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I opened my eyes. Darkness. Smoke. Shadows.
Nicky's dreamspace towered over me. Massive. Smoke cascaded far above me. I blinked at it. Something screamed in the distance. Something huge.
It made me shiver.
I crawled behind a nearby tower of dark wood. In the shadow I noticed the grain. Larger than it should've been.
"Big." I said to myself. "Everything is huge here."
That added up. This wasn't a tower of wood with smoke up in the sky above. Furniture. I hid behind the foot of some sort of furniture. A pew?
I'd seen images of churches. From the net. My dreamspaces rarely had them. Religion had never interested me. Aunt Miri never mentioned her faith, although I'd heard her use the word God from time to time. I think she believed in something, but didn't want me to know about it.
My avatar was a tiny doll in a church on fire. With some sort of giant in it. Or maybe the giant could be a person.
"Nicky." I said. It would be her. Why would her dreamspace be like this?
"DEMONS!" Nicky's gigantic voice thundered from above. The pew cracked as she plowed through it. "THEY TRICKED ME!"
Blood covered her body. Nicky's skin looked covered in sores. Like those you get from thorns. Blood dripped. Her eyes glowed white. She tumbled, her strength enough to shatter the pew above me. Pieces flew as she flew to the ground next to me. Fire consumed her hair. It flicked each time she spoke, as if her voice could make it brighten and dim.
"Nicky? Whats- why are you doing this?" The words escaped my mouth before I could think about them. Her glowing, huge white eyes turned to me. Eek.
"YOU!" Nicky's face turned to rage. She reached out to grasp me.
I tried to run away. Fingers tried to snatch me. I skidded away from her. "This is a dream. You got this. Use it."
The words of Nasr echoed in my mind. Ideas and tactics flowed into my mind. I started to hack her dreamspace. My Oneiros inserted itself into the dream around us. I needed to distract her.
"GET OVER HERE!" Nicky screamed, making the ground rumble around me. She had too much control. I needed to loosen it.
"Please, Nicky. I just want to help you. Don't make-" She interrupted me with a fist. I caught in my doll-sized hand.
"WHAT?!" Nicky blinked in surprise. Altering physics took no effort. I held her fist down with my right arm.
"Look around you, Nicky. This place is on fire." I told her in a quiet tone. She could hear me. "Why is it on fire?"
"LET ME-" She launched her other fist at me. I dodged it. Then I started to reduce her size in the dreamspace. She lost too much control trying to just hit me. She started to shrink as my Oneiros adjusted things to my new parameters. Within a moment, Nicky's avatar stood just as tall as me. Both of us stood the size dolls in the burning church around us.
"No." I told her. "I want to help you. I know you want to kill me and my sisters.
"Demons." She muttered to herself. "You did this, you poisoned the Daemon, to make it turn on us."
"I didn't do anything like that." I said. "I just tried to keep you from opening a transit to the sun."
"The holy-" Nicky sighed. Her eyes twitched.
Her eyes closed for a moment. I looked over Nicky's head. The fire. Something else was in here too. My Oneiros adjusted. Something else lurked around us.
It's avatar had been the fire. Oneiric dream-code fluttered through my eyes. An external neural interface. That sheath she'd been using. It had connected to her brain functions.
"Ah." I said. "I get it now. Hold on, let me rewrite some of your code, then."
"Don't touch my mind, Demon!" Nicky struggled. I ignored her. Three lines of code later, the fire on her head ceased, leaving smoke behind.
Nicky's eyes started to water. She curled up into a ball. I let her disentangle herself from me. I looked at her avatar's body. Nicky but much younger. As a child, maybe. Her clothes seemed to big, covered in blood still.
I sat down next to her and crossed my legs.
"I'm..." Nicky shook as she spoke. "It stop hurting."
"Yeah." I scratched the back of my head. "I kinda of suck at... um..."
"Talking." Nicky smiled. "Always the shy giant."
I blushed a bit.
"Did it make you do all that?"
"I-" Nicky's voice sounded higher pitched. Like a kid caught in a lie. "No. Charlie, I'm sorry. I thought using the sun to transit would be fast and quick."
"You chose to do it." I shook my head. I had hoped some had programmed Nicky or something to do it. That maybe the Enemy had used her somehow. Or that maybe this was a training exercise from Nasr. But no.
