Log entry #16

December 9, 1995 AD
Aphelion 1099

This will be my final entry. The vision all but killed me this time; given my sickness, I have no doubt that on the next Aphelion the vision will finish me for good. I foolishly came here to try to find some kind of chemical that might cure me, but the chemicals produced by these industries are as toxic to me as they are to the inhabitants of this planet. Now I am weaker than ever, and still lost, alone, and hunted, countless light years from home. When the mothership arrived, I could barely stand the vision.

This time the impressions were so overpowering, I was unable to focus on my immediate surroundings. All I could see was a sea of brown Terran faces staring up at them in terror, the haunting landscape, the mountains. The land below the mothership was much higher than my people expected: an entire plain of land rising up 5,000 meters in elevation, bounded on nearly all sides by mountains of an even greater height. The location must have been on my map; it was probably even a place I had briefly visited myself long ago, as a center of spiritual powers. But my map was lost long ago, probably never to be recovered, and the name of the location is gone from my memory.

They must have stayed near the ground for at least two Earth hours this time—the maximum possible duration. They remained far beyond the usual visitation period, violating all of the safety buffers that are standard operating procedure. They must be desperate to find me, knowing that I have no time left to wait. I lay in a stupor the whole time here underneath this bridge, mumbling pathetically to myself and insensible to the world. When I awoke, many hours had passed. I was too weak to move for days afterwards. Finally I had the strength to make this log entry and the locator clue and hide them next to where I lay.

If only I could have transmitted an electronic message to them while they were here, they would surely have come to me—but communication with them is now utterly impossible. My portable transmitter, so painstakingly salvaged from my crash, is now long gone, scattered in pieces across the land during my travels. And even if I had the transmitter, I would have to know the code in order to use it, and the code . . . the code is now also forgotten, after all my Aphelions of wandering. I know that it is related to the different locations where the mothership touches down, and that it grows one segment longer with each Aphelion, but other details are lost to me forever. And the map is also crucial, but I cannot remember why. I cannot even remember where I left the map. My memory is almost completely gone. I now have no future and no past.

I have encrypted each locator clue in a different way to make it as difficult as possible for anyone to retrace my path. Deep in my heart I doubt if anybody could successfully complete the task. It is a journey of many miles, involving numerous physical, mental and spiritual challenges. In my weakened condition, it is surely impossible for me to complete such a journey. But still I leave the locator clue again on this Aphelion, as I have every time before this, in the hopes that I—or somebody—can someday follow them backwards and retrieve all the necessary information.

Meanwhile, the deadly Rencar has invaded my entire body. My skin is everywhere as white as bleach, and I can no longer speak. My energy is nearly gone; even slight movements require great effort. Since the past Aphelion, I participated in a Terran medical experiment. The Terrans were studying how disruptions in circadian rhythms can cause serious illnesses. I thought that such disruptions might be the cause of the Rencar, since for sixteen Aphelions, I have been away from the long days and nights of my home planet. Terrans came from all over the world to participate in this experiment, and many found a cure—but not me.

And so I must journey on, perhaps to find another Terran who can help me try to retrace my steps and somehow recover the lost information. If not . . . then the next Aphelion shall be my last.

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