It's the stuff of dreams and no-one who saw it could deny it. No cynical alien could tell you that the blue-green reflecting the fire isn't the most beautiful thing in the universe. What they always told of, and the most wonderful thing you could see. The moment of your life. What dreams are made of.

Dreams don't mean anything; step on them and they shatter. All you can do is float above them, look but don't ever touch.

Visions so solid you think you could walk back into them, hallucinations which are real. Kisses which are cold and passive, seas which sparkle with glitter, bodies which look like the ones you knew but aren't, and the man who has everything he wants has nothing he wants. Maybe it's all about the journey. Maybe... maybe this is still all a dream, and you don't see it as the real Earth anyway because you'll come across that a few years ahead, and it will all be as you imagined it. This is just another illusion. You're still looking for it. Another life, another reality, maybe if you wish hard enough it will come. You still imagine it. But you can't see any vision where it would work, and you always knew it would be like this.

Nothing, just the stars, you drift in the silence and space is all empty and the stars are a mesh of glass. Like the shattered windows left after car crashes, the occupants somewhere dead or alive and all that remains is those square shards, scattered over an empty road. Every star a piece of grit in you, you wish you could fall.

A tangled web, consisting of knots you unpicked and unpicked, rope running through your fingers till your hands were raw, and you went on unravelling, solving the puzzle; but at the centre when all the knots are untied there isn't anything.

Still there's nothing like the sun, a light like no other in the universe. Its warm and comforting presence and the glow it gives, you bathing in the almost-liquid air, you brought Aeryn to Earth and she stood next to you under the rays. The two merged, the light flying off her hair, making the leather glisten, bits of gold breaking off and falling all around. She shared your family, your home, your seas and skies, just as you'd dreamed. She stood under your star, you watched the sun and you watched her and you couldn't have either of them.

You can walk away. You can't do anything but walk away.

You sit morose, gazing out the window. The darkness stretches on and on, and all the abysses fill up your mind and expand it, opening more vistas until you feel all of the universe in your head. You pass through nebulae and galaxies with stars thickly sprinkled like spilt diamonds, rush into planetary rings of rock and ice. The things you have seen are beyond comprehension. Star Trek may have shown you the stars and given you the rhetoric but it couldn't have shown you the wonder. You would like to share these miracles with your people, but you know they couldn't take it. You're not sure you can take it. How can one man's mind fit in all the awe of the cosmos?

You think of the brain, of the small electrical sparks firing between cells. The jungles they used to show on TV, virtual journeys through the mysteries of the mind, which always looked like some kind of galaxy cluster. And maybe the mind is what takes mankind to the stars. Of course, your mind could take mankind to the stars.

There's a frightening array of knowledge in you; when you sleep you dream of symbols and functions. Pages and pages are filled with your equations, the ink criss-crossing the paper, forming and re-forming. It takes you over and you become the surface, you feel the wet of the pens scraping slightly on your skin and leaving their indelible marks. The ink seeps through and runs in your veins, darkens your heart, and the black swirls on the outside move and twitch and are spiders which run lightly over and down you. The magic of perfectly formed equations, which open up new worlds. Though they can't get you to the one you want.

What is a man without a home? There's nowhere to go now. She is the only home you know, and now all you could wish for is to sink into her, to rest your head between her thighs and be warm.


You inhale, and you soar up through a flash of terror where for a moment you're crushed, and then you're out of it. There's a haze; no euphoria or giddiness, just the softening of the edges. Dulls the pain... it just dulls the pain. Everything grows quiet. You feel yourself being spun and wrapped in layers and layers of lace cobweb, hidden behind the film and safe. There's calm, and it's like a lazy summer day. You go about your business, and you're OK, and you don't feel. Only when it threatens to overwhelm you.


There's too much, too much knowledge. If I told you, I'd have to kill you. Eve. You've eaten of the fruit of the tree, and they were right - it drives you out of your mind. Its juice is sickly sweet in your mouth and it changes your eyes so the world is dark and decaying. You see danger everywhere, and everything you know becomes tainted. Tricked into eaten the poison apple, or forced into it; whatever, it doesn't matter, it's done. But temptation wasn't the problem.

She's there, always, always. You look into her eyes and just fall, their darkness the whole of everything in the universe. Here, Earth, another path, another reality, all roads lead to her. Her hair, you remember your face buried in it, how it was soft as it swirled round you and touched your skin. All you want to do. All you want to be. It's all her. Heat, waves of it rising off dusty planets, you and she and lust and sweat and tears. Like suns parching rocks dry, your feet scalding on the sand. It burns, it burns too much to stand.

You wake up sweating every time. You wander your home in your mind, a home which isn't there. Longing is all there is. Visions which were never real. You carry the burdens of the cosmos on your shoulders, and you see the explosions of civilisations in your mind's eye. Futures of trillions which rest on your ability to keep your mouth shut, infinite paths that could be taken. Anything could happen. All the horrors and glories of the universe fill up your mind, and it opens with empty space. Day and night you go on your trips through unthinkable, inconceivable places, a rollercoaster ride whirling through billions of stars. You could go anywhere, except where you want to be.

All this was not meant for one man's mind. It's too much, far too much, your chest will surely burst.

You wanted to fly through the stars, you wanted to regain Earth. You don't know what you want now. Maybe it's better to want nothing. But you'll never, never do that, she has become part of you and all the bits of broken mirror in you reflect her, and you only want to be there.

The volcanoes and comets and jewels and chaos and stardust clouds are all Aeryn. You search and search, you stay still, and your dreams are of the blue-green planet you found and you'll never find. You walk on a web of stars, tiny shards of glass which slice into your feet and heart. You try to contain all that is within you.

Double the dose, and you won't spill.


Back to other fic