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The oh shit moment had happened, although not exactly in the way Aelra thought it would happen. She imagined the bottle hitting Erin's head, and her getting her tongue cut out by Erin. From a point of view, she kind of deserved it.
What actually happened, was completely different. What actually happened, was that the bottle hit Erin's hand, which had come up lighting fast. The hand blocked most of the momentum, but the rest of the momentum that made it through, did cause the bottle of whiskey to hit him in the face. Left a scratch, which was an open wound. A bright red line. Second scratch, in one day. Aelra was ready to receive the punishment.
Erin started to warm, First the yelling, then the bird death crush left fist. Aelra was expecting much worse. Instead, to her surprise, he gulps the anger down. Tries reversing the situation. She just stood there dumbstruck. Why was he acting like this, this wasn't his usual behavior?
An attempt at a hug, what? Rubbing her hair, like a cat? Aelra's anger just vented like a shit ton of matches going up at the same time.
What the hell was this guy up to? Due to her anger flaring up way to fast, she automatically summoned her scythe, and set it on fire, just keeping the scythe in one position.
With the appearance of AORNH’s head director, Erin knew it was time to leave. The last thing he wanted was a solo audience with Anna since he knew that the director didn’t care much of him. Erin grabbed onto Aelra’s hand and yanked on her without a thought of consideration for demon. Which was probably why a bottle of whiskey was now heading towards his head. His head turn towards the incoming object; the image of the bottle was mirrored in Erin’s eyes, as it became inches from his face.
Luckily his reflexes were fast enough for him to able to get his hand between the bottle and his face. However the force behind the bottle was too great and Erin didn’t have enough time to stop it himself, in result, the back of his hand hit the side of his lip/cheek area. The taste of iron appeared in his mouth, most likely a busted lip that was bleeding. There was a moment of stillness before Erin slowly moved the bottle away and jerked it out of Aelra’s hand. [+red “Why you little-!”] he growled while slamming the bottle down on the table. [+red “Do you have a death wish or something?!”] he raised his voice to a dooming roar while he tighten his hand into a fist.
He wanted to punish Aelra right there on the spot but that wouldn’t be wise with all the other Caretakers and non-humans around. Erin quickly covered his mouth and nervously glanced over to see if the director had noticed the incident that just occurred. The director was looking right at them. [i [+red “Crap! Crap! Crap!”]] he screamed over and over in his head.
Erin straighten up his posture and coughed some before giving Aelra the thumbs up. [+red “What I mean to say was: It’s all good! Shit happens, no need to be so dramatic Aelra.”] he gave her a artificial smile trying to pull on a act of being buddy-buddy. Erin slowly put his arms around her as if he was going to hug her but in order to keep minimum physical contact the only thing that actually touched Aelra was his hand. He pets the top of the demon’s head affectionately as if she was a cat. After he thought the connection was satisfying to those who were watching he regained his personal space. His body was stiff after that, he felt like a germaphobe who just touch something unclean. Between the cut on his lips, getting stared down by the Director, and that hug. Erin really wanted to leave this place before something else undesirable happens.
The presence in his mind had disappeared. He still had no clue to what or why it had happened, but it hadn't done him any harm. Jota was again itching for a cigarette, but he stopped himself. No need to appear slovenly in front of strangers.
After the slight care, the guy introduced himself, and his non-human. The guy's name was Dimitri,and his non-human companion Valkyr. Valkyr looked oddly familiar, or maybe that was his own mind playing tricks on him. It had been doing that since his squad buddies were wiped out.
He turned around, Akane had sat behind one of the tables there, towards the far wall.
Turning back around to face Dimitri, he took a cautious step back forward, a step closer to both. [+blue "Well, one good thing to know, is what is this organization anyways, and what's their purpose?"]
So that was what this organization was about. Agency of Removing Non-Humans, made a bunch of sense. And then have humans watch over them. Why him of all people the group decided to bring him over, but at least it gave him an important job.
