Webb's Homepage

The homepage of WNS reporter Webb, simply known as Webs for the purpose of her news report, is a small domain with a recording studio atmosphere. The inside is immediately recognizable: dark, black wallpaper with crisscrossing, neon-green lines. The furniture is a matching pattern, only white with black lines instead; it's very plush, including two armchairs for the hosts and two couches for the guests, along with a central table. Two monitors at the back show the broadcast as it plays out, as well as a teleprompter in the form of scrolling, mid-air words; these off-screen elements together help the interviewees, while the hosts are confident enough in their journalistic skills to go without them... Or that's the rumor, at least. Nothing's to say they're not getting lines fed directly into their navi earpieces. A glass window up above is where Webb looks out upon the show, when she's not directly participating.

This time around, no reporters are immediately visible... On the other hand, three interviewees are. The navis are the First General, Yasu, in her traditional Neo-Shogun uniform, the Neo-Shogun sponsor, Hime, in her white mess of wraps and nonsense, and the shogun himself, in his full red armor. The dimly lit studio sports spotlights, shining lights down on each of the three... the light glistens off of the shogun's well maintained armor and Yasu's exposed flesh, but Hime appears appropriately hidden in the shadows, despite her lighting.

When DragonierMan arrived, the stern, stormy eyes of Yasu and her frown, lacking empathy for all of his gender and perhaps him especially, would paint a picture of a much more ordinary Yasu than the one he'd temporarily encountered inside her dreams. Together, the three sat entirely silent: Yasu, folding her arms sternly... Hime, sitting with her legs crossed beneath her as if in meditation... Neo-ShogunMan, crossing both forearms, as if copying Yasu. The three figures eagerly awaited DragonierMan's arrival, although none of them looked like they had a warm welcome in store for him.
[NS_Uniform.GMO Activated]

DragonierMan and the twins, Aya and Suzume, appeared in a triangle of light. Drago was wearing his Neo-Shogun uniform, and showing a lot of skin. It just made sense to him to come in uniform for a NS mission. The twins wore their usual getup, also showing a lot of skin. Although this time they included in their ensemble the standard NS soldier headband.

"I wonder what we could have done to ruin the Neo-Shogun's image? If anything we have been saving it from the blunders of the others." Suzume remarked a little too loud. Aya elbowed her sister in the stomach and pointed to the group sitting on the couch. "Later. They are right there."

"Eeep!" Suzume startled. Drago moved forward to bow to Neo-ShogunMan. The other two girls followed his lead. Suzume's cheeks were blushing a deep red in embarrassment as she bowed. "My Lord. I have been summoned and I am here," the dragon stated.
Unfortunately for Suzume, there was little ambient noise to block the others from hearing her. DragonierMan got a brief moment of relief from Yasu's icey stare as her head tilted towards Suzume. "This is true: the two of you have done nothing but help. I begin to wonder why I ever scouted your reptilian master, however," she retort in a low growl.

"What we need right now isn't name calling," Hime scolded the first general, closing her eyes with strained patience. "Besides, you know that DragonierMan and his girls have done more for us than any other recent recruit. You and they are both to be thanked for all of those accomplishments."

"I may be out of line, but I honestly cannot comprehend the imbecilic impulses of this subordinate's brain, which must certainly sport size and capacity befitting the ancient dinosaurs he resembles," Yasu continued. A far, far cry from the Yasu that had met him inside her dreams, the one that had seemed familiar, jovial, and maybe even a little wanting. "I will get right to the crux of the issue," she continued, bringing up a view screen in the air and navigating it with one hand. "DragonierMan: did it ever occur to you there might be a reason that you and even the generals you've frequently associated with, as well as the media at large and nearly everyone you have met in your entire miserable existence, have been kept in complete ignorance of the details of our leader's identity? Or, specifically, that a woman who wears armor fashioned in a man's image and even adopts the name of 'Man,' might have some reason for hiding her gender?!"

Hime held Yasu back as the first general had thrust her shoulders forward, like she was about to start into a running tackle from her seat. While the first general struggled, she passed the mid-air screen over to Drago and company. Upon it was an advertisement:

"Tonight, on Invisible Ink: an informant steps forward to provide never-before-heard details on the identity of terrorist-turned-celebrity, Neo-ShogunMan! A world premiere exclusive interview, brought to you with the official Inky Signature of credibility. The renowned dream therapist, Wake, joins our own Inky tonight to bring you a story you aren't going to want to miss."

"As if we needed any more proof that you and/or that witch are going to doom our organization... you've leaked secrets that I haven't even told to the generals that work next to me! If I had even an inkling that you would be intruding on my innermost thoughts, I would have never accepted that vulgar therapy session Dee offered," Yasu nearly spat; seeing the ad again had only rekindled her anger.

"All is not lost," Hime butted in, struggling now to keep Yasu off of DragonierMan. "I have a plan to solve our issues... but I will need the help of you and your SPs. The plan consists of two parts... The first, your participation in tonight's edition of Web. Our goal here is simple: we play the roles of fools. This show is widely known to be at odds with Invisible Ink... they report sensationalist stories with little credibility while Invisible Ink reports the truth. However... in the past, this show has been used to deliberately discredit the validity of Invisible Ink stories by running concurrent info. Inky well not report in anything she does not believe to be true: that's her creed. If she sees the same story running here, she'll second guess her story and may pull it from the air, minimizing any damage we would take. The gender of the shogun will be left in the realm of speculation. Therefore, our goal here is to act as though we're loose lipped and silly, willing to let anyone know that the shogun is secretly a woman. We've even prepared a new recruit, who well keep as silent as possible tonight inside that armor. No one will recognize her if the helmet comes off and her voice will sound like the shogun's while she is helmeted."

