Wanderlust Cruise Ship

The coordinates MachMan received for the Wanderlust would take him aboard the ship, directly into a hallway, rather than outside. For now, he'd have to trust that he was, indeed, on a cruise ship and jacked into the right location, unless he wanted to find an open window and fly out to check. A double doorway to his back appeared to lead back into some staff area, judging by the relatively decoration-free walls and flooring visible through two circular windows on its surface. To his left and right, hallways leading upward were visible; he couldn't tell if that meant another internal room or perhaps a way to the upper deck of the ship. Stretching in front of him was a long hallways decorated with lush, red carpet, cream-colored walls, and pink curtains, each with an emblem decorated like an English, cursive N overlapping another T. The weird part was that the positions of the two letters changed from curtain to curtain. No explaining that one.

No windows were visible here, but plenty of doors. The layout might remind him a bit uncomfortably of the NetMafia party ship he'd boarded earlier, but hopefully, that was only a coincidence. Each of the doors had numbers over them, but, more informatively, names on white cards helpfully hunt by a small hanger next to each door. Some of them also had a "do not disturb" tag hung there. The knobs on each door were pink, flattened circle shapes with white N and Ts on the ends; someone was very into branding. A few paintings, pretty but not provoking much further inspection, were hung here and there, undoubtedly replicas of some famous pieces. Probably the most important feature of the hallway was that it was inhabited by two ladies, both who ostensibly seemed engaged by his arrival.

The first was a young lady dressed in a black navi-suit, mostly form-fitting, with a white, frilled skirt around the hips, including a large bow at the back. Similar white frills adorned the suit at the wrists, encircling the shoulders, and also at the tops of her short, white boots. Another white bow was tied, this one at her neck, forming an over-sized bow-tie. Her hair was short, just down past her chin, with a perfectly even bowl cut that might be mistaken for a helmet at a distance. A small, black headband with a white pair of letters, spelling "NT," sat atop the headband, almost like birthday cake decorations. She was currently carrying an over-sized clipboard and seemingly staring down the hallway, waiting for MachMan to arrive. Her eyes were a remarkable pink color, but half-shut in an expression of impatience that matched her frown. No matter how quick he was, she'd get off the first word: "Name?"

No less worth remarking on was another woman, who was in the process of yelling in a panic at one of the closed doors. The lady had pink-hued flesh, almost the color of bubble gum, and long purple hair, done into a series of three tails, one down her back and the other two of her shoulder, each knotted off near the tips through shiny, pink medallion decorations, shaped like open eyes. Her outfit consisted of a nondescript white robe, covering most of her body, but curves at the back revealed she was definitely a woman (and a curvy one). Her most notable feature, even more so than her skin, was that she had a third eye peeking out where her hair parted. The color of the pupil was a darker shade of pink than her skin. Currently, she was involved in battering the door (although in a distinctly awkward way, as one unused to violence might), while yelling something about a vision she'd had. She'd continue doing that for a while even after MachMan showed up; it might very well make him wonder why the other girl was ignoring her. Still, she turned her gaze down that direction once he appeared, her face stuck in a small, desperate frown. He might want to offer his help, but the other lady would be quick to try to stand in his way if he did. Of course, MachMan was pretty quick himself, so he'd be able to give her the slip if he wanted.

If he got a little while to look, he'd notice many names he would not recognize, along with a few he would: namely, one door marked "Yasu and MachMan" and another marked "Coral and Escort." Well, he might not recognize Coral's name, but he could probably take a guess that he or she was Escort's friend. The one marked Escort was actually the one that the three-eyed lady was beating on.
((From ACDC Town))

The trio warped in at the prescribed coordinates, more-or-less flashing into existence rather than crashing down in a trio of cyan beams. The group arrived in what attire they managed to acquire/fashion from yesterday, thanks to Aera's insistence. In fact, she was arguably the best-dressed of the three, wearing a sun dress similar to the one magic-ed up by Dee at the NP HQ. However, while this one was also baby blue, it was also covered in subdued white polka-dots. The dress itself had somewhat thin straps over her shoulders and wasn't especially low cut, but it fit snugly enough to not obscure her figure. She had a thin white belt around her waist, leaving the skirt of the sundress to hang freely down to just above her knees. She wore a pair of white summer sandals on her feet, and though they had conservative heels, they did make her look a bit taller, along with the hat she wore. It was a very light beige color with a large, floppy brim stretching 360 degrees around the featureless cap, and appeared to be made of a woven, straw-like material. A light blue strap was tied around the circumference of the cap, giving a bit of decoration and color.

Mach's garb was similarly themed, but it appeared to be based on his Beachcomber.GMO He wore a short sleeved, light gray collared shirt with some navy blue shorts, along with a pair of low-cut light gray sneakers. His mask was still present and dark blue, matching his shorts, and his hair was mostly unchanged and uncovered, though his ear pylons are no longer present.

Vector didn't appear to be "wearing" any clothing, instead his body was reconfigured to give the appearance of garb, and looked like a heavily-modified version of his Sharpdresser.GMO. His body was still mostly dark blue and silver, but his body plates gave off the outline of him wearing slacks and covered shoes with a long-sleeved collared shirt, along with a "pork-pie" style hat with a slightly upturned brim. The silver trim helped outline the different "pieces" of his attire, including the angular collar (open and sans necktie) buttons and sleeves of his 'shirt,' as well as the band around his hat.

Almost immediately after they arrived, a woman, one dressed in a way that suggested she was associated/working for the cruise addressed them. "MachMan.EXE," he replied and stepped forward as the ticket began to materialize in his hand. He was willing to present it if requested, as he assumed she was part of the "check-in" process. Meanwhile, the SPs at his sides took in the sights. Aera was visibly excited, like a kid in an amusement park, but she didn't entirely expect to appear right outside their room, she thought they'd check in either on deck or even off the ship. Vector was unsurprisingly hard to read, but the quick panning of his eye made him appear interested in the area. His focus quickly shifted to the pink-skinned woman further down the hall. He didn't speak up, as he accurately assumed Mach noticed her as well.

The girl in black and white accepted his name with a quick nod, then pressed one hand to her earpiece in a swift motion, causing a monocle to spring out from one side. "MachMan... Yes. Tickets," she requested, and he was ready with those as well. She smiled slightly, looking marginally more energetic than before as she looked up at him. "Good. Thank you for being expedient," she finished, accepting his ticket and tearing one portion off, before handing the stub back to him. "Your room is over there. Your partner arrived earlier. Your SPs can stay in that room as well. You are free to explore any of the areas of this vessel that are not locked or marked as off limits. That stub will allow you into your own room, even if it is locked. Enjoy your stay," she finished, executing an extremely quick bow before her entire body took on a bright silver color. Like that, still standing with her hands pressed to her lap formally, she slid out down the hallway at breakneck speed, not stopping even as she other lady panicked and jumped out of the way to dodge her. She turned the corner at the end of the hallway, presumably into a staircase, and vanished. MachMan never did receive her name...

Once one girl had left, the other ran up to grab MachMan, before he had a chance to move elsewhere. "You there, newcomers! I've had a terrible premonition!" the woman began, pressing one hand to her chest dramatically. "There's no time to waste! Last night, I awoke in a cold sweat after a dream. At that moment, I just knew, a murder will take place somewhere on this vessel today!" she announced, leaning closer with her third eye opened wildly. "A-And I fear that a murder has already taken place in that very room! You see, I saw a premonition when I walked by the room... A muscled, horned giant, some sort of ogre, standing in a ruined room... the dresser was smashed from the force of a great impact and the bed had been split in two! The curtains had been ripped from the windows and a-a body... A body! There was a tan woman flung over the arm of one of the chairs, convulsing! I-It was terrible, so awful! I just know there's been a murder but every time I knock to get in, a man's voice from inside the room just answers, "Not now," or "Go away!" I've been trying and trying, although I could be in danger even if I get inside, but it's to no avail! The ship's attendant, Jack-Of-All-Trades, tells me there's no way anyone but the intended guests could be inside the room, but I just can't believe that! Can you break the door down or get inside somehow?! My psychic powers aren't enough to let me see inside!"

As she finally finished her tale, seeming out of breath and energy, she placed her hands on her knees to calm herself down. "Oh, I'm sorry... My name is Seer. I'm a professional stage magician, but recently, I've acquired actual clairvoyance! That's how I know something bad's happened... o-or maybe hasn't happened yet! There might be a way to save whoever's in that room!" she urged him again.

It certainly sounded serious, but MachMan would have to judge whether the information was credible or not. Furthermore, he might want to figure out where Yasu, or Escort, for that matter, was before he started into something dangerous like an investigation.
"Excellent, tha-" was all Mach managed to say before the woman darted out of sight in a slightly unsettling fashion, nearly colliding with the pink-skinned one. After having dodged away from the other program's expedient exit, she predictably shifted attention to the group. It was then the trio really got a good look at the woman's "unique" design, and the two SPs found it difficult to avoid looking directly at the woman's third eye.

The three listened to the woman's panicked declaration, she claimed to have "seen" a murder had taken place in the room to which she'd attempted to gain entry. A quick glance would confirm the room was apparently for both Escort and Coral, assumed to be the friend previously mentioned. The implications of an alleged murder in that room initially caused alarm, but Mach quickly re-caged his thoughts. Aera and Vector, however, started to show visible anxiety to the news, and looked to Mach for guidance.

Mach would've immediately scoffed the girl's premonition abilities, but he did previously encounter a Navi that was able to stop time, along with others with supernatural capabilities, so it didn't immediately seem logical to discount it as rubbish. More telling, however, was the general lack of reaction by the ship's staff, and the girl's description of the scene. "A muscled, horned giant." Escort is muscular and tall, plus he'd seen her wearing a horned mask on occasion, maybe she's the "ogre?" He honestly had nothing beyond a guess that the "tanned woman" is Coral, considering she was assigned to the room as well. [[i]Why would she be convulsing though? Unle- ...ah...[/i]] Mach pondered to himself, ending with a prediction of his own, which left a somewhat sour look on his face as he looked at the door, then turned back to the girl, who introduced herself as the magician-now-psychic "Seer."

"I see, let me take a look," Mach replied, sounding much less distressed than the girl. Aera and Vector watched wordlessly as Mach turned to the door, and knocked on it firmly, but with a different sharpness and rhythm to provide a sharp contrast to Seer's panicked banging. After knocking, he called out to the occupant(s) in the room, identifying himself and partially testing his theory that Escort was inside, and possibly the source of the "man's voice" Seer claimed to hear. "This is MachMan, everything alright in there?"

He hoped to hear a familiar voice respond and help explain the situation, but if the voice was foreign and/or aggressive in nature, Mach would escalate his own reaction. He waved off Seer and his SPs, urging them to step back, and took a small step back himself before replying in a much firmer tone. "Explain (and identify) yourself, or I'll simply shoot my way in. You have five seconds." After delivering his ultimatum, fragmented bits of data would start to materialize behind his back and under his right forearm, and start to construct the equipment he'd likely need to breach the door.
The magician looked slightly worried, given that MachMan's reaction was more in line with that of the attendant from earlier than her own. "Yes, please look right away! It's urgent... I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if something was happening that I failed to prevent despite seeing it with my newfound power..." she murmured, standing a safe distance back as she watched MachMan begin knocking. The voice kept quiet until he spoke up, perhaps thinking Seer was at it again.

"MachMan!" the voice gasped. It was indeed a deep voice, but MachMan would probably recognize it as that of a woman: Escort, who was often able to pass as a man despite her generous womanly assets. "Yes, everything's fine... give me just a moment, please..." Escort answered from inside the room. After about half a minute, she opened the door just a crack, then squeezed out through the slit, a difficult feat given her proportions. She was dressed as MachMan might have expected: her full monk robe and hood, along with the horned half mask she wore while in uniform. Her narrow, light-blue eyes looked about as upset as Seer's big pink ones, although they probably weren't nervous for the same reasons. "Wh-What are you doing here? I didn't know any other Neo-Shogun officers were going to be here," she murmured, sounding slightly guilty. If that was indeed the case, she might be a bit offended as well, though she'd be too polite to express that agitation regardless. After all, she probably wasn't taking a cruise to spend more time with the Shogun's forces.

"You're the ogre!" Seer cried, hiding behind Vector, who seemed the safest choice by positioning and overt capacity to menace others. "D-Did you hurt someone in there?!"

"No, nothing like that!" Escort defended, sounding, er, defensive. "M-My friend... Miss Coral... She and I were inspecting the room and um... Well, you know my weight being what it is... I smashed some of the room's decor simply by attempting to use it or sit upon it," she sighed, clutching one hand to her forehead. "The furniture looks luxurious but it's not as sturdy as I'd hoped. Well, I've asked Miss Jack to replace it when she gets the chance."

