~*Mission Impractical*~

Just another day in the life of an elite Psychonaut…


Special Note: The character D'Artagan found within this story is based on Raz's former name and appearance, which can be seen on the official Psychonauts Wiki, the Psycho-Pedia. In other words, I invented his back-story but, technically, he is not a complete Original Character of mine.


It was raining, which wasn't surprising really considering the fact that they were in Washington, a dreary, often soaked place on the top-most western side of the United States of America. The freezing precipitation came down in icy bucket loads, drenching the city of Marble and causing the lights of the settlement to smudge and blur to anyone observing the area with the naked eye. The world had transformed to a gray, forbidding realm positively bristling with hostility. Every shadow, every tree, every shape had the sudden, rather startling potential of being an enemy. The nearby ocean was the color of a summer storm, heaving and roaring as it thrashed against the rocky beaches with searching, cold fingers.

There was an invisible structure clinging to a high cliff-side, hidden via psychic illusions and kept unexplored by regular humans with barriers of powerful suggestion that implied that anyone stepping near should go the other way. If one could view it without the blinding mirages that insisted nothing was there, they would see a large, silver box-shaped building fastened to the very stones and glowing dimly with an unfamiliar purple radiance.

The aforementioned structure was big enough to easily accommodate three people, resembling a sort of trailer or mobile home. It was very neat, with an air of professionalism to it that would remind one of a hotel. Not a home, but a house, just a thing to live in until a true residence could be found. This building was officially called an Imperceptible Observation Unit (Model X21513) by the Psychonauts that owned it, used to survey any suspicious area with ease due to its built in equipment for such a thing.

However, by those less serious and more casual with their job, it was nicknamed, quite simply, the Invisibox, due to both its official title being an annoying mouthful, and because it was hard to remember for the newer recruits. It was powered by Psitanium, the source of its violet glow. The large purple gem was changed every few months or so. This specific Invisibox had been flown in and swiftly attached to the tall ridges overlooking Marble as soon as word of an assassination attempt was snatched up by an inside agent.

Not just any assassination attempt either, for the target was none other than Gary Quentin, a close ally of the Psychonauts and a prominent political figure. Not the President of the United States, mind, but still high ranking regardless. The murder was scheduled to be commenced tomorrow during Marble's Triumph Day Parade. Marble, usually unnoticed by much of the populace of Washington, was the hometown of Gary and thus he decided to return there. It was going to be a big event, and it was important because the agents inside the Invisibox had no idea who was trying to kill the poor man.

Gary was supposed to arrive—in his personal helicopter, naturally—at nine in the morning the next day. It was currently eight in the evening, Tuesday, January fifteenth.

Despite being able to comfortably house three people, the Invisibox was actually sheltering five Psychonauts agents from the rain, and the top five in the organization at that. They were supposed to watch over Gary the moment he entered the town limits, but until then, other Psychonauts were watching the political figure's every footstep. He wouldn't even go to the bathroom without Headquarters knowing.

That left the agents with little to do besides wait until Triumph Day, and to be honest, most of them were bored. One in particular had no qualms in telling everyone just that.

"This…is…boring!" Seventeen year old Lili Zanotto, the Grand Head of the Psychonauts' daughter and a Master Telekinetic, exclaimed whilst promptly shoving her head into her hands and groaning loudly.

The interior of the Invisibox was very…rectangular. Smoothly rectangular. The walls were the same color as the rain outside, and the light overhead was identical to those harsh schoolroom lights that exist in classes. There were couches, granted, white in color as if someone had made an effort to dispel the morbid shades that were everywhere else. There was a kitchen, bedrooms, and even a bathroom.

Standing and looking out one of the long, tall windows was Sasha Nein, veteran Psychonaut. He had a cigarette in his mouth, sunglasses obscuring his shadowy gaze. He didn't even look away from his sightseeing as he remarked, "Patience, Ms. Zanotto. Things will get interesting soon enough."

"I wish they'd get interesting now," Lili complained, crossing her arms and slumping back in the armchair with a scowl.

"Hey, why don't we play a game?" Razputin Aquato-Lili's boyfriend and a psychic prodigy-suggested, smirking mischievously. He dropped something cylindrical into the girl's lap, and she picked it up. Her brows shot up into her dark red hair.

"You've got to be kidding. You dork." She tossed the glass object back at him and Raz caught it deftly, green eyes glinting teasingly.

"Aw, c'mon. We used to play Spin the Bottle all the time!"

"Yeah, when we were thirteen."

"You always enjoyed it then," Raz said innocently.

"Not like I had a choice! You rigged that bottle almost every time! Wasn't it because you just figured out how to French kiss properly?"

"That and because I knew you liked it."

Lili jumped to her feet, and her startled boyfriend took a step back, holding the green glass bottle out as if to offer the item to her to quell her fury. "Until you went too far! The fourth time your tongue almost went down my throat!"

Sasha coughed noisily. "Children…"

"What?" Another voice called from the backrooms, in a joking tone. "Are you choking again on your cigarette, Sasha?"

A Brazilian female voice replied, "It's a bit too much information for him darling, that's all."

Agent Milla Vodello, Sasha's partner for a good deal of time, glided out of the hallway with a bright smile. Eighteen year old D'Artagan Viridis followed, the long tail of his striped stocking cap trailing behind him.

Lili sat back down with a defeated sigh, and Raz, after a moment of brief hesitation, plopped down beside her with an apologetic smile, in case he had actually offended her. She just punched him affectionately on the arm, and all was well again.

D'Art gave the two their space, sitting across from them and frowning, russet eyes intensely vivid thanks to the opposition of his green skin. The result of a horrible experiment from an ex-Psychonaut scientist in his childhood had strengthened his Psi powers at the price of a good deal of his physical endurance and strength. Another side-effect had been the pigment change of his skin.

(Just don't ask him about it, it's a very personal thing.)

"What's with the 'look of death' face?" Raz questioned casually as Milla went to stand beside Sasha at the window. "Seriously." He glanced over both of his shoulders. "I'm expecting one of these potted plants to burst into flames or something."

"Not that anyone would care. They're fake and tacky." Lili gestured towards the offending shrubbery that resided in every corner.

Milla made a sound of agreement close by. She could probably decorate the Invisibox so grandly that it would resemble a teenage paradise if the talented Psychonaut was so inclined. As long as there were no Tiffany lamps, which were the bane of Sasha's very existence, even Agent Nein would approve of such an idea.

D'Art tugged at the long sleeves of his emerald shirt absently. "We don't even know who's trying to kill Gary Quentin. All we got was an untraceable phone call from an undisclosed source speaking to someone else about an assassination attempt on Triumph Day to 'rid the world of his filthy lies'. It's far too vague for my tastes."

