Soon-t0-be published science fiction/fantasy novel standing at the heart of the mysteries surrounding the Dreamscape Nexus.
The Dreamscape Nexus: a repository that stored the dreams of every sleeping mind in creation. An impossible expanse, it was vast beyond imagination—and also served as the staging point for the largest war in history. It was to be a war between the greatest of dreams and nightmares.
At the center of this floated an island adrift in the psychedelic cerulean storms of the Nexus, Like a spit of land puncturing the horizon of a vast ocean. From atop this island rose a mighty spire like Mt. Olympus thrust into the heavens to watch over mortal grounds. And it was there, at the peak of this mountain, that the war over the Nexus had begun.
A man who was far more than just a man crossed the grounds leading to the temple and in his wake came death. He was disguised as the humans in the Nexus around him, but caring little for them he didn't bother to match their attire very closely.
He presented himself as a man of average build in his thirties wearing a tuxedo jacket of dark pink, black disco pants, over-sized sunglasses and a zebra-stripped handbag. A crazed shock of bright blue hair erupted outward from his head. Behind him marched an army of steel and flesh—autonomous, sentient and mechanical creations which covered themselves haphazardly with the flesh of the deceased all in attempt to be human. Skin, muscle, and organs rotted and decayed from their mechanical bodies as they marched—the sounds of whizzing gears and screeching metal poisoning the air as they passed.
The interloper in blue hair ascended the steps to the temple: the gathering place for all aspects of the Guardians. As he rose, his mechanical abominations spread out and surrounded the temple, whether they marched on two legs, four, or rolled along on wheels.
The Guardian of the blue aspect approached the door, knocked, entered. From inside there stood gathered many other aspects: the Guardian of the green aspect, her dress like the earth at her feet rising like bark to spread out around her arms like twigs. In her green hair there sprouted leaves and a great many flowers. The Guardian of the black aspect was there, wrapped in a mist like death, her black hair covered in a ghastly shawl. Her son stood forlorn beside her, looking uninterested and bored to tears. The Guardian of the pink aspect, a child in appearance, stood around the circle in a loud pink dress—her bubblegum-pink hair always changing as she sucked a lollipop.
And directly across from the entrance stood the Guardian of the white aspect: tall, proud, noble. Incessantly defending life at the expense of everything else, including the Nexus itself. Her pure white dress flowed around her radiant and without blemish and her white hair fell long down her back.
She gazed defiantly and with chin raised at the Guardian of blue.
“Our brother has decided to honor us with his presence,” announced the Guardian of white, her voice dripping with such venom that the Guardian of blue would expect to hear it from the leader of the green aspect.
“I have,” replied the Guardian of blue, his voice remaining flat and emotionless as he took his place in the circle. They stood at each of their respective podiums facing each other around a mirror in the floor—a mirror that would show them any part of the Nexus that they desired to see. “I do not see the Guardian of the red aspect here.”
“He did not respond to the summons,” announced the Guardian of green to his inquiry. The flowers in her hair had closed up at the sight of him. Beside her, the pink Guardian's hair was spinning itself into ponytails and her lollipop had changed into a Popsicle.
“A shame,” responded the Guardian of blue. “I have many things to announce.”
“I was not aware you were even invited to this meeting,” scorned the Guardian of white.
The Guardian of blue met her fierce gaze before folding up his large sunglasses and putting them in the pocket of his dark pink jacket.
“I am a Guardian of an aspect, same as you, same as everyone here. I shall come and go as I please.”
The Guardian of the white crossed her arms and said nothing.
“You gonna tell us about lots of stuff?” asked the Guardian of pink. As she spoke her hair fell off and disappeared, leaving her with a military buzz-cut. The Popsicle had turned into a bubble wand, which she blew into filling the chamber with bubbles.
She stood upon a milk crate so that she could see over her podium.
“I am,” agreed the Guardian of blue. He stepped out from behind his podium and walked down onto the foggy surface of the mirror. “I have spent much time considering our purpose here. We are Guardians of the Dreamscape Nexus, are we not?”
