It began with a big bang. In an explosion of great contrasting orange and violet hues, Nicolas Kepler observed through that great magnified glass eye, provided by his universities observatory, his first supernova.

Unbeknownst to Mr. Kepler, this was also the same moment in time that all the world’s reptilian and various other insects ostensibly vanished without a trance. The insects fled for reasons pertaining to those animals who slither upon their bellies, and likewise, the reptiles departed due to that other mammalian lot, whose actions had been of such detrimental effect to the earth’s climate.

Interestingly enough, the only thing that was left to remain, was that of the shadings of the later genesis, as if in unison, they had all entered into a collective hyper-meditation, pealing themselves of this world into some other dimension. Also, at this time, it should be noted that the entire globe saw an increased peak in radio station playings of both, “Fireflies,” and “I’m a Chameleon.”

Hands trembling with excitement, Nicolas recorded on his clipboard the details of the event. The room darkened for an extensive camera obscura like effect, one could barely make out that information, in that it occurred some 369.12 parsecs away from the Earth’s surface, out in the close proximity of the Andromeda galaxy, at precisely 12:12 a.m. in the morning, on April, 4th, in the year of our Lord, 2017. These notes were all the less legible, when considering the chicken scratch fashion in which its author jotted them down.

Still, Nicolas paced back and forth between the telescope located in the center of that fifteen by eighteen foot room, to the various television screens proved up against its walls, projecting the image of the great telescope, as to get the best observation of the particular phenomenon.

“Dear universe, how I wish to understand thee more clearly,” he muttered to himself, as he returned back to the center of the room, his shaky hands fidgeting with the dial before him as to better focus on the specific region, or quadrant of space.

As if in response to his prayer, Nicolas could faintly make out the sound of a random joyous yells, catcalls, and jubilant echoes of laughter, somewhere from outside of the observatory.

His mind immediately recalled having been informed of a frat party on campus, in one of the nearby dorms, and he quickly counted it off to be the result of such.

“How I do wish these walls were sound proof,” he said aloud to the empty room, and then proceeded to sit himself down at his lone desk, situated parallel to the mighty lens. As he did so, he fidgeted with a microscopic stamp on the far left side of the desk, and rather curiously, went about inserting the tiny parcel of paper into his mouth, which he washed down with a glass of orange juice, that was placed on the opposite corner.

That is a very subtle, and indirect way of saying, that despite his studious nature with regard to the field of astrophysics, and his astute degree of professionalism, that Nicolas had recently taken up experimenting with LSD< and other modes of DMT. It was his hopes that in so doing, that he would achieve expanding his sense of consciousness.

For the next thirty minutes, he simply sat motionless in the comforts of his chair. From his perspective, it felt as if he had become absorbed, or rooted in the seat, and everything else seemed to become as one.

Much to his surprise, the next thing that he knew, it was as if he was engulfed in the image on the screen, and he found himself hurdling towards that cepheid variable star that had only just recently sent its sound waves throughout the cosmos, and to his astonishment, it was cool enough to touch, and o he reached his hands out through it.

To the fly on the wall observer, it would have been quite the sight to watch as Nicolas reached out, in an E.T. like manner out towards the television monitor with a fixed stare in that empty room.

“Fuck me, I’m way too high for this shit,” he finally let out, with a prolonged emphasis placed on the me, at which point his hands collapsed neatly into his lap. “Fuck it, I might as well see what’s going on at that party.”

With that, Nicolas rose up from out of his seat, and made his way to the exit on the opposite side of the room. He paused briefly upon reaching the doorway, and did a quick double take of the room behind him.

“Namaste,” he said with a slight chuckle to himself in noting the little play of words as if he were saying, “No, I’m going to stay.”

“Shit, yeah, I’, way too lifted for this right now,” and with that, Nicolas Kepler made his leave from the small observatory.

Nicolas stumbled through the wooded area leading back to the university. However, this wasn’t much of a shock, as he was having difficulties tucking his formal lue button up shirt into his matching slacks, in attempt to make himself appear more presentable. Nor, did it help matters that his attention was lost somewhere in the heavens up above, where a shooting star had streaked past, and given the circumstances, was replaying itself over and over again in his mind, as if a shutter camera was recording the event in slow motion; a fact that did not play well with his photographic memory.

Once his shirt was finally tucked away, Nicolas withdrew his black, rectangular framed glasses from out of the depths of his pockets, and placed them on the bridge of his long nose, thus bringing his frame of reference out in front of him, and it caused him to pause abruptly in his tracks at the majestic view before him.

