Here I am, miles away from Earth on the space ship Astra Zenica. I’ve been here before with other friends. This time it was to help them avoid a small disaster.
Normally, I’m in a home office, or the garage, or in one of several schools or theaters… looking, listening, helping. They always need help. Sometimes they listen. Sometimes they don’t. Most of the time, actually, they don’t listen. One friend is particularly astute at responding to my help. He gets an idea, knows what he needs, but doesn’t know where to look. I simply nudge him in the right direction and there it is! He smiles.
One time I was checking on one of my friends, when he caught me on his new security camera. I knew about his old cell phones aimed out his front and back doors, and avoided being seen on those. I didn’t know that he had bought a new camera that he found on the bargain table in a department store. That one has night vision! Now he can see me move about even in the dark! He watched the videos. Sometimes I’d fly by. Other times I’d do a slow blinking beacon movement in, then up and away. One time I seemed to him to appear then disappear. He even posted a video of my visits online, but no one seemed to care or be surprised.
His wife even passed it off as some shadows from dust or something! Dust. Really? They appreciate my help, but don’t want to admit that it was anything more than coincidence or a commonplace occurrence.
Now, I’m in outer space, the space beyond Earth’s atmosphere. The ship was been operating nominally. The crew was in good spirits and attentive. What they didn’t know and couldn’t notice was a minor change in one of the systems that needed their attention. I sensed it. I knew where to find it. I could nudge them to attend to it, if they’d listen. Mostly, they were busy with their routine, going through their checklists, doing their duty. Everything was scheduled, planned, SOP – standing operating procedure.
One of them would occasionally close her eyes, take a deep breath, and take a moment to look out at the stars. It was so peaceful to just float, out there, amongst the stars, forgetting about everything for a moment.
It was a perfect time for a nudge. There was a slight tilt of her head as she thought to look at where her hand had touched a panel. And there on the panel, a single small red light, blinking, quietly prompting her attention. She immediately transmitted what she was seeing to the Captain, Marvel, they called her. Marvel brought Scotty, the chief engineer, into the stream, and together they made the necessary corrections to extinguish the red light. My work here was done.
I shot back to Earth at the speed of light. I can do that. Yes, to some that looks like I appear and disappear. I’m free to fly about, in my small energy orb form. Some have seen me blink like a beacon or fly in, change direction, and fly away. Some might know who I used to be, and can even talk to me. I observe; to nudge, to help anyone willing to be aware of anything more than their preconceived notions and understanding. We’re all here. Not like we used to be, in a physical form, but as we are now, as pure energy, or a Luminescent Being as some have called us. I like the sound of that.
So remember, the next time you immediately reach for and find something you can’t see, but knew you had, and didn’t know where you put it… smile. Because now you know. You’ve been nudged, from the Twilight Zone.
Peter Terzian wrote this as part of an OLLI Imaginative writing course taught by Marilyn Myerson. A school media and technology teacher since 1980, Peter started brewing about four years ago as a hobby. Now retired, he also enjoys volunteering for arts, media, and technology projects. He fills several online volunteer roles for OLLI-USF.