Marilynn Byerly

 

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The One, Part Four of Four

Propped against a boulder outside Ari’s house, Wilma watched Ari and Hawk chattering together in the sunny garden.

From the moment Ari had claimed Hawk’s kinship two days ago, they had become inseparable. In Ari’s presence, Hawk seemed less terrified than in those first hours. No longer withdrawn, he was now a normal four year old, a normal four year old in an adult’s body.

Enjoying the ease between the two, Wilma thanked the gods of space for the boy. Her day spent alone with the child Hawk had been hell. Between the physical agony and the emotional devastation of memory rape, he had been hysterical.

Never had she felt so totally inadequate. With a four year old’s mind, he had suffered a trauma an adult couldn’t handle. Only Ari with his love had eased the agony. All Ari’s years of pent-up love was now lavished on the child Hawk.

The great pity was that Ari needed a big brother, not a child in an adult’s body. The wistfulness in his eyes when he looked at Hawk was heartbreaking, and Hawk’s hunger for family had burned in his eyes when he’d heard about this orphan. One’s selfish choice to change Hawk was as despicable for Ari as it was for Hawk and the humans who loved him.

The agony of that day still plagued her. Every time she saw Hawk, her heart wrenched with grief. Proud and courageous Hawk was dead. A sweet, frightened child wore his body. The contrast between the two hurt like hell.

For Buck it was worse. She had reluctantly played mother to the tall, masculine avian. It was embarrassing but necessary. Buck had been eager to help his brother of the spirit. He had jollied himself into the role of father for his best friend. The first time Hawk saw Buck, he had screamed in terror at the strange male human. Poor Buck. Hawk thought he was the bogey man.

In the last days, Buck had employed his incredible charm on the child Hawk with extreme diligence. Now the avian did not fear him, but he still remained shy. Buck assured Wilma and Ari that he would “have the bird eating out of his hand” in the next few days.

Wilma studied the two avians. The boy played the man. The man played the child. Both of them were innocent children robbed of their experience. Ari was a shy child because of his isolation, Hawk because of mental maiming. Neither deserved such an unnatural role.

The boy began to tell Hawk something with exaggerated voices and gestures. Wide-eyed and solemn but with an occasional giggle, Hawk watched him.

Wilma leaned forward and listened intently.

“Hi, darling, I’m home.” Buck plopped down beside her.

Wilma looked at him with surprise then realized he was joking. His Twentieth Century humor was incomprehensible at times. “Welcome back.”

“How’s our two little nestlings?”

“Ari’s a lot better, and Hawk’s regaining his strength.”

“We won’t be able to keep One away from him after that. The damn balloons will finish destroying every last bit of Hawk’s past.”

“One’s only holding back now to mollify Ari. He’s still furious with it for what it did.”

”Ari’s a good kid,” Buck said. “What in the world is he telling Hawk?”

When Wilma shrugged, he listened then chuckled. “It’s ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears.’ That’s an old Earth fairy tale. I’ll to tell it to you sometime.”

“Ari enjoys being Hawk’s big brother. He’s doing a good job. I hate to think what we would have done without him.” Wilma paused. “Do you think Hawk is Ari’s brother?”

Buck gazed at the two avians. “I don’t think so. There’s little resemblance. Just the feathers and the build--Ari’s father’s clothes fit him perfectly. I’ve seen only Koori besides Hawk, but she looked more like Hawk than he does.”

“Ari wants a family so desperately. I think he’s seeing what he wants to see in Hawk, not what’s there.”

“You’re probably right, but Hawk does answer to Grin.”

“Kids that age will answer to anything. Hawk insists that I’m someone called Adrian. It makes him feel happy and safe so I’m not disagreeing. Could he have brain damage?”

“It wouldn’t surprise me. Ari said that One’s regression was clumsily done. A delicate operation with a pick and shovel.”

Wilma stretched wearily. “Should we try to bring his past back? What if he’s too badly damaged? At least he can function as a four year old, and he is happy.”

“I don’t think he’s been truly happy since Koori died, but he deserves those memories. He would rather grieve over her than not remember. I certainly would.”

Wilma winced at the unspoken truth behind that comment. One had told the boy that it would regress Buck as soon as Hawk’s proved a success. It couldn’t resist another chance at conversation. “Any luck with your fighter?”

