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Aberrant: Children of Quantum Fire - Rainbow Room IV: Acts of Desperation


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March 28, 2027

The Rainbow Room was already hopping, even though it was early. Infinity hated being here this early but her ride here had his own schedule to keep, and that hadn’t meshed well with the time difference between the Nursery and Ibiza. So Infinity was here dreadfully early. Thankfully, she looked good tonight. Sadly, she looked like shit compared to all the other women here. That wasn’t unusual, but it still made her sad and angry. Infi was all too used to both emotions and her movements were jerky as she lit up a cigar. Usually, she preferred cloves, but cigars were a little classier.

Still, a bouncer showed up within a few minutes. Infi growled under her breath as she turned to face him with a smile, as if she didn’t know that she couldn’t smoke on the main floor. The skinny girl didn’t need to deal with rules or a bouncer. She was waiting for Norman, and if she went to a side room, she might miss him. “Sorry, ma’am, but no smoking on the main floor,” the guy as wide as a mountain said. She would have known he was a bouncer even without the wide shoulders. He was very polite as he firmly insisted, “You’ll need to go to a private room or put it out.”

“Really?” Infi sighed, letting the last stream of smoke roll from between her lips. “What kind of club doesn’t let you smoke? That sucks.”

“Dem’s the rules, ma’am,” he told her, still smiling.

Infinity nodded, even as she wondered what she was going to do for her nerves until Norman showed. Well, fuck until – when he showed. Just the thought of him brought a hot flush to her pale skin and a nervous, involuntary smile. Bending over, she stubbed her cigar out on the sole of her boot and held up the dead cherry for examination. He nodded and wandered away, as Infi sighed and began to pick at the wrapper of the cigar. It seemed a shame to waste it, but if she couldn’t smoke it, she needed to be doing something with her hands besides drinking. If she was wasted when Norman came over, things would be that much worse.

Her hands tugged at her outfit, fretting. Jesus, this was ridiculous. She didn’t even know if he was going to be here. He just hadn’t been around the Nursery and she missed him – desperately. Come on, she moaned to herself as her fingers danced over the lacey skirt of her dress. Please, Norman.

Her dress:


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"Infi.. " The voice that spoke from behind her was the one she was hungering for so desperately, the man she had been missing like it was her own heart or breath and that perfect voice that sent thrills down the spine, she wasn't the only 2nd generation terat, or first generation who was in love with him, but she had grown up around him, and he'd always treated her with kindness, even when others began to tease and torment her out of revenge, or to try and bring out the true power in her that seems buried deeper then the earth's core, Norman had protected her from jealousy and torment, and he'd never done the other thing that she hated, treated her with pity that some of the one's who hadn't been mean to her had.

"I heard you asking for me." Considering that he could hear things for miles away without really trying, it at least indicated that he had responded to her voice, and he put an arm around her shoulders in a friendly manner. "Lovely dress, what do you need?"

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For Maia this trip served a myriad of purposes. Justin was off with Shen, Her uncle had expressed a desire to speak with him singularly, one that was in a tone that indicated No wasn't an acceptable answer. With Alex's own inquiry fresh in her mind, She'd asked her to come along for this as well. A phone call later secured Jason's agreement to come along, should Morri need a friend she'd known abit longer than her younger sister, and one of Maia's other sisters.

She'd chosen an outfit that brought out all of Morri's good qualities, though wasn't so revealing or provocative as to have people, men in particular coming up to her and touching her. That would be bad beyond belief. Reaching out over the network, Alex, I'm going to get Morri, and then you, or you can have Warren transport you here. Are you wearing the dress I laid out for you?" It wasn't the height of fashion, but the silver with blue highlight dress seemed made to accent Alex in Maia's mind, and her practiced eye had told her it would be a perfect fit unless Alex had reversioned herself. Of course she also knew Alex could simply make a dress to suit her needs with minimal effort, but if she was serious about it, Maia had told her to try it the simple, normal way first.

She herself was dressed in a form-fitting green dress, backless of course, with a slit on the right side that reached mid-thigh. It was one of the less ostentatious dresses she'd gotten from her modelling shoots, and one she truly liked. "God willing it stays in one piece tonight."

She approached Morri's room with little trepidation. She wasn't afraid of being stabbed, not because she was tough, but because she was thoroughly female. Besides that, Morri had asked for this. While the Rainbow room was not Maia's first choice, it was perhaps the safest place to bring her, in as much as some of the men who would potentially be here might actually survive getting stabbed, once.

She knocked on the door. "Morri, it's Maia, are you almost ready to go?"

This would be the first step Maia hoped, and a good start to getting to know her sisters, she silently prayed.

Jason would meet them in the garden, where Warren would then transport them all the Rainbow Room together.

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Puck watched from a little ways away, having come to the Rainbow Room with Infinity but separating long enough to get a drink and let her have her foul smelling cancer stick...tube...whatever euphamism there was for a cigar...away from him. Like her, he was dressed mostly in black, though he wore a button-up shirt, opened at the collar, with black slacks and a studded belt and wristband. An exquisitely detailed obsidian-colored robin hung from his left ear on a slender black loop, his only other jewelry apart from the armband. He'd caught the altercation with the bouncer, smiling when she put the damn thing out instead of going outside to finish it. He looked her over as she fidgeted with her dress, wanting to walk over and put his arms around her waist and kiss her on the neck to reassure her. Instead, he leaned against the bar and ordered a Sierra Mist. She was here for Norman and any such a display of intimate affection from Puck right now would only annoy and stress her out with the thought that Norman would think she was dating him, instead of desperately available for the leader of the Children of Teras.

He sighed, shaking his head with a sensual but firm smile at a woman slithering up next to him to ask for a dance. "Later maybe, luv," he said, his accent somewhat exotic and impossible to place.

The serpentine nova, beautifully adorned in iridescent green and silver scales followed the youth's gaze over to Norman and Infinity; hardly missing that Puck's gaze was on the plain gothed-out girl. She hissed in irritated confusion, "She is not worthy of you. Look at her. Does she even belong here? Come, dance with me. I will show you what beauty and pleasure really are."

Puck set the glass down, careful not to break it on the bar, and slowly turned narrowed eyes on his would-be dance partner. "Da'ken," he said with the heat of a curse word. He leaned in close to the snake-woman, his voice pitched low and dangerous as his body radiating barely controlled rage. Even then, she wanted to reach out and close the distance between them, to caress him until he thought only of her and the time they could -would- spend together in a more private room. "Listen very carefully to me. I am not going to dance with you. After this, I'm not going to talk to you for the rest of the evening. She is more worthy to be here than some arrogant bitch that can't look beyond a pretty face or a lack of some neon sign proclaiming her a nova. Now, go away before you embarrass yourself any further."

The woman blink and stepped back, hissing now in anger. The man wasn't particularly imposing and certainly at least hadn't put the frightening force behind his heated statements that some novas could destroy a person's mind with, but his words stung. She huffed and spun with inhuman grace away from him, stalking across the room to pull another partner onto the dance floor, one nearly as beautiful as Puck, dancing erotically enough that in other company it might have been considered pornographic. Puck never so much as glanced in her direction as he returned his attention to his companion on the man she was in love with. Oh, Infi, why can't you move on? He's in love with that other girl, the one from outside the Nursery. Either offer yourself to him and accept the consequences, or don't and find someone else to love.

It hurt him to see her so unsure of herself, so deeply committed to someone she couldn't even bring herself to be honest with. He would have struck out at Norman's cluelessness or carelessness or cruelty, whatever it was, but that wouldn't do Infinity any good and might cost Puck everything he shared with her. Also, he admitted privately, Norman could probably socially squash him like a tiny little bug if he tried. As confident as he was in himself, he knew his limits and he had seen at the Nursery some of the power of Orziaz's son. "E'lana dae ken. Sayet dovanish, Puck," he spoke quietly to himself, the sounds melodious and delicately inflected.

He picked his drink up again and sipped at it, pulling himself out of his reverie to resume his duties as Infinity's unofficial and very, very subtle (for his own sake, as Infinity would skin him alive if she caught his intentions) chaperone.

Puck has used the Voice on the serpentine nova, with the command bolded.

The non-English, italicized words Puck is speaking are obviously a foreign language to anyone listening, though no one is capable of translating it or even naming it. His thoughts are also in that same language, but written in English for exposition and clarity in the game. Characters may learn the language from Puck, if he agrees to teach them, but that is the only way to translate what he is saying short of telepathic scanning.

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Darrik had heard through the grapevine that Alex of all people was going to the Rainbow Room. Even though he had varying relations with all of his foster family, he did care for all of them. Which meant that Alex not becoming some cold machine in mentality as well as in body was not only happy to hear... he wanted to be in the vicinity to observe if the mood struck him. Also, he had time in that pleasant setting to think.

He was going to join the Teragen, affiliate himself with the Pandemonium. But he did not intend to favor one faction within the Pandemonium over the other. Darrik was in many parts a hedonist. But he could also appreciate the art of Chang's circle, and the peaceful and useful alternative path to resolving these baseline-novas was also something he admired. Hence of late his old accounts were being used again. From tutelage at various homes in economics, they were being re-activated to accrue wealth as an important and useful tool. Darrik could be a patron if not a painter.

How could the Renaissance have truly occurred without the support of the Italian princes who admired the fruits of their client's labors, after all?

Entering the Rainbow Room, clad in what was shaped into a semi-formal style attire of silver slacks and cashmere like shirt, Darrik decided to forgo the dancing at first, and made his way to the bar. Not far from Puck, he ordered an rich dark wine, and clearly had the cash to pay for his glass. After graciously accepting his drink, he leaned back to observe the scene. Norman was there, and in conversation with a nova girl whose expression clearly stated she was utterly in love with him.

