While standing outside a bar twiddling his thumbs on ID and drunk people refusal duty, Derrick struck up a conversation with one of his best friends and a fellow guard about a recent dream of his. That momentary blip in time was the beginning that has lead to the release of Dream Stream Reality.

Now, Derrick is a new author, a fellow guard to many and owns a business. He spends his time juggling a normal life, while finding time to sit down in front of technology and put his dreams into words on virtual paper. Preferably with a warm mug of coffee.

Dream Stream Reality by Derrick Burke

The only time you can't game is when you're sleeping… until now.

Mild-mannered security guards by night. Powerful, magic-wielding heroes by day. Donald and his friends have been chosen to beta test the new version of Dream Stream Reality—a massive multiplayer game world which is played while you sleep.

Who wouldn't want to design their own adventures while napping? It's literally, well, the dream. Donald must balance an increasingly volatile personal life while exploring the new release and actively hunting for glitches and bugs within technology so advanced it feels like reality. What could possibly go wrong?



  • "A pinch of cunning, a teaspoon of luck, a dash of good editing and a group of fun heroes living out a dream. I'm starting the second book right now!"

    – Amazon Review




"Dosan! Goddamn it, man, it's rule number one! If you stand in the fire again, I swear to god I will let you die!" shouts Ifalna as the house-sized giant tortoise spews flames from its man-eating maw, her fun-loving attitude evaporating along with the steam boiling off from the underwater entrance from the excessive heat.

Looking over my shoulder as I'm running out of the fire zone, I see Dosan, our summoner, chilling smack bang in the middle of the pillar of flames. Bright white light keeps splashing over him from the sustained healing Ifalna is dishing out. Dosan's two minions are flying out of range of the fire while they keep casting bolts of lightning at the boss's semi-protected head.

"Relax, Ifalna, it's not like we haven't done this a gazillion times already. I know your healing is good for it." Dosan laughs, sending bolt after bolt of lightning from his wand into the boss.

I guess someone feels like pissing the healer off today. Best way to do that is to intentionally stand in something that will damage your character when it is quite easy to avoid. Stepping half a yard to his left would stop Ifalna from popping a vein, but for whatever reason, Dosan gets a kick out of it.

That goes for any healer, really. Ifalna is one of the best I've ever seen, though, and takes pride in the fact that she can out-heal anything the raid bosses can give us these days. We are at max level, after all. Not to mention being geared up the wazoo from all the endgame raiding we have done over the past few years.

My class is a warrior with dual-wielding swords, so I keep swiping both of them into the beast's left hind leg as it turns and follows the wake of our tank, Kazzrak. He is a defender, running around the beast in a close circle so he keeps the boss moving predictably. In this underwater cavern, Kazzrak keeps moving the fire-breathing monstrosity away from Dosan, and consequently we all need to keep moving if we want to avoid the fire.

Its shell being so hard that not even the strongest magic spells can damage it, we can only go for the limbs. Ezekial is right beside me, slicing away with his daggers, the extra damage he would be able to deal enemies while in stealth as a thief long since used up.

While this used to be a relatively hard boss and we struggled when we first tried to beat it, now it is quite easy, and all we have to do is follow the mechanics of the fight with good timing. Repetition will eventually meet with success if you are repeating the right things.

Standing in fire, however, isn't going to help your success.

"I realise that trying to get the mini pet version of this guy doesn't mean much now that DSR2 is being released in two days, but still. We have been trying for so long to get the drop, one last time won't hurt," puffs Kazzrak as he continues to run and occasionally smacks the boss in the side of the head to keep his attention. The flames are trailing very close behind him.

"Plus, the little guy even breathes fire on command! I've seen it myself," exclaims Ezekial.

DSR1 is a virtual-reality, full-immersion game. Short for Dream Steam Reality, and we have been playing it together for years. There was a scientific breakthrough a while back now that lets human minds enter a virtual portal into digital space.

One of the developers happened to be a massive slouch and wanted to do nothing but play MMORPG games. Which means massively multiplayer online role-playing game. She had one of these games open on a terminal they were using in the lab when this breakthrough occurred.

