Dune's Patrol Route

Dune's assigned beach patrol area is a long, scenic expanse of sea, looking into a perpetual sunset, only partially obscured by the wispy, blue-purple clouds. The reflection of the light off of the sea is particularly beautiful... and romantic. In the past, this had turned it into the ideal make-out spot, to the point where Dune's daily duties usually consisted of driving around and telling people to tone it down a notch. Just up the beach, a wild forest expands out seemingly endlessly. Between this forest and the beach sits the Beach Patrol's guard house, a poor wooden shack. Anything greater would likely detract from the scenery, but at the same time, it barely looks like a place someone would be living due to the small size and slobbenly state of repair.

A woman dressed in orange, bulky armor, making her look somehow like a truck standing on two legs, rolled down the beach on the wheels mounted inside her boots. Sand flew up to either side of her as she stopped by the beach house and removed her helmet, breathing heavily and reaching for a bottle of water on the hand-rail of the shack's porch. Her sandy blond hair, slightly above shoulder length, fell down from its helmet position as she greedily chugged water. "Dune's log, entry number eighty-three... I've finished my tenth patrol for the day. I increased speed and tried to disregard pedestrian positioning, but to no avail; I still see no sign of any of the documented behavior. I have hired on two assistants to help me cover more ground and provide a fresh perspective on the problem. Perhaps soon I will get to the bottom of this," she murmured, seemingly to herself. Her light brown eyes seemed to droop suddenly; the dark rims beneath them gave away that she had apparently been working to some state of exhaustion.

"I might just... take a nap... while I wait for them to show up," she sighed, her armor sputtering like a car with a bad engine momentarily before her head just cocked to one side her neck lulled over, dropping it onto her shoulder. The water bottle fell out of her hand and into the sand, creating a darkening patch of moisture on the ground. She seemed to have fallen asleep standing up.
Ship splashed onto... the beach, blasting up strange liquid sand and quite probably alarming any nearby bystanders. Ship glanced left and right, realizing she'd missed the water by a stone's throw. "Aaah! The beach! It's been such a long time since I've been here... and it's much bigger than I remember! Lyn! Did you make me a swimsuit?"

"Aah, f*ck is a crepe... Wha? No, why the hell would I?" Lyn responded, sliding her finger across a menu that was also acting as Ship's two-way screen. "You're half boat, in case you didn't catch that, genius. Even if you had a swimsuit, what good would it do you? How are you gonna swim?"

Ship gasped and pouted, as though Lyn had insulted her in a very fundamental way. "I can't believe you! I am a natural born swimmer and I am practically a born swimsuit model."

Lyn raised an eyebrow questioningly but just kept thumbing through lunch options. "Christ, people pay that much for a tuna sandwich?"

The Navi simply put her hands on her hips and began looking for the contact. If she was the only one not wearing a swimsuit, she was going to be very upset... "Hm?" she said as her eyes fell upon the strange orange object. "Is that... a person, under all that? Goodness, she's so still she almost looks dead... Could it be heatstroke?!" Her eyes fell upon the oddly dropped bottle of water and she let out a tiny yelp. "Oh no!"

Rushing into action, Ship bolted for the water. Dipping her bow down, she scooped up a tiny bit of sparkling liquid in her palms. Keeping them cupped, she quickly turned and sped back to Dune, parting waves of sand as she cut across the beach. She turned sideways and cruised alongside the supposedly dehydrated Navi, tilting toward her slightly to decant the water from her cupped hands into Dune's mouth.

She paused to see her operator sliding a hand down her face before planting it on the table. "Princess... you're a f*cking aqua Navi! You can just make tiny streams of water, or big ones if you want! What was that sh*t?!"

"O-oh... sorry," Ship replied, blushing and straightening her cap on her head. Hopefully the armored Navi would come to without Ship having to release a Bank Wave on her... Especially because as she was the only one here, she was probably the client. "Excuse me, ma'am...?"
Katran touched down at the designation in a flash of blue, her ears twitching at the sounds of the water as she took in her surroundings. It wasn't hard to miss the fact her accomplice had already arrive, as Ship was noticeably larger than Katran had first thought from viewing through the PET.

"Katran! Should I get the green tea or earl gray this time?" Mira chimed in with her useless problem, more focused on getting a drink and snack than the misison.

Katran let out a sigh, shaking her head in disappointment as she eventually answered her often clueless operator. "Mira, we have more important things to worry about. We're on a job. Just get whatever goes best with the food i know you're going to be ordering. I'm going on ahead." She sternly replied.

"Awwww, your no fun." Mira pouted as she returned back to the menu to try and decide her food of choice. Most of the food here was good, to her recollection.

As Katrans focus slowly landed upon her sea-fairing partner, an eyebrow raised as she watched a panicked ship fret over a somewhat heavily armored navi.

"Is something wrong ship? Have they been hurt?" She called, rushing over due to how worried ship seemed.

