up grinning back “Okay then, little brother. Let’s go fly around in the sunshine in that Air car of yours until it’s time for dreaming.” If scaring me makes Jason feel better about his first day in Jai-ten, thought Harris, I don’t mind. I won’t let my fears control me.
Jason and Sylvia followed him out the door to the air car.
Scene 17 Facing Fears
Harris entered the air car nervously and focused his attention on Jason. He tried not to look outside. They flew through various parts of the city. To Jason it seems familiar, yet disconcertingly strange. Remembered images from Jonathan’s forty-year-old memories added an eerie layer of confusion to his culture shock.
“She still loves me, Jason.”
“And you love her.”
“More than anything except my family and my Community. But She won’t marry me because she thinks it would hurt me somehow. She can’t go with me. She promised her family she would keep the inn going, and she can’t break her promise. I wouldn’t ask her to leave. She won’t marry me and raise our children in Jai-ten, either, cause children need two parents.”
Jason shrugged “Not always. Some children do fine with only one. My parents weren’t together when I was little. I didn’t even know my dad, but I was ok. You would visit them and send them messages, right? So they would have two parents. Thy’s kow where you were, and you’d keep in touch. It’s not like you’d be dead. You’d be a great dad even if you weren’t always home. You could make little Sylvias to chase them around and keep them out of trouble, and send them a hologram of every port you visit.”
“I know, Jason. Port marriage is not my ideal, but nobody ever really gets their ideal, right? So I keep asking, and she keeps insisting I shouldn’t ask. Sen’tran knows how important family is. There are several people on the Marrion Jay who have port families. He’s very supportive of them all even though he doesn’t approve of port families. Stops at those ports more often. He doesn’t like to come here, but we’d come here more often if I had a family here. I know hw would. If she would agree we’d be great no matter what. But DaraJeen won’t marry me.”
Harris shrugged. “I don’t really know. She says she only wants what’s best for me, and she knows I think port marriages aren’t best. Tries to protect me by staying away, but she loves me too much, Jason. It’s the same for me. Says she wishes I would find someone else, but I can’t. I know she loves me. She waits for me, even though she tries not to. I can tell. Family is realy important to Rhoisoans, she’d have found someone else easily if she wanted to. Every time she sees me I can tell she’s been waiting, hoping, missing me. I’ve tried to stay away because she asked me to stay away, but I can’t. I love her too much. And she loves me. She wants to be with me.”
“So you didn’t come to Jai-Ten to be with me, you used me as an excuse to come because you wanted to be with DaraJeen.”
“No, Jason, Really. I wouldn’t have come to port without you. I was trying not to. I was trying to give her what she asked. It’s been almost three years, until today.
“I could have stayed in at the port hotel.” Jason pointed out “You could have showed me around and gone home for the night.”
“Yeah. But I knew the Aissis Oasis would be best for you. I mean, it’s called the Aissis Oasis, how right is that? Port hotels can be pretty wild sometimes. All sorts of different aliens stay there and they don’t always get along so well. It’s a stressful environment for a first time visitor. DaraJeen is the best. She takes good care of everyone.”
“Especially you, right? So you got yourself into a fighting with Sen’tran, to have an even better excuse, in case the first one wasn’t good enough.”
“No. Really. I wanted to talk with you. I’ve been trying all this time, and you kept avoiding me. I really wanted this one last chance, and Sen’tran was giving me a hard time about it. He’s 426 you know, and I’m the birthright child. The chosen heir. you think having kids just for genetics isn’t right, but if it was’t for that, most of us woudn’t be here. anyhow, I’m just here now to help you, to enjoy your company, and to get to know you better. You believe me don’t you?
“And DaraJeen was just an unfortunate side effect?”
He grinned sheepishly “Now that I’m here, I’m glad we came. It’s great to see her.”
Jason grinned back “I’m honored to have helped. Seeing you two together almost makes me want someone too.”
“Don’t you have a girlfriend back in America?”
“I’m pretty much a loner, Harris. I stay away from everyone as much as possible except for work and family. Relationships are too complicated and confusing, too much risk, too many hard choices, too much chance of losing someone you love.”
“It’s not right for a young man to be alone in a distant port. You should come get drunk with me tonight. Plenty of girls in this town would be happy to spend the night with you, take care of you while you wait to go to D’zeron.”
The paleness of his skin made his blushing more obvious. “I’m not interested in that sort of girls”
Harris looked away, kicked t hide of the air car with the toe of his boot, restlessly. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have suggested it. I was never interested in that either. I always wanted to find the perfect woman, to get married, and stay with her forever. I don’t like to let go.”
“Me too. When I’m ready, I’ll find someone. I’m not in any hurry.”
“I’m way too young. Guys my age don’t get married.”
“I know plenty of married guys who are younger than you.”
“Not where I come from.”
“Why don’t you move then?”
Jason laughed “Harris! Why do you want me married?”
“It’s not good for young men to be alone. In Paragangia, most guys your age are married”
Jason shrugged. “They marry young on HomeWorld, too. I’m not Paragangian. I’m American. I’m not Mormon either. But I do like their ideas about marriage. Marriage is forever, not something we should rush into without thinking, and then try a different one if it isn’t what we hoped. I don’t want to be with anyone until I’m ready to be with someone forever.
“Yeah.” agreed Harris, regretfully “If I wasn’t in such a hurry ten years ago, when the ban was lifted maybe I wouldn’t still be waiting for someone who won’t marry me.”
- add here conversation in which they talk about fairy tail love where the prince has to kiss the girl and wake her up, such as sleeping beauty. This must cross reference to ch. 30 Harris arriving in Kaar-taal trying to wake Jason***and perhaps to Jason kissing Serai after he wakes in D’zeron, or to Serai wanting to make love to him unconscious
“When I was a little boy I dreamed I was in D’zeron and I met a little girl who had butterfly wings like a fairy. I’d never even heard of D’zeron, but it was a nice dream, and I remembered vividly. The first time Jonathan showed me D’zeron I knew it. That was where I saw the butterfly girl. Anyhow, I guess it’s sort of silly, but I still dream about her. She grew up as I grew up. She doesn’t always have wings now, but sometimes the butterflies flock around her. I think she symbolizes my eternal companion. Butterfly girl will always be there for me, until I’m ready, until I find the right woman in the waking world.”