[+blue "Just one last question. I have a non-human, but I haven't a clue as to what do to. It, no it's a she, is a half snake, half human. She's over there."]
As he pointed to where Akane sat, he didn't see her. He saw a girl with similar looking upper half, and a human lower half. This took him by surprise. He didn't know what to do, he was so new to all of this. This time, he reached a cigarette, took out his cigarette lighter, lit the cig, and took in a lungful of smoke.
All this playing on the nerves, he didn't know what to do. He started as he had a short flashback. When his squad had been hit by the bomb. He almost dropped one of his legs as muscles in his leg set off. He started smoking more, which seemed to help.
[center [h3 Anna & Solomon]]
Anna could usually be seen speaking more often to the non-humans than her fellow caretakers. It always seemed she got along better with the creatures. Perhaps there was a reason for that, and if there was, she didn't let anyone know about it.
Her green eyes scanned the area around her. Hm, so far it appeared everyone she knew was here. The woman used a hand, tucking some loose hairs behind her ear.
[b "Wellwellwell, ya know what I mentioned earlier, it's gonna happen, actually right about...NOW! AHAHAHA!!!!"]
Anna glanced towards the strange non-human whom she cared for, then back to the crowd. Ah, there we are. The woman's voice was low, [#8b4513 "Nicely done Solomon. It appears once again your vision has not failed us."]
[b "Wrong? WRONG?! WHO DARES SAYS I'M WRONG?!?!?"]
[#8b4513 "Hush...or you will not be getting your usual treat for behaving."]
Well, that instantly shut the strange man's mouth quickly. Now then, back to the show. Anna's eyes watched as Erin's non-human swung a bottle at him. It would be interesting to see how the young man would handle the situation.
If it had been up to her, Anna would've sent Erin packing long ago. The way he treated the non-humans he was given to care for she did not much care for his techniques.
[center [h3 Valkyr]]
One of the target receptors remained focused on Erin. Two others were once again on the move, taking in everything around her. At Dimitri's words, Valkyr gave a curt nod. Her form pulsed now and then with that unknown red energy of before.
Then a person approached, a young male. Instantly one of the targets in her vision focused on his face, opening up several files which only she could see in her mind. Hm, another who seemed to have been part of some military before coming here.
Though, Valkyr was completely emotionless. She never really had a chance to understand such thing. Having been created/tested in a military lab, during the time, she lost all trace of what was once her humanity other than her humanoid appearance.
Akane scoffed at the man’s words. [i ‘Like I could start anything even if I wanted to,’] she thought as he disappeared to talk to whoever it was the other man pointed out. She found herself standing alone within the moderately crowded room. If she had the option, she would leave entirely. The room, the building— hell, even this town. But that was hoping for the impossible so she only succeeded in souring her own mood even more.
She found an empty table and sat down in an open chair, curling her tail underneath the table so that no one would step or trip over it. However, people who passed by stared at her for seconds longer than she would appreciate and it got under her skin. For a few minutes she dealt with it, trying to ignore everyone. She even closed her eyes for a moment, but she could [i feel] their stares, their fear, and it ticked her off. [i ‘Mind your own damn business.’]
Akane brought her smoking pipe to her lips, taking in a long drag. As she breathed it out she whispered something softly in an ancient tongue. The smoke moved upwards at first, but then curved back downwards. Like a thin snake, the smoke wrapped around her body and moved slowly downwards. As it reached the start of her snake tail and downwards, it appeared as if scales were being replaced with human skin that were covered by a silky cloth the same color as her top. When the smoke had finished its journey it appeared as if the woman had a pair of human legs and was wearing a long skirt.
Placing her elbow on the table, she held her head up with her hand and closed her eyes. Eventually, her mood eased down into something close to content and allowed herself to not focus on anything. A few moments of peace.
Dimitri’s eye widened. [i “What?”]
