Go read Box: Detach instead!
I was in my office, reading up on the many conflicting stories of the Raixiens, when a panicked and obviously overworked Lyla called me on my phone. I certainly was not expecting her to call me nearly twelve hours after the theft, but late was always better than never. I told myself not to get my hopes up, however. This could very well be just a prank call from my assistant.
I picked up the phone with no expectations whatsoever.
"Did you find the thief?" I asked before she could say anything, just to shove onto her once more the seriousness of the situation at hand, if she still saw this all as a fun game.
"Commanding Officer, port this call to the warehouse speakers now!" she shouted, and I slammed the book in my hand down onto the desk while clicking on an app to switch the call into speaker mode.
The PA system took a moment to whir to life, and after a second of delay and buzzing, Lyla's voice burst through with the force of the living sun.
"All personnel, travel to Southeast Unity Church immediately!" She commanded. "Four teams of twelve Aerilosac, under no circumstances are Losac soldiers allowed to be constructed. Team one and two circle to back alley of the Church, split on both ends of the street. Team three, lockdown Navanaugh Road and McDarrel Road plus all means of highway escape. Team four, enter underground pipeline system and seal all the intersections!"
I pulled the phone back up to my ears. "First Officer, description of thief?"
Lyla continued to roar over the speakers. "Thief is black haired, one-seventy-three. Pink t-shirt, purple eyes. You won't miss it. Go, go, go!"
I barely needed to move outside of my office to feel the rumbling downstairs, the quaking footsteps of my soldiers clambering to gear up and pursue the thief. I knew that by the time I even got downstairs to the main warehouse entrance, it would be completely devoid of life, and so I took my time to stand up and calmly walked over to the window facing the church.
Even now, I saw the dashing figures of my Aerilosacs cutting through the little mesa of trees standing in between the warehouse and the church. They would arrive to their positions fast.
I imagine Leki would be heading out on his own to utilize himself to the fullest. The same would go for Lyla.
So it would seem that the thief never even left this area.
Where would he run now? The thief left from the Southeast Unity Church under our noses all this time, and by Lyla's words, he left via the backdoor. Which routes could he take that would let him avoid the Aerilosacs closing in on him? I stared and unfocused my eyes until the buildings below became a blur, and I carefully visualised the map I had memorised when I was first sent down to Chicago. There were four real paths he could take.
And there are only two surface teams looking for him. They would not split up due to how Lyla worded her orders, and right now, it was too late for me to contact all of them individually to lock down all four paths. Besides, I did not want the Aerilosacs under me to split up, at least not by too much. If some of them were planning to overthrow my command, then they may even go so far as to assist the thief in escaping. Teams of twelve lowered the chance that all fourteen Aerilosacs were insurgents.
I could confidently say that Leki can lock down the third path by himself. He should have memorized the map of this area just as well as me.
That would leave Lyla for the fourth path, the small alleyway that would wound itself back towards the church unless he entered through one of the manholes. She should have ordered another team to go support herself, but it was too late for that now. I would not have to worry about that. Team four should already be down in the tunnels by now.
Oh well. I might as well leave the confines of my own office to go help my First Officer out.
I pressed a button hidden on the backside of my desk, and the window hissed open and let in a gust of warm air.
I jumped out of the window with a fistful of Orbsic crystals.
Before my feet could snap from the tall, near three storey tall jump, I scattered down the crystals and used them to push myself up. My fall decelerated rapidly, and I touched down on the dirt path gently, the ground looking like a beach glimmering with golden sand. The midday sun was perfect for this sight, too. It would look like a surreal painting if I had seen the arrangement of the crystals from above.
I had not done such forceful crystal manipulation in some time, and so I had to shake my legs off a bit after the landing to loosen them up. My hands barely even tremble anymore, and I smiled proudly to myself at my progress since the last time I tried something like this.
With a sweep of my hand, I blew up the golden crystals in a whirlwind, then sent them all flying straight into my left pocket, where they were stored compactly in different compartments. Another commendable feature of Aerilosac designed apparel. The research department really does think of everything.
I followed the heavy boot tracks of my sub-ordinates, and dashed through the lampposts and trees, using the Orbsic crystals spread all over the back of my clothing to boost my speed. The wind tunnelled before me, and I grinned like a little child as I watched everything fly past me in quick succession.