"Coral's the girl's name? C-Can you bring her out here?! I can't stop freaking out, I need to see if she's okay! In my vision, her eyes were half open and flickering, and her mouth was open wide, but she was salivating unnaturally like-!" Seer asked, but Escort became red-faced and waved her hands in a gesture begging her to stop.

"S-She's fine! You were just seeing her... um... she's very tired right now so she's resting... I'll introduce you all to her later," Escort replied, wringing her hands while a deep blush settled across her pale skin. "B-But enough about me... MachMan, you're here on the cruise together with Aera, I see. That's very nice," MachMan's ally changed the subject, giving a warm smile. "The two of you deserve it; Vector too, of course. Let me know if there's anything I can do at all for you while you're here... Of course, if you want your privacy, that's fine too. Coral and I planned to spend... most of the cruise inside our room ourselves," she finished, staring to the side bashfully.

The pieces were beginning to slide into place: considering Escort's presence here, Dee's connection to the tickets, and the situation that Yasu and MachMan now found themselves in, it seemed pretty likely that Yasu and MachMan were the recipients of one of the sorceress' tricks. The First General confirmed this, emerging from the door after identifying MachMan's voice outside. "Subordinate MachMan! There's been some sort of ridiculous screw-up on the part of the cruise line... we've been booked into a room with only one bed and one shower!" she began, sounding highly indignant. "Well, there's a sofa too, but I don't think that either of us should have to spend what should be a vacation reclining upon- oh, Escort!" she stopped, giving a quick formal bow, which Escort returned. "And in uniform! Good," Yasu coughed; it was her turn to look somewhat caught-in-the-act. Rather than her usual uniform, Yasu was wearing a green bikini of a glossy material that almost looked like leather, but was clearly a swimsuit, based on the shape and the fact that she was walking around on a cruise ship wearing it. It showed off her shapely and fit, but perhaps overly muscular and scarred, body very well, though there wasn't a lot her uniform didn't already show, except for her belly that was ordinarily covered by her armored corset. "What about your room, Escort? Did they put you and your friend in a one-bed room together? I saw both names on the nameplate..."

"O-Oh, er, yes... One bed," Escort murmured, pressing her fingers together. "The couch is fine though... one of us will... sleep on the couch."

"Bah! What folly, so early into the day," Yasu grimaced, shaking her head before turning her one uncovered eye towards MachMan. "I arrived a few hours ago," she continued, though that statement would imply it was probably still dark out when she appeared, meaning she'd been unfashionably early. "I performed recon and got the lay of the ship, so please, ask me anything that you think you might need to know. I'm sure you have somewhere you'd like to go first, be that the breakfast buffet or the deck for exercise, whatever your preferred routine is. So far, I haven't recognized any enemies of the Shogun here, which is almost unexpected... They seem to have a way of following us these days." Finally noticing that they had one extra, Yasu turned her head to face Seer. "Who is this?"

"I'm Seer, ma'am," the clairvoyant introduced herself. "I've had an evil premonition about today... A murder is going to take place somewhere on this ship! I've been seeing visions... At first I thought they were all connected to the murder, but it seems the first was, er, a red herring," she chuckled, trying to laugh off her failure. "But I'm still confident there will be a murder! That's why I'm trying to investigate any visions that occur..."

Yasu's face grew dark; she clearly was taking the threat very seriously, regardless of how much evidence backed it up. "Bloody hell... I should have known things wouldn't be easy. Subordinates: I need everyone to be on the lookout. Enjoy yourselves, but do so with eyes in the backs of your skulls... we don't know what sort of tricks our enemies might have planned," she commanded each of them. "I recommend we keep Seer nearby at least one of us at all times today, so that she can provide preemptive warning of any imminent danger." For her part, Seer nodded along, seeming eager to help. "I'm on my way to the pool. You're free to go wherever you like, MachMan. You may wish to inspect the room first... if for no other reason than to share my bemusement at the sleeping arrangements."

"I'll... tell Coral that you're all here," Escort smiled, seeming eager to shuffle back into her room. Thankfully, Escort seemed to have figured out from Yasu's reaction that the two hadn't knowingly come here to share a bed together.

Seer nodded, then looked to MachMan with a fiery, determined expression and her fists clenched. "I'll stay with you, MachMan! By your name, you'll be the fastest to respond if any more trouble arises," she resolved. "By the way, we might meet up with my friend somewhere on the ship. His name's IllusionMan... I don't know what his real physical form looks like, but he ordinarily likes to hide it in a field of clouds. So... if you see clouds in an odd place, that's probably him," she giggled. "He's um... A friend," she reiterated, seeming eager to point out that she wasn't committed to a relationship with IllusionMan.
Mach's inquiry was thankfully met with a reply by a familiar voice. "Hm," he interjected with a somewhat higher pitch, like a detective discovering a pivotal clue to a mystery. A hidden grin grew on his face as he fist-pumped in his head; his intuition was exactly right for once. The familiar voice put the SPs at ease as well, and they moved to the side as Mach also moved, expecting the door to open. "Called it," Mach boasted as they waited for Escort to show.

When Escort slipped through the door, she was greeted by *mostly* friendly faces. Vector was by default expressionless and Seer, who was hiding behind said SP, remained accusatory and unaware of the truly benign nature of the situation. Vector made no attempt to move away or become more effective cover for Seer, but her selection of him as cover did help feed his pride a bit, even in this non-conventional form his protective properties still remained apparent, it seemed.

The conversation between Escort and Seer, both still visibly uncomfortable with their respective situations, was so fast Mach and the gang didn't have time to get a word in. Mach was all-too-happy to just watch and enjoy the ride, while the SPs didn't really have much of a choice other than to act as the silent third-wheel. Seer's description of her vision of Coral, and Escort's reaction to said description made the exchange even more entertaining, causing Mach to pinch the bridge of his nose as he attempted to stifle his laughter. Aera eventually caught on, causing her to blush as well, though to not the same severity as Escort. Vector was simply lost, his mind was still somewhat pure and his expressionless face expertly concealed his outright confusion.

Escort deflected the conversation, and opened it to the point where Mach could finally cut in. "Yeah, we found the opportunity for a break, so now we're here," he responded, then followed up with a private message to Escort directly. [[i]Apologies; didn't look like Seer would leave you alone unless I intervened. We'll leave you alone to "murder" your friend. ; ] [/i]] He couldn't help but add a bit of a jab, for being a monolith of physical power, she was very easy to tease, a fact Aera could attest to as well. "Thanks! We'd love to catch up with you, and maybe meet Miss Coral, if you have the time," Aera chimed in, unaware of Mach's private communication with Escort, her request was genuine with no indication of mischief. Vector simply responded to Escort's recognition with a polite nod.

Not to let the situation get any less interesting, Yasu made her appearance, suddenly entering the hallway from the room. He turned to the general as she declared the fact their room was equipped with a single bed and couch, which was obviously unsuitable for 4 programs. [[i]"Why am I not surprised?"[/i]] Mach asked himself, and realized he was giving in to the shenanigans, it seemed the previous missions and all of their twists and turns have broken through his previously rigid mindset. He resigned to the chaos; he was on "vacation," so worrying about something as simple as sleeping arrangements started to seem paltry in the grand scheme of things.

However, Yasu was still business-oriented, and took Seer's insistence of imminent foul play seriously. Mach would normally bemoan the order to be on the lookout, and be in contact with Seer at all times when he's supposed to be enjoying R&R, but again, resigned to the chaos. That said, Seer proved to have significant clairvoyance, with a significant attention to detail..., so maybe she had some validity to her claim of an imminent murder. "Yes Ma'am. Wilco."

Mach and the gang turned to their newest team-member, and listened to her declaration of companionship and described her comrade who resided somewhere else on the ship. "Alright then, we'll keep an eye out. Let me know if anything seems to connect with your visions, but in the meantime let's do some exploring," he declared, accepting Seer's company. Aera, now returning to her previously established excitement about the cruise, offered a suggestion to the group's first destination. "Let's head to the deck, I want to see the view and catch some sun!" "Sounds good to me, let's go," Mach agreed, then looked to the two hallways, trying to see if there were any indications of which one lead to the upper decks of the vessel. Vector offered no complaints, and turned to Seer and posed a question after picking up on Mach's indications of not being entirely sure of where to go. "Miss Seer, do you know the way to the deck?"

The group would follow Seer's directions if she knew the way, otherwise they'd move along the right hallway, assuming the upward turn meant it would eventually lead towards the deck, or at least something in the right direction.
MachMan and Aera both had a certain image in mind of what Escort and her partner had probably been up to, but Seer remained as clueless as Vector and Yasu arrived too late to really get a clear picture of it. Escort's face turned beet red as MachMan revealed via private message that he was entirely aware of what Seer's vision of murder had probably been. He didn't receive a response, with Escort instead shuffling off all the faster, after agreeing that it would be lovely if Coral got to meet Aera and the others.

Yasu nodded once MachMan agreed to go along with her command. "Consider that your mission," she reiterated, apparently thinking that she'd do MachMan a favor by framing it as yet another mission; such was the mind-set of the work-oriented First General. She turned and walked away, looking a strange sight, wandering the halls in her bikini.

Seer nodded along that she was fine with exploring and heading up to the deck. "Sure, I know the way! You probably guessed, but you just go up one of these staircases to reach the upper deck... Right now, we're on the lowest floor, I think, though there could be one that's only accessible from staff areas. Above us is one more hallway full of passenger's rooms, as well as a club room with a bar, TV, and the like, and another large room that looks like it is a bit like a ball room. If you continue up the stairs instead, you will reach the upper deck. The upper deck has a large inside area running from center to back which has the breakfast buffet right now, but is used as a meal room at all times of the day. I believe it must connect to a kitchen in the back, though I haven't seen that part. On the front of the deck, you'll find the pool, chairs for sunbathing, and also a smaller bar that serves a lesser selection of drinks. I don't hold alcohol all that well so... I've mostly had lemonade," she chuckled, her three eyes closing in unison as she beamed at the others. Having some companionship seemed to have improved her mood, despite the imminent dangers she perceived running into in the form of visions. "Let's head on upstairs, shall we?"

With Seer leading the way, their guide lifting her cloak just a bit so her bare feet could traverse the stairs without tripping, the group proceeded out and into the sunlight. Thankfully, the conditions were favorable: the smell of sea salt in the air, the laughter of guests out by the pool, and the sight of a well kept deck. The appearance was much as they'd expected, although they could make out the specifics now. The sea around them was vast and unending. The sunlight was so bright that one so inclined and disposed would probably want to put on shades. It was very warm on the skin; any navis and SPs that tended to tan would find it easy to do so and any that tended to burn would find the danger present. The ship itself was beautifully maintained, the decor much like the inside, with the deck being a white-pink color and most of the other walls decorated as inside. More paired, cursive "NT" logos could be seen here and there. If there was one thing off-putting about the scenery, it was a strange, cream-colored figurehead visible at the front of the ship... a weighty statue that looked like mannequins of a man and woman, evidenced only by the shapes of their bodies, embracing each other. Not just embracing... from this angle, it really looked like the man was taking the woman from behind. It was impossible to see any other way, since one couldn't get around to the side or front without flying to realize that they were actually in a dancer's pose, with the woman's legs spread around the man's legs and her arms held out in front.

Seer motioned with one hand to say, "this way," gesturing towards the pool. "This is definitely the best spot for sunbathing, if you're planning to! They've provided enough seats so that you can lie wherever you like to tan. You can also grab a raft and float on the pool to tan, if you like," she recommended. "I er... I just burn, so I'm fine in my cloak," she added, in case the others were wondering why she wasn't in a swimsuit. "And IllusionMan, well, he... er... doesn't have a body, I think? So it's also kind of off of the table for him."

The poolside was quite a sight itself, the deck painted white in a large heart shape around the pool itself. A few were playing with a beach ball on one side, while others sunbathed on the other. In the back, a shaded area was set up, with bar stools overlooking the side of the ship and a bartender serving drinks to those who were thirsty. Upon inspection, MachMan would recognize the bartender as the girl with white hair from earlier, still dressed in the same outfit... although, her body kept flashing silver, like it had when she'd left earlier.

To further that confusion, the same girl approached from the left, while MachMan was still watching the one at the bar. "MachMan and company," she greeted them in a very quick address, "I can provide you with GMOs if you need swimsuits. All drinks are free of charge. Please exercise good judgment when drinking alcohol here; depending on your coding, you may become inebriated. If you are drinking, please avoid the side of the ship to avoid incident. You'll notice a railing a safe distance away from the seats; those are the best way to observe the ocean. I would not recommend leaning over the bars. Any attempt to scale the bars may result in revoked rights. Also, please keep your horseplay safe, or you may experience revocation of other rights. If your intimate behaviors are reported as uncomfortable by other patrons, you may experience a revocation of rights... but otherwise, there are no limitations on them. If you have any questions, please see me over at the bar-" No sooner had those words escaped her mouth than she began to glow again and her image flew back at an almost untraceable pace, snapping back into place over at the bar, at which point that copy of herself stopped glowing.

