2007-10-15: Since I Took The Red Pill


Cass_icon.gif Kory_icon.gif

Summary: Kory goes to visit Cass at Bat Country to discuss the dream, her gift, and what she can do to help.

Date It Happened: October 15, 2007

Since I Took The Red Pill

Location - Bat Country

Though Cass' attention has all but been single-mindedly on finding some sort of cure, a call like the one she got just a little while ago is one that she takes seriously. Especially when it comes from someone she knows. Though Bat Country is sort of under quarantine and Cass doesn't want to bring anyone down there that isn't already suspected of having the virus or related to having the virus. So, instead, she's managed to convince someone at Seville Medical to let her borrow an empty office. While Bat Country is more welcoming, this office is devoid of any decoration. There's a desk and a couple chairs, but nothing else in the room. Already seated at the desk and scribbling something down on a notepad is Cass. She looks a lot different from when she's tending her store in the Village. For one, she has a white lab coat on, black framed glasses on top of her head, and for the other she looks tired and worried.

It's a quick subway ride from the Lair to get down to Brooklyn. Kory arrives at the appointed time, in one of her more professional outfits. Once she's showed in, she knocks politely on the doorframe, still just the slightest bit skittish after the events in the dream which she now knows may yet come to pass.

Having kept an ear open for just such a knock, Cass looks up to the doorway and gives Kory a warm smile. A little less wattage than on her normal days, but there is no faking the sincerity. "Hey Kory, come on in." She gestures to the chairs that are still open. "Sorry about the bleak and depressing room. I'm normally down in the basement which is, believe it or not, more welcoming. Sit down, sit down." She waits until the door is closed and Kory is inside before starting again. "Why don't you tell me about why you wanted to see me?"

"Oh, no worries," Kory replies, also smiling warmly. She's a teense nervous, still, and it shows, but she's still doing her best to cope and continue putting one foot in front of the other. She accepts the offer of a chair, and gives Cass an earnest look before she shrugs. "I mentioned in the course of conversation that I have a degree in psychology," Kory explains, tucking her hair behind her ears. "I thought maybe that, plus my …um…other talent might be useful. And he suggested I talk to you."

Noticing that Kory's nervous, Cass tries to give her a some time to gather her thoughts and shore up her nerves. Also, she tries to seem welcoming. "Would you like something to drink? The coffee here is hospital coffee, but it's better than nothing." And of course, there's the typical glass of water. "You mean in your talk with Peter?" She has the general underlay of conversation here, but nothing with the specifics. "I'm…actually pretty curious about your ability. All I really know about it is that it has something to do with dreams?" Or that's the impression that she got.

"Peter. Right. And…and a glass of water would be great. Thanks." Yep. Nervous. Kory shakes her head in annoyance with herself. "I'm sorry. This all just came as something of a shock to me is all. I've spent years thinking I was the only odd one out, even after Dr. Suresh's book came out and got relegated to where they put the New Age jive in most stores." She nods, though, at Cass' question. "Right. I can enter the dreams of a person who's sleeping. And manipulate the dream if I want."

Standing up, Cass pours a tall glass of water for Kory and brings it back over. She's used to people being nervous about what they can do. In truth, she's managed to see just about the entire spectrum of emotion dealing with abilities. "Me too," she gives a smile. "First time I found out about it, I nearly fainted. And this is coming from the woman who stocks the book in her store." Settling back into her chair, she pulls out her short ponytail and then goes about tying it back. "That's actually really interesting." But there's something else to add to that. "So…I heard about what happened before with a group of people and a shared dream. Did you somehow alter everyone's dreams?" Because if the visions they saw were actually Kory somehow, that would be a huge weight off of her mind.

Kory nods, and just hearing someone reflect her response and her words back at her is a visible weight off her mind. The relief smooths some of the stress out of her face. "I didn't so much alter their dreams. Not this time, anyway. I was too astonished to do anything but watch. I've never encountered a multi-user-shared-dream like this before. I've only ever been in one person's dream at a time. But it was like …a conference call or something. With me as that mother ship thing you see in big offices." Talking about it is helping, too. She seems to be warming to the subject as she can speak about it without people freaking out about it or laughing at her. "I've had a good bit of practice, but that! It was a first, let me tell ya."

