"So. I am done."
"It’s your choice," a deep and ominous voice booms.
"What’s my choice?" *SNAP*. My initial thought disappears. Why am I holding this tiny glass tablet? *SNAP*. Did it just get dark? Was there even light to begin with? *SNAP*. What was I talking about?
“Are you done?” the ominous voice booms. A question with a question; that doesn’t make sense. *SNAP*. What was I just wondering?
My mind is racing, and my thoughts seem to be falling away; the more I focus on this conversation, the more I forget. This is a perpetual catch twenty-two. Yup, the more I focus on remembering, the more I forget, but unless I focus, I cannot remember. I hear the tiniest voice: "Come back to your mission . . .” It drifts out of range. *SNAP*. I am slipping away.
*FLASH*. I ask, “What mission?” Wait. Was I just reading? Yes. I had something in my hand. What did I do with it? Was that a dream? Was I dreaming? A hear a deep-toned voice state, “Your mission.” I gasp! This voice is different than the previous one. The first voice sounded ominous, but this one sounds deeply grounded. How does he know about my mission? Was that a dream? Wait, no? Maybe not. It couldn’t have been. And this deep, tonal voice who asks about my mission—maybe he can help.
“What was my mission?” My question is followed by silence. Then the bass-toned voice persists, “The mission assigned to you before you ended up back here.” Okay, not helpful. Next time, I'll ask for a straightforward answer—relative to someone who clearly has amnesia. Wait, how do I remember amnesia, the concept of it, but not my mission or where I am? Have I died? No, I am very much living.
Darkness surrounds me, and the feeling of unwanted transparency and isolation while in the presence of this bleak audience. This stranger’s familiar voice, my interrogating ally, asking for answers about a mission that is now unknown to me. Asking in a way as if he already knows the answer, which frustrates more than puzzles me.
Where am I, who am I? As I become more inquisitive, my awareness of my surroundings seems to engage, managing to filter through the darkness that hangs heavy in the interrogation room. I feel incapable of sight, and yet—little by little—a gradient of figures around the room come into my awareness. The inanimate objects consist of one table and two chairs; one of which I’m sitting on now. I conclude that there are a few living prana beings as well—however, they remain pixelated. I remain calm and continue to observe. Wherever we are, we are in a large vessel that is moving steadily. I shift my gaze all around the dark unit. The illumination increases and I focus on a convex window casting a silver-light lining, gifted by the stars themselves. I flush my being with relief that I am in space. *CLICK*. Huzzah! We are in space. Well, who is we? I have all but forgotten how this conversation started, and I am unsure of its context.
Wait, what was I wondering… oh yeah, where am I? This sterile, yet pleasant, oval room doesn’t seem to be frequented much. This spacecraft appears to have two viewing windows that are identical in dimension and another window between them that is three times the size, almost wrapping the width of the room. I can see a little glint of starlight traveling outside of the vessel. Dim flickers of twinkle blink in and out of existence. How did I get here?
Looking around the room with different shades of gray present, I am curious why I do not see different hues. I choose to focus on something besides my lack of color spectrum. I reach down and touch the smooth and rounded lip of the chair I occupy. I gaze at the chair behind me. Why is this chair over here? Should it be close to the table too? Did I place myself here? I return my attention to my chair, which is more like a stool; it doesn’t have armrests. As I watch myself touching the stool, I gasp. I failed to notice I’m pixelated! Wait; have I always been this way? No, I am supposed to be solid.
Comparing my lack of a defined right appendage to the smooth, finished chair, I become aware that the limb is somewhat transparent. I gaze across my entire being and see my other appendages and torso are compiled of random specks and bits. I hold up two of my left appendages and stare through them. Well, at least I’m still Maresan. *CLICK*. How do I remember Mares? I know I’m a pixelated Maresan with fractions of knowledge. I know I am alive, yet I’m not solid matter. I know of colors, yet I do not see them. I know of memories, yet my memory bank seems to hold nothing.
