Thirty Four

Dream walkers don’t have many hard rules. Plenty of soft ones, self imposed ones. Confidentiality was a soft rule, no matter how hard it was enforced, it could still be broken. The hard rules were built into the power itself, immutable limitations, unchanging facts. Every dream walker is exactly as powerful as every other dream walker, and first come first serve. The first of those was self explanatory, the second, not quite so. Whatever dream walker gets to a dream first has the control, any dream walkers coming after only had as much control as they were given.

When you have a million dream walkers in a single place, however, things get a little funny. A single dream walker could never hope to displace another that had come first, a million, however; they could do it by accident. There was actually the practical limitation, that a single dream couldn’t hold a million dream walkers. To get around this a good two hundred dreams were being used for the meeting. Since they belonged to dream walkers there was even more flexible than normal. The dreams were pulled together, allowing for an overlap, creating something massive. In a way it was something beautiful, in another it was a patchwork monstrosity.

Lisbeth hadn’t been there long before Lawrence found her. With this many people appearances were even more fluid than normal. She still recognized him by their connection, and not much else. He currently possessed a nervous energy, and excitement that hadn’t been there in the real world. It was a feeling that was shared by most of the attendees, that and no one seemed to know what it was about. Anyone who did know wasn’t talking. Made sense really, this was going to be big and the organizers wanted to make a dramatic speech, Lisbeth wouldn’t have done any less.

“So Lisbeth, any idea what this is all about?”

“Know? I’m partially responsible, I helped negotiate the contracts.”

“Really? So what’s happening?”

“Can’t tell, but you’re going to get a kick out of it, everyone is.”

As soon as Lisbeth professed knowledge, a lot of people started listening. No one challenged her for more information, wouldn’t be polite.

“Too bad, have you heard about the attacks today?”

“Of course I have, you really are fishing for info aren’t you?”

“Can you blame me? Until the meeting starts most of us have got nothing except speculation. Dream walkers can’t live on speculation, it just makes us hungry.”

A couple of the observers laughed at Lawrence’s joke, he did have a point. Lisbeth figured she would throw him a bone of sorts. She created a fragment of information in the form of a typical, if rather full binder.  Once made Lawrence could sustain it and read at his leisure, also any dream walker could make their own copies. The fragment contained three of the four casualty reports she had gotten this morning, and a report on an encrypted email service. Lawrence could simply make his own copy, but it was more polite to hand it to him. He started flipping through it immediately.

“Chew on this for a while.”

“Damn Lisbeth, how did you get these. They’re from off world, and probably classified.”

“I know the guy who makes them, he gave me a copy, in exchange for services.”

The way she said services made it sound rather dirty.

“Say no more. Wait, what’s up with this email thing? I think we could get this online.”

“You could, but I just want you thinking about it during the announcement.”

“Ooh cryptic.”

“My foster father has been giving me drama lessons for years.”

“Oh. Don’t reveal all your tricks, just yet.”

“Sure thing Lawrence.”

Lawrence moved away to read the reports in more detail, they would only last as long as Lisbeth was still in the dream. Lisbeth saw that they had pretty much been disseminated to everyone. It wasn’t really necessary to give the casualty reports, but she had wanted everyone to read about the email service. It would lend weight to her words after the announcement. Besides, dream walkers did so like their privacy, as the only people on the three planets who could be guaranteed it, they took it seriously. Of course they said it was for the sake of their clients. Almost on cue the owner of the dream, who was one of the organizers, showed up beside Lisbeth.

“So you know everything then?”

“I don’t know how you found out, but otherwise guilty as charged.”

“Will this service work as is shown here?”

“It should, it was designed by the same people who made the system we’re here to discuss. For this purpose in mind.”

“They don’t mind you saying that?”

“They asked me to tell the community. You wouldn’t believe how many times I got payed for this job. I could retire off the interest.”

“That’s good to hear.”

He meant it too. Dream walkers tried to be inclusive and get along with each other, if only to prevent infighting. Talking about how you got payed multiple times for a single job, that was the kind of things dream walkers might tell around the water cooler, at the office. Apart from the basic rules the community followed, business ethics weren’t held in high regard. It might not be a good thing, but with this much money floating around, it didn’t do to question others much. The organizer reacted to an unseen signal.

“We’re going to start soon. You want to be up on stage for the announcement? It would be nice to have one of the people responsible up there.”

“Sure thing.”

The dream shifted, the patchwork that made it got closer together. Everything took the appearance of a massive auditorium. Unlike a real auditorium, everyone could see the stage from their seats, and hear everything perfectly. Lisbeth had half a dozen others ended up on the stage. A woman was standing at the forefront, Lisbeth recognized her as the unofficial spokesperson for the dream walkers. She took a step forward and started talking, using the kind of words that got a dream walker all hot and bothered.

“Who wants to make a shit-ton of money? Because every last one of us is about to.”

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One comment

  1. Well, I’m in Thailand, as it turns out 26 hours of flying really takes it out of a person. Good news I managed to write three chapters on the plane. Only one flight left, so I have to cut this short.

    See you all around you lovelies.

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