Brewer, who runs the tavern in Sunrise Harbor along with his mate Weaver, has written the story of my first cycle (two and a half Earth years) on Dahroona, the planet I wanted to call home. The story’s name, "Sundancer," is my name too, of course. I think he did a pretty good job of it, and if you haven’t read it, you probably should before you go on with this story. He tells how I came to Sunrise Harbor on the southeastern Quastrana coast, became a part of that community, then almost lost it all to keep one of my lovers alive.
The day I was told I could remain on Dahroona was both a very happy day and a sad one. I was happy because I would be able to go back to Sunrise Harbor. But before I could return, I’d have to sail halfway around the planet, and I’d have to do it solo aboard my sailboat Wind Dancer. I knew I could do it, especially with the help of my star cruiser Sileas, but it was going to take around sixty days, and that was sixty days without the company of Harper and Midnight, my two dahroonae partners. I would sorely miss their love and their music. I loved dancing to their harp and whistle at sunrise and sunset, loved playing fiddle with them at Brewer’s tavern in the evenings, and of course, I loved loving them. I knew they’d miss their Sundancer, but at least they had each other in my absence.
Judge Bluestar, who had presided over the hearing on the Orbital Tower and who ruled that I could stay on Dahroona, was very firm. I was allowed to return Brewer, who had been the only Sunrise Harbor resident to be at the hearing, back to his tavern, but I could not set foot on the planet at that time. After the hearing, Sileas took us to Sunrise Harbor, which was on the opposite side of Dahroona from the Tower. Part of the reason I’d chosen Sunrise Harbor to live was because it put the whole planet between the Tower and Sileas, who took up a geosynchronous orbit south of the town. We flew in low at close to midnight local time so Sileas could transport Brewer into the patio area at the back of the tavern. It was a beautiful night, with Brin, Dahroona’s larger moon, high in the sky. My heart ached at seeing Sunrise Harbor and knowing I couldn’t go down there.
“We’ll see you soon, Sunny,” Brewer said as he hugged me. “I know you’ll get back here as soon as you can.”
“I will, Brewer,” I said, trying hard not to cry. “Tell Harper and Midnight I love them and miss them. I’ll miss you and Weaver too!”
I stepped back from the transporter pad, Brewer straightened up, and Sileas activated her transporter. Brewer faded out, and on the viewscreen that showed the tavern patio, he faded in. He waved, then went inside. I’d told Sileas not to include sound. Harper and Midnight were playing in the tavern. Hearing my loves’ music would’ve been too much for me.
“We should go, Sunny,” Sileas said. “The sooner we get over to the area off Marathoona, the sooner we can get Wind Dancer in the water and you can start your voyage home.”
“Of course, Sileas,” I said, tearing my eyes away from the screen. “Let’s do it.”
Sileas rose as quickly as she could without breaking the sound barrier and disturbing the folks in the town. As soon as she’d gained enough altitude, she headed off toward a point off the coast of Arralta near the Orbital Tower where it was close to highsun. The plan was that we’d put Wind Dancer in the water just over the horizon from Marathoona, and I’d sail in and pick up some supplies. Marathoona was an old port town - it was old long before Dahroonans went into space and built the Orbital Tower. The tune “Leaving Marathoona” was the one Midnight had first played on a whistle when Harper, Brewer and I had taken her to Luthier’s instrument shop in Sunrise Harbor. She’d played it so wonderfully everyone within earshot stopped to listen, and Harper and I knew we’d gained a new musical partner. After my stop in Marathoona, Judge Bluestone’s plan was for me to sail to the Candara Isles and spend a few days there. Then I could really do what I’d claimed I’d done a cycle ago - sail halfway around the planet solo to Sunrise Harbor.
When I had first arrived in Sunrise Harbor aboard Wind Dancer, nobody knew I was from another planet. When I left Earth, I was a short green-eyed redhead with an artificial human body. My body looked, felt, and, to outward appearances at least, performed like any human body, but people knew it was artifical, and there were a fair number of people who had a problem with that, just as they had a problem with the T’Gungans, the aliens who had intervened in human affairs to keep us from totally screwing up our planet. Those humans also had a problem with the Peacekeepers, the young humans who had been selected by the T’Gungans, partnered with star cruisers, and helped make war into a nonviable option.
One of those Peacekeepers was Rhiannon Davies. Rhiannon was a six-foot, two-inch redhead who had just graduated from the University of Vermont with a journalism degree and was about to start a job as a reporter in Burlington, Vermont when the T’Gungans, in the person of Niaria, showed up and recruited her to go off to T’Gung and return as a Peacekeeper. As part of the partnering process with the star cruisers, the T’Gungans wanted to make a copy of each Peacekeeper’s mind in case of any problems. Rhiannon volunteered to be the first of the humans to undergo the partnering process, known as Integration. The T’Gungans weren’t expecting any problems and thought the copying process was just a precaution. But they’d never copied a human mind before, and while Rhiannon remained in her own brain, the copy, stored in a T’Gungan computer, gained awareness.
That copy was me, and let me tell you, my first few mirns (a mirn is a Dahroonan measure of time roughly equivalent to a minute) of existence separate from Rhiannon’s brain were no picnic. I was totally deprived of any sensory input. Even though I, as Rhiannon, had never believed in an afterlife, I thought I was dead. Scared doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. I’ve been told the T’Gungan technician monitoring the computer I’d been fed into was pretty alert and was able to provide me with rudimentary sight through a lens, hearing through microphones, and speech through a speaker. She did it within mirns, but it seemed a whole lot longer.
[Edit November 29, 2010] Originally I went on to post the rest of this story. I've removed the other posts because I'm interested in publishing this story, along with "Sundancer," possibly with Amazon for the Kindle and Barnes & Noble for the Nook and other .epub devices. At this point I'm not sure how long it will be before that actually happens, but I didn't want to leave the story here for free when I'm hoping to make at least a little money by e-publishing it.