Glad to see that Kory is starting to warm up and get less nervous, Cass rests her arms on the desk and nods as she listens to the other woman. Hearing about what happened through someone who has actual experience in dreamwalking is a big plus. And is helping the woman put things together in her mind. At least in one point. "Well, I can't say I've ever actually been in someone's dream. Or the other way around." Finding all these new abilities, these new possibilities, it's astonishing. And, of course, make Cass wonder if Peter absorbed it. "But it seems like that night was a lot of firsts for people. How long have you known that you could walk in people's dreams? I've got to say, I've heard of a lot of abilities, but this one seems very interesting."

"I've been able to do it since I was a teenager," Kory tells Cass. "Which, I guess, isn't really that much of a surprise, from a certain point of view. I have never needed to sleep more than two hours, three at the most. My whole life. I guess the hormonal shifts that come with puberty kicked the whole thing into gear." She tilts forward eagerly after a sip of water. "Now that I know it's not as rare as all that, I'm so curious. I mean, Peter told me what he can do. And somebody had to have put all those people to sleep at once. I don't have that as part of my own gift."

"It seems to be a theme." Puberty kicking in people's powers. It doesn't surprise her, either. "However, that's not the only time powers can kick in. There are very young children who have already come into theirs and sometimes it doesn't actually start until much later in life." As for being curious, Cass gives a tired grin. "I can't blame you. It's an extraordinarily curious and exciting sort of study. It seems like abilities come in an infinite number of permutations and combinations. Like putting people to sleep, or keeping them awake, or even walking through dreams. I'm sure you've seen your fair share of weird ones. A lot of 'oh no I'm in a crowded place without my pants on', too."

"Really?" Kory raises both brows, surprised. It's not all as comic-booky as she thought it was, if kids and older people are all getting powers at those ages. "Oh, I have. It's why I took psych and theater in school. I thought it'd help me with the use of my ability. I mean, more than I already figured out on my own. You remember the Chelsea Rapist?" A rapist who made the news three or four years back — raped his victims, then strangled them. "How they caught him?" She glances around and whispers, conspiratorially, even though they're alone. "That was me. I called the TIPS line and told the police where to find him."

It's still a little comic booky just for the very fact that there are people with these abilities out there. However, she's managed to move beyond that. Rubbing at her eyes, Cass glances down at her notebook and writes a few things down. It looks mostly like nonsense, but it makes sense to her. "I took psych undergrad, too. Thought it would help me in med school." Nothing like trying to figure out dreams. There's a widening of eyes when Kory mentions what she's done in the past. "Really? That's amazing. How did you know it was him? Or who it was? Are you able to tell who the people are when they're awake from their dreams?"

"I was riding the subway late one night. He fell asleep across the aisle from me. I looked in the dream, and there it was — all laid out in its sick glory. I just sort of hung out, invisible to him, until he took his souvenir home." She shudders, disgusted at the memory. "Bracelets and belly rings and necklaces and earrings." Yanked right out of their piercings, by the wince she makes describing it. "He dreamed his own building, his own apartment. All I had to do was pick up the phone." She shakes loose from the dark rumination and returns her attention to Cass. "Yeah. Usually people dream themselves as idealized versions of themselves. He looked like a bodybuilder in the dream, but he had the same face."

The description is enough for Cass, she doesn't really need all the details. Violence and gore is still something she likes the thought of. Keeping her silence while Kory speaks, she nods - just once - after she finishes. While it helps her to understand how she walks through dreams or even how she identifies with them, she thinks for a bit. "Isn't that always the way." Idealized versions of themselves in dreams. "It's really quite an understated power. Simple and yet very effective."

"It can be," Kory agrees. "That's what made me decide to study psych. Dreams don't follow the book learning all the time, of course. They go completely in their own directions. But still, you learn to kind of see patterns." She shrugs. "It's effective when I get the chance to use it effectively. Talked a man into going back to his wife once. But I've also found people dreaming so hard I couldn't really get to whatever their problems were. If they want to escape that badly, the dream is a closed book to me."

"There are very few things that do." Follow the book learning, that is. It's just a basis for everything else. "I know it's weird coming from a bookstore owner, but if we could learn everything in books, then what's the point in going out and living?" Listening as Kory continues her explanation, she takes a moment to process all this information. "How is it that you can manipulate dreams? Is it you can change what they see? Put yourself in them? Talk to them?" It's a seriously interesting thought. Especially when she has an entire shelf full of books in her store dealing with dream meanings.

"I guess it's some sort of really specific telepathy," Kory says, with a shrug. "I can't get into anybody's head while they're awake. But I imagine the brain chemistry involved plays a part. I read too. A lot. When you're awake most of the night, and live in a house with your mom, brother and grandmothers, you learn how to entertain yourself quietly." She smiles and brushes her hair back, a less nervous gesture. "Maybe brainwaves. This isn't something science has got a lot of documentation on, so I can research it. I just know I do."

