I was just an ordinary guy

Finished 16 August 2017

Published 31 March 2020


I was just an ordinary guy.

Lived in an ordinary house.

Had an ordinary wife.

Ate some ordinary pasta.

And then.

One day.

I came to have the revelation of

A lifetime.


Stepping outside my house one morn

Crouching on the rain-spattered stoop

I squinted down at my hand and said

“Heck, there’s a dent—

—in my hand!”

That was news to me

And yet, it was


So I dug my fingernail

Deep into the skin

To feel around

For the source of this nick.


By the time I sensed an unusual feel

Red had cracked about my wrist

Veins coursing faster than

A pyrolytic needle.


Despite the gore, sweat, and steam

I managed to pluck out some treasure agleam.

It was a computer chip, or so

It seemed.

Stained in flesh and fogged in sheen

It displayed two words, engraved in the steel.




After glancing left, then right, I concluded the coast clear

And pressed lightly down onto the hard material.

To my shock and delight, a sound rang out clear.

A voice—

A message—

A confidence sequestered through the years, finally making its debut:

“By the time you hear this

You may already know

Of the fact that your life

Was mechanized by

A sun-charted solenoid.”

A lengthy pause.

“But if this is not the case

I’d venture you to listen closely

To the historian of


In Nullarbor Plain.”

By the time the message was through, I was thoroughly confused

Until one more sentence

Cinched the spiel:

“This message is about to




A woman shrieked, just as bits of metal

Exploded in my face.

“Lord, have you gone insane?”

My wife thundered over to me

and like a supersonic asp

Had my hand wrestled beneath the flow of tap water

Under less than

A Planck.

“I can explain!” I tried, as her hands scrubbed mercilessly at the wound. “Do you know of Nullarbor Plain?”

My wife grew red in the cheeks. “Don’t tell me my husband is to be

A felo-de-se.”

“No, not at all!” I pleaded, wrapping my hand in a towel. “My love, my dear—

Listen to me, closely – it was a message which I have procured!”

“From whom? Your hand?” Her eyes bored deep into my head. “From the blood? Are you mad?”

“From a mysterious chip,” I answered. “That was in my hand.”

“What did it say?”

“It said I am to find a historian of astrionics,” I explained, pausing for a brief


“They reside in Nullarbor Plain.”


“I don’t know.”

I cast a grin upon my wife, and her expression crumbled

In forfeit.

“I’m going to find out.”


I coasted my truck to a stop.

Glancing out onto the landscape was the equivalent of

Rorschach vacillation;

Was the earth ebbing into a set-sun colorant, or—

Brain-dead corrosion?

The road signage above the plain caught my attention:

“We border on the



This was the place.

When I exited my truck, I was greeted by a lean, light man who

Whispered rather than


“It’s about time,” he murmured, gently taking hold of my hand. “They should not have planted

It so deep.”

“Who is ‘they’?”

My question went ignored.

“Us,” the stranger breathed. His eyes darkened as they dipped to the ground. “Back, back, and


In attempt to avoid a conversational cul-de-sac, I ventured once more:

“Who is ‘they’? And why bury a chip in my flesh and risk the


“‘They’ is me. I am one of the

Ask-Jak-Sis-Insk-Cilen-Bajsh. But you can call me


I stayed silent, knowing full-well that

A strange dialogue was about to


“See, the truth rests not in your thoughts, but in your


The man bent towards the earth, hand clawing into the ground

To fish out a large, sleek chip

As silt spouted redder than the

Carmine clay.

“On the surface, you see red. What lies within is a machine.”

“A portal.”

“A dream.” The man smirked, dusting off the piece of metal with his sleeve. “You’re getting it.”

“Tell me everything.”

Ask lifted the metal chip to the sky. “The Ask-Jak-Sis built Earth long ago as a

Teleportation spaceship.

It was a detour, a service stop

A place of refuge and

Metallic sustain.

We built it as a city, and

It died as a

Mirage-spilling Abaddon.

We thought we had done

So well.”

I blinked.

My thoughts had scattered at the mention of


“So, what you’re saying is,” I began, “Earth is not a planet?”

“Indeed. It is a mishap of over-tried alloys and

Inklings of pneuma.

An accident waiting

To happen.”

I narrowed my eyes up at the metal chip. Then back

Down. Then back


“So, you’re saying,” I continued, “that you’re my extraterrestrial ancestor.”

The man nodded.

“And that Earth is just an abandoned space hubbub.”

The man smiled widely, eyes dripping static beads of

Roentgen rays.


I squinted back down at the bloodied


Ask blinked.

I blinked back.

“So what’re you doing in



Ask folded his hands below his chest.

“So many questions.”

I had not noticed that the chip he had wrought

Was now hovering, stuttering

In the air between us.

With a click of the metal, and a shake, and a quell

The sky above shattered

And all fell

Into darkness.

“Why don’t you inquire the one whom you came to witness?”

Ask’s skin slithered off his bone, and his words



I was scared, palms bleeding

Trickling like the tears down my throat

My wife’s voice chiding

Why had I come all this way?

A figure emerged, particle by particle from the void.

Within moments I recognized this new stranger to be someone who looked


Like me.

“What do you want to know?”

My lips seemed to be severed from my jaw as I tried to speak

To my reflection.

