Chapter 1

Iase Bilikadze lost his wind! A waterfall of ice-cold liquid suddenly splashed right onto his sun-burnt belly. In response, he immediately craved to demonstrate his bad mood. He prepared to listen to any kind of apologies, even the most sincere, with the coldest expression, without regard to the joyous resort atmosphere. He had a reason to be upset.
It was boredom. Last few minutes Iase was pondering exactly on it until he finally found its origin — the monotony of the life. How else it can be called: morning and evening dedicated to the sea. At night restaurant or disco with new acquaintances in every day, a whole week. Between these arrangements was hiding from the heat in the excursion, shopping or like now, besides the pool.
Though, he wasn’t alone, who invented this method of hiding from the scorching heat. Turned out that rest inhabitants of the hotel weren’t less smart than he, they also gathered around of the marble-walled pond being sheltered under huge, motley umbrellas of thick cloth.
Therefore, at present Iase was situated in the middle of the fuss, created by kids and adults around. For a man of his craft, this buzz wasn’t what exactly he liked, but what he could do? Another choice was to conceal in the hotel suite, under the air conditioning again. He preferred to stay here.
Iase lifted his angry gaze to the “aggressor”. It turned out a smiling girl with short chestnut-colored hair, emerald-like green eyes, well built, in a blue bathing suit. In one hand she held already empty glass and another one confusedly pressed against her chest.
“Oh, I’m sorry, how careless I’m, how could I stumble on your slippers?” the girl started to apologize with a meek smile.
Her beam left many places for the doubts in the sincerity of her apologize – it didn’t look like a sample of frankness. Although, this mistrust in its own way had displayed on Iase’s face. Seeing it, nobody would suggest that this man just now barely had defeated his irritation.
Iase’s lips stretched so broadly, even human anatomy wondered seeing this. Simultaneously, instead of to start grumbling as planned, he began with apologizing himself:
“I’m guilty because sprawled here and totally blocked the pass. And … heh, it hardly could be called an accident to pour cold water on somebody in such a heat.”
“Oh, yes,” stranger lady didn’t argue with him. “For a man with your build, it isn’t difficult to dam up anything.”
“The investigation uncovered the case completely,” Iase vigorously summarized, getting up with these words. “The verdict is inevitable: I should immediately reimburse your losses and you are kindly invited to sit here and wait for the compensation.”
“O, no, this is my fail…” the girl began but Iase held up both hands in the token to stop speaking. After that, the man headed toward the stall at another side of the pool. His mind still didn’t understand entirely, but the feelings prompted him that now he hasn’t even a second to lose.
Having returned with full paper mugs in his hands, Iase declared that he wants to know to whom he offers the drink. By these words, he sat on chaise longue and stared to a woman with a smile. Girl affably introduced herself. Turned out that her name is Veana Fidelthog and she came from Norway. Iase also talked about himself and because mentioning of Georgia caused the perplexity on Veana’s face, the man tried to explain that he is from Colchis. The last word brought more light to the case, but it was obvious that mostly it originated from mythic stories rather than is a merit of real geography. It wasn’t proper circumstance for short answer and Iase spoke at length. By the way, he mentioned his occupation.
“You’re a man of such a rare profession,” Veana wondered at what he informed her. “I would even say you belong to the chosen ones! As far as I know, there’re only about thirty men in the world like you.”
“Amount you mentioned were a number of workers operating at present, but in these almost ten years, during the making of that apparatus, much more people obtained this craft.”
Iase affirmed his own words with nodding and before then continuing sipped the juice:
“So, I’m not that much of a chosen one. And now it’s your turn to speak. Maybe you’re a person of the truly rare profession?”
“Yes, I’ve undoubtedly. I’m a lawyer. You can’t find even a billion of my colleagues!”
“The popularity of the profession means that it is good…” Iase replied with a polite smile.
“Are you often relaxing here, how long are lasting your vacations?” asked Veana and put the cup against her lips.
“No, the first time. As to duration… medicine says that in both places, here and in the space I should stay for equal periods of time, two months. Usually, I spend my leave at my native home but it appeared that this time I was just not ready for… m-m, parent’s pressure.” He said unexpectedly even to himself and grinned as if apologizing.
The woman stared at him with a curious.
“I have the impression that apart from the word “marry”, they strictly prohibited themselves to pronounce the rest ones,” Iase continued to amaze the stranger. “Like if I’m not a thirty-two old but seventy-two already.» He smiled and asked: “How about you, did you visit this place before?”
Veana became slightly confused by this sudden sincerity. Realizing that she isn’t able quickly to figure out how to respond to it correctly, she just answered:
«No. I didn’t have the opportunity. The Dominican Republic is very far from my home,” she returned the smile. “Not so long I’m the lawyer of the sports club. I arrived yesterday, for a one-week vacation. And since you acquainted me with information containing a number, I’ll take your example and will say: I live with my parents and I’m twenty-six.”
Then she added what she remembered at the last minute:
“I have an elder sister; she got married early and lives with her family.”
“It turns out the living with the parents is our common feature,” Iase smiled.
Veana met these words with a smile, though with a weak one. But next, perhaps been encouraged with strange sincerity of Iase, she tried to learn more about this new and, she confessed to herself, interesting acquaintance:
“Well, Iase, you mentioned so disparagingly that there’re a lot of people in your profession as if this is true, «she hesitated a bit again before continuing. “M-m, it’s uncomfortable to talk this way but I think you didn’t perceive me seriously and that is why you told me such a thing.”
“What do you mean?” Iase surprised, «you think there’s really handful those like me?”