"We don't have a choice," Raz pointed out. "Even if we're unsure, it's better safe than sorry." The young Psychonaut was all business if need be, and evidently now was the time.

"Besides, someone tried to eliminate Marina Silos during her acceptance speech when she was made Prime Minister of that one country, remember? We never did catch that guy, not even our agents over in Europe. Marina is an overseas ally of Gary's, so…"

"That's better, at least. Most likely, this is the same wannabe murderer." D'Art muttered.

"Last time I wasn't there!" Raz declared, punching a fist into his open hand. "I'll catch this guy for sure! He won't escape this time!"

"We're glad you think so highly of us, Razputin," Sasha stated sarcastically.

"He just has faith in himself, darling," Milla soothed.

"He's got enough faith for all of us," D'Art muttered with a roll of his eyes, but he was smiling.

"Think of all the times Raz's faith got us through!" Lili, quick to jump to her boyfriend's defense, put in. "Remember the rain forest incident? With the telekinetic jaguars? And the hypnotizing pythons? Or the quicksand—"

"We get it," interrupted D'Art.

"See? At least Lili understands." Raz said smugly.

Lili rolled her eyes. "Alright never mind what I said, you're still so immature."

And cute, the girl thought privately to her boyfriend with a wolfish light in her gaze. He grinned back.

"Stop…the…love-fest…" D'Art collapsed onto the sofa, moaning, lids fluttering as he struggled to take in air. "I don't even need to hear what you're thinking to know that something lovey-dovey is going on."

"You're just jealous 'cause you don't have a girlfriend," Razputin exclaimed, complete with dramatic finger pointing.

The green-skinned boy opened one eye. "I don't let chicks control my life. Is she the dominant one in the relationship?"

"No!"

"Yes!"

Lili and Raz whirled around and glared at one another. Fire crackled between the redhead's fingers and the goggled teen—(he had added them and his helmet back to his uniform)—made the bring it on gesture, twitching his hand tauntingly.

"Enough," Sasha growled before the first shot could be launched. Turning to face them, he released several smoke rings before speaking. "You two have not changed at all. Arguments always break out during missions ever since Ms. Zanotto was assigned to the team."

"It's more fun this way, relax," Milla encouraged, putting a hand on her partner's shoulder. "We've got a big day tomorrow children, try to get some sleep before it hits ten, alright?"

"I didn't say that was a bad thing," Sasha added, a degree of affection in his deep voice for the younger agents in their group.

D'Artagan watched the duo sit back down with quickly melting glowers. They never stayed angry at each other for long, he mused. Well, except for that one time…but that's another story. "We're not children any more, Milla."

"Oh, I know you're not. You're all so grown up now, darlings! But you'll always be children to me."

With Agent Vodello, this wasn't a bad thing. Due to a tragic event in her past concerning an orphanage, a fire, and an unfortunate ability to hear the burning kids' screams of despair as they burned to death, she was simply very protective of those not yet fully grown. Eighteen and seventeen was nowhere near close enough to escape this particular view of hers. Try in the twenties.

"You guys going to bed already?" Lili inquired as she laced her fingers with her boyfriend's, long past their spontaneous fight by this point in the conversation.

"That's right, so whatever you three do, try not to be too loud, okay?" Milla asked of them in her accented voice, every rolled R sounding like a cat's purr.

"Can do, Agent Vodello!" Raz saluted smartly and the other two followed suit, with Lili's looking rather indifferent.

Sasha adjusted his sunglasses, following after his partner. "Good night, children."

"Later, Sasha!"

"Pleasant dreams, Agent Nein!"

"Night."

The Invisibox had only two bedrooms, despite what one would think, since it could house three. Sasha and Milla had set up two beds in their shared chamber, and a trio had been erected for the younger agents in the other room.

After their footsteps had faded, Raz placed the lime-green bottle on the table before them. He put a hand up to stall Lili's furious objections. "Hang on, just once. Please?" He gave her a puppy dog-eyed look, and the girl groaned.

"Oh no." D'Art blinked rapidly, raising his hands. "I refuse to—"

"Just once," Razputin insisted. "Then we can all hit the hay. How about it?"

"You won't give up otherwise?"

"Not in a million years, D'Artagan my friend."

"Fine."

Raz grinned widely. "I found this empty champagne bottle in the kitchen—"

"Empty. Right."

Ignoring Lili's comment, he continued. "And I was reminded of a great childhood memory—"

"Involving French kissing."

"So I decided we should play a game. Just one. And since I refuse to kiss D'Art…Lili, you spin the bottle!"

The girl placed one finger on the innocent looking glass, slightly foggy and smelling of liquor, and rolled her eyes, flicking it lazily. Instantly she jumped her mind out and wrapped her Psi around Raz's impossibly strong, one-in-a-million brain in an effort to prevent him from cheating at the game.

D'Art snorted but otherwise pretended to not notice the psychic struggle he could sense going on between his two friends.

Do you want to kiss D'Art or something? Raz complained to his girlfriend silently.

She met his gaze with her own. I don't really care, but you need to stop cheating, you dork!

The tube of the bottle came to a gradual stop…pointing straight at D'Artagan. Razputin stared, surprised by the turn of events, as Lili simply grabbed the startled green-skinned boy's face and brought her mouth to his in a swift kiss.

It only lasted about two heartbeats, and then she relinquished her grip and sat back with a grin. "There. I played your game, Raz. Now let's go to bed so we don't end up stupidly tired in the morning and then blown up by psychic terrorists while rubbing sleep from our eyes."


Lili's dreams were filled with indiscernible images. Nothing was solid, nothing was real. She didn't even really exist. She was just a floating consciousness hearing and seeing things with no control over it. Shadowy figures slinked off into the murky, steel-colored abyss that surrounded everything.

But she wasn't scared. Lili Zanotto, daughter of Grand Head Truman Zanotto, had her father's courage and was never afraid.

It took her a while in this indistinct mental state to figure out where she was. Seven years ago, when she and Razputin had been ten and were rescuing her father from a mad woman bent on revenge against the world (what else?), a psychic bond had formed between the two of them. It was both incredibly helpful and incredibly annoying, since it gave her an innate ability to sense Raz's location and sometimes his feelings—but it had taken them a year or two of hard training to finally learn how to guard their minds from one another. The last thing they wanted was the other seeing their most private thoughts.

Usually.

The psychic bond was something that, according to Ford, was created when two people were close to one another. Evidently, she and Razputin were tightly knit.

In her dreams, however, her "shield" was down and thus the exchange of thoughts and emotions flowed freely between her and her boyfriend. Raz was awake, and looking at something, or else, being in a dream state herself, the things moving across his mind would be clearer.

She opened her eyes in the pitch blackness of their shared room. D'Artagan was doing that peculiar, slightly whistling snore of his close by, but Raz's breathing wasn't quite as even and slow as it would be, had he been asleep.

