The Hunt for McMan

((Directed from mission thread in progress.))

Touching down in the NetSquare, any of the three Navis who'd decided to travel would immediately find themselves immersed in the hustle and bustle of the central hub. A light station of NetPolice guards stood watch on the fringes, discrete enough to avoid intruding on the social atmosphere. As usual, the squared circle was full of Navis, either talking among each other or busy on their way to another destination. In such a massive crowd, it would be easy to get discouraged about the prospects of finding parties trying to remain hidden, even if they were your mirror image.

In a stroke of luck (good or bad up for debate), it didn't seem the search would take long at all. From MoCapMan's report, one could easily surmise that "McMan and his crew would have plenty of time to have taken any portal to any corner of the Net they'd wanted and get away scot-free. However, McMan and his gang seemed to be imitating the "hare" aspect of the tortoise and hare parable.

Three Navis were gathered in one of the fringe zones away from either the entry portal or any Net exit portal, and unless there were some more doppelgangers running around, they could only be the perpetrators. They were the spitting image of Divina, Kabuki, and Pirouette in their idol uniforms, with the exceptions of their missing wings and their mannerisms.

The one in the center, disguised as Divina, leaned back on a guardrail, gesturing with her hands as she apparently told a story to the would-be Kabuki. She was the only one talking, and she ran her mouth with a big, toothy grin on her face, an expression it didn't feel like Divina ought to have enough teeth to make if she wanted to. A close comparison would reveal there wasn't an actual difference: the superficial difference only seemed pronounced because the expression was so ill-suited. Occasionally, she would let out a loud, rowdy laugh, doubling over to slap her knee and clapping "Kabuki" on the back.

The one on the left, disguised as Kabuki, simply kept a wide smile as she listened: the quiet alone ought to be an obvious tell as to her false identity. She had her arms crossed beneath her breasts, and a straight and proud look. Occasionally, though, she would join "Divina" in laughing, holding the back of one hand to her mouth and letting out an obnoxious chortle. The way she managed to avoid showing Kabuki's distinct teeth was equally alarming.

The third, disguised as Pirouette, was quite clearly not a part of the buddy conversation, although "Divina" would occasionally address her. She was simply staring at the center of the NetSquare with an impassive look on her face, obviously awaiting the arrival of a particular party and tapping her foot. She was the only one who wouldn't be immediately discounted as an exact copy by her expression: her face probably could pass for a very, very bored Pirouette. Then again, there was the matter of her lack of wings. Additionally, her neutral stance wasn't quite as dainty as Pirouette's, and she certainly didn't seem inclined to move into any ballerina poses of her own accord.

When the three appeared, unless they made any special plans, they would probably appear right in the middle of the square. If that happened, they would have a very small window to try and hide themselves before a confrontation with the posers would be imminent. The Pirouette double wasn't doing much other than keeping an eye out.
By divine luck (or perhaps divine knowledge...?), Divina entered the NetSquare in exactly the right direction to catch a glimpse of the fakes immediately. She slightly flinched at what, while they certainly had the basic look, obviously did NOT have the temperment of a goddess. That grin made her look like a madwoman...this needed to be sorted out, quickly. As soon as Pirouette jacked in, she'd guide her into a crowd, and make it harder to be noticed. She, on the other hand, was perfectly capable of floating up just enough to make sure she knew where they were, without the reverse. She kept a firm grasp around the ballerina's wrist, knowing that separating would be a big problem in itself.

"That was almost too quick a's like they're not worried at all about being caught. Why would that be, I wonder? Hopefully they're just not very bright, and don't have some sort of trump card...then again, I doubt they have a goddess on their side, so we should be fine!" The implication seemed to be that, while she was beyond any mortal, she was the wimpiest of all deities. She thought about that implication for a while, but she was actually okay with it; she didn't harm or destroy, she healed and protected. In that sense, she SHOULD be weak compared to her peers. "Now, we need to figure out how to approach them. It's not my favorite tactic, but I think a little misdirection should go a long way, especially since one of them is scouting. I'll create a light ball, and position it so that they'll definitely see it. Then, while they're distracted, we get in close, so they can't simply run off. I'd worry that they could just jack out if they got spooked, but...there has to be some reason they're in that spot. It's too obvious otherwise. It's simple, but it should let us draw near easily enough. Ready, Pirouette? There's no stopping once it begins, so if you need a moment to compose yourself first, now's the time." She'd give her some time if it was needed, but if not (or after taking that moment), she pointed off to the side, creating a sphere of light energy off in the other direction from where they were. It wasn't overly bright, and could be looked at safely if anyone had the desire to. It would, however, occassionally pulse, momentarily becoming larger and brighter, and hopefully more eyecatching. If it caught the attention of NotThem, Divina would lead the charge out of the crowd, and towards the trio. If nothing else, between her floating, and Pirouette's light feet, they wouldn't be heard unless they deliberately tried.
Caught up in her own righteous indignation at the thieves, Pirouette hadn't taken and measures to disguise her entrance to the net square, and she appeared in her usual whirlwind of bursting feathers. Fortunately, the net square welcomed all types at all hours so here, of all places, a flashy entrance was probably more normal and unnoticeable than anywhere else. When the small display faded and left Pirouette behind, replete in her fancy rose-themed costume, the first thing the young ballerina was intending to do was to march right over and give the easy to spot trio a piece of her mind and the sharp side of her tongue.

Divina, apparently had other ideas and Pirouette felt her companion taking her arms swiftly to hustle her into blending mode with the other passers-by. She began to protest at first, but fell silent and went along with the motion when it became clear that hiding first was the goddess' very definite plan. She was lucky that the younger woman was both light and less directly headstrong, since it made diverting her would-be confrontation that much easier.

Provided they actually made it into the safe cover of the crowded square, there was a brief moment to discuss tactic, but Pirouette was mostly focused on tamping down her own emotions and just listened to Divina theorise. Mostly, she just wanted to get over there and give them what for, and she hadn't thought they looked like they meant to run, in the briefest of glimpses that she'd gotten... but Divina was probably right in the end that it was better not to risk being seen for as long as they could. They really had been doing a poor job of passing for them... but it also occurred to the ballerina that only people who actually knew them would know that, and a large part of what they were even here doing any of this was based on the idea that, well, almost no-one would. Her wings quivered in agitation, but having a more collected mind with her was helpful.

"They were waiting, Divina..." her words were in agreement with her companion on that score at least. "If they wanted to get away, they would be gone, you know? So, what do you suppose...?" She shook her head. "Better to ask them ourselves, yes? But if they run when they see us, after waiting... we should be wary of traps, yes?" Nevertheless, she wasn't about to keep stuffing her irritation at the imposters away forever, and didn't need any more time at all before following along quickly with Divina towards the confrontation.

She would, at least, manage to contain herself until they were spotted, but as soon as they were actually seen, the young woman found herself unwilling to keep her silence any longer. One delicate hand pointed towards them as she advanced with Divina, her wings stretching up and arcing high as she shouted towards the imposters.

"You will return them! You will give them back, immediately, ili aid sobirayet!" Her voice was still refined and high pitched in delivery, but her accent was strong and the last part of her threat came out in raw Sharoan. She didn't know whether Mikhail was paying attention actively, but a small part of her mind that wasn't furious, was hoping he was ready to assist if she needed it.

Divina's misdirection was a long shot in the first place: without creating a blinding intensity of light, it would be quite a feat to catch someone's attention with the bustling crowd that passed through the square, bustling as it was with Navis performing all manner of activities and possessing all manner of shapes. That said, Divina gave it a divine effort, and did succeed in luring the attention of the fake Kabuki and Divina from their conversation. Unfortunately, it was becoming increasingly obvious that the Pirouette look-a-like was looking out for their appearance. The pair was able to close in on their impostors, but were still a dash away before the ballerina raised her hand. "Halt, you three!" she shouted sharply.

