Hidden 6 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by RainbowFizz
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RainbowFizz But her peace of mind can’t stay inside the lines

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Synthetic Eden Organisation

Have you ever felt that something wasn’t quite right? That the world you grew up has orchestrated your every thought and move? That the society has indoctrinated our thoughts whilst those that have resisted have been rendered docile through atonement?

The current world would not have you think like that. Going with the motions earned you mutual respect. Or what some might say, was a pat on the back.

The red pilled brigade were either punished for such thought crimes, or kept quiet in fear of being chastised.

The little people punished and bled dry of their finances, well-being and livelihood all for the bigger people in the game to stay above and beyond float in this gross imbalance.

This was the dystopian society humans, anthros, animals and androids found themselves in the world they were living in today.

———————-

New Ennisberg, CBD

’Tick, tock, tick, tock.’

The drone of’ end of day’ novelties chimed through Xell’s partially numb and partially heavy mind. A fleeting presence. A short burst of dopamine that quickly dissipated before it could be acknowledged. Let alone embraced. A token of hope to carry him through yet day.

His azure eyes that carried a reminiscent glimmer of former upbeat drawled across the corroded floor. Auto pilot dragging his gaze amongst a myriad of worn, moth eaten shoes of various leather and canvas material. Black and white checkered earning the prize of the most lively pair. Belonging to a being who was hard to decode underneath its oversized and shapeless hoody. Wiry fingers, with skin torn scabby cuticles scrolling through the phone feed. White screen outlining its form within this dark vicinity. A wasting part of limbs that looked as if it had picked up anything but food for the last few days.

The dragon lifted his head a bee’s whisker. One step further from his sub-conscious to the real world. The photons of light that resembled corroded metal dancing about the air through the window. Pulsating headlights dancing off the deadline assembly of ominous figures. The patterns about the walls and windows had faded and withered so chronically that the capacity could be easily mistaken for a methadone clinic.

Rope slings rattled off the ceiling as the enclosure rocked back and forth. Tired and weary metal wearing each other thing as they slid up against each other.

“Terminal stop.” A monotoned voice void of empathy announced. Twin pistons released which gave off gasping sound as the poorly fitted doors screeched open. The vehicle giving in to free fall, albeit for 0.2 seconds, as the ignition caved in to a complete stop.
It was still dark outside within the ante meridian hours. The rusty filter left in situ partly owing to the urban emissions having fabricated its own pollutant blanket upon the CBD.

Xell drearily lifted his head. Streaks of washed out pollutants sun an unwarm welcome to his current dilated eyes that had been mostly accustomed to the dark. Blinking wearily, he could process buildings. A plethora of cityscape encompassing one would crudely remark as a concrete jungle. Any signs of anything light, cleanliness and a good vibe falling by the wayside.
The dome like area of clouds hawking over the city resembled rusted metal and decaying fabric.
If he stared long enough, he could make out a twisted face staring down at him through the nuclear orange fenestrations amongst the clouds. As if to mock his existence.

Xell frowned. The first sign of any emotion in wake since he woke up this morning. He pulled out a cigarette from his work shirt pocket. A lighter from another make-shift or “repaired” pocket from his dog-eared trousers.

A few flicks, emissions of carbon dioxide, deep throated cough and exhale took place before the moment he was in became a little bit more endurable.
Having consumed another long drag, he turned to look at a nearby cathedral. Monumental statues and gargoyles blurred renderings of their former selves. Former detail and characteristic youth seemingly stripped away. Owed to either a signs of neglect, change in priority or in what one values today. Or simply acid rain eroding the earth’s surface characteristic.
Much like one’s thick skin or sense of self-worth. One, after all, can always evade harm or violation in whatever shape, form or situation. But a process so gradually chronic and disintegrating, that one became desensitized and docile to the notion would cause a loss of purpose. Or a relinquished sense of what one may have been running from in the first place.

Having drawled through the next walk of blocks, Xell finally found himself outside the designated workplace. A tall black windowed building of unusual spiraling architecture. Some civilians even remarked that it looked like a circuit.

Many complex lights, eclectic structures, paths of whimsying paths so complex, one wouldn’t know where it started nor where it ended.

Where many may find their position in the workforce at this company a trend setting point of conversation that carries prestige and status- for civilians like Xell, uncertainty became a burden since the start. Uncertainty so intangible, however, any reason to leave felt like grasping at straws.
Without looking, he open out his hand to let the cigarette butt drop to the floor like a swatted fly. Smearing the ash marble floor with his shoe to leave a sooty stain.

He pressed on towards the glass doors, pulling back the sleeve of his work shirt reluctantly to reveal his bare and vulnerable wrist. A raised and indurated lump protruding his scales. Scar revealing where the chip had been slotted within the epithelial tissue.
A keypad on the wall immediately detected the notion and pinged the words ‘ACCESS GRANTED’ in attempted encouraging neon green lights. Twin glass doors suspended from titanium framework opening up and enabling him entry.

——————————

Level 72

Having ascended the monumentally high levels through the circuit, much like a hamster test tube with a fan like sound whooshing past each level like a dull toll, the box finally came to a stop. As the door whirled open, Xell stepped outside.

Vased plants and waterfalls decorating the hallways. He walked up to the reception area. Dull eyes glazed over the person behind the desk. A green dog with long hair, a striped shirt and ears. A oversized dangling tag that carried the name ‘Zacharias Maynard’. Face stuck in the newspaper impolitely whilst the computer blinkered in the background.

“You’re killing trees doing that…” Xell blurted without much thought. Or empathy for that matter.

The grey eyes looked over the pages of grey print. Maintaining his lazy position, he whipped out a hand to point at the Dragon’s wrist with an index finger.

“You need to sign in.”

“Already did that at the door. How many times do I need to do this?” Xell muttered “it’s a bit much.”

“Employee attendance and business performance tracking,” Zach muttered, licking his finger to turn a page “Oh… you need to take your pills.” He gestured with his hand towards the open baskets whilst keeping his face buried in the gazette foliage. Bored eyes still visible from the hollow.

“So… what mood are we in today…” his voice trailed off as the chip got scanned and a digital photo with a name appeared on the computer screen. Finally earning his attention elsewhere. “Xell Weaver?”

“Has this been approved by a doctor?” Xell asked, trying to sound incredulous. With the bland emotion within his tone, it stood out as more of a statement or moan, rather than a protest.

“Difficult today, aren’t we?” Zach furrowed his brown from behind the papers still “ok, blue pill for you.”

“Are you at least going to tell me what they are?” Xell picked up the capsule from the basket placed before him. Inspecting it indifferently before gulping it down with a glass of water that was pushed towards him.

“Nope,” Zach replied “can’t cause bias. But it should get you back on track.”
The dog forced a smile which appeared to be a ghost beneath his many layers of stoicism. Almost liked it was drowning.

“Right…” Xell muttered after he had turned his back to leave the dog in the wake of any conversation he had had all day. Automatic doors shutting behind him which left sounds of water fountains and air vents trailing in a maze of ambience.

—————————

Office

Xell walked across the labyrinth of desks. Some people getting to work within their cubicles. Otherwise using the internet for other purposes. He mentally shook his head at the latter.

“Must be new here…” he rolled his eyes as he saw an X-rated picture of long-haired fennec posing a position he didn’t even think was possible.

Having arrived at his cubicle, he slumped within his chair. Head spinning as he tried to accustom himself to the dreary effects of earlier. He massaged his temples, before burying his face into the palm of his hands.

After several minutes passed, he relucntantly opened a drawer to the right of his computer desk. Reaching out for more pills that clattered in the container like a packet of smarttees. He exhaled. A bead of sweat crossing the boarders of his face til it splattered on the keyboard.

“Is this as good as it gets?” he opened his eyes dryly. Rattling the pills in the bottle. “was it always like this?”
Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by GemaJinn
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Synthetic Eden Organisation; rooftop:

As dawn- or at least, a lightening of the dreary sky- took place, life stirred upon the empty- or allegedly empty- topmost levels of the imposing, monolithic structure that was home to the Synthetic Eden Organisation. A neon-green set of eyes opened, glowing slightly as they looked out upon the sombre sky, before the owner emerged from the shadows, to take in the panoramic view of the city spread out below. What manner of creature the owner of those eyes was would be difficult to say, for she seemed to belong to neither one species precisely, or yet another. A wild-looking mane of deep, forest-green hair crowned her head and tumbled, in thick unruly cascades down her back to almost the base of her spine. From amidst those tresses, the tips of long ears protruded... and also, higher up, the points to a fine set of horns. The lithe, tall, muscular figure seemed predominantly to belong to an anthopoorphic feline, but with some startling differences. Aside from the fur- which contrasted the deep-green mane by being black in colouration- cats do not own horns. The tail- a long and voluminous brush, almost as unruly as the thatch which crowned the head- was mainly black but with the end being a similar forest green. Strangest of all though, as the figure stretched, a pair of wings unfurled- wings like those belonging to a bat, or dragon, but with gleaming, iridescent feathers covering them, that seemed almost metallic in the dismal light. An unnatural figure to behold, had any eye beheld it- but at such an altitude, there were few indeed to witness Uthaleia Harecope as she began her day. She spent a few minutes stretching and flexing, going through an aerobic workout routine as she took her morning meal.

There was nothing in Uthaleia's residence that anyone- however desperately malnourished- might have considered as food, but that didn't mean there was nothing for Uthaleia to feed upon: She was ergo-synthetic; able to process and feed upon energy. The light, drear as it was, provided little by way of energy, but there were other forms of energy to be tapped. The ambient sounds of the city provided a paletable aperitif, but the bulk of what she absorbed was background electromagnetic radiation- the low-level electromagnetic radiation generated by the simple bulk of modern technology being operated almost constantly day and night throughout the city.True, such sustenance lacked the taste and substance others would consider food, but it meant Uthaleia never lacked nourishment. Her meal and morning workout finished, Uthaleia flexed her wings, before stepping off the rooftop and gliding in slow, lazy circles through the sky to a fire door several storeys below. It should have been possible to open the door only from the inside, but damage from some industrial accident, years prior had meant that patches of weather-sealant upon the door frame had been destroyed and acid rain had worn away at it; so that now a slim hand could reach through the gap between frame and door and open the door from without. Once having gained ingress through the door and closed it again, Uthaleia began to change, putting on her work-face for the day.

Hers was no mere change of clothing, or applying make-up. Uthaleia was a shape-shifter and preferred to wear a less distinctive appearence to work... for reasons she kept zealously private. Nearly a decade ago, Uthaleia had broken out of a laboratory that had been her birthplace and was intent upon staying free. The neon-green eyes became a gentle amber, the green and black becoming a russet-red with black here and there, the wings vanishing and ears changing shape as she became several inches shorter. Within moments, she looked like a pretty anthropomorphic red squirrel, wearing office-drone clothes and a name tag that read 'Jessamine Halecourt'. Satisfied that she now looked the part, Uthaleia quietly opened the inner door, into a corridor within the office, sliding it closed behind her. As she headed down the corridor towards the office that housed her desk, she passed through the lobby that comprised the reception area calling out a cheery "good morning!" to Zach as she went by. She was pretty certain Zach disliked morning people, or cheery people who were bright and vibrant when he just wanted to sit and read his newspaper... would the greeting earn her a recommendation of pills to take before she'd crossed the room? The idle curiosity went through her mind as she continued step by step. Out the corner of her eye, she saw the dragon, Xell Weaver, already heading down the corridor she was headed towards.. would she be able to catch him up and chat to him? Perhaps, though he probably wouldn't take being chatted to with much better grace than Zach... assuming Zach didn't stop her for having too cheerful a disposition for his liking. Well, maybe she could wish Xell a good morning once she got to her desk? She kept her pace steady, tail flicking about as though dancing to some music she was playing in her head, the image of an overly-cheerful, upbeat office worker.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by shylarah
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shylarah the crazy one

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Rey had been in the office for some time when he heard a late arrival coming in. He poked his head out to see who it was -- Xell. Perfect! He quickly ducked back to his computer, put the finishing touches on a few lines of code, and jumped the whole thing to his ever-present flash drive. "Hey, Xell, you got a minute?" Rey started to ask, but the dragon was apparently deep in thought.

"Always like this?" Rey mused, scraping at months of dull memories. "I dunno. I don't think so. But whatever you're dealing with, it'll get better. Just gotta keep hanging in there." That was what he told himself, when the gray got too thick to handle. He knew things had been brighter, once. Now even his paintings kept featuring fog and gray haze.

He brushed off the darker thoughts with a shake of his head. "At any rate, would you mind if I borrowed your computer for a minute? Your monitor's at a different resolution than mine, and I want to make sure this page works right."
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by RainbowFizz
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RainbowFizz But her peace of mind can’t stay inside the lines

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Level 72, reception

Moments after the dragon made his abrupt acknowledgement with his back turned to the counter, the watchful eyes of Zacharias Maynard fell upon his body.

“You’re welcome!” Zach retorted with a tuneful jeer, waving a hand.

“Whack job.” He sneered under his breath. Bringing the paper back to his face whilst his eyes remained unmoved from Xell. Flicking another
page with a rustle.

