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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.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Alien Wristwatch, for Cats

This morning I was fitting my six feline companions with wristwatches, or more accurately wrist computers. The devices allowed me to translate their mews and marrrows and meers and meows into (human) intelligible speech.

Oddly, much of their conversation seemed to involve how wonderful our new alien allies from space were, and what a wonderful peaceful world it would be if we just adopted their culture.

They were oddly silent when I asked them if that included getting along with the grasshoppers and other critters they liked to munch on. I found myself wondering what the worlds' spy networks thought of these devices, as they were everywhere, essentially allowing all the worlds higher life forms to communicate. It was pretty much devastating the meat production market in the US and several other countries, though.

Many countries around the world had tried to make it a death sentence to use the devices, interestingly, those leaders had awakened the next day with the devices strapped firmly around their foreheads for everyone to see.

No one had yet actually seen one of the aliens (or at least they weren't publicly admitting to it.) So the world was busy blaming the US or whatever super power they feared most for the devices being just about everywhere.

I personally was of the opinion that the devices were the aliens, or at least a part of them.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bring Your Cats to Work Day

I dreamed I was returning to work (which I am) and it was "Bring Your Cat to Work" day. Fawn Lynn was the only one who wanted to go in with me. She sat quietly on the passenger seat and let me carry her into the building. She found a nice comfortable spot on my lumbar pillow and settled in on my desk.

I met my new boss, who seemed like a nice fellow. I then discovered that N had started to work for the District as well. She had brought Ginger Muffin in. Ginger and Fawn seemed to recognize one another and were exchanging head-bonks and face washings. N walked away without speaking to me at all.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Haunted Car

I dreamed that I was called in to work on a car that had been possessed by a Hostile Alien Life Form With Intent to Terminate. (Thank you brain, this is funny now, but I didn't "get it" during the rather terrifying dream.) It was like "Christine" but without the ghosts or any subtlety. The vehicle quite clearly intended to do away with anyone who came within doors' reach, unless they had the keys and were likely to start the vehicle up so it could take its rampage on the road.

I managed to call the entity down, and then, for some dumb reason, insulted the entity while I was actually inside the vehicle. My watching self was screaming at my dream self for being an idiot. I was able to cut the seatbelt that was strangling me, but had to break a window when the car rolled it up on my neck. It kept opening and closing the door, trying to catch bits of me in the doorframe or the broken glass. It would pretend to be gone but I knew that if I tried to exit the vehicle it would catch me. Despite the terrifying nature of the dream, it was just a fairly regular nightmare rather than a night terror.

The really scary part was how quickly everyone in the garage vanished when it was trying to slam the doors on me. I thought they were going for the jaws of life or something, but they vanished and didn't come back to help at all.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Big, Red, Fluffy

I'm not sure what/who she was (but am reasonably certain it wasn't Little John, who is, in fact, big, red, and fluffy.) All I know is the voice told me, upon waking, that she was mine now and I couldn't give her back.


Wednesday, July 09, 2014


Meant to post this tidbit yesterday afternoon. I napped, only about twentyfive minutes, not enough for a full dream state, but enough to get the odd voices and sleep paralysis. I thought the voices were the neighbor kids, at first. The voices became those of adults, and I heard the screen door to the catio open and close. I could hear them approaching through the kitchen, as the refrigerator door opened and closed, as did a couple of cabinets. It sounded like whoever it was poured themselves a couple of glasses of something. I could hear the Tequila bottle being taken out of the pantry, then being opened and then put back, it makes a distinctive 'clink' sound when it hits my old ceramic flask at the back of the cabinet.

The voices and footsteps, and tinkling ice sounds got closer. ('That's odd,' I remembered thinking, as I don't currently bother making ice at all.)

I recognized one of the voices, it was me, or a really good impersonation of me. The words, though, didn't seem to make any sense, but a female voice laughed at Other Me's comments and my Other voice joined in the laughter, so it was some sort of shared joke.

They reached the bedroom door, and I heard Other myself say "Whoops! Sorry about that."

I woke up wondering how I got the wrong parallel universe.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Networking and Post Apocalyptic Networking

A few days ago I mentioned something about how I never seem to dream about working at work. Well, my brain seized on that last night and decided to have a dream about work where, well, I was working. I was configuring new Cisco Routers to route IPv6, as we finally decided that we had just too many devices to support. I tried to explain that it didn't really work that way, as our network was behind a NAT that understood both versions of IP, but that didn't matter. Our Polycom system was on its own physical network, as its components were so old it wasn't compatible with the new IP structure. I didn't think that was going to play out well in the half dozen meeting rooms that used it.


