Supergirl (Kara of Rokyn):

    Kal & Lyla

    Part 3

    by DarkMark

Both Kara and Van were surprised to see the holoscan of the man at their door.  Van-Zee.  Superman’s cousin, and his double.

It was Van-Ol’s home, but Kara said, “Let me answer it, he’s my relative.”  And she did.  Both of them had been joined in a scripting session, and didn’t expect any visitors.  But Van knew where she was, because she wanted to be in contact with him.  She opened the door.

“Hi, stranger,” she said with a smile.

Van, in a red and green suit, looked a bit tired.  “Hello, Kara.  May I come in?”

She stepped to the side and motioned him inward.  Van-Zee entered, nodded at Van-Ol, and plopped himself onto a hovercouch.  “I’ve been doing some thinking,” he said.  “A lot.”

“You have our divided attention,” said Van-Ol.  “We’re trying to do a script.”

Kara seated herself beside her cousin, clasping her hands between her knees.  “You’ll have to excuse my partner’s rudeness,” she said.  “I’ll belt him after you leave.  What’s on your mind?”

Van-Zee sighed and shook his head.  “I have to be crazy to do this.  I really have to.”

The other two kept silent and kept their attention focused on him.  When he didn’t say anything, Kara piped up.  “Tell us why you want to do it, cousin.”

“Because you wanted me to, first of all,” he said.  “Also, as you pointed out, I’m one of the few folks on this planet who looks enough like Kal to pull it off without photomasking.  But there’s more to it than that.”

Both of them waited on him.

“Kal-El was the one who saved the City from Brainiac.  We all know that.  But you, Kara, don’t feel it the way Van and I do...you’re from Argo.  I owe...”  He paused.  “...a lot to him.  I’ve expressed it before, in my way.  If you need me to try, if you think I can do it...I’m in.”

After a moment, Kara smiled.  “Okay,” she said.

“Okay?”  He looked at her.

“Okay means we get you some coaching, get you a reading, get you a screen test.  If you convince us and convince the producers, maybe you’re in.”

“Well, all right,” he said, tentatively.

“There’s a bit more to it than that.  Does Sylvia mind you kissing someone else on screen?”

“I’ll ask her.”

“Especially when that someone else will be me?”  She grinned.

“I’ll ask her about that, too.”

“It isn’t gonna be easy,” said Van-Ol.  “You have the looks.  You’ve got some presence.  But professional acting...it’s different from anything you’ve been into before.  You’ll need prep.  But most of it’ll have to come from you.  From inside.”

Kara looked at her cousin, seriously.  “Last chance to get out, Van, if you want to.”

“I’m in,” said Van-Zee.

“Then let’s get started.  Van, give him a script.  Let’s try a run-through.”

    -S-

The next day, before the meeting with To-Bin, there was time for research.  Which is what Kara did, conducting an online search through all the records extant from Lyla Lerrol’s time.

Kandor, now the capital of Rokyn, had access to most Kryptonian records through databases which had survived the Bottle Era.  She was able to find the stuff from Lyla’s tenure at the Fort Rozz school.  A few photos of her in teacher groups, which, of course, had been reproduced in the holomags after she got famous.  Some ratings of her by other teachers and her supervisor, which indicated she was a pretty decent language teacher.  An article she’d written sympathetic to Vathlo Island’s black immigrants, who encountered prejudice in greater Krypton’s white society.  Nice, thought Kara.  Only a few Vathlites had survived the Destruction.  Could she write one in?  Maybe.

But hardly anything remained to indicate what Lyla had done between the time she left Fort Rozz and when she came to Kryptonopolis, slightly over a year later.  How had she supported herself?  Had she gone to live with her parents?  

Sitting there in front of her CompUnit, Kara bit her lips.  If she’d had a love affair with her superior, this Yan-Zo, at the Ft. Rozz Education Unit, and produced an illegitimate child, that might explain what happened in between those times.  Kryptonian women didn’t have abortions, except in cases of the child endangering the mother’s life.  Their medical science kept those instances few, indeed.  

