ࡱ>   G bjbjَ 8]&$$$$5$%&$V(J*h&&####^ $$##$$ 类> j$6100020A-Z Subfile A5: A Fawn inWinter The Fawn was relatively simple to set up. Snowy fields, fences, and low hills, the colonial-style houses set widely apart, the road, the occasional woods that looked as if a poet with promises to keep must have been somewhere close sitting in his wagon--presented no difficulty whatsoever. Snow was artificial, naturally, but it was easily concocted out of a substance that wouldnt melt or cause any discomfort to the players and production staff. The script expanded the story line, predictably, fleshing out the characters and their specific reasons for cultivating differences between each other. One script writer wanted to do the usual: a drunken, ruined writing talent reminiscent of Hemingway had alienated his wife, and they had split their losses and gone separate ways. Nobodys that saintly--hes got to be at fault at least fifty percent! the writer defended himself. But the producer--the late Emil van Hitchcocks assistant, it so happened--knowing by his own experience that life was not always a fifty percent of the fault thing, asked for a second draft, and the writer came up with the version the producer approved and then produced. Now, unlike Emil--who liked to think of himself as secular-humanist--he was religious to the point he prayed. Though God was Ultimate Reality, whatever anyone conceived that to be, he was sincere, persistingly sincere--and the seeking quality of his faith permeated his life and even affected his professional career--which was one reason he hadnt risen as high as people like Emil, who werent bothered by scruples and got whatever they wanted done to further their careers. For them the outcome--the finished production--justified the means. For Chan Tso, it was never a good thing to sacrifice the means for the end. How he got to his goal was just as important as the goal--maybe more important. Put another way, the journey was the vital thing to him, not the destination. He had seen too many people arrive at their goals ruined by their ambition, disgraced by their treatment of people, betrayed and betraying. That was why he had to scratch the first draft, and make his writer work a littlel harder. Life wasnt always two veteran cynics cheating on each other. Sometimes, he knew, life didnt follow the usual scripts. I A doe stood daintily in snow, her fawn stayed close by mothers side. Toward the house they dared not go, they kept near woods where they could hide. For decorating Christmas cards, the deer looked nice but somehow wrong. Winters icy, cold and hard, that fawn would freeze before too long! How fatal flicked the artists brush that thrust new life in jaws that crush! For just beyond this peaceful scene, werent there wolves grown hungry, lean? (Refrain:) Rejoice, Rejoice, though dark the year; let joy now warm our hearts with cheer! What better reason can there be? A Christ-Fawn come, for you, for me! II I pinned the card onto my tree, then went to bed, most prayerfully. Save the Fawn, O God, from harm, if wolves attack, give me alarm! Late at night I heard a sigh, It is finished! was the cry. I ran into the living room, but found no thief, met only gloom. Somehow my tree lighted bright had turned a dead thing--doleful sight! Too late to fix the trouble there, I went to bed, but found rest rare. Crash! a sound wrenched me from bed, loud enough to raise the dead! I stumbled forth my heart fear-struck, and found the living room had shook. My tree lay down upon the floor, and--whats more--the front hall door! It opened wide, and small, neat prints all red with blood in vivid tints led outdoors into the world--a house to house canvass unfurled! (Refrain) III I snatched a card up to my eyes, the Fawn was gone, to my surprise! But small, red prints led to my door. It was MY house! I almost swore. I looked around, not much was changed, and yet my life seemed re-arranged. A visitor just then came by: My lost wife, weeping between each sigh! She stood where red Fawn prints stained snow, Forgive me, please! I know! I know! It wasnt you, I was blinded, I chose a life as good as dead. But then a Fawn, He led me here. He conquered all my darkest fear! Where He went I cannot tell, but Ive been lifted from my hell! I listened hard, my hands both shook, it was like tales from some book! But there she stood right in my eye--I could not possibly deny. (Refrain). IV The Fawns blood prints led to the world; countless were those reconciled. Families, divorced, white and black found a peace that held no lack. Peace on Earth, good will to men... to which I say, Amen! Amen! The script shifted from the first house to the others, showing similar reconciliations taking place, house after house. The production ended with couple after couple, father and son, mother and daughter,husband and wife embracing as they stood looking out on the bloody tracks of the mysterious, visiting fawn. The whole neighborhood, in fact, turned out to have been visited. Everybody began walking out of their houses, calling to neighbors to come and see, but they had all seen it already, experienced the same terrible and wonderful thing. Every house had not been left untouched. Their households, families were never going to be the same. The producers wife, who naturally took an interest in what her ex-husband was doing with his life, since his earnings supported her in the generous settlement, heard people were talking about his latest, something called Fawn in Winter, and one evening, come home early from a party, finding herself bored to tears, played it on her wide screen. Now the AC colonial board encouraged this sort of thing. Most of the colonials were in the sets and productions, so any who were not were expected to follow what was happening, and at least watched the filmed archives. The producers wife had no idea that this production was going to be any different than those she had seen before--for she had years before taken sick leave whenever her name was called, and now QC had given up after Psych-Rehab said forcing her would only make her chemical dependency worse than it presently was. Now, watching the story run to its conclusion, a strange thing was happening to her. She seemed riveted, and even forgot to take her nightcap. Maybe it was the coincidental appearance of the husbands house, which looked astonishingly like her suburban villa--her choice, since she hated tower condomiums and sharing walls with other people. Then, instead of going to bed when it was over, she stayed up, her mind turning over what she had seen. Unable to sleep, she dressed and went downstairs, and stood looking out. In a distance she could see the tower complex where her ex lived and did most of his work when he wasnt off on some field trip to a cross-planet site. She looked for some time, then, shivering because here--off set--thanks to the Geo-Dome the cold and snow were 99 per cent real--went back to bed and lay there, still sleepless. Finally, in the morning, she dressed and went out in her bare feet, forgetting her shoes in her hurry. Her path, not so bloody as the Fawns, led to her