"Jack-of-All-Trades seems like... a busy person," Seer chuckled, giving another good-natured smile. "So, where should we-?" she started, before gasping and covering her mouth. Her third eye searched the area independently of the others, but when she couldn't seem to find what she was looking for, she began to panic. "Oh dear... Oh dear, oh dear! The one in green you were talking to earlier, she's not here... I just had a vision! I saw her... she was leaning over the deck railing, looking into the ocean... a man walked by... and then... and she fell over!" Seer squealed, moving her hands from her mouth to her cheeks. "Someone must have pushed her off the side of the deck! It was that man, there!" she cried out, pointing frantically to a figure nearby.

The one she'd pointed to was a man in heavy, black armor... just on his head. The mantle and helmet was designed like black shoulder-guards with a huge, metal bear-trap on the face of a full helmet, with no visible way to see out. His body was kind of unpleasant to look at, a bit thin and lanky and very pale, with just a bit of a paunch in his belly. He was otherwise dressed only in a black briefs-style swimsuit that didn't flatter him. What did flatter him was the girl he was holding hands with... a cute, shorter girl with black hair in an upward ponytail. She had a Netopian skin tone and bright brown eyes, with a pretty good body shape that suggested she was just short and not underaged. Her outfit was a yellow, one-piece swimsuit, mostly open on the back down to the hips and tied at the neck, with a red diamond pattern running across it, most notably accenting the breasts, where a large diamonds sat across each of them. She didn't look thrilled to be with the guy, despite holding hands with him... that might be because, on closer inspection, their hands were actually stuck together by what looked like an over-sized novelty finger-torture trap on one end, circling the guy's hand, and a large black handcuff on the other, encasing the girl's wrist.

Again, MachMan would have to exercise judgment in deciding whether there was anything to worry about, but also, beyond that, whether he should investigate over the side of the ship to see if Yasu had indeed been pushed overboard, or if he should confront the man in black first.
Escort was already blushing, but she suddenly went beet red before leaving, something Aera quickly picked up on. There were no words exchanged, and she didn't hear anything coming from inside... She started to go down the list of suspects. "What did you do?" she half-whispered to Mach, as she looked at him with squinted, judging eyes. He caught a glance of her leering gaze, and looked away as he barely shook his head. "Oh nothing," he replied, doing poorly to avoid self-incriminating himself. That would have to be addressed later; however, as Yasu declared the situation their 'mission' for the moment, and Aera was more interested in exploring. She surmised if Mach did do something to tease Escort or somehow prompt her reaction, it was likely in jest or not intentionally malicious.

With Yasu off to wander in her even skimpier version of her uniform of sorts, Seer was more than happy to lead the group. Thankfully she sounded like she had a good awareness of the ship's layout and roughly their current position. Her description of the amenities sounded delightful, with a smattering of features for multiple occasions and taste, most importantly an open deck for rays and drinks. "Great! Lead the way!" Aera declared excitedly. Mach fell in line while Vector nodded to Seer in polite thanks before falling in as well.

After a short walk, they were led out to the deck. The bright, warm sunlight, sea air, and jovial ambiance were well received, though the sun did seem hard on the eyes. In response, a pair of matte black "crankshaft"-esque sunglasses materialized over Mach's eyes, and Vector's brow plates extended forward slightly to add a "brim" to his face. Aera, inadvertently one-upping her male compatriots, summoned a pair of sunglasses to fit her attire; large, nearly circular dark brown lenses in partially transparent frames laced with a touch of light blue. Her fashionable appearance didn't exactly match her appearance, as she was grinning ear to ear like an excited child as she joined the others in taking in the sights while they walked towards the pool. An eyebrow could be seen peeking up from the frame of Mach's glasses as he caught a glance of the ship's figurehead, likely a reaction due to the particular picture it seemed to paint at that angle.

However, their focus would ultimately shift to the pool, with its various places to recline and lounge, as well as a small bar staffed by a familiar figure. Said figure suddenly seemed to duplicate to Mach's side, and address them. She stated the rules, but more importantly she revealed drinks were free of charge, and she could provide swimwear.GMOs if needed. Aera seemed to be on the same train of thought as Mach, to not pass up a complementary offer. "Some swimsuits would be lovely, if you don't mind." It seemed she barely ended her request before the Navi snapped back to the bar with the blink of an eye. [[i]Now that's fast, I wonder what kind of upgrades she's using...[/i]] Mach couldn't help but wonder, it was only natural for a speed Navi to appreciate others' feats of quickness. Seer brought up the name "Jack-of-All-Trades" again, with a heavier emphasis that was the fast-talking Navi's name.

Mach would work to pursue his curiosity, but Seer seemed to have another vision, one of Yasu being pushed overboard. She also identified the alleged assailant, an oddly-dressed Navi with swim wear from the ground up, save for heavy armor over his shoulders and head. He had a companion, it seemed, but after a few moments it appeared they were seemingly fastened together at the wrists. It was certainly odd, but Seer's previous premonition proved to be entirely benign. That said, even the alleged demise of the NS's top general wasn't something Mach was willing to gamble with. "Pushed over the railing? Well, Jack-of-All-Trades isn't the only one who can multitask," he responded coolly, prompting two small floating machines to materialize behind him. With a brief flicker of light, each one was encompassed with a seemingly perfect copy of Mach's current appearance, which stood and looked to him, as if waiting for orders. Without a word being exchanged, the holographic clones quickly took flight, and rocketed towards the opposite sides of the ship. Their flight paths weren't particularly high or flashy, they seemed to bee-line to their commanded positions along the port and starboard sides of the ship's hull, and began to sweep front to back, looking for anything out of the ordinary. If something came up, an alert would be sent to Mach, with a live feed if able.

With his decoys deployed to address the terminus of Seer's vision, Mach continued towards the bar. "While that's being taken care of, how about a drink, some sun, or both?" the Navi offered, not appearing particularly disturbed by Seer's vision. "I'll take something sweet!" Aera replied, her eyes already scoping out a good spot by the pool to relax. She split off from the group to claim an open lounge chair or unclaimed space, and would consider her options of swimwear, if "Jack" provided a swimwear .GMO as offered. "I'm good for now, sir." Vector said quietly, politely declining. "Alright, 'something sweet,' and two lemonades; got it!" he declared as he made his way over to the bar.

This would probably leave Vector and Seer alone, but Aera called out to the fractal Navi. "Vector! Try out the pool! There are plenty of floats, as long as you don't pop them." she said with a smile, while pointing to the soothingly clear waters of the pool along with the rafts floating along or stored on the deck nearby. Vector moved to join Aera dutifully, but he paused and turned to Seer, excusing himself with a quick nod before clicking along towards Aera. If Seer looked to Mach, she'd be met with a backwards glance from the Navi, with a head tilt to gesture her to tag along.

He moved to the bar, strategically placing himself at a point closest to the couple identified by Seer, but it seemed coincidental as he seemed more focused on the bartender than the bar itself. Once the Navi turned her attention to Mach, he'd place his order. "I'll take two cocktails, one strong, one sweet, and two lemonades please, miss..." his voice trailed off, to get the Navi's name. He already knew this, but he was curious if she went by something other than the awkwardly long "Jack-of-All-Trades," and he didn't want to incorrectly assume she was cool with being called "Jack." In the meantime, the sunglasses gave another added benefit of concealing his eyes as he occasionally looked at the oddly conjoined couple.
"Very good. Please, take these," Jack-of-all-Trades offered; before sliding back to her bar, she scanned each navi and SP over with her eyes at a rapid pace and produced three data packets, each done with the same fancy outer pattern that the invitation had been in. If they opened them up, MachMan would find a blue swimsuit (perhaps a bit revealing, because it was designed in briefs style like the other man's, rather than trunk's style), Vector would find something similar in a darker color (that he'd probably decline to use because they'd look silly over his body, which was basically armor), and Aera would find a blue-and-white polka dot bikini with a light frill around the waist of the bottom half (flattering, if a little derivative of her current sundress). White towels, monogrammed with the same pink "NT" they'd been seeing everywhere, were included with each GMO as well.

Seer was antsy, somewhere between grateful that MachMan was checking out the situation she'd reported and upset that he didn't appear to be actually fretting over it. "If she fell overboard here, she'd be in danger... there's the waves to contend with and besides those, I think viruses might lurk under the waters..." she warned MachMan, possibly concerned that he wasn't freaking out about it like she was. Machman sent some copies out on recon, to see if they'd have some success finding Yasu over the side of the ship. For her part, Jack-of-all-Trades was watching them, frowning as she saw each of them go over, but said nothing and continued shaking a canister for the martini she was in the middle of mixing. Seer had stayed with the others at first once the group had been split up, but lifted her robe's hem to scurry after MachMan once she realized he wanted her company. She took a seat nearby him, on the side further away from the mysterious, black-helmeted navi, and sat with wooden posture, being inexperienced at stake-outs.

The bartender approached them again, still wearing her same frown. "I noticed two of you jump the railing just now, along with the lady you're sharing a room with, just moments ago. Consider this a zero-point-two level infraction for her and zero-point-four level infraction for you. I warned both of you not to jump the railing lest you receive a reduction of rights... If you reach a full one-point-zero infraction or higher, you will receive reduction in rights for the remaining length of your cruise. Understand that these precautions are necessary to ensure the safety of you and the other passengers," she finished, speaking with incredible speed and an impatient look in her eyes, pouring the martini she was in the middle of fixing as she talked. She handed the glass off to a woman with long, somewhat faded brown hair, wearing a white swimsuit that looked nice enough on her, though her body had a strange profile, a mixture of militant and aged beyond the "sweet-spot" that most people programmed their navis to inhabit. The lady gave a quick smile to MachMan, raised her glass, then closed her eyes and sipped. "One strong cocktail, one sweet cocktail, and two lemonades," she confirmed, her arms glowing silver and seeming to split into multiple as MachMan watched, leaving after-images as she prepared each of the drinks requested at once. The lemonades were ready almost instantly and handed over, while her arms continued to work on the martinis. "You can call me Jack for short. In fact, I would encourage you to do so, if you're comfortable with it." She didn't elaborate as to why.

Seer's third eye was spinning around as she attempted to watch the drinks being prepared, but growing dizzy, she stopped trying to follow the action and enjoyed a lemonade instead.

In the mean time, MachMan could pick up the conversation of the helmeted man and the girl whose hand was bound to his, as they didn't appear to be trying to hide their voices. "Hrrrgh... I don't like it... This ship is too... normal," the man grumbled, a persistent wheeze in his voice that made it sound like something was wrong with his throat, rather than indicating age. "I got sort of excited when I saw that statue over there... But there's nothing really great going on here at all. There's girls in bikinis, sure, but there are girls in bikinis everywhere on the net... If this was supposed to butter me up, it's not working... I heard there are crazy parties on the net where everybody gets high out of their minds and screws each other... I'd like to see something like that instead, he he hRRRRKhark!" the man coughed, making an already unappetizing speech even less so.

"I'll bet you would! Unfortunately, my supervisor isn't likely to fund a get-away like that... The only reason we were let on to this one... and believe me, I don't want to be here with you as a couple... is that the proprietor apparently doesn't care about your checkered history," the girl responded in a snappy voice. The other guy chuckled again; it might be because the girl in a literally checkered outfit had accused him of having a checkered past. "Oh, would you quit it! Think about how I feel! I want to swim... how am I supposed to swim with you hanging on to me like this?!"

"Bah! I hate swimming... don't wanna do that anyway. Wouldn't mind watching you, though... How about letting me out of your trap?" he suggested, but she rolled her eyes and flipped her ponytail in response. "Bitch..." he murmured, clicking his teeth behind his metallic helmet. If either of them had any knowledge of what had happened to Yasu, or had even seen her dive off, neither was speaking about it.

While Jack handed over the last of the drinks to MachMan, specifying the dark red one as strong and pale, almost colorless one as sweet, MachMan's extras were able to report back what they saw over the side of the boat. Sure enough, Yasu was right there... though, rather than any danger, she was simply swimming alongside the cruise-ship. She was doing so with great strength and speed, clearly exerting her physical abilities to their fullest in order to do so. Since she was making no effort to get back up over the side, one might piece together that she'd intentionally dived in for either training or recreation. Either way, her presence off-board clearly hadn't gone over well with Jack, so he might want to consider asking her to get back on deck. One more strange piece: a lot of mist was covering the sea's surface, which hadn't been visible on the waves further out. It was almost like the lower decks of the ship only were surrounded by the mist. It might have something to do with the IllusionMan that had been mentioned earlier, but it also seemed as though the mist was rising, somewhat. Perhaps the weather was about to take a turn in some fashion...