Lyla could have put the child up for adoption.  State-run agencies did, by request, keep parentage unknown.  It was frequently handled by contract while the mother was still expectant.  

Was the only time Lyla had seen her baby shortly after birth?  Did she even get to hold her child in her arms?

Kara didn’t like to think about that.

Was she even able to bear children after the birthing?  If not, that might explain why she had cavalierly taken on so many lovers.  But this, she reminded herself, was a train of thought running on very inadequate rails.  She had no evidence that Lyla had an affair, produced a child, or put it up for adoption.  Even Yan-Zo was gone, dead in the Destruction.

Too bad, Kara thought, he hadn’t been a criminal.  So many of those types had survived Krypton’s death that it wasn’t even funny.

For the moment, the lost year of Lyla’s life had to remain a mystery.

She had the comp search for birth records in that time which might have matched Lyla’s specs, but nothing decisive came up.  Besides, she told herself, let’s face it: if Lyla had a child, undoubtedly that child was dead in the Destruction.

Long dead.

Kara put the CompUnit on hold and started getting dressed for her meeting.

    -K-

To-Bin, it was said, held meetings everywhere except in his bathroom.  This time, he was in the heated pool of his estate, with robot servants zipping around on small hoverdiscs to refresh his drink or provide new bowls of munchies.  Neither Kara, Van-Zee, or Van-Ol had bathing suits, but he provided them, and all were sitting in the shallow end of the pool, the three guests facing the head of Ar-Rom Studios.

Kara was glad To-Bin’s gaze, for once, wasn’t riveted to her boobs.  Instead, he was checking out Van-Zee, in a professional manner.  That, she suspected, was why he’d called the swimsuit meeting: to see how his body compared to Superman’s.

“So,” said To-Bin.  “You look like Kal-El, all right.  But can you be him?”

“Well, Tanth Bin, I suppose that’s something we’ll both have to find out,” said Van-Zee, reasonably enough.

“Wrong answer,” snapped To-Bin, pointing two fingers at him.  “Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Actors have to have confidence.  I wanted to hear a ‘yes’, not a definite maybe.  This is not a good start, son.”

“It’s an honest start,” said Van-Zee, in a tougher manner.  “I’m not a professional actor.  If you don’t want me, say so and I’ll get out of the pool and get dressed.”

“Didn’t say that,” said To-Bin.

“If I could step in here,” Van-Ol started.

“Don’t,” said Van-Zee, not bothering to look at him.  His gaze was fixed on To-Bin, who gave it back.  “Tell me, Tanth Bin, why you’d want me on this picture.”

To-Bin cracked a smile.  “Defiance.  I like that.”

“Tell me.”

“To start with, you have the looks.  Then, you have the last name.  You’re related to the Hero of Krypton.  That’s good for quite a few bytes of press coverage.  But, like you said, you’re not a pro actor.  This is not so grand.”

“I understand.”  

Kara, looking on silently, thought her cousin was doing just fine.  But she kept silently praying that he wouldn’t somehow put his foot in it.  Then To-Bin spoke again.

“I don’t see any chemistry there,” he said.

Van-Ol tensed, as Van-Zee said, “Where?”

To-Bin nodded towards Kara.  “Between you and her.  You’re supposed to be lovers.  This is supposed to be the most famous love story just before the death of Krypton.  I don’t even see a spark.”

“We haven’t started yet, To,” said Kara.

“I’m married,” said Van-Zee.

“Not in the picture, you aren’t,” said To-Bin.  “Do something for me.  When I say ‘Go’, I want you to turn and face Kara.  I want her to face you.  Don’t touch.  Don’t touch.  But with your eyes, I want to see that you want her.  That you love her. That you have to have her.  If you want this part, that’s what we have to start with.”

