Dentech University All-School's Athletics Meet and Open Day

((From -> Jenny's House))

It wasn't exactly a bit day at Dentech University; there was always something going on here, after all. Today, however, was the day set for the inter-school athletics meet, held each year for all the schools that chose to attend. The university hosted the sports meet, offering their superior facilities for the competitions, and allowing the meet-up to be much larger than any individual school would ever have been able to support. The event served several complimentary purposes, aside from being a fun and competitive day out for most: the individual schools could compete with each other and intermingle, strengthening the community between the different education centres, and Dentech itself could scout the pool of up and comers from all over for prospective sport scholarship material, knowing that the best of the best from each school would be all neatly gathered right there on their own grounds. It worked the other way too; the university treated the event as an open day for the attending students, so they could get a look at where their future might some day lie.

For Jenny Sutherland, however, it was a chance to skive off her normal classes, spend the day soaking up the best sporty-boy eye candy to be found, and get credit for doing it as an event volunteer. It had meant getting up a bit earlier than normal, but it was no big deal really, not when everything was so clearly laid out and signed. From the moment she had gotten off the metro line to signing in and filling out her school details, to her position now, heading out towards the area where much of the track and field would be conducted, everything had been well marked and made very easy to follow. It was still early in the morning, but already athletes from some schools had begun to arrive, even as the volunteers for helping to marshal and rally people were still getting themselves sorted out. It was going to be a busy day on the whole, but not a particularly strenuous one for any individual volunteer, or so she hoped. If she was lucky she'd even get ample chance to wander around and take in the 'sights'.

True to prediction, the sun was out and scorching away happily; Jenny had brought a broad sun-hat with her, and a bottle of sunscreen, but she could already feel the dry heat on the air beginning to bake things. She would wish for the breeze that was blowing to pick up, but at the same time, if it grew any more than the gentle caress that it was now, it would begin picking up other things, and she was acutely aware of just how light her school's summer dress was. She let the thought go as she spoke to a woman wearing a University name tag about where she was meant to be. No orders just yet, it seemed, now that she was here; there was going to be a welcome speech, before the events actually started, and that couldn't being until all the schools had arrived, so for now she was at a loose end. Good to know. Also good to know was that school volunteers would get shuffled around as needed, and that anyone from the university could request her help with anything, so she wouldn't be stuck marking the same desk or same event all day, either.

With a nod of thanks, Jenny moved away a little to settle near one of the event co-ordination stands and watched with a casual eyes as another load of students, apparently from the Alvis Wiseman, judging from their regalia, unloaded and began their trek across to the sign-ins. Jenny recognised the school colours and emblem from when she and Courser had visited it a few weeks back... there were some very nice specimens there indeed... she caught herself wondering how May was doing, and if she'd volunteered today as well. Oh well, if they met, they'd meet, otherwise Jenny was perfectly open to the concept of making new friends as well. Hopefully ones that wouldn't object to her perving on fit, sporty boys. Another look around made her wonder what the chances were of her getting shuffled over to help around the pool, for the swimming events. That would be an excellent turn of events. With a short, content sigh, Jenny settled back and waited for the day to get interesting.
Just as she had at Scilabs, Rania arrived jogging, a sweat towel flapping at her shoulders and a water bottle swinging at her waist where it was clipped into the band of her athletic shorts. She looked this way and that at the various folks assembled for the meet here... most of them were about two years or more behind her and hadn't entered college yet, which made sense. All the same, she blended in perfectly apart from her lack of an actual uniform. If anything, she looked a bit young for this crowd, but youth was forever to be her curse. Seeing so many sporty types really pumped her up, as did not having to deal with MeleeMan's nagging for a bit, so she continued jogging even as she entered the school grounds. Most events would happen outside anyways, so she could keep up a pretty good pace no matter where she was going.

... That said, she hadn't really been told where she was officially going to be assigned. It didn't seem like she'd arrived late or anything, so Rania figured there might still be some sort of event set-up coming where she'd learn the answer to that question. While she was dressed for running or maybe soccer, given her soccer ball print t-shirt, she couldn't think up an activity that she wouldn't enjoy participating in at least a little. Even someone as energized as Rania needed to hydrate, though, so she slowed her run until she was jogging in place, drinking from her bottle as she did.

Good things weren't meant to last forever; finally, MeleeMan seemed to understand he was being left in the dark about Rania's plans for the day and spoke up. "Where the heck are we?" he asked, from within the confines of her shallow left pocket.

"I'm volunteering at a sports meet today," Rania answered simply. "But right now, I'm not really sure where to go, so I'm just taking a jog around-"

"Okay, sure... Hey, check out Brace-Face over there. She oughta know where you need to be. I mean, not that I care about whether you actually help these guys stretch right before their five foot dash or whatever, but I can't stand to see you wander around aimlessly when you should be jacking me in on the net and helping me with my own training," he observed.

Rania's face fell into an impatient frown. "I'm not wandering around aimlessly... I just got here," she sighed. "And today is not about you, or me, for that matter. Today is about volunteering and helping people."

"Well, then, why don't you volunteer to go talk to Brace-Face? She looks like she wants to talk to those skinny dudes, but can't really work up the guts for it. You're always talking to skinny guys, huh? You can probably help her get up the confidence. Then again, she's got a better rack then you, so she shouldn't need the help," MeleeMan offered out loud.

Rania decided to stuff him back into her pocket as she went to engage the girl in conversation and get him off her back. "Hey there!" she began. "I'm Rania; I'm volunteering here." That was a useful distinguishing factor, because she had neither a name tag nor any identification that would indicate her official status; she'd just have to trust that the authorities here weren't going to try to run her off for helping at a sports meet. "You look like you've got something on your mind... Anything I can do to help?" she offered, pressing her bottle against her cheek as she spoke, just to cool herself off. Truth was, the things floating around in Jenny's mind probably weren't anything Rania could help with, but the two might find something to talk about all the same.

"Yeah, ask her if she has a navi who needs me to do something... I'm bored as hell," a gruff voice added from the confines of Rania's shorts.
Idly watching the talent stretch out and warm up, while pondering thoughts that she probably shouldn't, Jenny was mostly distracted until Rania was almost right beside her. as a result, it was with a small start and sudden movement that she sat upright properly and looked up at the other woman with a squint out from under her sun hat. She realised that, while she'd been zoned out, she actually been grinning in a rather dopey way that showed off her cursed braces, and now she blushed brightly like a girl caught with her hand in the cookies.

"Ah! Hi, sorry! Yes! Hello," She caught the information that Rania was also a volunteer and relaxed a little, though her embarrassment didn't fade altogether. "Um, me too! I'm jenny, it's nice to meet you too." She stood up briefly smoothing her dress to make sure it wasn't blowing, then extended a hand to shake. A glance at the other girl's outfit made her smirk.

"So what school are you coming from? Lucky that they let you dress casual for this... mine insisted on uniform, since we're representing and all..." She plucked at one of the front lapels of her dress as if to illustrated. "did you get signed up and everything already? I thought there'd be, like, name tags or something, at least, but they just kinda pointed me out this way once I'd filled in my details for my school and signed in. I guess the uni staff will just grab anyone that doesn't look like they're here to compete when they need something, probably. I think we're in the sweet spot right now though. Most of the stuff is all set up, but the events haven't started yet, because they've got to do the opening still, so, I think we're just sort of on hand." at the last moment she bit back a comment about enjoying the sights while they lasted... that wasn't something you blurted out to random strangers after all. As a result, though, she caught the last remark coming from Rania's pants and glanced down towards the course of the voice.

"My navi is called CourseMan! But he's been a bit quiet lately. I think he's had a lot on his mind... I don't really think he knows many other navis yet though, so he might like that! What's your name?" Without realising that she had done it, Jenny had bent forward just a touch, as though talking down towards a child, or a short-pocket-level navi. She realised a moment later and straightened again, putting one hand to her face as she blushed for the second time.

