This time I dreamt about the hab riots. Tyr habitat was full of displaced persons, few of whom were happy. As Rosie and I walked through the downtown spaces we were jostled and shouted at. But from what I could see in my dream we were trying to continue with our normal routine, and we were even prepared to visit the refugee shops and buy some of their hand-made garments and trinkets to show a little support.
So when the riot and chaos came we were clutching nothing more than a couple of bags of brightly coloured woven clothing; no weapons, and no food.
A great press of people was suddenly running through the bazaar; mostly Europeans of all types, they were shouting in new-English and more obscure tongues. Then we could see the cause of the problem, a large gang of Ludds with machetes, electric guns and prods shocking or hacking anyone with visible cybernetics (and a good number of people without). They were shouting obscenities against GAIA, the Great Mother, the artificial intelligence that that seized control of Earth. I wanted to shout that I had no love for that artificial demon either- by forcing the population of Earth off the planet GAIA had plunged the solar system into this chaos. No-one knew how many had died, and the dying continued. These fierce men and women with their electric weapons were determined to make sure of that.
Rosie whispered to me to keep quiet, and I crouched lower. She remarked that the rioters seemed well prepared; with electric weapons they wouldn’t risk punching a hole in the hab outer skin and risk a blow-out.“That makes all the difference. So they’ll kill us but not themselves. Great.” My dream-self said.Rosie said, “We can’t stay here. Look, a bulkhead door. And open. Let’s go- quick.”“Don’t let them see you-” I said, but she was gone. I followed, slipping on some fruit.
Behind the bulkhead was a recycling point, and corridors leading to some cheap residential apartments. The corridors were dimly lit by bluish emergency lighting. A number of figures could be seen running away; then, with shouts and screams, they came running back, followed by more ludds with machetes. Rosie and I hid in the recycling point behind some piled up silvercloth remnants, leftovers from the incomers’ clothing trade. One of the rioters set fire to a bale of sylk cuttings and threw it onto the pile. It smoked and smoldered there for a bit, then automatic sprinklers came on.
We crouched in the steam, trying not to cough and to listen for the ludds as they ran up and down screaming and slashing. Soon we were flat on the floor trying to get under the pall- but when the sprinklers stopped the corridor was silent. The ludds had moved on. Soaked, we crept out into the haze-filled corridor.
We hurried down the corridors, trying all the doors; after about twenty we found one which was open. Inside was an empty apartment, with just a few décor-fabricators and bags of dry pigment lying around. The sprinklers had spread the pigments into coloured pools on the floor. We looked in the kitchen space- empty. No domestic machinery; not even a comp terminal.
Suddenly an internal door flew open, kicked from within. Out came a single ludd, a young Euro man, holding an electric gun. He fired at Rosie, then at me. We were both hit by the practically invisible conducting thread which would bring the killing electric charge. But the white flash of current didn’t come; the gun had malfunctioned, or run out of juice, thank all space. I lunged forward and tried to rip the gun from his hands, but he swung it round and started to bludgeon me with it.
Rosie meanwhile had grabbed some random piece of decorator’s equipment – a crab-like metal autopainter, we found out later- and bought it down on his head. Finally I could wrestle the failed gun from his hands, and together we beat the poor fellow to the ground.
More shouts in the corridor outside; more water from the sprinklers. I went to the door, and locked it manually. Rosie was bending over the young Euro.“I think we killed him.”“Never. No. Not possible,” I said. But I knew it was.
The sounds faded from the corridor; I tried the door, but it had sealed itself against vacuum. The corridor had been breached somehow- we were trapped in the apartment. A delirious sequence of images followed, showing us drinking sprinkler water from paint trays and other receptacles; at some point we changed into our new clothes, but they were soon filthy. I remember from reading my journals that Rosie and I were holed up in that empty apartment with a dead body for ten sols. All I know is that, eventually, the door of the apartment was opened from outside and militiamen from another habitat came bursting in. Tyr’s own militia had been entirely unable to cope, so some of the other habitats had sent armed police to help. We were taken away in our dirty, pigment stained clothes, presumably for interrogation.
But the dream ended there. As citizens of long standing, we must have been treated with sympathy; my journals don’t mention any charges.
I feel grateful that somehow these memories are coming back to me, but they are not all pleasant by any means. I can now recall several portions of my past life, as if lit by bright flashes of light; but some of the things which are revealed are uncomfortable.