NP Holding Cells with Disappearance and HoundMan

"Anyone he's intimate with? I don't recall any such person being seen around," Disappearance answered, sounding a little perturbed, possibly with the context of that question next to the obvious pornography she'd just viewed on NightMan's terminal. Whatever her reaction to the news of underwear, it was hard to tell, given her mask. It was redacted, as she would say.

As for the spreadsheets, she didn't hesitate long before offering another possibility. "We also have to consider that NightMan himself may be the one who redacted these spreadsheets. Perhaps there is information that incriminates him in some way," she suggested, perhaps feeling that NightMan had done plenty to incriminate himself in various ways already, so what was one more on the pile? With a bit of discomfort, she yielded that it was fine for him to do as all healthy boys do, even if this was not the place for it. "Yes... I'll bring it up so you can see the... Well, there isn't really a face. But you can see it."

The various photos and videos showed a woman with an entirely jet black body... except for various areas that were bright white inside... and a sort of vacuous white hole where there face should be, alternating various shapes ranging from full face coverage like a mask, to a half-crescent, to occasionally disappearing entirely. The poses ranged from camera-appeals, to teasing, to obviously engaging in intercourse with men. With this already on the screen, Disappearance looked to the remote, seeming to think only a minute before understanding what the device was. "Oh... Well, I would venture to say it's a control for a [REDACTED]," Pirouette's fellow officer began, before removing her mask. "That is, it's a remote for a personal massage device. A vibrator, that is. Often used for masturbation." She tried to keep her face serious despite the subject matter, but between this and the videos, she was pretty flushed.

"We should leave. I've saved a copy of the report, as well as other documents which could be useful in the future, though they look like more ordinary reports. Also, just in case it comes up, note: though AppraisalMan does run a shop appraising people's wears, it also functions as a pawn shop. There is a lot of money going in and out based on that activity. I'd imagine he nets a hefty upcharge on rarer data pieces. If I had to venture a guess, that's the primary source of his income. It does not explain these outgoing transactions, however," Disappearance explained, closing all traces of her investigation there, eager to be away from the terminal. It seemed despite Pirouette's reassurance that NightMan's interest was healthy, she still wanted to get out of there. It could even be for sanitary reasons.

Before they could leave, she'd need to send a message to HoundMan to verify the coast was clear. HoundMan sent back quickly that the coast was not exactly clear, yet it was the right time to leave... a subordinate of Bank's, this one a standard NetPolice navi, had shown up around the corner and he was doing his best to keep them there so the two could come out and restore the cube, hiding their presence. If Pirouette chose now to exit, Disappearance would seal the cube behind them.
Despite her best attempts at professionalism and poise, Pirouette nevertheless found herself blushing to a rosy glow and averting her eyes after the more overtly erotic images were shown to her. She much preferred her romance novels, and wasn't one to go seeking visual media of this nature, and as much as she wasn't going to admit it aloud, it was really the first time she'd actually seen live recordings of... such acts. She cleared her throat and stepped back from the console as soon a she had an idea of what the woman being featured looked like.

“Aie... ah, so...” she swallowed and shook herself out, ruffling her wings and flexing them once or twice. Disappearance's explanation of the strange, unmarked control deice further made Pirouette jump with a small start, and she looked down at the control in her hand with a sudden feeling like it was a hot coal.

“Ah! It is... Ya ne znal etogo... I did not...” With a quick motion she darted back to the place she had first found it and set it down again, then stepped away. The revelation was not helping her uncomfortable blush, and she sought for composure for a moment while Disappearance copied what she needed. With a hurried nod, Pirouette agreed with the following assessment.

“Da, yes, we... We have seen what we may here. Let us be quick, yes?” She sent a message to double check with HoundMan, then gestured for Disappearance to follow her out quickly. While the other woman reset the security system, Pirouette took a deep breath and moved down the halls lightly to locate HoundMan. She was mostly expecting to find the dutiful officer delaying Bank's subordinate as he had said, and it occurred to her that HoundMan's tendency to explain things in excessive detail and embark on well-meaning tangents was quite well suited to innocent delays of that nature. She was swift to step up beside him and extend a hand to the other navi.

“Ah, pardon my interruption, HoundMan... Hello, you are here to conduct the search of NightMan's office, yes? You have my thanks. Please do let us know if anything shows up; it may be important, you know.” She gave the other police navi a nod then looked over to HoundMan.

“Best we leave them to their work now, HoundMan. We have we have work of our own to do, and we must get to it, yes? Come, we must head back to the interrogation room now.” Her flushed features hadn't quite cooled down despite her best efforts, but the ballerina gave her fellow officer a reassuring smile and attempted to lead him away to hook back up with Disappearance and begin heading back to AppraisalMan's cell.

Once they were reunited and clear of any other personnel, Pirouette cleared her throat, beginning to talk as they made their way back.

“So... We strike a few things off the list, yes, but nothing conclusive. This is to be expected, I am afraid, however... I am curious... I feel as though there is a complete picture here, you know, we must just find the last pieces and assemble them.” she frowned and looked between Disappearance and HoundMan as they walked, her wings rising and falling slowly along with her measured steps.

“I am... new here, still, no? I wonder, do either of you know what NightMan himself looks like? have you an image or a profile I could check, perhaps? I will explain more to you both once we are private again, yes?” She turned the thoughts over in her mind as they went. It would be interesting to see what Bank's conclusion to the search was. She was content to act now, but took control of the search herself – Pirouette wasn't completely sure that Bank was not involved by some measure, but if she was it wasn't yet clear how.

NightMan, too, might yet be dirty, perverted, both or neither. Well, no, she mentally corrected herself. He was most certainly at least somewhat of a pervert regardless... but he might still be an innocent, if deeply irresponsible one.
Aside from some suffering some minor embarrassment at the discussion of some unknown devices, Pirouette made it in and out of NightMan's office without incident. The room was sealed back up quietly, Pirouette played fetch with HoundMan, then they left the NP navi to check out the already searched scene, ironically another unproductive use of NP officer time, but a necessary one. Soon enough, they were off, now headed back to the holding cells while Pirouette discussed her opinions on their findings.

"Well... Candidly, I wonder if the person in the videos was related to him. NightMan has a face very similar to the, er, 'star' of those videos. I can certainly understand why he'd be interested in them, though... well... obviously, it's complicated," Disappearance murmured, uncertain of any theory that she could propose that wasn't potentially offensive to the missing NightMan. She kept her voice pretty quiet, since they were, as Pirouette said, still in the public.

Houndman, not getting the memo apparently, stuck the muzzle of his armor in between the two of them. "What video did you find?"

"[REDACTED]!" Disappearance started upon his interruption, then cleared her throat. "W-We'll tell you once we're in private, Houndman," Pirouette's lady partner advised, seeming to walk a bit more quickly now.

--------

Returning to the cells, one which apparently contained the new arrival, AppraisalMan's Lady, Disappearance and HoundMan paused outside to await Pirouette's instructions. HoundMan got the run-down of what they found in the office, but he didn't have much to add on the subject. "I've never seen someone like that! I guess Dillan never watched that video or asked me to retrieve it for him, aroo!" HoundMan offered, offering more information than his operator probably appreciated about the types of videos he was sometimes asked to retrieve. "Dang, wonder what NightMan was doing looking at that kinda thing on his personal terminal here! Not a good look... gotta keep that kinda stuff out of the workplace. Well, unless you're kinda... hm... indirectly ordered to do something kind of similar to that by your higher ups... Actually, you shouldn't do that either... hmmmm."

