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Yeqon

"..."

0 · 585 views · located in The Prime

a character in “Impending Pursuit”, as played by Scra

Description

Image Overseerxxxxxxxxxxx

Username: Scra | FC: Salo [Orginal Art] by sh0d03
Speech Color | Thought Color




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{Full Name}
Yeqon Cryo
[Pronounced: Ya Quan]

{Age}
24

{Gender}


{Species}
Half-Human
[Half-Dark Elf]

{Face Claim }
Salo [Original Art] || sh0d03 [Artist]

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Height
6'4

Hair Color
Onyx
Weight
145lbs

Eye Color
Deep Emerald


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Overall Appearance
Yeqon's appearance is unique — due to his hidden Dark Elf blood — compared to most humans. Dark skin, similar to charcoal — free of scars and blemishes at first glance — coupled with mesmeric eyes, the color of rare emerald gemstones. Long limbs and a mesomorphic build, which he maintains through training despite living on the Mother ship. Lastly, he possesses naturally wavy onyx hair gelled down and kept neatly close to his head, minus a few strands, for a more 'professional' look.

Yeqon exudes a pristine aura and sense of style, displaying himself as neat and tidy. His wardrobe consists of only dark-colored suits, primarily black, brown, or grey, with light green ties to match his eyes. Occasionally, if feeling adventurous, he'll dawn a red dress shirt. Not one for unnecessary accessories, he'll only wear a pair of diamond stud earrings and a single silver watch. During other occasions, he might wear a simple necklace or ring to match his attire. Yeqon has two blemishes — if you disregard the bruises and scars hidden underneath his clothes. Two light green vein-like markings on both of his hands, which his father calls, "Two of the many flaws of my pitiful son."

“Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion.” - Edward Abbey

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Personality
Exterior. Yeqon is a soft-spoken, highly observant, but blunt individual, showing little variations in his facial expressions — regularly appearing calm and collected. A thinker rather than a talker, he isn't fond of conversing or sharing his opinions — expressing himself by simple head movements, pointing, or few-worded responses. He leaves the planning to others, only stepping in if necessary, and solves issues with as little bloodshed as possible — not a fan of violence but will resort to it if required. Due to his strict upbringing, he's respectful to everyone — regardless of race, a personal choice, age, or personal feelings — and completes his task as perfectly as possible.

Interior. Yeqon can display moments of joy or amusement — softly smiling or staring with warm eyes to express his favor. Surprisingly gentle to mutants and humans alike. He's a silent helper, offering assistance when no one is watching and never seeks credit for his actions — viewing too much attention as a bad thing. Though gentle, he isn't naive, and if someone is hostile or his Father is watching him, he'll act accordingly — returning to his apathetic and withdrawn temperament. Views sharing his pain or weaknesses as a shameful act, willing to endure his Father's abuse or stay silent about his origins even if he could escape if he shared it. Craves friendship yet fears the consequences of befriending someone of his own volition. He isn't afraid of social interactions; he simply isn't used to them. He tends to quietly overthink situations, inwardly overanalyzing everything.

Theme Song: Dark Academia Playlist

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Likes
Fruits | A delicacy introduced to Yeqon when he first started living on Mother. His favorites are strawberries and melons.
Miniture Garden | Yeqon finds pleasure in gardening and raising flowers. He's fascinated by the different species that aren't available in the Wasteland.
Books | Other worlds Yeqon can escape into while trapped on Mother.
Alcohol | Yeqon's learnt the wonders of alcohol, especially when you want to feel numb from pyshical or mental pain.
Dislikes
Father | An abusive b**tard that threatens and forces Yeqon's loyalty and obedience by keeping his Mother hostage.
Cold Weather | Growing and adapting to the harsh environment of the Wastelands, Yeqon hates cold temperatures.
Unnessacry Chatter | Due to his stutter Yeqon avoids speaking as much as possible. He feels drained when forced to engage in situations that require long periods of verbal communication.
Meat | The smell is unpleasant and the taste isn't the best in his opinion. Will eat it if he has too, as wasting food is shameful.
Strengths
Physical Strength | Has extraordinary strength thanks to his mixed blood and constant training.
Poker Face | Not done purposely, Yeqon is talented in keeping his thoughts unknown thanks to his lack of expressions.
Observant | He isn't a good speaker, but he watches very carefully. Few things can escape his gaze.
Appearance | Though Yeqon doesn't agree, he is quite attractive which causes people to treat him well.
Weaknesses
Stutters | He doesn't speak often because he has a bad stutter. It gets worse when he's overwhelmed, leading him to stay silent.
Mother | His Father has her hidden away. She is the only reason he hasn't escaped from the Mother ship and his Father's abuse.
Politeness | Due to his polite way of addressing people, his feelings or intentions are often misunderstood.

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{ Weapon}

A gift from his father when he turned 15, Yeqon possesses twin plasma energy bullwhips designed by the mechanics on the Mother ship. The hilts are constructed of gilded metal — which he leaves attached to his side when not in use. While the whips themselves consist of pure dark-colored plasma emitted from the hilt and suspended in a flexible force containment field, allowing dozens of small emitters to create a thin and flexible blade that can reach several meters in length.

The field contains the plasma's immense heat, protecting Yeqon, and allows the whips to keep or manipulate their shape/length. Though the whips themselves are weightless, the hilts are heavy, requiring a great deal of strength and dexterity to wield. They can electrify and/or burn opponents and have retractable claw-like projections attached to them that can latch/tear into objects and flesh. The whips can cut and pierce like a blade or batter, lash, and tie up a person like any other whip. Their force is strong enough to blow away a tiny clearing and leave a medium-sized crater on the ground.

Inspiration and various infomation taken from Lightwhip and Kravei Clan Soul Weapon.

















































{Place of Origin}
The Wastelands

{ Background}
Yeqon's Mother, Rabia, a dark-elf, raised Yeqon in a remote part of the Wasteland — hidden from the outside world in fear of Yeqon's Father finding them. Though very poor, they were content. Yeqon was showered with love by Rabia and grew up unaware of humans, other lands, and the outside world's events. This fake paradise continued until Yeqon turned 10 and contracted the Ori disease. It was sudden, and the pain was too much for the small boy's body to endure. Fearing for Yeqon's life, Rabia requested the help of Yeqon's Father — Haniel Cryo, a high-ranking human governor on the Mother Ship who attacked her years ago. Receiving her message, he hurried to obtain Yeqon, desiring the boy for himself — as he no longer possessed the capabilities to produce children and coveted an heir to his power. Though displeased with Yeqon's appearance, he agreed to heal and raise him if Rabia consented to be locked away. From then on, Yeqon endured severe abuse and training from Haniel, justified by the man as a necessary tool to turn Yeqon into the perfect heir to his power. Years under the mental and physical mistreatment and using Rabia as a device to keep Yeqon obedient, Yeqon grew into an expressionless machine, receiving constant praise from his Father's peers for being so perfect. Recently his Father commanded Yeqon to be an Overseer for the games to boost his own popularity. Promising Yeqon the chance to see his Mother if he makes the game more entertaining than in previous years. Agreeing to the terms, Yeqon took the role.

{Family}
- Rabia. A Dark Elf.
- Haniel Cryo. Human
- Enoch. A dark-elf servant Yeqon saved when he was younger. The only person who knows Yeqon's secret. At first, was hostile towards Yeqon until he learned about his true nature, then slowly warmed up to him.


{Other Info}

- Yeqon has and can kill mutants. He doesn't enjoy it, and he views the act, similar to killing a human. They all can die; the only difference is the public's opinion.

- He was affected with the Ori disease until the 2nd stage. The operation to heal Yeqon didn't require much surgery since it was still in the beginning stages. When he was cured, the surgery's aftereffects left him with green scar-like veins on his hands.


ⒸⓄⓅⓎⓇⒾⒼⒽⓉ: ⓉⒽⒺ_ⓆⓊⒺⒺⓃ


So begins...

Yeqon's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yeqon Character Portrait: Kore
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Fatherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx #0EBFE9 | FC: #CD3333



"Ms. Mars?" A head peeked into the room, still dark. The only light came from the stars, a sillhouette laying draped across the cushy bed. "Ms. Mars!" This time a bit louder, Kore rolled over, peeking open one eye. "It's me, Mimi." She whispered across the room, "Oh, is it time already?" Kore asked, sitting upright. She yawned, "Lights," slowly the lights flickered on, the neon sign with her name sending a pink glow across the room as the overheads turned on. "Yes, it's time to get ready," Kore's white silk robe slipped down one shoulder. She rose, stretching, as Mimi brought over a cup. "Lemon spritz," she smiled, Kore taking it appreciatively. "Thank you Mimi," Kore smiled, making her way out of the bedroom and to the living area, where a man and woman waited, a large vanity having been set up.

"Good afternoon sleepy head. Were you up late last night?" Jensen, her stylist, asked. "I stayed up late last night with Ender and Sei," Kore admitted, sitting in the chair. "We were just putting on the finishing details to the opening ceremony," she finished her drink. "Can you give us any hints?" Patrice asked, pulling Kore's hair back. "Nope," Kore winked, her holo pod going off. "It's your parents," Mimi said nervously. Kore frowned, "Tell them I'm busy." Mimi nodded, shuffling off to answer it. Kore had no time for her parents, not now. Besides, the only time they ever called her was to ask for money. "Hair up or down today?" Patrice asked, applying glitter to her eyes. "Hmm, I was thinking a half-up, half-down style."

Patrice smiled, "I think that would go perfectly, don't you agree Jensen?" Jensen pulled out the outfit from the garment bag, Kore's eyes glittering. "It's perfect!" She squealed, admiring the plum and gold fabric. "You're going to shine brighter than Venus!" Jensen laughed, putting the garment aside for now. They had an hour to get ready, an hour that went by in the blink of an eye. Kore stood in front of the mirror, smoothing down the fabric of her outfit. "Jensen, you never fail to impress." Kore giggled as he took her hands. "Now, go shine. Patrice and I are so proud, when we first started working with you, we never thought you would get this far." Patrice shook her head, "You're not supposed to tell her that!" Kore giggled, walking out the door.

"I'll see you tomorrow!" Kore stepped into the hall, where two Officers were waiting for her. "Ms. Mars?" One asked, "That's me, good morning," Kore smiled. "Right this way," Kore was escorted out of the residential area and to one of the moving sidewalks. "Ms. Mars!" Someone from above stood with a Foto Pod, "up here, Ms. Mars! Can we get a photo!" Kore looked up and flashed a quick smile before stepping off of the walkway. They were almost to the Center Hall, where the Blue Carpet was set up. Kore looked around quickly for her partner in crime and fellow commentator. It was only appropriate if they walked the carpet together, after all. "Hello Yeqon," Kore greeted.

"It seems the stars have all aligned perfectly," she smiled, pouring on the charm. Somewhere behind her, she could hear Mimi practically faint. "Shall we take this walk together?" Kore asked, offering an elbow. After all, walking the blue carpet could be a bit intimidating, with all of the Fotors. "Ms. Mars! Ms. Mars! Who are you two wearing!" Kore turned, she and Yeqon had coordinated for the ocassion. "We're wearing Jensen and Patrice," Kore winked, pausing for a photo. They were close to the stage now, where the drawing would take place. "You look marvelous today, as always, Yeqon." Kore smiled.

"Ms. Mars, can you give us any hints as to what the first Game will be?" Kore shook her head in response, mimmicking a zipper pulling her mouth closed. They reached the stage, where the other Overseers were waiting. "Well Team, this is it." They had been preparing for this day for a while now, it was thrilling to finally be standing on the stage, in the Center Hell, in the belly of Father. It was up to Kore and Yeqon to take to the Podium now. They had practiced this about a dozen times, Kore didn't even feel flutters in her stomach.

"Welcome, citizens, to the 100th Annual Game of Pursuit!" Cheers erupted throughout the hall, this was an important moment, after all. "As always, the lottery for entering is chosen by our-" she paused for Yeqon to fill in. An algorithim that was updated every year, the Overseers had no hand in who would get to enter the game, as much as it killed Kore to have to leave this to chance. "Without further ado, let's begin! Starting with the Tundra!" They would pull the ID Numbers up, a photo showing on the screen behind them.

The picking took place over an hour, with commentary by each Overseer. Some told jokes when a new face was pulled up, while others commented on their appearance. It almost seemed like an auction, trying to sell contestants to sponsors. "And with that final number, all contestants have officially been chosen!" Kore turned to the cam in the front, "Congratulations to all of our contestants! If you have been chosen, please head to your closest shuttle station with proper ID. Don't bring anything but your support item. We can't wait to see you here!"

The cams turned off, Kore was still smiling, they were still on stage after all. "How was that?" She asked Yeqon as Mimi rushed forward with water for them both. "I think we did pretty great."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yeqon Character Portrait: Kore
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#, as written by Scra
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Father Speech Color: #456d57 | Thought Color: #09444cxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx




The room was dark, the only light coming from the Holovision screens in a far corner and a single Holotab. A silhouette barely stood out in the room, their dark skin and blank facial features illuminated by the blue light of the Holotab.

The sounds of clicking played in Yeqon's ear as his finger swiped along the hologram projecting from the Holotab. Since late into the night, he's been continuously examining his schedule. Only a few moments of exhaustion hit him until he'd wake up due to bodily pain. Therefore, Yeqon gave up on the idea of rest and seated himself on his couch for the whole night.

