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Psychonauts - Ford!Raz

Love and Nihilism - Chapter 1 - Unique Circumstances

Posted on 2008.02.04 at 00:48
Current Music:: Armor For Sleep - Williamsburg
Tags: ,
Fandom: Psychonauts
Title: Love and Nihilism
Chapter: 1/9
Word Count: 1570
Synopsis: Psycho-terrorist Quentin Void has been captured, but Agent Travis Vert, the agent who captured him, has been lost in Quentin’s mind for four days now. Worse still Travis’ wife has been involved in an incident that throws the entire situation into a panic. Agent Sasha Nein has no choice but to call in Raz.

For more information or later chapters see the preface.


Love and Nihilism
Chapter 1: Unique Circumstances


Yolanda Vert was tall with long blonde hair and blue eyes. She was wearing a fashionable black coat and skinny black jeans. She was carrying a selection of bags from various high street shops but she probably wouldn’t have been able to tell you what was in them. She was walking down the high street lost in her own thoughts. Her expression was unfocused and she was staring off into the middle distance. Her thoughts bounced from one topic to another but always came back to Travis. He was perfect. She hadn’t known him that long, only a year. Last month they’d got married. It was the most perfect day ever. She missed him. Everything was fine between them but he was a psychonaut. He had an important job to do. She didn’t even mind that she didn’t see quite as much of him as she liked. She liked the idea of him out there saving people. Her hero. And when he could be he was there for her.
Out of the corner of her eye she spotted a coffee shop and walked inside. She walked up to the counter and ordered an espresso. It was kind of odd really. Yolanda loved Travis but even now, after having known him for a year she was still caught off guard by his psychic abilities. She took the espresso, paid without even noticing how overpriced it was, and took a seat at the window. The coffee shop was quite full for the time of day. Yolanda was sat adjacent to a pair of lovers fawning over one another and laughing at some private joke. She didn’t notice them. She didn’t even notice the stockbroker who was on a nearby table talking loudly into his mobile phone about some unimportant deal. She was still thinking about Travis. It was odd to be thinking something and Travis would respond. It was disconcerting to a certain extent, but it was great. As a consequence he always knew how exactly what was bothering her and what to say.
Travis had been away for a while now. It was official psychonauts business so he wasn’t allowed to give her the details. She imagined that he was fighting bad guys in some tropical locale somewhere, making the world safe for everyone. She took a sip of the espresso and wondered when she’d see Travis again. The background noise of the shop carried on unheeded. The stockbroker was talking about his latest acquisitions or whatever it is stockbrokers talk about and the lovers were telling each other how much they loved each other. Everything went black and the next thing she knew there the furniture was broken and a number of dead bodies were lying around the place.

