January 07, 2011

From Prose to Comics to Sceenplay

2010. Done. Gone. Unless you have a time machine (ala Timeslingers), then you're stuck with 2011. No going back.

2010 was an interesting year. Nathan and I worked on the Timeslingers ebook (which should be self-published sometime in early 2011), we worked on a new comic book series called The Standard (which is still being developed), and I started working on a screenplay based on The Standard. Not to mention beginning some work on Season 2 of Timeslingers. It didn't feel like much when I was working on it, but if I look back...I accomplished quite a bit. More than I anticipated, at least.

On the personal side of things, my wife and I acquired a cat (Addie Mae), my mother relapsed with her cancer (which is now in her bones - your prayers are appreciated), I spent more money on my house than I care to think about, and I ingested quite a few books and comic books.

It was a fascinating year. Questions for you, as you read this...how was your 2010? What'd you work on? How did the year pan out? And what would you like me to blog about? I'm all out of ideas!

April 20, 2010

The Talking Dolphin and the Volcano

"Where is she? Is she back?"

Clint Sampson stormed into the underwater laboratory's control room. Bright crimson spread across his forehead and cheeks. His team knew the look well. Clint's temper burned so hot it could burn a hole through the sun. But this expression was different. This outburst was laced with worry.

Elena glanced at Darius, and then back at Clint. "We haven't heard from her."

No one but Clint could bear the burden of his daughter's disappearance. The two had fought hours earlier, and she had snuck out into the ocean alone shortly thereafter. No one was allowed out into the field alone, but Clint's daughter had managed to sneak out without anyone noticing. Clint checked his watch.

"What time did she leave?"

Dr. Arlington, the team's oceanographer and desk agent, shook his head. He had been checking the exit chamber's security camera for the last ten minutes. "At least an hour and a half, maybe longer."

Clint swore. "She's running out of air." He strode to the locker where his underwater tactical suit was located.

"You can't go after her," said Dr. Arlington. "It's not safe."

"My daughter is going to die unless we do something now!"

Clint's gray eyes could cut corregated steel. The muscles in his wide, powerful jaw flexed as determination took strides toward desperation. Head of Central Ocean Research for the Environment (or C.O.R.E.), Clint had spent his entire life investigating one of the earth's last unexplored frontiers. But the ecosystem that had made his life was in the process of ruining it.

"The volcano is still active," said Dr. Arlington, C.O.R.E.'s head of environmental impact. "It's suicide. I can't let you-"

"It's not your call," said Clint. "Open the chamber,"

Clint pushed past the doctor and headed for the transfer chamber that would give him access to the watery world outside the plastic confines of the research facility.

Darius, the bombastic, adventure-seeking technician, swore. He'd been working for Clint long enough to know that his boss was reckless enough to get himself killed. And if there was any hope of finding Tricia, Clint's daughter, it would have to be a team effort. "Wait for me, boss! You know the rules, nobody goes it alone."

Elena frowned. She approached the doctor. "We're gonna need the DCS."

"It's not ready," said the doctor.

"It's good enough."

Arlington's lips pursed, but he offered a curt nod and headed for the huge tank adjacent to their headquarters.

"DCS?" Clint asked.

"Dolphin Communication System," said Arlington.

"Dolphin...what?" asked Darius.

"Communication System," said Elena. "It's a device that interprets the electrical signals in the dolphin's brain and then communicates the results back to us."

"You're saying they can talk to us?"

"No," corrected the doctor. "The dolphin's sonar is being analyzed by a sophisticated algorithm that determines exactly what the dolphin is experiencing in real time. That data is relayed through the mainframe, which interprets the message and give us a visual and verbal confirmation."

"Right," said Darius. "So the dolphin talks...great."

Clint pulled on his underwater tactical suit, finishing with the helmet. His voice came through the lab's loudspeaker. "My daughter has fifteen minutes of air left, if that. Open the chamber. Let's go!"

Darius and Elena scrambled to get their tactical suits on as Dr. Arlington moved to the tank in search of his special dolphin.
_ _ _

Clint led Darius and Elena into the ocean's depths. The ocean's cold, black blanket wrapped itself around the rescue team as they descended toward the jagged mountain range rising out of the ocean's floor. The team's only respite from the darkness was the brilliant yellow flashes of light that pierced through the shadows every time the volcano spewed magma from its gaping fissure. A massive column of white smoke laced with deadly sulphur billowed toward the surface. Getting too close to the volcano meant instant death.