"Huh... y'know, I don't think I see three here, buddy!" the Divina spoke up, scratching the back of her neck and keeping her greasy grin across her face. "Uuuh... whatshername, Kooky? She isn't here."

"Kabuki," Kabuki corrected her, keeping her same wide smile in place and flipping her long hair. "Like the historical Electopian dance theater?"

"Oh. Oh! Yeah, that," Divina muttered, rubbing her chin. "Well, who cares. You two, Divina and, uh... Pyroette!"

"Pirouette," Pirouette corrected her, touching a hand to her temples. "You're truly awful with names, FraudMan." She turned back to the two genuine articles, placing her hands on her hips. "Behold, our great generosity! Rather than run and cower, we meet you head on. And now I, the mighty ProdigyMan, offer you a deal."

"And nobody cuts a deal like me!" Divina spoke up, reaching behind her and producing a cigar from seemingly nowhere at all. She put it between her teeth, then clicked, which seemed to have the effect of lighting it. A rancid odor emitted from it, while she began puffing smoke rings. "It's your lucky day, friends!"

"If you are wise, you will hear our terms, great ballerina," the smallest of the three spoke again, keeping her posture straight and her nose high in an attempt to demand respect. "And you would be wise to keep your distance, commoners! At the blink of an eye, at the drop of a hat, we are capable of vanishing, taking your forms in tow. What do you have to lose from hearing us out?"

Assuming Divina and Pirouette hadn't heard enough already, the three seemed to be waiting for a response. The fake ballerina continued to try and hold the three with her commanding gaze, never cracking a smile; the fake goddess continued grinning, puffing, and occasionally chuckling at a joke that must be in her head alone; the fake kabuki actress stayed conspicuously quiet, seeming to prefer to let the others do the talking. The three were too far away to easily restrain before they'd be able to initiate a jack-out sequence, which was probably the crux of their leverage. Additionally, if there were any officials nearby who had any issue with the three proclaiming themselves thieves, they weren't making their presence known.
Unfortunately, Divina's plan had quite the opposite effect she was hoping for, as the pair ended up getting spotted before they could get close. "Well, darn." She didn't release her grip from Pirouette, however, not wanting her to just bull rush them or something. She was content to have them stand there and listen, though her eyes almost immediately narrowed, as the non-her shared their name. FraudMan? That sure was a name she could trust. It only got worse as he did the very un-goddessly act of smoking a cigar. That one, in particular, was a rather cocky one, wasn't he?

At any rate, they seemed to be offering a 'deal' of some sort. The goddess sighed, already knowing this was going to be just fantastic. "If I do say so, that's a rather elaborate way of saying you three men will be more than happy to jack out so you can continue to wear women's clothing. ...But that's neither here nor there. I'm willing to listen to your little offer, but I will note that by no means am I compelled to accept it. I do not pretend to speak for Pirouette, however." ...That had way too many buts in it. Which, ironically, was something that might ring true in a completely different sense if they failed to stop them somehow. At any rate, she went ahead and let go of the true ballerina's arm, having faith that she wouldn't just charge at them.
When they were caught on their approach, Pirouette didn't slow at first, and her shouted demand ran right over the top of her imposter's dramatic alert. Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately for their odds of success, Divina's grip on her arm was enough to rein the ballerina in, at least temporarily. It wasn't that she didn't feel like she could have pulled away, or pulled the other woman long, but rather, the simple pressure was enough to recall her focus and allow that one outburst to be the limit of her venting for the time being. Mostly she wasn't the threatening type, and a small part of her was ashamed for shouting threats crudely across the intervening space, but this injustice was just so... so wrong, in so many ways.

On the bright side, stopping alongside Divina let the girl listen to what the three frauds actually had to say to them, and it also gave her a moment to think on the new information. Not only had they been waiting around, to be chased, but it sounded like they'd been waiting specifically with the expectation that it would be the three of them who gave chase, and not anyone else, like Mo or Glow. That fact didn't have enough time there and then to progress any further, but it tickled away in a back corner of her thoughts. They were poor imposters, but in many ways that just made the defilement even worse, and the more they spoke the more Pirouette had to fight off the strong desire to punish them immediately.

Rather than continue on her furious charge, the spare moment let Pirouette reach for the appearance of, at the very least, external calm. She physically relaxed, schooled her features to a neutral calm again, from the furious glower they had adopted without her leave, and drew a long, deep breath. She rested lightly on the balls of her feet, ankles together and once Divina released her, placed her hands into a simple commencement position together in the middle of her waist. Her wings relaxed and settled down as well, and someone not used to seeing the complete emotional shift of a performer changing roles would probably be surprised by the completeness of the transformation. Inside, she still seethed, but she gazed back at her double with a practiced look of refined, cool superiority despite the inner boiling. She turned her face gently, discarding the trio with her eyes in order to focus on Divina instead. In a quick decision, she had decided to play into the other woman's words, and see how easy to ruffle the trio were.

"We must not judge them, Divina. It is a sad state, you know, to be in a body that does not suit. I am sure they must be hurting and confused, yes? If they would rather be women, and have the bodies of ladies, then we cannot treat them poorly for that alone, you know." She sniffed softly, and gave a small flick of her head. "Of course it was not right of them to take our outfits, but, perhaps, in their need to be seen as the women they are, they could see no other way, no? We must show them compassion, for they are lost and unsure." Though she spoke softly, or seemed to, her voice carried enough projection to drift clearly across the space to the counterfeit performers easily.

"You poor girls. Thank you for waiting for us, like you have. It is clear, yes, that you had to wait quite specifically for us to come after you, and that without us, you were stuck, and left hanging upon our leisure..." she tilted her head just a fraction, smiling at them graciously. "So, now that we have established that you need," she gently put more emphasis on the 'need', but didn't slow, "us to listen to you, what is it, little kittens, that you need from us?" Again she emphasised that it was the imposters, whose plan hung upon the thread of their cooperation, that were in the weaker position here, casting her eyes across the other two with the same measured coolness that she turned back to her own duplicate. The fake's posture horrified her, on the inside, but along with her indignation and fury, she kept it well below the performer's facade, and out of sight. For now.

The three continued to hold their positions as Divina spoke. FraudMan let out a laugh at Divina's jab, placing one hand on her stomach while still holding the cigar with the other. "Good, good, Divina! Don't worry, nobody's got your arm in a vice, here. You two are just lucky enough to have a li'l talk with FraudMan and his pals. If you don't like what you hear, well... let's not even discuss it! I think you two friends are gonna be pleasantly surprised by how smooth and painless this transaction'll go down, ha..."

ProdigyMan made the faintest hint of a smile at seeing the two didn't intend to make things messy. Her expression fell back to her business frown as the ballerina took less-than-veiled swipes at their apparent interests, though. Near the end of her discussion, the Pirouette's face had become a mask of anger, the brow knit and teeth clenched. She seemed to pick up on Pirouette's intended emphasis and finally snapped. It seemed evident she was going to make a lunge for her genuine lookalike.

FraudMan quickly roped her arms under the fake Pirouette's, holding her in place. "Ah, ah! Why don't you just simmer down and sit a spell, my friend? You're a quick hand at a lot of things, but you ain't been with FraudMan long enough yet to know the art of the deal!"

"Deal? Try 'kindness,' or 'favor!' To do business in the light of day and be accused of being a pervert in the night! The audacity of this ballerina... FraudMan's greed and your own skill, your niche and sole talent in the theater of the performance arts, have spared you a sudden and grisly death!" The smaller copycat continued to struggle in the arms of the other, until she finally stopped kicking and was released.

