Apr 24, 2013

U is for Under the Milky Way

Like Major Tom for M, this song was used in a Lincoln car advertising campaign: Starships don't need keys.  Fell in love with advertising right then and there. 

When alone, she wasn't always conscious of time passing. Most of the time, her spirit was activated by the approach of a life form, and then, as a computer falling asleep after disuse she too entered a period of sleep. But when she was, alone that was, she found herself thinking the same thing.

When people came, why did they look at the stars?


Her essence buzzed and she knew someone was close by.

With a stretch, she materialized on the hill top noting that it hadn't changed since the last time she was woken. But she couldn't tell how long ago that had been. Ten days? Ten years? Ten centuries?

Her visitor appeared on the crest of the hill. He had four legs, each resembling the hind legs of a cricket and indeed he used them in one jump to land beside her. Up close, she realized he was taller than she thought, at least twice her height and his body wasn't black like she had supposed but clear like glass and she had been seeing the night sky through him. His inner organs glowed softly, and could easily be mistaken for stars from far away.

He crouched and rubbed her feet before standing straight again.

She didn't know why, but none of her visitors could see her until they touched the small pillar of crystal that her spirit was trapped in.

He looked at her, smiled, and then asked the same question every visitor did. “I am looking for something. Can you help me find it?”


She had always expected a visitor to follow up on the question. Why maybe? And she would respond it depended what they were looking for. No one ever did though. No one asked her any question aside from that one.

Somehow, she figured she had be come part of some intergalactic ritual that she didn't understand. She didn't do much more than stand here and look at her visitors, who after asking their question would turn their attention to the stars.

And this ritual she didn't understand somehow worked, for after awhile every one would smile in the sky as if they had found what they were looking, turn to thank her, and then leave.

What answers did the sky have, the grand expanse of no words, that she didn't?


This visitor was strange. Short, hairy, and while the others had brought thus themselves this one had brought not only books and writing instruments, but also a pet. A large black reptile whose size indicated the visitor should be the pet instead but the humanoid would issue orders and the reptile would obey.

He didn't touch the crystal right away, he circled it and sketched it first before activating her image. He jumped in shock, emitting a high pitched cry and she got the idea that this visitor was young, a child. She had never been visited by a child before.

He stared at her, and she returned the gaze, waiting for the ritualistic question, but the reptile walked through her and the child made that same cry again.


She frowned, wanting to correct him, but she was only able to speak when answering a question.

The reptile sniffed at her, and finding nothing of interest flopped down on its belly. The child started drawing her. When he finished, he turned the book around and showed her the sketch. It was quite good. She looked the same as when she last looked into a mirror, when ever that was.

“Do you like it?”


He beamed at her. “What's your name?”

She frowned, for while she could recall her face enough to know the child was a good artist, she could not recall her own name. She shook her head sadly.

The child shrugged and then plopped down on the hill to star gaze.

She watched him do it, still not entirely sure why all her visitors looked upwards, but this one did not seem to find an answer in the stars and so turned to ask her question after question.

It felt nice to know she had something on the sky.


In case you're curious, the crystal she's in has psychic powers that rearrange the stars only in the eyes of the visitors to show them the way to what they want.


  1. Hi Gwen .. just come over from the interview you gave Angeline ...

    Under the milky way - love this story and I enjoyed the song while reading it ..

    Cheers Hilary

  2. Great song, but I think I like the original version better. Lots of good memories of that song.

    Tim Brannan
    The Other Side and The Witch
    Red Sonja: She-Devil with a Sword
    The Freedom of Nonbelief

  3. I really like this story! I always appreciate when people can't seem to remember their names.

  4. Ironically I haven't ever heard the Sia version, though I've seen her in concert. I didn't know she had done a cover of this song :) Thanks for enlightening me! :D