"MachMan," Seer whispered. "I'm getting another one... I see your SP, Aera!" she hissed, leaning in closer towards him. "The vision shows... hm... I see... She's picked out a spot to recline... That's strange... Nothing dangerous seems to be happening here," she murmured, narrowing her third eye suspiciously. "B-But there must be some kind of danger! So far, my future sight has only shown me things that... um... look like danger," she corrected herself, noting that no actual threats had been identified by her clairvoyance yet. As Aera picked out her spot, she'd continue on, unimpeded... she didn't appear to be in any danger. "It might not be safe! We should keep a close eye on her," Seer added, her third eye locked onto their companion. "Wait, another vision... hm... Oh! It's..." she continued, turning her eyes over to the woman across the bar a few times suspiciously. She leaned in even closer to MachMan to speak more quietly, this time almost intimate close, revealing a sweet, strawberry-scented perfume as purple hair flicked from inside her cloak's hood. "She has a leg-holster with a pistol in it... hidden beneath the bar," she explained. That seemed unlikely, as that would imply that Jack had no rules against people carrying weapons out here on the deck, but it was possible... the brown-haired lady did have one leg crossed over the other horizontally, such that MachMan wouldn't be able to see the thigh from where he was sitting.

Jack had vanished from the bar at some point; if MachMan looked around hard enough, he'd see her on top of the tallest point of the ship besides the mast, where a roof sat over the upper deck's dining area. She had a navigator's scope held in both hands and was looking far off into the distance. If he simply looked himself, he wouldn't see anything there... but she certainly seemed focused on it.
The three received their swimsuits, and briefly gave them a once-over. "Thank you!" Aera tried to reply before the Navi slipped back to the bar, her voice raising a bit as their "host" rapidly moved away. Mach and Vector elected to keep the .GMOs stored for later, but Aera took the opportunity to utilize hers after she found her lounging spot. The bikini fit surprisingly well, and complemented her previous garb nicely. She glanced down at her new attire from behind her still present sunglasses, giving the waist frill a flick with a grin. One of the complementary towels included with the .GMO materialized in her hand, which she spread over the lounge chair of her choice, before she sat and reclined to take in the rays of the comfortably warm sun.

Vector saw Aera had quickly taken to the environment happily, and decided it was best to take her advice and at least try to blend in, instead of standing somewhat awkwardly by himself. He looked to one nearby, hopefully unclaimed, pool float and shunted it to the edge of the pool. If it was somewhat far away, he'd extend his armor plating to "stretch" his arm if need be. Once it was in place, he tried to ease into the raft, focusing not only on establishing himself securely on the float, but also keeping his naturally pointy aspects of his body from scratching or stabbing its surface. If he wasn't careful, he'd find himself slipping off into the pool, or find himself captain of a doomed vessel. Though reclined, Aera occasionally opened her eyes to glance at Vector. She'd give his attempt to board the raft, not to miss a potentially comedic moment.

Mach moved to the bar, and listened to Seer's concerns. If Seer knew Yasu as well as he did, if she was indeed overboard she was more likely to harm the wildlife than they were to harm her, but he didn't feel the need to spill the beans regarding her abilities... but upon further reflection, he hadn't yet seen her perform any combat actions. She could run quickly and seemed fairly agile, but he'd actually never seen her tangle with an opponent or even brandish a weapon. Regardless, his apparent lack of concern was genuine.

At the bar, he found Seer's vision at least partially confirmed, along with a warning of a point-based violation system. He was a bit more concerned with accumulating too many points against their "record" than Yasu's well-being, since Jack-of-All-Trades did use the word "jumped," not "pushed" or "fell." "Understood with apologies, miss; was merely checking on the well-being of my friend. I'll pass the word to her." He didn't expect to gain any "discount" to the infractions, but he didn't want to brush off her warning and end up on her bad side, as he suspected they'd be interacting with her more throughout the day/night. Apparently he also attracted the attention of the a program, who was the recipient of the drink Jack-of-All-Trades was preparing. He returned the smile with a polite smile and nod of his own. He didn't have a glass to raise in response, so that would have to do for now. "Thank you, Jack." Mach responded to the bartender, relieved she did go by something other than her full name.

As he waited for the alcoholic drinks to be finished, he was able to listen in on the conversation between the alleged assailants. Their conversation was odd, and they seemed out of place, but there wasn't anything that roused any immediate suspicion at least in regards to Yasu. That said, their presence was still odd enough to keep in mind. He'd keep an eye out for them in the future, because it sounded like they weren't entirely there by choice. He received his requested drinks soon enough, which allowed him to return the silent toast from the older brunette in white, then took a sip himself. As he mulled over the taste and strength, he received a report from one of the decoys, along with a FMV feed. Yasu was indeed over the side, but she didn't show any signs of being in danger. He silently commanded the decoy to dive down and execute a low pass a dozen feet from the waves over Yasu's position in an attempt to get her attention. After passing a good distance, the decoy temporarily deactivated its holoprojectors to show Yasu its true identity, then clicked them back on and began a slow orbit around her to keep the general in view.

As it did so, Mach opened a channel with the General. [[i]"General, Seer had a premonition regarding you being pushed overboard. Is that accurate? Regardless, we're apparently in violation of the ship's rules, and further infractions will bring penalties. If you are able to board, I'd encourage you to do so; it looks like the weather conditions are taking a turn for the worst. Otherwise I can assist you if necessary."[/i]] Just as he sent sent the message, Seer whispered another premonition. The subject of said premonition initially caused a flash of concern in his mind, but as the girl elaborated, it seemed even more benign than her previous visions... then again, so far her premonitions of imminent danger proved to be innocuous. Could the opposite be true, where seemingly harmless visions are actually bad omens? It seemed a bit absurd, but the fact that Aera was fully combat-capable, Vector was nearby, and he wasn't very far from her himself made him reassured of her situation.

Seer's next revelation seemed less premonition than x-ray vision or good situational awareness. Apparently the lady nearby was packing a pistol. Considering he himself was packing teleportation tech, heavy shielding, and beam cannons, a pistol didn't seem much of a threat. He took another sip of the drink if the first taste was enjoyable, noting Seer's sweet smelling perfume mixed with the presumably alcoholic smell of his drink. After his sip, he replied quietly, his mask doing somewhat well to... mask his jaw movement as he looked down at his drink, then looked in Seer's eyes. "Gotcha. I'll keep an eye out, but you should relax a bit." He grinned before he looked to the unclaimed cocktail and lemonade. He moved to take them from the bar, and grabbed one drink in each hand. "Mind watching my drink for a minute?" he asked of Seer, at a normal conversational volume.

If Seer agreed, he'd stand up and begin to move to Aera and Vector, being careful to not spill the drinks.
With little effort, Aera found a nice place by the pool. With a great deal more effort, Vector found a way to get a raft into the pool without poking or tearing a hole in it (though it would sag beneath the water a good bit regardless, as was unavoidable given his weight). MachMan, in the mean time, tried to set things right with the bartender, who still seemed prickly even after his apology. "Please do. Thank you," she responded simply. He would also find that the drink she'd given him was suitably strong that there would be no denying she'd listened to his request... perhaps a bit too strong if he was expecting her to go easy on it for a first-time customer.

Over the side of the ship and into the water, Yasu noticed MachMan's clone flying overhead and took the time to swim over to the side of the ship, placing one hand onto a notch in the metal plating to steady herself above the water. If she'd tried to simply bob in the water and talk to him for a while, no doubt the ship would get away from her. "Pushed overboard? No, I jumped," she responded with an impatient glare. "I'm not going to let this cruise interrupt my morning routine. I expect all of the Shogun's soldiers to keep in top physical form, regardless of 'vacation' or 'leisure time.'" Certain soldiers probably had forms that wouldn't benefit from physical training to begin with, but Yasu was apparently saying it was important for her. Her one visible eye narrowed (she was still wearing her eyepatch while swimming). "If we're breaking the rules, I will board again. They should put up a sign or something if they don't want people to go off of the ship," she complained, starting her way up the side again. "What? No, I don't need assistance," she answered again, leaping from one spot of the ship's hull to another on her way back up.

Seer squirmed in her seat a bit, but nodded along with MachMan's request that she try to ease up on her worrying. She cast another glance over to the woman in the white bikini, who was still smiling at MachMan, indicating he'd caught her interest for some reason. "Sure... I'll stay here," Seer responded quietly, still keeping her voice down, as if worried that either the ones she'd come to spy on or the woman across the bar would notice her if she spoke at her regular volume. The leader of the Neo-Shogun's aerial squadron would find his way to his SPs unimpeded, allowing each of them to accept their drinks. Back at the bar, Seer was unable to stop watching him, concern evident in her eyes (all three of them).

The air was continuing to grow mistier, to the point that whatever Jack had been watching from up top seemed to be getting away from her. She summoned a microphone into one hand and cleared her throat, moving to the edge of the roof she was standing on. "I hope everyone is enjoying the cruise so far. I apologize for interrupting your festivities, but I feel it's important to warn you that just off to our west, I've spotted-" she began, before being interrupted. Another navi danced out from behind her, grabbing the microphone and raising their voice into a playful laugh.

A closer look would reveal it wasn't just one navi... rather, a tall man was standing there, dressed in a pink navi-suit designed with broad shoulders like those of an actual suit jacket. The arms ended in black gloves the legs in matching boots; a black cape waved behind him, slung over one shoulder and hanging down the right side of his body. His complexion suggest that he was modeled to be Whazzapian. He eyes were thin and dark, as was his pencil mustache, the kind that had stopped being in style a long time ago. His hair was notably long, reaching almost to his shoulders, but combed and style so that none fell over his face. His grin was handsome, or at least would have been, if he wasn't acting a bit like a douche.

The other navi was... a white mannequin, which he danced with as he moved. The mannequin was a creamy white color, with the rough shape of a woman, but mostly featureless. Regardless, it seemed to be moving on its own and kept up with his moves as he twirled. Dance afficianados might recognize his moves as part of the tango. He confirmed this shortly after by announcing his name. "Welcome, party people and lovely couples! I am Tango, your host for today's luxurious cruise," he informed all of them, removing a rose from the pocket beneath his cape and pointing it outward dramatically with a sweep of his long arm. "My beautiful guests, today is a day of fun and festivity! I'm glad to see you all enjoying yourselves."

Here, he spun again and leaned the mannequin outward once, before hoisting it up above his head; it seemed to jump to assist him with that motion. Suddenly, his features vanished; he became a white mannequin itself, while the figure he was holding adopted a pink bodysuit, long, black cape over the opposite shoulder from his own, and basically the same hair, only without the mustache. Also, it was a woman instead of a man, of course. "My associates at Net-Tango and myself cannot overstate the importance of romantic getaways, such as this very event, to the long-term good and health of any relationship! It frees your spirit from worry, oh, so many worries! But don't you feel all of that dancing away? Don't you feel... ah... sated?" she asked, letting herself down from the air and then twirling some distance away from the mannequin, while still holding its hand. "And the best is yet to come, my darlings! It's a bit sudden, but I'd like you all to join me in the dining hall. On this, the last day of our cruise, I have a fun game for us to play that will fill all of our hearts with love, joy, and, dare I say it... passion?" She reached into her pocket (hers hidden behind the cape on the other side of the chest) and pulled out a white rose, placing it into her mouth and raising her eyebrows flirtatiously.

Jack leaned over, crossing her hands behind her back and looking sour, based on her frown. "Actually, Tango, Ma'am, rolling in from the west-"

"No no, my dear Jack-of-All-Trades," the mannequin spoke to her, quickly becoming a man again as the subject she was addressing lost all features of its face. This gave him the perfect opportunity to re-position the microphone so that Jack was no longer speaking into it. "There is no need to worry our guests over a little, pfffft, weather! What is weather in the face of love?" Tango asked, pursing his lips and winking at the bartender. "Everyone, while our friend Jack works on resolving this little cloudy-day problem, why don't you all file into the dining area as I've recommended? It's the lovely structure just beneath my feet and those of my partner." He did a quick tap-dance, as if to point more clearly to the right spot. It might occur to one thinking about his motivation that he could be trying to get the crew off the deck before a storm started... but then, it didn't really look like a storm, just a fine mist, becoming increasingly dense, surrounding the ship. On the other hand, Jack had said she saw something "rolling in."

