New in the Dreams Into Lightning Universe

A blow to pride on the Coolidge. Aboard the USS President Coolidge (atmosphere - five stars; food - one star), my father and his buddies get an all-too-brief taste of how the other half lives. Insult is added to injury as two of the enlisted men are called upon to share their talents with the officers:
Hayden Holm, our battery clerk, was one who was asked. A tenor who had studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory, his singing had long ago come to the attention of certain staff officers of the Division, notably a Major Nicholas. I think it was he who asked Hayden to sing. Hayden agreed, and picked me for his accompanist. I protested and argued. I told him that I had never accompanied anyone in my life, that I could not read music, and that I played only by ear. Moreover I hastened to point out to him that the officers had not long ago thrown us out of their precious lounge ...

Read the rest at Pacific Memories - Chapter 5.

Ashes to ashes, rust to rust. Two poems by my father find him in a philosophical mood. Reflecting on the job we all get to do one day, he finds he's none too anxious for it, and feels he's underqualified:
It's not the job that I mind most.
What daunts me is the sense that I
Won't have enough of me to make it worth
The trouble everyone will go to
To get me properly combusted up the flue
Or bedded tidily in the earth.
What's worse, it's certain that they'll know
How ill I fit the job ...

Meanwhile, the man in blue overalls has the real power, and he knows it, as he watches
each citizen come to cast
non-goods on more non-goods in this
anti-matter kingdom. ...

Read Qualifications Examined and The Keeper.

Rare occurrence in a dramatic world. My sister left home eagerly. She lived for exploring, breaking the boundaries. Our mother lived for her. This narrative leaves us with many questions. Which is worse - to regret the things you did, or the things you left undone? How do you break free from your childhood and find your own place in the world? How much do we learn from our mothers - and are there some lessons we shouldn't learn from them? Where is the line between dream and madness?
In the dream I walk through the ruins of a city in my brown skin. I find tin cans, bottle caps, pieces of colored plastic, orange peels, nails, broken dishes, metal wire. I find a tool with a sharp point and make holes in the pieces, string them together with wire, wrap the wire around the nails; these baubles shine in the sun. I hang them on my body, through my hair, and walk across the sand of the desert, going toward the oasis. Everything is very still ...

Stephanie had a name for this vision: Iridescence.