“None. Everything’s dead. Fried by those damn balloons. The communication equipment Ari dropped when he fell off the mountain is a pile of rubble. Just as well. By now, since I’ve not contacted them, the Searcher has left this area at flank speed.”

“You really think they’ll do that?”

“They damned well better have. I told the Admiral that if I didn’t get back, they’d better cut and run before the whole damn crew started vanishing. The Admiral looked grim and said that was a prudent suggestion, and he’d take it ‘under advisement.’ Since no one’s followed me here that we know of, I’m guessing the Admiral saw the wisdom in my suggestion.”

“We’re on our own then.”

‘‘I’m afraid so.”

#

“I must try to restore Hawk’s memory tonight,” Ari said.

Wilma glanced at Buck sitting beside her on the living area’s floor than back at Ari who sat on one of the chairs. “His mind and health are still fragile.”

“We run out of time,” Ari replied. “One grows impatient. If it touches his mind again, the damage will be complete. I will not be able to help him after that.”

“What will prevent it from doing the same thing again?” Wilma asked. “It can just regress Hawk again.”

“I will stop it if I must. I doubt if it could succeed a second time. A second attempt would fail or kill Hawk. The mind is too delicate to survive more than one such maiming. One would not risk killing him like that.”

“You have more faith in those balloons than I do,” Buck said.

“One understands death in others. It is virtually immortal, but it saw my mother’s death and my father’s. It understands nonexistence and the end of thought. It felt my pain and grief. It will not kill.”

“It tried to kill me,” Buck said.

“Only to protect me. It believed you had and would hurt me.”

“It will try to stop you,” Wilma said.

“I’ve thought of that,” Buck said. “We need a diversion, but that’s almost impossible since those balloons can be everywhere at once.” He paused. “I’ve got the solution. I want you to call One. Tell it I want to be regressed tonight. I’ll keep it busy while you work with Hawk.”

“Buck!” Wilma exclaimed.

“Don’t worry, Wilma. After a bit, Ari can bring me back. I trust in his skills. After that Hawk and I will be useless to One. It will free us all in disgust, even Ari. He will be a constant deterrent to One’s plans if he stays here. One will be happy to see him go with us.”

“You have more faith in me than I do,” Ari said. “I do not know that I can help Hawk. He may be beyond my aid, or may be mentally damaged beyond repair. And if I do save him, I may not be able to save you. You do not have an avian mind.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Buck said. “I’ll just be giving up a few days as I am if you fail.” He smiled. “Hawk and I have fought and lived side by side, soon we may be playing ball together and listening to Ari’s stories. Hardly the old age I had in mind.”

Wilma laughed with effort. “Well, just call me Mommy.”

#

Wilma walked into Ari's bedroom later that evening. “One is with Buck. You can go now.”

Ari sat on the bed with Hawk huddled fearfully against him. He embraced his brother comfortingly. “Do not be afraid. I will not let it hurt you. One will never hurt you again, I promise.” He looked up at Wilma. “Just One’s physical nearness gives him pain and increases the mental damage. I must go now or his past will be totally destroyed.”

He stretched out on the bed and settled Hawk against his side. “I am going to make you sleep now. When you wake up, you will feel better.”

Thanking the gods of space that the kid was on their side, Wilma watched Hawk relax trustingly into sleep in Ari's arms. With his telepathic skills, he’d be almost as dangerous an enemy as the balloon creature.

Ari smiled warmly up at her. “I may not see you again. If not, I was honored to know you and Buck. Take care. Farewell.” His body went limp.

Pressing her hands over her ears, Wilma sat down beside them. In the next bedroom One twittered and hummed with increasing volume as it worked on Buck.

With growing apprehension for the safety of her three friends, Wilma waited.

#

Propelled from the darkness into the light, Ari floated on a current of thought. Random sense memories touched him fleetingly-- the taste of milk, the odor of growing earth, the sound of strangers’ voices.

Strangers to me, not to Hawk, Ari reminded himself. He was in Hawk’s early memory now, that part of Hawk that One wished to retain.

Memories grew and solidified as age increased. Brief scenes, flashes of memory fragmented and whole, flowed past or he passed them. He was unsure which.

The current eddied and slowed. Ari advanced into a room with its outline and detail wispy and unreal. The two men and the boy in the room were as solid and as real as life.

This had to be an important structural memory, one of those well-remembered moments in life that affects all that we are and all that we will become.

Ari moved closer to the two avian men who remained unaware of him.

