Hill's Fourth Harmony

Read Chapter 1

Chapter 2

They never told us where we went when the ship blinked out. When I asked, they told me that the cognitive dissonance involved would make me useless as a captain. Even in a meditative state, the distances involved would likely shatter the connections between us and the ship had we been aware of how far away we truly were.

Giving energy to the crystals (my controls) in front of me, I had begun lighting up locations on the local map now present on the holoscreens placed throughout the bridge. Dawn did the same, adding a brighter intensity to the markers I had already laid down. She added a few new ones as well, which I then reinforced as secondary objectives. Sarge, seeing the map lit began to navigate the ship to the first point of interest.

Though the ship felt to be something the size of a conventional yacht, it was actually the size and shape of a Frisbee. As an out of body projection, it is very difficult to work at larger scales, even the conventional scale back on earth was too large for all but the most extremely gifted to manipulate. With large scales you lose a lot of energy and effort to diffusion, and when your awareness becomes diffused, you may as well be daydreaming, it's about as effective at getting this kind of work done.

It's also easier to send a smaller ship, like the size we use, both in energy cost back home, which despite our size was the equivalent of the weekly consumption of several states, and in materials cost to build. Power consumption is was and always has been a big deal, and as of late, it seemed that the only way to logistically explore space was using this method. Quantum popping (teleporting, whatever) an unmanned probe was a good idea the first time, but as we ran into more and more non-humans, the probes stopped coming back. They should have asked Winter about ET before they spent all that money, she’s been talking to ET’s for years.

Winter was our in house technician and observer. As my thoughts hovered about the ship and what it meant, she responded with a warm glow. She liked being appreciated, and for all intents and purposes, when I appreciated the ship, I was appreciating her. She had designed most of the crystal interfaces and helped the scientists link the crystals together with the rest of the guts. The ship was an odd fusion of nanotechnology and crystalline materials. The crystalline pieces taking and focusing energies from the consciousness on the ship, and the nanotechnologies linking various systems and components together to form the machine. In general, Winter made me laugh. Her vocabulary included nanotech, and ethertech (the new name for consciousness research) and when both were combined she could say some really funny things. “Open your heart chakra to the primary triphasic bubble field control” – man that kills me.

We were “propelled” by a bubble field generator powered by the equivalent of a car battery. The bubble field generator used 6 different baseline fields from local weather to help propel the ship. The computer altered the bubble field around the ship to selectively alter the polarity of different regions on the bubble. The gravity field, the electromagnetic field and whatnot all were present in space regardless of where you were. The further away from anything of substance, the weaker the field, and thusly the slower your transit, but when you were near objects with a natural field, all you had to do was recalibrate your bubble on each of the six fields and you would be sucked and pushed at the same time to the location you wanted to go. To stop, simply neutralize your bubble to all local fields and you would slow, then stop.

One of the reasons that Sarge impressed me so was that he could evaluate the navigation figures even in our projected meditative state. It’s in many ways hard for me to understand, at least on an intellectual level how someone like Sarge could have made it through training. When you appreciate him, or try to blend emotions, or any of the base techniques they teach you out of school, most people in this line of work radiate love. It feels like one really groovy Beatles marathon and no incentive to stop. Sarge, on the other hand, and most navigators for that matter, felt like Truth. His existence is concrete and infinite at the same time, and he would not be pulled into the dance of love. Like most other navigators, he also had minor telekinetic abilities back home as well.

We had no life support, except for the purple focus crystal positioned in the center of the ship. We had no oxygen either, but that was purely academic. Our physical bodies were fed and nourished by the systems we were plugged into back home, and certainly there was oxygen there. It was in retrospect kind of amusing that the scientists at large ended up finally after hundreds of years tipping their hat to the east, and all the work they had done on consciousness. Building a spaceship run by the urban equivalent of Tibetan monks still seems pretty preposterous, and I’m captain of the nuthouse.

Chase's energy began to expand and encompass all of us inside the ship. Maybe he could tell I was losing focus, and beginning to intellectualize too much, I couldn’t ask, as you really can’t “talk” as a disembodied consciousness. He had begun embracing us all with his energy, bringing us together closer in appreciation and surrender to the larger energies of the universe. We arrived at the first waypoint, and his pulsing embrace subsided, and we were all renewed back to the task at hand.

The first waypoint was a small asteroid that was teeming with life. Little insectoids about the size of a cantaloupe. I noticed them, and began reaching out with my mind to get closer. It is quite interesting given the scaling of things, that in our ship I’m the size of a raisin, but still have the nerve to call them little. Dawn extended the ship's robotic arm. The arm was loaded with all varieties of measuring equipment mercifully all of it operated on a kind of autopilot. There's no object data that the scientists wouldn't know about once the arm was done it's business. It went along by itself processing and inventorying the asteroid's contents.

The insects themselves looked like mirrored spiders. Most creatures that evolve in open space had that kind of mirrored appearance, though the big brains back home still haven’t figured out why, they speculate its got something to do with radiation. Each individual varied only in he patterns that were etched on their mirrored carapace. The intricacy and detail of the etchings was so mesmerizing, it reminded me of heat waves rising off the desert. They didn’t individually move as much as they collectively throbbed. I continued to reach out with my mind, embracing them. Their collective energy pulsed back at a low, but conscious level. I could feel what can only be described as love, though in this situation love feels different.

Love with the space spiders of asteroid T0832X felt a bit like sunburn. It was in every way as sincere an emotion as human love, but it’s expression was not felt through the heart, but rather the skin. I knew that my body back home would have a sunburn when I returned. It’s a fact that as much as your biology controls your mood, your spiritual health controls your body, and in this case… I knew and cherished the idea of my newly acquired sunburn.

Embracing the love and returning my own variety, the spiders seemed to react with a patient curiosity. Our mutual savoring became a cascade of eager lovers feeling each other out for the first time despite the sometimes intrusive actions of the robotic arm, which I'd often feel embarrassed about, like a drunken relative at Christmas, but even the robot arm couldn't change the way they behaved towards my energy, or each other.

Unfortunately for us, this rock was the norm for extra terrestrial life. Its occupants evolved past the point of conflict and vocabulary. Societies are like people in a way. They only have problems in their adulthood. Infants and the elderly learned or haven't learned what's important in life, and typically are not of "scientific interest". It was the same with this species of space spiders.

It was difficult to separate from the loving energy of the spiders. It always is difficult to separate from a system that got more right than it did wrong. My energy was back in the ship, bathed in the warm glow of the crystal. Chase shot me an extra jolt of warmth as well. A burst I was appreciative of since the letdown of leaving the serene spider asteroid.

I've always found it interesting, that we are only interested in talking to other creatures or entities in our peer group as it were. Any species older than ours, was largely unintelligible. Love and kindness and perfect universe type sentiments wrapped with words of advice that from our context sounded like instructions for committing suicide.

The younger space faring cultures knew nothing of any use. They only knew war and aggression, and enhanced ways to express both. Earth scientists loved that kind of stuff for a while, but the influx of data was so great, that even if turned loose on it, the AI would take years to process it, and our scientists even longer.

The crystals in front of Sarge glimmered, and we were on our way to the second waypoint.

Read Chapter 3

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