Family Woodland Retreat

Upon jacking in, Sleuth would find herself in a location a bit less festive than she might have been picturing: grey plastered walls, the plaster continuing across the box of the room to form a ceiling, and a concrete floor slab with a single drain in the middle. The plaster was peeling away in places, showing concrete masonry behind. Keen observational skills might note the peeled areas were all located at no higher than six feet from the ground, often in concentrated clumps or slashes. Similarly, the concrete floor had signs of impact and skids that could be distinguished from normal pock-marks one might expect in a concrete floor. The drain cover in the center of the room was painted black, but had a red coloration to it... rust where the paint had come off? The sole entrance and exit to the room was a heavy, rusted metal door. It had an internal latch bar, but was currently undone. It also had a key lock, which appeared to operate from the outside. A tarp covered the back wall of the room for unclear reasons.

If Sleuth spent time observing all these fine details of the surrounding, she'd be ignoring the more immediate object of interest: two metal folding chairs had been set in the middle of the room, and one was currently occupied. The only other inhabitant in the room with Sleuth, the woman sitting there had a stoic frown on her face. Her outfit had a classic look that heavily leaned on its motif, which, unfortunately, was clearly shoes, and gave the woman a somewhat ridiculous look that didn't match her expression. On top of her head was a helmet that was, plainly, in the shape of an upside down, backward-turned boot, metallic grey and lacking details. It affixed to her earguards, which showcased her Navi symbol... unsurprisingly, a grey shoe and a line of grey footprints. Notably, the footprints were ahead of the boot, with its toes pointed to be following the trail. The woman had long, very straight white hair. Her dark eyes looked tired, but sharp, and the lack of makeup did nothing to take the natural sharpness away from her thin face. She appeared to be modeled a bit older than Sleuth, obviously a mature woman.

The woman was wearing a dark grey skinsuit, barely visible between a large grey trenchcoat that hid her form. She also had armored gloves and sandals. The gloves were minimal, thin armor plates that looked wire-connected, rather than full coverage. While armored sandals might seem like a strange concept, that appeared to be what they were: thin sandals that didn't hide the shape of her skin-suited feet, but did include metal plates on the front. There seemed to be some technology under the hood there, but the type was unclear: the plates seemed bulkier than the rest of her armor, and seams and screws placed throughout them suggested some unknown function. She also had guards with her symbol affixed to her ankles: on closer examination, it would be clear wires connected from those guards to the sandals.

The woman would turn her head to Sleuth when she appeared, seeming in no rush to be the first to talk. She was sitting cross-legged and still. Her body language suggested eagerness, tension, or anxiety, but the discipline to control it.
When Sleuth had received a request for "either a detective or a maid" with a big rack for some kind of party, she could only assume she would end up beaming into something like a party venue, maybe a strip club, possibly even someone's boudoir. About the last place she would have expected to end up would be some sort of containment cell, barely fit for a criminal, but here she was. After beaming in, the brown-cloaked navi took a look to her left and right with a bemused smile on her face. "Some sort of trap?" she thought to herself, her mouth opening slightly into an excited grin. Truth be told, she'd been looking forward to getting her sexy on for some mob boss, a little easy diversion... but a new mystery was even better!

Before she even engaged with the room's other occupant, she found herself taking stock of other details in the room. "Tears in the plaster imply someone has been scratching at the walls, signs of irritation or possibly insanity. A long imprisonment, perhaps? Same types of marks on the floor. And the floor drain... well, either it's rust from being pissed on by a prisoner with the rare necessity of lavatory functions, or it's blood from a navi with the rare necessity to bleed when violently interrogated," she noted, with a few keen glances around. "The tarp... that's actually the most interesting part. What could be under there? My early bet is something transparent, like plexiglas, or possibly even a one way mirror; someone will be watching from the other side of the room. But why keep it covered? Maybe they're working on reapplying the plaster someone's been tearing at," she joked to herself. "And the door's unlocked... Either they're underestimating me or perhaps they aren't keeping me prisoner here after all." With that, she adopted a new theory: perhaps she was being brought in to interrogate someone, rather than do the interrogating?

With an initial theory composed, she slid up next to the unoccupied chair, crossed her arms with her cane oriented towards the floor, and plopped down unceremoniously, with her usual challenging smirk and overly alert eyes. She crossed her legs and leaned one elbow on the head of her cane, reclining as if the metal chair was somehow comfortable for her. "Greetings! You know, often, when I get to know someone, I like to give them a little fashion advice as a friend-to-friend dealie, usually something like 'a professional woman ought to wear brown' or such. I think I'm going to get it out of the way a little earlier than normal here though..." she began, raising her hand in case the other lady attempted to cut her off. "Shoes go on the feet, and metal sandals go far into the back of the closet, my dear lady." Her early impression was that she was going to have a lot of fun prodding at the other woman and seeing how far she could penetrate... despite her hilarious headwear, she looked like she might be a tough-as-nails, brook-no-nonsense cop, which was generally a great type of person to play off of, given how frustrated they tended to get with her antics. "I'm Sleuth, pleased to meet you," she continued, extending one hand for a shake, knowing the other girl would prefer to keep her arms folded. "So, what do you think? Is this sexy detective outfit doing it for you, or should I have brought my frilly hairband and my backless apron?"
The woman remained silent, watching Sleuth react to the room around her without much of a reaction, herself. After a bit, she gave up and turned her attention back to the door, as if the unmoving steel was somehow more interesting. Of course, Sleuth finally did address her; the woman turned her head to meet Sleuth's eyes, raising her eyebrows at the new arrival's color coordination advice. A dry smirk finally appeared at the corner of her mouth as she received more fashion advice. She raised her eyebrows and nodded her head impassively, as though conceding the point, but said nothing. "Shoe," she replied to Sleuth briefly, extending her hand and giving her a firm but brief shake before crossing her arms again. "Not at all, Sleuth, I'm sure your operator put a lot of work into that costume. I'm sure it's perfect for the work you do as a 'sexy detective.'"

Shoe turned her head back to the door and looked more restless. She continued speaking, her smirk having fallen back to her impassive, neutral frown. "I was met here when I first arrived by the client. He'll be coming back. I was told they needed a detective and a maid... The man seemed confused. I'm pretty sure there's been a mix-up."

As if on cue, before Sleuth could pick into that point, a noise came at the front door, which quickly swung open. Two men entered the room:

The first was a stocky Navi, short and muscular, wearing a grey suit which was, in all likelihood, his Navi armor. The look of his finely tailored shoes and suit gave him a look of class that ran counter to the rest of his appearance, which was clearly beastly. His jacket was open to reveal a heavily scarred, pitch-black chest and abs. His head contained a row of clenched teeth, but the identifying features basically ended there: his head cut off shortly above the mouth in what looked like a ragged edge, like torn paper. His Navi symbol was displayed on his chest, although it was frankly impossible to tell what it was supposed to be: the image looked like a yellow symbol on a black background, but was covered in obscuring bloodstains. One of his large, thick hands moved to his chin, and his teeth curled into a grin behind thin lips as he looked Sleuth over. Something occurred to him shortly after, though, and his grin fell to confused tension.

The other man who entered was wearing what looked like a completely black police uniform over a dark navy skinsuit, which continued up to a half-mask over his lower face. Striking yellow eyes shined from below the lip of his cap in a pale, handsome face, a bit of slick black hair visible at his nape. His Navi symbol showed a gold police badge with a hole shot through it against a black background. By far the most notable aspect of this man was that he wasn't standing in the room, and he hadn't walked in: he was hanging from the ceiling by spider-like threads that seemed to have webbed their way into the room from the outside. When they'd carried him in, he was like a suspended puppet: now that he was here, however, they seem to have manipulated to allow him to stay in a normal standing position, but still slightly off the ground and tilted slightly forward. He had one hand to his chin, his expression unreadable. "UnmadeMan..." he spoke first, his word hanging in the air.

"Yeah, SuspendedMan," the other man responded, scratching at his head tear and looking irritated. "No, I don't get it either. No idea. Something's up, something fishy, something reeeeal fishy..."

"Fishy?" SuspendedMan responded, his eyes shooting over to UnmadeMan. "No... I'm sure there's a simple explanation. Let's recap. We are holding a party..." he began, pausing as though allowing the other man to keep up. "A party for our boss. For this boss, we agreed.... We agreed to having a mystery party."

"Uh huh. Mystery party. Like a surprise party. Surprise the boss! And the surprise was gonna be a sexy detective and a sexy maid and you said-"

"Hold it," SuspendedMan interrupted him, sharply. "That was your original, infantile, miserable, and over-ruled plan. You forget that I outrank you, and my understanding is that we were on the same page... The page that we were going with my plan... the plan being a 'mystery party.' A mystery party requiring a detective.... A detective and a maid."

"Well, what's the problem? You told me to get a sexy detective! They're both wearing coats but I'm tellin' ya I'm sure one of 'em is a real knock-out, a piece of work-"

"Imbecile," SuspendedMan interrupted again, his strings creaking to put his palm to his face. "I told you we need a detective and a maid... I also told you I was getting the detective. You were to get the maid."

"Whatever, man, whatever!" the shorter man barked, his tear beginning to flare up like a flame. "Whatever! It's a f*cking sexy party, a sexy party's a sexy party whether it's got sexy detectives or sexy maids or sexy whatever, f*ck! What's your big deal, why are you riding me so hard?!"

"Again. Not a sexy party. The mystery party requires a detective and a maid. Both."

"Aaaah! Ah sh*t, I did mess up! Dammit, I got a sexy detective and a sexy maid costume. If we've got two detectives-"

"No. Stop. Let's pause and work this out. Working this out... Ladies. I'm SuspendedMan, and this is my underling, UnmadeMan. As you can hear, we've clearly had an error in communication. I'm afraid there's little time to prepare something different, though, so we must ask for your assistance."

"Shoe," Shoe responded to him simply, allowing Sleuth to make her introduction herself. "I was expecting some detective work, but there's not much I can do until you two let us know what you're looking for."

"Certainly, ma'am. We'll be doing a mystery party for the boss. Our boss is retiring soon, and I'm sorry to say he's not quite as sharp as he used to be. However, we'd like to give him one last chance to flex his wit and enjoy himself. As such, you would be playing the roles of actors: one a detective, the other a maid. Our boss is a little rough around the edges, but ultimately he enjoys challenges of wit and magnanimously helping others. While you ladies both look sharp, the detective would be portrayed as a bungler, needing Boss's assistance in putting together the pieces of the mystery. The maid would be the red herring for the mystery, who the boss would cleverly see past towards the truth. Of course, we have detective and maid costumes, although the detective may not need..." SuspendedMan stopped, his breath catching as he turned back to UnmadeMan. "Show me the costumes."

Shrugging, the other man handed SuspendedMan data packets. SuspendedMan inspected the two and let out a long, drawn out sigh. "Ugh. Truly disgusting. Okay. UnmadeMan has only prepared fetish costumes for the detective and maid, so change of plans. Let's do a middle ground... I must confess, the boss is... a bit of a womanizer."

