The Wanderlust II with Lyntael and DragonierMan

The Wanderlust II was clearly a step down from the first. If Tango was as understaffed as Lyntael had been led to believe, that made sense... the Blesser, Jack-of-All-Trades, had been able to handle a whole crew's worth of jobs around the ship. Without that resource, Tango would be forced to scale way back, both in terms of less space, fewer activities, fewer employees, and less capacity for guests. All of that sounded a bit more grim than it looked. The ship was still a little gaudy, but otherwise, a comfortably normal ship, with an outside bar area, pool on deck, a performance hall, a kitchen and dining area, all of that good stuff. Because it was, after all, a ship for couples, the pink, heart-shaped adornments were back. It might occur to Lyntael or DragonierMan both that it seemed like a funny place for any sort of group of business people, with grievances or otherwise, to host a meetup.

Unfortunately, unless Lyn remembered the coordinates of the last mission, it'd be pretty hard to confirm if they were actually outside the range of the pirates. At the very least, the ship didn't seem to be in a state of disrepair suggesting it was currently hosting several crews of pirates, so she could be encouraged by that fact.

They'd end up standing just outside one of the cabin rooms, with nameplates displaying DragonierMan and Lyntael's name, as if they were going to be sharing a couple's cabin together. Tango was already standing there waiting, holding the door open while dancing this way and that with his/herself. Rather than flamenco gear, they'd gotten dressed up in a sort of a red smoking jacket with a big, pink cravat and black slacks. A white corsage accented the front breast pocket of the jacket. As always, the one-body duo's hair was black and wavy, reaching just a bit below their shoulders, and they wore a white, shining grin that never left their face, even when discussing things such as money troubles or intimidation by pirates. Right now, Tango was in male form, with a small mustache over his upper lip being a good tip-off, even if one looked away for a moment. A mannequin was held in his hands, which he continued to twirl around with as though it was a dance partner.

The inside of the room was also both gaudy and embarrassing, with one large, pink-sheeted bed and a large, heart-shaped headrest. Hopefully, they weren't going to be doing any actual sleeping here, as while that would be a pretty quick way to get intimate with Lyntael's fellow Empire members, but not a very good way to meet someone for the first time. Once the two arrived, Tango could begin that briefing and exchange of info that they'd been promised.

Song link.

Clad in dark, hooded cloaks, which billowed out a little in the breeze; four people, grim as pirates themselves, made their way onto the Wanderlust II. Even if the sky was clear, the storm clouds that the group carried with them made the area as cold as if they were being pelted by icy rainwater. The ocean spray bounced off of their thick mantles, or steamed instantly from where it found purchase, burned away by the heat of the bodies within. The breath of the tetrad misted about them, either coming from warm exhalation in cold air, or plumes of their own inner flame. They stopped as they came upon the dancing Tango.

"Tango I presume," a rough and growly voice issued from the largest body of the group, clearly a man's. "We are here as requested."

Assuming Tango ushered them into the room, before or after Lyntael arrived, the four would fan out across the room like a fog. Getting into every nook and cranny, and checking the walls and under the bed, to see that the room was secured. Satisfied that all listening devices, or individuals, were dealt with, the four uncovered their heads. Golden tresses marked three of the black cloaked individuals, all women, while short dark gray hair marked their larger leader. The man stood almost six and a half feet tall (roughly 198 cm), and carried rippling muscles under his clothing. He looked like a professional athlete for high contact sports. All four seemed to be wearing padded jackets over sleeved linen tunics and leggings, which gave the impression that they were medieval knights not fully wearing their plated armor. This was given away by the metal greaves, boots, and arm bracers which they still wore, and were darkened with soot to erase their shine. It was likely that they stained their cloaks the same way.

"I guess it is time for introductions," the man said, his rough and growly voice taking on a more jovial tone. "My name is DragonierMan, or Drago for short," he said, thumping his chest with one thumb and a closed fist. His face was somewhat plain, with standard Netopian features, but handsome enough to some. His hair was cut short, but just long enough to be called a mane. And his eyes were the same dark gray as his hair color.

