Not entirely left out


After my chat with Diane I pretty much headed straight back to my quarters on base and passed out. Not quite certain how long for. When I finally resurfaced I found a flurry of activity as the new gang prepared to head off to this bazaar place that Shi had told us about. I found Director Hurley and asked if I was meant to be going too, but my whole team was being stood down temporarily to recover after our last effort. This time it was mostly just the new gang. Diane was accompanying them to manage communication as she’s the only other trained field operative who’s available right now.

Diane and Haley caught up with me quickly before they left. Apparently they had a few surprises for me…

Diane: Soooo… we may have figured out some cool stuff while you were out. We found traces of Shi’s wireless signal, and managed to decode some of it!
Haley: Yeah, and we hacked my Bluetooth thingy so it could pick up some of the transmission. It was a bit crappy though…
Diane: But we showed Shi anyway! She thinks it’s amazing that we got so much done in a short time and offered a few hints and… now it’s perfect!
Haley: Yeeeeeeaaaaah. We got a little more out of it than we expected.
Lauren: I’m not sure if I should be worried or not…
Haley: Nah, it’s cool. Here, let me show you.

Haley fiddled with her earpiece as she spoke. I almost didn’t notice the weird echo in her voice until it went away, and I realised that she’d said that last sentence without actually making any sound. Shi had helped her build a telepathic headset!

Haley smiled and I “heard” her say, yeah, it’s pretty cool. I can connect to just about anyone. Doesn’t seem to work for anyone else I’ve handed it to yet though. Diane won’t try it. She thinks it’s going to blow up in my ear or something. I replied silently, and it works both ways? Is it just thoughts? Haley shrugged. Yes and no, Diane can reply with concepts and imagery but I haven’t worked out how that works yet. We can also use it to interface with wireless tech like Solveig does. I looked at her queryingly, thinking, we? Just then, Hurley called the team over for a quick briefing before they deployed. Haley shrugged then winked at me, and I felt something within me fade as she closed the connection.

I was left wrapped up in my own thoughts as the others prepared to head out. I barely noticed as the portal opened and Hayden stepped through into some kind of commotion. Soon enough the entire team had stepped through and the portal closed behind them. Hurley turned away from the pillar and noticed my dazed look; she came over to see what was up.

Lauren: Did you know Haley built a telepathy device?
Hurley: Oh yeah, she’s been working on it with Diane. I hear Shi helped them too. She’s been bugging just about everyone to let her try it on them.
Lauren: Did anyone actually let her?
Hurley: Yeah, I think she tried Diane and Dr. Huxley.
Lauren: Maybe I should go have a chat with him then…
Hurley: Maybe you should get some more rest. You look like you’ve been hit by a train.

Not sure how I’m meant to rest with all of this going on, I went in search of Hux. He was still in medbay’s recovery room, which made him pretty easy to find. I had a bit of a chat to him about the device, he told me he’d been fascinated by it and the potential it had for all kinds of things, and had been really disappointed to find he couldn’t use it himself. I asked him about what it felt like, but all he felt was surprise when the words appeared in his mind.

The next logical thing to do was to go chat to Shi. I probably would have done that even if I didn’t have the device to ask about though, she’s fascinating and kind of fun in a way I’d never expected. I was feeling pretty wonky though, as if I wasn’t entirely there, so I headed back to my quarters again to lay down for a bit.

I fell asleep pretty quickly, but the dreams made it rather less restful than it should have been. I dreamt of what the gang would be doing, mostly from Haley’s perspective but occasionally Diane’s. I dreamt of the band being registered as “gatecrashers”; of Hilde trying to find something to take advantage of; of Hayden taking charge for a change; of Solveig narrowly avoiding getting mind-fucked by pop-up ads; of Haley and Solveig having slap-fights with info dumps through their wireless links; and of a decision to corner the market on dried fruits…? This last one was odd and dropped me out of my dream-state - this is too surreal even for my dreams. I gave up trying to get back to sleep, and went to find someone to talk to.

I’d barely left my room before I bumped into Sarvesh. He had a silly grin on his face, but one look at my expression made his face drop.

Sarvesh: You look like crap. Something on your mind?
Lauren: Just… a lot going on. And these stupid dreams.
Sarvesh: You’re not wrong about stuff happening around here, everything’s been turned up to 11 since the new team showed up. You just missed them, by the way - they came back to get some trade supplies. Did you want to talk about these dreams?
Lauren: Um, yeah. That might be a good idea. Just one thing though… The trade supplies weren’t dried fruit by any chance?

The way the colour drained out of his face told me pretty quickly that these weren’t just ordinary dreams. As I recounted what I’d seen his eyes widened; I was worried I was going to have to catch them when they fell out of his face. “I think you’d better tell the Director all of this first hand,” he said nervously, and he practically dragged me all the way to get office.

I repeated my story to Hurley, and her reaction wasn’t far different from Sarvesh’s. After a long pause she said, “Well. This is new. What you’ve dreamt matches exactly with the report from the team, except nobody mentioned Solveig and Haley’s info-fight. Not surprised about that. Have you always been able to do this?” I thought carefully, trying to remember anything like this in the past. “No ma’am, this hasn’t happened before. Diane mentioned dreaming of me and Haley on our last trip though, but sounded like it was nowhere near this vivid.” A thought suddenly occurred to me: “maybe it’s something to do with Haley’s new toy…?” Hurley ruled this out quickly. “It’s unlikely. Dr. Huxley hasn’t reported anything like this. Maybe you three have some other connection. You are practically identical, after all.” Of course she’s going to bring that up again. I sighed dramatically.

We figured it might be worth seeing if I could do this remote viewing thing intentionally, and while I was awake. I mentally poked and prodded every part of my brain I could, and nothing happened. Eventually I found something I had never noticed before - a hidden “door” of some kind. I managed to push it open somehow, and the unnervingly familiar feeling of Haley’s presence flooded through. How is it that I can feel so comfortable with someone I’ve only just met?

Poking around in Haley’s mind felt like I’d done it a thousand times before. In no time at all I’d learned that she’d made an absolute killing with the trading, and the band were starting to investigate some goings on around the place. I watched as Hayden was talked into signing up for an “idol contest” by some little old man who claimed to be an incredible agent. Don’t think the agent realised Hayden is actually a guy… Also, Hilde raced off with Taba to sign up as well. Mike snuck off to do some sleuthing, and everyone else was looking into how to best help one of ours win the contest.

I can’t find a reason why everyone would be so keen on something like this. I pulled myself back out of Haley’s mind so I could report back to Hurley. I’m going to have to try to talk to her soon and work out exactly what’s going on… maybe not while they’re in the middle of something though.

I left the door open. I can’t bring myself to close it off again.