[MISSION] Smoke and Mirrors

Whenever or however the pair arrive at the coordinates, they would find them strangely sparse of their contact, Stunt; the smoke-slinging jerkwad seems to be nowhere to be found, though the coordinates do point this out to be the place. The location itself is an alley wedged between a pair of tall warehouses, making it long and thin and quite obscuring to outside traffic. At one mouth of the narrow corridor is a third warehouse, branching off into two other alleyways whose destinations aren't entirely clear.

At the other end the alleyway opens into a paved-over area that screams "Employees Only", with a bunch of burly-looking Heelnavis wandering around. A pair of them are standing guard at a door near the far end of the courtyard... which is littered with big boxes.

A sign high up on the building denotes the place as being owned by... "Thugs R Us"?
Exorcist and her companions beamed down onto the net, half expecting to be assaulted as soon as their feet touched the ground. Fortunately, that didn't happen; on the downside, they had plenty left to still be upset about. "Why would you expose us to that criminal again?" Exorcist asked, increasingly upset with her operator. When last they'd met Stunt, he'd used them as sexual stress relievers, flown off the handle at his own cohorts, called them whores, and basically offended each of their five senses in some fashion (Mary excluded). "The GNA would have set us up another mission... and to think that you're throwing Djinni in there with us without so much as a warning!"

"Now, now. God tests us for a reason," Mary suggested; her smile made of clear that she was pretty excited about the concept of Stunt and a dark alley / parking lot full of shady figures. "We're best equipped to help Mr. Stunt."

"I think a judge and an electric chair are best suited to help Mr. Stunt, personally," Bhikkhuni suggested, sticking out her tongue in distaste.

"If he disrespects Djinni and her friends, I wonder if he will find them as courteous as the three of us..." Exorcist muttered, remembering details of her last excursion with Djinni... namely fire. Lots and lots of fire.

"Girls, if we're going to take advantage of the Mafia and its resources, we need to please their membership. That may mean putting up with Mr. Grabhands! We'll see," Burt whispered into his PET. "Show people the tolerance and grace of Counterinfectualism!" he shouted, switching volumes entirely.

"... So when are we going to let Djinni know we're criminals?" Bhikkhuni asked, scratching her hair nervously and tilting down her cap, as if she didn't want anyone recognizing her face.

"I'm pretty sure that a combination of setting and company will do that soon enough," Exorcist sighed, staring up at the giant banner and approaching slowly.

"Do you think maybe the Mafia wants us to kill Stunt? Maybe that's what their note meant?" Bhikkhuni asked, looking hopeful. Exorcist hushed her by putting her fingers to her lips.

Mary continued turning this way and that, examining the HeelNavis with an equally hopeful smile. Something about being surrounded by bad men in a secluded spot clearly excited her.
A crimson beam followed Exorcist's earlier trail, materializing Djinni near their location. By her side was Szand, but Oasis was not seen. "Keeping her away from here?" he asked as he nudged towards the Exorcist group.

It was not hard to see that this was not the best environment to raise a child who had only recently learned how to use her digital vocal chords. "Yes," Djinni answered as she walked over to Exorcist and co. to greet them, "There's also the thing about the faction indifference... Burt mentioned it in his mail and considering he'd have to talk about it..." She didn't finish her statement, but she understood that this was a case of NetMafia business.

"Greetings," Szand started once the two had reached the Exorcist group, "My name is Szand." He turned to Exorcist in particular, crossed his arm over his chest and made a short bow. "Thank you for assisting in getting my SP base," he said and then turned to the other SPs. "I hope we'll get along well," he said with a smile without having to force one. There was a certain connection he could find with other SPs that he didn't feel with Djinni. Djinni, after all, was the host of his core program and it was always a touchy subject.

Djinni took Exorcist's hand in her own and smiled behind her mask. "Good to see you again, friend," Djinni said, then turned to Bhikkhuni while taking her hand too, "Same goes for you, Bhikkhuni." In the end she turned to Mary and offered her hand, not knowing how this SP would react to Djinni just grabbing her hand. "I'm Djinni," she said, "It's nice to meet you." But something in Djinni's mind connected and she realized that Mary must've been the SP Exorcist received from the Dentech mission. "I guess you're like Szand's big sister?" Djinni asked, half serious and half joke.

"Pffft," Szand uttered, "A cow as owner and a cow for 'sister'..." As close as he was to just walking about from the scene, he realized that in this area he had better stick to people he knew. He had, however, his back turned away from Mary and his arms crossed.

"Ahahaha," Djinni laughed sheepishly, "Well, we're still looking forward to hanging out with the three of you."
While the set of altogether chipper navis chatted each other up, what seemed like a fog bank rolled in across the courtyard; the Heelnavis there looked around, bewildered, before being swallowed up by the soupy muck as it advanced. Closer and closer and closer it got, moving forward until it formed a virtual wall against the flat end of the alleyway-- and then it slowly dispersed, gone without a trace.

Or, at least, one trace.

Looking around, the group would quickly find Stunt standing there, clinging to Mary and burying his face in her generous chest. He gave a muffled, contented sigh as his head swiveled from side to side, slightly shaking the both of them, and then stood up. He turned around to face the rest of the group, seemingly without acknowledging what he'd just done, and coughed out a few wispy bursts of smoke from behind a clenched hand.

"Angeln. Shortstack." Stunt greeted Exorcist and Bhikkhuni in turn, giving them a pair of twin waves that were more dismissive than cordial. "And I'm guessing PD is lurkin' up there somewhere too, am I right? Huh? Huh?" The purple-haired punk gave a snorting laugh at that, then spun to face Djinni.

"And what about youuuuuuu? What's your name?" he asked, sidling closer to the brown-skinned navi and wiggling his eyebrows under his hat. "I'm guessing it's not 'cow', even if you might well be good at it!" His hand swung through the air to point a thumb at Djinni's chest-- and actually bumped it in the process. "Though I'm guessing from all the red it's something fiery. Is it Singe? Charcoal? Ashie? Flambusken? Hot And Busty.exe?"