"By the way... since we're all sharing, I'm actually a woman," the fake Kabuki spoke up. "I'm not sharing my name unless I have to, though."

"Not unless they have a lot of money and a penchant for the kinky, huh, babe?" FraudMan added with another laugh, making a casual swipe for Kabuki's rear end and coming up empty as she sidestepped. Kabuki gave her a "hush, now" smile, causing her to shrug and get back to puffing her cigar, forming more sacrilegious smoke halos. "Anyway, you're a sharp-tongued one! I like it. Clever ones are always much more fun to negotiate with. But there's only a few ways I get in a woman's body for kicks, my friend, and this ain't one of 'em!"

The fake goddess had begun laughing again, but the fake ballerina hushed her again with a wave of her hand. "Enough foolishness! I will say my piece, the terms of my deal to you, ballerina, and our business shall be done for the time. I am the proud possessor of a great range of talents and virtues, but this farce strains even my great patience. To imagine, a man of my abilities taking time out of his life-long journey towards perfection to indulge in such a vulgar fancy..." The fake Pirouette finally collected herself again, taking a deep breath. It seemed that if she really did want to imitate Pirouette, she was going to have to work on her breathing exercises...

"My terms are simple!" ProdigyMan spoke, returning to her commanding glare. "I am on a quest to hone a wide array of skills, and I have very limited time to do so. Luckily, I am possessed of supernatural learning ability. I need only borrow your body for practice. I will assume this form, and I shall attend all recitals, performances, and/or practices you take part in as I see fit, and with unrestricted access. If payment is required, my attendance shall be arranged regardless of this barrier. If privacy is desired, it must be arranged with me beforehand in all cases. Once I have seen you perform... I would estimate fifteen times, I will be your equal. Once I have seen you perform twenty times, I will be your better. So, as you see, our engagement will not be prolonged. Once I am a master ballerina, I will take my leave to practice my next life skill, returning your .GMO."

"... Wow, that's what you're after? That sounds like a real pain in the keister, if you don't mind my saying so, buddy," FraudMan commented, wiping at his chin and speaking low, but grinning all the same.

"I grant you that. It shall be a most tiresome time for me, as, needless to say, I have no interest in the dull practice of ballet. And yet, I am compelled to master it and take it with me to the end of my journey. Furthermore, this is the ultimate opportunity: if it were not for the fact that this body exactly mimics the perfect ballet-tuned shape of Pirouette's, this would be a waste of time and a fool's endeavor. Completely pointless. If it were not so, than I should sooner master ballet by reading BBS tutorials than entertain another second of her unfounded arrogance."

FraudMan didn't say anything for a moment, but puffed on his cigar. "Huh... You're an interesting guy, ProdigyMan. So you just wanted this to become a perfect ballerina, like... for kicks? And you say you think you can do that so quickly because... your body is exactly like hers?"

"Not for 'kicks,' you neanderthal! Otherwise, yes, FraudMan," ProdigyMan retorted, still focusing on Pirouette.

It was obvious the fake Kabuki wanted to say something, but FraudMan turned to her and put a finger to her lips to hush her. She kept an amused eye on Divina and Pirouette, seeming curious to see how they'd respond.
As Not-Pirouette suddenly started to make his/her move, Divina raised her staff; not to attack, of course, but to guard her friend if needed. But since that apparently wasn't part of the deal, it thankfully wasn't. It'd be nice if they just came out and said what they wanted, though. She wasn't here to chat, she was here to ensure their likenesses weren't used for sinister purposes. Oh, here came the offer, this was going to be good...

...Um...what? Divina tilted her head and stared blankly at ProdigyMan. He went through all he could learn ballet? She didn't approve of the method, but the goal was surprisingly harmless. But about that method..."Um, the decision is Pirouette's and Pirouette's alone, but may I ask something first? ...Why didn't you just ask? Why go through all of this? You could've just gone up and asked her if she'd cooperate, and if she said yes, go to MoCapMan, who probably wouldn't mind helping, though perhaps not for free. If your true goal is to simply become an expert in ballet, I don't see why either would inherently refuse..." Maybe there was something she was overlooking, but the goddess just could not figure out why that, of all things, needed such an elaborate scheme. Now she was wondering exactly why her own likeness was stolen...though the fact it was taken by someone named FraudMan was not encouraging. Still, she was willing to hear him out, as much as she really didn't want to.
Her kind words seemed to have something of the effect she had been hoping for, and inwardly Pirouette allowed herself a small smirk. On the outside she put fingers to her lips, her expression jumping up into one of surprise at her body double's anger, and continued into faux embarrassment when the self-proclaimed ProdigyMan seemed to take her concern for her gender identity as an insinuation of perversion. Seeing the trio opposite them so off balance helped calm her down a little and the ballerina felt just a little bit more like she had her footing and was more or less in control of things. She was able to disguise ignoring his own more direct insults and threats under a guise of amiable, girlish oblivion; it was a look that some might say she could achieve embarrassingly easily, but here it served. The Kabuki look-alike gave her the transition she needed to brush off their threats and intimidation like she hadn't even heard.

"Ah, Of course you are! I am sure you are all wonderful, charming ladies underneath, no matter your forms, yes? You do not need to convince me. I do understand being shy when talking about it though. It can be difficult, no? I am sure you must all be finding talking about the issue so much easier while you wear our looks, do you not? It is well, do not worry!" If it really was a sore spot that was getting under ProdigyMan's skin, she was certainly going to rub it any chance she got... and there was also the chance it might throw the kabuki-player off her game as well, if she was miffed by the supposition that Pirouette though she was in the same state as the others.

Despite herself, the follow-up remark from the other Divina, and the somewhat adult overtone it carried, brought a soft blush to her cheeks before she could shoo it away again. She supposed she had to consider that they might well be wanting to try and extort something... like that... Of course, things were going to get violent indeed if they were, but... As her mirror got to the meat of the matter she found herself somewhat relieved that it hadn't come out as something so vulgar. Still, it was a very strange way to go about things. Divina seemed to think so as well, and Pirouette nodded softly as her friend spoke. It was giving her some time to think on the matter more while she listened, and the ballerina appreciated the stolen moments. If that was all there was to it, there wouldn't have been such an elaborate set up, and the other two. They hadn't seemed to know exactly what her own double wanted at all, until now. Perhaps they were each in it for something different, and hadn't discussed their own ends with each other? Was that something she could work with? Divina had finished talking and she smiled and inclined her head towards ProdigyMan, eyes down for a moment.

"If you wish to attend my classes, ProdigyMan, then of course you may. I do not object. If you would like to master all that is ballet, we must start you with the six year olds, yes? You can join the bar with them; the projector I use, it can handle a second navigator, if it has a power supply, you know? I hope you do not mind that you will be surrounded by such young girls, and taking the same lessons as them. Many of them will some day master the art form, you know, and they do so with real human bodies that are not perfect or always exactly as they wish. It is quite a feat, no? I admire them. Only a few possess the heart and soul needed to truly become prima ballerinas, and master every aspect of the dance, for it takes much more than simply training the body, you know?" She was sure, by the way he'd spoken so far, that ProdigyMan would probably be scoffing at what she had to say by this point, so she chose now to strike out, flicking her eyes up with a glint and meeting her double's.

"You, however, will never be a ballerina. To begin, if you are a man as you say, then, you will be Danseur... some might say ballerino, to those outside the art. There are differences, you know, and they are important." She sniffed softly and turned her head to the side. "But it is worse than that for you. You have no poise. No grace. No calm. No passion. You cannot learn or perform ballet unless your heart and your mind are in tune with your body, and yours are not. There is so much else you would need to learn first, which I can see you do not know, before you could even begin to master ballet. If your time is limited, yes.... then it is a futile effort for one such as you. If you are not ready to bring your heart and your mind into line then there can be no point in attempting to learn ballet. You will fail." A small shake of her head and a slight downcast of the eyes gave off an impression of sadness as she sighed. She wasn't exaggerating... well maybe a little bit... but if he grew further angered by her answer then he would only be proving her point. Inwardly, she hoped he exploded, then continued with a tone of voice a little bit more thoughtful.

