Stanley Court Mall

Stanley Court is a large, well-trafficked mall, full of attractions for kids and adults alike. One of their greatest features is the daily event, held in the central event plaza. Be it fireworks, a stage show, a ventriloquist, a rock-climbing wall, or, in this case, a book signing. Today, a large number of Craft Comics fans have come out to meet the famous and eccentric founding "father" of modern comics, Cornelia Craft. A new Starborn issue has just released and the topic on everyone's mind is having their copy signed by the crafter herself.

Banners depicting various superheroes (mostly superheroines, however) have been hung stoic and about. Several goods are being sold nearby, related to the series; many mall-goers are dressed as their favorite heroes. At the back, already surrounded by a flock of press, a tall woman, dark-skinned with full lips, black hair in a sort of unique half-fan behind her head, and bright brown eyes, is at the center of the group. Fans of the comics will know her as Cornelia Craft. She is dressed in a white fur coat with a black turtleneck beneath and a slender, glimmering silver skirt. Black leggings cover her thighs beneath the skirt, along with white boots. Her look and body shape (the turtleneck hugging the swell of her breasts very snugly) would likely draw a crowd even if it weren't for her comics.

Nearby her, an equally tall, fair-skinned guy with blond hair a bit too shaggy to match his expensive-looking black three-piece suit, was directing fans this way and that to keep the area from becoming overcrowded. He seemed a little impatient but fairly good looking,if, you know, you were into guys.

Overhead, a tremendous poster announced "STARBORN SIGNING!" and displayed action-packed artwork of two superheroines, one in red and the other in blue, firing lasers from their hands at a giant, blue, Cthulian monster with many leering yellow eyes. The one in red was the spitting image of Martia, blond and busty. She was dressed with a white, sleaveless coat, as well as matching coat and boots. Beneath the coat, she wore a red costume consisting of something like a halter top and briefs. A belt with a big red star at its center circled her waist; a white eye-mask obscured her eyes. The other girl was dressed similarly but with blue instead of black. She was also darker herself and considerably less busty.

Leslie would notice many of these things as she arrived, undoubtedly, but her top priority would be to work through the crowd and reach Cornelia. She would also notice a giant curtain had been arranged against the wall for no obvious purpose. Leslie could easily imagine that the sinister "Mindroot" was waiting behind it.
As she neared the event plaza, Leslie suddenly stopped, folding her arms across her stomach as she noticed just how huge this particular event was. "Well, that's quite a crowd..."

"Yeah...too bad we couldn't get here before it formed, huh...?"

"I really, really, REALLY don't want to have to get through that..." The martial artist looked on the scene, not too thrilled with the concept of being in a giant crowd. Oddly, she didn't seem bothered just by looking at it, just the idea of actually being in one. "So, that superhero on the banner...she really looks a lot like you, huh?"

"Well, actually, she was created for me, so technically I look a lot like her. Which is kinda funny, since I wasn't based on her or anything."

"Yeah. Weird how that works out, huh?" Yep, weird how two unrelated female characters were specifically designed to be blond bombshells capable of superhuman ability. That was unheard of. Though, to be fair, there weren't a ton of Electopian Navis like that. "I guess I don't have a choi...actually, hold the phone...heh, I just got an idea!"

"Oh geez..." Martia braced herself, as that line rarely went smoothly. Still, anything was better than a random freak out.

As fast as possible without being called out by a mall cop, Leslie darted up to the second floor, and made her way over to a railing. Near it were two columns, too wide apart for a single person to press against and make their way down, but none the less would put her beyond the main crowd, and make it far easier to approach one Cornelia Craft. Even if Martia hadn't bothered to look up who she was on the way over, she was too important looking to not be somehow involved. She looked around, to make sure there wasn't any security around to stop her, took a deep breath...and hopped up on the railing. She then made her way down, jumping off the two columns to repel herself down to the plaza. She had thought about just jumping, but eh, the hard mall floor wasn't exactly the dirt and grass of her front yard, and this was a terrible time to get herself hurt.

