Boss Oni's Teksqp Meeting/Bath House

The bathhouse of Boss Oni stood loosely guarded by purple-armored HeelNavis at each of its four entrances, which were iron gates built into extravagantly large arches. The compound itself seemed more accurately described as a miniature fortress than a bathhouse, built entirely out of gold (possibly gold-colored building material). Steam drifted from every corner, due to the many baths which were constantly kept running inside. Not only did the Boss enjoy a good bath, but he also heard that an excess of steam could help one lose weight, and thus devoted his expenses grossly towards the purpose of creating a bathhouse full of steam.

Many Teksqp rookies scurried about, hurrying for an audience with Boss Oni. In the past, visitors had trickled in, but the recent GNA kiosk sponsorship for the Mafia had given Oni a chance to step into a position he'd always wanted to be in: leader of men. So many fresh mafioso coming to speak with him and be guided down the path of labor in his service was more than he could have dreamed for.

That said, the guards still held the gates and it seemed as though they were only letting in those who had given advance notice. Cheshire would have to theorize a way inside, as the only possible openings seemed to be one of those gates or the fogged glass ceilings doming the top of the building. There were also possibilities for her to use her wits; after all, ChronicleMan's associate had snuck in earlier, and they hardly sounded like the brightest navi.

Cheshire would initially appear behind the building; apparently that was where his former associate had set up the link to head in. The gates were all on the other sides and no guards were standing out back. She could hear some activity coming from around the east side gate, but beyond that, it seemed like most of the activity was on the inside.


The building's surroundings were dark and cool, a sharp contrast to the gaudy structure belching steam at their center. A ways away from the building's rear, a clump of grass flattened itself seemingly at random -- it wasn't until Cheshire's figure faded into view that the cause became clear. Her lips curled into a sneer as she viewed the building before her. The place had definitely not been designed to attract customers. Such a flashy structure seemed to fit what she'd seen of the boss so far, though. She might have quipped to Iris, but her partner was always dead silent at times like this unless there was something that absolutely needed to be said. While she doubted there was any sophisticated security here, the two were wary of broadcasting anything that might be picked up on by the wrong people.

So she made her way silent towards the back wall, the black silk that made up her clothes slithering further over her skin. The resultant bodysuit covered her completely, save for around her eyes and a tiny patch of skin at the base of her tail. It wasn't too unlike the factory-standard navi wear, save for the way the suit split at the toe like tabi -- the girl was still a traditionalist in some ways.

The roof appeared unguarded, which suited Cheshire just fine. As accustomed to rooftops as she was, it was an easy leap. Getting inside, on the other hand... She reviewed the map (criminally bare though it was) as she approached the smaller eastern window, pausing as faint voices caught her ear. Finding out just what the mapmaker had meant by "Banquet" could wait for later; whatever those voices were, they could mean a quick way in. she crouched just out of sight at the roof's edge, scanning the ground for the voices' owners.
Cheshire nearly became a cat on a hot glass roof; it was amazing just how warm the surface was. Thankfully, it wasn't scalding, but the slippery condensation made it much less comfortable than one would imagine and also fogged up the window's interior, making it impossible to get a preview without creating an opening. On the other hand, that would lower the chances of somebody glancing up and seeing te Cheshire Cat grinning down at them when she didn't want to be found quite yet.

The commotion at the east gate appeared to be two of the purple heelnavi guards inspecting two new Teksqp recruits (possibly). One was a girl with black, shabby looking hair, but a nice body, dressed in a white and black striped convict's suit. The other was a big guy with heavy clothing spattered in paint of all colors. In one of his thick hands, a paint roller was dripping onto the pavement.

"The rules!" one heelnavi spoke up, raising one finger. "NetMafia girls, come on in! NetMafia recruits, come on in! Interested courtesans, come on in! Anybody else, appointments only!"

