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Impending Pursuit

Impending Pursuit

20 INK

The one in which the most dangerous game may occur.

3,392 readers have visited Impending Pursuit since The_Queen created it.

Introduction

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♫Soundtrack♫


"What is it like to fly? I wonder."

"Why don't we ask the birds?"

"The birds don't speak."

"Not yet, but one day, they will tell us their secrets."


Mankind had always been greedy. A constant want for things that theyc ouldn't have, a constant need to conquer, to be the best and brightest in every field. Mankind wished for too much and stole even more. The pillaged lands, razed forests, leveled mountains, and when that wasn't enough they sought to conquer the sky.

Their thirst could never be quenched.

It created the First Impact, a disaster so large it effected the entirety of earth. The grassy planes became toxic waste lands and the waters polluted with death. Survival became priority, humans no longer resembled themselves. Those that cannot afford the cost of the sky ships remained on earth, those that could floated adrift in the skies above the wastelands on massive ships and slowly, the earth began to heal.

Those above remained untainted, their blood pure. They ruled over those still inhabiting the earth, but considered themselves generous. Once a year, those found elligable could be entered in the biggest competition on earth.

A dangerous showdown where only one could emerge victorious. Riches, fame, fortune, one could have it all.

A death trap, a dangerous game, a sinister story.

Only one month to win.





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Full Name:
Scout

Age:
16

Gender:


Species:
Lupine

Face Claim :
Lappland || Arknights



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Full Name:
Edward Killedge

Age:
18

Gender:


Species:
Elf
Face Claim :
Ky Kiske || Guilty Gear





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Full Name:
Ljilja Kasun

Age:
15

Gender:


Species:
Finfolk
Face Claim :
Invader || ORiHiRA_



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Full Name:
Jax

Age:
19

Gender:


Species:
Snow leopard
Face Claim :
Silverash || Arknights



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Full Name:
Bandit

Age:
16

Gender:


Species:
Arctic Fox
Face Claim :
Ayre || Granblue Fantasy



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Full Name:
Cayde

Age:
38

Gender:


Species:
Mutant Mutt
Face Claim :
Project JHIN || League of Legends



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Full Name:
Lamia

Age:
17

Gender:


Species:
???
Face Claim :
Aug || Girl's Frontline



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Full Name:
Ciara

Age:
59

Gender:


Species:
Slime

Face Claim :
Elesis || Elsword



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Full Name:
Leo Behrends

Age:
48

Gender:


Species:
Cybernetic Lizardman

Face Claim :
Ginko || Mushishi




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Full Name:
Kore Mars

Age:
18

Gender:


Species:
Human

Face Claim :
Sei || FGO




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Full Name:
Yeqon

Age:
20

Gender:


Species:
Half-Human

Face Claim :
Salo || sh0d03




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[font=arial][b]Like 1 // [/b]"EXPLANATION
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[font=arial][color=#Color]Weaknesses
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[center]{[color=#Color][size=120][b]Place of Origin :[/b][/size][/color]}
[font=arial]If you are a mutant, the answer should be somewhere on the ground. For example The Wastes, it can be a made up new country or colony. If you're a human, pick the name of a sky ship you like.

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{[color=#Color][size=120][u]Family :[/u][/size][/color]}
Optional, you don't have to have any family if you don't want to.

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ⒸⓄⓅⓎⓇⒾⒼⒽⓉ: ⓉⒽⒺ_ⓆⓊⒺⒺⓃ

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Toggle Rules

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There aren't many rules to apply to this game.

I merely require you to be literate to some degree and expect you to not use text talk in your replies. In OOC, it's fine to use whatever texting slang you'd like.

No Mary Sues, Gary Stues, or Godmods.

There is no order to replies and you can reply as many times as you'd like. I do request you not disappear off the face of the planet as soon as the role play begins.

As for mutants, you can pick whatever sort of species you'd like within reason. They can have cat tails or horns, they can be cyborgs, or have goat legs. There are simply no mythical creatures or super powers. You can have a weapon and it can be a gun, or some sort of made up futuristic weapon.

As for FC's, anime, manga, or video games only. I will not accept real people as FC's because it freaks me out.

As for my final rule, just be nice to each other. No need to cause drama or jump down someone's throat. I will be creating a Discord later and while it isn't a requirement, it would be nice if you could join.

If you'd like to play a human or administrator role, that does require some extra degree of plot planning and it'd be nice if you could DM me before applying.

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Browse All » 6 Settings to roleplay in

Father

Father by The_Queen

Not Daddy

Fort Kate

Fort Kate by The_Queen

Fort Kate, a forty fort

The Tundra

The Tundra by The_Queen

Cold, cold, very cold

Wasteland

Wasteland by The_Queen

Where the nights are hot and the days even hotter.

The Jungle

The Jungle by The_Queen

Trees, oh my

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 7 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leo Behrends
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0.00 INK

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Location: Father











Oh boy...He has been sitting on his chair for long enough to feel that the cushion was shaping up to fit his backside better...He can talk fine but approaching these people was definitely a challenge...People were talking to each other, exacting pleasantries or displeasures, eating and all manners of other things. Simply just strutting in when a lot of people were busy in the main lobby was definitely not going to work for him. Leo gave a small sigh and a smile as he stood up and walked over to one of the food tables and grabbed some cake, cookies and filled up his glass with juice instead of wine. He rather not drink himself under the table...And Juice would at least quench some of his thirst.

Once he filled up on food and drink he decided to leave the bustling and noisy lobby outside to where there was a tree and grass overlooking a nice view of the clouds behind a window. Man...This was certainly peaceful...He dug into his suit feeling around for a pack but realized he turned those in...And there was a sign that said no smoking anyways so even if he had his cigarettes he would not be able to smoke anyways. A shame as well, this was a perfect scenario to just sit back and just admire the passing of time. "Well...That's too bad, I guess I might as well work on making a crust for this pie instead...Not quite a smoke but at least its productive." He laughed to himself as he approached a patch of grass and noticed a feminine figure already simply sitting there peacefully...Long teal colored hair, small little goat like horns, and a...Dress? Outfit? He was never much of a fashion person so clothing was as foreign to him as the moon in the sky...But that was besides the point, the woman who was sitting soon plucked some blades of grass and began eating it.

With his curiosity peaked by this he made himself known as he approached. "Hey there, mind if I take a seat as well?" He called out and gave a small friendly wave as the woman looked back to him, a bit jolted by his sudden words but quickly calmed down. She gave a nod in response as Leo took a seat and began to fiddle with the cookies on the plate. "Thanks, I promise I'm not trying to be weird or anything. I wanted to talk to more people but the lobby is packed with people so trying to get to know people was a bit of a challenge...My name is Leo, Leo Behrends." He gave a small smile as he spoke as the woman nodded and looked at the plate in his hands. "I'm Safia, and what are you eating?" She asked as the white haired lizard man nodded. "I think its cake and...Small circles like sweet things. I actually don't know the name but they taste nice. Ah, if you don't mind actually do you wanna try out one of my recipes? It's a cake with the circle sweets crushed into crumbs and used as a crust." He offered the plate to Safia. Of course...She looked at him with a questionable stare...Yeah...When a person meets you for the first time, in a death game, and offers you food...Not everyone is going to be trusting of that.

Leo took his fork and cut off a piece of cake and put it in his mouth. "I promise it's safe." He gave a small smile as Safia eventually took his plate and began to eat the cake. He gave a small sigh as he closed his eyes. Well he broke the ice at the very least. But he just hopes she likes the three pieces of his custom recipe. "Good." Came the response of Safia as Leo opened his eyes and saw a plate devoid of all food on it. Wait a minute he just closed his eyes for less than ten seconds...Well...Despite how fast she ate it there was a small smile on her face. And a small feeling of accomplishment fluttered in his chest. Although he did not cook it, he took joy knowing that a recipe made on the fly was good for someone. "I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm actually a cook but since we don't have to forage around for ingredients to cook while we are up here I decided to open my mind up some more to see what sort of combinations I could come up with and see if I can replicate some things when we are no longer on Father...Anyways, I should not bother you for too long. Take care of yourself Safia." Leo spoke as he stood up and began to walk away to a nice spot and sat down to watch the clouds for a bit. He took a sip of his juice as he relaxed.

"Making better relations through this game?...That's as believable as using a pastry as a generator cog and believing it will last for a whole day...I have to talk to more people and explore more. The more I know the better my chances to help others here...Still...Eating grass...Hrm..." Leo thought to himself as he plucked a blade of grass and took a bite out of it. "Bleh! Tasted like artificial sewage!" He coughed and spat out the blade of grass. That was dumb...Nice going Leo...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ljilja Character Portrait: Scout
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The Wolf Catches the Fish

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Ljilja was Scout's ticket away from the terrible noise and blinding lights, but her quick little footsteps were difficult for Scout to match. She had to walk slowly in long strides, the small girl before her deftly weaving through the crowd like a fish navigating an impassable school of sea creatures. For her part, Scout felt like a shark, and probably resembled one too, with her silvery ears peeking out high above the sea of mutants. Out of the corner of her eye, Scout spotted motion from a cam, nearly flush against a metal wall, rotating its mechanical eye to capture their movements. Clever, she thought.

Scout paused in front of a door, thumbing towards it. “How about in here?” Scout suggested over the continuing cacophony of music and chatter. Their destination was unclear, but it was away, and that was good enough for her.

Ljilja froze at the suggestion. “Really…?” Ljilja murmured, to which Scout tilted her head in confusion. What was wrong? “I mean, I guess I should be training, but…”

Scout gave Ljilja a puzzled look, then glanced at the door to see if she could reason out the problem. She could not read the sign that read ‘Gym,’ but it was the only place that made Ljilja's response make sense. “No! No,” Scout explained, “It's just t-to get away.” Scout began to shuffle her feet in front of the door, feeling the weight of the faux pas.

Ljilja uneasily swayed from side to side, perhaps weighing the likelihood that she would be eaten if she went into a room alone with the wolflike competitor. She drew a breath, then answered, “Well… alright,” before slowly raising her wrist to unlock the door. The aperture hummed its acknowledgement and slid open. Ljilja spared one last nervous glance in Scout’s direction before stepping inside and disappearing into the darkened threshold within.

Scout tailed her eagerly and the door slid shut behind them. Soft light panels gradually illuminated the room, revealing a broad training area and, one by one, the facilities that lay within.

Lining the wall were dummy weapons, prop swords, spears, and to the other end, a shooting range for bows and guns. In the center was a sparring ring, hallmarked by large gray mats with a white circle. Slightly elevated on a platform above them was a row of chairs surrounded by screens, and behind them was a glass box for spectators to watch the competitors. At the far end of the space was a pool, its surface yet undisturbed. “Wow,” Scout murmured under her breath.

An enormous fan above them had begun to spin, circulating the air. A shiver ran down Scout’s spine as she recalled . “This place is huge.”

Ljilja, whose manager had failed to give her a tour given how close she had arrived to orientation, was hardly certain where her room was, much less knowing what all was in the gym. But it did not take very long for her to spot the pool. Her shoulders straightened, her eyes fixated on it immediately, glittering like tiny stars on a clear night. “Look-look! Water!” she exclaimed, and like an eager dog ran to its edge, circling it eagerly. There was a fondness in her gaze as for a long-departed friend. She could hardly keep from leaping right in but for the fact that it would ruin her dress.

Her shout drew Scout’s attention, who looked down from the fan and awkwardly scratched at her forearm. “Yeah,” she answered as she turned her eyes towards the pool.

Where Scout remained planted in place, Ljilja moved like a hummingbird, her excitement taking her from one end of the gym to the next. But in the midst of her excitement, something strange began to happen. Her side suddenly felt tight, her breathing growing ragged. She grasped at her side and winced, then padded carefully back to Scout. “Sorry…” Ljilja’s breath hitched, a slight hiss. “Guh, went… too fast.”

Scout, in the meanwhile, was watching Ljilja with slight amusement. She was in no rush to explore the gym, knowing that she would probably spend most of the week in here. In any case, Scout felt right to lead Ljilja here - this was much more amusing than the party. “You move fast,” Scout said, gesturing to the mats in the sparring ring. “Need a seat?”

Ljilja heaved for breath, her voice dry and hoarse. “That or dive.” Her eyes scanned the area, looking for anything to relieve the desert that had blossomed in her throat. “Pardon me,” Ljilja muttered, sighting a fountain of reprieve. She walked slowly, her steps deliberate, until she reached it.

Sensing her presence, the fountain began to spurt water from its spigot, a blue light indicating that it was on. Ljilja guzzled water down like a camel spotting an oasis in the desert. After a moment she straightened and wiped her lip on her arm, replenished. She returned looking as though nothing had happened.

It was one thing to enjoy water, but it was another to be dependent on it. The first game was going to be in the Wastes; how would Ljilja survive?

The wolf hardly minded the situation, using the pause as an excuse to observe the wooden swords on the wall. Scout lifted one from its resting place, giving it a few swings. The weight of it felt unimpressive in her hands, slightly off-balance somehow. “Better?” she queried, replacing the sword as she watched Ljilja approach.

“Much!” Ljilja announced, her voice unfazed and chipper.

They sat together on a nearby mat. It was brand new, the smell of it like a blow to the nostrils for Scout’s sensitive nose. Scout sat with her legs spread in front of her, arms propping her up from behind. Her tail swished as Ljilja took a seat across from her.

Her bright blue eyes traced over Scout’s features - her scars, her black-tipped ears, her fluffy silver tail. Respectful awe reflected in her gaze. “Do you like being tall?” Ljilja bluntly asked, free of reservations. She sheepishly glanced over herself, adding, “I don’t like how small I am.”

Scout glanced at Ljilja with a bewildered expression before looking up at the ceiling, watching the fan spin lazily around them. “Do I…?” she trailed off, peering upwards as though the answer were written on the ceiling somewhere. “No,” she finally answered, looking down again and sizing up Ljilja. She was small and cute, her skin unblemished, as far as Scout could see at least. “Everyone tells me I’m too tall,” ‘too tall for a girl,’ ‘lanky,’ ‘awkward...’ “Being small is better. When you’re small, people want to protect you.” Maybe if Scout had been small and vulnerable, she reasoned, her parents might have stuck around.

Ljilja blinked in disbelief; she supposed Scout was right about the last part, but wondered what inspired her to respond that way. "But, like...you could...you know...actually hurt me. And I couldn't do anything about it," she murmured. "If I were bigger, I could fight back." It was clear that Ljilja was insecure in this area, uncertain about her own abilities.

Scout abruptly laughed, the sound harsh and grating. “Size doesn’t matter in a fight; I’ve seen people shorter than you take down dogs bigger than me.” She jerked a thumb in her own direction, a fanged grin highlighting her expression. “If you’re worried about a fight, it’s your stamina you should work on.” Scout had seen her run herself ragged with little more than a few minutes of running. “Besides, you can just get someone bigger than you to protect you.”

Ljilja’s expression morphed into a frown. The little fish did not count herself well-versed in matters like fights and allegiances, so she had little room to argue Scout’s point. “But…still,” she protested, her cheeks puffing out. “This is a competition - everyone’s out for themselves,” she answered before looking down at her lap and balling her little hands into fists on the mat. “People will target me because I’m easy prey.” She grit her teeth and trembled.

Scout leaned forward. “What do you want to win for anyway?” Scout wasn’t much for pep talks or getting people to believe in themselves - motivational speeches were Mercy’s purview.

“I want to win…” she went silent, her voice as soft and gentle as an ocean breeze. “Because I want to be with my family. I’ve worked on Fort Kate as long as I can remember… I’ve never even met my Mother. I want to.” She sighed and furrowed her brows, the pain poorly masked.

There was always a family. Mercy had told Scout that she was lucky she had no family. Family made people weak, it held them back. “What about your Dad?”

“He died, she answered - bluntness seemed to flow freely from the small creature, no room for pretense. “Was...last year.” She cleared her throat and jerked her head upright to look at Scout, eager for a change of subject. “What about you?” she asked, swiping at her eyes to check that they were dry. “Why did you sign up?”

Scout paused as she contemplated telling her; Aries had to practically pull teeth to get her to talk. Eventually, though, Scout sighed with resignation. She leaned forward, unzipping one of her boots to reveal the tell-tale black marks of Ori on her skin. “I’m gonna die,” she said at last, with no hint of malice or bitterness. “So I want to go out with a bang.”

Scout zipped her boot back up slowly to conceal the ugly marks. “Sorry,” Ljilja murmured instinctively. Sorry - sorry! - everyone was always sorry for Scout. Ori was a death sentence for any mutant.

“What if you win?” Ljilja prodded.

“If I win…” Scout trailed off, “then I’ll be able to afford the surgery to get rid of it.” As long as she did it before stage 3, Scout could be cured. Scout brought her knees up to her chest, hugging her legs against her. Ljilja too, did as such, her chin leaning on her knees.

Ljilja cast her eyes downward, the fish’s voice quieting to a whisper. “I probably shouldn’t tell you this,” she began to say, prompting Scout to lean forward, “but I’m going to give up after a few rounds, if I survive. I hope… I hope you win.”

Her smile was bright and hopeful. It made Scout’s blood boil. “You’re giving up before the game’s begun.” Her teeth ground together. Scout hated people like that, people with such weak resolve. “What about your dream to see your Mom? You’re just gonna give up on it?” Her tail was stiff, ears set forward with displeasure and suspicion.

Ljlija shook her head, “Winning isn’t winning,” she parroted in desperation. “My manager says that no one who wins this game wins the normal way.” She hugged herself, her arms tightening around her legs. “He says I just have to survive the first few games… then… then for sure I’ll be reunited with Mama.”

“So you’re just gonna cheat?” Any warmth in Scout’s voice had vanished. “Take the money and run? What if he’s lying to you?” Scout should not have gotten her hopes that this was a potential… friend. People like Ljilja, they came into her life and left just as quickly, because everyone left Scout eventually.