Dr. Arlington's voice came through the speaker system in each team member's tactical suit. "The seismic energy is growing! Another fissure could open at any minute! It's not to late to-" 

"I'm not turning back!" said Clint. "Where was Tricia's last location?"

"She shut off the GPS, but I know the general direction in which she was headed. It looks like she made for the cave system we discovered yesterday. I've instructed the DCS to search there first."

The razor-sharp maze of reef surrounding the mountain range loomed. Caverns, caves, and corridors littered the reef. Clint's daughter was lost somewhere in that labrynth.

"Three humans at ten meters." Came a strange, electronic voice through their headsets.

Darius nearly lost his ski as he flinched in surprise. "Who was that?"

"The DCS," said Elena. "The dophin."

A shadow glided past them as the dolphin sped toward the reef. Clint cranked up the ski's power and headed after the dolphin. Elena and Darius followed suit.

Seconds later they reached the cave system. The dolphin paused at the entrance and circled. "Cavern reached. Awaiting orders."

"I'm sending her in," said Arlington.

The dolphin completed one last circle before darting through the opening. The team followed. The narrow opening led to a long corridor that became even more confined as they continued downward. The walls began to get closer. And then, a tremor ran through the passageway. Loose debris swirled through the corridor, blinding them.

Clint cursed. "Visibility just went straight to hell."

"Seismic activity is off the charts. Something is about to happen. We need to find Tricia fast!" said Arlington. "The dolphin navigates with sonar. It'll be fine. Hurry!"

Soon, the walls were so close the team had to travel in single file.

"This is getting dicey," said Darius. "What was she doing this far in?"

Before Elena could answer the dolphin's electronically interpreted voice spoke, "Body found."

"That's her!" Arlington exclaimed. "From what I can see based on the dolphin's sonar it looks like she's pinned underneath something. She's unconscious."

Clint reached her first. A narrow part of the passage had caved in, pinning Tricia to the reef. The team jumped into action. All three put all their strength into pushing the pieces of reef off Tricia's back.

"Just a few bruises, maybe a concussion, but her oxygen is almost gone," Clint said. His voice relayed a hint of hope for the first time. "Let's get her back!"

Another severe tremor ran down the mountain range's spine. The corridor shook violently. The sand, dust, and debris thickened within the chamber. A blinding yellow light flashed from somewhere below them, shooting through the holes in the reef system. The light was so bright Darius shielded his eyes.

Elena spun. "I can't see a thing!"

"A fissure just opened up underneath you!" Arlington said. "You have to get out, now!"

Clint twirled his ski back around, grabbed Tricia, and started back down the corridor. "Go! Go! Go!"

"Where? I don't even know which way is up!" shouted Darius.

The dolphin snaked past them and darted through the passageway.

"Follow her!" said Arlingotn.

The team chased after the dolphin as it swam through the narrow passageways. A huge cloud of white smoke began drifting up toward them. Elena's eyes widened at the sight of the smoke. If it reached them, they could die.

Just as they were about to reach the exit the dolphin stopped. Their path was blocked by a mass of collapsed reef. The team's morale sunk as the boiling water and white smoke drifted ever closer. Bright flashes of light shone through holes in the reef. The temperature inside the caves rose.

"We're stuck!" said Darius.

The dolphin sped past him and darted into an adjacent passageway. Clint didn't wait for Arlington to tell him what to do, he kicked his ski into gear and raced after the dolphin. Another earthquake struck. The reef walls rattled. Pieces of rock toppled over all around them.

And then the dolphin disappeared.

Another exit opened was right in front of them. They burst out into the open ocean as white smoke engulfed the reef.

_ _ _

Back on the surface of the water, above the underground lab, Dr. Arlington leaned over the side of the boat to stroke the dolphin's glistening gray skin.

"Good girl!" he said. "It worked! The DCS worked brilliantly! And she performed like a champion!"

Clint nodded. He glanced sideways at Tricia and hugged her closer. "Saved my daughter's life. I owe that dolphin a drink."

"Maybe we could get a big pool? She'd make a great pet!" said Tricia. Her smile was enough to make the team breath a deep sigh of relief. If they'd found her any later she would have died. They'd barely made it out alive themselves.

