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Becoming Human

by A. O. Neuron
Copyright 2016 A. O. Neuron
All Rights Reserved
Memory 1
The Descent
For some, it was a pleasure to disappear for a while. For Levi, it would be a distraction. He
was in love and knew that he would likely end up forgeting her face. With a litle less than
six months before it was time for his rite of passage in some far away, unknown place, he felt
uneasy. He didn't want to go but he had to. The last four months were perhaps the best of his
life. His mother made a full recovery from an illness that nearly lef the family in emotional
shambles. His father was happy again and so was he. They started going out for weekend
walks, just like before. He was even beginning to understand the nature of reality and how he
could influence it with his mind. Becoming an adult and a true citizen of Omniwa wasn't too
far away, even if he didn't like the idea of the Trial by Density and just wanted to skip that
part. And, he met Lului.
Lului was a strikingly beautiful girl from every angle. Her hair was the color of ripe
space and her skin like the sof amber glow of the seting sun. Not having gone through the
Trial yet herself, her eyes were still an illustrious white whose golden sparkles could be seen
in direct light. Those eyes spoke to him like no other, telling him things that he could not
even begin to put words to. For them, it was as if all of space and time washed away and
became something new when they were together. Of course, her family would never approve
of their relationship but still he wanted to spend as much time with her as he could before he
lef. Her family was among the wealthiest and most powerful in the galaxy. Her parents were
gods on various other worlds and several of her other relatives were kings and queens in
lands throughout their small part of the galaxy. They even owned one of the nearby planets.
But Lului didn't seem to care all that much. Perhaps she was too entranced with Levi as he
spoke with her about life, his passions and nothing in particular. Or maybe she was just too
young to care about the more mature thoughts of true citizens. She rarely saw her parents
and spent only a litle time with her older brother.
Levi and Lului never really spoke about love. Like was more than enough for the kind of
conversation they loved having. And they never spoke about what will happen when Levi
comes back from his Trial by Density in a litle over a year. They just knew that they cared for
each other very much and could not imagine anything beter to do than spending time
together doing nothing-in-particular. They knew they came from diferent worlds, but seemed
to have felt prety much the same on the inside. Young people on Omniwa were at a slight
disadvantage, being second-class citizens, but they were too young to know the diference.
Unfortunately for Levi, he wouldn't be a second-class citizen for long.
The Trial by Density was something everyone on Omniwa went through when they
turned nine years old. For one year, a person is sent to one of the planets selected by the
Council of Worlds. It could have been one of hundreds or thousands of possible worlds in the
33rd sector that someone was sent to. Few knew for sure just how many worlds there were in
the sector and even fewer knew which world someone would be sent to for their Trial. Some
worlds had seas that covered everything, while other worlds covered multiple planets. Some
worlds were said not be planets at all, but abstract shapes or emotions. To those on the Trial,
they were all strange worlds where it seemed anything could happen. Some loved the
adventure and the escape. But escape was exactly what Levi didn't want. He already knew
what he wanted and it was right in front of him.
“I could never forget you, you know,” he assured Lului.
She nodded in agreement, though perhaps unsure of the answer herself. “I am with

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you,” she said, leaving to go back home so that her house Lord would not miss her.
“I am with you, too,” Levi replied as Lului turned the corner. 'Would I still remember her
when I returned?' he thought.
The Trial would be a tough one. To be banished from Omniwa for what could seem like
a very, very long time, was nothing trivial. If the child was lucky he or she would be sent to a
world where the days would go by quickly. But more ofen than not, one year on Omniwa
could be tens, hundreds, or even a thousand years on another planet as Omniwa made its
long, slow journey around its sun. Some referred to the Trial as 'the long punishment', while
others referred to it as 'the second life'.
He worried, thinking, 'How could we be together when I return?' Her family wouldn't
approve and therefore his family wouldn't. His family were just regular citizens, too
metaphysically undeveloped to even think about the kinds of things that Lului's family did.
Her family created realities and built worlds. His family – well, they were just like any other
family on Omniwa working to put food on the table.
Lului would begin her own trial in less than a year. Levi made a promise to her that he
would try to remember as much as he could about going and coming back so she wouldn't
get lost. If you forgot who you were while you were on the Trial – and that happened quite
ofen – you would also forget how to return.
Every day that someone was on the Trial they would wake up forgeting litle by litle
until, one day, nearly all of their memories of who they really were would be gone. Their
family, their friends, their home – all just a faint dream. The memories that they held so dear
vanished so easily when confronted by the pains and stresses of simply living on another
world. By the end of the Trial people ofen forgot to come home. And that was the purpose.
They had to want to come back. The desire to come back home had to almost be embedded in
their bones. The person would have to fight and crawl their way back through their own
mind if they wanted to make it back to their life on Omniwa again. Being a true citizen of
Omniwa was earned, not given.
Omniwa was the capital of the 33rd sector, one of the richest worlds in the galaxy and
home to over 30 billion people. Beings from all over came to trade and study there. The main
university of the 33rd sector was located there. Some of the most advanced thought and
conceptual realities could be found not only in its universities but in the minds of everyday
true citizens – people who already made their way across the chasm that was the Trial that
Levi was beginning to loathe. True citizens were the people who had already proven
themselves worthy of being an Omniwan. Those that didn't not only forgot how to come back
home, but forgot that Omniwa even existed. This type of natural selection was part of what
made Omniwa so diferent than most other worlds. But Levi wasn't there just yet, in more
ways than one.

O

“Breakfast is ready” Levi's mom, Thani, told him telepathically. It was more of a feeling than
hearing words, like receiving a gif and having a prety good idea of what's inside based on its
weight, shape and what you and the giver knew about each other.
Before he woke up he had a strange dream. In it he was walking through a garden
unlike any he'd ever seen. There were plants and trees growing up far above his head and
giant waterfalls that made loud rushing sounds and the song of birds he'd never before heard,
vanishing behind them. As he walked along the path he tried to structure the dream so that
he would have met Lului at the next turn. Sometimes it really was Lului, if she was
telepathically connected with him at the time and they were dreaming together, and
sometimes it was just his own imagination. He would know for sure when he looked into her

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eyes, in the dream. But, instead, coming upon a turn in the garden, there was a man siting
on a bench.
“Where's Lului?” asked Levi, surprised at the sight of the man.
“Don't be surprised, Levi. This is your dream,” the man said through his long white
moustache that flowed down to an even longer beard.
“Well, if it's my dream what are you doing here?” Levi retorted.
The man laughed, “Exactly.” He paused for a moment, looking to the side of him as a
buterfly landed on his shoulder. He did not focus on the buterfly, which Levi thought was
strange, but past the buterfly to a luminous blue flower on the other side of it. The man
continued, “This is the garden of your thoughts. I come here sometimes.”
“Who are you?” Levi wondered.
“Don't get caught up in what we call things. That is only for a vocal mind whose
thoughts are as limited as the sound it makes. Great minds focus on what something isn't
called, because then we can see its true essence. I've come here to meet you before you go on
your journey,” the man told him, staring deeply into his eyes.
Levi was confused. This was his dream, afer all and he always had lucid dreams. But
this dream was just like any waking experience. Being in the garden was almost like looking
into a reflection that looked so real and true it could have been forgoten there was anything
else.
Before he knew it, however, Thani was calling him to eat.
Breakfast was usually satisfying, but for the past few weeks it had been wanting. Levi
didn't really care for it, but he had to eat it if he was going to be ready for wherever they
were sending him.
“I made you your favorite,” his mom smiled to him.
“Thank you. It looks good,” Levi said, trying to hide his disappointment in what he was
about to eat, still thinking of his strange dream.
It was not that his mom didn't know how to structure some breakfast; She was prety
good at that. It was what every true citizen learned to do, afer all. But she followed the rules
a bit too closely for his tastes. Breakfast... well, every meal recently had been all about a
certain kind of structure, not taste. In order for his mind to have properly accepted the new
body he would find himself in on the new planet, all his food and drink needed to go through
a process he didn't quite understand. Only true citizens seemed to know how to do it. The
water wasn't so bad; It tasted okay. But the food...
“Again, Levi?” his mom responded, knowing his real feelings.
There were no hidden feelings on Omniwa. People that you had some kind of
relationship with usually had a prety good idea of how you felt. Telepathy was natural to
Omniwans, afer all. It was just another sense like sight that people used to interact with the
world around them, no mater how hidden those worlds might seem.
Levi was eager to become an adult without having to go through the Trial and the
several years of training when he returned. He felt he was ready for the training now. There
was no place else he'd rather have been than at home. He didn't really know anywhere else
and nor did he care to. 'How lonely it must be for people to be so far from home,' he thought.
“With you!” his dad, Pari, popped in, greeting him. “Kinui is up 3 points today,” he said,
talking about activity on the Nexus as he nibbled on Levi's breakfast. “He wrote some really
convincing responses last night.”
The Nexus was the main part of Omniwa's global computer network. It was like a stock
market, but for everything and everyone. Just about every aspect of life on Omniwa used the
Nexus as its backbone: all levels of government, educational institutions, businesses, media
and much else. Things got done quickly and eficiently and everyone could see what was

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going on at all times. If, for example, light or water began to leak through the street one
minute, within a few minutes more someone would have begun a market on it. Others would
see the new market and some of those people would issue a kind of proposal for their ability
to take care of it and others could invest in their proposal.
Kinui was a new neighbor who had just moved in a few houses away. He and his father
were about the same age. He recently had begun a market to come up with a new marketing
campaign for the local community center to get people to use it more, which anyone could
have joined in and created; They would automatically get 50% of their own shares that they
could then sell to investors, and the remaining 50% would go to Kinui for him to keep, donate,
or sell to others. Anyone who had a couple of units to invest could buy some shares in the
hopes that it could increase in value.
Pari grimaced, trying to hide the taste of the food. “This tastes awful!” he exclaimed.
“See?” Thani said as she pointed at Pari. “You shouldn't hide your feelings.”
Levi took another bite and smiled gleefully. He was thinking about his investments, as
he would make a killing on Kinui's market if the trend kept up since he was able to buy some
pre-market shares that he could sell for a much higher profit when the market opened. For
the past 2 years he had been learning how the Nexus worked from his dad. He even started a
few markets of his own and got lucky, then used the profits to invest in other markets. All it
took was patience and a good understanding of people that you didn't know – and therefore
whose minds you couldn't read. That's probably why younger people did so well in the Nexus.
They were used to not reading other people's minds so much and were more keenly aware of
social queues and what people might really be thinking.
Levi built up a small fortune working with his father in the Nexus. He had planned to
use it to help him get a good pick of planets for his Trial. The Council of Worlds allowed false
citizens to reserve a place so that they could have a beter choice of a good planet. The units
were donated back to the Nexus as a random prize for workers, so Levi didn't mind too much.
Maybe his dad could win it back, he had hoped.
“What are you up to now, son?” Pari asked.
Levi thought for a moment. “Exactly 634,524 units!” he said proudly.
Pari gasped. Thani stopped what she was doing and looked over, shocked. Levi grinned,
having read both of their thoughts before he had lef the room to go outside.
“With you!” Levi called out from the distance.
It had been weeks since he last saw Lului. Each day seemed longer than the last and by
that time he missed her greatly. He hadn't even been allowed to communicate with her in
any way, not even with his mind, as he was supposed to be focused on geting ready for his
trial.
He walked to Kinui's house to connect with him and see how his market was going.
“With you now,” Levi said as he entered the house. He found Kinui in the sun-filled garden in
the center of the courtyard, with his eyes closed. Kinui was connected to the Nexus.
“Hey, there, Levi. I'm with you, too,” Kinui said, opening his eyes.
“How's your new market, Kinui-an?” Levi asked, adding the respectful sufix for true
citizens to his name.
“Oh, it's doing wonderfully,” he said, standing up. “I was just heading over to talk to
someone who just started a new market. Would you like to join?”
They walked out of the house and down the street to the pedestrian level of the main
transport platform and headed to another house nearby. It was common practice for Nexans
– those who work in the Nexus – to personally visit with people they want to invest in the
proposals of, or those that enter their markets. That way, they could be more sure of their
investments and have a beter idea of what people had in mind to create or do.

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Afer walking for a couple of miles they found an exit and headed down to ground level.
Stopping, Kinui closed his eyes for a moment to find their direction. “This way,” he said.
Kinui and Levi found the home of the new market maker and knocked on his door.
“I will be right with you,” a voice called out.
The door opened. Levi was positively shocked. It was the man from his dream.
“I'm with you,” Kinui told the man, connecting telepathically. The man invited them
both inside.
Levi still didn't know how to process what was happening. He thought, 'Is this really the
same man from my dream?'
During their long conversation, Levi was in a daze. The man could clearly see that Levi
was with them physically, but at the same time not with them mentally. It wasn't uncommon
that people in conversation “turned of” their metaphysical connections, for whatever reason,
but Levi was obviously distracted by something.
“Is everything alright?” the man asked.
“Umm... yes,” Levi said, gathering himself. “I am almost with you.”
At that moment, Levi mentally connected with the stranger. Kinui took the opportunity
to quietly excuse himself, giving himself a tour of the man's rather simple home.
“There is no hiding from ourselves,” the man said. “We are each our own creators.”
“What do you mean?” Levi asked.
The man responded, “There will come a day when we will take a long journey. We will
get lost and then we will find the greatest treasure the world has ever seen.”
Levi wondered to himself, 'Why did he say 'we'? Am I going to go with the man
somewhere and find something valuable?'
“Who does this treasure belong to?” Levi asked.
“It belongs to all of us. But it is you who will find it.”
“Yes. But how did you get into my dream?”
The man thought for a moment and then answered, “Dreams can be real if you want
them to be. It's not magic or mystery. It's something that we each do, whether or not we
realize it.”
“Is that how you found your treasure? How did you find it?”
“It's not easy, I'll admit,” the mysterious man said, sounding a bit cautious with his
verbiage. “We have only to pay atention to the signs. We can't see the signs but we can feel
them. It's kind of like how Kinui right now is walking through the house, turning corners.
When he sees something he likes he walks towards it. If something isn't interesting to him,
he doesn't bother with it. When you find The Way, things will feel right. You find the Balance
between the simplicity of the air and the complexity of the walls and objects and other things
that might keep you from seeing your path. It's the Balance between the light and the
darkness, the heat and the cold. When you find it, you'll find it's easy to just be where you
want to go. The Balance is always waiting for you to sense it, right under your feet,” the man
said.
Kinui found his way around the house and back on the other side of the garden. He
stopped just outside the door to look at a very tall sculpture, then tried to open the glass door
again. It looked as if it was made of thick crystal and shimmered in the green light of the late
afernoon sun. Kinui seemed captivated by it while at the same time seemingly trying to ask
it nicely to open for him, befuddled by its overbearing presence.
“Is that how you made your dreams real?” Levi asked the man.
“Everything becomes real by what it relates to,” the man replied before opening the
glass door and leting Kinui back into the garden. “A few years ago this door was just a
dream. And then I decided to open it and now it is real.”

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The man then looked at Levi and said, “I was once a young boy, too, nearly as young as
you. My parents had died and my sister and I had not 100 units to our name. That was before
I decided to forget about names and find my real treasure.” He looked around the garden and
up to the sky. He then turned to Kinui and bowed his head, “I am with you both,” then
disappeared into the house.
A strange thought then occurred to Levi. 'Even though he is in the same place at the
same time, Kinui would never have any idea of the amazing thing that just happened.'

O

“There it is. All 714,540 units,” Levi sighed, before closing the door in his mind that protected
his Nexus account. He opened his eyes. He was standing outside the Trial by Density building
for the Council of Worlds on Omniwa, a short, wide structure that looked like a bubble with
the same kind of flora and fauna protruding out of every floor as there was on just about
every other building on the planet.
He walked deeper into the entrance of the building. There seemed to be more light on
the inside than on the outside, somehow. There were people above his head floating, or
possibly flying as they walked. A giant tree in the center seemed to bend its leaves as people
walked by, touching them gently as they passed. A voice in his head welcomed him to the
Council of Worlds as mental images of other planets danced inside of his mind. He stood
motionless, amazed at all of the things he was experiencing.
He thought, 'How is any of this possible?' He had heard it was a wonderful place full of
wonderful things, but had never seen anything like this before.
“I am with you,” a young woman said. “Allow me to take you to the 5th floor.”
Levi wasn't quite sure how the woman knew where he was going. He was too busy
thinking about how strange the building was to consider it further. As they arrived on the 5 th
floor he followed her to an open room with counters arranged in the shape of a hexagon.
“Levi-o would like to donate units for his placement in the Trial by Density,” the young
woman told another woman behind the counter, who smiled and directed him to hold his
chin up.
“What is the amount?” the woman behind the counter asked.
“All of it,” Levi said assuredly.
The woman behind the counter paused for a moment, looking into Levi's eyes. He then
closed them and focused on her connecting with him. In his mind he could see the door to
his account with the woman behind the counter standing outside it. He opened the door and
let her in to a small room in his mind and then brought out bundles of units – all 714,540 of
them – from the next room and piled them onto a table. One by one the units disappeared as
she touched them and transferred to the Council of Worlds. As the last bundle of units
disappeared the woman behind the counter in his mind disappeared with it.
“Thank you, Levi-o. 714,540 units have been confirmed. There is one other person ahead
of you, but we're happy to announce that you are in second place. Congratulations. And good
luck on your Trial,” the woman behind the counter said. Levi opened his eyes and the young
lady escorted him to the ground floor of the building.
“Good luck, Levi-o. We are all with you,” the young woman said as she departed him.
Levi walked home slowly that day, happy that he lost one treasure that he worked so
hard to accumulate because it meant he could go to one of the best planets in the galaxy for
his Trial and perhaps find the real treasure that he had dreamt about ever since he met Lului.
In the back of his mind he had hoped that when he found his treasure it would be enough for
Lului's wealthy and powerful family to accept him. Or, at least, not be so quick to reject him

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so he could have a chance to prove himself somehow. He wasn't just the son of a Nexan with
no understanding of how to create and change reality, as they were able to. He was someone
who had the ability to make his dreams come true by the power of his own mind.
“It is done,” he said to himself, stopping to look at the roof garden of his house as he
descended from the pedestrian level of the transport platform. His house was unmistakeable,
as it was the only one with a kinnut tree on top. It was something Pari put there several years
before so that Levi always knew which direction home was.

O

It was the week before Levi's departure. The Trial by Density seemed to be approaching faster
than the speed of light. Levi was sure of himself but still quite nervous. He sat with Lului on
the grand steps of the library where she atended school. This was a favorite spot of theirs
and it was good that no one ever recognized her for her famous family.
“I'll be right back,” Lului said, running up the stairs and into the library.
Levi felt at peace with himself. His Trial was coming and he was ready. He knew that he
would have the second best planet, with likely excellent living conditions, a friendly local
population, plenty of resources for all and an opportunity to make something of himself
before he came back. He wanted to learn all that he could about the world so he would have
stories to tell Lului when he returned. Most of all, he wanted to come back a diferent person
than he had lef. A beter person, in kindness, in patience, in understanding, in wisdom and in
wealth. He badly wanted to be with Lului and wanted to be the kind of boy that she deserved
to be with forever.
Lului returned giggling with a gif of sorts. She had arranged seven of her friends to
recite something that she wrote, hoping that Levi's memory of it would survive every day
that he was on his Trial. Another of her friends played Levi's favorite instrument, the stringed
jinrin, as her friends began to sing.

Levi and Lului,
two hearts flung far too soon,
you can't forget who you are,
so I'll eat four birds when you're new
Levi and Lului,
Nine and eight makes whatever,
Your dad made houndsoup steak,
To try and have your debt repaid

“It's wonderful,” Levi smiled.
“It's not wonderful, silly. It's corny. It's supposed to be!” Lului said. “And you're gonna
remember it just for that reason. And you will remember how corny a girl named Lului is.
And that way you won't be so easy to forget me.”
Sometimes Levi was at a loss for words. She was the first girl he ever liked and ever
more-than-liked. He never thought about being with anyone else or even considered the
possibility of life without the girl next to him. He was strangely very comfortable with her.
But still, he was usually nervous when they met. He always wondered what she truly thought
of him. Perhaps it was because she was so eager to open her heart and mind to him – unlike
Levi, who seemed a bit more cautious.
“Promise me, Levi,” she hesitated.
“Yes?”
“You will always....” she looked down to their hands as they held hands, and continued,

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“-that you will always say how your truly feel, no mater what sounds good.”
“I promise,” Levi said.
Levi and Lului sat on the stairs and talked until the sun's light began to tremble,
signalling the hour of her retirement. Soon afer, Lului's transport vehicle arrived. It was easy
to spot from a distance – very few were allowed on that level of the street.
“My caretaker is here. I must go,” she said.
“With you,” Levi smiled. He slowly moved over and pretended not to notice her, puting
more and more distance between them as the vehicle approached so that her caretaker would
not see them together.
“With you. Always,” she murmured as she stood up and walked down the stairs.
Just then the doors of the vehicle opened.
“Brother!” Lului yelled out, excitedly hurrying down the last few steps.
“My dear sister...,” Lului's brother, Motui, said as he embraced her, peering towards the
strange young man she was with. “I am with you. How are you?” he asked.
Lului, sensing Motui's focus on Levi, tried to distract him. “I missed you so, so very
much. What brings you to Omniwa?” she asked back.
“Oh, come now. I can't visit my litle sister and see how she's doing?” Motui said as he
looked her deep into her eyes. There was a moment of silence before they got into the
transport vehicle and flew of.
Levi looked on in the distance. He felt something strange, as though that was the last
time he'd ever get to be with her and he only just then had realized it. Brushing it aside, Levi
made his way home afer that, content that he had just had one of the happiest days of his
life.

O

It was in the early morning when a transport vehicle pulled up to Levi's home. Sensing
something was about to happen, Levi quickly brought his consciousness back to his body
from the dream world. He heard a peculiar sound. Qickly, he looked out of the window. It
was the same kind of transport vehicle Lului's caretaker used to take her around in. “What?”
he said to himself. Unsure about what to do, he looked out of his window and waited. Afer a
few moments, a man stepped out and was heading for the door.
“I'll be right with you,” his mom called out.
Levi could hear the door open and felt his stomach sink. 'What did he want?' he
thought.
He could not hear what they were talking about, or if they were talking at all. He was
too afraid to go downstairs, so he lost himself in a corner of the house. Afer some time the
man got back into the vehicle and was gone.
His mom called him telepathically to come to the front area. Begrudgingly, Levi made
his way there, where both his mom and dad were waiting for him.
“With you,” Levi said, looking nearly depressed.
His mom looked deep into his eyes and began to tear, as if she already knew how he
was going to feel. She communicated to him, through her mind, while his dad sat next to
them. There was a long, deep silence. His father let out a big sigh, perhaps at a loss for words
or mental constructs.
Painfully, Levi then went to another part of the house where most of his things were.
“Let's give him a litle space for now. He will be well,” Pari assured Thani. “He always is.”
As Levi went to the back of the house, the mysterious man's words echoed in his mind,
'We have only to pay atention to the signs.'

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Just then, Levi stopped in his tracks and whispered to himself, “This is a sign.”
Hurriedly, he put on his best clothes and shoes before looking into the reflective surface
on the wall and dashing outside as fast as he could. He ran down the street and up to the
transport level, heading towards the biggest nearby city. Afer some time, he had made it. He
decided to go to the most expensive street in town. He was going to find Lului's brother if it
was the last thing he did before his Trial.
He walked up and down every expensive-looking street that he came across – nothing.
Nearly tired from looking, he remembered what the man said to him about finding the
balance between simplicity and complexity to discover The Way. A thought occurred to him.
He turned around and started walking to a street that he had passed before. It wasn't
expensive-looking, nor was it average. It was right in the middle.
As he walked along the street he noticed many small boutique shops and places that
didn't have the familiar names as the other streets did, but names he had never heard of
before. The trees looked much healthier and livelier than those on the other, more expensive
streets. Even the people looked diferent; Healthy and wealthy, but not flashy.
Levi continued to search and walked for a few more blocks. Finally, he saw what looked
like Lului's vehicle turn the corner just on the other side of the street. He stopped and tried to
see into the windows as it whisked by, but only the driver was inside. He walked down the
street from the direction it came, not sure which side to be on.
“There he is,” Levi said, nearly exhausted from the intense heat of the afernoon sun.
His determination soon changed to nervousness as he approached Motui, who sat at an
outdoor café in the comfort of shade. Stopping for a moment to think, Levi took a few steps
back and thought about what to say.
“I'm with you,” Levi said, nearly peeing his blue robe as he walked up to him.
“Hello Levi. Please, have a seat,” he said. Somehow, he was far more welcoming than
Levi had imagined. “I've been expecting you.”
Almost as soon as he sat down, a serving of breadgrass and plum juice appeared before
him, his favorites.
“Please, eat something,” Motui said. “I am with you now.”
Nearly about to protest Levi decided he would, instead, play the game with calm
reserve. His intention was, afer all, to belong with Lului, even if it meant having something
to eat with her brother in the meantime.
As Motui chewed, he said, “You're a fine fellow, Levi-o. But the reality is that our father
thinks you should keep to yourself,” he began. “The situation is far more complex than you
could ever imagine.”
Levi ate slowly, as if digesting his words. He gave a partial nod, out of polite agreement.
“You're due for the Trial in a few days, right?” Motui asked.
“I am,” Levi said, thinking further, “Do you know where I am going?”
“Unfortunately no,” he replied. “Only the Council of Worlds is aware of such maters.
But allow me to extend you a gentleman's ofer,” he continued.
“I accept your ofer,” Levi said, not allowing Motui to finish. “But only if it means that
your sister and I will be together when I return and for as long as we wish.”
“Be careful what you agree to in advance,” Motui said, almost as if to help him. “My
family would not be so kind. Perhaps not even my sister,” he smirked.
Levi thought for a moment. “Go on,” he said, as he finished his bread.
“I will make sure you get a good pick of planets on your Trial day. In fact, I will make
sure you get the best one. You will love it,” Motui planned. Levi could feel the sincerity in his
eyes. He was almost too nice.
Levi wanted to finish his thought and said, “And then when I return, we will all have

10
lunch together again.” He paused, then confidently added, “With your sister, of course.”
“Perhaps you will never return,” Motui rebuted. “You could learn to forget all about
Omniwa and your family and live the remainder of your days peacefully wherever you are,
never missing home for a single moment.”
Levi sipped on his juice, then finally gulped down the rest of it. A rush of thoughts
crossed his mind, but he was careful. There was no hiding his feelings, especially with
someone like Motui.
“Lului and I are both false citizens,” Levi reasoned. “We share things in common and we
happen to really like each other. Love. And when I return from the Trial, I will be a true citizen
and I will continue to love her until it is time for her trial. Then afer that, as a true citizen,
she can do whatever she truly wants to do. She can even do what her father wants,” Levi said,
with a careful delivery as he always did when in deep thought.
Motui was silenced. Afer Levi finished talking, Motui drank the last from his cup.
Levi added, “Fortunately, I am smart because I am only sure of two things. One, that I
have the ability to make my own fortune. Two, that your sister has chosen to love me,” Levi
said, sensing an opportunity to turn the conversation in his favor. “This leaves me with great
possibilities that I intend to pursue. I even managed to secure the second pick of planets for
myself and intend to take full advantage of what the planet has to ofer and return with
knowledge and wisdom that I can use to build a life for us here,” he continued.
“Congratulations, then,” Motui said sincerely. He paused a moment, then said, “But let's
put it into perspective for a time. As you know, my family owns Ionut, one of the moons
orbiting Omniwa. I am only here to visit my sister, then I will go back to the comfort of one of
our many palaces on Ionut or somewhere else in the galaxy. I mean no disrespect, but your
father is a Nexan. You have nothing today and you will find yourself with nothing tomorrow.
While I appreciate your courage in coming to talk with me and asking permission to be with
my sister, it's an impossible relationship that our family would never approve of.”
Seeing Levi's somber expression, Motui paused and asked, “Levi, which do you think is
closer, Ionut or the sun?”
Levi responded, feeling a lot more relaxed than at first, “Well, I guess Ionut.”
“Exactly,” Motui pointed at him. “We are the gods. Everything we do is godly. My sister's
love for you is godly and when she forgets about you that will also be godly. Families like
ours rule the entire galaxy. You are either born that way, or you're not. I didn't make up the
rules. Yes, it's unfair. At the same time it is the way things are and we must accept how we
naturally find things. To some, it is unfortunate that we can have whatever we want and do
whatever we want. I don't care too much for that part of it but it is a fact that we write
history and control your destiny.” He then paused before adding, “We are, in that way, far
brighter than the sun.”
Levi didn't know what to say. He felt exhausted, as though his situation was hopeless.
He felt lonely, not being around his family and knowing that in a few days he won't be seeing
them for a long, long time. He wanted to go home.
Motui motioned to his driver to escort Levi to his vehicle. “We will take you home,” he
said, as if knowing what Levi wanted. “I am with you, my brother,” he ended.
Levi lef without saying a word. When he got home he told his family nothing. He only
wanted to sleep. That night he slept beter than he had in months.

O

It was the day of Levi's Trial by Density. Afer years of preparation, three seriously, he was
finally here. Afer a long and deep sleep full of lucid dreams that recharged him, he felt ready.

11
His parents were nearby. He was in a large, red room with lots of light coming from the
ceiling, floor and in through the windows. The floor was metal and porous. There were twelve
others his age in a circle. All the parents stood on the other side of a thick glass wall. He
could see them but not hear or feel them talking. The room felt alive, as though the air was
on fire.
Levi somehow felt special. He knew that at that very moment hundreds, perhaps
thousands of others his age all around the world were in similar rooms with similar emotions
as they sat on the edge of their Trial. Some of the children in the room with him were
extremely happy, but many of the children seemed nervous and sad. Some, like him, showed
more confidence. There were a couple of children who seemed aloof and distant, or perhaps
just malnourished.
“We are all with you today,” a woman in a lab coat told them. “All of Omniwa is with
you. Today is the day we have all been waiting for. This is our Trial by Density. Each of us is 9
years old today and each of us will begin a journey that will test our resolve to become true
citizens of Omniwa. As you already know, some of us may not come back. But that is more
than okay, it is natural. Perhaps we decided that we are happier in our new homes, or maybe
were so busy with our new lives that we forgot to come back. But Omniwa wishes you the
best of luck no mater what happens,” she continued.
It was always strange for Levi to hear 'us' when people meant 'you'. 'She's not 9 years old
today,' he thought. This made him feel a bit uncomfortable, as though he words were a
cushion for what was about to happen. He looked to the lef for his parents for reassurance
that he was in the right place at the right time. Surprised, he saw Lului and Motui there also.
She smiled to him longingly, which made him feel more at ease. All he could think about was
finding his treasure and coming back a beter person – a true citizen – to be with her.
Looking around, the woman said, “There are rules to the Trial by Density that you must
follow. We will only be told this once, so please be with us. The first rule of the Trial is that we
cannot remind ourselves of who we are. We cannot build memory structures with our mind or
use whatever kind of body we find ourselves with to remind ourselves of home. We must
remember naturally. Every day that passes we will forget who we really are. The second rule
of the Trial is that we can only use powers native to the environment we find ourselves in. We
are to blend in with the native and local population and possess no advantage over them. We
can only use our bodies and minds in the same way that the locals do. If we break either of
these rules, the penalty is death.”
Everyone in the room gasped, looking to one-another.
She continued, “Every year on our new world an ambassador from Omniwa will come to
visit us and be with us. Each year we will meet the Ambassador in perhaps a diferent
location, but at the end of our trial we must remember exactly where we met the Ambassador
the first time, whereafer we will be transported back home to Omniwa to our parents as true
citizens. Are there any questions?”
A boy asked, “How will we know what we can do and what we can't do when we're
there?”
“That's a good question,” the woman replied. “We will need to find out for ourselves
what is acceptable and what is not. We should first observe the local population and use our
minds to think about what we can and cannot do. It will be easier than we think.”
Another boy asked, “What if we miss the Ambassador the last time. For example, by a
few hours or perhaps a day?”
“At the end of the trial we must remember where we met the Ambassador the first
time,” the woman responded. “If we can remember that means we are ready to remember
Omniwa and should return. If we forget that means we are not ready and are thus free to

12
continue to live the rest of our days on our new home.”
The woman looked around and waited for another question. The group of twelve was
still processing what was said, looking to each other for some other clues the woman did not
provide.
“If there are no other questions, you may follow your path to the portal,” the woman
ended.
The dividing glass opened up and the parents and others walked out. His parents
walked towards him. Levi felt nervous, as though he had to do something for them.
“Well, this is it,” Levi spoke.
“We are proud of you, son,” Pari said.
“We will miss you, my son. We are forever with you, in heart, in mind and in soul,”
Thani cried.
Thani and Pari looked deeply into his eyes before walking out of the room with other
parents. The goodbyes were short and sweet, but tearful. Only a couple of the children
seemed happy. Just then, Lului and Motui walked up to him.
“We are with you,” Motui said. “And good luck.” He stepped back, allowing Lului a litle
privacy, even though he could feel every concept she was structuring in her mind.
Lului turned to Motui with a sadness about her face and turned back again towards
Levi. She kissed him quickly on the cheek, not saying a word before she stepped away and
disappeared. Motui stepped forward again.
“I like you, Levi. But my father does not,” he confided. “You could never be with my
sister as a husband, but she could always be with you as a distant memory.”
Levi looked awkwardly at him, stepping back a bit, as if afraid of what he was going to
say next.
“Unfortunately, my father – our father – doesn't want you to return. I'm sorry, Levi,” he
said. “Your pick of planet has been changed. You're now in the very last position.
Unfortunately, your units cannot be returned.”
“Did you tell him?” Levi wondered.
“Of course,” Motui revealed. “There's nothing my father won't find out eventually.
Perhaps you will find a way to come back and we can talk about it again, even stronger than
you are now,” he smiled.
Levi paused for a few moments, looking to the round holes in the floor for answers.
“You know, I was thinking about what you said the other day. About what's closer – the
sun or your moon,” Levi began. “I was looking up at the sky last night and wondering where I
am going today for my Trial and what it will be like. Then I remembered what you said about
how you and your family are like gods and do godly things.
“I have reconsidered my answer about which is closer and now feel that the sun is
much closer than your Ionut, because right now it is shining through that window over there
and on everyone's faces, but I still cannot see your planet or any of its palaces and neither
can these people.”
Motui laughed, almost out of character, “Haha. Just maybe, my brother. And perhaps
you never will. But in a few moments, they will both be so far away it won't mater anymore.
And you will be naked with nothing familiar but your own mind. Good luck, my brother.” He
motioned to shake his hand. Levi was unsure at first, but finally gave in to an awkward
handshake.
As Levi was leaving to go to the next room he could feel Motui staring at the back of his
head. “This sucks,” he told himself. The room was cold and hot at the same time. There was
one person standing next to what looked like a bed in front of a display.
“Come in,” said the technician, a tall man who wore a white robe. “Is this your first

13
time?” he joked, trying to relax Levi a bit.
Levi did not have the words to speak, ask any question, or even protest. He simply
complied, having almost given up if it wasn't for the thought of finding his treasure and
coming back to show Motui that he was wrong.
“This will burn,” the technician warned him. He added nonchalantly, “From the inside.”
All Levi could think about was how ungodly the pain felt. He did, indeed, feel burning
from the inside. But afer a few moments he adjusted to it and could gather his thoughts
again.
“Where-” Levi said as he looked at his hands, “-where am I going?”
The technician look at his chart and closed his right eye for a short moment before
saying, “A place called... Earth. I'm terribly sorry.”
The voice of the technician faded away as Levi lost consciousness. He had begun his
descent.

14
Memory 2
The Ground
Levi awoke, naked and cold. It was dark. He felt intense pain in his head and eyes and felt
dizzy and numb. He tried to stand up but could not. Lying down again, he found himself on a
small bed of dry leaves. He seemed to be in a forest.
“Should I even stand?” he asked himself. He realized his body was diferent than the
one he had known all his life, but he had expected it.
He laid his energy on the ground for several minutes, thinking. He didn't sense anyone
else around, so he had no idea what he could do or not do according to the second rule of the
trial. He felt like he could stand, so he tried that.
'Somewhere in this world is my treasure and I have to get up if I'm going to find it,' he
thought. It was the only thing that kept him from staying there, cold and naked on the
ground, tempted to use the powers of the mind and body that he knew just so he violate the
rules and could pass from the nightmare. It wasn't long before he heard noises in the
distance, like people talking.
“Alright,” he said as he finally stood up. “Let's find out what's out there.”
As he rose up and brushed himself of, his body shivered as he began to walk. He looked
around for signs of life and realized that he was not in a forest at all, but a park. There was
life all around him but he had to ignore it. He shouldn't have been looking to connect with
any kind of life – that might have been against the rules. He thought it logical to look for life
like his own. Someone or something with a form like his.
He heard a group of men talking nearby. They were speaking a strange language, but
one that his new mind and body understood immediately. Afer a while, the novelty of the
situation subsided. He observed them for a litle more than twenty minutes before one of
them noticed him.
“Yo, what's that over there?” one of the men asked.
“That's a man,” another one ofered.
“Serious?” another man said as he turned around.
All six men were staring at him now. He slowly walked out from the bushes and
towards the men.
“Hello. I am Levi,” he said.
“Whoaa, shit!” one boy called out as they all turned around and ran away from him.
Another nearly tripped on a rock and fell, but gathered himself up and rejoined the others.
Levi continued walking, searching for more people that he could interact with. There
was a couple on the bench kissing. He approached them, but they quickly jumped of the
bench and walked away briskly. Then he saw a man pushing a vehicle a few yards away and
decided to approach him.
“Hello, I am Levi,” he said to the man. With no response from the man, he repeated
himself.
The man stop rummaging through the trash and looked at Levi. He immediately looked
around to his lef and right, then back to Levi. He then continued to look through the trash.
“I've lost my way and was wondering if I could borrow your clothes,” Levi said.
The man laughed to himself and looked to Levi. “Man, I've heard some crazy stuf. But
that's-” he said, shaking his head.
Levi smiled and continued to look at him.
“What you want?” the man asked.