I emerged from the trees onto the main street in no longer than thirty seconds, and slowed my pace down to prevent onlookers from discovering my inhuman physical abilities.
Where to now? I presumed team one and two would head for the closest path to lockdown first, since I never required them to memorize this area nor even leave the warehouse in these two years since I formed this Division. I discouraged them from it, of course, and I am the only one to blame here. I did not want them too involved with humanity in case troubles arose in the form of discovery. We were forbidden by Larius to reveal ourselves to any humans unless we had explicit permission to do so.
I called Leki, and he picked up almost instantly.
"Leki, head towards Willow Road and survey the area. I will lockdown Gordon Road personally," I said.
"Understood. Is that it?" He almost sounded disappointed, but when I realized I had nothing more to inform him, I simply hung up on him. I imagine he is cursing my existence right now. As expected of Leki.
Then I, too, shall join in on the chase.
My track ran cold as I ran down the entire length of Gordon Road. I knew for a fact that Lyla planted a shard of Orbsic crystal onto the thief, because even now, I could feel my blood churning in me, reacting to the presence of the crystal shard somewhere. He was close, but for whatever reason, I could not exactly pinpoint where the shard is. If Lyla is nearby, then she should have a greater sense of it than me, though I worried what she might do if she found the thief by herself.
Aerilosacs sensitive to crystals are weak at manipulating it, and vice versa. Lyla is the living embodiment of a tracker taken to the extreme, meaning she has little to no ability in actually manipulating the crystals. She has the pure physical combat ability, and if she had the apparel that I ordered, I might have actually let her do this by herself. But the thief just had to strike before I could distribute the apparel for my subordinates. Those would have changed everything, and it would have given Lyla the huge boost in power that she needed for this chase.
I could call her and tell her to stop going after the thief if she does find him - I still had not told her about my speculations that he is a Raixien - but I do not think she would listen. She was stubborn in her own way, and I had long given up on trying to force her to do things my way. And while her help would be greatly appreciated, I liked to think I can at least make a fair guess as to where the last general location of the shard is.
The restaurant over there by the road side, the only building along Gordon Road. He had to be inside.
I steeled my eyes and stuck both my hands into my pockets to grasp at my crystals, and entered the restaurant through one of the side doors and looked around. It was midday, so naturally, people in this area flooded to the only restaurant nearby to get a quick lunch or snack, but I had not expected it to be so crowded. Heads bobbed in every available seating, and the noise of mindless chitchat made me want to leave this place as soon as possible. Waitresses glared at me as I moved brazenly between the closely-spaced tables, and I remembered what I was looking for.
Black hair, pink shirt, same height as Lyla. I instantly identified such a figure also standing in the middle of the L-shaped restaurant, back faced towards me. Lyla should have told everyone that the thief was a female. I would have to lecture her once the thief has been apprehended.
She had short and messy black hair touching her nape, and matched the description that Lyla vaguely gave all of us. I approached her from behind silently and clamped one hand on her shoulder gently, then leaned in close to her ear.
"Come with me, and we will not harm you," I whispered, and the girl jerked herself free from my hand before she turned around to face me. I could see how I easily misunderstood the thief as a male in the security feed. Undoubtedly, the thief is a she. With large eyes and a fearsome demeanour written all over her face, I knew that she was on guard, but did she know what I am?
And was she a Raixien?
Right now, in that split second where the sounds of the restaurant were drowned out by my thoughts, I could not see her eyes appear as purple. They were simple dark eyes similar to the eye contacts I wore now. Perhaps the purple would only appear whenever she activated her ability?
I held in an urge to laugh. I could be wrong entirely, and this could just be some human thief. Though, what would she do now? She knew that I knew, so what would be her next move?
Her eyes traced something behind me, and she leapt straight into me. I raised an arm without pulling on my crystals to defend myself, but instead of attacking me like I expected her to, she ran past me, crashed unceremoniously into a waiter totting a tray of hamburgers, and escaped out of the restaurant through the side door which I came in from. Everyone looked at me when I chased after her, and I ignored the poor waiter's attempt to stop me from leaving.
I burst free into the street, and saw the thief turn a corner into another alleyway right next to me. I followed her and viewed at my mental map as I did. She would be running straight into team one if she then turned a left back onto Custer Road, and into Leki or Lyla if she turned right.