No one cared about her long enough to stick around.

Ljilja raised her palms defensively. “No! No, I’ll play fair…” she trailed off, searching in vain for an explanation that would satisfy Scout. “There can only be one winner, right?” Her voice grew soft and weary. “And that isn’t going to be me… so I have to leave before the end.” Ljilja glanced at her wolfish companion. “If he’s lying, then I just go back home and move on. It would be sad… but… it’s better than dying.”

The fight had left Ljilja before it had even begun. Scout’s shoulders sagged in disappointment. What sort of manager was this? “You don’t know that, anyone can win.” She grumbled, “everyone’s always going on about how dying is some terrible thing. Dying is the easiest thing in the world, it’s living that’s hard.”

Ljilja’s small hands balled into fists, the cloth of her dress wrinkling in her grasp. “Nothing worth doing is easy!” More words that did not seem to belong to her. Ljilja’s smile was tinged with guilt. “I don’t want to win… I just want to be with my family. Not win… just… survive. Is that really so terrible?”

“Sure, if surviving is all you want to do.” Her anger dulled to exasperation. Scout yawned, her ears returning to their normal position: guarded but unperturbed. “There’s so much living to do, so why just survive?” Scout’s gaze turned to the floor. “Truth be told, Ljilja, I’m not a good person. I left just surviving behind a long time ago, I’ve been fighting like hell to live the life I want.” Now, Scout would bloody her hands again to claw her way to the top.

“I won’t get in your way,” Ljilja assured her, “but… I think you have good in you… at least a little.” A warm smile returned to her face.

Scout opened her mouth to retort, but the doors suddenly slid open. “Scout!” Aries snapped, looking out of breath, his cheeks red, his expression pinched in anger. “You can’t just run away-” he paused in his beration, glancing between the unlikely pair of wolf and fish. “Tch.” Scout’s tail swished, and she rose slowly, dusting her dress off. “Gotta bounce, see you around fishy.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ljilja Character Portrait: Scout Character Portrait: Jax
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Fatherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Speaking: #919191 | Thought: #D8BFD8



"You have a pretty face," A mutant remarked, standing beside him. Jax's manager had run off somewhere with another, no doubt to conspire behind his back. "It's too bad I'll have to mark it up on the battlefield," He had white hair and striking blue eyes, white wings sprouting from his back that made his comment seem anything but angelic. Jax grinned behind his cup, his tail flickering with curiosity. "Those are strong words coming from a man who looks as though he's never worked a day in his life." The mutant blanched, grinding his teeth, his grasp on his drink no longer steady. "What did you say to me mutant?"

"Watch your tongue, or I might have to cut it out," Jax sipped his drink. He did not take threats lightly, not when he was determined to achieve his goal. Jax was normally mild mannered, but he did not enjoy being threatened with death or mutilation. "And for the record, you are a mutant too." The snow leopard placed his glass down, feeling slightly dizzy. Was Jax drunk? Perhaps that was why his tongue had become a bit looser. What was in that cup? He had absently picked one, finding the flavor to be mild and pleasant and then had had three more. He should have been more careful with his choices.

"Excuse me sir, would you like to try a pig in a blanket?" A mutant dressed in a sparkling two piece, holding a silver tray full of bite-sized delicacies waved it just beneath his nose. "Sure," perhaps food would clear up this odd feeling inside of him. Was this meat? The smell of it made his mouth water slightly. "I'll take five," Each one was thin and small, meat wrapped in flaky dough that crumbled in his hands. He was careful, not wishing to get his suit dirty. Where was Axel? Jax whirled around, popping another pig in a blanket in his mouth.

Perhaps he should just forget the social hour and go to bed, the beginnings of a headache were coming on. How many of those cups had he drank? Jax could hardly remember. He should have been wary, he should've been on guard, but instead, he was standing in the corner eating finger foods off of a tiny glass plate. How pitiful the doctor's life had become in a matter of hours. "Oh, there you are." Axel had appeared out of nowhere by his elbow, "Enjoying yourself?" He had a smile on his face, Jax had the feeling he had secured something of value.

"I am enjoying these," he raised his plate. Somehow, he had procured more tiny foods. "How many glasses of Jungle Punch did you drink?" Axel asked, slightly amused. "I lost count," Jax grumbled. Axel laughed, "Well, I guess I found your catnip." Jax let out a low growl. Axel laughed, looking down at his holo tab for a moment. "I hope you don't mind, I've taken the liberty of ordering you a special training outfit for your debut tomorrow." He winked, "I'm sure all of our female sponsors are going to love it."

"No," Jax replied simply, wiping his mouth with a napkin. He had finished eating, his head feeling a little bit clearer. "Oh, don't be like that. You're gonna love it." Jax had the sense that he would not love it. "I'm leaving," Jax placed his plate down, walking away. "Where are you going!" Axel called, running after him. "To bed," In the Tundra, he could have gone outside into the cold air to help clear his head, here, he would have to settle for the bedroom. "Fine, but you better show up to the gym tomorrow!" Axel called after him, Jax's ears twitching to pick out his voice.

His room was far too warm. Jax loosened the bowtie around his neck and turned towards the thermostat, he needed to make it colder in here. He slung his jacket and pants over the back of a chair and stumbled into the bathroom. "Da**it," his head was much too foggy. No, he would just skip brushing his teeth tonight. Was there mouthwash? There, that would do it. Jax stumbled into bed, pulling the covers over his body as the room cooled. Much better.

With a bearable room temperature and a bed like a cloud, Jax drifted off easily.

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Character Portrait: Leo Behrends
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Location: Father









As Leo stared out the windows of the ship, his mind began to wander as he did not find himself occupied with anything at the moment...Memories of his childhood...Now those were some sweet memories...He gave a soft sigh as he gazed into the clouds. "Man...I still remember the time I got interested in cooking because of my mother...Now that was an interesting experience." He laughed to himself as his head wandered back to when he was but a child...And when parts of his body was not mechanical...




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Location: Leo's home, 38 years ago


It was a warm summer day, he could remember it like yesterday. Although his love for engineering was already strong at this time his passion for cooking was ignited at that time. He was sitting around the table, and his mother was making some toast they had finally obtained after waiting patiently for the moment to harvest crops and turn the...'wheat' into bread and finally it was being cooked into toast on a pan.

The smell of butter filled the air as Leo waited with bated breath at the table while his father was watching the Holo-vision set and watching the news. Soon enough three sets of plates arrived from his smiling mother. "Everyone's favorite toast! Enjoy!" She exclaimed happily as Leo's eyes sparkled, marveling the toast. Buttery looking, nice and toasted no doubt capable of producing an audible crunch once one bit into it...The food of the breakfast gods...And he was finally going to eat this legendary food!

The little Leo picked up his toast with his hands, the smell of the toast getting stronger...Nirvana was within his grasp and he bit into it...However the mood entirely changed as the sparkling eyed boy looked disappointed. "Its burned...You have failed the breakfast gods mom..." Little Leo stated as his mothers rosy attitude immediately changed as she gritted her teeth and suddenly stood up and grabbed Leo's toast and shoved it in his mouth. "It's been 5 years since I last cooked toast! We don't waste in this house anyways! If you don't like my cooking then cook yourself and lets see if you have it easier Leo!" She stated as Leo was struggling with burnt toast in his mouth...

And it was from that day Leo vowed to never upset his mother, and to become a better cook than her...





Location: Father


"Ship command to Leo...You awake in that head of yours?" The sound of Qiqi caught his attention as he was pulled from his thoughts. "Sorry about that Miss Qiqi...I was absorbed in my thoughts about the past. Do you need me to meet with more people?" He nervously scratched the back of his head as he had just ignored his manager absorbed in his thoughts. "Well at least you apologized. No, if you're absorbed in your thoughts to the point that me calling out to you did not register what I said, you should retire for the day. We have a day of training and appointments tomorrow so I need you at your best for the week to come. Come on." She dragged him onto his feet as he nodded.

"Thanks Qiqi...I should sleep indeed. Long day tomorrow so I'm going to put my 110% into it. I'll see you in the morning at your office or...When you fetch me..." Leo pondered as Qiqi spoke up. "Meet me in my office tomorrow. You know the way by now." She replied as she walked off.

Yeah...A good night's rest seemed like a good idea. He would soon leave the bustle of the party and head to his room. There he undressed from the fancy clothing he wore and folded them before flopping on his new soft bed...Sleep came quickly due to this.

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On the Mats

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Waving to the wolfish girl, Ljilja watched her new friend leave. At least, she hoped Scout was a new friend - it was difficult to tell, for while their conversation seemed to have begun well, it had soured rapidly. Ljilja fidgeted with her fingers until both Scout and Aries were fully gone. For some time after, she sat in silence, eyes glued to the mat, wondering where she had gone wrong, what she might have said otherwise, what she could do to make things go better next time. Clear answers were not forthcoming.

She pushed off from the mat. Her eyes scanned the room and settled longingly upon the pool. "I can't," she told herself, "I need to train." So, instead, she tore her gaze from it and marched forward with discipline, venturing forth from the gym to the halls. If she was going to train, she would need proper attire. But where would she find it?

She passed various competitors in the halls, some calling it an early day, others finding their rooms to relax from the onslaught of interviews, many of which were still proceeding. Ljilja had yet to participate in one, but she hoped that would come soon. She could not know how busy her manager was, but she got the distinct impression that sponsors would be the key to her continued survival - the other competitors could not be relied upon to protect her, despite what Scout had implied. And yet, Jaden was nowhere to be found.

Left to her own devices, she wandered the premises, going largely unnoticed by staff and competitors alike. Maybe...maybe the stylist, Anya, was right - maybe she should have tried to be more ostentatious. Maybe then she would have drawn the attention of sponsors. Was Jaden trying to sabotage her? Was he lying to her? Did he even mean to honor his offer?

Ljilja bit her lip and kept walking. Where was she going? She had hoped to find her room, but the facilities had dozens of such quarters, one for each competitor, and with the passing of minutes and hours, she could not locate hers. She was certain she had walked by it a number of times, but the fog of worry clouding her mind kept her from noticing it. That, and...

She paused in her steps as her stomach loudly grumbled. It had been some time since she last ate. "Maybe...just a snack," she mentally concluded. At the very least, she had managed to stumble across the food hall once or twice in her meandering, and could locate it again easily.



The Mess

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Focused on her training, Ljilja determined to eat light. A tall, horned, purple-skinned woman stood before Ljilja on the other side of a long counter, patiently waiting to receive an order.

"I just, um..." Ljilja piped up, scrolling through a listing of foods on a holographic display, "just want something small."

"You're going to have to be more specific than that," the towering mutant answered. She dwarfed Ljilja, but that was not a difficult feat.

"Something I can eat really quickly?" Ljilja clarified, a nervous upswing taking over her voice. She shuffled her little black flats on the ground - she still hadn't changed out of her party attire.

The woman sighed. "Wait here," she announced before disappearing into a back room. She returned moments later with a bar on a plate, placing it atop the counter, where it sat about head-height with Ljilja.

Fearing repercussions should she protest, Ljilja took it with a grateful bow of her head and a little "Thank you, miss," before fleeing to one of the tables with the plate in hand. She took a seat at the far end of the room, trying her best to avoid eye contact with the mutant in charge of food distribution.

She peered around. Her table was much too large for her, designed to accommodate a large group of people. Ljilja found herself unconsciously gravitating towards it, perhaps because it reminded her of the commons back at Fort Kate. Still, it drew attention to her small size, and the fact that she was alone. A burly, muscular man with long hair and strange fluffy ears was seated at the other end of the room; he seemed to be aware of how intimidating he was, and kept to himself. Ljilja wondered about the fairness of someone like her being pitted against someone like that in open combat, but supposed that fairness wasn't the first thing on the minds of those running the Games.

Ljilja turned her gaze to the food on her plate. A small, compressed, nutty nutrient bar awaited her - no sweetness, just protein. She took nibbles at the bland, crunchy creation, scrunching her nose up at its offensively dull flavor. She supposed it contained essential vitamins, if only she could stomach it. She managed a few more bites before leaving it on the plate, her appetite chased away.

She stood with her half-eaten food block, shuddering with distaste. Her eyes scanned for a trash bin, but could not find one.

Noticing Ljilja's confusion, the woman behind the counter spoke up. "Just leave it, we'll take care of it."

It seemed a bit rude, but Ljilja complied, placing the plate back down and stepping away from the table. She looked about with uncertainty, then started to patter out of the room. "Uh...thank you," she called out, before proceeding into the hallways with hunched shoulders.



Running in Circles

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Hunger abated, Ljilja returned to the gym. Scout's words echoed in her mind - "If you're worried about a fight, it's your stamina you should work on." She took those words to heart.

Her soles clacked against the floor as she moved from the main gymnasium area to the hard-floored marathon track. She looked to and fro. She was alone.

She looked down at herself. It had been hours since the party ended, and though the clock was reaching deep into the night, she was still wearing her dress and bow. No matter. Ljilja took a position at the starting line and drew a deep breath.

At the sign of a shot that rang only in her head, she burst forward in a sprint. For someone so small, she was quick. As she rounded the first corner, panting like a dog, she grinned widely. "I can do this. I can do this! I just...can't...stop!"

Onward she bounded, pillars hurdling on her sides. At the end of the straightaway, she neared the next turn, but the edges of her vision grew darker and dimmer. Still she pushed on, grunting through the exhaustion, keeping up the pace. "Come on...come on!"

Her little chest heaved for air, growing tight as it strained to supply her body. Ljilja wrung every last bit of energy out of her small frame, but was fighting a losing battle. A meager meal and maladjusted lungs took an increasing toll with each step. She spied a water fountain up ahead and gazed needily at it. Then she wrested her eyes free to focus on the track. "No...I need to get stronger!

But willpower alone could not sustain her. As the finish line drew nearer, Ljilja's vision drained completely. She gasped deeply, but it was not air she needed. Her sprint fell to a stumble, her stumble to collapse. She came to the ground with a disturbingly hard thud, body crumpling upon the floor, where she lay motionless.

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Character Portrait: Ljilja Character Portrait: Kore Character Portrait: Yeqon
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Location: Father

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Speech Color: #456d57 | Thought Color: #09444c




Yeqon ignored Kore's dramatic flare as he placed himself beside her. Blindly gazing into the crowd, he reminisced the lost moments he spent in peace while eating strawberries in the monitoring room.

Kore's shining eyes glued onto Yeqon, cueing him, "...Yeqon." He glanced at Kore to see a satisfied smile. He closed his eyes and returned his gaze toward the crowd of fifty mutants, memorizing their faces as Kore chattered away.

"What do you think, Yeqon? See any potential winners?" Refocusing his attention, Yeqon glanced down at Kore. He sighed, seeing how Kore wasn't even hiding her disappointment in Yeqon for not paying attention to her speech.

"...Apologizes." He scanned the crowd of mutants, going through the list of information he read about each contestant. He took his time, trying his best to find an appropriate answer for Kore.

"...I see around..." He listed the names in his head, "...20 potentials...19." He watched as a mutant he tagged as a potential winner stared dreamily at another female mutant. Emotions produce wavering judgment and can get you killed.

Blinking a few times, he stared into Kore's golden eyes. He didn't make any outward mistakes, but he felt Kore's slight disappointment. After stepping onto center stage and the lights illuminated on him, Yeqon blanked. He still had enough attention that if a situation broke out, he could respond appropriately, but what Kore wanted was for Yeqon to share his thoughts on her performance. A performance he paid zero attention to after saying his name.

His eyes narrowed; some would think he was glaring at Kore, "...Would a drink...make up for my mistake?" Yeqon's tone didn't change from its usual lifelessness. However, his words were sincere.

He didn't know how to fix the situation as the moment already passed. Therefore, the next step is to appease Kore by offering her some of his time. Eon always mentioned to him that ladies like attention, so maybe Kore would feel better if Yeqon gave her some of his attention. Hopefully.



Short screams echoed the steel halls of the mutant quarters. Two mutants were petrifying underneath the gaze of a tall, dark-skinned man.

"...Place them in their quarters." The two trembled a few feet away from Yeqon. Their bodies were decorated in whip marks, and small streams of blood flowed from each wound.

This whole situation started because of a petty fight. While focused on fighting, the mutants were interrupted by a weak-looking human. All they wanted to do was intimidate him. However, the ending result was horrifying. Their entire bodies stung with wounds. The guards grabbed the mutants by their necks and dragged them away.

Examining his body, Yeqon located blood splatter decorating his sleeve and shirt. If the two guards on duty with Yeqon hadn't watched the fight, they wouldn't have believed someone as weak-looking as Yeqon could subdue such beasts.

"...Y...Yes?" His throat was dry. Yeqon glanced at the two gawking guards, hoping neither realized the crack in his voice.

"N-No, Sir!" The two spoke in unison. They had witnessed a display of cruelty from Yeqon. There have been rumors about how merciless Yeqon was, but they have never confirmed them. Until now.

Yeqon sighed. He exited the room and journeyed down the hall. The guards rushed to keep up with him. Initially, Yeqon made the trip to the mutants' quarters because of a fight alert. Usually, things like this would be ignored. However, the mutants were causing too much of a disturbance.

While walking toward the Mutant gym, Yeqon listened to the whispers of the guards behind him.

"...He's so meticulous. Why must we monitor these lowly animals? Getting into a fight or two should be fine?"

"Yeah, but now we're stuck wandering around the freaks."

"This sucks. When will we be done?"


"Go home."

The two guards froze in horror, their eyes glued on Yeqon's face. His voice made them shiver, "Go home..."

The guards hesitated for a moment before jumping at Yeqon's voice, growing colder, "Now."

They scurried away. Yeqon gazed at their figures until they disappeared from his sight.

He needed to go home too, he thought of Eon asking about his day, and a small smile danced onto his lips.