One of them was Hawk, and he had a very young avian boy in his lap. No, the man couldn’t be Hawk, it was their father, and the boy was Hawk.

The other man was of their father’s years, and he was tall and regal, yet his brown eyes glowed with passion and humor. Leren, Hawk’s mind told Ari. This is Leren, Father’s best friend.

Hawk’s father said, “I am decided, Leren. Adrian and I will leave Throm. It is best for us and for our people.”

“But, my friend, you will leave us without a Hawk. A Hawk has been our warrior leader throughout time. It is the last vestige of our proud past.”

“Our people have given up our greatness willingly,” Hawk’s father said bitterly. “My presence has not stopped them from creeping back into the primitive past.”

“We went back to the simple times to regain our racial strength, to rebuild at the beginning.”

“Do you not mean to hide from our destroyer. We make ourselves so pitiful and inconspicuous that we will be beneath contempt or notice. We make ourselves bugs hoping that no one will notice us and squash us thoughtlessly.”

“You are too harsh on our people, Hawk.”

“No, I am not harsh enough. We make the same mistake our ancestors did when they chose to give up flight and assume the likeness of the humans. We only lessen ourselves in such an act.

“That choice did not rescue our people then. This choice will not save our people now. In these acts of cowardice we only lose ourselves. We should hold our ground and our former greatness. Our civilization should not be traded for simple caves and farms.”

“We are so few now. We wish only to protect ourselves from the humans.”

“The human Bible says that man is made in God’s image. That is typical of the humans and their proud vision of themselves. Our people are far worse: we have made ourselves into the image of our imagined devil/destroyer -- the human. My people blame humanity for our destruction. I blame our weakness.”

“If I were not your friend, Hawk, I could easily name you as others do.”

Hawk smiled dourly. “‘Human lover’ is not the ugliest thing I have been called. I do not love the humans more than my own people. I merely acknowledge their capacity for greatness and great evil. They are as we-- good and evil, proud and foolish. We should not grovel in fear nor hide from the humans in caves. We should meet them as equals and as partners. It is our only hope.”

“Is that why you chose Adrian as your mate?”

“Yes, and because I love her. After the boy’s mother died in childbirth, no other woman touched my heart until I met Adrian. She has been a good mother to the boy and a good mate.”

“Yes,” Leren said grudgingly, “the human female has surprised us all.”

“Her name is Adrian. Our people have not accepted her, nor do they accept me now. It is best we leave, at least for a time. I have heard strange stories about our past that I wish to verify. It could bring great good to our people. Adrian and I will go. The boy will remain behind with you and your mate if you will take him.”

“Gladly.”

“It is well. He will be Hawk now. I give him my title and my name, and I take in its place his child name. Because I love my people so, I leave my most precious possession behind, my son.” He caressed the boy’s head. “He will be Hawk for our people. They must have a Hawk. Only for their sakes do I leave the boy behind. He will be a symbol to them of what we were and what we can be. He is Hawk. He is the best of our race. He must survive for that alone.”

“You speak as if you will not return.”

“I will return. I wish only to protect the child.”

He continued, ”I ask this, Leren. Teach him the ways of our civilization in its greatness. He must also know the human machines and the human ways. If we must have the humans as enemies, let him learn what his enemy is. I have left my studies and my thoughts for him to examine when he is older.”

“I will educate him as you wish. The Hawk should know all that he can to help his people.”

“I hope to return to finish his education in five years or so, but only Make-Make knows the future. Adrian and I follow a dangerous flight trail.”

“It is the humans and their anger at your marriage with Adrian that make you flee from our people? You fear to bring their wrath upon our people?”

“Only in part. This is not the first anger among the humans, it will not be the last. She is only the excuse the haters use.”

The boy Hawk stirred in his father’s lap. He had heard and would remember this conversation although he was not old enough to understand fully what had been said.

The child Hawk only knew that his father was being forced to leave him. He clutched his father and wept. “Do not leave me. Please do not leave me. Do not let the humans take you away from me.” The child sobbed inconsolably with a hatred for humans now planted that would grow and flower in the long years in which his father would never return.

A cold shudder racing through his body, Ari turned away and moved on. “My mother was human.” He tried to visualize her but could only get vague impressions of her. He was so young when she died, too young to remember anything but the warm sense of her love and her presence.

