Neon Star Rising (BL)

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Alina managed to drag herself away from the flashing lights of the gun shop, and with a dejected sigh followed after Davi as he wound through ever more suspicious shops and food stalls.

A man called out to him brandishing a tray of skewered breaded cones. ”Mini coxinha skewer, freshly made. ”

”Real chicken? ” Alina asked with a smirk, when she walked by the stall.

The portly man scoffed, waving a furred arm covered in blurry tattoos. ”Sure, if you find one Ill cook it for you. Forget coxinha, well make churrasco out of it. ”

Alina let out an amused laugh. ”Its a deal. ”

At one end of the dilapidated shopping centre was a huge elevator shuttered by sliding rail doors. A large industrial light bar flickered in and out from the inside.

Ivo could almost imagine how the building had looked once upon a time. The shopping centre would have offered convenient amenities and entertainment for all the residents in the towers upper floors. At least until the whole thing fell into disrepair.

Now there was nothing left beyond the faded glory of past days. Like the dry pond filled with garbage, they passed on the way to the elevator.

Davi yanked the elevators shutter door open and the three of them slipped inside. Only after it was pulled closed again did the control panel with the buttons for all the floors light up.

Alina pressed the 34 button and leaned back against the cracked mirror with a sigh, inspecting her chipped nails. ”You think Thiago is home? ”

Davis pale gaze flickered towards Ivo. ”I think so. Hell know what to do with him. ”

Ivo swallowed drily.

No one who hung out with these two was going to make things easy for him.

The elevator reached the 34th floor with a loud clunk. Alina kicked the door open without preamble and stepped out into a grimy hallway, littered with trash and old cigarette butts.

As they made their way down the hallway, Ivo realised many doors were missing. Leading into completely trashed apartments where it was obvious no one lived any longer.

None of the closed doors looked the same. Some of them were wooden, and looked flimsy, as if they had been there since the tower was built, others were made of dented metal, sturdy but scuffed up.

The linoleum beneath their feet was sticky and bubbling in places, making each step crunch loudly in the stale silence.

All in all, it was kind of a dump.

Davi stopped in front of a metal door no different than many others they had walked by. It had an impressive looking facial reading sensor next to the buzzer, but he ignored it completely and shoved a rusty key from his belt into the lock.

Alina saw Ivos confusion and tapped the sleek panel. ”Fake, ” she said with a grin. ”Anyone who tries to break in will spend ages trying to hack dummy signals before even noticing the lock. ”

The apartments door slid open into the wall after Davi unlocked it.

Ivo stepped into the apartment gingerly, half expecting it to be some kind of trap.

The light from a wall of monitors bathed the messy, cramped living room in a cyan neon glow, throwing the ancient, patchwork furniture into hazy shadows.

The small space was dominated by a grey sofa, with stuffing coming out of the straining seams. The scratched up wooden table in front of the sofa was covered in overfilled ashtrays and empty beer cans. On the wall opposite a metal console held several knickknacks and a TV.

The TVs holographic projection was paused in a familiar news segment.

Ivo stared at his confused expression looking up in the direction of a security camera he hadn known was there.

”Thiago? ” Davi called.

No answer came.

”Maybe he went out, ” Alina volunteered.

Behind the sofa, a metal module installed into a nook made the ways of a kitchen. The module looked industrial, with metal mesh flooring, and panelled walls in which home appliances fit into; a solid looking microwave next to an oven with a duct taped door, a dishwasher below the sink, and induction panel holding several dirty pans

The kitchen area was separated from the living room by a cramped metal counter, and the three bar stools pushed under it.

”How can you afford living here? ” Ivo blurted out. Recalling all the destitute people he had seen on the way there.

He might not have any memories, but he had a pretty solid idea that living in an apartment block, even one as derelict as theirs, was a privilege out of many peoples reach.

Davi quirked an eyebrow at him. ”With this, ” he said, unholstering his gun and holding it up Ivos temple. ”Whenever the Parallax representatives come looking for rent I show them the business end of this, and they
e persuaded to try again another day. ”

Ivo glared up at Davis pale eyes and pushed the guns muzzle away from his head with the back of his hand.

Alina snorted and made quotations in the air with her fingers. ”Whenever we can have a civilised conversation ”.

Which was never, Ivo guessed.

”Which is never, ” came a booming voice, from behind one of the closed doors in the room.

The door slid open revealing a huge man, with a heavy metal arm. His eyes were a deep brown, matching his skin. But the faint glow of his irises made it obvious they were implants as well.

Ivo couldn get his eyes away from the mans prosthetic arm, crawling with blunt attachments and rough bolts and notches. Two chrome pistons jutted up dramatically over the curve of his shoulder.

He was wearing a tank top that stretched precariously over his solid chest, and left bare his other flesh arm, covered in colourful tattoos snaking up and down his skin. Ivo could see a womans profile on his bare shoulder.

There was a rugged handsomeness to him. It would almost be intimidating if it wasn for his disarming smile.

e the pretty face making all the news reels today, ” Thiago said, crossing his arms in front of his chest. Despite its jarring size, the metal arm moved fluidly.

Ivo swallowed drily and unstrapped the respirator mask from around his head. He held on to one of the straps tightly. It would make for a poor weapon if someone attacked him. But it felt better to have it in his hands than covering his mouth and nose.

Davi pointed at Ivo with his gun. ”We need to figure out what to do with him. ”

He spoke in a way that made it obvious he would be just as happy putting a bullet through Ivos brain as with any other solution Thiago came up with.

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