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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 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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