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SECURITY CLASSIFICATION: RELEASED TO PUBLIC | DATE OF REVIEW: 19.02.2098 |
AUTHORITY: WIPO | AUTHOR: TS ELIOT |
DOCUMENT STATUS: FINAL VERSION | VERSION: 1.0
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The detail of the pattern is movement,
As in the figure of the ten stairs.
Desire itself is movement
Not in itself desirable;


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SECURITY CLASSIFICATION: RELEASED TO PUBLIC | DATE OF REVIEW: 19.02.2098 |
AUTHORITY: NETWORK CLOSECASTING | AUTHOR: NETWORK CLOSECASTING |
DOCUMENT STATUS: FINAL EDITED VERSION | VERSION: 1.12
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"Close your eyes," Z huffs again. She slouches contrapposto with folded arms and peevish ears, one foot-tap shy of becoming a caricature of impatience. It's been half an hour since the stitches came out. Elias fed them dinner before he filled their pockets with spicy ginger snaps - no icing, not too sweet. He keeps promising to try Dex on savory cookies. Rosemary something or another.

It's been half an hour kissing in the back alleys of AceHigh instead of deciding where they'll go and what they'll do with the clean bill of health.

Fence it, maybe.

When Dex finally closes her eyes, Z unwinds a tatty red scarf from around her neck. She shims herself between the mossy alleyway bricks and her girl to cover Dex's eyes without worrying she might cheat. Spreading her fingers against Dex's belly, she moves them, and the differences are immediate.

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SECURITY CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED | DATE OF REVIEW: N/A |
AUTHORITY: N/A | AUTHOR: UNKNOWN |
DOCUMENT STATUS: FINAL VERSION | VERSION: 1.0
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The ground is smooth by comparison to rough backway cobbles. It's dark and much warmer in this new place than the sweet knife-edged cold steaming the breath of Jokers in AceHigh. No jovial evening back-and-forth across the square - "Orrah, Cyree, you call that a turned trick?"

Z's nose brushes Dex's nape for just a moment before she pulls away.

"Keep them closed," she says.

Slow claw scratching, the faint shuff of a loose scrap of fabric dangling from the end of Z's trousers, then a mechanical ktunk. There's a fluorescent sound, mothwing spastic, and then red light filters through the scarf and Dex's eyelids.

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SECURITY CLASSIFICATION: RESTRICTED | DATE OF REVIEW: 19.02.2098 |
AUTHORITY: NETWORK COMPLIANCE COMMISSION | AUTHOR: NETWORK COMPLIANCE COMMISSION |
DOCUMENT STATUS: FINAL VERSION | VERSION: 1.0
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Matthew Simpert leans back from his desk and sighs like a chessmaster, massaging his fingers into the ridge of his eyebrow. He toggles through the Outposts again, then queues the usual spots. Nothing. He's used to Z moving quickly between feeds, but he always picks her up quickly from another.

"Where've you gone again, Earsy," he murmurs, looking from feed to feed.

Maybe - He lurches for a switch. The feed goes live moments later and he frowns. Nothing. He swivels in his chair.

"Our gal's carked it again, Frills. Call the mappers, hey? She's got Stripes with her, but I'd rather not give a shout to Ogilvy's side of things less we're pressed."

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SECURITY CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED | DATE OF REVIEW: N/A |
AUTHORITY: N/A | AUTHOR: UNKNOWN |
DOCUMENT STATUS: FINAL VERSION | VERSION: 1.0
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"Alright."

Z stands two armlengths away with her hand on a large metal switch. The end of the handle has been shrinkwrapped with red plastic and it looks like the lever you'd throw if you meant to bring back Frankenstein's monster but found the machine at a salvage sale - exposed wiring, chipped layers of paint on the switchplate, tiny brass screwplates at the top and bottom which say 'LIGHT' and 'OFF'.

They're standing in an archway, one of several which support a snaking sort of tunnel. The walls are brick. Square tiles line the belly of each arch support, mossy green with creamy off-white patterned like a spine down the middle. The backbendandstretch expanse of the ceiling and upper walls is somewhat different, off-white and faint tan rectangles all along a diagonal course like reptile skin.

