ILF’s fifth anniversary is coming up and preparations are underway for a celebration at the Intaki Cultural Center on the surface. It’s my first time attending a large-scale ILF event, and my first public appearance as Isha-Sainika. I’m handling some of the security arrangements with Bataav but otherwise have very little to do with it. Nevertheless, for some reason I seem to be anxious…

Yesterday just before I turned in for the night I had a short exchange with John Revenent via the local comms. I’ve not had much prior interaction with John and honestly wasn’t terribly certain how to approach him, but went ahead and mentioned ILF’s birthday anyway. I asked if he might like to send regards to the Suresha next week to note the occasion if it wasn’t too much trouble. He didn’t reply so I just assumed he was busy tending to other matters, and eventually I closed comms and went to bed.

I dreamed. The dream was…bizarre.

I dreamt I was handling last-minute arrangements for the anniversary and then preparing to depart. Right before I was to undock to go to the surface a long mail arrived from Mr Revenent lecturing me about why it was inappropriate for I-RED and him specifically to comment on ILF’s birthday. The mail had a very sharp tone and went on about how I should not have made the request! This alarmed me but all I did was cast the mail aside.

Then I went down to the surface, but not in a ship, just floating out in space in my body. The planet looked odd at first, just sort of a gold ball with some lines crisscrossing it, and a vast red nebulae everywhere. As I got closer and closer I waved my arm. Wherever my arm swept by before my eyes it was though I were wiping away what I could see, revealing Intaki Prime with the Cloud Ring nebula hanging behind. Although I was alone, hanging weightless in the void, I could hear other voices murmuring about what I’d done to improve the view.

So then I landed on the surface at the edge of a field, just sheltered by some bushes. The field had a hill off to my right a bit with some trees on top. There were white furriers running around with wings where the headcrest would be (and they could fly short distances like ground fowl). I don’t think there are actually furriers on Intaki…but nevertheless they were there. There were also cattle and deer milling about.

I walked out into the field and looked at the animals, none of which seemed very concerned about my presence. I needed to get to where the anniversary celebration was going to take place. I don’t remember how but eventually I arrived. The building was large and windowless, brown and shaped like a box and surrounded by concrete—very obviously not the cultural center! But somehow I knew this was the right place.

I went inside, finding myself on a stage. Around it were NEX clothes racks with people rummaging through them. Suddenly I was with them, trying to find a particular pair of trousers but nothing I liked was there. Beyond the stage was a raised section of seats like in an auditorium with all the corp and some of I-RED sitting in them, waiting for those of us on the stage to get organized.

At some point we did. The stage emptied, leaving me standing in the middle of it. I had a mic in my hand and had a brief flashback to my last stage performance… I was wearing that red velvet dress, the one Bataav likes so much. Then I said, “Today is ILF’s fifth birthday. Could I please call Suresha Saxon Hawke to the stage.” But he didn’t appear. There was an awkward silence and I realized I hadn’t greeted the audience properly, so the dream literally rewound like a bad vid. The scene replayed so I could say “Namas” before repeating my earlier statement.

The Suresha never showed up though. I don’t know why. No one else seemed particularly bothered by that and started to leave while I was left standing on the stage still looking for him. Transports pulled up outside to take people to their homes or hotels or the local spaceport.

Someone, a woman whose face I could not see, stood beside me to watch and commented on how some of the trees we could see beyond the sprawling concrete were growing crooked. Across the way was a huge wooden flag pole with an equally large Intaki flag on it. I pointed out the pole was also crooked, but if it fell it would only crush the fueling station across the street. The other person asked, “Shouldn’t we fix it?”

I said it didn’t matter.

That’s all I remember. I woke feeling rather out of it and a bit bothered by the dream’s imagery… But it was only a dream.