Kara took a deep breath.  To-Bin was right.  If they couldn’t convince him they could play lovers, it was a safe bet they wouldn’t convince any audiences.  She had no control over this part of the process, except...maybe...to look as seductive as possible.  But only with her posture, with her eyes, and only for him.

Van-Ol looked at the aspect Kara was putting on, and wished like Sheol he’d see her look that way for him.

For a moment, Kara was afraid Van-Zee wasn’t getting it.  There had to be emotional barriers.  After all, he was a married man, and had to have some inhibitions towards expressing that kind of affection for anyone but his wife Sylvia.  Could he do this sort of make-believe?  Even with her there, in a bikini, putting on all the charm she could?

Then she saw it.  In his eyes, the ardor.  The look of human want, of need, and, beyond that, of admiration and, yes, love.

She gave it back.  To her, he had to be her object of love.  She had to fully don the mantle of Lyla Lerrol, and accept him as Superman.  And if it made her life a little schizoid...that was part of the business.

His breaths were coming deeper, faster.  She willed hers to speed up as well.  But neither of them could touch.  They simply sat there, in the water, looking at each other.  Waiting for the sign.

“Enough,” said To-Bin.

With a sigh, Kara returned to something like normal.  Van seemed to have a harder time of it.  He finally shook his head, blinked, and seemed to come back to himself.  “How was it?” he said.  “Was it okay?”

To-Bin took his time about answering.  “It’s a start.  I’ll want to see you in makeup for a test tomorrow.  Playing a scene with Karaish.  10 sharp.  Be there, or forget even thinking about the part.”

“Thanks,” said Van.

“Now, I think the three of you should get dressed, go home, and leave me to my work,” said To-Bin.  “My very wrinkly work.  Get out of here.”

“With rapidity, T.B.,” said Van-Ol, pulling himself over the side of the pool.  A flying robot brought him a robe, which he put on quickly.  Kara and Van-Zee followed, and were similarly offered robes.

“Do you have to put that on, Kara?” complained Van-Ol.  “I wanna look at you a little longer than that!”

She grinned and stuck her tongue out slightly at him.  Then, to Van-Zee, she said, “Will this make any trouble between you and your wife, Van?”

“I’ll speak to her.  I think she’ll understand.”

“You came through for us okay in that business.  I’m, uh, glad.”

“It was easy.  I just pretended you were Sylvia.”

    -K-

The thing about making a holofilm was that it didn’t give you a lot of time for living while you were doing it.  Kara was better at budgeting her time than she had been when she started acting, but there were still a hell of a lot of things you just had to get through to make a movie.  You were lucky if you just worked a 12-hour day during the process.

She did, however, make time for a dinner date at her parents’ house.  Kara didn’t want to overwhelm them with talk of “Kal & Lyla”, so she tried to talk up Dad’s work at the government engineering job, and Mom’s taking graduate level courses in art theory and history.  The former was especially impressive to her; Kara was no dummy, but she could never hope to equal Zor-El’s head for applied science.  Allura was a passable commercial artist but hoped to end her days as an art teacher, and a lot of her talk of Old Krypton’s art world and how Rokyn was developing its own new traditions were equally fascinating to Kara.

Inevitably, though, the conversation came around to the movie.  “Think there’s a part for your dear old dad in it?” grinned Zor-El, over his plate of veggies.  Allura was trying to make him lose weight by giving up meat, but he ate more than enough vegetable produce to make up for it.  He didn’t give up meat, either.

Kara smiled.  “Maybe a cameo, Dad.  We’ll see.”

“You know, I wasn’t around when all that stuff with Kal and Lyla Lerrol was going on,” remarked Allura, divvying up a pan of bread.  “Zor and I didn’t start dating till after young Kal was born, which was months afterward.  I never met her, myself.”

