come and go, yet every generation and every individual asks the same
question about the meaning of life. This happens especially at times
of war, of global suffering, and during the periods of misfortune
that befall each of us at some point in our life. What is the purpose
of life, which is so costly to us? And shouldn’t the absence of
suffering be deemed as happiness? In the Ethics of the Fathers, it
says, ‘against your will you are born, against your will you live,
and against your will you die.’ Each generation has had its
misfortune. . . At times it seems that our life is more difficult
than death itself” (Rabbi Michael Laitman, Attaining the worlds

groaned and reached for his forehead as the pain slowly seeped into
his groggy brain. In the background of his consciousness he heard
subtle conversation and sounds of metallic creaking. Everything came
into focus as he remembered the last thing he had seen; Jaysun
collapsed in a heap just in front of him. He sat up and looked around
him, felt under his hand the cool pressure of a metal floor. It felt
like polished steel but it was blue, not silver. He leaned back
against a wall, found himself propped next to another soldier of the

boy,’ he thought. ‘Of course it has to be the one person. . .’ He let
the thought trail off.

are you Master Sergeant?” He asked her without looking at her.

looked up from the floor and realized she was being addressed by an
officer. She started to stand, but he motioned with a sweep of his
hand for her to remain seated.

am doing fine, sir.” She
settled back down

Are we?”

sort of vessel, sir.” She propped her elbows on her knees and set
her forehead in her palms. It was the same posture adopted by most of
the dozen troops in the room. “I believe we are traveling through
the constellations,” her mumble sounded bored.

His tone said he thought otherwise. “Where is your Commander?”

do not know, sir.” She sounded concerned. “But, there is a patrol
that comes through here often. They might know, sir.”

well, soldier. Carry on.”

himself onto his heels, he squatted while testing his muscles,
searching for broken bones or sharp pains. He noticed several
soldiers in the room preparing to stand, to offer him military
courtesy as their officer. They all looked like hell. None of them
had complete armor or even their full uniform. If you put them all
together, you might get one battle ready trooper.

he said with a fatherly tone. “You all look like hell.”

room filled with replies of “yes, sir.”

to his feet slowly, Suran raised his voice, “Relax Fifth. Carry
on.” He saw relief on his warrior’s faces and they all settled
back to their headache-nursing poses. “How many of you have been on
a naval vessel?”

couple of the men raised their hands,


have, sir.”

the next few hours to teach the others naval protocol.”


paced the room for several minutes, tracing the walls with his
fingertips, trying to locate an exit. He found nothing. He gave up
the search and instead spent the next several hours getting to know
his troops. He asked about their families, what happened to them on
the battlefield – anything to fill the time. The ship was intensely
quiet. At times, they sat in the deafening silence and heard nothing
but their own thoughts and the occasional creaks in the ship’s
skeletal structure.

fatigue came in an overwhelming wave, so Suran returned to sit next
to Master Sergeant Thebia against the bulkhead. She was sleeping, and
he leaned his head back and welcomed the slide into his own sleep.
Peace settled in for a moment as he sank deeper, his brainwaves
slowing to just below Theta. And then the dream came. The battle.

He screamed, but no sound came. He tried to reach out to his friend,
but he couldn’t move. “Help!” He tried to shout, “Help your
Commanders!” But nobody noticed. He felt a hand on his shoulder.
The red air dissolved before him, and the battle sounds receded to a
great distance.

A gentle feminine voice. “Are you awake, Sir?”

field faded completely and everything went black again just before he
awakened. He pulled in a slow breath and filled his lungs, noticed
that he was covered in a film of sweat.


awake, Master Sergeant.”


I ask you a favor, Sergeant?”


calling me Sir.”

S-, um, sure.”

He kept his eyes shut and sat quietly for a minute.

May I ask you another favor?”

mumble quietly answered him after a pause, “Yes.”

need an assistant. My Partner is missing, my cadre died right in
front of me under an artillery round, and I am not happy about being
the only officer in this place.” He turned his head to look at her.
She was already looking at him. That put them nose to nose. “Do you
want to be an officer, my right hand? I’ll bring you up to Colonel
and train you later. For now, you can just pretend you know what
you’re doing.”

looked him in the eyes for what seemed forever. He looked back. Damn,
she had some beautiful eyes.

I’ll do it.”


I ask you a favor, General?”

ahead. . . Colonel”

you do something with your breath?”

chuckled and dug through his pockets for his mint flavored candy.

Suran groaned as he woke up – again. He had a massive headache.
Looking around, he saw that everyone in the room was holding their
heads in their hands. He staggered to his feet. What to do? There was
obviously no way out. The headaches were getting worse. How long had
they been in this place? Hours? Or days? Who had them?

forced himself to end the barrage of unanswerable questions. He
turned around and beat the wall with his fist.

need to talk to someone!” His own voice made his head split with
pain. Others in the room groaned with him. He thought he should keep
beating the wall until somebody showed up, but instead he fell
against the wall, his cheek and knees pressed against it to hold him

wakes him?)

realized a presence near him. There was a shimmer in the air right in
front of his face. He felt something settle over his eyes, and then
he could see it.

Mother of Andon!” He jumped and everyone in the room gaped at him.

what just happened to him, he addressed the astral creature in front
of him. “I apologize for the outburst. ”

creature pierced his eyes,
“It is permissible, Suran of Urantia.” It changed forms to mimic
his human form. Several appendages disappeared, a face took shape,
and the lower half of the body formed legs. “I will escort you to
the Bright and Morning Star.”

was a helper creature. Suran had never seen one before, but he had
read the reports of the Old Fifth’s
visit to Jerusem 500,000 years ago. Several types of beings
had been described, as well as the strange devices that had allowed
the material mortals to actually see and hear the beings. If he
remembered correctly, this creature was the equivalent of an
intelligent ape, but had no intrinsic spiritual value. They had been
created to serve the universe, and shared much the same astral nature
of the lower orders of angels. Supposedly, they varied from sphere to
sphere, never leaving their home planets. Seeing one on the ship made
him question his memory on the matter.

looked around the room with the goggles still on his head. They
allowed a material person to view the astral and spiritual worlds.
The coding in the goggles did not allow for perfect vision of the
higher lifeforms, but they allowed enough. They also allowed him to
see into his soldiers. He looked at each one to view their
spiritual energy. Most were subtle shades of blue and yellow –
nothing exciting. When he looked at Thebia, who was looking intently
at him, he noticed a thin astral thread stretching from his chest to
hers. The thread resonated a deep pink. “Interesting,” he thought

tilted her head a little, “What?”

removing the invisible goggles from his head, he pulled them down
onto her face. “What do think of that?”

reacted much as he had, a little more calmly since the helper
creature no longer resembled a nightmare monster. “Oh!” She
yelled, jumping back. Suran explained the device to her as she looked
around the room. He held his breath when she stopped scanning and
stared curiously at the space between him and herself. She waved her
hand in front of her, trying to grab the astral thread. “What does
it mean?” She looked at him, saw him the way the goggles revealed
him. He was a large imposing creature of dark blue light, traced with
orange. His eyes and hands glowed brilliant white light, and around
his feet was a fluctuating flame of blue shades tipped with orange.
When he spoke to her, she saw
the energy of the thought before the wave of words came out of his
mouth. She felt him say, “I fell in love with you the first time I
saw you . . .” but she heard him say, “I’m not sure, what do you
think it means?” She groaned and pulled the goggles off.

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