He looked around until he spotted the blond boy within the crowd. If Valkyr hadn’t pointed him out, he probably would have never noticed him, let alone realize that he was being watched. However, it seemed that the stalker was currently occupied in a conversation with someone else. He sighed and rubbed his forehead. He didn’t know why the guy felt the need to be secretive when he could just talk to him face-to-face like a normal person.
“Just ignore him for the time being,” he said. “If he has a problem with either of us he can be a big boy and tell us himself.”
He stared at the rest of the people in the room, watching them gather into groups of different conversations, some sitting down and trying to mind their own business, and others eating from the table that had a wide array of foods and drinks. That’s when someone approached him; a new face. Jota introduced himself and explained why he was talking to him. He watched how he acted with Valkyr and couldn’t help but smirk for a brief moment. He really was fresh meat of the program.
“I didn’t think the program made last minute transfers like that,” he said. He shrugged. “The name’s Dimitri.” He then pointed at the non-human beside him with his thumb, “And this is Valkyr.” Rubbing the back of his neck for a moment, he asked, “What do you need help with exactly?”
His old chum took quite a while to realize it was his old friend trying to talk to him. But then again, many things had changed over two years. Jota knew he looked completely different than he did two years ago. At least the gun in his holster hadn't changed. A 0.38 Magnum revolver. Reliable, powerful, accurate.
Erin introduced him to his companion. Guessing it was also a non-human, he had a quick look. She, looked quite cute. Like a regular teenage girl, except for the two horns. But, the horns also looked beautiful. He didn't show it on his face that he liked her, but he did give a nervously polite smile and wave.
Turning back to Erin, they continued their conversation. Mostly talked about what happened during the last two years. Towards the end, Erin took him aside, and shower him some guy, with the eyepatch, with someone standing next to him. A good source of help with all this. Why not go ask him?
Before leaving to go talk to him, Jota turned to Akane. [+blue "You can walk freely around this place. Just please, I sincerely beg you, don't start any trouble."]
With that, he turned towards the eye patch guy. He felt nervous, so Jota starting reaching towards his liege coat pocket for a cig. No, no cigarettes. Get off the habit.
Walking up to the eye patch guy, a bit nervously, [+blue "Hey, my name is Jota. I started working at this place only today, and a few hours ago. Could you help me please?"]
While waiting for an answer, he saw that this guy's partner, another non-human he guessed, was looking at him intently. He felt afraid. He took a minuscule step sideways, while continuing to gaze at the creature. Of course the thought, I don't want any trouble came into his head, because he felt like he had maybe done something wrong?
She thought whoever this guy was, was going to receive an angry rant from Erin. Nope, she was wrong. It took Erin a while, but once he recognized the person, they started talking like old college buddies.
She started to glance at the new guy's monster, when Erin introduced his friend. Jota, nice name. Wonder where he's from.
After they turned there attention back to each other, Aelra focused her attention back to Jota's monster. Half snake, lower half, and half human, upper half. Had a pipe, which the smoke coming out kept forming shapes, and then quickly puffing out. And of course the tongue, going in and out. She wondered what that did.
Anyways, the conversation was being drawn to an end. Erin sent of Jota towards emo pirate guy. Although Erin's tone suggested it was for some other reason, other than for Jota to get acquainted. Jota seemed nice, but he also seemed confused. Did he, like just get here?
Anyways, she wasn't hungry or thirsty really, but she followed Erin to the concession stand, just to see what was being served. Bottles of alcohol, oh there's vodka. Let's see, napkins, check. But no petroleum, or for hells sake, least ethanol. She could've made a Molotov cocktail, and turned up the heat of this meeting. But no, she hadn't had that much luck.
She heard Erin mumble something, but she didn't really pay attention. When Erin mumbled something, it wasn't usually important for her to hear.
She was just about to grab the bottle of whiskey, when someone grabbed her by the arm, and started to drag her. Irritably, she managed to grab the bottle of whiskey by the very end of the neck, and swing it at whoever was trying to drag her.
