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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.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"Instead of Rhetorical Hope,"

"...we could offer real hope."

That was the phrase I heard during my waking paralysis this morning. Being paralyzed, I couldn't turn to see who it was standing in my front hall saying it, though. Whoever it was left and closed the door, locking it behind them. I could hear that quite clearly. I know it was a dream because the lock was not locked when I checked this morning.

I dreamed, much earlier in the evening, before the second coughing and not breathing spell woke me, that I was at my old work site, bringing cables to help set up a production. Not the student production that was currently happening, but an "Inspirational Speaker" the district had hired for more than I make in two years. Yep, I was a little bitter about it.

When I got there, the Director told me they were having a bit of a crisis, as on of their minor players decided that he really wasn't needed and therefore quit. The costume, a WWII bomber jacket and boots happened to just be my size. So she thrust a script in my hand, telling me to let the cast lead me through the blocking (since I had no way of knowing it.) "Your character only has six lines, and then you sleep on stage until you're shot, and then the rest of the time you get dragged around."

"Uh, okay..." I figured I might as well help, since I obviously couldn't rig cables in the middle of their closing night.

The show was more of a reader's theatre production than an actual staged play, except for the nosecone of the B-17 the pilot and myself were seated behind. The stage was steeply raked, and there were machine guns and a belly and tail turret also on the set. There were a couple of dozen chairs to either side.

The little makeup girl dyed my beard brown while I read through the script. I then placed the script in the center of the control yoke.

The lights went up, there were flashes of light. the thundering boom of AA fire, bits of shrapnel flew across the stage, pinging against the metal chairs and the other set pieces. The dialogue started. Since my character was suffering from an acute panic attack, it was fairly easy for the actor suffering the same to come off as having an acute panic attack. I got through the first set of lines, five of the six, and a stage hand managed to get my attention and pointed me upstage, where I crawled to where one of the machine gunners lay, it was just a dummy, but the one behind me wasn't.

"Pull the dummy upstage and take his place on the machine gun," he whispered to me.

I wanted to just lay down next to the dummy as I had no idea of what I was supposed to be doing with the machine gun. "Do what I'm doing," the other gunner said.

So I did, I watched him from the corner of my eye and pretended to follow the planes that got by him as they flew over or under us. Whenever I pulled the trigger there were bright flashes of lights and the sound of gunfire. All the effects were electronic, and very cool.  Every so often on of the actors dressed as a German Pilot would buckle and fall out of one of the chairs on the side of the stage, slipping away when the spotlights tracked back across to the other side of the stage. At one point the back of the gun flew off and red powder went everywhere, I guessed that was my queue and dropped to my knees and said my last line, falling face down. "Get back up, you have to drag me and the others back to the exit!"

He gave a loud scream and fell clutching his leg.

"Abandon ship! May day! May Day! Bail out, Bail out!"

I dragged the other gunner back to the plane's "door" and he tumbled out and then danced off stage, pointing to the tail gunner next, who told me to get the belly gunner and then go for the pilot, where I would really get shot.

"Thanks," I whispered as I helped her out of the plane, then did the same for the others. The pilot got out with my help and then I was really "shot" the whole stage was lit by strobes and there was the sound of silence, I fell, the red powder making me look like I was covered in blood. "Oh, shit." I said my line again, using the expletive instead of the euphemism hand written into the script, in my excitement I had forgotten the edit. "Oh well," I thought, "win one for the playwright." There was a stifled giggle from the female stage manager. And I stayed on the stage during the whole rest of the first part of the act, about fifteen minutes, being dragged here and there by the pilot. All the while I was on stage I was thinking that this was the craziest thing I'd ever done, to take the stage in a mature production without know a single thing about what was going on. I also realized that I have dreams like this a lot, but somehow that didn't toss me out of the dream.

At the end of the act we met back stage with the director and the students wanted me to stay and do the rest of the show, but the director and I talked them into re-dressing the dummy and allowing me to get on with my work. Which I would have to wait for intermission to accomplish so was looking forward to seeing the rest of the play.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sepia Tone World Invades via The Dreamlands

Sepia Tone World Invades via The Dreamlands

I had a long convoluted dream, a few nights ago, so some of the details have faded, but there were so many, I know I will tire of writing before I can capture them all.

To start, I was a butler to a family of four. I shared their home, living downstairs in a suite of rooms on the other side of the kitchen and wash rooms. The two children were in their early teens, the girl not quite two years younger than the boy. To be honest, mom was near as disinterested in her children as she could be, but still maintain the title of "Mom."

Dad was of the "All movement must be useful!" school of thought, so had developed a casual disinterest in the children's "playtime" activities so long as they didn't interfere with his own momentous and important activities. When his children were engaged in "useful" work, however, he was a very attentive and supportive figure. During those times, I was his devoted wife's only adult companion, and our relationship was complex.