The girl in the jail suit brushed bangs from her eyes with the back of one hand, then frowned at them. "Do you really think I came here to make woopie with the fat man? I'm bringing him a new recruit," she sighed, then placed both hands on her hips.

"You watch your words!" the other heel navi hissed.

"Why? You saying he isn't fat?" she inquired dubiously.

"Uh... no. He's the fattest guy I've ever seen!"

"Are you saying that you can imagine making woopie with him?"

"God, no!"

"Then I don't see why you care what I say!" she guffawed, leaning forward to flick the navi's helmet with her thumb and forefinger. She then strolled on past, dragging her recruit behind her. The two heelnavis grumbled, then continued standing watch.
Cheshire smiled behind the silk mask, happy as always to watch from the rooftops. It looked as if strolling in through the gates was out, if it had ever been part of the plan. She doubted anyone would remember her brief fling with the NetMafia, and being led straight to the owner of the bathhouse felt like something to be avoided -- the fewer people who saw her before she made off with the helmet, the better.

She made her way over to the far-west window with low, crouching strides, reflecting on her good luck as she went. While it was nothing to rely on, meeting with a new recruit at least meant that Boss Oni would be busy for the next little while. Plenty of time to dodge whatever guards there were and find the helmet. And if the helmet happened to be on Boss Oni's head, well... she'd take things one step at a time.

The glass dome was just as opaque from fog as the others had led the thief to suspect, leaving no clue as to what the question-mark on the map might actually be. There was a simple solution to that, though; she pressed the palm of her left hand against the glass, the black silk parting and spreading over the surface. There was the hiss of water under pressure, and then nothing -- the tendrils slipped past the surface of the dome and lifted a large circular portion free of its mounting. Shielding her eyes from the billowing steam, Cheshire peered through to see what lay within the room. Curiosity killed the cat, but you had to know how to take risks in this line of work.


  • AquaSword - Cut an opening in Window 1.
The glass cut easily enough and emitted a thick cloud of steam as soon as it did. The glass remained fogged, but by sticking her face through the mist (thematically creating a floating Cheshire head at the room's roof), she could see. As it turned out it was a pretty important room to be aware of, although there were no helmets in sight. Heelnavis dressed a chefs were running around preparing lavish dishes, but they weren't particularly noteworthy next to the room's decorations: tons of female bodies, articulate except for the lack of faces, standing around the room like suits of armor. A big gray navi with a welding mask and apron was busy unloading a few more off of a palette, carried on a giant hand trolley. Another heelnavi was busy working some kind of terminal in front of what looked like a phone booth... except that sparks were flying from its opening. Four large cages sat at the back of the room.

Quite a lot to take in, but perhaps a hard room to enter from. The cages would make getting down easy enough, but the navis there were all pretty uniform and dangerous looking. On the upside, it was comparatively dark. Even this room was still thickly clouded by steam, however. The lack of light and busy atmosphere, combined with the steam, made it seem like horrible working conditions.
A torrent of warm, steamy air blew past Cheshire's face as she peered through the opening she had created, carrying with it the scent of fine cooking. Not a patch on Tonglen's facilities, particularly on busy evenings, but enticing all the same. A sudden temptation came over her: there were enough heelnavis around that surely they wouldn't miss one, right? She could just grab one of them through the ceiling and have a little snack before moving on, couldn't she...?

She shook her head and tried to push the hunger back into some other corner of her mind. Making a scene in the personal stronghold of a high-ranking Mafia navi probably wouldn't end well for her... and besides. With luck, the payoff for this little job would end that problem once and for all. She just had to stay focused until then.

Her eyes swept over what she could see of the kitchen through the shadows and the steam. The place was crowded, for one thing; all the navis running around at work would make a quick dash tot he hall nearly impossible. It was dark, though, and shrouded in steam besides. If she made her way through the shadows at the edges of the room, then just maybe she could make her way past the kitchen staff and begin her search in earnest.

