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Agent Sasha Nein
09 February 2010 @ 11:44 pm
Dear Journal:

Surely, you are surprised you hear from me, and to know that I am still alive and perhaps better off than I ever have been.  I owe this almost entirely to my other half, Milla, who as usual, is keeping me grounded while she herself continues to view the laws of gravity as suggestive at best.

Because of Milla, and the agency, and all else, I have admittedly neglected you, Journal, and made little effort towards keeping you current.

This, I have decided, is unacceptable.

While precognition is often unreliable, I recognize that it does, at times, have its merits.  Therefore, since according to a reliable source, I have two years left to live, I should probably be chronicling it properly.

But how to go about this?

The way I see it, there are two simple ways.  Regard my poll.  I will update this Thursday to bring you up to par, Journal, and following that entry, will blog in the manner best suited to me according to the poll, until such a time as it is either no longer necessary, or I am dead.

Sasha

Poll #1523622 Quality v. Quantity

Which method of blogging is better?

One long entry per week
15(65.2%)
A short entry every other day
8(34.8%)
 
 
Mood: workingworking
Listening to: "You Really Got a Hold on Me" by She & Him
 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
30 July 2009 @ 06:03 pm
Dear Journal:

Irony. It colors my life and though I often resent it, from a philosophical point of view I must admit I appreciate the depth it gives to my otherwise boring, hum-drum psychic fugitive life.

A micro-example of this irony is in this blog post. You see, I had expected little or no response on my previous post, as I realize I have been away for far longer than my average reader's attention span. And yet due to the overwhelming response (roughly 500-700% of what I had projected), I decided it was time for me to gather up all the little pieces and put them together, and move on, as I so often have had to do in the past.

And then, just as I'd gotten settled to work on my, shall we call it, essay... a dear old friend, also a boring hum-drum psychic fugitive, contacted me via telepathic message, which, judging from the amount of blood running from my nose, caused some massive cerebral hemorrhaging. Fortunately this occurs often, and I believe I have built up an immunity, since I never experience any lasting brain damagdfkjkelb

g

gflg,n<ants>g'fd,jdg

gege.

Given that I have lost some amount of fluid, it strikes me that the responsible thing to do would be to accept his invitation of a drink, and attempt to bolster my body's osmotic pressure.  (This adenosine isn't going to passively transport itself, you know.)

And so, I will have to update at another juncture, provided some new distraction doesn't hinder me.

As to what I am doing, or, more importantly, how I am doing, the answer is squeaking by and just fine.  My home situation has somewhat stabilized and I am partially, indirectly involved with some negotiations with the States.  Milla is unwilling at this time to leave Brazil, for reasons I will address later, though I suspect we will return sooner than she thinks.

Politically speaking, the Psychonauts agency is still dissolved, and I believe will rise from the ashes an independent agency, as the EFP of Europe and ESP of the United Kingdom did.  Naturally there are government agencies interested in our skills (not in the least because some of them doubt their existence and wish to "prove" empirically that such capabilities are indeed possible), and naturally most of us psychics are skeptic of their intentions.

I cannot name any names in saying which non-physic politicians have been involved, though I can guarantee most of you would know of at least three, and those of you who watch or read the news regularly might know many more.  Happily, since all of you already know us psychics by name, I can divulge these.

(Incidentally, most of you are probably aware that I change names; I have happily plucked names from news stories, the internet, books, other media, and even made a few up myself to protect identities.  If you foolishly think any of our names are real or traceable to actual psychics, you severely underestimate my skills as an agent.)

Many of you know of Truman Zanotto, former head of the Psychonauts.  He is one of our kingpins, as is a pyro Milla used to date, whose name escapes me.  (The pyros, always an obstinate bunch, demanded to represent themselves separately.)  (And no, this pyro is not Reinike, the bastard.  Milla has dated, by conservative estimate, at least eight pyros.  Reinike actually got himself detained on some questionable treason charges and is currently rotting in a psychic prison with a psitanium helmet turning his brain into mush.  No great loss, if you ask me.) 

Ford Cruller has also insisted on aiding in our negotiations, though as usual, no one takes him seriously.  Brilliant yet eccentric men are never appreciated in their own time.

And I'm sure all of you want to know about young Razputin Aquato, whom I have not personally spoken to recently, though I have heard some news through Ford.  According to Ford, Razputin has placed himself as something of a "right-hand man" to an up-and-coming psychic by the name of Gabe Dunn.  Gabe is no acquaintance of mine; in fact, he is a fluke, who, like me, was born to a non-psychic family and was unaware of the existence of others until he was well into adulthood.  Gabe caught us on the tail end of our collapse; almost immediately after finding the agency, he was running from it.  Along the way, it seems, he "bumped into" Razputin, who is at a similar frequency to him.

(They are both astral projectionists, meaning their "primary" skill is the ability to project themselves into the minds of others.)

Razputin, with all his normal plucky charm, informed Gabe that he too was a fluke, and he too was "new" to the agency, and that he too had no psychic family, though he did have a "sweet deal" at a circus where the two could go into hiding.

And so he dragged Gabe off to hide out with his little gypsy family in the middle of the woods.  And the two struck up a great friendship.  And when negotiations began, both Razputin and Gabe just had to put their two cents in.  (I like to imagine the conversation Razputin had with his father about this; a conservative, protective man, I am sure he understood the danger of allowing his son to reappear in the psychic community.)

Razputin, with his fame of being the youngest Psychonaut agent and one of the foremost astral projectionists of the agency, was received with open arms and helped Gabe to get some publicity in return; Gabe, unlike Razputin, does not have age as a barrier to achieving power.

According to Ford, both are enjoying basking in fame and glory as the agency rebuilds itself.  "Struttin' around like roosters in a canary cage," was how he worded it, I believe.

