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Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Oneiros
September 24, 20XX

The sky is overcast, and the air carries a chill—autumn seems to be starting early this year. You have arrived, after a long ride on a chartered bus, at the Oneiros Institute facility that is to become your new home for the indefinite future, somewhere in the Great Lakes area. (The brochures weren’t entirely clear precisely where, and the bus took a long and confusing series of back roads that didn’t exactly make it any clearer.)

Your opportunities to socialize amongst each other on the bus were minimal, as you were handed a ream of paperwork that needed to be read and signed: nondisclosure agreements, various waivers, releases, outlines of the procedure, agreements for the lease of the apartment, network use policy—a seemingly endless pile of documents, as if it hadn’t been bad enough with the initial paperwork. You’ve exchanged no more than a few words with your fellow passengers. Altogether, there are a few people on the bus outside of the six of you, though you are kept too busy with all the paperwork and other nonsense to really have an opportunity to chat.

As you disembark from the bus, a woman in her 40s approaches the bus from the direction of the main building. Her hair is pulled back into a loose bun, and she has an ID card in a laminate around her neck. She is carrying a clipboard, and a number of other ID cards dangle from her hand as well. She adjusts her glasses and introduces herself.

“Hi, everyone. My name is Sarah LeJeune, and I want to welcome you all to the Oneiros Institute. Did everyone read the brochures? Good. I am one of the primary researchers here, so we’ll get to know each other well, I’m sure. Now, I’m going to call your names out, and I’ve got everyone’s ID cards here with me. After I pass these out, I’ll give you the tour of the site. Don’t worry about your luggage—our facilities crew will bring it to your rooms for you. Now then…”

She begins calling out names.

Please post character sheets in your first post, and respond to Sarah calling your name and providing you your ID card.

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hctibyllis
Aug 24, 2012

Her mouth was sewn shut but her eyes were still wide
Gazing through the fog to the other side




As the bus shudders to a stop, I peer out of the tinted windows at our destination. My bleary eyes are met by a huge, sprawling mass of buildings surrounded by forest, like some kind of hidden ‘compound’ you would see in a Bond movie or whatever. Personally, I was a bit fascinated by all the green, having never set foot out of the dense, metropolitan jungle of NYC. Sure, we have our neatly cultivated parks, but this area of the country seemed like it was almost entirely made up of an overwhelming sea of leaves. At least the scenery had helped to pass the time while filling out countless retarded forms. I mean really, what the hell? Do we have to fill out a questionnaire every time we piss, too?

Oneiros has apparently isolated themselves from civilization here, carving out a little secret patch well away from the prying eyes of suburbia. Despite having a certain natural aesthetic, the creepy ambience does little to ease my already frayed nerves. I’ve been clean for weeks, having flown directly from rehab to the airport where they picked us up; but I still get shivers, shakes and sweats occasionally. I notice my hand is trembling on my guitar case, and I make a serious effort to pull myself together. After all, Heart is here with me; and she’s probably just as jittery as I am. I have to be cool for her.

Gently nudging her with my elbow, I whisper into her ear, “Rise and shine. Welcome to Wonkaland.” Actually a better comparison would be Dr. Moreau’s island, perhaps. God. What have I got us into?

Heart raises her head sleepily from my shoulder, pushing her bright orange bangs back behind her ear. “Wh-gently caress..? Oh. We’re here? Oh poo poo.”

She straightens herself up and quickly pulls a compact from her purse, checking her reflection in an adorable fashion. I slide my arm casually around her waist and look around at the other passengers. There are a few older folks, but mostly everyone is young, like us: a dweeby-looking guy; a Muslim person (hard to get a good look with the head covering); a twitchy, mousy girl who looked like she was muttering something to herself; a brooding red-head, and…

“Holy poo poo, Heart! Don’t look. Don’t. Look… but I think that’s loving Izzie Wilson back there!” Of course she snaps her head around to gawk. I pinch her arm, “Don’t stare! drat… that guy was on the Olympic team a few years ago, wasn’t he?”

My girlywhirl covers her gaping mouth and nods, eyes wide with awe. “Ohmahgawd. He’s, like, famous! Why is he here?”

Before I can respond with any bewildered speculation, a robotic voice spits out abruptly from a speaker at the front of the bus:

“WELCOME LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. YOU HAVE ARRIVED AT THE HEADQUARTERS OF ONEIROS MEDICAL AND SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH FACILITIES. PLEASE EXIT THE VEHICLE IN AN ORDERLY FASHION AND WAIT FOR OUR STAFF TO ESCORT YOU. WELCOME LADIES AND-“

“OKAY WE GET IT. gently caress.” My head feels like it’s starting to rip apart, and my medication is packed away in my bags, which are stuffed in the luggage compartment under the bus. I get to my feet and bark at the driver, “Can you shut that piece of poo poo, off? Or is audio surprise sex part of the therapy here?”

The man behind the wheel flips a switch and the Voice of God stops its assault on my eardrums. “Sorry, darlin’. It’s automatic. You all are good to get out here.”

“Thanks, I think we figured that out.” I hate it when guys call me “darling”. Picking up my guitar case, I let Heart get out first, then follow her onto the blacktop. As everyone files out of the stuffy bus, I purvey the scene. Tall, shiny buildings with tall, shiny windows, and probably tall, shiny people happily working their lives away within. No sooner did the image come to mind than a six foot lady in a flowing lab coat comes striding out through the massive, glistening doors of the central structure before us, beaming brightly. She introduces herself as “Sarah”, and starts reading off our names like we’re products in a meat market.

“Andrea Bailey?”

With a roll of my eyes I step forward to get my little badge of honor. Obviously they didn’t read the part of my application where I mentioned preferring ‘Nil’ to my given name. Wonder what else they missed?

As I take the card I offer the lady a dry smile, “Thanks, but I’ll be keeping my guitar with me for now; ‘till I get my room. Too many fumbling fuckwits have dropped my baby already. Less you wanna reimburse me with an Alexi-600 ESP, of course.”

pre:
WAKING SELF



Name: Andrea “Nil” Bailey

Age: 19

Appearance:
female
5’6” / 115 lbs / turquoise eyes (contacts, normal = blue)
short blonde hair with pink highlights

Attributes
Physical: 2d6+1
Mental: 2d6
Social: 2d6+1

Qualities

Mental
Conviction: 0
Intellect: 0
Wits: +1

Physical
Dexterity: +1
Fortitude: 0
Strength: 0

Social
Charisma: +2
Dignity: 0
Manipulation: +2

Derived Values
Health: 7
Sanity: 6
Grace: 7

Skills
  • Academics: 0
  • Animal Handling: 0
  • Athletics: 1
  • Computers: 1
  • Conversation: 2
  • Crafts: 0
  • Defense: 1
  • Dodge: 2
  • *Dream Navigation: 0
  • *Dream Shaping: 0
  • Drive: 0
  • Firearms: 1
  • Hunting: 0
  • Languages: 0
  • Law: 1
  • *Magic: 1
  • Medicine: 0
  • Melee: 1
  • Occult: 0
  • Science: 0
  • Stealth: 2
  • Streetwise: 3
  • Survival: 1
  • Tracking: 0
  • Unarmed: 2
  • Writing: 1
[Andrea has some skills she’s picked up from a hard life of juvenile delinquency and living on the streets; particularly fighting, sneaking around and learning how to survive on her own. She’s learned a bit about the judicial system from her experiences in dealing with various courts and having got into tiffs with the law on multiple occasions, and she can fast talk her way out of trouble usually. There’s something magical about how she can control large crowds with her intoxicating charisma…] Advantages “Get in the Pit, bitches! Bleed for me!” Andrea has a rockstar persona, for sure. Still, it’s quite uncanny how willing people are to follow her brutal, often dangerous whims. It’s extremely hard to ignore her, and she’s often the center of attention, even when not on stage. Whether it’s her sexy looks, magnetic aura or her silver tongue, she is the very definition of temptation. “Don’t disappoint me. That’s not even gonna leave a scar.” She may not always win her fights, but that’s not the point. ‘Nil’ just wants to get wet. Blood, sweat, cum, whatever. Her love of violence gets her into plenty of trouble, but also grants her remarkable courage. If someone is too squeamish or scared to continue, you can bet Andrea will be there to pick up the slack. She’s that friend of yours who screams “YOLO” before pogo-sticking through a wedding ceremony to ninja-kiss the bride. (Except she doesn’t really say that ‘cause it’s totes lame.) ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ DREAM SELF Name: “Drew” Age: ??? Appearance: male, seemingly in his mid-twenties 6’1” / 175 lbs / one eye is red, the other is blue / dark hair [“Drew” is a manifestation of Andrea’s innermost desires. His blue eye can see true beauty and goodness, while the red eye can see true evil and horror. Occasionally one of the eyes will go blind, however, causing chaos and confusion; which not only effects Drew, but also possibly the dreamscape as well. With a greatly enhanced perspective, reading people intentions comes quite easily to him, as well as a supernatural ability to manipulate others.] Attributes Physical: 1d6+2 Mental: 2d6 Social: 3d6 Qualities Mental Conviction: 0 Intellect: 0 Wits: +2 Physical Dexterity: 0 Fortitude: 0 Strength: 0 Social Charisma: +1 Dignity: 0 Manipulation: +3 Derived Values Health: 5 Sanity: 6 Grace: 9 Dreamstuff: 0

HiKaizer
Feb 2, 2012

Yes!
I finally understand everything there is to know about axes!