"A pool? After what you pulled? How about, you're grounded! No more water for you, young lady," said Clint. Tricia gave him a hurt look, and he relented. A smile even graced his lips. "And I guess I could work on being a better father. We'll call it even."

Tricia smiled, which brought a smile to everyone else on the team.

"I still don't get how she talks," said Darius. "I mean that's pretty amazing."

"Indeed," said the doctor. "In fact, she told me she found you very ugly."

Darius' mouth dropped open until he saw the sly smile on the doctor's face. Elena chuckled, and then shoved Darius over the boat's side. He splashed into the water. Even the dolphin chortled.

"I'm just glad I've got you back," Clint said to Tricia.

The two shared a long embrace.

April 17, 2010

Saturday Special: Comic Book Prose!

I'm working on a fight sequence for the comic book Nathan and I are creating. Felt like I needed to flesh it out in prose before I took on the attempt at making panels. Here's a prose preview of The Standard: Issue #2:

The Northern Club - Las Vegas, 1938

“No! Please! Somebody help!”

I wake from disturbing dreams to the sound of some dame screaming. Rolling off of the stiff mattress, I grab my firearm off the nightstand and dash to the door. She sounds like she’s right outside my room, in the hotel’s only hallway. I yank the door open and explode into the narrow corridor.

“Here! Take it back! I was just joshin’, mister!”

A young hooker, maybe eighteen or nineteen, has her back against the hallway’s far wall. Her face is frozen in fear, contorted into an expression of pure terror, and she’s holding out a hand full of stolen twenty-dollar bills as if it’ll buy her life back.

A colossal brute of a man fills up the hallway between her and me. He’s an unnatural giant wearing only a pair of slacks and a white undershirt without sleeves. His arms ripple with muscles I didn’t know the human body had and he’s got a knife in his right hand—as if this colossus needs a blade against the petite pretty he’s got pinned to the wall.

“There a problem here?” I ask. Not that I want to. This guy could tear me in half. The dead weight of my gun feels awfully good.

The monster turns slightly to look back over his shoulder at me. His hair is a mess and his teeth are barred like a glowering gorilla. But the creepiest part, the part that sends a chill up my spine, is that his eyes are pure midnight—no whites, just black and smoldering pupils. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I know this guy. This guy’s a buddy of mine—the guy that I just rode into town with yesterday. Only now he looks like he’s possessed by the devil himself.


Something in my voice doesn’t want to believe it. I mean, the guy has grown a full foot in height, not to mention adding a hundred pounds of pure muscle. It’s crazy. I suddenly wonder if I’m still dreaming.

He takes one step forward and roars as he slices the knife through the air at my head. I duck, but I can feel the blade slide within inches of my cranium. The knife’s blade punches right through the wall and sticks. Clift bellows out in anger and swipes his left arm at me in a sweeping backhand blow. It catapults me into the air and sends me reeling. The wall comes at me like a freight train. I grunt as the wind gets knocked out of me. That’s when I feel my fingers lose their grip on the pistol.

I scramble back out of the way as he grabs the knife and yanks it out of the wall. He doesn’t recognize me. If it’s even him. I’m beginning to think someone or something has taken over his body.

“Clift! It’s me, Sam! What the–”

He hurls the knife at me. I expect my life to flash before my eyes, but I doesn’t. Instead, the world starts to slow down. The knife twirls through the air, coming at me in slow motion. I have enough time to frown and tilt my head to the side as it flies past. That’s when the ‘I’m still dreaming’ explanation starts to feel a lot more comforting. But I don’t have time to pinch myself yet. Time jumps back to normal pace as the knife clatters across the floor somewhere behind me.

Clift charges. As he gets closer it happens again. Time slows to a crawl. I duck under his haymaker punch and slide past him. That’s when I realize that it’s not time that has slowed down, it’s me. I’ve sped up.

I scramble back down the hallway toward the girl as Clift’s grotesque growl gets guttural. We both lock our eyes on my pistol. It’s halfway between the both of us. His lip snarls. His eyes are pure hate. If he gets his hands on me he’ll tear me limb from limb.

He takes a lumbering lunge forward. I use my newly acquired speed to dart for the gun. I slide underneath his diving tackle and snatch the pistol off the wood floorboards. He sails over me and slams into the ground. The hallway quivers as if an earthquake hit.

