A Gift Of A Gift – Chapter 2

It was the proudest day the colony world of Jewel-of-Solace had ever known. The rumour had been circulating for some time that Brighthawk was paying a visit to every inhabited world, when she was allowed some respite from her more exacting duties as Mistress of Dominion. Sometimes, the event would be announced beforehand, and whole cities would come to a standstill to welcome the Sister of Darkhawk, and on others, a stranger would walk into town, and engage in cheerful conversation, asking occasional questions until someone, somehow, managed to recognise her – but for the people of Jewel-of-Solace’s main city, Brighthawk’s arrival was something quite different. She simply… appeared, seated on a bench by the town square fountain, watching the people walk by, going about their everyday business until they realised what was happening and, all of a sudden, everyday business stopped being so important.

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A Gift Of A Gift – Chapter 1

It wasn’t often that Fleet Technical Guardian So’uel Bajessa was able to give his daughter anything special. True, he was part of the Dominion Fleet, and technically a warrior, but his was a more technical role, and his speciality meant he was rarely called upon to join the crew of a starship. The adventuring life was not for a satellite systems engineer, his battlefields on a far smaller and less life-threatening scale, and involving circuits and data pathways rather than warships and exchanges of weapons fire across alien landscapes, alien star-fields, and so he never had the chance to bring back a trophy of the sort you could give to a family member, and feel proud of it… until the day he carried out some routine maintenance on a minor sensor relay platform, in fairly close orbit around The LifeStar.

At the time, So’uel had been working with the civilian space division on their Orbiting Asset Survey, checking out every known artificial object in Dominion space and either carrying out whatever repairs or upgrades were needed to keep the devices operational, or decommissioning those what were no longer needed, and simply posed a hazard to navigation. Platform SR-45-A had been functioning adequately in its later years of operational life, but just before the day in question, it ceased transmitting its data quite abruptly, and it was moved up the survey list, flagged as “Requiring Urgent Attention”. As they had done dozens of times before, the Survey team moved their ship into close proximity with the faulty satellite, and used towing beams to steer it into one of the vessel’s shuttle bays, where work could be carried out safely, and in far greater comfort than a space-going environment suit would allow.

“Looks like we’ve had some kind of impact”, So’uel reported, almost immediately. “Something penetrated the outer skin, over one of the master conduits. Can’t be anything too serious – it’s a pretty small hole. Neat, too.”

“Don’t think it’ll be anything Faenri, then”, said the Survey commander, over the shuttle bay comm-link. “We had a whole sector’s worth of navigational monitors pretty much scrapped by pieces of Sisterhood starship, but they never got this deep. All the same, take care with whatever you find in there.”

“Understood, Fleet Defender”, So’uel replied. “All right – let’s see what’s stopped you ticking…”

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Lonely This Christmas – Chapter 3

A quarter of a million miles from Seattle…

Ryan and Emily did not know what to expect when, hand in hand, they stepped into the pool of light Brighthawk had conjured up in their living room. It did remind both of them of “The Light” one was rumoured to see as life reached its end, but Tony was quick to assure them that they had nothing to fear. “It’s okay – look, I’ll go first…”

The scene that greeted the senior Fulchers was not exactly a vision of heaven, but it did have something of the “cathedral” about it, although the arches and columns were metal and plastic, and oddly organic in style. Mr Fulcher was immediately fascinated by his surroundings, but his wife was still a good step behind. “What-what was that?”, she asked Brighthawk, whilst staring at the dwindling portal. “It – I…”

“Well, I guess we now know from whose side Tony’s psi-powers came”, said Brighthawk, smiling. “You sensed something was… different about Brightspace, beyond the obvious, of course.”

“You mean the big expanse of white, with no obvious ‘up’ or ‘down’”, remarked Ryan. “I saw that, but didn’t feel it was worth the effort commenting on it at the time. No disrespect, but my son is a superhero, who shifts his mind into a crystal statue that then comes to life, and who works for a kingdom in another universe. I’d already come to terms with having the unusual in my life.”

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Lonely This Christmas – Chapter 2

“No”, Emily said so firmly her words could have carved themselves in stone. “No, no, no…

“Was there ever any time when this seemed like a bad idea?“, Ryan asked his son. “If so, maybe you should’ve paid a bit more attention to that feeling, young man! Surely you must realise how long your mother has been planning this… how long we dreamed of being a family again at Christmas…”

Not much had been said on the subject, but Tony had been getting the impression that this festive season was some kind of big deal. He just didn’t see that his family’s particular circumstances made them that special. He didn’t think so, he knew so – and maybe now was the time for Mom and Dad to know, too.

“Some people don’t get any more Christmases”, the young man began…

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Lonely This Christmas – Chapter 1

Earth – Jeffrey Chambers High School, Seattle, Washington State…

It was the week before school broke up for Christmas, and Tony Fulcher was finally starting to feel as though he fitted in. Classes were… bearable, although rather on the slow side for someone with his growing telepathic abilities, who could “download” whatever he needed to know from a willing donor mind, and any would-be bullies had by now learned that “The Coma Kid” wasn’t some brain-damaged weakling – Tony had only been “Captain Dominion” for a fairly short time, but he had still been able to pick up what one young thug, who had just had his nose bloodied, had referred to “some moves”.

Tony would have been in the running for Liar Of The Year had he said he did not miss that incredible other life. Every now and then, the urge would come over him to send his mind out into the realm between universes, then beyond to the tiny “bubble universe” of Dominion where, in an alcove of honour, in the Tower of Darkhawk on the capital world of Eyrie, there stood a statue of golden crystalline “Dominium” that would come to life when the young man’s mind took up residence there…

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