Everything before him appeared to have with it, it’s own radiance, as if omitting a presence of some sort from each individual object. The lively green blades of grass beneath his feet, fluttered to and fro with each gush of wind, and even more miraculously, was the way that they did so, almost in sheer synchronicity with the branches and leaves of the trees surrounding him, as if they were playfully laughing at his current state of being.

Just beyond that, where the naked eye could only make out the edge of the spherical horizon, did he note the beauty of each sparkling star in the distance, as if they were playing some melodic symphony up above, as was written in Harmonies of the World, or to the degree in which Van Gogh tried so earnestly to illustrate.

What’s more, was that in taking this sight in, along with the way that the ground met the horizon at the point where the cosmos began, that Nicolas couldn’t help but to believe that there really was a sense of unity, continuity, or oneness to the general grand design of our universe.

Upon entering the dormitory of the Betta Kappa Phi frat, Nicolas felt an enormous surge of overwhelming energy from the lively activity from within the room; a room that was overcrowded, with its light coming off as ten times too bright, and in which everyone’s movements where perceived to him to be as too swift, and he was even quite sure that he could hear each of the individual partygoers different movements, and it was a sensory overload for him to say the least.

“Hey, Nicolas, there you are. I didn’t think you’d muster the courage to leave the observatory. I’m glad that you came,” Christopher Brae, one of Nicolas’s fellow classmates collared from a couch alongside the community pool table, adjacent to the doorway. “Why on earth are you shielding your head like that Nicolas?”

“Is it just me, or does that chandelier seem to be much more illuminated than usual,” Nicolas answered, with a question of his own.

“No, Nicolas, I’m pretty sure that its running off the same wattage as always. That’s Nick for you though, I suppose; sensitive about everything. Are you feeling okay Nick, or is it getting too late for you?”

“Well, if I may be quite honest, I did drop some acid like forty-five minutes ago, and by this point, I am tripping balls, as they would say. Really booming,” Nicolas replied matter of factually, as if it were a common thing to do; a statement that only resulted in silence from the guests in the nearby vicinity.

“Oh Nicolas, you’ve always been quite the jokester. If that was the case, why didn’t you let me have any, “ Christopher brilliantly quipped, downplaying the remark. “Anyways, Nick, I’d like you to meet my lovely acquaintances that I’ve only been graced with the privilege to just have met. This is Aurora Darling, and Chelsea Thayer,” Christopher went on, motioning to the ladies sitting on either side of him with a smug grim breaking out across his face; an attribute that along with his tawny blonde hair, and vibrant blue eyes, made it all the more evident as to why he was known to be quite the charmer.

“Aurora, like the Aurora Borealis,” Nicolas asked curiously, without any real sense of practical formalities.

“Quite,” Aurora answered flatly.

“Are you quite aware that your name literally means beauty, or beautiful darling?”
“Yes,” she responded in the same short tone of voice, all the while looking down into her glass of red wine, which brilliantly complimented her fiery, curly red hair.

“Anyways,” Christopher went on picking up on his cue to break up yet another uncomfortable silence, “Nicolas, we were actually talking about Astronomy, your favorite. Would you mind enlightening us with your absurd little theory about how we are the cosmos experiencing itself,” Christopher inquired jestingly.

“It’s simple really, when you stop to think about it. I’ll start with a question in order to prove my point; would you agree that the most essential, and simple observable quality of the universe is that it is something which is expanding out into nothingness?”

“On that note, yes, I would have to agree with you Nicolas.”
‘Precisely. Now, I would live you to pay close attention to this room, and more specifically to yourself. As a physical material being, a human being, your body is quite literally something, and given the vastness of this room, or in other words, empty space, in which you expand throughout in any of your given actions or movements. Furthermore,  just as there are an incalculable number of astrological entities that interact with one another, this quality is also observable in the countless number of ways we engage, and interact with one another. Thus, we are the universe experiencing itself, and each person a different universe of sorts in and of themselves. I could elaborate, but I’m quite sure that would take most of the night and would only bore you stiff, especially when considering that you’ve decided to dedicate your life to understanding the banalities that is macroeconomics. I swear, we have enough resources to feed the entire populace with more than four pounds of food a day in grains alone, but its people like you and your urgent sense of pecuniary emulation that try to convince us otherwise, and it makes me sad,” Nicolas went off, looking upwards as he did so, as if it were both off the top of his head, and the most obvious thing in the world.

“Nicolas, that is priceless. One has to pay the bills after all, and surveying the stars hardly does that, but fuck you, and your astronomically stupid high IQ. You would never guess it either. What with how much time he spends to himself, doing God knows what in that observatory,” Christopher commented with another loud scoff.