Admittedly I am miffed, since if I recall, Razputin was my protege, not Gabe's, and it was I, not Gabe, who aided Razputin in learning to properly astral project.  But apparently even if there is less than a 5% chance that outdated equipment might scramble a child's brain in an unauthorized lab test, it's "cruel" and "unusual" and "not worth the risk."  Also, I would like to point out that if I hadn't trained Razputin when I did, despite everyone's objections that he was "too young" and I didn't have "parental consent" and that Germans conducting experiments on gypsies was a "touchy area," Razputin would have never had the opportunity to save our consciousnesses from another deranged counselor.

(And no, I don't believe slipping experimental drugs into his coffee helped expedite his insanity.  Everyone knows Morry was already insane.  I was only helping.  Not my fault in the slightest.  Besides, he made a full recovery.  No lasting brain damagkfl,glf,

TRBldnknfkhpf GFGFDG kdkn n;dd [[[[fn2six

amage.)

Hopefully this update on the political situation and Razputin's whereabouts will do until I have time fo something more personal.  I imagine I'll see Raz and Gabe together when I eventually return to the agency.  Perhaps he'll remember who his REAL mentor is when I reappear, and lose this Gabe character.  While I'm sure Gabe is charming, I doubt he lacks the outdated and dangerous equipment I do, let alone the blatant disregard for Razputin's wellbeing.  You can hardly coddle a child and then expect them to save the world.

~ Sasha

 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
Dear Journal:

I never pictured myself running about Brazil with a supermodel searching for a possible non-existence person while being pursued by no less than three separate government agencies. Which proves an important point, I think. Which is that nothing is concrete. Not even for those of us who might glimpse the future.

Unfortunately my housing situation, as well as my refugee status, has made updates difficult, as most of you have probably noticed and already forgotten.

Happily I have heard recently from Ford that the agency, the one based in the States, is re-establishing itself. I suppose I might poke my head in. However, this whole mess has thoroughly disgusted me. The lies, and the broken promises, and the unfair detainments, and of course, the stray wanderers who were needlessly shot in the heat of the moment. This collapse of structure is the worse I have ever seen in my life; it is not as bad as the JPA decimations or the fall of the USSR, but nonetheless, it is unacceptable. Like many, I cannot see myself committing myself to the agency unless something really spectacular was presented to me. And what could it possibly be? Money? Money means nothing if there's a chance you could be shot in front of your children because of the possibly you "might" blow something up with your brain. (Also, I only did that a few times.) (Ah, well... more than a few. But that's also what I was paid to do, yes? You cannot train a dog to fight and then yell at it for snapping at you.)

In any case, as long as I have Milla... ach, listen to me, being sentimental. So silly. I might as well post something really ridiculous, if I'm going in that direction anyway.

For your entertainment:

The Book of Questions, by Gregory Stock, PHD

1. For a person you loved deeply, would you be willing to move to a distant country knowing there would be little chance of seeing your friends or family again?
I already have, so yes.

2. Do you believe in ghosts and evil spirits? Would you be willing to spend a night alone in a remote house that is supposedly haunted?
I do not believe in them, and yes, I would certainly spend the night in said house.

3. If you could spend one year in perfect happiness but afterward would remember nothing of the experience, would you do so?
I might have already and just don't remember.

4. If a new medicine was developed that would cure arthritis but cause a fatal reaction in 1% of those who took it, would you want it to be released to the public?
Yes.If the patients were probably informed, I cannot see it being a problem; those who didn't want to risk it could simply live in pain.

5. You discover your wonderful 1 yr old child is, because of a mixup at the hospital, not yours. Would you want to exchange the child to try to correct the mistake?
Being a scientist, I have this thing about protecting my genes. I would want my biological child.

6. Do you think the world will be a better or a worse place 100 years from now?
Worse. People are evolving to be stupider, fatter, and more selfish.

7. Would you rather be a member of a world championship team or be the champion of an individual sport? What sport would you choose?
If you do something right, you must do it yourself. Can my sport be a game of chess instead? I hardly have an athletic build.

8. Would you accept $1 million to leave the country and never set foot in it again?
Yes, but I think I'd regret it later. I love my country. I miss it.

9. Which sex do you think has it easier in our culture? Have you ever wishes you were of the opposite sex?
Men have it much easier. I am thankful that I don't have to concern myself with makeup, let alone things like birthing and menstruation. Sorry, ladies.

10. You are given the power to kill people simply by thinking of their deaths and twice repeating the word “goodbye.” People would die a natural death and no one would suspect you. are there any situations in which you would use this power?
I'm ashamed to admit I'd kill a lot of people.

11. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the body or the mind of a 30 yr old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
The body, as the brain stops maturing in your 20s.

12. What would constitute a “perfect” evening for you?
One without worry.

13. Would you rather be extremely successful professionally & have a tolerable yet unexciting private life, or have an extremely happy private life and only a tolerable and uninspiring professional life?
The former, naturally.

14. Whom do you admire more? In what way does that person inspire you?
Cassandra O'Pia, as she pioneered research in the field of telepathy. And of course Ford Cruller, though he tends to react poorly when I admit to admiring him. Not only a great scientist, Cruller's sacrificed himself for a cause he believes in time and time again, proving himself to be far less of a coward than I. Good show, old man!

15. If at birth you could select the profession your child would eventually pursue, would you do so?
It depends on whether my child would enjoy the profession I chose for them. However, overall, I think yes. I say this as the son of a shoemaker who nearly inherited the family business. Luckily, I am able to read minds.

16. Would you be willing to become extremely ugly physically if it meant you would live for 1,000 years at any physical age you chose?
No. I would get bored after the first few centuries. I see death as something of a great adventure. When my time comes, I'll be ready.

17. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one ability or quality, what would it be?
Subtlety, or the ability to not feel uncomfortable in emotionally tense situations. I am poorly equipped in these areas.

18. You have the chance to meet someone with whom you can have the most satisfying love imaginable- the stuff of dreams. Sadly, you know that in 6 months the person will die. Knowing the pain that would follow, would you still want to meet the person and fall in love?
I would.