Still, I continued to chase after her, and the difference in our physical ability was phenomenal, though not in my favour. The girl ran and jumped over every obstacle in her way like a professional, and without using my Orbsic crystals over my body to boost myself, I found myself losing her sight every time she turned a corner. It did not help that the sun was glaring above us, which made the chase extremely hot and tiring.
I had not done this silly sort of thing ever in my life. Academy training had not prepared me for a wild goose chase under the burning sun. Chasing was never something I imagined I would do. Perhaps I was not as fast as I thought if this girl was slowly outrunning me in my own ward.
And she did not run like she is trying to escape. I realized soon after I passed the same alleyway that we were running around in circles within this block, and that there seemed to be another person running along with us. Not openly, and the spectator was definitely taking measures to avoid being seen.
There were not many places to hide around our area. The roofs were slanted and thus, made it difficult to stay up there without getting seen from a mile away. There were no cracks in the wall, and there did not seem to be any way for someone to be watching me.
Who is it?
I could not identify who it was, but it prodded and pricked at my skin like a needle. A brief moment of pain flashed into my forehead, but I pushed it aside. It cannot be more important than catching the thief in front of me right now.
I caught her looking back at me with a dangerous glint in her eyes every so often, and I decided after we emerged into a wide open area between two buildings that the chase needed to stop. I could not catch up to her by my base physically ability, and I would lose her unless I made an attempt to stop her in her tracks.
I flung my hand out before she could pass the centre point of the empty square, and sent an arrow of crystals free from my pockets and stabbed it into the brick road right beneath her feet. There was a sharp crack from the impact, and that definitely caught her attention.
The girl stopped running when she saw the open display of my ability, and she immediately whirled around with a scowl. From behind her, she whipped out a knife and held it in a forward grip before her, and before I could get a single word out, her eyes flashed an intense shade of purple.
So I was right.
"Goddamnit, you just had to make it difficult for me. Now I've lost him," she shouted to herself while scratching at her head, and her words made me frown. It seemed like a futile attempt to distract me from attacking, and it worked.
"Why did you steal from us if you knew who we were?" I asked as she charged forward at me with that little knife, and I backed away from the weapon.
She was completely focused on cutting me down, and I grimaced at how close that knife came to grazing my face. I pulled myself down into a duck before it could reach me. The girl seemed equally surprised that I dodged it by her widened eyes, but immediately regained her composure and kept pressing on with her flurry of attacks, her body a blur or metal and rage.
I could simply pull out my crystals and impale her with it, but that was not what I wanted to do. I needed to understand something.
"Raixien, I know who you are," I announced as she jumped away from my lazy backhand swipe, and she dashed towards the side of the building to put some space between us.
"Then you know why I'm doing this," she said, tone full of aggression and malice. I could understand that, but once again, she dodged my question.
"Who are you working for?" I asked as a test to gauge her response. I had no intention of actually harming her with my crystals, but nevertheless, the girl came at me once more with her knife, and jabbed at the empty air while cursing at every foiled attack. She was fast, but that knife could not cut through the Orbsic crystals that I formed around my forearms as bracers. "You cannot kill me with that. The metal would break before my crystals would sunder."
"Nah, I'm not trying to kill you. You know what I am anyways, so there's no way I can do it," she said almost laughingly, and I flinched at the sudden casual response. What was it about this girl? She flickers from hate to completely mad in one sentence. Was she taking this seriously at all?
"Then, let us stop this and talk. I do not wish to harm you or any of your compatriots, but first, you must stop fighting me."
The Raixien girl ceased her resistance, and for ten seconds, we stared at each other with countless thoughts and emotions between us. I took the opportunity and studied her stance even further. As I thought, she seemed to have been properly trained in fighting, and had an extraordinarily high reaction time that would even rival Lyla's. That might have something to do with that purple eye, though I still had no clear idea as to what it did.
Did it truly predict my movements? She had seemed surprised that I dodged her initial attack. And if it did predict my movements, then how did I not get slashed?
Then, my reinforcements arrived at just the most inopportune time. Two Aerilosacs in heavy trench coats dropped besides me, Orbsic crystals drawn up and ready to fire at my command. I did not make my displeasure obvious to them.
And here I had other plans.
The thief eyed the two soldiers that joined my side, and she snickered.