What were the chances he’d get two pass by in a row this morning. First, there was that soft-featured and sensitive soul, Robin Westing. Or ‘Rey’, as he appeared to be better known by. His art was compelling. He was the perfect employer to fulfill anything the company required. Had an eye for colour, form, appeal and subjective evaluation. Zach considered it a pity that his mood appeared to reflect itself in his work at times.

“Speaking of which…” a glazed look fell about Zach’s face, pupils constricted in deep thought “someone didn’t take their…” he growled, about to pick up one of the baskets laid out in front of him, when suddenly an annoying and overly chirpy voice interjected his thoughts.

“Good morning!” a morning star tone called out belonging to a red squirrel of small stature with work clothes. Her smile and carefree nature sticking out to the dog like a sore thumb.

“Jessamine Halecourt…” he narrowed his eyes and looked on with calm malintent. Like a cat watching a mouse flirt with death.
How long had she been here now? He wondered. Seemed a reasonably long time. A little shorter than Xell Weaver and Robin Westing. Yet of all the employers having an utter disregard and disrespect for the rules, she was by far the worst one! Not that those observations had fallen by the wayside. Zacharias, being the attentive micro manager, kept a paper trail of all offences the young lady had committed. Forwarded every conversation, inappropriate behavior and over enthuasiasm to the Director of this company. Some fortunate news arose this morning in that Zacharias received some correspondence with regards to these concerns and the matter would be dealt with very soon.
Today, in fact- post haste.

“Hey… HEY!!!” Zach yelled across the room. The tranquility of the waterfalls being drowned out and the sudden piano background music coming to an abrupt stop.

He waved a beckoning hand for the squirrel to come forwards.

“Not so fast Ms Halecourt. You know the rules.” Zach disappeared behind the counter momentarily. Arising with an object in his hand that resembled that of a handheld scanner. He jumped onto the desk, and off onto the floor. Landing deftly before walking towards her.

“You know the rules,” he clicked the scanner a couple of times, dropping his voice to a calm hush “everyone, needs….”
He yanked her hand and turned it over so that her bare wrist was facing the ceiling. Like a vulnerable limb on an operating table.

‘Bleep’

“…to sign in.”

He smiled down at her with satisfaction. Hands on his hips whilst holding the scanner in his right hand. The silence lingered on for a few seconds. No music or much ambience resuming.

“Well… now that that’s out of the way,” he cleared his throat “yourself and some others have been flagged.”
“What does that mean you may ask?”
“The Director’s office.”
“Today.”
“Midday.” His eyes opened abnormally wide. A serious look hovering on his face, before it melted into a drawled expression of glee.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Level 72, the Office

Xell dropped the bottle of pills to the floor with a gasp. Orange paracetomol resembeling tablets with a grainy pink texture rolling underneath the open spaces of the drawers. Some scattered amongst his feet.

“Oh… don’t mind those…” he laughed nervously, kicking the visible meds under the drawers. ‘Damnit he wasn’t supposed to see those! Does anyone else know?’ the dragon grimaced.

“Thanks for sympathizing…. Man…” Xell shrugged his shoulders a few times, trying to force a smile but quickly gave up when his emotions couldn’t match the outside picture.

He observed Rey for a second. Had to admit that he really was a decent human being. The only colleague and at this point, friend he had. Always there to check up on him provided he wasn’t overly consumed with work. Xell was surprised he hadn’t been relocated for his socializing efforts.

Xell had to turn away for a few seconds. Leaning a cheek upon one of his hands with that elbow supported by the desk. The pain of acknowledging what it was like to have emotions before his own became severely suppressed was too much to endure right now. A lingering fear on trying to recall past memories causing his throat to knot up. Metaphorically shackled in pain whereby the present discomfort was just slightly more bareable than the agony of removing those shackles and opening up the wounds.
The fear of an impending sense of doom. Or breakdown which was becoming a slow fusing dynamite.

“You’re right… you’re right Rey, it will all be ok…” he nodded slowly. Drumming his fingers upon the desk, before turning to look up at him again. Albeit awkwardly.

“My computer! Yes by all means…” the dragon almost tripped over his chair but regained his balance. Gesturing for the human to take a seat.
“Being an artist… you’d think it’d make more sense that you got the better computer… am I right?” Xell commented. Unsure whether he was just badgering on now.

“Hey…. HEY!!!” a hand waved over cubicle wall. Pale beige in colour with slender hands that were tattood with black stars. Some block black and others outlined, like patterns you'd see in a child's bedroom.
The hand slipped back over the other side momentarily, before a tall female stood over the cublice. Staring playfully at her co-workers. Smelling of perfume from the night before and expired eyeshadow decaying under her eyes. The worker in question was Athena O’shea.

‘That girl from the picture,’ Xell’s face fell as he looked away awkwardly. His gesture creating a sense of unwelcome.

“Hey dreamy! How are you today?” she asked, staring at Rey “you going to draw me?” She continued, pushing her hair back and posing with her shoulder out. Leaning over the cubicle wall.
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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by GemaJinn
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Level 72, Reception:

“Hey… HEY!!!” Zach yelled across the room. The tranquility of the waterfalls being drowned out and the piano background music coming to an abrupt stop. Inwardly, Uthaleia grinned a little: As expected the perpetually-cheerful Jess had gotten under Zach's skin again! She skipped fowards as he beckoned her over, the upbeat smile never wavering as he reminded her of the rules and scanned her wrist. Like every other employee, she had a chip in her wrist... unlike every other employee, her's didn't stay there full-time. Once working hours were over, she would shift her limb around the chip, carefully removing the foreign object and placing it in a sterile container for the evening. Being a laboratory creation she was- she suspected by design- able to operate at peak capacity on less food and sleep than others were, which left her several hours of the evening to play with- and what she did and where she went as Uthaleia; those were things she kept as separate from Jessamine Halecourt as possible. She listened as the scanner gave the customary beep, expecting Zach to give her another earful about the rules before hustling her out of his reception area. Today though, it seemed, Zach had something more to say... something different. Keeping her ears open and the sunny smile on her face, she inwardly analysed every word.

“Well… now that that’s out of the way,” Zach told her as he cleared his throat “yourself and some others have been flagged.”
“What does that mean you may ask?”
“The Director’s office.”
“Today.”
“Midday.” His eyes opened abnormally wide. A serious look hovering on his face, before it melted into a drawling expression of glee.

Inwardly, Uthaleia considered the words and the implication they held, given the phrasing and the look Zach had given her once he'd finished dropping the pronouncement on her. 'Flagged'- that usually meant there was some concern over a matter.. or a person. That Zach did far more than serve as receptionist wasn't lost on Uthaleia: It didn't take one predator, that stalked its prey and lurked in cover, to spot another. Zach was always watching... and Uthaleia could very well guess that, whatever matter Jess might have been flagged upon, the one who had done the flagging was right in front of her. Her guess was 'consistent inappropriate behaviour' i.e; acting like a person instead of a robot.. or rather, like a happy person. On strength of that alone, she suspected Zach might have flagged her several times. Uthaleia suspected- and hoped- it hadn't been any of her more covert activities; the discrete enquiries she'd made and the more... investigative... approach she'd taken to certain files and databases on the system that were need-to-know access only. The handling of those matters she had been especially subtle with, the being overly-cheerful... well; that by nature was something that couldn't be done subtly. She wondered, with some curiosity, who the others might be that had been flagged... who else hadn't been doing what they were supposed to do- or been doing more than they were supposed to and been noticed?

'The Director's office'- there was a phrase meant to instill uncertainty and fear if ever there was one! It was true, multiple accounts of inappropriate behaviour- and possibly, horror of horrors, the crime of treating other employees like people- could probably get her a trip to the Director's office to 'discuss her misconduct'. That, in and of itself, wasn't a prospect that daunted Uthaleia too much: If the worst came to the worst, she could feign her death, lie low for some years, and then return in a new identity and begin her investigation anew. It would need more planning though; she'd been curiously fortunate with the identity of Jessamine Halecourt... Back when she'd been probing the cracks in the system, looking for an angle of approach she'd discovered, by chance amongst what files were still kept of the deceased, a single mother who'd died some years before of a terminal sickness- but not before giving birth to a daughter. Curious as to what had happened to the daughter- since there was no follow-up account on record- Uthaleia had discovered the infant daughter had died maybe a day or two after the mother... and either there had been no-one left to report it or, by some oversight, it had never been reported. A citizen with an offical date of birth, an identity in the system that was still valid... and with no original owner or living relatives to protest another taking it over. Uthaleia had siezed upon it swiftly, acquiring the necessary trappings of an adult citizen, of the age the child would have been had she lived and taking to herself the name on the birth certificate... Jessamine Halecourt.

'Today-Midday'- that, coupled with the expression Zach's face assumed suggested he was pleased about the development and that, therefore, she certainly shouldn't be. Giving no outward indicator of all that she was processing in her mind, Uthaleia decided upon a response that was most certainly not anything of the kind that Zach would prefer, and very definitely in keeping with the sunny disposition of Jess. Blinking, she tipped her head, gazing curiously at Zach- then her already happy smile widened into a beaming grin of pure delight; as though Zach had just announced that Santa was real and that Christmas would be extended this year so that everyone could get a chance to meet him.

"The Director's office?" She chirped in Jess's sunny tones, the voice sounding positively thrilled, "that mean's he's noticed me then! He really does care!"

Drawing no small measure of satisfaction from Zach's bemusement at her response, and knowing full well it would definitely earn Jess another flag to go with all the others, she skipped forwards and threw her arms around Zach's shoulders, hugging him before planting a kiss right in the middle of his forehead.

"I smell promo-o-o-o-otion!" she chirped, trilling the word 'promotion' as she said it, "thanks ever so much for letting me know Zacky- you're such a sweetie! Don't worry though, I won't forget you when I'm an executive!" That said, and awaiting no response, Jess skipped- practically danced- down the hallway as though the good news of the century had just been delivered to her.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Rexcalibur
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A low drawn-out whistle followed as Jessamine skipped down the hallway. Sitting directly behind Xell and Rey was Crispin Ocelot, a face that stood out only because he was the only one in that office wearing a hat. (There was of course the anthromorphic lizard he was sitting behind, shadowing him and learning the ways of the code - but he focused hard on his computer like every other drone in that building.) The young cat's eyes followed the squirrel until she was just about out of sight. "Kinda cute though, isn't she?"

"Do you ever. Shut. Up."

"I mean she's got the right kinda mindset. Maybe a bit too much, but I think-"

"Look." The reptile's typing came to a complete stop, catching Crispin's attention back from Jessamine. "Do you want to learn how to do this or not."

A few seconds of silence passed by before the lizard resumed typing. Crispin slowly scratched the back of his head. "Not your type, I take it?"

The lizard explained here and there which commands performed what function, and occasionally asked Crispin simple questions to confirm that he was understanding the algorithms. Which he wasn't, for the most part, but hey, fake it 'til you make it. This continued for some time, until Crispin's watch buzzed. On cue, the ocelot reached into his jacket's pocket and plucked out an orange bottle. As he went to twist open the bottle-

"Hey! I asked you a question, Ocelot!"

The sudden jump in the lizard's voice startled Crispin - he fumbled with the bottle in hand and, pretty much in slow motion, watched it drop to the ground and roll away. And since the cap had been loosened... a few pills had rolled out.

"Ah... ahaha, excuse me a moment."

He pounced from his chair to the floor and scrambled to pick up the spilled tablets, then charged for the bottle, which had rolled over to the desk next door. Xell and Rey's desk.

Suddenly he popped up onto his feet beside them, a gleaming smile in his face as he held the remaining dropped pill between his fingers. "Whew! Gottem all. Oh! Sorry guys. Don't uh, don't mind me. Lizzy here just bein' an asshole n' scaring me. Pretend you didn't see me."

What the ocelot didn't know was that he had inadvertently grabbed Xell's pills that had spilled by his feet. And he was fairly close to reaching for his water flask to down it.
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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by RainbowFizz
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RainbowFizz But her peace of mind can’t stay inside the lines

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Level 72, reception area

Zach was left wide eyed and mouth ajar within the femme squirrel's embrace. Mind unwilling, soul remained.
Quickly gritting his teeth and narrowing his eyebrows impetuously, his synaptic impulses told him to reach out and snap the squirrel’s neck in half; like a withered twig.
Before he was able to pursue his animal instinct- he almost tumbled over as the squirrel spun and slipped away with excitement.
As he flailed ridiculously, he reached out for something to steady himself!
The nearest entity he was able to grasp was the fire extinguisher. Strongly secured by bracing on the wall.

With that action, his knees barely buckled before he was able to hoist himself back up again. Flicking his head back to get the long silver hair out of his eyes. He continued to steady himself upon the halon containing steel canister. Feeling the cold steel beneath his finger tips as the rage burnt from within.

She was a problem. Too much free reign, non compliant, unrealistic, ditzy...
What was worse, Zach had smelt a rat since the worker girl stepped through with a dainty foot in this building. Almost like she was masquerading the joint like a ballroom dancer- but why exactly had she attended? This workplace was hardly meant for a dance, or fun for that matter! Furthermore, he was outright offended on so many levels.
‘Zachy...?!’
Earning the title of a pet name was a punishment that deserved open fire on the spot, Maynard thought with a growl. Surely, she was having a laugh? The incredulity of the incident was outrageous. Did she not grasp the serious nature of being beckoned to the Director’s office in any of its entirety at all?

