Ante and Dare Meetup

Dare had started shouting at Bruce, in spite of the fact that he couldn't hear her, just a moment ago, so when she was suddenly jacked into the Net she was still yelling at the top of her lungs. "I'M GOING TO GET ON THE BBS AND POST PICTURES OF YOUR-"

Realizing where she was, Dare quieted down but didn't apologize. "Never apologize for standing out!"

Dare realized that she'd lost her chance to make a flashy entrance to her new acquaintance by showing up first, which was kind of disappointing... on the other hand, a Navi named "Ante" with an operator like Teruko was bound to be interesting. "She's probably some sort of super-exciting gambling Navi! I'll have to ask her for some tips, I bet she plays all the time." Dare crossed her arms behind her head and grinned. "Some Navis can't help it!"
Ante exploded down on to the net in her usual burst of poker chips, perhaps adding fuel to the fire of Dare's theory that she must be a real gambling buff. Of course, instead of giving off a thrill-seeker or playgirl vibe, Ante immediately pressed one hand to her collar and extended the other politely for a handshake. She gave her most elegant, winning smile as she introduced herself. "Hello, it's good to meet you. My name is Ante; I'll be your partner for the evening," she spoke confidently, exuding poise and grace.

She was pretty pleased to see that Dare was about what she was imagining; a navi befitting a dangerous motorcyclist like Bruce Shiner. Dare looked like she knew her way around a flaming car or two herself. It was also nice having another girl to work with; it always made things a little less awkward, since she didn't have to handle closing the gender barrier.

"Where do you suppose we're headed now, Dare?"
"Uwah! Flashy entrance!" Dare shouted in exaggerated surprise, flinching back from Ante's arrival effects and lamenting once again her chance to make an entrance herself.

The Navi put a hand on her chin as if considering whether or not to shake Ante's hand. Really, however, she was just taking her time to make an assessment of her new acquaintance. The theme Dare had imagined Ante's design would be based around wasn't as prevalent as she'd imagined. Her gestures seemed more like those of a princess than a gambling addict...

"Aha! I get it... this air of royalty must be her 'poker face!' That's right... in poker, you have to keep your opponent's guessing and make your own face unreadable, or throw them off... I want to test it out!"

"Hi, I'm Dare. Nice to meet you!" Dare said, stepping forward and taking Ante's hand with her own in a firm grip. "I think we should go see if the GNA has anything interesting for us to do..." Dare's smile locked in a challenging grin. "That is, if you think you can get there without tripping on that silly skirt you're using to hide your fat butt!"


Still waiting for the ride to become exciting, Bruce had listened in on his Navi. He put his hand to his temples, grimacing and cursing beneath his breath. He ought to have figured Dare's first encounter with a stranger on the Net would be a bad one, but his Navi had probably just blown his chance of a hot night... If Teruko got angry, he was about to have a pretty miserable ride.
Ante's operator had a competitive streak that made it hard for her to resist any sort of challenge. Ante's competitive streak wasn't quite as strong, but if there's one thing she didn't take lightly to, it was breaches of her personal dignity. Tightening her own grip even more, Ante widened her own smile and kept her face perfectly polite. "Now now, ladies shouldn't say such things to each other, should they? Let's try to be civil," she chuckled, keeping Dare's hand locked in her own iron grip.

"Hey, she's kinda right! Your ass is a little chubby," Teruko muttered. "I always thought you sorta look weird without your skirt because of it, you know?"

Shocked, Ante released her grip and placed both hands onto her buttocks. "I've fallen so far out of training, have I? Or... or is this age? Have I really gotten flabby?" she asked herself in terror. "Dare's so young and fit looking, by comparison!" Sobbing inwardly, Ante made comparisons based on some false perception; really, her body and Dare's were remarkably similar, apart from the skin tone.

"Don't worry, Ante! Men like a little fat on their girl's butt. You know what they say: a man likes something to-!" Teruko started, but was interrupted by her navi crying out.

"I don't think anyone's worried about that! Ahem, er, I assure you, my skirt won't inhibit our ability to carry out this mission," Ante sighed. How was she going to get over this first impression? Maybe she'd misinterpreted something her ally had said...? Who in their right mind would say something like that upon first meeting a new acquaintance? "Are you going to post for a mission?" she asked, half-hoping her ally would ask her to do it instead. She had a terrible image of Dare insulting the GNA on their public message board.
Dare was pleased to see that her assumption about her new ally seemed to be exactly right. Ante reacted exactly the way she expected, causing her to tighten her grin and her grip. Quickly, however, she found Ante's hands withdrawn and her nerve sheathed, and realized she might have made a mistake. "H-hey, I was just testing you! I wanted to see if you were cool under fire, you know? You're not supposed to agree about something like that for your own Navi! she scolded Teruko.

