parasomnist: (abstraction | serenity)
HI SING

Alex Wilson is getting canon updated! When she gets canon updated, she's going to be murdered horribly by someone she used to trust, then turned into a crazy reality-warping superweapon by the last person that person murdered, then set loose on Boston!

Then she's coming back here.

SO.

Alex is going to be fused with the collective unconscious rage of all humanity from her universe (this will make her look like she's got a huge raven skeleton stuck through her body, also a giant raven skull fused to her head. FUN). She's going to be... well, mostly not her, and mostly Collective Unconscious Rage. She'll be doing two main things:

1. Alex will be producing creatures called Nightmares; these are beings of raw emotion. They are NORMALLY invisible, but more on that later. Nightmares go and try to find a person to latch onto; once they've latched on, they tend to increase negative emotions slowly over time. These Nightmares are a bit souped up though, so they'll be increasing those emotions very quickly! MORE ON THIS SOON. Nightmares affect ALL SENTIENT LIFE. If your character can think, they get a Nightmare. Being made of magical space flowers will not save them.
2. Alex will have a Silent Hill Field following her around. Things will get very creepy and very foggy. Buildings will appear decrepit and run down, trees will be dead, water will be befouled, weird sounds can be heard, and you might see things out of the corner of your eye. This field will grow slowly until it is Hueg. Getting within 50 feet of Alex will expose you to high winds and an effect a lot like TV static.

DAYS ONE AND TWO

Nightmares are invisible, and will generally just be producing a sense of unease and fear. For some characters, their natural propensity towards anger will go WAY up. Get into fights, break shit, be an asshole. For others, they'll become massively paranoid, for still others, they'll sink into black despair. Often this will manifest as running thoughts, just repeating stuff in your mind ("THAT GUY MAKES ME SO MAD" "OH GOD THEY'RE ALL WATCHING ME" "OH GOD WHAT DID I DO D:")
On Day One, Alex's Silent Hill Field covers only a football stadium; on Day Two, it covers an entire neighborhood. When sleeping, characters will have horrifying nightmares about the things they fear the most (to the point that sleeping will be difficult.)
Note that Nightmares WILL encourage people to attack each other, giving them hair trigger tempers and paranoia. Got a rivalry that's been brewing? Well it's PROBABLY going to come to blows now.

DAYS THREE AND FOUR

Characters with Nightmares already attached will start to experience mild hallucinations of the thing they fear / hate the most; people who get new Nightmares attached will get Day One and Two effects. Characters with psychic or magical abilities, or robot characters with EXTREMELY advanced sensors (we're talking technobabble type sensors, ie "Detects tachyons" or whatever) can start to see other people's nightmares as blurry black and white shapes latched onto people. If they try to focus on these shapes, they'll get their own Nightmare! WHEE.
On Day Three, Alex's field now covers an area the size of a small city. On Day Four, it covers an area the size of New York City.
Also on Day Four, Alex will be approaching people and asking them if they want their pain to end. A "yes" will mean that she'll cut out their hearts (FUN) and replace said hears with a Nightmare. Much like Alex, the people in question will lose all their emotions, become black and white horror creatures fused to animalistic manifestations of their own despair (in Alex's case, a zombie raven), and go around spreading Nightmares. They have 10 ft radius Silent Hill zones, and aren't nearly as strong or fast as Alex. They'll also have to return to Alex's Zone every four hours, or go off and turn to ash (in which case they can respawn JUST FINE AND NORMAL!!! WHEE)
She'll keep doing this until Day 7.

DAYS FIVE AND SIX
On Day Five, the field will fill a full quarter of a zone; on Day Six, it will have reached its largest size, a half of a Zone (about the size of half of Massachusetts. Seriously.)
The Nightmares are now physical, complete entities! When in their natural state, they look like chimeric, constantly shifting black and white creatures with red elements (usually the eyes). What kinds of parts they have... that's up to you, pick random assortments of stuff (coffee maker heads? whatever). Nightmares don't usually look like that, however! When they approach or latch onto a person, they transform into whatever that person fears or hates the most.
Note that this doesn't have to be an individual: a Nightmare basically takes people into dream-worlds, which then people can enter. So, let's say that Bob's worst fear is seeing his city burnt to ashes: his Nightmare would create an illusion of his own city around him, burnt to ashes, one that he'd completely believe. For the individual in question, these hallucinations seem 100% real; other people can see them too, but they can make a Will save to disbelieve if they have enough willpower. Unfortunately, approaching a Nightmare means it's likely to split into two, with one half latching on to YOU. WHEE.

GETTING RID OF NIGHTMARES

By Day Five, Nightmares CAN be physically attacked. They don't function too well outside Alex's Silent Hill Zone, but never quite go away outside that zone (they just slowly revert to their Day 1 state). Weapons based in BRIGHT LIGHTS (like lasers!) work best.
The problem is that the Nightmare has to be in its natural form to be attacked, not its Illusion state. How do you get there? Focusing on happy thoughts, good memories, and joining up with friends is actually the best way to fight them off. Being alone? Surefire way to get lost in your own horrifying nightmare. Finding a friend to hold onto you and be all I KNOW YOU ARE IN THERE SOMEWHERE and IT ISN'T REAL will break the illusion. think of it as a Journey to the Center of the Mind thing.
The Nightmares themselves are VERY strong and quite fast when attacked, however, and will fight back physically. Note that they usually wont' kill a character, however; they'll fight until they aren't being attacked anymore, then shift back into their illusion forms.

DAY 7

Day 7 works much like Days 5 and 6, except HEY IT'S TIME TO GET RID OF THE SOURCE OF THIS PROBLEM: ALEX.

I'll be looking into what people want to do here, but my initial thought is a two-pronged battle: characters who have broken free of their nightmares can physically attack her to distract her on the physical plane. This... will be hard, as in this form she's extremely strong, extremely fast, can teleport, and can create Nightmare Illusions same as any other Nightmare. She'll also have characters converted into creatures like her as bodyguards, AND she'll still be making that offer to people! Whee.

