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Old 07-24-2006, 01:47 AM   #1
Miss_Mayhem
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Elusive Insanity

Elusive Insanity

Sasha Nein and Milla Vodello just received their badges and are sent on their first mission. But lets just say it doesn’t take long for things to get twisted when they are forced into the middle of a mystery surrounding the thought-long-gone Hunters, an elusive, secretive group of psychic terrorists that have risen once more, and this time the secrets they harbor are far darker than before...

Author’s Notes: Don’t expect updates to be too often, I take long on my other action-oriented fanfics anyway.This chapter is intro and focuses on the clash of personalities that happens when two opposites meet. True action and plot-development begin in the next chapter. I will need three chapters to continue writing, gotta make sure someone likes this.

Disclaimer: Ya should all know by now that I don’t own squat, except for the OC’s (there’s a couple).
Chapter1: Atrocious Incidents,

Silence? Not so. Whispering. Chatting. Hushing. And lots of thinking. But . . . it was as close to silence as one could hope for. Within Psychonauts HQ, there was a room. A very large room, that was used only once a year. But on that one day, every seat inside that large room was filled. People were even forced to stand if they came late and wanted to watch. The red seats faced a stage—the stage was rather large too—and on the stage would stand the proud graduates. Today was that day. The seats were indeed all filled, and there was indeed a lot of noise. Hidden behind large curtains that hung on the back and on two sides of the stage were the nervous and excited graduates, robed in the official dark-green garb, anxious to receive their diplomas and start their lives as badged psychic soldiers.

Among them was a young Sasha Nein. He appeared unusually calm and collected about the entire affair, though truth be told, he was very happy and exited, he just wouldn’t show it. Little would change about his appearance over the years, though he did look younger than what a young psychic prodigy would know, and his hair was not so neat, it was rather messy. He stood in a shadowy corner, sipping some ceremonial wine and surrounded by the few friends he had. Which was only two. One was a fiery redhead with an unusual knack for pyrokinesis dubbed Martin, the other a blonde man with a dreamy look in his eyes known as Lawrence. Martin was probably a little tipsy, but noone cared cuz he was nicer and not so lofty when liquored up, “No one believed in me ... now, ha! In your face, Nein! You said I’d fail my exams ... ha!”

Sasha groaned and rolled his eyes beneath his shades, “You realize you just barely passed, with the lowest marks possible for a passing grade, right?”

Who knows what Martin said next, Sasha stopped paying attention. His friends and him formed a part of the small intellectual crowd at The Psychic Academy of California. But Martin and Lawrence could be the most idiotic boneheads too. Graduation at PAC was just about guaranteed if you passed the entrance exams (unless you were expelled or dropped out), but it still felt . . . dare he think/say it? . . . cool. The three years he had spent at PAC were some of his best. Even though he was painfully shy and aloof, he had made a few good friends, got along with everyone else, and finally got to meet with fellow people who wouldn’t shy away from a discussion concerning Existentialism and it’s principles over a cup of hot coffee. In a few minutes, who was he kidding, in an hour, it would be over.

He would start a new life, and probably never meet any of his college peers again. If you didn’t count Martin and Lawrence (he was quite loyal to his friends), maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Unless he saw them around the offices in wherever. Damn. He couldn’t escape stupidity, could he?

His fellow peers were far more chatty, either laughing or crying. Friends clumped together, making plans and promises to stay in touch that would later be broken. There was one large swarm of girls that were particularly loud he noticed. They cried unanimously, tears streaming down their faces, which were graced with smiles at the same time. They were like a single living entity. It was creepy. Near the center was the foreign exchange student from . . . what was it . . . Venezuela? Either way, PAC didn’t get too many new students, and foreign ones were a rarity. Thus, they were for some reason or another, coveted. Being foreign was exotic, therefore cool. So if you were a foreign exchange student who didn’t scream nerdiness, you were popular ... Like the Venezuelan(?) girl. Sasha wondered if he would have been popular if he had come to PAC in the middle of the year. Would he have liked it? Hmm . . . . .