Solidifying his goal, Yeqon went to check the gym before retiring for the night.

Entering the gymnasium, Yeqon heard some loud pants. He raised an eyebrow spying a blue-skinned girl. Looking more closely at her appearance, he noticed she was an aquatic-type mutant.

Deciding nothing needed to be done here, Yeqon turned around. Ready to go home, he suddenly heard a thud. Freezing, Yeqon glanced behind him to see a scene that made him curse internally. Today really wasn't his day.

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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Fatherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx #0EBFE9 | FC: #CD3333



Kore sighed, it wasn't that she was disappointed per say, as she already knew not to expect much of a performance from Yeqon. He was easy on the eyes, yes, but Kore found that his personality fell flat beyond that. She thought that perhaps with some rousing conversation, he may soon open up to her, like most did, but even Kore's amicable personality was frozen in Yeqon's stone-cold presence. So, Kore had taken a different approach. He didn't trust her, Kore knew that. She also knew that his father was the one who had pushed him into the position, otherwise Yeqon would very likely be holed up at home right about now, but there were two things that Kore definitively knew about Yeqon.

He liked fruit and he enjoyed a good cup of anything with a burn.

So when Yeqon offered a drink in place of an apology for his mental absence, Kore could do nothing but sigh. She could not hold this against him, of course. Instead, she did what she did best. There was no need to get deflated, not when her sparkle had not been dulled. "Alright, I'll take you up on that." After all, Kore needed to keep up the performance. It was imperative to her character.

"Shall we?" Kore offered her elbow, the drink table wasn't far from their little stage. Yeqon had spotted 19 potential winners. How problematic. Still, Kore kept her pleasant smile pasted to her lips. She would be working late tonight, after all, she had a meeting with the managers once the party ended. Kore picked a drink at random, she could not afford to get drunk, so she merely swirled the drink around in her hand while remaining in Yeqon's presence, chatting politely with random humans that came to greet her.

Most of the mutants stayed away, which was not surprising. After all, Kore was the device of their doom and Yeqon, well... he was Yeqon.

Once the party began to lull, Kore clapped her hands together and handed her drink to an attendant. "Thank you to everyone tonight who made this party a large success, especially our stars of the show! This could not have been done without you! I will now ask all humans to please vacate the mutant housing, as our contestants need to be up bright and early tomorrow for training!" It was the fastest way to dismiss them.

Kore was the Puppetere here, her words should have been able to command the room. The humans should have been dancing to her strings and for the most part, they were.

Still, there were some who didn't respect her and some who were overstaying their welcome, mingling by the drink table as the mutant staff attempted to clean up. "Excuse me," Kore's smile remained polite, however it did not quite reach her eyes "I did announce that the party was over. So leave," her words were biting, her message clear. They scurried out, the last of them and with them, Kore sighed.

She could not deflate, not yet. "Yeqon, I'm going to head to the meeting now. You can feel free to retire early," since he wasn't much of a help in conversational situations anyhow.

When Kore entered the hallway before the meeting room, her assistant was waiting for her with a lemon spritz and a stern expression. "What is it?" Kore asked, her voice low. "There's been a... situation." Mimi fixed her glasses, looking away. "What kind of situation?" Mimi showed Kore the feed on her personal pod. It was the NET, there were already wild speculations going on about Kore and Yeqon's relationship.

Images played over and over before her eyes. Kore picking imaginary dust off of Yeqon's coat, offering her hand, the two of them drinking beside one another, Yeqon moving to protect Kore from Fotors. Her smile was crafty. "This isn't a situation Mimi," Kore grinned, shaking her head. "This is the side story in the main performance."

Kore entered her arena, the overseeing room, where the managers were waiting for her. They rose when they saw her, the chair at the head of the table empty. Kore sat, her posture rigid, her hands clasping together as they all sat. "Updates," all at once they began to spill, every meticulous, juicy detail.

Tragic backstory, blood thirsty tyrant, a nobody who wanted to rise to glory.

Kore was listening, Mimi was recording everything. It was like a waterfall of information that Kore needed to direct the flow of. "Alright, I'll begin strategy angles for how we're going to sell them." Kore leaned forward, the table reacting to her gesture, bringing up profiles. Kore jotted down notes for each one.

It was well over 1 AM by the time the meeting was adjourned. At last, Kore deflated. She removed her heels and rubbed her temples. "Would you like a soother?" Mimi offered a bottle of pills, Kore waved it away. "No, no, those things are hideous. I just need a moment alone," Mimi nodded. "I'll see you tomorrow then?" She asked, hovering beside Kore. "Yes, tomorrow." Kore rose, there was blood in her heels, the soles of her feet raw from the stiletto point.

The celebrity rose slowly from her seat, circling the security feeds. Most of the mutants were in their beds. However, an unexpected sight made her take a step back; her elbow bumping into a chair. What was Yeqon doing there? Kore stepped closer to the camera, watching with wide eyes, slightly taken by the images before her. The whip in his hand dripped with blood, his gaze remained steady.

"What is this?" Kore's smile grew wider. "A private show, just for me?"

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xxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Fatherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Speaking: #CD5C5C | Thought: #2F4F4F




"Where are you going?" Aries asked, frustrated by her lack of patience for him. "To bed, I'm exhausted." Aries teeth ground together, Scout could hear it. Still, she paid him no mind. Her room, her room, which one was it? The name plates on the doors... Scout couldn't read them. "You look lost," a boy with black hair and white horns stood had somehow materialized by her elbow. He was taller than her and wore bandages on his face. "I'm fine," Scout replied, turning away. "Need some help finding your room?" He offered.

Scout stiffened. She was, indeed, a bit lost. "Can you read?" He seemed a bit bewildered by her question. "Yes," he replied, as though the answer were obvious. "What's your name?" He reached a hand forward. A name was harmless, Scout could give him that much. "Scout," she shook his hand, his grip firm, skin calloused. This was someone Scout needed to be wary of. "Boqin," he grinned, his teeth oddly smooth. Scout subconsciously ran her tongue across her own, sharp teeth. "Well Scout, now that I know your name, let's look for your room."

They went the other way, Boqin reading the names quickly. "So Scout, where do you hail from?" What a strange way of asking that, Scout realized. "The Wastes," her answers were curt, just like with everyone else. Scout was a closed book. "Oh? That's cool, I'm from the Jungles myself." Why was he so chatty? Scout's tail flickered in annoyance. "Oh, this is it. Here," Scout scanned her bracelet. "I guess we're neighbors." Her door popped open.

"Hey," he stepped forward before she could enter her room. "I'll see you tomorrow," Scout, flustered, wasn't sure how to respond. "Thanks?" He smiled before walking away, Scout standing in the doorway, wondering what that was supposed to mean. See you tomorrow? Did he intend to seek her out tomorrow? Was Scout over thinking it? Was he... flirting? No, Scout shook her head.

Her entire life she had been told she was ugly, what sort of mutant would flirt with a creature like her? She closed her door, locking it, just in case. Maybe Scout was being a bit paranoid, but she took off the ring she had been given by Selena and placed it just behind the entrance, in case anyone tried to open the door while she slept.

Flinging off her clothing was perhaps the best feeling in the world. The boots clung far too tightly to her ori and the dress made her feel self-conscious. Rummaging through her closet, Scout located a plain tee shirt to sleep in. "Goodnight," Scout whispered to her empty room, crawling into what felt like a cloud. She wrapped herself up in the blanket, the weight of it a comfort, but not even that could fend off the nightmares.

"You dumb b*tch!" Scout covered her ears, the sound of a plate hitting the wall reverberating through the room. The chain around her neck was heavy, her dress tattered at the bottom. "Do you think this is food! Get your f*ckin' eyes checked!" Scout shivered. A cloud of dread hung over her, her body frozen in fear. "Where's the kid?"

"Please Master, I'll do better. Please, spare her." Her Mother's pleas were weak.

"Bring the kid."

The door to closet opened, letting in a small amount of light, it was the only time that Scout was ever let out. "The Master wants to see you."

"Please, no." Scout whispered. "I'm sorry," her Father was a pathetic excuse for a man. He grabbed her by the wrist, the bruises there from earlier today still fresh. Whenever they made a mistake, it was her fault. When would their Master learn that her parents didn't care? When would he notice the relief in their eyes that he was taking his frustration and anger out on her and not them?

"What a useless bunch your parents are," he rose, his shadow looming over her. Scout stood, rooted to the spot, like a tree in a field. "These lessons are good for you, you know. Maybe you won't grow up to be like them."

Scout flinched when his hand came close, he laughed, the sound grating in her eyes. Her misery was his happiness. Her tears were his beverage of choice. He grabbed her by the hair, his expression hungry. Scout was still small then, she was easy to pick up. He slammed her head against the table, over and over, until there was a terrible
thwack! and her forehead began to bleed.

At last, her Master's thirst for blood had been fulfilled. Her parents stood in the corner, relieved that it was her and not them.

Their eyes had glazed over, numb to her pain.

"Don't be like those two kid." Their Master spat as Scout sank to the floor, blood obscuring her vision.


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cayde "quickshot" mori // father ship // #990012 // img credit: alex flores

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By the time that the finned child ran off, the room had been flooded with managers and potential sponsors, some speaking with managers and others content on having competitors fight over their patronage. Cayde was all too eager to observe the spectacle, but Halo would not give him such a luxury.

Their glance pierced through the room, striking the cyborg with unparalleled "concern" (though that word didn't quite encapsulate their feelings). All the years of modeling taught them how to sell a feeling with a single look and in this case, the sentiment seemed to be “don’t shoot yourself in the foot before you even start”. The tilt of Cayde’s helmet, in his mind, said something akin to ”I know what I’m doing”, but there was a chance that his movements would get lost in translation.

Begrudgingly marching towards the bar, he found himself stopped by a blue-haired woman.

”Well, well. I don’t think I’ve seen you around.” Manicured nails trailed up his arm, stopping short of his chest. ”You must be Halo’s little project. I didn’t expect you to be so…grizzled.

”You can say old,” he replied flatly.

”Oh don’t be silly. It’s refreshing to see an actual adult in the competition,” she chuckled. "You’re usually all so young.“

In another life he might have enjoyed the attention but she made it obvious that her gaze wasn’t well-intentioned. Though everyone dressed formally, she carried herself far too gracefully to be another contestant. With a slit up to her waist, detached taffeta sleeves, and an all but open chest, she wouldn’t be caught dead near manual labor much less a battlefield.

”My name is Catherine Rose, of Black Rose Electronics.” Extending her free hand, she shot him a smirk.

Was she expecting him to kiss it through his mask? Or was she expecting him to grace her with the pleasure of seeing his face? She didn’t appear to be the type who would enjoy seeing mutants that didn’t adhere to human standards.

”Quickshot, nice to meet you.” Much to her dismay, the cyborg gave her an awkward shake before letting go.

Holding back a frown, she curled her fingers around his bicep.

”Right well, you must meet my friends.” Catherine gestured towards a standing table surrounded by other, equally opulent humans.

Not so much leading as dragging the mutant along, the woman pointed out every noble family that they passed by, making sure to explain her own connection to each person. As CEO of Black Rose Electronics she had her finger in many pies, naturally.

"Everyone! this is Quickshot," she announced, "he's a competitor in this year's Game of Pursuit."

"Oh? Catherine, I never knew you were into the grungy type," a pot-bellied man said, "I always thought you enjoyed men who were more refined."

"There are very few men here Sid, though you always did prefer them young,” she shrugged, eying the multi-winged mutant that he had his arm around.

”Oh my gosh, you can’t just say that!” a second woman exclaimed, playfully swatting Catherine.

”We’re all adults here Aria,” the blue-haired woman shrugged before glancing at Quickshot.

”Of course,” he replied with gritted teeth.

”So...how did you two meet?”

”I was looking for a girl this year. Something monstrous with a cute face.” Swirling the wine glass between his fingers, Sid took a long sip before stroking the young mutant’s feathers, ”and that’s when I found Ten over here.”

Stiffening at her sponsor's touch, Ten managed a weak "hi" before reaching over for her sparkling water.

”Aww we should celebrate!” Aria raised her glass, "to finding our perfect match!"

”Actually, I think I should be going to bed.”

”But the festivities have only started!” Catherine protested, ”surely you can stay a bit longer."

Quickening his pace, managed to lose Catherine in the crowd before finally emerging in the living quarters. He'd had enough for the night and if Halo and Renee wanted to scold him for potentially losing a sponsor then so be it. Right now, he just needed some rest.

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The Fall

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Rapid footsteps clattered on the hard track surface, the gait of a tall and lanky man very much in a hurry. A stinging metallic smell began to taint the air around Ljilja's body. Crouching beside her on one knee, Yeqon furrowed his brows and ran his icy blue eyes over her to try to identify the source. His focus was drawn to a growing crimson stain on the side of her bright blue hair.

Should he move her? Should he call for help? Had there been a death so soon? Would this weigh against him and Kore? He frowned. Choosing to act decisively, he braced his arms and scooped the young girl up, discovering...she weighed hardly anything. Even limp, she was scarcely more difficult to carry than a small pack or a well-stuffed pillow. That, he suspected, was not a good sign. That and the blood beginning to stain his clothes.

Unmoving and unresponsive, Ljilja drew labored breaths. Yeqon would have to diagnose her injuries on his own. Drawing a sigh, he carefully cradled her in his arms and searched for wounds. Abrasions across her side, arm, and ear showed mottled patches of torn fabric and broken skin, freshly dripping. His eyes briefly glanced to the track, where a bloody smear trailed its way to where her body had lain. So there was the scent of the blood - but why was she unconscious?

His ears were drawn to the hoarseness of her breathing, his eyes to her chapped lips and distinct lack of sweat - it was as though she were trying to hang on to every last drop of water she could. Moreover, her skin was a pale blue, like someone who had held their breath for too long. Observing that her mutations were aquatic in nature, he surmised that it would take water to revive her.

Rising to his feet, Yeqon clutched Ljilja to himself, her legs dangling over the support of his arm, and began carrying her to a nearby fountain. His steps carried a certain urgency - there were cameras rolling, and if the Editors had half a mind, they would plaster this scene all over the feeds.

But, just then, a new presence greeted him from around the corner, causing him to stop in his tracks: a familiar snowy-haired manager flanked by a small, froglike mutant in a maid uniform.

"Oh, sorry," he quipped, remarking on Yeqon carrying his charge over the threshold, "I won't disturb you two." His arms folded and a smirk crept onto his face.

Yeqon froze in his tracks. He and Jaden were verbal sparring partners at the best of times - and this was one of the worst times. "Mister Kumar," he ordered, invoking authority by using his surname, "come here."

Jaden stood resolute. Each of their encounters was like playing chess, and this latest meeting was the beginning of yet another game.

It took the panicked warbling of Jaden's servant, Zorana, to bring both of them to their senses. With an urgency that neither seemed to possess, she tearfully rushed up to Ljilja, her little webbed hands roaming over her to try and see what was wrong. Yeqon held Ljilja still for the maidservant to examine her. She signed desperately towards him, repeatedly dipping her hand with crossed fingers. Realizing that Yeqon could not understand her, she repeated the motion to Jaden.

"She needs..."

Next, a broad, sweeping motion.

"...the pool? She says to put Ljilja in the pool," Jaden explained.

Yeqon ever so faintly raised his brows. Part of him wanted to praise the young maiden for her sense and the boldness to act independently. Even if it was frowned upon for mutant slaves to show such autonomy, Yeqon did not share such an attitude. Maybe he and Jaden had more in common than they thought. Still, a game was afoot. After the three walked together towards the pool, Yeqon turned to Jaden, attempting to press the body of his competitor into his arms.

Jaden kept his arms folded.

"Take her, Mister Kumar." Answering the advance of Jaden's pawn, Yeqon played knight to king. Check.

Zorana was done indulging them. "Hrrrp hrrrr!" she yelled, stamping her feet all the way over to Yeqon, whose tie she insistently tugged.

This might have been a death sentence for most mutants. Fortunately, Yeqon had a soft spot for courageous slaves - she reminded him of his own Eon. A chuckle left his lips, and he waded into the pool with Ljilja, slowly immersing her into the water.

Zorana breathed a sigh of relief, and Jaden unfolded his arms.

Within moments, Ljilja expelled the air from her lungs, taking in the water instead. She sank further beneath the surface, drifting out of Yeqon's arms, as she gradually awakened.

"Well done, Zorana," Jaden praised. Zorana immediately reported to his side, where he affectionately rubbed her head. It seemed Yeqon was not the only one with a soft spot for mutants.

Ljilja spat out the water and surfaced. She rubbed at her head, looking at the three in confusion. Zorana began to rapidly sign to her, to which she answered, and the two conversed rapidly, their hands an traceless blur to untrained eyes.

"A suggestion, Mister Kumar," Yeqon called, drawing Jaden's attention, "we ought to do something about the cameras. It will not...appeal to the public...that your maid showed such spirit."

Zorana paused in her signing to bashfully sway in place, then returned to her conversation with Ljilja.

"Well, the Editors are watching and listening. Just say 'Yeqon will come after you' loud enough and they'll get the message," Jaden suggested.

Perhaps it was exhaustion from the late and sleepless hour, but Yeqon could not help but laugh at the mental picture of the look on the face of the recipients of such a threat. "Sure," he answered, "I hope they're listening." He turned to one of the nearby cameras, his laughter vanishing, replaced with a cold and murderous gaze. "Tread very carefully," he warned to any observers, "I am a Cryo; we do not take kindly to trouble."

After delivering his message, he turned to Jaden, his voice noticeably softer. His eyes held a playful spark. This was rather fun. "Mister Kumar...do you believe my message was appropriately delivered?"

"Couldn't've said it better myself," Jaden answered. He noticed that Zorana and Ljilja had stopped signing to one another; he turned to his competitor.