"Loves dames! And he likes 'em just like I do: huge honkers, nice caboose!" UnmadeMan interjected.

"... That's accurate," SuspendMan conceded with a sigh. "So, I'm proposing we do the mystery party... combined with the sexy party. You're two attractive ladies, I think I can direct the party so he gets to get stimulation both physical, and.... Well. For this to work... for him to enjoy himself... he likes to feel like the smartest one in the room. I suspect that in order to enjoy himself, he'll need the entertainment to be... vapid. So the plan hasn't changed, essentially, but both the maid and the detective will need to be... well..."

"Airheads! You know, nothin' goin' on between the ears!"

"Yes... so, while I'm sure you're both very witty and capable detectives, one of you would need to act the part of a bumbling detective... The kind who would be... very appreciative for his assistance... You understand."

"Yeah, and we'd want a maid who gets the top shelves and the bottom!"

"You understand," SuspendMan added, apologetically. "Unfortunately, I really have no experience in directing this sort of thing, so while I will be directing the mystery party aspect, you'd have to... You'd have to ad-lib the other things."

"I could probably guess some of the stuff he'd like and pass it along and maybe even get some right here if we had time and maybe get my hands on... Mmmhm... Sorry, anyway, no time, literally barely any time left now," UnmadeMan growled. "So yeah, this *sshole has a point."

"So, there it is, all laid out... Will you help us? Keep in mind the type of things we're talking about would be... well, the things would be measured. Our boss is not exactly... Frankly, he's not exceptionally 'virile'. So, I wouldn't expect you have to do much more than put on the show."

"How about it? I'm ready to see it! See it and do it!" UnmadeMan asked, flexing his fingers and grinning widely.

Shoe had been quiet for most of the discussion, but finally replied at the end. "Wow. I've never heard of a crime family with such alarming coordination issues. But, I think, to everyone's surprise, we might be just what you need. I'm a grown woman and I'm used to doing much harder work than this for a paycheck. Now that I know how ridiculous the whole thing is, I'm eager to see where it goes. And from what she told me, Sleuth here apparently has experience as a sexy maid, so you two have truly lucked out. You want to be the sexy maid, or me?" The other detective turned her eyes to Sleuth with a smile, tight, but full... a smile that seemed like it had something behind it. In comparison, her smirk earlier had looked more natural. Notably, she didn't seem to have any flush or hesitation for the type of work she was being asked to perform. "Let's hurry up. Nice as this place is, I could use a change of scenery."
"Ha ha ha! It's been so long I don't remember who was the original designer, but I suppose I really should thank them, shouldn't I?" Sleuth asked, resting her cheek on her fist and conceding the point. "It really is perfect. Oh, so the client's confused too? Thank the Lord!" she joked, making a show of sighing heavily. "I was worried I was the only one!" Next, a pair of particularly strange looking navis entered the room... they looked like something out of a student's art project: like some living, walking commentary on the pointless death of the Net War. She had a lot she wanted to stay, but instead she just stared with bright-eyed curiosity, grinning childishly and nuzzling her cheek against her leather glove. Her eyes darted back and forth as the two gave a dialogue that sounded, to her, a little like a stand-up comedy routine.

"Oh please, don't stop on my account!" Sleuth giggled in response, seeming genuinely appreciative somehow of the bumbling nonsense she'd just been subjected to. Her grin turned into a calmer smile as they continued, her eyebrows tilted into an expression that looked somehow sympathetic, as though she knew something that the other two didn't. Her upper row of teeth flashed again in a grin as she chuckled a response. "It's a little funny: we've circled back to what I sort of assumed this mission would be in the first place, before I got a look at you navis and your lovely reception area and your strange idea of a sexy maid to accompany your sexy detective," she began, motioning across at Shoe with one upturned palm.

She pressed one thumb to her lower lip and purposely shook one crossed boot up and down. Her head tilted further as she screwed up her face, raising one eyebrow and drawing up her lip. "Hmmmmmmmmm..." she droned, pensively and time-wastingly. "Yes! Yes, I believe I'll help," she finally resolved, switching to a pleasant smile and turning her eyes to Shoe, seeing if the other lady was going to follow suite. "In fact, Miss Shoe here has quite adequately described my own feelings on the matter. Ah, as for the costumes, is either one of them brown? I mean, it's rather ridiculous to imagine a detective wearing anything other than brown," she murmured standoffishly, giving another look to Shoe's coat. "But perhaps it would be kind of me to give Miss Shoe a chance at it! I'd be the better maid, anyways. Trust me, I've been known to act quite foolishly, but I might mess up and make some genius observation that causes every buggering little detail to join together in a neat, straight line. As a maid, I'll cook, clean, do a lot of bending over, do a lot of suddenly realizing that the shelf located just above the old fogie is especially dusty and needs me to stand on the arms of his lounger to clean it, spill tea on his trousers and very thoroughly wipe it up, only to realize my gloves are getting in the way, so I remove them to use my bare hands... that sort of thing," she continued at length, raising her eyebrows to the one ostensibly lacking a brain and seeing if he, brain or no brain, thought that sounded appealing. "it's a shame my operator isn't here... She's just as busty as you need and would be ever so natural at this role."

So far, Shoe hadn't blinked heading into a sketchy situation... Sleuth guessed that was less because she was enthused for performing for what sounded like an old and pretty bad detective and more because she was on the trail of something more important happening here. Sleuth felt a little hungry for a taste of whatever game Shoe was chasing; even if it wasn't her mission, she'd be all in just to unravel all of the mysteries here. "At any rate, the fastest way to a man's heart is through his stomach; the fastest way to a man's secrets is through his zipper," she repeated her motto internally, then stood quickly up to her feet. "Well! Straight to business, then. The costume and a place to change into them that is private enough not to give away the whole show to you nice gentlemen right off the bat," she winked.

The detective, soon to be maid, turned and looked around the room for a moment, then turned back around, pounding one fist into her open palm in an overly noisy gesture that reverberated through the small room. "Oh! Right, I haven't actually proven all of my qualifications yet," she murmured, as though the thought had only just occurred to her. Instead of professionally setting aside her coat, she snapped open the clasp in a practiced gesture, thrusting out her chest to show the two what they were working with. With an innocent smile, she lifted off the coat and shoulder-cape, then set both on the back of the chair, bending over so that her shapely bottom was overly close to Shoe and in view of the others; she was still clad in her slacks-print skinsuit. "How about it? Do you think that the costume will fit?" she asked, looking over her shoulder. As a bonus, she set her cap down with atop the flat seat of the chair.

Also, she resolved that before she left this particular room, she was going to get somebody to move that tarp so she could satisfy her curiosity as to what was behind it, or else she was going to rip it off the wall herself. But that could come in a moment.
It was hard to tell what the two clients were thinking when Sleuth was playing like she wasn't interested. When she finally agreed, however, the two were visibly relieved. SuspendedMan let out a breath behind his mask, while UnmadeMan's teeth widened into an ear-to-ear grin. "Great, great, super fantastic! Really good," the more excitable of the two proclaimed. "But uh, nah, I didn't get a brown one. Detectives supposed to wear brown? SuspendedMan, detectives are supposed to wear brown! What's with the grey detective, my man?"

"Would that you had gotten a brown detective costume," SuspendedMan sighed in exasperation. "If you had gotten a brown detective costume, we might have ended up with something we could at least pass off as ordinary attire for my murder mystery... Well. I suppose, in actuality, one of the detectives could have just worn their regular garb. The real trouble is the maid uniform, which is-"

"Shaddup, shaddup!" UnmadeMan stopped him, holding up his hand and keeping his attention on Sleuth. "Stop muttering to yourself, the detective's gettin' to the good part. The fun part! The sexy maid part, hahaha... That sounds perfect, Sleuth, was it? Perfect! I want in too, I get some too, don't I, SuspendedMan?"

"You want a sexy maid costume too?" Shoe asked with feigned seriousness, leaning forward with her hands on her knees.

"No, dimbulb, the sexy stuff! You know what I mean, what ya gotta jerk me around for?"

"Everyone's having their fun with your trademark slow wit, UnmadeMan," the hanging Navi explained, crossing his arms. "Well, I think I'll leave your fun up to them. For reasons I'll soon make clear, I won't be joining in-"

"Reasons like, you don't even like chicks? SuspendedMan's type is no type. Either he's got no game, or he ain't got the interest, or he ain't got the equipment, I dunno. But SuspendedMan doesn't like the dames like me and the boss. I can't believe it! Once the boss is out, we're gonna be led me a guy who doesn't even like to grab a nice *ss? Heresy! Lunacy. Lunatic heresy."

One might have expected SuspendedMan to interrupt and get things back on track, but he looked even more pensive than usual, gazing at the floor. He didn't even glance up as Sleuth put on her display. Shoe raised her eyebrows at the incoming butt, but politely looked away. She didn't make any move to get up and remove her overcoat for the same show.

UnmadeMan didn't show the same restraint as his partner, rubbing his large hands together in excitement. "By the boss's beard, lady, did I do good or what? SuspendedMan, did I do good or what?! Look at the body on this one! Hummina-hummina-hummina! I can't wait to see you change! Hold it! Dammit!" the Navi cursed, stomping his foot. "I forgot there ain't gonna be a change. Cause, see, they're just .GMO costume data. You don't actually change into 'em. But if you wanna get your clothes all nice and folded up here, I don't-"

"You lummox, can we please just let them change...?" SuspendedMan interrupted sharply, training his sharp gaze on his partner sidelong (it seemed to be easier than turning his head). "We'll be late at this rate. Lest we be late, come... I'll leave you two some privacy if you need it as we wait outside. But please don't delay."

The two males left the room, leaving the two females alone with the costume data. Shoe rose to her feet, turning to face Sleuth. "I must admit, when I heard who you were, I intended to find a way to size you up. Hadn't pictured doing it like this, though... the rumors don't do that crazy body justice." Shoe spoke this as light conversation as she inspected her data packet, which SuspendedMan had indicated to be the detective costume. She frowned, a bit of out-of-place color appearing in her cheeks. "Christ. The things people think up..." She smirked, tilting her head to Sleuth again. "Looks like we both lost on this call: the costume manufacturers of the world have decided that, in fact, the proper color for a detective is..."

The Navi trailed off for suspense before activating the .GMO she'd received. When it was finished, the frumpy but somewhat cool mystique she'd been projecting effortlessly had left entirely. What was left in its place was the same mature woman, but dressed in a pink and salmon detective's costume that could really only be the sexy Halloween party version of the concept. It included a salmon-plaid riding cap; a wide-open salmon jacket with shiny pink lapels and two large buttons, not long enough to cover the belly; a dangerously short salmon-plaid skirt with a shiny pink belt; tall white stockings; heeled, glossy pink leather boots.; a shoulder-length riding cloak (salmon, of course); a black lace tie (which fastened a white choker, as there was no undershirt to speak of), and small white leather gloves. Awkwardly, the .GMO seemed to have automatically given her a cheap-looking prop magnifying glass in one hand and a pair of fuzzy pink handcuffs in the other.