"Sorry! Here, one sec, let me..." She turned and crouched quickly, retrieving her satchel and pulling her PET free. "Courser? You busy? Want to meet someone?" There was no answer immediately, though it came after another second or two.
"Ah, sure Jen, if you like. Did you get yourself all signed up and registered alright?"
"Mmhmm! Just waiting now. Kinda hoping they send me over to help at the pools though. That'd be neat."

She looked back to her new acquaintance again and grinned despite herself.
"Sorry. Don't mind me! I'm sure Courser would love to meet a new face, though, I'm not really sure what they'd do, honestly. Not much needs doing here yet." She shrugged then fished her own drink bottle out of her bag and unscrewed the cap to take a small sip before putting it away again. The way the day was shaping up, she was increasingly glad of her sun hat, and sunscreen both. A small increase in the wind sent one hand darting to the front of her dress to keep it down, but it faded away again just as quickly. Still air might make the heat more baking, but she really did hope the breeze didn't pick up any more. She hadn't exactly brought a change of clothes...
Rania accepted the handshake while returning the other girl's smile with a less nervous one, thinking to herself that MeleeMan might have had a point after all. Jenny did seem like she could use a wing-girl to boost her confidence while she volunteered (although Rania didn't perceive that having anything to do with the male athletes, making this a rare case where MeleeMan probably had the right idea in one of their disagreements). "I go to college here in Dentech myself, though it's only my first year, and barely started at that," she laughed in response, inwardly bitter that she was still so easily mistaken for a young student, but not at Jenny, really. "I'm just volunteering today." She didn't explain why, thinking that the goal of helping younger students ought to be both evident and reason enough. She thought to herself that the dress Jenny was wearing was pretty odd for a uniform, given that it seemed a bit, er, prone to wardrobe malfunction. Maybe that said something about the faculty at Jenny's school? Rania hoped not.

For a moment, Rania would ponder Jenny's sudden interest in her athletic shorts, before she recalled that MeleeMan was housed inside her pocket at the moment. She'd said her navi was CourseMan, but Rania didn't really know to take "courser" out of that, instead assuming it must have something to do with scholastic pursuits.

MeleeMan took the opportunity to impose himself into the conversation. "I'm MeleeMan; guys wanna be me, girls wanna get with me. That's the way it is when you're the strongest navi on the net," the voice boasted from Rania's pocket. His tone made it possible for Jenny to almost picture the smirk, despite having never seen the navi before. "CourseMan, huh? Like 'Of Course I'm troubled because I have a lame navi theme' Man?" he snuffed. "What's a CourseMan though, seriously?"

At the moment, Rania was too weirded out at the awkward situation of having another girl talking to her shorts in close proximity to think that she ought to cut off MeleeMan's rude introduction. She arrived to that party too late, but ran damage control. "Sorry! I should mention he's a bit of an a- er... an antagonist," she coughed. "He's got an abrasive personality... But he's not so bad after you hang out with him for a while. He's the kind of guy that's got a soft spot for his friends but only shows it in a pinch, you know?"

"Damn, are you trying to ruin my cred before we even start? Don't go writing me into one of your girl stories... What you think's happening and what's actually happening are two different things," MeleeMan snapped in response. "Anyway, jack me in! I gotta find something to do... The NetPolice ought to have something."

"L-Let's not do NetPolice business right now," Rania laughed awkwardly; she didn't think that she wanted to split her focus between operating MeleeMan and handling the event. "It'd probably be best to pick something we don't need me for."

"That was never a problem! Half the stuff they assign I could do without any chips," he scoffed. The abrasive personality part was making it hard to imagine the friend-making part that Rania had promised existed to Jenny.

"Ugh," Rania sighed, wiping sweat from her forehead using the towel she'd brought. "Well, here's the way I see it: our navis are going to have a lot of free time while we're doing things for the festival. They ought to head to the GNA and take a mission together! We've taken a lot of those and they're a great way to meet new people," she reassured Jenny. "Oh, speaking of which, you haven't met MeleeMan's SP yet... Where is she?"

"I think she's sleeping, though she fell asleep in sword mode. I'm half tempted to dip her in some warm water, but do unto others and all that crap," MeleeMan sighed. "I'll wake her up when we start."

Rania nodded. "Okay... So you go make the request after we find a jack-in point... But be sure to tell them that Jenny and I are going to be busy, okay? In the mean time, why don't we go check out the pool, Jenny? If they haven't assigned us anywhere yet, the least we could do is take a peek and make sure somebody's watching it. It'd be dangerous if people are already going in with no lifeguard," she insisted, finding an excuse to give Jenny what she wanted, without really knowing why she wanted it. "Though, I'm probably going to need to get some sunscreen... And I didn't bring a bathing suit."

"The school swimsuits still fit you, I bet-"

Rania clamped one hand over her pocket to muffle it, having found that last barb especially agitating. "Whaddya say?" she asked Jenny again, smiling awkwardly.
The revelation that Rania was actually a student of Dentech itself, and not a visitor like her, added another thin layer of temporary embarrassment to Jenny's reaction wile she made up for the accidental 'talking to pants' moment. She knew she really didn't like it when people treated her like a child, when she was almost sixteen, so she didn't imagine that Rania would be too pleased about being mistaken for a high-schooler if she wasn't. To herself Jenny silently admitted that in Rania's case it was an easy mistake to make, but she wouldn't say such a thing out loud. Instead, she latched onto something else more useful.

"Wait, so, you're volunteering on behalf of the uni... that's great! I just got told to help out any uni staff and volunteers, and do whatever they said needed doing, so, basically you just need to suggest something and then we can go there, and we're both doing exactly what we were told, right? Probably?"
"Jenny...." Courser's voice was cautionary, but the teenager was going to run with it.
"Nope, that's totally settled! Rania said we should go check out the pool, so that's basically like an official order and everything! Let's go!" She was quick to shoulder her satchel, slipping the drink bottle back inside and standing beside the other woman in preparation for wandering away. Courser sighed, but decided to take some small portion of revenge, by way of MeleeMan's questioning his name. In a nonchalantly cavalier tone he answered the question, and despite being safely in his PET, one could almost feel the wry grin that came with it.

"Just 'Courser' will do, unless you really want to be all formal, MeleeMan... Course, like a river course, or... if you're so inclined..." his answer took on every inch of charm and suggestion he could muster, "Courser, like the way strong fingers course across a lover's back amidst the throes of—"
"Shh- ah, sh, no, jus- shush, shh, shhhh!!" Despite how out of left field the comment was, Jenny had gone beet red and tried instinctively to muffle her PET, though she hadn't the clarity of thought to actually go for the volume switch. It was clear, however, that the comment had done what it was supposed to, in terms of getting an embarrassed rise out of Jenny. What MeleeMan, or indeed Rania might make of it was anyone's guess.

She was left far too temporarily flustered to actually run damage control in the same way Rania had earlier, staring at the ground instead while they walked. Fortunately, Courser himself didn't have the heart to let the awkward moment stand for too long.
"Sorry Jen. But you're just so cute when you blush like that."
"Stop it!!"
"Sorry. Anyway... Miss Rania? If I read the details correctly, the canteen kiosk over at the pool should have a wireless access hub, once we get there. I'd be glad to duck in for a mission while you two are taking care of things out here. After all..." Here he chuckled softly. "It sounds like someone needs to teach this guy how to talk to a lady, don't you think?" He would probably be glad of the fact that they weren't both jacked-in right at the moment of that comment, and he kept quiet after that, half expecting an equally sharp retort from the other navi. Jenny, meanwhile, had benefited from the change of conversation enough to shake off her mortification. She glanced over to Rania and adjusted her sun hat with her free hand.