Leaning against the pillows, he's been silently scrolling through reports, hoping the monotonous act would invoke sleep. It didn't. Now, the time to get ready had come, and Yeqon could only accept his fate of fatigue. Not like it showed on his face. The perks of having little facial expressions. No one knew what you were thinking or feeling.

He sighed, placing the Holotab on the coffee table next to the vase of faintly glowing flowers and picture frames. He laid down on the couch and closed his eyes. Taking in the silence around him. He raised his hands and started rubbing his temples, easing the tension building in his head. While basking in the quiet, a knock echoed, announcing the arrival of Yeqon's busy day.

"Mr. Cryo." Yeqon didn't answer. He kept his position, ignoring the call. A few minutes passed, and another knock came, "Master, it's me."

"...Come in, Mr. Kilos..only you." At his words, a purple-skinned mutant with pointy ears, sharp eyes, and grey hair opened the sliding doors. Light leaked into the room, causing Yeqon to sigh.

Before entering the room, the mutant stopped and turned to the individual behind him, "Mr. Cryo, requests only me. Tell Governor Cryo we will be on our way shortly." He gave an order to the aquatic type mutant glancing at him with concern. Their worries fell on deaf ears as Eon closed the door without waiting for an answer.

Eon stood in the darkroom, staring silently at Yeqon's laying silhouette,"...Does Governor Cryo need me?" Yeqon asked. Governor Cryo, his Father, though he never refers to him as such. Yeqon remembers the first time his Father beat him for referring to him improperly. It left faints scars, which rarely happened, thus leaving a deep impression on Yeqon's mind. After that day, the word Father has never escaped Yeqon's lips.

"No, but he doesn't want you to be late...he said it's a disgraceful act." Yeqon opened his eyes. He turned his head in the direction of Eon's voice, his green eyes focused on the tunnel of darkness in front of him.

"...I understand...Please, bring me the blue pills...next to the far left...Holotub." Yeqon's words came out slowly.

Eon walked toward the blue screen's direction, his eyes quickly adjusting to the lack of light in the room. His Master's room always looked like a picture out of a dream. Its color theme is dark blue, white, and gold. Blue carpets, tables, and sheets decorated with a few white chairs and two couches, along with golden accents; the most striking was golden cranes printed on the carpeting. Coupled with the latest technology, a large shelf filled with books and another more enormous shelf covered in alcohol bottles. It truly is a picture-perfect environment, but most of the area appeared untouched, except for the couch and two shelves of books and alcohol. Eon knew his Master never used his bed since he rarely slept well.

Eon clutched the bottle of pills. He paused. Jiggling the bottle a little, he realized how little pills were inside. These were ordered recently — five days ago — the bottle holding around 100 pills. There felt to be less than half now.

Eon sighed, "Master..." he didn't finish his sentence. It wasn't his place to voice complaints about Yeqon's choices, and he knew how much pain his Master felt. Therefore he didn't have the heart to speak against taking any more pills.

Swiftly preparing a cup of water, Eon silently placed the items on the coffee table in front of Yeqon, "Has your schedule been updated, Master?" Yeqon nodded, still remaining in his position.

Eon reached for the holotab on the table and started scrolling through the list of times. He needed to prepare himself to serve Yeqon for the day. Hesitating, a frown appeared on his face. He glared at a title listed on his Master's device, Game of Pursuit—a horrid pastime created to entertain human's twisted pleasure for betting and mutant death.

Yeqon noticed Eon's unusual silence and opened his eyes. He gazed at him, then turned his attention to the glass of water and medicine in front of him, "...Can I have alcohol?" Water wasn't enough to numb the pain, and the pills only did so much.

"No, it's not safe." If it was any other human, Eon's head would be flying for denying them, "Water is enough."

Yeqon reached for the bottle, pulling out three pills. Sitting up, he sighed before popping the medicine in his mouth and downing them with a few gulps of water.

He sat in silence for a while, letting the pill's effects spread through his body. Yeqon felt a slight numbness cover him. Not perfect, but he felt grateful for the smallest of relief.

After a few moments of stillness, he glanced up at the dark elf. Eon paused his scrolling, feeling Yeqon's eyes on him, "...You don't have to attend the opening."

The dark elf blinked at his Master. He knew Yeqon never enjoyed dragging Eon around like a slave, but he did it to keep the dark elf safe from questioning eyes. But this was the first time Yeqon has ever told, or asked, Eon not to come with him.

Yeqon knew Eon's feelings about the games. How couldn't he? At least those in higher positions, every mutant on the ships, knew the game was nothing more than a slaughterhouse for mutants and a circus show for humans. He didn't need an attendant to follow him into the chaos. Or, more specifically, he didn't want Eon to sit there in silence watching the events unfold.

Eon didn't look up from the Holotub, "...May I speak inappropriately?" He asked for permission to speak his mind, an action no mutant could do in front of a human.

"...Proceed..." Yeqon waved his hand, beckoning Eon to speak.

"Why are you doing this? You've never listened to requests from Governor Cryo to participate in the games before, even if it resulted in beatings. These...games are something you have avoided for years. Why now? What changed...Yeqon?"

Despite being a human, or more accurately half-human, Yeqon was a rare individual. Unlike most humans, he gave respect toward everyone, even mutants. He avoided humans' usual pleasures and their pastime of tormenting mutants, though Yeqon has had moments he needed to kill on orders. But other than those situations, Eon knew Yeqon would never engage in events like these, so there had to be a reason. A reason for this sudden change.

Yeqon didn't answer, his eyes staring into the darkness. How could he tell the truth? Though the reason is essential to Yeqon, in comparison to watching and enforcing the deaths of others' lives, even mutants, his own reasons for engaging in such acts were nothing short of selfish. Nevertheless, the reward was more significant than the shame he felt.

"...I apologize, Eon." Yeqon's voice was monotone, while his words were sincere. He truly felt sorry, but he wasn't going to stop, "I...need to get dressed...the outfit?"

Eon sighed silently at Yeqon's avoidance. He walked over to the closet and rummaged through his clothes. A small gasp slipped from his lips as he blankly staring at the plum and gold fabric, "...How...unique?" Eon didn't want to insult the design, but it shocked him to see a color different from Yeqon's usual dark tones.

Yeqon broke and let out a small chuckle. He agreed the outfit wasn't to his usual tastes, but he was the Vice Overseer, and the appeal of matching outfits between him and Kore, the Head Overseer, was enormous. So he had no choice but to comply. At least they made it into a suit. He insisted on the outfit's design to be as simple as possible, a challenging feat for Kore and the designers' grandiose desires. Finally, a compromise was made, bold but straightforward — a plum suit with golden swirls. Yeqon didn't dislike the current outfit, in all honesty. It still had an elegant feel despite its bold colors. But the thought of wearing anything other than his usual dark colors was unappealing. He felt like a walking hologram sign, with the words LOOK AT ME, written all over him. He could feel the eyes of competitors and humans on him already.

"...Will you be participating?" He asked Eon once again if he planned to come.

Eon blinked, "Not anymore after seeing this outfit." The dark elf glanced over at his Master. He smiled after seeing Yeqon's slightly trembling shoulders and hearing his soft chuckles. Yeqon needed to laugh now because later, Eon could already see the days ahead where his Master will be drowning himself with bottle after bottle of pills and alcohol. This was going to be a long game.

————————————————

Stepping into the hallway, two Officers stood in attention, waiting for Yeqon's arrival. They flinched at the dark man's sharp gaze and took a few gulps, "W-we...", the tallest officer cleared his throat, "Excuse me, we are here to escort you, Mr. Cryo." Yeqon said nothing and walked ahead. He knew the way; hence, the guards were unnecessary in his eyes. But they still followed him, flustered by his strict silence and closed-off demeanor. He could hear their whispers while on the moving sidewalks.

"He doesn't look like Governor Cryo, but you can't deny that he's his son. They both have such a suffocating presence."

" I agree. I couldn't breathe when he stared at me. I thought my head would fall if I even blinked at him wrong."

"So frightening."


Yeqon remained silent while the sidewalk moved out of the residential area. He sighed as he saw the approaching flashing lights,

"Mr. Cryo! Mr. Cryo! Can we get a picture?!" Yeqon never understood the use of asking when you were going to do it anyway. He didn't even give attention to the flashing Foto pods blinding his vision. He looked straight ahead, ignoring the calls for him to smile or turn towards the lens.

Yeqon stepped off the walkway, onto the Blue Carpet. Seeing the flood of Fotors, Yeqon immediately wanted to turn around and return to his darkroom for a drink. Even talking to his Father would be more comfortable than dealing with this crowd. He stood in silence until a cheery voice called for him.

He lifted his head to see a woman in an outfit similar to his own, waving in his direction. He strode over to her, "...Good Morning, Ms. Kore." Yeqon never addressed individuals by their first names, though after much debate and constant pleading, Kore convinced Yeqon to call her Ms. Kore instead of Ms. Mars.

Yeqon locked his arm around hers, though the idea of being so close to someone didn't appeal to Yeqon, he'd play his part, "...Yes...we must...be on our way." His job was to assist and silently protect Kore throughout the games. While also offering commentary here and there, Kore taking care of the rest.

Yeqon slowed his steps to match Kore's, ignoring the rambling of the Fotors. He left commenting to Kore, merely following her lead. This was Kore's playground; he had learned that she knew how to handle a crowd despite her wild energy. A strength that Yeqon did not possess. People either stared at him because of his appearance or avoided him because of his intimidating demeanor. Therefore, he wasn't the right choice to engage in small talk. Even the Fotors knew to simply address Kore, and if they wanted Yeqon to talk, they would ask Kore to start the conversation since he would answer to her.

Staring straight ahead, he made short pauses for Kore so she could address the questions she wanted. If he noticed a rather annoying or inappropriate inquiry directed at Kore, he'd gently pull her along before she could answer. A few nasty stares would shoot his way, but all he had to do was turn his gaze toward them, and they would look away. This continued until they finally reached the stage.

Yeqon unlocked his arm around Kore and stood behind her, allowing her to be the one in front. He offered glances of acknowledgment to his teammates before following Kore to the podium.

Music blared, signaling the start of the games, the hall echoing in the citizens' cheers. Yeqon already wanted to leave when he saw the massive wave of people staring at them with hungry eyes, the anticipation displayed fully on their faces. Turning his attention away from the sea of humans, he focused on Kore, as it was time for Kore and Yeqon to announce the competitors. He didn't speak, as it was discussed during practice that Kore would be the primary spokesperson and would signal Yeqon when he needed to talk.

Kore paused, waiting for Yeon's response, "...Advanced algorithm..." A mixture of gasps and cheers filled the halls at Kore's and Yeqon's comment.

The picking finished after an hour. After the last contestant was pulled, Yeqon felt a sense of relief. Finally, he could remove himself from the people's gazes, if only for a while.

Kore said her final congratulations before the cameras turned off. Yeqon relaxed slightly and turned to Kore, "...It was splendid, Ms. Kore." he responded in a toneless voice, "...You and the team...were naturals."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Yeqon Character Portrait: Kore
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Fatherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx #0EBFE9 | FC: #CD3333



Kore smiled at Yeqon's compliment, knowing that it wasn't sincere. He hated being up here, among the crowd, with eyes watching his every move, eating up his every word. In a stark contrast, this was Kore's playground. The dazzling world of showmanship was something she had spent many years preparing for. "Your performance was perfect, as always." She stood on her tip toes to brush a speck of lint off of Yeqon's shoulder.

"If it becomes too much, let me know." Her voice was soft, for his ears only. Kore wasn't dumb, she could tell that he was uncomfortable. "Ms. Mars! Any competitor stick out in particular?" A Fotor directed their hover mic towards her. "I don't want to influence the decisions of the public," Kore smiled apologetically, glancing at the clock that displayed the time in the center of the square. "I'm afraid, we must excuse ourselves. The team has to go back to begin making preparations."

She motioned for the others to follow, flashing the occasional smile as they walked back down the blue carpet and towards a private corridor that would take them to the lounge. The Overseeing room was two areas; one directly for Overseeing the Games, the other, a lounge to speak strategically. There were large windows that overlooked the cordoned off area for the competitors, as well as screens displaying various rooms like the bedrooms and gym. In previous years, there had been issues with competitors offing themselves before the Game even started, Kore wanted to keep such damage to a minimum. On the table were several decanters full of various drinks.

Damion immediately began to help himself, spreading out on a chaise lounge chair. "Damion," Kore's smile did not quite meet her eyes. "We're on the job," she reminded him, taking a seat in one of the chairs. On the table were small cakes and sandwiches for them to devour while they spoke. Damion waved a hand, "The competitors won't be here for a while still, I can sober up by then." Sei rolled her eyes, taking a seat on the couch. She brought out her holo tab. "So, anyone eyeing any competitors yet?" Sei swiped, up on the holo tab and the pod on the table illuminated. Kore had barely been paying attention during the picking, she had been too focused on smiling and making idle chit chat.

Now, however, they were alone. Ender loosened his tie, grabbing a tiny sandwich and taking a seat on the couch. "Ooh, that one is kinda hot." Sei admitted, swiping up to bring up a male competitor with blonde hair. "Hmm, interesting. Barely looks like a mutant," Kore commented.