Acting as though she had done the most natural thing in the world, the young woman casually walked over to the comic book mastermind, before placing her hands in her lap and bowing...even though with that turtleneck, she didn't particularly want to look down. "Hello, Ms. Craft! I'm Leslie Battle, operator of the Navi you requested for. It's a pleasure to meet you!" She raised herself, and looked the requestor right in eye, even though she wanted to look slightly down. Hey, what she did on this mission reflected on the dojo, too. Didn't want it to look like it was full of hooligans...even though hooligans would be a step up from the current roster of pretty much no one. "I think you'll find Martia more than adequate for your needs!"
"A brown-haired girl enters dramatically, leaping like a leopard across the Netafrican wild from the upper floors; her descent shocks the crowd, even wowing one Cornelia Craft, who thinks she's seen it all! Cornelia is amused! Certainly a navi created by this amazing girl, Miss Leslie Battle, is the sort of action-oriented, superheroic woman she's looking for to complete her PR event!" Cornelia narrated, looking more than a little crazy as she smiled, staring straight at Leslie. It might have seemed like a joke at first, if it weren't for the fact that she kept on and on doing it. "Cornelia feels confident that her new hire has created a navi of adequate proportion, given the way that the girl fights to keep her eyes off of the cozy, turtleneck sweater that Cornelia wears. Despite Leslie's willpower, Cornelia's luscious double dees are too-!"

The blond man jumped in and interrupted, realizing Leslie had circumvented him. "Pardon me! My name is Willhelm Jacques III, but you can call me Will," he introduced himself. "Leslie, I like your spunk. At the same time, please allow me to speak for Miss Cornelia; I've been hired on by Craft Comics as her PR manager and I typically handle most transactions, negotiations, and er... speeches for her," he explained. She kept on narrating in the background, but nothing she said contradicted this point. "She's very dedicated to her craft of story telling and character creation, you see, and prefers to always keep those arts in mind as she conducts even simple interaction."

"Will was always putting things in a positive light; he knew Cornelia was crazy, but where was the job security in pointing that out to strangers? Furthermore, what would be the point, when everyone can see for themselves already? But Will couldn't help but love her all the same,with her endearing charismatic charms and tendency to deliver him a fat paycheck," she continued, still smiling at Leslie.

"... Yes," he laughed. "Well Leslie, before we begin, we'd like to know everything about you! Please tell us every skill and familiarity that you bring to the table," Will encouraged Leslie, shaking his head as he spoke to get his hair out of his eyes.
"H-Hey!" Leslie, in a rare moment, flinched at being accused of looking at a rather sizable bosom...mostly because she by and large actually was behaving herself about it. "You act like I'm some kind of perv! Sure, I've snuck a peek or two, because they're pretty fantastic, but I'm actually trying not to!" ...Hmm. Maybe she should stop talking before she dug herself deeper.

She then sat back, so to speak, as she listened to the other guy introduce himself, and the talking turtleneck admitting that she was a loon. The talking, curvaceous turtleneck...dammit, Leslie! Focus! "Ahem! Everything, huh? Well, my full name is Leslie Amy Battle, I'm 5'9", a C-cup, though I don't usually wear a normal bra unless I'm dressing up for something fancy, my measurements are-"

"Um, I don't think that's quite what he's looking for." Martia's hologram appeared on her shoulder, revealing to everyone that DDs were very much part of Leslie's tastes. "He means like, what you're good at, and stuff like that!"

"Oh, right. Well, I'm a sandan black belt in karate, and I assist my father in running the family dojo. Actually, if you've ever followed karate, maybe you've heard of Takeshi Battle? He was once the greatest practitioner of karate in the entire world...but, well, that's a long story, and one we don't have time for. I'm also a bit of a hot springs afficianado, probably since I was born and raised in Yoka! Let's see, what else...well, since I've been martial arts training for so long, I'd say I'm pretty physically gifted, like you saw before. And not just agility, either. I'm pretty strong, and flexible, too!" Leslie grabbed her left foot, and raised it above her head, so that her legs were still parallel...just pointed in opposite directions. Perhaps just as impressive was that at no point did it appear that she might lose her balance. "Hmm...what else...I think that's about it. Just don't ask me to cook anything, because the last time I tried that, both my father and me ended up in the hospital. I don't think you'd ask me to do that, but you never know..."

"As for me, I'd say I've got similar talents as Leslie. Though, I'd like to say that Leslie actually didn't create me. She had creative input, but someone else did the actual work. Programming's another thing you should never ask her to do..." Really, if it didn't involve hitting something, hot water, and/or sticking one's tongue into a busty girl's mouth, it was probably not an especially good idea to have Leslie get involved...
"Leslie immediately became defensive, but there was no need for it!" Cornelia chuckled, amused at Leslie's reaction. "Cornelia had always believed it best for people to be honest about their feelings and so she never felt offended when somebody decided to check her out."

