Foxhunt: Fetch!

The minute Piper opened the door, a young man standing behind it fled, and for the briefest of seconds, she felt a ping - a Neo signal but it instantly disappeared. Just as instantly, Piper took off hot on his heels.

No, wait, you don’t understand-- The signal was more distorted, like static. “Dammit, this is why you need an Alpha, sometimes they run.” She wished she adhered to protocol - going after a potentially glitched Neo alone was a stupid, stupid move.

HEY! STOP! Piper pushed, swearing under her breath. Please don’t run. Seriously, I won’t hurt you.

“Unless you’re glitched, please don’t be glitched.” Toxx took off down a curved staircase, and Piper chased, jumping over a row of velvet ropes at the bottom without losing momentum. She’d thank Romeo later for making her run hurdles til she near threw up. Toxx was dodging around grinding patrons and through the scantily clad crowd.

Piper stayed on him, trying to avoid being inundated with the massive amounts of tech on the floor. Toxx deftly sidestepped around blaring speakers which crackled in his wake, the speakers reverberating with feedback when Piper did the same. Now on the outskirts of the dancefloor, she tried one more time, focusing mentally on connecting back with Toxx.

I SAID STOP! Her voice was loud and echoey inside her head, she imagined it was like a bulldozer, words, and thoughts being pushed from her mind into another. If he submitted to it or if he simply slowed, she didn’t know, but Piper launched herself forward, grabbing him around the waist to tackle him to the floor. A blonde dressed as a bunny - not as a sexy bodysuit bunny, but an actual rabbit stepped on the female Neo’s hand with a stiletto heel as they crashed to the floor. Aside from that, not a lot of people noticed.

“Dammit, why does this shit look easier when Romeo does it?” She rolled Toxx over, kneeling on either side of him, but held her hands up to show she wasn’t a threat.

I said I won’t hurt you. Rowan told me to go get you. Unless you want to piss off Rowan? I don’t. Please. My Alpha is still up there. I just want to talk.

The world came to a lurching stop when shit went sideways, and then … then he heard an even more deafening silence, unlike anything he’d heard before! Like ears popping, sensory deprivation, pressure building up and then released: Saul was gone instead there was only Piper’s voice.

Piper who was presumably on top of him, staring down, whispering words to him through closed lips--Alpha, Rowan, talk… the throbbing crowd around them paid no mind, and then Piper was straddling him, her hands open and visible, he put his hands up too, a wary side-glance in his glittering golden eye, he’d been taken.

Saul had failed him, Saul had left him with Piper who swore she meant no harm; he’d always belonged to somebody, if only for a few fleeting moments, but now his rock was gone, and the world flooded in on him.

He could feel every light buzzing, every neural spike tingling with constant backups to the mind banks, every breath augmented by drugs or vapor or smoke, it was like being everywhere, like being in every living thing that crawled along Mars and Toxx didn’t like it at all--he turned and retched on the dance floor, convulsing under Piper

Easy. She soothed, avoiding the splash zone. Brief flashes, numbers, colors, pain, this needed to stop, fast, otherwise, he’d drag the two of them down. Calm. I can help you, but you have to trust me, you have to focus, okay? Can you do that? I won’t hurt you. Please just let me help.

Like a blinding headache, Piper’s voice was the only thing that came in clear above the din. The connection was both blinding and dark from her, nothing to feel or control in her, nothing to feel himself inside of.

Not like the ebbing throng of people around them who glittered with electric veins controlling their hearts, their minds, their souls--it was intoxicating and revolting--but Piper was still on top of him, chiding him to be calm, Holy shit, make it stop, he was gripping his head, I can try, I can try to tune them out, keep talking to me, don’t stop

It’s okay, I got you. Piper said, trying to “push” a sense of calm to him, locking his mind to hers.

[I]Is that a little better? Sorry, scaping really isn’t my forte. My friend Wren, he can take you almost any place he can imagine. Me? This is as good as I got. I’m just going to get us off the dance floor before I touch your upchuck. Brethren or not? It’s just gross, and besides, I need to get back to my Alpha. Please, Get up, follow me. It’s okay.” [/i]

He would have been embarrassed about throwing up if he had his wits about him, and thankfully he had missed their clothing.

