Login   Sign Up 


Dream Sync

by gamecat 

Posted: 04 March 2004
Word Count: 2611
Summary: The entwined paths of three strangers will decide the future of the world.

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.


Feryn woke from his dream of love slowly; like a warm blanket being drawn away the dream receded and the new day encroached into his consciousness.
Blues eyes opened and stared at the ceiling as it glowed brighter with each passing second. In the corner, amongst the piles of crumpled clothes, a news presenter began cycling through his announcements, each new article a fresh lesson in cruelty.
“Multiple deaths have occurred as the latest bout of separatist attacks hit the upper levels…”
Pulling the cover over his head, Feryn tried to reclaim the warmth from which he had been ripped. In his minds eye he could still see the gaze of his past lover, he could still feel the tenderness of her embrace.
Too late, he told himself, two bloody years too late.
A familiar malaise slowly infiltrated his mind expedited by the memory of love.
“…was found dead next to her daughter in the early hours of…”
Pulling the sheets off his body Feryn sat up and shouted at the telecast presenter who stood in the corner of his room.
The presenter flickered briefly before disappearing.
In the silence that followed Feryn looked around at the devastation of his bedroom and elected to ignore it for another day, it wasn’t as if anyone else would see it.
From the table at his side he picked up a small carton and rattled it, the sound told him he was down to his last pill. He flipped the lid of the carton and let the small blue capsule fall out into his hand.
If he took the pill he knew he would be unable to think coherently for most of the day, but then at this point of his life he didn’t feel like he needed coherent thought.
“Sod it.” He said and dry swallowed the pill.

As he entered the kitchen the glow tiles switched on to illuminate yet more sprawled mess.
“Coffee.” He growled.
Green lights flashed on the counter in front of him, five seconds later a full bioplast cup appeared. Feryn picked this up and moved to the only chair in the small kitchen-cum-living room. He raised the white cup to his lips and took a deep draught, which he immediately spat back out.
“For fucks sake! Hiro. Switch on.” He said to the kitchen and the smooth female voice of his apartments computer replied over the intercom.
“Good morning Feryn. Today is the sixteenth day of month three. You have no new messages. Do you have any requests?”
“Yeah, I’ve run out of Kalms, order some more for me. And the autochef is fucked.”
“Diagnostics show that your autochef is running at eighty three percent efficiency, the minimum for maintenance requests is sixty. Your Kalms tablets are now on order, you have exceeded your citizen prescription and payment will be expected.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just get them will you.” His impatience seemed to be worse today; possibly due to the dream that stayed at the back of his mind, a taunting splinter from a life he once knew. Nothing like remembering how high you had flown to remind you of how low you had crashed.


The city of Termite stretched out in front of Klein, the kilometer high organic looking structures of the city’s super-blocks extended out for as far as the eye could see. Klein’s laboratory was situated in the top of one of the largest super-blocks; this gave a good indication of just how important he was deemed by the Dream Sync Corporation. In the distance a flock of gulls rose into the air, disturbed from their scavenging at one of the city’s reclamation plants.
“My work has been progressing on time.” He said as he turned to the suited man standing behind him. “I’ve met every dead line. Why stop the funding the Odin code project now?”
“Your work has been very satisfactory, we have no complaints on that score. However it has been decided that your mind would be better utilized elsewhere.” Replied the man.
“But we’ve finally accrued a critical mass, the project will start to furnish results at an increased rate from now on. Surely the possibilities for refinements to the shadow matrixes alone warrant a continuation.”
“Klein,” Said the man, his voice taking on the tone used when berating an errant child, ”Your enthusiasm is commendable but, as I’ve already said, the decision has been made. It’s time to wrap up your findings and move onto the next project.”
Klein turned back to the window. It wasn’t possible that they had already figured out where his research had taken him was it? He’d been very careful to keep his team working on separate elements of the Odin code, he was sure none of them would be able to comprehend the full picture based on what they knew.
“But it would be senseless to cast this project aside before it’s fruition. One more month and then I’ll have completed revising the code. There’s too much potential profit to throw away.”
“The decision has been made. That’s final.” The man’s voice made it clear that there would be no further discussion on the matter.
“Okay,” said Klein. “I’ll start wrapping it up.”
“You’re a hard worker and a talented programmer Klein,” Said the suit, “Don’t jeopardize your career now.”
They’ve guessed, thought Klein, they don’t know exactly what I’m doing but they know there’s more to it than I’m letting on. As soon as I hand over the research they’ll get int-sect to go over it, they’ll know then. It’s time to leave.


