Dawnstar opened her eyes. She lay on an uncomfortable bed in a white room. Her arms and legs were strapped to the bars at the sides of the bed. Her wings had been pulled down to the ground and clamped into place. She couldn’t move, and could feel a small electrical charge travelling through her body. The whole situation was very familiar. “Ah. I see you’re awake.” A female voice said to Dawnstar’s right. She heard two pairs of footsteps approach the bed from her left.
“Hello again, my dear friend.” A male voice said gently. Dawnstar turned to her left and saw an elderly man dressed in a long white coat. Standing beside him was Jacob. Dawnstar looked to her right, and saw that the female voice had come from the woman she’d met called Kate. She looked back to the man who’d spoken. “I’ve been waiting a very long time to see you again.”
“I don’t recognise you.” Dawnstar said, as she tried to tear herself free from the straps that held her.
“There’s no point trying that this time, my dear.” The man said. “I’ve learned my lesson well from when last we met. Those straps are made from a compound of Sastoria Ore.”
“Nonca Canno.” Dawnstar suddenly recognised the man.
“Indeed, my dear. I hope you are as pleased to see me as I am to see you?” Canno smiled, tilting his head to one side to look at Dawnstar’s face as she lay on the bed. “Remarkable. Absolutely remarkable. You haven’t aged a day, yet for me it has been almost forty of this planet’s years since we last saw each other.”
“How?” Dawnstar continued to try to break free, but her bonds were too strong.
“Now, now, my dear. I shall free you in a moment. Please do not struggle. The Ore in the mix in those shackles draws your energy away from you, and I can’t have that happening. I had to restrain you as you slept just on the chance you awakened before we were ready.”
“We?” Dawnstar asked again. “Where are we?”
“In good time, my dear. First, you must promise not to use those powerful wings to do anything to us, and then I will release you. Just that promise will be sufficient.” Canno sounded genuine, his tired eyes looking very pale as they reflected the white of the room. Dawnstar nodded.
Kate and Jacob removed the shackles as Canno nodded for them to do so.
“Where are the others?” Dawnstar asked as she finally sat up. “Mabel and George, and Ryan?” she looked at Kate.
Kate smiled and looked up at Canno, who nodded to allow her to speak. “They’re fine. They have no recollection of ever meeting you now. We had to bring them here to correct their memories, if you will.”
“And where is here?” Dawnstar asked, not quite realising what Kate had just told her.
“The Derbyshire Observatory.” Jacob replied.
“You’ve cleared the Greens’ memories?” Dawnstar realised what Kate had said. “In this observatory?”
“We didn’t clear them,” Kate explained, “we replaced them. They had a lovely day out instead of hiding inside in fear because of you.”
“Because of me?” Dawnstar asked. “They helped me. You helped me.”
“I need to tell you the full story, Dawnstar. This will clarify things for you.” Canno pulled up a chair and sat himself beside the bed. Jacob and Kate also dragged a chair each over, and sat either side of the doctor as he began to explain. “It all began with the explosion. Folek Pelne triggered the prototype device as he left us on that exploration vessel. You must remember that.” Dawnstar nodded as she remembered the explosion that had sent her across the galaxy. “Well, we were all sent hurtling through time and space. Pelne, his ship, the craft we were on, you and I… we were all sent backwards through the time stream. I have no idea what happened to Pelne, but remnants of his ship were discovered in Peru in the 1920s. Parts of the craft we were on have been falling to Earth and other planets in this sector of Malakawa over the years, months, sometimes years apart.”
“Malakawa?” Kate asked.
“The Milky Way.” Jacob explained and looked back at Canno.
“I, somehow, managed to survive the descent, and found myself in Devon, surrounded by many fragments of the craft. The thing is, the craft was constructed of a very valuable metal on this planet, which I used to build these observatories, recruit the team of scientists who do such an amazing job here, and the armed team who you met yesterday. They, of course, are for all of our security.”