I dart my awareness upwards, and can now clearly see four pixelated figures scattered behind my bass-toned interrogator. They all seem to hover—I remain sitting. In conclusion, I’m one of six extraterrestrials in an oval-shaped room, all uncertain, but aware of a mission, and that’s life. Or is it? There must be more. *CLICK*. There is! My awareness detects two corridors that lead out of the room opposite the wall of the viewing windows.
As I focus, I hear a great amount of commotion coming from beyond the passageways. The heightened sense of frequency out there compared to the frequencies in here is night and day. Their relative stillness is now alarming. What is causing so much frenzy beyond this room, and why are they not moved?
Why aren’t they fazed? I know they can hear it—the commotion beyond the passageways. Yet . . . What could cause such a lack of concern for what is happening within their immediate universe? Could this answer they are inquiring of me offset the situation at hand that much—my mission? A break in my thoughts, as a voice in higher frequency than that Bass character leads in. A baritone voice proceeds with the interrogation. “What is your mission, Sonder?”
Am I Sonder? *CLICK*. My thoughts—the me, the being whom I remember identifying as. Is it still Sonder? Yes, that feels true—but what mission? I look back and attempt to draw on collected memories. I cannot recollect any chain of events that occurred prior to me being on this ship as a conclusion of the aftermath of the explosion. *CLICK*. The explosion? Yes! There was an explosion—I did not survive. I died— “You were the explosion,” a new voice enters my head. Who was that? I gaze over and see one of the spectating prana moving forward as if they had spoken. Their tone was lower than Baritone, but it has a higher pitch than Bass, like a contralto tone . . . But wait. I didn’t say anything—not even telepathically. Can they hear my—
Baritone humors me by continuing to speak, not that it is necessary, “My dear, we operate on a heightened level of communication and you also are capable of freely listening to the questions within all conscious minds. No questions are ever left unheard; you are capable of it too.” Contralto swiftly adds telepathically, “Apologies for chiming in. You just seemed to jump to descending thoughts quickly. I felt obligated to tele you.” A long pause, then Bass returns, “Give it some time. Like most skills, you seem to master things much quicker than most prana; and yes, the commotion outside of this room is because of what was manifested in your abrupt wave of dismantling your trinity being. Your physical and mental beings seem temporarily lost, but your spirit seems to be intact. And you might be satisfied to know that your incredibly noble sacrifice woke nearly half of the sleeping prana on Arth. An—”
I was relieved, “Did you say Arth?” I desired clarification and was given it by a voice higher than the three previous voices. A countertenor tone grabs my attention. “Ah. Perhaps your mental being is also intact. Yes, Arth. Located nearest to home planet Mares, within the Reginald galaxy. Now, please, we shall continue without further interruptions.”
Bass proceeds, “We have observed much of the universe complete prana levels, yet very few have managed to have Arth accomplish its state of awakening, or reconnect to our universe. That’s one thing that makes you fascinating.” A tone in Bass’s voice sounds proud, like a fanatic rooting for the underdog before they become recognized by others through a demonstration of their greatness. “You were favored starlight to be observed, since your completion of first level.”
“Extraordinary performance, with almost no breaks from your first to forty-third level—” I interrupt yet again, “Forty-three? But we reincarnate after forty-two levels.” No one contests. A few moments passed before the highest of all tones explained. The angelic Soprano asserts, “Well, Sonder. Your trinity went beyond that level limitation a few moments ago—before you exploded, that is.”
Almost instantly, a hologrammed image of a young Arth woman is projected in front of me. I begin to tense up and lean back, but relax once I am certain it will not harm me. She has thick and curly hair hanging about shoulder length, one side back. I cannot tell if the display is in color—it seems to be different shades of grey. I am mesmerized by this image, which appears to be so full of light and a fire that burns bright from her almond-shaped eyes. Nothing in particular stands out at once, although individually, all the features are remarkable. She wears the determined face of a warrior built with the stillness of a yogi.
As I look at her, I almost feel unworthy to be with someone so perfect. At the sight of her, I want to know more about her, until the instant that I think her too good for me. I scan how the other five seem to be drawn to her as well—all probably knowing more and being more useful to her than me. And then I get it. *CLICK*. She must be the reason I came back! I must not have been ready to leave her, almost like . . . a connection, or a calling. But why? What connected us? I become intrigued by this being.