"I didn't bring a change, or my bathers either. I think they won't want anyone in the pool unless they're competing, probably, at least not until all the pool events are done. I did bring some sunscreen though, so you can borrow that if you want!"

The walk across to the pool gates didn't take too long; Jenny made a fast pace, and probably would have broken into a short jog if not for being with company. Of course, if said company seemed to be equally incline,d the two may well have ended up running at least part of the way. At any rate, the turnstiles were unlocked today, due to the event and they'd be able to pass through easily. The interior of the compound was fairly normal; it was fenced off for various safety reasons, but there was a broad area of grass around the fence, which created a goodly stretch of soft places to sit on a sunny day. The change blocks were on the entry side of the main pool, women's to the left, men's to the right, both with their own separate showers. There were actually a few pools altogether; the main pool was a full sized competition pool; fifty metres and divided into ten lanes, although two of them had had their divider pulled temporarily as a space for warm up laps.

There was also a wading pool, just beyond the shallow end, likely for kids and junior classes, which was open but unattended, and a high diving pool, just beyond the deep end of the main pool as well. The steps to the high board were locked off currently, with one attendant in a small shade pavilion and a stack of clipboards. The far side of the pool had some stands which were mostly empty for now, while there was a canteen and drinks kiosk just by the entrance. It advertised free connections alongside dozens of ice-creams and drinks, on the various boards and signs that filled its flat surfaces.

There were already a small handful of high school athletes who had come directly here to warm up and get ready; apparently they had decided to forgo any of the opening and welcome ceremonies, knowing exactly where they needed to go already. It was less obvious what schools any of them represented, striped down to swim suites and towels, though this didn't seem like a drastic problem to Jenny.

"Nice view..." She murmured a little too loudly, eyes tracing over some of the speedo-clad swimmers idling near the start blocks. In fairness, there were about as many women as men warming up and preparing to swim, most with toned, athletic figures, but Jenny wasn't watching them. Those with an eye for such things might be disappointed to see they were all one-piece swim-wear, no bikinis here; this was a serious swim meet. Jenny realised she'd spoken aloud several moments too late, and put a hand to her mouth with a short gasp.

"Ah... that is, ah, mission! You wanted to jack your navi in? They should be able to get set up now, I think. Right CourseMan?" Not exactly the most tactful recovery in the world...
"Right!" Rania laughed along, not knowing that she was feeding Jenny's habit of cute boy voyeurism. "I'm sure we'll find something helpful to do, one way or another." Whether that was to say "because there's always something to do if you just look for it" or "because the event organizers probably need a lot of help since we showed up without knowing" was left to Jenny's imagination. Rania overheard a bit of CourseMan's explanation regarding his name and raised an eyebrow. She was willing to bet that CourseMan and MeleeMan were more alike than they'd admit; they both seemed to appreciate women in different, neither entirely PC ways. "The kiosk, sure... Yeah... That's truer than you know," the operator sighed, although she wasn't sure she wanted MeleeMan talking like a jokey lady-killer either. Then again, she think she had imagined him being a suave flirt back when she'd filled out the template to make him, so...

"Sure, I got no problem with being informal, Courser, but nicknames don't work for me. If you want to get rid of your Manhood, that's your decision, but for me, the 'Man' stays," MeleeMan responded, jutting his finger out towards the screen, which currently faced nothing but inner pocket. CourseMan was jacking in right at the moment, so he probably wouldn't MeleeMan's verbal jab would hit nothing but air.

Rania rolled her eyes, then turned back to Jenny with a smile. "Sure! I could use some sunscreen... I usually bring some, but I guess I forgot about it today," she responded. "Maybe I wasn't picturing being by the pool!"

"Pools... yuck," MeleeMan commented, hating all things water.

"Well, hey! You haven't seen this pool! Yum!" she joked, looking at the ice cream stand and beaming. Jenny would probably think she was talking about something else and that maybe she'd found a kindred spirit... Although, on that note, once Rania got a look around, she found herself having thoughts along the same lines, though only about the ones that looked college-y. "Yeah... It's a nice poolside area alright," she agreed, smiling in a guilty way.

"I'm sure it's great! But jack me the hell in already!" MeleeMan complained. "The only thing I hate more than a pool is sitting around listening about one all night!" her navi groaned. "Jack me into the damn kiosk..."

Rania didn't like his tone, but would comply all the same. "I'll get MeleeMan headed to the GNA spot. Do you see a lifeguard on duty? I'm guessing there must be, with all these people around..." she asked. "And in a moment, I might need some help with my sunscreen..." she murmured, for a moment thinking it wouldn't be bad to have it put on by one of the boys she was thinking about earlier. Unfortunately, she didn't know anyone at the meet, except a guy or two from a year below her... and none of them were exactly on sun-tan rubbing terms.

((Jacking in MeleeMan, headed to GNA mission board))
Following Rania's lead, Jenny was swift to check a few last details and then jack Courser in as well. She thought, briefly, about wandering over and asking any of the slightly more deliberately placed volunteers needed anything, but reverted to her original, much lazier plan of relying on Rania to order her around; it was totally legit, and she wagered it would see them both doing an absolute minimum of work. It wasn't that she was averse to helping out, not really, but she was perfectly happy to slack off when nothing appeared to be urgent. Somewhere in the distance the sounds of a loud-hailer welcoming the visiting schools to the competition could be heard starting up and a few of the swimmers looked at the clock that hung above the entry way before returning to their warm ups.

For her part, Jenny found a spot on the green to settle and set her satchel down. They'd probably start calling the events after the welcome ceremony was done with, and then she might be needed, but until then... fortunately it seemed like the really important job were being done by university staff and volunteers, not visitor helpers, so the ones watching the pool and minding the stairs to the high boards were all taken care of for now. Instead she folded her legs to the side and made sure her dress was firmly down, dug out her drink bottle for another sip, then waved Rania over to come relax with her. She dug the sunscreen out of her bag next, set her sun had aside, and began applying it to her arms and face carefully.

"I haven't really decided what I'm going to do, once I get here myself, yet. Really, I do pretty well in most areas, but I'm not like top or the class in anything... what do you do?" She finished with her arms and shifted her knees enough to begin getting sunscreen to her lower legs, though it became a tactful act of continuing to pinch the dress down in important places, while still letting it up enough to cover the parts that needed covering. "Hey, have you been with MeleeMan long? Courser is pretty new, really... one of my friends designed and programmed him as her master's piece for her design course. I only ever had a simple normal navi before that, so it's taken some getting used to..." As long as it wasn't causing trouble with her dress, the gentle breeze was actually cool and refreshing, against the hot sun, and Jenny turned her face towards it for a few moments, eyes closed.

((CourseMan jacked-in -> Elec East High Auditorium))
While Jenny might be pretty comfortable with taking it easy until such a time as she was needed, Rania was a bit of a worry-wart, and she found herself feeling guilty almost from the moment she sat down. "What you're going to do, huh? Yeah... it's a big decision," Rania agreed, clutching her knees to her chest and sitting in a huddle. The follow up question made her smile awkwardly, then laugh. "Er, I swear it's not because I'm procrastinating, but I have no idea what I'm really doing! I'm thinking I might go through nursing school later on," she murmured, pressing one finger to her lip thoughtfully. "But I've always been into sports. And I love to travel, too!" She didn't say how good she was at class, because the answer was: surprisingly good. She'd always been a model student. Academics and extracurricular were definitely her forte... if she could be a professional student, that might be the best career for her. She found herself watching Jenny apply her sunscreen, although not with any particular intention. She might be subconsciously curious about the strange preciseness of Jenny's actions, though, as though she were prepared for some sort of accident to occur and trying to stave it off... it seemed to have been present in a lot of her behavior so far this morning.