In the small white room of his office Jake pulled on the shiny shark-suit. The glistening gray material felt like a second skin as it contracted and stretched to accommodate his movements. Once he was covered up to his neck by it he reached out for the cable that came out of the nearby console. Jake fastened it into the bio port at the base of his neck and reached over to push the palm of his hand into a console, the screen set into the white wall of the office broadcast a brief image of the Dream Sync Corporation logo to him.
He stretched out his arm and reached for the small cup containing the neural quickening agent and layback in the support chair. Bringing his left hand to his temple, he made the sign to open communications.
“Okay Denny, what’s the first appointment?” He thought and looked through the window at the man in red overalls. In response the man gestured for the communications unit to come off standby, his voice was relayed directly into Jakes mind.
“You’ve got a fun filled morning ahead of you.” Said the grinning face of Denny as he injected his own brand of sadistic humour into the day. “You have a meeting with a Mr Klein’s shadow, this one’s marked private so I guess he must be someone important. Then after that there have been intrusion reports filed by Neurotex, they’ve asked for a full diagnostic on their staff. If you’re lucky that will only take up the rest of the day, they run over seventy shadows on security alone.”
Jake groaned and shot a pained glance at the technician. “Can’t you delegate the Neurotex job? I need to get out early to buy an engagement present.” His thoughts were translated and transferred to the anti chamber speakers where Denny sat.
“What? And miss out on the corporate bonus? I don’t know about you but I could do with a little top-up this month.”
“Come on Denny, I’ll make it up to you. We’ll do all the corporate work you can handle tomorrow, but I need to get this present today or I’m sleeping on the sofa for a week.”
“I’ll see what I can do. I can’t have you complaining about your back all the time can I.” Denny smiled again and gestured for the grid portal to run through it’s warm up routine. The bio-ware flashed back a recognition sequence, indicating that it was online and ready to transmit Jakes consciousness into one of the big grid brains. “Boing, time for bed.” Denny said and Jake swallowed the contents of the cup.
He felt the numbness spread across his throat and ebb across his chest; the tingle slowly enveloped him and detached him from the world around him. Once his brain waves had reached the preset level the grid portal unit started its transmission and his mind transferred into the dream like state of grid space, his consciousness joined the millions of others who shared the dream every day.

