The aliens had made a map on her skin at first contact: a thousand bio-luminescent moles to help her people find them in the sky. This had been a huge drag during debrief, and worse when Ezzie got home and found she couldn’t sleep.

“Haven’t had a nightlight in years,” said Anka, snuggling close to help.

“Figures we’d land a species with no sense of boundaries,” Ezzie sighed. She set a hand over the brightest nuisance. Her palm smothered its light, but her knuckles bore three more. “At least the biopsies came back clean.”

Anka traced what the experts had thought was a stellar nursery along Ezzie’s right hip. “But if they can throw their minds across the cosmos? Light up your skin with directions to come over?”

“A gesture of peace, an invitation, and… a reminder of their power. Couldn’t’ve been a better message on their part.”

“So how do we answer? What show of force could possibly compete?”

Ezzie shrugged; the coronal mass ejection the experts planned to trigger, once the home-star’s location was pinned down, was confidential.

Even she would only know of its success months later: one mole–the brightest–winking out.

It wouldn’t help her sleep.

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