Prologue: Xenophobia is as self-destructive as that obsessive love of the one who looks at you from the mirror.
p.s. Please read "Look at that sun" before reading this short.

True love

The bottle floated through that endless expanse of space for such a long time. It was bizarre that we would ever encounter it. Long ago, shipwrecked sailors would seek out empty bottles and enclose pleading notes within. If the bottles were not empty, the sailors naturally would empty them in due haste.
Who had sent this message, and what did it say. There was not enough in that note for us to translate. The only thing with which we could be relatively certain was the direction from which it came. Einstein’s law states that anything that is set in motion will continue in a straight line until something stops it, or maybe changes its course.
Because we could not decipher the writing, we could not decipher the intent of the author. So long ago, sailors would use notes in bottles, pleading for rescue. Maybe they bequeathed these bottles with their secret notes to the seas, hoping they would somehow get back to the ones they cared about. Sometimes those notes were prayers to the ones those sailors prayed to.
It was damned difficult tracking down the origin of this bottle. No record existed of the writing, and we had no idea how old it was. The bottle could have been left yesterday, or it could be millions of years old. In the vacuum of space, age comes very slowly.
An intriguing puzzle it was. Einstein’s law was correct. Anything set in motion remains in motion until it is acted upon by another force. The problem was that in space, despite the vacuum, there are so many other forces.
It was pure, dumb luck that nothing got in the bottle’s way. Nothing big enough to cause a problem that is. There were numerous holes in that bottle. It would never hold to contents of anything in the shape we found it with all those microscopic punctures.
At about a tenth the speed to light, it was also moving very fast. The other thing Einstein said was that the closer you get to the speed of light, the closer to infinite your weight gets. I think that’s what he said anyway. This is probably what saved the bottle from all those impacts. Actually, the bottle may have been travelling even faster than the speed it was at when we found it. Maybe it came crashing through several meteors, slowing down ever so slightly each time before we found it. Science fiction? Think about the egg, then try crushing it end to end in your palm.
As it was travelling through space, it would have passed by any number of stars, planets, asteroids, or anything else with gravity. All this needed to be calculated to find its origin. Anything with gravity will change the trajectory of objects in flight. This is the technology we use even to this day to keep things in effortless orbit around planets. It is the technology we once used to propel our crude rockets to the first planets to which we set our sights. And it is this nature of the universe that keeps most of the planets and stars in our galaxy moving in a predictable path.
This bottle has been travelling for a very long time, and it was on us too try and find out who sent it. Why, you ask?
Why not? It’s a driving force. A question. It is a reason to live. Why not?
In the process we came across several dead ends, or mistakes. Every time we thought we were close, we discovered that something had changed the bottle’s course. The gravity of a star, a planet, or an asteroid had interfered. Maybe it was the impact with an asteroid, or several asteroids that changed its course. Perhaps it was a combination of all of the above.
One path led to another, and then another, and it has continued for the past 20 years. God, I’m old now. This search has consumed be for so long.
After some serious calculations, and recalculations, the clues led to a portion of our galaxy that had long been neglected. I don’t remember why, though. The language was obscure until we realized where we were. When we finally did realize, a very irrational but primal fear grabbed us all, if only for a moment. The language in the bottle was the language of the Tsin.
OK! Maybe it wasn’t primal fear, but a certain excitement in the hope, again irrational, for a bit of conflict to spice things up a bit. This corner of the galaxy has been rather quiet for the past 500 years and the Tsin vanished so long ago. We were near their home world before we realized we had trespassed into their territory. The area had long been forbidden by the A.I.
Correction! It was now the Union. The A.I. were as much a part of galactic family life as your brother, sister, other familial unit, significant other, parent, or … I digress.
As much as we were worried about retaliations from the Tsin, or the Union, it was now evident that the Tsin were no more. We relayed this information to the Union and it wasn’t long before we received their terse response.
After 500 years, the agreement still stands, they said. “You are ordered to leave Tsin territory without delay, by order of the Galactic Union.
We had no other choice but pack up and leave. This we did, but not before collecting enough information we hoped would give us a clue to why they were the way that they were, or at least to help us translate the message in the bottle.
What we discovered threw us. We did not find enough information about the Tsin to temper our opinions. They were still an extremely xenophobic race, terrified of any contact with any races other than their own. That was not a shock. The shock came when we translate the letter in the bottle and realized what it was.
Xenophobia is an irrational fear of all people and cultures other than your own. It is a fear that can prompt you to commit terrible acts, which it did with the Tsin. They tried to exterminate all other life they perceived as a threat to their own purity in their little corner of the galaxy. To them, this naturally meant all life other than their own.
After having discovered its origins, we were then able to translate the contents of the letter through old Tsin language records. It was a poem that left us all baffled and shocked. A poem by itself is not shocking since all of the known civilizations in this galaxy use poetry to express their inner thoughts.
To this day we still can’t answer why someone from Tsin would repeat a poem from David Whyte, of ancient Earth. What was going through that being’s mind? The one who repeated this poem never bothering to change any of the words or labels to make it more understandable to its own kind.

The True Love, by David Whyte

There's a faith in loving fiercely the one who is rightfully yours
especially if you have waited years and especially if part of you never
believed you could deserve this loved and beckoning hand held
out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are worthy of in this world.
Years ago in the Hebrides I remember an old man
who would walk every morning on the gray stones
to the shore of baying seals, who would press his 
hat to his chest in the blustering salt wind and say his 
prayer to the turbulent Jesus hidden in the waters.

And I think of the story of the storm and the people
waking and seeing the distant, yet familiar figure, 
far across the water calling to them.
And how we are all preparing for that abrupt waking
and that calling and that moment when we have to say yes!

Except it will not come so grandly, so biblically,
but more subtly, and intimately in the face
of the one you know you have to love.
So that when we finally step out of the boat
toward them we find, everything holds us,
and everything confirms our courage.

And if you wanted to drown, you could,
But you don't, because finally, after all
this struggle and all these years,
you don't want to anymore.
You've simply had enough of drowning
and you want to live, and you want to love.
And you'll walk across any territory,
and any darkness, however fluid,
and however dangerous to take the one
hand and the one life, you know belongs in yours. 

Addendum: We have uncovered a slight variation in the script of the Tsin writing found in the bottle. While this should generally not matter in the slightest, it is significant where the Tsin are concerned. Nearly all recorded civilizations have uncounted variations within their scripting, or should I say penmanship, and each being’s handwriting is unique.  Not so with the Tsin. They were fanatically meticulous about repeating each letter identical that of generations before.
As of now, we have come across only three civilizations with this same trait. Upon further exploration and research, the differences in the two previous cases have both turned out to be the result of a second unknown branch of each civilization. One of these civilizations was comprised of mimics, who faithfully repeated the styles of their forbearers. The other civilization, much like the Tsin, was Xenophobic. They repeated writing faithfully out of a need to continue the pure culture, not to mention bloodline. The Tsin were not mimics.
Could there be another branch, and if so, are they still alive? This puzzle requires further study, and it is our hope that the Union will grant us the required time and funds to continue our research; perhaps in Tsin space.