He looked expectingly at Djinni, almost like he expected her to chuckle, then teleported over to one of the alley walls, sitting squarely on the side of it. "Ah well, doesn't matter. I'll find out soon enough! You, however, can call me Stunt. Womanizing pervert extraordinaire! At least, according to my fans." He laughed, standing up and dropping to the alley floor.

"Now before we get started, I'd just like to say how disappointed I am in PD"s choice of outfit for you for this mission, my little Whoracle!" He monologued as he trotted over towards Mary, finally stopping beside her and slinging an arm over her shoulder in a friendly manner. "Here I went to alllll the trouble of making a GMO just for you, and he's too jealous to have you wear it on a mission with me? Tut tut tut. I bet he hasn't had you wear it at all since you got it, has he?" Stunt's hand reached a little lower, grabbing suggestively at Mary's outfit.
Team Counterinfectualism exchanged pleasantries with Djinni and her companion, making the whole thing look like some sort of strange cultural fair taking place in the middle of a dark alley. "Oh, uh... that was nothing... although I played a big part in it!" Bhikkhuni responded, smiling confidently. "Boy, Szand is an unusual name. How do you spell it?" The other two looked at her quizically, thinking that she was really unfit to say anyone had a strange name.

Mary's smile was big, but her eyes were closed. She was suppressing a small laugh. "It's always nice to meet new people who are full of life and energy. And a young man, too! What a rare pleasure," she commented, as is she hadn't heard or otherwise had actually been pleased by the cow comment.

"I don't believe our employer is here yet... You should know that he's a bad sort of character, but eventually we plan to exorcise whatever demon it is that's ailing him... But he's also very powerful," Exorcist warned Djinni, hoping she wouldn't want to back out after hearing all of that. Fortunately(?), the man of the hour showed up and stole everyone's attention before anyone had time for second thoughts.

Mary gave a few murmured protests but smiled in a way that didn't match them at all, as Stunt had his fun. Escort and Bhikkhuni half expected her to put her hand atop his head and start to lovingly stroke it. "Perhaps I would wear what you want if you would come up with a nicer nickname for me? Even a tolerant nun likes to be treated nicely," she responded, wagging one finger.

Exorcist frowned, not wanting to encourage Stunt and certainly not to get into the same agonizing round of toying and groping that they had endured earlier. "Stunt, what are we actually here to do? You haven't given us any instructions other than to come here," she complained, crossing her palms in front of her lap. It was a patient looking gesture, but her usual patience was failing. The last time she had tried to be patient with the guy, he had nearly tickled her to death.

Burt was silent, probably because he wasn't paying attention. He had a lot on his plate.
"Somehow I feel like I can relate to this guy and despise him at the same time," Szand commented from the sidelines, not being noticed by Stunt at all which in retrospect was favorable thing at the moment. He just looked upon the scenario as he stood by Djinni's side.

"Hmph," Djinni 'replied' to Stunt's question and gestures, "Djinni is my name." She crossed her arms across her chest, partially to keep them from getting nudged a second time and partially because she didn't enjoy not knowing about the situation. "So what's up? We didn't hear any information in your message," Djinni asked. Despite the guy's rude and touchy behavior, she didn't seem too hesitant in working with Stunt. Maybe it was because she thought she could just use Mary as shield if it was necessary.

Noticing Djinni would deal with Stunt and the assignment, Szand walked over to Bhikkhuni to properly greet her. She seemed to be the sanest of the three in his eyes. "Just like sand," he told her, "I guess the 'sz' thing is Whazzapian." But despite Bhikkhuni being the shortest of the Exorcist trio, he was still shorter than her. "Are you familiar with this type of setting?" he asked to Bhikkhuni, knowing they were apparently NetMafia and probably dealt with stuff like this on a regular basis, "Anything we should know?"
"Hah! You know all my nicknames are insulting, Sweeter!" Came Stunt's reply to Mary's chiding remark. Wait, had he just...? "But even I can make an exception once in a while... after all, most women don't know how to behave the way you do!" Going from Stunt's tone, it's hard to tell if he's genuinely praising Mary, or mocking her...

...though puzzling out his new nickname for Mary might give one a clue. (Sweeter: Sweet + Seer)

In a flash, however, a second Stunt appeared in the middle of the group, while the first one took to standing behind Mary and touching her in inappropriate places. A teasing poke here, a grope there...

"Yes, well, I can't exactly give out details until I know you've accepted, which is why I just flat-out told you to come here!" The Stunt in the middle of the group grumbled. "So do you want the long version or the short version of why we're here?" Stunt paused for a moment after posing that question, but didn't allow any of them time to answer.

"Ffffffrag it, I'll just do both. Short version: Those guys took Netmafia stuff. Netpolice refuses to investigate, says we're a bunch of lying jerks. We're going to either beat the shit out of them to get it back, or we're going to sneak in there and get it back." Stunt explained, his clone having taken to trying to give Mary a hickey.

"Those of you with a short attention span can zone out now." Stunt glanced at Bhikkhuni at that, face plastered with a snarky grin. "Here's the long version: About two weeks ago, Thugs 'R' Us got an order for a couple thousand Bugfrags. The Netmafia's got plenty of people like Angeln over there who like to have lots of SPs, and lots of people like me who--" Stunt paused and looked at the clone 'attacking' Mary for a moment.

"-So yeah, we told them we wanted to bulk-order some frags, since with all the work Thugs 'R' Us does they usually end up with a buttload of extras. Since we buy 'em in bulk, we get a discount on each individual frag and blah blah blah blah blah. Point is, the Netmafia paid them, then we waited a straight damn week for them to ship our order. They didn't. We tried to contact them. They told us they had never gotten an order from us. One of our--"

Another pause as Stunt looked at Djinni and frowned, then a third Stunt appeared next to Exorcist. Stunt's explanation picked up while the third Stunt, second clone grabbed Exorcist's chest and started whispering in her ear. "--guys went through the public records and asked the beancounters to doublecheck, and we confirmed it had been sent to the right guys. So we're thinking what the hell, right? We've done business with these guys before, and here they are saying we never sent them money! The freakin' nerve, right?"