"And that's another person we've had to reveal this secret to," Yasu grumbled. "I can't play the role of the shotgun myself... although I hardly see why."

"... I feel like your attitude might be a bit of a give away as to who is inside the suit. Anyway! The second part of our plan: a fail safe, in case this doesn't work. Aya and Suzume will head to the Invisible Ink homepage and try to intercept Wake before the show starts. Once accomplished, the two will use whatever means necessary to uncover something we can blackmail him with... the most obvious, I think, is his own 'secret identity.' I gather there must be a reason he bags his head that way. Any blackmail material will do. One you acquire it, present the offer directly to Wake: retract the story, or we'll put that information out."

"It's regrettable that we must use underhanded tactics like this, but... it's preferable to our other option-of keeping Wake silent. You must know that if all else fails, we will have to resort to some truly heavy-handed methods to deal with Wake, and possibly even Inky, before that expose goes live," Yasu finished, crossing her arms again. Her serious, contemplative frown showed that she was probably the one who would end up doing what had to be done, if it came down to it... and that she had probably done it before, back in the old, violent days of the shogunate.

"Will you accept? The Shogun is willing to reward you with chips, bugfrags, and faction points as well, if you can pull this off and keep the secret mostly secret," Hime asked. Her cloak of white cloth was open just enough to reveal her white hair, pitch black flesh, gleaming yellow eyes, and fangs. Quite an eccentric looking sponsor for the NS, she was, but seemingly highly trusted.
Aya frowned at the news. "I guess Wake didn't sign a confidentiality agreement with you. Really your own fault for letting them see your innermost secrets through your dreams without some sort of contingency." Suzume's eyes went wide and she looked at her twin in shock. "Aya!" she began, but was cut off by Aya's hand in her face. "Don't go defending them. They got what was coming to them. I am just stating the truth." Suzume's eyes returned to normal. "I know. But you don't have to be so blunt about it."

Meanwhile DragoierMan was absorbing all this information. "So the plan is to state the truth like it is a lie. I guess I have no objections." He then cracked his knuckles. "Next time I see Wake though, I'm going to break both his spindly legs." Drago then turned to his girls. "In the meantime though, you two have work to do. And if you can't find enough blackmail material, make sure he doesn't go anywhere for a while." Aya produced a length of rope and Drago nodded. After the girls got the coordinates to Invisible Ink's homepage, they disappeared.

Drago then turned to the three remaining. "So, what do you want me to do first?"
Yasu stood up, in spite of Hime's attempts to hold her, but was still restrained by the benefactor's arms around her waist. "You're right, we should have had some sort of contingency! Of course, it would have helped if Dee had told us beforehand that the dream therapy process involved any you going into our heads. But then again, when I questioned her about it, she said that the dream therapist, Fancy, held all of the sessions behind closed doors. She and her husband wouldn't have known a thing, unless someone came out of said doors and spoke the secrets directly in front of her. So how do you suppose she learned, hm? Tell me if I'm on the right track: whoever it is that intruded upon my dream came out of the door and, amazed by this exciting, but highly sensitive, secret, began immediately telling everyone in the room about it?" she questioned, sounding like she was going to break into laughing at the stupidity of the situation. Her face was turning red, as she'd apparently realized other implications of having her innermost thoughts accessed... that feeling of intrusion into her fantasies could only be worsening the betrayal she already perceived as having taken place. "Both of you girls, and your master, AND Dee... are lucky that I have agreed to this method of atonement and have not immediately moved for your termination, or stricter punishment!" she spat at Suzume and Aya.

"First General! Please leave us alone for a moment and calm yourself, while I work out the details of this mission and get everyone to their proper places," Hime requested... but it sounded more like she was demanding it, judging by her authoritative tone. Yasu grit her teeth and gave a stiff bow, then turned and walked out of the door that presumably led to the rest of the studio. Hime herself now bowed, the shine of her yellow eyes hidden behind the lowered lip of her hood. "I beg that you forgive Yasu. Keeping the secret of our shogun's gender has been one of the most difficult goals of her service under the shogun. She has gone to great lengths to protect it, only for this threat to arise while she was asleep, powerless to do anything to prevent its exposure. This was simply a warning to us all, that we cannot allow outsiders in without rigorous testing and inspection, no matter their professional reputation. Dee will reflect upon this mistake as well. But for Yasu, this failure has affected her very personally... although she may appear only to levy blame upon you and others, she's really hardest on herself."

The shogun, sitting nearby, paused to remove her helmet, revealing the head of a woman with vibrantly red-pink hair, curling slightly at the neck into an axe-blade shape, but otherwise carefully combed in a straight, side-parted style. Her face was made-up with purple eyeshadow and lipstick. She had angular features, giving her a prideful look that contrasted with her exasperated expression. "I'm wondering if this was really the best entry point for me into the Shogun's service... Perhaps it would be best if I were to sit this one out-"

"No," Hime responded, plopping the helmet back over the unknown woman's head. "We're all in this together. Now, I will give Aya and Suzume the coordinates to find the Invisible Ink homepage. DragonierMan, you should go out to the hall and fetch Yasu inside. And please, from here on, let's all mind our words... We need to appear to be loose and joking, so that our secret becomes a tabloid header and nothing further, the realm of urban myth. This means that any hard feelings that you or Yasu might be holding towards each other need to be placed aside for now. We need the tone of this interview to be as far from seriousness or internal strife as possible." The NS benefactor turned her attention to Aya and Suzume, giving them the coordinates along with a last message: "do what it takes."