“Neither did I, really,” said Zor.  “I got to shake hands with Kal, as an adult, that is, not young Kal, but I didn’t have a lot of contact with him then.  I was working on the Dome Project and Jor was busy on the Space Ark.  When Allura met me, I started taking a little time out to date, and Jor had eased up just a bit on the rocket building to help Lara with Kal.  Young Kal, that is.  So as for any first-hand help with the research, ‘fraid you’ve struck out here.”

“Well, I didn’t expect to use you as consultants,” said Kara, buttering her bread.  “Movie stars don’t move around in the same circles as scientists and such, mostly.”  She paused.  “Unless they’re related to them.”

“And it was just one dinner conversation here, not so long ago, that gave you the idea for the picture,” said Allura.  “Should I claim a share of the profits?”

“The way things are going, just pray I can claim a share of them,” said Kara.  “But it’s coming along pretty well.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning Van and I are still fighting the script out.  Sometimes I think it’s tougher than...”  She was about to say Faora Hu-Ul, and realized that’d go over like a stinkbomb at a garden party.  “...than trying to square the circle.”

“So.”  Zor-El lay his hands, palm down, on opposite sides of his plate.  “Mind telling me the answer to the question I’ve had on my mind recently?”

“Depends, Dad.  But ask away.”

“What’s the real reason you’re making this picture?  Or reasons, if you wish?”

She hedged.  “Why do you ask?”

“Call me curious.  Also, since you dreamed it up in our house, I figured I at least have the right to ask.”

“Oh, Zor,” said Allura.  “If our daughter doesn’t want to do the see-all-tell-all thing, why should she?”

“She doesn’t have to,” conceded Zor.  “I’m just curious.  Why Kal?  Why Lyla?”

Kara lifted her head, closed her eyes, and began to speak.

“Because, like you said, it’s one of the great love stories of Old Krypton, just before the Destruction.  Love in the face of certain death...an audience, all audiences, will feel something for that.  Because it has two principal characters most people on Rokyn know about...cousin Kal, and Lyla Lerrol.  Because I’m a woman, and I love a love story, and I think that this film, yes, is a way of showing people I can do something more than just kick butt on a holoscreen.

“But there’s more to it than that.  I want to do it kind of as a gift for Kal.  Mind you, I don’t know what he’ll think about it.  But even though he’s married now, I wanted him to know, and others to know, that he’s not just a sack of muscles in a suit, pushing planets around and saving the universe.  This was his love story, and I want to tell it.

“And there’s me.  I want to see what I look like playing Lyla Lerrol.  If I can pull it off.  That’s a challenge that’s overwhelming, like, oh, playing an actress named Marilyn Monroe would be on Earth.  She’s somebody almost every adult on this planet has seen, in an old movie or still pictures or holos, and trying to put myself in her place and making the audience accept me as her...that’s a challenge.  If I can do it, it raises my stock in the industry.  It also raises my stock with myself.

“Beyond that, there’s something more.  Lyla herself.  Despite all the bios that have been written about her, there’s mystery.  She wasn’t the most public person.  There are areas of her life we can only speculate about.  And Mom, Dad...since I’ve been learning about her, I’ve been empathizing with her.  It wasn’t all glamour and fame and money.  I think, underneath it all, she had a core of sadness.  Kal may have been a way out of that, somebody who could touch her heart as well as her body.  Then he got snatched away.  They say she never recovered, quite, after that.  The Space Explorers was her last movie.  From the day that wrapped until the Destruction, she didn’t make another one.  About three years there, and she only acted in a couple of stage things, lived on her investments, and, if the rumors are true, stopped taking lovers a year or two before...before it all happened.

“In a way, I guess it’s a gift to Lyla, too.  Maybe to let her spirit know, if she’s watching, that we still remember her.  Kind of a ‘Goodbye, Norma Jean’ to her.  That’s it.”

“Goodbye, who?”, said Allura.

“Oh, that’s another Earth reference, sorry.  But if any of that makes sense, that’s why I’m doing it.  At least, why I think I am.  Does it?”