"So anyway, with the Netpolice chock-blocking us, the higher-ups really didn't have too much in the way of legal recourse. And /we/ knew we'd sent them the money even if they'd denied it, so they sent me to get the stuff." Stunt looked at Exorcist with a grin as the clone harassing her finished off by giving her butt a swift smack, and then finished his explanation as it disappeared. "So yeah, the job is: Either sneak or beat our way in, get the crates of bugfrags, get out, and get paid. Any questions?"
"... I honestly hope you can't relate to him," Exorcist muttered in response to Szand, knowing what was coming.

"He's a bad role model, indeed," Mary agreed, although her smile made light of it. "That is a cuter nickname, though~"

"Blech!" Bhikkhuni chimed in, sticking out her tongue. While still making that face, she slowly turned her head to Szand, realizing she was being spoken to. He was trying to seek her advice as though she were an authority! Her eyes almost watered as she smiled proudly, feeling like a big sister for the first time ever, only to realize that she didn't know very much about mafia dealings at all.

"Well, in our experience... uh... um," she mumbled, trying to recall anything she could remember about Mafia warehouses. "Oh! Yeah, there was this one warehouse full of ghosts! Exxy told me she cleaned it out with a vacuum sucker!' she responded, then realized that this warehouse was completely different. "O-of course, not all warehouses are haunted... But it might be!"

Exorcist didn't take too kindly to being sexually abused again (Mary did), crowning and shivering as Stunt fooled around with her breasts. Her bottom produced a satisfying, fatty noise when he popped it, but she was through playing around. "I mean it, you! I'm not going to participate with someone who needs an exorcism to recover goods. That's ignoring the worse of two evils! Either... E-Either you treat me with some respect, or I'm not going to do this!" she half shouted, half sobbed, thinking to herself that it was pretty unlikely she was going to manage to make him agree.

"There, there," Mary chuckled, rubbing Exorcist's head beneath the black, silk hat. "Perhaps we can come to a compromise! I'll wear that dress you like, Mr. Stunt, and in return, you can leave my master alone for today?" To demonstrate good faith, she activated the .GMO, curving her newly darkened lips and shrugging her shoulders to get the sleeves up and secure.

((Mary is now using Smoketouched.GMO))

"Why'd you need that again?" Burt asked, still not really paying attention. "Oh well..."

Exorcist protested out if habit, but had to admit to herself that it would be a good arrangement if she could get it. As it turned out, the only thing worse than being spanked and groped by a guy you don't like was having it done in front of one's friends...
Djinni just looked upon the situation unfolding in front of her eyes. She had been warned before, true, but she was very happy she didn't have to bring out her offense before the assignment even started. "I have a suggestion," Djinni started once Stunt finished his explanation, "Exorcist and I will distract them with firepower. While we're doing that, you go around them and get those wares you're talking about." A small smile formed behind her mask before she got to the next part of her suggestion, "But also steal back the money you originally paid them. And divide it amongst the three of us without anyone having to know." It's not like she needed the money badly, but if this was the situation they might as well go for it. And it would take away from Mafia-based organizations and put it with one of the Police, so it was justified to take this route in Djinni's mind.

"Ghosts?" Szand asked, looking around himself as if he expected ghosts were a common theme for Navis in the area. But he quickly determined that Bhikkhuni wasn't much of a possible guide through the NetMafia area.

But luckily it didn't seem like they needed a 'NetMafia area guide', but a 'kick asses guide' and Djinni sufficed enough for that. "I think this approach would be best for us. I'm really not good at moving around unseen," Djinni said and looked at Exorcist, "So as I said, we'll have to crash their party."
"Well... hm." The Stunt standing in the middle of the group seemed to ponder Mary's offer, scratching his chin. "Hah!" he finally snorted. "Like I'd eve-mmmgph!" Before he could finish the sentence, a second Stunt popped out and slapped his hand over the first Stunt's mouth.

"Deal!" the second stunt (Stunt^2?) blurted out, holding up a single thumb. The first Stunt sputtered and struggled a bit, a tone of severe irony lingering over the sight of Stunt being held down by one of his own clones, but then said Stunt simply disappeared in a smoky puff. So... was Stunt^2 the real one?

That bit of business taken care off, this new Stunt took to ogling Mary while he answered Djinni's suggestion. "Problem with that is: These guys are mooks for a living. Ya feel me? They know the kind of crap 'hero' or 'villain' types get up to, and they're at least one third of a quarter decent at group tactics. If we make a ruckus out here, the actual building will tighten up patrols until the ruckus is taken care of."

Stunt paused. "Of course, if a Netpolice officer is so willing to publicly attack the Thugs 'R' Us building, you know, I'm sure I could find a way to deal with the tougher security. Just don't be too mad if their PR scut-heads find a way to twist it and make you look bad. Sure, we'll be wiping their security footage after we're done, but there's mag-all we can do about any video feeds the thugs' operators cap."
Mary chuckled and pressed one hand to her cheek, smiling. "Well now, we can all be happy after all!" she laughed, then turned the floor back over to Exorcist.

With one threat off her mind for now, Exorcist realized she felt a little hurt that Djinni hadn't come to her defense when Stunt molested her. Was Djinni so used to seeing her mishandled that it just failed to register now? Or what if Djinni thought she was a skank?! Sobbing, the Counterinfectualist leader tried to refocus herself on the mission.

Bhikkhuni was equally disheartened, realizing that she'd blown her chance to get in as knowledge center of the Counterinfectualist machine. Or, more importantly, to impress her new acquaintance.