"You would be better to become a true premier danseur noble, if you sought to learn in your own natural body, maybe with Mikhail, my operator. He is a master, and quite well respected, you know? And to return what you have stolen. Theft, it is lowly, yes? Why should you resort to it?" She didn't expect him to give up the ground on theft, not when he was associating with a navi calling himself FraudMan, but perhaps his pride might cause some more friction if she poked it. The part of Pirouette's mind that was busy taking in all the other details while she baited her imposter took note of how fixated he was being about sharing her exact body... when visibly, thanks to the little mishap with her wings, his body was not an exact replica of hers at all, but the opportunity to use that little piece of ammunition hadn't come up yet, so she tucked it away for later.

"Surely that is not all that the three of you sought to do, no? It is quite a number of things, for so small a request. What is it that you other ladies seek? There must be more, yes? Why else did you hire on as performers. It is flattering, you know, but it cannot have been for me alone." Her hands clasped together in front of her chest again as she spoke, looking between the three, and her wings had settled back and down, almost out of sight as she gave the impression of a genuinely interested and beseeching question.

The fake Kabuki didn't seem to bat an eye at Pirouette's comments one way or another, and FraudMan continued to look amused, occasionally chuckling and scratching at the same spot below her chin. ProdigyMan had been the easiest to rile, but this particular line of insult seemed to have lost a bit of its sting on him after FraudMan successfully talked him down. As such, the smallest of the fakers was able to get around to her offer.

The frustration quite clearly rose to her face again, however, as Divina voiced her thoughts. She didn't respond for a while, letting Divina finish. Behind her, FraudMan had broken into a giggling fit, and quickly chimed in. "Yeah, ProdigyMan, buddy? Why don'tcha tell 'em why you're doing this? You're a respectable kiddo... what are you doin' running around with us miscreants?"

"I don't think I'm under any obligation to answer that," ProdigyMan returned, a measure of ice in her voice. "I have my reasons, and now, you have yours. You have your offer, and you have a choice to make. Is that not enough?"

"Y-yeah, but, I'm just thinkin', don't you think these three would like to know how a sharp, level-headed fella like yourself got talked into doing this, buddy? I'm sure whoever cut you in on such a sweet deal, he'd-" The fake Divina was cut off by a sharp glare from ProdigyMan, which caused her to throw up her hands and grin more widely. "All right, all right! I get it, pal, you're tougher than me. We goddesses aren't made for fighting, heheh..."

Pirouette's double continued to try and keep her expression cool and even as Pirouette baited out a response. That was mostly a failed effort, as various ticks of the eyebrows and tightly clenched teeth gave away the anger that boiled just below the surface. It seemed to be all she could do to keep from interrupting, but for whatever reason, she did so. When Pirouette finally gave a pause, though, she let her objections fly. "Oh, I think I shall become a master of this corner of the performance arts rather quickly and put it behind me! Yes, it must be a rather simple matter, as apparently it requires no talent for listening, comprehension, nor respect! I have no intention of joining a beginner's class and practicing in the rote manner of a plebian! I have no time to pay tribute to the manner in which poor plebians must devote years to such a trifling endeavor in order to merely scrape the ceiling of glory. If I had wanted to become a danseur or a ballerino I would have sought a proper channel in order to develop that particular skill! No, I said I wanted to become a ballerina because I thought this would be a reasonable way to pursue that goal and check it off as one of many, many pursuits that could be sought in this same amount of time. Now, I begin to think I shall be mastering the art of patience instead. Such great patience... have I already shown...!" By this point, the fake ballerina was putting on quite a show, shaking, pointing fingers and nearly foaming at the mouth in anger.

The Navi let out a hoarse breath, then barked a command. "Agree to my terms, ballerina! It shall be done the way I have said. You will note I have referenced supernatural learning abilities. Giving you great, generous benefit of the doubt, let's assume your operator were the masterful teacher you have stated. Even if that were the case, you yourself have stated it would take a great deal of patience and time to become a master, starting as such an apprentice. My time is far too precious for such a tepid path, such a trivial detour. I make you the final offer to accept again, and then-"

"Ahahaha, okay, buddy!" FraudMan suddenly spoke up, walking up and clapping her on the back. "Okay, buddy, okay! I had my fun with you, you can give 'em the .GMO back now."

That strange order seemed to be enough to shock the fake Pirouette out of her rant, causing her to stutter momentarily. "G-give them back? FraudMan, what nonsense-"

"Oohoh, you egotistical types are fun! Yeah, uh, you keepin' that .GMO ain't gonna happen. Or, uh, even if you could, your big plan ain't gonna happen! You told me you were like a super genius, right? Surely you figured it out by now?"

"The only thing newly revealed to me is your death wish, cretin! Speak your damn mind, villain."

"Touchy touchy. Yeah, uh, your disguise ain't an exact copy of her body. The wings, dummy! Your outfit ain't got wings, and I doubt you're growin' some any time soon. Ain't you seen those flappy wings behind her? They're a part of her, so her own ballet is gonna depend on them as an extension of her body, riiiiight...?" The goddess grinned widely, leaning down to level his eyes with those of her ally.

The Pirouette was clearly stunned. Obviously, she was seeing this as a major oversight. Her whole plan had been questionable in the first place, and it was even more questionable if the wings even made a difference to that plan... in her mind, though, it certainly seemed to. "Such folly..."

"Ahaha! That's the look I wanna see on your face! I'd like to see it on the face of that sadsack back at the tents, too, but maybe I won't get that lucky! Ahaha, hoo!" she continued, expelling smoke all around the airspace over ProdigyMan's head. "What a sucker. A tight-*ss like you is so dang easy to sucker! Buddy, you spend so much time on the hunt for the next big thing that you fall for some seriously screwy stuff. Butterin' up that big ego of yours and gettin' you to dress up like a little girl-!"

"FraudMan, I'm pretty sure that's a young woman, not a girl," the fake Kabuki interrupted, smiling but staying put.

"Enough. Such a waste of my time... don't think I won't remember this, you putrid-smelling, foul-mouthed sack of deception and lung disease," ProdigyMan muttered, the life seeming to have escaped her. "Half a day... nearly half a day, wasted. To avoid any further waste, I shall not abide a second more conversation. Ballerina, I shall return this... countenance... to the dullard we pilfered it from by the end of the day. I have no interest in the uphill battle of learning ballet with imperfect tools. I imagine I should go mad in the month it would take."

Quite suddenly, the fake Pirouette attempted to jack out, and would probably manage to do so if nobody made an effort to stop her.

"If I may get on with mine, please," the fake Kabuki spoke up, whether ProdigyMan managed to flee or not. "Mine's quite simple. I'm just going to be using this body and character for sex as part of my business... and art. It's quite routine... I hook up with partners for money, and I collect an array of characters in order to have one that best pleases them. There's a certain degree of performance art involved..." The Kabuki smiled widely, inspecting the nails of one hand as she continued. "I was along for the ride with FraudMan here, but Kabuki's form and character caught my eye, and now I have to have this in my repertoire... and I have to have a genuine article, an exact copy. Luckily, she's actually worn and, if my guess is correct, is planning to perform in this outfit, so I have a life base to work from. None of you have any problem with that, do you? I see the woman herself isn't present..."

