Hello. This is probably one of my most recent obsessions: The Most Excellent Game Psychonauts. If you haven't played it yet, you should.
Anyways, I thought up of a sequel-ish thing after that CLIFF-HANGER ENDINGGGGGG. Unfortunately, the first chapter isn't all that interesting. You could probably skip it, since you wouldn't miss much. There's a whole bunch of awkward phrasings and unneeded content. If anybody would like to beta this, then please do.
And We Fall, Fall, Fall, Down to the Ground
"I'm not just gonna stand by when my dad's in danger."
This was a little while after all four Psychonauts plus Lili Zanotto, one of the best at Whispering Rock Camp and daughter of the recently kidnapped Truman Zanotto, left said camp in their really cool super-jet.
"Don't be stubborn," Sasha retorted in that deep and infuriatingly calm voice. "Vera may not be physically strong, nor does she have any psychic powers that we know of, but she is known for cunning strategies and Xanatos Gambits. She has already managed to steal away your father. It might even be her plan to capture you as well."
"Then what was the point in bringing me along in the first place?!" Lili fumed as the jet roared on through the sky. The inside of the jet was spacious and because they were going really fast, Milla urged everybody to sit down and buckle their seatbelts. Lili found it very awkward to be angry at Sasha when he was sitting in front of her instead of standing near (and actually facing) her.
"It's safer for you to stay at HQ than at camp. We're going there briefly to figure out exactly what happened and then we're going to leave to try to save your father."
"Please darling," Milla said, turning around in her seat. "Just cooperate. I know you want to help, but…"
"But what? You think I'm not capable? I know I'm not a Psychonaut yet, but I can still fight! You trust Raz, don't you? Can't you trust me?" Raz, who had been trying to keep out of the argument by remaining silent the whole time, turned at the mention of his name.
"Lili, please," Sasha said, and he turned around in his seat too to face the girl, "You must understand. Your father has been kidnapped, which is obviously not an easy feat. This will be very dangerous and we will have to fight strong – very strong - beings. Do you think your father would want you to immediately chase after him? It's our responsibility now to save him, of course, but also to protect you. I cannot, in good mind, just let you tag along with us."
"He makes several good points, Lili," said Raz. "If I were your dad right now, I wouldn't want you to risk your life trying to save me, 'specially if the person who kidnapped me in the first place wants you to do that to capture you as well, effectively using me as bait." Sasha made a little nod at the long-winded, 'heard-it-a-million-times' phrase as if saying, 'You see?'
"Couldn't you be on my side?" the girl snapped irately.
"Don't worry, Lili, we'll have your dad saved in a snap. Maybe this lady is super smart, but she can't possibly handle us four, right? We've got a really great team: our own genius, the Mental Minx, Morry…who…knows stuff about military and maybe has his own strategies…and me, anti-kidnapping specialist."
Lili glared at all three of them as she searched for any kind of retort. Upon finding none, she threw herself to the back of her seat and sank down in angry defeat. "Fine, you win." Both Milla and Sasha broke into relieved grins before turning around again. "But," she added, "what about Mr. Cruller back at camp? Since, you know, it's dangerous and all…"
"Well," Sasha coughed, "I'm sure Ford can take good care of himself." Raz raised an eyebrow at this one.
"When we left him, he was chasing us out of his kitchen."
"Cooks are generally quite possessive of their kitchens."
"He was nowhere near the lodge."
"I wouldn't worry. Agent Cruller will make sure all of the kids are picked up, and then he will make his way back to his sanctuary. He always does."
"You know, I've always wondered why he needs that underground transport system thing…"
"We're HEEEEERE!" Coach Oleander interrupted loudly from his seat near the front, conveniently derailing Raz's train of thought. The jet promptly started slowing down and descended, judging by the sudden lack of light, below ground. All the passengers felt the pressure pushing them into the seat lessen and started to get up and stretch.
"Now Razputin," the German agent said as he floated down from the jet, "the Grand Head has been kidnapped, so HQ may be understandably in frantic chaos…don't trust your first impressions because many people here are very powerful psychics; well, they are Psychonauts, but right now, they may seem rather…" as Raz exited the jet, Sasha's voice seemed to fade away. He floated slowly down, staring at HQ.
None of the comics he had obsessed over had done it justice.
It was an amazing work of architectural design. Whatever rock it had been made out of, it was white, and it looked like they just took a huge, HUGE block of whatever rock it was and just carved it all out. It seemed to shine. There were no towers or turrets or anything – after all, it was the Psychonauts HQ, not some fairy-tale castle – but there were pillars and arches with complicated motifs carved in (the official Psychonauts emblem was the biggest and on top of the door, of course) and glass tubes that wound all over the place, leading to different parts of the building. A glass dome was also at the top. It looked like a cafeteria.