"We have a situation," Darcy squeaked, looking down at her holo tab. Kore's head perked upwards, already? "What is it?" Darcy swiped forward, the image transfering, the competitors giving way to security footage from one of the shuttles, where a competitor was already beating another one.

"Leak it," Kore said quickly, eager. "What?!" Darcy gasped, "but this-"

"Is the perfect way to start grabbing sponsorships. The tensions are high, the stakes drive people mad. We can play with this easily." Kore's fingers drummed against her thigh, she glanced at Yeqon, wondering if he was even paying attention. Darcy swallowed hard, transferring the video file to the 'leak,' line, for private betting rings and commentators to pick up a story. "Besides, if we don't feed the Jonos something, they become rabid, like dogs." Kore rose to fix herself a drink, settling on seltzer with lemon and mint.

Sei switched the feeds, showing the list of competitors again. "Ooh, this one is kinda cute," a fish girl, Kore cringed. "In an, I want to put her in an aquarium in my house kind of way." Sei giggled, Damion laughing. "What about this one? Kinda hot," Damion grinned, bringing up a red head with piercing eyes. Kore shivered, something about that one didn't sit well with her.

"The first contestants have begun to arrive!" A voice excitedly announced, one of the manager's, Ashera. "Is Orientation set up?" Ender groaned, swiping a hand across his face. Kore rolled her eyes, "You guys aren't even going, it's just Yeqon and I." The other Overseers would be watching from the room. "Ooh, he's kinda hot!" Darcy squealed as the first competitor emerged from the shuttle.

He was tall and adorned with a large, fluffy tail and ears. Kore frowned, taking a sip of her drink. What is it with them and fluffy tails? She wondered, rising from her seat. Kore clapped her hands together, attempting to garner their attention. "A toast," Kore raised her glass, "We've been working hard for months and the day has finally come. To the 100th Game of Pursuit!"

The setting changes from Father to The Tundra

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Character Portrait: Yeqon Character Portrait: Edward Killedge Character Portrait: Kore
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Edward Killedge
Username: forever2b | FC: Ky Kiske from Guilty Gear Series | | Speech Color | Thought Color |
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Location: Station to Father

The terminal was filled with mutants of all shapes and sizes. Having received his invitation, Edward made it over the counter. The tall blonde, showed his ID to the nervous clerk at the desk. He loomed over the shorter human, who tried his best to not make eye contact. Verifying that Edward was selected for the Game, the clerk wearily responded,

"C-congratulations on being chosen for the 100th Game of Pursuit!" He tried is best to be professional and smile, but it was obvious that the worker was trying to hide his nervousness.

Edward stared down at the man with a cold, deadly stare. Such a disgusting creature, faking his way through life, congratulating creatures on a battle to the death for its own entertainment. One hundred competitions and no winners, everyone who participated in the Game of Pursuit were practically going to die; they were so far gone without hope that they wanted to take even the slightest chance of getting lucky even if the other ninety-ninth time, there were no winners. Only killers and those who were desperate would join, a perfect battleground for Edward to protect the hopeless, while killing off the murderers. Then these forsaken creatures, known as humans, will be purged too, but not now. He had to bide his time.

"Why, thank you." Edward replied, giving the man behind the desk a warm smile while taking back his ID.

The clerk paused to look at the elf's face. It was calm and kind as far as he could tell, and kind of pretty... The man shook his head trying his best to be professional.

"O-of course! N-no problem at all!" He said, regaining his confidence. No matter how pretty they looked, they were mutants after all. Boy they were sure gullible. Clearing his throat, the clerk said "For the safety of others on the ride and people on Father, please give us your support item. We will scan it and send it to you once you arrive at the battlefield...." The clerk looked nervously once again at Edward. Last time he gave this speech to a competitor, he almost got physically abused. If it weren't for the guards, the clerk would have been in the hospital bed on paid leave.

"I see." Edward said considerately, "Please take care of my sword." He said handing his white-blue sword to the man with one hand. The clerk received the sword with two hands, but the weigh caught him off guard, dragging him and the sword to the ground.

"Oh no, are you alright?" Edward rushed over to try and help the clerk up, but before he could get behind the desk, three guards in full suit and helmets surrounded him, with their guns pointing at him. The clerk quickly got up waving to the guards.

"I-I'm fine. The mutie did nothing wrong. I just fell by myself." He said.

"Roger that. Let's move."

"Sorry about that, um, Mr. Killedge. We'll ship this sword to the Father as soon as possible! Your shuttle will come in about ten minutes."

Edward gave a quick frown at the word "Mutie". How dare they compare me to such creatures?

Back to his facade, Edward smiled "No problem. Thanks for the ticket."

Turning around, the young Elf couldn't help but tremble. He would have all of their heads on a plate. Waiting for the shuttle, Edward couldn't help but look at the large Holo Pod that these earthly creatures used for entertainment. He saw an interview about the Game of Pursuit. A red and blue haired girl was doing the interview. She was going on about how this year's game was going to be amazing and different from the others. More empty words.

Humans seemed to love speaking without really meaning anything. She did seem to have a good looking face. It was a shame. When pressed for more information, a tall slender man pulled her aside. He was on camera for a good second before the footage was cut, but Edward was certain that the dark skin tone was from one "creature" on earth. "Creatures" were really a generous term to call them. The sacred, becoming tainted with darkness; they were more like dirt, fallen trash that needed to be burned. Edward let out a smile. The Game just became even more of an opportunity for him.

Over the PA a feminine, robotic voice spoke "The shuttle for, the Father is now boarding on, station 3. The shuttle for, the father, is now boarding on, station 3."

That was the elf's Que to board the shuttle. Brushing off the dirt on his shoes and clothes, Edward got up from his seat with a burning intent glimmering in his eyes. Everything will pay off. The earth shall be made clean once again.

The setting changes from The Tundra to Father

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#, as written by Scra
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Father Speech Color: #456d57 | Thought Color: #09444cxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx




...How should I proceed with this current situation? Ms. Marz...Ms. Kore is entering my space. It also seems she intends to touch me for some reason. How unpleasant.

The world around him slowed. Yeqon's body went into a protective mode developed from years of unexpected...situations requiring abnormally quick thinking to survive. Yet, those situations were from more...intimidating individuals.

Instinct. Living beings — Human, Mutant, Drex — own the necessary skills to maintain their comfortability and survival. Like a drone on autopilot, an individual's body and mind will calculate a plan before alerting the user. Yeqon is no exception. However, in front of Yeqon is a child clearly weaker than him. That's why he didn't understand the sudden sense of urgency.

Choosing to believe Kore had no intentions to harm, he watched her slowly approaching figure. Her thin arm reached toward his shoulder, an action the startled man did not welcome in the slightest. Yet, as usual, his facial expression showed none of his internal struggles. He simply retreated to his mind to perform a long boring soliloquy in hopes that his running thoughts would stall his body's instincts, so Kore could finish whatever she needed to do before he...made a mistake.

Typically, for Yeqon, his response to an individual's advances in his personal space is to step back, avoid them, and create enough distance for the intruder to understand he wishes for them to remove themselves from his general vicinity. Or, which he will never do to Kore, is to subdue them. This decision often ends in no more than minor wounds, as Yeqon's intentions are never to harm. Still, in certain situations, where Yeqon's mind and body are on high alert, he overuses his strength, which he usually hides, and the end result isn't pleasant. Therefore, to avoid a gruesome display of unprofessionalism, Yeqon chooses to remove himself from the perpetrator's reach tactfully.

His first option is possible, although there are issues with his approach. One, avoiding Kore in front of the Fotors, even for Yeqon, is absurd. Undoubtedly, there will be unnecessary gossip about the Head and Vice Overseer relationship if he created distance.

He knew, despite the Games being primarily for the amusement of watching mutants annihilate one another, the Managers and Overseers aren't excused from the citizens' drama fueled imaginations. The headlines publicizing wild accusations and false narratives on anyone involved in the Games, and no one would care if it's the truth. Entertainment doesn't need truth; amusement for humans begins from lies.

The second and equally important problem, Kore isn't dense. There are several people Yeqon believes own only one or two brain cells. Unexpectedly Kore is not one of them.

Therefore, the logical inference is either, one, Kore is drunk on the excitement of finally starting the Games. Yeqon didn't dismiss this option; once he noticed her sparkling eyes and small drops of sweat falling from her neck. Or, she had something important to tell him that needed only his attention. He chose to believe the latter option while holding on to the idea it might be both.

Calming his body, the man focused his gaze away from Kore's figure and distracted himself with the hunger filled eyes of the Fotor's staring at them. He knew the Fotors wanted to hear the two's conversation. Unfortunately, they were facing Yeqon, a man notorious for showing and giving no indication of his own thoughts, desires, or actions. The worst enemy of the entertainment world. Many say his only appeal is his appearance and the fact his Father is Governer Cryo, with which he never disagrees.

Glancing back over at Kore's face, he wanted to sigh when he saw the girl's sweet but knowing smile. A part of him genuinely felt she was doing this for the Fotors. However, he didn't want to assume, so he kept his thought to himself.

"If it becomes too much, let me know." The world returned to its average speed and for a slight moment. So short, not even the Fotors could catch it with their sharp gazes. Yeqon's eyes softened, "...".

Was this a situation that called for a thank you or an apology? Yeqon didn't know. He felt the need to thank her for her understanding but apologize because he almost conducted himself unprofessionally. He tilted his head slightly; a part of him wished Eon was present. The dark elf was wise in the ways of social interactions and would have provided the answer to Yeqon's dilemma.

"Ms. Mars!..." Breaking away from his inner dialogue, Yeqon swiped his gaze toward a Fotor who called out to Kore. The Fotor flinched, feeling the tall man's eyes on them, but continued with their job.

Yeqon watched in silence as Kore apologized for being unable to answer and asked to excuse herself. Naturally, Yeqon was included in the excusal request.

On cue, Yeqon positioned himself between Kore and the Fotor, who was disappointed with her answer. Not wishing to waste their opportunity, they readied themselves to ask Yeqon the same question. Turning to him, the Fotor froze. A solid gulp echoed in the air as the dark man sent a silencing glance at the small annoyance. The Fotor flinched, lowering their hover mic to their side. A few seconds of awkwardness passed before the Fotor stepped back, allowing Yeqon and Kore to leave.

Satisfied, he positioned himself a step behind Kore, paying no attention to the flashing lights and array of questions. If Kore didn't intend to stop and answer anyone else, that meant Yeqon didn't need to entertain the thought either. He felt relief as the distance between the chaos and him grew further.

Stepping into the lounge area for Overseers, Yeqon's eyes went straight to the screens. He watched the monitors for a few moments, checking over each image. He wasn't looking for anything in particular; he simply had the habit of observing situations to avoid surprises. Once he confirmed nothing unexpected was happening, he turned away from the group and walked toward the decanters. His eyes immediately spotted the alcohol.

Leaning his head against his palm, he stared intensely at the bottles. Another dilemma, though small, gnawed at Yeqon. A single sigh escaped his lips, he wanted to feel numb, or number than the pills could provide. And the effects of the alcohol combined with the drugs in his body would certainly help with his pain. Still, even he knew the consequences of doing something so unsafe. He already felt Eon's burning gaze on him and heard the dark elf's low voice telling him to stay away from the poison until the drugs ran their course.

...Yeqon...You are foolish.

He didn't deny he had a problem, a problem he never planned to fix. There are worst things a Human, or half-human, could do than being an alcoholic in his eyes. However, Yeqon, in all aspects of his life, was and is a professional, and it felt extremely inappropriate to drink on the job. If he was in his room, he wouldn't care, but he needed to maintain a certain level of awareness in public.

His ears perked when Damion dismissed Kore's claim on professionalism. If anything, he didn't feel the need to be like Daimon. How frustrating, every day his problems became even more ridiculous. He felt disgusted at his privilege.

Striding away from the temptation. Yeqon scanned the table for another option. He paused, his eyes brightening. He had spotted another attraction, one that caused no harmful effects to his body. Carefully studying over the row of fruits, he almost felt like smiling. Almost.

Reaching down, he grabbed the entire bowl of strawberries. He didn't feel the need to share them since it looked like the whole group was crowded around Kore, giving her updates on the games' competitors and other happenings. Seeing his input wasn't needed, he seated himself in a corner and began devouring the fruit. Well, devouring was a harsh word to describe Yeqon's eating style. Much like his appearance, his movements were elegant. There was no mess or smacking. He simply laid himself against his chair, eyes closed, with one leg crossed on top of the other, and ate in silence.

"Hmm, interesting. Barely looks like a mutant," Hearing Kore's comment, Yeqon peeked at the screen. He regretted it immediately and closed his eyes. An image of a blonde-haired mutant penetrated Yeqon's thoughts. A feeling of familiarity and danger showered over him, and he didn't know why. He didn't wish to know. He did understand that when he, inevitably, engages with the human-looking...mutant, he needed to make it brief and fast. No lingering. This seemed like a paranoid concern, but Yeqon's survival is due to his over-thinking tendencies. Why stop now.

Not wishing to think about an issue that hasn't happened yet, he went back to eating his strawberries. Ignorance wasn't bliss; nevertheless, don't scream malfunction when nothing has happened.

Yeqon listened to his teammates' ramblings while relishing the fact they left him alone to bask in his own comfort. How peaceful.