Scrambling to my feet, I lift my pistol and aim. But Clift’s back to normal size, the way he was yesterday when I saw him last. He’s on his back groaning. I take a few hesitant steps toward him as the young woman flies past me in a flurry of motion and darts downstairs.


He blinks. I can see his eyes now. They’re normal, like a human being’s eyes should be. Pupils. Whites. The whole shebang.

“What the–” he says. “How’d I–”

“It’s just a dream,” I say, even though I’m beginning not to believe it myself. I pinch my arm to be sure. I don’t wake up. “N-nothing to, ah, nothing to worry about.”

“What’s going on up here?” asks Patrick Sullivan, the local mob leader. He appears at the top of the stairs with Glenn, the third member of our little gang. Sullivan looks pissed. “Sonofa- what are you doing?”

The dreams I had last night start coming back to me. This is just the beginning. I need to get on that train. I need to meet the Prophet.

April 12, 2010

Memories of Paradise

"I remember this place."

She dipped the tip of her big toe into the placid pool and watched the concentric circles glide across the surface. Her head tilted to the side as the tiny little black fish swimming in the pool nibbled at her skin. The warm smile that appeared brought tears to my eyes. I swallowed the lump in my throat.

"I thought you'd like it," I said.

"Oh, I do!" she said. Her deep brown eyes shimmered as they turned to meet mine. "Thank you."

I fought every impulse to look away--seconds so precious would cost too much. "I-I'm sorry."

"For what?"

A tear slid down my cheek. And then another. I blinked them away. I needed to see her face. Her lips. The supple cheeks that I longed to caress. Even the rounded tip of her nose. I needed to memorize it--to keep it so close as to let it become a part of me.

"It's okay, darling."

I shook my head. "I'm not going to--I can't be okay."

Her smile softened, "But you will." She looked away. Her head fell back as she let the cool trade winds toussel her hair. The stars danced in her pupils with a thousand pinpoints of light. When her eyes found mine again my heart skipped a beat--the same way it had so many years ago when we'd first met.

We'd been so young, then. So full of life. I took a deep breath. "Don't ever leave me."

She wrapped her arms around me. Our lips pressed tightly together. I held her as though I would never lose her again.

She whispered gently in my ear. "I love you."

Her warm tears intermingled with my own as time began to fall away. The cool touch of the breeze faded out. The muted moonlight sucked the twinkling stars into an unconscious black. I held onto her as long as I could, and then even the heavenly sensation of her skin dulled.

_ _ _

When I opened my eyes only the tears were still there. Flourescent beams replaced the beautiful moonlight. Heat pumping through the airducts took the place of the island breeze. There was no pond. No fish. No trees.

"Mr. Salazar," said the nurse. "I'm sorry, but the transmission window has passed. The impulses in her brain just faded away. I need you to sit up, now. Can you do that for me?"

She helped me into a seated position and peeled back the nueral trasmitters attached to my head. I ignored the litany of other instructions and tried to remember those last moments. My wife lay peacefully in the hospital bed across the room. Pushing myself up, I shuffled to my wife's side, and took her hand in mine.

"Sir? Did the location you selected appear? Did the neural transmission generate the proper memory? Were you able to communicate with her before she passed?"

I leaned down, kissed my wife's forehead, and whispered back,

"I love you, too, my dear."

April 10, 2010

The Elephant and the Mammoth

Brief children's story inspired by Chris Samnee's topic suggestion:

The shade of the massive tree overlooking the watering hole felt cool and refreshing to Maratma's gray, wrinkled skin. Still, the two-year-old elephant soon grew restless. Peering up at her mother, she tried on her most innocent expression and pleaded, "Mom, can I go out into the water?"

Nembula, Maratma's mother, let out an exacerbated sigh. "You can't sit still, can you, Mara?" A sly smile crept onto the little elephant's face as she shook her head. Nembula did her best to giver her daughter a disapproving look, but she quickly gave up the fight. "Okay, fine, but stay close!"

Maratma ("Mara" for short) nearly jumped for joy. Thanking her mother, she sauntered out into the watering hole and began to explore the long shoreline of the massive pond. She walked, played, and sang to herself as she dipped her trunk into the water and tossed it over her back to cool off her skin. Soon, she was lost in her imaginary world. That's when things started to go wrong.

