Yawning Grebnak stretched in his dream cradle as the morning chime of first cycle woke him. Carefully detaching from the dream harness he savored the lingering dregs of the fantasy as it melted away into the daily reality.
Reaching out with his mind through the web he located his friend Kiever and opened a channel to him.
Kiever? You already in the hallway? he asked.
You know it my friend. Keiver replied Waiting for you. As. Usual. The amount of time you spend dreaming is quite amazing really.
Oh go to hell Keiver. Grebnak projected, his thoughts tinged with amusement at odds with their words. Keiver was a good friend and an honest one at that.
So did you get today’s assignment done in-between dream cycles? said Keiver projecting amusement himself. I’m sure the receiver will be quite pleased at what you’ve put together. He always is.
Grebnak sighed internally but kept it to himself. He was a good writer but lacked confidence despite what Keiver said. Opening the connection again - I’ve gotten it done but as usual I’m not happy with it.
This time it was Keiver’s turn to sigh behind his shields. Grebnak....
I know. I know! said Grebnak cutting Keiver off I know I’m supposed to be more confident but I just can’ t. I’m not sure why...
Keiver smiled inside. Humbleness was one of the reasons he liked Grebnak. Regardless we should get going.
In a pico Keiver. said Grebnak his attention suddenly focused elsewhere My door trigger is stuck again. Reaching out with his mind Grebnak tied the intricate knot of energy into the commands that would bypass the failing door mechanism once again.
Pity there’s been no maintenance staff for such a long long time. Keiver projected to no one in particular This place could use a new coat of patterning bots.
We are the forgotten ones after all. said Grebnak No maintenance just comes with the territory.
Mentally nodding Keiver fell into motion behind Grebnak as they moved down the hallway. It’s a wonder you’re able to keep that dreamer going as long as you have.
Won’t matter much longer if I can’t find the spare energy to run it. sighed Grebnak And it gives me such wonderful dreams...
Considering it’s a first generation model without a lot of the safeties... replied Keiver with a mental shrug You need to be careful with that thing.
Is this going to be another lecture about how I could end up addicted to the dreamer? asked Grebnak in frustration. He’d heard this argument for years and was frankly quite sick of it by this time. For once though Keiver just sent a mental shake of his head and kept silent about the subject.
The two of them hit the end of the narrow corridor and turned right into one of the main tunnels that ran into one of the central domes. The illumination was minimal thanks to the years of unmaintained lighting. The lights themselves would last forever unless damaged but cover them with unfathomable amounts of dust and dirt and even their brightness was obscured.
I hope we’re not late! said Grebnak entering the hall next to Keiver I wouldn’t want to miss one of Leita’s dances!
Let me guess - they also give you good dreams? said Keiver mentally poking Grebnak.
I’d say get your mind out of the gutter but it’s where we live. replied Grebnak I and anyways I hear she’s married to her dancing.
I’d rather she be married to me. Keiver said mentally preening I’m sure I could give her something the others couldn’t.
Like what? asked Grebnak skeptically.
Stimulating conversation of course! replied Keiver in mock indignation What did you think I was referring to hmmmm?
Never mind said Grebnak realizing that he’d risen to the bait Still she is something else isn’t she?
That she is my friend. That she is. replied Keiver mentally preening again.
The main dome was an enormous building with riveted metal supports that broke the otherwise cavernous space up into small random geometric paths just big enough for two or three to walk besides each other. At the top there was once a colored and lighted pattern matching the paths on the floor but that had long since been extinguished by time and filth until the ceiling was lost in darkness broken only by the few remaining lights along the walls. The entire metal structure now coated with grime and dirt only enforced the darkness within the dome.
This place gets more decrepit every time I come here. Grebnak complained The southern dome is far more pleasant.
Ugh. Yeah but who wants to look at the surface. said Keiver in disgust We can’t live there and there’s nothing to look at.
You just have no appreciation for beauty. said Grebnak huffing a bit.
In that you’re wrong my friend. Look. replied Keiver mentally circling a spot on the web map and projecting it to Grebnak.
Oooh...she’s here.... thought Grebnak softly behind his shields.
Leita was not much to look at (a fact that she herself had agreed with many times in the past) but what she lacked in physical beauty she more than made up for with her ability to manipulate the web. When she danced on the web she danced with her whole being and that was always something wonderful to behold.
And judging by the swirls and colors forming in the web around them she was just starting to warm up.
As the dance was on the web their physical location didn’t matter much but Grebnak liked being physically closer to Leita for some reason he could not fathom. Leita was always too caught up in her dance to notice let alone say anything. Positioning themselves off to the side they stopped and stood still to take in the wonder of the dance.
Leita started with amorphous batches of colors swirling in a ring around herself - a slowly whirling cyclone of color radiating outward form herself. Ever so slowly the colors coalesced into shapes forming planets and stars whirling in a giant galaxy of immense size that completely filled the local node of the web to the point of overriding some of the remaining local systems.
From the edges of the galaxy high bell tones began to ring in time with different suns blinking out. In a flash that shocked everyone connected the galaxy exploded into a festive blend of sound and color with beat and harmony a plenty in any direction one could focus.
Keiver and Grebnak stood transfixed as light and sound moved about their mental pathways drawing them into the dance as everyone in the dome became part of the dance bringing all physical motion to a standstill.
How much time had passed is impossible to say. As with all of Leita’s previous dances they took as long as they took. Finally the colors and sounds shrank to tiny pinpoints of light that landed atop the heads of the dancers. As always Leita withdrew into herself in meditation projecting a twirling dancer as the sign that the dance had finished.
I wonder why she always uses that image. thought Grebnak coming down from the high of the dance.
As if reading his thoughts Keiver said Why always a...human? he stopped suddenly mid-thought.
I guess we could ask her when she comes out of meditation Keiver. said Grebnak not really paying attention.
No. A human. Here. Keiver said pointing at the center of the room.
Slowly approaching Leita was a thin human female reaching out to the twirling dancer symbol almost yearningly.
The web was suddenly alive with thoughts - A human. Human. Human woman.
Some in the dome were still simply stunned by the dance to notice. Others were stunned by the presence of a human in their dome.
I haven’t seen a human since the ship crashed yeas ago. Grebnak thought to himself.
Slowly old reflexes started to take hold. They had all been through the wars with the humans and other beings that looked like them. Combat veterans each and all. Slowly they all started to surround Leita to protect her. Grebnak and Keiver taking flanking positions in front of her while a third took point. Grebnak noticed that it was Chaz another long time friend.
Suddenly another human appeared nearer a door in the wall of the dome. A male this time calling to the human woman. Lowering her arm with a slight look of surprise on her face the human woman turned and ran towards the male and they both ran through the open door into the corridor beyond. Without thinking Chaz took off after them raising his gun in mid-pursuit.
CHAZ! Grebnak beamed at his friend CHAZ! You don’t have enough power!
I don’t need power for two humans! Chaz sent back entering the corridor after the and vocally shouting the traditional war chant.
Confused slightly by the situation and not sure what to do the group slowly moved in the direction of the door keeping Leita in the middle. Suddenly Chaz came flying in reverse out of the corridor. Confused and moving so fast not of his own accord Chaz had no time to warn his companions as he hit the entire group.
The explosion rippled through everyone in the area consuming Leita, Keiver, and Grebnak.
In the milliseconds before his casing shattered and his eyestalk melted Greebnak felt the memory of his dream wash over him. Then he was gone and his friends with him.
Cross-posted from Dreamwidth ( http://nimitzbrood.dreamwidth.org/266730.html ) but feel free to comment here as well.