I opened my eyes and stared at the ceiling. For a brief moment the luminous pathways continued to trace their routes there in the darkness. They curved at the edges of my field of vision, then faded. I stretched, yawned, scratched a random itch. I was still sleeping on the left side of the wide mattress. It had been weeks since she last joined me in the bed, and I didn't know when she'd be coming back, but I still left a space for her.


I reached for a device on the nightstand and decided on the mini tablet. I didn't feel like squinting into the phone or hefting the heavier, full-sized tab. The thing glowed to life at my touch, still open to the wiki page I'd been reading when sleep had overtaken me. I didn't know where my recent fascination with Isaac Newton was leading to, but I'd been happy enough to follow it for the last few days. What possible bearing could he have on my research into neuropathy? Newton was a mathematician. I should have been looking into the work of Buchan, or Hillis-Trupe. Hell, even Nakazawa's theories would have more to offer than some centuries-dead Englishman.

Or my dreams. They'd started just after she'd left, and had been the same every night. I'd hoped I'd dream more of her than anything else, but no. It had been the Interface that swallowed my brain cycles in the dark of sleep; a machine-system that was closer to the realm of fantasy than reality. But each time after waking it seemed more and more possible. I could imagine etching the correct circuits; placing the proper transistors and resistors and capacitors. I knew where most of them fit, in the dream. Why wasn't I building the thing already? What harm could it possibly do to experiment? At worst I'd waste a few bucks worth of components.

Perhaps it was time to stop dreaming and start soldering.

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