"She's got a point though," Bruce interjected in a matter-of-fact manner. "What kind of guy doesn't like grabbing on to-"

"Bruce, shut it!" Dare shouted, turning back to Ante in an attempt to apologize. "I'm sorry, I didn't... I mean, I didn't know it really was fat! I mean, I can't see whether it is or isn't..." The Navi sighed, realizing she'd probably ruined her first impression while trying to have too much fun. Figuring that it wouldn't do anyone any good to get too beat up over it, she tried to get the conversation back on track. "Right, why don't you go and ask for a mission? Ask them to give us a challenge!" Dare had put her regret behind her, eyes blazing in anticipation of upcoming excitement.
"But it's true, right?" Teruko laughed, feeling perfectly secure with her own ass.

"Enough! Nobody cares about anyone else's bottom. A-And mine is not fat, thank you very much," Ante interjected, pressing one hand to her forehead and pushing her hat slightly up from her head. "I've posted a request for a mission. The reward requested is 2000z each. I think that's a little high, but Teruko insisted..."

"Go big or go home, right?" she giggled again, swaying back and forth in her seat.

Sighing, Ante rested her palm upon her cheek and closed her eyes. It was going to be tough, sandwiched between the energetic Teruko and the brazen Dare for this entire mission with no level-headed ZephyrMan or battle-oriented KaijuMan to keep the focus where it belonged. "Well, it looks like we've got our mission. Our duty is to infiltrate the Festival de Fortune, where we will track down and investigate a criminal named Shwindle," she explained, transferring Dare a copy of the mission assignment as she spoke.

"Oooo, sounds exciting! You guys oughta be perfect for this, huh? Although, hrm... Come to think of it, I just sort of assumed you were an expert at gambling, Ante. Do you know a lot about gambling?" Teruko asked.

Ante smiled, leaning on her scepter as she waited for Dare to review the mission details. "Of course, Teruko. In my former life, it was necessary for me to learn in order to go along with my theme. That said, I have only a limited knowledge of very particular games," she coughed, suddenly realizing that her knowledge actually amounted to almost nothing. The card games she'd learned were pretty esoteric...

Even realizing that, she didn't really want to admit to being an inexperienced gambler. "Shall we hurry along to the mission site?" she asked her partner, changing the subject.
"What, seriously?!" Dare asked, recoiling in surprise once again at the request they'd received. "A mission of subterfuge? A life-on-the-line gambit of intelligence and counter-intelligence?!"

"Well, that certainly sounds like an experience," Bruce admitted. "You two are getting to sneak into an underground gambling circuit and we're stuck with dumb old dinosaurs. I'm jealous!" Bruce gave a brief but genuine laugh before thinking briefly. "Say, now that I think about it, are you guys really equipped for this kind of situation? I mean, I'm all about taking the risks, you know, but our arsenal's kinda shrimpy for taking on that casino's security force, I'm sure."

"You may have a point," Dare pretended to admit while simultaneously dismissing Bruce's opinion out of hand, "but I'm sure it won't come to that! We'll go, blend in, find the guy, and... well, you know!" she finished, wisely omitting her ideas of what they'd do when they found the villain.

"And what?" Bruce responded knowingly. "Well, I won't be the one to chicken out. But if you guys manage to get in and out without YOU making a scene, I'll go back there and show that crowd Von Derzel eating his motorcycle!"

"You're on!" Dare said, seeming to take the dare seriously. "Well, Ante, I don't know much about those kinds of games, so the ball's probably going to be in your court... but I imagine it comes down to luck a lot of the time, right?" she guessed. "I'm all for that! Nobody's luckier than me... I know that because I still have an operator!"

"Ha ha, very funny. You two go on," Bruce said, inwardly glad that he seemed to have unintentionally and successfully challenged his Navi to take the stealth gig seriously.

"Let's roll," Dare told Ante, heading out for the site.
"Yes, let's," Ante responded, wondering how in the world she was going to stay incognito with Dare at her side. So long as she didn't have to activate her battle routine, things would probably be fine. Nothing draws more attention to oneself than one's clothes exploding into poker chips.

((Headed to Casino Net))