15
“I've just had a bad experience and I need your help.”
“First of all, cover yourself up when you're talking to a man. Nobody wants to see that,”
the man said, going back to his push cart to look into one of his bags. He ofered Levi a
sweater, then continued to look. Levi happily put the sweater on and waited for the man.
“What's your name?” asked Levi.
“Charles. But they call me Honeypot.”
“My name is Levi.”
The man then found a pair of pants at the botom of the second bag and ofered it to
him. “You have to get your own underwear,” Honeypot revealed.
“Thank you so kindly!” Levi beamed.
Honeypot began to study him. Levi did not hesitate to look back at him, straight into
his eyes. Satisfied, Honeypot then reached into his bag again and pulled out a pair of socks
and a couple of plastic bags.
“Take these bags and wrap them around your feet.”
Levi put on the socks, then paused as he took the bags and thought carefully before
puting them onto his feet like Honeypot said. He then tied a knot so the bags would hold.
“Good. Now, let me help you,” Levi said as he started to rummage through the trash.
“There ain't nothing in there. Besides, what are you looking through the garbage for?”
“I'd like to pay you back,” Levi stated.
“Look. There's nothing I need right now. I have everything right here,” he said, pating a
plastic bag on his push cart.
Levi looked around. “Okay. But I will bring these back to you.”
Honeypot waved his hand, “Whatever, man. Keep 'em. They're yours. I picked most of
them up a few days ago at the Salvation Army.”
The man reached into his pocket and pulled out several pieces of geometrical paper,
ofering it to Levi.
“Now, take this. And don't get yourself all messed up.”
“What is it?” Levi asked, studying it.
The man raised his eyebrows and shook his head from side to side. “It's money.”
Honeypot began to push his cart again.
“Thank you so much, Honeypot!” Levi said to him as he walked away.
'This planet isn't so bad afer all,' he thought. 'It is definitely a strange place, but not a
bad place like I thought it would be. There is no sun and very litle light, but people seemed to
be able to survive without much trouble.'
'I was burning, then I was cold, then I was warm,' Levi thought to himself. He
remembered his mother talking about how people's emotions are like the weather. Some
people are always raining, some are always sunny, some have two seasons, some have four,
but everyone's weather changes and we shouldn't mistake a rainy day in a sunny place for
bad weather overall. He wondered if he himself was experiencing a range of diferent
emotions. He had felt warmer because of one man's kindness, even as some parts of his body
were still cold.
Levi went back to his hole in the bushes and returned to the same position as he found
himself. He thought of what he had just discovered, about that strange and beautiful
experience and his own capacity to express fear and kindness. He was hoping that there were
more emotions that he could express. But first he would need to observe more.
He was happy that he was still able to dream a litle as he drifed of into sleep, even if
the dreams were not nearly as lucid or powerful as those on Omniwa. He couldn't seem to
dream together with Lului or his mom or dad as he sometimes did. He found that he couldn't
change what he was dreaming about so easily. The dreams just seemed to happen. He began

16
to lose all sensation of consciousness as he went into deeper and deeper sleep. That night he
slept very well, his body tired from his long journey and his mind exhausted from the density
of the kind of physicality he found himself in.
He awoke to the sound of birds and a nice breeze. He opened his eyes, quickly realizing
that he was no longer back on Omniwa. Confused, he sat up and looked around. It took him
a few moments for him to realize his situation. 'I am not on Omniwa but on Earth. This is my
Trial,' he thought. 'I wasn't in my dreams.' He tried to remember what he was doing in his
sleep but could not, save for a few moments before he lost consciousness.
He looked up at the sun. It was a beautiful green. A sharp pain troubled his eyes. The
sun was too bright. Straining to look up at the sky again, the sun became a pleasant blue,
then an orange-yellow color. Looking around, he could see lots of movements outside of the
area where he made his home. He heard the sound of children laughing and people talking.
There was an electricity about the air. It seemed to come right up through his feet from the
ground. Somehow this made him feel balanced. He thought about what the mysterious man
said about Balance and how he might have found himself in a more complex world, dense to
be sure, but yet there was the feeling of a beautiful simplicity under his feet.
“This is Earth,” he assured himself again.
Carefully, he made his way out of the bushes. There were people siting on the grass
and walking, playing, running and doing all kinds of activities. He could not help but
experience a great sensation of joy as he saw all of these things before him. It was like he was
experiencing these things himself for the first time.
He walked to a bench nearby and sat down. He smiled at the couple that was already
siting there, but they did not smile back. Afer a few moments, the woman whispered to the
man and they lef. 'They must be afraid,' he thought.
Siting on the park bench that day, Levi witnessed many emotions. He mostly saw
happiness in the children playing and people enjoying the sun as they lay on the grass, just
like on Omniwa. Some people would walk by themselves or with one or two others. Many of
the children would run or jump as they walked, diferently than the adults they were with.
They seemed to be the happiest, yet even they expressed a range of emotions as they played
together with their friends. He no longer saw fear, not even of him. There were even people
that sat next to him to read. He liked this, as it was the closest experience he had of home
since he had arrived on Earth.
He was very happy to sit on the bench for hours, taking it all in. His mind processed
everything he saw. There was so much to think about, almost too much. Earth didn't seem
that much more dense than his world, but he could feel a diferent quality to his body and
senses and could see that the world around him was more solid than on Omniwa. His body
ached. He felt heavy and very hungry. He decided to walk more and see what else there was
to see.
As he walked to the edge of the park he saw many tall buildings, much taller than on
Omniwa. There was life everywhere he looked. He sat on a bench just before the street,
amazed at all of the activity and busy-ness. There were so many vehicles and so many people
walking around. People that seemed very diferent than the people in the park.
“Is this the same world?” he asked himself, stunned at the complexity of the scene that
had unveiled itself.
Turning around to the park and back again, he noticed that the people that were
happiest on the street were those walking into the park.
'It is like the buildings are too tall,' he thought. He noticed that there were no trees or
plants or flowers on the buildings and they seemed quite dark and depressing. He added a
new emotion to his capacity, of sadness.

17
A woman walked by him and gave him a bag like the one Honeypot had given him.
“Here ya go,” she said.
Looking inside, he saw food. He looked at her walking away in the distance, wanting to
thank her. He quickly ran afer her, but it was already too late. She was crossing the street.
“Thank you!” he yelled out. She turned around and looked at him, but had no response.
'Those buildings must have goten to her,' he thought.
He ate the food that the woman had given him. The food was strange, but tasted okay.
He was reminded of the structured meals his parents prepared for him to prepare for his
Trial.
Afer that he walked all around the park, geting to know diferent parts of it. The hills,
the structures, the big and small fountains, the rocks and so many other things. He missed
his home dearly. Most of all, he missed his parents and Lului.
As the sun began to set, people began to leave from the park. This made him feel
terribly alone and sad. He walked around to look for his friend he had met the night before,
but he was nowhere to be found. There were a few people running and walking, but fewer
and fewer people walked by as time passed.
Finally, a group of young boys approached.
“Hey there!” Levi said as he stopped.
“Ey. Wassup with you,” one of the boys said.
Levi smiled. They did not smile back. 'They must be afraid,' he thought. The other boys
looked at him from all angles before they all began to walk past the light pole. Levi continued
walking. He could feel the boys look in his direction, but had a good idea of why people
looked at him now.
“I need to find some things to wear,” he said to himself.
The boy who greeted him before walked towards him again.
“Hold up,” the boy said.
“Yes?” Levi inquired.
With a swif punch to his face, Levi fell backwards to the ground. He had an idea that
the boy was going to do something out of the ordinary, as no one before then had walked to
him like that.
The other boys howled in laughter.
“Get his money,” one of the boys called out.
At any moment Levi could have imploded all of their eyes or overloaded their nervous
systems. Or, he could have made all of them fall to the floor, unconscious. But, instead, he
stood up again. He tried to remember the words of his mother, or father, or Lului, or the
mysterious man... anyone. But he could form no clear thoughts.
Another boy came from behind him and gave him a sof kick in the back, as if he wasn't
quite sure of himself. Levi lost his balance and fell over again, almost willingly. The first boy
said nothing, just positioned himself steadily as he rifled through his pockets. Levi stood up
again, pushing the first boy away.
“Ey!” the first boy called out.
Levi steadied himself and had a thought. He immediately began to take of his pants.
The other boys jumped back, shocked. He walked towards the first boy, who seemed like he
was waiting to see what was going to happen. Suddenly, as his pants dropped to the floor,
they all began to run away as fast as they could, disappearing into the night.
Levi felt pain in his body, but it wasn't that bad. 'Anything is beter than burning from
the inside,' he thought. He looked around himself and down to the floor. He pulled up his
pants and checked his pockets. The gif that was given to him from the kind stranger he met
on the first night was gone. He began to feel furious, but immediately stopped himself as he

18
remembered the rules of the Trial.
Instead, he thought about Lului and how much she would have enjoyed spending time
in the park with him that day. Comforted for a moment, he found a place to sit. The good
feeling began to feed back on itself, making him feel beter still. His thoughts then drifed to
the words of the mysterious man.
“This... is simplicity,” he said to himself as he sat on the bench, as if explaining
something dificult to himself.
He then looked over to where he was beaten. 'And that was complexity,' he thought.
Levi stood up and began to walk in the direction the boys ran. He walked a bit faster,
ever more determined to find the boys who took his gif from him.
He tried hard to shut out his senses that told him where the boys were, knowing that
using his powers may kill him before he finds his treasure.
“Simple thoughts. Simple feelings. Happiness, sadness, frustration, peace, fear, joy,
displeasure,” he said to himself, recounting all of the emotions he witnessed that day.
His mind began to calm as he took a deep breath of the air. Then, he heard the sound of
the boys laughing on the other side of the hill. He walked towards their voices.
Seeing him, they froze and just watched him as he walked closer.
“You took something from me. And I'd like to have it back,” Levi said calmly.
“What d'you want wit it?” one of the smaller boys asked. The older boy motioned for
him to stay quiet.
“It's mine now. Why don't you go on?” the older boy said.
Levi approached the older boy, standing within arm's reach. He looked him deeply in
the eyes. It wasn't a moment later that the boy, in a fit of rage, punched him in the face
again, knocking him out. Levi tried to stand up again, but the other boys continued to kick
and punch him.
“I'd like to have it back, please,” Levi called out between kicks and punches.
“Man, shut up. You a crazy nigga,” the older boy said.
Most of the boys began to walk of. Levi was in intense pain all over his body and face.
His thoughts and feelings contracted and slowed to a frustrating speed.
He looked up at the boys as they walked away. One of the younger boys was still
nearby, looking at him. Levi felt the need to do something rather than just lie there without a
thought or feeling to help him. Frustrated by all this, all he could think about was one word,
over and over: “Density.”
The younger boy took something out from the front of his sweatshirt. It was a gun. Levi
looked up. He could see the silhouete of the boy looking directly to him as he held the gun
and pointed it of to the side, as if too big for his small hands.
'What is he giving me?' Levi wondered. He then looked to the direction that the boy
was pointing to. He could see a man of in the distance, siting on a bench. Then the boy ran
of.
Levi slowly stood up, straightened out his clothes and brushed the grass of of his
sleeves. He looked at the man on the bench, who was also looking at him. He walked towards
the man and noticed he was siting outside of what looked like a garden. The man appeared
to get older as he approached.
“Hello,” said Levi.
“Hello,” the old man said.
The man looked directly into his eyes. There was a pause, then he looked away as Levi
sat down on the bench next to him.
“What are you doing?” asked Levi.
“I'm waiting for the door to open,” the old man answered.

19
Levi looked behind him to the right. “There is no door.”
“Exactly,” the old man shrugged. He added, “But it is in our minds. So here I am.”
“Why didn't you come earlier, when it was open?” Levi inquired.
“Then I would not have met you,” the old man replied. “Sometimes a closed door is an
opportunity.”
“But the door is only in your mind,” Levi smiled.
“Which tells you-” the old man asked. “What?”
Levi thought for a moment. “The opportunity is also in our minds.”
“Exactly,” the old man said, very pleased at Levi's response. He paused. “Like those
young men over there, who accosted you,” the old man pointed out in the distance with his
dark wooden cane. “Is their door closed, too?”
“I guess not,” Levi answered.
The old man nodded in agreement, “No one's door is closed. But sometimes we feel like
it is closing. Some of us more than others.”
The old man seemed to think carefully. Levi, more atentive now, re-positioned his
aching body. He had mostly forgoten about his pain and suspended his feelings about what
happened to him just moments ago.
“See... we each fear our own irrelevance,” the old man added. “We are afraid of not
existing. It is our greatest fear.”
“Is that why they atacked me? Because they are afraid?”
The man replied, “Those young men are afraid of just about everything now. They live in
a world that tells them that they do not really exist. So they fight with the world in order to
preserve the integrity of their self, for survival.”
“How can I stop it? How can I help them?”
The old man responded, “We don't stop it. We all fear the same thing. Most of us are
just beter at hiding it than they are. We busy ourselves with work or family and friends, with
life. We follow others, even when we don't feel like it. If anything, they are expressing their
primal fear beter than any of us.”
Levi thought about the woman at the Council of Worlds. 'Is he saying we when he
meant me?' he thought. “Are you the man in my dream?” Levi asked.
“I've been called the man of many dreams,” the old man laughed. “But I am not in a
dream any more than you are.”
“Then am I dreaming?”
“Well. Life is a dream,” the old man said. “It is a dream of our consciousness to be with
others and to have a relationship with something. That's why we miss things when they are
gone. Fortunately, we have our thoughts, emotions, beliefs and dreams to bring them back to
us. Without them, we would feel alone and feel like we don't exist.”
Levi had a moment of clarity, reflecting on the old man's words moments ago about
how doors and opportunities were all in the mind. “I get it. Life is like a dream. The present is
like a vivid dream that seems very real. The past is a dream that has entered the physical
world. And the future would be a dream that is waiting for us.”
“That's right,” the old man said, pretending to be surprised.
Levi continued his thought, “All of this has happened before, in a dream. And that
means we can remember it.”
“And change it,” the old man interrupted.
Levi's eyes were wide open as he leaned forward, stunned awake by the sense of clarity
his mind had at that moment.
The old man added, “Perhaps, you can change your world just as you change your
dreams.”

20
Just then, Levi stood up and turned to the old man. “Will I see you again?”
“That's up to you,” the old man replied.
“Thank you,” Levi said before running of.
Afer a few minutes, Levi reached the boys who had assaulted him twice already that
day. The group was two fewer and just four boys remained. Levi stopped just short of them,
exhausted from his intense run.
“I don't want you to give it back,” Levi said, out of breath. “I want to earn it back.”
“Awee.. this nigga right here crazy,” one of the boys said.
Levi looked seriously to them and said, “I'm not crazy. I'm Levi. And I want you to teach
me. I would like to learn from you. We can help each other.”
This time, Levi felt relaxed and calm. He felt a sense of purpose, like he had found The
Way that the mysterious man was talking about. He felt steady on his feet, as though the
gods themselves had placed his feet right where he stood.
The boys huddled together in congress and talked and laughed with each other. Levi
could see that the boys cared for each other when a couple of them held the shoulders and
necks of the others. They touched each other a few times as they huddled, especially on the
arms and backs.
'They make each other feel like they exist,' his mind revealed to him as he looked on.

O

Six months had passed since Levi arrived on Earth, but to him it was only eight days. Those
were the longest days he'd ever experienced, but by then his mind and body were adjusted to
the new sense of time. He had more than twenty-one years to go. It was going to be a long
Trial.
By then he was used to the size and weight of his body and the strange reflection he
saw when he looked into a mirror. It seemed like him, but older. He had learned to work with
the density of his thoughts, but every day that passed he forgot a litle more about who he
was and where he came from. He struggled to remember specific details about his family, but
remembered how much he loved and cared for them. Lului was still in his thoughts and he
tried to think of her as much as he could to keep from forgeting how wonderful he felt with
her.
There was so much else to think about in his new life. Although he was handling
accounting and finance for his new friends, he knew something about every part of their
organization. Some parts of the organization he liked a lot and some he really didn't like. He
tried to find a Balance between the simplicity of the essence of what they were doing and the
complexity of how they would make it happen. 'Life here is so complicated,' he would
sometimes think.
His friends considered him a bit out of his mind, but trustworthy. He always told them
exactly how he felt and what he was thinking, and they seemed accept him for it. By now
they were used to his endless questioning and just considered him an overly-curious guy who
genuinely wanted to help others.
He enjoyed the work that distracted him from missing his home and family too much.
He managed to work himself up through the ranks of the organization, from informing drug
dealers of police presence in the beginning to where he was now in the East coast
headquarters of the organization. He lived and worked with his friends, some of whom were
the first to introduce him to the concept of violence on his second night on Earth. He'd grown
to see violence as an imbalanced way to bond and interact with other people. He sought a
more balanced way to bond with people since then and had begun to understand what

21
people on Earth value and a bit of how people on Earth thought about things in general.
Levi was sure not to tell his friends where he came from, or who he really was, or
anything about his past. None of the others seemed to care and they didn't talk much about
their own past, either. Being unable to talk about it openly he began to feel unsure of who he
really was and didn't think anyone else would understand what was going on in his mind.
His boss was an intelligent man, having graduated from Columbia University with an
advanced degree in business. Levi enjoyed talking to him and listening to his stories.
Although he was prone to violent outbursts he seemed to Levi to be a good person at heart.
Many of Levi's new friends and colleagues were like his boss, having hidden intelligence
behind their insecure demeanor. Some atended university or at least had some
understanding of how the world around then worked. But they all seemed happy to be
working among friends.
'We each have our own way of expressing our fear,' Levi would remember.
People coming by the apartment complex where Levi worked would ofen ask about
him, wondering what the latest crazy thing was that he did or said. That made people feel a
bit closer to Levi, as though they somehow knew the innermost workings of his mind. He also
felt close with them, because people generally seemed to like talking to him.

It was just another day at the ofice and Levi was busy restructuring the organization's
finances. Some men were talking nearby.
“$25,000?” one of the men asked, surprised.
“Uh-huh,” another man answered.
Levi had ofered $25,000 cash to anyone who was willing to do what he considered a
relatively simple task: run naked through Central Park at noon for 3 minutes, with at least 3
members of the organization present.
“He's pulled some crazy stunts before, but nothing like this,” the first man said.
“That's a lot of money,” one of the men responded.
Levi had built a small fortune over the past few months, saving and investing his
money. Sometimes he would lend it to others, with interest. He trusted people, so people
trusted him. Most people paid the loan back eventually. $25,000 was about half the money
that he had, but he had a plan.
Over the next few weeks word spread about Levi's ofer within the organization, to
other organizations like his and even to students at the nearby schools. It became both a
running joke and it's own urban legend at the same time. It seemed appropriate that no one
had stepped forward to claim the ofer.
Levi wanted to talk with his boss about an idea he had, about branching of into a
diferent type of organization that dealt mostly in finance. He would give his boss 20% of
earnings, as well 3% to go towards a fund that would be used to help pay for childcare
expenses for all mid-level and senior members of his boss' organization. There was one
condition, however. His boss would allow anyone that wanted to join him to do so.
His boss had agreed, somehow trusting that such an idea had to work because it was so
diferent from what he was used to. And, because he believed in Levi.
The next day, Levi told his friends and everyone else at the organization that the bounty
would double, to $50,000. That was nearly everything that he had. He was determined to
leverage the innate human desire for wealth to afect positive change in his new world, just
like the gods of the Nexus had done on his home planet. He was going to balance the
complexity of money with simplicity of basic human drives to find The Way.
Word spread like wildfire throughout the organization, neighborhoods, schools and
beyond. People told others about it, almost as though they were daring the person they were

22
talking to to do it.
Afer a few days, one of the street hustlers came to see him.
“You got the money?” the street hustler asked.
“Yeah. I have the money,” Levi said, looking him straight in the eye.
“Ok, then. This Thursday.” the hustler answered.
“Why not tomorrow?” Levi asked.
“THIS THURSDAY,” the hustler replied, as if annoyed.
The street hustler walked out of the apartment. Afer he was gone, Levi's friends formed
a semi-circled around him.
“Is he gonna do it?” one asked.
Levi shook his head, “I hope so.”
Another man spoke up. “That was Lil J. His mom's in the hospital. She got cancer.”
The boys and men that surrounded Levi looked at each other, not knowing what to say.
The semi-circle soon broke apart as they went back to their activities.

O

It was Thursday. There were about 80 people in the park. Most of them were members of the
organization, but there were also many from rival organizations who came who didn't want
to miss what was going down.
Levi approached Lil J. He looked nervous and a bit frightened. “Well. It's Thursday. Are
you ready?” Levi asked him.
Everyone was cheering Lil J on. More people came of the street, excited by the promise
of the event. People were laughing and smiling, talking happily with each other. Some
brought drinks and shared extras with others. Levi had never seen his friends so happy.
'They are happy to be at the park,' he thought to himself.
Lil J looked around, then back at Levi, saying nothing. He was beginning to tense up his
jowls and looked deeply into Levi's eyes for a brief moment.
Levi took a sip from a botle of water, as calm as could be. He gave it to one of the guys
standing next to him to hold, who was also holding a black dufel bag. Levi took the bag out
of his hands and unzipped it, showing it to Lil J. People strained their necks to look inside.
There were gasps.
“Come on,” Levi implored. He began to take of his polished black wingtips and his
neatly pressed clothes and threw them to the ground. He continued, “If you let me start
walking, I'm gonna keep this money.” Levi then zipped up the bag.
Lil J looked around. He saw a guy unbutoning his shirt. Another was looking at his
friends and stepped of to his side, motioning with both hands like he was preparing to take
of his shorts to win the money himself.
People began to yell and scream, encouraging Lil J. Then, Lil J began quickly taking of
his clothes. Someone started clapping. Soon, everyone began to clap for Lil J. More people
crowded around and came from across the street. By then, there were over one hundred
people, possibly as many as two hundred. The air was intense. To Levi, it was like a dream.
Charged by the crowd, Lil J had taken of all his clothes. He raised his fists and sharply
called out, “YEAHHH!” The crowd responded with roars and screams of their own.
Levi had given the bag full of money back to his trusted associate and was also geting
undressed. He then whispered to his associate and then looked at Lil J.
“Come on. Let's go!” Levi told Lil J.
Levi began to run into the park. His associate followed. The crowd became more
restless, moving as Levi moved. He looked back at Lil J, who was still standing in the same

23
spot. Then, with a giant leap Lil J ran forward into the park. Levi then began to run even
faster. The crowd roared as Lil J was gaining speed, as if possessed by some supernatural
force. People siting and lying in the grass stopped whatever they were doing to look at them.
People who were just taking a stroll through the park or were siting on benches couldn't
believe what was happening.
Afer a couple of minutes of running, Levi turned around. He saw the crowd running
towards them and Lil J beaming the greatest smile Levi had ever seen on a human being. His
smile was highlighted by the darkness of his skin and his glowing white teeth. Even more
amazing, the crowd wasn't just cheering them on. By that time three other people – a man
and two women – had joined them, naked. Levi, Lil J and the three newly-naked people all
had huge, infectious smiles on their faces as they ran through the park.
“Time!” Levi's associate called out.
Levi stopped running, followed by his associate and Lil J. The crowd was still running
towards them. Levi felt alive again, just like he remembered being in his lucid dreams when
he was on Omniwa.
Lil J was exhausted, but happy. Suddenly a frown came upon his face.
“Where's my clothes?” he asked. He looked to the crowd and let out a sigh.
Lil J began to run back to the other side to find his clothes.
“Hey, wait!” Levi called out. Lil J stopped. “You forgot this,” Levi reminded him.
Lil J took the bag and seemed to be very happy again. He didn't care that he was
standing naked in Central Park and his clothes were on the other side of it. Afer he looked
inside the bag and shufled through the bundles of bills, he gave a quick hug from the corner
of his shoulder to Levi and started of running again.
The crowd stopped, themselves exhausted. The endorphins from the exercise seemed to
brighten everyone's mood. People smiled and cheered Lil J on as he ran by. “Go, Lil J.... go Lil
J.... go Lil J.....” they all cheered in unison.
Lil J ran even faster back to his clothes than he did running through the park the first
time.

A few days afer the event, Levi announced his new organization. It was going to be called,
“Gods & Kings” and be a provider of loans to students at the nearby university. It would be
run like a business, with a mission statement, financial plan, marketing plan, hierarchical
structure, guiding principles and more. Levi didn't have any real capital to start the business,
but he wanted other people to help out with it. This would be their business. People that
joined contributed funds and resources. The more they contributed the more their potential
cut of the commissions would be. Levi formed a commitee to oversee the election process to
determine who would be 'gods' and who would be 'kings', the various levels of management
and who would support the overall structure.
Within days, over 100 people wanted to join Gods & Kings. They came from all over,
even rival organizations. They trusted Levi more than just about anyone else. They knew that
he was a man of his word and did things that no one else thought of, or wanted to. He made
what was in his imagination happen. In him, they saw their dreams coming true and they felt
alive. With him, they felt like they existed. He was beginning to become a legend and people
that talked about him and his actions would even add their own embellishments, making him
appear greater than he actually was.
The people that contributed most to the organization were generally people that were
already good with money and business, or at least saving and planning for the future. That
kind of self-selective hierarchy worked well for the organization. Many of the new gods and
kinds were educated, having been unable to find a job afer their schooling, or unable to
finish their schooling because of financial pressures at home with family. Most of the new

24
members of the organization were just people that were unable to find work anywhere else.
Levi knew that employment in the developing world was gradually shifing from manual
labor to services and many of those who were unskilled in the service sector ended up
unemployed and unable to do what they really wanted to do. Levi gave them a sense of hope
and a job.
Within weeks, Gods & Kings was set up in new ofices. Although the new company had
things like a business license and a CPA for accounting, their business existed in a legal grey
area. They hired a good lawyer to legally skirt around state authorities, which wasn't too
dificult as long as interest rates were kept well below state limits. Contracts for employees
were also drawn up. Everyone dressed respectably, with either blazers and collared shirts or
suits and ties for the men and dress suits or slacks for the women. A basic medical and dental
plan was established, even for part-time workers. A strict employee code of conduct was
made available to everyone, with penalties against wages for any and all violations,
regardless of rank. All salaries. wages and bonuses were made transparent, which anyone
could look up in the Human Resources department.
There were hundreds of students in the local community who came to Gods & Kings for
loans during the first few weeks. Eventually, other members of the community needed loans,
too and soon the company expanded to the entire five borough area of Manhatan, then to
New Jersey and the rest of New York. Levi's reputation for truth and honesty preceeded him.
People started referring to him as “Crazy Levi,” which also made people feel good about
talking about him and spreading the word about Gods & Kings. Afer a good, eficient
business structure was in place, expansion was easy. Levi recruited from within his former
organization and people were happy to join. His old boss was happy too, as he was making
more money than ever, which meant he could spend more time with his own family.
Gods & Kings employees mostly forgot about the troubles of their former lives,
willingly, as much as Levi was beginning to forget about his former life, unloathingly. He
began to realize that it was what he most had in common with his friends and colleagues.
One Earth year was fast approaching and the Ambassador from Omniwa was to arrive
soon. Levi didn't know where to go to meet the Ambassador, or what to expect, but had
hoped that his life would not be disrupted again. He began to think more about his home, his
family and the girl he loved.
In the back of his mind, Lului's sweet voice called out his name. It had been a while
since he had last thought of her. He remembered how she sang a song on the steps of the
library as her way of saying goodbye. 'Or maybe it was a poem,' he wondered to himself.

25
Memory 3
The Reflection
It had been less than 3 weeks since Levi was banished from Omniwa for his Trial by Density,
but it had been exactly 52 weeks since he became human. His trial would last over 1,000 more
weeks, which seemed like plenty of time for Levi to find his treasure and come back to
Omniwa victorious. He was just geting started.
He awoke that morning with a sharp pain in his head. His scalp felt tight and was
tingling. He remembered having lucid dreams about his experiences on Earth. They were
strange dreams, as they actually happened. The room was dark, but he felt a presence next to
him as he began to awake. He quickly turned around and turned the light on.
A hairless woman with small, black eyes was kneeling next to his bed. She looked up at
him as she placed some instruments back into a pouch. Levi caught a glimpse of the insignia
on the pouch before she placed it into the folds of her bright yellow robe. It was the sign of
the Council of Worlds. She silently stood up, continuing to move quietly as she made her way
to the door. Levi followed her with his still-sleepy eyes. As the door opened, Levi stood up
and jumped over to it.
“Wait!” he shouted.
With a turn of her body she grabbed the handle and exited the room backwards,
glancing at Levi as she lef. He quickly opened the door, but there was no one.
He felt the back of his head. “Humph,” he mumbled. He looked around the old
apartment, 4 stories up in a vintage building in the city and slowly made his way into the
bathroom.
As he was geting dressed, he remembered the conversation he had with the old man in
the park when he first arrived on Earth. He thought to himself, 'Life is a dream and all of this
has happened before.'
Levi had forgoten that his conversation with the old man had changed his entire
perspective. Afer speaking with him, he felt that he could make his future whatever he
wanted to be. He used that power to change his reality, just like he did in his dreams.
Dreams were a lot more dificult on Earth, however. They were more dense, less fluid
and not as lucid as he was used to on Omniwa. He couldn't connect with anyone and he
could barely remember them.
He had a thought as he was brushing his teeth, however. He stopped brushing and
looked at himself in the mirror. “If I can't change my dreams when I'm dreaming, I'll change
my reality when I'm awake,” he said aloud to himself. Levi raised his voice a litle, as if
realizing something else, “If I have to forget who I really am, I am going to make myself even
beter than I was before.” He paused, looking around his still-awkward, new face for answers.
“I am... a god.”
At that moment, Levi walked to his desk in the next room. Still naked, he sat on the
chair and pushed a couple of butons on the telephone.
“This is Levi. Cancel all appointments for today. I'll be in tomorrow. Set up a meeting for
all senior staf for nine in the morning.”
“Yes, sir,” the voice at the other end responded.
Levi immediately got to work on his plan, taking out a handful of blank paper from the
printer tray and grabbing his favorite pen. He wrote pages and pages of material, like
someone pregnant with ideas and going into a strange labor. As he wrote, he rose for nothing.
He stopped only to reflect, not to eat or to use the bathroom. He wrote until sunset and then

26
some. By midnight, he was done. Seven stacks of paper sat on his desk in neat piles. There
was a fire in his wide, open eyes.
Levi had a plan. He was going to bring the Nexus down to Earth. But it couldn't just
happen. It has to unveil itself in a way that made sense. He thought, 'If I am on the 1st floor
and want to go to the 10th, I had to go through the other levels first. This way, people could
easily understand the next floor and work the new experience into their reality more easily.'

The next day Levi arrived to the ofice early. He sat in his ofice with his eyes closed, as
though meditating or dreaming. By nine o'clock all of the senior staf of Gods & Kings were
waiting in the largest conference room.
Levi walked in and put his briefcase on the table. He opened it up and took out some
papers. As he reached into his jacket, he pulled out his wallet and then took out a crisp $20
bill from it.
He began, “I'll never forget the first time I saw some money. I didn't know what it was.
Or what it did. But it was fascinating.” He held up the money. “I found out that this litle
piece of paper had the power to change lives, change emotions, make people sweat and drive
people crazy. But it's still just a damn piece of paper. We all know that by now. We all work
for this litle piece of paper.” Levi looked to his right side where Lil J sat. “Some of us work for
it more than others,” he commented. The room laughed as everyone looked to Lil J, who was
dressed in a tailored, pinstriped suit.
“But it's another thing-,” Levi paused. “-to be working for some digits on a computer
that are even less real than this piece of paper.” He looked into the eyes of the people around
the room. “Now, what we do is good. There's no doubt about that. We lend money to good
people and they pay it back in their own good time, with good interest. We've made a lot of
money over the past few months and we're expanding like there's no tomorrow. It's good
business. But from now on we're going to be doing a lot beter than that.”
Levi gave a stack of paper to Lil J to pass around so that everyone got a copy of the
document that he printed out.
Levi continued, “The first thing we're going to do is re-vamp our loan process to help the
people that we serve. Most of our customers are borrowing money because they don't have it
and a lot of them don't have it because they're not good with money. So we're going to teach
them about money. When they come in for a loan they will have the option to atend free
classes on how to budget and manage their money. If they agree to atend, they'll get a lower
interest rate, which will kick in when they pass the class. The higher their score the lower
their interest. We'll also provide the same free classes to the general public. Perhaps some of
them will eventually take out a loan with us. This also means a lower rate of default, because
people won't waste what we give them so much. We'll also encourage people to take out
loans to start businesses and refer them to business classes provided free of charge by the
government. And when they take out a loan to start a business we'll ofer them 0% interest in
exchange for a 30-50% share of the business that they start with our loan.
“We'll also create a new type of structure that will provide part-time and full-time
employment on a mass scale, to anyone that wants it, starting with students at the
university. But we'll do this in a unique way. First, we'll buy out the restaurant that's for sale
on the corner.”
“A restaurant?” some people responded, looking puzzled.
“That's right. Now, how do rich people get richer?” Levi asked.
“Not with a restaurant,” someone in the back said, laughing.
“They invest,” one of the managers ofered, twisting in his chair as he slouched over,
atentively.

27
“But you need lots of money to invest, don't you? When was the last time you heard
someone on the street talking about their stock portfolio? Or a mutual fund? Or how good it
felt to get a twenty-cents return on a five-dollar investment? How are they going to get richer
if they can't do the same things rich people do?”
Levi turned to Lil J and said, “Lil J, did you have a brokerage account before you started
working here?”
“Nope.”
“That's right. You didn't even have clothes back then, did you?” Levi quipped. The room
laughed along with Lil J. “Now you're looking to buy a new car with cash money, aren't you?”
Lil J nodded his head enthusiastically. “Glundewagen, baby!” he responded.
A woman looked to him and asked, “Glunda-what?”
Levi continued, “Imagine if the person on the street could invest two dollars. Today,
right now. Imagine if you could walk into a restaurant with $5 in your pocket and an empty
stomach and walk out with $10 and a full stomach. You might say that I was crazy.”
“You are crazy. You Crazy Levi. But we're with you every step of the way,” one of the
managers laughed.
“All the way TO THE TOP, baby!” Lil J said.
“Hell yeah!” a woman on the other side said.
Levi smiled and went on, “We start with a simple idea and snowball it into something
bigger. We start with a restaurant and go from there. It will be a bufet restaurant and people
will pay only for renting chairs. But the price of a chair will fluctuate depending on supply
and demand. When a customer rents a chair from the restaurant they can sell it to the next
customer when they finish. If you come in at ten-thirty in the morning you might be able to
get a chair for $5.00 and sell it to someone else at noon for $15.00. The restaurant takes a
percentage of every transaction and everyone is happy. Every table will have a tablet that
manages the logistics and the prices. Customers will have swipe cards that track the value of
their account and their trading activity. We'll start with one location for university students
and call it 'Tables & Shares'. We can open in a few weeks.”
“Tables and Shares. That's clever,” one of the managers said.
Levi continued, “The idea is to change people's lives, one step at a time. Just like all of us
here have turned our lives around not only because we have some of this fake money in our
pockets but because we have learned how to value ourselves, value others, and value clients
and their fake money. We can expand this concept to everything, starting with the things that
everyone needs.”
Levi turned a page and everyone else did the same.
“Next is online dating. Just hear me out for a minute. I know most of us here don't have
a problem in that department, but it's big business online. And we're going to turn it on its
head by allowing people to invest in other people.”
“How are we going to do that?” someone asked.
“Let's say someone has a dating profile set up and you thought it was good. They had
nice photos and said good things about themselves. How could you invest in it?” Levi asked.
The room fell silent. Finally, the senior accountant spoke up, “You could treat each
profile like its own market. You could then allow people to buy shares in other people that
reply to the profile.”
“And you just earned yourself a $10,000 bonus. Congratulations,” Levi said, motioning
for his assistant to bring in the cash. “Every person that responds to the profile is like a stock.
Each message will be public by default, with a penalty for private messages. Users will not
only be able to read most of the messages being sent to someone else, but rate them. This
way, everyone will help the profile owner choose a good candidate. This will also raise the

28
quality of messages and profiles. You can still send a shot of your, er, private parts, of course,
but you probably don't want everyone seeing it and have your stock drop faster than your
erection. The more that the community thinks the person sending the message is a good
choice for the person receiving the message, the higher the stock will go. You can then buy
shares in those people you think will do well and sell those shares in people who you think
won't perform.”
“But what happens when the market ends?” Lil J asked.
“At the end of the market the winner will be the man or woman whose stock was priced
highest. People that invested in them will have the value of their shares converted into Kiss
Cash, which they can use to buy into stock IPOs before other users without Kiss Cash are
able to and also buy online gifs with it. We'll start with Columbia University and then
expand to other universities afer that.
“Once people are used to the idea of trading and making money in this type of person-
to-person equity market, we'll expand to other areas,” Levi said, turning another page. “We'll
call it 'Everymarket'. It'll be like the dating site, but for everything. If you're a company that
needs some new ideas, you buy a market permit and create a market for it. Anyone can
respond with their detailed ideas and supporting documents and media and their entry will
automatically be issued 5,000 shares. Half will go to the person that created it and half to us.
People can then buy those ideas that they think are the best ones and that will win the
market. Afer a week, the market ends. Those people lef holding the winning shares can then
convert it into cash, or use it to buy into any IPO on the site. Any type of market can be
created. Whatever you can imagine; New games, new business ideas, improvements, short
stories, blogs, cutest baby photos that have an Italian theme, new songs, videos, new
technologies, humor, discussions, expert advice, whatever. We can do the same for local
government, NGOs, schools and universities, corporations, small businesses, non-profits,
everyday people – anyone and anything. Using this sort of system, we can literally change
the world.”
Levi paused, then asked, “How can we change the world? Because we'll give people a
financial incentive to create, improve, manage and change the world around then. And we–
we'll make money from all of it.”
Several people nod their heads in agreement and twist in their chairs.
“And finally,” Levi continued, “we'll expand into services. This means that if you have a
business teaching dance or painting or whatever, you can start a market for it. If you're a
beauty salon you can sell an appointment for a manicure for five weeks from now to an
investor who's willing to buy it today so he can sell it later at a profit. The investor buys it for
$5, for example. As the date for the appointment approaches, the price goes up. He can then
sell it to someone else who thinks that it will go up some more before it expires. The last
person might be someone on the website who's looking for a good deal on a manicure. But
that last person also gets the value of the shares in credits that they can use to buy shares of
another stock before everyone else, just like in Everymarket.
“Every share is like a slice of time and has an expiration date. Once the shares expire
they cannot be used. The businesses get extra cash they need for something they'll ofer in
the future, now. They don't need to go to the bank for a loan – they're happy. The investor
can make money on the transaction – they're happy. And the final buyer gets a discount, so
they're happy too. And we're happy because we can facilitate all this lending without taking a
risk, but still make money in the process,” Levi ended.
“It's like a discount,” Lil J stated.
“More like derivatives,” the finance director added.
“Deriva-what?” a man asked.

29
“Derivatives,” the finance director responded. “It's like selling the possibility of
something that may or may not happen. Like insurance.”
“Sounds very profitable,” Lil J said, eyes opened wide.
Levi answered, “Indeed it is. We'll charge people a monthly fee to participate in the all
the markets. There'll be diferent levels of subscriptions. When they purchase a subscription,
they'll get free credits which they can use to buy stocks.”
“We're selling things that don't exist,” the finance director says, adjusting his glasses.
“So there's no limit to how much we can make.”
“Exactly,” Levi says. “We can do the same for tickets, subscriptions and any product or
service based on the ticking of the clock. And we're going to make lots of money doing it.”
Lil J chimed in, thumbing through the five-page document, “This sounds like a good
plan. But I have one question. Are you going to be the CEO to get this of the ground? It
sounds quite complicated.”
“No, I'm not,” Levi replied. “And neither is anyone else here. Do you want to manage the
tables and chairs in the restaurant and wait on customers, or do you want to own the
restaurant” Levi asked. “We're going to form a new company called Nexus. Each of you will
have an opportunity to buy shares in the company for 5 cents each. Afer it gets of the
ground we'll do an IPO and go public. Then each of you is going to sit back and count their
money.”
Levi looked around the room to all the familiar faces and pointed to a young girl in the
back. “You. In the back. What's your name, sweetie?”
“Me?” the girl responded. “Jasmine.”
“Well, Jasmine. In three to five years you're gonna be a billionaire. Would you like that?”
“I sure would,” the young girl said.
“Of course you would. We all would. And that's how we're going to do it. Now, who's
with me?”
Everyone started to clap.
“All-right,” a man leaning against the glass wall said.
“I said WHO'S WITH ME?” Levi shouted, louder.
“Yeah!” said Lil J. “Hooooo, hoooo!”
“We're with you!” many in the crowd shouted, clapping.
Levi closed his suitcase and made way for the conference room door. “We start
tomorrow!” he called out behind him.

