A Cosmic Connection

The young woman sat on the hillside that overlooked her small, coastal city. The grass was damp with dew beneath her in the hours just before dawn. The air was still, silent, calm, as even the crickets slept. The city below was a black silhouette, with only a sprinkling of lights as most people also slept. The serene quiet before the awakening of the new day . . . A rich, earthy smell permeated the slight breeze that lightly touched the woman's face. Wisps of her black hair tickled against her cheek and ear, and she absently brushed them aside as she gazed past the still city to the ocean beyond. The gentle waves were just barely visible in the clear, moonless night. The deep, velvety violet black of the water washed into the early morning sky, as if an artist had swept watery strokes across his palette, blending earth and heaven.

The woman let her gaze drift up to the deep, deep star-fill blackness, still untouched by the approaching sunrise. The air was so clear that millions of stars radiated with a pinpoint brightness, and the milkyway swept across the heavens above. Her eyes found one particularly bright star, and she stared absently at it. Her eyes were open, but her gaze drifted inward. . . her mind drank in the calmness of the night and all tension and worries seemed to wash away with the gentle breeze. She felt as one with the earth, the night, the sky, the universe . . .her mind was empty and open . . . receptive, waiting . . . reaching out . . .


Just outside of the outer limits of a certain solar system, where the dying outward flow of solar winds met the inward flow of intergalactic cosmic rays, two small spacecraft sailed in the direction of the third planet. For sectars and sectars now the great Battlestar Galactica had been receiving the random transmissions from the blue-green, cloud-swirled third planet. The two pilots were to be the first to carefully survey the world; their orders were to approach to just within the scanner range of their vipers, take a full set of sensor readings, and then return to their mother ship. They were to avoid detection at all costs, for the Galacticans were not ready to initiate contact yet with the people of this world; too little was known to avoid a culture shock that might cause irreparable damage to the civilizations of the planet.

After centars of conversation and friendly bantering, the pilots had lapsed into silence. The pilot of the lead ship, strongly masculine yet tender features framed by his helmet, emerald green eyes fixed on a point somewhere ahead of his craft, was prone to letting his mind wander and letting his thoughts flow freely wherever they may. With the planet still at least 30 centons outside their scanner range, he let his mind ponder what might lie ahead . . . could this be their destination, the culmination of their hopes and dreams? The solar system matched so closely the description given to them by the beings from the Ship of Lights. He dared not hope or anticipate what awaited them on that third planet.

With a long, slow, deep exhalation, he let his mind clear to enjoy the peace of the space around him and to bask in the possibilities . . . unconsciously, his mind reached forward . . . drawn as if caught in a current, flowing outward . . . until it wrapped around another presence. The sensation was so strong, so shocking, that it almost physically jolted him, almost broke the connection, but the new presence reached out and grasped this new consciousness, as if pulling him from the currents to the quiet shore. . . the pull was so great . . . he could hear a soft, gentle voice saying, "Come to me . . . come to me . . . come to me . . ."

Apollo's consciousness was completely enveloped by the presence, drawn onward to its source . . . in his mind an image formed, the image of a beautiful, slim woman with long, flowing black hair, arms reaching out to pull him in, to pull him home . . . the sensations as he willingly flowed towards the vision were euphoric, exhilarating, orgasmic . . . completely enthralling . . . as he embraced the image . . . "you are home . . . you are home . . . you are home . . ." her melodic voice chanted.

The captain, totally absorbed, flew towards the planet, towards a continent in the Southern Hemisphere, towards a small city on the coast of a large country. He was oblivious to the frantic calls over his comline from his wingman, who was following helplessly, feeling a near panic as they passed well beyond their limits to avoid detection. The lieutenant was bewildered as his pleas went unanswered, yet his instruments showed no malfunctions. Feeling totally helpless, he sent a coded signal back to the Galactica to explain the situation, then followed silently behind his friend, finally giving up on trying to communicate with him, wondering tensely what awaited them as they penetrated the atmosphere . . .