On the other side, a journey to the center of the mind can happen. even if your character doesn't normally have psionic abilities, they can piggyback with other characters into Alex's psyche to try to find what's left of the real Alex and separate her from the Fury (the Nightmare that's fused with her.) Not sure how this will work yet! I was hoping to plan it out with interested parties.


Killing Alex is probably the EASIEST way to take her down, but killing the Fury inside her mind will also stop her. Note that she'll pretty much be a zombie after that though. without the brain-eating.

QUESTIONS!??!?!?
parasomnist: (Default)
In Alex's canon, she is very shortly going to be killed by her mentor, Iris de Hautdesert, for Knowing Too Much about the universe. This is going to be done by throwing her off a building. Whee!

The thing is, Iris miscalculated, and Alex is a powerful enough Deva (reality-warper / god) now that her consciousness doesn't completely die, but instead she leaves enough of an imprint in the Dreaming to survive. That is, in her own world, she continues to exist in the alternate universe that everybody taps into when they sleep.

Unfortunately for her, the traumatic nature of what just happened does leave her mind mostly broken, and she ends up in Nightmare, the layer of the Dreaming where all the subconscious crazy shit goes. Nightmare's ALSO one level above the layer of reality called Chaos, which is a seething soup of everything that possibly could be.

So the supposed Big Bad of Somnus, the Nightmare Queen, finds the shattered bits of Alex's consciousness, quietly puts Alex's mind back as best she can. While she does this, she gives Alex the rest of the truth she's been missing: both Alex and the Nightmare Queen were experiments on Iris' part to create superweapons that would destroy humanity's emotions and reason, as part of a plan to end all war and to keep Reality nice and quiet. She also confirms Alex's suspicions that Reality is, in fact, a prison plane designed to keep everyone trapped and ignorant of the true nature of reality.

The Nightmare Queen very carefully structures her arguments to bring Alex around to her way of thinking, but also gently leaves out most of Alex's higher mental processes and ability to be reasonable about things. She then takes the Fury, a living incarnation created from humanity's collective rage, and implants it into Alex, while at the same time destroying the rest of the artificial limits on Alex's power (the same limits most of humanity has)

(I could explain why the nightmare queen can't break her own limiters but man I only have so much time here)

This means that Alex can just waltz right back into her broken corpse, fix it, and be alive again, which the Nightmare Queen hasn't been able to do for Reasons. This ALSO means that Alex is the Nightmare Queen's personal death-bringing reality destroying hellbeast because she's now 50% the collective rage and despair of all humanity oops.

Alex / Fury then proceeds to try to break reality and actually succeeds at destroying a large part of Boston. Thanks to Iris' work, she's actually too powerful for the local Sentinels (the reality police, who keep people from waking up to their true power, usually by murdering them) to handle, and they have to call for backup.

MEANWHILE! Aaron de Hautdesert finally stops moping because Alex's friends go and kick him in the butt until he gets off it and realizes that he really should stop kicking himself about the whole oops I lost the war that got us into this situation in the first place, and he explicitly goes on the run, breaks a lot of rules by coming out of the Dreaming into reality, and also breaks most of the limiters on Alex's friends (Andrea and Jasmin) so they can, y'know, actually do something about this

the three of them fight back against Alex's gozilla stomping of Boston and manage to fix most of it, and subdue her enough that they can abscond to another layer of reality before the Sentinels get there to murder Alex. They end up in Kalliste, the former capitol of all reality, a broken wasteland of shattered and warped glass and weird reality storms where there was once a city that defied imagination.

There, they end up in a place where they used to test fledgeling Deva and teach them their powers, and there Aaron, Andrea, and Jasmin all do a whole journey to the center of the mind thing with Alex to get her sane again (and remove the Fury from inside her soul), THEN they go putting her mind back, and FINALLY she goes and ends up taking a test to come to terms with herself

ONCE SHE FINALLY COMPLETES THAT (it'd take like a lot of pages, if this were a book, and be totally awesome, or something) Alex is finally at peace with herself, and comes into her own powers as the new Deva of Fire, the first full-fledged Deva to come into existence in about a billion years. She then removes the rest of the limitations on Aaron's power, restoring him to as he was before the war, and finally Jasmin and Andrea end up Ashura (fledgelings) under her.

AND THEN THEY GO TO FUCK SHIT UP AND BE LIKE FUCK YOU STATUS QUO but also to fight the Nightmare Queen because even if they want to save her she's still trying to you know destroy reality

so tl;dr -- first alex is a reality destroying hate engine, then she's a god
parasomnist: (Default)
THINGS THAT HAPPENED RIGHT BEFORE ALEX GOT TO SACROSANCT:


Iris de Hautdesert teaches her the basics of proper, controlled Dreamwalking (as opposed to her usual just VERY INTENSE dreams and the dreamsharing everyone in her universe does), as well as the very basics of using dreams to help people work through emotional problems. They go through a few tests, Alex gets in trouble for screwing it up a lot, but keeps trying. Iris tells her never to do this unaccompanied, and also just don’t do it because the Sentinels will get you. Alex is bad at listening.

THEN A SACROSANCT HAEPN.

Alex comes back and Iris beats it into her that she needs to be subtle---they don’t want to risk Awakening others and thus putting them in danger, so Alex is taught how to enter dreams undetected and integrate herself into the dreamscape

⇒ NEW ABILITY: stealth dreaming (Alex can dreamwalk and unless you’re either psychic or have other defenses against psychics, you won’t know she’s there unless she wants you to)

then we have a series of shorts, from the perspectives of different characters

Andrew (Andrea) Jones: Andrew Jones has been Alex’s friend for many years, but he has a secret: he’s actually a she, Andrea Jones. She’s physically male, but for a very long time she’s been female. She’s afraid to come out because of what her friends might think, and worse, she might risk her career. Of the three friends, Andrea has the highest paying job, as she works at a high powered investment firm, a very conservative firm. She stands a real chance of losing her job and not being promoted if she comes out, and it’s tearing her up inside.