Too late, she realized who was dragging her. It was Erin who was dragging her. Exclaiming, [+purple "Oh shit."], right before the bottle hit Erin.
By blending into a larger group of people Erin was able to get pretty close to the pair that he’s been gathering information on. However there was only so much he could learn from visual observation. He was no Sherlock Holmes, he couldn’t deduce everything about person just by looking their thumbs or by the brand of shampoo they use. Although there were a few things like speech patterns and stance that Erin could use to understand another person. His eyes studied them intensely as if they were insects under a microscope. He was getting next to nothing trying to analysis the alien looking monster because of the way she carried herself, like a robot or military. Her movements were smooth and she didn’t talk, or maybe she couldn’t? In any case, Erin gave up on watching her. He could always enter AORNH’s database using his father’s clearance and find her file. He shifted his attention onto the Caretaker. However he was interrupted by a presentence that was looming too close to him and it wasn’t Aelra.
It wasn’t until he heard his name being spoken aloud that he snapped out surveillance mode, which he was stuck in. He turned to face in the direction where the voice was coming from. It was a human male who looked to be about the same age as him. [+red “That is my name.”] It was strange how familiar this man seemed as if he knew him from somewhere else. Erin thought about it hard but drew nothing but blanks. So he looked at the man and asked bluntly,[+red “who are you again?”] After the man introduced himself Erin was able to remember that they went to the same military academy together. Jota? Was he the guy Erin punched in the face the first day of boot camp or was that someone else? [+red “Oh right, Jota! Of course… It’s been while. Last I heard you were on the front lines.”] He decided to take his time to engage in small talk, he would seem less suspicious by doing so. [+red “This is my monst- um, non-human Aelra. Demon and a pain in my ass.”] he sported a wolfish grin as he introduced Aelra to Jota. Erin leaned over slightly to look around Jota and towards his pet monster who was directly behind him. He looked at her upper half: ‘lady’, then looked at her lower half: ‘snake’. He watched as the end of her tail squirmed around on the floor while her tongue hissed in and out. [+red “A Humanoid Snake is a rare catch, even for AORNH, you’re lucky to be working with one Jota.”] he spoke honesty without a hint of jealous. Erin didn’t really care for snakes too much so he was happy he wasn’t given Akane as his non-human. Aelra is starting to look more and more like a lucky score.
After catching up with Jota some, Erin decided it was time to get back to the main mission. Gathering information on the other Caretakers and non-humans was the only reason he was putting up with this God forsaken formal meeting. Just then Erin got a brilliant idea. [i [+red “Now that’s a nifty idea! It could work… no no I couldn’t…well I could but should I?”]] he thought to himself pondering on the ethical dilemmas of his idea. In the end, he decided that ethics shouldn’t stop him; he was probably going to hell anyway. Erin smiled widely while he wrapped his arm around Jota’s shoulder, [+red “Hey buddy, you know what you should meet the other Caretakers while you’re here. Don’t let me keep you for so long. You see that guy over there.”] Erin gesture over towards the man with the eye patch. [+red “You see him? Well I’ve been told that he’s been here at AORNH for a while now. I think it’ll be very beneficially to go talk to him. Ask him about pointers and such. It couldn’t hurt in any case. We’ll talk more after.”] Erin’s nonexistence devil horns were showing a little as he waved goodbye to Jota and his non-human. [+red “Later Jota. Later Slither-Puss.”] This way he can observe their conversation and gather more research. Using people as pawns sure was fun, too much fun really.
