Transmission by Pete Warner

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SUMMARY: Entry for the February Flash Fiction contest (theme: "trans-")

- This better be good.
- Doctor Blake? It's Melanie Levitt. We've got a problem.
- Mel? Christ, it's nearly 4am and I've-
- He's dead, Doctor Blake.
- What?
- Carl Danvers, Doctor. He died less than an hour ago.
- Jesus Christ, Mel. Christ almighty. This is my first night off in what... a month? One night! Christ on a fucking jet propelled bike.
- I'm sorry Doctor. The re-sus team reckon it's probably a massive infarction. No-one's saying it's anything to do with the helmet. But there's... an anomaly, Doctor. You need to get down here.
- An anomaly? What kind of anomaly?
- Please Doctor, can you just get down here?
- I can be there in half-hour. What anomaly?
- Doctor, Mr Danvers died at 2.37am
- So?
- So... the recording.... it... goes on past that time, Doctor.
[pause]
- Jesus Christ!
- Quite possibly, Doctor. Quite possibly.


01:04 [white noise, audio and video] naughty boy, haven't you Carl? a very naughty [audio lost, moderate video ghosting]

- Mel I can barely make this out. Have you run calibrations?
- Recursive calibrations, Doctor, and we did full diagnostics when we detected the anomaly. He'd only been under about twenty minutes at this point. Non-REM, and non-lucid. The quality improves later.

01:07 [audio only. sharp noise. leather on skin] hurts more than I like. But I'm so fucking horny and I'm saying nothing. Yes Miss Hobbs, I'm a very naughty boy. [video established, low resolution only] W...What? No, please don't tell my wife how naughty I am! Yes, punish me Miss Hobbs, please...

- Who the hell is Miss Hobbs and why is she dressed like cat-woman?
- I cross-referenced it earlier, Doctor. It's his twelth-grade Geography teacher.
- Burn off a hard copy of this segment and scan to the first lucid phase.
- Er, sure Doctor. But hard copy? I don't-
- Are you kidding me? A dead man's last porno dream? You know what that's gonna be worth Mel?

01:39 [video, audio, quality high] I'm dreaming. I recognise that I'm dreaming, and it doesn't break the dream. Can you lot out there see this? On your screens, on that... what do you call it? TSR. Trans-somnic-thingy. Trans-somnic-recorder? Are you watching me now? I bet you are! [waves at the sky] You wanna see what I can... oof [video interference. viewpoint shifts against a wall. correction. not a wall. a floor. a canvas covered floor. vision distended to tunnel. metallic audio]

- He's fighting Ali! Well, I say fighting. Ali's just knocked the shit out of him. Why can't I dream like this? He gets bondage and boxing. I get anxiety dreams where my trousers won't stay up or I'm being chased by bees. Jesus Christ! And he's lucid too.
- For the next twenty minutes, Doctor. Audio and video consistently high quality.
- And he was aware of us too, Mel. Not only aware that he was dreaming, but aware that we were watching. Is there anything interesting between now and time of death?
- Some REM stuff, borderline nightmarish. Punctuated surrealism. Next significant segment occurs just before death. Lucidity again, crystal quality.
- I'll make coffee while you pull it up.
- You're making me coffee, Doctor?
- Damn straight.

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