Bernard Smith

Bernard actually read what he was singing and tried to make out what it was. However mostly what he figured out was that they were not going to really get to talk about it to other people outside, as there was an iron curtain in effect through agreements and through lack of outgoing connections. What was it they were going to do that was so secretive? Where they going to be guinea pigs for a supersoldier serum test? Well Bernard could think of worse things he supposed, and assuming he survived whatever it was if he ended up injured he'd have good leverage to get a juicy hush money payout.

But then they were there and Bernard made his way off of the bus. He'd had his Kindle but not really had the chance to use it much. The day was sunny and he squinted a little as he adjusted to the outdoors conditions. When Sarah read out his name he stepped forward and took the card. Bernard gave her an odd look, but could not actually muster up the courage to make a comment about the strange conditions of the program and simply mumbled instead. "Nice to meet you Sarah." Was what he mumbled and Bernard shuffled back to the group and waited.


quote:

Bernard Smith

Realworld

Physical 2d6+1
Strength +1
Dexterity
Fortitude +1

Mental 2d6+1
Intellect +1
Wits +1
Conviction

Social 2d6
Charisma
Manipulation
Dignity +2

Academics 2
Athletics 1
Computers 3
Defense 1
Dodge 1
*Dream Navigation 1
*Dream Shaping 1
Firearms 1
Law 1
Medicine 1
Occult 1
Science 2
Survival 1
Unarmed 1
Writing 2

Dream Self



What does it matter if you hurt someone in a Dream? It's not real after all. In the Dream World Bernard is what he wishes to be, strong and powerful while being just as smart as he is in the real world. He can lash out at anyone who tries to hurt him and make them them hurt instead. This repressed anger and urge for violence expresses itself in his demonic visage, influenced from the many novels he has read and games he has played.

Physical 3d6+1
Strength +2
Dexterity
Fortitude

Mental 2d6+1
Intellect +1
Wits +1
Conviction

Social 1d6+1
Charisma +1
Manipulation +1
Dignity


Advantages:

This is just like this book I read...
Bernard has read a lot of books and played a lot of games. While this isn't exactly a helpful encyclopedia of knowledge for any situation Bernard does know a lot of conventions and tropes, as well as the ways to break them as well. In situations that relate to or are similar to such things he can draw on this knowledge for extra insight. The real world isn't often like in books or games though, that's why they're an escape mechanism.

Cop it on the chin
A lifetime of hurts and abuse, real or perceived, have taught Bernard to simply take things and to remain outwardly calm or unaffected by it. The pain is the same inside, as are any desires for revenge or feelings of betrayal, but Bernard is good at not outwardly showing such things


Derived Values:
Health: 8/10
Sanity: 7/7
Grace: 8/4

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

Let's get serious!!


Isaac "Izzie" Wilson

During the ride, Isaac initially read the paper work closely. His experience with contract negotiations, not to mention having to deal with immigration and visas, had taught him to very careful with anything he signed. After a while, though, he stopped and stared out the window for a while. Everything he'd read was legal, if alarming, but more importantly, who exactly was he going to raise a protest to over anything in this?

Eventually he finished reading and signing what was left - there wasn't much else to do on this ride, and there was always a small chance it could be useful. Not very likely though. The ride itself didn't bother him too much - reminded him of road trips, of which he'd been on plenty. Just thinking of it that way helped to fend off some of the anxiety.

When the bus finally stopped, Isaac waited for everyone else to get off first, then unfolded himself out of the seat and squeezed out of the bus. As he stepped off, he put on his sunglasses and put his hands in the small of his back, turning to work the kinks out of it - and using that as an excuse to take a look around. Not much to see. They really were in the middle of nowhere.

Isaac stepped forward when his name was called and accepted the card graciously - might as well see what's going on before starting trouble. "Thank you, Ms. LeJeune. Or is it Doctor? I'd appreciate a tour. Sounds like we're all going to be here for a while." He tries out a smile, adding, "Might want to start with the restrooms, after a long ride like that. I wouldn't complain about a stop by the cafeteria, or where ever you're serving dinner, either."

quote:

Isaac "Izzie" Wilson


Physical 2d6+1
Dexterity +2
Fortitude +1
Strength +1

Mental 2d6
Conviction
Intellect
Wits

Social 2d6+1
Charisma
Dignity
Manipulation

Academics
Animal Handling
Athletics 3
Computers
Conversation 3
Crafts
Defense 1
Dodge 2
*Dream Navigation
*Dream Shaping
Drive
Firearms
Hunting
Languages 3
Law 2
*Magic
Medicine
Melee
Occult
Science
Stealth
Streetwise 2
Survival
Tracking
Unarmed 2
Writing 2


Dream Self: Azimov

Physical 1d6+1
Dexterity +1
Fortitude +0
Strength +0

Mental 2d6+2
Conviction +1
Intellect +1
Wits +1

Social 2d6+2
Charisma +1
Dignity +1
Manipulation +0

Advantages

Stranger in a Strange Land
Isaac has never really fit in anywhere, but in his wide travels and varied experiences allow him to adjust rapidly to new situations and interact with strange and foreign people and customs without losing his equanimity. He knows how to figure out how to get along in a new place without giving offense, and how to get what he needs even when he doesn't know the language.

Good Teammate
Unless you have freakish athletic talent, you only get so far in basketball on your own. Good players learn when to defer to their team mates, when to pick them up, when to have their backs. Isaac can put aside his own ego for the good of the team, and understands the value of loyalty. He knows that teams work best when everyone knows where they stand and what their role is, and as long as it serves the collective good, he's willing to take a back seat when it's for the benefit of the group.

Derived Values

Waking Self
Health: 8
Sanity: 6
Grace: 7

Dream Self
Health: 4
Sanity: 9
Grace: 9

Comrade Gorbash fucked around with this message at Jul 19, 2013 around 04:04

zachol
Feb 13, 2009


Lara Planchart

Today had been an alright day for Lara. She knew it was coming, the voices were quiet, and she'd been able to spend the bus ride in silence, pressed up against the window. The papers... well, I'm not sure what they expected to get out of her, but she did try her best. Answering what she could, signing when prompted by an X. Karen (her watcher) had gone over a lot of the paperwork before, and she remembered quite a few details well enough to scribble them down.
At one point, the words started getting hazy, overlapping on themselves, very nearly swirling. Lara had managed not to cry out, just shut her eyes and waited. But it passed, the pills did their job, and she came to scrunched up against the window. The dull regular hum of the bus helped a lot.

