Sozont #19: Boiling Anger
19. Boiling Anger One day, Sozont received a terse email from Be-A-Wulf, addressed to all
members of the Σ project. It announced that Springer the Leopard
had left the team and his duties had been transfered to OursSuisse, whom
Sozont had worked well with before. This should have been good news:
Sozont had outlasted Springer! But it was strangely unsettling.
Sozont felt like there was unfinished business between him and Springer,
which now could never be finished.
Sozont noticed that his paw seemed to be grasping
at thin air. When he thought about what imaginary object was in his
paw, it turned out to be Springer's neck. Sozont felt ill and lay down
for a nap. He awoke with a pain in his toes. His dreams had been
very confused, but he remembered one isolated scene of the fur being torn
from Springer's backside. There was a disturbance in the bedding where
Sozont's talons had attacked in his sleep.
This was one of those rare times when Sozont actually
did not want to be a tigrihippostrich. He exited from Fairytale Land
and lay down on his mattress. But his thoughts were bizarre and
his hands kept curling into fists. He needed a distraction, new furiends,
something. He got dressed and went to the Furry Club.
At the club, Sozont put on his name-tag and circulated
around the tables, looking at tags to find somefur whom he had met in VR.
Unfortunately, the first familiar tag he found said "Springer the Leopard",
attached to a short pudgy fellow. As his legs walked themselves to
that table, Sozont told himself, "Don't make a scene!" but in his mind was
the thought that RL fistfights were considered a police matter and could
not result in banning.
—"Hello, Springer!" Sozont thought his
own voice sounded surprisingly chipper.
—"Hello, um..." Springer's eyes focused on Sozont's
nametag, then his irises narrowed and his voice flattened. "... Sozont."
—"So, you wanna fight *now*?"
—"WTF? I left the project, man, what else
do you want from me?"
Sozont thought. "You owe me more submissiveness.
I opened my heart to you—now I'm stuck with a touch-image of your disgusting
Springer gave him a confused look. "Can't
you just restore your character from backup?" It seemed the leopard-fur
knew very little about the part of the world he had sought to control.
—"It doesn't work like that. Much of the
touch-image effect is piggybacked onto hindbrain neurons in the hy00man player's
brain. There's no REWIND function over there."
Springer raised both hands, palms up. "I
was just playing my game. I'm sorry you got offended."
Sozont suddenly felt better, although Springer
really hadn't said much. "I think we should continue not working together
on projects, at least for awhile."
Sozont restarted his nametag scan of the tables.
He noticed two woman walking towards the club exit. The larger one
was staring at him. There was something familiar about the way she
moved. He went over to investigate. Her nametag read "Martha Stewart".
—M: "Hello, Sozont."
—S: "Hi, Marth! So, we finally
meet in RL!" Yep, gland problems for sure, but hopefully a little off-plan
medical treatment could get her womb working.
—R: "Oh? You two have met in VR?"
The other woman's tag was "Red Bunny".
—M: "Yes, we've had a few, er, run-ins."
What game was Marth playing? Well, Sozont would try to play along.
—S: "Like the time we were both chasing
the same vole?"
—R: "How did that work out?"
—M: "I ate it."
They had reached the club's outside door.
Sozont flashed a smile at Marth. "It was nice meeting you!"
Marth smiled back, very briefly but seemingly
at very high wattage. "Yeah." The two women left the club.
Sozont went to the bar and got a drink.
He noticed that his armpits were very wet. Apparently he had been
spewing pheromones at Springer and Marth. He wondered what his scent
had said, and what scent-replies he had gotten, but the human vomeronasal
organ is nearly vestigial and there was just no way to answer those questions.
Yet it seemed Sozont's Inner Animal was very happy with the scent-replies.
He nursed his drink and thought a little about why he had suddenly felt better
when talking to Springer, although the leopard-fur had really not said anything
conciliatory. He thought a lot about Marth and how she moved and the
emails she had sent and what the relationship between her and Red Bunny seemed
Sozont finished his drink and considered ordering
another, but he decided it was silly to be spending money at the Furry Club
if he wasn't even talking to anyone. He went back to his apartment,
and went to sleep in his bedding.