"Yes, well. An interesting wrinkle in our investigation, for sure. How would you like to proceed, Pirouette?" Disappearance asked, crossing her hands behind her back and trying to stop worrying about the pornography consumption habits of her coworkers.
By the time the trio were back in the more private space of the interrogation rooms' antechamber, Pirouette was going over what possibilities were still worth considering and what they needed to learn to confirm or negate them. She nodded to the signs that 'Lady' had been adequately detained for the time being, then looked back to her companions as she pulled out a chair and turned it to one side so she could sit and settle in more comfortably.

“You mentioned that you had tried to interview this 'Lady' previously, yes? I take it she does not at all match the actress in NightMan's videos?” One thing to confirm quickly and easily was worth checking off the list before they went further. “I do regret having to detain her like this, you know. But it is necessary if we are to put any kind of pinch on AppraisalMan, no? So, let us move on.” She tapped her fingers lightly on the desk and stretched, flexing her wings up and rolling her shoulders, before settling back again. After giving the brief run down of what was found, fighting not to blush again as she mentioned the women's garments and sex toys, and showing HoundMan a still frame from one of the videos that Disappearance had seen, to help identify the actress, Pirouette nodded to HoundMan's summary.

“Indeed, yes, HoundMan. It is not a good look, but it was private in his own office, which was locked. I would reprimand him for accessing such things while on duty, but... it was not flaunted or shown about, and until we searched his office he was discrete about this, so... if that is all it is, then it may not be related. Regardless...” She was inwardly pleased to hear HoundMan's conclusions about not necessarily following a superior's orders if they violated your own personal rights... Still, work to do. She shook her head and moved on.

“We have a selection of possible answer to this puzzle, you know... and less than two hours to work out which is the truth. Here is what we know for now...

NightMan has some evidence to suggest illegal dealings, but, unless he edited the records himself, it would not be enough to hold AppraisalMan without his own confession. He used this opportunity to make some very unusual and very specific requests, rather than following normal protocol. He has since been completely unable to be contacted.” She nodded to herself, mentally ordering the details.

“Bank went along with this, despite the wasteful process and the drain on department resources. It appears quite counter to her normal way of operating, you know.

AppraisalMan has been uncooperative, but not hostile. He has shown... aie... the word... naklonnost'... ah, you know... a... a leaning, ah, inclination, yes? Towards more erotic modes of dress and behaviour from the ones interviewing him. He has continued his work all this time, and has not been bothered by his detention so long as he can do so.

So... we have now detained him properly. He has been isolated and cut off from outside communications, both with other navigators, and with his operator for the time being. He has no communication or contact and cannot pursue his business while he is being held like this. We have a limited amount of time that we may hold him like this, but it must be enough, yes?” Here Pirouette closed her eyes and thought for a moment, wings slowly rising and falling as she folded her arms in front of her on the table. After moment, she opened them and looked at her companions.

“So, theories, for why this massive waste of resource has occurred, yes? I know you have worked a long time on this case, Disappearance, but as Internal Affairs, I am far less concerned about AppriasalMan's mafia ties, if they exist, than I am about the mismanagement and poor conduct that has surrounded it. The case will move forward after today no matter what we discover here – he cannot be held longer without more evidence, you know, and if he truly is dirty, then I expect that Investigations will not leave the matter alone, and will seek and find the additional evidence they need to bring him in properly, yes?” Here she offered a vaguely apologetic smile to Disappearance, which would hopefully be backed up by the resolution to do whatever they could in the time that was left. She drew a breath and let it out again.

“To theories, then, and what we must learn to disprove them, yes?

Let us first suppose that NightMan is innocent of this mess... At very least he is in dereliction of duty, you know, but the possibility remains that he was compromised and the instructions did not come from him, or came from him under duress. So what do we need to know, that AppraisalMan might possibly give us, if this were the case? All I can think of for this, you know, is if he knows NightMan, or knows what is going on here. So... For this, we must know what his relation is to NightMan and what he knows of him.

The next possibility is that it is AppraisalMan who is mostly the tool in this scene, no? That NightMan is using the situation for his own desire in some way. The question would be what and why, yes? But AppraisalMan isn't likely to know these things if it were true. So we must think of the what and why, and decide how we can confirm or deny them using this situation.

Perhaps he set this up to draw out a show, which he could watch, no? It would be very complex, with little certainty, you know, and also, there would be easier ways to get what he sought, with less risk. NightMan may be an irresponsible pervert, but this reason... it does not seem likely, you know.” Pirouette looked across to Disappearance and made a subtle comparison in her mind, then shook her head. She wasn't a body match for his favourite actress, and that was a small relief, in a way.

“We know he called on you directly, Disappearance, but at least I think we can rule out him doing so out of pure perversion.” She smiled briefly and raised her eyebrows towards her colleagues with a lidded expression of amusement on her features.

“Though I have contemplated the idea that NightMan is... let us say, you know, moonlighting... as an adult actress, himself. GMOs, they can do much, yes? Perhaps he sets this up to waste time, a long time, during which he has no other duties until it is fulfilled. As a bonus, he can review the efforts of officers he knows, for... inspiration.” Here, she shrugged and shook her head. “If this is the cause, well, AppraisalMan cannot help us confirm it, except in one way – we would need to learn more completely how he is grading us, and what drives his reasons for defining it so. This is something we can find out.” Pirouette nodded to herself, then briefly thought about the other loose ends.

“The question of Bank, it remains. At this stage, I fear, her own motives are likely to remain uncertain. It could be a sense of duty overriding common sense. It could be a... aie... what is the term used? It is.... zlobnyy... you know... ah... she is doing as he asks, and knows it is bad, but is doing it so she can hang him for it later. Ah...” She snapped her fingers as her mind found the right term. “Ah, you call it malicious compliance, yes? Perhaps? She may be going with this whole mess, with the intent of blaming NightMan's bad actions and gaining advancement herself in some way. I would not favour her for it, if so. She should have acted long before now. But I fear it is a side issue, and not something we have any real way of learning about from AppraisalMan himself, no?”

At this point, Pirouette stood and took a brief lap around the room, walking and glancing over Disappearance's notes again as she did. Her mind was now on what approach was best to take with the appraiser himself, but she wouldn't know for certain until she could see his reaction to the change in circumstances. She turned back to the others.

“We must try to learn if he knows anything of NightMan, or the situation he was put in. He seemed to know that he could push his uncooperative behaviour quite far, but we must try to learn just how much he understands of the orders you were given. We must also learn, possibly before we can learn other things, exactly what he is appraising and by what measures, and if possible, why those. This, I think, may tell us much, even if it is as innocent as he personal preferences.

I will speak to AppriasalMan one more time before we begin, and I will place some of our cards face up to him, yes? I will ensure he understands his situation, and how he can most quickly alleviate it.” She looked back and forth between HoundMan and Disappearance. “Perhaps while I do this, you may wish to check on this Lady once more. See if her circumstance has changed her behaviour. If she cannot talk, maybe see if she will write, or sign, perhaps, no? Learn anything you can. It is no harm to be forthcoming with her, I do not think. She will not be allowed communication with AppraisalMan until he is either released or arrested, so, for now it does not matter what she knows, if it will cause her to share in return. This is acceptable to you both, yes? Have I forgotten any detail so far?”

If everything seemed correct and she'd not missed anything major, Pirouette nodded to her companions and crossed to the door leading to ApraisalMan's holding cell, taking along breath to take her poise, ruffle and settle her wings and brush off her skirt just to be sure, before heading into the room to assess how their house guest was reacting to his suddenly enforced isolation.
"She's actually had her face covered and has never spoken when interrograted..." Disappearance admitted, now understanding how that could be taken as suspicious. "It does perhaps merit further investigation..."