“Childish Mink,” he breathed out, exasperated. Naturally he could chase her down. Wipe that pathetic smile off her face.
For he was well equipped with pharmaceuticals far more powerful than what he possessed in pill form. He drummed his fingers upon a loaded cartridge secured within his belt. Gritting his teeth as he tried to process his next action.
Or, there was another way. He was waiting for that moment. Waiting for an excuse. To initiate that process.
He was shaking. Grasping onto the canister that began to make it rattle somewhat. The former background piano music continued to prove itself relinquished.
He turned a cold shoulder to the entrance of the office, and directed his fraught face towards his desk. Eyes set on his computer, where he could ‘initiate the process’.

“Zacharias Maynard.” A cold voice called out from behind “not yet.”

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Level 72, Office

Camera on

Xell blinked morbidly at the events that unravelled before him. It was certainly out of the ordinary compared to what one would anticipate as a typical workforce day. The usual regime of a dreary commute, a cocktail of pill swallowing and coal face typing for 9 hours straight became replaced by some form of life. Namely, his bashful colleague requesting if he could use his computer to render high resolution artwork. The arrival of the smutty fennec who he had recognised from an X-rated photo, and now Crispin. Who he had spoken to once or twice in the past at best. He may have had more opportunities had he been a regular at the Office but somehow, Xell didn’t think that that was quite the case. For some reason.

"Whew! Gottem all. Oh! Sorry guys. Don't uh, don't mind me. Lizzy here just bein' an asshole n' scaring me. Pretend you didn't see me."

“Gottem?” Xell queried. The dragon shoved his hands in his pockets whilst he looked to the floors and desks. He had to be talking about some belongings he dropped on the floor right? Maybe a pen, pencil… wallet? And why did he make such a snide remark about the Lizard?

“Oh right, well whatever you retrieved, glad you found it…” Xell grinned sheepishly. A bead of sweat running down his face as he remembered his own careless grasp less than a few minutes ago. He was banking on Rey carrying out his task post haste. Then he could retrieve his pills and stash them away. But then that femme showed up, who Rey was yet to acknowledge. And Crispin.
Was he a chef? A cat chef?
Xell winced as he found it extremely difficult to keep his thoughts on a consistent tangent.
Suffering from concentration problems and anxiety, he needed his dexamphetamines. More so to overcome the garbage he had been dispensed by Zach earlier. What where they? Tranquilisers? Anti depressants? Benzodiazepenes? After all, blue normally means a come down or suppressant. A means to coax a patient into a situation they would question or wouldn't normally accept.
Red or orange one may associated with a stimulant? Seize the day, live life to the maximum. Determination to press on or unravel the truth... right?
Xell was strictly told to take what he was given. Never to mix his poisons.
But....

“Hey sweets… do you wanna pull that pose again? Sure tickled my fancy!” a random voice hollered. Causing an entire row to erupt in laughter. Daring glances with a snigger directed towards Athena, whilst gossip travelled like wildfire.

“Pays the bills,” Athena held her own. Paying no mind to the obnoxious crown as she waved a dismissive hand.

“Excuse me… I really… really need to find something…” Xell was getting anxious. He looked around frantically, before pacing up and down the cubicle. Athena sullen and bored by the whole display.

Before the grey dragon could utter another sentence, he couldn’t help but stare as he recognised a pill about to be swallowed by the Ocelot who swung by earlier.
One of HIS pills. Orange looking paracetomol like pill with a pink grainy texture. His Adderall!

“Noooooooo….” Xell leapt in the air, hand wound backwards as he was going to attempt to smack the pill out of Crispin’s mouth.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Level 72, Reception

“Hmmm... I thought that may be you...” Zach was kneeled down on the ground in resentment. Having lost his cool as a phantom like presence presumably had witnessed all.

“Well, where else would I be?” The voice replied, a borderline suave but serious tone about it.

A plumage of silver hair draped Zach’s face, casting his eyes in shadow just above a gritted expression on his mussel.
“I don’t want to play this game anymore.” The dog rose swiftly. The urge to storm out of the building a rightful retribution in his mind.

Go, don’t stand in contemplation The thought passed Zach’s mind.

Maynard froze. Eyes amped with constricted pupils. An assembly of shadowy men immersed from the surroundings.
Goosebumps started to streak through his skin as his fur stood on edge.

The figures had cloaked, scarves up to the orbital floors of their faces which acted as a platform for their thick black shades. Human in appearance, xenomorphic in aura.

“...They’re not real,” the dog uttered with contempt.

“Oh AREN’T they?” The voice mocked. Tone beckoning the assembly to step forward. Menacing facades gradually closing in upon Zach and the entity behind him.

As they emerged, cracking could be heard from tasers they were holding up.
A sweat drop pooled off of Zach’s face and splashed onto the floor. His body hot but beginning to precipitate a cold sweat.

“Am I supposed to believe that just because you got knocked off your perch, that you’re going to dwell on the floor with the barrel of a gun in your face?” The figure sneered, immediately replaced by a grin. Performing a quick shot imitation with his middle and index finger that aimed in Zach’s direction.

“... that’s what they do to sterile chickens.”

Zach gave two very slow nods. A gesture of acknowledgement and disgust to conceal his defeat.

His knuckles tightened on either side of his body. A slight turn with the aid of peripheral vision revealed the reckoning standing behind him. A tall coral figure emanating a supernatural aura.
He had long perked vampiric like ears with a suave, dark cerulean parted hairstyle that framed his clean cut face. He doned a set of nature defying toxic green eyes. Irises echoing a sinister sense of arrogance and need to play cat and mouse. His demeanour and attire, clad in a leather jacket and jeans suggested his style to be very similar to the 1950s era.

Zach inadvertently shrunk as he forced himself to turn around to look at him. Like ripping a band aid off an unhealed wound.
The creature’s aura was oppressive.
Zach could not even hear the harmonious splashes of the waterfalls anymore. Instead, a monotoned drone that weighed down the atmosphere.

“Aleksei?”

The creature snapped his right set of fingers. A flare igniting which he conveniently used to light up a cigarette. Taking a long drag, before exhaling fumes that rapidly started to smog the vicinity.

“I think you and I should watch the 'flagged ones' on camera. Don't you?" the devil asked "the Director would love to know their names."
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by shylarah
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shylarah the crazy one

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"Not a better computer. Just a better monitor -- and even that took some doing." Rey hadn't even noticed the fallen medication -- or if he had, he opted to say nothing about it. Athena's arrival made him try very hard to focus on his work, rather than the fennec posing at the cubical wall. Jessamine was a cheerful distraction, and Crispin another. It was much easier to ignore Athena who, while pretty, kept pressuring him to draw her and didn't seem to have any intention of paying for the privelage. Between Crispin and Liz, Rey actually found a smile.

"There, I think that'll -- whoa!" Suddenly Crispin dived under Xell's desk, making Rey push himself aside to give him space and nearly topple himself out of his chair. Laughter rang out, and for a moment Rey thought it was at him, but no: someone was heckling Athena. She was more than capable of handling it, at least.

Then Xell leaped at Crispin, and this time Rey did get knocked out of his chair, landing hard on the floor. The dragon was going for a capsule that matched the ones Rey had politely pretended not to notice. Was it Xell's? Was Crispin really oblivious enough not to check the label on the pill, after picking it up from the floor? Best to let the two of them sort it out, though, instead of stepping in himself.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Rexcalibur
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Rexcalibur Kung Fuhrer

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“Noooooooo….” Xell leapt in the air, hand wound backwards as he was going to attempt to smack the pill out of Crispin’s mouth.

Crispin's eyes were definitely not on the dragon during this time. Though he did notice Xell's drawn out cry at the last minute, hesitated, and - whump! - got smacked across the jaw. The ocelot stumbled and tumbled, bringing down two chairs with him as he slumped to the floor in slow motion. During this time, the pill in hand had gone flying off as well. Right towards, and into, Crispin's glass of water.

Crispin flopped on the floor like a fish out of water for a few seconds before scrambling back to his feet. "Oh geez oh God," he exclaimed after realizing what had happened. Well, after realizing what happened to the pill... never mind the fact that a dragon socked him square in the jaw. No, the cat's determination to keep on time with his own meds trumped whatever happened here, especially as he was still under the impression that was his own pill that had gotten dunked.

He fumbled for his bottle of meds a second time, successfully whipping one out, and used a different coworker's glass of water to chug it down. Not leaving a single drop of liquid for the coworker when he was finished.

After his final gulp, he slapped the glass back down on the desk and let out a huge sigh of relief.

Yeaaaah, eyes were definitely on him now. How long had this fiasco gone on for?

He was morbidly embarrassed. So much for setting good impressions while he was still interning. "Uhhh. Oh, man, wouldja - wouldja look at the time. It's noon o'clock and I gotta start... preppin' lunch n' shit bye!"

He glanced around nervously then took off in the same direction as Jessamine, not aware that'd be the long way around to the cafeteria, but at least it was a way out.

Meanwhile the lizard he was with resumed working on his own code, acting as if none of this had ever happened.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by GemaJinn
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Level 72, Hallway:

A little way down the corridor from the others, Uthaleia stopped by a vending machine to collect a bottle of what was, allegedly, 'sparkling spring water'. That it actually was what it proclaimed itself to be, Uthaleia highly doubted... 'water' might be the one part of that label that was true. As for the 'sparkling mineral' aspect to it; that Uthaleia suspected might far more readily be the product of any number of chemicals mixed into it elsewhere in this very building rather than the product of any actual spring of clear water. Still; it wasn't as though Uthaleia herself had any intention of actually drinking it: The bottled water from the vending machine was always lukewarm; by gradually absorbing the thermal energy from it until it turned cold and frosty, Uthaleia had steady trickle of energy to absorb throughout the day. Once the water turned frosty, she usally did a good deed as Jess by giving the one bottle of actually cold water in the office to any co-worker afflicted by a dry throat who needed it. Her bottle selected, Uthaleia turned to head back the office and in the general direction of her desk, before calling out a cheerful "hiya sweetie!" to Crispin as he made his way down the corridor. Blowing a kiss as she skipped past him, Uthaleia noticed that he looked rather sheepish; embarrassed even... what had happened to cause that? Possibly some of the commotion she'd heard on the way to the vending machine.... she'd be sure to check things out before taking her seat.

Level 72, Office:
Once back into the office, Uthaleia noticed a few things of interest: Xell Weaver looked to be in a state of some distress over pills that had scattered over the floor of his cubicle. Uthaleia wasn't sure if they were only the pills issued by S.E.O. or something else he took in addition to them... idly, she wondered if his medical record would reveal a genuine need for powerful pharmeceuticals? If so; had S.E.O taken that into account and modified what they dosed him with accordingly? Uthaleia half-suspected they might well give him whatever they gave anyone else regardless or, worse, give him even more insidious drugs that, in addition to any existing medication, would make spectacular experimental chemical cocktails. Letting that line of specualtion slide to one side for now, Uthaleia took in the rest of the scene.

Rey was at Xell's cubicle too, it looked like he was using Xell's coputer to tweak some of his art. Uthaleia didn't know too much about Rey, except that he seemed a sweet and gentle soul, a touch ingenuous even... that was how he always seemed at least; as Uthaleia was especially aware, appearences could so easily be deceiving, and the gentle, pleasant co-worker could, without anyone ever knowing, also be the dangerous cold-blooded serial killer. She doubted that to be the case for Rey... or at least presently she did... but it never hurt to keep vigilant after all. Next to Rey... a hair's breadth away from draping herself over him actually... was Athena O'Shea. Her reasons for being there were rather easier to discern: Athena was, in Uthaleia's estimation, something of a flirt, and got a giggle out of the effect her presence had on the sweet-natured Rey; most especially by asking him to draw her. Given what other images of Athena Uthaleia knew to exist, she wondered if Rey had a concern the fennec girl was trying to seduce him. For her part, Athena seemed very thick-skinned about the images of her floating around online; brushing them off as simply earning much-needed extra cash. That ability to rise above it, or at least to show no sign of insult or injury when heckled about them was something Uthaleia respected about Athena... and it moved her to wonder; were there other things- perhaps not so much risque as deadly- that the fennec-girl did outside of office hours? Giving no outward indicatior of all that her mind was processing, Uthaleia skipped merrily into the office as Jess, addressing her co-workers as she did so.

"Hi there guys!" She chirped in Jess's sunny tones as she practically danced past, "love the work Rey- another masterpice!" Half-turning as she tripped along to the cubicle that was hers, she waved a hand to Athena as she continued to speak.

"Looking good there Athena!" she complimented the Fennec, "I love what you've done with your hair and mascara, and that pose you're pulling is to die for! Keep 'em gawping girl!" Almost at her seat now, she gave Xell a bright and breezy smile as she half-skipped, half-leapt into her seat, causing it to spin, with a flourish, to face her desk.

"Don't sweat it Xell, you work waaaay harder than I do- and I work all day!" she exclaimed, "I'm sure whatever's worrying you, you got it handled and dancing to your tune besides! You're like the backbone of this office; what'd we ever do without you?!" Her round of compliments finished, and blowing a kiss to everyone she'd spoken to, Uthaleia twirled neatly in her seat to turn on the computer and get to work.

