Wen Yanbo awoke, upright and already walking. The strange land he found himself in had a familiar feel. Dark. Dusty. And the air … It was then that he noticed he wasn’t wearing his breather, which had become an extension of himself after decades of not removing it.
He was on Dorin.
One realization led way to another: There were dozens of other Kel Dor, of all ages, walking in the same direction as him. He turned to the Kel Dor youngling walking to his right and, in his native Kel Dorian tongue, asked, “Child, to where is everyone walking?”
“To see the Masters, of course.”
“I apologize, it’s been so long since I’ve been home, the Masters?”
“What do you mean? You’ve always been here,” she said puzzled. “Come, the Master’s are expecting you.” She took his hand in hers and guided him forward as wind whipped through the clearing. In the distance he could see a rock formation around which everyone was gathering.
He felt a soft touch on his left shoulder. Walking beside him was male Kel Dor old enough to be his father, but probably much older. “Child,” the frail man said, addressing Wen Yanbo, “the Baran Do have been leaders, mentors, and practitioners on Dorin for thousands of generations. Now it is your turn.”
“But I don’t know how. Besides, I’ve sworn a …”
“You’ve spent long enough foraging in the Outer Rim, separating yourself from the toxicity of society, and finding your own connection to the living force. The Baran Do way is not much different, now learn to separate yourself from your own senses and truly see the world around—and ahead of you.”
With that he stopped. They had reached their destination.
There was a Kel Dor male guiding the congregation in meditation, teaching them to separate themselves from their senses, and open themselves to the world around them. Wen Yanbo joined in the mediation, which seemed to last hours on end. The past, present, and future were beginning to blend. Making the exact amount of time they had been meditating hard to discern.
When he opened his eyes Wen Yanbo noticed that there was a human man standing next to the Kel Dor sage. He immediately recognized the soft face of his Master. “Master! The atmosphere, it’s not safe for you here. You must return to safety.”
His master did not seem worried. “Wen Yanbo, it’s time to go. There is still work to be done.”
“I’m learning so much. The Kel Dor use the force to predict the timing and direction of violent storms. Please, let me stay awhile longer.”
His Master shared a friendly, familiar smile with the Kel Dor sage before saying, “It is not your path, not yet.” He pointed to the cave in the rock formation, from which a bright, orange light was emitting. “Quickly! You’re needed.” Wen Yanbo walked slowly toward the cave, as he turned around he could see the bodies of the Kel Dor that had gathered slowly fading away.
“Oh and Wen Yanbo,” his Master added, “do be safe.”
Wen Yanbo closed his eyes as he walked into the cave, and as he opened them he found himself in his cabin with the bright, orange light of the nebula flooding his room, his body still aching from the day’s unfortunate encounter with the wrong end of a missile tube, and the familiar beep of the ship’s intercom ringing in his ears.
It was Mek, “Hey Wen Yanbo, we could use you up here on the scanners.”