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Terminal velocity. The air thickened, the wind intensified, and the clouds congested, denser and denser as his body plummeted through space and atmosphere. He had been told, prepared by voices that had no origin, by teachers without classrooms, and by protocols without definition, and though mentally ready, he was not so physically. He had been trapped in his vessel for eons until it had finally awakened him, plunging him through space-time without direction. Now, his newly formed heart pounded within him, and he only knew to relax, to let his arms slack to his sides, allow the wind to carry him, and trust that his body would survive the speed. He felt the first grabs of gravity while he had been traveling, and that tug, that urge, that pull scared him, making him aware of this new found existence and that there were limitations to reality, and that blissful cognition was now replaced with the reality of tangibility, and that he would no longer enjoy transcendence but suffer the realities of reality.

The ground was coming up fast. He could feel it. The tug was faster, and he felt weight in his back, that it was pulling him faster while the wind pushed up at him, stabilizing his speed. He allowed himself to go slack rather than try to fight it by going flat. To slow himself down was only going to achieve a delay in his landing. And he knew he would land. And that he would eventually need to rise up against this force, if he could. That he would need to use these physical eyes, and push up with these very real hands, and stand up on flesh feet, and take a step, and then another. His mission was spelled out and clear, and though he looked forward to finally moving forward with his purpose, the physical reality of it all was producing emotions that he was not aware he would have.

He longed for the quiet again. The sound in his ears was deafening to his new sense of hearing. If this was what having senses was going to be like, he did not want it. He wanted it to go away, to return to the bodiless voices and aimless travel and lack of gravity and intangible existence, but he knew that was not going to be possible. His sequence was initiated, and here he was plunging towards his new found home.

He could feel her, though. She was there. Watching him. Watching him plunge through darkness and light and vacuum and air and clouds and heat. Seeing her salvation. This planet's salvation. Sent to recover him by the same signals that had awakened him. That transformed his consciousness into flesh and blood.

As if time had stopped, he felt the ground hit his lower spine. It was hard, a piece of reality that he had never discovered before now--his touch striking another surface. And yet it was gentle, as if he was being laid into a soft berth, and his body flattened out ever so slowly, and his head and feet struck simultaneously. There was concussion laying the ground out around him and pushing down the vegetation and blowing it out, revealing his position to anyone looking. Perhaps for her benefit. Perhaps just normal forces.

And now he lay. Eyes closed to fight off the sunlight that now struck him all over. A cold, moist soil underneath his fingers, and he moved the tips in small circles to enjoy the feel. His nostrils took in the first smells, and though he could not identify it, he felt that it was clean, cool, and he enjoyed it. His existence, which up until now had been tortuous, was now rapture. He longed to taste something, perhaps some water.

As if on cue, something touched his lips, and though he never had to before, somehow instinctually he parted them allowing a cold liquid to move over his tongue and down his throat. And it was bliss, he realized. His heart beat hard and his skin prickled and flushed.

And with his newly formed ears, he heard her voice for the first time. And just as the water and the soil and air and the light, it was just as beautiful, just as sweet, and just as climactic.

"Welcome home," she said to him.

He smiled as his eyes were finally opened.

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