Alex finds this out accidentally when she stumbles into Andrea’s dreams and finds not the Andrew she knows, but a beautiful, tall, and powerful woman. Stuff Happens, and it is Very Heartwarming as Alex helps Andrea come to terms with things; in the real world, Alex can’t quite completely confront her friend (since that would blow her cover) but she extends the sentiment that no matter what Andrea is like, she’ll be there for her friend; confessions and stuff follows. nothing is quite *solved,* but there’s at least reconciliation and a knowledge that she has a friend

it’s tooth-rottingly adorable okay :|


Iris takes Alex and then teaches her to See, both by taking off some of the locks on her power and by showing her the way. Seeing lets her see the dream-parallel of a given location, or even overlay an entirely different image of a dream location. Every real place has a parallel in the dream world, a composite of everyone’s impressions of a place. A place where a murder may have taken place is twisted and terrifying; a church may be suffused with light; a city may be brighter or darker than it is in the real (this phenomena is also where a lot of supernatural sightings come from in this universe).

In turn, Iris teaches Alex a few different ways of seeing emotions, and seeing nightmares. The two main ways are through color, or through seeing them as literal monsters (the latter is the one she uses most often for seeking out Nightmares). She’s then taught to fight them off by focusing her *will*. Again, at first she’s terrible at it, and again, Iris urges caution. Throughout the next chapters, Iris takes Alex various places in Dream and the Real to kill large swarms of Nightmares, without explaining why.


Jasmin Dyhani: Alex’s other best friend, Jasmin is normally the irrepressibly cheerful one. She dropped out of college, disappointing her parents (they wanted her to be a doctor) and instead started her own Etsy business of selling crafts, jewelry, and clothes.. She’s actually very good at it. She hopes one day to start a meatspace store, but the economy is terrible. Still, she keeps a positive attitude.

She gets attacked by a Nightmare and begins suffering from severe depression. Alex notices this and decides to hell with Iris, she’s going to help her friend, dammit.

She nearly ruins this, but through a series of Dream Shenanigans, Alex figures out the source of the problem and helps Jasmin fight it off. Jasmin isn’t completely “cured,” but she is at least on a path to recovering.


Iris has Alex destroy a thing she calls a Nightmare in Dream that alex isn’t quite as sure about; it doesn’t seem threatening, but Iris assures Alex that it’s okay. Iris. also teaches permanent destruction, how to tear out a nightmare intrinsic to a person rather than a parasitic one (ie, difference between getting rid of an artificial anger construct attached to you and ripping out your actual emotion of anger).

Alex goes to Aaron about this and asks him, and he is a cagey bastard, but later feels bad. He resolves that the NEXT time she asks, he’ll have to tell her, regardless of the danger. Seriously. Really really. At this point, he’s aware of his sister’s transgressions, but 1. feels that there’s nothing he can do and 2. fears that if he interferes, the Sentinels will unmake him.

Alex witnesses a fight in a subway station that rapidly escalates into a full blown riot. In a panic, she reaches for the Sight, and sees the crowd attacked by nightmares. Instinctively, she attacks them as she would in a Dream, her mental construct overlaying the reality, fighting in two planes at once. When she finishes, it’s as though the fight never happened in the first place, and she collapses, feeling sick.

In the real world, she’s taken to the hospital and nearly dies; in Dream, Aaron rushes to her rescue, finding her in the dream version of the station. As it turns out, she accidentally triggered one of the failsafes against using Deva abilities set in place by the Sentinels, and were it not for Aaron breaking the rules and turning it off, she would have died. Iris discovers them upon hearing about Alex’s collapse, and instead of being grateful to Aaron for saving Alex, she is furious, and tells both of them that they are forbidden to see each other, informing alex that her brother is a dangerous crimminal, and telling Aaron that she’ll have him executed if he does that again.

Iris drills it into Alex’s head that THOU SHALT NOT DO THAT SHIT AGAIN, ONLY FIGHT NIGHTMARES IN DREAM, YOU WILL DIE IF YOU TRY OTHERWISE, YOU AREN’T READY, ETC. At the same time, she takes off a few more failsafes, allowing Alex to at least take down nightmares properly while awake. At the same time, she locks down Alex’s ability to create illusions in a tighter way, keeping those abilities from even being accessible.

One of Alex’s students is clinically depressed, and Alex wants to help (and has for some time). Though Alex sent the kid to counseling, it doesn’t seem to be helping, and the student keeps coming to Alex for help. Alex decides that perhaps she can help after all. Alex at first assumes that the depression because of a normal Nightmare, but finds that the problem goes much, much deeper, and is in fact the kinds of “natural” nightmares Iris told her about --- just part of someone’s personality intrinsically. Still, Iris indicated to her rather specifically that this was OK to mess with, and in fact encouraged it. Alex thus goes about the difficult process of taking the thing out.

Unfortunately, this is kind of like removing a tumor by just reaching in and cutting it out, and Alex is not a surgeon; the creature is bound up in other feelings and emotions that this kid has, and Iris didn’t really teach alex to differentiate at this close of a level (alex can “see” negatives more easily, but when she looks closely positives show up, and they actaully aren’t that much different to her eyes). She accidentally not only removes the depression, but all of the student’s ability to feel any emotion whatsoever. Permanently. Shellshocked and horrified, Alex goes to Iris for help, hoping to fix it, only to have Iris actually tell her that 1. can’t fix it and 2. she totally did the right thing and Alex should be proud of herself. After all, the kid isn’t in danger any more and isn’t going to hurt herself or ever feel sad again. Alex angrily counters with “well she will never feel happy again either” and Iris responds with “a small sacrifice.”

Confused and angry, Alex leaves in a huff, and gives zero fucks about “don’t go talk to that Aaron guy.” She first goes to Jasmin and Andrea, telling them that she’s in trouble, no there’s nothing they can do to help, but if they don’t hear from her soon call the police, etc.