First, Mara lost track of time. Next, she lost track of her mother and her tribe. Then, she realized that she was just plain lost. She had no idea where she was. Her eyes widened and her heartbeat began to race. She'd never been lost before, and it was downright scary. She grew very quiet and listened. The thick forest surrounding the watering hole produced the strangest noises. She'd never noticed them before, and they sounded so foreign and frightening. Even the trees in this part of the forest seemed to lean farther over into the watering hole, making for long, creepy shadows that stretched out across the water.

Mara looked back the way she'd come. Nothing about the shoreline looked familiar. She called out, "Momma! Momma!" But no one answered. This part of the watering hole felt different. She backed a little farther out into the water and sat down. The water no longer felt cool and refreshing. Now it felt cold and unfriendly. Sinking lower and lower into the water, she suddenly felt very alone. And that's when she started to cry.

As the first tear slid down her cheek she heard something. Her giant ears twitched. Her heart beat even faster. Had she heard something walking through the forest close by or was it just her imagination?

"Hello? Is someone there?"

Suddenly, the foliage burst open to reveal a creature not much different than Mara. Startled, she jumped to her feet and watched as a small boy elephant with long, reddish-brown hair and short, developing tusks splashed into the watering hole. He stopped when he finally noticed that someone else was there. His eyes were almost as wide as Mara's.

"Are you crying?" he asked.

"No," Mara said. "I--You just splashed water in my eyes, that's all!"

"No I didn't!" He said indignantly.

When he shook his head the strands of hair covering his body swayed back and forth. For some reason it made Mara giggle. She didn't have any hair, but his body was covered with it!

"What are you laughing about?"

"You!" she said. "You're all hairy!"

"Of course I am! I'm a wooly mammoth!"

"I've never seen a mammoth before," said Mara.

"Well, it's your lucky day," he said. "We don't normally come this far south, but Papa says we have to so we can eat. We've been pretty hungry lately."

"Oh, well, I'm sure you could have some of our food."

"Really? Where is it?"

Mara shrugged, and for a split second the fear of being lost returned. "Actually, I--I'm not sure. I'm lost."

"You're lost? Well... where did you come from?"

Mara glanced back over her shoulder. "That way, I think."

"I have a pretty good sense of direction," said the boy elephant. "If I help you find your way back could you give me something to eat?"

Overjoyed at the prospect of finding her mother again, Mara quickly agreed.

"My name's Pompulu," the little mammoth said. "But most people call me Pomp."

"My name's Maratma," she said. "But you can call me Mara."

So, off the two elephants went, splashing and playing in the watering hole on their way back to where Mara's tribe had been staying. It didn't take long for them to come upon the first sign of Mara's camp. Three boy elephants, all slightly older than Mara, roughhoused in the shallows of the watering hole. Mara lifted her trunk in a greeting, but when they saw her, all three boys froze.

"What's this all about?" asked Grudel, the oldest of the boys. They gathered into a tight group and glared at Pomp. "Who's he? What's he doing here?"

"He's hungry," said Mara. "His tribe is here looking for food."

"All the food around here is ours, hair ball," snarled Grudel. The other two boys raised their trunks in agreement and honked rudely. Grudel shook his head, "Go home, freak!"

"I was lost!" Mara said. "He helped me find my way back!"

"He's not welcome here," said Grudel.

"Why not?"

Pomp interrupted. "It's okay, Mara. I'll just go back-"

"Yeah he will!" said Grudel's friend, Dargan. "Back to the rest of his hairy, ape-like friends!"

Pomp's face flushed. He honked loudly, lifted his left leg, and then slapped the water with it. That made the three elephants recoil and prepare for a scuffle. Mara intervened.

"Wait! He helped me!" said Mara. "Leave him alone! Come on, Pomp, let's leave these three to their stupid games."

"You shouldn't play with him, Mara," said Grudel. "You'll grow hair all over, just like him."

Mara ignored the comment and led Pomp back into the forest and out of sight of the other boys. Pomp still seemed upset, but Mara hoped he would soon forget Grudel and his friends. "Look, you wait here and I'll go get some food for you, okay?"

"I don't know. Maybe I should just go-"

"No! You helped me and I said I'd bring you food! I'll be right back."

