Hill's Fourth Harmony

Read Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Being in the ship and "riding" around checking out asteroids and other bits of space stuff, while interesting at some level was complicated. It wasn’t the technical complexities, it was something else. The technique and skill required to hold yourself together in a meditative state was something that took a long time to develop.

Academy training was at minimum a ten year course of study, the end of which did not guarantee you a job. The first year of training was not much like training at all, but in retrospect was the most important. You couldn't speak. Period. Apart from no verbal contact, you had no social contact either. The first year of the academy was like a prison. You stayed in your small room with a concrete floor, a toilet, a sink, and a computer. The computer only worked for 30 minute increments and only 3 times a day. The first two sessions were two different training videos. The third session was for practicing. I remember clearly my first session on my first day. It was called Let it Go: A primer on the rest of your life. In the end it was 30 minutes of pure truth, and the real seed from which every other bit of knowledge and wisdom I possessed had sprung. I learned later that based on profiles filled out in your application to the academy determined which video they started you off with. Even as I advanced in the corps I couldn't get a hold on the other tapes. By virtue of my rank I had seen one or two of them, but they didn't make sense to me. Not at all.

Suddenly the bell rang and I felt Chase and Dawn sending me energy. I had gotten lost again. As I said, holding yourself together in this state, flying some chunk of metal out in the middle of god knows where, all in the comfort of anonymous government lab #4 is not easy. It's like trying to relax on the beach while preforming trauma surgery. Keeping the mind and the heart in the same place at the same time is hard as hell to sustain.

I deepened my focus and felt my consciousness field stabilize. I gathered energy from my body back on earth and began expanding my field on the ship until it enveloped the whole ship. Chase and Dawn withdrew, feeling my overcompensated recovery and stabilization. I allowed my energy to flow off and dissipate until I was back to my more comfortable space faring size and shape. My energy curled on itself a little in embarrassment, I knew I would be getting a ribbing back home.

We were at the second waypoint. Nothing special. It was the remnants of an old freighter. The ship itself looked like a hollow cone with the point cut off. It was clearly organic in nature, and it looked like it was made of oak. It was solid, no welds, or assembly points were visible, the only way you could tell it was a ship was the thruster apertures at the ass end, and the portholes staggered seemingly randomly throughout its surface. The cargo tethers that secured the cargo in the center of the cone were still present and energized, though the cargo itself was missing.

The scientists would no doubt be interested, and so in the probe went through what seemed to be a blown out porthole. As the probe went about it's work, I saw Dawn's energy expand into the remains of the freighter. Her distinctly feminine energy was in its own way just like the space we explored. When you felt her presence, it was like a forever blooming flower, blooming into and through itself for ever and ever. It was easy to get hypnotized by, and if you weren't careful fall in love with.

The crystals in front of me lit up, signaling that the ship had decided this was enough of a find to send it home. The probe ejected a sphere out the end of its long phallus looking end. In retrospect it looked like a plastic tampon applicator ejecting a ball bearing out the end. The ball drifted lazily for a moment and then a wave of light pulsed from the sphere in all directions.

Dawn's energy receded into the ship and the entire crew pulled away from their consoles and began energetically embracing the purple crystal. The ball on the abandoned freighter pulsed 3 more times. A beam of energy erupted from the top of our ship. The beam was in almost all ways like lightning except its color, which was greenish brown. It struck the ball which then turned translucent and expanded to surround the freighter. A slight discord passed through me - like feeling nauseous, but not in the gut, more in the heart - a symptom of quantum entanglement happening. An instant later the freighter was popped out and back home in earth orbit.

Popping the husk of the freighter out meant that we were almost done. Each time we sent something home for further study, it meant cutting our trip by 2/3rds. Not that you could get a sense of time on these trips. You can't put a clock on the ship, at least not one that is visible. It prevents the mind from being able to stay in the state needed to function. Time is the only real intoxicant of the human species, and having the ability to watch it pass on a clock will consume you. Just like treading too deeply into Dawn's blooming self expression, or Sarge's infinite truth. I remember being surprised after our first trip out to find that nearly a week had passed back on earth.

I sent energy to Dawn and explored her presence to check for any changes in her condition. She was the same precious unfolding Dawn. Navigating the universe as an essence in a spiritual plane of consciousness is also dangerous because ailments (demons), and parasites (ghosts) that affect you in such a state are hard to understand. Add to the fact that when you are dealing with ghosts from a species that may or may not have the equivalent of a heart, or mind, it gets really dicey to try to fix them.

We are the temporary crew of the Harmony for this exact reason. The last crew had taken on ghosts from a species of beings that can only be described as tentacled clouds. The ghosts sent the entire crew into despair and they were still being treated at the local monastery back on earth. The space crews went out on regular intervals and we never skipped or failed to launch. The agency always sent something into space (sometimes it was an automated probe if a ship wasn't ready) once a week, something about capacitors and storing enough energy for the trip required them to discharge them regularly or something bad happened.

Our ship was currently being built, but I'll tell you more about that later. I reviewed the waypoint map and our current energy supply. I selected one last waypoint to hit before we went home. Sarge lit the crystals and we were off.

The third waypoint was a floating chunk of diamond the size of a football stadium. As the probe began its efforts to scrutinize the rock, I gave energy to the crystals at the console. This in turn lit the crystals at Winters console indicating that she should go inspect the diamond. I had no illusions of taking the thing home to make my billions. De Beers had influenced all the required powers that be to label non earth born diamonds as a special class B diamond. In this way De Beers seceded some power to the jewelers who cut and polished the stones, who in turn kept their rates too high to waste the time on lower profit diamonds, which kept cheap off world diamonds from completely saturating the market and ruining their cartel. Free-space diamonds were better finds anyway for other purposes.

Carbon based life forms have a chance of ending up as diamond. This means that a diamond of this size could contain the collective energetic residue of a huge creature, or millions or billions of echoes of smaller ones. We had only a 20% chance of this being a reality, it seems that only 1 in 5 chunks of carbon material we find actually came from biologics. I sent Winter in because of her experience with crystals. Working with echoes of a long gone and unknown species takes a certain type of patience and softness that I had not yet learned to master. Winter's age and background were perfect for the task.

Her energetic form raced toward the diamond leaving wispy contrails and eddies, betraying a charm and giddiness that had not dulled much with age. What happened next, and always did when Winter played with crystals, was the most exciting part of the trip. As Winter accessed the various hubs and concentrations inside the diamond, her energy exploded through the crystal lighting it up from the inside. The crystal looked as if a full blown fireworks show had been set off inside of it.

The twins patterns started to move even more quickly as they attempted to record the subjective experiential data Winter was causing in us, and sending back from her own experience.

Tendrils of Winter's energy reached back across space for both Dawn and I. Her energy enticed us to follow, and soon we were all three dancing through the cracks and concentrations in the diamond.

All at once, like a heart skipping a beat largely taken for granted - until it takes a second off, Winter stopped. Winter was not only not dancing and experiencing the crystal, she was gone.

Read Chapter 4

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