Zor-El nodded.  “It makes sense, Karaish.  A lot of it.  I wish you the very best of luck on it.”  He leaned over and kissed her on the ear.  She hugged him from the side, glad for the zillionth time that he was her father.  Allura, not to be outdone, came over and hugged her as well.  

“Luck from me as well,” whispered Allura.  “But do you think Van-Zee can do the job?”

“We’ll have to see, Mom.  We’ll just have to see.”

    -S-

Two days later, they did.

The set piece was in the zoo of Kryptonopolis, mocked up by the artisans at Ar-Rom Studios with some help from holotechnology.  They did it from extant references, and Zor, who had been to the zoo a good number of times in his youth, felt a satisfying pang of nostalgia when he saw it.  Kara had invited him and Allura to see the filming.  Android animals had been built for the creatures who had to “act”.  The others were dubbed in by holos.  

The scene called for Kal, Lyla, two actors playing Jor-El and Lara, and a batch of extras.  In the movie, as in history, Kal’s parents had surprised him by inviting Lyla along for the holiday.  She was trying to warm things up.  He was still holding back.

(Lyla comes up beside Kal and, unexpectedly, links her arm with his.  He stiffens.  She looks at him.)

LYLA: Something wrong?

KAL: I’m, uh, just...no.  Nothing’s wrong.

LYLA (snickers): I haven’t just taken my arm out of a freezer, Kal.  Please.

(Reluctantly, Kal loosens up a bit and sighs.)

KAL: Sorry.

LYLA (mock-disgustedly): Oh!  (Steers him over to the zoo cage containing a mini-Drang.)  What do you think of this one?

KAL: A Drang.  The miniature variety.  Ancient heroes used to prove their worth by slaying them.  You killed a Drang, you could be a knight.

LYLA: Interesting way of proving one’s...manhood.

KAL (flustered): Yes.  I suppose it is.  

(They move on.  Behind them, we see Lara grin and softly slap Jor-El on the arm.  He nods, looking hopeful but thoughtful, and waves her back.)

LYLA (gesturing to the Thought Beast): And what about this one?

KAL (turns decidedly away from the Thought Beast): It’s a Thought Beast.

LYLA: I...thought so.  (Smirks) Isn’t it the animal that can sense what you’re thinking and put it on the screen between its horns.

KAL (still facing stolidly away from it): I’ve heard it does, yes.

LYLA: Only if you’re...(savoring the minute)...facing it?

KAL (resignedly): Yessss.

LYLA: Well.   I suppose we should get on to something else, shouldn’t we?

KAL: I would really appreciate it if we did.

(Lyla glances briefly at the Thought Beast before they pass on.  Jor-El and Lyra bring up the rear, and Lyla points out the image on the Thought Beast’s screen of Lyla kissing Kal passionately.  She wants to giggle and point it out, but Jor-El covers her mouth with his hand and puts a finger to his lips, insistently.

(Kal and Lyla stop in front of the Flamethrower Beast’s cage.  It’s large, has a big horn on its forehead, and wears a muzzle.)

LYLA: Oh, now, I know this one.

KAL: You should.  It’s the animal the zoo is leasing for the picture.

LYLA: Hopefully with the muzzle still on it.

KAL: Except for the scenes in the safety chamber, it will be.

LYLA: It generates its own fire, internally.  Like a combustion engine.

KAL: Yes.  Yes, it does.

LYLA: (looking at the creature a bit closely) Imagine being able to bring down your dinner on the hoof and roast it, all in one.

KAL: But the only thing it can get is something that’s well-done.

LYLA (whirls on him): A joke.  Did I hear the famous-for-sheer-dourness Kal-El make a joke?

(Kal hesitates.  She giggles.  Then she laughs, and presses her head to his chest, still laughing.  He hesitantly puts his arm around her shoulders, and begins to chuckle, and then, reluctantly, to laugh with her.)