With the woman's body now more or less on full display, Sleuth could see that her partner for the night had a healthy body with pleasant proportions, if not nearly as dynamite as her own. The main attraction was definitely the detective's long, curvy legs, which looked as though Shoe hadn't skipped leg day in a good while. Her face had also received a good deal of new makeup, with eyeshadow and glossy red lipstick that made her almost a different person. A sour person, evidently, as her face was still clenched in a grimace. She searched for the prop holders and found them, a pocket on her jacket for her tool and a loop on her belt for the handcuffs to attach. "Got to say, I'm not feeling the respect for our profession here. Why not see how you made out?"

Sleuth's .GMO data, when she looked at it, would reveal she hadn't made out much better (at least, not by Shoe's standards):

The .GMO prepared by UnmadeMan for the maid at his boss's party is clearly a sexy party version of a maid uniform. It includes a frilly white headband; a black blouse with generous cleavage and exposure of the shoulder bones; puffy black shoulders with white buttoned bands and no sleeves; a very short black skirt with a white frill at the bottom and a white, short apron at the waist, with a pocket at the front and a knot tie at the back; dark, shear pantyhose; dainty white lace gloves, short; and black high heeled shoes. Beneath that is a black strapless bra and black thong underwear... Beneath the bra are two white pasties in the shape of hearts. The .GMO also includes heavy makeup, with eyeliner, dark red makeup, and a bit of color on the cheeks. It appears to come with a prop miniature feather duster, capable of being tucked into the apron.

Sleuth would have some time to inspect the costumes, chew the fat with Shoe some more if she wished, or even tear down the confounding tarp in the back of the room if she desired: while the men seemed to be in a rush, they didn't interrupt the two detectives before they emerged. When Sleuth did leave the room, she'd see what looked like a heavy forest with a log cabin, smoke coming from its chimney. She'd be able to see the room she'd just emerged from was actually a small masonry shed, inconspicuous from the outside as the type that might be holding tools or housing a well. A stump and axe for cutting wood were beside the shed. Neither of the two men were relaxing at the stump, however: both of them would be looking eager to continue moving, shifting with antsy anticipation in the pine needles lining the floor of the Net space. That antsiness could also be attributed to the cold air of the Net, which the ladies would likely be feeling more acutely in their new outfits. Sleuth would likely notice SuspendedMan's strings continued up into the empty sky, now. At a certain point, the thinness of them combined with the distance made them imperceptible to the naked eye, or perhaps they simply ended.
"Oh ho, well, I understand your confusion. There are still some among my trade who haven't seen the light, but I do hope, one day, for brown to be considered the uniform for all self-respecting detectives," Sleuth responded to the others in glib fashion, smiling down to Shoe as she did. She raised her eyebrows in surprise, then looked to UnmadeMan. "You want in too? You also want a costume? Oh dear, I hope your disguise isn't so scandalous as whatever you've prepared for the two of us!" SuspendedMan had a joke prepared along those same lines. "Ha ha. Fun."

As fun as the chatter was, UnmadeMan had let some nice info slip: the fact that SuspendedMan wasn't interested in girls was interesting, but the fact that he was next-in-line for the retiring head honcho's position in... whichever family this was... was even more tantalizing. She noted that she was going to have to remember to figure out which particular family they were a part of before this was all done. "Oh, cheer up, Stringy. Maybe you just haven't found the right girl yet, hm? Or the right guy. I don't judge," she chuckled, then gave a flirtatious wink to the weird but not altogether bad looking navi. The detective also noted that "heresy" seemed like a pretty big word for a guy like UnmadeMan to throw out like that, but thought that was a pretty weak thread to cry conspiracy about, even for her. Maybe his operator just had a big vocabulary to learn from.

She was pleased to see UnmadeMan's reaction, and interested to see SuspendedMan's; her routine hadn't just failed to get a look, it didn't seem like he'd been embarrassed by it either. His reaction was about as chaste as Shoe's was. Apparently, UnmadeMan's earlier description of his lack of interest in girls had been true. It was lucky for her that she hadn't been hired to try to entertain him with a sexy party, or this mission would be significantly more difficult than it had been made out to be. "Not to worry. You will find I'm highly expedient," Sleuth informed the two with a salute, more fit for the NP than the Mafia. "At least, I assume they're the Mafia? Did they ever say?" she asked herself. The family question to come ought to clear that up. For now, the two men left, leaving just Sleuth and Shoe to change into their costumes.

Sleuth was met with some new conversation, which put a grin back on her face. "Ah ha ha! The lady, the myth, Sleuth.EXE, at your service. Well, at my employer's service, but I'll serve you where I can. I am a maid, after all," she joked. "And you... I'm afraid I haven't learned of you before! I hope I'll learn plenty during our little mystery dinner theater, though." Shoe had a bit of commentary preceding her outfit, before changing. Part of Sleuth was horrified at the thought of a pink detective's outfit, but part of her admired the boldness of turning such a cerebral and intellectual profession as hers into a perverse, hot-pink, skimpy slip of a costume. "Ha ha ha! That looks familiar," she guffawed, making a show of kneeling down and tilting her head to inspect the skirt. "Well, from the shoulders up, anyway! I usually forego the mini-skirt and the stockings, but I'm pretty sure it's close to what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle originally envisioned." She raised one finger as she returned to her full height. "Also! My magnifying glass is bigger. This is going to sound silly, but might I say, a little bit of make-up and a bun-length skirt are not misplaced on you, my friend? Rowr! Hm hm."

She smiled wider, seeing out of one corner of her eye if she'd managed to get any further pink onto the face of her friend, before grabbing her own data packet up. She activated it and, in an instant, became somebody's wet fantasy of the ancient ideal that was the French maid. She'd made fun of Shoe earlier, but the truth was, she didn't tend to wear a lot of make-up either; she had the feeling it must make her look very different. "Well, well! If this bust-line is anything to go by, our mutual friend and employer does indeed like em big! Is that good or what? Huh, is that good or what?!" she repeated, imitating her employer's manner of speech irreverently. "Ooo, and if that sudden tension betwixt my cheeks is any indication, he likes the butt just as much as he claimed he did. I imagine you cut a rather attractive figure from the side too, hm hm," she giggled, looking Shoe up and down once again. "Well, let's go shake the dust off the old geezer," she snickered, flourishing her new feather duster and pretending to dust off the metal chair, "and see if we can help him reclaim some of that virility! If there's still a response there, by gum, I'll find it!"

Sleuth had nearly grabbed the door and walked out, before she stopped and turned. "Ah, you'll pardon me for a moment... If I don't have at least a peek, I won't be able to sleep at night. I'll just lift thiiiiis-" she murmured, reaching briefly for Shoe's tempting pink skirt, before grinning wide and placing the hand on the tarp at the side of the room instead. "I really must know!" she exclaimed, before dragging the tarp aside dramatically. If it had been hung up there for some maintenance reason, she'd certainly be a nuisance for doing so, but she knew that her pride as a detective (or really, just a snoop) wouldn't let her leave it alone.

If behind the tarp was something that really begged no further interaction, like perhaps another empty cell or a wall with more cracking plaster, she'd leave it be and head on outside to join the others. She'd do the same even if it turned out to be a glass wall like she'd theorized earlier. As long as it wasn't something absolutely wacky, like a hidden person or some kind of portal to another world, she'd head outside and join her employer like she'd been asked to. Once outside, she shivered a bit, then grinned to her ally. "It was kind of them to give us gloves, don't you think? And layers! They did give us layers," she noted; the last part was misleading, but not a lie, anyway. "Ah, well, not that I don't love strutting around in high heels over pine needles," she addressed the others as she got closer, "but let's head quickly to start giving that big cheese his birthday cheesecake, hm, boyos?" She thanked her past self for giving her significant experience walking in high heels for disguise purposes in previous encounters, or else, she'd be coming off as inept on top of air-headed for this particular role. At least until her shoes came off, of course.
Sleuth didn't manage to get any reaction from SuspendedMan by taking a stab at his preferences: either he was trying hard to demonstrate he had no interest in discussing the subject, or he was legitimately lost on another train of thought. The Navi didn't return her salute, and the two men left the two women to change.

As to her probing Shoe, the other detective just shrugged. "Let's just say I don't advertise much. My cases are small-time stuff, so you wouldn't hear about me in the news unless it was a remarkably slow news day... Then again, even if you did know me, I guess you wouldn't recognize me like this." She simply shut her eyes again and gave another smirk as Sleuth teased her, looking like her patience was being tested. "Come now. If you make me give this another thought, I'll change my mind before I even get out the door... Let's see the maid."

The scandalous detective stood back as her partner made a maid of herself, raising her eyebrows and smirking. She smirked again as Sleuth made fun of their employer, even revealing a bit of teeth this time. She tightened to a smile again and sighed as Sleuth gave her another compliment on her figure, though, looking ready to get moving. "If you don't mind, I'm going to save all my maid-based wisecracks for this show in case I need them." She paused as she began to move for the door... Her eyes fell on the tarp even as Sleuth reached for her skirt, as she seemed to intuitively recognize what Sleuth must be talking about.

When Sleuth pulled back the tarp, she'd discover another plastered wall just like the others, but with chained shackles installed, looking well used. "They were actually covering this up when I arrived," Shoe remarked, beginning to cross her arms behind before pausing, as though trying to gauge how much strain her outfit could actually take. "Yeah, I think they didn't want to scare off whoever showed up to take their mission. It's not hard to picture what goes on in here, I'd say, but I don't think it's got any bearing on why we're here."

With that, the two detectives headed outside. Shoe shivered as well, but even more immediately, her reaction was to summon a cigarette and lighter, and begin to light.

"Ah! Ma'am," SuspendedMan interrupted her, starting with a tone of disapproval that he managed to bring down to neutral. "I apologize, but now would probably be an inappropriate time for a smoke. I say an inappropriate time because we're about to get into the thick of it... And by the thick of it, I mean the performance."

"Whaddya mean you're not gonna let her smoke?" UnmadeMan asked incredulously. "Not gonna let her smoke, you serious? Even strippers smoke, c'mon, you monster! And the boss smokes cigars like a damn furnace, he's not gonna care!"

Shoe looked more genuinely frustrated about this development than any foolishness or awful outfits she'd been forced to endure so far, giving SuspendedMan an icy glare before pocketing her cigarettes and lighter. "Of course," she replied, obviously summoning an effort to sound congenial to her employer. "Like the lady said, let's head on in, all right?"