"Leak it," Yeqon picked up on a surprising choice of words. Not enough to make him open his eyes, but enough to raise an eyebrow. Though, after hearing Kore's explanation, he felt her decision wasn't wrong. A drastic one, but proper.

A few moments passed, and a clap from Kore signaled that he needed to pay attention. Providing Kore with the attention she craved, the young leader raised her glass of seltzer with lemon and mint to start a toast, "We've been working hard for months, and the day has finally come. To the 100th Game of Pursuit!"

"...To the 100th...Game of Pursuit." Yeqon repeated Kore's words; his eyes held an unexplainable look. Focusing back on his strawberries, he continued his feast, choosing to keep his darker worries at bay.

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Character Portrait: Yeqon Character Portrait: Leo Behrends Character Portrait: Edward Killedge Character Portrait: Ljilja Character Portrait: Scout Character Portrait: Kore Character Portrait: Lamia Serose Character Portrait: Ciara Character Portrait: Quickshot Character Portrait: Bandit Sephilan
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The foyer began to illuminate, lights flashed from all sides, holo pods illuminating as fog filled the center of the room. "Ladies and gentlemen, mutants both big and small, please make your way to the foyer and put your hands together for this year's Overseers, Kore Mars and Yeqon Cryo!" They rose from a podium in the center, Kore's smile so wide, her cheeks hurt. It wasn't exaggerated, Kore was truly eager for this moment, having been waiting for it for so long. Kore stepped off of the podium first. She and Yeqon had done three run throughs of the orientation speech, not that he would say much to begin with, but hopefully he remembered his part.

Kore looked out at the crowd, at the fifty hopefuls whose faces were a mix of bemusement, entertainment, and fear. She swished her cape over her shoulder, Kore's form illuminated by the lights, the gold in her outfit sparkling as she took her place in center-stage. "Welcome everyone!" A hover mic floated near her, capturing her voice so that the speaker hidden throughout the area could make sure that everyone would hear. "I am sure you're all very eager to get to tonight's party, but first, we have a brief orientation with some important rules!"

"We're your hosts, Kore and-" she glanced at Yeqon, hoping that he was paying attention. "Let's get right into it," Kore clapped her hands together, the holograms suddenly changing to display the rules. "We have a few rules for the mutant living corridors. Our first and most important rule, is that you must wear your tag at all times. Those tags are your key to the world card and without them, you won't be able to enter the rooms or unlock your door." Kore's smile eased a bit, the tags were akin to wrist chips, only less permanent, since injecting a mutant with a small microchip wasn't exactly efficient. Not to mention the distrust mutants already had towards the humans.

"Our second rule is, please do not attempt to leave the living space. This is an area just for you all and if you are found wandering the ship, unescorted, you will be subject to discharge from the games." This was an important rule, for the safety of the humans. Not that the door would open from the inside anyway. "Our third rule! No violence in the hallways! Sparring is allowed in the gym, but murder is only allowed in the Game!"

Did they understand at all? Were the rules registering in their pea sized brains? Kore hoped so. "Those are the three most important rules! The rest can be found in your handbooks in your rooms. As for other important information, everything we talk about tonight will be in your handbooks." Kore clapped her hands together, glancing at Yeqon again to see what he was up to.

"Now, the Games will take you through four different environments. Before each game, your manager will brief you. You have one week until the first Game begins, during which you'll each have several interviews for the audience to get to know you! You'll want to nail these interviews, since the more sponsors you have, the more mini prizes you'll earn during the Games! This can be anything from a bowl of soup, to a jacket!" The screens illuminated to show clips from past years, of sponsored items being delivered to contestants.

"Your biggest interview will take place the evening before the Game begins. As for the space around you, you are free to use it to prepare! Eat to your heart's content, train until your arms fall off, and relax! Remember, the only way to back out is between Games, so make sure you know what you're doing! Now that, that's over with, let the party begin!" Balloons and colorful streamers suddenly rained from the ceiling. Music played from the speakers and the door opened to allow potential sponsors and managers in.

"What do you think Yeqon?" Kore turned to him, her smile sparkling. "See any potential winners?"

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Cayde was about three beers in and fairly disappointed when the pit crew arrived with his new equipment.

All the technology in the world and they choose to forgo flavor. Nonetheless, he wasn’t one to refuse free things and the less he needed to unmask himself the better. His face was a well kept secret on the ship, seen only by Halo, Renee, the pit crew, and the creator of the Game of Pursuit. At first he balked at the idea of showing his true identity; however, he was at the mercy of his manager and they were adamant that they could see him in his entirety. Plus, they needed to make sure he wouldn't tamper with anyone else's equipment.

”It’s not that nobody trusts you. We just need to ensure that the game stays fair for everyone involved.”

”So you don’t trust me to play fair.”

”It’s not about me.”

Quickshot sighed, crushing his empty can before inspecting his armor. After making sure all of the adjustments had taken hold, he donned his mask and left the dressing room. There were no more scratches, dents, or scuffs; they buffed away all of his experiences over the past year. It felt simultaneously freeing and melancholic. All of that time spent wandering in the Wastelands was gone, but so were the days leading up to his separation from his family. He supposed this would be an opportunity to create new experiences, one of which would lead to winning the Game of Pursuit.

With his cape over his shoulders and the pit crew sworn to silence, he departed for the lounge where a fair number of competitors had made themselves comfortable. He wasn't keen on mingling with others, primarily because they were mostly younglings, pretty much all of whom wouldn't be older than his daughter (who he was careful to keep an eye out for).

Each of them appeared to have taken a different approach, some mimicking Prime, some taking a ballroom approach. Some opted for simplicity. It seemed that regardless of aesthetic preferences, their managers had the final say. Everyone was just a tool for their amusement.

Before he could find a place to settle however, lights flashed, fog filled the room, and a pair of humans emerged from the podium.

"Ladies and gentlemen, mutants both big and small, please make your way to the foyer and put your hands together for this year's Overseers, Kore Mars and Yeqon Cryo!"

Quickshot didn't know much about either of them, but it seemed like Kore (the shorter and perkier of the two) was leading the show. All of the information she mentioned was common sense so he had to resist the urge to roll his eyes as she continued speaking (not that anyone could tell).

Frowning at the gaudy display, he swatted away a stray balloon. So far, Halo proved to be the closest thing to an ally on the ship and he had no issue with that. He didn't expect anyone to sponsor him nor did he intend on courting anyone. The citizens of the capital must have watched countless interviews and trying too hard to stand out would be his undoing. If he had nothing to say, it would be easier to say nothing at all.

He turned to meet the gaze of a red haired man with tattoos covering his chest. The feral look in his eyes reeked of aggression, a blind demand for a fight that would never come. Each passerby was treated to the same provocative glare, but nobody seemed to take the bait.

It was honestly kind of pathetic.

The cybernetic mutant turned away from the other competitor, deciding that the better option would be finding a less crowded space so that if anybody did swing by, they would come one at a time.

Seeing a large, unoccupied tree near the balcony, he walked over and took a seat on the grass. The faint scent of lavender was comforting even if it was artificial and...seemingly from nowhere. He glanced behind him, pausing at the sight of a blue-haired girl. She couldn’t have been more than twelve years old and her outfit didn’t seem to do her any favors. There was no good reason for her to be in this competition and yet, there couldn’t be any other reason why a mutant would be on Father.

You’re here too huh, he thought to himself with a sigh.

"Good luck to you." Cayde whispered, more to himself than to her.

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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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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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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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The Passing of an Eon?
[img]HERE[/img]
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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Regretful Recollection

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Breathing steadily at last after a long cry, Ljilja tore herself away from Jaden and glared daggers at him. She staggered back, sputtering for words, until finally she spoke.

"Why...?" she asked, her tone desperate, begging for an answer.


"I'm sorry," he replied simply, unable to muster a proper explanation. He hadn't fully anticipated what was going to happen either, nor that it would have the effect that it had on her. "They've agreed to sponsor you, if it helps."

"No, it does not!" she answered. "I'm...how could I...?" she asked herself.

Jaden stepped closer to offer condolences, but she recoiled once more, then began creeping towards the stairs.

"No," she warned, "don't." Her voice cracking, she swallowed the lump in her throat and scrambled upstairs, fleeing to her room.



Bedside Manner

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Jaden held his head low after rising to a seated position upon his bed. He had made time for a nap, but sleep eluded him.

His maid, Zorana, appeared before him moments later. She could tell from the dark circles under his eyes that his attempt at rest had not borne fruit. Zorana presented him with a tray of tea and biscuits, the former of which he wordlessly seized to sip at. Its fresh heat burned his tongue, and his hackles rose with fury, then fell as he stilled himself.

It pained her to see him like this. She blamed Ljilja, both for being too soft and for being too violent. She reached a webbed palm towards his shoulder, but froze just shy of touching him when Jaden spoke up.

"That will be all, Zorana."

She retracted her hand. "Mrreeting soon," she warbled, reminding him of his impending appointment.

"Yes, I—" he began to say, clenching his hands into fists before sighing and releasing them. "I know. I'll be ready in a bit."

There was so much she wished she could say, but she knew her master had neither the temperament nor the presence of mind to hear it right now. She saved her words, bowing politely and stepping out of the room. She would have preferred for the world not to see him this way, but the show had to go on.



Disconcerting Discourse

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Kore made the finishing decorative touches to the lounge herself, not content to leave important details such as room décor entirely up to the...uncivilized mutants in charge of mundane labor. The second day of training had officially begun, the third day since mutants had left their homes to seek fortune and glory, and while Kore had made it a habit to expect the unexpected, she had a feeling that today's proceedings would be particularly unusual. With her tasks complete, she took to her usual seat with a smile at the ready.

Jaden was among the first to arrive. He was unusually early, but even more worrisome was his countenance: he wore displeasure behind a blank expression, while dark sleepless rings encircled his red eyes, giving them an extra sharpness. He took his seat without a word. No wit today, hmm? Or just not in the mood?

Yeqon was found rubbing at his temples when he entered the room, evidently bothered by his chronic headaches. He took stock of Kore's decorations, but it was difficult to measure his reaction to her design choices purely by examining his face. If Kore was displeased by his take, though, she certainly didn't show it. "Good morning," she cheerfully said.

Halo strutted in, ornately dressed, decked in black silk with a white tunic and a crown of red peonies for contrast. A smug remark followed shortly after. "Oh? For once I'm not the last one here."

The diminutive Qiqi soon took her place at the table as well. Though not precisely sour in mood, she, like so many of the others present, gave off the distinct feeling that she would rather be spending her time elsewhere.

Aries, on the other hand, could hardly have seemed more at ease. He munched away at a chocolate chip bagel while stealing sips at a piping hot mug of coffee. "Morning," he said, one of the few managers to offer a proper greeting.

As the last of the managers filtered in, some of the managers mentally wagered on who would be the final arrival. Then, interrupting the quiet pre-meeting chatter, Axel slipped inside, taking the final seat at the back of the room.

Eyes shifted around the room - to the vases, which held white lilies, the symbol of purity and love, death and grief, floral poetry; to fellow managers and overseers in various stages of unhappiness; and finally to Kore, who commanded the attention of all by simply rising to her feet.

"Good morning to everyone, and congratulations!" she said with a flawless grin. "You all made it to day two! Let's get right to it. Who would like to present their updates first?"

Jaden stood, his ruby eyes leering to and fro. "I'll go," he stated. With not a hint of enthusiasm, he declared, "We landed Hyper-Drive as a sponsor, and Aries' competitor has formed a temporary alliance with mine." Then he unceremoniously sat back down.

Without skipping a beat, Kore offered her remarks in a swift segue to the next speaker. She needed to keep things brief, after all. "What exciting news for you and for Aries! Who's next?"

Halo clasped his hands together and stood. "Quickshot found a niche in the techwear scene - RD Ced, Arkane, you know - I had to pull a few strings, but we got them to sign." Though not as joyless as Jaden's delivery, Halo hardly seemed much more enthusiastic. "He did ask about something strange, though...he wanted to know if contestants could have pools installed in their rooms."

Jaden's eyes flicked to focus on Halo, but he kept silent.

"Hmm, maybe a bathtub, but a pool? We can't make major modifications like that," Kore answered. She did not miss the sideways glance Jaden gave Halo—was his competitor involved somehow?

Aries was next to report. "My competitor got into a fight again yesterday, requiring several sutures," he said, surprising no one. Scout was just about the most violent competitor in the Games. And then, somewhat bashfully, he added, "Mengal Motors has also retracted their sponsorship for, uh...unrelated reasons."

Yeqon spoke up now. Where Kore was the bubbly leader, Yeqon maintained the reputation of a stern peacekeeper. He did not even need to stand for all eyes to focus on him. "A warning," he said: "Watch your competitors more closely. Their decisions reflect on all of us. Whether an altercation outside of the Games..." he explained, settling his gaze on Aries, "or improper use of the facility's aquarium." He focused his eyes forward, not looking at anyone in particular, but Jaden flared his nostrils, barely holding back from speaking out in reply. "That is all," Yeqon declared as he leant back and folded his hands in his lap.

"I'll be sure to pass that on," Halo commented amusedly. This time, though, there was no acknowledgement from Jaden.

"Who would like to go next?" Kore asked, attempting to placate the room with her pleasant demeanor.

Axel's hand went up. "My competitor made contact with a sibling aboard the ship. I am not sure about the rules regarding this," he stated.

