Beastgirl

Okay, this is going to be kind of an odd post for me, but sometimes you just have to get stuff out there, you know?

I’ve got this really, really weird ability. I will occasionally dream movies.

I’m serious. I will occasionally have a dream that has characters, a plot and even dialogue. The only thing missing is popcorn.

And the funny thing is, when I wake up I always know exactly what I experienced recently to create that dream.

“A DREAM LOG?!” I hear you say. “Anthony, how you have fallen.”

Yeah, yeah. But like I said, sometimes you just have to get stuff out there.

Please note that in the following dream/short story/outline-thingy, I make mention of characters that I do not own. This is in no way an attempt to infringe on copyright.

Here we go!

BEASTGIRL

The setting: an academy for young superheroes, ages 15-18. It’s a beautiful set of buildings in the mountains surrounded by forests. It’s headed by a big, bald, laconic, foul-mouthed headmaster. The kids start by hating him but also desperately want to impress him. Young adult supers who can’t control their powers, can’t work as a team and don’t focus on the mission objectives end up getting kicked out. Only those who make it through his sixteen-week training session are allowed to graduate and get posted to a superhero team. Most of the kids have traditional powers like flight, invulnerability, eye-lasers, super-speed, super-strength, etc.

So there’s this girl. She’s 17. She’s about five feet tall and 90 pounds soaking wet. She’s kind of an outcast because her powers are a bit niche. Her first power is that she’s incredibly agile and can do back flip kicks and wall-jump attacks, but she’s so light and has no claws or anything so she’s not a front-line fighter. Imagine someone with Spider-Man’s agility but without his strength.

Her other power is what gets her picked on. She can make animals like her and influence their behavior…but she has to be pretty close to them to do it; she can’t call animals out of a forest a mile away. And it only seems to work on small animals like chipmunks and squirrels and stuff. This basically makes her the land-based version of Aquaman.

(Another interesting thing – she won’t take an oath to not kill. She sees that in nature, most conflicts end with one side dying and she doesn’t see anything necessarily wrong with that. This also makes her an outcast.)

But she works really hard, can work in a team, can distract enemies with unpredictable attacks, and surprise, surprise, she makes it to graduation. There’s a bit of resentment from the other students, most of whom had friends more powerful than her that didn’t make it.

So we get to the graduation ceremony, which is being held in the hangar bay. It’s attended by several really powerful and famous heroes (basically the Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman of this world). The kids all get their diplomas, get to shake hands with their personal heroes, and they’re now eating the cake.

Then the villains show up.

There are three major villains. The first is a fairly standard supervillain who just loves his supervillainy. He makes hammy speeches, laughs maniacally, and plots to take over the world. Imagine Megamind, but genuinely evil. His name was never mentioned in my dream, so let’s call him Dr. Nasty.

The second is the Tactician. He loves to plan and loves watching his plans succeed. His specialty is creating plans where no matter what the enemy does, his side gains in some way. Not really evil, more amoral, but definitely not a nice guy.

The third is Mesmer. His powers allows him to dominate the minds of others, and he recently got a huge power upgrade. This is what gave Dr. Nasty the idea to attack the heroes. Imagine Doyle from Heroes, only way more powerful.

So, these three, along with a bunch of lesser villains, attack the ceremony. The cadets wisely stay out of the biggest fighting and focus on minor villains. Beastgirl follows a villain into a nearby hallway and basically bounces off the walls and onto his head until he gets knocked out.

The she runs back into the hangar…to discover the fight is over. Mesmer has mind-controlled all the heroes, including the cadets. The bad guys won.

She’s grabbed by another villain and brought before Dr. Nasty. Instead of having Mesmer mind-control her, he gloats about how he put his plan together and how the heroes will now be blackmailing governments and robbing banks for him. (He knows he gets extra evil points for this.) When she says the heroes will never do that, Dr. Nasty tells her that Mesmer can suppress the higher-order functions of the brain, making humans easy to control. (I swear, he actually said that in my dream.)

This gives her an idea.

She breaks away from her captor and manages to run out the hangar door. Dr. Nasty sighs and sends a few minor villains to get her back.

She goes into the nearby forest and turns her power up all the way, WAY higher than she’s ever used it before. Squirrels and chipmunks and rabbits come running. She’s not sure what she’s going to do with them all but it’s all she’s got.

Then she notices that she’s starting to get animals like foxes and stoats and badgers and she slowly starts to realize that the more animals she has around her, the stronger her power gets and the larger animals she can start to call and influence.

This is the point at which the minor villains find her.

Scene change.

We’re back in the hangar. The Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman of this world are helping Dr. Nasty and the Tactician tweak their take-over-the-world plan.

The hangar doors open.

Everybody looks in that direction.

There stands a seriously pissed-off seventeen-year-old girl with about a hundred vermin around her feet, flanked by two packs of wolves and being escorted by two grizzly bears.