The artificial intelligence, or AI, had treated the new information of the test subject's mind as a new character to input into the game and created a profile for him. Instead of getting fired, the chick who was playing the game became the lead developer in their research and development section, and they refined the process.

They created the game DSR and made the headsets and console easily accessible to the general public, which connects them to the main servers of the game.

The process of logging in relaxes all aspects of that person's body, allowing for a great night's sleep, which in turn means that almost everyone goes to sleep by logging into DSR now. During the trials, the developers found out that they virtually cured some mental illnesses like insomnia. This then opened a crap load of doors to grants, private funding, government funding, and the creation of a trillion-dollar private company almost overnight.

These days the cost of membership with the DSR Corporation is about a thousand dollars per year. A lot of the major companies around the world now actually pay for their employees' accounts due to their ability to still work while sleeping and as part of their health packages, just like dental. It kind of sucks for the little guy, but at the same time, they get their access paid for with benefits.

The main reason though is that when people are logged in to the lobby, they can invite other people to join them in the space they have created. This opens the door for not needing face-to-face meetings in real life; they can meet up in game face-to-face if they want to.

This also created a lot of divorces due to the husband or the wife cheating on their partner in game and being caught out because they had given their partner full access and were then virtually caught in the act.

Ha! Unintended pun.

Probably the most profound aspect of the breakthrough this game created is that a large percentage of coma patients that were trialled with the DSR headgear were able to log in within moments. This in turn sparked an amazing amount of research, and then they systematically began curing the majority of coma patients in the world with this technology. Not everyone was able to be cured, as their neural pathways just didn't have that spark of life in them anymore, but still, they took what they could get.

Now they weren't cured overnight per se, as they had physical damage in their neural mapping that needed to be repaired. Those neural pathways slowly rebuilt themselves over the course of up to three months in game time. Each and every one of the patients in comas who were able to log in to the game were rehabilitated back into the waking world.

The companies running the now empty coma wards were bought up on the cheap by the DSR Corporation. They retrained all their staff to be able to cater for the people who wanted to stay in game for as long as possible, only coming out to eat and exercise before heading back in. War vets and amputees or just closet shut-ins were the majority of their patients to begin with. Then came the old and senile, which sparked a whole new section of housing for the elderly.

DSR now has their hands in so many pies that they have become an unofficial world power. They are invited to many of the meetings involving leaders around the world to discuss the world's future and their role in it.

But all that jazz is for people more intelligent than me. I stopped reading the papers long ago, so I don't much care for the political bullshit anymore. I do, however, care that I'll be able to maybe get some extra dosh to spend on some stuff in game before the final countdown soon.

The boss's health is quite low now, as we are in the final phase of this fight, and it's been slowly whittling away as we chatter. We have already passed the phase with the stomping stun and have reached the burn phase. By that I mean deal damage as quickly as possible, as it is almost dead.

With a splutter and a gurgle, the flames die away and there is finally a new paperweight adorning the floor of the cavern. Least the paper won't catch fire now that we put it out.

"Phew!" sighs Dosan, wiping the imaginary sweat from his brow, and he gives the rest of us a mock pout. "My health didn't even go down past ninety percent, Ifalna. And I was really trying that time."

"That's it!" growls Ifalna, marching after Dosan, who starts running away with a gleeful expression. "Next time you stand in fire, I'm not healing your scrawny ass. Mark my words! I'm sure whatever we are facing at the time will love some BBQ summoner."

"Who's ready to see what dropped off the boss?" I ask quickly, trying to hide my grin at Dosan's antics.

Rubbing his hands together, Kazzrak touches the boss and wails in despair. "A pebble?! A bloody pebble?!"

Frowning, I also touch the boss, opening the loot window, and see that there is indeed a lootable pebble. "Have any of you ever heard of an unusable item named 'The Immovable Object' dropping from this boss?"

Ouch. Our last run of this place and the pet still didn't drop. Ugh. Sometimes luck just isn't on our side with loot.

"Let me take it. Maybe it will help me with the hurt Ifalna wants to put on me." Dosan laughs, keeping just out of the range of Ifalna.

