Dr. Darius Dream
Here lived Dr. Darius Dream - Psycabotanist.
The plaque had been newly placed on the wall of the building, an old industrial complex that had been used as the laboratory by Dr. Darius Dream.
The building was out of the way, in behind the main arterial routes of Roxy. It was run down but then again, most of Roxy was.
Roxy - the escapist heart of The City. It was where people came to escape the ‘world’. The ‘world’ did not support Roxy but it tolerated it.
It was located on non-prime land (abandoned would have been a more fitting name for it). The land’s topography was hilly. Areas had been
flattened in the past. Industrial processes had structures quickly developed to support them and were just as quickly abandoned, for newer
brighter solutions, or the funding had just drifted away. It was never going to be a place where the majority of model citizens wanted to live.
Those who did had drifted there out of necessity, like pollen from plants, from Outland, seeding themselves. The inhabitants eked out a living,
as the weeds did. However, weeds are just misplaced plants and some are glorious to behold. The metaphor was not lost upon Darius. Those in
power, in The City ‘turned a blind eye’. If truth be known, it wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility for some of ‘those in power’ to frequent
Roxy. Incognito, of course. Roxy filled a hole in society that The City did not and could not. It was left to autonomy, for now. The building
had provided Dr. Darius Dream with the ideal location from which to pursue his calling. That calling was The engineering of psychoactive plants
to facilitate the night-life of consensual hallucination (he was never one for short, explanatory text).
From modest beginnings i.e. the potted plant, Darius had manipulated and propagated a flora of wonder. He had become renowned throughout Roxy, especially in the three main clubs
. .. Frak//ture
. .. SomniA
. .. infinite dreamland
In one glorious night, he had dispelled the rivalry between the three, bringing them together into the ‘consensual hallucinatory’.
But more of that later. To understand just what Darius had achieved, it was important to understand the man. If one had interviewed
a random selection of people from any of the clubs, they would have said “Showman!”, “Genius!”, “Superstar!”. Outwardly, at the
height of his career, he played to these labels but in truth, Darius was a private person.
Like most people in The City, Darius Dream had studied, worked hard and taken up a role that supported it. It was near impossible not to. He became a scientist. As part of his role he came into contact with rumours, which led to thoughts, then to ideas. Before he knew it, something had changed. The day-to-day no longer satisfied him. This led to his first visit to Roxy, then his second, then others. The experience changed him, or more correctly, it accelerated the restlessness within him.
It was his house plants, in conjunction with his new found love of ‘escapology’ (people who frequented Roxy thought of themselves as ‘escapologists’ - escaping from the mundane to the non-sane), that set him upon a new path. Like his new plants, the roots of his ideas grew in the new fertile soil of his imagination. And he imagined big!
He initially started his work in his small apartment. After a time, he had outgrown it or more that, his work had outgrown it. Literally! Everything he was pursuing at this point was in addition to his normal job. This was no mere hobby, it was all-consuming and under the radar. So, when time came to hunt for ‘bigger lodgings’ as he put it, Roxy was a natural place to look. He looked and found ‘The Old Works’. He displaced the chemical residue, refuse and occasional rat with flora and quickly developed his laboratory. It became affectionately know as The Greenhouse. Darius like this. It felt like the first real beginnings of his his integration into Roxy society, proper. He started out with normal but typically exotic-looking plants and engineered them so that when they flowered, they released a psychoactive chemical, with a specific effect. He was creating new entheogens. After his first success; which lightened mood, he pressed on to even more diverse and potent varieties. Once happy with the results, he trialled his first ‘release’ upon a small, unsuspecting section of the Frac//ture crowd. It was a small plant but a large success. It worked admirably. He trialled another with a different effect at SomniA. With both successes under his belt, he concentrated upon propagating ‘commercial’ releases. His method of ‘accelerated growth’ meant he didn’t have to wait too long for his ‘babies’ to come to term.
Having noticed the rivalry between and almost tribal nature of the frequenters of the clubs, he decided to sell his creations to each, at the same time. His initial thinking was that by co-releasing, no one club would become dominant, at the expense of the other. He demonstrated the effect of Blue Amaryl to each club owner, in a controlled environment, each with the same number of participants. Each demo was an unmitigated success. Each of the three groups of five participants were sworn to secrecy (with money and more blackmail-oriented constraints). Darius sold each club owner a stand of 5 Blue Amaryls which were engineered to bloom (in the psychoactive sense), each at the same point on the same evenings. What happened next was written into the legend of Roxy.
Each of the club owners had promoted the ‘new release’ in their own specific way, being careful not to divulge any detail of what was about to happen, at the express wish of Dr. Dream. On the evening of the ‘release’, there were skirmishes between rival groups of clubbers from Frac//ture and SomniA, each claiming something new and fantastic was about to happen, that would make the other club redundant. Of what was about to happen, no-one had any idea. And what did happen took everyone by surprise. Even Dr. Darius Dream.
The local environment: lighting, temperature and timing were all controlled and at the appointed time, a synchronous release of Blue Amaryl kicked in, in conjunction with down tempo Dark Noise music in accompaniment. Dark Noise was popular across Roxy, at that moment (for all of the rivalry, there was very little to choose between the club’s music scenes). The coordinated release linked everyone in proximity of it, irrespective of distance. It was as if Frac//ture, SomniA and infinite dreamland were physically linked. People moved between the three as if moving between rooms or floors, in one. Everybody and everything became one, boundaries and petty rivalries dissolved and everyone benefited. Even the club owners. On that evening, Roxy became true Roxy. It took a little longer for Darius to become the cause celebre he was. Is. At this point no-one knew he was responsible for the (re)birth of Roxy.
