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SEO Head Office Hallway

As the scene unfolded around her, Uthaleia kept a quiet eye on their surroundings. It was true that the sudden and violent injury done to Rie threatened severe blood-loss and the loss of a limb, to say nothing of the pain it surely brought, but for the present there was little Uthaleia could do about that, especially since Athena and Ray together seemed determined to offer what help they could. Without appearing to be observing anything much, except perhaps the scene in front of her or some ditzy imaginings the others present might expect of Jess, Uthaleia considered the presiding authorities present:

Firstly and- insofar as Uthaleia could tell- most importantly, there was Julien Summerfield. Whether the others had seen it or not, she had spotted the third eye in the palm of one hand. That, connected with a seemingly icey calm disposition- yet one that could break ito violent action completely out of the blue- and the fact that he appeared to wield powers beyond the natural made him a major concern. What escalated his threat-level further though, was that Uthaleia could tell he was intelligent.. clever, manipulative, cunning and utterly ruthless; completely lacking in remorse. A more dangerous individual to grant power and authority to would be hard to imagine. Having considered Julien, Uthaleia then considered the next of three.

Zach might, by virtue of the seat he had taken, be considered one of three in charge here, but the interactions between himself and the others made two things clear: He was a sub-ordinate here, thrall to the will of Julien's master status. Secondly; he was afraid- he knew that the ire of Julien could as readily be turned upon him, with no less cold-blooded savagery than had been exacted upon Rie. That potentially made Zach more dangerous than he might seem... an underling, thrall to the dictates of a merciless and cruel master, tends to become no less a tyrant in minature than their master after all.

Finally there was the new arrival... who had, if Uthaleia's eyes hadn't deceived her, entered the hallway where there was no entrance to come in by. What his name was she couldn't be certain, but there were two things that struck her in particular: One was that, despite the aqua colour they now possessed, Uthaleia was certain she had glimpsed, briefly, a flare of vivd green in his eyes... a colour very much like the intense neon-green her own eyes were when she wore her true shape. Secondly, her sensitivity to changes in ambient energy in the atmosphere told her that, like Julien, this individual too, was powerful and dangerous. If appearence was anything to go by, perhaps he was of a more sanguine disposition that Julien Summerfield... but, perhaps that was like comparing differences between a sickle and a scythe- in the end, both were bladed, both were dangerous and both would reap their targets. This newest arrival had hinted, by the words he had spoken, that what had happeend was but the opening act in some form of game... or games. What games might be lined up Uthaleia wasn't certain but, if this was a demonstration of their essential nature, she was already certain she didn't care for them. Even as she surreptitiously kept the trinity of trouble under scrutiny, the focus of her attention was drawn back to the group around her again.

“You...!” Rie exclaimed as she staggered forwards forcefully out of Rey and Athena’s support, earning an exchange of confused looks, before they walked after the staggering nurse cautiously.
The purple rabbit held herself upright before completely tumbling towards the squirrel.

“You told me to stop worrying... worrying my little... or big... big bunny ears or... something...!!!” she coughed up blood, which splattered across the marble floors with fine splinters cascading from the periphery of the spill. Light reflecting off its surface.

“Well... look at what happened. It’s rather detrimental... don’t you think?!” She hacked again. This time forcing the mass down her throat with a hard swallow which left an acrid taste behind.
She gathered enough strength to glare at the office girl.

“Well...” Fleur strained her voice. A wave of resentment washing over her eyes as they momentarily turned red.

Strip then.”
Abruptly, she buckled down to the floor on her knees. One hand upon a cold slated tile as she used the accessory muscles from her ribcage to breathe. A piercing wheeze through each long and drawn out breath.

Before Uthaleia could respond to that, Xell came to, earning himself the nickname of 'Sleeping Beauty' from Zach, before the canine turned his attention towards her, suggesting Rie might prefer other 'moral' support, before steepling his fingers as he waited to see what she would do. Sparing a moment to genuinely wonder how Zach believed he appeared in this moment versus the reality, Uthaleia gave him a smile as she spoke in Jess's most sparkling an positive tones.