"Aroo! A person who hides both their face and their voice is pretty suspicious!" HoundMan agreed.

Disappearance took off her mask again and faced him with a frown, wondering if he saw the implications of what he was saying.

Approaching the table, HoundMan watched the still-frame, his tail-armor and ear-armor both perking up as he did. "Hmmmm..." he murmured, the green scopes of his helmet squinting as he inspected it very, very closely. He was still staring by the time Pirouette got around to laying out the other clues so far.

Disappearance attempted to pitch in, while HoundMan was absent. "I agree that we don't have what we need to advance the Mafia financier ties argument right now. It is very important that it gets addressed down the line, but that should have been done by other departments with the proper tools and qualifications from the get-go," she nodded along, keeping her mask off. "As for the tie between AppraisalMan and NightMan... I believe AppraisalMan is a tool, in a sense, but not that he's being used by NightMan. AppraisalMan doesn't act like somebody who could be acting under any kind of duress. I mean... anything's possible, but besides his cocky attitude, there's the fact that he didn't leave or lawyer up before this point."

Her eyes widened at the next theory. "You think NightMan is... an adult actress?" she asked, sounding struck with disbelief.

HoundMan looked up from the photograph, with a grin on his face. "Ha! Moonlighting. I get it!"

Disappearance lowered her eyes to the table as the thought over the possibilities carefully, especially as they related to her direct superior. "I will say... Bank doesn't seem like the type of person to let an opportunity at advancement go by. I could kind of imagine it. Frankly, she's so shrewd when it comes to money and time management, it's bizarre she hasn't stepped in up till this point. It's almost as though there's some profit in letting it continue," she suggested.

"You think AppraisalMan is paying her and NightMan? It could be that simple, aroo. Bank likes money," HoundMan speculated, offering a rare bit of input related to solving the mystery.

"One thing's Pirouette is surely right about: getting information out of AppraisalMan is very difficult. Well, it was in the past, anyways. Maybe it will go better now that we've cut him off from his work for the day," Disappearance reminded them all. "Still, one does wonder what it is that makes him feel so bulletproof. I do think he and NightMan had to be connected together somehow as partners or complicit. Because otherwise, it makes no sense that NightMan gave him this sweet deal. There would have been every opportunity for some of Investigations less... kind officers to get involved, without NightMan's directions forbidding it."

The others nodded as Pirouette described her next plan, which would mean showing AppraisalMan some of the fruits of their investigation so far and perhaps why he should be worried. "I'll go check on Lady! We gotta see if she matches up with the lady in the photograph, aroo." His tail armor seemed to be wagging very hard.

"... We can do that by seeing her face and hearing her voice," Disappearance reminded him, dragging his mind out of the gutter. "It sounds good to me. We'll let you know results as soon as we have them. We won't return until you tell us to or unless something goes wrong... there should be plenty we can learn from Lady if she really is the woman from NightMan's video."

The two disappeared, leaving Pirouette to re-enter the room with AppraisalMan. Sure enough, perhaps to her delight, she'd see that he was no longer inspecting data fragments with his spectacle. He didn't look agitated, but he did look bored. "Ah, you're back," he greeted her, perhaps hoping to solicit some conversation this time. "I hope the others have given you some tips so you can perform a little more eloquently this time. Then again, perhaps you'd be better off discarding any advice they've given you and trying a fresh start," he remarked. With no diamonds to look at, his monocle's scope was instead on her, expanding and retracting ominously. "It sounds like this may be my last day here. They confiscated my work earlier and told me I'm forbidden to leave. Is that your doing?" he questioned again, his pretty face still wearing that large, thin smile; his visage was so angular that it looked a bit like a cut diamond itself. "If you're trying to get under my skin, that's a 22/100 start, I'd say."
The change in AppraisalMan's attitude wasn't large, she had to admit, but it was apparent at least. Pirouette entered the room and moved to take a seat across from him, turning the chair to the side as she flexed her wings, and crossing one leg over the other as she regarded him. Rather than answer hi question or acknowledge his appraisal directly, she took a moment to cast an eye over the rest of his situation. After a few seconds she addressed him, flicking her eyes to his for the first time.

“I am pleased to see that despite there being no change in my own demeanour, you have decided to be more forthcoming. Only a little, perhaps, but it is progress. Good Boy.” She paused for a moment, taking out her black notebook and pulling her quill from the air long enough to jot a single line. With another flick of her wrist, she looked up again.

“AppraisalMan, while we are not pressing immediate charges against you, you are being detained until further notice. Whatever you have been told so far, I wish you to understand that until we lay formal charges, or until we release you, you will be cut off from external media, email and contacts, your operator, your associates and your business. Your Lady friend has also been detained in this manner, under suspicion of abetting. I do not know how long your business will manage itself without your supervision, and it will perhaps not be a great inconvenience for you, yes? Despite this, I will let you know the simplest and quickest ways in which this circumstance can be ended.”

“The first, you know, it is that you divulge the information that has been sought for. This way, it is the least interesting course for me. I am not so interested in whether you finance mafia agents or not. While it is a curiosity to me, why particular payments you have been making have been dwindling ever more of late, it is not my primary concern. If information leads to arrest charges, your communications will be restored, as are your legal rights, but I do not imagine your business contact is quite so desperately important as this, no?”

“The second, is that you offer up information that will assist me in my own investigation. I have suspicion that you know and could tell much that would be... illuminating, if you desired. I think, too, that this sort of information may have a different value to you, you know, to keep or to share, than the former line of questions. My concerns are direct, you know. I think if I get the answers I need, and I believe you, I will see no further reason to keep you locked down here, yes?”

Here, Pirouette stood again and paced the room; hopefully some of the messy discards of previous interviews had been cleared up as she'd requested, but if not she took stock of what was actually in the room for a moment or two, her disdain for it clear.

“I am not unreasonable, AppriasalMan. We can continue to make life difficult, boring and uncomfortable for one another for a while, you know... or I might play your game, and perhaps we will both get what we want a little sooner, yes?” She turned from her inspection and approached, leaning in towards the glass and putting one hand on it as she brought her face down to his level; she remained on her toes, and as her wings arched behind, there was a certain, deliberately seductive bend to her hips in order to make the pose.

“For the next hour or two, I can try to be whatever most suites you... I am a trained performer, and I can be many things, and many people, very convincingly, you know. But I will need assurance, yes? To play, I must know that in this exchange, you will be co-operative by the end of it.” She stood back and returned to the centre of the room, turning her back to the glass and reaching back to pull the pins from her hair until it fell free into a loose blonde tumble about her shoulders.

“I would also know how and what it is you appraise...” She glanced over her shoulder, wings rising and falling slowly in time with her breathing. “When we appraise a diamond, you know, we measure many different things, and grade more than a dozen features, to arrive at a final appraisal value,yes? You make it your life and trade to do this, yes, and to do it well, so, you will not have a single blunt factor. I can play your game better if I know what you measure to arrive at your figure, no?” She had to suppose that there was always a chance that not telling them the rules was an important part of the game, and she half expected him to tell her as much, but she hoped otherwise... after all, she could hardly give the most satisfying performance she could offer while fumbling in the dark. She took a few slow steps about the room once more, then turned to face him again.