"To get everything on the table: yes, we are members of the NetMafia Creel family, as you likely realize, Djinni," Exorcist spoke up, gesturing to her SPs as well as Stunt. "And Djinni and her friends are NetPolice officials. I don't think we can execute any plan which forces her to directly betray her oaths as an officer," she explained, assuming Djinni had taken some oaths. "Namely, I would imagine she would like to avoid destruction of property or life. If at all possible, I would prefer this as well, since I signed up for Creel and all..."

"All the same, maybe Djinni would not be opposed to us reclaiming what belongs to the Mafia if we can do so without accumulating such expenses?" she inquired, nodding to Djinni and hoping her friend would nod along. "Is there a way we could covertly perform an investigation... Try to figure out why they're withholding payment and who has their hands on the purse strings. Then we'll know who to hold accountable and also where to look to collect. I know maybe it's too naive... but could we not just go in disguised as heel navis?" she offered.

Bhikkhuni shook her head, anticipating a problem. "The whole point is to send a message, right? That's how this shady business stuff works, and it doesn't get shadier than a criminal organization dealing with a manufacturer of... uh... criminals," she coughed. "So we've gotta hurt somebody."

"I disagree! When we learn how to discreetly recover the money, eventually we will do so and they will realize we have done so. The knowledge that they were infiltrated secretly will be enough of a warning to them," Exorcist posited. "Although I guess if we learned who was behind it exactly... They would be deserving of a good, Counterinfectualist exorcism..."
Djinni looked from Stunt to Exorcist as they explained their views on the situation and quite frankly she wasn't too sure anymore on her 'kick asses' approach. But that was also quite frankly the only thing she was good at. But something about Stunt's words gave her a slight hint of an idea. "I'm actually not too sure if I took oaths, Exorcist..." Djinni explained to her companion while thinking of the guard job she had with MeleeMan, "It was all quite fast. I don't think I even got a badge or something." With that said, Djinni started to wonder if she even was a member of the NetPolice now. While Exorcist continued talking, Djinni had brought up a digital window and tapped a few buttons. "Not exactly," Djinni mentioned, "I do prefer destruction of property and life, as long as it's not something I have to protect. And in the end I decide what I want to protect. But just to be sure..."

As Djinni continued tapping various icons on the window, Szand made another attempt at making a conversation with Bhikkhuni. One that hopefully wouldn't be about ghosts. "I like your way of thinking," he mentioned at her 'we've gotta hurt somebody', "It's really better to punch someone's lights out. Especially if they have a face you don't like." He slammed his fist into his open hand and got an eerie, yet playful, smile on his face. "Actually, aren't you guys criminals now...?" he asked, maintaining his expression. But he quickly lost it when a fist landed on top of his head. "Oi, cow!" he yelled at Djinni.

"Stop it," she muttered, looking thoughtful at the window, "No matter what, Exorcist and the others are our friends. I won't ask about their involvement with the Mafia or Stunt, but she seems to have thought it over well."

"I like you more when Oasis is around," Szand said and crossed his arms behind his head, "So what's the story?"

A sound buzzed from the window Djinni had kept open and she pulled a phone out of it. On the screen was the name of the person on the other size of the line, except it wasn't quite a person. 'NetPolice, Department of Public Safety' said the text. "Djinni here, I'm a member of your department who recently joined. I am standing in an area of Electown Net with a client I've met on my journey. He told me of a large purchase containing Support Programs, but after paying up he never received the goods. He says the company is named Thugs 'R Us. Can you provide me with additional information and handling suggestions? We are a group of 5, excluding the client."
The voice that answered on the other end of the line was surprisingly chipper. "One moment please, Miss! Verifying your DPIN... Okay, Miss Djinni! Give me just a moment..." There's a click, and then the most horrible, poorly-balanced, gratingly loud, cracklingly terrible audio quality music plays through the phone Djinni is holding. To make matters worse, it sounds like someone ran a synth piano's guitar sounds through a shitty speaker, then recorded what the speaker was playing. And it's the godsfragged Netpolice anthem, too!

The aural torture goes on for several minutes.

Meanwhile, Stunt is still ogling Mary. "Huh..." he mutters, scratching his jaw. "Have you grown a bit, Sweeter? You're looking kinda..." Stunt's hands grope the air in front of his chest, and then push forward like a pair of bulging bosoms. Regardless of if Mary has or not, the perverse navi continues to stare into Mary's cleavage... before a clone pops up behind her and gives her a reacharound. "Hmmm..." the second Stunt mutters. "I dunno, it feels the same from back here, honestly."

"Still good though, right?" The first Stunt asks. "Yeah!" the second replies, receiving a thumbs-up from the first as the second continues his antics. Getting a bit impatient, he turns to Djinni. "So hey, Spitfire, ya done yet or what?"

Like it was waiting for a cue, the horrible abyss of hold music finally ends, and the (by now, gratingly) chipper Netpolice clerk answers. "Sorry about that! Jango was by the watercooler and- oh, right, um-- Yeah, Thugs 'R' Us is a faction-neutral company, they do business, as far as the factions are concerned mostly with the Netmafia-- the police take pride in never needing to hire grunts to do police work, you know-- but we do occasionally buy bugfrags and other low-tier upgrades we have a shortage of from them! As for dealing with them... well, we have received reports that they may or may not be engaging in some shady business, but as far as I can tell from these records, they were never investigated... the reason given is that there "wasn't enough evidence." Is there anything else I can do for you, hon? Do you need some backup, anything like that?"
"Come now, Mr. Stunt! I'm past my growing days," Mary half-giggled, half-moaned, smiling as Stunt(s) amused him(them)self with her bodily assets. Exorcist and Bhikkhuni looked for a moment with intent to help, then back at each other, then gave up. They had been with Mary long enough to know that rescuing Mary from sexual harassment would be like rescuing a kid from chocolate cake.

