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The Encounter, Ch. 6 - by Genna East and Mike Friedman


The Final Chapter

Welcome to the final chapter of the continuing story in response to "The Encounter, a Writing Challenge."

Mike (Mckbirdbks) and I teamed together to write a six-part story in answer to that challenge. Installments were published weekly, every weekend. The music videos accompanying each chapter convey elements of the story.

Thank you for joining us. We hope you enjoyed the journey.

The link to Chapter 1 appears below...

Chapter 6

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love. We are made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself."

--- Carl Sagan

Nearly four months had passed since the disappearance of the alien vessel. Ezra's landing capsule was shuttled in secret to an isolated detachment of the Edwards Air Force base in Southern Nevada. In the weeks that followed, its impenetrable casing resisted the dogged inquests of man. Scientists could only speculate as to why the Jatites would leave such a calling card behind.

Hank Kelly's home on the Kittatinny had been confiscated, with all of its contents removed. Security tape and thick sheets of plastic still clung to the outer walls of the dwelling -- boarded shut and lifeless -- wrapped in a desolate silence.

News organizations and the social media had moved on from the mysteries surrounding the alien craft. Advertisers filled the margins of everyday life with offers of needless merchandise. Television producers continued their reality shows, and tales of super heroes, zombies and clever policemen.

Of those who vanished on that mid-summer day, the official explanation conveyed little beyond their abduction by a hostile alien force. All four were presumed dead...until, the evening of November 14th.

On that night, a bright autumn moon cast deep shadows on the Astrophysical Sciences building at Princeton University. Several of Dr. Penelope Teller's colleagues were working late into the night in the first-floor lab, researching what the James Webb Telescope had recorded as an anomaly -- a ripple that appeared as a soundless, shuddering breath through the fabric of space and time near Jate 22c. The tiny displacement lasted one-tenth of a second.

From the terrace outside the lab, a bright sliver of light streamed through one of the windows, drawing the researchers to its source. On the concrete surface rested an oblong capsule -- a small replica of the famous pod found in the woods on the Kittatinny. The capsule opened for them to reveal a strange object. They examined it with caution, unaware of the gift that had been entrusted to their care: Ezra's hologram. Included in the capsule were instructions written in Penny's own hand explaining how to operate the strange device. The scientists soon realized their discovery was meant to be shared with the world. They watched with astonishment as it relayed one of the most important odysseys in human history; undeniable, inescapable.

Ezra's hologram, with its three-dimensional images of sight and sound, chronicled his arrival on the Kittatinny, his meeting with Dr. Hannaford Kelly and his beloved spaniel, Noah, and the fateful moments that followed throughout his visit. The stunning diffractions of light captured Ezra's departure from earth as he and his human companions boarded the Jatite vessel before it vanished from orbit. Carrying travelers from two different worlds, the ship traversed through a wormhole, a glistening sphere reflecting surreal images of the galaxies and nebulae that stretched beyond. The extraordinary voyage culminated in their arrival at Jate, one hundred years into the near-Eden of its past to warn of the future desolation from which their descendants had fled.

As Ezra predicted, the evidence was overwhelming. The appearance of the few Jatites who had voluntarily relinquished the laser emersion to remove their scale-like skin was startling. So, too, was the holographic history of their future. The testimony given by the kind aliens from earth was equally persuasive. From that moment forward, an alteration of the Jatite consciousness began to the point of understanding that the living creatures of their planet were linked in a cycle. They were as the air, as the soil, as the water, given the proper respect of the very essence in which life could thrive.

Not long after their arrival, the Jatite leader and the human companions he had grown to love gathered in front of the spaceship. In full view of the hologram, they stood side by side to convey a message to humanity.

"What you are about to see," explained Ezra in his gentle monotone voice, "are our efforts to change the course of history for our planet, and reverse the decisions that led us down the wrong path. For us, it is the beginning of another journey that will last a millennium. Climate change and the depletion of natural resources have also threatened earth with a similar, environmental cataclysm. Yet humanity still has time to alter that path."

