Epilogue. AGAINST THE SUN
The city was so much more beautiful at night. So many tiny lights, like millions of distant stars dotting the sky, each struggling to burn against the darkness. And in the heat of battle, they would inevitably forget about the coming morning light. A blinding tide that would illuminate those places where shadows had lived the night before. Snuffing out the torches of a million smaller lights with one powerful sweeping wave of luminance.
Obliterating a million dreams, and moving on to obliterate a million more without ever looking back.
Fire with fire.
I closed my eyes, trying to remember exactly what my father had looked like just before he was murdered. I did not have long to wait. I could never forget. His image was forever burned into my mind, along with all of his dreams. Dreams that would never see the light of...
When I opened my eyes again, I tried to focus on the fading lights below, but my tired eyes were brimming with tears that would not fall. I wiped them and tried to look out at the city again.
In the glass, I saw my own reflection, staring back at me.
I smiled, as the first warming rays of morning stretched out over Tokyo Bay.
Four candles against the sun.
I sat down on the window sill with my back against the cool glass, letting the last flickers of street light from the city wash over me.
We would fight against the hungry light, come what may.
Jeanne's Comments: Well, I certainly hope you found Sylia, Linna, Priss, and Nene to be somewhat out of character. If they're not, Andy and I didn't do our job. Yes, that's right - these are not the Knight Sabers you know from Bubblegum Crisis, or even the Knight Sabers of Bubblegum Crash or Grand Mal. Into the Shadows is about the beginning of the process where these people grew up to become those people. I also certainly hope you enjoyed going along for part of the ride.
Back in November '97, I was toying around with different ideas for my annual foray into BGC fanfic writing. My last fic, Ten Questions, was mainly done in the first person, so I wanted to try to do an entire normal-length fic (10Q is a bit on the short side) that way. The 'beginnings of the Knight Sabers' storyline came from a half-remembered comment from someone on alt.fan.bgcrisis, who wondered about the early days of the Knight Sabers and if they had trouble learning how to walk in armor with high heels. I've no idea why I thought rotating the first person viewpoints would be a good idea, but not too long afterward I had a start on a "Sylia recruits the Knight Sabers" fic, told in rotating first person POV.
He's been writing his own BGC fic, Bubblegum Cross, for a while now, and had, from time to time, sent me sections of it to comment on. So I decided to return the favor, and asked him if he'd comment on the start I had made. Well, I got comments back all right -- just not the kind I was expecting. Andy quite politely reminded me that this was the fic he'd suggested we write together over a year earlier, something I'd totally forgotten about.
So we became partners on this project, and I don't regret one bit of it. Shadows isn't the fic I started out to write, but I think it's become something better than that. And if you are wondering who wrote what, I'll tell you here and now: Andy wrote the good stuff.
Andy's Comments: Knowing how much trouble I have had trying to complete a fanfic on my own, I have often wondered how two people could ever agree on all of the elements that go into a story to write together. Jeanne and I have differing basic approaches to writing. She excels at focusing on the heart of the story, the character's actions and their dialogues, and what is going on in the here and now. I try to make sure the story is foremost in my mind, but I tend to forsake those things sometimes, in favour of spending alot of energy trying to use elements of the story's setting to parallel current or past events in the story, or to deeply foreshadow coming events.
Headed for disaster, right?
Well, as we started sending our revisions back and forth, enjoying the inspirational fuel that we were supplying each other, I tried my best to focus on the heart of the story, feeling it was important that we try to make it seem like only one person wrote it. But it didn't take long before I started to feel as if something was missing, to the point that Jeanne even mentioned my lack of adjectives. After asking myself if that was a bad thing or not, I added some sections to the beginning of the story, specifically the parts that describe Dr. Raven's garage with the factories all around, and the rusted pieces of metal that "changed" in the dim light. It felt right to me, but would Jeanne like it?
As it turned out, she did. And the revisions soon flew back and forth at an increased pace. But freedom has a price when you write with someone else. Two people writing however they feel like could quickly degenerate a story into a disjointed yarn. After a few "frictionous" but healthy discussions about how much was too much, we came to an agreement concerning various aspects of our writing approaches. With a consensus reached, the story happily picked up where it left off, with two people working within their own styles, but armed with an understanding. So, I have learned that it isn't important for two people to agree on all of the elements that go into a story, but to agree on enough of the elements, so that each person feels that they can contribute in their own unique way within a framework, to make something that is truly a combined effort. A rich lesson that I will never forget :)
Lastly: Jeanne says I wrote the "good stuff", but the truth is, she wrote the "great stuff"
We'd both like to thank our terrific pre-readers (Ed Becerra, Mike Breen, Chris Davies, Shawn Hagen, Shawn Kester, Richard Lawson, Nicholas Leifker, CJ Scott a.k.a. "The Pig", and Bert Van Vliet). Your time and assistance are truly appreciated.
And in case you're wondering, the preliminary suit designs Sylia rolls out in Chapter 7 are based on the real preliminary suit designs the animators were toying with back when BGC was first being worked on. Weird colors and wheels for feet and all. If you're curious (and lucky), they can be seen in several of the BGC art/design books.
Please let us know what you think!