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Aberrant: Infinite Earth - Cosmos Nova - [DSA] Christmas Party Mixer


Mech
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The closer she got to Horst, the less she felt like to him. But she soldiered on, smiling at him as she approached. He looked tired; his sleeves were rolled up and his tie loose. The coffee mug in his hand was nearly full of the dark drink, which wasn’t the best thing to drink this late at night. Kitty sincerely hoped it was de-caffeinated.
“Director Horst, I’m Kitty Price,” she said, extending her hand to him. “I called you a few weeks ago?”
“Yes, I remember.” He shook her hand a little too eagerly, but Kitty was used to that by now. “Are you enjoying the party?”
“I’m trying.” The moment she spoke, Kitty realized how surly she sounded. Horst looked concerned and she quickly covered her slip. “It’s a lovely party; everyone has been nice.” It was a lie, but a white one. Those little social lies were all right.
“Let me know if I can do anything for you.” He was still smiling, but Kitty believed he was sincere as well as being affected by her ‘woo-woo’ as one friend had called it.
“I will.” Kitty smiled at him, but it felt strained to her. She’d had stuff to discuss with him, but now it was gone, washed away by a tramp in a slutty dress. “It was good to meet you in person.”
“Ditto.” He hesitated one heartbeat and then asked, “Are you all right, Ms. Price? You seem out of sorts.”
The genuine concern in his voice shattered her control like nothing else could have. Tears welled in her eyes, even as she denied, “Everything’s fine—well enough.”
“Mmm-hmm.” Horst turned her away from the crowd and headed for an exit. “Let’s get you away from all the people, somewhere quiet, okay?” She nodded as he opened a door and they exited the party. Thankfully, the door was closed before Kitty really started to weep.
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She clucked at Rebecca and shook her head. "Okay, this isn't Sesame Street. Those are things they'll let you do, if you ask pretty-please nice and clean your room and all that. We're free right now. We can do whatever we want and we don't have to ask permission or see if it passes inspection by the almighty DSA bureaucrats. Loosen up a little. I think a club is a great idea. I know a couple around here. Any particular flavor you guys want? There's a good underground one if you want the goth-death-metal group. A pretty hopping, give you seizures, lights and electronica one that had just opened last time I was out." She scrunched her nose, trying to remember others. "There's a too-cool-for-itself one that's been open and totally exclusive for years, but we'll have to stop and get everyone some new clothes first. And some cash. Not hard, but it'll take me, oh, maybe an hour or so?"

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Her eyes lit up and she clapped her hands together. "I know! There's this one called Reality 2.0 that opened like a month or so ago. It's supposed to be all super-modern, only the newest music and all sorts of gadgets to play with once you're inside. I heard the dance floor even has some pretty awesome holographics. Not usually my scene, but you seem kinda nerdy," she nodded at Rebecca but there didn't seem to be any rancor or condescension in her voice, just a statement of fact, "so there'd probably be stuff for you to play with while the rest of use went dancing. What do you guys say?"

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She frowned down at the waitress outfit she was still in. "New clothes really are a must, though, if I'm gonna get us in."

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"Hmm..."

Rebecca scratched her head. It wasn't that she didn't want to go clubbing, it just wasn't her thing.

"I think you have me pegged wrong. I'm just not a clubbing person."

She sighed. "But if we are going to fetch some clothes, and know the proper place to hunt for some, I'm game for that. I'll think about going to Reality 2.0, just don't peg me on it. 'kay? I got no reservation to the idea, won't stop ya."

Like she could, but she just wanted to make sure she won't be the anchor that holds her mates down.