She gingerly set the glass off to the side, hoping as she withdrew her tendrils that none of them would look up at the dome for a little while at least. She'd only made a small hole, but all the same the thought that someone was peeping could rouse suspicion. As for herself... The hole was too small to squeeze through, but now that she had some idea of the room's layout she had other methods. She crouched some distance away, not bothering to recreate her left hand as the bandages spread out over the surface of the roof. Before long the tiles were black with crawling strands -- and suddenly, Cheshire began to sink beneath the roiling surface and descend into the kitchen through the roof, leaving not a mark as she passed.

She landed without a sound in a shadowed corner near a large cage, surrounded by odd statues. They were thickly grouped, but there was enough room for her to slowly sidle between them in a low crouch, putting out one hand to steady herself -- and finding a handful of curved stone breast beneath her fingers. She pulled away, her cheeks reddening beneath the mask. She couldn't guess at the function of these statues, but she was thankful for the weird camouflage they lent her. Watching warily, she edged toward the sparking phonebooth, peering tentatively past a sculpted ass to try and get a better measure of its function. She doubted it would lead her to the helmet, but curiosity had always been one of her worst vices.
Luckily for Cheshire, none of the navis inhabiting the room were guards, but rather, busy workers. One exception to that classification was the big, gray guy waiting with the palette. Having nothing to preocccupy his time, he turned his head slowly, examining the statues with no signs of emotion. He couldn't spot her anyways with that welding mask on, though; that had to screw with a guy's peripheral vision.

The guy entered the world of the working as the heel navi snapped to him: "next one's ready, move it! Move your fat ass or that fatass is going to have your fat ass!" A little excessive, perhaps, but the heavy navi did get up and moving, heading towards the chamber as it slowly unfolded into two halves...

The apron wearing worker leaned in and fished out a statue, much like the others Cheshire had seen. He lifted the statue with relatively low effort and plopped it onto the palette. "Good, they're all ready! Now get em on the cart and we'll move em out!" the heel navi barked, sounding a little surprised that his compatriot had moved that one so easily.

Cheshire would need to move to avoid being detected when they looped around to her. Three hiding places presented themselves but none was very appealing: she could try to close up the machine they were just using and hide in there, try to open one of the unused cages and hide in there (on investigation, it looked like all but the fourth were locked), or she could head for the kitchen (which was painfully well lit). There might be other options available as well, but there wasn't much time to think. The gray worker was loading the pallet up at an amazing speed.
Cheshire blinked, slipping back along the far wall as the masked figure began to collect the statues onto his palette. The hulk was moving with far greater speed than she had imagined someone of his bulk could lay claim to; something that came with a lifetime of rote labour, she supposed. No cause for surprise, she supposed; it was her years of running and hiding that had made her so lethally effective at it, after all.

As happy as she was to reflect on her own skill, though, her options for staying hidden were being rapidly diminished. Staying concealed in the cluster of statues was right out, naturally; the longer she stayed there, the more likely it was that the next figure the large navi hoisted onto his cart would be a living one. The kitchen was right over there, of course, but running around in bright light with little idea where she was (and covered head to toe in black, no less -- she'd need to figure out some other means of camouflage against the lighter walls and floors) was a move for a panicked amateur. Her eyes drifted toward the cages sitting at the other side of the room only briefly. Right. And save them the trouble of locking me up themselves.

Then there was only one option. She liked it that way; no regrets, right?

Casting a quick glance around to make sure the navi were still engrossed in their boring routine, she made for the open machine with preternatural speed, her feet scarcely touching the ground. It took every bit of her reflex and balance not to slam into the inner wall as she entered, her legs spread and her arms tensed against the smooth metal. She didn't so much as breathe as she turned, taking careful grip of the sliding phone-booth door and easing it silently shut. Her palms remained fixed to the paneled metal; though she could no longer be seen, being unable to see anything outside kept her uneasy. This way, at least she'd be prepared if some large grey hand suddenly wrenched the door open.
Cheshire's ploy worked surprisingly well; the guys finished their loading and began to roll the trolley. The only awful part was how deathly slow they moved, requiring more patience than anyone could consider fun. Just it seemed like it might be safe to come out, some buzz can't from the kitchen.