The animals stream in. Minor villains get coated with vermin, who have instructions to try to get inside clothing and bite as hard as they can. The wolves charge the major villains and Beastgirl and the bears charge Dr. Nasty, the Tactician and Mesmer.

Dr. Nasty turns to Mesmer, who is realizing, to his horror, that these animals don’t have any higher-order brain functions to control, and thus he’s useless.

Dr. Nasty turns to the Tactician. “What do we do?” The Tactician shrugs. “This may come as a surprise, but I’ve never planned for this particular contingency. I recommend retreat.” They pull the cords on their personal escape jetpacks and start to rise above the floor.

But Mesmer is too stunned by what’s going on (BEARS! Motherfuckin’ GRIZZLY BEARS! Coming RIGHT AT ME!) and doesn’t notice he’s being abandoned. As much as she’d like to kill Dr. Nasty or the Tactician, Beastgirl knows Mesmer is the primary target.

He quickly recovers and pulls the jetpack cord, but Beastgirl hits him right in the stomach knocking him to the ground. Then the bears are on him, mauling him.

Once he loses consciousness, all the heroes regain their minds. To them, one second they were fighting for their lives against villains and now those villains are being eaten by animals.

Mesmer is dead. Dr. Nasty and the Tactician have escaped and the heroes have been freed. Beastgirl calls off the animals. The heroes spend a very odd couple of hours treating tons of animal bites, administering tons of rabies shots, and escorting terrified, still-screaming, near-naked villains to detention cells. And then taking long, long showers.

Once it’s all sorted Beastgirl gets seriously commended by the instructor and the big heroes, and is given her choice of posting.

The end.

So, where did this dream come from?

1. The superhero academy idea came straight from an episode of Teen Titans my daughter was watching and I was overhearing. Cyborg goes to help out the Titans East and is attacked by Brother Blood, who wants to take over the Titan Tower and turn it into a school for supervillains.

2. The instructor is a superhero version of Gordon Ramsay. Indeed, the entire setup of the academy is basically Hell’s Kitchen, but with aspiring superheroes instead of aspiring chefs.

3. I recently watched a playthrough of the Marvel Super Heroes video game on YouTube; Beastgirl’s attack patterns were directly inspired by Spider-Man’s from that game, particularly the Maximum Spider move.

4. I recently watched the trailer for the new Syndicate game. This got me thinking about the original Syndicate. The idea of Beastgirl’s powers ramping up the more animals she has around her was directly inspired by the Persuadertron from Syndicate, which worked exactly the same way.

The really annoying thing about having dreams like this is that it seems that I can be far more creative in my sleep than I can ever be awake.

Dream Log 1

Yeah. This website just got a little weird.

The thing is, I’m absolutely amazed at how creative I am…when I’m asleep.

When I’m awake? Not so much. Let’s think about this: all my games have been rehashes of older games that I enjoyed that no one is making any more. That’s not particularly creative.

In my dreams, though? I’ve composed music, written entire stories (which play out like movies), and designed much more creative video games.

For instance, just a couple nights ago, I dreamt I was watching an anime about a young girl who is normally sweet and kind, but has a magical, demonic side that she must struggle to control. I remember the name of the anime: Avertigo. I even remember the anime’s logo. But I woke up before I saw the ending.

A while back after a day working on Inaria, I dreamt I was in a cathedral-like structure, bright with clouds near the ceiling. In the center of the floor was a circular map of a fantasy world. Realizing I was dreaming, I stepped over to the map in order to try to memorize it. As I did so, a gospel choir started singing:

‘Cross this great world I have trod
Stood astride it like a god

And then, maddeningly, I woke up. I remember the lyrics and even the tune, but I have no idea what the next line was going to be.

I also recently dreamed that I was a new hire at a software development firm. The facility was incredibly impressive, with futuristic-looking corridors lit by soft light, a huge break room with tons of arcade games, huge glass windows that looked out onto a beautifully-landscaped quad and…um…a room full of pods that you could step into that would clean and dry both you and your clothes in a matter of minutes.

That one was probably Stardock. When an issue is weighing heavily on my mind, I tend to dream of two extremes – the best I can imagine and the worst I can imagine.

F’rinstance, there was one Christmas when I was twelve or thirteen where my sleep was incredibly fitful – and every time I managed to fall back asleep, I’d dream one extreme and then other. In one version, our presents were ornaments our mother plucked off the tree; in the other the living room was packed with presents and there were hoverbikes and such.

But the biggest problem is that while I’m sitting there, effectively munching popcorn and watching this incredibly interesting scenario unfold, I tend to realize that I’m about to wake up. Your dreams are most clear and coherent when you are at the end of your sleep cycle, and then I wake up and I’m just boring old me again, and I try to grab as many details about what I was dreaming as I can.

I have once (once!) managed to complete a story in my dreams…but I think I’ll save that one for another time.