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  • Just the other day I was "beamed" up. Yeah, I know, it was a strange thing to happen and I will tell you about the ensuing adventure, but first I have to describe the feeling of becoming scattered matter.

    I was wearing one of my many anti-social T-shirts: The one that says"Beam me up Scottie, there's no intellegent life down here" while sitting on my back patio in the early evening's twilight. The air about me was unusually cool for late August and I was enjoying the lack of mosquitos, flys and no-see-ums.

    At first I thought I was having a mild heart attack; my chest tightened and there was a tingling down my arms. This was not the first time my body has sent me warning messages, and I have learned to accept the inevitability of its running out of juice and eventually turning off.

    But the tingling intensified and spread to my entire body. Not painful, but definitely uncomfortable - like hitting your funny bone...all over. In seconds I felt the solar wind tickling my electrons as it passed between the atoms that once held me together.

    I no longer existed as a single being, but as a billion non-sentient particles of matter. No pain; no feelings; no senses of any kind. My earthly existance had winked out.

    Then the tingling sensation renewed as the particles re-assembled into me. I fell backwards to the deck, as the chair I had been sitting in was left behind. I quickly felt for various body parts to insure I was all there.

    Not only was I whole, but all the aches and pains of my aging body were missing. I picked myself up from the deck and turned to face my host.

    I should digress here and explain that when encountering strange animals it is thought to be best NOT to smile at them. Dogs, for example take that as a form of aggression and may attack.

    So I kept my face as non-committal as possible and awaited some clue as to the accepted protocol. My host looked somewhat humanoid, but I wasn't sure if he was smiling or grimmacing in contemplation of his next meal...me.

    Finally he spoke and I didn't understand him. His language was one I hadn't encountered. He motioned me to place my palm on a small rounded dome inset on the console before me. I did and felt another slight tingle. Suddenly I understood everything he said. (I couldn't help but wonder if Berlitz couldn't adapt to this system of learning languages.)

    He said "Welcome aboard the Galaxy Liner Oberon. We are passing within a hundred parsecs of your planet and noticed your shirt asking to be beamed up. We are accepting crew members and passengers for the next leg of our journey and wondered if you wanted to join us."

    He pointed to the viewing screen that looked like the domed ceiling of the university's planetarium. I didn't recognize any of the star systems shown. He plotted a course to the next galaxy and a dotted line appeared before us. "If you are ready?" he asked. With no further thought I nodded.

    And so my adventure begins...
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