Something new! (gasp)

Written in class when I could have been doing something productive. All comments encouraged, whether they be compliments, criticism, or flames. Comments make for a happy SpaceKase, you see. :)

Ford knew he was limited. He knew he should not have been in the state he was, speaking and acting like his old self, even if it was only beneath the surface of Whispering Rock. Hell, it was a miracle he was alive at all.

It had been Sasha's idea to put him beneath the campgrounds, close to the psitanium that had caused so many rumors of ghosts with the locals there. It was only a theory, he insisted-there was still much unknown about the mineral that affected the human psyche. It might have made Ford more stable, but it could have made him just as easily unstable. The only reason Milla and Oleander went with the plan was because it was Sasha's, and Sasha was usually right.

Six months of feverish hallucinations and splitting headaches later, Ford came to, and began work on his underground laboratory. This served as a Psychic database for obtaining missions that slipped under HQ's radar, usually carried out by Sasha and Milla, and later became a surveillance system for Whispering Rock. True, he would become a janitor or a chef if he ever emerged above ground, but his recovery was still considered a miracle. He certainly had no intention of letting it go to waste.

So he was alarmed when, intently watching the remaining brainless bodies of the children, something hit him. Things grew fuzzy and green, and blood rushed to his head.

"Ugh…who am I?" he grumbled, swaying on his feet. Was he the chef? The burgers weren't ready yet, damn it! Or was he the admiral? Who kept destroying his canoes? Or maybe…

In an instant, the fog disappeared, and the glass separating him from the vulnerable children were suddenly familiar.

"Oh, no! The attacks are starting down here, too! I'd better get a bigger piece of psitanium!"

"Uh…no sir, Agent Cruller."

Ford looked around, spotting the impish boy peeking sheepishly beneath his helmet. One hand was behind his back, and the other was behind his head.

"Razputin! What in tarnation!?"

"Sorry, Agent Cruller. I found a Confusion Grenade badge in Edgar Teglee's head, and…" He shrugged, and grinned sheepishly. "I thought it'd be funny if you found out this way?"

Ford wanted to laugh. A Confusion Grenade! He wasn't losing his mind a second time!

"Excellent, Razputin! Most of our Psicadets don't learn that until a few weeks into their training!"

Raz blinked. "Huh?"

Ford recognized his lapse in authority, and quickly added, "Course, if you ever try that again I'll have your giant spoon-bendin' noggin on a silver platter. Ya hear me?"

Well, it was the closest to 'authoritative' that he would ever get. Raz seemed to understand, and grinned as he saluted. "Yes, sir!" Then the boy ran off to fetch more of his fellow campers' brains, and Ford forgot all about that incident for several years after. It was around the time that a seventeen-year-old Razputin became a counselor for Whispering Rock that it happened again.

The Confusion Grenade struck harder than before. The haze in his eyes was no longer green, and in fact, he could barely remember what green was.


He couldn't remember his name. His eyes squeezed shut, and the floor trembled beneath his feet. Groaning, he grasped one of the computer monitors to steady himself, nausea bubbling up in his throat, blood rushing from his head. It eventually passed, but took longer this time. Ford took a deep breath, and forced a chuckle from the top of his lungs.

"Very funny, Razputin!" The boy's aim must have gotten more precise, and his control of the confusion gas must have gotten more concentrated. Not good news for a man Ford's age, even for a man like Ford.

He groaned, and pushed down on the monitor to stand back up. "You know boy, I thought a camp counselor would have more important things to do than play tricks on an old coot! Whadya think I'm payin' ya for?" Ford turned around, expecting to see the rotten teenager hiding his laughter behind his gloved hands. It would explain his silence…

There was no one there. Ford blinked, and looked about. Had he attacked from beneath the platform?

"Razputin?" he called into the dank cavern beneath the holographs and machinery. No one was down there. He looked to the surveillance holographs, and sure enough, Razputin was on one of them, co-teaching a Pyrokinesis class with Coach Oleander.

Ford stood there, staring at the holograph. With a sigh, he turned his gaze to the sparkling purple rock beneath his feet.

He absently pressed a button on one of the monitors behind him, staring at the Psitanium the whole time.

"Agent Aquato?" he asked.

A distant sound of childrens' laughter sounded over the intercom before Razputin spoke. "Agent Cruller? What is it, another case of psychic terrorism? Or a kidnapping?" Ford didn't even have it in him to roll his eyes. Their newest camp counselor did so love saying such things into his watch-it excited the kids.

"Send Sasha and Milla to my lab for debriefing." He paused before adding, "It isn't official Psychonauts business, but it is important. We need to know if there is a Psitanium deposit larger than this one anywhere in the world."

"Agent Cruller, are you all right?" Razputin's voice quieted with concern. Ford only noted the faint purple glitter beneath his boot.

"I'm not sure, Razputin. I think I may have just reached my limit."