As she got closer, they didn't seem to be in bad shape. More like they were unconscious. "Is that our contact?Wait, are they sleeping while standing? Not very professional." Katran remarked disapprovingly, crossing her arms. "That's definitely something Mira would do."
The girl popped back to life as soon as Ship's hands cupped at her lips, but unfortunately, not fast enough to avoid the drink. "Hrk!" she coughed, screwing up her face as she gulped it uncomfortably. "Isn't that salt water? Haven't you ever heard the thing about dehydrating at sea because you can't drink the salt water to sustain yourself?!" she sighed. Finally, she realized that the two navis were probably her hired help (seeing as one of them was a ship and the other was at least sort of a cat). "I'm sorry, my manners are shot because I've been working around the clock trying to figure out the problem I hired you two to investigate. Maybe some fresh eyes will help the situation..." Judging by how hers were barely staying open, it couldn't hurt.

"As you may know, this part of the beach has always been a magnet for lovebirds; they like the scenery and kids usually stay away since we don't have any events, concessions, purchasables, etc. I've usually let them be, in the past, because a little kiss or a long makeout doesn't really hurt anyone. However, lately, things haven't been the same," Dune mused, looking out over the beach-goers. "Rather, I can't put my hands on oddities that I know are there due to viral videos. The only perceivable difference is that we've got more people lately... it's like the beach and the one in the videos exist in two different worlds."

"Anyways, er... you guys may have heard of it... there was a photoshoot done here that I broke up a little too late. A well-known photographer, PhotoMan, and an unknown woman doing some kind of lewd sexual acts here on the beach. Well, the photos weren't supposed to be released, but they were somehow. And ever since then, we've been seeing more and more of such media leak out and onto the net... photos, videos, etc. featuring people doing all sorts of inappropriate things here on the beach. So, therein, our problem: we see all of this media leaking out but can't do anything to stop it, because we can't find it happening! It's intensely frustrating," the patrol woman sighed. "All I can figure is they're following both my path and my partner's somehow and managing to keep away from either of us. It could also be that they're simply doctoring images or something, but I feel like the increased activity and seemingly tame nature of all of our current guests points towards something being hidden..."

"Hopefully, with the four of us searching, we can come upon some evidence. While my partner and I search the beach between this station and the next to our left, I'd like you two to search the area via the right. I'll give you a communicator," she continued, handing each of them a small radio. "If you come upon anything suspicious, please let me know. And please, be as thorough in your investigation as possible. As deputy beach patrol, you have full authorization to question people and examine their belongings... but no cavity searches."

As the two looked out over the beach, indeed, it looked as though everyone was lounging very calmly, almost eerily calmly. It would take a lot of digging to find out what was causing all of this. Perhaps they were preparing to form a flash mob? "Any questions before you head out?" she asked, crossing her arms and trying not to look like she was about to fall asleep.
Ship apologized again and blushed a bit harder as she was scolded by the lifeguard Navi. "I'm sorry, I should have known... that information's even in my cruise safety FAQ files. I'm Ship," she said, meekly bowing and wringing her hands together. She didn't say so, but she really didn't know anything about this beach at all. Unfortunately, while she knew about all sorts of scenic beaches and cruise destinations, her knowledge was limited to the real world. The agency had no reason to equip her with information on many net locations. Regardless, her eyes were lighting up at the thought of a romantic beach getaway.

"Yeeuck, can you tell the buggy chick to wait till I've eaten to try and make me throw up?" Lyn muttered to her Navi, still on the private channel. "That sh*t sounds mushier than... the 'creeps ala cart,'" she added, clearly stopping to reference the menu.

"Oh, shush, Lyn. You wouldn't know a romance if it took you out to an expensive dinner," Ship whispered aside to her operator. She had taken a brief absence from paying attention to Dune's explanation, but found it had taken a much different turn since she last tuned in. "S-sexual acts?" she whispered, speaking in shock through hands clapped over her mouth. "Right here on the beach?!"

"What's wrong with that?" Lyn interrupted, surprising the Navi. "I thought you were totally on board with sudden, freaky sex between two people who just met?"

"L-Lyn, aren't you in a public cafe?!" Ship responded, less subtly this time. "And I absolutely am not! This sounds like an absolutely different thing than a properly blooming respectable romance. I don't support this in the slightest." She realized that was a good segue to begin addressing Dune again. She focused on her again, her eyes resolute but her face noticeably flushed. "I agree, that is absolutely inappropriate. I cannot stand for anything that might ruin an otherwise beautiful retreat for two lovers. O-or two friends! Or partners!" she added as a strange string of afterthoughts.

She accepted the communicator and set it by her virtual navigation wheel. She thought about asking for some sort of uniform so the two of them would be identified as lifeguard personnel, but really, she couldn't stand wearing something even less recreational. She was still vowing to come back here with a swimsuit at a later date. "I do have one quick question. Could you describe your partner so we will be able to identify them, in case we see them?"
Katran chuckled in the exchange between Ship and Dune, an occurrence that was quite rare for her. From what she could see so far, ship was an amusing Navi even if unintentional and would probably make for an interesting mission experience at least. The thought alone began to put motion to her tail.

