"I had to run away from home when I was sixteen, and I always knew I'd be back. I thought of it as a homecoming, returning to the place where I'd been born.
"When I was very young I went to a school that taught me the history and science of space travel. The school had a proud and venerable name now, though it had once been called the Academy of Seers. Each evening, I had the pleasure of listening to the story of this great old school.
"When I was sixteen, the Seers assigned me a mission to fulfill, and I was told that my journey would take place in space. After the mission was finished, I would return to Earth. It turned out that I didn't come back to Earth by my own will. I was sent there to help the Seers fulfill their mission."
"The mission was to observe the migration of alien critters, sometimes called 'animal souls' or 'spirit creatures', each of which species had been observed and researched by Seers from Earth in the past. It was the Seers' description of these critters, their characteristics, their behavior, and their characteristics that drew me to them. They had highly evolved minds and had mastered a wide range of technologies and sciences. The Seers were very intrigued by them. When I read about them, I became as fascinated as they were.
"The critters were capable of space travel and inhabited numerous planets and moons across a far reaching system of stars far away from Earth. It was a very large, very old, very intricate, very sophisticated system of nine densely populated planets and moons, with numerous, smaller, or more sparsely populated planets and moons orbiting them throughout vast, distant star systems. The critters had been observed by Seers from Earth for thousands of years. Their sophisticated culture was not understood by Seers.
"The Seers had made contact with a few of the animal souls, but found them unpredictable and dangerous. Over the years, they had contacted the animals, but had neither been understood nor accepted by them. The agreement the Seers had made with the animals was to allow them to travel from planet to planet, in Earth's loner system of space.
"The Seers assumed that the animals would travel out to the stars of other systems within their own system, and come back and return to their homeworlds. The Seers had no idea that the animals would do the very opposite.