Birds and The Bee Rider

The BeeCon, home of a special life action show with Bee Rider and various stands with special goods for sale, and Satou was right in the middle of it. He was wearing his specially made helmet to look like Bee Rider's, even circuitry to have the eyes light up with VenusMan and function as PET screens. Along with that he was wearing a black sweater, black jeans and a black/yellow scarf with a fake stinger on the end. As he moved along the stands, buying goods wherever he could and generally having a great time, he was also asked if people could take pictures of him and share contact information for future cons. Carrying a plastic bag around with various Bee Rider goods, it was finally time for the live action show and he sat in the crowd amongst other children. There were even some adult people in the children's crowd, probably very big fans of the series. The show was a lot of fun and the action was great, even if it was fake, and while children were 'recruited' from the audience, he was never picked. Mostly due to him looking too cool for 'hostage'. At the end of the show, everyone got a badge to remember the day by which Satou quickly pinned on his sweater.

"So what do we do now, kid?" VenusMan asked. On the right screen he was sitting in a plant themed chair with his legs crossed, just looking around at the sights. "Any other desires?"

Still walking, Satou suddenly realized that maybe it was time for a break as he had been walking all the time. "How about a snack?" he said and pointed towards a stand where they sold large Bee Rider-themed lollipops. VenusMan simply shrugged as Satou ran towards the stand to buy one of the lollipops. With snack in hand, he walked over to a quieter bench and sat down while taking his helmet off. He placed the helmet next to him with the eyes pointed towards the convention area so VenusMan could still enjoy it. "A shame we had to run out on those two ladies though."

"Two ladies..." VenusMan muttered, still remembering the dream of a female Kirlian. "Yeah. A shame," he continued with a mocking tone in his voice, "But it's fine, I'm sure I'll see them again."

"Mhmm," Satou hummed, enjoying his lollipop, and swayed his legs back and forth, "If you say so, Venus." The two shared no further words, only looking around while enjoying some peace and quiet.
In many ways, Dharma was like the villain from a movie or comic series. Among these ways was a profound distaste for heroes. It wasn't that she didn't believe in superheroes; far from it. She believed that in the average situation, most of the world's sheep would choose to take that role if possible. After all, the smart want people indebted to them and the weak-minded wanted to do good for free. In her mind, all heroes fell into one of those two brands: generous but stupid, or greedy and smart. The latter couldn't play the hero in the long run, so she assumed that most of those who ever were named or claimed to be heroes fell into latter category.

... Speaking of bee heroes, who'd thought up this guy anyway? What exactly about bees embodied goodness and heroics? She would have preferred a hero that dies when he stings his victims... although, that sounded more like a villain.

As the president left he staging area where Dharma had just finished pedalling her new branded children's vitamins (which she'd been assured would be a hit with parents, despite the reactions on the faces of the taste testers), Phero piped up with her own thoughts on Bee Rider. "I hear that bees communicate with one another using a special dance. Do you suppose that Bee Rider does the same? Do too think he attracts ladies with his footwork?" she asked. "I think that only being able to talk that way would be exhausting..."

"For the sake of these children, I hope he does nothing so foolish for them to impersonate. Although, he is a grown man dressed as a bee, regularly challenging criminals yet abstaining from utilizing a lethal firearm... so perhaps he is such an idiot," she sighed. Unfortunately, jawing with her navi was really all she had to do while she waited for her ferry. She had already begun searching for the place occupied by the smallest number of sweaty bee fans... and regretting her usual full-black ensemble due to the heat. She imagined the kids in helmets were probably feeling the same way.

Before she could stop anywhere to rest , she was approached by a group of older fans. To their credit, they were pretty ordinary looking for adult superfans of a children's superhero. To their detriment,they were indeed superfans. "Oh, dude, check it! She's cosplaying Dr. Black Plague from #40! Sick!" one commented with excitement. "I never seen anybody do that one!"

Dharma smiled back blankly, searching for the right words. Not finding them,she left and continued walking.