"Katran's having fuuuuun~" The over excited Operator chimed in, cup of tea in hand and a wide grin on her face.

" Oh hush! Just behave and drink your tea, Mira." Katran responded with a slight blush, trying to compose herself and regain control of her tails movements. Mira just continued to giggle a bit, before partaking of her favorite beverage.

Katran continued to listen to dune speak, intently noting any important details as the explanation went on. Of course the brief interludes of Ship's reactions caused her to stifle another chuckle. "So essentially we're here to figure out where this indecency is taking place and stop to perpetrator? Consider it done." Katran stated with confidence.

"Katran, you always love to ruin peoples fun, don't you? Oh i'll have one of these please!" Mira ringing into the conversation once more, only to be distracted by ordering a snack for her sweet tooth.

"Putting a stop to public indecency is not ruining fun!" Katran's feline ears lowered in the usual frustration at her operator.

"Says you~ hehehehe"

Katran had a monstrous amount of patience, something she needed to deal with Mira, but she was certain that by the end of this mission there wouldn't be a shred of it left. She accepted the communicator from Dune, ready to get started on what was looking to be a long day.
"Good, glad to have you on board. My partner is a guy named ConchMan and you will... uh.... know him when you see him," Dune answered. "Remember, kissing and handholding is fine and normal here. We're looking for the explicit: you may see full nudity, groping of inappropriate areas, not excluding genetalia,intercourse, possibly freaky, weirdo intercourse!" she explained, wiggling her fingers like she was telling a ghost story. "However, it's also possible you might see endless rows of calm, boring people, like we have. I need you two to keep your wits about you... unlikely as it is, there may be foul play at hand."

Now feeling more alert, Dune stretched her arms above her head with a limber motion that finally proved the armor wasn't weighing her down as much as it looked like it should. "Oh, and if at any time you come up with a theory... or some kind of plan, or anything, contact me. I'll help with it any way I can," she finished. "Just... don't ask for a ride around the beach. I don't think I can take playing taxi again after last week," she sighed. Her wheels quickly spun into motion and she promptly zipped down the beach, staying away from those resting so as not to spray them with sand. It appeared she could roll through the low water just as easily as the sand.

Now alone, Ship and Katran were free to sneak into the cabin and steal beers out of the fridge.... OR they could start the mission! However, no matter how romantic it might normally be,they could already see that this was shaping up to be one dull beach. Lots of pairs dotted the beach, along with a few solo-goers, but they all seemed to have one uniting theme: staring boredly into the sunset. It was pretty darn eerie, actually.... like living in a postcard.

The only other immediate aspects of note were that some of them were sitting around with no towels at all. Trash cans lined the beach... or, rather, big oil cans that were being used as trash cans. In fact, there were a ton of them, although somehow they weren't stinking up the place, despite all being full. And the trash was all kinds of random things, despite the fact that there were no visitors in sight.

Katran and Ship could start into some pretty bizarre conspiracy theories right away, or they could start down the beach and see if anything jumped out at them.
Ship took a sidelong glance at Katran as Dune continued to explain, keeping a small smile on her face. She felt lucky to be partnered up with someone who managed to be so capable and cute at the same time. "Kind of like Lyn," Ship thought to herself with an inward giggle.

"Oi, Mira, what's the idea orderin' before giving me my f*ckin' suggestion? I'm gonna end up with some sh*t biscuit, ain't I?" Lyn muttered. "... I think I'm gonna order the tomato bis-kyoo and drown your giggly *ss in it," the operator continued rambling, obviously having no luck coming to a decision.

"... Well, not quite the same. A different kind of cute," Ship corrected herself, as if trying to convince someone with her internal dialogue. Getting back to the matter at hand, Ship re-entered the conversation at an inopportune moment. "K-kissing and handholding is fine and normal here?! I don't know what kind of impression you had about the two of us, but we're not that-" Realizing she'd gotten the wrong idea, the Navi blushed even harder. She coughed into her fist as she tried to find some way to save herself. "Not that dense! Th-that's implicit, that we wouldn't stop people doing just that!"

The Navi's heart continued pumping more blood to her face as the description continued, her jaw dropping as though Dune actually were describing a ghost story. "Uuuuugh, g-genitalia...?"

"You know, like balls or cl-" Lyn piped up at a completely inappropriate volume.

"I know what genitalia refers to, Lyn!" Ship shouted, clenching her eyes shut as though trying to shut out some mental image. "Don't worry about us, Ms. Dune. We won't rest until this beach is wiped clean of the waves of indecency! Er," Ship paused, trying to collect her thoughts. "I mean, until the sand castle of indecency is wiped away by the waves of good moral fiber. That's better."

Realizing Dune was probably gone at this point, the Navi turned shyly to her partner. "Sorry for freaking out like that, Katran, but it's quite a task Dune is asking of us civilized ladies! It's hard to believe that on a pretty beach like this..." Ship paused midspeech, taking time to truly observe the beach for the first time. "Actually... this is pretty weird, isn't it?"

