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Agent Sasha Nein
13 February 2013 @ 03:52 pm
Hello, Blog.

You know, call me a cynic, but celebrating a Catholic martyr by cutting off the reproductive parts of plants seems to me to be random and nonsensicle.   Is that how "nonsensicle" is spelled?  Well, in German the word I am looking for is "unsinnige," so let's stick with that, then.  An utterly unsinnige holiday, in my humblest of opinions.

This year, fortunately, I've gotten off easily.  Agent Vodello "only" wants to go see "Lady and the Tramp" in theatres.  The idea of paying $50 to see a movie released in 1955 (yes, that's right, I looked it up) is ridiculous to me, but who am I to say no?  I've found that the key is to put white wine in an aluminium water bottle, thus making myself look environmentally conscientious while being too drunk to care what Milla drags me to.  Incidentally, appearing environmentally conscientious is the reason why our courtyard has a compost heap instead of something more decorative, like a nice solid Gothic gargoyle.  But that's neither here nor now.  I knew precisely what I was getting in to when we bought the stupid house, and if Milla wants to put rotting food in our yard, that's HER business, not mine.  I'm perfectly content to smoke in the shower or, if need be, on the roof, away from the germs.  (She calls them "microbes," which isn't any better.)

But that being said, I do owe her something.  It's borderline impossible to spend months upon months of your life in Cambodia trying to bust a psychic terrorist cell without running water without "bonding" (ugh) to your "partner" (ugh).  It has been a bizarre year.

I suppose I shall reflect more on this once I've sobered up.  I expect that will be following watching a bunch of animated cartoon dogs caper around on the big screen.  What are everyone else's Valentine's Day plans?
 
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Mood: tipsy
Listening to: P. Tchaikovsky
 
 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
04 February 2013 @ 08:56 pm
I'm still alive.  Fancy that. 

And I have missed you, Blog, along with the comforts of living in the first world.  Perhaps I will postpone my Countdown.  Perhaps I might need you once again, to sort my thoughts, calm my mind, and sort my life.  Perhaps I miss the quiet, non-judgemental companionship you give me.  Perhaps I simply miss the feel of the keyboard on my fingertips. 

In any case, here I am, alive and well and quite surprised, since all evidence of this was to the contrary.  But even psychics can be wrong about the future, and even cynics like me occasionally get a break.

Let's see how far down this rabbit-hole goes, blog.  Let's rekindle our friendship and see what happens, what thoughts haunt my inner sactum, what dreams float across my consciousness when I hide behind my screen.

:)
 
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Mood: optimisticoptimistic
Listening to: Les Miserables
 
 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
26 March 2011 @ 07:20 am
Dear Journal:

I have come to the realization that journals, such as yourself, are a means for one to sort through one's emotional baggage, package what needs saved, and discard that which does not.  Efforts to maintain, or revive you, have failed.  And recently it occurred to me that this is because I no longer need you.  I have won my soulmate, resolved my familial problems, and come to peace with my own abilities.

Yet it seems wrong, after five years (has it been so long?  Time does fly.), to leave you here to rot without a proper burial.  I am a man who likes neat endings and plenty of closure.  I have left you as a loose end, slowly fraying around the edges of my subconscious.  It is time to snip off the threads, tie a neat knot, and give you the send-off you deserve.  You have helped me in such a way no other means ever has.  For the first time in my conscious memory, I am happy.  I am full.  And I owe that to you, Journal, my little repository for my fears, guilts, secrets, and insecurities.

I do this only for us: that is, me.  I doubt my readers have spared a thought for me.  I am, after all, only an abstract online personality.  But I cannot rest easy until I finish this one thing:

A Ten-Post Countdown to the Official Closing of my Blog

Spicing a cup of coffee with vanilla and cinnamon, I took our dog, Wagner, out for a long walk to contemplate the best way to perform this task.  The tendrils of steam curled upward toward the pre-dawn sky, while Wagner stepped delicately over a thin layer of frost.  Cold does not bother me so much now.  Perhaps I owe this to the hot coffee... or perhaps to my weight gain.  My cheekbones receded into my face, and my ribs into my torso, and suddenly, in the wake of Milla and I's wedding, I discovered a healthy and even handsome man buried in the sickliness of my guiltiness. 

"Chupaflor, you know I love you no matter what you look like," said Milla during one of our evening jogs, "but frankly, I'd rather be the skinny one in this relationship." 

I wheezed in agreement.  I'm not fond of our jogs, but I am fond of Milla's company, which is how she gets me to done trainers and run around like an idiot outside.

I decided to ask Milla's opinion of a ten-post countdown to my blog.  I took Wagner inside and gently roused Milla. 

"Ghhhh-nnuuhhhggg!" she said, shoving her mane of bed-rumpled hair beneath her pillow.  (Hers is tan, with blue and white flowers.  Mine is white.)  I took this to be her full support and encouragement, and went to my computer, where I learned that I had forgotten my password.  Several calls to Agent Shive, Agent Nguyen, Agent Cohen, and Agent O'Malley later ("Can you think of any passwords I've used recently?" I asked.  "How about, it's-five-thirty-and-i-was-fucking-asleep?" suggested Agent Cohen.), I gained access to my account, where I wrote an excellent entry, accidentally deleted it, and then wrote this.

I expect to finish by no later than the end of April, but I suspect we might part ways sooner, Journal.  I have missed you, and I may miss you once I leave you.  But I cannot give you the same attention as before.  The time is ripe for me to move on.  I have found what I needed through you: thank you.  In return, I will give both you and I closure, and answer all the floating questions I've peppered through you in our time together.  I look forward to these last days together.

And now, I must really go make a new pot of coffee, since Milla is awake and unhappy about her early wake-up call. 