As the monitor came on, and the machine whirred as it booted up, Uthaleia inwardly contemplated what work she could actually do today, given the forthcoming appointment with the Director? The day-to-day paperwork that her position actually required to do she could do easily, on the fly in fact. The 'work' she actually preferred to do- that of delving into the murky depths of S.E.O- that, she suspected, she would have to shelve for today. For one thing, there was only so much time until midday rolled around and the Director's office beckoned. For another, whilst she most probably had been flagged for her overly-cheerful disposition as Jess, it as possible, if unlikely someone might've noticed the office databases were being carefully but comprehensively examined... it would be as well to make sure no-one realised the one doing the examining was the seemingly-airheaded Jess. On the other hand, since Jess was due to head to the Director's office anyway... Uthaleia smiled inwardly as, with swift fingers dancing across mouse and keyboard, she brought up the documents she was supposed to be working on and,in a small window, booted up an online game, giving the paperwork her attention every five minutes or so, as though this was her honest idea of 'hard at work'.
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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by RainbowFizz
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RainbowFizz But her peace of mind can’t stay inside the lines

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Medical bay, level 72

The observer

Fleur peeked through a slither of a thin opening. That was confined by 2 steel doors that would barely allow space for a spider to crawl through. The vicinity behind her a backdrop of ominous white and blues hues. The atmosphere casting her in a clinical like saturation. Sterile and void of life as the most pronounced subject matter of them all was her red and silver eye. Playing peeping Tom.

During times of calm and tranquillity, the blend of her eye would hold that of subdued grey tones. Unusually, if times of stress, or flight or fright were to arise, the eyes would bleed red. Not that anyone had paid much mind or attention to this phenomena. Fleur herself put it down to a genetic abnormality with the cones and rods that composed her irises. Much like how albino beings would suffer from the partial or complete absence of pigmentation genes. Associating factors were of no strength either. Namely photophobia, skin sensitivity to UV light, and connective tissue disorders.
Not that Fleur was aware of any of these, or had a chance to test out her own biological defects if present.

Truth be told, she couldn’t even remember the last time she had left the building. Sure, she had the window behind her computer desk. Quite the scenery of a cherry blossom tray surrounded by a tranquil river. Rather than keep track of time through artificial means, she’d rather take pride in her skills to read the position of the sun in the sky and the mood respectively. Much like the old Roman clock and its cast shadow. A sundial, she recalled being taught.

A smile briefly passed her face as she reminiscenced on all the teachings throughout her life. Including the old Sundial.

Then her face faded all to her quickly, leaving her empty again. Knowing that she can’t go back. Living in the past, whilst a comfort, had a steeper low than a considerable time to appreciate the memory.

She turned her void silver eyes from the opening which leant sight into the office of the group of people, back to the window in her medical bay.

It had passed her mind... if they were in the CBD, and the outside view was of a cherry blossom tree with running water and cascades of green jungles in the background and over the horizon- was this image as artificial as everything else that was born here?

It was a question she continued to cast by the wayside.

...back to work. She had to refocus with a furrow over her brows as she squinted. Looking through the doors.

Her sights firstly fell upon a shy human. He made a tentative effort to ask one of his colleagues whether he could use his computer. Apparently for better resolution to appraise his artwork?
For he was an artist after all. Often such personalities would cause one to strive for perfection.

That was, of course, a very generalised assumption. But then, when did an artist ever feel that their work was finished, monumental, and fit for a King to admire? It had to be a tough one. Especially when every one person was almost always their own worst critique. Could the same be said about Rey?

Having regulated Robin Westing’s meds, it often hurt Fleur to know that somehow he appeared to be putting on a front. The optimism he portrayed felt like rainbow petroleum floating on the surface of the water. A spectacle to look at, but in reality, suffocating life beneath the surface.

Granted he seemed very introverted at heart. Not a shrinking violet but any means, but an individual that would prefer to listen rather than dominate conversation. But then maybe it just took more time for him to get to know people?

To be truthful, despite his empathy, he really looked like a lost soul. Perhaps the most lost of them all. At least the others either knew they were lost or had other coping mechanisms to get through the work day.

Rey, on the other hand, much like his artwork, had a facade about his personality. And the question was, would the negative sides of life he weathers become much like the picture of Dorian Grey? The fable of a man who sold his soul to devil preserve his youth? Wish granted only for the grand portrait of the man himself to be besmirched by all his wrong doings. And eventually for Mr Grey himself to buckle to an uncontrolled will of madness.

Who was next? Well, to consider anyone calmly was interrupted by the impetuous unfold of scenes. Which left Rié’s jaw slightly ajar in awe. Though the life behind her eyes continued to resume a cryofreeze like state. Steel silver irises continuing to focus.

Rewinding the happenings as of yet, it started with Rey asking Xell for his computer. The dragon so sullen and sunken. A cloud of morbid gloominess perpetually present in the wake of his existence. Perhaps the fables were true, or at least of what she read in Chinese astrology.

Furthermore, it seemed the medium statured dragon wasn’t as much of a golden boy as the office perceived.

The clinician within her frowned to learn that the worker, in fact, had a supply of his own drugs.

Naughty, naughty, very naughty, she shook her head. Blinking her smokey eyes.

It was too far too see but if she focused hard enough, she may be able to decipher what class of drug had rolled like a handful of smarttees under the drawer tables.

No such luck! Tucked under from out of her sight despite a keen 20/20 and beyond vision. She was a rabbit after all, natural sight to look for predators. And certain enhancements to fine tune her vigilance.

She pulled back her head, giving it a shake as if to dust herself from certain disconnected and disjointed eclectic memories.

She pounded her fists upon the steel door, causing a dull metal shudder. Consequently burying her head against the cold surface.

What was missing? What was missing? Withered thoughts of disturbance etched through her mind.

She took a deep breath. Allowing her slender hands to slide against the metal surface in a child like manner, before straightening up to embrace the present once again.

What happened next was quite unusual. Her mouth was left with an ‘o’ shape as she watched a young beige coloured fennec blossom from the cubicle before Xell’s. A playful and flirtatious vibe about her as she appeared to ask Mr. Westing to paint her.

She admired her confidence. Even after a wave of heckling took place. Insinuation that there was some dirt on her on the internet? But why?

Rié couldn’t quite decipher why she had become the butt of the office’s jokes. Still, it appeared to be water off a duck’s back. Did she genuinely not care? Was she that thick skinned? Or was it all a facade?

Fleur knew all about facades. Even though she hadn’t much interaction with Athena. Strong barriers we train ourselves to uphold when weathering the storms of life. Much like how living beings could protect themselves against disease through vaccines made of attenuated microbes. However, it didn’t leave much for natural defences to form their own frontline fighters. Would it therefore not be ok to cry, if not just a little bit? This backbone of iron was somewhat intimidating for Fleur if she was ever to consider talking to her. The sullen expression she carried 90% of the time she saw her didn’t help alleviate the impression that she wasn’t really a fun-loving femme.
The smile she upheld whilst Rey was around was a rare sight. Did she genuinely like him? Was she taunting him? Or what was she really hoping to achieve out of that display?

Either way, the expression of interest wasn’t particularly returned by Rey.

Next in line was an asymmetrically coloured cat. Seemingly being tutored by a lizard who seemed like he lost the will to live every time he had to make conversation with him.

Crispin! That was the name belonging to the office’s feline. She’d seen him in this office now and again, but certainly not on a full-time basis. She knew most of the time he was in the kitchens. Compliantly cooking up admirably good delicacies. Or at least, they looked good from a distance when she’d look over the cafeteria counter. However, she always had her own lunch premade for her. For some reason, it always appeared to have been that way. Not that she ever argued with Mr. Maynard on that one. Given a shady history she was given off the record regarding the former ‘cat of catastrophe’. Zach made it clear that although he was trying his best, we’d never know if he’d try and spike the food or whatever they’d have her believe. She was told after all, she was too important at SEO to have anything happen to her.

The events that were unleashed were rather unusual for a mundane day at the office.

She could see Crispin holding a container with pills. Carefully reverse torqueing the cap, before finding himself carelessly drop the container. Bouncing around in his hands like a fish out of water. A result of the lizard worker demanding if he was paying attention to anything he had been teaching him.

The next set of events almost felt like one of those parody movies she’d watch every now and again at night to help pass sleepless hours.

Two identical bags placed to one another at an airport for instance, only to find the owners unintentionally pick up the wrong ones. And then the story would fold onto a series of mishaps until right doings could help trace them back to the start after hitting rock bottom.

This time around, Mr Weaver and his over obsessive possessive will to avoid a mix up didn’t yield a favourable result. In fact, a medical emergency in her eyes!
One of Xell’s pills had fallen into a glass of water, dissolved and Crispin took his own meds with that cocktail dissolution.

Very undesirable and who knows what Xell’s pill would do, whatever it was, let alone in combination with his own pill.

Also, the history regarding Crispin and some unhinged behaviour? If only Zach had divulged more into that, then she’d know what she was dealing with.

So many offences now that she came to think of it. The only aspect that could make this slightly worse is that it could be caught on surveillance.

“What to do... what to do..” she pulled her head back and covered her mouth with concern. She had to fulfil her duty of care and attend to the matter.

But what to address first?

The toxic effects of drug cocktails as self administered by the careless cat? Or to reprimand Xell for keeping his own stash. To which she had no idea where he would’ve retrieved them from.

She took in a deep breath and carefully exhaled. Looking towards the mirror and adjusting her hair, she equipped herself with a syringe that contained a tranquilliser should anyone get in her way. She could only hope no one had any allergies. Either to the preservatives or medicament itself.

Having waved her wrist which had a raised, indurated lump which made up the form of her ID microchip across the keypad, a few digital blips enabled her access.

The steel doors opened promptly, hydraulic whirs sealing them without forgiveness.

She sprinted across the carpet. Without looking and unwisely at that as she collided headfirst into a femme bushy and fresh eyed squirrel. The impact causing Rié to fall on her backside. Seeing stars before her eyes.
She the worker girl must’ve got up to get something as she was outside her cubicle, even though from the computer screen it appeared clear she had been working.

She shook her head before biting her lower lip as she gazed upon the squirrel work girl.

Yes, that overly cheerful, butter wouldn’t melt employee who her own employers were very guarded against. Particularly Mr. Maynard.

“Jessamine Halecourt?” Fleur uttered, a formal British accent with apologetic undertones. Rising up to stand.

“I’m ever so sorry. I didn’t see you come in.”

“I’d like to pose this question to you if that’s alright. Have you noticed anything unusual take place in Mr. Weaver’s cubicle just moments ago? This is a rather serious matter and head office won’t be too pleased if any correspondence relayed proves to be deceitful.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Office, Level 72, Xell’s cubicle

Athena looked away and grunted. It was one thing to be heckled. At least she knew where she stood with the office workers. But the overly cheerful bushy rodent almost sounded condescending. Like one of those American prom Queens who had everything given to her on a silver plate and pitied the poor.

“Stupid preppy girl!” Athena hollered, even though it was likely too late as Jess was no sooner out of sight.

“Bet I make more than her momma’s rent.” She hissed. Truth be told, she was baffled her feminine wiles hadn’t worked on Rey Westing. This look she had was a hit with the male brethren during the night hours. Why didn’t it work with him?

“Guess you’re one for plane Janes huh?!” She shot him a nasty look “was only talking to you cos I felt sorry for you!”

She instantly disappeared from sight. Punching the keys on her keyboard so loud, it sounded as if someone was falling down the stairs.

Xell got up, shaking his head at the satirical scene that had manifested and seemingly dissipated just as quick. Of course, any action appeared to always become a shrinking violet at this commercially contaminated company.

He looked upon the floor helplessly. Pills still scattered over the carpet like mushroom spores.
Disgusting habit. Who needed them? He relinquished the panic.
At least, until he’d be alone again. Any more fuss and he could almost be certain the surveillance cameras would hone in on him for unusual behaviour.

“Hey... take no notice...” Xell said looking at Rey after that callous remark given by Athena “there’s 2 people in this world. Those that react in anger and take it on others. Then, there’s those that take it on themselves.”

“I know you don’t have to be either. You’re better than to be either.” The dragon forced a smile, albeit a brief one.

“Now did you get everything you needed? Or would you like to borrow the compy some time more?”

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Reception area, Level 72

The water fountains continued to trickle down. The pretence of a calm atmosphere floating about the vicinity. Dark hues of crimson and magenta as reflected from the walls, floors and upwards lamp flares.

This scene of calm was completely dominated, however, by the coral coloured beast who appeared moments earlier. Sitting in Zach’s desk chair as he observed the viewings on the computer. With the worker dark standing roughly 2 meters away. Close enough to show respect and attention, and far enough to escape the oppressing weight the beast carried about in his aura. Like strangling frozen thorns that would only gnarl deeper in your skin the more you resisted.

Aleksei’s expression was unreadable as Zach would look every now and again. Trying to make sense of his thoughts.

“Well, that was interesting,” Aleksei mused “here was me thinking you had this all figured out and regulated.” The devil turned leaned back in his chair with his hands folded behind his head.

Zach blinked and looked away resentfully.

“Messes up the clinical trial a bit to see some rogue-like behaviour amongst our brethren.”

“Sir?” Zach asked confused.

“This,” Aleksei turned to look at Zach with palms opened towards the TV screen “surely it’s against the rules to bring one’s own ‘get byes’?”

