I had invited the personification of Disease to meet with me in my castle, which was partly in the physical realm and partly in a sort of dataspace. When she arrived, she looked like a woman in a robe of ragged lace, with long, tangled hair and solid white eyes. Wherever she went, she was accompanied by a loud, eerie wordless chanting by inhuman voices. I instructed my castle to silence that noise, but it was only able to muffle it somewhat.
I led her to a Realm within my castle, a neutral space in which active hostilities by either party would be impossible. On the way to the Realm, we passed my consort (a gentleman with long, dark hair in a brocade kimono) and one of our young children.
“What a lovely child,” said Disease, with the expression of a starving person seeing an apple. She reached out to touch the child’s hair, and then she stiffened. “This is not a human child,” she said. “What is the meaning of this?”
I told her, “My consort and I are raising fuzzy-logic AIs in humaniform semi-organic envelopes. But that is of no matter to you. Let us negotiate in the Realm.”
On arriving in the neutral chamber, where we sat on invisible chairs at an invisible table, I said, “Is there any way we can establish a truce, and work together?”
“Absolutely not,” said Disease.
“In that case, can you be bought?” I asked. “I am willing to offer you tribute if you will agree to stay your hand from me and my allies.”
“What sort of tribute could possibly interest me?” she said with disdain.
“Self-knowledge. I have an archive of articles from journals of epidemiology, bacteriology and virology, in a format you can take back with you to your own domain for study.”
An expression of surprise came across her face. “Your offer intrigues me,” she said slowly. “Let us discuss terms.”
(Dreamed on January 30, 2006.)