"Our goal is not to blame or moralize, but to appeal to you all with a passion from the heart," remarked Hank. "Our world, our earth as we know it, is slipping away. We have become separate from nature -- disconnected from the intimacy with life on which our very survival depends. Everything we are, everything around us, is the residual of stardust that has made its way into the plants and nutrients we need for everything that we do. So much of what exists is alive within us."

Hank gazed down at Penny and grasped her hand. The love he had found again through her was unmistakable. "Carl Sagan once said that science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality," she said. "I now know this to be true. Science and technology were never the problem; it was our misuse of them."

"One of the wonders of creation is the knowledge that man is not alone," added Marty. "The freedom we seek rests not in the saying...it is in the doing. We know you have the courage to become part of the beauty of the universe we are destined to be."

Kate looked up at him, nodded and smiled: "We are capable of more than we know. There is such courage in each of us...for all of us."


In a stunning continuum, the images of the hologram shifted into a moving and meaningful narrative of what took place in the decades that followed.

The Jatites taught their honored guests the soft trilling sounds of their language, while learning the verbal communication of human speech. Teachers as well as students, the alien visitors soon became cherished members of the Jatite world. Children were taught the importance of their environment from an early age with a holistic understanding. When not at their studies, they were carried by drones to playgrounds of their own design in the natural world. Kate and Marty were delighted when their own son was able to join them.

Through better use of their science and technology, the Jatites were able to stem the tide of global devastation. They re-designed their dwellings to capture the heat of their sun, maintaining the perfect temperature throughout the day, regardless of season. The vast, crimson waters erupting with the noxious gases of a dying planet disappeared from the horizons of time. The proteus fruits were restored, more plentiful than before. Growing fields swelled with food bearing plants that grew nearly twenty feet tall. Life had returned -- from the luminescent sea algae and fireflies, to the land herbivores that fed in their plains and rainforests.

The gifts of longevity on Jate were profound. Hank Kelly and his close friend, Ezra, lived another happy and rewarding sixty years; Penny and her brother, Marty, seventy-five. Kate followed her husband, Marty, a decade later.

Moments before the hologram images began to fade, a human appeared -- a man, born on Jate ninety-three years earlier. The boy who joined the Jatite children in their studies and at play had grown into adulthood. A joyous human being, he looked middle-aged. His features mirrored Kate's African American heritage and Marty's strong Irish chin and blue eyes -- docile, gelatinous orbs that held a deep intelligence and the purity of a child's internal life before the woundedness of humanity had breached the depths of his soul.

"My name is Hannaford Ezra Teller," he began. "Today heralds the one hundredth year anniversary of the day my family left earth. Not a moment passes when we do not feel the spirit of their presence. They will never leave us. I am honored to be part of their living testimony, in this, our tribute to their home and the world they so loved."

In his hands was the book his father had pulled from Penny's bookcase in the Whitney building only minutes before his departure: F. Scott Fitzgerald's, This Side of Paradise. Hannaford turned a page to quote from a passage: "'It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the being.' Dreams can become reality if given the chance. The being is in the understanding, the knowing of how beautiful it is that we all exist. Perhaps this is the true test of love. I hope that someday we meet," he added, smiling. Blessings to you all." Closing the book, he glanced over his shoulder at a large structure standing in the shadows.

The flickering hologram followed his gaze to a rotunda sheltering the massive Jatite ship that had carried both Jatite and Human voyagers -- its large, elongated form and textured surface, well tended and preserved. A decorative plaque was mounted on the hull. Two words were inscribed in dedication to one who had sacrificed his life to protect those he loved...one whose instincts and courage made it possible for countless, future generations to survive: Noah's Ark.

Saturn (Sleeping at Last)

The lyrics to this lovely and haunting song begin at 2:25 --------------

Written by Genna Eastman and Mike Friedman. All rights reserved.


Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on March 23, 2019:

Mike, no doubt, it could have been much longer. I wrote my own response to this challenge, and it was three parts. I later expanded it to ten parts. Your collaboration paid off in a remarkable story. I've teamed up with John Hansen (Jodah) three times, but not for anything this long. Congratulations.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on March 23, 2019:

Good morning Genna.

Hello Chris,Your arrival brought me back to this six part series. I see Genna has taken good care of you in the comment section. I want to add my thanks as I know it is a commitment to begin a series here. We are glad you enjoyed our story. Lots of discipline was employed to keep it at this length.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on March 23, 2019:

Thank you, Chris. I couldn't ask for a more creative and disciplined writing partner than Mike Friedman. This was quite a journey for us.

Now, if only the dream of The Encounter were a reality... :-)

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on March 22, 2019:

This final chapter is an emotional cry to make it happen here. I love the characters you developed and that you allowed us to know of their happy lives away from home. Genna and Mike, thank you for allowing us to live for a short while in this dream.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on March 10, 2019:

Thank you, Nell. So sorry I'm late. As always, it's good to see you;

Mike and I and welcome your thoughtful comments. Happy Sunday, my friend.

Nell Rose from England on February 25, 2019:

I came back for another read. I must admit I had forgotten I had read it, then the words took over again and I loved it once more. This had better be an ebook, she growled! LOL! it reminds me so much of how I love Yargo, the Jaqueline Suzanne book. When you do make it into a book let me know? that way I can read it all the way through without missing bits! lol!

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on February 03, 2019:

Hi Will. Thanks so much for taking the time to read The Encounter, and the thoughtful comments. Both Mike and I are so pleased that you enjoyed it. You are one of our favorite writers.

Mike is being modest and generous in his comment. And he was right in that this really is a book, with many more aspects/chapters that could be added between installments 1 and 6. We began with the idea of three installments, and he said "Genna, we'll never get this in to three," which became four, then five, and so on.

The devil was sure in the details with this series. For example, Stephen Hawking was still with us when we began this story. Sadly, we had to rewrite him in CH 2 in the past tense.

Hope you are enjoying your Sunday. (Here's hoping that the Pats win the Super Bowl this evening. :-)

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on February 03, 2019:

Hello Will - I saw that you had begun reading our story and thank you for visiting our collaboration. Genna is a gifted writer, on top of that she had to keep me in line, as I tended to want laser blasters and F35 fighter planes. We are both happy the way the story rounded itself out. That we managed to get the story wrapped up in six episodes is somewhat astounding. Again thanks.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on February 02, 2019:

Ah, Noah lives on but not the way I envisioned.

What a wonderful story and what a superb cooperative effort. I am impressed beyond words Well done!

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on November 13, 2018:

Hi Nell. Thanks so much for your lovely comment.

And I agree wholeheartedly with Mike. If there was ever yet another wake up call, the CA fires that have wrought so much loss of life, property, and natural environments simply cannot be ignored. Such devastation is occurring throughout other parts of the globe, in various forms, as well.

Good to see you, Nell. :-)

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on November 12, 2018:

Hello Nell - Thank you for stopping by. With all the fires going on in California the message seems even more real today than when Genna and I finished this last episode. Glad you were able to find time to get to the finish. Time is so precious these days.

Nell Rose from England on November 12, 2018:

Wow! love it, and the ending said it all! I forget to read all the chapters but enough was installed into my brain to catch up! lol! well done, great story!

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on September 02, 2018:

Thank you, Peggy. What a lovely comment. We appreciate your encouragement and for staying with our story.

Noah was my favorite character in our story. In the first chapter, Hank didn't recognize Ezra for the gentle creature that he was. Noah did. In Chapter 4, when Noah scooted over to Penny, Hank wasn't aware of Penny's love for him. Noah was. The entire Encounter journey would not have been possible without him. His instincts were also the "inspirational mooring " as Mike would say, that connects and alters humanity's relationship with the natural world.

