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Psychonauts - Ford!Raz

Love and Nihilism - Chapter 5 - The L Word

Posted on 2008.07.02 at 16:17
Tags: ,
Fandom: Psychonauts
Title: Love and Nihilism
Chapter: 5/9
Word Count: 2327
Synopsis: Raz learns who is responsible for the reprogramming of Yolanda Vert.

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

Love and Nihilism
Chapter 5: The L Word

“Activated?” asked Raz as the censors swarmed. “So in reality she’s attacking whoever is nearby?”
“Good thinking Razputin.” said Sasha producing some smelling salts. “Get into that house as soon as you can.” He cracked them open and flickered out of existence. The censors seemed to be keeping their distance at the moment, showing an admirable level of restraint for censors. Juke’s helmet closed up around his face and the censors seemed to slow down to half speed.
“That’s the best I can do.” said Juke. A group of censors from the direction of the house advanced on them. Raz threw a confusion grenade at them, which stopped them in their tracks and caused them to tear at each other wildly. Another group of censors, feeling brave, charged at them. Raz and Juke fired a series of psi-blasts towards them. Managing to get them all between them.
“We’re not going to be able to take out all these.” said Juke. “Sooner or later they’re going to all come at us at once.”
“Then we go around them.” said Raz. He focused and the ball of levitation energy formed below him. Juke did the same. The censors seemed to speed back up to normal speed and all began to charge. Raz rolled straight for the small group of fighting censors that lay in front of the house and leapt clean over them. Juke caught up with him a second or two later. They ran to the house and opened the door immediately piling inside. The inside of the house was larger than the outside. It was just a white void that extended as far as the eye could see. However two figures were immediately in front of them. Yolanda was there looking blank with her arms folded. She was sat in a wooden chair. Behind her stood a man with long black hair tied back in a ponytail. He was wearing a designer jacket and stylish sunglasses. He had his hands on either side of Yolanda’s head. He was standing as still as a statue and didn’t look like he would respond to any outside influence.
“Vincent Blanc.” said Juke. “Lets get out of here before those censors pile in.” Juke produced some smelling salts from his pocket and cracked them open. He flickered and was gone. Raz did the same and was promptly gone.

When he woke up he was lying sprawled on the floor of the ward. Travis and Sasha were stood in front of him with their arms extended in front of them. Raz climbed up to see that they were telekinetically pushing Yolanda against the wall. She was flailing around manically shooting off psi projectiles at random. Travis walked up to her, placed his hands on her shoulders and soothed her.
Soothing was an ability that Raz hadn’t learnt until he had had to rescue Truman, Lili’s father. It was a pacifying ability that put the target to sleep. It was mainly useful as a method of subduing psycho-terrorists, however you had to be touching the person you were attempting to soothe in order for it to work. Raz was certain that Quentin Void who had appeared to be sleeping peacefully had been soothed into that state.
After a second she stopped flailing and collapsed. Travis caught her and lay her back down in bed. The man who was in the adjacent bed stood up and walked over. It was Juke. He was without his armour or helmet but he was still recognisable. Sasha turned to Raz and Juke.
“What did you find out?” he asked.
“She’s being controlled by Vincent Blanc.” said Juke.
“Are you certain of this?” asked Sasha. “This is a serious accusation.”
“I’m certain.” said Juke.
“Who is this guy?” asked Raz.
“He’s an agent.” said Sasha. “He used to be a psychic mercenary. He was responsible for a wide array of psychic crimes. He was caught and his mental problems fixed. That’s when he joined the psychonauts. He’s been with us for so long now. I wouldn’t have suspected him of something like this.”
“What triggered her attack?” asked Raz. “Was it us?”
“Possibly.” said Sasha. “What was going on out here?”
“I was just telling her I loved her.” said Travis. “Then she just…”
“As I said before there could be a trigger word.” said Sasha. “I’ll stay here and investigate. I’ll check the surveillance tapes; see if I can spot anything. Juke, you go back into her mind and see if you can start dismantling that control matrix. Raz, Travis you go and bring in Vincent Blanc. Go and talk to Alyxandyr, she’ll have his address.”
“Sasha what do you think?” asked Travis. “What was it?”
“I don’t think it was us.” said Sasha. “There was a labyrinth in there to stop us from gaining access to that area.”
“It was ‘I love you’ then?” asked Travis.
“I can’t say for sure till I’ve watched the tapes.” said Sasha. “You should hurry. Vincent isn’t going to wait around.”