At any rate, it looked like most of the guests were going to go along with the direction, although there were already some displeased murmurs; a lot of people had obviously been counting on the sunlight to get the most out of the vacation, and the net being the net, random weather ought not to be capable of ruining their good time. Frowning wider, Jack retreated to the back of the roof, presumably to get started on "taking care" of the mist, however she was going to do that. Tango continued dancing, possibly for the crowd, possibly just unable to stop dancing. Seer got up from her seat, taking her lemonade with her, along with MachMan's drink, which she intended to give back to him. "I did see another vision... but as far as I could tell, it was just Aera again. This power is um... pretty new... so maybe I don't understand it completely yet. It's becoming apparent it might not all be dangerous scenarios I'm seeing after all," she mused, once she was close enough to the others to speak to all three of them. "We should probably do as Tango says and go inside, though. At this point, it was actually difficult to tell what the weather was... the mist had become so thick that there was no possibility of soaking in rays. "Come to think of it, I don't know if I'll actually be able to find IllusionMan in this weather... for that matter... I can barely see my way to the next deck," Seer pointed out, starting her statement as a joke, but realizing by the end that it was a serious issue.

Yasu had rejoined the others, her hair and body still dripping from the swim earlier. It wasn't a bad look for her, though it didn't fix her stormy expression. "I'm sure he'll head inside. He had to have heard that command, if he's anywhere on the ship," Yasu shrugged. "You can meet him in there. MachMan, please see to it that Seer finds her way inside."

"I-I can handle it," Seer protested, not wanting to be a nuisance.
After confirming Yasu's situation and convincing her to return aboard, Mach responded with a simple [[i]"Understood,"[/i]] and his decoys quickly faded from sight. With the general accounted for, he could get back to enjoying his R&R. Seer agreed to watch his drink as he retrieved those for his SPs, and moved to them. As he turned, he caught a glance of the allegedly armed Navi looking at him with a smile. He didn't break his stride, but noted it in case they encountered her again.

As he approached, he was greeted by the somewhat amusing sight of Vector reclining in a floating raft, and a quite pleasing sight of Aera in tastefully flattering swimwear sunning on her lounge chair. A smile flashed across her face, hinting she caught sight of Mach approaching from behind her heavily-tinted sunglasses. He extended her drink to the SP, which she took after she sat up. "Pool-side service? I could get used to this," she teased before taking a sip. Mach looked to Vector, which caused the SP to re-evaluate his situation. Mach could see the fractal program's glowing cycloptic eye pan around, likely noting the significant distance between them and the slight difficulty their situation may cause. However, Vector came to a quick solution to their little conundrum, and sent his entire forearm floating towards the Navi like a missile moving in slow motion, which stopped an appropriate distance with an open hand. Mach couldn't help but chuckle at the convenient utility as he handed the lemonade to the seemingly disembodied arm. It smoothly retreated to its owner, then raised in a toast before Vector took a sip himself. He elected to toast silently, instead of attempting to yell across the pool.

Mach was first to notice a slight haziness to become more apparent around the ship, similar to the mist reported from the decoys, and apparently it was something significant, as Jack started to make an announcement before she was suddenly cut off. The mic was pilfered by a flamboyantly dressed Navi, who claimed to be the true "host" of this event, along with his mannequin-esque dance partner.

They seemed flamboyantly appropriate for a lavish cruise atmosphere, but almost... expected until they made a most peculiar transformation. Mach couldn't help but be intrigued as Tango's features and garb quickly transferred to the mannequin, but adopted its feminine form. Mach had seen some pretty strange things in his time on the net, but Tango's ability was a first for him. He started to wonder if one of the forms was a SP, or maybe the Navi's program was somehow split into two separate graphic models, which allows its "core" quickly swap from one "shell" to the other at will.

Interesting abilities aside, Tango directed her guests to join her in the dining hall for an apparent "capstone" event. Vector and Aera felt some disappointment at the announcement, for they were just getting comfortable. She kept her drink in hand as she stood up and walked to Mach. The towel covering the lounge chair quickly disintegrated and disappeared, and her bikini was promptly replaced with her similarly styled sun dress. Vector, still in his raft, elected not to wade through the pool, so he silently began to float into the air. Once he rose above the raft, one could see several open slats around his calves and shoulder blades, which emitted an eerie blue glow along with milky white mist, which dissipated almost immediately after pouring out the slatted thrusters. He reoriented himself vertically and soon touched down nearby.

Jack briefly interjected during Tango's guidance, which caused the Navi to transfer back to his male shell and redirect the mic away from Jack. However, Mach heard enough to pique his interest. A decoy materialized between him and Aera, but its holoprojectors remained switched off, even after he wordlessly commanded it to float towards the western-facing side of the ship. He'd take a look himself and/or send the decoy over the side for a better view, but his previous antics had already tallied up a significant amount of infractions per the ship's rules.

Seer caught up with them as they started to follow the crowd towards the dining hall. They paused as Seer described another vision, but she seemed as incredulous about it as the rest of the group, chalking it up to the fact she wasn't quite used to this newly manifested ability. Aera raised an eyebrow on mention of her being the subject of her vision, particularly the "again" part, as she wasn't privy to the first vision Seer saw while at the bar. "Something I should be concerned about, Mach?" she asked as she shot a glance to the Navi. "I don't think so. As she said, new power. Guess she just has an eye for you, who knows?" He replied, his tone changing from serious to teasing. Aera still got the impression that Mach didn't entirely discount Seer's visions, but didn't want to sour the mood. Keeping the mood light, she threw back some teasing of her own. "Then I guess you have some competition. Just don't gawk too much," she said with an impish grin.

"No guarantees," he retorted as he began to lead the group behind the rest of the crowd, but Yasu made her appearance on deck as well. She'd caught Seer's concern for IllusionMan's whereabouts, and further supported they should head inside. To be honest IllusionMan wasn't much of a concern in Mach's mind, though he may have something to do with the mist encroaching on the ship. Mach complied with Yasu's request to escort Seer inside, while offering a complementary white towel that rapidly materialized in his hand, which he held out to the actively dripping general. "Will do. Towel?"

He'd hand the towel to her or let it fragment and disappear depending on Yasu's response, then retrieve his drink from Seer. "Thanks! Let's head in then." They resumed following the crowd, while Mach's decoy panned the horizon in an attempt to pick out anything in the soupy mist.
Yasu closed her eyes and nodded slowly, accepting the towel from MachMan. "I can't get used to all of the lavish benefits of this cruise. I'm out of my element," Yasu admitted, as though a simple towel after a swim was unusual extravagance for her. She vigorously toweled her hair for a bit as they talked. "Something's definitely suspicious about our host... or hostess... whichever he or she is. I don't think it we've been caught in a trap or anything, considering that navis from so many different unrelated walks of life are assembled here, but I still don't trust them." She lifted her chin and toweled beneath her neck for a moment, then down to her bust line, a motion that would be distracting even if she was saying something important rather than just small talk. "There are too many X factors here. Remember: we in the Shogun's empire value our friends, but especially in recent times, we have enemies everywhere. Keep a sharp watch on anyone untrustworthy," she reiterated.

Seer didn't get what Aera and MachMan were joking about, but got the sense that it was at her expense and pouted. "I can't control what I see..." she defended, her pink turning a bit red as it was proposed she might be using her power to spy on Aera. She handed MachMan back his drink, then followed the group inside the dining area.

The inside was probably about what MachMan imagined: more pink and cream colored scenery with generous branding of "NT" here and there. Very long curtains hung over the walls here and there, billowing as people moved past them, and a large stage was set up at the opposite side of the room, with kitchen entrances to either side. It didn't look like there was any backstage area, just a protrusion, so it wasn't likely they were going to see a NetVegas magic show or anything with a lot of costuming. The lighting overhead was very bright, very standard, but reflected nicely off a number of crystalline chandeliers. Each of the tables had already been set with two baskets of snack foods: the first had cold spheres of ice cream, coated in an assortment of tart, pink candy coating and black chocolate, with skewers to pluck them out from the bowl, and the second containing fajita wraps and various sizzling fajita-fillers. It might occur to one that ice cream and fajitas were a strange pairing, not really something that can be enjoyed together. Each table had a white cloth spread over with plates, utensils, and folded napkins matching the number of chairs: five to a table. All of the tables had quickly become partially filled, as it was pretty natural for others not to mingle until the option turned into a necessity.

Escort and her roommate were just being seated at one table. Escort remained dressed as she had earlier, still in uniform, for whatever reason, though she must be hot in it. Her buddy, a tall (but not as tall as Escort) and tough looking (but not as tough looking as Escort) lady with bronze skin and long, waving purple hair, sat beside her. She was wearing a red bikini top, styled with pink coral shapes that served as straps over the shoulders and around the back, that was very flattering, given the size of her chest (though it wasn't as large as Escort's). Her lower body was mostly hidden by the table, but was currently clad in black exercise shorts, over which the peak of her pink swimsuit straps could be seen rising up. Her eyes were the same bright pink shade of the coral on her outfit, and pretty, though she looked like she was acting a bit cold for someone on a romantic getaway. Yasu moved to take a seat by the two of them immediately, soliciting an awkward smile from Escort; the Neo-Shogun Army's heavy hitter clearly wasn't sure how to handle introducing her special friend to her boss, who seemed disapproving of anyone else' relationship.

MachMan would be left with a weird situation now, where he had the option for only two of them to join their Neo-Shogun brethren at the table, not to mention Seer needing a spot. The elbow room was already "just right" and scooting another two chairs in would make it crowded. If he cared to take another option, he could probably get a table with some other familiar faces. The two who were bound at the wrist were sitting at a table together now, with nobody caring to join them, probably because of the guy's appearance. Tango had taken a seat at one table with "his" "wife" in the chair next to him; they were still holding hands together, making them look as though they too might be bound at the wrist. The lady in the white bikini had taken a seat next to a dark-skinned man with black shades, yellow-dyed dreadlocks, and a gray suit (a bit like the host's navi-suit), which notably held a pattern that looked like a bandoleer of bullets, running down the seam of the coat. His muscles and dress were intimidating, but he was being pretty normal, holding a conversation with the woman. His voice was very deep. If none of those tables worked, MachMan always had the option of whichever two were stragglers choosing to take their chances and sit with someone he hadn't gotten a good look at yet. He'd also likely notice that Jack-of-All-Trades was flashing about the room here and there, attending to various patrons. It was hard to imagine she was also busy outside the ship...


... But she was, as MachMan's drone could make out. At first, all the drone saw was fog, but as it got further away from the ship, it managed to see Jack still perched upon the highest point of the ship save the mast. She was using her telescope again to watch something in the distance, which the drone would be able to get an image of now, in worse or clearer quality depending on whether it had a zoom feature or not. If it couldn't zoom in, it would see a classically designed, many-sailed clipper ship coming towards their own ship. If it could, he'd spot a design on its sales, somewhat camouflaged being that it was in pale green over faded yellow. The design was more of a pattern than an emblem, though it did form a large, cursive C on the main sail. A figure in a fancy, green park-stroller's gown and hat was standing at the helm, with a pale green parasol held above her head, but it was hard to make out much of their other features without them being closer. Perhaps more importantly, a number of other ladies in pale green uniforms, with a design much like a color variation on a naval seaman's, were standing around the ship, each outfitted for various styles of combat: some had sabers in scabbards, other knives in twin holsters, others pistols, still others rifles. Whatever the case, the way they were correcting their course, it was pretty clear they were coming for the vessel.

MachMan might now think that it was more likely Jack was trying to warn the crew of that, rather than the fog. He might also wonder why Tango had thought it best to hide the approach of a militant ship, or whether Tango was even aware of it before he cut Jack off. Finally, he might further wonder how Jack planned to take care of that whole ship by herself, or if she had another plan for dealing with them.


"I see... a ship approaching," Seer murmured quietly, though she didn't seem to have as many details as MachMan's drone did. "It looks old-timey... but it's headed towards us. That's weird," she added.
"Agreed," Mach said quietly, he shared Yasu's feeling of suspicion regarding Tango and some of the other guests. However, Mach didn't sense anything beyond an attempt to save face or redirect attention from a potential problem.

Seer was unamused by the banter, which she correctly deduced to be at her expense. Not to alienate their clairvoyant ally, Mach apologized, but maintained a light attitude. "Apologies, didn't mean to offend. Besides, Aera does tend to attract attention." Aera overheard and simply replied with a grin and a flick of her hair, as if saying "you know it." Aera seemed to be demonstrating sass quite well, something she normally doesn't get to practice.

They filed in to the dining hall, noting the myriad of tables topped with food, and a simple stage near the "front" of the room. Yasu quickly took her place at the table with Escort and another woman, presumably Coral. There were other tables, but all of them were at least partially claimed, which required the group to split up. He felt it appropriate for Aera and Seer to take the remaining seats at the soon to be all-female table, allowing Vector and himself to take up other seats to interact with others. "Aera, how about you and Seer take a seat with the other three ladies? We'll find a table close by," he suggested.

