The battle is on, and DJ Profett is up against the wall. The Medusa's once-tame vinejacks are slotted firmly up in the Profett's bank of ports, reducing the sounddroid's voice to a silent thrum along xis circuits. Sticky, cash-green tendrils fondle covetously at the tiny metal rims, randomly blocking channels as it scrabbles for a direct input into its protege's mind. <<easier the first way take what we can get just need that pretty face commodify commodify>>
On the outside, the battle isn't going any better. The anathema can't silence Profett's style, but it can bite it like an expert. It's like it's got some kind of eldritch trend-whore judo, never resisting the jackalraptor's beats when cribbing them will do. Anything Profett does, just ends up belching out of sickly speakerbark, harsher, darker, baser, swaggering and thuggish.
The one-doe band has fallen beneath the Medusa's notice, her career safely critiqued out of existence. But it never counted on her comeback as a duo. With a fresh, clean soundsource, Profett can switch tracks and lose the Medusa's beat. A crackling white-metal speedriff is all it takes to turn the tide; the resulting feedback frightens off half the crowd and deep-fries several of the Medusa's tendrils, eliciting a howl of indignation that makes the local geometry wince in sympathy. There's a familiar flutter of jamming souls, and suddenly it's a supergroup: Meliph and Profett's plasmate Nix provide the samples, Profett and the doe's hidden Maestro do post-production.
But as far as the Medusa and its new fans are concerned, it's all for nothing. By the time its challengers have found their harmony, it's already lured another club zombie out of the crowd. She's a sneering, dreadlocked vulpine, toasting to sinister green-eyed dub on the platform where Profett used to spin. She basks in the attention it brings, letting the Medusa snake up inside her, riling up the crowd with shaken fists. Meliph and Profett's awesome Wall of Thrash is enough to shelter a small niche of refugees, but they can't match the Medusa's Cog budget for sheer volume.
As the brutal ego-rave swallows the otter up, his message goes in deep, flashing hypnotically right in the heart of the mob. Wakefulness spreads quickly through the crowd. The saboteur himself stands there slack-jawed at the new pop-star's commercial rap, seriously pondering if he should buy the new cellular mojo she's pimping for the audience. For a moment, it looks like his fading assertion of autonomy will be what saves the crowd... and indeed, it swells the ranks of the independents behind Profett and Meliph's sound wall. There's another mob forming, this one of liberated ravers who seem to have tackled Khroma to the ground and buried him in a pile of grateful hugs -- a group that, thanks to a sudden hindbrain twitch courtesy of Meredith, includes her host. >> NEVER say I've never done anything for you.
But within heartbeats, the Medusa's cubenet is blasting the very same images from Cerulean's montage. <<A STAR AMONG STARS. SHE IS COOL. THINK FOR YOURSELF. THIS IS WHAT'S COOL.>> The slogans throb seductively underneath the image of the anathema's new protege, as she harangues the crowd to get up and find something to define itself against. How about... the pretentious fucks gathered around the doe and the jackalraptor?
Or, better yet, how about that poor lovestruck ox wading through the crowd? His peaceful intentions are no obstacle. The image is all that matters, and the moment his sword his is drawn, the semblance of an angry, conveniently stodgy-looking oppressor is . "Ha-ha! Do it for the underground, resist the clown who keeps you down!" croons the Medusa's idol, eyes glowing demonic green, tongue and tail turned into clusters of sinuous tendrils. "Think for your damn selves!" The crowd all turns inwards towards the ox, eyes full of the same Molten filth, tongues cloven into obscene waggling things, and bops forward to assimilate the obvious threat to their individuality.
Amid the possessed and transformed, the chameleon lurches in party-drunk step towards the prescribed threat. His innate powers have completely betrayed him, blending him right into the mass of seething, beat-driven bodies, gibbering inane lyrics in planty tongues. Deep below the threshold of his understand, a pair of voices bargain back and forth:
We appreciate your creative aspirations, you know, but you're trifling in matters beyond your rights.
All right, all right, baby, calm down. We can cut a deal, can't we?
Yes. That sounds reasonable. We are prepared to bargain for the release of our agent.
Favor to be named later?
We can accept this.
Sense, purpose, and independent form return instantly to the lizard, along with a sinking feeling that his harsh existence has just gotten harsher.
Meanwhile, curiously unmoved by the either faction's drivel, the Lost Girl scrounges the battlefield. There are a few useful bits: a compact mirror full of green eonite dust (not your color, dear); a forlorn little fire sylph bottled in a butane lighter, weeping for her owner; and a little blue business card layed flat on a tabletop. It says, in large block lettering, "Duck, please."
The next moment, a beam of pink light crosses the place which may or may not still be occupied by Kessie's head. The zap is heralded by a thump, precisely reminiscent of four boot heels of fantastic craftsmanship, plus one large and confused dog, hitting a very large plastic disk. "Scatter, please," growls one of the slim and pretty fennecs, running a fantastic glove through xir fantastic champagne-colored hair. "Constabulary business," calls the other through a smirk. Nobody seems to be paying them much attention.
Neither sandfox looks the faintest bit alarmed by the grotesque scene. Neither does the green-striped coyotegirl, whom the fennecs are holding on a tight leash. Indeed, she just scratches blankly at her tattered clothing, barks something just short of words, and lopes lazily through the crowds. Whenever anybody is about to get in the way, the trio simply disappears and reappears someplace closer to their destination. Every so often, the coyote howls and scratches at someone in the crowd. One of the fennecs promptly points cocked finger and thumb at the one chosen, mutters a few words of arrest, and pronounces the word "Pow."
The beam of pink light leaves only a faint halo where, in order, Boko, Cerulean, Khroma, Falin Chen, Green (who had lapsed back into being comfortably imaginary until the coyote sniffed her out), Meliph, and Profett had stood. Once that's accomplished, the fennecs erect another pink lightpole and ride it under they're out of sight, tugging the coyote ragamuffin along with a yelp. They do precisely nothing about the Medusa.
The seven, maybe eight of you, wake up in a forest clearing full of eye-searing psychedelic colors. There's no sky overhead, just the shimmering silver upper-pool of the station cylinder. You are surrounded by plants and animals and things halfway in-between, whose outrageous forms have obviously never seen the threat of natural selection. Some of them bear an astonishing resemblance to a healthy version of the Medusa, stripped of all its electronics.