“These are my terms, AppraisalMan. It is up to you how you spend the next two hours. You will work with this, yes? Is there anything you wish to say, or to ask, before we begin?” She arched one eyebrow towards him. If he was actually interested in the game at all, he'd almost certainly agree to play... if his motives lay elsewhere, there was nothing she could really do if he shut her down... but he'd be in for a very boring twenty-four hours.
"That name's really more appropriate for the dog man," AppraisalMan commented dryly, with an unchanging expression that showed that he was still waiting for the show to start, so to speak. "Ah, I'll give you a tip: if you start out this way, it's harder to reverse course later. 8/100."

Blessedly, after that quip, he was quiet for the rest of Pirouette's statement until called upon to talk. If she was watching his face, she'd notice the following changes. His great, angular smirk widened when they mentioned detaining his subordinate. He nodded along with the observation that he was probably suffering monetarily during this diversion. His eyes followed the obvious motions of her body when she made particular offers as a form of bargaining.

When she was finished, the man inspected his nails, as though he needed something to replace his usual diamonds. "This is a very good plan you've devised. 25/100. I'll give you all the answers that I can now and you can work for the rest, since you seem to have so much planned. We'll call it an advance on your loan," AppraisalMan began, then took a moment to begin filing one of his nails on his own diamond-like wrist. "First off, I'll give you the official statement you apparently don't want but your bosses do: I am not a mafia financier. However else you and the NetPolice would like me to cooperate, answering questions, I will do so, under the terms that I am no longer held from conducting my business, any more than can reasonably be expected by a person not under arrest," he offered.

"You asked my appraising criteria? It would be difficult to explain. The appraisal isn't really the point. It's the motivation. I think you're smart enough you probably figured that out already. However, in this case- for the next part- it actually is the point! Because, for the next hour or two, I'm going to give you that chance to work that you asked for. For every 10 points you manage to improve your appraisal- which, to be clear, you'll have to ask me for, verbally- I'll give you further answers, in whichever order you prefer. I can tell you what's happened to NightMan, if you are interested or think your superiors would be. I can tell you a little bit about your superiors, if it interests you, and support the claim with some of my collected data, which you're free to accept or deny at your leisure. That one I wouldn't recommend you share with them, if you choose to pursue that route. Finally, thirdly- I'll let you ask a question and promise to answer honestly, whatever that question may be," he explained, then grinned, showing odd, translucent, shining teeth. "Oh, if that seems strange to you, know that I think the first two questions are likely to yield more interesting answers than whatever you think up yourself. That's why I presented it as the lesser of the three choices."

His eyes seemed to be glistening now, shining a bit like diamonds themselves, as he clapped his hands. "I like this. It's a fitting climax to my time here. So, are you ready to get started? You're a performer, hm? Well then, I'm going to have very high expectations for you. How do you do your best performance? Do I call out what I want, or do you just show me? I feel like it'd be cliche to just shout out 'surprise me.' Oh dear," he sighed, resting his cheek against one hand. "Ah, I believe you called me a dog when you first came in. That sounds like a fine place to start. Would you try acting like a dog for me? Ask your partner if you need tips, he's actually very good at it... Your take ought to be more interesting, though."

"You're also free to tell your superiors that I told you I have information am withholding it from you with conditions. It might be a fun side-track to see how that goes."

At this point, AppraisalMan had apparently hitched his cart to the idea that Pirouette wasn't going to call the interview to a close just because she'd heard him say he's not a mafia financier. In fact, as much as that undid his history of staying completely quiet, when asked that question, it didn't provide a single answer for why all of the rest had happened and could very well be a lie itself. Still, if Pirouette really did want to eject everyone from the endless cycle of interrogation, she basically had her out.
So, he wasn't one to respond well to a... firmer touch. That was a pity, but it had been an avenue worth checking at least. Pirouette contemplated that the alternative was likely slipping into a distinctly self-debasing role for the games she would play. It didn't bother the ballerina as much as it might have done some others, now that she was in the mindset of the work being performance and the portrayal of a role. These were things she could do easily.

AppraisalMan's response was more forthcoming than she had dared to hope; as much as the dealer was playing ti reserved, Pirouette found herself suspecting that the interruption to his constant business stream was more important to him than he'd like to let on. In a matter of moments he had given her a definitive statement on the core question, as well as a verbal promise to actually cooperate and answer questions as long as his communications were reasonably restored. the admission took a certain amount of pressure off Pirouette's conscience and she felt herself relax internally and her sense of poise settle once more. Even if everything else fell through, at this point, she could still clean up the resource waste, and deliver a direct testimony on the financing matter; the truth of it was not important, so much that they now had it and could move forward to verify or otherwise, in the pursuit of justice. Outwardly she allowed a small smile for him in response and inclined her head in agreement to his request.

“Da, this is good. And so...” she flicked her black notebook aside, throwing it away from her in a way that saw if fade from sight as it left her fingers, then moved back to the glass with a growing smile. She let each foot step cross a little further across her central line as she did, causing her hips to shift subtly from side to side as she approached the glass, before running one delicate touch down her side of the barrier, almost wistfully. “So we will play, and I will not be... an officer of the law for a little while, no?” She glanced down at her uniform. “Ah, but I must change first, you know. I must draw the curtain, but I will return, yes? I will not be long...” She pushed back from the glass and returned to the door, but paused just before stepping through to look back over her shoulder with a small grin, her wings quivering in a delicate flutter. A small wink along with the quick wave of fingers on one hand was her parting gesture before she slipped out of the room.

Outside, Pirouette took along breath and let it out. She was going to need to get into a suitably 'warm' frame of mind to do this, and that was going to take a little work. She had more questions for her companions about AppraisalMan's situation, but it would need to wait until they were back. For now, she mentally examined the so-called HoundBitch data, distantly dreading what it would look like, and began searching the break room for a mirror that she could use when and if she decided to activate it.

He had definitely implied that he knew all about NightMan's situation, without her even needing to ask directly, and had promised to share, so, that was something. He'd seemed, if anything, more gleeful about this lady assistant being taken into custody, which did nothing to dispel the idea that NightMan himself was physically caught up in this somehow. Perhaps NightMan had tried to move on AppraisalMan, only for the deal to reveal some uncomfortable dirt over him in return. Pirouette wold not be surprised if that came to be the case.

When HoundMan and Disappearance returned from their own questioning, Pirouette greeted them both with a nod, though she hadn't yet retaken a seat.

“So... I believe that we may move forward. AppraisalMan is much more willing to talk now, it would seem, but, I have agreed to play his little game for a short while, to get answers which he has confirmed himself to have. I think this is acceptable, not? It is... aie... a different set of rules than before, perhaps, but I think, you know, there will be some similarities.” She rolled her shoulders and ruffled her wings. What happened in interview rooms stayed in interview rooms, when it came to delicate informants. She supposed she had always known this, even if it was something she had generally not thought about before now.

“Is there a way that the screen dividing the informant and the questioner might be removed or dispelled, if necessary? If I am to play his game and get some answers from him in short time, I have no intention of acting by half measure, you know? HoundMan, you will be willing to accompany and protect me, if there is danger, yes? Can this be done? It is... you know... a dancer from afar, and a touch on the cheek... they are very different things, no?” Still thinking, Pirouette took a longer breath, then squared her shoulders.

“Officer Disappearance, if I may... I think you have been through enough of this ordeal already. Whatever AppraisalMan needs to see, whatever performance will make him talk as I wish, I will take this responsibility for here, yes? It is... The responsibility, it is mine, because the questions I wish to ask are my own, you know? I do not wish to put you through any more of his lechery.” Instead, she tilted her head to look between them both.