It was not an easy thing, to converse with one’s fermion.

Nur chuckled, heartily and true

He was wise unlike the brain that sat churning

In my skull.

“I am the historian,” I breathed, eyes glazing over as pinpricks of silver light bore down from the Colorless sky.

“The historian of astrionics is nothing more than



“That’s right,” my reflection said, lips curling into a smirk. “You are the historian, Nur.”

No matter how many times I arrived at the conclusion, I still could not see the


Of this.

“Now ask away.”

I looked back at myself, and took in a deep breath.

“If I am the historian,” I began, unsure of the word, “then what is Ask?”

“You know who Ask is,” my reflection snapped, the threads of light creeping across its


“He’s my ancestor,” I answered. “But why is he here? Why Australia? Why me?”

“Why Australia?” The other me gave out a hearty chuckle. “Why anywhere? Come.”

A shining green light sprinkled down from the dark heavens, a holographic


Enveloping me, cradling my limbs, the light filtering down in continuous streams from

The chip that sat, still, hovering, where Ask had left it.

“Why you?”

I was a rocket, my feet suddenly being thrust upward as wings, my head thrown toward starry


A million balls of energy spun past me, my lungs filling with the forceless aether.

Earth, threshing below me

A thousand miles submerged in


A hundred times smaller than

That chip,

That pesky little life-changing


“You know the basics,” I heard my own voice sailing through my veins, “You’re no

Earthling. Not anymore.”


The light of the sun pierced my eyes. Looking up, I saw Ask standing before me.

Just the way I left him.

“Well?” He tightened the knot of his tie. “What did you learn?”

I was taken aback by the start of this rather

Abrupt inquisition.

“I learned that I must be going mad!” I huffed, partly because I was out of breath, and

Partly because

I just

Who knew, anyway?

It was the spectacle of the infinite night that had taken my breath


“I know that you know what you saw,” Ask said, jabbing a crooked finger at my nose.

He wanted me to recite an exposition of my little

Impromptu excursion past

The stars.

Which was not possible to do, because how could one define an experience so thick with

A single word, a single sentence that

Could never do it justice?

“The Earth was growing smaller,” I began apprehensively, “and I was growing taller, or farther. And it appeared to be that I was the



I blinked at him.

Ask blinked back.

“Why?” The word seemed to me the answer in of itself. “Because it could. Because I could.”

Ask’s eyes brimmed with light. “Exactly!”

“Please explain,” I said quickly, to let the alien know that I was not so keen on his


“Remember, your skin is your façade, your words an illusion,” he chanted, “but what’s inside is Representative of the clarity of this


That chip that was inside your hand is proof that

From the start

You were part of a transatlantic machine that is

Greater than us.”


Transatlantic machine, thought I. I found sense in these two stifling nouns the way

Lightening could cut one’s sickness


“The Earth is indeed a lost ship out in space, abandoned, though not forgotten,”



“Yet there is more to it than simply a myth that fosters a


It is the multi-dimensional, quasi-physical illustration of

A reality, the reality, our reality

That cannot be manipulated because

It’s in our heads.”

Ask’s eyes twinkled. “What did I tell you, O brave historian?”

A beam crossed my lips. “Not much.”

I’d not felt this elated, this


Since I was coaxed into that thousand lumen

Birthing grave.

I really hated the fact that hospitals are

Places of birth and death.

So euphemism is what I resort to

To speak the word.

“You see, what you think is ordinary,” Ask sang, “is only so until you look further, until you



Like the Earth, there is more to you

To humanity than simply


The catch is, that sometimes doing so

Requires one to

Rise above and

Gaze down upon all that

Never was

In order to embrace what





The moment seemed to last for an eternity, looking into the alien’s


“So.” My voice was a wisp, a remnant of

Sudden melancholy that

Only comes when

Greater knowledge is gained.

“What now?”

Ask’s lips pressed into a wise, sullen grin.

Behind him

The sun’s bloodiest aurora

Tinted his


Though so sallow

In rainbow reflections.

“Ekpyrosis,” he whispered, mere syllables of the darkening breeze. “The cycle must be


I turned slightly, my eyes watering. I could not bear the sight

The one key to my past was

Frittering away

Away, away

With the gloaming.

“Thank you,” I returned, shuffling back toward my truck.

At the last moment, I turned to face that

Strange being



His irises hovered before me, swirling mirrors of my own.

“What do I do now? Everything is—


The eyes fluttered, the threads of light within them thinning, spinning into the


“You know what to do, Nur.”

I nodded, a little weepy-eyed

My lungs on fire

Fire like my mind

Reeling out

Into nothing

That vast, glorious nothing that is simply a

Road back to what we know



I was just an ordinary guy.

Lived in an ordinary house.

Had an ordinary wife.

Ate some ordinary pasta.

And then.

One day.

I came to have the revelation of

A lifetime.

We are all part of a greater


A transhumanistic

Celestial, nail-biting

Spiritual holon.

And each one of our deviant minds, with our past kept close in our pockets, will

Nurture it.

Continue it.

Mold it, with wonder into something


We may not look farther out, because

They gave it to us, wrapped it in this preciousness called


And brought it




Yes, this fragile, warring globe.

One made of metal, cells, dirt and


No higher historian need say that

Our imperfect world

Is enough.

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