Aera would've preferred sharing a table with him instead of getting split up yet again, but at least the company would be interesting; she couldn't help but want to get to know Escort's companion, and an all-female table may open some more candid conversations. "Alright, don't wander off too far, okay?" she replied, then turned to Seer and took her hand. "Let's have a seat! Don't worry, I don't bite," she said, borrowing a phrase from Sylk's playbook as she led the Navi towards the table with a smile. As they approached, Aera would give a friendly wave to the trio already seated before finding their seats.

Mach scoped the rest of the tables, Tango, the woman in white, and the "odd couple" had chosen separate tables, giving them plenty of options. Though he wanted to sit with Tango to figure him/her out, the pair's previously smooth antics made him wary; they were sharp and on home turf, any plots to figure them out would likely be seen through. As he was making his decision, he got a feed from his decoy. Though the mist reduced the fine visibility of the surroundings, he could clearly make out the shape of a large sailing vessel, and movement on its upper deck suggested crew aboard. This is likely the item of interest Jack was alluding to.

He gestured Vector towards the table with the bikini-clad woman and her suited compatriot, to which the SP complied with a nod. Mach handed his drink to the SP, told him to "save him a seat." Vector approached with a drink in each hand, and looked to the two already seated. "Excuse me, are these two seats taken?" he asked, his cycloptic eye glanced to the two chairs ahead of him to specify which seats he sought.

In the meantime, Mach tried to double back through the doorway through which he previously entered, and looked to see if there were any hallways down to the lower decks, as if he was returning to his room for something. As he did so, he opened a line with his NetOp. [[i]"Mazer, looks like I'll be needing some battlechips after all. Mind slotting in an Invis2?"[/i]] Mazer had finished his coffee by the time Mach messaged him, and about to grab a book and enjoy the weather on his porch. ["Causing trouble already? I'll send it in now, just don't get kicked out,"] he replied as he pulled his chip magazine from his pocket and slotted in the requested chip. [[i]"Thanks sir, I'll try my best."[/i]]

As he walked towards his room, he activated the Invis chip as well as summoning his second decoy behind him. As his body faded into the background, the Decoy's holoprojectors came online, effectively replacing Mach's presence in the hallway. He half-expected to be approached by Jack, and prepared to route his audio through the decoy to explain his desire to grab something from his room, taking advantage of its masked mouth to hide the fact Mach was effectively "throwing his voice." If Jack was insistent on having him return to the dining hall, the decoy would shrug in defeat and turn around as requested.

Once Mach felt he was in the clear, he'd teleport out to the side of the ship, about a dozen feet above the water. Still hopefully invisible, he caged is bearings and looked out towards the approaching vessel. His vision was arguably better than his decoy, and his advanced perception function quickly indicated the presence of several armed programs on the deck. Seems his desire to investigate wasn't for naught, for it looks like an armed incursion in progress. He silently darted towards the inbound vessel, careful to stay high enough above the waves to keep from getting swatted from the sky, or leave a wake that could reveal his approach.

If he managed to approach without detection, Mach moved to the ship's hull and remained a foot or two away, creeping up only enough to get a peek of the crew and their armaments, as well as trying to eavesdrop on any conversations in an attempt to determine their intent.
"Oh, it's okay. I'm just a little thin-skinned, is all..." Seer apologized, her third eye looking down at her feet (although it was doubtful it could see past the swell of her chest unless she bent forward). She smiled awkwardly as Aera reeled her in to Neo-Shogun Empire table. "Hello... I'm Seer. We've run into each other once or twice now," she greeted the other two girls. "Um... you are...?"

"Coral," the girl with purple hair answered, doing her best to smile, but still looking frustrated about something. "Good to meet you, Aera, Seer. Yasu was just introducing herself..."

"So," Yasu picked up, smirking and throwing one arm over the back of her chair so she could turn slightly to speak to Coral. "If you're traveling with Escort, no doubt you're one of her promising picks to join the Neo-Shogun's army, correct? What sort of skills do you plan to offer? I trust any pick of Escort's implicitly, of course, but I must admit, I'm still curious."

"... I think there's some kind of misunderstanding," Coral murmured, raising one eye-brow. "I'm not joining your Empire, though, er, Escort says nothing but good things about you. I'm already employed under Garnish, she owns a dance club... I'm a bouncer there."

"Bouncer...?" Yasu responded, narrowing one eye and clearly not understanding what that meant. It was clear this conversation would keep going in circles unless Aera explained something to someone...


Vector joined up with one of MachMan's earlier acquaintances, along with another unfamiliar navi; MachMan didn't come with him, given that he had business elsewhere. "No, please... sit. I was hoping I'd get a chance to talk with you, so this works out perfectly. Well, MachMan specifically, but you as well, Vector," she responded, seeming aware of their names without being told. "I'm Memora. This is my business associate, ArmoryMan," she introduced first herself, then the man next to her. "I'm a collector of war memorabilia... my compatriot here is a seller of things 'war present,' as it were. Together, we make it our business to know the wars of the net... well, there isn't much beyond a cold war right now, so let's say we make it our business to know the 'warriors.' Your MachMan... I gather he's quite a warrior," she began, skewering one of the ice cream balls and bringing it to her lips with a playful smile.

"Need to talk to you guys..." ArmoryMan added, leaning across the table towards Vector. "You guys have been getting attacked a lot recently, haven't you? You also pissed off a lot of powerful people, from what I'm getting... I know you're loaded, but all those other guys in your army are going to start hurting if they don't upgrade from sticks and stones. You're talking to a guy well equipped to help you with that," the gray-suited man suggested, showing hands that were surrounded by rings also fashioned like bullet shells. "Doesn't come cheap though..."

"Which is whyyyy," Memora pitched back in, "I can help you with fundraising. Specifically, I will buy uniforms, weapons, war artificats... whatever you might have on hand, for a very generous price," she suggested, raising her eyebrows and leaning a bit towards Vector. "The Neo-Shogun Empire is a hot brand right now... I want to get in on the ground floor."

"Yeah, there's one problem though," ArmoryMan added, rapping his fingers on the table, as if to draw attention away from Memora. "Hear the Empire's sort of out of the war business lately. See, I do self defense too, but part of my contracts depend on continued business. For that, it's a lot better if you Shoguns pick fights, rather than just taking them. Do you get what I'm saying? Might not sound worth considering... but you haven't seen the contract I'm willing to give you for torching your neighbors yet..."

"Don't listen to him! A tad aggressive on the pitch, dear," Memora chuckled, pushing him back into his chair. "I don't care if you lot are going soft. The only thing I care about is that you used to be violent! And your MachMan, well... I've actually already lined up a buyer who's interested in his memorabilia. Once the man comes back, we'll talk about it a little more. Would that be alright with you, Vector?" she asked again, raising her drink to see if he'd toast.


Jack was indeed ready to intercept 'MachMan,' advising him to return to his seat. She watched him return, not suspiciously, but obviously impatient, which seemed to be her default expression. Being down there to talk to the decoy didn't stop her from being up top to look out her spyglass. Still, good as she was, she couldn't fly; invisible MachMan had no such issue and took off to investigate the approaching militant vessel. Getting close, things seemed much as before, though he was able to learn a few extra details. No one ostensibly seemed to be in "battle stations" or discussing anything related to an invasion. Furthermore, there were no cannons or heavy weapons anywhere on the ship... possibly owing to the fact that a clipper ship wasn't well suited for carrying a lot of heavy armaments, but it seemed a bit more barren than usual. The crew were making small talk amongst each other, but the lady in the green dress was standing alone.

Closer up, he could see a few other details: she was also dressed in dainty, ornately embroidered white silk gloves. Her skin was rather dark, with long, curling, chocolate colored hair that seemed a shade light for her complexion. While she was carrying a parasol over her shoulder, her hands were busily occupied writing something on yellow paper attached to a large keyboard, quite a primitive set of equipment for a navi. For a moment, her sharp, green eyes seemed to turn to MachMan, as though she'd seen him... but she was only looking past him, and soon got back to writing.

There was no real evidence of their intentions. The only way to learn would be to either let the ship run its course or somehow interrogate the woman or her crew.
Aera took to her seat, listening in on the conversation between Yasu and Coral. It sounded like Coral and Escort were truly there for purely social reasons, as opposed to a potential recruitment effort, like Yasu incorrectly assumed. She looked uncomfortable, unsurprising since both she and Escort probably assumed their getaway wouldn't be interrupted by work, especially not in person. Aera took a sip from her drink as Coral fielded Yasu's questions, thinking of what to do next. She wasn't sure if Coral was one for small-talk, but she didn't seem entirely abrasive. She also surmised asking how she and Escort met wouldn't be the best way to hop in to the conversation. Once a break in the conversation revealed itself, but not too long to be a pregnant pause, she spoke up.

"What do you think of the dance club, if you don't mind me asking? Pardon my curiosity, I've never been to one before..." She fell back on her own inexperience and relative "newness" on the net, to show a genuine curiosity and interest in Coral's place of work. She hoped it would help lighten the mood and get them more comfortable, but would drop the subject if Coral or Escort clammed up, and go back to sipping her drink. She'd noticed a familiar feeling caused by the drink, noting her experience in the casino back when they first met Escort.


Vector was relieved to not have to deal with the awkwardness of being denied the requested seats, but it was mildly alarming she new not only Mach's name, but the SP's name as well. The room was labeled only with "MachMan and Yasu," so she somehow got the information from alternate means. Thankfully his expressionless face hid his surprise, allowing him to keep his cool as he placed the drinks down on the table, then slid one of the chairs back for him to sit. "Thank you, Miss Memora, Mr. ArmoryMan." he responded politely, his eye panned to each Navi as he said their names. He listened quietly as Memora explained both her and compatriot's respective occupations, and their interest in MachMan. He was torn between suspicion and pride, they seemed to know a good deal about Mach while they remained mostly unknown, but the lauding of his master was pleasing to hear.

The following tag-team explanation didn't give much room for Vector to interject, but he was keen to simply sit and listen, getting all of the background information before making his own response. "I cannot entirely speak for sir MachMan or the Neo Shogunate, but I can safely say your offer is intriguing." He replied and raised his glass; he was non-committal, as he really wasn't a spokesperson for the NS, but he didn't want to insult the pair of war-profiteers. "While we wait, may I ask who is interested in my master's 'memorabilia'?" he asked before taking a sip of his lemonade through the small straw. It wasn't entirely obvious how he was able to enjoy the drink, considering he didn't really have a mouth to speak of.

As he waited for their answer, he realized Mach's signal was no longer registering inside the ship, but a second decoy was relatively close to the Navi's previous position. [[b]"Sir, may I ask your status?"[/b]] he queried.


Mach, still invisible and hovering around the inbound ship, received the message from his fractal SP. He shot back a quick text reply as he tried to float up and over to the deck of the vessel. [[i]Investigating inbound vessel, I have a decoy inbound to your position.[/i]] He looked around, noting the general lack of hostility amongst the crew; they were armed, but didn't appear raring for a fight. A moment or two later, another message was received from Vector. [[b]"Understood, unless you are willing to have a conversation through your 'proxy self,' I'd advise your decoy stay away until you return. Nothing urgent, but the woman in white, "Memora" and her partner "ArmoryMan" wishes to speak with you personally,"[/b]] the message advised.

Trusting the SP's judgement, Mach would simply deactivate the decoy if it looked to be it wasn't being actively watched. Otherwise he would slow its return, its pace changing from a focused walk to an almost wandering saunter, almost as if it appeared lost. [[i]Wilco, I'll be back soon.[/i]] A few moments after the message was sent, the woman at the helm looked from her document and her gaze passed through Mach's position. He froze, glancing down to confirm he was still, in fact, invisible. Thankfully it appeared to be a coincidence, as she returned to writing.

Mach knew his chip's effect was timing out soon, so he had to act quickly if he wished to remain undetected. There was nothing other than an armed crew to allude to any potential conflict between the two vessels, but the document the woman was working on may reveal some relevant data. Like a ghost, he slid through the air and perched behind and slightly above the woman, far enough away to not get tangled up in her parasol, but close enough to get a clear view of the text on her paper.

He couldn't loiter for long, so after taking just long enough to get a good look at the paper, he floated back a few feet, then made a quick evaluation. It all depended on the document's contents, if there was something hinting to the ship and crew being a threat to the cruise, he'd sink down to the stern of the ship, and try to find a spot without portholes or windows before his chip timed out. He'd need a moment to evaluate what to do next.
If the document didn't reveal anything concerning, then he would've checked his overhead clearance before shooting straight up. He hoped to cut through the rolling mist, putting enough of the obscuring vapor to conceal himself as his body became less and less transparent.
"Well, if you hang around it as much as I do, you get tired of it," Coral answered with a shrug, doing her best to smile. "A lot of people enjoy it. I know Garnish really enjoys running it. I'm not much of a partier or a dancer, but, well... I have to admit, I did have some fun with Escort, the time we met. You might not realize it, but she's a real freak on the dance floor," she smiled, elbowing her partner in a very chummy way, her mood improving a bit. The tall, pale lady looked down at her hands and blushed again.