O

It had been a while since Levi made his way to the park, but he immediately felt refreshed as
soon as it enveloped him The busy-ness of the past few months lef him stressed and he
needed a break. His car service brought him to the same area where he sat on the first day,
where a kind woman had given him something to eat.
As he sat on the bench he reflected on his life and thought about how far he had come
from the comfort and safety of his family and the love of Lului. He felt alone, but was also
happy that he found something to keep his mind of of his loneliness. But still, there was
something missing.
Just then, a woman sat down next to him. It took a few seconds before Levi noticed, but
he uncrossed his legs so the botom of his shoe would not be on her side. He adjusted the
pants of his suit. She looked to him and smiled.
“Hello,” said the woman. She had taken out food from the bag she had on her lap.
“Hello,” said Levi. A quick moment later, his heart began to pound. 'It's the woman from

30
before,' he thought.
Levi shifed uncomfortably on the bench and lifed his arms up a bit to help aerate the
sleeves of his shirt. He was starting to sweat.
“Nice day,” she said.
“Oh, yeah. Nice day,” he replied. He tilted his head a bit and looked carefully at her face
and down her neck to her shoulders and to her hips. He focused his eyes on her bag. He
noticed that she was eating from the same restaurant that she had given food to him from
before.
She glanced at Levi and tried to smile as she chewed. Some mayonnaise remained on
her lips and as she found a tissue to wipe it of, she coughed.
Realizing her discomfort, Levi motioned for a handshake. “I'm Levi.”
Her hands were not yet free to return the introduction.
“I'm sorry.. I'll-”
“Oh, no, it's ok,” the woman said as she put down her tissue. “I'm Claire.”
“Nice to meet you, Claire.” Levi smiled.
Claire smiled back and continued to chew on her sandwich.
Levi joined his fingers together and held up a knee with it, looking out into the bustling
trafic that seemed to be much closer than he remembered the first time he sat on the bench.
“You know. Sometimes it's just nice to come here and watch the world go by,” he said to
Claire.
“Do you work around here?” she asked.
“Just up the street. But we're going to open up a new ofice a few blocks away in a
couple of months.”
“Oh,” Claire responded as she ate her sandwich.
“Is this fate?” Levi whispered to himself.
“What?” Claire asked.
“Uh, I was just wondering what time it was,” Levi, unsure of himself, answered.
“It's on your watch,” Claire responded.
“Oh, yeah,” Levi said as he checked his watch.
Claire looked at him and asked, “Do you need to go?”
“Umm. Do you want to go-” Levi hesitated as he pointed behind him. “-for a walk?”
The woman looked down at her sandwich.
“Erm. When you're finish,” Levi added as he smiled.
It was a wonderful day for Levi. Children were in the park, laughing and playing. People
were enjoying themselves on the grass, talking with each other. Some were reading. Some
were sleeping. Some walked arm-in-arm or pushed their babies in strollers. Some were
running or doing exercises. Everyone seemed happy. Just like he remembered.
Claire and he spent hours walking slowly through the park that day, talking about life
and love and happiness. Simple things. Things that were easy to think about and easy to talk
about. They would meet again the next day and then the next. Levi sat waiting for her every
day for a week when she got of from work. They laughed and talked and shared. They were
falling in love, one sweet moment at a time. She reminded him of Lului and somewhere in his
mind he thought it would be a way not to forget home.
One day Levi decided to tell her about him and where he came from. He was going to
tell her the truth, even if she didn't accept him for it. He could not bear to hide his deepest
thoughts and feelings. He wanted her to know every corner of his soul. He felt entwined with
her and wanted her to know the kind of person, or perhaps boy, he was. He was hoping that
she, too, would share more about her life story.
As he sat with her and shared the details about who he was, he finally felt like his

31
nickname, 'Crazy Levi.' He wasn't sure how she would react, but she didn't seem shocked at
all. She calmly sat and listened to him as he talked and asked him lots of questions and
listened carefully to his every word. Afer that, she shared her story and told him more about
her life and the things that she liked to think about. He went home that night relieved that
he had someone to share his deepest and most secret thoughts with.
The day afer they spoke Levi waited on their bench to meet her. Like every other day
that they met, he brought her favorite flowers; Yellow roses, mixed with baby's breath. He
loved to hold the flowers in his hands as he waited, smelling them ever so ofen. It was as
though she was there already, siting next to him.
Levi finally got up from the bench several hours afer he thought he would see her, sure
that she wouldn't show up that day. He hesitated to call her, not wanting to seem desperate
or lost. 'Perhaps she is too busy and I will see her tomorrow,' he thought.
He walked home through the park that night, following the outline of light from the
seting sun. It wasn't ofen that Levi wasn't looking towards the heavens as he walked, but
that day was diferent. He didn't feel like mentally recounting the number of days that he
had lef on Earth. At that moment he didn't care who he was. He seemed to find more
answers on the ground beneath his feet.
“Where are we going?” he said to himself.
Just then a group of young boys walked by, staring at him. He looked up.
“Wassup, Crazy. What's going on wit' you?” the oldest boy asked.
“Nothing but the rent,” Levi replied. “Staying out of trouble, I hope?” he asked. Levi had
never before seen these boys, but they immediately knew who he was. This changed his
perspective somewhat.
“Trying,” the oldest boy responded.
“All right,” Levi said as he smiled.
As they walked away from each other, the smallest boy looked back and gave a big
smile to Levi as he walked past, showing a small gap in his teeth as his cheeks pulled back.
He was dressed casually with jeans and sneakers and had a certain spring about his step.
Levi looked up to the sky again. He quickly lowered his gaze to an old man siting on
the bench in the distance. His mood changed as did his direction, walking towards the old
man that he soon recognized as the one he spoke to before.
“Hello,” Levi said, careful not to step on anything as he walked across the grass.
The old man stood up, using his cane for balance. As he gathered himself he stretched
out his hand. Levi shook it gently but firmly.
“Well, howdy. It's nice to see you again here.” the old man said.
“Yes. It's good to see you too.”
“Let's walk for a bit,” the old man said as he pointed of down the walking path with his
cane.
Levi felt whole again. The old man was a perfect respite from what was troubling him.
They walked together for a bit before talking, taking in the amber light of the final few
minutes of the seting sun and capturing the peacefulness of the moment with their gazes.
“You look diferent,” the old man finally said.
Levi smiled. “Yes, a bit.”
“You know, you remind me of myself when I was about your age. That was probably
back before you were born, if you know what I mean.”
Levi spoke sincerely, “Listen, I wanted to thank you for talking to me that night. What
you told me truly, truly changed my life.”
“Awe,” the old man replied, pausing. “Think nothing of it. Just remember who you are
and you'll be fine.”

32
“That's the problem I have. I think I'm not good at remembering who I am.”
“You never forget who you are. All you have to do is look,” the old man said, pointing at
a tree with his cane. “Do you see that tree over there?”
“I do.”
“Good. You haven't forgoten.”
“I don't get it.”
“You don't get it,” mused the old man as he looked to the ground. Afer a moment of
thought he added, “That tree is like a memory of who you are.”
Levi looked at the tree again, trying to figure out what he was talking about.
The old man continued, “The world you see is like an Eternal Reflection of yourself.
Every experience, every object, every person and place. Even me. A memory of who you really
are. You can't forget that.” The old man raised his hands slightly. “It's all right here. It's all
around you,” he said.
“An eternal reflection,” Levi said to himself.
“An Eternal Reflection,” the old man ofered.
“Before, we were saying how the past is like a dream that became physical. So how does
the reflection fit into all of this?” Levi wondered.
“Well, let's say you're looking into a mirror and you're looking deep into your eyes.
What do you see?”
Levi thought for a moment. “A reflection.”
“A reflection of the past. See, we can't see the present. We don't really know what it's
like. It takes two nanoseconds for the light to bounce around when you look into the mirror.
You're seeing yourself as you were in the past,” said the old man, stopping.
“Like a dream.” Levi reflected.
“Like a dream, but you're living the dream.” The old man continued to walk and said,
“Now, we don't know that it's really a dream, because the reflection seems so real. It does
everything that we think we're doing. But you're not doing it. It has already been done.”
“Because it has already happened.”
“Because it already is. Now when you look in the mirror and close your eyes you think
you're doing something right now. But all you're doing is sensing what is already there.”
Levi's eyes opened wide, perhaps finally realizing the depth of what the old man was
saying.
“So it is waiting for me to sense it. To experience it,” said Levi.
The old man stopped again, looking squarely at Levi as he balanced himself on his cane
with two hands. “Now what if you don't see what is there?” asked the old man.
“How could I not see what is there? It's coming, isn't it?”
“It's not coming, it's already there. You just haven't seen it yet. So what do you need to
do?”
“I need to look for it.”
“Go on,” said the old man.
“I need to see it in what is already there, or already in front of me. I not only need to
keep my eyes open but I need to look closely.”
“Exactly. You need to not only see what is there already but look more closely at what
you do see,” the old man said, as if making a tremendous efort to explain himself. “We
naturally understand cycles. We pay atention to them. We know when the seasons come, we
know when we turn one year older and we know when it's time to sleep and eat. But we
forget about the cycles within the cycles. We forget about the cycles that happen as we sleep,
or the ones within a season, or a day. We re not atuned to them, so we don't naturally sense
them.”

33
“What do you mean?” Levi asked.
“You see your body, you see one cycle. But pay atention to the cycle within the cycle
and what do you see?”
“I see....” Levi thought deeply. “I see many other bodies and many other cycles within
my body.”
“And each body has bodies within them, and so on. That is how you can find anything
in the world around you. That is how everything is already there. You have only to see it.”
Levi thought for a moment, then asked, “What about dreams?”
“Dreams?” asked the old man. “We can only dream about what we can imagine but
haven't experienced yet. We are waiting for it to happen, not realizing that all we need to do
is look carefully at what is already there. There's no need to wait.”
Leiv shook his head slightly. “No, I mean what about my dream. The one you're in.”
“Oh-ho. Clever. You always were a clever kid.”
“Well?” smiled Levi.
“I don't know anything about your dream. I don't know anything at all. I'm just an old
man with crazy ideas.”
“Tell me another crazy idea,” Levi encouraged him.
The old man paused. “Do you have a family?” he asked.
Levi thought for a moment. He thought about Lului and then his parents. “No. Not yet.”
“Good. Perfect timing. Setle down. Have some kids. There's a crazy idea for ya.”
Levi studied him carefully. He thought to himself, 'Who is this old man?' They walked
quietly for a few more minutes until they were out of the park. Then the old man looked up
at Levi and smiled, holding his cane up in the air and shaking it triumphantly. He slowly
made his way down the street as Levi stood for several minutes watching him walk away.
Litle did Levi know that day that he would not see the woman nor the old man ever
again.

O

Levi was in his ofice looking out of the window to the city skyline. It had been raining that
morning, with high winds that quickly subsided to a nice breeze. “I wish I could open the
window,” he said to himself.
He looked down to the street at the trafic and people trying to find themselves out of
the drizzle. He wondered how simple, yet how complex everything he saw actually was. Over
the past few months he had learned what he could do and what he shouldn't do. The rules of
the Trial by Density still applied and one wrong move could cost him his life. He wasn't ready
to be extinguished just yet – he hadn't found his treasure and he wanted so badly to see
Lului again.
There was a knock at the door.
“Boss?” a young man peeked his head in.
“Come in, Brian” Levi welcomed.
The door opened slowly. Three employees had come to visit Levi in his ofice.
“Do you have a minute?” Brian asked.
Levi stood up and pointed to the sofa. “Sure. Have a seat.”
The two men made sure the woman in their group sat down first then took their seats.
Levi poured water for everyone at his minibar. Louis waited until he was finished before he
spoke, while the others sat silently.
“We have some concerns about the new CEO for Nexus Corporation,” Brian said.
“Go on,” Levi said, listening atentively.

34
“Well, Crazy, we don't feel that he, uh, represents all of us here at Gods & Kings.”
“Did you have someone beter in mind?” Levi inquired.
“Well, no. But we feel that you should perhaps look at all the options before making a
final decision,” Brian admited.
“Understood. But why do you feel this way?” Levi asked.
The woman and the other man looked to Brian for the answer.
Levi continued, “You know you can tell me anything. I always speak my mind. And I
would expect everyone else to do the same. It just saves a lot of time and frustration.”
“We, uh, think that we should hire someone from within the company. Someone black,”
Brian ofered up.
“I see,” Levi said, taking a sip from his glass. “And you feel that he might be unfair
towards anyone here because of that reason?”
Brian said, “We don't know. We'd just be more comfortable working with someone who
looks like us. No ofence.”
“None taken. But are you personally comfortable right now?”
“Of course. More comfortable than I've ever been. I love it here, you know that, man,”
Brian smiled.
“No, I mean are you comfortable at this very moment. You're wearing a suit whose
fabric comes from Italy and a fine watch made in the mountains of Switzerland. Maybe your
underwear was made in China like mine was. You drive a beautiful car that was made in
Germany and had a glass of delicious wine last week at the party that was grown in Napa
Valley. Your desk was hand-crafed at a factory in Omaha. You use sofware that was made
by a bunch of white people and eat food that was grown by white people. We can be
comfortable living with the work of white people, but why not also be comfortable working
for someone who happens to be born white? The fact is that we need each other. That's the
reality. But you know another reality? Every day I look around this ofice and see what makes
this company great – all of us, together.”
The three nodded their heads.
Levi continued, “Yeah, we gota support black people. We gota support white people, too
and Chinese and Indian and South American and everyone else, just like they support us. If we're
so focused on what someone looks like, we're missing the point. Let me ask you – if the best
lawyer you know happened to be white, are you going to hire someone else just because he's
black?”
The woman laughs and shakes her head. Brian answered, “No.”
“That's right. Because it wouldn't make sense, would it?” asked Levi. “Now, I heard the
other day that someone said they didn't trust the accountant because he's black. It may have
been someone in this room.”
“That was me,” Brian admited.
“Alright. So why did you say that?”
The young man was starting to get shy. He flailed his knees and smiled, “Because. I don't
trust him.”
“But yet, as far as you know, he's always paid everyone on time and paid for bonuses and
overtime for part-time staf, has he not?” Levi inquired.
“He has.” Brian admited.
“We even have an outside CPA looking at our books and everything is fine. So what did he
personally do that you don't trust him?”
“Nothing, I guess.”
Levi sat back and revealed, “And so now you know what racism feels like.” He confided,
“Look, I know it's dificult to talk about. But once we work on our own feelings, we'll be much
beter of.”

35
Levi stands up and walked to the bar and picked up a crystal carafe of water and brought it
back to the table.
“You heard about how we met Lil J, didn't you? Man, I love him. He's like family to me. But
imagine how he felt that day geting undressed in front of hundreds of people that knew him
personally. And now look where he is today. His mother is well and fully recovered, he's happy
and living a good life. His daughter is graduating this year, too. We don't have to overcome our
fears if we don't want to. But if we do, our whole world can change for the beter. We'll stop being
afraid of ourselves, of life, of each other, and start living life to the fullest,” Levi said, pausing. “Let
me ask you, when you look at the new CEO what do you see?” asked Levi.
“I see a smart white man,” Brian replied.
Levi then asked, “And when you look at Lil J what do you see?”
“A smart, successful, African-American man who pulled himself up and did what he needed
to do for his family,” Brian answered.
“Well, I've got some news for you. You may not know this and I hope he doesn't kill me, but
Lil J is an Englishman.”
“What?” the woman replied, astounded.
The three employees looked at each other, confused.
“Lil J?” the young man asked, surprised.
“That's right. He was born outside of London and came to the US when he was 2 years old.
His parents are from Guyana, which is part of the British Commonwealth.”
“Oh, my lord,” sighed the woman.
Levi said, “When we use the term 'African American' we're actually excluding Lil J and
millions of other black people in America. But I'm sure nobody wants to feel like a minority
within their own population.”
The three of them nodded their heads in agreement.
The woman said, “Look, I have to get back to work, but we'll see how it goes with this man.
I don't care what he look like, as long as he makes us some bank.” She stood up, followed by the
second man. Brian stood up, too.
“That sounds good. And, thanks for leting me know how you feel. We'll see how it goes,”
Levi said. He touched Brian on the shoulder and said, “Shut the door.” Levi motioned to him
before siting down again. Brian then came back over to the sofa and sat down.
“Can I ask you why you don't want to be the CEO? You've got the vision and you brought
us all this way,” Brian asked.
“I would love to. Yeah, I've got the vision, but it'll take more than vision to make sure we're
headed in the right direction. We've been flying by the seat of our pants, as the accountant is
always saying. We got lucky, had a great team for what we were doing, and wonderful things
happened. But we're headed into the big leagues now. If we want to go to the next level, we have
to find someone with the experience to lead us there and make sure we stay there,” Levi
answered.
“You're right, Crazy. But I'm afraid he might be racist,” the young man confided.
“Would you be more comfortable if the man that owns the deli downstairs was CEO?” Levi
asked.
“No,” Brian replied. “He's not black, either.”
“Ah. But he is probably more African-American than you are,” Levi smiled.
“What? You crazy,” Brian replied.
“He was born in California but his parents are from Tunisia, which is in Africa. His sister
was born in Africa, however. You know, the tall girl that is there on Fridays.”
“Oh, straight up?” Brian asked, surprised.
“Are your parents from Africa?” Levi asked sincerely.
“No.”
“Do you have any relatives from Africa?”

36
“Distant relatives,” Brian answered.
“Oh. From which country?” Levi asked, curious.
“You know what, I'm not sure. They're long dead.”
“When did they die?” Levi asked.
“I'm not sure of that, neither,” Brian admited.
“Can I ask, do you know anyone who has ever been to Africa?”
Brian thought about it for a moment, then admited, “No. Nobody.”
“Me, too. I guess the man downstairs is far more African-American than us both, then,” Levi
smiled. He continued, “Look. When we're focused on what people look like or what we call them
we're missing the big picture. When I first met you, you were dressed like a thug and I was
dressed like a bum. Nobody out there was going to talk to me and nobody was going to talk to
you. It's not because of skin color, it's about what people are afraid of.”
“Is there a diference?” Brian wondered.
“Of course there is. We can say it's about race but the truth is that when anyone dresses
like we did, they just stick out. And not in a good way. Then people get scared because that's not
how they see themselves. Now tell me people haven't been treating you diferently since you
started dressing up.” Levi said. He touched the collar of his suit and said, “Look, you even have a
pocket square.”
“That's true,” Brian admited. “And most times I can get a cab now without a problem.”
“Hey, don't forget that there are plenty of white people who can't get a cab, either. But a lot
of it depends on how you're dressed and how you make other people feel because of it.”
“You right.”
“And when you see people wearing traditional African atire, do you talk to them?”
Brian thought for a moment. “No.”
“Why not?”
“I think I get what you saying.”
“And today when you got on the elevator, was there anybody else on it?” Levi asked.
“Yeah, a white lady.”
“Did you say hi to her?”
Brian admited, “No.”
“Why not?”
“Because I didn't think she'd say hi back.”
Levi smiled, “Now you see the problem, don't you? People don't like things that are
diferent. Just like you don't.”
Levi paused for a moment while Brian appeared to be in deep thought, looking down at his
smooth, clasped hands. “If I asked you to change the keyboard on your computer, what would
you say?” he asked.
“I wouldn't want to,” Brian replied. “I'm comfortable with the one I have.”
Levi laughed, “Why not? The keyboard is black. Are you racist?”
“Yeah, real funny. I get what you're saying now, Crazy,” Brian nodded and smiled.
Levi stated, “I think the more we can connect with someone the less afraid we are of them.
If you look at an African woman wearing a colorful, traditional dress that she's proud of because
her sister made it for her, you probably don't connect with her. You look at her for a split second
and make a quick judgement call about whether or not you can connect with her, or have
something in common. Everything you see is a signal. If someone looks at you and they don't see
a litle bit of their own reflection, they're going to be scared. If they can't see a part of themselves
in you, in the back of their mind they're going to start feeling like they don't exist. Seeing you
shakes up the very foundations of their identity and then they don't want to be around you. Now
that woman might be the nicest woman in the world, but you'd never know it. All you're looking
at is how she's dressed and you're thinking to yourself that she's too African to talk to. You don't
know anything about who she is or what you have in common, because you don't see any of that.

37
Anything you don't connect with becomes too much new information to process and the brain
just wants to ignore it and pretend like it's not there.”
Brian began to get it and said, “It's like, what you taught us in business. You gota connect
with your clients. It doesn't mater what you like or what you want. You try to make your clients
feel good about who they are and the dreams they have of themselves.”
Levi pointed to Brian, “That's right. And if you have a shop and your customers like country
music, are you going to play hip-hop because you like it? Are you going to force them to accept
something diferent because you think you're expressing yourself?”
“Naw. I'm gonna play country and learn to love it 'cuz it's gonna make me money,” Brian
smiled, punching his fist into his hand.
“See! Nobody knows how smart you are if you don't open your mouth,” Levi said, pointing
up.
“And when I put on one of my nice suits, people treat me diferent,” Brian revealed.
“Yep. And that also means doing other things that successful people do. If you see that 98%
of the successful people you know do things in a certain way, don't go of doing something else.
Do what they do. If they talk a certain way, dress a certain way, walk a certain way, wake up at a
certain time, learn how to be emulate them. Don't think about black this or white that. It's all
about doing what works.
“Here's what I want you to do. The five next white people you see, I want you to smile and
say hi. Don't expect anything else. Don't expect a response and don't expect them to look at you.
They sometimes don't even speak to each other, so don't let it ofend you if they ignore you and
pretend like you're not there. Do it today and tomorrow and then I want you to tell me what
happened. If you still feel the same way tomorrow, then we can talk about who you want as a
replacement CEO.”
“Okay,” said Brian. He stood up.
“Man hug,” said Levi, standing up and puting him on the back. “Now, let's go kick some ass,
Brian!”

O

It was almost four-thirty in the morning and Levi awoke to a cold sweat. It was his first bad
dream he's ever had in his life, but he was ecstatic. It was also his first vivid dream he's had
as a human. This meant something to him. It meant that he was starting to create his reality
consciously again.
But this dream was diferent from those he would have all the time on Omniwa. It was
so heavy. In it, he had the feeling that soon his life would change substantially, again.
He tried to go back to sleep but could not. Staying awake for several hours afer that, he
got to know every part of the ceiling intimately. He was worried and relieved at the same
time. He felt himself again, but human.
When he arrived at the ofice there was lots of commotion. People were going from
ofice to ofice, asking about what happened.
“Did you hear what happened to Brian?” Levi overheard.
Levi asked his assistant, “What happened?”
“Brian is in the hospital,” his assistant remarked.
Levi turned around and started to make his way outside again. “Send the details to my
phone,” he shouted.
Upon arriving at the hospital, Levi quickly made his way to the emergency room. He
inquired to hospital staf about Brian and they directed him upstairs. Hurriedly, he arrived at
Brian's room.
“Haha. Well, see, that's what I'm talking about-” Brian said, talking to a woman. He
looked at Levi as he rushed in.

38
“I thought you were-” said Levi, out of breath.
“He's going to be just fine. I'm his doctor, Dr. Cavanaugh,” the woman chating with
Brian said.
Levi was transfixed on her lips as she spoke those few simple words. Somehow, he did
not believe that it was possible that he could be standing in front of a woman so mesmerizing
whose atention was being fully directed to him. Her glasses perfectly framed her face and
seemed to make her sweet, bright eyes even more intense. Her neck was as perfectly smooth
and more supple than he'd ever seen. Her voice, like a nearby heaven that could stop any
beast in its tracks. Her cheeks were more rosy than he had known anyone else to have and
seemed like tiny flowers being crushed under the weight of her glasses. Her hair was,
strangely, something that he wanted to jump into and get lost in. It was as if everything he
saw in her was hiding a deep, mysterious love just beneath the surface.
“Ey. She said I'm going to be fine,” Brian said. “And, she said her name was Dr.
Cavanaugh,” he chuckled, nodding his head and picking his words like one would pick out
Sunday's best.
“I'm-” Levi began to say, at a loss for words. “Levi-o. I am Levi.”
“Well, I'll leave you to it, then,” the doctor said, smirking.
“Er, um. Like you said, doctor, he's fine,” Levi said.
“Oh, thanks. You didn't come to see your boy?” Brian asked him.
“I'll be back to check on him in a few minutes,” the doctor said, leaving the room.
Levi turned to Brian.
“Do you know her?” Brian asked.
“What? No. It seems like I do, but no.”
Brian looked Levi up and down as he nodded his head, face as glowing as ever.
“So what happened to you?” Levi asked.
“Ah-ha. It's nothing, man. I'll be alright,” Brian said shyly.
“No, tell me,” Levi persisted.
“Okay, but don't laugh. It's a long story. I thought about what you said and I, uh, decided to
say hi to one of the women that works down the hall and ask how she was doing. Just like you
said, right? So we were on the elevator and we started talking. We keep on talking in the lobby
for a few minutes. She's actually very nice. So we get to talking about angel's trumpet-”
“What's that?” Levi interrupted.
“It's a flower. My girlfriend's favorite flower, actually. It's also called Brugmansia. But
nevermind. So it turns out that she grows them at home. That's just a coincidence, right? Then
she invites me and my girlfriend over for lunch on Saturday to see her garden,” Brian said, geting
excited. He raised his pitch, “I don't know what to say. She started talking about her husband and
he died a couple of years ago and she's got this big condo and she doesn't know what to do.”
Levi laughed.
Brian continued, “So I'm thinking what do I say to this lady? And-”
“And then?”
“So then I see her again when I'm going to lunch. She's walking down the hallway and I'm
walking to the elevator. She doesn't see me yet so I jump into the stairwell and trip and fall down
the stairs and break my collar bone.”
“You tripped?” Levi asked, in disbelief.
“I tripped,” the young man replies, nodding in agreement.
“On what?” asked Levi.
“I tripped, man. I fell down on my own.”
Levi tried to look seriously at Brian for a moment to dam up the tidal wave of laughter that
was brewing inside. His face was turning sour. Finally, he bursted.
“HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Oh, man. That's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time.
AHAHAHAHAH.... OHHH”

39
“I said don't laugh!” Brian demanded. “Ask me if I'm okay. Ask me if I'm okay!” Brian said as
he tried to flail his arms. He immediately revolted from the intense pain.
Levi held his hand up, as if to try to stop himself from laughing. He managed a break. “Are
you okay?” he asked, wiping a tear.
“I'm okay. It hurt like hell but I'm okay. I should be out in a couple of days.”
“Well, okay. But why'd you run away from her?”
“I didn't know what to say. What do I do? I never been to a white lady's house before. For
lunch? What are we supposed to wear?”
“That's the universe giving you a giant smack on the forehead. You asked for it and then
you're supposed to just roll with it.” Levi said.
“Yeah, roll with it,” the young man said, sarcastically. “Very funny!” He put his hand on his
aching shoulder.
Levi picked up on his own pun and began to laugh again. “HAHAHAHAHA... awww... uh-
hehh.” He couldn't stop laughing. Afer a pause, he wiped another tear away.
The doctor walked in. “Are you boys okay?” she said, smiling.
Levi turned to her without missing a beat and said, “I don't know, doctor. You tell me. My
friend here doesn't think you'd ever want to go out with a man like me. He thinks it's funny.
What do you think?”
The doctor turned to Levi and looked at him through her glasses with a sexy, knowing grin.

40
Memory 4
The Dream
The sun shone brightly on them as they laid themselves down on blankets. It was starting to
get cool, but the warmth of the light was more than enough to hold them for a while longer.
Levi could see some kids in the park were already starting to wear scarves for the season.
“Daddy, come push me!” a litle boy called out.
Levi jumped up and excitedly walked to the swings. He checked the monkey bars once
more to make sure his other son, Alexander, was enjoying himself. A woman, their nanny,
encouraged Alexander to be careful.
Levi reached behind Thomas and pulled on the chains of the swing. His wife, Carolyn,
waved to Thomas as he played.
Afer three years on Earth, Levi never would have imagined that he could be this happy.
It wasn't too far away from where he stood that he found himself cold and naked on the
ground before being beaten up by the very same boys and men who were, by then, working
for him. It had been a long journey from that first day, and he felt truly happy.
“Higher, daddy. Higher!” Thomas called out.
“Okay. Daddy's going to push you higher. Hold on, okay?”
Levi and his family would go to the park whenever they had the chance, which was
quite ofen. They owned a beautiful mansion across the street, one of the largest and oldest in
the city. It was easy to come to the park and enjoy the simple pleasures of family life. His
wife volunteered in the physical therapy department at the hospital, in a new wing that bears
their names, so it was easy for them all to spend more time together.
This was the life that Levi imagined when he first sat on the bench with borrowed
clothes and bags for shoes. To be among people he loved and that loved him, smiling and
laughing. He was still a child – though no one on Earth knew his real age – and still he felt
the urge to play. But he knew that in this life he couldn't be himself as much as he wanted.
He had to be the person he saw in the mirror every morning, and the person that others
wanted him to be.
'Is this pretending?' he would sometimes ask himself. His happiness was real, even if his
body was not the one he had before he arrived on Earth. Yet, his body was his own and as
real to him as the thoughts that were in his mind. He would sometimes wonder where one
part of him stopped and another part of him began.
He began to feel more and more that his origins were right on Earth. Like a baby might,
he had been focusing so much on the world around him that he was forgeting what came
before. The sounds, the sights, the smells, the emotions, the thoughts and all the busy-ness of
the new world was overwhelming. The more the days went on the more his memory relented.
By that time Levi understood that the Trial by Density was not just being burdened by
heaviness of body and mind, but by complexity. The complexity of human emotions and
thoughts, the patchwork of beliefs that everyone had, and the endless ways that ideas could
be expressed. Chaos meant freedom and freedom meant more chaos. Somehow Earth was a
special place for this very reason.
'This is the stuf that the universe is made of,' he sometimes thought.
He imagined – yes, dreamed – that the stuf of the universe was like a giant rubber band
that was being pulled back more and more. It was always 'ready to pop' but just right on the
edge of its own metamorphosis. It seemed to know how far to take it, or just how dense and
complicated to get, before contracting again. It wasn't going to snap, it was just stretching.

41
When the rubber band of the universe was relaxed again it was more flexible that it had been
before when it was at rest. It had the capacity for chaos but the simplicity of a comfortable
order.
Earth seemed to him to be like a great warrior, scarred from batle, whose sole purpose
was to be fulfilled when he retired to the countryside, drinking tea and listening to the song
of birds. Earth wasn't the hell of Omniwa's imagination. It was part of the necessary Balance
of good and evil in the galaxy. It was the stretched rubber band that sought to capture all
possibilities of existence – all the goodness and evil that could be imagined, and everything in
between – just so it could retract again and take all those things with it, making them
compact and, thus, more simple than they had been before. It made the dense light again. It
was the engine of the universe at work and it was all around him.
Levi comforted himself in these new thoughts and dreams and bathed in them when he
slept. He knew that he was forgeting who he truly was, but he was determined to make
himself in his own image. 'Screw the gods of Omniwa,' he dreamed.
He remembered that he had family on Omniwa, but was forgeting what they looked
like. He remembered some of what his mother told him, but not the sound of her voice. He
would think, 'Her voice is sweet, but what does it sound like?' He remembered his father's
hands, but not his face. He remembered walking on the platform every day, but couldn't
recall where he was going. He remembered the Trial by Density, but not what happened next.
He was a man who was forgeting who he was yet somehow was remembering who he
wanted to be. He had more than he could have ever hoped for during his Trial. His company,
Nexus Corporation, had just bought out Gods & Kings for $2.3 billion in cash and stock.
Nexus had a lot of cash. It was a cash machine. Every month, millions of people around the
world renewed their subscriptions to its various sites, and hundreds of thousands more new
members signed up every day. The growth of Nexus was unprecedented in the history of the
corporation. And it hadn't even gone public yet.
Levi wasn't a very wealthy man. He had a few million dollar's worth of real estate in
Long Island and a litle cash for pocket money, but not much else. He wasn't a big spender
and figured he had far more than he actually needed. The more wealthy he became the more
abstract and unnatural it made him feel.
His wife benefited from royalties from a large fast-food restaurant corporation. They
had signed a lucrative 10-year agreement to use the business method patent for the concept
that had made the Tables & Shares chain so successful.
Their sons, however, were a diferent story financially. Levi put all of his company's
shares in their names. Having owned 74% of Nexus Corporation, his sons were the youngest
billionaires alive. In fact, they were the 15th and 17th richest persons on the planet, according
to Forbes. And they didn't even know it yet.
Levi knew that he probably wouldn't be with his family that long. He had less than 18
years remaining, but he knew that at any time he could die if he misused his powers. Rather
than puting everything in his name, seting up an estate, and having to deal with 'death
taxes' when he died, he just put everything in a structured trust in his sons' names.
His wife didn't know his secrets. She didn't know that he could disappear at any time,
or would be leaving by the time their sons graduated from university. He didn't feel
comfortable burdening her with things that he was starting to feel unsure of himself. 'Maybe
she already knows,' he sometimes tried to convince himself.
When Levi looked into her eyes, he could see parts of his home. It made him feel that
he still remembered who he was and that he hadn't forgoten. She would even say some of
the same things that Omniwans would say. He thought that somehow there was a part of her
that knew who he was already.
The only person that he knew for sure was from his world was the Ambassador. His

42
meetings with her were brief, although strange. She would come in the early morning while he
slept and seemed to read his thoughts before she disappeared. He could not figure out where she
went, or even if he was hallucinating the whole thing. But every year on the same day she
showed up and lef as promptly as she had arrived. Sometimes he thought deeply about this. 'If
only I could figure out what she was doing. Was she erasing my memory? Was she checking on
me to make sure I don't use my powers? Is it something else?'
Levi and his family walked home afer another lovely outing. His children, as they
sometimes did, skipped home. There were a few photographers along the way but they didn't
bother them much. Levi just let them do their jobs. He would even invite one or two over o their
home sometimes to have a beer in the kitchen.
The walk home was by far a big part of his most vivid recent memories. He appreciated
every step, because he knew that there was a family walking with him. He didn't need to be
alone or feel like he didn't exist. He wasn't afraid of who he was and no one was afraid of him.

O

Levi made a rare stop by his ofice at Nexus. The company was being run by seasoned
professionals who had decades of experience with multi-national technology and finance
firms, so he didn't need to be there so much. He served as the Chairman of the Board of
Directors, but others generally did all the legwork. Recently, the CEO managed to convince
two of the vice presidents of the largest investment bank in the world to join the Board of
Nexus. Levi understood that it helped to have people who knew how to dominate in their
field.
The CEO wanted to talk with Levi about his meetings with IBM. They were looking to
integrate Everymarket into their internal operations in order for them to conduct research
more eficiently as well as innovate more efectively. They wouldn't be the first major
corporation that was utilizing Everymarket. They were just one of the many that was starting
to take a serious look at it as a solution to some of their business problems and as a way to
augment their internal processes.
Corporate and government contracts were a win-win for everyone, especially Nexus.
They cost almost nothing upfront. All Nexus wanted was some degree of control over
whatever Everymarket produced for them. If IBM came up with a new design for a patent
because of Everymarket, for example, Nexus would share patent rights.
Eventually, companies and governments everywhere were realizing that their
constituents were shifing their creative process over to the Everymarket platform.
Companies that signed up began to notice that fewer meetings and brainstorming sessions
were being held. They just weren't as productive and efective as the Everymarket platform
was. Some companies and other entities tried to resist the change, but by then it was too late.
The floodgates had opened and everyone was starting to jump on board. Levi's plan was
starting to come into fruition.
Afer the meeting with the CEO, Levi, having nothing else to do, sat quietly in his ofice.
He figured he might as well make occasional use of such a nice ofice, even though he
insisted that a cubicle was fine for his needs. He didn't ever want to take anything for
granted because he knew how easily something could be lost.
Looking out of his window, he remembered all the times that he would do the same at
Gods & Kings. By then he was used to the complexity of the trafic down below, the cars, the
pedestrians, and everything that their comings and goings meant. He imagined that every
person he saw was a “cycle within a cycle,” each with their own thoughts, hopes, and dreams.
The more he zoomed in with his mind the more everyone went in a diferent direction. But
when he zoomed out to see the big picture he saw that everyone was actually going in the

43
same direction.
“It seems diferent, but it's the same,” he thought aloud. “It's all the same.”
Although he had become unsure of himself over the years he also felt more sure of
everything else at the same time. The meaning of life became more clear. Not just life on
Earth, but existence itself. To him, all of reality became a dream that seemed so real he forgot
to awaken.
His eyes began to unfocus on the window and focused on the buildings beyond it. He
then unfocused on the buildings and focused back to the window. Again and again he shifed
his focus. He thought of the Eternal Reflection and realized that life is a mirror that didn't
seem like it was a mirror.
'I'm looking at myself,' he thought.
It was easy for him to look through the glass, but he wanted to look through the
buildings as well and within the glass. Stopping himself from using his powers, he realized he
was beginning to drif into sleep. Rather than risk death from expanding his thinking beyond
the realm of humanness he decided to lean back in his chair and go to sleep.
His dreams were fluid and vivid. It was the first time he'd gone to sleep in the daytime. The
memory of the world about him was still burned into the back of his eyes and his mind made it
real. As he dreamt, he could see the impermanent of buildings and the transience of the people in
them. Lives inside shifed as quickly as the winds outside of them and emotions sped up until
they were no longer emotions but movement itself. He could finally see his mother's face again as
he remembered her saying that emotions are like the weather. His focus used to be on the rain,
but now it was on the climate. All the love, joy, sadness, contempt, and pleasure were all like
cycles within cycles within cycles.
He began to fly above the buildings as they changed their shapes into old and new, seeing
them all become one. What were emotions became emotion became motion became movement
became feeling became a motionless sense as he saw the parent of each cycle. A person became
people became society became humanity became being. Everything seemed clear for that one
moment before he came down again. Then he got heavy. His dream became denser and more
complex, with shooting lights and angles and intense geometrical shapes and more definitions of
words and names than he'd never heard.
'Somewhere, amidst all this, is Omniwa,' he dreamt, then shifed his dreams. 'It's like a
rubber band,' he thought.
Just then he dreamt of thousands, perhaps millions of people around a giant empty box.
People were pushing so hard yet the box was moving nowhere. The people on one side would
push a litle harder and it would move. Then the people on the opposite side moved back with it,
then used even more strength to push it back. The other sides, seeing the movement back and
forth, began to feel that they, too, could move it, then began to push. Despite all of these people,
he thought, the empty box ultimately moved nowhere at all. Looking inside the box he saw his
own face. It was him as a boy on Omniwa, changing into a man on Earth, changing into a
woman, then another boy, then an older man, then an even older woman, then a girl, then
countless other faces before finally vanishing into a vapor. The vapor filled the box, but not one of
the millions of people around it could see it.
He awoke. It felt, physically, like only a few seconds but mentally was far longer. He
experienced that feeling of time and space fluidity before, with his internal clock shifing
between the pace of life on Earth and Omniwa.
“What if Earth is a cycle-within-a-cycle of Omniwa?” he whispered.
Just then he could hear the phone outside his ofice ring. He turned around in his chair,
startled. Looking around his ofice, his eyes moved from the door to the art on the wall to the
stack of newspapers on the table. Geting up, he touched the first page of the newspaper on top
and bent the corner of the page. He was transfixed by the beauty of how the print between the
first two pages were similar.

44
“It is the same thing. The same story, told again and again,” he said to himself.
Levi quickly moved back to his chair and took out some blank paper from the printer's
paper tray. Finding a pen in the drawer, he began to scribble on the paper. The top of the first
sheet of paper read, “THE UNIVERSE”
Page afer page he wrote, drew, formulated, sketched and weaved his thoughts around each
and back again. Afer 20 pages were full of his consciousness he analyzed the words again and
again, evolving them. He was able to combine concepts, simplify others and compact his
thoughts down to thirteen pages. Then he repeated it again and again until he was down to four
pages. Finally, he crumpled everything up and threw it on the floor, starting over with his
thoughts and finishing with a single page. His masterpiece was complete. He brought the paper
to the window and placed it flat against the glass. The sun shone so brightly through the page he
could no longer read what was on it. But it didn't mater. He was holding up the page to filter the
sun so he could look at it, like he looked at it his first day on Earth.