Lili sat up slowly, long pigtails ghosting across her cheeks, forging in her mind the inside of the room as she had seen it a few hours ago when they had all gone to bed. The girl focused her senses on that strange feeling she knew to be Raz, and made her way over silently to his bed. If the Psychonaut noticed her, he said nothing and did nothing.

The beds were basically single cots—rather comfortable ones at that, being high ranking had its merits—and of course the springs squeaked a little as she sat down on the end. Her hand found his and she grasped him tightly.

Why're you awake still? You woke me up. You should get some rest.

Razputin's jade eyes flashed in the shadows momentarily. I could ask you the same question!

She smiled, though he couldn't see it. I just said you woke me up. Listen to me, will you?

Oh. Must be more tired than I thought. And I am, it's impossible to ignore your voice in my head anyway.

Her smile faded. What's the matter?

Nothing.

Took too long, Lili snapped. Now I know something is definitely up. Out with it, Raz.

A deep sigh. I'm worried, okay?

What for? She narrowed her eyes. You're not worrying about me again, are you?

I can't help it! Ever since—

That one mission, I know. I'm fine, Raz.

You still have the scars, his thoughts flickered to hers with a severe enough pain to make the girl flinch. And no matter what you say, I know how badly you were hurt.

Idiot. One capture is not enough to break me, and you rescued me anyway. I knew you would, like always, so I wasn't scared, she added quietly.

I was. What if I had been too late? That time it hadn't been a situation a head cold could save you from.

Quit it, I'm fine, and that was two years ago, Raz.

But—

Leaning over, she looked him straight in the eyes until, even in the gloom; she could see the outline of his face and his radiant lime gaze clearly. D'Artagan slept on. Stop, Raz. Don't beat yourself up over what's already done, alright?

Okay, okay, fine, he answered at last.

Good. Satisfied, Lili kissed him once, softly, before pulling back. Now get some sleep.

A psychic force suddenly slammed down on her back and the girl didn't even time to gasp before she was caught in Raz's embrace as he kissed her fiercely. She wasn't shocked or anything when she felt the brush of his tongue against her own, because he had started doing that years ago.

No, what startled her was the force behind the kiss, far stronger than average. Their mental connection went haywire, shooting emotions back and forth along with images and sensations from the other, which was what had truly made even their innocent ten year old kisses so spectacular, since their bond had only functioned that way back when Raz had first arrived at Whispering Rock.

Lili smiled against his lips, fingers tangled in his mess of brown hair. Raz, neither of us will get any sleep at this rate.

I'm starting to wonder if that's good or bad.

Remember what I said about psychic terrorists?

They'll blow us up?

Mmhmm.

Fine, but we're finishing this later.

She stepped off of his bed cautiously, still holding his hand, concerned. Really, don't worry so much.

Easier said than done.

Well get it done, you moron. Put some of that excess faith of yours to use.

Releasing her grip, Lili gave another grin that he couldn't possibly see and returned to her bed, wrapping her arms around herself and wondering why she felt so abruptly cold.

D'Artagan, a heavy sleeper since they had first met him seven years ago, just muttered something about magic tricks as he dreamed.


Lili sat up with a massive yawn as her alarm clock went off. "It's six," she muttered to herself as she swung her legs over the bed. Guess it's time to scout out the helicopter's landing zone for bombs or whatever.

The girl knew better than to try and use the only bathroom when Milla was around, since the Brazilian agent was fond of spending a great deal of time on her long hair. Therefore—after kicking Raz and D'Art out—she changed clothes in their chamber, used her hand-mirror to apply her own makeup and fix her own hair, and left to go to the Invisibox's "living room". Within she found Sasha, already fully dressed and ready for action, pressing the pause button on a program as she entered.

"Good morning Ms. Zanotto," he greeted her with a nod.

"Morning. So, what's up?" She sat down beside him, studying the laptop that Sasha was using to play some kind of voice clip.

"I've been listening to our unidentified assassin's mysterious phone call to his benefactor or ally," Agent Nein replied without a moment of delay. "Just to see if we're missing anything."

"Oh…well, are we?"

"Let us check." Sasha tapped a key again and after a second of static, two distorted voices started in.

"I was wondering when you'd call."

"I've got enough trouble on my hands even without the Psychonauts on my tail. They're probably listening in at this very moment, so keep it short."

"Very well. He will arrive in 'that town' on Triumph Day at nine in the morning."

"How?"

"Helicopter."

"What town, you idiot? And hurry it up!"

"But they can—"

"Just hurry it up!"

"Marble, in Washington."

"Good! That'll be the last day he can preach his false truths. I'll rid the world of his filthy lies!"

"I'm certain they can hear what we just said."

"Then let them come!"

Sasha stopped the playback and rubbed his forehead. Lili could tell a headache was brewing there without even asking him. "I wish Gary would not be so…"

"Stupid?"

"Not the word I was going for, Ms. Zanotto."

"No, but you probably mean something along those lines."

"Regardless, Gary refuses to simply avoid Marble. He won't leave the celebration. He insists on visiting his hometown, and also he believes it will give us a chance to seize the kidnapper."

Lili tapped her fingers against her legs thoughtfully. "What are our orders concerning the assassin?"

"Capture if at all possible, if not, then…"

"We can blast him to death?"

"That is correct, but remember—"

"I'm not a little kid anymore, Sasha. I know what our mission is," the girl broke in sharply. Before Agent Nein could answer, Milla glided in, clad in her bright orange livery with D'Artagan and Razputin close behind.

Hey, Lili said to Raz. There was no reply, and she heaved a sigh, pinching the bridge of her nose and shutting her eyes. I wish you'd stop being so overprotective, I can look after myself for the most part. I don't make the same mistake twice if I can help it.

Still nothing. Raz instead addressed Sasha with a contemplative frown. "So we figured out the assassin is targeting Gary, and now we're just waiting for him to show himself?"

It was Milla, however, that told him what would happen next. "That's right darling. Sasha and I will be with Gary during the parade, but you three will have to spread yourselves out nearby."

"I want each of you on different levels. The rooftops, somewhere near the center if possible, and the streets," Sasha instructed sternly.

"No problem." D'Art toyed with his stocking cap, auburn gaze slanted. "I'm sure that, between the five of us, we'll catch him."

"Why don't we just fly in a squadron of Psychonauts?" Raz asked curiously.

"It's no secret Raz," Lili scoffed, crossing her arms. "Dad knows we're more competent and dependable than an entire regiment of his soldiers. They'd just get in our way."

"A large grouping of agents might even scare off the assassin, despite his words," Milla pointed out. "And we need to capture him before he actually succeeds in hurting someone."

"Let's finish our last minute preparations as quickly as possible," Sasha announced. "We need to get down to that landing zone."