A mite unfortunate, they clearly knew each other, but she probably didn't know about Cora. Or did and felt the same anyway. So interestingly, when Darrik regarded the rather sensual youth not far down from himself, he was noticing that the youth had his eyes in that direction, though the tensing and infinitesimal quirks of the mouth gave away that he too held concerns about the dark-haired girl mooning over Norman. A friend or would-be lover?

No, not so much longing. A friend then. Darrik turned his quiet observation on Infinity. “Love Norman all your days, if you choose, but don't let it spoil you, for it's wicked to throw away so many good gifts because you can't have the one you want.” He opined to himself and to the girl as if she could hear it. "I hope it occurs to you, miss."

Darrik has Blind Bewitchment: Hearing now, btw.
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I'll meet you at Morrigan's, came Alex's carefully timed mental response.

She lingered a moment though, looking at herself in the full length mirror she'd conjured up for the purpose. The dress fit, of course, though she'd adjusted her measurements a bit, and then those of the dress to match. A little taller, a little older-looking, perhaps. Hair longer and more flowing. A bit less bosom so she could slim down a bit.

Or was that too 'supermodelly?' She narrowed her eyes, staring at her reflection. It was still recognizably her, but the changes were clearly visible too. She thought this look was more 'club-like' than her usual, but did she want someone to be attracted to a look that wasn't 'real'?

She'd ask Maia. Yes, that was probably best. Of course, with Maia along, any attempt to look good on her own part was probably wasted...but so it went. There was only one Maia and she was spoken for. The rest of the poor saps would have to settle.

Alex took a deep breath, held it for a second, then blew it out. Useless for metabolic purposes, but it still had a calming effect on her for some reason. She then turned away as the mirror broke apart into disintegrating blobs of light and vanished, and headed for Morrigan's room.

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Jason hung up the phone with a graceful pass of a slim finger across the touch-screen, then glided into her walk in closet to pick out something to wear. She generally only went to Ibiza for business and the occasional QNA event - and to visit Andy and Jake - and while going to the Rainbow Room with a bunch of second-geners who could barely be called adults wasn't exactly one of her preferred activities, after their moonlight talk, she wanted to be there for Morri, for moral support.

And true, she hadn't gone out for a night on the town in a while. So when Danica had pleaded to go to the Den of Dragons, at the very least to see Ichigo again, Jason had fretted, then reluctantly agreed to her spending a day and night there on a trial basis. But only after getting assurances from the Headmaster and calling upon several of her many, many friends and contacts to ensure Danica's safety. It wasn't easy to let her go, even only this far.

But, if she was being truthful with herself, she was also feeling a bit lascivious, horny if she wanted to be blunt about it. And whereas she hadn't found anybody she'd consider seeing intimately beyond a casual dalliance - and there were millions if not billions willing to accept such with her - she was hardly easy. She needed something more than just simple, carnal chemistry. Debating between calling up a friend or just seeing what might interest her at the Rainbow Room, Jason got dressed.

A striking, sensual pant-suit of glistening, obsidian soieleau, the short jacket was cut to sit high and tight to her spectacular bust. A pair of perfect, swelling curves and a long line of enticing cleavage was revealed by the gaping jacket buttoned below her breasts and the low cut of her snug, deep magenta corset-top.. The slacks showcased the peerless curves of her behind and thighs, then hung loose over the pair of strappy stilettos that matched her top. It was a look just a tiny bit too casual to be called sophisticated, but was all the way ravishing.

Using one hand, she coiled her lengthy locks of silver hair on top of her head in an artfully mussy updo, tastefully wild tendrils hanging to frame her face and drape down one side of her elegant neck, interwoven with a twisting wire of obsidian and amethyst she had fashioned out of her eufiber. To finish the ensemble, she put on an understated watch of unisex design and as ever, hung her and Danielle's blue-diamond wedding rings around her neck. She caressed the infinitely-faceted rings wistfully, then let them nestle in her cleavage, the indigo gemstone wink in and out of visibility.

She pocketed her phone and several other items into the slender pockets of her jacket, glanced around her Whistler home to make sure she wasn't forgetting anything, kissed her fingers and pressed them to a pair of framed photos of her daughter and wife, then vanished, an ephemeral, soothing balm sliding over her flesh.

Jason reappeared in the royal gardens, one of the only people entrusted to do so, looking every inch the Bombshell she had been known as she since she erupted. She sat down on a bench to await the others, crossing her legs, a hint of the impossibly beguiling, captivating goddess the entire world had fallen in love and lust with she typically restrained peeking through.

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"Infi.. " The voice that spoke from behind her was the one she was hungering for so desperately, the man she had been missing like it was her own heart or breath and that perfect voice that sent thrills down the spine, she wasn't the only 2nd generation terat, or first generation who was in love with him, but she had grown up around him, and he'd always treated her with kindness, even when others began to tease and torment her out of revenge, or to try and bring out the true power in her that seems buried deeper then the earth's core, Norman had protected her from jealousy and torment, and he'd never done the other thing that she hated, treated her with pity that some of the one's who hadn't been mean to her had.

"I heard you asking for me." Considering that he could hear things for miles away without really trying, it at least indicated that he had responded to her voice, and he put an arm around her shoulders in a friendly manner."Lovely dress, what do you need?"

Her heart slammed into overdrive as once again she considered how very much she liked the color blue. "Norman, thank Mal!" She used her faux-relief at seeing him to steal a full-on hug. As she pressed her nose into his sexy, sexy collarbone, she lightly inhaled his scent. She had to be careful about it; he was very perceptive. "I've been hoping you would come! It's terrible! I've just learned that there's a Upie plot underway to track us using a nefarious satellite system!" Her red eyes were very wide, shimmering in the light of the club as she gazed up at him with an expression of true relief. Her hands rested on his (broad, sexy, firm, sculpted, yummy, etc, etc) shoulders as she looked at him like the last piece of cake in fat camp. "Norman... the Teragen needs you to save the day." The last was uttered with such complete sincerity despite her campy delivery that the handsome Terat wanted to believe her. As his expression showed his dubiousness, she grinned at him and said, "Oooorrr... you've been gone for so long that I was starting to forget what you looked like and wanted to see my friend." She poked him playfully in his (manly, sexy, ripped, hot, drool-worthy, awesome, etc, etc) ribs and added, "It's not always a life or death emergency, you know. I can just want to see you. Naked. In my bed. In the Bahamas. Underneath me.

"So," she said, snuggling back under his arm and putting her arm around his (trim, sexy, toned, lickable, mind-blowing, etc, etc) waist, "what's been keeping you so busy?" And if you say Cora, Coraline, girlfriend or any synonym for girlfriend, I swear to Mal that I will hire Totentanz to stab her right in the eye.

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"It is good to see you also, my friend, as to what I've been doing, let's just say I spent this last week visiting every planet in the solar system... here, have a rock." He dropped what seemed to be a smooth rock in her hand, it was dark as could be but also smooth as a pearl, but more oblong in shape. "I took it from the moons of Jupiter." He didn't mention Coraline at all, he knew that Infinity had an issue with her, and didn't feel like dealing with her sulking or throwing a temper tantrum, or plotting against Cora, actually, his wish was for them to be friends, he would simply have to think about doing that without being too direct.

Oh, he could force a friendship between them, he had that level of capability, but that would hardly be proper, or fair to either of them, there were other options available to him also, some of them were very strongly tempting. It would surprise folks some to discover just how much being fair and honorable mattered to Norman, in part it was due to how much he'd seen things being unfair in the nursery, especially with regards to Infinity, who was a dear friend to him, but there were other reasons too.

Norman actually knew Infinity's feelings, shoot, with his degree of perception, it was almost impossible for him not too, but he pretended not too, and would continue to do so until she said something about it. For that matter, he thought she had to be aware that he knew everything, even if it was subconscious rather the conscious, but was willing to pretend as long as he was not going to press the matter.

"And what have you been doing with yourself, Infinity?"

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She knocked on the door. "Morri, it's Maia, are you almost ready to go?"

“Yes, just a moment. I need to say goodbye to Tahir,” Morri told her ‘sister’. She was definitely not ready to go. The entire idea scared her, but Morri couldn’t live in the cage of fear anymore. Ein said that she left it a little more everyday; well, this was a big step out for her. The people, noise and lights would be hard to bear, but she loved to dance. And clubs were a place to dance.

They were also a place for sex, but she was trying not to think about that.

Her dress was pretty; Maia had insisted on her wearing something other than traditional Congolese garments. She’d wanted her to wear something more urbane. Morri wondered if urbane in this case was just generic. If she found that she really didn’t like it, she could change it. That was the point of eufiber, after all. The tan dress was nice – not too short or revealing, though it did leave one shoulder bare. The texture was interesting, too. Maia had described some jewelry that would look good, and of course, she had on her circlet. She rarely went anywhere without it now.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Tahir asked from his bed. They had discussed him going, but after she’d described how the inside of clubs looked and sounded, he’d been far less enthused. He wasn’t as into dancing as she was, so it didn’t hold that lure.

“I want to try,” Morri told him, fiddling with the gold bracelets around her wrist. She’d kept some Congolese flavor with her accessories; the bracelets were golden beads, while the armband around her upper arm was designed with the heraldry that Ein had instituted for his country. Gold rings swung in her ears while a linked chain of golden links shone at her neck. “I will have fun, if I can just get over myself.”

“What does that mean?” Tahir asked, tilting his head.

Morri smiled sadly as she sat on the bed and gave him a hug. “It means that the battle I fight tonight is with myself, not with anyone else.”

Tahir nodded. “I would come, if you need me.”

