1.

'What do you think, Miss Baker?'

It took a few seconds for her to realise that the question was being directed at her. She blinked a few times, looked around at the men and women sitting around the large conference table, and tried desperately to remember what they were talking about.

'Um ... ' was all she managed.

'I think the expansion is a terrible idea,' one woman – a stout, grey-haired lady in her fifties, judging by the wrinkles – cut in. 'We need to consolidate the rest of the business first before we even think about branching out. It would be an economical disaster.'

She caught sight of two of the men as they exchanged a rather sardonic glance with each other. As if to say, 'What could a woman possibly know about all this?'. She felt a sudden stab of protective pride, an urge to stand up for the belittled woman whose name she had no idea of. How dare they presume to mock her – and in turn, the other females in the room – in such a way?

'I completely agree,' she piped up with a pointed glare at the offending male members of the small group. 'We should put the expansion on hold until we are completely sure that our current position is tenable.'

She hadn't the faintest clue what she was saying, but it sounded good just the same. The other people in the room appeared impressed by it, at least. She supposed that was something.

'But Miss Baker – '

The blonde man stopped abruptly, interrupted by a loud explosion from directly beneath them. Everyone jumped and stared around the room, their eyes near-bulging from their sockets.

'What the hell?'

And that was when it came back to her.

This was a job. Their latest one. It wasn't real.

Which meant the people weren't real, either. Projections.

That explained why she hadn't been able to remember how she had got there.

The bomb ... a distraction, she recalled with relief. But it went off early. What on earth is he up to?

But if this was a job, why had she been dropped right in the middle of it?

Every possibility imaginable raced through her mind. A dream within a dream – a kidnapping, someone else hooking her up to extract some precious information from her. But who? And why?

She froze as she realised the other people in the room were now staring at her, six pairs of eyes locked on hers. Unwavering. Relentless. Dangerous.

She tried to turn, to run, but her legs felt like lead. Weighted down to the floor. Unable to move.

She tried to scream, to call out to him, but her throat was dry. All that emerged was a strangled, muffled croak.

She tried to tell herself that it didn't matter; that being killed in a dream wasn't a bad thing. Not necessarily. But the thought still didn't stop the blood in her veins from running cold as the six automatons advanced on her, hands outstretched.

This was it.

Game over.

A/N: Hallo all! Yes, it's me again, with a very short beginning to the sequel to 'Fallout'. I'll say now that it will be updated VERY slowly due to the time constraints on me (though the course is going really well so far, thankfully!), but I just really felt like writing again. I thoroughly enjoyed the last one, and if I get into this one as well it'll give me something else to do other than lesson planning/marking/playing the odd video game in my spare time. :)

I was going to make this chapter longer, but figured here was a good place to leave it. Keep you wanting more as usual, eh? ;) Well, hopefully.

So how's the start to it, huh? All will become clearer in the next chapter, I promise. Until then, welcome to the story and I hope you all enjoy it! (Oh, and no, I don't own Inception. But I already have the special edition blu-ray on order, and it should be delivered in a couple of weeks or so! Wahay!)