“Oh, I see.” Harris grinned “You don’t want me to find you a girlfriend in Jai-Ten because you’re waiting to find one in D’zeron, just like Jonathan.”
“No, Harris” Jason insisted “it’s nothing like that. There isn’t really a butterfly girl in D’zeron. It’s just a dream. Dreams aren’t real, they’re symbols for what we want and what we fear. She’s a symbol for what I’m waiting for. When I’ve really been to D’zeron it’ll be just another real place, not a dream place. Then I’ll have to find something else to symbolize eternal companionship.” Jason brooded slightly, realizing this. He had treasured the dream of the butterfly Girl in D’zeron He didn’t want to lose her.
“I’d like to see D’zeron.” said Harris “I’d like to see how they dream there. But I agree with DaraJeen, the dream plane sounds dangerous. I’m sure you don’t realize how much you don’t know about it. You should be careful.”
“If we could dream together I could show you D’zeron, the way Jonathan showed it to me. I could introduce you to the Wind.”
“Maybe after you talk them into allowing air ships I’ll come visit you in D’zeron.” Harris glanced forward and his eyes widened, and grayed. “Jason! What are you doing? Stop! Those are trees! Don’t fly into the trees!”
“Why not? I love trees. It’s fun. I like to fly between them. Like this see? Air cars are impossible to crash so the trees spin you around a bit if you get too close…like a ride in an amusement park… but if you stay exactly between them like this you can go pretty fast without getting spun. And it looks even faster cause the branches going past. I don’t know, maybe it’s kind of like being a bat or something. You wanna try it?”
“Stop!” Harris screamed, wrapping his arms around his face and huddling down into the seat like a terrified child. Jason laughed, and sent the air car diving down through branches, weaving past tree trunks, brushing against leaves.
Sylvia let out an ear-shattering screech, and dove towards Jason, screaming in a weird, rapid, metallic voice “Jason Scott-Harris take this air car out of this forest right now or I’ll disable you and take over the controls!”
Jason finally realized Harris wasn’t joking. Seconds later they were hovering high in the clouds, far above the forest. Jason shaded the windows, so the cabin of the air car was dark and comforting, the sky invisible around them. Sylvia retreated, but Harris was obviously still upset. His eyes had cleared slightly, but not quite to their usual dark brown. “Are you Okay?” Jason hugged him. “I’m so sorry Harris. I thought you were joking. I didn’t understand at first. You were really scared.”
Harris grabbed Sylvia and wrapped her in his arms like a little kid holding a teddy-bear. He looked down and didn’t say anything.
Jason kneeled on the seat to make himself taller, and put his arm around Harris’s shoulders, like Jonathan would have done when Jason was little and scared.
Jason transforms the interior of the air car to look like the view of open space from the Marrion Jay. He transforms the outside to look like the Marrion Jay also. “Are you okay Harris? I wasn’t trying to scare you. I flew through trees lots of times at home, just for fun, when I was a kid. It’s like swimming in trees. I saw those trees --it’s been so long since I’ve seen trees, Harris-- I thought I would feel better, to be in the trees. I’m scared too Harris, but not of trees. They seemed familiar and comforting. I didn’t think it would scare you that much. I’m sorry. You know Antigrav cars can’t crash, they just bounces off everything. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Your reaction was so extreme I thought you were joking around, pretending to be scared.”
Harris finally raised his eyes, looking ashamed “I’m sorry, Jason. Trees really scare me.”
Jason grinned and sat back on his heals, relieved. “You’re okay now? I was worried. I wasn’t trying to scare you.”
“I didn’t mean to worry you either. I’m sorry”
“Stop apologizing. It was my fault. I’m sorry”
Harris laughed “No way. I’m more sorry than you are. Shall we fight over it? Let’s both stop apologizing, okay? Just a misunderstanding between two aliens.”
“Why are you afraid of trees, Harris?”
“Because they’re alive, and they have animals in them.”
“Animals? You’re afraid of animals?”
“Life scares you?”
“No, death scares me. Paragangians don’t die the way other creatures die. Our bodies don’t age. If we get hurt, we get repaired right away. We die when we’re supposed to die, not when something goes wrong with our bodies.”
‘I’m alive, and I’m not Paragangian. I’m going to die sometime, Harris. Do I scare you?”
For only an instant Harris’s eyes clouded slightly. “Yes. But I’ve learned not to think about it. But when you start diving your air car through trees I think about it.”
“Death is the one thing we don’t choose for ourselves in America. It chooses us, we fight it as long as we can, but we accept it when it becomes inevitable.”
“That’s why we don’t share life extension technology with you. You would use it irresponsibly.”
“I didn’t mean to scare you. But you know you can learn not to be afraid. I’ll help you learn not to be afraid. If you get used to the trees, you won’t think about it anymore, and then they won’t scare you anymore.
“There are no trees on the Marrion Jay, no oceans and no daylight.”
“Hey, come on. There’s more to life than the Marrion Jay, Harris.” Jason grinned “There’s trees in D’zeron. Young men need adventure, remember? You came here to get away, to take a break from Community life. I bet you’ve gotten drunk plenty of times, but flying an air car through a forest is a real adventure. What fun is an adventure without a little danger? Besides, Sylvia will always keep you safe, won’t she?”
“What about you?”
“ You can tell her to keep me safe too.”
Sylvia chirped enthusiastic agreement. She flew several dizzying circles around Jason’s head.
“Really? But you don’t like technology.”
“And you don’t like trees and air cars and daylight. You’re doing this with me, so I’ll let Sylvia protect me too. Fair enough?”
Jason held out his hand. Harris grinned and shook hands enthusiastically “fair enough. If I know you’re safe, I’m not afraid.”
Sylvia Chirped in agreement.
Jason flew around the trees for a time, slowly, and then Harris flew the air car. They got spun a few times when Harris drove too close to the trees. They got dizzy, and laughed a lot. For all Harris’s Navigation skill and pattern sensitivity, his fear rendered him less able to navigate through the trees than Jason. Then they flew too close and purpose and got spun and dizzy just for fun, and Laughed even more. Then Jason convinced Harris to hover at the edge of the forest so Jason could go out and practiced climbing trees. It was wonderful to have real trees. If he didn’t get to go to D’zeron right away at least he could climb while he waited.
