…that I think came from reading Accelerando before bedtime. I’m especially sure about this one, because it featured a lobster!

And where the last dream might have seemed to have an interesting plot curve, this one actually had narration!

Of course, I don’t remember the narration any more, but it was somewhere between the opening scences of a Twilight Zone episode, and the beginning of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (which would have been a really good film if the cinematographer had remembered to wipe the smudge marks off the lens). Anyway, the narrator began by describing and listing all of these brilliant scientists – inventors, award winners, crucial paradigm operators in their fields – who were invited to work on a secret government project. As the narrator said “invited” we were shown the last scientist, a doctor Muller with a German moustache and a labcoat, confronted by the silhouettes of two trenchcoated secret agent types. Silent beneath the voiceover, they presented the good doctor with an “offer he couldn’t refuse”. (You couldn’t see if they were holding guns or any kind of weapon, but the fear in Doctor Muller’s eyes and the furtive glances toward the silhouettes told it all.)

The next we saw the professor, he was helmetless in a spacesuit, looking out the viewport of a classic rocket as it accelerated out of Earth orbit and toward a secret goverment space station. He joined the 30-odd other scientists on the station working on “Murphy’s Box”. That name was said with a sinister dread, but we never saw over the scientist’s back to what they were working on.

And then, it’s explained. A giant blue-black lobster looms through deep space. Murphy’s Box is just the body of any creature, but the term infers specifically to bodies pushed outside of their competence envelope along the squared-cubed rule curve. In microgravity, less strength (which is controlled by the Square – the area of the cross-section of a body’s muscles) is needed to support mass (a factor of the Cube – that is, a three-dimensional body), so bodies can potentially be grown to enormous size. Lobsters, who don’t feel pain and can theoretically continue growing as long as they live, were perfect test subjects.

The problems came when they adapted to empty space and started crawling around the outside of the space station.

I’m not too sure what the really dreadful scary part of it was, because once I saw that huge lobster, I high-tailed it out of there and woke up.

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