Again with missing navis

Duke wandered into the cafe, scanning the group of cafe-goers for Miriya.

"Do you even remember what she looks like?" Pianissimo asked.

Duke shrugged. "Vaguely."
The young Electopian woman Duke had seen at the Colosseum earlier stood up at her table and waved to get his attention. Once she was sure she had it, she beckoned him to join her then sat back down. She looked anything but happy at the moment.
Duke did recognize the woman, but only by the fact that she was trying to get his attention. He walked over and took a seat across from her.\

"So..." he said, not really sure where to start.
"So...." Miriya began only to trail off into thoughtful silence for a moment. Of all the people to answer my request, it would have to be this man. It would have to be him. Why.... Is this some kind of sick joke? Have I really done something to earn this Karma, and I just don't remember? I don't think I've killed anyone.... Beaten a belligerent man to within an inch of his life, sure, but he lived. Just--- GAH! She sighed after a few moments, trying to bleed away her stress. She didn't voice anything of what she was thinking, but her unhappiness was very much evident. She washed her face with her hands, then lowered them to the table again, and spoke in an even tone. "I'll ask the obvious question first-- Do you know where my Navi is?" As she finished speaking, she arched one eyebrow, and waited for a reply.
Duke shook his head. "I'm afraid not," he said. "I'm actually looking for someone I suspect of being her, but...that can wait." He asked the most obvious responding question. "Where was she when she disappeared? What was she doing?"
"Yeah, I knew that was hoping for too much." Miriya admitted. She shrugged at Duke's next statement, and added. "I can help you find who you're looking for once I have Mirage back. I'll owe you one anyway." Her tone and earnest (if somewhat depressed) manner hinted that she hadn't even considered whether Duke and his Navi were actually looking for her and Mirage or not. The answer came too easily for her to have given it any thought. "Well, if you must know, we successfully completed our previous assignment, and were looking for a new one when this really well dressed Navi-- Yes, I mean well dressed. The Navi was literally decked out in what would be some really expensive threads in the real world." She paused long enough to take a drink from her glass of soda, then continued. "Anyway, this Navi in a million-zenny-suit approaches Mirage, and offers the two of us a new contract. The terms are very simple, and the pay was very very good...." Miriya sighed, and looked up at the ceiling. "Boy was the pay good...." She seemed to have spaced out for a moment.
Duke gave a barely audible sigh as Miriya spaced out. "That doesn't tell me anything. Get to the point," he said.
She snapped back out of it. "Well, Mr. Rigel, the contract was to hack the Colosseum gateway and steal a program in the shape of a sword from the safety deposit data store. More specifically, yours. And...." She picked up her soda, and took another drink from it. "....I turned the job down. Two point five million Zenny, and I turned it down." She sighed. "Looking back on it, Mirage would probably still be with me if I had just accepted the job. The client offering the contract... yes, sure, he was well dressed and business like. Very professional. Very 'clean'.... Clean looking at least." She took another drink of her soda. "But there was something very wrong with the picture. This corporate executive poster child walks up to the two of us in the NetSquare, and makes this really off the wall offer that someone of our skill set and current situation could handle.... Easily, even, thanks to having been inside the Colosseum once already today. The access codes would have made this child's play for Mirage. And that's the thing...." Miriya sat back in her chair. "Why us? I mean, it's not even our line of work. We are information brokers, Mr. Rigel. We deal in the retrieval and exchange of valuable data, usually evidence of some kind. We do not deal in kidnapping and assassination, ever. And this contract called for the former. So we told him to get lost. Too, this suited Navi's timing was just too perfect. He had to have someone keeping tabs on us, which is a very unsettling thought.... And then there's the pay. Not to brag or anything, but if we'd actually taken the job, that would have been ridiculously easy money. Far too much of it for the effort we'd have had to go through to snag that sword." She stopped talking, and sat there staring at Duke for few seconds. "That was some bad business, Mr. Rigel... And we were having none of it. Now, two hours after turning that offer down, I look away from my PET long enough to enjoy a late lunch, and when I look back, Mirage is gone. I am a careful woman, Mr. Rigel. I had the sound on my PET turned up, and my Navi sitting in a public area of the NetSquare. I never heard a thing when she vanished, and no-one saw a thing. Tell me, is there something I should know that you're keeping from me?"
Despite Miriya's assurance that they turned down the job, Duke suspected her story, or one similar to it, would be coming. It was easy enough to admit to being involved in an incident while still pretending to be innocent, so this didn't surprise him. What did surprise him were two things. First, the massive sum of money she was apparently offered. Second, her use of the word 'kidnapping'. It was almost as if-

"I knew there was something up with that sword," Pianissimo commented from the PET. "No way it could send a seasoned gunner navi flying across a room by accident."