I want to drift next to her and gently nudge her to have her stir once more. Why won’t she tell me why I am here? Why does she keep this secret to herself?
I look back to the others and crouch down in my stool. They probably told her I do not belong, because I cannot remember, and I do not fit in. I look back at her and know that it wouldn’t matter. I can feel her radiant glow of acceptance. I do not need to know my past, because, with her, I could start a new future, one with color, and fresh memories; all things.
As I finally take in the essence of this creature, Soprano concludes, “She’s astonishing—mentally, physically, and spiritually. Her name is Sonder, and you are quite aware of it.” A massive hologram sun pops up, a few planets, and multiple tiny stars between me and the five of them. It touches the floor and rises up to the ceiling. Then the image of the woman dwarfs down to a falcon-egg-sized version of itself. It floats to the Arth that is nested within the hologram galaxy.
Countertenor picks it back up, “Most were terrified to see such a promising starlight jump to this radical type of behavior.” A flicker goes off on the surface of Arth, and the egg-sized Sonder launches off of Arth, shoots beyond Mares and Fenuis, headed directly toward the sun. *CLICK*. This flickering motion grants me the sight of primary colors! I watch as it ripples throughout this room. I look around the room, then back at the hologram. I can see hues of blues, yellows, and reds. Can I see colors again?
"Sonder," Countertenor instructs, “lend your attention again to the astonishing performance as your prana hurls itself out of Arth’s orbit, then shot through space, jet-set on a direct path toward the sun.” I continue to watch in hopes of remembering what I was thinking, but become too distracted by the mesmerizing swirls of marbled colors I can see from all the magnificent, turning, spherical planets.
Countertenor demands, “Sonder, focus. Now, what you’ll see did happen to an extent; although it is the only thing that is being portrayed as true around the Universal Nation.” As I watch the hologram continue toward the sun, I see a glitch-like glint within the stream, and then the hologram Sonder is quickly within the solar flares, and engulfed by the laps of fire.
A few moments pass by, and then I hear Soprano, “Let’s see that again, but relative to the speed at which you felt you were traveling.” The hologram refreshes, and I focus my attention on the egg-sized Sonder. She seems to be gliding with intention, not shooting erratically through space. At the same place I had witnessed that glitch-like glint within the stream, before she even comes close to Mares, now appears like a slow burning magnesium-strip. It’s so bright, I wince.
Just then, I noticed an oval-shaped ship come into my awareness, behind the right-side of the egg-sized Sonder hologram. Her direct course to the sun is brought to a halt; then her size is dwarfed to a fraction of what it was, and her course immediately alters 123 degrees to the ship. To this ship.
With the satisfying conclusion of how the whole ordeal took place, Contralto explains, “Lo and behold, you disproved what all have led themselves to believe. What you did is not possible for others to comprehend. You deviated a set course without being acted upon by another external force. Their minds have betrayed them with a false image of you hurling your being into the sun. Because you did something outside of what they believe is physically capable, their cranium processor filled the rest based on the programming they have. You deviated your set course by acting upon a compelling internal force.”
A brief pause. This has truth. Contralto returns—I hear a smile as she teles, “You stopped, because you are still curious about this world.” I agree, but was there more? I still haven’t a clue where I am, or the significance of these others in this room—or the others beyond those passageways. I practice telepathy, “I recognize that I am Sonder, and I am curious about a lot of things—but I do not know what mission you’re referring to.” Lucid-like thoughts will themselves to the surface of my memory, but they cannot make a clear appearance. I can faintly see them; I can sense they are images of familiar settings. It is almost as if I have awoken from a vivid dream, and can remember the sensation, but cannot recall what has just taken place.
I watch the hologram a bit longer before returning my attention to the room I am in. I chose to come to this ship—but why? All around this sleek and oval, canary yellow room. Is there any significance to this spacecraft? My attention is drawn back to Soprano who teles, “It’s quite normal for things to be a bit fuzzy now. Eventually, your set of unfinished lessons and incomplete experiences will drift back. Some of it will return as fragments, some as whole chunks. Everything you completed will not need to be revisited, rest assured. So beyond trying to remember what was, this is what is now. That is what is so.”