"Is he really going to eat all of this? It's no wonder he's that big..." one chef cursed, apparently frustrated with his role in the kitchen. "How many cakes did we just put on that cart?"

"Now see, this is why I'm the head chef and you're not," another answered. "You gotta follow the philosophy: eat all you want and then sweat it off in the bath."

"Dude, that's sick! And nuts! How is he not killing himself?!"

"Don't ask me. He says all his girls love him unconditionally and cause'a that he doesn't need to worry about his weight. Course, all his girls are..."

"Yeah... How'd a guy like him get where he is?"

"Teksqp, man. The less sense you make the more promotable you look, I guess."

"That why you're head chef?"


As the voices died down, Cheshire could see through a small opening between door and frame that the room was now clear, apart from her, some statues, and whoever was in those cages. Dome chef had also left a few dozen ruined pastries and a cap and apron, which may have been thrown onto the floor in frustration. She had a clear shot toward either the west or main hall doors. Most of the guys had disappeared through the north hall door; said door, unlike others here, was windowed and swung on intentionally free hinges to allow carts and chefs (and the occassional grunt carrying a statue) out.
Cheshire stood frozen in the booth, her ear pressed against the cool metal door. Over the dull pounding o f the blood in her ears, she heard the gurney and the footsteps of its entourage fade away. She slid the door open just a crack and peered out, waiting for some sign of movement to betray itself before stepping back out into the room. She smiled; There, cast aside by one of the chefs, was the solution to her camouflage problem. The black silk wrap that covered her body gradually drew back as she picked up the article and examined it, leaving only a gentle criss-cross of ribbons coiling behind her back and between her hips. The result was anything but decent, and she could feel her skin pebbling in the cold despite the steam. She hurriedly pulled the apron on and tied it at her waist; its owner had thankfully been wide enough that it came together in the back, but...

She glanced at her arm, black silk standing out plainly against white clooth and white steam. There was still something to be done about that, wasn't there? There was a faint sound of tearing cloth, and shortly Cheshire was tying strips of white cloth over the silk arm, the "skirt" of the impromptu camouflage much shorter than it had been before.

Her silent footfalls brought her near to the exit leading into the west hall, but some movement out of the shadows caught her eye and she spun toward the cages, hurriedly slipping out of sight and proceeding closer between the few remaining statues. A smile crossed her lips as she regarded the imprisoned figures, casually striding out of cover and looking the captives over. "That's quite a mess you're in..."
Cheshire established a bit of handy, questionably useful camouflage that would hopefully allow her to blend into the surroundings a little bit better. After that, she made her way over to the cages and began to rattle the cages, almost literally, by provoking their inhabitants. Taking a peek inside, Cheshire found that each of the cages contained different female navis, each a little different; one was dressed in NP officer's clothing, another had a fairly standard costume like a normal navi, and the last wore a fancy black cocktail dress. None of them looked to be physically harmed, starving, or anything like that, but they did all wear faces like they'd had their souls sucked right out of them. The one in the cocktail dress let out an occasional sound that could only be called a weak moan, but it wasn't possible to make out any of her words.

Another distinct issue was the giant mark tattooed onto each of them, as if someone had just spray painted it on. The mark was a luminescent purple, laughing demon face with fanged teeth... it seemed almost like a hologram, marking their bodies straight through their clothing. One could easily surmise this had something to do with what Oni used them for and/or how they got into this pitiful state.

The evening had definitely taken a turn for the darker; Cheshire would have to avoid ending up like these unfortunate captives. She could let them out by unlocking the gates, but judging by how they'd failed to respond to her, it might be futile. Unless the cages themselves were the source of their malaise, letting the girls out wasn't going to do them any good.