Dex discovers the place in three trips. The first like tearing opening a gift - grabbing Z's hand and pulling her to run, head swivelling to take it all in. Every third archway, there's glass and lattice-worked iron instead of ceramic and grout. The floor is polished concrete, sectioned by arches, and really more a platform than floor for the long pool of water that runs alongside it, hugging the one flat wall of the tunnel.

The water glints as it moves, fed through wide-gap iron grates. It's deep enough to dive and it calms the claustrophobia creeping up on Dex. If it can come and go somewhere, so can she.

Just before and after each arch, there are hanging lights. They're all mismatched - this one like a chandelier reinterpreted by modernists, that one a single globe. Dex takes time in the details during her second trip- her hands rumble along tiled walls, follow lines in the arches, reach fingertips to all the lights and test the water and the bed.

The tunnel is shaped, quite accidentally, like a capital D with the bottom of the stem disconnected from the bowl. Walking away from the lightswitch and up along the curve of the tunnel to the end of the bowl, there is an iron catwalk crossing the canal. The turn down the straightaway stem is sharp. It's cozier there, with a large bed, a little bookshelf, and a rough kitchenette built into the wall.

There are no cameras.

"You'll have to learn how to go," Z says, pulling apologetically at the back of her neck.

The third trip is slower still, making links to memories which she recounts to Z. Aware of the incongruity in time, Z listens without interrupting, taking Dex's hand again.

If Dex was conscious of it, she could describe how she looked back then-thin, dogged, gangly, without a bit of fat- not wholly unlike now, but lacking muscle. She'd almost appear fanatical, hunched in the yellow light over her sloped drawing desk for the Academy.

"Discovered two important things about myself while those Art freaks had me locked up," she says. "One, I would never be a Painter. Two, I was braver than I thought. I became bitter and full of resentment, too." There's no guilty look. No shuffling feet. "Felt I could easily hurt someone, if I wanted."

"What's it being little."

"Was never little, Z, not as far as I can remember."

Z turns to study Dex's face, checking the set of her mouth and the cast of her eyes. "Mn." A pause, then, "Didn't think then what you'd've been doing if you could?"

"If I could what?"

"Be doing sommat other than making arts."

"Oh. Shit, I didn't mind it so much. It was just not being given the choice. Anything at all, to be there or not, to run around outside for a day, to lift the woman's eyes in one of Raphael's, or draw something real like ..tree-sized monsters." She smiles at Z then, and the nostalgic link to this place is clear- she sees that her life as it has been so far is over, and something exciting is opening up before her.

"Raphael?"

Dex recites, "Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, or Raphael, was an Italian painter during the High Renaissance. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the trinity of great masters of that period." Z's eyes widen, then narrow to suspicious slits. Dex adds, "They liked to get me to copy his shit 'cuz not only was it hot, he was an orphan, like they reminded me I was, that got picked up by Perugino's - he's another master - workshop. And then he got all famous 'n got a bunch of gigs in the Vatican 'n shit- whatyoudoin'?"

Reaching for Dex's head, Z checks her ear, then the other, then demands Dex to open her mouth. "'Mme see, you are either full of book or you are secretly like a Robot, but also not."

They thumpknockdrag each other from their feet, reopening their usual kneescabs as they wrassle on the concrete. Z ends pinned under Dex with her shirt collar tight in Dex's webbed fingers. The grip keeps her from slipping all the way into the canal. With her gaze running upward along her stretched-out hair, Z stares at the water before she flicks her ear. Her nose twintches. She peers back at Dex and sneezes in her face. Spluttering and scowling, she wipes her face on Z's shirt before she drags her back up.

"Tell me 'bout this place then," she says, wheezing.

Z snuffs, tail thomping into Dex's calf as she worms her butt forward. "I made it for you. Also you have to give it a name." Told.

"You made this? How?"

"Found a place and tiles, and brought my viola. It was awful at the beginning 'cos what you doin'." Dex gapes incredulous and speechless, patting the wrinkles from Z's shirt as though she's a dignitary that's tripped. Z frowns down at her belly and Dex's hands, then picks up, "'Cos there was no room, so then I made it all bigger, and ahmn.. went to learn about grouts," groats, she says, "and hunted the grouts, and then hunted concretes and -"

Dex interrupts by throwing her arms around Z in a hug. Finally deterred from the explanation, Z nuzzles Dex's neck, wrapping arms and legs both. "..was going to add ramps for skateboards," she adds quietly after a few moments, "but I reckoned you could pick that if you wanted it there."