His thoughts were interrupted by a fussy attendant who forced the graduates to line up on the stage. There were a lot of people here, Sasha noticed. It didn’t really matter. He had no mother or father to watch him. No siblings either as he had been an only child. A few (nearly) silent minutes later, a bearded man floated down from the catwalks above, to the stage below. Along with the other graduates, Sasha craned his neck upwards to see. It truly was Ford Cruller, the head of the Psychonauts, floating down to give the graduates their diplomas. Sasha really admired the man. Cruller had so much authority, authority he never misused. That and he was a damn fine leader. Kept everything working smooth.

With a slight ‘thump’, Ford Cruller landed on the stage. For once, there was absolute silence. He stroked his brown mustache, and broadcasted an exasperated thought to a lighting-man who guzzled down some weak wine on a different catwalk. Hearing the message, the lights dimmed and a spotlight shone on Ford Cruller.

He cleared his throat, “Ladies and Gentlemen, parents and graduates, today marks a benchmark in the lives of the class of 1992. This is the day they become mental marines, psychic soldiers, in other words, Psychonauts! Either majoring in mindbending, in which they aim to fix troubles of the psyche, or in any of the other majors The Psychic Academy of California offers, these students have gathered much knowledge within our halls and classrooms, and will pave the way for a more psychic friendly future . . . . . . . . .”

His speech continued for a while, and then (finally), he began announcing the names. Milla was only a few feet from Sasha, and she giddy with excitement, and it showed. She rather wished she could be a bit more like the German(?) boy not far from her: able to look dignified in the face of authority. She had to admit that while she was well liked, she was too ‘much’ for the head honchos who seemed to insist on ties and suits. And oh, how her time at PAC was wonderful, even if it was short. She made up for all her lost friends back in Brasil with new friends here, but now that she was to graduate, would she be truly alone? Oh, how she hoped not.

“Martin Mayfew,” Cruller called. Martin patted Sasha and Lawrence’s shoulders with a smirk as he strolled down to get his diploma.

“Derek Lutefisk”.

‘Sniveling wuss,’ Sasha thought.

‘That hot guy I never asked out,’ thought Milla.

For the most part, the roll went in that fashion. Stroking his beard, Cruller looked up, “Sasha Nein!”

Taking a deep breath, Sasha went up to Cruller to claim the fruit of his labors. Left foot. Right foot. Left foot. Right foot. That’s how it should go. Automatically. As if it was programmed. That was Sasha’s plan for graduation ceremony success. Smile (uncharacteristically). Lift arm. Take diploma with left hand. Shake Cruller’s with the right. Walk down the aisle. As he descended into the sheltering darkness, he sighed with relief.

“Oof!” Sasha grunted as he realized that Martin had batted his shoulders with a psychic fist.

“I know it isn’t your thing, but there’s a party going on later this night. You going? You wouldn’t want to miss out.” Martin said. Sasha shrugged and responded with a ‘meh’. Martin rolled his eyes before he left Sasha to meet with his parents. Lawrence didn’t even get the chance to congratulate Sasha, he was ‘attacked’ by his family, who smothered him with hugs. Sasha walked to a refreshment table and helped himself to more wine while he watched the rest of the ceremony. He had no family here to tell him how proud they were of him . . .

“Milla Vodello”

. . . And neither did she. Her family was in Brasil. She had no family to lavish their love on her that night either. Milla felt it. She clutched her diploma to her chest. She was ecstatic, though how she wished her mom and dad were here to see it. She floated down the stage steps into the comforting dark. She did like attention. She would have loved to be on tv. But this sort of attention—the kind where it hardly matters anymore because the people that matter aren’t watching—she didn’t like. Twisting her shoulder length hair in her fingers, she waited for her friends by herself. She didn’t really like being left alone. Attention was a sort of a validation of her existence. (1) Mental residue from the lack of attention she got as a little girl in a large household. Two sisters, three brothers. Even as the oldest child, she seemed to get lost in the shuffle, perhaps since she was older, it was as if she didn’t need all that attention cuz she could take care of herself. So she waited alone. In time, her hair would grow out, she’d lose a lot of her accent, but she would still remain largely the same. The tan complexion, the green eyes, her dark hair, her sense of style, and her happy-go-lucky nature would remain intact. She stared around at all the happy families, and her eyes rested on Sasha. He was alone too.

