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“This should not even be up for discussion,” argued one of the varvax members of the DPS. “The Delver Resistance Project is clearly within our jurisdiction.” Keras stood apart from the arguments as the assembly squabbled. The members of the Department of Protective Services were not backing down. They clearly did not want to relinquish control over the project. But Keras’s own department would not be so easily cowed. They had the greater numbers. The arguments continued as it listened, fiddling with a metal contraption. It had said its piece already, so stayed quiet as the flurry of words flew through the air like arrows of ages past. But none quiet enough to be considered too aggressive for the council. One voice, which Keras recognized as a fellow member of the DSI, started to rise above the rest. It started to cut off the other voices. Keras shook its head. Too aggressive. Too much. It looked up finally, wondering if it could recognize the being speaking. Ventyl. They weren’t saying much, but it was enough. Enough to draw attention. Enough to be singled out. Keras observed Kaviq making a gesture to the High Minister’s assistant—the one leading the meeting. A gesture to officially take over the speaking platform. Metal clanged around the room once again. “Kaviq, you have the podium,” he said as the crowd quieted. “I move that Ventyl be removed from the assembly hall. Their actions today show they are far too aggressive for such a position among us. Too emotional to stay rational in such a discussion.” Keras shook its head. That was what it had feared. Another seconded the motion and a vote was held. Not in Ventyl’s favor. Keras watched as the being was removed from the hall. A small silvery badge was passed from Ventyl to the varvax security team. Their symbol of office, stripped from them for their own aggressive actions and words. That small moment left them with one fewer voice to their cause. *** In a side hall, Fade listened to the private discussions of what he suspected to be members of the Department of Protective Services. He was not truly a figment, but extensive training in the art of stealth and espionage allowed him to near that level of skill. They didn’t know he was there. No one knew he was there. He was invisible, practically intangible with his reflexes, truly skilled in the art of spying. There was a reason many thought him to be a figment. Words piqued his curiosity. This information would be invaluable to the Department of Species Integration. “Why that one?” one voice said. “I would have thought to kill the dione, the one that started this whole mess.” “No,” a different voice said, rebuking the first. “Keras is too protected. We would be caught if we were to try to kill it.” The two had nearly gone after Keras? Truly a horrid thought. But who was their target? Fade leaned in closer, straining to catch every sordid detail. “So we just have to find Fade,” the first voice said. “A difficult task, considering he’s a figment.” “Oh, not so hard,” the second voice replied. “He’s right outside.” Metal scraped and thudding steps drew close within moments. They were just on the other side of the door. Fade fled on fleet feet towards the meeting room, but his pursuers caught him in just a few steps. How had they known? How had they detected him? He was a master of stealth, he had trained for decades to know the way of air, how had they found him? His breath caught in his throat as they held him by the arm. He tried breaking free, but their grips were too strong. “He’s not even a figment, after all,” the second voice said. “Killing him is easy enough.” He opened his mouth to scream, but a single gloved hand covered it. There was something on that glove. Or in that hand. The world started to grow dark, starting at the edge of his vision, which was swirling like a galaxy. “Take him to the Nowhere, where no one can find him again.” Cycle Two Ventyl has been deposed! He was a member of the Department of Species Integration! Araris Valerian has been killed! He was a Heklo and a member of the Department of Species Integration! Vote Count Ventyl (6) - Quinn0928, Matrim’s Dice, Liranil, xinoehp512, Breaker, BrightEyes2 Snipexe (2) - Straw, Archer Matrim’s Dice (1) - Ventyl Archer (1) - Araris Valerian, StrikerEZ Player List This turn ends in approximately 46.5 hours, on December 26, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. PST. Also, Gears wrote the majority of the writeup. Go give them all the upvotes. Seriously. I wouldn't have been able to do this without their help.