"Very well, but allow me to give you a brief overview as we walk," SuspendedMan insisted. It would indeed be brief, as there was no great distance between the shed and the main house. "UnmadeMan and I will enter first and let the boss know we summoned him for a special surprise party. You two will make your way in. Entertain him for a bit and eventually we'll bring out some finger food and drinks. Sleuth, as the maid, you'll bring the drinks. My drink will be 'poisoned,'" the Navi said, dragging the word more than usual to emphasize his meaning, "and I'll pass out. You will have 'poisoned' my drink. From that point, there'll be a bit of a game as the boss determines whodunnit. Shoe will employ poor detective work and you will employ poor defensive skills, allowing the boss to eventually come to the correct conclusion."

"Why will she have poisoned you?" Shoe interrupted, frowning. "What's the motive?"

"It's not important," SuspendedMan replied quickly. "By not important, I mean that while I will pretend to be passed out, I will not even be convincingly dead. Due to the parameters, the goal is to entertain and titillate, not to be strictly believable. You'll need to hide this accordingly," he added, turning quickly with a creak of his wires as he presented a tiny, stereotypical bottle of clear poison to Sleuth, bearing a label with a black, sinister skull and crossbones as the only identifying mark. "That can be on your person or wherever, but will ultimately be the evidence that ties you to the crime."

"Oh yeah, one more thing!" UnmadeMan interrupted, clearing his throat. "We got one more staff member in there, Sis! She's like the little sister of the family, and she'll be making finger sandwiches and little sausages and pigs in blankets and cheese and crackers and all that good stuff in the kitchen. Also, preparing the drinks! She's a wiz with food, that Sis. But uh, I bring her up because before you ladies get too crazy, please keep in mind she's not only young, but also basically family. My sister, his sister, the boss's daughter. So we ain't really intending for her to be in the show. I think only the maid's gonna need to meet her, and only then to pick up the snacks. But you'll love her, real swell! A real-"

"That's about what we have time for. Any final questions?" SuspendedMan turned to face them, his hand already on the door knob of the front porch. He'd begun speaking in a lower voice, probably intending that the ladies do the same to avoid spoiling the surprise.
"I don't advertise much either, unless you call boasting advertisement," Sleuth responded to her ally with a small wink, unabashed. On that note, the maid uniform did a lot less admirable of a job trying to hide her assets than her typical attire did. "Egad! The very thought of trying to hold in all of the detective-based wisecracks I've stored up over the years has got me terrified. I have generous imagination to come up with more if I use up my stock, but very little self-patience to hesitate when I'm ready to unleash one."

When she'd pulled aside the tarp, her humor didn't exactly sour, per say, but even she was aware that her comedic timing would be messed up if she tried to pull out a hammy one-liner after seeing an undisguised holding cell for enemies of the Family, whoever the Family was beyond SuspendedMan and UnmadeMan. "I wonder?" she asked, smiling absently at Shoe's notion that they wouldn't need to worry about the ordinary use of the jail. Then again, she assumed Shoe was just as wary as her... if not more so. Sleuth couldn't shake the suspicion that her allied detective knew a little more than she did. The two paid it no more mind before stepping outside; her ally got her smoke on, which caused Sleuth to chuckle. "It's for the look, huh? Well, if I resort to alcoholism partway through, don't mind me; I just like the look of a big bottle of brandy betwixt my lips," she chuckled, pantomiming lifting a bottle up twice to her mouth.

As it turned out, Shoe was going to have to put the kabosh on her smoking habit for now; Sleuth assumed she'd be asked to do the same if she showed off her unique drunken maid routine. She managed to maintain her quiet for a few moments, in order to get the skinny on what she, as the unscrupulous maid, would be made to do to the man of the hour. "Oh happy day! I always mention to my employers how I'm a decent poisoner, but I almost never get a chance to actually put it to use! Don't worry, SuspendedMan, I've got a lot of experience with handling them," she joked, accepting the bottle. "I guess I'd better hide this eeextra carefully, hm? Where shall I hide it? Hmmm hm hm," she continued to giggle, tapping it up and down on top of the expansive shelf of her breasts a few times. Not exactly professional poison handling technique. Smiling, she placed the bottle inside one of her sleeves and wiggled her eyebrows, grinning ear to ear. "I feel like he'll be less likely to reach in there and find it by accident."

The last point was also interesting; Sleuth's eyes shined with curiosity for a moment. Nothing made her want to learn about something more than knowing that others intended to keep it out of sight, out of mind, as her fixation on the earlier tarp had proven. Thus, if the others told her to ignore "Sis" and just follow orders, that made her want to poke and prod the girl and learn all that she could. She made a note to see how watched the kitchen was... there might be an investigation and/or opportunity for fun to be had later on. Between musings on how best to be a pest, she reminded herself that her mission was supposed to be played straight up... "I'm so used to snooping into these sorts of things that it's difficult to turn it off," she sighed to herself.

Whispering a bit, she leaned in between the two Family members, provocatively close, and looked to either side with a conspiring smile. "You know, if I'm not meeting Sis until later, there's a good chance your boss will have already decided to renovate his staff's wardrobe with a few cost-cutting measures by that point. Once that happens, I may not be capable of being 'admittance all ages' for your cute little sister. Is that going to present a problem?" she asked, just barely able to stop herself from tickling SuspendedMan with her feature duster to test if she could coax a smile from him.
Shoe continued to frown humorlessly as Sleuth suggested a vice of her own to indulge in. "I don't really give a damn how people look at me for my habits. And you and I both know indulging in a cig out in public and knocking back a bottle are completely different things." It sounded like a surprising nerve had been touched there, and the detective was going to have to work to find her happy face again before they reached the boss.

If Sleuth had intended to really hide her poison, she'd probably lucked out: neither SuspendedMan nor the other sulking detective had watched the swerve in hiding place Sleuth had chosen. UnmadeMan seemed interested, though, but there was the question of whether he was seeing anything at all with no apparent eyes.

The toothy Navi's grin widened as Sleuth leaned in, while his cooler superior merely observed Sleuth with a sidelong glance. "You needn't worry about offending our sister's sensibilities," SuspendedMan assured her in a low voice. "It isn't that she's not a woman of the world... Without saying too much, nobody in this family has completely clean hands. However, in our Family, we do, indeed, treat each other as true family... As family, it would be inappropriate for her to become involved in her brothers' entertainment. Now, I must go in and set the stage. As we proceed, I'll be counting on your quick thinking... you may want to use this time to prepare for your entrance as best as possible."

The Navi drifted eerily through the front door of the cabin. He was making an effort not to open the door widely so as to avoid spoiling his surprise. As a result, a spidery web of strings trailed in a clump, magically affixing to the ceiling of the porch, then worming their way into the door behind him. In comparison, UnmadeMan simply gave a double thumbs up and an excited, wide grin as he followed behind and shut the door abruptly.

Shoe reached for her breast pocket again, then stopped herself, sighing and casting her eyes to the porch. "Sexy detective, huh... If I'm supposed to do bad detective work, I guess they want something like an airhead, maybe something prissy. I don't think I was a prissy airhead my first day on the Net, though. Come to think of it, I'm very curious how they're even going to explain a detective randomly being here as part of the story... Or maybe I'm going to be introduced as an entertainer first. Now that I think about it, I don't think they ever explained what end game this is working towards, either. SuspendedMan is murdered, the boss finds out you did it, and then... what? I guess the wrap-up is up to our discretion too... But I doubt there's any point in planning too far ahead, regardless..."

Needless to say, Shoe was full of questions and having a hard time turning off her brain. Seeming to realize this herself, she cleared her throat, then turned her eyes up to her ally again. "I get the sense you have a better idea of your performance, so maybe I'll follow-" she started, before quieting down as the low voice of SuspendedMan began to become distinguishable from behind the door.

"... certainly have more to say at the official celebration. For now, however, we have a very special token of our appreciation that we hope you will find exceptionally palatable. UnmadeMan and I have collaborated to bring you a special treat... But it won't be the two of us doing the treating. No, we've enlisted the aid of two exceptionally lovely ladies to join you for an unforgettable evening. Let me first introduce an intoxicating hired helper who is eager to see to your every whim, the marvelous maid, Sleuth!"

Shoe had let out a breath she'd been holding, which transformed into a snicker. "He's not changing the names...? Well, you're up. Don't break a nail," she told her partner, giving her a wry smile and leaning against the wall adjacent to the door.

If Sleuth proceeded into the cabin, she'd find that the room was low lit by a couple of shaded lamps and a fireplace (since Sleuth hadn't seen smoke from outside the cabin, either it had just been lit or the fire was an effect that didn't project outside). The cabin's main room was a bit more spacious than it had seemed outside, and contained a number of pieces of furniture arranged to face the kitschy rug in the center. A large leather recliner had been placed adjacent to the fireplace and across from the entrance, a small, marbled table on a thin stem next to it holding a thick book. The other furniture included two cheaper fabric recliners closest to the door, a rocking chair near the right wall, and a plush loveseat capable of seating two at the left wall, with a low wood oval-shaped table just before it. Set on this table was a stack of doilies and coasters. SuspendedMan was standing by the door, while UnmadeMan loomed eagerly by the recliner. The walls were decorated with a number of photos, a cabinet, and a humongous mounted trophy of a Spiky, three times the size of the average virus. Overall, considering the wood motif of the cabin at large, the furniture seemed rather poorly coordinated. There were two shut doors on the left side of the room: the shape from the outside had seemed limited, implying they were likely closets or restrooms. On the right side was a door that was open to a hall, which was dark. Without moving into it, it would be difficult to see where it led.

The most eye-catching piece of furniture in the room by far was a huge, landscape-oriented painting over the fireplace. It appeared to depict a group of Navis in front of the very cabin in yellow daylight. The front-and-center was a bulky Navi with heavy, brass-colored armor and a helmet that looked like a welding mask, no eyes visible within. It didn't look like welding was a theme, though: in fact, there was little theme at all to the Navi except heavy, riveted armor and a cream-colored pinstripe running down various parts. He was positioned with his arms crossed, exuding power and confidence. The figure on his right side was clearly SuspendedMan, and on his left was UnmadeMan, both looking nearly identical to their current appearance. A total of ten Navis were linked up alongside, each looking dangerous and completely different... Even the quiet SuspendedMan was posed for power, standing stately and tilting his head upward. It was a bit difficult to guess which of the other Navis was "Sis," and it was probably the wrong thing to focus on at the moment, regardless.

It stood to reason the Navi in the middle of that painting was the Boss, the same figure in the large recliner next to the fire... With that said, it was almost like the reflection in a funhouse mirror. The boss in living person was a similar height, but seemed much more thin: not gaunt, but certainly incapable of filling the armor shown in his portrait. He was wearing a brown pin-striped suit with a dark red tie, heavy rings on each of his fingers, and a mask like the face of his helmet tipped over his head, attached to earguards. The Navi's visible face was still largely obscured by a huge grey beard and moustache. His eyes were either so sunken into his caverns no white were visible, or else he was modeled without them at all. His skin was leathery and creased, which combined with his reclining posture suggested age and weariness.

