Netfrica Camp Under Construction (and Siege)

MachMan and company may have been looking forward to a fight with the ROT forces, and for a time, they'd think they were in for just that. The camp under construction looked very much like the one MachMan was used to, only with different geography and construction materials, but had clearly been bashed with enemy weaponry. It hadn't been finished to begin with and now, many log walls were spilled, tents split or smashed, and tents and walls both still alit with flames here and there. Only a few Neo-Shogun soldiers, wearing tunics and wielding spears, remained here and there, although perhaps they'd been few to begin with. Giant boulders were littered here and about, probably leftover from the attack. Some had rolled into barricades, while others were embedded into the ground and still others burst into smaller rocks from impact.

If he looked around for a sign of his squad, he'd soon find them in what was likely intended as the equivalent of the Shogun's quarters, though whatever brief start they'd made into putting it together had been mostly smashed in the attack. Caved in remnants of the roof littered one side of the room, which MachMan's aerial squadron on the other side. For the moment, they didn't seem aware of his presence. They were instead occupied hurling questions at their prisoners, who were bound in the center of the small, three girl circle they composed.

Roc, who seemed to be back in her usual spirits after having been consumed with thoughts of her sister when last MachMan saw her, threatened the prisoners with her talons. "Seeing as you jackasses don't have a base to smash, I guess we're going to have to settle on your faces instead!" she posited. Roc was dressed in her usual attire; with no one to enforce a uniform, she'd clearly opted not to wear it.

"Or your data... we could suck out your data instead, bzzzzzzzzzz!" Pest offered; she might be drooling behind her mask. "It's a shame to waste..." Pest's clothing consisted of a drab yellow tunic, slightly lighter than the usual soldier yellow, surrounded by a purple and white striped sash and matching stockings. Her legs were otherwise bare, with a bit of the thighs visible, but the tunic actually looked more decent on her than it did the typical soldiers.

"I say we wait till one of the actual generals gets here before we make a decision. They must be sending someone in behind us," Skywriter suggested. She was clad in a close-fitting, lilac-colored garb, similar to a ninja's, but sleeveless with black, fingerless gloves. A black band with goggles attached adorned her forehead, but otherwise, her purple hair was exposed. For now, it would be left to the imagination what sort of racy underwear she'd chosen for the occasion.

The captives were mostly thin men in red robes, disheveled from battle, with white hair spilling out from the sides. Their long, hooked noses, bobbing chins, and scowling, wide frowns were eerily similar, perhaps making MachMan thankful that the typical Neo-Shogun soldiers at least had different faces and bodies. One figure stood out from the others, a massive woman who looked like every part of her was somehow oversized. The ropes seemed to cut into her trunk-sized biceps. She was dressed in an ornate brown and black robe, ripped such that it was clear she'd seen more battle than the men had. Her hair was brown as well and rolled into some highly unflattering brown curls, done tightly around her head, each wrapped around a black cylinder. Her face was frog-like and wide, as well as extremely angry and tight-lipped. "Go to hell," she answered. "I know your generals and they're all doomed weaklings, just like the rest of you."

"You're the one tied up here, not me, fatty," Roc pointed out, reaching out one talon to run it across the big lady's cheek. "I'd say you're the doomed weakling."

"And your ignorance is just another sign of your weakness," the other lady smirked, unafraid. "We at ROT are better positioned than ever and you are well and truly damned. You, however, are not so weak... You may yet have a place in our forces, if you're interested. Your strength would earn you a high rank. The fly girl... she could perhaps earn a spot as one of our Worst Ones. The purple harlot... we have no place for rubbish."

MachMan might need to lend a hand to the interrogation, as Skywriter was clearly not much of an interrogator, Pest was likely to drain the life out of the prisoner rather than spare her, and Roc was likely to kill her without even bothering to drain her energy through a mouth-needle. On the other hand, MachMan might also question why the Shogun had sent him to a battleground where the promised battle had already concluded...
((From NS Camp))

The trio materialized a few hundred feet above the encampment, and quickly kicked on their propulsion systems as they dove to increase airspeed, then leveled off in a wedge formation with weapons ready. However, instead of diving into a dogfight like Mach had imagined, it appeared the combat had recently concluded. Mach gave a grumbling sigh as he led the formation in a softly banking orbit around the encampment, allowing the trio a further in-depth survey of the camp and occupants' condition. Overall the camp looked worse for wear, but it didn't immediately appear there were any allied casualties; several soldiers were milling about, and their three squadron-mates looked to have secured prisoners. They didn't get the combat they wanted, but there was still plenty to do.

