Kimberly's Ramblings 8: More Crossover Queries

By Kimberly T. (email: kimbertow AT yahoo etc.)

Greetings! Just taking the opportunity to publicly answer the most frequently asked questions from readers of my most recent story "Deadly Moon", as well as one question that's been occasionally asked by readers for the last couple of years.

…Though the answer to one question is really just a hint instead an answer.

Who was behind the two gargoyle-costumed humans that broke into the Quarryman's apartment?

Someone who was featured in the story, appearing no less than three times. And that's all I'm going to say right now, because while several readers have already guessed the answer, the full revelation—the story behind the quick answer of 'whodunnit', explaining 'whydunnit'—is still a long time away in the series.

Who was the Alpha that appeared to the Were-Fox on the rooftop, and in that culvert? …Was that Vincent from 'Beauty and the Beast?'

Yes, indeed. The Alpha is an under-explored aspect of Vincent's character from the series 'Beauty and the Beast' (hereafter referred to as B&tB). It was established in the series episode "Everything is Everything" that Vincent is not only empathic with Catherine but has some control over, or means of communicating with, other animals. It's actually the only episode in which Vincent interacted with any animals except the raccoon Arthur, Mouse's pet (and now that I think about it, I can't recall any scenes that had Vincent and Arthur in the same room together.) In "Everything is Everything," Vincent made a pack of trained attack dogs that were threatening Catherine, back off and lie down just by looking at them. He didn't snarl, growl or give any outward show of aggression; he just stood there and looked at them, and they went from snarling attack mode to whining submission to him. Several B&tB fans, myself included, deduced from that scene that Vincent's empathic powers extend to at least part of the animal kingdom, making him a figurative King of the Beasts.

In my series Vincent's Alpha aspect, his power over other creatures, is why the Were-Fox was mostly regarded just as another part of the overall New York Weirdness by the cops in "Eye of the Beholder", instead of a deadly threat to be shot on sight (or even hunted down in a citywide effort, cornered and shot). One thing that the episode made very clear was that the Were-Fox was constantly hungry—not just in the mood for a midnight snack, but hungry. The kind of desperate hunger that makes wild coyotes venture down into suburbia to grab pets out of backyards, and the Were-Fox is much, much bigger than a coyote. And yet, all they depicted the Were-Fox going for was protein-rich groceries; cold, refrigerated eggs, milk and meat from stores and meat-packing companies. While carnivores definitely prefer their food warm; preferably blood-warm, when they can get it. So why didn't the Were-Fox, desperate for food, take a bite out of any of those weak, warm-bodied humans that throng the streets of Manhattan?

Because she'd been told not to, by the Alpha. Even now that he has a wife and children to look after in the world Below, Vincent still makes occasional forays to the world Up Top, as they called it in the series; especially in the month of October, when most people catching a glimpse of him would assume he's just wearing out a Halloween costume on his way to a party. On Fox's first foray as the Were-Fox, she had an encounter with Vincent, who had an immediate moral dilemma; he recognized that the Were-Fox could be a deadly danger to the people of New York, but also sensed that she was human in her essence. So he finally told her that he would let her roam free so long as she didn't hurt any humans, and she obeyed the Alpha. And no, I'm not mistaking foxes for wolves, who have a hierarchal pack structure with an Alpha Wolf at the top, or for dogs that had been bred over the millennia to accept humans as their pack Alphas. I know very well that foxes don't run in packs, any more than feral cats do. But even living mostly solitary lives, foxes occasionally do have power plays over territories and choice of mates, and a subtle hierarchy of dominance can be observed when they're forced into close quarters. And Vincent's empathic power, with the dominance granted him by his very nature, makes him The Alpha of any species that recognizes dominance.

Is Dana in your series really Laura from Beauty and the Beast?

No, Dana is not Laura, the deaf woman of the tunnels that B&tB mostly took place in. But she is from that same community Below.

In B&tB, it was explained that Laura had been found by the community Below as a child, abandoned by her parents because they just couldn't deal with her deafness. The Tunnel people took her in, but as they didn't know Sign language at first, they had a difficult time communicating with Laura, and she still frequently felt isolated from everyone while growing up. As was shown by those heart-breaking scenes with Laura holding ticking clocks and other noisemakers up to her ear, trying to hear them by sheer force of will but never succeeding… Laura desperately wished she could hear like everyone else, believing that was all she needed to be accepted by the world and be happy.

