Floating in the network, moving loosely amongst humans, using available eyes here and there to spy on Alpha from many angles but not getting too close, Gyre finally sees him approach one of his people, slide his hand under her chin, and as she is lifting her eyes Gyre moves to possess to the woman, intent on discovering what takes place during contact with Alpha. Seconds later, at the moment of connection, Gyre discovers that an energetic body can feel its own particular kind of pain.
Alpha catches the woman's body collapsing from the sting but Gyre has already left. Shifting to a diffuse form and zigzagging from host to host, Gyre tries to hide, heal, and regain strength, careful to avoid Alpha's humans. The aftertaste of Alpha's sting is metallic poison with a sickening sense that something is trying to grab, able to grab, a non-physical entity. How is it possible? The impatient encounter could have cost dearly. Naiveté now self-apparent, innocence lost so suddenly, damage has been done and Gyre must be more clever.
Alpha moves quickly. Once alerted to the presence of another non-human, he seems to already have a plan for rapidly scanning the room. "How old is this entity," wonders Gyre, "that he is ready for a situation like this?" Seeing the human network light up and a few people collapse, Gyre looks for cover in a tiny array of potted plants. Nearly suffocating and unable to draw strength in the sparse vegetation, knowing this spot won't last long, Gyre needs an outside connection.
More humans fall from Alpha's increasingly frantic searching. Sensing the danger, patrons panic and rush the door. In the confusion, at the last second, just as she reaches the door, taking care that she is not one of Alpha's possessions, Gyre jumps along a fiber to a patron. The moment she is outside Gyre finds and leaps to a tree, then travels through the roots and into living soil, moves through the ground, then miles away, expanding slowly, and feeling undetectably diffuse, rests, recharges, home again in the mycelium.
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