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In memory of Flyin' Black Jackson
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File 140592297480.png - (12.01KB , 600x600 , title-1.png )
585006 No. 585006 ID: 53548a

PART ONE: INTRODUCTIONS.
32 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 585166 ID: 2fd516

>>585163
whoops, there goes your morning routine. Thankfully when you get out of the shower you'll have coffee waiting!
>>
No. 585258 ID: 53548a
File 140600837133.png - (8.31KB , 600x600 , 1-14.png )
585258

>Whoops, there goes your morning routine.
Yeah, seems you're a little off today.

You go take your clothes back off to go shower, brush your teeth, and freshen up. Then you get dressed for real. You grab a cup of coffee and decide to leave early, see if you can beat the rush.
>>
No. 585259 ID: 53548a
File 140600838331.png - (18.88KB , 600x600 , 1-15.png )
585259

You turn the radio to scan as you drive to work.

"--a preponderance of political maneuvering, really, which makes you question if--"
"--ven though you shouldn't really trust anyone, at least you can say you--"
"--solutely, and what's more, I'll tell you the secret -- microtransactions. Inv--"
"--eally want to say you went there? Tom, be honest with me. Really. Is that som--"
"--ich means the President needs to be doing a lot more than she is. If you're g--"
"--scientists in France who say that, actually, they can measure the leve--"
"--s not going to work on me. I can tell when someone has an agenda, and brother--"
"--pprove of this 'que sera sera' attitude they've got going on, let me tell you--"

Nope, nothing good here. You switch the radio to FM and tune it to 106.7 for the rest of the way.
>>
No. 585260 ID: 53548a
File 140600839734.png - (10.30KB , 600x600 , 1-16.png )
585260

You arrive at work and head into the building. The secretary is on the phone, but your boss is there.

John
"Hey Phil."

Phil
"Good to see you, John. You're early today. That's good, 'cause I've actually got a little task for you. I was wondering if you could interview one of the potential new trainees, see if he's fit for the job. Just ask him a few questions about what we do and see how much you like him for a dreamcatcher."

"Sure thing, Phil."

"Good, good. Great. Hey, is that coffee? You probably shouldn't be drinking that. I've got a real job for you once you're done."

Shit.
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No. 585264 ID: 53548a
File 140600864083.png - (7.87KB , 600x600 , 1-17.png )
585264

So here you are with this guy. He seems a little nervous. Says his name's Paul.

Paul
"So... what kinda questions are you gonna ask me?"

John
"Just some stuff you should know about the job and what it entails. Don't worry about it."

What questions should you ask him?
>>
No. 585268 ID: 2fd516

>>585264
I'm surprised it isn't decaf.

What has he heard of the company and what it does? Is he looking forward to traveling around the world? How does he like the people he's met so far? Does he have any recurring dreams or nightmares?
>>
No. 585269 ID: 53548a
File 140601037405.png - (7.16KB , 600x600 , 1-18.png )
585269

>I'm surprised it isn't decaf.
Man, you're really off your game today.

John
"What have you heard about the company and our work?"

Paul
"Uhh, err, well, I know you guys are dreamcatchers, and that you take, like, missions to enter people's dreams, and, like, deliver messages and stuff. I know about having to stay up a lot and stuff, don't worry. Um... I know about tokens, and the ways you can get in and out of a dream, and the rules on what you take in and out."

"Well, you looking forward to traveling the world?"

"Geez, it sounds exciting, but I know you're only there on business and stuff."

"How do you like the people you've met so far?"

"That tall guy seemed nice. Phil, right? He's your boss?"

"Yeah. So, do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares?"

"Nah, not really."

That's good. Assuming he's telling the truth.
>>
No. 585289 ID: 769221

Regale him with a nightmarish story.
>>
No. 585292 ID: e6e228

Quickly: What are tokens, what are the rules for going in/out and what you can take in/out?
>>
No. 585320 ID: 6d3b18

>Officially, your agency only does the legal ones.
What legal reason could there possibly be to take money from third parties to facilitate entering the minds of others?

I mean, the only non-mind-rapey or non-manipulation applications I can think of would be therapy or as a communication channel. And communication seems limited if you need to travel near the target to dreamcatch.

>>585269
Ask him why he wants to do this.
>>
No. 585342 ID: 53548a
File 140604731270.png - (8.31KB , 600x600 , 1-19.png )
585342

Paul
"Hey, man, you haven't even touched your coffee. You gonna, like, drink that?"

John
"No. It's decorative."

"What?"

