Chapter One:

Four Years Past
(Introduction/ Meeting Chitt and his future Cerebral Soldiers.)

Time flied when you were insane. It seemed like so many more years had passed then the eleven that really did. Eleven long years, put out of commission and forced to dwell in the disgraceful padded walls of an asylum, surrounded by people who treated you as though you were children. How agonizing it had been.

But he had managed. It was amazing what…power you could find in the depths of insanity. And beyond that…what answers you found. After that long wretched span of time he had found the answers he truly desired; he found out how to be free again.

And how to be sane…or, as it were…more constructively insane…which to him, was just as good.

Article 003492 Psychonauts database.

It has come to the attention of the Psychonauts that

as of 9:00 early yesterday morning five of our agents

fell into some danger while on a very important mission.

The three senior members of the group were found earlier this

morning. Visibly they appear to be untouched,

but they prove to be mentally unresponsive. The three found; Agents Sarah Mince,

Cecile Barone, and Lef Diageof are currently being held in the Lennox Hill Mental faclility

and are showing little or no improvement at this time.

The two young Psychonauts, who, as our sources tell us,

have not been heard from in the last 48 hours are 12-year-old Razputin Aquato and

17-year-old Katie Blythe. A report will be made if any progress

is made in the search for these two young soldiers.

This information sat in the records for almost two years before the search was finally called off. There was only one follow up report stating that all three of the senior agents had taken a turn for the worse and had, therefore been transferred permanently to a mental facility, where it was certain they would spend the rest of their lives.

Of the two younger agents, only Katie Blythe was found. She was not in any state to be questioned when they did find her…for, by that time she had been dead for nearly a year. Doctors determined that the cause of death was neurological, although the autopsy of her brain remained inconclusive. The case closed ten months later and it was assumed that Razputin Aquato…the youngest man ever to make the Psychonauts had met a similiar fate.

No one knew why it happened. When the case closed they went onto other things, and hoped, as humans tend to do, that it would never happen again, and that they would never have to find out what took place that morning.

Only those close to the victims continued to wonder…they never stopped being angry about it. Some more then others.

Four years passed since this occurrence. During that time the files gathered dust at the back of a large room in a government building which remained hidden even to some members of the government. For years they stayed there and no one touched them.

Until today. Today a tall man with broad shoulders made is way to the back of the large dingy room. He was dressed in black, aside from a gray turtleneck and had a slightly unhealthy complexion, associated with those who spend WAY too much time indoors doing questionable things with hazardous and unstable materials.

He went to the shelves and pulled out a box and leafed through the various folders until he found one in particular, and after he double-checked the title (Because he's just that sort of person.) he stowed it in his coat and slid the box back into place.

As he made his way back out of the room, he pulled a cigarette out of his pocket and lit it (Without ever touching a match.) then, against all 'normal' logic, it began hovering around his dark hair, only touching his lips or fingers when he needed a puff.

XXX

A man stood silently, looking through the glass of a tinted window, high above a yard might have resembled to an onlooker to that of a prison yard. (It was, in fact a school…which…to many people, isn't much different.) The man was Kellen Chitt. The school was The Chitt Learning Center For The Psychically Gifted. Behind Kellen stood two boys, estimated, disregarding their height, to be about the same age.

The boy closest to the man spoke.

"It's Stephen again, he wont make it up the wall. You have to call this off." The boy's stance suggested confidence.

The man turned slightly towards the voice. In the faint light above their heads, his silver hair was illuminated. He was tall, broad shouldered and though quite elderly he held the form of a man who was once both very powerful and very striking.

"He will make it, and if he doesn't, then he will meet the consequences for failure." He said softly.

"In this case…" The boy from the other side of the room spoke. "The consequences include a painful rope burn and a forty foot fall into a pit of barbed wire." He flashed a humorless smile at the other boy, who was looking concerned.

"Well…perhaps this will be an important lesson for him. He's a weakling. If he does not improve, he has no place on my team." The man turned back towards the glass, and focused, with entirely too much pleasure, on the young man, not over fourteen, trying desperately to climb a plastic rope with sweaty hands…and only succeeding even a little because of the fall that awaited him if he did not.

Behind him, the boy nearest moved his fingers slightly, as though they itched and glared at the back of the elder mans head. Kellen seemed to take no notice of this, but he trembled slightly, as though something had crept across his senses.

"He's falling." The other boy said with a sigh. "Nearly made it too. Should I fetch someone to take him to the infirmary?"

"No." The old man answered. "Perhaps this way, the lesson will come quicker. Leave him until the rest of the children have finished for the day."

