Stunning waves of force moved through me as this apparition materialized in front of me. But with struggle I was able to rise to stand before him. I tried to collect my courage. Not totally unprepared, Uncle's lessons had included the fact of such entities that could appear in and out of our world. He had instructed that there is a way to test these Beings to see if their intrusions were...valid.

"Are you an angel...a demon," I asked.

"No," he replied. His figure had now thoroughly materialized. A handsome tall man in his prime, demeanor calm, dressed in a simple tunic, pale skin, blue eyes, golden tresses like my own, I felt more comfortable in his presence.

I extended my hand and beseeched, "I must ask to touch you." He accepted and the handshake was solid. Good.

His eyes smiled. "Well then we are both real," he said, "well done."

"What is your name," I asked, although it seemed almost that I already knew him from somewhere.

"In your familiar territories they called me, Hermes, amongst other names. I am an Eloi, once a denizen of your world to depart many eons ago. I am here to contact one of my descendants, in fact, yourself. It is of great fortune that you were trained in the construction of this...way station. He glanced around my laboratory with a look of nostalgia.

I had many questions, but his manner was insistent. He continued to speak allowing little interruption.

"I represent a Council with a reach throughout the Cosmos, consisting of what you might deem...many tribes," his words faltered, "what you might call...nationalities, nations of worlds. Perhaps it could be said it is the Council of Life, living beings."

"We must call you, one of our kin whose feet are still planted in mortality, this request is unusual, but most necessary."

"You see, we have an ancient enemy...a being that is alive somewhat, but hates life and wishes to destroy it."

"This destroyer of worlds moves throughout the stars like a wraith, a dark cloud, although it can take form, minions of parasitic forms...think of this entity as a disease that infects suns and worlds."

"The wraith now moves towards this region and has already begun to attack one of your sister planets, a world very near, dangerously close by."

"You must go to this place as one of our designated warriors."

At this point I had to interrupt, "but I am not a warrior! Cannot you find warriors within your own Council?"

"In fact we are all warriors, sustainers of the Force of life."

"Why select myself then? I have no means to fight. No training! In fact I understand little of what you say."

"You will learn." He bowed his head in a manner of sadness. "We lack the density to fight this eater of worlds; also I must confess we cannot resist because of a principle in our fundamental existence. You see we cannot destroy that which ran renegade from our ranks...one of our own...it is impossible, you will one day understand--not a matter of law or ethics--it deals with our very consistency. This renegade Eloi is very powerful having left certain restraints which now allow, well, Him, to reach into the formless as well as to extend for...more prolonged periods...into the corporeal, the physical. This is why we need you."

At that moment I found no more words, and I sensed an unwavering destiny which allowed no further protestation, although I was terribly uncertain and afraid. I slumped. Hermes moved towards me and embraced me. "Look toward your screen, there lies your mission." He pointed.

My mind was suddenly filled with chilling visions of conflict. "As I suspected," I whispered, "the Jade World, Mars..."