((Another homepage opening soon))
The twins nodded grimly. Assassination protocols were one of the few select programs they were given beyond the very basic SP package. And they were eager to test their capabilities. In this case, they were given the "all clear" to do whatever it takes. Aya, in particular, seemed to light up at the prospect. Then they were gone.

[Aya and Suzume Transfer to Inky's Homepage.]

Meanwhile DragonierMan bowed back to Hime. "The fault was mine. Not only did Wave and Fancy hear it, but a busting partner of mine did as well. Though I will vouch for him. He will keep it secret if you tell him too. I was not aware that we were keeping the fact of Neo-ShogunMan's gender a secret."

He then looked up at the door that Yasu went through. "I will do what I can. Though later you will need to tell me everything. Especially who you really are, and why Yasu respects you enough to follow you." He ended with a squaring of his shoulders and then walked through the doorway to the rest of the studio.

When he reached Yasu he uncharacteristically dropped to his knees and bowed his head to the floor. "I was at fault," he began. "Had I known what was to pass, I would not have participated. I would have deleted those two right then and there. I will accept your punishment after our mission here is done," he stated, head still lowered. "In the meantime, we must put on this farce. So bear with it for now."

Drago waited for Yasu to berate him and then go back into the studio. He took whatever abuse Yasu had for him, then followed her back in, just as silently.
Hime waved away DragonierMan's apology on behalf of Sparks. "It is no matter. If a general or subordinate will vouch for the character of an individual, then it is the Shogun's policy to accept that individual as a friend of the shogunate," she explained, reminding him of the referral program that the NS gained most of its recruits through, seeing as they didn't share floor space at the GNA with the NetPolice or Mafia. "As for me, I believe that my story is not as complex as you may imagine. Like Dee, I have a lot of money to throw around and choose to do so in service of the shogun, although I have little in the way of fighting prowess to contribute. If Yasu acts indebted to me, it is only due to her loyalty to the empire, since she may perceive me as a necessary part of our well-being." Hime didn't seem to see fit an explanation of her bizarre clothing, not the few monster-like features he had noticed beneath her hood.

When DragonierMan stepped back outside, he found Yasu leaning against the corner of the hallway, a ways away from the door. She accepted his apology with a slow nod, betraying little emotion. "Then it appears our thoughts are aligned. We will do what needs to be done in the present and spare no further lamentation for those who should have been slain in the past," she agreed. "I feel like this farce may be enough punishment for the both of us, however, so let's both simply commit to get through it before pledging ourselves to anything further." She sighed, preparing to head back inside.

"What's all this I hear about punishment and pledging yourselves?" a nosy woman's voice whispered from behind the nearest wall around the corner. Out from the plain, white, plaster-like surface, a few webs shot and connected to the opposite wall. The webs continued to shoot across until they were joined by black ones, coming from beneath the spots formerly hidden by white string. Once the white and black were fully stretched into a net across the hallway, they detached on both sides, swirling into a cylinder mid-air, like a carpet rolling itself up. The shape revolved itself like a pottery wheel, arranging white thread into the tightly coiled shape of a woman's figure. The black, at the same time, stretched over her to form clothing, ending in gloves, boots, and something a net that criss-crossed her body. She brought out two more articles of clothing: a black, leather coat with a neon green net pattern and shades with a matching pattern. Although she had the shape of a woman, she seemed to have none of the features, excluding an eerie hole in the face where webs bent to act as a mouth. The shades made it look as though she had eyes, although he'd seen she had none.

"Quite a trick. It must be useful for eavesdropping," Yasu murmured, already failing her goal of being cheery.

"Yes! Unfortunately, it only works in stark, white hallways," the woman, presumably Webb, chuckled. "You two are the real deal, huh? You definitely have that 'net-based imperial militia' look down."

"So you're the host? Are you going to join us in the studio?" Yasu inquired. She shot DragonierMan a glance, which seemed to indicate that the time for talking about secret Shogun business was up. The last thing they needed was for Webb to think she was getting the truth.

"No, no. Well... maybe later," Webb sighed, sounding a bit like a flighty old woman. "My protege, Chew, will be in there with you. I spend most of my time up in the box, handling technical stuff."

"Ah. I see," the first general responded, clearly having little interest in the interview or The Web in general.

"She's probably about ready to start! Head back inside and get seated," she encouraged the two... then grotesquely stretched her entire form to the nearest wall and began to slink across it in spindly streams. If this kind of visual presentation was normal for her, it could easily be that the purpose of her protege was to act as eye-candy... or at least something a little less disturbing than that.

"Of course," Yasu agreed, turning slowly. Her expression was hard to read due to the eyepatch, which was currently all DragonierMan could see. She stepped back inside the studio. In their eagerness to discredit one shady individual, they may have become involved with yet another...
Though Hime still didn't really explain all that much about herself that couldn't already be construed, DragonierMan didn't waste any more time with questions before stepping into the hallway. There he found Yasu leaning against the wall. She seemed to accept his apology and they agreed to put aside their argument for now and focus on the task at hand. They would deal with the other stuff later.