Sasha
 
 
Mood: refreshedrefreshed
Listening to: Milla in the shower, and "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys
 
 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
Dear Journal:

Updating this blog has become much more difficult for me.  One of the few drawbacks of lacking any potent abilities is my inability to block.  My mind used to be a safely guarded steel trap; now, all my thoughts are projected for all to hear, a disconcerting feeling if nothing else.  I have taken to updating from Starbucks, something I swore I wouldn't do because it seems to terribly tacky.  But between Milla and lattes... well, the lattes are less judgmental.

In exciting news this week, I received a collect call from an old friend.

"Would you like to accept a collect call from..." began the operator.  I waited for the voice, and all I got was wheezy laughing.  I sighed and pinched the bridge of my nose, knowing full well who it was.

The call went through, and I was greeted with a warm, "Hello, Sasha boy!"

"Hello Agent Cruller.  How do you do?" I asked.

More wheezy laughter.  "Fit as a fiddle.  How are things at the agency?"

"They're wonderful," I said truthfully.  "Everything has really calmed down.  We feel safe.  Everything's under control.  Well, Truman stepped down and we still don't have a new Head, but I think Gabe Dunn might take over that position.  He's a really genial guy."

A pause.  "Funny.  I heard some nutjob over there was working on curing everyone."  He put a heavy, sarcastic emphasis on the word "curing."

I sighed deeply.  "Not you, too.  Did Milla put you up to this?"

"I don't need Milla, Sasha.  You and I have been mentally linked for a decade.  Don't you think I'd notice if suddenly, the biggest part of you just shut down?  Now, listen..."

"No, you listen," I interrupted.  Admittedly I was angry.  Angry that my greatest mentor should take everyone else's side, even when it's clear that I have everyone's best interests at heart.  More and more, I'm growing tired of all this opposition.  Surely someone sees the value in it?  Surely some others have wanted what I've wanted?  A chance to be normal, and safe, and as I was supposed to be?

I explained to Ford how I felt, the insomnia and the nightmares, seeing my father's memories as a child, the flashbacks, the seizures, the nosebleeds, the people I can't get close to, the dogs that howl at me.  I went down the whole list, all of it things Ford already knew.

And at the end, he sighed.  "No one ever said it would be easy, Sasha.  With great power comes great responsibility.  But didn't even O'Pia say that we were a special, chosen few and should embrace these gifts for the betterment of humanity?  To protect and to safeguard those below us?"

"Well, O'Pia is dead," I snapped shortly.  "And I believe I've more than made up for what I've had to.  Ford, you know how much I've done for them.  I've spent tens of years protecting them without thanks.  I've taken lives and I've taken bullets and I've seen and done things no one should ever have to endure.  Can't I rest now?"

"Look, Sasha, if you want to poison yourself into normality, go ahead.  But stop dragging everyone else into this.  What you're doing is no different than a heroin addict who takes drugs to forget a bad memory."

I felt this analogy was imperfect, considering my "drug" actually makes me safer.  When was the last time I had a bad reaction to something and something in the room exploded?  Not recently, I assure you.

But before I could point out his error, Ford continued, "I think you ought to know, more than a few people are disappointed.  Razputin, for one.  And me, for another."

Well, that came to me like a punch in the gut.  A child's opinion of me does not matter.  However, Ford is like a second father to me.  I was unaware he was such a militant for psychic "rights."  As if we were a race, or ethnicity, and not just a group of dangerous and mutilated people.

The conversation ended shortly, and left me wondering if maybe it's time to wean myself off.  I can still do my research, after all.  I haven't done many animal trials yet, and I could examine how the "withdrawal" works.  Yes... there might be something interesting to observe there.  How my abilities return and how much control of them I have.

Perhaps I will stop my injections later this week and study what takes place. 

But to be clear, this is not solely for Ford's approval.  I will continue my research regardless of his feelings.  And I will not cease injections entirely.  I'm simply noting that I must document withdrawal effects.  That is all.

~ Sasha
 
 
Mood: crushedconflicted
 
 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
13 July 2010 @ 01:48 pm
Dear Journal:

Apologies for the lack of update Sunday.  Unfortunately I do not have any internet at the ward, where I've been spending 75% of my time.  A combination of avoiding Milla's judgment, and testing my findings on the more lucid patients. 

Hopefully I will find time next week.  Exciting news!  Also a potential vacation coming up for me.  I desperately need it.  These psychics are quite close-minded.  Pun intended!

~ Sasha
 
 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
04 July 2010 @ 08:31 pm
Dear Journal:

I previously said I would update weekly.  This is the first update.  (Tune in every Sunday from now until... well, I'll get to that.)

I have come to the conclusion that, rather than abandon my blog, I must give it proper closure.  This, dear blog, is the beginning of the end.  The end does not yet have a set date, but I assume it will come naturally, like death at the end of a long bout of sickness.

I'm sure we're all curious (by "we" I mean "no one") as to what I've been up to.  As some may recall, I have previously mentioned my experiments with psitanium.  Specifically, low-dose injections.  My studies have been what I would professionally call "successful" and what I would personally call "THE BEST DAMN THING THAT'S EVER HAPPENED TO ME."

You see, exposure to low-dose psitanium increases psychic abilities.  And massive overdoses of psitanium, such as injections, inhibit abilities while driving the specimen mad.  I am pleased to report that I, Sasha Klaus Nein, have perfected a diluted, happy medium which inhibits all abilities WITHOUT ANY NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS.

Naturally, I tested this on myself initially.  Milla came home to find me tapping air bubbles out of a syringe, belt wrapped around my arm and my shirt sleeve rolled.  Her reaction then is actually not dissimilar to her reaction now.

"Sasha, how could you?" she demanded last week.

I was tapping another syringe.  The effects last for some time, but have to be carefully monitored.  The symptoms leak through very subtlety, until one finds himself overwhelmed with a deluge of information so intense he feels he must be going mad.