Sylvia followed Jason closely, transmitting Jason’s voice and image back to Harris in the air car so they could talk while he climbed. She really is a communication robot after all. Jason offered to teach Harris to climb. Harris refused. Jason climbed carefully, taking only short jumps between trees, using only larger, healthier branches he was sure he could trust. The bark scraped his skin, being rougher than the walls and beams of the Marrion Jay, and, for Harris’s sake, he let Sylvia heal and clean the scratches, even though he would have preferred to keep them. I had no idea she was able to heal, or to talk. Maybe she really can keep Harris safe while he’s out drinking.
62sunset on the beachEdit
Sunset on the beach
Jason landed the air car on a sandy beach facing the ocean. He lowered the canopy to let in fading daylight, the cool salt breeze and a breathtaking view of the ocean and the sky. The sun was sinking slowly beneath the cliff behind them. Harris Jenzar looked uncomfortably out at the water and the sky. He wanted to squeeze his eyes tight shut and block it out, but instead he looked at Jason who sat transfixed by the sublime wonder of what he saw before him, eyes shining with awe, oblivious to his friend’s terror.
“You knew I was only joking when I said I wasn’t afraid of anything, right Jason?”
“Yeah, but I didn’t realize how afraid you really were. I’ve been rather insensitive, all in all. Now you see why I don’t have friends; I’m no good at it. Jai-ten has me a bit culture-shocked. We shouldn’t be afraid to be afraid, Harris. Or be afraid to show our fear. I’m afraid of just about everything unfamiliar, but I’m not afraid of my fear.”
“This place is terrifying. This tiny random ball of matter with only a thin layer of atmosphere between us and that destroying mass of radiation ready to recycle anything that gets close enough.” Harris gestured behind them towards where the sun had disappeared behind the hill.
Jason turned to face him, smiling gently, and Harris took some comfort in his attention. It’s not as bad when I know I’m not alone, and he’s not afraid. “Its radiation assaults my skin and my eyes. Even when it’s hidden behind that hill I know it’s not gone; I’m just in a shadow, hiding behind a rock.”
He stretched his arms out in front of him and ran his fingertips across the back of his hand. “This dark pigment passed down to me by my ancestors protects my skin from the sun. It was given to the Prophet Paragan from whom all Paragan Centers descended, to protect us from the harsh sunlight of the planet Paragangia, which is now shattered. He shared it with all his people, even Spacers, like the Jenzar clan, who chose to never live on the planet Paragan, but to remain in the Ship Communities of their ancestors.”
“Who gave it to Paragan?”
Harris shrugged. “It doesn’t matter who. Sun can’t burn me. My skin is protected by the darkness of Paragan. I know this, but I fear my fear. What scares me most is the power fear has over me. I know how to erase memories, or file them away where they only come out when I look for them. Most Paragangians learn those skills before they even get a memory implant. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have complete control over my memories. But fears are not memories. Fears cannot be filed away where they won’t bother me. Knowing I’m safe doesn’t stop me from imagining falling into that star and burning up, being utterly destroyed, reduced from matter into pure energy like a dead man in the recycling chamber.”
Paragangian waste disposal worked like a transporter only without reassembling the matter it took apart. People died and their bodies were recycled like everything else. The material generators took atomized matter from the recyclers and made something –anything-- almost from nothing. It was magic and miracles but Jason, as a retro-technologist, found it very disturbing. Transporting was painless, but Jason found it disconcerting. [this exposition might have been covered earlier in this version, and could be reduced here] Trying to empathize with Harris, he imagined the pain of burning combined with the terror of being disintegrated and never being made whole again. He shivered. “Sounds horrible.” [ when he meets Quetzal he will be reminded of this]
“Spacers don’t belong this close to stars.” Harris continued “we have the darkness which shows our alligence to Paragan, but we still belong in open space. Stars have great power and danger. We take their power, but keep our distance except occasionally when we must be tethered to a planet to serve others. Then we stay inside so we don’t have see it. When we come to the planet, we sleep through the daytime so we don’t have to see it.”
“Anton wanted to see it.”
Harris nodded “My cousin will become a great negotiator. He welcomes every challenge, Alien or Paragangian. I don’t belong in the daylight. I was born a Spacer.”
“So was Anton.”
“He’ll be free to leave when he’s old enough, and he will. It’s not the same for me. Sen’tran Jenzar is legendary.”
“Like Jonathan and Thaeron Rhoisoh?”
“No. I mean everyone in Paragangia knows and loves him. He was old when we were young. He was Patriarch of Spacers before we were even born. The oldest other person in the Empire is more then 200 years younger than Sen’tran. My dad lives like a recluse on the Marrion Jay in the most remote areas of the Empire or the Alliance, but everyone still knows him and respects him as the patriarch of our people. I am the son of a legend, Jason. The crown prince of the Marrion Jay and the Spacer faction, and a few other things I shouldn’t mention. When Sen’tran dies I’ll have to take his place. But sometimes I want to live my own life. Sometimes I don’t want to just spend my life waiting to inherit a second-hand legend.”
“I never saw you as a legend. Maybe that’s why you like me. I let you be just you. But that doesn’t even help, does it? As long as you still see the legend, you still live the legend. It’s part of who you are.”
“Not the part I care about.”
“What do you care about Harris?
I care about you, Jason. And not just because you are a legend. Clearly that was not the right answer. “When I get scared, I get focused on what I want to avoid, and forget to notice what I am seeking. Thanks for reminding me. I care about people, Jason. Real people with feelings and families and dreams. Like you, and DaraJeen, and Anton. Not just roles they play, or expectations placed on them.”
“Feelings and families and dreams” Jason spoke dreamily, watching small waves as they broke on the coarse sand, following their rhythm slightly as he moved and spoke as if he were peacefully part of them. “That’s what I have. Can’t even imagine what it would be like to have destiny and identity set before you were born. I was born just a kid. Nobody. Blank slate. I chose my own destiny.”
That’s what you say, thought Harris, who are you really?
“My mother is known throughout the galaxy as an artist, but I am not an heir to that.”
“What about Jonathan? Are you not heir to the American Master of Dream Science and Retro-technology?”
Jason laughed quietly “I suppose I am. I like to think I am. In the field I am, but it’s a small field.”
“The dream field” Harris added
“Most people have never heard of Jonathan Landon…”
Not so in Paragangia, or on Terran 8, thought Harris
“… and I freely chose to become his heir; it wasn’t thrust upon me by birth. I can walk away any time I want to. Nobody is counting on me. It’s not like that for you, is it Harris?”