Two new pinpoints of light suddenly appeared in the sky above the woman as the sleek vipers caught the first rays of the rising sun as its light broke the horizon. She was unaware of them approaching, though, because her mind was completely engulfed in her vision . . . the vision of a beautiful dark-haired man with emerald green eyes. His soul was so gentle as he came to her . . . as his hands clasped her hands in her mind . . . his energy filled the center of her being as her hands slid up his soft, warm arms to his strong shoulders . . . she felt a completeness like never before as she pulled his body to hers . . . in the vision the sun shone warmly on them as two souls, who had been searching, aching, empty for so long, flowed together . . . unity, wholeness, totality. . . the two merged as an explosion of warm, pure, euphoric light and sensation engulfed and embraced them . . . one with each other . . . they were the center of the limitless, timeless universe . . .

Part Two

The vipers landed in a clearing a short distance uphill from where the woman sat, legs folded, arms resting on her lap, still mesmerized by the vision. The lieutenant scrambled down from his ship as soon as the canopy had opened, running across the damp grass to his friend's craft. Climbing hastily up, pressing his face against the closed canopy, he saw that Apollo sat immobile, eyes closed, oblivious. How the frak had he landed? Pounding furiously on the transparent shielding had no effect. Finally, Starbuck hit the emergency release switch and the canopy hummed open.

"Apollo!" Nothing. "Apollo!" He reached in to shake his friend by the shoulder, vigorously. Still no response. Starbuck pushed himself back, biting his lower lip, fighting to remain calm and in control in the face of the totally incomprehensible. Leaning forward again, he checked his captain's vital signs. Breathing and pulse were accelerated, yet he was totally unresponsive. The lieutenant looked around him, wishing desperately for any clue to where they were, why they were here, or what he should do next.

"Starbuck." Apollo's voice was quiet and dreamy, yet startled his friend, who spun back around to see the captain's eyes were open and gazing at him.

"Lords of Kobol, Apollo, are you all right?" The relief was quickly tempered by the worry of being discovered by the locals. "What happened?"

Apollo gazed at his friend with a calm, still far off expression, still feeling the effects of the vision. "Come with me . . . I want you to meet someone . . ." He slowly pulled himself from his viper and slid to the ground past the lieutenant, who gawked in disbelief.

"What do you mean 'meet someone'? Apollo, wait!" Starbuck jumped down and hurried to catch up with the captain's long, quick strides. "What in Hades is going on here?"

Apollo did not answer. He moved purposefully down the hillside, Starbuck trailing at his side, wondering if this were just some sort of weird dream and he was in sleep mode . . . He saw the dark figure standing at the edge of a slope under the shadows of a drooping tree just as Apollo quickened his pace even more. Starbuck froze and drew his weapon, then rushed to try to stop his friend. Apollo brushed him off. The lieutenant hesitated, feeling totally rattled, laser dangling at his side, watching as the captain slowed and extended his arms towards the figure.

Moving forward, the figure drew out into the faint light of dawn, arms held welcomingly towards Apollo. The light unveiled a short, slender woman with flowing black hair, dressed in a tight, white, sleeveless blouse and a billowy knee-length black dress. Bare feet moved her across the dewy grass.

Gawking once more in amazement, Starbuck watched, laser pointed vaguely in her direction, as the two walked into each other's arms like long-lost lovers. In one fluid motion their arms wrapped around the other, pulling close, open mouths meeting in a passionate kiss. After several centons they slowly and breathlessly released each other, pulling apart, yet still embracing as they turned to the bewildered lieutenant.

"Could someone please explain . . ." Starbuck's voice was a whisper.

Apollo smiled at him. "I know how confusing this all is for you . . . but I know this woman now . . . she is a part of me now . . . "

Thumbing the setting to stun, Starbuck slowly brought the laser to bare on the two as his warrior training finally took over. Hallucinations or mind control, or something else, he figured.

Then Apollo turned to the woman and spoke in a strange language to her. Turning back to Starbuck he moved forward, saying, "I'm not sure I can explain it, but we both had a vision where we . . . united . . . and shared all of our experiences."

Starbuck backed up a pace, the laser leveled at his friend, his hand shaking at the prospect of having to shoot him, even with the setting on stun. "Apollo, what are you talking about?"

The captain stopped and held up both hands, palms upward. "Starbuck, just listen for a moment, then you can decide if I'm crazy or not. I can just imagine what you're thinking. I'd be thinking the same thing if I were you. Hear me out."
Starbuck lowered the laser, shifting his gaze from his friend to the woman standing quietly a few paces behind him. The sun was slowly climbing above the horizon. The ocean and sky were splashed with brilliant and fiery reds, oranges, and violets behind the two. His silence told Apollo that he was listening.

