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Current Unhinged psycho fiend
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🌈Black Rainbows🌈
SEO Headoffice Hallway

Zach’s expression cast a shadow of ‘gritted teeth’ as he watched Crispin draw the syringe deftly, before plunging the vessel within Xell’s arm. All reservations and deliberations cast aside from Top Cat himself.
All this time, his eyes flitting from his CEO master- to the drug administering feline and the fallen dragon.
He hadn’t seen his face or heard any discussion from him since the arrival of Julien. However, more the lack of a reaction made him wonder…
Could he have felt sympathy earlier?

“Sure… I mean… fuck it,” Zach laughed incredulously “what else could go wrong?”
Dismissing all pretentious thought processes aside.
The dog attempted to uphold an expression of resignation. Eventually relinquishing the upkeep as his eyes fell upon the rabbit casualty. Concern afloat the reflection across his eyes. Albeit very brief before his face turned cold.

“A form of ‘what fors’ for Kapinksy?” Zach sneered under his breath.

“Maybe.” The CEO pressed a finger against his lips. 3rd eye glaring at the surroundings during the arm swoop as a red flare followed its wake.

Crispin’s composed but stern face had a brief ripple effect of a frown.
“I wasn’t aware of any Russians amongst the workforce,” he muttered, something to fill the void as the eyes of the gathering weighed heavy.

This whole time Rié found her vision distorting and refocusing. Slight sparking emanating from her arm whilst the blood continued to pool onto the floor.

“Please... just hang in there.” Rey continued to implore. Supporting her face with both hands as his face would blur, split and distort before her eyes.
The words falling through disjointed tones and tempo upon the bunny’s ears.

“We... we better bandage her up...” Athena announced reluctantly. Eyes lowly upon Xell, before drifting to the fading Rié. All the while her sights averting the towering CEO who just continued to... watch. Like the ominous big brother eye.

The vulpine jammed her hand into a pocket. Retrieving some pills from earlier. Fuchsia pink lights wavering over their round and elongated forms.

“Will at least keep her alert...” she walked over to the bunny, kneeled down and placed one onto her tongue. Waiting for her to down it. She couldn't imagine how bad it would taste without any water. Naturally, she could offer her a different beverage that wasn't entirely water per say. But she felt the CEO had seen enough already.
Athena nodded towards Rey, before hopping towards the side in a joint effort to elevate Rié. Stumbling, the nurse's arm gave off a loud clunky jerk as it rolled within its socket.
A pool of crimson and black serum splashing across Athena’s tank top.

“This isn’t helping the blood flow... damnit! Can someone at least give me their shirt or something?!” She glared down at the spill with a mixture of disgruntlement and helplessness. Wild eyes speculating the room for any volunteers.

“That should come easy to you,” a morbid laugh was heard. Belonging to Zach.
“I mean, you did come into work wearing anything BUT 2 pieces of clothing?”

The fennec looked at the dog square in the eyes. A mixture of anger and bewilderment etched on her face.

“Cast your dignity aside to save a life,” Julien followed on “would’ve never have had a better cause for it.”

“Am I right?” The devil deliberated the rhetorical question himself. Tone absent of encouragement. Rather, his taunt indicating that he was aware of her defiled double life.

“After all. This is what these games will be all about.” A 3rd Mastermind’s voice resounded. Tone far more composed, but insidiously calculating vs the CEO.

This caused the gathering to cast their attention towards a tall coral coloured figure. Cool monochromed lights draping his figure as he could be seen sitting upon a lone window sill within the vicinity. Back leaning against a windowless facade. If one could analyse the wall well enough, they’d see it was completely bricked off and void.

Smoke dissipated from a cigarette being balanced between Aleksei’s deft fingers belonging to the tribal tattooed forearm. The rest of his profile almost mimicked that of an athletic youth from the 1980s with his side parting and leather jacket attire. A look out of place in the context of today's world.

“...am ... am I in heaven?” A lulled voice could be heard. Faint and delirious as Rié could feel her eyes spinning. Her spinning head abruptly stopped as her eyes fell upon Jessamine.

“You...!” She staggered forwards forcefully out of Rey and Athena’s support. Earning them confused looks as they exchanged looks, before walking 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 he 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.