Not for you either, little brother. Harris nodded. “True. I’m not an American.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Jason.
“You have American freedom. Freedom is different in Paragangia. I am free to stay and take my place when the time comes, or free to leave and join an exile colony. Being Paragangian is a privilege which comes with responsibilities. We are not free in the way Americans are free.”
Jason frowned “Why do you stay, then?”
“Because I’m not an American. I’m a spacer. The son of Sen’tran Jenzar. I value my destiny, my family and my loyalty to the people I love more than I value freedom.”
“Then why do you let Sen’tran upset you? He’s just asking you to be what you have chosen for yourself.”
Harris glared at him.
Jason shrugged defensively, and seemed to withdraw into himself.
Harris changed the subject. “You love the water, don’t you. It makes you feel at home.”
“The ocean is full of life.” Said Jason.
“I know” Harris shivered “Too much life. But even apart from that I don’t like water. There’s no open water on the Marrion Jay except in Terran rooms. We drink contained water, and maintain the humidity of the air, but open water, or water on our skin, it’s horrible. When I was a little kid, I accidentally walked into a garden on HomeStation while the sprinklers were on, and the water was flying through the air. Water got all over my hair and skin and clothing. It was terrifying. I never went into the garden again after that.”
Jason laughed “In America little kids run through sprinklers just for fun in the summertime.”
“That was my most terrifying memory ever, until today.”
“But you chose to still remember it”
“Yeah. If I forget I might accidentally wander into a garden and it would happen again. It’s filed under ‘things to carefully avoid.’ ”
“I’ve always loved the ocean. It’s a separate world, like the Dream Plane. Before I learned about the Dream Plane I wanted to study the ocean.” He rose, and jumped down from the air car into the sand “Let’s go swimming.”
“No way, Jason. We flew through trees, isn’t that enough terror for one day?”
Jason kicked off his loafers and threw them up into the air car. He ran to the edge of the water, splashed through the water, then stood and let the waves break over his ankles. Harris watched ambivalently from the air car. He took joy in the joy of his friend as ocean waves splashed against Jason’s skin, still feeling his own terror at the thought of being splashed.
The tide was going out. Jason found a tiny crab stranded in a tide pool. He picked up the crab and ran up the beach with childish glee to share his discovery with Harris. “look-- isn’t he cute? Anton would like it you should take it to him. I don’t know what else lives here. There could be jellyfish or sharks or something. Swimming probably wasn’t a good idea anyhow.” Harris didn’t like the crab, but he smiled at Jason’s enthusiasm and expressed concern for the creature being removed from it’s home. Jason returned it to the pool.
“C’mon, then. Let’s walk down the beach,” invited Jason, slinging his guitar over his shoulder. He laughed at Harris’s look of disbelief, shook his head, and took hold of Harris’s hands, drawing him out into the sand. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. Just a walk on the beach.”
Harris swayed in the wind disoriented for a moment, like Jason emerging from a transporter, regaining his balance. Accustomed to the still, consistent air of the Marrion Jay, the wind chilled and confused him.
“It’s okay Harris” Jason hugged him till Harris felt steady enough to go forward. Harris followed nervously as Jason walked beside the water, holding his hand like a child. Sylvia followed faithfully behind them like a silent floating dog. Harris looked down, choosing each step carefully, trying not to step on any crabs or tide pools. He was glad he had boots on. Jason, on the other hand, danced barefoot through the damp sand at the edge of the waves.
“Reminds me of Florida. Before Jonathan.”
“We lived by the beach in Florida, me and Mom. We still have a cabin there, but I haven’t visited in a long time. I guess I’ve been busy with other things; teaching, writing, dreaming…”
“Traveling to other planets?”
“Yeah, that too.” He stared out at the waves again.
“Before Jonathan?” Harris repeated.
“Before we moved to Kansas; before we lived with Jonathan. I loved the beach. I loved the ocean. I wanted to be a marine biologist and study everything living in the ocean. I wonder what lives in this ocean, Harris.” he stopped, kicking at the waves, and scanned the horizon, probably looking for sea monsters. “I never thought about it. Jonathan never showed me this ocean. It’s huge.”
Harris didn’t want to think about what might live in this ocean or how huge it was. The water itself was terrifying without hosting monsters.
“How old were you?” Harris asked “In Paragangia we stay with both parents until we are 12. Why Didn’t you live with your father? Is that the custom in America?”
Jason frowned considering. “I wouldn’t call it custom, but it’s fairly common. Many women choose to raise kids alone; some men also, but not as many. Mom traveled a lot painting murals. I wasn’t in school so it was easier to just take me along. When I was a baby she carried me in a sling on her back, and when I was old enough to read and type, I’d sit nearby and study while she painted. Before that, I used a net link.”
“A net link? Not very retro-technology for America, is it?”
Jason laughed “I was two, maybe. I hadn’t even heard of retro-technology. I wasn’t born a retro-technologist, you know”
Were you born Paragan? “So you weren’t born Jonathan’s heir, you chose it later. Where were you born?’
“In Florida, at the beach house.” he splashed the water, and Harris flinched away “I miss that place.”
“Why did you leave?”
“To be with Jonathan in Kansas. I met him online when I decided to study dreams. I didn’t know who he was and he didn’t know who I was. I didn’t use my real name online, of course, and I knew college professors online wouldn’t take me seriously if they knew I was only six, so I just told him the more relevant parts of the truth-- that I was almost done with high school. He probably thought I was about 17.”
A huge tree which had fallen across the beach blocked their path. Jason stopped. He let go of Harris’s hand to examine the tree, contemplating whether they should climb over, go around, or turn back. He scrambled up the huge trunk and looked around. A cool salty breeze was blowing in from the ocean. He held his arms up into the wind as if trying to give the whole beach a hug…wind water sand….It felt like home, he said, like childhood. He didn’t want to leave, but Harris was not even going to consider climbing over a tree, not even a dead one.
“Wait.” said Harris, trying to get Jason to finish telling about Jonathan. “You say met him online, but you told me before that he was your father before you were born. So didn’t you meet him when you were born?”
Jason laughed “Probably. He was there. But I don’t remember being born, Harris, so that doesn’t count. Here, let’s sit down by this log and I’ll tell you about how I met him.”