"That's a lie if I ever heard one," she said mockingly, before she turned around to fling the knife into one of the gas canisters. There was a loud hiss, then a crack, and then the metal burst open. A white haze spilled out rapidly in the open area between the buildings.
I gritted my teeth grouchily and moved back from the gas as the girl cackled madly beyond as a shadow. I spread out a concave of Orbsic crystals in front of me and whirled them around, then fanned away the haze and contained them as best as I could. It was less about whether or not the smoke is dangerous - after all, it was placed out here in the open air - but to stop curious onlookers from seeing the action transpiring. The two Aerilosacs attempted to chase after her, but I pulled them back by their crystals before they could disappear into the spot.
I cannot have them killing the Raixien.
I waited a moment before I ran through, and emerged beyond the other side of the haze only to see that the thief had disappeared already, and the sense of the spectator gone. So she successfully made her escape.
At least that part worked out. Who sent these two over to help me? I glared at the two soldiers who were now twitching from my intense focus on them. I wanted to demand for their reasons for joining me, but I held my mouth shut just before I could do that.
On the ground, an Orbsic crystal arrow stood up for me to retrieve into my pockets. I remained still, and focused everything I had into tracking the location of the thief once more. I gave up a moment later as I recognized that my ability to track was truly abysmal. There really was no point in me trying to track without Lyla by my side, or even Leki, if he was here.
Lyla hopped down from the roof of the building next to me, and landed gracefully on both her feet. I squinted at her late arrival as I finally stopped fanning the gas and let it fly above into the atmosphere. That would surely garner some attention, so I grabbed Lyla and dragged her forward before any curious human came over to see me performing inhuman feats. The soldiers that had just joined me disappeared into the crowd as well, and I signalled for them to slither back to the warehouse undetected.
I turned back to face Lyla.
"Where were you? And do you still sense the shard on the thief?" I snapped at her, and my assistant frowned.
"No, not anymore. It's too far away now, or it's been removed."
"Why are you hobbling like that?" I asked in a softer tone, realizing that I forced my own frustration onto her once again. I cannot be doing that to her. It was not her fault that the wares are stolen.
"I tripped and broke my ankle, and also split my skull open, I think. There was like blood everywhere." She said glumly, and the reflection of her glossy eyes made me frown.
I stopped walking.
This was strange as well.
Where was the overly-exuberant character I had gotten used to? What had happened?
As if she saw my very thoughts hovering in the air, she beamed at me. The smile that told me she had reclaimed her false persona. I never liked it too much, but I did not complain about it either.
Though, it was fine for her to drop it every once in a while. I liked her better that way.
"But they are all fine now, see? I'm all good and healed up!" She tapped her completely healed forehead and pretended to wipe at it with a tissue. "The bone in my leg also snapped back! I think I scared away some of the Christians inside that church!"
"If you had died like that, I would have killed you for being reckless," I muttered. "Call Leki, and tell him that the thief is either heading towards him or teams one and two. We will stay here at path four and stop her if she comes back."
"Yes, the thief."
"It's a guy."
"No, it is a female. One-seventy-three. Pink shirt, black hair as you had reported?"
Were we even talking about the same person here? It was a female, I was sure of it.
...Or did we mix something up?
That second presence that I felt while chasing the girl. Could it be that the girl was not the thief?
Lyla laughed and started to elaborate. "Wait, I can't believe it! She's also working with the thief, I get it now!"
"What do you get?" I said impatiently as I stopped in our tracks, wanting to focus entirely on her story.
Lyla then proceeded to tell me everything. How she met that black haired Raixien girl at the playground while she was resting, then followed her to the Southeast Unity Church and spotted the thief. How she was tripped over by the Raixien girl, who then ran off to chase after the thief herself. That was when Lyla called me, and ultimately led to me locking my sights on the wrong target.
Still a Raixien, just not the thief himself.
I sighed. This was such a failure.
I whacked my assistant's completely-healed head for not outright stating the gender of the thief during the call, and she apologized to me with a sweet smile. I flinched, unable to stay angry at her when she gives me that face, and so we hung around the area as we awaited the calls from the other teams when they caught the thief.
A thought crept into my mind. I had not accounted for everything, though. It had been ten minutes since the girl escaped safely, but nobody contacted me back after I updated them on the correct gender of the thief. As we paced around the streets with Lyla paying close attention to the shard resurfacing into her sense again, I scowled at my lack of preparation for this entire ordeal.