As she managed to get through the crowd and nearly to a relatively uncrowded area for rest, she took a stop to rest by an animatronic bee rider, who moved his arms back and forth in a constant dynamic pose. Unfortunately, the booth he was advertising for had already closed, so there was little reason for anyone to admire it. A small groan escaped Dharma's lips, which were still turned into a fake smile for anyone watching. "Now, the full black ensemble is a must... but I should have considered different shoes," she complained.

As Dharma turned to walk away, she realized that she ought to have yielded to signs warning children not to play near the animatronics. She realized the sleeve of her bulky coat had become caught in the twisting arm of the robot. As she turned around to inspect what had happened, she found herself nearly slapped in the face by the arm's sudden, jerky motion. "Ha ha... ha..." she laughed, trying to make light of the situation for anyone watching...

... Before the robot did a flashy pose, ending by swinging the arm down in a vicious arc to slap her right on the bum. She fell forward almost to her knees, before her sleeve stopped her, suspending her momentarily with both legs spread beneath her and her jacket half-off, revealing her black shirt and tie. "Holy cow! Bee Rider's owning Dr. Black Plague! That's outrageous!" one of the slightly-too-old-for-this fans applauded.

"It's crazy!" another pitched in.

"That's actually kinda turning me on right now," the third whispered to the second.

"Ha ha-Grk! A little help would be appreciated!" Dharma called out, hoping that someone would come to her rescue before the animatronic decided a new move it'd like to use on her.
It was peaceful on Satou's little bench, enjoying his lollipop. Around him, however, was anything but peaceful. Everywhere were groups being formed, conversations being held, cosplayers manhandled by stand props, merchandise sold... It didn't take long for Satou to turn his head towards the helpless Dr. Black Plague cosplayer, but more than that he noticed nobody was actually helping her. "Hey, Venus," he said after he bit through his lollipop, "Let's go help."

VenusMan just glanced at the person for a moment and shrugged, but slowly the cogs and gears started to move and he realized who this 'cosplayer' was. "If she's here..." he muttered to himself. "Yeah, let's go help her," he replied to Satou. He turned the PET screen surface of the helmet's eyes off and they went dark.

Satou put his helmet back on, figuring that if he was going to help the helpless woman he had to do in style. But wait, why would Bee Rider help Dr. Black Plague? Maybe he could cover it up as a fake announcement of her joining the good guys' side or maybe just the selfless act of a hero saving whoever requires saving? He decided on the latter option, figuring it was the easiest to go along with and ran off towards the scene. With his scarf heroically fluttering in the wind, he arrived at the scenario and crossed his arms. "Fear not, Dr. Black Plague!" he shouted with his 'manliest' voice, "Evildoer or not, I cannot stand back when a lady needs my help!"

"Hey, isn't this kind of... Off?" he heard a fan say to another fan near them.

"Maybe it's all a trap of Dr. Black Plague! She must've planned this!" an excited fan exclaimed, holding a camera to his face to record the trap.

'Good, they're going along with it...' Satou thought and took a leap towards the animatronic, only to walk towards its back and turn it off, 'Now to help her up...' It was all still going according to plan and the fans seemed to enjoy it. However Satou's bubble was about to be popped.

"Are you all fools?" one fan spoke up, an obvious veteran in the art of Bee Rider, "That's Bee Rider's rival, Wasp Rider. See, his colors are off."

'Wait what?' chimed through Satou's mind as he looked up at the fans, seeing them through the helmet's visor. He could see them agreeing to the fan, shortly followed by a discussion of Dr. Black Plague and Wasp Rider teaming up. He had no idea he had the colors wrong, maybe he wasn't material for being a hero after all. Nonetheless, he came here with a mission and was not about to walk out of it. "Clever," he said, his sight turned towards the fans, "So I cannot fool your eyes. I'll be taking Dr. Black Plague with me! Begone! Or will you stand against my 'Ecstasy Stinger'...?" Honestly he had no intention of being 'Wasp Rider', but as a fan he could not disregard his role. After untangling the woman's clothes from the animatronic's grasp, he helped her stand up. Around him he could see the fans leave the scene and he could finally be himself again. "Are you OK, miss? Are you unhurt?" he asked before taking his helmet off and keeping it under one arm.