"Anyways, yeah! Buddha says not to punch people, but in all fairness, Buddha didn't live in net-enabled times. He's usually too slow about things! We need to move fast in today's society," Bhikkhuni nodded with satisfaction, and for once, it sounded like Djinni and she and Szand were all on one page, basically. Of course, that didn't stop Djinni from making a phone call to appease Exorcist, who was looking more like a pacifist than the leader of a warrior cult nowadays. As the call progressed, the little SP's eyes grew wide. "Did you hear that? They sell bugfrags! We gotta stock up!"

Exorcist kept quiet, knowing it could create problems for Djinni if she was in any way suspected of fraternizing with the Mafia. She was inwardly beaming to hear Djinni say that their friendship crossed factional boundaries, though, and smiled cheerfully. "It's always nice to have close friends~ she mused.

"So the NP wants these jokers too? Then I guess it's fine if we rough them up!" Bhikkhuni laughed with mock bloodthirstiness. As a weakling and a Buddhist, she could not be less suited to the character.

"It sounded to me like the NP also does business with them. I'm not sure they profit from bringing Thugs down at all, when you think about it that way," Mary commented with surprising clarity of speech.

"No, I think Bhikkhuni may have a point. If both the Mafia and the NP now exist in such strained relationships with them, that's two words against them. Perhaps the use of force will coerce them to the benefit of both parties," Exorcist suggested, beginning to sound like a real, classic mafioso with the tone of "let's rough them up so they know their place." "If you want to go on assault, Djinni... Stunt... I'm with you."
"We won't need back-up," Djinni said as she glanced over at the building, "We will handle this. I will keep an eye out on decisive evidence on their deals." With those words Djinni hung up and returned her attention to Exorcist and Stunt.

While Djinni listened patiently, Szand pointed at Bhikkhuni with his thumb after her desire of beating their asses. "I like this one," he said with a large grin, him being Efreet's offense side and relating to the desire to destroy. But with Stunt being himself and it being hard to avoid looking at it once in a while, Szand actually got thoughts of similar activities as he looked at Bhikkhuni. Out of nowhere he started to laugh and quickly turned away from the crew and raised his hand. "I-I'll just here and await your orders," he muttered at Djinni.

A mere glance with a raised eyebrow was shot at Szand, having heard the short stammer in his sentence, but she didn't ask about it. Instead, she was still focused on Exorcist and nodded her head once the Navi had finished. "So it's settled. We'll make sure they know who is in charge, but don't destroy them," Djinni said and looked at the building at the end of the alley. There was an obvious presence of goons at the front of the building, but there were probably more inside. "Na'im, got a suggestion?" she asked, glancing upwards.

"We don't have a precise number, but..." Na'im started, thumbing through the chips, "If need be, sing a song for them. What I do suggest, however, is to take the sky."

Djinni simply nodded and turned to Exorcist. "I'm leaving Szand to you," she said while shoving the boy at her, "And you protect Bhikkhuni and Mary, OK?" Szand remained quiet, still avoiding eye contact with the other group, but nodded in acknowledgment. "Stunt," Djinni said as she looked at the Navi in question, "We will attack them from the front and the sky. If you head into the building in the skirmish and take out their guards inside, we'll have them pinned." Djinni kicked off against the floor and started to float. For a short moment she looked to see if the area was clear and then back at her friends. "I will attack on your command. Shout if you need me close," she said to Exorcist and gave a playful wink before flying off to the space above the paved-over area that was sprawling with goons.

Szand, been left behind and standing next to Exorcist now, just kicked at the floor. "I'm yours to command," he said, a bit disgruntled.
((Now that I've failed utterly as a human being...))

"Going for the fun way, eh? Ha ha ha!" The Stunt not enjoying Mary's bountiful tolerance for his antics bent forward, laughing, then practically skipped all the way to the end of the alleyway. He looked out over the 'field' before him-- still bearing scattered little tufts of smoke from his earlier jaunt through it-- and scratched his chin before turning back to the group. "Well, to be honest, I kind of hoped it would go this way from the very beginning. I mean really, why would I haul ya all along if I wanted to sneak in?"

The Stunt leaning on Mary from behind reached down a bit as he chuckled at his own joke, but unlike the one that was slowly walking back to the middle of the group, he didn't keep talking. Instead his hands moved to give Mary some 'support'... that happened to involve a lot of squeezing and rubbing.

"I mean, besides bringing Who-" Stunt paused, midsentence, as his gaze met Mary's-- and then grumbled. "-Sweeter along, sneaking in's easier if I'm alone, short'a having some insurance if I frag up."

"But anyway, who cares about that scut? Spitfire up there's got the right idea, we should just wade in, don't you think?" Stunt's grin turned a bit manic as he turned towards an empty part of the alley. "AIN'T THAT RIGHT, BOYS?"

On cue, one Stunt-- two-- three-- four-- easily a dozen Stunts popped into existence, filling the back half of the alley with chokingly thick smoke, and all of them answered as one. "HELL YEAH!" Stunt whirled around as all of them started to charge, and he pointed towards the soon-to-be battlefield at the mouth of the alley. "CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGE!"

The sudden flood of Stunts barreled past Mary, Exorcist, Bhikkuni, and Szand, more than a few hands copping and slapping as they went, and they immediately burst into smoky clouds as they entered the battle ahead, wafting towards the Heelnavis guarding the entrance to the Thugs 'R' Us building.

Hesitating long enough to enjoy himself a bit more, the last Stunt in the alley besides the real one finally left Mary's backside and charged out after its' brothers. "Arright then, let's get this scut done!"


With the smoke having cleared, and from her position high in the air, Djinni can see quite a few more Heelnavis than what they had originally thought; the two guarding the Thugs entrance are still standing there (A, B), but two more are leaning against a big stack of boxes near them (C, D); and two more still are working with a pair of small stacks to the west of the entrance. (E, F) Finally, two more (G, H) are loitering near the west end of the lot, with one in particular kind of fumbling with the crates and pretending to work.

On top of that, there are two Heelnavis driving forklifts across the battlefield, each one carrying a Rockcube-sized crate... oh, and about a dozen Stunt clones are rushing towards all of them, obscured in miniature clouds of smoke.

