"Alright, boss. Reports are coming in stating that REM stage is complete. Our deadline is approaching."
"Did you hear that, guys? Let's get to work!" The Foreman bellowed. "Frankie, get the Dream Sequencer warmed up, and put on queue the one about the blonde newscaster again. John, take Albert and Rick down to the the Lower Peaks and get ready to open the pipelines. Make sure your radio is on and don't open 'em up until you get the green light from me this time, okay?
"You got it, boss!" Slapping on hardhats, a trio of men ran hurriedly out of the Central Command office. The man named Frankie sat down at a computer terminal and tapped his fingers on the desk, waiting impatiently for the system to boot up.
"This one has a decently high success rate," Frankie said after a moment. "Not as high as some of the other one's we've got, though. History shows that we've played this one a lot recently. Are you sure you want to put on this one again?"
"Yeah, we're gonna stick with the newscaster one," The Foreman said. "I've got a report here from Daytime Monitoring that states the prevalence of the subject in day dreaming episodes has jumped 19% in the past 24 hours. We're going to play on that and hope we get some results."
"You got it," Frankie said. He keyed in his password on the terminal and tapped in the command to queue up the requested sequence. "Loading... and buffering, 7%. Green light should come in about three minutes."
The Foreman's radio crackled. "Hey, boss? John here. Copy?"
"Foreman, copy. Go ahead, John."
"Yeah, we've got a slight problem down here. Ambient temperatures have caused some below-surface contraction. We'll need a few minutes to get things up to ground level."
"Roger." The Foreman furrowed his brow in thought. "Has Albert had training on the agitator yet?"
"Let me check." The line hissed with static as John left it open. His voice was muted as he presumably turned his head away to speak to Albert. "Hey, Albert!... Albert!.... Have you trained on the agitator yet?... What?... I said, have you trained on the... You have?" There was a burst of noise as John fumbled with his radio.
"Yeah, boss. Albert just got certified. Want me to send him up?"
"Green light," Frankie announced.
The Foreman held out an index finger out to Frankie, signaling him to hold on.
"Okay, yeah. Put Albert on the agitator, and make sure that you and Rick put on your harnesses and secure yourselves. We don't want another accident like what happened with Lorenzo."
Frankie looked up at The Foreman. "Buckle down?"
"Buckle down." The Foreman took a seat next to Frankie, and they buckled themselves in to the harness straps that attached to the seats. A low moan resonated through Central Command, and the floor started to shake and rumble.
"Albert here." The dashboard radio spat static. "Agitator powered up. Commencing surface-level agitation."
"Hold on, boys," The Foreman said.
The office jumped and shuddered like a plane in turbulence for a few seconds, and finally rolled to one side. The built-in balancing system kept the office level and stabilized as the terrain shifted. Another series of low moans echoed through the office. The Foreman, keeping an eye on a bank of status monitors, waited for the system analysis to fall within workable parameters.
The Foreman grabbed his radio. "That's enough, Albert! Cut it!" As the rumbling and shaking faded down, he looked over at Frankie for confirmation. Frankie gave him a thumbs up, and The Foreman gave back one of his own.
"Showtime, Frankie." Switching on his radio again, he yelled, "John! Rick! Open 'em up!"
He didn't need radio confirmation to know that they had heard him. He grinned as the status monitors showed that all systems were go. He unlatched his harness and leaned forward in his chair to give Frankie a high-five.
The dream sequence plays through, and just as the screen fades out to black, an alarm sounds. The Foreman reaches back to the desk and silences it.
"Deadline met. Another successful run. Good work, guys!"
"Mike, it's time to get up." The Boss shakes my shoulder gently.
I groan and roll over, and throw the covers off. It felt too early to be awake. "What time is it?"
"Quarter past seven. We've got stuff to do this morning, remember?"
I do remember. "Oh, right." I yawn, get out of bed, and stretch.
"Wow," The Boss says after a moment.
"What?" I asked, still in the throes of a good stretch and rubbing my eyes.
"Good dreams last night?" I follow her eyes down to my crotch.
Good ol' morning wood.
I smile. "I guess so."
Happy Monday, folks.