19. What if you knew your lover would not die, but instead would betray you?
I probably would. But if she really loved me so much, why would she betray me? ...then again, I have been there.

20. If you knew of a way to use your estate, following your death, to greatly benefit humanity, would you do it and leave only a minimal amount to your family?
Yes.

21. Do you prefer being around men or women? Do your closest friends tend to be men or women?
I prefer the company of men. I relate to them better. Women, particularly pretty ones, distract me.

22. If you could use a voodoo doll to hurt anyone you chose, would you?
Yes.

23. While on a trip to another city, your spouse (or lover) meets and spends the night with an exciting stranger. Given that they will never meet again, and that you will not otherwise learn of the incident, would you want your partner to tell you about it?
Yes.

24. If the roles were reversed, would you reveal what you had done?
Yes, but it would take me some time and there would be a lot of hemming and hawing. Milla knows about everything I've ever done but it sometimes takes me a long time to talk about it.

25. Are there people you envy enough to want to trade lives with them?
Very many.

26. For an all expense paid 1 week vacation anywhere in the world, would you be willing to kill a beautiful butterfly by pulling off its wings?
No, I couldn't. This is a terrible question. (Also, even if it weren't beautiful, I still couldn't. Ugly moth or something, I still couldn't. Not even a fly.)

27. What about stepping on a cockroach?
I had a cockroach for a pet once.

28. Would you be willing to murder an innocent person if it would end hunger in the world?
Depends on the method of murder, I think. I'd have to meet the innocent and find out how much they annoy me.

29. If God appeared to you in a series of vivid and moving dreams and told you to leave everything behind, travel alone to the Red Sea and become a fisherman, what would you do?
Talk it over with a ton of people first and probably be convinced out of it by them. Sorry, God. I would want to be in the end my rational friends would probably convince me not to.

30. What if you were told to sacrifice your child?
No, I wouldn't even have to talk that one over.

31. What is your most treasured memory?
I don't know.

32. Have you ever hated anyone? If so, why and for how long?
Yes. Too many to list. I can be very vindictive.

33. Would you rather be given $10,000 for your own use or $100,000 to give anonymously to strangers?
The latter, provided I could ensure the strangers were not murderers.

34. If you knew there would be nuclear war in 1 week, what would you do?
Blog about it. Lol.

35. Would you accept 20 years of extraordinary happiness and fulfillment if it meant you would die at the end of the period?
Sure.

36. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
"Solving a rubix cube. Like, seriously, solving the whole thing." ~ Ceci

37. Is there anything you hope to do that is even better?
A lot. I cannot imagine this is the best it'll get.

38. Would you give up half of what you now own for a pill that would permanently change you so that 1 hour of sleep each day would fully refresh you?
If I could pick which stuff, then yes. But I wouldn't gamble half without knowing which half.

39. If you knew you could devote yourself to any single occupation- music, writing, acting, business, politics, medicine, etc- and be among the best and most successful in the world at it, what would you choose?
Ah, this is difficult. A toss-up between being a political activist for telepathic rights, and a respected scientist in the field of psychology.

40. If you knew you had only a 10% chance of being so successful would you still put in the effort?
Yes.

41. If you went to a dinner party and were offered a dish you had never tried, would you want to taste it even if it sounded strange and not very appealing?
Yes. Out of politeness only.

42. Do your close friends tend to be older or younger than you?
Older.

43. If the person you were engaged to marry had an accident and became a parapelegic, would you go thru with the marriage or back out of it?
I'd stick with her. She's stuck with me through worse.

44. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire; after saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any 1 item. What would it be?
Newspaper clippings.

45. How would you react if you were to learn that your mate had had a lover of the same sex before you knew each other?
I'd be like, "whoa, that's hawt."

~ Sasha
 
 
Location: Brazil
Listening to: Regina Spektor
 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
06 May 2009 @ 11:06 pm
Dear Journal:

April's come and gone. Rain continues to fall here, of course. Weather is not bound by the months.

Life here has taken up a nice routine. We are overcrowded. Many of the families that came later are sharing suites. As it is, Milla and I had to give our couch up to Chip so he could stay, and a young photokinetic is living on our balcony.

Otherwise it is exceptional here. There is still much talk about rebuilding the agency but only talk. The idea of an agency cannot quite yet outweigh the fear of it.

I must take a brief minute to describe the facilities here while Milla prepares our lunch. The halls are wide and airy and have very high ceilings. They are tiled, with large round columns supporting them, and ample skylights. Many have described it as a fancy hotel, a palace, and, in Milla's case, a mall.

We take long strolls up and down the length of the main facility's hallway sometimes. It takes us roughly twenty minutes to cross the space. Invariably, there are other couples wandering. I see Truman sometimes, no longer restricted to suits, leisurely wandering after Lily in Dockers and slightly scuffed sneakers as she races ahead. Children play here frequently. The acoustics and the height of the ceiling make it a favorite of levitators and echokinetics in particular.

I never imagined my life like this. I never imagined leaving the agency, nor being with the woman of my dreams, nor being a burden on a remote fledgling society in northern Africa. Isn't it amazing what fate decides to hand to us sometimes?

I do not know what has become of my old apartment, my possessions, or my roommate. I find I do not care. I'm content, like Truman, to walk these halls with my fiance and watch the sun setting from my balcony while enjoying a cold drink (being careful, of course, not to step on Lipika's bed).

Yes, I am confident things here will work out for the best. Loosed of my material wealth, I've found a certain amount of peace, and thanks to Milla, I've even began shrugging off my social anxieties. Which is not to say I still say "hm" far too much, have a tendency toward sociopathic uncaring, and still occasionally chew tobacco while smoking to ensure I meet my body's nicotine demands.

But it is a known fact that telepaths are given towards these sorts of anxieties, obsessions, tweaks, depressions, and fears, while levitators are what I would deem "clinically optimistic." All in all, Milla and I balance each other out perfectly. In each other we've found a missing puzzle piece (or, if you like, puzzle "peace") (oh, shut up, you know Germans aren't funny). It took us (well, mostly me) this many years to figure it out.