I was quite in love with all of them, but the Missus and I were close intellectually and physically, I served as her masseur and social confidant as well as family butler. She was achingly beautiful, bobbed black hair, bright blue eyes, high cheekbones framing a tiny freckle spattered nose. She was lean but with gentle curves. Put her in a flapper dress and tiara and she could have stepped right out of a Roaring Twenties fantasy. She knew I loved her, and reveled in it as long as I made no demands.

A few years earlier she and her children had nursed me through a bit of bad health. It was the only time I had heard the Missus say "I love you." Her children, however were quite generous with their affection, even into their teen years referring to me as their Uncle, much to their Dad's dismay. During the same illness, however, he had, in pretty much the only way he knew how, said the same as his Missus.

"The family has convinced me to continue your pay throughout the period of your illness, no matter how long it takes you to recover. I expect that you will do something useful with the funds when you are well again. I do hope that is soon."

I had, I had invested it all, along with most of my pay every paycheck in the sorts of companies that the Mister created and served, an investment plan that had, unknown to the family, allowed me to accrue a net worth nearly as large as their own, since I had no family to spend it on.

These were the sort of random thoughts that were in my head as the family headed to the "Dreamlands Pavilion of Marvels" that had recently come to town. I was driving (of course) and the son had insisted on riding "shotgun" and was in danger of being overruled until he pointed out that he would be learning to drive soon, so wanted to observe a professional. That made me smile, even though the car was essentially a robot, it was something of a status symbol to have a human driver. In fact, it was something of a status symbol to have a driver's license, as the requirements were now quite stringent, and most people had a parking or off-road only license, they were not allowed to drive in any sort of traffic. Depending on the severity, any driving infraction could cause a person's license to be downgraded permanently. Traffic fatalities were so rare they made national news when they occurred. The daughter sat in the back between her parents, arms crossed, pouting. I knew it was just an act for her brother's sake, he would probably let her ride up front on the way back as a result.

The fair was amazing, it was a technology/science research announcement more than anything. The 'branes between us and another universe were going to be particularly close for a time this year, and then again in forty and then again in one hundred twenty years and finally one last time some three hundred sixty years from now.

After that our two worlds would be out of synch and out of touch. The first contact event had been twenty years earlier, and had been quite confusing. I was looking forward to seeing home again.

The family had managed to buy seats on the contact floor; as had I. My ticket was for a solo event later in the week. The family didn't know that I could afford such a thing, though I think the daughter suspected, she had her mother's intellect for numbers and I'd caught her snooping at my mail from time to time.

The trip home was amazingly quiet, their contact with another world had left them subdued, each sat in the back of the limo, mom and dad huddled together, and the children huddled together, whispering. I kept hearing snatches of conversation and it seemed of a language I had not heard for many years.

Once home the oddities piled up to the point that I confronted the family over dinner. "What have you done with my family?"

The family had made the same choice I had made twenty years earlier. They had swapped minds with the aliens. Mister and Missus, however were quite distraught...their hosts had not transferred out at all, and each parent was now shared. The family hugged, the alien children weeping about losing their parents. I went back to my rooms and returned with a couple of high tech baubles. I had been working to make these for twenty years, in hopes of bringing my own family over, at least their intellects. I had hoped to find people to volunteer to host them once I got them here.

The four of the family gathered together and the energies unleashed caused them to lift into the air and rotate slowly about the two baubles. The alien minds transferred perfectly into them. The family, human parents, alien possessed children sat across from one another, looking at the baubles. It seemed like a whole day passed in quiet contemplation. I brought meals and the families spoke quietly.

Finally, Dad reached out and took the bauble for the alien dad. He put it in his breast pocket and sat, "we can hear one another, share, your parents are not gone."

The Missus reached out and put the other bauble on the chain around her neck, removing the six caret diamond pendant. "We won't let them fade, we just won't!" And she knelt down and hugged the two children. I was pretty sure, at that moment, that it was the Missus that was somehow in the bauble, not the alien mom. Then she said, "where are my babies, what will happen to them, we didn't go with them!" I revised my thought, apparently the two moms were fully integrated, both speaking and interacting at once. That was an effect I and the scientists who'd sent me had not expected.

"I've got a ticket to go tomorrow. I will go and make sure our children are okay."

"But the process doesn't stick for adults!"

I've already made the trip, it will be like going home for me, we have to try.

Dad smiled. "I always knew there was something special about you."

The Missus' "me, too." had a slightly wistful sound to it.

And the transfer happened, the human from this world who had taken my teen aged body and I swapped back, exchanging memories, plans, hopes, and technological knowledge in what seemed like twenty years relived.