She stretched, then began patting around her body absently, as though searching for something. "Anyway, I will change the name to protect the innocent in my performance, and as long as this Kabuki doesn't become a mega celebrity, I don't think it'll have any effect on her image. I have a strict no-recording policy for my clients... And, to be honest, I don't think this is going to be a frequently requested one. I mean, it's sexy, sure, but a bit niche... this one's mostly a curiosity for me, but one I've taken great interest in. Speaking of which, FraudyMan, you're not going to suddenly pipe up and tell me this one isn't a good replica either?"

"Naw, you know I wouldn't play you like that, buddy!" FraudMan laughed, tapping his cigar on a nearby rail. "Teasin' some poor, high-and-mighty stranger's one thing, but I don't play tricks on my real friends. Kabuki ain't got no weird wing things or anything that I know of. I'm pretty sure that body will be her 100% real naked code underneath."

"I hope so. Ahem. With that out of the way, honorable brother, I ought to begin PRAACK~TISS~SING my routine!" she shouted, grinning more widely and attempting a pretty weak mie.

The Divina clapped, grinning with bemusement. "Woah-oh! You picked that up pretty fast from just a little bit of that behavior data, huh? Good one, buddy, good one!"

"I think it's still got a ways to go, but I'll get it," the fake Kabuki commented in a conversational tone, trying the mie a couple more times.

The two seemed pretty distracted. Surprisingly after their resistance to ProdigyMan, it seemed as though they were really expecting Divina and Pirouette to give a quick nod and sell their friend's body into sexual service without a second thought. As such, they weren't paying the two very much attention.
The actual ladies' thoughts worked ProdigyMan into a fine lather...Divina thought she could see a bit of said fine lather at the edge of his mouth. Eww. She was mostly tuning him out, though for obvious reasons, whenever her doppelganger started to speak, she paid more attention. ...Wait, his plan couldn't happen? All he needed was to look exactly like Pirouette, and...and...she let out a gasp as it dawned on her that the not-a-ballerina was, in fact, not identical to the real thing. "The wings...of course!" To her credit, the goddess managed to barely beat her fake at actually saying it. She didn't need to elaborate, however, as he was more than happy to spell it out. "Oof. To be strung along like that...that's rather mean, I must say." On one hand, he kinda deserved it, based on his attitude...but she was a merciful goddess, and she didn't care to see anyone deceived like that.

"Wait a moment." Surprisingly, it was Divina that tried to get the fake Pirouette to not leave. "May I say one thing before you leave? I think you're relying a bit too much on your natural learning ability. Yes, you could learn the steps, and yes, you could do them well...but if your heart isn't in it, I don't think anyone truly familiar with ballet would say you've truly mastered the art. Heart is what truly separates the skilled from the masters...that's what I think, anyway." He was free to accept or dismiss it as he wished...though she hoped he'd at least think about it.

And now for Not-Kabuki's request...basically, kabuki prostitution? She wasn't quite sure what to think of it...but they certainly couldn't accept it on her behalf, without her permission. But, in the back of her mind, there was something gnawing at her about the proposal. Like it was doomed from the start, like ProdigyMan's had been. But what? All that was really necessary for that to work out were lady parts, and Kabuki was most certainly a lady...

......Oh. Despite not ever wanting to remember the mission from earlier in the day again, she recalled a certain event that revealed a certain relevant fact. "Umm...I'm really not sure how to say this, but...I don't think you'll find that body very useful for such purposes. You can double check if you want, but...having seen Kabuki in the buff before, I don't seem to recall any, er, holes down there." After a single beat, it dawned on her that some were probably wondering how she knew this. "...We visited a hot spring earlier. It's a long story. Very long. Also not one I feel like sharing."

...Now she was actually starting to get curious about what FraudMan had planned for her image. Could it also be undone with a simple fact? She could only hope.
Much to her growing sense of inner delight, ProdigyMan continued to work himself into a rage at her gentle prodding, and while he ranted vigorously at her in turn, she tilted her head to the side just enough to murmur to Divina with a small smile.

"Patience indeed. I think he would do well to add that to his list of the oh so very many, many things which he still has yet to learn, no?" Of course, despite being a side whisper to her companion, Pirouette still delivered it in such a way that the words would carry and project clearly tot he others. Prodigy himself likely wouldn't catch it while he was busy ranting, but the other two imposters probably would. she let him finish though, and it came out that the wing issue might indeed be a problem after all. She let the scene play out between the thieves without interjecting on them, until she realised that her body double was about to leave. A promise of returning the outfit by the end of the day was all well and good, but it would make her feel far better to get it back herself, right now. She couldn't stop him from jacking out, but she called out anyway, just in case.

"Prodigy, wait! What would it take, sir, for you to give it to me now, instead? That will save you time and thought, yes? If you give it to me now, then you need never think about ballet, or this, this sordid mess, again, no?" The danger of asking a criminal 'what it would take', when she had nothing on her person but herself was not a thought that occurred to Pirouette in the slightest. Mostly she was simply concerned with appealing both to his ego and his rush and impatience, in the hopes of reclaiming the override more swiftly.

One way or another, however ,the young woman's composure wasn't going to last. Where she was quite capable of controlling her irritation and ire with aplomb, the surface of her poise and calm shook far more visibly when the Kabuki-copy began to speak in very plain terms about what she wanted to do with Kabuki's body. It was... well, it was not something that she was accustomed to talking about, nor even thinking about, and especially not in relation to strangers, or in a public space.

The result was that Pirouette found herself going a bright, bright pink that flushed her skin hotly and almost matched her outfit. Without rally noticing, her hands jumped up together to cover her mouth in shock and her wings folded right back and down. how could the lady even speak about something like that so casually? What was she supposed to say?

"I... I do not think..." Fortunately, as she fumbled and blushed, Divina managed to take over and start to offer an answer. Her relief only lasted up until she heard what Divina was saying. Beside her, the ballerina gasped aloud and turned to her friend, reaching out to clutch the other woman's arm suddenly, shock and mortification painted clear across her face now.

"Divina! You cannot say something like that! You must not share such thing with strangers! In public! Oh, it is too indecent!" The soft grip, both of her small hands on Divina's upper arm, became something of an urgent shake as she pleaded with her. It was only a small action, without any real power to do anything more than make the goddess aware of it, but it was clear that the young woman was quite upset about Divina spreading that kind of information about her friend to other people.

At a basic level, Pirouette was not one to judge others based on what they wanted to do with themselves. It was not in her nature to ever think about sex, except in the very vaguest of young romantic terms, but she was aware that others did, and had no problem with the idea of it. the woman was offering as much confidentiality as could be asked for, and a complete name break, and she was making it quite clear that she had no intention of pretending to be Kabuki herself... so, really there was nothing that she would say was wrong with it, so long as Kabuki herself consented to the use of her likeness... but getting Kabuki's own consent was vital. She wasn't actively articulating these thoughts in her head; the girl was far too flustered for that, but it was the general unformed impression that she was feeling, beneath the absolute mortification and impropriety of the conversation. How could Divina be comfortable just spilling something like that out right back at the other woman?

"Ah... Perhaps, perhaps you could come back somewhere more private with us, yes? You do not seem to be in as much a hurry, you know, so... So maybe we could get out of the square, you know, and you could ask Kabuki yourself, yes? Please?" She was crimson and her cheeks felt like they were burning up.

ProdigyMan stayed in a moody disposition, keeping her head turned rather than face Divina directly. "Hmph. That you accuse me of lacking heart is proof of your ignorance, and I feel no imperative to stay and teach you the extent of it. Time is my most precious commodity, and here I have thrown it at the feet of those who chide me, had it taken from my pocket by a supposed comrade... To see a man being robbed and mock him, tell him he is stingy for not giving more, and gladly?" She turned to Pirouette with a tight frown. "Rest assured in knowing you have done your best, ballerina... Your effort is worthy of commendation, but nothing else. You have nothing to offer me. Also, rest easy with a clear conscience, knowing that there shall be no further thought spared toward this 'sordid mess,' as you put it. I will honor my word to return it, but I have no intention of shedding my disguise here. I have no intention of being met by either of you again." With that, and entertaining no further conversation, the irate Navi disappeared in a flash of light.