To think, Ford saw it from the beginning.

Enjoying life and taking it slow,
from Africa,

Sasha
 
 
Listening to: "She Moves in Her Own Way" by The Kooks
 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
13 March 2009 @ 09:12 am
Dear Journal:

I spent the first few days at UFAP being as pessimistic as possible to counter Milla's cheerfulness. Unfortunately, it did not pay off, as it turns out that UFAP is genuinely interested in resurrecting the agency, and not cooperating with the ex-PTU whatsoever.

The first of our meetings was held in their auditorium, if that is the right word. I was reminded of the sort of stage one might go to for a theatrical production; it was set low, and there were no less than three stories of balconies, excluding the enormous ground floor. I was vaguely reminded of the Hudson Theatre, for those who know what that is.

We were, of course, on our guard as we entered, but we needn't have bothered. Even if it had been a trap, it would not have mattered, because the room was packed with more than half of the psychics who had fled the PTU. At first glance, there was little to no order, but as I looked on, I could see some semblance of design. The families had flocked together on the peripherals of the room. Supporters of the PTU, but non-members, had taken to the balconies. It seemed most of the borderlines were there also, along with some flukes and small pockets of non-psychics who had had the misfortune of falling in love with psychics. Centerstage, on the ground floor, those without extended families had organized themselves by class, with the most common and volatile scattered at the front, and the rarer and less dangerous in the back. Some of the families had mingled awkwardly; I found the Zanottos with the Canolas, and noted that the Dooms and Sweetwinds had forced themselves together. (Chops looked crestfallen; Elka looked smug.) I searched the room, automatically, for JT Hoofburger, a friend of Chops who never wanders far. I was unable to locate him, though I noted the Booles, the Athens, the Phages, and the Tripes, all of whom had children who attended Whispering Rock. I also spotted Bobby Zilch, detached, apparently, from his mother, and undoubtedly up to no good. His usual sidekick, Benny, was nowhere in sight.

I was just beginning to look for Razputin when I felt a distinctive psychic nudge. It feels something like a mental tap on the shoulder, or a static shock. I turned toward it and scanned the rows. Ah, there: the telepathists were waving to me. I found Plancon, looking well-rested and well-fed; clearly, the ESP had been taking care of him. Davis and Wu looked worse for the wear; they had been on their own. Richardson was not present.

I turned to Milla, but she had already glided off. The chances of finding her were low, as the room was buzzing with psychic energy. Everyone was trying to find everyone else, and on top of this, the crowd was a rowdy one. Some of the echokinetics at the back of the theater insisted on announcing themselves with periodic rolls of thunder; people unable to reach their respective parties settled on telekinetically jettisoning things toward them, or, worse, levitating themselves. Somewhere, a larger group was shouting over and over, "Rights and pride equal resistance, ability, power, equality!" It was the sort of pandemonium that Milla adores and I abhor. I picked my way quietly toward my "group." They had saved several seats.

"Holding up alright?" asked Wu.

"Of course. You?"

"Not bad."

Small talk is always awkward when you can read thoughts and feel emotions. All of us were anxious and tired.

I made more small talk, waiting for the meeting to come to order. A small man with shiny chestnut skin eventually took the stage, but it took him over five minutes to call attention to himself; in the end, he gave up, went offstage, came back with a gas tank, and blew it up.

Everyone was silent; he used aerokinesis to create a vacuum, and without oxygen, the explosion died immediately. In the back, several shouted their slogan about rights and pride one more time.

Milla slide next to me. "Isn't this exciting?" she chirped.

"Hm," I said.

"That song they're singing is Survival Story," she added.

"What? It's a song?"

"Yeah, it's on one of my CDs about rape!"

I blinked, trying to reconcile her cheery voice with the words it was saying. ("one of?" How many rape CDs can she have? It's true, what they say about work in the field making you go a little bit morbid.) Also, I was trying to figure out who decided to use a slogan from a song about rape. Though of course, the slogan was a very good one.

The man onstage introduced himself and explained why they were hosting the meeting: the PTU is enormous, and all the other agencies combined do not have the resources to care for all the displaced PTU agents. He described the PTU as a phoenix, about to rise from its own ashes; was this not the perfect opportunity to expand, fix all the problems that had been present before? It was, according to him, in the best interest of all the nation's agencies to support the resurrection of the PTU, for both the protection of all North American psychics, and also for the protection of other agencies which would otherwise overexert themselves in their attempts to protect the influx of ex-PTU members.

It was a very good speech. After it ended, the room erupted into chaos again. Everyone agreed we needed a new PTU, a better PTU. But everyone still disagrees about what the new PTU will be like.

"It'll just get taken over by the non-psychics again!" yelled one person.

"They treat us like horses there! I, for one, am sick of having to do all their work for them! What have they ever done for us?"

"We've been a minority for too long! We ought to be bossing them around!"

I was shocked by the amount of non-psychic sentiment. It only escalated.

"Hey, my wife is non-psychic!"

"Traitor!"

"You're the traitor, you EFP ass-kisser!"

"Fluke!"

"Freak!"

"Whore!"

Two of the kinetic classes began fighting, while in the back of the room, another fight was erupting:

"You're not putting Truman back in, are you? He threw us to the non-psychics!"

"He's a terrible Head! I want a new Head!"

"I want a Boole!"

"The Booles are crazy, I want a pyro!"

"All pyros are crazy, you're crazy!"

"I'll kill you!"

Milla and I excused ourselves before it got out of hand. So far, all three meetings have been this way. No one can agree on a leader; no one can agreed how much non-psychic intervention there should be; most refuse to talk to the American government at all. But classism has divided us badly. The pyros won't talk to the telekinetics; the transpsychics won't talk to the DTs because it was a DT who called one of the Booles crazy; the psychometrics didn't even come to the last meeting, except one woman named Tamara, who has now been labeled a traitor and forced to sit with the fluke clairvoyants.