“Before I go back in... What did you learn of his Lady friend? And might there be a mirror here? I would like to see the costumes I put on before I go in wearing them...” Pirouette hoped that the pair had learned something of value about the mysterious woman, and she took the time to listen to them, but as she did, the ballerina took a few steps from the table and stretched lightly, then took one last, long breath and released it slowly before activating the dubious .GMO to see what she was working with. she continued to listen to her colleagues as she inspected it, and no matter how it ultimately looked, Pirouette gave no sign of being in anything other than just another stage costume.
AppraisalMan watched- appraising- as his monocle stayed focused on Pirouette's face; that was either a surprisingly gentlemanly turn from him or else indicated a certain fondness for watching expressions. "Hm hm. Try not to be too long," he answered back, then returned to inspecting his gem-like nails. One might begin to wonder if it was going to be hard to get a good appraisal from him without being made of diamonds oneself.

The two still weren't out there for Pirouette when she exited... it seemed breaking away from that investigation was not so easy. Whatever the HoundBitch.GMO was, it had no descriptor other than the title... she'd just have to activate it and see when the time came (or ask Disappearance about the specifics, perhaps). Eventually, the two managed to come back, both looking like they had news they wanted to tell her right away, but instead letting her take the first go at it. That the eagerness was so apparent even in Disappearance's body language, with none of her face visible behind her mask, was a strong testament to the importance of whatever they'd learned.

Once she questioned them, some of that enthusiasm seemed to fade, replaced by hesitation on Disappearance's part. "You're going to play his game? I'll warn you again... I think those arcade crane grabber games have better odds then his [REDACTED] [REDACTED] of a guessing game..." she complained, her grimace clear even with the mask on. "Still, I trust you have some sort of plan and it's not either of our place to second guess it."

"I wasn't gonna second guess it anyways, respectfully, ma'am!" HoundMan saluted, as though having no ability to scrutinize decisions was a trait to be proud of. "And yes, you can get rid of the screen if you want to. You just gotta hit the little button that's only on your side of the screen. Just uh, don't get too rough with him, cause as you know, it'll be terrible PR if anyone founds out he got beaten up in these circumstances, aroo." There was probably a more eloquent way of stating that sentiment, though it did ring true regardless. "And I would be very happy- I mean honored- to accompany you, Officer Pirouette, ma'am!" His tail armor fin flapping back and forth with an airy swishing noise seemed to offer confirmation of the same.

Disappearance shook her head. "I'm willing and able to provide support... if you need it, Pirouette. At the same time... having a fresh cast could make things more appealing for him. I have think he's just gotten tired of me," she grumbled. "Not as tired as I've gotten of him... [REDACTED]. [REDACTED] [REDACTED]!"

"Ahoorm hrm," HoundMan coughed into a fist loudly, perhaps indicating she ought to calm herself down. "Oh, there's a mirror inside the room where Disappearance has been performing. There's also a changing curtain in there. Just be careful cause right now it's set on 'maximimum saucy', by which I mean it's practically see-through. There's a little knob where you can make it, aroo, less that way." His ears seemed to perk up for a second, then flop down. One might wonder if he was suddenly wishing he hadn't divulged that information.

"As for the 'Lady,' we confirmed her identity as soon as we saw her 'face,' such as it is. The pieces fit together... Her face is NightMan's face and I believe she is NightMan. It would confirm his disappearance ever since the investigation began. We... tastefully... asked to confirm other details of her appearance... and they were identical to the details we saw on the video. I think it's pretty safe to say that NightMan's adult actress career- which I've now traced to an actress named 'Lady of the Night'- is well known to AppraisalMan and being used as a form of leverage. At the same time... I can't say if he learned of it and used it to blackmail NightMan, or if their connection is more complicated. If you two are going to do this, then I'd like to go back and get more information from... him... her... I'm sorry, I haven't figured out which is more appropriate yet. Whatever the case, I can report that she seemed very flustered to realize we'd made the connection. It... might be best to keep that information very close to your chest and avoid leaking it to others... at least until we've determined if he's an innocent victim in this."

HoundMan nodded along, squinting the green eyes of his goggles as he considered the situation. The goggles opened back up as Pirouette activated her costume; his tongue rolled out tellingly. Pirouette couldn't see what she'd put on her head, but the fact that the whole world had gone slightly green made it clear that she was wearing a helmet that was similar to HoundMan's own. She could even feel that the ear-like vents on top were flapping up and down in tune with her emotions. Her hearing was still pretty unaffected, a testament to the surprising design functionality of that strange-looking armor. Her hair could still go out the back through a low opening; not ideal for wearing a ponytail, but perfect for when you have your hair down.

What was less welcome was that instead of getting the rest of the armor, she'd received a black, leather bikini, with a halter top allowing a bit of underboob and an immodest, low bottom portion. There were thigh-high boots with it and elbow-length gloves, making her limbs the most covered part of her, besides maybe her head. Ironically, considering she'd tried to shed her cop outfit, it had a pair of handcuffs attached at the most logical spot: around the neck, like a dangling collar. On one end; the end attached to her, was a simple label in indented leather, reading "Bitch." On the other was another, reading "Master." It was a little funny that the two cuffs were essentially interchangeable.

One last feature: the upper band of the leather bikini was a mechanical belt, with an alluringly large, white, square-shaped button of unknown purpose on the front center and a tail armor piece mimicking HoundMan's on the back. It seemed like it would also wag or droop in response to Pirouette's emotions. Just like with HoundMan, she wouldn't need an actual tail in order for it to demonstrate that "feature," which in some ways seemed more like a bug. It certainly wasn't going to be useful for anyone trying to put on a poker face, but there didn't seem to be any function to yank it off without removing the whole bikini.

On that note, the bottom portion of the bikini did seem fairly difficult to move. That big button might be connected, but otherwise, it was shaped so it wouldn't easily come down the hips, and there was no obvious hook to take it apart.

DisappearanceMan clutched the mask to her face with both hands. "[REDACTED] , I didn't think you would still want to wear that one," she sobbed, sounding mortified. That made it a little more apparent that she'd probably been intimately involved in its design.

"Aroo! Respectfully! With utmost respect, ma'am! It looks extremely good on you, Miss Pirouette, Officer, Ma'am!" HoundMan announced, his tail swinging hard enough to knock the chair beside him slightly out of place as he stood up.

"I-I'm just going to go interrogate NightMan some more... Good luck..." Disappearance finished, seeming to be in a big rush to escape her creation.
Pirouette was trying to focus her mind on the kinds of thoughts that might let her perform in the spirit she felt she'd need to; intrusive thoughts kept creeping in when she contemplated that she'd be 'performing' as much for her colleague, as for AppraisalMan, and the idea that she might soon be acting in certain ways in front of HoundMan caused a number of complicated sensations within her.

She opened her eyes and paid proper attention once her fellow officers were back and nodded at Disapperance's report. Her eyebrows rose significantly as the other woman confirmed the wildly indecent theory she'd put forward earlier, but at least it made a number of things quite simple. She only smiled and inclined her head towards HoundMan.

“Do not worry, officer HoundMan... I have no intention of harming our guest.... It is just... you know...” Playfully, she took a quick step forward, gliding in close to the other officer and leaning up and in to bring her chest close to his, while her cheek came within a hair's breadth of brushing against his. She let out a soft, breathy sigh, then pulled back just enough to meet his still-goggled eyes with a lidded, coy expression of her own.

“...easier to get a reaction... when you can be closer, no?” Intended or not, Pirouette felt a pink warmth in her face; sometimes, when acting a role, it was all too easy to forget that she hadn't ever done any such thing herself, for real, before... but her heart reminded her of it as soon as she broke the scene play. She stepped back properly and bit her lip, looking aside before focusing her attention on something less precarious.