The Jatite ship wasn't dedicated to a human or Jatite, a nation or a world. "Today heralds the one hundredth year anniversary of the day my family left earth. Not a moment passes when we do not feel the spirit of their presence. They will never leave us." When Hannaford Ezra Teller then looks over his shoulder toward the ship, we know that the same holds true of the beloved Noah.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 31, 2018:

Hello Peggy Woods - Thank you very much. 'Noah's Ark' came to Genna early, and we saved it for the conclusion. It fit so well, and made the horrible task of killing off the dog more tolerable, (but just slightly.)

It is an important message, one that is not getting enough attention. There are so many people and we are all consuming the resources of the planet at an alarming rate.

We are happy you stayed with us throughout the journey.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 31, 2018:

The two of you make a great writing team and this was a most engaging story. I liked the ending and the naming of "Noah's Ark." Learning to respect our environment or pay the consequences was a great subject. Combining that with aliens and man's encounter with them was inspired!

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on August 28, 2018:

Hi Peg...

Thanks so much for accompanying us on this journey. Absolutely there was a lot of going back and forth. It was challenging to remember all of the details in the various chapters over time so as to not repeat ourselves or become redundant, and to make sure that the underlying thread -- the connective tissue so to speak -- culminated in the final chapter. And that includes those pesky details:

For example, "The Jatites taught their honored guests the soft trilling sounds of their language..." Did we refer to these trilling or whistling sounds in other places in the story so that the reader could connect the dots with this? Yes, we did, so it's there in the final chapter. Then there was the time when I wrote a sentence in chapter 4 about Ezra's one hologram and Mike reminded me that we had written he had two holograms in chapter 1. So we had to go back to chapter 1 and change the two holograms to one. (Easier for Ezra to carry.)

One of my favorite comments was written by Maria: "...you have written a conclusion that has not a single loose thread."

Could it have been better? Of course. For me, to think otherwise is foolish for any writer. We just need to know when it's time to walk away.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on August 28, 2018:

I hope we did, Mike. :-)

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 28, 2018:

Hi Genna - It seems we made all the right choices as the readers are happy.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on August 28, 2018:


"Preaching and desk pounding." I just caught that. Lol! As I recall, we decided that lecturing from a point of moralizing that might equate with "here's my chance to tell off humanity" -- as tempting as it was as -- just wasn't gonna work. Hugs.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on August 28, 2018:

My apologies everyone...

I'm behind with my comments but will try to catch up before tonight. (Working six days a week is exhausting.)

-- Dana M.

Hello, kind sir. I received your email so I knew you were reading The Encounter. Still, it was sweet of you to leave a comment for Mike and I. Thank you! (And please thank Molly for the ed. referral for ATS…he is amazing!) Hugs to you both.

-- Ann

I couldn't agree with you more You have written such thoughtful observations and remarks. "I hope valuable messages like this can get through to everyone somehow. A valiant attempt from you both which makes such good reading." This is one of the nicest comments we've received. We need more stories that help us reconnect with our environment on which our very survival depends -- in more ways than one -- rather than isolate ourselves from what surrounds us as though we were intellectually superior. We aren't. By doing so we will come to understand that "much of what exists is alive within us. That being is in the understanding, the knowing of how beautiful it is that we all exist. Perhaps this is the true test of love." Our humble thanks and appreciation for staying with us on the journey.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 28, 2018:

Hello DanaM - I see we are both big fans of Genna and her writing. The Pandion Prophecy was widely acclaimed here at HP, as it should be. Thank you for such a nice comment and fine compliment.

DanaM on August 28, 2018:

Have not seen your writing luv since your unique and striking Pandion Prophecy. You and Mr. Friedman have teamed to produce a work of art. I cannot add anything more to the accolades already here. Brava!

Ann Carr from SW England on August 28, 2018:

Yes, it's the same here. Our streets become more and more violent too with so many awful stories every day.