He then pointed to the tallest of the three women by the door. She was closer to five foot nine (roughly 175 cm), and had her golden hair up in a bun. Thick, sharp needles which looked almost like daggers themselves, held her hair up. Her outfit looked more regal than the other three, with more golden baubles and fine blue silks. She stood nearest the door, with her back to the wall, and her eyes were closed. "This is Magistrate," Drago said. Even though she didn't open her eyes at the mention of her name, it was clear she was very aware of what was going on not only inside this room, but outside it. One can almost envision her striking out like a viper at whomever came through the door uninvited while they were there.

He then pointed to what looked like a pair of identical twins. They were the smallest of the group, standing at around five foot four (roughly 164 cm). They were slim and lithe looking, and had their hair done up in pony tails. "Suzume," he said pointing to the woman with two braided pony tails coming down the sides of her face. "Aya," he said pointing to the other woman, who had a more traditional single, non-braided pony tail coming out of the back of her head.

Even though Suzume and Aya had Electopian names, they didn't look Electopian. Both women had rounder, button-like noses, which contrasted to Magistrate's pronounced, hawkish nose. And they were less busty then their more mature 'older sister'. But all three women matched Drago for toned Netopian skin, slightly tanned from being outside a lot, and sharp gray eyes. They all looked to be in their late 20s to early 30s, and were all also probably a little taller and wider than they really were due to a combination of their bulky clothing and hairdos.

As Drago introduced the group to Lyntael, Aya was staring at Lyntael with those same keen, silvery eyes. It was fairly clear that she was sizing the younger girl up. It was also clear that Aya didn't seem to care that it was very obvious that she was doing this, and that it might freak Lyntael out. "Aya!" Suzume hissed and lightly punched her sister's shoulder. "Don't scare the new kid." Aya brushed her shoulder nonchalantly. "It's not my fault if she can't take a little scrutiny," she defended.

Suzume walked over and offered her hands to Lyntael in amends. It was then that she noticed that they all wore darkened gloves with small, pointed talons. Really laying into the dragon namesake. It was also hard to tell if they were a part of the gloves or the person herself. "I'm sorry for my sister's behavior. Welcome aboard. I hope everything goes smoothly. And if you ever feel in danger, you won't have to worry one bit, as one of us will be there to protect you," she said in a calming, almost melodious voice.

Like a siren beckoning a ship to crash into rocky shoals.

((From -> The Recruitment Counter))

The light beam that arrived shortly after Drago and his crew was simple and nondescript; a pale yellow light that zapped to an open space not far from the cabin door bearing their names, and retracted a moment later to leave the young woman to glance about her surroundings. A remnant of the chill mist from Drago's entry still lingered and she looked around interior space for the source of it.

Lyntael herself, for those seeing the girl for the first time, had arrived dressed in her normal attire, though now that she knew the location she was internally wishing she'd had the time to slip home again and change. A slightly built girl in the first place, her five-foot frame looked to be on the leading edge of a full development delayed by circumstance and maybe a little maltreatment; by human standards, she looked as though she might have been in her mid teens at the most.

Her bare toes curled in the soft carpet, briefly enjoying the sensation. Her skin was a pale cream, and she bore a very light dusting of freckles across her features where she'd managed to get at least a little bit of healthy sun. Her hair was a flaxen blonde that was rough-cut and short, and contrasted with bright, emerald-coloured eyes that were busy looking around now to get her bearings. Overall, there wasn't too much else that was remarkable about the girl; she didn't seem to have any weapons on her person and indeed was dressed only in simple, fair-weather clothes; a small, light vest in a pastel yellow colour that ended before it reached her midriff and was closed at the front by three small leather button catches, as well as a pleated skirt that reached only down to her mid thigh, in a slightly richer yellow colour.

She paused to rub her arms briefly at the lingering chill from the other group's arrival, even though the effect had mostly faded by the time she arrived, and hesitated at the number of other people immediately present. She hadn't thought there would be so many. She recognised Tango at least, but cleared her through softly as they ushered the others into the named cabin. One hand lifted up in a small, uncertain wave before she approached and followed the others through.

“Ah, hi again... I hope the ship's been doing well since... before...” It took Lyntael a moment to remind herself that she was being confident and doing what she wanted, and several other self-directed mantras, before she actually shook off the feeling of intimidation from the other group as they moved with what she could only presume was a combat discipline. Lyntael herself just slipped into the room quickly behind them, then waved properly and tried a brighter smile once it was clear they'd noticed her.

