Don’t Count the Stars
Copyright © 2011 by Jacob Heim
All rights reserved
Cover image: Star Cluster NGC 3603
NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration
Cover design © 2011 by Jacob Heim
“How many are there?” I asked.
“Pick a number,” came the half-interested grunt after a short pause. “There’s more than that.”
We were standing alone on the hill south of town, just Bergen and I. The old spacer was fiddling with some contraption of his, but I – as usual – was staring wide-eyed up at the stars. Fulon had its share of cities, even back then, but nowhere near where I grew up. Not much around but a few watering holes and a fueling depot. It was a dreary, barren place for a restless young boy like me, during the day at least.
But at night, the stars came out and blazed like a thousand shimmering torches, and suddenly the universe was mine. I never did see anything like it; not a single one in all the worlds I’ve put under my boots. There on the edge of the Cheymat cluster, all those blues and reds and silvers… even a few greens. Green stars – you believe it? Something in the atmosphere, I think I recall Bergen saying once, or maybe it was the nebula that filtered them out that way. Myself, I’ve never been one to bother much with reasons. The sky does what it does, and I just take it in however it comes. And I’m telling you, back on that hill on Fulon, I saw green stars.