Will couldn't help but smile as Leslie mentioned that she didn't usually wear a normal bra when she went outside... if she'd said she didn't wear a bra, that would be surprising, but what kind of bra was she wearing that wasn't normal...? Thus intrigued, he closed his eyes and shrugged. It was hard for him to get a word in between the energetic Leslie and the ever-narrating Cornelia. "That's quite a resume. Well, don't worry; we have no plans to ask you to cook, program, or any mixture of the two. Your part will be very simple... You remember the request, don't you?" he asked, raising his eyebrows expectantly. As he did, he noticed that the crowd was encroaching again. "Ah, nevermind... Miss Cornelia, you will need to finish instructing Leslie here. I've got to handle crowd control," Will sighed, moving over to the crowd and gesturing with his long arms to tell them to move away.

Cornelia's lips curled into a smile, then she continued quietly. "Cornelia explained to Leslie the origin of Mindroot, a new villain that Will suggested she included in her latest series, noting that it was the first time she'd ever heard him offer input on her comics. She glossed over the creature's origins and motivations while moving straight to the punchline: 'Mindroot is like a tremendous octopus,' she explained," she explained. "Leslie was reminded that her mission would be to operate the creature. Cornelia would perform the book-signing, which would be rudely interrupted by the giant tentacles of the monster, Mindroot, controlled from the inside by Leslie. Leslie would operate four tentacles in the front and attack Cornelia, then pull her inside the animatronic creature, where she would join Leslie. Although it would be a might cramped, Cornelia had a feeling Leslie wouldn't mind~"

The comic author turned her eyes to the curtain and leaned forward on the railing separating her staging area from the mall-goers' walkway. "Actors dressed as Red Nova and Warp would come in to rescue Cornelia, injuring Mindroot and forcing him to spit up the abducted artist. The crowd would cheer and the curtain would close; then Leslie's part in the mission would be over. Cornelia figured that would all be simple enough for Leslie to digest."

Will approached again, looking stately despite his hair as he pressed his fingers into the open breast of his jacket. "Well, Leslie, it sounds like you've been briefed. Now I'm going to explain your navi's role, so please, have her listen," he addressed her, giving her a moment to make necessary arrangements. "Are you listening? We've got a few businesses pledging funds to our advertising campaign. In return, we are giving back a little advertising of our own: Red Nova and Warp will be making rounds around the mall's net area, visiting each of the vendors on our list and fulfilling a PR opportunity 'wish' devised by the company management and staff, where applicable."

"Cornelia pointed out how important it would be to act the role of Red Nova! She explained that Red Nova is a pinnacle of humanity's faith, a girl who goes beyond everyone's expectations every time and never fails her goal, no matter how adverse the situation. The author pointed out that she was never one to scorn her foes and chose to convert all evil adversaries into 'star matter,' which is the fuel that grants human wishes. Ultimately, Leslie would realize that the goal of the Starborn, Red Nova, would be to grant wishes at any cost." Coughing, Cornelia crossed her arms and raised one finger. "Of course, Cornelia acknowledged that Leslie's navi could not really be expected to grant any wish. So we've explained in the PR locations that Red Nova is limiting the use of her powers for today. That is, the wishes you grant won't involve using Red Nova's star blasts, nor any of her other super powers."

"Basically, Leslie's navi would have to be a good girl," Cornelia finished, folding her hands together and resting them at her cheek.

"Precisely," Will agreed. "You'll also meet Warp, Miss Cornelia's personal navi. She's very new to the whole business of acting a hero and is quite shy, so I hope that your navi will do everything she can to make the job easy for her. She's going to be involved in a lot of our PR from now on, so we need her to get used to appearing to the public," he explained. "Now, any other questions? When you're ready to jack in, please do so through one of the guest terminals. Of course, that's assuming you have a wireless PET with good enough transmitting distance... If not, we can also jack you in directly through Mindroot. Actually, that sounds like it might be the better option," he mused, tilting his head thoughtfully towards the curtain. "What do you say?"
Oh, good, Cornelia wasn't a prude. There was no immediate reaction from Leslie, though others might notice that from time to time, she allowed herself a quick peek at the woman's chest. Other than that, she just listened to what she was supposed to do. Operating mechanical things wasn't exactly her specialty, but as long as the controls weren't too complicated, she shouldn't have any problems. Plus, it sounded like after 'Mindroot' ate the artist, it was going to be nice and tight in there...

But anyway, her part seemed simple enough. Now, for Martia's. "You listening, Martia?"