“We are,” agreed the Guardian of white with ease. “We were assigned by the Nexus to watch over the souls birthed of dreams that inhabit it.”
“Assigned?” scorned the Guardian of black. A wrathful cloud of dark mist rose up about her as she cast an angry gaze at her sister. “I was never assigned anything of the type! It was hardly so poetic as you suggest. I instead arose from the depths of the worst nightmares, spreading fear and terror wherever I went so I could eventually transcend out of the Dreamscape I was trapped in to raise havoc upon other Dreamers.”
“Such is precisely my point,” explained the Guardian of blue, his voice remaining collected despite the wrath of those around him. “However we came to be, we can be certain that two types of dreams rule the Nexus: pleasant dreams and harsh nightmares. Some of us came to power by playing on the fears of the Dreamers. Others,” he faced the Guardian of white, “by being worshiped as gods. Either way, we transcended our original Dreamscapes, rising in power until we found ourselves here, representing our aspects for the sole purpose of guarding the Nexus. But I pose this question: as Guardians of the Dreamscape Nexus, either by selection or sacrifice, what is it precisely that we guard the Nexus from, and what have we done toward that end since forming this alliance?”
“We defend the Nexus from dangers both outside and from within,” stated the Guardian of white as mechanical as a machine. “Making sure none grow too powerful to threaten the integrity of the Nexus.”
“Outside?” posed the Guardian of blue. “Outside the Nexus? What is outside the Nexus? The Nexus is vast, spanning as far as a universe. I say that there is nothing outside the Nexus. And as for maintaining the integrity of the Nexus, my brothers and sisters, in that we have already failed.”
“What do you mean?” demanded the Guardian of green. “How have we failed?”
“The Nexus is dying.”
“That is absurd!” the Guardian of green lashed out. “It is doing no such thing!”
The Guardian of blue stared right up at her. “I have seen it with my own eyes. I have spent much time exploring the Nexus. I have flown through it in all directions, exploring every primitive Dreamscape man has ever conceived. I have seen many dreams—and many more nightmares. I have seen the faces of their gods as they sleep. I have explored a good deal more than anyone else present and have come back with the knowledge that the Nexus withers and dies even as he stand here discussing it. Entire Dreamscapes are fading away. Others are melting into each other or being pocketed with enormous sinkholes where the Dreamscape literally falls away into the Nexus itself. Millions of people die each day across the vast stretches of the Nexus without us ever knowing about it.”
“Impossible!” cried the Guardian of the white. “We are the Guardians of the Dreamscape Nexus! We were appointed to watch over it. Surely we would have detected such vast amounts of death, as you so boldly state.”
“Were we appointed?” countered the Guardian of blue. “Or do we simply tell ourselves that to justify the acts we perform in service to the Nexus?”
To this, the Guardian of white was silent. The Guardian of black grinned in approval.
“I come before you, brothers and sisters, to tell you that in our jobs of defending the Nexus against internal threats, we are failing! The Nexus dies around us while we remain ignorant. In order to do our jobs as Guardians, we must act to save it!”
“How would you have us do that?” countered the Guardian of green, full of suspicion.
“The Nexus is vast—vast beyond our imagining—but it is not without its limits. Even the Nexus can only swell so large. It is like a kingdom of men, expanding without limit, stretching its borders by consuming its neighboring countries. It grows and grows, threatening to consume the entire world before eventually falling apart from within. The kingdom of the Nexus has simply grown too large and is beginning to fail.”
“Nonsense!” stated the Guardian of white. “The Nexus is without limits. It can swell endlessly to keep receiving new Dreamscapes from dreaming minds.”
“Nothing is infinite,” replied the Guardian of blue. “And nothing is without its limits. Including us.”
“If that were true,” questioned the Guardian of green, “what would you have us do about it?”
“How appropriate that you should be the one asking, Guardian of the green aspect,” answered the Guardian of blue as he walked back to his podium. “In order to preserve a garden, one must continually weed it, removing the dead and dying plants to make room for the healthy ones to grow.”