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There was no fanfare when Karrie and Rob entered the party. There should been klaxons or at least a cautionary buzzer. Instead, there was no warning when the DSA’s most notorious scientists walked into the room. A few people did double-takes, but that was mostly because Karrie was in a skirt, and Rob was in his super-suit, including the camo pants he wore over the tight clothing. It was common knowledge that the handsome earth-mover only wore the suit when required for public relations or dangerous missions. Most of them quickly dismissed it as the first steps of an elaborate prank on the pair’s part.
They would have raised more eyebrows had they walked in holding hands, but neither one of them was sure yet how or if they wanted to broadcast their relationship to their coworkers. So while they’d clasped hands on the walk over to the party, they’d released them just outside the door. It was something to decide later, when they had time to figure out their personal rules. Karrie always loved rules, both the ones she would break and the ones she’d obey.
Together, the two scanned the room. “Hmm. Problem. I don’t see the kids.” Karrie looked up at Rob. “What about you?”
Rob, being a few inches taller, was already craning his head for a few more inches. “All I see is Mt. Connor. Let’s do a circuit.”
Karrie wondered if his mention of Connor was intentional or not but she could see him too. “He’s hard to miss,” she agreed casually as they started to circle the room. Seeing Connor reminded her of what she’d seen in him before, but it was different than what she felt for Rob. Her feelings for Connor were needy and desperate; full of doubt and want and fear. She didn’t even realize that wasn’t the way it was supposed to start until Rob showed her.
After they’d been around the room once without a sign of the kids, Karrie grumbled, “Time to ask, I think.” She ducked into the crowd, heading straight for Connor. She smiled as she approached, giving off friendly vibes right until she opened her mouth. “Hey, Connor. Hi, Whore of Babylon. Have you guys seen the DSA brat-pack?”
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“Come on, Rebecca.” Until now, Sean hadn’t given any indication he’d caught their names at all. Even as he displayed his knowledge, he gave Rebecca the kind of smile that would disarm many women in the future. It was a charming smile, full of promises and all the more enticing because it seemed sincere. His voice had shifted into a cajoling tone, gently wheedling without being whiny. “You should try the club. Do you like dancing?”
Rebecca found herself flushing a little from the male attention. “I’ve never been,” she admitted.
“Then you gotta try it, right?” Sean’s smile warmed even more. “I can show you some moves.” Well, he hoped he could. “And I say if we’re doing this, let’s do it right. Let’s go to the good club, get the clothes we need and have some fucking fun.” They were already in trouble; they might as well make the punishment worth it. Sean matched words to action and dropped off of the landing, urging the others to follow him into adventure.
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Connor smiled seeing them together About damn time... then Karrie spoke, insulting Sasha, and his smile faded. "The kids ate, put in their Horst Mandated appearance, and then left. He didn't mention watching them today, he just wanted to make sure they showed."

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He felt even his cheerful good spirit waning fast, and sighed. "He left with Kitty again not that long ago."

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Kei scratched her head, overhearing the convo on the kids... as to be honest she was the last adult to see them.

"Actually some woman with a bit of a british accent said the one girl with the hoodie needed to report to Director Horst."

Seeing his signature that he left on multiple levels of the electromagnetic spectrum showed he was present. "But he's here..."

She crossed her arms, starting to slowly weave in her mind the most obvious conclusions first, then slowly disqualify each one. She wasn't The Cat Detective, but Kei wasn't stupid. Far from.

"Oh, and Hi, Connor, Karrie." She said with a smile, but a semi-distracted one.

"Dammit... why is it that I'm worried about these kids? I can't stand them." She thought.

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At Muse's question, Vixen laughed. "A better translation would be 'clever like a fox.'" She switched to Spanish. "<We can converse in Spanish if you'd be more comfortable - >"

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And then, Coyote entered. Vixen's gaze unfocused, as she sniffed the air. "Oh. Oh." Her eyes drifted over to the newcomer, and for the first time since her eruption, Roxanne was beside herself.

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She is radiant. She smells like - like - I can't even place it but - she smells great. She looks amazing. Why is - Before she'd even realized it, Roxanne had taken three steps in Coyote's direction. She blinked and whipped around, facing Muse again. "<Sorry! Sorry. I was distracted. My goodness, I haven't been in a room with this many novas before. It's intense.>"

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“Hmmmm… well, he just interrupted a very important meeting to tell Rob and I to get down here and watch the kids.” Karrie rubbed her chin thoughtfully, never a good sign. “I guess that means he wants us to hunt them down like dogs and drag them home.”

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Before anyone could suggest otherwise, Kei offered her input. “Sooo… he’s not here, waiting for the kid the Big Chief summoned. Isn’t one of the kids a mimic?” Karrie asked, still thinking. “No worries, Rob ‘nd I will find them.”

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The fox-woman was staring at her, and Karrie stared back, recalling something about a scientist who had gotten the same anime-curse as “the Great Cat Detective”. “Enjoy your night, guys,” she said to the group in general as she walked the short distance to Vixen. “Hi, Mai-Iltsói,” she said in greeting, offering her hand. “I’m Coyote, caught the stare and I just came over to let you know I do not dig hairballs.” Karrie made a sad face. “Sorry, I know… my glory is astounding and it’s hard to realize you’ll never have a piece of it, but I wanted to be upfront and honest.”

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Kei gritted her teeth.

"Dammit... never trust a woman with a british accent." She muttered lowly.