Lili tossed her hand apathetically to show she had heard before zeroing in on her boyfriend through their bond.

Razputin, stop looking so guilty. You did nothing wrong. Are you going to do this on every mission involving a possible hostage scenario? You weren't this freaked out during the Amazon event.

Well, what are the odds of jaguars knowing how to mentally and psychically torture someone?

Beats me. With our luck, every animal in the world could be capable of some brutal mind rupturing.

That's reassuring, Raz thought back sarcastically.

For the last time, quit worrying and let's go.


Despite the fact that the Invisibox's various surveillance equipment was constantly monitoring the landing zone for Gary Quentin's helicopter, computers were sometimes easier to fool than humans. Therefore, at seven in the morning—a full two hours before the politician was scheduled to arrive—the Psychonauts were hidden in various locations nearby.

The makeshift helipad was at the far, southern end of Marble. The small town with its old-styled buildings and Victorian houses seemed to collectively recoil from the empty lot flanked by two worn down, ancient structures that had once been an asylum for the mentally deranged and an orphanage. There was more than enough space for a large vehicle to land comfortably without the rotor blades coming too close to the buildings, and therefore it would work for the single day it would be needed.

The concrete had recently been swept and cleaned, though the gray was still cracked in places. Weeds had been torn up by the roots, trash spirited away, and now there was nothing else to do but wait. Sasha had flashed his badge at the rather incompetent police officers that were standing "guard" at the site, and they went back home without any complaint.

The police chief was well aware of the assassination that was planned later that day, but he doubted his men were skilled enough to pose a threat to a possible psychic dissenter. Marble didn't even have any resident psychics, or if it did, she/he wasn't going to step forward to help.

The sky overhead was a startling sharp, clear blue color that thoroughly shamed the rain storm from the day previous. There wasn't a cloud in sight, and the sun offered what little warmth it could in the winter as it made its way higher and higher. A chill wind blew, worming inside of the asylum that she, Raz, and D'Art were taking cover in as they stared at the vacant patch of ground and probed the area for danger.

Silence was key, and therefore the five agents spoke only with their minds, and even then, not often. Lili, when she had been younger, had frequently, by mistake, broadcasted her thoughts when excited. Razputin knew this well. Despite years of training, she still occasionally fell back into that habit.

(She wasn't very good at mental shields, okay? It didn't help her boyfriend was a telepath.)

Ancient off-white stone, she mused, was not comfortable in the slightest to sit on.

As she made herself invisible near a window, across from them, in the creaky dark wooden orphanage, Milla and Sasha dwelled as they prepared for a long two hour watch for danger.

I didn't know it was possible for this job to get any more boring, Lili reflected.

Raz, who was apparently nearby, knitted their fingers together. Wow, and I thought I complained a lot.

You both do, D'Artagan's "voice" sounded amused. So he wouldn't feel left out, the girl grabbed his hand too and they sat that way, quietly, for a few more minutes.

I'm surprised Milla opted to wait it out in that orphanage; D'Art spoke up after running a swift extrasensory check on their surroundings.

Well, not all of her memories associated with 'that' were bad, Raz shrugged.

That's true.

Lili stifled a yawn, clamping her mouth shut and running her gaze over the lot below. She felt like she had memorized every single grain that composed the flat concrete field.

I wonder if I have the patience to be a secret agent sometimes.

Most of the time you do, her boyfriend was probably smirking undetectably as he said this. Over time, they had been able to generate enough stamina to hold invisibility for as long as three hours. Lili could only do it up to two hours and ten minutes however, since she found it wasn't one of her strong points. Whereas Raz was a jack of all trades, D'Artagan's weakness was found in levitation, so it was all good she supposed.

(Raz was generally awesome anyway so she didn't mind his advanced abilities.)

Time passed. Slowly. Every second slipped by at a crawl. Lili fought off the urge to sleep, noting the utter silence that had crept in between her and her comrades. Sasha and Milla were probably still awake, being long used to stakeout missions like this one.

Absently, she brushed her fingers along the scars that wreathed around her throat, pale but still visible. Remnants of torture at the hands of foreign terrorists two years ago.

Razputin somehow found her hand again even while they were both impossible to see, and she sighed once, deeply. D'Art suddenly jumped to his feet, bristling with his signature electric energy, flashing to the visible plane.

"What is it?" Lili demanded, standing also and spreading her mind out to locate the disturbance.

"There!" D'Art narrowed his eyes and spread his palms out, and bolts of electricity—generated from his mind in a similar manner to Pyrokinesis—crackled out. A grunt was heard, loud in the silence, and a darkly clad figure dropped to the ground in the middle of the empty lot.

No one else had even moved before Raz was gone, and Sasha was already springing out of the window opposite. Lili created a levitation sphere and floated after him, the violet globe glowing radiantly. D'Art's pale cyan light washed over her skin as he followed with a lightweight ball of his own.

Meanwhile, Raz and Sasha knelt down by the cloaked, unconscious person. The latter adjusted his sunglasses before proceeding to turn the unconscious man over.

Milla was the first to see the crimson ticking numbers, and she flexed her fingers, creating a Psi barrier that sprang into life over Raz and Sasha just as the bomb exploded.

A burst of heat and flame washed over the red-orange shield, roaring and growling loudly as it sought to break past the Mental Minx's defenses. Lili and D'Art, a safe enough distance away, extended their hands and pressed two fingers to their temples, adding their strength to hers. All the while, they hurriedly backtracked to avoid the clouds of smoke and smothering scarlet embers.

Coughing, Milla said in a perplexed tone, "How did we not notice him?"

Sasha's brow furrowed. "Some kind of technology was on the man we overturned. He was wearing silver gloves."

"There's nothing left of him now." Raz appeared to be shocked. "Just a black spot."

"Was he suicidal or something?" Lili exclaimed, running to her boyfriend and wiping some ash from his face. The small, concentrated blast had left even larger cracks in the concrete, and the whole thing was stained with soot. Luckily, Raz had pulled his goggles down to protect his eyes. Even as they spoke, warm cinders floated along like misplaced, discolored snow.

"Remotely detonated, perhaps by his benefactor, unless he was suicidal…" Sasha mused. He simply swept some of the explosion's residue from his suit and stroked his chin thoughtfully.

"Razputin, darling, are you okay?" Milla knelt down and placed her hands on the boy's shoulders.

"I'm fine," he replied, brushing her off and standing fully. "D'Art, how did you see the kamikaze guy?"

"…I saw a glimmer," the green-skinned boy muttered a heartbeat too late. "No one else did?"

"I was distracted," Lili admitted.

"It could be because of D'Artagan's strengthened Psi from the…ah…experiment that enables him to see what we cannot." Agent Nein, like everyone else, attempted to skirt the topic of D'Art's past.