She goes to Aaron, explains the situation much more fully than she had before, and finally he tells her his side of the story. He’s not sure what Iris is up to, but he explains (reluctantly) that no, Alex ISN’T some magical chosen one (“Iris told you that? Lies. I mean, no offense. But it’s lies.”) and tells Alex what she’s really been doing. He expresses concerns about his sister’s sanity, and mentions that she’s been behaving oddly for some time. Alex isn’t sure what to think, and says that she feels that she needs to talk to Iris, that desptie how harsh Iris was, she was a good teacher, and Aaron agrees, saying that a Deva seemed to be the only way to fight the Nightmare and it needed to be done; he just wishes Iris had been more honest.

Alex resolves to confront Iris. She’s still torn, as Iris was her mentor, and so she hopes that there’s still some way to resolve all this. She goes off to do so

and then SUDDENLY SACROSANCT AGAIN
parasomnist: (Default)
POWER UPGRADES

Dreamwalking upgrade: It’s now MUCH harder to tell if Alex is dreamwalking with you. When she dreamwalks, she’ll seamlessly integrate into the dreamscape (how is ENTIRELY up to the person to whom the dream belongs: she might end up as a tree, or a rat, or anything at all). Characters who are naturally extremely twitchy or perceptive or who have psionic/magical powers that have to do with mental manipulation can still catch her.

Sight: Alex will have the ability to detect people’s emotional state by both looking at and concentrating at them. She can see these in two ways: either as colors, or as shadowy manifestations of creatures symbiotically or parasitically bonded to the person.

It’ll be up to the player in question to figure out what colors mean what emotions, but part of the package is that generally Alex can tell what this means.

As for the creatures, again, their appearance is up to the individual, but in terms of their color, negative emotions tend to be black in color, while positives tend to be white. They are integrated into the person’s body somehow (so if happiness is a bluebird, it might be fused to someone’s upper left shoulder).

Alex can’t use this power over recordings of any kind, so she can’t see emotions through video posts. She also must have line of sight to a person --- she can’t see through walls. Finally, if someone is actively trying to hide their emotions from her, these things will show up as hazy and indistinct, or not at all if the person is concentrating on it.

Emotional Manipulation: Alex influence the emotions of others now. While awake, this is very, very, very difficult, and can trigger the safeguards placed on her (see below) if she pushes too hard; she can, however, temporarily calm an angry mood or encourage a happy one through concentration.

In dreams, Alex can manipulate the dreamscape in a way that lets her attack the source of an emotion. If, say, a memory is making someone sad, Alex can remove the emotional connection to that memory to make it so that it no longer causes that effect. However, this is extremely dangerous, and can have drastic consequences. It is difficult to tell the difference between certain feelings, or to see how far an emotion goes; if a condition is endemic, it may be hard to find a single source (ex: if someone has clinical depression, the feeling of sorrow may be tangled up in all aspects of a person’s psyche). In fact, just before coming to Sing, Alex accidentally made it so one of her students lost all capacity to feel any emotion at all in trying to cure her depression.

Given that last incident, Alex hates using this power at all, and will probably refuse to outright. That said, she can also be stopped in the same way she can be stopped from dreamwalking period --- if her presence is noticed, she can be forced out.

Bending, and Limits: Thanks to Iris removing a few of the limitations on Alex’s abilities (limitations set in place on every human being on the planet by the Sentinels), Alex now has a minor ability to bend reality. These are as follows:

1. Dreaming while waking - Alex can see the dream versions of real landscapes. In her universe, there are two versions of every place: the one that exists in the real world, and the dream version. Imagine it like the real and fictional versions of Hollywood: the real version can be a brutal and difficult industry, while the fictional or imagined versions are places where anyone can be a star. Alex can see both of these simultaneously if she wishes, and even interact with the dreamscape (to other people, this will just look like she’s poking the air)
On Sacrosanct, since people don’t collectively dream, this won’t really do much, as there isn’t really a “dream” version of Sacrosanct (unless the mods want to talk possible plot implications with me of a ghost version of an idealized place) created by a collective unconscious. She’ll be able to see her own version, and manipulate it, but again, nobody else will see this.
She can also superimpose entirely different dreamscapes --- anything she’s seen. Again, only she can see it, and this doesn’t affect anybody else’s dreamscape, just her own personal version of it, as there isn’t a collective Dreaming in Sacrosanct.

… basically in Sacrosanct it’s just IMAGINATION++ and doesn’t even matter for anyone else; the only reason it’s significant is because of the latter two powers

2. Illusions - Alex can show other people these dreamscapes, basically creating illusions as she draws them into the dream while waking. The images are easily seen as surreal and superimposed on the real images, and though they can be interacted with, do not feel solid, cannot cause damage, and can’t affect other objects.

3. Reality warping - Alex can warp reality to a degree, drawing things out of the dreamscapes and making them real, altering her own abilities (to add flight, telekinesis, etc). this isn’t permanent and the effects disappear as soon as Alex stops concentrating; she also can’t change anything larger than her thumb.
HOWEVER.

Enough constraints remain that if Alex attempts either of the latter two (ie, anything that affects anyone who isn’t her), she’ll die on the spot. Cause of death will be a burst cerebral aneurysm. She will NOT be able to do much with these, and won’t even be aware that she can use these powers. Any attempt will likely result from extreme stress, such as a life-threatening situation.

This includes if anyone tries to teach her how to control these abilities. She just plain can’t use them without dropping dead immediately after. Yay!
parasomnist: (Pay close attention)
Alex has the ability to go walking in other character's dreams, and other characters can come into hers. She doesn't necessarily have to know your character in the waking world to do so, but it makes it easier if she's trying to find a specific dream.

Your character does not have to remember the dream. They can if they want to, but it's not a requirement. Alex will, but she might not mention it. The dream can be as bizarre or as normal as you like, and as meaningful or as meaningless. It can be your character being chased by giant pink mice, or it can be something deeply symbolic - whatever you like.

Alex makes dreams MUCH more vivid when she enters them - they tend to become almost indistinguishable from real life. She can't make your character able to lucid dream (if anything, she makes it harder to tell that it's a dream) and if your character DOES remember the dream, they may wake up confused and have a moment of disorientation as they awaken. Alex is a lucid dreamer, and can (with permission) muck around with dreamscapes.