"Loud and clear."

Both of them came to a similar conclusion as they heard out what Martia was going to do: comic books were completely ridiculous. Still, both were set on making it as much of a success as possible, since if they did well, they could probably get away with a little free advertising themselves. Now, time to get to work. "Yeah, the signal on my PET can get shaky sometimes if what it's jacked into isn't nearby, so I'll hold off and send Martia in through Mindroot." ...Mindroot. What kind of a name was that? "So, where is it?"
"Right this way, Leslie. Mindroot awaits you behind this curtain," Will beckoned, stepping over the guard-rail with his long legs and moving towards the giant curtain Leslie had seen earlier. "Cornelia, you'll have to fend for yourself for a moment. We'll give everything away if we allow you to be seen heading behind the curtain!" Cornelia nodded along and began rambling to one of her nearby fans, who seemed more than happy to soak it all in without offering any responses. "Now, let's see if we can find the lights..." Will murmured, once Leslie was inside.

The illumination of several spotlights, mounted along a surprisingly lengthy track (almost like a train tunnel) behind the giant robot, lit up... the giant robot. This robotic Mindroot was so realistically and painstakingly constructed that it was hard to believe they planned only to use it for this one publicity event, but they must, seeing as it was set up on this rail. "You enter through the mouth... there," Will instructed, pointing towards a seemingly tiny hole at the center of the creature's face/body. It looked to be surrounded by jagged teeth, but as he got in himself, it became clear that they were arranged in such a fashion as to easily allow a person through, slightly larger than an ordinary door. He climbed inside to demonstrate how easy it was. "Now, I know it's a little cramped, but please, join me. You'll need to be used to this when the time comes to bring in Cornelia, regardless."

Once Leslie was inside, it became apparent that calling it "cozy" would definitely be a stretch: one person would either have to stand with their back pressed against the door out or they'd have to sit in the pilot's lap. Will allowed Leslie to do whichever she chose while he continued, very professionally, to explain the controls. "The levers to your left and right here control the left and right sets of tentacles, which will be necessary to create the illusion of "movement." You can close and open the door in by using this button. The center lever causes Mindroot to move either backward or forward through the tunnel; it's a little weighted so that you won't move it by mistake. Finally, that joystick over by your right hand will operate a naturally curled tendril, which you will be trying to angle around Cornelia's waist. You will press the button atop the joystick once you think you've gotten it around her, causing it to clamp, which will then allow Mindroot to automatically pull her inside."

Leslie noticed there were a lot of other buttons that were not being explained to her... And even another monitor, filled with obscure statuses and a diagram of the robot, which seemed to apply that there was another seating area positioned in the top-center of the robot's head. "Oh, and please, jack your navi into this console in front of you whenever you're ready. Please climb out and I'll let you have your seat," he explained. "Remember: on my signal, which will simply be opening the curtain, you will operate the legs, then snatch Cornelia with the tendril. You should then put the robot into full reverse down the tunnel."
Leslie elected to simply hop over the guard rail, not wanting to draw attention to herself like before. She then followed Will into the tunnel, which almost made it look like they weren't even in the mall anymore. Seeing the giant Mindroot robot didn't help that matter, either. " many months did it take to build that thing? I think I had a nightmare about something like this once..."

Without elaborating about what a giant tentacled monster was doing in her dreams, the martial artist got inside, noting that, while simple, was probably something you shouldn't go in with lots of loose clothing. Good thing that besides her jacket, all her clothes were pretty form fitting. Now, let's see what was inside the beast...levers and buttons and all kinds of things you'd expect, really. It was a pretty tight fit, but she hung out by the door, passing on sitting on the guy's lap, as he told her what she needed to know. Seemed easy enough, even for her, though she did wonder what the deal was with all the other stuff. Probably better if she didn't know, though; it'd just confuse her, in all likelihood.

She turned and looked at the console she was supposed to jack into. Well, Martia was probably ready, and she was definitely ready...better not delay things any longer. Leslie pulled out her PET, and pointed it at the port. It was a fairly awkward angle from there, but otherwise, standard procedure. "Well, have fun! Jack in! Martia, Execute!" A beam of light shot out, and the lack of other signals showed that it was successful.