The mention of MeleeMan seemed to turn her sunny, ready-for-anything disposition into a stormy, irritable one, like flicking a switch. "Oh, uh... Y'know, it's kind of funny... It doesn't feel like we've been together long, but MeleeMan and I have had a couple of years now. That's impressive, though, a student programming their own navi! I think one of my friends does programming too... His navi's a real handful, one of those types with a code that's full of mystery," she remarked, thinking back to the strange situations she'd seen Anyis get into. She scowled a bit as she remembered that one of Mill's recent programming modifications was to give his navi bigger boobs, ostensibly. "Well, I like Courser! He seems like a bit of a flirt but he's..." she began, then realized how shallow it would seem, telling a stranger that she ought to be happy about how good looking her navi was. "Um... also sort of a gentleman, I think," she laughed it off, regaining her cheerfulness as the subject left MeleeMan. If Jenny didn't want to bring up her navi again right now, that would be fine with her.

Jenny appeared to be done with her sunscreen, so Rania would reach out her hand, hoping to be passed the bottle. She raised her eyebrows, then made another offer. "Do you need some help with your back? I can get it real quick," she offered. "If you want to just sit up or maybe lie down? I'll just..." she murmured, feeling friendly enough now to touch the upper part of Jenny's back without offending now, in order to steady herself while she got the sunscreen with her other hand. Assuming she wasn't refused, Rania would accept either a squirt or the bottle (which she'd extract a squirt from), before setting to work on the area betwixt the shoulder blades she hadn't seen Jenny get. "Oh, you don't mind if I get this spot? Don't worry, I just want to run a finger-width under," she suggested, not realizing how much Jenny might mind, before attempting to maneuver the back zipper down just a little bit, so that she could apply the sunscreen to the area of skin in the shadow of Jenny's dress. She'd only touch it ever so slightly and gently, so there wasn't much chance of anything bad happening at all.
The younger girl gave a small nod and passed the bottle to Rania, then turned to present her back and neck properly. She'd only gone as far as doing her ears before her new friend had offered, so it was no big deal for her to reach back and unfasten the catch at the back and tug the zip down enough to give her decent access.

"Ah, here, let me get that..." It was just enough to let her do the shoulders and the top of the back easily, without getting any on the dress itself. While she was at it, Jenny pushed the shoulders of her sport bra of, just temporarily while the ever-important UV protection was rubbed in. If she was paying note, Rania would see that it was a simple, no frills sports bra, white and with broad shoulders.

Given how even her attempts to be friendly carried most oft he hallmarks of the socially shy, it was probably safe to assume that jenny was this easy with giving Rania access to cream her up wasn't from any kind of flirtatiousness, and was more certainly a result of it not registering in the slightest that there might be something wrong with doing so. It was the kind of thing where Jenny would surely go all to pieces at such a proposition, if Rania had been a cute guy, or have been repelled if she were a creepy one... but clearly, other girls totally didn't count in any possible way, as far as her mind worked. Despite this, she let out a relaxed sigh as Rania did her work.

"Yeah... he's a charmer..." She giggled, then held still again. "It's kinda embarrassing, really. Rach asked me what he should look like, for inspiration, and I sort of went a little far. He came out totally dreamy, though, hehe." She paused, frowning for a moment. "It's funny though, now that you mention it." She turned her head slightly in an effort to make a moment of eye contact while she chatted, then turned back. "He was made as the masterpiece for her graphic design submission... and things like aesthetics of motion and stuff like that came into it too, so, she had to make his look, but also make it more than just a static model. It's why she went with programming a navi... but you're right, really... programming all that base code, making him, like, a real navi, you know... that didn't really need to be a part of it, and I'm sure that kind of stuff is, like, really high-end kinda stuff... Rach is a whizz, but I'm sure that should have been well beyond her. I kept meaning to ask her where his actual coding came from, but I never have yet."

By the time she was done, she put her bra straps back in place and struggled for a moment to redo the zip and catch again, if Rania herself didn't do it. There was an anthem of some kind playing, far away, and chances were the welcoming ceremonies were about done with.
"Want me to do you too?" She had reclaimed the sunscreen bottle and shook it briefly in one hand. She'd go with whatever position Rania wanted to receive her due application of sunscreen in, if she did indeed want some, but continued to chat amiably regardless.

"I dunno if his personality comes from the way I described him looking, or anything like that, or if it's just a coincidence... but he's always polite and friendly, but he pretty much never turns off the flirting or the charming either, you know? When I first got him, he was always making me blush with the things he'd say." She didn't seem to pay any attention to the fact that he had done just that only a short while earlier, so it certainly wasn't restricted just to when she had first had him. she moved on fairly quickly, regardless.

"But you said, a couple of years, you've had... MeleeMan, was it? He sounded a bit rough, but I guess you must get on alright, then, huh?" Apparently she hadn't noticed the changed in Rania's expression when talking about her navi, though in fairness to the younger girl, her back had been turned.

"That's pretty cool, having a navi like that, with high-end programming that was put in by a friend," Rania smiled, remembering the circumstances her own navi's creation. "Me, I just wanted to jump right in once I was given a blank base for Christmas, so I followed a template online..." For a moment, she glanced down at her PET, then made a sour, disbelieving frown, watching her navi punch the life out of some gym equipment. It seemed to her that maybe this wasn't the best time to mention that the template she used had been a front for the NetMafia Bloodhounds to create navis so uncontrollably violent that they would be driven instinctively to enlist in the Bloodhounds. Besides, she and her navi had put that behind them; she didn't see MeleeMan going to join the NetMafia any time soon, after what he'd done to GladiatorMan.

She snapped back into the present when Jenny offered to help her out with the sunscreen. "Oh, sure! Let me just get my arms and legs real quick," she laughed, taking the bottle if Jenny allowed her and proceeding to apply the sunscreen to those places. "Oh wow, a navi that's always polite... I can't imagine something like that. My navi's just the opposite... well, I mean, he has a side to him that's okay, but I've never, ever seen him be polite. To anyone. Ever," she sighed, bunching her knees up tight to her chin while she rubbed in the stuff on her legs. "My navi makes me embarrassed when he says things, but for an entirely different reason..." Jenny still seemed convinced that the two must get along; Rania averted her eyes and focused on applying the sunscreen to her arms. "Um... I like him, I guess," she answered, now blushing a bit herself. "But get along? No, we don't get along at all! In fact, I can't think of anyone I've ever argued with more in my entire life than him, even to this day. He drives me nuts! But... I guess we like each other," she continued, seeming as though she was getting distracted and rubbing in the last bit on her forearms very slowly, her mind elsewhere.

"Okay, enough about MeleeMan!" she shook herself back to reality, where there was no point getting stirred up about anyone's navi, be it CourseMan or MeleeMan, as long as she and they were separated by a window on her PET. "You can get by back this time!" she suggested, turning around and sitting Indian style, while surrendering the bottle back to Jenny. Of course, that was her rushing for a topic change and not thinking clearly: if she stopped and considered, she'd realize there was no good way for Jenny to get her back. Her shirt was in the way... unless maybe she was wearing a swimsuit under it and intended to pull off the outerwear to tan? "Once we finish up here, why don't we go watch the swimmers? Taking it easy is fine, but it'd be a waste not to watch if they're really competing! I love watching contests of all sorts," Rania laughed.
The occasional glance at her own PET kept Jenny appraised of exactly what Rania might actually have been talking about when she lamented her own navi embarrassing her as well. Courser was... being Courser, and on the face of things she decided it would just be best to leave them to it. Her new friend seemed to agree. there was a brief moment where she considered, for the sake of conversation, to mention that having a polite navi wasn't always as much of a dream as it seemed, when that politeness was shaded with flirtatiousness, but she held her tongue while Rania did her easily accessible parts: however much she might get the blushes from things her navi said or did, she couldn't deny that it was far better than having one that was rude and violent by default. It threw her for a moment at how quickly the other girl rejected the notion that they got along, but as she explained a little further, Jenny thought she had an idea of what she meant, somewhat. By the time the sunscreen bottle came back to her, she clambered up to her knees and shifted about to get at Rania's back, then paused in the face of the t-shirt.