“It counts for…” for dream bonds…but Harris knew he could finish that thought. …for something, anyhow.”
Harris looked at the log suspiciously. Jason sat down, laying the guitar beside him, and motioned for Harris to sit beside him. After some deliberation, he sat. There was a cool breeze blowing in from the ocean now. The shelter of the tree and his friend warm beside him comforted him somewhat, even sitting on the sand. He forced a smile and gestured for Jason to continue his story. Sylvia stood sentry above the log behind them.
“After I was born Jonathan moved to Kansas to teach in the Department of Alien Studies at KSU. When Mom wasn’t painting murals we stayed in Florida, where my mom grew up. I was home schooled because by the time I was old enough for school I had already learned most of what they would have taught me, and I never liked crowds of people. I loved the ocean and I wanted to study it, so I did a lot of research. I got books from the library and online, and my mom and her friends got me books, and I talked to fishermen on the beach and people who worked at the museums and amusement parks near my home. One night I had a dream, and in the dream I was in the ocean, swimming with all the ocean creatures, and it was so vivid it was as if I was really there.”
“Sounds like a nightmare to me.”
“It was a lucid dream. I had conscious control over the dream. I’d never had a dream like that before. It fascinated me. I started searching for dreaming information online, and the first website I found was for the dream studies program At KSU. That’s how I met Jonathan. He taught me more about lucid dreaming, and I practiced everything he taught me, and then I would contact him again through the website and he would teach me more, and I’d practice. When I got to the point I ahd fairly complete control of my lucid dreaming he started teaching me about D’zeron, and how they dream there. When he had taught me everything he could over the internet he invited me to enroll at KSU and study with him as soon as I finished high school. Sounded great to me. I was about seven by then.” Jason laughed, “Anton’s age. I finished my online high school graduation exams really fast after that because I wanted to learn more about dreams.
Then I asked Mom to sign my enrollment application papers for the alien studies program at KSU. She thought I was joking, but I wasn’t. I showed her transcripts for my online diploma. She didn’t believe me and contacted the company. Of course my diploma wasn’t legal because I’d lied about my age, and didn’t have her permission. She gave me a big lecture about dishonesty and I had to take the tests all over with her watching. I didn’t mind, though, because I figured if she saw how smart I was and how much I wanted it she’d let me go study dreaming with Dr. Landon. [Jonathan’s education is another question. When did he study Anthropology? Did he do negotiators training before going to D’zeron? and then get his phd later, after Jason was born?]
“She agreed I was ready for college, and found all sorts of online schools, and nearby colleges in Florida, tried to interest me oceanography programs, but I was done with that. I only wanted go to study dreams. I told her I couldn’t learn any more from my mentor unless I was in Kansas, because we had to be sleeping together to do it and then she got angry, thinking he was some pervert trying to take advantage of kids online. I assured her I hadn’t told him anything personal, we only talked about the university and about dreaming. I showed her the university website, and she said ‘Even professors can be child molesters, Jason’ and she threatened to report him. Then I got worried, and I showed her his biography on the website for the dream studies program.”
“‘Jonathan Landon’ she said, very suspiciously. ‘and you say you didn’t tell him you age and he has no idea how young you are? I think I’ll just call him and see what he has to say for himself.’
“ ‘You think He’s really bad?’ ” I asked, all worried.
She just laughed. ‘Nope. I’m sure there are plenty of people who think so, but I he’s always been a good friend to me.’
“I was so excited to learn she actually knew him, and I could actually talk with him. She called without video and He answered all official, like ‘Good morning, Department of Alien studies at KSU, Professor Landon speaking, how may help you?’ and Mom said “You might be the one who needs help Professor Landon. I has come to my awareness that you’ve been using an official university website to recruiting minor children to sleep with you. I intend report this, of course, but first I would like to hear your side of the story.’
Jonathan wasn’t the least bit worried, he just laughed. ‘I study dreaming, Ma’am. It does require sleeping, but I assure you there is nothing inappropriate in my research. I have never knowingly recruited a minor child. I see how it could be misunderstood though. Where did you learn of this?’
“From my son, Dr Landon. My very young son whom you have indeed been recruiting.”
‘I’m sorry Ma’am, many people who request information don’t give their age. I might have offered information to your son, not knowing he was a minor, but I assure you there was nothing inappropriate in our conversations. What is his username?”
“OceanDreamer2009” she told him.
“OceanDreamer? He’s a minor? I’m sorry, I had no reason to ask his age, but he seemed very mature and said he was a senior in high school. I just assumed. I’m sorry, ma’am I guess I should have realized a kid that bright might be a few years ahead. I did invite him to consider the dream study program at KSU. We do sleep, of course, you can’t dream without sleeping, Ma’am. But I assure you that’s all there is to it. Dreaming, all carefully supervised by the university. I’ve never accepted a minor to the program. I’m sure the university would require written permission from his parents, if they allow it at all. And we’d keep you fully informed about what he was studying. It’s a very reputable program, perfectly safe and legal. I hope you’ll let me tell you about the program and consider it. Your son is the most promising and enthusiastic dream student I’ve even met. I apologize for this misunderstanding. I had no idea he was underage. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a wonderful opportunity for him, if not now maybe in a year or two when he’s old enough? I can even arrange a scholarship for him, if finances are a concern.”
“Finances are not a concern, Jonathan. Age is.”
“I’m sorry ma’am, I don’t think I caught your name? How old is your son?”
‘My name is Gloria Scott’
‘Well, Ms. Scott…’ he started to continue his recruitment pitch…and then the name registered.
‘Hi, Jonathan. I never guessed we’d meet again this way.’ She turned on the video camera.
He was laughing. ‘Well, my work does sound inappropriate taken out of context. You had me worried. So, this OceanDreamer kid, he’s a friend of yours? You wanted to help him get into the program? That’s nice of you, Glor, but he sounds brilliant, we’d love to have him, however young he is, Or were you just teasing about that part? How have you been, Glor? It’s great to hear from you. How’s Jason?”
‘Jonathan! You’re not listening. I told you. You’ve been talking to my son.’
There was a long pause. ‘Jason must be only about six. Have you adopted an older boy?
