- [Dr. Harper] Applicant 1-3, Stephen. The subject has expressed some unusual concerns about the experiment. I will attempt to address some of these in this session before we brief the group on the project. The higher-ups don't want Stephen to freak out the other subjects too much, after all, and with a group this volatile, I totally understand, especially considering the expected results of the experiment on the subject's mental state. Ah, Stephen. Please, have a seat.

- [Stephen] May I ask why I was brought in for an additional session?

- [Dr. Harper] You may. In our entrance interview, and in your application, you mentioned a level of distrust with the research team. If I recall correctly, you mentioned that you "don't expect us to care about our guinea pigs." I wanted to attempt to alleviate some of that anxiety.

- [Stephen] I told you before, the doctor that diagnosed me was a quack.

- [Dr. Harper] Yes, of course. I apologize. I didn't mean any offense. I wanted to make it clear that we do hope for the best for all of our test subjects.

- [Stephen] Only insofar as it promotes your funding, of course.

- [Dr. Harper] Stephen, I promise you, we would never do anything to intentionally cause harm to our subjects.

- [Stephen] Then why don't I believe you?

- [Dr. Harper] I was hoping we could figure that out together.

- [Stephen] Oh, please. Yes, I will absolutely help you write your targeted propaganda for me.

- [Dr. Harper] Stephen, I want to work through why you have so much distrust for the research team. Perhaps we can start by examining why you decided to join the project in spite of this distrust?

- [Stephen] Like I said in the interview two days ago, I am strapped for cash. Since I got fired from my reporting job, I have been living off of my savings, and it has nearly run out. And it's not like being out in the world is much safer. The only thing I trust the government to do is to start wars to protect the interests of their corporate buddies. But let me guess. You just want me to keep quiet around the others, not freak them out or whatever, right?

- [Dr. Harper] Not only that. But, yes. I would like to make it so that you feel comfortable in this project as well, but we did call you in to make sure you didn't alienate the other participants.

- [Stephen] So all I have to do is promise you I'll be a docile guinea pig and never stir up trouble? I'm assuming since you brought me in here a second time, you've pretty much decided I'm in already.

- [Dr. Harper] Why do you assume that?

- [Stephen] Why else would you waste your time with someone as volatile as me? You said yourself you're concerned I might alienate the other participants. So why not simply choose someone else, someone more amicable?

- [Dr. Harper] We haven't made our final decision.

- [Stephen] Don't give me that shit. You obviously have. I do need the money, so obviously, I accept. But my question is, why?

- [Dr. Harper] Why what?

- [Stephen] Why me? What could possibly possess your weird shadow agency to-

- [Dr. Harper] -We're a workforce training software development company, Stephen. Not a shadow agency.

- [Stephen] I've never heard of you. Either way, you have no business choosing me. You apparently believe I have anxiety, and I'm paranoid, just like that quack of a doctor. Why risk it?

- [Dr. Harper] I can't disclose why we would select the participants we do, and I'm not exactly privy to that information in the first place. My role is just to be the primary point of contact for the participants, to interview them as the study progresses, and to watch out for their needs.

- [Stephen] They picked a great person for the job. You're not very good at the whole putting people at ease thing. Please don't tell me your degree is in psychology or social work, because you are really, really bad at this.

- [Dr. Harper] As a matter of fact, I do have a master's degree in psychology as well as a PhD in computer science. I'm not a therapist, however, so forgive me if I don't coddle you.

- [Stephen] You don't seem the coddling type anyway. But anyway, back to the point. Why bother with a second interview unless I was already chosen, which again, makes no sense. Did your sketchy ad put too many people off, so I was really the best you could get?

- [Dr. Harper] The selection team is currently in the process of approving applications. Nothing is finalized yet, but we will need three or four subjects. You're not the only one who was asked to return for a second interview.

- [Stephen] Are they as difficult as I am?

- [Dr. Harper] I can't answer that.

- [Stephen] So, yes.

- [Dr. Harper] We've gotten off topic. What can I do to alleviate your anx- er... misgivings about what we do here and about your role in the experiment?

- [Stephen] Nothing.

- [Dr. Harper] Do you want me to explain the goals with this study, what our company does?

- [Stephen] It's unnecessary. I already said I'll do the damn study, didn't I? I'll sign your contracts, your liability waivers, whatever. As long as I get paid in the end, I'll live with strangers and I won't hurt anyone. I can't promise I'll be nice, though. I have no tolerance for people who refuse to see the truth, and I have no filter when it comes to speaking my mind. Is that good enough?

- [Dr. Harper] Your personal relationships with the other subjects would be no concern to us as long as they don't interfere with the study. If they do interfere, you may be removed from your accommodations with the other subjects for their own wellbeing.

- [Stephen] Fine by me.

- [Dr. Harper] The cost of new lodgings, of course, would be deducted from the compensation you would receive at the end of the program. After all, we've only budgeted for one apartment for the group. A second apartment would put us out.

- [Stephen] How much of a deduction exactly?

- [Dr. Harper] I would say somewhere in the range of $75,000.

- [Stephen] For six months?

- [Dr. Harper] It's a very nice apartment, Stephen.

- [Stephen] You're pulling this out of your ass, but whatever. I'm not gonna call your bluff this time. I'll be nice, as nice as I can be, I guess, as long as they're not total sheep.

- [Dr. Harper] As for our company, you'll find a detailed description of our goals for this study before you sign the contract, if you're selected.

- [Stephen] If, right.

- [Dr. Harper] Right.

- [Stephen] Well, sounds great. Sign me the fuck up. Can't wait to have you scientists mess with my brain in the name of scientific advancement. I assume we're done here.

- [Dr. Harper] If you have no questions, yes. We'll-

- [Stephen] -Call me, I know. I'm expecting it. I'll see myself out. Later.

- [Amoretta] Thank you for listening to D.R.E.A.M. In this episode, you heard the voices of Amoretta Noel as Dr. Robin Harper and Robert Spradlin as Stephen. This episode was written by Ami Rae, directed by Robert Spradlin, and produced by Patrick Hinchliffe. Between September 26th, 2018 and November 25th, 2018, we are raising money via Indiegogo to fund our first season. If you prefer to make more frequent, smaller contributions, you can also become a patron on Patreon. Any contributions are appreciated, but if you can't give financially, don't feel bad. You can always give us a shout-out on social media. Tweet at us using the hashtag #lifesadream. You can follow our Indiegogo campaign or our Patreon page to keep up-to-date on the future of the podcast. We will update both regularly until we begin releasing season one. Once again, thanks for listening.