Then they met Webb, who put on a little show coming out of the walls. Drago just watched silently as Yasu and Webb bantered back and forth a bit. Then Webb left and Yasu returned to the studio room they had left from. Drago followed.
The silent pair returned to the main room, where they again found Hime and the fake Shogun. Whoever the hosting protege was, they had yet to make their appearance. Hime nodded to DragonierMan, who had done a good job in rounding up Yasu and making the first general calm herself. The entire group remained fairly silent, which was an awkward state to be in given the task at hand.

Finally, a light came on nearby a previously hidden "now transmitting", which let of a harsh, white glow amidst the black of the walls and shadows. Webb stepped slowly into view, appearing in the elevated window looking down on the studio. Her arms were crossed behind her back... he either couldn't discern her expression or, possibly, she might not have one, given the nature of her face.

The aforementioned Chew now arrived through the same door that Yasu and DragonierMan had just come from, implying she must not have been far away. The navi was a short girl for her perceived age, dressed in an outfit consisting primarily of a distinct silver garment, something like an untucked shirt, but composed of a silver material that looked a bit like aluminum foil, including the way it creased interactively at various points on the surface. A long zig-zagging opening ran down the center, barely revealing a hot pink navi suit beneath, designed in a swimsuit style. Her gloves and boots were similarly fashioned. She also wore a red, plaid skirt, something like a Catholic school girl might wear. A chain hung from her neck with a silver plate hanging at her breast: it looked to be made in the image of a set of teeth.

Her hair was sandy blond and looked only lazily combed. Her eyes, a tepid purple color bordering on gray, seemed lazy, showing little of the animation or perkiness one might expect from a talk show host. Her mouth, even, furthered this impression, due to the fact that she was currently chewing gum, again with lazy slowness. Her figure was not bad, although little beyond that of an adolescent just coming off their major budding. She was certainly out-gunned by Yasu, who sat a short distance away.

Despite her lazy appearance, the hostess managed to get the motor of conversation running, pressing the pedal down to the metal. "Hey. Wow, I've heard a lot about you guys. I think you've only got like one guy in your organization, right? Or like, two? But one of them is here, so that's lucky. But what's really lucky is that we have, tonight, right here on The Web, the Shogun himself. Few have ever had an opportunity to m meet with the Shogun and I'm, like, one of the first ones. Yay for me," she began, speaking loudly despite the lack of a microphone in the room. It seemed like the room had been modified to amplify the sound of their voices, now that the show had started. "I've got, like... star shock, you know? And a bunch of questions to ask. But first I need intros from all of you. We'll go right to left... Shogun?"

She held out her hand to the Shogun, who was a little slow on the uptake, given that she was not used to being referred to as a Shogun. "My name is Guillo-" she started, then seemed to bite her tongue. "I mean, Ack-" She stopped again, shivering in frustration. "Neo-ShogunMan. I am the leader of the organization," she finally managed, speaking in the heavy, male voice of the Shogun.

"... Dude, no wonder you don't normally do interviews. But that's okay. I don't judge. Okay, that's a lie. Anyway, sounds like you have a secret identity. Any chance we'll get to learn it tonight?" she inquired.

"Well, let's just say it will be an interesting night for all of your viewers," the Shogun answered noncommittally. "I'll leave it at that."

"I'm stoked," Chew responded, nodding rhythmically in a way that made her look more excited, but also potentially stoned. "You're next, Mummy."

"My name is Hime. I'm a sponsor to the Neo-Shogun Empire. It's a pleasure to be here," Hime answered.

"A sponsor, huh? I wonder what makes you wanna sponsor them? Well, I'll save that for later. Like, remind me to ask that exact question later on. How about you? You're Yasu, right? I think most everybody knows you already, so we're going to skip you," the hostess continued. Yasu closed her eyes and frowned; a vein seemed to throb in her forehead.

"She's upset because she didn't get to say her whole title," Hime chuckled, causing Yasu to start in surprise.

This managed to get a smile out of Chew. "Ha, well, sorry, but... I guess I'm really not, you know? Cause it's like... my show and all that. So if you want to use a fancy title on my show, you need to give me one to use too... How about like... "The Free-Radical" or "World-Ender" or something?" she asked. While she and Hime were both having fun, Yasu was not responding gracefully to having her naming sense picked on... but it seemed like picking on her would be the right thing to do, if they wanted this interview to go over as a spectacle of entertainment. "Last is DragonierMan. Can I just ask you: did you join the army for the boobs? Cause like, we ran a poll before the show, and everyone thinks you joined the army for boobs. Show the chart?"

Technomagically, a large chart graphic appeared behind her, displaying a pie graph... apparently 80% of those surveyed believed that DragonierMan joined the army in the pursuit of boobs. Another 12% guessed he was in it for the "shogun's cause," which wasn't specifically named. DragonierMan had learned that it takes a bit of effort to understand all of his organization's goals. Other less popular answers included "to wear the uniform," and "because he felt sorry for them." At the very least, he could be flattered that the internet knew him well enough to answer a survey about him.

DragonierMan leaned back a little, crossing his arms behind his head and a leg over the other. He smiled. "Well I can't fault the viewers in their choices." He chuckled a bit and nodded over to Yasu. "I mean have you seen our generals? Especially the beautiful Yasu here? Yowzers!"

He played up the exclamation by uncrossing his arms and legs, leaning forward, and almost jumping out of his seat. "I have to say, I am surprised there are so few men in the organization." He leaned over to one side of his seat and threw an arm around the backrest of Hime's chair. "But I shouldn't complain too loudly, because otherwise I might have to share." He laughed at the end of this statement, slapping his leg with his other hand. As if his joke was the funniest thing in the world.