Sasha felt her gaze and looked back, giving her a sympathetic smile. She smiled back feebly before turning away and hugging her friend who had walked down the steps with her diploma in hand.

The rest of the day passed in a blur. Somehow, someway or another, Martin and Lawrence dragged Sasha to that graduation party. Truth be told, only a potent brew of drink and telekinesis did the trick. When Sasha finally was in a clear state of mind, he groaned. The party was wild. That wasn’t his type of party. His so called ‘friend’s had propped him up against a chair until he cleared up, so his back ached and felt stiffed. Rubbing the soreness away, he realized that the party wasn’t even in the physical world. He was in someone else’s mind. Ugh, mind parties were always supposed to be more fun. Could a drunk psychic even enter someone’s mind?

(2)The large room was circular, with yellow walls, and a very high ceiling. The walls were adorned with large TV’s, which were fed live footage from winged cameras that filmed the most talented dancers, aside from the TV’s, big aquariums also lined the walls. The floor was colorful glowing tiles that changed color, though the outer rim was glass suspended over water filled with fish and confetti. Flower shaped platforms floated in the air in a circular pattern, winding around a large cylinder that was really an oversized lava-lamp. Bubbles . . . bubbled out of oversized lavender stereos that thudded some exotic music, the notes taking on physical shapes. A disco light twirled in the ceiling, adding to the already dramatic lighting ( spotlights that changed color every few seconds).

Leaving his seat he searched for Martin and Lawrence. He needed to kick their asses. Easier thought than done. I said this party was wild. The room was crammed with party-hungry graduates who danced erratically, so Martin and Lawrence were hard to find. Standing on his toes, Sasha saw them dancing quite uncharacteristically with some girls on one of the flower platforms. Grabbing one of the notes that incarnated itself from the stereo speakers, he jumped onto it and floated upwards.

Sasha clasped the thin part of the note as it floated over to the platform his conniving friends were upon, “Martin, Lawrence! Let the ass-kicking begin!”

“Huh?” his two friends gasped. Lawrence waved back to Sasha with an idiotic grin on his face, “How do ya like the party?”

Jumping off the note and onto the platform , Sasha snarled, “You know I don’t do parties! Now, I want to get out, but with all the minds in here, there is too much interference. And since I was drunk when I came into this mind, I can’t filter through the interference to the original link. And as far as I know, I can’t use your links since you probably crashed this party by hacking into someone else’s connection.”

Martin shook his head, “We were actually invited, even you. But when we couldn’t find the hostess, we used some dude’s connection cuz he was in the party. Unfortunately, he was a crasher and he’s drunk. So the part about our links being useless is true. Anyway, Milla is the one hosting the party, find her and she’ll give you the connection so you can leave.”

“Do you know where she is?”

“She’s the life of the party, and you’re smart. You’ll figure it out”

Sasha scoffed at that and muttered something along the lines of ‘forget you’ under his breath. Real mature. Looking around, he noticed the unusually large swarm of girls on the top platforms. If they were there, so was Milla. Snatching another note, he wafted towards the ceiling.

High over the heads of everyone else, he finally reached the top platform. This one was huge and surrounded by smaller platforms where uniformed dancers . . . danced. Milla was dancing in the very center, wearing a short, pink halter-top dress, black leggings, white, leather boots/pumps, and white, kimono-style arm-warmers. He jumped onto the platform and called to her, “Milla!”