"Why Zaaaacchhy..," she cooed, drawing the name out, "I thought you were busy watching the surveillance stuff or reading your newspaper at that big ol' desk of yours! What've you been watching to make you think of stuff like that? I'd have kept it quiet myself- letting slip you've been viewing adult content on the sly at work, whilst sharing breathing-space with the Director? Seems like a bit of a bit of a faux-pas to me hun don'cha know? Especially looking so eager about it too!" having duly addressed Zach, Uthaleia then turned her attention to Rie, sliding into a crouch on the balls of her feet, so that she was eye-to-eye with the injured bunny-girl, unbuttoning and removing her jacket as she did so.

"Hope you don't mind me turning down your request for more honey-bunny," she said, laying her jacket aside whilst removing her shirt, "but if anyone else here's gonna end up with body-piercings to match yours, I'm gonna need the rest for extra bandages- can't give 'em all away in one go!"

With those words spoken, Jess removed her shirt, revealing a lime-coloured vest underneath, as she deftly tore the garment into strips, before applying the strips to Rie's injury. As she did so, she continued to chatter to Rie, her tone more hushed than usual as befitted the dire conditon the girl was in, and with genuine concern present in it, but no less sunny than usual.

"If'n I remember right sweetie," she informed Rie, "what I said was that if you're not the cutest thing in the world I don't know what is, and that you oughta relax a little more and use those big beautiful ears of yours a little better. I stand by that first one," she told Rie, "and even if it seems silly to you, relaxin' as much as you can is gonna be good for you now. You're the med after all, you know how important it is to keep a patient calm and relaxed. Not gonna lie, ain't sure how much good my shirt's gonna do ya, but if it helps you keep it together honey-bunny, and keeps that red stuff where it's supposed to be, you're welcome to it!"

As she spoke and fastened strips of her shirt into place, Uthaleia used the actions, and her chatter as Jess to carefully mask what else she was doing. By careful use of her ergo-kinesis, she could energise and augment the vitality of a person's immune system and their capacity to recuperate from illness or injury. With a little subtle influence, she could insure a body healed quicky and correctly. She couldn't simply cause the arm to pop right back into place as good as new of course... not at the moment anyway... but her actions would insure the arm went a long way towards healing well in a short time- to say nothing of the relief from pain it would grant Rie. As she checked the make-shift bandages over to make sure the wound was staunched as well as possible, Uthaleia continued her chatter as Jess to Rie.

"I can understand you going off at me there earlier sweetie," she enlightened Rie in Jess's sunny tones, "I mean, 'tween having to round us all up, go kung-fu on Xelly and then get this for your efforts, I can see that being a bad day". As she cheked the bandages over one final time, Uthaleia leaned closer and, in the process whispered into the bunny-girl's ear words so softly spoken only Rie would hear them.

"That all being the case though cutie," she whispered in the tone of someone honestly posing a question out of simple curiosity, "I gotta ask you: what'd your mentor think of you if he could see you wilfully hatin' on someone that only ever wished you good?" The question asked, Uthaleia finished checking the make-shift bandages, before sliding her jacket back on again as she rose to her feet.

"Think I've done about all I can for the poor sweetheart," she informed the others, "not sure how much good that is, but it's better than nothing right?" Even as she spoke the words, Uthaleia was carefully observing everyone in the room, gauging reactions. That Rie had, or once had a mentor, had been a guess based on certain observations: Such sadness as was regularly evident in her eyes, in combination with the moves she possessed, spoke of grief and training... and whilst one could have grown independent of the other, given the girl's seeming lack of self-confidence and perhaps trust in herself suggested, to Uthaleia at least, that she had-or once had- someone in the past whom she trusted completely. As for the others, Uthaleia wondered who would respond first to her tending Rie- those she'd arrived with or those here with the CEO?
SEO Head office hallway:

All the while taking in the new surroundings, Uthaleia was acutely aware of one thing: Julien Summerfield, the Director of SEO, was bad news. Even if the rules and regulations of SEO- including the fine-print, the very-fine print and various carefully worded clauses- hadn't been evidence enough, the aura, or energy that Uthaleia could sense emanating from the Director more than confirmed it. The presence she had sensed in the office just a little earlier- which had been unquestionably malignant- was utterly eclipsed by the energy that seemed to roil and seethe around the Director. If such a thing as 'Evil Incarnate' existed this side of eternity then, Uthaleia was certain, she was looking at it. Julien Summerfield- the name wasn't known by and large around the office... or at least, not within the circles of regular worker-drones, such as Uthaleia herself supposedly was... it seemed the Director liked to stay largely anonymous, an unseen, intangible but prevelant presence subtly dominating everything from the shadows. She watched the scene unfold in front of her Julien responded to Fleur's report upon Xell's condition.