"The whole thing is fishier than the tuna salad sandwich," Lyn chimed in, now clamping a spoon in her teeth in place of the pipe she was craving.

"Well, maybe this is being too forward, but... maybe the best place to start is to simply try talking to these people? I'd very much like to know if we can get a straight answer out of them, and Dune didn't give us a clue as to the results of such endeavors in the previous investigations. Why don't you start?" Ship suggested with a sheepish smile. She had the craziest idea now that the beachgoers would suddenly explode into exhibitionism and indecency at the slightest provocation.
"Whatcha mean, silly?" Mira said tilting her head to the side as Lyn began to mumble. "I ordered an appetizer for us to try! we can figure out the rest later!" She exclaimed happily, before turning her attention back to the conversation in the net world. "Kissing and holding hands on the beach is so romantic, hehehe~" She chimed in after hearing ship's remark. Katran on the other hand just shook her head in disappointment at her operator.

Before she could say anything, the feline-like navi noticed the increasingly bright red hue on ships face. She couldn't help but begin to wonder the cause. Had she never seen a naked body before, or was she just easily embarrassed. Either way she couldn't help but find her partners innocence anything but cute. As she took a back seat to the conversation just listening to what ship was saying out of some sheer form of amusement, she couldn't help notice Lyn's blunt and somewhat vulgar form of language. She wasn't against it persay, but it certainly wasn't something a professional like herself would use.

Her ears perked up at the mention of her own name, and Katran turned to face ship directly, with a slight cough at the mention of civilized. "W-well, I've seen some pretty shadey things in my line of work so I wouldn't exactly say I'm bothered by it..." She responded, thinking back of some of the less glamorous jobs the military had her perform.

"You're probably right though. Gathering information is always the best form of progression when there is a mystery to be solved. Seeing as it would directly involve the beach goers, asking them might give us a clue or a small hint to what we're looking for." She said with a decisive nod, dropping a fist into the opposite hands open palm to emphasize her agreement. "Where to start though..."

Katran took a moment to gaze around at her surroundings. While she could approach the nearest people with her usual attitude, a serious approach may not be the method for this type of situation. She began to rack her brain, thinking of ways to go through with this, until Mira's voice kicked in and gave her an idea.

"C'mon katran~ just relax and have fun with it!"

"Ship... I trust you won't hold this against me later." The navi sighed, regreting this decision from the bottom of her heart, knowing it was going to be degrading to no end. She slowly approached a pair near by. She ruffled her hair with one hand, while the other slowly pulled on the zipper to her vest until it parted completely. Taking a deep breath she shoved her shame deep down and began to infiltrate.

Hi Hi~ Could you help me out? I was asked to come here for a photo shoot, but I lost the directions..." Following up with a sulking pout, all to a voice that almost emulated mira's peppy vocals perfectly. "You wouldn't happen to be able to point me in the right direction would you? I'd really appreciate it. Pleeeeeease~" Slowly leaning forward as the words trailed off, Her tail swaying happily back and forth.

Meanwhile Mira herself couldn't help but burst into laughter, thankfully pre-silenced by Katran through the PET.
The pair looked blankly up at Katran, tilting their heads with perfectly coordinated, robotic movements. A sounds like a laser beam came from nearby, up towards the dunes and trash cans; suddenly the faces of the two became more animated. The guy had a camera around his neck on a loop and pointed to it with a grin. "Wow, damn! That shoot was great, huh? Well, I'm no photo man, but I'm trying to get there! That'd be out of this world, if you wanted to model for me. So uh..." he continued, noticing both Katran's swishy tail and her equally swishy and adorable partner. "What are you up for? I've been taking a lot of topless pics but I want something more exciting, honestly," the guy admitted.

The girl lying nearby had binoculars and was looking down the beach (which was seemingly still full of zombies). "Look at what those guys are doing! That's nasty as hell," she laughed.

"Yeah, sick... you're watching that with the 'nocs? Gross," he shuddered.I

"I was just curious!" she defended.

"Yeah, well, guess it comes with the territory. This place is wild, huh girls?! How about her, she modeling too?" the guy asked, tilting his head to look at Ship. The place sure didn't look wild...
"Nice, Katran! Very sexy!" Ship thought, clenching a fist with excitement. "I've been having good luck with new acquaintances..." she reflected.

"Yeah, I'm impressed by her resourcefulness, although I guess you ain't talkin' about that. Well, the Net's bound to be full of curvy women, ya know? All those guys making chick Navis," Lyn muttered, talking around the spoon she was chewing on in anticipation of Mira's appetizers. "Although those fantasies are supposed t'be for dudes," she added with disapproval.

"Oh, Lyn," Ship replied quietly, smiling and looking tickled as though her operator had made a funny joke. She decided to get her head back in the game, as the situation had gotten decidedly more lively. Or, well... slightly more lively. The two they'd spoken to had sprung to life, but everyone else still seemed mesmerized by the completely uneventful ocean view.

