“Wake the dreamer and the dream remains.
Slay the dream but the dreamer is slain.”
—Marginalia, notes of Dr. Wendell Gilman, lead researcher, Slipgate Complex
Lore Scrolls #
R/V Hina-Oio log, Feb 2 1995, Emma Johansen, research lead. Finally at sea. Minimum 5 days to point Nemo, arriving 2 weeks off schedule. Lost 6 days in Valparaiso: Cpt. Sarmento was 2 days late, and Eng. Ebbers took 4 to fix the ROV damaged in transit. Also lost 3 days in Hanga Roa finalizing the eccentric deal terms with Alerttrust via IRC: resupply by aerial drop, no one else allowed aboard. That meant much more prep, even for an abyssal zone project. I still don’t even know who or what Alerttrust is. But the funding is beyond my dreams.
Feb 5. Three tranquil days, only engine hum. Bits of plastic in the water, even here. Sent ROV down to gauge the pollution. Observed the so-called spacecraft cemetery: satellite debris scattered on the abyssal plain. There is no place humans can’t ruin. UPDATE 19:49:48: If I didn’t have footage I would think I hallucinated this. Tribrachidium fossils. Thousands! The seafloor is tiled with them. There aren’t like the few millimeters-wide specimens known. They are meters across! Some maybe be decameters! This will rewrite our understanding of the Ediacaran. No one will believe – I need to sleep.
Feb 6. Awoke to noise on the deck: an AlertTrust fuel drop. I had dreamt of countless tribrachidia, alive!, slowly turning, pinwheels of tendrils. Immediately rechecked yesterday’s footage to ensure I wasn’t imagining what I saw. As the ROV ascended, a pattern emerged in the fossils: a Fibonacci-like spiral curve. I know this sounds insane. I have to follow it, obviously. I can’t tell Sarmento. I’ll come up with some scientific excuse. Update 14:11:33: Hydrothermal vents clustered on the seabed. Black smokers with spires of a meter or less. They’re what I came to find, but they’re not important anymore.
Feb 7. Dreamt of something incredibly vast moving under the seafloor. It seemed … female? Then it seemed like it was Riley. Or within Riley? Made no sense. You swore you wouldn’t think about her. Many more smoker vents below now, like a city of smokestacks. Too many to pilot the ROV through. Some of the spires are over 100m. I should be ecstatic but I can barely function through this migraine. There was a sound in the dream, like a reverberated moan. I still hear it. It won’t stop.
Ftb 8. The tribrachidium fossil pattern is clear now. The curve is one of three spiraling out from the central point obscured by smoker spires. Depth measurements at that point are … implausible. Just a black gash in the seabed. The shape of the pattern is the same as the one in each fossil. Many miles across. Many many. Sleep didn’t make the thrum go away. It comes and goes like a tide. It’s trying to say something. “Fta.” “Fhta.” Other noises, guttural, infrasonic. Can’t hear. The men. Their muttering and shuttering and breathing. I need to hear it. I need quiet.
Fhta ç. Now I hear it. The thrum. The stars are so bright. Never seen them this way. Finally, no one else. The men are dead. I made it quickquick. Sleep face cover throat slit. Over the side. float down to the gash. kiwa will catch them. then worms worms. the thrum-moan. I hear it. the hot black. the vastness within. stirring. I need to hear it. feel it. for myself. I need to see it. need to see her. the enter. the spire-city. the dark place. it’s open now. must go. will go. tonight. Tonight. Now.