PBF: The Dreaming Ward

@Suz asked for a die roll:

Yes, I think it’s a diplomacy roll too. After yesterday’s events, Stella is aware of the ex-policeman’s strong emotions waiting just below the surface. So much so that they even fleetingly entered her own dreams last night. She’s trying to tread carefully.

Stella is curious about his background more generally, after establishing a mutual respect for Bill Green. However, if there is the slightest whiff of any insider knowledge/gossip on the Green Mountains incident then Stella pushes in that direction. She’s also interested in his honest opinion of Dr Thorne.

Rolling against Stella’s Diplomacy 3d6: 2 + 1 + 6 = 9 vs 12

(sorry I have been severely lacking sleep recently and have very little brain)

Celia hesitates for a moment, then shrugs and takes it. “You’re so scandalous, Mr. McQueen. My parents would be shocked, I’m sure.” She shows absolutely no indication of wanting to distance herself from you, and instead holds the cigarette up for a light. “But you’re easy to talk to, not like-” A generous gesture takes in the hospital, her parents, and in all probability, the United States of America. “How did you find your first night here? You haven’t upped sticks and fled, at least.”

Newton seems a fairly serious type. He tells you a bit about himself - more than he notices, probably. He grew up in the city, and it seems to have been taken for granted that he’d join the police like his father. He was the man of the house while his father was walking his beat, and clearly feels responsibility for three younger sisters. His ideas about police work seem a bit idealistic to you, perhaps because of the family influence.

The main thing you learn about the Green Mountains, at least to begin with, is that lips have been kept pretty tight even with the force. Unless Newton’s lying to you, of course, but he seems too earnest for that. You’re pretty sure he’d like to know more himself. A dramatic rescue with heroic sacrifices is the sort of thing people talk about, surely. If it was a botched operation, the top brass might try to keep it quiet, but word would get out amongst the ranks. He has a general sense that more happened than anyone’s letting on.

Talking about it seems a little therapeutic for him. You get the sense that he’s more analytical than a lot of constables you’ve dealt with, and he finds the process of piecing things together satisfying.

“I’d be interested to know what you make of the doctors, too,” he replies. “Thorne seems a decent fellow, but I found him vague. I’d have liked something more concrete. Still, he was frank enough about the prospect of success. We’re a mixed bag, and I suppose we can’t all take to it equally well. If he were promising miraculous recoveries for all I’d probably be the first out the door. It’s just… hard to be patient, don’t you find? Sitting around hoping someone can help, and not able to do a damned thing about it ourselves.” He breaks off at that, as though catching himself, and takes a few deep breaths of the morning air.

McQueen: “Well, it’s not as though we’ve been doing anything yet. I mean, rough, but things aren’t supposed to be getting better yet, are they - it’s been rough at home too, and that’s why I’m here. I tried to write it out of my system, but it’s still sitting there, clogging up the old creative stream like a beaver dam. How about you? If I say you look as though you didn’t have a terrible night, am I complimenting your mental state or your makeup?”

Stella replies a bit breathlessly in her efforts to keep up with Newton’s long strides.

“Yes, I don’t like sitting and waiting either. I’ll admit I did some digging around on Dr Thorne before I got here. Didn’t find any dirt. In fact he seemed the most sensible voice on the subject of dreams that I came across, let me tell you. And, aside from his vagueness, more down to earth than Dr Lewinsky, I think… despite the lack of ‘dirt’.”

“I also have a theory - so does Mr McQueen and Bill - that something more… disturbing… than just that awful kidnapping happened up in the Green Mountains. I’m still deciding which doctor is less likely to think I’m being silly if I talk to them about it.”

@RogerBW She takes an exploratory drag on the cigarette. “No, I suppose not. Well, I have - a week or so of electrograms and grilling and other dreary stuff, before the rest of you arrived - but perhaps things will pep up now. I’m sorry it’s put a damper on your writing; that must hurt.”

I suspect McQueen and his ear for language don’t need to roll anything to pick up her shift in style now it’s just the two of you.

“My makeup thanks you kindly. Oh, I got my forty winks, but…” Another long drag, and a frustrated look at you. “I feel like I hardly slept. My dreams wouldn’t come right; I was going round in circles all night. I think it’s something about this place, getting under my skin. Not that many people praise my mental state in the first place; I should thank you for that. It’s refreshing.”

@Suz It takes Newton a while to notice he’s outpacing you, but he does make an effort to slow down. “I suppose that’s your forte, unearthing the truth about people. Honestly, I didn’t look into him much. It sounded promising and I didn’t have much to lose; nothing else has worked, after all.” He pauses for a moment and you can see him re-centring himself. “Lewinsky reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, and that sort of thing. More a poet than a doctor, but I’m no judge.”

When you bring up your theory, his eyes narrow. “Interesting. You might be onto something. Although saying that… well, policemen deal with some damned grim cases, and normally something will get about. Cops mostly confide in other cops. If this was something gruesome, I’d expect Bill at least to have an idea. And if it was something scandalous you’d think somebody would have let slip after a few drinks, whatever bribes or blackmail might’ve been involved. What do you suppose could have convinced everyone to keep quiet?”

Newton seems pretty taken with your theory, and scratches his clean-shaven chin. “The doctors both seemed quite broad-minded to me. That girl, Cynthia - she said she talks to her dead brother, and they didn’t bat an eyelid. Maybe it’s worth a try.”

Happy to keep going; when you’re done chatting, a nurse will sound a gong to let you know it’s time for your session.

1 Like

McQueen doesn’t want to push on the sleepwalking thing just yet, so he chats in a friendly way until the gong goes. (He genuinely finds Celia interesting and hopes her problems can be sorted out.)

1 Like

Stella leaves this question hanging with only a non-committal ‘hmm’ as she considers her own reluctance to recount the details of her dreams.

She is just starting to get the measure of Newton (she enjoys his Alice in Wonderland comparison) when the gong sounds. Which is probably for the best. Apart from anything else, she has run out of puff.