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Psychonauts - Ford!Raz

Love and Nihilism - Chapter 2 - Dystopia

Posted on 2008.02.05 at 14:48
Current Music:: Armor For Sleep - The More I Talk The Less You Hear
Tags: , ,
Fandom: Psychonauts
Title: Love and Nihilism
Chapter: 2/9
Word Count: 2291
Synopsis: Raz journeys into the mind of captured psycho-terrorist Quentin Void.

For more information, previous or later chapters see the preface.

Love and Nihilism
Chapter 2: Dystopia

Black clouds gathered overhead and only a pale light coming from near the door illuminated the rooftop. The full moon shone down from a hole in the clouds. Standing behind the small wall at the edge of the rooftop is a man dressed in a long black cloak. His attire, despite being black enough to camouflage into the city walls was of an intricate nature with an elaborate collar and lapels. He had short black hair and pale white skin. His one visible eye was green and he was clean-shaven. In front of his right eye floated a small device shaped like a pointed oval. Markings on the device resembled that of an eye and glowed a dull shade of electronic orange in the darkness. As the man examined his surroundings it’s pieces shifted and focused.
He had been staring straight down towards the streets, but now shifted his gaze towards the city in front of him. He produced a small device from his pocket and gripped it tightly focusing on a building a few blocks from him. After a second the air started a shimmer around him and a bolt of lightning shot down from the clouds overhead. A second later Travis was gone.

Four days later Raz, Sasha and Ford were walking down the steps into Sasha’s Lab where Quentin Void was being kept. It looked largely the same as it had done the last time Raz had been down here, except the Brain Tumbler had been packed up and was being stored in a corner of the room. In its place were three makeshift beds. On the bed to the left was a man dressed entirely in black. It was clear from looking at him that he wasn’t asleep but currently vacant. Raz guessed that this was Travis Vert. In the central bed was a nondescript man. He looked quite weak. His face was a mass of cuts and bruises and his left eye was blackened. His hair was medium length, brown and matted with blood. He was wearing a white shirt that was splattered with blood. Overall he gave the impression of an office worker who had just escaped from a particularly nasty fight or a relatively mild war. He was strapped down to the bed and had a psycho-portal open on his forehead. The third bed was empty. Ford wandered off to one side of the lab where a kettle had been plugged into the wall, flicked it on and proceeded to make a sandwich.
“That’s Quentin Void?” asked Raz, somewhat suspiciously. “King of the psycho-terrorists?”
“Don’t pay attention to what he looks like.” said Sasha. “Despite being unconscious he still retains a low level telepathy and he looks how he wants you to think he looks.”
There was a pause.
“So he doesn’t look like some maltreated office worker then?” asked Raz.
“No.” said Sasha. “If you concentrate you should be able to see how he looks really.” Raz concentrated on Quentin’s unconscious figure, attempting to dispel whatever power Quentin had over him. With a lot of effort, the figure in the bed finally flickered into a more athletic and less blood-soaked version of the person who lay there.
“Any luck?” asked Sasha, causing Raz to loose his concentration and Quentin to morph back into the feeble-looking version of himself.
“Yeah.” said Raz. “He still doesn’t look like the king of dangerous but it’s an improvement.”
“This is no laughing matter Raz.” said Sasha.
“You’re right.” said Raz. “I assume this spare bed is made up for me? Although I hope I won’t be gone that long I appreciate the sentiment.” Raz climbed onto the bed adjacent to Quentin and looked across at the psycho-portal on Quentin’s forehead.
“It isn’t that easy,” said Sasha. “He’ll resist you as you try to enter, and whatever is in there will know you’re coming. You’ll need to be careful. See if you can pick up Travis’ trail. That is if he has one. You’ll need to imagine something to prove that you’re not a figment of Quentin’s imagination.”
“Okay.” said Raz slowly, attempting to take the information in.
“Good luck Raz.” said Sasha. “I don’t envy you.”
Raz focused on the Psycho-Portal. He hadn’t actually had to try and force his way inside before. Usually he’d been able to slip in practically unnoticed. It had been easy. He’d just focused on it and been pulled inside, so now when it seemed to be failing he concentrated on attempting to push himself inside. He suddenly felt a sharp pain in his head and felt like he’d been repelled. He made a mental note to have some aspirin when he got out; this was almost certainly going to leave him with a pounding headache.
Raz concentrated and focused on the Psycho-Portal again. The background sounds of the lab becoming just that. He was dimly aware of Sasha and Ford talking about him behind him while Ford waved a tuna sandwich in the air absentmindedly. He redoubled his efforts and focused on forcing his way into Quentin’s mind again. This time he slipped through easily.
“He’s in.” said Sasha, half pleased and half shocked. “It took Travis the best part of a week to get in there…”
“He’s the strongest psychic I’ve ever seen.” said Ford approvingly. “I’m glad he’s on our side.”