Seer looked a bit happier as well. "Dancing! I've never been dancing either myself. Although, I don't know if I'd have the coordination for it," she pitched in. "Well, I did a bit for my magic routine for a bit until... er... well, let's just say I learned it wasn't really part of a magic routine."

"When it comes to clubs, coordination is not so important as energy, rhythm, and perhaps a sense of space," Escort added. "In fact, if you're having a hard time figuring out what to do... I'd recommend you take a look around, spot someone executing a pattern you're comfortable with, and then copying their movements," she offered.

Yasu's mood seemed to be running inverse of everyone else's. "Dancing! Ha. That's a waste of time if I've ever heard of one. If you're going to take time off from your duties and use up valuable stamina and energy doing whatever you choose to do, it ought to be something that strengthens your mind or body. As the First General, I don't have time for frivolous activities like that," she sighed, rolling her hand. "Or... this," she further gestured, throwing her hands up to indicate the cruise ship itself. "Although, I'm making an exception for now." As if to illustrate the point, she began to chew upon a stuffed fajita roll, the inside of which she'd decorated almost exclusively with meat.

At another table, ArmoryMan and Memora gave each other a quick toast, already celebrating having caught the interest of MachMan's SP. After a quick drink, the lady in white continued speaking. "Your consideration is appreciated, Vector!" Memora thanked the SP, while her compatriot folded his hands and gave a big smile. "That's all we could hope for from a chance meeting like this. As for who's interested... Let's just say that everyone's interested in his weaponry and services, but not so many with the man himself just yet. Some branding might help with that! Even with that said, there is someone who is willing to pay a lot for it! She has a rather specific list of items she's interested in... armor, propulsion systems, clothing... I believe those were her offers, with an emphasis on the uniform. Oddly, the weapons aren't so much her concern."

"Huh. Doesn't know what she's missing," ArmoryMan scoffed, blowing smoke off of one of his rings, though it wasn't clear what the source of the smoke was. "Way I see it, all that other stuff is just accessory to his guns, right? Soldiers' uniforms are all just part of ego... the weapons are what's worth something."

"Who knows? It's neither my hobby nor my profession to question the motivations of my clients," Memoria answered, turning her smile back to Vector and ignoring ArmoryMan for a bit.


The average person might be expecting the green-dressed woman to be drawing up some sort of battle plans, but as it turned out, what she was really sketching out was far more harmless: a number of women's figures, clad in bikinis and swimsuits of various high-fashion designs. It looked like professional work... except for the fact that it was drawn over what seemed to be work-related notes. The notes were hard to make out, but looked to be various lists of either coordinates, measurements, or something that involved a lot of numbers not arranged as equations.

Unless he found that particularly threatening or otherwise wanted to look into the visitors some more, he would probably choose to retreat away and into the mist. As it turned out, the mist was still very low-lying, so upward wouldn't be a good option for blending in. The ship of the ladies in green had almost reached the cruise ship, so if he wanted to dissuade them in some fashion or warn those on the ship, his window of opportunity was approaching. On the other hand, he could let them finish whatever maneuver they were doing; it seemed that they were on a path for cutting around the cruise liner, at least, rather than ramming it.


Tango, he and his mannequin seated by themselves at a table, a bit awkward considering they were the hosts, tapped one metal kebab against his glass to signal the attention of the room. "Ladies and gentlemen, I promised you all a game, and you shall have it! My favorite game and soon to be yours, one that will have you all coming back time and time again, because every play is a new adventure! I speak, of course, of the heart of this couple's cruise: wife swapping, the trade of one intimate partner for another for one day only," he chuckled, smirking approvingly as various couples voiced either their approval or disapproval. "There's nothing impious or impure about this! We recognize it only as the game that it is, a bit of excitement and spontaneity to shake up a romance, just like this cruise itself! Of course, what this means to each of you is what you let it mean... I'd just urge you to try and think of your new partner as your soul mate, if only for a night! When you return to your lover, it will be with new perspective and a stronger foundation... And perhaps a saucy memory or two besides," he winked, before rising from his seat, spinning over the top while sticking out both legs, and ending by swapping to the mannequin in the chair, which grabbed the newly whitened hand and used it to lift up.

"As usual," she continued, dancing as she spoke, "I know that even creativity is often best spurred on by capitalistic sense of reward. Therefore, know that the wife-swapping pair I judge to be the most passionate of the day will enjoy rewards in the form of chips and zenny! Doesn't that sound like something to sweeten the evening?" with a chuckle, she spun around, then hopped upon the tablecloth and tapped rhythmically, holding a rose in her mouth again. "Of course, your chances are best if you volunteer to go first! I'd start, but, to make it fair to everyone, I've elected not to pick, but only to be picked myself. Just know that I'm very excited about my prospects today!" she laughed, grinning around her rose at various men in the audience.

"O-O-Oh no," Seer sputtered, sinking into her chair as her pink darkened to red. Escort and Coral, for their parts, didn't look surprised, but did look a bit tittery; they'd probably known this was coming. Yasu stared in angered shock, her jaw hanging open. Memora and ArmoryMan shared raised eyebrows and coy smiles. Somewhere in the distance, the girl and guy who were handcuffed together had started bickering.

"Come now! Don't be shy! Doesn't anyone want to be my icebreaker?" Tango inquired, performing a one man / one mannequin-show atop the table in a graceful dance.
Aera was happy to see Coral's mood lighten up, and with the added benefit of some interesting nuggets of info about Escort. It wasn't entirely surprising, considering how saucy she acted in their first mission with the NS.
Like Seer, Aera hadn't been dancing either. Unless she completely misinterpreted what Coral meant by "dancing," her impromptu pole routine at Hera's Fortune shouldn't count. Because of this, she took note of Escort's advice. "I'll definitely keep that in mind!" she replied with a smile, indirectly thanking Escort for the tips. She reached for one of the skewers, and plucked one of the smaller globes of ice cream from the bowl as Yasu gave her derailing criticism of the idea of dancing, and the cruise in general.

"I don't think it would be a complete waste," Aera retorted calmly, still holding the skewered ice cream in her hand. "Rhythm, timing, and a sense of space seem fairly valuable even outside of dancing. Not to mention the social aspect, especially if we're trying to build friendships and relationships. Such is a "cornerstone" of our organization, no?" She said with an indirect quote from the Shogun, an eyebrow raised before she popped the ice cream into her mouth and smiled. Though she tried to remain polite, admittedly she enjoyed the feeling of utilizing some sass in her argument.

That conversation contrasted sharply with the one occurring at Vector's table, which was mostly about business. Vector didn't protest his master's apparent popularity, even if it exclusive to his weaponry and skills. But he still couldn't shake a feeling of unease, he hadn't seen either Mazer nor Mach "advertise" themselves. However, according to Aera they'd participated in a tournament before he joined the team, which had a rather large audience. They didn't even reach the semi-finals, but it was quite possible they unwittingly established themselves on the net at large. Their involvement with some major NS operations and encountering FORFEIT could've added to their notoriety as well.

He listened to Memora's explanation of what their client was specifically looking for, but notably gave no further information other than their client was female. The SP, still naive to many of the intricacies of the net, found the entire idea of showing interest in Mach's armor and clothing odd. He could understand why someone would be interested in the Navi's anti-grav engines, but why his garb? He couldn't help but feel like someone wanted them for nefarious deeds, possibly to steal/imitate Mach's identity? Memora's lack of name-dropping didn't help to curb his suspicion.

While Mach was still absent, the fractal SP attempted to dig for more information. "By 'uniforms,' does your client mean .GMOs, or his base graphic model itself?" He seemed to catch himself, and "coughed" into his fist before continuing. "Forgive me, these questions would be better fielded by the client herself." He admitted, while mentally drafting some notes to send to Mach when he returns, to get him up to speed. He hoped his redirect would draw Memora in to how they'd get in contact with the client, or reveal said program was on board with them.


Speaking of Mach, he got a good look at the notes being written by the helms-woman of the clipper, but they appeared to be benign, but well-drawn, swimsuit designs for the female frame. Unless the "fashion police" somehow manifested into an actual militant organization, Mach didn't find anything alarming beyond the ship's course and the fact the crew was armed. A glance down the length of the clipper would show the vessel was on a course to cross off the bow of the slowly moving cruise ship, as opposed to a collision course. However, it could be angling itself to pull alongside, or even attempt to cut off the ship, which seemed nearly suicidal considering the cruise ship dwarfed the clipper.

With time running out, he made the decision to make his way back to the cruise ship, but with an added contingency plan. He sent a more clandestine text-only message to Mazer, requesting yet another chip. [[i]Requesting AirRaid2[/i]] Mazer got the message, and raised an eyebrow before he grabbed the requested chip from his magazine. After he slotted it through, he followed up with a typed message of his own. [You need air support now?]

Mach slipped over the side of the ship, and darted off through the low-lying fog to put a good distance between him and the clipper before his invisibility wore off. Once he mostly lost sight of the clipper in the fog, thinking his much smaller frame would be that much more obscured from their perspective, he activated the chip. In a quick flurry of data, a miniaturized version of the MachFighter materialized a few feet away, complete with stumpy little wings and a single compact motor. A few lights flickered in the FighterPlane's tiny cockpit, as if responding to the silent commands from the Navi, then zoomed off, maintaining a low altitude before disappearing in the fog.

As the FighterPlane began to set up a "racetrack" holding orbit parallel with the clipper's course, but not far enough forward to intersect with the cruise ship's path, Mach sent a response of his own before he blinked out of sight in a brief flash of cyan light. [[i]Just a precaution. Nothing serious, I think.[/i]] Mazer shrugged when he saw the message, and went inside to grab a newspaper, leaving the PET at the table on his porch.


Mach reappeared in the hallway a few feet from the entrance to the dining hall. Vector apparently got the message he was back on the ship, because a file transfer alert popped up in Mach's vision, with Vector being the sender. He made his way into the dining hall as he opened the file, and reviewed what looked like conversation notes from the two programs seated at the table with the SP.

He entered the dining hall and nonchalantly made his way to the table. He glanced to Memora and ArmoryMan as he reached his chair. "Didn't realize I was leaving you three waiting. I'm MachMan, pleasure to meet you both... but it seems you two know me already." He took a seat next to Vector, giving him a nod as he grabbed his drink, silently thanking him for keeping his spirits safe. While he took a sip of the still-cold cocktail, Tango announced the "game" which he alluded to earlier.

Mach looked to the left and right as Tango started to explain the finer points of the game, trying to confirm if he was the only one hearing this. His thoughts then shifted to Yasu, and for one foolish moment thought the general had known about this, but her utterly shocked look definitely indicated that wasn't the case. Vector was mostly confused rather than shocked, he wasn't privvy to the whole concept of "wife," nor to the idea that "swapping" them was a thing.

Aera was initially confused as well, but she put 2 and 2 together quickly and rapidly got on the same page as the rest of her tablemates. She then started to wonder, was it assumed that Mach and Yasu were a "couple" as they were put in the same room? She also noted from the programs she's seen, the women apparently outnumbered the men. Speaking of men, where would Vector fall in the mix? Or better yet, did SPs like him and herself count? It didn't really sink in she was possibly at risk of being paired up with someone other than Mach, at least not yet. "So... this is new," she remarked after swallowing her ice cream and before washing it down with a sip of her drink, making it known she wasn't aware of this beforehand.

"Hm." Mach absentmindedly muttered. He'd gotten over the initial shock, and started to think of what to do next. After reviewing Vector's notes, this "game" may be an effective interruption of the deal attempting to be brokered by Memora and ArmoryMan, who were obviously war profiteers and not exactly a group with whom he'd want to be associated. The clipper was also still a wildcard, they could be planning more than simply passing by; a potential boarding by pirates could derail the whole thing. For that at least he already had a contingency in place:

The FighterPlane continued its low orbit along side the clipper, trying to stay low and far enough away to remain concealed in the fog. This in turn restricted its capability to surveil the activities on the vessel, but something like a rapid turn, gunfire, or battle cries would be quickly noticed. It also remained in contact with Mach, who could also command it to shift from its orbit to an attack run.

With those two issues possibly being dealt with, the prospect of chips and zenny for being the most "passionate couple" was allotted more thought, but it wasn't exactly something Mach would jump at. It could be easy if he was paired up with someone he already knew, especially someone with whom he shared similar experiences like Escort or Aera. However, he could easily see any attempts with Yasu would probably lead to demotion, along with a heavy dose of verbal (and possibly physical) assault. Everyone else would be a toss up.