"How couldn't I?" I replied.

She threw down her book and stormed out, intent on letting me know that she was disgusted by my behavior.  But hasn't she herself seen the positive effects? 

Since I began injecting myself with psitanium, I have kept careful documentation of all my symptoms.  The first noticeable symptom was sleep.  I go to bed at ten, and rise at six.  There are no more bouts with insomnia.  The bruises ever present around my eyes faded and my cheekbones filled in, along with the rest of me; my body put on weight, becoming stronger and less tired every day.  I went from a spectre to a man.  The resemblance to my father has certainly made itself clear, and I see now that I was never unlike him.  It was my psychic abilities that rendered me so ill.  It was, in a way, an illness, and this the vaccine.

Of course, many disagree with me.  For example, last week, I happened across Gabe.  Gabe is a "newer" psychic, having found the agency right after it had dissolved and then come back together, as it is now.  A popular astral projectionist, I had always disliked him without knowing why.  There was something about his energy and mine that just didn't quite work.

I was pleasantly surprised to find him a charming, clever, and amiable person for the first time.  I could see why everyone else liked him, and when trying to think of why I had disliked him before, came up empty-handed.

Anyway, to continue my story, Gabe was with Razputin, a young man I previously mentored.  (Arguably I taught him virtually everything he needs to know.  Not that he seems grateful for it.  All he remembers are our unsuccessful swimming lessons.  Let this be a lesson to all of you: children are eternally ungrateful.  No matter how many times you throw them into a lake, even if it's in their best interest, they will resent you for it.  In fact, quite illogically, the more you try to help them by throwing them in a lake, the more and more resentful they'll get.  Strange.)

"Sasha!" he exclaimed, clapping my hand.  "I heard that you're cured!"  He winked at me.  I laugh.  Laughter comes easy to me now.

"Yes.  Yes, in a way, I am indeed cured."

"Well, you look fantastic.  I thought your skeleton was going to come out before."

"Mm," I agreed, smiling.

"Some would say you've SOLD OUT."

My smile dropped, and I looked down to find the voice belonging to one Lilli Zanotto.  Not to get too much into it, but Razputin and Lilly have some sort of childish romance going on, and I was always close with Lilly's father, who was the head of the organization before it dissolved.  Since it's rebirth, Truman has stepped down and seems much happier for it.

"I don't see how," I said, adjusting my cufflinks.  I had a vague notion that I was about to get involved in a fight with a child, but was unable to stop it.  It was a bit like having a dirt clod thrown at your head and knowing the impact is imminent.

"You spend your whole life teaching us how to be better psychics, telling us we weren't freaks, making us believe that we were special and were going to save the world.  And then the MOMENT you find an easy way out, you take it.  You're a hypocrite, Sasha."

I looked to Gabe for support.  He gave me a sheepish grin and shrugged, as if to say, "Kids!"

"You'll understand when you're old--" I began.

Lilly took the opportunity to direct a massive fireball at the ground and storm off.  Razputin watched her go, looked down at the scorch mark in the grass, and then looked up at me. 

"Sorry," he said.

"Oh, that's alright," I replied.  "I've heard it from others."

"Well... she's sort of right, Agent Nein.  You kind of sold out.  And, you know."  He shrugged, then loped after her, leaving Gabe and I alone.

"Youch."  Gabe threw an arm over my shoulder.  "Those are some tough kids, huh?  But look, Sasha, let me tell you, personally?  I respect what you're doing.  I mean, it's not just about you, it's a science thing, and I get that.  And it's a personal choice, you know?  If this makes you happy, go for it!  And you look like a million bucks.  Don't let the criticism get you down."

"No, of course not!" I agreed.  I was glad to have Gabe's approval, and also glad to see that he was on my side, particularly since I've treated him so coldly before.  Again, I can't remember what I didn't like about him.  I have a feeling like I didn't trust him, but it's not there now; he really is as friendly as everyone makes him out to be.

The conversation didn't bother me because, truthfully, I had heard similar complaints from other psychics, many of them friends, who felt that I was somehow betraying them by suppressing my powers.  And I wanted to shake each other and scream, "LOOK AT ME!  Don't you see?  Not only is this a major scientific advancement, but it's SAVING me.  I'm not having seizures or nosebleeds.  I'm not having panic attacks or bouts of depression.  I'm eating, sleeping, and communicating in a way I was never able to before.  Don't you see this is how I was meant to be?"

I have thought about it at length.  And, professionally, this does have practical implications.  Think about all the psychic criminals.  Think about all the children that kill themselves because they can't stand the voices.  Think of all the pyros who lose control and burn their houses down.  This offers an alternative to going to a psychic prison, forever institutionalized and eventually going crazy from massive psitanium overdoses.  This allows people to live normal, productive lives.  As normal people.  The way they were meant to be.  Being psychic is a horrible genetic defect.  But now it can be fixed.  Or at least, the symptoms of it can be covered.  You'd think these people would be thanking me on bended knee, but more than half seem to think this is somehow MORE dangerous than the ability to blow up buildings with my mind.  (Fools.)  I am confident that, with enough research, I will be able to change their minds (pun intended!) and have the injection approved and granted to any who want it.

It's like insulin for diabetics.  Diabetics who can EXPLODE PEOPLE'S HEADS.

Now, the conversation with Lilly didn't bother me.  But later, at home, I asked Milla her take on it.

"Milla?  Am I a hypocrite?"

Milla paused from her magazine.  "Yeah.  A little bit," she replied, turning back to it.

"...how?" I challenged her.

She sighed and put her reading over her knee.  "Sasha, baby, I don't want to have this conversation now."

"Just tell me how," I insisted.