Outside the bus, Lara shuffled off to the side, arms crossed, though she managed to keep herself from hunching over, or giving everyone wild, fearful glances. Just had to focus on the ground, or on the bus, but then someone had called out her name, and she'd had to bite off a yelp.
She shuffled forward, taking the offered card, slipping it in a pocket, and shuffling back away, avoiding eye contact, or any other sort of communication.

pre:
Attributes
Physical  2d6 + 2
Mental    2d6
Social    2d6

Qualities
Physical
Strength:     +1 (3d6)
Dexterity:    +0 (2d6+2)
Fortitude:    +1 (3d6)

Mental
Intellect:    +0 (2d6)
Wits:         +0 (2d6)
Conviction:   +2 (2d6+2)

Social
Charisma:     +2 (2d6+2)
Manipulation: +0 (2d6)
Dignity:      +0 (2d6)

Derived Values
Health: 9
Sanity: 8
Grace:  6

----

Skills
  • Academics: 0
  • Animal Handling: 0
  • Athletics: 3
  • Computers: 0
  • Conversation: 2
  • Crafts: 3
  • Defense: 2
  • Dodge: 1
  • Dream Navigation: 2
  • Dream Shaping: 2
  • Drive: 0
  • Firearms: 0
  • Hunting: 0
  • Languages: 0
  • Law: 0
  • Magic: 2
  • Medicine: 0
  • Melee: 0
  • Occult: 0
  • Science: 0
  • Stealth: 3
  • Streetwise: 0
  • Survival: 1
  • Tracking: 0
  • Unarmed: 2
  • Writing: 0
---- Dream Self Appearance Identical to her waking form--oddly identical, in fact, no apparent physical differences or "special effects" or the like. Except, of course, for the fact that the dream form is freed of the schizophrenia. Dream Attributes Physical 2d6 Mental 2d6 + 1 Social 2d6 + 1 Dream Qualities Physical Strength: +0 (2d6) Dexterity: +0 (2d6) Fortitude: +1 (2d6+1) Mental Intellect: +1 (2d6+2) Wits: +1 (2d6+2) Conviction: +1 (2d6+2) Social Charisma: +1 (2d6+2) Manipulation: +0 (2d6+1) Dignity: +1 (2d6+2) Dream Derived Values Health: 7 Sanity: 8 Grace: 8 ---- Advantages Schizophrenia: You suffer from schizophrenia. Initially, this will be little more than a mild derangement of thought and rare hallucinations, though it will eventually progress into a severe disconnect from reality. There are no explicit mechanical effects, but in general some forms of mental or social attack will simply not function (there is nothing to attack), and the effects of lost sanity will often manifest in line with this condition. Similarly, many types of mental or social actions are simply not possible, or at least extremely difficult. What would be normal interaction for someone else might require a roll to accomplish, and any sort of finesse or tact is out of reach. Dream Ease: Dreaming comes easily and naturally to you. You are always in your element, you always enter and exit the dreams quickly and cleanly, and you are never disoriented by the act of dreaming itself, though of course beings within the dream can still cause disorientation or harm, as can overexertion or overuse of shaping or magic. Furthermore, the state of your body or your mind in the waking world never has an effect on your dream self (excepting death, presumably).

zachol fucked around with this message at Feb 18, 2014 around 04:08

saberwulf
Mar 3, 2009

Pipe rifles and snack cakes.


Ishikawa Fatimah

Fatimah read the papers like a hawk. It wasn't really out of interest, but out of anger at Oneiros taking her camera away. What were a few harmless pictures of a bus, corporate logos and legal documents gonna do? She had a really great photoset of a weird bug on that roll, too. Sure, it was probably mutated from factory runoff, but where else do you find a violet mantis with two heads? Fatimah relegated herself, once the papers were read, to pushing her sneakers against the empty seat in front of her and staring at the forest that engulfed the institute.

She didn't like it. It reminded her of the time when she was very young and the family took a trip to Mount Fuji, including Aokigahara. The endless trees, the shadows, the lack of wind or sound— It still unnerves her, even now.

When the bus finally came to a stop, she hauled herself up and outside, taking her card with a smile.

"Arigato, Ms. LeJeune. Fatimah Ishikawa, though you probably know that. Excuse me, but is there any specific reason they took my camera away, and am I gonna get it back any time soon? It's got one hell of a price tag."

quote:

Ishikawa Fatimah



1) Well, I was attending UCLA until I received this "opportunity". Otherwise, I'm from Toda, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. It's a rarely exciting suburb of Tokyo, but it happens to have a high Muslim population and it was close to Dad's job. Beats Afghanistan by a mile, at least.

2) Twenty one on the dot, chief. They serve tequila here?

3) You may have guessed from the hijab that I'm Muslim, and you may have guessed from the last comment that I'm not particularly a good one. I feel guilty about it sometimes, but my father never set the warmest example for the faith when I was young. I still respect Islam because of my grandfather, though, and try to pray at least once a week to make up for it in a small way.

4) My father is Japanese, but converted to Islam back in college. He lived in Afghanistan for a few years before he met my mom, and then the war broke out and they fled back to Japan together. He likes to boast about being a hero, but I know he was scared shitless the whole time.

Mom's a pretty quiet person, but loving, and really got along well with being a Japanese housewife. Sometimes I feel like she's keeping the faith up just to appease Dad, though.

And then there's my Grandpa. A wrinkly old Afghan coot with a huge grey beard and a stick always at the ready to crack you on the feet for being disrespectful. Despite that, the man's my role model. He taught me all I know about life, belief, people, and how to prepare goat a million and one ways, each of them drat good. Despite living in the mountains, he gets internet service, so we talk through email. I haven't seen my grandparents on my Dad's side since the incident at dinner a few years back.

As for close friends, I only just got to UCLA, so none in America. Though I still talk to my friends back home; my best friend Kimiko is studying fashion design in Tokyo. My childhood friend Tadakuni was running the family convenience store when I left. I miss them.

5) I was attending UCLA for a degree in Photojournalism. I'd only been there for just over a week when I got Oneiros' message.

6) I didn't tell my parents. My father's constant lording over me growing up doesn't exactly make me jump at the chance for him to know every iota of my life. Grandpa seemed suspicious, however. He didn't like the sound of people crawling into my head like that, said it was too personal. I'm inclined to agree with him, but at the same time I'm quietly excited to see if Oneiros can really do what they say.

7) To find my own identity. I've been living under labels my whole life, and I want to learn who I really am inside.

8) Helplessness. When I was sixteen I traveled to Afghanistan to see the family, and when I broke away from my parents on a crowded city street, a man grabbed me by the waist and attempted to pull me into the back of a car sitting in an adjacent alley. I managed to elbow him int the face and run away, but I still wake up in a cold sweat from nightmares where I wasn't quick enough.

9) My cocksure, rebellious attitude is all an act. If I were to let someone get too close and something happened to them/they did something to me, it would trigger my fear of helplessness to a degree I'm not sure I could handle.

10) Photography's always been a big thing for me, of course. So far I've really only snapped some pictures of life in and around Tokyo, but who's to say I won't be the next Steve McCurry? I'm also huge on swimming— I love the rush of my skin prickling as it hits the cool water. My mother taught me how to play the Rubab, and I'd say I'm pretty great at it. I'm really into hiking as another outdoor activity.

Waking Self

pre:
Attributes
Physical 2d6
Mental 2d6 + 1
Social 2d6 + 1

Qualities
Physical
Strength: +0
Dexterity: +1
Fortitude: +0

Mental
Intellect:+1
Wits: +2
Conviction: +0

Social
Charisma: +1
Manipulation: +1
Dignity: +0

Skills
  • Academics: 1
  • Animal Handling: 0
  • Athletics: 1
  • Computers: 1
  • Conversation: 2
  • Crafts: 2
  • Defense: 0
  • Dodge: 1
  • *Dream Navigation: 0
  • *Dream Shaping: 1
  • Drive: 0
  • Firearms: 1
  • Hunting: 0
  • Languages: 2
  • Law: 1
  • *Magic: 0
  • Medicine: 1
  • Melee: 1
  • Occult: 1
  • Science: 0
  • Stealth: 1
  • Streetwise: 0
  • Survival: 2
  • Tracking: 1
  • Unarmed : 0
  • Writing: 0
Dream Self


Fatimah imagines herself in dream form as a great Muslim warrior, clad in gilded steel armor and wielding a mighty blade. Upon her head is a hijab of brilliant white and gold silk, and an ethereal green radiance shines from both eyes.

pre:
Attributes
Physical 2d6 + 1
Mental 2d6 + 1
Social 2d6 + 0

Qualities
Physical
Strength: +1
Dexterity: +0
Fortitude: +2

Mental
Intellect: +0
Wits: +1
Conviction: +1

Social
Charisma: +0
Manipulation: +0
Dignity: +1
Advantages
The Roots Beneath
Though she doesn't know it, Fatimah is, on both sides of the family, descended from legendary warriors and strategists of the ancient world. While this has only ever manifested in the real world as an occasional gut feeling steering her along, in the dream world these spirits might manifest as much more.

Trust Me, I've Been There
Fatimah has struggled with stress her entire life, whether it be from change, self-image, the opinions of others, or the constant lording of her father. Because of this, people find a strange comfort in Fatimah when they're in an emotional situation. Trust her— She's been there.

Waking Self Derived Values
Health: 6
Sanity: 7
Grace: 7

Dream Self Derived Values
Health: 9
Sanity: 8
Grace: 7
Dreamstuff: 0

rakovsky maybe
Nov 4, 2008


Maureen Krukowski

The ride had been peaceful enough, Maureen supposed. She had tried to keep track of their location - growing up in Chicago and living in Michigan she knew the area pretty well. Her and Stan used to go hiking around Lake Michigan, when they were young and in love and spent their money on silly things like vacations. Now Stan was gone and she was here. The papers were signed quickly, Maureen was bright enough to know she would never make sense of that legalese. And what would putting up a fight accomplish, anyways? The government always got what it wanted nowadays, and if it wanted her then there was nothing she or anyone else could do about it.

