New Beginnings You were the last one on the plane. When each one of you climbed the stairs to the private jet you were greeted by a room full of strangers, assessing you the moment you entered, as you did to them as each climbed aboard, having first arrived first, second arriving second, and so on and so forth until you had filled each position, having a distinct recollection of each event with the clarity of true memory. If you paused to think about it you realized of course you were first on the plane. The next time you reflected back on it you were clearly last. When you thought nothing of it at all you experienced all memories simultaneously. Until you thought about them. Which of course you did. "Welcome Aboard!" A stewardess said, "If you'll please take a seat, we'll be leaving shortly." Or did she say arriving? You clearly remember both. You are standing in the middle of a monastery. You're initially not sure how you got there, but as a few seconds go by you seem to remember landing at a Chinese airport and taking a bus to the site with the others. There seem to be no guides or stewardesses. A warm evening light shines through the gaps in the pillars, casting long shadows on the ground. A half moon is rising lazily into the sky opposite the setting sun. There are people walking on the streets down below, but if they notice you they give no indication of it. In the exact middle of the room there is a piece of paper with something written on it. "Shangri-La is a place of perfect balance." There seems to be no other instruction of any kind. "Uh, so now what?" A young man speaks up. He has a buzzcut and several tattoos.