Zach turned to the screen and squinted his eyes. Scenes being rerun in fast motion with surveillance zooming in on the bottle of pills, the mix up incident and the worker Squirrel skipping by.

“Seems the preppy girl has too much to be happy about,” Aleksei commented, eyes half closed as he laughed sarcastically.

“Why is she even here?!” Zach sneered through his teeth “she does nothing. You hear me? NOTHING!!”

Aleksei turned his chair at the outburst to face the green dog. Rising up to fold his arms as he looked down on him.

The devil opened his mouth about to speak, but then closed his mouth with a smile on his mussel.

“Just call the meeting early. Round them up now,” Aleksei walked out of the desk area. Smooth strides down the hallway before he stopped. Back turned to Zach, which caused the administrator’s lower lip to quiver with anger and confusion.

“If anyone resists, just sedate them,” he turned to look over his shoulder. A flaring green eye emanating powerfully which defied any natural colour on earth.

As Zach rubbed his eyes, Aleksei disappeared from sight. No sign or symptom of his former presence left behind.

Hidden 5 mos ago Post by GemaJinn
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The office, Level 72:

By the time Athena had called out her response, Uthaleia was already seated and acting as though she thought giving one minute in five to paperwork and the other four to online gaming was her honest idea of 'hard work'. Uthaleia wasn't much offended by Athena's remarks... or by anyone's...since it provided an opportunity for the ever-watchful intelligence that dwelt behind the sunny smile and the head-in-the-clouds demeanour to take the measure of those she worked with. In the case of Athena; she really was rather interesting- her inteactions with Jess and with Rey hinted at... insecurity.

Perhaps that was the last thing most people would attribute to the woman, but the indicators were there: That she could continue indifferently in the face of cat-calls and jeers without a problem suggested she was used to such things, had faced other hardships and was innured to it. However, her interactions with Rey revealed something else. The smile and the flirtatious manner, in combination with the pose, suggested she genuinely had wanted Rey to take an interest, or at least had hoped for an obvious reaction from him, something that would give her an indicator or insight into what feelings he might have for her. Thus, the lack of any overt response was, to Athena, an unexpected thing- a failure where she expected success, casting doubt upon something (in this case her looks) that she was otherwise confident in. Subsequently she felt hurt and rejected, a little piece of confidence tarnished by insecurity, and her mood towards Rey had soured as a result. That, in and of itself, wouldn't suggest insecurity, but there was another factor to consider; that of Athena's interaction with Jess.

When offered a sincere compliment, Athena responded with venom. To Uthaleia, this suggested that Athena was accustomed to insult and hardship, but unused to genuine praise and uncertain of how to handle it. Subsequently, she distrusted the compliment and its source, insincerity or condescension upon the part of Jess being easier to believe than sincerity. Thus, Athena revealed both a need for wholesome attention, for those she could lean on and, at the same time a fundamental lack of trust, feelings of insecurity that prevented her from seeing that a co-worker might be genuine or that a lack of response wasn't rejection or a could-shoulder.... it all made Athena quite a fascinating co-worker to have... and made Uthaleia wonder if whomsoever had been responsible for her own creation hadn't had espionage and infiltration in mind and done all they could to optimise the natural psychoanalyst within her? It was certainly possible. Uthaleia briefly attended to office paperwork on her computer again, as she considered another of her co-workers: Rey Westing.

Uthaleia suspected that, for all his gentle, shy demeanour, Rey might actually be more confident in some ways than Athena- perhaps not confident around people, or in unexpected situations, but quietly confident within himself... perhaps 'possessed of inner strength' was a better way to put it? That he had a deferential demeanour made that less obvious than it might be.... and indeed, it was possible she was mistaken... but still, Uthaleia suspected that inner strength was there. If he was confident of himself though, and his art, which were things he understood, he seemed tentative and uncertain when confronted with things he was less certain of how to handle... like, for example Athena's bold flirtation. Far from brushing her off or dismissing her, Uthaleia believed that Rey, with the sort of ingenuouseness that appeared native to his character, simply didn't know whether Athena was serious or not, or how to handle her and so, had handled her the only way he knew how: by giving no response at all to her advances, and instead keeping his attention focused upon the situation he could handle; that of needing to borrow the monitor from Xell.

As for Xell himself... well, he was a whole mountain of issues underneath the various medications... courtesy of the company and those he brought with him.... that Uthaleia preferred to take her time to process. The anxiety was evident of course, even if the root of it was anyone's guess. On that note, Uthaleia suspected that, if she asked Rey to show her the letterheads for the business documents he'd designed, that might just give Xell a moment or two to gather up his 'private' med supply. Rising to her feet, with Jess's characteristic spring in her step, she'd hardly gone two steps when, unexpectedly, someone collided with her!

Looking around, Uthaleia beheld a pretty, silver-eyed bunny girl in a nurse's uniform just rising from having landed hard on her behind upon the office floor. Though her outward expression as Jess didn't change in the slightest, inwardly Uthaleia's caution rose a little- by virtue of the circumstances surrounding her creation, she had an active distrust of... and inclination to harm... anyone wearing a medical uniform. However, since this girl was (probably) not part of S.E.O.'s more clandestine practices (or at least, not knowingly so) Uthaleia chose to ignore the gut reaction which screamed to her that she should eviscerate the medic upon sight. Instead, she listened attentively as the girl addressed her.

“Jessamine Halecourt?” Fleur uttered, in a formal British accent with apologetic undertones as she rose up to stand.

“I’m ever so sorry. I didn’t see you come in.”

“I’d like to pose this question to you if that’s alright. Have you noticed anything unusual take place in Mr. Weaver’s cubicle just moments ago? This is a rather serious matter and head office won’t be too pleased if any correspondence relayed proves to be deceitful.”

Uthaleia considered the question put to her. Very probably, the girl in front of her had seen that Xell had his own meds and wanted confirmation that someone else had seen as much too. Whilst Uthaleia owed Xell no particular favours and had no reason to lie, at the same time Xell looked like he was stressed enough and didn't need any further problems with his day. Giving the girl Jess's sunniest smile, Uthaleia delivered a response she felt befitting the situation.

"No worries!" She beamed in response to the apology, "this place is all go a lotta the time, so you can't be blamed for missing someone now and then! Saaay though..," she continued, taking in the other girl's appearence,"if you aren't the cutest thing in the world I don't know what is! I bet if you smiled you'd be the ultimate poster-girl for marketing everywhere... that face, with a smile, could sell anything! And those stars on your cheek, those are just outright adorable!"

Just as if it were the most natural thing in the world, Uthaleia reached out and gave Rie's right cheek a gentle pinch, before continuing. "As for unusual stuff at Xelly's cubicle," she informed Rie, "Well, I'm not quite sure what'cha mean? 'Unusual stuff' is a bit vague after all. I mean, I saw Athena pose like a model whilst talking to Rey, saw Crispin pop underneath the cubicle and saw Xelly leap to greet him like they were long-lost brothers...that's kinda unusual isn't it? Or did you mean some other sort of unusual?"

Her question asked, Uthaleia gave Rie another of Jess's sunny smiles, wating patiently to see what sort of answer she would be given. On another day, she might have been somewhat cautious about the mention of the displeasure of head office, but with a summons to the Director's office already a given, a vague possiblity of displeasure from higher-up amounted to so much smoke where a fire was already kindled. Moreover, since she hadn't lied to the bunny-girl, or failed to failed to answer the question as given, what happened next would depend entirely upon how the medic chose to respond.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Rexcalibur
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As if on cue, Crispin immediately winked and pointed back at Jessamine as she blew her kiss at him. A thing he often did at female coworkers who looked in his general direction, but damn, Jessamine and Athena both knew his reaction with their playful quirks was definitely just a tad more into it than usual.

Although, once she was out of sight, he glanced around to make sure no one else was near, before pressing himself into a wall and performing a series of deep breathing. Like getting out of that vicinity was a workout in of itself. "Phew!" he exhaled once he felt himself calmed down enough. Since Crispin still had plenty of time to make it to the cafeteria (it wasn't noon o'clock after all, that was a total lie), he took his time with getting himself straightened out before moving on.

Well, he couldn't just go back there. That'd just defeat the purpose of why he left - to save what little face he could. Soooo, he supposed he'd move on to the cafeteria. All was well again for the kitty. Though he was still completely unaware that he had taken Xell's dissolved medication along with his own.

And that unawareness might as well be the death of him, because without a warning, Crispin suddenly puked all over the floor. Completely flooding the doorway with this breakfast.

He dropped to his knees and clutched onto his stomach, his eyes wild more so with confusion rather than pain. He hadn't eaten since dawn, so it couldn't have been his food. Especially since he had cooked it himself! The last thing he drank was his water, to take his meds, and he'd never had this reaction before with his medication so--

Oh. Oh wait. Did this mean his meds were out of his system now?? Wait, his prescribers never prepped him on whether he should take another dose when this happened...!?

He heaved again. Round two impending.
Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by RainbowFizz
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Level 72, Office. Xell’s cublice

“Have everything I need now. Thanks,” Rey acknowledged, before taking his belongings and making his way back to his cubicle. Xell’s gaze following his retreat until he was out of sight.

Xell furrowed his brows and adjusted his blue tie against his white shirt. A streak of irritance surfacing through his expression as he redirected his glance to look at nothing in particular.

The one time he lets his guard up and shows just a glimmer of empathy was stubbed out and left him feeling dejected.

“Suit yourself,” he muttered under his breath nodding very slowly. His brows slowly easing up. A washed-out expression with an air of sadness.

“Suit yourself.”

He looked down on the floor. Orange pills still scattered about like spores of a disease.

His mind adopted a state of solitary confinement as his vision zoomed in on each and every pill. Lost even amongst the grainy patterns constituting its chemical and structural make up. Almost trying to envision all the dynamic carbon, hydroxyl chains and all other micro ocular chains bounding one another together.

How peculiar one small pill would change the course of your day. The course of your actions, your thought processes. Ultimately, which path you took and what outcome it would yield. Very much like ‘point and click’ adventure computer games Jess often harped on about if he was half listening. Knowing her, she’d be the appeaser he assumed. Try too hard to make it work with everyone. Not how to tactically pick your battles.

She had explained every thought, action, reaction and friends you picked paved your path. Either that, or manifested roadblocks or dead ends.

Sometimes Xell couldn’t help but feel that he was in a game himself. By that virtue, could these pills be a form of inhibition? With such a lack of free will, what was stopping him from... living? He realised that more often than not, the company directed his every move but did this cross other boundaries?

“Hey... hey...!” He shook his head as a proud tail swished by and clouted him on the snout. Causing him to rub it.

The smell of night life perfume (almost like soft mango and champagne) was still potent and intruded him first before the presence of the femme fatale herself.

Athena wasn’t exactly wearing office attire with her black leggings and white tank top which accentuated her hourglass figure quite femininely.

“What do you think you’re doing?!” He demanded as she bent down to scoop up the orange chalk pebbles.

“You wanna lower your voice?!” She hissed over her shoulder. Expression still hardened but her tone and body language somehow suggested that she was throwing out a lifeline.

She promptly managed to assemble all pills. Bar the one missing as it had been ingested by Crispin earlier.

“This whooole time...” Athena laughed incredulously.

“...you were tripping out whilst trying to find your 1K pen!” She held the assembly close to her chest with a smile.

The dragon blinked with a confused look. Causing an exasperated sigh from the fennec.

She abruptly pulled out Xell’s hand, placed the caboodle within the palm and guided his fingers to secure it.

“Don’t be so clumsy...” she winked. Holding his hand longer for what he deemed comfortable, before strutting off.

“...I make enough to buy, like, 10 of those in a day. Let me know if you need any spares!” She sang confidently as she walked off.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Level 72, Office. outside Jessamine’s cublice

Her question asked, Uthaleia gave Rié another of Jess's sunny smiles, waiting patiently to see what sort of answer she would be given.

Rié intuitively took one step. A little bit intimidated by the cheek pinching. Even if it was meant to be an endearing gesture, it startled the bunny. She gingerly raised a hand to touch her face. Almost as if to check if it was still there.

“Thank you for your kind words,” she acknowledged in an overly polite manner. Adhering too closely to obligation of showing gratitude for a compliment, or a need for effect to follow cause.

Jessamine simply beamed. Hands behind her back as she drew semi circles with one of her tiptoes on the floor in a daydream. All the while still waiting for an answer. She knew from the way the tone had tapered off that that was not the end of the conversation.

“Alright then, so... you’re telling me it was just a social gathering of some sort?” Fleur asked, unable to conceal the dubious tone.

“We’re a good 1 hour from break time and pardon my sternness but now would not be the time for ‘meet and greet’. You all know the rules by now. No chin wagging or any of that nature unless it’s work related.”

Fleur sighed before pursing her lips hopelessly. She didn’t like confrontation. Her speech on rule enforcement was really just a narrow window to give herself more time on how to address the situation. She knew what she saw, and it was only a matter of time before someone accused her of not fulfilling her duty to its entirety.

“Look, Ms Halecourt, I really need your cooperation with this...” Fleur reached out, hand shaking as her other hand was gripping the tranquilliser shakily behind her back. Inching steadily to the forefront as the rabbit stared at the squirrel’s dainty neck.

” ...leur... Fleur... Fleeeeuuuur...”the rabbit straightened up. Shoving the syringe away in her back lab pocket as she adjusted an earpiece within her auditory canal.