"Or a lucky glimpse," D'Art put in. The falling ash ceased its steady descent, and startled townspeople flooded into the streets to see the damage.

"What time is it?" Milla asked.

Sasha rolled back a sleeve. "Nine."

"Really? Where's what's-his-face?" Lili demanded, looking all around.

"Well, a miniature blast in his helipad landing zone probably encouraged the pilot to…not land?" suggested D'Art.

Razputin scanned the area, raising a hand to shield his eyes. With a sigh, Sasha went out to address the crowds of people with Milla at his heels. "Wouldn't we have heard the 'copter or something?" The goggled teen inquired.

"Guess he's a little late." Lili wrapped her arms around herself, tapping a foot impatiently.

"What should we do, Raz?" D'Art questioned their (un)official leader when Sasha and Milla were absent.

"Well, if the helicopter intends to land soon, reason says we should get out of its way," he answered. Raz, along with his friends, went to the very edge of the lot. Lili followed, keeping her eyes open for any glimmers in the air.

"Who do you think that bomb guy was? Was he trying to get Gary, or us?" She wondered aloud.

"Maybe both of us, or one of us, either way he was obviously sent by a skilled assassin intent on wiping out his targets with brute, lethal force."

"Don't be so dramatic, Raz." The girl said with a roll of her eyes.

"Drama is a bit called for in this situation, when a bomb blows up and leaves only a mark on the floor as the lone reminder of the guy who carried it."

"Thank you D'Art." Raz patted his friend on the back appreciatively, and then grew serious again. "Gary's assassin probably isn't even done yet. That was most likely attempt numero uno."

"Unless he's crazy and just killed himself in a failed attempt to get us," Lili disagreed.

Any response from Raz was drowned out by the sudden snarl of a helicopter nearby. The whirring grew louder and more insistent as the bladed vehicle approached. It was a snazzy, stylish black thing with a calligraphic GQ painted on the sides in gold and white. At Sasha's signal, the teenaged trio ran a swift, but efficient, check of the area for more hidden bombs or guys with bombs, and only after it was dubbed all clear was the helicopter allowed to land.

The rotor blades ceased their spinning, and stepping out of the cockpit was a young, handsome man with brown-yellow eyes and blonde hair. He was wearing a dark suit with an ebony and ivory tie, and his Italian loafers were bright enough to act as their own stars.

Yup, one of those overly pampered, excessive pretty boys that Lili despised. If he pushed her buttons wrong, she'd have no problem with allowing the assassin shooting him in the head. Hell, she would even do it herself.

"What's happened here?" Gary spread his arms wide, addressing the crowd with a startled expression.

"We had a little run in with a bomber," Raz informed him, but instantly shut his mouth as Sasha glared at him. Milla spoke up instead.

"Watch your step, darling. Things are starting to get dangerous, like we told you."

"Nothing will keep me from the fine residents of Marble!" Gary cried exuberantly, earning a round of cheers from the townsfolk. As the politician continued his speech, launching into a spiel about the origins of Triumph Day, Sasha gathered the rest of the Psychonauts to him.

"Now, do you remember what I told you?"

"Yes, Agent Nein! We are to ascend to separate levels of elevation and follow the parade from all sides, while you and Agent Vodello guard Gary!" Raz responded promptly, accompanied by a swift salute.

Lili's eyes rolled again. "Showoff."

"I'll be on the rooftops," he went on. "Lili and D'Art can pick where they want to be."

"D'Art?" The Grand Head's daughter turned to the aforementioned boy.

He grimaced. Knowing D'Art, Lili supposed he was stuck between a rock and hard place. The green-skinned teen was probably stronger than even Raz psychically, but unlike the acrobat, he was weak physically thanks to the experiment from his childhood. Fire-escape hopping and running along the road wouldn't be particularly easy for him.

She decided to give him the easiest route. "I'll do the mid-level, okay? The parade will move pretty slowly, you can follow on foot."

"Okay, thanks." He sounded relieved.

"Good, glad that's settled, darlings. Now places, everyone. It seems this party is about to begin." Milla smiled warmly at them. "No unnecessary risks, right?"

"When do we ever do that?" Raz blinked innocently.

Everyone else's replies were immediate.

"The jet, remember the crashing jet?" D'Artagan exclaimed.

"The D.C. Kidnapper," Sasha groaned.

"The jaguars," Lili reminded him.

"Oh, well, there was that notepad incident…" Milla trailed off, laughing as Raz just scowled.

"I'm off, then." He jumped up, grabbed a flag pole, and swung himself onto the asylum's roof.

Lili grinned to herself as she moved across the street, cutting a swath through the crowd and attempting to find a place that would be between the very tops of the buildings and the roads.

You will be careful, right?

Always, Raz.


It took about an hour or so, but soon the scarlet and yellow Happy Triumph Day! banners were being peppered with matching confetti as the inhabitants of Marble celebrated. Thirty floats of various sizes and colors coasted down the pathways of the town, with Gary's—and by extension Sasha's and Milla's, since they were standing beside him—in the center. It was large, it was extravagant, and it was the same shades as his helicopter. Black, gold, white. Ringing the entire thing was flowers, and there was a raised throne with Gary's name boldly printed on it in gigantic letters. There was more to it than that, but Raz was growing bored of studying the army themed and peace themed contraptions sailing across all of Marble. The marching band, wearing Triumph Day colors, played a noisy, upbeat song with a fervent gusto, as if failure to do so would result in a painful death.

Hey, Razputin had seen a lot of things in his seven years as an elite Psychonaut. If there was a crazy instructor that was planning to kill the band should they not achieve his or her goal, then he would just raise his hand and ask where the paranoid milkman was, and was there an Abraham Lincoln impersonator too? Maybe a crazy ex-singer, or even a writer obsessed with past love? If not, what a pity!

A flag twirler tossed her pendant so high that it actually landed beside Raz on the deli's rooftop. He picked up the item and threw it back to her, enjoying the stunned expression on her face as it sailed effortlessly to her grip.

Slinking along, lithe as a feline, the teen kept his eyes and ears open—and his "third eye" too, for good measure—looking out for potential trouble. If there were any more invisible suicide bombers, it would require D'Artagan's special touch. If it hadn't been for Milla's shield at the time, he and Sasha might have been goners.

What a way to go, with a literal bang.

His thoughts found their way back to Lili despite his best efforts, and again he saw that haunting image of his girlfriend, when they had finally found the terrorists' hideout somewhere in China, despite the aforementioned terrorists not being Chinese themselves.

Frantic and determined, Razputin Psi-blasted the door down. He didn't even need Sasha's, Milla's, D'Art's, or any of the other agents' help as he took down all of the uniformed men all on his own. He ended up breaking apart much of the underground facility alone, searching each and every room for hidden buttons that might lead to the interrogation chamber.

