The Reige would not have you read these tales. If, in fact, you are ineligible, unlink now and be glad when they come for you. Thank them for letting you keep your miserable life, if not your memories. These stories are Copyright 2000 by the authors, who have placed a single copy in the Nifty Archives, with the assistance of the local timesection staff. No other reproduction or distribution than Nifty Archives is permitted, without the authors' express written consent.

Dreams of Ancient YRTH

These events occurred/will occur/are occurring in Darmath localsector, in the timebytes ante to the Darmath Lenticular Disturbance. If you are reading this, I guess you must have some idea how the story ends. When our vast colony platform, the Regis Therin, struck the leading edge of the lenticular disturbances at near-lightspeed, it was automatic. Each cryocel encysted and released, scattering all of us bioelements across the localsector in our little bubbles. Every cel's support system obeys the common tasking script: keep the occupant alive as long as possible. When no longer possible... Well, they say it won't hurt. To be atomized while in cryostasis, blown apart and scattered to the star-winds. Every cell another seed. Another chance for life to take root, flourish and populate another planet with her scions.

We dallied, laughing, by the river.  Where verdant pastures run, down from the mountains' white ramparts, down, between the secret grottoes, down to the rocky banks along the rushing waters, to where the river flings himself headlong into the emerald sea's embrace.  Where chestnut hrsez gambol and canter, making graceful magic in the fragrant Autumn.  Where we are forever boys, together, in a time of precious enchantment.  Oh, how I long to return.  Oh, how I welcome it, when we do return.  As the crylink takes us up and melds us, Kee and me, takes us back to the treasured certainty of our boyhood.  Home to Dream of Ancient YRTH.


The Wind's Will

I remember the black wharves and the slips,
and the sea-tides tossing free;
And the beauty and mystery of the ships,
and the magic of the sea.
And the voice of that wayward song
Is singing and saying still:
"A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  -  My Lost Youth


Before there was memory, there was Kee.

Before cycles and celnest and seeding and sleep, Kee was already there. Sweet, blond blue-boy, like me. Identical. Supposed to be like that. Had to be. For the bond. For the journey.

My soul, my spirit, my voice-within-me -- I didn't have a name for it yet -- I was only seven when I had my first awakening in the celnest, so I didn't know what to call it -- my voice-within-me yawned and stretched itself, breathing in the comforting darkcolors of bodysleep.

"Hear me, Kee?"

I pushed my silent song out through the unfamiliar mist.

"Rik, Rik, Rik," the song came back... Kee's voice, happydancing, eager to play.

"So pretty," I sighed... colors all around me. Blues and reds and deepest purples -- colors to touch and taste and fall down and dream in. Kee giggled, and the giggle was orange. It winged, like a butterfly, and dispelled some mist, leaving trails of powder-gray mind dust.

I poked the purple. Sang my smile to Kee.

"Did you know it would be like this? The bodysleep?"

Kee laughed. His smile sang back. I didn't have to see it. I could feel it wrap around my shoulders, like a soft, comforting hug.

"Rik, Rik, Rik," he giggled again.

His words and echoes danced for me. Silly, sweet friend.

"No," I laughed. "Be real. Did you know it would be like this, Kee?"

"Sorta," he giggled. "But not all these colors! Wheeeeee!!!!!!"

He squealed gleefully, making red sparkles all around my mindscreen.

"O-on the... in the... on the screen," I pointed -- the serious explorer -- pointed my mind-finger: "Can we go there?"

"Go there, go there, go there," Kee echoed, more interested in his voicesound than how the screenmagic worked.

But he met me there. Drifted to my side.

And there he was, my beautiful friend Kee -- we held each other in the mist -- a soft, secret hug -- friends -- like brothers -- like everything we were meant to be. Created for this. Meant to be bonded.

"Three months," I told him. "Do you know that yesterday was already three months ago?"

I could see him now, and he smiled.

"Time for body cycle," he said. "Ugh."

We knew what that meant. They taught us in school. Cleaning-purging-pulling-feeding-poking-prodding-nursing-stretching body cycle.

"Those are the breaks when you live in a pod."

Kee laughed and turned back into a color dance. His image left my 'screen and faded down to a dull blue... then powder white... then invisible.

"You come to me," he whispered. "I'll wait for you to wake me up."

I smiled. At seven, I already loved him.

Memory. The Creche. Before we touched the lenticular. Before the colony ended, sending its seeds away. Seeds like me, like Kee.

Teacher. In school. For those of us chosen. Breeded for this. Special honor. To carry on.

"Who can tell me what Regis Therin did? Why do we honor his memory?"

Half a dozen young arms shot up. She called on me.

"Yes, Rik?"

"Regis Therin united the four quaternary sectors in a single, loving hole," I recited.

"That's right," she chirped brightly. "Into A Single, Loving Whole. Can anybody tell me what we mean by that?"

I clutched my arm to my side. So did Kee.

Weren't we a little young to be talking about loving holes?

My celnest slid open and I gasped.

I stood naked, my heart pounding in my chest. Leaning forward, I vomited... the silvery goo of cryosleep purging itself from my lungs, disappearing into the floor vents of my chamber, to be purified, re-nutriented, recycled, inhaled again.

I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. Seven. Shaking. First cycle.

But nothing I hadn't expected. They made us vom in the simulators, too. Just like practice. Nothing to it.

I walked along the corridor of the ship -- celnests surrounding me on either side -- standing occupants lifeless and stoic. Adults. Children. Mostly children.

I glanced at an overhead monitor. Strained my young neck up to see the stats... also practiced in the sims.

12,000 seeds on board. Only 420 currently awake for cycles, roaming the ship. One of the 420 was me. One would be Kee. The green number displaying "ROAMING," now 420, would always be an even number. All 12,000 of us were paired. There could never be a 399 or a 13, or any other odd number. Not for long, anyway. If someone died in celnest, their bondpartner would die, too. The machines would do that without hesitation. It wasn't mean. It was just their common tasking script.

Down the hall. Around corners. Muscles tender in the artificial gravity. Tender, but not atrophied. The silver gel kept them strong.

And finally... smiling... to Kee's 'nest.

He was naked like me. Standing. Stone still, behind the glass. A frozen corpse. I stared at him, long and lovingly, filled with brother-bonded-friend thoughts. No body thoughts yet. Those would come later. For we were only seven.

Staring at his cryo corpse, I watched him cycle, open his eyes. I punched in our release code, and his door slid soundlessly open.

He winked at me. Smiled. Leaned forward and vomited on my feet.

"You asshole," I grinned. "You did that on purpose."

He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and shrugged innocently.

"Musta missed the vents."

We laughed, grabbed robes, and stretched our muscles.

Arms around each other, laughing, giggling, we headed for Exams.

Send comments to: David Lemmaire & Derek Bardwell are so very pleased to announce their first ever collaboration. Next time you are in the localsector,  enter crylink with us for future Dreams of Ancient YRTH.