Chapter 8: Dreamland

“Gideon you have to wake up!”


“Gideon! Please wake up, you need to wake up”


It felt like someone was shaking his shoulders, “Gideon please wake up, something is wrong!”


Gideon opened his eyes and saw nothing, darkness clouded his vision. He would have sworn his mom was just talking to him, bringing his hand up to his face he rubbed his eyes. He could not think clearly. Everything was confusing, like it was all clouded, fuzzy, and far away. Flexing his arms he pushed himself up off the cold hard ground, his arms felt small and weak. He opened his eyes again, it took several blinks but there was a difference with his eyes open, the space around him had a gentle warm light in it, but he could not see anything but the fuzzy glow.

Wherever he was the air was cool, almost cold, and stale, rocking backwards he pressed his back against something cool and hard. He looked around the room again, his eyes slowly revealing more details as they adjusted to the gloom. Gideon was not sure where he was, from the way it had felt, he was pretty sure there was something wrong with the transit system. There was no telling where his data packet was transferred to, wherever it was, Gideon did not like it much.

Thinking about the data transfer reminded him of Sara and Harry, maybe the network had spit them out somewhere near here. Maybe his mom was there too, he could have sworn she was just trying to shake him awake. He stood up, and found that it took more effort than he expected it to. His head felt very light, and the room seemed to wobble and spin around him.  He braced himself against whatever it was he was standing next to as he tried to regain himself.

As the wobbling subsided he looked around the room again, his vision mostly clear now. The room was bathed in a gentle orange light that seemed to emanate from a strange lamp  on the floor. He thought it was a small storage room, there were lots of tools on the walls, and the room seemed to have spare parts mounted to the walls wherever possible. Something about the room seemed strange, but it also seemed vaguely familiar to Gideon.

His head was feeling clear enough to try and walk, and it seemed like he was alone in the room. Letting go of his support, he took a few unsteady steps towards the door. Walking felt strange, like his legs were made of rubber. Despite a few near spills, he made it all the way across the room, past the strange orange light, and to the door.

Now that he stood in front of the door, he realized what seemed wrong about the room to him, everything was too big. This door, and everything else in the room was being rendered at an inappropriate size. He had to reach far over his head if he wanted to activate the door panel. His brain still foggy, he ignored this fact and opened the door. He had to find another person, and he was definitely alone in this room.

After a quick button press, the door obediently slid to the side, leaving a dark gaping maw in its place. Gideon looked into the black mouth with trepidation, he had always been afraid of the dark. He considered turning back around and hiding in this room, like he did when he parents fought. That never made them stop though, and hiding here in the room was not going to help him get home or find his friends.

Inhaling deeply Gideon worked up the courage and took a tentative step into the hallway. As his foot fell, pale blue lights along the edges of the hallway lit up, cutting a path into the darkness. The musty, dry air in the hallway irritated Gideon’s nose and throat, making them feel cracked and dry. He tried taking small and quick breaths to avoid inflaming his throat further, but that just irritated the problem.

Gideon wandered down the hallway, letting the gentle blue lights at his feet direct him, never questioning where they were sending him. He walked down the hallway for a bit, frequently checking the darkness for anything that might jump out at him. Looking up at the ceiling he saw great undulating tubes crawling along the upper parts of the hallways. He initially thought they were giant snakes and that they would eat him. But after some careful and quiet observation he realized that they were just long plastic tubes.

The soft blue lights lead him to another door, this one was huge too, and the darkness he could not see any door controls. Reaching up blindly he felt for any recess in the wall that may hold the button he needed. His fingers found something, and then there was a tell tale snick noise, the door quickly followed instructions and silently slid open. Gideon stumbled out into the dark hallway as the door dissolved in front of him. His still rubbery legs threatened to let him fall again, but they held him up. Unfortunately they held him up as he stumbled face first into a wall.

White hot fire burned Gideons mind as strange and new sensory information flared from his mouth. He felt warm liquid running off his chin, dripping down onto the deck. Far too much to be spit. A salty metallic taste flooded his mouth as his hands instinctually shot up to protect his wound. His whole world faded away and his mind locked onto the horrible alien throbbing sensation coming from his mouth.

His mind floundered, trying to interpret the powerful and foreighot stab of pain caused him to fall to his knees in mind bending agony. Twin lances of white fire shot up his legs as his knees contacted the  the hard metal decking. Gideon began crying, his consciousness threatening to desert him as the shock of the situation wore off.  The raging storm of alien sensations was almost too much.

Six years of feeling no pain had taken their toll on him, six  years of not experiencing an incredibly important, albeit unpleasant, sensation had robbed him of the chance to develop any kind of coping mechanism or controlled pain response.

Gideon lay there, hands and knees on the ship deck, blood and tears streaming off his face as his stomach demanded food. His mind frantically tried to understand the sensations assailing it when suddenly a memory from nearly six years ago came to mind. He had launched himself off the swing set, copying his friend Harry. Unfortunately his landing had not been as lucky as his friends and he ended up hurting himself fairly badly. His mother had immediately seen to his hurts, mending them, then she had turned off pain generation in their local partition. Pain. He was feeling pain, physical pain. The network must have spit him out far from home.

He watched as the stream of blood from his mouth slowed to a trickle as the tears freely ran from his face. He had watched it stream from his mouth and puddle on the floor beneath him, watching himself bleed had almost hypnotic and it helped him ignore his stomachs persistent growls. The hurt in his legs was mostly gone, and his lip had mostly stopped bleeding even if it still throbbed. Rocking himself backwards he sat down and the tears from his face. A sharp pang of pain in his abdomen caused him to hunch over and immediately helped him decide what to do next.

He was hungry, he was so hungry that his stomach was causing him pain. He had not known that could happen. While his busted lip and dinged knees were unpleasant it was clear to him that he needed to find something to eat. Finding something to eat was going to be a problem, he had no idea where he even was, much less where food could be. Plus he was beginning to feel tired, walking out here had been challenging, and all that newly felt pain really took it out of him. He rocked his head back, pressing it up against the wall. He closed his eyes and decided he would sit for a moment. Maybe an adult would come along and find him, they would know where they were and where to get food.

These were the things he told himself for comfort as he drifted off into a dreamland.


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