The knight dreamt of home: vast oceans of grass rippling in unfelt breezes, the whisper of leaves, the background hiss of his augmentation cloud’s comm cycles. A castle suspended in the air winked reflected sunlight from crystal windows. Man’s first sun lay low to the horizon, a bulging red oval nearly kissing the edge of the world.
He looked around, and his vision was bright with secondary knowledge. The aug-cloud sprayed knowledge at him, compressed microbursts of data that were layered over his vision: the floating castle was named Yama-arashi, which meant “Mountain Storm” in a samurai language, and its smooth blue underside concealed float-field generators and pulsed laser arrays that determined, microsecond by microsecond, how the winds and humidity and temperature affected the castle’s height. The leaves hissing on the breeze hung from a stand of aspens planted by King Ultrecht IX of Vafnrheim in the eighty-eighth year of his reign. It was nine minutes and twenty-two seconds till local sunset, and to the southeast, against the dark sky, the first of the geosynchronous fairy cities would already be visible, a dim smudge of light studded with brighter starlets within, canisters and wheels in a cloud of escaped gases and spacecraft exhaust vapor.
A dead woman spoke his name, and the dream collapsed, walls of light that passed through each other, tumbling away to infinity.