After Blue Amaryl came Salvation Lilies, then Gardenia Dream, followed by Passion. There were a couple of minor releases and all the while, Darius was working on his Orchidaceae range. At this point, he had several people working for him, in ‘Production’. The expansion of The Greenhouse, to support the growth in demand for his newer and more exotic creations he was seeing, was never a problem. The former factory where he based himself was vast and he grew into it.
Darius pushed himself, beyond any limits. His output was prolific. From the small, quiet, sedate child he had been, he bloomed into a larger than life character. He came to crave the adulation bestowed upon him at ‘opening nights’. He was known throughout Roxy, wherever he walked, not least because of his distinctive style that played to his role - bold colours both light and dark, floral velvet jackets, holding in flounces of shirt front, collar and cuff. It was the hats covering his bald head however, that became his signature - as bright and flamboyant as any flower head. He had been elevated. He was invincible. He looked to greater but darker things. He had been warned that if he was not careful, he would wane. He needed to keep on the high and avoid the low. At this, he smarted and started to lock himself away more and more, in The Greenhouse. It was about this time that Darius employed three new employees. The addition of these later employees to his team allowed Darius to research and manipulate more and more. The three took over the simple manipulation tasks and brought new but lesser creations into being. The culmination of this period was Fanfare. Fanfare was probably the most famous of his creations; a riotous, shrill call to inaction, with an underlying edge. It was after Fanfare that the darker creations were released - the Dark Period as it was known. They were short sharp shocks and they were well received. A different feel, a different vibe. The first five were the real deal, six to eight are considered derivative, while nine and ten didn’t really hit the mark. Could it be that the Doctor was indeed, waning? Some people thought it as possibility. However, this was not the end of Dr. Darius Dream.
The Dark Wave Trilogy is what Dr. Darius Dream will be remembered for - pure synaesthesia - multi-concurrent - consensual hallucinatory. They were known simply by their code names
. .. Rho
. .. Alpha
. .. Delta
When these hit, each one hit as a dark wave (hence the colloquial name), one after another. The Doctor was back!
Then Dr. Darius Dream rested. By anyone else’s standards, it was barely a comma, let alone a colon in the footnote of Dr. Darius Dream’s biography. He did not come back with another Fanfare or a follow up Dark Wave with a sequel. He worked on multiple ideas and developed many prototype creations. There were rumours
“Darius is working on a creation that will blow everyone’s mind!”
“The Doctor has a made a breakthrough and can manipulate people’s genetic code, via his plants!”
“Dr. Dream’s next release is going to The City - it will be one big party!”
“The Dream-meister’s next creation will envelop the planet. We’ll all be saved!”
Darius approved of the rumours, he wish he had started them. He wanted them to be true. Maybe they were? His ego had grown, like an acorn grows into an oak tree. This may have been his downfall. For there was a downfall. It was not an ignominious one, it was a catastrophic one.
It was a normal day for Dr. Darius Dream, one full of work. A normal awakening was followed by a normal morning. A normal early evening followed a normal afternoon but what followed next was a very abnormal night.
It was approximately half past nine in the evening, most of Darius’ staff had left The Greenhouse much earlier. His three newer employees worked on into the evening (as they always did). Two had left at eight o’clock, one stayed on. Darius may or may not have been aware of anyone left in the building with him. It was impossible to know. He would have no doubt been engrossed in a facet of his latest work. In this specific instance, it is known that he was awaiting the bloom of a new creation, timed to bloom at night (as most of his plants were). 01-00110-110-tor was the designation found in the open notebook, on the desk, next to the plant, above his body on the floor.
We are told a pool of blood had formed around his head, that had issued from his nose, ears and mouth. Floral, not foul play was suspected. The official report states that the plant Dr. Darius was working on, bloomed, releasing an unknown compound, that caused severe internal head trauma. All the blood vessels in his head had literally burst - his inner head had exploded! It was further stated that he had died from natural causes brought about by his work. This explanation was not accepted by anyone who had come into contact with him, there was nothing natural about Darius’ creations - they were by the very nature of their existence, unnatural. Some would say supernatural. A new rumour circulated that
“Dr. Darius Dream (respect is due) was a victim of his own success. If the rumours were true, the Doctor had become too successful, too influential and therefore too dangerous for his own good. He had been removed!”
No-one who subscribed to this rumour mentioned it out loud. They did wonder about his later employees, who were never seen in Roxy after the incident (the incident had become known as The Final Blooming, out of respect for the good Doctor). Again no-one ever mentioned this out loud or if they did, it was in very hushed tones.
After the initial shock of hearing the news of Dr. Darius Dream’s passing, had died down, all agreed it was a fitting end for him
“He died with his plant pots full”
People lamented the fact that there would be no new ‘psycs’. To alleviate this, the clubs put extra effort into the maintenance of their existing plant stocks and club nights continued to be successful. The club managers were nothing if not resourceful. They resurrected old glories: held re-opening nights, light nights and Dark Wave nights. There would be no new glories however. Speculation about the notebooks Darius kept was rife. No-one knew where they were, they had disappeared. All save for the fateful one the Doctor was working on, the night he died. Unfortunately, it was a new notebook, with only one page used, with one innocuous entry. The employees of the Doctor could shed no light upon his genius. They were merely ‘Production Assistants’. Well rewarded ones but never in the know of his developments. The three who may have been able to shed any light, as previously mentioned, where nowhere to be seen.
Here lived Dr. Darius Dream - Psycabotanist.
It seems such a modest thing to commemorate such a flamboyant character, who had achieved so much. Not least the creation of a true Roxy, which continues to this day. Maybe a more fitting tribute will be forthcoming in the future. Whatever that is, it will not be as fitting as the discovery of Dr. Darius Dreams notebooks. Especially the later ones. Who knows what as yet created wonders are contained within…