Indeed, we are strangling ourselves and I hope valuable messages like this can get through to everyone somehow. A valiant attempt from you both which makes such good reading.


mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 28, 2018:

Hello Ann - Thank you. I don't know about England, but here in the United States, the stories on TV are mostly violence. We purposely set out to exclude violence from the story, even though some crept in. We feel the message is important and deserves more attention that it is getting. Oceans of plastic are strangling the seas, and as the seas go we go. Thanks for staying with us on the journey.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 28, 2018:

Hello Peg – Thank you. The folder of notes for The Encounter is over a half inch thick. Genna would say, “We need something right here.” That became the assignment, to write a few sentences that bridged from one idea to another. We spent a lot of time figuring out how to get them on the ship. Then chapter six, gave us trouble, as the message is important, but me preaching and desk pounding was not going to work. All in all the conclusion was truncated, but it will have to do. We appreciate you staying with us for the journey.

Ann Carr from SW England on August 28, 2018:

Well-written, satisfying story with a great message. I like the suspicion and automatic assumption of danger at the beginning - human nature - changing into bravery, vision and hope. Wouldn't it be cool if that happened? It shows how important dreams and goals are.

Well done to both of you, Genna & Mike, for a brilliant story!


Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on August 27, 2018:

- Linda Crampton

Hi Linda...

Thanks so much for staying with this story.

One of the reasons I enjoy your articles is that you often bring us closer to understanding our natural environment; your words and presentations bring us out from behind the walls and glass that separate us. We need more writers like you.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on August 27, 2018:

- Paula

Oh my...what a beautiful comment! You made our day. From day one, it was so nice to click open these chapters and see your supportive comments and thoughts. Thank you, Paula. :-)

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on August 27, 2018:

- John Hanson

Hey John...

Losing Noah in Ch. 5 was hard. Hopefully, what occurred at the conclusion of Ch. 6 softened that blow in the best of ways. Having you accompany us on this journey has been a pleasure, John. Thank you.

- Mckbirdbks

Hi Mike...

I haven't seen the film you mentioned but assume you’re referring to Max Perkins and Thomas Wolfe's (one of my literary heroes), 'Look Homeward, Angel' (O Lost). Odd -- I don't recall Perkins ever editing his own work. (Lol.) Seriously though, he did cut much of the 330,000 words Wolfe submitted. Perkins was criticized later but he (Scribner) understood the market audience and wanted to get Wolfe's inimitable genius published. And thank God he did. Especially since previously other publishers had turned him down...flat.

Have a great week.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on August 27, 2018:

- Pamela Oglesby

Hello Pamela...

Thank you again for your support, your interest in this story, and for such encouraging words. And I couldn't agree with you more about the environment.

It's an age old question: Would we go? Would I go? If it was to save the earth, maybe. I keep thinking about the family I would leave behind.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on August 27, 2018:

Congratulations and thanks for this satisfying conclusion to your interstellar tale. I know this took a lot of back and forth work to capture the essence of your messages and get it into the pleasing format that you have created.

The best observations about the story have already been taken: "mystery, travel, sadness, courage, loss, victory, humanity, environmental concerns" along with happiness, satisfaction, love, "protect our planet and environment and change our practices." Maria astutely shared the key results: "satisfying, providing an overall feeling of hopefulness" and excellent writing. Then there's the overriding question, "Would we choose to go?" providing food for thought. Nicely done, Mike and Genna. Listening to the music now.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 27, 2018:

Hello Linda - Thanks for seeing your way to the big finale. The story shows that there is hope and the possibility of joy in this world. That message was delivered as gently as possible. Happy writing.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 26, 2018:

This is a beautiful way to end the story. I loved the joy and hope expressed in the chapter. I hope the two of your write another story together at some point.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 26, 2018:

Hello Paula – How charming. I will treasure this ‘Best Writing’ award. Laurels don’t come around that often. The music throughout the series, played a character of its own. The story would not have been the same without it. Thanks for riding along on this journey to worlds beyond.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 26, 2018:

Hello John – As has been mentioned, this story could have gone on and on. As it is, it did not want to end, as we pushed through one scene then another. We are glad you stayed with it and were not disappointed. Genna did some great editing to keep Chapter six at a reasonable length. (There is a scene in a movie about Thomas Wolf, he goes on for three pages about the color of his female character’s eyes. The editor talks him into, ‘Her eyes were blue.”) Thanks for the nice compliment.