Then, after practically blowing apart two gated, steel, Psitanium-enforced doors, Raz found her. He was never more grateful at that moment to have their psychic bond, or otherwise he'd never have located the girl in that thrice-accursed place.

She was unconscious, hands bound behind her back, blood running down the side of her neck and dripping into her slightly torn blouse. Despite the metal helmet that was forced onto her head, it was clear that she had still managed to put up a fight. Scorch marks stained the dreary walls and some dark splotches that the boy couldn't identify did also.

They hadn't done anything to her like…like rape, at least, probably because she wouldn't let them. However it was clear that she had been beaten and would probably have scars that would never quite fade, even with the best psychic healers. He didn't even know what kind of mental damage they could have inflicted.

"Lili!" Raz ran to her side, removed the helmet, and the shackles, from her wrists—which were also bleeding freely. He hugged her, relieved beyond all conceivable measure, trembling despite himself as tears burned behind his goggles.

She was breathing, her heart was beating, she was alive.

And he had to get her out of there.

He was startled to hear her voice, weak but still present, resonate in his mind.

You came.

"Of course I did! What, did you think I'd leave you here with these nuts? They're trying to make—"

"Idiot," she coughed, opening her eyes slightly so that hazel slits were visible. Her eyes were both a little green and brown, simultaneously. "I knew you would."

Raz paused in his flipping, hauling himself onto a pole and scanning the streets with a practiced gaze. Ever since that event two years ago, when he had been off with D'Artagan after an argument between him and Lili and she had ended up kidnapped, he had blamed himself for simply not being there.

He had to be one of the biggest idiots alive.

Abruptly—

Raz! Oh God I can't catch him!

Lili! What's wrong?

God dammit! I saw someone skulking near the—crap, oh what the hell how did he…!

The circus acrobat whipped around, searching his bond with her, trying to pinpoint her whereabouts. Eventually he set off towards where he was fairly certain she would be. An alleyway just ahead of the festivities, with its slow moving floats and marching band.

Should I—

Stay put, D'Art! This could be a distraction!

Razputin, what is going on?

Sasha, there's someone attacking Lili, or at least I think

We'll keep an eye out for Gary, darling. Just go make sure she's okay.

He intended to do that even without Milla's words. Raz raced wildly down the streets of Marble, succeeding in reaching his destination. He front-flipped into the narrow space and landed with a muted thump in front of his girlfriend.

And facing them, hood pulled low over his face, was a man somewhere between wiry and muscular. He had the broad shoulders of a weightlifter, but the narrow compaction of a gymnast. His body pulsed with powerful Psi, the otherwise hidden silver aura visible to Raz's third eye, his Clairvoyance sight.

Lili was breathing hard but appeared to be unharmed. "I went ahead a bit to see if the way forward was clear, and this moron tried to stab me in the back."

Raising a hand, the assassin fired a round of something that resembled psychic bullets. Raz quickly erected a shield, blocking the shots and retaliating with a Psi-blast. The lancing beam struck off of the assassin's own barrier, and without further ado, the darkly clad stranger took to the rooftops.

"Let's go, Lili!" Razputin followed as quickly as he was able—which was pretty fast, actually—with his girlfriend hot on his heels.

We've found the assassin! Or I think he is, he's certainly strong enough to be, Raz informed Sasha.

Want me to come now?

Might as well, D'Art.

Sasha seemed to hesitate before saying, Remember that lethal force should only be used if it has to.

Darlings, Sasha and I can't leave Gary in case this is just what the assassin wants. You'll have to get him yourself.

Between the three of us, it'll be easy, Lili declared with narrowed eyes. This guy is going to burn. To Raz she added, He can…warp or something, though not for very far.

Her boyfriend nodded as they sprang across assorted rooftops to catch the fiend.

Had to be on roofs didn't it?

Try to bring him down then, D'Art.

Telekinetically shove him? Or do you think he's too strong for that, Raz?

Let me try, Lili volunteered. She spread out her fingers, lifted her hands, and concentrated. Violet energy swirled around her, and the assassin suddenly stumbled and dropped down into another alley between buildings with an astonished grunt.

"Yes!" The girl cheered, pumping a fist in victory. "I'm so awesome!"

"Hang on a sec Lili; we've got to catch the guy before we start celebrating." Raz vaulted off of the roof and landed in a low crouch within the dark, slightly damp, nook. The tall walls blocked off the distant winter sunlight, and it seemed as if the duo had been thrown into late evening. The assassin was recovering from his unexpected plummet, straightening up and glaring at the teenagers with his invisible gaze.

The crevice became even more shadowy as D'Artagan rushed to stand in the only exit, breathing hard but clearly ready for battle as his entire body crackled with the force of his Electrokinesis.

"You're trapped, there's nowhere to run! Try to fly out and we'll push you back down!" Raz declared. "And now, in the name of the Psychonauts, we place you under arrest."

The assassin said nothing, just turned in circles like an impatient tiger in a cage. His black gloved fingers curled into claws.

"…So do you surrender or…?" The goggled teen asked slowly after a few seconds had passed.

If this guy has a shield that can block Raz's Psi-blast, he probably won't be fazed by much, Lili said.

D'Artagan pivoted his head to the side, staring off to his left. "Uh…guys? The parade is coming this way, and we have a cornered assassin here with his target steadily approaching…"

Raz glanced at Lili, and at her nod, he pressed two fingers to his temple and raised a hand. Using Telekinesis, he made to ensnare the black cloaked man—

Only to be caught in a huge concussion wave that sent him flying back. The mental shock blast slung the acrobat into the alley's back wall, and Raz grunted, stars popping before his eyes.

"Hands off my boyfriend!" Lili growled, setting fire to the assassin's cape.

The would-be murderer didn't move for a moment as he contemplated the significance of this new event, then he made a deep yelping sound before proceeding to try and flee, presumably to find water.

D'Art, however, wouldn't allow this. Electric tendrils coiled around the assassin's arms, preventing him from running and sending dozens, maybe even hundreds, of volts into his system at the same time. The boy dug his shoes into the ground in an effort to prevent the wannabe killer from escaping, and Lili swiftly applied some Telekinesis of her own to try and help pin her adversary down.

Raz blinked the glimmering shapes from his vision and decided he had had enough. No more Mister Nice Psychonaut. Growling, he clenched his fists so tightly that his muscles began to ache from the strain of it. He then proceeded to haul the helpless assassin into the air and hold him there like some kind of forlorn piñata, similar to the one that had been at Edgar's birthday party last year.

Striding up to the hired gun, Razputin repeated in a firm voice, "You are under arrest."

D'Art unexpectedly swore and he shouted, "Get down!"

