Space Flight 704, Chapter 11: The Voice in the Light

Do not be alarmed.

The voice came out of nowhere. This made sense, as Rex was nowhere and had no senses as such to pinpoint the origin of the... sound? Was it a sound? No, this was one consciousness talking to another, pure thought.

"Where am I?" asked Rex, concentrating hard to keep himself together.


Space Flight 704, Chapter 12: An Answer in the Dark

I am another such as you.

The voice spoke in a grave yet comforting manner.

"Is this the afterlife?" asked Rex, not believing it to be possible.

Not as you are thinking, the voice explained.

You have cheated death, and this is where your soul resides when you are not visiting the mortal plain.

"But how..." began Rex, "but how is this possible?"

The power of the Torimbalo.

Rex's essence whirled and partially dissipated with the shock. He willed himself back together.

"That again?" he wondered.

Space Flight 704, Chapter 13: Confusion is a Stranger in Bed

The voice was taking shape inside his mind.

Each time it spoke, Rex imagined he saw a dark form slowly growing clearer in front of him.

The Torimbalo keeps your soul rooted and whole when you die. Over time you will learn to master your new form and will be able to return to the mortal realm.

"You mean like a ghost?" Rex asked incredulously.

I mean more than mortal.

"I don't know what that means," said Rex, bewildered.

Space Flight 704, Chapter 14: Unity of Body and Mind

Rex felt a sensation he soon identified as "solidifying".

As the voice spoke and the other became more visible in front of him, he felt something. A warmth, a wholeness starting in the place he would have called his chest.

"Will I be human?" the thought came unbidden.

Of course you will, answered the voice, but you will be more. You will have power beyond what you can imagine. Power that many seek.

"Jones," said Rex.


Space Flight 704, Chapter 15: Sworls in the Æther

Rex focused on his hands.

He was startled to see that he could... see... them.

"I have hands!" he exclaimed at the other, but as he thought he watched them blur and slide back into the æther.

Before you can return to the mortal realm, the voice explained, you must master your physical form.

"How?" asked Rex.

Impose your will on the universe.

In the silence, Rex concentrated. He imagined he saw his fingertips, saw sworls of prints. He watched fingernails form, knuckles, and scars from a thousand battles. His hands grew in front of him and he flexed them slightly and felt their strength, their permanence.

You are learning quickly, came the voice after a hundred years of silence.

Rex started.

"Huh?" he grunted as he watched his hands explode into nothingness once more.

Space Flight 704, Chapter 16: Willing Hands

Do not be dismayed.

The voice was commanding, reassuring.

Control over the physical takes time, concentration, patience, willpower.

Rex willed his hands to appear. Concentrating heavily, he spoke slowly and carefully.

"Tell me more about the Torimbalo," he asked, still focussed on his hands.

As the voice spoke, he watched his hands, forcing them to remain whole even as he tried to follow the words of the other.

The Torimbalo was forged a million lifetimes ago, under the surface of an unimportant planet far from here.

Space Flight 704, Chapter 17: Time Enough

While the voice explained, Rex began forming his arms.

"So this Torimbalo is some sort of artefact?" he asked as the voice finished. "Something that imbues power through what? Touch?"

It is not a physical object, any more than you are now. The power is normally given by another that wields it, but now the power has been taken forcefully.

"Jones found a way to steal something that has no physical form?" Rex was impressed despite himself.

In a manner of speaking. Because of the nature of the power some of it was given to you at the moment you left the physical realm.

"When I was vaporised you mean? So Jones is not dead either? What does that mean? You said I have powers, does Jones have powers too? How do I stop him using them?"

Rex's arms and hands had dissipated with the avalanche of worry that filled his mind.

Do not be concerned, the voice comforted, we have much time.

Space Flight 704, Chapter 18: Unwanted Answers

Two figures stood at the cliff top.

"How did I get here?" asked Rex, turning to his companion who eerily slid just out of view.

Looking down Rex could see himself again, and checked to see if he could feel himself while asking, "How come I'm solid again?"

Your presence in the real world grounds your mind and naturally distils your essence into its original physical form.

"Then why didn't you just bring me back here first?"

Almost as the question left his mouth, a bird flying above relieved itself mid-flight on Rex's all-to-real head.

Because just as you must will yourself to be in the non-physical plane, so you must learn that you are not bound to the physical any more in this plane.

"Did you make that bird do that somehow?" asked Rex, wiping the bird-goop from his hair.

Space Flight 704, Chapter 19: The Haunted Cliffs of Tanshaa

Rex turned quickly on his heel

"Aha!" he cried. Then, "Dammit!"

Rex strained to see the other, now he was back in the real world but it was proving tricky. Back in the other realm, the presence was there, like a change in pressure - feel-able if not physical - and somehow natural. Here on the cliff, the cold wind in his hair and sunshine on his face, the constant nearness of his non-physical companion felt unnerving. Rex wondered if this was what it felt like to be haunted.

"Can you stay still so I can finally get a look at you?" he demanded of the other.

I assure you I am quite still, the voice replied, but I understand your discomfort. Allow me to make myself physical.

Rex waited.

A figure solidified before him.

"You're not who I expected," said Rex.

Space Flight 704, Chapter 20: Familiar Stranger

At least his discomfort was gone

The figure before him was a stranger, but someone vaguely familiar. He had thought at first he knew him, or was it a her?

Looking away for a second, he could not recall a single distinguishing feature.

"Who are you?" he asked, looking back.

The other hadn't changed, still looked the same, but Rex still had trouble recalling him even while staring straight at her.

"I am no one I remember," came the familiar voice from the unfamiliar source, more resonant and somehow younger - though still ageless.

"You are a very confusing person," Rex said, turning back to look out over the sea.