Note that this isn't bound by species - if your character is sentient, she can dreamwalk them. This even applies to AI characters: if your character dreams of electric sheep, Alex can go herding them. However, if a character can block out psychic abilities or even just plain doesn't want Alex in their head, she won't be able to go mucking about.

*edit* Finally, Alex is trained very specifically to kill nightmares. That's her job in canon - she goes around murdering nightmares (later her teacher teaches her to cut out people's emotions too, but she hasn't learned that yet. Thankfully.) If your character has horrible problems with voices in their head and general SOB TRAUMA, she can temporarily alleviate that by busting in and taking it out. Alternatively, they can dream her dreams instead, which tend to be very peaceful.

SO PERMISSIONS:

- Can Alex dreamhop into your character's dreams?
- Can Alex muck around with the fabric of that dream (changing stuff, etc)

Also use this for planning CR or whatever.

application

May. 5th, 2011 12:17 am
parasomnist: (Default)
Player Information ;
Your Nickname: TEAL
OOC Journal: [livejournal.com profile] teal_deer
Under 18? nawp
Email/IM: failscream
Characters Played at Singularity: [livejournal.com profile] puppetfetishist, [livejournal.com profile] machine_god

Character Information ;
Name: Alex Wilson
Name of Canon: original
Canon/AU/Other Game CR: original (Somnus); but see also the setting of [livejournal.com profile] thewake_rp (which I wrote.) note that this is an AU of Wake. Or really, Wake is an AU of this.
Reference: … original
Canon Point: About a month after she gains her Dreamwalking abilities.

Setting: This is. Divided into parts.

THE WORLD AS IT WAS - or, The Way Things Really Are

In the Beginning there was Chaos.

Chaos represented all things that could be, every possible thing in existence – and in the Beginning, all things were possible, so all things were. But there was no priority on what should and should not be, no method do this madness, so everything tumbled over each other, colliding and expanding in a sea of what was and wasn't.

Eventually from this mess there sparked a Mind, and that Mind gained a Will. It began to exert an order on this endless Chaos, stabilizing some objects, giving some ideas priority over others. It separated the unwaking waters of Chaos from the Void, giving an empty space where it could plant its chosen ideas to let them grow.

As the Mind worked, it began to split, different aspects of its ideas taking on lives of their own. These beings regarded each other warily at first, but slowly began to work together for mutual benefit. They called themselves the Deva, and they were as gods.

The Deva reached into Chaos and wove elements into new worlds, thousands of them, experimenting and creating. As they did, they split into still more aspects, until eventually there were hundreds, thousands, and then millions of Deva of all different levels, from the lowliest Deva of Dust to the devastatingly powerful Deva of Sun. At first, it was good. The Deva created their own system of rules and laws for creating and overseeing the worlds they created, and they acted as one mind.

Then there came to be a philosophical schism between the Deva. The Deva had begun to create new life in their worlds, and that life had become complex enough to think and feel on their own. Some Deva claimed that these creatures were as worthy of rights and of knowing the truth of the universe as the Deva themselves; others claimed that they did not even have souls, they were constructs, barely even real at all, that their intelligence was but an illusion.

The arguments remained at the level of bureaucracy and law for a long time, with the general consensus that the Deva should simply hide themselves from these intelligences. That is, until one of the Sleeping (as they were called) suddenly Woke. These Wakened (as it was called then) exhibited powers like a Deva. She could change whatever she wanted, bend reality with her will just as the Deva could. It took her time to learn, but soon she was destabilizing her homeworld with her very existence. Quick to ac one of the younger Deva took this youngling in, and sheltered her, and taught her how to Bend. But her existence was an affront to the older, more conservative Deva, who still held that their creations weren't really alive. The elder Deva could protest all they liked, but they could not prevent the Awakening. At first, the Council relegated these Awakened to castes – newly Awakened would be Angelii, while those that had pledged their service to an extant Deva were Ashura. The problem came with that third tier – there were many Deva who felt that the Awakened could never be true Deva. Eventually, the younger Deva and the Awakened reached an uneasy truce, where the Awakened would indeed be allowed a place on the Council and to be considered full Deva. This did not last. Many of the elder Deva were still resentful of these upstarts, and plotted against them. Eventually, a small group were framed for the deaths of several elder Deva (in reality, orchestrated by another group of elders to give an excuse to exile the newcomers). This plunged the multiverse into all out civil war. Entire realities were rent asunder by the powerful wills of the Deva. Eventually, the faction that won out was a mix of newcomers and elders who did not care about the rights of the Wakened and did not care about the elder Deva either. They were tired of war, and their ultimate decision was this – if all were going to abuse the power so, then none deserved it. They won by sheer viciousness, by having a number of extraordinarily powerful Deva on their side (including several newcomers) and by virtue of many of their Deva having been in charge of highly experimental and secret projects: layered realities, subjective worlds that allowed even Sleepers to shape them, and their pride and joy... a world that was generated solely from one, single extant condition and a complex set of laws, a world simply seeded and allowed to grow on its own. They proceeded to execute the remaining survivors, hunting them down and destroying them. A few who surrendered or turned to their side they spared. Finally, they destroyed every last world save this one, this crown jewel, this perfect instance of world creation. Within this vast universe they selected one single world on which they would stand. They then descended to it to live among its people as mortals and guardians, to be eternally reborn again and again, never ceasing. Thus, they were named the Sentinels.

But they had miscalculated. Simply because they'd killed all other Deva had not destroyed the great Mind which had once been, and in these new people it awakened. For most it was simply that well, they were sentient, and among them were individuals with great talent for creativity... but others became gods, heroes, legends; giants and dragons, monsters and men. And the wars began anew, and the blood was spilled, and the Sentinels took action. They could not keep people from Awakening entirely, but they could channel that power. They thus created a layered reality – above the Real lay the remnants of the capitol city of the Deva, Kalliste, a place they could not bring themselves to destroy, and a place which served as a way for them to meet in secret. Just below the Real they created Dream, and below that, Nightmare; below that lay Chaos. And these latter three realms could be split and resplit and remerged in any way necessary. When mankind slept, they would dream themselves in a place as mutable as the universe had once been, where anything was possible. When awake, the world would be solid, fixed. Sentinels could bend Dream and even bend Reality a little (they gave themselves back that power in case more Sleepers became Awake) but no more.