He leaned in again towards Chew and put that same hand near his mouth, as if he was going to whisper something and didn't want anyone to hear. But he still talked loud enough for the cameras to pick up. "And I nearly flipped when I found out Neo-ShogunMan was a women. A woman! I mean how lucky can you get?" He then leaned back again.

"Even the sponsors, like Hime here, are women. Clearly I have been blessed by the NET."
Both the hostess and Hime looked momentarily dumbfounded, then hesitantly and awkwardly amused at the character DragonierMan had managed to summon up. Yasu, on the other hand, was anything but amused, gritting her teeth and pressing her fingers hard int the biceps of her crossed arms. Like that, she wasn't exactly beautiful, but hey, she was still busty. No one could take that way from her.

"Well, there are certainly those sort of perks for the rare male who manages to demonstrate his worth and enter into our organization," Hime agreed, acting more or less comfortable with where he'd placed his arm. Yasu, on the other hand, was glaring at it... if both Dee and Hime were equally valuable investors, it was strange that Yasu should be so much more protective of Hime. "We've done little to fight that sort of impression."

"These uniforms aren't about sexuality. Their purpose is to demonstrate the confidence we have in our selves, both in terms of body and athleticism," Yasu snapped; she probably wanted to set the record straight, since she apparently was I'm charge of designing all of the costumes.

"So you're saying they aren't a tool to draw guys in to your organization?" Chew asked, looking skeptical. "Or like... they ARE, but the guys are supposed to be admiring your dedication and training and whatever but not staring at your ass? Cause I get where you're coming from, but, like... if you wear a corset and a bikini bottom, guess are going to stare..."

Hime stepped in before Yasu had a chance at rebuttal. "Let's just say that if the generals and their uniforms help motivate eager and worthy recruits, like DragonierMan, then we treat that as an added bonus," she chuckled.

"Yeah, I get it. Now, what were you saying, DragonierMan?" Chew asked, leaning in to hear. "What did you say? Huh? The big man is a woman? Like, OMFG! Is that true? And if so, why do you call yourself a man? Why not dress up in sexy BDSM like your first general?" she asked, leaning towards the Shogun now.

"I will neither confirm nor deny. But if I have a reason to stay armored all the time, well... one could do worse than to carry an air of mystique as a leader, right?" the ersatz Shogun joked.

"She's just bashful," Hime explained in an overly loud whisper.

"Woah, we just got a big exclusive! Like, oh my gawd, I almost choked on my gum. But let's make it an even bigger exclusive! Can we see the real Neo-Shogun Man or Woman or whatever? Will you take off your armor, right here, on The Web?" Chew asked, standing and waving one arm as if to hype up the audience. "If you're listening or watching The Web right now, I want you to go to The Web homepage and show your support! Tell us you want the Shogun to come out of her shell! Cause I bet, like, as the organizational leader, you probably have the biggest boobs of all of them, right? I know everyone wants to see!"

"... Weren't we talking about my identity? Can't I just take the helmet off?" the Shogun murmured.

"Nah, I opened Pandora's Box and there's no closing it now. How about you, DragonierMan? Have you ever seen under the Shogun's armor? I bet you want to, right?" Chew asked, moving over to DragonierMan's seat and sitting on the arm rest next to him. "Or have you already? Like, wow, how many perks are there to being an NS guy? How about Hime, that sponsor; have you seen under her cloak thing? Or is she, like, really a mummy, for reals? Cause I if so, she'd better keep it on."

Hime kept quiet, clearly not wanting the conversation to take that direction. Yasu shook her head, then tried to contribute. "Who wants to waste time with that? We're offering you a chance to see the Shogun-"

"We are? Blocks and stockades, I don't see why that is-!" the Shogun spoke up, but was again interrupted.

"-and you would dishonor us by asking to see a sponsor instead?" Yasu questioned, leering at Chew. She clearly didn't want anyone getting a peek at Hime.

"Alright, well, let's do this the democratic way. We'll vote. DragonierMan, who do you want us to take a look at?" Chew inquired. "Anybody in this room." The easy answer would be to play along and say the Shogun, but he might be able to take the chance to learn more about Hime.
Strangely, DragonierMan did something totally unexpected in answer to Chew's question. He leapt from his chair and moved to the center of the stage. "While I can say with some regret that I have not seen the lovely Shogun's form," he stated with a little dip in his voice to indicate lingering sorrow. He reached up with his hands and began snapping open the clips to his outfit. "And being in a largely female army is great for the eye-candy." A few more movements and what could be called his armor, which was little more than a large round plate on his chest, was hanging loosely from sliding straps. "They are not without their own visual stimulus."


The sound of several pieces of metal hitting the floor reverberated through the studio. His rounded chestplate, rounded guard-brace that had rested on his left shoulder, and his leg tassets all hit the ground in one smooth motion. It was as if DragonierMan had been practicing stripping himself bare in his free time. His only form of clothing left was his leather codpiece, and his boots and gauntlets. He flexed one muscled arm and pushed his toned abs out towards one of the cameras. "Aww yeah. Look at this hunk of Shogunate muscle." He leaned in and kissed the bicep of his flexed arm, then turned and smiled at the camera with his pearly white, sharp teeth. He winked as the camera got a good look at all the man on display in front of it. "Act now ladies and join the Neo-Shogunate. Maybe if you prove yourself you will get a chance to hang out with me!"
"Woooah, dude! You've gotta be, like, the life of the party at all the Neo-Shogun get-togethers," Chew applauded, clapping her hands slowly, but still in a greater show of enthusiasm than she'd given about anything else so far. "Are you, like, a real stripper? Like, the NS hired you as a stripper?!" she questioned, walking around to see the other side, which she assumed was not in bad taste since she now reasoned that DragonierMan was a male stripper.