O

It was 8 AM the next morning. Levi was siting in the conference room of Nexus Corporation
with Jack Cofey, the CEO, PT Nguyen, the CTO and Lil J. Afer a few pleasantries and
discussions on the state of the company, Levi changed the subject of conversation.
“Let's talk about the future of Nexus Corp.,” said Levi.
“Okay, Levi. We're all ears,” Jack said. PT listened atentively, taking notes with his
laptop and Lil J prepared a notepad and a pencil that he pulled out from his briefcase, a
simplicity he copied from Levi to allow his thoughts to flow more freely.
Levi began, “Growth right now is phenomenal. If this trend keeps up we'll have over 3
billion people accessing Everymarket on tablets, smart phones, dumb phones, kiosks, POS
terminals and in hundreds of thousands of brick-and-mortar locations through the world
within a few years. We're making great headway with state and local governments and our
lobbying eforts are going smoothly. Venezuela wants the whole nine yards. Everymarket will
be much bigger than we originally anticipated. And that's a good thing. Right now fify
million people in the Western world make $5 a day or more using the system. The average
person right now makes about $40 a day. Everymarket is a significant factor in the reduction
of unemployment numbers across the board, especially in the developing world. India is
performing analyses to see if they should revamp their entire economy to fully embrace the
concept. The UN was even here a couple of weeks ago. But where do we go from here? How
can we take advantage of this amazing momentum we have right now to do something even
greater? That's one of the things I've been thinking about lately. I want to share with you a
draf of what I've come up with.”
“Ok. Well, we'd love to hear it. You know we're here for you, Levi.” Jack blurted.
“Thank you. And we could not have done it without the both of you, especially the way
you've navigated Nexus through all the delicate areas with your superb political finesse. We
can only assume the road ahead will be much tougher, but thanks to you we've got a lot of
wins under our belt to help us through it,” Levi said.
Jack, PT and Lil J all nodded in agreement.
“Taking it to the next level, I've drafed a summary of a project I like to call 'The
Universe'. It will compliment Everymarket and Nexus' core operational strengths, but leverage
the same people power that's made Everymarket grow exponentially crazy over the past
couple of years and beat us at our own game.”
“Go on,” Jack said as he leaned back, puting his finger to his temple.
“Everymarket expanded on the concept of real people doing virtual work, adding a
personal economy to the equation. The Universe expands on that idea further, adding life to

45
the virtual world. With it, we can model the real world in virtual space with pre-existing maps
and 2D and 3D imaging, allowing people to work, go to school and live part of their lives
inside of the Nexus Universe electronically. We can also allow them to change parts of their
virtual world, which will have real-world economic and social dynamics. We can transition
parts of the real-world economy into a virtual world managed by us but controlled by
everyone-”
Without a break from typing, PT interrupted, “I'm not sure I'm clear on this. Can you
give me an example?” His typing was so rhythmical it was almost soothing, as if he was
typing to the sound of samba music in his mind.
Levi answered, “Ok. Let's say you're a kid who wants to go to college. You've only got
$500 saved up from working jobs over the summer. But that's not even enough for books. In
the Universe you can easily sign up for one of the many virtual schools around the world, for
perhaps five to ten dollars. Many of MIT's courses are already available online for free and we
can work with them and other universities to integrate their lessons and model their
classrooms into an immersive 3D environment with other students from around the world. So
instead of building an actual school we're creating a virtual world with a school in it.”
“Who will develop these worlds?” PT inquired.
“We can ofer simple tools that people can use to annotate the data we get from
existing maps and geographical resources. Those who perform enough work on a particular
place, building or structure, such as adding metadata, linking it to other places and
structures, managing it, etc., can claim a percentage of ownership of that place or structure.
They can then rent it out to others, sell it, use it as collateral for a loan, or whatever. We can
also employ a team of experts in various fields to help oversee the world-building. Every
person, place, or thing can have a unique ID that others can read-write metadata to.”
As PT typed he calmly asked, “What are the real-world social and economic dynamics
you talked about?”
Levi responded, “Well, imagine a young man in Nairobi who wants to take a trip to the
Grand Canyon. Perhaps he'll never be able to do so in his life. But in the Universe, he can go
to the airport, hop on a plane, stay in a hotel and visit the Grand Canyon for a couple of
weeks. He'll even meet others from around the world that are doing the same thing. He'll get
bonus points and credits for interacting with and learning from people around the world.
Afer that maybe he decided to work in a virtual laboratory and do real genetic research
because he spent a couple of years learning it for free in the Universe and somebody made a
virtual machine for the human genome that others can copy. We can even partner with
universities to ofer real degrees in various fields. Or imagine that you learn how to do
construction or finance in the Universe. Perhaps you're a housewife or a student, but in the
Universe you can learn whatever you want. For construction, other people have already been
paid in credits to model all of the machinery, tools, equipment and processes for everyone
else in the world to draw from. Maybe learning construction costs you $3, or someone ofers
classes for free. Now you know how to do construction in both worlds. Your virtual skills
become real-world skills and then it becomes economically empowering for everyone.
“Another component is socio-economic arbitrage. If you see people react to certain
structures or processes in the virtual world you can have more confidence that a real-world
application might work. Maybe someone converted the abandoned building a few blocks
away in the real world to a park or community center in the virtual world. This will drive
people to change their real world environment, innovate, renew, and relearn. Maybe you
design a school or an entire city virtually before you start building it physically. The
possibilities are limitless. No longer will people be passive observers of their reality, but active
participants in its creation.

46
“Not only do physical constraints become meaningless in the Universe, but social and
economic constraints as well. Education can be essentially free, or bought with in-world
currency. Anyone can learn how to start a business and then open up shop. You can employ
others to work for you, such as building a virtual house, fixing a virtual car, or selling virtual
items. If you have enough credits you can open and bank and start lending to others.
Creative pursuits would be limitless. And people can interact and do business with each other
based more on publicly-available feedback and transaction history, not because they are a big
company that can aford to advertise, or look like you, or wrote up a good proposal, or went
to the same school. You can be confident when you do business with strangers around the
world because every person, transaction, and thing will have feedback and ratings atached
to it. And people will be less likely to harm others because everyone will be able to see it in
their history. The Universe democratises economic, social and political processes. We can
transition communities, brands, movies, television, concerts and other events, gaming, music,
and more. Existing technology can also be integrated, like telephony, email, messaging, and
social networks. People will be able to pay real-world bills with their virtual cash. We can also
transition markets into the Universe that are fairly abstract in the real world, like stock and
bond markets. Every slice of the world economy that we're not geting a piece of now, from
education to markets to corporations, we can share in their revenue if we manage their
virtual counterpart.”
Jack relayed, “You know I'm reminded about how much the gold market exploded when
paper gold was created. Nevermind the price – think about the volume. 99% of all gold traded
now is paper – just numbers on a computer. If we can maintain pricing stability while
increasing the number of transactions significantly, this will be an even bigger gold mine than
the one we've got. Much of the world economy can be commoditized with enough virtual
representation.”
Levi agreed, “And we can actually implement democratic processes everywhere in a way
that is aligned with capitalism. And anything now that can be done online can be
transitioned into the Universe. Companies will need to convert real money into in-world
'everycash' but the benefit of that is that they can also generate revenue and earn profits
within the system and pay their workers with the everycash they've earned from doing
business there. They can also minimize their tax burden because profits don't need to be
taken out of the system. We can then claim a small percentage of every transaction as a tax,
as well as generate the bulk of our revenue from subscriptions and fund transfers.”
Jack shifed in his seat. His eyebrows immediately raised up. “You know. When you put
it like that, this is one way a virtual economy can outshine the real world economy.”
“A single, omnipotent corporate entity,” PT observed.
Lil J raised an eyebrow, looking at Levi.
Levi confirmed, “Yes. Controlled by everyday people and governed by actionable
intelligence automatically generated from the ratings and feedback on everything. If it's a
person, place, or a thing, it has a history, metadata and has publicly-accessible feedback.”
PT added, “We'd become the gatekeepers of everything that exists and doesn't yet.
Everything is becoming digital. And we'd be the first ones to bring it all together under one
operating system, like a Windows for everything.” Afer pausing to think, he continued, “It'll be a
highly complex, highly intricate development process with lots of dependencies. And we'll need a
new type of data store,” PT added.
“Can it work?” Levi asked.
PT looked down at the paper, fidgeting and shaking his right leg up and down rapidly, as he
usually did. Afer a pause, he said, “I think it can work. Technically.”
“Good,” utered Levi.
Jack added, “My only concern is the cost of something like this. Now I know we can aford

47
it. We've got lots of cash on hand, but we want to make sure that things don't get out of control.
You're talking about modelling the entire world here. Well, I see that as becoming quite
expensive.”
Levi addressed Jack's concerns and told him, “We can test out the concept with a mock-up
of the Financial District using what we have and start with a few focus groups to see how they
respond to it and make some tweaks from there. If people take to it, we can deploy it to a much
wider test group that covers Manhatan. We can even let our premium members try it out first.
The business model can allow for immediate revenues from day one and grow as we scale up the
virtual world.”
Jack ended, “Well, you know Levi, when you first introduced yourself to me I didn't
know you from Babe Ruth. You sort of came out of lef field there. But you knew exactly who
I was and how my mind worked. You did your homework, I was impressed and here we are.
Your first proposal was as wild as this one is, but my gosh, Levi, did we ever hit it out of the
ballpark,” Jack confided. “Look, I think we can make something like this work. Let me talk to a
few of our people and see what we can work out.”
Levi and Lil J thanked both Jack and PT and then made their way out of the conference
room. Before going home to his family, Levi stopped by a flower shop to pick out some fresh
flowers. As he picked them up to smell them, he had a vision of his life back on Omniwa.
He walked home casually that night, trying to remember the people he had lef behind.
It was hard for him to think about life on his home world while walking down the busy city
streets on another planet.
“Did I leave Omniwa or did Omniwa leave me?” he asked himself as he walked up the
steps to his palatial mansion. Just then something caught the corner of his eye. He looked
over to his lef and saw a tall woman with an oversized head supported by a long neck. The
woman was staring straight into his eyes, as if trying to communicate something. He stopped
for a moment to look at her before going inside his home.

O

It was a quiet Saturday morning. A heavy rain had subsided and Levi was at the breakfast
bar eating some coconut toast with morello cherry spread that one of the maids prepared for
him. The kids were up and about, running around the house and playing with their toys.
Levi was in deep thought as he looked at the rainwater running down the window. He
took a sip from his glass of fresh horchata that one of the maids made herself.
“Good morning,” Carolyn greeted.
“Ah. Good morning,” Levi smiled, kissing and hugging Carolyn.
“Mommy, mommy. Look!” Alexander exclaimed. He showed her a coloring book that he
drew in.
“Wow. That's wonderful! Let's show your daddy,” she said, walking with Alexander over
to Levi.
Levi looked at Alexander's coloring book. Alexander had colored an image of planet
Earth green and blue. Levi smile as he looked at it, thinking of how beautiful and simple it
was.
“I have more.” Alexander said, reaching for the book.
Just then Levi noticed the name of the coloring book: “Omni Coloring Book”. He
reached for the book again to look at it closer.
“No, wait,” Alexander insisted.
Levi waited for Alexander to turn a couple of pages.
“Look,” Alexander directed.
Levi looked at a coloring of a river and trees. The next page, uncolored, was of a

48
mountain.
“That's very good, son,” Levi smiled. He sat in wonder at how a simple coloring book
held some meaning to him. His thoughts drifed to Omniwa.
Carolyn mentioned, “Oh, I forgot to tell you. A woman came by yesterday and dropped
of a book for you. She apologized for having kept it so long.”
“A woman? I'm sorry, but do you know her name?”
“She didn't say. Monica answered the door. She put the book in your library.”
“Thank you,” Levi said, curious. “I'll going to go check it out.”
Levi walked to the library and found the book, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' on
one of the tables. He picked it up and turned to look at its back.
Unsure of what to do or where it came from, Levi placed the book back onto the table.
He then grabbed his coat and went outside, crossing the street. He then stood facing his
mansion and looked around for the myserious woman he had seen a few days ago. Afer a
few minutes, he went back inside and rejoined Carolyn in the kitchen while the kids played
in the next room.
“Is everything alright?” Carolyn asked.
“Yeah, yeah. Everything's fine,” Levi assured her. He looked at her lustrous, curly auburn
hair and to her eyes. She chewed slowly and silently, as though sensing that Levi was staring
at her. She looked over to him. Levi smiled.
“What would you say if I told you I never went to school?” Levi asked her.
Carolyn looked at him. “I'd say you're an idiot,” she smiled. “For not telling me!”
Levi looked worried.
Carolyn laughed, “Seriously, what's goten into you today? Where did you go just now?”
“I... I don't know. I haven't been myself lately,” Levi admited.
“What's wrong, babe?” Carolyn said, drawing him nearer.
“I haven't been myself... for a long while”
“How long?” Carolyn wondered. “Is it us? Is it the kids?”
“No, no. Nothing like that. It's just...”
Alexander and Thomas ran into the kitchen. Levi looked over to them.
“Go on,” Carolyn beckoned.
“It's just that I haven't been remembering everything lately. It might be stress with the
company or something, but I just don't remember things like I used to.”
Carolyn gently put her hands on his face, cusping his ears. “Come here,” she pouted and
pecked him on the lips.
“I don't want you to feel sorry for me. I just want things to be normal.”
Carolyn reassured him, “I don't. And they will. And I'm glad you told me. I thought it was
something more serious. I think you just might be stressed. I'll ask a friend at the hospital about
it and maybe we can make an appointment. I'll go with you.” Carolyn said.
Levi looked on. “Okay.” He paused, then added, “Thank you.” He looked into her eyes to try
to end the conversation. “Thank you.”
He thought to himself, 'How am I ever going to explain it? How can I talk to her about this?
What do I do?'

49
Memory 5
The Trees
Levi stepped out of the piano black Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van and waited for Alexander on
the sidewalk in front of the school. The driver closed the door and stood next to the vehicle.
Children, dressed in their uniforms and backpacks, ran, skipped and bounced down the stairs
as they exited the school, each heading in their own direction. Finally, Alexander appeared.
He smiled as he saw his father and Levi greeted him with open arms and a big hug. Picking
him up from school was one of his most favorite times of the day.
Just then a photographer rushed to the back of the van, preparing to take a shot. Two
more photographers jumped to the sidewalk, bending over to position themselves. They were
all aimed at Alexander. The driver quickly opened the door and shielded them from the
photographers. Levi put him in the van first, then hopped in and closed the door behind him.
The photographers rushed to the front windshield to try to get a beter shot. The van slowly
pulled out and into the street.
“Daddy, why are they always bothering us?” Alexander asked.
“Because our company is going to the stock market soon, son.”
“But why don't they take pictures of the company?” he asked, holding a toy car.
“I think they'd rather take pictures of people. That's their job.”
“But Michael said that I was the richest person in the world,” Alexander revealed.
Levi raised his eyebrows long and took in a deep blink, surprised.
“Well, uh. That's not exactly true. You and your brother are. But it doesn't mean that
everything he says is true,” Levi explained.
Alexander wondered, “What does it mean?”
“It means that daddy made something very special for you and your brother. And when
you get older you'll understand, but you don't need to worry about it right now. Everything is
just fine.”
Alexander looked out of the window at the passing trafic and drove the wheels of the
toy car on the window, blowing raspberries with his lips and making car sounds.
As they reached their Long Island estate, Thomas ran out to greet them, followed by
Carolyn.
The practicalities of their kind of life brought them out of New York City, for the most
part. They were, indeed, the richest family on Earth. And they would likely accumulate far
greater wealth when Nexus' long-awaited IPO hit the streets a few weeks later.
The Nexus empire had expanded beyond everyone's wildest expectations. Everyone,
perhaps, except Levi. His plan was only beginning to come into fruition. The Universe was
still in the development stages, ready for a wide release in a couple of years' time. Selected
'premium' members of Everymarket, those who were paying thousands of dollars a month for
a subscription and likely making tens or hundreds of thousands more each month, were
among the first users of its alpha release. They were even more excited for the beta release
and press on it had already covered every corner of the globe. Even in its alpha phase it was a
cash machine, just as Levi predicted. The buzz of the Universe and whatever else people
thought Levi had up his sleeve, would surely drive Nexus' stock price through the roof when
it was released to the public.
The original Nexus investors, mostly Gods & Kings employees, were all retired by then.
Lil J was the wealthiest of the bunch, having invested most of his money for a healthy 1.53%
ownership. Ever since that strange, naked day at the park he believed in Levi with all his

50
heart. When Lil J first invested his ownership represented a paltry sum. But that day his
small slice was worth nearly four billion dollars. He never touched any of it, nor sold a single
share. Instead, he lived on his share of the Gods & Kings buyout from a few years prior. They
had all missed the fun and the crazy days in the ofice that they experienced at the beginning
of their wild ride, but the billion-dollar buyout from Nexus made everyone very happy. Many
of them used their new wealth to purchase even more shares of Nexus.
Although Levi learned to value the utility of money and saw how it could change
human behaviour for good, it wasn't his treasure. He couldn't take any stock, cash, houses, or
cars with him to Omniwa; It would have been useless there. He was looking to learn how to
build reality itself and the Universe was the way. His treasure had to be something else, but
he wasn't quite sure what it was yet.
People were starting to see how Everymarket and the Universe could be used together
not just to make money, but to do good things for everyone's benefit.
A happy moment for Levi was when he saw people talking to and going to visit others
who had begun markets to get a beter feel for their investments, just like Nexans would do
on his planet. People would literally comb the streets looking to snap pictures of things they
could improve, build, create, renew, or refresh. More people went to public spaces like parks
and museums. They seemed to talk more, open up more, share more and smile more to each
other. It was their job to make the world a beter place, and people seemed to feel really good
about their purpose in the world. The first users of the Universe were doing even more; They
were rapidly learning about the world around them and many reported significantly
improved relations with others, even those who weren't participating. People were still on
their mobile devices much of the time, but for good purpose. Leisure time increased, as
people didn't need to work as much as they had to before. People would also create markets
to do things and share activities with perfect strangers they met in the Universe. People
clamored to be the nicest, most generous, friendliest, most useful, or most interesting person
at whatever event or gathering they were at. People would stop others on the street to talk
about the markets that they were in. Crime was beginning to be a thing of the past. People
had incentive to do good things and simply be good people, and Levi was happy to see the
changes going on all around him.
But still, there was much work to be done. Five years had passed since he first arrived
on Earth. Time for him passed quickly and slowly at the same time. He wanted to evolve the
Universe before his memory was completely gone. It would take a far longer time for the
Nexus to be what he envisioned it could be than he had lef on Earth. Still, he couldn't write
down any details about the original Nexus or leave any kind of reminders. The Ambassador
never spoke on her yearly visits, but he was sure such things were still against the rules.
Levi sat in the living area with his family that night, talking about various things,
laughing, playing games and watching a movie. Afer the kids had fallen asleep, he carried
them both upstairs to bed. Normally he or Carolyn would read them a story, but he knew
that they had their own stories in their heads, even if they could not really remember them
the next morning.
Things were diferent with Carolyn. He remembered his own stories, somewhat, but
couldn't tell them to her. Or wouldn't. He was too afraid of what she or the kids might think.
He tormented himself daily over its eventual revelation. He thought of every possible
scenario. He knew that he couldn't just teleport her to another mental landscape to show him
exactly what his truth is, whatever the truth might be. There had to be a gradual progression
towards it, just like his long-term vision for the Universe since the days of Gods & Kings. In
order to get to point F from point A, he would need to find his point B. 'But where is it?' he
thought.

51
Carolyn had always suspected something was wrong, ever since the strange woman
showed up at their home to deliver a book that he never talked about. She had seen her a few
more times afer that, in diferent places in both New York and Long Island. She had sworn
she even saw her carrying flowers to one of her patients at the hospital. The woman was
unmistakeable in her looks and demeanor, and it was starting to bother Carolyn.
“I saw your friend today,” Carolyn mentioned as they closed the door to the kids' room.
“Oh? Who's that?” Levi asked.
“The woman,” Carolyn ofered, stumbling to find the right words to describe her. “With
the big forehead.” Realizing herself, she added, “Sorry. I didn't mean to make fun of her-”
“It's ok. It's good I know immediately who you're talking about. I had been thinking
about her.”
“Oh?”
“Yeah. I don't know who she is,” Levi asserted.
“But she came to our house and gave your book back,” Carolyn said, confused.
“I'd never seen that book before in my life. It must have been a mistake.”
“But now I see her all the time. Wherever I go, she seems to be there.”
“Maybe you both do the same things, or are involved in the same way. You just haven't
met her yet,” Levi surmised.
“No, it's not like that. It's almost like she's stalking us. It makes me afraid for the kids.”
Levi comforted her, kissing her head as they embraced. He thought about what she said
and replied. “Let me think of what we can do and then we can talk about it again tomorrow.”

O

The following morning, the telephone rang. Levi answered it.
“Good morning, this is Stephen Baxster with the US Department of State. Is Mr.
Cavanaugh around?”
“Yes? This is Mr. Cavanaugh,” Levi said.
“Mr. Cavanaugh, I was wondering if you could take a few minutes out of your busy
schedule to meet up for lunch. Somewhere convenient for you, of course,” the man on the
phone said.
Levi asked simply, “Why?”
“We'd like to discuss Nexus Corporation and see where our interests might intersect.”
Levi said, sharply, “If this is some kind of telemarketing call, we're not interested.”
“I assure you Mr. Cavanaugh, we are the State Department. We've had our eye on you
for some time now and we think it's time for a discussion.”
“Look. I don't know who you are but if you come near my family again you'll be sorry!”
Levi hufed, hanging up the phone.
Levi then decided to take a trip to Nexus headquarters to talk with the operations or
security department regarding adding additional security for his family. He wasn't sure who
was stalking his family, but didn't want to take any risks.
“Good morning, Mr. Cavanaugh. They're waiting for you in the Pythagoras conference
room,” the receptionist greeted him as he entered the executive floor of the building.
“Good morning,” Levi greeted her. “I'm sorry. Who?”
“Your 10 AM appointment,” she replied as she picked up the phone to answer it.
Levi walked up the open stairs to the second executive level, ofen referred to as simply
'Dialogue'. He could see two persons, a man and a woman, waiting patiently through the
glass of Pythagoras. As he entered the room, he stopped. The woman was the same woman
that had been stalking his family for the past two years.

52
He continued to walk into the conference room. “Good morning,” he greeted them.
“What is this about?”
“Please have a seat,” the man said.
Levi looked at them both. They were curious individuals, almost supernormal entities.
Both the man and the woman seemed exceedingly tall and lanky. They both had long necks,
but only the woman had a big head that was even larger close up. Their skin appeared to be
glowing and their eyes sparkled. The man wore a black overcoat with metal clasps and a
turtleneck underneath, while the woman wore a strange-looking, slim-fit uniform. They both
seemed quite content with the awkwardness of their appearance.
“What is this about?” asked Levi.
The man began, “My assistant, Shoule and I are your friends. My name is Alphen. We
come from the 571st sector of the galaxy. We have been studying humanity for quite some
time. In fact, it is what we are here for.”
Just then, the receptionist opened the door and began to pull in a tray of drinks. Alphen
raised up his hand and looked to her. She immediately turned around and lef the room.
“My apologies to your staf. We will not be disturbed,” Alphen said, smiling.
Levi looked deeply into Alphen's eyes as he leaned forward, grasping for answers.
Alphen stated, “We understand that you are puzzled. It is normal for someone in your
condition. You're on a Density journey and your thoughts are not what they should be. We
believe we might be able to help you.”
“How do you know this about me? Who are you?” Levi asked.
Alphen acknowledged, “We are just ordinary people – workers, like your parents. Our
task here is observation and exportation before the arrival.”
“The arrival of?”
“Athio,” Alphen responded. He moved closer to Levi and said, “There is much that you
were not told before you arrived here, your reason for being here.”
“What is my reason for being here?”
Alphen stated, “You are a worker, like us. Your task is to observe and export what you
find to Omniwa.”
Levi looked deeply confused. He sat quietly, thinking.
Shoule looked to Alphen and he looked to her. They seemed to be communicating
telepathically, or maybe through body language. Alphen then turned to Levi.
Aphen added, “Athio is a rather large asteroid that orbits the Earth's sun every 36,521.2
years. In less than twenty years Athio will return. Unfortunately, Earth is positioned on its
path. Normally, the planet brushes by without a scratch. But every few million years Athio
and Earth manage magnetic reconnection, something that heats up the planet but doesn't
destroy it. However, the next time it comes around Athio will impact with Earth, destroying it
and everything on it. We are one of many civilizations studying Earth and saving what we
can before it's too late. Yours is among those here now.”
Levi was astonished. “My task is to study Earth?” he asked.
Alphen turned to Shoule briefly, then back to Levi.
Alphen disclosed, “The Trial by Density is a means by which worlds in the 33rd sector can
be archived and stripped of intangible valuables. There are millions of worlds and civilizations
in the sector and it is not uncommon for many of these worlds to succumb to the pressures of
the universe's own density, whether by natural or unnatural forces, as you would call it. All of
the worlds selected by your Council of Worlds are dying worlds. They send you, among many
others, to these worlds to collect useful ideas, information, technologies, discoveries,
concepts, processes, products and knowledge. Much of what the Council finds through these
means it keeps to itself or trades with other worlds, but some of it finds its way into your

53
civilization. Your feared Council is the captain of a pirate ship, sending innocent people to
raid sinking ships. And you, Levi, are the pirate.”
Alphen paused to give time for Levi to digest what he was saying. Levi looked troubled.
Alphen continued, “Things weren't always like this. Before, your people would visit every
type of world, but they would ofen become atached and try to remain, sometimes as gods or
rulers. As far as our sector, even. The Council of Worlds was established, in part, to regulate
visitations as the planets in the galaxy found maturity.”
“So, you're here to find ideas?” Levi wondered.
Alphen claimed, “You're here for the scrap. Earth has no ideas of any value to our
world.”
“Then?”
Alphen pondered for a moment. “We're here for the people,” he ofered.
“You're here to find people? Is that why we're here in this room?”
“Now, it's a nice room but I wouldn't want to concern myself with that just yet. We do
have an ofer for you, but let's talk about what you want,” Alphen said, suspiciously.
“What I want,” Levi looked down the depth of the broad conference table.
Alphen smiled, “Yes. What Levi the Great wants.”
Levi shifed his gaze to Alphen. He wondered to himself, 'Should I trust these people?'
Afer a paused, Levi mentioned, “The Great Levi wants to go home.”
“Why don't you go home?” Alphen asked.
Levi hesitated for a moment. “I can. But not yet.”
“Well, when then?”
“In a few years.”
Alphen looked at him, puckering his lips and scrunching his eyebrows.
“15. 15 years,” Levi admited.
Alphen moved back in his seat. “Whoa. That's a long time, Mr. Cavanaugh.”
“It's good for me. I will go back a stronger person.”
Alphen asked, “Is that what they tell you? Is that what they tell you to numb your
mind?”
Levi looked behind Alphen, then to Shoule, then looked at Alphen's chair. He wondered
to himself, “How old are these people?'
Alphen looked straight at him and retorted, “If they want you to come back a stronger
person, why do they send you out across the universe and make you forget who you are? You
might end up a stronger person. Possibly. But what kind of person will you be?”
Levi was stuck for a response. “What's your ofer?” he wanted to know.
“Let's talk about benefits,” Alphen prepared himself, as if for an interview. “Shoule and
Alphen can come and go as they please. She or I can leave this Earth at any time,” he said,
looking upwards. “We don't need to forget anything. We don't need to do anything. We are
here because we like it. We could have selected another world, if we wanted to.”
“But why this one?” Levi wondered.
Alphen pitched, “This world has an interesting mix of creative and inspired individuals.
The kinds who would do well in our world. Beings like yourself. Not just intelligent,
emotionally developed, psychologically sound, curiously enamored, spiritually evolved, or
creative but all of that together. We find beings like yourself – good people – to take a tour of
our world and get their feet wet.”
“It seems you've been here a long time,” Levi observed.
“We have. I told you – we like it,” Alphen said, looking at Shoule. “In fact, we love it.”
Levi looked curiously at them both, not convinced. 'Something is wrong about this,' he
thought. She was expressionless. His emotions seemed unnatural.

54
“Why don't you just create your own beings if your world is so advanced?” Levi asked.
Alphen answered, without missing a beat, “The universe is a chaotic place. There's so
much randomness and so many possibilities, we wouldn't know where to start. Here we can
see what already is and then go from there. One could ask the same about your world. Why
send people to worlds that are ofen far less advanced than your own to pick up knowledge
and understanding? Sometimes it's just beter to see what works.”
Levi folded his arms, unsure of what he was hearing. He said, “So what do I do now?
What's next?”
“We'll give you some time to think about it. But the invitation is open. You're free to
invite three others with you. Our people will take care of them, just as we'll take care of you.
Your kind is very special to us.”
Levi thought about how wonderful it would be to take Lului to another world in another
sector and live as they please. His parents may even have beter jobs if they go with him. But
still, he was concerned with the suddenness of all this new information. It seemed too much,
too good to be true and, somehow, too soon.
Levi thanked them both, then went to another floor to talk to someone about security
for his family.

O

Lil J stood up from the sofa, paced around and then sat back down again. Levi, Carolyn, their
lawyer, Jack and two other senior Nexus executives were also in the room. Levi was leaning
against the doorway, looking at everyone.
“J, you're making me nervous,” Levi said to Lil J.
“We're all a litle nervous,” Jack admited.
A young man walked in with a thin portfolio. “Okay, Mr. Cavanaugh. We're ready for
you,” he said.
Levi looked towards everyone. “Okay, this is it,” he sighed.
The group began to exit the room. They all looked as though they were headed to their
deaths. They had just lef the NASDAQ client waiting room and began to walk to the trading
floor balcony where Levi and Jack were to ring the opening bell for the day, the first day of
trading for Nexus Corporation public shares.
As they arrived on the balcony, all of the traders were already looking up in their
direction. As soon as Jack and Lil J appeared they began to clap. Levi and his wife appeared
behind them to an avalanche of clapping and cheers. For more than 4 minutes they clapped
as the NASDAQ team prepared Levi for the opening. Finally, it was time.
Levi and Jack rang the opening bell. Trading in Nexus stock was brisk. That day the
exchange had seen its largest volume ever, exceeding the previous record by over 430%. The
ofering was phenomenal. Shares ended up more than 50%, going as high as 200% above the
opening price.
No one was more happy than Lil J. He had been calling his mother throughout all the
activity, ecstatic every time. At one point he was even seen crying when he began to talk
about coming home for Sunday dinner to celebrate. He also laughed when she told him she
wanted him to take out the old television to the garbage. He remained at the exchange long
afer Levi and others had gone, but they were all touched by how one man's tearful phone
call to his mother could put all of their wealth into perspective.
Arriving back at home that evening, Levi and Carolyn talked about their day, then
setled down with the kids and put them to bed. That night, in their bedroom, they began to
talk about the kids' estate. The conversation moved to their security.

55
“Do we have anyone else for them?” Carolyn asked.
“Yeah, I talked with a couple of people. They're going to triple the security detail. We've
got an appointment in a few days – they're going to install GPS devices in all their clothes,
bags and shoes.”
Carolyn looked worried. “My babies,” she sighed. She grabbed Levi's arm and wrapped it
around her. “They're so innocent,” she ended.
They kissed and made love on their bed by the light of the fireplaces from either side of
the room. One held pictures of the family on its classically-themed mantle. Above it hung a
mirror that reflected the light of the fireplace on the opposite wall.
As they cuddled in bed and looked up at the ceiling, they took turns to see who could
come up with the most creative responses for the shapes that found their way to the ceiling.
The playfulness turned more serious when Carolyn began to think of the changing shapes.
“Sometimes when I look at you I feel like you're somewhere else,” she revealed.
Levi paused before answering. “I am. But not ofen. There was a girl I loved very much
when I was younger.”
“Why don't you ever want to talk about your past? Your family, where you're from. All
that,” she wondered.
“I told you. It's very painful for me. It's something no one would understand.”
“Do you still love her?”
“I do,” he confessed.
Carolyn raised her head and asked, “Is that the girl who came to the house? The one I
was seeing everywhere?”
“No. That was someone else. I met with her the other day. I found out who she was. She
came to my ofice with her boss. A gentleman by the name of Alphen.”
“Alphen what?”
“Just Alphen. He's an exporter. They're just in lots of diferent places for work, looking
for things to export.”
“What kind of things?” she asked.
Levi wasn't sure how to answer it. He paused, then said, “Let's go to bed. I'm so tired.”
Carolyn reached over to press the buton for the lights. The lights dimmed, then turned
of completely. Levi rested in bed with his eyes open.
He ofen felt strange with Carolyn. She was a wonderful person in so many ways. She
was funny, talented, beautiful, smart, and very loving. But she was just like his mother. He
only realized his atraction to her was something diferent than romance afer they were
married and began spending more time together. With her it seemed that he was looking at
the Eternal Reflection. He missed his mother and she reminded him of her. Carolyn, as
wonderful as she was, was much too old for him. At heart, he was still a boy. He ofen
thought of being with Lului, the girl who he thought loved corn, instead.
As he made himself comfortable in bed he thought to himself, 'How can I tell her that I
am only nine years old?'
He stayed up for a few more hours in deep thought. He finally made a decision to tell
her the truth about who he was and where he is from the very next morning.

Levi awoke, however, with a diferent plan in mind than the one he decided on before going
to sleep. He would begin to open up to his sons about who he was and where he was from, in
the hopes that they would talk about it in front of Carolyn, breaking the ice and opening a
channel for further discussion.
As usual, afer Alexander's breakfast Levi accompanied him in the Sprinter to his
kindergarten. On the way there they talked about the activities they could do in summer and

56
possibly taking a trip somewhere overseas.
As Alexander read from his comic book, Levi put up the glass partition that shielded
their conversation from the driver's ears.
“Son, I want to talk with you about something very important,” Levi began.
Alexander looked over to him, waiting for him to continue.
“You know, before I met mom, I was someplace else. Someplace far, far away.”
“Like in space?” Alexander suggested.
“Yes, in space. How do you know?” asked Levi, quizzically.
“My teacher talks about space during story time. She and Mrs. Wrinkleby said that lots
of diferent people come from space to Earth. And then and then they do stuf to help others,”
Alexander said.
“Like, what kind of stuf?” Levi wondered.
“Mostly for science and business,” Alexander replied. “Mrs. Wrinklesby said that you
might be from another planet, since you are so good with business.”
Levi sat silent the rest of the way. He thought about what might have been going on in
Alexander's class, or why the teachers had told such wild stories. He thought to himself, 'Is
this a strange coincidence?'
As they pulled up to the school, Alexander prepared his bag.
Levi kissed him, “Okay, love. I'll pick you up afer school.”
“Okay, dad,” Alexander said, smiling. He gave him a tight, but short, hug before he
exited and ran up the stairs to the school.
Levi nodded to the driver. “Let's stop by Nexus for a few minutes,” he said.
As the driver was pulling of, he caught a glimpse of Alphen's assistant, Shoule. He
turned around in his seat to look out of another window, hoping to get a beter look, but the
tint of the windows obscured a clear view. Levi sat for a moment, confused.
“Circle back around,” Levi commanded the driver.
“Yes, Mr. Cavanaugh,” the driver responded.
When the Sprinter came back around to the school, Levi jumped out and ran to the
sidewalk. As the other kids were heading into the school, he found a teacher.
“Er, hi. Have you seen my son?” asked Levi.
“He's already inside, Mr. Cavanaugh. Is there anything I can do to help?” the teacher
asked.
Levi ran inside to find Alexander. He stopped by the front ofice to talk to someone.
Moments thereafer, an administrator escorted Levi to Alexander's classroom. As they
entered the room, students were busy puting their coats away and talking with each
another. Alexander was standing by the window and playing with one of the other students.
“May I help you, Mr. Cavanaugh?” a voice behind him inquired.
He turned around. It was Shoule. His eyes popped as though he had just seen a ghost.
Afer a brief moment he looked to his son and walked over to him.
“Daddy!” Alexander screamed excitedly.
“Come on, love. We're going home to see mommy. She's sick,” Levi said as he took
Alexander's hand and walked out of the room. As they walked down the hallway he turned to
make sure they weren't being followed.
“Who is that woman?” Levi asked Alexander.
“That's Mrs. Wrinklesby,” Alexander responded.
Levi felt his stomach drop.
“Is mommy okay?” Alexander asked him.
“We're going to go to mommy right now,” Levi assured him.
“I miss mommy!” Alexander shouted as he ran down the school's steps.

57
The driver waited at the van with the sliding door open. Levi looked to his lef and right
as he made his way down the steps, looking to see if Alphen was around.
'What is his plan?' he thought to himself.
Just then a car horn blared behind the van.
“Alexander!” the driver boomed.
Levi turned towards the van just as tires screeched against the pavement. The loud
sound of a horn called out like a trumpet, cut of by the sound of a heart-wrenching thump.
Levi ran and jumped as fast as he could.
“Call 9-1-1!” Levi commanded the driver.
Levi knelt down next to Alexander, whose ears bled. The driver of the van that hit him
then jumped out of the vehicle and ran to Levi.
“He came out of nowhere!” the man said. “Oh my god!” he shrieked as he jerked his
head up and twisted his arms around his shoulders.
An ambulance quickly arrived on the scene. They hurried Alexander to the hospital. His
father cried by his side, holding his son's hands as he wept.
The scene inside the emergency room was frantic. There were people running
everywhere. Levi paced around, desperate for something.
He thought seriously about using his powers to bring an end to the intensity of the
situation and bring his son back to good health.
“I am not thinking clearly,” he said to himself.
He paced around, thinking about his wife and son. He thought about Thomas and how
he would have no father if he used his powers. He thought to himself, 'Is it worse for them to
be safe and not have a father, or save Alex and lose me forever?'
Carolyn appeared. “My baby,” she wailed as she ran into the emergency room.
Levi stepped closer to where Alexander had laid, careful not to get in the way of the
doctors and nurses.
Carolyn got closer. She cried out again, “My baby!”
The sound of the heart monitor called out like a bird that chirped like it was siting
happily on a tree. Levi wondered what Alexander was thinking now and if he was okay in his
heart and mind, if not his body. He could do nothing without losing everything and everyone
losing him. He stood, conflicted with emotions as the sound of the bird-like call began to
disappear, as though it had flown to another tree.
“NOOOOO! My baby!” Carolyn screamed.
Levi tried to hold her back to let the doctor's try to save him, but by that time
Alexander had already flown away.

O

“Was I able to save my son?” Levi thought as he sat on the park bench. Thomas was with
him.
It had been three days since Alexander died and he was heartbroken. Carolyn was even
worse of; She was torn to pieces. She had not come out of the house, or their bedroom, for
days. She gave all of the staf an indefinite paid leave. The family was forever shaken to the
core. Levi and Carolyn had not spoken since that day at the hospital.
Levi didn't want Thomas to see his mother in such a state. He was making funeral
arrangements, but Carolyn refused to help lay their son to rest. She seemed to have lost
herself when Alexander died that morning.
“It's okay, daddy,” Thomas said as he sat by his side.
Twelve photographers were in the distance, even further out than they usually were.

58
There was one photographer taking the occasional photo, but mostly they just all stood
around with their equipment. There was a sadness in the air. People lowered their heads as
Levi and Thomas passed by them in the park. A few gave their consolations. Wherever they
went, people slowly lef to give them space. Many of the parents in the park stopped their
children from playing when Levi showed up and sat down on the nearby bench with his son.
But mostly, no one really knew what to say when they saw Levi Cavanaugh with his son.
They could see the sadness in his face, especially because Levi didn't hold his tears back. He
wasn't afraid of crying and told his son not to be afraid either.
“You know, your brother misses you,” Levi consoled.
“I know, daddy. He said he would be gone a long time,” Thomas replied.
Levi pondered his son's response for a moment. “What do you mean?”
“He said he was going away to help daddy find his treasure,” Thomas said slowly, with a
sof tone.
Levi wondered what this meant, “How did he know about my treasure?” he mumbled to
himself as he looked of into the distance.
Just as the sun disappeared behind a heavy cloud, a few birds in a nearby tree began to
sing.