All in all, the battlefield kind of looks like this.

The Enemy
Heelnavi A: 150
Heelnavi B: 150
Heelnavi C: 150
Heelnavi D: 150
Heelnavi E: 150
Heelnavi F: 150
Heelnavi G: 150
Heelnavi H: 150
Forklift Driver A: 150
Forklift Driver B: 150

The Terrain
Forklift A: 20 (Ironbody)
Forklift B: 20 (Ironbody)
Elsewise, Normal terrain dotted with crates; each Rockcube-sized crate is either laying on the ground by itself (single square) or part of a 2-high stack (clumped squares); Stacks are high enough to block vision from the ground, but can be climbed on top of with a movement action. Each crate has 100 HP.

The Good(?) Guys
Stunt: 600
Exorcist: 140
Bhikkhuni: 40
Mary: 90
Djinni: 180
Szand: 80

"Please, don't worry about commands, Szand. Conduct battle as you normally would and we will be careful ourselves," Exorcist smiled to reassure Szand, not wanting him to feel like he had to be subservient (and perhaps to a lesser extent not wishing to be responsible for taking care of him). "If we are going for an all out attack, though, we should consider how to best divide our forces-"

For Stunt, it turned out divide was more like multiply; he became many Stunts and spread out to challenge the entire loading yard. He also dug around in the Counterinfectualist offering plate again, so to speak, but it hardly seemed like the right time to make a stink about it. Bhikkhuni didn't agree. "Maybe Stunt should start a rival company called Stunts R' Us to run this one out of business? Then we would have two companies acting as equal opportunity providers of mass produced douchebags!" she snarked, rubbing her sore bottom.

Mary always enjoyed herself and others getting a lecherous rubdown, but she was further intrigued by the ordinarily dismissable behavior of Szand towards Bhikkhuni. She was wise enough in the matter to see he was thinking about her and, to her, nothing was more rousing than a good, innocent, virgin romance. The matchmaker inside of her went to work thinking up ways to help things along. Until there was healing needed, all she really had to do was stay out of trouble, so her mind was free to wander.

Bhikkhuni decided it best to stay back and use her new and improved Buddhist Blast, while Exorcist focused on the guards in front of the gate. There would be time for close quarters combat once they were inside.... for now, Exorcist needed only to clear that entrance, and decided that a subtle approach from a distance would work better than trying to close in with her beloved katana. It certainly seemed like the charge of the Stunts would keep the heelnavis away from the entrance occupied while she focused her attack.

The little girl monk simply raised her shakujo, twirled it to gather her energy around it, then sent off something like a fireball that would explode into green fireworks, ricocheting around the wooden boxes to hit several targets, if she was lucky. Still wanting to show off, she raised her shakujo into the air and then brought the handle's butt back onto the ground, radiating a wave of green outward across the net's panels. Her special ability would create soft soil for her allies and tall grass for her enemies, which she only at the end realized may help Djinni burn them.

Exorcist formed a pair of her usual boomerangs, created by folding long charm talismans, then loaded them with her chi and sent them spinning towards the presumed building guards. With the attacks combined, they figured they ought to at least get one or two. Next, Exorcist closed the distance while drawing just enough blood from the tip of her finger to write her barrier charm upon a fresh seal. With its aid, she would project a field of chi around herself to fend off enemy attacks.

While Exorcist could really only focus on one enemy at a time, she remembered how Djinni had literally demolished the battlefield and its inhabitants back during their garden mission. She just hoped that the Stunts wouldn't be alarmed when everything started burning around them. Then again, she remembered Stunt being pretty capable in battle... he also seemed fairly okay with touching Szand... that combination of factors made her feel a little sad for the heelnavis.

Burt, who was paying attention now, had slotted in chips but otherwise was still busy talking to Naim about things that nobody should bring up with their houseguests. Seeing a bunch of heelnavis about to get attacked didn't really raise any warning flags for him. Those types of navis were bad guys in his experience, so if Exorcist had a chance to beat the evil out of them, the more the merrier.

1) Boomerang1 @ HeelNavis near entrance to building [70 wood, B accuracy + group attack (arc)]
2) Boomerang1 @ HeelNavis near entrance to building [70 wood, B accuracy + group attack (arc)]
3) Chi Barrier @ self [120 hp barrier, 15 hp sacrifice, 3 TCD]
4-5) Move over soil towards Thugs R Us

1) CornShot2 @ HeelNavi C, bounce to D [100 wood, A accuracy + trick shot]
2) Nirvana Ground Wave [Large area soil under allies, grass under enemies in lot]

1) Dodge
2) Dodge
Djinni whistled to herself as she looked upon the gathering of mooks before her. "I had better send Exorcist and Stunt a map of..." Her words were cut short as a rampaging storm of Stunts billowed forth from the opening she came from. "Guess I'll send it to all of them?" she asked herself and took a snapshot of the enemies' locations. She sent it to Exorcist afterwards, but realized she had no clue on how to send anything to Stunt. While staring at the group of Stunts she shrugged and figured that with such a spread, he was bound to know already. Turning her head she looked upon the enemies one by one, examining what they were doing. "Good, looks like they're still clueless for the time being," she said.

The last enemy she had her eyes was with his back turned towards her, but before she could make a gesture or utter a peep for her chips she realized that suddenly all of the enemies had their backs turned towards her. "Weren't those lounging against the boxes just now?" she asked as she turned to her right, "And how do you guard the entrance with your eyes away?" It weren't just the enemies. All the Stunts and even her allies were turned away from her. "What's going on?" Djinni asked and squinted her eyes, curiously batting her hand out into the air. While not caused by Djinni's motions, the landscape changed as flames started crackling forth from the surface as red light shimmered across the field. "No..." Slowly she started to float backwards from the scene as all the people, enemies and allies alike, slowly turned around with a golden mask attached to their face. "No, this..." she stammered as she quickly shifted her gaze onto Exorcist, who was staring quietly back at Djinni with the same expressionless golden mask everyone was wearing, "Can't be..." Clutching her chest and still going backwards while the flames around her grew taller with the second, she eventually shouted out. "I killed you, Efreet! Leave me be!!" In the blink of an eye the flames and masks were gone. Everyone was doing what they were doing before and Djinni was back in her previous place. Even her shout was not heard by anyone, if she even shouted in the first place. Panting loud, she reached for her chest and lowered her altitude to land onto the building below her.

"What are you doing?" Na'im asked as he noticed his Navi's peculiar motions, "We get a better view on everything from high up."

Djinni didn't bother replying until she had her feet onto the building's roof. "I'm still... High up," she replied through panting, "I'm not alone..." While she had meant she had her allies, afterwards she realized that even without them she wouldn't have been alone. She had trouble keeping her legs stable, her entire body riddled with fear from what she had seen.

"Alright then..." Na'im said, but still noticed something was off and as her Operator he knew there was only one thing that could actually bother Djinni on this level. "Was it Efreet?" he asked, although he already knew the answer, "We'll have to look at it again... Will you be alright?"

Djinni nodded and leaned forwards to take hold of her legs. "I'll be alright," she said and took a deep breath to calm herself down. Positioning herself straight up again she could see that Exorcist had begun her attack. "Let's go!" she shouted out at Na'im and gestured for him to send her some chips.

"Very well," Na'im replied and took out Djinni's and his favourite chips. The Meteor series. A total of three chips were slot into the PET and as he did so he opened up an audio channel with Szand who had been eerily quiet in motion and voice. Maybe Efreet had gotten to him too. "Szand, is something wrong? Efreet?"

Szand, still standing with Exorcist and co., was just staring forwards at the battlefield. He had seen many things men shouldn't have to see. If there was a God, He was not there to help Szand. Slowly he turned his head downwards to look at his hands, shivering with fear. No, it wasn't fear. "I..." Szand whispered although the audio channel allowed Na'im to actually hear it, "Want to..." He raised his hands, his gaze still following them. "Strangle that creeper." His shivering hands sprung alive in motions of strangling air for a moment until he turned to Na'im. "Efreet? Pfft, that show-off. No, you don't get it. You so don't get it." He pointed at Mary with an accusing finger. "THAT happened to me."

"I didn't think you'd be upset about that... With a body like hers..."

Szand quickly turned to look at Mary, realizing the true target wasn't there despite having been there all the time. His finger shifted target to Stunt and growled under his breath, "That... Happened... So many hands, Na'im." But no reply came from the Operator and Szand just threw a tantrum, throwing his invisible rage and anger as far as he could. He wanted to calm down, but he couldn't. The rage and anger just returned like a boomerang. But he knew what he had to do. He couldn't kill Stunt, the gap in strengths was definitely too wide for that. "Girls!" Szand shouted, grinning wide in an attempt to hide his anger-filled face, "I'll protect you all! So get behind me!" With those words he dashed out towards the front of the alley they were standing in. He was sure that if he were to be defeated here... His body would be cleansed. But what if they weren't going to attack him at all? "Come and get me, fools!" Szand continued to shout and threw out a trident made of sand at one of the enemies Bhikkhuni had attacked.

Djinni, on the other hand, had a much more relaxed position on top of the building. Loading one Meteor chip after the other, her cape billowed upwards and dropped a magical rod into the roof with each chip. "That should do it," she whispered to herself, eventually kneeling down behind one of the rods and resting her chest onto it. "Why did he appear..." she muttered, glancing up at the sky as if she were asking it to Na'im. "I guess if I stay low here... They'll have trouble hitting me," she told herself and before she could get lower, she slipped and the rod below her managed to penetrate the crevice that was her cleavage. "Ouch ouch," Djinni muttered, her body in a peculiar and painful pose. Quickly she decided to lift her body to actually crouch onto the roof, but realized that with the circular ruby on top of the rod it was going to be hard to slide it out. "Maybe if I..." she muttered and with a change of plan, she decided to lean over the rod's top to change the way to get it out. "Yes," Djinni exclaimed to herself in a whisper, succeeding in getting the rod away from her ample chest and crouched down next to them while keeping an eye on the opposition.

D = Djinni.EXE [Fire/Shadow] [Knockback Buster] [AirShoes/FloatShoes] [4 Actions] [Fire Chips - Single Target: +25 FIRE; Multiple Targets +15 FIRE]
S = Szand.SP [Null/Bug] [Wood Attack] [2 Actions]

D1. Meteor12 [M1][100 HP Object; 30+15 FIRE x 4; 3 Turns Or Until Broken; D Accuracy; Ranged]
M1. Attack @ HeelnaviEF
D2. Meteor12 [M2][100 HP Object; 30+15 FIRE x 4; 3 Turns Or Until Broken; D Accuracy; Ranged]
M2. Attack @ HeelnaviGH
D3. Meteor12 [M3][100 HP Object; 30+15 FIRE x 4; 3 Turns Or Until Broken; D Accuracy; Ranged]
M3. Attack @ Forklift Driver B
D4. Dodge.
S1. Protect Exorcist, Mary, Bhikkuni.
S2. Attack [40 WOOD] @ HeelNaviC
First onto the field is Bhikkhuni...'s attack, the Cornshot bouncing past two of the Stunts to hit one, then two of the Heelnavis upside the head; as they try to soothe their sudden headaches, a pair of Stunt clones close on them, immediately assaulting them... with taunts and sneering jibes, using phrases like "Your momma was a Scuttle-plucker!". It seems too asinine or corny to really work-- but then, one should never underestimate Stunt's power to be annoying. One of the Heelnavis takes what looks like a Hi-Cannon shot at one of the clones, with a cry of 'SHUT UP ABOUT MY MOMMA!', forcing it to duck out of the way. The other Heelnavi blindly tries to take a swing at the Stunt bothering him, but he simply finds air with his Sword.