KAL: Hey, now, it wasn’t...wasn’t that funny.

LYLA: Oh, it’s not the joke, you fool.  It’s you!  You, actually making one!

KAL: I should do that more often.

LYLA: You should.

KAL: Or maybe not.

(They move on.  Behind them, Lara clasps her hands in mock-prayer, and Jor puts a hand to his head.)

(Cut to: the cage containing the Doublion, a huge mutant cat with two heads.  This one is doubled by an android.  The door is open and the zookeeper is bringing in a food concentrate block for it, holding it back with an electrorod.  The Doublion is roaring, but for the keeper, it’s routine.  As he’s setting the block down, he chances to see Lyla across the way.  He stares.)

KEEPER: Holy sun and Mother Moon, it’s...(waves) Tynth Lerrol!  Hey!  Tynth Lerrol!  Is that really you?  I gotta get your auto...

(The Doublion charges, hits him in the chest, bangs him against the cage bars, and knocks him unconscious.  Then it sniffs briefly at the food block, first one head, then the other, and, afterward, leaps out the open door.  The crowd screams and begins running away from the beast.

(Jor-El and Lara see the Doublion, in a reaction scene.  Cut to: Kal and Lyla, doing the same thing.  Instinctively, she grips his arm harder, and he steps in front of her.)

KAL: Holy Rao.  Great...shining...holy Rao.

LYLA: Kal.

(Kal thrusts her off and runs towards the Doublion.  Cut to: Jor-El doing the same.)

LARA: Jor-El!  Jor-El!  Wait!

(Cut to: the Doublion in the midst of the zoo pathway, roaring, stalking around, terrifying the fleeing visitors, making the other animals sound off as well.  It sights a passing meat vendor, roars, and causes the vendor to freak out and run off.  The Doublion upsets the meat wagon and begins dining in style.

(Cut to: Jor-El and Kal, rushing up to the Doublion, which is still feeding, and stopping short, realizing what they’re about to do.  Kal actually gets closer than Jor, thinking for a moment he still has super-powers, and reaches out.  The Doublion looks at him, raises one of its heads (the one that isn’t eating at the moment) and roars.  Kal draws back.)

JOR: Now what do we do?

KAL: Improvise.

(The Doublion gulps down a final mass of meat, then gives a roar, one of its heads looking at Jor, the other at Kal.  It charges.  Both of them run.  They go in the direction, like it or not, of where Lyla is standing.  They charge past her, somewhat comically.  Not knowing what to do, Lyla reaches out.  She’s just in time to intersect the path of the Doublion, who charges on by her.  She gets hit a glancing blow, flies back, hits her head against a bar on the cage of the mini-Drang behind her, and slumps to the ground, stunned.  Behind her, the mini-Drang sniffs at her, in a curious way.

(Cut to: the Doublion in the center of the zoo, near a fountain.  It’s roaring, wondering what became of its two annoying preys.  We see both of them, Jor and Kal, lying on top of separate cages nearby.)

JOR: I didn’t exactly have this in mind for your day off, Kal.

KAL (Angrily): Jor!  Shut— (He catches himself, realizing he’s really talking to his father, and sighs.)  Never mind.  How long do you think it’ll take them to get a trank gun in here?

JOR: Five minutes, give or take.

KAL: How high can that thing jump?

JOR: Approximately twenty feet.

KAL: How high are these cages?

JOR: Approximately eighteen.

(Kal gives his father a sour look.)

JOR: So the best course of action might be to wait here, make very, very little sound, and pray to Rao for swiftness on the part of the zookeepers.

KAL: By which time he might have already gone back and made a meal of Lyla.

JOR: What would you suggest?

(Kal breathes heavily, desperately, looking around.  The Doublion is still roaring.  Then Kal catches sight of something on the ground.  A coil of very heavy hose, and two faucets on opposite sides of the fountain.  He nods to Jor, who catches sight of it as well.)

