20 – Stars

The solar wind played with his hair, dark matter ripples caressing his skin as the strong smell of hydrogen filled his lungs.

He could see everywhere and everything at once. No need for charts or calculations to fix the course, he knew just where to go and how to get there. The infinite starred field as familiar as his childhood backyard.

His finger traced a single arch against the endless void. With a smile, he jumped.

The stars faded… the plain white walls of the chamber vibrated with the rumble of the cooling engines.

A myriad cables retracted back into their sockets, unplugging him from the main system. He drunkenly stood up and shed a tear.

The rest of the crew reverently moved aside as he walked back to his cabin.

He closed the door and cried, forced once more into the confines of his body. It felt so small, his beloved stars so far.

But they would return to him, and he to them… he was, after all, the navigator.