“I’ve come this far by clinging to Einherjar,” Morri said quietly. Though if felt like her heart was in a vice to say it, she murmured, “I need to let go of him, like that. I appreciate your offer but I cannot trade one crutch for another.”

She still felt weak for wishing Ein were coming.

The red-eyed beauty gave Tahir another hug and rose. She looked back and waved before slipping through the door to join Maia. “I am ready,” she said simply.

Maia pointed downward. “You forgot something.”

Morri followed her gaze and frowned. “I never wear shoes. I am a nova. Why must I?”

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At this point, a painfully average teenage nova drifted out of the crowd towards Norman and Infinity, her quantum aura so subtle as to be nonexistant and only the fact her feet didn't quite touch the ground truly marking her as a nova. She paused in front of the two, openly studying them with a half-smile on her lips, a smile born not out of any quantum besotment but out of sheer natural human happiness at seeing the azure nova.

Norman returned the look curiously, about to ask what she wanted, but was cut off by the smile deepening and the girl quietly stating, "You don't recognize me, do you?"

"No, why should I..," he began only to be cut off again by a happy chuckle that splintered into a chorus of chuckles, the girl quite literally blooming out of a cloud of her own disolving skin into a sense of power that could be challenged by only a handful of novas in the world, eufiber dress adjusting here and there and there to allow for the subtle and not so subtle shifting proportions of the newly revealed Coraline Boehm, the same natural joy dancing in her blue-on-black eyes.

The smile endured on her enchanting features, taking in Infinity with only the mildest degree of caution, "I'm sorry to interupt your conversation, Norman, but I've been wanting to see if I could catch you offguard after a week of having you to myself. Who's this I see clinging to your arm?"

Cora came in there with a Ms Nobodied Husk, turned it off.

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She'd taken most of Maia's suggestions well, why this one was difficult was beyond Maia. "I realize that, but just humor me. I promise, later if you want you can take them off, but at least for now I want you to wear them."

Her voice was that tone she'd used often with Cora when they were younger, the older sister patiently explaining to the younger why clothing was indeed necessary.

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Chang Zha-Yang was in an irregular mood.

It was rare for her to be seen on any of the main dance floors. Sometimes she came out and stilled the club with a song, very occasionally she danced. Most of the time she slipped through back rooms and quiet alcoves only her and hers knew of, listening, watching. The club ran more smoothly when she wasn’t visible, in her opinion.

But today she felt she ought to be seen.

Accordingly, her raven’s wing hair flowed down into a rather traditional chong-sam, the single breasted tunic well known in China, and ironic on a woman with not one but three breasts beneath it. Her cock warped the fabric, but not over-much. She had her shaft cocooned in hair and had partially stretched her body around it so that it was sunk into her flesh a ways. The chong-sam was blue with gold patterning that, taken as a whole and studied, seemed to show figures at war. Those who looked closest might pick out peculiarities, that figures were falling in some places, being helped to their feet in others. The ones who knew her best would know it to be a representation of her own ideas about Teras.

Other than the Chong-Sam, Chang wore long silken gloves and thigh-high, stiletto-heeled boots in blue, leaving all other flesh on display. Dark tattoos swirled across most of that, all of them artful and moody. The white rain drop under her right eye was alone on her face, though, a solitary reminder of everything she swore to herself so long ago.

After her talk with Sakura in Kinshasa, life had become an awful lot more crowded. Lucrezia sold the diamond more than a week ago, and the huge amount of capital from that was already eagerly racing towards zero.

Being seen would, sooner or later, bring someone to her table. A supplicant, a peer, an enemy or an ally yet to come, someone would visit her table. And maybe she could secure some additional funding or other support. She would need to be circumspect, of course, which raised other problems. Chang was a poor liar, and she knew it.

They needed help, but could trust nobody to provide it.

Money alone could buy a lot, but security in this world took more than money. Proteus were everywhere or so it seemed, lurking in the shadows waiting to swoop down and deal explosively with anything involving the two words ‘Nova’ and ‘Children’ in any form of combination. The group seemed not to be as omnipresent as they were in the past, but the USB drive Darrik left her seemed to suggest that Proteus were still clinging to Utopia’s teat and suckling on its information, something supported by their own sources.

And Utopia… Utopia really was everywhere. It had not been Proteus who flattened the Amp Room, but Utopia, and Team Tomorrow. If they went after the world’s hottest club once, they could surely be manipulated into doing it again.

Caestus Pax, bless his cotton socks, had never struck Chang as the most discerning of Novas.

Normally, all of this would be fine. The Teragen were adept at getting things done in the shadow-places that Utopia could not see into. Only her plan could be interpreted as a direct opposition to both Mal and Bounty, the one the beloved leader of her entire group, and the other highly popular on the Pantheon. And there was always Scrambler lurking in the wings like some sort of poisonous snake, ready to strike and watch her twitch and die from his venom. He would be all over this if word escaped her inner circle. Nobody, nobody, was more eager to get news of her comings and goings than Scrambler.

Her hand twitched into a fist. He dogged her. Even after all these years, after she had surpassed him in chrysalis, he found a way to torment her.

As The Mirror Queen, Chang could have destroyed him easily. Scrambler was powerful, but he could be reached. Poison or some artful evisceration could be put together with a few whispered words. That was not her way, though. Nor did she encourage it.

Scrambler deserved her hatred. That was why she could never allow herself to hate him.

Chang heard Shiv’s approach long before she arrived. Shiv was one of the most distinctive of the Rainbow Room’s inhabitants, just because of how she dressed, but it was her stride that gave her away for Chang. Elegant, poised, yet peculiar because of the short length of her steps and the strange amount of distance they covered. That and the sound of leather creaking and her soft moans made her unmistakable.

She did not turn her head to look. Shiv was making her way around the club towards her, looping wide around the dance floor. She was propositioned on the way, of course. It would be hard not to when presented with someone dressed like her.

Chang noticed the arrivals. Puck and Infinity first, the latter she knew of through Puck but had never met. The girl stuck out in the Rainbow Room in what most would say was the wrong way, being thin and flat everywhere she could be rounded and curvy. Not that looks mattered much in the end, but those who visited the Rainbow Room had an annoying habit of becoming fixated on them. It bothered the girl. She could tell that by the way she looked around, the twitches of emotion on her face. In some ways it made her more interesting than the heaving dance floor and the tables full of novas drinking, laughing, and relaxing.

Norman arrived at the same time that Shiv made her way to Chang’s table-self. Those who knew what to look for would know she had made it of her own morphic flesh. There were no stains of spilt drink, it looked too new, and there was unusual ornamentation around the edges, little patches of gold and silver.

“My queen,” Shiv said.

Chang watched Infinity a moment longer and then turned to Shiv. As always her eyes were hidden by the faceless red leather mask, her body a wonder of bondage leather, her back arched extravagantly by the way her arms were tied behind her back, linked at the wrists by a white scarf. Much had changed in Shiv since coming to Chang. These days the clothes seemed a part of her quantum signature, as much central to her self-image as Chang’s.

Shiv lowered to one knee, a movement given eerie elegance by the impossibility of her pose. She should have been stumbling, not moving with flawless and cat-like grace. “A message for you,” she whispered. Her breasts, mostly on display but for a leather strap across the nipples that lead to a padlock, rippled and swelled, growing close together.

Chang plunged her hand between them. She felt herself reaching into… somewhere. Some place hidden both inside Shiv and somewhere else entirely, and then a most peculiar muscular contraction. Those perfect, huge breasts squeezed against her, pushing, and Chang felt a slip of paper enter her fingers.

She pulled her hand out, and Shiv rose once more.

Spreading the paper on the table, Chang saw a series of phone numbers and names. All of these were different sources on construction personnel for the crèche. Trustworthy sorts that the Teragen used often. Most importantly, these were housed in Ibiza, and most belonged in whole or part to members of the Pandaimonion. “Thank you, Shiv, that will be all for now. How goes the evening?”

“Very well, my Queen. The dancers dance, the players play. There are few tensions tonight,” Shiv replied, settling back into her arched posture. Something about the angle threw the light onto the pattern of autumn leaves on her bared left shoulder.

Chang’s breath caught a little. Shiv was a very, very delicious woman.

At that moment, she overheard Puck’s encounter with Lameea. The name was a horrible spelling of ‘Lamia’ because that name had been taken when she tried to register it with Apellate-Lexington. Of course, when she joined the Pandaimonion she ‘reclaimed’ her ‘true’ name, but nobody let her forget the embarrassment.

She smiled to overhear Puck’s dismissal. A little harsh, perhaps, but he had a temper on him and limited patience. Not that the dismissal was not warranted, or undeserved in principle, nor in fact did Chang think the matter settled. She intended to fix that.

“Shiv,” Chang said.

“My queen?”

“Lameea. I will speak with her.” Her voices were a four-toned panoply of disappointment and annoyance. Razorspine the other week, now Lameea tonight… she would need to have words with Narcosis as well.

“Of course, my queen. I trust from your tones that you intend to ruin her evening.”

“Oh, I very much expect so.”

Shiv moved past her, heading for the dance floor.

Chang pondered at this. Some would say she had no right to drag someone off the dance floor and upbraid them, especially not a fellow Terat who called another their mentor. But it didn’t take a mentor to teach an important lesson. If necessary, she could always take the ‘she was annoying my student’ line.

Her eyebrows rose when Coraline made her spectacular appearance, and she marvelled that she had not noticed the girl on the dance floor. To be able to hide so effectively was a definite advantage.

The second generation is a wonderful thing, she thought.

The sound of slithering scales came closer, and closer. She heard Lameea slither up the steps, with Shiv’s off-sequence step just behind.

