Return to Wunderbar

The outside of Wunderbar would be a familiar sight to Ship and a foreign one to Katran: a large building shaped like a chocolate cake, adorned with doors, windows, and a series of chocolate rivers and waterfalls along its roof and sides. Although most simply teleported to the club, the outside held a number of limos and cars, for those navis who wished to enjoy such trendy features despite their relative lack of relevance on the net. The fast-paced dance music coming from inside was audible through the oddly sponge-textured walls. It sounded like something composed in a small studio in Creamland or some such, nothing that anyone beyond the most avid of genre enthusiasts would recognize. If the married woman, Garnish, really ran this club, she was certainly staying young at heart, keeping up a place like this.

There was no bouncer, so the two would be free to walk on in. Inside, they'd find that the dance scene was certainly active, with lights on the dance floor alternating pink and red, dim and bright. The booths for groups were more liberally lit, as was the bar. Unlike the last time Ship was here, there didn't appear to be any special event going on, just a classic club setting; Garnish was nowhere in sight on the balcony/staircase, where Ship had seen her the first time they'd come. Two figures would stand out as familiar to her: Coral, the bodyguard, was situated nearby the double-doors at the back of the room and SpinMan, the DJ, was at the highest point of the balcony overlooking the dance floor. The latter was simply handling his usual tasks, which right now appeared to involve inspecting his work station and messing with one particular switch, although, from the front, it would be impossible to tell which, exactly. The former was currently arguing with an extremely shady looking figure.

Coral, with her sultry tan skin, curvy body, and long, dark-blue hair, had made a fine target for Escort during the original venture, being unoccupied and seemingly interested. Tonight, however, she was very much busy with her ordinary job: keeping unwanted guests from encroaching upon her boss, who was presumably in the back area of the club. The one she was holding back was dressed in a large, brown overcoat, with a matching hat, along with giant black sunglasses and a patient's sick mask, a combination that made it look as though they were trying to remain hidden. That might have worked, if it wasn't for the fact that two giant, glittery yellow ponytails, shaped into bouncy stars, were protruding from the back of the costume, making it obvious to those in the know that her true identity must be Showbizz, a relatively famous producer.

"No admission by suspicious persons," Coral flatly refused, holding one hand upon the little girl's head to keep her back.

The little girl was obstinately trying to trudge forward or work her way behind Coral, grabbing frantically at the bodyguard's hips and pink dress in an attempt to edge around her. "I've got important business with your boss! Garnish! See? I know her name! That shows I'm a friend of hers! C'mon, let me through let me through let me through!" the incognito navi begged. "If Swat was here, she'd trick you into letting me through!"

"Gee, thanks for the update. So you are doing something sneaky after all?" Coral asked, sounding painfully literal and blunt. Ship could imagine that part of her might be a little hard for Escort to have deal with over their cruise.

"No! Me? Sneaky? Never! I'll give you my business card to prove I'm a legitimate... Wait, nevermind! No card," the little girl hastily retracted. "Not today!"

One way or another, Ship and/or Katran would have to deal with that situation before going any further, since the struggling bodyguard and eager infiltrator were blocking the door to the back where Garnish presumably was waiting.
Ship chose to touch down outside of the club, making a point to dismiss her ship as soon as she did and reduce herself to appropriate club-goer size. She'd wait for Katran once she was inside, but for now, she made a point of happily skipping her way through the front doors, now that she knew from her first excursion that access wasn't as exclusive as she had once believed.

The Navi's face rose into a grin as she saw the scene she associated so many happy memories with still alive and well inside, but quickly fell to a frown. "Lyn! I thought we agreed that I was going to get a proper clubbing outfit before we came here again? I feel as though my wardrobe has been dreadfully lacking for all of my latest adventures."

"One," Lyn started, counting off on her fingers, "I don't remember ever agreeing to let you make a damn 'clubbing outfit,' or making one for you. Two, it hasn't even been that damn long since that last mission. Do you think these things can be whipped up in that little time?"

Ship pouted again, crossing her arms. "As a matter of fact, I do! You remember when I was with Escort before, I came up with some darling outfits for her in the span of a short limo ride!"

"If you say so, but I would say those things were half-functional at best," Lyn commented, remembering the near-accident Escort's zipper had encountered at that time.

"Well, I'm not going to stand here and have my hard work insulted by-" Ship started, biting her tongue and stopping before she almost hit the "coat" line that she new was Lyn's sore spot. "By you! I think I'll just have a seat over here while I wait for Katran..." she said, turning on her heel and starting to make a beeline for the bar.

"Where the heck do you think you're goin', Princess? I'm officially instating a f*ckin' shake embargo until you get this nonsense heap of a mission over with! You can watch the dance floor without gettin' a brain-stopping clump of sugar in your throat, alright?"

"No!" Ship responded, pouting momentarily again before thinking about Katran coming in behind her and acting like a baby. "No... no, I guess now isn't the time to be acting like a kid. We'll get our mission out of the way, and then... maybe Katran and I can partake in some of the more mature activities of the club," Ship commented with a wide smile.

"The f*ck?!" Lyn barked, spit flying onto her screen.

"Oh, hush, the dancing! I mean maybe we'll have time to go dancing," Ship replied, crossing her arms.

"The f*ck," Lyn repeated, more calmly this time. "Well, I wouldn't count on that, but why don't you make yourself useful in the meantime?"

Ship nodded, then paid a closer attention to her surroundings. There was SpinMan... she could see Coral again, which made her excited... but no Garnish in sight. As her bodyguard, Coral was clearly doing her duty to keep some terribly suspicious-looking short person from approaching. "How silly! Even being short and cute, that a person would think they could just stroll past the bodyguard and straight to the guarded person."

Lyn chomped on her pipe pensively for a moment, before finally addressing her giggling Navi. "Uh, hey, on that note, Garnish doesn't know why you're here, right? We didn't get the GNA to let her know to expect us... for all I know, the notebook freak arranged all this without Garnish's knowledge."

"That wouldn't make sense," Ship defended, shaking her blonde curls. "She got us a VIP meeting with RollerMan, remember? She must be aware."

"What if that was just a call-in favor for Escort, and Escort didn't explain it to her...?" Lyn pressed her hand to her lips, considering.

"I-I don't think that's the case!" Ship responded, as though that were impossible. "And besides, Coral knows me! She wouldn't treat me like a suspicious person and keep me from going through-"

"Uh, we have no idea if Coral knows you. At all," Lyn reminded her. "For all we know, Escort never even said two words about you and took her smooth slide-in credit all for herself. Wouldn't that be more natural, actually? A big point of that mission was to be a secret smootch-coach, after all."

"Y-you really think she wouldn't have mentioned me at all...?" Ship commented, seeming to take objection to the wrong part of that suggestion. "Well, even if she didn't, Garnish would-"

"You presented yourself as a damn kid that wanted to pour chocolate on the silly grownups! Why the heck do you think she's gonna remember you as anyone she should give two sh*ts about?!"

Ship frowned, bowing her head and closing her eyes. Lyn was certainly trying hard to put a damper on her party mood early... nonetheless, Ship couldn't let it get her down. There shouldn't be any reason why Coral wouldn't let her talk to Garnish and try to smooth out her relationship wrinkles. Once Katran showed up, she would approach directly and make her intentions known. Until then, she decided to watch the strange trench-coated Navi's vain struggle and try to shake the mental image of ending up in the same situation. "Shake... Sigh..."

"Who says 'sigh'? Quit bein' such a pansy, try and think how I feel about this and just get it over with," Lyn barked, placing her pipe back in her teeth and trying to keep her Navi from having any more fun than she could help.
As Katran made her appearance at the front of the club, her ears immidiately drooped to the side immidiately. She could already hear the music from the outside and that alone worried her about the noise once she made it past the door. She tried to compose herself with a deep breath, and while her expression at least looked as one with some professionalism, her tail and ears were hinting at her true nature by how they moved.

"Oh come on! it's not that bad. It looks like fun doesn't it? I mean sweets!" Mira butted in as she watched her scardy cat from the PET.

"Hmmph, i'm not worried or anything if thats what you are implying. I'm just... mentally preparing myself for the mission." Katran snapped back, though clearly uneasy.

"That's not what your tail says~" Mira was clearly refering to the fact that Katrans tail was firmly wrapped around one of her own legs.

"It has a mind of it's own! I cannot be held accountable for what it does at any given moment!" She kissed back.

