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Atiri attained consciousness near the third moon of the fourth planet of one of a trillion stars in the Andromeda galaxy. She was a Sailor, an extremely rare energy life form. So rare that she had never encountered another Sailor in the million years she had existed. She was a she by the dominant feminine qualities of her mind: She was compassionate, accepting, patient, receptive and sensitive. In her natural form she was pure energy, and when she converted her energy into organic matter, she could be either sex, or both.
A Sailor's instinctual drive is to travel, explore, observe and seek out the missing element of their psyche to attain completeness. No two seek exactly the same thing.
She explored the expanse of Andromeda. She saw planets forming out of nebular dust, spinning in circles within circles, dying in the flash of their sun's supernova; ten thousand permutations of the same theme. The released energy tingled through her being, recharging her. But what she sought was not here.
To propel herself, Atiri formed an umbrella-like sail to catch the winds of space; ions, x-rays, photons as well as radiant and electromagnetic energies. She charted the oceans of dark matter between galaxies. Setting her course into the swirling centers of a thousand black hole maelstroms, she felt her energy body being compressed, compacted so small as to be almost nothing. As she passed through a singularity, she came as close as she could to death. But energy cannot be destroyed, so she always emerged on the other side alive, expanded herself, unfurled her sail and resumed her mission.
Atiri found life bearing planets supporting corporeal, short lived beings, varying in size, shape and chemical structure. Occasionally she even sensed an intelligence in them that compelled her to investigate further. On one planet, she took the form of intelligent insectivorous beings. Their hive-centered mentality left her feeling more lonely than she ever had in deep space. Once she morphed into an intellectually dominant being on a mostly water covered world. They were gelatinous and tentacled. Although they had originally evolved as land dwellers, they came to value only their minds. As their bodies devolved, they returned to the ocean becoming floating brains, each living in its own mental universe.
In all her own eons, she still had not found her fulfillment. In all the places she had been, the things she had seen, she still had no idea what she needed. But her instincts and determination would not allow her to give up.
Then she found herself exploring the interstellar space near yet one more small universe. She detected a faint but unusual energy signal. She tracked it down and found a space probe. Being careful not to damage it or interfere with its mission, she inspected the traveler. She discovered a golden disk, and adjusting her frequencies to read it, she discerned voices speaking, samples of something called music, the rhythm of waves breaking on a shore and the haunting moans of sea creatures. Intrigued, she investigated further and found the probes' point of origin; the third planet from the sun. The Sailor set her sails into the nearby solar system. She tuned into the radio waves emanating from her destination. She would translate the broadcasts and learn what she could before arriving at the planet.
Passing icy reddish Quaoar, the largest object in the Kuiper Belt, she headed toward the orbit of Neptune. Sailing toward Uranus she crossed the orbital path of Oberon, covered with impact craters and named after the king of fairies, who used the juice of a flower to induce love at first sight. Then she aimed herself in the direction of Saturn, her energies brushing Iapetus, called the ying/yang moon as one half was dark and the other half was light. After Saturn came Jupiter and among its moons she noticed Ganymede, the largest moon in this solar system. Then came the asteroids, Ceres, Pallas, Vesta and a belt of countless more, and then she found Mars. She hovered near Phobos, the hollow, misshapen Martian moon named for a deity personifying fear. Earth was just ahead of her and her energy was not tainted with fear, but a strange vibration of anticipation.
Atiri sailed into orbit around Earth. She'd encountered planets as beautiful before, but longer ago than she could remember. Still not sure what she hoped to find, she listened. When she began tuning out the electronic buzz of the planet, she heard it: The same haunting aquatic animal sounds as on the golden disk. She scanned the ocean below her and pinpointed the location.
Passing through Earth's atmosphere she hovered just over the small pod of whales. Listening to their sounds, a language of sorts, she knew they did not hold the secret of her purpose.
Then she saw the young man. He stood on the shore of a tiny island, looking out to the horizon. Atiri approached him to access his thoughts. He was Aydan. He paddled out to this dollop of sand one night every month to watch the moon rise and contemplate that unknown, missing thing in his life. Something about him fascinated her and she decided to take the form of his species to learn more. Behind him, she materialized into a young woman. She was a little shorter than Aydan, and had shoulder length blond hair and blue eyes. She'd dressed her lithe body in a bright blue, tropical patterned sun dress. She walked to his side and he jumped, startled, but soon relaxed.
I thought I was alone here, he said.
I just got here, she replied.
He gave her a gentle smile and sat down on the beach. She sat next to him. They sat there, wordless, watching the horizon. In a corporeal form, she couldn't read his thoughts anymore, yet she felt connected to him. The rim of the ocean began to lighten and the glowing silver edge of the moon began to rise.
She took his hand, and the connection she felt to him increased even more. He squeezed her hand and she felt that empty space deep inside her begin to fill, effervesce and overflow. Of all the places she had been, the beings she had become, she hadn't expected to find completion here, in this way.
The moon rose, huge on the horizon, round, lustrous and filigreed with the shadows of craters. She had visited untold thousands of moons, but they had always been just stone, ice, iron and gases. To the human woman she now was, it was so much more.
What does it mean? She asked.
Aydan looked deep into her eyes, past the reflection of the moon sparkling on her irises. I heard somewhere that the full moon represents wholeness, the capacity for one thing to change into another. I see it as a sign of a new beginning.
Me too. she giggled, as she settled into her new, permanent form. She would never again be able to sail the galaxies, touch the stars or caress the moons. Now she was just a woman, but she had the joy of completion she had traveled so far to find.
The Sailor was home from the sea.
micheledutcher - jessbaum said: The more that I think about the story, the more it grows on me. Some writers' words takes time to sink in and though the ending gave a clear idea of the meaning, the journey from your story's beginning to it drifted a little. But the more that I read over it again the more I think that that was intentional. The drifting and wordiness here and there correlate to The Sailor and her restlessness. As a bit of a moon worshiper the feelings represented when she becomes human and how she connect with the man completely satisfies.
Sidewinder4 - Love is a timeless theme. Shared love can be a surprise. Giving self is ultimate love. Being loved is priceless. Even a Sailor needs love. Thanks for sharing. When Atiri is pure energy, how could she have a mind? Thoughts, yes; brain no. Perhaps, "She was a she by her dominant feminine quality, the desire to give love and be loved." Thought provoking, Sidewinder4
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