"Oh... honey..."  She gestured in the air.  A small breeze pushed my hair out of my eyes, and I smiled.  "You've always been a hypocrite in a lot of little ways.  It's just that, lately... you know, babe, everyone always looked to you as this... well, champion for psychic rights.  And now, it's like you're denying you were ever psychic."

"But I'm happy.  Milla, look at me.  I'm so healthy this way.  Is that a bad thing?"

"I think God makes people the way they are for a reason."

We paused.  The clock on the wall ticked the seconds noisily.

"I like being normal more."

"I know."  She picked up her magazine.  "You know, without your abilities, there's no blocks.  We can all hear you, just like we can hear the thoughts of all the other non-psychics.  And they're not flattering, Sasha.  You really think we're diseased and need fixed.  You hate yourself.  For all the good things you do, you hate psychics."

"Look at what it did to me, Milla.  How couldn't I hate it?  Why wouldn't I want to change it?  I don't have to hear anymore.  I don't have to feel.  I'm in control."

"You worry too much about being in control."

"Maybe you don't worry enough.  Maybe I have a reason for worrying.  Maybe if I hadn't been so careless as a child, I never would have--" 

My voice caught in my throat then.  Milla's page flipped without her touching it, and I thought about all the useless little things I used my mental capabilities to do.

"I'm against it.  I love you and I want you to be happy, baby doll.  But I'm against it."

"You would rather I'm thin, sleep-deprived, and miserable?  That, someday, I won't be able to handle it, and I'll go out like Alden did?"

Milla sighed.  "I said I didn't want to talk about this.  I'm happy you're happy."

"But you're not!"

"How would you know, anyway?"

"You don't have to be psychic to read emotions."

"If you want to keep shoving a needle in your arm every two days so that you can pretend to be normal, be my guest."

The conversation ended there.  But I can't help but think Milla, even being a psychic, doesn't understand.  After all, she's a levitator.  Not a telepath.  How much worse it is for the telepaths.  She's one of the lucky types of psychics that isn't under a constant barrage of negative emotion.  How could she possibly understand?  And Lilly.  Spoiled little girl from a supportive psychic family. 

As I was just typing that, Milla said to me, "I DO understand, Sasha."  It took me a moment to realize that, as I was typing, she was reading my thoughts.  She's probably "listening" right now.  And she just pointed out to me that there are many like me, psychics born to non-psychic families, who still disagree with my research.  But should we stop researching something just because it's controversial?  As a scientist, I say no.  Besides, this isn't harmful to anyone.  And my main test subject is myself.  So why so defensive about it all?

And, as Milla just pointed out, she was, in fact, raised in a family of borderline psychics who couldn't use their powers and only had the vaguest hints of being psychic.  The Vodellos are a respected psychic family that's "dying out," which is why they adopted Milla.  (And never told her and then she found out and now I have to listen to constant rants about who her "real" mother is... ach, I'm getting a headache.  Milla is talking to me as I write, which is very distracting.  I believe I will have to write my next update far from her, or anyone else who can read my new, normal, and unprotected mind.)

~ Sasha
 
 
Mood: drunkdrunk
 
 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
04 July 2010 @ 08:31 pm
Dear Journal:

I previously said I would update weekly.  This is the first update.  (Tune in every Sunday from now until... well, I'll get to that.)

I have come to the conclusion that, rather than abandon my blog, I must give it proper closure.  This, dear blog, is the beginning of the end.  The end does not yet have a set date, but I assume it will come naturally, like death at the end of a long bout of sickness.

I'm sure we're all curious (by "we" I mean "no one") as to what I've been up to.  As some may recall, I have previously mentioned my experiments with psitanium.  Specifically, low-dose injections.  My studies have been what I would professionally call "successful" and what I would personally call "THE BEST DAMN THING THAT'S EVER HAPPENED TO ME."

You see, exposure to low-dose psitanium increases psychic abilities.  And massive overdoses of psitanium, such as injections, inhibit abilities while driving the specimen mad.  I am pleased to report that I, Sasha Klaus Nein, have perfected a diluted, happy medium which inhibits all abilities WITHOUT ANY NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS.

Naturally, I tested this on myself initially.  Milla came home to find me tapping air bubbles out of a syringe, belt wrapped around my arm and my shirt sleeve rolled.  Her reaction then is actually not dissimilar to her reaction now.

"Sasha, how could you?" she demanded last week.

I was tapping another syringe.  The effects last for some time, but have to be carefully monitored.  The symptoms leak through very subtlety, until one finds himself overwhelmed with a deluge of information so intense he feels he must be going mad.

"How couldn't I?" I replied.

She threw down her book and stormed out, intent on letting me know that she was disgusted by my behavior.  But hasn't she herself seen the positive effects? 

Since I began injecting myself with psitanium, I have kept careful documentation of all my symptoms.  The first noticeable symptom was sleep.  I go to bed at ten, and rise at six.  There are no more bouts with insomnia.  The bruises ever present around my eyes faded and my cheekbones filled in, along with the rest of me; my body put on weight, becoming stronger and less tired every day.  I went from a spectre to a man.  The resemblance to my father has certainly made itself clear, and I see now that I was never unlike him.  It was my psychic abilities that rendered me so ill.  It was, in a way, an illness, and this the vaccine.

Of course, many disagree with me.  For example, last week, I happened across Gabe.  Gabe is a "newer" psychic, having found the agency right after it had dissolved and then come back together, as it is now.  A popular astral projectionist, I had always disliked him without knowing why.  There was something about his energy and mine that just didn't quite work.

I was pleasantly surprised to find him a charming, clever, and amiable person for the first time.  I could see why everyone else liked him, and when trying to think of why I had disliked him before, came up empty-handed.

