Foxhunt - The Peanut Gallery

Toxx found himself shuffled beside Piper and the other Alpha to watch the fight, --he wasn’t exactly sure what--Piper said they’d be able to leave after her “Romeo” won, but he wasn’t holding his breath: if he learned anything from working in the Flesh Pit, it was that Rowen most often got exactly what she wanted when she wanted it. There was just so much interference, static, feedback, datastreams, it was like being in the center of a cyclone, tech running circles around faster than Neo brains could keep up with. Toxx luckily was still safely shielded as best Piper could, but the space he was occupying grew smaller and smaller. Between trying to keep Toxx and herself at bay and keeping watch on what was going on in the pits with this ‘fight’ - she owed Romeo big time for getting him involved - shit was going sideways fast.

And Toxx - he didn’t mean it, but without Saul he couldn’t stave off the outside onslaught of wires and augmented reality--the whole time Chi-Chi had been working the crowd he could feel a million different synapses firing to keep up with the actual light show on the surface.

Who’s Saul? Piper asked, intruding on his thoughts.

Well, I’m going to pass over the part where I don’t know you, that you say I’m a Neophyte, and that we’re watching two men fight to the death, let alone that we’re having a conversation in my head, but Saul is--was--my everything; he was always there, telling me what I needed to know, showing me what I needed to see--like a pocket god or a best friend, I imagine Toxx focused on the ground as he felt a pang for his childhood, being forced into the skin business, and never having the opportunity to connect with someone else, not emotionally.

Saul sounds like your Alpha. And I’m sorry we didn’t find you sooner. The Spire could have spared you your childhood. That’s what it’s there for. Protecting Neos. You’ll see. He bristled at the second intrusion of his thoughts.

Toxx found himself pursing his lips and nodding his head slightly as he did a once over of the Alpha named “Roach”, then took a hard blink when the lights started singing loudly again, he had to hold his head in with both hands, though he tried to play it off, how could she stand it?

Piper felt an uncontrollable wave of emotion wash through Toxx, some sort of twitching, static, something strong, something that quickly could get out of hand in the worst way possible. The first few splotches of blood dripped from her nose to the floor of the Pits. You’ll be okay. she promised as the boy fell slack in his seat. Toxx was fine, she could still feel his buzzing, but he was calm, out cold. Piper immediately felt a huge relief, as if something heavy was removed from her chest and she could breathe again.

“Kid giving you trouble?” Roach asked passing Piper a tissue for her nose. He wasn’t complaining! At the moment it was the last thing he wanted to happen. An untrained Neo having a tantrum, Piper's was kinder. Roach would have just punched the poor kid.

Piper nodded yes, and took the tissue from Roach, blotting her nose. “It’s not his fault - it’s a lot.” She replied, feeling very much relieved, lighter and more able to focus.

Roach nodded and looked around as the crowd re-started barking at Romeo. “How original.” he said in a flat tone. “Keep barking … Is it like this a lot?” He asked, scrunching his nose.

She reassuringly patted his arm. Roach was still a pup, not out of the Spire all that often, and Romeo - he’d experienced his fair share of public ignorance on behalf of the Alphas. And though Piper did often offer to reign a little Neo power down, Romeo tended to convince her it wasn’t worth it. “It’s like Romeo said. Everyone’s got an opinion. OSEC takes a lot of shit. If you’re looking to be universally liked - this isn’t the job for you, pup.”

“Is that why he taps his elbow? Make so much more sense now.” Roach nodded. “I’m just saying a thank you for saving the public from their own tech punching them in the face would be nice … like once a year … MAX.” The pup joked.

“I’m still waiting for that to happen. But that’s why you have a Neo. No one appreciates an Alpha more than their Neo. You’ll find out soon enough.” She turned her attention back to the fight. “What fresh hell is this now?” Piper grumbled. Out of nowhere where came spikes, Queen music, and --“You saw that too, right?” Piper asked. Hallucinations wouldn’t be unheard of, not with everything on overload, but they usually invoked some sort of pain or fear, or something not… this. “Did we get roofied?”

“Naw but I THINK the guy with Pompadour … what's his name? DID get roofied.” Roach noted as the man all but started foaming at the mouth. “You know I may be a PUP and all but I am POSITIVE that was not how a pit fight goes.”

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