Bass tries to bring me back. “So, do you remember your mission?” I am reflecting on this question, which sounds more like a demand for information. A demand for information that I do not know how to retrieve. Again, I attempt to remember my mission; all I produce is failure. *SNAP*. I huff, “I—I do not have one.” The tepid feeling within the room does not change, even though I become a bit hostile. Countertenor begins again, “Ah, Sonny-girl, will you forever have this universe questioning what you will do next?” I hear nothing they say following that name. . . Sonny-girl? I remember that endearing nickname! But how do they know it? Do they know me?
Stillness in here is maddening. I almost get madder, until I can choose to let go of the anguish that I’m working up. The moment I do, I feel a rush of relief, and I hear the five chanting on a higher frequency—a frequency I did not know was present. Was this how they heard me when I wasn’t talking? Am I reading their minds? Their peaceful minds . . . It is quite soothing. I can still sense the anguish radiating from the room next door. I am still curious, but have more desire to stay with the soothing chants that I now relate with.
I’m not certain, but I feel that my prior Self would have chosen to leave this calming room for the more chaotic room. Presently, this suits me. I haven’t a clue how long the other five have been in this state of being on this unknown level of life. And it shall remain unknown. I evaluate my surroundings. As I look around once more, I begin to recognize a sign stating: Main Lesson Capsule. *CLICK*. This is the Spacer Training Facility, which I was not to return to until I had completed the mission. Yes! I remember this was to transport me back home once I completed . . . Drats.
These clouded memories are like the lucid dreams I’m trying to remember. They continue to almost break through the surface, but plunge back beneath before I can grasp their true meaning. I know it is there. My mission, my reason, my intention for this reality. I try to remember again, and I recognize the sleek and narrow circular layout of my belaved ship with more appreciation. I have now made the tie to my genesis before this forty-third level.
I chose to return to this ship, because it is mine. Is it still? I’m curious about the previous level I just completed. Do I have these memories? Are they still there, were there others—Ariyan! *CLICK*. I blurt out, “I had—I have a sibling! My mission. I can remember now—”
With great enlightenment, I regurgitate my mission: “My mission, as a spacer, is to awaken the sleepers of planet Arth in the Reginald galaxy. I was assigned to the great awakening mission of the sleepers at Zero Zone 2045 A.D.” *CLICK*. Wait. Wait, wait. Wait. What was Zero Zone 2045 A.D.? Soprano comes through, “Radiant question . . . You know, your questions might expand on worlds unknown. Would you like to practice a bit with me? We could elevate this whole conversation—easily be channeling on a level known as internal communication. Just like”—Soprano demonstrates—“this.”
I begin to let go of trying to figure out what Zero Zone 2045 A.D. is about, and instead tap into the internal communication line, and all the surrounding hums and rustles cease. How does this frequency completely drown out all others? I focus on Soprano. Nothing else *CLICK*. I begin to inter-com, “Too many sleepers were being misdirected to only see the possibility of listless choice.” This inter-com sounds so weird; eerily isolating . . . Nope, not doing that again. *SNAP*.
Baritone sheds light, “They followed a funneled model: praise or perish—the sleepers were never equal to the ones above… if they believed in such a thing. And sleepers do not believe duality shares benevolence in all arenas. It’s either good or bad; rewards or consequences.” I lean in with, “But consequences are relative—it's their version of truth that gives it validity.” Baritone comes back, “Aye, but it’s not the truth for the fearful majority —known as the flat-Arthers . . . errr, flatterers.” The pixelated prana begins spinning, waving their tentacles around. I assume it is Baritone as they continue, “Flatterers will preach what they themselves do not practice, and typically are the first to judge. Like a co-worker that talks highly of their clan, but despises spending time with them. Or the neighbor who boasts about how much money he makes, but cannot stand his job.” Watching their pixels spin is nauseating.
