Elements of Artificial Dreamspace
Article #: Projections
The artificial dream world is occupied by beings known as projections. Prior to the development, distribution, commercialization and aggressive marketing of dreamspace technology and "medicine," there was no prior definition for the term "projection" with which it could be applied to the animating apparitions that inhabit artificial dreamspace environments.
Nearly anyone has access to artificial dream space, even more so than a computer, or even a car. The term 'projection' was applied to dreamspace inhabitants; to imply that they were "living" embodiments of one's thoughts, emotions, knowledge, and defenses. Hence, the effects of somnacin or related drugs force the mind to create this dreamspace, and in it, the mind will project itself into the environment and these virtual living beings.
In natural dreams, projections appear, and we interact with them until the dream ends. Through mysterious means, the projections appear in artificial dreams, and we interact with them, and they interact with each other.
While the word 'projection' doesn't originally fit animating entities, it's used to imply they are the projected memory in the dream space, and thus, instead of 'apparition,' or other terms used to describe virtual beings, the word 'projection,' is used, and when it comes to discussion, debate, and education, the word simplifies things.
The definition of this type of projection is as follows in the 2098 University Language Dictionary:
1: A virtual being that inhabits natural and artificial dreamspace environments. It is a living manifestation of the dreamer's knowledge, emotions, conscious, and subconscious defenses; which are all composed entirely of bio-data. Projections only exist for the duration of the dream. In artificial dreams, they are controlled by the subconscious.
Synonyms: apparition, spirit, agent, shade, mind virus, security.
There is a common misconception among dreamspace explorers; that they are different from the projections, and on this assumption, many tend to feel invincible. This false assumption has allowed many to become unwary of the dangers of dreamspace, and many have fallen prey to enemy projections as a result.
The simple truth is this: sleepers are also projections.
Even if you have a real body, in dreamspace, that notion of being realer than the world and projections is completely irrelevant, and does not apply. In fact, when you enter a dream world, your brain is projecting you into that dreamspace, and in any dreamspace for the duration of the dream, you too, are a projection, and are bound to the physical laws of the dreamspace environment. Even if one can alter the dreamspace, they too, can be altered (injured, killed, forged).
The term for projections of actual people in dreamspace is simple: they are referred to simple as dreamers, or sleepers, or subjects. The words 'architect, forger, thief, extractor, inceptor, mark, and tourist are used to distinguish certain people from the rest of the projections as per their role in the given exercise. All these terms are usually capitalized to indicate specific labeling. For example: "the Architect is raising new walls as quickly as possible to keep the Dreamer safe from the Subject's projections."
Lowercased, these words will imply general terms, such as
"Any architect could have built cubular mountains, and it doesn't require much memory for the dreamer to use them as an easy background, although any subject would still find cubular mountains to be quite odd, perhaps it will be a good distraction so their group's extractor can break in."
However, the lower-cased term 'dreamer' is a generalized label that applies to the entire group venturing into the dreamspace, and use of this word distinguishes them apart from projections, and eases the conversation, as opposed to "Our projections," or "other projections"
Pending who you work with, some prefer to simply call the group "sleepers," so as to avoid confusion with the word "dreamer;" and 'sleeper' can be capitalized or lower cased.
Here's a following list of primary and secondary terms that apply to people who go into dreamspace:
-Sleeper: Anyone who uses somnacin and enters artificial dreamspace. General term.
-Dreamer: One who's mind 'hosts' the dreamspace environment. Top priority target by foreign projections.
- Subject: One who's subconscious is allocated greater priority of occupying the dreamspace, but projections of other sleepers' projections (foreign) will enter and hostilities will occur.
-Architect: Designer of the dreamspace that is hosted by a Dreamer (often the Dreamer is an Architect). Similar to a video game designer, an Architect builds a single or multi level world, complete with all the aesthetic and tactile details (Inception Wikia). A skilled architect is essential to help the dreamer make the dream feel real. Furthermore, an architect can help design mazes or other secure locations in which the mark hides his or her secrets. The mark subconsciously hides his or her secrets in a secure location, and the deeper or more important the secret, the better or more secure the location must be in order to lure the mark into populating it with their secrets. The architect often fulfills the role of the dreamer during a heist, but the architect can also teach their designs to another to dream (Inception Wikia).