“This is good news, though. This is excellent, yes?” She directed quickly towards Disappearance. “We are Internal Affairs. This; it is our job and our area. NightMan, he is a member of the Net Police, no? Investigating this matter is very much within our duty here, more so than before, I think.” She flashed an almost predatory smile towards her fellow officer. “You have NightMan at your disposal now, Disappearance. Get those answer out of him. Assure him of our discretion and tactfulness, of course, but make him talk, yes? He will be able to answer many of the things that AppraisalMan could. This is a perfect chance to clear this whole mess up once and for all.” She gave the other woman a nod; even if AppraisalMan turned into a dead end, it seemed likely that Disappearance could now get what they needed, at least at a base level. It would leave her free to pursue more interesting questions as well.

As she spoke, Pirouette was also examining the outfit she had just changed into; she turned her back briefly as she swirling rush of white swan feathers phased up her body, replacing her police uniform with the new attire; normally, the ring of feathers gave occasional, teasing glimpses of pale skin, just in the moment of transition from one to the other, but this time, there wasn't a good deal of coverage on the far side anyway. She had turned back as the change completed, but now turned her head and tilted it a few times, getting used to the feeling of the helmet. A quick adjustment forced her to leave her hair out, rather than in its normal bun, and the blond curtain settled freely behind her shoulders instead. She twisted and turned a little bit, inspecting herself as well as giving a coincidentally unintentional show-off of the bikini outfit to her colleagues while they spoke.

The auxiliary feedback was unexpected, but not entirely alien to her; a moment of surprise pulled the ears upright, and calming herself deliberately let them lie back. Similarly, she could feel the tail behind her, responding; it seemed to want to swish and wag slightly regardless of what she was thinking or feeling, so far, but a little practice let her exert some mastery over it. It wasn't entirely unlike her wings, really, and they would just have to become another part of controlling the emotions she was displaying, as opposed to the ones she was feeling.

The rest of the outfit felt... well, she'd performed in worse, even if it was on stage and far away from other actual people. She stretched up with her arms as she turned about, feeling the sit of the top; it was clearly designed as visual, rather than functional. The lower portion of her breasts were exposed, and it was only the saving grace of her light endowment that the top did its job at all; a woman of heavier assets would almost certainly slip right out of this, and even she probably risked the top slipping up if she was too energetic. Although... as she stretched and shifted, flexing her wings and ruffling them to be sure nothing was obstructed... She did feel secure enough. If it looked like any small jump or bounce might cause a mishap, though, that was for the better.

“So, this is where you were up to, no? Please, Disappearance, it is well. I do not mind costumes like this. I have performed on stage in less, you know.” She did her best to reassure her fellow officer as she inspected herself further.

The lower half of the bikini was... minimal. The back, she could feel, was of the type that did not, in fact, cover her buttocks at all, and the front... She dropped one hand to run her fingers across her hips and lower down to brush at where the garment began; unintentionally, the motion would draw eyes and attention as she did it, but Pirouette was mostly focused on her own thoughts. She was lucky that her body's design didn't sport pubic hair of any description, or it would most certainly be visible. As it was, she was barely a centimetre or two from being exposed. Her fingers hovered across the white button at the centre and she looked up towards Disappearance again.

“Aie... before you go, yes? Normally, I do not mind surprises, you know, but... perhaps it is safer to ask... the button, yes? It does...?” Here she cleared her throat and the faint blush returned to her cheeks in a way that simply modelling the outfit hadn't managed. “I am sorry, but, I have not ever really owned or used any... aie... toys? Aides? Devices, you know... of an... intimate nature, before.” She blushed harder, he cheeks going a richer pink shade. “I would avoid it doing anything, aie... intrusive to me, yes?” It didn't feel like that was a risk, given the positioning, but Pirouette wasn't feeling confident enough to take the chance; the ballerina had some fairly firm, if overly romantic, ideas about how certain firsts were to be, and like this was not on that list.

Once Disappearance had fled the break room to continue interrogating NightMan, and hopefully producing some more tangible answers, Pirouette turned to HoundMan. An intrusive thought flitted across her mind, that she was not in character yet, but was, nevertheless, alone in an unobserved room with the handsome and affable boy. She tilted her head and fluttered her eyelashes at the man, but then realised that the goggles would probably prevent that from being clear. That wouldn't do at all. She quickly lifted her fingertips to the goggles and tried to access the GMO's data. It took a small tweak to remove the green goggle lenses from the helmet; the result left it with shapely eye holes instead, where her blue eyes could be seen peering out behind the mask. Like that, the canine features gave her a more predatory, sultry look, even if she wasn't deliberately cutting her gaze in that way. It probably wouldn't hurt matters. She turned her attention back towards her fellow officer and gazed up at him, letting her lips part and exhaling slowly.

“Aruu...? How do I look? All police professional behaviour aside, you know... does it make you feel like... ah... you want to do... something... to me...?” She led with a playful growl in her throat – similar to HoundMan's own vocal tick, but cuter and much more obviously feminine. The helm's ears lay back as she spoke, inviting in pose, and her new tail swished low and slowly, but with broad sweeps. There was a smile on her lips, and Pirouette let herself lean into the flirtatious play for a moment or two – warming up with someone she did find attractive would help put on a good show for her subject in the next room.
HoundMan's lips drew into a rapt frown and the lenses of his goggles expanded to full; his tail and ear flaps both stood on end as Pirouette approached him. Whatever she'd whispered, he didn't even respond to it... For all of his alertness, he didn't seem to be listening with particular care, focused on other things.

The other officer in the room watched with some all-too-obvious awkwardness, given the nature of the exchange. She tried to put it out of her mind as she responded to Pirouette. "Sure... It's going to be a little... weird... but I'm sure he'll be eager to explain his... her... way out this rather than let the questions lie, now that we've gotten this far," Disappearance agreed, replacing her mask and hiding her minus-sign eyes before standing to leave the room.

HoundMan barely paid attention to her and was completely silent as he watched Pirouette; his face made it look like he was waiting for some kind of shoe to drop, like a dog watching obsessively and waiting for a ball to be thrown. "Less?" HoundMan asked in a quick bark, carelessly revealing a hope for further details.

Disappearance had quietly, perhaps sullenly, moved to exit the room, when Pirouette stopped her, meaning to ask more questions. Her face was unreadable as she responded. "... The button simply detaches the bottom. The trick is that it doesn't work if the one wearing it presses it. The only way to remove it is for someone who's wearing the other side of the handcuffs to do it for you. It's... kind of inconvenient... and it's stupid too because that's just going to suspend the other person's hand near your head or neck. Then they're going to have to use their other hand or something else to hit the button. It's just something that I REDACTED to do with REDACTED..." she murmured, turning her back again. "Good luck, Pirouette." She somehow didn't seem as giddy as you'd expect someone about to be released from a long, disgraceful stalemate to be, but maybe acting down-on-her-luck was just her default personality.

Once she was out of the room, HoundMan kept his eyes on Pirouette, barely blinking, while she tried out her charms. Amusingly, beating her eyelashes just caused the lenses of that weird night-vision helmet to dilate and expand in unison. "Aroo! Feel free to remove any other parts you think might help!" he answered in a quick bark that very poorly hid his intentions, as sweat obviously rolled out from beneath the upper part of his helmet and down the side of his cheek. "D-Do something, Officer Pirouette? Ma'am, respectfully... R-redacted..." he murmured, red creeping across his face as he tried using Disappearance's answering method to get out of the question. The odd way he was sitting made it hard to see his lap, but it might be pretty awkward to move around with his skinsuit the way it was... "The right words might be 'with you,'.... arooooo..." he mused, gulping again.