"Aliana and I connected on a deeper, subconscious level. She brought me here. When we connected, we shared each others' consciousness." Starbuck's expression reflected a growing disbelief. He needed to convince him somehow . . . "Just listen. We are on Earth, near a small city by a vast ocean. And I am aware of her culture now." Apollo then repeated everything he had just said Aliana's native tongue. At the flow of an apparently fluent but totally foreign language, Starbuck let the laser drop again, exhaling loudly.

"Good lord, Apollo . . ." The faintest bit of acceptance slipped through.

"Starbuck, trust me. Trust me on this and accept what I say. Remember the Ship of Lights. We know extraordinary things can happen . . ." Apollo's eyes were pleading, begging, willing his friend to believe him.

Finally, almost in resignation, the lieutenant put the laser away, shaking his head. "Okay . . . okay . . . but what do we do now? We need to get back to the Galactica . . ."

Apollo's face broke into a big smile, and he pulled the woman back to his side again. "We're all going back now. Aliana can help explain what life on Earth is like and how it has developed over the centuries. We have a shared knowledge now - memories, learning, and even some skills, such language. I can speak her language, and she can speak Kobolian. And I have the knowledge of what all Aliana knows about Earth and its history. But knowing is not the same as experiencing . . . it's still very confusing . . . I need her to help explain everything . . . I need her . . ."

In the distance, a faint, shrill noise caught everyone's attention. "Uh, oh," Starbuck gave Apollo a comprehending look. "We need to get moving." The lieutenant hesitated just enough to be sure that they would follow, then turned to scramble up towards their ships.

Clasping Aliana's hand, Apollo urged her forward, up the gentle grade, still damp with dew. The sirens penetrated the calmness, growing rapidly in intensity, screaming, piercing and cutting through the dawn's serenity. The three felt their hearts accelerating, pounding, as feet slipped on the wet grass, the earth seeming to gasp and hold them back, almost in physical opposition. They had nearly reached the vipers when the early morning exploded with a blast of brilliant lights and the thundering, thumping of two helicopters as the machines ascended rapidly over the crest of the hill, swooping down on them. The force of the wind from the propellers knocked them back. The search beams were blinding, whirling, disorienting. The deafening racket from the sirens, so loud and shrill above the pounding of the helicopters numbed their senses. Apollo could vaguely hear the shouts of his companions through the din; then new, harsh, demanding voices drowned them out. The wind whipped their faces. The light flashed blindingly. The noise was overwhelming . . .

The stark silence was almost as numbing as the sensory maelstrom had been only microns ago. Apollo blinked rapidly and opened his eyes. He was greeted by the star-sprinkled blackness visible through the cockpit of his viper. He gazed in bewilderment at the familiar interior of his ship, unable to discern what was reality and what was not.

"Apollo, do you copy!" It was Starbuck's voice, sounding agitated, over the comline in his helmet.

"Where am I?" he said at last, still completely disoriented.

"Apollo!" Relief this time. "What in Kobol's name happened? I've been trying to contact you for the past five centons. Are you all right?"

"Where are we?" he repeated.

"Uh, Apollo, we're on deep probe. We've been in sleep mode for the last six centars. I've been trying to wake you . . . are you all right?" Starbuck's voice was filled with concern now.

A memory of what he thought was reality seeped slowly back into his consciousness. Deep probe. No star systems yet. No transmissions. No third planet. Just scanning the farthest reaches in front of the Galactica along the coordinates and vectors they had been following since their encounter with the Ship of Lights. . . the reality, yes. The rest had been a dream . . . just a dream . . .

"Apollo!" The lieutenant's voice was louder, worried.

The captain realized he had not responded. "I'm fine, Starbuck, just a little disoriented. I had the strangest, most vivid dream . . . so real, so intense . . ." He felt so strange as he tried to accept that it had, indeed, been just a dream . . .

"Well, I'm glad you've finally decided to join me again. I was really beginning to wonder! Are you ready to start the scans so we can get this over with and get back home again?"

"Yeah, I'm ready." The captain felt the fantasy fading, receding, as reality took a firm, cold grip again. "You handle the primary scans and I'll do the secondary."

"Gotcha!" Starbuck broke the connection, relieved to be back to business.

