Foxhunt: Scent Trail

Go the fuck away, bird, I don’t have time for this shit.

Piper stopped short, the harsh rebuttal had been unexpected, but it was definitely a confirmation that another Neophyte was close. A neophyte, in the hive no less!

“It is a Neo.” She told her Alpha excitedly, her eyes shifting directions rapidly. “Not from the Spire. But he’s faint, he’s — scared of me.” She continued moving, changing direction to where his voice had come from, but it was muted, dampened by deafening interference.

Romeo nodded calling it in to dispatch on the radio.

“Wait, doesn't that m-” Roach started but was waved into silence by Romeo.

“But-” Roach started and got his nose flicked like an unruly puppy by Romeo.

“Romeo Victor you are green for Foxhunt. Please confirm.” Dispatch replied.

Roach was practically vibrating at this point mouthing ‘Confirm! Confirm!’ over and over again.

Romeo looked to Piper. “Foxhunt?” He asked.

Roach looked to Piper rapidly nodding his head to encourage her to say ‘yes’.

Piper immediately thought back to her first few hunts with her own Alpha, only Romeo had been outwardly more level, he didn’t get the nickname “Frosty” for nothing. “Foxhunt.” She confirmed, trying to get another hit from the Neo.

“Romeo Victor confirmed for Foxhunt.” Romeo called back to dispatch.

Roach made a squeaky noise. “Aw man, they guys at the kennel are going to be so jealous! A foxhunt day one!”

“Don’t get too excited. He doesn’t want to be found. Down here, this won’t be easy.” Piper apologized. It definitely was a him, she’d heard him loud and clear before something interfered. It wasn’t like the baby who she instantly connected to. “It’s weird, He was older, but I’m not picking up anything glitchy.”

“Name a single Neo outside the Spire that wanted to be found.” Romeo said with an arched eyebrow.

“Wait so you think … maybe he like ...intact? Mentally?” Roach had head plenty of stories of Neo’s the Spire eventually losing there mid of some shit like that. Wreaking all kinds of havoc when it all came crashing down.

“Mayhap Roach. If he is they are going to have a field day with this.” Romeo said back to the pup. “Now shut your trap and let my Piper work? Hm?”

Roach shut his mouth with an audible clicking of his teeth.

She normally would be amused by the Alpha banter, but Romeo was right, she needed to be able to concentrate, to try and work past the static and noise and listen for her brethren.

“Please don’t be afraid. Where are you?” . Her eyes scanned the area. “Where are you?” She repeated under her breath, ducking around a small crowd gathered to watch some sort of street performer through a dingy back alley.

Piper wasn't getting a reply but now that she had briefly touch mind with him she knew what to look for now. The feeling was hard to describe but it was kind of like static pressure or like when your ear needed to pop when you flew in a plane. It depended on the Neo. One thing was clear, he didn’t want to be found but Piper had already caught a sent it may be slow going but all she had to to do was follow her ‘nose’.

Concentrating on trying to drown out all interference and tune back into the like-minded, Piper near tripped over a sleeper in the alley. I can help you, I promise. Not hearing anything back was frustrating to the Neo, it was almost as if she was shut out, barely a thread keeping the connection in her mind, but it was there.

The Hive in its entirety was seedy, but as Piper eased her way along, the piano wire thread soon became more like a thin cable, it was definitely getting stronger while the ‘neighborhoods’ it led them through were getting more squalid and sleazy. Piper didn’t need to slip into any of the tech to tell what sort of Augmented Reality was being pedaled in this part of town. She momentarily heard the clinking of glasses and laughter and music, brief flashes, memories that weren’t hers, when she saw the sparrow land atop a freestanding building with a large sign reading “The Flesh PIt.”

”It’s all right.” she said softly to the unknown Neo while physically pointing the building out to Romeo. ”Don’t be afraid. It’s all right.”

“Good work as always.” Romeo said trying to suppress the pride. It was harder not to show off a bit in front of the pup. He would be loath to admit to such petty feelings but he liked his Piper be the envy of unbonded Alphas. Romeo took a position in front and signed Roach to bring up the rear, thereby given Piper maximum coverage should anything happen.

As the trio walk in line to the entrance, a big and burly man barred their way. It didn’t take much for Piper to feel how cybered up the man was.

Romeo stared down at the man who was a few inches shorter before digging out his OSEC credentials.

“What's this-” The bouncer began his voice stiff and surly.

“None of your business.” Romeo said in a curt tone.

“Well it IS my business wh-” THe man started up again.

“No it’s OSEC business and if you don’t get out of my way not only will I put you out but make sure your boss is aware OSEC stormed this place of business because a Bouncer wanted to see if his dick was bigger than an Alpha’s.” Romeo said in an even tone his eyes slightly narrowing.

Roach couldn’t help but peek past Piper to see Romeo at work.

The bouncer moved. Romeo walked through the door his Neo and the pup trailing behind him.

Once the bouncer was sure they were out of earshot he radioed security letting them know of the situation that just happened.

Piper didn’t bother suppressing the smile that formed on her lips when her Alpha commanded the respect of the bar bouncer. She subconsciously held her bar coded wrist, her ego soaring as the bouncer stepped aside, as if she’d had anything to do with it at all. Even the Alpha pup that followed her seemed to take note.

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