“Lameea, my queen,” Shiv said, drawing out the ‘e’ sound to a mocking length. That earned her an angry hiss.

The Mirror Queen turned to regard her. She was beautiful, no doubt of that, her scales iridescent, serpent eyes deep and lusty, her fangs elegant in her mouth. She was very much the sort of thing Narcosis loved. Someone the baselines could like, but who was on the edge of acceptability, and clearly a Nova celebrating Nova beauty. Also, unbeknownst to many, excellent with cosmetics.

“Hello, Lameea,” she said. “And Shiv, I would like a drink. Alchemist red.”

“Chang,” was the single, simple reply.

“That was not courteous,” The Mirror Queen said, raising her right hand and morphing it slowly into an ornate obsidian goblet. “It’s best to be respectful in another Nova’s house. Don’t you agree?”

Lameea clenched her teeth, set her jaw. Already she would be feeling the overwhelming weight of The Mirror Queen’s disapproval, and she was fighting it. If she were to focus those feelings, though…

Shiv dropped to one knee at Chang’s side. “If you would, my queen.”

Chang deftly took the jade key from the ring of pearls around Shiv’s neck and unlocked her. The leather strap fell away from her breasts, spilling them out. Her cleavage swelled, and a wine bottle emerged. Then the flesh surged and warped into a pair of fleshy hands that removed the bottle, then the cork, and poured wine into Chang’s hand-goblet.

Lameea watched, her eyes radiating a queer sort of confused arousal. Shiv had that effect at times.

“This is not your house,” Lameea said, her voice a little thick. “You just live here. Narcosis built this house for Andy Vance while you were busy donating millions to zip charities.” She hissed, voice as venomous as her fangs. “You’re just his invited guest.”

The Mirror Queen fixed her with a steady stare. “True, true, true and true again, you’re on a roll. Unfortunately, this is not about me. It’s about you, and that little encounter with Puck.” She sipped her drink. It was heady and strong. Shiv recorked the bottle, sucked it away again, and used her flesh-hands to strap herself back in once more. With last flickering flesh tendrils she locked the padlock, and returned the key to its place on her necklace, before rising and moving to flank Lameea once again.

“Puck,” Lameea said, turning away to look back over at the glorious young Nova. “Is that his name?”

“Given the lack of a hat from which I could pick the name from, that would be a reasonable assumption,” Chang said. “Though I suppose you could argue Shiv’s copious cleavage qualifies as a stand-in.”

Lameea did not reply to that. “I did nothing wrong.”

“He seems to believe you embarrassed yourself. I concur with his appraisal, but unlike him I am not content to allow you to embarrass me and the Pandaimonion and indeed the entire Teragen any further.”

The serpentine nova bristled. “You have no right to talk to me like that,” Lameea hissed, her expression haughty and eyes burning with irritation.

The Mirror Queen raised her cup-hand to her lips. “I have the right to talk to whomever I wish, child, and in whatever tones I desire. Or are you so deluded as to think you can either stop me or slither away?”

She seemed to consider it, but glanced over her shoulder.

Shiv’s arms had come ever-so-slightly loose. The white silk scarf which tied her wrists no longer bound them so obviously. Her posture was beginning to normalize. Everyone in the Pandaimonion knew what it meant for Shiv to untie her own hands. It meant you were dead.

Lameea began to shake, and turned abruptly back to The Mirror Queen. “You wouldn’t-“

“What?” The Mirror Queen said, and sipped her drink. She looked up at Lameea, but nobody who saw their exchange would think that meant a thing. “Now. Repeat to me what you said about that lady over there,” The Mirror Queen said, nodding over towards the doors, where Infinity was chatting with Norman, Darrik and now Coraline. “Before Shiv unties herself and bleeds you.”

The Mirror Queen nodded, listening to the girl stumble over her words. Her coils trembled as she spoke, and The Mirror Queen’s mismatched and glowing eyes glared at her. “I see,” she whispered when the brief recounting came, her four voices a sibilant hiss not unlike Lameea’s own. “So you believe it is the right way of the One Race to judge one another by outward appearance? Is that it?”

Lameea pressed her lips together, as if being silent would help. Her expression said it all. ‘I am beautiful and she is not, she should make way for me and I should have my desires. The weak should bow before the strong, and my strength is beauty.’

“Speak, child.”

“And if I refuse?” Her voice was haughty.

The Mirror Queen narrowed her eyes. “Then I will be… upset.”

Lameea swallowed. She glanced over her shoulder at Shiv, who stood silent behind her, listening, straight backed. Her ruby red lips were quirked in a smile, and her arms were very nearly free. “She is an ugly creature. She offends my senses. She stands between me and someone I desire to fuck. I have the right to-“

“You have the right, yes. You have the right to anything as a Nova. But I have the right to ask Shiv to flay the skin from your flesh and hang you out to dry,” The Mirror Queen whispered. “Admittedly I would never to do such a thing, because she’s altogether more creative than me in that particular arena, but I could make the tiniest gesture with my spare hand, and she would know what to do. I have the right to undo all you have done, appropriate your resources, destroy your endeavours, and crush you into a pitiful ball in my metaphorical fist. Why should I not do this?”

Lameea shook, now, in fear. “I-I haven’t done anything to you. You don’t know that girl. Why would you care?”

Chang’s smile was sweetness and poison. “How could you possibly know who I do or don’t know? She is a friend of Puck’s obviously, and Puck is my student. For all you know, she could be another of my students. She is not, in fact, but a friend of my students is a friend of mine and I am reliably informed that I’m a very powerful friend to have.” She snorted, and sipped her drink. With her other hand, she shooed her away. “Meditate on this truth, Lameea. If you lord your gifts over others, you must accept the same from those who tower high above. Now be gone. Your presence offends me.”

She slithered off with impressive speed, returning to her sanctuary on the dance floor. Her movements had a desperate energy to them now, though. She would settle. Probably.

“Will that be all, my queen?” Shiv said, her hands now behind her back again, the scarf sliding over them like it had a life of its own, knotting and tieing and bending her back into bondage. Her lips parted in a soft gasp.

“Yes, Shiv. Thank you,” she said. Shiv slipped away once again.

Chang sipped her drink, thinking about what she had said to Lameea, and listened as the night went on around her. Maybe that is why I stay off the floor most nights, Chang thought to herself. Someone always incites my anger.

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"That was interesting.. " The utterly perfect voice that spoke from behind her was from someone who would send the chills of the spine of any Terat... Gloria's beatdown of both Geyron and killing of Epoch in battle had more or less made her name. "I thought it was time I met some of the other members of the Pantheon, the flavor of your powers is quite...interesting. But I find the way you seem to direct your faction somewhat more interesting then Primacy or Nova Vigilance.. you are quite unusual within the Teragen pantheon.. I must wonder why you allowed yourself to be co opted into Narcosis faction, wouldn't a sister faction have worked better."

Shiv, who stood as something of a protector and enforcer to Chang was reacting with alarm, and Glory turned her gaze onto the other woman, and a sharp gaze it was. "Calmly girl. .. most anyone else, you might be able to take care of.. but you do not want to face me.. not in this room, with dozens of novas.. at a thought every power here can be be mine, including every one of yours.. I can see them, taste them, hear the song's of their power.. and feel their vibrations in the humm of the room, and take their reflections into myself... I still hold a few of Geyron's from our last encounter."

Where Glory came from and how she ended up in this room here in the middle of Ibiza, in a place that was a teragen hangout was interesting, for a moment before she hadn't even been there, and even Chang hadn't hear her, yet clearly she had been listening to the entire conversation. "You are a curious thing, White Rain, or Mirror Queen, or whatever you wish to be called.. "

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Her breath caught for a moment. It was less a chill she felt and more a prickle all over skin from head to foot, mixed with the unsettling sensation of being snuck up on by an enemy that meant her ill. It had been years since she felt that. Normally she heard them coming from a city away.

But none of it showed on her face. To the world around her, Chang could have been addressed by a close friend, for her response was to turn in her seat and smile up at the young nova.

“Oh, Glory, I would love to see what you were to do with Shiv’s powers. I wonder how long your pure image would last,” she chuckled. “I think you’d look even better with a larger bust size and clad in bondage.” To Shiv she said, “Best to run along, Shiv. You cannot help me here. Had our dear Glory come to arrest me I’m sure I’d be sitting in a cell by now, meditating on my next move.” She sipped her drink. “She’s come to satisfy some curiousity of hers, or perhaps to investigate the truth of my reputation.”

Shiv gave a peculiar curtsey, and disappeared, her ruby red lips pressed thinly together. She would be spreading the word.

Chang extended a small carpet of flesh and rose it up into a chair on the other side of her table. She gestured at it. “A chair, for my Utopian overlord. It seems rather inappropriate for me to sit and not at least offer you a pew of your own. You should know, better than anyone, how comfortable I am.” Her eyes flickered colours, settling on blazing fire orange and scarlet.

Glory seemed to consider it, brushing her fingers on the surface of Chang’s table-self. The touch was electric. She did not let her body respond. “Given that you come before me as Glory, and address me as one of the pantheon, it would probably be best to refer to me as The Mirror Queen.”

The casual way she lumped the names together seemed to suggest a small gap in information. At least, there was no indication that she understood the genus of The Mirror Queen pseudonym. All-powerful, some would say. But not all-knowing. That makes a very big difference, and I fear the other far more than the one.

Glory seemed in a pleasant enough mood but Chang was under no illusions about the dangers inherent in this situation. Still, she had faced death a dozen times, and took pretty pictures the first time. The second time she took it in smiling silence, and it had not been half as pretty as the young woman stood before her now. A prettier reaper there never was, she thought. And she’ll find me just as worthy as the last two.