former husbands. By the time she got there, walking all the way, something had drawn him outdoors, and he had seen her coming across the fields, slipping dangerously near the icy pool as she approached him by the back elevator entrance. He ran out to meet her. She was half-frozen and trembling in her bare feet on the ice and snow. Without saying a word, he stepped out of his own shoes and held out his hand. 6100020A-Z Subfile A3: A Victorian Christmas Sulkowsky had really enjoyed this scenario. His detail was marvelous, wonderful to examine in detail. The waifs, their horrible, draughty cottage, the grim, little village of Drabstone with the mills and smoking stack chimneys towering just beyond its dirty lanes--he had felt it and captured all the pathos, charm, and sentiment--a fitting tribute to the long-vanished Victorian England the card had superficially recreated. Now it was Chan Tsos turn. He took on the task with great vigor and determination, encouraged by the transformation he had lately witnessed in his own life. Reunited with his wife after years of separation, the script was in his hand, and construction was going full blast. To make the whole thing as real as possible, Victorian-Era England was recreated on a special site. This was no ancient Hollywoodian Paramount or Universal Pictures backlot production, large as such lots had been. Tso was determined to do something better by A Victorian Christmas than that. Cecil B. de Milles extravagances were Tsos inspiration, and so, having the means, Tso ordered a life-size replica of 19th Century Britain. With the personnel at hand, it was done, and Tso, touring the set, felt he was justified in the effort taken because the result really felt as hard-hearted, brutal, and relentless as the original must have been. How could he have foreseen that his production people would take it so deeply to heart that they stood around weeping, unable to control themselves, as the actors and actresses went through their paces? How could he have guessed that well-fed, well-off Alpha Centaurii would come completely unglued by what they saw on the set? And this wasnt all. People kept coming on set by the millions. After hearing about it, they had to see for themselves! Could people on Earth really have lived this way, and treated one class of people so meanly and cruelly as to work children to death? Could people have starved other people with low wages, while working them like animals for sixteen hours a day? Could such factories and mills have existed once upon a time, and filled with thousands of girls and boys? Since Tso had done his research thoroughly, the site was proof. Few went away from the site unmoved and unchanged. How Two Maids Fared come Yuletide on Drabstone Row To Be Read by Lamplight, with a Warm Fire in the Grate, along with Cups of Hot Cider or Cocoa to Dispel the Chills and Draughts of a Cold Evening _____________________ Once there was a cottage rough, when Christmas gave more than she took. Appled-cheeked, their dog named Puff, two little maids step from a book of nursery tales quaintly told. But if one may be eer so bold, the sentiment is apt to wilt as soon as they step back inside their hut half-thatched, its walls cracked wide; for, you see, tis Winter time, when cold winds blow a cruel rhyme. And whats beyond those frosty trees and gently-rolling, snowy slopes? If not wolves, black factories that wring fine soaps from children laboring dawn to dark, while lords and ladies dine midst glitter in palace halls set in a park walled safe against the bitter woes of Drabstone Row-- where hopeless hearts make sighing sounds, like newborns birthed to hardship, pain, and lives of sweat robbed of all gain. Yet Jesus warms the poorest scenes, een where two children lay out greens. No tree, no gifts but mistletoe, no pudding--yet Jesus came--its truly so! Knocking at the broken door, an old, old man spied it ajar. Stepping in a bit to see, he saw the maids and Puff dance merry. Oh! they cried, surprised at him, and he was quick to bow to them. My fine ladies, before you sup, grant some crust, some cheering cup! Thats all I ask, and then Ill go, Ive work to do, a field to mow . The maids stared quite some time at him, amazed how bright his eye, not dim. And yet as clear as young could see, work for such, it could not be! Sadly, they replied at last, as the winds gave cruel blast. Our porridge is what we can give, its all we have, on it we live. Take it, sir, and cup o hot; water is, alas, weve got. Bowing low, the ol d man ate the maidens all, then rose up late. He gave God thanks for his repast, then left the maids--who followed fast. But nowhere on the road was he, the old man vanished, angelically. How HE doth fly! Tess said to Nell, and then they went to wish men well. From house to house they caroled forth, glad Christmas Eve they sang Christs birth. No gift they bore but mistletoe, and songs of joy, and not of woe. The wind waxed fierce, the cold too great, no door opened at the Vicars gate. No welcome in, no cheering word, the maids lost heart and turned homeward. Dear Puff got not one, not one ham bone, yet wind cast him a suet cone! Now what to do for Christmas Day? All hopes were dashed, blown far away. With tears they hung the mistletoe on mantel and without a bow. Later, when the maids sleep found, their parents home from mills near town, a knock nigh cleft the door in two, as if a giant cast his shoe. Where are the maids that cheered our Lord? a voice commanded like a sword. Outsprang Puff to bark his stuff, as when feet trod his tail enough. The maids shook frightened in their bed--but soon the door was shut instead. Christmas morning they out crept, to find a tree, the hearth well-swept. Beneath the tree lay crimson joys, all presents of the choicest toys. Dolls with china faces sweet, music boxes and mittens neat. Cloaks with ermine trim royale came with candles and a bell. Sachets ladies do prefer, full of lavender and myrrh, Green velvet hats to take the weather, each decked with a snow-white feather. Satin bows and other things lifted up their hearts on wings. And the table groaned with food fit for kings and queens, not rude. Each place had marked their names in gold, with invitations--we are told. Inasmuch as you have done a kindness to the very least, youve done it too to My dear Son, and gained a place at Wedding feast. Imagine how the news broke far and wide round this poor home-- none worse beside! A great lords call, so it was said, gained sisters place at some fine ball. Afraid that it was just a jest, the mother kept her daughters, lest some cruel thing be played on them, because their lot was dark and grim. Three sons she had, and all had lost, she knew full well what lack could cost. A doctor might have saved each lad; but he asked more than poor folk had. Quick in turn, each grave was dug, their winding sheets, a coarse rag rug. And now, when heaven favored them? She marked it off, some ladys whim. Ten quail in jelly, cured ham, eel, Yorkshire pudding, nog, and veal? Mince pies, less one from nine, a roasted pig bordered with thyme-- Their poor father squandered