#17

Dream Waves

Turner looked
at the receptionist.
She couldn't know.
So he kept on talking,
a tech jive talk
never saying anything
but weaving a spell.
Stretching his time,
waiting for an opening.
Then the door opened
and Jackson and company
came out.
He followed Jackson out,
and down the hall
to the Men's room.
With the crowd, they all
filtered in,
some pausing to drink
from the fountain.
Turner slipped sideways
through an opening
and slid into position
next to Jackson
at the urinal.
The most important
meeting place
in American Business,
in International Business,
maybe Intergalactic Business.
A project has been underway
to harness the cumulative imagination
of groups.
The linkage, transcends
the animosities, jealousies,
provincialism, backbiting
of most mammalian (or even
vertebrate) gatherings.
The linkage allows
a mutual dreamscape
together,
but alone.
Together for energy
and synergy.
Alone for concentration
of energy,
no diversion into
group dynamics.
The "dreamscape team"
as they were called, had
achieved a breakthrough
that could not be talked,
written, or communicated
in any way during normal
consciousness.
Security was absolute.
Only members of the dream group
knew.
And only they knew in the dream state.
Turner was the only living human
that knew in a conscious way,
what was going on,
and only because
he could day dream.
That is to say,
he could dream
in a waking state.
He didn't need sleep
to dream.
This seems like a small mutation,
but a mutation
never the less.
A soft mutation.
But now he had the power
of vision.
He could consciously tap
the power of the group,
if he could just get in.
Standing outside
by the secretary's desk
he could feel the energy,
he could see the dreams
but not in enough detail.
He needed to be inside,
he needed to tap directly
into their collective minds.
He stayed close to Jackson.
The energy of the group
was like electricity
in the air.
It crackled like static.
Yet he wanted lightning.
As the group wandered
around the hall,
heading back to the conference
room, next to Jackson's
office, Turner made his move.
He ducked into the room
while the group milled
around in the hall.
Mildred, the secretary,
was doling out phone messages,
and didn't notice
his move.
He placed the briefcase
next to the leg of the
conference table.
He was vaguely aware,
as he moved out,
how similar
his placement was,
to the briefcase
that was placed in Hitler's
conference room
a hundred years earlier.
Except that the solid leg
that deflected the blast
from Hitler
and saved his life
would now deflect
the dream waves
to his lab
two doors
down the hall.
The position had to be just right.
Even with the resonance effect
he would be just on the
threshold of awareness.
He watched the needle
on his link from the lab.
Each movement of the briefcase
increased or decreased
the signal strength.
He adjusted to maximum
then turned and left.
No one noticed,
they all looked
a little groggy.
Too many days
with too much sleep.
They were all suffering
from sleep excess.
But this was important work
so they had to push on.
Back to sleep for another
eight hour session.
Turner was back in his lab
as they filed back into
the conference room.
They all took their
sleep chairs
without noticing
the extra briefcase.
Turner let his mind float
over the conference room.
He could see each of them,
they could sense presence
but could not identify him.
The mechanism that made the
dream scape work masked his
identity. He was Mr. Anonymous.
Turner's plan developed
over the period of a month.
Down the hall every day
for sixteen solid hours
of dreaming every day,
he put his plan together.
Three generations, a hundred years.
That was the threshold.
Any less and someone
would be tempted to reproduce the effort.
Three generations of effort
would be enough
to discourage the most ambitious
dreamer.
If he could jump three generations
ahead and consolidate the gain,
no one would contest.
He would own the jump,
and the rest would,
of practical necessity,
accept his position,
and build on it.
The Microsoft strategy.
Too many man years to
reproduce. Turner could dream,
as well as anyone in the room,
but he could also plan.
They couldn't.
They were bound
by their dreams.
As he floated through
the dream room
he made conscious effort
to visit each individual
every shift.
He be came a conduit
from their dream world
to his dream processor system.
The dream processor
codified, normalized,
indexed, tabulated,
arranged, stored,
sequenced and ordered
the dreams of the entire group.
With their dreams captured,
they would be helpless.
They could barely remember
what happened each day.
On the visits to the urinal
Turner would probe Jackson
to see what the effectiveness
of the transfer of conscious
thought was.
It was nil.
They let their dreams slip away.
They were so enamored by the process
of dreaming,
that they forgot the content
of dreaming.
Turner got them all.
The best dreams,
of the best dreamers,
at IBM.
Just like Bill Gates
had done
in the last generation.
Turner smiled.

Bill Bottorff
May 13, 1996


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