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"It would hardly be appropriate for me to be too friendly with you, it would suggest far more intimacy then I feel this little encounter should possess. While I don't particularly care too much what Pax may make of this meeting, I wouldn't want to give others any ideas about us being friends, although, of course, a beloved enemy can sometimes be nearer and dearer then a friend, or a mentor if it comes to that." With that said, she remained standing for a moment, then she winked at Chang, and she shifted slightly, borrowing Chang's power and sitting on a seat made out of herself, reflecting everything that Chang had just done.

There was just a hint in her tone as she said the word mentor to suggest that Gloria was less then happy with hers, but then, it would hardly be suprising that one such as her would have issues with Pax's heavy handed and over the top manner. One of Lucrezia's many self's approached the two nova's, and with a glance a second Gloria, a perfect clone herself intercepted and kissed the concerned nova's cheek. "Come, relax, no harm is intended this day, I wish to speak with your wife privately at the moment, come, let's dance." While Gloria remained talking with Chang, she gestured and there was a sudden perfect globe that covered the two of them, making it seem as though they were in a glass ball, or snow globe.. the sudden silence would tell Chang exactly what had happened, but that she had duplicated a feat with a gesture that normally took high tech was almost frightening.

For those outside the globe, it would seem as though the two were talking, but even someone with the ability to read lips wouldn't be able to make it out, for the words didn't match at all.. "Tell me, Chang, what are your thoughts about Utopia and Teragen? And nova kind? What of Pax and Divis? I know the party lines, I am curious as to your personal words and feelings."

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Sakura had come to this "Rainbow Room" she'd heard some of the other talking about at Darrik's request, well invitation. He promised he could get her there safely and that it was a safe place itself, and that he could take her back to the palace any time he desired. She'd garnered her share of stares from the patrons of the Rainbow Room, but her reticent manners and the fact that she'd arrived with Shadowheart kept them at bay so far. Which was probably a great blessing on the bar as her 'aura' had yet to manifest itself into trouble.

She finally slipped away from Darrik's side when she spotted Chang with the a dark haired nova talking in a bubbled table. She murmured to Darrik as she passed him, "I'll be back in a minute; I want to say hi to someone."

She glided across the room, placing herself at table a polite but waiting distance from the bubble. She didn't try to discern the conversation inside: they obviously wanted privacy, so instead she plucked several flowers from her hair and began weaving a ring of them for her own amusement. Her hands worked the little strands of hair into braids strong enough to hold the garland together for the night at least, but her eyes were on the dance floor, watching all the varied novas move to the rhythm of the music. So many of us, and all together. I hope I can make it through for a while, I'd hate to ask Darrik to leave before he's ready.

When a waitress came to ask her if she wanted anything she ordered a Shirley Temple and whatever kind of appetizer sampler or bar food they had that the woman recommended, earning a laugh and wink from the buxom red-head. "You really are simply adorable, Sakura. Welcome to the Rainbow Room, by the way." It took a moment, but as the waitress sashayed her way over to the bar, it finally dawned on her that the beauty was Lucrezia; she wondered if all of the waitresses were.

Object of Desire Roll
The last six dice are megas, as always.

Malachite *rolls* 16d10: 8+8+4+5+2+3+4+10+4+8+6+4+6+3+1+8: 84

Malachite *rolls* 1d10: 6: 6

Six successes

Easier just to roll for the entire scene instead of each individual that Sakura meets at the bar. As per Object of Desire, a character rolls upon meeting (first interacting with) Sakura and must make more success than I just rolled for her on a Willpower roll. Empathic Shield applies, Iron Will can be used to ignore the effects of the possessiveness the character gains in regard to Sakura for the scene, and Discerning Mind may be rolled to add dice to the Willpower roll.

Failure means that the character becomes possessive of Sakrura in some way. This DOES NOT have to be sexual, it is dependent on the personality of the person effected. Sakura's Arousal pheromones as a separate aberration and do not stack or dictate the effects of Object of Desire.

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Puck's attention flicked from Infinity to the unveiled Coraline, mentally sighing at how he knew Infinity would compare herself with Norman's current paramour. It might help her move on; most likely he'd be nursing her back to even a semblance of self-worth for weeks, while also keeping her from (further) plotting the demise of said paramour. His eyes flicked over to the serpentine nova as she was summoned to his mentor's table. He couldn't hear what was said, but his rejected dance partner certain didn't enjoy the conversation. A small smile mixed with a fair part of vindictive malice watched the scintillation scaled nova retreat back to the dance floor. Ah, thank you, zaven ohn, the bitch deserved it. She might even learn to at least hold her tongue in the future.

His distraction kept him from registering the words behind him, but he glanced back once he was sure the serpent-woman wasn't going to come back and try to bite him to death or something - at least for the moment. The sight of him, another unknown nova that looked about his own age, literally took the breath from Puck's lungs. Good god! Do not turn into Infinity right now. I doubt he'd take as well to some stranger draping themselves all over him. No matter how appealing that sounds right now. Stop staring. Seriously, he's going to think you're an idiot. Stop staring.

Puck swallowed and forced himself to look away, at least long enough to regain some of his equilibrium. I'm hear to keep an eye on Infinity and Norman. And the girlfriend is here now. Focus. Find out who he is later...right? He glanced back to the trio, watching them again for several moments, but slowly his attention returned to the ravishingly beautiful - handsome - who cared about the word? - man sitting behind him. He motioned the bartender over with a subtle gesture of his hand and very quietly ordered a drink for the man: an Angel's Kiss with enough Amp Well alcohol to give a nova a good buzz without ruining the smooth, sweet flavor of the drink. It was obviously an offer, of conversation if nothing more yet, and one easily and politely turned down by simply refusing the drink.

Angel's Kiss
angel's kiss

1oz dark creme de cacao

1oz cream


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Butch had arranged with Warren to get a lift to the Rainbow Room before the girls did. When he had heard that Alex would be getting all dolled up for a night out, Butch knew that he had to be there to support his sister if she needed it. Giving in to his secret love of gossiping about his siblings, Butch let the news slip to Darrik, who said he wouldn't miss it for the world. Butch preferred a subdued entrance, which meant that entering with the ladies was out of the question. Walking in with not only Maia but Bombshell as well was a recipe for being...noticed.

Before entering the club, Butch stopped and caught his reflection in a shop window and adjusted the collar of the simple burgundy button-down long sleeved shirt he had chosen for the evening. The rest of his attire was normal Butch fashion: black jeans, heavy biker boots, and his wraparound mirrored sunglasses. Running his hand through his crew cut black hair, Butch was content with his appearance and made his way to the entrance.

He paused for a moment just inside the entrance and scanned the club, which was really hopping tonight. Slowly, he made his way to the dance floor, but decided to wait before going out. He leaned over a railing watching novas gyrating to the music. Along the edge of the dance floor he saw a woman in a red leather bondage mask and leather straps. Well, Butch thought, mentally shrugging, if that's your thing...whatever...

To his left, Butch overheard a brief snippet of conversation:

"I swear."

"No way."

"I swear to you I saw Glory here."

"Team Tomorrow Glory? Kicked the crap out of Geryon Glory?"

"I swear."

The rumor-mill was working as per usual it seemed. Probably bullshit, but still, Butch kept his eyes and ears open just in case. It would be fascinating to see Team Tomorrow's pride and joy in a social setting. Wouldn't it be something to bump into her on the dance floor or at the bar? She was gorgeous after all...

He made his way to the end of the bar, a rather dark area, dimly lit and out of the way. At the other end, Butch saw Darrik with a glass of wine apparently taking in the sights. Somewhere midway up the bar, Butch caught a quick glimpse of Norman and wondered if Cora would make an appearance, too. She was smitten with her young paramour having just returned from a jaunt around the solar system. When she returned, Cora apologized for missing their chats and gave Butch a brief rundown of her journey. No details, but a general sense of happiness and contentment. She'd most likely appear tonight. Butch hoped this would be the case as it would give him a chance to apologize to Norman for their first interaction.

The bartender approached and gave Butch a questioning look.

"Apricot nectar," Butch said. "If you've got it. If not, then just cranberry juice. Thanks."

He waited for his drink and continued to people-watch. Or, rather, nova-watch.

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Darrik was sipping the Chateau Margaux 1995- still one of the top 10 expensive wines on market- when the bartender passed him an Angel's Kiss and indicated the other man who had ordered the drink for him. Well, he certainly was a fetching sight, and Darrik was curious about their mutual friends, so hell, why not? Holding his drinks in both hands, Darrik approached the other man with a polite smile on his face.

"An Angel's Kiss? Have you a hidden message in that choice of offering?" It was a rhetorical joke, and Darrik came up beside Puck with the drinks in both hands. "Well, I was getting curious about you myself, so excellent thinking. What's your name?" Even while saying this, he was keeping an eye on Coraline, Norman, and his acquaintance's friend. A potential powder keg might need defusing.

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"Puck," he said smoothly, quite pleased that the beauty hadn't been offended. He'd made that mistake with a few men before and it was always such a dissapointment. "As for the drink, take it as you wish." His tone was teasing and definitely flirtatious. "I think it rather speaks for itself."

He hadn't asked for a name yet; some of the fun flirting was letting a little mystery settle in on it. Besides, it would be a small victory if the other man offered his name or nova pseudonym up without prompting.

He noted the man's gaze and motioned with a tilt of his head to the three. "Do you know them?" He knew he'd never had missed someone like this engaging stranger at the Nursery, but some of the children had been out and about in the world before Puck had come out of his Chrysalis, so it was possible that they'd simply missed one another. Then again, he might be a friend of the mysterious Coraline, which could be good for gathering information on her and those nova children born outside of Teras and the oversight of Bounty and Mal. Then again, it could be disastrous with Infinity's infatuation with the girl's boyfriend; Puck would be a bit put out with her if she ended up souring his chance to make...friends...with his new conversation partner.