The eyes of the helmet turned back on to reveal an image of VenusMan standing in the right eye with his arms crossed. He tilted his head in thought as he looked at the woman's face before asking her the question. "Aren't you Phero's Operator?" he asked, tilting his head to the other side.
Dharma would almost rather have been spanked again than saved by a grade schooler in a costume, but here she was, and she had to make the best of it. "Ecstasy? What are kids watching these days," she pondered, unable to wrap her head around Wasp Rider's special attack nomenclature. In actuality, Dharma still young herself... she'd finisheded from high school early and then been home tutored and fit for her position as Heart-Payne successor... which had seemed exhilarating, at the time. That changed a bit when her father passed away and made her position an immediate priority... At an age where most people consider college or their first career, Dharma found herself as a company president.

So, to her, Satou could not have been more of a child. The costume wasn't helping that image either. "Yes, I'm well, thank you. Thank you for the rescue, Wasp Rider,"she chuckled. She wasn't entirely sure if it would offend him to be called by the name of the antagonist he'd accidentally dressed up as, but then again, she didn't give much of a damn regardless. If a grown man had rescued her, he'd likely have been paid a large sum of money now and she would be off to wait on the ferry. Since he wasn't, she decided that alternate methods would be best. After all, why spend a ton of money when you can help it?

"Since you've been so helpful, allow me to introduce myself; I am Dharma Heart-Payne, president of Heart-Payne Pharmaceuticals Incorporated. As thanks for your effort, I want to offer the chance for your navi to participate in a special field test, designed to experiment with several safe, beta-level net compounds, designed for use as pharmaceuticals for navis. This is a rare opportunity to contribute to our company's brand and an exciting adventure for your navi!" She really wasn't offering him anything yet, however... she suspected he might be smart enough to notice, so she twisted her proposal a little further. "My prototype chemical distribution navi and yours will enjoy a GNA hosted mission together, during which you'll see my chemicals in action."

Feeling cocky now with the assumption that she was roping along Satou, Dharma deployed a projection of Phero. She closed her eyes and smiled. "This is my navi, Phero. And your navi is-?"

"VenusMan!" Phero exclaimed, seeing her old friend appear in age visor of Satou's helmet. "What a surprise, seeing you here!"

Dharma's eyes opened and twitched slightly as she confirmed the identity of Phero's ally. "Why?! Wasn't his operator that black flower shop girl?!" she asked herself internally. She had a strict testing rule of "no repeats," due to all of he baggage that came along with repeat subjects. Firstly, VenusMan would know that in reality, many of the compounds tested were not safe at all. Secondly, he would know that this was not an exclusive opportunity; rather, it was one that Dharma had given Alexis some weeks or months ago. Finally, Phero already had a tendency to get attached to subjects... a tendency that would only be exacerbated by the familiarity (romantic tension?) between Phero and VenusMan. "... Delightful," she lied, smiling passively. "Yes, I am Phero's operator."

"Wow, I never thought I was going to see you again!" Phero continued, clasping her hands together and bouncing (somewhat literally, as the cup-like armor around her chest offered no top support). Dharma cursed her navi mentally; that line had revealed a lot about the overly sheltered life of her navi. "It will be nice to spend time together again. And I've learned a lot about friendship since we last met!" Dharma shivered with a mixture of disgust with flowery navi and dread about how convulted her formerly simple plan had become.
If anything, Satou was just glad that the woman was fine but her calling him Wasp Rider would've been unnecessary. He sighed and sat down on a bench nearby, while looking up at Dharma as she explained her 'gift' to him. He just listened to her proposition while waving his legs back and forth. It wasn't like he actually expected anything out of this, he just helped her out. "She really is Plague, isn't she?" he thought as he heard her mention her company and what they basically did. A few cog spins in his mind later, he guessed that she wasn't actually here as a cosplayer. He quietly listened to her and in a way he felt like the hero listening to the villain's plan to conquer the world, despite being a villain himself with this outfit. "But I guess a mission would be interesting, I'll see what VenusMan thinks of it. She doesn't look too bad of a person."

"Ah, I thought right," VenusMan said as he heard Phero shout at him. While Phero continued her excitement, VenusMan turned to Satou and gestured towards the two women. "Let's tag along with them," he said with a grin, "She's a good friend."