"Do you know who they're registered to?" Kore inquired, brushing the breach of conduct under the rug. This could make for good entertainment.

"Yes," he replied, sitting up straight.

"Perfect. Pass along the information and we'll arrange an interview," she said, as if the matter were no big deal. "Anyone else?"

The remaining managers said their pieces, the rest of the meeting proceeding mostly uneventfully until it was time for Qiqi to speak. She stood tall, clearing her throat, preparing her speech. She had waited some time to speak - she intended to savor the opportunity. "Well! I have managed to get my competitor, Leo, sponsored by the Madame of Éternelle Beauté. We're going to meet later today to finalize the details." After, she mused on the nature of her competitor as though she were gossiping to the table, then, ever the businesswoman, finished by pitching her products to Kore herself. "Oh, before you appear in the interviews, I have the most gorgeous demo kit for you. You want to look your best in front of the lights, don't you? Of course you do!"

With an unflinching smile, Kore declined. "That's very kind of you. Perhaps another time." Kore gave a clap of finality as she moved on to the next topic: "Interviews! They'll be conducted in order by territory—North to South—with sponsored breaks in between. To keep them watching, we need to put on a good show. You've all done a great job wooing the sponsors; now it's time to get their attention on the holos. Any questions?"

"What hoops are we having the competitors jump through?" Halo asked.

"This time around, they'll be simple. Work to push your competitor's angle. Your stylists will set the tone, and the questions will do the rest. They'll be tailored to produce...thoughtful responses," Kore said, a hint of deviousness creeping into her smile.

Mostly sarcastically, Jaden remarked, "Are we dragging friends and family into this one, or are we saving that for closer to the main event?"

"Great question! This set of interviews will be focused on establishing character and motivation. The next one will be about friends and family." Kore really never seemed to skip a beat. "As the interviews will take place tonight, I'll need everyone to put their best efforts today getting their competitor ready and onstage on-time!"

"Competitors absent when called will be disqualified," Yeqon chimed in, "no exceptions; no excuses."

Kore nodded, pleased with Yeqon's participation. He was much more involved in this gathering than the last. "If there's no further questions, I think that just about covers everything!"

The sudden screech of a chair sliding against the floor signalled Jaden's abrupt departure. Now that the meeting was ready to conclude, he seized the opportunity to leave at once. The grimace on his face did not hail good tidings.

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Just Around the Corner

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Lurking by the corner of the exit of the meeting room, Jaden watched with determined intent each of the faces going by. Most paid little heed, but one person exiting the meeting room stopped in his path, sensing Jaden's rage flare up at the sight of him.

"Does something require my attention?" said Yeqon, who paused out of curiosity regarding the daggers coming from Jaden's fiery eyes.

Jaden pushed from the wall, boring into Yeqon's skull with his crimson irides. "Oh, yes," he replied through his teeth, marching toward Yeqon. Skipping formalities and niceties, he forthrightly invited himself to privacy for he, Yeqon, and Eon, Yeqon's servant. "Let's talk. Your place. I have words for you and your slave."

Yeqon raised his brows. It sounded more like a demand than an offer. What would justify this tone towards a superior? Moreover...what business did Eon have in this matter? "Alright...my office. This way," he said, and proceeded forward, sure that Jaden would follow.



Fire & Ice

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After a dreadfully silent journey, Yeqon gestured to his office door, which slid open at the motion. "After you, Mr. Kumar."

On stepping inside, Jaden noticed that Eon was already present. Good, he thought—he could not hold his words much longer.

As Yeqon sat down beside the desk and faced the still-standing Jaden, he was better able to size up the disposition of the man whose verbal gun-barrel he was facing down. Gleaming red eyes, dark rings of exhaustion, narrowed lids, furrowed brows, and a stance just shy of violent.

"What is on your mind...Mr. Kumar?"

Jaden slammed his hands down on Yeqon's desk, leaning forward to glare right into his cold eyes. "Do you know you just painted a target on Ljilja back there?" he fired, his tone conveying the words he left silent: Or are you just dense?

Eon quivered at the mere mention of his new friend's name. His mind went into overdrive. Was Ljilja in trouble? Did she and Yeqon have further 'involvements'? He held his tongue, for that was his place, but he yearned to know more.

Yeqon was less enthusiastic. He loosed a sigh, then frowned. "No, Mr. Kumar, I do not. Why is this my problem?" he asked.

Wrong answer.

Jaden growled under his breath, his words dripping with a resentful sternness that punctuated every syllable. "Your job is keeping competitors safe 'til they're on the field, is it not? So threats to their safety and well-being while here are your...problem."

Yeqon rubbed at his temples, feeling his headache worsening. So far as Yeqon was concerned, she was just another willing competitor, one whose shortcomings were coming to the fore by her own choices. "Mr. Kumar...whether she lives or dies...it is all part of the Games. How is it my fault if your competitor is incapable of defending herself?" he said, standing up to meet Jaden's glare. "Question instead the one responsible...and go be pitiful somewhere else."

Eon suppressed a gasp, flinching at the cruelty of his words. How could he be so calloused towards Ljilja's plight?

Jaden rolled his eyes with slow, forceful derision, restraining the urge to spit on Yeqon's desk. "My job is setting up my competitor, yours is keeping them all safe until the start of the Games. Know your place. And while you're at it," he said, thumbing to Eon, "maybe stop sending your people out to interrogate Ljilja, or Kore will hear about it."

"I...never sent Eon to interrogate your competitor," Yeqon replied, confusion entering his voice through an upward inflection. He turned towards his servant, surmising that Jaden had no reason to lie. "Explain," he demanded.

Eon's heart pounded in his chest as both men turned towards him. He began to explain rather verbosely that it was all a coincidence—he had simply been sent to the infirmary to retrieve medicine for Yeqon, when he got lost and sought the help of a passing competitor, which happened to be Ljilja. There was one problem with this story.

Yeqon knew that Eon never got lost.

"So we conversed, asking questions and learning about one another, upon which I revealed that I was your servant, at which she expressed her desire to convey her gratitude for your assistance during the incident at the pool. I explained this would put both she and you at risk, and asked that she not speak of it again, to which she agreed," Eon continued. He paused for a brief moment, withering under the anger of his master, before concluding, "She tearfully confided in me about the Games, and I offered my advice. She responded by extending friendship to me, which I accepted. At no point was there any coercion or interrogation."

Enraged at Eon for the first time, Yeqon asked, "Is that the truth, Eon?"

He nodded. "Yes, sir. I apologize for not mentioning it before."

Yeqon sighed and sat back down, processing Eon's words and pondering the consequences of his actions. "Mr. Kumar..." he began before corrected himself, sensing the situation would require slightly more tact than previously anticipated. "Jaden. It does appear that my slave acted out of line. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. However, I yet fail to see how I have caused your competitor to become a target. Did I or Eon indirectly cause her to leap into the aquarium?"

Jaden finally took a seat across from Yeqon at his desk, anger slowly abating. "I'm not blaming you for that. What I take issue with is your bringing it up in a meeting with all the managers. Did you think nobody would check the feeds or the gossip columns after hearing something about an aquarium incident? Did you consider that they and their competitors might single her out over it?" Jaden slid down in the chair, exhausted from arguing. "I do respect you, Yeqon, but...maybe just call me next time you have a problem with Ljilja instead of bringing it up in front of everyone. She's already hurting from the sim demo; you put bullying on top of that, sooner or later you might be down a competitor."

Eon's eyes widened with concern.

After pondering the matter, Yeqon yielded further ground. "I apologize, Jaden. I was wrong. But why is your competitor in the Games if bullying alone poses such a threat? And what went wrong with the demo? As I understand, you succeeded in winning that sponsor."

"It nearly broke her is the problem. She's never even thrown a punch before, let alone killed, even in a sim," Jaden explained.

Then why is she here? Yeqon surely wondered. He did not have to wait long for a response.

"I told her I'd get her transferred back to her mom if she survived the first round. That's the only reason she's still here."

Yeqon leant back in his chair. He, too, was here only for the sake of returning to his mother. Why did it have to be that, of all things? "I see," he said with a groan. "Jaden...a competitor like her...is not going to survive much longer. Whether by a competitor or...by her own hand...she will die."

Eon trembled in place at the thought of Ljilja's death coming with such ease and certainty.

"You understand that...don't you?"

Jaden stared past Yeqon and through the wall, a thousand yards away. He gulped. Nobody understood the likelihood and gravity of that outcome more than he. "As...her manager, I...I'm working hard to...prevent that, while...still letting her compete...to reunite with her mother." Finally, his gaze rested upon Yeqon once more. His voice was reduced to a mere murmur. "So...work with me, man. Please."

Yeqon shut his eyes as he pondered the situation. He could devise any number of excuses to reject Jaden's plea for assistance, but none that he would be comfortable rationalizing to himself long after. For once, he swallowed his complaints and acceded. "Alright. What is it you need? Should I post a guard?"

Jaden shook his head. "No, she's got Scout looking after her now. What I'm worried about is her mental health." He gave pause, then looked towards Eon, his gaze far easier to bear than Yeqon's. "Do you have any ideas? I hear you two are friends. She won't even talk to me right now."

Eon replied humbly and carefully. "Pardon my suggestion, but she appears to lack in self-worth. Targeted praise and rewards for her efforts should prove especially effective in mentally stabilizing her."

Jaden brought his hand to his chin, considering his words carefully. "It's worth a shot," he replied, "but the only incentive I know she'll respond to is..." Jaden turned to Yeqon, meeting him with tired eyes. "Would it be possible to arrange a call to Fort Kate?"

Yeqon tapped the armrest of his chair in thought. Then, with the ceasing of the beat, he answered. "The only way this request will be approved...is if the call is broadcast to the public. It must contribute to their entertainment."

Jaden rubbed his brow, already fearing the consequences of putting his competitor's emotions on full display. "You sure there isn't another way? I mean, Axel's competitor got away with it," Jaden inquired.

"There were...extenuating circumstances involved. The contact was unplanned," Yeqon said. Then, he froze, turning to Eon to silence an unvoiced thought. "No," he pre-empted.

"But, Master, we could..." he said, once more shrinking back at his master's glare, yet still proceeding, "...use a private line."

Jaden chuckled tiredly towards Eon, a weary smile crawling across his lips. He had to admire the bravery displayed. Sitting up, he stared once more at Yeqon, his once-glimmering ruby eyes by now robbed of their luster. The suggestion hung silently in the air until, finally, Jaden asked, "Is it doable?"

Yeqon's poker face concealed the veracity of Eon's suggestion. But, finally, he admitted, "Yes...it is doable." He leant back in his seat, already regretting the decision. "Give me a time and we will hold the call here in my office."

Jaden breathed a sigh of relief. It wasn't quite a way out, but it was a glimmer of hope. He struggled to come up with the words to show the depth of his gratitude, but he stood and offered his hand to shake, which Yeqon stood to accept. "Thank you."

"Your gratitude is acknowledged. Now, respectfully...please leave my office."

Sparing Yeqon the difficulty of a guest overstaying his welcome, he nodded and turned to leave. But first, he looked to Eon, his light but genuine smile conveying his sincere appreciation for his intervention. Then, he stepped on through the door, refraining from looking back.

He preferred to remain ignorant of the consequences.

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Location: Father

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


Thirty minutes left. Eon closes the door, staring at the handle in preparation. He focuses his thoughts on simple curiosities, preparing himself. For example, Yeqon's fascination with older resources — manual doors with knobs, paper documents, paper books, outdated equipment, the list is long. Doing this helps Eon remind himself that his master isn't like the other humans.

Yeqon sits down, leaning back to stare at the ceiling. Two minutes pass in silence before he lowers his gaze toward Eon and says, "Return home." Eon whips around, "You are no longer required here...for the entirety of the Games...I will acquire a replacement later."

Eon clenches his fists, trying his best to hold his tongue, but breaks at the mention of being replaced, "Why?! All I did was-"

"Stop. I do not want to hear it." Many things should be said, but Yeqon is avoiding them.

Eon glares at the ground, "Is offering assistance, when you can, such a terrible thing? Ms. Ljilja is suffering. Didn't Mr. Kumar confirm that her mental state is unwell? Besides her request is-"

"That is not my problem." the ferocity of his tone pierces the room, "One rule. Do not associate with the competitors...Did you not hear me?"

"I did but-"

"But what? You disobeyed my order...interacted with a competitor...befriended the mutant...didn't inform me...and then lied about your intentions." Frustrated is an understatement; Yeqon is beyond that, "Being sent home is a light punishment."

A heavy silence envelopes the room carrying with it a wave of anger. Eon continuously clenches and unclenches his fist. His mind seething, "I have done nothing wrong." he glares rudely at Yeqon, "I apologize for not telling you about my decision that day, but I will not apologize for doing it. And I will not apologize for trying to help someone who needed it."

Eon is stubborn, very stubborn, but never this stubborn. Why? This isn't his first time interacting with a mutant in such a poor situation. Yet here he is, refusing to stand down or accept Yeqon's words. What is causing him to fight so hard? "Why is this so important?... Are you aware that your interference...is nothing but useless pity?"

Eon frowns, not hiding how painful Yeqon's words are, "So you'd rather leave her abandoned? Even if you can help, if only a little?"