More importantly, it sounded like the pair had not only taken Katran's bait, but intended to take a lot more, so to speak. Ship gulped, trying to work up her nerve for the situation ahead. She fancied herself quite an actor, but she felt playing sexy or floozy was challenging for her. Before she did anything, however, she figured she had to take care of an inconvenience... "Unless I change, the camera's going to be shooting more boat than butt..." Ship began to smile at her joke before reminding herself. "N-not that I intend to actually pose for anything like that! Just unravel the mystery!"

Having finished her internal joking, Ship took a more down-to-earth approach and activated her .GMO to dismiss her boat. She nailed the landing much more gracefully this time, planting her feet in the sand. She took the time standing next to Katran to notice how having the feet embedded in the ground made her look even shorter, relatively. This lead her to another shocking thought: "What if they (incorrectly) believe I'm a little girl and not fit to shoot? I can't blow the cover after Katran worked so hard to establish it..." Knowing she had to act fast or blow her girl-looking-for-a-good-time cover, she shut her eyes momentarily and created a character.

When she opened her eyes again, she'd adopted a bit of an uncharacteristic flirty grin. "You bet!" she responded, twirling one of her hair curls around a finger as she spoke. "Well, we're here to do SOME modelling, but uh... I'm not sure this is the place. We came here after hearing rumors of some really freaky shoots, but stuff seems pretty tame here... is, like, something weird going on...?" Ship took a few glances around as though her confusion with the beach needed to be illustrated. "I'd hate to find out we're in the wrong place, I was pretty excited...~" She finished with a tittering laugh that she hoped didn't sound nervous.

Lyn pantomimed gagging herself with her teaspoon to Mira (and anyone else who cared to watch) but said nothing. She wasn't particularly certain how convincing they'd find Ship's act, but she thought it would have to do with how much attention they had been paying beforehand, when Ship had just shown up and was still acting timid. Maybe Katran had kept their focus at that time.
Katran was a little surprised at how eagerly Ship seemed to jump into the charade, expecting some sort of initial resistance or embarrassment from what she had seen. The feline gained some respect for her partner, assuming this what do to a fellow view of professionalism and sacrificing yourself for your work. What else would it be, after all? With that though in mind, she swallowed her pride once more and returned to her act no matter how degrading.

"Like, my friend is right. I don't know what you mean but I like, totally don't see anything "wild" about this place." She said in a bubbly voice, flicking her hair back with one hand, rest the other arm just below her chest. Her tail continued to fit back and forth as her eyes darted around the rest of the beach. This pair certainly seemed suspicious and certainly wierd, but she couldn't exactly arrest two people just for being vulgar. She needed to coax something out from them.

"Sorry but like, if this isn't the right place then we'll have to have our fun somewhere else."

Katran hoped that this would be enough bait to hook some juicy info out of these two, but if it wasn't then they were just wasting their time talking to the pair. In the meantime Mira impatiently bounced in her seat giggling to herself tremendously; both at Lyn's gesture and Nyan's actions. She knew well enough to not distract her navi while she was working, lest she'd get a long boring talk that she wouldn't be allowed to sleep through.

"Whens that assortment going to get heeeeeere... Hopefully it has something you like on it!" shifting from a whine to an excited curiosity, referring to the appetizer platter she had picked out.
"Huh? Oh, I get it! You girls haven't talked to the old man yet, I guess. Yeah, earlier he seemed a little suspicious since he saw you guys talking to the patrol guard, and this has all gotta stay out of her ears, you know?" the guy laughed along with his girlfriend. Neither of them seemed to realize there might be some sort of danger to their fun in giving away more information, which was fortunate for the duo seeking to learn more. "Yeah, you should go explain it all to him. You see that siren tower way over there? The one with the super tall ladder? He's keeping watch over everything there. Climb up and you oughta be able to talk to him. Then come back down so we can start the shoot, okay? If you girls are that serious about it, we'll think up something crazy for you! We'll get the photos circulating around and you girls will be a household name... and so will we, as your photographers! Well, uh... maybe not household, maybe more like bathroom... You get it? Haw!"

His girlfriend ribbed him with her elbow as the two were given a moment to process the information. Sure enough, as he'd stated, an unassuming, tall, wooden siren tower stood further down the beach. A ladder led up to its balcony, supporting only one at a time and presenting only sheer terror to anyone afraid of heights. That seemed to be their best lead on finding the one behind all of this, however.
"Like, totally!" Ship responded, waving a hand and giving a convincing giggly laugh despite her revulsion at the implication she would be appearing in bathroom mags. She wrapped an arm around Katran and leaned in on her side to drive home how buddy-buddy and how like totally not afraid of each other's bodies they were. "Sounds good. We'll go check in with the old man. You'll be seeing us later~" she finished with a wink. With that, she attempted to guide Katran away towards the tower, trying her best to keep giggling and seeming like she was carrying on a casual conversation.