Suzie from Carson City on August 26, 2018:

Hello you 2! Please be very proud of this work. It's been a wonderful journey. I scrolled down to start the music before I read this. With your wonderful tale, giving my imagination a run for it's life....I felt I could have been seated in a huge movie theater!

Hold still Mike and Genna, as I place the awards around your necks for Best Writing!!

There was so much in this story.....mystery, travel, sadness, courage, loss, victory, humanity, environmental concerns.....quite frankly, a work of art!

Thanks Genna and Mike. You get a standing ovation as your audience appreciates the brilliance. Peace, Paula

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on August 26, 2018:

This is a wonderful conclusion that didn’t disappoint in any way. I knew that Noah’s sacrifice must have had a greater reason and the final sentence made that all clear. Apart from an engaging story there is a wonderful message in The Encounter...to protect our planet and environment and change our practices to do that. It was also good to read a story where they aliens aren’t perceived as a threat to Earth, but as an ally in saving the planet. Great job Genna and Mike. What a team you make.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 26, 2018:

Hello Pamela - It is a truly tough question to answer. Would we go? At this point I think yes, I would. Here on earth, we earthlings, seem to have thrown out all common sense in pursuit of a dollar. No matter the expense to us all as we recklessly destroy the environment.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 26, 2018:

Genna and Mike, This ending and this spectacular music choice was the perfect ending to this story. It has been an outstanding journey, and one wonders if there are aliens from other planets that have the good sense to protect the environment.

Also, I have wondered if I would board that space ship if given the opportunity, and I think the answer is yes. This fictional story caught me i the first segment, and I have truly enjoyed this journey.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on August 26, 2018:

Verlie and Bill...

Thank you so much for those kind words. The story could have been longer, and then longer still. But given that I work six days a week with other writing projects now staring me in the proverbial face, I'd be in a nursing home before it was finished. (By the way, Mike has the generosity and patience of Job.)

This installment presented other challenges. From the beginning, Mike and I had to give the Jatites an element of mystique and not portray them as aliens who talked and acted exactly like humans in ways that lacked imagination. And we knew that the social message, with all of its implications and hope, had to stem from the heart -- not as an aloof lecture in time from disconnected voices in the cold annals of space. One of the characteristics we liked about our four heroic travelers is that they genuinely cared about humanity and the "beautiful blue" of earth they were trying to save. Ezra made his choices wisely.

Happy Sunday everyone.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 26, 2018:

Hello Bill - Thanks, this project has had a journey of its own. I bet there were plenty of times that Genna sat in front of her computer and thought, "What is he thinking?" haha We appreciate you staying with the story.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 26, 2018:

Hello Verlie - It is out of character for me to see an ending coming, but as the story came closer to the end, it was clear there was only one way to go. All the conflict would be internal; the struggle would be to change our ways. You all can thank Genna's editing, as my preaching was much louder in the initial drafts. There was concern about the length of the story. We did not want to turn it into a saga. Thanks for the compliment and staying with us.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 26, 2018:

Hello mar - That is a generous comment. The music selection is worth the time to listen to over and over. Noah's Ark was one of Genna's sparks of genius. I argued for Teller's Tiki (Kon Tiki's brother) and Kelly's Heroes as tag lines. (Genna - a little joke)

Maria thanks for the compliment.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 26, 2018:

Two excellent writers combine for one dynamic and thoroughly enjoyable story....toss in the perfect ending, and you have a story which should be read by all. Well done you two!