As soon as Sleuth entered, however, the Boss leaned forward in eager anticipation, showing a number of missing teeth in his grin as his gaze roamed his new maid's body in spite of his apparent eyelessness.
"Well excuuuse me! Someone's got a pebble in their hat," Sleuth further ribbed, thoroughly incorrigible as always. She wanted to tell Shoe that, as a mostly gray-pallet, sour-faced, scary person, Shoe wasn't such a prize that she could get away with smoking a cigar in public and not lose some charm points for doing so, but she figured her joke was more affable. "I'm sure Shoe will earnestly ask me for my advice when she wants it," Sleuth resolved, joking even internally.

"Ha ha, well, let's all be pleased that you two aren't the detectives here," Sleuth laughed cheerfully, slurring the latter part of her statement all into a quiet murmur as she observed that neither of her employers seemed to have noticed where she'd stashed her poison. SuspendedMan's answer regarding Sis just made her more curious, more at what the nature of this Family really was. They had a detective among their ranks, but their look was generously villainous, their hands were dirty, and apparently, they hosted retirement parties featuring busty strippers. It was like some bizarre fusion of the NetPolice and the Mafia, by her speculation. "Vivarte?" she thought to herself, picturing the anti-cops in her mind. It still didn't quite fit. She pushed the thought from her mind and answered SuspendedMan. "Never fear, my good fellow. My wick is nothing if not quick," she assured him.

She turned a sympathetic smile to Shoe once the others had disappeared. "An airhead who serves the peace, hm? It's a shame my operator isn't on-hand at the moment; she could teach you a thing or two," Sleuth chuckled dryly. "You are hung up on the details! I like that in a stripper dressed as a detective. I suppose you could always stay hidden until someone 'dies' at which point you would emerge, but it could be that the boss prefers instant gratification. I'll leave that to your discretion. And well, I suppose if he finds out that I murdered someone, he'll have to punish me. Isn't that the predictable route?" she asked, placing her hands on her hips, shrugging her shoulders, and giving her cheesiest grin. "I'm given to understand that the boss can't end with a 'happy ending' even if he wants to, though, so if you're worried about that... well, I guess we'll see! Supposedly there's nothing to be worried about, but, hm hm, I'm a dick who knows a thing or two about how to wake up a-"

Before she could finish that entendre, she overheard SuspendedMan making her introduction. "Well, I guess there goes your chance to take a smoke break while I handle the early running," she whispered. "He already said two girls." He also said her name, which was probably a little dumb of him, in her estimation. Things were just going to get confusing with her name being Sleuth and her not being the detective in the scenario. Shoe shared a chuckle, offering the same criticism. "And you don't break a toe-nail," Sleuth responded, before heading inside.

She creaked the door open and stuck one leg through, thankful for a moment that no one was close enough to see the chilly goosebumps on it and hoping that they'd go away before it was time for her to get close-up. Next, she stuck in the rest of her exceptionally shaped lower body, making a show of looking around outside before leaning in full and shutting the door slowly. She turned to look over her shoulder, with a timid expression that would never be found natively on her face, then gave a cute, small smile, again the kind that she'd never made outside of a disguise or as part of a joke. The room, however, was so creepy that it'd make sense if she was a little nervous (she wasn't). "Is there a 'Boss' here? I'm looking for the 'Big Boss," she began, the picture of innocence (feigned) and bounciness (purposeful) as she approached with her fists held girlishly up from the wrists in an overly girlish jog that was blissfully unaware of the swaying of her unbelievable, giant breasts.

As she approached, she was discretely taking in details of the room: first, the hallway, which must lead to the kitchen she'd need to retreat to later. Next, she surveyed the mismatched furniture, that looked like an ecclectic cast of characters had dragged it in based on whatever was most comfortable for them personally. At first, her conclusion would be that this place was not lived in and had been set up just for this occasion (an eerie thought, if she considered the remote location and the cell she'd seen earlier), but she revised that hypothesis once she got a good look at the oversized Family portrait. She'd like to spend a lot longer looking at that painting, but she couldn't keep her eyes on it too long without breaking character, such as it were.

The "Big Boss" was not nearly so Big as she'd made him out to be; he was, in fact, nowhere near as big as his painting made him out to be either. It raised many, many questions in her mind which were a true challenge to keep at bay while she focused on her act. Had the painting been made when he was more youthful? That didn't make any sense; why would he have progressed to such an advanced age while everyone else around him maintained their youth? Could it be that he'd always looked like this and the painting was just exaggerating his features? That didn't seem right either... SuspendedMan had made it sound like the boss had aged... "Hmmm... Retirement... the boss is getting older and more feeble while the rest of the navis around him stay the same age? I've heard of navis who are programmed to age before, but..."

There were some fascinating implications there, but for now, she really needed to turn off her brain and turn up the charm. "Big Boss... Thank you again for everything, employing me and allowing me to stay inside this place where it's not so frigidly cold," she began. "Suffice to say, I'm not just your humble servant, I am indebted to you... a combination which leaves me ready to follow your every command," she ensured him, stepping in close and placing her hands on the arm of the chair. "I'm ever so eager to begin. I hope my uniform is to your liking," she continued, pulling at the hem of her skirt excitedly. "What do you think?" she asked, clasping her hands at her chest and nudging closer, to sit on one side of his armchair. "The fabric is very pleasant to the touch. Is there anything you'd like to change, though?" She'd start off with a softball, a little brain-dead erotic talk to see what he was into.

Presumably, Shoe would be coming in pretty soon after her, too. Sleuth hoped she wasn't throwing out too many lines too early, but she found that once she opened up and started making stupid sexy maid dialogue, it was hard to stop going.
Shoe simply gave a shrug to Sleuth's own musing and reassurances, looking like she'd been thinking some of the same herself. She continued leaning against the wall, lost in her own thoughts, watching Sleuth out of the corner of her eye as the true detective made her big entrance.

Small as it was, Sleuth's audience seemed pleased: the "Big Boss" leaned back in his chair with a large grin, turning up his hands in a gesture meant to announce himself; UnmadeMan continued grinning the same, rubbing his hands together and leaning towards the boss as though wanting to say something but knowing he'd be interrupting; even SuspendedMan had a rare look of good humor on his face, looking at the boss with obvious satisfaction that their offering was not being rejected, at least not yet. "You got me, Sleuth," the man spoke in a surprisingly powerful rumble that countered his wizened appearance. "I'm the Big Boss." He let her go on a while uninterrupted, apparently interested in what she was selling, and allowed her to catch one of his too-large hands on the arm of the recliner, turning his head obviously towards her cleavage as she leaned in. "The uniform's perfect... I wouldn't mind getting a feel, myself," he admittedly, putting an arm around her as she sat alongside him and pulling her towards him as if he needed an even better look at her chest. "It's great, but we'll see if I change my mind on it before the night's over, heh, aherm..." the Navi turned his head to the side to let out a quick cough, which he managed to stifle.

"Now, before you get too comfortable, allow me to introduce an intrepid yet inviting investigator who has found her way to our humble cabin, the delightful detective, Shoe!" SuspendedMan announced, extending his arms toward the front door-

-Which quickly flew open as the detective loudly announced her presence. "Freeze, you're all under arrest!" she shouted energetically, donning a grin that made her look at least ten years younger. With her new expression and demeanor, her heavy lidded eyes looked careless and maybe sleepy, rather than calm and world-weary. She'd pointed both of her hands out as finger-guns to accompany the gesture, clenching her small magnifying glass in her right hand. As the door banged loudly against the wall from her powerful swing, she jumped, then scurried to carefully close it behind her. "Oopsie! Eeheehee..."

Shoe turned back around, sauntering brazenly up towards the boss with her arms swinging. "I'm Shoe, the greatest detective on the Net! I mean, I've only been one for a little while now while I try and make some scratch, but how hard can it be? I just look for the bad guys, drill 'em with a couple questions, and then-" By this point, she'd made her way up to the chair, and she gave a playful grin as she leaned in towards the boss, "Then, if they've been bad boys, I show 'em my handcuffs. Oh, dang! My handcuffs!" she shouted, patting herself down as though there were enough outfit on her to have misplaced them somewhere. Sleuth would probably notice they weren't hanging on her belt as they had been before.

"Now where did I...?" Shoe mused, turning around to reveal they were quite obviously tucked into the back of her skirt, a totally natural place to put a pair of handcuffs. The hapless detective leaned forward to fiddle with her skirt a bit, as though she were going to find some secret pockets, leaving her backside defensively extended towards her host. "If you see 'em, give me a hand, will ya...?"

The boss had seemed confused when she first arrived, not buying into the detective act as easily as the maid, but his grin had quickly returned when Shoe laid it on a bit thicker. Once again, his head had tilted to put a laser-focused gaze on his new interest. "... Sleuth, I hate to ask this of you. I've invited you in, but the carpet's quite a mess. I wonder if you'd clean it for me before the party starts proper...? I'm sure the detective probably has some questions for me, and I'll be pleased to help her out, but I'm interested in seeing your skills as a maid... Perhaps I'll come up with an idea of a special project you can help me with."

"A great idea, boss!" UnmadeMan concurred, nodding his head vigorously. "You can clean the carpet right Sleuth? That's one of your maid services, right? I think the boss and me and the boss'd really like to see you clean the carpet-"

"And, how convenient," SuspendedMan interjected, loud, but still measured. "We have convenient cleaning supplies in the closet, if there's anything you think you might need that you didn't bring. You might need a vacuum cleaner, perhaps...?"

"...Would she? Would she really?" UnmadeMan asked, apparently not having pictured that in his vision. "Well, if you do, all yours, babe. We've got a vacuum cleaner in there and a broom and dustpan and trash bags and light bulbs-" As UnmadeMan's rambling got further and further off topic, Sleuth would probably find it easier to go check herself, if she cared.

"Now, I'll go let our sister know our status." SuspendedMan informed the others, drifting towards the hall. "When the dishes are ready to be brought out later, Sleuth, I may get your help... you being the hired help, after all."
"I'm glad you approve!" Sleuth beamed in a way that felt like Jocelyn to her face muscles; she was kind of glad she couldn't see it on herself. She played a lot of characters, but it was pretty hard for her to handicap herself to the point where she didn't make any funny commentary about the placement of the Big Boss' arm, as he 'appreciated' her uniform. Joking too much would be out of character; she figured she'd move in another direction, but the room's attention was drawn elsewhere as Shoe's arrival was announced.

Sleuth fought hard to stifle a cackle at Shoe's introduction; slapstick always tickled her funny-bone, and Shoe's performance was well over the point of ridiculous and into caricature. It took everything in her power to avoid making fun of the size of the comparatively tiny magnifying glass. If the others were watching her face, they'd notice that her reaction wasn't too different than the boss's or UnmadeMan's: pervy amusement. She tried to fix it back up (and not to stare too hard at the placement of the handcuffs, which the boss probably wanted to grab himself) as questions came to her. "The carpet! Big Boss, it would be my great honor to show you how well I tend to a carpet," she responded, clasping her hands together and skipping over to the closet in giddy fashion.