I couldn’t keep quiet any longer, I said, ‘Wow mom! You do know him! and He knows my name! Dr. Landon! Hi, it’s me, Jason, OceanDreamer2009. I talked to you Monday, remember? and I finished my high school exams today, didn’t I mom? She agrees I’m ready for college, but she thinks I’m too young to go to Kansas. We’ve got an air car, but she thinks Kansas is too far to fly alone. And I’m not six, Dr Landon. I’ll be eight in April.’ and mom turned the video on.
He apologized a lot, and asked if he could come visit and talk with me in person. I was so excited. She was always trying to get me to make friends back then, so I guess she couldn’t say no. He transported to Florida a few hours later. That was the first time I saw Jonathan.”
“He left you for seven years?” asked Harris “Why? That’s the most important time for a child to have both parents.”
“I don’t know; I never asked. I never minded not having a father, I never really noticed I didn’t have one until he came. But I was so happy to have him then. That night I learned he was my father, Not to have a father, but to have Him, Jonathan Landon, as my father. They got married a week later. He spent every weekend with us until his semester ended, and we talked on video every night. He stayed with us in Florida through the summer, and in the fall we all moved to Kansas. That summer in Florida was the best time of my life.” He smiled up at his new friend “Until now, anyhow.”
“Jonathan isn’t your father.”
“Sure he is. He’s on my birth certificate. He adopted me before I was born, and he raised me. My biological father died before I was born. Jonathan was always my father.”
“You’re not his genetic offspring and he also wasn’t there for you during the most important part of your childhood. Is that what fathers are in America? A Spacer father would never choose leave his son for the whole first half of his childhood.”
Jason shrugged “Single parenting and adoption are common in America. I don’t see any harm. I didn’t miss him because I didn’t know he existed.”
“What about you biological father? It Desmond Harris, Right? You were born right after he died and they gave you his name. Don’t you want to know who you really are? You might be a prince.”
Jason laughed “Harris! This is my life, not a fairy tale. Desmond wasn’t a King”
“Like the story of King Arthur, is that a fairytale?”
“That’s more of a legend, I guess. Based on a true story, with a lot of magic added”
“A legend like Sen’tran Jenzar, or a myth like Thaeron Rhoizoh?’
“I’m not a prince Harris. Jonathan is my father. If I were a prince, my mother would have told me.”
“She probably thought you would be safer not knowing. Maybe if people knew who you were they would try to kill you to stop you from taking your place.”
Jason laughed uncontrollably. “I think you just said Mom didn’t tell me I’m a prince because she thought I would try to kill myself? I agree it would be horrible to learn I was a prince but, probably not worth dying for. Forget it Harris. I’m not your prince. So if the only reason you wanted to be my friend was to get in good with the next king, you might as well go home.”
He grinned up at Harris, who was horrified at the accusation and apologized profusely. Why do I hope he’s Paragan? He doesn’t want it. It won’t be good for him. They were right not to tell him. I wish I didn’t have to be a legend, yet I’m asking Jason to be a legend for me. I convince myself he’s a legend. I should stop. Even if it’s true, it’s not fair to force it on him.
Jason stared thoughtfully at the darkening ocean. It seemed so peaceful. “Why do you want me to be a prince? So you won’t be alone with your inescapable destiny?”
He turned to Harris. Harris was looking nervously out at the dark, terrifying expanse of water before him “Something like that, yeah.”
“I don’t have to be a legend to be your friend, do I?”
Harris grinned. “No, Jedi Jason, you don’t have to be a legend.”
“That’s good. I really don’t want to be a legend, or a prince.”
Harris rose awkwardly from the sand. “It’s getting dark. Aissis will rise soon. Time for you to dream.” He held his hands down to Jason to help him up, and they walked quickly back to the air car. “Parents are important. When I was little, Sen’tran was always there for me. Mom was there too, but mostly Sen’tran, holding me as I slept, teaching me to be everything he was, everything I would become, comforting my fears, explaining everything, taking joy in my creations, healing all my hurts. I was safe with him. Now I’m the best navigator in the galaxy, better than him, and I’m a negotiator also, respected in my community and all over the galaxy by everyone else but him. I’ve excelled in every thing I do, but it’s never enough. Sen’tran no longer comforts me, or takes joy in my creations. He keeps pushing me forward, but there’s no place left for me to go. It’s like he’s asking me to jump off a cliff.”
Jason nodded “That reminds me of a Bible story. Have you ever read the Bible Harris?
Harris shook his head “I’ve never read anything. I can’t read”
“Can’t read!?” Jason seemed shocked.
“Paragangian Spacer? my people have no written language? I can’t read.”
“Paragangia has no written language? I didn’t know…” Jason shook his head in confusion and went back to his Bible story.
‘What would we use written language for? We have the Community Mind.”
Jason thought…history? record keeping? notes to friends? what could written language do that the community mind couldn’t do? “Scriptures?”
“What’s that? Like the book of Mormon? Desmond was a Mormon. He told me about the book of Mormon once.”
“Exactly. The Bible is a book a scripture, like the book of Mormon.”
“So what’s the story you were reminded of?”
well, there was a prophet named Abraham. Abraham followed his God –his father in Heaven--- with perfect love. Abraham’s son, Isaac, loved his father and trusted him, and followed him with perfect love, as Abraham followed God, until one day God told Abraham to take Isaac into the wilderness and offer him up as a sacrifice.”
“What’s a sacrifice?”
“A ceremony practiced in the time of Abraham. They were shepherds, which means they raised sheep.”
‘sheep? those are some sort of Animals used to grow fiver to make clothes out of, right?”
“yes. right Harris. they grew Sheep for wool and they also ate the meat and the milk.”
Harris made and expression of disgust.
“I know Harris, you don’t eat meat. Anyhow, so to show they loved God with perfect love and appreciated everything God had given them, they chose the most perfect lamb—that’s a baby sheep-- from their flock, and killed it.” Harris looked horrified, but Jason tried to go on. The story seemed important somehow.
“… and burned parts of it to give it back to God. [Reference this to Serai honoring the wildcat, it would be a bit like an offering] They gave their very best, to show God that they were willing to give anything He asked.”
“Yeah, it is, but that’s what they did.”
“well, they believed everything they had was given to them by God, the Heavenly father, and the sheep were the most important thing he had given them, so they gave back one, as a gesture of appreciation” Jason realized Harris wasn’t enjoying the story, yet still felt compelled to tell it. “So, Abraham loved God so much he was willing to give back the best thing God had ever given him, and that was his son, Isaac. Isaac loved his father Abraham as perfectly as Abraham loved God. Trusting His father completely, he went as the perfect lamb to die on the alter of sacrifice.”