all of it, his daughters got not one small bit; Incited by the grand banquet, he bragged of riches and, to wit, the whole provision was devoured, he himself revealed a coward, as the locusts from the town left his table upside down. One by one, the maids fine dolls went pawned for gin, the kind that palls. Just as poor as at the start, the fathers will just fell apart. He lost his arm in a machine and then he died, his wound turned green. The wife despaired, she fell down ill, and soon she lay next him on hill. Orphaned Nell and Tess sought work, midst thundring looms that race and jerk. They too fell ill and lay alone, their cupboard stripped right to a bone. (Oh, poor Puff! It proved too late, een for pups, Death could not wait). Yet suddenly, at dead of night, the road was flooded with great light. A golden carriage came to rest where once the Lord was made a guest. Angels helped the blest maids up, and they were handed Puff their pup! Away they sped toward heavens gate, the Wedding held, they were not late! *** Superb child actresses playing Tess and Nell, relieved of their roles, became instant celebrities in the colony for their stunning performances. They and the colony would never be the same. Nobody could imagine who Jesus was, or just what faith in him meant, but all this ostensibly happened so long ago, many things that had once been important had been forgotten or mislaid in the the passing of over a million years. Subfile after subfile rolled into reality on the various sites. The colony was captivated. Dogon Star Child, Lakota Nativity, Christmas with James Dean, now A Victorian Christmas,-- stories of hearts and lives changed fundamentally by them were becoming increasingly well-known, as interest built, and more and more of the colonials toured the sites and watched the productions. The Christmas Factor series, in fact, was proving so popular, that producers at other sites were voluntarily curtailing production and turning their faciilities and staffs over to Tso and other producers of the Sulkowsky archive senarios. Nothing like this had ever happened since CCRP had been inaugurated. Rival producers normally dont suspend operations in favor of a competitor! But that too was a sign that the series was making deep impressions in hearts everywhere--and once started it gave no sign of letting up. Now, especially with A Victorian Christmas becoming the talk of the whole colony, it came home to everyone that something perhaps vital and essential to the human spirit had been lost. Christmas Eve, Christs birth, the mysterious, joyous Wedding in a place where angels and God lived--they were, evidently, part of the same lost reality. Appalled at the visible proof of mans inhuman treatment of other human beings for the profit of a few, the colony felt chastened, reflecting how badly they had treated and were treating certain lower grades of personnel. This realization forced a revamping and overhaul of the whole working structure and reforms were begun to bring conditions to what they should be. It was hard for upper management to look at themselves in the mirror a while, after they saw A Victorian Christmas, and many stood up for immediate changes and got them--stopping the unfair practices they had been party to up to this time. Demanding harder work for little compensation, piling stress on to already pressured workers, managers were but one level affected. Colonial governors, and the board, were seriously put to the flame of conscience. They saw, without anyone helping them, that they lived far better, and demanded every advantage, than really they deserved for what they were contributing. Why should the lower grades have so little and they so much. Just who was indispensable? Actually, they had to admit that they were dispensable, whereas the working, blue collars were not. It was a soul-searching colony that resulted from the production of A Victorian Christmas. The set, turned into a theme park, affected everyone touring it like in earlier ages places like Dauchau and Auschwitz had affected victorious Allied troops. Sickened, horrified, then resolved to change, the colonists sought ways to amend their ways. 61000202A-Z Subfile A2: Lakota Nativity The director who was handling the Sulkowsky series was none other than a descendant of a still famed filmmaker of Stone Age Hollywood days--A.J. Hitchcock. Imagine, filming on something called celluloid? Celluloid, which wasnt much more lasting than wood or stone? Using such archaic and clumsy things as cameras that snapped multiple still impressions of the scenes and action the director wanted recorded? Such efforts, of course, were only a step or two advanced beyond stone glyphs, and often less artistic in composition. But despite the handicaps of the technology, the cinema giant, Hitchcock, had produced films that made an indelible impression on the future, and even the far, far, far, far future of the ACs. Recognizing and valuing originality and genius, they had preserved his films over the course of a million years, and even the latest producers of the CCRP sets struggled to emulate his example and not fall back into routine and non-creative approaches to the art of make-believe. Hitchcock was not an easy act to follow, when you were a producer. Hitchcock took the greatest pains to get things right, as everybody who was a student of his well knew. Every move was depicted on his story boards. Then it was acted out, second by second, if need be, to get the action to conform to the illustrations. Nothing was left to chance. The entire production was the outcome of premeditated thought. Hitchcock wanted just such an effect, and he would think no effort, amount of time, and patience on his own part and that of his staff as well, wasted in order to achieve that effect precisely. This exceeded perfectionism. This was genius, that knew what it must have, and expended all necessary effort to realize its dream. But this was only the first step in staircase leading up to the vast palace he was constructing. He must have something to step into--something no human being expected to see, preferably. Or if expected, no WHEN he expected it--never, never when! Handling, rearranging, putting it in the proper order for it to shock, suspend, and thoroughly entertain a viewer, the Master attacked the story and all its elements with the coldest and hottest of attention for details, all the while holding the Grand Effect, or Conclusion, in mind. I am building toward THIS, or This and This and This, then EXPLOSION! the whole theater erupts in shock and terror and, when it recovers sufficient, delight. And Hitchcock succeeded again and again. His reputation was made when he shocked and delighted audiences over a span of twenty years with his thrillers. Anyone seeing his name on the Marque knew that, going in to see the offered film, he would be given a experience that would raise him out of his seat repeatedly, and not only that--he would be haunted for days afterwards with the shock and terror that had thrilled his every nerve. Hitchcock was anything but dull. Running around in slippers and silk