“You're suggesting...” The Guardian of white was appalled by the mere notion. “You're suggesting that we destroy some Dreamscapes to make room for others?”
“That is precisely what I'm suggesting.”
“Nonsense!” yelled the Guardian of white. “That is complete nonsense! You want us to decide which Dreamscapes are unfit to survive and therefor kill every person and every living thing in them? Have you gone completely mad? Everything that exists has the right to live!”
“I agree with the Guardian of white,” announced the Guardian of green. “Killing off the people of one Dreamscape so that the people of another can live is no solution! We can't even be certain that the Nexus is faltering at all!”
“Natural selection,” stated the Guardian of black with a grin. “What a wonderful thought. The gods of death would love it.”
“I will hear of this no more!” raged the Guardian of white. “You storm in here and demand us to start killing off the very same people we were assigned to protect! This is insanity! Take your maddening schemes and leave this place.”
“I had assumed that the Guardian of white, the beacon of light, upholder of justice and protector of mankind, would react as such. That is why I took a few measures to prepare for this meeting before I ever arrived.”
“What do you mean?” demanded the Guardian of white. Her face, full of malice, soon began to twist into surprise and panic. “What is this? The people... of my Dreamscape. They can see me? What are they doing?” The image of the Guardian of white began to waiver and flicker, like the image from a broken holographic projector. “This isn't possible! What have you done? What have you done!”
Then she was gone. The podium of the Guardian of white stood empty, her cries silenced.
“What did you do?” demanded the Guardian of green. Fear began to replace the certainty within her. “What have you done to the Guardian of white?”
“The people of her own Dreamscape have taken her.” The voice of the Guardian of blue was cold as he spoke. “The very same people she swore to protect have abducted her for their own ends. Ironic, is it not?”
“She was the Guardian of white!” cried the Guardian of green. “She was our leader! You can not do this!”
“I have and I did,” announced the Guardian of blue. “Furthermore, in the absence of the Guardian of white, I now proclaim myself to be leader of the Guardians. What say you, my brothers and sisters?”
“Never!” shouted the Guardian of green. “I would never vote for a monster like you to have such power!”
“Very well. That is your vote. Guardian of the black aspect: what say you? Do you support my rise to power?”
“I do,” agreed the Guardian of black. “The flow of souls back into the Nexus will only fuel my own power.”
“As I suspected,” confirmed the Guardian of blue. He turned now to the Guardian of pink, whose pigtails had returned and were now sweeping the floor of their own accord. She nibbled a chocolate chip cookie as the others turned to her.
“It is your vote now, my dear sister, and yours is the vote that shall decide the fate of us all.”
She nibbled her cookie, cocked her head to one side and stared at the Guardian of blue with a curious look on her youthful face. Her hair receded, untangling from their ponytails to frame her face.
“Chaos supports you,” said the Guardian of pink at last. “Whatever ends up happening, I'm sure it'll be very exciting!”
“It is done, then.”
“You can't do this!” warned the Guardian of green. “I won't let you!”
She ran out from behind her podium and advanced upon him. The Guardian of blue signaled to his Steel Abominations waiting outside and they poured in like locusts, washing over the entire temple and halting the Guardian of green in her tracks. They grabbed her with shriveled, decaying hands and mechanical pincers.
“What is the meaning of this?” the Guardian of green demanded. “What are these disgusting things?”
“They are a tool—a means to an end. Nothing more.” The Guardian of blue explained. “They will serve me in destroying the aged and dying worlds of the Nexus. But they are more like animals in their behavior. They do what I tell them—that is all. They can only accomplish so much. No, in order to preserve the healthiest Dreamscapes by removing all the rotten ones, we need a force much more destructive. And no force has proven more destructive than that of the human mind.”
“Humans?” cried the Guardian of green. “How have you involved the mortals in this scheme of yours? You can't expect this plan of yours to ever work if you enlist the help of mere mortals.”
“On the contrary,” explained the Guardian of blue. He advanced towards the mirror once more, waving a hand over it. Its surface fogged over with the purple and blue hues of the Nexus storms. Eventually the surface cleared, viewing a scene of a simple wooden village built upon a hill.