"By which I mean acting to the best of our ability so that we can bring this guy down! Ma'am!" he snapped a salute. That obviously wasn't what he'd been thinking at all, but he did his best to make the save and appear to be a good officer, perhaps equating this to his earlier test, where, against all odds, he'd managed to act against his beastly instincts and avoid mounting Pirouette in Bayonet's office. Still, it seemed he'd follow Pirouette wherever she led. If she wanted him to dress down to match her, or even just wanted to keep him here and play with him, she could probably get away with it. He'd also be up for the entirely unenviable task of trying to pump the overly critical AppraisalMan for more information, of course.
There was no question that her heart skipped a little faster at the signs of HoundMan's interest in her behaviour, and appreciation of the way she looked. It wasn't entirely proper, and she knew that, but it was still exciting. Even so, she nodded and thanked Disappearance for the explanation, and watched the other woman depart for NightMan's cell with a fleetingly thoughtful expression. She wondered if something in all of this had upset her, or if the other woman was just tired and wanted it over with. There wasn't time to check right now though. It was a relief that the mechanism for the garment was that straight forward, though, disappearance had been right about the length of chain. Perhaps she could do something with that...

Her teasing wasn't entirely fair towards the poor man, but even so, her heart swelled at his flustered answer and she could feel her pulse quicken. Being appreciated on a stage, as a performer, was one thing but she'd truly never been... desired, at a personal level, by someone she was beginning to grow quite fond of. As much as the ballerina was used to controlling her own poise, and keeping her wings passive, the rash of blush across her cheeks was further betrayed by a very pointed increase in the way her new tail wagged back and forth as HoundMan stumbled through admitting that he found her desirable. That he corrected to 'with' over 'to', in particular, made something in her melt a little bit. She didn't know whether it was innocence or chivalry, but it hardly mattered. Her ears had settled back, low, and her tail swished almost as quick as she felt her pulse was growing a she looked at him and smiled.

“It is... It is well, HoundMan, Thank you. It is... aie... it is not proper to say while we are on duty, you know, but here, we are... ah, it is like a break room yes? So... It is okay to say... I am very happy, that you find me pleasing.” Now her blush flared a brighter crimson and she averted her eyes, smiling but still embarrassed. Her tail swished low and fast and it took concerted concentration to calm it down. She took a long breath and fanned her face with one hand, then briefly took a commencement pose and closed her eyes to help settle her breathing and regain her poise.

“Now...” She looked back over her shoulder at him and grinned more playfully again. “I do not think I will take any more off just yet. Besides, it would seem I cannot, yes? Not on my own...” She turned back and drew the cuff end of her collar attachment out, trying her best to tinker with the GMO again. With a little work, she extended the slim chain until it was a much more reasonable leash-like length, then gently lifted HoundMan's hand to start fastening the master end of it. She put it on more like a bracelet, than affixing a cuff, though as soon as it sealed there was a subtle response from the rest of the outfit that she couldn't quite put her finger on. She winked at HoundMan, then stepped back again, the chain dipping in the gap between his wrist and her collar. “Not without... your help... no?” She caught herself as she let out a small, light laugh. There was something so preposterously indecent about all of this, but it was exciting as well. Just to test, she turned her back to her colleague and took a step or two away from him until the chain began to go taut. Pirouette leaned forward until it took the full tension, bending at the hip a little and letting the leash pull her head back a bit; between the swishing of her tail, it offered a very emphasised look at her hind quarters, and Pirouette pawed at the air lightly in front of her, making playful growling sounds in the back of her throat. She looked back at HoundMan and winked at him.

“Da, I think this will work to entice him.” Her features grew serious as she said that and she turned back around, dropping the playful animal posture and stepping back to speak to him more plainly. Her wing rose and fell while she pressed down the urge to fidget.

“I... I am sorry to tease you like this. I do not want you to think... Aie...” She waved a hand to one side of her, fishing for the way to say what she wanted. “We will go in, and I will... perform for him... but, you know, for him, I only... tol'ko ya veshat' lapshu yego ushi... It is not real, you know? And, ah, I do not want you to feel that I... Oh, stars, I cannot speak...” She swallowed took a breath.

“Perhaps I should say... when I perform for him, I will be imagining, you know, that I perform for you, maybe? This is truth, yes?” She nodded, more to herself than to anyone else in the room, then pressed the backs of her hands to her cheeks. She really was being quite forward about this, once she took a moment to catch up with herself. Feeling wanted, as more than just a pretty piece on a stage, by someone who knew her as a person, and whom she knew as one too... it was a new and unpredictable feeling. These were the sorts of stumbling rushes her stories wrote about, she was sure of it.

“Hahh... I am ready, I think.” She took a longer breath and then moved towards the door, attempting to lead HoundMan along with her. “Ah, was there a costume for you to match this one? If we would match, then this is probably to the better, no?” She thought about any last minute concerns as she prepared to move into the room. “HoundMan, you will have the leash, as it is, yes? You will be... in control of me, you know? You must act like it if you can. If... I remove the partition, and go close to him, he may touch me, in safe places, and where I am clothed still, but only you may remove any more pieces of my outfit. You understand, yes? Do not give the cuff to him. I...” she took a longer breath and nodded. Her wings ruffled and resettled themselves in a nervous shudder.

“I may give you a sign that it is okay to expose me, if he wishes it, but if I do, I do not want him to touch me in those places. This I must trust to you. It is important, yes?” She turned to face him again. “If I am exposed to him, I do not wish for that man to touch me here,” she lifted her hands to encompass her breasts, “or here.” One hand moved down to press fingers over her groin. “Anywhere else is fine, and those places are allowed, only if they are still clothed and covered, yes?” She blushed and swallowed. “I may be in very precarious situations, so, if he tries to do anything I do not want, you must prevent him. You will protect me, yes?” She knew she was perfectly capable of defending herself if the situation got unpleasant, but there was the hope that, even if he reached too far, it could still be contained by the dog-and-master act, before coming to obvious interruptions.

Provided HoundMan's own costume wasn't too outlandish, or in need of minor tweaks, and after making them if necessary, Pirouette came to the end of things she could dither on and steeled herself. With nothing else to do, she glanced once more at HoundMan then folded gracefully down to rest on her knees with her hands curled at the wrist in front of her chest, then nodded for her partner to open the door and lead her in.
The dog-armored man continued to nod his head eagerly, hanging on to Pirouette's words, even during the moments when she was doing little more than muttering to herself. When it came time to accept her "leash," he did so, allowing it on to his wrist and then staring at it for a moment with confusion... Before finally seeming to get the implication. "Oh... Respectfully, ma'am, this feels unusual! I know our ranks are essentially equal, aroo, but I can't help but think of you as my superior!" he informed her, following the trail of the chain from him to her with his eyes. Once his gaze made its way back to her, however, he found it fixed there, for obvious reasons. He adjusted his sitting position a few times, again fighting off some animal instinct to pounce at the offering. It was probably a good thing for everyone involved that HoundMan wasn't the one who was being pumped for information here. He didn't have much of a poker face.

"Respectfully, ma'am, it ought to work on him, but I am not sure if you'll get the reaction you deserve," he pointed out, as the ear-like vents atop his helmet drooped slightly. "Officer Disappearance and I have given it a lot of effort, but his appraisal doesn't really budge. Not that your try is anything less! But I just have a feeling..." he murmured, finding it hard to say anything so pessimistic, especially considering how well it was obviously working on him.