"I think what you mean is that it lets people know what your thinking, hehe." Mira continuing to tease her navi while having a good chuckle about it.

Katran grumbled under her breath as she began to head for the door. The whole conversation has just begun to rile her up and her troubled mind was no longer her top concern. At least not until she made it passed the door way. As she entered the feline was completely overwhelmed by the music, lights and heavy attendance. Her tail nervously twitched about behind her as she slowly moved further in. Her only thought right now was to try and locate ship in hopes that maybe at least seeing a friendly face would help her come to her senses. She was never quite fond of crowds, after all most of her life she worked in small groups. This was far from her comfort zone.

"This place looks so fancy! You should go dancing! That will make you feel better right?" Mira chimed in cheerfully, as she watched Katran skulk around the place.

"I have a feeling that is the worst idea you've had all day. I will not partake in something so trivial, we are here for work!" Retorting instantly in an attempt to call it professionalism, despite the very idea making her nervous. ""Besides, I don't dance. it's a useless talent."

"Riiiight. Well if thats how you feel you should hurry up and find ship then!"

"Thanks miss obvious..." Katran scoffed, as she began scanning the club.

It took a little while, worming her way between clubbers and getting a little disoriented within the building but eventually she spotted Ship. She made haste through the crowd trying to catch up to her, finally feeling a bit relieved that she wouldn't have to endure this scene alone any more. Sneaking in besides her, she tried to put on a smile.

"There you are, I've been looking all over for you." A bit of exhaustion in her voice from the personal ordeal. "I have to admit, i'm not really good at navigating these sort of places so perhaps you could uhh... lead the way?" Resigning herself to ships command for the moment, ready to go where ever she did.
Ship and Katran entered the club unimpeded, with no one giving them any suspicious looks. After all, there were all manner of strange, electro-loving navis dancing here, and about 75% of them were women: neither of the two of them would stand out in this crowd. Katran found her way to Ship, introduced herself, and asked the little girl to take the lead.

In the distance, the two women near the door to the back of the building continued arguing.

"Listen, my brother's back there, okay? So let me through! He's hopeless," the suspicious, shorter one demanded.

"Hopeless without you?" Coral responded, trying to fill in the blanks.

"No, just hopeless in general! C'mooooon!" the other groaned, momentarily easing up her attempts to break through to let out an exaggerated, childlike dance of fit-throwing. "Okay, fine! Have it your way!" she finished, but she didn't sound defeated. Rather, she sounded enthusiastic about something. It seemed she'd already noticed Ship and Katran watching the two of them. Reinforcing that assumption, the girl skipped over to the two of them cheerfully. "Yoohoooo! Giiiirls! Question, question! You're from the GNA, aren't 'cha? You can tell me, right? Isn't there some kind of rule that if you're working on a GNA mission you have to say you're employed through the GNA? It's like undercover cops, right?" she asked , tilting her head. "Just tell it to me straight, okay? Let me guess: you're here to talk to Garnish about her marital issues?" The suspicious navi was very well-informed, it seemed, but it was up to the two of them to decide if they wanted to admit anything. It might be better to ask Coral if she'd throw out the little navi, which would let them continue with their mission unimpeded and probably give the bodyguard the excuse she was waiting for.
"I wonder where Katran is..." Ship mused to herself, putting a finger to her chin. "I had figured she would be right behind me..."

"Oh, for Pete's sake," her operator replied, grimacing. "You started moving away from the door when you came in, right? You've been here before, so you know where to go. Katran probably has no idea, though. She's probably-"

Lyn did have a point, but she'd taken so long complaining it had really ceased to matter. Ship gave Katran a big wave (of the hand), picking her out from the crowd close to the door. She was happy to see Katran, but a bit disappointed that her partner didn't seem to be big on the party scene. Her body language made her feelings on the matter obvious. "Nothing wrong with that, of course," Ship thought to herself. "Not everyone likes noise and parties." The Navi had a momentary temptation to try and give Katran some pats on the head or scratches on the chin to improve her mood, but she decided that might be in bad taste.

"Glad you could make it! I apologize if you were hoping to dance, but it seems the object of the first stage of the mission is just ahead. Maybe another time?" Ship thought that was the polite thing to say (and she really did want to try dancing), but, of course, she could tell Katran probably wasn't looking to party. The statement was really intended as a token gesture with an easy out.

The Navi listened and then gave a nod, happy to take the lead on this venture. She had very little experience in this sort of thing herself, but she imagined it was leagues away from Katran's field of expertise. While she was still trying to think of what to do, she became aware she must have been scoping out the situation a bit too apparently, as the shady-looking shorty suddenly addressed her and Katran.

Ship was a bit taken aback. She'd only been considering the possibility that the stranger was going to be thrown out or get her way, and then she would be free to discuss with Coral in peace. She hadn't at all thought of being dragged into that conversation herself. From the start, though, she'd intended to be straight with her explanation to Coral, so she didn't deny the implication that she was on a mission from the GNA, giving a bewildered nod in response.

When the discussion turned to Garnish's marriage issues, though, Ship bit her tongue. "I figured this was a secret Escort knew about as a friend, but maybe it's more of a media scandal? Or maybe this is another of Garnish's friends...?" She found the latter harder to believe, as the figure was clearly going to great lengths to try and disguise herself, and certainly wasn't being admitted as a familiar face.

"Maybe... maybe someone else put out a mission request about this? Maybe she's working with this brother of hers, and they're also trying to solve Garnish's issue?" That thought deflated her a bit, as she had felt proud at being Escort's go-to girl for this type of service based on a high review of her earlier performance. "I feel as though Escort would have mentioned that, though..."

Ship wasn't sure how far she could trust the stranger with details, so she decided to play it safe. "Yes, we're here on a GNA mission involving Garnish, but I can't divulge the nature of that mission."

She turned to Coral, hoping to appeal to reason. She felt as though one of the primary reasons this stranger wasn't being allowed in was that they reeked of suspicion in their getup, and for some reason, they seemed to be trying to stand on authority despite being completely unidentifiable. The Navi thought if she presented a reasonable case, she might be allowed...

"My associate and I were engaged to help Mrs. Garnish in a private matter. Rest assured, our intention is to help her, not to harm her. If you need proof... Lyn, please appear."

"Wha?" Lyn responded, frowning. "No way, I don't want to be associated with this.

"Lyn, please!" Ship asked again, smiling awkwardly. "We need to give a show of good faith here."

With a mutter and a sigh, Lyn turned on her two-way communication, her bust-up appearing on a hovering screen for all present to see. "Hi."

"This is my operator. If you like, I can have her appear and show hands as you join us in... that way, you could be sure we weren't planning to harm Garnish with any battle operations."

"Uuuugh, that sounds like a f*ckin' pain... Yeah, fine, I'd agree to it." Lyn really hated the idea, but if her Navi was trying to go about this in a smart way, she didn't want to be the one to blow it. Ship get especially testy when it came to missions with her gal pals.

"Of course, you can also accompany us, if need be! I want you to be assured that we mean no ill will. Once Garnish sees us, I believe we can explain the situation to her in full." Ship gave her the biggest, brightest, "I'm a little girl so why would I want to hurt your cake-wearing club owner?"-est smile. "Oh!" she said, finally acknowledging the stranger again. "And maybe she could be allowed to enter doing the same? I don't know her, but... she hardly looks like the most dangerous sort."

Ship smiled at the stranger, as well, but her expression gradually changed to a curious stare. She particularly focused on the hair. "Wait a moment... do we know each other after all? I feel like I remember seeing you once back when I was in advertising..."
Dance? Did I really give that impression? What if she really expects me to now... I wouldn't want to dissapoint her but I don't know how... Katran began to fret over the thought, complete unaware of ships intent on the comment. The atmosphere seemed to be distracting enough to the feline to keep her from picking up on the true sentiment.

"Don't worry, I'll teach ya Katran! Its all about the hips!" Mira couldn't help but giggle to herself a bit at the thought of her mavi on the dance floor, while Katran just gave her a cold stare through the PET.

Katran could at least relax a little as ship agreed to be the leader this time around. She would resign herself to providing aide where she could, but this was far from her usual missions. Her honed senses were alarmed however when the navi ship had been watching turned her focus to them. The first word that came to mind was suspicious.

It didn't take an expert to question the shady qualities of this particular specimen, and as Katran listened to her talk she became even more skeptical."Hang on, Ship." Katran interjected quickly, wary of where this was going. Even in her current state she couldn't help but feel worried about how this might turn out if they trusted this shifty character from the start.