For a while, it worked like a charm, but life has a funny way of subverting expectations. Wakened still came to be, and the Sentinels took a new approach. Some they'd offer service with them; and they, ignorant of history and knowing no better, would accept. Others they'd execute. Still others were allowed to become Ghosts, living minds enshrined in Dream (indeed, many Sleepers became Ghosts by sheer virtue of having wills too strong to truly die, or by the combined wills of those who remembered them). Meanwhile, in the waking world, humanity was just as violent and destructive as the Deva, rending their world carelessly with their wars and greed and ignorance of the functioning of this exquisite sphere. One Sentinel, Iris, decided that this was unacceptable, and pleaded with the Council for something to be done. They ignored her, saying that if humanity wished to destroy itself, it was their choice. She countered by asking if they had given the Deva a choice, but then was told that former case had been different. Iris, as a former Wakened, was not amused. She felt that humanity required discipline. Order. That there needed to be a way to control their violence. And the Council would never agree with her.

In secret, she began a project, carefully Bending and watching. She found a way to remove emotions from sentient beings – it is possible, you see, to view the world in many ways. You can see emotions as energy, as color, as simple chemical reactions or even as creatures that flit from person to person. Happiness breeds happiness, after all; and sorrow breeds sorrow. Iris found a way to simply kill emotions. But she was a Sentinel, and if she were to do it, she'd draw the attention of her superiors. Furthermore, Sentinels now had very strict limits on their power: she could only do so much before burning out. She needed a Deva, so she found a human who was close to Waking, but not quite there: a fifteen year old girl named Alice Lin. Alice was perfect, malleable and wishing to be a hero. Iris told her that these emotion creatures were evil and needed to be destroyed to save people. Alice complied, though with some trepidation. Of course, Iris' superiors discovered this young Deva. Iris had been clever, and covered her tracks well, making certain that her involvement was hidden. In fact, she headed the team assigned to kill this Deva.

Except once again, Iris miscalculated. Alice should have been unmade, her very essence riven, but Iris had altered her will to be much stronger than usual. She survived, and became a creature driven by pure vengeance. Locked in Nightmare where Iris had chased her to before killing her, she spun the forces of Chaos and created real emotion creatures – true hellbeasts that would latch onto people and bring out their darkest instincts. Unable to return to the real world, she sent these creatures into Dream, where they latched onto all sorts of people. In the real world, this manifested as mounting violence and escalating war.

Iris went to investigate, and discovered her mistake. Desperate to prevent the Council from discovering her hand in the matter, she volunteered to correct her “mistake”, stating that she'd do it on her own. But she was very, very desperate. And she couldn't fight a Deva this strong on her own. She'd need another Deva. One older, preferably; but just as easily malleable, and much more disposable.

She needed Alex Wilson.


THE WORLD AS IT IS or, Things Alex Wilson Knows.

It is sometime in the late Aughties.  Or just the generic modern day. Cell phones, tech that if you think about it really is almost magic, the internet. Y’know. The whole thing. The economy is in shambles, the national debt is skyrocketing, everything is as it is now. Well... not everything.

See, the same horrifying natural disasters have happened, the same wars keep occurring, but everything keeps getting worse. There were more earthquakes and floods. A meteor - an actual, honest to god meteor, size of a truck in fact - wiped out a town in Canada. That nuclear plant in Japan, damaged by the earthquake? Sorry. Full meltdown. And, in addition, the loudmouths from some first world countries, keening about the national debt? They stalled and choked aid to these countries. Why help? Help ourselves. This goes hand in hand with escalating violence. The US is in an all out war. Terrorist attacks continue, vicious and unabated. In cities across the world, but especially in the US, violence in cities skyrockets. It’s not uncommon to have a best friend dead, to encounter mob violence on the streets, or just to see the decay. Unbeknownst to everyone, this is the work of Alice Lin, now the self-styled Nightmare Queen, driven mad by her betrayal at Iris' hands and thirsty for vengeance not just against Iris but against reality itself.

Alex Wilson... doesn't know this.


Some would call Alex privileged; and this would be true. She went to a mid-sized college in Jersey, she’s got a teaching job and is working, slowly, on a graduate degree (Fiction.) Some would also call Alex a complete and total fuckup. This would also be true.

Alex teaches undergraduate composition, the worst possible job one can have at a college, and gets paid almost nothing to do it. She is also not particularly good at it, so her chances of continuing to teach? Slim to none. She's not doing too well on the fiction writing front either – her writing is uninspired, cliché, and boring. There’s things she wants to say but every story comes out either too heavy-handed - protect the poor, women’s rights - or so tangled and postmodern as to not make sense. She writes cliche genre fiction in her spare time to make herself feel better, but that will neither get her a degree nor put food on the table.

Alex is deep in debt, and with little to show for it. The grad school she’s at? The sort of place where as long as you throw enough money at it, they’ll take you. Problem is, it’s all loans. And she’s in a place where she’s just too far above poverty, by a hair, that she gets no grants, no scholarships for the needy. And she’s still got loans from undergrad. She knows she should have entered the workforce, except in this economy? She couldn’t even get hired at Safeway. Her rent is too high, her income too low, and she’s bleeding money at the seams, more and more in debt every day. Finally, Alex suffers from depression. Whether this was preexisting or brought on by circumstance, she doesn't know, and she's not sure she cares. Same difference, right?



It wasn’t always this way.