pyjamas, slapping and pinching starlets behinds while turning out masterpieces, Hitchcock was anything but dull. But other producers, how could they not repeat and lapse into dullness? Even the best could not sustain a winning streak very long. They all began to repeat their best tricks and then the audience began to groan--Oh, no, weve seen that done before! Hitchcock had the same problem they all faced--the humdrum nature of the business would eventually catch up with the most creative intelligence. He fought this beast his entire career. Perhaps, it could be said to have destroyed him, rendering some of his films flat in effect, over-done in spots, half-baked in others, with the Grand Effect fizzling after a brave show of sparks and squibs. The ACs desperate CCRP agenda, given a booster shot by the Sulkowsky archive--was this a way out for the production staff? As Hitchcock had complained, good scripts were hard to find. He had done his best with material available, but good material was very reluctant to come his way, and he was severely limited by the lack of a plentiful supply. In the same way, the CCRP producers were hard-pressed to keep the sets rolling. They were obliged, because of the vastness of the sets, to plan well in advance. That was their desire, at any rate. But fewer and fewer scripts were being created, and the producers were committing suicide in increasing numbers, unable to take the strain of looking at deadlines without sufficient scripts on hand to make them in decent time and order. It was always, lately, a tremendous gamble whether they would have a set ready for the casts that were being coached to transfer from the last set. Running on already frayed nerves, Emil van de Hitchcock--a true descendant of his namesake--was one producer who assumed he had no edge on others in that respect. Where was he go get the scripts he needed? Where? The Sulkowsky archive was, therefore, a Godsend, to use an apt but archaic term. With moments to spare, they rushed the archives into the pipeline, and the first set was constructed round the clock. The second, constructed simultaneously, the third and fourth as well were begun--for there was, Emil knew, no time to be wasted in his line of business. A minute lost could spell utter doom! He was reminded how costly time could be again and again, when someone didnt show up at the scheduled time, and they had to wait. This happened on both the construction and the stage side of the operation. Furious with people who put him behind, Emil was hated, though respected for mastery of the business. He had to be that way, he told himself. What if he allowed such things to throw monkey wrenches in his production? Everything would, sooner or later, grind to a halt. Then what? The entire colony, which depended on the success of the CCRP, might come apart and explode. The colony, as the governing board with its rotating chairman well knew, was that volatile. Any seemingly little delay in CCRP affected the emotional and social well-being and equilibrium, and a few such incidents rapidly rippled outwards, changing the whole colonys outlook in a matter of days, so that the board was soon looking at a catastrophe in the making. The Sulkowsky archive, with its utterly new material, could not have come at a better moment! he reflected (when, that is, he had time to reflect). They were, he knew, at their wits end to come up with ideas for new sets and programs--then, at a stroke, a stroke of good luck, this archive had fallen into their hands! At one glance he could see the potential was almost unlimited. AC was assured entertainment and cultural challenge for centuries--long after he would be safely dead! They could reassemble the scripted stories in endless configurations, using different sets for the various stories, and on and on, it was an incredible windfall of possibility! He knew, to be truthful about it, that he hadnt the slightest idea what the material aimed at, but he had the stories--that was enough. At last able to indulge a sigh of relief, he was encouraged to think he had the matter of his career in hand when a well-known actress called on him, without announcing she was coming. She had walked off the set of the Byzantium spin-off, he was told. It wasnt satisfying to her, she informed him! He stared at her, then considered Quality Control. Obviously, her mind was slipping. He was about to punch their button, when she saw what he was going to do and surprised him by grabbing his hand and digging in with her nails. Hey! he said, pulling back. Whats the big idea? Be serious with me, Emil! Im not going to go on with your absurd, little Venice and Byzantium thing. Im going to switch to this new series everybodys talking about. You must find me a place! Emil, rubbing his hand, was enraged. Najana, on her side of the desk, looked like she would tear his eyes out next if he hesitated a moment more. Emil, playing for time, smiled. Ill humor the she-devil, he thought. All right, all right, Najana. Calm down. We can arrange something, Im sure. Almost blowing invisible steam, Najana backed off a bit, and sat. Well? she demanded. What is this arrangement you have for me? I tell you Im not going back. Use my stand-in--that little frump. Shes do everything I was supposed to! Emils mind, while she was speaking, was furiously turning. Cant call the QC goons while shes in my face. What can I say to put her off? Ah--yes! The only way to fool her--play her along with an offer of a part, then when she goes to dress for it, yank it back and the goons close in with their butterfly net and tranquilizers! Beautiful! he complimented himself. Najana stood up. She pulled a RAVV-400, an illegal vaporizing weapon reserved for the colonial police, from her pocket. Emil rose from his chair. Im not going to take a chance youll call QC the moment after you think up some phony part in Lakota Nativity. But first you will tell the staff that Im coming on board, and what Ill be doing. Then Ill be finished with you. Emil was not used to madwomen--real ones, that is. Najana was definitely in a class by herself. Reports of her internecine war with her sister had reached even him, for a colony was a poor place to keep anything secret very long. Her dispassionate handling of roles in some instances provoked QC and studio profiles to be done and evaluated from time to time. Najanas informed him, the requesting producer, that she was given to vindictiveness, sibling rivalry, resentment for losing both her parents in an accident on a set, and, despite her beauty, the most calculating, cold blooded spider in human form you could think to find in human society. But she was, despite these personal short-comings as a human being, a good actress. She could perform her roles admirably, without a hitch, and so she could, until now, be counted on to help maintain productions goals. However, this confrontation, cast everything she had achieved in the way of reputation and consistency into the gravest doubt. Would she survive the official inquiry from QC? He doubted it very much. She was finished as an actress in great demand. Once QC and Psych-Rehab