He had once heard his father mutter to himself that the child of a human and avian would be deformed or defective. Although he didn’t look like Hawk or his father, he wasn’t deformed.

Bereft, Ari wiped a tear away. He could talk to One and others couldn’t so his father thought he was defective. He was human and defective so Hawk couldn’t be his brother.

He trudged onward until he came to a great stone wall that stretched to both ends of the horizon--the memory block between Hawk’s childhood and the rest of his life.

He scaled it and started to search for the adult Hawk. It would take both of them to clear a path through the wall so the two parts could be joined.

Sensing the weakness around him, Ari ran forward with renewed urgency. The adult Hawk was losing strength and vitality. Soon it would be too late.

Memories of a life Ari could only wish to have touched and caressed him as he moved forward. Seducing him with bittersweet poignancy, memories impeded him, but he ran on.

Playmates his own age raced around him with happy shrieks. His own people surrounded him with love and respect. Hawk’s people, Ari reminded himself. Hawk’s people and Hawk’s memories. I am alone. I have only One.

Koori. Koori laughing, Koori smiling, Koori weeping. All the Koories of Hawk’s memory. The wonder of holding Koori in his arms. The despair of watching Koori die in his arms.

His people lying dead upon the ground filled him with anger and desolation.

New memories came, but the desolation remained.

Buck stood between Hawk holding an injured Koori and a group of evil humans. “Go on, Hawk. Get Koori to the healer. They only want me. Go on.”

Wilma smiling with compassion and humor. Other human faces filled with friendship.

Buck stands before a tribunal demanding that Hawk’s life be spared.

The human cheers and happiness when he was spared.

The Searcher explodes around him. Hawk and Wilma are pinned by debris. Buck pulls a beam off Hawk who begs him, “Never mind me. Help Wilma.”

Enemy soldiers marching toward them, Buck and Hawk stand side by side, their energy weapons drawn, while behind them Wilma ushers several family groups of Adrin refugees. Buck shouts to Wilma, “Get them to the shuttle, we’ll hold the Dron back as long as we can.”

Ari paused in thought as he remembered Buck saying, “I want you to call One. Tell it I want to be regressed tonight. I’ll keep it busy while you work with Hawk.”

The one great truth that One did not understand but must understand stood stark and pure and beautiful before him.

He forced himself forward.

Just beyond, Hawk lay silent upon a catafalque in their people’s ceremonial robe for the dead. Ari gave a cry of despair. “No, you cannot be dead.”

He pressed his ear to Hawk’s chest. A faint heartbeat. But so cold, so terribly cold.

Shivering, he lifted his brother at the shoulders and embraced him to warm him with his own body heat. “Do not leave me. Please do not leave me. I need you. Take my life force. Share my life force. I give it freely. Do not die. I need you so much.”

As his warmth flowed to Hawk, color returned to his brother’s face, his heartbeat strengthened, and his breathing deepened.

How could he wake Hawk?

Fairy tales are the keys to the consciousness his father had once said. They would be the key now. But what fairy tale? Sleeping Beauty? No.

Magic. The naming of names. He must say Hawk’s true name, and he would awaken. But what was his true name? All his names were true.

“Grin, Peregrine, Hawk, Brother.” He repeated the names again slowly with wistfulness touching the last name. Hawk stirred.

No longer holding him, Ari was now held. Comforted, he wept against Hawk’s chest sharing his long loneliness and his past with Hawk as he had shared Hawk’s past.

After peace touched him, Hawk spoke, “Brother.”

Ari straightened and wiped away his tears. “I am Ari. I am half human, and I may not be your brother. I cannot be certain. If I am, I am defective. I would not be your brother then.”

“Whatever you are, whoever you are, you are my brother,” Hawk said gently.

“Thank you. Are you well enough to travel? We must return to the wall. If we do not breach it soon, One will destroy you completely.”

Hawk swung off the catafalque and stood up. Ari noticed with a start that he now wore the black clothing he had on the first day instead of the burial robe.

“I am weak, but with your help...”

He placed his arm over Ari's shoulder, and Ari steadied him by wrapping his arm around his waist. “We had better hurry. We run out of the time your friend Buck paid so dearly for.”

Drawing upon the strength Ari shared, Hawk traveled backwards through his past. Only his memories of Koori slowed and finally stopped him.

Ari tugged him ineffectually. “Come on. We cannot stop. We do not have the time.”