Pomp reluctantly agreed and Mara trotted back to her camp. There, her mother and some of the others were talking in hushed tones. Mara caught only bits and pieces of their conversation, but she knew they must be talking about the mammoths.

"...this far south?"

"...can't be good. We'd better be careful..."

"...and keep our children within sight!"

When Nembula say her daughter trot into camp she quickly broke away from the gossiping elephants and scolded Mara. "Where have you been? I was getting worried!"

"I was just-"

"It doesn't matter. Go get ready for dinner!"

"But I have to-"

"No 'buts,' Mara!" said Nembula. "Get along, now!"

Nembula moved back into her circle of friends. Mara frowned and pretended to get ready for dinner while she gathered food to take back to Pomp. When she had nestled enough vegetables in her trunk to feed Pomp, she waited until her mother wasn't looking, and then snuck off into the forest.

When she reached the area where she had left Pomp he was nowhere to be found. That's when she heard a commotion coming from somewhere deeper into the forest. Hurrying through the brush, she came upon a circular clearing and stopped.

The three boys, Grudel, Dargan, and Tribulun, had surrounded Pomp in the center of the clearing. They were taunting him and kicking dust into his thick coat of hair. Pomp looked angry and scared. Mara dropped the vegetables and was about to rush to Pomp's aid when the tree line on the other side of the clearing parted. Two massive trees toppled over as a giant wooly mammoth crashed into the clearing and announced his arrival with a loud, angry honk.

The three elephant boys quickly retreated as the mammoth lumbered over to Pomp's side. The hulking mammoth had long, intimidating tusks and its body was covered in layers of long brown hair. It raised its trunk into the air and barked at the elephant boys again.

Another deafening honk sounded to Mara's right. Humanaram the Elder and two other adult male elephants from her tribe rushing into the clearing. The three boys hid behind them as they sauntered into the clearing to face the mammoth.

"What are you doing here?" asked Humanaram. "This is our watering hole. You are not welcome here!"

The mammoth snorted. "Food grows scarce in the north."

"The food here is ours. The watering hole is ours," said Humanaram. "Go away. Do not return here again."

Mara felt sorry for the mammoths, and she felt betrayed by her own tribe. Pomp had been so helpful, and the elders were ignoring the needs of the mammoths. Frustrated, she jogged into the clearing.

"But he helped me!" she called out. All eyes turned to her, which made her feel very small. But, having already made up her mind, she continued, "I was lost and Pomp helped me find my way home!"

"Quiet young one," chided Humanaram. "You know not what you say."

"But, it's true, he-"

"Enough! They are not like us, Maratma! They do not belong here. This is our land. They must go."

The older mammoth nudged Pomp. The two put their heads down in shame and walked back to the edge of the forest. Grudel and his friends sneered, but Mara ignored them. Rushing back to where she had dropped the vegetables, she gathered them into her trunk and then raced back to where the two mammoths had disappeared. She caught up with them a short while later. The older mammoth was scolding Pomp.

"You cannot wander off like that, my son," he said. "These lands are not ours. These creatures are not like us."

"But they are like us!" said Pomp. "They just don't have any hair!"

"It is more complicated than that."

Mara honked gently to get their attention. They turned in unison. Mara didn't have anything good to say, so she just held the vegetables out. Pomp glanced up at the older mammoth, who nodded his permission. Pomp hurried forward to Mara while the older mammoth continued walking. At first, neither of them knew what to say.

Finally, Mara sighed, "I'm really sorry."

"It's okay."

"I don't understand."

"Neither do I."

"But, they should not have treated you like that, even if you are hairy," she said. Pomp just shrugged. Mara continued, "Well, I'll never treat you that way. None of you. As far as I'm concerned we're in the same tribe."

Pomp seemed to brighten up a bit. "I like that."

"So, we can still be friends?" asked Mara. "Even if we never see each other again?"

Pomp looked back at where the older mammoth had vanished, and then looked back at Mara. He smiled broadly and nodded. "I'd like that."

"Then it's settled. We're friends. Thanks for helping me get back home."

The two talked for another minute before the older mammoth barked for Pomp to catch up. Rolling his eyes, Pomp said goodbye and trotted back into the forest. Mara hesitated before heading back to her tribe. The way they had treated Pomp had upset her. Snorting in disgust, she made a promise to herself that no matter how different another creature was, she would still respect them and help them however she could.