-Extractor / Inceptor: Extractors have the primary task of luring marks and stealing their memory. Inceptor's do the same, but "plant" memory or ideas instead.
-Mark: the target of an operation. Marks are usually listed as Subjects when they are brought in the dreamspace, and given top priority for their subconscious to fill up the dreamspace.
-Forger: Forgers have the uncanny abilities to modify themselves and appear in any disguise imaginable. C2 Forgers are capable of altering their own appearance, but they must grow to C3 level in order to alter the appearances of other sleepers and projections. Like Architects, they require an extensive knowledge base in order to creatively impersonate other people / beings.
-Thief: Same as Extractors, only less sophisticated or less direct interaction with the mark. Thieves usually focus on collecting intel. Disguised by Forgers, Thieves can cleverly slip in and interact with projections (however they will still be detected by C2's). As Extractors may charge more for their services, thieves often find themselves doing extraction work, or are assistants of Extractors and Inceptors. Thieves are also capable of monitoring dreamspace environments (and excel if they have Architect abilities of their own). However in some cases, Architects have had to keep their Team's thieves contained to avoid causing trouble.
-Tourist / Watcher: Has no direct role to play, but merely to keep watch on the rest of the Team, and assist in any way necessary. Sometimes tourists will lure projections away from the Team. In most operations, they will alert the Team on any changes that might occur.
-Point Man: The Point's role is lesser than the above three, much like the Thief and Tourist. The Point does his work mainly outside, in the real world, collecting intelligence and information on the mark, and supplying it to the Team as they plan the operation. In dreamspace, Points are more keen at gathering intelligence, and pointing out major clues or things of notice for the Team.
-Chemist: The Chemist's role is specific to that of a pharmacist; and produce specific compounds of dream inducing and sedative drugs. He must conduct necessary research. The Chemist does most of his work in the Real World, and brings his compounds and injection device into the dreams to enable access to lower levels. Any other role a chemist might have is minimal, or to act as a decoy if he's a Dreamer.
Needless to say, the Point, Tourist, and Watcher are roles that can be taken on by one person, however, in large shared dreams, or very risky operations, teams prefer to have three to fit each role, on account there's safety in numbers. Should one be taken out by projections, the others can still operate.
-Team: Refers to the entire group of sleepers except, or including the Mark. Distinguishes the group from other sleepers, particularly in shared dreams involving lots of people.
Sleeper Capability Level:
The range of skills and abilities of sleepers and projections is categorized from 2 to 4.
C0- Sleepers who are completely unaware that they are dreaming. Unless they become aware, they are overlooked by the projections. Often C0 sleepers tend to interact and have relationships with projections. Domestic projections will be friendlier, foreign projections (not knowing they could be foreign) could be somewhat hostile. Often marks, and new trainees will enter the dreamspace for the first time as C0 sleepers. Once they become aware it's a dream, they instantly "upgrade" to C1.
C1- Sleepers have little training in dreamspace, and are still learning about artificial dreams and familiarizing themselves with the laws, physics, look and feel of dreamspace. They have not yet acquired any ability to attract attention from the projections. However, their growing awareness resonates out and some projections (C1+) may take notice with an initial thought, "There's something about that person, I can't quite put my finger on it
C2- Sleepers have a complete awareness of the dreamspace environment. Their level of awareness resonates through the dreamspace around them, and projections will begin to take notice. Domestic projections, tools of the sleeper's subconscious will watch him/her, and take action in event the sleeper is threatened, or if foreign projections and sleepers are nearby. Sometimes C1 projections will stand out from the crowd and proceed to move the sleeper to a safer location.
C3- This is when sleepers are developing or mastered Architect or Forger abilities. New Architects are learning how to modify the dreamworld right down to the very particles and physics. Forgers can disguise themselves as locals and hide from C0-C2 projections. As they manipulate the dreamspace, themselves, and other sleepers/projections, projections will become alerted to the activity, and take action when enough alteration of the dreamspace has been done.