Why was the thief still running free?
"Leki, status report." I sighed into my hands cupping my face, and leaned forward on my desk.
My older assistant and Second Officer coughed. "Sure. The thief's gone. Vanished into thin air."
Two hours since we last spotted the thief and the Raixien girl, and all four of our teams have yet to report anything back to us.
That would mean that my suspicions were correct, though accompanying that were more questions that I just could not figure out the answer to.
Firstly, that meant we had insurgents within this very Division. It had to be the only explanation. With how the teams are closing in on this entire area, it would be impossible for the thief and that Raixien to hide. We held the entire map layout to this area, including the architectural designs and hidden basements some of the older buildings may have. We knew every hiding spot here. I imagine that by now, all the teams has already converged into a single point in the centre of the area, and is coming back to the warehouse empty handed. It would be near impossible for them to slip past their watch.
So, that meant someone within this Division purposefully ignored them. It could not be Aerilosacs from another Division. To begin with, that was something stupid to consider. No Aerilosac can enter America's borders without me knowing, even under fake identity cards and disguises. We have technicians tapping in those systems, and the information is relayed to me every six hours. It could be possible that the technicians were also insurgents, but it is highly unlikely. I had Leki keep watch of their actions closely since they numbered so very few.
And if it were really Aerilosacs from other Divisions - with the closest one being the Peru Division - then Lyla would have immediately reported it to me. She can tell. Her proficiency with tracking is extraordinary.
"What do we do now?" Lyla said as she walked in large circles, stepping down so hard that the wood creaked under every step. I tossed a pencil holder at her to stop her from damaging the floorboard like that, which made Leki chuckle absently.
At least I knew I could trust Lyla and Leki. Lyla was with me the entire time, and she is not one to lie. In fact, she was horrendously bad at lying, so bad at it that I once considered sending her back up to the Lyosa for additional training. Besides, she is my oldest friend, and I knew she would not betray me like this. I just do.
And Leki would not work in such a shady fashion. He was a direct person when it came to his actions. If he really desired to overthrow my position as Commanding Officer of this Division, then he would not even need to do such silly things. If he even asked Larius for the position, then he would be given it rightfully without a doubt. He was probably the second oldest Aerilosac within the Lyosa next to Larius, and as such, he has superiority over me in a way.
The two of them being here with me proved their loyalty. And for that, I was grateful. But I could not say for the other Aerilosacs under my command.
"We must tread carefully from now on. It is not yet nightfall, and we still have about two days before Larius sends someone down to inspect our wares. We must deal with this before that happens," I said calmly as I slowly regained my own composure. Leki smiled at me proudly, and I felt a tinge of warmth in my heart.
Yeah. And he was my teacher, after all. He would not have spent so much time on me if he wanted to betray me in the end.
"What we need to do is to figure out who the insurgents are. I imagine that once we find them out, we can easily trace them down," I said, and Lyla raised her hand at that.
"What does the girl look like again? Sorry, I don't really remember!" she said with a gawky grin, and I threw my second pencil holder at her.
"All you need to know is that they are smart." I replied.
I still was not sure what they really could do, but predicting the future seemed like the most likely explanation of the girl's reaction when I dodged her first attack. Her purple eyes must have had some power associated with it. Lyla nodded once and stopped pacing around to lean against my orange-lit lamp, which nearly toppled in the process.
"You said that there were two of them, correct?" Leki addressed Lyla, and she nodded again. Leki looked to me, and I nodded slowly as well.
"I had not seen the first male thief like Lyla did, but since the girl attacked me, it would be safe to assume they were working together in some bizarre way." I correctly informed him, and Leki placed a hand on his stubbly chin while he stared at the floor.
"I do not understand. Why would the girl be chasing after the first if they are working together?" Leki asked.
"That is a question I cannot answer as well," I replied. The truth was, I did not really understand anything either. Could there be more than one group of Raixiens hiding out on this planet? The girl Raixien chasing the thief meant that they were not on the same side, so what does that mean? Why were they chasing each other?
After I forced Lyla to tell us the accurate description of the male thief that she saw, Leki had interrupted us with a story of his own, and said that he had seen the thief and the girl before by giving them a ride to a motel.
