Chapter One

The stars enveloped the night sky like a blanket encompassing the world around me. As I do on many nights, I laid beneath this endless expanse contemplating what lay just beyond my eyes grasp. Something is different about this night, I can feel it in the air. “Just one more hour,” I told myself as I gazed out through the lens of my telescope. I was searching, but for what I did not know.

I can see the stars twinkling as the heat radiates from the valley below. The pulsating shimmer is rhythmically sweeping me into a trance. I began to doze off as the warm night air began to cool.

Light. I can feel it just beyond my eyelids, seeping into my still dormant mind. A small shiver of urgency swept into the far recesses of my psyche. My consciousness began to re-form, and that urgency gave rise to panic as I realized I had spent the night at the top of this hill. I bolted up, opening my eyes.

Stars.

Stars engulfed with a bright light that spread outward like a supernova. My panic of being late for work was quickly overcome with a new fear of what was unfolding before me. The expansion continued like a shock wave as the center began to dissipate. I sat staring upward, unable to move, unable to think.

Trembling and alone. A melody begins to form.

“Was that a guitar?”

It became louder as a calm began to sweep over my body. I can feel myself rising as if I am flying into the stars.

“Good morning sir” a maternal voice announced as I open my eyes. “your first meeting is at ten with the spatial delineation team. Followed by…”.

“Wait” I exclaimed. “coffee first please, then we can get into the grudging details of our day.”

“Of course, sir” Sam pronounced with a condescending smirk as she materialized into the room, coffee in hand, rolling her eyes.

“You know; I don’t remember your original programming having so much attitude.”

“And I don’t remember you being so ornery in the mornings.”

“I’m sorry Sam. You’re right. I apologize. I didn’t sleep well.”

“The dreams again?” Sam asked, with a look of worry.

I nodded as she handed me the coffee.

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