“But Koori,” Hawk said wistfully. “So real, so alive here.”

“If your adult self dies, she will die again. All of your memories of her will be erased. It will be as if she never existed, never loved you.”

Hawk closed his eyes and turned away reluctantly. “Lead me on.”

Reaching the wall, they stopped, and Hawk stared at the enormous stones. “What do we do now?”

“I am not certain. I hoped you would be the key to make the wall fall, but nothing happens. Try saying ‘Open Sesame’ to the wall.” He shrugged. “A human fairy tale solution.”

Hawk spoke to the wall, “Open Sesame.” The wall remained whole.

“Well, it was worth a try. Let us climb over. If we reunite you with your past self, the two of you may be joined again. I will help you climb.”

As they neared the wall, Hawk fell heavily to his knees pulling Ari down with him and slumped against him. “My strength is gone.”

Ari moaned in despair. They had been so close, but One had come.

Humming and twittering angrily, One blocked their path to the wall.

Hawk’s life force began to fade.

Hatred for One touched Ari for the first time. “No,” he screamed. “You cannot have Hawk. I will die first.”

He began to give Hawk his own life force as One’s presence drained his brother’s. Lightheaded, no longer having the strength to hold Hawk upright, he let him sink to the ground.

Hawk’s eyes fluttered open, and he gazed up at him. “Ari, let me die. Please do not do this. Let me die. Go back and help my friends. They need you. Please, Brother, help my friends. Let me die. Save yourself.”

Ari drooped above him. “No. I hold my ground. If One sees I am determined to die with you, it may give up. It does not want me to die.”

“It does not understand what is happening. Please.” Hawk caressed Ari's face.

“I learned something from you and your friends. I learned that there are some things and some people more valuable than your own desires and even your own life. You are more important to me than life. That is one thing One has never learned. I will not give in. This is as good a way to die as any. At least I am not alone.”

Hawk’s hand dropped, and he fainted.

Ari lay down against him, savoring their closeness.

“Ari,” whispered a voice like hundreds of wind chimes. Until now the voice had always been beautiful.

“Yes, One.”

“Do not die.”

“I have no choice.”

“I am lonely, Ari. I am alone.”

“I have always been alone. You never understood that.”

“I understand now. Your words/thoughts to your brother have touched me. I free you. Your brother and his friend are whole now. I free all of you. Farewell.” One was gone.

Ari looked up. The wall had disappeared.

Slumping against Hawk, he laughed weakly. He’d won but too late. His life force and Hawk’s were almost gone. Blackness touched him, and he collapsed.

#

Buck and Wilma walked slowly toward Searcher's Sick Bay. Wilma watched Buck with concern. “Are you certain you’re up to this visit, Buck? This is your first day out of bed.”

“Motherhood’s gone to your head, Wilma. It’s been over a week since those balloons tap danced across my brain. I’m fine.”

“You’re certainly in better shape than Hawk and Ari. In a deep coma for four days.”

“What about the balloon?”

“It’s still there. It just hangs over Ari without a hum or twitter. Dr Goodfellow believes the way it phases in and out during transfers allows it to travel vast distances to Ari as long as their psychic connection remains, and the kid can talk as comfortably with it now as he did on the planet.” Wilma shrugged. “If we ever get out of range, it would surprise me.”

“I guess he’s stuck with the damn thing, then. My head twinges just thinking about that creature. I don’t remember much about my journey to the fountain of youth except enormous pain.”

“I’m almost sorry I never met your younger self. Hawk was a sweet little boy. What were you like?”

“Mom said I was a real brat. Hard to believe since I turned out so well.”

“Yes, it is hard to believe.”

Buck looked surprised at her easy agreement. “You must be humoring the invalid.”

“Yes, I am.” Wilma grinned.

“What did Hawk say about that information you found in Ari’s derelict ship?”

“Very little. He said that he didn’t care what I found. It didn’t matter to him. As far as he’s concerned, Ari is his brother. He won’t discuss or consider any other possibility.”

Buck smiled. “I don’t blame Hawk. I would be proud to call Ari brother. The kid really came through for us all.”

“I guess you’re right. Still, if Ari’s family were from somewhere besides Throm, it would mean that other avians are out there somewhere.”

“Ari’s ship gave no clues, and Ari doesn’t know. Let’s forget it. Hawk’s right. We should accept the kid at face value. If Hawk accepts him as his brother, we should too.”