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 vial which had a transparent green substance in it, accompanied by 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 items. The green shine defying the purple saturation of the atmosphere itself as it swished within the vial. 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.

Uthaleia wasn't entirely certain what game Julien was playing, but she was quite certain it was a game more than one person could play and she was fairly certain she knew a good answer to the question just posed. As the vial flew through the air, Jess dropped her grip on Xell's legs, leaping nimbly up, with the agility inherent to a squirrel, to catch the vial. Then, the moment her toes touched the ground again, she turned and smoothy handed vial and syringe to Fleur.

"Contractual clause 6, paragraph 12, sub-section 2.. point B, I think!" She told Fleur in cheerful, sunny tones. She paused a bit, just enough to observe Fleur's reaction, before then elaborating further, making it clear she was quoting from the rulebook for SEO personnel.

"'Any person or persons participating in the medical trials must be carefully monitored for the duration of said trial'". She intoned, looking around at the others present before continuing: "'Any person or persons, suffering an adverse reaction to company-supplied and controlled substances, whether self-administered or administered by medical personnel, must be immediately examined and treated by medical personnel- any violation of this rule may be considered a basis for dismissal by the company of the violator of said rule'". Jess looked to Fleur, her gaze level even as she kept her voice to it's usual upbeat tone.

"Sorry sweetie, looks like it's gonna have to be you that wakes up Prince Charming!" she chirped, "only, none of the rest of us are medics, as far as I can tell and the rules say medical staff only, so it kinda falls to you by default! Wouldn't wanna go throwing the rules out right in front of the Director after all- that'd be a real bad idea!"

Her piece said, Uthaleia waited to see what reaction this would bring from the others, gently picking up Xell's feet again as she did so. She was careful to observe all the others present, but her attention particularly focused upon the Director and Fleur... then she spotted Zach, seated further back in the lofty chamber. Giving him her best sunny smile and a friendly wave, she called over to him in Jess's most radiant tones:

"Hi again Zachy! I didn't think you'd be here too- it's so sweet of you to drop by for moral support!" Having said that, Uthaleia then watched to see what reaction her words and actions would bring forth- from the Director or anyone else.
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".
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.
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.
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'.
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.
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.
Name: Uthaleia Harecope

Alternate name: Jessamine Halecourt (Jess for short), Zach's Favourite Face (this a sarcastic nickname)

Age: Undetermined (appears 20-23)

Species: Lab-created singularity (appearence varies)

Occupation: Hermit/pretty face at the office.

Personality: Happy, upbeat lady with an unrelentingly positive outlook upon life and people as a whole.. or so she appears. Possibly happier than most, but with a clever, capable mind and a keen set of eyes and ears, she gives out little about herself at anything more than a surface level, whilst taking everything in.

History: Created as part of a synthetic biology project for questionable purposes, Uthaleia is the lab rat that got away. Living as a hermit on an otherwise unoccupied rooftop, she has eluded capture for perhaps a decade... partly thanks to living on the rooftop of the very building she was birthed in, partly thanks to a capacity to shape-shift enough to take on the forms of other people... or a composite form made of blending the qualities of others, though not inanimate objects... partly thanks to assuming a new identity and becoming an innocuous employee at the company responsible for the project she came from, knowing the last place they'd ever think to look is right under their very noses. Though quite happy to eat and drink, like anyone else, it seems that part of the abilities she was created with was ergo-synthesis: As a plant uses energy from the sun to sustain itself by photosynthesis, Uthaleia appears to be capable of absorbing ambient energy from about any source and using it to sustain herself. Though shape-shifting and ergo-synthesis, along with at least some form of ergo-kinesis appear to be included amongst her abilities, Uthaleia has yet to discover the full scope of her potential, or exactly what she was created for.. or exactly who personally initiated the project that led to her creation. These answers she discretely works upon uncovering whilst posing as a mundane office drone at the Synthetic Eden Organisation.