My dream this morning was one of those epic events that started small. I had invented and inflatable tent/bed and was taking it for a spin. I was at a campground by San Onofre and had the ant proof barrier up and working and the inflated tent floor/mattress was more comfortable than I had imagined it would be. The dome of the tent was easy to set up, using three bendy poles to hold its shape. I had left one of the skylights open as the night was mild and there was a Santa Ana breeze that kept the sky clear enough to enjoy the view of the Milky Way. I managed to get all of my gear in the tent, and after some fiddling round, got it tied off to the other side of the mattress. It all tended to roll towards me when I sat up and the mattress deformed. I decided there would be cargo netting for the next version of the tent/bed. (Which I was calling a "bendt" as a test name.)

The night finally got cool enough to sleep and soon I was dreaming (yes, in the dream) that myself and a companion were floating in a large wading pool in the slow low swells, like during the summer of the wading pool when I was in college. I woke to the smell of the ocean, than realized that was normal as I was camping only a hundred yards from the beach. Then I realized the rhythmic rolling motion was real, and my gear was clanging around despite being tied down. I opened up one of the windows to find myself looking out at the shore, a couple of hundred yards away. I figured I'd somehow been washed out to sea, and hadn't heard the flash flood that did it. (The camp was in the floor of a canyon that had once been a river bed.)

The bendt drifted around to reveal the tops of electric towers barely clearing the ocean, and I realized there was an odd shape to the shoreline, not really a beach, any more. The ocean surged against the chaparral on the hillsides in a very un-ocean border like way. I heard a call for help and opened up the tent flap to allow myself to paddle the bendt around to see who was calling. There was a young man in a life vest, holding his cell phone above the water and paddling with one hand towards me. When he got close we realized there would be no way for him to get into the bendt without soaking everything, so I took his phone, and put it in a plastic bag. I then dismounted a pole and collapsed a corner of the tent so he could haul out and dry off in the sun without pouring water into the bed portion of the bendt. I made a note to add a porch to the more deluxe version.

The young man's cell phone was charged, and we fired it up. He'd captured some video and played it back for me. While I slept, the polar ice sheet had broken up, and several glaciers had suddenly been tipped into the North Sea. Canada popped up from the release of all that weight, and volcanic rifts had shaken the entire area around the north Pacific. Southern California, like the years of jokes, had cracked along the major fault lines, and baja and the SW US had sank about dozens of feet, with only minimal rocking and rolling. It was a mystery how the process hadn't been more traumatic (aside from ripping several large cities in half and drowning San Diego. My new companion was surprised that I'd slept through it.

I patted the wobbly air mattress, "so comfortable you can sleep through an earthquake."

"And a tsunami, apparently."

Once the videos were done he tried to see if he could get any hint of a cell phone signal, but there was no service. He tried the Wifi and walkie talkie functions, but they weren't working, either, or at least there was no response. I took my sheet and used the long pole to rig a sail for us to use to move closer to the shore. I was cautious as we approached the power line towers, choosing to allow the current to take us by them before putting the sail up again. We reached a calm spot and I could see buildings down below us. Barracks or apartments of some sort. I unwound a rope and tied one end off to the handle on the side of the bendt. I quickly checked through my gear to see if there was anything that might serve as an anchor. When I couldn't find anything I just tied the other end around my waist. I took the canvas bag I had used to store the prototype bendt in and rolled it up before diving over the side and down to the buildings.

I was able to hold my breath long enough to look through a couple of windows. I found an apartment with no bodies floating near the ceiling, but lots of cereal boxes and a large refrigerator. I tied the rope to the guard rail of the patio and surfaced, telling my companion that I found breakfast. After several deep breaths, I dove back down and got the patio door open. A few more trips and I had filled the canvas bag with cereal, milk several sealed frozen dinners, and other things that looked like they hadn't been flooded out. The air trapped in the cereal bags made the bag float. On one of my trips I had discovered that there was an air pocket and found myself wondering if there were survivors in the building. My companion and I took turns towing the bendt around the buildings and knocking and trying to see if we could hear anyone. We stopped a couple of hours from nightfall so that we could dry out before putting the tent portion back up. There was a nine inch high lip around the entire mattress, which worked well to keep the stray splashes off of the bed.

The next morning we sailed towards a hotel tower that had a cluster of boats around it. People were being rescued by sea and by air. We tied off the raft and climbed up to the top of the tower to see what was going on. The water wasn't receding, this appeared to be the new ocean level. We made our way into the network room and patched in to a system there. (The building still had power.) I found some cables and a couple of converters so was able to make a USB to fibre connection for his phone. He had some network tools on the thing and we were able to make an internet connection. He was able to find out that his friends had survived and arranged to meet up with them. We made it down as the last couple of boats were taking on people.