Hopefully, the closet would be as advertised; if it was, she'd slip in, grab a vacuum cleaner, and head back out to join the others. She eschewed the dust pan for now; it was a nice thought, and she understood where it came from, but she couldn't go with UnmadeMan's sensibilities on this one. There were things she could do with the vacuum that couldn't be accomplished with the dust pan... there'd be plenty of opportunities to bend over throughout the performance, but not necessarily too many chances to do this.

"Uh oh! It looks like you may have brought a little of the pine in with you, Miss Shoe! Allow me to clean up after you," she cooed, dragging the vacuum cleaner over like someone who had no idea how to hold- or, more importantly, use- a vacuum cleaner. "Here it goes! I just flip this switch here..." she murmured. If she got it turned on, regardless of how easy to use or silent the vacuum was, she'd make it appear to be as far over on the hard to use and unruly side as possible. "Oh my! Such suction! I hadn't picture sucking anything like this today!" she called out comically, making a show of sticking the length of the cleaner's tube between her legs as if trying to hold it straight with her thighs. Completely unable to control it, she yanked it up from the carpet and quite purposefully reached the head of the vacuum out to tag Shoe. She wasn't sure if they were supposed to start stripping yet, but, well, this wasn't the type of thing where she figured she could get faulted for enthusiasm. She didn't aim at the lower body, since that would probably get in the way of the handcuff gig, so she went high instead for the hem of what would generously be called Shoe's "cape". if everything got that far, she'd be interested to see how Shoe would play off the madcap cleaning service.
SuspendedMan took his leave as Sleuth headed for the closet. The Boss was having his fun inspecting his detective, and UnmadeMan was left standing expectant. Sleuth would feel his gaze follow her as she left, in spite of the fact that he had no apparent eyes.

In the closet was everything UnmadeMan had promised and more: extra folding chairs and tables, a toolbag, a full-sized folding ladder and a smaller step ladder... It was crowded, and if Sleuth really were being paid as a maid, organizing it could be a potential task. Since she wasn't, she found the vacuum cleaner among the mess and left. If there was something she wanted later, she could likely dig through and find it. Until then, there was no point in cataloguing each and every tool available, but she would notice a couple of things absent: anything that belonged in the kitchen, as this cabin apparently had a separate kitchen, and anything that eluded to the shady business the shackles in the cabin outside had.

When Sleuth returned, she'd find SuspendedMan still absent. UnmadeMan quickly turned his head her way again: as flattering as it would be to think he'd been waiting for arrival and nothing else, he'd obviously been giving Shoe a bit of his attention. On that note, the Boss was either getting frisky or going blind, having evidently kept the secret of Shoe's handcuffs to himself as he pinched the sides of her skirt and lifted, barely revealing the underside of a lacy red undergarment and the detective's tight cheeks. "Are you certain you've checked the entire outfit, Shoe? Don't tell me we're going to have to turn it inside out, kehm!" he barked, making an effort to stifle a cough so he wouldn't have to release his grip.

"I don't think so... Are you sure you don't see it? Look harder!" she teased, smiling but rolling her eyes in a gesture only Sleuth would see as the maid moved to the center rug. Shoe backed it up a bit more for the boss, nearly bringing it to his face as she swayed in place, running her hands through the hair at the back of her head.

"Quite the nerve, ordering me around," the man rumbled, continuing to enjoy his view.

"I'm sure you'll find em soon, you two! That Shoe's a real good looker, Hubba Hubba! And I feel like the boss, snrk, the boss is right on top of em! Hehe!" UnmadeMan waved to try and get his boss's attention. "Oh! Boss, Sleuth got the vacuum and she's gonna use it to uhhhh..."

The stumbling gangster didn't seem to have the imagination to come up with a good description for what Sleuth was doing, but she'd managed to get everyone's attention. A large part of that was due to the vacuum itself: surprisingly for a device on the net, the cordless vacuum cleaner made a tremendous and unsexy amount of noise. In spite of this, its suction didn't appear especially powerful. Basically, it was poor in performance.

Neither Shoe nor UnmadeMan seemed to know what to make of this, but, if it helped, Sleuth might be pleased to see that the Boss was tickled, either laughing along with her game or at her incompetence as he peered around Shoe's hips. "Bwaha! Be careful, young lady, that device is like me: old as a dinosaur, but powerful nonetheless!"

"Uh, it ain't that powerful- oh!" UnmadeMan's imagination finally seemed to catch up with the situation. "Oh, no no no, I mean, yeah! It's super powerful, almost as much so as you, Boss! Maybe it oughta be the next boss, huh, hyuk hyuk?"

Shoe's eyes followed the vacuum cleaner. It wasn't clear if she'd pieced together Sleuth's plan yet, but she seemed to have an idea that Sleuth was still going somewhere with it. Due to her attention, Sleuth would have to assume she was either adept at keeping her cool or totally lacking in reflexes, as she made no effort to draw back as her partner suddenly turned the cleaning tool upon her. Shoe's eyes widened as the device immediately slurped her half-cape from her, revealing her bare shoulders. Unsurprisingly, the clasp was designed to easily release... and that appeared to be a theme of the outfit, also unsurprisingly. In the blink of an eye, the lace of the woman's tie unraveled and the buttons of the jacket popped, opening to reveal a lacy red bra. For a moment, it looked scarily as though it was going to catch the woman's long hair. She had her hands holding it back behind her, fortunately, putting it in a bit less danger.

Nonetheless, that danger seemed to be what the woman was reacting to as she stumbled backward, landing butt-first in the lap of their host, carefully catching herself at the last moment so she wouldn't break anything. From Sleuth's viewpoint, she'd be able to see nearly all of Shoe's legs, with the skirt a thin barrier for the modesty of whatever lower undergarment she wore. "H-hey! I paid good money for that detective lookin' stuff! How am I supposed to be a detective without my cape- oho!" She squealed, putting a funny smile on her face as she put her hands to either side of her face. "Saaay, I feel something hard down there! Were those handcuffs in my back pocket after all...?"

The Boss grinned in response, looking very pleased, but remaining silent. If Sleuth was watching body language, she'd see him smack his lips for a moment and look vacant before turning his head back to his maid, seeming to expect her to do something.

In the meantime, SuspendedMan had slipped back in, although he didn't look in any rush to join the action: instead, he watched from near the exit to the hall. If Sleuth looked his way, he'd give a low raised hand, probably indicating he didn't mean to interrupt whatever they were up to.
Sleuth appreciated what Shoe was putting herself through for the sake of the show, as she watched the other lady's reaction to the boss's behavior. The tiny sliver of herself that was decent and felt bad when it did annoying things to people momentarily regretted the additional frustration she was about to cause Shoe, but only for a moment, before it was silenced by the wild impulses that guided the majority of Sleuth's actions.

Listening to UnmadeMan was like having a buddy commenting on the porn you were watching: never, ever a good way to get into the mood. That said, she appreciated his enthusiasm.

As for the aftermath of her vacuum-assisted assault on Shoe's already embarrassing clothing, she couldn't help but feel that she'd skipped a few steps... that was pretty exciting in its own right, though, and she found herself getting a little aroused. "Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry! I guess now I'm indebted to both of you..." she sighed, clasping her hands together as she aimed the vacuum back down onto the carpet. She had to admit, she didn't really have any line ready that was as good or attention-grabbing as Shoe's commentary on the boss's hard-on... Speaking of which, that was note-worthy. Wasn't this guy's virility supposed to be shot? It sounded like he had a pretty good erection going, considering, unless Shoe's butt really had just connected with handcuffs and the detective-disguised detective was trying extra hard just to play along.

She noticed SuspendedMan coming back in, but he hadn't called for her yet. She also noticed he didn't seem overly surprised at what she'd done to Shoe... maybe this was the pace things were supposed to go at after all. "Well, then! When in Rome," she thought to herself, hastily grabbing at the lower hem of her immodest blouse, before anyone could object... not that she expected they would. "Allow me to make it up to you, right away! Your clothes in the vacuum are sure to be dusty, but you can have mine instead!" she insisted, yanking up the top with a little bit of an effort, causing what could be referred to as a tidal wave of bouncing breasts to spill out, covered by the black, strapless bra that was having a difficult time holding in its payload. "It probably isn't as valuable as the very regal and majestic detective-wear you came dressed in, but I hope it will serve!"

She stepped forward a bit, then made a show of catching her foot on the vaccum cleaner. "Yah! Whoopsiiiie~" she cried out , waving her arms to the sides and dropping the maid top she'd taken off. She stumbled forward and then to her knees, clasping both hands onto the boss's knees at either side of Shoe. In further exaggeration, she ran them up behind Shoe, up the lengths of his thighs, but was unable to really reach the particular point Shoe was sitting on, if she was indeed doing so. From this angle, with Sleuth's head just below Shoe's and her gigantic breasts hanging down, the black crescent of the bra Sleuth wore was nearly imperceptible, hidden by a sheer wall of flesh.

"Oh my goodness! Well... While I'm here anyway, so let me help you find those handcuffs!" she insisted, running her hands back down the boss's upper thighs. "Are they here?" she asked, kneeling and lifting up the front of Shoe's skirt, to peep at the front of her panties. Ironically, at this point, Shoe was probably more aggravated by her partner's antics than any of the leches she'd been hired to work for.
The eyes of the room seemed to be on Sleuth, either in anticipation of further "vacuuming" or curiosity at how she'd mess things up otherwise. For just one man, UnmadeMan made quite a lot of noise as Sleuth freed her amazing chest. It seemed like the boss ought to have a reaction as well, but instead, he continued to stare somewhat vacantly forward, starting to look less and less like he was present at all.

Surprisingly, SuspendedMan began to move forward as if to catch Sleuth when she started to trip, and, perhaps even more surprisingly, failed, allowing her to fall as she'd planned. Without missing a beat, he quickly gathered the blouse off the floor.

Shoe bunched her legs up onto the boss's lap as Sleuth slid into their already precarious pile. That protected Shoe's modesty (while still giving a fantastic close-up look at her long legs), but didn't prevent Sleuth from getting her hands where she wanted to. "Geez, what am I supposed to do with your huge maid blouse? I already tried being a maid, but I'm not cut out for the dirty work." She continued with her ridiculous pout as Sleuth played with her skirt, looking for the article both of them knew Sleuth wouldn't find. She did manage to get a look at the hot red frilly boyshorts the skirt had been hiding. "I think I really am sitting on them, hold on..."

Shoe rose to her feet, counting on Sleuth to back off, and pulled on the handcuffs, managing to pull the back of her skirt up in the process. "Oopsie! How embarrassing..." she cooed, rolling her eyes again away from the boss as she gave her behind a wiggle in front of his face.