Ljilja stood sullen in the water, bearing a remorseful frown. "I'm sor—" she began to say, just in time for Jaden to interject, "Are you okay?"

She shook her arm and rubbed at her head. "I'm...fine, I think. Just my head hurts."

"Zora, take her to the infirmary," Jaden ordered. Without hesitation, she waded into the pool in uniform, retrieving Ljilja by the hand. "Have her checked for a concussion."

Zorana guided Ljilja from the pool and began to lead her out of the room. As she passed Jaden, he frowned with disapproval. "Take it easy, little fish. We'll talk after."

She was not looking forward to that conversation.



On the Mend

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Tap. Tap-tap. Tap. Rubbing at the back of her head with one hand, Gertrude, one of the late shift physicians, sleepily punched Ljilja's information into a holopad after a brief interview and a quick body scan. Her retractable hot pink nails poked clean through the transparent surface with each keystroke.

"Your body's not meant for this sorta thing, hon'," Gertrude chided. Ljilja could only bashfully nod, bunching up her shoulders and staring furtively at the floor.

"I'm confinin' you ta medbay 'til you get a good night's sleep. Doc's orders." Ljilja opened her mouth to protest, but— "Ap-bap-bap! I could write you up to sendja home right now, you know that? An' I probably should, by the looks o' ya. Acute exsiccosis. Yer a water-breather, ain'tcha?"

Ljilja nodded again. She gripped at the sheets of the small foam mattress she was guided to rest upon.

"It's a miracle you still got the workin' parts to keep yer head above water. You push 'em too hard, they just might stop," Gertrude warned. With that, she stood from her swiveling chair, pad in hand, and stepped towards the door, her heels clacking against the hard gray flooring. She paused to glance back at Ljilja, letting out a sigh.

"I'm lettin' yer manager in now. I imagine he's got his spiel to give, too. If he tells ya to throw in the towel...maybe listen, huh?"

Raising her gaze from the ground, Ljilja cocked her head over to Gertrude, blue eyes widening.

"Just a thought."

With that, she passed through the doorway, which slid open with a pleasant chirp.

Jaden slipped through the door a few moments after. He held a mug of hot, steaming brown, which filled the room with its warm yet bitter scent. He rolled his shoulders, took a sip, then leant upon the wall. Even at a distance, his comparatively enormous height intimidated Ljilja. She curled up her knees upon the bed and hugged them to herself, a position he was getting accustomed to seeing her in. Jaden yawned, then swished around some of the liquid in his half-empty cup.

"She says you're an aquatic," he began.

Ljilja held silent as the tension grew thick in the air—Jaden was not the best at small talk, especially not in situations like this. He drew a breath, then continued.

"And that you're probably going to die in the first round if I don't pull you out or get you a steady stream of water."

Grumbling, Ljilja finally spoke up. "I was just fine at Fort Kate. I can breathe air."

"Of course you can," he said with a groan, rubbing at his temples. "Look, I told you to train, not run a marathon on the first day."

"I was doing my best...usually, I run with Longjacks instead. With them, I have no problems," Ljilja explained.

"And what happens when they go dry?"

Silence returned to the room, broken up only by the idle hum of medical machinery. Ljilja did not have a satisfying answer to give.

"You need friends, little fish. And sponsors. Bad. I didn't know it was this bad, though." He swished his coffee around, then took a bubbling sip from the still-hot mug.

He...didn't suggest that she quit.

"Training can wait. You sleep, I'll put together interviews. It's going to be a long night," he mused before abruptly downing the entire mug. Then, with one hand, he began Fin-signing.

Tap-tap, swim-swim. 'Be careful, little fish.'

He was...still supporting her. Did he still believe in her?

Jaden smirked and departed from the room. Ljilja watched after him as he left the doorway, staring long after he was gone and the lights were lowered to help her sleep.

She shuffled beneath the blankets and stared at the ceiling. Why was he learning her language? Why didn't he tell her to go home? Why didn't he lecture her nearly as badly as the doctor had? And who was the girl he had with her earlier?

She closed her eyes, purging her mind of thought. She sat straight on her back and, in time, fell unconscious once more.

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xxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Fatherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Speaking: #CD5C5C | Thought: #2F4F4F




The lights outside were still dimmed for evening by the time Scout awoke. She felt dizzy and slightly disoriented by the stars outside her window, stiffening for a moment until she recalled where she was.

That man was dead.

Scout brought her knees up to her chest for a temporary hug. No one would hurt her anymore. Scout looked down at her hand, balling it into a fist. She was strong, Mercy had made sure of that before his untimely death.

The wolfish girl stumbled out of bed, looking for the control panel to turn the lights on. With that, the stars didn't seem so bright anymore. She fumbled around in the bathroom, trying to figure out how to turn the shower on. "Why are there so many da*n buttons?" Scout hit them all, the shower turning on at last. It was cold, the water, but that didn't bug her. Hot water was rare in the Wastes, why would it be any different here?

Her leg was sore, the spot where the ori was jutting out from her skin throbbing.

It had never hurt up until now and for a moment, Scout froze beneath the stream of the shower, wondering if something had changed, if it was progressing. "Not yet," Scout slammed her fist against the wall. She just needed a bit more time, the first game hadn't even begun.

Her closet only had one outfit in it, a pair of skintight black pants and a black top with words on the back. "What does this say?" The letters were embosed in silver, could it be her name? No, Scout didn't think so (it was). She shrugged the coat on, zipping it up to her throat and shoved her feet into the sneakers that were sitting at the bottom. Had Aries prepared this? Or Selena?

The hallway was empty, the entire walk towards the center of the mutant housing quiet, save for her footsteps. Scout hid her hands in her coat pockets, her hair a bit of a mess from her fitful sleep. She had ignored the hairbrush that was sitting in the bathroom, knowing that it would only cause her unecessary pain, what with her tangle of floofy hair. At last, she reached the center, the doors to the dining hall were closed, was it not open yet? She recalled yesterday, when Ljilja had opened up the gym with her bracelet. Where was the reader? Scout spotted it on the wall beside the entrance. She tapped her bracelet against it, the doors sliding open soundlessly. The smells of breakfast wafted out, Scout's mouth practically watering.

Food was not abundant, it was not unusual for Scout to go a day or two without a meal. Here, however, she could eat as much as she wanted, whenever she wanted. There was a graphic on the wall that changed every few seconds. No doubt it talked about rules or interviews, but Scout couldn't read any of it. She placed her bracelet against a reader, a tray popping up from a shoot beneath. She slowly went down the line, taking a little bit of everything and sitting at a table besides the window. Was this what the life of a human was like? Scout wouldn't know.

It was quiet, which was odd. Despite the staff working in the kitchen and the mutants who were cleaning and performing maintenance, there was no one else around. Scout was used to a cacaphony of sounds. Crying babies, arguing couples, snoring from her neighbors. Her ears were still, the silence both pleasant and uncomfortable.

The gym too, was empty, save for a lone mutant who was sweeping the floor. Scout was headed straight for the wall of practice swords when the door opened up behind her. "Good morning!" Aries called, her tail sagging in disappointment. She was hoping to be alone for a few more hours. "Like the outfit? Selena and I stayed up late designing it. I'm not surprised you're an early riser," he stopped just behind her, checking out his holo pad for a moment. "Don't mind the crew, they'll just be filming the mutes doing things like exercise."

Scout turned to look at him, "Good morning," she grumbled. Aries seemed to brighten somehow, perhaps pleased that Scout was actually talking to him. "Anyhow, your support item is a sword, right?"

"...Yeah," Scout scratched at her arm. She turned away from him, perhaps talking to Aries was a mistake after all. She picked up a few swords, weighing them in her hands and swinging them around before finding a weight she was comfortable with. "What are you doing?" Aries wanted to know.

"I'm feeling them," Scout grunted in reply. "For a weight close to mine." Aries nodded, tapping something into his holo pad. Was he really writing that down? "You should use one of the sim rooms," Aries grabbed her wrist. Scout growled, tugging her arm away, but he was insistant. "In here," the room was dark until Aries inputted something into the pop up display, then, the small space illuminated. Holograms pinged out of the ground and walls, each with numbers on them.

"What is this?" Scout was wary of entering such a space. "You don't like the cameras right?" Aries's voice was low. He was perceptive, Scout would give him that. "They can't watch you practice in there," it was a lie, but how was Scout to know? She stepped hesitantly into the sim room, the door closing behind her. Scout's ears twitched, picking up the sound of the lock clicking into place automatically. She swung her sword at the hologram in front of her, a ding above letting her know she had hit her target. Was that all there was to it?

WARM UP MODE ACTIVATED. READY? START.

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Character Portrait: Leo Behrends
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Location: Old Housing Block: A few years ago









The smell of smoke filled the air as a white haired man was shifting some rubble inside a dilapidated house that had long since crumbled away. With a trusty smoke glued in his mouth, he enjoyed this rather relaxing part of his life. Shifting through rubble to look for old abandoned salvage that he could bring back with him, along with anything else that was of value. Of course so far he only found old rusted cans, lots of worn out stone and dust. So far everything was as expected, a slow day of exploration which was rather common for Leo these days.

After a few hours of backbreaking work, Leo soon moved a heavy stone slab using a piece of pipe and discovered a jackpot, wedged between two pieces of stone was the remains of some electronic scrap. Looked like it could still be salvaged and re-purposed into something new. For a engineer like Leo something like this was equal to gold for a prospector and as such a smile formed on his face as he grabbed the scrap and after a bit of careful force freed the scrap and puffed a cloud of smoke before he put his findings in his bag.

"Phew...Nothing beats a good days work like this. I should head back home, my pack is nearly full of scrap so I can make a bunch of new equipment and patch my old stuff. Maybe I can work on the town's generator...It's getting rather old, and I should do a favor for our leader. She could use a breath of fresh air once in a while and not worry." He nodded to himself as he heard something shuffling around.

Curious by the sound he turned his head and looked around until his head looked upwards and noticed a figure in patchy clothing on top of a pile of rubble with a pistol...And he saw it being aimed at him...A blast...His vision went half red as he moved...Ah...He was ambushed...





Location: Father


Leo woke up with a jolt as he looked around...A nightmare? Technically it was a moment in his past suddenly cut off at a moment like that...But in this case that was considered a nightmare. He gave a sigh to himself as he stretched a bit, no use in worrying about a scary dream he had because he had a new day ahead of him. He got up from his bed and entered the bathroom. So clean and pristine...Nothing like back home. This was luxury at its finest...Even the toilet looked more well kept than his whole whole house put together...Jeeze this was like a whole other world.

After washing his face with a sink and taking a while examining the fancy shower and its technical side of things before actually using it blasting himself with hot water after finding out what each button did he soon stepped outside with a towel draped around him. Although the sun was not quite visible it was indeed a good morning! A hot shower that was almost unheard of back home...A bed that was not made of old scrap and ragged cloth...Despite the threat of entering a death game, life was pretty nice so far.

After a bit of rummaging around in his wardrobe he got a nice fancy suit and dress pants from his wardrobe and took a moment to stand in front of a mirror and used his hands to make his hair look...As neat as it could. Qiqi was working on his looks yesterday so he wanted to help her out a bit by at least not look like a ragged mess...Even if he was not sure what 'good' looked like. But from what he seen during the party everyone seemed to like things straight and together...So he would just wing it...But he thought he looked good!

Once he was done he made sure his band was around his wrist which was pretty important not to lose and soon stepped outside his room. First things first...He was not sure what to do since he had no schedule but he might as well get some food, and maybe go for a run at the training area. Afterwards he should find Qiqi in her studio to see what was their plans for today. He nodded at his plan as he walked around and followed directions before he would arrive at the mess hall and after admiring all the simple technological marvels like a screen that continued to change images like a Holovision but not recorded...He would eventually order different types of food using the bracelet and got to eating and examining his food. All this food was brand new to him after all and he just needed to know it all...

Once his breakfast was both recorded and eaten he soon arrived at the next part of his plan, the gym. A good 30 minute run should get the blood flowing through his legs. It be bad to slack off after all...And as such he would soon look around and notice the many strange devices and machines. First he analyzed and examined them and tested them out to find out what each machine did until he finally settled on a machine that had something that allows you to run on it! Amazing...

And as such he began his workout...A start of a brand new day Leo...Things can only be good from here for the moment.

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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Fatherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Speaking: #919191 | Thought: #D8BFD8



Jax was comfortable, in his blanket nest, feeling too lazy to move. His tail flickered back and forth, large and fluffy. He groaned, figuring that he couldn't stay in bed forever. "Gotta get up," Jax had something of a migraine, a hangover from last night. No matter, he would just visit the sick hall and ask for a shot of hangover reverser. It had been a popular solution to the hangover problem, when he had lived on one of the ships the first time.

The technology of the bedroom was familiar to him, he was able to use the control panel with ease. A hot shower helped ease the throbbing in his head, although not completely. In his closet was a pair of black workout pants and a white top, simple, but effective. He dressed slowly, taking his time to prepare for the day. Would he see his manager at all? Jax wasn't sure. Outside in the hallway, the cams were already busy infiltrating what little privacy they had. They were drifting around, operated by humans. Jax had forgotten about this part, the complete invasion of personal space.

Well, he had voluntarily signed up for this.

There was no avoiding the prying eyes. Jax navigated quickly to the door with the large red cross on it. Even up here, the symbol for medical care was universal. "Excuse me?" The bright flourescent lights made Jax flinch. "Is there a nurse or a med bot in here that can assist me?" If not, he could just rifle around on his own. Jax knew what he was looking for, after all. "Please scan your band on the reader," a mechanical voice came from behind a curtain.

The reader was sitting on a desk, a small metal circle that illuminated when he tapped his band against it. "Welcome contestant J-A-X. Please have a seat while you wait." Jax was content to stand. Aside from one area closed off by a curtain, he seemed to be the only one there. Had someone gotten injured already? Maybe alcohol poisoning?

"Patient J-A-X, please go to bed 1B." Jax pushed off of the wall, having only been made to wait a minute. The curtain closed automatically as soon as he stepped into the square, the clear material suddenly becoming opaque. The bed was a standard gurney, the linens still smelling like fresh starch. It was not the most comfortable to sit on, but that was probably the point, to keep mutants from lingering.

Jax wished that he could dim the lights, they were only making his migraine worse. The leopard scrubbed a hand over his face, hoping to get this over with quickly.

"Good morning," a chipper voice pushed the curtain aside. A mutant with pink hair and a curly tail. She had floppy puppy ears and wore a white lab coat with a big red cross on it. "My name is Doctor Chancy, what seems to be the problem today?" Did she always work on the ship? Or perhaps she had been brought here because they knew that mutants would never trust a human doctor?

"I need a reversal shot for my hangover." Jax was trying to be polite and refrained from rubbing his temples. "Oh? That's all? I'm surprised you know about those," she smiled, jotting something down on her holo tab. "I'm a doctor myself," Jax admitted. Doctor Chancy's eyes became alight with curiosity. Human doctors were a dime a dozen, mutants on the other hand, rarely had the opportunity to study medicine. "Really? Where did you come from?" She went to the wall, pushing on a panel, the wall lighting up with a display. She was quick to type in the code for the medicine.

"The Tundra," a second compartment opened, a vial and syringe in a basket. "Oh, I have family there. Do you mind taking off your pants for me?" Doctor Chancey smiled. "You can use the blanket on the bed to cover yourself, I'll turn around until you're done."

It was an intramuscular shot into the thigh. Jax rolled his pants down, draping the blanket over his torso. "Alright, I'm ready." the alcohol pad was cold against his skin. Doctor Chancy was quick, Jax barely able to feel the injection. She put a bandage on it when she was done, disposing of the needle quickly. "There you go, all done. If you want, you can lay here and wait for it to work, which should be about ten minutes. If you need anything, I'll be at the desk." Jax nodded, watching her leave. He waited until she pulled the curtain back before pulling his pants back up and laying down on the bed, draping an arm across his eyes.

Slowly, the migraine began to ease, he could breathe a little easier. Next time he went to a party, he would have to be more careful about what he drank.

After ten minutes, Jax rose, feeling much better. He waved to the doctor on his way out to let her know she aws going and made his way to breakfast. By the time Jax arrived, it was crowded with competitors.

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Location: Father

Speech Color: #456d57 | Thought Color: #09444c



Eon's eyes slowly adjusted to the dim room, brightened by a lamp and the holographic projection emerging from his master's Holo Tab. He shifted his gaze across the room. The curtains were down, so he was unable to tell the current time. Is it night or morning? He assumed it was somewhere in between since Yeqon returned so late.

A few moments pass as Eon dazed to the sound of Yeqon's fingers typing across the projected keyboard. While listening, he slowly stretched his scrunched body. The soft fabric of the fleece blanket gently covered on top of him slid across his skin, along with the equally soft but more firm material of the couch underneath him. Lifting his head, Eon turned to the figure seated across from him on one of two white armchairs. He sighed, knowing his master did not go to sleep after returning.

Eon held in his second sigh after seeing the items placed on the coffee table, excluding the flower vase and picture frame, there was a small cup filled with what Eon knew was alcohol, a half-empty bottle of Scotch Whiskey, and a bowl of freshly sliced oranges. His gaze moved toward his master's face. He analyzed the frown forming on Yeqon's lips. It appeared to increase in depth with each passing second. His eyebrows furrowed in pain or annoyance, likely both.

"...Good Morning..."Yeqon kept his gaze set on the holographic projection in front of him, but he could feel Eon's eyes examining him.

Eon opened his mouth, but no words came out. He wanted to ask questions, but he quickly chose to remain silent, opting to continue staring at his master's tired facial features that the Holo Tab's screen illuminated. He knew Yeqon returned very late last night, his clothes and hands caked with dry blood. The scene was a nightmare. It still made Eon flinch, thinking about how his master silently entered the room; the only explanation provided was that the blood did not belong to him. Which only brought more questions to Eon's mind. None of them received an answer since he fell asleep once his master went to take a shower.