Once she felt they were far enough out of earshot in the direction of either those two beachgoers or the tower, Ship began whispering to Katran. "What do we do from here? Is going up there the best idea, or should we continue to try and play these two? It feels like it might be easier to manipulate to get the information we need..."

"What, seriously?" Lyn balked, propping her arm on the table to lean into her screen. "Those two just gave you the info to find the ringleader. Just get your butt up there, grab him by the neck, and throw him off the beach if you have to!"

"W-well, I'm just thinking... whoever it is has the tech to camouflage their operations here, and apparently was keeping close enough watch to notice we were talking with the guards. We don't know what we're dealing with, and it could be dangerous."

"Pfft, what the hell? You're not going up against the NetMafia here or anything. It's just some perv on a beach! And apparently an old one, at that. Just climb up there and kick his *ss!"

"Wouldn't it at least be a better idea to radio the others if we plan to do that?"

"No way," Lyn responded, leaning back and crossing her arms. "Maybe this guy is just some perv, but you're on the net. If you don't get your hands on him first and he just sees a bright orange lifeguard rolling up to shut down his fun, he'll just jack out. For all we know, if that happens, he'll just come back later. And I'll admit, I'm kind of looking forward to seeing a dirty old bastard get his face crushed in."

Ship frowned, looking uneasy. "Well, I guess we can, but... but is there any way we can get him to come down?"

Lyn clapped a hand to her face, then barked angrily. "Look, it's not like his f*ckin tower has secret laser beams strapped to it or some sh*t!"

"No, that's not what I'm worried about! I'm just... I'm not so good with climbs," Ship admitted, pushing her fingers together and glancing away from her operator.

"Seriously?" Lyn replied, looking both disgusted and incredulous. "I saw you do that crazy-*ss backflip that one time we were netbattling...!"

"You misunderstand! I'm fine with heights," the Navi elaborated, smiling shyly. "It's climbs that are hard! I'm always in the boat so I've never really practiced, uh... climbing something. It seems like it would be terribly uncomfortable." She smiled at her operator, hoping for understanding.

Lyn looked baffled for a second before finally realizing what she was being asked. "What, so you aren't going to climb a f*ckin' ladder just cause you've never done it before?!"

"Look, you may think it's easy, but try to imagine me doing it! How are my hands going to-"

"I'M GONNA JACK YOU OUT RIGHT NOW AND WE'RE GOING TO SPEND A MONTH PRACTICING MOUNTAIN CLIMBING IF YOU DON'T GET YOUR *SS UP THERE, PRONTO!" Lyn finally snapped, loud enough to draw the attention and ire of any neighboring tables.

"All right, all right," Ship relented, sighing. She turned to her ally and addressed her in a whisper. "Katran, I suppose Lyn isn't giving us any choice. When we get up there, do you think we should maintain our disguises, or should we simply confront him? I'll yield to your judgment." She placed a hand on the ladder experimentally, frowning. Once she'd placed a second hand and then a foot on rungs, she then pinched her face up uncomfortably. She was forced to sink one of her hands into the metal bar to lift the remaining foot out of the sand. Once she'd placed it on the ladder, she had to sink that one in to lift her hand back out of the ladder and continue climbing. "Really, these ladders are a chore," she muttered to herself.
Katran gave a seductive smile coupled with a wave before being pulled away from their informants by ship. When she was far enough away her body involuntarily shuddered as a feeling of the "unclean" swept over her body, one which couldn't be cleansed with any number of cold showers. Ugh... I was acting like Mira... so dirty, i feel so dirty... Mentally pouting about the whole ordeal. As Ship's words reached her ears, Katran cleared her throat as she attempted to bottle up her emotion before responding.

"Well we've probably exhausted these two for all their worth, so heading up might be a good idea to speed up this missions progress." Katran said firmly, with a nod. She was about to elaborate on why she believed this was the case, until it seemed Lyn had a few choice words to say causing the two to get into a rather closed conversation.

Letting out a brief sigh, the feline opted to wait patiently until the two were done. That was until Mira's voice chimed in, a hint of a giggle still in her cheery voice.

[See? It's fun not being a stick in the mud right? heeheehee] The operator taunted as she continued to wait impatiently for her food.

Katran's tail visibly puffed out at her discomfort of the statement, and any indication of that being fun, glaring hatefully at her operator through the window with no words but a barely audible hiss. Of course the realization of her baser feline instincts suddenly acted up caused her face to turn red, before she swiftly turned away from the screen and tried to recompose herself. Mira just burst further into laughter with little regard for those around her.

Katran just sulked away from view, clearly defeated and feeling even more undignified now. This continued until Ship's voice once more called out to her, snapping her back to her senses.

"O-oh, uhm...right. Well, once we're up there it's probably best to keep the disguise up at least for a little while, until we've gathered the info we need. at which point we could apprehend the criminal immediately, by force if necessary. Of course finding out how the building works first would be useful too..."