Katran briefly composed herself, enough to at least look strict and serious, before addressing the mysterious sneak. "I don't think we are the ones that should be explaining our actions, Ship. especially when it seems like they are looking to accompany us."

"Haha, I'm surprise you can still pull that look off when you were a big scardy cat until now!" Mira chimed in, teasing her navi as usual. Katran just tried to ignore her grimacing slightly before contnueing her train of thought.

Katran turned her attention to the navi, delivering her best stern glare before speaking. " In fact it might be better if you properly introduced yourself first. I dare say I'm quite worried based on first impreasions thus far. So just who are you, and what are your full intentions if we were to cooperate, hmm?"

She wasn't about to let just any navi tag along on a mission, without proving themselves trust worthy enough. The last mission with conchman didn't help her current demeanor either, but someone who is going to great lengths to hide their identity while knowing all about the mission rubbed her the wrong way. You rub a katran the wrong way enough, and you get the claws.
"Aha! If you're here for Garnish, then you're here about her marriage! My second sense for scandal tells me so!" the star-haired girl chuckled, adjusting her giant shades on her face with two fingers and smiling smugly, like she was trying to look crafty.

Coral smiled upon recognizing Ship, despite the fact that the two of them had never met in person. "Don't worry, Escort's told me about you. She said that you're a friend of hers and praised you as her wing-man... well, wing-girl... the night the two of us met. It's good to meet you," she reassured the second little blond navi she'd met that night. When Lyn appeared on-screen, the two of them would likely notice that her friendly smile turned into something like a sympathetic one, clearly showing that revealing Lyn's dyed hair, face tattoo, and grungy clothing was probably having the same effect as the mysterious navi dressing up in a trenchcoat and stalker shades. Luckily, Coral wasn't planning to stop her from getting in anyways.

The nosy stranger perked up when Ship appeared to be trying to find a way to get her in, despite her earlier question being mostly dodged, then deflated again when they mentioned her operator. "Uh, my operator? She doesn't really like showing herself... S-So advertising, huh? I don't remember you, but I meet a lot of people!" the girl murmured eager to change the subject, then turned to Katran as she made her way into the conversation. The stranger grimaced, realizing that the other navi had decided to go with the reasonable suspicion that she was, well, suspicious. "Okay, fine! I don't really need to get in anyways. If you two will hear me out, then you'll see why I'm here, agree with me, and I'll be on my way. Excuse us, Krusty," the suspicious girl finished, waving away Coral, who showed obvious offense at the name-calling.

Once the bodyguard was a safe distance away, the star-haired girl removed her shady hat and giant shades, revealing big blue eyes with distracting yellow stars in each pupil. "It's me, Showbizz! I couldn't get anyone to respond to me over the GNA this time around, so I'm here in person, but I think once you guys hear what I have to say, I can manipulate you into doing my work for me! Er, manipulate you with... correct information... manipulating your incorrect assumptions into correct ones," she explained, making a lot of hand gestures to indicate putting aside wrong impressions and replacing them with the right ones. "Okay, I'll start with the history: Garnish and RollerMan met on my matchmaking reality program, Written In The Stars. At the time, they were the perfect couple, seemed to love each other's company; a real match made in heaven! OR SO IT SEEMED! The problem is this: future ratings of the show still depend on the outcome of the marriage of those two as the show's flagship couple. People are always thinking when they watch, 'how does this compare to season 1?' And therein lies the problem: for good ratings, Garnish and RollerMan need to either be knocking boots every night and frenching in public, or they need to break the hell up! Instead, they're just riding out this dull marriage, neither one of them into it, both concerned with appearances. It's boring! But more importantly, it reminds everyone of their own boring, lame lives. The truth is, it's impossible for them to go back to being sweet, lovey-dovey, and kinda horny. The best option for everyone involved is if they break it up. And I want you two to put the nail in the coffin!"

At some point, Coral had managed to scoot closer again, perhaps looking for gossip or perhaps looking to do her job. She looked angry again, her brow furrowed, but she also looked puzzled. "What are you talking about? They're a happy couple, from everything I can tell. There's no way they're going to break up!" she defended.

Showbizz blew a big raspberry, then gave a scornful laugh. "You can tell this isn't one of my regular viewers! Maybe she would be if that marriage was more exciting. But anyways, here's the deal: it's well known that RollerMan has started a 'VIP massage service' for his 'clients' who are mostly marriagable ladies. It doesn't take a genius to realize what's going on behind closed doors! I've got one of my workers over there to get the real scoop now, but I digress. If that wasn't bad enough, Garnish is doing the same damn thing! Private meetings all the time with her employee, SpinMan! Other meetings with hot young studs, like, and I hate to admit it, maybe my brother. He's dull as dirt, but he's fairly good looking, I guess, if you're into... uh... him," she murmured, suddenly looking awkward. "Anyways, point being, she's probably doing the same thing with them that RollerMan is with his clients."

Coral looked confused, her eyes falling to the floor as she struggled to keep up. "Doing what?"

"Sex, mainly. The wild thing! You know, slap slap, honk honk?" Showbizz replied, making a truly unfortunate example by thrusting her pelvis and imitating one human being slapping the other on the bottom. "Which is SUUUU~UUUPER spicy and great for a breakup! But it only works if there's a breakup... So I need a breakup! Trust me, both parties will be way, way happier if they're not together any longer. So you girls will do it, right? I know somebody probably hired you to save the marriage, cause there's a couple of die-hard fans who just can't let the couple go, but they've gotta! The niche audience has to get over themselves and look at the bigger picture: my ratings! I'll pay you whatever you're being paid now, but more! How much more? Well, I'm a fan of merit based rewards and negotiations, so we'll discuss that after you deliver results!" she finished, crossing her arms and grinning. "I love ratings and everyone loves money! This gets each of us what we want and on the plus side, Garnish and RollerMan are free to do the dirty all they want and I'm free to interview them about it without looking low or desperate! Simple economics!"
Ship was a bit disappointed that Katran had overridden her suggestion, which she thought was already being plenty cautious, with an even cagier approach. However, she also understood that Katran was a more security-minded individual, and she was most likely merely taking the actions that she thought gave them the best chance of successfully completing their mission. And anyway, all that aside, it didn't seem like they were going to have to wheel and deal their way in. To Ship's delight, it seemed as though Escort had already given Coral a proxy introduction. "Likewise! Of course, Escort is such a splendid lady, it was my pleasure to help her out."

"Oh, so you two are cool." Lyn gave Coral a cocked eyebrow and tilted her chin up. "I guess I ain't needed here, then. Works for me." Without another word of exchange, Lyn dismissed her personal display.

"Eheh... Lyn's not much of a people person, you understand," Ship explained, probably unnecessarily.

Showbizz was more or less forcing an explanation on them now whether they wanted it or not, so Ship tuned in. As the explanation ran on, she started thinking she might be remembering Showbizz from her advertising days, after all... and not the fun, green beginning of it, but the stressful, pink-tinted end, where she'd put her foot down. To be honest, she couldn't really remember if Showbizz had been directly involved or not, but she felt fairly certain the agency had sought her out. Whether or not it was the famous producer's fault, there was certainly some baggage in those memories that kept Ship from giving her the benefit of the doubt.

That aside, Showbizz was wearing out the benefit of the doubt rather quickly. "I don't think that's true at all!" Ship retorted, placing a hand to her chest. "While it's true that there is a certain excitement to the beautiful bloom of a new romance, I hardly think that Garnish and RollerMan should throw away all their passion and time together for... for ratings!" she exclaimed, with a slight hint of disdain. "RollerMan is a professional masseuse, and how he runs his business is none of ours. And Garnish could have... any number of reasons for seeing various young men... i-including your brother..."

The Navi began to feel a bit less confident as that line of reasoning went on. Truth be told, she was acting more on instinct and good faith than reason, and there was obviously no way she could tell Showbizz her brother was there for a different reason when she had no idea what Showbizz's brother even did. "But I simply can't turn my back to what should be true love in favor of spurious romances, scandal, and... and ratings! Not only that, but this is a personal request from Escort..."

"As much as I hate to disappoint you and your viewers, I think I'd much rather see a patched up marriage with a happy ending. I don't think I'm the only one, either. In my opinion, you should instead sit back and prepare to enjoy the renewed viewership you're going to get when Garnish and her lover experience a romantic renaissance!"

Ship flinched a bit, realizing she had more or less entirely abandoned the idea of keeping their mission covert to all involved. She quickly turned to Katran. "Of course, all of that's not my call alone to make. I strongly feel that we should lend our aid to Garnish, but if you wish to consider Ms. Showbizz's offer, I won't object."

"Yeah, me either!" Lyn piped up, making her voice heard to Katran. "I mean, the Star-Spangled Squirt is offering us more money. I ain't crazy on thinking about ol' Cake-hat knockin' boots with random dudes, but more scratch is more scratch. More upgrades to keep you gettin' stronger faster, and the runt'll probably throw in the SP to boot! And I'm sure Mira doesn't wanna waste her time on chump change, either."

"Our profit has little to do with it," Ship retorted. "This is a request from a friend, and a mission of love!"

"A mission of love, get f*ckin' real. And I thought you loved strangers havin' random freaky sex if they wanted!"

"L-Lyn! I thought I already thoroughly denounced that notion in our previous mission! Can you please not slander me on live audio in front of our acquaintances...?" More than anything, Ship was starting to worry about their newest acquaintance. She had a feeling of unease (probably for personal reasons) about the host's scruple-less pursuit of ratings. More than anything, she wanted to wrap the conversation up and keep moving. She was starting to feel as though anything she said now, whatever she did now, and whatever she failed or succeeded to do now, might be ending up on a special edition of Written in the Stars...
Katran was set at ease when coral seemed to recognize ship, at the very least meaning they weren't going to need to prove thselves just to get in. That in turn however made her a little more weary about showbizz seeing as ship seemed to be on good standing with the client already.

Katran cocked an eyebrow on the big reveal, as the navi had made it seem like hers was a name katran would know immidiately, though Katran was more then willing to accept that it could be the fact she wasn't exactly a fan of reality TV. First impressions continued to nose dive as showbizz slipped up on her choice of words, not exactly keen about being manipulated in any sense.

"At least she's amusing!" Mira chimed in, eagerly watching as showbizz tried to gesture her way out if her choice of words.

Katran opted to reserve her judgenent till the very end at least, holding her tongue for the time being, though part of that could very well be the atmosphere taking its toll on her. As she did her ears began to slink down once more, her composure begining to wane, cursing herself for bringing up the long winded explanation.

The faltering of the navi's professional demeanor was even mor vident as her face turned red at Showbizz's display as she explained her assumption of what was going on behind the scenes. Mira couldn't help but laugh, seeing the usually serious Katran blushing.

" If they're both doing it, wouldn't it be easier to just invite people to join them?" Mira jumped in innocently, just assuming that would be a simple fix to everyone's problems. This of course of course cause an even brighter shade of red to eminate from the feline.

Katran cleared her throat as she tried to calm herself down and return to her typical form, taking the request into mind. " Frankly speaking, whether they are doing what you suggest or not, as a professional I don't go around just selling out my missions success to the highest bidder. Once I've accepted the job I'm going to see it through to the end. She stated firmly, her ears popping back up to attention in response to her resolve.

"You don't mess with love! or lovers depending on how everything turns out to be heheh. Not that Katran would let me sabotage her mission anyways!" Mira added, slowly turning her attention to Lyn. "Sorry! The kitty can be kinda strict on these things. You know how military folk can be, am I right?"
"Oh? You underestimate ratings then, kid!" Showbizz responded to Ship; both looked like little girls talking about things meant for more mature people, however. "Ratings are the root of all good and the root of all evil for us in the business! If your ratings are good, you get viewership, cash, interest, future promises! It would be accurate to say that if you don't have ratings, you're producing only for yourself, and that's an expensive way to go," she chuckled. "Well, either Garnish is meeting my brother to set up an interview on his stupid interview show, or she's meeting him cause she likes pretty guys. And if you knew how lame his show was, you'd know it has to be the latter!" Ship continued on about missions of love, but all Showbizz did was predictably roll her big, starry eyes. "Alright, alright, pussy cat, I get it! You're a professional, she's a goody-two-shoes. No problem!"

"Really? You're letting it go?" Coral asked, raising one eyebrow skeptically as she rejoined the conversation.

"Yeah! Cause see, I just thunk a thought!" the star-haired girl giggled. "I don't actually need to pay you girls at all! See, you're going to go in, and try to do your mission, and it'll fail, cause like I said, these two are way into having sex with other people already! Not officially, but, you know, I'm inferring from their activities as of late. Anyway, once you two fail, everything will work out how I wanted it to anyways and I'll swoop in and pick these two up on the rebound, securing interviews, scandal, maybe even adding one of them back on the next season! Gosh, the intrigue! Hehehehe! Huhuheeheehee!" she chortled, wiping her mouth with one sleeve as though she was actually drooling. Maybe she was? "That way, I save money having to hire you guys and still get what I want!"

"That's despicable," Coral remarked, crossing her arms with a judgmental, cold glare.

"No business like show business, dear! That's just the way the cookie crumbles. I'd wish you girls luck, but that would be insincere! No hard feelings, though," the little girl finished, grinning from ear to ear. She reached into her coat and gave each of them a card. "Here's my contact information so you can let me know if anything really juicy happens during the mission! I might be able to get you a finder's fee if you get me anything I can use in a special later. That way you'll get at least a little something out of this situation! Never let it be said I'm not magnanimous~" With that, Showbizz gave them a fake two-finger salute, winking and extending her tongue out over to her cheek. "Peace out!" Then, she vanished in a burst of stars.

"What a repulsive person. I'm with you two! True love is worth salvaging," Coral responded, seeming to lump Katran in with Ship's mushy opinion on the matter. "Now get in there and make my boss a happily married woman, like we all deserve to be!" The bodyguard seemed pretty passionate about it now as she held the door open. "... And maybe if she falls back in love, she'll understand why I need more vacation time to spend with Escort," she added, perhaps revealing an ulterior motive.


The area behind the building wasn't really large; after all, there was one bodyguard, a DJ, a hostess, and a few bartenders, and that appeared to be all of the staff. Garnish's office wasn't hard to find, partially because there wasn't a lot to look through, and partially because the double-doors to her office were surrounded by hard, pink frosting. It looked so real that they might even try tasting it, if they weren't worried about ruining the decor. From inside, two voices could be heard, saying some things that didn't really mesh up with anything they knew was going on...

"... If anyone's at fault here, it's me! Please, hit me! I deserve it," a quivering woman's voice, recognizable to Ship as Garnish, spoke.

"N-No, I really don't-" a man's voice responded, but didn't get very far before Garnish interrupted again.

"Please! O-Or, how about we set up a date on your radio show and I'll apologize to everyone?! You can introduce me as a filthy cheater! Ah, I'm melting! It's what I deserve!" Garnish nearly wept.

It was becoming increasingly difficult to argue that Garnish and RollerMan weren't having extreme marrital difficulties, and furthermore, that Garnish wasn't cheating on him. "God, no! I'm leaving. Thanks for seeing me," the man finished. The sound of a chair harshly scraping against the floor came from somewhere inside the office, followed by steps so quick they might actually be someone running. A man burst through the double doors, nearly knocking the two navis over. With long, blond hair, reaching to his shoulder-blades, tan skin, dreamy blue eyes, a robust figure, and a sharp red suit on, it was hard to see him as anything but the handsome brother that Showbizz had mentioned. Interestingly, his blue tie was covered in brown-black chocolate stains and flapping outside of his jacket. They might expect him to look red, from being caught in the act, but instead, his face looked almost drained of color. "Oh shoot, sorry ladies," he murmured, brushing himself off. "I'm in a bit of a hurry. Please excuse me," he coughed, then started walking for the exit back into the guest area. They might want to hurry and stop him for questioning, or they might want to hurry back inside to address Garnish right away.
Lyn turned to Mira, removing her pipe from her mouth for just a moment to talk more clearly. "Eh, don't worry about it. Honestly, I was just thinkin' this whole thing would be a lot faster and a lot more profitable if we could just wreck their marriage. Y'know, tell Cake-Head that RollerMan was sleepin' around and talkin' behind her back, that sort of thing. Get this rodeo wrapped up quick... but I guess I'm just born to suffer this airhead's whims." On the plus side, it sounded like Lyn wasn't taking Mira's decision personally. On the down side, it was clear that Lyn was more than willing to break up a wedded couple just because she thought it was a pain to do otherwise.

