Midnight Sun #1
Written by Matt Hamilton, Edited by
Part 1 of "Ebon Dreams and Ivory Prizes"
A dream? Yes. A dream.
A faceless mask. My own face. Deep purple, so dark as to almost be black.
My disembodied head floats in an ebon sea, the ripples reflecting the stars above and below.
Suddenly the mask cracks, like a tectonic plate ruptured by quakes below. The two halves pull apart, revealing-
The vision changes. Now I look out from behind my eyes, into the blackness beyond. The stars begin to move, parting like curtains.
Behind them, the face of a stranger. A girl. Not old.
Blue skin. Not blue like a Kree. Deep, dark blue. Her eyes, too, are blue. Her lips are ivory white.
I know her, this stranger. I have never met her, but I know her. Her memories are mine, and mine hers.
"Will you wake now, Midnight Sun?"
Abruptly the dream ended, and Midnight Sun felt his eyes open. The girl sitting next to him on his bed wouldn't have known that, however, as his outwardly opaque mask still covered his face. The only indication of facial features on the mask were its two bright yellow eyes, always open. Nor could he speak to show that he was conscious, for he was mute.
So he raised his head in a small nodding gesture.
"Excellent," the girl spoke again. "I will leave you for a time, while you . . . prepare yourself for the day ahead." She gestured at a small panel on the wall above his head. "When you are ready for me to return, press this button. Ok?"
Once more he nodded, and sat up to watch the girl leave. It was the girl from his dream - dark blue skin, and bright white lips. A gold tunic covered her from neck to knees, and matching boots rode half way up her calves. Her hair, too, was golden, and she wore it in twin pony tails. Midnight Sun could not guess at her age, although she was at least in her late teens. He knew too little of these Inhumans to judge.
Cerabel. He knew her name, as she had known his. How could this be? His memory had not failed him - he had definitely never met the girl. Worried that he might be amnesic, he attempted to recall the previous day's events:
Midnight Sun remembered spying the Silver Surfer as he sped past Earth's moon. He recalled the brief period where he had endeavored to make the sky-rider understand him, only to be attacked. They had fought for a while, and then had been interrupted by some sort of moonquake.
Now he realized that it was the voice of Black Bolt which had interrupted them. Even with the moon's almost non-existent atmosphere carrying it, the Inhuman's voice had knocked both of them from their feet.
Moments later, Black Bolt had agreed to take him in, offering shelter and sanctuary. Time enough for Midnight Sun to find his own destiny.
The latter part of the previous day had been spent tending to his wounds from his second fight with the Silver Surfer. Clearly the Kree had made a terrible mistake when they had decided to pit him against a herald of Galactus! In every way he was outclassed by the sky-rider.
The last thing he recalled was being shown to his room by one of Black Bolt's lackeys. He had no recollection of Cerabel, save from the dream he had just awoken from.
Once he had oriented himself, Midnight Sun reached over and touched the button on the panel above his bed. He then sat at a small table nearby, and waited for Cerabel to return.
Lost in thought, he didn't hear the door slide open, or the girl enter. She was sitting opposite him before he even realised that she was there.
"Hello, again," she said, her white lips spreading into a warm smile.
Midnight Sun longed to return the greeting. And the smile. Once more, however, all he could do was nod.
"Do not worry, Midnight Sun. In time you will be able to return my greeting."
Wha-? She had echoed his very thoughts! Could she-
"-read minds? Yes, my friend. I am a telepath, one of many among the Inhumans. I have been assigned to care for you during your stay here. I will be your voice, much like our queen Medusa is to her husband, Black Bolt."
Resigned that this strange girl could hear him think, Midnight Sun responded. «Black Bolt is not a mute. I have heard him speak.»
"Yes, indeed you have. But you are one of the few. For Black Bolt's voice is a powerful tool."
«Yes. It gave pause to even the Silver Surfer, one whose power I greatly respect.
«Tell me, Cerabel: How is it that I know your name? I cannot read minds, as you can.»
"My friends call me Bell." The girl giggled. "Doesn't really matter, for you, does it?" Bell seemed to catch herself, and again took on a serious tone. "Anyway: Do you remember your dream last night, Midnight Sun? I was in it, if you recall. During the last few minutes of your sleep I was in here with you, and I entered your mind. You know much about me now, and I you. We share a bond."
«Then you know of my past. What little of it that I recall, anyway.»
"Your first memory is being brought back to life by Kree scientists, and instructed to kill the Silver Surfer." Once again Bell's speech suddenly reverted to that of a young girl. "Kill the Silver Surfer? I've read about him! He's powerful! Perhaps as powerful as Black Bolt! How did they expect you to-
"You were transported to a battle currently being fought between the Kree and Skrull empires, and ejected into space to distract the Surfer and perhaps sway the tide of battle. Despite gaining an advantage with a kind of energy-dampening 'fog', you were defeated by the Surfer and picked up by a Kree salvage vessel later."
«My powers are no match for the Surfer's. The Kree should have realized this. They were fools to think of me as anything but a minor annoyance to the herald.»
"It is a tribute to your skills that you are alive today, having faced the Surfer twice now. Whatever the Kree have done to your physiology, you are incredibly durable."
«My costume is comprised of bio-organic armor. It enables me to survive in space, and shields me from all but the most potent of energy blasts. Only kinetic weapons, such as your King's voice, are able to hurt me physically.»
"Indeed. And what of the fog?"
«We had led the Surfer to believe that it was ejected from a Kree ship. In truth, the fog is a tangible darkness, which I am able to pull from a 'dark dimension.' I have faint memories of other individuals with similar abilities, but from where I cannot recall.»
"Well, we have one or two folks who can do it. There are more on Earth, including some who can actually enter that dimension and travel through it."
«Perhaps my memories are from Earth? I was drawn to it after escaping the Kree. It is why I am here on this moon.»
"Yes. I have sensed fragments of memory from your previous life, which undoubtedly took place on Earth. I know that you want to return there, but you must remain here for a time, while your injuries heal. You may find that your destiny lies somewhere other than among the humans. After all, you share so much in common with us."
«How do you mean, Cerabel?»
The girl's white lips once again curled into a smile. "Bell, please! Well, let's see. For starters you are a creation of the Kree, like us. The Inhumans were genetically engineered from human stock thousands of years ago by Kree scientists."
«You were abandoned, while I was turned upon. Only my creator had the compassion to let me go free, rather than kill me.»
"Yes. The Kree seem to be in the habit of discarding their creations when they're no longer needed."
The two sat silently for a few seconds, one reflecting on his own history, the other on the history of her people.
Continued in Midnight Sun #2! Now leave us your comments below!
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