I had immediately sent Leki off to search the motel right after I was informed of this, but it would seem they had already left the motel ahead of time, leaving nothing behind at all for us trace. I did not berate Leki for not telling me this. He had no idea either, completely fooled under their guise of being tourists from another town.
It was like one of those Earth movies. How coincidental was it that both my Officers met the Raixiens before they revealed their cards? And I did not understand why they asked Leki for a car ride either. They must have recognized him as an Aerilosac if the girl had recognized Lyla as one. Why did they do that? Was it intended at all?
How long have they been planning this? They outsmarted us at every turn, and formed an alliance with the insurgents to assist with their escape. They even wore same matching pink shirts to throw me off.
I could not underestimate them. And their unusual ability.
"Commanding Officer," Lyla said.
"How will finding the insurgents help us find the thief and the wares that were stolen? I don't get it."
"Actually, I have another plan." I leaned back into my chair, letting my thoughts flow freely on my own. They were allied with the insurgents. They had to be. So, now that they have made their escape from the initial search and lockdown, what would they do next?
They would likely not resurface anytime soon after that unfathomable plan that they pulled off, even if they knew they have allies within my Division. The insurgents. Do they plan on simply letting everything run its course from here on, and wait two more days until Larius sends his inspector down to ruin me? That would be the smart play, not having to risk getting discovered by me. Even if that does not happen for whatever reason, if the insurgents get the apparel and the technology in those stolen wares, then they would definitely be able to forcibly overthrow my command.
And that is what they would do. These insurgents within my Division - I presume at least half of them are standing against me secretly - would sit and wait patiently. I knew for a fact that most of the Aerilosacs below me think exactly like Larius: That we Aerilosacs are the strongest beings in the universe, and that we do not need to share anything with any other races. If they were working with the Raixiens under the promise that they would get some sort of reward, then they would have absolutely no intention of giving what they promised.
When all this is over, the insurgents would kill the thief and his Raixien allies, if the girl was his ally.
They would not act if we did. They were smarter than that.
Leki smirked. "You think a lot, don't you?"
I did not respond.
"The insurgents are going to do two things over the next two days." I raised up two fingers and dropped my other hand below my desk. I pressed on another button to drop curtains down on all the windows. "One, they will kill the thieves. Two, they will wait in the shadows until Larius sends his inspector down. All three of us will be stripped of our positions, and then their leader will become the next Commanding Officer. That is all."
"Huh?" Both Lyla and Leki exclaimed. Leki continued when Lyla did not. "What is the plan, then?"
"The two of you will go shopping for me. Here, I will write you a shopping list."
I smiled and picked up a pen from my desk, and took out my yellow notebook from within the drawer. It was always reserved for my personal use, and in all my two years of being on Earth, I had not flipped it open once. It was good to finally be able to find a reason to write with pen and paper. We had all spent so much time learning how to do so on the warship, and yet, we spent all our efforts operating tablets and computers instead.
On the paper, I hastily scribbled down a line of words.
Two Raixiens. Protect them.
I tore out the first page of the notebook with the words and handed it to Lyla, who grabbed it astonishingly.
"Ah. I almost forgot it, hand me the paper again, there's still more things for you to buy." I plucked the paper from Lyla's hands and flipped it over, where I quickly wrote another line for them.
Remove my precious belongings from this office.
Then, I gave the paper to Leki.
"Anyways, there is no plan. They will wait and they will win. We will not do anything." I laughed and slapped the desk playfully. "We shall enjoy our last two days with power, and then we will step down from our positions. They will elect their own leader, and we shall simply sit and observe. Perhaps you two will even retain your positions as First and Second Officers."
As I stood up to leave the office, Leki darted forward and stopped me, glaring at me with his side eye. "What is this, Losar? Are you giving up so quickly?" he hissed, though there was a mischievous undertone alongside it.
I smiled. "Of course, Leki. They have won. This was a masterful plan, and you of all people should know how hard it is to break a plan such as this. I know when to accept defeat when it stares at me in the eye. Both of you, go have some fun. Take the next two days off. And don't tell anyone about this conversation, alright? I will break it to the insurgents when I am ready for it. "
Then, without listening any longer to my assistants-slash-bodyguards-officer's protests, I left the office and travelled downstairs, hoping to buy myself a delectable hotdog as my celebratory lunch.