“So you used the scientists to wipe the minds of innocent people?” Dawnstar asked, quite shocked.
“No, no, no,” Canno answered. “I used the scientists to develop the techniques for changing the memories. I did the changing. I then had to change the scientists’ minds as well, because we can’t have them remembering what goes on in these observatories. And the security team. Each and every one of them had a lovely, relaxed day yesterday.”
“You know that isn’t right, Canno.” Dawnstar protested.
“But it’s secure. But please, allow me to continue with my tale. I couldn’t remain on Earth as Doctor Nonca Canno, so I took on the identity of Captain Wilberforce Sinclair. That gave me the status to give orders to government departments, law enforcement teams, media organisations and other people needed to cover up the arrival of further fragments of the vessel, and importantly the prototype. As I knew you could withstand the pressures of space, I knew you would arrive one day, Dawnstar, and had to wait until you did. With the help of Kate here, we estimated the date of your arrival to be sometime next week, so you were a little earlier than planned. Jacob here did an excellent job in recruiting her. As my son, however, I never really doubted him.”
“You had a son on Earth?” Dawnstar asked.
“I did. I had to. If you never arrived, my work still needed to continue, and the Canno name had to go on.”
“And his mother?” Dawnstar asked, looking at Jacob.
“She knows nothing of us. She did. We spent many wonderful years together, but as we realised your arrival was becoming imminent and we were all getting older, and the memory changing process worked remarkably well, we decided, Frances included, to change her memories.”
“But why?” Dawnstar again was horrified. “And why would my arrival make you do such a thing?”
“I thought that would become very obvious to you, my dear. Apparently not. Come with me.” Canno stood and helped Dawnstar down from the bed. They both walked across the room to a door labelled ‘Observatory’. They walked into the observatory dome, and in the centre of the empty room was a round glass-looking sphere, with some alien-looking gadgetry inside.
“Is that a time sphere?” Dawnstar asked.
“It is. It’s one of my own inventions. It has the settings taken from the prototype, which we both know works, although this time it will be used under a more controlled test.”
“What do you mean? Test? You’re not planning on exploding this observatory are you?” Dawnstar asked, thinking about the devastation such an explosion would cause.
“Not at all.” Canno said, with a mocking laugh. Jacob and Kate walked into the observatory and stood beside the sphere.
“The only thing this device needs is power. Power and strength. There is nothing on Earth in this time powerful enough to get this off the ground, into space and then back to our future.”
Dawnstar finally realised Canno’s plan. “So you want me to fly us through the time stream.”
“You want to get home as much as I do, I take it?” Canno asked. “Although at my age, it would probably be best if I stay here for my remaining years. My son, however, would love to see his home world, Yosh Kia.”
“You’re leaving?” Kate asked, a little more shocked than she realised.
“I told you, Kate, when we first met,” Jacob explained, “the reason of our scientific mission was to look out for any examples of alien life. You know that’s true. And now you know why, just so we can go home.”
“But you were born on this planet. You’ve never been to planet Yorkshire or whatever it’s called.” Kate realised what she was saying didn’t make any sense.
“Yosh Kia.” Jacob said. “And although I haven’t been there, I remember it very well.” He smiled, and pointed to his temple. A small red spot was visible when he moved his hair to one side.
“Have you affected my memories too?” Kate asked, now sounding horrified herself. She touched both of her temples but didn’t feel anything.
“Not yet, my child.” Canno interrupted. “Although when my son and Dawnstar leave we are going to have to.”
“No. I won’t allow it. I’m trustworthy. I can keep a secret.” Kate looked at the door, with the intention of making a quick escape.
“There’s no point in that, dear.” Canno said. “This is one of the most secure buildings in the world. You’ll be captured as soon as you leave the observatory. Besides, I need you to help me explain what has happened here once they’ve left.”
Dawnstar kept herself quiet up to this point. “What you are doing, Canno, is nothing but barbaric. You cannot play with peoples’ memories like this.”
“Even if only to help them, my dear?” Canno kept his tone relaxed.