While Jota was being the bait to catch more info, Erin brought his attention to Aelra who has been a good girl for him so far. He was really impressed by the demon`s ability to follow his instructions. Perhaps these monters could be tamed, however, they still couldn't be trusted. Monsters can`t change who they are, deep down they`re all rotten to the core. Even Aelra needed to be ‘taken care of’ if it was necessary to humanity. AORNH`s ideology to save these freaks and use them to benefit humanity was just a means to an end. Erin almost felt sorry for the female demon but he quickly fix those feelings. His father taught him better than that, to sympathize with non-humans was ridiculous. [+red “You must be hungry. Let’s go to the refreshment table.”] There was many table filled with different types of food for both humans and their non-humans. [+red “Eat.”] Whether Aelra ate or not, Erin kept watch on the crowd. He didn’t want to miss anything important although much wasn’t happening. [+red “We probably won’t be here much longer.”] he mumble to himself as well as to Aelra. He’d planned on leaving after his plan with Jota was over. However just as he was feeling smug about his genius a cold shiver ran down his spine. His eyes quickly shot over to an ominous figure who just walked into the ballroom. He’d know that heart clinching feeling from anywhere. It was Anna, the head of this AORNH branch, and that damn bastard Solomon was with her too. Erin didn’t know which one of the two was worst. He remembered meeting Anna once before about 5 years ago when he came with his father. Anyone who could talk one on one with his father while retaining eye contact was a terrifying person to Erin. Not to mention being the head of this branch gave Anna direct access to his Father, General Slade, which makes her the most dangerous human in the room. He’ll need to be on point wherever she’s around or else. Then there’s Solomon, a total unpredictable nut case, AORNH should had put him down a long time ago. Erin really didnt want to get into a fight tonight. Just looking at the two of them was enough to give Erin nervous sweat, disregarding his previously plan to use Jota to get closer to Mr. Eye patch man, it was time to cut their losses and get the hell out. [+red “On second thought Aelra, let’s leave. Right now.”] Erin grabbed her by the hand and pulled on her hard so she would follow. Got to make their escape before it’s too late.
[center [h3 Anna & Solomon]]
She sighed softly. Anna was never the most social of people. However, being the head of this branch of [i AORNH], she was forced to make an appearance. Not to mention have to speak with other people.
Sitting nearby, was a strange young man. He had a notebook, which he was currently drawing in at the moment. As he drew, the strange male was continuously muttering to himself. The designs he drew were complex, complete gibberish to many. However, to him, the designs meant much more.
[center [h3 Valkyr]]
At the words, [i 'Let's go'], Valkyr followed without hesitation.
Hm, so this was the place they were to be going into, speaking with other humans and non-humans.
The female stuck close to Dimitri. Target receptors in her vision were constantly active. So much information coming to her. Yet, Valkyr didn't feel overwhelmed by all this new info. She had grown used to it. Besides, sometimes the information she received proved to be quite useful.
Though, as they continued to 'mingle', she sensed some type of negative aura perhaps, coming from Dimitri. It appeared he didn't really want to be here.
Her target receptors suddenly locked onto 2 certain individuals. Hm, how interesting. It appeared the young male was trying follow them in a stealthy way...if she wasn't around, the boy probably could've pulled it off, but unfortunately for him, Valkyr was made for war. That was her purpose, and she couldn't let some enemy soldier sneak up on her now could she?
Dimitri then asked her a question. The female was quick to answer [b ~I am fine sir...but we are being followed. Erin Slade from earlier on this day sir. He has been following us~].
Akane’s eyes were closed as she sat by herself in the room, the artificial lights too bright for her liking. Of course, what did it matter what she liked or didn’t like? What she approved of and what she didn’t? She was just a monster in the eyes of these humans. Oh, sorry, “non-human” to be politically correct. In her mind’s eye she imagined her clan, the Hebi no Dansā, as it used to be. For a moment, her heart was at ease. She saw children playing together, heading towards the thick forest that surrounded the clearing they called home. She saw people looking at her, smiling and waving in greeting. She looked up at the sun, high in the sky and shining down clearly and purely.
Her eyes snapped open as the door to the room opened, all the good feelings disappearing into the abyss as her hatred returned. A man walked in, looking frazzled and confused first at her than at the other human that had brought him in. Her tongue shot out, sniffing the air, before disappearing again. She watched as the man approached her in a rather casual, careless way. She arched an eyebrow. He appeared like a child to her, with the way he spoke and carried himself. Was this really the one that would be in charge of her? Again, she stuck her tongue out and in within a second. This “Jota” seemed genuine, if nothing else.
