This was not quite a nightmare but it had this foreboding feeling, as of at any moment something might jump out and turn it into horror.
There was this complex/mine on an alien planet. Made by unknown hands and found abandoned, it looked like nothing more than endless institutional corridors – say, those found in a college – with occasional elevators. Why people were exploring this was never mentioned, but they were. Enough that there seemed to be some kind of company set up to deal with this exploration.
There were some places you shouldn’t step because unspecified Bad Things would happen.
I met two people in the complex’s rec room who had gotten into one of the elevators (which seemed to have no actual buttons?). One of them, standing on their hands, pushed their nose against the wall where mutations might be, and said they were pressing two – and the elevator started going down, and down, and down, and down. They had to call for an emergency teleport out. Nobody knew what was in the depths of this place, and they weren’t eager to be the ones who found out. People vanished regularly here.
I, personally, was in the edge of this place, just sitting there listening to their stories and drawing the people. Then we poked at the TV and found this Tezuka-era cartoon about giant robots or something, with a name that stared with O, that morphed into a feature done by the Fleischer studios that I was excited to see because I’d only ever read about it. Said feature seemed to involve Bimbo and Betty Boop, and doesn’t actually exist – it was full of the insanity of their shorts, rather than the Disney imitation of their actual features. I wasn’t sure if the carpet here was Safe to step on, so I really didn’t get out of my chair.
Then I was fooling with a complicated air conditioner control panel. Which seemed to have a slightly malign presence hanging over it.
I discussed this with Tobias the Adequate for a bit – he was working at wherever this panel was. It might have been part of the alien hallways from before, I’m not sure. We walked around as we talked; suddenly we rounded a corner and he was gone, replaced by Jason Wodicka on a bicycle, zipping away rapidly and still conversing. I started running after him, through a tunnel that became grassy hills with winding paths. I was able to make some time by cutting straight down the hill across the paths, and catch up to briefly exchange the next couple sentences.
Suddenly I was on a bike myself, following along – but we shortly came to a dead end, a concrete ledge with a long drop-off. Jason situated himself in the middle of a pink square painted on the concrete and pedaled off, landing heavily but unharmed on the ground below and zipping off. I was not so confident; I looked around and found that I’d biked a little further, right to the end of this ledge. Where the concrete was painted red. And a little before the pink area was another red one. I surmised that this meant “safe” vs. “unsafe” – or maybe “barely doable” vs. “impossible” – and wanted to have a look around to confirm my theory. As I did, more people started showing up on their bikes and not taking the jump.
I looked out a window (the architecture of this place was nonsensical, I was clearly outside already) and scoped out some funky jumps that, in retrospect, seemed like they belonged in a platform game. There was color-coding; these were calmer colors like yellow and blue, but were still pretty impossible for me. I had to gingerly hang out the window and stretch to grab an overhanging wooden structure to look at this stuff; it was incredibly precarious and dangerous-feeling. This side path seemed to involve swinging through some holes in structures put up solely to provide a jumping challenge, catching some kind of air current ride or something, going up a level and back, and looping around into the window beside me. I didn’t try it, just turned around and dragged myself back inside. With no help from any of the people waiting for my report. Dicks. They just went en masse to their bikes and started taking the same jumps I was looking at before.
I discovered a sloping path that hadn’t been there before. Some people were going down it to make their bike jumps. I was going to get mine and do that when I woke up.
The striking thing about this dream, overall, was the sense of looming menace. Nothing bad ever happened. But I felt like something was about to go horribly wrong throughout the whole thing.