Eon sat up, the blanket sliding onto his lap. He continued to stare at the frustrated Yeqon, "..."

"You may speak." Yeqon knew Eon had questions. He intentionally avoided answering them last night.

Eon exhaled a deep breath trapped inside, "...What happened?" He avoided being specific with his question. He feared that Yeqon would dodge it if he pinpointed a particular instance, so he chose the cowardly route and asked a vague question. He was prompting Yeqon to decide what information he wanted to share.

Yeqon lifted his gaze from the Holo Tab projection, his eyes locking on Eon's figure. He continued to stare for a while before getting up and walking over to the small kitchen area. Eon watched in confusion, was Yeqon ignoring him? The thought hurt a little.

His curiosity mixed with the fear of being ignored overwhelmed him, "Why-" His voice was louder than anticipated. Before he realized this fact or even finished his sentence, Yeqon placed a cup of water in front of him. Eon's confusion only worsened at the kind gesture. Yeqon was definitely hiding something.

Eon glanced up at Yeqon, who avoided his gaze. What happened? His imagination ran wild, thoughts of possible incidents flashed through his mind. His master is a walking magnet for trouble, so coming up with a single explanation was the equivalent of forcing Yeqon to stop drinking for a week. Both are impossible.

"...What did you do?" His tone shifted, becoming extremely disrespectful. If anyone other than Yeqon heard it, they would faint or beat Eon for being disobedient. Yeqon did neither.

Yeqon tapped his finger on the arm of his chair, silently looking out into the distance. He was thinking. Eon remained quiet, waiting for his master to organize his thoughts.

Yeqon frowned. There were so many problems; he didn't know where to start. He thought he solved them all, but every time he fixed one, another would pop up. Now, Yeqon was stuck with a situation he couldn't tell was good or bad. He believed it was both, but it was a blessing compared to what could have been.

He reminisced about the events of last night. After watching Jaden and his crew disappear, Yeqon decided to handle all the loose ends. He needed to converse with the Editors.

What transpired after that was chaos, in Yeqon's opinion. One, he scared the Editors. In hindsight, that was his intention, but the poor souls received a heart attack after observing the blood on his clothes and hands as he stood at the doorway, glaring at them. Yeqon didn't have the energy to clean himself before stepping into their workstation. However, he didn't care. He needed to make sure they kept that night's events quiet from the world.

The conversation lasted three minutes. Yeqon timed it. It took three minutes for him to promptly threaten each Editor about deleting the incident from the monitors.

However, everything has a cost, especially when it involves an Overseer like Yeqon. The Editors couldn't simply ignore the drama that concerned him. This fact pissed him off, but he knew it to be true. He can't even count the number of rumors spread about him. Usually, Yeqon denies them or doesn't entertain the story, so no one ends up believing it. This time the Editors wanted Yeqon's cooperation in exchange for deleting the night's footage.

The Editors lost a good chunk of their will to live after being stared down by an angry Yeqon. But they stood their ground. After a long battle of nerves, Yeqon relented, and they finally started to discuss the replacement rumor for the incident Yeqon wanted to hide.

"...Yeqon?" Eon's voice carried a hint of panic. He didn't know that his question was so difficult to answer, "I do not have to know." That was a lie. Eon wanted to know, but seeing how long it's taking Yeqon to speak, it seems the situation is more significant than Eon anticipated, "I am-"

"According to rumors, Ms. Kore and I are in a relationship."

Yeqon flinched at the sudden sound of glass shattering. He hurriedly gazed at Eon, who was blankly staring at him with broken glass scattered around his feet.

Yeon wanted to ask if he was alright, but Eon, who started picking up the pieces, talked before him "...Is...Is it true? Are you and Ms...Are you two dating?" His voice shook a little.

"No." He frowned at the idea. He did not hate Ms. Kore in any way. However, there were many reasons why Yeqon couldn't be in a relationship with her, one of them being she was too sly. Similar to Jaden, she knew how to push and pull Yeqon's buttons. He hated this fact but also respected it. He even suspected she had a hand or knew about this scandal, "This is a marketing ploy..."


Eon calmed down at Yeqon's words, "So you are not dating." he sighed.

"No...though...I will not deny the rumors."

Eon froze again. This time his heart was hurting, "Why?" He continued to pick up the glass pieces carefully. It was a way to distract his thoughts.

Yeqon wondered if he should stop Eon before he hurt himself. But he was careful, so Yeqon let him be, "I made a deal...if I don't deny the rumor...the Editors won't release the event...that happened last night."

"Is the event important enough for you to lie about being in a relationship?" Eon twisted his words on purpose. Yeqon clearly said he wasn't going to deny the rumors; he never said he agreed with them. But Eon felt it was the same.

Yeqon finally caught on to Eon's mood and frowned. He hesitated but chose not to address it for both of their sakes, "Yes...if not, I'll be on the headlines...as dating one of the competitors."

Eon's eyes got big; Yeqon never joked around, "...Alright." He resumed his focus on picking up the small pieces of glass shards.

He wanted to ask more questions. Who was the competitor? Why were you together? How close were you for the Editors to want to start a rumor about you dating either one of them? Is the rumor about you and Ms. Kore not dating true, or...?

Yeqon sighed, realizing his lack of explanation was causing Eon more distress than intended. He started to recite the events of last night, "An aquatic type mutant...carelessly injured herself while exercising...I promptly handled the situation...That's all."

Eon listened carefully to every word. He felt Yeqon was keeping out certain pieces of the information, but he didn't say anything. He was relieved that he heard some explanation rather than nothing.

Eon was quiet for a while, "...May I come with you today?"

Yeqon glanced at the time, then back at Eon, who was now staring him in the eyes, "...N-...Why?"

"..." Eon remained silent.

Yeqon sighed, "...Do what you want." He watched the frown on Eon's face curl up into a smile. He laughed at the sight before reaching for the cup of whiskey in front of him.

"No more." Yeqon froze then glanced at Eon, who ignored his gaze. Now he was conflicted. Should he be happy that Eon feels bold enough to tell him no, or sad that he didn't get to finish his glass before it happened?

He chose the first option and backed his hand away from the glass. If Eon was in a better mood, he could handle not finishing his beverage. Besides, he needed to rest a little more anyway.

Laying back onto the chair, Yeqon rubbed his eyes, "Wake me up in an hour."

Eon nodded his head enthusiastically, "Yes, sir."

After hearing Eon's cheery reply, Yeqon drifted to sleep. His mind filled with all the things he needed to take care of when he opened his eyes in an hour.

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Mining Claim 4008 - Sector Džhe

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"Ljiljica," a man's tender voice spoke, with a gravely warmth like the embers of a summer campfire.

"Da, tata?" Ljilja answered immediately, hanging on his every word.

An enormous hand came to rest upon the young girl's head, gently brushing through her hair. Her strands caught the ocean current and drifted like little locks of blue seaweed. She winced a little―her head hurt, but she could not recall why.

"You are always try so hard," he answered, his speech broken but earnest. "Just like mama."

Ljilja stifled a giggle as he ruffled her hair some more. "Tell me again. What is mama like?"

No longer did Ljilja feel the pressure of the ocean depths, but she was seamlessly transported into a small bed in a cozy little apartment. She scarcely noticed the difference. "Your mama is special," he affirmed, planting a kiss to her forehead as he tucked her in. "Never mean or angry or wanting for herself." With a dreamy longing, he added, "She is my heart forever."

Ljilja beamed up at him with wonder, clinging to her blanket. "Will I meet her someday?"

"You will," he confidently assured her. "We all be together soon."

"How do you know?"

He dropped his weight upon a chair across from her bed, his stocky body creating a sizable thump. Ljilja loved it when he did that.

"Because I work very hard to make it so."

Ljilja pouted. That wasn't an answer, at least not one she was satisfied with. "But how do you know?"

"We never know, Ljiljica," he answered bluntly. Ljilja furrowed her brows, watching him from her bed. "But we try with our everything like we do." He grinned and chuckled heartily. "This is the difference between happy man and sad man. The happy man always try."

The boulder of a man rose from his seat, his plodding boot-steps bringing him closer to the bed one last time. He took one of Ljilja's hands and clasped it tenderly. She held his in return. "Laku noć, ribice," he murmured, wishing the 'little fish' a good night. But as he turned to leave, he was made to pause by a little hand that refused to let go.

"Tata..." she whispered, panic filling in her eyes. Something was wrong―she could feel it.

He soothingly ran his fingers through her hair one last time. "It is okay, Ljiljica. I will see you in the morning."

"Promise?" she pleaded.

"Da. Promise."



The Unwanted Present

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Opening her eyes, Ljilja examined her surroundings. This was not her bed. She looked to her arm, seeing an tube connected to one of her veins, continuously administering fluid to keep her hydrated. Then, she gasped, recalling all at once that she had been chosen for the Games, that she had been injured, that she had been brought to the infirmary. None of it mattered. She shut her eyes, curling up in bed and going still, trying desperately to return to the dream world.

Molim, molim, ne, molim... she begged, giving way to tears. Moj tata...

A lump formed in her throat, and she grabbed her pillow, clutching it tight and sobbing bitterly into it. She held it with all her might, hoping and trying that she could return if only she willed it strongly enough. But as the minutes dragged on, she could not find rest again.

"Obećao si...obećao si, tata!" she shouted into the pillow, grinding her face into it. In rage, she threw the pillow against the wall. She immediately came to regret it, as she did not have another one to take solace in. Realizing this, she lay flat on her back, eyes stinging as she glared at the ceiling and the tears streamed freely.

It was some time before she was ready to face the world again.

Doctor Chancy permitted her to rest until midday, per Gertrude's recommendation. When she appeared, her words were sparse; she said only what needed to be said. She removed Ljilja's IV, coaxed her into taking some pills―Ljilja did not care to question what their purpose was―then ran a quick test before signing her release.

"You are free to go."

"Mmm?" Ljilja asked, turning towards the doctor, as though a trance had been suddenly broken. She had gotten out of bed somewhere along the way, standing barefoot on the cold, hard floor.

"A change of clothes is waiting for you in your room. Would you like someone to direct you there?"

Ljilja squinted and blinked in confusion. She was still having trouble processing everything.

"You poor dear. Here, I'll go with you; my shift is almost up, anyhow."

The cams got an eyeful. The feeds were plastered with images of the first injured competitor, and of the modern-day Nightingale who escorted her to her quarters. What was the cause? Sabotage? Details were scarce, vague, and shrouded in mystery. Surely the cameras would have caught who did it and how...unless they, too, were sabotaged. What a way to kick off the hundredth Game of Pursuit!

Pods orbited the two at a distance as they walked, keeping an eye on them at all times.

"Here―Room 43."

"Thank you," Ljilja answered in a raspy voice.

"You drink plenty of water, now."

Ljilja nodded.

"Alright, then. You know where to find us if you need anything. Bye now," the doctor said before walking off in the direction from which she came.

Ljilja swiped her bracelet along the receiver and stepped inside.

She hadn't the presence of mind to revel in the luxury of her accommodations. Once behind closed doors, she discarded her medical gown and replaced it with casual clothes―a black tank top and gray shorts. Then, she seated herself upon the bed, letting out a long, quiet sigh.

I thought these days were over. She let herself fall backwards, landing on the mattress with a soft thud. I can't change that he's gone.

She felt at her head and arm, sensing the tenderness of her skin. I don't want to die, too, she thought. But she also recalled his words. I must try, or I will not be happy.

Is happiness worth dying for?

She thought long and hard. She imagined her father, still alive somewhere, and what he would urge her to do―what he would say.

How do I know if it's worth it?

She could almost hear his reply, just like in the dream. We never know, Ljiljica.

But we try with our everything like we do.

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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Fatherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx #0EBFE9 | FC: #CD3333



There was a hum coming from the corner of the room, the holo screen replaying a reel of last night's highlights. Somewhere on the ground, a pair of bloodied heels had been discarded. Sprawled across the ground was an elegant dress and bunched in the corner, a coat. Tucked safely into bed in the darkened room, Kore slept soundly. Who could blame her? After staying up late for the past month, meticulously planning every detail, she was rightfully exhausted. Now that the games had begun, the stress should have made her lay anxiously up, but for Kore, the hard part was over. Now she had to do what she did best; put on a show.

The door opened ever so slightly, light pouring in through the slit, dancing across the ground. "Ms. Mars?" Mimi's voice was just above a whisper. She shuffled nervously, knowing that her boss had probably only gone to bed a few hours ago. "Ms. Mars?" Mimi asked again. Kore blinked sleepily, moving the blanket to get a clearer picture of who was interrupting her rest. "Oh, it's you." She yawned, stretching her arms above her head. "I have your morning vitamin packet, your medi-reader said that your dopamine levels were a bit too high last night. I also brought breakfast." Kore rose to sit up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

The lights brightened ever so slightly, the glass wall showing off the constellations seeming dim. That's right, no star could ever shine brighter than her. "Thank you Mimi," Kore ripped the medi-packet open with her teeth, her robe slipping down one shoulder. Mimi watched her, seeming entranced, somehow. Kore swallowed the pills quickly, chasing down the bitter taste with seltzer water. "How much time do we have?" She slid out of bed, her robe swishing around her feet. "Three hours, ten minutes, and fifty six seconds." Mimi replied almost robotically.

"We'll be cutting it close. I can eat while you brief me." Striding out of the bedroom, Kore sat at the island, where Mimi had brought her pancakes from her favorite diner and an omelette. "Talk to me Mimi." Kore drowned her pancakes in maple syrup, the whipped cream sliding off the side and forming a thick, sugary pool. Mimi stepped forward, standing on the other side of the counter. She placed a pod down on the table, the hologram popping up with a wave. "At 0400 this morning, an article was published. You might want to look at it," Kore leaned forward. It was an image of her and Yeqon, Kore picking at invisible lint on his shoulder. She smiled, wiping her mouth on a napkin. Mimi too, was smiling.

It was official, the rumors published in these rags would begin to circulate around the ship. Kore leaned back in her seat, wondering what her parents would say if they could see her right now. The young super nova, dating the most eligable bachlor on the ship. Not that it was real, of course.

"Oh, this as well. Last night there was a situation, the gym cam sensors went off, but when the feed was checked, it's just static." Kore frowned, had someone sabatoged the cams? "I'll have maintenance go and take a look. Thank you for bringing that to my attention." Kore scruitinized the loop, watching the feed cut out again and again while she ate. A blue fish, which contestant was that again? She turned to her holo tab, bringing up the contestant database.

"Do we know where this girl went?"

"She was checked into the med bay late last night."

"Alright, I'll have to interview her and see what happened. Her manager is Jaden?"

[b]"Yes,"[b] Kore's mouth tilted down into a frown. It would not surprise her if Jaden had done some tampering. Kore slid off of the stool, having finished for now, she needed to hurry. "Call my stylists, I'll be in the shower." Mimi nodded, hurrying off. It was time to think and Kore did her best thinking in a shower the same temperature as the sun.

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Location: Father








Phew...These machines were pretty neat. What was this thing anyways?...A thing that had a moving pad that kept rolling as you ran to allow one to keep running in place as long as they wanted to without having to even travel a few feet! The marvels of technology...Of course there was one little teensy problem he discovered...Well he was naturally quick as a Lizardman, and with a cybernetic leg he of course had an easier time running faster...Of course the only problem was how on earth did he make the pad stop moving?...With it going round and round as a very rapid pace he was of course running full speed trying not to fall down. But no matter what he did to the machine it did not seem to stop! Where was the brake system!? Was he supposed to jump off?...No maybe that was rude or something...Aha! Maybe if he just...Oh he slipped up...

In a moment of sheer incompetence, Leo had suddenly lost his footing and was falling forward...He soon impacted the tread as it was rolling quite fast and was soon sent flying backwards sliding across a pretty well kept floor and eventually came to a stop with a groan. Not his finest moment that was for sure...What's worse was that Qiqi was looking down at him holding some sort of cup. "Well at least you are training...But really now that was just a bit sad to watch. Come on, I have something planned already. I came to get you myself so either you were in your room or probably here." She spoke as Leo nerviously laughed.

"Good guess, I would prefer some sort of workshop and be working on tools and machines so this is the next best thing. I'm a mechanic and an engineer back home...Oh and a cook as well..." He replied as he got up and would dust himself off but given that the floors were basically spotless he did not have any need to actually dust himself off. As such he simply followed Qiqi back to her studio

Once they had arrived, Qiqi sat Leo down on the chair and already got to applying makeup on his face once more. Of course now that he was getting more familiar with the ship and not getting his bearings maybe it was a good time to get to know his manager better. "So---" He was about to say until a brush handle smacked his forehead all of a sudden silencing him. "Don't talk right now, you can mess up my work. We have plenty of time after this but for now wait." She gave a soft sigh as she took a good while but eventually he was finally free from the chair. He was then given a set of clothes and sent to go get changed in the corner once more behind some screens. "Sorry...I did not know applying um...Makeup could be messed up by talking...Anyways, um...I'm a bit curious to know what life is like here. Mind telling me about yourself?" Leo asked his question.

"Me? Guess there are mutants with manners after all huh?...Well given that you never insulted me and were pretty amicable when we first met I cant be surprised. Well I can talk a bit but after this we are going to do a Foto session. I had a good life here, was the first child born. Nothing too interesting but I was mostly free to live my life, decided to take up makeup and I'm doing well. So as I said you help me, I help you. But that's all your getting now, we have a busy schedule." Qiqi replied as Leo came out from behind the screens now looking into a mirror...Now he was hearing a tuxedo and black pants...Wait...This reminded him of a story from the past. This was stuff for a wedding...