"Sleuth," SuspendedMan interrupted the show, "I think the drinks are about ready. As the drinks are ready, why don't you and I see to those? While we do so, our good detective can keep the boss entertained... and this one," he added, nodding his head to UnmadeMan.

"Yeah, don't worry about us!" UnmadeMan responded, turning his tattered head and sharp grin to Sleuth. "With those handcuffs out, I'm sure she can find some way to keep us entertained. Don't stay long too gone, I mean gone too long though, eh? Hate to see you go but love to watch you leave, babe! Your *ss, I mean," he added helpfully.

SuspendedMan would help Sleuth up if she was still kneeling and take her arm in his own either way to maneuver her towards the hall. "Please do come along. Oh, and I took the liberty of collecting your blouse from the floor. Isn't it frustrating when you leave important items in clothes lying around and they end up in the wash? Very frustrating... Speaking of frustrating..." he trailed off, breaking from Sleuth a moment while he went to turn off the vacuum she'd left running.

In the meantime, Shoe was fixing a handcuff to the boss's wrist, which seemed to finally be teasing some reaction out of him other than a vacant grin as he turned his deep-set eyes to his captor. "Yeah, you do the maid stuff, Sleuth. It's not often a detective gets her hands on a big one like this, so I'm going to get it all out of him... Find out all the naughty things he's done..." she cooed, climbing onto his chair and straddling her legs on either side of him.
Sleuth had seen a lot of things in all her years as a detective, but one thing she hadn't seen in a while was a man with a mostly working sex drive ignore her taking her shirt off. "Is he... blind? No, that doesn't make sense. He reacted when both Shoe and I entered the room, so it doesn't make sense to think he can't see that far... And it's, er, not exactly a discrete action. Uh... no... can there really be that hardcore of a legs man?" she wondered, giving Shoe another good look. Though, if that was the case, it seemed to Sleuth that her employers would have known and warned her beforehand that she was packing a pair of oversized dud rockets.

Since she couldn't figure that out, she smiled to Shoe instead. "I'm sure you can handle getting a little dirty," she chuckled, appreciating the peek at Shoe's panties that she'd managed to get. Sleuth did the courtesy of backing away a bit so Shoe had space to stand, as the other lady shook the seat of said panties in the face of the birthday boy. As it turned out, she was needed elsewhere regardless. "Of course. Detective, I must take my leave, but hopefully, you've got some experience with handling two gentlemen at a time," she finished, giving an overly polite smile before following SuspendedMan. Amused by UnmadeMan's parting words, she turned placed a hand over her mouth and giggled in his direction. "Oh? Well, allow me to serve you by giving you a better look," she tittered with a wink, pulling her skirt up on the back and keeping it suspended daintily in the grip of two fingers, as she walked off.

The look she gave SuspendedMan as she took her blouse back, using her other free hand, was just as amused, although for a different reason. "My, you must think I'm very dumb," she grinned, ostensibly staying in character, but really meaning to convey the question if he really supposed she was dumb enough to leave the poison vial inside her blouse if he could read that far into it. "Thank you."

It was interesting to see Shoe locking in the guest of honor for a show... was that all it was? Depending on what kind of family this was and what Shoe's ulterior motives for being here were (and Sleuth was quite certain that she had some), Shoe could have the man right where she wanted him in cuffs. This could be a very interesting scene to walk back in on with the drinks, and not just because Shoe might end up taking a few more articles off. "Good! You have a good time," she insisted, unable to think of any great innuendo to follow.

Hopefully, showing off her tremendous bosom wasn't a deal-breaker for interactions with Sis, because Sleuth had no plans to put her blouse back on just because SuspendedMan had handed it to her. The truth was that having her chest free from the restrictive garment (any garment that hadn't been tailored for her specifically was restrictive for her) was a blessing. She loved fashionable clothing, but seeing as fetish maid wasn't in vogue anyway, she'd gladly part with the piece. All that was left to do was walk into the kitchen, meet Sis, and carry some drinks, so she headed on down the hall.
Shoe glanced back at Sleuth and rolled her eyes, still wearing her sexy smile for the boss. "Not this kind of experience, but yes, I'll manage," she muttered under her breath, not seeming to care too much if her client in close proximity heard her. For his part, the boss looked at her face to acknowledge she'd been speaking and hadn't understood her... his attention quickly drifted back to what she was trying to show him and a smile creeped back onto his face, as though he was starting to realize what was going on again.

Those two were busy, but UnmadeMan was happy to give Sleuth his attention as she left, seeming especially pleased for a show that was just for him. "Yeah, you bring that back here quick! Bring that and something for me to get drunk on and I'll skip flowers and buy you the ring, babe!" His randy laughter persisted as Sleuth left for the kitchen.

SuspendedMan was Sleuth's sole escort as they headed into the hall. There was a narrow staircase they faced immediately, but her guide ignored it, turning instead to the left. A small table with a lamp stood at one side of the hall, and otherwise, sparse decoration: there were some framed photos, but not enough light to see them. The only other light came from the open doorway that would now be on Sleuth's right at the end of the hallway. As for Sleuth's snide implication about his treatment of her and her unspoken concerns about her outfit, SuspendedMan said nothing: he remained as silent as his shifting cords as he glided across the hallway, letting out a rough cough at one point before stifling it. "I apologize for the boss. The boss's clarity is... in and out, now."

That was all the discussion he had time for before they reached the kitchen. It was a small kitchen, as would probably be expected: there was a round table with four humble wooden chairs before reaching a back wall lined with cupboards and a small counter for preparation, a stove and a dish washing machine, a toaster, and other kitchen essentials. Again, perhaps surprisingly, the kitchen equipment showed a strong disparity of styles: none of it was garish, necessarily, but while the toaster oven looked like an antique, the dishwasher looked modern and multi-functional. The whole area was wood-paneled and lit by a bright lamp over the table.

The sole inhabitant of the kitchen was a small Navi with a round, reflective, black metal helmet from which a number of purple tubes projected... those tubes continued lining her back almost like a dinosaur's spines until the upper back. She appeared to have similar armor on her torso, gauntlets, and boots, with little armor to speak of over her reddish purple undersuit otherwise. She wasn't thin, but wasn't filled out: as she turned around, Sleuth would become aware she was, in fact, a young woman under all the menacing armor by looking at her unlined face. Disarmingly, only the lower part of that face was visible: the upper part was hidden by purple framed lenses on the helmet, wide set like frog eyes instead of where a person's ought to see. She was also wearing an unmarked white apron that looked like it had seen heavy use. She seemed to wear a natural frown, but she made an effort to smile when she saw the two enter. "That outfit... she's the entertainment for the night then, uh, Bro?" she spoke in a nervous mutter, evidently not a conversationalist.

"That's right, my Sister. This is Sleuth. Sleuth, this is our Sis. Sis is quite an expert in preparing both beverages and confections, and it shall be your rare treat to partake in them along with our family." There was an obvious warmth in his voice when speaking about her, the same pride with which he seemed to describe most of his organization.

Sis didn't smile for the compliment, keeping her expression towards Sleuth. "... She's big," she said after a long pause, turning to SuspendedMan as if she were revealing something.

"... Sis, the drinks?" SuspendedMan responded, dodging that conversation topic. "What you were preparing when I was here before?"

"... Yes," Sis responded, shuffling over to the kitchenette awkwardly and bringing a tray of five tall beer mugs, along with a pitcher full to the brim. "Weird last party choice, but uh the boss loves beer. He'll love this, for sure."

"It has my seal of approval, and I am not a frequent drinker," SuspendedMan added, as though Sleuth was going to have to be convinced of the quality before she'd carry the beverages. "But as an infrequent drinker, they are the finest I've had."

The small woman remained quiet again, turning to Sleuth. "So... when you poison this, I suppose you'll have to make it clear that you're uh poisoning uh SuspendedMan's, yes?"

"It's not necessary," SuspendedMan replied, stifling another cough before continuing. "Please recall that the set-up to make this convincing is quite minimal. It will be enough if Sleuth has the material evidence on her person when I collapse from apparent poisoning. This is, after all, only a fun party game."

"I'm used to you being so serious and methodical... and thoughtful," Sis commented, shifting on her feet. "So I figured it was uh... more elaborate. I'll leave it to you two. Come back later for the food."

"I'm afraid I didn't put my usual level of preparation into this... In spite of that lack of preparation, I believe it's going along swimmingly. Come along now, if you don't mind...?" SuspendedMan gestured for Sleuth to carry the tray.

"... I'm sure the boss will love the show. And I'm happy when any the whole Family is happy. If someone tries to uh hurt the family. I'll uh hurt them. Delete them with no hesitation," Sis added, apropos of nothing.

"Of course," SuspendedMan replied, as though that was nothing out of the ordinary.

"I don't have outsiders in my kitchen very often. I'm sorry if I'm uh a little awkward," Sis apologized, biting her lip. "All we have is each other."
"Hm hm. I could give you the kind of service that would have you drunk without touching a drop of drink," Sleuth called back to UnmadeMan with a smile that wasn't entirely in character for the unassuming maid. Teasing guys of his type was fun, both in terms of what you could make them do and what they tended to like to do themselves. Something about strutting around in a maid apron and an undersized bra was making her a little horny, and she'd begun to think that sneaking in a lapdance on a functional lap might not be the worst idea anyone had had tonight.

For now, though, it was time to attend a man who had amazingly little interest in receiving a lapdance. He kept to himself as they went to the back and didn't bother explaining the details of the house to her... luckily, curious as she was, snooping around a house with motive was a little nosy even for her. "I'm more interested to meet that sister of his and see if they barely the family resemblance to Pinocchio," she joked internally, casting a polite smile in his direction by way of apology for her rude joke. It would probably look like she was smiling as condolence for the boss's senility, but she really had already pretty much assumed that much.

The kitchen looked like it had a story to tell and Sleuth came up with a few quick theories: just the essentials that are used on these retreats were fixed? Something had gone wrong recently cooking recently and required certain appliances to be replaced? Some appliances had been bloodsplattered and thereby had to be replaced? Lots of interesting possibilities, but none were quite worth thinking about compared to just focusing on the girl in the room. Like SuspendedMan and UnmadeMan, the girl looked as though a conscious attempt had been made to plug things in, stretch things out, and generally remold her until she looked at least three degrees separate from an average human. "Not that that's a bad thing. Everyone's got secrets to unravel and most of them are more than skin deep," she reminded herself.

Something tugged at the back of her mind as the navi mentioned partaking in the same drinks as the rest of the family... These were clearly dangerous people, after all, and he made the drinks sound almost like they deserved some kind of proper noun name. One thing was for sure: she'd definitely make sure somebody else took the first swig, no matter how much she felt like getting hammered. Also, she dearly wanted to stick her nose into what relationship these two had, picking up in SuspendedMan's change in tone... "A sister-lover, this one," she thought to herself. "No wonder he doesn't take too much of a shine to me... I'm not his type."