got through crunching her through their meat grinders, shed not even be good for bit parts. No, all she could hope for then would be custodial work, or maybe assistant in the cosmetic or dressing departments. Youre not going to ruin me, Emil, Najana said, coming closer to him. I know what youre thinking youll try to do, but it wont work with me. Put me in this production, or die right now! Its your choice. Do you want to die right this instant, or live another minute or two? Emil began to sweat in earnest. If someone didnt come in--breaking his rule about interrupting him during his lunch hour when he was in his office--he was a dead duck, he knew by looking at her. He spread his hands, grinning. All right, you win, Najana. You have the part. Why make such a big fuss for so little a thing? He spoke to his computer. Najana Chillingsworth is to be given the role of Looks Twice immediately, and the actress in that part will act as stand-in. Give me the script! He got her the script. She grabbed it from his hand. Then she motioned him to walk to the balcony that looked out over the set. Emil obeyed, but when he stood on the balcony, he was tempted to grab her and try to push her out. But wouldnt he go with her? It might not work out as he had directed in countless scenes where someone was grappling with some armed assailant. Directing was one thing, he knew, and real life was another. Would he get it right the first take? He knew by now she meant to atomize him after making the part hers. He must have shown her how much he pitied her--and she couldnt forgive him that. But still, a man had to try to save his skin. Cmon, Najana. You can have the part without killing me. Why cause yourself all the trouble this will bring you. What do you have to gain? Najana laughed. You think you can dissuade me after trying to trick me? Ive got my sisters part, and shes out in the cold! Thats all I wanted, and Ive got it. What happens next I could care less. This part is the one I will finish my career with, and I intend to give it my finest performance. Ill be famous for the next million years, and you-- She actually spat. --you, Emil, you will be dirt! Youll be the very dirt, when my name is immortal! That Garbo they crowed about, and still crow about! Shes rubbish too! Im just as beautiful. I have just as much talent. Its these roles you give me! Theyve held me back, kept me from my destiny, and youre the reason! Well, Ive played your empty, silly parts long enough. My sister came and told me some things, you see. My eyes were opened! I saw exactly what a low fiend you were, pushing my great talent down and making me a nothing! A nothing! You and her--you must have decided together to do this to me! How else could she get these parts? Tell me how, Emil! No, you cant answer me! For its the absolute truth! How I hate you--despise you! She was screaming at this point, and Emil began to hope her screams would call sufficient attention to bring QC running. He looked down, but where were they when they were needed? Where? Everyone was going about as if it were business as usual--setting up props, painting this bit of scenery or other, running power lines, and so on. What a nightmare this had become. It was real--too real! An experience to drive him mad--to do something a desperate man might regret, such as... He decided it was now or never and flung himself toward her, but he struck thin air instead of her body, so quick she was in stepping aside as he hurtled past and over the half-built, unrailed balcony. All this--the unscheduled conference and unexpected fall and demise--naturally took time from the schedule. Heena arrived, not late as she expected, but right on time, thanks to the changes her sister had initiated. But the came the crushing announcement, which Najanas appearance in Heenas own tribal costume, told her was coming. CCRP productions must go on, of course, even without the producer, and so it was with Lakota Nativity. After all, what are assistant producers for? They must pitch hit in emergencies--like this one. Najana, taking her place, with her hated sister standing in the wings and looking on, was right on time. With her photographic memory, she could command a flawless grasp of the script. The assistant produced gave the signal... Mary Looks Twice and Joseph Little Soldier found no place on the Plains to shelter the expectant mother. They had traveled far and were weary to the bone. When they tried to lodge in a village of their own clan, they were told there was no tipi for them, but that they should try for lodgings beyond the village. This cool reception was quite unexpected. After all, both Mary and Joseph were of the lineage of the villages founder, the headman David Tall Chief. As descendants, they deserved better. Those shepherds out there, theyll have something for you! Go to them! Were just too crowded in this village already, even without you! they were told by people who didnt care who the callers were. After all, the village was overflowing with relatives--all claiming David Tall Chief, a renowned warrior and chief, as their forefather. Mary and the now anxious Joseph found no shepherds, however. Only the Plains stretching beyond as far as they could see in the darkening air. But within earshot of the village, how relieved they were when they stumbled on a shepherds lean-to in the man-tall Prairie grass. It was just enough to break the wind, and with a fire lit it could be made snug enough for a child to be born. Joseph set busily to work, getting the lean-to ready for Mary. He had to make a bed for her, and lay by a water skin, and get up a fire that would warm them and also keep off any wolves in the area. As soon as he had things presentable, she came and lay on his sheepskin, under which he stuffed plenty of dry grasses for comfort. He soon had a good fire going. There was plenty of sheep droppings around, not to mention bison chips (though elsewhere the bison were thinning out rapidly, due to the coming of the white man, his rifle, plow, fences, and--worst of all--the iron horse). The fires glow was cheering, and the warmth radiated back against the lean-to, which trapped just enough of it to comfort them before the rest escaped into the starry night. For it was night! Stars blazed above them in the cloudless heavens. Not a breath of wind stirred, fortunately. The village had become quiet, the people retired to bed. Joseph could hear everything perfectly. How Marys cries in childbirth carried across the Plains! It made Joseph worry the villagers might complain and come and tell them to be quiet, or, worse, the shepherds might return to claim the lean-to, and how inconvenient that would be! They might even be angry and force them out into the cold, despite Marys great need of a sheltered place for the birth. But then it was over, and the newborns squalls were heard instead. Joseph knew he was not the father. Was he upset? Not at all. Having been told in a dream, he knew exactly Whose child this was. That is why he did the right thing to do in the circumstances. As soon as Mary called for Joseph to come near, he threw himself