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Friday, October 17, 2014

Point to Pathos: Chapter 3, Part 5

     The screen showed a footage of a disheveled, pale-skinned middle-aged man in a dirty white shirt and a pair of equally dirty orange shorts being escorted out of the building in handcuffs. Praeston immediately looked for the man's left ear and saw the distinctive removal of the helix. Judging from the jagged unevenness of the scar, Praeston wondered if the man had suffered a nasty infection before everything was healed.
     "So disgusting," he muttered and took a greedy gulp from his glass.
     "The non-complier from this footage taken earlier has been confirmed to be Peretz Davi from Botanical Spheres in what has been an escalating pattern of assignment abandonment from that very region."
     The reporter turned to her left and the camera zoomed out to reveal a member of the law enforcement team waiting to be interviewed. He had a small grin on his face.
     "I have with me the Team Leader from the Non-Complier Hunt Team, Officer Rorlen Gareu. First things first, Officer Gareu, thank you for apprehending the suspect so quickly. I am sure that I speak for all of us that we didn't expect for the non-complier to be found this fast."
     "Hi Clara, we are proud to be able to secure the non-complier threat with both precision and speed. We have learned from the previous cases how to approach the situation but you must forgive me for not being able to divulge any more details than what was already said."
     "I understand Officer Gareu, some things have to be kept confidential. As long as we are seeing great results, that is all that matters."
     Praeston commanded the display off and finished his glass of water.
     "Well, the bastard's caught. Maybe I should go see Penn."

*****
     The L.U.P. was more crowded than usual because of the special appearance from Shirey. Praeston and Pennepoe couldn't even get into the club until Shirey already started her set. Pennepoe was not happy about that because she had to abandon her place in line to wait for Praeston to arrive.
     "Sorry about that Penn," he said out loud, knowing that his voice was completely drowned by the crowd and Shirey's powerful vocals.
     Pennepoe who looked annoyed when she stepped in with him noticed the gesture and gave him a nod and smile before flailing her arms up and down with the beat of the music.
     Praeston was right about the crowd. They were mostly consisted of the female sex. He could make out the rare silhouettes of men in between the flashes of multi-colored lights in the darkness. Then again, it was so hard to see, he could not doubt that he may be the only guy in the L.U.P.
     After she finished singing her most popular hit, Festival of the Stars, the entire bar went into the sound of murmurs as Shirey calmed the crowd down by raising her arms up and motioning the cheering and chanting to stop.
     "As you all have heard this resto, the latest non-complier has been apprehended by the authorities." Shirey said in a disappointed tone.
     "Oh shit, I didn't know that she was a sympatizer, Penn," Praeston whistered to Pennepoe who looked at him in return and shrugged.
     "I understand that in this society we are in, we are all told to comply. But compliance must be justified. I urge you to read Mr. Davi's personal logs at HackTruth/perezdaviBoS/ and let's keep the visions of The Secularist 5 alive. Hit it boys!"
     With her band prompted, Shirey sang a cover of Free Human, updated to a post-modern tempo and the crowd went wild. Pennepoe started girating again while Praeston walked away from the dancing floor and found himself an empty seat at the bar.
     "I thought I was the only guy in here."
     Praeston turned to his left and saw the young guy who was loudly addressing him.
     "Hey there," he said to the stranger and then ordered a drink from the bartender.
     "So who dragged you out here?" The guy asked Praeston.
     "My friend, that offbeat dancer over there," he pointed at Pennepoe who was really feeling the music, shoving off the people around her with her frantic dancing. "And you?"
     "My girl over on that side," the guy tilted his head to his left. "Red dress, gold light band."
     Praeston gave it a quick look and assumed that the first lady he saw who vaguely matched the given description was the person in question.
     "Let me guess. She's a huge Shirey fan?"
     "Hey, how did you know that?" The stranger responded and laughed. He then extended his right palm towards Praeston.
     "Eon."
     "Praeston," he said as he was shaking Eon's hand.
     "Sorry, Presley?"
     "No, it's Praes-ton."
     "Sorry, too loud in here. Nice to meet you Praeston."
     "Likewise."
     The bartender returned with Praeston's order and slid the glass towards him.
     "Ateran right?" Eon asked.
     "I know, I know. So Earth-origin. Get that all the time."
     "I would not have been able to tell you were Earth-origin until you said that."
     "It's these dim lights. Believe me, I look a lot older than I am," Praeston said before taking a quick sip from the glass.
     "I think Ateran is gaining some popularity though. I know many Staroamers who drink it."
     "Oh really? Do you drink it too?"
     Eon lifted an almost empty glass to reveal a reddish translucent liquid.
     "Eon... Carbonae at the bar? You are kidding me."
     Eon laughed. He lifted a smaller glass full of silver liquid.
     "Izsa, my girl, is drinking the Carbonae. I'm having Arks."
     "You scared me for a moment there, Eon."
     "Cheers!" Eon said and lifted his glass up and downed the entire shot. "I tried Ateran many years ago when I was a teenager, tried it with a bunch of friends. Nasty stuff. Besides, I don't think I ever want to be you know..."

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