The building was also rather misshapen, as if it had started out like a regular rectangular building, but different people started adding onto it, so there were rooms sticking out everywhere, looking like they were defying gravity. The entrance had a carved message saying 'Querido Mente Entrar Aqui'. It had a general awesome air about it.
It was also, Raz noticed as he tried to read the message, upside-down.
"…Why is…" he started, before being interrupted by Oleander.
"The tubes? Well, there used to be elevators, but they constantly caught on fire. For some odd reason. They were sort of useless anyways. Also, the tubes looked cool. The building looked really boring before anyways…"
"Well, that answers one of my question but I was about to ask – "
"The inscription?" this time it was Sasha. "I believe it's supposed to be Spanish. The grammar is obviously incorrect, though. None of us know any Spanish, actually. We used an online translation site, though those are never very reliable. We tried Latin, but then nobody could figure out the right verb endings."
"Okay, but – "
"What does it mean?" said Milla. "Well, darling, we couldn't think of a very cool phrase so they higher ups just thought of the phrase 'Great Minds Enter Here' and told us to translate it into a language that made it sound nice. Unfortunately, the site didn't provide the word for 'Great' so we substituted it with 'Big.' And then I don't know if we made 'Minds' plural…"
"…'Big Mind Enter Here?'" Raz said incredulously. "Wait, that wasn't my question though. Why is it upside-down?!"
"Because," started Lili as she passed the young Psychonaut, rolling her eyes. "It was originally built above ground, but then people started attacking it so we decided to move it below ground using telekinesis and we simply…" here, she made a vague hand movement, "…flipped it over."
"She's right, sweetie. You wouldn't believe how many people that took…and we also had to dig this whole cavern. You wouldn't believe how much dirt and rocks piled up! We tried to leave them around and pass them off as hills, but then there were too many reports of children sinking through them so we had to fling it into space. And then we found out we forgot to move everything out beforehand! Desks and papers were everywhere, chairs were broken…that took a long time to sort out."
"Okay, that does explain everything, but couldn't it be simpler to just keep it right side-up, lower it into the cavern, and then just have a layer of dirt on top of it?"
"Mmm, not really…" The group reached the double doors, which were silver, huge, and upside-down. Sasha and Milla opened them with telekinesis, and walked inside, ignoring the various people in the lobby running around throwing papers everywhere, breaking down into tears and incomprehensive babbling, and generally panicking. Raz was the only one who seemed to notice the whole chaotic scene and was even ran into a few times by some frantic guy. The others just walked through the room calmly, as if this was the norm, towards a desk. Behind the desk was a woman who seemed to be the only one remaining sane. She was filing her nails.
"Hey," she said as the group stopped in front of her. She looked up briefly to examine their faces, but quickly went back to her nails. "You can leave Miss Zanotto up with Agent Baker. He's probably waiting for you at Mr. Zanotto's office. You can also look around there if you like. Oh, and who's the new kid?" She didn't sound interested at all who Raz was. She seemed to have just asked for the hell of it.
"Our new Psychonaut," Sasha answered with a small, proud grin.
This answer actually got the woman to look up again at Raz. She scrutinized him for a few seconds. "Awfully young, Agent Nein."
"Maybe so, but his mental prowess is great."
A shrug. "Whatever." The woman continued filing her nails, but with such an air of concentration that the group knew the conversation was over.
"Those guys back there…" the red-brown haired Psychonaut started as they walked down the hall. "I know Lili's dad just got kidnapped, but…aren't they overreacting?"
"They work here 24/7. They're the ones who receive information about conspiracies and so on that we're supposed to stop. A lot of things come in. After a while, some of them get really stressed. I believe once, when I checked up on someone in that department, I asked if he was fine. He said yes. Then something flashed on the screen and he grabbed his hair and screamed something along the lines of 'Oh god! What?! What the hell is it now?!' and proceeded to bang his head on the keyboard. I'm guessing that everybody moved them down to the lobby so none of the computers could be damaged."
"We use help line operators and telemarketers for that job."
"Oh…that's okay, I guess." They turned a corner and started floating up one of the numerous tubes that wound around the building. As Raz floated upwards, he caught glimpses of the floors he passed. The people he happened to see on the other floors seemed sane, and actually very busy trying to figure things out.
A young, average-looking man greeted them when they emerged from the tube on the fifteenth floor. "Evenin'," he smiled cheerfully as he followed them towards the office. "Glad you're here to help us out. I'll watch over Miss Zanotto for ya while you're away." He grinned towards Lili, who only scowled in return. "Ah…yes. Anyways, I've assessed the scene myself…di'nt find much, though I think you'll find it interestin' to know that there wasn't a sign of any struggle. Nobody heard or saw anythin'."
"So it was most likely the work of a psychic?" Sasha asked stoically. Agent Baker gave a relaxed grin back.