Once upon a time, Alex was a dreamer. As a child she built towers, as a child she wove stories - clumsy but unique, as children’s stories are. As a child she dreamed dreams and knew someday she’d be the hero of a tale, she’d slay the dragon and rescue a princess (no being rescued, not for her) and become king. Or later, she’d drive her starfighter against the Empire. Or go to wizard school. Or something. Or anything. Except of course magic isn’t real and the real world isn’t like that, so instead she thought she’d help people. She was determined to write, to expose the truth... except she froze up at her first attempt at interviewing the class president (it didn’t help that she had no friends in high school - neurosis will do that to you). And volunteering? She tried, a few times, but she was too shy, finding it easier to bottle up and hide (and, once again, freezing up when she tried).

Well, fiction at least was hers. Still. Maybe there was something else...? Maybe. In undergrad, she started off in mideast studies, with the intent of going into the government as a translator. Be a hero. Bridge a gap between cultures. Which resulted in her failing out of Arabic class entirely. She changed to English, for the lack of any better backup plan, and did well enough to just barely qualify for graduate school. When she graduated, she tried to get a job for the first year out of school, with no luck at all. As said earlier - even Safeway wouldn’t look at her. She tried to join the military but was rejected for health reasons: irony-deficiency anemia being foremost among them. In the end, grad school was a spur of the moment decision, a cop-out to stave off having to find a real job and for a lack of anything else to do. She still tried hard. She was a forgetful teacher, a bad grader; she didn't like to follow the school’s rigid and draconian guidelines for freshman comp teaching, which was probably going to end in her getting her fired. But she wanted to be good, damn it all; wanted so badly to make something of herself.

One day, after daydreaming and generally failing, one of her students approached her after class – rather unusual, as most freshmen were content to never ask for help and simply scrape by with Cs. At first, Alex was delighted, thinking that finally someone actually cared about the material... except the student, Iris Meylne, instead perfectly described the dream Alex had the night before, and then told her that she needed to save the world. Alex, having outgrown stupid fairy tales and being an adult, told Iris that stupid pranks were not at all appreciated, and put it down to a lucky shot in the dakr.

Except Iris appeared again in her dreams that very night, and told her that no, this was real, and Alex had no choice. I am not going to go into the long process whereby this happens, but Iris demonstrates to Alex that in fact the worldwide devastation has an underlying cause - a demon, the Nightmare Queen, has raised an army of nightmares. Iris explains her version of what nightmares are: creatures of pure negative emotion that serve only to force humans to act on their base instincts (partially true, as the artificial Nightmares bred by the Nightmare Queen are of this type; but Iris of course fails to explain that most of the time they're a natural part of human existence). Alex continues to try to refuse, but again and again Iris insists: you are the Chosen, the last Deva. And then the problem becomes why me. I’m a failure. I’m worthless.

Iris' answer is because you're the only one who will. Alex awakens and the next day is confronted by Iris, who repeats the dream and says that she’ll train Alex to fight the Nightmares. Alex agrees only reluctantly and only because it looks like she has no choice (and seriously, Iris, you’re a freshman, how do you know all this?)

So begins Alex’ training. Alex learns to slowly build her positive emotions and wield them as weapons, to channel the force in the universe called the Light, the raw power of Order, to banish nightmares. She does so primarily through dreams, though she can use a little of the power in waking life (no one can see this but her - she walks a line now halfway between waking and dreaming.)

Her powers grow slowly but surely. Iris teaches her more.

SYNTHESIS

Iris, as we already know, isn't what she seems, and Alex isn't a chosen one. There are MILLIONS of people who are potential Deva; Alex is just the one Iris picked to be her puppet. What Alex is doing in destroying emotion creatures like that is in fact hurting people, she just doesn't know it (it can also help people – for instance, those completely bound by their anger.

SHIT BE COMPLEX.


Personality: If you were going to describe Alex in one word, it’d be disillusioned.  It’s not that she’s had anything truly horrible happen in her life -- indeed, by most standards she might even be considered lucky.  It’s just that as someone who grew up mostly living in fantasy worlds and with a sense that anything is possible, watching the slow march of life into utter mediocrity is soul-crushing. And it’s not just the loss of her fantasies which did it -- it’s the fact that no matter how hard Alex tries, she can’t seem to quite be good enough that bothers her.

But the introduction of the Dreaming into her life and her new status as the Wakened has given her renewed hope. Maybe she’s not good enough yet, but she can be, and there’s some magic in her life.

As such, Alex seems to have two personalities.  As long as she’s dreaming (or thinks she’s dreaming) Alex is friendly and vivacious. Though she can be a bit shy at times, she is, for the most part, a wide-eyed explorer, happy to seek out new places and meet new people. This is because Alex feels secure when she’s dreaming -- she has some measure of control over her surroundings, after all, and doesn’t have to worry about things like food or sleep or dying (well, for the most part, but she doesn’t know the danger yet).  She especially loves to tell stories to passerby of the places she’s seen.

When she’s awake, Alex is prone to bouts of depression.  She has difficulty in social interactions and has trouble opening up to people, preferring to be alone if at all possible. Day to day tasks frighten her a great deal: paying her bills, for instance, is a damned ordeal, particularly since Alex has chronic financial woes. The few people who can get through her shell of shyness see that she does still have that imaginative drive and desire to discover, but her own fears of living in the world, of growing old and dealing with the trap of modern society scare her too much for her to ever be an effective human being. She does still like to explore when she can, but she has no free time to do so, and this upsets her.


IN SINGULARITY, Alex WILL assume at first that she’s dreaming. As she slowly realizes that this isn’t a dream at all (no convincing will do it for her; she’ll have to be given a few weeks to realize that she’s not waking up) she’ll panic and probably go into a spiral of depression/panic attacks, but once she’s done with that it’s likely she’ll lock into a mode halfway between. Sacrosanct, despite the threat of psychotic AI and weirdoes from another universe, still lacks the day to day pressures that modern life offers, and thus oddly enough will seem less frightening to Alex.


Abilities, Weaknesses, and Power Limitation Suggestions: Alex is a proto Deva. She has the latent power to bend reality to her very whim, to create entire universes, to, essentially, be god.

