soldad: (don't point at me)
the point man ([personal profile] soldad) wrote2013-01-31 10:29 pm

[community profile] outsiders application

Player Info
Name: Tai
OOC Journal: [personal profile] azkabanhuntress
Over 18? Yes.
Email/IM/Plurk: [ profile] cocksandtaiwan, otherwise hellotaifoot on AIM.
Current characters: None :V

Character Info
Name: Arthur

Canon: Inception (film)

Age: 30 (a best guess)


Reference: Arthur's wikia entry, Interview with Joseph Gordon-Levitt about Arthur (scroll down), wikia entry on "The Cobol Job", PDF of "The Big Under", wikia entry on the PASIV, and wikia entry on Inception (film).

Canon Point: Just after completing inception and getting off the plane in canon, and after entering a teleporter marked to send him home on Sacrosanct in [community profile] singularityrpg .

World Information: Inception is set on modern day Earth – there are no notable events in history that make it different. Technology appears to exist on the same level as ours, with one exception – the ability to share dreams and steal thoughts from other people's minds.

It all starts with Project Somnacin, a military program that was investigating the power of dreaming and eventually, shared dreaming. Though no information is given regarding how the PASIV ( Portable Automated Somnacin IntraVenous) device was built, nor how the chemical known as somnacin was created, we do know they were made in this program for the purpose of shared dreaming.

Originally, dream share was used as a training program for soldiers, a place where they could “shoot, stab and strangle each other, then wake up” and do it again. It's unknown how extensive the program was, though a few of the characters in the film, Dominic Cobb, his father in law Miles (who is indicated as having taught Cobb how to navigate dreams), and the deceased Mallorie Cobb are mentioned as having been involved in some way.

The technology used to make the PASIV and somnacin was eventually leaked out of the military and was picked up and used by criminals and thieves, though it is, given the costs, more of an upper class crime. Colloquially this underground practice is referred to as dream share. It is absolutely still a crime to use it for the purpose of “extraction”, a mind crime detailed in more depth further below.

The PASIV itself is a device that allows one to control the dosage of somnacin to multiple people, and even to time how long the dosage will go on (removing the need for someone to watch over the dreamers, though it seems it is considered good form to have someone watching anyway). The device delivers somnacin through the wrist via an IV, and can hold several dosages of somnacin in reserve to be used.

The chemical called somnacin allows shared lucid dreaming, between two people or a larger group. In a regular dream, one person hosts the dream level – they are referred to as the dreamer. They create the architecture of the dream and have the ability to manipulate the dream to their preferences. Anyone else who is in that dream with them can populate the dream with projections of their subconscious – usually this is only one person, a “mark”, but other people can bring their projections into the dream as well (One character's 'projection' of his wife haunts the jobs he goes on and sabotages them in the film, while in the script another character brings two of his projections into a training level, and the others tell him to suppress them). Projections are also like your mind's white blood cells – they sense the foreign nature of the dreamer in the subject or mark's mind. If you change too much in a dream too quickly, such at the layout of the dream ( by folding the dream city of Paris on top of itself as an example) they will attack the dreamer and their accomplices and rip them apart.

In shared dreams, your mind functions more quickly, and with somnacin this results in a time dilation effect. Five minutes up top in the real world translates to an hour down in the dream, though this effect can be changed depending on the mixture (One character mentions using a compound that gives you forty hours in a dream for eight hours in the real world). The mixture can also be altered, aside from different time dilation effects, to leave things such as inner ear function unaffected (so you can still feel a kick).

In dreams, death isn't permanent – killing yourself or someone else merely wakes them back up. This is one of three ways you can wake yourself up in a dream – you can die, or you can simulate that feeling of falling forward when you're asleep that jolts you awake. The sensation of falling forward is referred to as a “kick”. The third option is to merely wait out the timer on the PASIV device; once the flow of somnacin is cut off, you will awaken.

Dreams can also be stacked – going into a dream and then using a dream PASIV to go into another dream, creating a dream within a dream. The effect of somnacin is compounded when doing this, since the time dilation effect still occurs, meaning that five of your minutes in the first dream level will still be an hour on the second dream level. In the film, they create three levels of dreams to work on – a dream within a dream within a dream.

Dreaming must be done in a stable environment, because dreams will reflect external stimuli – a dreamer getting wet can result in the dream getting flooded, or the urge to pee can result in the dream raining. Driving in a car while hooked up to a PASIV will also result in things like little earthquakes or even avalanches that can affect the landscape of the dream. Too much external stimuli when doing this can wake a person up, as it can be it's own kick. A sedative can be used for sleep to make the multiple dreams more stable.