Dana came to the community Below six years later, and she's younger than Laura; during the 1987-1989 time period depicted in the B&tB series, she was one of the crowd of kids that were roughly Samantha and Kipper's age. Dana wasn't abandoned by her parents; they died in a fire when she was four years old. And unlike Laura's parents who were unable to cope, Dana's parents had been learning sign language and teaching it to their daughter before they died. When little Dana fled the foster home she'd been put in and began wandering the streets, looking for her parents (the one person in the local Social Services office who knew sign language had told Dana that her parents had 'gone away', not that they were dead), she was found by one of the community's Helpers and brought Below.

The ID tag Dana's parents had made for her in case of emergency, which Dana wore around her neck, told the people Below where she had come from. And when they visited the address and saw the gutted wreck of her home, and overheard the street talk about the people that had died there, there was no question in anyone's minds about making a home for Dana in their world Below. By that time, Laura had been living below for six years already, and everyone who was interested in learning sign language had already learned it. So Dana had no real problem communicating with the people down there, and she rarely felt the crushing sense of isolation that Laura had so often felt. Dana would like to be able to hear just like most people can, but she can get along just fine from day to day and she has a healthy self-esteem; she's happy with who she is.

Dana is also Father John Sullivan's link to first the community Below, then the Labyrinth. Dana and her parents had members of the catholic priest's parish when he'd accepted his posting there; the October family had been delighted to learn that their new priest knew sign language, and had discussed plans with Father Sullivan to teach a Sunday School class in sign language. But the parents died in the fire just a few months later, and when Dana disappeared from the foster home only a day after being taken there by Social Services, Father Sullivan spearheaded the efforts to find her. He put up 'Missing' signs all over, and eventually a member of the community Below found one of the signs while scrounging for goods they could use. Little Dana had been below for ten days by that time, and had already settled in and become reasonably happy there (children can be quick to adapt to changed circumstances, particularly when welcomed and accepted for who they are.) So Mary, foster mother to most of the orphan children Below, decided to visit the priest herself and see what sort of life Dana could expect if she went back Above.

However, Mary's not as good as she'd like to be at keeping secrets while seeking information from others. Father Sullivan figured out from the strange woman's questions about how an orphaned deaf child would fare, that she was acquainted with Dana and probably knew where Dana was. So when Mary left, the priest decided to follow her. He managed to track her as far as the nearest entrance to Below, but got lost in the tunnels and wandered for hours, before a sentry took pity on him and guided him back to the surface. Guided him back with a warning to never come below the city streets again, but Father Sullivan is a stubborn man. He came back the next day with a sack lunch and a sleeping bag, retraced his steps to the point where the sentry had met him, then sat down and refused to budge until he saw Dana with his own eyes, and confirmed that she was happy where she was. Eventually they relented and Mary brought Dana to him, with Vincent lurking in the shadows as an unseen guardian.

In the midst of their joyful reunion, Father Sullivan signed a series of questions to Dana, asking her if she was happy and what her new friends were like. Dana replied in Sign that she was happy, and she had made lots of friends, including Samantha and Kipper and Vincent the big lion-man. Mary swallowed hard but said nothing, and Father Sullivan asked if he could meet this Vincent. He'd thought Dana was referring to a giant stuffed animal, but the little girl hopped to her feet and ran back down the tunnel before Mary could stop her; ran straight to where Vincent was lurking in the shadows, and started tugging on his cloak hem… and the rest is history. Father Sullivan has been one of the Helpers to the community Below ever since. And since the events of 'Revelations of the Labyrinth', he's been a helper to the Labyrinth as well. Dana is 20 years old in 1996; rather young to be married to Claw (he's 27), but they're happy together.

Claw knows about the community Below, as does Malibu (how that happened, was explained in 'Kimberly's Ramblings 4'), but they're keeping their promises to tell no one else in the Labyrinth about the other community living below the city streets. The world Below depends on secrecy even more than the Labyrinth does for its survival, or at least the survival of one of its people; Vincent's wife Catherine, who is still wanted by the Illuminati. Heinrich knows about Vincent, whom he met briefly in 'Housing Issues', but not about the community Below; he's currently under the impression that Vincent lives in the Labyrinth with Malibu. And now that Heinrich is up in the castle and accepted by the gargoyles living there, and has no compelling reason to fight his claustrophobia and visit the Labyrinth Clan (other than to see Malibu, but Malibu is also welcome to visit the castle), he's not apt to discover his error any time soon.

Clear skies,

Kimberly T.