Maureen recalled her priest railing against the government's use of stem cells and even scarier stuff like cloning in their medical experiments. The US Catholic Conference of Bishops whined about it for a while until it fell out of the news cycle. Every now and then the collection was to help some pro-life group protest the latest scientific abomination, but even Maureen knew those groups were toothless. The government allowed some once a year chanting in exchange for 364 days of silence. Besides, Maureen thought while clutching the medallion around her neck, what difference would it really make if the government infected her with a new disease, grew more Maureens from her dead skin cells, or even vivisected her. She had packed her few possessions while standing in an empty home and looking at pictures of a dead husband. One was in her bag now. Her job was a dead-end and going back to school was impossibly expensive. Plus the only field hiring was medical, and Maureen's ethics would at least sooner put her as the subject of an experiment than its perpetrator.

Everyone on the bus seemed nice, except for the loud punk girl. Possibly lesbian? Maureen tried not to be judgmental but the girl was making a bit of a scene - yelling at the bus driver and all. Maureen was only 24 but she felt old and out of touch when confronted by many of the people in her generation, especially the spoiled party kids. Were they still emo? Maybe it was scene or hipster? Maureen had been a goth a decade after that was a tired cliche, and then had lost touch with all those subcultures. She just sighed quietly to herself and went back to staring out the window.

Following the line of people leaving the bus and lining up, Maureen tried to stay small and unassuming. There was no good reason to draw attention to herself. When Ms. LeJeune announced that luggage would be taken by someone else though, Maureen glanced back toward the bus nervously. Would they take the picture of her and Stan? She tried to get rid of the thought, after all they shouldn't really care that she had a picture at all. She hoped they wouldn't go through her stuff but suspected that was being naive. Nevertheless it bugged her, and she continued to glance back at the bus until her name was called.

Once she heard her name called out, Maureen approached Ms. LeJeune silently and took her id card with a tiny nervous nod. She quickly stepped back into line, trying to avoid eye contact with everyone.

quote:

Maureen Krukowski



Part 1: Waking Self

pre:
Attributes
Physical 2d6
Mental 2d6 + 1
Social 2d6 + 1

Qualities
Physical
Strength: +0
Dexterity: +0
Fortitude: +1

Mental
Intellect:+0
Wits: +1
Conviction: +2

Social
Charisma: +1
Manipulation: +0
Dignity: +1

Skills
  • Academics: 0
  • Animal Handling: 3
  • Athletics: 1
  • Computers: 0
  • Conversation: 1
  • Crafts: 2
  • Defense: 0
  • Dodge: 2
  • *Dream Navigation: 0
  • *Dream Shaping: 1
  • Drive: 1
  • Firearms: 1
  • Hunting: 1
  • Languages: 0
  • Law: 0
  • *Magic: 1
  • Medicine: 1
  • Melee: 0
  • Occult: 2
  • Science: 0
  • Stealth: 0
  • Streetwise: 0
  • Survival: 1
  • Tracking: 1
  • Unarmed : 0
  • Writing: 1
Part Two: The Dream Self



Appearance: Maureen in the dream world is a twisted version of herself. Pale and with hair so dark as to almost be black, she is covered by a cowl of crow feathers. Her voice is icy and alien, and her feet hover a few inches above the ground. Her eyes are obscured by shadow unless put under direct light, when two yellow avian orbs can be seen.

pre:
Attributes
Physical 2d6 + 2
Mental 2d6 + 2
Social 1d6 + 1

Qualities
Physical
Strength: +1
Dexterity: +0
Fortitude: +1

Mental
Intellect: +1
Wits: +2
Conviction: +1

Social
Charisma: +0
Manipulation: +0
Dignity: +0
Part Three: Advantages

Articles of Faith: Maureen carries or wears a number of religious artifacts on her person. These include her mother's rosary, a Celtic cross bracelet, and a St. Michael pendant necklace. She also has a triquetra tattoo from her younger days on her back left shoulder which she keeps covered as much as possible. In trying times Maureen takes comfort and solace in these symbols, lending her bravery, courage, and strength.

A Murder of Crows: Unfortunate things happen around and to Maureen. People tend to get hurt a little more than chance would dictate. She is Murphy's Law in action, a perpetual jinx. Otherwise friendly negotiations might break down, an unforeseen problem might arise, and in general chaos will ensue. This is often a curse to Maureen, but can prove helpful when strife is necessary for a quick getaway or when actively trying to inflict harm.

Are these okay? Too paranormal? I envision them being quite weak in the real world and stronger in the dream world, if that distinction will make sense.

Part Four: Derived Values

Waking Self:
Health: 7
Sanity: 9
Grace: 8

Dream Self:
Health: 9
Sanity: 9
Grace: 4
Dreamstuff: 0

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Oneiros Institute

"That's fine, Ms. Bailey," LeJeune says in response to Nil's insistence on keeping her guitar. "I certainly understand, my husband is a musician himself."


"It is Dr. LeJeune, actually," LeJeune replies to Izzie, with a smile. "Don't worry, we normally stop by the restrooms first thing. And Ms. Ishikawa, I imagine they confiscated the camera to ensure the privacy and security of this facility's location--I'll see to it personally that it is returned to you as soon as possible."

A couple of other names remain, as well. At "Iris Kim," an Asian woman of surprising size--she stands about six foot two, and seems to be quite fit--steps forward and, scowling, accepts her ID card.

"Axel Russel" is a squat, heavyset guy in his late teens or early 20s, built solid, steps up with an easy grin.

"Hey, Doc," he says, leering, "what are you doing after the tour finishes? Got time maybe for a more...private showing?"

LeJeune frowns slightly. "That's Dr. LeJeune, Mr. Russel," she replies coolly, "and I make a rule never to become involved with my subjects, even before I was married." She smoothly moves past him, glancing at her clipboard. "James Moon?" The last of the passengers shuffles forward, a large man in his mid twenties, slightly overweight, taller than Iris Kim and as broad across the shoulders as Axel Russel, and collects his ID.

The tour that follows is fairly extensive--after a stop by the restrooms, as requested, you're given a quick run through the major areas of the facility. There are three main buildings, interconnected by multiple passages, and an outbuilding some distance away that houses the facility's power station and other utilities.

"We're a clean facility here," LeJeune explains, "in more ways than one. On the rooftops you'll notice new generation solar panels, which provide clean energy--they're quite expensive, but they allow us to be self sufficient and clean."

The main, central building is apparently referred to as the dorms. "This is where you'll be sleeping," LeJeune informs you. "Each of you has a suite assigned to you--we'll go over the procedures a little later in more detail, but whenever you sleep, you'll do so in your assigned bed, so that we can monitor your condition and other factors. I'm afraid that for the duration of this study, we're going to have to ask you to sleep alone--conjugal activities are permitted, and will be given utmost privacy, but for actual slumber, more than one occupant to the bed throws off the readings." She does not look at Nil as she says this, but given that none of the others brought along bedmates, it's easy to figure out who that comment is meant for. Iris Kim and Axel Russel both glance at Nil, Kim's face expressionless, Russel's leering.

The second largest building houses the entertainment facilities. "We've indoor and outdoor swimming pools, both Olympic sized. Similarly, we have indoor and outdoor basketball courts, a fully equipped gym, a baseball diamond, and a field in case you want to organize soccer or football teams. There are several dozen people living here full-time, so there's plenty of warm bodies if that's what you're into. We also have a library, which we keep stocked with the latest books, movies, and music--just because we aren't connected to the outside doesn't mean we're cut off from civilization!" LeJeune keeps a chipper attitude throughout.

Finally, the smallest building--though still fairly large--is where the majority of the research takes place. "This is where the magic happens," LeJeune tells you, standing outside. "For now, we'll end our tour here, since the details of the study are within. Ms. Bailey, your companion will have to stay outside--I can call Security and have a guide show her to her suite, if she'd like. It may be some time before we finish up inside. Apart from that, does anyone have any questions, before we continue?"

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

Let's get serious!!


Isaac "Izzie" Wilson

Izzie checks out his ID card, hoping they hadn't used the same picture as he had on his driver's license - last time he'd renewed, he'd just gotten off a flight from Moscow and he'd looked like he hadn't slept in a month. He checks out his new companions, too.

