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Impending Pursuit

Father

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a part of Impending Pursuit, by The_Queen.

Not Daddy

The_Queen holds sovereignty over Father, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

862 readers have been here.

Setting

The second largest ship in the Prime fleet.
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Father

Not Daddy

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Father is a part of Impending Pursuit.


Setting

Characters Present

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



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

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

Well, he had voluntarily signed up for this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Character Portrait: Yeqon
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#, as written by Scra
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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.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ljilja
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Mining Claim 4008 - Sector Džhe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"How do you know?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Promise?" she pleaded.

"Da. Promise."



The Unwanted Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

"You are free to go."

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Here―Room 43."

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

"You drink plenty of water, now."

Ljilja nodded.

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

Ljilja swiped her bracelet along the receiver and stepped inside.

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

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

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

Is happiness worth dying for?

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

How do I know if it's worth it?

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

But we try with our everything like we do.

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

"Do we know where this girl went?"

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

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

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

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Location: Father








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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Character Portrait: Ljilja Character Portrait: Kore
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Room 43

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

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

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

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

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

"Come along, little fish," Jaden commanded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If he survived the encounter to come, that was.

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A Quick Bout of Chess

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




"That mute is a monster."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Yeah."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Character Portrait: Leo Behrends
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Location: Father








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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Kill that bastard!"

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

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

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

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

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