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So that’s what a bitch looks like, Infinity cattily thought, her smile vanishing. Some of her impression was because the cunt had been mocking her; some was because the bitch wouldn’t talk to her. Not talking to Infinity was an old trick and one she was familiar with after the bitches in the Nursery. And it hurt her feelings – though an old hurt – that Cora didn’t recognize her. Infinity was far from famous, not like her. Rage boiled up in Infinity – helpless and frustrated and just pissed, because she couldn’t do anything to her. Not because it’d anger Norman, or because Infi thought it was a bad idea, but because the red-eyed nova was physically incapable of hurting someone like Cora.

Literally, all she could do was hate her.

This,” she spat out as she stared at Coraline, “is Infinity. I’m one of Norman’s friends, and have been for years.” Interloper. “I believe you’re Cora.” Bitch. “Also, and I know this must be a surprise, but I can speak for myself.”

I probably just said the wrong thing.

Fuck it. This was a train wreck before I opened my fuckin’ mouth. Might as well turn it into a multi-car pile up complete with toxic runoff and the bodies of the burned everywhere.

And that might be literally what happens.

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Morri sighed. An extension of her eufiber because shoes on her feet, the high heeled ones that Maia had suggested. They put several inches of height on her and made her toned calves look fabulous – not that Morri could see that. “Better?” she asked with a smile.

“Yes,” Maia agreed.

“You said others were coming?” the semi-feral nova asked, standing in the high heels and dress as if she did this every day. Einherjar had taught her more than just fighting; over time, she had picked up a certain amount of elegance.

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Norman was somewhat alarmed, this couldn't end good, though Cora didn't know it, Infinity had just bared her claws and was looking to sink them into her opponent, but it was a bit like a kitten challenging a tigeress, the power that Cora possessed was beyond anything that Infi had at this point.. which he knew, predisposed Infinity to dislike her. "Wow.. hold it. Infinity, Coraline didn't mean anything by her words, it was a gentle request for introductions. Coraline, Infinity doesn't take well to being talked about or over when she's present, talk to her, not over her. Please, I would like you two to be friends." Disaster was about the right word for the way this was going to go, and he wondered which was the best way to thread this maze, even as he made that plea at the end of his statement...

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Darrik sipped a taste of the Angel's Kiss as he heard Puck's question. "I can only say I've made the acquaintance of Norman so far. Your friend- and his- mooning over him, I do not know." At the curious glance given him, he laughed richly. "Subtle hints in your body language, Puck." Then suddenly he stopped and his smile weakened a little, seeing the frustration in Infinity and things slipping. "Dear me. I should leave Cora to sort this out on her own... on the other hand..." His gaze looked to Puck, expressing a desire to sort things out delicately. "Would it be ill-advised for me to offer your friend a dance?"

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Puck pursed his lips and nodded, "Probably. She doesn't usually get offers like that from people like you. She'd think...well, unkind things and most likely refuse. Besides, with her hands already on Norman, it might take a crowbar to get her off." He sighed and set down his drink, making a mental note that the man seemed to know Norman's girlfriend, which meant he might know where she'd popped up from. He gave the gorgeous man one last glance and a quiet request, "Let me see if I can go settle her down, perhaps bring her back here, if you'd be kind enough to stick around."

So saying, he threaded his way through the crowd and deftly inserted himself into the bubble of personal space around Norman, Cora and Infinity. He nodded in a friendly but distant manner to Norman and Cora; he'd have spent a little more time checking out Norman's girlfriend - Orziaz's son certainly had a taste for the physically beautiful, but Infinity - her safety, specifically - kept his attention firmly on his companion. "Infinity," he said softly, taking her other arm and gently but firmly pulling her off of Norman, "A moment, please? I have some I'd like you to meet."

His words were gentle, but his eyes were a sympathetic warning. He'd pick her up bodily and take her out of the bar if he had to; the bouncers didn't tolerate any cat fights that weren't restricted to words, and neither of them knew what this Cora girl was capable of. By nova standards, Infinity was fragile, easy enough to break accidentally, let alone in a moment of uncontrolled anger. He motioned back to the bar and his the still unnamed man that had been sharing a drink with him, hoping the sight of someone even more beautiful than Norman would at least temporarily snap her out of her obsession and give her someone else to (metaphorically, hopefully) drool over for the evening. She'd probably still be plotting Cora's painful and imminent demise in the back of her head, but as long as his plan kept her out of arms reach of the other woman, that would be good enough for him for the evening.

Puck is using his Mega-Strength to get her off of Norman, but with Kid Gloves to make sure he doesn't hurt her.

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So this was Norman's friend, the one he had protected from others growing up. Whatever else she was, she certainly didn't seem to want to share him. Which bothered Coraline on a deeply emotional level, but she wanted even less to kick off Infinity's apothesis in a fit of anger at the way the other girl was clinging to *her* boyfriend. A quick following of the newcomer's wave and Darrik's presense lessened the anger. If anything could distract this girl, Darrik would, Node that would be a good thing for once.

"I'm sorry," she offered to the other girl, expression genuinely contrite as she touched down, "I don't mean to be rude, Infinity. I just haven't had a lot of practise interacting with other novas until very recently. It's a pleasure to meet another of Norman's friends if you care to make it a pleasure."

And that was the peace offer, simple and direct and honest as she thought would be helpful at the moment.

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The Mirror Queen listened to Glory, and studied her. There was something unquestionably erotic about watching the beauty morph her flawless flesh and shape a comfortable seat out of herself.

Through the clear globe of force that surrounded them, The Mirror Queen saw the evening’s persons of interest interacting. She wished she could hear what was happening outside. For The Mirror Queen, silence was not golden. It was a myth. What people thought was silence was an illusion, nothing but the result of a dim and undeveloped awareness.

In ‘silence’ The Mirror Queen could hear foundations creaking, rats scurrying in the walls and between floors, cockroaches creeping in the dark, and beyond the endless press of baseline humanity, going on about their daily lives blissfully unaware that The Mirror Queen dipped in and out of their conversations like a fisherman angling for a good catch.

One day she hoped to reach a point where she could recall everything she perceived perfectly, so she could sift through everything in her own time. That time was not now, though.

She had to settle on feeling the dancer’s feet upon the dance floor. It helped to stop her feeling completely ripped out of her element.

“I think you are rude,” said The Mirror Queen, swirling the wine in her hand-cup and savouring the feel of it sloshing about her stone-changed flesh. “You could at least have enquired if I wanted to spend some quality time with someone who claims she can’t afford to be friendly. I mean, really dear, you’ve locked us in this bubble, you’ve borrowed my powers,” she smiled over her goblet, “why, we’re practically lovers already. I assure you, people will talk. I’m afraid I have something of a reputation, and in these modern times I can’t even say that it’s undeserved.”

So saying, she relaxed her cock, and let it warp her chong-sam, now a spire jutting out from her crotch. While Glory was here she would be receiving no other visits, and the woman was obviously not put off by its presence. That was a positive sign. There was an audible fleshy creak as her shaft grew huge and aroused. Glory barely blinked, but did glance down at it.

“You throw around enormous questions with casual contempt. I have a certain respect for that sort of gumption, but I’m afraid it’s not like to bring great rewards. Utopia and Teragen, you ask? Novakind as a whole? Pax and Divis? What exactly do you expect me to say, Glory?”

“You ask me to comment on the great social battle of our age, the incarnate gods who are its genesis, and the rivalry that boils at the heart of both. You’d have thought Pax would have learned after Bahrain, mind, but I suppose the loyal dog never does unless it’s his master that does the kicking. Every one of these topics is a complex matter, Glory, and I’m afraid I left my cliff notes somewhere deep in Shiv’s tits.”

The Mirror Queen leaned back into her chair, and took a sip of the powerful, sweet wine. “You know, if you can copy everyone’s powers, why don’t you be a dear, borrow The Alchemist’s, and bleed us some more wine? Red wine, if you will. Make it strong and sweet, with a kick that challenges even the stamina of the mightiest of Novas. This may take a while, and though I don’t need to drink I do feel it helps things move more smoothly, and besides, I’m curious to see how much control you have over these borrowed powers of yours. The Alchemist has worked for years to develop her skills. Can you equal her in an instant? I’m…” she gave her mysterious smile, “curious to find out. If you want my answers, you’ll have to give me yours first. Why do you ask, Glory? Why do you even care what I think about these matters?”

The Mirror Queen emptied her goblet hand, and then stretched her arm to place the goblet before Glory. It was not a gauntlet, but she had thrown one down nonetheless. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours, my dear. But not before. Not before.

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Gloria spread her wings and arms, in an expansive gesture, then smiled slightly. "Such an interesting way you have, seductive and inhuman, you invite me to join you in your inhumanity, you revel in it even, and attempt a different kind of seduction then the physical, a seduction of the mind, more then the body, no wonder you have so many who seek to join you. "

"You can be quite insidious, I find myself almost willing to try it.. but honestly, I'm not willing to shift my humanity that far from the base.. if that means you are unwilling to answer my questions about matters that interest me, I suppose there is no need to keep our conversation private." She did as she said, dropping the bubble of silence that she had surrounded them both with, and suddenly Chang can hear everything that was being blocked out.

She stood up and the chair that she had formed to mirror Chang's vanished back into her body, then she moved to Chang's side, and whispered in her ear. "I almost think you could be more dangerous then Geyron or Shrapnel in your own way, if less objectionable, first point to you... goodnight, Mirror Queen." With that, she turned and began to walk away, down and into a mirror on one side of the wall, then simply gone.

