So, last night I had a dream.
This isn’t anything unusual. For as long I can remember I’ve had incredible, epic dreams that sometimes tell like grand fantasy stories, or amazing sci-fi movies. Sometimes I take part in these adventures as a character/player, and sometimes I am just an observer.
Last night I was an observer to a really great sci-fi story. Fully fleshed out characters, settings and plot all rolled into a dream.
It took place on a distant, desolate planet. Uninhabitable. Toxic storms constantly bombarded the shelters of a terraforming crew, sent ahead by a long-hall cryogenic colony ship.
Kimberly Shaw was head scientist on this project. A woman in her early forties, already going silver. She and her crew were fiercely fighting to get the terraforming project up and running.
They had to.
The lives of everyone on the colony ship depended on it.
Early reports on the planet had been wrong. It was not as safe and habitable as they had expected.
They were having setback after setback, crew kept dying – one by one.
I – as an observer – watched this all happen as though I was filming it. Kimberly desperately trying to save her crew, her project, and somewhere-far-far away – those on the colony ship.
They continue to fail.
And fail more.
A keep failing.
Until there is only five left alive.
Oh, and I forgot to mention the Youtuber – there you a future version of a youtuber there as well, his name is Hale, documenting everything. He and Kimberly get along really well since he’s about the same age as her son.
So, it gets to the point where the terraforming project has failed, they’re trapped in the science pod, losing air, and toxic fumes are gradually leaking in. I watched in horror as one by one, they decide to end their lives instead of waiting for - what they kept describing - would be a very painful death.
Kimberly's second in command, a lovely elderly gentleman was badly wounded in a previous accident, and he’s the first to go. The doctor – Jacob Simmons – putting him to sleep.
They all choose a way to die.
Until it’s just Kimberly and Hale left in the darkness. It was awful. I can still see the softly blinking lights illuminating their faces in my imagination. I know exactly what they look like, I could draw pictures of them – that’s how realistic they were in the dream.
The last light dies. There is just a hissing of gases from somewhere.
Hale makes one final video. He signs off - as he always has - as if nothing is wrong as if he isn't dying.
Then the screen goes dark.
Then there is a bright light and I observe a young man shading his eyes against sunlight flickering through tall oak trees. The ground is covered in lush, green grass. He wanders between the different types of trees, smiling as he shoulders the weight of his backpack. Birds chirp.
A voice calls out.
“Benjamin! We’ve found something! Hurry!”
He picks up the pace, running to greet several young people, all gathered around the buried entrance of what appears to be a one of several pods amongst the overgrown forest.
Benjamin helps them pry the door open and slowly he steps inside.
It is the science pod. Just as it had been left. The mummified bodies of five crew members remain. Benjamin begins to take their dog-tags, one by one, calling out their names as the holographic shine lights up on the metal.
He finally gets to Hale. A young woman joins him and picks up the dusty filming device.
“Think you can get anything from it?” Benjamin asks.
The young woman begins working on it.
Benjamin turns to the body beside Hale. He reaches for the dog-tag and the name Kimberly Shaw flickers. He clutched at the tags.
The young woman hands him the film device.
“I think this is for you, Benji.”
Kimberlys face is highlighted only by the faint light of the camera.
“I wanted to give you a future, Benjamin. I wanted to give you the greatest gift a mother could give a son. I am so sorry…I am so sorry, I failed you.”
The holo-screen flickers off.
Benjamin slumps back and begins to cry as he holds the dog-tags tightly to his chest. “But you did it, Mum. You really, really did it.”
And suddenly the realisation that this is Kimberly’s son from the colony ship made all the sense in the world. They’d taken the long way to reach the planet – but they’d reached it.
The scene zoomed out to show the valley that had once been barren is now teaming with the life of a forest, and it keeps spreading outward from that spot, spanning across the planet.
The terraforming project had worked.
I woke up, tears trickling down my cheeks from the emotional rollercoaster of a dream.
Wow. Wow. That was an amazing story.
I had to write that down.
So here I am, writing it down.
I would love to turn it into a novel – the only problem I feel I am running into is the same problem I run into with all the sci-fi novels I have tucked away in my “to-write” folder.
I don’t feel like I have the technical expertise to write what I want to write. All the disasters that kept happening to the crew, I could see them happen, and they spoke words about what was going wrong but I have NO IDEA what they were saying.
How is that possible?
How is it possible that in my imagination there is a crew of expert scientist exists, doing super cool scientific things and saying science jargon but I don’t know what they were saying or doing?
The only character I feel I would remotely be able to connect with is Hale, the young youtuber/documentary film guy. He wasn’t there as a scientist, he was there to tell the story and document it as it happened. A record for future generations. But even if I used Hale as the jump-in point, even if he didn’t understand the techo jargon, I’d still need to write some of it to make it believable.
So, I find myself stuck in the mud again. Wanting to write a sci-fi but feeling very dumb. I’m a bit of a nerd, I like my science fiction to be science-y even though I may not understand what is written or said, I feel like it creates a good foundation and structure for the story.
Anyway. There you go – that’s what it’s like when I dream.
I don’t always write them down. A lot of the time I usually dream typical fantasy adventures. It still fascinates me that my imagination can come up with unique settings, unique alien races, unique magic systems and plots all while I’m sleeping. I have SO many files of “to-write” stories just from dreams, it’s beginning to get a bit ridiculous.
I just need to finish my first one. ^_^;