Raz was stood on a rooftop. It was still nighttime and the sky was still clouded over. The rooftop was lit by a solitary light, which was mounted above the door through which the rest of the building was accessed. Raz walked to the edge of the building and looked out across the city of Quentin’s mind. Raz wasn’t sure what he had been expecting but it hadn’t been this. Buildings stretched out in every direction, most buildings appearing to be derelict and unstable. Some buildings were completely demolished and some aflame. The only building with any lighting at all was a skyscraper in the middle distance. It stretched high into the sky, reaching through the clouds. Around it were more skyscrapers, none as large as it and all seemingly abandoned. Columns of smoke were dotted all over the city, rising from the streets. Raz could smell the distinctive scent of bonfires, but throughout the city there was silence. Not even the noise of a fire burning. It was very disconcerting.
Raz guessed that Travis would probably have headed for the large skyscraper with the lights on. Admittedly there were an almost unlimited number of places that Travis could have gone and could consequently be, but Raz was sure that anyone would instinctively head for the skyscraper. Raz turned and walked towards the door to the building. He reached for the handle to find it wasn’t made of metal at all but of a pinkish material that seemed familiar but out of place. Raz brushed it out of his mind. He was here to find a missing person not solve a mysterious door handle material mystery. He opened the door revealing a short flight of steps illuminated by a flickering light. He walked down the steps carefully and stepped out into a corridor. It seemed the stairs leading down to the ground floor were elsewhere. The corridor seemed a little better illuminated, although everything seemed to be a pale shade of pink. Raz walked by an open door that led to what appeared to be an office. However the furniture appeared to be crafted from the same pink material as the door handle was, including a replica of a computer. Raz considered making the strange material top priority as he passed more offices with similarly odd furniture, but eventually decided against it as he found the stairway.
He made his way down to the ground floor to a large open lobby area. The entrance wall was one large window with a door built into it. A series of security desks were roughly in the middle of the room splitting the stairs off from the entrance. They were also made of the material. Raz was getting rather used to it now and completely failed to be intrigued by it any more. What was grabbing his attention was a spindly creature that appeared to be traipsing around aimlessly. It appeared to be made of nerves and muscle tangled around bone.
Raz prepared a psi blast and stepped into the lobby. The creature spun around to face him. It had one red eye and one that was psychotically flashing between red and black. It was missing a lower jaw and a pair of fangs from its upper jaw scraped across the floor as it moved. Raz stood still, somewhat blindsided by the sheer horror of the creature. It let out a mournful screech and started to charge towards. The screech managed to bring Raz to his senses and he fired off a psi blast at the monstrosity. The psi blast thudded into the side of it’s face sending a shower of blood and bone behind it and dislodging one of the creatures massive fangs but remarkably did not slow it down. It was likely that the creature hadn’t even noticed. Raz dodged to the side as the monstrosity leapt at him. It crashed down behind where Raz had just been stood snapping one of its legs in the process. It howled plaintively then dragged itself back around to look at Raz. Raz focused on the thing and after a second or so fire sprang up along the back of the creature. It howled again and leapt for Raz. Raz wasn’t quick enough to get out of the way this time and attempted to kick the thing off him. There was a crack of lightning in the distance and then out of the periphery of his vision Raz could see a dark figure standing to the side of the creature. The creature was snapping at Raz attempting to bite him with it’s massive tooth but by kicking out and struggling Raz was able to keep it off balance and unable to do so. There was a bright flash of light and the creature fell off him.
Raz struggled to his feet and looked down at the creature. It had been sliced in half at the waist. He turned to look at the dark figure. It was the man that he had seen vacant next to Quentin Void.
“Travis.” said Raz, gasping for breath.
“Don’t move.” said Travis, holding his hand to his forehead. He was clearly preparing another psi blast. If that was what had scythed that monster in half Raz thought it was a good idea not to get hit by it.
“I’m an agent.” said Raz.
“Oh right.” said Travis. “Don’t tell me, you’ve been sent in to get me because some kind of crisis has happened on the outside world. The details of which you cannot disclose to me until we leave?”
“Apart from the last bit you’re right.” said Raz. “Something’s happened to your wife. You need to leave immediately.”
“Honestly Quentin.” said Travis. “You’re not even trying any more. This figment couldn’t pass for an agent even if you gave him some stilts and an apron.”
“I am an agent.” said Raz. “I can prove it.” Raz imagined a procession of angels all wearing military uniform and stamping on poppies as they marched through a graveyard. “Hang on. I just used my imagination, but am I supposed to demonstrate it though?”
“Use your imagination, kid.” said Travis. “What do you think?”
“Why can’t the policy just be to communicate that we’re both real through a code?” asked Raz. “Whatever. Have you got a pen and paper at all?” asked Raz. Travis shook his head. “Is a short story acceptable?”
“Fine.” said Travis, clearly bored with this encounter.
“In the small town of Hist lived a tree with nine thousand acorns hanging from it’s branches. It had named all the acorns, initially trying to name them after famous singers from the nineteen sixties but it eventually ran out of singers and just started naming them a random combination of letters.”
“Okay that’s more than enough imagination.” said Travis removing his hand from his forehead. “It seems agents are getting younger and younger these days.”
“I think I’m more the exception than the rule.” said Raz walking up to Travis.
“Come on.” said Travis. “Lets get out of here before any more furies turn up.” They walked towards the stairs that Raz had come down. As they approached a figure that was the exact double of Travis stepped out of the stairway and blasted Travis with a psi-blast. The Travis who Raz had recently been talking to dissipated as though he was as insubstantial as dust.
“Hello. I’m agent Travis Vert.” said the figure. “In a small glade of lemons lived a tiny horse called Richard who ran for mayor. He won after having received a record 166 votes but accidentally he fell through a hole in time and space the runner up had to be made mayor instead. Don’t worry; you don’t have to prove your imagination again. I heard you the first time.”
“Hello.” said Raz, stunned by the sudden turn of events followed by the sudden and eloquent display of Travis’s imagination.
“I can tell you’re a first timer but in the future you need to get other agents to prove their imagination as well.” said Travis. “And as to why we don’t use a code; because we’re inside the mind of a dangerous villain. It wouldn’t do to have them knowing all our codes.”
“Thanks for the tips.” said Raz.
“Now shall we get out of here?” asked Travis.

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