KAL: Improvise.

(Kal drops to the ground.)

JOR (resignedly): Oh, Sheol.

(Jor drops to the ground.  The Doublion catches sight of both of them.  It wonders which to go after.)

KAL: Whichever one of us it goes after...

JOR: The other grabs the hose.

KAL: Right.  That’s the plan.

JOR: With allowances for variation.

KAL: Like our lives?

(The Doublion goes after Jor.  Kal runs for the hose, grabs it, makes noise, drawing the attention of the Doublion.)

KAL: Hey!  Hey!  You!

(The Doublion turns, irritably.  Kal swings the hose, while Jor backs away for a moment.  It gets in position to charge Kal.)

JOR: Father Rao, who shines upon us all, in whom we put our trust...

(Jor grabs the Doublion by the tail.  Kal whips the hose about the Doublion’s big neck, below the two heads.  He holds onto the end and gets dragged on the ground.)

KAL: The other end!  Grab the other end!

(Jor looks up)

KAL: Of the hose!

(Jor lets go of the Doublion’s tail and falls on the ground, grabbing the other end of the hose.  The Doublion roars and rears, and the two men try to bulldog it.  Kal sees the faucet on his side and, sliding down the hose, keeps hold of the end with one hand and grabs the faucet with the other, trying to bring the two together.  He tries, but can’t quite make it.

(Jor-El sees what’s happening, and, taking a deep breath, rushes in and bangs into the side of the Doublion with his shoulder.  The Doublion stumbles, wondering for a moment what’s going on, and in that moment, Kal connects the hose and trips the anchor switch, fixing it to the faucet.)

KAL (shouting): Jor-El!

(Jor is looking up at the roaring Doublion, the other end of the hose in his hand, almost paralyzed.  Then both heads roar at him, and he zips over to the other faucet, connecting the hose to it and tripping the switch.  Then he rolls out of the way.  We pull back to see the Doublion, straining at the hose, stretching it, but not breaking it.  Both Jor and Kal are on the ground, daring to look up a bit.  After awhile, they manage to get to their feet and meet on the sidewalk in front of the trapped Doublion.)

JOR: I suppose that shows the necessity of improvisation in any experiment.

KAL: Yes.

JOR (slaps Kal on the shoulder): Blasted good job, Kal.  I will never forget this.  Neither will...

KAL (remembering): Lyla.  (He turns and runs off in Lyla’s direction.  We shoot the scene from above, seeing Kal running from the fountain area, Jor standing behind, the Doublion roaring and straining at the hose.

(Cut to: Lyla, still lying stunned against the cage.  The Drang puts out a tongue to lick her cheek.  Kal’s hand comes into the picture, slapping it back.  Then Kal himself enters, grasping Lyla by the shoulders, looking concerned.  She’s still unconscious.)

KAL: Lyla?  Lyla?

(We see Lyla’s face.  She still appears to be out.  Kal gently shakes her.)

KAL: Lyla.  Lyla, stop it.  Lyla, please don’t be hurt.  Lyla, come back.  Come back to me, Lyla, blast it...

LYLA (woozily): Kal?

(Pause.  Kal says nothing, his mouth open, breathing a couple of breaths.  Lyla’s eyes laboriously open.  She looks at Kal.  Another pause, for a couple of beats.  Then, the two embrace, and kiss.  They hug passionately, and continue the kiss for a very long time.  The camera closes in to show them in the foreground, while in the background, Lara and Jor look on, she grasping his arm, he putting his other arm on her shoulder.  They say nothing, but we can feel their appreciation.

(Fade out.)

“Cut.”

The word came almost a full minute from the point where the scene would really have been cut.  All present, including Van-Ol, Zor, Allura, and To-Bin, were silent in tribute.  What the actors felt was theirs and theirs alone.  Finally, To-Bin broke the silence.

“Looks like we’ve got one Sheol of a picture.”

    (next chapter)

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