The punk girl, Andrea, is clearly trouble, but the kind that's most dangerous to herself. He'd seen her and her friend staring at him a bit on the bus too. Better to let them come talk to him - pushing on his end would just get their backs up. The other girl, Lara, has something off about her that Izzie decides to let be - he won't avoid her, but bothering her in a stressful moment like this seems like a bad idea. The red head, Maureen, seems sad and scared, which isn't an unreasonable reaction. Still, have to make the best of it - they were stuck here either way.

He can't help but grin when Fatimah jumps in. He likes her already - she seems like she doesn't take any crap, and with a name like that, Izzie has to figure she's been even more of an outsider than he has.

Izzie keeps an eye on this Russel character - maybe he's just a dumb kid, plenty of people could be a poo poo at that age, including him from time to time - but something about him makes Izzie especially uneasy. He also makes a mental note to talk to Iris Kim when he gets a chance - she strikes him as an athlete, possibly a professional or Olympic, or perhaps a martial artist. He knows the type, after all. Izzie doesn't know what to make of Moon yet - the big man seems a bit shy, but it could just be the situation. Could use a friend maybe. The Bernard guy he puts in the same category for the moment.

"Dr. LeJeune," Izzie puts a slight emphasis on the first part. "When you say clean, do you mean completely dry? I'm okay with that, though I've gotten used to a glass of wine with dinner. Just wanted to be clear is all."

"And, uh, when you mention the magic... is that something we'll be doing tonight? Or do we get some time to settle in first?"

zachol
Feb 13, 2009


Lara Planchart

At a lull in the questions, Lara steps forward.
"Um, is there..."
She stops, shutting her eyes and taking several short breaths, then nods and starts again.
"Is there... where are the medical facilities? And a pharmacy? How and when should I get my prescriptions?"

HiKaizer
Feb 2, 2012

Yes!
I finally understand everything there is to know about axes!


Bernard Smith

Bernard blinked at the casualness with which the doctor implied there would be people to have sex with. What the heck was going on here? They could have sex but not actually properly sleep together? He wondered exactly what was being researched here and why they couldn't communicate outwards. Half of his games ran online as well. Bernard sighed, he was going to miss a raid already. Sure they'd already cleared the boss and he had most of his gear but that wasn't the point. He mutely followed for now though, watching and making notes until he had a chance to clear his head on it later.

rakovsky maybe
Nov 4, 2008


Maureen Krukowski

Maureen blushes and frowns slightly at the suggestion that conjugal visits would be allowed. What sort of horrible place was this where you could have sex with someone but not sleep next to them? Some of the others seemed much too cheerful for this place - Axel was busy hitting on the doctor and Isaac seemed ready to make himself at home. The Japanese girl seemed okay if a bit brash. Lara and bernard were quiet, so Maureen instantly felt a closer affinity to them. Yet something seemed off about both.

Maureen continued following silently, shaking her head at the suggestion that she would have any questions at all.

hctibyllis
Aug 24, 2012

Her mouth was sewn shut but her eyes were still wide
Gazing through the fog to the other side



Most of the other 'patients' in our little group were interesting in their own way. Iris in particular seems a bit... different. Could she be...? Don't even think about it, idiot. Angel said asking that type of poo poo is rude as hell. I decide to keep my mouth shut and move on to the next sap. 'James Moon' sounds like the name of an early 60's singer/songwriter. Wonder if he plays? He could almost double for that Zac Brown douche. Hah!

Then there was Axel. Complete turd, but intriguing enough due to the fact that he'll almost certainly be the first person I scrap with. I try to ignore him when he starts making ape-face at Heart and I during LeJeune's spiel. I briefly make a fist, cracking my knuckles before responding to the Doc's implication.

“Whatever. She snores, anyways.”

Heart socks me on the shoulder for that and gets all huffy as we move along through the tour. Apparently there are even more people here, aside from our little group. I perk up a bit at the thought of potentially playing basketball with a pro like Izzie. No internet, though?! gently caress. I guess they were serious. There's a theater and a library and stuff, but I've always been more interested in inter-personal activities. Maybe they had a video game room or something as well? My skills with pew-pewing pixelated people are pretty pathetic; but I spent a considerable amount of my time floating at Fail's house, staring slack-jawed at the TV screen and watching him play. Since I have to stay clean here, I'll probably just work on songs in my spare time. Too bad there's no octagon.

As we arrive at our last stop, LeJeune says something that finally pushes my buttons. I snort and shake my head at Heart. Time to set some things straight.

“Look, lady.” I make an exasperated face at the doctor, waving my hands over Britney's head. “She's right here! We don't really appreciate the Third Person treatment, okay? You think we're just going to gently caress like rabbits all over your precious equipment or whatever; why don't you just be straight up about it? If this is how things are going to be, then me and Miss Conjugal here are just going to GeeTeeEffOH. Why don't you show us some respect? Or is that not on the schedule?”

I turn to Axel and walk over to him, getting right up in that fat, oily face. “And you, Fluffy McDouble-Chin. You're so loving fat I bet you sweat sprinkles. See something you like? Wanna make pigs-in-a-blanket? If I ever notice that fugly disaster you call a grill staring at either me or my girl again, the crack team of scientists here wont even be able extricate your balls from your stomach. Any thoughts rolling around in that lard-soup you call a brain? Fuckin' step up now, pork shoulder. Otherwise? gently caress off.”

I look square in his beady little eyes, praying for him to make a move.

rakovsky maybe
Nov 4, 2008


Maureen Krukowski

Maureen groans loudly and rolls her eyes, then moves as far away from Andrea as possible.

zachol
Feb 13, 2009


Lara

Lara stifles a mumbly cry and drifts away, facing off at an angle away from the yelling. She's focusing on calming down, deep breathing, fists balled and gaze planted directly on the floor.

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Axel's expression darkens, and he looks like he's about to come up with some doubtless witty retort when Moon interrupts him.

"Mr. Russel, if the next thing you say isn't some variant on 'I'm sorry about that, it won't happen again,' then I'd advise for your own sake you keep it to yourself."

Axel rounds on the other man. "What the gently caress, you some kind of white fuckin' knight? Mind your own loving business, rear end in a top hat. I could take you down one-handed."

Moon sighs, shaking his head. "Oh yes, please demonstrate for us all your station as alpha male. When you're done hosing me down with testosterone, I'm sure Ms. Bailey will suddenly find herself unable to resist your masculine charms. Are you twelve?" While Axel continues spewing invective, Moon turns to Nil. "Ms. Bailey, I'm sure that Dr. LeJeune didn't intend to single you out. As she said before, there are several dozen others here, and no doubt some of the others will seek out similar companionship, since not everyone was enough to have arrived with a caring partner."

Axel is muttering something offensive and stupid, but the focus of his wrath has shifted--he clearly sees Moon as a safer target.

LeJeune steps in now. "Mr. Moon is correct--I apologize for the impression I have given. To answer your question, Mr. Wilson, we have alcohol available, but nothing harder. Ms. Planchart, you needn't worry--we have a fully stocked pharmacy and I am a licensed physician, among my other duties here."

Heart looks around, not too keen on being the center of attention like this, before shrugging. "I don't mind waiting out here, honest."

LeJeune, eager to move past the conflict and get the show back on the road, nods. "If you need anything, please don't hesitate to call for Security. Now, shall we continue?"

saberwulf
Mar 3, 2009

Pipe rifles and snack cakes.


Ishikawa Fatimah

Privacy of the facility, huh? Seems that policy doesn't extend to us unless we're boinking it, she thought. Either way, Fatimah was glad to know she'd have her camera back quickly. She may not know where they are, but there's sure to be lots of interesting things to snap. Would've been better to have a film camera, but the coats probably wouldn't be too happy about Fatimah filling her closet with caustic chemicals.

Until the return of her veritable third eye, the hijabed woman studies the places they pass by. The facility's quite beautiful, and the forest around it would be as well if it weren't for her previous parallels. Her attention next draws on the people who share her lab rat posting.

Surprisingly, she actually knew Izzie. She was never interested in basketball—It was forbidden in the house anyway, her father had a pretty racist attitude towards anything American—But she'd seen him in commercials. Japan loved overseas celebrities, athletes especially. Didn't he do a... What the hell was it...

"Hey, the doc said your name's Isaac, right? I saw you in that commercial for tonkatsu sandwiches where you slammed dunked Doraemon a few months back. Fatimah Ishikawa, Hajimemashite."

Bernard looked pretty harmless. Quiet, too. Okay, maybe harmless on the outside. She just hoped he wasn't some sweaty otaku— She had to deal with those creepy shits staring at her all the time at UCLA. They weren't the only people staring, she thought with a wince.