Using a sedative is dangerous, however, because attempting to kill yourself to “wake up” from the dream while using one will not wake you up (but waiting out the timer or using a kick will). It will instead take you down to a level nicknamed “limbo” - raw, unconstructed dream space. The time down in limbo is can be as short as several decades or potentially infinite from your mind's point of view, and you run the risk of forgetting you are in limbo and staying down there until you wake up. By that time your mind can be gone, or “scrambled egg” as a character calls it.

There are other risks besides limbo in dream share – too much use of the somnacin chemical results in the inability to dream naturally in your sleep, requiring the use of the PASIV to dream at all. There is also the problem that, since dreams feel real while you're inside them, you could wake up into another dream and not be aware of this. One way to combat this is to try and remember how you got to where you are – time flows differently and you never start “at the beginning” of a dream but right in the middle of one, and you won't exactly remember how you got from Point A to Point B. Another way is to carry a totem – an object that you keep on your person that won't seem out of place but cannot be too common and thus taken. One of the totems seen in the film is a loaded die, the totem of Arthur – in reality it will always land on one number, but in a dream it will act as if it is a regular die. This tells you if you are in another person's dream, and to keep the totem effective you must never let someone else touch it lest they find out how it works.

Dreams are also extremely malleable; you can create things that could not exist in the real world but are treated as perfectly normal in the dream. The dreams are usually designed by architects, people who design the layout of the dream, for example the building you are in or potentially whole cities, along the traps and mazes of dreams. They usually design the layout up in the real world, and teach them to the dreamers and help refine the design in a dream. There are traps that can be put into the layouts of the dreams to trap projections, such as the Penrose steps drawn by Escher – the infinite staircase can be used to trap a projection and disguise the limits of the dream, and one of the point man Arthur’s favorite tricks. Architects are also one of the people mentioned as being involved with the military, as “someone had to design the dreams” for the soldiers.

There are several types of people that are involved in illegal dreamshare besides the aforementioned architects, and go by various names to indicate their specialization. Extractors are people who are skilled in navigating dreams to find the mark's secrets, either by breaking into literal or metaphorical safes in their mind or by interrogating projections. Forgers are people who have learned how to mimic the mannerisms, voices and appearances of other people in the dream, and are useful for pretending to be a mark's loved ones or people they know. Chemists are those who make somnacin or their own variations thereof, and also help figure out dosages as needed. Point men are the people who deal with gathering research and information to help the other team members, as well as do research on the marks. This is the role assumed by the character of Arthur; he helps the others iron out the details of a job, as well as conducting the background check on the mark, Robert Fischer. He also teaches the ropes of dreaming to the newest member of the team. A point man has to be able to assume many roles to keep the team moving.

Extraction itself is the act of stealing information out of someone's mind while they are asleep and under the influence of somnacin – because in the dream state, your conscious defenses are lowered and thus your thoughts are vulnerable to theft. One of the only defenses against extraction is having an extractor militarize your subconscious against such an attack – making your projections turn against the invaders and kill them once they sense the slightest indication that something is wrong. This is not a fail-safe however, given that one of the characters in the film mentions having dealt with a militarized subconscious before. The other is to be trained in lucid dreaming, giving yourself some control over the dream you are in and therefore making it harder for others to extract from you – and at the very least you may remember that they attempted to.

People performing extraction have a few methods for retrieving the secrets in a person's mind. The most benign way, only mentioned in the film, is by asking questions of the projections of that person's mind- since they are projections they hold their thoughts and memories and will answer accordingly. Another way is by fooling the person into believing they are in the real world, and interrogating them with threats on their life, since normally dreams feel real while you're in them and it's only when you wake up that you realize something was off. A third, and the method seen used in the film, is by having an architect place a safe in the dream world; the mark's mind will automatically place things it wants to protect inside said safe. All of these are considered effective methods because a subject or mark will usually not remember a dream when they wake up, if they weren't aware they were in a dream.

The opposite of extraction is inception – the theory of planting an idea in someone's mind, instead of taking one out. It is considered, if not impossible, extremely difficult (though it turns out to have been completed twice) because the subject's mind can usually trace the “genesis” of the idea to whomever planted it – inspiration is hard to fake.