With that, Leslie hopped out of giant, fang filled mouth, and took one more look at it. Yeesh. It was a robot, but it was almost creepy how much detail they put into it. There's no way it was going to be used only for this one event. Or, if it was, she needed to change careers to comic book writer, because apparently that's where all the money was. But for now, she needed to concentrate on the job at hand. "All right, sounds like my part's pretty easy. Consider me ready whenever you are!"
"Ready to get started, are you? Terrific, because so am I. You'll find that Mindroot grows on you, I'm sure. Hopefully he will be a villain worth everyone's remembering... rooted in their minds, even," Will concluded, nodding and looking personally pleased with himself. "I must go back to Cornelia. Please, hop into the robot and await the opening of the curtains. Oh... before I forget, there are two factors I forgot to mention."

He tapped one fist on the teeth surrounding the door. "Your navi... as you may notice looking at your PET, the two of you aren't able to see or speak to each other at the moment. This is a temporary situation that will last only so long as she's jacked into this robot. You can feel free to jack her out if that ever becomes a problem. The reasoning is simply that we absolutely want no distractions while anyone's piloting a giant, monster robot," he chuckled. "I hope that's fine with you. I know it Will be a little lonely without your navi, but you'll have Cornelia to keep you company soon enough."

With that, he swaggered back out from the curtain. Leslie could watch him reapproach Cornelia on the monitor, which displayed conditions perhaps linked to some hidden camera. Unfortunately, even as the event started, there might not be a lot to do... Cornelia had started signing books and was narrating to the crowd, who all seemed to be soaking it in happily. At least there were plenty of Red Nova cosplaying girls to look at, although perhaps none of them fit the costume as well as Martia could.

She would just have to sit and be patient for a bit as Cornelia and Will did their part... Patience...
Leslie cringed at the absolutely horrible pun made by Will, though she refrained from making a snippy remark about it. She then checked her PET, and sure enough, she had no direct contact with her Navi. "Eh, I wouldn't worry about it. Both Martia and I are big girls. We can take care of ourselves!"

With that, she took her seat in the Mindroot machine, and looked around. There was a lot of stuff she was half-curious in knowing what they were for, but luckily, she had the discipline to resist the temptation. She sat back, and looked over some of the cosplayers. Some definitely fit it better than others...but she was pretty sure that Martia would fit it better than any of them. It was actually kinda weird how the two looked like they could be twins...though, she wouldn't mind comparing Martia in that costume to Starborn herself. Too bad she couldn't do that without jacking her out.
The book signing was proceeding easily enough, lots of Cornelia's narration booming out above the crowd while she signed things for adoring fans; mostly, she signed books and comics, but also shirts, posters, and the occasional arm or face. As she continued, the curtain slowly began to open. Leslie heard something like a low metallic thud knocking against Mindroot's outer shell, going from bottom to top along just the left side of the robot, but there was no way to tell what it was. A short moment later, a voice spoke up, sounding like Will but perhaps over an automated recording. "Will both pilots now fasten their safety harnesses..."

Of course, Leslie would have time to do so... the curtain was opening quite slowly and Mindroot (hopefully) wouldn't do a thing until she told it to. As the veil was pushed aside, the audience began to gasp in mixed awe, excitement, and horror as they saw the giant monster that lay in wait for Cornelia. Leslie would also note that Cornelia was now very much alone on the stage: Will was nowhere in sight and no safety officers were around her either. Most likely, that was all to allow the tendril to grasp her safely.

A small beep sounded. After looking around the console, Leslie was able to spot one difference from when she had looked earlier: the diagram of Mindroot in the top right monitor was now highlighting green the mouth where she was seated as well as the top of the monster's cranium.
And so, Leslie continued to sit back and relax in the depths of the giant robot...definitely not something she expected to do when she woke up that morning. She could hear something on the left side...based on what she'd seen inside the monster, it was probably another pilot. But, something about that didn't make sense to her. She was capable of moving forward, 'abducting' Cornelia, and returning to the shadows from whence she came. So why did they need a second pilot? Backup, maybe? ...Meh, not important.

The announcement made the martial artist look at...wherever it was coming up funny, wondering exactly how fast the hunk of metal was if it needed to come with seatbelts. Oh well, it's not like she didn't have any time to do it, so she buckled up. Now, let's see...Cornelia was all by her lonesome, probably as another precaution, and to make grabbing her easier. Made her life easier, at least. Now, let's see...she needed to use the middle level to move it forward, alternating with the right and left levers as she did so to make it look like Mindroot was actually moving. Once she was within range, she should stop, and use the joystick thing to get the tendril, he called it, over to Cornelia herself. Then, she pressed the button on the joystick to wrap it around her and bring her in, making sure to press the other button to let her in. And finally, she moved the weighted lever again to move backward, and use the other levers to once again make it look more real. She was no mechanical genius, but it didn't seem overly hard to do.