"Good, alright I want you to strike a pose...Lets see...I want you to hold your human hand on your head like your moving your hair back, and I want your mechanical arm over your chest...Then...Give me your best smile, pretend your a groom ready for his big day." Qiqi spoke as Leo did his best. Human hand in hair, robotic arm over his heart...Think of something good...Toast! Freshly baked toast! That worked. Soon enough after he posed after a bit Qiqi spoke up. "And that's good. Take it easy for half an hour, we have an interview to get to. Thanks to you behaving well and looking good I may have found a possible sponsor for you. Don't mess it up alright?" She explained as Leo nodded. Man she worked quick! He was lucky to have a manager like her!...Although why did he have a feeling that makeup was something more...Oh well, he was not much of a fashion person so he just guessed it was stuff to help someone look good.

But since he had half an hour to burn, and since he was still dressed up. He thought for a minute before he stood up. "I'll take a walk around. I never been great at sitting still and waiting out the time. I'll return in time." He spoke as Qiqi nodded as she was sitting at her desk. And with that he stepped outside and began to walk the hallways admiring everything. The lights, the walls, the floors and taking mental notes...Wonder what they used to keep all this metal so clean?

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Room 43

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Brrrt-bi-beep. A chime at Ljilja's door signaled the arrival of a visitor. The young girl groaned softly; she was far from being in the mood for hospitality, but courtesy made few considerations for difficulty. With theatrical effort, she heaved her little body upright, sliding off of the bed and to her feet. But before she could reach the door, it slid open.

"Morning, sleepyhead," she was greeted. It was the voice of her manager, Jaden, no doubt come to bring un-glad tidings. And, indeed, he wasted no time in saying, "The head Overseer wants to see us."

Ljilja blinked in confusion. Had she done something wrong? "Why?" she asked.

"Well, she probably wants an explanation for last night."

Grimacing, Ljilja looked down to her feet. She had already been enough of a burden—for the man she had met yesterday, for the medical staff, and for her manager—she did not want to create even more trouble.

"Come along, little fish," Jaden commanded.

Thus the two began to walk the hallways on the path to the overseers' chamber, where they had been instructed to present themselves. Ljilja gulped anxiously; in her rush to comply, she had forgotten to put on shoes, but was far too worried about arriving late to speak up and return for them.

Was the head Overseer so concerned for Ljilja's safety that she called her in for a personal review? No, that didn't make sense. Humans didn't care about mutants to nearly such an extent, even if the mutant was in their care. Surely she was expendable in the eyes of the organizer of a competition which resulted in the inevitable death of its participants. So, then, she was in trouble. But just what sort of trouble?

She looked up to Jaden, searching his face for clues. He wore his signature smile, as though he hadn't a care in the world. Ljilja had no idea how he could be so nonchalant about the matter. This was Kore Mars they were going to be answering to!

Finally, they arrived at the door. It opened for Jaden, and he escorted Ljilja inside. They found themselves in a large, spacious meeting room, furnished with comfy recliners and luxurious sofas, centered around a great holotable that displayed whatever information or video feeds the overseers desired. And within, Kore waited, styled to a T by the finest fashions molded to suit her personal tricolor branding.

It was immediately apparent that nobody involved but Kore had any interest in being there. Sensing the tension emanating from the confrontation, Kore's servant promptly dismissed herself with an, "I'll be just outside." While Jaden kept his composure with his signature smirk, Ljilja was a wilted flower in the heat—her shoulders hunched forward, her knees bent inward, her fingers twiddled with one another.

Kore gestured to the seats, putting on a winning smile. "Please, sit," she instructed, adding, "Don't worry, neither of you are in any trouble."

Jaden didn't believe it for a second, though it was hard to read as much. He strode confidently to the nearest armchair and leant back in it, getting comfortable. On the other hand, Ljilja was immediately trusting, and the relief on her face was palpable. She plopped herself down in the middle of an enormous couch, looking not unlike a single rice grain in a large bowl.

Testing the waters, Jaden replied with snark. "Are you sure? I could make some, if you like."

But Kore did not budge. It took much more effort to provoke a response from her, and she was laser-focused on getting answers. Jaden was out of his element.

"Let's get right to business, then; shall we?"

Jaden waved a go-ahead. Ljilja shifted to the edge of the couch and sat up straight, preparing herself.

"Last night the cams in the gym shut off. Ljilja here can be seen just before the feeds go out. According to security logs, she was the only one present at the time." Her smile unchanging, she began the interrogation. "Care to explain?"

"W-well, so...I fell," Ljilja began, offering her side of the story. The bluntness forced Jaden to choke back laughter, which he covered over by clearing his throat.

Kore cocked her head to the side, part of her ornately braided hair sliding down her shoulder. "Yes, I know that, but it doesn't exactly explain why the cams went out." Without any sort of tell or fidget, Kore gave little clue as to her thought process or emotional state. It was, at best, disorienting. Surely she was an absolute menace at poker.

Ljilja struggled to come up with a proper answer. "You don't have to worry; you can be honest here. It's just us," Kore said before drawing attention to the plates laid out on the table. Ljilja hadn't even noticed them. "Are you hungry? By now you must have missed breakfast."

Ljilja looked towards them, hardly believing her eyes. Sea creatures of all shapes and sizes, delicacies from her homeland, even treats she never had the opportunity to try before! This was for her? "Really? Is it okay? I haven't eaten anything in...a while," Ljilja meekly answered.

Kore nodded with a welcoming smile. "Of course! I had these prepared since I had a feeling you hadn't eaten after being discharged from the medical bay," she assured Ljilja, who had already begun devouring food from the first nod. "Speaking of which… how are your wounds?"

Not wanting to talk with her mouth full, she gulped down a sizable chunk of mutant trout before answering. She looked herself over. "They still sting, but..." Ljilja answered plainly, her demeanor rapidly calming, "they put some kind of spray on it; it's supposed to be all better by tomorrow. You guys have some really cool medical tech!"

Ljilja's childlike wonder seemed to disarm Jaden—the sharpness in his eyes softened just enough for Kore to notice—or maybe it was because Kore was pampering his competitor.

"I'm overjoyed to hear you'll be all better by tomorrow! Sounds like they used ani-spray; that stuff can sting a lot," Kore replied, sounding even bubblier than usual. With Ljilja sufficiently plied, she delved deeper. "How did you end up falling?"

By now, Ljilja was an open book. In between bites, she answered, "Um, so...I tried to do some endurance running and pushed myself too hard. I blacked out, and everything after that is kind of blurry."

Kore leant forward, paying close attention so as not to miss a word. She was finally getting what she assembled them for. "And when you woke up, you were in the med bay?"

Ljilja shook her head. "No, I woke up in the pool. There was someone else there with me. I don't know who it was, but I think they rescued me. I didn't get their name...I wanted to say 'Thank you.'"

Kore masked her surprise well, only revealing the expected level of intrigue. "Interesting. It sounds like they tossed you in there." Kore gave the matter a few moments of thought, then clapped her hands together in resolution of something. "Well, those are all the questions I had for you. Thank you for your honesty. If you want to take back any of the food with you, you're more than welcome to."

Ljilja did not need to be told twice. She stood, and, after a deep bow, thanked Kore before beginning to scoop plates up. Jaden, seeing her efforts with her small arms were in vain, pitched in to help her carry the multi-course meal, before beginning to accompany her out of the overseers' room. "Thank you so much!" Ljilja called out. "I-it was nice to meet you!"

"It was a pleasure," Kore answered, waggling her fingers in parting. "I hope we get to meet again in the future. Oh, and Jaden, once you return Ljilja to her quarters, I'd like to speak with you for a few moments. Just to go over some files."

Jaden's displeasure was well-masked, but still faintly readable to a trained eye. "Of course."

The door slid shut behind them as they left the overseers' room and returned to Ljilja's quarters. On the journey, they said little. Ljilja was too focused on the food, and Jaden was unwilling to open up about the looming threat of having to face Kore's interrogation alone. He helped set a buffet's worth of seafood upon her bed and dismissed himself, all without losing his trademark smirk. "See you around, little fish."

If he survived the encounter to come, that was.

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A Quick Bout of Chess

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“Ms. Mars?” Mimi peered into the space where Kore was still sitting, seemingly unbothered by the way the events had unfolded. “It’s just as I suspected,” Kore poured hot water into a tea cup, her head beginning to throb. Today was going to be a very long day. Here she had thought after waking up this morning that it would be smooth sailing, but the first hiccup had happened while she had dozed like a princess. “They’re useless,” she dipped a floral brew into water and allowed it to steam, waiting on Ljilja’s manager to return.

He seemed hesitant around her, although Kore wasn’t sure why. She had never been unkind to him or any of the other overseers. The managers too, Kore could be strict sometimes, but she was never outright rude. “Welcome back, where should we start?” She waved her hand over the pod on the table, the holo screen flickering to life. It was split down the center, one half showing the security feed again, the other, Ljilja’s profile.

Kore seemed at ease, taking a long sip of her brew. “The security feed, or your contestant?”

Her eyes flicked up and down, reading his body language. He strode over quickly, closing the distance between them and sat down, stretching out in a show of comfort. The edges of her lips tilted upwards, ever so slightly.

After all, Jaden was just another pawn on her chess board.

“Sorry,” he yawned. “Long night, let’s start with the feed.”

Kore waved a hand over the pod once more, the feed coming to life. It played in a loop, detailing the accident and cutting out, before restarting. “You really should have some tea, it does wonders for fatigue,” she took another pointed sip before setting her cup down on the table and leaning back, her slender legs crossed in front of her.

“Do you want to tell me what really happened?” She smiled, leaning her chin on her fist. Her words were sharp, but not biting. Jaden laced his fingers together and rested his head in the cradle he had made. “I assume you’ve already spoken with the editors?”

“The editors were the ones that pointed to you,” Kore replied, lying smoothly. Half of being a celebrity was about being able to tell a lie. “I’m going to assume you also know who the mysterious figure your little fish was referring to then?” She smiled suddenly.

Jaden seemed anxious, he shifted, his gaze going to the wall for only a moment. Did he think that Kore was testing him? Well, maybe she was. “I think a better question is...” he trailed off for a moment, perhaps to think, “If you didn’t already know who it was, would you have let her go without a description?”

Oh what a crafty, shifty little- she took another sip of tea to disguise her displeasure. “Thank you for your honesty, to be frank, it’s refreshing. Now, let’s move on,” she placed her cup down and clapped her hands together. “Have you decided on an angle?”

Jaden nodded, leaning forward. This was something he was good at, after all. They were all aware that half of the games were about marketing, it was a money maker, not just gambling, but for the ships and the government. “She’s the under-dog type, obviously,” he waved a hand, grinning. Was he confident in his little fish? “Perfect for the fuddy duddies who want to fawn over a home-grown hero.”

Kore nodded, her smile remaining cautiously neutral. “Her files say her Dad died recently, how recent is that?” Kore brought up the notes with another wave over the holo pod. “We can use that to garner sympathy with the audience, if that’s the angle you want to play.” Kore swiped again, brow knitting for just a moment when she looked at the screen. “This is her support weapon? Is it a robot?”

“Dad died last year, around this time. The wound’s still fresh and she’s got an-” he waved a hand around, “adoptive sister, or something like that. Had a falling out, but she’s still watching the feeds.” Jaden grinned, “Audiences will eat it up if we can get a crew out to Fort Kate.”

Kore nodded, bringing up the keyboard to start typing. “I’ll put in a request,” they couldn’t just show up to Fort Kate with a camera crew and demand an interview. “The robot thing is called a Long jack,” long jack? Kore had never heard of that.

“I’m putting in a request for an interview, do you have a name?” Her fingers quickly flew across the board. “Sonja Valentintov.” With that final bit of information, Kore sent in the request. There was a calculating look in her eye, “You don’t have any sponsors lined up, are you planning on stranding her out there?”

“I didn’t think she would need them with those bad boys, but she’s gotta have water.” He sighed, no doubt that would be an obstacle in the first game. “There’s a few soft drink companies that would probably love to have their name on her clothes.” He held two hands up as though he was picturing it.

Kore finished inputting the notes. “Alright, I think you have all your bases covered. You can go now, if you want.” The managers were allowed to hang out in the lounge, but now that their competitors were here, most of their time would be spent on the floor.

Jaden rose slowly, stretching one last time. “Thanks,” he said curtly, then, “Keep an eye on yours.”

Kore’s smile was crafty, but it didn’t quite reach her eyes. “It’s a pleasure Jaden, as always.”

It was only after she was certain that Jaden was gone that Kore allowed her brow to twitch in annoyance.

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xxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Fatherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Speaking: #CD5C5C | Thought: #2F4F4F




"That mute is a monster."

"Yeah, did you see her knock out that other guy? He was twice her size!"

She spit blood up onto the blue matt, a split lip causing liquid crimson to dribble down her chin. Scout stumbled backwards, her foot stepping farther to widen her stance and maintain her balance. "You think a wimpy punch like that would hurt?" She grinned.

Her competition was named Gambit. A man with dark skin and pale hair. He had scars running across his back and short spikes along his spine. "I can swing harder, if you'd like!" He ran at her, aiming for her stomach. Scout dodged, moving to the left and countering with a strike of her own. She caught him in the jaw, but he recovered quickly. Gambit went low, sweeping a leg out to try and knock her legs out from under her.

Scout jumped, grabbing his head and butting him, hard. Gambit fell back, her blood dripping against his coat. Feeling restricted, Scout unzipped her jacket, flinging it to the side. Gambit rolled, dodging her knee, Scout landing hard ont he matt. He jumped up, suddenly behind her and with a lightning quick strike, knocked her to the side.

Scout rolled, nearly out of the ring. He stood over her, punching her square in the jaw, their fists covered in one another's blood. "How long are you gonna lay there for?" Gambit taunted, his eyes wide, a manic hue about them.

Scout grinned, but instead of answering, grabbed his foot. Scout rose, Gambit clawing at her hands. The cuts on her shoulder and back from rolling across the matt burned, but they were easy to ignore. Scout spun in a circle, swinging Gambit around, tossing him towards the edge. He flew a few feet before rolling, coming to a stop just at the edge of the ring, where one foot stuck out. "And he is out!" The mutant serving as their ref, a little boy with bison horns, slapped the ground. Scout swiped at the blood on her cheek, breathing hard.

"A monster." The words were murmured from somewhere behind her, Scout's ears twitching. They didn't bother her, those words. It was the same thing everyone called her.

Gambit rose, groaning, clutching his side. "That was a good match," he extended a hand. Scout took it, the two of them shaking once.

"Yeah."

"Both of you, report to the medical bay!" A human yelled at them from the sidelines. Scout frowned, ignoring the call. "I look forward to killing you," Gambit slapped her on the shoulder before leaving. Scout ignored the call to go to the medical bay, bending over to pick up her jacket. Instead, she headed towards the water fountain, remembering that she could have water whenever she wanted now.

There was no need to ration it, up on these ships; where resources were plentiful. This was not the Wastes.

"Scout!" An annoying voice piped up behind her. When had he returned from his meeting? Scout ignored him, drinking her fill, the taste of blood tainting the water. "Are you ignoring me?" Her tail swished back and forth for a moment, revealing the answer. Scout sighing a long sigh and stretched out to her full height. She wiped her mouth on her jacket, turning to face him at last. "You look like hell, I left for two minutes and you've already picked a fight."

"Wasn't me," Gambit was the one who had approached her, asking for a spar.

"Yeah, well, I'm supposed to take you to the medical bay when you're injured. Come on," he grabbed her by the sleeve, surprisingly strong.

"I'm hungry," Scout shrugged him off, but followed anyhow. "You can eat after, you've gotta get those wounds looked at." Scout scowled, this was nothing. The only time she had ever seen any of the mutant physicians on earth was when she or Mercy couldn't wrap a slash or set a bone themselves.

The guild had its own doctor, but seeing him meant a cut to your pay.

"It's like taking care of a kid," Aries sighed. Scout's ears twitched in annoyance. She thought about Gambit's parting words, his promise. She grinned, hoping to encounter him again on the battlefield. There were a lot of strong mutants here, it meant that she would get to put up a good fight before her death.

The medical bay smelled like a bad memory. Scout wrinkled her nose, standing in the doorway. Antiseptic and chlorine, she took a step back. "Go on," Aries prodded her, but Scout hesitated. "What's the matter?" His hands were on his hips, clearly annoyed. "Nothing," Scout shook her head, stepping inside after a moment.

She scanned her bracelet to check in and waited in one of the seats, leg bouncing anxiously.

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Character Portrait: Ljilja Character Portrait: Yeqon
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The Passing of an Eon?
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Note: This post was written collaboratively and then reformatted with approval from both parties.




Yeqon made his way toward the overseers' room at a leisurely pace. He felt eyes silently trained on him. He knew why.

"...Is there something on me, Eon?", his monotone voice purposely reached the ears of the spectators, despite Eon being the only intended listener.

"No sir. In fact, if I may be so bold, you look quite dashing." Eon's blank expression didn't match his gracious compliment.

After receiving a call on his holo tab from Kore to meet, Yeqon noticed that Eon had become distracted. He could have guessed as to why but chose not to.

"...Is that so..." The area turned quiet. Yeqon stopped walking, his shoes making an audible clicking sound at his halt. His sharp eyes slowly surveyed the spectators, who turned to avoid his gaze.

"...Rumors travel fast..." Yeqon stood in place until the spectators could no longer bear the icy atmosphere and scurried away. He resumed his walk.

"Eon...I need a favor." Yeqon halted once more, stopping just in front of the door to the overseer's room, "Bring me...headache medicine...from the infirmary."

Eon glanced at Yeqon's blank expression and spotted his slightly furrowed eyebrows, "Yes, Master."

"Do-"

"I know where to go, Master. I memorized the area from the virtual map you showed me."

Yeqon nodded. He prepared Eon for today by providing him with the layout of the area. They could never be too careful.