Anyway, to continue my story, Gabe was with Razputin, a young man I previously mentored.  (Arguably I taught him virtually everything he needs to know.  Not that he seems grateful for it.  All he remembers are our unsuccessful swimming lessons.  Let this be a lesson to all of you: children are eternally ungrateful.  No matter how many times you throw them into a lake, even if it's in their best interest, they will resent you for it.  In fact, quite illogically, the more you try to help them by throwing them in a lake, the more and more resentful they'll get.  Strange.)

"Sasha!" he exclaimed, clapping my hand.  "I heard that you're cured!"  He winked at me.  I laugh.  Laughter comes easy to me now.

"Yes.  Yes, in a way, I am indeed cured."

"Well, you look fantastic.  I thought your skeleton was going to come out before."

"Mm," I agreed, smiling.

"Some would say you've SOLD OUT."

My smile dropped, and I looked down to find the voice belonging to one Lilli Zanotto.  Not to get too much into it, but Razputin and Lilly have some sort of childish romance going on, and I was always close with Lilly's father, who was the head of the organization before it dissolved.  Since it's rebirth, Truman has stepped down and seems much happier for it.

"I don't see how," I said, adjusting my cufflinks.  I had a vague notion that I was about to get involved in a fight with a child, but was unable to stop it.  It was a bit like having a dirt clod thrown at your head and knowing the impact is imminent.

"You spend your whole life teaching us how to be better psychics, telling us we weren't freaks, making us believe that we were special and were going to save the world.  And then the MOMENT you find an easy way out, you take it.  You're a hypocrite, Sasha."

I looked to Gabe for support.  He gave me a sheepish grin and shrugged, as if to say, "Kids!"

"You'll understand when you're old--" I began.

Lilly took the opportunity to direct a massive fireball at the ground and storm off.  Razputin watched her go, looked down at the scorch mark in the grass, and then looked up at me. 

"Sorry," he said.

"Oh, that's alright," I replied.  "I've heard it from others."

"Well... she's sort of right, Agent Nein.  You kind of sold out.  And, you know."  He shrugged, then loped after her, leaving Gabe and I alone.

"Youch."  Gabe threw an arm over my shoulder.  "Those are some tough kids, huh?  But look, Sasha, let me tell you, personally?  I respect what you're doing.  I mean, it's not just about you, it's a science thing, and I get that.  And it's a personal choice, you know?  If this makes you happy, go for it!  And you look like a million bucks.  Don't let the criticism get you down."

"No, of course not!" I agreed.  I was glad to have Gabe's approval, and also glad to see that he was on my side, particularly since I've treated him so coldly before.  Again, I can't remember what I didn't like about him.  I have a feeling like I didn't trust him, but it's not there now; he really is as friendly as everyone makes him out to be.

The conversation didn't bother me because, truthfully, I had heard similar complaints from other psychics, many of them friends, who felt that I was somehow betraying them by suppressing my powers.  And I wanted to shake each other and scream, "LOOK AT ME!  Don't you see?  Not only is this a major scientific advancement, but it's SAVING me.  I'm not having seizures or nosebleeds.  I'm not having panic attacks or bouts of depression.  I'm eating, sleeping, and communicating in a way I was never able to before.  Don't you see this is how I was meant to be?"

I have thought about it at length.  And, professionally, this does have practical implications.  Think about all the psychic criminals.  Think about all the children that kill themselves because they can't stand the voices.  Think of all the pyros who lose control and burn their houses down.  This offers an alternative to going to a psychic prison, forever institutionalized and eventually going crazy from massive psitanium overdoses.  This allows people to live normal, productive lives.  As normal people.  The way they were meant to be.  Being psychic is a horrible genetic defect.  But now it can be fixed.  Or at least, the symptoms of it can be covered.  You'd think these people would be thanking me on bended knee, but more than half seem to think this is somehow MORE dangerous than the ability to blow up buildings with my mind.  (Fools.)  I am confident that, with enough research, I will be able to change their minds (pun intended!) and have the injection approved and granted to any who want it.

It's like insulin for diabetics.  Diabetics who can EXPLODE PEOPLE'S HEADS.

Now, the conversation with Lilly didn't bother me.  But later, at home, I asked Milla her take on it.

"Milla?  Am I a hypocrite?"

Milla paused from her magazine.  "Yeah.  A little bit," she replied, turning back to it.

"...how?" I challenged her.

She sighed and put her reading over her knee.  "Sasha, baby, I don't want to have this conversation now."

"Just tell me how," I insisted.

"Oh... honey..."  She gestured in the air.  A small breeze pushed my hair out of my eyes, and I smiled.  "You've always been a hypocrite in a lot of little ways.  It's just that, lately... you know, babe, everyone always looked to you as this... well, champion for psychic rights.  And now, it's like you're denying you were ever psychic."

"But I'm happy.  Milla, look at me.  I'm so healthy this way.  Is that a bad thing?"

"I think God makes people the way they are for a reason."

We paused.  The clock on the wall ticked the seconds noisily.

"I like being normal more."

"I know."  She picked up her magazine.  "You know, without your abilities, there's no blocks.  We can all hear you, just like we can hear the thoughts of all the other non-psychics.  And they're not flattering, Sasha.  You really think we're diseased and need fixed.  You hate yourself.  For all the good things you do, you hate psychics."

"Look at what it did to me, Milla.  How couldn't I hate it?  Why wouldn't I want to change it?  I don't have to hear anymore.  I don't have to feel.  I'm in control."

"You worry too much about being in control."

"Maybe you don't worry enough.  Maybe I have a reason for worrying.  Maybe if I hadn't been so careless as a child, I never would have--" 

My voice caught in my throat then.  Milla's page flipped without her touching it, and I thought about all the useless little things I used my mental capabilities to do.

"I'm against it.  I love you and I want you to be happy, baby doll.  But I'm against it."