"Yes." Yeqon sternly answers, "Her suffering is due to her own actions."

"How can you say that?! She's nothing but a child who is fighting for her life. Trying her best to survive and see her family again." Eon feels a burning in his throat. The more they talk, the more apparent it shows that Yeqon holds no compassion toward the mutant competitors. It's upsetting. "...Why am I doing this? Simple. It's because she reminds me of you. That's why I'm helping her."

Yeqon stares in bewilderment, followed by a flash of understanding, then ends with a vicious glint, "Me?" A part of him is offended and scared, "How are we similar?... I am not weak."

He doesn't hold back, Eon pours out the thoughts both he and Yeqon share after hearing Ljilja's problem, "In a situation, she has no choice but to accept. Fighting to survive in a new and dangerous environment. No one to rely on, to trust...people forcing you to change...to kill.", tears slide down his cheeks, "You didn't even want this job, this life. All you want is to see your mother again, the same as Ms. Ljilja. The only difference is that she isn't strong like you...she can't do it alone."

He takes a shaky breath, "You had to, I wish you didn't but you did. And sometimes...no, constantly, I feel guilt for not meeting you sooner. To help you. I don't want to experience that same guilt with her."

"...I know what I'm feeling is useless self-righteousness and pity, but I want to help her. So please...try to understand, for me. That way, even if she dies, it isn't because she had no one by her side."

Five minutes left. Yeqon needs to gather his belongings for the next destination but Eon's words and tears are still resonating in his heart, causing a numbing pain to creep into his chest. It shouldn't hurt. He shouldn't be swayed. To survive, he must continue to lay low, away from his prying eyes. Therefore, Yeqon's apathy is nothing new. He grew up understanding that there is no pity for the weak. That man beat this concept into Yeqon, physically. However, that does not justify him punishing others for those same virtues.

Yeqon moves from behind his desk, lifting his holo pad and a few other items in his arm. He pauses in front of Eon, staring at his tear-stricken face. It is an uncomfortable sight.

"Stare all you want, but I won't fix my face. This is what you deserve, so suffer with me." Eon glares, annoyed at the slight smile on Yeqon's face, "Answer me. I won't move until you do."

"Even if I abandon you for insubordination?" Eon flinches slightly but nods his head. Yeqon can't help but smile a little brighter. One minute he's the most frustrating mutant in the world, even now, but in other moments he's something important, "...I'd never abandon you."

Eon tries to cover the smile creeping on his lips with a frown, "D-Don't distract me with kind words! I still want an answer. Will you help?"

Yeqon bluntly answers, "No...I will not change my opinion. Helping this competitor holds no value to me," Eon starts to deflate in defeat, "But...do whatever you please...however, this time...a warning would be appreciated."

This answer isn't precisely what Eon wanted, but for now, it will do, "Yes, Sir." He chimes proudly.

Yeqon sighs in relief, "May I leave now?"

A moment of silence falls between them, then Eon smirks evilly, "What about me? Do I have to leave?" Yeqon narrowed eyes do not faze him, "Can I assume by your silence I still have to go home?"

He should send Eon home for being so bothersome, "...Stay or leave...the choice is yours." he walks around Eon, who's holding in a laugh, and exits the office to a meeting he's going to be late for.

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Character Portrait: Yeqon Character Portrait: Leo Behrends Character Portrait: Ljilja Character Portrait: Scout Character Portrait: Kore Character Portrait: Jax Character Portrait: Ciara Character Portrait: Quickshot
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Fatherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx #0EBFE9 | FC: #CD3333



"Tighter," Kore's nails dug into the marble counter. Her breath hitched, her back arching as Mimi pulled the strings on the waist sincher tighter. "Well done," Jensen stepped back. "Oh, Ms. Mars, can you breathe?" He added as a secondary thought. Kore looked in the mirror, her waist the size of a Barbie-doll. "Yes," she smiled, "I can breathe just fine." It was a good thing she hadn't eaten lunch.

She sat down gingerly, Mimi draping her robe over her shoulders. In the waste basket underneath the counter were bandages from the cuts on her feet, Kore having hidden them before Jensen or Patrice had arrived. "Maybe um, you should wear flats tonight?" Mimi squeaked, but both Kore and Jensen looked at the poor girl as though she had two heads. "Flats!" Jensen screeched, "On a night like tonight! No, no, no. Ms. Mars's presence must be larger than life and therefore, she must be tall!" Was his logic sound? Kore wasn't sure, but she didn't care.

She closed her eyes as Patrice powdered her nose, putting liquid glitter on her eyes and teasing her hair. before braiding sections into flowers that formed a crown at the nape of her neck, extensions cleverly attached beneath it. It was a good two hours of preparation before Kore was deemed ready. Patrice unzipped the garment bag, Kore's eyes pouring over the delicate navy fabric. She stepped forward to feel it, rubbing the silk between two fingers. "Is this real?" She turned to look at Jensen, who nodded.

Silk was a rare fabric, it was expensive, more than what even Kore could afford. "A gift for you and your fellow Host." A gift? "From whom?" Kore questioned, Jensen taking the garment bag and the card attached. "The Matriarch sends her well wishes and hopes that this year's games will be the most interesting yet."

Kore froze, feeling a buzzing from somewhere deep within her. "Let me see," she took the card, her hands shaking slightly. The Matriarch had sent her well wishes. The Matriarch had acknowledge her. A slow grin crept onto her face and Kore laughed. "Mimi, we need to send the Matriarch a thank you present. What do you think suits a ruler?" She inquired of the room, stepping into her dress. "Flowers?" Mimi squeaked, as though it were a trick question.

"Chocolates!" Patrice piped up, lending a hand in getting the dress on. "Hmm, how about jewelry?"

"I think those are all things the Matriarch could get herself if she so wished it. Hmmm..." Kore trailed off. "I guess I'll just have to thank her her with something.... unusual." The Games, her mind quickly jumped to it, quickly flipping through the catalog of contestants. Which one... which one...

She stopped, Jensen pulling her out of her thoughts. "Beautiful!" He clapped his hands together, stepping back. Kore looked in the mirror, twirling, the bottom of the dress flaring upwards. The gold embellishments stood out against the dark fabric, the mesh front showing a tasetful amount of skin. "It's beautiful," she couldn't help but smile, admiring her reflection.



The stage was in the center of the ship, the stands filled to the brim with people who had come from not only their home ship, but the other ships as well. Outside of the glass walls were privately owned space crafts, hovering within a safe distance, throwing watch parties in the lap of luxury. On a floor above them, a bar already had a betting ring set up and a casino was playing the stream on every holo pod available. After the interviews tonight, people would place their wagers on who would be the first to die and who might cross the finish line of the first Game.

There were two stages, staggered, one above the other. The higher one would be where all of the contestants sat until it was their turn. Connecting the two platforms was a staircase that was only turned on when it was time to switch mutants out. The lower platform had two seats for the interviewer and the mutant, the floor holographic, able to light up with whatever images were needed so that both the constestant and audience could see.

"You're gonna do great tonight!" Sei squeaked, giving Kore two thumbs up from behind the curtain that surrounded the set up. The mutants would be arriving any second, where they would take place on the lower stage before being rounded up and taken to their seats on the upper stage. "Thank you Sei, you look lovely." Kore complimented and Sei smiled before running off. The overseers all had jobs tonight and that was to make sure everything ran smoothly.

When at last the final mutant had taken their place on stage, Kore turned to Yeqon, smiling. "Show time," she giggled, turning on the personality. She pointed to the side, indicating that it was time. The curtains rose slowly, the blue velvet giving way to reveal the fifty contestants in this year's Games. Kore could hear the crackle of her mic, indicating that it had been turned on. She glanced at Yeqon once before starting, taking a step forward and throwing her hands out in front of her.

"They've traveled from far and wide to be with us here tonight! From the breathaking cold of the Tundra, to the smallest of unsinkable islands. In the coming weeks, they'll face obstacles of which the likes of humanity and mutantity have never seen before. Please put your hands together for this year's contestants!" Their applause was thunderous, Kore's ears ringing from the sound of it.

Her heart beat wildly in her chest, her eyes wide.

This, this was living.

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Yeqon's Office

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Tap-ta-ta-tap-tap, tap-tap. The sound of Jaden rapping upon the door to Yeqon's office disturbed the eerie silence between Ljilja and Zorana, whose hands stood nervously at their sides as they waited for a response from those on the other side. Ljilja brushed down her two-layered blue dress, which she had last worn at the interviews and had chosen again to wear for this occasion. A little shiver ran through her. This was going to be the first time she had spoken with anyone from Fort Kate since she arrived on Father two weeks ago, and she knew exactly who she was going to call.

The door slid open, fitting so flush with the doorframe that one could be forgiven for assuming it was never there. They were greeted by Eon, Yeqon's slave, who stepped to the side, gesturing openly to invite them in. "Welcome," he said. "Please head over to the chairs."

Within the well-decorated office, decked with pristine antiques and relics from bygone ages, were three leather chairs placed before a hand-carved wooden desk. Behind the desk was the stoic Yeqon, ready for their arrival, sitting before a massive holoscreen on which the call would be conducted.

Ljilja's eyes flitted from object to object as she and Zorana followed Jaden inside. She had seen old items before, but never in such fine condition. Jaden, meanwhile, remained focused as he proceeded to take a seat. After all, he had been here before. Zorana joined him, scooting her chair over to sit nearer by his side.

Finally, Ljilja stepped up to the desk. She clutched her hand closed for strength and addressed Yeqon directly. "Thank you for saving me," she said with the meekness of a mouse. "I-I wanted to say thanks in person. I am glad to be able to."

Yeqon, wearing his signature frown, answered, "Don't let it happen again."

Eon sighed wearily at his master's response, but otherwise remained silent. Though at first it seemed his dissatisfaction fell on deaf ears, Yeqon soon changed his tone. Rising from his seat, he said, "This moment is a reward...for your diligence. An excellent performance...thus far, Ljilja."

"Thank you very much," she bashfully replied.

"You are welcome," Yeqon said. Uncharacteristically, he then asked for permission from the little blue mutant. "May my servant stay...during your call?"

"Yes," Ljilja immediately replied, "of course. We are friends."

Eon's ears twitched in delight. Yeqon's did not, though to say he was displeased would be a lie.

At the touch of a button, Yeqon brought the holoscreen to life. Eon moved Yeqon's chair beside Jaden's, replacing it with one intended for Ljilja, that she might have a better view of the holoscreen. With Yeqon's approval, Ljilja sat down behind his desk and faced the display.

"It's voice-controlled. Say the destination...and the call will automatically be connected," Yeqon explained.

Ljilja nodded in acknowledgement. She shifted to get comfortable the chair she had been given, then took a deep breath. Inhale...exhale. With her hands in her lap, she called out her destination.

"Monarch Security, Mining Claim 4K-8."



Platform 7, Fort Kate

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Rising and falling like a majestic bird, a hand with its thumb and pinky performed swooping aerial swirls, dives, and climbs. Its owner, a scraggly-bearded young mutant, was leaning back in his chair, watching his hand soar through the air as his belt-mounted communicator buzzed with security chatter.

A chime from his desk forced him upright, and he cleared his throat to recompose himself. He checked his holoscreen, noting the caller: Yeqon Cryo, Overseer, Father.

He blinked a few times in confusion. What on earth did a Topside human want with a mining outpost in the middle of nowhere? But he didn't have time to ask questions; if he delayed too long, he might lose his job. So he tucked his shirt in and answered the call.

"Overseer! It is good to see you. How can I he—nemoj me jebat!" he cursed. He rubbed his eyes, then took a second look to confirm what he saw: on his display, instead of an Overseer, was a small blue mutant he knew well. He proclaimed, "It is Ljilja!" before leaping from his chair to call someone from offscreen.
"Valentin!"

Ljilja giggled on her side of the call, the levity helping to ease her nerves.

Bootsteps hailed the approach of a heavy-set man, who hauled himself into the seat and dropped with a thunk, a gesture that reminded her of her father. His vision failing, he dragged his chair closer to the screen and squinted to see more clearly. His graying hair and scarred face briefly filled the screen until he was able to confirm who he was speaking to. With a low growl, he fell back into the chair and smiled in satisfaction. "Ljiljica... you are okay. We are all so very proud of you."

At this, Ljilja grinned from ear to ear, but tears were welling up in her eyes. She did not know how to respond to his praise but with a shaky nod and a soft grunt. "Is...Sonja okay...?" she asked.

"Da," he answered, "she is okay. Worried, but okay. She hopes you are happy. And forgives you."

Nodding again, Ljilja clenched her shaking hands in her lap. On the verge of crying, she continued, saying, "U-um...the first Round is tomorrow...I might not...make it back."

Valentin rubbed at the lines of his forehead, gazing into Ljilja's eyes. He saw a desperate mutant facing certain death. It was a look he had seen before. "Then there is something you must know," he replied.

As if he had just noticed the others in the background of the call, his focus shifted to the lot of them—Jaden, Zorana, Yeqon, Eon—and his gaze narrowed. "What I say here, you will tell no one. Yes?"

His age and the graveness of his tone made a compelling argument. Much as Yeqon despised ultimatums, he sensed the importance of this one. "So long as silence...brings no adverse consequences to my servant and I...yes."

Jaden and Zorana both waved their assent in Finfolk sign.