Inception requires an idea at it's absolute basic, that must be subtly suggested to the subject instead of outright planted. An idea will also persist in the subject's mind – telling them “your world is not real” in order to wake them from a dream will cause them to believe that even their reality is not real. Inception is about suggesting concepts gently, a subtle art, while also planting them deep enough in the figurative/literal safe of their mind that the idea won't be forgotten when the subject wakes up.

Extraction, inception, and the dream share community and military project aren't assumed to be a widely known issue to the general public, since one civilian character, when introduced to the concept, seems to doubt it's existence until shown how to dream.

Arthur has also spent time in [community profile] singularityrpg, on the station Sacrosanct. The setting for Sing can be found here. Basically, Sacrosanct was a space station set in the Dune universe, with a rift that tossed characters onto the station itself. It was run by a fractured AI who loved to put the residents through somewhat strange and downright horrible tests. The AI, Hypatia, was eventually locked away by the characters, leaving them with a fraction of the station running.

Personality: Arthur is, in the words of his own actor, “the organized one”. As point man, he deals with the details of performing extraction (and inception), the producer to his extractor's, Cobb, artist. He's logical, seeking to find the holes in the plans that the others come up with, so that they can patch them up before implementing them.

Despite seeming exceedingly specific and being described as a stick in the mud by one other, Arthur can be quite creative when he needs to be – defeating enemies in zero gravity and finding a way to give the kick to his team mates even though, in his own words, he couldn't “drop you without gravity”. He seems content to be described as such however, since he knows his strengths are better put to researching evidence and the details needed to complete the job.

He's also nearly as personable as Cobb, his friend and extractor, or Eames, the resident forger, evidenced by when he is talking to Saito in the beginning of the film and explaining how extraction works, as well as when teaching Ariadne how to build mazes and traps. Both times he appears thoughtful and friendly, smiling with Ariadne and appearing sad when he explains about Cobb's deceased wife. He is not emotionless as he appears at first glance.

Arthur is also protective of the team as a whole, visibly pissed off when Cobb betrays them by lying about the dangers of sedation in the dream and also being the one that volunteers to have Yusuf test his customized somnacin mixture on.

His actor also describes him as “fascinated” by the technology of the PASIV, and that performing extraction and inception are “not just a job for him”, since he could have applied his skills to several other jobs post-military. Arthur chooses not to, however, instead becoming a criminal to continue work in dreamsharing - he is very passionate about his work, the detail that goes into it, and the end result that can be as fantastic as a sprawling cathedral or mundane as a business office. He flat out enjoys and loves it. As an aside, I believe Arthur is former military, evidenced by the fact he describes the military dream share program to Ariadne, as well as using a SOCOM-exclusive weapon in the dream world. This also explains some of his rigidity and strong need for specificity and organization.

One of his strongest weaknesses could be the fact that he appears to be very open, emotionally, displaying anger, irritation, amusement and sadness easily. I would even describe it as wearing his heart on his sleeve, because while he is guarded, he is not quite as good at guarding his emotions as someone like Eames or Cobb would be. He's still very loyal to Cobb in particular, apparently having dealt with Cobb's guilt projection of Mal several times before, even while suspecting Cobb had performed inception on her.

Despite this, one must remember that Arthur works in a profession that is illegal, so his morals are slightly looser than one would expect of his personality. He has contacts in several countries ( even one of a young age in Japan, Tadashi, that he uses to follow Saito, as seen in The Big Under comic and the beginning of the film itself ) and while he is loyal to the team, he knows to watch his back – especially after Cobb lied to him about the sedation.

He is also very observant of his fellow team members, Cobb in particular; while he doesn't piece together the pieces of Cobb's mental projection problem before it messes up the job, one can assume he was very close, considering how quickly he does so after it rears it's ugly Mal-shaped head.

Basically, Arthur is a competent, extremely detail oriented criminal, who is more friendly than he appears to be at first glance – but still wickedly observant, critical, and very passionate about his job.

Abilities, Weaknesses, and Power Limitations: Arthur is a skilled combatant in and out of dreams. Drawing from the idea that Arthur was introduced to dreams through the military program, and his generally serious work demeanor and actions (using double taps in the warehouse scene, using a Glock and FN SCAR-L, the second of which is exclusively used with SOCOM forces) that point to him being a former soldier, I assume he has basic military training with guns, hand to hand and combat tactics. Since the term “point man” comes from the military, I tentatively assert this was often Arthur's role.

Arthur is also shown as very adaptable, able to roll with the punches, like missing a member of his team or having to deal with dangerous projections. Given his role as a point man and reference to “research”, I also think he has experience with mid level computer hacking and encryption, as well as being very skilled at observation in order to get information on marks. However, he's not a top-level hacker, and therefore there are encryptions he won't be able to break.