Satou looked at Phero for a moment and nodded. "Yeah," he replied and looked up at Dharma, "That mission idea of yours sounds good. But nevermind the business talk, OK? Let's just have fun together." Finishing with a boyish smile, he reached for his PET and transported VenusMan back to it. It didn't strike his mind to explain why VenusMan was with him now, considering he didn't know her at all or how they met in the past, nor did he consider asking VenusMan how he knew the two. He came to the convention for fun anyway, so he figured he might as well do something fun with his new friend (?) Dharma.

"Can't say I've learned a lot about friendship," VenusMan replied to Phero, "But I've definitely grown stronger. Wherever we go, I'll make sure to protect you."

"Oh, right," Satou started and extended his hand out to Dharma, "My name is Shirai Satou. Call me Satou, ehm... Dharma. Can I call you Dharma?" A small grin surfaced on his face as he continued to talk to her, "Or should I call you Black Plague, 'companion of evil'?" He tried his most masculine laugh possible for his age, although any listener could hear it was an attempt doomed to fail. "Come to think of it," he continued with a playful grin, his curiosity for his new friend (?) rising, "Why'd you come here with that outfit? It looks cool, but don't tell me that's your normal outfit."

VenusMan, having seen her before in Alexis' store, quietly nodded at the last question. But with him being on the PET, he couldn't continue staring at Phero so he just awaited the jump into the internet with his arms crossed behind his head.
The Heart-Payne Pharma president saw that the kid wasn't questioning her experiments or the fact that her navi apparently never expected to see friends again after meeting them. She also saw that VenusMan seemed to be thinking with his venis, so to speak. All of this was good. It seemed to create a relatively clean slate with no questions asked. Her smile softened from her corporate beam into a gentle curve (that was still entirely faked). "Of course. If I didn't have a passion for science, I wouldn't be very good at my job! I intend to fully enjoy my time during these experiments," she replied. That wasn't all fake. She generally enjoyed being herself when she wasn't so much on the defensive.

"I've gotten stronger too! This means we can both protect each other!" Phero announced to VenusMan proudly, crossing her arms and giving a cool smile to try to match VenusMan. Not only did such a pose not really fit her, but it also swatted down VenusMan's attempt to be chivalrous. "And don't worry! I can teach you a lot about friendship! My friend Cheshire taught me while we were in the bath together. What I didn't realize is that there's a lot of physical contact involved. For instance, a lot of the behaviors and motions associated with friendship seem to closely mimic those I've studied in my love research- specifically, we spent a lot of time using our fingers to-"

"Ha ha ha!" Dharma practically cried out, almost in physical pain over her efforts to keep her kindly mask on and avoid adopting a look of rage. "We have to give this young man some time to warm up to us before we drag him into all of this nonsense about friendship," she sighed, giving Satou a cute wink (something she wasn't sure she had ever done before and hoped she would never do again).

"So... you're going to become friends with him... and you and he will be like Cheshire and I were?" Phero asked. "I can't imagine it!"

"Don't imagine it!" Dharma replied in a quick, low hiss. "Ah, that is... don't bother! There are many types of friends. But yes, I do hope we will enjoy each other's company." She'd gone off on such a tangent that she only now realized the boy had questions of his own. "Of course you can call me Dharma," she laughed, although she actually wasn't used to very many people calling her by anything besides "Madam President" or "Ms. Heart-Payne" or such. Even when she was a little girl, most people had used terms of endearment when speaking to her. "And no, I would... rather my products not be associated with plagues," she chuckled. Weaponized chemicals weren't something a chemical industry president should be talking about, even jokingly, even to a grade schooler.

As he continued on to the subject of her outfit, her smile momentarily lost some of its masking qualities: her eyebrows turned up and her teeth became visible, making her look slightly mocking. She was so used to having the "it isn't appropriate for a company president to wear a black lab coat everywhere like an anime character" speech with Phillip that it was just natural to her now. "Wasp Rider is criticizing me on how I dress? Oh dear!" she laughed. She decided to truncat the bit about the useless values of society and how great people ought to dress to distinguish themselves from commoners, however. That probably wouldn't come off as a good natured joke (mostly because there was nothing good-natured about it).

