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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.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Frozen Greenhouse, Red Nebula

Woke up with a sore throat. Ugh.

There were airplanes, frozen water on the ceilings, and magical but deadly cloning spiders from another planet. 

The ice on the ceiling was fun, we were in some sort of warehouse sized structure, and the ceiling was supposed to be like that of a greenhouse, all large plexiglass frames to let in the sun to keep the building warm. Only trouble was that the moisture in the building had condensed and then frozen up against the ceiling. 

One of the people with us was trying to take out the ice by shooting a bb gun at it. While that sort of worked, it caused a pretty nasty rain of icicles. I said let me try something, and fired off a small beam of fire. (Like the flame finger spell of old D&D fame.) Everyone, including myself, was surprised that I was able to do it. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to melt very much of the ice. 

"That's going to take forever!"

"Well, I could try something bigger, I suppose."

"Well, do it!"

So, I launched a fireball up at the ceiling. Result was very much a hail of rain and ice in a much larger area. I could see the ice cracking and water flowing from the edges of the hole I made, as the sun's heat started to melt the ice right up against the glass. Now the water ran out  before it could re-freeze, and the entire ice formation began to squeal and groan and crack. 

"Yikes! Too much!" I started shooting frostbolts up at the ceiling, freezing it back in place.

"Yeah, maybe slower is better."

Later on I dreamed I was stopping on another world, but the jump point was oddly far away, stuck in a deep space void with a small dark planetoid and large amounts of thick red debris in a floating disk that was larger in size than the volume taken up by the earth - moon system back home. The only reason there was a jump beacon was the automated ships that mined the rich red material for the valuable minerals that were easy to gather. 

The jump point came up, because from certain spots in the sky, the disk acted like a resonating antenna, making the signal from the beacon appear much closer. Getting to the planet we actually wanted to get to was going to take another series of jumps. I calculated them out, and while this jump had only taken a couple of hours. To navigate away from the place, without being accidentally sucked back here, was going to take us the better part of four days. Which would make us two days late. 

The captain asked me to take the next best likely jumps, despite the risk of being pulled back. I calculated the jumps and we took the first one without incident. Another planetoid world. There were some team members who noticed that there were some notes about dangerous life forms, so being big game hunters, decided to go down to the planet to see for themselves.

They returned several hours before the jump drive had accumulated a full charge, all disappointed in their findings. They tossed a glass container on a couch, it contained a pair of spider like creatures no bigger than a quarter. "That's the biggest thing we found there."

"Should probably dump them back, then. The life forms were listed as dangerous."

"Nah, it's safe enough in there. It'll be a good exhibit for the colony museum."

Since it wasn't my place to say anything, I didn't, but wished they'd killed the things.  I looked at the spiderlike things and asked "Didn't you say 'it's,' " I asked, "there's two of them in there."

One of the hunters picked up the jar and looked at them. "Hunh? could have sworn there was only one in there. Maybe it was pregnant."

Again, I didn't want to say anything, but the two animals looked exactly the same, to me.

I jumped us on the longest leg I'd calculated, waiting until the planetoid was between us and the red nebula before jumping. The jump was far more jittery and turbulent than any I could recall, and in the prolonged buffeting, the jar of spiders was forgotten as folks rushed around to secure suits and weapons where they'd been left laying around. My calculations and jump timing had worked, however rough the ride, we'd arrived at our destination, capacitors nearly depleted. Friends of the hunters on the planet were all too happy to send up a boat for our passengers and their gear. Both the captain and I were happy to see them go. 

It was two days before the capacitors were charged fully enough to make orbit and then to land. When we arrived, the station was in chaos. The customs folks told us to stay buckled up, and to lift off as soon as we could. A lot had changed during the hour long jump from orbital clearance to landing pad. Fortunately I had enough power to take us immediately back up into orbit, so without waiting for the captain, I did.

Now almost three hours had passed, and we were treated to shocking reports. Someone had brought in phase spiders. I watched video of our little spider guests shimmering and then splitting in two, then into four. Then they shifted, and were out of their jar. "I knew we should have killed them in the jar when they came on board."

"We should probably look for a jump to make before they decide to blame us for this disaster."

I agreed with the captain, but the emergency lift off had not left us enough power to make a jump anywhere, unless we wanted to risk a random jump, allowing the strongest available hyperspace signal to grab hold of us and pull us away, natural or beacon. The maps for this part of space were not complete, and there were numerous dangerous natural beacons out there. I started calculating the soonest safe jump we could make while the captain scoured the ship for signs of the phase spiders having escaped before they made it to the colony world. 

I knew the phase spiders worked a bit like our jump drives, having to accumulate power before they shifted, or cloned themselves. I wasn't sure what they lived off of for energy, but their march across the galaxy had been stopped several places by natural beacons dumping them into suns, or onto lifeless planetoids like the one where we'd found them. 

While searching for good jumps, I posted a warning about the planetoid we'd found, hoping it would be upgraded to a red alert/no landing designation. 

I was surprised the big game hunters hadn't recognized the spiders, until word came that one of the hunters had jumped off planet shortly after dropping the specimens off.  I looked at the captain when she came in to see how my calculations were coming. She was armed, and had the pistol pointed at me. 

"We need to jump, now."

"I don't have a safe route."

"Doesn't matter, I'll not be taken captive by Republican Breeders."

In an instant it was clear what was going on. There was a group of people who firmly believed that mankind's reach across the stars was against all the laws of nature and what passed for their religion. Too many worlds, too many possibilities lost, and I suspected, too many places where people were free to believe or not believe as they chose. No matter where we jumped, I figured that I was as good as dead, only the barest shreds of self preservation were left in the captain's soul, and they were all that kept me alive. 

I had wondered that the captain hadn't even a rudimentary grasp of interstellar navigation, but then, lots of rich bored children  had their own ships and were playing star trader with their lives and fortunes. It was, in fact, how I made my living. Yes, I was essentially a chauffeur.

"Spider," I pointed to a spot on the carpet that could have been a spider, even though I knew it wasn't, then while the captain was distracted, started the ship's recorder downloading. A flurry of needles from the pistol blurred the carpet as the spot vanished. What ever one would say about the captain, she had a steady hand. The spot was soon a thick hedgehog of needles. I made a show of looking around the navigation station, as if afraid of another being around. 

I struck the captain as hard as I could, knocking her down in the narrow hallway. Before I could get back into the navigation room to close the door she had rolled over and had the pistol pointed at my face. I slapped the jump button and the ship lurched. Allowing me to slide the door closed as needles buried themselves into the thin but very solid plastic material. I could tell from the motion and turbulence that we were headed right back to the red nebula.

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