Arthur is also shown as being able to clean and maintain the PASIV device, and it appears the device is likely his own, since he's shown being the one carrying it during travel. Therefore, I think he has some mechanical skill, though it is mostly related to the PASIV and keeping mechanical parts clean. If you gave him a blueprint he could likely follow it to completion, however. He's good with orders.

In dreams, Arthur holds the same skills as in reality, and he can manipulate the dreamworld well enough as an architect (he shows Ariadne how to build traps for projections). He also takes down several projections, made even more impressive by the fact he does it mostly by hand, and while the dream's gravity is flipping around (or having a total lack of it altogether).

However, Arthur is not perfect and only human. In the film, even his research doesn't turn up the fact that Fischer has been militarized, and he's captured by Saito and his projections in the first dream we see him in (as well as losing his gun right away when he's fighting projections on the second level of the next major dream sequence). He can be overpowered in or out of dreams, and miss information, just like anyone else.

Arthur has no powers and therefore I have no limitations to suggest for him.

Inventory: His totem (a six-sided red die), combat armor from Sacrosanct (minimal shields, good defense against bullets and lasers), a suit, a dissembled Glock 17 with a spare magazine, and his laptop.

Appearance: Arthur stands about 5'10, with brown eyes and black hair that is usually slicked back. He's thin, but seems to be in good physical condition, not appearing emaciated or overly muscular. He's played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the film.

Alternate Universe Info
If AU, how is your version different from canon, and how will that come across? Arthur has been living for roughly six months out of his canon point, on board an orbital ring known as Sacrosanct.

When he arrived on Sacrosanct, he kept the true nature of his occupation a secret, and posed as a misplaced former soldier turned accountant. He aided in repairing a broken teleporter that was causing dinosaurs to spawn, though this ended in him losing his life, not that he remembers thanks to teleporter respawn. He made a habit of poking at new arrivals, made a couple friends, mainly in the female version of Agent York from Red vs Blue and in Marco, a teenaged shapeshifter from the series Animorphs.

He ended up participating in a rebellion, headed by Commander Jane Shepard from Mass Effect, that overthrew the station AI Hypatia, replacing her with an AU version of the AI Delta from Red vs Blue. This ended up damaging parts of the station, or rendering the other parts inhabitable thanks to power loss, and led to the residents living in a smaller section of the station. Arthur also had to carry his (briefly arrived) canon-mate Eames to safety after a Reaver ship crashed through the rift into the station, and Eames was gutted.

After that, it was mostly quiet, and he ends up on Omega after Delta, the current AI, says that he has corrected the rift error bringing them to Sacrosanct and that the teleporters should be programmed to return them home. While it's not logged, Arthur sets a teleporter for his home universe and enters it.

His thread tracking post for his time on Sacrosanct is here.

All of this means he’s somewhat familiar with the concept of being displaced, and won’t be incapable of dealing with arriving on Omega. In fact, he may find it easier to deal with, given that the setting of Singularity didn’t lend itself to criminal activity. He’s also familiar with the concept of alien beings, though he won’t have seen so many in one place before. While he doesn’t share the distrust of synthetics that most of Omega seems to share, he’s certainly not about to go placing his life in the hands of one anymore, either (aside from any calling themselves Delta).

Aside from that, Arthur hasn’t developed much personality-wise, aside from developing a couple of short-lived crushes, an odd senses of responsibility towards children, and discovering a love for battle armor. What I hope to do with him on Omega is allow him to dabble in more criminal activities, revealing eventually what his real job was when it becomes relevant.

Log Sample: Arthur attempts to keep Eames' organs on the inside. (12+ comments) 

Network Sample: [ The differences between the omni-tool and the wearable were noticable at first, but Arthur has become used to them, after this point. He’d had some time to fiddle with it on the ship when they’d arrived, and scrolling through the various posts after he’d stepped onto Omega had given him some ease with navigation.

He opts for audio, his standard paranoid penchant. ]

Out of the frying pan and into the fire, as they say. At least Omega is has more habitable space than the last place I was at. For certain definitions of habitable.

I thought it’d be a nice step to introduce myself. My name’s Arthur, I’m from Earth, but more recently I’m from a place called Sacrosanct. I met a few people from there on the transport, but I was wondering if anyone else had showed up before us.

[ That deed done, he closes the audio feed for now. ]