"They won't finish for another three hours. We can't leave him there that long." The other boy said.

The older man paused, then, with sharp furious eyes he turned towards the boy who spoke, meaning to pierce the child's gaze, only to find the boy's eyes were shielded. But of course, weren't they always.

"Agent 04…" He said softly…after a long pause. The boy's stance did not change as the older man approached him, a smile of sorts forming on his wrinkled face. "You perhaps have some objection to the way I lead my soldiers?"

"He might die down there…sir." The sir was added weightily…as though the boy did not particularly desire to show loyalty, but also was weary of being overly rebellious.

"Yes? And I suppose if I order you to go back to your dorm and mind your business…you'll dissobey me and rescue the boy anyways?"

He searched the young man's face for any betraying expression. It held none…neither did his mind…but then, to him the boy's mind was always unnervingly silent.

"If you order me not to?" He questioned. The man's grin faded…and for a moment he appeared to think. After a while he turned towards the other boy.

"Agent 16, fetch an instructor to rescue cadet 152 from the barbed wire."

Agent 16 nodded and hurried towards the door, only pausing to give the other boy an encouraging smile. When he was gone, the older man put his attention back on the young man in front of him.

"Now we'll never know…will we, 04?" He smiled. The young man returned his smile…but in a way that made the older man slightly uneasy. For at that moment both of them knew what each other were thinking with little need of telepathy. And that was;

'Yes…yes I think we both know exactly what would have happened.'

XXX

Stephen Brickall, 13 years old, was one of the unlucky one's in the academy. It was not…as one may assume, because he was currently in a ditch on top of a lot of barbed wire…however unlucky that might be. (And at the moment it was the worst thing he could think of.)

Stephen was unlucky because he was behind most of his class, was an outcast to the other students, who all made fun of him at every available oppertunity, and was currently being laughed at and pelted with things. Even through the barbed wire he could feel the onset of shame as he heard his nickname being called by the other children.

Stephen's nickname was Rubbish. It was given to him so that whenever anyone called on him or spoke to him, he would constantly be reminded that he meant nothing. Nicknames, even in the real world are terrible…if they're bad ones. But here in the academy they were much worse.

Everyone who stepped through the doors of the Chitt Learning Center (Or CLC) was forced to leave their names behind, along with anything they had ever learned about their Psychic ability. The authoritative figures gave them a number based on their ability or the order of which they arrived. From then on their numbers became their names. This perhaps showed just how much the faculty actually cared about them.

The school hadn't been open for very long before the kids themselves found that, though it worked fine for the adults they had an annoyingly difficult time remembering each other's numbers. That was when the nicknames started. From then on it was a tradition. You got a number from the teachers, you got a nickname from your peers…and depending on whom you were speaking to, that name and number was who you were.

"Rubbish! How does that barbed wire feel stuck up your ass?" That was The Nose, who was laughing in a series of abhorrent snorts. A couple of the other kids laughed, proving not for the first time that the school's strength lied not within its academics.

"Hehe, looks like failing is your specialty, Rubbish." Came the voice of Shorty, who nearly fell himself as he leaned in to taunt the younger boy.

Beyond the sniggering crowd two of the instructors were shoving their way towards the gap.

"Ack, out of my vay you filthy children." Came the slightly prissy and heavily accented voice of General Drake Cadmus, known to the children as Dragon due to the serration of his teeth and his pyrotechnic genius. (Which meant, in the terms of psychics that he was very good with pyrokinesis and he also happened to be a chronic pyro maniac.)

"Get avay from thee hole or I will push you een." He said harshly as he shoved The Nose out of the way. Beside him another instructor gave a nearby child a cold look. This was Instructor Andrea Chilli. (Hag.) Who, although still very much in her youth, had the complexion and stature of a woman in her sixties.

"Are you down there, Cadet 152?"

"Yes." Came a weak and bitter voice from the pit.

"Vee have been sent to rescue you." Drake said with a hint of malice. "I vill trow down thee rope…grab hold…and try not to let your filthee hands slip theez time." A couple of the kids sniggered as Drake threw a rope down into the dark.

Stephen, who was red both because of the pain he was currently in and the embarrassment he would soon have to face, grabbed hold and began climbing.

When he reached the opening he met the sneering faces of his peers. He thought it best to keep his gaze on the ground. Even the instructor's eyes were dancing with cruel laughter.

"Cadet 152. Thee Master wishes to see you in hees office." Drake said with a grin, trusting his voice only when the inner laughter subsided. The boy's clothes were ripped to shreds in embarrassing places.