Arriving in the Sick Bay, Buck and Wilma entered a small isolation chamber. Hawk sat in a chair by Ari’s bed talking quietly to Ari who lay in bed. One of the balloon creatures floated silently above the younger avian.

After the greetings died down, Wilma forced a not unwilling Buck into a chair and sat down herself at the edge of Ari's bed. Keeping an uneasy eye upon the balloon, she examined her friends. “You all look much better. I think you’ll live.”

“I did not believe that I would ever waken, especially not to a whole new world.” Grinning, Ari motioned around him.

Buck chuckled. “You’ve only seen the Sick Bay. When you get your strength, Hawk, Wilma, and I will show you the Searcher and more planets than you can possibly imagine.”

“I look forward to that. You promised me, Wilma, that you would tell me what happened with One when I was recovered. I am recovered enough.”

“There is little to tell. About half an hour after you went after Hawk, One came from Buck to you and Hawk. It was very angry and more than a little frightened for you, I think. It forced me from the room. I checked on Buck who was still unconscious. After a bit, One just disappeared. You and Hawk were nearly dead. I could do nothing to help you.”

Wilma paused remembering her grief and helplessness. “I heard a strange humming and went outside to investigate. One had returned our three ships. They stood in a row before the house with your parents’ ship beside them. My fighter was operative so I called the Searcher for medical help and rescue. The ship came soon after. We got you three aboard and left the planet at flank speed.

“After hearing about One, the Admiral was more than happy to put a lot of space between us and that planet. We were afraid One would change its mind and bring us back. We were upset when the balloon appeared above you a day after we thought we were out of range.”

Buck gazed warily at the balloon. “Is it sick?”

“No,” Ari said, “it conserves energy. It has some difficulty being so far away from the rest of itself. One sent Fluffy to check on me. It was worried.”

“You are recovering,” Hawk said. “Why does it not leave?”

The boy lowered his eyes guiltily. “One is lonely. It wants to stay. I did not have the heart to send it away. It will cause no harm. Please help me convince the humans to let it stay. It is so lonely. You and both know what a horrible thing loneliness is.”

Hawk clasped Ari’s hand. “You and I both know loneliness. If it has no harm, I will help you.”

Ari smiled happily. “Glow will replace Fluffy at times, but only one will be here at a time. It will stay with me and protect me. It will not harm our friends.”

Wilma wondered aloud, “Is it a good idea to let it know so much about us? It will learn our planets, our peoples, and our strengths.”

“If it wished to conquer, the ship would have been taken by now,” Hawk said. “The more it learns of others, the less we need fear One. Just by knowing Ari, One has matured remarkably.”

Ari gazed at Hawk with open adoration. “Just by knowing you and your friends, Ari has matured remarkably. One proved that it was worthy of a place with other peoples when it freed us. Our father said that the mark of a mature society or individual was an act of great self-sacrifice. I did not understand that and neither did One. Now we both do.”

“The scientists aboard are quite eager to talk with One,“ Wilma said. “Dr. Goodfellow is excited, even for him. They want you to translate for it. They hope to discover a mechanical translator in place of training infants.”

“We can safely assume that One’s balloon and Ari will be considered valuable new ship’s company,” Buck said.

“Thank you,” Ari said shyly. “I don’t want to leave Hawk.”

Hawk spoke quietly but with deep feeling, “Hawk will never leave Ari.”

Wilma gazed at her friends who were all exhausted just from conversation. “I think you all should get some rest now. Sit back quietly for a bit. We can talk later.”

“A perfect idea,” Buck said. “How about a bedtime story, Ari. ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears?’ Do you remember it, Hawk?”

Hawk glanced at Wilma then looked away as if embarrassed. “I remember my second youth vaguely. I was happy and well-cared-for.”

“You were a good kid. With Ari’s help and Buck’s, it was easy being a good adrian. ‘Adrian’ is your people’s word for mother?”

Ari laughed. “No. you have made a mistake. Adrian was my human mother’s name. Hawk and I have different mothers, the same father.”

Buck and Wilma shared startled yet pleased glances.

“About the story, Ari,” Buck said.

“Certainly, Buck. But one thing first. What is a bear?”

THE END

~*~

More of Marilynn Byerly's Hawk and Buck Rogers stories

The character Hawk and the Buck Rogers series are under exclusive copyright by MCA-Universal Television.

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