Now, she just had to execute it like she did in her mind.
The legs moved, but as it turned out, walking them back and forth made the giant robot seem humorously like a giant crab... which granted, he did look a little like. The crowd was far too busy shouting in mixed shock and amazement at the giant creature that had come to abduct their favorite author. "Cornelia wondered why the crowd was all staring behind her... 'Oh, my word!' she shouted!" Cornelia hammed, noticing the robot behind her purposely too late.

The loop of Mindroot's tongue like tendril came out easily enough, with surprisingly life-like motions despite the fact that Leslie knew its tip had only an open and close function and the fact that it couldn't move along the y axis. Grabbing Cornelia proved much easier than using the crane machine at the local arcade. Think of how much joy children would experience if they could just play giant robot machines and win shapely women instead of toys. Somebody ought to make that happen.

Now, what seemed unexpected was that the tongue looked like it was drawing in Cornelia automatically, without further input from Leslie. Newly, four more buttons opened up out of the console, along with sliders on each, ranging from 0 to 100. The buttons showed a ball of fire, a water droplet, an electricity bolt, and a cartoon heart. One could easily imagine that pressing them all together would summon an environmentally themed superhero. Of course, Will had told her not to mess with anything, but... these were like something you would see on a kid's electronic toy. Asking someone not to press them would just be cruel, wouldn't it? Of course, throwing the famous comic writer across the mall could also be bad.

Leslie wouldn't have long to think, however, because Mindroot was pulling Cornelia towards the cockpit / mouth like he was hungry for her. Will was still nowhere in sight.
...Ow. She wasn't a very good actor herself, but even Leslie had to cringe at Cornelia's performance. That was just awful...stick to comic book writing. At least grabbing her was easy. The machine practically did the job itself. And maybe she could join in on the chick grabbing once she was in there...

Eh? What's with the buttons that suddenly came out? Fire, Water, Electricity...and Heart? What, did someone have issues with Wood? She was sort of curious as to what they'd do...special effects, maybe? But, she really couldn't mess with anything. After all, she was a trained fighter. Discipline was her middle name. ...Well, all right, it was actually Mizuki, but still. Unless someone put a gun to her head or something, she was not touching any of those buttons, no matter how shiny and inviting they seemed.
It would have been interesting to see if Leslie had the reflexes to mash any buttons before Cornelia was thrown into the cockpit, given the amazing speed with which true more and more lifelike tongue had swiped her. Leslie sustained, however, and was left with the less intriguing but still intriguing outcome of having the famous comic book artist slung into her lap through Mindroot's mouth with rather impressive accuracy. It sure didn't feel like the tongue was going by her own inputs, though.

The immediate sensation of the author smacking into Leslie was unpleasant, like two athletes tackling intro each other with the attempt of knocking one another down, except that one was just sitting and minding her own business. The upside was that once that was over, the author sat with her legs apart and her buttocks upon Leslie's lap, her arms spread to each side and the breast of her jacket pressing against Leslie's face. The best feeling would be a tossup between the softness of her breasts and thighs or the embrace of he luxurious fur coat, ,which hung about her shoulders in a disheveled way. A lock of hair wagged in front of her dazed expression. It looked like her tights had gotten slightly torn, perhaps snagging on something as she flew in."Cornelia was surprised... that Will didn't give her a safety harness," the VIP muttered in a dizzy slur. "But on the upside, Cornelia thought she may have just discovered an idea for a fabulous coming attraction at the Starborn Amusement Park!"

It was a little hard to hear or see anything from Leslie's current position, but she could tell something was definitely still afoot, either planned or unplanned. Mindroot's tongue had curled up in front of the door, both blocking the way out and making it even more"cozy" inside the robot's mouth. She could also hear a sound like a rail cart clattering and felt the floor moving beneath her, which bounced herself and Cornelia in a way that was likely not altogether unpleasant. Unless Cornelia had bumped something, though, the robot should not have been given any order for a high speed retreat.

In fact, Leslie managed to notice one of Cornelia's hands; it was gripping a lever near the door, which she had never learned the purpose of. But that didn't change the fact that it ought to be doing something and probably hadn't ordered Mindroot to fly backwards, given that she had been instructed on how to move backwards earlier.

