. : fiat lux : .

"Sure, anything on the side of life's worth a try."

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than are dreamt
transluminary
Who: Dairine Callahan (wizard_errant), Adam Eddington (transluminary)
When: Home Plot 2011, Session 2. March 26-27. First log.
What: Dairine and Adam (and Spot) appear at LeNoir Station, Antarctica.
Well?: Incomplete and unposted. Complete and pending here.



There is no space between being asleep and being awake.

Even indoors, the cold is shocking and the brilliance of the sun-on-snow, even through the heavy blinds, is so different from a soft island dawn - and so wildly disorienting - that it takes Adam a full minute to realize, first, where he is, and second, where he isn’t.

LeNoir is a small station and the living quarters are tidy but cramped. After months of staying there, he is as familiar with the sight them as with his bedroom back home. What isn’t familiar is the woman one bed over – except that isn’t true either.

Dairine?!”

*

Right before he said that, she’d been waking up. Slowly, taking stock of her surroundings and the fact that she’s freezing, but staying very still had seemed preferable, in those moments, to admitting to being awake. The hum of distant computer voices whispers through her not-dreams, and it’s that blank white noise in the back of her mind that tells her she’s no longer on the island as much as the drop in temperature. More, really, because the island plays tricks, after all.

She pulls the blanket over her tighter, and lifts her head. “...Adam?”

*

The answering look Adam throws her is bewildered, but not panicked. The question in Dairine's voice seems to confirm that she is as lost as he is. Possibly more. It's both reassuring and. . . really not.

"Oh, terrif," he manages, "you're real too. You know, I can't even begin to list all the reasons why we cannot be where we apparently are right now."

*

Dairine rubs at her eyes, then refocuses them on him. “Where is it that we apparently are?” she asks plainly, and follows it up right away with, “and why is it freezing?”

*

"It's freezing because we're apparently in Antarctica," says Adam, not actually over the cold but at least distracted from it for the moment. "We're at the research station where I used to intern or else someplace that looks just like it. But I haven't the foggiest as to how."

*

“..Oh.” Dairine flops back down onto the bed and tries to burrow into it. “Based on previous experience, we’re probably in a really weird dream.” One eye peeks out from the folds of the blanket. “Apparently your subconscious wants me to freeze to death?”

*

That's as likely an explanation as any other and Adam accepts it without too many misgivings. "Are you saying you're not real after all?" he asks Dairine's blanket, feeling under his bed for what will hopefully be a suitcase with more weather-appropriate clothing. "I'm just checking, although I'm sure it doesn't want you to freeze to death either way."

His hand comes back empty. So much for that.

*

“I’m real,” Dairine corrects, still huddled under the blanket, peeking out just a little. “Your subconscious creates most of the scenario, mine does a bit, and it’s exactly like it all being real. Our bodies are back on the island unconscious and dehydrating.” Her head pokes out from under the blanket, and when she speaks again, she sounds a bit apologetic. “That’s not the nicest way I could have put that, is it? It’s happened before, the people still awake will go around and check on us, you’ll just feel like you’re recovering from being sick, when you wake up. In the meantime...well, it’s pretty much exactly like reality, so enjoy it? Except maybe the temperature.”

*

"Oh good, something to look forward to," says Adam, still worriedly and teeth starting to chatter. "I'm glad at least one of us knows what's going on. Do you know how long we'll be? Both here and back, ah, in reality? Because I know where we can find some parkas, at least, and there's usually cocoa in the mess. Maybe breakfast, although I have no idea what time it is."

He would burrow back down as well, except he's far too awake to sleep again (or to dream of sleeping, however that worked), and he knows from experience that there's no point in waiting out the cold.

*

“Couple of days,” Dairine answers, finding the teeth-chattering a bit worrisome. “Fortunately, your subconscious knows I’m a wizard. Whatever we can’t handle locally, we can work around.” Because it’s definitely not her subconscious that’s sent them to the south pole. She closes her eyes, searching--Spot? Where are you?

Spot has no teeth to chatter, but still manages the effect. Under the bed. Too cold to move.

“Aww, poor baby,” Dairine says aloud, scrambling half out of the blankets so she can feel around under the bed for Spot.

*

"Hey there, Spot," says Adam. "Warmer than space, right?" Whatever Dairine meant by 'knows I'm a wizard,' it sure sounded promising. Hopefully it was her mind controlling the mechanics of it.

Very reluctantly, he lets his bare feet find the air and then the floor. And winces. Bearable if decidedly unpleasant. He thought he'd been on better terms with his subconscious than this. "If your magic is working," he says imprecisely and not very seriously, "do you think it can do socks? Otherwise staying in bed for the next few days is looking better and better."

*

Dairine chuckles, her mood already improving, and she shakes her head. “Not a boy scout, are you? Not prepared at all. Yeah, we can figure out the clothes thing. Better if there’s something already here, though.”

*

"Other than the station parkas, there-- Oh, I suppose the laundry area is worth a try. None of my stuff is here." He shivers visibly, now entirely extracted from his blankets, but he grins over at her and there's a brightness in him. "I'm going to go check it out. Want to come along?"

