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The Saito extraction job was the job undertaken by Dominick Cobb, Arthur, and Nash after the failure of the Kaneda extraction job. This job was in progress at the beginning of Inception, with Nash as the dreamer of the first level and Arthur, Dom, and Saito, the subject, on the second level, with Arthur as the dreamer.
While eating dinner with Saito, Cobb and Arthur spoke to the Proclus Global head in a dining room, offering to teach him how to protect his subconscious from extractors. Cobb explained that when one is asleep, one's mind is vulnerable to extraction and that he could train Saito's mind to subconsciously defend itself against extractors to protect whatever secrets he may be hiding. He backed up his claim by revealing that he was the most skilled extractor there was and knew all of the tricks involved. Appearing skeptical, Saito stood up to leave, telling Cobb that he would consider his proposition, and then exited the room to join a small party in the main hall.
Cobb and Arthur shared a glance, with the latter telling the former that Saito saw the truth – that Cobb and Arthur were actually planning on committing extraction on his mind when his guard was down. They walked to an outside balcony where other partygoers mingled and Arthur pointed out a woman nearby, asking Cobb what she was doing there. Cobb assured him that he would take care of it and to proceed with the job. He knew where Saito's secrets were; he glanced over at a safe the minute Cobb mentioned the word.
Cobb approached the woman, who then asked him if he missed her. He responded that he does, but that he couldn't trust her anymore. The two withdrew to a private room where Cobb tied a rope to the leg of a chair and tossed the end out of the window. He told the woman, Mal, to stay put in the seat as she asked her if their children missed her. Cobb paused before saying, "I can't imagine." Afterwards, he repelled down out the window to a ledge below, nearly falling after Mal had left seat. He broke into the room below, dispatching security one his way, and accessed Saito's safe, swapping out the manila folder inside for another, as the lights in the room turned on. Turning around and aiming his gun, he saw Mal, who was aiming a gun at him and standing beside Saito and a guard holding Arthur captive. Cobb slid his gun across the table and asked if Mal was the one who had told Saito of his plan. Saito responded, "That you're here to steal from me? Or that we're actually asleep?"
Mal held her gun to Arthur's head, to which Cobb told her the threat was empty, as he handed the manila folder over to Saito, since killing Arthur would only wake him up. Mal smiled in agreement and said that pain is only in the mind and perceived as real as she shoots Arthur in the knee, causing him to cry out. Cobb then dove across the table, retrieved his gun and shot Arthur in the head to end his suffering. He then dashed out of the room while under gunfire from Saito's guards.
In level two, Saito frantically opened the manila folder as the castle started to collapse and shouted in anger after finding blank pages inside. Elsewhere, Cobb managed to hide away for a moment to look at the contents of the real folder he had hidden in his pocket, gazing over the confidential files as the castle crumbled around him. Saito was crushed by debris and subsequently woke up in the level one apartment, unseen to Arthur as he reached under his pillow. Arthur told Nash to wake Cobb by giving him the kick. Nash then pushed Cobb backwards into a bathtub and, causing Cobb's dream to flood with massive waves before he finally woke up. Saito, having reached under his pillow for his gun, grabbed Arthur, but immediately was overpowered and subdued by Cobb, who told him that not all the information he needed was in the file he had stolen in level two. Saito laughed and claimed that all the information he had was in the file because he knew of Cobb's ruse all along. He allowed Cobb and Arthur into his mind as part of an audition which they failed, saying that "[their] deception was obvious".
Asserting that his employer, Cobol Engineering, wouldn't accept failure, Cobb threw Saito on the floor and demanded that he tell them what they needed to know about his expansion project. With his face pressed into the carpet, Saito began to laugh and revealed that he was familiar with the material of the carpet; it was supposed to be made of wool instead of polyester, thus, he came to the conclusion that he was actually still dreaming.
Sure enough, in reality, Saito, Arthur, Nash, and Cobb were all asleep in a compartment of a bullet train, watched over by a young man named Tadashi who was monitoring the time left on the PASIV device. He placed headphones over Nash's ears and played music as a cue that their time was running out. As the rioting projections outside of the apartment closed in, Saito commended Cobb on creating a dream within a dream, but was confused as to why he was unable to control the dream, thinking it to be his own. Nash then revealed to Saito that they were actually in his dream, rather than the latter's. The rushing projections then flooded the room and killed all of them, causing Arthur, Nash and Cobb to wake up.
Arthur berated Nash, the architect of the level one dream, for designing the carpet wrong. Cobb then pulled Arthur away from Nash, told him that they were getting off at Kyoto, and then threw Tadashi a wad of money before disbanding the group, telling them, "Every man for himself." Saito woke up moments later to find himself alone in the compartment, save for Tadashi, who had reverted back to a casual pose and begun to read.