- What sort of person sits down and writes a maniacal laugh? And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head.
- —Salzella, Maskerade by Terry Pratchett
The Department of Fictional Psychology is dedicated to assisting canon characters and agents to recover from the various forms of trauma and insanity that may afflict them. It is co-headed by the Kudzu and Doctor Freedenberg (who, among other qualifications, has legs). Its staff are called nurses. The department bears the sign of the Multiple Exclamation Points in black on white.
The department is located in Section 31. The entrance is a semi-circular anteroom with three hallways going off from the left-center, left, and right, with a nurses' station between the left-center and right-hand hallways. The halls lead to Units A, B, and C, respectively.
- Unit A houses both the primary ward for canon characters and the secondary ward for agents. Both the primary and secondary wards are strictly outpatient. There is a small inpatient contingent, but because they are best kept in peaceful solitude, the location of their ward is need-to-know only.
- Unit B contains storage and other facilities, including the infamous No-Drool Videos in room B-9. "Storage" does indeed mean Bleeprin and similar products. It is extremely inadvisable to search for them, for they are quite well-guarded. As of 2012, Room B-4 houses a small number of cats and/or cat-shaped minis that agents may visit by appointment with Nurse Immac, who looks after them.
- Unit C holds offices and living space for FicPsych personnel. Rumors that the offices and living space are in any way separate are the product of overactive imaginations. Naturally, C-1 and C-2 are occupied by the Kudzu and Dr. Freedenberg, respectively. Unit C also contains communal bathrooms and showers, such as in a dormitory, and a nurses' lounge/break room with a kitchenette and replicator.
FicPsych divides time into three shifts, roughly eight hours each depending on the day and who's counting. The morning shift begins at what some would arbitrarily consider 6:00 am and ends at 2:00 pm. The day shift runs from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The night shift runs from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am. Of course, anyone is welcome to set their own clock to a different time if it makes them feel better about when they have to be awake, just as long as they work the shifts they're supposed to. A typical day's schedule can be viewed here.
Most of the nurses (including Dr. Freedenberg) divide their shifts between office hours and rounds in the two wards. A nurse may see canon characters or agents in their office, though some focus on one or the other. A typical office visit lasts about 45 minutes.
Rounds mostly consist of checking in on the canon characters and agents currently assigned to beds and making sure they're as comfortable as possible. Also, someone always has to be at the front desk to receive incoming patients. It's rare for only one nurse to be on the ward at a time, so whoever shares the shift can work things out between themselves.
Working in FicPsych often requires quick thinking and flexibility, and the nurses are not at all immune to the Narrative Laws. Agents can turn up with traumatized canons, or other agents, or themselves, at any time. No-shows for office appointments are fairly common, since agents can be sent on missions at any time (not to mention those who deliberately avoid coming in).
FicPsych is kind of a weird dorm/fraternity/family forged by the unique challenges of life in the department. A culture of intense cooperation—everyone covering for and looking after everyone else—is the norm. As in any group obliged to spend loads of time together, some personal friction is inevitable, but a good balance of personalities and good management ensure that conflicts don't often escalate out of hand. Some of the nurses also like to engage in a bit of good-natured messing with each other, which eases tensions. In crisis situations, the staff are expected to pull out all the stops to ensure a positive outcome for their clients and themselves, and they do.
Some staff are prone to working longer hours than are strictly required. Others actually have lives outside of the department! Amazingly, both seem to be accepted within reason.
The Department of Fictional Psychology was headed by the Geranium until roughly mid-2002. The Kudzu Vine became the Floral director of FicPsych sometime between mid-2002 and December 2002. Although the facts surrounding the Geranium's retirement are unclear, it may be that this was when the Department of Psychology, about which very little is known except that it existed concurrently with FicPsych in 2002, merged into the larger department. The change in directors also roughly corresponds with the introduction of Bleeprin to the PPC and with FicPsych beginning to see agents in addition to canon characters, though both were still unusual as of July 2003.
The 2008 Blackout, Macrovirus Epidemic, and Mary Sue Invasion all disrupted FicPsych severely. Two nurses died during the Epidemic, and the survivors fought off a group of marauding Suvians that found their way to the department. Dr. Freedenberg himself wielded two Muggle-use wands in the fight, ultimately carrying the day.
- The Kudzu Vine is mainly in charge of processing the department's traffic of agents and canons. Official documents require her signature. She rarely interferes with the actual work of the department, though she has been known to take an interest in very unusual specimens from badfic.
- Dr. Freedenberg is technically required to oversee the treatment of all FicPsych's patients, whether he works with them personally or not. He often takes an active role in the rehabilitation of recruits who come in severely traumatized. The doctor has his office in room C-2, which actually consists of an anteroom for dealing with patients and a separate work and living space beyond. The anteroom is bright egg-yolk yellow. His personal secretary is a Hooloovoo called Frank.
- Suzine Sachs is not technically a director, but as Head Nurse, she is responsible for knowing what is going on where and with whom and what at any given time—no easy task. She works closely with the Kudzu and Dr. Freedenberg.
- Jennifer Robinson is a full-time employee of the department who joined in 2003. She mainly works with recruits and agents. She is also a healer, and can deal with minor to moderate wounds and afflictions.
- Leon Barker is a full-time employee of the department. His primary job is to kick out people who turn up just to try scoring free Bleeprin.
- Mirrad, formerly known only as "some idiot from the Department of Psychology," had a run-in with Agent Acacia in 2002. He is the proud owner of one of Acacia's sandals. Being a Ranger, he's the only nurse with formal combat training.
- Nathonea Dewstan is a full-time employee of the department. She was assimilated by the Borg briefly and still has some Borg implants. She is the most sympathetic of the staff.
Records from this department are listed on the Complete List of PPC Fiction, Department of Fictional Psychology.
Records from other departments that touch on FicPsych:
- "At the Sign of the Multiple Exclamation Points" by NenyaQuende, Jul 31, 2003
- Agent Nenya Gabriel spends a night in FicPsych and helps out the next day.
- The Adventures of Agent Ginger, Chapter 2: "Interviews, Appointments and Annoyances," by Oracle, Dec 23, 2003
- Agent Ginger visits Doctor Kinkade.
- "Therapy Cats" by Neshomeh, Feb 28, 2012
- "PPC Bleepka Bar," role-play between Neshomeh and Tungsten Monk, Jun 28–Aug 5, 2011
- "Gestalt Therapy" by Neshomeh, Aug 31, 2009
- "More PPC Archival Stuff" by Meg Thornton; rehosted on the PPC LiveJournal by Araeph Sep 10, 2005
- "Tales from Despatch" by Meg Thornton, latest update Jun 24, 2002; the information in "More PPC Archival Stuff" is current with the information in the spin-off.
- "The Dark Elf" by Jay and Acacia, Dec 27, 2002
- "At the Sign of the Multiple Exclamation Points" by NenyaQuende, Jul 31, 2003
- "Sisterhood" by Jay and Acacia, May 10, 2002