“When you’re in someone’s mind, it’s difficult to tell what’s real and what isn’t. It’s better to send someone the agent knows, as they are much more recognisable as a real person. If you send someone the agent doesn’t know there are tests that can ascertain whether they are a genuine psychonaut or just a clever figment. Asking questions that take someone out of the immediate context is not as effective as it once was. It used to be a foolproof method, beings of imagination used to carry information relevant only to their situation. Asking them the date of the Battle of Hastings, for example, would prove once and for all whether they were another agent or an impostor. However psychic criminals got wise to this and started training their figments to contain more information. The current most popular way to tell apart an agent and an impostor is to get them to use their imagination.”
Raz was lying face down on his hammock. He was wearing his psychonauts uniform. He had been practically every day since he got back, just in case something happened that required his immediate attention. His elbows were propping up his head and a thick grey book lay open in front of him. The book was a psychonauts operations manual. A book that promised advanced techniques and delivered procedures and regulations.
Raz had been surprised to learn about the stringent rules for psychonauts. No entering minds without approval forms signed in triplicate. No removal of figments, mental cobwebs or sorting of emotional baggage without prewritten permission. Apparently this rule had been brought in by a pressure group that had lobbied to keep minds unspoilt. Their motto was ‘take no memories and leave not even footprints’. Even to use clairvoyance on someone was strictly prohibited without the subject’s express permission and completely forbidden on animals.
Raz could see this up to a point, but surely it should be up to the best judgement of the psychonaut. The way that the rules currently did things wasn’t right. Raz had been making notes in the margins to this effect. He was going to have to talk to Lili’s father about all these regulations the next time he saw him.
Raz’s dad stood in the doorway. “We’ve got visitors Razputin.” he said. “Ford and Sasha. Official Psychonauts business.”
“Thanks dad.” Said Raz, as he levitated the handbook back to the table and climbed down from the hammock.
“I imagine I’ve probably got something to sort out somewhere.” said Raz’s dad, gesturing towards the big top. It was about nine in the evening. The circus was in full swing; currently the fire-eaters were doing the whole fire-eating bit. The acrobats would be going up soon. The whole circus thing was rather repetitive. There’s only so many times you can see a clown fall over, an acrobat swing from trapeze to trapeze and a lion tamer tame a lion before you got bored of it. It was all so much background noise to Raz, but not so to Ford who was stood at the entrance to the Big Top, with a large block of psitanium affixed to his back, cheering them on. As Raz’s dad walked back to the Big Top, Sasha walked into the small tent.
“Greetings Razputin.” said Sasha. “We have a matter of the utmost importance that requires immediate attention. I’ll go through it on the way back to Whispering Rock, but it’s imperative we get back as soon as possible.” Sasha followed Raz’s gaze to Ford, who was jumping up and down and cheering wildly. “Perhaps a larger piece of psitanium might have been advisable.”
“Maybe.” said Raz, turning away and grabbing a pre-packed backpack. “I’m ready to go immediately.”
“Meet me in the jet then. I’ll see if I can prise Ford away before they bring on the clowns.” said Sasha.
“You might need some help with that.” said Raz.

The jet had had a refit since Raz had last been in it. The new style had quite a retro feel to it. It was all done in chrome with sleek science-fictionesque angles on all the furniture to the point where you couldn’t tell what the furniture was any more. The control panel had evidently been replaced with a ships wheel (one made of chrome of course) and around the edges of the room were bars of blue neon.
“Very stylish.” said Raz, “Maybe you went a bit overboard making a sofa and cushions out of chrome though.”
“We had a lot spare,” said Ford. “It seemed a shame to let it go to waste.”
“To business Razputin.” said Sasha. “Last month Agent Travis Vert managed to capture psycho-terrorist Quentin Void.” There was a pause.
“Quentin Void?” asked Raz.
“You haven’t heard about him?” asked Sasha.
“I’ve been a bit busy.” said Raz. “You seem to be sending more protocol handbooks and psychic discipline manuals every other day.”
“Quentin Void is a merciless killer. He’s been attacking all over the country: government buildings, banks, museums, shops, warehouses, libraries, factories, the list goes on. He claims he was trying to topple civilisation and give everyone a chance at a better life. He’s killed thousands in the few weeks he was loose. One of the most powerful and most deranged enemies we’ve had to deal with.” said Sasha. “Fortunately Travis managed to subdue him and he’s been trying to get into his mind ever since, with no luck. Four days ago Travis finally managed to get into Quentin’s mind. We haven’t heard from him since, this isn’t generally a good sign but it’s been made worse by the crisis.”
“Crisis?” asked Raz. “Is this another news story I should have heard about?”
“No.” said Sasha. “Last month Travis married a non-psychic called Yolanda Jaune. Today Yolanda killed seven people in a coffee shop using psychic powers.” There was a serious pause. “Alyxandyr, head of personnel wants me to get Travis out, so he can be questioned and then wants me to search around in Quentin’s mind to see if there’s any connection between him and Yolanda. The problem is, I can’t get into Quentin’s mind, so unfortunately I’m going to have to ask you to get in there and get Travis out.”
“No problem.” said Raz.
“Don’t get cocky Razputin.” said Sasha. “I didn’t want to get you involved in this. I wouldn’t have done was it not for the unique circumstances. Quentin is probably one of the most disturbed people we’ve ever had to deal with. I can only imagine the horror you’ll find in his mind.”
“I understand.” said Raz.

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