“I think it is rather profound actually. It is simple, yet elegant, and unquestionably accurate representation of the universe. Not to mention beautiful,” Aurora interjected looking up from her wine glass, and for the first time, Aurora and Nicolas’s eyes connected, and Nicolas lost himself in the mesmerizing quality of her emerald green eye. He was also rather taken aback by the large rounded bejeweled spectacles, that were aqua green in color, which were their counterpart, and that highlighted them all the more.

Meanwhile, Chelsea crossed both her arms and legs, with a quick turn of the neck, which sent her recently straightened blonde hair the opposite direction, clearly upset that she wasn’t being paid any notice.

“What is it,” Aurora asked after another prolonged silence issued amongst their group, noticing the odd expression that Nicolas had on his face.

“Oh, it’s silly really. Like I have previously mentioned, I am high as a fucking kite, which is causing a bit of a sensory overload for me at the moment. That, and I don’t know whether or not as to comment how your hair is so vibrant a red, that it quite looks like its ablaze atop of your head, or that your glasses give you this certain, I don’t know, insect like characteristic, which is really fascinating. Also, and I’m veery sure this is most embarrassing, a part of me has the strongest inclination to ask if you’re Jewish or not,” Nicolas let out rapidly, pointing to the silver necklace around her neck, which resembled the star of David, and whose parabola ended at the neckline of her silky black dress, which was almost an identical replica of that of Chelsea’s.

“No, I’m not, my belief system is, well difficult to express into words, and is of a more ineffable essence. But, religious preferences aside, how would you like to take a little stroll with me Nicolas?”

“Hey look, you’re wearing sandals, and they have little June-bugs on the. Oh, wait, yes, I think I would like that very much. It is simply ravishing out tonight,” Nicolas responded, his attention diverted all over the place.

“It was lovely chatting with you all, but I believe our little scholar here should best be getting to bed, and could use a little escort home. Have a good night you two,” Aurora said as she wrapped her arm around Nicolas’s waist, as if she were assisting a drunkard who had lost his way, and on that note, the two of them turned on their heels, and made their way to the front door of the large dormitory.

All the while, Christopher and Chelsea watched them leave with black expressions drawn across their faces.

“Who would have thought? I sure didn’t see that coming, not even on my best day,” Christopher finally let out as the door snapped shut behind them, saying so with a slight twist of the neck as to better look at Chelsea. “How does another drink sound,” he asked, flashing his boyish grin once more, only to be met by a scoff from Chelsea.

“I think I’ll see if I can find anyone else I know here,” she remarked, jumping off the couch, bolting away from the small love seat as she did so.

“Alright then,” Christopher said to himself, patting his knees s he did so. “Thank you Nicolas.”

“Wait a second, we’re going the wrong way. My living quarters is in the other direction,” Nicolas exclaimed after some time of walking back in the direction of the observatory, the cool night air flirting with their senses as they made their way through the vast darkness.

“I know we’re not, but we’re not going to your place,” Aurora objected, her eyes fixed directly in front of her, towards a large barn out in the distance.

“Really, does that mean we’re going to your place then,” Nicolas countered inquisitively.

“I suppose you could say something like that, yeah,” answered Aurora with a nod, which sent her curly locks bouncing atop her crown.

“So tell me, what’s your story?”

“Well, before I answer that, let me ask you a question of my own. What are you thoughts pertaining to aliens?”

“My thoughts about Aliens? Well, I believe that giving that we live in an infinitely expanding universe, with varying theories in existence ranging from how we live in a multiverse, to how black holes lead to other universes, I think that it is quite ridiculous to be convinced that we are the only intelligent lifeforms out in the universe. That being said, I think either notion is extremely terrifying to consider. Either we are the apex of the universe, and we are the only intelligent lives, or quite the opposite, and that is not a settling thought to examine further, such as whether or not other life is like our own, or whether or not they are peaceful, or hostile beings. Why so ever do you ask?”

“Too right you are on more than one account, and lets just say I’m curious like a cat. Well, we’re here.

Nicolas was taken back by this remark as they had arrived at grand abandoned red barn located off to the outskirts of the observatory, and the only thing that could be hear was the occasional mooing of a nearby cow.

“You have to be kidding me. This is your place? Why, this dump has been deserted for years. Why would you bring me here? Explain yourself,” Nicolas demanded of his new acquaintance.

“Well, Nicolas that’s the thing. What you see before you is not a barn. It is actually a space ship. On a similar note, I’m not quite what I appear either. I’m really an alien, a gray, or insect species to be exact, and the star in which you observed its total collapse of was that of my own solar system.” As soon as the words has parted her lips, the distant sound of mooing was the only response that she received, as Nicolas slowly processed the information he had only just received.