"It's not something that happens while you're asleep? You have to be awake and the others asleep?" Cass pauses and then thinks that over. "Wait, no that can't be right because everyone was put to sleep." She's just trying to figure out how this very interesting ability works. "I'm just curious. If you'd be willing to, I actually have a brainwave monitor down in the labs. Sometime I'd like to see how it reads when you read someone's dreams. I'm trying to work on the science some more so it's not something that no one knows about."

"Not me," Kory assures Cass. "I was awake for the whole thing. I had the delightful experience of trying to explain why half a restaurant had passed out." She half-laughs, remembering that part of the experience, then blinks at Cass. "Oh — sure. I'd be curious to see that myself, really. I have never done it in the controlled environment. And it's not like I could just pop into a lab at NYU and ask them to hook me up."

"Well, you could do that, they just probably wouldn't let you." There's a tired smile that Cass gives Kory at that. "So, you were awake. You can't do the whole dream searching thing while sleeping?" Hm. That's an interesting distinction. "That's great. I'll set up a time with you sometime in the future. Right now I kind of am engrossed in something that came up out of the blue. However, I hope that it won't be too long till it's all resolved."

"I don't think so," Kory says, quite confidently. "When I sleep, I sleep. The dreams are mine, just plain normal ones. I only sleep a little bit myself, two or three hours. So I guess that's when I recharge." She pauses to listen to Cass, and nods. "Sure. Say the word. You have my number, after all. And if there's anything I can do to help before you're ready to wire me up, that's cool too." The fear seems to have faded, and the curiosity is reasserting itself.

The smile doesn't leave Cass' face as Kory offers her help. "I'm sure there'd be a lot to help with once this is all done…but I don't think this particular problem is something I can ask you to help with." Seeing as she's Evolved and the virus seems to only be attacking them. "However, with the brain scan and the help otherwise, I think that would be great. And if you need any help with anything before we make an appointment…you know my phone number."

"Fair deal," Kory declares. "This is …now that I've gotten past the freaking out stage…thrilling. I mean, I always hoped I wasn't alone. That I'd meet someone I could talk to about being able to do this weird thing. And now, I'll hopefully be able to do something useful with it."

Nodding a bit to Kory's statement, Cass continues, "There are, well I wouldn't say many, but there are quite a fair number. I started up the Labs downstairs as a way for people who needed people to talk to about it, to come to terms with what they could do, so they could have a place to go to." Some place that didn't kidnap or threaten.

Kory is silent in astonishment at this. There are enough people for the Labs to have regular patients. "Wow…" is all she manages, finally. "That's good, actually. I love having people I can talk to, and a place I can talk. I really don't wanna drag all this into the Lair. Lee and Nima have been through so much already. I pushed things just having that conversation with Peter before we opened."

Kory may be disappointed to learn that the regular patients are few right now. The most the Labs has had to deal with is now with the whole virus thing. "Good!" Cass exclaims. "That's what it's there for. It's like AA. Sort of. Only, not really because it's not talking about abusing anything. I guess…it's more like group therapy. Or even singular therapy if needed. A safe space."

"I should hope not!" Kory gasps, at the idea of abuse, though the reminder of how serious things could get is well taken. "Safe space is always a good idea." As someone with a psych degree, she approves. "Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me on this. I will let you get on with your day, though. I'm sure you've got other things to take care of."

Though Cass does, indeed, have a lot of things to get done today, it's nice to take the time out to actually think about something else for a little while. "Agreed." The woman was a psych major herself, back in the day. "Of course, Kory. I'm glad you came. I'll give you a call about meeting for the brain wave session. And if you have any other questions, feel free to call me. It's always good to take a break sometimes."

"I don't doubt. Who knew our two stores would bring us together this way?" Kory rises and offers the other woman a handshake.

Shaking Kory's hand with a laugh, Cass grins. "Nima would be ever so proud." Because it's the sort of thing that the other woman would love. "I guess it makes sense. Occultism and Comic Books meet in the middle with special abilities." Slowly making her way to the door, she opens it for the other woman. "Thanks for stopping by."

"Nima would," Kory agrees, "But right now, she needs as easy a time of things as I can help her have. Maybe when things settle down for her, we can all have a good laugh about this over ice cream or something." She steps out. "My pleasure, Cass. Look forward to seeing you again." With that, she turns and takes quick strides up the hall, toward the elevator.

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