“Hi! Um, it's nice to meet you all. I'm Lyntael. I... I ah, didn't think they'd send so many people.” Despite the hesitation, her greeting was still bright and friendly, in a soft voice with only a small hint of northern-netopian accenting – not enough to really notice. Even though the greeting was friendly, though, she kept her hands clasped loose behind her back rather than offering any kind of hand shake to the others for the moment. She could feel the multiple sets of eyes on her, and after a moment of this ducked her head slightly, glancing to the one that Drago had identified as Aya with a small wince and a raised eyebrow, as though waiting to see if she passed muster. After a moment she tried, again, to remind herself that she wanted to be more sure, and more confident and she straightened again. She nodded to Suzume's response, but as the other woman approached she lifted a hand cautiously instead of shaking right away, and looked down at her own palm as though thinking about something, or checking. After another second she nodded to herself and reached out to, tentatively, accept the hand shake; if Suzume was one to notice, her skin felt warm to the touch and there was a faint hum of energy in the contact.

“It's alright. I'm... I mean, I know I'm not really very, ah, intimidating. I mean, there's not supposed to be any danger here any more... the pirates are all gone now, aren't they?” Here she looked back across to Tango.

“Right? Sorry, I don't want to delay everything, but, it's just we've not met before now, so... introductions first, you know? Ah, but, anyway... Do we have some time, Tango? I know we probably should have met up before and sorted all this out before coming to you, but... um... this was sort of sudden for me.” She glanced back and forth between the other people in the room, fixing eyes on Drago eventually.

“I should probably say... Um, I know Tango already. I helped he... ah, him out with a problem on the last ship, a while ago. I...” she bit back a more faltering statement then rephrased it. “I, um... I think I did quite well, then!” She shuffled a foot, glancing down briefly despite herself, then up again once she pushed the self-consciousness back again. “But, I guess, quickly, I'm just looking to join the Neo-shogunate because I want to do something that might help spread a little more good in the world, that's all, really. I'm not much good for fighting, and this seemed like something I could do.” She smiled and shrugged softly, then looked back to Tango.

“I'm guessing we'll have a proper chance to talk later... what's the situation here today?” She felt a vague hesitation in asking, but prepared herself anyway – each of the times so far that Tango had had proper conversations with her, they had been conducted amidst some fairly vigorous partner dancing, and she mentally got herself ready to be scooped up again, now that she'd asked more directly.
"Ah, the Shogun soldier! Right, right. Please, follow my lead," Tango greeted DragonierMan, seeming almost foolishly unafraid of DragonierMan and company's appearance, as he held the door open with his mannequin's hand and danced inside with his inhabited body. By the time the group had moved inside, the mannequin at the door had assumed the appearance of the lady Tango, while the male one had been transformed into stark, white plaster, standing with its hands in the air, performing a jaunty spin.

The woman hesitated just long enough to spot Lyntael and let her inside, then shut them all up inside. She crossed her fingers together and leaned forward towards DragonierMan. "My word! The Empire doesn't skimp on resources, does it? I thought you were coming with one rookie, but you've brought a whole field trip!" she chuckled, mistaking DragonierMan's accompanying SPs for a slew of new recruits. If this was the previous mission, she would be right on with that guess.

The hostess danced idly while the group satisfied their curiosity by checking everywhere for listening devices. "Ho ho! Do you want to frisk me as well? But navis have recording devices you can't even see, don't they?" she speculated idly, while raising her hands back and forth in the air and spinning in place. Pausing, she looked toward Lyn, then suddenly grabbed her up in both hands. The hands turned mannequin-white, as did the rest of her, as male Tango grabbed her under the shoulders from behind and resumed spinning her.

"Ho ho! I was playing coy. I would not forget your face, little one," the mustachioed man chortled, swinging her recklessly around the small room, before placing her back down upon her feet. "Ah, you performed a fine service, helping me reclaim the Wanderlist from pirates! Such work you did! Sadly, the problem turned out to be a little... long-term, and the ship, she is finished," Tango sighed, throwing a rose with a solemn frown. The frown turned back into a smile soon enough, showing his white grin. "But that is the past and this is the future! The Wanderlust II is here to connect people and foster love, like I always wanted! Unfortunately, eeeeh, my latest party guests do not seem to be the loving type. But at least they are not pirates, no?"