“”Okay, Aurora is it? I’ve already confined into you that I am far too high to even remotely function right now, and you don’t have to poke fun at my condition. Or, if it is a ploy to get me to sleep with you, you’re breathtakingly attractive, and intelligent for that matter, and don’t have to stoop to such lows. We could have gone to either of our dorms, or somewhere out in nature for that matter. This is hardly the fitting place however, especially for a quick fuck. I don’t even thing those eccentric furry lovers would find such a place suitable. That, or you are more crazy that I am; I can’t rightly discern this fact as of yet. I guess that’s to say I’m not fully sure how to assimilate this data that you’ve bestowed upon me.”

“There’s not much here to grasp; you’re an intellectual Nick. You said it yourself that the possibility of lies was likely given the differing variables, and I’m telling you that you’re right, and that I’m one of them, well, one of many subspecies, and that is capable of shapeshifting to be exact.”

“Okay, shut the fuck up about your insect ship. I’m starting to lean towards your bat shit crazy, and if I’m not mistaken, more so than my ex-fiancé, and that’s saying a lot, as she was under the notion that she could see ghosts. It’s not funny anymore. Yes, I get my jollies off to all things related t space, but it’s rude to make light of an individual’s field of work.”

“I see how it must be hard for your to let go of your indoctrinated beliefs. Here let me show you then,” Aurora said, ignoring the confused look on Nicolas’s face, while stepping forward several yards, pressing on the little star hanging from her neck as she did so.

All of a sudden, there was a low pitch humming noise that came from the barn in front of them, which sent the cows surrounding them fleeing in every which direction. As for the large farm house, it began to take on a distorted pixalated form, and started rearranging itself right before their eyes, until a large black spaceship replaced it.

The aircraft in question had a rounded triangular shape to it, like some three dimensional parabola with flared out pointed ends. It had a striking resemblance to one of those military grade U2 stealth bombers, with the exception that it slightly hovered above the ground in which it was located.

“So, what do you think now,” Aurora asked as she turned to face Nicolas, but she received no reply; Nicolas merely stood rooted in place, running his hands through his jet-black hair done up in a gentleman’s cut, with his mouth hanging ajar. “Nicolas, what is it?”

“What is it,” Nicolas repeated, “I just saw a barn transform into a spaceship through what I believe is a holographic clocking device. You claim to be some sort of bug-like alien, and you have the audacity to ask, what is it?” Clearly, this is not real. Its an illusion of sorts, a really good one at that, and I’m actually safely in the confines of the observatory, fried out of my mind. This is definitely the most logical explanation for all of this. God, this is some good shit,” Nicolas bursted out all at once, the unease in his voice more than evident.

“Nicolas, I think you’re in shock, and I don’t blame you. It’s a lot to take in, I’m sure. But let me ask you something. Did you not ask to understand the universe before you went to that little party of no particular significance?”

“Well, yes, I did,” Nicolas started before trailing off mid-sentence. “Wait one second, how is it that you know that. Come to think of it, I don’t like that you do know one bit. I was alone in the observatory, I’m most certain of it.”

“I’ll make sure to touch on that matter later. But, to answer the question to your heart’s innermost desire, how would you like to come to understand the universe, and experience it for yourself first hand; knowledge of the universe on an entirely empiricist level, as opposed to just through the operations of the mind?”

“I would have to say that I am never experimenting with hallucinogenics again. With that, sign me up, and when do we start,” Nicolas replied, after a pause.

‘ “Right now,” Aurora answered with a smile, and then she walked over to where Nocolas stood frozen in place, and took his hand. “Come with me Nicolas,” she cooed, leading him underneath the great black aircraft.

“Once they were beneath it, Aurora clicked on her star shaped necklace once more, and a great blinding white light illuminated itself from its bottom most hemisphere. At the same time, a thin circular object, of the same design, descended down from the aircraft, rotating slowly in place as it did so, until it touched down on the ground before them with a thump.

“What are you waiting for? Get on Nicolas,” Aurora said, as she stepped atop of the circular object, and proceeded to grab a tripod edifice situated at the center of it, after which she placed it gracefully upon the ground. She then turned to face Nicolas, and taking his hands, she helped him climb onto the metallic device. Once they were safely standing aside one another atop of it, Aurora gave her necklace another click, and they began to ascend back up towards the spaceship.

Nicolas gazed in awe, as they rotated counterclockwise in the opposite direction in which it had descended. It was a sight unlike he had ever seen, watching the scenery of the entire circumference of the horizon from which he knew spin before him, until the campus, the university, the stars, and everything else disappeared entirely, as they entered the vessel.

(C) Aaron M. Weis