"Aera, check on our remaining forces, and patch them up if you can. Vector, you have overwatch," Mach ordered, looking to each SP as he gave them their objectives. "Got it," Aera replied with a nod, before she peeled off and began a smooth approach towards some of the soldiers standing around. Vector's cycloptic eye burned slightly brighter than usual at the prospect, showing his eagerness. "Understood, sir," he sharply replied as he began to slow, falling back from the group. Mazer received a notification of a net transfer, causing the NetOp to set down his book and look at the PET. His brow furrowed, as he was quite behind the power curve on current events. ["Uh, Mach? Since when did the cruise stop in Netfrica?"] MachMan's eyebrows shot up, not realizing he'd left his NetOp in the dark. "Oh, ah... Sorry Mazer, the cruise got cut short by... unforeseen circumstances and I accepted another mission." ["Explosions?"] "...Explosions."

Mazer pinched the bridge of his nose as he gave a prolonged sigh. ["You didn't sink the ship, did you?"] he asked. "Short answer: no. Silver lining: We earned a nice chip, some zenny, and bugfrags. Speaking of which, mind having the chip folder ready? Looks like it's just cleanup duty here, but one can never be too sure," Mach responded, his message becoming more serious near the end. Mazer expected as such, and had brought the chip mag along with his novel. The weather was still pleasant out on the porch, so Mazer didn't feel any need to relocate the PET. It would've been nice to at least put his two cents in before his Navi accepted another mission...

Back in the skies over the battle-scarred encampment, Vector's eye quickly scanned the area, looking for a good high ground to perch upon. It looked like the ruined headquarters building was the tallest building still standing, and gave him a good center-point to cover the entirety of the camp. His eerie-looking boosters made it possible for him to silently glide to a sturdy looking area of the building and gently touch down. Upon establishing himself on his perch, his left slat-like spaulder began to widen and extend over his shoulder to a degree where it looked more akin to a tower shield than a piece of his armor. From his right hand sprouted a polearm, with a L-shaped blade affixed to its end.

Aera touched down with a fairly normal walking stride near some of the soldiers, and called out to them. "How are you all holding up? Is anyone hurt?" she asked before looking around, trying to see if there were any other soldiers around, or any sign of allies stuck in the rubble scattering the camp. Sparks of green light crackled softly over her vambraces as she primed her healing programs, in case there were any injuries requiring her attention. From her previous experiences with NS foot soldiers, she wouldn't be entirely surprised if they spontaneously developed injuries, but she'd humor them nonetheless if there weren't any soldiers in serious need of help.

Mach decided to make his entrance at the ruined "HQ" building with his squadmates and the prisoners. He more-or-less dropped from the air, his wings extended upwards as he streaked to the pile of what remained of the building's roof. Just before touching down his wings snapped outwards horizontally, while his actually functional propulsion systems slowed his fall to nearly zero velocity. His wings swung downwards to their "stowed" positions behind his back and appeared to give him a slight boost to make him "hop" a short distance from the debris pile to the floor. He caught a good amount of the conversation amongst his squadmates and the bulbous prisoner, namely how she tried to recruit Roc and Pest, the latter receiving an indirect insult, while Skywriter received an insult outright.

"Nice to see you all again," Mach interjected as he calmly walked towards the girls encircling the prisoners. From the albeit brief research the group had done about ROT, it was all bad. He also had the free pass to attack from the Shogun him(?)self, so his mercy reserves were running dry. The fat one seemed to know the generals, but he doubted she knew much of him. So, it gave him a clean slate to do whatever he wished. He moved to enter the circle of women surrounding the prisoners, and hoped to face said bound individuals. He smiled and gave a slight nod, greeting them. "Good afternoon, I'm MachMan.EXE. Seems you've met my comrades, all that's left are your... introductions," Mach began, leaning down slightly to address them. Time to turn up the crazy, even if it's pretend. "I kindly ask each of you your name, your rank, and which limb you're willing to have removed for your transgressions," Mach requested with an unnervingly polite friendliness in his voice, like he was asking their order at a restaurant. His eyes darted amongst the three from left to right, focusing on the right-most minion if none chose to speak up immediately. "You then, mind introducing yourself?"
Aera would find that her hunch was correct; once the soldiers were thrown a bone, they were all quick to start fighting over it. Thankfully, they at least spared her the pity of having to tend to their invisible bruises. Instead, they all fought to give her a status report at once, though they were impossible to hear over each other. Finally, one of the men, smacked his spear butt against a rock near his foot (perhaps someone else had tried to do this first, but come up with only sand and failed to achieve the same result) to gather the crowd's attention. The first feature Aera would notice that would distinguish him, unfortunately, was a full head bandage that made it look as though he actually had been wounded. "Subordinate Aera! The camp was attacked by one of our opponents from the Right of Operation Templars. Her name's Trebuchet, which I got no idea how to spell," the soldier announced in a deep, hurried voice. "She had many men with her, but they weren't trouble. She was tough, but with Roc back, overpowering her wasn't so tough neither. She's captured now... we only got a little bit of that EJO Rope the Mafia gave us, but we tied her up so she can't jack out. The higher-ups are questioning her now."