"You di'nt have to ask that. The answer's obvious, i'nit? The windows weren't broken in, no sign of a fight, no trace left behind, and the perp couldn't go down the tubes without being caught. He must've come in through the window, nabbed the chief, and went out the same way using levitation, maybe invisibility in case anybody thought to look outside. In fact, he probably used invisibility to get in too, seeing as the chief di'nt put up a fight at all, and knocked 'im out before he could do anything." Sasha nodded before opening the great mahogany doors to the office and peered inside. The desk had numerous papers on it, most of them dangerously piled up on the IN box, none of them in the OUT. The massive bookshelves lining the walls had books shoved in messily. Random bits of paper were easily seen in the books, probably being used as bookmarks. The chair was turned around, away from the desk, facing the large window.
"I can see how you came to that conclusion," Agent Nein said, walking in. "But the windows cannot be opened from the outside." He opened the window and bent over to look down, as if judging the distance to the ground. "The glass obviously hadn't been shattered, and no psychic can walk through walls. That's for superheroes. I think I can safely assume that whoever went and kidnapped Mr. Zanotto went through the door." He shut the window again as what the deduction implied clicked through everybody else's minds.
"Wait," said Raz slowly. "This could've been an inside job? There might be a spy here?"
"Make sure not to tell anyone," was the German's only reply. "The telemarketers are anxious enough as it is, and it will only harbor distrust throughout the building."
"So," Oleander said, rubbing his chin, "it's most likely one of the newbies, then?"
"Actually, that fact rules out all of them. It could only be a veteran, someone who has been here a long time, maybe more than two years. New recruits don't go to Mr. Zanotto's room, unless they were already very close to Mr. Zanotto and he calls them up here frequently, or maybe if they're his daughter's boyfriend." This gained wry smiles and a very embarrassed Raz. (Lili kept scowling.) "In any case, it's only after five years that one is entrusted with actually going into this office to send a report or even have a casual conversation with him. We do have enemies, after all, and there have been previous assassination attempts."
The silence was broken by a rather nervous chuckle from Agent Baker. "That's Sasha for ya. Always to the point."
"In war, you must be prepared for betrayal…" Oleander murmured, although it seemed that he hadn't been prepared at all. Milla remained silent, disturbed by the thought of someone she knew, maybe even a friend, could have been a traitor all along.
"Now now, let's not dwell on this revelation," said Sasha. "The important thing is that we know, and that someone finds out who it is. Everybody should be here…Agent Baker, can you figure out who the spy is and make sure nobody leaves?"
"…Sure, y'can count on me…" he replied with a wan grin. Sasha nodded.
"Good. Has Vera sent any transmissions or…anything?"
"She called us to point out that she got the chief and she gloated a bit." Baker's mouth was now set in a grim line, showing that he didn't like to be taunted. "We traced the signal, though, and got the coordinates…" here, he hesitated. "…It was too easy. Don'cha think – "
"Yes, most likely."
Sasha looked at him sternly. "We can't just leave Truman there."
"Of course not," Baker replied hastily. "I wasn't suggestin' that at all. It's just…you're just gonna walk right into 'er trap!"
"I'm sure that's what Vera wants. However, I plan on surprising her."
Lili stood at the entrance beside Baker and watched the jet fly away again. She sighed as she was led back inside. Goddammit! She wanted to go too! She wanted to save her father! She wanted to go on an exciting adventure and prove to her father that she was a strong psychic! She didn't want to end up sitting in one place, helpless, unable to move…
"I've suddenly got a lot of work to do," Agent Baker said, rousing Lili from her thoughts.
"So you want me to look after her instead." Lili stared up at the receptionist and made a face. Staying in the lobby with that particular woman wasn't a very attractive idea, especially with paranoid telemarketers running around the room as well. However, she stayed silent.
"Yeah. Please, Gladys? If I'm busy, she might run off…and Sasha told me to make sure she doesn't." It was starting to annoy her how they were talking as if she wasn't there. "I mean, you're not doin' anythin' much right now, are ya?"
"I'm a secretary, Baker. Of course I don't do anything."
"Great! So…you'll look after 'er for me?" Baker only got a shrug. He assumed that it was a 'yes.' "Great! So Lili, jus' stay 'ere with Gladys while I look up…the stuff." The man swiftly disappeared around the corner.
Lili watched him as he vanished in the crowd of panicking helpline operators before turning back to Gladys. The lady was filing away lazily at her nails.
Well…as long as she wasn't paying attention…
"Hold it right there, missy." Right before Lili was about to push her way into the crowd of screaming people, she was held up in the air by a telekinetic hand. "Just 'cause I'm only the secretary, doesn't mean I'm not psychic. Now where do you think you're going?"