Raising his chin, Valentin seemed to accept these responses. He held his fist up and roared to all in earshot: "Samoća!" After a few moments, when it was clear that no one in the security office remained to hear him, he said, "Aleksander was a great man. The sea took him."

Ljilja's curiosity stayed her tears. She sniffled, but acknowledged his words. "I-in the demolition, yes."

"Da," Valentin confirmed. "But this is not whole story. He had the ori."

She cocked her head to the side. "No...? He...I would have seen the marks," she answered, her brows furrowing.

"He painted them over. Hid his tiredness. Drank much."

Ljilja searched her memories of her father. Was anything off about him in his last moments? She could not say. Instead she asked, "Why are you telling me this?"

Valentin closed his eyes and swallowed. "Because you deserve to know: Demolition was not accident. He chose to die there."

"What?!" she exclaimed, narrowing her gaze. "How can you know this?"

"Because, he came to me the night before. Ask me to take care of you when he is gone. I said yes."

Her spine turned to ice. She sputtered for words, her breath staggering. "B-bu-but...why?" she wondered helplessly.

Growling under his breath, Valentin stated, "I can not explain a man's pride to you, Ljiljica. Aleks did not want you to see him turn slowly to sand. Ne. Better to keep his dignity; go on his terms."

Ljilja collapsed back into her seat, bringing her hands to her head. She tugged at her hair, struggling to make sense of things.

Finally, she asked, "W-what do I do...knowing this?"

"That is for you; I cannot say. I am sorry, Ljiljica. It was better for you to know."

For a few moments, all that could be heard was Ljilja's sniffling. Valentin, too, aged and weathered, felt his own eyes watering at the sight. She was not his daughter, but for the last year, she had been treated that way. He had no desire to see her suffer, but to keep a matter like this secret on the eve before a competition in which she might die was unthinkable. Neither of them could muster words. It was the computer which spoke first.

"Tunnel collapse detected, Sector Će. Personnel affected."

"Jebote!" he swore. "I must go now, Ljiljica." Security officers began to fill the screen, suiting and gearing up for a rescue effort. With only moments before he, too, would have to respond, Valentin gave the parting words, "Jako te volim. Come back safe."



Back at the Office

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Trembling and hugging her knees to herself, Ljilja broke down into soft sobs.

Yeqon frowned deeply. He knew, ultimately, that she did not belong in a competition like this, and instances like this of what he would term weakness only bolstered his position. To him she seemed a mere weeping child, unprepared for the realities of bloodsports, and she could not disprove him in this state.

But neither could he tell her to give up.

Yeqon fetched a handkerchief from his pocket, holding it out for Eon to snatch. He delivered it to her posthaste, and she took it in gratitude, blowing her nose into it.

Ljilja lowered her legs, sitting properly once more to say a congested "Thank you" to Eon and Yeqon. She coughed into the cloth, trying to recompose herself. She needed strength. With Valentin and Sonja taken care of, there was one last person she needed to call before she could accept the possibility of death. Swallowing mucus, she asked, "C-can I...make one more call?"

Eon turned to Yeqon. Yeqon shut his eyes and sighed, then looked away.

With a smile, Eon said, "My master will allow you to make another call."

Once again Ljilja thanked them. Then she shut her eyes, taking deep breaths in an attempt to to still her heart and stop her sobs. When she had calmed herself down enough to hold a conversation, she spoke the destination for her final call.

"Staša. The Dancing Onion."



The Kitchen

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The call was automatically connected, evidently configured to do so as a matter of convenience. Multitasking appeared to be the order of the day for the white-haired woman on-screen, who, with the help of her many tentacles, chopped and diced, sauced and spiced, salted and dipped, stirred and sipped. She was turned away from the screen to tend to her line, and as she toiled she hummed a sailor's serenade.

Ljilja's heart melted. "Mati," she murmured wistfully, at once recognizing her from the stories her father used to tell.

The tentacles ceased immediately. They began disengaging from their tasks, setting down cutlery and ladles, allowing the woman to turn around without making a mess of things. Placing her hands on her hips, the cook swiveled round and bent forward to take a closer look. Her glimmering sapphire eyes were the clear origin of Ljilja's own, and she locked eyes with Ljilja on the other side, sizing her up and comparing her to her memories.

Once assured of her identity, the woman's tentacles relaxed, and her lips curled into a smile that could warm the coldest of hearts. "So it is you! I saw you on the screens, but I had no way to reach...ah, lijepa moja đevojko...how pretty you are. Thank you, Overseer. Send for it, I will give you the best. Crni rižot, fritule, rakija, whatever you like."

Tearfully giggling, Ljilja spoke up. "Mama! The first we meet in however-many-years, and all you can think about is cooking food!"

Her mother softly tutted. "Ne, Ljiljica, it is more than food! It is...hospitality! Kasuns show their thanks. You know this from Aleks, yes? Now who are all these friends? Hello! Say hello!"

Jaden and Zorana greeted her in Finfolk sign, to which she cheerfully applauded, returning their introduction in kind.

Yeqon and Eon took a more human approach. "Hello, ma'am," Yeqon said, his words coated with warmth and respect despite his unchanging tone, "Thank you for your time... My name is Yeqon Cryo, and this is Eon. We are associates of Ms. Ljilja."

Touching her hand to her heart, her face softened with delight, won over in spades. "So very polite! You are not all human, are you?" she remarked of Yeqon. She could not have known how accurate her statement was. "I am Anamarija," she said with a curtsy, "Ljilja's mother. I see she is in good hands!"

Gesturing to Jaden, Yeqon was quick to correct her. "This is Jaden Kumar... Caring for Ms. Ljilja is his responsibility. My duty is to oversee this competition..."

Jaden gave a pleasant wave as he was introduced.

"Of course, Eon here is her friend...so his position is vastly different from mine." Yeqon concluded in consolation, gesturing to Eon, who grinned with exceptional warmth knowing that he had his master's approval.

"I'll watch out for her whenever possible," Eon assured her.

Anamarija lightly covered her lips with her fingertips, raising her brows and grinning. "Eon! So tall and handsome! You are courting moja Ljiljica? I approve."

"Ma!" Ljilja protested, "He is a friend! You are embarrassing me!"

Holding her hands behind her back and swaying playfully, Anamarija replied, "I know, I know. But when otherwise do I get to tease you? This is only chance to try!"

"If I win this round, I will be able to move in with you," Ljilja answered.

Anamarija's wide smile disappeared in a flash, replaced with a flat, serious expression. She had gone from bubbly to motherly in an instant. "Mm. You are like Aleks in this way."

"Is that a bad thing?" Ljilja asked. "Don't you want me with you there in Staša?

Her mother sighed. "Da, I want you here. But if I choose between maybe-dead Ljiljica and sure-to-live Ljiljica..." She tilted her head to one side, resting it against her palm, gazing longingly at her daughter's visage on the holoscreen. "I am your mother. I only want you to alive and to happy. But it is your choice. Aleks would say, 'Without choice, you are not really alive.' But you know this already, I am sure."

"But, Ma...Aleksander is..."

"I know," she said, cutting Ljilja off, "I know. It is okay. He was a sailor. He always knew the sea would take him."

Ljilja clutched the handkerchief in her hands. She was not yet ready to admit to herself how much she missed her father, and in the face of such strength, she was even more reluctant. Instead, she asked, "Aren't you sad...?"

Seeing right through her, Anamarija reached forth in a motion to pat the holocam before her. "Of course I am sad, Ljiljica... But we must to treasure what we have, not to focus on what is lost."

A little chime from Jaden's commlink indicated important news. As Jaden pulled up the message, he groaned. "Scout's in the medbay again. Aries says it's serious."

Ljilja glanced back at Jaden, then at her mother.

Anamarija smiled fondly. "Just like Aleks...you wish to help. Such a good girl. Help your wolf friend and prepare. I will watch you on the feeds tomorrow, if you choose to play the Games."

"Jako te volim, Mati... I hope to see you soon."

"Fališ mi - jako te volim. I love you with all of my heart."

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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxLocation: Fatherxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx #0EBFE9 | FC: #CD3333



"Ms. Mars, we have a situation." Her holo jumped to life, Ender was on the other side. "I'll be right there," Kore rose, sparing Jax one last glance. "Your sisters will surely look forward to watching you on the field," he stiffened as she left, her heels clacking against the tiled floor. It took only a moment for Kore to appear in the wings of the Overseer hallway, Sei standing there anxiously, waiting to meet her. "This way," she ushered Kore quickly to the screen. Someone had broken into the support room. Or rather, three someone's.

They could very-well be ejected from the games for this. Slowly, Kore walked around the table that the cam feed was coming from. Support items were normally kept guarded, but suspiciously, the guard was missing. Damon was already sitting by the security panel, ready to put the room into lockdown. "Who are Boqin's sponsors?" She crossed her arms, drumming a finger against her elbow.

"Boqin has three sponsors, nothing high-profile. Wenwig Grocery, an electric star projector company, and Sieera Protein Drinks. As for bets, it's not much." They were low-ball offers, he was not a valuable competitor. Kore's personal holo rang, an incoming message from Aries. She swiped up quickly, doing nothing to disguise her grin. "Leave it," she decided, turning away.

"But Ms. Mars-"

"Boqin will be fine, I just received word from Aries that he's teamed up with the beast." Quiet fell across the Overseer room. Kore was not met with any further protest. "I will be retiring early tonight. Ender, I'm putting you on night watch, since you allowed this happen." Kore headed towards the door, her skirt swishing around her legs. "Yes, Ms. Mars, I accept full responsibility for this incident."

Mimi was waiting for her just outside, looking proud. "What did you do?" She asked, her assistant scurrying after her. "I sent your co-Head Overseer a gift, just as you instructed. You said he likes strawberries, right?" Kore smiled, yes, even with today's incident, everything was going her way.




Kore sat calmly in place, sipping at her cup of lemon spritz. Around her, the atmosphere was tinged with excitement. Kore was already dressed for the opening ceremony, wearing a red dress to compliment the atmosphere. The first Game would take place in the Wastes, it would be Kore's first time on Ruined Earth. To make certain that her skin was not affected by radiation or the sun, she would wear long-sleeves to cover her arms and a red veil over her face. Her hair was braided down her back in a multicolored plait and bedazzled with red jewels in the shape of flowers.

Kore slowly rose, it was just about time. She walked towards the feeds, looking at the mutants who had been isolated to their rooms. Kore had ordered this on purpose, stating that it was for security reasons. In truth, she wanted them to feel anxious. They would be rounded up soon, corralled like farm animals and taken onto ships that would fly them back to the surface. Immediately after the first bell sounded, Kore and Yeqon would be whisked back to the ship, where they would finally oversee their hard work. Kore was giddy, if this Game was a success, then a number of avenues would open up for her in the future.

She was already trending on Flutter and Bookend, well, at least the scandal of an implied relationship between her and Yeqon. Kore did what she must to stay relevant, even if it was an imagined illicit romance. "Ms. Mars," Mimi flitted to her side, carrying Kore's holo pod. "A Fotor snapped a foto of your outfit today, they're already speculating on Flutter if you and Mr. Cryo are going to match again." Mimi's mood too, was bright. "We'll have to make sure a Fotor gets another foto of us later then."

She glanced at the time, it was nearly the magic hour. Kore began to head towards the launch bay, where the ships were lined up in preparation. She and Yeqon would be flying separately from the mutants, of course. "Good morning," Kore smiled in greeting upon finding Mr. Cryo. "Did you get the gift I sent?" she asked, hoping that he had enjoyed the bottle and fruit. They were at the loading dock now. In the bay beside them, the mutants were being rounded up to what could possibly by their deaths.

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And so it begins

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The ship was a gleaming silver beacon of polished metal, idling on the dock that would carry them to ruined earth. Kore had never been this close to the shield before, a clear wall that prevented them from being sucked out into the vacuum of space.

The prospect of visiting ruined earth made butterflies flit in her stomach. Kore was rarely ever this nervous, but the idea of hurtling towards earth in a metal craft, coupled with the closeness of the start of the Games made her stomach turn.

So Kore did what a showman does best. She turned to face Yeqon, smiling up at the man who was much taller than she. He was stoic as ever, his body language closed-off, his expression that of a passive observer. Kore, however, did not mind. Kore took a step closer; she needed to keep up airs. They were supposedly Father’s hottest, high-profile couple. ”Did you enjoy the gift I had Mimi drop in your office yesterday?” Kore inquired, her smile polite, but sly.

Behind them, fotors were eating the scene up. Yeqon ignored the foto hungry vultures, glancing down at Kore. A brow on his normally unreadable face had been quirked, he was curious and confused. Kore’s seemingly innocent smile seemed genuine, but it was rare for her to talk about personal matters in public.

Yeqon’s eyes narrowed, gaining an understanding of the larger picture. The fotors grew louder, fighting for a foto. Their once quiet mumbles increased in volume. It only took one short phrase to reach Yeqon’s ears for him to realize Kore’s intentions. Are the rumors about them true?

Mentally, Yeqon sighed. He did question the intention of the gift Kore’s assistant had dropped on his desk the day prior. The strawberries and liquor, the two items that made up Yeqon’s food pyramid. At first, Yeqon had believed that the gift might just be an actual show of appreciation. However, Kore was not such an obvious sentimentalist, along with the continued pressure for them to appear in public in the not-so-subtle matching outfits.

