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Fermius Firefly

A Dream Log, whenever I remember the dreams I've had.

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Location: San Marcos, United States

Fermius is a pen name drawn from a series of short fiction I wrote when I published the small press magazine Stellanova (on paper.) I play RPG games to escape from my daily grind as a technology wage slave for the state of California. I eat out a lot in order to do my part in supporting our increasingly service level economy. I am butler to 2 feline masters. If you ask them they will tell you I'm not very good at it, late with dinner, don't have enough hands with brushes in them, and sometimes I even lock them out of their office.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Passel of Plagues

              I dreamed that I was about 12 years old, living in a steam-punk universe, very Edwardian but with airships, robots and ray-guns, none of which were particularly reliable. The dream started with me being out on the streets late at night, having snuck out of the barracks like building with AH so that we could visit his girlfriend, in this dream played by his wife. As we made our way across town, the air-raid sirens went off.
              As bombs began to fall on the edge of town, the lights were quickly being turned off or snuffed out. We ran along a narrow river road, taking turns climbing on one another's shoulders to turn off the gas lamps as we ran. Soon we came across a police man doing the same, but from another direction.
              “Thanks, lads, now get yerselves t'cover!” he pointed over to a warehouse like building nearby with a large yellow arrow that pointed to a cellar door.
              “Raid Shelter 104,” was printed in four inch high letters on the base of the arrow and in eight inch high letters on the doors.
              “I have t'see to the Century Street Landing. Mind now!” he hollered as he ran off.
              AH and I looked at one another, “I have to get to C,” he ran off down the nearly pitch black street, “it's only a dozen more blocks.”
              I hesitated, eyes adjusting to the scattered starlight. It was easy enough to pick out the road from the river wherein was reflected the partly cloudy sky and its myriad stars between. Still, I ran carefully, keeping myself away from the river and following AH's uneven sounding footfalls. I lifted my feet a little higher than I would have if it had been daylight, or even if the streetlights were on.
              I heard AH tumble and shout in front of me, so slowed just in time to see him rolling on the street, clutching his foot. “Stubbed my toes on that!”
              Where he pointed was a steel box with several lit grills on its surface. As I approached I realized that the grills were glowing from within, the airship shaped grill was red, fading to amber even as I watched. There were seven stencil like grills in total. Of the three on top, one was the airship, the next one, which was a dark amber but brightening and turning red, looked like a dinosaur, the third grill was no shape I recognized, but was completely dark. There was one in the middle, which I interpreted to be the re-animation ray. The Bottom row of three were also dark, but one was an Orbital Mind Control Laser, the second a Wave and the last one was Fire.
              I wiped my hand across the OMCL grill, which lit bluish green. Lasers cut through the clouds causing them to light up like lightning, and the lasers cut into the dirigibles at the edge of the city, soon the sound of bombs going off faded to nothing. It seems the OMCL was more “Persuasion” than “Control.”
              I was pulled up to my feet, “C'mon, stop fooling with that, you'll get us ki...” AH's hand relaxed as he stopped talking. His other hand pointed towards the mouth of the river. I glanced down at the steel box, the Dinosaur was glowing brightly, as were the Wave and Fire stencils. “Wha...?”
              I looked up. At the mouth of the river a giant Dinosaur, much the size of Godzilla was climbing out of the sea. Water pushed ahead of him, surging up the river, it's crest visible as a line of darkness in the reflected milky way of the otherwise calm river.
              “High ground!” I shouted and grabbed AH's sleeve to pull him back up the street to the last bridge we passed. Our side of the river, and into the warehouse district, was flat and only a dozen feet or so above the height of the river itself. The high ground, what little of it there was, was across the river. The Cemetery, Mortuary and Crematorium were at the end of a long uphill winding road overlooking the town from across the river. We ran.
              Crossing the 98th street bridge I looked out to see a huge wave blocking the Godzilla-like monsters hips and legs, but his head swept across the city, shooting out a ray that hit the ground in a swath about a hundred feet wide, and everything it touched was bathed in flames. We ran harder.
              From half way up the hill, low trees and headstones all around us, I saw that the monster was not lighting the whole city on fire, instead laying out a pattern of stripes that created a sort of maze, the only exit of which, was at his feet.
              “It followed us!” AH blurted, panting.
              I looked at his feet. There was the steel box with it's backlit stencil like cutouts. I'd touched the OMCL grill before, and it had stopped the airship bombardment. (Or was a coincidence, but I wasn't so sure. It had glowed blue green where the others were amber and red.) I tried it again, but it remained dark.
              “Maybe you can only use it once,” I said.
              “Maybe it wasn't you at all,” AH added.
              “Well, here's one that hasn't been used yet.” I swept my fingers over the very odd looking last symbol on the top row. It glowed blue and then green. The Monster, Wave and Fire glyphs began to fade.
              The monstrous roaring stopped. I watched, stunned, as the creature turned and waded back into the ocean.
              I whooped, and turned to see that AH had started up the hill to the mortuary, calling out to C, who for some reason was at the top of the hill near the entrance.
              That didn't add up for me and I hurried after him, barely noting that the Reanimation stencil had begun to glow amber.
              As we made our way up the hill we grew, our youthful stick figures filling out to the size and shape of our current adult hood. There was a part of me that was sad about this. AH reached the top of the hill, and the small robot, which is what I now knew it to be, grabbed him and dragged him into the building, tossing him down some stairs.
              As I crossed the threshold, completely against my will, my instinct was to run, I once again found myself to be a young boy.
              The robot looked at me, its disguise shifting, trying to find something enticing. “Actually, I've always thought robots were pretty cool.” I said.
              The robot stopped in a half woman half robot phase and smiled at me. It was a predatory smile, but it didn't last.
              “What does the Reanimation Stencil do?” I asked.
              The change in demeanor of the robot was instant. “Help me shut all the doors. Now!”
The robot clattered off, closing and barring doors, sliding the ceiling and floor bolts closed, and then starting to slide furniture in front of the large front windows. Outside, the townspeople were making their way up the hill to the building.
              I thought they might want shelter from whatever was coming and asked if I should let them in.
              The robot shouted “No!” and let out a girlish shriek. As the people began to pound on the doors I realized that they were dead, and had pulled themselves out of the ground.
              “What about the people in the cellar,” I asked.
              The robot shrieked again, then ran down the hall to secure the cellar door. I ran upstairs and out onto a balcony. It was a short six foot jump to a nearby tree, and I climbed down the hill behind the mortuary, relying on my speed to avoid the reanimated remains. As I crossed out of the cemetery I noticed that there were machines along the road moving by themselves as well. The Reanimation Ray must also work as an Animation ray. I hoped that AH would be all right, but couldn't think of a way to get back and save him. Interestingly, the undead seemed to have no interest in me, instead it looked like there was sort of a conflict brewing between the robots and the zombies.
              I made it to the fair grounds, where I snuck into a large tent, not yet fully erected, and hid under the tarps along the upper bleachers. I was soon discovered, as people began to fill in the seats and they pulled back the tarps to complete the tent walls. The carnies all leered at me, but didn't say anything to me. I tried to sit as far away from them as possible.
              The show began, instead of animals, though, there were all sorts of animated machines, robots and other constructs. The talk was of dismantling the town to create more, and from there to take over the world....
              And in the middle of the center ring, was the steel box, it's stencils dim save for the one in the center. I knew that if I could get to the thing and wipe my fingers across the stencil I could turn that red to blue and then green, and the animation ray would work for me. The mechanical and one-legged trapeze artist were in the way, though.

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