"I DID NOT RECRUIT DRAGONIERMAN TO BE A STRIPPER!" Yasu shouted, red-faced. Once again, she was bad at acting along, but maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing if at least one of them acted in character. More to the point, she seemed to be taking DragonierMan's behavior seriously, both as a supposed hater of men and as the one who had vouched for him to join the Neo-Shogun Empire.

"You recruited him? Like, personally? I have it on good authority, sources and whatever, that you hate men a lot. So, why would you ask a guy to join?" she asked. "Are you sure you didn't hire him as a stripper? He's pretty good at it."

"HE'S NOT GOOD AT IT! And I didn't!" Yasu snapped, forcibly keeping her one good eye turned off of DragonierMan despite his distracting actions. "I recruited him because he showed promise in a combat situation and a willingness to work. The Shogun, nor I, discriminate on the basis of gender. I'm simply harder with men because they require firm discipline to keep their errant behaviors under control," the first general explained, demonstrating clear bias against men.

"He's willing to work it alright! Meow," the hostess laughed, swiping one claw playfully. "Maybe I ought to join the Neo-Shoguns. Just kidding, I'm not a perv."

"WE'RE NOT PERVERTS!" Yasu roared, now red in the face from a mixture of exertion and embarrassment.

The hostess navi sat down on the arm of the couch again. "Alright, geez, I wasn't saying you were. I meant I'm not going to join just to stare at DragonierMan's junk, is all," Chew murmured, flipping her hair flippantly. "Okay, sooooo... we'll stop talking about why you recruited DragonierMan. Let me ask about his outfit. Is that a uniform? Did you make a codpiece for him?"

Yasu looked to the side and crossed her arms defiantly; she lowered her head and frowned. "Yes, I designed his uniform, as I design the uniforms for all of us. That codpiece is part of his... but it was by his request that he be allowed to show off his body. He said he was quite confident, and as you can see, he clearly is," she finished, rolling her one visible eye.

"So you designed it all to come off easy like that?"

Yasu shook her head, baring her teeth again. "No, that was a trick he thought up all by himself! I take no credit for that ludicrous function."

"Can yours come off the same way?"

"I assure you, it cannot," Yasu sighed, kicking one leg impatiently. "Don't we have something else more important to talk about? And DragonierMan, can you PLEASE stop flexing?"

"Okay, okay... Let's move on. DragonierMan, you can put your clothes on if you want. Or don't. It might be funnier if you don't," Chew restarted, leaning on both of fists and resting her elbows on her leg, curling her back into a hunched position. Her pose was almost as bored and complacent as Yasu's was agitated and impatient. "Uuuuh... Oh, here's a question. We'll have a poll up on the website for you veiwers now, but you guys get a question instead. How does the Neo-Shogun Army advertise for new recruits? We know you don't get to use the kiosk so do you guys just... randomly wander around the net until you find someone? Or do people, like, approach you guys and say, 'hey, give me a funny name and a sexy samurai outfit?'"

Hime took the question. "Our officers perform various tasks on a day to day basis, including carrying out missions as they arise and patrolling. While on these duties, they often encounter others and deem them worthy of applying for subordinate status in our army. When that happens, they are given the chance to prove themselves in an entrance mission. Once they complete that mission, they are made members of our army with all of the benefits associated with Subordinate status, such as the use of our faction store and regular support from their allies, as well as the responsibilities inherent to the position. So no, we don't 'advertise,' exactly... it is closer to scouting," she elaborated.

"... So it is basically just wandering around randomly and asking people if they want to get a funny name and a samurai outfit? Okay. But I guess you guys are sort of advertising lately, right? With celebrity appearances like this," she pointed out.

"I suppose we are..." Hime admitted.

"You know, now that you're a subordinate, couldn't you refer and recruit people too, DragonierMan? How about it? What kind of person would catch your eye?" Chew inquired, switching to leaning on just one hand and letting her other arm dangle. "What sort of things would you look for in future recruits?"

DragonierMan stopped flexing and then looked to Yasu. "But General Yasu, you have always told us that we should not be ashamed of our sculpted warrior bodies. Besides, we are supposed to be lively on this show," he reminded Yasu. Even so, he straightened up and snapped his fingers. A woolen shirt and britches formed out of the aether around him, clothing him [Warrior.GMO activated]. He ran a hand through his dark locks of hair and straightened his shirt out. "There. This way I won't be as distracting to the topics at hand."

And after a lively debate, the question of recruitment came up. DragonierMan cupped his chin in a fist and thought for a moment. "Hmm... Catch the eye?... Well, I guess I would have to say a fighting spirit. A sense of bravado in knowing what you want in life. And also wanting to be a part of a greater whole. Since the Neo-Shogunate is trying to unite the NET after all." He grinned a little as his hand came down. He put one of his legs forward and ran his hands up it. "Also I want them to have great legs."
"You shouldn't be ashamed... and for that matter, clearly, you're not. But it is a fine practice to temper one's ego with dignity and some modicum of common sense," Yasu responded; she'd heard him say that they needed to be lively (and possibly even obnoxious), but she didn't seem to have much of an ability to act that way.