Finally, she went to take a seat at one of the benches Satou had been on when she found him. "Let's jack in to one of the many terminals they've set up for convention guests. I suppose its a convention for the navis as much as the operators, right? Anyway, I'll send my navi directly to the GNA to request our mission... VenusMan should post too, so that he can give his own rewards request," she explained, unsure of how familiar Satou would be with such routines. She held one hand to the valley where her buttocks gave way to thighs, accenting her curves in a way that was always erotic in a way she didn't realize, as she took a seat. This ensured that her coat wouldn't bunch up beneath her. Once she'd gotten situated, she jacked her navi in to the terminal.

There was room enough for Satou on the bench too, if he wanted. It would be sort of a cozy fit. Dharma, of course, was fully expectant that he would take the next bench over, on the opposite side of the terminal.

((Jacking in, headed for GNA))
"Hey, I wasn't judging your style," Satou complained with his arms crossed, figuring he could not expect a hand shake from her, "Black suits you, but you could've picked regular black clothes. Besides, I came here with the intention of looking like..." He had wanted to say 'his hero', but his outfit ended up looking like Wasp Rider instead. But on the other hand, he didn't think it was bad to be the villain for a change. Besides, Wasp Rider wasn't a bad character and if anything Wasp Rider was more like the anti-hero than a villain. Even for him, it was obvious that the show was just waiting to pair up Bee Rider with Wasp Rider as allies. Thinking of allies and pairing up, while VenusMan was about to pair up with Phero, he was about to pair up with Dharma. He wasn't sure what to think of her, not having any experiences with girls of his age and even less with older women. But her wink and her posture certainly did have an effect on him. "Hey Venus," Satou said as he looked at his PET, "Anything you have in mind for the mission?"

"Yeah," VenusMan replied, just sitting on the floor inside his PET, "Just send me there, OK?" He looked to the side, as if looking at Dharma, then looked back at Satou. "I'll leave you two alone. I'll go look for Phero."

Satou nodded, "Alright." After initiating the process of sending VenusMan to the internet, he sat down next to Dharma without any notion of respecting her personal space. "So why'd you come here anyway, Dharma?" he asked, leaning against her side to peek at her PET's screen out of curiosity. "If you didn't intend to cosplay as one of the Bee Rider characters, you seem kind of out of place. Oh hey, what chips do you have? Is Phero really as strong as she made herself sound?" While Satou maintained his curiosity, he started leaning over Dharma's lap to figure out where she kept her chips. His Wasp Rider helmet was on the same bench, right next to him, but his PET was in his hands.

Jack In; Mission BBS
Dharma raised both eyebrows as Satou took a seat next to her, unaware of her hidden preferences, which were that no one should ever occupy a space less than about a foot a way from her. Of course, there had been a lot of violators of this rule in the past: escorts who had taken hold of her arm to be gentlemen, business associates who had become a little too horny upon meeting a pretty, college-age girl in a skirt, business associates who had become too drunk and simply nodded off on her... Agnis, who occupied the space far more frequently than Dharma desired, no matter how often she was warned. In Satou's case, however, it was a little different... she couldn't exactly tell him that his behavior wasn't business appropriate, now could she? After all, she wasn't here on business. Regardless, she wasn't so sensitive that a little thing like this would bother her. "Chips? I haven't had a chance to use much as of late and my folder has been undergoing many renovations... I've been attempting to tailor them to Phero's preferences, but she barely cares for battle. As for her strength, I assure you, it is nothing to remark upon. She just knows that she must rise to whatever challenge is given to her. The HP Pharmaceutical president's navi must meet the expectations levied upon her operator, of course," she answered, speaking quickly to answer Satou's rapidfire questions.