The pebble abruptly disappears from the loot window and it closes automatically. The boss doesn't disappear yet though, as there are some professions that can harvest crafting materials from it, though we don't bother with that today.

"No, this will be my memento for all the time wasted trying to get the pet. Blasted thing, I just wanted a fire-breathing pet," mutters Kazzrak angrily.

"Alright, well, I should probably spend some time with Rosie before she goes to work today," I tell the others now that the boss fight is over.

"Fair enough," says Ezekial, shrugging. "I guess I'll log out too."

With a defeated sigh, Kazzrak pulls out his hearthstone, which will instantly teleport him to the last safe location he set it to.

"Don't worry, Kazzrak, I'll be your wingman tonight at work. It will make you feel better." Dosan grins as he slaps Kazzrak on the shoulder before they both disappear.

"See you tonight, Ifalna," I say, using my own hearthstone, and once in my safe room, I promptly log out.

Getting up out of bed and stretching, I see that Rosie is still sleeping. She is a blonde bombshell and all tangled up in the covers. She really is cute when she drools on the pillow.

It still amazes me and is a little bit of contention in our relationship that she doesn't use the headgear from DSR. She's one of the people who has an issue with it and won't put it on because she thinks that the government will one day control everyone with it.

It's not that I don't understand her fears, but at the moment it's as safe as it can be, and there is a lot of good in the world being done by the DSR Corporation.

I let out a sigh as I think about the last few months, where she has been putting more and more pressure on me to quit the game entirely.

Fixing us both some breakfast and some coffee, I come back into the bedroom and give her a smile as she wakes to the smell of bacon and coffee.

"Finally up, eh?" I ask, raising an eyebrow.

Groaning, she opens her eyes and stretches. Yep, definitely glad she flashed me a smile and introduced herself the day we met.

As she sits up, I place her tray over her legs and sit down beside her in bed with my own.

She picks up the coffee and inhales the fumes before taking a tiny sip. "Thanks, Donald, you really know how to treat a girl nicely."

Shrugging, I look at the clock on the bedside table and frown. "Don't you have work in, like, an hour, Rosie?"

Her eyes shoot to the clock beside the bed. "Oh shit! I'm going to be late! They are making me start early today to try to cover all the shifts that aren't filled yet, considering it's my day off tomorrow and I told them I'm not coming in."

She starts cramming food into her mouth and I sigh, various thoughts of fantasies floating away.

Oh well.

Rosie is finished eating well before me, as I take my time and enjoy the food and coffee. She's then up and flying around the house in a whirlwind as she gets ready.

"So, are you still good with the boys coming around tomorrow night for the release of DSR2? Did you want anything in particular to eat or drink for the BBQ before the new game starts?" I ask when Rosie comes back into the room, looking all professional.

Her pretty face turns into a scowl at that. "I'd forgotten about that, but whatever. I have a shopping spree planned with the girls anyway. I don't know when I'll be home. I have to go."

"Oh, ok," I say glumly. I should have known any mention of DSR2 was going to get that reaction. "Have a good day at work."

"Thanks, you too." She flicks me a wave as she leaves.

Pulling out my tablet, I open a pretty exciting book I've recently started, about a guy whose life gets pretty shitty, as he gets sent to virtual prison to mine rocks as a shaman. It only gets better and better as I keep reading.

Eventually my alarm to make dinner and get ready for work goes off. Sitting up, I realise I have been lying about all day. Damn. I keep doing that when I read good books. Why does it have to end?

Cleaning up everything from earlier by throwing it in the dishwasher, I start cooking dinner.

Work nights are pretty simple. Before work I'll make enough food to have a full meal for both of us when I get home and after I wake up. I'm really lazy and only like making food once a day when I work unless I'm cooking for others. Tonight, I have some fried teriyaki chicken with udon noodles and veggies. Yum, I tell you.

Getting ready myself, I take the motorbike to work. I also own a kitted-up four-wheel drive, but I let Rosie use that to get around. Sometimes I regret it, because in winter I freeze my ass off on the bike. Luckily the winter has just passed and it's starting to warm up a bit now. Blessed heat.