The Jumpin' Space Rats present:

(A True Story)

Author's Note: This is an account of what happened at Defcon, a science fiction convention that was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma on September 21, 1997. The following is from an email message that I sent to friends immediately following the event (when it was still fresh in my mind).

The Story of the Great Maker and the "Secret Symbol"

Hi guys!!!!

So, I had a little adventure over the weekend. It was completely unplanned. Seth (that's my husband) and I just sort of dropped everything and did it. Unfortunatley, I had to spend every other waking minute working on the homework that was due, and the presentation that I had to give my advisor yesterday. Have been really busy since Saturday evening... which is when Seth and I decided... ah, let's just do it.

The story:

On thursday, I think, I got an email from a friend in California. He'd been reading the newsgroups (something I don't have time for much anymore) and had found some info about jms (that's Joe Straczynski) and a convention in Tulsa. Basically, the news was that jms was going to *be* in tulsa, for Defcon, on Saturday the 20th and Sunday the 21st of September. At first, I didn't really think we could go... I had all this work to do, you see.

But Tulsa was so *close*! Like an astronomical near miss... when was the next time jms might be only about two hours away? I mean, come on.. this is *Oklahoma* not exactly a magnet for big time writer/tv producers. (Not exactly a magnet for much of anything interesting, except severe weather in the spring... which is why I'm here in the first place.) So Seth and I got to thinking... and on Saturday, we decided that it couldn't hurt to call and find out when stuff was going to be happening up in Tulsa on Sunday. We got all the info, and then Seth said the decision was up to me.

The work duck quacked... so *much* homework. But *JMS*, in Tulsa... so *close*. So *CLOSE*. No big plane tickets, no staying in hotels, no huge expense... just time. Going to the convention would blow most of Sunday.

So I hemmed and I hawed... and decided. Let's go. What the heck. I've reached a point in my life where a few extra points on *one* homework set no longer always get top prioriy.

I stayed up late Saturday night working on the homework, though. I had it about half done when I finally went to sleep. Then morning came, too early, as usual. We got up around seven, had breakfast at Burger King, and went to Wallmart for some poster board and some markers, because Seth had had a *great* idea. "You should make a poster of the Lightning League symbol and bring it along," he said. So we got the supplies... I copied the design from Erana's www wallpaper (rather than having to pause my poor, overwatched tape) and before long I had a black and white outline of the "secret symbol".

Seth said "You should color it in." Another good idea, except I had no color markers. So he went out and bought me a set of Original, Classic color Crayolas. It took me about fifteen minutes to make the lightning bolt yellow and the circle behind everything blue. I in my wheelies shirt (which I made about 3 and 1/2 years ago in a silk screening art class), and Seth in a B5 shirt, we gassed up the car and hit the road for Tulsa by about 9:30.

I worked on my homework on the way up there, while Seth drove.

The convention was kinda cool. I got to talk to some guys about the logistics of comic books, got to talk to Peter David for a while (he does just about everything... comics, B5, Star Trek, plain old regular fiction), Seth and I went to a panel discussion between Peter David and Timothy Zahn on "Dueling Universes". Since David writes in the Star Trek universe, and Zahn writes in the Star Wars universe, the orginizers probably intended the two of them to argue about which universe was "better", but they started off the discussion by saying that they both thought the Star Wars universe was cooler...and did we have any questions? Actually, they had a really neat discussion, just about other things related to writing in a shared universe and stuff like that.

Two O'clock neared. It was *time*. I with my poster in hand, we waited to get into the main event room, where jms was scheduled to gove a two hour presentation about B5 and stuff. Seth and I didn't have reserved seats, but because it was the second day of the convention, and because jms had essentially given the same presentation the day before, not all of the reserved seats sold. There were some empty ones at the edges in the first, second and third rows. Seth and I moved up. We started in the first row, but had to move back one row when some more reserved customers showed up.

We also learned that jms had slipped in the shower that morning and hurt his back. The organizers warned us that he may not be doing autographs because of this. Oh well, I thought. At least I'm here. At least I'm near the front. Maybe he'll see the poster at least. I wondered if he would recognize it, or notice it at all.

Then, after a short wait, the lights went down, and things got started. Jms brought all sorts of video clips, a couple of blooper reels, and some swell clips from the final four of season 4, and something from season 5 with the new character, and something from the made for TV movie "In the Beginning." The clips were cool... they gave hints of what would happen without giving anything away. Jms is so *good* at that sort of thing.

And, of course, jms answered people's questions and told lots of funny stories. Then, at some point, the discussion turned towards other things that he had done besides B5. He started mentioning things like Murder She Wrote, and other live action things. He mentioned The Real Ghostbusters... and then and then.....

I held up my poster over my head. He turned, saw it, and kind of did a double take. Sort of like: I wasn't expecting to see *that* here. And said, quite surprised--"It's the Lighnting League symbol!" Then explained that Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors was another show he'd worked on. He stumbled over the name a little... but it's a mouthful, he wasn't expecting it (probably)... and as he kept saying, he was "looped" on advil because of his back. But he recognized it!

Then he asked,"Why'd you bring that?" I was speechless. Seth said I was grinning ear to ear. I shrugged. "You want me to sign it?" jms asked. I nodded now. Grinnng harder. "No." he said, clearly just joking about it. "Just kidding," he said next. "I'll sign it for you."

By then we already knew that he was going to do autographs, even with his sore back. A little kid had asked him as one of the first questions. It was the kind of question that only a little kid could get away with, really, even though we *all* were wondering.

The way they did autographs was to take people out by rows, and line them up in sort of a que. Because Seth and I had secured second row seats, we were toward the front of the line. We got up to the table in time to buy a copy of the script for "Severed Dreams" of which jms had brought a bunch, for us ol' fans.

Then it was our turn. I plopped my poster down on the table. And asked jms a question that's been bugging me for a while. I asked him if he ever got the Wheeled Warriors shirt that I sent him (I made him a copy also in that silk-screening class). A little surprised again, he said he *did* get it, actually... though it was like three years ago. He signed the poster: "To Cindy--with thanks for the shirt, the artwork, and keeping the League alive."!!!!!!!

signed poster
     of the LL symbol

Well, that's it. That's the story of the Great Maker and the Secret (or not so secret, depending who you are) symbol. :)

I gotta go into school now.

See 'ya!

(Who now needs to find an odd-sized frame....)
"See yourself for what you are, not what others try to make you." -- Aldous Gajic (to Jinxo), B5: "Grail"

Author's Final Note: The Lightning League symbol that you see below and throughout this web site is a cleaned up, reduced version of the artwork I drew for Defcon in 1997.

LL Symbol art

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(This page uploaded on May 16, 1999)
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