"You would rather I'm thin, sleep-deprived, and miserable?  That, someday, I won't be able to handle it, and I'll go out like Alden did?"

Milla sighed.  "I said I didn't want to talk about this.  I'm happy you're happy."

"But you're not!"

"How would you know, anyway?"

"You don't have to be psychic to read emotions."

"If you want to keep shoving a needle in your arm every two days so that you can pretend to be normal, be my guest."

The conversation ended there.  But I can't help but think Milla, even being a psychic, doesn't understand.  After all, she's a levitator.  Not a telepath.  How much worse it is for the telepaths.  She's one of the lucky types of psychics that isn't under a constant barrage of negative emotion.  How could she possibly understand?  And Lilly.  Spoiled little girl from a supportive psychic family. 

As I was just typing that, Milla said to me, "I DO understand, Sasha."  It took me a moment to realize that, as I was typing, she was reading my thoughts.  She's probably "listening" right now.  And she just pointed out to me that there are many like me, psychics born to non-psychic families, who still disagree with my research.  But should we stop researching something just because it's controversial?  As a scientist, I say no.  Besides, this isn't harmful to anyone.  And my main test subject is myself.  So why so defensive about it all?

And, as Milla just pointed out, she was, in fact, raised in a family of borderline psychics who couldn't use their powers and only had the vaguest hints of being psychic.  The Vodellos are a respected psychic family that's "dying out," which is why they adopted Milla.  (And never told her and then she found out and now I have to listen to constant rants about who her "real" mother is... ach, I'm getting a headache.  Milla is talking to me as I write, which is very distracting.  I believe I will have to write my next update far from her, or anyone else who can read my new, normal, and unprotected mind.)

~ Sasha
 
 
 
 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
30 March 2010 @ 05:32 pm
Dear Journal:

A month ago I promised to update weekly.  Clearly, I am not a man who keeps his word.

I am, however, a man of science.  So for science's sake, I have decided to update.  I have wonderful news for those interested in psitanium research.

It all started with a rather bizarre idea.  I cannot say where precisely it came from; only that, once I had it, it made perfect sense.

You see, psitanium works much like any other drug, in that its doses change its effects.  In low doses, for example, it enhances one's psychic abilities.  In high doses, it represses them.

Someone recently came up with the idea of highly concentrated psitanium doses administered as injections as a sort of psychic dart gun.  This was a good idea, in theory, except that it turned out to be toxic and made many go insane.  So while we could capture psychic criminals, we could not interrogate them, and frankly, it was a terrible method.

Then it came to me.

We've uses low doses as stimulants and high doses as repressants.  But what about medium doses?

It seemed so simple.

I was shocked that no one had thought of it.  In fact, I consulted our archives as well as Ford Cruller on the matter.  And no one had heard a thing about it.

It struck me that there must be a threshold where one ceases to enhance their abilities and represses them, and this "Repression Threshold" (term courtesy of Sasha Nein, 2010) must be a safe alternative to massive toxic overdoses.

But research only goes so far, and after a few days in the labs, I made an estimate, diluted some psitanium, rolled up my sleeve, and tested it on myself.

The results?

Wunderbar.

The first time I had been injected with psitanium, it was a terrible feeling.  This time was vastly different.  The voices in my head stopped; all my other senses seemed to heighten; my own thoughts came to me wither newfound clarity. 

The first thing I did was to sit down and read a book, distraction-free.

My second action was, of course, to brag to Milla.  I have, after all, essentially found what you might call a psychic cure.  Imagine, if you will, for a moment, all the psychics who perhaps might not like being psychics.  People like me and Razputin, for example, who are from non-psychic or unaccepting families; what about people with Spait syndrome, people who have the potential to accidentally kill, people who set off metal detectors for no reason or can't use their microwaves without breaking them?  For them, this is something of a miracle.

Surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly), Milla did not share my enthusiasm, by which I mean she was furious.  Something about using inappropriate test subjects.  Milla has always gotten indignant as to my use of field tests, whether it be on myself or guinea pigs ("Poor babies," she says.) or children (which I personally view as larger, more hairless versions of guinea pigs).

I have been administering psitanium to myself at a "Repression Threshold" now for weeks, and have made the following observations:

1) At the right dose, all psychic abilities can be repressed without any immediately apparent detrimental effects to the host. 

2) In addition to eradicating all psychic abilities, also repressed are its side effects.  For example, in myself, my Spait Syndrome has disappeared.  I was able to adopt a dog, who I have begun to call Wagner.  Milla is furious, despite my explanation that Wagner is merely a scientific instrument whose barking will indicate when the effects of the psitanium are wearing off.

3) "Repression Threshold" is wordy.  I've been toying with the idea of calling my discovery the "Psitanium Injection at Repression Threhold," or Pirt  (© Sasha Nein, 2010).  I like this term.  Milla hates it, and is furious.

4) Repression of psychic abilities works only "one-way."  Milla can still read my thoughts, though I cannot read hers while under the effects of Pirt.  Fortunately, having known her for roughly two decades, I can tell without reading her mind that she is furious.

5) Attempts at non-injection methods are unsuccessful.  I have not yet ascertained why.

I would like to expand my research now to other psychics.  Do all skill classes have the same reactions?  Will a pyro react the same as a particle manipulator or a levitator?  Also, do we all have the same repression thresholds, or will they vary?  If so, what factors cause the threshold to vary?

I am looking forward to getting these questions answered.  I have ample grants to study, but need volunteers.  I might have to default to the children.  After all, summer is looming, which likely means more Camp Whispering Rock, which means naive little guinea pigs willing to try what their parents are too afraid to.  The trick will be doing it without Milla finding out.

Sasha Nein, currently operating as a normal human being
 
 
Location: The Labs
Mood: cheerfulnormal
Listening to: Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul
 
 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
Dear Journal:

I believe last entry I mentioned I O'd U one (1) blog entry. 