DragonierMan took a moment to introduce all of his subordinates, who in turn took their time teasing Lyn, only a little less obtrusively than Tango had. Once they were done, female Tango took back over. "Glad to have all of you! I see you folks are armed to the teeth, but little Lyntael here is dressed more for the part. I don't want you all scaring the guests out there, even if they are not the most savory types, okay? No fighting on the Wanderlust Deux!" It seemed as though she had suddenly changed her ship's name. "Let's start the briefing! Everyone make yourselves comortable," she recommended, gesturing towards the over-sized (though under-sized, given the number of people) bed.

"There is not much I can tell you about the BOC that you won't learn better by attending one of their meetings in disguise, hmhm. I will tell you: I was invited to join the BOC by a navi named ChronicleMan. Well-written, to be sure, but he should have known I don't hold any grudge against the Empire for abducting my crewmate, Jack! I understand they had the best of intentions," she laughed, remarkably carefree. "Anyway, I didn't want to let the opportunity- nor their patronage- go to waste, so I told them I had joined and would be happy to host their soiree! No need to worry: I am a double agent!"

At the word "double," Tango's body swapped back over to the mannequin's. "All I ask is that you staff my ship! With so many bodies, this will work even better. Lyn, DragonierMan, you folks can work the party. Your girlfriends can work the kitchen. I will play the part of the charming host," he laughed, twisting his moustache between the light grip of two fingers.

"I'm sure your empire gave you your own directions, so I will simply place mine on top of them. Number one: customer service! Be attentive servants for my customers! Number two: no rough-housing! Number three: have some charm," he continued, spreading his arms and then bringing them in to slowly rub his fingers down the lapel of his smoking jacket. "I make it very clear that this cruise is for folks who like to have their pants charmed right off of them! No need to go that far, but I insist: be your best, most charming self."

DragonierMan may realize he had been dealt another particularly ill-suited mission. He may also reflect that it would be even weirder if Yasu had ended up being a part of it.

"Oh, and note: DragonierMan, these people may be some that would recognize you without a proper disguise," Tango added, shrugging his shoulders. "Is that enough? Whenever you're ready, you'll find them all assembled in the dance hall. Oh, and I will give you another juicy tidbit of information... after the night's festivities are over!" he teased, suddenly switching back to the dancing female persona and grabbing DragonierMan's hands, attempting to lead him in her namesake dance.
"Where I go, they follow," DragonierMan replied to Tango's exclamation, indicating his three fellow cloak-clad warriors. "This should tell you how much the Empire cares about the situation," he added, looking between Tango and Lyntael. "Not only are we here to safeguard our charge while we scout out some of our competition, but we are here to show you, Tango, that the Neo-Shogunate is your friend and will protect you and your property as well." He smiled a toothy smile, trying to put Tango and Lyntael at ease, and possibly failing. "So rest easy friends."

And rest easy they did, as Tango and Lyn apparently began to dance with each other. Aya perked up at the mention of Lyntael dealing with pirates the last time she was around. "Oh? I guess I was wrong about you. Guess you are stronger than you look," she remarked to Lyn. Suzume smiled, glad that they were getting along.

Drago nodded, then spoke directly to Lyn as she looped by. "We definitely need many people, from many different backgrounds, to help us. Just because we are fighters, doesn't mean everyone has to be. In fact, we need more peacemongers than ever before if we are to have a stable Net. Hopefully, you'll fit the bill." Aya scowled slightly at the mention of peace, but she didn't say anything further. Clearly she was more in the 'solve things with violence' camp.

With everyone introduced, the briefing began. Immediately several things came to their attention: 1) Someone named ChronicleMan was affiliated with the Business Owner's Coalition, possibly its organizer or leader. 2) The NS abducted one of Tango's former crew members, Jack, in the previous encounter that Lyn had with Tango. Given Drago's own past of pressganging people into the faction, he couldn't really blame whomever did it. 3) That Tango was working all sides, like a neutral businessperson could, double-agent or no. And 4) they needed to be in disguise and charming during the mission.