"Alright...keep your collar visible." Yeqon didn't wait for a response before leaving Eon behind.

The mutant glanced at the extravagant collar strapped around his neck. He traced the Cryo seal etched on its leather fabric. The collar outshined the simple black suit and red tie he was wearing. He hated it but knew it was his only lifeline without Yeqon.

Eon sighed and went off to complete his task.

Will I see her?

Eon's eyes slyly traced every mutant he passed on his way to fulfill his master’s task. He was looking for someone.

Laughter echoed in the halls from the circles of socializing mutants happily clamoring away about their homes, reasons for being here, or the hottest rumors that had begun to spring up.

Eon kept a straight face, remembering the words Yeqon spoke before they came here: Ignore it. The Games, the festive atmosphere despite hell being closer than ever, ignore everything.

Accepting Yeqon's advice, Eon ignored his pitiful thoughts. No one was brought here against their will. They knew the danger, knew the risks. He simply needed to focus on his task...and the goal he set for himself.

Turning a corner to the infirmary, Eon's eyes locked onto a rather meek-looking mutant. He gasped quietly, she matched Yeqon's description. He had found her!

Eon sighed. He felt ashamed for being so happy about tracking down such a weak-looking mutant. She was pale, scrawny, and from the looks of it, recently injured. No wonder his Master didn't discuss the issue, even Eon felt bad for her after seeing her appearance.

What was he even going to do? Talk? About what? Eon silently cursed at himself as he got closer to the girl. He knew he shouldn't speak...he needed to keep to himself...

"...Excuse me." Eon paused a small distance away from the small mutant, his eyes were sharp, contrasting with his gentle smile. "May I trouble you for a moment? I am lost and am looking for the infirmary."

Eon sized her up. She was hardly suited for fierce competition in the Games. Maybe she could be a children's nanny, but she had a short and lithe build that made her similar to a child herself, along with pale bluish skin, a pair of deep, rich azure eyes, and equally blue fluffy hair. Despite her less-than-remarkable stature, she was certainly easy on the eyes.

Not exactly fit for the particular murderous activities soon to take place in just a few days, but that was hardly Eon's problem. At least, so he believed until she flashed an angelic smile and extended her little palm toward Eon. "Sure! Follow me!"

...Does she want to hold...hands?

Eon flinched slightly, not expecting her to readily agree to his request. Was she always this...trusting?

His sharp eyes quietly analyzed the unexpected mutant in front of him. Eon took this opportunity and decided to go along with the small girl. Perhaps she had some ulterior motive behind her apparent kindness.

He graciously returned her smile, "Thank you. Although..." He glanced down at her hand that was still stretched toward him, "I am not in need of a literal helping hand. A guide will be just fine." He chuckled a little, hiding his true intentions.

She squeaked, then blushed and retracted her hand. "Ah, sorry!" she quickly apologized, bowing her head. "U-um...this way," she said, her little shoes quietly tapping on the floor as she began to walk towards what Eon knew was the direction of the infirmary. She seemed to be honestly guiding him...how strange.

Eon walked closely behind her, but her strides proved much shorter than his own. He felt a sense of pity, and so, with difficulty, he slowed his steps in an attempt to match hers. It didn't help that every few seconds the perky mutant would glance back and flash a little smile every time they made eye contact. His heart began to hurt for reasons he did not understand, and so he began avoiding her gaze.

It was a quiet journey for the first two minutes. Eon pondered how to break the silence to ask his questions...did he really have to worry so much?

"What's your name? Where are you from? Are you feeling okay?" Her curiosity bubbled forth freely and made her seem that much more vulnerable.

The quick attack of questions made Eon's eyebrow twitch. Was she a fool? He kept an amiable smile, but could not answer. He was stunned.

Yes, he acknowledged to himself, his personal judgment of the mutant had been harsh. If these were normal circumstances, her questions wouldn't have been so misplaced. However, these were not normal circumstances. This was a place where someone could easily kill her. Of course, the rules officially protected her, but Eon well knew that rules could only go so far.

He kept his focus on the bubbling ball of sunshine and curiosity in front of him. In Eon’s eyes, she seemed as if she were only a small child, innocently excited at the prospect of getting to know a new friend. Part of Eon felt endeared to this; another felt dread for the girl, whose open nature seemed impossibly out of place.

"...Hmmm...I thought it was a rule of thumb to introduce yourself first before asking, but maybe I was wrong." Eon picked at her lack of etiquette, but his voice was warm nonetheless. "My name is Eon. I am the servant of Yeqon Cryo, and I am feeling fine." He addressed her questions one by one, providing only what was necessary to directly answer them.

She covered her mouth and gasped at the realization of her own impoliteness, then let her hands fall to her sides, balling them into tiny fists. "Ack, I'm sorry! I just...I had a weird night," she offered in apology, "It's nice to meet you, Eon. My name is Ljilja." With that, she meekly turned away and continued walking, her head slightly downcast.

Eon observed the unique mutant in front of him. Her steps, though steady, were unsteadied, as if she had gotten lost in thought. Eon chuckled silently to himself, realizing that, in some small way, she reminded him of his master.

"Yeqon...oh! That's what his name was! The one who was at the opening speech! I met him yesterday, sort of."

At that moment, he realized Ljilja’s foolishness was not an act.

Eon's eyes widened. He froze in place before glancing around. He checked their surroundings, making sure no one was around to listen. He knew the cameras were watching, they were always watching, but he didn't worry about them.

He stayed in place, calling out to Ljilja, "...Ms. Ljilja..."

She turned and Eon flinched again as he stared into her shining eyes. He kept an amiable smile, though he felt uncomfortable for questioning such an innocent being.

However, his Master's affairs were a top priority. "If I heard correctly, you met my Master yesterday? If it isn't too much trouble, can you explain what you mean? Quickly." His voice grew colder, pressuring her to hurry up.

Eon didn't want someone to come and interrupt their conversation. At the very least, he needed to know what she remembered and warn her against speaking about it.

A bead of sweat formed on his neck when Ljilja paused in her steps. He could see the gears turning in her head. Though he wasn’t a mind reader, her face told him she was weighing his request.

Her speech grew rapid and to-the-point. "I passed out in the gym and woke up in the pool with him standing next to me. Then my manager sent me to the infirmary."

Eon’s breath caught in his throat at her next words: "I wanted to say thanks. Can you tell him, 'Thank you' for me? Or...can I meet him?"

He opened and closed his mouth a few times. He wanted to speak, but nothing would come out. Instead, a deep feeling of guilt overwhelmed him. In this short moment of time, Eon realized he needed to completely change his evaluation of the mutant called Ljilja.

Her words stuck inside his head - ‘thank you.’ She wanted to thank his master… No. That could not be allowed to happen. This whole mess started because she passed out and his Master went to help her.

Eon sighed as he took it all in. The more he thought about it, the more he could see similarities between Ljilja and his master. Yeqon was nowhere near as clueless as her, but they were both honest. Neither had hidden agendas or motivations behind their actions. Still...he needed to handle this issue.

Staring into Ljilja's eyes, he decided to match honesty with honesty. "Ms. Ljilja, I will deliver your 'Thank you' to my Master. However, you can not speak a word about what happened that night, no matter who asks you..."

He paused, his eyes softening along with his tone of voice, "Ms. Ljilja, due to yesterday's events, my Master is in trouble. He is handling it, but things will only get worse the more people learn about the incident...if you want to thank my master, forget about the whole situation. If that is not possible, then act like nothing happened...please." Eon slightly bowed his head to her.

Usually, he'd handle a problem with cold words, fists, and threats, but not this one. Someone so innocent responded better to gentleness. Also...Eon didn't feel right keeping her in the dark about a problem in which she was directly involved.

He watched carefully as Ljilja furrowed her brows. A small sigh escaped from her lips and Eon internally began to panic. Did he need to apply force? Was the request too much for her?

"I don't get it, but okay," she answered, motioning a zipping of her lips with her thumb and forefinger, "I don't want to get him in any trouble."

For the first time since this incident began, Eon felt his body relax. He couldn't help but chuckle at her childish gesture. "Thank you very much Ms. Ljilja. I appreciate your cooperation."

Eon truly appreciated her, not just for agreeing to his request, but for being so trusting in a situation in which she could have easily taken a defensive position. A stranger suddenly orders her to stay silent about an issue that has nothing to do with him. Anyone might have dismissed the request, however, she chose to listen and take it to heart. Eon was grateful for this.

He bowed his head again, when he lifted it, he flashed Ljilja a bright smile that lit up his golden eyes, “I will be sure to deliver your message to my Master,” he whispered quietly.

Ljilja grinned in response, nodding her head gratefully. She was true to her word and didn't mention the subject again. Instead, she started to walk along again, waving him onward as she neared the infirmary.

"So...what's it like being a servant? Do you enjoy it?" she asked.

Eon followed her lead as he pondered on the question. It wasn't difficult to answer, especially since his master didn't really require a lot of serving. Despite the occasional situations like this one, Eon's job was simple. He did enjoy it compared to his previous placement. Also...he blushed a little as his thoughts drifted to Yeqon.

He cleared his throat. "It is certainly better than other jobs I could be doing. ‘Enjoy’...might not be the best word to describe it, but since I can't think of another one, yes, I enjoy it."

Ljilja responded in a cheery tone, "I'm glad to hear that."

Eon glanced at the small mutant, asking something in return. "How about you, Ms. Ljilja? Have you adjusted to your current role as a competitor?" He didn't want to ask if she enjoyed it...how could you enjoy a situation where death waits around every corner?

Her smile, once bright as a star, faded until it vanished altogether, like watching a fire rapidly burn out. "I wanted to get a head start training and injured myself," she spoke about the incident, but only repeating what was public knowledge. "I have no sponsors and no friends in the Games. And I'm not strong enough to survive on my own."

She stopped short of the infirmary, looking down to her feet and curling her hands into little fists once more. Her speech grew quiet and bitter. "I keep trying my best, but I keep failing. If something doesn't change soon, I'm going to die out there."

Eon froze. He didn't note her as the type to have any worries. Listening to her words, she clearly wasn't as clueless as he previously thought either. She at least understood the gravity of her current situation.

He wanted to say something...but did he have the right? He lived in a different world. Even her struggles were not something he could properly relate to.

But seeing her so disheartened gnawed at his conscience. "Ms. Ljilja...you need to change, but how will one day of exercising make up for what you lack?" Eon glanced over her appearance. "You are clearly weaker than most mutants. Also, you are far too trusting in my opinion to be a part of these Games." His words were harsh, but everything he said was the truth.

"However..." he waited for her to look at him, "All I have heard from you is about the things you don't have or can't do. Though I am not in a situation nearly as strenuous as your own, I can say this, sometimes starting with the stuff you can do is much more important than trying to fix the stuff you can't."

He glanced at the small injuries over her body, "Sponsors are attracted to certain aspects of a mutant, three A's, remember them well. Appearance. Attitude. Ability. Appearance. Use what you have, Ms. Ljilja. From my observation you just need to eat more and rest, then you will be fine. Attitude. A sponsor doesn't want a mutant who is uncertain in themselves, however, a positive mutant who never gives up? Everyone loves an underdog story." Eon patted the top of her head, "Ability...right now getting stronger is essential but you don't have time. So start with strengthening your strengths. Instead of trying to bulk up and ruining your health, train your mind instead. Surviving is about mental strength too."

"I'll keep trying," she answered in response to Eon's words, "Thank you...very much," her breath caught in her throat and her eyes began to water.

Eon flinched as he caught the start of her tears. He wasn't good with small creatures crying, but he felt she needed it, so he didn't stop her.

He awkwardly continued to pat her head, keeping his voice as gentle as he could. "You're welcome, Ms. Ljilja. I'll be rooting for you, so keep trying."

He stopped patting her. His eyes softened as she fought back her sobs and cleared her throat. Eon's heart ached silently.

She swiped her bracelet across the door to the infirmary, he gazed inside, knowing it was time for them to part ways.

"S-see you...I mean, thank you...I mean...I don't know what I mean..." she said, letting out a little tearful giggle.

Eon chuckled at the fumbling mutant, "I hope to see you again, Ms. Ljilja. Thank you for all your help." Eon bowed his head before stepping into the infirmary, giving a short wave goodbye.

While waiting for the nurse to retrieve the pills, Eon felt quite embarrassed at his previous emotions toward Ljilja. He judged such an innocent girl so harshly. But as he thought about the events that had unfolded, he couldn't stop a little smile from creeping onto his face as the image of his new potential friend lingered in his mind.

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Character Portrait: Leo Behrends
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Thirty minutes sure does pass by more slowly when one does not have something to zone out doing...As much as Leo wanted to just take a nice seat in front of some old scrap and hammering away at it to get it in working order...There was no such opportunity to do that...Or cook...Or salvage...Or really do anything but talk and train on Father. Not that is was a bad thing, he was content to be on a ship which was basically a safe haven for everyone living on it...But growing up around all the scrap and engineering he can't help but feel a bit...Lacking at the moment. He was not on a first name basis with everyone but Qiqi at the moment...And he was sure that a lot of the people on this ship hated mutants or his fellow competitors were not as avid as talking like that doctor he met. With a small sigh he simply decided to indulge his engineering curiosity by looking around the ship and checking everything from the lights to the automated doors.

Of course, it did not take long until Leo returned back to Qiqi's studio as the thirty minute time limit was almost over. Once he had arrived, she motioned for him to follow her...Oh boy...His first interview...This was not only important for him but of course this was probably important for his manager as well. Obviously he was going to be on his best behavior but he was a little nervous meeting whoever Qiqi had in mind, these people were sponsors after all...They might be very famous people on this ship and here he was a simple engineering lizardman who also could cook meeting some proud figures...But with a confident nod he decided as long as he was doing good then he had nothing to worry about surely! No use thinking on the bad after all.

Soon enough after walking down the hallways making many turns they soon entered a room. The light were a bit dim but...Uh...Actually Leo had no clue what this place was. All he knew is he was in a room with a large stage, seats and the lights were dim. Of course his robotic eye did not have as much problem seeing in the dark but so far he saw no signs of life as Qiqi led him to the stage and stood on it. After a minute of waiting from behind the curtains three women in...Brilliant and colorful dresses stepped out. Now, he may have been to fashion expert but it was clear that he was looking at three women who had good looks. And the aura they had he could just feel it...Like some air of royalty or something...He did not exactly know but it was clear these ladies were more than they seemed...Maybe...

"Ah Qiqi! So this is your mutant you were assigned? Ah how lucky, I heard that most mutants were always filthy, rude and lacked a level of class. I even heard of some silly wolf girl who has a nasty bark about her. But here you are sending us pictures about this mutant looking like quite...Classy...A shame he was not a woman to really make your makeup shine no?" The woman in a red dress and a...handheld thing in her hand...What was it...A fan! Man its been awhile since he had seen those! Of course it was made of paper and not metal but it was indeed a fan.

"You work with what you got. But I am indeed glad to have someone who is not only respectful and mannered, but also helps me out with my work. As you can see in the flesh he looks exactly like the images I have sent you. Despite him being a mutant with a bit of care I have fully made him look very pleasing to the eye, even so far as to even pass as a human. Of course if this is how he looks like, imagine you Madame Roe with your outfits and my makeup products. One can say you can reach a new level of beauty. But we can talk about business another time." Qiqi spoke in a polite manner as she motioned to Leo as the three women walked up to him. Remain calm Leo...He was not sure what was going on but this was no doubt very important.

"So your this Leo mutant..." Roe, the woman who seemed to be the head of the group she came with was walking in a circle around him...slowly...Her red eyes observing him like a hawk, examining him like he would do when doing thorough maintenance on a machine...Of course she was not hands on...Yeah bad analogy Leo...But for the moment she seemed to be examining him wit her eyes. However she soon stopped near the left side of his body and took his mechanical arm in her hands. "I never quite seen a mechanical arm like this, looks worn but well kept. Pray tell where did you find an arm like this on that poisoned ground?" Roe asked as Leo perked up. Well if it was one topic he was good at talking about...It was about machines and the like.

"Well um...Madame Roe, I built the arm myself after a few years of salvaging parts along with my eye and leg. I'm an engineer where I come from so making parts comes naturally to me...But its not often I have to make replacement parts when I lose my limbs...I try not to do that." Leo nervously laughed a bit as he told this to her earning a small nod by Roe and the two women who accompanied her. "An engineer, how interesting...And being able to make a mechanical limb from salvage and for it to work with no problems. What a very interesting one you found Qiqi..." Roe commented as she walked around his body some more placing her hand under his chin to examine his face more closely. "Oh, your makeup really does wonders for the face Qiqi. It even works for the mutant as well, but his skin...Certainly feels clammy...A Lizardman mutant? Could have fooled me..." She soon let go of his chin before walking back to her group.

"Well, that's enough of our little examination. I see a lot of potential here Qiqi, it be a shame if our newest male model were to meet an unfortunate end in the games. That would be bad for both of us. So I propose this Qiqi, in the next few weeks I want your newest product ready for sale. Along with you giving us a free set when we run out. In return I will offer my support to your mutant. As much as I would like to talk more today we have lots to do today so we shall have to schedule another interview in the future." Roe spoke as Qiqi gave a small nod, looks like things were going the way she wanted it to go. "A good offer Madame Roe. I will have my line of products ready in two weeks from now. And you and your group will be the first in line to receive my makeup in return for your support. I have much more to discuss but as you are also busy we shall wait until next time you are free." She replied back as Roe and the other two women began to take their leave.

As they were finally out of sight Leo took a deep sigh of relief. "Man her gaze was piercing!...But it looks like things went well..." He spoke as his gaze met Qiqi's who had something burning in her eyes...She looked like she had a lot of ideas churning in that head of hers. Looks like the fires were lit for her...With this success she looked ready for the next interview.