I went back into the building and turned off all the power I could except for the network room. I noticed that there was a cell tower on the building. A sailboat had stopped and tied up on the other side of my bendt. The owner of the boat said I was the last person, did I want a lift?

"If we can tow my bendt, sure."

"That's yours? Lucky find."

"It's a prototype," I looked down into the water. "I want to see if I can get the cellphone tower power back on."

"Isn't that dangerous?"

I thought a moment. The salt water was conductive, but the charge would be pretty distributed, still, turning on a circuit breaker under water..."We'd better leave that for someone with a rubber dry suit."

"I have one of those."

And so it started. My new companion, an older gentleman, had been preparing to sail around the world when things went wonky. His crew had joined the rescuers and left to find who they could of their loved ones. He had managed to contact his relatives, in the midwest, and they were high and dry at this point. The central plains, Mississippi the Ohio river valleys, however, were still flooding. It looked like we were several weeks away from rather difficult food troubles. Our boat was provisioned for at least four people for eight months, so with just the two of us, and rationing and fishing, we could likely make it last longer, we thought.

I turned the power back on for the cell tower. We were surprised to find that it rejoined the network almost immediately. We then decided to sail south to San Diego and beyond to help however we could. There followed a long period of fixing cell towers, network routers, rewiring power. We made our way around South America and across the ocean to Africa, where we finally got the call to come back to California. We sailed back up the Gulf of Texas, and by then the boat needed to be put in for repairs. We headed overland to California.

Once there, we were greeted at the border, but my friend was so old that he would be mandatorily "retired" in a few weeks. As we sat in the processing center I was able to find out what that meant. There was a severe food shortage in the Western States of California, and they were killing seniors (except for politicians, the very wealthy and lawyers, I noticed.) I happened onto (if you can describe rummaging around in the border stations' security camera feeds that way) a live feed of their "testing" facility. They had the people connect up their cellphones and downloaded everything from them. Then software was used to send a goodbye message to everyone on the phones' contacts lists. Then a fine mist sprayed out from the ground, catching the "volunteers" by surprise and melting them to death. It was truly horrific as the volunteers realized too late to escape what was happening. The technicians working on the process were commenting the entire time of the test and noted that the melting was fast enough for them to now deploy this at ATMs around the state, but they really needed to make sure the anesthesia was injected sooner.

I let my friend know what was going on, and we agreed to escape and make our way back to the boat. Getting it repaired was now a much higher priority than getting me home. I also sent a copy of the video to my friends in California, warning them that they might want to make their way out of the country. One replied with a link to the "Hotel California" album art and a single word "Tricky."

I actually didn't have any trouble leaving. I didn't have any real wealth in California, and my property was literally under water. I noticed that some people who were leaving were sent for separate processing if they had any property. None of them came out on the other side of the border. From the look of the outside of the building they went into, I was pretty sure it was the "testing" facility I'd seen in the pirated video.

"We have to stop that."

"Post it and get the message out there, it's all we can do." My friend wanted to waste no time in putting distance between himself and the border station. Unfortunately, they singled him out go through further 'processing.'

I told him to meet be back at the dry docks where we'd left the boat, I'd join him in a few days. I knew I had to act fast, as they were surely going to melt him and confiscate his property (which was considerable.)

I managed to find the power to the testing building, and was grateful it was on the outside of the building. I shut off everything but the power marked "doors."

I managed to open the large corrugated steel hanger-door (large red and green buttons next to it) and shouted at everyone in the "testing" room to get out while they could. The power I had shut off wasn't the power to everything, it seemed, not everyone was out of range of the sprayers when they went off. My friend and about three others out of at least a dozen were the only ones to escape. I closed the doors and ran around the side of the building to turn off the power there. I ducked into the bushes before armed agents arrived. They weren't "in the know" and refused the technician's orders to run after the people who'd escaped.

"We could do that if they were breaking into the country," they cheerfully explained.

"They're escaping with State property!"

"You'll have to call the Marshals."

Satisfied for now, I crept slowly away, using the sound of their arguments to cover my retreat.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Boat Tour, Haunted House Game(?) and the Mad Handset of Vision

I was sitting by a dock in the bay, wasting time, when I overheard a skipper (who sounded like Sean Connery) ask a young couple "sure you could fly to India, if you like being loaded into a cannon and shot to your destination. A boat trip, now that's an adventure from start to finish."