With that being established, Katran followed her partner to the ladder and proceeded toward the destination that had been set.
The two bid Katran ans Ship a warm goodbye as they headed over to find the ringleader at the promised location. Ship went first, followed by Katran, making the already unfortunately slow pacing of the tower climb even further unfortunately so. When they finally reached the top, they found the navi in question and were presented with a new quandry: how the heck had he even climbed up there himself?

The only occupant of the high tower was a man with ashen white skin and skin so tight over his bones he looked nearly skeletal. Thick lines at his brow and mouth made it look like he was used to frowning angrily, but the rest of his appearance didn't match: he were a wide sun hat with black shades, a tropical looking red and gold flowered, collared shirt, and a pair of black swim trunks. A boa of gold and orange flowers circled his neck, along with a huge, metallic golden cross on a chain. Each of his fingers was covered with an oversized, diamond tipped ring, making it look like he possessed the world's gaudiest brass knuckles. He wore know shoes and looked mostly hairless, save a few unhealthy wisps that hung upon his head like clumps left by some mad barber's fancy.

Besides the occupant, the high tower also held about four giant, gold turrets with heart tips in their nozzles, pointing in each cardinal direction... it was hard to say whether Lyn's joke about lasers was going to turn out to be ironic or not. The only other items were his lounge chair, an unused pair of binoculars, and a cooler full of water.

And a small radio...

The radio buzzed and he picked it up. A man's voice came over it... "Dune is heading further down... she's almost reached that sandcastle competition near the 250 yard mark, over," the voice instructed.

"Copy that," the old man rasped, waving one hand to his left. The cannon in that direction vibrated momentarily... the tip lit up and then it stopped completely. "Pitched the tent, over."

"Awesome. Hey, be on the lookout... Dune sent some new guys in your direction... sounds like they're both girls actually... think there names were... Naan and... damn what was the other..."

"Naan? Like bread? Over."

"Yeah! Over."

The old man did not seem to have spotted them yet.
"That's it! This old fart's gotta be the brains behind the outfit," Lyn shouted. "All you two have to do is take him down and the mission's over, right?"

Ship frowned. From the peek she'd gotten, the weathered old man really didn't look like the sort of leering pervert Lyn was taking him to be... at the same time, he certainly did look like SOME sort of pervert. "I don't think it will necessarily be so easy," she spoke over a private line. "It sounds like he has an accomplice, and those turrets-"

"Pretty sure those things are made out of reject parts from some tunnel of love," Lyn responded, leaning forward in her seat and seeming excited now. "C'mon, you're going to tell me you don't think you can take this geezer?"

"M-most certainly!" Ship responded quickly, choosing to ignore the facts that Net Navis can have strength unable to be determined by their form, or that certain powers of hers couldn't be accessed while in her shipless appearance. "But... do you really want us assaulting this gentleman? He looks... kind of pitiful."

"Pitiful? He looks like he's having the time of his life, sippin' rum on the beach and scopin' out *ss fifty years too young for him!" Lyn sighed, resting her cheek on her fist. "I really wanted to see you two wail on this sap, but if you're afraid of breakin' his poor ole bones or somethin' I guess you can just restrain and threaten him."

Ship didn't necessarily like that idea much better, but she did have to concede that overpowering the man in some way seemed to make the most sense. She opened her private link with Katran. "The man at the top of the ladder appears to be very frail and elderly. At Lyn's suggestion, I've revised the plan to a full-on undisguised assault. On my mark, I will vault the landing and restrain him, at which point you may wish to attempt to disable his turrets and investigate his radio. I'd leave the restraining to you, but... erm, I'm on top," Ship muttered, cursing her lack of foresight. "But have faith in me!"

Ship did the countdown on her fingers, extending 3 and pulling them in one-by-one until they briefly made a fist. Her mark given, Ship raced to top the ladder as fast as her awkward climbing could allow. Struggling over the top, she immediately tried to use her innate powers to root their captive to floor, causing wisps of the floor to come up like waves of a wormhole beneath him. "Halt right where you are!" she cried. She briefly sprinted forward before suddenly worrying that she was going to shatter the poor man like fine china after a long fall over the side. She slowed down and basically ended up attempting to hug his arms to his sides. "I've got you! The beach patrol would like to have a few words with you regarding some scandalous activity!"
While Ship began to stake out the top of the tower, Katran didn't have much else to do than either look out toward the beach or get an eyeful of her accomplices derriere. Both views of course being remarkable in their own right, but you'd never catch her openly commenting on the physical attributes of those she was working with. That would be highly unprofessional after all. Her tail swished back and forth in anticipation of assailing the tower and capturing whoever manned the machine controlling the images on the beach, the navi getting a little anxious as she just waited there on the ladder hoping no one was noticing them and calling for reinforcements.

Her ear's twitched as Ship finally returned her attention towards Katran, listening intently to the plan of action at hand. it was a bit crude but most likely effective none the less. Provided there were no self defense traps or anything, that was. Unfortunately being as far down as she was, she had no choice but to hope that wasnt the case.

"Got it." Katran replied concise and quietly, preparing her body to fling herself up once the signal was given.

