The cool perfumes of the Field Mother’s kiss felt soothing Mallory’s inebriated cheeks. The gentle northern breeze at the start of the season held an earthy scent as it blew across the dwarven quarter. The hylian-neko-moogle-elf-human rubbed his neck. It began to cramp up and feel sore as he followed the espionage exosuit’s directions which were digitally etched into his own view somehow: LOOK LEFT, LOOK RIGHT, PAUSE, LOOK LEFT.
When he paused to sip his champaign, the suit would chide him: LOOK LEFT.
The first auction session was mostly things for charity. A dinner with a celebrity, gift baskets from local popular restaurants, a few modernist paintings by local up and coming artists that Mallory admitted to himself did fetch a pretty penny, but nothing that seemed to be the princess artifacts that the suit was curious about.
‘The Suit’ sounded too formal. What should he call the thing? Exey? Suity? The young man watched as the fluid at the bottom of the flute rolled around in the glass as he pondered to himself.
If he was the Kupopolis Knight…
“Arnie. Arnie the Armor,” Mallory mused to himself. “Howdy there, Arnie the Armor! Nice to be inside of you.”
Arnie looked over at Dwane. “My name is Arnie!” the man exclaimed. Although Dwane only sat at most a meter away from him, if he had heard the remark he attempted to conceal it. The two men shared a long desk rowed with several computer monitors and people sitting at said computers. Arnie, a creature known as a nue who kept a fiery red mane to emphasise his broad primate-like facial features, beamed a wide grin as he turned to face his coworker.
Dwane, who was a very handsome natsu, that is to say a humanoid in v-neck hunter green polo shirt and slacks with a chiseled chin and pierced green eyes carved into his literal acorn seed head, continued to stare at his monitor. Regardless of the artistry of his face, the tint of his seed was considered dark and not fair, so most other natsu paid him little attention.
The natsu looked at the clock. They had called the two in for an emergency shift at three in the morning. The alter-mana world company Boumore Solutions, a contract staffing company for Levett-Geyser LLC, who was in turn one of the several vendors for the fringe world post GA era technological conglomerate Wgyn Force, who was in it self a contractor for the Diamond shell company Ursa Technologies, who in name only was the primary developer of the exo suit Mallory had been wearing in city-dimension of Kupopolis, was known for its poor hours and perpetually on-call requirement. If one’s life could not be put on hold as a moment’s notice and report to work, one did not have to come in the next day.
Still, it paid actually cash on not company credit, unlike many other AAA corporations had been known to do. That was certainly worth getting out of bed for.
“Goodness, you don’t have to tell me twice Arnie!” muttered Mallory. He took a small sip of his wine as he read the bio of the woman the exo suit had him peer towards. Lera Casterian. A Knight of the Grand Order of the Phoenix. A fancy royal guard of Epserain origin, if he read the tiny test being beamed into his eyehole correctly. She looked uncomfortable in her outfit although he seemed curt perfectly for her features. It reminded Mallory how he felt at the moment.
“What do you think Arnie, should I go say hi? She’s military and more than just a street cleaner like me. I need to make mama Kubrick proud.”
“Dude’s got some balls, I’ll give him that” muttered Dwane. He took a gulp from his aluminum water bottle. They were allowed one 500 milliliter bottle per 12 hour session. He then began to file a deviated actions ticket. Most of the job was to file said micro reports and wait for them to be dropped or escalated to a supervisor.
“You would have never talked to her! I’d talk to her.”
“And your fuzzy ginger face would get flat out rejected.” he muttered.
“You don’t know that!” cried back the gibbon-faced data entry specialist. His serpent-like tails flexed out reactively in agitation.
“Eh, I know I’m just more of a realist about certain things,” spoke the acorn-faced man softly. He turned to face his monitor. “Looks like he struck out pretty quickly too,” he said as he pulled out a window of biological vitals. “His heart literally just sank.”
Arnie’s wide features grew flat as his face became more determined.
“I’m gonna tell him to cheer up.”
Dwane shook his head. “How are you going to do that? There’s no way to directly write to him.”
“Oh I have my ways. Watch this.”
LOOK UP. SHRUG. SMILE.
Mallory did this as Casterian whisked away from the self proclaimed Kupopolis Knight. Did the suit have a mechanism to remind him to stay positive?
“Thanks Arnie.” Mallory muttered. He decided he wanted seconds of fondue and tacos.
LOOK AT STAGE.
As he stood next to the taco station, he turned to see that a presenter was walking up to the podium. Mallory quickly squeezed a lime wedge onto his taco and folded it into his mouth. Fondue would have to wait. The final half of the auction was about to begin.