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on August 26, 2018:

Dear Genna and Mike, Appreciate this ending. The last line is perfect. I could almost see the story going on longer, but the epilogue works well. And the message is powerful. So well writ! Congratulations on a very fine collaboration.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on August 26, 2018:

What a beautiful and generous comment, dear Maria. Thank you! I have to confess that I cried as well about Noah's Ark. It was important to convey the totality of Noah's spirit that reached beyond those final seconds at the Whitney. His instincts, for example, helped Hank and the others from the very beginning. This journey would not have been possible without him. Hugs and happy Sunday. :-)

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on August 26, 2018:

W O W ... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I read this finale last evening before bed and am savoring it this morning - along with this chillingly beautiful musical selection.

In this tightly woven tapestry masterpiece, you have written a conclusion that has not a single loose thread.

I believe this is the best chapter of all in a 'tight race' .. it is satisfying, providing an overall feeling of hopefulness ...

And 'Noah's Ark' had me sobbing... oh would I love to see this on the big screen where it belongs.

Thank you to Genna and Mike for a story that is truly 'out of this world'. BRAVA ... Hugs, Maria

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 25, 2018:

Hello FlourishAnyway - Thank you. This began as a small writing project and grew and grew as we began tackling the issues with time and the fabric of space.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on August 25, 2018:

Hello Flourish. Thank you. We appreciate that you stayed with the story to its completion. F. Scott is a favorite author, and the theme of his first novel and his Princeton background dovetailed with certain aspects of The Encounter. We thought it might be interesting to provide a little back-story on how long it took for him to actually become a "graduate" of Princeton. Have an enjoyable weekend.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on August 25, 2018:

Hi Mike. Thank you! Absolutely, there is a book in The Encounter. :-) Remember when we started out with three installments, then four, then five, etc.? The time issue is a little reminiscent of 'Interstellar.' (I would never have the hubris or conceit of comparing the two; I'm just referring to the time element.) It's a superb film with magnificent production values and themes that reside both above and below the surface. I don't have the opportunity to see many films, but I'm a fan of Christopher Nolan's brilliant fascination with time and our perception of it. But you could see where chunks of Interstellar ended up on the cutting room floor. The irony is that Nolan ran out of time.

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 25, 2018:

This was a fitting ending and you both did such a marvelous job working together on this piece with a socially conscious message. I also enjoyed the update about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s graduation from Princeton posthumously.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 25, 2018:

Hello Genna, thank you. The Encounter has been quite the adventure.

To our readers, in order to streamline our story, that I predicted at the beginning would take 40,000 words, a lot of good writing was left on the editing room floor. We both hope that the pictures we painted with words leave a distinct impression. Thanks to each and everyone of you that stayed with the story to the end.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on August 25, 2018:

A comment note we wanted to include regarding one of the most important American writers of the 20th century: F. Scott Fitzgerald:

F. Scott attended Princeton University but never graduated before leaving the campus in 1917 to join the military, hoping he would be shipped overseas to fight in Europe during World War I. It wasn't until a hundred years later that finally he became a graduate:

"At Princeton’s McCarter Theater, Triangle celebrated their 125th birthday with a full-house performance of this season’s show, Greece’d Lightning! And, after the show, Triangle president Hillel Friedman ‘17 and Class of 2017 president Andrew Sun had a special announcement. A hundred years after he failed to graduate, and went off to war, the students of 2017 had approved F. Scott Fitzgerald as an honorary member of the class. Writer A. Scott Berg, a member of Princeton’s Class of 1971 and of the university’s board of trustees — and active in Triangle as an undergraduate — escorted Fitzgerald’s granddaughter Cecilia Ross on stage. Sun presented her with a certificate recognizing Fitzgerald’s membership in the class. (Diplomas would not be issued until the following May.)"

"F. Scott Fitzgerald, A Princeton Graduate With His Diploma At Last"; Daniel, Ann Margaret, Contributor; Huffpost; November 27, 2016

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