"There he goes," the fake Divina commented, still grinning broadly. "If it makes you two feel any better, I do think he'll give that pigeon his suit back. His pride won't let him go back on that promise and let you two think of him as a liar. Of course, he stole your identity and dressed up as you, so maybe you still do! Only really matters what's in his head, of course." The goddess let out a laugh, tapping her cigar on a rail once more and leveling her gaze. "Didn't you ladies learn anything, though? If you want a guy like that to do what you tell him, you butter up his ego! Looks like you've still got plenty to learn from ol' FraudMan, too, chums!"

As he went on laughing, the fake Kabuki gave her proposition, then listened to the responses. She cast a small, mildly bemused smile at Pirouette's reaction, while FraudMan behind her continued his own greasy giggles. When Divina finally spoke up, she raised her eyebrows and gave a small grin. "You don't say? I'd been wondering... I haven't actually had a chance to check out the equipment, but it did strike me that it feels pretty funny all over. Anyway, it's not that big of a problem for me. My customers truly are a special niche, and the body's really an accessory. The real show is here, don't you think?" The fake made a point of opening her mouth widely, lolling Kabuki's long tongue from her mouth. She put it away and showed her sharp teeth in a satisfied grin. "Oh, yes, I believe I already have a few clients in mind who will be delighted by that one..."

"The classic model's still my favorite, babe, huheh!" FraudMan added with a lecherous chuckle.

"Yes, yes, I'm quite aware you have less adventurous tastes," the fake Kabuki returned, rolling her eyes, but smiling. "Anyway, girls, I'm fine if you need to obtain Kabuki's permission... in fact, I'd even enjoy a chance to speak with her. However, I'm not going back to that tent. I don't have any desire for conflict, so needless to say, I'm looking to avoid seeing MotionCaptureMan again... Dear," she said, addressing Pirouette with a small smile and trying to make eye contact, "Is there some way you can arrange that while FraudMan explains his interests to your friend? I understand the exact terms may be hard for you to frame, so let me know if you need help."

FraudMan had seemed happy to roll with things and enjoy herself up to this point, but it was only when she was told it was her turn on stage that it became obvious how hard she had been holding back her enthusiasm. The fake goddess's eyes sparkled as she walked up to Divina. She walked closer than either of the two had come to the genuine articles so far, which might indicate she was no longer concerned about Pirouette or Divina jumping and restraining her. Although she was now being somewhat invasive of personal space, she did at least have the good courtesy to stop puffing on the cigar while she was in Divina's face. Her breath still reeked of it, though, and it came out in warm puffs in Divina's airspace.

"I'm not interested in performing like you, or acting like you but not getting the credit. For me to really feel it, I've gotta be you. I wanna be queen for a day! I wanna be you, and have everyone who knows you think I'm you!" the con man raved, nearly drooling as she described her desires. Realizing this, she wiped at her lips, backed off, and shook a finger. "Ahah, sorry, I don't mean I'm gonna kidnap and replace you, honey. Nothing like that. All we're gonna do is play it like this: you're a goddess, so I imagine you got a church of followers some place, right? You're gonna prepare to address them, and you're gonna write a speech. Whatever you want. Then you and I are gonna trade outfits, and I'm gonna go out there as you and deliver it. That's it! What a great deal, considerin' it's with an ol' horndog that could run off with your expensive body scot-free, huh?"

The Navi chuckled, no longer managing to restrain her drool, which poured from a corner of her mouth as she wiped at it. "Huheheheh... that's gonna be it! The feeling of all your followers, looking at me, worshiping me and fallin' for my malarkey! To get to commit heresy and fool a buncha' saps, all in one stroke? This'll be the best con I've ever pulled, and relatively painless for you, my friend."

Realizing she was getting carried away, the Navi wiped away her dopey smirk and straightened up. "Oh, but yeah. For this deal to go forth, you probably need to be convinced that I can actually appear in front of your followers and not have them think I'm you, droolin' and puffin' a big ol' cigar, right? Ahehehrrm..." the Navi coughed, tossing away her cigar, which vanished in a puff of smoke. She straightened up her posture a bit, easily transforming into a more proper woman. Her face became the face of a Divina that was all business, but not uptight, as ProdigyMan had been. She was still wearing the idol outfit, but otherwise, her impersonation had nearly doubled in authenticity. "Now, if you're interested, why not simply cooperate? As one goddess to another, think of it as an act of charity. I'll have my fun, and then you'll have me out of your life. I get my time in the light, and your followers get kept in the dark. Does that sound fine? ...Pal? Eheheheh..." she added at the end, snickering in a quick transformation before effortlessly resuming her divine countenance.

The fake Kabuki shot her a smirk and a sideways glance, but otherwise ignored his antics. If it was anything that surprised her, she wasn't showing it.
For some strange reason, Pirouette didn't seem pleased about Divina casually spilling intimate details about others, which made the goddess look at her with a genuinely confused look. "Hmm? Is it really a big deal in this situation? It's not like she can't check right this moment." ...And then she promptly found out that her proposed flaw mattered very little. "...Ah. I suppose that makes sense...I'd think biting would be a bit of a fear, myself, but if you don't think it'll be a problem..."

...Also not a problem, apparently, was asking Kabuki herself about a doppelganger being used for prostitution. A novel idea. There was a small problem with the ballerina doing it, but it was easily enough solved. She extended her free hand, and created a small ball of light that moved over in front of her. "Here, Pirouette. This is Kabuki's contact information. I don't think she'll mind if I give it to you, especially in these circumstances. I'd do it myself, but I really do need to hear this offer...ack!"

Any and all train of thought was brought to a swift crash as Divina found her personal space being invaded by...herself. That was kinda surreal...though the smell made her want to hack up a lung. Instead, she hovered back a little, having no interest in being quite that close. "Um, if you could make this proposal just a little further away, I'd be most grateful." She wouldn't press it, though, and one way or another, listened to the demands. "......" She took a few moments to process it all, and then gave her response. "...I'm going to ask this question again. Why didn't you just ask? I don't see it as being very damaging...IF conditions are met. Agree to these, and we'll arrange a date for it. First, should I give you anything to say, you must follow it to the letter, or else the deal is immediately off. You shall not even throw in a contraction if it isn't already there. Secondly, I will inform my followers afterward that it wasn't me giving the speech. I shall not keep them in the dark. But this will be only after you're done and gone, so you needn't worry about being properly revered. And finally...if you ever, EVER refer to my followers as 'saps' or some equivalent again in my presence...well, let's just say that the rest of your day won't be filled with happiness. I think those are reasonable conditions, that won't affect what you want out of it. ...Oh, and heresy means you're going against established teachings. If you follow my instructions, you won't actually be committing it." Hmm. She was already getting a good idea for the material, should her look-alike agree to her terms. "So, you tell me. Do we have a deal?"
ProdigyMan's haughty departure had only managed to remain in the young ballerina's mind until the more blush-inducing topic had begun; at that point everything else was more or less dashed out, so she didn't have any conscious concerns about his promises, or determination to have the last word. Rather she fought to stop herself casting down at her own feet while the more embarrassing matters were discussed.

She was still wearing an almost outfit-matching shade of rose as Divina gave her Kabuki's contact details, and she accepted the data nervously, uncertain exactly what she was going to say to the other woman. Another fear gripped her after that; would the actress be performing yet? How long did they have, really? It wouldn't do to contact her while she was on stage... though the more sensible part of her mind reasoned that, just as she did, Kabuki likely shut off or diverted any overtly visible direct messaging systems she had whenever she was performing. Better not to delay then, and get it over with.