Harris shuddered “This is a Terrible story, Jason. If this is what scriptures are like, I’m glad we don’t have written language.”
Jason looked at his friend. “No, The story isn’t done. Just wait. You’ll see what I mean. Your cliff is Sen’tran’s sacrificial fire, Harris. He loves you as a father loves a son, as God loves his people: more than anything, more than possible, with perfect love. But he still chooses to give you to the galaxy, to his people, to his God, whatever God he believes in. He pushes you off that cliff, Harris, not because he doesn’t love you, but because you’re the best he’s got, and he trusts you’ll find your destiny, and you’ll be ok, you’ll do great things. If you love him, like Isaac loved Abraham, you’ll willingly walk off that cliff. Sons have to become men and no longer follow their fathers. The child you were to Sen’tran has to die so you can become the man you are destined to become for Paragangia.”
They climbed inside the air car and huddled together for warmth in the darkness, relieved to be out of the wind, which had grown quite chilly. Jason turned on the heater and the air temperature rose quickly.
“So Isaac died, for his father’s God? ”
“No Harris. That’s the good part. Isaac didn’t die. Isaac accepted death for his father’s God, but God gave him life instead. As Abraham raised his knife to slay his son, God showed Abraham a ram caught by the horns in the branches of a tree, and God told Abraham to kill the ram instead. Willingness to kill his son was enough. Actually killing Isaac would have been pointless. So Isaac lived.”
Harris frowned. “But a ram died, right? An innocent ram. He owed them nothing. He died so Isaac could live. This is a very American story. I’m not American, Jason. I don’t want others to die so I can live.”
“You’re obviously not Mormon either. Yes, the ram was innocent. And yes, he died so Isaac could live. But it’s not the way you think. The perfect sacrificial lamb, in this case the sacrificial ram caught in a tree, was a symbol of Jesus Christ, who freely choose to die, innocent and sinless, nailed to a wooden cross, so everyone else, everyone He loved, could be forgiven of their sins and have eternal life. Jesus freely chose to die, to save us, because he loved us. Sort of like you walked on the beach and few an air car through the trees because you loved me. For you, that was a sacrifice.
“I’ve heard of Jesus Christ. Desmond told me about him, too. He chose to die knowing his Father would bring him back. The ram didn’t get to choose. He was trapped, caught in the branches of a tree.”
Harris said “tree”, as if this were the worst fate possible. “In Paragangia, we choose the time of our death.”
“Sen’tran wants you to live so he can die.” The words came from Jason suddenly without thought, like speaking in tongues. He had no idea what it meant, but seeing Harris’s reaction he knew it was true, and the wrong thing to say.
“I’m sorry” Jason blushed. “Just words. Forget it.” He picked up the guitar and started singing a little song he had learned from Leroy. He never understood the song, but it talked about the Ram escaping so it seemed appropriate.
“When Isaac’s ram has fled away and broken all the branches
When we have lived another day and wasted all our chances
Then I will mourn the loss of you and blame myself for all you do
But really none of this is true for you still have your agency”
Jason leaned against Harris, and Harris wrapped his arms around Jason like a father holding a child, or a child holding a teddy bear. No one spoke again. He sat in the air car on the beach with Harris, playing peaceful tunes to the rhythm of the waves and felt warm, and safe and free. For a moment, the world was perfect.
A blue glow on the surface of the dark ocean broke the spell. Aissis peeked over the horizon and her shimmering blue trail of reflection reached across the waves to call them back to reality, and forward into destiny. Harris withdrew his embrace. “It’s time for me to go do what I said I would, and prove I’m not a slave to my father’s will. I don’t want to. I’d rather stay with you. I feel safe with you. We sit by the terrifying ocean and I still feel safe.”
“So don’t go, Harris. We have to choose for ourselves. It’s like jumping off a cliff but at the bottom of that cliff, you just find another choice, and have to choose again. So jump. I’ll be there to catch you because I’m falling too. We can catch each other. At least we’ll be warm and not die alone. I’ll teach you to dream.”
Harris laughed, and tousled his hair like he used to do on the Marrion Jay. “Some other night, little brother. Tonight I have a promise to keep. Destiny awaits.”
A few minutes later, Jason was alone in his room at the Aissis Oasis Inn.
63serai at the setting of aissisEdit
Serai at the setting of Aisses
**D’zeron, date?[how do they count time]
- [explain the high cliff prior to this in a dream Jason shares with Jonathan? or in Jason looking down at D’zeron from the Marrion Jay]
Serai stood on the High Cliff as the sun rose shimmering through the mist of the trees across the river. Tersh had been ranting about aliens yesterday. In Serai’s dream Tersh’s alien father had come to take him home. Chathalen was knelt on the ground, calling after his father. Allissa approach and Chathalen reached out to her for comfort but she brushed him aside coldly and disappeared into the sky with Tersh, leaving Chathalen alone, reaching up into the sky after them. Allissa would never do that, would she? Allissa was insensitive in her own way, but she loved Chathalen, she would never leave him, would she? And Tersh. Tersh and Chathalen were inseparable. [make this fit better with their actual circumstances of seperation….although he hasn’t cast the barrier yet]
Chathalen’s sorrow engulfed Serai like a wave. She ran to him, tried to reach him, tried to comfort him but he sent out an invisible wall around himself, expanding like the ripples circling out from a stone dropped in still water, pushing her back, pushing everyone away from him until he stood all alone, like the day after the fire. The day Allissa found him.
Serai woke trembling, filled with that overwhelming loneliness, and walked out into the morning to drive away the darkness of her dreams.
Tersh was crazy but he was never wrong. The aliens were on the other side of the planet, watching Aissis rise over a vast ocean she had never seen. They would come to D’zeron soon. Tersh’s Father was from another world. He could dream. He married Sh’harra. He gave her a son. Maybe… These new aliens…
Hope would only bring disappointment. She tried not to think of them.
It wasn’t working.
She gazed down into the river below, shining pinkish with the first rays of sunrise. How long has it been since I dove from this cliff into the river? Many years. Before I was married. Only children dive from the cliff. She smiled, and dove from the cliff, her silk dress floating in the wind around her like the wings of a butterfly. She landed perfectly with hardly a splash, swam smoothly and gracefully across the river, and emerged dripping on the other side of the river near the Well of Morning.