So this meeting is indeed legit but it will take a very, very long time to re-establish the agency.

I do hate disorder.

Milla's made many new friends. "I told you,darling, I told you it was all okay! Why are you always such a grumpy ladybug? I knew it wasn't some silly trap. You're so paranoid!"

Of course.

~ Sasha
 
 
Location: Africa
Mood: cynicalcynical
Listening to: Xpose, one of Milla's rape CDs
 
 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
07 March 2009 @ 09:07 am
Dear journal:

We came to UFAP HQ with bright eyes and high hopes. UFAP did not disappoint is.

I have only been to UFAP once, I think, and that was before they renovated and expanded their new HQ. Upon entering, I actually stopped in my tracks.

When UFAP first started, its HQ was unimpressive. Now, the HQ is a work of art. Modeled in a sort of post-modern Mediterranean style, everything is crisp and clean, white, airy, and open. Rather than building one large building, the building (more accurately, buildings) sit on an enormous plot of land behind an iron gate. Arranged in an almost-circle around a brick drive, the tallest is only six stories high. the main building is four stories. I entered and my gaze was drawn up; in the middle of the main building, the four stories go straight up. The second story looks down on it from a railing, and indeed, there were a few leaning on it, watching the activity below them placidly. The third story jutted out over that, its walls glass, its offices unhidden; and above that, the fourth story jutted out only very slightly, leaving room for an elegant swirled pane of glass in the ceiling, through which sunlight filtered down to the first floor.

Most of the rooms on the first floor were open. There were doors, but most slide up or to the side, giving the impression there were none. The ground was a mosaic too large to determine what it actually was.

I heard the click of Chip's camera next to me.

"Wow," he breathed.

I felt a twinge of annoyance.

"It looks nice, but the PTU leads in technology," I informed him.

"Uh-huh," said Chip without looking at me. He had craned his neck and was taking a photo of the ceiling.

"Come on," I mumbled grudgingly, grabbing his arm and pulling him after me.

HQ was busy. Here and there walked people, most, thankfully, not dressed as professionally as one would have expected. Even so, people turned to stare; Chip and I, unshaven, were something of a wreck from our journeuy, and of course still had backpacks. we looked like wayward hikers. Ford, with his bulging eye, lopsided face, and strange gait did not help.

As we walked (the HQ may not have been tall, but it was long; you could not see the end to the main hallway, and it was wide enough to have driven a pair of cars down), I observed our surroundings. Many people were there, walking in groups, wearing everything and speaking every language imaginable. I could hear music floating from the second story, but the din of the first story caused the melody to be lost. Somewhere, I heard something that sounded vaguely like a sword being forged; as we rounded a corner, I found two builders chiseling away directly at the stone tile floor, expanding the mosaic. Both smiled.

"Sasha!" called Ford as I began wandering forward. He grabbed my arm and swung me around. We were facing the public bathrooms.

"Oh, yes."

A moment later we'd discarded our backpacks and were attempting to make ourselves look presentable. Chip stuck his head under the water, then stuck his hair under a hand dryer, then, after a moment of contemplation, took a picture of the hand dryer.

I settled for a clean shave and a change of clothes. No matching jacket; I had to make due with shirt sleeves and slacks.

"So..." I began casually. "You mentioned... Agent Vodello might...?"

"Aw, go ahead and look for her, lovebird," blurted Ford. "She's here."

I cleared my throat in the most dignified way I could muster. "Of course that's not my first priority. First we ought to... ah... get our things taken care of."

Ford rolled his good eye. "I'll do it, Sasha. Go get 'er, cowboy."

Chip laughed while I bristled.

We left the restrooms; Ford levitated all of our meagre luggage and walked off, whistling a senseless tune, while Chip and I continued down the hall.

At first, romantically, I attempted to search for her by sight. However, without my glasses, this proved difficult. Chip attempted to warn me when I approached the wrong woman, but I've grown so used to ignoring him, his protests fell on deaf ears.

Finally, after going from brown-haired woman to brown-haired woman like some sort of demented connect-the-dot line, I cheated: telepathically, I sifted through dozens of frequencies until I found hers.

"Got her," I said, eyes shut, fingers pressed against my temple. Behind my closed eyelids, I saw a flash from Chip's camera.

"Doesn't that ever run out of film?" I asked him as we walked briskly down the hall.

"It's digital," said Chip, then added, "I always keep at least a hundred memory chips."

"Ah, I see." I was only speaking with him to distract myself. How long it's been since I've seen her. What a nightmare these last few months have been. Finally, I was somewhere clean and cultured, with actual art, with actual intelligent minds surrounding me. As if I'd died and gone to heaven. Chip disproved my theory, of course. I continued toward Milla, aware of my heart beating. I was shaking slightly.

"Chip," I said, with a deep breath, "please, don't ruin this for me."

Chip saluted. "You got it, champ."

I walked toward her. She felt me before I was close enough for her face to appear clearly to me. (Note to self: get new glasses. Soon.)


"Sasha!" I heard. Then, click click click click click click.

Then there was her face and her hands and her hair.

I stiffened. Social situations always do this to me.

"Agent Vodello," I said, out of habit.

She slapped me. I clinked.

"Milla!" she hissed.

"Milla," I echoed, dazed. For good measure, I added, "my love."

She laughed. "Oh, Sasha." She hugged me, bone-crushingly. "Ford told me you were coming, Sasha, that's the only reason--"

"Hey, Sasha, didn't Ford tell you she was coming?" asked Chip loudly.

Milla froze.

"Why, that..." I began. But Milla cut me off with another hug, slipping her hand in mind. We looked over each other. Milla was, of course, dazzling. Wearing a soft grey and blue dress, a swishy one, her hair tumbling over her shoulders, her makeup perfectly applied. She looked me over. I allowed myself to feel embarrassed. Then, sensing we hadn't seen each other in sometime, I blurted,

"Milla. I don't care about the agency."