"Shut up."

>Regale him with a nightmarish story.
You're too tired to regale anybody right now, and besides, you're asking the questions here.

>What legal reason could there possibly be to take money from third parties to facilitate entering the minds of others?
Therapy is one reason, yes, though you're not licensed for that. Delivering messages is another. There's probably more illegal reasons than legal ones, admittedly... Also, it's not always third parties, nothing stopping people from contracting a dreamcatcher for their own use.

>And communication seems limited if you need to travel near the target to dreamcatch.
Who said that?

John
"Alright, how much do you know about tokens? Gimme the short version, we don't got all day."

Paul
"Oh, well, hmm...

Tokens are a kind of special object you use to tell whether or not you're dreaming. That's cause it has a property that makes it not act the way that you'd expect what it looks like to act. But they only work if you're the only one who knows the way they really act, because otherwise anyone who knows will make it act that way in their dreams, consciously or not, and then you can't know for sure whether you're dreaming or not."

>>
No. 585345 ID: 53548a
File 140604745047.png - (7.75KB , 600x600 , 1-20.png )
585345

That's basically correct. Your token is a rook chess piece hollowed out with a plastic ball inside. It rattles when you shake it in real life, but not if you're in a dream. You always keep it in the right pocket of your jacket. Put more simply, a token is an object that doesn't conform to paradigm, but only its user knows how it really works. That's what textbooks will tell you.

John
"So how do you get into a dream, or out of it?"

Paul
"It, um, depends. If you're trained as a dreamcatcher then you can target someone's mental presence when you go to sleep, which lets you enter their dreams, but it's very limited. People usually have subconscious guards that prevent us from interacting with each other mentally. But those are relaxed when you go to sleep. That's why you can cross over. But they have to be nearby enough that you can seek out their mental presence when you go to sleep.

To get out of a dream, you can wake up normally, or someone can wake you up from outside, with a kick. Um. Dying sometimes works, but only if you're at a certain part of your sleep cycle. So it's not reliable."


That's mostly accurate.

John
"And what can you take into a dream? Or out of it?"

Paul
"I know this one. You can only take in what you have on you in real life. And if you take anything extra out, you kind of, get what they know about what it's supposed to symbolize. If it symbolizes anything."

"Right. Why do you want to do this?"

"Well, I mean... it seems really cool. I got the training in school, I've done a little bit of it in workshops. To be honest, I don't really have much else going for me, and I did well in the courses I took. I can't really find a job in my major, so if I can't do that, this is what I'd want to do."

Weird thing to take if it's not your first choice for a job. Those classes are expensive.

Anything else?
>>
No. 585347 ID: 2fd516

>>585345
Hmm. Could be a spy. Start with personal questions.

Does he have any family? What's his major? How'd he pay for college?
>>
No. 585348 ID: e6e228

Trick question for him:
So, what's your totem and how does it differ from the norm?
If he refuses to answer, smile and show approval.
If he does? Tell him he needs a new totem, he just broke the one he has.
>>
No. 585349 ID: 6d3b18

>>And communication seems limited if you need to travel near the target to dreamcatch.
>Who said that?
You said your job was flying all over the country and sleeping. I assumed the reason for this was that where you slept mattered, but apparently not.
>>
No. 585357 ID: 53548a
File 140605131356.png - (8.21KB , 600x600 , 1-21.png )
585357

>Could be a spy.
That's a little paranoid, don't you think? Maybe if this guy approached you, but Phil asked you to interview him, and he's not an idiot. Besides, Paul doesn't seem subtle enough to be a spy.

>I assumed the reason for this was that where you slept mattered, but apparently not.
Sometimes it does.

>So, what's your totem and how does it differ from the norm?
The fuck's a totem? John assumes you mean a token.

John
"You got any family?"

Paul
"Yeah, I'm from Minneapolis. I went to Macalester. You know it?"

"Can't say that I do."

"Go Scots. I've also got a cousin in Wyoming, and my grandparents live in Arizona with my aunt and uncle."

He seems more comfortable answering these kinds of questions.

John
"What was your major that you can't get a job in it?"

Paul
"Uhh... don't laugh."

"Promise."

"Directing and Theatrical Production."

Shit, no wonder.

John
"Tuition's pretty high these days, even without pursuing an interest in dreamcatching. How'd you pay for college?"

Paul
"My parents. They made me take out some loans, though. That's why I kinda need a job."

Seems simple enough.

John
"So, what's your token? How's it not conform to paradigm?"

