The Little Sweetheart

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Shard resumes center stage with arms stretched out in a grandiose manner. "That's not all folks! Do you think I would miss out on this fun? I get to call out my little brat. Drum roll, please."

Octavia didn't need the drum roll. She already knows it is going to be her. Shard or an undercover Chromy must have seen her. She is too valuable not to take as a prisoner. Her muscles tense as she wants to duck and hide in the crowd she had desperately wanted to escape earlier.

"And my little sweetheart is... surprise guest Octavia Rhinehart!" Shard sings.

A loud, collective gasp comes from the crowd. Few people had seen her. She had been doing well to not attract attention, but the crowd spots her instantly and parts like a sea. A straight path leads to Shard. Octavia doesn't take a step towards him.

"Come on, gorgeous," Shard says. "We ain't got all day."

Octavia can't will herself to take a step forward. Her brain has sunk to her feet, weighing them down. Her heart beats in her fingertips. She feels her mind floating to where the disco ball was. She waits for her body to shatter like the disco ball. All she can do is stare at Shard.

"Do I have to carry you?" Shard says.

Octavia remains dormant.

Shard moans. He hops off stage. "I guess that's a 'yes'."

Octavia's senses slam back into her and rile her flight instincts as Shard draws nearer. She tries to back away but bumps into a partier who shoves her away in fear. Her weak balance is lost in her chunky shoes, and her face meets the floor. Looking up, she sees Shard's periwinkle eyes shine down on her.

"How symbolic," Shard says loud enough for those around to hear. "How right." He squats in front of Octavia and whispers to her, "How beautiful."

In fear, Octavia takes a swing at Shard. He catches her fist in her hand and twists it behind her back. Her other hand is snatched from under her. He cuffs her. A kick to the side of her head spins and dazes Octavia's world. Shard proceeds to scoop her off the ground and sling her over his shoulder.

Sirens faintly blare outside in the distance.

"What a wonderful finale to tonight's performance!" Shard calls out. "But the show's over. See ya on the next NetNews Update!"

Shard and his Chromies put the extra filtered masks on their hostages. A strange chemical smell fills Octavia's nose and goes into her mouth. Hostage-less men throw tear gas canisters into the crowd. The hissing gas mixes with the sound of the crowd's panic. Partiers scream, cry, and vomit as they try to barrel out the exits. Shard and his Chromies escape the chaos with ease.


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Let's just pretend those lights are glow sticks, okay?

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