With a small shrug, though, she began to apply, starting at the neck and making sure to rub in thoroughly around the sides and over the ears where she hadn't seen the other girl get, then put a little more on her finger-tips and started rubbing underneath the line of the shirt by a few inches all around. That done she paused.

"You want to lift up for me, or is that enough?" If Rania pulled the back of her shirt up, or indeed flipped it over her head temporarily, Jenny would continue the application quickly, with thorough fingers that were careful not to get any sunscreen on any undergarments she encountered, if there were any... though if not it would probably catch the younger girl off guard, as much as it made the application simpler. Either way, it wasn't long before a great many more athletes began to flow into the pool area now, boys and girls all of an age with Jenny or a touch older. The welcome ceremony was done with and events were getting ready to start. Most of the new arrivals moved either to stake their claim on somewhere to sit, or else disappeared into the change rooms. Someone was testing a loud-hailer over the far side of the pool, near the marshalling stands. Once the protection was suitably applied, Jenny capped the bottle and tucked it away again.

"Right. We should at least ask if they need us to do anything, I suppose. I'm kinda wishing I had brought my swim-wear now. If I had a towel and some other stuff, we could just leave them here and no-one would take the spot... " With a small shrug she jumped to her feet again, just catching her dress as the wind tried to catch it, and replaced her sun hat, holding it on with her other hand.

The stroll around the pool quickly became less leisurely as the volume of competitors in swim-wear increased. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, really, as far as certain teenage girls were concerned, and the fact that threading her way between people along with Rania had caused her to brush or press briefly against several firmly toned physiques left her with decidedly pink cheeks by the time they reached the marshalling stations.

"Hi! We're volunteers for today! Um... Do you know what we should be doing now?" Her attempt at a bright greeting became quickly more uncertain as it went on, but the lady in university stripe that she had spoken to looked up from her name-checking with a patient smile which she directed between Jenny and Rania.

"Got all the hands we need here, for high school volunteers, girls. They'll probably want you down by the other end, though, to give out and collect place tokens once the races start. Just head down there and speak to the chap with the Dentech badge. Races'll be starting soon, don't worry." She grinned again and shooed them both away - apparently she was assuming that they were both high-school helpers. It was easier to get out of the crowd on the other side, and head to the far end; while they did, the voice on the loud-hailer called for participants in the first three events to begin marshalling.

"Hey, does that happen a lot?" Jenny looked across to her friend briefly, then forward again enjoying the breeze. "Like, I mean, I thought you were from a high school when we met, too, and she didn't seem to know you were from the uni itself either." A moment too late, she realised how awkward a question that might be and bit her lip. "Ah, I mean, you were saying you like watching competitions... do you have a favourite event? I don't really do any sports, really, but I like watching some." While she spoke they were shifting the warm-up lanes down to one, to make room for the actual competitions, and putting the board displaying the race clock through its last checks.

As it turned out, their job at the far end of the pool was fairly simple; just giving small wood tokens with place numbers on them to competitors as they finished, essentially doing the gopher work between those watching the finish, the racers, and the ones confirming the finish details. It was an old tradition that wasn't really needed, technically, but it was something they kept on because racers themselves appreciated the reward of handing their place token over tot he adjudicators after a victory.

"Oh, nah, I'm not wearing a swimsuit either," Rania laughed off Jenny's offer to get under her shirt. Jenny was ready to get into something productive, which Rania found admirable; she jumped up to follow along. It struck her as a bit nostalgic to be surrounded by so many students in uniform (albeit swim uniform), though it struck Jenny as something else altogether. Being sensitive to the issue, Rania wasn't thrilled with being treated as a high-schooler, though she wasn't so ignorant as to fail to understand why. She was surprised that Jenny would bring it up again; she laughed it off, though with a self-conscious titter. "Yes... yes, that happens a lot," she answered, smiling wistfully with eyes that said she'd rather not dwell on the subject.

Thankfully, Jenny changed it. "I do watch all kinds of sports and events; I participate too, of course. Right now, I'm in to MMA and boxing. Combat sports are dangerous, yeah, but sometimes, it feels good to put it all out there, almost like how navis are always fighting! It's not for everyone, but I think nothing's more exciting than a sport that's directly man vs. man, or woman vs. woman, like that, just pure competition. I guess I have a competitive streak. Not in a mean way," she explained. "It probably doesn't help that most of my friends are so competitive... Amelie especially. We're like Rocky and Apollo, from those old movies! Including the boxing," Rania giggled.

She turned around as they took their token-handing spots. "Speaking of competitive people..." she murmured, shielding her eyes from the sun with one hand for a moment as she looked across the field. "See that guy over there with the white-dyed hair and the Union Jack swimsuit? That's Jon Baton... His navi is an NP bigwig and he's sort of known for being almost as involved with the NetPolice in the real world as his navi is in the net. He was in my grade, but it never really felt like it," she sighed. It sounded like she might have a bit of a crush, but her tone was also one of resignation; it certainly didn't seem like she was implying the two had ever been close. "In some ways, he reminds me of my navi a bit. Both physically gifted, but kind of cold. Well... he's a lot smarter than MeleeMan, I'll give him that."

The boy she was talking about had the look of a college student, except perhaps for his white hair, which was fairly long for a boy, shadowing one eye with long bangs. His body was long and very athletic, giving him a model-like look, and perhaps just as importantly, his competition swimsuit was fairly small and tight, giving him a model-like look. The fact that it was printed with the Union Jack, an outdated symbol that predated even Creamland, rode the line somewhere between fashionable and gaudy. He turned his cool, blue eyes towards Rania for a moment with a nonchalant frown, as he though he sensed he was being talked about. He was currently in the process of doing what looked like coaching another student, a young girl with blond hair in pigtails, who seemingly didn't have much relationship to him beyond being attended by him. She also didn't look to be in the right shape to be running, being very scrawny and pale with thick glasses that she hadn't removed despite the imminent run before her. Something seemed to have caught Jon's attention, and therefore, he made his way over towards the two, leaving the girl alone.

The young man put on a friendlier face with some effort, but it was really just from a stern frown to a more conceding one. "Hello, Rania. I thought I'd come over to congratulate you on your navi's induction into the NetPolice," he offered, bowing slightly while crossing his arms behind his back.

"Well, we haven't contributed much yet, but thanks all the same," Rania responded awkwardly, returning a deeper bow, as was her custom taught from her father. "Oh, you should meet my friend! This is Jenny."

"Charmed to meet you, Jenny," he greeted her, giving another very slight bow. "You're a friend of Rania's? Is your navi also interested in the NetPolice?" he questioned/pitched, keeping his hands hidden behind his back, his wide but lean shoulders giving his body an inverted pyramid shape. "My apologies if that was a bit pushy of me. However, our worlds are connected- this in which we live and that of our navis. The NetPolice are facing a lot of opposition lately from sides we'd never expect and I have to admit, I take it all a bit personally, given the importance of their work and the difficulty of what they do. At any rate, this is a poor stage for politics, forgive me. If you're interested in the NetPolice, however, I would be happy to help you along the way."

Rania rolled her eyes. "No, Jon, you're not coming on strong at all," she joked; he knit his brow and straightened up a bit in response. "Jenny and I are friends, yes, but we just met today. I don't really know what she's interested in, faction-wise. Maybe she's not interested at all!" she ribbed, at which he raised one eyebrow. "I mean, it's great what you do, but I think I'm happy not everyone is as obsessed with their faction as you are. I like to give my navi and his actions a little personal space, myself."

