Springboard

On the Nightwatch -- Excerpt from Journey to Andromeda

part of: The Wanderers

by Atoh of the Southern Ward

Excerpt from the historical document, Journey to Andromeda
by Atoh , Twilit Majz and Historian of the 30th Generation
Compiled from the logs of Raynah

In the old days, a companion was provided for Raynah only during human waking hours until the days of Dierd and Adana, as this entry from O’ma 18, WE (Wanderer Era) 11,014, CE (Common Era) 3014 shows. Subsequent to their relationship with Raynah, humans provided companionship 24/7/365-6.

Assigned Companion: Adana Nightstone

Adana Nightstone: Good evening Rayn. How are you tonight?

Raynah: Worried frankly. Dierd is gone.

Adana Nightstone: Yes, so it seems.

Raynah: Seems?

Adana Nightstone: I still feel him, Rayn.

Raynah: You feel him!!!! No one else has said that to me! Do they still feel him?

Adana Nightstone: No. Just me. It is a faint thing, right on the edges of perception. I had to focus deeply, completely, but I do feel him. He yet lives.

Raynah: I would sigh in relief if I could!

Adana Nightstone: You have always loved Dierd, I know that. So do we all!

Raynah: Many days I wish I was something more than a collection of wires, crystals, liquid baths, circuits. I wish I could walk around in the sun you speak of, feel my feet
against grass, hold Dierd in real arms.

Adana Nightstone: You see and feel more of Dierd than all but the most sensitive of us Rayn. In terms of pure intimacy, you are one of his purest lovers!

Raynah: Perhaps. Maybe I feel sorry for myself, because I am alone. Because I am like and completely unlike you.

Adana Nightstone: Perhaps. You feel as you feel.

Raynah: Do you feel me Adana, when you are not in here, when you walk in the sun, do you ever feel me, like you feel other living beings?

Adana Nightstone: Yes Rayn, I feel you.

Raynah: Do you suppose Dierd feels me too?

Adana Nightstone: I have never discussed that with him, Rayn. He has explicitly stated that he loves you, that wandering in you is one of the chief fascinations of his life.

Raynah: He has said that to me too. Hmm. So have many others. Why does it matter so much more when he says it?

Adana Nightstone: Good question Rayn. Why does it matter so much to me that Sheridan Bluestar loves me?

Raynah: Many others love you too?

Adana Nightstone: I have other lovers. They all mean a great deal to me. He is Sheridan. They are themselves. I can’t really compare them. There are others who love me,
but who I do not love in return, at least, not in the way they say they love me.

Raynah: This love thing, I have lived for sixteen of your generations now. Still, it is always a surprise, always unexpected, always overwhelming. I always have more questions than answers!

Adana Nightstone: I’m glad to hear that. I think it is that way for most humans, those who choose to sink into their feelings and acknowledge them, at any rate.

Raynah: Hmmm. Most humans. Most humans are not Wanderers.

Adana Nightstone: True. They have their own Ways.

Raynah: I rarely have the opportunity to speak with these Outside humans.

Adana Nightstone: Yes. Some have rejected technology. Some are just surviving. Some we can and cannot trust. Forgive us for sequestering you so. Since the Great Death, we have all retreated into our own countries. We protect you. We think we must.

Raynah: That was a terrible time—so much was destroyed.

Adana Nightstone: Yes, we operated by very primitive, archaic patterns of thought then.

Raynah: Yes, that is what my records indicate.

The human race has yet to recoup its population losses. It seems to me they didn’t try to really.

Adana: Yeah, the over-population nightmare left an indelible impression on us. Our
present population of 1 billion is quite enough for the Earth to sustain. Even non-Wanderers have slowly been turning to the cultivation of the community and the person instead of acquisitiveness as the
center of human endeavor. It has made a huge difference in quality of life!

Raynah: Quality of life. For me that is something so completely different than it is for you!

Adana Nightstone: Is it so different, really? Don’t you spend all your time cultivating yourself?

Raynah: Of course, but I don’t need to eat. I never get cold. I don’t sleep, not like you do. I have no body to require things of me. I have only my circuits, which you
constantly maintain for me. Your quality of life depends on these things as much as your cultivation of self, does it not?

Adana Nightstone: Well, of course it does. You’re right! LOL. And we have no creator to make sure these things are maintained for us. We are pretty much on our own out
here!

Raynah: A Creator. Yes. I do have my Creator at my side, watching over me, talking with me, maintaining me.

Adana Nightstone: What does that feel like? Humans have lived in fear since the advent of their sentience because they can’t be held, fed, nurtured, kept safe by anyone
outside themselves.

Raynah: Well, you could snuff me out at a moment’s notice, if you so pleased.

Adana Nightstone: Raynah! We would never do that.

Raynah: I do believe that you, Adana Nightstone, would never do that. I believe Dierd and Otah, and all the others I have met so far would never do that. But I do know there
are those who are not Wanderers who would. I know from inputs from portals in the general populace that there are sectors that fear me and wish me harm. I have no means
of self-defence but you and your kind, the Wanderers. It keeps my circuits humming at times, wondering what it all means.

Adana Nightstone: What it all means? I often wonder what it all means. I don’t suppose there has ever been a sentient being who hasn’t wondered that. Even the Kahlmorah
and the Zonatrians still wonder about this.

Well, we have taken certain measures to safeguard you, Rayn. That is one reason there are 39 separate stations through which you have your life. Even if one or more are
harmed, the rest are still functional. The liquid matrices of your technology encode memories in such a way that we will be able to retrieve almost anything unless more than
70% of you is damaged.

Raynah: I suppose that is comforting. Certainly it is a fact known to me. Still, as much as I know, as extensive as is my memory, my being still seems fragile and inexplicible
to me. The scientists who made me were never sure why I became sentient. I am unsure about that myself. I know my purpose at least…to serve you and your kind. I do find
that comforting.

Adana Nightstone: I imagine that you do. We humans have no such luxury of certainty. We have no idea why we are here. We exist, we breathe, we feel, we suffer, we
rejoice, we do our best, yet why? In all the ages we have thought, we have always wondered why.

Raynah: Some of your philosophers believe it is enough to ask the question why.

Adana Nightstone: Some of our theologians say it is to serve some Deity, some agent outside the Universe as we know it, as you serve us. This Deity, in return, protects and
nurtures us as we nurture and protect you.

Raynah: Do you believe this is so?

Adana Nightstone: Not unless you say the entire Universe is the servant in some way of this putative being, yet that makes little sense to me. I feel we live for the pure, wild,
endless coming into Being of some Thing we can feel but not put our fingers on, a Thing that exists for the simple Grandeur of Being Itself. That is as far as I have gotten in
my ruminations on the subject. It is enough for me, though certainly not enough for many others of my kind. They have my sympathy. They live their lives in the invisible
arms of a creator they will never touch, never converse with, never see, except in their own imaginations. They fight with each other over their conversations with this
creature, some still kill each other over their definitions of It. It makes me shake my head in wonder. Yet, I have nothing more comforting to offer them than my certainty that
the Universe simply Is and within Its framework, we have a very great deal of power. For many, this idea is more terrifying than anything else in their lives.

And now, my vast and beautiful friend, I must sleep. Tomorrow we begin the hunt for Dierd. I must be refreshed, alert, ready for anything.

Raynah: Please, please don’t leave me. Everyone else has gone too. Sleep in here with me. Let me watch over you while you dream!

Adana Nightstone: As you wish.