Part Two of what was written as one long song.
Fifty-three years later, Chiman awoke in a strange place. There were strange people around him who wanted to perform strange tests and observations. He was terrified and alone. A thin pale-eyed woman told him she was his friend. She called herself Persephone. She told him that he would be all better soon, and that he would be going home with her. It took him a long time to understand many things, but eventually Chiman became acclimated to this new world.
Chiman is now the sole caretaker of a brand new resort called Independent Lunar Orbital Station, or ILOS. Chock full of amenities and accoutrements for the ultra-wealthy and powerful to enjoy, ILOS is a lush floating palace of comfort. Chiman is performing the final phases of its inception, receiving shipments, stocking shelves, and performing routine maintenance. He's been here alone for 8 months now, and it's beginning to seem like the resort will never be opened. Endless delays and shareholder infighting continue to extend his stay.
Sleep does not come easily in space, but when Chiman is able to close his eyes for longer than an hour or two, he finds himself having very odd dreams. He finds himself in places that feel recognizable but eerily unknown at the same time. There is something chasing him that is wearing his face, but is not him. He easily chalks this up to isolation and continues his duties every day. He periodically visits Mom in VirtuSpace, provided she isn't busy or in a meeting at the given time.
One night, Chiman awakens from his nightmare with a slight headache. Trying to put some distance between himself and the torturous dreams, he sips coffee and looks over his instruments. He almost inhales the warm liquid as he notices an anomaly on one of the screens. It appears for only a moment, but it's clear as day: a signature on the other side of Luna, almost exactly the same as Earth's. An uncomfortable and chilling feeling washes over Chiman, who is now considering whether he's still dreaming.
Another month passes. The conversations seem mostly the same, but Persephone notices a change in her son during one of their visits. She asks him if he's getting enough sleep, to which he sort of laughs and says, "You're always asking me that." But she hadn't asked him that. She hadn't felt the need until now. She isn't sure what to make of this, but figures he just misremembered. The conversation goes on as ordinary as ever.
Chiman is now receiving messages from and interacting with the Other Earth. They send him daily briefings just like the Earth he's used to, and mostly they're the same briefings with minor variances. When the station crosses in front of the Other Earth, he connects to the other VirtuSpace and visits his Other Mom. She's a little bit more pleasant and loving than he's used to, and her hair is just a slightly darker tone.
One day, he receives conflicting messages from the two planets. The one from Earth is a Notice of Contractual Extension, and the message from Other Earth is a Letter of Congratulations. The first is instructing him to continue his daily work until further notice. The second is notifying him of the completion of his duties, as well as inviting him to take a shuttle back home. A replacement will apparently be arriving shortly. Reeling at this development, Chiman passes out from exhaustion. Sleep doesn't come easily in space, but this time it's wholly non-negotiable.
The dream is different this time. He's on ILOS, and there are people everywhere. He doesn't recognize any of them, and when he tries to focus on their faces, they only get more blurred and incomprehensible. He still feels he's being chased through the crowd, the thing wearing his face pushing through the mass of people to get to him. He runs through corridors that he knows well, but they twist and turn like a metallic labyrinth. He reaches a dead end, turning back to see his own face staring at him. It says nothing, but opens its mouth wide in an O shape, and a loud electronic droning sound rings out. Suddenly, he's awake again.
Life out in space is so cold and so lonely
See everything from a distance, I feel
some kind of chill down my spine, left here floating
I'm feeling homesick for something unreal
On the other side
something hides behind
I saw it on my screen
Is something wrong with me?
Everything turned upside down
looks just the same
back and forth between
two sides of a coin
Where the right road leads,
left one's beckoning
Other's love is free
Somewhere in between
myself and the void
for questions to be deployed
Am I dreaming now?