She leans away enough to look in Z's eyes, her own glistening and wide. With the pretense of nudging away hair she lets the back of her hand linger on Z's cheekbone. "I noticed," she whispers, indicating above them with her head. "How long we got?"

Z looks puzzled. "Until what?"

"Until they.." She lifts her fingerlens to one of her eyes and trains it on Z's face. Z cants her head further to the right, then she blinks.

"Oh! Oh. Oh, I don't know. You think it'll be a problem?"

Hope so, she grins. "You made this?" Suddenly the lack of cameras doesn't matter as much as this fact, and Dex stands to look at the entire place one more, this time with Z-created-this eyes.

"Aye." Z rolls to her feet. "You will need to name it or I will call it 'the whatsit' or 'that place.'"

"Okayokay jus'wait."

Then the bloody interview. Dex wants to know everything, like when Z used her viola-what parts (tiles and concretes and grouts and wires and irons and..), what songs (made up), what happened (construction), what did it feel like (tiring), where are they (not telling, but northish), when she made it (while ago), how the hell she made it without Dex finding out (sneakings), where she found these lights (scrapyard) and where's the water coming from (a naquifer) and, "Why? Why'd you make this place, twist?"

"'Cos I couldn't see a way to do it aboveground without them finding it. The ahmn." She waves her hand toward the glass. "Windows. Windowy whatsits. They're illusioned 'cos there's a snag in the song around the place, and I think I'll be able to keep that up since they're just little. But I tried it some with bigger things and it gets me to feeling poorly." Z catches Dex's attentive expression, the slight curl to her lips. Not quite the right answer to the question. She readjusts as though that were the intention.

"But so that you'd have a place that was private. Properly private. We'd, even, but s'mostly yours an' after you figure out a way to go or we put a beacon or somesuch down here, I won't come 'less you invite me." She glances off sideways with shying ears. "Can't get you off the Island. And would've liked it if I could've done it open where you could run, but I couldn't figure a way."

Dex, who got choked up when Kai, as her tutor, gave her a weapon from his enormous stockpile, whose tears embarrassed Bernard after he gave her his Joker dice, and who gets mistyeyed when Z comes home with cheese for fucksakes, doesn't cry. Something huge wells in her chest and she throws herself on Z again.

Z nuzzles close. Dex's hands pet and stroke Z's hair and rub her ears, but her toes wiggle restless in her boots. "Wait," she says pulling away enough to inspect her. "You have to keep making this place stay up all the time?"

"Mnuhh. ..no. Not this part. I could go away and this part would stay, but s'the ahmn." She waves her arm vaguely glassward again. "That. That needs me to keep it hidded."

"Does it tire you out to hide us? Maybe I could learn.. I can do diaphanous, which is close."

"No. But you could learn, aye."

"Oh! I hid money, so maybe-"

Incredulous, "You hid money?"

"Was GERM's but Bish was lying so- twist?" She leans away and pulls off her boots, freeing her feet.

"Swims?"

Dex already has her shirt pulled over her head. "Yeh and then dancing and crazysex as loud as we want and guess what, GERM robbed a bank and Sixy helped, she was badass." Her grin is huge. "We're free. I can tell you anything here."

"Tell me something else then." She's unbuttoning.

"Make me," she mimics, wriggling trousers over hips.

Z huffs and doesn't bother with her own trousers, tackling Dex low to tumble them off the edge of the platform and into the water. Dex has a quickflash fantasy of the two in slow freefall, glowing in deepspace depths.

Twisting to get her feet aligned with her shoulders, Z gasps when they surface. She kisses her girl rough, and without a chance to draw her own breath, Dex draws hers from Z. They thrash closer to the side of the raceway, where the bottom of the canal slopes just enough to brace your feet. Whatever it was in Dex's chest bursts, possessing her. She frees herself, and wheezing, she scrambles up onto the deck and pulls Z after her, careless of clothes or bed or elbows and knees or hard concrete. It's intense, rushed and grabbing-desperate and close to fighting and Dex realises only then how much she has still been self-conscious of viewers. Later, when her tears soak Z's throat, she'll say how it wasn't for being shy or embarrassed or angry, but there were always some things she wanted to share with Z and Z alone. Scraped knees and raw hands, Z will pull Dex to her feet after they've stopped twitchtrembling and guide her to the bed to cuddle, to demand memories in thicktongued voices, to do it again.