Here it is.

Are we "cool?"  Yes?  Alright, good.

I feel as though the best way for me to return to blogging is to simply summarize where I came from, where I've been, and what's happened in the last forty years.  (Yes, I am forty now.  Please, hold your applause.)

But first I must focus on the present and explain how I broke my arm.

It began with taxes.  Every year, for as long as I've been a citizen of the United States, I have done my own taxes.  I like taxes because they combine nearly everything I love into one big mess of paperwork: math, rules, logic, et cetera.  And every year, for as long as she has been a citizen of the United States, Milla has gotten someone else to do her taxes, because she has more "fun" things to do.

This year Milla and I are filing jointly.  More on why shortly, but I'm sure you may already guess why.

The scene?  I was sitting at our kitchenette counter, doing taxes, while Milla broke into periodical peals of laughter in the corner over some magazine she was reading.  Abruptly, my calculator died.

"Milla," I called.  "Pass me the calculator on that desk."

"Get it yourself," she replied, eyes not straying from the page.  I must take a moment to note that Milla holds both books and magazines with the page she's not reading bended into the one she is, creating a book of half the width, which bothers me because it bends the book.  This is not important to the story, but important to me.

I cleared my throat a few times.  Milla heaved a dramatic sigh, got the calculator, and brought it to me.  She held it out; I reached for it.   It was a few inches out of my reach.

"Stretch for it, sweetie," she teased, waving it.

Now, at this point, a smarter man might have snatched it telekinetically from her.  But then, a smarter man might not have been distracted by a pretty woman waving a calculator at him in the first place.

So I pushed my stool onto two legs and stretched a little more, and she pulled away a little more, and you already know the outcome: my stool turned over and I crashed to the ground.  Again, a smarter man might have caught himself using levitation.  But sadly, infatuation turns men into idiots, and I had made the unfortunate assumption that Milla would catch me, while Milla had made the unfortunate assumption that I would catch me.

"Ohmigod!" she gasped, kneeling.  I recall this part first because I had an excellent view of her calves and her high heels.  Gray plaid with some red in them, a silver buckle by the toes.  Very cute little shoes.  "Sasha!  Sasha, darling, speak to me!"

"I believe my arm is broken," I said.

And so it was.  A fracture right by the elbow, necessitating a cast and a sling and somewhere between six to eight weeks of healing.  The most embarrassing part is that this was entirely preventable.  I was not on a mission in Kuwait, or spying on international criminals, or crossing through enemy lines.  I was being teased by my wife and was too stupid to catch myself, despite being fully capable of doing so.

So now we get to my timeline.  I shall make it short and sweet, since we all know most of my story already.

I was born to a shoemaker in Duisburg, West Germany.  My psychic abilities manifested themselves at an early age and subsequently caused me to run away at age 12.  I wandered my way northward, eventually immigrating illegally to the States via boat.  As my English improved, I began to seek out others like myself.  I was lucky enough to meet Alice, a retired agent of what was then called the PTU.  She took me to headquarters, where I met then-Grand Head, Agent Boole, and was put under the mentorship of Agent Ford Cruller.  I showed unsurpassed talent and was matched with what seemed to me like a very unlikely partner, a young women from Brazil named Milla Vodello.  Milla and I had little in common.  We spent the first few years of our time rather cold to each other, keeping the relationship purely professional.  It was only after a few dangerous missions on our own, without our mentors to aid us, that we learned to rely on each other.  I moved into a condo in downtown Manhattan and spent my free time either studying psychic matters, with strong emphasis on the genetics and chemical reactions, to say nothing of course of the psychological implications, while Milla spent hers clubbing and breaking the hearts of a good many men.  On our cases, we filled in each other's gaps quite nicely.  As far as cases go, there were a memorable few: there is, of course, the ever-present Spait case.  Spait was one of the few true know biokinetics in the world, a man with the psychic ability to take over a person's mind and control their bodies.  It took us nearly a decade to catch him, and when we finally did, it was not without fatality.  And then there was the northeastern African mission.  I don't need to specify which one; everyone knows which one, because Milla and I were held hostage and tortured for months.  We do not talk about this case.  And then, of course, there was the psitanium smuggling case.  This case was notable for two reasons: one was that it represented a huge breach in security for the agency, and the other was that I was injected with psitanium during some of my undercover investigations.  Psitanium is a fascinating compound; much like diphenylhydramine HCL, its nature changes by its dosage.  Small, unconcentrated amounts of psitanium stabilize the psychic mind and focus it.  Large, concentrated amounts block our powers completely.  This was the first time in my life I have ever known what it was like not to hear the world around me mentally.  It was perfectly silent and very disconcerting.  But my experience is irrelevant compared to the long-term consequences.  The breach in security at first caused there to be some changes in the agency.  As time progessed, the PTU grew more and more oppressive; finally, there was a full-scale meltdown, with most psychics abandoning the agency and going into hiding.  The agency panicked and rounded up those left, injected them with psitanium, and held them like prisoners until they could figure out what to do.  Milla and myself bounced around; first to her family for asylum, since we had assumed them psychic like us, until they revealed Milla was, in fact, adopted; then to my family, where, after over three decades, I told my father about my powers; briefly, we stayed with other psychics in hiding in an abandoned shack in the middle of Asia; and, finally, after a long time, we were able to come home.  The agency disbanded and restarted as an independent organization, modeling itself after the English ESP.  The psychics who were jailed were released; most left and have not been heard from since.  Others went to other organizations, like the ESP.  Those of us who came out of hiding got a nice deal; room and board, our old jobs back, all our needs and desires taken care of.  Of course, I lost all my bank accounts and my Manhattan condo, but at least I am not dead or in jail.  Upon setting foot once again on American soil, Milla and I did three things: firstly, at the airport, I bought cigarettes and she bought makeup; secondly, we went to McDonald's; finally, we got married.  There was no to-do about it.  Milla has been my best friend, my partner, my pillow, and my rock for over twenty years now.  We've always had each other.  It took the agency dissolution and the threat of death to make me realize it.  We had only a few witnesses and told no one; we moved into a small, one-bedroom apartment in a building on a military base on the east coast, along with many other families of psychics.  There is now a small community of us, numbering several hundred.  Many of my old friends are here.  Agent Zanotto, for example, and Agent Davis, and Agent Oleander, and Agent Rogers, and Agent Shive.  Some, like Agent Cruller, are still in hiding, though occasionally we receive messages from them (of course, we cannot reply back, as their locations are hidden and their minds well-blocked).  As the present stands, I suppose I am happy.  I have Milla and very few material possessions, which is fine with me.  Agent Shive has the unique ability of being able to predict precisely when people will die by touching them; a late-night drinking session ended in his grim prediction of my own death two years from now, leading me to evaluate all I've done and consider the next two years.  I'm overall pleased.  As a psychic agent of the most powerful skill class (IV; under new agency regulations, yes, I am both PSC and ASC IV) with a very beautiful, if not arm-breakingly playful, woman, I think I am proud of where I've come from.  I doubt very much that, if you had asked the fifteen-year-old version of myself where he thought he would be at age forty, he would have predicted something such as this.