Projections will move to destroy foreign sleepers, and remove domestic sleepers to safety
Action taken by projections varies. Projections of an untrained mind will swarm and strike until the foreign sleeper is eliminated; or they'll restrain the sleeper until a C2 or higher projection arrives to finish them off. Projections of trained minds will instantly detect foreigners, and execute their duties in planned attacks. These militarized projections or 'Security,' are usually C2, or higher. In extreme cases, Agents will appear, and Shades will also participate in expelling foreign elements.
C?- It is not considered possible for sleepers to hack into other sleepers' bodies, and even if they could, foreign and even domestic subconscious' would instantly respond with maximum force. The best (and least dangerous) way for extracting or planting information is by taking or placing objects, making discussion, or other means of interaction with marks or other sleepers.
C4- C4 sleepers (with amazing and surreal luck on their side) can bypass the subconscious and hack into the body like a computer, extract or plant memory, or change settings of the body's various functions and systems. In addition, the sleeper is capable of controlling a number of his own C0, C1, and C2 projections. However, should a C4 sleeper enter a dreamspace, this awareness will resonate out, forcing the subconscious to respond accordingly. The chance of a C4 sleeper causing the subconscious to spawn Agents is roughly 95%.
C5- Projection controllers, or demigods of the dreamspace. C5 sleepers have mastered the ability to control ALL of their projections including Agents, who will ruthlessly destroy anything that threatens the sleeper, including his own shades whom he can't control. In order for one to command his own projections, one has to be complete within himself, and be in full control of his subconscious. C5 sleepers are also able to hack the body, but more extensively, and more easily.
The arrival of a C5 dreamer will trigger a max force response from the other subconscious. Due to this, if a Team has C4 or higher sleepers, they will wisely ensure that they are separate from their counterparts in the dreamspace or face instant decimation.
C6- Many aspire, but few ever attain the seemingly impossible ability to wake up in another body and control it. C6 sleepers appoint an Agent (or a trustworthy Shade) to temporarily control his own body when it's awake, while he hacks and seizes control of another body. C6 sleepers must do this carefully in order to evade the wrath of that person's projections.
The way it works is as follows: Sam enters a shared dream with Tim. Sam arranges with a trustworthy Shade or Agent to have them control his body while it's awake. Next, protected by his army of projections from Tim's projections, Sam hacks into Tim's body, and attains control of it when it wakes up. Tim will either 'blank out' (as in lapse a period of unconsciousness to the next artificial dream), or be expelled to his own limbo.
Tim wakes up in Sam's body, and roam's the real world as Tim, while his Agent or shade will be 'him'. This is the act of body-heisting, and a serious criminal offence, although hardly prove-able in a court of law. Such body-heists occur for different reasons.
In dreamspace, if projections suspect that a body-heisting is about to take place, or has already happened, they will fight with maximum force and means to expel the enemy and their domestic sleeper as well, and have an Agent control the body for the rest of its natural life span.
Sometimes, C6 sleepers can 'eye-heist' and become 'a second conscious' who can simply see, hear, smell, taste, and touch (basically just receive sensory signals) but have no control over movements. At Dreamers' University, eye-heists occurred so that jealous guys could 'join' their rivals when they go to bed with their girlfriends. Someone will not know he has been eye-heisted unless the perpetrator's Agent comes up and tells him. Returning from an eye-heist through dreamspace, the sleeper retains copies of the memories recorded during his 'time out.'
Eye-heisting is also a crime.
Here is a list of terms that apply to projections that occupy dreamspace:
Projection: A virtual being that inhabits natural and artificial dreamspace environments. It is a living manifestation of the sleeper's knowledge, emotions, conscious, and subconscious defenses; which are all composed entirely of bio-data. Projections only exist for the duration of the dream. In artificial dreams, they are controlled by the subconscious.
Shade: A projection that can have Architect, and Forger abilities. Shades are independent from control of the Subconscious, but will aggressively expel foreign projections and sleepers. They wield command over C0 and C1 projections.
