Phil sat on a rock looking down (or up?) upon the planet his moon was spinning around. He looked at his watch. It was 11:15 but that didn’t matter cuz the moon had a thirty three hour, seventeen minute and forty two second day.
He sighed, rubbed his eyes, reached into his pocket and pulled out the wrapper of a sandwich. It was empty. He tossed it on the floor of his force bubble.
As expected over 500,000 space ships of all size appeared around the moon, with weapons aimed directly at him and it. Phil waved to them all. After about forty one minutes, one descended toward Phil ominously.
The ship landed about 50 yards away on a stone. A door opened and out walked a feathered biped in a eco-suit..
“It took a long time to find you,” said the feathered one.
Phil showed surprise that it knew English.
“I made it hard,” said Phil, “I had no idea what you wanted. But eventually, one grows tired of the chase and decides to just see what happens if one stops running,”
Phil’s A-11 kept a spherical force shield between him and the bird man. It also kept him from freezing to death from the moons icy atmosphere.
“We just wanted to ask you something.”
“Really? With over five hundred thousand space ships chasing me across the universe, and all you want to do is ask me something?”
Phil thought of a snappy comment to this that would have sounded good in a movie, and decided to skip it and go right to the point.
“Sure. Ask away. I gotta tell you though I suck as a guru.”
“Yes, but YOU were trusted with … IT,” said the feathered being pointing to the A-11 wrist watch.
“We want to know why, and maybe see what it was about you that got you chosen to wear it. And if you are that worthy, we want to know your opinion on the one question we have all sought. Look above me and you see ALL my people. All of us. We are here to talk to YOU.”
Phil was quiet for a moment out of respect. It SOUNDED genuine, but Phil had fallen for that before.
“… um … THANK YOU for learning English by the way. I’m from the United States of America – a land of the monolingual white people that nurture a delusion that they will learn another language someday.”
“We are called the Renkas. Our flock of ships is our home. We need no star anymore.”
“So the heavens are home to you?”
“Friend, I got nothin on THAT,” said Phil.
“You have THAT,” pointed the feathered friend to the A-11.
“Yeah, about THAT. I was never told WHY I got the A-11. So everything I would say is pure speculation. My best guess is that people thought that I wouldn’t be stupid with it. And so far, I haven’t been. Am I going go get to learn more of your people?”
“Certainly. And we fully expect you to maintain your forcefield while we show you around.”
“Thank you,” smiled Phil. “So … ask away.”
The Renkasian, paused dramatically.
“The A-11 allows the connection of multiple manifestations of you across universes and realities to communicate with testable outcomes. With such an amazing piece of technology, are you still truly fucked by impermanence or have you become trans-mortal, a being that is both mortal AND immortal at once?”
“Oh, I’m still fucked,” said Phil.
“That’s too bad,” said the Renkasian.
“Sorry,” said Phil. “No matter what answer one comes up with technologically, eventually impermanence is going to kick your ass and end your life and lives… but …”
The feathers on his friend ruffled a little.”
“Well … I have a better solution than the A-11. Suppose you and manifestations of you in other Universes BOTH by random chance THINK of the other. And you both, out of random chance decide to connect to imagined versions of your selves by a practice of ‘no practice’ like Zazen where NO metaphor is used at all. You are just facing the other with no expectations. Are you in some way in communion with your other selves even IF there is no actual entangled connection? An earth math nerd named Kurt Godel calls this out in his 14 Points in point 11: ‘The higher beings are connected to the others by analogy, not by composition.’ So the use of Zazen which is not a metaphor or analogy can be used as the vehicle for analogy to CONNECT by analogy not composition across the abyss. STILL leaving you fucked. But less so.”
“Interesting,” said the Bird Man. “We’ve thought of that. It sucks compared to your A-11. That is why we must develop our own version of the A-11, but I know if we attack you now to acquire it that it will be in vain. We also know that you are too stupid to know how it works.”
“Maybe THAT’S why they trusted me!” said Phil. “That’s me, a mix of stupid and not-stupid that somehow works.”
“Do you really want to know more about us or were you being polite?”
“I was being polite,” said Phil honestly. “But I admire your planet-less existence.”
“Goodbye then.” said the Birdman. “Send us a message if you want to know more about us.”
“Will do. Goodbye,” said Phil.
The fleet of spaceships disappeared into hyperspace. Phil started tapping on his watch in morse code. A big bowl of stir-fried cabbage with black eyed peas and green chili enchilada sauce appeared. He ate it as he watched the wind make waves on a methane sea.