"Sounds like coaching. Since he's your recruit, that must be why you're always keeping an eye on him and making sure he knows all the rules, right?" Chew inquired, performing her namesake behavior even between sentences.

"That's right," Yasu confirmed. She hasn't smiled, but her frown became a little less deep and she hadn't barked back in response, so one could conjecture that such a line of questioning was agreeable to her.

"I get it. But back to DragonierMan. Like, sorry for cutting you off and whatever. What'd you say?" The hostess asked, smacking her gum and waiting for the answer.She nodded along, then snickered. "Hey, sounds like you want the same kinds of recruits that your general does! That must be that unification thing you're taking about."

"Legs have nothing to do with anything," Yasu murmured, crossing her own camp-renowned, voluminous set self-consciously.

Chew stood up and went over to her chair again, then took a seat with an inelegant plop. "Hey, we just ran a poll over at The Web... if you were going to date any girl in the NS Empire, who would it be? We've added in the Shogun on this one since apparently she's a girl... let's go to the poll in progress," she continued, bringing up a colorful column chart with a large list of names. "It looks like the most votes go to... Arch, the gold one. She's one of the subordinates, right? Not actually a general? Anyways people seem to think she's got that "perfect girlfriend" look... after that is Dee, then Lee. Looks like you're way down near the bottom, Yasu. I guess most guys are kind of turned off by girls who are stronger than them, huh?"

"Yes, I suppose so," Yasu agreed, sounding genuine. She looked irritated again, though, likely due to the results, which put her below, in addition to those listed: Vee, then Escort, then Kindle, then Sylk... "Taste could also be an issue."

"Maybe. Who can say? But I think it has gotta be your issue with men that's keeping you down in the polls. I mean... you're getting beaten out by a reporter that is only just, like, a celebrity cameo in your organization, and a spider woman..."

"Hmph. Polls like these are a waste of time," Yasu scoffed, closing her one uncovered eye. "There's no point pitting us girls against each other in any kind of contest because we're part of a cohesive unit that serves the Shogun, foremost."

"So... you're saying you'd want to all date, like... one guy?"

"That is absurd and difficult to even fathom," Yasu responded, giving a deadpan frown. "You're just trying to be cute, aren't you?"

"Is it working?" Chew asked, matching Yasu's tone with a deadpan monotone of her own. "Hime, Shogi, you girls have both got to come outta your shells if you want dates."

"I'll keep that in mind," Hime chuckled.

"Well, it's weird, when you think about it... isn't every girl in the whole army single? Like, I know not all navis do that sorta thing, but that's just bizarre. How about you, DragonierMan? You got anybody?" Chew asked, while lazily swiping away the poll results screen.
As Chew waved the poll window away, DragonierMan spoke. "Actually, the poll is quite accurate. I have been seeing both Arch and Dee. In fact in one such instance, I was rudely interrupted from having a nice dinner with both of them by a nosy guy who thought I was already married to both of them. Or at least, thought I was going to marry them soon. He tried to test all three of us on his strange ideas of how husbands and wives were supposed to act and do things. Each to their place it seemed. Anyways, we eventually were able to beat him. But he was quite annoying and forced me to cause a lot of damage to the cabin we were in, just to get to him and toss him out."

"But anyways," Drago said as he waved away the bad memory, "We keep our private lives to the sidelines. We deal with the Shogun's business first and foremost as General Yasu has said. Although I guess you could call the abundance of singles in our army as a positive recruitment point."
This was one instance where the rest of the Shogun group that had shown up seemed legitimately shocked, unaware if DragonierMan was stretching the truth to further the goal of being entertaining and wacky, or if he was actually telling the truth. All of the girls in the studio were sitting on the dm edge of their seats now. "Wait... So you actually are seeing Dee?" Hime asked, as if she had some suspicion earlier, which had now been confirmed. "AND Subordinate Arch?" she further questioned. It seemed a little weird for her to care, if she really was just a prominent sponsor.

"S... Seeing?! You've been seeing that unscrupulous witch AND her undoubtedly confused and exploited friend?! What do you mean 'seeing'!? In what capacity?" Yasu questioned rapidly, standing up out of her seat and, as she often did, glowing red from a mixture of anger and embarrassment.

"Double-dipping! I like it," Chew smacked, nodding slowly.

"Why would you reveal something like that on a public broadcast program? Pebblewit..." the fake Shogun pitched in scornfully with a rare contribution to the conversation.

"Maybe it's not a secret? Like... it sounds like, you know, a threesome," Chew ventured, seeming distracted by something on a miniature viewscreen she had summoned up.

Yasu nearly jumped, although she was already standing. "Surely you jest! That kind of debauchery is to be expected from Dee or the likes of this horny lizard, but Arch? She's a model soldier and exemplary Subordinate! I can't believe that she would be involved in anything so foul!" she continued, grabbing onto DragonierMan's shoulders with both hands and gripping tightly.

"I think you underestimate how easily she's manipulated by her friend..." Hime murmured quietly.

"Inquiring minds want to know, DragonierMan: what kind of threesome are you in with those two girls? Please, give us all the juicy details on, like, all the dirty stuff you guys do," Chew requested, leaning her head in through the hole between Yasu's raised left arm and her side.
"Woah, woah, hey now let's not jump to conclusions," DragonierMan said as he tried to look innocent and made movements as if he was shying back from the two women who were fighting over his direct attention. He did like Yasu's hands on his shoulders, but unfortunately the grip was not one of a lover digging into him to hold on during a passionate embrace, but of someone who was about to strangle him. And Chew's face stuck under Yasu's arms was also quite invasive into his personal space. Not that he minded too much of having beautiful women clamoring for his undivided attention.