Her childish friends giggled when they saw him approach her. Idiots. “My bonehead friends brought me to the party when I was ... ugh ... incapacitated—”

“You mean drunk,” one of her friends tittered.

“Whatever. Look, I gotta go, but with all the links, I can’t find my way out. Can you give me the original connection?”

Milla sulked a little, and spoke, “But the party just got started. You don’t wanna leave so soon.”

“Yes. Yes I do.”

“No. No you don’t!”

“Ugh, I’m pretty sure I do.”

“Oh, c’mon. Dance with us!”

“Um, I don’t do dancing.”

“How can you not do dancing?”

“I don’t dance since I don’t do parties”

“Not do parties? Darling, where I come from, everyone parties!”

“That’s Venezuela, this is Cali”

“No, I’m from RioDeJaneiro in Brasil, party capital of the world and home to the largest celebration. And Cali is supposed to party too.”

Sasha had no comeback to that. Seeing this, Milla grasped his arm and pulled him in, “Dance! Dancing to Samba is easy!”. Milla danced with a large smile on her face, looking very happy. Sasha . . .didn’t. He wanted to blush with embarrassment. But no. He didn’t do blushing. He didn’t do embarrassment. And he didn’t want to stand next to Milla, doing nothing and looking like a fool while she was dancing admittedly gracefully. So he did the only thing he could: he went invisible. Fortunately for him, her friends had already stopped paying attention.

“Sasha, darling? Now that’s not right” Milla scowled. Did I forget to mention that she didn’t like scowling? Not to mention that Sasha disliked being called ‘darling’ by a girl he barely knew.

‘Can you just give me the connection so I can leave?’

Milla frowned (she didn’t like frowning either), ‘You are so afraid to let loose and have fun that you go invisible and have to use thought-transference to speak to me? For shame’

‘I just want to leave.’

‘Why?’

‘I told you: I don’t do parties.’

‘You just don’t like my parties! Are they really that bad?’

‘No, that’s not what I meant, I just don’t . . . . party.’

‘Stop being such a spoil-sport, it’s not healthy. You have to let your hair down sometimes.’

Sasha was now a bit desperate to leave, ‘I can’t, I just graduated. I have a future to think about, how bout you? I don’t see you doing anything for your career’

‘I majored in mindbending, so of course I have a future!’ Milla thought back angrily.

‘If you continue to party at this rate, you won’t. You won’t get anywhere in life if you continue being such a shallow, materialistic twit!’

‘No I’m not! Didn’t your mother teach you manners?’

‘I didn’t have a mom!’

‘. . . your dad?’

‘I hate him and he can burn for all I care’

Burn. Like the orphanage. She was there last summer. Burn, “Don’t say that! You should never say that!’

‘What? That I hate him and he should burn?’

‘Would you seriously want that fate for someone?’

‘Let the fire at him!”

‘But ... their thoughts ... so painful ...’

Fire. How she hated it. Because of the incident last summer, she was unable to learn pyrokinesis. It still brought tears to her eyes. In fact, they were moist right now. Why did he have to bring up fire? Allowing her anger and sorrow to cloud her, Milla didn’t notice what was happening. The samba had been replaced by the haunting voices locked away in her nightmare room (Milla, Milla, why did you let us die?), the water in the aquariums had turned red and started to boil, the TV’s no longer played footage of the party-goers, instead, fire showed on the screen. The lava in the lava lamp took physical form: small hands that pounded and pleaded against the glass, or eyes and mouths twisted beyond recognition. The flowers grew red, their petals wilted and died, fluttering to the ground. And obviously, people noticed. ‘What is going on?’, they wondered.

It didn’t take long for Milla too realize what had happened. He had made her reveal her private thoughts – her worst nightmare – to everyone in what was supposed to be a fun get-together.

‘What’s happening?’ he thought.Mistake. She felt his cold breath against her skin.

“GET OUT!” she screeched. A telekinetic fist formed behind her and once she whisked around, it sailed through the air till it met it’s target: Sasha.