What was more upsetting, however, was how the kid was now leaning against her... and now, beyond that, craning his head about flush with her chest in order to get a look at her PET. They were probably starting to look like a couple right about now, which was strictly off limits for the president of a multi-million dollar corporation overseas. As she lifted her arm to free it from him, he managed to get in closer than he probably meant to, feeling the swell of her breast beneath the starched black labcoat. She then promptly stood up; hurting Satou's feelings was unavoidable when it was necessary to avoid a swarm of tabloid journalists. "My apologies, but please, don't be alarmed that I've got to keep some distance between the two of us," she explained, crossing her arms and allowing her chin to rest gently upon the back of one curled hand. "There are vultures in the media who will seize upon anything they perceive as a close relationship in order to get their headliners... so when they see me acting familiar with a young man, for instance, that gives them a lot of ammo. That means that we've got to act like business associates, even though I'd like for the two of us to be friends."

Really, the tabloids weren't so much her concern. They were a concern, but not the concern. The concern was that Dharma didn't want anybody getting that close to her, ever. Whenever Agnis did, Agnis typically found herself falling into a pool, down some steps, down an elevator shaft... wherever was the most painful place Dharma could deposit her, seemingly by accident. She sort of hoped Agnis would try to get in some skinship at the summit of an active volcano, some day, so that she could just put an end to it.

Now that she'd hopefully managed to put the brakes on Satou's chumminess without letting him down too hard, she turned her attention back to her PET. "Hm... it seems some fellows, likely looking to become business associates or something of that nature, have specific requests for me. The fact that they applied through the GNA makes me believe, first off, that they're desperate, and secondly, it makes me wonder how many such requests I have simply never become aware of in the past, when they were timely," she sighed. "Regardless, it is fortunate for us... It means quick work, featuring the exact sort of payment we're looking for. Most importantly, it's something you and I can do together without having to fly to another continent." She recalled Phero back into her PET and set off in what she believed was the direction of Bronco Burgers, where she'd been told to report before learning the origins of the infamous Clusterbucket. "Come, Satou. I hope you're not upset about being embroiled in my business affairs... I assure you, they're rarely entertaining. But if we both try to look amused, we should be rewarded quickly... and we may even help out some of BeeCon's proprietors in the process," Dharma added, thinking that last part sounded especially benevolent on her part.

She then beckoned Satou on, curling two fingers; she wouldn't help him up by hand, since she just gave the whole "no close contact" speech. Her high heels clapped against the convention park's floor as she headed off to Bronco Burgers.
Satou nodded to every word of Dharma's, which might have been enjoyable or not for the woman considering Satou's head was right there at her chest. He, not being used to female companions, had no idea how to interact with them and without meaning any provocation, just acted like how he would with a friend. However it was clear that Dharma thought completely different about this. Not expecting her to stand up and still hanging over her, Satou couldn't retreat to his place in time and lost his balance as he tumbled towards the ground. While his feelings were perfectly fine, his butt was a different tale as he managed to land on it. "Ow ow ow..." he whined as he leaned forwards and rubbed his butt. "Why did you stand up so suddenly!?" he asked Dharma, but swiftly got a barrage of 'I'm important and you're not' words thrown at him. Satou stood up and spun around to check if he accidentally dropped anything.

"Hey," VenusMan's voice sounded once he returned to the toyetic PET helmet. "Did you fall down?" he asked shortly afterwards while Satou turned back to his Navi.

"Yeah... Dharma surprised me..." he said, his voice meek in tone but not in slight pain. The next conversation was totally wordless as VenusMan just gestured Satou to turn around and covertly pointed with his thumb at his own ass as to not look ridiculous. Satou obliged, turning around and looking over his shoulder, until he found out what was going on. Pieces of fabric were hanging from the back of his pants, clearly indicating that a certain little boy had ripped his pants in a most unfortunate fall. With his pair of white briefs unveiled to the world, quick action had to be taken.

He stiffened up, holding his hands over his behind to hide his underwear and slowly shuffled over to his helmet. "Ehm, Dharma, I'll meet you... Ehm, at the place," he stammered, eventually grabbing the helmet and holding it behind him in an attempt to camouflage the damage as VenusMan gave out a grunt in disgust. "I've got to, y'know, wear something else? It's business after all! So I'll see you there, right?" His words were riddled with short fits of laughter to hide his embarrassment. He walked along with Dharma for a short while before sprinting off to the inn he had checked in with before in order to change his clothes.