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SECURITY CLASSIFICATION: RESTRICTED | DATE OF REVIEW: 19.02.2098 |
AUTHORITY: NETWORK COMPLIANCE COMMISSION | AUTHOR: NETWORK COMPLIANCE COMMISSION |
DOCUMENT STATUS: FINAL VERSION | VERSION: 1.0
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Two hours, forty six minutes, twelve seconds. Matthew Simpert keeps sneaking looks at his clock, watching the numbers creep upward. There's been nothing on any screen. The phone's off the hook and pretty soon, he supposes that Ogilvy won't accept Cooper as a frontman, that she'll demand him, or show up here herself. But fuck, he doesn't know. Retraining foot personnel - the undertakers, everyone calls them, because they bring the bodies to the rowboats - have been put on alert. Fat load of luck they'll find or recognize any of them. Rookies and established contestants go missing daily.

But Jokers, two of 'em..

He purses his lips and flicks back to the loft, clan hall, copse, banyans, their favourite swimming holes and surf spots, expecting a flashing tail or a raised middle finger any second.

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SECURITY CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED | DATE OF REVIEW: N/A |
AUTHORITY: N/A | AUTHOR: UNKNOWN |
DOCUMENT STATUS: FINAL VERSION | VERSION: 1.0
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Dex and Z starfish and loll naked on top of the blankets, limbs careless of anything beyond the bed. "Wines?" Z asks, ribs rising and falling in time with her heartbeat.

"Yaksi," Dex responds. She's been staring silent at the ceiling for the past few minutes.

"What."

Dex props herself up on an elbow. "Elias said they're nature spirits that live underground."

Z noses, distracted. "..mhm?"

Dex grips the bottom of Z's tail between her feet. "The name, twisty."

"M'be a yaksi ri'now," she says, pressing Dex's legs to make more space for herself.

Dex lets Z move her however she wants, while her hands find Z's ears, but her thoughts have locked on to a problem. "When Lelila shanked ya, I wanted to leaveso much. I begged it. And Improbability responds to my emotions, but if it didn't answer me then- twist, I donno. It was you who moved us, not me." Trapped in this place unless she learns to move like Z can.

Z tilts her head up just far enough to let her eyes peek over the flatlands of Dex's long torso. She considers. "I tried. At the beginning, before she ahmn. Hit my head with her head. The inside of our heads, mean. But I couldn't. Also I couldn't think at all at the end. Everything hurt. Donno I knew you were even there."

Huh. There's hope for her then, and she needs to think. She shuffs away, pulls her legs crosslegged, leaving Z to sits up too, frowning, TV remote nicked away mid-episode. "Tell me all'a steps when you goin'ta jump places." There is a part of her feels that feels this line of questioning is futile - their relationships to Improbability differ.

Dogged, Z sets a hand on the ankle Dex has layered on top. "It has to be a place I know. And if it is a place I know, I have to have been there, or gone there a lot before, 'cos otherwise I can't remember how it sounds and match myself to it. S'ahmn.. I tried explaining it to Beeker once because he wanted to know."

"How'dj'you get down'ere first then?"

"There is a well I know that does not sound very much different from this. So you just change it a little bit - the hollow underground sound of it. It was not good."

Dex looks puzzled. "What wasn't good?"

Z tries unfolding ankles, visually focused, though her ears lean toward Dex. "Coming down here for the first time. You can know sommat sounds hollow and not know how big it is. Or what shape it is."

"Oh. Yeh." They share the same feeling about tight spaces. Her ankles won't give in to Z but she strokes the back of one of her hands. "How do you match your own sound?"

"How do I match my breathing to yours. Or my feets when we are walking."

"Mmn. Then does it pull you or do you have to do something or what?"

She corkscrews onto her back, setting her feet against Dex's ribs."You have to grab at Improbability and pull. When I was explaining it to Beeker, ahmn, I said it was like you pull where you want to be toward you and let everything else move around you, then letgosnap when you are where you are and need to sound like you again. I had ahmn." She looks around, then ohs at the sheets beneath her. "Tablecloth with peppers on them. You know how you can jerk it quick and the peppers will stay in the same place but the sheet will move? It is like that almost. You keep everything else in place and YOU move."