Stephen nodded solemnly and made his way through the crowd, all the while keeping his eyes on the ground. He got a few "accidental" knocks in the stomach, but managed to miss all of the outstretched feet.

When he reached the door after what seemed like an eternity, he heard the instructors screaming orders at the students from behind. The fact that he was not there to finish the obstacle course relieved him…the fact that he was not in the ditch was even better…but he wished that he could at least change his clothes before facing Kellen.

The door was as tall as any other door, but felt so much larger to the small thirteen year old as he pushed his way into the shadows of Agent Chitt's office. The only light came from the dirty window where Kellen stood silhouetted, his broad shoulders portrayed flawlessly in the faint glow.

Beside him stood Agent 04. When Stephen saw him his heart sank. Though he was one of the younger boys, only sixteen or seventeen years old, he was held in great esteem in the institution. This was mostly because of how Kellen treated him. Which, to the untrained eye was respect…but to the more keen one, was apprehension.

The older kids called him Tank, the younger one's made fun of him for it. (Not within hearing range of course.) This was not because it was a bad name…but because when one looked at him, a tank was not what they thought of. He was quite tall, taller then Kellen…and probably still growing, but he had absolutely no visible muscle on his body.

There had been an occasion where one of the younger, and far more thickset boys had challenged him to a barehanded fight, using no psychic abilities. The boy had been completely confident that he would come out victorious. It was this incident that had stopped most of ridicule in the Tank's company. For, against all logic he had not only completely annihilated the boy, but he had done it without being touched once. So when he was somewhere else, like on a completely different side of the school, the kids had their fun…but when he was around they kept their silence because he worried them.

Stephen tried not to look at the boy at all, for fear that beyond the eyepiece, a kind of goggles used possibly for radar but more likely for style, and went well with the boys uniform, he was watching him, perhaps in mockery like the others.

Kellen seemed to grow suddenly aware of Stephen's presence.

"Cadet 152. Good, glad you're here." He turned and took in the shape of Stephen's clothes with little amusement…and some abhorrence. "I…watched your display on the course today…very…interesting."

Stephen looked at the floor, he was good at it…and mumbled something.

"What was that?" Kellen said, while motioning to the other boy to draw the curtains.

"I said, I'll do better next time." Stephen whispered. Kellen smiled.

"Yes…you keep saying that…and yet you haven't seemed to improve."

There was a moment of agonizing silence, which was broken when Kellen grabbed Stephen's chin and pulled the boys face up, forcing him to meet his gaze.

"You have proven to be a failure Stephen. Your performance has been pathetic ever since your arrival…look at me!" The boy's eyes rose. "Now let me hear you say it. Say; 'I am a failure.'"

Stephen caught movement on the side of his vision. For a moment his eyes shifted to Tank, who was simply adjusting his black knit hat. The tall boy lowered his arms after tucking a stray piece of hair back into the hat's rim, then though he could not be sure, met Stephen's gaze. The boy shook his head a little and though it could have just been a trick of the light, a corner of his mouth twitched to what could have been the start of a smile.

Stephen swallowed.

"Very well." Kellen let go of the boys chin. "I will give you one more chance, 152. In two days, if you can't climb that rope without falling, you will be expelled from my school. Is that understood?"

Stephen licked his lips and nodded.

"Good. You are dismissed 152. Agent 04, you will meet me tonight at 7:00. Please don't be late." With that, Kellen left the room with a stride like that of a god's, or someone who thought he was one.

That left Stephen and Tank alone in the room. Stephen fidgeted slightly as he debated whether it was a good idea to turn his back on the boy or not. He didn't have to.

Tank stepped forwards towards the door, pausing much to Stephen's horror, at the boy's side. He raised one hand, causing Stephen to flinch out of habit.

"Next time you might try gloves. Leather. They slip less." He said, wiggling his own gloved fingers. He stepped out of the room without another word.


Okay, now, I know there isn't much familiar Psychonauts stuff in this one…but it's sort of a build up to the story. I'll have more of the familiar characters in the next chapter. This chapter is experimental. I don't know what to think of this story yet. So, if you would give me feedback and tell me what you think I would appreciate it.

Also, I'm telling you now that Sasha, Milla, Ford, Lili and maybe Oleander are going to be in future chapters. If you have another character you want me to add in from Whispering Rock tell me in a review. I know I'm going to use some of them, but I'm not sure whom yet.

Oh…and Raz isn't dead…if…you know…you didn't know that