He waved his hands in front of him as best he could within the iron lock of Yasu, as if dismissing his previous statements as harmless. "We haven't done anything that risque, honest." He tried to give Yasu his most disarming childish smile, but his sharp teeth made it seem like a leer and dishonest. "We have all been very busy as of late and we just haven't found the time to do anything you haven't already seen in our missions together. Like that time we all tested out that golden armor. Besides of course, what I told you just now about the cabin incident."
Yasu's own teeth were bared as well, but in a grimace rather than a grin. "The events of that day were a necessity of testing a new weapon for our army. I don't want to hear about you engaging in any such actions unless it's to the benefit of our army," she hissed in response, keeping her voice low.

Unfortunately, Chew was so close that she heard everything regardless. She snaked her way under Yasu's arm, then came between the two, putting her face up next to Yasu's and her butt unfortunately up against DragonierMan's lower body. "Disregarding getting back into the argument about whether you should be policing the relationships between DragonierMan or any of the other Shogun girls, I wanna know more about what you just said. There was something, like... 'risque' going on in the cabin, right? And in the armor tests or whatever? I wanna know about all of it," she smacked, turning around so her face was now in DragonierMan's (although she, unlike Yasu, was a good bit shorter than he was). "C'mon, tell me about all the cabin incident and the armor incident... Inquiring minds, you know..."

Yasu stepped back, crossing her arms, and slowly took a seat. "There's nothing to tell. We were testing armor that increases the battle capabilities of the wearer by responding to emotions. We weren't certain which feelings it would respond best to, so we tried several: the desperation of battle, the warmth of praise, and, as DragonierMan has mentioned, sexual stimulation. Each met with a varying degree of success. Unfortunately, as sexual stimulation seems to be one of its primary triggers, we haven't deemed it useful for many combat situations as of yet," she explained, keeping a straight face.

"Woah, so you guys were doing like... weaponized sex?" the host asked, painting a vivid mental image.

"There was no sex involved!" Yasu snapped.

"Oh... So what were you doing?" Chew pursued, determined to get something juicy out of her questions. Yasu gave her another menacing glare, digging the fingers of her gauntlet into the couch cushion. "Okay, fine! But you're really deflating me when you won't talk about anything sexy... Well, I've drilled DragonierMan and you enough. I'm going to move on to one of the other girls. How about it, Hime? Tell us all about, like... your special powers."

Hime stayed silent for a moment, then spoke up. "What powers? I told you earlier: I'm a sponsor, not a combatant," she reminded the host.

"Yeah, but, like... you're still a navi. All navis can fight a little, right? Even I can. So, you know, what kind of powers do you use? It's hard to get an idea of it because you're just, like... a mummy, over there. Do you have mummy powers?" Chew asked, tilting her head curiously.

The sponsor chuckled, shaking her head beneath her cloak. "No, I'm afraid not. The closest thing I have to 'powers' is some mastery of martial arts, and I assure you, it's nothing worth talking about," she responded. "Well... I also do yoga, in my spare time. I've learned a lot of breathing exercises-"

"You were holding out! Yoga? I want to see... No, I think the whole world wants to see you instruct the rest of us in yoga!" Chew exclaimed, raising her arms to signal for everyone to get up from their seats. "Except uh... Maybe not you, Neo-ShogunMan. I really don't know how you would, in all of that armor..." The Shogun gladly took her seat again. "Speaking of which, can you even show us anything while you're wearing that big cloak?"

"Erm, no, I suppose not..." Hime murmured. Chew walked forward quickly and began tugging on her cloak; Hime grabbed it and pulled in the opposite direction to counter the host's efforts. "N-No, er, I'll give you instructions verbally! There's no need for a visual demonstration!"

Chew shook her head and kept pulling, still chewing her gum even now. "No deal... We aren't going to be able to learn anything if we can't even see what you're doing... Take it off!" she urged her guest.

Yasu darted to her feet, but Hime shook her head to indicate she shouldn't interfere. "Wait, we can still do this! DragonierMan, Yasu. Will the two of you assist me? I'll give you instructions and the two of you will act them out... I'll help you along the way. It will be quite simple, I assure you, and you are certain to benefit from the lesson," she encouraged the two officers.

Chew continued pulling, then turned her eyes to DragonierMan. "No, don't do that... Just help me get this thing off of her. Then she'll instruct all of us together. That makes the most sense, right? Grab the other side and pull!" she urged her guest, still yanking on the cloak. "Oh, I think I hear it tearing!" There was no sound that DragonierMan could hear, though, and it would be a little surprising if Chew had the strength to rip the cloth like that, especially if the one she was pulling against was a martial arts master like she'd said.
DragonierMan stood up. "You are both right, all three of us will demonstrate," he stated as he tried to brush Chew away. He then reached over to pluck Hime from her chair and carry her over to the stage to set her down between Yasu and himself. He didn't make any effort to unravel the mummy girl, but Chew's incessant tugging might have stretched a few fibers.

He limbered himself up a little with a few basic stretches. "Now... Show and instruct."


[Aya and Suzume Transfer from Inky's Homepage.]

The two girls appeared backstage in the dressing room that they had left. They would need to see if they could report into DragonierMan, or at least Hime/Yasu. But they didn't want to interrupt the current broadcast.