Oct. 4th, 2015

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I light stars. It's my job, that's all, take it or leave it. For hobby's sake i prefer experiencing new drinks, somewhat less often - new conversation partners. And i'm very fond of linguistics: after all, this reminiscence, certain insights into the etymology of local words, is the only thing i can preserve from the cultures i shall never see again.
Yesterday i drank warm suspension made of ground seeds which were apparently named after a small province in one of the southern countries - amusingly, at a distance of about 1/4 the equator length from that province, in a city that bears the name of its founder, a fratricidal hero. The method of preparation - extraction by water vapor - translated from the local language as "well defined", or possibly "rapid". That was hard to deny, especially considering the routine of brewing a particular type of leaves in the countries east of here.
She approached my table herself, as it usually happens - my body language, mimics, olfactory signals inevitably differ from those of the natives, and this subconsciously frightens most of them, but in a few bold ones, on the contrary, arouses great curiosity. It turned out she was also a foreigner, a tourist from a neighboring state - it's name is said to derive from miniature rock-dwelling mammals. When i was just beginning my extended journey, such encounters fascinated me like tiny miracles; some of the best ones stick in my memory even now, though they seldom linger there as long as the verbal peculiarities. I casually dismissed all inquiries about my home with a standard joke, but when it came to my work, replied most earnestly: "I light stars".
Later we drank something else, with various sugars and a notable quantity of ethanol, combined barely compatible, in the natives' opinion, types of entertainment, such as observing art collections, ancient and modern, then rhythmic shivering and jerking of limbs to primitive repetitive sound patterns (to define the latter, locals, quite surprisingly, employ the same term - originating from demigods of an outdated religion - as for the truly beautiful, harmonically perfect acoustic sequences). And so on, more or less the usual way, working it up to the forbidden mutual pleasure, this culmination of socializing - here the role is given to copulation.
At dawn i prepared two more portions of the warm drink (such was a common autochthonous ritual).
- We'll never see each other again, - there was almost no question mark in her voice.
- Never, - i didn't argue.
- Tomorrow you won't remember my name, - she assumed.
- I will, - i replied, - it means "worthy of admiration".
- Leave some contacts, maybe? E-mail, Facebook? Who knows...
- Where i live, we don't use electromagnetic means of communication, - i left the empty cup on the armrest of a hotel chair and picked up my backpack from the floor, - but i'll make you a farewell present. I will light a star for you.
Immediately outside the door i inserted my hand into the navel, lightly touched the link-sphere hidden where aborigines would have their digestion organs and transported myself to the nearest store of purified uranium - it was used here to produce energy in a very ineffective, barbaric way. There wasn't much of the radioactive metal, but quite enough to establish the required contact. Removing native-looking bioform (it's incredible, i must say, how those bipedal creatures keep balance and remain upright), i opened the link-sphere and found the center. Then liaised its reverberation with that of the local sun, letting through a short energy impulse from the galactic core - this had postponed the core's destabilizing for another tiny fraction of time, but, unfortunately, instantly transformed the poor little star into a proper nova. And finally, just for a brief moment, i moved to one of the highest roofs in this city, on a building dedicated, judging by its name, to a sacred stone - for no real reason, merely to have one last look. Eight units of temporal measurement aptly called "minute" by the locals remained until the arrival of a radiation front powerful enough to boil oceans, melt the planetary crust and reduce even my almost indestructible composition to a jumble of chaotic code fragments without hope of restructuring and regaining consciousness. But i didn't doubt i could retreat via the link-sphere just in time - acting quickly is an essential professional skill for those who light stars.

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