Raz and Travis found Alyxandyr sat in the hospital café drinking a little plastic cup of machine made coffee. She was just how Raz didn’t remember her.
“This better be good news.” she said bitterly as Travis and Raz approached.
“She’s being controlled by an agent named Vincent Blanc.” said Raz.
“That’s a serious accusation.” said Alyxandyr. “Have you any proof?”
“Yeah, sure.” said Raz. “Ask Sebastian Juke. He was there as well. Better yet go and look in her mind and you can see for yourself.”
“Fine.” said Alyxandyr. “I suppose you want something from me? You wouldn’t be bothering otherwise.”
“We need Vincent Blanc’s address.” said Travis.
“And what are you going to do when you get there?” asked Alyxandyr.
“We’re going to bring him in and question him, or failing that go into his mind and find out precisely what is going on.” said Travis.
“He lives in a houseboat out on the Medulla River.” said Alyxandyr. “That’s if he’s still there. He’s supposed to be here on duty. He probably knows we know about Yolanda so he won’t be sticking around.”
“Thanks.” said Raz, turning to walk away.
“Hold up there!” Alyxandyr said harshly. “Now I know you’ve done a good job getting in there and finding out about Vincent but don’t think that makes you king of the world. There’s still hard work to be done and if there’s any further decisions to be made then it’s my jurisdiction, not yours.” Alyxandyr continued bitterly. “Now get out of my sight before I submit to the voice in my head that wants me to pour scalding hot coffee over your head.” Raz and Travis headed back to the jet.
“Hey Raz, were we just talking to someone?” asked Travis with a grin as they walked away.
“Yeah.” said Raz. “We were talking to Alyxandyr, head of personnel.”
“You remember her already?” asked Travis. “You’re good.”
“I was making a distinct effort to try to.” said Raz. “Though now I remember her it’s hard to imagine that it would be possible to forget her.”
“She makes quite a first impression doesn’t she?” asked Travis. “Or a second impression. I’m not sure.”

Travis wasn’t as bad at piloting the jet quite as badly as Sasha led Raz to believe he would do.
“Why do you think the trigger words would be I love you?” asked Travis.
“That’s if they are.” said Raz. Travis turned to look at him. “Okay but assuming that they are then it sounds like the plan was to get her to attack you.”
“It doesn’t add up.” said Travis. “Vincent is a member of the psychonauts. He must have known that I would be in Quentin Void’s mind. Plus it’s a common phrase. She was bound to hear it eventually. If he wanted her to attack me wouldn’t he have waited for me to return home from exploring Quentin’s mind before programming her?”
“It might just have been a mistake.” said Raz. “Sometimes people make them. If she’d caught you by surprise while on your own you might not have survived the attack.”
“I suppose.” said Travis somewhat sombrely.
“So you were going to tell me about you and Sasha?” asked Raz.
“Oh that’s right!” Travis said. “He was the best man at my wedding. We’ve been friends since I joined psychonauts. He wasn’t as well known back then but he was so good at what he did that it was just a matter of time. I wasn’t as good as him. That’s why I stopped doing much field work and went into research and development.”
“You went after Quentin though…” said Raz tentatively
“Just a one-off.” said Travis. “I had to. He killed my family.”
“I’m sorry.” said Raz.
“He didn’t single them out.” said Travis. “They just happened to be in his general vicinity. People who happen to be in Quentin’s general vicinity tend to die. My family never had psychic powers. They were just visiting a museum when Quentin decided that museums portray a false idealised version of the world and are tools of an oppressive government that should be destroyed.” Travis paused. “He destroyed the entire place. He left nothing standing.”
“That’s terrible.” said Raz.
“You know the worst thing about it?” asked Travis. “It wasn’t on purpose. It wasn’t part of some great crusade to do persecute me, or the psychonauts in general. It was just chance. If it were personal then maybe it would feel like they died for something, because he had a grudge against us, or something. But no, they just got caught in the crossfire; more anonymous victims of Quentin Void. I had to see justice done.”
“But is it justice?” asked Raz. “To help the man who did such horrible things?”
“Should I kill him? If I do am I any better than he is?” asked Travis. “Well yeah I am. But still, it’s the right thing to do.” Travis paused. “Anyway we’re almost there now.”