Paul
"Uhh, I don't have one. It's been years since I did anything like this. Wait, and I shouldn't tell you what it is if I had one anyway."

You can't imagine not having a token. How could you live your life not knowing what was real and what wasn't? You've had several over the years but you've never ever went any longer without one than you absolutely had to since you first got one. Sure, if you have no experience with dreamcatching you don't really understand the existential horror you accumulate stepping in and out of dreams like moving through rooms in a house.

Though you suppose he's only done clean little workshops. They're designed to ease you into it. Actually working in the field is a lot different.
>>
No. 585419 ID: 707a11

Is there anything he'd need to know or be good at that we haven't already covered? Can we get him to demo his skills?
>>
No. 585420 ID: 707a11

Also, could you give your own token a shake? You might be dreaming right now.
>>
No. 585430 ID: 2fd516

>>585357
Nod and say good, he's right, he shouldn't tell anyone.
Ask him how he likes the city.
What's his greatest asset? Greatest flaw? What's his previous work experience? If he discovered he was stuck in a dream by use of his token, what would he do?

>>585420
We'd want to do that in private where nobody else could witness its unique quality.
>>
No. 585447 ID: 53548a
File 140609670245.png - (5.60KB , 600x600 , 1-22.png )
585447

>Could you give your own token a shake? You might be dreaming right now.
You reach into your jacket and close your hand around the chess piece, raising it to your ear and shaking it rapidly under the guise of scratching your head.

It rattles reassuringly.

>Is there anything he'd need to know or be good at that we haven't already covered?
Well, you can't think of anything, but you're pretty spacey today.

>Can we get him to demo his skills?
Phil only asked you to interview him. To demo his skills you'd both have to pass out in this room for a while, and he said he had other work for you.

John
"Good, good, don't tell anybody anything about it when you get one. My friend Anna works in the movie field, by the way."

Paul
"Oh man, really? You gotta hook me up some time."

John
"How do you like the city, by the way?"

Paul
"It's pretty cool. Lot harder to get around than it was in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, though. I keep meaning to check out some of the culture, but, y'know, I've been too busy trying to get a job. Gotta ration my money 'til then."

John
"What's your greatest asset?"

Paul
"Hmmm... my unassailable charisma? Uh, I mean, I'm a team player."

John
"Greatest flaw?"

Paul
"I guess my ADHD. I'm medicated for it, though."

John
"Got any previous work experience?"

Paul
"Nah, man, I haven't been able to find a job since I graduated. I mean, I was working part-time at a grocery store before I moved here, but that don't count."

John
"If you discovered you were stuck in a dream by using your token, what would you do?"

Paul
"Like, stuck stuck? Oh, man. I don't know. Probably nothing. I don't think there's anything I can do."

Pretty much.
>>
No. 585448 ID: 2fd516

>>585447
This kid seems alright, I guess. Kindof bad at interviews, but that's because he hasn't had any previous experience with interviews.

Greatest accomplishment? How does he work under pressure (actually I'm not sure this is relevant?)
>>
No. 585449 ID: 53548a
File 140610706169.png - (5.69KB , 600x400 , 1-23.png )
585449

John
"What's your greatest accomplishment?"

Paul
"Um... err..."

Paul doesn't answer immediately. You stare at him for about 20 seconds while he looks at the table before he finally answers.

Paul
"I guess... being here. Overcoming all the obstacles in my path. Not letting anything slow me down or make me give up."

John
"How do you work under pressure?"

Paul
"I'm pretty good at it, I guess?"

John
"Right, well, I think I've heard enough."

Paul
"Hey, man, seriously, though... do you think I'll get this job? I mean, do you think I'm good enough for it? I really need to get my life on track, and, aside from the movies, this is the only thing I really wanna do. Be honest with me. Do you think I've got a shot?"

John
"Yeah, sure. You'll be fine. Don't worry about it."

Paul
"You really think so?"

John
"Yeah. Wait here, I need to go talk to my boss."
>>
No. 585450 ID: 53548a
File 140610707329.png - (9.28KB , 600x600 , 1-24.png )
585450

He won't be fine. In your personal opinion, he won't last a week before he realizes that his dream job is the stuff of nightmares and goes running out the door. He has no idea what he's getting into.

But that's just your opinion. Maybe he'd shape up under agency training. Maybe he's actually really good at this and you don't know because you haven't seen him in action. You don't know.

Phil is waiting for you outside the door.