While the Divinas were hashing out the terms of their own arrangement, Pirouette swallowed nervously, spared a somewhat pleading look between the others nearby, then made the call. She tried to stop herself form biting her lip as she did and her wings had drooped all the way back until they were almost out of sight.

"Kabuki? It is Pirouette. We have found the, ah, the..." Her first instance had been to say thieves, but at the last moment she found herself hesitating on using the term right there in front of them; all her wilful resentment and fury had been channelled completely into ProdigyMan, and now, with the other two apparently proposing more reasonable requests, she couldn't muster any desire to denounce or offend them just for the sake of it. She swallowed "The ones who took the overrides, you know? We have promise of the return of one and are working on the others, but... the, ah, the lady, who has your appearance, yes? She would like to..." The girl's cheeks were growing hotter by the moment as she struggled to phrase what she needed to ask, all the while finding it difficult to talk about with such strangers - for a matter as intimate as this, Pirouette still had to think of her new friends as virtual strangers, since she had only just met them today. "That is, ah, she would like to ask your permission for something, and perhaps talk with you, yes? She wishes to... to use the look, you know, ah but, she does not wish to actually..." She fumbled for the word briefly. "To ispolnyat' rol', ah... to act as you, you know? Ah, impersonate. She does not wish to impersonate you, just to have a, ah, authentic look, you know?" She knew she was still avoiding the issue of exactly what the other woman wanted to do with Kabuki's authentic look. She clenched her fists trying to find a tactful way to be clear about the matter, but nothing seemed to work.

"She has... she has clients, who she thinks would... appreciate your, ah... Oh, klyanus' svet I cannot do this!!" She cast a pleading look towards the other Kabuki then bit the bullet and dashed across to her. By this point her features were, in fact, more crimson than her outfit, all the way to the tips of her ears, and she moved to shift the small viewscreen that came with her call across to the other woman in the hope that she could help. "Miss, could you tell Kabuki what you intend, please? This... it is not my business!"

While this was going on, the two Divinas were making proposal and counter proposal, and Pirouette happened to chose the exact moment that the duplicate was showing how well he could actually impersonate the goddess. Thus she was distracted, if only for the briefest of moments, by a sudden confusion as to who was who, before her eyes found the cigar. Still, things were staying amicable, it seemed, so that was positive, and right now she would take almost any distraction to not be apart of talking about what Kabuki's double wanted to do with her body.

Kabuki's doppelganger watched Pirouette with a smile that was at first placated and then clearly amused. By the time Pirouette "tagged out" and allowed her to speak for herself, her lips had broken into a small, Kabuki-toothed grin. "Sure thing, dear. Ah, you're so sweet, I think my teeth may rot..."

The Navi would appear before the screen if she the call was video: otherwise, she would simply have to talk to Pirouette's ear and either hope it was going through or have Pirouette relay it. "Kabuki, dear? This is the one who is borrowing your likeness. What Pirouette is unable to convey, bless her heart, is the nature of my impersonation of you..." It might surprise Pirouette to see that the fake Kabuki wasn't as collected as she appeared: Kabuki herself might not recognize it, but Pirouette had seen the woman long enough to see she didn't seemed to be sweating a bit and having a hard time composing her usual laid-back attitude when faced with the genuine article. "You see, I'm paid by various wealthy patrons to perform sexual acts using one of my various saved likenesses. So... without getting into the details too much... I plan to use this form as one of a number of options I engage these patrons with. I won't use your name or attempt to associate this form with you by name, in any way... But I do like for the form to be as authentic as possible."

The Navi gulped, tugging at the neckline of her idol costume. It was apparent she was having quite a bit of difficulty conversing, for some reason. "So, what I'm wondering is, do you have any tips? For the, um, flaring up thing? I know you have some ability to project light and change your hair color! It's in the data of this blasted thing, but I... I can't seem to make it work! What do you do to make that happen, hm...?" The woman seemed to have entirely forgotten she was supposed to be asking for permission and had jumped right ahead to asking for Kabuki for Dummies tips. She paused, seeming to become even more concerned. "Oh! And, erm, if you're around that motion capture Navi, perhaps you can excuse yourself and have this conversation somewhere a bit more privately? I am planning to keep his suit, and I really don't want to have another run in with him... I detest conflict, you know," she added, grinning sheepishly.

In the meantime, FraudMan was watching Divina with interest, smoking on her cigar again, but giving the goddess her space. "Pee-shaw, my friend! Deals are always more fun than requests. If I give you a request and not a deal, you don't get anything from me! What's that do for you?" she asked, twisting her own words around. She quickly moved on, not caring to address any easy punching of holes in that statement. "Conditions, of course. You don't make a deal with FraudMan without considerin' the fine print! Lessee... Exactly what you say, uhuh. Well of course! That was my idea right from the get-go. And naturally, you can inform your guys once I'm done that I put you up to it. I'd appreciate it if you didn't act like I had a gun to your head, though! Tell 'em this is a deal, and that for your own personal security and peace of mind, you let a shady vagrant take your face and speak your words. Aaaah, well, that ain't a condition, just a suggestion," he commented, grinning widely and tapping his cigar once again.

She held that grin as Divina defended her followers and informed her of her stance on her plan as not falling into "heresy." She seemed to intentionally withhold comment, and finally spoke again when Divina was done. "Sure thing, friend. All that sounds good to me. I ain't interested in holding onto the .GMO, either. Once we're done with our one-time shindig, Mr. Fun Times will get his package back in an anonymous delivery. Sound good to you? Let's shake on it." The Navi offered her hand forward, keeping the other to her cigar. "I always shake on my deals. No exception this time, right, friend?"
"Oh, but I DO get something out it. I get to assist someone in providing happiness." It always amazed her how hard it apparently was for mortals to grasp that she didn't need anything material in exchange for her blessings and aid. Fortunately, her extra conditions seemed to be acceptable to not-quite-her. "And don't worry. I already know precisely what to tell them. Just leave that to me."

Well then, that seemed to wrap everything up in a nice bow. ...Which actually bothered Divina slightly, but then again, she did basically agree to his terms. And yet, the very name FraudMan didn't inspire much confidence..."It seems we're in agreement...but do make sure you return it immediately afterward. I do possess ways of...ensuring it returns to its proper owner." Well, possess wasn't the right word, but she knew a certain someone that, if needed, could steal it back. But with that, she reached out and accepted the hand shake. She took a look over to see how the others were faring, with the odd development that not-Kabuki seemed nervous about talking to the real thing. It was curious, to say the least. Maybe she should ask about it after the call was over.
Pirouette hung her head sheepishly as she let the other woman take over the conversation and explanation. Despite herself she still ended up listening in, just by virtue of standing close by and letting the imposter make use of her communication link. It was a bit eerie seeing the two Kabukis face to face, she had to admit. It also struck her that they seemed to have more in common than either of them might think; the copy had been meaning to ask permission, but was easily sidetracked into matters of performance advice... and just like her, Kabuki had been initially very direct and indignant about the proposition, but, like her duplicate, had quickly gotten diverted into the other discussion.