"Please remain seated and await further instruction... please remain seated... Thank you..." Will's hushed voice almost whispered from the loudspeaker. It didn't sound particularly prerecorded this time.
Leslie was much less affected than Cornelia by the latter getting thrown into the former, in part because she wasn't the one being flung, and in part because she was more used to blunt force trauma than a regular person. Thanks to this, she was able to enjoy the sensations of the comic book artist being pressed against her all the more. Definitely a perk of taking up this mission. And the bouncing was just making it all the better...

...Bouncing? Why were they bouncing? "What the hell?!" The martial artist tried to figure out exactly what was going on, but the same body that had given her pleasure a moment earlier was now a bit of a pain to see through. Based on what she could see, nothing seemed to have been pushed, or pressed, or anything. Then, why were they moving along? It was clearly the source of the bouncing. Wait...Cornelia's hand was holding a lever, and one she didn't know the function of. Maybe that was the cause? It was possible that it was just the 'quick getaway' lever to the other one's 'walk away'. "Hey, think you could move that lever back to where it was? It might be why we're moving, even though I didn't do anything." Of course, if she was still too stunned, she could literally lend a hand, and move the artist's arm for her. No way she was getting to that with a warm, soft body against her.
"Cornelia realized then what Leslie must be referring to... this lever apparatus! She returned it to an upright position and waited to see if the decision bore fruit," the fancy author responded. Before she was even done narrating, however, it was clear nothing was happening... there wasn't so much as a squeak of internal machinery. It was beginning to feel like Leslie has been put into the toddler playset version of a giant robot, with buttons that did nothing and levers that did just as much. "Cornelia observed no effect..."the writer murdered, still pressing her boobs into her companion's face. It was entirely possible the cockpit had become too cramped for her to lean her body backwards.

"Ah! We're a good distance away now, aren't we? Welcome, girls! Or should I say... hostages?" a familiar voice snickered, now sounding uncharacteristically like a douchebag. One of the monitors that had been turned off lit up, showing Willhelm's grinning face. He was now dressed in a strange purple labcoat with a collar that made him look like a stage performing magician, along with a pendant clasp shaped like a blue octopus.

"Cornelia felt intensely confused. Was Will pulling another stunt,to layer intrigue atop the current-?" Cornelia started, then stopped as Will pressed one finger to his lips and hissed, nearly spitting on the screen.

"Shush! Enough with the third person! How egotistical do you have to be to think that ANYBODY can tolerate you doing that?! It's annoying for even a few minutes and I've been by your side for MONTHS!" he exclaimed, looking genuinely distraught.

"But... Cornelia was almost certain it had been years...? Almost a decade?" Cornelia muttered, looking confused.

The newly revealed crazy man Will sighed and pressed one hand into his thick, annoyingly handsome hair. "Short version: I brainwashed you months ago and made you think I was a long-running business associate. Your nature as a hermit made this very easy to do, because you didn't know anyone well enough for them to debunk the myth. My plan all along was to discreetly use the funding from your hit comic series to build this robot, then use your ransom to fund further research," he explained calmly, as if all of that made perfect sense.

"Cornelia... was even more confused! Did Will REALLY have a mind altering device? Why did Will want a big robot so bad...? Why did Will want a robot so bad if he already had the funds to build a mind control device?" the author responded.

"It's not mind control so much as hypnotization. Think about this: what does the average person now spend almost the whole day looking at? His PET! All I have to do is use your PET to convey subliminal messages through sight and sound. When you received Warp months ago, she was already programmed to release these subliminal stimuli without her knowledge," he explained. "And this robot... let's just say that he is really the same idea, just a lot bigger... Hm hm... Well, that, and also better defended."

"But why a giant nightmare octopus creature... Cornelia asked?" Cornelia asked.

"Because I like octopuses?" Will answered. "Also, stop calling me Will. From now on, please call me Dr.-!"

"Octopus, Cornelia suggested!"

"... Wilhelm. Please call me Dr. Wilhelm," he groaned. "As for you, Leslie... You're a nice two-for-one in this situation. More hostages is always better!" the mad scientist (hypnotist?) chuckled. "We'll be on this ride for a while, so try to get comfortable. Oh, and one more thing! Don't think about jacking out those navis, okay? The moment I detect a jack out, I'm going to fry all front cockpit circuits using my own controls... I don't know everything about jack in ports and how they interface but I do know that it might be unpleasant for you, not to mention your navi!"

