View Full Version : Inception fan-fiction: Passive

Jedd Fletcher
31-03-11, 03:44
Unlike most of the other pieces of fan-fiction I've written, this features almost none of the characters from the original story, and instead goes back to the concept: A forgotten tale from the early days of the development of the PASIV device, US Army Sergeant Thomas Maine explores this new frontier of dreamscape combat simulation- and the frightening prospects it brings along.



Fan-fiction by Jedd Jong Yue
Based on Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan

Sergeant Thomas Maine was trying to take it all in. The desert before him seemed wide, infinite, boundless. As rife with possibility as it was with danger, as the soldier was quick to remind himself. Maine knelt down and ran his fingers over the sand. It reminded him of the beaches of Siesta Key, where he had spent his honeymoon just a couple of years ago. He chuckled at the pleasant memory. He wasn’t exactly sure which desert this was; to Thomas they all seemed the same.

The Sergeant returned his focus to the task at hand, as he stared straight ahead, anticipating. He heard a loud rumble – an ominous, mechanical drone that threatened to bore deep into his head. Over the sand dune came a Merkava Mark IV. Thomas couldn’t help but smile – if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing. After all, this was a machine that had been built for urban warfare. The Mark IV was the latest in a line of main battle tanks of the Israel Defence Force. How the enemy had gotten hold of one, Thomas didn’t know, and didn’t care.

Thomas was hit by an idea, a stupid wave of audacity. He drew his M9 sidearm, the only weapon he had been provided, and fired at the beast. Just as he thought, it was overwhelmingly ineffective against the rolled homogenous armour/ Chobham armour composite material that covered the exterior of the tank. As the machine advanced, Thomas stared right ahead, admiring every last detail. It was perfect.

Before he knew it, Thomas was looking down the barrel of the smoothbore tank gun. He ducked and rolled; something that would have been useless against the Merkava in any other given situation. Maine ran round to the back of the tank. The access hatch heaved open, as four soldiers ran out to greet him. Tactically, this was about as stupid as it could get, but Maine knew that these men had been instructed to do so. He recognized all four of them. All four were colleagues and good friends who had turned traitor. And all four were clad in a hideous ochre uniform.

Thomas threw himself at the first man. He grappled with him, and knew he stood no chance. Corporal Dave Merse was not so much a mountain of a man as an oregenic belt, for want of a better metaphor. As a child, Thomas had often been told to “concentrate”, as if that was the magic wand that would make him better at a given subject. Here, however, it was perhaps worth a shot. Maine focused his effort, imagining himself besting his four opponents.

It worked.

Thomas smiled, as it reminded him of the “Stormtrooper Effect”, whereby large masses of generic and supposedly well-trained grunts were easily defeated by the hero of the piece. It was a little empowering. He put his second-to-last bullet right between the eyes of the fourth man, Corporal Jay Tange, after forcefully removing the man’s PASGT helmet.
In a half-remembered dream, these men were his friends. Now, he stood over their corpses, relishing the engineered moment of triumph, imagining it was by his own hand that they had been felled. Thomas awaited the next objective as he removed the Three Technologies handheld computer from his pack. The screen blipped to life. “Objective 1 – complete”, it read, as if the whole ordeal was some kind of twisted videogame.

“Objective 2 – reach town of Naŏln.” Thomas couldn’t believe it. He didn’t even know which desert he was in, let alone the location of this town that he’d never heard of – and the breve above the letter “o” annoyed him somewhat. He sighed, but figured it was worth a shot. He smiled again when he recalled something his uncle would often tell him: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – and ends with very, very sore feet,”
Maine started walking. After a mile, he did indeed feel like giving up. It was not so much that he was physically unable to handle the heat, the sand and the gear, but that he knew there was no point in actually reaching Naŏln. He glanced at the sidearm. No, that would too simple a solution. It never solved any problems.

Finally, Sergeant Thomas Maine relented. There was one slug left in the clip of the M9. It felt strange, unnatural even, for someone who possessed sufficient mental stability to consider such a rash act. He had to remind himself that all this was just a simulation. None of it was real, and what he was about to do would have no consequence in the world above.

Maine opened his eyes. That single moment of awaking from the dream was the most disorienting and startling sensation anyone could feel. He was almost tempted to feel for the lethal entry wound above his right ear. Maine sometimes wished there was a way he could be sure when he was within the simulation, and when he was actually awake, as even though he was dreaming lucidly, the mind was often none the wiser. He calmed himself down, taking in the familiar surroundings of what was affectionately referred to as the “Dreamlab”.

Maine glanced over as Dr Miles removed the intravenous needle from his wrist. Corporal Merse, Coporal Tange, Staff Sergeant Greg Aalto and Specialist Bob Mylne had already been disconnected from the PASIV device, peering in from the other side of the glass. Maine sat up. He waved feebly, and his colleagues waved back as they smiled – smiles that belonged to his colleague, friends – not the traitors of the dream. Dr Miles began to keep the PASIV device, threading the tubes and wires back into the aluminium briefcase and locking it shut. Closed, nobody would have known what was inside – the infinite power to create in a realm everyone had yet to master.

Sargeant Thomas Maine knew that this was but a training exercise, but couldn’t help but wonder if one day, all wars would be fought with eyes closed, in a shared realm of altered reality, by motionless soldiers – passive.