He lurched forward as she slipped off of him and pulled him to stand Slowly now, holy shit this is a mind-fuck, do you live like this?

Saul was gone, and the gaping hole was filled with constant chatter. Dull now, because of Piper’s hoodoo, but there was a void where data, numbers, and computations made no sense and perfect sense at the same time. It was like watching A Clockwork Orange or Teen Titans, it all fell comfortably into place with unfamiliar and shiny new avenues to get lost in.

No, I couldn’t live like this. I live in the Spire, it shields you from all the glitches. It’s the safest place for Neophytes, people like us. She held his wrist in her hand, leading him back up the stairs. The security guard at the base simply let them walk past this time, which Piper was happy about - no one need be skinned alive. Suddenly the name ‘Flesh Pit’ took on a whole new meaning. All right, we’re almost there. I need to get back to my Alpha.

He let Piper lead him along, her slender hand gripping his wrist, to this Alpha. Maybe eventually to this Spire; but here Rowan was the big name, the prime poobah, and queen of the Flesh Pits.

Toxx was having trouble concentrating, but touch, specifically Piper’s hand, was rooting him here in the moment, and while clearing the noise, only the brightest tech was bubbling to the surface and his head pivoted to watch the underground wires spider through the club

Romeo, he’s my Alpha - he just has to fight someone in the Flesh Pit and then we can get out of here. Wait ‘til you see him fight, he’s amazing. She couldn’t help but boast, not only because of the mind link, but because she’d seen him fight enough times to know it as fact.

I’m going to keep Rowan and the situation at hand out of my thoughts just in case for your benefit. Just know everything is going to be okay. She was happy to see upon returning that things were less guns blazing than when she left, and locked eyes with her Alpha, with a small nod of her head. “This is Tosh, but he prefers to be called Toxx. He’s a Neophyte, like me.”

Romeo stood stoic, it may not have shown but he was relieved when Piper returned and with the rogue Neo. That was his girl alright.

Roach though couldn't help but look over the dark skinned Neo. He was older! That was unexpected. He tried not to smile at the stir that would cause at the Spire.

A tall red-haired woman stepped up and whispered something in Rowan's ear and her eyebrows rose in surprise. She looked over at Toxx and then at the two Alphas as she considered what was to come next.

“So Red tells me you are the one who has been causing all this… excitement.” she said as she walked over to the young Neophyte. She ran a finger along his jaw and the tattoos along her arms and legs glowed a deep red fading back to pink.

“Pity, but I am afraid it would be more trouble than you are worth to try to keep you.” She glanced at the Alphas again and gave Romeo a toothy grin.

“These boys have no sense of humour and I am afraid my dear little Tick Toxx that before they are done with you... “ she sighed and did not complete the sentence. “Oh well, a deal is a deal as my old pimp used to say. Lovely man, very long fingers.”

Rowan clapped her hands and strode out of the room. Red stepped up behind her announced,

“Please all follow down to the Flesh Pits where our esteemed guest from OSEC has volunteered to fight to the death!” The crowd cheered and everyone, including the Neophytes and Alphas, were ushered by security in the direction that Rowan had departed.

Roach was about to protest when a sharp glance form Romeo maybe Roach bite his tongue.

“What? Hell no - One fight, one opponent, No one said anything about fighting to the death.” Piper protested, shooting a look of regret to her Alpha. “Romeo is Osec! He’s not a murderer.”

“Relax” hissed Red as she stepped alongside the Neophyte, “It's all part of the show. A fight to the death brings in more money and half dead is as good as all dead once the blood starts to flow… and baby doll that boy of yours might not be a murderer, but he is a killer. OSEC or no if it needs to be dead he’ll make it so. You tell me I'm wrong.”

“Keyword is ‘needs’.” she argued. I’m already regretting this.

Romeo gave the redhead an oblique look for being treated as if he wasn’t standing right there. look before looking back to Piper. “Everyone’s got an opinion.” He muttered as they were all escorted down to the Flesh Pit.

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