Without having to be the direct centre of such an improper discussion any more, the young ballerina was regaining at least some portion of her composure and was cooling down again, but the way it was going still wasn't exactly making her comfortable - she honestly felt that Kabuki had to be fibbing, at least a little bit, in her explanation of how her lighting worked. She hadn't known the other woman very long, but it really looked as though any emotional shift, no matter how slight, or unrelated to justice, ought to be doing the trick. She didn't exactly feel alright, knowing that her companion was wilfully giving misinformation on the matter, any more than she'd been comfortable about Divina offering potentially accurate information about her without permission, earlier, and the whole situation was just making her feel progressively more out of her depth. Maybe this mission thing hadn't been such a good idea, really... not when she thought about t, standing here amidst crooks and liars and thieves, while her best allies in the scenario were people she'd barely even met a short while ago and really.. what did she even know about Kabuki or Divina at all? Unconsciously she'd shrunk in on herself while the others talked and this train of thought wandered through her mind. The discussion didn't seem to be reaching a resolution, either... what to do?

Unless of course, the reason that the fake Kabuki's body hadn't been lighting up at all was just plain and simply because she was actually nervous and not exactly comfortable with the entire scenario herself, and that was overwhelming everything else. The thought struck her without warning and her wings ruffled as she looked up again, glancing between the Kabuki on the screen, and the Kabuki she was standing with.

"Ah... What if..." she was hesitant at first, but gradually regained her certainty as she continued. "Suppose, we made some changes, yes? Small changes, subtle ones, you know? Enough, so that miss Kabuki would be satisfied that no-one would mistake you for her, yes, but subtle and authentic enough, guided by Kabuki herself, you know, that you could be certain that your own look, it was truly genuine, yes?" She drew a deeper breath and straightened her back more now. "You must have her permission, miss, you simply must, to do a thing like this... We cannot allow you to continue without it. If you are averse to conflict, then you can rest assured, we will bring you conflict, if we can not find agreement." For a while she had forgotten that the goal was actually about getting the suit back, though she remembered at last now.

"You said, miss, that you have many saved appearances, yes? You have done these things before, with other looks, long before this... this incident, yes?" Despite herself the small pink colour spots returned to her cheeks as she spoke, even indirectly, about the things the thief apparently did for a living. "Then, surely miss... you do not actually need the suit itself, only the data it contains, you know? If you have other saved appearances, then surely we must simply find a look that you agree is authentic enough, that Kabuki agrees is distinct enough from herself, yes, and give you that data in a form such as you use for your other looks, you know? Then we will all have as we wish, yes? you will not need the suit and can return it, you will have a look that works, Kabuki will not be mistaken for a—" she stuttered short and her blush raged up to a bright scarlet. "Ah... A... I... I do not know which word is most respectful. My apologies! Ah, but... perhaps then, you can even come and see her perform soon, if we can be friendly about this, you know?" Which immediately diverted her attention back to Kabuki herself. "O Blin! Aiye... Kabuki, it cannot be long before you must perform, yes? We must sort this out and not keep you any longer!" The thought that her mediating was now possibly delaying Kabuki's own performance preparations had lent an extra level of agitation to the girl's body language and she clasped her hands together in front of her chest, fists closed and wrists together as she bit her lip.

FraudMan took his likeness's hand and shook it with relish, keeping his cigar in his teeth while clapping both hands to Divina's to shake with both. "Excellent, buddy! And don't you even worry about any kinda contingencies if I don't deliver, all right? What reason do you have to think I'd go back on a deal, after all, am I right...?" FraudMan gave a deep laugh at his own blatant sarcasm. "Honey! You just about done over there?"

The Kabuki clone was still looking antsy and downcast during her conversation with Kabuki, seeing that everything wasn't going to go as smoothly as she'd hoped. Without a frame of reference for how popular Kabuki actually was as an actress, it seemed the doppelganger was inclined to take her word for it regarding the complication. Her jaw dropped even a bit further at the second complication Kabuki introduced. "A-are you serious? The reaction is coded to a sense of justice...?"

FraudMan popped over her shoulder suddenly, grinning widely. "Justice? You serious? I've seen her flare up plenty of times just in this conversation. I know how to read a woman, and it ain't 'justice' that gives her that winning glow. Think about it a little!"

"And I am a woman, so hush!" the fake Kabuki retorted, seemingly believing her partner was teasing her. She turned to listen to Pirouette's suggestions, pouting moodily and, perhaps, melodramatically. "Oh, I don't feel I can possibly tweak it now that I've conversed with the woman in person! Playing that character would be like painting over a priceless work of art! I'd absolutely have to know what you had in mind before I agreed to it..." The miserable look-a-like rested her head on her hand. "And, yes, I suppose that with the data, I can probably recreate it in another .GMO, but that's not so simple a thing I can copy it here. This is a remarkably complex .GMO, dear. Anyway, let's work out the issue of whether I can keep it at all before we worry about how I'm going to keep it... After all, I don't want to steal the appearance of someone unknowing..."

"But you've done it before, right?" FraudMan spoke up, finishing her thought for her. "And, uh, what's stopping you this time? Remember, we're the ones offering deals here! If Kabucky won't play cards, leave the table! You'll feel bad a day, then you'll feel good a few nights, then you'll forget all about it!"

"Hush, now! Kabuki, it's just... a sense of justice, right? I... I can do that! I'll tell you a secret, as one justice-lover to another. Kabuki, there's a big reason any effort you're making to save the idol concert won't work! It's-" she began, before FraudMan approached her from behind and clapped a hand over her mouth. He was clearly intending this as a playful gesture as much as a direction, but the fake Kabuki wasn't having it, and wrestled herself free. Ironically, this excitement seemed to have her desired effect, causing her emotions to rise enough to get her Kabuki flare going. "The audience is g-"

FraudMan more forcibly grappled her, turning her around. "Faux! You're in charge of your own deals, buddy, but I'm not gonna sit here and watch a longtime friend of mine get played! My reputation wouldn't stand for it. You ain't flaring up because of justice, it's emotions! You don't get excited as easily as her so you don't flare up as much. That simple, right? Now put yourself back together."

The woman, now evidently announced as Faux, stared at FraudMan with some shock before suddenly turning back to the others, coughing. She flared back down, seeming uncertain as to whether her ally was correct or not. "Well... maybe FraudMan has a point. Now, I don't mean to antagonize. I can copy this data to a different .GMO and return the suit in time, perhaps in a matter of weeks. But... I have to keep this appearance, I simply must! If any of you have any ideas for how I might subtly alter it, I'll entertain them, but I insist they stay true to your character, Kabuki."
The deal was sealed, so to speak, but Divina didn't seem overly happy about it. FraudMan was doing himself no favors in earning her trust...but luckily for him, the other negotiations distracted the goddess from thinking about it too much longer. "Justice is what...hmm. You know, that does make sense, given what I've seen of Kabuki. I can guarantee you that, even if it's not the only factor, it at least contributes to, and aids, the process. But at the same time, it's also possible that simply any source of passion could trigger it. ...But I'm just guessing." As she theorized, it completely evaded her that she wasn't overly helping her friend's cause. But such was the curse of trying to make everyone happy.

Then, something more alarming happened, as apparently there was something wrong with the audience back at the show. But what? The not-her stopped her before she could finish...also, revealed that her name was Faux. Somehow, that name less than surprised her, but that wasn't really the headline ."Hold on a moment! Why won't you let her finish? The obvious reason would be that it's something that hurts your position...I'm not going to hazard a guess as to what, but know that at this point, not telling us creates a breach of trust. And without trust, how can anyone make a deal? I know it's giving me cold feet...and despite what you said earlier, you have far more to lose than I. After all, no matter what horrible things you do with my body, it's still not me. It won't be too hard to prove to my followers that I didn't do the thing that goes completely against what I've been preaching to them. You'd also essentially be providing me with free publicity, and who knows, maybe I could get a few new followers that are into those sorts of things. I can't say I'm particularly displeased with that outcome. Now, let her finish, please. There is nothing for anyone to gain from not sharing the truth." Hmm. Did she go a bit too far? Eh...maybe, since in that case she'd lose the GMO. But from purely her own perspective, it wasn't really untrue.