“Yes... yes... alright... right away!” She said, glancing up at Jessamine and back to the floor nervously. Processing what was being said to her.

She didn’t like a sudden change of plans or having to deal with uncertainty.

Rié cleared her throat as she straightened her pose again. Looking back at Jessamine with concern.

“It’s been requested I escort yourself, Mr Westing, Miss O’shea and Mr Weaver to the Director’s office,” she explained, looking around anxiously for another individual “...and I think Mr Ocelot must’ve gone to lunch...” she trailed off with panic.

”He’s being dealt with...” she heard through her earpiece.

“...right...” she hesitated, forcing a pursed smile when she looked back to the worker squirrel girl. Almost as if staring straight through her amber eyes.

“Are you going to come willingly, Jessamine Halecourt?” Fleur stated, rather than requested.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hallways

Zacharias drawled his sneakers cross the floor. Thudding in a dull monotoned manner. Really his bell bottom jeans were too long and threads could be seen shearing off from where the hems got caught between floor and shoes.

Even his oversized green striped 3/4 shirt overlaying a black tank top did nothing to help reinforce a ‘glowing appearance’. Rather, a grumpy and miserable emo hound with a perpetual calculating and vindictive aura about him.

His thoughts continued to perpetuate about the scene earlier where the preppy squirrel girl had made a complete fool of him and one of his superiors insinuated a form of amusement from the happening.

‘Just you wait. Til today’s meeting. That will wipe the smile off your face. Juvenile mink!’

Bleuuuuuuuuuurgh

Before Zach could take a step closer, he jumped back with a yelp as he saw food contents splatter across the floor.

Balancing his stance on one foot and guarding his face from the horror before him, Zach tentatively opened one eye to take in the scene before him.

Before letting his guard down and sneering with disgust. The smell of bile rose rapidly and made him pinch his nose.

“...well, guess you showed that hairball whose boss,” Zach folded his arms whilst he tapped his foot and directed a stern gaze at Crispin. Who was still dry heaving and clutching the wall for support?

Hacking and retching echoing down the hallways. Deep and guttural which would’ve drawn anyone’s attention if wasn’t just the two of them as of yet.

“Are you…”

Bleurgh… bleu… bleeeeeeurgh… the visceral sounds kept interrupting Zach.

“…are you done yet?!” he demanded after some time. Finally, some silence about the air.

‘Seriously... cats.,’ he narrowed his eyes with contempt.

“Mr Ocelot, I recognise you’re struggling for whatever reason- I don’t know,” Zach almost accusing him of some misendeavour “but as it happens, you’re one of the flagged workers that’s been advised to go to the Director’s office. And I'm going to be taking you there.”

Eyeing him up and down again, Zach smirked somewhat.

“Are you going to comply, or must I carry you?”

Hidden 4 mos ago Post by GemaJinn
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Level 72, Office. outside Jessamine’s cubicle

Keeping Jess's sunny smile and exuberant demeanour seamlessly in place, Uthaleia listened to what Rie had to say, as well as observing her expressions and body language to pick up upon what she did not say. She was, it appeared, a rather nervous soul and one not at ease with enquiries that could lead to confrontation, or confrontation itself. That perhaps wasn't too surprising given her species, or the place she was currently working and it could be just that. Nevertheless, Uthaleia made certain she wasn't, by chance inattentiveness, giving off some subtle signal- be it cadence of voice, body language or facial expression- that would cause the bunny girl to pick up on a predatory vibe from her. That was by no means the easiest thing to do, since the girl's not-so-subtle movement of one hand behind her back to the tranquiliser only served to reinforce, to Uthaleia's gut instinct, the virtues of eviscerating any individual in medical attire, performing questionable actions, before they completed said actions. Behind the beaming smile of Jess, Uthaleia noted the length of the bunny girl's arm, the angle at which her wrist- and thus her hand- was turned to grasp the object behind her back, and the way she was trying to be discrete about gazing at Jess's neck, looking for a spot to land the blow. Uthaleia had little doubt she could duck or sidestep the girl with little difficulty and even make it look chance; an accidental evasion that was the consequence of a coincidence of timing and action. Fortunately for both of them, she was spared the necessity of any action at all when Rie suddenly received a fresh set of instructions. Observing that the girl looked discomfited by a deviation from routine, Uthaleia listened as Rie spoke to her again.

“It’s been requested I escort yourself, Mr Westing, Miss O’shea and Mr Weaver to the Director’s office,” she explained, looking around anxiously, forcing a pursed smile when she looked back to Jess. Almost as if staring straight through her amber eyes.

“Are you going to come willingly, Jessamine Halecourt?” Rie almost demanded, rather than requested.

Inwardly, Uthaleia took a note of that, finding it significant that the meeting-time had been abruptly brought forwards... and that those flagged were all in the very same office as herself. What had they been doing, she wondered, that had earned them the Director's attention? With Xell, perhaps bringing his own medication was the answer? That certainly had the potential to throw the so-called 'medical trials' the company was running. Was there anything beyond that though? Xell did seem to be constantly on edge, so perhaps there were other little indiscretions he'd made, without being quite as careful as he'd imagined? Then again, perhaps skewing the results of the medical testing was enough? Uthaleia considered the other names on the list. It was hard to iagine what Rey could have done to be flagged for the Director's office... maybe he'd been so wrapped up in his art he'd forgotten to fill out a form or two, leaving vital information on drugs testing results undisclosed? Maybe he'd just not interacted enough with other employees, though Uthaleia considered that to be a highly unlikely reason for a flagging; as long as workers were well-behaved drones, they were unlikely to draw the Director's attention at all. Maybe his art had recently had some content to it of which the Director disapproved? It really was quite a puzzle as to what Rey might have done. Next, Uthaleia considered Athena.

It was somewhat easier to guess what might have put Athena on the list of the flagged. If it wasn't flirting with Rey, it was probable that her other vocation, thanks to drawing the eyes of other workers and perhaps having a potentially negative impact upon the reputation of the company as a whole might have got her flagged. Then again, given the words that Athena had spoken to Xell as she 'found his 1K pen' it was possible she might have been flagged for having 'brought her own' to work in addition to any of the other possibilities. Inwardly, Uthaleia consdiered that the trip to the Director's office might be very enlightening indeed- be it for good or ill. On the heels of that thought, she responded to Rie, giving an answer to everything the bunny girl had asked of, and said to her.

"You thought I was telling you it was a social gathering?" she asked in Jess's sparkling tones, a look of bemusement on her face, before smiling widely and reaching out to gently, playfully flap the bunny-girl's ears, "honey-bunny," she continued, "you have got to use these big, beautiful ears of yours a little better!" Pausing only momentarily, to take in Rie's reaction, Jess continued to speak with her usual, bubbly, overflowing enthusiasm.

"You asked me if I saw anything unusual sweetie," she elaborated, "and I told you what I saw that I thought was unusual. Like I said before 'anything unusual' is a bit of a vague term don'cha think? It's, like... whaddya call it... subjective depending upon what a person's opinion is of what's unusual. I mean, to me, Athena posing like a model in the office, Xelly and Crispin hugging whilst Rey looks on seems a bit unusual 'cause, like you say, it isn't a break time yet and normally no-one's that happy, this early in the day except me! If there's something you saw which you think's unusual," she continued, "you should maybe just say, 'hey Jess, I thought I saw this, did'ja see it too?' I mean, that way we're on the same page and it saves us talking at cross purposes right?" Pausing just long enough to see how Rie was processing her words, Jess then answered the other question Rie had asked.

"Oh, honey-bunny, you should really relax a little!" She exclaimed, still softly stroking the girl's ears, "you sound waaayy too formal for someone bearing good news! Of course I'm coming, all you had to say was, 'hey Jess, I'm supposed to take you to the Director now, are you ready?' The way you said it, anyone'd think you'd come to tell me the guillotine was ready for me or something. I mean, a trip to the Director's office is hardly gonna kill me after all! You just lead the way honey-bunny," Jess concluded, moving to stand alongside the bunny-girl, "and I'll go along with you, don't you worry about it! Like I'd miss an opportunity to see the Dirtector face-to-face... especially since he wants to talk to me!"

With that, Uthaleia gave Rie one of Jess's most winning smiles as she stood alongside the bunny-girl, having unobtrusively, but definitely moved just far enough outside the extent of Rie's reach, that the tranquiliser would no longer be an easy option. Uthaleia highly doubted that the girl beside her would want to sedate such a seemingly naive and willing attendee to the Director's summons, but at the same time, as nervous and uncertain of the situatuion as she seemed, Uthaleia couldn't guarantee that Rie wouldn't want to try and sedate an overly-cheerful employee she wasn't sure how to handle. She kept an unassuming, but vigilant eye on the office around her, to see how the others would react when Rie came to them, and how Rie herself would react to everything Jess had just said.
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Rexcalibur
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"Seriously... cats."

It was only after Crispin's stomach finally calmed down that he noticed Zacharias' repulsed remarks. He chuckled nervously, now aware that it wasn't just someone watching his nauseating episode - it was the green boy himself, the front man who always seemed upset for some reason or other. Crispin wiped whatever gunk was left by his mouth with his glove.

"Zachary, my boy! I, uh... sorry you had to see that." He scratched the back of his head sheepishly. "I don't... know what might've... uhh..."

It was obvious Crispin would keep rambling forever about his confusion, so Zach was straight to the point. Crispin's slicked ears perked up immediately. "The Director?" He blinked rapidly, trying to process what the dog just told him. Then he flitted his eyes to the putrid mess he had made, before looking back at Zach and pointing at himself. "Me? Was it the puke? Dude, I can - I can clean this up in a jiffy. I'm a cafeteria man, I've dealt with this shit before. I just..."

Wait, did he get caught fumbling with his meds? Crispin sighed and defeatedly placed his hands in his coat pockets. Now that his throat stopped burning, the ocelot couldn't help but worry about what's going to happen to him now. Medically, at least. Did he ingest it in time? Who does he even talk to about what to do in this sitch?

Crispin's shoulders slumped as he followed along after Zacharias. "All right all right, I'm comin' I'm comin'." Quit yer bitchin', Nancy.
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by RainbowFizz
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Level 2, Jessamine’s cubicle

Rié flinched a bit and winced as Jess’s hand jestfully brushed over her ears. She almost stumbled over her own rabbit feet, before deftly straightening up her posture and ears. Like a cat would arch its back to accentuate its height and authority.

She couldn’t help but adopt dubious and guarded stance as Jess continued on her babble of ‘all rainbows and sunshine’. Nodding every once and again to acknowledge her sung verses, she summarised the message in her own head.

Either Rié had not been specific enough, which was more or less said by the dainty squirrel. Or the sneaky squirrel was taking her out on a ride. Taking advantage of the ambiguity in her former question and contriving meaningless conversation.

But for what? To buy time? To safeguard her colleagues?

"Oh, honey-bunny, you should really relax a little!" Jess exclaimed, still softly stroking the girl's ears.
Rié reluctantly stood immobilised whilst riding out the ‘touchy feely’ gestures once again. It appeared that her own unreceptive body language wasn’t enough to hint out to the squirrel girl that she had had just about enough of that.

Nevertheless, it paid off. Her compliance had earned some corporation from Jess and that ultimately was the most due objective as of yet. To lead herself and her colleagues to the Director’s office. Preferably without force. She didn’t know her long enough to calculate if she’d pose any resistance. Either verbally or physically. She noted as the squirrel obliged and stood next to her. Ready to be escorted to the Director’s office. Of course, there’d be others in transit.

Unusual to before, it appeared Jess had distanced herself a little more than what she expected given her overly keen attitude to invade her personal space.

“Alright, thank you for your assistance,” Rié said. Donating a simple nod towards the direction she wanted the squirrel to take.
The rabbit gave one last hesitant sweep across the room with her eyes, before looking at the clock. Almost lunch time. It appeared everyone had practically vanished to lunch.

Where had the time gone? she thought absent mindedly, scratching her head.

As they made their war towards the cohort of other flagged office beings, the background gave off a static spark. An air of oppression and dull tones echoing as a beast merged into the present.

“My poor little lapin, just what are they doing to you?” A whisper and an insidious laugh resonated thereafter.

A coral coloured being emanating well after the femme office workers had disappeared. He looked on and smirked. Nuclear green irises flaring before dissipating to a cool aqua colour.

He turned to wonder into Jess’s cubicle. Falling back into the chair as his gnarly tattooed hand scrolled through her computer history.
Nothing appeared to be unusual, however. Unlike what that hallucinating hound appears to constantly harp on about. That something is different, unusual, suspicious about Jessamine Halecourt. That she’s a disease the corporation need to evaluate to the utter most scrutiny.
Seriously? Worried about a preppy girl? he flicked his ear with contemplation as he sat back with his mussel in one hand. A steady arm with tribal ink decorated its skin.

Perhaps she really was worth looking into. She had had medication most days to regulate her vivacious moods. However, it appeared to have had no affect. No change in mood, aura, behaviour, brainwave activity. Nothing. Didn’t matter if it was the substance in question or a placebo.
A very colourful individual compared to the rest. Although the negative shades of some of the office brethren, in particular the flagged ones, had their own colourful demeanours. Negative auras to relish from afar.
Nerves, agitation, unease, anxiety.
All 4 of the above could certainly be applied to Xell Weaver. His brainwaves were just not on form at all. Some interference, it seems.
‘Tragic.’ His mussel relinquished that serious expression with a wayward smile. He already knew the verdict- but fishing for an admission of culpability would prove to be compelling.