So now, we are all squared away, Blog.  You know where I've been, and where I am.  You see the agency is much different now, and I finally bit the bullet and put a ring on Milla's finger, though without all the pomp she and her parents wanted out of a ceremony.  You see I live what could be considered the country now, no longer the city, and that I spend most of my time in the labs here, while Milla has taken it upon herself to continue teaching the children here, both a basic education and a psychic-oriented one.  And you maybe judge me a little for it, that I would settle for this sort of hum-drum thing.  But after a long time of chasing criminals and running from collapsing agencies, I am happy to have entered the eye of the storm.  Though I'm quite sure that I'll have more than one more good chase before my time here ends, and that of course Milla will be by my side through it.  (Even as I type this, she is doing her imitation of me typing on a blog.  I don't ever recall sounding like a Brooklyn sailor, but then again, Milla has never been any good at echokinesis.)

And of course, what with all this ridiculous talk of "love," I have to address Valentine's Day. 

Milla and I agreed (meaning that Milla told me and I didn't argue because I dislike arguing with her) at the beginning of February that we should have a "completely selfless" Valentine's Day.  Apparently, this meant that we should get each other gifts we hated but the receiver liked.  (I hinted strongly that the number one thing I would like, that Milla would hate, would be not to celebrate Valentine's Day at all, but Milla refused to buy into such an ingenious present.)

And so when the clock rang midnight, Milla happily frolicked to our living room and ripped open the box I had waiting for her, complete with a homemade bow.  This, as I saw it, fit perfectly with the "theme."  You see, Milla likes unnecessary decorations like bows, and also likes the tackiness of homemade shit.  I hate unnecessary decorations, and think bows are wasteful and stupid and pointless, and hate making them even more than buying them.

Of course, Milla's box was empty, except for a note telling her precisely where her gift was.

Because, Blog, we're on such intimate terms, what with you knowing my life story, and my using you as a mechanism to explore my own mind, I might as well tell you what I got her, though I will never divulge this to any of my fellow agents, and not even Ford will ever know.

Milla often tells me her "type" is a "bad-boy."  I like to think that I fit this "type," as I wear sunglasses indoors and shoot criminals in the face with streams of mentally focused electricity.  But when I told Milla this, she laughed for fifteen minutes and reminded me of the time I had an anxiety attack because I thought my hand sanitizer was contaminated.  (It turned out it wasn't, though.)

So, after my arm was broken and I was loaded up on morphine for the pain, I decided to really go the mile for her and get a tattoo.  Ach, why the hell not, Blog?  It's our first Valentine's day together; she loves the things; if Clayton is right and I have only two years to live, why shouldn't I?  So I got "You Are Beautiful" in Portuguese around an orchid, Milla's favorite flower, and sure enough, she loved it.  She's horrified, of course, that I would do such a thing.  Actually, so am I.  I keep wondering if the needle(s?) were sterile.  Of course they were.  Also it's very tacky and colorful.  But so is Milla, and I do love her.  If my tattoo and my broken arm say anything about love, it's that it truly is both unconditional and completely illogical.  I just hope she doesn't expect me to continue to do such ridiculous stunts in the future.  One tattoo, smaller than a box of cigarettes, is the most I'm willing to get for her, love be damned. 

Milla managed to outdo herself also, of course.  Her gift was wrapped in two boxes, one on top of the other, in duct tape: plain, gray, simple, and practical.  The boxes were moist and slightly damp and reeked of chemical sterility.  Upon opening them, I found a human brain and a human heart.

"The brain's really for you," she explained breathlessly.  "But the heart is because..." 

"I know why," I said quickly.  "Danke, Milla."

We exchanged a brief kiss. 

The heart bled all over the inside of our fridge, leading me to a glorious two-hour cleaning spree.  The perfect gift, in my opinion.

I look forward to seeing you next week, Blog.  Let's never fight again.

Sasha
 
 
Location: Home
Mood: satisfiedsatisfied
Listening to: "Love Vigilantes" by Iron & Wine
 
 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
Dear Journal:

IOU one (1) blog entry.

I know I said tonight.  But then I began doing Milla's and my taxes, and, to make quite a long story short, broke my arm.  I suppose I owe you one additional entry to explain how that happened.

Will update sometime this weekend instead.

*takes pain medication and wobbles off to bed*

Sasha