"Indeed? Well. Let's hope MeleeMan does enough work for the both of you," he verbally burned her, smirking slightly before turning his eyes back to Jenny.
In truth, Jenny wasn't surprised to hear that the mistake about her new friend's age happened a lot, and she spent a few moments after the subject change feeling retrospectively guilty for prodding it, even though it had just been curiosity. What did surprise her, a little, was the other girl's interest in full contact sports. She was clearly fit and sporty, more so than Jenny was, certainly, but it was still a little surprising to her, given her slighter build and lithe form. Still, it sounded like she took it seriously, and Jenny couldn't help but grin, then giggle as well just in response to Rania's own enthusiasm.

By the time they'd arrived at the other end of the pool and were more or less ready to do their tasks, when it was needed, they'd each gotten a space to eye the crowd again, and while Jenny was just grazing casually on the eye candy, Rania had a more discerning idea; Jenny leaned in to match her eye line and follow Rania's gesture towards the guy she was checking out. Or maybe... not checking out? It was a bit hard to tell as the description went on. Jenny had certainly heard, and made, sighs like that before, but at the same time her friend sounded like she was trying to talk in a purely professional manner. Jenny wasn't one to let an opportunity for boy gossip go un-explored, however.

"Oh?" She turned half her gaze back to Rania with a smirk. "Sounds like a catch. Community stature at such a young age... very nice body... and you know him too! Any plans on knowing him better, hmm?" Unconsciously she had crowded in just a little bit, in a gossipy kind of way - not exactly invading personal space, but more just eager to share secrets. This conspiratorial glee evaporated instantly when the target of their mutual eyes not only looked their way, but then, horror of horrors, began to approach. "Oh gods!" It came out as a small squeak as Jenny shrank back a little bit. The unfortunate truth was that Rania's introduction had painted Jon as some kind of minor celebrity, and this was having its natural effect on Jenny's willingness to do more than perv from afar.

She was, thus, quite silent and trying hard not to stare when Jon arrived and greeted Rania. She wasn't really able to respond too much beyond raising one hand slightly to attempt a weak wave when Rania introduced her, and the pink creeping up her cheeks was not really from the head. She was fighting the urge to pull her sun hat down over her face completely.

"I... um... I... Ah..." There was, sad to say, only one outcome to be expected from bringing an attractive male in a tight swim suit, who was also a figure of the community, over to Jenny and having him talk to her directly. She shrank back, half hiding behind Rani and one hand crept up to pull the brim of her sun hat down. "Um... N-no, I just..." It really wasn't Jon's fault at all, of course. His stance was quite passive and neutral, and even if his words were a bit pointed and interrogative, it wasn't anything someone without crippling boy-shyness wouldn't be able to handle. Jenny. "My... M-my navi... he's new, I don't... um..." Despite his best efforts, that was probably about all he was going to get out of her, talking face to face. Jenny recovered slightly as long as Jon was talking more to Rania than to her, but any turn of the NP representative's gaze back to her would result in another small shrinking away and down-turned eyes.
"A catch? I guess... I mean, he's good looking, I'll give you that, but he's what you'd call 'married to his job,'" Rania responded, looking troubled as she watched Jon, as if struggling to decide whether she actually found her acquaintance attractive enough. Another conversation topic arose as Jenny let out an unusual exclamation; Rania found herself wanting to know what Jenny's beliefs were, but judging by Jenny's reactions, it seemed much more important that she focus on getting Jenny out of the encounter with her wits in-tact.

Jenny's reaction to Jon's question clearly wasn't what he was expecting; he was used to having his NetPolice fervor dismissed or balked at, but Jenny seemed too uncomfortable to have the discussion with. "Did I say something untoward? Well, don't fret over it... I'm sure you and your navi will have plenty of time to decide where your loyalties lie. Just know that the NetPolice would always appreciate your service," he reassured her. When he saw Rania shaking her head slowly, he raised his eyebrow and crossed his arms. "What?"

"I think your swimsuit is what's making the two of us uncomfortable," she sighed, turning a little red as she talked about it.

"Oh," he murmured, looking down for a moment before looking back and forth between the two girls. He made eye contact, as if to reassure them that there was nothing scary about him. "Ah, this is... sort of a get-back from my navi. She had to go through something embarrassing, that being partially my fault, and suggested I wear this to pay her back," he spoke matter of factly, sticking his hands back behind himself and looking relatively unabashed. "That said, I've taken a liking to it. I do appreciate the old Creamland standard and, well, it's suited for competition swimming. Do you still swim, Rania?"

"Sometimes," she offered, finally beginning to sound a bit less defensive and judgmental. "I wouldn't mind swimming today, if I'd brought my swimsuit."

"I see. How about you, Jenny?" he inquired, leaning forward just a bit, perhaps because of the height difference between the two of them, or perhaps just because he seemed to have a habit of leaning. "I'm coaching some of the students today. I'd be happy to give you a few pointers, if you have the time. You could think of it as an apology, for my imposing upon you with my talk of allegiances early on and my... offensive swimwear."

"She's not wearing a swimsuit today either," Rania added, answering for Jenny in case she was still too shaken up to do so herself.

"... Is that so?" Jon questioned, wondering how Rania knew that when Jenny was wearing a dress that would hide that fact. "Hm... Well, if there's anything I can do to make it up to you, please, let me know." To his credit, he did seem to feel pretty uncomfortable about the fact that he had intimidated her, although his stoic expression wasn't offering much in the way of empathy.
The part of her mind that was still functioning a little bit normally was perhaps disappointed to hear that Rania wasn't actually entertaining serious designs on the boy, nor was interested in mutually cooing over him... that very small part of her thoughts had faded along to nothingness right alongside her terror at being approached directly. she did appreciate Rania' catching the conversation for her, and taking Jon's attention away, and for grouping herself in with Jenny on being intimidated by... certain things... though she knew the other girl was just being kind. As far as Jenny could tell, her new friend wasn't the least bit fazed or uncomfortable by talking to nice-looking, community-respected boy in emphasising swimmers.

As was usually the case in girls of her age, the crippling shyness was nevertheless accompanied by a certain amount of subtle lechery too, and so it was a very small, nervous giggle that escaped, while still mostly hiding behind Rania and tugging at the brim of her sun hat, when Rania drew the conversation directly to Jon vaguely patriotic trunks. The hand not holding her hat had crept up to let her bite unconsciously on a finger tip.

Then he had to go and offer to give her swimming coaching! Jenny muffled a soft gasp, and began to stammer slightly, before Rania smoothly picked up the conversation for her. In her head, the words raced around: she was actually a good swimmer all told, really. She wasn't sure she would object to taking swim help from someone like Jon, even so. But she really wasn't sure she was confident enough to show off a swim suit in one-on-one situations. Not that she was ashamed or body conscious, well not too much, really. She knew she looked fine, but, it was just... unfortunately, in her present state, racing around in her head was about all those various thoughts were going to manage while her tongue was still tied up in impenetrable shyness at the nearness of the boy and his flag.

In the end she managed a very small mumble, mostly still obscured by her lowered heat and forward hat brim, when he tried to ask if there was anything to be done.

"N-no, it's fine. I, um I have to... the races... 'm helping..." What started as a mumble quickly receded into a mouse whisper and then trailed off into silence again. without realising she was doing it, the hand that she had taken out of her mouth to 'talk' and now snaked around one of Rania's arms instead, while the shy girl hid behind her. Fortunately for the entire situation, another call over the loud-hailer announced that the first heats would be starting soon, and that would mean that Jenny, and probably Rania too, would need to make sure they were attentive to doing their tasks, at least briefly. It was probably clear by this point that Jenny wasn't likely to be much use in terms of intelligible dialogue until Jon and his flag were a safe distance away and not paying direct attention to her any more. Anyone able to catch a look at the face hidden under the sun hat would see that her blushing had only grown further while the conversation went on. Amidst looking for other viable distractions, Jenny pulled out her PET briefly, saw that her navi was dressed up like a cheerleader, also showing off an eye-drawing amount of masculine features, and immediately stuffed the device away again.