Tango volunteered "her"self first to be chosen by any one of the guys in the room. The prospect of that likely would become very, very weird, as Tango could switch between male and female forms at the drop of a hat. The idea of being "passionate" with a stranger was bizarre enough, adding Tango's seamless swapping was just too much. However, it seemed Tango potentially opened the door to the crew being eligible for the game. If that was so, would Jack be on the table as well? [[i]"If we find ourselves under "pirate" attack, who better to be paired up with Jack than me? Could leave her free to focus entirely on the safety of the ship, instead of trying to deal with a one-night-stand."[/i]] He pondered to himself, stalling for time in the hope someone else would bite the bullet and claim Tango.
"Granted, you could run into someone worthwhile during such a nonsensical endeavor. However, the best recruits, such as yourselves or even DragonierMan, are often found on the field of conflict... or referred by someone found on the field of conflict," she added, to include them. "For example, Escort here is a capable soldier first and an able dancer second! You'd struggle to show me a dancer so proficient at his or her craft that their know-how rivaled Escort's strength in battle," she smirked, giving Escort a look that was flatteringly satisfied in one's underling and offensively close to the pride of ownership.

"I aim to please," Escort added, politely. "Speaking of dancers... I'm starting to feel sorry for our host...s..."

"Hosts-ess-es? Coral blabbered, adding to the confusion.

"Yes... But not quite sorry enough to spend the rest of the day in a relationship with them," Escort admitted, allowing herself one of the ice cream skewers after Aera had claimed one. Coral did the same, followed by Seer. Only Yasu seemed to be the type to pick a fajita over ice cream as a between-meals snack.

"I'm also feeling bad about it... You know what they say! You only live once! I'm not going to waste this vacation sitting on the sidelines... I'm going to see if they want to swap partners with IllusionMan and me for today!" she resolved, rising to her feet hesitantly despite her vow of action. That might also be easier for her, given that no one had actually seen IllusionMan around to protest that arrangement all day. Before anyone could talk sense into her, she moved to the table, raising her hand. It took Tango a moment to notice, being that he/she was intimately involved in dancing with his/her self. "Excuse me! I'm ready to swap partners with you for today," she called out, encouragingly.

"Lovely!" Tango responded, awkwardly still in female form as she curved gracefully down to the flat of the table, leaving the mannequin standing, while holding a white rose in her mouth. She grinned cheesily and rested her chin on two folded hands, while lying on her stomach. "So tell me! Where's the lucky gentleman in this equation?"

"Oh he's... outside," Seer answered, perhaps only just realizing that he wasn't with them.

"... I'll have Jack find them!" Tango answered, missing only a beat before snapping her fingers and calling over one of many Jacks. "See if you can find Mr. IllusionMan and bring him into the hall. In the mean time, Seer, enjoy your partner," she chuckled, handing over the animated mannequin. The statue grasped Seer's hand, soliciting a gasp, as it moved on its own without direction or contact with its owner. "My husband will treat you kindly! He's had a lot of practice at our little game."

"O-Okay..." Seer responded, nodding along with an easy-to-get-along-with smile. "So... what do we do?" As if in answer, the mannequin began to twirl her in imitation of the dance it had just been doing. The male Tango reappeared while the female went pasty and white.

"Why, we do what all romantic couples do. With our hands together, sweat beading upon our brows, bodies in motion and moving with one rhythm, we... dance!" he offered, winking as he pulled the clairvoyant into a difficult looking dance, which he took the lead on.

Meanwhile, at Vector's table, Memora was more focused on her conversation than the events around her. "Allow me to elaborate," she answered with a patient smile. "The base graphic model, for most collectors, is considered the more valuable offering. A GMO with historic significance could also be worth something, but a piece of a GMO is worth rather little. If MachMan wears a separate combat uniform for his faction, that could also be worth looking at," she offered. "The more distinct the piece is or the more 'uniquely his', the greater I'd appraise the value at."

"It's a lot easier in my business. All this historic value and appraising and everything is fine, but with weapons, the metrics are all a lot simpler. You'll see how simple and effective my weapons are when your guy and I sign a contract... well, they're not quite as simple as those little sticks," he joked, smirking again.

"You're too suspicious, Vector," Memora laughed again, seeming amused. "That's natural, of course. I am a war monger and my friend here is both a war monger and an arms dealer. However, know that this is a hobby for me; I'm not arming anyone, I just like to trade items of significance to battles and fighters throughout the net's timeline. My client, well... her interest is less academic, I'm sure. But let me tell you, as a 'dangerous person' who interacts with a lot of 'dangerous people,' I can confirm she'd have a hard time being dangerous if she tried to be."


MachMan's air support would indeed confirm what he'd already thought about the trajectory of the ship; namely, that it was indeed cutting around the cruise liner, showing remarkable maneuverability. It was likely that the lady at the helm was just showing off. Once she'd made it round the bend, she circled around the side again, slowed to a decent speed, and began to ride alongside with obvious intent to board. Jack-of-All-Trades left her perch and went down to speak to them, showing no sign of hostility. "Miss Clipper," she addressed the most standout woman in green, signaling for her to leave her ship and come aboard.

Flanked on two sides by uniformed women, Clipper stepped across a bridge that the crew had set down between the two ships. Her heels made a loud clop, clop noise as she left one wooden surface for another. "Hello, darling," she greeted Jack, waving away her clipboard into some unseen storage and freeing one of her hands to shake. "I hope I haven't missed the festivities?"

"No. We are experiencing some weather and games are being held in the hall behind me, but that is all," Jack spoke in a breathless response, before reading out the same lay down of rules that she'd given MachMan. "Also, for failing to board the ship in standard fashion using the coordinates sent to you, I am assigning you and each of your crew members 0.2 penalty. Accruing 1 whole penalty will result in revocation of rights," she boldly asserted to four armed crew members and their captain.

"Oh, I should have figured... But I do prefer to make an entrance. It's a shame everyone's in the hall, and thus, no one around to see it," Clipper sighed, resting one delicate glove upon her cheek. "Well, let's head below deck. I need to change clothes and put down my luggage." The crew members appeared to be carrying said luggage, upon closer inspection. Jack nodded and showed them the way down.


"Charmed to meet you in person, MachMan," Memora answered, returning much the same smile she had earlier when she'd toasted. It still seemed somehow dangerous, but then, she'd already assured Vector that ArmoryMan was the dangerous one. "I'm Memora and this is ArmoryMan," she explained, on the off chance his SP hadn't already communicated that to him. The gruff gentleman gave a nod, but kept a serious frown otherwise.

Over at the other table, Coral shrugged, her purple locks bouncing on her shoulders as she did. "Don't worry, Aera. You don't have to play if you don't want to. This cruise ship would be a miserable place if you could get forced into doing anything like that," she pointed out.

As if in follow-up, a young girl approached the table, though she seemed to be by herself. Her green eyes were big and eager (for something) and her freckled face was beaming in excitement. Her brown hair, done into two long pigtails that extended stiffly to either side, and her swimwear of choice, a brown bikini top and matching board shorts with a yellow sheriff's star on one breast, along with a red bandana that didn't seem appropriate for swimming, all made her look even younger than her expression did (as did her figure), although she was at least a bit lanky, seeming less like a kid and more... young at heart. "I've gotcha! No backing out of it now! I gotcha dead to rights!" she proclaimed, maneuvering between Aera and Yasu until she managed to kneel and throw arms around their shoulders. It seemed like she'd made up her mind to take multiple... wives?

Yasu looked completely unamused, but even more stupefied that someone could see her imposing musculature and still do such a thing. "Who are you?" she asked, plainly.

"Rodeo, at'cher service! And I'm a-gunna KRACKA-POW wrangle me one of yew Nee-yo Shoguns!" she informed them, grinning widely before turning her attention to Aera. "How 'bout it? Got a minute to spare? Won't take but two shakes of a rabbit's foot!"
Prior to Mach showing up, Vector was still in talks with the pair at their table. Unfortunately Memora was still tight-lipped about the client's personal info, but at least she elaborated on said client's interest in Mach's "uniform." "I see," Vector replied thoughtfully. Memora also picked up on Vector's suspicion, and tried to "clear the air" by giving an aura of transparency about who they are and what they do. Vector appreciated their honesty, but he still couldn't shake the feeling of some still unknown "angle" being worked. She also claimed the client wasn't the dangerous type, speaking from experience. Vector couldn't pick up anything obviously wrong, but he was dealing with a pair of experienced businesspeople.

"Mm, point taken," Aera said in response to Yasu's admittedly strong argument, then joined the rest of the group in looking to the still unclaimed Tango. The lack of volunteers started to get to the point of awkwardness. However, Seer surprisingly took up the dual programs' offer. Aera didn't protest, though she remembered Yasu's order to watch over the clairvoyant. In another surprising turn of events, the male mannequin separated from its female counterpart and began to dance with Seer on its own. Since Tango was previously always in contact with its mannequin counterpart, she incorrectly assumed they were somehow "tethered" to each other. The dance they initiated was impressive, but it looked as if Seer was struggling to keep up, and with Tango taking the lead, she ironically looked like the "puppet" in that particular pair.


In the waters around the cruise ship, the FighterPlane maintained its orbit and careful watch of the clipper. It seamlessly adjusted its path to keep up with the vessel as it crossed paths with the cruise ship, then pulled up along side, showing intent to board. The aircraft sent an alert to Mach and began to close in, wiring Mach a video feed of its approach. However, just as it sounded the alarm at he prospect of the cruise being boarded, it saw what looked like a trio of passengers being ushered aboard, not a hostile raid. Mach commanded the FighterPlane to abort its attack, causing it to peel away. Since it was still active and had plenty of "fuel" left, he thought it best to have it simply retrograde to an orbit alongside the cruiseliner, instead of deactivating it at once. Another look confirmed what appeared to be 3 individuals being escorted by one who popped up out of nowhere, likely Jack.

Combined with the benign actions of the crew and the clipper's helmswoman/possible captain, along with her notes, Mach chalked it up as another false-alarm. This was somewhat relieving, but he did feel he'd be better at home in the middle of what would likely prove to be an interesting battle, compared to dealing with arms dealers in the midst of a wife-swapping game.


Speaking of which, said arms dealers introduced themselves, matching the notes passed along by his fractal SP. "Sounds like you are interested in buying some old gear," he started, looking first at Memora, then glancing to ArmoryMan. "And you're interested in selling some new. I'm not the NeoShogunate's armorer, but I can at least act as intermediary while I'm here, or as a private buyer depending on what you have to offer." He took a sip from his drink as he settled in to his chair, starting to dig up some memories of acting as the entrepreneurial "Lucky Master." "Speaking of which, you're acting as intermediary for a client yourself; interested in some of my kit, is that right?" he asked, looking to Memora with an eyebrow raised.

He tried to remain focused on the Navis at his table, though the sight of Seer attempting to keep up with Tango's dancing was quite the sight to behold. He re-caged his mind back to the matter at hand, and spoke candidly with Memora. "I think I can convince my Operator to share some of our tech, but he'd no doubt would like to know what purpose they'd serve. Safe to say he wouldn't like the idea of supplying someone who would smear our reputation, or put us in the crosshairs of even more malcontents." He didn't entirely expect Memora to divulge said information; she may not know herself, and likely wouldn't care regardless. "But if the offer is significant enough to make that an "acceptable risk," that'll be an easier pill to swallow," he said with a polite grin.

Back at the all-female table (now sans-Seer), Coral assured Aera didn't have to play. However; and it may be the gradually introduced alcohol talking, but Aera wasn't entirely against the idea. Like Mach, she thought it could be an interesting way to possibly get some nice prizes, but she also agreed with Coral's discontent with the possibility of being forced into something undesirable. "Ah," she said absentmindedly, as she was still mentally hung up on the established pairs. Wouldn't Yasu and Mach be paired up "on paper" due to the room assignment, meaning Aera could simply pair up with Mach? But then who would be her established counterpart that would get stuck with Yasu? Vector? [[i]"That... that actually might work. They might enjoy each other's company, but they'd probably just spar or something..."[/i]] Aera thought to herself as he briefly sketched a mental picture of Vector and duking it out on deck on the ship. But the sparring that played out in her head started to gradually change to grappling, then...

A flush of red grew on her face, but she was quickly freed from the runaway train of thought by an arm thrown over her shoulder. She snapped to reality and looked over, to see a young-ish "country girl" kneeling between herself and Yasu. Aera tried not to have a dumb look on her face from the sudden and rambunctious introduction of the Navi, now known as "Rodeo." Her phrases were strange, but Aera got the impression she wanted something quickly from Yasu and Aera, but she was looking to Aera when she insisted. "I'm sorry, you want to "wrangle" us?" Aera responded with another question, looking for clarification. If Rodeo was looking for a swap, that didn't sound like it would take "but two shakes of a rabbit's foot."