64aissis and jasonEdit
h Aisses and Jason
Dr. Jason Scott-Harris sat by an open window in his room at the Aissis Oasis Inn in the port city of Jai-ten on the planet Terran 8 and looked out over the alien city at the alien sky. 21 years old, Phd in Anthropology, and on the opposite side of the galaxy from his home. The stars are always so strange on a different planet.
He cradled in his arms the guitar he had carried with him like a security blanket throughout his all his journeys. Made of a turtle shell treated with tree resins which rendered it virtually indestructible, it had been given to him while he was at the HomeWorld LDS colony. Leroy had made it for Desmond. There was a tradition of guitar playing in the colony because Emily Hawthorn, the founder, had played guitar. She was Desmond’s great grandmother. Jason had carried it with him to Planet Mexico, and the universal language of music helped him survive his transition to a world where any spoken language other than Spanish was forbidden.
Sitting in the window, on Jai ten, looking out at Aissis the same culture shock he had felt on Planet Mexico overcame his, and he sang the same song he had sang then. The quintessential Mormon song. But on Mexico he sang silently, because to sing aloud in English was against the law.
I am a child of God, and He has sent me here
Has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear…
Jason’s voice paused, and his guitar went on alone. In Mexico, at this point another voice had joined him, the angelic voice of a young boy singing the same song in Spanish. The universality of this song had brought him hope and comfort on Planet Mexico. Now it didn’t. It made him think of his family; it made him homesick.
He played something else, without words or memories.
English was the language of the alliance, and Jai-ten was an alliance port, so everyone spoke English, but the guitar and all the memories it carried still helped him feel safe, connected to his past as the future loomed before him like a cliff he wasn’t ready to step off of. He sat in the window playing random melodies, not thinking, just allowing himself to become part of this new world or perhaps allowing the world to become a part of him.
The young anthropologist was anxious to explore the dream world of Terran 8, but needed time to sort his own thoughts and feelings before he slept. He wasn’t ready for new adventures. He knew he should dream healing dreams alone tonight and let his brain file all the changes before he faced the dream world for the first time tomorrow in a better state of mind. But after waiting this long, it didn’t seem right to wait longer. Besides, Culture shock was often worse the second day. His brain was still too surprised by the strangeness to fully realize how strange it was. And he wanted to tell Harris tomorrow about his adventures in dreaming tonight.
The room Harris and DaraJeen chose for him was perfect. A warm breeze caressed his skin through the open window like the spirit-mother of Terran 8 welcoming him home. She rustled through the leaves of the trees, bring him unfamiliar voices of insects and other small creatures-of-the-night along with unknown flower scents, strange and inviting. The larger moon, Aisses, --not really a moon-- was rising bright and blue on the horizon, Leaving the D’zeron sky as the sun was rising there, and passing into the sky which now stood above him.
Jonathan’s voice echoed in his memories. “In D’zeron two moons mark the passing of time. Lurrin, like Earth’s moon, waxes and wanes with the months, but the Blue Moon of Destiny and Dreams is always full and appears only at night, rising as the sun sets. Aissis doesn’t orbit the planet like a true moon. She’s a small planet with unusual physical properties orbiting the sun alongside Terran 8. Like the sun, when the planet turns toward her she rises; it turns away again and she sets. That’s how destiny is, Jase. Destiny rises when we turn to face it. When you see your destiny on the horizon, Jase, never be afraid to turn and face it.”
The young dreamer’s pale blue eyes followed the blue moon Aissis as she rose above Jai-ten. D’zeron is out there. Across this beautiful ocean, a land where people are still part of nature and advanced technology is non-existent. I will be there soon, but not tonight. I’ll be there, with my brother Tersh and the dream keeper D’neira, and maybe my butterfly girl. Aisses visited you and now she comes to me. A lost child alone in this alien place, he longed for home and family, but also for D’zeron, for the destiny he had dreamed of so long. Unthinkingly, he began to sing a song his mother sang for him when he was little:
“I see the moon,
the moon sees me
the moon sees the one I long to see...”
Tears rolled down his face as loneliness engulfed him. Did I choose to return Harris’s friendship today only because I’m so afraid of this place? And if so, is that wrong? Would he mind if I told him that? I don’t think so. He’d laugh. Harris wanted my friendship under any terms I offered, even an air car ride through the forest and a daylight walk on the beach.
In most social situations—on a field study, or as a professor-- Jason learned his role, responding with socially appropriate words and actions like an actor in a play, or a player in a game, avoiding any personal attachments.
Harris was different. Harris played with toys and children, but Harris did not play roles. Harris didn’t even play his own role as navigator and negotiator. He just chose the fastest path and helped everyone as much as he could, connecting with all individuals instantly, guilelessly. Harris was real and genuine all the time, like it or not. If you talked to Harris it was personal or you didn’t talk to Harris and that was personal too. Jason had managed not to talk to Harris much from the day Harris met him at HomeStation until today. Somehow even avoidance increased the bond between them.
Jason watched Destiny rising above the horizon in unimagined ways. He resumed singing, remembering Leroy who had given him the guitar and taught him to play it.
“Oh lord my God, when I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the world they hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.”
Leroy’s God guides his destiny as different strange stars sparkle over the pseudocypress bogs of HomeWorld.
A huge brown moth fluttered from the bushes beneath the window up into the darkening sky. Its wings silhouetted for a moment against the bright blue disk of Aisses. Jason remembered, as a child dreaming…the little girl with butterfly wings…She held her hands out to him but as their fingers touched, there was nothing but darkness, the silhouette of two tiny butterflies silluetted against the huge blue disk of Aisses, and he woke up.
Jason had never even heard of D’zeron then. He hadn’t met Dr Landon on the internet or shared memories of D’zeron. Dreams could transcend time and space. Sometimes, said Jonathan they show us things we couldn’t possibly know.
“D’zeron is your destiny in dreams, Jase.” Jonathan told him. Jason never doubted. Now he was almost there.
The young dreamer smiled up at the blue moon “Did you keep watch over my butterfly girl today through the night of D’zeron, Aisses? Will you give her my love in the morning when you rise in her evening sky? But in the mean time, show me who I can find on your dream plane here tonight.”
With that thought in mind and a heart over-spilling with anticipation, the young dream scientist lay down and fell asleep almost instantly.