“Oof!” the fist hit his chest and he lost his invisibility as he hit the ground of the platform with a thud. Milla’s friends gasped with shock. The fist then formed into a more feminine hand that forcefully picked up Sasha by his black coat. Her eyes glowed for a few moments, and she pointed to Sasha, “GET OUT! CONSIDER YOURSELF UNINVITED! NO, KICKED OUT!”

A whirling blue vortex formed behind Sasha, and the hand that held him held him a few seconds more – in time for him to be stamped by a censor Milla let in – before it tossed him into the vortex and his ticket out.

The swirling blue consumed the frightened man, and cooled Milla down. He was gone. Her eyes went back to normal, as did the rest of her party. The party-goers accepted it, and forgot about the incident, and resumed their partying without further question. Milla took in deep breaths before she forced a smile as she turned to her friends.

“What happened?” one asked.

“Oh-oh it was nothing. Just forget about it.”

Sasha ‘awoke’ and found himself in some dorm where other graduates (and some sophomores) littered the room on couches, chairs and the floor, lost in their astral trance. He adjusted his shades, how he wished what had just happened was a bad dream. He had gotten more attention from one girl than he could ever hope for. Please be a bad dream. Picking himself off the floor, he shakily walked tot he door and left, fumbling his way to his dorm. It was pretty late after all, 1:36 am.

Next day,

Luckily for Sasha, his friends were too knocked up to ask him about the incident. But he couldn’t escape it forever. As soon as he and Martin and Lawrence woke up, they were escorted to the stage room by the same fussy attendant. Every graduate sat down in the area facing the stage. He needed coffee. It was only 6:15 in the morning.

Lawrence was just as tired, but mustered up enough energy to ask Sasha groggily, “everyone was talking about what happened yesterday at the party. What happened? Did you ask her something nasty?”

“No. She just went off the handle when I said I wanted to leave”

“Yeah, right”

The fussy attendant shushed them loudly (in other words: shutup) as she paced in front of the seats, “I know you must be very excited about graduating (someone in the background wooted), and your lives as working citizens begins. As you are all official Psychonauts now, you will receive partners. Partners compliment each other, filling in each other’s gaps. Someone who isn’t good with clairvoyance will be paired with someone who is, for example. So you know, mindbenders will be paired with those who are trained to use their psychic abilities offensively and defensively. Your partners were chosen for you weeks ago, and normally, you would get a letter and a date for a formal meeting about all this in the mail. But we are having some trouble in the offices, so you will learn who your partners will be today. I will hand all of you an envelope. It will contain basic info and stats, the name of your partner, and your mentor. Your mentor will send you a secure broadcast giving you further instruction.”

She levitated the packet of envelopes within a box, and they each went to their proper owner. Sasha snatched his in midair and tore it. The color drained from his face when he finished reading it.

Milla took hers and opened it anxiously. She gulped. No, this couldn’t be!

Sasha looked around. His eyes met Milla’s . Milla’s eyes met Sasha’s. A stupid piece of paper had decide their fate: Milla Vodello and Sasha Nein were official partners . . .

(1) In Brasil, families tend to be large, and Milla would be left in charge of taking care of the kids (she struck me as an older child due to her motherliness). With this burden, it’s likely she would have gotten less attention. Thus, her party-girl attitude and overall love fore attention could have stemmed from her lack of attention as a child.

(2) Milla’s world looks a lot like a disco, but it also made me think of Carnival: literally the largest celebration on Earth that takes place in RioDeJaneiro. It’s colorful and wild, a lot like the disco’s we associate with here. People are more relaxed and also avid partiers there, so that could be another factor in Milla’s party-girl personality.


Author’s Notes: I hope you liked it, and I know that Sasha (and maybe Milla) were out of character. But I figured that Sasha would be less patient and more hotheaded in his early college-days. Afterall, he has little to no experience at this point. Please review! You can also read this on FF
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