"Bathroom," Lili replied with a scowl as she was forced to turn around and face Gladys again.
Gladys chewed some gum very loudly. "Uh-huh. Bathroom's over thataway." She lazily pointed with the nail file to the hallway nearby and let Lili go. The girl was left without a choice but to go there. "And don't think about escaping, 'cause I'll be watching."
Lili turned the corner and stood there for a few seconds before peering around again.
"I can see you over there," said Gladys, and Lili stopped peering.
Okay, so she had to think. Well, obviously, she could turn invisible and sneak past Gladys, but what about afterwards? She had no idea where Vera (or whatever) was, nor did she have the slightest clue of how to get there.
Well, there were bound to be extra jets around here. Maybe she could take one of those…only, she didn't know how to drive a jet, and she didn't have the keys to one anyways, so that meant she had to steal some keys and get some driving lessons.
It was her only option, ludicrous as it was. She'd have to skip the driving lessons, though.
What about those coordinates? Obviously, they would now be stored in the computers since it was such important information, but her father had thoughtfully neglected to tell her any passwords and Lili didn't have any hacking skills whatsoever. She didn't know anybody who'd let her peek at the coordinates either.
But, she realized, there was one guy who possibly knew them and would be willing to give them to her too.
First thing, though, was to get a key, and then escape. Lili walked casually back to Gladys. The secretary found that her nails were as filed as they could get without bringing extreme pain to her, and so settled for just chewing her gum very loudly.
It was very aggravating, but Lili managed to ignore it. "Hey, I just remembered that I left something up at my dad's office. I'm gonna go get it. Just thought you should know." There was no sign of acknowledgement. The chewing just continued. Lili took this as a 'yes, you can go upstairs to your dad's office, even though it's a crime scene and you really shouldn't touch anything and you shouldn't have left anything there in the first place, but go ahead, be my guest.'
So Lili quickly floated back up to her dad's office and ran to his large, paper-covered desk, opening drawers quickly and psi-blasting the ones that were locked. She finally found them on a peg on a wall, under a coat, and tried to hide it in her skirt before going back down.
"What did'ja forget?" asked Gladys when she came down again.
"What? Oh, my cellphone."
Lili then simply stood by the gum-popping, nail-file-wielding secretary. It was boring. So boring that, when she thought she had waited long enough, she didn't even have to act: "This is so boring! I bet whatever that Baker guy is doing is much better than this! Can I just go stand with him instead?"
"Hm? Oh, sure. His office is on the fourth floor." Lili didn't listen.
As soon as she turned the corner again, she turned invisible by concentrating on warping the air around her (or something like that. She never found out how invisibility worked). After that, Lili only had to maneuver quickly through the throng of screaming people and open the door in a way that didn't attract attention.
She floated gently to the ground of the large cavern. Well, that was easy. Now where did her dad leave his own personal jet again?
Lili took out the cylindrical key again, which was smooth and silver and had a little door glued on top, and stared at a button connected to the keychain. It was the call button, for getting the specific jet to move to where the button-pusher was. She glanced at the upside-down building. Would people notice if she called the jet right here? She moved away from the headquarters just to be sure, and then pressed the button. Truman Zanotto's personal jet glided smoothly in front of her.
Lili quickly glanced towards the headquarters again – there were no angry shouts commanding her to stop, nor was there an angry Agent Baker storming out the doors – before levitating into the jet and plopping herself in the pilot's seat.
The girl popped the cylindrical key into the matching hole and then leaned back and closed her eyes to concentrate. She expanded her mental reach and pushed it through the key into the workings of the jet…
There was a lot of metal junk that meant absolutely nothing to her, and although Lili felt as if she was being surrounded on all sides by machinery, she also knew that she was really just sitting in a chair. She wasn't even using an astral projection – it was just kinda like using telekinesis to move some stuff in the jet to make the jet move.
She hesitantly moved a thingy and felt the jet rise slowly, and silently upwards. Okay, so that controlled the jet. Lili moved the thingy so the jet moved towards the exit hole, hopefully. Uncertain of where exactly she was going, the young girl opened an eye to check the surroundings. The mental link was broken, and the jet started to fall. With a yelp, Lili reformed the link and jiggled the thingy some more so that the jet would stop falling, and this time she landed the jet softly before checking where the exit was. The jet then jerkily flew towards the general exit area and flew up through the hole. Lili felt a little proud of herself, and as she moved the thingy around, she pushed some random buttons to hopefully find the GPS.
No, that was the cloaking device. No, that activated the windshield wipers…
"Hello, and welcome to the Psychonauts Global Positioning System. Guiding Psychonauts everywhere!" a chipper voice suddenly intoned. "Please state your destination."
"Uh," said Lili as the jet suddenly jerked downwards. "Whispering Rock."
"Your destination is Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp. Processing…please turn right."