Without a moment of contemplation on the matter, everyone except for the captured assassin dove towards the streets. Horrified cries were raised from the nearby parade as another small, but intense, bomb exploded right behind the trio. D'Art had called up a barrier at the last second, and the cyan dome turned the teenagers' skin blue as the ground rocked and bucked beneath them. Raz had thrown an arm around Lil for protection, but the instant the tremor was over, she shoved him away and leaped to her feet.

"There he goes!"

Raz cursed as the assassin's dark cloak vanished around a corner, probably escaping from his Telekinetic hold via his innate warping ability that Lili had mentioned. "C'mon, after him!"

"I'll get the guy that threw the bomb, don't worry," D'Art promised as he whipped around and chased after a barely noticeable specter of a shape. It seemed it wasn't just D'Art's experimented-upon-brain that could see the transparent killers—they were just hard to spot naturally, and the green-skinned boy had sharp eyes.

"Right, c'mon Raz! We've gotta catch him!"

Lili and Razputin pelted off after the assassin, with the latter taking to the rooftops as he endeavored to get a better view. The assassin clearly didn't have the strange silver devices that caused one to be nearly impossible to see because he was a psychic—why would he need that if he had invisibility?

Raz ended up scaring off a flock of birds after he jumped a gap between a convenience store and a movie theater, and that's when he got an idea. Snatching a feather, he used Clairvoyance on it and attempted to see, from a bird's point of view with their incredibly strong eyes, where the assassin had disappeared to.

Treetops, streets, frightened Triumph Day celebrators flocking about in terrified confusion…there!

Lili, there's an out of business video store to your left! He's trying to hide inside it!

I'll get that son of a…

D'Art, Raz shouted mentally as he dropped to ground level and chased after his girlfriend. He spotted her twin pigtails the instant he turned a corner, and he prayed that there weren't any unseen landmines along the way. How are you holding up?

He blew up! Again! Almost had the sucker when I had to run from another suicidal attack and he…there's nothing left, as I told Milla. I'll catch up with you guys, then. We cannot let this assassin blast himself to oblivion.

For real, I mean, what is wrong with these people? And why do we always draw the nuts?

It comes with the job description, Lili replied wryly.

That was true enough.

Raz burst down the door of the old Blockbuster, which bore a morose sign that read: Put out of business by Netflix, what else? He arranged one hand into a gun shape and called, "Police officers!"

"This isn't some stupid dramatic movie Raz," Lili snapped. "And we're Psychonauts."

"Just joking around." His eyes narrowed behind his goggles as he searched the grimy establishment. Old shelves had fallen in, dirt and grunge caked everything, and occasionally some kind of rodent stirred in the semidarkness. "Look. There."

Lili followed his finger's indication and nodded once.

Footprints were easily visible on the ancient wood flooring thanks to years of accumulated dust. They led to the back room.

Should we wait for D'Art? The Grand Head's daughter inquired privately.

Let's try to nab him ourselves, Raz suggested after thinking it over for all of two seconds. He crept forward stealthily, pushed open the creaky door to the former employee's only area, and gathered his mental strength. He released the pent up energy as a concussion wave, just like the one the assassin had used previously. It was a trick he had learned during Advance Training courses with the Psychonauts a few years ago.

Someone grunted, and a faint outline revealed the stained and weary would-be murderer as his back hit the wall with a crash.

Lili used her Telekinesis to drag him forward, and this time she didn't hesitate to flip back his hood.

A mess of orange hair came into sight, as did the rest of the black cloaked body. Blue eyes burned moodily behind a tangle of long bangs.

Raz gasped. "You're that one guy!"

"'That one guy'?" spat the captive, struggling in vain to break Lili's hold on him. The "hand" merely tightened in response.

"The guy that lost to Gary during the elections!"

"Yes, that's me! Michelangelo Oldman, and I—what are you two snickering at?" Michelangelo appeared angry enough to froth at the mouth.

Raz and Lili exchanged looks, and then the former guffawed, "Oldman? You're an old man!"

"You immature adolescents! Do not think for a moment that you brainless Psychonauts have bested me!"

"Well, we're not the ones tied up here," Lili pointed out smugly, smirking.

A patter of footsteps announced D'Artagan's timely arrival, and he had to crouch for a beat to get his breath back. "You caught him? And it's Oldman? Didn't people see him get onto that plane to Hawaii?"

"You fools…I have you all where I want you…" Michelangelo muttered.

Time to run. Really fast.

Razputin turned to D'Art. "Come on; help me get Oldman out of here."

"Gary's ideas are out-of-date! Ridiculous! It is only I that can truly show this world the power of psychics!"

"We're already discriminated against, and you'd not be making it any easier for us." Raz snorted. Privately, to Sasha and Milla, he said, Target neutralized, we're outside a deserted Blockbuster. It's Michelangelo Oldman!

You did tell me you had guessed that darling, Milla must have said to her partner.

Fantastic job Razputin, hold him there.

Are you coming here?

I am, Agent Vodello will stay with Gary.

"Let's get this nutcase out of here," Raz told his team. "And be careful, 'cause apparently we're 'right where he wants us'."

Lili was unimpressed, and she, along with D'Art escorted the wayward politician—still held tight by psychic bonds—to the outside of the building.

That's when things got ugly for the headstrong young Psychonauts.

Raz winced as, over his bond with Lili, he felt something snap inside of her. She cried out, tripped over her own feet, and collapsed onto the ground with a low groan. D'Artagan whirled around and just managed to evade a silver Psi-blast from Michelangelo as he snapped through Lili's powerful Telekinetic hold as if it was wet tissue paper.

What's up with this guy? Does insanity make him stronger randomly or something? Something more important came to mind then. "Lili! Are you okay?"

"God…damn…" She moaned. Lili struggled back to her feet and barely managed to create a shield to protect her from another Psi-blast from Michelangelo Oldman.

D'Art took a deep breath and then focused, and a crystalline base of ice formed around the assassin's feet. The madman pulled against the Brainfreeze-born ice, but before he could use Pyrokinesis to destroy the frozen structure, Raz launched a Confusion grenade.

It landed straight in Michelangelo's hands, and the deranged young man sneered before tossing it back.

It landed straight in Razputin's hands—and still didn't go off. Panicking now, since the dud could blow at any second, the goggled boy threw it back. "Er—here, for you!"

"I don't want it," the alarmed Mr. Oldman cried. "Take it back!" He chucked it to its sender.

"Merry Christmas!" Toss.

"Happy Birthday!" Toss.

"Happy New Year!" Toss.

"Feliz Navidad!" Toss.

"Happy Senior Appreciation Day!" Toss.

Michelangelo recoiled as if slapped. "Why you cheeky—"

"Oh please," Lili scoffed, snapping her fingers and setting fire to the oddly dormant Confusion grenade. It went off with a spectacular storm of emerald and jade vapor dotted with grass-colored question marks. Michelangelo stumbled along with a dull expression in his eyes, and D'Artagan hurriedly raced forward and used his trademark Electrokinesis to form makeshift electrical wires to bind the crazy assassin.

