Farewell to the known world

The year 2060. The melting ice has caused the sea level to rise and the world’s major cities are underwater: New York, Buenos Aires, London, Rome, Barcelona, Cairo, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney… are nothing more than rusty memories next to the fish.

Although it has not been possible to avoid this catastrophe, a technology has been developed that influences the climate and has managed to paralyze the climatic chain reaction by regulating the level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The survivors of the catastrophe form a global mass of refugees while the cities on high ground have become fortresses where a semblance of normality is lived. Refugees live in camps on the other side of city walls or in old abandoned villages. Strategic points such as mines and nuclear power plants are operated by private companies or protected by the army.

Inside the cities, the political system is a semblance of democracy, but all information is filtered through the authorized media. Global communication infrastructures have been lost and the planet has suffered a recession. The Internet is an urban network for the wealthy classes. Communication with the outside world is controlled. Old religions have gained strength but new sects and heresies related to non-polluting ways of life have emerged.

In the midst of despair, hope appears. Eloy de la Llave, an anthropologist and psychologist specializing in lucid dreaming, discovers and perfects a method that allows communication through dreams.

After the collapse of global communication networks, the method becomes popular, opening a new way of communication between dreamers, who can control what they dream and create a dream noosphere where they can live a second life. Two realities are generated: Oniria and Vigil.

Most people who use the De la Llave method are refugees. Some of them have achieved a prosperous life in Oniria in exchange for spending most of their time sleeping. Only a few manage to do business in both realities.

The currency of payment in Oniria is aerena, “the stuff dreams are made of”. Each person generates it naturally while sleeping but it can be donated, spent, earned and stolen. Moreover, the rate at which it is generated is different in each person. It is possible to “drain” dreamers: there are mafias in Vigil that keep farms of sleeping people to steal it and resell it on the black market. In this new world, dreaming can be deadly…


The emergence of a new world

Before the appearance of the De la Llave method, achieving a lucid dream was quite complicated, but it was much more complicated to have them at will. There were few humans who could visit the Land of Dreams, and even fewer who could “stay” there… but there were enough to create the first dream city: Palace of Wishes.

These first dream travelers, the true onironauts, were considered an elite because everything they knew they had learned from their own experience. The new generations, who used the De la Llave method, called them the “Pioneers”.

The popularization of the De la Llave method provoked a massive arrival of dreamers to the Land of Dreams that became known as the “Great Wave” and caused the massification of dreams, generating problems derived from the dream society.

What was at first a “select club of dreamers” had become a chicken coop. The Palace of Wishes ceased to be a monument for meetings and became the central symbol of a great city that appeared out of nowhere, with thousands of stalls, houses, vehicles… and problems. In order to coordinate all the dreamers, some of the Pioneers founded the Guilds of Oniria: groupings of onironauts with common goals. The Triple Star, the largest of these guilds, and its Leader, Tibero, rule the Palace of Wishes with an iron fist to this day.

It was a chaotic city without any foresight or urban design. Every night it could look one way or another, depending on the dreamers who came to it. It was not uncommon to see an ancient castle vanish and turn into a neighborhood of colorful houses in a matter of seconds, or to see the traffic on a street turn from horse-drawn carriages into automobiles. The vastness of the city was lost on the horizon wherever you looked.

Yet there were permanent, or quasi-permanent places. Places erected by onironauts with the use of sand. Among them, one of the most popular was the Great Stadium of Oniria. A gigantic sports palace where the most popular onironaut sports, such as telekinetic basketball, were played and competed. To say that many dreamers entered Oniria just to play the sport was an understatement. Players had long since become professionalized and had set up high performance centers on Vigil where their sleeping bodies could be cared for while they trained in Oniria.

The veteran Onironauts rarely went to the Palace of Wishes and preferred to dedicate themselves to exploring and getting to know other regions of Oniria, which never seemed to end. However, no one went near the Burnt Forest. A horrible place to which most of the Kabus – the natural inhabitants of Oniria, popularly known as “nightmares” – had retreated. Humans and Kabus are still getting to know each other, but most Onironauts are still unaware that not all Kabus are nightmares to be feared. Seen as enemies, human ignorance was at work again, and very few voices were raised to defend the original inhabitants of Dreamland…

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