April 3rd, 2011

hope, science, green hills of earth

Dream Log: "Don't Be Afraid, The Stars Are Only Mirrors ..."

Last night, I dreamed that I was getting ready to board a starship.

Not a gleaming Enterprise-style military vessel, and not a Millennium Serenity tramp freighter: this was a vessel the size of a city, with hundreds of thousands of crew and passengers.

It wasn't a "colony ship", per se; there was no sense of a set destination. It might have been a generation ship, and I simply wasn't going to see the end of the journey in my lifetime. Whatever the case, the ship was going to be home, and my role there (archivist, journalist, and documentation expert) was going to be my career, unless I decided to apprentice into something more technical.

In fact, if I were going to try to interpolate backstory from the general feel and attitude and thoughts in my dream-self's head, I'd say it was a seed ship, heading out to find likely planets and establish the foothold for settlement. Maybe we'd be dropping off colonists; maybe we'd be putting FTL gates in place; maybe we'd be terraforming; maybe all of the above.

On the other claw, it might have been the Diaspora. Everyone seemed to be going. even though there wasn't much sense of urgency, there was very much a sense that if you weren't on board, you'd Have The Place To Yourself; Please Put Up the Chairs And Turn Out The Lights.

Some hints of longevity there, too, since there didn't seem to be any issue with a gent pushing 50 contemplating a whole new career; there'd be plenty of time. It felt like "I may do this for a while, and then do that for a while, and then do something else", with the impression that "a while" was a period measured in decades.

A lot of this came out in a conversation with a young lady I'd just met—someone who, despite her youth, had been elected "Mayor", head of the civilian administration of the ship on sheer dint of competence.

Note that my ship's billet is pretty much what I'm doing now at my day job, combined with my family's heritage in newspapers. My PoV persona was most definitely me; often, when I have dreams this detailed, coherent, and story-related, I'm Someone Else. Even when it's not something as obvious as being an anthropomorphic dolphin-woman, my dream-selves in these internal movies often have different memories, different skills, and know different people. Dreams starring me tend to be both less coherent and less memorable.

It was surprisingly consistent, and surprisingly ... casual, for lack of a better term. Yes, this was a great adventure, this was a new experience—but it's what we're doing, and Things Need To Get Done. Right now ... nothing's urgent, we're ahead of schedule, don't kill yourself or freak out—Just Get The Job Done. Once everything's aboard, once things settle down after launch, then you can cluster by the portholes and ooh and ahh over The Big Night.

The source material for this one isn't hard to pin down. I just spent two weeks on a job assignment in San Diego (travel for the first time in too long, thanks to the new job!), documenting the decontamination procedure for a company that was closing up shop, and I spent a lot of time by myself in largely-abandoned buildings (Please Turn Out The Lights). On the plane back, I read Heinlein's novella, Methuselah's Children (longevity, obviously, and a gigantic starship with a hundred thousand people aboard. I think the dream even mentioned cold sleep, which I was turning down because I didn't want to miss anything and there was always Something That Needed Doing).

For the record, if you offered me absolutely any job, any life in the annals of in history and fiction—yeah. This. This is what I'd do, more than anything else. Give me a chance to head into the Deep on a giant city-ship, to search and explore and study and build and create, and I will head up that boarding ramp without looking back.

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Yes, I know it's '70s Disco Cheese and a deliberate parody of the prog-rock Concept Album.
I'll still be singing it as I head up the ramp.