Luckily for everyone in Singularity, in Alex's world those powers are locked away and are very, very, VERY difficult to stumble upon by accident by design. Alex is NOT one of the sorts who would have Wakened on her own – she's artificially Wakened by Iris, and so has to be taught everything.

However, there's still things she's going to subtly influence and do, as I'll detail below.

Dreamwalking - Alex has the ability to enter into other people's dreams; furthermore, people around her (ie, people she becomes friends with) can slowly gain the ability to have shared dreams through her. These dreams feel like normal dreams, and the dreamers won't necessarily remember them (EVERYONE dreams – many people never REMEMBER their dreams). These dreams can be utterly mundane or truly fantastic, up to the dreamer.

If Alex dreamwalks, she'll be subject to the rules of the dream, and appear in a way that makes her unobtrusive. Show up in a troll dream? She'll probably appear as a troll, unless the troll knows her. What she appears as is up to the dreamer in question.

Within dreams, Alex can affect the mood and psyche of the person she's dreaming with, by influencing their emotions. If she wants, she can help them work through their problems to try to get them to come to a deeper understanding of themselves. She isn't perfect, and it's entirely possible that this process will go HORRIBLY WRONG, leaving the person in question MORE screwed up. Again, they might not remember the dream at all, but the effects WILL linger. Also, the damage goes both ways – Alex might be horribly scarred by what she sees in dreams.

She can also direct the flow of the dream. Finally, people who know her can dreamwalk (often by accident!) into HER dreams.

Shadowsight - Alex can see people's emotions if she tries. She can do this two ways: either by colors, or as actual creatures. The creatures will be attached to the person in some way, perhaps as an embrace, or a bite, or anything. Positive emotions generally look begin, negative ones look creepifying. The more powerful the emotion, the larger the beastie is. If a character tends to spread emotions around – ie, someone with a temper problem who tends to make other people angry – then this can appear as that creature actually spawning smaller creatures that go and latch onto others, “spreading” the effect.

Lightflash - Connected with the above, Alex can zap these creatures (or, if she's in color mode, change the colors) that represent emotion. Angry person? Zap their anger. ALEX IS NOT POWERFUL ENOUGH TO MAKE THIS PERMANENT, but she CAN work someone down from rage by force. The first few times she does this it won't be noticeable, but psychically sensitive people and people she hits multiple times can start noticing, especially since it makes them slightly euphoric and then emotionally blank for a period of about two hours.
This takes a lot of power on Alex's part, and leaves her very tired. She can only do a few people per day. Finally, someone who is EXCEPTIONALLY (whatever emotion) will probably be immune, as Alex won't be able to muster the power to overcome them.


On second thought, I'm removing the Shadowsight and Lightflash abilities, as they're annoyingly complicated and I think Alex will be more fun with just her Dreamwalking.

Inventory: A lesson plan, a backpack (unfinished short stories, a laptop, lunch), a cell phone
Appearance: Alex is 5'4”, underweight, malnourished, and scruffy. She is almost perfectly androgynous: flat chested, narrow hipped, and broad shouldered. It is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE to tell her gender or age at first glance; she looks like she could be anywhere from fifteen to thirty. This is partially because she dresses gender neutral, in a worn tweed jacket, slacks, dress shirt and shoes, and a tie, with square glasses.
In the waking world, she has scuffy brown hair and brown eyes. When she's dreaming, she has red-auburn hair and red eyes, though she can vary her appearance.
Age: 27

OC/AU Justification ;
If AU, How is Your Version Different From Canon, and How Will That Come Across?
If OC, Did You Run Your Character Through a Mary-Sue Litmus Test? yep
And What Did You Score? … -4 on the first one

Samples ;
Log Sample: This had to be a dream. There was no other option, none whatsoever. It was bad enough that her whole worldview had been shaken by Iris not a month ago, but now this... no. No, it had to be a dream.

Granted, a beautiful and detailed dream, and one where the usual rules didn't seem to apply. Or, more accurately, where the rules did apply. She ran a hand through her hair, ruffling it. It was still the same mousey brown as always, and no matter how hard she focused, she couldn't get it to lighten to her preferred vibrant red. Gliding was right out, as was any other sort of bending... except she could still see the Nightmares.

Still, that could all be explained. Some people just dreamed this way, just like some people didn't dream in color. It was a bad idea to muck with other people's dreamscapes anyway, and if the other person's will was strong enough, well...

… but there were things that were throwing her. She was hungry and thirsty. Well, again, easily explained away, as was the need to use the bathroom. Far worse than that was the sleepiness.

She was getting tired. She'd been awake in dreamtime for what she figured was about twenty four hours. Dreamtime was, of course, different than real time – it could move at whatever pace it damn well pleased. But this felt wrong. It didn't have the slipstream quality she was used to at all, and she was sleepy. She never got sleepy in dreams, not even in the most exquisitely realistic ones. Or, rather, when she did, she soon woke up.

She hadn't woken up yet. And now, she was starting to wonder if she ever would.

Network Sample: [hey remember that crazy … guy? uh... whatever. Crazy person who was INSISTING that they were dreaming? Well, they're back. And they look a lot more crazy and a lot less together.]

Um, haha. Iris, this is really funny, yeah. Is this another test? Because oh man it worked! I've absolutely learned my, um, lesson here, about going into the wrong dreams. I get it! Some people's heads are dangerous and seem amazingly realistic and not like a dream, and you can get stuck and not wake up.

[beat]

… Iris, where are you. I need to wake up. How long has it been? A full day? Two? I don't even know anymore, I can't tel how much time has passed because it's dreamtime. Iris I have a real life. I need to wake up.

I need to wake up. I don't live with anyone, Iris. Nobody checks on me. Ever. No one is going to notice if I don't show up and no one will come to my house to check on me. Iris, if I'm comatose I am going to starve to death.



Iris where are you please, please, I need to wake up? Oh god. No. I don't want to die like this, I don't want to die sleeping like this in the dream of someone who read too much Asimov and Heinlein as a child, please, I don't want to die, wake me up, oh god, wake me up...

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Alexander Wilson

January 2012

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