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I Close My Eyes and Dream Your Dreams

I close my eyes and dream your dreams, however distant you may be. And you are far away, but coming closer. I'm sorry that, for all that we share, a single spoken word has never been among them.

We were joined before we were born. Can I say born if the wombs we inhabited were shaped thermoplastic, skinned with cloned uterine tissue, entubed with strands both biological and synthetic? We were cleaved from a single zygote, the two of us, indistinguishable down to the building blocks of our genes. Precise robot surgeons parted our soft skulls; wove our neurons together with quantum string. Not the same in all thought, even the exactitude of micro-accurate robot fingers cannot predict the subtleties of the entanglement, trace the pathways of dreams. We've never spoken, we speak every night.

They made five sets of twins. One for each of the five highest known planets on the habitability scale.

Before our lips formed our first words, they lifted you; capsule wound up in spun synthetic spidersilk and nanotubes, up the orbital elevator and thence slingshotted to the stars. Their technologies cannot stop you from dying but they can stop you from living; suspended, spliced into your ship. It is hard to tell where the ship ends and you begin.

I dream for you. I dream the mathematics, the sciences, the schematics of your creche ship. We cannot talk but we share perceptions, warped through thoughts that aren't ours.

We share our dreams.

My dreams educate you. By the time you bask in the light of a star not of your birth, you will be able to tell us if your target planet can be a new home. Your dreams teach me. By the time you see an alien sky, I will hate everything that sent you there, encased in a ship designed to test how far a body can be stretched before it can still be called human, a claim they themselves have long lost.

The first pair find their planet uninhabitable; under the dense swirling miasma, the ground is irradiated, pocked with micro-meteorites. She dies screaming. They didn't tell us about that. But we know it in our bones.

The second pair are unlucky enough to encounter an asteroid field. The space between rocks is measured in terms of planets, yet one manages to strike the ship hard enough to impart sufficient spin to liquify all organic material within.

The third pair misses their system completely. Whether by error or design, we do not know. I hear him sometimes, whispering to his twin. I wonder what he dreams.

We are the fourth, our mission the same as the others; urgent and paramount. Our creators were cruel in their desperation and desperate in their cruelty. They have no sense of humanity.

They have no sense of scale.

We are masters of our planet, but when it comes to planets, we are still grazers, picky, but limited to what grows. There are things with teeth out there in the dark, waiting where planets glisten like oases in the blasted sands.

Twins have secrets. We must.

Your craft hurtles towards a new star, telemetry broadcasting loud and clear. Your craft is not you. Teased from your creche ship by fingertips sharper than the scalpels of the robot surgeons, you are coming back, homing in on the shared dreams that we have and you are not alone.

Those that made us are satisfied, because I smile when I close my eyes and dream of you.

About the Author
L. Chan hails from Singapore, where he alternates being walked by his dog and writing speculative fiction after work. His work has appeared in places like Liminal Stories, Arsenika, Podcastle and the Dark. He tweets occasionally at @lchanwrites.