"Looks like I goofed this up royally, Karrie... Once you're ready to hunt the brats down, I wanna help. It's sort of my fault." Kei said with a sigh.

Seeing Karrie has started to talk to Dr. Richardson, she massaged her chin. "Doctor... what sort of tracking skills do you have? At the very least I could share my visual acuity in the electromagnetic spectrum if necessary."

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"You sure?" Roxanne looked hurt. "I mean, yeah, I'm all, you know, but I have a really long tou - "

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She blinked at Kei's interjection. "Ah. Ah, the kids took off? I think they'll be fine, I - " She caught herself. "You're right. Sorry. Yes, if you want to, we can see if I can track them."

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Karrie’s eyebrows rose at Vixen’s remark, trying not to think about the remark and implications. “A long tongue would be handy in many situations,” she said blithely, “but I have work to do. And that work is finding those kids, so you guys just go back to the party and have fun. Horst has saddled Rob and I with this task, so you all hang tight or loose or however you prefer to hang.”

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Carefully, Karrie started to back away, only to step back forward and hand Vixen her card. Then she used her hand to make the sign for ‘phone’ while mouthing, call me. At the look on Vixen’s face, she added, “No, no… not for that. I hear you’re a scientist—a furry, allergenic scientist—and I like science. It is my thing. My, uh, friend Rob does science hard, too, so you might like to talk to us. Just being friendly and all. Like actually-friendly, not lesbo-friendly.”

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With a last wave, Karrie headed for the door. Time to get out there, find those kids, get them back here, and find a place to make out with Rob. The night was young, but Karrie wanted to blow through the first three items on the list so she could devote herself to the last items. She had her priorities, after all.

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"So, uh-friend." Rob said conversationally as he fell into step with Coyote. "Any ideas where to start looking?"

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"They're teenagers who cut the party because they're bored." Karrie said blithely, looking up at him with a small smile.

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"So that means we're heading for the nightclubs." Rob nodded, finishing the train of thought.

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"Or the movie theatres... But with this bunch, nightclubs. Bet your supersuit." Karrie agreed.

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"Well then, this oughta be easy." Rob deadpanned. "We go up someplace high and wait for the fire, explosions, sirens and screaming. You and me, sitting up above the city... It'll be fun."

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"Hmm." Karrie didn't entirely hate the idea, but... "Horst might be annoyed if we let things get to the sirens stage, though."

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"He will." Rob agreed, sounding glum. "The man is a slavedriver."

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"So have you got a plan?" Coyote hesitated, then stepped closer and looped her arm around Rob's waist as they walked. His arm came down around her shoulders and it felt right. Natural. To Rob, it felt as though an electrical circuit had been completed. He smiled down at her.

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"Of course I have a plan." he said expansively. "When do I not have a plan?"

,,

(Continued in DSA Brat Pack)

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"You sure?" Roxanne looked hurt. "I mean, yeah, I'm all, you know, but I have a really long tou - "

She blinked at Kei's interjection. "Ah. Ah, the kids took off? I think they'll be fine, I - " She caught herself. "You're right. Sorry. Yes, if you want to, we can see if I can track them."

"I think Karrie and Telluris got this, Doctor... If there is a major crisis I am sure we'll be called in. Honest." Kei said. "I highly doubt the cubs are up to no more than an unauthorized field trip..." She sighed. "...let's just try to enjoy things... in case things take a bad turn and we have to scramble."

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"Okat, if you're sure. I'm just gonna go sit down." Wobbling slightly, Roxanne grabbed a chair and eased herself into it. She rubbed the bridge of her snout and sighed. "I made an ass of myself just there, didn't I?"

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"Not really... it could have been 100 times worse."

"When I first started getting rolling with these people on a regular basis, I was awkward as all hell, honestly. There was lots of initial glitches in dealing with these people... Karrie's almost throttled me a couple times, Telluris is someone I have hard times getting close to, Connor..."

She sighed. If anyone would have her stray from Nate... it was him. "Well it should be obvious with Connor, right?"

Smiling she put her hand on Roxanne's shoulder. "If it at all helps, you're pretty cool."

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"Oh yeah, right! Yeah I did volunteer for that."

Kei smiled. "You're gonna love what I got. You... might want to head out to the test field after you copy me... might want to stretch the wings out and let off a few shots. Just remember you can get darn close to Mach 12, so you'll have to make use of my sensory abilities to keep an eye on aircraft in the airspace around the complex."

She stretched out. "The armor should be a good protector as well in case you hit a bird or something. I do reccomend going slow though. And I can requisition some stuff you might feel you need."

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