The remaining patients on the ward were either in a deep-dive-dream-state (DDDS) or were suffering from insomnia, and so the Doc had nothing to do but wait. He checked some charts, rattled a few tubes and poked some of the medical instruments. Reflexively, he looked up and to the left, searching for the clock display in his FOV but grunted when it wasn’t there. The Doc checked his wristwatch: 11:07:54. He watched it blink the last few seconds to the minute.
A gap in consciousness. He thought of nothing and fell into a void of blackness, reminiscent of El’s dreamscape yesterday. It was a sort of meditation, not thinking about anything; he dissolved and let his mind tentacles fan out and caress the sides of his cavernous, gloopy brain. The Doc felt a resonance from the dreamscape in this state. Did dreams exist when he was awake? Other, neighbouring dreamscapes did, but only through the L-generators could one “share” another person’s dream. The generators were a type of synchroniser; they captured the brain’s electrical oscillations during sleep and by some sort of machine learning or something, they synced-up both, or more, dreamers’ unconsciousness.
But the Doc had this feeling that dream states were tangible, malleable, perhaps on a different plane of consciousness. The feeling was undeniable. A sort of “presence” that he might reach out and touch if he could just find the sweet spot, the folds between awake and asleep. The games were controlled manifestations, but this… this feeling was something raw, something visceral, potentially dangerous. Keeping his eyes closed, standing by the single, rectangular ward window slit, he tried to emulate what he did during a game to materialise an item.
Blank, nothing, nada.
He stopped focussing on trying to control the world, as he would during a dream, but instead imagined his dream-self projecting out of the middle of his chest; his unconscious soul making a break for it. The presence was there. A sort of shadow in his mind, a fuzziness. He knew El was sleeping three beds behind him, Bertrand to his right and some of the DDDS patients forward of him. He reached out with his mind and tried to imagine probing some sort of collective unconscious. He felt a lick, a graze of something touching his arm, he turned-
“Doctor, are you alright?” One of the nurses asked him. He was dressed all in white like the prison practitioners but without the face-plastered malice. The Doc shook himself, eyes open, and smiled at the nurse.
“Oh, no, I’m fine, yes. Thanks,” he said, shaking himself awake. The nurse’s concerned face relaxed. He nodded and went over to a patient and began swiftly writing notes on their chart.
The Doc left the ward, glancing back at El once, before closing the door quietly behind him.