59
Memory 6
The Fire
Afer Alexander's untimely death, the bulk of the Cavanaugh fortune had passed to Thomas,
who was by this time unimaginably wealthy. It had been estimated by Forbes that year to be
at least $8.3 trillion. He was thirty-six times more wealthy than the second richest person in
the world, who happened to be Lil J. Alexander was only fourteen years old, but would not be
able to sell any of his stake in the company for another seven years, a fact that did not escape
Nexus' investors who knew that shares were hard to come by because of it.
The price of Nexus shares had risen over 5,800% since its IPO nine years ago. “Premium”
shares on the BEIMUS exchange – the Chinese, Russian and Indian joint venture and the
exchange that had become Nexus' main exchange – had risen even higher. By then, a good
portion of companies listed on the NYSE and NASDAQ exchanges had moved to Everymarket
where they could expand their oferings beyond simple shares to include complex derivatives.
Everyday investors who made money in Everymarket would ofen immediately reinvest their
profits and buy shares of companies who advertised in the Nexus universe. The bellweather
for the US economy was no longer the DJIA. It was the NEXA.
The Nexus Corporation, together with its Everymarket and the Universe, was the
platform for a good percentage of the world's economy, which by then had made a transition
to a more virtual landscape. Most transactions were performed online, and that meant in the
Universe. Everymarket added new dimensions to the world's economic output, and the
Universe added new dimensions to its economic input. It was the perfect virtual machine
because it was a highly eficient and efective socio-economic system, as participants in the
Nexus universe had an economic incentive to increase the eficiency and efectiveness of the
each market, which made for a beautiful feedback mechanism.
Scientific progress had evolved exponentially, thanks to the unique funding model of
Everymarket Science & Research. All kinds of new science, technology and research flourished
because of it, such as bio-computing, nanotechnology, molecular engineering, biomimicry,
quantum topology, time distortion, chaos mechanics and much more. Everyday people had
become experts on just about every field that could be imagined. The world had changed
significantly in the past nine years. Science and technology were among the most lucrative
markets in Everymarket, due to the ease with which new discoveries could be brought to a
global market and the sheer amount of disposable income that everyday people held there.
Society was perhaps the most significant way in which life had changed. People
stopped discussing social equality, as everyone could already see what was happening around
them. People were much happier in general. Ghetos around the world were cleaned up, cities
made fresh and alive with lots of new leisure activities and work for anyone who had a brain
to think and eyes to see. Racially segregated cities like Dubai, Chicago, Los Angeles, Rio de
Janeiro, Johannesburg and others began to be re-designed as millions of people were free to
roam and live wherever they pleased. Special treaties were established to allow millions of
Nexans to immigrate to over 80 countries around the world, provided they continued their
work in the Nexus universe. Many people fled their own cities and countries in search of a
beter climate, infrastructure, or cheaper housing, while people from other cities and
countries immigrated to their cities for their own reasons. Wages for menial labor increased
substantially as more people learned how to derive an income from the Nexus. Housekeepers,
gardeners, restaurant staf and other low-wage earners learned how to manage, build, and
develop useful things. Every category of crime saw a substantial drop worldwide, and crime

60
overall became nearly a thing of the past. Even those who didn't make use of the Nexus
Everymarket or Universe benefited from the changes that were occurring. People in general
no longer felt the need to take advantage of each other, as they were too busy taking
advantage for themselves and working with everyone else to make money improving the
world around them. Everyday people became gods and creators.
850 million people around the world made part or all of their living in the Nexus
universe, with most active participants making at least $5 a day. The average profit per
person per day was approaching $140. Anyone who began a market automatically owned 50%
of its shares. People everywhere were happy to realize that their actions had value and didn't
mind that Nexus owned the other 50% of every market and was generating profits of nearly
$2 billion a day with this model and generating another $400 million a day in subscription
fees. That's not counting the endless licensing deals it made with other entities, and the
businesses it created from ideas birthed on the Nexus.
Companies around the world integrated the Nexus universe internally, as did non-profit
organizations, banks, governments, schools, and other entities. Most used the systems not
only to manage their internal operations, research and development, and marketing, but also
to find the best employees, partners, and constituents worldwide.
Thousands of new businesses, business cooperatives and non-profit organizations
launched every week on Everymarket. Anyone anywhere could quickly and easily raise funds
for good ideas, while at the same time finding a workforce to turn the idea into a reality. A
disparate group of strangers around the world could quickly plan, develop, execute and bring
to market an entire company in less than a week, handling everything from legal maters to
graphic design to marketing to managing suppliers and partners and everything else that was
required of them. People didn't care too much for titles anymore; They just did what was
needed to be done and were allowed to do anything that had already proven themselves
capable of doing. Management for these types of organizations was selected based on results.
People voted on maters and decided how to react to changing conditions by donating credits
back to the organization. Nexus-powered autonomous corporations and organizations sprang
up everywhere, run by economic processes that drove human activity.
Nexus did tremendous business licensing products and technologies created on the
network. As it was the universal platform for most new technology and inventions that were
being produced it had first-rights on a significant percentage of what its business markets
were creating. It would then re-sell or license these out to other companies or, if the concept
had lots of potential, create an entirely new subsidiary for it. In this way it had amassed
millions of patents, an untold number of licensing deals and was the parent of hundreds of
thousands of corporations of every size.
Its largest subsidiary, BONE (the Bank of Nexus) was the largest financial institution in
the world, with tens of trillions of dollars in assets. Most Nexans deposited their earnings
directly into their BONE accounts and used its credit cards and other fee-less financial
instruments. Personal credit was issued based on average monthly earnings, along with one's
various ratings in the system, and was issued interest-free as long as you were an active user.
Loans could be easily borrowed and paid back daily, through earnings. It also controlled the
largest mutual and hedge funds in the world in its Supermarket, which were all based on
Everymarket and the Universe-based equities and derivative activities.
On the educational side, students were perhaps the group that benefited the most.
Nearly everyone had become a student again, learning at least a litle something new. It was
easy, fun and lucrative to learn, which made all the diference for a lot of people who had
stopped learning as soon as they finished their formal schooling. People were paid to be
educated instead of having to pay for education. Even traditional formal education became

61
much more afordable. Tuition at vaunted institutions like Harvard and Yale had dropped 90%
or more as schools found other sources of income with the Nexus universe. In addition,
students would ofset their tuition and other school fees by volunteering in the Nexus
universe on behalf of the school they were atending.
The global political environment had changed drastically over the years. Borders
diminished as the wealth of nations increased. More people were free to move about for as
long as they cared for. Government became democratic for the first time in history, as every
cent that was spent was being scrutinized for improvements to eficiency or utility. The
problem of corruption in both the developed and developing worlds diminished considerably
as banks began working with Nexus to add the NexID to every transaction and a history to
each dollar spent. Those countries that chose not to participate sufered greatly. Eventually,
many countries ended up changing the way they did things simply to stay competitive with
other countries whose economies were rapidly expanding. The US was among the last to
adapt, along with Australia, UK, Canada and New Zealand. By then much of the world's
economic and political power had shifed to China, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Brazil, India and
Russia, who were among the first to adapt.
Although the NexID – Nexus' universal tracking code for every person, place, or thing –
was being used to augment one's local or national identification, its benefits far outweighed
any hindrances. People began asking for NexIDs in real-world transactions and using it
before social events or geting into a close relationship with others. A person's history in the
Nexus universe became your identity. It was fair, unbiased and it never forgot.
But to Levi, none of that matered anymore. His life had become much worse.
As far as Levi was concerned, he had lost everything. As he sat in the driveway to his
Long Island estate, he thought about how his life had changed over the years. He
remembered being happy somehow, before all this, but he did not know how. He dreamt of a
far simpler life where he could play and run in the fields under the sof green glow of a
distant sun. He ofen wondered why he imagined such things.
“Am I going insane?” he asked himself, staring at his house.
As he walked up to the door and rang the bell, a voice sounded on the intercom.
Afer a while, he could hear Carolyn's voice. “Yes?” she inquired.
“Carolyn. It's me,” he said, looking up towards the camera and then down in front of
him again.
He stood there for several minutes, wondering what had happened to his lovely family.
Although he imagined a much happier time with her, he strained to remember it. It was a
distant memory, faded with time. He looked around the property at the over-abundance of
cameras, security and close protection personnel walking around.
The maids, who by then had dwindled to two part-time workers, had told him that
Thomas would ofen lock himself in his room for the entire day. Carolyn would ofen be
found drunk in her bedroom, passed out at all times of the day. She seemed to have lost all
will to live. Thinking about what the maids spoke to him about, he wondered what had
become of his lovely wife.
He thought, 'Had she become so distraught over losing Alexander that she forgot she
had another son?'
The memory of a day long gone deeply troubled him. He hadn't been taking care of
himself, either. He lived alone in the city, shielded from loving his last remaining son. He
somehow knew that those losses would eventually spell out his own death. He ate and slept
litle, preferring instead to allow his sweet memories to nourish him.
Standing in the shadow of his house that afernoon he thought of the family that used
to live inside. It was his twenty-second atempt that month to try to talk to his wife. That day

62
would be his last. He knew, deep down, that there was no more air to breathe.

O

Levi walked through the park, searching for the old man that provided him with so much
clarity many years prior. Levi had been siting in the same spot every day for the past few
months, waiting for the old man to appear. No one recognized him as Levi Cavanaugh
anymore. His expensive suit was wrinkled and tatered and his beard overgrown. He was very
much starting to look like the homeless man who had helped him become who he was when
he became someone diferent on the first day of his Trial.
Levi played the memory of Alexander being struck and killed over and over again in his
mind.
'If only I would have done something,' he thought.
The Way that helped him turn so many corners in his life before seemed to be lost in his
mind. His was a complexity that he could not understand. It was the complexities of human
emotion, not just physical density. Levi sought for ways to move through the layers to get to
his wife, but nothing seemed to work.
He wanted more simplicity. He wanted more Balance. He wanted to find The Way
again.
Walking over the grass, he found someone that was asking people if they wanted to
pose for a photo.
“Hello,” Levi greeted the middle-aged photographer.
“Oh. Hello,” the man said, startled. He looked at Levi quizzically. “You're-”
“What's your name?” wondered Levi.
“Roberto,” the man replied.
“Roberto, what brings you out here on such a sunny day?”
“Oh. I'm just taking pictures. I take pictures of happy couples,” he said as he looked at
Levi's suit. “Or anyone that wants. You want a photograph?” he asked as he raised his
camera.
“Me? No. I'm not decent enough for a photograph, but thank you. I was wondering how
long you've been taking them,” Levi said.
“I'd say about 15 years now. It's good business.”
“That's nice. Do you have kids?” asked Levi.
Roberto smiled from cheek to cheek, “Yeah. I've got two boys and a girl. I love them to
death.”
Levi smiled back, “I'm sure you do. Kids are wonderful, aren't they? They're just so
innocent and sweet.”
Just then the man pulled out his wallet and showed Levi a picture of his family. “That's
my daughter. She's twelve. And my sons. Six and nine,” the man paused and pointed. “My
wife.”
“You've got a wonderful family,” Levi remarked. “Do you take a lot of photographs of
them?”
“Sometimes. But they're always so busy it's hard to set them down for a minute,”
Roberto admited.
“I can imagine that. Why did you get into photography?”
Roberto became introspective, then confided, “You know. I didn't always want to be in
photography. I wanted to be a priest.”
Surprised, Levi asked, “Oh. Why was that?”
Roberto began, “My mom had died. Then my father died afer that. And I wanted some

63
answers from God. So I decided to join the priesthood.”
“And then what happened?” Levi asked, folding his arms and repositioning his legs.
“Well,” Roberto sighed. “I started studying the Bible. I mean, really geting into it, you
know? And I started thinking about God. I mean, here he is, this all-powerful being. You
know? All-knowing, all-seeing and everything. But why would he want to hurt himself?
Destroying everything, killing everyone. He seemed more confused than I was.” Roberto
thought for a moment, then added, “I asked the Father how many people did God hurt in the
Bible. He said he didn't know. So I asked another priest. How many people did God hurt in
the Bible. He didn't know either. So then I asked a friend about it and we were both curious
about this, you know? So we figured out that, in the Bible, God kills more than twenty
million people.”
“Twenty million? That a lot of people,” Levi observed.
The man got excited and began to flail his arms. “Yeah. It's a lot of people, right? And
then we asked ourselves, well if God kills that many people, how many people does the devil
kill?” the man said. Roberto hit Levi's chest and asked, “What do you think?”
Levi thought for a moment. “I don't know. 30 million? 50 million? 100 million?” he
ofered.
“Ten,” Roberto revealed.
“Ten million?” Levi wondered.
“No, just ten. A family of 10, plus their slaves. All with God's permission,” Roberto said,
looking disappointed.
“And then I said to myself, what? That can't be right. So I started to feel confused and
kind of alone and depressed. I was thinking that God killed my parents, too. They were just
another statistic, right? It was too much for me to handle at the time,” Roberto shook his
head. He continued and began to smile, “I didn't find the answers I was looking for, so I lef
the school and became a photographer.”
Levi smiled back, “But maybe you did find the answers you were looking for.”
“Maybe I did,” Roberto nodded in agreement. “You're right. Because here I am, happy as
ever.”
Levi paused for a moment, then added, “It was like you were looking for God but
instead you found good.”
Roberto looked at him. “Haha!” he laughed. “That's a good one. And you know what else
I found?” he prompted him.
“What's that?”
Roberto raised his arms and framed the scene behind him. “This,” he said. “All this.
While I was in school we didn't even go outside to experience God's creation. And we rarely
talked about happiness or love or joy. Like, what it really meant. We just repeated the same
words over and over. And we focused on what not to do. We were told to love one another
because that's what Jesus did but we didn't learn what it meant to really love someone else. I
saw my teacher as mean and miserable and then I thought maybe the devil was God in
disguise. Now I'm out here every day, taking pictures of smiling, happy people. I get to see
people in their happiest moments and it makes me feel happy,” he concluded.
Levi nodded in agreement. “How much do you charge,” Levi wondered.
“Nothing,” Roberto answered.
“Nothing? Well, how do you make money?” wondered Levi.
“Hey, I'm not saying I don't make a living, but I wouldn't feel right walking up to people
asking to take a picture for money. I send them the pictures by email for free and they can
keep them. It doesn't cost me anything. I also let them know that I'm their man for weddings,
parties, proms and whatever else they got going on. Then they can tell their friends about me,

64
Mr. Happy. I get a lot of business that way.”
Levi smiled. “Mr. Happy. Clever.”
Roberto beamed, “Mr. Happy!” He swifly handed Levi his business card from the pocket
of his jacket.
“Well, Mr. Happy, I think I'm ready to take a photo now. With you.”
The man nervously took his camera of and looked around. “Umm. Sure.” He asked a couple
walking by if they could take a photo.
Levi put his arms around the man and they both smiled for the camera. Afer that, they
shook hands and the man walked away. Levi watched him closely as he walked on, engaging
with people. Most people turned him away, but the man kept smiling.
As Levi walked back home, he came across a family playing in the grass. He observed the
father, mother and their children as he walked to them, but decided to focus on the father. He
looked him in the eyes, then from head to toe. He was a clean-cut man, perhaps in his late
thirties. He wore a collared polo shirt underneath a beige sweater made of fine wool, and dark
blue slacks.
“Hello,” Levi greeted.
The man looked to him, concerned. He touched his son on the back and told him to go with
his mother to play on the swings. “Hey. What's up?” the man said. He then folded his arms.
Levi immediately sat down on the grass, puting his hands behind him. “Not much. Just
enjoying the day. How old are your kids?” he asked as he motioned over to them.
The man felt uncomfortable standing while Levi sat. He looked around to his family, who
were laughing and enjoying themselves. He looked at Levi's clothes and then sat down on his
blanket.
“The litle one's four years and the older one is seven,” the man relented.
“I just decided to come over and say hello. I used to bring my family to the park, too. Your
family looks happy,” Levi said.
The man cracked a smile. “Yeah. They're happy. But you know, sometimes it's hard,” he
admited.
Levi looked to the man's family, then leaned forward as he folded his legs and began to play
with a blade of grass.
“Do you work at the bank?” Levi wondered.
“Yeah, how do you know?” the man asked.
Levi didn't want to tell him that he passed by his cubicle fourteen times before when he
would sometimes walk up the stairs to the private banking floor of BONE's main branch. Having
become exceedingly observant of humans and their complexity over the years as he lost the
memory of his true self, he almost knew the man's lunch schedule and everyone else's on that
floor.
“It's your shoes,” Levi ofered.
The man smiled and looked at his shoes. “The shoes?”
Levi nodded and smiled. “It's the shoes.” He turned serious and asked, “Is it stressful?”
“The job?” the man sighed. “Oh, yeah, definitely,” he grimaced as he leaned back.
Levi looked at his family, then back at the man. “Do you do it for them?”
The man pondered for a quick moment, looking down to the floor and then his shoes. “Oh,
yeah. You know it. If it wasn't for them I wouldn't do it.”
“Where do you think you would you be if you didn't have a family?”
“I don't know. Stuck in the same job I guess,” the man admited. “But it's worth it. We can
pay of our mortgage and send the kids of to college.”
“That's cool. But if you had a less stressful job, would you still be able to pay of the
mortgage?”
“Yeah, I guess so,” the man said, looking to Levi.
“So, why don't you get another job?” Levi wondered.

65
“I guess-” the man reflected. “I guess I hadn't thought about it.”
“That's interesting,” Levi replied. “But you're thinking about it now, right?”
Exasperated, the man said, “I guess I've been too busy at work. Hey, listen, guy. If you don't
mind I'm going to go check on my family.” The man stood up. “But it was a pleasure talking to
you. Take care,” he said, walking away briskly.
“You too,” Levi responded, smiling to him.
The man turned back afer a few moments to check on Levi, but Levi was already gone.
As he walked home Levi thought about what the photographer and the banker had told
him. He had become very good at observation and knowing what people did. But he didn't really
know why people did things. And for the most part, neither did they.
“Nobody really knows about the details, the cycles-within-cycles, but we still worry about
them,” he murmured to himself.
And just then he understood. The photographer was happy because he found a way to
represent the complexities of human relationships with a simple photograph. They were
something he looked at every day. His eyes would process an image while his mind processed the
emotions that it represented. He didn't need to think about the details of each relationship, the
kind of density that plagued Levi in his trial. He understood that the photographer was happy
because he had found a way to balance what was complex with something far more simple. A
photograph.
'If a picture was worth a thousand words,' he thought, 'there was no need to remember the
words. Just remember the picture.'
He also understood that the banker was stressed and did not seem very satisfied in his life
because he had had not found simplicity, or a way to represent the complexities of his job and
thus balance the two opposing forces. The complexity was weighing him down. It was dense. It
weighed on his thoughts and his emotions and possibly even his health, eventually. His family
was his purpose in life but he hadn't yet found a simple way to represent the complexities at
work.
He thought of the complexities of Everymarket and how it was balanced with a simple
representation: price. The price of a market represented the complexities and detail of what was
inside. There was another simple representation that People could use to ascertain whether or
not they wanted to do business with someone else, without having to waste time reading
through all of their transaction history: user ratings.
He thought of the banker's family and how they represented the value of their relationship
with a simple visit to the park. The Balance seemed to feel happy for them, at least while they
were there. Then Levi thought about why the banker did not find the Balance in his work life, in
the company that he started.
'Some people balanced the complexities of their life with a simple cigarete or drink,' he
thought. It might not have been good for them, but it was something. Perhaps they would have
been worse without it, but not beter of if they had instead chosen something else, like
additional holiday time, asking for help at work to help ease the load, or even making the
decision to look for a diferent job.
Levi thought the banker's Balance might have been things that could be bought with
another representation: money. Money was already a simplification of more complex things.
Instead of exchanging what was already simple, money, for something else, such as a big house
for his family, expensive shoes or clothes, or a car, he would have been beter of saving it, he
thought. The banker was basically exchanging simplicity for the density of physical objects,
giving away something that would have brought more true happiness to his life.
He began to understand that life could be simple or complex depending on how he had
thought about it. It could be easy or dificult or anything in between depending on how heavy he
made his reality.
The power of the Nexus universe, he realized, wasn't just giving people incentives to do

66
things that benefited themselves and others. It was being able to represent things. To turn
something complicated into something more simple. He thought of how easy it was for someone
on Everymarket to get a broken street lamp repaired. Before Everymarket, the process was
complicated. Sometimes it would take months. Once people began to see all the ways
Everymarket could be used, life became much more simple. Someone took a photo and mapped it
to a physical location with a few details about the broken light. Within minutes people, usually in
the neighborhood, would jump into the market and simply post that they could fix it, or what the
actual problem was. Investors would buy shares of the people they believed in, usually by seeing
their feedback for that particular category but also sometimes reading what they had to say. The
winner would get the money when the light was fixed, sometimes within hours. Not surprisingly,
it was ofen a city maintenance employee who won such markets, but nearly everyone benefited.
'Everyone was using the Nexus to earn a living except the banker,' Levi thought. The
diference between Omniwa and Earth was that Omniwans had found a way to represent the
complexity and live a more abundant life, more free of unnecessary burdens.
He concluded his thoughts, “Earth wasn't any more complex than Omniwa. The Trial by
Density was only dificult because the world I found myself in pressured me into thinking about
things that I didn't need to think about. Who can survive when they're worried about the details
of breathing every time they take a breath?”

O

As Levi awoke the next morning feeling refreshed, he made his way down the stairs afer
geting dressed. He began to leave the house and opened the door. Then he heard a man's
voice behind him.
“Good morning, Mr. Cavanaugh,” the man said.
Levi looked in his siting room and saw 12 men standing against the wall and fireplace.
Some stood with their hands behind their backs, some folded their arms. One was smoking a
cigarete.
“We're with the government,” the first man said.
He looked at them. “What government?” Levi inquired.
“The US Departmet of State,” one of the other men responded.
Levi directed the smoking man, “Do you mind not smoking in the house?”
“Sorry,” the man said, searching for a place to extinguish his cigarete. A few of the
other men looked at him and tried to hold back their laughter. He finally extinguished it on
the fireplace mantle.
Leaving the front door open, Levi stepped back and turned around a bit. “What do you
want?” he asked.
“We've been wanting to talk with you for a while, Levi.” the first man said. He
continued, “Look, we won't waste your time. We'll be frank with you. Your Nexus Corporation
is running the entire world. The US government would like a piece of the action.”
“What does that mean?” Levi asked.
The first man looked at one of the others, then turned back to Levi and said, “The US
would like control of Nexus. We want you to sign over the company to us.”
Levi looked at the men in disbelief. He looked at what they wore, how they were
standing, their expressions and tried to remember the cars he saw parked outside. Afer a
while, Levi broke his silence. “I want you all out of my house,” he said. “Let's talk outside.” He
held the door for them, waiting for them to exit.
The first man looked at him as they all walked out of the house. “We'll be in touch, Mr.
Cavanaugh,” he said, standing shoulder-to-shoulder.
Levi exited, too and shut the door behind him as he watched them get into their cars.

67
He then walked to the subway and took it to Nexus headquarters. He found Jack in an
executive meeting and motioned to talk with him in his ofice.
“Hey, Levi. Nice to see you,” Jack said as he walked into his ofice. He took a seat, siting
forward in the chair with his elbows on his knees and fingers interlocked. “What can I do for
you?”
“I just got a visit from the State Department today. At my house,” Levi responded,
mater-of-factly.
Jack sighed and said quietly. “Ah, jeez.” He stood up and walked over to the window,
looking outside as he touched his forehead with the back of his hand.
Levi turned his chair towards Jack. “Is there anything wrong?” he asked.
“Let's talk in the conference room. There's too much dust in here. It's geting to my
allergies,” Jack said as he pointed to the door.
Jack led Levi down the hallway, past a small conference room. Levi began to stop at the
conference room but Jack continued on, so he joined him. Jack stopped, looked around and then
opened the door to the utility closet, motioning for Levi to join him. Levi shut the door.
Jack began, “It's the CIA. They're everywhere at Nexus. You can't throw a stick on any floor
without hiting one of them in the head. They've been pressuring me for more control, but Levi,
you've got all the power.” His tone turned desperate, “I don't know what to do. I'm in over my
head with this.”
Levi and Jack stood quietly in the closet for a while. They were both deep in thought,
troubled by the reality before them.
“How high up does it go?” Levi asked.
“Ten people at corporate as far as I can tell. Operations, legal, finance, IT, public relations.
Even PT''s one of them,” Jack admited.
“PT? I thought he was from Vietnam,” Jack said, surprised.
“I tell you, Levi, they're everywhere.”
“How long have they been here?” asked Levi.
“I got the call 3 months afer I signed on. They wanted permission to install something in
IT. They told me if I didn't comply I would go to jail. And if I told anyone else about it, I'd go to
jail. Look, you know I've been open with you about everything else. But this, this is the U.S.
government,” Jack explained.
“I know. I know,” Levi calmed Jack.
“I mean, what are we gonna do? They want it all!” Jack said.
Levi looked at him carefully, with disbelief.
Jack revealed, “They want me out, too. They told me I had six months. That was four
months ago. They're going to put one of their own in my chair.”
“I don't want them to do that.”
Jack sighed, “We've got no choice. I've got no choice. I have to do it. I've got a family. My
kids. My wife is looking at retirement. We can get out now before it's too late.”
Levi relented, “Okay. Well, do what you have to do. You're a good man, Jack. We've had a
hell of a run, haven't we? And now, maybe it's time to hang up our gloves.”
“You're damn right it is. Now, take some of that money and go do something else with it.
Live a litle. Enjoy yourself. Because like I always tell you, you never know...” Jack ended.
Levi and Jack talked for a while longer in hushed tones. Finally, they opened the door and
lef the closet carefully and walked back to their ofices.

O

“Mr. Cavanaugh, this is child services,” the woman on the other end of the telephone said.
“Child what?” Levi asked, sleepily, as he answered the phone from his bed.
“The New York Ofice of Children and Family Services. We're calling regarding your

68
son.”
Levi took a moment to process what the woman was trying to tell him. The woman
relayed that she was following up on a “level one report” about Thomas being in an unfit
home. She wanted to schedule an appointment to meet with Carolyn, Thomas and himself.
Today.
Afer he hung up with her, he quickly began to try to get in touch with Carolyn. He
called her, to no avail. He then contacted the security ofice at the Long Island estate and told
them the situation. Within an hour, Carolyn called and they spoke briefly.
“They want to come over this afernoon,” Levi told her.
“This afernoon?” she asked, sounding dazed.
Levi sighed. “This afernoon,” he said. “I'll be there in an hour and I want you to be ready
and open the door for me, okay?”
Carolyn paused. “Okay,” she said, hanging up the phone.
Levi took a cab to Nexus and called his secretary along the way to prepare the
corporate helicopter. Arriving at Nexus the helicopter was waiting for him.
As he flew over the city and to his estate, he could see news helicopters hovering in the
distance. News trucks and camera crews were busy seting up, having lined up on the street
outside the property. Levi was eager to get into the house.
'How had it escalated from a simple meeting regarding Thomas to this?' he thought.
The Nexus helicopter landed in the back of the property, allowing him to enter without
most of the media on the ground being able to get a shot, though the news helicopters
overhead were still buzzing. One of the maids opened the door for him.
“Where's my son?” he asked her.
“He's upstairs, Mr. Cavanaugh. But he won't come out,” she replied, looking very
worried. “What's going on? We're all on the TV!”
Levi quickly ran to the back staircase, went upstairs and down the hallway to Thomas'
room.
“Thomas?” he yelled out. He tried to open the door but it was locked. “Open up. It's
me!” he banged.
Levi looked behind him. He turned away from the door and began stepping back. The
sound of the helicopters buzzing overhead grew louder with his every step. He wiped his
eyebrow with the back of his fingers and approached the door again.
He called out, “Open up! I'm gonna break the door down!”
Using the force of a bronze statue that rested on the table in the second-floor foyer
outside the bedroom, he began to hammer the door handle. Afer a few tries, the doorknob
fell to the floor. He then stepped back and kicked the door in with his foot.
“Thomas!” he called out, jumping into the bedroom. He walked around but there was
nothing. He checked the walk-in closet. Still nothing. He went into the bathroom and still did
not see Thomas. He stood in the middle of the room, confused. He checked under the bed,
but there was nothing there but a stack of books.
Qietly, he lef the room. When he reached the hallway he called out again, “Thomas!”
“I'm here, dad,” Thomas' voice whimpered behind him. He turned towards the doorway,
confused.
“Thomas?” he stated, in disbelief.
“In here,” Thomas responded.
“Where were you?” Levi inquired upon seeing Thomas.
Thomas' stare was blank. He was at a loss for words.
“I was here,” Thomas tried to convince him.
“Where? I checked everywhere,” Levi mifed.

69
Thomas stood motionless. Only his eyes moved. Levi looked at him carefully, drawing
more near. Finally, Thomas collapsed, free-falling onto the floor. Levi made an atempt to
catch him, but it was too late.
“Talk to me, son,” Levi said as he held him up. Thomas began to cry. Still, he could not
seem to move. Levi looked at his body, perplexed.
“I'm sorry,” Thomas cried as he mumbled. Tears began to run down his face. His nose
became watery.
“Talk to me. I'm here for you!” Levi assured.
“Dad,” Thomas paused as he gathered his words and looked into his father's worried
eyes. “Alex is alive.”
“What?” Levi said in disbelief. Levi nearly dropped Thomas' head to the floor but caught
him again. “Where is he?” he said, looking around.
Thomas laid silent for a while. Levi held him with a confused and worried look on his
face.
“Dad. I know everything you've been thinking,” Thomas finally said.
“Thinking? What do you mean?”
“I mean,” Thomas paused as he tried to stand up. “I can read your thoughts.”
Levi sat, confused. Thomas slowly began to stand up by himself and straightened out
his clothes some.
“Ever since I can remember,” Thomas thought aloud. He paused, then continued, “Dad, I
have some of your power. In fact, I think I have even more.”
“What? I don't understand.”
Thomas took his father's hand and opened it up, placing it on top of his. A strange tone
soon emanated from atop Levi's hand.
“It tingles,” Levi shared, smiling. “What are you doing?”
“Watch,” Thomas suggested.
A fuzzy yellow ball of warm fire appeared in Levi's hand. Tiny sparkles of white light
buzzed in circles on the surface of the ball, moving in and out of its shape. Suddenly, there
was a 'pop' sound. A tennis ball calmly rested in Levi's hand. Thomas then took the ball and
threw it against the wall. It bounced back and landed near Levi's feet. Levi reached down to
the ball and studied it.
Levi wondered, “Is that why you lock yourself in the room all the time?”
Thomas nodded his head, wanting to smile. He wiped another tear from his eye but
seemed pleased. Levi stood up and grabbed him. “Awe. My boy. My big boy,” he said as they
hugged.
“There's something else you should know,” Thomas ofered. He backed out of his father's
embrace.
“What is it? What is it, son?”
“Alex is with Alphen,” Thomas revealed.
Levi suddenly became dizzy and tried to steady himself. He sat on the bed with his
hands over his face. A few moments later he asked, “How do you know about Alphen? Is Alex
okay?”
“Alex and I know everything about you, dad. We're connected with you. We know about
Omniwa and your home. Your mom and dad. We know about the Trial by Density. We know
about Lului.” Thomas started to laugh.
Levi looked at him and paused, then asked, “What's so funny?”
“You're only nine years old. I'm older than you are,” Thomas laughed.
Tears began running down Levi's face. “Is he ok?” he asked.
Thomas nodded. He moved to sit on the bed next to his father.
“Everything that you know, we know too. Afer you met with Alphen and Shoule, Alex and I

70
decided to meet him too. We wanted to help you, dad.”
Levi put his arm around Thomas and rubbed his back.
“So we-” Thomas stopped himself.
Levi wanted to know, “So you what?”
“We made a deal,” Thomas said as he stood up and faced him.
“Deal! What kind of deal?” Levi inquired, looking deep into his eyes. He repeated his
question, “What kind of deal?”
“We would go to his world if he would help you and we can bring mom,” Thomas admited
afer some moments of silence.
Thomas stood up and took his father's hand. They walked out of the room to the master
bedroom and opened its door. Carolyn was on the bed, sleeping. They both stood in the doorway.
“She's going to be alright. We're leaving today,” Thomas said. He looked up. “Alex and I are
going to take care of her so she can get well.”
They both paused as they looked into the bedroom.
“Alex knew that you needed to find your way. So Alphen and Shoule made up a plan that
would help you,” Thomas went on. “Alex wasn't really hurt, daddy. You just needed to see it. We're
going to go be with him today.”
“Today?” Levi reacted, surprised.
Thomas nodded. “When the lady comes in fourty-three minutes with her group, we'll go
with her. Don't worry about what will happen. Okay, daddy?”
“What will happen?”
“I told you. We're going to be okay,” Thomas stated. He looked at his father for a moment
before ofering, “Once they pick us up, we're going with Alphen back to his world. Alex is waiting
for us.”
“How do you know all of this? How do you know she's coming in fourty-three minutes?”
Levi inquired.
“Fourty-two minutes. I can see her mind. I can read all minds,” Thomas said as he pulled his
father outside the door. He quickly grabbed the handle of the door and slammed it shut. He
motioned to his father to wait a moment.
“Who taught you these things?” Levi wanted to know.
Thomas answered, “Shoule taught us. Me and Alex. We could only read your mind before,
but Shoule taught us how to read all minds. And, how to materialize things we need and get from
place to place and experience what we need to.” He looked to the door and paused. He then
opened the door, revealing Carolyn, who was standing in front of it. “Mom. It's time for us to go.”
He smiled to his father and then walked back to his room.
Levi couldn't help but stare at Thomas as he walked back to his room and gently closed the
door. Afer, he talked quietly with Carolyn in their bedroom for a while. She cried and they
hugged as they shared thoughts and feelings. Afer they had talked, Levi lef the room and she
began to fix her hair and put some clothes on.
At exactly the time that Thomas had said, the doorbell rang. Carolyn, Thomas and Levi
were ready, standing at the top of the stairs. The maid waited for Carolyn's permission to open
the door as they walked down. As the door was cracked open, Carolyn fiddled with her hair while
Levi straightened out his clothes. Thomas stood silently and watched them both.
“Okay,” Levi said. Thomas whispered something into his ear and Carolyn opened the door
further. Levi walked out and the door shut behind him.
There were twelve federal agents standing around, flanked by many more S.W.A.T.
personnel. A woman stood in front of them, looking at Levi.
“Mr. Cavanaugh. Do you have the boy?”
“Yes. We are willing to cooperate fully. However, my son has one condition. He would like
his mother to go with him to drop him of.”
The woman turned to the man next to her, an older man dressed in a suit and wearing

71
glasses. He nodded his head.
“Fine,” the woman said.
Levi bowed and turned to the door as it opened. Carolyn and Thomas slowly walked out.
Carolyn wore sunglasses and held onto Thomas' hand as he guided her past the agents. A swarm
of photographers clamoured in the distance to get a beter position of the scene.
“This is how it should be,” Thomas said as he turned back to his father.
As Carolyn and Thomas entered an unmarked grey van, Thomas moved closer to the
window and looked at Levi, who still stood in the doorway. Levi kissed his fingers and waved
goodbye.
Levi walked back into the house as the agents and camera crews began to leave, following
the van that his family was in. As he began to walk upstairs he heard the sound of the television
coming from the entertainment room. He walked towards it.
“Oh, I'm sorry Mr. Cavanaugh,” the maid said as she moved to turn of the television. She
wiped the tears from her eyes.
“It's ok. Please leave it on,” said Levi.
A man from the television stated, “...and become a ward of the State, which would give the
government full control of Nexus Corpation until he turns eighteen years of age.”
Another voice stated, “Yes and Judy as you were saying before, over seventy-four percent of
the company's shares rests in this one boy's name.” Video of Carolyn and Thomas walking out of
the house appeared on the screen.
Levi turned and walked out of the room, up the stairs and to one of the guest bedrooms,
shuting the door.

O

Several weeks had passed since Levi had last seen his wife and son. Several weeks has passed
since anyone had seen them. News coverage on his family was non-stop. An entire channel
devoting itself to the Cavanaugh saga popped up. They relentlessly poured themselves into Levi
and his family's life, divulged personal and private information and discussed the future of Nexus
Corporation.
Levi stood in front of a large stone structure with Egyptian hieroglyphs. He looked up and
marvelled at its beauty as tourists passed in front of him to take pictures of the exhibit. He
observed the grooves embedded in the granite stones and tried to imagine the mistakes that were
made during transport.
“He's ready for you,” Shoule said, calling him from behind.
Levi turned around and followed Shoule. That was his first time going to Alphen's ofice, a
place somewhere inside the museum. Alphen's business card gave the location, sans telephone
number, as his contact information. Afer walking through a few corridors and stairwells, Shoule
stopped in front of a glass door that opened as they approached.
“Come in, Levi,” Alphen motioned to him. Another man who was talking to Alphen as they
walked in turned around to Levi and got up to leave immediately. “We were just finishing up.
Have a seat,” Alphen said.
Levi walked into the cavernous room that Alphen made his ofice. The walls were made of
stone and there was very litle light. It was completely empty, save for three comfortable-looking
chairs and a desk also made of thick stone.
“Your family is safe and sound. On our planet,” Alphen began. “Afer all this has setled
down a bit, they may even come to visit you.”
Levi looked at him. He then stood up and folded his arms. Afer a few moments he sat back
down again.
“We understand your concerns. We haven't been very forward with you, Levi,” Alphen
admited. “There are a lot of things you don't yet understand. Your task, your role in the game.

72
We're not here to help you. Unless you'd like to accept our ofer, that is.”
Levi was as confused as he'd ever been. The dark, stone cave didn't help his ability to think,
either. He stood in front of a man who had every advantage. He knew his every thought and
possibly knew a lot about everything else, as well. He seemed to have at least a good grasp on the
past, the present, and the future.
He thought to himself, 'What could I possibly say?'
Alphen quietly stated, “We've taught your sons the secrets of the dream world. With us,
they will become very powerful beings. They have a tremendous capacity for understanding
everything that we've tried to teach them. Their genetics sing the perfect balance between the
complexity of Earth and the simplicity of Omniwa; They are very special and you should be very
proud of them.”
Levi slowly wiped his eyebrow with the back of his fingers. He wonders at Alphen. “What
am I supposed to do?” he relented.
Alphen paused. “You'll know,” he replied. “Okay. See you later.”
Levi looked around, then back to Alphen. He then turned around and began to walk out of
the ofice. Alphen looked to Shoule, who then walked out of the ofice behind him.
As Levi walked back through the underground maze he was becoming a bit anxious,
looking behind him to Shoule, before finally stopping and waiting for Shoule to catch up with
him.
“I'm sorry he is like this,” she began. “He is only doing what he thinks is best for you.”
“What he thinks is best for me?” Levi asked, perturbed by the statement.
“Yes,” Shoule calmly replied.
“He took my family!”
Shoule looked at him and stated, “Your family is waiting for you on Omniwa. And so is
Lului.”
Levi calmed down, realizing that he was dealing with people that knew everything.
Shoule gently grabbed his arm and pulled him to sit with her on the stairs.
“Your family loves you. They always will. And your other family will be fine, too. Much
beter than if they had stayed here.”
Levi clenched his teeth, unable to form a coherent response from all the confusion in his
mind.
“What did you think was going to happen. That you would leave them instead and then
forget about them when you went back home? You cannot do like this,” she pleaded. “When all of
this is over you can visit them. But for now, this is this. But there is so much else you do not
know.”
“Like what?” Levi asked.
“You will discover it, certainly. You can find out in your own way and in your own time.
That is why Alphen is the way he is towards you.”
“Do you trust that man?” Levi wondered.
“Yes. With all my life. He is my brother,” Shoule revealed. “He is also a loving father, just like
yourself.”
The thought of Alphen having kids amused Levi, who laughed. Shoule smiled, being able to
read his thoughts.
“There will be some trying times up ahead for you. But you will prevail and go back to
Omniwa victorious. In the meantime, we will take care of your family. I promise you,” Shoule
conceded.
Levi looked at her and paused, feeling more relaxed. He finally asked, “Will I find my
treasure?”
Shoule smiled. She then pouched her mouth and touched Levi on the shoulder as she stood
up. A low humming sound seemed to envelop her. As quick as Levi's eyes could see, she then
vanished.

73
As Levi walked out of the museum to go home, camera crews waited on the sidewalk.
Seeing the scene set up for him, he quickly walked in the direction of his mansion.
“Mr. Cavanaugh, where are your wife and son?” a woman asked as she ran behind him.
“What happened to your family? Mr. Cavanaugh!” a man shouted out, following him.
“Did you kidnap them?” another man asked.

O

“New questions today about the fate of Thomas Cavanaugh, the 13 year-old son of Levi
Cavanaugh, the founder of Nexus Corporation. The young boy is the first trillionaire in history,
worth over $8 trillion dollars, nearly seven percent of the entire U.S. economy. Authorities issued
a statement today saying that they had received a tip regarding the whereabouts of the
Cavanau-” the news anchor on the television stated before Levi turned it of with his mind and
went back to eating his lunch.
“Hey, what happened?” a restaurant patron asked. An old man took a small ladder from
behind the counter and moved it under the television.
“Turn it back on,” a woman yelled from near the window of the small diner.
Thanks to his son, Levi regained some of the powers he still knew how to use. Having
thought for weeks about whether or not using his ability to manipulate reality just as Thomas
did was within the boundaries of the rules of the Trial by Density, he conclusively reasoned with
himself that doing so would be acceptable. Although Thomas now lived on another planet and
was learning the secrets of reality and the dream world, he was nonetheless still human.
However, Levi didn't exactly remember what those rules were, only that he shouldn't do certain
things.
Levi began to understand more about how to manipulate reality. Just as a carpenter could
make a simple table by using a hammer, a nail and some wood, Levi found that changing the
things around him was the very same process – it just looked diferent. If his reality was the
wood, the hammer and nail were representations of more complex things, Levi discovered. The
hammer was a simple representation that stood for other, more complex forces, much as his body
held all the atoms and molecules together in an electromagnetic soup. He found that he didn't
need to understand the intricate details of how the body worked, as he just used his body like the
carpenter used the hammer and nails.
In order to change reality, Levi discovered, he needed to represent whatever it was he
wanted to change. He found that he could represent things in his mind in order to come up with
something else, just like someone could add two numbers together in their mind in order to come
up with an answer. The numbers weren't 'real' any more than the hammer or the wood was. They
just made things easier to perceive. What matered was not whether something was real but
simply how it interacted with something else. Each thing around him was all an illusion, in his
mind, that he made up in order to experience life.
'We perceive whatever is the simplest thing to perceive,' he thought. But he knew it didn't
mean that he had representations for everything. The photographer found a representation for
'happiness', but the banker did not have a way to package up the things that were stressing him
at work and, unfortunately for him, had been trying to manage all the contents of the package
rather than the package itself, a more simple thing.
People, Levi learned, could perceive because they grouped together complicated things. If
they could not find a way to group together those things with a representation, it became
stressful for them. Sometimes it wouldn't be stress that they experienced but density, ugliness,
disharmony, hate, bad feelings, or just plan bad experiences.
Turning of the television was easy. Levi just had to mentally represent the television at
work in his mind. He looked at the television and superimposed, in his mind, a box with a fire
inside. He could see people around the box staring into it as it changed shapes and made noises.