Akaeyla
Southeastern Mir -Marshland,The Fall




Akaeyla watched as the other members of the group re-grouped, briefly wondering if she should feel guilty or relieved at not being as mud-enslimed as some of them were... having wings and her strange sight that was unaffected by the differences between daylight and darkness was an advantage. Unfortunately, the other things her unnatural vision discerned made it more a burden than a blessing. She wouldn't have needed it to have seen that the Miran, Hermes Carrion, was crazy and dangerous, but the fullness of what she had seen, especially when she'd seen his eyes, had been enough to make her blood run cold. She might have tried her hand against his, even when he'd revealed he'd possessed magic, but for her knowledge of the nearby marsh, and the fact that Taffy had known of it as well- and suggested it first. Going up against a madman out for blood probably would have seemed crazy to the others, and Taffy likely would have tried to stop her, so it was perhaps just as well that things had turned out the way they had. Idly, Akaeyla wondered how such a confrontation might have gone, had it been just her and the Miran, for she wasn't entirely defenceless herself.

When she'd made the decision to become a Fall Hermit, she hadn't done so lightly. Her father had been a military man at one point in his life and had trained her to the fullest of his ability in self-defence (armed and unarmed) and survival. That wasn't the only thing he'd done to provide for her survival though: beneath the almost knee-length jacket she wore, Akaeyla had a pair of long knives strapped to her belt, useful for someone living off the land.. and effective weapons as well. The choice of knives over a gun, or other such weapon was a matter of simple logic: If you lived deep in The Fall, you needed a weapon that was constantly 'loaded' and didn't need costly ammunition to replace. A hermit who lived off the land didn't make much by way of money after all.

Akaeyla broke from that train of thopugh as she watched the others, at the same time taking a look at herself. The run through the undergrowth had been easy enough for her, and her clothes were unscrathced, though her boots were slightly muddy thanks to the marsh they'd retreated to. Nikki looked thoroughly disgusted at being splattered with mud as a result of her landing, but was otherwise unharmed. Yonath seemed fine, although the firey fox-like spirit creature that dwelt within him seemed to have been responsible for getting him off the cliff and into the marsh... something he presently had no recollection of. Taffy had acquired a layer of mud, but was unhurt, Sashyra similarly seemed undamaged and Xell... Akaeyla had her concerns about Xell. He'd felt, if possible, more fear than the others when the Miran had shown up, the man seeming to trigger a past, traumatic memory. Then there was the thing that possibly none of the rest had witnessed in the darkness- the many crimson eyes that had opened up upon the Draconi's wings. His aura was presently in turmoil, the colours that might be his usual or normal self being incessantly buffeted by those murky, malignant colours that whorled through his aura like maelstrom, drawing everything in. Small wonder he was finding the going hard. She listened as Taffy spoke up, and as the others reacted, her expression its usual impassive neutral as she did so. Nikki certainly hadn't lost her commendable sense of humour and spirit of adventure, managing to chuckle at Xell's assessment of their situation. Xell, for his part, seemd glad Yonath was okay, but understandably negative about their present circumstances. Taffy was... cautiously optimistic about getting to her uncle's place and letting that focus her thoughts and actions for the moment. Yonath was, from what Akaeyla could tell, not too terribly concerned about things happening right at the moment, since he already had so much else to handle. With her usual gentle voice, Akaeyla addressed Xell's remark.

"I can't speak for the others," she informed Xell, "But I'm calm because I have to be. If you think not being able to see because it's dark is a problem, try and imagine how that is when you're born blind. Keeping my calm means staying alive- a case of literally blind panic, out here, equals certain death. There are things in the Fall that truly can smell fear and none of them are things we want to encounter. If you want to panic, please either leave the party or keep a lid on it until we're somewhere a bit safer than here; everyone else wants to survive. In addition to that, both Taffy and myself are familiar with the vines that infest this particular marsh- we can help you avoid them, and avoid getting violated by them... but we can't do that if you don't keep it together". Having said her piece, Akaeyla waited to see what response, if any, that would yield, already taking in the surroundings and idly wondering to herself just how soon she might be able to get back to being a hermit... spending this long around people, with the amount of truth she had seen already (and was bound to see if she lingered) was already beginning to feel uncomfortable.
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