Neo-Nate Pt. 2

“Do you mind if we come in?” Piper asked, not waiting for an answer before Romeo gave another shove to the door and she let herself inside. The apartment was opulent, velvet and leather furniture, plus large screens and sound units, clean, clear tech in every corner. Piper herself could have been easily lost, a child? No wonder there was a complaint.

“Who is it, Lero?” A woman about Piper’s own age asked, coming from a room she ascertained was the nursery.

Romeo watched with the emotional capacity of a glacier. ‘Please don’t be the newborn … please have another kid hiding in the wings …’ Taking a newborn from new mother was hands down the worst. The reaction all varied but it almost always ended with the parents on the floor weeping over their loss.

Also babies. Piper seemed to be fine with the little, fussy, wrinkly, creatures. But the Alpha remained on the fence on how he felt about the smelly little humans. He just didn’t know how to feel about it … them … babies.

“I just put Desree down for a nap. It’s not really a good time.” The woman said, sidling up to her husband. “I don’t understand. Why is OSEC here?” Piper inwardly sighed. The next part was never easy. Best way was quick, simple. Like ripping off a bandage.

“How many children do you have?” She asked, causing the couple to look at each other.

“Just the one.” The woman replied nervously. “But we went through the proper channels.”

“You don’t have to tell them anything, Joselane. They were just leaving, you people have no business here and I demand you leave the property at once!” If it wasn’t for the gravity of the situation, Piper would have laughed that this ‘big man’ thought he would be any sort of match for her Alpha. Knowing Romeo, he’d already have 12 ways in mind to kill the man without ever drawing his weapon, in a way that no one would ever realize what had happened.

Romeo let out a small sigh and he reached into his pouch for the relevant paperwork and complaint. “A formal complaint has been filed against you over the credible possibility of a Neophyte on the premise. As such OSEC has the right to perform a thorough investigation. Here is a copy of the paperwork.” He all but shoved the paperwork to the parents. “Please do not interfere with the investigation.” He said in a dispassionate tone and gave Piper the nod to work her magic. The woman looked to her husband with utter confusion, if a label had to be put on his expression- it would be guilt.

"You can't--"

Piper closed her eyes to focus better, and nodded back to Romeo within seconds. “There’s a definitely a neophyte here. Strong one too.” She looked over to the parents. “You should be very proud. I think she’s going to do great things at the Spire and for Oracle.” It never worked, but it was always worth a shot.

Piper’s words seemed only to strike horror in the new parents. The mother grew paler with each word and she crumbled into her husband's arm. “No … you’re wrong! She’s just a baby you’re wrong!” She moaned her words falling on deaf ears.

For good measure, Romeo moved between them and Piper as she did her job.

Piper followed the buzzing sound, as it got louder the closer she came to the baby’s room, and from the commotion behind her, she knew the parents were not heeding Romeo’s words to not interfere with the investigation. “Hi, sweet thing.” she cooed, without speaking a word out loud. “Is that you making all that noise? You’re a feisty little songbird, aren’t you?” There was no doubt in her mind that this infant was a neophyte. Even the lights flickered in the nursery as if to confirm it. “I bet you you grow up to be a technomancer. Is that right? Show those big old machines who the boss is.” She picked up the baby, cradling her in her arms, but once awake the baby ‘glitched.' Momentarily, it felt like a spike being driven into Piper’s skull, but as quickly as it started it stopped. It was pretty normal for neo babies to be erratic with emotion, but something felt off. Very off.

Tucking the neophyte baby safely in her arms, she walked back out in the living room to see that Romeo, had the situation well in hand. Calm, cool, and collected, that was her Alpha. Of course, when you’re born and bred to be an attack dog of sorts, well, Piper couldn’t read his mind, but she knew how tedious he found this part of the job. She didn’t relish it either, but she also couldn’t understand the reluctance of the parents. This was for the best.

“Article 17 of the bylaws state that neophyte children are to be remitted to Oracle to be raised at the Spire.” Piper said, over the sobs and protests of the mother, whose arms outstretched for her child. “As a neophyte, I’ve confirmed the identity of this child to be neophyte as well. You can, as it is your right, file a contention to this with Oracle via the Spire and if it is determined that I am incorrect, you would be free to collect your child. Please know this occurrence is extremely --” Piper stopped and squinted her eyes tightly closed, another ‘spike’ from the kid making her wince sharply. She blinked to clear her head. “The occurrence is extremely rare, so you should prepare yourself for that eventuality. The good news is that you are of course eligible under the same bylaws to have another child. Little -- Desree, did you call her? Desree truly will have a great life inside the Spire.” The father took a step towards Piper, but Piper put a free hand on Romeo’s shoulder and gave Lero a pleading look.

Romeo was already visibly tense, a hand on his unclipped holster. He was well within his right to shoot the man if he made a move against Piper.

“Please don't. Romeo is an Alpha, more importantly, he is my Alpha -- please don’t make him kill you, Joslane’s obviously very upset. She doesn’t need to lose you today too.”

Lero looked to the tall imposing man with the downright freak eyes narrowed at him. Then to the gun, he seemed all too at ease with. “Please … “ Lero begged the both of them. “We’ll be more careful... she’s our daughter … a baby!” He choked.

“As well a Neophyte. It is required by law and the safety …” Romeo started.

“I know the law!” The man shouted interrupting.

“Then you know there is no choice in the matter.” The Alpha shot back.

“How much to make this go away?” The woman asked. “How much do you want? We have savings.”

“If you give us your savings, you’ll be raising a child in poverty,” Piper chastised. “And Neo children outside the Spire generally don’t survive. Are you really that cruel that you would make your own child suffer just so you selfishly are happy? Please. Keep your savings. Have another child. Desree will want for nothing. She’ll be safe, she’ll live a long life."

“Can’t we at least say goodbye? Pack her a bag? She needs her blanket, and she won’t sleep without her huckle bunny.” Having been glitched twice, Piper was wary to check the infant's fleeting memory for signs of a stuffed rabbit.

“Those things bring you comfort. Not her. And lingering will only prolong the inevitable. You can file a contention if you believe this to be an error. Let’s go, Romeo. These good folks love their child. They will act reasonably.”

Romeo nodded, staying between the parent and his Neo, he let Piper head to the door first.

For the parents, it was crushing as the reality of the situation quickly set in. The mother wailed. “Give me back my child! My baby! Please no!” She sobbed crumbling to the floor.

Even when the pair closed the door behind them they could hear the mothers cry as the husband held her back.

Joint Post between Winters & Blitzen

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