"K," Dex says, intent. "S'lot harder than thinkin' of your tongue in my mouth and water just boils." Maybe there are steps between; though, but they're so quick and 'natural', she's not noticed.

"Wait you make water boil how."

A frown. "You know this!"

"You said you thought about hot things you didn't say you thought about tongues!"

Incredulous, Dex rubs her palms into her eyes. "Your tongue is hot." To prove it, Dex simply has to recall recent kisses- soft lips brushing her jawbone- to warm Z's tongue. Z looks startled and pulls back, poking her fingers into her mouth to pat and prod.

"Oo o'wah ouhd oungs ouh ouh ahd?"

"Huh?" Z's bounced as Dex stands up suddenly. "Maybe it's like asking your tongue to feel how I feel." A dismissive wave of her hand cools Z's tongue again.

"Ask the Loft instead."

"Never tried anything I can't see, Z," but she's staring in midspace, considering it.

"Aye but we're there all the time, don't you know its feelings?" She cocks her head and rolls to her feet to stretch. "Draw from me if you need to."

"Loft's sexy.. and ..s'one of the few places doesn't make my neck ache after awhile. It's unfinished, waitin' for ideas. But it's a bit.. mrrngh." A sigh. "Ogilvy gave it to us. Prolly'cuz they like watching us fuck'nstu- aww twist com'ere." She dogpiles her girl so they both fall back onto the bed. Z shifts beneath Dex, looping their legs.

"I'd like watchin' us fuck'n'stuff, I reckon."

A look passes between them.

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SECURITY CLASSIFICATION: RESTRICTED | DATE OF REVIEW: 19.02.2098 |
AUTHORITY: NETWORK COMPLIANCE COMMISSION | AUTHOR: NETWORK COMPLIANCE COMMISSION |
DOCUMENT STATUS: FINAL VERSION | VERSION: 1.0
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Four hours, nineteen minutes, fifty nine seconds.

Matthew Simpert reviews the last known footage of the girls. AceHigh, back alley. They're far enough from an active camera that the sound quality is poor, but the transcribers have done a fair job. Teasing, dallying, deciding where they'll go, right up 'til the bitser asks her galah to close her eyes. Bound for somewhere. He looks again at his map, blows out a breath, reopens the updated land registry to cross-reference coordinates with downed cameras. Nothing matches. It didn't match an hour ago. It's not matching now. Hell, the only service outage today was in CC404, and that was a wall-mount damaged during an Onslaught.

He scratches his goatee, turns to open the notes for the footage over the last several weeks. A best guess will have to do for now, he supposes. No way to stay off the map for long.

Of course, best guesses don't satisfy bloody bitch producers.

"How long we have we got?"

"Should've been here a minute ago, honestly, sir," Cooper replies from across the room, distracted by the glow of his own screen.

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SECURITY CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED | DATE OF REVIEW: N/A |
AUTHORITY: N/A | AUTHOR: UNKNOWN |
DOCUMENT STATUS: FINAL VERSION | VERSION: 1.0
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They're both bloody feral by now-grindgripping desperate hiptilt bodies slipping sweaty and soaked, whining with halfbreaths and starving eyes. Sound circuit split wide open.

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SECURITY CLASSIFICATION: RESTRICTED | DATE OF REVIEW: 19.02.2098 |
AUTHORITY: NETWORK COMPLIANCE COMMISSION | AUTHOR: NETWORK COMPLIANCE COMMISSION |
DOCUMENT STATUS: FINAL VERSION | VERSION: 1.0
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"What've you got," Ogilvy says, not looking up, thumbs working the phone.

Working guess is that they're oceanside beyond any of the cameras. Matthew slides a summary report across his desk, hesitating for a moment as she opens up another call. He decides to keep talking. "Next best, ah. That Ears would - ah, Zolotisty requested Spandex close her eyes before they disappeared, which implies to me that they were headed to a new place. We have backfootage of Zolotisty running errands for construction jobs and while we've not confirmed it yet, some portion seems to be going missing every time, which suggests she's made or helped to make a Dwelling. It's difficult to say as we have access only to the reels we requested to be cut for our own archival purposes, and we didn't, on these - nobody cares to watch a magnanimous Joker."

