I wake up again.
The room is as it should be, but something is amiss. I look around and wonder what sort of visitor to expect.
Something, or more precisely someone, materializes near the bedroom doors.
It is an alien. It is not a being from Htra-deg. It is a woman about 5'7, thin and completely bald. Her skin has a bluish coloring and her eyes are a vivid, stark black. She has a look that is familiar. Something about her is disturbing. Her garment looks something like skintight wetsuit. It is a deep blue, unlike any blue I have ever seen. She looks at me with unforgiving eyes and I sense conflicting emotions and powerful drives.
"My name is Skuuinja. I am a Norchan and I've overshadowed you."
"Say what? You've overshadowed me?"
"Yes. I used to overshadow you and many others. However, I had become ill, was treated off my home world and I chose not to return. I now work for the Confederation somewhat as a cultural representative. I am going to show you your world as you've never seen it."
"When exactly did you overshadow me?"
"I think I first overshadowed you when you were about 15. The last time was when you were 30. I overshadowed you off and on for 15 years."
"How does it feel to meet someone you've overshadowed face to face?"
"You expect me to say I'm sorry? Is that it? You want some sort of apology and display of remorse? Sorry. I'm afraid you don't generate that sort of response. Have you already forgotten what Yal-hune revealed to you?"
"You were on my world. I KNOW you. You were an impossible, conceited, self-righteous, domineering individual. You led the government for a period. Lots of Norchans despised you - many still do. Overshadowing you when you appeared on Earth was great sport - everybody wanted a chance to control you and get some measure of revenge - me included."
"You have me at a disadvantage. While your appearance seems familiar, I don't recall you or any of my bad deeds."
"When Yal-hune contacted me, she offered me this opportunity thinking it would be good for us both. But I'm not sure it is good. You don't remember who you were. You're just another human running around thinking you, and your life, are the center of the universe."
"Well Skuuinja - I'm sorry for whatever I did that made everyone hate me so much. I'm sorry for being conceited, domineering and impossible."
"I wish you really meant that. For you its just words. Words are cheap."
"For an overshadower you certainly have quite the attitude and righteousness yourself. After all, your world, basically, just acts as the galactic swimming pool full of mosquito larvae to feed on the other worlds."
"See? How long did it take to bring out your inner bastard? You may have had your neurotransmitters treated, but you still don't know anything."
I'm tired and I'm already tired of her. She's irritating and she's definitely no Yal-hune. I don't know what I expected, but this certainly wasn't part of it.
"Oooooh really? I'm not Yal-hune. No kidding. Wake up and smell the coffee - you are her charity case. She's Mother Teresa and you're the leper she's trying to care for. I was going to help you. I was going to show you things so you can live more free. Now, I wonder if it's worth it. You haven't changed a bit. You're still a hater. You tell yourself you care, but you are always looking down on everyone."
She walks toward me and sits on my bed. Her black eyes are even more accusing. In this close proximity I can see her even more clearly. There's something familiar about her, very familiar. The way she looks at me, expecting something from me.
"Figure it out yet...dad."
"That's right. I'm your daughter. You died and left me. You didn't want to come back to our world. Efforts to restore you to a regenerated body failed -and they tried a hundred times or more. You fled here - to Earth."
"When you act this stupid, sometimes I wonder if it's really you. The one thing you were not - is stupid. You may have been impossible and self-righteous but you were not a drooling idiot. THINK! REMEMBER damn you!"
She grabs me by the shoulders and shakes me lightly. She acts as though we've known each other for a long time and no one could fake her emotions. She really believes it, and that frightens me somewhat. Was I her dad? Is this my daughter? Why did I leave her? How did I die? Why did I 'flee' to Earth. Why can't I remember more? Sure, she seems familiar. She's got spunk and drive, but she is incredibly blunt and lacking in tact.
"Tell me about something that I did. Tell me about some time we spent together. Help me remember."
"Once you and I were orbiting our world in a small craft. You showed me how to navigate it. You taught me how to monitor all the solar receiving stations. I was young. You were constantly reviewing those stations. They provided power to the entire planet. You taught me many things. When you left, I realized the only way i could get close to you was to overshadow you. Your mind didn't block me as much, like it did some others who tried and failed. I tried to look out for you. You knew when you left that you would be a sitting duck on Earth. It took them awhile to find you. They didn't spot you until you were already 6 years old."
The way she speaks - with an urgency - seems very familiar. As she looks into my eyes, her black eyes seem more and more familiar.
"What about your mother? Is she alive? Do you have any siblings?"
"I have no mother. I was born in vitro, like all are on our world. I don't know who she is, but all do know their fathers. I carry your name and inherited your tact.
"How did I die?"
"Old age. Your current body was over 400. You had already been restored 2 times and you just didn't want to come back. They tried to force you back, but you won. They hunted you down. You were, and still are, a threat."
"Because your allegiances changed. You became pro-Confederation."
"So why did they want me back? I think they would be glad I was gone?"
"You're thinking like a human. When one knows about reincarnation, you don't let your enemies die and slip out from under your control. You keep bringing them back where you can keep an eye on them or control them. The planet had become a large prison for you. You willed yourself away the only way you could - by dying and fighting the restoration process. You obviously felt you could do more help here - on Earth. Why you chose this world I will never know. I assumed it was because they had no birth screening in place. You would be anonymous here."
"I see. Did we get along?"
Skuuinja chokes up. Her black eyes form tiny rivulets of tears.
"I loved you. You loved me - I think - but you left me alone and fed me to the wolves by leaving. Fortunately, some of the old guard also soon died after you did and your nemesis, Akwahven, failed to be restored. That is when many were allowed to travel off-world. Many left and never returned. I was one of them."
"I apologize for leaving you. I seem to have a very bad habit of leaving those I care about."
"I'm sorry for calling you a leper."
We both laugh and when she laughs I experience a deja-vu. Her bald head catches the light and she has a very exotic look. She has no eyebrows or any body hair whatsoever from what I can tell. She doesn't even have eyelashes.
I hug her. She starts crying again. I start crying too.
"I missed you. I wanted to tell you so much when I was overshadowing, but I had supervisors cut me off whenever I started giving you hints. I had to promise never to try to warn you or help you figure out the overshadowing. I still gave you hints, but you didn't figure it out."
"So what did Yal-hune want you to show me tonight?"
"I was going to show you the world as it is right now and how to see it with greater balance."
"Still want to show me?"
"I will on one condition."
"That you let me move in with you here."
"Can you stay on Earth? How's the molecular situation?"
"I can. The confederation has machines that modify cell structures to be more compatible with certain diverse planetary conditions."
"I'd be fine with it. Would Yal-hune be?"
"Who do you think planted the idea in my consciousness?"