Rey Westing was new. At this point, even Aleksei couldn’t entertain as to why he had been summoned to the Director’s office.

Athena O’Shea. The slut that bragged about her nocturnal glamour to earn herself some capital and self validation. Settling for the bare minimum appeared beyond her. In a way, her silence on the defiled opinions it earned her from her peers was admirable. Smutty lifestyle choice, however, appeared to manifest false bravado from within. Selling herself in more than one way to make ends meet on every plane was really all she was doing.

With that virtue, there wasn’t much to admire at all and seeing her presence in the Director’s office would be an event he’d look forward to.

Crispin Ocelot? He’d have to be probed on his background. Aleksei knew very well that he had evaded the check somehow. Deliberately overseen to enable him a chance to start afresh? Or the perfect candidate to test a new drug? Really, the Director was more savvy to all those answers.

One thing was certain, like Xell he suspected some common ground. Not just on similar mood altering drugs but their self control as a whole. They were both slow fusing dynamites about to explode. For all they were concealing beneath, it was only a matter of time before either of them would explode. And those in the aftermath may suffer the repercussions.
Not that any of that would matter to Xell. He had, after all, emotionally distanced himself from anyone who’s ever tried to get close to him since a significant event in his life. Crispin, on the other hand, appeared to have some entities to live for. He was a somewhat self aware individual. Trying to make amends for his wrong doings. Expressing frustration or misendavour in the first instance, only to try and correct it somehow.
Naive but it was a trait to be noted. A lifeline to keep him going through the storms.
The devil turned halfway in the swivel chair. Narrowing one nuclear green eye to focus on the scene that was about to unfold from him many cubicles back.
Distorting the appearance of the cubicle so as to mask his presence.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Athena’s cubicle

Athena mundanely typed away at her keyboard. As monotonous and tedious as it was, a chore paling in comparison to the excitement of her noire life, she knew when to sit down, focus and get a job done. On a separate monitor via a VPN, she’d keep track of her own statistics. Her ratings pertaining to her alter ego lifestyle. She smiled as she noted promising numbers refresh on the screen.

“The Director’s office?!” She heard a voice exclaim, causing her to frown and rise from her chair. The happy bubble she was in perforated by the dialogue within the cubicle in front of her.

“Yes,” the voice belonging to Fleur affirmed “yourself, Ms O’shea and Mr Westing need to come with myself and Ms Halecourt to the Director’s office.”

The dragon certainly did seem somewhat unhinged this time. Wide eyed, mouth open, arms high in the air with open hands as if waiting for the skies to give him an answer, before letting out a large exasperated breath and pressing his forehead into his hand.

“I’ve done nothing wrong!” he looked up again after a long pause. Folding his arms “you need to tell me on what grounds I’m going to the
“Director’s office”?!”

“I cannot disclose that Mr. Weaver. Please calm down and come with me.” Fleur reached out slightly. A gesture as if to lend some support or sympathy, but quickly pulled away with hesitation. The dragon’s body language gave off all sorts of unreceptive signs.
Rey overheard the commotion, reluctantly having left his cubicle and approaching the group. Standing as far away as possible as he looked on warily.

“What about Rey? What’s he done wrong?!” Xell exclaimed, pointing at him flippantly “I mean, he just sits there… and draws! Too talented for the company?!”

“Mr. Weaver, I’m going to have to ask you to lower your voice,” Fleur attempted to hold both arms mid air as if to fend off fire “you did check in this morning? Didn’t you?”

“You mean take my happy pills?!” The dragon demanded turning around to face her, stepping close to her personal space “what the hell are you guys making me take anyway? You never answer my questions! Just tell me they’re ‘what’s appropriate’. Vitamins are they? They’re f*-king with my head!”

He couldn’t take it anymore. Sweat dripping off his forehead as he sized Fleur up and down. The dainty winged reptile knew it was only a matter of time before he’d be the poked angry bear. Today was unexpected, but now was the time he felt the need to perforate this ominous, ill boding façade he’s been trapped behind for too long.

Raising his fist, he was ready to sucker punch the rabbit square in the face.
The intent was noted and the rabbit’s eye bled crimson for a split second, ducking to evade the assault. She quickly rose as Xell stumbled to one side and revolved her forearm to stab the dragon’s neck with the tranq syringe and compress the fluid. Earning a powerless yelp from Xell.
Silver eyes resumed as she gritted her teeth with a pang of regret and remorse. Standing there to watch helplessly all of a sudden.

The dragon cranked his head to eye the extruded plunger poking out. Eyes widened as the vessel quivered back and forth.

“Bitch…” he pulled it out. Woozy, he knocked a couple of lamps and pot plants over. He steadied himself shakily with his palms against one of the desks. Taking one last look at the group in front of him. Noticing Athena make a delayed arrival. Everyone a blurred assembly of haphazard colours.

“What are you all standing there for?” He insisted with a helpless cry, before capsizing to the floor with a bang.
There was a moment of silence, everyone staring at the heap before them.

Athena in particular was at a loss for words. She looked around the office and furrowed her eyesbrows with her mouth ajar.
‘Where had everyone gone?!’ she thought with disbelief and disgust. Perhaps that should be the last question she should pose herself. And rather, why had she been summoned the Director’s office? And why wasn’t it her that had that outburst? It would’ve been within her temperament to fight back. With the chain reaction that took place so rapidly, however, it seemed she had been beaten to it and is all the more wiser not to have a shot at an SEO worker.

“I hope none of you attempt what Mr. Weaver did there,” Fleur finally spoke out, looking at each and every individual “makes it rather inconvenient now. Perhaps two of you can help carry him? Who might be the strongest of all of you?” she enquired.
Fleur, Rey, Jess and Athena were left in the wake of the unconscious body. Body still curled up despite the muscle relaxant effect the sedative should’ve had. Office shirt still smooth whilst his navy blue tie could be seen sprawled out.

“Well, I just had my nails done last night… sooooo…” Athena rolled her eyes before looking at the heap with discontent “I’ll pass!”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hallways

Zach smiled with glee. Beckoning for Crispin to follow him as they made their long walk down the unpromising, dark passageway.

“The stomach contents aren’t quite what’s offended us,” he answered his question from earlier. Continuing to talk. “but yes, it sparks concern amongst us.”

Crispin somehow suspected that last comment was insincere. What would that fake ass micro manager know anyway? He glared at his striped shirt whilst he trailed behind.

“What sort of concern, dawg?” Crispin enquired with a dubious expression “probs something I ate. So I tossed my cookies. Big deal.”

“Hmmm…” Zach pursed his lips. He knew the facts but thought better than to enlighten him. Granted the Ocelot had been compliant but he had initially retaliated when requested to follow him.

“We normally make sure our employees are in good form. Regulate their health, well being, mood… We haven’t had anyone ‘toss their cookies’ for a while.” Zach turned over his shoulder to make brief eye contact before sizing him up. Albeit subtly. He turned back to look straight ahead.

“Pft. Really?” Crispin remarked “how do you regulate things like that? I mean, that’s just not weird at all!”
By now, they had walked through a monumental set of high glass doors. Brief bleeps resonating and neon lights flaring as the dog waved his wrist over the keypad.

Gusts of wind howled past as the two beings walked through a glass tube that contained a bridge from one set of the building, to another. There were small gaps such that the outside world and its commotion could be heard.
With their surrounding transparency, it almost felt as if the workers were walking on thin air above the city.

Crispin looked around to take in the urban panorama. The buildings themselves were high tech and sophisticated. Standing tall and proud. A super capitalistic headquarter that appeared to overshadow the periphery around it.

Decayed neighbouring buildings not part of SEO in the background were rusty and corroded looking. Orange and yellow smog gave off hues of a dying evening, despite it being midday. Over one of the other sides of the city, the cook noticed some dark clouds approaching. Judging from the ringing metal suspensions and the direction of the flustering flags, it appeared the winds were bringing the clouds towards them.

“Looks like they’re rollin’,” Crispin commented.

Zach frowned, looking down to one side as if he was mad “What?!”

“Clouds man! There’s gonna be a storm or some shit.”

“Right…” the hound sighed exasperated. There’ll be more than ‘just a storm’ the dog thought inwardly.

“Mr. Ocelot, this is the longest job you’ve kept with us, am I right?” Zach queried.

“Yeah, why?”

“Oh… no reason…” Zach smirked again, though his face was out of the cat’s sight “in fact. I like your spirit.”

It wasn’t long before they would approach the director’s office. Just past to the next set of double doors which they marched through after consecutive openings. A steel like square vault shutting down from above and obscuring all signs of previous urban lights. Sealing them into the new building.

The vicinity was checkered with pale white and black marble squares. Boardered with platinum outlines. It was almost like a museum venue. Red velvet curtains draping the walls. Where a set of veils were not available, mirrors of escalating heights were there. Simply reflecting black and shadows.
In fact, now that the cat thought of it, apart from the floor he was standing on and some faint wall outline, really he couldn’t see a damn thing.

“So… Director’s office is floor 666?” Crispin joked, nudging Zach. Which he didn’t appreciate as he shrugged away from him with disgust.

“Hahahaha not quite…” Zach readopted a composed look and smirked “in fact, we’re here. There’s a table over there in case you didn’t
notice.” Zach pointed, causing Crispin to squint and shrug with half hearted acknowledgement.

“Why don’t you tell me about your family whilst we wait?” The dog smiled as he folded his arms. Anticipating a reply from the Ocelot.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Rexcalibur
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Rexcalibur Kung Fuhrer

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It was one thing for Zach to joke about this being Crispin's longest standing job - considering the cat's running record until now, that was something about him that stood out to his peers. But now to ask about his family? Crispin couldn't hide his bewilderment. But behind his shock, he could hide his suspicions.

First, it seemed his own medication that was saving his life tried to kill him. (Never mind that was due to his own blunder.) Then, the summoning to the almighty "Director." Now, this dark room. It seemed a bit too... planned, to ask something so personal, in this environment.

Is this a threat?

"Well, this is sudden." Crispin furrowed his eyebrows in thought for a moment, before relaxing back in his chair and looking moderately less alarmed. "They're not in any danger, are they?"

Of course, Zach wasn't going to give himself away. "I don't know. Are they?" he said with a smirk. And left it at that.

Crispin sighed. Can never really tell with this guy. Poe's Law and all that. Then again, for as long as Crispin knew Zach (Crispin's done his fair share of eavesdropping), this is pretty much how he responds to anything remotely serious. The cat shrugged. "Yeah. Okay. Thanks."

Just keep it cool.

He leaned back into his chair and brought a finger to his chin, as if pensive. As if this topic that meant to much to him was a joke. "Where do I start? Well, there's my twin sisters and my mother. And having older twin sisters is a bit of a nightmare. Be grateful you didn't grow up with that. One's married, the other's not..." He took a deep breath, paused, then spoke again. "Yeah. That's really all you need to know about them.

"Aaaand Mom? Works for the Feds. Big techie, but I think she's gotta be a Merc on the side or something. Carries around a scimitar like it's a purse. Never lets us touch it, never tells us why." Never really told them about what she does for work - she just comes home with money; that's all. While Crispin's pretty toned himself, his mother was most definitely considered built. And one-eyed, wearing a bandanna over the fucked-up part of her face like a pirate. Crispin jokingly relayed this information to Zacharias, laughing at himself in between sentences.

Crispin either didn't know or had straight up forgotten that he had listed his mother as his emergency contact on his resume quite sometime ago. Zach had all the information he needed to know on her. "Lady" was her name. Lady Ocelot. And based on this shit the cat fed him, he wouldn't doubt she gave this name to herself.

"And your father?"

"My dad? Uhhh. He'd been working abroad since I was a baby. What's the word for it - expat? No? Is that not the word for it?" Much to Zacharias' dismay, Crispin rambled on about the right term for his dad's situation before eventually giving up on it. "Eh, I guess that's not important. Honestly, I couldn't tell you much about him even if I wanted to."

He looked at his gloved hands. "Though I get my looks from him, I guess. Mom & sisters are purple, I'm dark gray. Markings here, no markings there, blah blah."

Unless Zacharias and the Big Boss needed to know names and deets, that's as far as Crispin was willing to share.

While Crispin was mostly carefree (and careless to some extent), he was defensive about his sisters and mother - so mismanaging his pill-taking was, as far as his coworkers knew, the only thing that ever caused him to worry. And now Zacharias knew a bit about his family. Cool. Crispin had been pretty chill with him, all things considered, up until they hit this room.

The ocelot maintained his usual laid-back persona, though was now much more guarded. "Frankly, Zachy, if this is how you start your small talk"--Crispin laughed--"yer pretty bad at it. Might wanna get some help with that. You wanna tell me about your fam too?"
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by GemaJinn
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Level 2, Outside Athena's Cubicle:

Uthaleia kept an impassive watch behind the bright eyes of Jess as the scene played out in front of her. That Xell had snapped... or come perilously close to it... and lashed out at Fleur was not that surprising; to her at least. Even if events earlier in the day hadn't made it clear to her that Xell had his own supply of medication, in addition to whatever SEO gave him, it had been clear to her from day one that he was on edge; that some tension inside him was slowly building and might go off at any time. It looked like today had been the day, and that it hadn't ended well at all for him. If that was to be expected, the incident had at least raised some points of interest for Uthaleia herself.

