He stood on the wooded path, eyes closed. The breeze lightly tousled his hair. The insects buzzed and the birds chirped lazy songs. He could feel warm rays of sunshine splashing across his face as they poked their way through the dense canopy. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small metal object.

He felt the tiny chain slip through his fingers as his hand slowly rotated the circular object. After a few minutes his thumb caught the clasp and the device clicked open.

“I’m proud of you, son,” a gentle voice said.

He opened his eyes, squinting as a thin ray of light chose that moment to dance across his face. Before him stood his father. Time was kind to him. Jet black hair was barely peppered and only a few lines were etched across his face.

“Thanks, Dad,” he replied. A few moments passed. “I miss you.”

The older man kept the same smiling face. A small tremor spread across his features but it fizzled away just as quickly. He sighed heavily with the immersion now broken.

He closed the projector and the hologram vanished. He held it by the tiny chain and let it slowly dangle and spin. He had received his father’s prized possession right before he was deployed on his current tour and only days after the funeral. It was a long trip to the Andromeda galaxy so he had taken that time to convert it into its current form and function. It was a good start but it needed more a lot more work.

“End simulation,” he sighed. The trees, the birds, the bugs, and the warm rays of the sun slowly dissipated. He never took his eyes off the watch as the forest finished changing back to cold empty metal walls.

“See ya soon,” he whispered to the watch.