Jon clearly still wasn't satisfied; his face seemed to default to annoyance rather than empathy when he was upset. "I understand completely, Jenny. That devotion to your work here is admirable and I'm sorry to have interrupted it. Please, carry on, girls. I ought to return to my own duty," he answered, perhaps just as eager to stop intimidating Jenny as she was to stop being intimidated (though whether she actually wanted him gone was probably a trickier issue).

Despite her assigned task, Rania felt like keeping Jenny's raging emotions in check was somehow becoming a more important mission. "That Jon... He's a card, alright! I know he might seem intimidating, with the way he acts, but trust me, once it gets familiar, it also gets tiresome," she explained, perhaps feeling as though she had to defend why she was seemingly unattached to her handsome long-time classmate. "It feels like all of the guys in my life are that way... I mean, I like to think my standards aren't that high, but it's either they're tough but too rude, or dutiful but too work-focused, or sweet but too distant, or smart but prone to fits of alcoholism, or charming but too flirty, or handsome but devoted to the bloodthirstiest family in the Net Mafia, or..." The more Rania rambled on about it, the more she realized she had even worse luck with guys than she thought she did.

She reminded herself to buck up. She'd been working hard to find a nice guy for a while now and wasn't about to give up just because Jon was stuffy. Jenny clearly had something similar on her mind, even if she was too shy to say it. Perhaps... there might be a good way to meet guys and do something nice for Jenny at the same time? "You know what?" she asked, although the two of them now had to turn and focus on the race that was about to get under way. "We should both make an effort. Let's be each other's wing-girls today! Er, not like let's try to pick up guys, but... you know, let's help each other out talking to guys today! If I get too critical about guys or start to scare them off with my intensity... something my sensei says I have trouble with... you help me notch it down. And if you start to get nervous around guys, I can pull the conversation back or take the heat off you! How about it?" she asked. "We can practice with the guys we're handing the awards out to. Let's see if we can get to know some of them," she offered, hoping to do a little good to mitigate Jenny's guy-shyness... and a little good for her not knowing any decent guys.
Tongue-tied as she'd been, Jenny nonetheless peeked up quickly from her head-down pose as soon as Jon made his farewells, tilting the brim of her sun hat back up and watching his back and behind retreat again with undeniable interest. Certain places that had ceased all forms of warm tingling under the pressure of her nerves while Jon was close now spoke up again while she watched his retreating back. Really it wouldn't be bad if he had decided to hang around... just so long as he wasn't looking or talking to her directly, of course... Rania had other explanations, and while she wasn't sure that she necessarily agreed that his words were tiresome, she couldn't argue that it was all a lot easier when he wasn't talking.

"Maybe you could just gag him, and keep him locked in your bedroom in a speedo..." She mumbled this in response while still watching him, without really thinking over-much about what she was saying. Her more socially acceptable thoughts caught up with her mouth a few moments later, but it was too late to take back. Fortunately, her friend had a list of her own which sounded rather suspiciously like a personal line of failed boyfriends. Still...

"I mean... um... At least you can actually get boyfriends, right? Most I've ever done is crushed from afar... You saw what I'm like when they get near... I fall to pieces." In fairness, she was still blushing brightly even now, and not all of it because of the eye candy the sports event was providing, but at least by this point she was forming coherent sentences again. As it turned out, too, Rania had an idea about that. It wasn't exactly one Jenny was incredibly keen on, but at the same time, she'd be lying to herself if she tried to say she was 'happy' being a wall-flower most of the time.

"Hm... you know what? Yeah. Maybe if it's not too scary we can even take a wander around find people to chat to later on, when we're not working, too?" Ok, that was probably a little bit too ambitious, Jenny had to admit, but if she was ever going to do something about being interminably shy, it had to start somewhere. For now, the first sculls were beginning, and there was the satisfying splash of a line of swimmers hitting the water a moment after the first gun. There were one or two other volunteers at this end of the pool with them, but there was still plenty to do. For her part, Jenny did her best to grin and offer congratulations to the swimmers as she handed out the little place markers to the competitors as they finished... rather than getting more comfortable with talking to guys, though, mostly Jenny found herself thinking that she really, really should have worn jeans, and the dress code be damned, if she was doing this job. It didn't much matter whether she crouched down to hand the tags to the swimmers in the pool, or bent over, there was a pronounced risk either way with her light dress and the breeze that consistently threatened to blow in just the wrong direction.

At this point, there wasn't much chance to really chat at all - they had started on the short events, and the swimmers generally needed to clear the pool swiftly once they were done sot he next heat could begin. A couple of times she had to say a little more after a swimmer climbed out - some needed to be reminded to head to the end marshalling table to hand in their chip and have their placement recorded properly, and she found it was quite ok talking to even the pretty ones, so long as she was giving out specific information that they needed and could avoid thinking about it as if it were actually talking to someone. Despite her fluctuating thoughts, she still found the time to grin or wave to Rania occasionally in between picking up new place chips and handing them out.
Rania hadn't been prepared for Jenny's quiet declaration of what might be a good way to get past Jon's personality problems and thus didn't do a great job of hiding her expression, which made her look like the nervous, jittery one of the two. "Hahaha, er, yeah... Th-That'd do it..." she replied, averting her eyes and turning back to the racers. If she'd been thinking clearly, she'd probably have tried to feign ignorance and pretend she hadn't heard anything at all. "No, I don't really get a lot of... l-listen, let's just try to focus on the plan in a normal, healthy way, okay?" she sighed. Rania was beginning to think she shouldn't have put ideas in Jenny's head. "Well, if we go at it as desperately as we're both thinking about it, maybe we have a chance," she responded, more quietly now. Probably not a good thing to say out loud, but she felt like Jenny's talk about gagging her friend in her bedroom had opened the floor for the two of them to speak candidly.

Once the events started up, Rania didn't have much better luck engaging boys in meaningful conversations than her friend had. There was only so much one could do in the limited time it took to pass out medals to young men. Being casual with boys had never been Rania's problem... rather, getting them excited usually was. "... Maybe Jenny should be giving me a lesson rather than the other way around," she thought, joking internally.

... However, the more the event dragged on, the more the words started to sound like reality. The guys swimming near Jenny appeared to be enjoying the unfortunate dress she'd chosen to wear. Some were clearly lingering in the water for longer than made sense from the standpoint of a victorious contestant. Furthermore, while it had certainly been surprising to hear and a little vulgar, she had to admit that Jenny's fantasy had sounded pretty ear-catching. Maybe... there had to be some middle ground. She didn't think that showing off their panties or sexual fantasies was a good way to meet guys, but she had to admit, as long as they just looked like ordinary girls handing out medallions, they were never going to get guys to stick around.

"Jenny... I think we need to change our tactics," she suggested weakly, beginning to feel increasingly depressed as the only significant interaction they were getting out of her strategy was certain guys taking an interest in Jenny's legs (and not hers, worth adding). "We need to put our heads together and think up something special. There's got to be something that will draw people's attention..."

As if on cue, Jon reappeared, unable to leave well enough alone. "Jenny, it must have occurred to you by this point that your attire is not appropriate for this event," he commented frankly, looking vaguely unamused as he stared down at her skirt. The wind had picked up a bit and things were likely getting worse for Jenny than before. "We've got an intermission before the next event starts. I'm certain there is an extra competition swimsuit you can wear. Please, follow me to the locker area and we'll get you swapped into something more appropriate," he suggested, gesturing with a sweep of one arm towards the indicated area, before crossing his arms behind his back and walking on silently. The rooms looked to be separated into men and women's areas, but there was still something a little provocative about being led to the area by a boy, perhaps.