These were not simple coincidences, Kore had a plan… and Yeqon needed to play along.

“Yes...” Yeqon nodded, “it was a pleasant surprise.” He glanced at the fotors sparkling eyes, “I will be sure to return the gesture… Kore.”

Her name sounded strange in his mouth, as though he were tasting the syllables of a newly discovered word. Was this perhaps the first time he had called her by her first name? Kore racked her brain, trying to think back while her smile grew.

To outsiders, it looked as though the two were taking an intimate moment before boarding the ship.

Kore took Yeqon by the elbow, the hatch opening with a hiss, welcoming them into its belly. The interior was just as shiny as the outside, with a sparse amount of furnishings. There were two lounge chairs, pushed near the large window that framed space. On the other side was a table, decorated in refreshments.

Kore released Yeqon once they boarded, away from the eyes of the fotors. ”No need, it was a simple show of appreciation for all you have done thus far.” The door closed as soon as they were inside, the airlock engaging to make certain they would have a safe voyage.

Kore took a seat in one of the chairs by the window, crossing her legs at the ankle. For a moment, an eager child-like expression crossed her face. ”Have you been there before?” Kore asked, gesturing towards the planet. ”To earth, I mean.”

Her partner moved with the grace of a bird, practically gliding across the floor to seat himself in the chair opposite. He straightened his slightly-wrinkled coat sleeve, sighing audibly as he eased himself down. “No,” Yeqon replied curtly, “there was never a need… or a desire.”

He took a brief moment to take in the ship’s interior, noting the effort that the staff had put in to make sure their short trip was comfortable. Yeqon turned away from Kore, resting his head on his hand, his arm supported by the chair. “I assume this is your first time as well?”

Kore spared Yeqon a glance before returning her gaze to the window. ”I’ve never been off of the ships before,” she was enthralled by the orb that was slowly growing closer.

It was rare for the two of them to have a moment of privacy to themselves, much less together. ”That servant of yours, Eon, is it? I was surprised to see him accompany you. I thought he detested the Games,” the ship suddenly lurched, the engines roaring to life. Even within the cozy cabin, they could hear a low drone.

Even with the sudden jerk, Yeqon only slightly adjusted himself. It was easy for him to steady his body and he eased back once more after a moment had passed. Taking a moment to organize his thoughts, Yeqon closed his eyes, while the low drone of the engine no longer idled beneath them.

Most would probably question how Kore acquired such knowledge- a servant’s personal feelings. Especially one, to Yeqon’s knowledge, who Kore had never addressed or personally spoken to the servant in question. Yeqon did not doubt her resourcefulness, in fact, he would be more surprised if Kore didn’t know.
“He… does not find the Games favorable… but he can separate his feelings and duties.” Although that was not necessarily true, Eon based his sudden request to accompany Yeqon solely on emotion.

”How admirable,” it was an open secret among staff that Kore was not favorable towards mutants. It was part of the reason she felt no remorse in taking such a large part in organizing an event like this.

The rest of the journey passed in silence, the ship steady as it docked at the launching station in the middle of the Wastelands. The thrumming beneath their feet died out, the engines having been cut. ”I believe this is our stop.”

The door opened slowly, giving the two their first glimpse of ruined earth.

It was bright, even from where they were seated. The first thing Kore could sense was the immense heat that came off in waves. The next thing Kore noticed was the armada of peace keepers, swathed in tan. They marched up the gangway and onto the ship. ”Welcome Overseers,” a slightly muffled voice came from behind a helmet.

He removed it swiftly, bending at the waist in a bow. ”I am General Mateus, I will be overseeing your safety while you are here with us on earth.”

General Mateus was tall, but not taller than Yeqon. His skin was tanned and his face wrinkled from living in the sun-scorched desert. His hair was gray, perhaps from years of stress, but his eyes were his most striking features. They were the color of amber and around them were crows feet from having smiled so much. The General was a human, indicated by the small patch on his shoulder that separated him from the mutants that worked within the peace keepers.

The General offered a hand for debarking, which Kore gingerly took. ”Thank you, General.” Kore smiled in what appeared to be earnestness. As soon as they emerged, the light became blinding. Kore squinted at its brilliance, putting a hand up so that she could see.

They were led down bits of paved road that someone had swept the sand off that morning towards a tent where the two Overseers would rest until it was time to begin. While they moved, Yeqon got to work. His eyes were quick to adjust to the brightness, his mutant blood aiding him in the adaptation of the familiar atmosphere.

A wave of nostalgia ignited somewhere in the pit of his stomach, the combination of light and heat managing to overcome the steel-forged barrier in Yeqon’s mind. Yeqon looked up again, peering over the horizon. The heatwaves vibrated in the distance and with them, a dark-skinned woman dancing across the sand as though it were her own, personal stage.

She dons foreign clothes, dyed in colors that match her long, black curly hair. Peering out at him from the cloth are a pair of emerald eyes.

A sharp inhale made his chest shake, reminding himself that this was an illusion, that the vision, the woman, were not real. Yeqon squandered the emotions that swelled in his chest, turning his attention towards the general. “Thank you, General Mateus… what percentage of competitors still haven’t arrived?”

He evaluated the security measures while the General rattled off numbers, describing safety procedures and security. While Yeqon knew that he could easily protect himself, the small figure beside him, while there was sometimes a bite to her words, could not defend herself.

“Excellent,” it was a rare moment of praise from the boy. He stopped at the entrance of the tent, “detain any competitors who start or engage in physical altercations… appropriate punishment will be meted out… depending on the severity of the offense.”

General Mateus nodded, bowing quickly before leaving. Yeqon lingered outside the tent for a moment, looking out again at the horizon before ducking inside.

It was cooler, in the tent. “Is something not to your satisfaction?” Yeqon’s voice broke through Kore’s thoughts. It was rare for her to be this quiet. Kore shook her head, indicating that she was fine. ”Nothing, nothing.” In here, there were no cams to watch them, no fotors to pester them. It was oddly quiet.

”I was simply taken aback by it all… it’s… different.” Much hotter than Kore had imagined, she was used to the temperature controlled comfort of the ship.

It would only be a few minutes until General Mateus returned, promising to come and get them once the last ship touched down. Kore looked up at Yeqon’s face, for a moment she had seen a strange look in his eyes, but for once, Kore decided not to comment on it.

Could he possibly have lied to her when he said he had never been to earth before? Kore shook her head, there was no reason for Yeqon to lie about something so trivial. Plenty of homes come to earth for touring, charity work, and diplomatic aid. From what Kore understood, Yeqon was not the lying type either.

”Everything is running smoothly,” she glanced at her holo pod, the display blinking as it struggled to gain a stable connection. She turned it to silent for the time being, since no one would likely be reaching out to her right now. ”If you’d like,” Kore started, turning once again back towards Yeqon, ”After we get off work today, I know a little place. A quiet corner, if you will.”[/color

She took a step closer to him, [color=#0EBFE9]”It’s family owned, the drinks are cheap and the food is good.”
Kore took another step. ”My treat… if you want to, that is?”

He was still hovering near the entrance of the tent, putting a great distance between them. The longing from before had returned, a terrible aching in his chest that longed for this barren wasteland. Yeqon would have liked to put blame on the last few days for his current state, one emotional interaction after another. It had taken a toll on his mental health.

Strangely, however, Yeqon did not mind the current situation. It was pleasant, to be in a place where his every move was not being evaluated through the lens of others. Although there was a certain irony to it. Why else would the very first location he visited on earth in years be the Wastes?

It was Kore that interrupted his thoughts, her small frame entering his field of vision. When had she gotten so close? Yeqon stared down, noticing how little space there was between them. His co-host was incapable of hurting him: physically that is, although she was quite talented in other forms of havoc.

Kore’s expression was earnest, innocent. It made Yeqon immediately wary, his mind trying to put together why she had offered such a thing. Kore was not one to hand out favors unless she had something to gain. “You wish… to arrange a date with me?”

Yeqon tilted his head to the side, staring at Kore with open curiosity. Usually, he would deny any requests for socialization after hours. Yeqon had a habit of not trusting anyone’s intentions. However, at this moment, there was no one watching them. Yeqon had nothing to gain by accepting her request. A small establishment with food and drinks… What was she planning?

“...Is there a reason for this sudden request?... Headlines? Publicity stunt? … A strategy meeting?” Yeqon was blunt, but respectful. He could see no hidden agenda in Kore’s expression and that in itself was dangerous. “... I suppose… I will accept your request… as a thank you for the gift.”

His response was met with a giggle not unlike the chirp of a small bird. ”No, not a date… no.” Kore stepped back, her expression softened. She was very aware that Yeqon did not harbor those sorts of feelings. ”Do two coworkers always need a reason to meet?”

He had accepted her request and that was a small victory. ”I am aware that I am… unpleasant, at times when the cameras are rolling. I’m sure you must understand that living on Father is like being a pawn in a constant game of chess. Always evaluating and planning ahead. Sometimes it’s just nice to step away from that, like right now for instance.”

No cams, no fotors, no listening devices. Not even a holo pod could reach them here.

Yeqon’s brow began to relax, his frown thinning, his body relaxing. While Yeqon was piqued by Kore’s transparency, he was still confused. Was there truly a need to grow closer with those you worked with? Yeqon had determined that meeting outside of work was unnecessary, but he didn’t view Kore as someone with different values.

Yeqon’s opinion of Kore was simple: she was harmless, physically that was. With an animated personality, devoted to her role as Head Overseer, capable, but sometimes manipulative, and cruel. It was an honest observation Yeqon had made after months of working together with her. It was why this situation had fallen outside of his expectations. While Yeqon had agreed, he would still remain wary of Kore’s intentions.

The tent flapped opened, General Mateus stepping back, clearing his throat quickly as though he were worried he had been interrupting something. It only took that small moment for Kore to flip the switch on, her back straightening a bit more, her dazzling smile gracing her lips. ”My apologies, I didn’t realize you two were-” he stopped, glancing up between them.

General Mateus straightened, ”It’s time.” He said at last, getting straight to the point. Kore nodded, adjusting her red veil so that it would further protect her eyes. ”Lead the way,” she smiled, gesturing for him to go first. “We mustn't be late,” Yeqon moved, the General nodding and falling into step. ”Certainly, follow me.”

Their stage was a hover platform, waiting to take them up into the sky, above the startling line. There were ground wires everywhere, fighting to maintain a connection with the ships, so that they could broadcast the footage to any holo screen turned to the right channel.

Behind the starting line were pods, each housing a competitor with a closed gate. They would only open once the countdown had completed.

Kore gingerly walked up the steps of the platform, which buzzed beneath their feet, alive with magnetic energy. A techie waddled over, hunched over awkwardly from years of carrying heavy equipment. ”Pardon the intrusion Ms. Mars, this is your mic.” Kore nodded, smiling, allowing his hands to gently place the little blue clip in her hair braid, beside her ear.

Her mental clock was ticking, they were two minutes behind schedule.

”And Mr. Cryo, this one is yours.” The techie was more intimidated by Yeqon, avoiding his gaze. Yeqon lowered his body, doing his best to help. Yeqon’s mic came in the form of a small, red triangular clip, placed beneath his slicked back hair, right next to his ear.

Once secured, he returned to his full height, smoothing out the white shirt tucked into his belt. Whilst making final preparations, a prop was handed to him. A white fan with gold embroidery that matched his gloves.

They were running two minutes late.


Kore adjusted her dress one last time, the countdown beginning. ”And we’re live in 3...2..” A hand pointed their way, indicating that the cams were now connected.

Kore strode across the stage as the platform lifted, a cloud of cams following them upwards. She flashed a dazzling smile, having prepared for this very moment for ages. ”After months of preparation, the moment you’ve all been waiting for is finally here!” Behind her, music blared, the sound of trumpets coming from a speaker somewhere on the platform. ”You know the drill,” Kore winked, her eyes glittering. This was her arena, her very own Game.

”Once that clock reaches zero, the doors will open and our competitors will spend the next week zipping across the desert terrain on a death defying quest to reach the finish line!”

Kore bound over to Yeqon’s side, who had settled into his role, following her lead, always in the exact place he needed to be. Yeqon’s contributions to the commentary included small, but noticeable nods and maneuvers with his new accessory. ”As Head Overseers, you can expect to see our faces plenty! As we give you morning and evening updates on all of your favorite competitors!”

Kore pointed towards the sky, where the projector displayed a large number 10. ”Without further ado, let’s begin the countdown!” The holographic clock flickered, eager to begin.

Yeqon’s cold demeanor had diminished just a little to match Kore’s warmth. He used his fan artfully, letting it naturally cover the bottom half of his face. His eyes, normally cold and inexpressive, appeared animated thanks to the elusive positioning.

The time had come at last, Kore pointed towards the sky and Yeqon lifted his fan, pointing too. With a cheer, the countdown commenced.

”3… 2… 1! Let the Games begin!” Fireworks were launched from somewhere around them, illuminating the sky, even in daylight. They popped at a dizzying height above them, the sound minimal compared to the thrumming of Kore’s heart in her own eardrums.

Beneath them, dust kicked up on the desert floor. The first motorbike had escaped its confines, zipping across the sand covered road. Kore watched, feeling a sense of pride swell within her. Slowly, she peeled her eyes away from the sight.

It was time to return to Father, to oversee the Game.