Apollo focused his mind on the task, programming instructions into the ship's computer and initiating his survey. The secondary scan included the gamma frequencies, and as he randomly flipped his monitor through the series of wavelengths, he was startled to hear a loud burst of noise as he passed the gamma frequency. Quickly, he tuned the instruments to listen in. Static . . . then fragments of a voice and more background noise. A voice. Definitely a voice. Definitely. A transmission from along the coordinates. A first contact with an alien civilization.

(Part 3)

Apollo lay on his bed in his quarters, gazing at the ceiling in the dim light from a single desk lamp, listening to the far-off hummings from somewhere deep in the great ship. He found the quiet comforting but was too excited to sleep. Boxey, however, must have finally drifted off, he surmised, for he no longer heard the child's soft playful murmurings from his tiny room. Apollo took a deep breath, held it briefly, then exhaled slowly. The past twenty centars had been incredible.

Starbuck and he had returned to the Galactica over seven centars ago with the report - faint but certain transmissions from along the vectors and coordinates they had been traveling for so long. The first evidence of advanced life . . . possibly, just possibly . . . Earth? Starbuck and he had survived the long, agonizing centars back to the fleet after picking up the gamma transmissions, reporting as soon as they were in range. Never mind that they had no way of knowing how far these transmissions had traveled . . . how old they were. . . they were the first direct, concrete evidence that they were on the right course. That there existed a good chance that someone awaited them somewhere. Everyone had celebrated at the news as the commander had announced it to the fleet.

But Apollo was glad to be back in his quarters, alone, and away from the hubbub of noise and excitement. A chance to rest his mind . . . and reflect . . . remember. . . had it really been a sleep-mode induced dream? Even now, he could vividly remember the sensations and the images. But other aspects were vague now. . . where had they been? He knew that it had been somewhere on Earth. He could almost remember a name . . . her name . . . her country . . . an image remained, but the details floated just out of his mind's reach. She had come to him . . . she had seemed so real . . .

Apollo closed his eyes and tried to envision the fleeting form . . . long, flowing black hair . . . a gentle, kind face . . . her warm spirit . . . the image seemed to swirl in and out of focus. The swirling sensation expanded, reaching out through his mind, encompassing him . . . lifting him . . . he was floating, bobbing . . . a familiar, warm presence flowed around him and swept him along, outward . . . Aliana. He felt as if he were flying, flying freely through the universe . . . to land with a surge of flowing energy - in the soft, warm sand of a beach.

Apollo sat upright, startled, feeling the tiny grains seeping between his fingers as he pressed down with his hands. Glancing around, he saw rocky cliffs towering behind him and a stretch of beach that ran for as far as the eye could see. A gentle but persistent cool breeze washed over him, blowing strands of hair in and out of his eyes, raising goosebumps on bare skin . . . The salty, earthy smells from the union of land and sea flowed with the breeze. The current coursed smoothly up over the sand, reaching inland until it extended in thin trickles, then receded back out to the vast waters. The rippling, rocking of the waves, reaching to the horizon . . . to the slowly darkening sky, the twilight colors beginning to expand, as the sun dipped low. . . were mesmerizing . . .peaceful, so peaceful . . .

The gentle touch on his shoulders from behind sent a warmth through his body as a familiar soul reached inward to him. "You're home . . ." No words. A silent, unspoken greeting. Her hands slid down his arms and over his chest as her body drew close, pressing against him. He felt her spirit, her energy absorbing him, pulling him . . . He was barely aware as he turned to embrace her, to feel her soft skin wrapping around him, enveloping him like a blanket, a cocoon . . . his mind flowed freely with hers . . . united again. Home, he was home. Their spirit soared as the wave of wonderful, pure, euphoric sensation carried them inward and outward to the center of the universe once more . . . they were complete, total . . . one . . . as they experienced the center of life . . . of infinity . . . no boundaries . . . no limits . . . time and space were one, dimensionless . . . they flowed freely through the universe and beyond . . . as they journeyed with the flow, her voice sang in his mind, the words forming in her native tongue . . . "we will be together always. . . have faith, my dear one. Release the fear, the fear that tore at your soul with our first encounter. . . we are meant to be . . . know that I am here and will be with you always. . . one day, we shall embrace a new life together in the physical world . . . we shall be together soon . . . we shall eternally be. . ."

The end . . .or is it a beginning?