Jake opened his eyes and looked around experiencing the strange deja-vu that every trip into the grid started off with. He found himself in a small, lightly coloured reception room; the floor was a representation of polished marble with an intricate network of blue and black vein running through it, Jake wondered if a rock like that actually existed or if it was just the imagination of a dream engineer at work. In one wall a large screen was displaying current news broadcasts next to an open door, opposite this was a window looking out towards a dense and invitingly sun lit forest.
Jake raised his left hand to his temple.
“Nice construct in here Denny.” He said out loud. “Whoever this first appointment is he’s got a lot of money.”
Denny’s voice sounded in his head “You have no time to stand and stare my friend. I’m uploading the brief to you, once that’s done I’ll see what I can do about the Neurotex job.”
“You’re my own personal Jesus Denny. Thanks.” Jake said adjusting his uniform and straightening his tie.
The brief dropped into his short-term memory, a sudden epiphany that made Jake inwardly groan. The shadow he was about to meet was under termination notice; his prime, the human the shadow had been cloned from, had been found dead in one of the seedier quarters of Free Zone earlier that morning.
This was the nasty part of the job Jake reflected, the code that made up a shadow needed to be constantly refreshed from the original person or a shadow version of Alzheimer’s would claim the psuedo-consciousness, when the prime died the shadow had at best three days before it started to disintegrate.
The sound of footsteps came through the opening in the wall and a man dressed in jeans and a t-shirt stepped into the room.
“Mr Klein?” Jake asked. “I work for DreamSync, were you expecting me?”
“Hi. Just Klein.” Said the man. “I’m sorry about this, I knew you were coming but I need a couple of minutes just to finish something. Do you mind?” This was a very hi grade shadow, Jake thought, the tone and texture of the flesh was immaculate, even the imperfections of the prime had been recreated such as the mole on his neck. There was something about the blue eyes that bothered Jake; they almost made the rest of the dream lose focus.
“That’s okay. I’m in no hurry.”
“Would you like a seat? There’s a sofa and bar just through in this room” Said the man indicating the space just through the doorway. Jake followed Klein through the aperture.
The scent of pine trees permeated the room. It was much larger than the first and boasted one wall that opened onto the small clearing in the forest. A set of comfortable looking chairs faced the scene outside and a bar ran across the adjourning wall.
“Drink?” Klein asked.
“Not on company time.” Jake moved over to one of the chairs and sat down in it, feeling it shape itself to accommodate him. “Whenever you’re ready then.”
“Okay, thanks.” Klein walked out through a door opposite the one they had entered through.
Looking at the detail in the forest, Jake wondered about the amount of money needed to create and run an apartment like this. The cost of keeping a dream like this running inside one of the grid brains was immense.
Jake decided it had to be a corporate job, they liked to make their executives very comfortable. Klein must have been some one very important to one of the major data companies.
“Ok then, my time is yours. What do you need me for?” Klein re-entered the room and sat across from Jake.
“Do you mind if smoke in here?” Asked Jake, reaching into the standard issue DreamSync jacket and withdrawing a packet of cigarettes, a detail added by Denny for those stressful occasions.
“It’s a dream, smoke isn’t harmful here.”
“No, but some people are funny about these things. Would you like one?”
“I don’t smoke, thank you.” This was always hard Jake thought to him self, but when dealing with a shadow whose imitation of life was so complete as this one it became unbearable.
Jake took a pull on the cigarette and looked the shadow in the eyes. The irises were dilating, a brief tick showed in the shadow’s eye socket as the tension built.
“Your prime was found dead this morning.” The dream man slumped back in his chair, staring at the floor.
“It is over.” He whispered.
“I’m afraid so.” Jake felt pity for the simulated man before him. He’d seen this many times before and it was always a blow.
“It is my duty to inform you that as of today at 8.30am you are under the 3 day compliance deletion order.” And that, reflected Jake, is the absolute lowest thing you can do. “Complaints or appeals can be registered with central dreaming.”
“For integration into the sub-conscious.”
“I’d prefer deletion.” Replied Klein bitterly. Jake looked at the shadow and reflected on how life like the imitation was.
“I’d better leave.” Said Jake. “I’ll show myself out.” He rose from his chair while avoiding Klein’s eyes and walked out into the reception room. “Denny, could you bring me round?” Jake turned to look back into the lounge, still in his seat Klein staring fixedly at Jake. The look on his face seemed out of place, instead of despair there was longing. The high clarity eyes slowly became the only part of a blurred backdrop as the dream lost resolution. Jake’s ears slowly started to pick out a tune from a source vaguely near him, a tune he knew very well.
The song White rabbit slowly brought his senses back from inside the dream as the stabilising agent administered by Denny flooded his system.
“How was it buddy? He take it like a shadow or a construct?” Asked Denny.
“That joke wasn’t funny the first time you made it.” Jake sat up and looked around, he was left with the disconcerting feeling that he hadn’t woken up yet, like the dream had continued.
“I know, bad taste. But good news to follow bad, I used a favour to get you off the security checks. We can dump all work today but there’s a corporate job scheduled for tomorrow. Upgrade of shadow structure.”
“Upgrades! How many?”
“Fifty plus. Going at the current estimate of 500 per shadow. You said all I could handle tomorrow.”
Jake rubbed his eyes and thought of coffee. “Ok, whatever, I’m going for the present now then. I’ll catch you tomorrow right.”
“Hey hey hey, not so fast, aren’t you going to run the probe?”
“Can’t you do it? Just log the last known sync, run a scan and address any anomalies.”
“I have no idea why I put up with you.” Said Denny.
“Because you’re a good technician but I’m better dreamer.”

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

roovacrag at 22:50 on 04 March 2004  Report this post
I found this hard going after reading it twice.
Complex,getting nowhere.
Yet at the same time,might be too Americanised for me.
xx Alice


Welcome to WW

gamecat at 23:02 on 04 March 2004  Report this post
Thanks for the comments, did it lose you from the begining or was it later on that it became over americanised?