Duke wanted to counter that point, but he himself remembered how his attempts to scan and get data on the sword object had only led to a baffling mess even he couldn't make sense of and a forced restart of the software.

"I said it could wait, but it seems to be related after all, so..." Duke said in response to Miriya's question, setting his PET on the table and inserting the memory card containing the video data. The video of Pianissimo's poor copy retrieving the sword played out on the PET's holoprojector for both of them. "Before you ask, no, that's not Pianissimo," he said. "It rather reminded me of Mirage's attempt to impersonate Void, actually."

"By the way," Pianissimo added as an afterthought, his image replacing the video screen as the first video ended. "Did your 'corporate executive poster child' navi happen to give you his name?"
Miriya's eyes widened as she stared at the video. "Remind you of Mirage? Mr. Rigel, that is Mirage! But what is sh--" Then she saw the Navi begin to hand Mirage the sword... "Wait, no. no no nonononuNONON-- Damnit!" Miriya said finally when the fake Pianissimo took hold of the sword by the handle. When the video ended, she threw up her hands in frustration. "That's just outstanding!" She dropped her hands on the table and looked straight at Duke. She seemed to be at a loss for words.

When Pianissimo spoke to her, she looked up at the Navi and replied: "You could say that... But you'd have to be more than a little stupid to trust that 'BusinessMan' is his real name."

She turned back to Duke. "Okay, let's get one thing straight before we talk any more... Do I need to call my defense attorney? Or can we just admit this situation sucks for the both of us, and work together to get our Navis back?
Duke opened his mouth, about to say something along the lines of 'I knew it', when Miriya flipped out at her navi grabbing the sword. Sounds like you know more about that thing than you're letting on, he thought. Or just think we know more than we do.

"BusinessMan. Cute. Almost like he wasn't even trying," Pianissimo commented. Far from wondering if it was his real name, Pianissimo couldn't help but wonder why they even listened to him beyond naming himself that. That wasn't suspicious, that was hanging a large flashing neon sign on yourself reading 'I'M UNTRUSTWORTHY. STAY FAR AWAY FROM ME AT ALL COSTS OR I WILL SCREW YOU OVER' with the Bird God's voice announcing what it said to the world if they didn't get the hint from the bright flashing lights.

Duke shook his head. "I'm not particularly trusting of the legal system in the first place. Might as well do something constructive instead of fussing at them for no good reason."
Miriya's stare softened a bit from the glare it was a moment before. "Good to know I'm not the only one. The police wouldn't give me the time of day when I reported Mirage as missing." Her tone became a little dry. "Not that I can blame them, I suppose." She stopped speaking, closed her eyes, and inhaled. "Well, for once, someone else has access to more information than I do." She leaned forward, planted her elbows on the table, and rested her head on her hands. "So..." Her voice trailed off with a mix of hope and expectation, which was also easy to read upon her face.
"If you're hoping I have more leads, I don't really," Duke said. The holoscreen returned to the video, playing the second and less useful entry. "Just that she apparently used the Electown portal to the Netsquare shortly after we left it. That was hours ago though, doesn't help much."
"It may not seem like much, but it's more of a start than you think." Miriya began as she watched the video. "For starters, I know for a fact she's being forced to do this. She threw me a signal in the first video, repeatedly." She shot a glance at Duke. "No, don't bother asking what that signal was, I won't tell you." She looked back at the video, and pointed at the gateway displayed in the recording for emphasis. "Secondly, we know where she came from and where she went back to. And that's not just Electown, but also Electopia. It's very unlikely the person or people who have her are going to bother sending her in from a national network other than the one they operate from. It takes too long, and there's too much lag." As the video ended, she turned to look at him again. "Third, we have your source. Judging by this video, it's someone from the Colosseum. Even I have to admit their security is top class... They can probably tell us more than they already have." She sat back in her chair, and finished her glass of soda. "There's a lot more I could speculate here, but I'd say that's a really good start, wouldn't you?"
"Yeah, a member of Colosseum security gave me these," Duke confirmed. He remembered something from when he had last run into Miriya. "I think it was your friend from the tournament, actually.

"Anyway, he did say he should be able to tell me more in a few hours," he finished before Miriya could react too badly to his earlier statement.
Miriya scowled at the mention of Leonard, but didn't fly off the handle. Instead she muttered "Your appearance here makes oh so much sense now." She listened as Duke finished speaking, then sighed and stood up. "Well, then. I guess I know where I'm going next..... Erk." She paused as something occurred to her. She turned back to look at Duke. "Would you mind coming with me? I don't think they'll be happy to see me after our earlier misunderstanding." She bit her lip worriedly as she finished speaking.
You mean your attempted theft. Yeah, I wouldn't be happy either, Duke thought, pushing himself out of his seat. "Might as well," he answered. "Was planning on going back there anyway."