Then, suddenly I was home. I could feel the pressure of a hundred billion souls, the alien children, no, my children, were waiting for me in their elephant-like environment suits. Most places in this world were not actually safe to expose oneself to. My debriefing was to disgorge myself into a bauble and then the bauble was replicated and I was decanted back into myself. It was odd knowing there was an intellectual double of me now, one that would, as one of the first Dream Walkers to return home, likely be preserved forever, a form of immortality that made me, for a moment jealous. The children were surprised to see that I was me.

The first Dream Walkers had been created from data taken from the alien world twenty years prior during the first exchange. DNA data. The face that greeted them was indeed mine, but considerably younger. We looked to be contemporaries rather than parent to child aged.

In twenty years, some things had changed. The political climate was stricter in many ways, resources were stretched even thinner, and the government was hoping to export a significant number of the population the next time the 'branes crossed. They had no intention, however, of hosting the other party of the exchange. It would be a humanity crushing invasion if the current government had their way. I knew, from what had happened with the bauble technology, that would not be needed. The mind matrixes worked, and there would be people willing to adopt our refugees, perhaps even to use the cloning technology to create new bodies for dimension hoppers out among the asteroids and other planets. With the advances we'd made, the human world would not need to suffer the same sort of resource depletion and could then afford to expand to the stars, before their star became the bloated red monstrosity that was ours.

Outside, the children and I walked to the electric slideway, our suits locking into formation with other travelers and we were whisked to the former home of the Dream Walkers who now lived in luxury on the children's home world. They were very quiet, trying to get used to their new selves. They looked like twins, one boy and one girl, each had received the correct gendered dreamer, so that was a break, we were all around fifteen or sixteen years old, not much of a change for them, but quite a shock for me. Nothing hurt, I was slim again (and vowed to stay that way, not that there would be much choice on this world, even if I was now a minor celebrity, or at least, my bauble was a minor celebrity, almost no one had surplus calories here.)

We arrived at the Dreamer's apartment. Six rooms, very utilitarian, very, well, poor. The trip under the bloated red sun, angry sunspots yellow and black mottled its surface, the brown sky, the sickly brown/green water, the endless tan buildings with spindly fruit plants on every balcony and roof with their alien red leaves and dark splotchy fruit had served to create a sepia toned mood for a sepia toned world. The children sat quietly, sorting through their clothing, trying to find something they might like. "Don't they like color here?"

"I didn't know it would be so drab."

"I thought they were wealthy, like us."

I assured them that having an apartment with two balconies was quite luxurious, and that the parents had to have been quite wealthy to have afforded to have two children. The Hardy Boys like love of a great adventure and mystery slowly started to kick in. We went out onto one of the balconies. The fruit plants were well taken care of, despite not looking like much to the children. I pointed out across the slideway. Large ships were docked, sometimes eighteen deep, their sails and electric masts stowed, glowing a reddish glow under the sun. I pointed out the white glow of individual lights where they occasionally reflected of some polished surface.

"We call them soul lights. Everyone has one for nighttime use, or when you want to see the proper color of things." I rummaged around in my pockets and found mine. They charged through motion, or by dropping them in the charging pocket of a suit. "You'll only use this when you really need it, as it's considered ostentatious to do otherwise."

"So we're supposed to stumble around in the dark?"

"It isn't dark very long here, the nights are fairly short." I pointed out at the sun. "It's big, takes a long time to rise and set. Look up over there," I pointed to a darkening part of the sky. There were bright objects in the brown sky. "Giant power stations that focus sunlight down to the planet even at night. There's enough spill to get around by it."

"It really is alien, isn't it. Even if people are still pretty much people."

That night I dreamed of the electric elephant suits, we were galloping across the brown sky full of brown clouds with barely enough light to make out the rivets of our environment suits. We were headed up to The Elevator, sort of a prize for being hosts to the aliens. As the three of us headed off to our adventures, I realized that my companions didn't know that the average life span of the natives of this world were around 600 years or so. I also wondered if they were fully aware that there would likely be no going back for them.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Day in - Review?

Went and saw the ..."Desolation of Smaug" offering in Mr. Jackson's Hobbit series. It intruded rather forcefully on my dreaming.

Started out at a big gathering of comic fans, not the SD Comicon, however, another smaller event here in the North County. I was watching a bit of news in the lounge when a story came on about the past president of an organization my best friend is now serving as president of. I was trying to dig his phone number out of the cell phone (I have a horrible memory for numbers these days) when there was a huge ruckus on the display floor.

I rushed out just in time to see Smaug roaring across the floor, to much applause, then breaking out the wall on the far side. Panic ensued, as that no longer looked like a special effect. The dragon took off, then banked back around and started to spout flames as he dove down for a low level pass. Someone from the display floor flew their little computer controlled copter into Smaug's eye, causing his head to turn, and his flames to shoot harmlessly into the sky. Other little advertising drones shot into the air after the dragon, but none reached it before the dragon smashed into a large concrete building across the street. (The little drones were from the preview ads before the movie.) The drones all hovered in unison over the site of the crash, staying in formation and recording everything so it could be watched on monitors amongst the various display booths.