Lara was next. Fatimah looks sadly at the girl. It was obvious she had some kind of condition, and from her demeanor, it was probably mental. She didn't introduce herself yet, in case she ended up spooking the girl and starting an episode or something.

Maureen looked tough. Tough in life, manner, and certainly features. At the same time, she was pretty young. Compared to herself, Fatimah's almost unnerved by Maureen, and whatever made her that rough. Then again, she's probably pretty down to Earth, and Fatimah liked that.

She doesn't study Andrea as much as witness her. The rage, the loudness, the pink hair— Fatimah loves real rebels. The ones that actually have tattoos and scars for a real purpose, or crawled their way out of a heroine OD just to go out and light poo poo on fire, angry at the world and the dregs who inhabit it. She's not even flinching at the meat mountain ogling her; she means business.

Fatimah tries to quell a snicker. "Ooh, that sprinkle one had to hurt."

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

Let's get serious!!


Isaac "Izzie" Wilson

Izzie nods at Fatimah's question. "Yeah, that was a trip! It took a bunch of takes, I couldn't stop laughing at the guy in the suit. And I kept mispronouncing itadakimasu." He manages to get it right this time, though he has to say it slowly. "And call me Izzie. It's a pleasure to meet you too, Ishikawa-san."

At Andrea's outburst and Moon's unexpected intervention, Izzie doesn't manage to smother his own laugh. He grins at the others. "Hey, let's just be cool everyone. It's been a long trip for all of us, you know, and Doctor LeJeune's just trying to get us all on the same page. I'm sure that stuff about the ball courts wasn't just for me, after all, same as the other stuff applies for all of us." He holds up his hands in a placating way. "And Doctor, just call me Izzie. Everyone does. Please, lead on."

Once they start moving again, he makes sure Axel is out of earshot, and leans down to Fatimah, mock serious. "She's wrong though. That boy cries sprinkles. He sweats caramel."

He does keep an eye on Moon though. Surprising depths to the man - he did that on purpose, and knew exactly what kind of attention he'd get from Axel when he did. Unlike the goony kid, Izzie doesn't think it's because Moon is patronizing Andrea, or expects anything in return. Izzie wonders who the guy is - a cop, maybe? Or a psychiatrist, maybe a teacher. Any one of those could have the same instincts, and the training to pull it off that smooth. He'd have to find out more about the man.

Comrade Gorbash fucked around with this message at Jul 22, 2013 around 01:53

HiKaizer
Feb 2, 2012

Yes!
I finally understand everything there is to know about axes!


Bernard Smith

Part of Bernard was clearly annoyed by Axel's antics, but the rest of him and the part he kept hidden under the mask of meek submission he wore to the world was mostly envy. While Axel was a bit inclined to be like him in terms of weight, he also seemed to have a bit of muscle under it which Bernard did not. But more important than his appearance was how he acted, which was how Bernard wished he could be. He wanted to be strong and assertive, just like Axel was and so his reaction to him in body language was likely subtly to be submissive and accepting. While he might hero-worship a little the younger man, Bernard wished for the qualities that Axel had but also wanted to be more attractive than the youth. James Moon on the other hand just filled Bernard with anger and hate, although in a fairly mild form. Moon looked like he was similar in body shape to Bernard, although maybe the feeble attempts Bernard had made at getting fit gave him an edge, but whereas Bernard was fairly uncomfortable with his body and his life Moon seemed to be okay with it. Was he simply more successful or did he just accept who he was? Either possibility made him dislike the man and he turned his attention from him, in contempt both for Moon and for himself, to the other members of the group.

Izzie was the last male of the group aside from himself and clearly athletic in nature, but a lifetime of casual racism and ingrained prejudice didn't really do well for Bernard's first impressions. He was also annoyingly ingratiating with the girls of the group and his comments to Fatima about Axel also made him inclined to dislike him as well. Plus he appeared to be famous, although Bernard had never paid enough attention to sports to notice him, which would mean he was at least somewhat wealthy and successful by all chances. Izzie ended up being another person Bernard decided he didn't like much, because he was almost everything he wanted to be but was so casual and chummy about it. If he'd reflected on it he'd probably have realised it was a really irrational reason to dislike him but Bernard avoided thinking about and admitting his own faults and so he'd never do the thinking required for it. Andrea was loud, outgoing and obnoxious and Bernard didn't really have more to add to those points. Christ did she even realise how ridiculous she looked with that get up and tattoos? And what was up with her groupie? The Muslim lady, well he didn't know what to make of her yet except she was apparently Japanese as well? Or maybe she was just a Weaboo of some sort, who knew with those Middle Eastern types? He'd need a while to peg her down and Maureen as well. Maureen he had even less of a grip on but she seemed to dislike the noisy punk kid which rated her higher than many of the others in their group.

Eventually Bernard moved forwards in the group a bit as they move into whatever research lab they were going into and asks something he'd been wondering. "Uh, Doctor, what research is going on here and when does it start? While this is a very nice place, I would like to get home as soon as I can."

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Dr. LeJeune nods at Bernard's question. "If you'll step inside, we'll go over that." She leads the way into the building, and through a few hallways to a meeting room, with a large table and a number of comfortable chairs. Snacks and drinks appear to have been laid out in preparation or welcome for you, and an older man with iron grey hair, a white lab coat, and a serious demeanor is waiting with some visible impatience.

"This is Dr. Alexander Kostas, the head of the project here," LeJeune introduces him. "He'll be explaining to you what we're doing here."

Dr. Kostas acknowledges Dr. LeJeune with a curt nod, then without any further introduction launches into his prepared speech.

"The purpose of our study is to explore dreams, and, more specifically, the effects of a new compound the Institute has developed on the recall and vividness thereof. Some of you will be given a placebo, while others will be given the new compound. You will not be informed which group you belong to. Each night you will sleep connected into our monitoring network--we do not have the technology to monitor the content of your dreams, of course, but we can tell when your dreams begin, how long they last, and several other factors through monitoring them. It is important that you do not sleep for longer than half an hour a day during this study. You will also be maintaining a dream journal, which you will be asked to update each morning when you awake using the computer terminals you will find in your suites. Please do not neglect this task, and please ensure that you provide as much detail as possible when documenting your dreams, as this is an important part of the study."

He pauses for breath momentarily, but before anyone can ask questions, he continues.

"It is also important for the purposes of the study that you do not discuss amongst yourselves your dreams. This could lead to contamination of data, and is to be avoided. As Dr. LeJeune has no doubt already explained, in order to ensure that our monitoring is uninterrupted and uncontaminated, when you sleep--and only while you sleep--you must be alone in the bed. If you are taking any medications, please ensure that Dr. LeJeune is aware of them, and please do not use any substances while part of the study that could contaminate the results. Alcohol is permitted in moderation, but severe or regular inebriation will contaminate the data. You will be asked to adhere to a regular sleep pattern. You must be in bed and connected to your monitors by 2 o'clock AM, but no earlier than 10 o'clock PM."

"Tonight, we will take a baseline reading, so you will not be given the compound prior to your sleep. I will now take questions." Kostas does not crack a smile throughout--he's all business, this one.

hctibyllis
Aug 24, 2012

Her mouth was sewn shut but her eyes were still wide
Gazing through the fog to the other side



I have to admit, I was a bit surprised by the interruption from James. Maybe I pegged the guy wrong? He seemed really mature for his age. Regardless, he butted in and broke up some much needed entertainment; so I wasn’t exactly thankful.

I shrugged and snickered at the fuming Axel, “Whatevz. Offer still stands, mouth-breather.”

Izzie piped in at that point, playing the part of Peace Patrol. Now he looks like a dude who would give me a run for my money. Athletes require a different kind of tactic: typically you want to hurt them as bad as possible as quickly as you can, ‘cause if you get into a drawn out, drag out fight, most times you’ll gas and they’ll outlast you. He doesn’t seem like the confrontational type, though; plus, I’d actually prefer a little one-on-one on the b-ball court instead.

While “Loco-Lara” had some kind of Rainman moment, the Muslim chick had a giggle at my commentary. She appeared to have a pretty laid-back personality, which seemed to clash with her concealing, religious garb. Weren’t women really oppressed in that male-dominated culture? Then again, I knew next to nothing about Islam; and honestly I could give a poo poo whether or not “Fati” was a walking contradiction. I contradict the gently caress out of myself every day – it’s good therapy.

I give Heart a quick peck on the cheek before we file into the next building, giving her my guitar case to hold. “Anyone fucks with you, swing this baby into their junk. It’s reinforced, so unless they’re cupped, they’re going down. See you soon, girly.” She made a somewhat appalled face, but nodded.

