Piece 8 - Completion

In the dark of the space outside Travis's porthole window, wisp entities appeared. They were gossamer-like, translucent, scarcely detectable unless you knew what you were looking for. No one on the Enterpriseknew, and no one was looking.

The entities looked in on Travis before retreating behind a nearby cloud of interstellar gas. The first one projected thoughts to the others, a form of speech with a million trillion voices speaking as one, "The first phase of this test went very well. This group performed exceptionally. A few snags, but nothing we have not seen – and overcome – before."

"Yes, that's true." replied the second entity, projecting thoughts to the others, "And this one's insight about cooperation and friendship was very good. We saw that insight in over half of this test group. We normally don't see that, as I recall, until the second or third phase usually."

"That is correct." stated the third, in thought projection-speak, "The first stage, they usually realize that fear and prejudice should be overcome. And in the second stage, they decide to work together. The third stage is when they begin to relax and make friends. But this one is not at the fourth stage, where they start to really understand what the tests are about. This one does not yet comprehend that the tests are to bring species closer for a large purpose indeed."

"Indeed, it is a larger purpose than any of their small minds can fathom." stated the first entity, "The unification of a galaxy, under a single thought, a single purpose, a single mind and a single spirit is beyond their ken, and then a unification even beyond that. The galaxy of my origin, oh, it was long ago, and even longer ago, and there were many, many species and they all were at odds. But we came together, and when we shed our bodies and came to perfect galactic understanding, we sought others, to bring them to our way of existence, and to work towards our common, ultimate goal."

"And when you did that, my galaxy of origin rejected your overtures. We did not realize your intentions. It was too much for us, with our petty trade disputes, our wars and our prejudices. It took the ages of planets and stars for us to come together." added the second.

"And so the testing system was developed, a very wise idea." concluded the third, "My galaxy of origin benefited from that. The early mistakes made with the second galaxy could be bypassed. Time, not so much time, had to elapse, before we became one. It is a good methodology; my galaxy can speak from experience, even though we are the young upstarts."

"Back when I was still a corporeal entity, when my galaxy was still divided, I would not have believed that a billion-year-old entity could be considered a young anything," said the second. There was almost a joking, collegial tone as the billions upon trillions of voices that comprised the second entity gently teased the trillions that composed the third entity.

"Let us return to the matter at present," said the first. "The interconnectedness is already beginning on a very small level. This test subject does not realize that a second one of the other test subjects has contacted him. To be sure, he knows about one, but not about the second. A pleasant surprise for a resourceful subject. We have only seen this happen 65,824,831 times before, a very small subdivision of test subjects now numbering in the octillions."

"Most of the other test groups did not do as well. In the other quadrants of this galaxy, the intelligent beings are still too wild and untrusting. And even within this quadrant, there are still many who are untrusting. There is much to do. It will be a while before they unify on the galactic level. The species called Organians is closer," said the third.

"A pivotal moment is coming up for this galaxy," said the second, "We will be here for it. This subject was correct, he will not survive to see that moment, but the second round of testing will begin and the second set of subjects, the ones who include his species, will learn and will understand what he has done and understood. He and the others – all twelve of them – have set the pace."

"This is an intelligent test group," said the first, "When the time is right, they will have a welcome place with us."

"In the meantime, we will learn from them, perhaps it will be as much as they will learn from us," said the third.

"Perhaps," said the other two, "and when the time comes, and all of the galaxies are unified, the galaxies themselves will reunify in what this species calls a quantum singularity. It will be as it was just before what this species calls The Big Bang."

"Strange, in some ways, is it not, that a species uses scientific and mathematical terms to define a joining that is as much about mutual respect, affection and understanding, as it is about physics." communicated the second entity.

"It is what their level of understanding can bear." communicated the first, "And that is all right, for this stage." Then all three of the entities vanished.

Travis turned in his sleep, dreaming of a dinner party with all of his friends, both new and old. He smiled contentedly and continued dreaming.