The trip back down through the atmosphere of the earth was the most single satisfying experience of Star’s life. She sat in the chair she couldn’t see, next to Jameson and Val who were invisible too, and coasted downward at such a gentle pace that it seemed she was in some balloon slowly losing its gas, rather than an advanced star venturing machine (if Demos was to be believed). Wispy see-through layers of thin vapor became billowing clouds to be circulated through and then dropped down below. The oceans were so huge and blue that it seemed impossible that they had ever been smaller.

The green and brown ground came up toward her, steadily and seemingly more quickly, as the machine dropped lower. Star looked all about the area so she’d have a good idea of just where in the forest the complex was situated, and how the dwelling was positioned in relation to it. The canyon stretched so many miles in each direction from the dwelling, situated on the top edge of the cliff, that it almost appeared like it was a crack that might run across the entire continent.