Meanwhile, Ship continued to listen with some air of disgust, herself, to what Showbizz was saying. Of course, for her face, an "air of disgust" more or less looked like a cute pout. "I would advise you not to count on it," Ship retorted to their scorned would-be employer as she made her exit. She turned to Coral, heard her out, and brightened up in response. "Leave it to us, Ms. Coral! We shall strike as cupid's arrow, and in the meantime, maybe get you spending some more time with Escort..." she added, perhaps revealing an ulterior motive. With that, she made her way up the stairs as quickly as she could.

"Oh my!" she gasped, doing her best to keep her voice quiet in the wake of the large, confectionary door ahead of them. "Well, I would say it's quite likely this is the one."

The Navi tip-toed up to the door, putting her ear to a less-frosted portion and confidently cupping it with one hand, certain that what she would hear what coincide with what she wanted to hear. "Eh...?" Her smile, however, twitched a bit as she realized that couldn't be farther from the truth. Carefully, she tiptoed back away from the door and crossed her hands in front of her. "K-Katran, maybe we should be prepared for some difficulty. I'm not saying I'm not confident in our skills-"

One of the two Navis she'd been listening in on left the room, making Ship thankful she'd stepped back from the door's swing a moment earlier. She started to speak before realizing she really had no idea what to say to Showbizz's brother. Seeing him leaving, Ship turned to her partner. "Katran, I'm going to go in and see what has Ms. Garnish in such a tizzy. You can come if you think that's where you're best served, but maybe it would be wise to catch up with that man and hear any info he might have? It may be good if we can later piece together two sides of the same encounter."

Mira leaned back a bit as she met Lyn's gaze with a smile. "Quick and easy is nice an all, and making a profit is nice but if you don't enjoy the road along the way then what's the point?" The girl let out a bit of a sigh as she seemed to ponder to herself for a moment. It didn't last long as she seemed to shake it off almost as sudden. " It wouldn't be any fun if this mission was that easy, right? Or am I just that insufferable?" She let out a slight laugh following her remark as she returned her attention to the mission situation at hand.

Meanwhile Katran was having a hard time digesting everything that showbizz had to say, and at this point just tried to ignore it for the time being. She may not be a professional marriage counselor but she was still a professional, one who had no intention of abandoning or failing her job. So felt ship more than made up for her lack if words, albeit not quite how the cat would have put it. Still, she nodded to coral in agreement with the statement, before following after ship.

Moving away from the maim club made Katran feel more at ease, her ears slowly standing to attention the further they moved. It seemed quite obvious as to where they were headed as the frosting frame came into view. "Well at least its easy to spot." She mused, staring at the decor.

Ship suddenly grabbed her attention with her comment of uncertainty, and as she was about to encourage her she was halted by a sudden arrival and swift departure of what she could only assume was showbizz's brother. Katran contemplated stopping the navi for questioning, and as she was about to consult ship on the matter it seemed Ship was already on the same page.

Katran nodded, moving quickly to catch up to the navi before he could escape her view. " Excuse me! I understand you are in a hurry but it is imperitive that I have a moment of your time. Please. I'm here on official GNA business."

Katran hoped that it was enough to stop the navi, after all she would hate to have to resort to The Secret Weapon, as Mira so aptly called it. Katran really hated using it under any circumstances, after all
After agreeing on their mutual roles, Ship and Katran set to work securing the targets of their inquiries. Katran marched over to the exiting VoiceMan; he froze in place, spinning with a guilty expression when he realized he was being addressed. Ship, in the mean time, entered into Garnish's office and out of sight. "Forgive me, I'm sorry. However, and don't take this the wrong way, but 'official GNA business' is merely saying 'someone hired me to do something,'" he reminded Katran, trying to smile amiably despite his obvious impatience. He probably thought she was here with some media outlet, judging by how eager he looked to evade her. "But I'll hear you out! We're all in the same business, right? Did you need me for anything?" he inquired, sticking one hand into the pocket of his slacks and the other into his breast pocket, from which he drew a white handkerchief and began wiping at his neck. He didn't seem particularly eager to offer any information, including his name.

The door to the outside was still shut, so the two were probably in no danger of being overheard, unless Coral had her ear pressed right up to the door or something.


The inside of Garnish's office was just as chocolatey as the outside; while the walls and floor themselves were made of actual building materials, or so it seemed, more chocolate frosting flourishes could be spotted all over the room. It would be hard to throw a ball in the room without risking having it coated in yummy chocolate. The inside of the room was surprisingly cozy, not overly large, with the main pieces being a large desk in the room's center, a leather couch in the back, an office chair in front of the desk, and another duplicate office chair behind the desk, at which Garnish was seated. Ship would spot several album covers along the wall, which did not seem to indicate Garnish's performances so much as the type of performers she'd billed at her club before. Interestingly, on the wall behind her, a wide array of photos were arranged in frames. Some of them were here with various celebrities, but at least one large-ish one near the center clearly depicted her with one arm around a very tall, well-built man, dressed in a white chef's uniform with a tall toque upon his head, along with a brown ascot and a tremendous rolling pin in one hand, which was probably about as long as his wife. Given his physique, he looked like a pretty good husband, if one liked the macho type, but his face was almost entirely hidden between the collar of his uniform and his hat.

These details aside, the most important thing to look at in the room was clearly Garnish herself, who stood up as soon as Ship entered, straightening the skirt of her long dress. She looked at first hopeful, then (like Showbizz' brother) aghast, as she realized that Ship had entered and not Showbizz' brother. The woman was otherwise mostly as Ship recalled: busty with very pretty hair, a pleasant, rosy face, and a marked passion for flapping her hands in a giddy way and cooing in an excited voice that sounded like it had traces of a long-forgotten Netopian accent. Interestingly, another thing she did not have was a giant cake atop her head, which might make her almost unrecognizable, even though she ought to be familiar. "Oh! A little girl!" she remarked, not recalling Ship's name or face (if she'd ever learned it). Ship might notice, as Garnish rose to her feet, that when her sizable bosom rose off the desk, a long, thin streak of chocolate, accompanied by several violent looking swipes, marred the surface of the chocolate coating all over the desk. She looked as though she was thinking of pushing her chair back, but decided not to for whatever reason, and instead sat back down.

"Pardon, pardon! Ah, I'm melting!" she sighed, breathing heavily in a way that was undeniably erotic, just from the heaving of her bosom, a great deal of which was visible through the long neck gap of her dress. "I remember you now, a bit! You were one of Coral's friends, who pulled the string for the chocolate fountain back when she met her new girlfriend," Garnish chuckled, seeming happy that she'd found a nice conversation topic that had nothing to do with the guy who'd just stormed out of her office. She pressed her dress to the supple curve of her behind, then took a seat again and motioned for Ship to do the same in the opposite chair. "What brings you here? I'll bet you're being Coral's wing-lady again! She's always so shy, that girl, he he he!" the hostess giggled, flapping her hands again. She seemed to have heard a bit of the story but was at least confused about some of the details. "So romantic! Ah, I'm melting!"
Lyn glanced over at Mira herself, sighing a bit. The operator wasn't used to trying to establish empathy with much of anyone. Even when she had done so, it had been with her own Navi, who had very aggressively sought her affection. Lyn had some sense that Mira was looking for her to say she was really enjoying herself, but the operator had already far exceeded the conversational mushiness quota she was willing to allow for any given day.

That said, if only because it would make things awkward for the rest of the mission, Lyn didn't want Mira getting the wrong idea. "Nothin' about you, it's just... y'know, the f*ckin' dance party, chocolate and sh*t everywhere, and this doomed marriage counseling... not exactly my usual bit. Can you blame me for wanting to put this sh*tfest behind me?" The operator chewed on her pipe and kept her focus on her screen.

Ship ventured inside tentatively, feeling like a cross between Goldilocks and Gretel from their respective fairy tales. Needless to say, she was very much a fan of the confectionary decor. However, at this particular moment, she was happy that her feet went not onto, but rather, into the floor. As much of a chocolate fan as she was, she didn't relish the prospect of tracking it around if she accidentally stepped in some frosting.

The Navi was very much predisposed to look at a beautiful, gasping, and busty woman before the portrait of an attractive man, so she almost missed the very large and, probably, very important detail on the wall behind her. Her eyes did briefly catch and register it before she cast them back to Garnish. "Hello there, Ms. Garnish!"

She made her way closer, blushing a bit for both of them at seeing Garnish fanning herself and discussing "melting." She thought she had understood it during her first visit, when there was a crowd to talk to and a saucy dance floor to react to, but she wasn't sure what in the room warranted the statement. Was she literally melting...? Was the temperature too hot?