"Charmed to meet you. And yes, I'm afraid that these are my great curse and blessing," Sleuth sighed, making it sound as though she didn't get enough mileage out of her cleavage to make up for the back-pain. Some people didn't think they were worth the trouble, but those folks didn't get the same use out of them that Sleuth managed to in her line of work. "Ah, well, I'm a frequent drinker and not related to the one who made them, so you're going to want my expert opinion," she winked.

The little disagreement between Sis and Bro on how the poison ought to be handled was interesting to Sleuth; it sure sounded like there was some devil in the details that wasn't immediately apparent. "Or perhaps I'm just looking for a story where there isn't one," Sleuth admitted, acknowledging that such flights of fabrication were her greatest strength and her greatest weakness. She picked up the tray, gave another polite smile to Sis, and acting as though she hadn't heard the threat to kill, since that was apparent from the ominous torture shed she'd started out her adventure in anyway. "She's cute... for a murderous stegosaurus," Sleuth thought to herself, oddly at peace.

This wasn't the first time Sleuth had acted as a maid carrying drinks, so with all the poise granted by that practice, she carried drinks in a tray on one hand and opening the door with the other, to lead the way back out. "So how's it go down? We all just have a sip-sip, you clutch your chest, your strings are cut? Or are you going to stave it off and have a bite to eat first?" she asked keeping a swish in her walk that'd be hard for most men to ignore.
While she had only spoken of her craftsmanship and her family so far, SuspendedMan's Sis didn't seem to have much else to say on either. Since Sleuth was suppressing her desire to pry so well, the Sis was happy to limit her flow of information to what she'd given so far, giving no apparent reaction to Sleuth's parting smile nor any parting words herself. SuspendedMan gave her a polite nod of his own and followed Sleuth into the hall.

He continued to move noiselessly, a locomotion method that would turn heads in a different way from Sleuth, as he listened to her question. "Well, if it's all the same to you... and I assume it is all the same to you... I intend to hold off on the poisoned reaction until I have the chance to sample some of the party favors my Sister is preparing. I'll- ack!" He broke character for a moment, letting out a sharp cry of pain as his strings suddenly glided him into the desk they'd passed earlier, banging his knee upon the corner. Recovering gracelessly, he flung himself to the other wall, leaning against it as he held his knee. He hissed, for a moment... then let his leg fall again and began gliding once more with his shoulder pressed to the wall for only a moment, glancing away from her as though it was possible she wouldn't have noticed that happening. "Ahem. Yes, after I've had a bite to eat, I will succumb to poison and the mystery may begin proper. Frankly, the entertainment of the night is somewhat out of my wheelhouse. That being the case, I can think of worse ways to spend it than passed out on the floor." Irritation had creeped into his voice that didn't seem to be there before... Of course, that could easily be because of his embarrassing blunder.

When the two reached the family room again, the scene appeared to have progressed from when they left. In particular, life appeared to have come back into the boss. Shoe had cuffed his left wrist to her own, remaining facing him with her legs straddling his lap as she held a key over her head in her right arm. She appeared to be playing keep-away with him, lowering the key to where he could reach before pulling it away at just the last minute... and allowing him plenty of leeway in getting his face right up against her chest as he did so, her open shirt allowing him a full view of her bra as he did. She turned to Sleuth as the maid returned, and the boss took that moment of distraction to make a stretch for the key, grabbing it and using it to unlock his shackle while Shoe giggled in pretend protest.

"Sleuth is back, and what a sight for sore eyes as well as parched throats," the boss growled, showing his teeth in a big grin. Apparently following his body language, Shoe rose from him, getting a swat on the behind for her earlier mischief. Her face was hidden from the boss, but Sleuth would be able to see her partner for the night wasn't a good enough actor to convincingly appreciate that.

"Drinks!" a voice shouted out: UnmadeMan, who had been conspicuously absent from the scene, finally emerged from the closet, carrying what looked like an old-fashioned tape deck in good condition. "Time for this party to get a little more festive, and by festive I mean plastered, sh*t-faced, happy and hydrated! Since our party wasn't all together I took the liberty of getting the music box. Figure I'd liven things up and maybe give things a little beat to move to if anyone feels the mood take 'em, you know? Needing some music to move to, hehe..." While the thing was designed to look like an antique, it didn't play like one. When UnmadeMan hit a button, it appeared to automatically queue up and start playing a playlist he'd put together: as he'd said, it was a nice party playlist if you wanted to get people on the dance floor... or, in this case, music with a good enough beat to move in time to if the situation came up. "Pour em, Sleuth, pour mine nice and full! I mean not so full it makes a mess of course, I just mean like as high as ya reasonably can without overtopping it. Aw, but even if ya make a mess I probably can't stay mad at you, hehe! Or even if I do, I'm sure you can make it up to me. With that body, I mean!"

At this point, Sleuth might be sensing an issue with the way they'd set this up, if anyone really cared: the pitcher was in the center of the tray, waiting to be poured into each party-goer's mug. There were 5 mugs, enough for all present to have one. However, when was she supposed to discretely add the poison? Since she'd reappeared, all eyes were on her. Then again, as she might recall from the earlier conversation, she didn't actually have to add poison at all. It ought to be enough to simply have the bottle on her person later...
Sleuth had expected a little more of a reaction from Sis, given that she'd made an open display of both her debauchery and her love of strong drinks, but the girl didn't eager to engage. "Don't be silent! That just makes me want to peek inside that stegosaurus brain of yours," the detective-turned-maid thought to herself; where curtains existed, she only wanted to see what lay behind them. Sis's curtains would all remain closed, at least for now; Sleuth had a job to do and there was no time to hang around the kitchen.

"Yes, that makes sense. I'll try some as well. The ones that aren't poison-flavored, that is," Sleuth smiled idly in response to SuspendedMan, more focused on thinking how to handle her upcoming role. "To poison for real or merely pretend to poison? Shakespeare himself likely pondered this once, as it related to his stories," she thought to herself, facing forward. As such, it took her a moment to figure out what had just happened to SuspendedMan, once she heard his cry come from behind her and to the right. It was almost as though the puppeteer behind SuspendedMan had suddenly gotten angry with him and decided he needed some punishment. "That could actually be! Although, what would be offensive about saying you wanted to eat Sis's sandwiches?" she pondered.

As he took his time recovering, seeming to want to gloss over his error rather than seek sympathy, she couldn't formulate a laundry list of observations. "Could there actually be a puppeteer? Perhaps in the upstairs of the building? If so, I simply must head up that staircase and find them!" she thought to herself, although, really, a little self-control would tell her that she really mustn't. "No, wait... that falls apart as I think about it a little more. I saw SuspendedMan moving outside the building... why didn't I look up at the top of the strings then? I should have seen what they connected to!" she thought to herself. All the same, she couldn't stop herself from taking a quick glance up to see if there happened to be slits in the roof of the 1st floor that allowed him to move. What she settled on was another theory, less interesting but more likely. "He's probably just a navi who has an awkward time moving in narrow halls like this, with imprecise movements. I could further conjecture that his lack of familiarity with these halls speaks to a lack of familiarity with this building, but... it is just conjecture. And not particularly juicy conjecture."

Sleuth cleared her head of theories for a moment and listened to her host again. "Well, just make sure it's the poison that gets you and not some sort of bone fracture. I'm an expert hand at forensics, so I'll know," she winked. "As for the view from the floor, Shoe and I will make it every bit as good as the view from the chair, so you needn't be irritated." Not that he seemed to be in to either tops or bottoms. "No, I think what he likes are spikes..." she thought to herself, remembering the over-protective girl in the kitchen.

"Oh my! I've never seen a handcuffed man get the better of a detective like that before. But then again, I've never seen a detective who wears pink either," Sleuth taunted Shoe again as she entered, powerless to stop herself from trying to egg the other girl on. "Oh well, I'm sure you did your best," she smiled annoyingly. "On that note, I've brought these drinks, all the way from the kitchen without bumping into anything and spilling them!" This time around, she even managed to get some rare acknowledgment from the boss, who seemed to go through "health swings" like normal people went through mood swings. "Reminds me of Hyde a little... This one's like Doctor John Doe and Mister Hyde," she joked internally. She made another observation: the boss must have told UnmadeMan to go get the boombox from the closet, because there was no way the guy would just leave during Shoe's show, only for the sake of preemptive thinking. That, or he had some very high ideas of what the music would inspire, which was of course possible.

The music wasn't much to write home about, but was plenty sufficient to provide a rythym for the metronome that was the synchronized shimmy of skirt-swishing and breast-bouncing that accompanied her catwalk over towards the boss. UnmadeMan and SuspendedMan were having all the best ideas tonight, but it would be a little disrespectful of her not to treat the birthday boy first. It wasn't lost on Sleuth that it would be hard to add poison to any of these drinks... she wasn't sure if that was part of the agenda or not, but either way, she had her reasons for not wanting to poison anyone's. "As fond as I am of them, my cohorts for the night are all a little shady... I think I may be best off assuming this really is poison and leaving it up my sleeve," she reasoned. "And if one of these lovable goofballs starts squirming, wondering why his real poison has yet to kick in, why, all the better!"

Just then, another thought hit her, this one more dangerous and paranoid. "Unless... all of the drinks are poison and the vial is an antidote of some kind? Wouldn't that be clever! However, that Sis seems very serious about protecting her family. I don't know why she'd kill them. I don't think she'd really risk putting him in harm either," she thought to herself, eyeing her wrist.

The boss, at this point, was probably wondering why she'd gone still for a moment. "Excuse me! I was just thinking that this is my favorite song," she lied, grinning and holding the drink plate in one hand, while procuring a single glass from the side with dainty fingers. "However, consider this a favor to you~" she giggled, then downed the drink herself, tilting her head back to make a show of gulping the whole thing down at once. If it was poison, then she was now totally poisoned... she'd fixed the cuff on her wrist again, a bit self-conscious of her own mortality. "There we go! Now that I'm buzzed, it's time to give you a buzz."

Appreciating the addition of music, Sleuth raised her tray above her head, then backed up toward the boss, similar to how Shoe had done earlier. She winked back to him, then leaned one palm down on the floor, using the other hand to place the tray on the curve of her bottom. "Just put your hand on whatever you want. Do it now, while your vision's still steady! They say your vision's the first thing to go when you drink... and when you blow your load," she joked, grinning backward while she began to bounce her bottom precariously, causing the tray and the drinks on top to hop as though they could spill at any second. The fact that they didn't was testament to her previous experience balancing things atop the surface of her buttocks. "Many talents," she reminded herself, putting on a smug smile and looking to SuspendedMan as if asking how she was doing. "You others, feel free to come after the boss gets his," she encouraged them, now grinning to UnmadeMan with both hands on the rug and the tray clapping up and down upon her ass.