Dawnstar didn’t answer.
“Good. Right then, no time to waste. I’ll open the sphere, and get Jacob on board. He knows how to work the controls, we’ve been practising this for years. The sphere will only reopen once you get back home to the correct year. The opening mechanism is linked to the prototype, which is set to reach the predetermined coordinates as soon as the sphere enters the time stream. It has enough power for flight to the upper atmosphere, and there, Dawnstar, is where you’ll will grab hold of the bars beneath the sphere and force it forwards into space. Once you reach mach three, the prototype will activate taking you home.”
“And you are sure this will work?” Dawnstar aksed.
“Please, my dear. My mind is attuned to this type of project. It cannot fail.”
“Very well. I’ll do it. I was told my way of getting home was by means of somebody I searched for prior to the temporal rift.” Dawnstar stopped speaking for a second and remembered the point her meditation had been interrupted. The name ‘Nan’ had cut into her Ancestor’s Realm, she now realised this to be Nonca Canno.
“Excellent!” Canno walked over to a lever that protruded from the wall by the door they’d used to enter the dome, and pulled it down. The room started to shake as the top of the dome began to split in two, and pull down to reveal the clear blue sky above. He walked back over to the sphere, and pressed a button on the side, which slid open a door. He looked at Jacob. “My son, you have done me proud throughout the years I’ve known you on this world, and I know you will continue to do so on our home world. Remember, do not fear, and go forward with the strength, courage and pride you always have done.” Canno pulled a small ladder down from inside the dome and helped Jacob inside. He pressed the button on the outside again, and smiled. “I’ve activated the locking mechanism. In a moment, the door will lock and will not open until you are back on Yosh Kia.”
“Get ready to go, Dawnstar!” Kate yelled, as she ran forward, pushing both herself and Canno inside the sphere just as the door slammed shut.
Dawnstar watched as a furious Canno and a smug-looking Kate seemed to argue. She couldn’t hear what was being said. Knowing they were never going to get back out of the sphere until they reached their correct time, Canno reluctantly sat on the seat that arced around the interior of the sphere. Kate sat on the other side, glaring, but still with a slight smile. Dawnstar nodded at Jacob, who activated the controls and the sphere lifted off the ground and up into the sky. Swiftly, Dawnstar followed, and at the point they reached the atmosphere’s edge she grabbed the sphere and pushed forward at great speed.
In the next moment – year – millennium – day – second, they found themselves inside the time stream and heading home.
“Are you sure you don’t remember her, Mabel?” Sheila asked. “Star thing on her head, yellow swimming costume with frilly arms, frilly boots, black hair and wings. She’s unmistakeable.”
“Now listen ‘ere, Sheila Evans, enough’s enough.” Mabel spoke in her stern voice. “Stop this talk now. We went to the seaside and that was that. No fairies, swimmers or aliens were anywhere near. An’ from your description, I think I’d remember meeting someone dressed as ‘er.”
“I suppose you’re right.” Sheila gave up. She noticed Mabel’s necklace. “Oh, how lovely. I see you found your heart necklace, May. You’ve been looking for that for years!”
“I know!” Mabel smiled. “Somebody found it in our front bedroom the other day, but I can’t for the life of me remember who it was. I’m sure I thanked them though.” Mabel held the large heart that was in the centre of the group in her hand, and had, for the briefest second, an image of an angel in her mind’s eye.
This is the double-length final instalment of my fan fiction tale based on the DC Comics character Dawnstar.
The first part can be found here.
The second part is here.
The third part here.
Part four is here.
Part five is here.
Part six is here.
The seventh part is here.
Part eight is here.
Part nine is here.
Part ten is here.
Part eleven is here.
Part twelve is here.
Part thirteen is here.
Part fourteen is here.
Part fifteen is here.
And part sixteen is here.
Dawnstar was created by Paul Levitz and Mike Grell, with Starhaven being a planet from the DC Universe. All other characters are of my own creation.