Ship decided to hold that thought unless it became relevant again. "Yes, that's basically it. I'm a friend of Coral and Escort. My name is Ship," she told Garnish, stepping to the desk and offering a hand across. She was happy the woman had recognized her. However, between a little bit of curiosity as to where Garnish's headgear had gone, and a little bit of difficulty trying not to stare into the mountain of cleavage that was greeting her, the Navi was finding it quite hard to make polite eye contact. She managed, however, and helped herself to a seat across the desk from the woman.

"Anyways, hm. Ms. Garnish, let me be perfectly frank as to the nature of my visit. Escort, being the dear and thoughtful woman that she is, is of the opinion that... perhaps there is some marital friction between you and your husband?" She approached the topic quickly, but also softly, trying to make it clear that she saw the issue as delicate. "Or rather... I understand, some lack of friction?"

The Navi leaned in a bit closer and tried as hard as she could to keep her eyes from falling on the other woman's bosom as she did so. As a result, her eyes very briefly ended up falling upon what appeared to be the result of a chocolate-coated struggle that had taken place on the desk, something she'd missed before. Thinking it not at all appropriate to dwell too long on that, she quickly darted her eyes back up to Garnish's, as well as she was able. "I'm not sure if you were made clearly aware of this, but I was originally acquainted with Escort through a GNA mission. You see, Ms. Escort was convinced that, in spite of her deep and passionate yearning, her impressive physique, and her darling personality, she was doomed to never find a romantic partner. However, as you can see, she and Coral have hit it off quite well! Whatever trouble you may be in, by Escort's direction, I am more than happy to offer you my advice and service. Please, feel free to get anything you wish off of your chest!"

The Navi smiled and tried to look reliable. Unfortunately, that last statement had left her rather helpless not to put her vision rather squarely on the lady's distracting assets. Ship inwardly cursed, thinking how much easier this would be if only Garnish was wearing her usual headgear. She did her best to re-establish eye contact.
Katran blinked at the response from the male navi before her, realizing she probably should have made her intention a little more clearer as to her current line of work. it was as he said, a bit vague and not all that authoritive. She pondered for a moment, before following up with her train of thought.

"At least you know now im here for business and not pleasure. That is a sufficient start." The feline retorted, folding her arms across her stomach as she got a better look at the navi she was adressing. Katran hadn't exactly gotten to think about what she wanted to say, and while she could resort to a style of interogation she could clearly see that dragging this out may just cause the impatient man to rescind his politeness and leave.

"My partner and I were asked to aide garnish in regards to a personal matter, though im not sure i am allowed to divulge the details so i appologize in advance. There are two main things I would like to ask you, seeing as you may shed a different view on the matter as what I hope is an aquaintance of hers." Katran could only assume that this navi may have an idea as to what was going on, either because he had been meeting with garnish and were aquainted or because of the comments made earlier by Showbizz. Weither she figured out which one was the truth was a different matter all together, as was if he would admit to it.

"So to make this as brief as possible for you, could you please sum up your relationship with Garnish, and any thing you may know in regards to her marriage?" She figured any little bit could help, and if he happened to know more then all the better. it was just a matter of if he was willing to talk.

"Oh, Oh! What about that navi that said her brother was back here sleeping with her?! thats gotta be the brother right?!"

" Hush, Mira. Slander will get you no where. We don't know the legitimacy of any claims made by that suspicious girl." Katran snapped at her OP, still not willing to trust the words of showbizz.
Garnish first smiled upon hearing Ship introduce herself and explain who had referred her, but the smile quickly faded to a slack frown as she realized why Ship had actually come. "Friction? Lack of friction? Dear, dear! I don't know who's been feeding you such tales, but nothing could be further from the truth! I am happily married to the man of my dreams, who I love as dearly as I did the day I met him! It's wunderbar! she announced, making a show of grabbing up the framed photograph behind her and staring down into it longingly. She finished the theatrics by giving it a sweet, brief kiss, then placing it back on the pane behind her. "Ship, I know that Escort, the dear girl, would not have sent you here unless she had reason to suspect something was the matter. But I assure you, it is not! My hubby is still just as fine a man as I've ever wanted," Garnish laughed, crossing her hands in front of herself again. Ship noticed that they weren't exactly becoming buried or coated in chocolate... it would seem that, for that to happen, one would have to dig in a bit.

"Perhaps our mutual friend is merely concerned because my anniversary with dear RollerMan is fast approaching and I have not yet decided what to get him? Ah, well... Lately, we find it's usually best to go... modest! On our gifts," she chuckled, staring back at the photo behind herself and stroking the glass with one finger. "Well, I should say... How to put it? We aren't so good at getting gifts for each other! That is... we live together and sleep together but... neither of us seems to know exactly what the other wants, on occasions like this!" She was still laughing, but it sounded again like there was more she wanted to say. Could it really be as simple as her being annoyed that RollerMan wasn't good at picking out anniversary gifts? "He's such a sweetie-pie, you know? Always easy to shop for but... not very good at picking out gifts himself. So I'm trying to find someone who can... You know Kris Kringle? Santa Claus?" she asked suddenly, giving Ship a silly smile like she was talking to an elementary schooler and pronouncing "Claus" in a genuinely funny way. "The parents buy gifts for their children, but when there's something they cannot provide, Santa Claus picks up the slack! I'm just looking for a Santa Claus, to give me the little something RollerMan cannot. Physically. He can apparently not give it to me," she club owner giggled, sounding increasingly high-strung.

It was now up to Ship to interpret what that thing was, or otherwise prove she was not, in fact, an elementary school student by simply asking outright. This might also be a fine time to fall back to Showbizz's idea that the marriage was beyond salvage.


VoiceMan's eyebrows piqued as he realized that Katran was not, in fact, a reporter. He then lowered his eyebrows again with a stern expression, then shifted to one of fright, backing towards the door more quickly. "Wait a minute, you're not that arctic commando that my sister employs, are you?! Oh? You're not, okay... good... I remember she has white hair just like yours and dresses a bit like you, so... Nevermind," he coughed. "Whoo, boy. Alright. Sounds like maybe you two are in the same boat as me somehow! Let's compare notes," Showbizz's brother laughed, running his hand through his hair and then flipping it over his shoulder again.

"So, you two aren't here as reporters, but are here in somewhat the same capacity as I am: you came following the bread crumb trail of Garnish's dicey marriage. You see, it's a well known fact that there is some serious, bizarre, celebrity news-worthy stuff going on, both with Garnish and her husband. I came here to try to get a scoop on it and, what do you know, I became a part of it! It's harmed my pride a bit as a professional, although flattered me otherwise," he joked. "Speaking candidly, when I went in, she tried to... seduce me. To get me to make a move on her! I had no idea what was going on, it was all moving so fast... but again, I'm a consummate professional. I let her down as easily as I could. She then got real teary... she started apologizing, begging to let me allow her to make a public apology and all sorts of other things. We hadn't even done anything! I said no harm, no foul, and she just kept begging. I was so mortified, I left as soon as I could. There was no consoling her," he finished, shaking his head in a "celebrities, huh?" gesture.

"So, in short, my relationship is that I just narrowly avoided becoming a tabloid heading with her... Assuming that you're not going to sell the story yourself. Please don't. I have an inte- er... a colleague... I'm trying to impress, and I really don't need the negative press right now," he murmured, looking back at the door he'd been gunning for earlier. "And that's everything I know regarding her marriage. I'd say she needs help, perhaps a celebrity psychiatrist? Because I can tell you her gameplan: she's luring in young, male reporters and seducing them! That's all there is to it. It's as open-and-shut a case as it looks," he murmured, straightening his tie self-consciously, then wiping the chocolate that got on his hands onto the door, which resulted in only more chocolate coating them. Grimacing, he wiped it on the wall instead. "Ugh. It's Wunderbar," he joked, clearly now having a distinct distaste for the place, if not its owner as well. "Is there anything else? Between you and me, I want my name to be clear before I walk away from this..."
Ship had to admit to herself that she felt a little relieved as Garnish explained Escort's concerns were simply misunderstandings. True, it diminished her own value as an ally in this particular case, but Ship was just happy to see true love was carrying on just fine. Kissing a picture of your hubby? Textbook happy marriage.

"Well, case closed, huh?" Lyn piped up pre-emptively (not on a line, just in earshot of Mira and Ship). "Looks like Cakehead and Doughboy are two donuts in a lunchbox. Two Twinkies in a wrapper!"