There was only one houseboat on the Medulla River. It was easy to find. Travis landed the jet on the riverside. Raz was sure that it was far from a sneak attack but that if Vince was at home there wasn’t really anywhere he could go without them noticing. It was a cloudless night and the full moon lit the river in a manner that was probably peaceful for most, but since Raz couldn’t help but see large liquid claws reaching out of the water it seemed more eerie than peaceful. Everything was silent except for the audible flow of water and the sound of their own footsteps was all that could be heard. As they walked onto the houseboat Raz became increasingly aware of just the wood separating him from the water. Travis carefully picked the lock with his telekinesis and they stepped inside. A pale light was streaming from the lower level of the houseboat. It exaggerated the shadows and made Raz ever more apprehensive. Travis looked incredibly focused which was disconcerting in itself. The room was full of opened suitcases flung haphazardly around the room. Travis walked over to one and opened it up. It was empty. They moved towards the stairs into the lower room of the boat. Travis turned invisible and then moved down them silently. Raz turned invisible and followed a bit behind him, being careful not to bump into where he thought Travis would be. The room was illuminated by gas lamp. At the far end of the room Vincent Blanc was stood watching the entrance. He was aiming a rifle at the stairs. Raz guessed that he’d presumably heard the jet landing and was waiting for them to come bursting in. There was a gunshot and Raz noticed that Travis had been attempting to sneak up on Vincent and catch him off guard. Vincent had missed Travis and where he’d hit the boat there was a stream of water flowing in through the hole. Raz backed up towards the stairs. Travis rushed at Vincent telekinetically knocking the gun to the side as he did so. Vincent blasted another couple of holes in the other side of the boat. Travis leapt on Vincent and attempted to wrestle him to the ground. Vincent quickly put up his shield knocking Travis back onto the floor. Vincent then telekinetically forced Travis down onto the floor and punched him heavily in the stomach.
“Raz, a little help!” yelled Travis.
“I’ve got this thing about water…” Raz mumbled, backing up another step.
“Raz?!” Travis coughed as Vincent punched him again in his chest.
“My family is cursed.” said Raz quickly. “We’re all cursed to die in water.”
“Then help me quickly!” yelled Travis. Raz hesitated but then came running down the stairs and telekinetically knocked Vincent away from Travis and up against the wall. Vincent telekinetically lashed back knocking Raz over into the inch or so of water. Vincent lashed out towards the gas lamp knocking it over and setting part of the boat on fire. Travis fired a psi blast at Vincent, which he blocked with a quick burst of shielding. Raz pushed himself up and fired a psi-blast at Vincent. It connected with him and he telekinetically pulled his rifle back. He fired at the sides of the boat not even trying to hit Raz or Travis now. Raz attempting to push him up against the wall using telekinesis but Vincent turned and forced a large spray of water straight at Raz causing him to lose concentration. Travis leapt at Vincent pinning him against the wall. Raz looked around. The boat was really beginning to flood now. He walked over to Travis who was soothing Vincent.
“You won’t stop him!” Vincent shouted as Travis did so. “It’s already too late! He’s going to change the world!” Then he went limp as the soothing took effect.

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