"Simpert. Do you celebrate Christmas?"

He blinks, puzzled. "I do, ma'am."

"Did you read the Spandex's First Christmas storyboard?" There's no reason he should - he's assigned to Zolotisty.

"I saw a copy. That was a month ago, wasn't it?"

"So, the girlfriend's sneaking around whenever she's alone, building something.. and we too have been building something for two years now. Which you were informed of. And you. You decide 'no one wants to watch a magnanimous Joker'." She waits a dash for this to sink in. The weight lines the corners of his mouth. "Spandex is receiving the biggest gift of her entire life in a love storyline we've been working on almost since she arrived, and not only are you not glued to your screens.. you can't even find them." She almost sounds hurt.

"..fuckin' hell."

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SECURITY CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED | DATE OF REVIEW: N/A |
AUTHORITY: N/A | AUTHOR: UNKNOWN |
DOCUMENT STATUS: FINAL VERSION | VERSION: 1.0
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It's as if they were frozen for a half-hour, both passed out with hands still tucked warm between each other's thighs, foreheads resting together. The only signs they moved are Z's tail covering twenty toes and a tiny drool stain forming on the sheet under Dex's lips.

Dex wakes first. She likes to watch Z's ears twinge and twitch while she sleeps. Once she asked Z about that - if she didn't sleep soundly enough or if she's picking up noises. Predictably, Z balked at 'soundly' before saying that's why she likes running or fucking hard before bed - to sleep better and dream dreams that aren't so loudly colored by the pulse and pull around her. Dex keeps her eyes on Z's ears as she pulls and rolls away. It's a test. One leans after her, sleepwalk-slow, and Dex glares at it to behave. It doesn't.

The mattress springs murmur as Z pulls her knees up and draws her suddenly-cool fingers closer to herself to tuck them under her ribs. Dex rolls fully onto her back and works through her problem in the undisturbed space of morning and solitude. She's convinced Z's idea won't work, but tries 'feeling' like their Loft does. Sexy, open minded, full of potential, and yet someone else is in control. It's her painting feeling.

Kffh, says Z, and Dex pretends to sleep. But there's no movement, just a snuff and a sigh as the guard-ear droops.

Wait a minute more, because Dex'd wager that even Z's ears are grifters. They stand-off for several moments before it twintches. Dex's fingers curl in response, wanting to pounce and flatten the narc-ear still. She returns to her experiment.

Improbability stretches in front of her and Dex feels a swoon of creativity lift the back of her shoulders. She lets it carry her, to leave a disapproving Ogilvy behind, and her feet feel light and-

The hell you doin', the hall-monitor-ear says, straightening. Dex's attention jerks and draws Z right into the scene, snugged in a comfortable curve on the Loft bed, not sleeping. The bed creaks, Dex jerks again. ..Holyjesuso'rats, Z's gone.

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SECURITY CLASSIFICATION: NOT RELEASED TO PUBLIC | DATE OF REVIEW: 19.02.2098 |
AUTHORITY: NETWORK CLOSECASTING | AUTHOR: NETWORK CLOSECASTING |
DOCUMENT STATUS: UNEDITED VERSION | VERSION: 1.12
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Z gets shuffed into ice cold sheets with what feels like the quick wrist-flick of a crepe pan. She startles, flaps her ears side-to-side as she sits up, one palm to her right eye as she gawks around. What? What.

"..Dex?" Z asks, clearing rust from her throat as she turns her head east. All four cameras in this level of the loft simultaneously turn and zoom, red indicator LEDs staring hard at her for answers. She pulls her chin in to look at a bruise on her tit, decides no-dream, then puzzles for a moment before she crawls out of the sheets.

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SECURITY CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED | DATE OF REVIEW: N/A |
AUTHORITY: N/A | AUTHOR: UNKNOWN |
DOCUMENT STATUS: FINAL VERSION | VERSION: 1.0
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In the tunnel, Dex is left alone with her own shock of laughter, until the thought, hope she landed in the Loft, kills that joke, fast.

Like a love scene gone horror film, Z reappears mid-crawling into Dex's lap, where she flops against warm thighs. "mnriiionno.." goes unheard under a startled shriek of, "AURGH Z!" She rolls over to slit sleep-crusted eyes up at her girl. "howwww.."