"That was but the first step Leo, even if you are now sponsored we have to make you really pop. At the moment they are going to only send you a small foot blanket and rely on you to do all the rest while you are there. But if you make it so that your value is far greater to encourage them to invest more in you they may be inclined to send even better supplies to you. Everything is going perfectly so far, with my wit we are going to make sure you don't die in the game." Qiqi proudly spoke as she grabbed his arm and began to drag him along. "For now, I am going to need you for the next few hours. I have more makeup that's needs perfection before I'm satisfied putting it out on the market. So I'm going to need your face for the time being." She spoke as Leo only nodded in response.

Well, like he had a choice in the matter. But why did he feel something was going to happen in the week to come...That fire she had in her eyes...What in the name of his mother was she planning to do in the next interviews?...Well surely it wont be that bad right? He just probably had to put some makeup on as usual. That much he can do. And it seems Qiqi is getting things for it so it helps her out same way she helped him out. No doubt things were going to go well for him!

But for now he was soon dragged back to the studio and sat down on a chair. Once situated Qiqi began working on him once again applying makeup as usual as she was hard at work. Well not much he can do at the moment but close his eyes and let her work.

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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Fatherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Speaking: #919191 | Thought: #D8BFD8



The gym was not a place to just test your skills with weapons, no. They had become a hunting grounds of their own; a place to scope out the weaker competition and mark them down for extermination once the Games began. Jax obsereved from the sidelines, his tail swishing back and forth. There was a gathering around the blue mats for one particular match, a wolfish girl against a man with white hair. Jax turned away, unable to stomach the violence.

He was quiet, for the most part, keeping to himself. He knew he wasn't physically the strongest and despite the sword disguised as a cane that he carried, he was nowhere near as versed in using it as some of the other mutants. In truth, his life in the mountains was rather peaceful. No one bothered the doctor because most owed him something. His restful life could prove troublesome later down the road. The only way to rectify where he lacked was to practice and so, he strode towards the wall of prop weapons with blunt edges, each a different size and weight.

His support item was on the lighter side, it was smaller as well. Perhaps he had doomed himself with it, considering its length. Maybe his height would be able to make up for lack of distance. "I guess this will work," Jax headed towards the dummies that were available for them to use. The problem with a space like this was that there was little to no instruction, not unless your fellow mutant was feeling generous.

He looked at his target, wondering if he should merely practice swinging, or maybe prodding. He swung, the impact reverberating through his wrist. That was no good, he swung again, this time with two hands. It was a bit steadier, but if he kept this up, he was going to injure himself. "What are you doing?" Axel asked, coming up from behind him. Jax turned, careful not to swing the sword. "Practicing, why?" He had barely gotten into it when his handler sought him out.

They were not managers, Jax had quickly realized. They were here to handle their competitors, not manage them. "Your grip is a lot weaker than I thought. With arms like those, I assumed you'd be strong. Guess I was wrong," Axel sighed, hanging his head. After all, this was bad for business. Jax glowered, tail flicking in annoyance. "The entire point of this room is to get stronger, isn't it?" Still, he wasn't the weakest by far. There were mutants much smaller than him, struggling to lift weights. "I guess you'll just have to train hard. If you need to, you can go to the rec room and watch vids on how to use that," he gestured to the sword.

That was probably a good idea. Jax went to put the sword back, Axel following him. "Anyhow, you have an interview, so get changed and meet me in the lobby."

"With whom?" He turned, staring at Axel suspiciously. "Private sponsor, he doesn't like crowds, so he was a no show at the party last night. Seemed pretty interested in you though." Jax slapped Axel on the back in what was supposed to be a friendly gesture. "So make sure to give him your best smile."

Jax nodded, the two parting ways outside the gym. The fight behind him ended with a cheer and two humans rushed towards their injured competitors. Jax rolled his eyes at the commotion, to get so worked up before the Games was a bad idea. Still, maybe going hand-to-hand wouldn't be the worst thing if he was to grow stronger.

The clothes waiting in the closet were a navy three piece with gold embroidery. There was a black shirt to go underneath it and shoes that were so clean, Jax could see his own reflection in them. He met Axel in the lobby, as instructed, his handler leading him to the doors. He had to scan his wrist to make the heavy lock open, the doors quick to emit them and even faster to close behind them. "This way, I've set up a private room." They took an elevator to the fifth floor of the ship, the bustle of humans much denser here. "Nearly there," the smell of alochol hit him in the nose like a punch. Mutant senses were sharper than a human's, it was one of their few advantages.

Jax knew it was a casino before they crossed the threshold. Gambling was a favorite pasttime of many humans, but their gambling was a bit different. There were not always coins and chips, sometimes-

"Kill that bastard!"

"You've gotta be kidding me? It died already!"

"C'mon, I had twenty thousand credits on it!"

His ears flattened against his head to tune out their woes and cheers. "In here," Axel scanned his wrist against a doorway made to look like curtains. Jax ducked inside, the mini bar having already been raided by whoever was inside. "So this is it?" A man stood up to greet them. He stuck out a hand that had smooth flesh, no callouses or bumps. "The name's Chevy, Chevy Raider. I'm very interested in you boy, take a seat. Oi! Poor the mute a glass!"

From behind velvet curtains came a mutant with silvery hair. She wore a dress that left little to the imagination and around her neck was a thick collar. Both mutants stood frozen for a moment, their eyes flickering in recognition.

Even after not having seen one another for years, the siblings would recognize one another anywhere.

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Character Portrait: Ljilja Character Portrait: Scout
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#, as written by Connected
The Fish Catching the Wolf

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Following Eon's eventual departure from the infirmary, Ljilja slipped by undetected from a corner in which she was hiding to avoid the awkwardness of a reunion so soon. With a swipe of her wristband, the doors opened, and she ventured inside.

Without the distraction of company, her stomach pain had returned in spades. She quickly scurried up to the front desk, gently tapping on the glass barrier between her and the receptionist inside.

"Could I get something for a tummy ache?" she meekly inquired.

"There's a wait. Swipe in and have a seat," she was directed in a monotone voice by an overworked secretary.

"Okay," Ljilja squeaked before passing her hand over a reader, signing in and adding her name to the waitlist. She backed away from the desk and fumbled into the center of the room, glancing around for a free seat. What she found instead made her audibly gasp.

A mangled mess of blood-matted fur sat doubled-over in one of the chairs, pouring crimson on the floor from fresh injuries. Despite the swelling and bruising, Ljilja recognized that face well.

Scout's tail hung pitifully over the edge of her seat, where she sat alone. Even if there had been other mutants waiting, this would probably still have been so; the others had learned to avoid her.

But not Ljilja. One step followed another as she began to approach. She measured her words carefully, fearing that Scout would reject any sympathy offered. She drew a breath and asked, "Hey...can I sit here?"

Ears drooped in discomfort, Scout raised her head just enough to make out Ljilja's form. "Sure," she groaned in assent, supposing that she wouldn't have been able to stop Ljilja either way.

Ljilja took the seat beside her and examined her. She gulped as her eyes traced the injuries. She didn't dare ask what caused them, nor how Scout felt. Instinctively, she reached forward to try and offer a soothing touch, but memories of Scout's prior aversion to contact made her think twice. She retracted her hand.

With a growing malaise and sense of helplessness, Ljilja began to slowly writhe in her seat. More than the stomachache, she longed to help. It physically pained her to be unable to do so. So she averted her gaze at last, folding her hands in her lap and staring at the floor.

"I'm sorry, whatever happened," she murmured.

With a fang-toothed grin, Scout answered, "You should see the other guy."

Ljilja forced a pained smile.

Scout gave Ljilja a once-over, recognizing the sight of recently-applied sprayflesh. "What happened to you? If you're gonna pick fights, at least do it with someone your own size."

Unconvincingly, Ljilja answered, "I-I fell," and quickly changed the subject. "Are you okay?"

Scout cocked her jaw with suspicion. "Yeah, this is nothing," she answered dismissively. Certainly she had been involved in worse scraps.

Ljilja made an awkward attempt at small talk, but something clearly seemed to be bothering her.

"...hey, did someone hurt you or something? I can mess them up for you if you want."

Ljilja firmly shook her head. "No! I just...I'm not supposed to talk about it. I just need to heal and look for interviews."

Scout narrowed her eyes, quickly coming to her own conclusions. She hadn't heard the rumors of what happened yet, but she was drawing close to the common consensus.

"Thank you, though," Ljilja added with another smile, this one warm and true.

Scout pondered pressing the matter, but on further consideration, decided it was best not to. "Alright, if you insist."

They fell silent for a time, the quaint but steady ticking of a wall clock reminding them of the passing seconds.

Ljilja gave bridging the gap another attempt. She set her hand upon the armrest, turning it palmside-up to offer her hand.

Scout squinted at it, furrowing her brows. Not recognizing the significance of the gesture, she shifted away, at which Ljilja frowned.

Tick...tock...tick...tock.

"Um...so...do you have a favorite drink? Or food?" she asked. Small talk it was.

Scout chuckled softly, swiping at her blood-crusted nose. Though it had stopped bleeding by now, it had run down her face and dribbled down her chin to stain her clothes and her seat. "That's a new one. I dunno, I've never really thought about it. I've always just eaten whatever I could. What about you?"

Such a simple question revealed the enormous disparity of their upbringings. Scout's time in the Wastes had made her a hardy survivor; Ljilja's time at Fort Kate had left her soft and social. Where Scout had drawn a blank, Ljilja's response was immediate, bubbly, and excited.

"So there are these special seeds they crush into a powder, and then they mix it with sugar in hot milk; I don't know where it comes from or what it's called in English, but it is so good..." Finally, she asked, "Would you try some if I got it for you?"

Scout tilted her head curiously. She had never been asked to share in a meal or drink that she could recall, not least for leisure. Some part of her felt uncomfortable with the idea, but there was just a little part of her that grew excited at the prospect. Ljilja was one of the few contestants that didn't seem intimidated or otherwise put off by her appearance or demeanor. Slowly, her ears began to perk up. "Yeah, sure."

Practically leaping for joy, Ljilja got up from her seat, grinning from ear to ear. The pain she had walked in with had all but disappeared.

Just then, the receptionist chimed in, "Scout, the doctor will see you now."

"I'll go get some! Uh...where should we meet?" Ljilja asked. She offered her hand to Scout to help her up, but was rejected once more.

"Dining hall," she answered with a groan as she rose from her seat of her own strength.

Ljilja trusted the medical staff to do their job, so she got right to planning. Jogging in place, she drew closer to the door. "Okay, dining hall. I'll be there; come see me when you're done!" At that, she burst out from the infirmary, eager to see to the arrangements.



Coy Fish

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Seated in a quiet corner of the room at a table for two was a little blue mutant. There was a steaming mug of brown liquid along with a pair of sand-colored discs on the table in front of each chair. When Scout finally peeked in to the dining hall, she was greeted with excited waving from that corner. She drew nearer, sniffing the air and detecting a very strange smell.

"What is all this?" Scout inquired, familiar neither with the smell nor the sight of such delicacies. She took a seat across from Ljilja.

"They say it is called 'hot chocolate." She gestured invitingly to the mug in front of Scout and to the little treats beside it. "And those are cookies." Though they looked hard and unpalatable, Ljilja assured her, "They get soft and chewy when you dip them."

Scout leant forward, propping an elbow on the table. As Ljilja took her first few sips of the drink and began swaying cheerfully, Scout figured that she should follow suit. "'Hot chocolate,' huh?" She took the mug in both hands, raising it to her lips and taking a swig. A delightful warmth soon filled her, and with it came a lingering bittersweet aftertaste. Pleasantly surprised, Scout went in for another sip. "It's good," she remarked.

With a smile, Ljilja demonstrated dipping a cookie into her mug for just long enough for it to soak up the flavor of the drink, then nibbling at its softened surface.

Scout's attempt was less well-timed, resulting in the cocoa-soaked bit of the cookie breaking off and melting into mush into the drink. As she frowned, Ljilja giggled and nudged over her other cookie to replace what had been lost. Eventually, with a little guidance, Scout was dunking like a pro.

The taste, buttery and rich, inflicted a nostalgia for a pleasant time that perhaps never happened.

Ljilja swished her mug around, close to halfway finished with her beverage. She eyed Scout, trying not to let her gaze linger too long on the bandages the doctor had wrapped her in.

"It is a drink for comfort," Ljilja said. A glimmer of earnest hope shone in her eyes as she asked, "Is it working?"

Scout pursed her lips in thought. "Comfort..." Scout wracked her brain, searching her feelings and her memories. Had she ever really felt comfortable? She glanced at the little mutant across the table, then nodded. "Yes," she affirmed—it was working.

In response Ljilja trilled, a tender and uncontainable sound. Though a foreign form of expression, Scout recognized it instantly as pleasure, for Ljilja was beaming like a lighthouse. At last, Ljilja permitted herself to focus on her drink and indulge in her cookie, after which she sweetly sighed and swayed with utter peace. "Thank you," she said.

Scout glanced curiously at the mutant across the table from her. Why was she thanking her? After all, it was Ljilja who had gone to all of this trouble. "Mm," she acknowledged, "I hope I can have this again before the Games start." For how dangerous it was to become attached to other competitors, there was a part of Scout that was being tempted to make a little blue exception.

Ljilja's attention piqued at the prospect of another encounter, and she verbally leapt to pave the way. "You know where my room is? We can have more anytime," she assured her, speaking bluntly, certain that Scout would understand nothing less: "You won't bother me."

Though Scout was plenty skilled at masking her emotions on the surface, her tail was her tell. It began to happily swish swish to and fro. "Thanks," she answered. But her joyous tail came to a halt and her ears folded back against her head as her nostrils were invaded by the harsh scent of human cologne.

White hair slick with gel and flared at the back, Jaden approached the table, his maid Zorana in tow. He took a dramatic, flourishing bow on arrival, evidently practicing his manners. "Sorry to interrupt, but I've just made arrangements for Ljilja's first interview. If you would be so kind...we must begin preparations."

Ljilja frowned in protest as if to confirm it was truly necessary for the meal to be cut short. Zorana assured her in finfolk sign, This could save your life.

With a sigh, Ljilja stood and bowed her head to Scout. "I'm sorry...I have to go. Do this again soon?"

Scout's focus was torn between instinctively grimacing at Ljilja's manager and giving a pleasant reply to Ljilja. Somewhere in between, she answered, "Yeah, sure. Later."

At that, Zorana took Ljilja by the hand and began dragging her off. Jaden twiddled his fingers in an elegant wave before following after. Ljilja attempted to wave to Scout as she was being tugged away, but before long she was pulled out of sight, leaving Scout alone at the table.

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Father

Father by The_Queen

Not Daddy

Fort Kate

Fort Kate by The_Queen

Fort Kate, a forty fort

The Tundra

The Tundra by The_Queen

Cold, cold, very cold

Wasteland

Wasteland by The_Queen

Where the nights are hot and the days even hotter.

The Jungle

The Jungle by The_Queen

Trees, oh my

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View All » Add Character » 11 Characters to follow in this universe

Character Portrait: Edward Killedge
Character Portrait: Ljilja
Character Portrait: Scout
Character Portrait: Kore
Character Portrait: Jax
Character Portrait: Yeqon
Character Portrait: Bandit Sephilan
Character Portrait: Ciara
Character Portrait: Lamia Serose
Character Portrait: Quickshot
Character Portrait: Leo Behrends

Newest

Character Portrait: Leo Behrends
Leo Behrends

Relaxed and down to earth Cyber Lizardman

Character Portrait: Lamia Serose
Lamia Serose

"Stay far away..."

Character Portrait: Ciara
Ciara

"There is beauty in corruption, don't you think?"

Character Portrait: Bandit Sephilan
Bandit Sephilan

"Catch me if you can!"

Character Portrait: Yeqon
Yeqon

"..."

Character Portrait: Jax
Jax

"I am not a tool for your pleasure or pain."

Character Portrait: Kore
Kore

"If you really think that's messed up, wait until you see this!"

Character Portrait: Scout
Scout

My biggest fear is going to sleep and waking up with lungs full of stones.

Character Portrait: Ljilja
Ljilja

Six-armed underwater miner trying to win opportunity for her surviving family.

Trending

Character Portrait: Ljilja
Ljilja

Six-armed underwater miner trying to win opportunity for her surviving family.

Character Portrait: Leo Behrends
Leo Behrends

Relaxed and down to earth Cyber Lizardman

Character Portrait: Scout
Scout

My biggest fear is going to sleep and waking up with lungs full of stones.

Character Portrait: Jax
Jax

"I am not a tool for your pleasure or pain."

Character Portrait: Ciara
Ciara

"There is beauty in corruption, don't you think?"

Character Portrait: Lamia Serose
Lamia Serose

"Stay far away..."

Character Portrait: Edward Killedge
Edward Killedge

"The impurities of earth shall be purged."

Character Portrait: Bandit Sephilan
Bandit Sephilan

"Catch me if you can!"

Character Portrait: Yeqon
Yeqon

"..."

Character Portrait: Kore
Kore

"If you really think that's messed up, wait until you see this!"

Most Followed

Character Portrait: Leo Behrends
Leo Behrends

Relaxed and down to earth Cyber Lizardman

Character Portrait: Lamia Serose
Lamia Serose

"Stay far away..."

Character Portrait: Bandit Sephilan
Bandit Sephilan

"Catch me if you can!"

Character Portrait: Yeqon
Yeqon

"..."

Character Portrait: Jax
Jax

"I am not a tool for your pleasure or pain."

Character Portrait: Ljilja
Ljilja

Six-armed underwater miner trying to win opportunity for her surviving family.

Character Portrait: Scout
Scout

My biggest fear is going to sleep and waking up with lungs full of stones.

Character Portrait: Ciara
Ciara

"There is beauty in corruption, don't you think?"

Character Portrait: Edward Killedge
Edward Killedge

"The impurities of earth shall be purged."


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