Ship continued to smile, but it began faltering quickly as she realized all was not right in the world of Garnish. Her smile fell from a reassured beam to a smaller smile of sympathy... and finally to an awkward, lopsided facsimile of a smile, as she thought she was getting a handle on the situation.

"Two whisks in a batter bowl!" Lyn continued inanely, apparently not having caught the less-than-subtle hints Garnish was dropping.

Ship looked on with some concern as Garnish's nervous ramble appeared to be drawing to a close. "Ms. Garnish, I understand that this may be surprising given the way I look, but I am, in fact, well acquainted with... at least the technical details of... anniversary presents," the Navi finished, coughing into her fist. It wasn't so much that she was embarassed to say what she was thinking, as the fact that she couldn't tell if being talked to about it by someone who looked like a cute little girl was freaking Garnish out. "Particularly, the kind of anniversary gifts that are more... actions, rather than physical items? And the type that are... best given in the bed room. I think I understand what you're trying to tell me, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to be a bit more specific if I'm going to be able to help."

"Two..." Lyn continued, only finally seeming to wrap up. "Oh. Damn. Hell, I see what she's saying now. RollerMan's not rollin'-"

Ship shushed her operator out of the corner of her mouth and continued. "Ms. Garnish, I understand it may be difficult, but please. It sounds like you have a rather specific problem, and something that may really be just a bump in the road of your otherwise loving and long-term marriage. However, I'd hate to think I was leaving you braced to weather a disappointing anniversary celebration. I simply couldn't!" Ship rose to her feet and made her way around the desk, closer to Garnish. "I must ask that you dispense with any politeness and speak as plainly as possible about the issue. Perhaps, offer some relevant anecdotes. I found that this type of straight-forward dialogue was key in getting to and resolving the root of Escort's problems, and I think it can be the same for you, too. If... if it's simply too much, and you ask me to leave, I will, but I believe both of us will rest happier tonight if you allow me to help." Her feelings of concern translated to big, pleading puppy-dog eyes on her young face.
"Two eggs in one basket!" Mira jumped in with Lyn's remarks, thinking of it more like a game than an expression. "oh... but i guess you're not supposed to put all the eggs in one baskets. Oh well!" Katran just seemed to ignore the ramblings of her operator, keeping herself from the distraction and continued on with VoiceMan.

"Well you seemed to sum it up fairly well, there's just one more thing I would like to ask then. What exactly was she doing or saying to lead you on, so to speak?" It was easy enough to say that he was being seduced, but a little he said she said never solved anything. A chance that he just misinterpreted the gesture wasn't out of the question, especially if she was so appologetic after the fact. If she were to truely figure out what was going on, Katran needed to dig deeper to find out what exactly happened.

" I don't mean to insinuate you're wrong, of course. I would just like to hear a little more detail to clear away anything that may be a misunderstanding. I prefer to work with the cold, hard facts if you would be so kind. " As she responded, her mind began to shift towards his first remark however.

Katran paused thinking back on the mention of another arctic navi. Seeing as it was likely showbizz he was refering too, since Katran had never met that shady media monger before it certainly wasn't a previous job she had taken which Voiceman was refering to. So somewhere out there was a similarly styled navi, employed to the media and running errands for Showbizz. Katran shuddered at the thought.

"That sister of yours wouldn't happen to be about this high, starry eyes and a bit of a penchant for sketchy media stories? If so it's only fair to warn you Showbizz was waiting just outside those doors moments ago.we aren't working with her of course, though she attempted to sway our motives. Ultimately we disagreed with her view on the matter and turned away her offer." Katran tried to gesture as best she could at showbizz's general hight as she spoke, trying to give a decent visual. She was pretty sure she was not mistaken in the relationship between them though.

Katran wondered if it would be appropriate to explain just what his sister was insinuating was going on back here, given he had already heard a few rumours himself, Katran thought it may be for the best. "I should also warn you that Showbizz has been spreading the notion that Garnish has been getting... physically aquainted with many men, including yourself. It's what she told us anyways before we came in, at the very least. You may want to be careful, if you intend to keep the press to a minimum." She warned out of concern for his safety, or at least the safety of his image. There wasn't much she could really do to aid him as far as she knew, and media warfare wasn't the type of fighting she was trained to combat.

Meanwhile Mira turned to Lyn, curious about her last remark. "So What, So RollerMans got a flat?"
Garnish seemed to becoming more guarded, stiffening up her shoulders and forcing a smile on her face as Ship explained just how much she understood about the situation. She spun in her chair in an almost guilty way, pushing it back from the desk and clearly trying to hide something that was behind her as Ship moved around to her side. Unfortunately for her, she hadn't really been able to do the job: Ship could see Garnish's "hat" lying on the floor behind the desk, the cake splattered and plate shattered. If it ever stayed on, it must be attached to her head purposefully most of the time... but it clearly hadn't been attached this time, as it had either been thrown to the floor or otherwise fallen off. The club-owner looked back to the portrait behind herself with a guilty frown. "Y-You're right... I owe it to RollerMan to talk to somebody about this," she sniffled... before her frown turned into a strange, sexy smile. It was an expression that didn't seem to fit the current situation at all. She clutched her hands to her bare shoulders and shivered slightly. "It's... It's wunderbar!" Was it really wunderbar? Was it?!

"I'll start by explaining my motivations behind... well, everything," she spoke up, urging Ship to take a seat again by sweeping her hand in that direction. "I've had a lot of people interview either myself or myself and RollerMan, since I appeared on Showbizz's matchmaking TV show and made quite an industry out of my own club, as well as taking a bit of a guiding role in Rollerman's. This question comes up a lot: Garnish, what drives you? My answer is always the same: I simply want to make something worthwhile. Sometimes they joke, 'like a cake?' and I always laugh because it's so apt! Not just because I clearly love cakes, because it is like a cake... I want to make it big, elegant, tasty, valuable... every positive quantifier that you can have. That's what I wanted on my life and why I worked so hard to work my way up from nothing to celebrity club-owner, with a good marriage and vast wealth. That's not the whole answer to the question, though! I don't just want to make something worthwhile... I want to make something worthwhile and then lose it! I don't just want to make a cake! I want to make a cake and then dump it onto the floor!" she explained, perhaps still more cryptically than intended. Her voice was rising a bit and temperature now colored her already rosy cheeks to a red hue. "Ah! It's wunderbar! Not just the feelings of pain, unrequited longing, but of loss! I'm a bit of a masochist, you see," she finished, understating her kink but making it as plain as possible.

"But, along the way, I made a mistake: I fell in love with RollerMan, as I was powerless to do anything else. He's so loveable... such a sweet, sweet man. He's so good to me and we love each other dearly," she reiterated. "The problem is... sexually... being 'good to me' doesn't exactly satisfy due to my unique condition. Don't get me wrong, he's well equipped for it: he's got the muscle and... the anatomy. But he's like a big, cuddly teddy bear! He won't hurt me. I've tried to drop hints before... asked 'don't you want to spank me' or 'would you like to try bondage?' but he always shyly declines. I've even begged him to try it, but he just won't! It's not in his nature. He's the least sadistic person I've ever encountered... Only, he doesn't realize that this hurts me in another way, and not a pleasant one! I know how bad it could feel, with his great muscles, and that longing just kills me. He doesn't realize what denying me the sensation does and I simply couldn't tell him! He'd think I was a freak and while I'm a masochist, I don't want to drag him down with me..."

"So that brings us to the present situation which... I'll admit, has gotten... maybe a bit out of hand," she coughed, now sinking into her seat and looking especially guilty. "I figured... well, I wasn't sure, but maybe... it would feel good to be cheated upon? I'm not really sure! I just wanted to see, since that might satisfy me a bit and would also allow him to be free, to find a new lover and forget about me. To encourage this, I asked him to start a massage service, knowing how the opposite sex would love it and hoping that they would hit on him, maybe start something behind my back, and I'd be free. I might even be able to blame RollerMan a bit, which would help me get over him. But... but he's so loyal... I don't think he's actually done anything with the women I've caused to flock to him," she sobbed, producing a brown kerchief from thin air and beginning to dab at her eyes with it. "In the mean time, I've had SpinMan arrange meetings with all sorts of men. I was sort of hoping he'd think I was cheating on him and might be inclined to do the same. I haven't actually cheated on him, though... when men show up, I try to seduce them in a way that's clearly dangerous to their reputation, since that's the sort of man I have SpinMan bring me. They inevitably decline... and then... well, I'll admit, I take pleasure in having them cuss me out or such before they leave. None of them ever hit me... when I ask them to," she continued, smiling and biting her lip as she realized that must sound pretty weird, not that she'd said it out loud.