Nicky had always been the one to understand what bothered me. Aunt Miri always listened, but Nicky got me. She had always helped to keep Foxtrot away. To keep us from fighting as much, when she could. I remembered when I first met Nicky. She'd been crying.
"Yes, I did." Nicky sat up. "I shouldn't have. But... I had to. IDK, Charlie."
"But you were going to kill us." Not a question. A statement.
"It isn't that simple." Nicky said. "You don't understand- well, you do. You always understood. The other... the other..."
"Demons. You used the word demon." I repeated. "Another word for monster."
"I guess everyone calls what they don't understand a monster."
"You thought I did something bad to you too. Why?" I asked.
"I'd blacked out and then you were here and..." Nicky let out a breath. "I first came to this project to sabotage it. I really did. But each time, you were there. I... Charlie, you understand. You and the others are monsters."
"And that means you should kill us. We deserve it?" I tried not to let tears come out.
"No!" Nicky sat up. "Yes... I don't know. You kind of prove my point, then you make me think... Charlie, have you ever read the Bible?"
I shook my head. I'd never been into religion. Not like that. Science and other knowledge always held more interest in my mind. Science fiction too. Especially stories with girls fighting their oppressors. Religious stories never seemed to have much of that.
"Well..." Nicky waved a childish had. "In the last days, angels are to appear and break these seals upon the earth, to purify it for Christ. One of those is the angel Apollyon, with his horde of locusts and-"
"Locusts?" That sounded weird. "Why locusts?"
"The Enemy." Nicky explained.
"The Enemy are locusts." I shook my head. "That makes no sense."
"Just look at it like this." Nicky said. "It's a metaphor. God has created them to help purify us. A crucible to make humanity stronger."
"But they've killed so many." I didn't say 'us.' I wasn't sure if I counted as human or not. Aunt Miri always said so, but I didn't think so.
"Technology is a crutch." Nicky explained. "We've gotten corrupt and have poisoned so much of the universe. Transit only let us spread further. Technology is the antichrist- it has only made humanity grow and grow. We've lost so much of our morality. Our sense of right and wrong. We killed each other over it."
"Transit ended most of the wars over water and resources." I pointed out.
"Transit let us spread all over the universe, regardless of what we found."
"You believe something created all this sorrow, just to make humanity fit some standard?" I asked.
Nicky blinked. "Standard?"
"You said crucible." I pointed out. "That means you think there is some deeper purpose to all this. That some being is going to do something important because of it."
"No, we get to have this glorious appearance and... Charlie, Humanity needs to let God return. We can make it happen." Her voice frightened me when it mentioned the word God. Reverence. Something that reminded me of those vids Miri showed us of superheroes. That tone villains held for themselves.
"I'm corrupt because I am technology." I said. "I have to die because of that. To make your world... your god appear."
Nicky nodded with guilty look. "But... I..."
"You..." I shook my head. This wasn't going to anywhere. But I couldn't dismiss what she'd said either.
"Nicky." I picked her up, her child-avatar, in my arms. "You've always been kind to me. But please. Don't do this. Don't fight us.
"I... I was born for war, Nicky. You helped make me. Somehow you embraced this... IDK what to call it, idea. This memetic virus. This concept that somehow I had no purpose but to stain you. To keep you from your true potential. I'm not. I promise Nicky, that all I really want to is to help. To make things better."
She shook her head. "Don't go. Please. The fire will come back."
"I-" I thought about that. "The block will remain so long as you stay asleep. Being awake will bypass it."
Nicky gave me a hug. "Such a nice girl."
I closed my eyes. I walked away from Nicky's dreamspace. I needed to find a place to cry.
#InTransitMonsters continues, even if delayed a bit. Too tired on sunday to really get this done. But here it is! Again!
This part feels preachy to me. Then again, I spend a lot of time wondered if I'm writing this, or just rambling my opinion through my characters. I had thought about having Charlie convince Nicky to switch her POV, but I realized that wouldn't happen.
Faith is meaningless if one conversation can shatter it.
Charlie exorcising the fire from Nicky's mind. A wondrous miracle from technology! The theme rears its head again! Tech as messiah. Let's see how overt and stupidly absurd about it I can be.
Also: don't talk with trolls. Seems like advice I'm too stupid to follow.