It seems I had just come into a lot of money and needed a way to vanish for a few weeks, so when the young couple accepted the skipper's offer I made my way over to the boat and asked if he'd take an old man on as a crewman. He only asked three questions, "Can you operate a computer? Can you mop?" and "Can you shoot?"

I said "yes" and "I can also cook, read a navigation chart, and I'm not a half bad mechanic, either."

"Yer hired!"

I put my bag on board, my room was a tiny cabin in the bow. I could barely stretch out in the bunk, the light didn't work, but it did have two long narrow portholes. When I made my way back up to the top deck, we were already underway, threading our way in and out of the wide river traffic. The plan was to sail down the nile, across the Mediterranean, through the straights and across the gulf around the horn of India.


I was in a haunted house game of some sort. The chat interface was an odd combination of voice recognition and hundreds of small clicky icons (they might have been Chinese or Japanese). You could type to jump to parts of the list or use the scroll wheel to send them flying by the right hand side of the screen. I couldn't figure the chat interface out, so the game master sighed and ported me into the reality version. There was an evil laugh, and I was actually there in the dust filled, creaking and groaning structure that was the haunted house in the game. The first thing I did was call out to any other players, I got a couple of answering calls, and some whimpering. That didn't bode well. I pumped a round into the shotgun's chamber and checked my ammunition, six in the gun, about twelve in a bag on my belt. I headed for the whimpering, wondering what good a shotgun would be against a ghost.

There was a woman inside of a chandelier. It didn't look comfortable. I moved a couple of couches together under the fixture and then climbed up on the back of one. I cut the thin nylon straps holding the woman down and she indicated that she still couldn't move, so grabbed the edge of the chandelier to tip the woman out. She was in mid tumble inches from my arms when she just vanished.

I spotted movement along a wall and the shadow slunk out the far door. I hopped over the couch, catching my foot on the wooden rail of the back and stumble-hopped headlong into the wall. Fortunately I was wearing some sort of helmet and the blow as cushioned. The impact still left my neck hurting, however. I knelt down and poked my head around the door frame. Gunfire from down the hall, three or four pistol shots. They were way to high over my head, but if I'd been standing? That would have been game over.

"I hope you have a good reason for shooting at me?" I shouted out of the doorway.

"Sorry, I thought something had snuck up behind..." his conversation ended in a scream and more bullets went singing past. Apparently, whatever had snuck out of the room had snuck up in front of him. I rolled across the hallway and into the room across the way, I couldn't see anything in the hall, and started to think that a flashlight would be better than a shotgun. I looked around the room, it was some sort of small sitting room, I opened up the drawer of an end table next to the door.

There were some yellowed postcards from Iceland, the writing in a language I couldn't read, a book of matches with a picture of Iceland and the name of a hotel on the cover, a half dozen gas lamp mantles, and a roll of duct tape. The soft glow flickering from the gas lighting fixture may have caused the postcards to look yellow, they didn't feel old and brittle. I was amazed this house hadn't burned down ages ago. For a moment I contemplated replacing the damaged mantle in the lamp, but then realized I would have to do that in the dark.

"Are you okay down there?" I asked into the empty hallway.

There was no reply save a wet smacking sound and crunching, like when a dog is chewing on a large bone. I took that as warning not to go that way. Although, if it was chewing, the shotgun would probably work on it.

I looked across the room at the window, it was partly open, the curtains gently blowing, I finished opening it up with an effort, it felt like it had been painted in that partly open state. I climbed out the window and stepped over the dead holly bushes. The dried leaves were even spikier than if they'd been alive. I walked out into the street and took in a view of the house. It was three stories, and there were houses up and down the street as far as I could see that looked very much like it. All of them in the same state of decay, most all of them with at least a few windows glowing faintly from gas-lights within. The house across the street was completely black, a burned out shell, however.

The streetlamps were also gas lights, some of which had their mantles burned out, and just a flickering ball of burning gas at the end of their jets. Some were completely dark. I guessed they were a ball of flaming explosion waiting to happen. I couldn't tell if it was day or night. there was a thick layer of clouds that looked to be just above the height of the tallest building's roof lines. At one end of the street I could see tendrils of fog creeping in (at least I assumed they were fog.) At the other end of the street, was pitch blackness, none of the houses lights reached the road and there were no streetlamps alight. I was deciding whether I should re-enter through the window or try to find the front door when the window sash came crashing down. I saw a hunched figure at the window, and then the gas lamp in the room went out.


This morning's wake-up voice told the other voices to hush, "he's got the mad handset of vision."

I rolled over awake, thinking "interesting, what the heck is that?"

I swear I heard the the voice give out a disappointed "awww."

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