74
Then, he imagined a big jug of water being poured over the fire and puting it out. Just as the
people in his imagination began to complain that there was no more fire, he heard someone ask
in the distance, “Hey, what happened?”
Of course, Levi was still learning how to use his new powers. He knew that there were some
on Omniwa that knew how to do these things as easily as he could breathe, but they would never
share the knowledge with Nexans like his parents or false citizens like his friends. Those people
were the reality-changers, and they spent much of their time in distant places creating worlds,
re-fashioning them and building expansive mental, physical, spiritual and emotional
environments. They were the real gods and kings.
Levi took out a piece of paper from his suit pocket and studied it. He had met with Shoule
again to ask for the coordinates of the asteroid that was headed towards Earth. She wasn't sure if
she could provide the exact coordinates without consulting with her brother first, but she could
at least provide the general location. 'It won't help much but who knows,' Levi thought.
Someone in the diner recognized Levi and pointed at him. “Hey, it's Levi Cavanaugh!” the
man said.
Levi took one last sip from his glass, put money down on the table and began to exit the
diner.
“What did you do with Thomas? Did you kill him?” one of the diners shouted.
Walking home that afernoon, Levi was happy that there was at least a good possibility
that his family was safe, no mater where they were in the universe. Nevermind what some
people might have thought. He may not have known the truth about himself, but he at least
knew what wasn't true.
“I don't even know where the 571st sector is,” he mumbled to himself, laughing at how much
more his children knew than he.

75
Memory 7
The Smoke
It had been a few months since Levi saw his Earth family, and eighteen Earth years since he
saw his family on Omniwa.
“Just a few more years,” he told himself. “But for what?” he wondered. He wasn't sure
anymore.
If he could not be with his family on Earth, he would return to... somewhere. He had
mostly forgoten where he was going that was so important to him. He had thoughts of
returning home, but wasn't quite sure where his home was. He felt not-of-this-Earth, but
somehow comfortable to be among others that were.
“I'm going crazy,” he said to himself as he walked out of Nexus headquarters. He
wanted to assure himself that he did, indeed, come from somewhere else and that the
fractured images in his mind had some reality to them. But who knew about him? His family
was gone, or so he thought and he never told any of his good friends, like Lil J or Jack, where
he was really from.
There were two people that knew prety much everything about him, it seemed and he
was going to find them to get some reassurance about himself, his origins and his family. But
he knew it wasn't going to be easy to get any information out of them. He needed to see
Alphen and Shoule.
“Where is Shoule?” he asked as he walked into Alphen's subterranean ofice below the
Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Alphen turned around to look at him as he walked in. “She's in your bedroom,” Alphen
smirked, geting up from his chair.
Levi winced at Alphen, who raised his all-knowing eyebrows and took a seat on his
stone-hard desk.
Levi shrugged of his statement and continued, “I've been thinking a lot lately. About
you. About Shoule. And, if you don't mind, I would like you to answer a couple of questions I
have.”
“Please. Continue,” Alphen responded.
“You're obviously a powerful being. I don't know anything about your world and I don't
know the full extent of what you can do but I don't really need to know. I've seen a litle of
what Thomas can do, so I'm assuming that you can do the same and much more.”
“We manage,” Alphen stated.
“However, one thing that has really puzzled me these past few weeks is more personal.”
“What's that?”
“Your shoes,” Levi revealed.
“My shoes?' Alphen looked confused.
“You see, we've only met a few times, but each time your shoelaces are tied diferently.
So you probably don't just materialize your shoes and shoelaces, do you?”
Alphen looked at Levi seriously, puting his hands on his hips and said, “I don't. Each
morning I put them on and tie them, just like everybody else.”
“So you bought the shoes from somewhere?”
Alphen relaxed his posture and shifed his position. “Shoule takes me shopping
sometimes. Yesterday we went across town to get some bowling shoes,” Alphen said sincerely.
He looked down to his feet. “I got these from the Century 21 store in the Financial District.”
“Bowling?” Levi asked, surprised.

76
Alphen smiled, “Bowling.”
Levi chucked to himself, then asked, “So you actually walk into the store and look for
your size?”
Alphen nodded.
“But why? Surely you could just materialize them onto your feet, tied shoelaces and all,”
wondered Levi.
“I could do that. But then I'd be missing the point.”
“What's the point?”
“Let me ask you this. You have a driver, right?”
“I do.”
“Well, most of the time when you go somewhere you get on the subway or take a taxi,
right?” Levi thought about Alphen's question. “Why do you do that?” Alphen asked, though
he already knew the answer.
“To be among diferent people. To observe, to think in new ways, to be surprised. I like
the atmosphere. The adventure of new experiences,” Levi responded.
“And how long did you sleep last night?”
“About six hours. Maye seven.”
“And how many hours of your dreams do you remember?”
“Maybe a minute or two.”
Alphen smiled to him and said, “Now you understand. There are things that we do just
for the pleasure of. To forget about all that we can do and let reality just play out for itself.”
Levi had a thought. 'Maybe my brain forgot about Omniwa to keep my body from being
confused, as it spent most of its time dealing with this world. But when I sleep, it seems that
I remember everything.'
Alphen continued, “Just because we have power it doesn't mean that we should use it all
the time for everything. More important than a fundamental understanding of reality is its
practical application in everyday life. Through life we experience the essence of the universe
and the ebb and flow of chaos and order.”
“Then why do you stay here? In this ofice? You're deep underground, right? I'm
assuming these are thick granite walls. Why not open a boutique bookstore or a salon for
bright minds where people can discuss diferent ideas every night and socialize, or even a
blog, so you can find the most metaphysically and intellectually gifed people in the world?
Then you could engage with more people more ofen,” asked Levi.
Alphen tilted his head and seemed to wonder about it himself. He then asked, “Did you
ever hear the story about the wise man and the fool in the bowling alley?”
“No. I hadn't heard that one,” Levi responded.
Alphen responded, “That's because I just made it up afer I asked you about it.” He
continued, “See, the wise man and the fool are siting in the bowling alley looking at these
two guys play against each other. One of the guys they recognize is a worldwide bowling
champion. They don't recognize the guy he's playing with, but he doesn't seem all that good
anyway so they don't really focus on him. They're just amazed that this bowling champion is
playing in their neighborhood. So the fool turns to the wise man and says, 'This guy is hiting
strike afer strike. He's won six games in a row. He's humiliating the other guy!' The wise man
turns to him and says, 'On the contrary, his partner is teaching him how to play'. The fool is
surprised by how the wise man could say such a stupid thing, so he asks him how it's
possible that a guy who is losing game afer game could be beter than a world champion
who is beating him to a pulp.”
“Well, how is it possible?” Levi asked.
“So the wise man turns to the fool and says, 'You were only focused on the score. You

77
didn't realize that his friend was hiting only the pins that the champion missed before he
bowled, each and every time. The champion had spent years learning how to win against other
players. But his friend, the true master, was teaching him how to win against the game itself.' And
that's how the leaves fall from the tree,” Alphen ended, turning back to his desk.
Levi walked up to him and shook his hand. “Thank you, my friend. It's been a pleasure.”
He then began walking out of the ofice.
Alphen called out behind him, “Shoes, huh?”
“Shoes.”

Levi lef the Museum to go to the Upper East Side Health Club, where he was going to meet
with Lil J for their monthly racquetball game. Entering the men's locker area of the club he
saw that Lil J was already there, geting prepared.
“Hey, man. I was just headed to the lounge for drinks. You're early,” Lil J noted.
“Yeah, I'm pumped! I'm been waiting to kick your but for a month!” Levi said excitedly.
“We'll see about that. If it's like that last game, I'm going to send you home crying to
your mommy!” Lil J laughed. “I'll go see if we can get on early,” he said, walking out of the
locker area.
“Okay,” Levi responded, geting undressed.
Lil J returned and they both walked to their court. As they prepared to play, Lil J turned
to Levi and said, “Hey. I wanted to talk to you about something.”
“What's that?” Levi answered.
“We're best buddies, right? I mean, you're my boy,” Lil J told him, with a sincere look on
his face.
“Nah. Those mind tricks don't work with me. I'm still gonna kick your but!” Levi
exclaimed, pumped for the game.
“Okay. Let's make a bet,” Lil J began. “If you win I'll run naked through this club for 1
minute-”
Levi interrupted, laughing, “You like geting naked, don't you?”
Lil J admited, “Hey, baby, it's been good luck for me. Geting naked in front of all those
people was the best decision I ever made.” He raised his hand and illustrated, shaking his
head up and down, “I'm ready to take it to the next level!”
“Somehow that doesn't sound right coming from a grown man,” Levi laughed. “And if
you win?”
Lil J paused for a moment, then turned serious. “And if I win, I want to see the man that
stood up before Gods & Kings and told us that he was going to make us all billionaires with a
litle idea he had called Nexus.”
“You've got 'em,” Levi responded. He paused, then asked, “What do you mean?”
“I mean you haven't been yourself, man, but you need to get it together. Look, I know
you've lost Alex and nobody knows where your wife and Thomas are – at least, I think
nobody knows,” Lil J looked curiously at Levi and waited for him to respond.
“I know. They're all safe,” admited Levi.
“Whew! Okay,” Lil J continued. “That's good. That's real good. But you gota clean up,
man, look the part of an innocent man who loves his family and hoping that they're alright.
People don't know that you're innocent like I do.” Lil J grabbed Levi's shoulders. “Right now
you're looking... a litle worn, you know what I'm saying? We all want to see the man that
made us all believe there was no limit to what we could achieve and was right!”
Levi confirmed, looking to the wall, “Okay.”
“Okay?”
Levi nodded in agreement. He then turned more playful, looking up. He raised his

78
racket and shouted, “Prepare to get reamed!” He then hit a ball to the ceiling as hard as he
could.
“Hey, that don't sound right coming from a grown man that thinks he's gonna win,” Lil J
said as he jumped into place.
They played for two hours, as usual. Levi had lost that day, as usual. Lil J drove him
home afer he treated Levi to a couple of drinks in the club lounge to celebrate his victory.
Arriving home, he walked up the stairs to his bedroom and opened the door. There, on
the bed, was a gif-wrapped box. It was red and looked to be about the size of a hat box. Levi
stood at the door and held on to the handle as he thought about what it could have been.
“Shoule?” he called out. He looked around his bedroom and walked through the closet
to the bathroom, but didn't see her.
Standing in front of the curious box, he drew closer.
“Is this a trick?” he asked himself, confused.
He sat on the bed and reached over and took the top of the box of. There was a yellow
light emanating from inside, like the warm glow of a fire from the fireplace. Looking inside it,
he saw that the light came from a fibrous, square contraption that appeared to have lots of
bright sprites that moved around within it, over and under a metal structure. As he reached
down to take it from the box, it began to make a deep humming sound. He then took it over
to his desk and laid it there.
Levi stepped back from the contraption as the humming sound began to change
frequency. He looked on in amazement as the fibers blossomed like a flower, completely
encompassing the metal structure. Suddenly, the room became pitch black. Yet, he felt that
he was floating in space. Stars appeared in his vision and he could begin to make out galaxies
and nebulae in the distance. Turning around, he saw what appeared to be an asteroid larger
than his house.
“Where am I?” he murmured to himself.
Just then a myriad of shapes and symbols materialized in front of him. He could not
make them out. They weren't anything he'd seen before, but he could understand what they
meant in his mind. They disappeared as quickly as they had appeared, followed by new ones
that seemed to simultaneously reflect what he was thinking, though in a strange way. He
was able to follow the asteroid's path around the sun, from a time that he knew was many
thousands of years ago. He then followed it on its present course and could see the inevitable
destruction of Earth. As the asteroid approached, Levi grew more and more tense. The impact
and afermath had shocked him so much it seemed to overload the contraption, shuting it
down.
The experience had made him very tired and he wanted to sleep. As he laid himself in
bed, he thought of how all the happy families and couples he saw in the park, all of the
wonderful people that he met and knew, all of the busy faces he'd seen on the street, all of
the billions of people in the Nexus universe and every other human being that he would
never meet or know about, wouldn't know of the impending doom that was embedded in
their future.
He fell asleep asking himself, “Is it beter to know that all of one's plans, words and
actions are meaningless because everything and everyone one knows will soon cease to exist,
or beter to be ignorant and hopeful of a beter future?”

O

Levi sat butering every edge of his bagel. His nails were freshly cut, his skin smooth and
clothes fresh. He wore a clean, white t-shirt under a cashmere sweater and dark blue jeans.

79
That morning he decided to wear a pair of opaque sunglasses he had received for his
birthday one year. With a neatly-trimmed beard and a tight baseball cap, he was
unrecognizable, even to himself. He looked beter than he had in years.
A young man, perhaps in his late teen's, sat at a table next to him. He was preparing a
job application. Levi saw him come in a few minutes prior to ask for it from the staf, order a
drink and find a table to complete it as he finished his beverage.
“Hello,” Levi smiled.
“Good morning, sir,” the young man said.
Levi looked at what he was writing. “Looking for a job today?” he asked.
“Yes, sir,” the young man said. “My first.”
“Oh, okay. Well, the best of luck to you. I always come here and pick up a cofee or
something,”
“That's good. Well, I hope to see you around if I get this job.”
Levi smiled and said, “I think you'll do just fine. You're of to a good start already.”
“Thank you, sir,” the young man shyly answered.
“How many hours a week are you looking to work?” Levi inquired.
“As many as I can, sir. I'm saving up for college,” the young man happily replied.
“Good. Good.” Levi said, sipping his drink. “What will you be studying?”
“Business. My goal is to be the manager of a café like this one,” he revealed.
A professor-looking man in his early fifies siting at the next table then looked at the
both of them and shook his head. Levi glanced over at him. The man then went back to
writing.
Levi wondered, “Why do you want to study business?”
The young man answered, “I'm not sure, sir. Other than my mom and dad wanted me to
pick something so I decided that business would be just as good as anything. So then I made
it my goal.”
“Excellent. Well, I have full confidence in you,” Levi smiled. He then continued to drink
from his cup as he looked out of the window at the street scene before him.
Afer a while, Levi turned around again. “What's your name?” he asked.
“Jacob,” the young man said.
“Well, Jacob. Why don't you just start working? They're short-stafed today,” Levi told
him.
“What?” Jacob asked, surprised.
“Just start working. There's usually a guy that sweeps the floor every hour and cleans
the tables every fifeen minutes, but I think I overheard one of the staf saying that he was
going to be quite late today,” replied Levi. He looked to the tables in the corner. “This place
misses him.”
Jacob's mouth forgot to close as he looked down to his application, then to Levi again.
“Well, you want the job, don't you?” Levi asked him.
Jacob started to get up from his seat, unsure of what to do.
“They keep the smocks behind that door over there,” Levi said as he pointed to the small
storage closet on the other side.
Jacob hesitantly walked to the closet and looked around. He then opened the closet
door.
“Confidence!” Levi yelled out. “Jacob, let's get these tables cleaned!” he said, clapping his
hands as though he was giving orders.
Jacob walked into the closet and grabbed a smock, closing the door behind him. He
hurriedly put the smock over his head and tied it around himself.
“Yeah! Woohoo! Go Jacob!” Levi hollered, clapping. Other patrons looked up from what

80
they were doing.
Jacob walked over to the tables and began to clean them up. Not having anything to
wipe them with he then casually walked over to the counter where the other staf were busily
preparing orders.
“Uh, where do we keep the washcloths?” Jacob asked.
The girl behind the counter stopped what she was doing and stared at Jacob, unsure of
what to say. She then walked over to the cleaning equipment and picked up a washcloth,
handing it to Jacob, who smiled and thanked her.
“You know. That young man won't learn anything from it,” the professor at the next
table said to Levi.
“Oh? Why is that?” Levi inquired.
“It's bad advice. You don't just get up and start working. It takes time and patience. You
have to make sure your résumé is presentable and complete and talk with the right people.
You fill out applications and go to job interviews. The interview process will teach him more
than what you just did,” the professor said, pointing to Jacob with his pencil.
Levi called Jacob over. “Excuse me, Jacob. This gentleman doesn't think you just learned
anything,” Levi stated.
Jacob looked at Levi, then to the professor. “How are you doing, sir. I'm Jacob,” he said,
extending his hand.
“Ahhh.” the professor said, shooing Jacob away with his hand. “You're full of baloney.”
Jacob stood there, not sure of what to say. He looked at Levi helplessly.
“You've got the confidence and the charisma. You're polite and you think on your feet. I
think he doesn't need a job interview.” He turned to the professor and said, “What do you
think?”
Just then the manager walked over and interrupted them, “Get back to work before I
fire you!” he said to Jacob. He then gave a sof nod to Levi. Levi nodded back.
“Humph,” the professor shrugged. Afer a moment, he added, “I don't think he's ready
for college, either”
“Why is that?”
“Because he takes the advice of people like you,” the professor responded, proudly.
Levi laughed, then said, “I think he was smart to take the suggestion and by the time it
took you to finish your peppermint tea he knocked out the application, the interview, the
introductions and even had time to clean up and order a drink for himself. Very productive
and eficient, if you ask me. And, between the three of us, Jacob and I were the only ones who
stated facts. However, you stated your opinions as facts, which makes you ignorant of them.”
The professor defended himself, “I'm a professor. I should know the facts.”
Levi looked at him with joy, “I love teachers! Where do you teach?”
“Reston,” the professor shrugged.
“Oh, okay. Reston. I know Reston. My wife went there. We both donate. It's a good
school. What do you teach?”
“I'm retired,” the professor stated. “But I know the facts,” he shrugged.
Levi began, “Well, professor, the fact is that he's smarter than you and I combined. You
know why? He knows that he doesn't know, whereas we are much more confident about our
ignorance. He's also polite, which goes a long way. Let's talk about 'the facts' for a moment.
The fact is that higher education is becoming obsolete and has been ever since the internet.
That is evidenced by the fact that you're well before your retirement age yet you're siting in
this café filling out a job application and geting your own résumé ready, for a managing
position you're probably not qualified for. It's also a fact that everything you can learn at
Reston you can learn online, for free. In four years he'll probably manage this café or one of

81
the other locations, whereas his friends that went to Reston will be heavily in debt and
working for ten more years afer they graduate to pay it of. And they won't have any real
experience! They'll actually be four years behind him. His friends might make more, but
they'll also end up spending more and be trapped in a job that they can't quit because they
have so much school debt to pay of while their friend here is making a bit less money than
they are managing this place with no debt. Instead of wasting four years with college he
could simply spend a year becoming an expert at time management, communication,
problem-solving, organization and the art of the job interview.”
“I don't have to sit here and listen to this,” the professor retorted.
“Yeah, you do. Because you still have 3 more sections on your application,” Levi claimed.
He continued, “Okay, let's say I am the owner of this café and ask you if you'd like to buy a
chance to work here. For $5,000 you get a 40% chance of being hired this month. I'll also
throw in a 15% chance of being the manager if you have a degree in business management or
relevant experience. Would you buy it?”
“That sounds like that Everymarket crap,” the professor snorted.
“Okay, how about if I raise the price of this opportunity for you from $5,000 to $10,000.
Now would you take it?”
“Why are you going up? I wouldn't pay one dollar for that scam. You can keep your
Nexus derivatives, thank you very much.”
“It's not a derivative. It's called higher education. It's what thousands of of kids decide
to do every single day because they or their parents wanted them to sit in classes they'll fall
asleep in. Except, they're not gambling with $5,000, or even $10,000. They're paying $100,000
or more, plus interest,” Levi said. Pointing to the professor's cup of tea he continued, “For the
price of that nice cup of tea a kid can start working today and make up his own odds. Now
Jacob here decided to get into debt to atend college. I can respect that. Perhaps he'll figure it
out before it's too late. But right now he just got a job for free, without having to buy one of
Reston's derivatives.”
“You can shove it up your ass,” the professor said in a low tone while sipping from his
cup.
“You know what?” Levi said as he stood up and walked over to the man's table. He
gently slid the professor's résumé of the table and into his hands and tore it in half. “You
don't need a résumé to work here.” He then the took the professor's application. “And this.
You can shove it up yours!”
The professor was shocked, looking up at Levi.
“Hey, Jacob?” Levi said, pausing as he waited to get Jacob's atention. “Can you get this
man some more peppermint tea? And a buter croissant.”
Jacob nodded, then walked behind the counter where one of the other staf showed him
where the teabags and cups were. Levi sat down at his seat again. Just then, his phone rang.
Levi looked at his phone before picking it up.
“Hi, Rhonda.”
Levi's assistant, Rhonda answered, “Levi. Listen, I have some bad news. Jack's was in a
helicopter crash.” Rhonda paused. “I'm afraid he has died. I'm so sorry.”
“He's dead?” Levi asked, shocked.
“Yes. I'm so sorry to have to tell you this, Levi,” Rhonda replied, saddened by the news
herself.
Levi lowered his head and held it, devastated at the news. He sat silent on the phone for
a while with tears running down his face. He finally responded, “Thank you,” and hung up the
phone. As he stood up to leave, the professor looked at him with sympathy.

82
O

From an elevator, Levi entered the lobby of Nexus headquarters to a media circus outside. His
car was waiting for him on the curb and the sidewalk was overwhelmed with camera crews,
news reporters, photographers, police and bystanders. He stopped for a moment and took a
deep breath. He motioned to one of the men standing at the door to open it, then he walked
out.
“Here he is! Here he is!” someone shouted as cameras began to snap.
“We're all deeply saddened by the loss of a great friend and leader. Our prayers go out
to his wife and daughter. He will be truly missed,” Levi delivered behind dark sunglasses,
hiding his tears.
“Mr. Cavanaugh! Who will be the new CEO?” a man in the crowd shouted.
“Sir, do you have any information on the location of your family?” a woman asked.
“I have no further statements at this time,” Levi somberly stated as he walked to the
Sprinter van.
A voice in the back shouted, “Is it true that you spent two weeks in a mental institution
before you started Nexus?”
Levi stopped. That voice is familiar, he thought. He turned to it and saw a familiar face.
It was Alphen, dressed as a news reporter and holding a microphone. Levi paused for a
moment, astounded.
“I hadn't heard of that one,” he said, before geting into the Sprinter and speeding of.
“Take me to The Met,” he told the driver. “Qickly.”
Levi realized there was nothing he could have done to save Jack. He didn't know the
future like Alphen and Shoule did and although he could manipulate reality on a basic level,
he didn't really know how to use his new powers to change the course of anything but
electronic signals. Levi felt powerless, but he was determined to find some answers.
As soon as Levi had arrived at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he jumped out and
walked briskly inside through the corridors and down the stairwells to Alphen's ofice. When
he finally arrived he could no longer see it; A large granite wall had replaced the glass
entrance.
In front of the wall he saw Alphen's shoes. Curious, he walked up to them to study
them. Even more curious, he wondered what they had smelled like, as if it could have been
some kind of clue. He thought to himself, 'Does he sweat like humans do?'
Levi looked around for more clues but could find nothing. Walking back through the
exhibit area again, he could feel that someone was following him. He stopped and tuned
around. It was Shoule.
“Hello, Mr. Cavanaugh. Or can I call you Levi?” Shoule asked as she walked closer to
him.
“Please,” Levi replied. “What is Alphen up to?”
Shoule studied Levi's face, looking somewhat worried. She finally said, “Alphen is
Alphen.”
“What does that mean?”
“As I previously mentioned, he does things that he thinks will help, Levi.”
“Is he responsible for Jack's death?”
“He is no more responsible for the death of your friend than you are,” Shoule ofered.
Levi looked on, troubled.
“Alphen took your suggestion and now he is spending more time among people now. He
told me to thank you,” Shoule said.
Levi looked to Shoule, then back at the display again. “Am I being punished for

83
something?”
Shoule responded by asking him, “What do you see when you look at the display?”
Levi played along, looking at the display case. “Some tools for cooking. From Ancient
Egypt.”
“What else?”
Levi thought for a moment. “Things that were used by people who aren't here
anymore?”
Shoule wondered, “Do you see yourself?”
Just then Levi saw his own reflection in the glass of the display. 'Of course,' he thought.
Although he had strong observational skills, he was distracted by what was beyond the glass
and focused on the details of the objects rather than the now-familiar outline of his face.
“Your reflection,” she added. “Part of the Eternal Reflection, as you have come to know
it. But what you see looks diferent depending on the details behind it, so it is not at all
obvious unless you know what you are looking for.” She pointed to the tools. “Yes, they are
tools. But they are so much more than tools. When you look at them you have a choice to see
either the tools, or who you really are. Right now you see them before you because they,
along with everything around you, are the best illustration of who you are right now. Your
Eternal Reflection,” Should continued.
Levi pondered her statement. “Including you?” he asked.
“Yes. And, including the professor in your café. It was you, though he seemed to look
diferent and be separate from you if you were distracted by the details.”
Levi looked to Shoule in awe.
“Now, can you see the exhibit over there on the other side?” Shoule pointed to a display
at least ten yards away.
“No. I can't,” Levi answered.
Shoule continued, “Yet, it exists right now, even though you cannot make out the details
and can barely make out your reflection. People and things, even places, are like memories.
The present that is now before you is your best memory. The past is like a distant memory,
though we always remember what we know. Do you remember being a snail, Levi?”
Levi shook his head. “No.”
Shoule asked, “Why not?”
Levi thought deeply about her question. “Because it is like that display case. So far
away.”
Shoule explained, “Yes. You are a snail right now, but you cannot make out the details.
You remember the things that are closest to your thoughts, just like you can see things beter
when they are close up. You are forgeting your home, your Omniwa, your Lului and your
parents because they are becoming further and further away to you as you deal with life on
Earth. Yet, they all exist right now.”
“I see,” Levi said as he pondered the depths of what Shoule was telling him.
Shoule continued, “When you look at the Sun, you can say that it is yellow. A scientist
may claim that it is actually white because it is all the colors at once. But white is also an
illusion, because color is born from the cells of your eyes. The Sun has no color – our mind
just makes it up. We tend to focus on the illusions and be distracted by what they are doing,
which makes us miss the more important relationships that the illusions make possible.”
Shoule paused, then added, “You see, Levi, your path is not discovering the illusion but
learning to work with the illusion, because the illusions enable relationships, And
relationships are the ultimate experience.”
“So, I am just learning to work with the illusions? I am not being punished?” Levi
inquired, as if he had been holding the question back for a while.

84
Shoule smiled to him. “Of course not. There is no punishment. You are experiencing a
change of exhibits, so to speak. There might be some scratches or damage to the display
stands or pieces as they are moved around. Perhaps something will break if you are not
careful-”
Levi interrupted, “What do you mean? How can I be careful?”
Shoule posed, “Let us say that you are driving along a highway, on which there are
many signs telling you about various things such as exits, road conditions and other
highways. There are so many signs that you don't really pay atention to them all; Perhaps
only a few. Maybe you are too busy paying atention to your driving, or the other cars, or
listening to the radio. There are so many distractions in life. It is easy to miss the signs. But
what happens if you miss the sign for your exit?”
“It's an inconvenience. You'll lose time and have to turn around again,” Levi replied.
“Yes. And you could easily lose your way. And what happens if you miss a sign that
says 'Dead End'?” Shoule asked him.
“That would be worse. If you're not paying atention, you could crash.”
“Would you call it punishment?” Shoule led him on.
Levi supposed, “It's just what happens when you are focused on the wrong details.”
“There are no wrong details. The details are there to be focused on. It is how we both
live. But when you happen to miss the details that tell you there is going to be an exhibit
change...” Shoule responded, motioning to Levi to finish her train of thought.
Levi tried to complete her sentence, “...you'll be surprised. And maybe you'll wonder
what's going on. And you're more likely to damage something, because you weren't prepared
for change. Am I right?”
“Yes. But do not get lost in the change. You cannot take everything from the current
path to the next one. Some things you must leave behind. Things change, are lost, damaged,
or destroyed and some things are new, old things may grow and some things made fresh
again,” Should replied.
“Or a friend could die,” Levi added.
“Now you understand,” Shoule comforted. “Jack is still with you, just like Omniwa and
your family. But he is a distant memory for now. Perhaps you will never be able to see him
again, but he is still there, far away.”
Levi looked deep into her eyes and said, “Thank you, Shoule. It means a lot to me.
Really.”
Shoule smiled. A low humming sound surrounded her. Soon thereafer, she disappeared
in front of Levi.

O

“Mr. Presley is the proprietor of the Nacho Cowboy Tex Mex Restaurant here in Manhatan
where he says Mr. Cavanaugh is a regular customer,” a reporter on the television said as she
turned to the man standing next to her. “Mr. Presley, can you tell about your experience?” she
asked him.
Alphen, dressed in a cowboy hat and catleman's shirt, responded to the reporter, “I sure
can, ma'am. Now, Mr. Cavanaugh is a regular customer and I mean no disrespect to him or
his business but my other customers been complainin'.” Alphen continued, making gestures
with his legs and arms, “He saddles up to the counter every morning and orders a cofee, see?
He bends over to take of his shoes – like this – and puts them on the counter, see? Then, he
asks my other customers to smell his shoes for 'em. I tell you what, I trust my customers and
all, but I brand my catle and I have to say I've branded Mr. Cavanaugh more crazy than my
crazy uncle Jessup. And boy, they both need to to be locked away in some crazy home. Now

85
we know Mr. Cavanaugh is richer than Rockefeller but he is a litle poor up in the noggin'.”
Levi sat in his entertainment room and played the video recording over and over again,
wondering if what he saw was real. He played it again and thought to himself, 'Why is he
doing this?'
He flipped to the television channels.
“-focus is on who will be the next CEO of Nexus Corp.,” a news anchor on a British
news channel stated.
He changed the channel again. “I just don't know how sane this guy is. His friends call
him Crazy Levi because, well, he is known for doing lots of crazy things. The question
everyone's asking is just how crazy is this guy?” a pundit asked.
Another pundit responded, “Kevin I agree with you. His personal history is a big
question mark. Before a few years ago he didn't even exist. He just popped up out of
nowhere. There are no birth records, no school records, nothing. The guy doesn't even have a
social security number. I mean, where did he come from? Where was he born? Who is his
family? Can anyone answer any of those questions?”
Levi turned of the television and sat staring at it, motionless.
The doorbell rang. The housekeeper walked from the kitchen to answer it, leting Lil J in.
“How're you feelin' playa?” Lil J asked.
Levi stood up and hugged him. “Alright.”
Lil J stepped back and took a good look at Levi. “You're looking prety good, baby. Much
beter than when I kicked your ass last time,” Lil J added.
“Well, a bet's a bet. But it won't mater now.”
“Why's that?” Lil J said and he took a seat on the sofa.
Levi somberly pointed to the television. “All that.” Afer a moment, he added, “They're
saying I'm insane. That I might have killed my own flesh and blood. That I might have
sabotaged the helicopter to take over as CEO. Who knows what's next.”
“Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about that. Tell me what you think. Me and some of the
crew from Gods & Kings have been talking for a while about puting some money together to
buy up shares of the local and national media companies. I'm meeting with a guy next week
to get on the board of Fox. Now you know how I am; I've already picked up 11% of Disney
and 18% of Time Warner in the past three weeks. We'll get the others to simmer down a bit
and shif the conversation in another direction.”
Levi's eyes lit up. “You what?”
“I'm telling you, man. We are behind you one hundred percent. You made us all
billionaires, just like you said and we aren't about to forget about you for a second. We've got
your back, Crazy,” Lil J announced.
“Don't call me that,” Levi said.
“My fault, Levi,” Lil J apologized. “It's a shame what passes for news these days. Don't
they have anything beter to do?”
“I know. I know,” Levi conceded. “Thank you, my friend. I will never forget this.”

Afer a conversation about Lil J's family and what his kids were up to, Lil J lef to go home.
Levi moved his musings to an upstairs balcony that overlooked the courtyard.
Levi thought about his conversation with Shoule and how everything he experienced
was part of an Eternal Reflection. He thought, sarcastically, 'What part is this reflecting?' He
sat, wondering up at the stars about his life, his home and his purpose.
“Perhaps they do not know who I am because I do not know who I really am,” he
assured himself.
He thought about Alphen and whether or not what he was doing was actually helping,

86
or whether he was just one of the gods having fun at his expense. He considered whether or
not they knew what he was thinking even then as he sat in the chair, looking up at the sky.
“Where are you?” he asked the heavens.

87
Memory 8
The Illusion
The chair was uncomfortable. He sat waiting for over two hours, waiting to be processed. He
was handcufed behind his back. It was uncomfortable and he needed to use the bathroom.
“Can I use the bathroom?” Levi asked one of the guards.
“We'll be with you in a moment, sir,” replied the guard.
Levi sat for another thirty-five minutes before anyone tended to him. The stench was
beginning to be unbearable. Finally, someone came in and uncufed him.
“Our apologies. Let's get those cufs of you,” a woman said as she motioned to the
guard to remove the handcufs. She winced as she looked down to his soiled pants.
“Thank you,” Levi answered.
“Please state your name,” the woman said, holding a pen in her hand as she began to fill
out a form.
“Levi Cavanaugh.”
“Sir, for the record is Levi Cavanaugh your real name?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said quietly.
She continued to write. “What is your date of birth?” she asked.
“Unknown,” he ofered.
She looked up at him. “Well, what is your birth year?”
Levi thought about it carefully. He looked at her paper and then answered, “Uh,
unknown.” He looked at her again and said, “I'm sorry. I just have no idea.”
The woman made a few more notes and then motioned to the guard to take him away.
“Welcome to the Albany Mental Hygiene Facility, Mr. Cavanaugh,” the guard said as
they walked down the corridor. “I'm a big fan of the Universe.”
Levi was distraught. He thought about all the things that led him to this. He wondered
in his mind, 'Am I really crazy?' His distant memories of a home far, far away were just that.
They were no more real or lucid than the dreams he had the night before.
“But my dreams didn't put me here,” he mumbled.
“What's that, sir?” the guard asked.
“Nothing,” said Levi as he walked down the corridor.
That night was the coldest and most uncomfortable night Levi had ever experienced
since he first arrived on Earth. His padded cell was free of basically everything but a small
bar of soap and a miniature toothbrush. Both his blanket and matress seemed paper-thin.
Almost as soon as he was told to sleep he could hear screams such as he'd never heard
before. At first, he thought that someone was being hurt or, even worse, killed and he should
help. As he could hear other patients complaining to the screamer, he realized that it was
likely a common occurrence. He did not sleep at all that night.

O

“Good morning, Mr. Cavanaugh,” a voice called out. “Here's your pills. Note that you'll be
assigned a treatment plan later today,” the woman said, checking of the paper on her
clipboard. “How are you feeling on your first day?” she asked.
Levi stood up and walked over to the opening in the door. “Good morning,” he
responded.
She stared at him as she waited for him to take his pills. Finally, she pointed at them
with her pen. “Pills,” she stated.

88
“What should I do with these?” he asked.
“You're supposed to take them.”
“Why?”
“It's part of your treatment program,” she responded, somewhat annoyed.
“I thought I would be geting my treatment program later?” he asked, confused.
“Treatment starts now. Pills,” she demanded.
“I'm sorry. Treatment for?”
The woman gave him a dirty look and shut the door opening.
A few moments later, the guard from the previous day opened the door and came into
his cell.
“Morning, Mr. Cavanaugh. I'm gonna have to ask you to take your pills,” he said, loudly.
He then whispered, “These pills will make you tired. I'm going to take these with me, but in
an hour you have to pretend that you're feeling drowsy, okay?”
Levi nodded his head in agreement. “Got it,” he whispered.
The guard exited the room, shuting the door loudly behind him. A few minutes afer
that the door opened again. There were several orderlies in the hallway and other patients
began to exit their cells. One door remained closed, but Levi could see shadows moving
around under the door.
“Today's your lucky day, Team Albany. Today is checker tournament day!” a woman said
excitedly.
“It happens every week,” a voice to Levi's lef said. Levi turned to him. “Hi, I'm Levi,” he
said, extending his hand.
“I know who you are. You won't last here two weeks. They'll send you some place else.
Just stick with me for now and you'll be alright,” the man said.
Levi looked at him as the man extended his hand. “Name's Jack,” the man said.
Levi shook Jack's hand and said, “It's nice to meet you, Jack.”
“Hey, don't worry about the checkers. They just wait for us to fall asleep anyway,” Jack
said.
As the patients made their way into the recreation room and found seats around tables
that were set up for checkers, most of the orderlies appeared to be preparing for something
else. A thick red rope divided nearly a third of the large room, with a single chair behind the
rope in the corner by the window.
“What's that for?” Levi asked Jack, pointing to the set-up.
“The Beast,” Jack said, motioning Levi to look to the door.
With moments a very large man, flanked by eight orderlies, carefully made his way
through the door. He was seven-feet, four inches tall and four-hundred and fify pounds. The
orderlies were behaving as though they were docking a ship for the first time, careful not to
allow The Beast to touch anything or anyone.
“Who's that?” Levi wondered.
“They call him The Beast. He's a nice guy. Just don't touch him. He'll slap you in the
face, knock you right out,” Jack warned.
As The Beast slowly made his way to his quiet and lonely corner, the other patients
resumed taking their places. Most were distracted by their mental illnesses, or whatever, but
sat in their chairs regardless. Levi wasn't sure whether or not it was to be taken seriously
considering the pointlessness of trying to get a room full of mental health patients to
concentrate on winning at checkers.
Levi observed the scene, laughing to himself.
“Hey, do you wanna play? We might as well,” Jack finally ofered.
“No. I have a plan,” Levi replied.

89
Levi picked up one of the checker boards and put it in a box along with its pieces. He
then slowly walked to the wall, near the red rope. He stood for a moment looking at everyone
play, then yelled out, “Does anyone know how to play checkers? I don't know how to play.
Can someone teach me?”
Levi looked around the room but no one responded, or even looked up. His face became
sad. He then looked over to The Beast, who looked at him for a moment before he moved his
eyes to look at everyone else again.
“Excuse me,” Jack turned to The Beast, looking worried. “Can you teach me how to play?
Please?”
The Beast, nearly tranquilized into sleep, looked at Levi. He sat relatively motionless.
Levi looked around the room. Two orderlies stood with their arms folded nearby.
“Enter at your own risk,” one of the orderlies warned.
“Levi, don't!” Jack pleaded.
Levi put one leg over the red rope, then the other. “Let's play checkers!” he said to The
Beast, smiling.
The Beast shifed in his seat. He cracked a smile, perhaps amused at Levi. Levi prepared
a table and another chair and put the checker board between them. He then began shifing
the pieces around on the board, unsure of where to place them. The Beast watched him
carefully. Finally, afer a while, The Beast began to help.
With the checker board pieces organized, The Beast moved to play first. Levi studied his
movement carefully and learned how to play from watching. He simply moved the same
piece that The Beast did, although on his side of the board. The Beast seemed to enjoy it,
judging by his renewed expression.
“Tell me. You don't like it when they call you 'The Beast', do you?” Levi asked.
The Beast shook his head, displeased.
As Levi began to move a piece on the board, he stated, “You're more like... a cat!”
The Beast smiled. With his deep voice he boomed, “Yah. A Persian cat.”
“Yes, that's it! A Persian cat!”
Many people in the room had stopped what they were doing. It was the first time
anyone at the facility had heard The Beast speak and they were shocked.
Levi stood up slowly and turned around, shouting, “Okay, everybody! Listen up! From
now on nobody calls my new friend here 'The Beast'. His new name is 'The Cat'. He's a Persian
cat, not a beast, which means that before you can touch him you have to let him smell your
hand first. Got it? If you call him The Beast, whoa! That's bad news! He's going to grab you
and lick your nose and purr because that's what all Persian cats do. They purr. If he doesn't
like how you smell, he won't like you. So be sure you smell good and fresh starting tomorrow.”
Levi looked for assurances from everyone in the room.
“Does everyone understand?” Levi asked.
The room responded with mumbles and various random statements.
“DOES EVERYONE UNDERSTAND?” he yelled.
The room yelled back in unison, more or less, “Yes!” Some added on, “We understand.”
Another person added, “Crackers.” The orderlies look on in amazement.
“Check and mate,” Levi said to himself, pleased.

O

The following day was overcast and rainy which, according to Jack, meant that the dosage of
Team Albany's 'sleepytime' drugs would be increased. Supposedly, this prevented some of the
patients from feeling depressed, but everyone ended up sleeping or being drowsy most of the day
which made them even more tired when they awoke to eat or it was time for their treatment.

