The Story continues… to start at the beginning, click here.
Tara was momentarily dazed by her dilemma. Eventually, she persuaded herself against settling in that dreamy island she’d found. Her seabird family must be terribly worried! With a hearty sigh she flapped her wings north toward what she thought was the flock’s correct direction.
After many weary days of flying, Tara’s heart grew heavy with doubt. At least the grey sky had parted and the sun was now warming her feathers. At night the stars shone with ferocity. While chomping on shrimp attracted to moon’s glow, she gazed at the stars. While resting in the lolling swells of an atoll, she gazed. Everything was quiet and she was lonely, but the lack of distraction let her gaze with great contentment.
Then a strange thing started to happen. At first it was imperceptible, but over time she felt she could hear something… It couldn’t be. Yet– if the waves and wind and trees spoke, as Tara knew they did, why couldn’t the stars? Now she was intrigued and gazed with deep earnest. That vast solitude and silence allowed the softer voices to appear. And she heard:
“…tiring to follow and watch you constantly. Why don’t we take a break?” said the archer to the bull. It was Orion, of course, with his gleaming belt of three stars, speaking to Taurus. In his gruff way, the bull countered, “You don’t have to keep after me like a bloodhound. Go battle with Scorpio, or better yet, arrange a date with the Twins.”
Editor’s Note: the actual gender of the Twins has been a subject of dispute, as it appears to switch as erratically as the Earth’s magnetic poles, so it’s hard to say if Taurus was making a playful stab or being quite impish; that is, if Orion is a lady’s man, which is a fair assumption.
“Don’t start,” said Orion. “You’ll stomp the Pleides as soon as I turn my back.” All that Taurus could do was sigh, and mumble, “You’ve still got it backwards, after these millions of years. No wonder you’re upside down in the sky.” Exasperation was futile – they’d had this argument since time immemorial – so they had to resort to some occasional humor.
Around this point, Tara noticed that time was standing still. It is a well-observed phenomenon that time does appear to slow down when we gaze deeply at the stars. Tara was finding this process remarkable when she felt a jolt: it was the cosmic shudder when the universe snapped back into motion. “Wow!” Tara thought.
Every night Tara heard different variations on their arguments, and also the discussions of other mega-constellations (she could not discern the inaudible whisper of minor constellations, yet) but she kept coming back to Orion and Taurus, above all others. Though their drama was serious, they had accepted their condition and employed enough amusing creativity to keep her entertained. “Perhaps it’s comic relief for their infinite stalemate,” Tara thought.
That inter-galactic stalemate was about to be broken, unwittingly, by a lonely seabird who had lost its flock…