The Alien Within: Cast of Characters–Melera Redux

Wouldn’t it be great if you could instantly morph into something or someone else whenever you wished? For you, nothing would be off limits. You could play pranks on your friends (or enemies), crash an A-list party, rob an exclusive jewelry store–whatever your little heart desires. And you’d get away with every bit of it. Of course, you’d have to be careful to morph back into your own form in private. No point in lifting a million-dollar diamond necklace looking like Dubya if someone sees you morphing back into Joe Schmuck in the alley.

But that kind of morphing, that’s what Melera’s cz’ado–shadow–can do, among other things like boosting her already formidable speed and strength. Hence Kurt’s name for her, the Wonder Bitch. As for what Melera’s shadow is, it’s a separate entity that shares “space” in her mind. Sort of like a were, but not really. A were is a separate, self-aware consciousness that shares mind-space with its human counterpart and can physically manifest in its own form–a wolf, a tiger, a shark, whatever. A Xia’saan’s shadow is separate and self-aware, but without form. That’s why Melera can morph into whatever she wants to be while Parker can only morph into his wolf. There are other differences between a were and a shadow, too. Like the higher emotions, for example. A were can experience its own joy, love, rage, lust, etc., but feelings like these are beyond a shadow. For a were, if an emotion–say, rage–is strong enough, it can break its human’s mental bonds and trigger a forced morph. That would never happen with a shadow. It might understand why a particular circumstance would enrage its Xia’saan but for itself, it would feel nothing. A shadow’s only interest is in preserving the life of the person that enables it to live. And that, dear reader, is what makes it–and by extension, Melera–so very, very dangerous. During her time in Beloc’s prison ship, many of his guards discovered this truth and in the hardest way. Too bad so few of them lived long enough to warn their fellows.

The point of all this explanation is to say that Melera’s cz’ado is, like Parker’s wolf, another secondary character in The Alien Within, though it doesn’t play as large a role. We’ll see more of it as the series progresses. But the thing I like best about Melera’s shadow is that its fantastic ability is based on quantum theory. I credit David Lindley, author of Where Does The Weirdness Go? for the idea. Read his book sometime. It’s fascinating.

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