*

“Tell you what,” Dairine says, “climate control’s not too hard, at least temporarily. Spot, can you give us a bubble that’s not freezing?”

“Affirmative!” chirps Spot, eyestalks sprouting from his case and waving in the air. “Adjusting for pressure, body temperature, humidity. You’ll have to do something more permanent later.”

“I know,” Dairine promises, and the air around them gets abruptly warmer. “Okay, long as we stick fairly close, it’ll be like we’re in a greenhouse. That’ll buy us some time, anyway?”

*

"Wow." Adam grins as he feels the temperature jump and takes Dairine's hand. "That's pretty nifty, you two. Laundry's just down this way. Come on, the floor's still not a party."

*

Dairine slides her hand into his, but jumps a little when her feet hit the floor. “Yikes! No, it really isn’t. Still. Wow. Antarctica.” Prepared or not, it’s hard not to be a bit excited about that.

*

"I know. Just wait until you see outside. Photographs really don't do it justice." They step lively - it feels almost as though standing in place could lead to being stuck in place - but thanks to Dairine's weather bubble, it's only Adam's toes that are miserable by the time they reach their destination.

*

Dairine should think it’s all a bit weirder than she does, she supposes, but once you’ve woken up on another planet because your sister moved your bed to Mars in your sleep, pretty much anything is possible. They pad along the corridors, hand in hand, with Spot whirring curiously as he adjusts the bubble to the environment around them. And then one thin eyestalk stretches out of him, looking all over Adam closely, up and down.

“I may have to ask you questions,” he says, chirpy and almost awkward.

*

"That's fine," Adam replies, bemused. The hall is not only empty but relatively quiet, with only the buzz of the generators and other equipment in the background. "What would you like to know?" He quirks an eyebrow at Dairine as if to add, 'and why?'

*

Spot begins the interrogation with simple things like birthdays, parents’ names; things that aren’t terribly difficult but he hadn’t stored them up on the space station.

“He has to know a lot of random useless stuff,” Dairine explains, dry but fond, “to get your name right.”

*

"My... name." Adam answers Spot's questions patiently, but with an expression of increasing amusement. "Oh. That's right. You've said. I didn't realize my universal description was going to be so... unremarkable."

*

Dairine grins. “We can probably come up with something more embarrassing to ask about if we try,” she teases. “Weird skin conditions, recurring dreams....”

*

"Please don't trouble yourself on my account," says Adam quickly, pushing open a door and tugging them inside. "Who knows what it could trigger? I'd rather not run into Jung. Here." A pair of dry socks appear Dairine's hand. And another. "Better take two."

*

Dairine giggles, she can’t help it. “Thanks. Think whoever owns all this stuff will mind if we borrow it?”

*

"Only if they catch us," says Adam seriously. Dairine may be rubbing off on him. Of course no one would mind. "Hey Spot, could you show me my name when you're done?"

*

“Of course,” Spot promises, as Dairine balances awkwardly to pull the socks on.

“You’ll probably get to hear all of ours,” she says thoughtfully.

*

"And learn all your deepest, darkest secrets," says Adam nodding. "That'll be interesting." Hearing wizardly speech and understanding it, that is. He wasn't sure how that was going to work.

*

Dairine doesn’t actually think he’ll understand it, but it’s a possibility. All the same, she laughs, rolling her eyes. “You know if you want my deepest darkest secrets you can just ask. The whole no lying thing is kind of inconvenient sometimes. Though hey, I can always still tell you to mind your own business.”

*

If there were even any deep dark secrets leftover from the sleepover. Being a relatively private person, Adam didn't generally make a habit of prying anyway. "Does it ever seem invasive? Having your life history listed out with your name?"

*

Dairine gnaws thoughtfully at her lip, but shakes her head. “Not too bad. There’s a short version and a long version, and I use the short one if I’m just, you know, introducing myself to other wizards. The long one’s for real wizardry, and well, you kind of need intimacy for that. If you can’t trust them with your name, you should probably not be doing spells together.” She grins suddenly, though there’s something else behind it. “Course I usually just stick to Spot, and haven’t done a spell in like five years anyway.”

*

"Makes sense. Good thing you aren't rusty, then." Adam gives Dairine's shoulder a good-natured squeeze as he passes around her and begins rifling through another bin. Voice somewhat muffled, "I don't think I've ever been this comfortable here, and last time, my outfit was reasonable."

*

Dairine grins again. “I don’t promise I’m not rusty,” she admits, because she has to tell the stupid truth even if she’d rather not, “but Spot isn’t. He knows his stuff. And you’re welcome.”

*

Adam isn't worried. A few more clothing acquisitions and he looks them both over.

"I think we're ready, what about you?"

*

Dairine grins over her armload of stolen clothes. “Yeah, ready if you are! Especially if there’s breakfast coming up here soon!”

*

The hallway is as quietly empty as before, lined with boxes of day-long daylight through the windows. Adam grins back and shrugs. "Let's go find out."

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