Rania, feeling forgotten, would attempt to follow them, unless Jenny stuck up for herself and said that her dress and its potential wardrobe malfunctions were just fine of course. If she said something to that effect, Jon would raise one eyebrow and make things even worse. "Are you saying that you are already wearing a swimsuit? Because otherwise, its a bit inappropriate to be flashing your legs this way and that," he would warn sternly. "I'd ask you to prove to me that you are not dressed promiscuously by showing me your swimsuit." Rania would think to herself this was one of the bad things about Jon... but also, that she wished she was the subject of interest.
It wasn't exactly an entirely appropriate exchange, but as far as quiet giggle-fodder between girls, the off-colour remarks with Rania were just what Jenny had needed to loosen up a bit after the nerves with Jon and she did, in fact, giggle along with her new friend's comments. As a result, she didn't immediately clam up or retreat when a small break in their work came up and Rania wanted to propose a change of tactic to draw more attention. In fact, the clamming up and shying back didn't happen until flag-boy returned in all his worrisome glory. At which point it absolutely happened, of course, and Rania would find herself once more in close almost huddling proximity to Jenny.

Strangely, though, the fact that Jon was starting out by chastising her, and was not actually being friendly or congenial at all, seemed to help. She didn't actually end up hiding behind her friend as thoroughly as before, and only really shrank in on herself. She had reached one hand towards her hat again, but a timely gust of wind forced her to quickly dart the other one downwards to make sure her dress didn't blow up in any compromising way. His concern set a fresh blush to her cheeks, but more than that it made her fret internally: she hadn't actually given someone a flash, had she? The wind had been picking up, but she was trying to be careful. Had she missed a point somewhere and let a gust get the better of her without noticing? The rest of Jon's 'damage control' had washed past her in those few seconds of worry, and she shook her head, trying to focus again and to not stare too obviously at Jon's flag.

"B-but... but, it's my..." He had already suggested his own solution, though, and was sweeping away, apparently with the expectation that Jenny should be following. She cast a worried eye toward Rania, unsure what to do, then began to chase after him. "Hey, wait! It's my school uniform! They told me Aghh—!" One of the first rules that everyone learns around pools, of course, is not to run by the pool side. There are a number of reasons for this, but the primary one is that the splashed water often makes things slippery, and falls can be dangerous. Jenny had only taken one running step to follow after Jon's retreating back, but her foot came down badly on the wet tiling and skidded to the side underneath her. When she fell, it wasn't one of those graceful Hollywood tumbles into the pool; rather it was the wince-inducing awkward-angled impact that anyone who has spent a decent amount of time at a poolside can offer a shudder of empathy for.

Even so, a fall was a fall, and Jenny's balance was a lost cause; with her lead foot buckling inwards beneath her, the girl tumbled forward roughly onto one thigh and hip, one hand coming down on the tiles as she struggled to catch herself, then the inevitable embrace of the pool waters as she pitched inwards. From Jenny's perspective, every instant of the disaster was a snapshot, but in reality there was only about a half a second before the thin, horrified shriek was cut short by the expected splash.

Luck of a kind was still present, at least and aside from the painful landing on her twisted leg, she avoided hitting her head or anything else more vital or fragile, and so it was only a moment later before she burst up out of the water again and scrambled free of the pool with the fervour and doused cat, clambering out of the pool and curling up by the lip to rub at her leg. Her sun hat rolled away across the space by the side of the pool, tumbling in the breeze. Suffice to say, if Rania was hoping to be more the centre of attention, fate had decided to pitch her a steep act to follow, even if Jenny herself wanted no part of it.

For the moment, the substantially more sodden school girl wasn't really paying attention to anyone else and was more focused on making sure that the pain in her thigh was just that, and there was no actual injury. Her lack of awareness was probably a good thing, just for now, since the water had not been kind to her outfit. Already quite thin and light to begin with, being soaked had rendered the dress both sheer and clingy. Whether he'd found time to make the remark or not, Jon would have a clear guess as to whether Jenny was wearing a swimsuit or not, given that her sports bra and underwear were now quite plain to see through the gauzy dress. In retrospect, Jenny was probably lucky that the weight of water hadn't dragged the dress clean off her shoulders when she climbed out - the fit was loose enough on her for it, and it would probably be a risk factor once she stood up again. The breeze was also now making her shiver after the sudden unexpected dunk, and after a last rub at her leg, Jenny looked around for her friends as she tried to collect herself properly.
Jon, an overly concerned life-guard to begin with, would be remiss in his duties if he did not notice that Jenny had taken off at a run along the poolside. "Jenny, please, proceed at a civilized pace or you endanger yourself and others around the pool-!" he reprimanded her with a sharp bark, but by the time he'd turned to steady her, she'd already gone into the water. "Bloody hell," he clicked his teeth, before coming as close to a dive into the pool as he could manage without breaking the obvious rule against diving into the shallow-ish water.

Rania was thinking of doing something similar, but she was just a bit less gung-ho about it and had been beaten to the punch. Both had meant to pull Jenny from the pool, but she beat either of them to it, almost as though shunning their over-protective personalities. That didn't hurt Rania; she was glad to see that Jenny was at least okay enough to pull herself up. Jon, on the other hand, looked doubly vexed, as though he interpreted the action as though Jenny had pridefully refused his help. "You're injured! And by the look of that fall, you're lucky it wasn't something worse. Can you stand?" he inquired, offering her a hand up.

"Not everyone can just walk it off," Rania criticized, shouldering her way in. "I've got some nursing experience, let me have a look," she encouraged Jenny. At this proximity, she couldn't help but stare a bit at the obvious details of Jenny's undergarments peeked through the transparency of her sopping wet dress... Rania thought Jenny should at least be thankful that she'd chosen not to wear her sexy panties today, which was an entirely possible outcome given Jenny's concern towards boys. Still, the important part right now was the student's legs, not her poorly concealed figure, which beat out Rania's a bit as she'd figured it would from the shape of the dress. "It's best if you sit down for now away from poolside... Jon, help her move and I'll get her a towel," she offered, thinking that covering up Jenny was at least as much a priority as examining the injury

"Affirmative," Jon practically saluted. Ignorant of Jenny's feelings, her tormenter leaned down his broad shoulders, practically scooped her up by wrapping both arms around her waist, then looped his forearm underneath the pit of her arm, threatening to brush one of her more delicate areas as he allowed her to lean on him. "Let's take it slowly this time... Not everything is a race," he sighed, edging her slowly towards the shower room, where Rania had presumably gone to get the towel she'd mentioned. "Dear God, you're growing feverish..." he remarked quietly, pity becoming clearer on his face. "Nevermind my reprimands... I need to get you lying down, ASAP." The unintended innuendo probably wasn't helping matters.

Rania came out with two towels; one was a plain white towel and the other had a orange and yellow hearts with the yellows flecked up, resembling flames, over a red background. "I've got my towel here, it's pretty over-sized, so you should take that. Jon, you take the other one," she commanded, throwing each of them their towels.

"Ah... I'm not sure that my drying her off is exactly what Jenny wants right now," he murmured, casting a slightly more aware than usual glance over to Jenny.

"It's for you, dummy. Wrap that around your dumb flag or neither one of us girls is going to be comfortable with you here in the ladies shower room..." she scolded, growing slightly red as she was forced to remind their acquaintance where he'd just stumbled into.

It was Jon's turn to look taken back. "I'm only doing my duty," he responded sullenly, shutting his eyes with that same sense of duty. "Jenny, let me know if you need any help at all. Rania has a lot of childish things on her mind right now, but I'm concerned for your well-being foremost, even if I'm a bit brash about it."