"What?"

"I mean, of course, I certainly do, but much more important, Milla... you see, the ESP, well, you were not there and so I... I... scheisse... Milla, don't you understand?"

She gave me a blank look.  I realized suddenly that Milla had been with two other women.  One was holding her iPod for her.  The headphones were bright, metallic pink.  Oh, Gott. 

"Milla, I don't know what to say," I said, my voice rising to a nearly unitelligible pitch.  "But I do love you, and will you marry me?"

It is difficult to say whether I knelt at this point, or just fell only one knee.

Milla might have had tears in her eyes, but without my glasses, it is hard to say.

"Yes," she said, voice oddly strangled. 

I dropped the ring while putting it on her finger.

"Oh, congratulations," said a random passerby.

And that was that.

Unspectacular, I know.  Poor Milla.  She does deserve so much better.

But what can I say?  I've never been good at these things.

"Oh!" exclaimed Chip.  He tried to take a picture.  I snapped the camera out of his hands telepathically before the flash went off.

Now, journal, I am comfortably in my own suite.  The rooms here are set up almost like a hotel, with private kitchenettes, living spaces, and bathrooms off of the bedroom.  I gave Chip mine and opted to move in with Milla.  The weather here is pleasant, journal.  Very warm, undoubtedly in the eighties.  Overcast, though Milla says it's mostly sunny.  She says I should invest in shorts, but I have no intention of doing so.  Milla and I leave the windows open all day and every night; it never gets below sixty.  The birds outside always seem to be awake.

I like it here.

Whatever happens now, right now I'm happy.

~ Sasha

PS - If Chip tries to take one more picture of anyone doing anything "psikik, omg," I will kill him.
 
 
Location: Africa
Mood: contentcontent
Listening to: Regina Spektor
 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
05 March 2009 @ 10:31 am
Dear Journal:

My title is a clever reference. I am proud of myself for coming up with it.

First, I must apologize for any typos. I am not wearing my glasses and the computer screen is roughly two inches further from my face than arm's length. My vision only extends so far as arm's length before the well-defined lines of words blur into a foggy gray.

I think I knew when I first heard that I would go. Even after the agency collapsed, after Truman was disposed of, after myself and the others had taken refuge in hiding... you would think I would be clever enough not to. But the moment I heard of a meeting at UFAP, no matter how much like a trap it seemed, I think I knew I would go. Where else is there for me? After all, I abandoned my life when I was twelve to seek out others like myself. Why shouldn't I do the same now, at the tender age of thirty-nine?

I have had little contact with UFAP, They are the newest of agencies, the United Federation of African Psychics. Though the official founding date is sketchy, most agree the "official" founding was in the 1990s. Pioneering psychic detection and psychometrics, their scientific exploits I can vouch for. Their credibility I cannot. While they may be working with our former agency, the PTU, to round us all up again, they also might genuinely hope to see us re-establish ourselves. The only way to know will be to go to their meeting.

So it was quite unnecessary of Ford to say what he said.

"Milla's going."

I would have gone anyway, you know.

But the mention of her name sealed the deal. Dear Milla. We haven't seen each other in so long and I'm no longer sure you would even recognize me. But I aim to meet you again, trap or no trap, legitimate meeting or none.

Many of the others decided not to go: Osterius, for one.

"Seen it too many times, Sash," he told me wearily as we packed. "I'd rather stay safe in this shack in the mountains than risk my hide again."

I nodded. I really can't understand it. All I've ever kn own was the security of the PTU. My parents were not psychic and did not entertain me with stories of the genocide that occurred when the USSR fell, or the decimations that periodically happened at the JPA up through the twentieth century. Maybe it's foolish of me not to worry like the others. But I don't.

So we parted ways and wished each other luck. And while Osterius and Mingshu and most of the rest left the Estate to trek up the mountain, presumably to a safer location (because, if I am captured and my mind read, they'll know where the Estate is and go there), myself and Ford and Jack and Chap made our way downward.

It was slow going. When I was younger, my feet carried me tirelessly north. Suffering from insomnia and fearful of my superpowers (what child wouldn't think he had superpowers if he had what I did?), I sometimes spent up to fourteen hours a day walking. Now, pushing forty and less terrified of being found by the police and brought back home to my father, I can afford the luxury of walking slowly. Ford, roughly twice my age, made better work of it than I did. At first I thought his balence was impeccable; then I realized he was very slowly levitating himself down the mountain. Jack and I stuck to our climbing. A stupid display of male bravado. Chip, sadly not psychic, huffed after us, his camera swinging crazily from his neck.

All I could think of is, we must be insane. We four are walking into a certain trap In freezing weather. Down a mountain. This is worse than a death march. We're madmen. Irrationally hopeful. Several times, I thought of turning back and joining back up with the others, the others who have turned their backs on the former agency and plan to hide away forever. But something made me keep going, even after my legs screamed in protest and the blisters on my feet burst.

Certainly, we're mad. There is no other reason we continued our hike downward.

It was cold. Did I mention that? Wearing layers, coats, gloves (always gloves for psychics), and scarfs pulled over our mouths, we still shuddered. Jack got frostbite. Poor Jack. This is not his battle. He's only here for comfort. He has the ESP to return to.

Luckily, that was the longest part of our journey. The rest was easy. A train ticket. A plane ticket. Simple psychic tricks to feign passports and cross borders. Chip proved invaluable; an unremarkable and normal man, he can scout ahead, buy us what we need, lead us safely to our next checkpoint. Chip does not want to see us arrested. There's no story in that. Chip wants to go to Africa to see more psychics.

The meeting is supposed to be the seventh. At least, that's what we heard. Some heard the sixth. But I imagine that, even if it is the sixth, they'll push it back so that all those who came erroneously on the seventh won't miss anything.