And right as the confusion cleared, D'Art grabbed Oldman on both sides of his face and sent a pulse of Hypnotism into his system. The carrot-haired politician's eyes rolled into his head, and then he fainted, drifting off into a deep slumber.

Raz turned to say something (hopefully) clever to Lili about the defeated assassin, but he followed her startled gaze to see Sasha—clothes burnt and sunglasses partly askew—limping towards them.

"Are you okay?" She asked, hands on her hips and her expression dubious.

"Two more suicide bombers," Agent Nein replied, wiping some ash and soot from his face. "Agent Vodello has also informed me that she thwarted another's attempt to do the same to Gary. Despite his objections, she is removing him from Marble until further notice."

"Apparently one bomb wasn't enough for the guy," Raz shrugged. "But we caught Michelangelo Oldman, Agent Nein sir!" He saluted again and ignored his girlfriend's eye roll.

D'Art was checking the assassin's pockets. "There's nothing here," he muttered. "Not even identification. But boy, his hair looks way better on TV."

Lili knelt down, spread her fingers out against Michelangelo's forehead, and as Raz watched, her gaze became distant and unseeing. Her lips started forming words to something that only she knew, and everyone went quiet as she entered a Clairvoyance trance. It wasn't quite the same as direct Clairvoyance since it let one see some past events, but it was in the same branch as that. It just required a bit of special skill, and it was something she had that Razputin simply couldn't perform easily.

"Good news. Those are all the kamikaze bombers that he's hired," she announced, shaking her head as she sought to anchor herself in the real world again.

"Is there bad news?" D'Art inquired, twirling the long tail of his striped stocking cap.

"Of course," the girl replied with a mixture between a sad sigh and an amused smirk. "We've overlooked something."

"What is it, Ms. Zanotto?" Sasha, of course.

"Gary's helicopter. There's a bomb on the bottom that Michelangelo attached after the parade had started, and God knows the non-psychic police here are idiots and won't notice."

"We've got to tell Milla to not get on that 'copter!" D'Artagan shouted, already racing towards the impromptu helipad.

"We've got to get to the chopper!" Raz agreed as Sasha began urgently telling Agent Vodello the problem.


Lili Zanotto ran like a bat out of hell, balancing on her violet levitation sphere. Her feet almost slipped out from underneath her as the streets of Marble sped by. Sasha wasn't running with them—he was flying or hovering or some such nonsense. D'Art was determined to be at his friends' sides despite his illness, and his cyan globe rolled with hers and Raz's orange one.

"I guess we'll leave it to the Interrogation Department to find out the details of Michelangelo's plan," D'Artagan remarked.

"What details? He just wanted to shoot his rival." Raz answered reasonably.

It was hard to get through the crowds still attending the Triumph Day parade, so the Psychonauts took to the rooftops and came back down in the lot of the helicopter. Sasha was already there—somehow—demanding that the townsfolk go away unless they wanted to be near a gasoline fueled vehicle with a possibly invisible bomb strapped to it.

Gary was busy milking the situation, saying he would gladly die for his followers, and Milla ignored her charge and waved the kids cautiously over.

"Darlings," she began worriedly. "Try not to get too close, okay?"

"We're fine Milla," Raz promised. "Have you located the bomb yet?"

"No, not yet. It's still eluding me."

"Let's just trash the copter," Lili commented dryly. "That'll save us a lot of trouble in the long run."

"It might hurt the folks here, darling."

D'Art glanced at Raz. "Say, do you suppose we should pat the vehicle down? Call a bomb squad in? We're Psychonauts; we deal with the mind and psychics, not invisible explosives."

"I kinda agree with you on that," the prodigy reluctantly said.

Lili ignored them, looking behind Sasha Nein instead and seeing the slumped over Michelangelo Oldman, now with his hood up and leaning against the asylum's wall, close to the agent. He was still knocked out cold.

"No need, children. I've found it." Milla gave them one of her rare stern glares. "All of you, step back, please."

They did as they were told, and Lili, D'Artagan, and Razputin watched in awe as Agent Vodello pried off a small—the size of your thumbnail—reflective device from the helicopter's black frame. She called to Sasha and then tossed the high power, small range bomb high into the sky. They both Psi-blasted it in midair, so far away that it wasn't a threat to anyone, and then Sasha went back to talking to the stubborn crowd about what had just happened instead of about the danger. Casual as you please about it too.

The bomb might as well have been a daytime firework.

"Now then, darlings," Milla clapped her hands together and smiled brightly. "How about you and I get Michelangelo to the HQ?"

As it turned out, there were no more bombs on the helicopter and Gary was able to leave unmolested. The team of elite Psychonauts returned to base triumphant, and though Raz offered to use a Psycho-portal to enter the assassin's brain, a team specializing in forcefully extracting helpful information did the job instead.

Michelangelo's compatriot in attempted murder was a shady brother of his known as G.E. Gee, who was from San Francisco and was rumored to, "Have all the numbers". Apparently it was through a long line of illegal activities that the pair acquired high tech bombs and poor cronies who didn't realize that their charges could be remotely detonated.

What a wonderful world, when psychic politicians could find almost impossible to perceive, deadly explosives in less than a year.

There was more to the story too, but Lili found it hard to concentrate on that with Raz's lips pressed against her throat. He slowly trailed upwards as she sighed into his touch until their eyes met.

"Told you, you don't have to worry about me. You're the one that almost got blown up," she grinned mockingly.

He frowned. "Keyword, almost. You're the one that got kidnapped in an epic fashion."

Just shut up and kiss me, she pouted, laughing softly as he obliged.


Now, D'Artagan knew better than to ever visit Lili and Raz directly after missions, because they were often making out somewhere in whatever hotel, apartment, or facility they happened to be in. Not that he felt left out or anything, but no one wants to walk in on that, do they? It was just one of those awkward situations he would rather avoid.

Guess I'll have to wait and tell them about our next assignment. I mean, how can I properly explain to them that a psychic super-gorilla is holding the President of the United States' son hostage? Where do you start with that?

No, they could have a few more hours of well deserved time alone.


Author's Note: So…yeah. This is my first venture into Psychonauts! It has a lot of elements that will be seen—and will make more sense in—my prologue to this. I'm writing that prologue story, "Psychonauts 2", as you read this. It will explain how Raz and Lili saved Truman Zanotto, how they met D'Artagan, and a host of abilities that you see used here are taught to them in that story.

This is, essentially, a future story. I hope you enjoyed it, and I would really appreciate some feedback. I posted this to see if I got the characterization right, but I did make them a bit different on purpose since this is, in fact, seven years in the future.

So please, I would really appreciate you dropping a review! Thanks for reading.