90
It was interesting to Levi that people would be made to sleep so much and thus dream. Levi
wondered, 'What were they dreaming? Were they dreaming of being somewhere else, or had they
such powerful experiences inside the facility that their dreams were tainted with the colors of
clinical insanity?'
The long days turned into even longer nights. Making the patients sleep was the staf's
favorite past-time, it seemed. A man paced the hallway in the evenings and screamed to
himself, just as he had on the first night. Other patients talked with people or things that
weren't there, supposedly. Afer a few days The Cat began to sing and somehow it seemed to
calm the ward. Even the screamer would stop for a while when The Cat opened his mouth to
sing in his deep, baritone voice.
The simplicity inside the walls of Albany was in stark contrast to the complexity outside
that Levi knew all too well. But still, there were lots of similarities. People were pacified with
chemicals rather than zombified by the animations of their lighted screens. Patients were
engaged in boredom, rather than a busyness that served no real purpose. The day was pre-
planned and staf and patients alike prety much kept to the same simple paterns and
routines. This was not The Way, he knew, but he felt he was somehow geting closer.
Strangely, Levi rather enjoyed being in the facility. It was a nice break from the business
that was outside the facility and provided him with a predictable schedule and new people to
get to know, Nobody really cared who he was, save for some of the staf. He enjoyed talking
to the other patients, or trying to. They were more open and honest about their feelings than
most of the other humans that he met on Earth. Like children, they weren't afraid to speak
their minds. Or take of their clothes. Feeling like a kid himself, he somehow understood
them and could identify with them.
Yet, Levi still wondered if he really was crazy. He ofen asked himself as he laid in bed,
“Am I dreaming?”
In his new friends he finally saw himself, the Eternal Reflection that he had wondered
about for so many of Earth's years. He seemed to appreciate that people with a similar frame
of mind were put together in one place, but at the same time wondered if they weren't
reflecting of of each other, exacerbating their own conditions.
'Life must be like this,' he concluded. He began to feel as they felt. Jack and others told
him that the longer people stayed the more insane they became. It was almost as if the
facility wasn't a place to get well before being re-introduced into society but a place to go to
change your identity and introduce yourself to society for the first time, when you lef.
The Eternal Reflection was everywhere. He began to see people doing what he would
have done if he was in their shoes, with the same thoughts and feelings, no mater how bad
their actions seemed. Once, an orderly beat an unruly man until he bled. At first, Levi
thought that it was a most violent and unethical act. But then he thought of the violent
forces of nature and how the same forces in humans were seen as something unnatural. He
decided that he would have done the same thing if he was the orderly. With the same
thoughts, emotions and experience, he decided he would have made the same choices as
others he saw, no mater how much he thought he would have done diferently.
“I have done things that I thought were right at the time, but weren't from another
perspective,” he said to himself one self-reflective night.
Despite the unusual behaviour of many of the patients, especially when they were lef
on their own, Levi felt comfortable to finally be with himself. He thought of his own body
and how some parts like the stomach contained acids that might have been unpleasant if
experienced directly, whereas other parts, like the heart, would have been relaxing to
experience.
In Levi's new frame of thought, when people cannot contain the entirety of their self in
their own body it exploded into the reality that they experienced, then imploded as they

91
perceived it. To Levi, that was the primal Balance of complexity with simplicity. The Way that
he sought for so long he saw in simply being aware of his own perspective.
“A complex world perceived simply,” Levi said to himself. “And balanced by the here and
now.”
Levi began to understand the illusion of perspective, like people on Earth experiencing
diferent times of the day, in their diferent time zones, at the same time. The thought of
someone being awake and seeing the morning sun – just as Levi laid himself down to sleep at
night – fascinated him. It was the same time, but a diferent perspective, just as Shoule had
taught him.
But Levi wondered if this new understanding was the treasure that he had been looking
for, seemingly, all his life. He felt an inner urge for more, always more, to take with him...
somewhere. “How could I use this knowledge?” he wondered.
Besides feeling much more at peace with himself than he had in many years, he wasn't
sure how he could use that wisdom in his everyday experience to help make people's lives
beter.
“Stomach acid,” he reminded himself whenever he saw something that might have
made him feel uncomfortable. He would think of all of the parts of his own body that were
necessary to keep it functioning properly. There would be things he would not like or want to
experience directly, but were necessary for Balance. The eyes may not understand the
stomach and the stomach may not understand the heart.

“Team Albany! Breakfast time!” someone called out, ringing a bell, as Levi and Jack talked
about newspapers in the recreation room. The Cat sat nearby.
“Are you ready, Cat?” Levi asked The Cat, who smiled. The three of them walked to the
facility's small cafeteria and found a table.
As they ate their breakfast, Levi whispered to Jack, “I have a plan. We might be able to
leave from here tonight.”
Jack looked at him and wondered, or perhaps worried, just what kind of plan he had.
Levi asked him, “How long have you been here?”
Jack said, “About three months. My wife told her doctor that I threatened to hurt our
daughter, so they locked me up in here for 'evaluation'. I had some mild depression many
years ago so I guess that didn't help. It's all a load of crap. She could have just said she
wanted a divorce.”
“Sounds like she's the one that needs to be in here,” Levi said sympathetically.
Jack laughed, “She wouldn't last a day. Not in here.”
“I don't mean to intrude, but it could be her way of geting full custody of your
daughter,” Levi added.
“Possibly.”
The Cat made a tiger sound. Jack and Levi began to laugh, which encouraged The Cat to
do it again, afer which he himself began to laugh.
Afer finishing their breakfast they all went into the recreation room and took their
usual seats. Like most days, there were no activities planned. Patients were expected to find
something to do on their own but really weren't allowed to do much at all.
Levi walked over to the guard and whispered, “Did you get the transfer?”
The guard responded, “Yes, sir, I did. It was very generous of you.”
Levi looked pleased. “Good. Make sure all the staf get their share, including the nurse.”
The guard nodded. Levi walked over to the table where Jack and The Cat were siting. A
few minutes later one of the orderlies brought a large salad bowl over. Inside were pencils and
paper.
“Is this what you wanted?” the orderly asked Levi.

92
Levi reached out to take the bowl. “Yes. Thank you,” he smiled, puting it on the table.
Inside the bowl were lots of small pieces of paper that had been cut up into rectangles.
He leaned in to talk to the guys at the table. “Ok, gentlemen. Here's what we're going to
do. We're going to have an auction today,” he told them. “Jack, I want you to pass out these
sheets of paper and pencils,” he said, taking the paper and pencils out of the bowl. “The Cat, I
want you to sit next to me and show everyone your nice, warm smile,” he continued.
The Cat began to smile very charmingly.
“Beautiful!” Levi complimented. “Here you go, Jack” he said, sliding the sheets of paper
over to Jack to pass out to everyone.
Levi began to shout. “Step right up, step right up! Levi Cavanaugh is with you today to
bring you the golden prize of ten thousand dollars,” he said, taking out a fist-full of money
and fanning it out in the air. “That's right! Ten thousand dollars. You wanna get closer to see
this, folks. Ten thousand dollars right here on this table. See it to believe it! Winner takes all.”
People began crowding around the table, looking at the money Levi just put on it. Some
looked quite surprised to see Levi and drew closer to him to get a beter look, being the last to
know that the founder of Nexus was institutionalized with them.
“The winner will also get a leter from the administrator,” he continued, pulling out a
folded leter from his pocket. He read from it, “The winner of today's golden prize will get a
three day pass to go outside for a total of six hours.”
Levi looked to the crowd and held up the leter, “That's right folks! If you win today's
golden prize of ten thousand dollars you'll also get to go outside three days in a row! That's
two hours a day for a total of six hours. Six hours, ladies and gentlemen, you heard me right!
Plus, you also get whatever else is in the bowl!” He began looking to the patients around him,
pointing. “Who will it be? You? Perhaps you? You sir, you look like you could use ten
thousand dollars and a some outside time. Now here's how it's going to work. Listen carefully,
ladies and gentlemen. One of you is about to win the golden prize!”
Levi continued to explain, “Here's what you do; Take the pieces of paper Jack is passing
out and write what you're ofering in exchange for the golden prize. You can write anything
that you have with you, or anything you have in your room. You can also write down things
that you can do for others. Lotion, toothpaste, decorations, snacks, jewellery, favors. It can all
go into the bowl. Just make sure it has more value than the last thing someone put in.” He
looked at everyone, all of whom seemed quite confused. “Any questions?” he asked, looking
around.
“I have a question,” one of the patients said as they raised their hand. “What time is
dinner?”
“Dinner's a litle later on,” Levi responded. “Anybody else? No? Alright, let's start. Jack,
start the timer at five minutes. Everyone has five minutes to fill the pot. At the end of five
minutes, the winner takes all!”
Patients seemed to have a hard time coming up with things to write down. People
mumbled, talked to themselves and some were distracted by what was going on outside.
Levi motioned to Jack to show him the timer. He took the bundle of money and began
slowly dropping it into the bowl.
“Here it is folks. Ten thousand dollars! Going into the bowl. Winner takes all, plus six
hours outside. Plus, whatever else is in the bowl,” Jack said excitedly to the bored faces in the
room.
Someone walked up and dropped in a sheet of paper. Jack picked it up and read it,
“Alright. One tube of peppermint Colgate brand toothpaste.”
A few people began to get excited. “Colgate? Is it new-in-the-box?” one man asked the
woman who ofered. The woman nodded her head.

93
“Well heck, I'll raise you some lavender lotion my girlfriend brought me,” the man said
as he wrote on the sheet of paper.
Levi summarized, “Four minutes and thirty-seven seconds lef. Winner gets ten
thousand dollars, six hours outside in the sunshine, lavender lotion and Colgate peppermint-
fresh toothpaste, new-in-the-box!”
“Wow! Peppermint toothpaste! I want in,” one man in the back said.
More people began to get excited, furiously writing things down on the paper, or at
least trying to. A couple of patients scrambled to drop their paper into the bowl first.
“Alright. We've got two tubes of peppermint-fresh toothpaste from this beautiful
woman here. Followed by two pieces of birthday cake from yesterday's birthday party,” Jack
said, looking confused. He whispered, “Hey, how'd you get two pieces?” He looked up again
and said, “Winner takes all, winner takes all! Ten thousand dollars, six hours outside, three
tubes of toothpaste and great-smelling lavender lotion and two slices of delicious birthday
cake.”
“Cake? What do I gota do for that one?” a woman asked.
“Hey, I got something!” a young man said as he stood up and walked over, giving a
piece of paper to Levi.
“Alright! David has ofered to stop screaming for the next seven nights.” Levi said. He
looked over to Jack, then to David, “Does this mean you won't scream at all, for the entire
seven days?”
“I'll do it!” David said, clapping and smiling mischievously.
“Ladies and gentlemen, David has ofered to stop screaming completely, for seven
nights! No more sleepless nights. No more bad dreams. Just beautiful and peaceful sleep. We
can all sleep with the angels afer this,” shouted Levi. He looked to Jack and asked, “I don't
know, Jack, who can top this?”
Jack shook his head in disbelief. “Hey, boss, can I get in on this, too?” he asked Levi.
Levi leaned over to Jack and put his hand on his shoulder and said, “You'll get the
biggest prize. Freedom.”
Levi continued reading out the many small scraps of paper that was being dropped into
the bowl. Jack took over announcing how much time was remaining on the timer. Some
people began coming back from their rooms with trinkets, jewellery, toiletries and other
items, which they dropped into the bowl. Soon the bowl was overflowed and items were
being placed onto the table.
“This is it, ladies and gentlemen! Thirty seconds remaining,” Levi said, excited.
Everyone in the room was standing up. Even the staf were standing around nervously
to see who was going to win. Levi looked over to them, hoping that one of them would come
over during the last few moments and drop something in. Finally, with about fifeen seconds
lef, the nurse came over and dropped in five hundred dollars.
Patients began jeering at her. Levi quickly took out the money and handed it back to
her and said, “Let's do another one for staf afer this. It'll be more exciting, I promise.”
The nurse backed away, embarrassed and went back to the wall.
“Congratulations! Time's up, everybody. The winner is Louis! Louis takes all!” Levi
shouted, looking over at Louis.
Louis wore a big smile. He uncrossed his arms, stood up and walked over to collect his
prize. Everyone clapped and cheered.
With the bowl extended to Louis, Levi pulled him closer to the table as he grabbed it.
Levi sat the bowl down on the table and pated him on the back. “Congratulations, man. You
won!” Levi told him.
“Okay, everyone. Team Albany, back to your rooms!” one of the orderlies yelled out. He

94
nodded to Levi.
As Jack, The Cat and all of the other patients lef the recreation area and began going
back to their rooms, Levi walked over to the nurse and asked, “Are you ready to win?”
The nurse replied, seriously, “I was born ready.”
“Good. Get the other staf. I'll set up on this table,” Levi said, pointing to the table.
The staf began to sit in chairs surrounding the table. Some staf ran from the hallway
to join, having seen the patients back to their rooms for their afernoon nap.
“Alright! We'll do one more game, for staf. This one is a bit diferent. It's called the
Three Musketeers auction and it goes like this; Players bid for a prize, but the top 3 winners
each win something diferent. The highest bid gets... the golden prize. The golden prize today
is... ten thousand dollars cash,” Levi said, reaching into another pocket to pull out the money
and place it on the table. “The second-highest bid gets the bid of the highest bidder. Whatever
the first winner had bid to win, that goes to you,” he continued. “The third-highest bid gets
all other bids. That means, if your bid ends up being the number three top bid you get
everything in the bowl. Everything that's lef in the bowl. Any questions?”
One orderly raised his hand, “Yeah. What time is dinner?” Everyone laughed.
“Tonight we're serving money. Can you smell the money?” Levi said as he dramatically
picked up the money and smelled it. The crowd began to clap and cheer. “Can you smell the
money?” he emphasized, holding the money up to his nose and snifing it slowly. “Alright!
Let's begin!”
Levi spread the ten thousand dollars on the table. “Ten thousand dollars, ten thousand
dollars. You're playing today for ten thousand dollars. Who wants to be the lucky winner?”
Staf began to give money to Levi to put into the pot. “Alright, we have one dollar. Who
can beat one dollar?” he asked the crowd.
Afer a few bids the bowl began to fill up. “Top bid is Yansi's. Second highest bid is
Ralph's. Third highest bid gets the entire bowl. That bid is now Jackie. Four minutes
remaining. Who will be the winner of ten thousand dollars?” Levi asked the crowd.
The staf scrambled to empty their pockets of cash. They soon began taking of their
valuables such as bracelets and rings. Levi inspected them, them put them into the bowl. The
scene was a mad frenzy.
“One minute remaining,. Ten thousand dollars at stake. Someone will walk away
tonight with ten thousand dollars,” Levi informed them.
The staf all looked around anxiously. They had already empties their pockets and
purses of cash and valuables. Everyone was eagerly anticipating being one of the Three
Musketeers who would win something.
Ursula, an administrator, spoke up, “That's it. I can't take it! I'm throwing in a new
lambskin coat I bought from Macy's for my sister birthday's gif, but it's in the car.”
“Are you sure? We have only thirty seconds lef. You don't have time to go to your car.
You've gota give me some collateral,” Levi said as he looked at Ursula.
Ursula was frenzied. She checked herself to see what she could give.
“Your jacket,” Levi hurried her. “Give me your jacket!”
Ursula quickly took of her jacket and handed it to Levi. He quickly folded it up and
placed it into the pot. “One new Macy's lambskin coat! Ten seconds.”
The staf looked on, anxiously waiting for Levi to announce the winner.
“Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Congratulations! We have our
Three Musketeers!” Levi said as everyone clapped and cheered.
“The golden prize goes to Ursula! Congratulations, Ursula. Come get your ten thousand
dollars,” Levi said.
Ursula, beaming, struted up to the table and picked up her money. Some of her

95
colleagues clapped while others looked at her jealously.
“Way to go, Ursula,” someone called out from behind her.
“The next musketeer is David! Come on up here, David and pick up your new lambskin
coat!”
David ran up to the table, trying on Ursula's white staf jacket and modelling it. “Oh, my
wife's gonna love this,” he said to Ursula as others laughed. She was too busy counting her
money to notice.
“Alright. The third and final musketeer and the winner of the super bowl, with a bid of
one eighteen-karat gold bracelet, is Ralph! Congratulations, Ralph! Come on over and pick
this heavy thing up for me,” Levi prompted.
Ralph hollered, “Yeah boy!” He jumped over to the table, picked up the bowl and held it
over his head. He quickly put it down on the next table and began to rummage through it,
sorting out all of the bills and jewellery.
The Three Musketeers were happy. Ursula was still counting her money when the game
was done. Ralph danced a litle jig, perhaps being the one who won the most overall. The
other staf willed themselves to go back to work.
Levi had already lef the room and walked down the hallway to his room. He pulled out
a set of keys that he had swiped from Ursula's jacket pocket and unlocked his door, leaving it
ajar. He then walked over to Jack's room and knocked on his door. The small door opened and
Jack poked his head out right afer it began to open. Levi took out the keys from Jack's door
as Jack stepped out of his room with a very surprised look.
Levi hugged him and handed him the keys. “Good luck, my friend,” Levi said as he
handed over the last pocket full of one hundred-dollar bills to Jack.
Jack stood speechless with his mouth agape. He looked down to the money and the
keys, then up at Levi again.
“You'd beter go before they find out you're gone,” Levi suggested.
Jack began to tear up before he turned around to close his door quietly. He looked
around to find out which way to go as he wiped his eyes. Levi pointed down the hallway on
the right. Jack nodded to him and ran of, disappearing around the corner. Levi went back to
his room and closed the door.
Levi considered leaving with Jack that night, but he knew that the signs that pointed
him to Albany weren't pointing to an exit just yet.

96
Memory 9
The Way
Levi awoke to someone yelling excitedly. The noise sounded like it was coming from within
his room. He rose up quickly and looked around, following the noise to the window. It was
Louis, outside basking in the sun for the first time in the six months that he'd been at the
facility. He was extremely happy and wanted everyone to know how good it felt. Levi could
hear some of the other patients cheering him on from their windows. It was a strangely
joyous thing to awaken to.
Levi seemed to feel at peace as he began to awaken. He somehow taught himself a
lesson the day before with the 'Winner Takes All' and 'Three Musketeers' auctions. He awoke
with the understanding that sometimes a simple tube of peppermint toothpaste was worth
much more than its weight in gold. He also learned that it was okay not to be number one
and that sometimes it is more advantageous to be in second or third place.
Before Levi arrived at Albany Mental Hygiene Facility, he thought he would be heading
straight into hell. It was the same way he felt before coming to Earth. But he was wrong on
both counts. He learned that he could find a path wherever he was. And where there wasn't a
path there was a new ground on which to make one to wherever he wanted to go.
The folks at Albany were no longer just humans. They had become his dear friends that
he felt he would never forget. He had learned more in his eighteen years on Earth than he
had his entire life and he was still just nine years old.
It was for that reason that he decided to let Jack escape by himself the night before.
Somehow, he thought, Jack would have a far beter chance of not coming back if Levi stayed
behind to somehow convince, or perhaps bribe, the administrators to forget about him. He
didn't belong there anyway, Levi thought. Levi remembered what Alphen had told him about
not using power just because he had it. He had the keys to freedom, but it didn't mean that
they were for him. He also thought about the wise man and the fool in the bowling alley and
how mastering his reality would be far more useful than mastering those within it.
Levi knew what he had to do now. As he looked out of his small window to the well-
manicured, but lonely garden, save for Louis and his happiness for the next few days, he told
himself, “If the government is so determined to take control of Nexus Corporation that they
will do all kinds of unspeakable things, then let them.”

Lil J flew in on a chartered helicopter a few hours afer he got Levi's message. Levi and Lil J
talked for only a few minutes, but the conversation was one of the most important in the
history of business. The government would take control of the most powerful corporation in
the world.
Within a few days, Levi received another visitor. He walked out to the visitor's area to
see who it was and he saw a most welcome sight. It was Shoule.
“Greetings, Levi,” Shoule said, speaking across the table.
Levi smiled and sat down. “Hello, Shoule. How are you?”
Shoule lowered her head. “It has been a good experience for you, then?” she inquired.
Levi pursed his lips and shook his head. “It has. It really has.”
Shoule stared at him, motionless, for a good half-minute. Levi sat in his chair and
smiled, looking around the room at the other visitors waiting and at his new friends whose
loved ones came to visit them.
Suddenly, Shoule stood up. “Let us go,” she told him.

97
“Go where?” Levi asked, confused.
“I have spoken with the staf. You are free to go. And there is someone outside waiting
for you,” she stated.
Levi stood up and followed Shoule, who just confidently walked out of the facility.
Doors opened up for her without anyone questioning. Levi quickly followed behind her long
strides.
The light of day was an amazing thing to witness again. A litle sunlight had come into
his room everyday and through the facility's windows but it seemed more like strange
pictures that moved slowly as they hung on the wall. Being surrounded by its gloriousness
was another reality completely, whether on Omniwa or Earth. He had never before thought
of how truly wonderful the sun had been. It was like a coded message from the entire
universe. But then he saw something even brighter than the sun. It was Alexander's smile as
he stood in front of the Sprinter van as he looked at his daddy walking towards him. His
driver stood nearby.
“DADDY!” Alexander screamed. He quickly began running towards his father.
Levi could not believe his eyes. His dear son had not aged a day since he last saw him.
He knelt down to the ground and began to cry as Alexander came near. Levi could finally
embrace the light that he hadn't seen in so many years. It was as if he had just awakened
from a dream so powerful it had changed his entire reality. When Alexander reached him,
two distant worlds had finally found each other again, father and son reunited at last. It was
the best day of his life.
“Don't cry daddy,” Alexander said to him as he put his small hands on his father's face.
“Look,” he said, shifing his father's gaze behind him to the van. Carolyn and Thomas were
geting out of the van. Carolyn looked even more radiant than she did on their first date, with
luminous eyes and impossibly healthy hair. Her face had a glowing countenance about it,
highlighted by cheeks even more rosy than those he fell in love with. Thomas seemed happier
than ever. It was his family made whole again.
Levi stood up and took Alexander's precious litle hand and walked over to his wife and
son. He couldn't help but look down to Alexander as he walked, not believing his own eyes.
He smiled at Carolyn and gave Thomas a big hug. Then he picked Thomas up and they
formed a tight circle, laughing and giggling with each other as though there were no words
to describe their feelings.
Shoule waited quietly in the background. Afer a while she touched Levi's shoulder and
pointed to the television cameras aimed at them in the distance, outside of the fenced
parking lot. “Would you like to make a statement?” she asked.
Levi looked to her, unsure of what to say. He looked to his family. Carolyn began to
walk and the others followed. The driver got into the car and drove to the gate, which was
held open for them. The media began to swarm Levi and his family. He, with tears streaming
down his face, struggled to speak.
“Our family is finally together again. All that I can say is that they're here and that
they're safe,” Levi said, turning to Carolyn. “I-I don't know what else to say.”
Carolyn stepped forward a bit and stated, “Thank you all for coming today. For
believing in us, for asking the right questions and waiting patiently for our safe return. It is
because of my husband's dedication and perseverance that we are all standing before you
right now. Although it has been a long journey for us, it has been an even longer journey for
my husband, who has sufered and triumphed through many trials these past several
months. We ask that you continue to respect our privacy and allow the happiness of our
family to grow undisturbed during these times. Thank you again for your support.” With the
end of her statement to the press, they all quickly got into the Sprinter van and drove away.

98
Shoule sat and looked at them as they hugged, kissed, laughed and talked. Afer a while
she mentioned to Levi, “Levi, you have twenty-four hours with your family.”
Levi looked to her, seriously, as he took Thomas out of his lap.
Thomas turned to him and said, “Daddy, we have to go back. But we came to be with
you for a while. Do you want to be with us?”
Levi picked Thomas up again and brought Alexander closer. “Oh, I do. More than
anything. I missed you all so, so much,” he said, looking to Alexander and messing up his hair.
“My family,” he added, resting his cheek on Thomas' head and holding Carolyn.
Alexander added, “We'll also help you find your treasure.”
“Awe. You're my treasure. You're all my treasure in the world,” Levi said, hugging them.
They laughed and talked for a while. The kids eventually got tired and dozed of.
Carolyn was tired, too, but she struggled to stay awake to talk to Levi more. Afer some time
she dozed of, too. Levi was amused at how tired his family was, but also felt that seeing
them sleep made it feel less and less like it was only a dream. He watched them as they
dreamt, more content than he'd ever been.
Eventually, the driver arrived at their Manhatan home.
“I will return at 1 PM tomorrow,” Shoule informed Levi.
The driver got out and opened the door for them. The family awakened, still sleepy and
jumped out of the van and began to walk up the stairs to the mansion. Levi turned to Shoule
and smiled before she disappeared behind the van's closing door.
Levi looked at his family going back home. He felt almost out-of-body, nearly stunned
by the beauty of people he loved and missed simply walking up the stairs. “I feel complete
now,” he mumbled to himself as he stood on the sidewalk, looking up at his beautiful family
as they smiled and waited for him to open the door.

O

It was a late lunch and Levi felt a bit awkward siting at the breakfast bar with his family
again. Carolyn had made him his favorite meal, croque monsieur with fried potatoes and
orange juice, but nothing for herself or her sons. Their meal was water.
“Am I allowed to ask,” Levi began as he gulped down his food. “Why you don't eat?”
The kids laughed and Carolyn laughed with them. Thomas looked to Alexander for the
answer.
Alexander replied, “Everything our body needs we can make from this.” He held up his
glass of water, his eyes sparkling.
Levi wondered, “You're not hungry?”
Carolyn and the kids laughed.
“What?” Levi asked them, curious.
Thomas looked up to his father and said, “We are eating all the time.”
Levi looked at them, confused. “Okay, I won't ask,” he laughed. Inside, he was in awe of
how his family had become powerful beings who were now siting at the table with him
again, just like he remembered.
When Levi was done eating, Carolyn brought a fresh blanket from the pantry. The kids
took his plate and glass and washed them, like they usually had done before. “One last walk
in the park?” she asked him.
He slowly wiped his mouth with his napkin and thought of all the things that that
simple question meant. He thought, 'Would I ever see them again?' He nodded quietly to her.
She cozied up to him as he sat on the bar stool and found a place between his knees. They
stared at each other for a while, as the kids washed and dried all of the dishes.

99
“Okay,” Thomas said. “We're finished. Let's go, daddy!” he excitedly suggested.
Levi had observed each of their steps as they walked to the park. He wanted to
remember those last few moments forever. The kids walked in front of them and talked with
each other quietly, laughing. As soon as they got to the park they all ran for a bit, holding
hands and laughing. People stopped and stared, recognizing them immediately. Many
seemed to wonder at the family, pointing and talking about them as they passed by.
“How did you do it?” one guy shouted, looking to Levi. “How'd you bring them back?”
They found a quiet hilltop spot just on the other side of some exposed bedrock. The hill
seemed to shield them from most of the curiosity walking by. The crowds that gathered in
the distance to stop and stare at them were rendered meaningless to Levi as he focused all of
his atention on the wonderment of his wife and sons' presence.
They played, they sang, and they didn't care who was watching or filming them. They
rolled down the hill, chased afer each other and climbed atop one-another. Alexander and
Thomas were soon very tired and Carolyn was nearly exhausted as well.
As they descended from the hill, throngs of people were waiting for them. The crowd
that came to watch the Cavanaugh family seemed both amazed at and afraid of what they
saw. Everyone stared at Levi as he walked by, trying to touch his hand or arm, or even his
legs. Some had arrived in wheelchairs. Their voices grew louder and louder as the
Cavanaughs got closer to them. As they walked, the crowd walked with them. Several camera
crews were also on the scene in various positions, all focused on the family.
A mother cut of Levi as he walked down the path, holding her baby as she cried,
“Please. Please, help my baby, sir.”
Levi was shocked. He wasn't sure what to say or what to do. He told the mother, “I'm
sorry. I don't know what I can do.”
“You can heal the sick. You can bring back the dead. Please, please. My baby is sick,” the
mother cried.
Levi looked to his wife and sons. Carolyn smiled gently to him as Alexander and
Thomas looked to the gathering crowd. He held the crown of the baby girl's head and gently
kissed her forehead.
“Thank you, sir. Thank you!” the mother cried.
The family continued walking. People called out on all sides for help. Fathers and
mothers instructed their children to touch one of them on their legs or arms. Alexander and
Thomas extended their hands out to the crowd as they followed behind their parents.
Carolyn reached her hand out to people and embraced them.
“You can help these people,” Carolyn said to Levi.
“How?” Levi responded. “I don't have the powers you have.”
“You do,” she smiled. “You just haven't defined them yet.”
Walking home was a slow and tedious afair, even though they could see their nearby
mansion from the park. More people gathered. More people tried to touch them and ask
them questions. They occasionally stopped when the crowd was too thick, whereby Levi
would do something or say something again to keep them moving along. Alexander and
Thomas were quite tired, but willing to walk as slow as they needed to. Carolyn did her best
not to yawn, several times, but she could barely hide her exhaustion.
They finally found themselves home, only to see a few dozen people gathered outside it
with candles lit, photographs of their loved ones atached to the iron gate and camera crews
set up.
Carolyn turned to him and said, “Tonight you will tell them what they want to hear.
Tomorrow you will tell them what they don't want to hear.”
Levi looked at her, puzzled. Carolyn and the kids walked upstairs and into the mansion,

100
leaving Levi behind. He stepped onto the stairs and turned to the crowd and cameras.
“Thank you all for coming. My wife, Carolyn, and sons, Alexander and Thomas, are all
very tired now so I will talk with you just a few moments before I go inside to join them,” Levi
told the crowd.
A man quickly raised his hand and spoke, “Mr. Cavanaugh! Mr. Cavanaugh! How is it
that your son Alexander came back? And hasn't aged? Can you explain that?”
Levi thought carefully, 'If I tell them the truth they wouldn't believe it, so I will tell them
what they want to hear.' He answered, “Love,” and smiled. “Love brought them back.” He
pointed at another reporter who had raised her hand.
“Some are calling you a savior. What do you have to say to this?” the reporter asked.
Levi replied, “I hadn't heard of that one. I don't see myself as a savior. I'm just someone
who cares for his family and am happy to see them all again.”
Another reporter asked, “Is it true that a new department of the U.S. government will be
set up to manage the Nexus Corporation?”
“Yes, that is true. My family and I have decided that it is in humanity's best interests
that Everymarket and the Universe rest in the public's hands. From now on, Nexus will be a
public utility for the benefit of all mankind,” Levi responded.
“Mr. Cavanaugh, what will you do with your family now that they are back?”
“Well,” Levi pondered. “My family and I have decided to step out of the spotlight for a
while. They will soon be leaving for an undisclosed location and in a year or so I will join
them afer I am done transitioning Nexus to the government. We'd like our sons to grow up
normally. Being the wealthiest kids on the planet isn't easy, as you might imagine. But now
we have a chance to finally find the peace and happiness that we need right now,” he said.
“Sir, I want to ask one question about Alexander. How old is he now?” the first reporter
asked.
“Alexander is old enough to beat me at basketball now,” Levi laughed.
A man's voice said somewhere nearby, “Excuse me, sir. I don't mean to bother you, but
can you please heal my daughter? She's only nine years old and she has leukemia. Please, sir.
I believe in you.” He was standing to the lef of the gate, perhaps thirty-five years of age and
dressed simply. He looked like a very tired man. Behind him, Levi could see a girl in a
wheelchair.
Levi was shocked at the proposition that he might be able to do something to help a
young girl in a wheelchair. News reporters and cameras focused on her as her father stepped
back, allowing Levi to see. Everyone stood silently and waited for Levi to respond.
Without a choice, Levi stepped down and walked over to the girl. “Hi, what's your
name?” he asked.
“Susan,” she smiled back.
Levi was taken aback by the warmth and genuineness of her smile. He bent down to
her. “Well, Susan, your father loves you very much,” he whispered. “And I'm sure there isn't
anything in the world he wouldn't do for you, right?”
Susan nodded her head.
“Can I ask you, if you had one wish what would it be?” Levi asked as he reached out for
her hands.
Susan thought for a moment, then whispered to him, “I wish my father wouldn't worry
about me so much.”
Levi laughed joyously, then smiled to her as he touched the side of her head with the
back of his fingers. “That's a wonderful wish, Susan. I was deeply worried about my family,
too. But now they are safe at home, aren't they?”
Susan gave a big smile to Levi and excitedly nodded her head in accord with his

101
statement. He smiled back and stood up, then turned to her father. Levi put his hand on her
father's shoulder and said, “She's going to be just fine. Just give it some time. You have a
beautiful daughter, sir, and she loves you very much.”
“Thank you, sir. What you've done for my daughter and my family will come back to
you ten-fold!”
Levi acknowledged the man's remarks and turned to walk up the stairs to re-join his
family. He thought to himself, 'That was me in the Eternal Reflection, and I'm going to be
alright.'
Everyone was already fast asleep in their beds by the time he setled in. They slept early
and seemed to be sleeping for him, as he didn't sleep much himself that night. Instead, he lay
awake next to Carolyn thinking of all that he'd been through that day, having awakened in a
mental institution and now having spent the entire day with his family, knowing that they
were safe.
“Today was a good day,” he said to himself right before he finally drifed into a peaceful
slumber.

O

The morning came quickly, although somehow Levi knew that he was sleeping through his
family being awake and making noise in the house. The noise comforted him, making his
sleep even deeper than it would have been without. He finally awoke to find his wife and
sons in the library, which happened to be under the master bedroom.
It was strange for him to see them standing in a circle quietly holding hands. They each
held their heads back with their eyes closed. He imagined them falling back and down to the
floor and laughing.
As he drew closer to them they began to laugh, snapping out of whatever trance they
were in and looked towards Levi.
“Good morning, hun,” Carolyn said, walking over to kiss him.
Alexander and Thomas jumped over to him to give him a big hug.
“What time is it?” he asked.
Carolyn admited, “It's late. It's almost time to go.”
Alexander looked up at him and asked, “Dad. Do you remember where to meet the
Ambassador?”
The question momentarily shocked him as he thought about how his son knew about
the Ambassador. Without thinking, he replied, “Uh, yes.” He cleared his throat. “Yes.”
“Okay. Don't forget,” Alexander smiled to him.
He wondered to himself, 'Did this mean I would not be seeing them ever again?'
It was dificult to process what was going on. So many thoughts ran through his mind
afer Alexander's strange question. A few moments before he had been dreaming. And then,
dreaming still. He began to cry. Tears rolled down his face as he tried to hold them back.
Carolyn wiped his cheeks.
“When will I see you all again?” he asked her, crying.
“We're always with you, daddy,” Thomas said as he hugged him.
Alexander looked him in the eyes and said, “We're with you, dad.” He hugged him, too.
“Shoule's outside,” Carolyn said, wiping the tears from her own cheeks. She took
Alexander's hand, who then took Thomas' hand, who then took Levi's hand and they all
walked out of the door and down the steps. Shoule stood outside the Sprinter van staring at
their front door, oblivious to all of the people and media waiting outside the Cavanaugh
mansion.

102
Levi kissed Carolyn once more. She then got into the van while Alexander and Thomas
turned to their father. Thomas hugged him once more and then jumped into the van.
Alexander then gave his father a big hug and asked him, “Do you remember the garden
where you spoke with the old man?”
Levi paused for a moment, trying to remember. “I do,” he responded, excitedly. “How do
you know about him?”
“That is where you will find your treasure,” Alexander smiled as he turned to jump into
the van.
Shoule took two steps closer to Levi and looked deeply into his eyes without saying a
word or having any expression. She then got into the van behind Alexander. The door closed
and although Levi could not see them behind the tinted glass, he knew that they were
looking at him. He waved to them with a deep-felt pain in his heart that painted itself on his
face with tears and longing.
'I hope I see them again soon,' he thought.
Afer watching the van drive away until a few moments afer he could no longer see it,
Levi walked back to the mansion. When he reached half-way up the stairs he turned to the
media and declared, “I'll be making a statement today at six o'clock.”

O

Levi sat quietly in the basement of his mansion in an empty room. He somehow felt the need
to go as deep as possible in the house to think clearly. There, he sat in near-darkness and
contemplated all that he had experienced recently and his time on Earth.
He remembered Honeypot, the homeless man in the park, the thugs who beat him up
and became his friends, the staf at Gods & Kings, his best friend Lil J, Jack, all of the other
people he knew at Nexus, the photographer and banker in the park, the professor, the young
man in the café, his friends at Albany, especially Jack and The Cat, Alphen, Shoule and of
course Carolyn, Alexander and Thomas.
Yet, with all of the wonderful and interesting things that he remembered best, he knew
that beneath it all was a foundation that he could not remember as well. A mother, a father, a
girlfriend and others on a distant world seemed like an abstract dream. Although he knew
that the details of his other life were as vast as an ocean, they were also as fluid as water.
Specifics would morph into generalities. He seemed to only know of them when he wasn't
thinking of them, and as soon as he thought of the details they would escape his memory,
like a dream he could no longer recall.
He asked himself, 'What does an Eternal Reflection mean?'
“Have I really forgoten, or am I re-membering it as something else?” he asked himself.
Levi was thinking that he had to remember things as they were. But then he realized he
only needed to remember things as they are. The Eternal Reflection, he thought, was not
something distant but as close as his own mind, wherever it may have been.
Talking with Shoule taught him that something may have appeared to be 'over there'
when it was actually as close as his own thoughts.
“There is no need to remember a dream when I am re-creating it in the now, in this
world,” he said to himself.
He then understood that his reality was not only like a dream, it was a dream. It was a
slow dream where things took time to manifest, where things seemed solid because it took
space to experience their reality and where one's beliefs slowly migrated into one's life.

A bit before six o'clock, Levi went upstairs to freshen up and prepare for a statement to the

103
media that awaited him outside.
When he opened the front door, there were media from all over the world outside his
gate. Stadium seating had been set up outside with five levels of camera crews perched atop
them. Satellite trucks blocked all the streets, as far as his eyes could see. He walked down the
stairs carrying something, looking at every step he made as he descended them.
He began, “I just wanted to make a short statement this evening. Many of you have
asked about my family and myself. I see myself in each of you and I want everyone to know
the truth. What I am about to tell you may seem unbelievable, but I assure you, my entire life
is unbelievable. Some of you will laugh, some of you may cry, and some of you will not know
what to think. But I stand by every word I am about to tell you, with all my heart and soul.
“My name is Levi-o Ben-Wa. I was born on a planet far away, called Omniwa, in another
solar system in the galaxy, and came to this world nearly twenty years ago. Since then I have
learned many things about your people, your customs, your thoughts, your hopes, and your
dreams. I have shared many good experiences with you and I loved every moment of it. I was
sent here by the people of my world to study Earth and I will be returning to my home planet
within two years. But before I do I consider it my responsibility to share what I have learned
about the Earth's fate.”
Levi then lifed up the box that Shoule had given to him before and placed it flat on top
of one of the gate's columns.
A guy in the crowd asked, “Wait, are you saying that you're an alien from outer space?”
He laughed, prompting others in the crowd to laugh, too.
As the contraption started up, everyone stopped laughing. Their mumbles got louder
and louder until there was silence.
“I am saying that a very large asteroid called Athio will be barrelling its way into the
solar system again. It has an elliptical orbit around the Sun every 36,521.2 years. Its next
entrance into your solar system is in less than five years.”
The strange metaphysical energy of the contraption captured everyone's atention as
their inner mind focused on the visions it illustrated for them regarding the asteroid.
Everyone could see the same thing that Levi had seen; A large asteroid orbiting the Sun and
eventually destroying the Earth.
The group stood speechless as they began to snap out of the trance.
BANG!
Levi had taken out a sledgehammer and pounded the contraption, destroying it.
“I will relay the coordinates of Athio to the American, European, Chinese and Japanese
space agencies so that they can locate it. Then we can talk about what we'll do from there,”
Levi said. He began to pick the pieces of the contraption up, then walked up the stairs.
“Goodnight, everyone,” he told them as he opened his door and turned around to the
crowd.