Cornelia fell silent; she seemed remarkably unaffected by talk of this except for the thought that her navi might be in some kind of danger. As politely as she could,she nudged around Leslie and into the bend of the cockpit, such that her breasts were still in Leslie's face, just now pushing sideways against her cheek. She said nothing, but she allowed her eyes do shoot over towards the controls... she seemed do think they might give the two a chance.

From left to right, she saw a sequence of twenty identical looking buttons in a grid shape, each numbered... a red button inside a hard but transparent case, almost like a self destruct button... another sequence of three identical red buttons... and the joystick / button combo that controlled the tongue. One monitor displayed Wilhelm's cocky smile and another showed the outside tunnel (so dark it might has well have been a blank screen). The last monitor showed a diagram of the robot, which consisted of the two cockpit she knew about, both lit up green, and then a dim blue rest of the body, consisting of one large room and one smaller near the back. There was also the useless lever and a fire extinguisher mounted to her right.

Of course, Leslie could also try to match wits against the newly proclaimed Dr. Wilhelm or she could try to pry the tongue/door open by force... although that could be dangerous, given that the robot was now a high speed train. There was no door behind them to go anywhere further into the robot... something that one could now easily wish they'd thought to notice earlier. The cockpit was almost more of a prison than a cockpit.
While she certainly didn't mind the headrest Cornelia was providing, Leslie was getting a bit nervous about the robot's movement. Something was wrong, and that she wasn't getting any contact about it made her wonder if this was all intentional...

Okay, scratch that, they got contact, firmly establishing that the comic book's 'aide' was, in fact, a gigantic prick. One with an obsession with octopi and robots. Hoo boy. Her father always warned her there'd be people like this. She tried her best to listen, just in case he spilled any useful info...but it just made her want to bash his face in even more. "Shut up, asshole! If I were you, I'd stop gloating, and start enjoying your final moments of being in one piece!" It was taking everything she had just to not punch the monitor with that smug face on it, if only because he seemed like the kind of guy to accidentally blab too much information to her...also, broken glass did not feel good on the fist. She knew that from experience.

With that thought, Leslie proceeded to do something that would shock anyone that really knew her: she repositioned herself and Cornelia so that the latter's breast wasn't touching her face. Instead, she positioned the artist in the seat, and herself over by the door. "See that joystick with the button, Cornelia? Could you try moving it? I'm gonna see if I can open this door!" And so she did. Please, oh please don't let it be completely locked or anything...
"Ah, Leslie! Your voice is music to my ears! Just hearing a woman talk in ordinary first person is like coming home... Hopefully someone will pay Cornelia's ransom quickly and end this nightmare for me," the mad hypno-scientist sighed cheerfully, not seeming overly concerned with the fate of his ligaments.

The kidnapped author rolled her eyes at Dr. Wilhelm as she swapped places with Leslie to the best of her ability. Once she was in the spot, she grasped hold of the joystick...

"The door? Oh, you mean Mindroot's tongue?" their captor butted in, even as the tongue began to unfurl for Leslie. "Well, you're free to control that, if you like," he smirked, shrugging and giving his best playing dumb smile. It was clear he knew something especially amusing (to him, at least).

Cornelia's eyebrows tensed as she watched the joystick, half expecting it to explode in her hand. Meanwhile, Leslie found that the tongue had unfurled all the way out, creating a large but not at all inviting looking red carpet runway towards nothing. More distressing was the view of the tunnel rushing by, only barely visible by the light of the cockpit. It was like something out of an action movie (as this whole past few minutes seemed to be). She could walk out onto the tongue and presumably Cornelia could still operate the appendage, but there'd be no way to jump to safety, as the rapidly moving, solid steel tracks below did not seem especially inviting.
Yep, it was taking everything she had to not punch that smug monitor into a million pieces. He'd better hope that she couldn't find a way up to where he was...or, failing that, he'd really better hope her father didn't find out about this. Now, let's see...yeah, they were going way too fast to try jumping off. Still, maybe she could use it to pop outside for a sec to see if there was anything on the outside that could be helpful. "I'm gonna go take a peek outside, Cornelia. Uncurl the tongue a bit, all right? Not all the way, just enough for me to use it to climb out." She then leered at the monitor. "And if you try ANYTHING, you're dead. Got that?"

With that, Leslie waited for the tongue to become straighter, so that she could climb on top of it, and get a look at the robot from the outside. She wasn't stupid enough to just walk out, though; instead, she placed her arms and legs around the tongue, and started to shimmy her way to the exterior.