MENTAL ESSENCE
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     "I've been staring at this monitor for 4 hours and change!  It's your turn." Stated Toes.
    Toes was the nick name given to Bill Workman who had lost his toes to frost bite on a previous exploration of the same planet they were approaching.
    The Captain of the ship "THE SUN BURST" was slow at best, but he made things work.
    "Toes, you roll up the back side panels.  Rooster, you take the monitor!" Rubbing his nose Captain Baker sighed with obvious tedium.
    A few moments later Rooster grabbed the monitor with both hands and decreed himself king the monitor people.  After two years confined inside a space craft with few conveniences and no luxuries the crew barely acknowledged each other let alone eccentricities.
    In short, this was just part of one day that was just like all the others.
    The captain leaned over the comm-mic and tapped it twice. "Trent! Your turn for stasis.  Mr. Raffiel - Mr. Lopez - Mr. Rasheed - Mrs. Goldman shift change!"
    Trent brushed his teeth, inserted his mouth purification plate, performed a few other personal practices necessary for long term stasis and headed for the med-lab.  He stopped at the control room and handed his checklist to Mr. Lopez.
    Mr. Lopez glanced at the list. "When your times up we'll be one day from landing.  How did you get so lucky?"
    "I don't know.  Maybe it goes with being so good looking." replied Mr. Trent.
    "Perhaps it's consolation for being toad ugly." Mr. Lopez laughed.
    Trent entered the med-lab with a shuffle like dance move.
    "I'm here!  Let's tuck me in." Trent said.
    Trent nestled into the chamber and the doctor inserted the intravenous lines.
    " One day they'll have two doctors on these long hauls, and I will be able to sleep all the way there." said the doctor.
    "I wonder if I'll grow another head in 20 years if I keep doing this?" asked Trent.
    "Hard to say.  Parts will probably fall off.  Ya just can't tell, about these things." The doctor said.
    Trent tried to smile, but the chemicals and electronics were taking hold.  The last thing Trent could sense was the hum from the equipment.
    The doctor checked the gages on Trents chamber as he walked back to his office.  As he was leaving the stasis room, he noticed shouting coming from the upper deck.
    "Turn - turn - turn - give it all you got!" Someone cried.
    "To late!  We're gonna hit!" Yelled another.
    In an instant, the ship was transformed into a flash of light and a shock wave that disappeared rather quickly.  The ship had been hit by a meteor the long-range sensors could not detect because of the electromagnetic cloud it was passing through at the time.
    Sixteen lives lost.  No distress call.  No debris.  Soon forgotten.
    However, for Trent, the situation was much different.  Surrounded by electronic equipment, being within an electromagnetic cloud, and mixed with the energies released during the collision, Trent's mental essence was bonded to a portion of the electromagnetic formation.
    Now Trent's mental essence would become part of everything the electromagnetic formation came in contact with.  From an Aurora Borealis, to fire, to the thoughts of insects.  Trent's existence is unique to say the least.
    For a very long time, the mental essence was not conscious of its surroundings.  Then, gradually the mental essence could sense the energy of the galaxy as a round flat shape.  Still, it had no idea it was sensing a galaxy, or that it was anything at all.  It could not feel the heat produced by the stars even though it was part of the stars.  It could not feel the cold between the stars even though it filled the space. 
    It was more than a billion years before the mental essence gained the ability to sense variations in distance, size, temperature, and velocity.  It  realized that it took longer for a galaxy to form then it took to pass through a solar system. 

    Finally, it made a connection with a living organism long enough to see what it was seeing.  This was extraordinary.  An actual visual sensation when passing through a living being.  There was more.  It actually thought a thought.  That was more important than seeing.  After all this time and distance traveled the mental essence had a thought.  Now it could sense something and put some prospective to it.  Such as what is this, or that is brighter then the other.  Simple thoughts, but thoughts none the less.
    What caused the sight phenomenon?  When would it happen again?  Along with these questions came another sensation - anxiety. 
    Traveling through the universe at the speed of light sounds fast, but getting from one solar system to another took tens of millions of years.  Getting from one galaxy to another was taking hundreds of millions of years.  In all of the galaxies within the mental essence boundaries, there were billions of planets.  Why hasn't another contact been made with a living being?