He tilted his head slightly, obviously not knowing a bit of foreign language and not being a particularly good judge of subtext either. "Performing for me...? Oh! Yeah, if you pretend he's a friend, he won't seem so annoying," he nodded, seeming satisfied with this internal logic. "Ha ha, don't worry, I know it isn't real! Aroo!" On the downside, he was still being pretty bone-headed, but on the upside, it sounded like Pirouette didn't have to worry about messing up their long-term relationship... it was just also going to be a bit harder to advance it than it should be.

He looked down at his own wardrobe, then gave a shrug. "No, I don't think Disappearance made one for me. I could just wear my swimsuit with the helmet, if you want me to? That'd have about the same effect, maybe, aroo?" he offered; Pirouette would probably remember that his swimsuit was about as risque as one could get anyway, leaving very little to the imagination. Of course, like most outfits, it would also be safe to say it'd be sexier without the helmet, if she wanted to advise him that way. His face momentarily turned into a frown as she warned him against handing the leash over to AppraisalMan. "You don't have to worry about that, ma'am! I'll guard it with my life!" he responded with a salute.

The next discussion was very specific and, again, seemed to necessitate him staying completely still. It was easy to imagine him making a list of all of the "do nots" and then slowly comprehending what he was being given a blank check to do... which was still quite a lot. "Yes ma'am!" he responded, though it was hard to tell if he'd really gotten all of it. "I will protect you, one-hundred percent!" He was so serious about that point, it was hard to imagine he was going to let it go if the guy decided to physically demean her...

When she adopted a dog-like stance, he seemed momentarily confused again, before realizing the intention: to act like a dog. "Oh! Right," he responded, jumping to his feet... with him now standing, it would be pretty hard for anyone, whether Pirouette or AppraisalMan, to ignore the shape of him bulging against his bodysuit (or swimsuit, if Pirouette had advised him that way). "This still feels like it should be the other way around, but I'm ready if you are!"

As the two went back in, AppraisalMan regarded the new shift in dynamics with a seriously annoying, cheek-to-cheek grin. He adjusted his monocle again but stayed quiet... Perhaps he thought that offering an appraisal too early would derail the introduction. If he knew- or cared- at all about what was happening in the other room, it was pretty hard to tell.
Despite her attempts to focus on her goals, HoundMan's obvious appreciation of her teasing kept a warm glow buzzing in Pirouette's chest. The open-hearted honesty of his unintentional compliments helped as well, she had to admit. There was no guile in the way he warned that their target would be unlikely to give her the praise he thought she deserved – just facts as he seemed to see them, and it made her happy to hear.

At the suggestion of his swimwear, however, Pirouette had to purse her lips for a moment, thinking. Her wings fluttered and her new tail gained energy for a moment as she contemplated how his chest had looked on the beach, previously, but ultimately she shook her head.

“Ah, no, I do not think... Let us say... you look as though you command more authority, in your normal uniform, yes? Let us stay with this.” She moved closer to him as she answered, making a small show of brushing his shoulders and straightening his outfit, even though it likely didn't need any such attention, then smiled at him and winked.

With the last preparations made and nothing else to dither on, Pirouette let herself be led back into the room, or rather, once HoundMan opened the door, the ballerina gracefully shifted forward onto the tips of her fingers as well as her knees, 'stepping' into the room ahead of her leash-holder.

She took a couple of quick paw-pads into the room, pulling to the edge of her tether in a lower stance, while HoundMan had to shut the door behind them, then made a point of perking up and raising her head to look about the room. She briefly made eye contact with AppraisalMan and his leering grin, the more feminine design of her muzzled mask letting her make eye contact properly now that the scoped lenses were gone, but only held is gaze for a moment before flicking her eyes away again and continuing her 'inspection' of the room. She hadn't planned too far ahead at this point, but it was better to start light and build up to the more overt behaviour.

To being with, she padded forward towards the partition, with more energy and enthusiasm now, until she was tugging again on the leash. She let herself look at AppraisalMan properly now, and focused on projecting as much alert and eager body language as she could; the mask's ears lifted up high and her tail wagged quickly back and forth. In the process her wings also stretched to a more erect position as well, but they would be as they always were – an extension of her motions and actions, in their own way. As she tugged on the leash, Pirouette let herself growl playfully first, then give a softer whine in the back of her throat when it became clear she couldn't reach the glass.

She turned back around, still moving on the tips of her fingers and her knees, but she took a broad circle, enough to give AppraisalMan a clear profile of her body and the amount of skin she was currently showing. From the front, the bikini bottoms had a teasingly low cut that suggested they were less than an inch from beginning to reveal her intimate parts, but didn't quite do so, and may have looked otherwise presentable; from the side it became clear that there was no material really covering her behind at all, save for the t-junction at the top that secured the tail piece. Similarly, the lower floor angle of her pose from the front may have obscured how minimal the bikini top was, but the profile view gave a clear teasing glimpse of the soft, pale skin of her lower breasts. The turn didn't last too long and her motions were smooth and graceful throughout, though she tried to keep a pointed energy to them all the same.

As she turned to face HoundMan properly, Pirouette only gave a very brief glimpse of her behind because she turned into a sitting pose, still on her knees but hunkered back so that her boots successfully covered much of the real estate. AppraisalMan would have a good chance to see the smooth curve of her back while her tail swished back and forth and her wings fell back into a softer, beseeching position. Hands still firmly on the ground between her knees, she looked up at HoundMan with wide eyes and tilted her head, then whined softly again before turning back to tug towards the glass partition once more.

Provided HoundMan relented and moved forward enough to let her, she sprang forward again towards the glass, this time approaching it directly in front of AppraisalMan and made a small show of 'jumping up', springing with her hands a slight curl to paw at the glass and find a stable position to look at the 'new person'.

The pose she adopted kept her paw-hands wide apart on the glass, framing her head, while her knees were also wide apart; as she made a show of eagerness and excitement in playing her role, her ears perked up to full and her tail beat back and forth with strong motions. She panted visibly as she looked at him, but she kept it classy; the ballerina let each rapid, deep breath shift through her body, drawing attention to the movements of her chest and her exposed midsection, but she kept her tongue firmly inside her mouth, simply parting her lips enough to make her breathing obvious and the whole gesture more sultry instead. Her head tilted back and forth and she pressed forward, making a show of trying to nose at the glass and look for a way around it.

Every few moments she let a hand slip and scrabbled to reposition it, while putting mild bounce into her pose, lifting up from her knees by a few inches by putting pressure on her hands and the glass, and then settling back again in between; her chest wasn't large, but the slim halter bikini allowed just enough movement each bounce to draw the eye to the fact that there was, indeed, movement. It looked very much like each bounce threatened to make her slip out of her top from below, but the odd design meant that it would only come off if HoundMan removed it.

She didn't want to break the act to ask for his initial appraisal of her appearance – it occurred to Pirouette that she ought to have suggested a sign to HoundMan to request appraisal for her. She doubted the guileless boy would take the initiative on his own. She'd have to find a moment to whisper to him. It occurred to her right on the heels of that thought that, in all of her list of things she had told HoundMan he could and couldn't allow to happen, she hadn't actually forbidden him from touching her in the ways she'd forbidden AppraisalMan. A flush of sudden embarrassment ran through her and a bloom of pink reached her cheeks as she panted against the glass. The excited and naughty thought that came with it whispered that she wasn't going to correct that piece of forgetfulness either. Oh well...