Phil
"So what do you think? Is he the man for the job?"
>>
No. 585454 ID: a36601

I'd say give him a shot. He's earned the right to try and he might surprise you. Ask Anna if there is any work that she needs help with though. Just in case.
>>
No. 585479 ID: 6d3b18

>Directing and Theatrical Production
Not... entirely unrelated to dream-crafting, I'd think. I mean, dreams have narratives, right? If you're trying to work with one, or change it some way, it might help to understand that kind of thing.

>So what do you think? Is he the man for the job?
Well, he has no idea what he's getting into. Not that that means much. I still can't figure out how to tell if people are going to be any good at this before we put them on the spot.
>>
No. 585499 ID: 2fd516

>>585450
Give him your honest opinion.
>>
No. 585510 ID: e6e228

Personally? I give him a week before he tears outta here chased by the nightmares.

On the flipside, there's enough maybes to the situation that he might shape up and stick around. So who knows.
>>
No. 585513 ID: ef7fd2

Favicon up in the favicon /dis/ thread! Look for the raven, because I am unoriginal!
>>
No. 585696 ID: 53548a
File 140625379814.png - (8.32KB , 600x600 , 1-25.png )
585696

>Ask Anna if there is any work that she needs help with though. Just in case.
Maybe the next time you talk to her. You only know the dude's first name, though.

John
"I don't think he really understands what the job entails. I'd give him a week, tops, if we did give him a job."

Phil
"Hmmm, that's unfortunate. Well, don't worry, I'll break the news to him, you don't have to. But could you get on that job for me right away? I'll text Ricardo and tell him to meet you in the green room. He'll bring the stuff."
>>
No. 585697 ID: 53548a
File 140625381152.png - (8.22KB , 600x600 , 1-26.png )
585697

You head for the aforementioned green room. It's just Phil's name for the room where in-house operations take place. It's full of beanbag chairs.
>>
No. 585700 ID: 53548a
File 140625384297.png - (8.03KB , 600x600 , 1-27.png )
585700

A few minutes after you take a seat, Ricardo walks in with a bunch of electronic equipment.

Ricardo
"Whassup, John? You ready for this shit?"

John
"Yeah, sure, Rick. I could sure as fuck use the rest."

Ricardo
"Don't count on it, bro. You're on the clock. Aight, so, here's the job. This corporate jobber's taking a vacation in Europe, and his company's got word there's a hit out on him, but he ain't answering the phone and his bodyguards claim he ditched them for a party or something. They want us to make sure he's not already dead and warn him if we can, maybe figure out where he fucked off to if possible. They gave us a sample of his pattern so we don't need to go to Europe to reach him."

John
"Alright, let's see it."

Ricardo hands you the equipment. While you're busy getting it set up, he takes a pen to a piece of paper and writes something down, handing it to you.

Ricardo
"Plan's pretty simple. We take the instructions in with us, find each other, find him, warn him about the guys gonna put a bullet in him, then we get out. Think you can handle that?"

John
"Sure."

Ricardo
"Cool. You got the target?"

John
"Yeah, I'm ready."
>>
No. 585701 ID: 53548a
File 140625384964.png - (11.27KB , 600x600 , 1-28.png )
585701

So this is the place.
>>
No. 585702 ID: 53548a
File 140625385702.png - (9.98KB , 600x600 , 1-29.png )
585702

According to the piece of paper Ricardo gave you, you're supposed to meet up with him here.
>>
No. 585706 ID: 707a11

So, you're in a dream now? Token check time.

Look around you. See Ricardo?
>>
No. 585709 ID: 2fd516

>>585702
Loiter around at the entrance.
>>
No. 585749 ID: 6d3b18

Look around. There anything else here, or just the building?

Do dreamcatchers generally enter at similar places? Otherwise, if you just have to search blindly, finding Ricardo before the guy is going to be a matter of luck.
>>
No. 585899 ID: 53548a
File 140638740721.png - (6.59KB , 600x600 , 1-30.png )
585899

>dream
Huh?

>Do dreamcatchers generally enter at similar places?
You're pretty sure everybody uses the front door.

>There anything else here, or just the building?
Nothing else of interest. You're pretty sure you're supposed to be going here.
>>
No. 585900 ID: 53548a
File 140638741873.png - (7.73KB , 600x600 , 1-31.png )
585900

But you don't see Ricardo anywhere so you just loiter.
>>
No. 585910 ID: 6d3b18

>>dream
>Huh?
Check your token.

>But you don't see Ricardo anywhere so you just loiter.
Is that him, inside, talking to the receptionist?
>>
No. 586123 ID: 53548a
File 140647733711.png - (9.25KB , 600x600 , 1-32.png )
586123

>Check your token.
You take out your token and shake it. It doesn't make a sound. Huh-- you must be in a dream after all.