A question looms in, “If you know all of this, why are you here?” I direct to Baritone, “Don’t share this with me, remind those spacers about those panicked flatterers, so they can return to their lives and not worry about me.” Baritone tries to make a point again, “If it wasn’t you, I assure you they’d find something else. Before your explosion, those Spacers spent their time comparing their situations to fellow spacers and the flatterers. You don’t yet see any correlation between—”
I snap back, “Well, I’ve only been here, so I’m just speculating. Based on what I pieced together, it sounds like all those out there are experiencing fear consequential to my explosion. I don’t think I was manic, but I want to figure out what I was thinking—access my thoughts, and fix this. I’m going to figure this out. Until then, I will let them know I am safe, and that they shouldn't panic. I can show them I’m okay, by returning to my mission; I’d rather try that, instead of mocking their fear. They’re probably just screaming in terror, not knowing if I was trapped.”
*CLICK*. Yes! There has been a perpetual catch twenty-two, causing prana to be trapped. It was said that the Arthlings perverted their conditioning and disconnected transcendence beyond twelve levels when exiting Arth.” Nothing is said in response, so I continue, “Spacers of the Universal Nation started becoming entrapped if they perished on Arth as well—no spacers are safe from the recycling planet! It was as if Arth was collecting prana and not releasing them.” As I say this, it does not sound right. Was there another truth to this story? Bass asks, “What then?”
My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I can still sense knowledge pooling in. I responded telepathically, “I was the explosion. I am certain, but I do not remember why I did it. From what you just told me, and knowing that I was able to transcend beyond the layer, I can only imagine that I challenged it. I switch back to speaking, “But skin suits don’t just combust . . . So what about Zero Zone caused me to explode, and what did I actually want to accomplish?”
I finally gather my thoughts and I recognize, stating it aloud. “My prana came back to this ship. So that means there must be a hole . . . wait, did you all get the coordinates as to where I exited? Can we find that hole?” The room is silent, perhaps because this was obvious since the beginning of this conversation, and did not need to be said.
But it wasn’t obvious; otherwise, we would not have an issue of entrapped prana. I speculate. “I gather, by me not remaining on Arth, there must have been a hole above zero-zone that I crossed through. I must have known this and successfully shot through it. Why can’t I remember how?”
“Or . . . Maybe I didn’t need a hole.” *CLICK*. “Didn’t I just fly through the side of this ship?” *CLICK*. What am I? A sharp pause throughout the capsule. Then the instructions again, without explanation, the softest whisper, "Come back to your mission . . ." *SNAP*.
“I already told you my mission—are you just asking the same questions, like—like hypocritical flatterers or sleepers? I—I admit.” *CLICK*. “I’m asking all these questions, because I don’t remember anything! I’m doing my best, so stop demanding so much from me.” In a lighthearted counter-explanation to my response, Bass begins to speak, “Come now, Sonder. Do give your curiosity recognition. Better to ask than assume. And make no mockery of divinity; sometimes it wants you to relax and flow more than you do. Divinity connects directly to you through your inner intelligence. It whispers to you simply to give further direction. You do not have to follow it.”
What inner intelligence? Contralto chooses to proceed, “You are ready for this level. We all are; but only by understanding our curiosity will we succeed. I believe success in this universe comes from unwavering curiosity to discover truth in areas unknown; and now, there is a lot that seems unknown, and so much to explore— and rediscover. Do you understand?” I nod, hearing this echo so true within my revived pixelated Self.
I express mutual feelings, “Yes, I understand that, and I wish to discover universal truth for myself and others.” They all agree, “And so you did.” I did? Did I really? *SNAP*. Frustrated, I bark out, “Well, if I did, then how come I cannot remember how I did it?” “Because,” all five say in unison with mockery, “everything completed will not be repeated; rest assured.”
I fall silent on my stool. Bass reassures me once more, “Eventually, any unfinished lessons and incomplete experiences will drift back—fragments of your past lifetime, you have an opportunity to complete them if you so choose. The universe isn’t perfect; just divine. Perhaps in completing what drifts back to you, you will regain connection with your higher self.” I exhale. “And what if I cannot?” In a very chipper voice, Soprano expresses, “Well, as long as you doubt it, you never will. Rest assured, if you hold onto your worry, at best, you’ll stay stuck right here!”