Silence weighed upon the group. Eclectic synthetic lights resuming the state of what almost represented a decaying underworld. Foreboding magentas and former violet overtones being draped by an inky cerulean atmosphere with spore like wisps floating within the air.

Aleksei looked on. A frown on his face as he flickered some ash off the cigarette and took a long drag.

Xell stirred somewhat. A strained groan as his eye lids lifted morbidly. The scenery around him momentary crosshatched as his irises strained to focus to the environment he was in.

“My arm...” he grumbled. A dull and pressured ache resounding about a punctured wound in his shoulder.
He abruptly rolled his body to one side. A nervous scramble as he stood up but swayed from side momentarily.
Turning to see Crispin with the syringe.

Before he could commit any thought to question, his eyes darted towards a trail of blood.
Scattered and wavered across the tiles. Disjointed sprues and inconsistencies about the flow.
Despite the dimmed lights, it wasn't hard to scrutinise what else the fluid mass could possibly be.
He turned to look at Jess who was standing before a kneeled nurse.
One arm limp and disjointed with the socket flowered out with flesh and other ligaments.
His eyes went onto fall abruptly upon Rey and Athena. Blood entrenching their tops.
Followed by Jessamine- who was clean.

“Maybe you’ll take off your shirt. Sleeping beauty?” Zach joked. Earning a headtilt of confusion from Xell.

“But then... seems our nurse would rather have some ‘other’ moral support.” Zach cooed. Before turning to the dainty red squirrel “am I right?” He drawled. Pressing his hands together in a steeple like position. Waiting to see what would happen next.

The dragon turned to the cat. Once again eyeing the syringe briefly. Concerns of the rest of the picture, however, more pressing.
“Care to explain...” he whispered to the feline. Slight nod gestured towards the scenery with a hushed tone.
SEO Headoffice Hallway

Everyone’s eyes followed the vile sailing through the air. A jade mist trailing in the wake. A synchronised blink when the container was deftly retrieved by Jessamine who made the enterprise seem quite effortless.
Julien simply smiled at the unfolded events.

“Jess, please just go drown yourself!” Zach hollered across the hallway. Eyes averting in case he got a stern telling off by his master.
Fleur’s eyes widened whilst her pupils constricted. Like a rabbit facing the headlights. She reluctantly accepted the vile. Lip quivering as she tried to contain her anxiety and heartbeat galloping at 280bpm.

“Dgeeze don’t drop it!” A familiar voice remarked snidely.
The vile slipped out of the rabbit’s sweaty hands like a bad soap, before she promptly caught it again. Breathing a sigh of relief.

“Girl... you’ve got the shakes REAL bad!” Athena continued. Hands on her hips as tapped her foot impatiently.
Rey bit his lower lip. Attempting to have a look at the Director only to find his eyes unable to make contact. He shoved his hands in his pockets, whilst turning to look at both Xell who was still face down on the floor. And then Fleur who was still holding the vile with trepidations.

‘This has got really complicated... all I want to do is art... why am I here?’ He looked from side to side, before biting his nails.

‘Get a hold of yourself. Surely this can be solved amicably.’ He thought with a deep breath.
Raising a finger, he finally found it within himself to speak.

“Please... I don’t want him to die...” he blurted out in uneven doses “he’s just... just Xell. The office guy. Trying to make ends meet. Complying with rules and regulations.”

“Please can we just find a safe way to wake him up?” He regarded the vile with reservations before continuing.

“He’s never done any harm to anyone,” he looked at each and every one individual. From Zach, he simply got an indifferent look look. From Crispin, a shrug of the shoulders. As if to gesture the notion ‘sure, whatever you say.’ Athena’s look was unsurprisingly, that of a scowl as she sized Rey up and down. All Fleur could offer was a vacant nod. Jessamine beamed with a valiant smile, which was perhaps the kindest gesture he had received for a while. At least someone was humane in this group.

The Director, on the other hand… left Rey’s eyes practically chained to the ground. He couldn’t tell whether it was in his head or not, but the presence of this ominous being almost felt like he was a lamb in a slaughterhouse.
Distant dull tones resounding in the air which did little to calm his breathing rate.

“You didn’t think to ask for my opinion?” The silence was broken. A voice with low octaves that was formal but sinister. Belonging to the Director.

Rey gasped. Eyes flitting up and down as if he was sticking his hand in fire. The red eyes were flaring with colours alternating between burning cinders and a drowning sea of bleeding souls.