"That's everything, though. You understand my whole situation now... Ah, I'm melting!" she cooed, holding both hands to her face; telling somebody else might have lifted a burden from her, but more disturbingly, it had clearly sexually aroused her to admit her terrible plan. She peeked through the fingers covering her eyes and Ship would likely have the distinct feeling that the hostess wanted her to tell her how stupid it had been from the get-go. "Oh, but poor RollerMan, poor Garnish... Everything would be so simple if I could only convince my dearest to abuse me now and again, in a regular, healthy way! O-Or... In a kinky way. Or a really fantastic way for our anniversary~" she added, looking almost as though she was going to start drooling. "But I can't ask him outright. I simply can't do it! I know I'm a masochist, but it's just too difficult. But perhaps... you could put a bug in his ear? Just... I don't know... somehow get him to start thinking of how maybe he ought to try spanking me, or pulling my hair, or maybe gagging me?" she offered, looking at Ship hopefully, clasping her hands together while breathing more and more heavily, causing her chest to heave obscenely. "Or asking me to give him a handjob while I'm hosting a gig! Or filming me and threatening to leak the pictures! Or passing me around to his friends at a party! Or bukka-"


Meanwhile, Katran would get a much vaguer impression of what was going on behind closed doors; even VoiceMan himself only understood so much of it. "Well, she first of all was very direct: she said that she'd called me there explicitly for sex, but that she also wanted a relationship with me. I pointed out that I really had no such intentions and furthermore hardly know the woman, as you can imagine I might, and she got teary... started begging me to allow her to publicly apologize. When I said no, she actually asked me to hit her! That's when I knew I needed to get out of there... Something's really wrong with her," he murmured, starting to realize that maybe he ought to be taking responsibility and getting Garnish some help. Apparently, he decided that would be too much trouble, because he made no mention of doing so. "That's as cold and hard as the facts are going to get. I still don't understand her motivations... There's got to be some mental instability going on. I can only attribute it to how terribly her marriage to RollerMan seems to be going... both of them seem to be obsessed with sexing up other people."

His ears perked up when he heard Katran mention Showbizz, but his face showed that he was dreading hearing how she was involved. They apparently didn't have a very good relationship, as Katran probably had already inferred from Showbizz's earlier berating of her brother. "Oh God... I'm never going to live this down. There's no way she's going to believe I didn't come here trying to be Garnish's new boy toy... I really should have thought this through a little better," he groaned, clasping one hand to his face in an expression of epic failure. "Ugh... Well, I'm glad you didn't do whatever she asked you to. That girl gets away with more than she ought to, you know? Someone needs to bring her down a peg now and again," he laughed, finding at least some good in the situation. "However, I don't think she's the one who started the 'rumors,' not that they're exactly rumors any more to me, now that I've experienced it all first hand. I do think she is probably stoking the flames, if she can. The hairier this all gets, the better ratings she's going to get out of her eventual broadcast special on it." He made a distasteful frown that was either due to his frustration at Showbizz's lack of ethics or his frustration that he never managed to pull the same numbers as her, both equally likely.

He certainly agreed on one point: "Yes... Now that you mention it, walking back out is a bad idea. I think I'll just jack out... if you're finished with me. And please, please don't spread this around, okay? The Neo-Shogun Empire just stole my only two employees, I've got no guests lined up... my show just needs one more nail in the coffin and I'm out of the business forever. My sponsors won't want me if they think I'm inserting myself into this whole Garnish fiasco, not as an interviewer, but as a slab of meat..."
"Sounds like RollerMan hasn't got two eggs to beat," Lyn responded to Mira, shrugging.

Ship inwardly groaned but tried to remain focused on her conversation with Garnish. She began to give an earnest grin again when she got the impression that Garnish was feeling better, having opened up to talk... but that grin fell to an awkward smile again as she got the distinct idea that there was an odd undercurrent to her catch phrase. "Excellent," she told her hostess all the same, making her way to her chair again.

The Navi listened to the opening of Garnish's real explanation, nodding along and feeling funnily like she was taking notes to write a biography. As the conversation continued, she became more convinced that she was actually playing a role more like that of a psychiatrist. Ship felt that Garnish was probably giving some nuanced element of her life that she'd reached after some soul searching...

... Of course, as the owner of Wunderbar made it blunt, Ship realized she was hearing not so much a philosophy as, distinctly, a sexual kink. The Navi tried to keep a straight expression on her child-like face as a flush crept across it. Ship couldn't help but consider her own stance on the topic as Garnish continued. Of course, she didn't have any sexual experience, herself, and S&M fell out of the decidedly wide range of romantic topics she had taken it upon herself to bone up on... but still, she couldn't help but consider which side of that spectrum she fell on. "Hmm..." she paused, considering briefly her relationship with Lyn. "... Probably sadist."

The Navi listened a while longer, thinking that in spite of the difficult material she had to work with and her limited knowledge on the subject, she might actually have the beginnings of a decent plan. She finally decided to interrupt as Garnish was getting into some of the more intimate and explicit suggestions of what she might have RollerMan do. "T-that's quite all right, Ms. Garnish! Yes, I think I fully understand the situation now."

"Yeah, nice," Lyn said, pounding a fist into her hand. "This'll be easier than I expected! All we gotta do is beat her up, right?!"

"Wh- no, of course not!" Ship chided her operator, finally addressing her rather than simply ignoring her. "I will do no such thing! I don't think having total strangers beat her senseless is the solution here at all." The Navi turned to Garnish again and gave her a sympathetic smile to show her understanding (which, funnily enough, probably conveyed very little of what Garnish had been hoping to see). "What Garnish needs is for her husband to understand her needs and to properly reciprocate in their intimate activities."

The Navi rose from her seat, a hand to her chin, and began gliding across the floor thoughtfully. "If I had to say, the issue is probably that RollerMan understands the two of you have a beautiful love that needs to be cherished and protected... but at the same time, he's simply too gentle to predispose himself to sadism. He probably thinks the suggestion is simply a whim of yours, or some random attempt to spice up your sex life. If he's a gentle man, as you say, he may be trying to gradually make his touch more and more feathery in an attempt to comfort you... which, I can only assume, has the opposite of the desired effect."

The Navi tried to ignore her operator pantomiming a gag as she continued with her train of thought. "Ah, but this is where, as a relationship counselor, I can come in especially handy! I would recommend you simply have us pay him a visit. We can explain that after you explained the whole situation to us, we were the ones to advise you to pursue S&M play! We can say you were on board, hoping to do anything to provide something especially big for your anniversary. That way, it can be... a pleasant surprise, so to speak, if you just so happen to... um... really enjoy yourself, during this supposed one-time event. After seeing that, you can claim it if you want, and claim it as a new discovery."

"Yeah, uh... there's just one problem with that," Lyn piped up, looking resentful that she even had to participate in this conversation. "Unless you've been hiding something from me, or Katran or Mira turns out to be a closet torture fetishist, I think we're going to have a bit of a hard time giving Pinhead the lesson he'd need."

Ship gulped, acknowledging that was a bit of a tough problem. She found herself wishing Katran was nearby to bounce ideas off of... if she was being honest, she more wanted Katran here so she could confirm if the Navi would indeed own up to having any interest or experience, long shot as that was. Or... or maybe...!

"Something occurred to me, Ms. Garnish!" Ship suddenly shouted, looking excited. "You see, my associate and I... um, I haven't introduced her, her name is Katran and you may meet her shortly... well, we have limited knowledge or experience in S&M in particular! That is to say... do you think... before we go to turn your husband on the idea, perhaps we should... gain some experience? I mean to say, do you think it would be appropriate if I were to practice with Katran? Not that I want to, at all, naturally, but do you think that would be useful and perhaps even necessary? I mean, not that we're involved in that way, but strictly professional! S&M as a professional courtesy! If that's what you want, I'm willing to put my dignity on the line for this mission!" Ship was breathing hard now, in a bit of an embarrassingly excited way that might even be familiar to Garnish.

Lyn sat with her head hanging low, trying to hide her face from Mira. She snapped her fingers in front of her PET a few times. "Oi, get your curly little head in the game, please...!"