“Observe with me the works of the mortals as they craft their very first artificial Dreamscape.”
The Guardian of black, made curious by this display, stepped out from behind her podium and advanced upon the mirror. She looked down at it, fascinated by what she was seeing. Her son obliged her by following, looking very disinterested.
“You have the mortals creating their own Dreamscapes?” posed the Guardian of black as she watched the scene unfold before her. In it she saw a hero standing tall, stoic and noble, as he cast a magic like lightning to battle hordes of ogre-like creatures.
“That's exactly what I have done,” explained the Guardian of blue. “To six of the greatest, most influential, and most greedy leaders of the human race, I have given the technology to not only create their own Dreamscapes, but also to travel freely across the Nexus itself.”
“Why?” asked the Guardian of black. “If your intention is to kill off the dying Dreamscapes of the Nexus, why allow mortals to create their own and populate the Nexus even more? Doesn't that go against your purpose?”
“Not at all. The hundreds of Dreamscapes these mortals may create are nothing compared to the billions being conceived every day. Furthermore, their Dreamscapes will ultimately not only fail, but will lead to the destruction of every Dreamscape around them as well. Think of everything they make as ticking time bombs. As far as they spread into the Nexus, the destruction of their own Dreamscapes will only be that much more potent.”
“Clever. Assuming, of course, that the mortals eventually lead to their own self-destruction.”
“Don't they always?” countered the Guardian of blue.
“So what is this that we're watching, then?” asked the Guardian of black. The Guardian of pink bounded down from her milk crate behind the podium and hopped down the stairs to look into the mirror with them. Her hair hung low over the image, constantly changing length and weaving itself into different shapes.
“This Dreamscape we're seeing represents the genius of my plan,” explained the Guardian of blue. “This is the very first artificial Dreamscape created by mortals.”
Fascinated, the Guardian of black knelt down to watch. Reluctantly, imprisoned by the Steel Abominations, the Guardian of green did so as well.
They watched the scenario unfold as this man-made hero Juggernaut and his partner Claymore battled through the village of ogres and then charged up the stone tower to find the beauty Uriel held captive by the evil Sorcerer.
“The mortals don't like very complex scenarios, do they?” the Guardian of black complained.
“Its what this scenario represents that's more important than the scenario itself. Mortals are now capable of creating their own dreams to add to the Nexus. What we're seeing now is nothing more than an experiment to test the capabilities of my Data Transponders.”
“They're dipping their toes into the water,” the Guardian of pink observed.
“Metaphorically speaking, yes.”
They listened as Juggernaut and Claymore explained that they had come to free the maiden, and that they would destroy the Sorcerer and stop his evil reign, but no, he would never allow such a thing and they had to come only to face his wrath and they would never win this time and they would never be stopped by the likes of him and they assured him that good would prevail and evil would fall and blah-blah and on and on it went.
“Where did they get this from?” criticized the Guardian of black. “A dog could come up with better dialogue than this. This is painful to watch. I'm starting to lose faith in your plan, Guardian of blue.”
“This sorry display accounts for entertainment in their world, I assure you,” replied the Guardian of blue. “It was the mortals' idea to sculpt this scene, not mine.”
Then the holier-than-thou Juggernaut began to attack the Sorcerer with flashy white lightning bolts while the of course evil Sorcerer began to shoot back with, surprise-surprise, black lightning bolts. Claymore assisted by attacking with one-liners and striking heroic poses.
“I hope their next experiment is a lot better,” said the Guardian of black, her voice dry and flat.
“This looks like cartoons!” cried the Guardian of pink with excitement.
Then, at long last, after the unbearable dialogue and cheesy special effects, Juggernaut had the Sorcerer predictably pinned down against a wall while Claymore rushed to untie the girl. Juggernaut was on the verge of striking the final blow to the Sorcerer and presumably ridding the land of all evil for good—or at least until the next episode—when something unpredicted happened.