The snake-woman followed him, arms crossed and pipe delicately held in her hand. Though they allowed her to keep it, she knew the consequences if she were to attempt to use it in any harmful way towards the humans . When he asked her to share something about herself she looked at him, eyes sharp and narrow.
“…Akane,” she said, looking back ahead. She refused to say anything else. If he truly didn’t care about getting anything more from her than she didn’t plan to give it. Not like they were going to be friends or anything.
Akane stopped moving when Jota stopped to get a human’s attention. As the two talked, she glanced over at the other non-human. She sniffed the air and immediately picked up on the demonic aura that came off of her. Her golden eyes sparkled with curiosity, but otherwise appeared to be unphased.
Dimitri walked down the stairs, a white button-up shirt with its sleeves rolled up to his elbows and a black vest covering his top half while his legs were covered by black dress pants. His only good pair of black shoes covering his feet and he was deemed ready to go. He rubbed the back of his neck, his nerves hard to keep under control. He looked over at Valkyr, seeing that she looked exactly the same as she did before. He wondered if she looked like that 24/7 or what the deal with that was, but shrugged it off.
“Let’s go,” he said lowly, clearly not looking forward.
Dimitri stared at the building ahead of him, at the entrance but not walking in immediately. His eyes lingered at the door as his mind raced. Alright, game plan: survive the get together for about an hour then, when people stop caring about who is there and who is not, slip out and return home for a quiet night. He nodded once, glancing over at Valkyr before finally entering the building.
The non-human remained by his side as he looked around inside. There wasn’t too many people present, which was good. Less annoyances to deal with. He had no aim really, no specific people he wanted to talk to, so he spent the beginning time to simply walk around, get an assessment of who was there and what type of non-monsters were part of the program this year. There were some species he recognized and some that were completely knew to him. The caretakers’ faces were also either new or familiar to him.
Why did they have to be here again? Oh, that’s right. To [i socialize]. He winced physically at the forced chit-chat that would most likely come this way. It was always the same, very awkward and a waste of time. He wasn’t an unkind man, he just didn’t like people forcing themselves to talk to him because they felt they had to. He would rather talk with someone he could just be casual with. Formalities were not his thing, which is why he avoided them as much as possible.
He looked over at Valkyr. “How’re you holding up?”
He was late, he knew it, but it wasn't his fault. The army had just told him to go to this address after receiving a new security badge from this. AORNH, Jota had no idea what the hell this was. They had given him some file, but he hadn't the time to go look through it.
He was driving his black, a bit beat up, sports car. Left here, and into a parking lot. Getting out of the car, walking through the doors, where he was greeted by someone. he showed them the badge, and they led him somewhere.
Arriving upon a door, the guide motioned Jota to go in. Opening the door, there was something in it. Female upper half, with what looked like a snake for the lower half. It, she was holding a pipe, looking around with hatred. Turning to the guide with a confused look on his face, the guide just told him that that was his monster, and he was the caretaker. Jota was wondering if he should have taken the time to go through the file folder they had handed to him.
Walking up to the half human, half serpent lady, [+blue "Hi, I'll be honest with you. I just got here, and don't know what most of is going on. My name is Jota, and I still don't understand all of this, but they said I'll be your caretaker, whatever that means. Please, follow me.
He waited for to get up, which she did eventually, with withering looks of hatred. Walking out the door, and going to the other building where some sort of meet and greet thing was going on, [+blue "I was wondering if you could tell me anything about yourself to me? Don't worry, if you don't want to tell, I don't care about extracting it from you."][
Well, that conversation was interesting. Nearing the building, Jota could see two people. One of them, slinking around, with a katana strapped to his back. It couldn't be his friend Erin? Wasn't the last time he had seen him two years ago? [+blue "Hey Erin, that you?"]
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