Agent: A projection created by the subconscious with the specific goal of eliminating foreign elements. If the subconscious has been subjected to severe trauma from dreamspace or real life events, or if it 'feels' there's been a breach, the Agent will likely imprison or destroy the sleeper and seize control of the body when it wakes up. Agents are capable of actually killing people in dreamspace. They can destroy (and delete) sleepers and other projections.
PROJECTION CAPABILITY LEVEL 0-4
C0 Projections at this level are of little intelligence, and therefore almost no threat, provided they aren't provoked.
C1 Projections have accumulated a degree of intelligence through interaction with the dreamspace, each other, and foreign elements. They may have an unmarked superiority / command over class-0 projections. If C1 projections proceed to purge foreign elements, C0 projections will follow suit. They may act as individuals, but are for the most part tools used by the subconscious used to monitor the dreamspace.
C2 Projections that have gained independence from the control of the subconscious. They are free to do as they want. Only projections whom have been 'fed' intense information and emotion by the subconscious grow to C2. They are usually virtual copies of people the person knows or knew in real life. While they are free from systematic control of the subconscious, they are bound by the information (including emotion) in terms of their behavior and actions. (ex. A projection of one's late wife will still act like his wife, and not any other personality). C2 projections can be hostile. Despite their 'freedom' from the subconscious, they will aggressively strike out at any foreign projections and sleepers. In most cases, C2's still connected to the subconscious can wield command over C0's and C1's.
People often go into dreamspace to interact with their own projections. Those projections that the sleeper interacts with often become Shades. Sleepers who have been in dreamspace long enough will see their own projections grow to C2, and act like shades
C3- C3 projections are no longer under any control of the subconscious and are capable of altering the entire dream space, from the environment to inanimate and animate objects, even other projections. They have the skills and abilities of Dreamers, Architects and Forgers. C3's are even capable of altering unprotected foreign elements (ex. They can make a dreamer look like another life form). It is very rare that C3 projections will ever use this skill.
C3's are even capable of taking control of other projections from the same subconscious, and use them at their command. C3's, however, don't have the ability to control C2's.
C3's are usually Agents or Shades. Agents spawn as C3's because they are the subconscious' defenses, and strictly follow protocol, which is to ensure the dreamspace is protected and free of foreign elements. They will appear only if serious damage of any sort has been inflicted on the person. Agents are considered extremely dangerous. C3 projections are also capable of going to lower or higher dream levels in multi-level dreams.
C4- C4 Projections are capable of 'mind-heisting,' Similar to a thief removing an owner from his own car and driving off with the owner in the trunk, a C4 projection is powerful enough to take over the mind. At their desire, the body will wake up but with the C4 projection in control, not the original person.
Usually Agents and Shades grow into C3 and C4, pending how long they have "live" and how much they have learned, and the data they are composed of. Agents and Shades may resemble ordinary humans in any realistic dreamspace, but in illusionary dreamspace, these, and all other projections can take the shape and form of imaginary or notable characters.
C5- Any projection with a 5th capability level can literally hack into the brain and nervous system of the body, and cause incomprehensible physical and emotional damage. C5 projections can alter the functions of the vital organs, immune system, respiratory system, digestive system, etc. Simply, the C5 projection can make the victim develop all sorts of symptoms. C5 projections only resort to such measures if they cannot seize control of the body from within, and will attack and torment the victim until he / she submits to the projection's demand to give up control and spend the rest of their days in the dream world.
These capability level systems are used to quickly identify targets and quickly inform other Team members; "That woman in the red trench coat, there by the giant hogweed plant; she's a C2 projection. She's been keeping an eye on the mark for some time. We'll need to take her down."
Or, "Mal started out as a C2. The more and more time Cobb spent with her, the more powerful she became. She grew to C3 status during the Fischer Job, when we were at level 2; in the hotel. She altered the curtains and placed that wineglass where it tipped and shattered. She also brought in the other projections of Phillipa and James, but either Ariadne's design of the hotel, or Robert Fischer's security kept her at bay until Ariadne gave her the key into the antechamber by telling Cobb of the shortcut.
Fortunately, she was not that powerful. If she had been, even a C4, we would have been in serious trouble."