At the mention of staffing the ship in disguise, Magistrate opened her eyes and spoke for the first time. Like the rest of her companions, she had a West-Netopian accent. Unlike the rest of her companions, it was clear and business-like. It didn't have the same light-growl that the other three had. "I assume that you will provide us with the proper outfits?" she questioned slowly and clearly, with poised enunciation. "We do not normally wear disguises. And I most certainly do not 'charm the pants off others'."

Suzu and Aya snorted out a chuckle at those last words from Magi. "You can say that again," Aya muttered as the twins tried to settle down after that deathly hilarious joke. Magi glared daggers at the two of them. Drago, meanwhile, was swept up in dancing with Tango.

The reassurance still managed to find its mark with Lyntael; after all, she'd been reassured of his good character by others at lest once already. When Tango approached to take her hands, Lyntael had relaxed a little more at the thought it was the female Tango that would be conducting her usual conversational accompaniment. When she transitioned almost right away, a small, startled gasped made its way free from the girl even as the other Tango absconded with her and set the room spinning. The larger male's man-handling was less comfortable for her, and less welcome, but she pushed her initial reactions down and did her best to match his style while he spoke. It took her an extra moment to actually get her feet sync up with him, and by the time she had he was more or less done. She came to a halt with a little bit of extra spin and steadied herself just as her eyes met with Aya's. Despite her best intention, she blushed and ducked her head at the compliment.

“Oh... It- it wasn't really... I just spoke to people. I know they were pirates, but really they, ah, they were really quite...” Nice wasn't exactly the right word. “Um, reasonable? Cutlass was nice to me, and... Jolly seemed friendly. Some of the others were... well, not so... but I just got them all to leave without anyone fighting, that was all.” She knew that probably wasn't the right answer to satisfy Aya, but she cast a look across to Suzume in between, since she seemed less fixated on strength or power.

Lyntael found herself a little bit relieved that Tango didn't intend to dance with all of them through the rest of the briefing this time and she quickly crossed the couple of steps to take a seat on the edge of the bed, taking an extra moment to smooth her skirt underneath herself before sinking quite a lot further into the plush bedding than she had been expecting. This bed was something you could get lost in entirely. Her bare feet rubbed back and forth on the carpet absently as she tried to focus on what Tango had to tell them.

It didn't get very far before Lyntael lifted her head and looked up at Tango directly, surprise replacing her thoughtful contemplation. The empire were the ones who had taken Jack from the ship? That didn't sound right... She had opened her mouth to question the statement, but Tango was already rushing on, flipping from one body to the other as they continued. Lyntael's eyes followed and her question remained unspoken for the moment. The rest sounded a lot like what Tango had wanted from her the first time, and she half expected that they'd end up doing about as little actual service waiting as she had managed with the pirates. As Tango stressed the charm requirements of their prospective staff, however, she felt herself hesitating again and raised a hand tentatively.

“Ah... when you say, you make it clear the cruise is for people like that... we're still safe, right? The guests aren't going to be, well...” she struggled for a good way to phrase the concern, fidgeting for a moment. “Hands-on, with the staff, right?” Another question took priority in her mind almost immediately. “Um... Tango... Do you have any other staff yet, or is it, well, just us still? Wait...” Her thoughts skipped a beat again. “I thought we were meant to be posing as guests here today, not as staff...” her eyebrows drew down in momentary confusion. It was beginning to feel as though, if she ever wanted to enjoy a nice cruise as a guest shed have to book it herself, rather than hoping for a cushy mission. That was probably fair, she supposed.

She still wanted to ask tango about Jack, but by the time most of the briefing was finished, her female persona had already started trying to engage Drago in another turn around the bedroom. Despite herself, Lyntael grinned at the sight. She looked to Magistrate while the pair were distracted, and leaned across to whisper to her in a voice that swiftly grew more enthused as it went on.

“If you or Tango have any blanks, I can probably design something that would work quickly. I like making clothes, and cruise fashion is fun and exciting! What colours do you each like? Oh and, does Drago normally wear things that cover his face, or would we need to obscure the face as part of the outfit, do you think?” Without really realising that she'd gotten distracted, Lyntael found herself already putting together the threads of a few different ideas for costumes that would fit them each in nicely as cruise-goers.