Friday, September 26, 2008

[dream blog] Outbreak escape

stairsI was some kind of superhero. One of a team of such. We had a whole variety of individual, maybe somewhat low-level X-Men-ish powers (in fact, some of them might actually have been actual X-Men characters), but few or none of us wore any sort of costume. Most of them looked like regular folks, in fact. (Or television's version of reagular folks, perhaps: unusually young and attractive.) I think I might not have been with the team long--or maybe wasn't even an actual member, but just someone momentarily working with them--because I mostly couldn't really keep track of them as individuals, and didn't even know their names.

My power was something about releasing big, very short-range bursts of concussive energy from by whole body. I think there was something else I could do--something more versatile--but I never got a chance to try it.

We were all trapped in a huge shopping mall--or maybe it was an airport, or some kind of shopping area attached to a big hotel--a bright, airy place that was all steel and glass. It was empty except for us, and some ill-defined threat that had somehow been unleashed upon the world from somewhere inside or below that building. This threat also looked like a bunch of ordinary humans, and displayed some kind of minor powers. But they also clearly had the ability to either take infest or replace people. They harried us as we tried to find a way out of the mall while keeping them locked in, and gradually they started to take over our members. We couldn't manage to put them down for more than a few moments.

I couldn't understand why the rest of the team found blasting their way out of the mall difficult, or why our enemy hadn't already escaped. I decided to just use my concussive powers to bounce myself up out of the enemy's reach and knock out a window, door, wall, or whatever. Some of my team would surely be able to follow, and those who couldn't could probably be carried.

Then I was in a different place--maybe part of the same place, possibly the hotel attached to the mall--and I might have been someone different. I definitely wasn't currently superheroing, even if I was the same person. This hotel (or this part of it?) was all dark, wooden walls and smooth marble floors, and it wasn't empty. It seemed to be in ordinary operation. I was wandering through it at a brisk pace, looking for an Internet cafe I'd seen earlier so that I could check my email.

I was caught in a small crowd--mostly an Asian tour group, apparently--outside the elevators when an alarm went off. Something bad but unspecified was going on, and the hotel was being evacuated.

One of the tour group was telling me, clearly with great worry, that he'd found his room broken into and his computer tampered with shortly after some lesser crisis leading up to this alarm had gone down. He said the log files on his machine showed that a large amount of activity had gone on through that machine while he'd been out of his room, and wanted advice about something relating to the computer's serial number sticker.

I was too distracted to be helpful, though. Was this the same problem the superheroes were dealing with? Was this the result of their failure to contain their enemy? Or was that fight in the mall still going on? Or maybe this was happening before that whole scene, and this evacuation would lead to that abandoned mall.

At any rate, the elevators were no longer working, so we all consulted an evacuation booklet. It contained needlessly complex blueprints of the hotel, but apparently we were supposed to open up hidden emergency exits and proceed down a tight spiral staircase to safety. The plan was detailed enough that I could see how some landings of the staircase had been badly spaced, making it necessary to actually crawl on one's belly to fit down the stairs at one point.

We didn't look at the plans too carefully. We all just wanted to get out of there.

I helped open up the exits, and was the first one down. The stairs were gray, unfinished, clearly never used. Worse, they were absurdly claustrophobic. The further down we went, the cruder the stairs got, and there was ever more frequently clumps of dry, gray sea sand scatters over them. Eventually, we came to the place where the blueprints had shown we'd have to crawl, and they certainly proved accurate in that regard. I got through it okay, although I worried about all those behindme.

The stairs opened up again after that, but were still tighter than before. A lot of the time, I couldn't stand up all the way. I worried about running into more pinch points. But, as it turned out, that possibility didn't even have a chance to become a problem: The stairs ran straight into a solid layer of sand.

The crowd behind me was too frenzied and the confines were too tight to dig, and in any case I didn't believe there was anywhere to dig to. And time, we were all sure, was short. The situation was hopeless.

So I decided to wake up.

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