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The bartender returned, placed a glass of red liquid down in front of Butch, and shrugged. Truth be told, Butch hadn't expected something like apricot nectar to be readily available, and he was unsure why he asked for it in the first place. It was what he really wanted to drink, but, oh well. He paid the bartender.

Butch took a sip and looked back down the bar at Norman and saw Cora there now. She had just said something to Norman and the rather plain looking goth girl next to him. Check that. Not only next to him. Clinging to him. Interesting. However, his attention was shifted rather abruptly when there was something of a tumult coming from the nearby dance floor.

In the center of the Rainbow Room, at the center of everyone's attention was Glory. So, it wasn't just a rumor he overheard. The posternova for Team Tomorrow was here and was now having words with...was that White Rain? No way! A member of the Teragen's Pantheon and a Team Tomorrow powerhouse responsible for many a Terat beatdown. Just talking? Crazy...

They talked for a moment or two and then, suddenly, they were encased in some sort of bubble...snow globe thing...

"Hot damn," Butch muttered, taking another sip of the cold, sharp cranberry juice.

The two were clearly still talking, but their mouths were a blur. Good luck trying to lip read that conversation...

The rest of it didn't last too long. The bubble dropped and Glory was out of there. The OpNet gossip mill would have a field day speculating about this one, Butch thought. And just wait until Maia and Bombshell showed up. This would probably be a night at the Rainbow Room that people would be talking about for a long time.

He turned back to the bar and continued to sip his drink, waiting to see what Alex would look like when she came through the door into the sensory onslaught that was the Rainbow Room. Now that would be something that, at the most important level, the family would be talking about for a long time...

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"My sister Alex is coming with us, and Jason as well. I suspect though that others among my siblings will show up as well."

She nodded. "It will a fun night I'm sure."

With that she gestured for Morri to follow her, to be met by the sight of Alex coming up behind them. She smiled. "Alex, you made some alterations." It was clear she meant to the dress and herself. "It looks good. So long as you're comfortable." They'd all already met, so she didn't waste time with introductions, instead heading to the gardens, To find Jason waiting for them. She was stunning, even Maia had to admit.

"I hope you haven't been waiting too long Jason.."

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When Glory stood, her chair-self melting away back into those shapely hips of hers, Chang felt a slight touch of surprise. My, we do give up fast when we don’t get what we want, don’t we? A character trait, or did she truly feel defeated by that minor sally? Or am I right in thinking she’s not all that skilled with the powers she borrows?

Geryon possessed few powers that would difficult to wield, by Chang’s estimation. The Alchemist’s sounded a nightmare whenever she talked about them, usually in glowing, almost heady terms. She could alter her bodily fluids on the quantum level, but every individual fluid needed to be changed, and she had to know exactly what she wanted to make, how to make it, and go through the psychological process of creating it. Her abilities always gave the result a kick and could put some other twists into it, could make it a thousand times more powerful than it would be normally, but she still needed the knowledge. As such, half of her time was spent performing mundane chemistry experiments to find new compounds to synthesize.

Glory would most likely have been lost. Had she decided to, say, vomit up some wine rather than accept Chang’s request to bleed it out, she would likely have brought up stomach enzymes, spittle, mucus from her throat (if she still produced any) and saliva. That was why The Alchemist normally slit her wrist. All she got there was blood, and almost pure blood at that, making the process more reliable and less taxing on her quantum reserves.

Studying those angelic features, listening to every little sound given off by her body when she spoke, from the lifting of her diaphragm to the little rattle of air passing up her throat and tripping over her vocal chords, Chang felt almost certain that it was a bit of both.

Glory was no fool, at least. She knew the Teragen were running scared from her. She could just have given them some useful information on herself. Nobody sane would be fond of that idea.

As the angelic Tomorrowite strode away, Chang toasted her with her goblet hand. First point, she said, Chang thought. Either way, it seems she’s not completely done with me. Interesting. Very interesting.

Chang’s wife was on her moments later, vaulting the rails and clustering around her with three of her bodies. “What happened? One minute we were dancing, and then she just vanished. Why’d she leave? What did she say?”

Chang smiled. “I do believe, beloved, I just sent the world’s new hero scurrying back home. And she did say the most flattering things before she went. Really, I can feel my head swelling as I speak, and fear I may be unable to do anything but grin for several hours. However,” she said, raising a finger, “I believe Geryon may be mortally offended when I tell him what she said. And no way am I telling Shrapnel. I may send a post card, however.” She chuckled.

The Lucrezias crowded in, all in different shapes, but all with their faces twisted in worry. “I was worried. Even after what she said. I-“

“Quiet.” Chang put a finger against one set of lips. “She is a girl. I am a woman. The difference is more significant than children ever suspect. If she were merely attempting to feel me out she chose a poor form of address and a terrible forum in which to do it. I believe she may have realized that, which is a point to her credit, but she should have known to take me to a private room instead of talking in public,” she said, casting her eyes over the Rainbow Room, breathing in the wonders offered by her perceptions. Oh, how they were talking.

“What do you mean?” One of Lucrezia hopped up onto the table and swivelled to put her legs on either side of Chang. The other two remained kneeling, silent and adoring while the other spoke.

“She is powerless here, which is the opposite of everything she knows when it comes to interactions with the Teragen. Glory is a cipher, as powerful as everyone around her. But those powers availed her nothing when she tried to speak with me. As you’ve noted yourself, I don’t awe. The moment she opened her mouth, she gave up every advantage she had, and put herself in my realm. Oh don’t get me wrong, it would have worked had I trembled and cow-towed and just meekly given her what she wanted. She was quick to remind me of her run-in with Geryon, perhaps that’s worked in some prior encounters with Terats. It is awfully scary, after all. But now people have seen us talk, they have seen her get up and walk away. And now,” Chang grinned, “now they will talk with great enthusiasm. And of course someone in this room is listening to what I say now, desperate that I let slip exactly what was said.” She gave Lucrezia a wink with her blazing red hellfire eye, a wink filled with a rare wickedness. “Shame on them, eh? Oh yes, my beloved. This was an unmitigated disaster for our dear, sweet young hero. She made a veritable spectacle of herself and accomplished very little in the process. It’s a mistake she’ll learn from, I suspect. Or not, which would perhaps be for the better. If she remains so foolish, after a few of these meetings I’ll try to put together a highlight reel and stick it on the OpNet. I’ll likely make more money out of that than I have in a half dozen art exhibitions.”

Lucrezia had a look on her face, half-fear, half-amazement. She looked around the club. “You know… she’s probably listening to us. You would be.”

Chang lengthened her neck and kissed her wife upon the lips. She retracted it and morphed her goblet back into a hand, absorbing the last of the wine through her skin. “Oh, my dear, I want her to listen. If she’s not listening she’s a bloody fool. You don’t sit down an enemy and politely ask them what they think about life, the universe and everything. She’s after guidance, like any child, gods know I would be if I had to call on Pax as a mentor. She said that word in roughly the same tone as I did just now,” Chang said, still unable to stop smiling. “There’s a world of meaning in that, my beloved, and our dear Glory is a poor liar. She meant it. There is trouble in Utopia’s… well, utopia. The sort only a semi-abusive father figure attached to a godling can birth. I wish them well of it. As to the other things we talked about… well those I’m not even going to hint at.”

“You’re mad, Chang Zha-Yang,” Lucrezia said, her eyes full of love and incomprehension. “And I love you for it.”

“I am not mad,” Chang said. “I am amazing.”

She threw her head back, and laughed.

Try as I might, I can't help but imagine her laughing like The Millon Dollar Man from the old WWF.

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Jason stood up, gracefully perched on the tall, thin wedge heels of her shoes, and gave the girls a gracious nod in greeting, a soft wind stirring loose strands of silver hair fetchingly. Her eyes flashed and her lips in a soft smile, a dimple blooming in one perfect cheek.

"Not long," she assured Maia in her exquisite voice, sweeter and more intoxicating then the finest wine. "And besides, I enjoy the Gardens. I rarely get to do so without having to chase down my wild daughter." Her smile deepened as she lingered on Morri, her eyes conveying a steady support - If Morri needed anything, Jason would do everything she could to help. "I'm glad you're comin' Morri. And I gotta say, you're lookin' very hot tonight. Heels suit you and don't make you loom like I do." Jason chuckled wryly. While with her heels on, she was over six and a half feet tall, no one would ever accuse of Bombshell of looming - there was simply more to look upon, and to gaze upon from a further distance. She gave Alexandra a once-over, than a thumbs up. "You're looking fine tonight as well, Alex. Happy to have you with us."

Jason didn't really know Alex - she had pretty much only talked with her during the photoshoot - but thought a little socializing would do her a world of good. Morri needed this as well, needed some plain old fun dancing, Jason just hoped she could handle some of the attention she would get from some of the wilder patrons of the Rainbow Room.

Looking at Maia in her simple and classy dress, Jason hid a sigh with a half-smile that was equal parts wistful and relieved. For nearly fifteen years, she had worn the crown as the undisputed more beautiful woman in the world, but Maia nearly matched her and was barely an adult, and as other second-genners matured, more and more were reaching the same rarefied echelons. It felt... odd, and not unwelcome. Sometimes, all the attention on her felt like a burden, even when that attention was in large part ensuring her daughter's safety.

"Ready to make our entrance into the Rainbow Room, girls?" Jason said with velvety cheer and holding out her hands. With their nods and murmured assents, Jason took a focusing breath, then reached out and attuned them to her quantum signature. She was glad they were all women and not large ones at that, she was close to the upper limit of what she could effect. The attunement shivered for a second, then steadied. "And here... we... go."

