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Universe W-2020: The Psychenauts 8
April 27th, 2020
Don’t Mind Tripping

Two Possibilitites

“I saw…  what did I see?”

Ace pulls a skinny bamboo shoot out of nowhere. He sticks the tip into Sam’s right nostril and then puffs air into it, repeating for the left nostril. As his purple face pulls back and he launches himself towards the other side of the spaceship, Sam feels a burning in his nose. He sneezes and blood coated in green powder splatters in his hands, dirtying his palms and stickying his fingers. Sam then falls back and goes into convulsions, his mouth spewing salivic foam, his legs kicking at nothing, his arms tightening and releasing, his hands balling into fists and then relaxing.

Then he goes still and raises a hand. Ace returns and takes it.

As he’s pulling the human up, “I have a question for you, Sam. Do you mind tripping?”

Sam looks around at the other four Psychenatus who suddenly populate the room. The couches and table are gone, there’s a fire pit roaring with flames in the center, all the extraterrestrials wear tribal masks reminiscent of Peruvian Amazonia, and Ace leans back and forth in place, holding a bowl and a tray, the bowl spilling over with brown liquid and the tray covered in toad venom.

“I sure don’t mind tripping, buddy” Sam says gleefully, mentally interrogating everyone inside the ship (and the ship herself), trying to figure what just happened with the whole nose powder thing.

“You were having doubts, so you had to be cleansed,” as Ace dusts the toad venom and enriches the Ayahuasca. “Now drink.”

Sam drinks.

He waits.

The Psychenauts wait.

Nothing happens.

“Why the fuck is nothing happening?”

“There are two possibilities, Sam.”

Ace removes his wooden mask and drops his leer to the floor. The other Psychenauts disappear. The inside of the ship morphs and contorts, shrinks, then closes in on Sam and Ace. The technology becomes primitive, water leaks from seamless cracks in the hull, there’s a draft from the engine bay.

“One, when you hit your head tripping on the eL-eSs-Dee that day, you accidentally programmed your brain to constantly produce Dee-eM-Tee, and ingesting the substance no longer affects you.”

Sam falls to the floor and the last traces of the Psychenaut’s ship disappears. Ace begins to disintigrate, the atoms in his feet breaking their bonds and falling away with the crisscrossed cascading streams of oxygen.

“Ace, no! Where are you going, I need you here! You’re my best friend!”

“Or, two, the more likely potentiality,” as Ace looks up to Sam. “We’re not friends, Ace isn’t my name, and you’ve been tripping this whole time.”