[This is so exciting! Infiltration, go go go!] Mira of course just had to chime in as she was still waiting impatiently for her food to show up, nothing else to distract her.

As the last finger counted down, Katran bounded up the ladder after ship and launched herself into the room, drawing her knives immediately. She scanned the room swiftly and made a tactical decision to try and get herself between the target and the controls, in hopes of cutting off any possible repercussions during the moment of confusion.
The twiggy old man was distracted, unprepared, and very, very feeble besides, so even a little girl was able to easily capture him. "The patrols! I can explain!" the oldster defended, kicking his legs out one after another. At first, he tried to crane around his neck to see his captor, but when that proved too difficult, he focused his attention on Katran.

Getting in front of him had been easy enough; the problem was that he had no physical controls for operating te cannons. Darn navis. In keeping with that revelation, the turrets demonstrated their ability to move independently by spinning to point at the girls, two for each. They didn't fire, either because he was compliant, hesitant, or merely worried about his own well-being. "My dear ladies, please, calm yourselves!" he begged, managing to at least understand they were both women. "I've done nothing wrong! I'm only trying to help this beach become a paradise for lovers! I'm not hurting anyone..."

That said, the sky was starting to darken with more clouds very, very suddenly. The sound of voices that weren't there before became evident. Was he controlling the entire environment somehow? More importantly, was he planning to attack them? "Please don't hail your supervisor... I will explain the paradise I've created for lovers, out of repentance and for the glory of the magnanimous Blessers." He sounded like a crackpot and like he was trying to evade the law. He also sounded old and pitiable, though.

"MarriageMan, are you there? Come in! Dammit... MarriageMan!" the voice speaking through his communicator beckoned. He didn't quite understand what was going on, but he did sound panicked.

The two now had several options: report their captive in and get backup, try to nab his accomplice as well, or even hear him out. Of course, they might be on a time budget, seeing as the environment was responding to their arrest attempts.
"'Paradise?' 'Glory for the blessers?' Don't tell me this creep is both a pervert AND a cultist nut," Lyn muttered, wiping a hand down her face. "Anyway, hey, not like I'm worried about this guy's Valentine's Day Super Soakers or anything, but it doesn't look like your pal was able to do much to stop those turrets. You got a plan?"

"I'm standing here hugging him while he points his guns at me, do you think I have a plan?" the Navi wanted to say, but she thought it may be in her best interests to stay quiet. "Lyn, do we have any defensive measures we can employ?"

"Oh yeah!" Lyn shouted, suddenly seeming excited. "Actually, yeah. I was thinking about how sad and pitiful it would be to see your scrawny *ss gettin' kicked around by every numbskull we come across on the Net, so I gave you a program that should come in handy.

"Why, thank you," Ship replied with her biggest smile, trying not to telegraph the thought: "Aren't you the reason I'm having to fight everything we come across on the Net?"

"Well, it's as much for me as you! Hard to even pretend I'm training a Navi when she doesn't even have basic defenses. Use the 'Ironsides' subroutine, all right?"

Realizing she might be on a time budget, Ship quickly navigated through her routines and arrived on the correct one. Activating it, she was surprised to find herself suddenly coated in silver armor. "Wow, Lyn, this is very practical! I wasn't sure you would keep the aesthetics in mind. It might be a little single-minded, but I believe it will actually cut a rather dashing figure on the battlefield. But, um... does it also apply to the boat?"

"Yep," Lyn replied, looking cocky and pleased at the unexpected praise.

"Oh," Ship replied, looking a little bit disappointed. "Well, that's all right."

"What, what?! Did you want me to leave your boat a big honkin' target while I armored the rest of ya?!" Lyn snapped, seeming upset at the sudden closure of the floodgates of praise.

"Well, it's just that I'm so proud of the boat's coloration. It feels like I'm just going to be one big shiny reflective blob when people look at me in that form now."

"Aaaah, suck it up! If you just pull the little girly part of ya in, you'll just look like a big old armored boat. Ain't that enough?"

"Well, it's just... an armored cruise liner... Ah, right! The culprit!" Ship turned her attention from her operator and back on her captive. Now that she was armored, she felt ready to begin an active investigation. "Um, yes. Depending on your explanation, we may or may not be willing to abstain from alerting the authorities. But understand that we are acting in the interests of our client first and foremost! That means that if you were part of any activities that were immoral, or interfered with the natural intended use of this beach without their prior consent, we will have no choice but to alert them." Really, she just wanted to learn what the old man was up to and avoid engaging in any violence. It would be very nice if he were to simply give himself up... Ship didn't want to beat up an elder, and she would prefer it if MarriageMan would willingly descend the ladder by his own power. "But before that, turn these turrets off of us. If you don't, we may be forced to, um..."

"Kneecap ya!" Lyn barked, popping in with a vidscreen temporarily to finish her Navi's thought.

"Er, yes! Kneecap you," Ship concurred, obviously not understanding what her operator was referring to. She gave a sidelong glance to Katran, as though trying to ask if what she'd said was appropriate.