Sharp-edged laughter again. Gales of it. Z frowns and turns again onto her side to life-preserver as much of herself around the warm bits of Dex as she can. That teacher's-pet ear gets a finger waggled at it. "Busted."

"sbusded?"

"Your ears spy on me when you sleep!"

"sgoseyligeou."

Grumble. "They should trust me if they like me."

"golllld."

Grumble. But Dex shuffles lower and pulls the blanket over them. "Did you go to the Loft?" Z pokes her nose into different parts of Dex's hip for a while before answering.

"mhm. how'jyou do it."

A surge of excitement sends her toes into wiggles. "Stoppit, can'think. Uhh.. Felt like the Loft makes me feel, and.." Scowl. "..your EARS jacked my ride!" Z very slowly swivels her head to squint up at Dex. She stares, flat, before she deliberately goes back to nosepoking. "What. What are you doing?"

"swarm anyou smell of sexes. go then."

"Will." She has to roll away from the distractions, and she crosses her arms, leaving Z to loll onto her back, looking as pathetic as the dog not allowed into the car on a trip into town. Dex pulls Improbability back around her shoulders. It's still warm and Dex feels the lift once again. Lock her up, Ogilvy orders a group of hard-eyed retraining personnel, pointing towards her imagined-Z. The blanket of Improbability moves to cover Z, and Dex gasps and dives to push her away.

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SECURITY CLASSIFICATION: NOT RELEASED TO PUBLIC | DATE OF REVIEW: 19.02.2098 |
AUTHORITY: NETWORK CLOSECASTING | AUTHOR: NETWORK CLOSECASTING |
DOCUMENT STATUS: UNEDITED VERSION | VERSION: 1.12
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They rumple the sheets as they tumble onto the Loft bed. Z squirms, startled, then fixes Dex with a sleepy grin. The cameras have been panning futilely, back and forth, back and forth, and they snap to focus again with a synchronized whine of their motors. Dex misses the grin, snapping her focus on the cameras. Desperate. Z arches as she stretches, then moves to nose just behind Dex's ear now. "Th'was good."

"The swim? YES. See the size of the fish out there.." She hides her wildeyes, nuzzling the back of Z's neck.

Mrn? Swim? Z lets it go, too hungry to care, and gets a kneeful of Dex in the shin for her troubles. "..m'onna eat you like a fishy f'we don'find foods."

"Yeh okay, I'll cook bacon, you need protein. From all that swimming." She sneaks a glance at one of the cameras following her on the way to the stove.

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SECURITY CLASSIFICATION: RESTRICTED | DATE OF REVIEW: 19.02.2098 |
AUTHORITY: NETWORK COMPLIANCE COMMISSION | AUTHOR: NETWORK COMPLIANCE COMMISSION |
DOCUMENT STATUS: FINAL VERSION | VERSION: 1.0
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"Fish my narrow black arse," Matthew Simpert says, pushing aside his fourth cup of coffee. He scratches at his facial hair, ignores the transcription coming in just two seconds behind the feed - ..NEED PROTEINS ALSO?.. - and turns to queue up the first shots of Zolotisty alone in the loft, sexwrecked and sluggish. She turns her head to listen and he checks the overhead diagram of the room to check the orientation of the bed. "East," he says. He bangs through drawers under his desk. They're stuffed with dozens of accordion files - old notes, official forms to update the Network contestant records, fat files full of snapshots, stacked disks. He finds a photocopy of a map of the Island behind an x-ray of Z's skull from Season 1, stickynoted 'UPDATE,' and absentmindedly takes that out as well.

He clears a space to smooth the map on his desk, finds a pen, then marks the location of the warehouse by heart. Then he draws two lines coming off of the X. One he rules up at an angle toward CC404. The other runs directly through Pleasantville and down partway to the banyans at a gentle slope. He shades in the pie-shaped chunk with scribbly strokes.

Somewhere in here.

He stares at the map as the screen splits into sections - grainy Spandex naked at the stove, Zolotisty playing a traffic light game to creep closer when Dex's back is turned. He purses his lips and reaches for a transparency of the patrol quadrants to lay over his photocopy.

Matthew Simpert begins making calls.

 
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the_tiresias_reels_2.txt · Last modified: 2017/05/28 03:34 (external edit)