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Saturday, April 18

Dreams: Part 17 – The Dream Dies

Caprice called for Jim-Bean and Hammer over the intercom.

Hammer ran over to the intercom button. Jim-Bean was comatose. “Hot Pants? Where are you?”

“I’m in the Datamaster computer room.”

“Open the Dreamweb up! Guppy’s trapped inside and Jim-Bean is comatose!”

There was silence as Caprice tried it. “No luck. There’s an emergency security protocol in effect. I can undo it, but it will take time.”

“We don’t have much time…” said Archive. “That light is going to spread, and if it hits Bountin…”

“I’ve got an idea,” said Caprice. “There’s a door to your left.”

Hammer looked around. A sign on one door read: DREAMWEB CLEAN ROOM. Beneath it was a smaller sign: DO NOT ENTER.

The door clicked and something heavy moved within it. “I just unlocked it. There should be steps on the other side. Go downstairs.”

Hammer and Archive ran down the steps. At the bottom of the steps, directly beneath the Dreamweb itself, was a primitive but efficient laboratory set up around a weird device attached to numerous controls and monitoring instruments. The device consisted of a ten-foot in diameter circular platform with a hard, transparent surface, beneath which was visible a precise arrangement of glass lenses. A duplicate of the platform was suspended from the ceiling, and it was connected to the four chairs by finger-thick fiber optic cables. A bright light pulsed between the two platforms, illuminating the room with flickering shadows.

Around the platform and attached to it by curving plastic struts were four smooth-edged chairs with domed helmets, a bit like a salon dryer chair. The inner surfaces of the domes were also transparent and revealed more glass lenses within.

“The guy who developed the Dreamweb didn’t trust it completely,” said Caprice over the comm. “Fielding developed this Dream Imager as a failsafe. It will plug you into the Dreamweb directly.”

“Plug us in?” asked Hammer in disbelief. “Then what are we supposed to do?”

“Close the gate,” said Archive grimly. “Guppy has opened a portal to another dimension.”

“We’re not trained to do this.” Hammer strapped himself into the chair and Archive did the same. “Hot Pants, can you influence the Dreamweb from there?”

“I think so. What did you have in mind?”

Hammer closed his eyes as the machines whirred to life. “Guns,” he said. “Lots of guns.” [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 6:03 AM


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