O

Levi awoke early in the morning, having dreamt of being with his family and playing in the
park together. He was particularly hungry and laughed at the thought of his family having
only water for breakfast.
Thinking of his family made him happy and sad at the same time. But he knew that it
was the best outcome, for he himself would not be on Earth much longer. Then he wondered
where Alphen was.
Turning on the television from his bed, Levi was once again the subject of nearly every
channel he flipped to. He setled on a program that had three people discussing the Athio

104
asteroid.
The first man on television reported, “-has certainly ratled everyone this morning. We
don't know what the reality is, but there's definitely something strange going on. I would be
inclined to at least check it out to let people know that there's nothing to it.”
The woman responded, “Peter, I did reach out to oficials at the European Space Agency
this morning and they confirmed that while they had received an email from Mr. Cavanaugh
several hours ago, they had no plans to take it seriously. They did say that the skies are
monitored all the time and that there was nothing to worry about.”
The second man added, “See, that's what scares me. When someone says that there's
nothing to worry about that's when it's time to worry.”
The first man rebuted, “Martin, I do want to put this in perspective for our viewers. We
don't want to say the sky is falling when there's most likely nothing to worry about. Mr.
Cavanaugh is known to do and say things that are, well, a litle bit out there. And don't forget
he also said he was from another planet. Now, think about that for a moment at how
preposterous that sounds. You and I would never say that we're from another planet-”
The woman interrupted, “That's because we're not.”
The first man replied, “And neither is he. Look, we can all understand the emotional
state he must be in right now. He's reunited with his family once again, he's under a lot of
pressure with Nexus, the media is hounding him-”
The second man said, “You don't find that the least bit strange, Peter? That his son
Alexander shows up over twelve years later not having aged a single day?”
The first man replied, “Look, I'm not saying it's a litle weird. It is. But there are lots of
explanations for that. Mr. Cavanaugh is a very wealthy man. There could have been a private
cloning project on Everymarket Science that the public wasn't aware of, he could have paid a
look-alike, there could be some kind of other technology involved, anything.”
The woman interjected, “You're right, there is something very strange going on with
someone who, as you said Martin, is known for doing and saying strange things. But let's not
forget that it's Levi Cavanaugh, the man who brought us Everymarket and the Universe. Two
things that, I would argue, have done the most to change the world in the past 10 years, or
even the past 100 years. When he says things, even if they sound a litle crazy, people tend to
listen. So, I would hold of judgement until we learn a litle more about what he told everyone
last night.”
The first man responded, “And we're waiting for a response from NASA oficials, so
hopefully we can move on to more sane topics to discuss.”
Levi turned to another station.
A talk show host was asking a panel of guests, “-we don't know. But we do want to
know whether or not it's possible. So, let me ask you this. Is it possible for an asteroid to
destroy life on Earth as we know it? Dr. Wallis, do you want to respond?”
A man on the panel responded, “I just want to say that while it's certainly possible, it's
highly unlikely. In fact, it's so highly unlikely that I would even say it's impossible. And that's
because in space the distances are so vast that even if there was an asteroid headed directly
for Earth the chances of it hiting us are still slim-to-none.”
The host responded, surprised, “Wait. You're saying that even if an asteroid is headed
directly for us it is still unlikely to hit us? Explain that for a moment.”
The man replied, “Of course. Let's say you have a marble and you're-”
Levi turned the television of, satisfied with the exposure the topic was geting. He rose
from his bed and went into the bathroom.

When he got to the kitchen he made himself breakfast. His housekeeper was making fresh

105
orange juice. He stood looking out into the courtyard and imagined being with his family
again, having breakfast.
Levi laughed to himself, again, at the thought of his wife and sons only eating water for
breakfast. His housekeeper looked at him from the corner of her eyes to see if he was okay as
she was squeezing oranges.
“Adelina, when you're finished would you mind preparing my running outfit? I'm going
to go for a run in the park,” he asked her.
“Okay,” she said.
“Why don't you go with me? I noticed you brought your workout gear with you today.”
“I was going to go to the gym afer work today. I want to look good for my wedding,”
she said.
“It's in fify-three days, right?”
“Yes, we're very excited,” she smiled.
“Well, run with me. If you go with me and we run together then people won't recognize
me.”
“I don't know Mr. Cavanaugh. I have so much work to do here.”
“Ah, forget about it. You can do it when you come back. I was going to give you this
house anyway, as a wedding gif. Nobody cleans their own house that much, do they?”
She turned to look at him, unsure of what he said. She turned of the faucet and said to
him, “I'm sorry, I didn't hear you.”
Levi stood next to her, leaning back on the counter. “We're not going to live here
anymore. It's too big,” he said. He took out his keys and ofered them to her. “Here, I want you
to have these.”
“What is that?” she asked as she looked at him, confused.
“These are the keys to your new house,” he said. “Well, it's an old house but it's a new
gif. If you accept it.”
“What? You're joking.”
“No. You've been with us for many years. You're a hard worker and a good friend. You
believed in me when everyone else didn't. Now my wife is happy, my kids are happy and I'm
happy, too. It would make me even more happy if you and your fiancé would accept our
wedding gif.”
“Oh, Mr. Cavanaugh. Even if I wanted to I couldn't. This place is too big for the two of
us. What am I going to-”
“No, don't live here. Take it and sell it. You could get at least two hundred million for it.
Then buy a small house wherever you'd like and open up that business you've always talked
about. Then save the money for your children and their children and their children. This
house will not change my life any more, but I think it will change yours. Am I right?”
Adelina looked at him, not knowing what to say. She was flabbergasted. All she could
think was to hug him, just like she did the day he hired a young girl from Brazil who came to
visit her aunt in New York, had no real work experience, and was looking for a job. She began
to cry.
“Just promise me that afer you buy your house you and your family will spend no more
than one-hundred thousand dollars a year, okay? Please, don't spoil your kids,” he said to her.
“And make sure to bring your parents like you've been talking about all this time. Then your
whole family can be together again.”
She nodded, sobbing into his arms.
Levi looked at her. “Promise me.”
“I promise,” she said, not leting him go.

O

106
Levi soaked in a hot bath, perhaps for the last time. Adelina and he had just come back from
a nice long run and he was thinking about what Alexander had said. “That's where you will
find your treasure,” he remembered him saying, referring to the garden where he met the old
man.
It had been twenty years since he last spoke to the old man. Many times he passed by
but never saw him. Today he looked again, hoping that he would be siting on the bench. He
wasn't, so Levi suggested to Adelina that she take a break from their run and wait for him on
the bench while he checked out the garden. Still, he did not see anything.
“What does he mean?” Levi asked himself. He closed his eyes in the relaxing bathtub as
sof music emanated from the bedroom. He considered whether or not his son meant the
beautiful garden itself and how it could represent the natural wonders of Earth and how it
was home to both the simple and complex.
He thought, 'Is this the treasure? To convince those that could save Earth that it was
worth saving?'
He was prepared for a long and interesting week ahead. In the morning he would check
into a hotel where he would stay until it was time to meet the Ambassador again. He wanted
to simplify his life and just focus on remembering as much as he could about his true self, his
family, and his home.
He slept early that night, tired from the run but excited to begin a new chapter in his
life. He awoke at sunrise, lef a note and some signed documents for Adelina and put a big
pile of cash from his safe on top of the table for her. He would leave nearly everything
behind, save for a few items of clothing and a couple of pairs of shoes. His new life had
begun.
Afer Levi lef his house for the last time, his driver dropped him of a few blocks away
from his destination and he walked to the hotel. He checked in a small suite at the hotel and
called Rhonda to check for messages and let her know where he was.
Levi felt a bit awkward siting in a hotel room by himself with nothing else going on
and no people around him, but he was content. He sat at the table and spent most of the day
looking out of the window at the street below, organizing his thoughts onto paper. Afer some
time he turned on the television to see what was on the news.
“NASA has confirmed that the asteroid, dubbed Athio by Levi Cavanaugh, is in fact on
an apparent collision course for Earth. An amateur astronomer in California yesterday
confirmed the location of the previously-unknown asteroid and alerted the Canberra
observatory in Australia, who confirmed it and alerted oficials at NASA. At this time there is
no statement from NASA about its estimated time of arrival into our solar system,” a news
anchor reported.
Levi turned to another news station. The same story was being reported. Interviews of
people on the street praised Levi, calling him 'a man ahead of his time,' and 'someone who
loves humanity.' There was even one commentator who was taking his otherworldly origins
seriously.
His plan was working.
The next morning he again awoke at six o'clock and began preparing his plans. He took
a long, hot shower, shaved his beard and put on the only suit now in his possession. He was
focused.
Two hours later there was a knock at the door. Levi opened it to reveal the number two
shareholder of Nexus Corporation, Jeremiah Litleton, otherwise known as Lil J. He stood
next to the number three Nexus shareholder, Mrs. Josephine Cofey, the widow of former
Nexus Corporation CEO Jack Cofey.
“Please, come in,” Levi greeted them both.

107
They both entered the suite and sat down. Levi carefully explained his plans to Mrs.
Cofey and answered any other questions or concerns that Lil J had about them.
Levi's plan was simple. Before the U.S. government took over Nexus they would vote to
issue a shareholder rights plan – or poison pill – that would issue hundreds of billions of new
shares of the company on all of its exchanges. It would allow existing shareholders to
purchase new shares for pennies on the dollar and allow shares to be used as megaprizes in
special markets on Everymarket and the Universe. It was risky, especially to their fortunes,
but Levi and Lil J saw no other way. They only needed to convince Mrs. Cofey.
“Lil J, are you sure you want to do this?” Levi asked Lil J.
“No, of course not. But I'm sure I want to do it anyway,” Lil J assured him.
Levi turned to Mrs. Cofey. “Mrs. Cofey?”
Mrs. Cofey looked deep into Levi's eyes and paused before responding. She then said,
“Let's get the bastards who killed my husband!” she demanded.

108
Memory 10
The Return
The following months saw an unprecedented level of technological and scientific
development, just as Levi had planned.
Nexus Corporation had been placed under the control of the U.S. government, who had
by then owned the majority of shares and filled all of the seats on its Board of Directors as
well as all of the senior-level positions. However, Nexus was also forced into honoring what
Levi, Lil J and Mrs. Cofey, by then known in the media as 'The Three Musketeers', had
obligated them to.
Afer news of Athio's impending collision with Earth spread to every corner of the globe
there was a public outcry from people and governments around the world for the U.S. to
allow Everymarket to continue unabated with what it had begun.
Thousands of new Athio-themed markets began, each lasting months to a year or more,
with megaprizes for the winners valued from fify million dollars to two trillion dollars each.
The top prize of two trillion dollars worth of company stock was for the entity that could
successfully steer Athio out of the way, or otherwise prevent Athio from causing any damage
to Earth. Smaller megaprizes, still valued in the tens of millions to hundreds of billions of
dollars, were provided to winners who worked on new technologies that could measure,
monitor, manipulate, control, or facilitate large and small objects in any dimension.
New and improved technologies and methods such as vehicle impulsion, lossless energy
sources, bio-technology, natural (“artificial”) intelligence, 4D printers, physical
internetworking, atomic-scale memory, company structures, engineering processes,
nanomedicine, social devices, teleportation, materialization, and other previously-unimagined
technologies and methods began to flourish. A new space-age renaissance was afoot,
powered by the Nexus universe. People, companies, NGOs, governments, researchers and
universities everywhere scrambled to claim megaprizes. Competition turned to cooperation
as more saw the benefit of sharing knowledge across teams and disciplines.
Levi was more than satisfied that all of this had worked out as he intended, especially
knowing that in a few days he would have a final meeting with the Ambassador and he
would likely be going home again.
Still, he continued to think about his treasure. He would ofen wonder if he had
somehow missed it, or maybe he didn't understand what Alexander or anyone else had been
talking about. His treasure had escaped him, but he was more than happy that Earth was on
a new path to peace and prosperity for, perhaps, thousands of years to come.
'Perhaps saving humanity was the biggest prize of all,' he thought.
Levi knew that he had to go back to the place where he first met the Ambassador. He
was eager to find out what would happen afer that. For so many years he wondered if the
images and stories in his imagination were real. His family, Alphen, and Shoule provided
some validation, but still he wondered if he was really from another world, or if he was truly
'Crazy Levi'. He remembered litle about his 'home' world, if it even existed outside of his
imagination. He wanted to at least remember whole pieces of it. He wasn't sure about going
there, either, as he was already quite happy with his life on Earth.

When he arrived at the location of his former apartment he was shocked. Gone was the
building where the strange and mysterious visitor first peered into his mind; Signage was
placed for a new, taller one being built. He knew that he had to meet her there.

109
“It's gone!” he exclaimed as he stood outside.
Just a few months prior he had passed by the same location and could still see the
fourth floor apartment where he made his home during his Gods & Kings days. Someone else
by then had made it their home. But then it became an empty lot.
He thought to himself, 'What will I do?'
A man walked up to him and stopped. “Hey, there, man,” he said.
Levi looked over to him. “Hey,” he responded.
“Is this your new building?” the man asked.
Levi, disappointed, replied, “Oh, I wish it was. Then I wouldn't be in this predicament.”
“Whatever it is, man, don't worry about it. You're Levi Cavanaugh. If anyone can figure
something out, it's you,” the man encouraged, continuing his walk down the street.
Levi thought about it for a moment. 'That man was me, telling myself something.'
He wondered if it meant he was destined to stay on Earth, or if he had simply forgoten
where to meet afer all this time.
“What am I going to do?” he asked himself, exasperated.

O

It was the last day of his trial. Levi was scheduled to meet with the Ambassador again, just
like he had the year before at the same time, the year before that, and every other year since
he'd been on Earth. That day, however, instead of being in the comfort of a home or hotel he
had slept in an empty lot. Not wanting to miss the Ambassador he decided to sleep where he
had first met her twenty years before.
The light from the sun shone on his face. He had made a pillow out of his sweater, but it
had become soiled and dirty. He slowly opened his eyes. Someone was siting next to him. He
moved to blocked the sunlight with his hands.
“Ambassador?” he asked. He sat up. It was her. “You're early,” he said.
The Ambassador looked to him and smiled, “Do you want me to come back later?”
He laughed and brushed himself of, a bit shocked that she had said anything at all,
much less something amusing.
“You don't need to do that,” she said, looking at what he was doing.
Levi stopped and put his hands in his lap and looked to the Ambassador, waiting for her
to do or say something.
“I wasn't sure if you were going to come. My room is gone,” he said, looking up.
“As it should be. You will leave this world as I brought you into it,” she replied. She then
put her hand on his head, and Levi immediately lost all consciousness.

O

Levi awoke slowly to find himself in a place that he recognized as the Council of Worlds
facility where he made his departure for Earth so long ago, and not-so-long ago. People in
white robes stood around him as he lay on a bed. The only one he recognized was Lului's
brother.
“I am with you, brother,” Motui said. “Congratulations, Levi-an. You are now a true
citizen of Omniwa.”
Levi tried to focus himself. “I am with you, too, Motui.” He looked around the room and
asked, “Where are my parents?”
All the staf looked to Motui, who motioned for them to leave.
When the last person had lef, Motui turned to Levi and said, “That's a bit complicated

110
right now,” Motui worried. “You'll need more time to adjust.”
Levi asked, worriedly, “When can I see them?”
“In time,” Motui assured him.
“And Lului?”
Motui bit his botom lip and searched for the right answer. “My father wants to talk
with you about that, among other things. He'll be here tomorrow.”
Levi tried to get up from his bed. Motui laughed, pushing Levi's shoulders back. “Relax,
my brother,” he said. “You're still weak.”
“What kind of things?” Levi wanted to know.
Motui thought for a moment and said, “It seems that during your stay on Earth, you
learned some things you should not have.”
“Only things that everyone should know. That the Council of Worlds sends children to
dying worlds.” Levi announced.
Motui sat next to him on his bed and responded, “Everyone accepts the reality of the
Trial by Density. It's an Omniwa tradition and it makes us stronger as a people. Ours is the
most powerful planet in the sector. But life here is relatively easy compared to the dificulties
others face. Billions of people from all over the galaxy would love to take your place, Levi-an.
You needed to prove to your fellow citizens that you are worthy of joining them and you do
not take life here for granted. And, you made it back.” He tried to look deep into Levi's eyes
and asked, “Well, have you learned anything?”
Levi smirked and said, “I need more time to adjust before I can answer that question.”
Motui stood up. “Very well. We'll be back tomorrow. I am with you, my brother,” he
ended as he lef the room.
Levi tried unsuccessfully to connect with his parents with his mind. 'Density,' he
thought. The thought of being shut of from nearly everything that he knew tired him. He felt
depressed, even.
That night, Levi felt like he was back in Albany. It was quiet, except there were no
screams, or footsteps, or sounds of heavy doors closing. His body was tired and his sleep was
peaceful. Best of all, he was able to be aware of himself the whole time that he slept, just as
he had missed all these years, or, months.
“I feel so old,” he told himself as he was starting to awaken. The beautiful green light of
the sun covered every part of the room where he stayed. A few technicians were nearby at a
nearby station where the state of his body and mind could be monitored. One technician
walked over to him.
“We are with you,” she said. “How are you feeling today, Levi-an?”
“I feel beter,” he replied. “But when can I go home?”
The technician looked at him worriedly. “They'll be here in a few hours,” she said,
walking away.
“Who?” he asked, to no answer.
Levi again tried to connect telepathically with his parents, but could not. He wondered
how long he would be that way, still as unable to use his powers as he had been on Earth, his
mind still dense from all the stimuli of life there. It was like someone suddenly shut of bright
lights and blaring sounds and then wanted him to go to sleep. Except, he was wide awake. He
could remember everything about his life on Omniwa as well as on Earth. He missed Lului,
his parents, Carolyn, Alexander, Thomas, Lil J and all the wonderful and interesting people he
had met. But for now, they were all as far away as anything else in the galaxy.
Still tired, he slept again and dreamed of himself back on Earth with his parents, his
wife, and sons. Even though he could control his dreams somehow he felt comfortable being
on Earth in his dreams without Lului.

111
As he walked in Central Park, he could see Motui waiting for him a few yards away. As
Levi walked towards him, Motui said, “Levi, wakeup.”
Levi woke up, startled.
“It's okay, Levi. You are with me,” Motui said, removing his hand from Levi's forehead.
He continued, revealing a man behind him, “Levi, this is my father, Geshio-mot.”
Geshio stepped forward. “I have heard a lot about you, Levi-an. I am with you, in honor,”
he said.
“I am with you both,” Levi said as he recovered himself from sleep.
Geshio turned to Motui and said, “Leave us for a moment.”
Motui, bewildered by his father's request, looked at Levi, then to his father again. He
bowed, exiting the room quietly.
Levi sat up with considerable pain, “Geshio-mot, I am with you regarding your concerns
about your daughter and myself. I assure you that I will do everything that I can-”
Geshio interrupted him, “This is not about my daughter.”
“It's not? Then why are you here, if I may ask?”
“My son,” Geshio said as he began to pace around the room. “This is about Earth.”
“Earth?” Levi asked. He paused, then stated, “About the secrets.”
Geshio looked at him seriously. “Yes.” He paused momentarily. “I'm afraid it's out of my
hands. The 33rd Emperor would like to meet with you as soon as you're well.”
“What? The Emperor?” Levi feared. “Forgive me, Geshio-mot. But the Emperor?”
“Forgive me, too, my son,” Geshio sighed. “I am with you,” he said, leaving the room.
Motui tried to stop his father as he lef and asked, “What will happen to him?”
Geshio looked at Motui but said nothing and continued to walk. Motui ran up to Levi as
he lay in bed.
“I can get you to my palace on Ionut. Then we can decide what we can do from there,”
Motui whispered.
Levi laid himself back and thought deeply. Finally, he said, “No. Somehow, it is meant to
be. I have done all that I could do in the best way that I know how. Perhaps it will be good for
me,” he told him.
Motui relaxed his posture and looked about the room. “You know, I've never met the
Emperor before. Not even my father has met the Emperor,” he said, playing with one of the
instruments on the shelves.
“Well, that makes three of us, then,” Levi smiled, thinking of his time on Earth.

O

A few days had passed and Levi felt beter than ever. During the time when he was
recovering he had taught himself to simplify his thoughts using the wisdom he had gained
on Earth, by packaging up more complex thoughts and finding a simple representation for
them. The first thing he did with the new understanding was to simplify his worries
regarding the Emperor, which he packaged up with a simple thought; 'No one I know has ever
met the Emperor, so the possibilities are endless.'
He also understood that there were many things advanced worlds such as Omniwa
didn't understand, that developing worlds like Earth did. “We understand water, but not the
sea,” he would say to himself as he thought about what he had learned on Earth.
He was starting to miss the life he had as a Cavanaugh. But soon, two short,
expressionless technicians arrived to escort him to a transport vehicle. They were dressed in
grey robes and looked quite diferent from the other technicians in the facility. They were
silent, almost lifeless. Levi stared at them from the corner of his eyes as they made their way

112
across the city.
“Where are we going?” Levi asked them as he looked out of the window. The streets
below were becoming familiar. He could even see his neighborhood in the distance. They
were geting closer.
Levi was geting excited. 'They are taking me home,' he reasoned. The thought of seeing
his family again afer so long calmed his mind.
Suddenly, the transport vehicle made a descent into familiar territory. It wasn't his
neighborhood, but it was close.
“Are we stopping for a bathroom break?” he asked the two technicians, trying to get a
good Omniwan laugh out of them. Nothing. He began to get nervous.
The doors opened. He was in front of the mysterious man's house that Kinui had taken
him to see. He was hesitant to get out of the vehicle.
“I don't live here,” he told them.
The technicians sat motionless. One of them then stood up and got out, followed by the
other one. Levi slowly exited the vehicle, as well. The door of the house opened. It was the
mysterious man.
“Welcome,” he called out. “I am with you again,” the man said, arms outstretched. He
wore a simple white robe. He paused, then turned inside his home.
Levi hesitantly walked closer to the mysterious man's front door. The technicians got
back into the transport vehicle and it flew away. He seemed to have no choice but to go
inside.
Stepping inside, he saw that everything looked the same as it had been the last time he
was there one year before.
“Come in, Levi-an,” the mysterious man called out. “We have much to discuss.”
Seeing him in the open area by the garden, Levi walked to where he was.
“I am with you,” Levi said, siting down on the cushion. Levi looked around, then to the
mysterious man. “Are you the 33rd Emperor?” he asked.
The man laughed. “Afer we have finished talking I will take you to see the Emperor. But
for now, let us talk as friends,” the man said.
“Okay,” Levi said, geting comfortable and looking around.
“How was your time on Earth? I understand that you were there for twenty-one years,
is that right?”
“Yes, twenty-one years. It was long, but I learned a lot during that time.”
The man looked deep into his eyes. He stated, “Now you are a true citizen. What will
you do?”
Levi considered the man's question before answering. “I hadn't thought about that,
actually.”
“I can understand. You've had a lot on your mind. I was also very confused when I came
back from my Trial.”
“Oh? What planet did you go to?” Levi asked.
The man was stumped by the question. “Just a distant planet,” he responded. “But let's
talk about what you'll do from now on.”
“I thought about continuing work in the Nexus. You know, helping my family. Then I
would like to go to the university.”
The man smiled. “Go on,” he said. “What would you like to study at the university?”
“I'm not sure yet but I want to help people. I want to try to save Earth.”
“Earth,” the man responded disappointedly. “Why would you want to do that?”
“I went to look for my treasure, just as you did. What I found was that the beings on
Earth, the humans, were themselves a treasure. They had made themselves something very

113
special. I saw it everyday, in the world that they had built up, in the way that people
communicated with each other even though they could not read their minds. I saw it in the
way they shared their lives with strangers and in the way they loved, even things they did
not know. They couldn't communicate like we can. But in a way, they did. It was another type
of connection – an imaginative one, where their possibilities went beyond the dense
physical.”
“You can talk to me about the secrets you've learned. It's okay,” the man suggested.
“Well, I know the Council of Worlds sends us to dying planets. But I want to implore the
people of Omniwa to do something to save Earth. It has something very unique and very
special the deeper we look. I want Omniwa to see itself in Earth. I was thinking that we can
perhaps relocate them to one of our moons, or something, before they're all dead. The
essence of humanity cannot be captured in any one technology or idea, or product, or one
way of doing things. Those things are just ways for them to interact with the extent of their
own consciousness, to organize the naturally-chaotic paterns found in the universe and to
simply get to know oneself. That essence cannot be lost. I want to let the Council know and
every Omniwan to know about this,” Levi poured out.
“And you believe that these humans have the capacity to do something great?” the man
asked.
“Yes, given more time.”
The man thought carefully for a moment, staring out into his garden. Finally, he said,
“Levi-an, there is nothing that can be done about that. Things are as they should be and
perhaps soon you'll understand why.”
Levi shifed in his seat, unsure of what to say.
“I think it's time for you to meet the Emperor,” the man said, standing up.
Levi anxiously stood up, too. “Now?” he wondered.
The man looked at him and then began to walk. Levi followed closely behind. The man
led him past the foyer and down another hallway, then down a set of stairs. Finally they
arrived at a spherical room with a radius of about five meters. Around the room, on the floor,
was what looked to be large jewels of some kind. There were lights emanating from inside the
wall, which itself looked to be made of stone. The man directed Levi to stand next to him,
near the center of the room.
“Your parents are Thani and Pari, right?” the man inquired.
Levi nodded his head, puzzled by such a question.
The man paused, then said, “Okay.” He began to walk back.
Levi, confused, followed him. “Were we doing something?”
“Follow me,” the man said. He walked out of the spherical room which, instead of stairs,
connected with a long corridor. Along the corridor were many other spherical rooms of
diferent colors and brightness.
“Are we still in your home?” Levi asked.
“No. This is the palace of the Emperor,” the man replied.
As they reached the end of the corridor they came upon a vast spherical room that had
many other corridors connecting to it like the spokes of a wheel. At the center of the room
was a white stone bowl about three meters across that rested on an even larger base. Within
the bowl shone a brilliant, yet fuzzy white light. The man stopped in front of the bowl and
waited for Levi to join him.
Levi was amazed by the height and size of the room. “Where are we going now?” he
asked the man.
“I am with you, my Emperor,” the man spoke.
Confused, Levi looked around himself and to the other side of the bowl.

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“This,” the man opened his hand towards the bowl, “is the Emperor.”
“May I ask, if this is the Emperor, who are you?”
“I am one of many of the Emperor's representatives. As you can see, the Emperor does
not take a physical form like you and I. It is here, in this device.”
Levi circled around it, in awe. “How does it work?” he wondered.
“That's an interesting question,” the man said, looking at Levi from the side. “It is a
computing device powered by implosive and explosive photical charges. It works by moving
the charges from one place to another.”
“Photical charges? You mean, light?”
“Something like that. You see, everything that you can see and everything that you
can't, is made of light. But it is also made of darkness. Your thoughts, dreams, physical
mater, sound, words, everything needs these two forces to exist. A thought, for example, is
simply what happens when one force is balanced with its opposite. This Balance is called The
Way. What the Emperor does is represent the relationship between one thing and other in
order to determine the Balance that is required in the Empire.”
“Okay. Well, how does it represent a relationship?”
“It just makes it up.”
“I don't understand.”
“Sure you do. What do you get when you add five and ten together?
“Fifeen.”
“Where was fifeen before you came up with it?”
Levi thought about it for a moment.
The man asked, “How about five? Would the concept of five exist if no one thought of
it?”
“No, because we made it up,” Levi concluded.
“Yes. So it doesn't mater if we make something up. As long as it's a good
representation. So, when I say 'five' you know what I mean, right?”
“Right.”
“Even though we just made it up, we can still use it to determine what the relationship
is between five and ten. So if we see that our answer is 'fifeen' but it turns out that 'eleven' is
a actually a beter Balance in the Empire, then what do we need to do?”
“We take four out and put it somewhere else?”
“That is exactly what we can see. And it turns out that there is a 'four' missing from
somewhere else because of all the shufling going around. This way, we know what to do. See,
the universe is just randomness, a chaos that we organize into something that makes sense
by merely perceiving it. Because it is all random, things are always in need of Balance. Thus,
the Emperor.”
Levi wondered, “The Emperor controls the entire galaxy?”
“Not the entire galaxy, just our sector. Some of the other sectors may use similar
devices for diferent purposes, but we have found a very nice Balance between chaos and
order with the device you see before you,” the man said. He looked to Levi and continued,
“The 33rd sector is too important and too vast to be overseen or managed by any one person.
There must be a single, long-term plan that balances all forces together.”
“But the numbers aren't real. How does that work?”
The man answered, “A representation is only real when you're not interacting with it.
The number 'five' isn't solid, yet you can use it to interact with other numbers when you want
to build a house or perform accounting, right?”
“Right.”
“So the representation becomes the reality because it can interact with another

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representation. The numbers are an illusion when you're looking at them, but when you look
away the relationship between the illusions becomes real,” the man said, then paused.
“Everything that you perceive is one of these illusions, no mater how solid or abstract they
appear, from the numbers, to the sound of my voice, to your eyes, to this room, to the light,
to this device. All illusions that interact together forming the reality of relationships that we
experience,” he ended.
“May I ask, what do all of these illusions have to do with my visit to Earth? How can we
help our Emperor?”
“On your journey, you uncovered some secrets that others are not aware of.”
Levi stated, “Well, now I understand that it is necessary to send Omniwans to dying
worlds for their Trial by Density because the Emperor has seen that it helps to balance things.
And that the worlds, the people on them and their eventual destruction, are all illusions.”
“Not quite, Levi. The reality is far greater than we realize.”
“How is that?”
The man struggled to come up with the right words. He finally said, “There is no other
way to say this, Levi. We began to send people to dying worlds once we found out, through
the Emperor, that it is how you will find your treasure.”
“Me? My treasure? What treasure? The treasure I found is humanity. And I want to save
them!”
“The treasure, Levi, is your mind,” the man revealed.
“My mind?”
“Your mind,” the man stated. He continued afer a pause, “Just as we have come up with
numbers to represent other concepts, making them more simple so that we can work with
them, some of us are able to come up with greater representations to simplify even more
complex concepts. We normally call these kinds of people special minds, geniuses, or high
intellects.” The man turned to the Emperor and framed it with his hands and said, “This
device, you see, was built by your sons.”
“My sons? Alexander and Thomas? They are just children. Besides that, Omniwa is far
older than they are.”
The man looked troubled. He stated, “The Emperor is not limited by spacetime. Neither
is the Council of Worlds. Once we knew that the Balance was going to come from someone
on their Trial who would be sent to a dying world, we decided to send all Omniwans on their
Trial to dying worlds. But we didn't want to limit ourselves to worlds that would die in the
future, but also the past. So, we began to import technologies and ideas from other worlds in
order make certain things possible for us, like ESC and advanced telepathy.”
“ESC?”
“Forgive me, Levi-an. ESC is expanded spacetime consciousness. It's an algorithm that
enables us to use our minds to travel through time.”
“But, the past is the past. How is that possible?”
The man began, “As you learned, even the present is the past. How is it possible that we
are able to talk here when you can only hear my voice as it was in the past? You look at me,
but you are only looking at how I was before, not how I am now. We are not able to
experience now, because it doesn't really exist. We can only experience things that are relative
to us. It is our own way of organizing the chaos so that we can experience our self.” He
paused for a moment, then continued, “Levi-an, the Emperor has a gif for you.”
“A gif?”
The man nodded his head, then closed his eyes. He stated, “My Emperor, we are with
you.” He then outstretched his hand to prompt Levi.
Levi said, “I am with you, my Emperor.”

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Just then Levi was swarmed with the stimuli of new experiences. Immediately, he found
himself on another world. There was a house surrounded by a lake and trees and bright
sunshine. He could see two old men. One began to speak.
“Hello, dad. We are with you. Thomas and I are sending you this message in the hopes
that one day you will experience it. Things are wonderful with us and we've been very good,”
Alexander said. “Mom passed some years ago, but she always spoke about you and the
beautiful moments that you shared together. She missed you very much,” he spoke.
Thomas spoke, “Well, dad, we did it. Thanks to the Nexus and the Universe we were able
to create this machine that you see in front of you now. It's a third generation and we've been
working on it for many, many years. We're just happy that you finally realized that the
treasure you were looking for was with you the whole time.” Thomas tapped his temple with
his index finger. “Your mind has made all of this possible and much more, and we have you to
thank for all that you've given us. All the love and wisdom that you've shared, every second
we've ever spent with you, especially our walks in the park. We've missed you, dad and we
know you miss us too. Goodbye for now,” he ended.
“We love you, dad!” Alexander and Thomas said in unison.
Tears ran down Levi's face. He was overwhelmed with emotion. He tried to find
someplace to sit and ended up siting on the floor.
“My apologies, Levi-an. We don't have any seats,” the man said. “I guess the Emperor
hadn't thought of that one yet.”
Levi laughed and wiped his tears. He composed himself for a few moments as the man
sat next to him, looking out to the corridors.
“Wow. I'm just-” Levi sighed and paused. “So I was sent back in time?”
The man agreed. “The past exists now but, yes, you could say that you were sent to
another spacetime.”
“So the treasure I was looking for was with me all along,” Levi concluded.
The man responded, “Indeed. The ability to change your reality is the greatest treasure
there is. The understanding that you can experience any kind of reality you desire, using the
power of your own thoughts to build structures in your reality, is far greater than any kind of
material wealth or power. It is something inherent in each of us, but few of us discover.”
Levi pondered, “But why did I need to go to Earth to find it?”
The man responded, “We all need to find the path to this understanding. Yours was losing
your ability to dream when you went to Earth. So, the beautiful mind that you have, you
recreated your dreams in your everyday life on Earth. Your habit and desire to shape your dreams
was so strong that you ended up changing the structure of your entire waking reality.”
“Through light?”
“Our thoughts and dreams are made of a kind of light, as I mentioned, and so are emotions
and physical mater. You found out how to use your thoughts to afect the structure of physical
reality and Balance force with force. You learned very soon that your dreams were real. This is
something that takes the gods many, many years to understand. But then, you did something
even more wonderful. You brought the ability to change reality down to Earth and made it
practical for everyone to use all the time. And you called it The Nexus.”
Levi sat still for a moment, then asked, “What happened to Earth?”
“Earth,” the man began, “is doing fine because of your work. They were able to
successfully re-direct the asteroid to another orbit. Afer that, they began exploring and
colonizing other parts of space. Within a few hundred years afer you had lef they had
colonies on many planets in this sector and in other sectors. Most were peaceful, because
each world had its own version of the Nexus.” The man smiled, “The largest of these colonies
was called Omniwa.”
“Omniwa already sees itself in Earth, because that is where we came from!” Levi

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exclaimed.
The man nodded his head.
“The Nexus is everywhere? Not just Omniwa?” Levi asked.
“That's right. The original Nexus came from Earth. From your mind, Levi. It was
exported to millions of worlds all over the galaxy, in one form or another. But now you have
also, surprisingly, given us another gif,” the man stated. He emphasized, “The Universe.”
“You didn't know about the Universe before?”
“Not until your Trial. Spacetime is fluid. Things in the future can change and are
dynamic, but also things in the past can change. The beginning is everywhere because there
is no beginning. The beginning is at each moment, in an imperceptible now,” the man
revealed. He thought about something, then continued, “It wasn't until you, Levi, that beings
in the galaxy learned the benefits of consciously creating something with a limitation. It is
our nature to make things that are designed to go on forever, without end. Endless growth,
endless development, endless profits. But you introduced something that was more in accord
with universal Balance. You introduced the idea of conscious, purposeful limitation. Instead
of endless stock markets that went on forever you created time-limited markets that could be
used everywhere. People saw the benefits of these built-in limitations and there was a new
age of tremendous prosperity and evolution. You had helped us all to find The Way.”
“The Way is in each of us,” Levi stated mater-of-factly.
“Indeed it is. But we do not ofen see it. It is dificult to find a path between the
simplicity and complexity. We naturally want things to be more and more complex. If
something is too simple we think it is not useful. Complexity is actually how we bring order
to the chaos. It is natural. Order is the Eternal Reflection of a nothingness that we cannot
otherwise see. The Eternal Reflection is simply perception. But you reminded us that we can
have both chaos and order, simplicity and complexity, working together harmoniously.”
“Like the human body,” Levi stated. “Where we simplify the electro-biological
complexities we cannot see by covering it with layers of simplicity that we can see, with cells
and skin representing and interfacing with the more complex structure within it,” he
concluded.
“An interface with reality. Like the human body,” the man confirmed. “And everything
else in the universe. We had only to realize it. We had only to realize what the universe is
inherently inclined to do and see the tremendous benefits of designing things that way,
consciously.”
Levi added, “Like you said, the number five simplifies the concept of 'five' by
representing it, limiting its complexity. We can then do something much greater because of
this, like adding numbers together and eventually going into space.”
The man responded, “Indeed. We went from looking at a wheel and thinking that a
beter wheel should be bigger and faster, to realizing that a beter wheel is a simple one that
could eficiently turn the space around it.”
Levi pondered, “A simplicity that feeds back into itself when it meets complexity makes
for a kind of evolution that complexity alone could not have realized.”
“Your mind,” the man smiled and made motions with his hands, “is why I'm siting
here!”
“But what about my parents? What about Lului? Why can't I go home?” Levi worried.
The man sighed, “Well, we don't know what to do with you. But we did want you to see
the message from your sons that we discovered while you were on your Trial.” He paused,
then stated, “You see, Levi, Lului is a direct descendant of your son Alexander.”
“What? You've got to be kidding!” Levi exclaimed.
“I'm afraid it is true, Levi. You have many, many direct descendants in the nobility. Even

118
the Ambassador for your Trial is one of your descendants. Many of them even carry your
name.”
Levi became troubled. He thought about what the man said and realized, “Lului-o
Kavana-Wa.” He then asked, surprised, “Cavanaugh?”
The man nodded and sighed. “As you know, Levi, such relationships are forbidden in the
Empire. That is why we are at a loss,” he stated. “Some of the other representatives and I
would like to ofer you your own solar system,” he continued. “We have one in particular in
mind. It has a total of twelve planets, two of which are as hospitable as Omniwa. Seven of
them are very rich in resources. They are all yours, if you want them. You could begin a
colony there, if you'd like. We'll start you of with forty-five lanh to build a civilization, which
is thirty times more wealth than even Motui's family has. You could even bring your parents
and provide them with a comfortable life for the rest of their days.”
Levi shakes his head, “What about Lului?”
“About that, I'm afraid there's nothing we can do. Her father doesn't know any of the
things that we just spoke about. Such knowledge is reserved only for the Emperor's
representatives. And yourself,” the main conceded.
“Can I ask. If you're one of the Emperor's representatives then you're one of the most
powerful beings in the Empire, correct?”
The man nods. “With great humility, that is correct. But we can only interpret what the
Emperor has already calculated. We cannot change the calculation.”
“That is understood. I am willing to accept what the Emperor finds is best for Balance
to be maintained. But I am curious...”
“Yes?”
Levi inquired, “Why do you live in such a simple house?”
The man chuckled. “I have another place here, in the palace, that is even simpler. A
room, really. By living among Omniwa's people we would hope that we are treated the same
no mater who we are. And, more importantly, that we would learn to feel as most Omniwans
do. That is because each person can be found in everyone else. The greatest can be found in
the depths of the least and the least can be found in the memory of the greatest.”
“And this is how the Emperor considers it?” Levi asked.
The man replied, “Yes. It is best for Balance if our lives are neither too simple, nor too
complex. Our way, of course, is in the middle. If we drowned ourselves in wealth and riches
and distracted ourselves with too many material things, or lacked the basic necessities, we
wouldn't have Balance in our lives and would not be able to clearly interpret the path that is
before us.”
Levi nodded slightly and said, “Perhaps one day I can learn to be a representative.”
“Perhaps,” the man smiled.
“Then I have decided what I wish to do!” Levi concluded.
“What's that?” the man wanted to know.
Levi stated proudly, “I wish to have neither a simple nor complex life and live as most
Omniwans do. I would like to go back home to my family and live a peaceful life satisfied
with the knowledge that I have found my treasure and my human family was happy and
lived a good life.”
The man asked, surprised, “You would turn down an entire solar system to call your
own, and forty-five lanh, in order to be with your mother and father on Omniwa and live a
simple life?” He paused before adding, “With great respect, are you certain that you don't
need time to think about this, Levi-an?”
“It is obvious for me, actually. I am now a true citizen. My home is on Omniwa with my
parents. And I will love them as much as my sons loved me, for as long as I am able to. And I

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have my imagination, so I am satisfied knowing that there really is no limit to what my mind
can do, only the limitations that I place on it for there to be Balance in my reality.”
The man was joyous, and stated, “You are a true citizen of Omniwa!” He thought for a
moment, and turned serious, saying, “But no one can ever know what we have talked about
today. No one can ever know the tremendous sacrifice you have just made.”
Levi, looking very pleased with how things turned out, said, “The Emperor knows. And
in some way, deep in the fabric of the universe, so does everyone else.”

THE END

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