Very bemused, I respond, “So if I doubt myself—” Countertenor cuts me short. “If anyone has even a little bit of doubt when they begin to ascend to another level, especially when attempting to transcend, they will automatically get entrapped.” Baritone telepathically states, “Hueman thoughts are not for the weak. If they are not of a strong mind, they are easily distracted and filled with doubt, and they lose focus and follow anything. All should do well to remember that. We all do it.”
My memory is shooting rapidly—like opened floodgates after a flash storm. All these bits of knowledge funneling out into a lifelong soliloquy. I wish to share them with these similar looking prana beings, but they transpire so fast. I brace myself by grasping the lip of the stool. I recall my last conversation with Ariyan, one that stops the montage of images quicker than lightning across a dry desert sky. I see his face, clear in the dead of night, as he stares up at me. As I hone in on his mouth, I can tell he is yelling at me! I squawk out, “Oh! I realized something. Something that changed my ways of—Oh! What was it . . .?” Eager to hear what caused the change, Bass prompts, “Focus, Sonder. What did you realize? What did you tell Ariyan? Where is this memory? And—”
He continues, but I go placid. There is something inside of me that wants to be known and it becomes dominant over the other parts of me that hopelessly search for answers. I know this now. My allies are trying to reach this inner me, but I feel as though I yearn to pull away. Perhaps their true intentions are to help, but I know not why. They want to know something that I figured out before ascending. If they were watching me, then why don’t they know why I did it? Am I now hiding something away for safekeeping? I do not know what I discovered, but I intend on discovering it again. These beings are like me, and so I wish to trust them—eventually. But listening to them with my head doesn’t allow me to follow my heart. This ship is mine, and it’s calling me to adventure. *CLICK*. I shall regain my past through personal exploration. Alone.
I acknowledge that Bass is still talking, but I’m over this conversation. I stop him by announcing telepathically, “You’re interrogating the wrong Sonder. You demand answers, without answering any of my questions, I can easily think of why your Sonder left. Demand so much, yet give so little. This reality is more hypocritical than when guardians vicariously live through their offspring.” I assume my point has been made about this interrogation when no further words come in response. “I’m going to investigate this ship of mine,” I declare.
I begin to rise from the round stool, sprawling my appendages forward, and calibrating my coordinates. My pixelated form is relatively weightless; it doesn’t seem to float away, nor sink through the floor. The thin, layered electrons between my lower appendages and the marble-like floor exchange places with one another. The sensation is not unlike tiny pop rocks detonating on the tongue. Uncertain of these newly engaged sensations, I set my intention to exit out the second passageway with more light beaming out. I’m hesitant at first, but after the second rotation of motion, it’s all a repeat.
I am altering my conditioning of normalcy. Pixelated prana is my new form. My new normal. My coordination is a bit off, and the landing of my tentacles seems more forceful than necessary. As I continue onward with each step, I wish to master grace with ease. Each step is a trial in my skill of mobility, balance, and finesse. Before I reach the first passageway of the two corridors, I take an extra-long slip and begin to drift. I realize I can glide. I can glide! Woah. Why would you ever walk, when you can glide? Oh, what wondrous enhancement to skim just the thinnest plate of atoms effortlessly. No true effort used besides the intention and motivation to propel your motion. I am moving in ways I never knew was possible to accomplish.
As I approach both openings, only then do I realize that all the commotion is coming from the first passageway. Once I pass by, I feel my inner self whisper, “First things first.” Is this the inner intelligence that Bass was talking about? I do not rebel against it because I was going to choose the storm over the silence anyway; it did not need to be said. I reverse my meek glide back to the dimly lit corridor. As I enter the passageway and glide with intent. I pass the passageway threshold, and I can hear a few of them tele, between each other, “Gliding already; in both directions.” “Clever little one. Always has been.” “I wish us all safe travels.”
I almost stop when I hear the last remark, but I proceed. The passageway is dark, but I can see the end is brimming with light. As I go forward, the light that shines from behind me begins to fade. My allies do not follow, and I do not look back. Instead, a fond memory becomes present. I remember now.