“I’m saying not exactly that. I mean, in any country, men like you are truly less than others.” The young woman replied without batting an eyelid.
“Really?” the man lifted up his eyebrows.
“You can judge yourself”, Veana spoke with certainty. “Can you meet cosmonaut on the street? Especially in the country, where they didn’t exist physically? While the people of the other professions: bakers, actors, farmers, athletes, politicians, teachers, writers … all nations have them an abundant.”
“Huh,” Iase exhaled with sincere amazement. “To be honest, Veana, I didn’t ever think about that. It never came to my mind, for example, to compare myself with a football player or a singer… I don’t know,” he smiled. “It turns out that there are really not much of us… so what, what follows from this? What do you want to say?”
“What I’m saying?…” the pretty girl pondered, “until I met you I had no idea who do you are and also nobody else knows here; they’re not paying any attention to you, at least, no more than on others and… how can that might be fair?”
“Yes, you are right; really no one is gazing at me admiringly,” Iase agreed immediately with feigned regret. “So, what can I do? Ask, please, these people around, why they aren’t following in my tracks? Why are they not asking me to autograph or for a selfie with them? Heh! How can I answer you instead of them?”
Iase paused a bit, then unloaded almost half of his mug by one sip and continued:
“As an alternative of this, you can imagine that here we have famous football player or rock star. Would he be able to sit here and talk with the beautiful lady so freely? Isn’t it indeed better than fame?”
“Thank you, if you really think that way,” Veana answered being pleasured by the compliment and then mused again.
While she was taciturn, Iase enjoyed looking at her velvety skin, slightly convex cheekbones, pink lips, and white cheeks. A beautiful bust embraced by the top of the swimsuit. Below, the narrow waist and chiseled long legs also didn’t remain overlooked. But, at the same time, he greatly tried not to hold his gaze at these attractive places for not to be like a savage, who had seen nothing such beautiful in his life.
To get a similar “photo” Veana didn’t need silence or pause in the conversation. From the very first moment, she was pleased with the elongated, strong-willed face of this man, with the slightly aquiline nose, raised, as if carved from granite, but not rough features, widely spaced black eyes. His hairdo also gratified her. Black hair was kept only at the crown of the head and clipped short but on nape and temples. It had an appearance like a three days unshaven beard. Meanwhile, the woman resumed to talk:
“In the films, astronauts look romantic and heroic, but it’s more for children and adolescents, but how it is later?”
The answer to that question was Iase’s perplexed gaze.
“For example, to my shame, I even don’t know the name of the astronaut, who walked last on another celestial body century and a half ago,” Veana said trying to explain her previous question.
“Eugene Cernan. One hundred and thirty-three years ago, in 1972.” Iase mechanically intervened to her speech.
«Yes. This is exactly what I’m eager to say. Everybody knows Neil Armstrong, but almost no one is aware of other astronauts who visited a satellite planet. But, if I’m not wrong, the cosmos is still danger like then, isn’t it? I mean, you aren’t walking on another planet but, as I heard, you are performing much more dangerous task and still, no one knows your name.”
Veana stopped and with slightly tense expectation looked at the man with her sea-green eyes, maybe she gone too far? – That was imprinted on her face. Iase encouraged her with nodding and the woman continued:
“I wonder how people choose this path. It seems I’ve got the opportunity to learn it up from the first hand, of course, if you want to and my questions are not disturbing you,” lady finished modestly talking.
Iase slightly smiled in response and shook his head in a sign of rejection – where you find the disturbance? Then he pondered about the question, bit his lower lip and fixed up his gaze at some spot. He wanted to give the frankest answer. The reason was that he felt a strange sensation in his body. Beside this woman, it seemed he got somehow different. Suddenly this girl acquired a lot of weight in his eyes. Iase wanted yet completely unknown woman would be interested with him, to share his dreams and wishes… Boredom and a bad mood insensibly abandoned Iase and the monotony followed them. Also, the man himself wished to know this female as closely as possible. Therefore he, although with the usual look but actually with all seriousness in his heart, told:
“Please, don’t get me wrong, but for me, it’s the long story.”
Concurrently with these words, Iase recalled his childhood, age when in his yet vague thoughts, the vision of space and stars began to form. That time he studied in the seventh grade. He had learned out his lessons and was going to play football in the street when at this moment he witnessed a strange commercial on TV. It didn’t praise drinks or medicine as usual but was inviting people to build cosmodrome or maybe, starship. Iase had memorized just the symbol of that institution: three green letters on the galaxy backdrop: SQP.
Later on, in summer, Iase was on vacations in Samtie, in the countryside of his grandparents. There he happened to be present at the conversation from which he understood the true meaning of that publicity dedicated to space. Turned out that it’s the shortening of Latin words Spatium Quia Praegressus what stands for the Space for Evolution. But in general, that conversation, as it turned out in the future, decisively influenced the further life of that time teenager. It assisted Iase to understand why his heartbeat is slowing when he sees stars in the sky.
The reason for this was the chasm, hidden in the black abyss. When he, looking up, was observing the evening sky’s darkness, he felt the desire to merge with it because although indistinctly, but still, he was realizing: without this, he is unable to find miracles, hidden in that vast void.
And there are miracles in the sky, Iase had no doubt. For example the infinity. How does it look like? Who needs the universe? Who is visible from its edge? The answers to these questions actually are somewhere out there, beyond the cosmos, aren’t they? So, his road also runs in that direction. These feelings had paved the trail, which led him to the goal, although not exactly there, where in his childhood he dreamed to be.
“And I’ll tell you about it with my pleasure if there is your will,” Iase, with a warm smile added to his previous words.

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