Upon sitting down in the conference room, I glance briefly at the sodas and chips before deliberately taking a seat next to Maureen. I could tell she was avoiding me, and the cross around her neck gave a good hint as to why. I love the Westboro types, they do a fantastic job of turning rational people away from religion, and they are fun as hell to pick on. I give her a wide smile before the doctor launches into his monologue.

After the man finishes, I give him a slow clap. “Bravo. When/where can I get a smoke break? Freaking still getting off the nod, y’know Doc? Got a splitting headache. Probably from looking at Axel too long.”

I turn to Maureen and place my hand over hers, “Pray for me, okay?”

hctibyllis fucked around with this message at Jul 22, 2013 around 16:58

saberwulf
Mar 3, 2009

Pipe rifles and snack cakes.


Ishikawa Fatimah

Fatimah smiles up at the athlete.

"Same, Izzie-san."

She's impressed by his actions. He just heads right into the fray like it's nothing, getting between the two! If that Moon guy hadn't broken Axel down, Izzie probably would've broke it up pretty fast.

Fatimah grins devilishly and snorts at the caramel quip. Well, at least she'd made a friend so far.

She's starting to really not like that Bernard guy's tempo. He's got a look like he's gonna get run through at any second, and he's skittery as poo poo. He's got more of a druggy stance than Andrea, and Fatimah could tell that girl was coming off a bender before she announced it to the whole room.

"Hey, uh, Bernard was it? I could see why you might want to catch the next bus the hell out of here, but the documents implied more than a few days. We're gonna be here for a while."

Entering into the conference room, Fatimah scoops up a pair of donuts and some coffee.

"Might as well enjoy it while you can," She says through a mouth of pink frosting.

And then there was the doctor. Stoic, professional, personality of a rock. She never liked people like this, reminded her of her dad's coworkers.

"Excuse me, but are there any side effects to the monitoring or any of the little blue pills we'll be gobbling down? I'd really hate to grow fur or see in infrared. Actually, that second one's probably pretty awesome."

rakovsky maybe
Nov 4, 2008


Maureen Krukowski

"Oh I absolutely will," Maureen answered Andrea's obviously sarcastic question with an equally fake smile. People like Andrea were always going on about how non-judgmental they are, how delightfully tolerant and cosmopolitan and worldly and accepting they could be. Andrea wouldn't know that Maureen hadn't said a word in prayer in months. Sure she sat in Church, stood and knelt along with everyone else, but it was all motion devoid of meaning. Maureen wasn't angry at God, not exactly. Nor did she not believe in God. Twelve years of Catholic education had managed to infuse that right into the core of her being. God just seemed to have it out for her, and prayers for mercy had no effect. So why keep trying?

Maureen felt a creeping twinge of guilt at her mean and un-Christian response to Andrea's question. But the moment was lost and Maureen definitely was not going to apologize to that boorish girl. She was still rather taken aback with the ease with which everyone else seemed to be adjusting. Isaac was joking around, Fatimah was eating a donut. For all they knew the food was the real test, or obeying the doctor's orders, or something like that. Weren't psychologists always working on strange experiments of that sort?

Maureen takes none of the food or drink and remains silent for most of the doctor's speech until something catches her ear.

"I'm sorry Dr. Kostas, did you say we'll only be sleeping for half an hour each day? Is that even possible?"

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Kostas frowns. "Goodness, no. You'll get your normal amount of sleep, but we need to ensure you're able to sleep when you're under the monitors, so no napping, that's all that part means."

LeJeune speaks up then. "As far as side effects go--that's part of what we hope to determine as part of this study. So far, there have been no signs of gross physical change in the subjects of waves one through three, so you can breathe easy on that regard."

Kostas pipes up again. "I believe I should clarify to allay certain misapprehensions that seem to be cropping up in regards to the arrangements here. This is a long-term study, and there is an element of risk involved. This is part of why the remuneration is so high for your participation. As you are no doubt aware, the government rightly feels that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, and thus have taken a far more proactive stance on ensuring the safety of the population at large against terrorist attacks, no matter the vector. You are not here voluntarily, nor is your participation in this study subject to debate, negotiation, or optional. This is the reality of the situation, and I have no illusions that you will find that reality an agreeable one."

"However, it need not be a disagreeable one. As you have seen, our facilities here are quite pleasant, and you will want for very little during your stay. Your days are yours to do with as you will, and we have provided and will continue to provide entertainment and diversions, and the aforementioned remuneration is not insignificant. Furthermore, the nature of this study is quite benign compared to some I have seen--believe me, the idea of growing fur or infrared vision is hardly science fiction, and the subjects of those tests were, upon completion of the study of the effects of the drugs and the viability of animalistic soldiers, vivisected. I give you my word that the worst case scenario here will not result in anything so horrible."

Iris Kim looks pretty disturbed by that story, but relieved by his assurances. "I can imagine worse prisons," she comments. "My parents fled from North Korea, and I heard many stories, growing up. This is practically a resort, and not just in comparison."

HiKaizer
Feb 2, 2012

Yes!
I finally understand everything there is to know about axes!


Bernard Smith

What Bernard wanted to say was "Shut up bitch, you're worse than he is." What Bernard managed to do was to look vaguely annoyed at Andrea and leave it at that. Still the fact was that the doctor continued to say things that were frankly very uncomfortable. "Uh, would it be possible to not discuss those things please? Even if you are testing that sort of thing on us, we don't really have a recourse to say no so I would rather be ignorant until it happens." Bernard was actually scared shitless of dying or what might happen in that sort of a test, but he didn't want to panic about it either. Also; "So far, there have been no signs of gross physical change in the subjects of waves one through three, so you can breathe easy on that regard." Was there a risk that it could happen then? What kind of sleeping test was going on here anyway?

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

Let's get serious!!


Isaac "Izzie" Wilson

Izzie hooked his sunglasses into the collar of his shirt, and got himself a cup of coffee, which turns out to be pretty good. The pastries aren't, but Izzie admits to himself he's been spoiled rotten in that regard. Out of habit, he grabs a bottle of water and a Clif Bar for later, sticking them in the pockets of his jeans.

Izzie picks up on Kim's comment. "Reminds me of mini camps, or the Summer League. It's nice, but you can tell it's place people are getting work done."

"Speaking of which - Doctor, what's this study for anyways? I mean, I get that understanding sleep has a lot of important applications, but why dreams specifically?"

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Dr. Kostas regards Izzie for several moments before responding in a very guarded manner.

"That information is considered classified. You don't need to know the specifics. In a general sense, we're trying to determine if the drug we're testing can be used to influence dreams, and to what extent we can find applications for this. Waves one through three are currently involved in other types of testing than what we'll be putting you through to begin with."

hctibyllis
Aug 24, 2012

Her mouth was sewn shut but her eyes were still wide
Gazing through the fog to the other side




*THUD*

[A sudden savage vibration jars the table. Andrea rocks backwards and clutches her head, then looks up sheepishly.]

"Sorry. Uh. Looks like I'm down to twenty five."

gently caress! These meds are a real bitch... They told me they would make me drowsy, but I wasn't expecting narcolepsy. I can already feel the knot forming on my head. These drat tables are solid as hell! Definitely not junkie-proof - needs more bean bags. I grab the nearest bottle of water and gulp half of it down, trying to quell the sick, rolling feeling in my stomach as well as give myself a boost to get through this jaw-fest. Just a little dehydrated. That's all. Don't be a pussy.

The sickly-looking, kinda pudgy Bernard kid was giving me the stink eye, so I flashed him a fake gang sign, "Sleepy Hoes - two-one-two. Rep up, sexy."

I look back at the good doctor, rubbing the cool bottle against my sore noggin. "Let me get this straight:

  1. We're now the governments bitches.
  2. We're going to be poked and prodded in a highly experimental process that possibly might cause us to grow tentacles.
  3. You're gonna let me gently caress but might tie my tubes later.
  4. You wont tell us when/if we get to leave.
  5. Nobody else has a problem with this?

"So what happens when we become zombies and burn this mofo down? Exactly what kind of security you got here, and what's going to stop me from walking out of this room right now and hitching a ride back to New York?"

I wasn't about to bolt just yet, but I wanted to know what I was up against if later I decided to break out with Heart. The more I learned about this little "experiment", the less it sounded like what was in the brochures.

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Kostas is entirely unfazed by Nil's contrarian approach.