down on the ground, his hands outstretched. He did it because this was not a mere human child, this was the promised Chief of chiefs! The Holy Spirit himself had overshadowed Mary, before she was married to him, and conceived the child. So when Joseph threw himself down in adoration, he was doing so before his own Savior. But who would know? The Plains were vast. They were alone in a tiny lean-to, the only nearest people were those in the unfriendly, crowded village. It didnt matter, for the birth had tired Mary even more than the journey. She needed her rest. And Joseph was tired too, from the mental strain, mostly, of looking for a suitable place for the birth of the Savior. This was all he had been able to find, but, admittedly, it had served, though it was most humble. A fine tipi in the village, he reasoned, would have been the proper place for the birth of the Messiah--not a shepherds lean-to! Not knowing what more to do now that he had worshipped the newborn Messiah, Joseph sighed as he sat by the fire, keeping watch while Mary and the child slept. What would happen to the Lakota? he wondered. They were sorely oppressed people. Would they have to wait until the child grew to a warrior before he conquered and drove away all their pale face enemies? But even if they had to wait years for that to happen, it would be wonderful. Imagine! The Plains all theirs once again--no iron horse, the bison would come back, there would be peace and plenty again. Or, if not peace exactly, there would be no white men! They were worse than two winters at once. A time back, when he was a boy, there had been two winters at once--it was a hard time and many people died. Which reminded him. Why hadnt the snow come, and the real cold? So far it wasnt true winter. The grass had dried, but still no snow and bitter wind. Suddenly, he jerked wide awake. Footfalls, running fast, had alerted him. He sprang to his feet, staring into the distance. Yes, people were coming! But not from the village. The shepherds? He listened closely, and could make out three mens feet striking the ground. A few moments after that they burst into view. Dinee--desert people! But they werent angry. They immediately threw themselves down, rejoicing, calling out praises to God, even exclaiming about sky-warriors. Sky-warriors? Joseph, astonished to see the shepherds and how they behaved, looked about. The skies were clear. He hadnt heard or seen any sky-warriors. Yet the shepherds had! They each told Joseph what happened, using sign language when their limited stock of Lakota words failed They were camped quite some distance away, and everything was quiet, the sheep eating their last meal of the day, when the sky seemed to pour out brightness beyond the sun, and from the brightness beings like...like...they were warriors in shining buckskins and beads like stars...sang forth, proclaiming the birth of the Chief of chiefs and peace and good will to all men! But it wasnt all so pleasant. One sky-warrior, looking like a noble and fierce chief, came toward them. That frightened them badly. The sheep ran scattering into the tall grass, and the shepherds were about to follow them when the sky-warrior chief spoke. Dont be afraid, for look! I bring good news which will give great joy to all people, for this day there is born in the village of David Tall Chief... When the heavenly messenger had finished and they recovered, they had run quickly the way the angel told them, and it was exactly what the sky-warrior said. Just outside the village of David, the Chief of chiefs who had been promised in the long-ago time of the Beginning! Safe and sound, too, on the spot where David Tall Chief was said to have built a lean-to long ago for a place to watch his fathers horses and ponies. Finished, the shepherds gave the Chief of chiefs their Dinee blessings along with some lambs wool to put around the child for warmth, then went off to find their sheep. Joseph was quiet for a moment. Something bothered him, come to think about it. Sky-warriors had proclaimed Glory to God in the highest, peace, good will to men... Did that mean ALL men, or just the Dakotas and the other tribes of the Seven Council Fires? After all, one could go too far, giving things away. What if the Chief wasnt accepted? Unable to keep it to himself, he expressed his misgivings, different ways, both to himself and to his wife. Do you think, he concluded, the Chief of chiefs has come for everybody, including our enemies, the Wasichu and their allies the Crow people? It wasnt really a question with him. As for the Dinee, they might be acceptable if they didnt try to move up into Lakota lands--but all the others? He couldnt conceive such a thing--that the Creator-Spirit actually intended to save such devils as the Wasichu. After all, they stole Lakota lands, broke treaty after treaty, attacked Lakota villages without mercy, and then, without shame, proposed new treaties to his people. Mary Looks Twice, after hearing the shepherds account, then Josephs response, thought it over--just as she had pondered things before. She looked it over twice, in fact, but said nothing in return to her husband, letting the silence speak its heart to him without her interference. That was Marys way, for somehow the wise heart of an old grandmother had been set in the breast of a young woman. The Chief of chiefs in her arms, drinking from her breast? What did He have to do with the problems of the times? He was only a newborn. But later, later when he was grown to be a man and a warrior? What then? She considered how the buffalo were nearly gone from the lands of her people. What would happen when they had all been killed by the Wasichu? What then? Holding the Chief of chiefs, it came to her with great force that she herself held the Answer in her arms. The buffalo rose up, pictured, in her inner eye. They were mighty, claiming the lands of the Lakota as their own, for they had come into first possession after all. How their feet made the heart beat fast as they thundered in multitudes, flowing like great rivers to the east and south. Nothing could stop them from running whither they wished--until the bullet, and the sharp-shooting Wasichu came from the east, riding on the iron horse. Everywhere the buffalo fell and lay in heaps. The remainder scattered, their herds broken up into small bands. The buffalo retreated, fell back before the flying bullets and eagle-eyed Wasichu pursuing them. Then she saw hunger and fear creeping into the eyes of the Lakota, young and old alike, as their provision from the Creator-Spirit vanished from off the plains like smoke into a clear sky. Where the multitudes, like rivers, had overflowed every hill and valley, there was only empty, waving grass! It could not be! The peoples hearts died within them at the sight. Then they too fell back, hungry and scattered into small bands, fleeing the eagle-eyed Wasichu and their rifles and soldiers. Mary thought of these things, all these things as she lay with the baby, but she felt an assurance grow within her breast. It would come out all right, maybe not now, but later, when the Chief