Excerpts from Zed's Journal

I marvel at the vastness and beauty of this place every time I get to fly. Every nebulae-walled expanse and unique world is so stunning, majestic, gorgeous. If this place was made, I would want to meet and thank its makers.

There is something wonderful about never knowing where I will be going next, too, at least not weeks in advance. It can feel terrifying… but my love for this place and life always are greater than my fear. I think that must mean something good.

Sometimes I lie awake just thinking about it all, or lounge and stare out a window, hypnotized by the latest epic scenery even more so than a campfire or lava lamp could ever make me. What does it all mean? Does it mean anything? Does it need to?

I used to have so much on my mind that sleep came only with an effort or aid. Then one day it occurred to me… that it doesn’t really matter where our end might be; it would be little different on a world than out here, and perhaps much worse down there; out here… it would take only seconds… at least if we got beamed or spaced. That might sound dark or morbid, but it helped me get good sleep again… out in deep Space places where I used to get little or none.

It has been years since I lost a ship. My confidence is growing. I almost feel bad for all the people who have lost ships and more, especially recently, but we all know the risks of this line of work, and even our losses drive so much of the economy. I wonder if or when I’ll have to make a tough call and lose another --and I’m glad my family is understanding.

My father always writes to me. His messages make me smile and calm down so well. He drops everything when I get home, and I know I am so lucky to have a parent like that, as many want to be that way but can’t; stricter work schedules and commitments and all.

The mean looks a few people have given me when they heard of my job really sadden me. They don’t know me at all. How can they default to such hate and so many assumptions? No wonder there are constant reports of war.

Will I ever tire of giving our workers a chance to come back home? I don’t know… I don’t think so; many have wept and hugged me when they saw me again.

Could everyone here really have come from the same place long ago? If we came through the same route, why wasn’t that milestone information better recorded? Maybe it was and we just don’t recognize where or how. …Maybe that route was closed by someone or some group out here, too, or back there. Not everything is natural or spontaneous. I can’t help but wonder if our ancestors were lured here and then trapped.

It’s nice being able to travel and blend in anywhere. I guess I have a sort of melting pot overall look; no one ever seems to place me as one of their locals or enemies. There is a double-edged sword aspect to this, too, though; I don’t belong to any group out here, and always feel a little on edge and homesick, where I fit in completely, not just neutrally before people get to know me.

Dad says he thinks of Space as down and the inside of worlds and stars as up. He thinks some have a more connected center than we were told to assume in school. I love that he has this alternate view; it is interesting and refreshing, and makes me think more.

The last several years feel like one big road trip. I don’t know how my dad did that for so long back when it was so much more difficult. He was alone for most of it, too. …Wow. I can’t even imagine the self-control that would take… and the toll.

No matter how many times I pass those EDENCOM ships, I still get a little tense and moody; knowing they are not on my side, and could overwhelm my little ships so easily, is just not ever going to feel right. They are like a hornets nest or bear den I have to pass on a hike. One day, like everyone else, they will probably fragment and start a war of their own… and I really hope I never need to pass any of them again.

There is so much left of this galaxy to explore, and so much more of Space that it is difficult to even picture that much space and opportunity. If I am destined to keep exploring it… I hope my father will join me more often; everything feels so much better when family is still near, and no one knows the stars like him. I’ve never seen someone so at peace when flying out across the voids between them as him.

If it wasn’t for the risks and other challenges out here, I wonder if I would have been spoiled; my family is doing well, and I have always been able to move around and unwind so far away from each place I have encountered something that bothered me. I wonder what exactly it was that kept dad from becoming spoiled, too. Maybe we are still spoiled and just don’t think so.

The first fireworks I saw beyond my world now remind me of the story my dad told of when he saw some from above; it was during an evening flight takeoff to get him from one continent to the next, and they all started colorfully bursting below as his plane ascended. How cool that must have been! Almost everyone only sees them from close up and below, but he and I have now witnessed them as if we were birds or spirits.

I think another guy was into me at the bar I stopped at. All I can do is be nice in passing; there is no way I can stay, even if I really liked any of them. I hope they understand. Surely people who make it down here into Space understand.

There are shattered worlds out here! I just discovered this from a news feed. I have to go see one! …I’ll see if I can work one into the schedule. Surely there are wonders out there we are meant to learn of.


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