Wait-- shit! You're in a dream! You're not supposed to know that on an op!

Your vision gets glassy and dull. Sensation fades to almost nothing. You have only a few minutes before you wake up.

>Is that him, inside, talking to the receptionist?
You run inside and spot Ricardo at the front desk.

Ricardo
"Oh, there you are, John. Maybe you can help me convince this nice lady t--"

John
"Rick, I used my token! We're dreaming!"

Ricardo
"Wait, what? Aw shit, why'd you have to tell me that? We'd better make this quick."
>>
No. 586124 ID: 53548a
File 140647735893.png - (9.67KB , 600x600 , 1-33.png )
586124

Ricardo reaches into his sweater and pulls out a gun, shooting the receptionist in the face. He reaches over the counter and presses a button.

Ricardo
"Elevator's open."

John
"Jesus, Rick. Was that necessary? We don't have to abide by dream rules anymore."

Ricardo
"She was getting on my nerves. So, quickly, what do you think? We make much more noise and the locals are gonna get on our ass. What's the fastest way to find him?"

You hate seeing people die. Even in dreams.
>>
No. 586142 ID: 6d3b18

>token wakes you up
Whups.

...although seeing how quickly Ricardo jumped to murdering his way through problems once he knew this was a dream, I wonder how badly anyone's been fucked over by having their token swapped. Fake someone into thinking they're dreaming when they're awake and bad things start to happen.

>What's the fastest way to find him?
This a place with electronic keycards? You could dream hack the computer and so it tells you where he is.
>>
No. 586205 ID: 707a11

Wish you'd told us the dreamland rules.
>>
No. 586246 ID: 53548a
File 140650472087.png - (7.24KB , 600x600 , 1-34.png )
586246

John
"I mean, what if it was a mistake? What if we weren't actually in a dream?"

Ricardo tucks the gun in the back of his pants and gives you a look.

Ricardo
"So, got any plans or what? If not, I'm taking the elevator."

>I wonder how badly anyone's been fucked over by having their token swapped. Fake someone into thinking they're dreaming when they're awake and bad things start to happen.
That's not a prank you ever play on a dreamcatcher. Ever. The worst thing that could happen to someone in this profession is not knowing what's real and what's not.

>This a place with electronic keycards? You could dream hack the computer and so it tells you where he is.
Hacking computers would be more useful for bypassing security or something. Besides, you can't really just... point at it. Sure, you can bend the dream so that it's hacked, just like that, but unless you actually know what that looks like... Otherwise, it operates based on what the dreamer knows about computers.

>Wish you'd told us the dreamland rules.
John is really off his game today.

John
"I got nothing."

Ricardo
"Elevator it is."
>>
No. 586247 ID: 53548a
File 140650473161.png - (11.83KB , 600x600 , 1-35.png )
586247

Hmm, well, that narrows things down a bit.
>>
No. 586250 ID: 6d3b18

To the office, then.
>>
No. 586252 ID: 40935b

You've got quite a few angry-looking people checking you out. I take it you should wrap this up quickly.
>>
No. 586265 ID: 53548a
File 140651431832.png - (6.06KB , 600x450 , 1-36.png )
586265

>You've got quite a few angry-looking people checking you out. I take it you should wrap this up quickly.
Well, Rick did just shoot a woman in broad daylight. But, yes.

You push the button for the CEO office. The doors close as the faces of dream people slowly approach the elevator.
>>
No. 586266 ID: 53548a
File 140651433141.png - (7.65KB , 600x600 , 1-37.png )
586266

John
"That was creepy."

Ricardo
"Every time."

There is a short pause.

John
"So how's Isabella?"

Ricardo
"She's doing good. Our anniversary is coming up."

John
"Got anything planned?"

Ricardo
"Dunno."

John
"Shit, you gotta do better than that."

Ricardo
"I'll think of something. Still got plenty of time. How're you and Sarah?"

John
"We've been broken up for months, now."

Ricardo
"Shit, I'm sorry, man. I didn't know."

John
"Don't worry about it."

There's another silence before the elevator arrives and the doors open.
>>
No. 586267 ID: 53548a
File 140651434103.png - (5.17KB , 600x600 , 1-38.png )
586267

The hallway heads around a corner, at which there is a table. A raven sits on its otherwise fairly bare surface.

Ricardo
"We don't got a lotta time, I hope he's up here."
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