Firstly, she had noted the way Fleur's eyes changed colour when responding to a threat- and how expertly the threat was countered. There was more to the gentle, polite bunny-girl, it seemed that polite courtesy or adherence to her job. She had excellent reflexes and the way she moved sopke of training... what the change of colour in her eyes hinted at Uthaleia had suspicions about she didn't want to contemplate too closely just yet... suspicions that gained some credence from the bunny-girl's noticable flux in personal disposition, both during her response to the threat and immediately afterwards.
Secondly, there had been Athena's expression of amazement and shock at having witnessed Xell reach boiling point. Whilst Uthaleia doubted Athena could have been unaware of Xell seeming ever a little too tense, it had perhaps surprised the fennec that Xell was capable of such an outburst- or perhaps what surprised her more was Fleur's reaction to it? It was possible, Uthaleia considered, that Athena was now contemplating just how fortunate she'd been in not taking a shot at someone before Xell did.
Thirdly, Uthaleia noticed something she kept to herself and did everything to insure she gave no sign of having noticed: Behind them, in the cubicles they had just vacated earler, an oppressive presence had manifested- a tangible aura of brooding malevolence. Perhaps the others couldn't sense it... or subconsciously told themselves that they didn't... but Uthaleia's capacity to feed upon energy made her sensitive to changes in energy in a given environment ('sensitive to atmospheres' as previous generations might have said) and so, she could hardly not notice. Someone or something unequivocally malignant was lurking further back in the office right now. Keeping that in mind, whilst keeping her facial expression and body language at Jess's usual sunny radiance, she watched and listened as the scene in front of her continued to unfold.

“I hope none of you attempt what Mr. Weaver did there,” Fleur finally spoke out, looking at each and every individual “makes it rather inconvenient now. Perhaps two of you can help carry him? Who might be the strongest of all of you?” she enquired.
Fleur, Rey, Jess and Athena were left in the wake of the unconscious body. Body still curled up despite the muscle relaxant effect the sedative should’ve had. Office shirt still smooth whilst his navy blue tie could be seen sprawled out.

“Well, I just had my nails done last night… sooooo…” Athena rolled her eyes before looking at the heap with discontent “I’ll pass!”

Uthaleia had about expected that response from Athena; it left just herself and Rey and Fleur herself to decide between them who would be doing the carrying. Whilst, as Jess, she would certainly volunteer doing so carried it's complications: No matter her shape, Uthaleia retained her strength which was (by design she was sure) significantly greater than that of many another. Were the dainty Jess to single-handedly pick up and carry Xell, that would raise questions no amount of downplaying it or attributing it to the medical trials would dismiss easily... in short, it would draw far too much attention. On the other hand, were she to not speak up, that would seem uncharacteristic for Jess, something that might draw attention too... it appeared a little acting was called for. Fluffing up her tail a little and dusting her hands together, as though she'd decided to set herself to undertake some hard, manual labour, Jess strolled over to Xell's inert form, kneeeling beside him, before looking up to the others with the most appealing, puppy-dog eyes she could muster as she spoke.

"I'll give carrying him a go if no-one else is feeling up to it," she announced in Jess's usual sunny tones, "but he might be kinda hefty for little ol' me on my own y'know? He's quite a strapping guy after all! I mean, if someone could be ever so sweet and lend a hand, I reckon I could about manage him for a bit, but if not I'm gonna have to drag him the whole way there, and I don't think that'd be pleasant for him, me or anyone! So if any of the rest of you are up to lending a hand please... I'd really, really not like to have Xelly blame me for his having a carpet pattern imprinted on his face by the time we get to the Director's Office".
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by RainbowFizz
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RainbowFizz But her peace of mind can’t stay inside the lines

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SEO Head office hallway

Zach’s expression tentatively changed to a more guarded look as he observed the cat’s expressions and movements. Crispin definitely sensed something wasn’t right. But he seemed to relinquish the feelings of insecurity a little too quickly during the whole exchange.

Zach leaned against a marble pillar with his arms folded. Listening to the cat speak of his family. Oscillations between a sense of trying to be conversational, before quickly retracting the need to offer any more information. Especially the abrupt ‘that’s all you need to know’ on the twin sister frontier.

The dog’s resumed smile dipped to a frown again. Not taking this seriously… his pupils dipped to the floor disdainfully, before perking up with curiosity.

Now was the subject of his mother. What are we, after all, without our maternities? Inevitably, facets of ourselves are inherited from somewhere. Even if buried deep beneath the tomb after copious environmental and behavioural conditioning, a default undiluted personality will always rise at one time or another.

’A big techie? Works for the fed?’ he raised an eyebrow at that. Especially the roll-on comment of her having to be a mercenary on the side. ‘Seriously? He doesn’t even know what his own mother does? Zach thought, shaking his head incredulously while Crispin laughed about his mum looking like a pirate and sounding like she had quite the durable build on her.

His father? Obsolete knowledge. What was it he was trying to say… illegitimate? The dog sniggered but found himself raising his head superiorly after the Ocelot’s backhanded comment. A cooler and reserved expression on his face.

"Frankly, Zachy, if this is how you start your small talk"--Crispin laughed--"yer pretty bad at it. Might wanna get some help with that. You wanna tell me about your fam too?"

“Sorry you don’t approve of my social skills, Mr. Ocelot,” the hound retorted “my family? Not sure it’s best to open Pandora’s can of worms.”

Crispin scoffed.

“…you lost me there.” The cat chuckled skeptically.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Level 72, Office

Athena gave Jess a dirty look. Arms on her hips as she tapped her foot and huffed at the whole situation.

“Seriously?! Even during something like this you’re still wearing those rose-tinted glasses?” she uttered a scorning laugh. She then mock surrendered with her hands up in the air, eyes closed with a sarcastic smile. A body language signifying that she’d rather be anywhere than here.

“Ok, ok… I mean… nothing abnormal about today at all right?” her voice trailed off with an exasperated breath. If only there were some damned witnesses here. She was aware of the Orwellian regulations here, but hadn’t really encountered anything like this before. She’d expect any one individual to be drugged during her nocturnal lifestyle. Hence, why, she never accepted drinks from anyone. Bar the first time, that first time… waking up. Wondering where she was…

But she wasn’t going to go there. She shook her head. Surely there were rights here. She vaguely remembers reading the work contract, but the fine print was a tedious read with cleverly worded ambiguity. It was a job at the end of the day, surely this was not part of the package?

“Well come on,” she turned her face to square up Rey with a cool look, eyeing him up and down “show us you’re not so beta and pick up that body.”

Fleur looked at the remaining conscious individuals hesitantly, before nodding at Robyn promptly.

Rey cleared his throat, before compliantly rushing to pick up Xell by the shoulders. Assuming by Jessamine’s joke that she wanted to drag him by the feet but doing so would give him a carpet burn?

Athena folded her arms and smirked with satisfaction whilst Jessamine stupidly bowed with thanks to Rey’s obligation for help. Quickly hopping to Xell’s feet and picking him up on the count of 3. These people were too easy to dominate.

“Well, we’re all set up to go,” Rié attempted to give Athena a stern look. Holding the direct eyestare, before pointing her head towards the door “we can’t be late.”

Jessamine found herself walking backwards whilst holding Xell’s feet, happily adopting motions which were a cross between a shuffle and skip. Robyn on the other hand, needed all the strength from his torso to keep Xell afloat. He hoped to hell that this would not be a long walk.

Athena shook her head and sniggered. Being an authoritarian was not an innate desire of the rabbit’s at all. But what were those moves earlier?

The fennec took one last sweeping glance of the office and all its parameters. All chairs neatly tucked within their desks. Computers either in sleep mode or portraying desktops of SEO and its corporate messages of being a world leading organization.
Her mouth was left slightly ajar at a desk in the very distance. A momentary flashback of that night flickering before her eyes. That strong arm reaching out…
She soothed her neck in a guarded manner. Before pulling her arm away to run up to catch with the rest of the cohort.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SEO Head office hallway

“What I mean is, some things are better not worth knowing.” Zach narrowed his eyes, before turning towards the grand doors. ’Sure is taking his time.’ The dog pursed his lips.

“Come on maaaaaan!” Crispin turned in his chair as if to confront him “you don’t get to pull that stunt with me. I poured my heart out to you!”

“Willingly…” Zach replied with a smile “sooooo… do you feel we’re better bonded?” He asked as if speaking to a troublesome patient.

“Not so fast,” Crispin wasn’t going to have any of it “there’s got to be something between the lines here. Please let me guess… don’t enlighten me yet!”

Zach felt as if he had no choice but to stay put and listen.

“This Director… the one that owns this company. No one knows his or her name right? Or what he or she looks like, for that matter.” Crispin speculated.

“This is getting ridiculous…” Zach’s voice resounded coolly. Unfolding his arms, he started marching towards the cat.

“Well, what if he’s actually your dad, or mum, Zachy? And you’re… you know… being the face of the corporation because you don’t quite have the skills or the brains to have devised… all of this!” the cat continued holding out his arms as if to behold grandeur of the vicinity.

“Nothing wrong with that. Really. Plenty of heirs who use the ‘Bank of mum and dad’.”

“That’s enough…!” The seething dog was millimeters away. Hoisting out a loaded device with a sharp gauge that glistened in the dark.
Crispin instinctively stood up. Ready to evade what was incoming with startled eyes.

Before the feline could react, he found a force hoist him by the scruff of his neck. Dangling him like a fresh piece of fish with winced eyes- he gradually opened them to see the cowering looking puppy on the ground. Eyes twitching as he gripped the syringe with both hands whilst having dropped to his knees. A purple light cast upon him against the checkered marbled floor.
In fact, the hue of the whole room without notice was cast with cerulean and magenta tones.

“…Really… that’s enough…” a smooth voice resounded. Present but far removed emotionally. Crispin could finally deduce the owner of the voice was the one who was suspending him some feet from the ground.

He reluctantly turned his head far enough for his peripheral vision to do the rest of the work. A tall statured creature with a smirk could be seen. The fleecing red eyes vivid enough to drain the life out of anyone who stared long enough.

“An interesting speculation Mr. Ocelot. But you’re far off the mark,” the Director dropped the feline who landed almost conveniently into his chair a thud. The Director beckoned for Zach to stand up, before pointing an elongated purple finger towards one of the far end seats. Ones that were at a raised platform versus the rest of the arena of chairs. The dog nodded before obliging the order.

The purple lights and mist continued to lurk throughout the room. The only colour defying its alluring tones was the creature’s red eyes. The rest of his attire consisted of a thinly stripped black suit with a white work shirt. Clean cut and as if it had been especially customized for this authoritarian.

A creek was heard from across the room, earning synchronized looks from all within the vicinity.
The hydraulics contained within the monumental doors whirred and gave off a few clicks, before opening wide. Meek shadowed silhouettes standing against the white light.

Crispin's eyes had to adjust to the sudden introduction of brightness after being in the dark for so long. After a few seconds, he was able to deduce the figures. Some people he had seen or had been speaking with earlier! A grumpy looking femme fox who he had seen around. Seemed like a bit of a mole in his opinion. A bunny nurse with the saddest looking eyes.

The human… Rey was it? Carrying a body! That grey reptile… the guy who tackled him earlier. Maybe the tumbling had made him sick earlier? The other carrier was someone he was unfamiliar with. Some red squirrel dame. Oh wait, she had in fact blown him a kiss earlier.
He was about to reach out to wave and holler. Almost as if his thoughts had been read, he found himself relinquishing the notion.

“Not very timely at all,” the Director turned around fully to tap on his watch

The door immediately shut behind them to cast the scene back into the foreboding violet and magenta tint.

“…woah wooooahhhh….” Fleur flailed her arms, trying to keep her balance but lost the fight as she tumbled into Athena’s arms. The fennec obliged in catching her. Eyes momentarily void as she tried to process her surroundings and all that had happened. Wasn’t too long until she gritted her teeth and pushed the bunny away angrily.

“That damsel in distress move won’t work on me!” She retorted, folding her arms to give off all sorts of anti-social vibes. The rabbit rubbed her head in a daze, before sheepishly turning her doughey eyes to face the tall figure standing in front albeit mid distance from across the tiled checkered room.

“Julien Summerfield…” Fleur uttered “unfortunately one of the attendees posed some resistance on announcement of his appointment.” She jested towards the body of Xell that was being carried by both Rey and Jessamine.

Julien nodded his head to one side slyly “don’t worry. He’s not getting out of it that easily.” The purple creature searched within his blazer pockets. Retrieving a vile which had a transparent green substance in it. A syringe.

“Which one of you would like to wake Mr. Weaver up?” he retracted a deft arm back, before swinging it forwards to release his grip upon the retrieved item. Its green shine defying the purple saturation of the atmosphere itself as it swished within the vile. Slow motion following as all figures within the room kept their eyes on it. Leaving Julien to wonder what action would follow next.

“Might it be your only chance to wake Mr. Weaver up ever again, I wonder?” He announced with a smile, folding his arms as he awaited the next few revelations. Or lack of.


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