Zahariel stepped out of the flying car onto a wide ledge. Around him were still the stars, and the sun with the weird streamer hanging down. Below he still saw the world behind a dark fog. He could no longer quite see the violet light to the south, but he knew it was still there. A sudden noise spun him around just in time to see the car drop off the ledge and speed back toward Alpha. This is it, he thought. The car could be back in as little as an hour and a half, and he couldn't be found here. Yet looking over the ledge, he realized there was no way off from here. Why does the car take people to this ledge and then just... strand them here?
"Welcome, Mr. Kerresam," a clear voice spoke from behind Zahariel. Although there was no obvious opening in the wall on the other side of the ledge, a woman in white robes faced him when he turned around. She was taller than Zahariel's meter and a half, but less than two; too small to be a security person in a black suit. Her left hand was hidden in a pocket in her robes, but her right held a black metal object, like a tube but bent in the middle. One end of it pointed straight at Zahariel himself. She stared into Zahariel's eyes and asked carefully, "Do you know where you are?"
At that moment, everything came together for Zahariel. "I'm... in a spaceship!" he cried. "A huge spaceship! But I was on Earth, and then I was in that little room with the weird gravity, and I didn't go outside at all, and..." He trailed off, unable to account for the inexplicable lack of a planet.
But the woman had relaxed slightly, and hidden the black metal thing in another pocket. "You are correct, Mr. Kerresam, and you are the youngest to give that answer in nearly four hundred years. But come. Your journey is over, and I will explain to you why the civilians cannot know of their true plight." As she spoke of the civilians, Zahariel realized that he was no longer included in this group. For he had flown beyond the sky, and he could never live in ignorance again. He also realized that he would never speak with, never see, anyone he knew in his past life, because they were civilians, and he was not. Not anymore. He crossed the few meters to the side of the woman in white, and together they stepped through a doorway that opened at the woman's gesture. It closed behind them, cutting Zahariel off finally from all that he knew.