of chiefs had grown to strength and manhood. He would put things right again for the Lakota! Yet she felt a check in her spirit. Why? Had she thought forkedly? No, she knew she had not done that. But she knew she did not know all things--for life was only mystery after mystery, she knew. There were few explanations that served the wonderful mysteries the Creator-Spirit had made. What then was the meaning she had somehow missed? She pondered the matter for some time, and then it dawned in her like the Morning Star. The Chief of Chief himself was the Perfect Buffalo come down from the sky-lodges of the Creator-Spirit. He would become the Lakotas provision. They would eat of him and never grow hungry and fearful again. Mary thought about this twice. She did not question the meaning, but it was a mystery. How could the Chief of chiefs be that wonderful Buffalo--for her people did not eat mens flesh. That was abhorrent to them. They would never sacrifice anyone to the pots! Never! Yet the meaning grew stronger with passing moments. She knew that it was true and would always be true: this Chief of chiefs in her arms would somehow be made the Great Buffalo, to take the place of all provision they had enjoyed formerly but lost to the Wasichu. If they ate of this Buffalo, they wouldnot perish. They would live forever and be happy, not only on earth but afterwards is the sky-lodges of their Creator-Spirit! How that would happen, she had no idea. She just knew she would have to wait to see it. As it happened, Najana didnt finish her role. She got part-way through and faltered. Someone, hidden behind scenery, prompted her, but she remained silent in a speaking part. This was impossible to have happen, and her supporting actor didnt know what to do. But, fortunately, Heena acted quickly, and she stepped in and saved the production, while Najana was freed to make her way off the set. The moment the shooting was over, Heena ran in the direction Najana had taken. She found her sitting in her dressing room trailer, staring into the mirror. Najana saw Heena come slowly in. It was everything you said it was--and more, her sister commented in a low voice. I couldnt finish--I-- In a way, dressed identically, they looked more like sisters than they had ever looked in their lives. Perhaps, they thought the same things, for Najanas face almost smiled. I killed Emil, she said. You did what? Heena whispered. Najana pulled the RAVV-400 out and laid it on the table. I was going to use this on him, but he tried to stop me and fell. So I killed him. Heena couldnt think what to say, and Najana this time smiled. Now its too late. I was thinking during the scenes I did that maybe I could change--should change--and at last I knew way it could happen--but then I have to face what I did to Emil to get this part away from you. Heena stared at Najana, comprehending only that the part, which she knew was speaking powerful things beyond anything they had known in all their lives, had sunk its shafts deep in her sisters heart. Najana rose, the RAVV-400 in her hand. No! Heena cried in a moan, as Najana went out the door. Stop, please, Heena cried, following her sister who continued walking, without looking back. Finally, Najana stopped, the whole production staff for the set now alerted, and gathered in groups staring at them, as they stood out where the set ended in a melange of unused props or props waiting to be hauled away. Najana, framed by tall buffalo grass, was beautiful as ever in buckskins, long, flowing hair, and moccasins as she had been in the jeweled gowns of Venice. Heena moved toward her, holding out her hand. Had she played this part before? Maybe. But certainly not with Najana! It made her shake to her core, but she kept approaching Najana, who backed up against the grass, revealing it was hard and painted--not the real thing it seemed to be. You won, Najana said finally. I want to change, but now its too late. You won, you won. The staff flinched as they saw two brilliant flashes. Then they rushed forward. Heena had vanished. . Najana killed her! I saw it! a girl screamed. The weeping and screaming was terrible, for Heena had changed lately, and so radically that she had inspired love in her fellow workers. The QC tapes told a different story, however. Heena had seized the vaporizer, and forced it to fire on herself. Najana, seeing her sister gone, then turned the RAVV-400 on herself, but QC had got to the right coordinate for the weapon by this time and all she could get was a clicking sound. Najana was wrong, after all. Heena was no winner. Heena, miscalculating just as Emil had done, had sacrificed herself for nothing. Or was it nothing? Given back her life, not even arrested when she tried to tell QC what she had done to Emil, Najana was sent home to rest with professional care. There was an inquiry and investigation, of course, but everyone thought she was undergoing grief syndrome, but all she wanted was to tell the truth and take the consequences. Forced to live, Najana had time to change. And she did change. Every day she became more and more what Heena had become briefly before her death. Her heart--her actions--her caring for others--it was an utterly new Najana, and there was no stopping the natal convergence and transformation once they had begun. 6120000202A-Z, Subfile 11 Sulkowskys Feliz Navidad Card Najana, picked by Producer Tso though many others had already auditioned for the part, went himself and told her she was the one for the part of Mariano one else would do. The original document was amazingly concise, yet there was a world of meaning in it. How poor but incredibly rich Maria and Joseph were! Nicaragua, the land of the Nativity, could boast only the most elemental things: sea, some cattle, a few shepherds, and a straw-roofed hut! Yet Nicaragua had been chosen the place where th Holy Child of God was to be born! No greater honor could be bestowed to any nation and people than that! Najana sat quietly in her chair on the patio, with the producer seated across from he, and read the script in a few moments, but she took a long time pondering it. At last she turned to the Chan Tso who was waiting expectantly. It is the greatest honor to do Maria. Are you sure I am the one best suited for playing her? Chan was flummoxed. Of course! he cried. What on earth makes you think you couldnt do it? Youre a professional at this business. You know every twist and turn of it, and you could do any part now half-asleep, and no one would know it! Najana rose up from her chair and took a few steps into the small garden. She stopped, and her hand went down and touched a tall anemone. My feeling right now is I might crush the part, like my hand Her hand closed around the flower. She let go of the flower and turned to the producer. I will do it, but only on this condition. That I do it in my sisters name. I will do it as she would want it done. I will put all of her into it, as best I can. I dont want any of myself in the part. Let it be Heena! The producer stared at her. Now he was truly flummoxed. What could he say? He nodded dumbly, then rose, reaching for the