"The fact is that we are all servants of our government. Ask not what your government can do for you, and such. Again, tentacles are off the table, though potentially in the dreams. That would, I suppose, depend on how many Japanese cartoons one watches. I've no interest in cutting on any of you. Your fourth point is correct in its entirety, and I have no expectation that you're going to like this. To be frank, I don't even blame you for having a problem with it. All I expect is that you do not disrupt the study, Nil. Manage that, and we'll have no reason to butt heads." Kostas delivers this monologue entirely deadpan.

Moon leans back in apparent surprise. "Was that a joke about anime? Did you just crack a joke?"

"Contrary to popular rumor, Mr. Moon, I do have a personality. I also have a job to do."

HiKaizer
Feb 2, 2012

Yes!
I finally understand everything there is to know about axes!


Bernard Smith

Despite what the colourful and outgoing (and arguably obnoxious) Andrea might have thought, after a life time of simply accepting what happened to him Bernard really didn't manage more than a vaguely irritated stare. Although her response and gang sign just earned a confused look for a second as Bernard having no knowledge of that culture had no idea what she had just said and done. Chances are it was probably supposed to be offensive or annoying.

"So it'll be easier for us if we cooperate I assume?" He sort of says in a resigned voice, having already decided that was the case anyway. "But Doctor, you mentioned the first three waves did different tests to us. Does that mean there might be a chance of physical-wait you probably can't answer that for us anyway can you." Bernard realises halfway through his question. Honestly with drugs, sleeping and such isolated conditions Bernard was more concerned about the mental and cognitive side effects than the physical.

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


"They are currently involved in different test situations, yes. They began just as you did."

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


"Since it would appear that there are no more questions," LeJeune says, "Shall we move on? There is a dinner waiting for us in the cafeteria--no need to worry about your food allergies, Mr. Russel, they were documented in the paperwork you submitted and we have taken that into account. The same is true for everyone's special dietary needs."

Axel looks nonplussed at having been singled out, but he was the one who had his mouth open to object, after all.

Dr. Kostas, it seems, will not be joining you, though Heart rejoins the group as LeJeune leads you out of the research labs and towards the dormitory. The cafeteria turns out to be rather more well appointed than one might have expected given the name, and feels more like a nice restaurant than what one would normally imagine a "cafeteria" to be. The staff bring out menus--there's a set of about five different meal options, all of which are appetizing. Wine (or beer) is included as well, if desired.

Once you have all ordered, conversation begins.

"So what does everyone do? Did everyone do, I guess," Axel asks around a mouthful of salad. "I was a bouncer, and we know Izzie was obviously a pro athlete. Bailey's some kind of sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll musician, I'm betting." He pointedly doesn't look at Nil while speaking. "What about everyone else?"

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

Let's get serious!!


Isaac "Izzie" Wilson

"Bouncer, huh? Yeah, I can see that. And I think you got A- ah, Nil, dead on." Izzie sips a glass of wine, pausing a moment to savor it. He's no oenophile, but you don't live in France for five years without getting to appreciate wine at least a little. The stuff they were serving here was pretty good, actually. "And yeah, I play basketball in Europe. Mostly in France and Russia, Spain for a year, Turkey for like four months. Now, Miss Kim here," Izzie nods to her politely, "is an athlete too, right? Something Olympic? Swimming or a martial art, I'd guess."

"Fatimah's a journalist. I was thinking photographer, like artistic or for magazines, but what you said about getting the camera back, it's because this is a story, I think. Let's see, Bernard... IT guy. Something with computers anyways. Maureen I could see working at a flower shop or something like that." He goes around the table, stopping and looking a bit sheepish when he gets to Lara. "Probably something... artsy. Painting." He moves on to Moon. "Moon here, I'm not sure. Cop maybe? Or a veteran?"

Comrade Gorbash fucked around with this message at Jul 25, 2013 around 23:27

zachol
Feb 13, 2009


Lara

Lara gives Izzie a faint smile.
"Um. Painting, yeah, I used to paint. Just a hobby, and recently I haven't... been able to. Sometimes I sketch."

HiKaizer
Feb 2, 2012

Yes!
I finally understand everything there is to know about axes!


Bernard Smith

Bernard had some beer instead of wine and ate his pasta. It was a pesto and fairly simple, but he didn't really care about complicated food anyway. Simple and strong flavours were homely and often just as good as more complicated tastes. "I guess you could call it IT. The title is customer solutions and what I actually do is sort of whatever needs to be done." He said with a shrug. Most stuff used computers so saying it was IT was a little redundant. He wasn't surprised that Axel said he was a bouncer though, his squat and solid build would suit the job and he was thick enough not to care about unruly customers.

hctibyllis
Aug 24, 2012

Her mouth was sewn shut but her eyes were still wide
Gazing through the fog to the other side




[Nil pokes listlessly at her hamburger. It was good food, much better than she was used to; but she didn’t feel hungry. The only thing she wants is a cigarette, something to calm the queasy nausea in her stomach. She still wasn’t used to the side effects of the meds they put her on before she left rehab.]

Heart is working away at her salad. She seems a bit more relaxed than I am, that’s for sure. I put my hand on her thigh and give a squeeze. “You got any Tums or anything, babe? Cramping like hell. loving meds, it’s like having a perpetual period.”

While the rest of the group shares their life stories or whatever, I look around for someone who looks official. “Anyone know where I can go burn one?”

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Iris nods at Izzie's assessment. "Taekwondo," she says. "My parents were both involved heavily in the ITF before they fled from North Korea. I learned from the best...hoped to make it to the Olympics before I got too old to compete." She shrugs. "Guess not."

Moon chuckles at Izzie's guesses. "Wrong on both counts. No way I'd ever pass the physicals. I was a writer. Probably never read any of my stuff, though, it's fairly obscure."

Heart leans over to Nil, and whispers, "Omigawd--didn't Angel keep talking about lending you some J. Moon anthology sometime?" She unfortunately hasn't got any tums on her.

LeJeune nods at Nil's question. "Sure, I'll show you the smoking area. I could use one myself." She leads Nil outside, to a quiet patio area, and lights up a cigarette, offering one to Nil. "Used to get a lot of poo poo from colleagues about this habit," she admits, taking a long drag. "They'd say it's a terrible way to die. Way I see it, I've seen so many terrible ways to die, and I really haven't ever seen a good one...so I'm going to enjoy a cigarette when I feel like it." Another drag. "Part of why I left practicing medicine for research."

saberwulf
Mar 3, 2009

Pipe rifles and snack cakes.


Ishikawa Fatimah

Fatimah slides into a seat with a burger in one hand and a glass of beer in the other. She'd prefer sake, but they probably wouldn't give her this amount. Have to keep sober, they said. She rolls her eyes at the thought.

Fatimah snaps hers fingers and gives Izzie a thumbs up. "Bingo, though I do snap some cool bugs and stuff. I was studying at UCLA for journalism when they scooped me up. Certainly doesn't run the the family—Dad works for Nippon Oil and mom's a house wife— but I kind of owe it to my Baabaa-san. Er, Grandpa. He always taught me to always find the truth, even if you die trying." She leans back, swishing the beer around in her glass. "It's a bit sudden, but hell, this seems like one hell of a story. I feel like a real life Toshimi Konakawa. But, you know, not a dude."

She sits up straight, taking a large bite from her meal and another swig of amber. "You know, something's been bothering me. Why us? How many people are there now? Eight billion? More? Why the hell would a corporation that can build all this choose a bunch of random people like us? No offense, but it doesn't seem like we're really all that special. Hell, I'm in journalism. Isn't the point kind of, you know, not to let in someone who could expose the clone vats and cyborg army? Unless we all share some trait I'm not aware of."

saberwulf fucked around with this message at Jul 26, 2013 around 02:48

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


"The whole point of the lottery is to ensure a random sampling of the population," Iris tells Fatimah, somewhat coldly. "That's why they do it as a lottery. And to be blunt: there's no exposé waiting to be published. Everyone knows the government's been funding these test sites, and everyone just puts their heads down and thanks God that it isn't them that got picked. I'm glad my parents didn't live to see the country they made their new home reach this day, but it's not news and anyone trying to publish it would get quashed, Ishikawa-san." She emphasizes the Japanese honorific bitterly.

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HiKaizer
Feb 2, 2012

Yes!
I finally understand everything there is to know about axes!


Bernard Smith

"Even if there was, would anyone really care?" Bernard adds with a slight amount of disinterest. "So many worse things were done in the name of national security. The worst that will happen is anonymous dissent on fringe forums. The average person will be glad that it is not them and make themselves feel better by what the media tells them." He took a mouthful of his beer and drank before he finished. "We may as well be co-operative and hope there are no harmful side-effects. You can't do anything about it, so make the most of the fact they've at least given us a nice place and not a padded cell with bread and water to eat."

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