I'm at most 48 hours from seeing Milla and perhaps getting my job (my life) back. I hope the UFAP comes through for us. All of my muscles ache from the hike down the mountain from the Estate, though that was days ago. I have to balence my weight to the left, as my right foot is all but destroyed. I'm not as young as I once was. When we get to UFAP headquarters, I will be able to update as I once did. We'll have real beds, computers... running water. Thankfully. I look terrible with a beard.

~ Sasha
 
 
Location: Egypt
Mood: busybusy
 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
18 February 2009 @ 11:14 am
Poll #1351391 Does this seem suspiciously like a trap?

UFAP is hosting a meeting for all the previously-employed PTU agents. Sounds fishy. Is it a trap?

Yes. Don't go.
5(18.5%)
Yes, but you should still go.
12(44.4%)
No. Go cautiously.
7(25.9%)
No, but don't go. It'll only waste your time.
0(0.0%)
You're paranoid, Agent Nein.
3(11.1%)


Dear Journal:

Today Ford informed us that UFAP (the United Federation of African Psychics) is hosted a non-partisan meeting for all previously-employed psychonauts. The idea is to decide what to do about the collapse of the North American agency, whether we should try to fix it or re-establish it or give it up for lost or what.

Most of us are suspicious. UFAP doesn't stand to gain anything by hosting this meeting, do they? UFAP is the newest of agencies. Who knows; perhaps they are working with the American government to round us up and bring us back. Going there is a risk. If word gets out to non-psychics, we could be ambushed by going. This could end very badly.

Then again, Ford was the one who mentioned it, and I do trust Ford. But even Ford can't know for certain, can he?

The meeting is in March, so I have time yet to decide. Thoughts, LiveJournal?

As Ford said, "You never know if you can fly unless you jump, Sasha." Oh, eccentric Ford. What would I do without you?

Best case scenario: the agency is reestablished and I can come out of hiding.
Worst case scenario: it's a trap and I end up in psychic prison, insane from continuous psitanium injections.

Bah. These stakes are too high. I can tell this will be a decision I will agonize over for some time.

~ Sasha
 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
09 February 2009 @ 12:06 pm
Because it was requested of me, I present a timeline detailing the collapse of the agency.

Oct 22, 07: The first sample of psitanium-laced cocaine is found in a nightclub in Pittsburgh. The sample is sent to an FBI lab for analysis.

Oct 24, 07: Several members of the FBI go insane after prolonged exposure to the sample.

early morning Oct 26, 07: The sample is routed to the PTU.

Oct 26, 07: The sample is confirmed to have psitanium in it.

Oct 27, 07: More samples found in five different east coast cities.

Oct 30, 07: Three more samples found. All samples are sent directly to the PTU.

Sept 4, 07: Several PTU agents are briefed on the case, including Agent Davis, Chen, Richardson, and Aquato.

Sept 5, 07: Truman first gives Milla and I the case briefing.

Sept 6, 07: Lutefisk, Wu, and Plancon are added to the case after two more samples are uncovered by the non-psychic police during a regular drug bust in Baltimore.

Sept 7, 07: Agent Kowalski begins helping us change our identities to go undercover. There are a total of nine of us on the case.

Sept 10, 07: The team goes undercover.

Sept 25, 07: I make contact with a girl named Sunshine.

Oct 8, 07: Sunshine introduces me to a cocaine supplier named Damien.

Oct 11, 07: The agency discovers that the psitanium was being smuggled from the agency itself by an agent named Foster. Foster is immediately arrested. Our team is instructed to terminate the sting. We refuse.

Oct 12, 07: Security is more than doubled. ID cards are changed. Everyone is subject to random searches.

Oct 14, 07: I obtain drugs from Damien and learn that he is a psychic, which explains why he is not insane after long-term exposure to psitanium.

Oct 23, 07: I meet with Damien, who turns out to be Viktor Korbel. The psitanium turned out to be bait for us, which we foolishly took. One of Korbel's partners died; two were jailed; Viktor got away. All of us had severe injuries, and I received a psitanioum injection, rendering me psychically useless for some time.

end of 2007: Milla and I are busy with other cases. Security at the agency continues to get stricter.

March 30, 2008: Evidence of classism surfaces. I get into a fight with another fluke and write a blog entry about it. Many labs and store rooms have become restricted, as well as certain servers on our computer system.

April 2008: Truman sneakily fills out the paperwork to move Whispering Rock camp to Canadia, fearful that the agency will collapse and the children will be taken into government custody.

end of May 2008: WR camp starts.

June 2008: "Unstable" psychics begin receiving subpoenas from the Anomalous Cognitive Mental Health Screening Department.

June 19, 2008: Ford Cruller is subpoenaed by the ACMHSD.

early July, 2008: Several "radical" but not unstable psychics are called into court. Among them, Salvador Canola. I am required to testify for him. Ford goes into hiding.

late August, 2008: Agent Caliendo is court marshalled.

Oct 5, 2008: Truman is asked to resign. He is replaced with a non-psychic.

Oct 6, 2008: Agent Richardson disappears, taking himself and his family into hiding.

Oct 12, 2008: Agent Davis goes into hiding.

Oct 22, 2008: The agency collapses completely after (supposedly) someone accidentally ventured into a restricted storage area and tripped an alarm. Families that are not already in hiding go into hiding. The families that do not escape are rounded up by the agency and sent to the psychic prison in the midwest for holding.

Oct-Nov 2008: The ESP, EFP, and JPA get a record number of requests for asylum. Overwhelmed, they struggle to help as many psychics as possible.

Nov 20, 2008: The JPA offers Milla amnesty.

Dec 2008: Plancon and I are offered amnesty by the ESP. I am holed away in a storage room in the ESP because they do not have enough room to give me a proper livingspace.

January 2009: I forfeit my amnesty and go on the run. Myself and twelve others end up living in hiding in a crappy little shack. I miss Milla.