“All actions have a consequence my dear boy. Why do you think you’re all here?” The Director opened up his palms in a summoning manner which was to address the cohort. Eyes circling the parameters whilst he spoke.

Crispin rubbed his eyes and pushed his head forwards- having to have a double take. In the right palm was another eye embedded in the boss’s skin. Sclera completely crimson red with a cat or snake like iris. Crispin retracted his head and gritted his teeth as the eye appeared to call his bluff and stare back at him.

“Seems your silence says it all,” Julien feigned a facepalm. The smile giving away that he wasn’t expecting one in the first place.
He looked up again. His jovial mood fleeting as a crushing look of murder caused his eyes to constrict.

“Ms Thompson, you’re left handed, aren’t you?” He asked, now adopting a formal tone.
Fleur looked up again, eyes widening beyond their limit.

“...no... no I’m right sir...” she reluctantly held up her right hand. Vile secured in her left.
Before she could elaborate, an all mighty crack followed by the tearing of organic tissues could be heard as Julien raised a claw and slashed the air. His eyes flashing like thunder before glowing an ominous red. The former chesire cat grin was replaced by a merciless frown on his face.

Julien’s pantomime tearing notion was synchronised with the shearing of flesh from Fleur’s right shoulder. Grinding and twisting of cartilage and trabeculae bone could be heard as each ligament was torn asunder.
Sparks of paralysis shot up her central nervous system as the arm plummeted limply and hung from its socket.
A flesh wound was left deep enough to cut through the shoulder bone joint but not enough to pierce the skin padding on the other side. Crimson blood pooling out onto her torso.
Concealing her cries, she bit her lower lip to the point where that, too, bled. Her knees buckled as she whimpered with tears streaming down her cheeks. Vile gently rolling out of her hand against the marble.

“Oh my... just stop!” Robyn jumped over to catch Fleur before she fainted. Falling down on his knees as he supported the rabbit and cradled her. Eyes tightly shut with his back turned to the cohort. His body acting like a human shield.
Fleur’s eyes opened and closed. A slight wooziness causing her peripheral vision to become blurry and static. She could see pairs of eyes peering from above her. Belonging to Athena and Jessamine.

“... is... is it bad?” She turned to ask Robyn with a nervous laugh. As if clinging to some hope.
The rabbit could see the inky crimson start to well up upon Rey’s white shirt. Despite the harsh lights of magenta and violet enshrouding them.

The bleak dull tones of ambience continued in the air. Like the sinister wind turning an organic fan.
Athena looked away and folded her arms.
“... honey... just don’t look...”

The somber Director relaxed his arms before shaking them out. As if to dust himself. The purple hues dimming a bit to cast the room into further darkness.

“Stupid girl, if you’re right handed, why are you holding the vile in your left hand?” He raised his head with interest “unless, of course, you saw this coming and tried to trick me. Knowing you’re going to need your dominant and reliable hand for the future endeavours. In which case, bravo. I commend you.”

The purple beast turned to look at Jessamine. Expression unreadable as he studied her cautiously.

“You caught it, you own it.”

“It’s ok, I won’t dismiss you. Yet…” he reassured with an evil snigger.

“Mr. Ocelot. You’ve experienced adverse drug reactions,” Julien turned to look at the cat. His 3rd eye held out with splayed fingers which eyed him vigilantly. The tall beast paced up and down whilst dictating the scenario “our colleague here took Pill X this morning issued by Mr. Maynard. It was meant to keep him focused but instead, instilled high levels of anxiety. Mr. Weaver also, in fact, had a stash of his own drugs and took one of those this morning. Let’s call it pill Y.”

The devil reached one end of the room. Turning over his shoulder as if to make sure the candidates were still listening.

“Mr. Weaver appeared to exhibit some unhinged behaviour towards a request given by Ms. Thompson this morning and was then, injected with serum Z. He passes out, and has still not woken up. A stranger such as me, tells you to try serum A to revive him.” His eyes turned away and a smile could be seen on his side profile.

“Are you going to listen to me or take a different path?” he had his back turned.

“You’ve got 7 minutes to decide.”
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.


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.
Posted an IC by accident! Wish I could delete this :s


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?”

This is going to be my artdump ;P



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.

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."
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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