Thanks for the welcome, seems like a nice place so far :)

roovacrag at 13:40 on 05 March 2004  Report this post
Was later on,still a good story and i know a lot like this kind of work.
Fiction is all a matter of taste. No use us all being the same,otherwise life would be a bore.
Yes it is a great site.
xx Alice

Richardwest at 15:59 on 05 March 2004  Report this post
Hi, Gamecat:

Not so much a story as a pyrotechnics display, this explodes in fire bursts of imagination, a fully realised universe complete with its own codes and imperatives. What often happens (well, to me at any rate) when confronting work in this genre is a feeling that although the narrative concept may be extraordinary, the actual narrative delivery is anything but. Though the writer’s imagination may have taken flight, the writer’s words stumble along as if mired in treacle.

Not so here: no sooner has the reader landed in this universe than she/he is propelled along at an astonishing velocity. For which reason. . .(!) I’d actually be happier if you slowed it down just a little, because honestly, my limited brain can only take in just so much at any one go

Put it another way: reading this is like arriving at a restaurant, sitting down at the table, and then being served breakfast, lunch and dinner simultaneously, all of it food of the highest quality, yet so much, so fast, that I realise I’m never gonna digest it all. . .

So I’d be inclined (and this is a most ’umble suggestion, Gamecat!) to follow the example of your characters and actually step out of yourself for a moment, and look at the text as if you had no knowledge whatsoever of the story as a totality.

There’s also something to be said (especially with a work as ambitious as this) to allow the narrative to breathe – so, hypothetically, instead of a 2,600-word piece, this might actually be better if it simply broke into three separate ‘chapters’.

Unfortunately, such a hypothesis is flawed though because of the technical problem to which it gives birth: if one is writing about three characters, as you are here, then those characters must appear as near the beginning as possible, because if they’re separated out too widely then by the time character three is reached, character one is forgotten and character two’s already disappearing into the haze.

To get around that then, it may be best to consider how to shorten – substantially – these initial scene-setters, not with the intention of discarding the material but of deploying it further into the narrative. Minimise each back story (on the sensible basis that stories always do better if they’re going forwards from the outset, rather than back) and don’t ever worry too much about explanations: show first, tell later.

Hey, though. What a WriteWords debut, Gamecat. Absolutely stunning. Well done!

'Best -- Richard

Ralph at 14:38 on 06 March 2004  Report this post
Hi Gamecat,

Some intriguing things going on here, and some wonderful details to bring it all to life. I do normally struggle with technical information and concepts, but I found it extremely well written here, and easy to get into. So, the bits I still don't quite understand are probably only obscured by the fact that I'm a bit stunted scientifically speaking... Sorry about that.

It did take me two readings to fathom what Klein was talking about.... the passage where Jake is introduced told me most of what I needed to know about shadow matrixes and gave me some insight into Klein's research when I went back to it, but I'm still not sure whether this was the shadow Klein or the prime... Guess would be prime, and that this has something to do with his death... Hope you're going to post more and let that mystery unravel...

The thing that I'm really struggling to get to grips with is how the shadows exist simultaneously, and even after, the primes. Jake has to switch off from "reality" to enter the grid, but the grid itself is operated with constructs, I take it. In which case, not sure why they need dreamers to do certain tasks, and can't build more constructs to do the job, and why the constructs have to die when the primes do... It's an interesting idea. That there's this whole cyber world, but it can't run completely autonomously... I'd definitely have to read on to find out how this operates alone, but the mysteries add to the page turning. It's great stuff.

Apologies if I've picked up the wrong end of this entirely, but even if I've got it backward there's enough here to keep me with it, and I'm sure as it developed my understanding of it would too...

You had a "rarely touch sci-fi" reader absolutely hooked here.

All the best with this



gamecat at 13:54 on 07 March 2004  Report this post
Thank you both for your encouraging words, I knew this piece had a lot of work needed but now I have a direction to head in.
Your musings have, incidentaly, hit upon the very story line that I was planing. The reasons for the shadows dieing when their primes do will be central to the tale.
Thank you once again.

To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .