Just Good Business

In an older part of Electown, the bright electric hum of the ever-busy commercial district was slightly dulled and the press of two and three story buildings that sprawled in all directions. This part of the zone was a cheese-block of arcades and thoroughfares, underpasses, overpasses and transit tunnels, all designed to eek out the maximum amount of advertising exposure from every surface possible in various neon lights and brightly-coloured signs. It was hard to tell whether the sky, far above, was showing the net equivalent of night or day; between the buildings and in the maze of shop-filled warrens, it was all just that one constant tone of timeless artificial lighting that made it all too easy to lose track of how long you'd been browsing and wandering.

The link would deposit Daybreak into a narrow alleyway that cut between two broader walkways, running parallel to each other and winding gradually as they did. Most of the shops on one side seemed to be for clothing and footwear, and other related fashion accessories, while the other side appeared to contain a great many health and beauty inlets, dotted with massage parlours and all-day gyms. The narrow alley itself hadn't escaped the marketing inundation; every inch of the walls on either side was covered in flyers or 'helpful' maps which could direct you to the nearest sponsor; the nearest one as apparently posted by Quay-san's hot rock and essential oil relaxation retreat, and was barely legible, except for pointing out with large icons where each outlet of said retreat were located all across the city. Most were tightly clustered here in Electown, somewhere.

Provide the vampire-hunter wasn't overly distracted by this, however, the other important feature in the alleyway was the small woman standing nearby. Her back was to the landing point, and she was standing, glaring down the alley with one hand on her hip and the other holding the staff of a tall green banner bearing a white anarchist emblem in the centre. Perhaps it wasn't so tall as all that really; it only seemed so because the woman holding it was actually quite small. Short and slight of build, with a boyish figure it was only really the shape of her shoulders and the slight curves at her waist that would even give away her gender, with her back tuned as it was. The more perceptive hunters might notice that, despite her petite stature, the girl didn't look frail; there was a solidity in her stance, and visible definition in her arms, thin though they were.

At the sound of Daybreak arriving, she waited long enough to give her mission partner a chance to get her bearings, then turned to face the would-be slayer. Her features were hard and serious, and together with her underwhelming proportions she likely wasn't going to win any hottest model competitions any time soon... nevertheless, there remain a certain rough-edged prettiness to her - the sort that would be enhanced more by scuffs and exertion, than by any amount of make-up or accessories might do for her pale skin. Her primary dress theme was green, made up by many-pocketed green camo trousers and a deep forest t-shirt that bore anarchist icons like her banner. Her eyes matches, but a few scraps of escaping hair, peeking out from under her beret, showed off a deep red, much like the hat that was covering them. She inclined her head in a polite, if serious manner once she had Daybreak's attention.

"You've come. Thankyou. There is important work we must do here today, and I will be glad of a fellow comrade in arms to spear-head the fight with me. My other allies are moving into important positions as we speak, and time is of the essence, so let me brief you quickly." As one might expect, her voice was firm and passionate, and she flourished her banner with a snap before using the base of it to draw on the ground between them. The ground, of course, was solid panelling, but this didn't stop the end of her banner from leaving small lines floating just above it as she continued.

"We are here." A small pin point towards one side of a large circle that marked this particular district. "Most of the businesses in this area are all actually owned by a single corporation, and the supposed competition is completely false. Everyone who lives in this region must, eventually ,end up working for this one corporation, or starve - there's no work to be found that doesn't lead straight back to them. Any money the people who live here earn, gets poured straight back into the company's pockets again, and the people go on, barely scraping by, usually offering and selling services and products that no-one here in the district could ever afford. Outside buyers should help everyone in a region like this flourish, but the income goes back to the upper echelons of the corporation, and that's where it stays. It all traces back, in fact, to one single navi, reaping the profits of the labours of everyone who lives here, and doing nothing with it. Year by year he takes more, and gives beck less." She paused to take a breath and shake off her growing ire. "The corporation headquarters are here." She drew another mark, across the other side of the circle. "It's a tall building, no missing it, once you get out of this maze of shops. It will only take a minute or two to get there, but reaching the CEO, and doing what we must will be a very difficult task." She paused, then looked up from her, admittedly not overly useful, diagram. Her eyes wandered to the side slightly.

"I know, Jane, I know, alright..." Her gaze came back to Daybreak. "I should warn you. Many have tried other means of relaxing his control over the people here, of improving their lives and righting things, but none of it has worked. This mission is... it's an assassination. Are you still willing to help? Ask me whatever you need to, if it will help you decide." It was clear she wasn't joking as she watched Daybreak for a reaction; one had to assume she had the means to actually do it without her target simply jacking out, but that still left a lot of questions unanswered, even before she got onto the actual meat of the plan.
Daybreak arrived in a dazzling flash of light, stepping out from a bright rift. She beckoned her familiar, a great, floating red eye-ball, to come next; it floated slowly after her, before coming to a stop, gazing over one shoulder. Although the hallway had been dark, it instantly lit up as her partner in vampire-slaying looked around, casting its gaze like a spotlight. "Hmph... Prospering cities like this one only become such by the influence of vampires. Heed not the lofty concepts posed by capitalism or simple mercantilism; it is they in the shadows who guide their favorites to their top and their adversaries to the bottom," she expounded, seemingly to no one, as the eye showed no acknowledgement and, as far as she knew, no one else was in the alley.

Her operator, Marian, saw differently. "Up ahead, Daybreak," she advised, causing her navi to start slightly.

"A vampire?!" she exclaimed, raising her armored hand towards the potential foe. Light began to stream from the crevices lining its surface. "A foul trick, leading me into this darkness to increase your power! However, know that no absence of light can you defend you from my Sun Spear!" That said, she wasn't about to crispen her new adversary in a fiery beam before learning anything about them, so she held her attack. Uprising's words revealed that she was the employer and not a meddlesome vampire... or, at least, the former. Daybreak relaxed her guard slightly, staring down towards her employer with her one gleaming eye. "You there! It is i, Daybreak, the one they call Last Hunter, Separator of Mankind and his Extinction at the Hands of the Vampires! Prove to me now that I needn't worry of vile manipulations, such as form-fancy!" Uprising probably didn't know what any of that meant, but she did have an educational guide to what sort of work they would be doing. Daybreak calmed down further to listen to all of it, while inclining her head to a cool angle, her great, horn-like hair casting a distinct shadow against the alley walls.

When Uprising began drawing upon the floor, Daybreak squatted to continue watching, showing no particular care as her legs parted, balancing expertly on her toes. "Hmm... A monopoly! Only fitting for these vampires under the guise of merchants... Of course they would control everything. The market is only a tool that they manipulate to work subtly, applying a gentle pressure to humans where a tight, iron grip is not an option. Despicable," she growled, showing her teeth. The mention of the building seemed to catch her interest again. "Ha! When the vampires have established their advantage, they flaunt their wealth brazenly. When they become like this, they grow more contented and less wary... Therefore, the bigger the vampire's holding, the easier the prey," she ended, giving a cool smile despite her questionable siege tactics.

Uprising finished with the most important detail of the mission: namely, that it was an assassination mission. Daybreak stroked her chin thoughtfully. "Of course, there will be no slaying the vampire without first confirming his true nature. Fortunately, I have a long list of vampire lords- and make no mistake, a vampire with such influence must surely be a lord. I would place him as either the Gilded Purse, rank 193rd of the 250 vampire lords... perhaps too low... or, terribly, as Commeseur, he who consumes the minds of plain folk. He is ranked 14th among all Vampire Lords. If it is Commeseur we face, then this will truly be a mission worthy of the world's sole true vampire hunter," she spoke quietly, with a grim expression on her face despite her nonsense words. "Only once I meet him face to face will I be able to confirm his identity. For now, I need to know every weakness you have seen him display... For example, many of these vampires have a weakness for women. Would you say that getting close to him might involve using my-"

Just then, a window popped up, displaying Marian and Tajana (although mostly Marian; Tajana stayed well in the background). "Excuse me! I'm Marian, Daybreak's operator, and in absence of her sensibility, I'd like to ask some more practical questions," she begged, clasping her hands together in front of her. "Assassination? I mean, I know we only just got here, but this doesn't seem right! When monopolies threaten commerce in any civilized country, a higher authority does something about it... anti-trust laws or that kind of thing! You can't really be asking for Daybreak to assassinate someone in order to fix something like that?" Marian questioned, although Daybreak hadn't batted an eye at the suggestion. "And that's setting aside all kinds of other issues! How would you even kill the navi? I thought only the mafia or police could prevent jack-out like that! A-And not just that, either! I mentioned when we put the request up that Daybreak, despite all of her boasting, isn't really that strong!"

"Ha! Listen to you; you sound like the taint dribbles from your very mouth, Marian! Only one under the influence of a vampire's black magic could suggest that the world's only qualified vampire hunter is not fit to slay a vampire!" Daybreak scoffed.

"But you're really not! I'm saying that if this guy even needs to be assassinated, which is a big if, how is Daybreak going to help?" Marian questioned. Part of her wanted to withdraw her navi right away and report the mission to the GNA (as assassination hadn't been mentioned in the original description, probably intentionally), but she definitely wanted to know as much about the mission as she could learn before she went through with it. "Furthermore, I mean... exploiting people for their money is bad... but it's not the same as killing them! Navis have all kinds of choices of where to live, and most don't even live in a place at all, unless they're unoperated. Isn't there some other option for the navis living here, than to buy from these stores? A-And navis don't even need to eat or sleep!" she further proposed.

"You're blaming the victims for falling prey to their vampire overlord?! Shameful!" Daybreak gasped, her floating servant seeming to share some of her anger by its expression. "All navis have the right to basic human dignities, free from the influence of vampires! The idea of abandoning them now that I know their plight is inconceivable! Now, Uprising, tell me more about this vampire and how you plan to arrange my meeting with him so that I might slay him. My entire body is a weapon and all of it is at your disposal, for the restoration of humanity," Daybreak offered, spreading her palms from her chest outward in an indicative gesture. "If it is Commeseur we're meeting, then surely, you will have need of my help. The band of brothers you've assembled may not be enough... and further, I should test the humanity of each of them. The last thing we need is for one of the fold to have infiltrated your ranks before this mission even sets off!"
In the brief moment that it seemed as though the new navi might attack, Uprising had shifted her stance ever so slightly; ready to respond, but not particularly worried. She relaxed again as Daybreak did, though her gaze lingered for a moment on the floating familiar with her. She hadn't really had any kind of proper response to the other woman's challenge to her authenticity, save going on with her briefing, but that seemed to distract the eccentric hunter for the time being.

When the huntress began to give her own assessment, Uprising listened carefully, her eyes uncertain as she tried to piece together what Daybreak was saying. She seemed to be weighing the words carefully and opened her mouth to answer just as the voice of reason jumped in to, well, reason. Uprising flicked her gaze to the screen, then away from both of them for a moment before continuing.

"Other tactics have been tried, to no avail. The laws do not seem to touch the uppermost echelons of this corporation the way they should, and though sometimes they have been forced to a minor concession here or there, it never lasts, and it is never much, and always the retribution in kind comes stronger and falls upon the very victims these laws are meant to protect." Her eyes gradually drifted back to Daybreak as she spoke, though she continued at first to address Marian's concerns. She didn't seem to pay any particular heed to her fellow navi's indelicate pose; chances were it didn't really register as long as she was in a more conflict-oriented frame of mind.

"On this part of the net, there doesn't really appear to be any 'higher authority', and truly, what higher authority should there be than the will of the people towards their own freedom? We are not just talking about healthy commerce here!" She was still facing as though talking to Marian, but her eyes had clearly slid across to Daybreak by this point. "We are talking about the lives, the spirits, the very souls of these navis being crushed beneath an oppressive weight!" Here she did cast her eyes side-long back towards Marian, with one eyebrow raised slightly. The expression it left her with was somewhere between an attempt at reassuring and... patient? The words she picked were clearly meant for Daybreak's impressionable ears as well, however.

"Don't worry, we have the means. It's nothing quite so elegant as the formal barrier tech that the police use, but it will let us get the job done, if the timing is right. One of my support programs carries an agent that will cause temporary disruption in a navi who takes it. They won't actually be cut off from their PET, but it will behave as though they have been, for a short while. If the navi is endangered during those precious few minutes, the EJO will still activate, but not fast enough to preserve them if the deed is done swiftly." Her eyes snapped back to Daybreak fully this time, and she levelled a very serious look at the other woman.

"He will think himself invulnerable, untouchable, and it is in those moments when your sun spears must sear through his core and put an end to his tyranny. We will support you, and pave the way for your confrontation. We will work from the sides, subtle and unseen while your approach takes the stage. When you meet, he will think you weak, and of no consequence, without knowing that he himself has been weakened and exposed, drained of his powers and made vulnerable to you." There was a short pause while uprising regarded the other woman thoughtfully, though her eyes jumped tot he eerie familiar more than once or twice.

"It must be you, at the last. I... do not know what manner of... vampire lord, we are dealing with. But when you face him, I'm sure you will know how best to end him. Please make no mistake; he must be ended, and tonight. Perhaps the navis who live here could go elsewhere. Perhaps they could escape this soul-destroying, vitality sucking cycle of oppression by their own means... but should they be forced to?" the thought of blaming the victims for not moving away seemed to have sparked some manner of wrath in Uprising herself, and thinking on it now as she continued was making her breathing come a little deeper, and her words become tinged with passion.

"Should we ignore this one, who drains the life from all around him, and simply tell his victims to run away, uproot themselves and their lives, and flee? I say no. Not tonight. What do you say, Daybreak? Your operator may not agree, but the choice must be yours, and yours alone. We are running short on time for briefing... If you are with us, Daybreak, I will tell you the plan."

From her own reactions so far it seemed quite likely that Daybreak herself would be all for hearing more of the plan, and the real question was whether the more sensible Marian was going to pull the plug or not... but providing she didn't, and that Daybreak herself was still gung-ho on the idea, Uprising would return her attention to the beginnings of her little diagram and continue in quick tones.

"Alright. The head of this organisation rarely leaves the upper four floors of his... castle," she almost spat the word with a tone of disgust. "They are his living quarters, games room, relaxation area and..." she wrinkled her nose with an unpleasant twist. "His... carnal amusements... He gets three or four girls in most evenings, when he hasn't planned some other event. His schedule was open tonight, so it's likely there'll be some ladies from the higher class establishments sent to him, and that is one option for your approach, though I'd like to avoid it if I can. However we get in, once you're within the top four floors, there should be no more risk of security or discovery."

While she spoke here, she added details to her diagram, extending the lines on the intimidating building to give her more room, and drawing the top lines in; the top most level got a little bed scribble, and a sun deck that was open to the air. The second top floor got a little love heart and no further details, the third got a pair of tennis rackets, while the lowest of the top four got a musical note and some relaxed wavy lines. A master artist, Uprising was not, but it was clear enough at least what floor was what. She also marked in some vertical lines to show where the floors connected; the relaxation level connected on only the western side, leading up to sports, which connected on the east to the skin suite, which in turn connected in the middle of the level, up to the living quarters. Uprising continued, and kept illustrating on her diagram as she did.

"Most of the rest of the building is offices and management, and it will be minimal staff at the moment. He has a good deal of regular hire security around the main entrance of the building, but isn't really expecting a serious assault of any kind. Two of my SPs, are planning to create a space that ought to allow a small group to get inside undetected. Exactly what they do will depend on how well trained and disciplined the guards there turn out to be, but they're flexible." The diagram gained several stick figure guards around the base of the building, most of whom were chasing another stick figure with as word and an anarchy banner, while another one was being held at knife-point by a second anarchist holding a 'shh' finger over its mouth.

"Once we're inside, there will be two more security checks that will still be staffed at this time; one between the lower floors and the managerial floors, and one before the CEO's personal floors. If we've got you a good cover, they may go simply, but I'll be with you up to that point, and another of my SPs will be near to hand, so if we need a distraction or other assistance, it will be available. While the spotlight will be on you, two of my other SPs will be infiltrating the building from a different route. They will be fore-runner to us; all of my SPs are very good at not being seen, when they need to, but those two are the best at it. One of them will have the agent to administer to our target, while the other will be arranging a few more surprises to make him more vulnerable without alerting him. When the time comes, one spear at the right moment is all you should need." The picture now showed two more stick figures scaling the back of the building, with what looked like a variety of poisons and mysterious bottles. It also showed a rather more buxom figure, radiant in light beams, with an arrow, moving directly at the front of the building.

"Is there anything else you need to know before we set off? How would you like to do it? There's room to change a lot of things, if we need to; I can shift people around if you'd rather do one job more than another, but it must be you in the spotlight at the last, striking him down. Oh..." She paused a moment. "You wanted to meet them first?" She considered and bit her lip, then nodded. "I think there's time. Alright." She stood again unconsciously flourishing her banner once and planting it again before closing her eyes.

"Brothers and sisters, rally to me! You must meet our new comrade for today, before we begin!" The voice was soft, but still quite full of fervour despite being quiet. It was only a few moments before five figures melted out of the shadows all around Uprising herself. They were each of an average height, save the one female who was notably shorter than the others, and Uprising let the programs introduce themselves one at a time. The first bore distinctly electopian features, with a warm skin tone and short cut black hair. His eyes, like those of his fellow SPs were completely black. His frame was a bit more thick-set than the others and he was dressed primarily in a simple shitagi, with a long staff slung casually over his shoulders. He gave his name as Ōishi, and bowed his head to Daybreak with respect.

The next to introduce himself gave the name Chikara, and looked to be of netfrican appearance, with much darker skin and hair that was long and straight, down to his shoulders. He was dressed in faded, ragged-edged jeans and a modern t-shirt that was grey with silver linework. It bore the same anarchist logo that marked Uprising's banner, over the heart. Beside him, the only female amongst the SPs waved and gave her name as Tera. She was much shorter than the others though her body was more fit and athletic, than slender. She had pale skin and northern netopian features with brown hair that probably reached to the middle of her back, when it wasn't tied up firmly. She had chosen to dress in a way that was very reminiscent of Uprising herself, including the beret.

Beside her, the who introduced himself as Okano offered a handshake as well as a bow of his head. Like Ōishi, he looked very electopian, and there were only slight facial features to distinguish the two. Unlike his fellow SP, Okano's hair was a long black braid that reached almost down to his waist, and he had a more whipish, wiry frame of body. The last SP to introduce himself was Yahei, taller than the others, though not by enough to e thought of specifically as tall, he had the strong jaw and firm face structure of a man of Sharo, with pale skin and short blonde hair to match. When they were all done, Uprising caught Daybreak's eye again.

"These are my support programs, but they are not my servants. We are allies, and comrades in arms. Each works with me because they choose to, and I support them as much as they assist me. Now, are you ready to set things in motion?" Hopefully the hunter wouldn't object to Uprising's friends now that she'd seen them, nor would Marian pull the plug on their adventure. The cards were on the table for Daybreak to choose how she wanted to handle things now.
As Uprising's bright eyes watched Daybreak, so two did Daybreak's watch hers (those eyes being the one good one in her head and the other giant one floating over her shoulder). Her confident smile was unfaltering and, if anything, Marian's resistance to the idea, along with the description of the perilous precision that the plan would require, all seemed to be exciting her further, which was undoubtedly the effect Uprising had been hoping to achieve. "Yes, this is well, my friend. With a trained vampire hunter to do the deed and the will and aid of humanity's last resistance urging her forward, we may be able to topple even Commeseur. You needn't even ask my consent to this operation," the eager assassin responded in a hushed tone, the gold flecked in her eyes shining brighter as she tilted her head upward. She seemed to have abandoned the idea that this vampire might be a lesser ranked one, given that it wouldn't be nearly as dramatic. Hearing Uprising say the words 'vitality sucking' and 'drains the life' produced a perceptible, bodily shiver for Daybreak. She might be getting just as worked up as Uprising, although not for the same reasons. "Ah, yes... castle..." she added, as if the coincidences of being assigned such a target were beginning to seem fantastic even to her. "Ha! The vampire allows himself the vice of recreational intercourse, does he? Such an easy window to his undead heart he's left open for me to exploit."

"Daybreak..." Marian half-sighed, half-sobbed, not sure what to make of the fact that her navi had no shame in offering herself up like that, not to mention that Daybreak was still going along with the assassination idea at all. She wished she'd jacked out Daybreak back when she had the opportunity, without incurring some sort of retaliation from the militant group her navi had somehow gotten involved with. For whatever reason, though, Tajana had stopped her quietly when she'd begun to open her mouth. Hopefully, her partner for life had some sort of plan that would explain why she thought letting Daybreak act out her hero fantasy at the cost of lives was a good idea... For now, though, she was stuck listening to the complex plot.

If Daybreak had any problem with either the crude drawings or being depicted as a stick figure with balloon-boobs, she didn't show it. The SPs introduced themselves once the briefing was over, with Daybreak taking the time to give her introduction again as well once it was done. The eyeball hovering over her head now seemed to be scanning all of them but focusing on none of them; its eye was half shut in a pensive glare that was a bit unnerving, but didn't seem to match the owner's welcoming gaze. "It's excellent, having brothers in arms to share this mission of mine with. Lonely is the quest of the vampire hunter. Because I trust Uprising here, I will also trust that she's done a thorough inspection of all of you for any vampiric tendencies: for instance, odd resting behavior, an undue fascination with the streaming data of other creatures, a tendency to avoid or shy away from sunlight's life-giving rays?" she asked, despite her insistence that she trusted Uprising. As if to test, the eyeball shined a spotlight across each of them, verifying they wouldn't wither away or burn to ashes when exposed to it. Presumably, they didn't, so the conversation continued. "Very well. I am comrade to all of humanity, and likewise, humanity cannot rebuild itself without me. We all are tied together with bonds that only death may sever. Mortality is not a curse, but a banner, rallying those who still have the capacity for human empathy, human warmth, and the possession of a soul loved by God."

The eyeball seemed to nod in place, as if to affirm the crazy things Daybreak was saying.

For her part, Marian had cut her mic, taking the time to question her wife on why she'd allowed Daybreak to take this horrible mission. Their conversation was silent and private as Tajana explained her reasoning. "I'm with you... the attempts to win over Daybreak are suspicious and imposed poverty like this... which, while unethical, is no navi's to judge with death... It's absolutely wrong for Daybreak to go through with this assassination plan," she whispered, keeping her thoughts hidden from their navi.

"Then why are we letting her?!" Marian hissed, much less quiet.

"The way I see it, if Daybreak backs out, another navi will be called upon... Next, it could be a competent and professional assassin with a like-minded operator, wanting a payday instead of justice, for all we know. In this position, we have the unique advantage of being the one this whole plan rides upon... If Daybreak can make her way to Commeseur-" the raven-haired lady began, before being interrupted.

"Don't you start! He's not a ranked vampire lord or anything like that," Marian groaned, clutching her sleeves as she crossed her arms.

"R-Right... If Daybreak can make her way to the target, I should say, that will give her the opportunity to evaluate whatever true evil he might be committing. If it's less than what Uprising says or otherwise we do not deem it worthy of death, we'll simply jack Daybreak out right then. The plan will fail and Uprising and the others will either escape or be captured. On the other hand, if we find evidence of his crimes, significant that he actually should be deleted... Then Uprising will be in a position to do so. Either way, we hold all the cards, I believe," Tajana finished, extending one palm as if to say, "do you agree?"

Marian still wasn't so sure, as evidenced by her worried expression. "This is a mess just waiting to happen..." she restated her opinion. "You do realize that we're going to have to be the ones to make this call, not Daybreak, right? If Daybreak gets up there, she's going to want to kill, guilt or no guilt. That's just her delusional logic taking over! She usually doesn't have it fed quite in this same way, though..."

"I believe you give her too little credit. Suspicious and paranoid, delusional and quixotic as she tends to be, she is still primarily motivated by justice. She won't kill a man she sees as innocent, because, by their natures, vampires must be evil, and she must judge them to be such... if she cannot truly judge him as worthy to kill, she cannot kill him," the novelist proposed.

The blogger frowned and rubbed her temples. "I wish it was that easy... Daybreak's committed to her fantasy, but she couldn't have gotten that way without some seriously poor judgment! I don't know if we can leave all of this to her..."

That back and forth conversation was interrupted as Daybreak realized she was being left out. "Enough chatter! As Uprising said, time is of the essence. My fellows," she continued, placing her metallic hand at her hip while twirling her fleshy one glamorously, "lead the way, and I, in turn, will lead humanity to their glorious freedom from the oppressive rule of vampire-kind."
Indeed, Uprising's support programs failed to wither in the light of Daybreak's inspection, though there had been a brief moment of tension as she looked them over - Uprising herself had been trying to get a handle on the specifics of the vampire-hunter's delusions, but without knowing exactly what pieces of old vampire stories she believed in, the rebel had been concerned that the uniform black eyes of her allies may have caused problems. Fortunately, they seemed to pass muster and she did her best to hide relief as they got on with the plan. Even so, she seemed to hesitate uncomfortably at how swiftly Daybreak latched onto the call girl option. She bit her lip.

"It... is an option, yes... myself, you and Tera could replace the girls he calls for... but..." She sighed and winced. "I'll be honest, Daybreak, I'm alright with making those kinds of sacrifices myself, for a greater cause, but I'm really not comfortable with asking others to do so. It's too much to ask someone I've just met to do, no matter how vital the mission. We'll only take that route if you're absolutely sure it's what you want to do. There are other ways we can get in." She probably didn't want to express directly that, with her size and figure, it would be easy for many to doubt if she was even old enough to take a role like that, and beside Daybreak there would be little question of which of them would be counted the more appealing choice for most would-be clients.

With the other woman's eagerness to... exploit openings... quite clearly out in the open, however, Uprising was left to nod and accept that route as the way forward. Serious again, she turned to her SPs and gave her orders in a no-nonsense voice.

"Ōishi, Interference. Open us a path on my signal. Yahei, go with him; secure our cover and report back. Chikara, Okano, you know your tasks. Silent running until everything is prepared, then let me know. Tera, out of sight but stay close and be our eyes." The SP that was dressed most similarly to Uprising herself nodded and received a confirming nod in return. The other five faded from sight as seamlessly as they'd arrived, each going off to fulfil their own parts of the plan, though Tera remained with them, standing beside Uprising and politely half a step back and to the side of her. She was watching Daybreak's eye familiar with open fascination now.

While the vampire-hunter's operators were discussing their own contingency plans, it was time for the others to set out. Uprising took the lead and the three remaining women passed through into the brighter lights of the district and began threading along the advertisement-laden streets towards the intimidating sky scraper they could see in the distance. Tera faded away behind them within moments of their passage into the main streets, though it was a safe bet to assume she wouldn't be far. Initially it wasn't hard to guess what ways to take - the goal was obvious, but as they progressed Uprising took a small detour that turned them away from the main target. The winding cheese-block streets led downwards into what was, fairly obviously, the beginnings of a red-light zone. It wasn't overly crude about the fact, but nor was it secretive or subtle. There were obviously establishments to cater to various tastes and specialities, some of higher class that others, and there were more than a handful of navis that they passed who seemed tired but resigned to the fact that they were, to put it politely, spending their evenings standing under lamp posts. One or two called out offers to the pair, but most seemed to understand that they weren't here for their services.

Uprising helped them skirt the edges of the district without going too far in, until they had come around to the street that seemed to lead out and towards the tall building further off, where she called a wait. With another glance at the office tower, the smaller girl beckoned as she ducked into another side alley. This edge of the pleasure district backed against the wide open plaza that lay before the office tower, and the final few rows of buildings were neatly kept but also abandoned and without use; it was probably kept that way deliberately, so that they wouldn't actually have brothels on their doorstep. It felt vaguely like an exclusion zone, in that light. She was looking down and holding one hand to an ear - it likely wasn't a necessary gesture at all, but it still served to convey that she was in communication. After a moment she made a frustrated sound.

"Ok, bring them to us, we'll deal with it." There was a pause, then. "Tera, to us." A few moments later, two SPs joined them in the alley. One was Tera, the other was the man who had previously been identified as Yahei. He was carrying a bundle of clothing that, while hard to identify specific pieces, was clearly the attire of women of negotiable affection. Tera was immediately leery of being called in, glancing at the pile nervously. For that matter, Uprising didn't look too pleased either.

"We were right, and he requested the callings for women from two separate establishments tonight to provide two girls each. Yahei has acquired the clothing that they were each wearing as they headed out, and we could slip into their places easily enough, except... we aren't four. We could cover for being one short, but not two... Tera, I'm sorry to ask you this, but..." The other girl drew a deeper breath, hesitating, then nodded. "I'm very sorry, but remember, it's just a disguise. You won't have to do anything you aren't ready to do. Hopefully none of us will have to." Unfortunately, the ground was damp and there was nowhere safe to put the various pieces of clothing, so Yahei was required to continue holding onto the bundle and uprising looked through it.

"I had really hoped these would be simple .GMO swaps, but no luck. Oh well." And without any other apparent hesitation, the rebel set her banner aside and pulled her shirt over her head. Beneath it, she was also wearing a tight, simple restraining vest with broad shoulder straps; she didn't have very much that needed restraining, it was true, but it was the kind of simple vest for whom no movement was still much more desired than barely any. Still, it lasted no longer than the shirt and was pulled off without hesitation. Tera showed a little more hesitation, glancing, surprisingly, at Daybreak rather than Yahei, but she also swiftly began to strip off in favour of finding and outfit she could wear. They were both quite mercenary about it and didn't appear to care what they were showing off to those assembled, once they'd started.

Uprising selected a black lace bra that was more or less fully transparent, and spent a few moments carefully reefing the straps in until it would actually fit her... more or less. The cups were still a bit too large, but there was no fixing that - she'd pulled out the smallest one available. When it was on, as with most lingerie so designed, her nipples were quite visible despite the lace but she moved on anyway, unbuttoning and unzipping her cargo trousers and shucking them off, along with a pair of simple dark green briefs, without fanfare. Despite the air of not seeming to care about it, she was still a little bit quicker in finding the undergarments that matched her new bra, although there was well more than ample opportunity for anyone looking to appreciate her less than ample behind, or the small, rough triangle of curtain-matching carpeting that she apparently wasn't in the habit of doing anything artful with. Despite this, she took a moment to stare incredulously at the article of underwear she'd come up with.

"These... these are split right down the middle! ... Wait is that.. are they actually designed that way? What's he purpose of... Ugh, never mind." She shook her head then swiftly pulled them on regardless. black lace or not, the front split left barely any front panel to speak of, and pulling them up a bit more so that they'd stay on only really made matters worse, but Yahei was looking straight forward down the alley without letting his eyes wander and Tera was too concerned with finding her own outfit.

In the support program's case, she had found a set of red velvet lingerie that was more lace and gauzy hinting, than outright revealing, and when adjusted it seemed to fit her a little better than Uprising's choice did, though part of that had to be the other girl's slightly better ability to fill out a bra. Given her apparent nerves, here was every possibility that Uprising had chosen the more overtly immodest of the two smallest outfits deliberately, to spare her SP.

In finding the rest, the rebel came up with black knee boots with over a dozen buckles a side, and a mid-thigh dress that was fairly flattering on her shoulders, cut like it was meant to reveal cleavage that she didn't possess, and actually came down to her knees as a result of the size difference. Tera got a pair of crushed velvet heels and a garter to go with an almost formal-looking gown which hinted much but showed little. It was still a little big for her, and there was no stopping the end of it dragging the ground slightly, which seemed a shame.

The two had picked out the smallest two outfits available, which would leave a choice of two for Daybreak herself, and by good fortune, both would actually fit her decently well. If anything, she might actually be a bit large in the chest for the more modest of the two choices. The other would be... less of an issue, in that department.

If the huntress opted for the more modest choice, she's be going for a moulded short top that fastened below the breasts, and formed both support and pushed up emphasis for breasts of the right size. Unfortunately, the right size, for the original wearer was apparently a size or two smaller than Daybreak's equipment, which might make wearing this a bit precarious if things got in any way acrobatic... or even if there was a deal of running involved. As it was, however, she would simply look in danger of over-flowing the piece, which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing for trying to catch eyes. It left most of her back and shoulders bare, and was accompanied by a tapering skirt that was cut high on one hip and angled down to end below the knee on the far side. the top piece was a deep crimson colour, while the skirt was silver, with a crimson under cut layer. It came with mercifully opaque shiny silver panties of a plain cut, and silver heels.

The less modest choice was made up mostly of leather straps and polished silver hardware. It would be a bit hard to work out at first, unless Daybreak happened to be acquainted with bondage fetish wear - the straps made up an adjustable body harness that could only barely be called modesty preserving on its own. Two main straps were designed to lie over the shoulders, coming in to a 'v' at a point between the breasts, where they met the central binding ring. two more straps went would from the central ring, above the tops of the breasts, and looped around to the back ring. A third pair came from the back ring, over the shoulders and across the tops of the beasts in a wider 'x' shape, then overlapped with the side straps to return to the back. If fastened and tightened properly, they formed an inverted star on the front of the chest, but did absolutely nothing to actually cover the wearer's breasts at all. A fifth strap descended from the central ring to a lower, secondary binding ring at about the navel, which in turn sent out a pair of cross-arching straps around to the back for more support. The third binding ring gave the impression of a belt by only offering a single straight strap to loop about the hips. Below that there was only a single leather strap to reach underneath and cover the essentials, reaching up behind to join the lowest back ring. Accompanying this 'outfit' was a silk ribbon choker bearing a flat cut ruby, a pair of knee-high black, heeled boots that had tight cross lacing and screamed 'mistress'. It also had an over-the-shoulder coat that would conceal the whole ensemble neatly, right down to below the knees, but it would need to be held shut with one hand, and had split side gaps in it, rather than actual sleeves.

Of course, given that this was one of her options for dressing the part... it was entirely conceivable that Daybreak might choose to simply stay as she was, and not actually cause any suspicion with her own outfit.

"Such folly! It may not please you to hear this, but as a fated hunter of the dread beasts that now roam our lands, I am the one who must shoulder the greatest of burdens. Thoughts of 'sacrilege' and 'taboo' may be fine for clergy and nunneries, but for a vampire hunter, they are as restrictive as binding chains!" Daybreak responded to Uprising, smirking confidently. "You see, due to the blessings of God, I can take the demon's seed with no fear of birthing the most reprehensible of all creatures, the loathsome dhampir- a half-breed spawn of vampire and man," she shuddered. "It is for that reason that I insist none of you offer the demons the opening they might need to impregnate you. I alone must endure this cursed carnal engagement, for I alone am equipped to handle it," she boasted, paradoxically gloating and being selfless at the same time. She also seemed to be missing the important fact that it was probably impossible for any of them to be pregnant in the first place, unless someone had really gone all out with replicating their human behaviors. If Uprising offered a rebuttal, for example, that she would not birth a dhampir from sex with the gentlemen in the castle, then Uprising would allow it and continue on.

The eyeball watched wordlessly as most of Uprising's allies left, leaving only the revolutionary herself, one of her peers, and Daybreak. When the one called Tera began to study the eye, it studied her in return, beginning a sort of staring contest between the two of them. It stopped bobbing and became entirely motionless, its pupil still... one might really think it had interpreted a challenge for a staring contest.

"Fascinated by my familiar, are you?" Daybreak asked, smiling and closing her eyes, while crossing her arms seriously. "It is one of my two contracted tools, on loan from God himself. I sacrificed my arm," she paused, looking down to her red, metallic arm, "and my eye to acquire these weapons. They no longer have feeling, flesh, or bone... human weaknesses. They are the stuff of the angles who do the work of God. Accepting the contract is not easy; it requires a communication with God, which is a feat unto itself, and then an earnest proposal, the damning of one's own flesh, casting it aside for what is essentially only armor. But such armor! The light that I feel, the light which finds me, and which ultimately finds the vampires and reduces them to ashes, is channeled straight from the heavens themselves and is all powerful. Think of this familiar and this arm of mine as conduits; through them, I access God's power and deliver it upon my foes. Would that all humans had access to such magnificent tools, with which to fight the beasts that threaten the sanctity of our mortal world, but despite his omnipotence and love for his creatures, the father of all men faces limitations in the form of-"

Daybreak was cut short as they ran out of district to traverse, stopping in a back alley. Yahei showed up soon after; Uprising quickly filled Daybreak in on the proceedings of the mission so far. "You took this clothing from them?" she asked, tilting her chin up with a curious downward gaze. It might seem like she was being detail-oriented, but really, her perverted mind was getting excited, picturing Yahei forcing the women to strip down in the streets. "No matter. I'll have a look," she announced, stepping in from one side while her eye hovered to the other, just over Uprising's shoulder. Uprising, taking the mission seriously, wasted no time in getting undressed and into her own outfit. "Ahem," Daybreak coughed, smiling and looking cool but obviously distracted by some thought. "Could you not just have... I mean, if you're both wearing dresses anyways and not intending to offer yourselves sexually to the vampire or his servants, er, couldn't you have kept your same under garments on? No matter! If anyone appreciates thoroughness, it is I," she chuckled, revealing at the same time that she hadn't averted her eyes at all while they undressed. The eye actually hadn't either, and it had been even more brazen about it, shining a spotlight down on each of them in turn. "I will repay your efforts with my own dauntless endeavors."

The vampire huntress investigated her options. The first immediately spoke to her; with its bright silver and red colors, the tantalizing under garment design, the top that barely restrained the breasts, and tall heels, she felt like maybe her tastes were pretty in line with high-class prostitute uniform, in some ways, a thought that didn't concern as much as it might the average lady. "I'll take that one," she concluded, pointing at the one opposite of the one that matched her tastes. "The color black is unsuited to a vampire hunter, but I will wear it all the same. The dark color and the bondage motif may 'soothe' the vampires and convince them that I am simply another of their toys. When they are weak from confidence, I will reap the opportunity and strike them down." Really, if one had a look into Daybreak's mind, it wouldn't surprise them at all that she'd want to take the less comfortable, more overtly dangerous outfit.

For her part, Daybreak didn't have any sort of modesty that would stop her from changing in front of the others; she even verbally expressed as much. "Fear not. We are all comrades and all are the family of the human race. There is no need for bashfulness as I shed my raiment," she chuckled, almost as if she was asking them to look rather than simply allowing it. With practiced motions (literally, as she'd given the best way to undress herself some thought during the old PET-trapped days), Uprising shed the pieces of red armor that formed her bracelets and breast-plate. She set them down neatly, then went to work removing her silk leggings and glove (but not the red glove). "I hope you don't mind," she laughed, running one finger seductively up the length of her metallic arm, playing to the fetish of... whomever might have a fetish for colorful prosthetic limbs. "There is little sense in my removing my vampire hunter's gauntlet, for beneath it is the void... the empty expanse through which only God's light traverses. It is altogether foreign to most beings and will attract more attention than the arm, if anything. Hopefully, this will not be an issue." That description might make them curious to see what was under it, but it seemed like that was one part of her outfit she really wasn't going to remove.

Closing her eyes and still smiling, Daybreak rid herself of the white swimsuit-style navi-suit that ordinarily did just enough to protect her modesty, peeling it back from the breasts, which ludicrously seemed to be the main hanging on point, before slipping it past her hips and stepping out. What was left was the continuation of her gold ribbon harness, snaring various curves of her body, ordinarily mostly hidden by her white garments. Her body was as one might expect, just as curvy and defined as it had looked, with one exception: the area beneath the gloves, leggings, and body-suit was all much paler skin, as if she'd missed it tanning. If she was worried about that, she showed no sign of it. Very little covered her most indecent parts, just one of the strips that ran from the bottom to tie at the top and another that circled around the breasts, seeming like it could easily slip out of place... if it wasn't so taut. Indeed, by the intricate binding of the ribbons and the severity with which they were tied, it looked like someone had already put her into bondage. In fact, if the tips of the breasts were uncovered, she'd actually be more indecent in this get-up than dressed in the prostitute's gear. With continually demonstrated expertise, she loosened a few bands at her arms, a few at her legs, then pulled apart two gold pins intersecting at the back to form a cross-shape, causing the rest of the bindings to fall off. "Now I will don the black gear," she announced, for the benefit of those who weren't watching. She did so expertly, still keeping her same smile. If anyone was thinking her eye familiar was a pervert, it revealed that at least it was an equal opportunist, because it watched her the entire time.

Buckling the last buckle and donning her cape, which she clutched to her body for the sake of character more than modesty, she breathed in deeply, as if steeling herself. One had to doubt at this point if she really had any need to do that; she'd thus far acted very in her element. She'd left her eyepatch on as well, presumably for the same reason the arm had remained on. "I am ready," she finished... her disembodied eye cast a glance up again, then down, when she looked at it, as if it had been caught looking at something.

"Daybreak..." Marian murmured; she'd hoped to stay out of this, but there was something she couldn't ignore.

"Yes? What?" her navi questioned, hoping she wasn't about to get another moralist speech.

"Your hair. Are you really going to go in with your hair like that?" the operator criticized. "That part stands out more than anything else, possibly even including your floating friend there."

"Well, getting rid of my familiar is out of the question!" Daybreak defended, summoning the eyeball to her with the gesture of one hand and petting it soothingly and comically, breaking her cool image a bit. "I won't be able to fight Commeseur when the time comes without its aid. To cast it away is to face the vampires naked!"

"You are basically naked!" Maria groaned. "But I guess I see your point... Your hair, though," she pointed out again, crossing her arms impatiently.

"Y-Yes... I suppose you're right. It is sort of my signature, is it not? The vampires will probably recognize it," Daybreak grumbled, fidgeting with her hands in an uncharacteristic manner. "Fine! For humanity," she reaffirmed, struggling to remove the coils from her hair. That appeared to be the one part of her outfit she'd never practiced taking off, perhaps because she thought she looked like a better nude with her hair up. Once first coil finally got pulled off, her hair fanned outward into something like a backwards side ponytail, but with a crazy amount of volume; as her bangs retook their place, it gave her a look she hadn't had in years. With the other off, she definitely looked different, her ridiculous hair fanning out in two directions like giant pigtails that held their shape with no bindings. She fixed that, stroking one side straight while her over-sized eyeball rolled over the other side, until it was more or less straight and even, reaching well down to her hips. "I feel defiled," she murmured, pouting and crossing her arms. "You've clearly allowed the taint to overcome you, Marian, to suggest such an affront to God's tasteful designs."

"You're the one who wanted to do this! And that was my tasteful design, if anything," Marian reminded her. "Don't forget who your mama is," she joked, but it sounded especially awkward given that she'd just watched three navis strip in a red-light district alley while preparing to go kill an influential business owner. This really wasn't the time for jokes.

Daybreak waved her off and finally re-engaged the others. "I am prepared! Lead the way to Commeseur's abode," she demanded, holding her cape shut with one hand while petting her familiar using the other. The way it had bunched partially under her cloak was causing it to ride up and show 80% of her left leg, though, so she shook it out and it resumed floating above her again.
As much as Daybreak's more sensible operators might have been hoping for Uprising to counter her apparent eagerness to give up her body, the rebel had only winced, seeming at least somewhat uncomfortable with the conversation. She and Tera had both focused on their own changing while the vampire hunter extolled the impregnability of her navigator body, and didn't immediately jump to the correction that it really wasn't going to be a concern for any of them.

Amidst changing their clothes, Tera eventually broke her gaze with the familiar, though she did blush slightly upon realising just how brazenly it was appraising them all. Uprising didn't seem as bothered, though she was acting in a much more deliberately mercenary way, up until the point that they were all re-clothed and ready. By comparison, Daybreak herself might have seemed positively chatty while they changed - though whether they thought it was actual comfort, or talking to fill a gap, neither did anything much beyond glancing her way occasionally while they dressed. Along the way, Yahei did cast one brief eye towards Daybreak's curiosity over the source of the clothes.

"They were compensated, I assure you..." He murmured, before turning his eyes back to the entrance of the alley-way. Still adjusting herself and trying to find a way to make her outfit sit that was more flattering for her form, Uprising nodded.
"They wouldn't have been paid for this. It's more like 'protection' tribute. So they get paid for the clothes, we go in their place, and their duty gets done with more profit to them than they'd have seen otherwise. I assume they were all quite willing." She looked to Yahei and raised an eyebrow, to which the man gave a short nod.

"Anyway..." With everyone dressed, Uprising took time to look over Tera and Daybreak as well, though she seemed surprised at the huntress' choice of 'garments', or she was, until the realisation that the other woman was wearing something practically similar to a harness underneath her clothes already anyway. "Regarding... Dhampir..." It was obvious that she was less familiar with the word. "If everything goes according to plan, then no-one will have to... take anyone's... seed," the girl visibly shuddered here, then shook it off. "At all, tonight. Are we all dressed?"

The inspection went well enough, though with Daybreak's hair out all the way it was both a fantastic amount to be reckoned with, made even more so by Uprising's own boyish short cut alongside. Uprising herself hesitated long while she looked at the floating familiar. She'd heard enough to gather that the vampire hunter wasn't willing to be without it, if she even could, but it was also a bit... visible. A low, thoughtful sound escaped her and the fingers of one hand twirled subconsciously, as though they wanted to be holding her banner.

"The gauntlet and the eye patch are fine, but your... familiar...? It's a bit out of place, even with the outfit. What can we do..." Here gaze flicked across to Tera briefly. "Think you can cover it? Just it, though." Tera seemed even less certain.

"I can try... If it were a support, it would be easy, but..." the other girl looked between Daybreak and her floating eyeball. "It's actually a part of you, not a separate program, isn't it?" Unlike Uprising, she wasn't doing quite so well with playing into the Vampire-hunter's way of viewing the world. "With your permission, lady... I'm just going to try to hide it from sight. It'll still be there, just, we won't be able to see it. If I can do it right, it won't affect us seeing you. Maybe. This might not work."

If Daybreak wasn't willing to give her consent to the experiment, of course, Uprising wasn't about to let it impede the mission and they'd be ready to move on regardless, leery as she clearly was about the unusual creature causing unhelpful questions.

Provided Daybreak gave her consent to the girl trying it, however, Tera would focus her attention more completely on the familiar, who would hopefully hold still for her, and then raise one palm out towards it with a look of focus. With her other hand, she would draw a veiling motion around the first, paying special attention to the part of the gesture that made a divide between the familiar and Daybreak.

It took a moment, but in due course the shadows around them would create a subtly invisibility over the eyeball, leaving Daybreak herself mostly unaffected. Uprising nodded, but Tera winced, seemingly dissatisfied.

"It's only a partial invisibility, and it's a bit of a rush job. He'll have to be careful not to bump into anything, or that might break it, and I'll only be able to keep it up as long as he stays fairly close to me... I can maintain it about... maybe about fifteen feet? If I have to re-do it again in a rush, I'm probably going to end up turning you invisible as well, at least temporarily... it's a bit delicate trying to do it like this." For her part, Uprising reached out one hand tor est on the other girl's shoulder for a few moments.
"It's good enough, we'll make do." They exchanged brief, affirming nods.

Either way, everything was more or less taken care of and Yahei took Uprising and Tera's discarded clothes with him as he faded away into the night again. He'd take Daybreak's cast-offs, too, if she gave them to him. Chances were they were all just a refresh away anyhow, so it hardly mattered except for the point of not leaving the garments lying around in the street. Uprising reclaimed her banner temporarily as they moved out of the alley and back into sight of the open plaza before the office building, where she sighed softly and set it aside again, leaving it leaning against the corner of the final building before they crossed the open space. The plaza was a refreshing space of fresh air, from the narrow streets and alleys they'd been in, and a goodly amount of planned greenery was arranged throughout the area and along the paths, each of which eventually led to the courtyard in front of the building they made for. When they were about halfway across, Uprising murmured something just loud enough that daybreak would likely be able to hear it.

"Ōishi, Yahei. On my mark... now." There was little more to it than that, and they weren't yet close enough to see anything more than the signs of movement in the darkness near the front gates of the brightly lit building, but by the time the trio arrived themselves they found only Yahei, the same SP from before, standing with a small smirk on his face. He seemed to be wearing a fairly generic private security outfit and was holding a data file to look through casually.

"Good evening ladies, what's this then? Three to see the boss, I take it? Let me look...." He made a point of perusing his list for a second or two, then nodded. "I see there were four listed, but accidents happen, don't they? Well, I'd best pass you all in before Ōishi tires himself out too much with his new friends. Here we are..." A green light passed form the file to each woman in turn, then chimed softly. "All clear. Good luck with the check points inside." He nodded and stepped aside, allowing them to move forward through the large revolving main door, and pass into the building beyond. Before they went though, Uprising paused with Daybreak in front of the revolving door; Tera stepped through ahead of them.

"If you've got any last checks you need to do before we head in, now is the time, Daybreak... once we're inside, I doubt pulling out will be simple. The other security checks on the inside won't be on our side, either, so we'll have to play the part. Are you ready?" The door turned slowly in front of them, each panel of its three segments made of opaque, reflective glass.

"Well, very good, Yahei. It's good to know that we're doing what we can to help those poor souls," Daybreak concurred with Yahei, although she sounded almost audibly disappointed that her fantasy had been ruined. "Of course. We shall all endeavor to stay clean in the face of the vampires' impure, cursed ejaculate spatterings if we can," the vampire hunter concurred, doing a little better at hiding her hopefulness for the opposite this time. The revelation that her familiar might be a deal-breaker, however, upset her. "W-Well... I understand your concern, but... he'll be good!" she assured them, squeezing the eye to her massive breasts and petting it again, as though it's behavior was the problem rather than its appearance. "Yes, Tera, my friend! Do what you can to hide him!" she consented, handing over the eyeball, which looked both ways suspiciously, as though it wasn't quite so trusting. Still, it would hold still and not bob, at least, since Daybreak's hands were keeping a tight hold on both of its sides.

Daybreak seemed as satisfied with the results as Uprising, maybe more so; her face temporarily turned into a considerate frown as Tera explained the shortcomings, but back into a smirk once she'd heard the list. "Not to fear! My familiar will follow those instructions to the letter. And, you'll be happy to know, it's taken quite a liking to you! I believe it will be more than happy to stay within fifteen feet of your operating area. The important part, however, will be the two of us making certain we are not too far separated... my familiar can only go so far from me, at least at my current level of power. Still, fifteen feet gives us plenty to work with, methinks."

"If it gets too troublesome, she can also just get rid of it," Marian pointed out, prompting her wife to quietly inform her that was somewhat mean of her to point out.

Concurring with Tajana, Daybreak shook her head. "You'll see, he'll be an asset to our mission! When the spear of light penetrates our target's black, cold heart, you will know that you made the right decision in allowing him to help us!" she assured Daybreak, looking both ways momentarily with her arms outstretched, then becoming listless and confused. "Oh, of course... Invisibility," she coughed. "It's definitely working!" Apparently, the thing was moving on its own now... Hopefully, still somewhere close by. Tera would get the answer, as she had the distinct feeling that something was floating just overhead, sort of like a persistent feeling of heading through a low door frame. The vampire hunter handed her garments proudly to Yahei, smiling as though suspecting he might take some joy in handling them. From here on, she would smile coolly, hold her draped garment to her body for at least a bit of modesty, and follow along without speaking... As much as she loved talking, there'd be plenty of opportunity for her to mouth off later, she figured.

She nodded to Yahei as he passed them through the first checkpoint, which was a gimme, thanks to their earlier preparation. At the entrance, she smiled, looking at her reflection in the glass of the revolving door... It wasn't quite a castle's double doors with silver door-knockers, but the door was a modern symbol of wealth, and that, to her, still reeked strongly of vampires. "Thank you, but you need not be concerned. The fated huntress is always prepared," she announced dramatically, wheeling one hand again in a fancy gesture, before placing that same hand onto the door and stepping in, to allow it to spin her forward. That wouldn't cause much of a hitch, hopefully, but Tera would notice the door seemed to stick for a moment before the invisible familiar readjusted itself behind her, this time pushing against the small of her back to make enough room for the door to still spin and allow both of them in. The creature's metallic surface was remarkably warm, a bit like an electronic appliance that's been left on at too high battery drain.
With the familiar more safely out of sight, another small concern had presented itself, which Tera was only noticing gradually. It came to clarity when she felt it brushing up against her to push through the doors alongside. the issue was that, as far as she was aware, the invisibility she was maintaining 'felt' more or less like it was on Daybreak herself, despite the alteration... which meant that she had no idea where the floating eye was, any more, until it pushed against her. they were both through the door before there was opportunity to judge her reaction to the sensation, however, if Daybreak could also not specifically sense her familiar other than by sight, then that would mean that the only being who knew where exactly the eyeball was... was itself.

Ready to take the plunge, as it were, Daybreak would be the second to slip through the revolving door, with uprising behind her. Inside was a fairly opulent foyer, though nothing too outlandish. the floor was smooth tile, in black, with a thin carpet strip leading from the entry to the other side of the space, and the front desk. The foyer itself had a high ceiling, and an open, airy feel; stairs on the left and right curled upwards to a second floor gallery level with some seats and what looked like a small coffee shop on one side, while a passage beyond the main desk looked to lead back towards a series of elevators. There were a variety of small plat displays set in high-sided beds with gravel bedding, likely designed to help create a soothing atmosphere, and most had some kind of bench or other seating around or nearby. What could be seen of the walls, was the same black polished stone, smooth and reflective enough to make out a reflection in, though what little wall space there actually was in the layout of the lobby was mostly covered up by modern artworks of no particular note, or posters for the corporations successes and strengths... If Daybreak took the time to inspect any of them, most would appear to be for successes in financing, money-handling and consumer investments - the business seemed to be the kind that specialised specifically in managing the finances and investments of others... a pursuit which had apparently taken it all the way towards ownership of a very large portion of the surrounding community.

At this time, the only other person in the lower floor foyer was the woman on the front desk, and she seemed somewhere between incredibly bored, tired, and distracted. The desk itself was broad and semi-circular, with plants on either side and a discrete rope partition over the small gap between it and the wall on one side, where people could get in and out. for her part, the lady was dressed in black formal business attire with a red blouse, and looked to be casually browsing a variety of different notice boards and web forums, in between watching streaming videos in another window. The perils of night shift. she glanced up when three women came through the revolving doors, then made a slightly put out sound and shook her head, looking back to her browsing with disinterest. Apparently this wasn't an uncommon sight, and not one that she felt was worth her bothering about specifically. In fairness they had needed to be passed through a security check already to get through the door.

If she wanted, Daybreak, of course, had the option of talking to her, but it didn't seem specifically necessary. She could take the time to explore the foyer if she wanted, or just head straight towards the elevators - the former might cause a little more interest in the trio, though, if they weren't careful. for the time being, Tera had paused shortly past the door and looked to be waiting for her companions to arrive, fidgeting with her clothing as she did. Uprising arrived just after the vampire hunter, and stepped in close alongside her. for once the smaller woman didn't seem to be immediately taking the lead - it was possible she simply wasn't comfortable or certain about exactly how she was meant to be acting in a role like this, and so far Daybreak had put on the appearance of knowing it far better.

Daybreak smirked slightly; the interior (mostly black, of course, this being a lair of vampires) smelled of investment bankers, risk analysts, and portfolio managers, each popular vampire career paths that allowed them to exploit humanity and drain them of their resources while staying "above the law," in so far as any vampire had to worry about breaking their own imposed laws. She looked at one of the posters and turned to Uprising with a small smile. "'Sieze the day' indeed!" she laughed, though it wasn't clear if that was her expressing her confidence or making a dirty joke about the likely path of events in this mission. The vampire hunter coughed and replaced her usual face with a passive frown, doing her best not to come off as the self-confident hero she knew she was and instead play the part of a professional lady of the night, focused only on her night's pay, allowing herself to smile or laugh only in the presence of the one she wanted to impress...

That person was clearly not this front desk clerk. Daybreak thought, but didn't put into speech, that the desk clerk looked very much like their soul had already been sucked out. Perhaps it had... After all, vampires having armies of the undead would not be an uncommon phenomena, though she wouldn't imagine you'd put someone like that in charge of the phone lines. Regardless, Daybreak didn't need anything out of the receptionist, especially not if she was undead or a vampire slave, and the receptionist seemed to want nothing to do with her either. That was good, as far as their proceeding unimpeded up the tower was concerned. "Let's not keep the man waiting," she told the others; that was both her earnest desire and a line that seemed in character to her. With that, she proceeded to the elevator. She didn't know what floor the boss was on, but... it had to be the top one, right? So long as the top one wasn't labeled "Helipad" or something.

Daybreak rolled one hand lazily, motioning the other girls into the elevator; again, Tera would find her space invaded by their invisible companion, who again chose her to bunch up against for lack of room once the door closed. The vampire hunter would inspect the elevator's panel and, assuming nobody was yelling at her to throw up her hands and exit the elevator already, she'd hit whichever button seemed to most closely indicate her path to the boss, that being the top floor if no others jumped out at her. "Hmph! I wonder if we will hear elevator music, the bastard song invented by vampires... no, I'm only joking," she laughed, turning her head to see if she'd managed to get a smile from the others, before re-adopting a cocky smile. "The vampires only appropriated elevator music as a concept, then fine-tuned it to play subtle hypnotic tunes. However, for focused individuals like us, the effect of the taint will be minimal from such a juvenile effort at brainwashing."
As hoped, the receptionist did little beyond sparing the trio a brief glance before turning back to her browsing, once they began making their way to the elevators. Uprising and Tera both nodded and followed Daybreak's lead in this, keeping close behind her. the quiet of the lobby seemed far more absolute than the general night quiet from outside; out there there had been a good deal of the normal, ambient background sounds that accompanied even the quiet parts of a city at night, but in here the silence was more complete and the small sounds that there were seemed to echo more loudly because of it.

In particular, this meant the click of heels on tile, the subtle metallic clinking of certain parts of their attire, the leather and fabric swish as they moved and the soft, constant hiss of the tail of Tera's dress brushing the ground. Each sound was only quiet, but they would all sound quite loud in the space. One of the elevators opened immediately upon being called, the bright chime feeling just a little bit out of place. There was ample room for the three of them, plus an invisible fourth, to cluster in without being cramped at all, though despite herself Tera had to stifle a short giggle as the familiar seemed to snuggle up, as far as she could tell. Once inside, with the doors shut, the hammering silence of the lobby seemed to retreat, replaced with, yes, a softly played track of background music. It was just a simply harmonic overlay, shifting through different soothing tones one after another, and in most normal circumstances it would probably have been relaxing.

An inspection of the dial showed about sixty floors worth of buttons, most of which were no labelled specifically. There was a Ground, a Ground2, below them a B and a B2, and above simply climbing numbers. Towards the top of the list, there was indeed a button marked for roof access, however it wasn't what they were after specifically, and just below it the one marked as 'Private Suites' was probably the more likely candidate. Despite her efforts, Daybreak didn't mange to actually get a smile from either of her two companions as the lift started up. Both seemed serious, somewhere mixed between discipline and trepidation. The ride itself was smooth and quiet, and it took several very long-feeling seconds.

Eventually, the inertia slowed, and they heard another chime, before the doors opened into a similar-looking lift foyer. The main difference was that here, the floor was carpeted all over, rather than just the thin strip that had been present on the ground floor. The inset for the lifts terminated quickly at a set of tall glass doors with two guards standing outside. Beyond the doorway, a set of stairs led up to a second set of glass doors, then a large room beyond, though it was hard to see what it contained due to the heigh difference. The guards themselves looked about as impassive and bored as the receptionist had; they were each dressed in formal dress suites, as one might expect of a classy private security firm, and bore corporate logos on their breast pockets. Unlike the receptionist, this pair didn't seem to have been given anywhere to sit or relax while manning their post, and they waited in a neutral stance, hands behind their backs and staring down the hall from behind opaque shades and flat expressions. They wouldn't show any reaction to the trio piling out of the lift until they decided to approach directly - there wasn't anywhere else for them to go, of course, but even so, they didn't respond until approached, at which point the one on the left took his shades off to look them over.

"Names?" As one might expect, his voice was quiet, serious, and a little bit bored. Uprising had lagged behind the other two slightly, fussing with her outfit, and it gave Daybreak the chance to make the first impression, if she wanted to; Tera certainly wasn't going to speak up without more direct prompting.

Daybreak watched her reflection in the elevator walls as she and her allies ascended to the floor most likely to hold the one they wanted to talk to, which had been helpfully indicated on the lists of floors to request one's stop at. "The music's kicked in... I'd advise you girls not to listen too closely. Despite my joke earlier, the taint can penetrate even the sharpest of minds if one drops one's guard too completely. Better to think of your favorite music or to pray a small prayer inside your head... either will provide you the necessary focus to avert the vampire's subtle brainwashing technique," she informed her allies, although in the tone of one describing something she assumed to be common knowledge. With that knowledge imparted, she remained quiet the rest of the way up, a task that was not altogether simple for her, but necessary to go ahead and get in the habit of not talking about vampires at every opportunity while on their turf.

Arriving up at their destination, Daybreak's lipsticked smile turned up slightly at the corner, an expression that looked wry but was actually just irritable. It was somewhat annoying that even the clearly male guards seemed so numb to the arrival of pretty ladies that her appearance wasn't getting a rise out of them... or maybe they were just paid to be passive and also to acknowledge that they weren't getting to sample the merchandise? Either way, they seemed to want names and not chat. "My name is Sunrise," she offered, always having an alias at the ready in case she needed it. She'd thought about all kinds of potential situations where she'd be forced to infiltrate hostile vampire forces undercover and an essential part of that was a clever, yet fitting, pseudonym. Unfortunately, she hadn't applied the same forethought to Uprising and Tera, but she also didn't really trust them to immediately offer their own fake names. There could be no hesitation here; she'd have to act fast. "My friends here are Theresa and Uplifting," she smiled, pointing to Tera and Uprising in turn, being sure to raise her voice so that Uplifting could hear her new name. "Theresa, say hi! Uplifting, don't you tarry!" she giggled, repeating the names in case they hadn't heard them the first time.

"Now, boys, please, don't hold us up. I believe you know what we're here for?" she finished, crossing her arms beneath her breasts and giving them a coy smile. If they hesitated or asked for a reason, she'd part her outer garment to show where her leg was clad in a laced, high heeled boot and nothing else, high enough to show the point where tan-lines left by the crossed ribbons of the harness over her legs had been left.
Tera hadn't responded to the vampire hunter's advice about the music, but Uprising had offered a slight nod; she seemed committed to playing along. The smaller woman joined the other two shortly after adjusting her clothing, feigning her best attempt at bored disinterest while Daybreak, that is to say Sunrise, gave their names. The guard addressing them didn't seem terribly amused, but chances were he'd heard a great many 'performance' names from ladies who showed up for similar reasons. His eyes passed over each of them in turn, before he put his dark shades back on.

"Cute. Where's the other one? Clearance says four." Before they could answer, though, he held one hand up palm forwards towards them for silence, then grunted. "Gate says it's just the three of you. Best hope you can make up for it, or the boss won't be happy with the establishment that skipped out. Go on then, and don't dawdle around." He lowered his hand, then stepped to the side, pulling the doors open for them with his partner. There was a subtle shift in the air as they climbed the stairs, though it was more pronounced once they pushed through the second set of doors at the top - The guards were staying where they were and weren't about to open the second set for them. Tera seemed to be looking about herself more than usual, possibly trying to work out where the familiar was and hoping it was passing through the doors with them. It would be easy enough to pass off as a call girl gawking at such a high-class place, though, so it wasn't likely to cause problems.

Beyond the second pair of doors, the three ladies came out into an open-feeling space, permeated with softly playing, soothing music, and the sounds of slow waves. Several small folding screens were set up at various position,s each a little taller than your average navi, to partition parts of the floor off subtly, though there were also proper divides blocking much of the area from view from where they stood. Straight ahead of them was what appeared to be a drinks station that contained supplies for making cool drinks, iced drinks, iced teas, hot teas, and a number of other relaxing cups. It wasn't manned at all; simply a circular counter with the supplies needing for making whatever a navi might want open to anyone. This meant that if Sunrise wanted to stop and refresh herself quickly, there didn't seem to be anything stopping her - they were still right by the doors, but the guards weren't looking around, and it seemed like they never did.

Otherwise, they cold pass beyond the drinks counter, through to a circular area in the middle of the floor marked as being a meditation room - it was populated with a number of pod-shaped chairs, like giant boiled eggs, but silver on the outside and cushioned in rich red on the inside, perfect for curling up in in any number of meditational, or possibly napping, poses. In the centre of the inner room, a pedestal with a crystal ball on it, that could be touched to change the music for the area through a variety of soothing play lists. The far side of the central room also had an exit, though it simply made the space a pass-through, while the rest of the floor was divided into two main areas either side of the central circle. To the left, there were an assortment of lounges which all had small screen available to them, showing different traditionally relaxing vistas and scenes, each in clusters of three or four, and separated by the small screens to make false 'room' divides. To the right, the lounges had no screens and were individually placed instead. One had to wonder why such a large space - an entire floor - to simple relaxation, when tit was also the private quarters and not open to the public. Either way, it seemed deserted. An exploration would reveal a stair in the western corner of the floor that led upwards. It had a small red rope barring it, but it would be a simple matter of unhooking it, or stepping over.

Even "Sunrise" wasn't delusional enough to interpret the security guard's "cute" as a positive comment towards the appearance of the girls in front of him. It seemed that this guy was just as uninterested in the merchandise as he appeared... probably a key indicator of how much of it he saw. "Don't worry! I can tow the line for two, if I must," Daybreak joked, fluttering her long eyelashes. She thought about making a vulgar gesture to go along with that, but honestly, the guy seemed pretty put off by interacting with prostitutes to begin with, either by reason of distaste or boredom, and probably wouldn't appreciate the added dirty conversation. She gave them a lazy wave tootle-loo, then headed up the stairs with the others. The familiar seemed intelligent (and clingy) enough to know that it stood a chance of being left behind if it didn't get in close, so it invaded Tera's space, as it was wont to do.

Daybreak smirked as she entered the next room, noting something that might be intended as mood music. "Remember: vigilance," she reminded the girls in a very quiet voice, after confirming that the room was empty enough for her to do so without worrying. That said, she'd given it a basic glance around... but there were actually a lot of hidden spots in the room. She couldn't fully verify its emptiness without checking behind a lot of partitions. Part of her worried that vampires might be waiting to pop out and surround them like in a Choinese kung-fu movie, but that seemed unlikely: if she really was dealing with Commeseur, he'd have strong enough men in muscle and in number to intimidate them out in the open without need for sneaky assassins if he wanted to. She felt like a drink would be lovely right now... she'd gotten very fond of wine during her long confinement, before she'd run out of it, and now it was a pretty constant craving of hers. She was also conscious enough of her allies to understand that they might really need a drink to get through this, for the nerves if nothing else (though they might just as well want their wits about them). She also recalled, however, that the guards had told the group not to dawdle. That led her first to the idea that they probably needed to go straight up the staircase she spied far in the back of the room... but it was barred off. Further reasoning told her that defying obvious commands of their host, such as "don't enter through here," was probably a bad idea. Therefore, she decided to make herself cozy instead.

"It's tempting to rush things, but let's take refreshment for now instead. You should know: the communion I share with the almighty above has made me immune to most vampire toxins. Depending on your faith, you may find the creature's liquor to be a source of the taint," she warned the girls in quick, hushed whispers, huddling them close (with just one arm; she needed the other to keep her coat closed). "Please drink at your own caution." Daybreak wasn't about to hesitate on account of the possibly fictional threat of the taint, however, and began her search for a nice wine. Provided she could find one (she was partial to red and partial to expensive), she'd help herself. It occurred to her now that the drinks might very well not be for prostitutes... but their host had left them in a closed room with nothing but an open bar! She had no choice. With practiced ettiquite, or rather, self-conscious attention to trying to look cool, Daybreak leaned one arm onto the station, using the hand to keep the riskier parts of her outfit hidden behind the outer garb, while swirling her wine with the other one and sipping delicately. "Let's not think of it as keeping our host waiting... On the contrary, fellows like him enjoy control. He'd much rather decide the when and where of how he engages us."

A nagging at the back of her head reminded her that he probably wasn't giving two craps about how he engaged them. More likely, he'd try to pass them around, blow his load, and send them away; he'd probably seen so many women he couldn't tell one from another. This room was probably just for entertaining business clients or something. That line of logic was a bit droll for her preferred narrative, so as usual, she chose to believe the more exciting possibility that he was the type to lavish even his prostitutes in a show of wealth and grandeur.

Having watched mostly silently, Marian trying to blog and her wife trying to compose her novel, the former sighed and stopped her typing. The PET's mic was off, so they'd be speaking only to one another. "I have to say, I just don't get it. Why Daybreak? If the guy is so vulnerable that even she can get him, then surely someone else could take him out... And we've only seen, what, three guards and a secretary so far? Not to mention that one of those was in Uprising's pocket already..." Marian questioned.

"It is possible that our revolutionary friend is not terribly well funded. Daybreak might have been the best she could hire," Tajana proposed, having much less success in her writing than her wife had thus far this morning. Perhaps more motivation would kick in once the rising action got going, she figured. "It is also possible that they wanted to choose... the most unwitting candidate they could. Or rather, someone who could conceivably be deluded into taking such a difficult and questionable task in the first place."

"I can believe that," Marian returned, giving an irritable smile. "The attitude of the workers makes me wonder if they're among those that are getting swindled by their boss, given that they don't exactly seem bright and motivated. In fact, that makes even more sense if we consider that several of them gave up their spots to let Uprising through on this."

"On the other hand, they might be paid very generously, but experience poor work conditions," her wife offered, gesturing with her hands as she habitually did in a way that made it hard to actually focus on writing. That aspect reminded Marian of Daybreak in a way that hadn't occurred to her until her reunion with her old navi... not a pleasant comparison. "That could explain their malaise: they have to hold the job because the money is so generous, but they hate it miserably."

"Yeah, but why? It seems like most of them just stare at things all day. The way I see it, he must be lowballing all of them. That's what Uprising implied he was doing to everyone, anyway," Marian reasserted, getting back to her blog as she spoke. "Again, nasty, but not really worthy of being killed. I mean... I guess it sort of feels like Daybreak is being pulled into killing someone for the sake of short-sighted socialist rhetoric, rather than genuine good. What's even going to happen once the guy's dead? He's part of a corporation... Won't someone else inherit his assets and step up?"

"... That would have been nice to ask our employer before we got moving, now that you mention it," Tajana conceded, unable to play vampire-hunter's advocate this time. "Hopefully we'll get an idea of that once Daybreak meets the man."
There was little to see or do at once, when they climbed the stairs; Tera did her best not to flinch as she felt the familiar crowd in close to her again, but she seemed satisfied that the invisibility was holding. It was clear that keeping it working like this, without also making Daybreak herself fade out, was taking a good portion of her concentration. As such, she didn't take a drink when the others paused to peruse the selection, standing guard instead and glancing about the open space.

Alongside her, Uprising nodded to her reminder. The smaller woman was trying not to adjust her outfit repeatedly in the ways that it didn't fit right, and her fingers twitched occasionally as she fought off the urge. She joined Daybreak in examining the drinks - they found tow tall jugs bearing chilled wine, a white and a red, in on of the cabinet doors underneath the stand, along with several more clean cups, and it wasn't too long before they were both able to take a sip of the vintage.

As it turned out, it wasn't a bad wine, but not spectacular. It was young and fruity, with a mild, yet lingering after taste. Uprising also took a glass of the red, though she only poured a quarter of a glass for herself and then only took a small sip.

"You're right, in that we can't rush too much. Best to draw out meeting him as long as we can, without raising suspicion. The more time the others have to do what needs to be done, the better. there are several steps that they have to make sure of to reduce him to his most vulnerable for you, and how long it takes them to get everything done will depend on what they find. We should probably move away from the doors though, at least a bit further." She took a second small sip, then set the glass down again, unconsciously tugging at her ill-fit clothing. "Let's keep on..."

Uprising moved away from the drinks area and cautiously passed through the central space and it's odd chair-pods. Despite her efforts, it was clear that the girl was moving with a conflict oriented precision and caution, checking her angles subtly as she went and casting an eye over each shadow and hiding place. As suspected the whole floor seemed to be empty, and nothing of not occurred anywhere they explored, until uprising approached the stairs up. When she came near, the slim rope barrier glowed briefly, then gave off a delicate chime before dissolving form sight. The girl winced, then waved to her comrades quickly.

"Looks like it was automated for us with the clearance check. I don't think anyone is coming down here for us, we should move, come on." She seemed eager to get everyone moving up the stairs to the next floor swiftly now - probably on the idea that if the rope had buzzed them through, then the best way to avoid suspicion now was to go. If Daybreak disagreed and insisted on waiting, then uprising would follow her lead on this, though it would be clear that she was growing more nervous about getting discovered the longer they hung back, now.

Provided they did follow the stairs up, however, Daybreak would find that it was only a short set of stairs that turned around on themselves once before exiting onto the floor above. This was the level that uprising had previously marked as the sports floor, on her diagram, and it was clear that her intel had been correct. the stairs led out into a corridor that had windows to the outside on one side, and slightly frosted glass on the other, and extended across to what was likely about the middle of the floor. Through the glass it was possible to make out gym equipment, and there appeared to be at least a couple of apparatus in use by navis, though it was impossible to see any proper details due to the frosting of the glass.

About halfway across the floor, the passageway branched: straight ahead was a small check point desk with a sign saying that it led to the shower and change rooms, for what was apparently a pool. there was no-one at the desk, currently, but the door that led through wasn't roped off. tot he left, the passageway continued straight, roughly down the middle of the floor. It seemed as though the entire southern side of the floor housed the pool, and the mostly opaque glass continued down the main walkway, partially showing it off. The door to the gym, which would be on the ladies left about a quarter of the way across the length of the level, had a similar unmanned check-in desk. Further down there seemed to be squash courts, too, and then an open area with matting, and some posters displaying a number of basic yoga poses and exercises. There looked to be another set of stairs on the eastern side of the floor, and the whole floor exuded the kind of quietude that often pervades day-time function buildings at night. Even the odd sounds of working gym equipment or splashes of water just served to punctuate the otherwise quiet. It would be difficult to tell exactly how many individuals were present in any of the floor's facilities or areas without examining them more closely, and uprising seemed torn between wanting to keep moving, and not wanting to move on too quickly. Especially given what the next floor was supposed to be, according to her earlier stick diagram.

Daybreak was still busy appraising her wine (code for drinking it in a slow, fancy way in order to look cool) when Uprising suggested that they move on. It dawned upon Daybreak at that point that this couldn't be a waiting room where they'd simply await the arrival of their dastardly host... after all, there were supposed to be at least two security checks inside the building, and they'd only hit one so far. Smiling confidently in a way that hopefully didn't betray her misinterpretation, she nodded and set her glass down. "Of course," she agreed, following Uprising this time. She thought to herself that it was a bit counter-intuitive to have a passage meant for guests roped off with no gatekeeper. "Another vampire trick," she resolved, crossing her arms over her coat, which needed such support to stay closed, though she'd almost forgotten that now. Some of the air of tension seemed to have been relieved...

... Even more so when they reached the next room, a thorough home gym intended for one's self and guests. "Hm," she remarked, struggling to come up with an accusation or any vampire flags to pin to this one. This seemed to set off her mood a bit. "We should hurry through here," she muttered to the others, despite the fact that they'd just agreed they ought to go slow. "I sense nothing that will aid us in our journey. As you all know, I maintain peak physical fitness as a regular duty of my day-to-day activities, as is befitting of a hunter. Additional training right now will only use up our stamina," she informed the others, keeping her arms crossed and swaying her hips in a haughty catwalk, as she headed for the eastern staircase. "Of course, next up is the vampire's den of debauchery itself; I imagine the effects of the taint will be strong. I won't begrudge the two of you if you need to take the time to bless yourselves with prayer or offer tokens to whichever gods you are beholden. I shouldn't experience much of a struggle, but to any other than God's chosen, it will be difficult to resist the seductive lure of the vampire, especially a high level opponent such as Commeseur."

Regardless, Daybreak had no intention of stopping herself; she liked fighting but hated training, despite her braggadocios claims. The sight of exercise equipment introduced a sort of tedium that had no place in her vampire dystopian fantasy; just as no one writes in the bathroom breaks of the protagonist, neither does one tend to devote pages to the muscle training habits of one's antagonists, unless those happen to involve bears.

Still picking at her breakfast, Tajana Vukanovic tapped her pen up and down on the desk. "I like it. Seeing the evildoer's day to day living quarters, with the wholesome relaxation area and the gym, it sort of creates a sympathy for the villain. That sort of thing is essential in writing nowadays... it's hard to avoid being too black and white when you're talking about a race that drains the blood of humans," she mentioned quietly.

"Yeah, except he doesn't drain the blood of humans. He's a crappy boss that just happens to like to hire prostitutes. That's barely even a real vice if you don't have a wife to cheat on," Marian sighed, in the middle of fixing another omelet for herself. "I'll bet you that's what it is, for sure. You know how they say when you're looking for something wrong, everything looks wrong? That's Daybreak's problem... Admit it, this guy wouldn't even be a villain in something you wrote! Those guys are always slaughtering towns, or kidnapping childhood friends and killing them in front of the hero, or like... summoning arch-fiends or whatever!"

Tajana returned a wry smile. "Don't you remember book two? There was a royal who lured the Daybreaker in with hospitality, but it was all a ploy. Possession of gross, obvious wealth is the sign of an antagonist, my dear. People naturally villianize those types in their minds, so the easy writing is to tease the reader with their magnanimity until you finally expose the evil of the character." She paused here, moving her pen from the table to just beneath one curled lip. "Hm... The opposite seems to be happening here though. Our evil-doer is not overtly generous with his wealth. Perhaps we'll see the twist in the opposite? There might not be anything more to him than a bit of stinginess."

"Exactly what I've been saying!" Marian responded, placing one hand on her hip as the other deftly handled swirling her frying pan.

"... But I don't think that's likely. Such an anticlimax might happen out here in our boring world, but in the world of the net, the fantastic becomes reality all the time. That's why it will be a fantastic source of inspiration," Tajana reiterated, trying to write a few more words to prove her point.
Where she had been the one to suggest moving on before, while they had loitered, now Uprising served as the hold to keep Daybreak from rushing right through quickly. She quietly cautioned a sedate pace of progress, neither rushing nor dawdling, but her thoughts were still obviously on buying time. Or perhaps she just really didn't want to come face to face with their quarry directly any sooner than they had to.

What might have been a tense, slow walk of trepidation was largely diffused by the atmosphere on this floor as they crossed it. Quiet it might have been, high up in an intimidating office block that itself served as symbol of wealth and excess over the surrounding community, but all the same, there were other apparently inner-circle navis here and there using the facilities in an altogether benign fashion, and it was hard to maintain the feeling of drama under such a circumstance.

As they walked down the main hall, with the sporting and exercise facilities either side, Uprising seemed to be passingly interested in playing along with Daybreak's personal narration, likely to ease herself as much as anything else.

"Training is important, yes. In this line of work, every moment we are not vigilant is one where we risk falling under the sway of the controllers and the puppeteers of the masses." Her voice was low as she chatted back, and she sounded grim and focused despite everything else. "Still you're right, and we cannot be distracted from our mission here and now. There are too many people, voices silenced by this one man who holds such power over them, and they are all counting on us to help break their shackles and let them stand free."

By the time they reached the other side of the building, they could see where the connecting stairs lay. There was no-one in the area with the floor mats, as it turned out, and so no-one to watch them reaching the next set of stairs. As before it bore a slim rope barrier that checked the ladies clearance then chimed and disappeared when Uprising touched it. In all truth, there was something strange about the situation by this point. Anyone writing racy vampire fiction, for example, might find it reeked of 'too easy' by now. Fittingly, then, just as Uprising took to the stairs, she paused and looked to her left - directly into a wall, but it seemed as though she was mentally focused on something else. She whispered a short curse after a few more moments, then looked towards Terra.

"There's a problem. Chikara and Okano have had a hitch with their tasks, and they can't proceed yet, without risking discovery. They need a distraction that won't cause suspicion, and they need another pair of hands at least. Terra, can you..." she paused, then winced and glanced across to Daybreak, and cast about for the invisible presence of her familiar. "No, we can't do that, can we? Hmm..." After a moment she shook her head softly then beckoned the others to continue up the stairs with her.

"Listen..." her voice was notably lower than her normal speaking volume had been on the way up so far. "Terra can't stray too far from your familiar without it becoming visible, and it can't go too far from you, right? We got some choices here. There'll be one more manned check, between the floor above us, and the entrance to his actual living quarters. We've not been able to set things up with them, because they'll know exactly what he asked to be delivered in the first place, and we aren't exactly it." She climbed the stairs slowly, giving herself time to talk without stopping completely. "Someone has to go on, obviously. If no-one goes through the check, then they'll know something's up. Someone needs to help the others out, too. We can split up on the next floor; the main way up will be where the check is, but I know there's a secondary way up, though it's a little dangerous. Whoever goes through the check will be sent straight to see our target, and we might need to keep him busy a bit longer than anticipated before he's fully vulnerable. Whoever doesn't will have to work their way around and help Chikara and Okano get everything set up. They say, as well as another pair of hands, they'll also need a small distraction of some kind, but there's not been any time for more details." Uprising's fingers were twitching in reflex for spinning her banner, if she'd been holding it. "I think you should be the one to go forward, Daybreak, but I'm concerned about your familiar, and how far it gets from Terra, or it from you. How do you want to do this?"

Her planning had been measured such that the ladies arrived at the entryway to the next floor shortly after she left the question open to Daybreak. To this point, Terra had remained quiet as well, giving no real sign of an opinion, though it was obvious to one who looked closely that she had grown more nervous about her state of dress, the situation, and exactly what they were moving towards and the role she was dressed to play in it, the closer they had gotten. If one was working to put pieces together, alongside Uprising's own reassurances to the young woman earlier, it would probably be a safe guess that she was very much not ready or comfortable with the idea of doing anything physically intimate for the sake of their mission. The next time the familiar nudged her at all, Terra gave a startled jolt as her breath caught.

Unfortunately, the next floor probably wasn't going to do Terra's sense of calm any favours. The lighting was a warm shade of pinkish red, and the floor seemed to be mostly open plan with transparent dividers capable of adjusting their opacity. A glance across the space showed that there were several areas broken into grades and themes, more or less, with softer and lighter types of pursuits down one end, leading into the more... sex-dungeon style of play at the other. Though most of the dividers were fully transparent at the moment, giving a good view of the floor, several were dimmed or fully opaque, leaving a black facade. Each of the portioned areas seemed to have its own control panel for setting the theme and aesthetic of the chamber, and everything else one could want.

The softer end of the area seemed to have things like thick carpeting, many cushions and comfy beds or other furniture, as well as the lighter variety of entertaining tools and toys, and if not for the obvious nature of some of the equipment, it might be mistaken simply for a neat place to lounge around in. Up the other end of the room, however, was where Terra's attention had been inexorably dragged to, and the girl had gone several shades paler than before. This end seemed to default metal bars and stone floors, instead, though with some variation depending on how individual spaces had been left. The tools available here still counted the lighter things, but added to the list were the less subtle assortment - whips of varying grades, paddles, thrashers, blindfolds and gags, clamps, candles for melting... and further, a few different types of electric shockers, tazers, pin and needle sets, sharp-looking blades, branding irons complete with aesthetically intimidating bed of coals... this end of the room could more easily be mistaken for a torture chamber instead. There were racks for any number of different restraining poses, including wall, ceiling and floor mounts, set ups for anchored rope bindings, and supplies for free rope work as well. To those not familiar with these types of restraining equipment, it might even be a bit uncertain how they were meant to be used. Less uncertain were the machines: most of these were quite clear in their intended function; those with attachments seemed to have an impressive array of options to choose from, while those without likely had an equally extensive assortment of settings under the hood.

One of the chambers, more towards the heavy end than the light, seemed to have been mostly opaqued, though not entirely - there was just barely enough transparency through the dividers to make out a great amount of writhing limbs curling about one another as they waited for a new victim. Slightly more disturbing than this was the fact that they weren't actually alone up here. Only a few dividers were fully opaqued, and chances were not all of them were so because they were occupied... but there was at least one source of sound that couldn't really be mistaken for anything but the impact of a whip, moaning, and begging, though the source couldn't be located easily. There was also one chamber that wasn't opaqued at all, but which was clearly occupied - a female in a series of rope binds that had her fastened to the ceiling and the floor and spread out such that her intimate areas were on easy display. The pose was surprisingly ergonomic, with most of her limbs slightly bent in a way that would neither cramp nor cut off, in an almost kneeling position, yet bent forward with her arms back and up behind her slightly. Her toes curled and flexed in a needy fashion and her fingers clenched and loosened every few moments. Her skin was flushed all over but most especially over her face, neck and chest, and also in the area of her nethers. She was wearing a thick blindfold and her head was down, but there were obvious tear tracks that had leaked out from beneath it and run down her face. She was mouthing something, silently, though this far away it was hard to make out exactly what - it looked a bit like 'please' to begin with, but there was more after that that was indiscernible. Whatever she was mouthing, she was repeating it like a mantra.

Daybreak walked slowly beside Uprising, keeping her eyes cast down towards the smaller girl and wearing a contemplative frown. She rested one hand at her cheek and the other at her hip, with the crossed arm holding her cloak closed from the front. "However dangerous the path around is, it cannot pose worse a threat than the vampire lord himself. For that reason, you are correct, there is every reason that I must be the one to confront Commeseur. To me, it seems clear that the best option is for me to proceed upstairs with Terra, along with my familiar, while circle around to support the others," she suggested, skimming over the fact that she'd forgotten the names of those SPs she'd not been in contact with for a while. As she looked to Terra, however, she began to doubt that it was a good idea for Terra to be involved in this particular leg of the mission, which may involve getting one's hands (and other parts of their body) dirty. "On second thought... Although it pains me to part with my familiar, the two of you may be able to use its aid if you come into some danger. I will send it along with the two of you. That way, you can keep it concealed, and if worse comes to worst, it will be there to assist. Although, I should mention, the stories that I can see through the eyes of my faithful companion are all fabrications. That's the unfortunate truth of it."

The vampire huntress was partially concerned for Tera's well-being, but additionally, she thought her narrative only improved with the addition of bravado and lone-wolfs-man-ship. "It's true that I won't be quite as powerful without my familiar, but I'll still have my arm... With that, I can use weapons I request from my operators. Fighting on my lonesome will be a challenge... but then, I'm used to solitary battles," she added, flicking her hair back over her shoulder and giving a cool smile to the others.

Whatever coolness she'd built up mostly vanished in the next room, as her red-and-gold eyes shined with obvious wonderment and the sight of the most heinous vampire torture chamber she'd ever laid eyes upon (also, the first). "In the name of the father! What an evil place," she gasped. "Let us not tarry here... I already feel a sinister force... beckoning to me," she shivered, which was code for the fact that she felt more like masturbating than she could ever remember, at the thought of 'facing down' vampires in a place like this. "I will head through the next checkpoint. You girls, proceed with your mission as needs must." She ignored the girl who was bound up... rescuing her might be the work of some knight, but she was not that. For tonight, she had the suspicion that she needed to continue to focus on her main objective, for the good of the many. Also... well, she had a vague idea that if the first word was 'please,' the ones following might not necessarily be a request to get down from there. Still, she did wonder who had strung her up there and not stuck around to watch. There were probably enough people around that she could get an audience if she needed one, rather than just pretending she had one.

As excited as various features of the room were and as much as she wouldn't mind spending some "me-time" in such a place, she knew that the master vampire, Commeseur, must certainly await upstairs in his chambers. With that in mind, she'd look for the way up to the next floor. If they were about to split up, Tera would find that the familiar continued to follow her eagerly, showing a curious preference for her over its apparent summoner.
For her own part, Uprising seemed relatively unfazed by the floor they were passing through. her eyes wandered tot he various... points of interest... but she wasn't distracted. A closer look would show that her 'game face' was quite firmly forced into place; the smaller woman probably didn't really 'want' to be in a place like this any more than her SP, though she wasn't exactly intimidated by it like Tera was. She looked over towards the vampire hunter and listened to her first plan, and then the revision. In truth, Tera wasn't the only one who seemed a touch relieved that Daybreak was volunteering to go on alone and spare Tera the direct face-to-face, at least initially. Once it was decided, uprising nodded. She spared another glance about the floor then spoke quietly again. The sounds of whipping and moaning from somewhere on the floor was intensifying, making a slightly awkward background noise to their final planning.

"Alright. Be careful, Daybreak. You will need to get past the check yourself - You're just one and they'll still be expecting four, from three different, ah, businesses. Do whatever you think you need to to get past them without raising any alarms; you might have to think quickly but just be flexible and use whatever works." they were passing by the dimmed chamber with the silhouettes of tentacles behind the glass, and many of them seemed to press up against the nearest surface, clamouring towards the three women as though they were aware of their proximity somehow. Tera flinched back and practically hid behind Uprising as they passed. Uprising continued, doing her best to ignore it... them.

"There shouldn't be anyone other than your target on the floor above. It's his own private quarters, like a self-contained home, sort of. Tera and I will split off just ahead and we'll make our way around to meet up with the others. You probably won't see us, but we'll keep our... disguises... just in case. I... I don't know exactly what he intends once he has your company. You can probably guess as well as I, but, we don't really know. You'll need to keep him busy until you get our signal, though. If you attack him before we're ready, he won't be vulnerable. It's a bit complicated, and we may end up needing you to assist as well, depending on how things work out. Don't worry about the invisibility on your familiar - If Tera struggles with it at distance, she'll just release it, rather than risk it encompassing you as well. I'll keep in touch as we need to, but best if we all keep communications silent unless it's needed. Here... we'll go left here, you head on tot he stairs, over there... Good luck, Daybreak. Take care of yourself and don't make any sacrifices you don't need to, alright?"

True to work, they were at another junction in the walkway between the many partitions; Daybreak's road lay straight on towards a set of notably grander stairs in the middle of the floor, surrounded by a small stone garden and fountain display. Rather excessively, the fountains seemed to be rigged to run wine, in a match with the colour theme of the floor. Uprising and her SP, on the other hand, branched left and headed down towards the far end of the floor, moving through the sections that contained progressively lighter and fluffier settings and activities. They'd be out of sight before long, heading off to assist the other SPs in their tasks. She hadn't explained exactly how they were getting up to the top floor from here, if not the stairs, but that issue was no longer any of Daybreak's problem.

What would soon become her problem, once she climbed the stairs towards the final checkpoint, was the pair of bodyguards lounging in comfortable-looking chair on either side of the main door tot he upper floor. The space continued to match the colour theme of the floor below, if moving into slightly darker shades of red, rather than pinkish, and the carpeting was thick and plush. the door itself looked strangely normal; a wooden facade with a handle and knocker, set into a dividing wall a short way from the top of the stairs. There were two other small doorways, to the left and right, which looked, form what little Daybreak would be able to see, to lead into a small break room and an equally small security room. The guards themselves were reclining in chairs set out opposite each other, on the near side of each of the side doorways, and between them, taking up the hallway itself, was the holographic display of a dice game being played. A set of five dice were visible in the middle, while each guard had another set of five in front of him, with an opaque shield hiding it from his colleague.

"I call two twos." The one on Daybreak's left was a fairly nondescript looking male, slightly on the tall side, probably, though it was hard to tell wile he was seated. He was dressed in a no-frills black formal suit, with the corporate logo on the breast pocket. Black jacket, white under shirt, black pants and black shoes. He probably had a pair of dark shades to got with the look, too, but if so he wasn't wearing them now. His hair was a sandy blonde and his eyes were blue, but other than that his features were quite average - though with a distinct Netopian tone and structure.

"Three twos." His companion was dressed in an identical manner and seemed every bit as relaxed. the only real difference was that the male on the right was probably a little bit shorter than his colleague, and his hair was black, with brown eyes. There was something of a slightly more angular set to his features, too, as though he'd been designed to look a little bit 'ethnic', by a person who didn't really have a good impression of any specific ethnicity in mind.

"Three fours." The first guard was grinning, until he caught sight of Daybreak, at which point he made a gesture with one hands, and the dice holograms shuffled away to one side out of sight and both men stood up to face her. "What's this then?" He tilted his head as he looked the under cover hunter over. "Should be four coming in. What's the deal, girlie?" His companion seemed more sedate, even in the face of having to do their job; he was standing too, but gave off an air of slight boredom regardless.

Fire seemed to leap in Daybreak's one revealed eye in response to each whipping noise from beyond the curtains. "Worry not; I've studied the vampires, I know them. I can fence them down not only in combat of arms, but also dueling with wits," she smirked, pressing one finger to the side of her head (the one not patched). "I will not fall to vampires, that I assure you. But thank you for your concern. We humans are marked by our empathy; that compassion is what allows us to survive in these trying times." It was hard to give a cool speech, however, when she was squirming with anticipation watching a frothy bunch of tentacles squish against a screen trying to reach her. "And I assure you, I'm very careful. And very flexible."

Some people might have thought a fountain of wine over a wine-red carpet was a touch too much, but for Daybreak, it was just what the paranoid fantasy enabling doctor ordered. "Go with God," she blessed her allies, as the two of them took off in another direction. Her first solo challenge would be two vampires, who blocked her way, forming the next "checkpoint" which was almost too lax to be called such. Almost. They were just devoted enough to get up and address her as she came by, asking the question on everyone's mind: why was she just one person? In actuality, having to face this question wasn't half as frustrating to Daybreak as the fact that the two seemed indifferent to both her fantastic appearance or her innate womanly charms. "If only I hadn't had to put my hair down... that would fascinate them for sure," she thought to herself, although, if they didn't care about her ridiculously long golden hair, red eyepatch, metal arm, half-tone tanned skin, gold eyelashes, and red eyes, chances were, the hair wouldn't have made much of a difference. Navis coming in all forms, the two had probably seen plenty of weird guests come up here, especially if their master had as freaky tastes as the room below implied.

"Don't worry, boys, I'm enough for four," she half-joked, upping the ante from her last checkpoint joke and giving them a winning smile, while just barely securing her cloak with one arm beneath her breasts. The folds were open just a little, showing off the surprisingly white skin at her breasts. "But seriously, there was a bit of a personnel problem with the other girls, but in exchange, you've been sent one of the best: I, Sunrise, shall prove that changing quantity for quality is hardly an unfair trade. The good master will be feeling a shade... brighter, once the night is over," she chuckled cryptically. "Aaaah, and, you know, there's always a chance the others will show up later in the night if the personnel issue is resolved, as we certainly hope it shall be, though I hope the additional presence will not water the sensory experience. Feeling that the most likeable guest was the one who seemed most at home, Daybreak gave the one who'd first addressed her a quick wink with her one uncovered eye, then slowly began to tap her feet forward, hoping the two would allow her to pass without blocking her.