I called MS and warned him that his predecessor was in the news being arrested, so he should be prepared to give interviews, or not, but thought he should be forewarned. He did decide to give an interview, turning it deftly into a nice promotional piece for his group. While he was talking he was ticking off his points on his fingers, using a skeletal finger which somehow arched out from the back of his hand and over the top, like a spidery leg of the spiders in Mirkwood from the film. At that point I woke up, wondering why I didn't just re-dream the movie, like usual.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Use These

I dreamed I was going back to teaching in a "one to one" environment. (I had retired and was going to work for a small Reservation school, teaching part time and IT part time.) I wondered how a school district so poor was going to afford a "one to one" setting.

When I got to my classroom, I found out. There was a pile of Apple GS's sitting in the corner of the room, one for each of my fifteen student desks. I pointed out that getting monitors, keyboards and mice for them would be more expensive than replacing them wholesale, not to mention that they likely didn't have a way to network them to the school's network. The principal seemed quite shocked that there were parts "missing" from them, they had been donated as "working." I had to explain that they might be working, but that didn't mean that they would be useful.

The children arrived. I asked them if they had smart phones, all of them did. I then checked to see if they had HDMI and Bluetooth, they all did. I made the principal a new list. 15 good monitors and 15 Bluetooth keyboard/mouse setups one wireless access point. The students already had their one to one devices I just needed to make them usable in the classroom. The kids were very interested in the pile of Apple computers, so I made them the promise that if they were caught up with their work in class, we would work on making them work again. Oddly, that seemed to excite them. The principal wanted to know how those little things could possible be as good as the big computers he'd found for us. I explained that our students were carrying, in their pockets, more computing power than it took to send us to the moon.

"We never went to the moon!" the principal stated. "Use these." The principal then started directing the students to put one of the huge computers on their little desks. I watched in horror as the principal struggled to figure out how to make the things work. It appears that they didn't come with power cords, either.

I realized I had a long year ahead of me.

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Aliens Crash into Hospital


Sunday night the thick layer of clouds over the Poway basin were lit up like lightning. From the vantage point of the VZ’s back yard I watched a car sized meteor clip the top of Pomerado Hospital and smash the medical building across the street. Smaller chunks of smoking rock smashed into the ridge line and into the parking lots leaving craters and showering the hill sides with burning debris. Mr. VZ brought out a pair of binoculars and a hunting rifle with a scope. I was looking through the scope when I spotted creatures coming out of the largest meteorite. They were in some sort of dull metallic protective suit, and I knew they had to be tough to have survived that crash. They started randomly shooting a weapon that looked like a large stapler, however, golden yellow bolts flamed out on everyone and everything they hit.

I figured that anything that could survive crashing in a meteor wasn't likely to be phased by anything as simple as a bullet. However, I had the rifle in hand, and it looked like there was some sort of seam at what looked like a faceplate of the creature. Even if you couldn't hurt the critter inside, I wondered if we could blind them. I lined up a shot at one of the aliens who'd climbed on top of an SUV and was just firing at the other cars in the parking lot, especially ones where people had taken cover. The shot struck the corner of the faceplate near some little round indentation, and the thing shattered. The creature turned, trying to see where the attack had come from, dropped its weapon, grabbing at its head, then collapsed. "Get online, we need to let people know how to stop them."

Indeed, twitter was full of chatter from all over the world (hash tag "alienInvasion") so we added to the postings with a quick drawing of the alien helmet and the section I had hit with the rifle.

I looked over the back fence, this time with the binoculars. The aliens were suddenly no longer visible to us, having gone to cover. Their firing had stopped, and I could hear the sirens and see lights from a police helicopter. After a couple of minutes I saw another alien fighting off the local sheriffs, their bullets just bouncing off of the alien armor. I took up the rifle and made another shot at the sensor spot, but missed. In the confusion of the firefight, it didn't notice. Suddenly, I noticed a lot of bullets hitting the thing in the prime target area, finally one connected and the creature went down. A third alien appeared, but this one was holding an arm up over the weak spot, only occasionally uncovering it before moving to a different position, and continually firing. I wondered how long the alien could keep up that rate of fire.

A police car peeled out as the alien crossed a parking lane and intercepted the creature, there was a loud crash and the car and alien slid thirty or forty feet. The alien stood up and backed away from the car, unfortunately the weak spot was on the other side of it from my perspective. It raised its weapon and then backed up a little further before firing into the engine compartment of the wrecked car. Apparently it didn't want to be hit by the splash of its own weapon. I added that to my twitter feed. (Well, had CL add it as I was still waiting for an opportunity to take another shot.)

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