I've always been careful to pay attention to my dreams. Not because I'm the sort to spot omens and portents in my nocturnal fantasies, I just find the places the mind goes when left to wander fascinating. On that trip to the pierced sphincter of the Spiral I dreamt of the Great Funnel. My people have a myth that says that all the galaxy is bound together by a vast metaphysical web spun by The Final Consort, the weird fertility/death god traditionally worshiped back home.
In my dream I was standing on a soft, frilled web overlooking an unfamiliar system. A half dozen gas giants orbiting a blue and white binary, and surrounded by an intricate cloud of moons. A ring of vast crystal blades danced around the paired suns and cut out at a passing moon from time to time. Where they struck, the moons turned black and purple. After some time, watching the crystals slowly kill this busy little system, the Great Funnel caught fire somewhere behind the suns. The bright blue flame flashed along the web until the whole galaxy was lit in spectral light, and when I turned back to the crystal blades, they where melting and falling into the blue sun. I could feel the fire burning the strand beneath me, burning me. Then it seemed like the universe called out in Kath's voice, *Riddle, please! No!*.
I woke up hanging uncomfortably by mismatched legs in my hammock. Alone and in the deep black between stars, I didn't like how that dream felt. So I decided to go back out and see if our stowaway was up for an explanation yet.