Friday, April 9, 2010

A Crowning Moment of Heartwarming

Snarf is now several chapters into his story "Even Sheepdogs Were Wolves Once," which is a novel set in an alternate version of the Draka timeline I wrote.

Here's an excerpt from the story I found particularly heartwarming.  I am not exaggerating--it was genuinely moving, to the point I thought it would be a good idea to post it on TVTropes as a "crowning moment of heartwarming."  Snarf said I could post it here.

(For the record, Tony de Vries is a drakensis, a member of the genetically-engineered Draka "master race," who was taken from the fallen Domination as a child and raised in the United States.)

He was about seven years old, not too long after the Niewendyck family had adopted him. He had some memories of his original family, but not many—mainly of a life on the run as the Alliance forces tore through the Domination.

The Niewendycks had taken him in, treated him as one of their own, something that even a lot of standard human foster children couldn’t claim. Joseph and Olivia Niewendyck made sure he got plenty of food, something his own mother wasn’t able to do toward the end. He had plenty of toys and even when he had to see the ‘special doctors’ once a month the visits were never unpleasant. There was that story about how he’d really come from New York after the bomb hit, but he really didn’t have anything else to offer and who’d listen to a kid anyway? Especially one with a funny accent.

One Sunday morning in church he sat between his foster parents. He was fidgety, the way most seven-year-olds are when they’re forced to sit through adult business when they really want to play. As he was doodling on the back of a program with a pen, he overheard the minister’s sermon.

“We have paid the price for our meddling in God’s plan! We have created abominations the same way that the children of men did when they lay with the angels! Have we not learned? These...posthumans, they’re called—they are nothing more than modern-day Nephilim, and they should not be tolerated among God’s people!”

His mother put her arm around him and held him closer. His father suddenly had a dead stare to his face, as though he couldn’t believe what he’d heard. De Vries understood completely. Even at his young age he already knew he was different, drawing intricate geometric patterns on the church bulletin when his playmates were drawing race cars or spaceships or (in the case of the girls) flowers and cute cuddly animals.

They didn’t leave the service outright, but they didn’t linger long afterward. Later that evening, his father took him aside.

“Tony, I want to ask you something. Did you hear what the pastor said this morning?”

He nodded, sadly.

“I want you to hear something else.” Dad opened up his Bible. “’And as Jesus walked by, he saw a man which had been blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, ‘Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.’”

“John, chapter nine, verses one through three,” de Vries replied. He didn’t know all of the Bible but he did know quite a bit, along with quite a few other books. Lately he’d been working through Shakespeare and Aristotle.

“Think about that, son. You yourself are not the product of sin. You are a very special little boy. And there is a plan for your life that you’ll learn when you’re bigger. Don’t let narrow-minded people try to tell you you’re something you’re not. And you’re not an abomination. You’re our son, and you always will be.”

“But didn’t Jesus heal the blind man?”

“He heals those who need healing. You don’t need that kind of healing, you just need to grow up more and learn what He has in mind for you. And your mother and I will always be here for you to help you along.”

Little Tony de Vries smiled. “Thanks, Dad!” he said as he gave his father a hug.

It was from that point on that his adoptive parents became simply his parents. He didn’t recall going back to that church, or any other church for the remainder of his childhood, although his parents still prayed and read the Bible regularly. Joseph Niewendyck had passed away four years ago, but de Vries still owned that Bible, his most prized possession.

Wow.  That was one of the best parts of the story and it didn't involve explosions, superhuman feats, and that sort of thing.
Here's the link to the story.  Registration is required.  Snarf might post it on a web-site others can view, but he has not yet done so.  If he does, I will post the link here.
Here's the link to my timeline, "The Dragon and the Bear: The Domination vs. Russia."
(BTW, the Draka belong to S.M. Stirling and Baen Books.  Stirling lets fans play in the sandbox and has even "adopted" characters from fan-fiction into the actual canon, at least with his Emberverse novels.)

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