The tower exploded. The stones burst from their mortar-encased homes and were sent flying in every direction. The actors of this play fell from their height, tumbling down to the base of the tower. The ground around them sunk down and the sky fell away like the backdrop to a high school play. The sun bloated, turned belly up, and sank like a dead fish with a ball bearing in its stomach. And from all around flooded in the purple and blue storms of the Nexus, enveloping everything and masking out their view. All of them—the stereotypical heroes Juggernaut and Claymore, the helpless maiden Uriel and the all-too-evil Sorcerer—were swallowed by the Dreamscape Nexus and fell away from view.
“What the hell just happened?” demanded the Guardian of black. “Was that your doing?”
“It was not,” explained the Guardian of black. “The Dreamers must have pulled the plug on their experiment, presumably to start working on another.”
“They must have gotten as sick of watching it as I was,” concluded the Guardian of black.
“Soon they'll start making more and more Dreamscapes, each of them filled with more vicious creatures and more powerful humans. They'll begin exploring the Nexus and discovering new and interesting ways to bring about their own destruction. They can't help it—it's in their nature.”
“And that's all well and good,” explained the Guardian of black. “But what do we do in the meantime? And what do we do with her?” She pointed to the Guardian of green being held by the Steel Abominations.
“We preserve the Dreamscape Nexus as best we can, by sending my pawns out across the Nexus to destroy the unhealthy Dreamscapes. And don't you worry about our sister here. I have a special prison all picked out for her. She'll not be bothering us again.”
“Very well, dear brother,” said the Guardian of black. “Let's see how this plan of yours goes. I'm particularly curious to see how the mortals end up destroying each other—they always find such imaginative ways to do it!”
“I liked the cartoon,” announced the Guardian of pink. “I want to watch more of them! The humans are silly!”
“Indeed. Come now, sisters,” said the Guardian of black. “Let us be on our way.”
One by one they walked out of the temple. The Steel Abominations escorted the Guardian of green, keeping their cold metal or decaying flesh grips tight on her. The Guardian of black followed, making sure she didn't try to escape.
The Guardian of pink brought up the rear, skipping along without a care in the world. The son of the Guardian of black walked beside her, his black hair tousled and his face pocked with acne.
“I liked the funny man, Claymore,” the Guardian of pink announced to the boy. “He said silly things. And he talked funny.”
“I don't suppose it's occurred to you that what we're doing here is wrong?” posed the boy.
The Guardian of pink, who appeared much younger than she actually was, stopped to think about that a moment with her head cocked to one side. Her hair began to grow out and braid itself into a ponytail. The banana she had been eating a moment ago turned suddenly into a bird and flew away.
“It seems especially chaotic to me!” announced the young girl after a moment. “And what we're doing here will only bring more chaos. People fighting each other is always chaos. So I like it bunches! It's gonna be big fun!”
The boy grunted, nodding his head. They began walking once again, well behind the others.
“I thought you might say that,” said the boy, his voice low. His head was hung low, his black hair hanging long on either side of his head—a curtain to hide his face. “In that case, I'm going to give you a present.”
“A present? For me?” The Guardian of pink squealed with excitement, jumping up and down in place. “Yay! What is it? What is it?”
“I'm going to give you a new friend.” The boy turned to look at the Guardian of pink who appeared to be a young girl. “He's going to bring you lots of chaos.”
“Ooh, cool! Who is he? What's his name? Is he big and strong? Is he gonna beat everyone up?”
“When the others weren't watching, I put some of my own influence into one of the newest characters that those mortals are making. You'll be able to tell who he is real soon. Just keep watching the mortals and I think you'll see him. He'll bring you lots of chaos in the future.”
“That's way cool!” cried the Guardian of pink. “I'm excited!”
“But keep your voice down!” scorned the son of the Guardian of black. “We don't want the others to know, now do we?”
The Guardian of pink shook her head obediently. “It's a secret!”
“That's right, it's a secret. It's our secret.”
The Guardian of pink nodded her understanding. Then the son ran to catch up with his mother. They left the temple grounds to spread out leathery wings, grow black-covered scales over their now lizard-like bodies and, with fire on their breath, fly away into the storms of the Dreamscape Nexus.