The four women disappeared with the sensation of being bathed in almost tactile sunlight, then reappeared outside the Rainbow Room, on a slightly elevated circular platform that was set aside just for that purpose and bound by velvet ropes; popping directly into the Club was frowned upon.

The nova watchers standing behind the restraints squealed in delight. Everyone knew Bombshell, and Maia had been making waves as a new and extraordinarily beautiful model. If Morri wasn't quite as well known, The Morrigan had an... intense reputation and was rarely, if ever, seen in Ibiza. Appearing in such company, even if they didn't know who she was, the nova-watchers figured Alex had to be someone famous or important, or soon to be. All of them were offered things to sign, from pads of paper and photos, to shirts and flesh, and more.

Jason signed several, her hand a blur, but every signature was distinct and tailored to the individual, not a barely discernible scrawl, as she led the group pass the regular line and to the VIP entrance. She was good friends with Andy Vance, and, well, fame did have its perks.

"Jason..." the doorman said, trailing off as he just stared at the visual feast before him. "Didn't know you were coming tonight. Damn, girl! Why is it the hottest girls all have the hottest friends?"

"Heya, Lucius!" Jason replied cheefully, reaching to clap him on the shoulder. Lucius Floyd was a bald, seven foot tall black man and almost that wide with solid muscle, nearly as tough as Andy, but it was his solid and engaging personality that made him one of the regular doormen. Danica liked him too. Jason leaned up into him a little and nodded over her shoulder. "Us uber-babes are all catty bitches, Wanna keep the competition close so we can cut them down, right?" Jason said in a teasing stage-whisper, then dropped back down to her heels. "Andy in? I wanna say high and thanks for the gift he sent Dani."

"Course he is... somewheres." Lucius stepped to the side and waved the girls in with a big, white smile. "Have fun ladies, and if you are having a lot of fun, one o' come back out here and give me a holler, eh?"

Jason laughed then stepped past him and through open the doors to the Rainbow Room, the pounding music and flashing lights washing over them, along with the babble of voices and the smell of bodies in energetic motion. Jason glanced down at Morri and Alex, and gestured ahead of them. Her clear voice cut easily through all the voices and music and noise. "The Rainbow Room, girls."

Even in a club filled exclusively with novas, the appearance of Bombshell and Maia was notable, and many heads turned to look upon the latest arrivals to the Rainbow Room.

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Maia had signed several posters of herself, and a couple magazines as they moved inside, smiling graciously. She was young, and determined to not let her fame and beauty inflate her ego. Still it made her happy that she was recognized. Their entrance of course drew great attention, and Maia sighed inwardly. Alone it was bad, but in Present company, It was almost like the party stopped to behold the four goddesses come to join the festivities.

She steeled herself, preparing for an evening of wishing Justin was there with her, and hoping they'd make it through the night without someone getting hurt.

She easily picked out Cora and Norman, and she could feel Darrik and Butch as well. Clearly this was going to be a full family affair. She looked to Morri, and Alex and smiled. "Looks like the party's already getting started."

Maia's q supremacy (self configuration) Empathic shield +4, Sensory shield 8, Health enhancement, Discerning mind enhancement

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Sakura started at the multi-toned and somewhat TV-villain laugh coming from Chang. She hadn't heard any of the conversation between her new friend and Glory, but she'd caught the tail end of the conversation with Lucrezia as she'd made her way over to Chang's table - the table of Chang, she thought with a touch of amusement. Chang's ability, and willingness, to morph into so many different shapes fascinated Sakura, though she wasn't sure she would want to be able to do the same. It felt...not wrong in any way...just not a part of her.

She waited a foot or two from the table, her expression touched by concern, and and ventured a quiet, "Chang? Are you alright?" Without her incredibly enhanced hearing, the Pantheon member would never have heard her over the din of the the dancing, the music, and the excited buzz that had started up the moment Glory and Chang had been enveloped by their bubble. That is had popped and the white-clad winged nova had immediately departed had only added to the cacophony of voices.

She was slowly spinning the garland she had made in her hands, the bright pink petals almost glowing against the silver silky dress that she was wearing. The dress hugged the beautiful nova's curves tightly, the neckline lower and the ruffled hem higher than Chang would have expected from the usually demure woman; it was more skin than she'd seen of the girl beyond the brief naked glimpse of her in the garden when they'd first met. Sakura held out the garland to the Mirror Queen with a shy, friendly smile, "Here, I tend to make these when I'm sitting or a little nervous. I thought you might like it. Darrik invited me to come dancing," she explained, waving back to where he was sitting at the bar, "but I wanted to come by and say hi before I tried getting out there."

She'd danced before, even with other people and in groups, but that mostly been around bonfires and to music mostly made of drumbeats and flutes. The press of bodies and the loud, electronic music was more than a little intimidating.

Sakura's Dress
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Norman wasn't happy but for once, Infinity didn't care. She was wickedly pissed, and in that unfortunate state of mind where she'd burn all her bridges just as long as she hurt her enemy doing so. It was only her deep infatuation for Norman that kept her from laughing aloud when he talked about her and Cora being friends. People like her and Cora weren't friends. Friends had to be peers, equals in a social setting. Cora was a nova; Infinity was the amazing baseline with a node.

As usual, Puck came to the rescue and offered her a chance to collect herself before she did set metaphorical fire to everyone involved in the situation. Reluctantly, she followed his gaze; her expression turned much less reluctant when she saw Darrik. Fuck, she mouthed as she restrained the urge to drool. Even better, the guy was smiling at her - yeah, that kind of smile. There is no way in hell that smile is for me, Infinity knew, but hot dayyyymn, it was nice to pretend.

"Looks like I'm getting dragged away," Infinity said, letting go of Norman and putting her arm around Puck's waist. The young nova grinned and kissed her temple, pleased that she'd come away so easily. "Norman, Cora... see you around."

Together, they turned and strolled across the room, back toward Darrik. "You realize you owe me, right?" Puck murmured into her ear.

"No worries," Infi assured him, dropping her hand to give his ass a subtle squeeze, "I always pay my debts." She glanced back at the couple they'd just left behind. Always.

Then they were looking at the hottest man Infinity had ever met and Norman was, for once, far away from her thoughts. The odd thing about Infinity was that what she lacked in sexual beauty she often made up for in sexual confidence. Having been denied so much meant that she often threw herself at something she wanted. That hadn't worked out with Norman because she wanted more than sex, but Darrik... oh yeah, he was the treat of the evening that she wanted to consume. "You're pretty and familiar," she boldly said, leaning against Puck with sexual ease. "In fact... you're Shadowheart, right? You're a lot prettier than your pictures."

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Bemusedly, Alex signed the objects thrust at her with the pseudonym 'Genesis.' Intellectually she knew that none of this attention had anything to do with who she was, or how she looked. It was purely an artfact of who she was with. In hindsight she wished she'd arranged to visit on her own. For some reason having the whole family present made her feel self-conscious; as silly as that was. Despite her sculpted, more-than-human good looks, she was plain in the presences of Maia and Jason. And the vast majority of novas in the club were, broadly speaking, in her 'league.'

She came up alongside Maia and asked just loud enough for her sister to hear, "What do you suggest I do?"

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Thank goodness for his good looks and the girl's attention, Darrik silently exclaimed. When they approaching his calm smile grew more dazzling and wider. "Guilty as charged, miss..."

"Infinity." She replied. Though she looked exceedingly average, Darrik wasn't entirely jaded to baseline level appearances, and his expression of confident boldness mirrored her own.

"Infinity. Marvelous name." Darrik charmingly noted. "Yes, I am Shadowheart, though the pictures are an artifact of a different time. Thank you for the compliment though. I focus more on my personal projects and stock market investing nowadays." Puck's small signs of perking up at the news proved interesting, which Darrik filed around in his head. Though the way it showed off some alabaster neck also drew interest. "What are you and Puck up to, generally?"

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"Well, she's generally up to trouble." He grinned at Infinity as the raven-haired girl glared at him. "I'm generally up too...a number of things. Mostly I'm setting up an...organization, I suppose you could call it. More than a business, but a little hard to put into few words. I also spend time on some artistic endeavors and expanding my understanding of the world." He ordered another round of drinks for the three of them, these not quite so provocatively named but of excellent quality and Darrik's and Infinity's both possessing some level of chocolate liquor; Puck's own drink was a hot white chocolate latte. He toasted to the two of him, his eyes lingering not so subtly over Darrik. "And of course, getting to know new friends."

"If I might pry," he asked with a dazzling smile, "what kind of 'personal projects' are holding your interest, Shadowheart?" He said the name like a caress, feeling out each nuance and wondering what exactly had lead him to choosing that name. As I doubt his parents gave him such a moniker. Then again, my parents gave me none, to my knowledge.

He sipped at his drink and leaned back against Infinity with sensual familiarity, enjoying the warmth of her presence and the absolute enthusiasm of her sexual desire for their new acquaintance. Mmm, this night might end quite pleasantly.

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Darrik paused for a moment, considering what was and wasn't reasonable to reveal. Well, they knew Norman well, so one thing- check that- two things were worth mentioning. "I suppose there are a few things I can spare the details of. For instance, I've found that Chang Zha-Yang has had some interesting things discussed with me of late, and I plan on joining the Teragen. The Pandemonium has appealed to me so, though I can't say I lean more to either Narcosis or Chang's particular viewpoints."

He dipped his finger into the liquor and licked off some chocolate in an alluring and quite provocative way, his smoking hot red eyes studying them. "Seeing the various aspects of the world, like Puck too. And making more money that Croesus so that the other unnamed projects can be advanced more readily. And enjoying this quality time all together, I naturally must add."

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