Not one to stay too idle, Exxy joins the fray as well-- two boomerangs at a time, charging forward and flinging death and chi everywhere. The first of her boomerangs catches both of the heelnavi guards by surprise; the second hits one of them, but the other guard smacks it aside with his sword as Exxy closes in, moving into attack range.

The rest of the Stunts spread across the battlefield like a wave-- or a disease-- shortly before Shortstack's own wave tries to do so as well! Two blots of color appear on the otherwise-bland tarmac, shoots of WOOD growing underneath several of the Stunt-harassed Heelnavis-- as an area of soft, loamy soil crumbles away the pavement beneath most of the group.

Szand runs out afterwards, charging blindly into the brawl ahead-- before he stops, turns, and shoots one of the Heelnavis, catching it in the side just before a Meteor cracks it upside the head, deleting it. In fact, that seems to be happening (With varying levels of success) all across the field; Meteors rain down everywhere as shots and slices ring out through the air, the Heelnavis universally seeming to hate the Stunt clones harassing them. A few of them even manage to be successful, one, then two of the Stunts disappearing with a PWAF and a big burst of smoke.

A few of the meteors come down on the forklift drivers as they try to smack the crates their vehicles are carrying into the Stunts harassing them, but sadly they are protected from the onslaught by the iron-bodied roofs over their heads. The same can't be said of several other Heelnavis, however, who take flaming rocks to the noggin.

And of course, while all this is going on, Stunt joins the 'hang around' crowd in and near the alley, deciding to spend some 'quality time' with Mary rather than actually participate in the fighting. ...Or is that just another clone?

All in all, The battlefield is still kind of a mess.

The Enemy
Heelnavi A: 10
Heelnavi B: 80 (Equipped: Sword)
Heelnavi C: DEAD
Heelnavi D: 50 (Equipped: Sword)
Heelnavi E: 150 (Grass)
Heelnavi F: 60
Heelnavi G: 150 (Grass)
Heelnavi H: 60
Forklift Driver A: 150 (Slow forklift + Fast clone = Frustration)
Forklift Driver B: 150 ("I'm going to skullfrag you! Wait'll I get my forklift's teeth into that cocky torso of yours, you cocky little glitch!")

The Terrain
Meteor Rod A: 100
Meteor Rod B: 100
Meteor Rod C: 100
Forklift A: 18 (Ironbody)
Forklift B: 19 (Ironbody)
Elsewise, Normal terrain dotted with crates; each Rockcube-sized crate is either laying on the ground by itself (single square) or part of a 2-high stack (clumped squares); Stacks are high enough to block vision from the ground, but can be climbed on top of with a movement action. Each crate has 100 HP.

The Good(?) Guys
Stunt: 600
Exorcist: 125 (Barrier: 120)
Bhikkhuni: 40
Mary: 90
Djinni: 180
Szand: 80
With her barrier up, her initial attacks out, and her distance closed, Exorcist was ready to get to the most exciting part of her battle routine. She wouldn't say she enjoyed cutting apart other intelligent beings, exactly, but she did love the feel of a katana in her hands. And if cutting apart intelligent beings was tantamount to serving Counterinfectualism, then what did her own feelings come into it? She ought to be proud that she derived some modicum of pleasure in being a devout follower of her religion! And so Exorcist thought no harder over why she felt joy in bringing out a sword to slash through the heelnavis.

For most cutting purposes, Exorcist used her own hands and her chi, but again, she was so enamored with re katana that she felt it a waste to toss the blade. The authenticity! The air of responsibility! Feeling giddy, she smiled in girlish delight as her long sleeves trailed behind the whirling silver streak of her Electopian blade in an elegant death-dance. With any luck, these chops might finish off the gate guards.

In the mean time, Bhikkhuni celebrated having pegged a few enemies. "Did you see that Buddhist Blast? Nobody could dodge that!" she gloated, pressing her thumb to her chest in pride. "Uh... well, since I'm gratious, I will let Exxy finish them off," the little SP lied, covering up the fact that she had already used up her own weapon of any significance. "And you can defend me while I... r-recharge!" she answered Szand, knowing full well she wouldn't recharge until Burt was ready to slot in CornShot again. But it felt nice to be protected~

Speaking of things that felt nice, Mary continued to slack off in the alley with Stunt. "Szand is pretty manly, sticking up for women like that. Of course, it's my duty to love all men," she chuckled, leaving out "my pleasure." "But a chivalrous man is easy to love." Realizing now that she had been distracted, Mary went to work healing Exorcist by tossing her a little flask with expert precision. She might make a pretty good basketball player if she ever quit her day job.

Exorcist accepted the healing and then, after sparing one last glance and parrying stance with her former opponents, she turned to Bhikkhuni's targets. They'd been messed up pretty bad, but one was still up. The best way to deal with him might be something surefire, like a homing attack; with that in mind,she prepared another charm card. Rather than bending this one, she twisted it... a white glow overtook it and its form hardened. She tossed it off towards the enemy... it functioned not unlike a boomerang itself. This was just a battle for boomerangs. Exorcist had no reason to get any closer to the building; not without her allies. She stood her ground and prepared to evade incoming attacks.

Burt realized that he could freely swing his camera, for the most part, and turned it to watch Djinni. "She's pretty good on a pole! Where'd she learn to do that?" he asked, feeling enchanted by the sexuality of his friend's navi... as he often did.

1) Katana1 @ HeelNaviA, then HeelNavisA-B [60 damage, boosted A accuracy + slashing, then same in wide attack range]
2) Katana1 @ HeelNaviB, then HeelNaviA-B [60 damage, boosted A accuracy + slashing, then same in wide attack range]
*) Sword subtype Swordplay [Dodge]
3) Skully2 @ HeelNaviD [120 damage, C accuracy + confusion + homing]
4) Dodge
5) Dodge

1) Dodge
2) Dodge

*) Recovery subtype IV @ Exorcist [10 hp object with 5 hp heal per action]
1) Fool around
2) Shenanigans