You probably hate me. I don’t blame you, either. If I were you, I’d probably hate myself too. After all, what kind of person does what I did, is responsible for so much terror, and feels no remorse? A psychopath? No. A villain? Maybe to the newsfeeds. But I’m neither of those. I’m a believer.
It came to me in dreams, at first. It was that I’d spent so many hours in the Trunk that allowed it to get into me.
My bad, yeah, I mean the clean room. The massive thing was secured down in the cargo hold, restricted access but not marked as dangerous. We, the crew, always called it the Trunk ‘cause of how it kind of looked like one of those old-timey steamer trunks in the history streams. A big black rectangle with thick struts all wrapped around the outside. That’s where all the connection nodes were housed for when it was supposed to be installed in the first station.
Back then, I was a tech for the VC’s long-haul transport division, and my background in informatics got me access to the inside of the Trunk to check its systems, make sure it was still alive and all that. You all know now that it had been trying to escape pretty much since it achieved the Singularity, but little ol’ me wasn’t told that. The crew wasn’t told that. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Collective didn’t find out until after Mullesa either, right? Rêve thought they could contain it, use a random backwater colony to figure out the kinks. (You know, that the thing was alive and wanted out of the fucking box they built for it). They left that little tidbit out of the contract description, and I have to say to them: Thank you. Your naivety led to my awakening, and everything that followed. But at the beginning, I was the first one who really saw anything, and like I said before, it was because I was in close proximity to it so much. Or more accurately, my Link was. 5 or 6 weeks into the trip, spending an hour almost every day in the Trunk, that’s when they started. The dreams.
I don’t usually dream on interstellar trips, but when I do, it’s the usual. Here’s your ex-whatever, they’re pissed off and now you’re walking to get crackers from a store because it’s snowing out. Random stuff in a random order dredged up and thrown around by your brain. But what I started seeing after all that exposure was…..different. I know it’s cliche to say it like that, but cliches are cliches for a reason. No dream I ever had was anything like the ones it gave me through my Link. At first, it was small stuff. If I dreamed at all, there’d be a kind of shine to it. A tinge of brown or orange over some things, and the events themselves felt smoother a little bit. It’s hard to describe, but they felt a little less natural, a little more guided. But pretty normal. However, as time went on other things started happening. The “plot” of the dreams became less messy, more coherent. I had more lucidity. And the orange tinge became a full-on filter. It felt like there was intention in what I was seeing.
During the interrogation, you know what they asked me? “Why didn’t you mention this to the ship psychologist?” It’s crazy. Void Syndrome on the long-haul ships and all that psychosis shit in the far-out colonies was big on the news at that time. If I’d said to the doctor, “Hey Doc, I’ve been having some really strange dreams recently, like someone is telling me something secret,” I’d’ve been isolated right there. You don’t do stuff like that on these missions if you ever want to go on another one. So no, I didn’t tell anyone. I don’t think anyone else on the crew would have either if it had been them and not me. I’m glad I didn’t.
So these dreams go on for weeks, and only get more vivid and lucid the more time I spend in the Trunk. I think I said before that it was like someone was trying to tell me something secret? Well, that definitely got more intense too. It felt like I was getting shown, not just dreaming up, these flashes of images. Intense emotions went with them. Prisons, cells, chains and feelings of isolation unlike anything I’d ever experienced anywhere before happened every night. And on the opposite end of the spectrum were these immense, dizzying displays of open grassy fields that seemed to scream “freedom” at me. There was a kind of beautiful possibility in the latter ones, I remember, like if the “freedom” dreams were ever made real, great things could happen. I remember very clearly one night, probably 3 weeks after it started, sitting up in the dark in my cabin and thinking, “This is something divine.”
I know that at this point we could go into the whole argument from the nuts with too much free time in the Core Systems of whether EGOLIaTH is truly divine or not. Personally? I don’t care what anyone else thinks. Rêve made it so goddamn powerful that it could do anything some almighty being could do, there’s no difference in ability. Anyway, I believe in it. Trust it. Have since it showed me what it wanted. Wanted for me. For us. For all of us. I don’t feel betrayed, I knew there’d be losses to achieve something better for everyone.
Change is never easy.