script Najana had left on the coffee table. Nicaraguan Nativity! Maria and the Child swaddled white, with cattle, shepherds, Joseph, and sea. Blue waves lift a canopy, -- and above the thick roof straw, the white Dove hovers in His awe. As Chan picked up the script, something strange happened. He felt a distinct impression that a birds soft wings had gently fanned his hand, as if a bird, perhaps a gentle dove, were hovering over the script! He nearly dropped the script, he was so surprised. What? he cried. He looked around. No bird! Was it the wind? No, there wasnt a bit of dome-produced wind effect. He was imagining things! He thought, as he moved toward the door. Well, then, he said to Najana, who hadnt followed him. We can expect you at 6am sharp! Do it your way. Thats fine. Whatever you say, I know it will be done right! Without waiting for her response, he left as quickly as he could. The acting profession! he thought as he hurried back to his studio quarters. Always temperamental, with a compelling inner vision, an unique way of looking at life, of their very own. That made them volatile and difficult to handle, but powerful too, like a liquid explosive. Handle them with gloves! Always handle with gloves! Then nothing will blow up! And you will get a magnificent performance! How right his view proved on the very first day of filming. Najana gave her star performance as Maria from the very first take. Very few re-takes were necessary. Nothing was Najanas fault if a scene needed to be redone. She was absolutely superb. The entire production crew couldnt tear their eyes off her, and were always slipping up, failing to do their jobs as they stared at her in the various scenes, unable to recall what they were there for. Only the strangest impression was that none, afterwards, could remember Najana. They saw only Maria, who had been given miraculous life, as no part character before had ever been given life in their experience of hundreds of productions. It was Mariaonly Mariathey had seen on the setfrom the moment she rose from her chairrather, Heenas, for Najana refused to sit in any chair but her sistersand took her place on the first set. After the first days shootings, and at the close of the final shot on the last day, it was the same. Maria sat in Heenas chair. But when Najana finally rose to go, Maria fell away and there Najana stood weeping. Chan Tso rushed to compliment her for the greatest performances he had ever witnessed. All the others stood back, unable to say a wordthough they wanted to tell her the same thing. He no more opened his mouth, but she walked away and off the set. I failed! she said to a makeup girl in passing. I utterly failed! I tried, but I couldnt do it as well as my sister showed me! She The makeup girl stared at her, mouth open. It seemed to her that Najana could actually see Heena standing there. At the first screening, everyone invited was speechless for an unprecedented half a minute! They all knew they had never seen anything like Najanas performance. All the other performances were forgotten the moment they were overit was Najanas that carried everything. How had she done it? Chan Tso was beside himself. He knew Najana was good, very good, but this was a performance of a quality he knew he would never seen done again. Najana had somehow transcended art and BECOME the character. Always he could tell, by minor signs only he could see, that acting was going on. But this was no acting. It was the real person being revealed. It was no acting. But, of course, that wasnt logical. No actor could achieve such an effect with human means. It had to be by a power beyond the human capacity! What what Power was that? As he was pondering this hours after the first screening, a strange sensation struck him, he felt as if his head were being fanned. He felt wings! Wings! Am I crazy? he wondered. He looked for the fan. No fan. He searched the controls, but they all registered correctly, so there was no way he could feel what he had felt. Then, it dawned on him for the first time. He put it together finally in his heart and soul. All things came together, and an inner vision was born in him that changed everything. The same Awe that had hovered over the script in Najanas patio, and had hovered over the set the whole time the film was being produced, and had struck everybody speechless at the first screening, was now in the roomwas now, even more tremendously, in his own heart and being! He fell to his knees before the holy Dove of God. Najana, he knew now, had penetrated to the Dove, and been filled with Him, which explained her incredible performance transcending all human capability and experience. And the same Dove had come to himfilling him utterly with something like a most gentle and holy dew that penetrated every particle of his body and soul. He knew other things as well. Heena had sacrificed herself for Najana. Najana had sought to sacrifice herself for Heena. In the same way the Dove had sacrificed himself for the Child born of Maria and the Dove, far away in the place called Nicaragua by the sea. That same Spirit was now in him! When he rose, tears streaming from his eyes, he rose a Dove-filled man, full of power and grace and love he had never before known. For days afterwards his experience, Chan tried to tell others what had happened, and what it could possibly mean. But they couldnt fathom a bit of what he said! Not one word! He finally understood one thing: they would have to experience it himself. The Dove would have to be experienced by each person alone. Otherwise, the Dove could not be shared. He went to visit Najana, and the first moment their eyes met they knew what was in each other, and there was joy and tremendous communication! It is all right, he assured her. I understand now. We must fail as human beings, we all must! It is the wondrous holy Dove who must live in us from now on! The holy Dove of God must act in every word and act of oursnothing of ourselves will do! It is all right then for us to failthat the Dove might be free to live in a greater way in us. Isnt that it? Najana, who had been grieving since she played Maria for her sister, put her hands over her face, and she was thinking. Then she dropped her hands, and her expression changed to peace, peace beyond human conception. Yes, she said slowly Yes! It was all right, it was actually best for me to fail in playing the part as Heena would have done it. Only then could the real Spirit come forth through me, and Heena would be happy. She wouldnt want any of herself on that set. I know that! I was so mistaken! She clutched Chans hand. Chan kept his next thought to himselfShe has become the greatest actress who has ever lived, she was at least ten Garbos in one body, and she thinks she failed! But to Godand His Holy Dovebe the glory! I must be going, he said, feeling he might do something very rash, like tell her what he was just then thinking. Najana showed him out this time. Thanks so much for coming, she told him. You cleared up so much confusion in my mind. I owe you a great debt. 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