February 2009: I construct a timeline. Ford finds us and joins us. We burn books for warmth and now have nothing to read. Ford seems strangely optimistic about our situation and insists that he thinks the agency will revive itself by 2010. I remain cynical.
 
 
Agent Sasha Nein
05 February 2009 @ 04:32 pm
Dear Journal:

Please excuse any typos, as I have broken my left wrist. That is a boring story and not the subject of this entry.

The subject of this entry is Ford Cruller. I did not have to track him down, as he tracked us down.

I remember it quite well as it was on a morning when we had hot water.

Our current location is really little more than a shack. For security reasons I cannot say whether the walls are dreary stone or depressing wood, but I assure you, whichever one it is, it is damp and in places has things growing on it. The shack (affectionately called "The Estate" by those of us who live here) is about three rooms big, but they merge awkwardly into each other. The "entrance" is a sort of hallway or foyer, and the "main" room is a combination living space/bedroom. We have our cots lined along the floor, barracks-style. Most of us have obtained mattresses or at least some sort of stacked blanket affair, though two are still sleeping on their clothes as beds. The third room is the bathroom. It was designed for one person with poor hygiene. There are twelve of us (including Chip).

The water runs fairly regularly, though there have been days we got none. Hot water, however, is a luxury. Hot water comes irregularly, perhaps an average of once every two weeks. When it does, the Estate explodes with sudden activity. The men normally shower first; there are less of us, and we take less time. Then the women. Hot water stirs the entire Estate into a frenzy. Things like privacy and personal space are discarded as everyone scrambles to collect hot water for cooking and washing and cleaning. Some of the women still shave their legs. Why, I have no idea. It's perfectly illogical. No one will see their legs here. Perhaps it is a matter of personal pride. It strikes me as the sort of thing Milla would do, worry about the appearance of her legs even when in imminent danger.

I was in the shower; the Estate has a small shower and a exceptionally smaller sink. I was rinsing my hair, attempting not to bump into either Mingshu's hand, which was holding a pot under the shower in front of me, or Jacob, who was behind me trying to shave as quickly as possible. (I've given up shaving, myself. Unless we contract lice, there is no reason not to keep one. It's extra effort to shave one, and by now, all the razors we're sharing have gone dull.)

Then came the shout from the living room.

Mingshu's nearly-filled pot dropped, and she and Viv jumped for the small, high window against the south window. Jacob and I sprung out of the shower; we had a brief fight over a towel on the floor, which I won; I dried myself in less than a few seconds and pulled on the nearest set of clothes, which were not mine. And I ran into the entrance hall. For what reason I cannot say. We agreed a long time ago that, if ever found out, it was each man for himself; that those who could run would run, and no one would play the hero.

But in my panic I must have forgotten, so I ran to the front room, ready to fight, fingertips already tingling, ready to psiblast whoever it was into the next century.

And there stood Ford Cruller, in a ski mask and a heavy winter coat, an enormous pack over his back, his crooked, lop-sided grin taking up the majority of his face. Even with the hat and scarf and gloves and mask, it was unmistakeably him: his asymmetrical, thin, wiry frame, and his psychic frequency. I would have recognized it anyway.

"It's you," I said, more rudely than I meant to. Terror had subsided into a combination of relief, anger, and embarrassment. mostly relief, I suppose, that The Estate was still secure and that no one had died or been arrested.

He only laughed, a wheezy chuckle, and gave me a brief hug, pulling off his ski mask to reveal his eyes: a gray color similar to mine, one bulging slightly, a wound from an old battle.

I went to rinse the suds from my hair, but the water had already gone cold. I also discovered the towel I had used was dirty and I was covered in hair and dirt from it. I rinsed as well as I could in the icy water, while the others realized that those who had run had no idea that it was only Ford, and would probably not come back. So the estate went on a sort of search and rescue mission, and one of them took a fireball to the face by one of the girls, but in the end everyone came home and, after our panic had subsided, we were thrilled to see Ford. Aside from offering his seniority and wisdom, he had brought us many things we desperately needed: soap, for one, and food, and blankets, and coffee, and a dozen little necessities like matches and thread and needles which you don't think of until you don't have them and can't obtain them. It was something like Christmas morning. We nearly immediately began going through the food; everything has been tightly rationed here, especially since more and more have been coming here. The food situation was approaching a desperate state.

For himself, Ford had brought along psitanium, the liquid kind used to keep prisoners from rebelling. While we all filled in each other by the fire that night, he casually pulled his belt around his upper arm and injected the solution in like a world-weary heroin addict.

"Doesn't that hurt?" I asked. "I was once injected and couldn't stand it."

"Not so badly. Beats being insane. Brains over brawn, you know, Sasha."

"But psychic powers arise from brains, not brawn," said Osterius.

"Calling them powers now, eh? Not 'abilities?'" asked Ford. His eyes crinkled around the edges as he smiled. "Showing some psychic pride, now that we're hunted?"

"Why not? It's about all we have left."

"Oh, I wouldn't say that. I think things are going to get better," said Ford wisely, leaning back.

"Why?" asked several people in unison. Chip leaned forward, pen poised above his notebook. Since coming here, he's already filled two with notes about our illegal existence. He's in a sort of demented Enquirer heaven.

"Just a feeling," said Ford elusively, and then he distracted those of us who smoked by pulling out several packs of cigarettes. I have not questioned him any further on the subject. He has already provided us with much information about the ESP, the JPA, the (now disbanded) PTA. The ESP is becoming crippled under the influx of PTA refugees, and because of it, is becoming uncharacteristically totalitarian, struggling to keep control of itself while still providing amnesty to those who need it.

Unfortunately I cannot say anymore and have been online much longer than I meant. Posts are dangerous, and not simply because each one could potentially be tracked, but also because, in order to get the internet, I have to travel more than 25 miles from The Estate. It is a safe and isolated place, but regrettably far from a Duane Reade. I would probably voluntarily break my other wrist in return for a carton of Marlboros.

~ Sasha