An odd dream from last night:
The oddest thing about the dream was that I was not there. I was a disembodied third party, watching the action, like the unseen cameraman in a movie or television show. It started on an island. Four workers were there, performing their day-to-day job, which I think was just monitoring pipes for leaks, cleaning up driftwood on the beach, and building paths and stairs and other such infrastructure. They always wore these armor-like suits, like exoskeletons, with digital readouts built into the wrists. The pipes they were monitoring — mainly from a small concrete building on the beach, but sometimes by going out and visually inspecting them — did not contain oil, but some other, possibly nuclear, definitely toxic, substance.
They had a lot of free time and spent a lot of it on the beach. Supposedly, there were others elsewhere on the island, but they never saw or communicated with them. There were two or three wild dogs on the island, hyenas I believe, that they’d play with. They’d pick a banana, throw it into the ocean, and one of the dogs would bring it back. After a few times, the banana would turn to much, the dog would eat it, and the workers picked another banana.
There was a headquarters, a base not too far away, that could be reached by submarine. Since the beach was fairly inaccessible (after all, one of their chores was to build an infrastructure of paths), the only way on and off the beach was by submarine. They had a couple parked in a nearby lagoon that they could pilot to the base, which was built like an oil drilling platform — a freestanding platform a few miles off the coast, and was only accessible from the underside (hence the need for a submarine.)
On this particular occasion, one of the four workers was in the submarine, en route to base. The other three were on the beach. The beach workers suddenly had their wrist displays show a countdown in large red numerals. It was counting down from about a half-hour. They’d never seen this before, but knew the procedure and were prepared. Pulling a book off the shelf, they looked up a few things and noted it was exposure to radiation and had to get to base before the timer expired or no treatment would be possible. The book had photos of symptoms and as well as pictures of dead bodies — people who never made it back in time. The workers suddenly realized the bodies were on a beach, on a log path, and it was their beach and their path, except they had just finished installing the path recently and nobody had died or photographed anything. So where did the pictures come from? The team of 3 took the other submarine back to headquarters.
Meanwhile, the first guy’s sensor and red countdown started, at the same time as the other workers, while he was piloting the submarine. I never saw what happened to him, but was left with the impression that he was trying to go about the base as if things were normal, hiding the countdown timer, risking infection of others. (We’ll temporarily put aside the fact that radiation poisoning is not actually infectious.)
When I next see them, the three made it back to base, and were standing in a room with medical personnel and the owner of the company, an older man in a high-tech robotic wheelchair-like contraption. As the counters neared zero, they went though the sequence to open the exoskeleton-like body-armor, which they would then be able to step out of — but it wouldn’t open. The old man, in typical super-villain style, started a monologue detailing their situation. There was no cure. They were brought back to base to be secretly killed. The other workers on the island would be told they were cured and given compensation large enough that they could retire early and travel the world. The radiation permanently and irreversibly mutates and deforms you. The old man steps out of his robotic wheelchair and we see that it’s just a prop used to hide the lower half of his body, which is a single cluster of hundreds of thin tentacles where his legs should be.
The old man, though, does not know that the radiation mutates you in a way consistent with your moral compass. The more evil you are, the more gruesome the mutation is. The three workers were always true to themselves and others, generally happy, and all-around good people. When the counters hit zero, they turned into superheroes and brought the old man to justice. The end.
✻ ✼ ✻
Yes the end was pretty sudden and I was half-awake though it, trying to force myself back to sleep to see what happened. I was mainly left with impressions rather than actual scenes. They were not deformed, or if they were it was in a consciously hide-able way (like a Stretch Armstrong, human torch, or invisible girl sort of way) so they could go about life normally then “switch on” superhero mode. But overall, everything basically worked out.