Seeming to finally realize he hadn't answered her question once the crowd got restless, he spoke up again. "I'm hurt," he announced, as though that wasn't obvious. A good many other soldiers bit an EJO as well, but the ROT didn't fight us with jack-out barriers or nothing like that. Seems to me we're lucky on that account, cause the ROT soldiers were carrying new weapons blew a few of us out of our yellows. In a painful way, not a sexy way. Point being, there were a lot more of us here before. Subordinate Roc and the others already sent the weapons on to the main camp for study."

Further into the camp, the aerial forces gave MachMan a quick salute... except for Roc, but they all seemed to brighten up at his arrival, even her. Without much chit chat, he got straight to business, interrogating the three captive Templars. The thin, robed figures all cringed and withdrew into their cloaks, even the one that had been questioned, but the decidedly not thin one adopted a smirk across her pug-like face. That smirk then turned into open, spiteful laughter. "Oh, listen to this one! I know about you and the rest of the Neo-Shogun's pathetic army already, you fool. You spare your enemies at every turn. You would no more amputate my arm than you would peck my cheek," she taunted, though the already unlikely prospect that she'd get a kiss was becoming increasingly impossible. "But boast if you like. Give me a stern talking to today and I will give your tongue hot pincers the morrow, shortly before I tear it from your throat."

The red robed man MachMan had spoken to didn't like his chances so much and decided to introduce himself. "Ain't got no name. We serve the ROT, y'blighter, the basic footsoldiers that compose the main force," he responded, his lips pursing together as his neck seemed to retreat back even further. "Listen, we're captives! Hush all'at about... removing limbs and what not. You're just trying to intimidate me!"

That was clearly getting aggravating for their ranking officer, who took the reigns back. "My name is Trebuchet, an officer in the ROT and destined for greatness incomprehensible to you low creatures. I replaced the deserter, Guillotine, who could not handle the duties of her station. She brings no shame upon the ROT... There is only ROT and those who are not," she chuckled. "I perform her duties more than ably as Domm's right hand lady. I act with the authority of Robespierre and Master BrainMan. This attack was merely a show of force, but there is much and more on the way, you feeble fools."

Even if MachMan wasn't ready to make good on his promise, Roc was, and began by smacking the captive so hard across the face that it sounded as though something cracked. When Trebuchet turned her head, half of her curls had come undone, with black stones like charcoal pouring out from the rings. Her already heavy cheek was beginning to swell larger and her lip appeared to be split. She spat down at Roc's feet, as if to convince her to give her another. Before she could, Pest and Skywriter grabbed her arm to stop her from doing it again, although that might be just what MachMan had intended to begin with. At any rate, that hit had satisfied Roc, who grinned over to MachMan. "The bitch has gone insane, if you ask me, probably from that beating we gave her and her troops earlier. Don't know what she's thinking, talking so big when you and I are seconds away from toasting her like a big, fluffy marshmallow." Big meaty marshmallow was more like it... there was a lot of muscle there, not just fat.

Skywriter at least didn't have the stomach for torture or even pretending to torture. "I-I think our focus ought to be on why they chose to attack this base... There's nothing here and, being generous, it's just a lot of wooden structures," she pointed out. "We've been trying to get the information out of her, but haven't gotten anything yet." That made Trebuchet smile again; earlier it had been ugly, but with her rapidly swelling bruise, it was especially grotesque.

Pest wrung her hands together and turned her head hopefully towards MachMan. "I have an idea... if you'll just let me suck out her data, I'll get stronger, and in no time, she'll be saying whatever you want her to!" she offered. In an eerie way, it seemed like she had potential to be a scarier torturer than Roc was.

Perhaps thinking about that, Skywriter spoke up again while still retaining Roc's arm (or so she thought; without Pest helping, Roc could have it back whenever she wanted). "Come to think of it, I'm surprised you were called here. The Shogun must have known that we were about done here... we'd already sent the weapons over to the camp at that point," she questioned.
As expected, Aera's arrival and offer of assistance was met with much noise and soldiers jockeying for her attention, though at least they weren't stripping to show previously unseen injuries. Aera stood her ground, but her eyes darted around as she tried to discern one soldier's report from the multitude of others, until a metallic clang rang out and silenced the masses much to her relief. The wounded soldier explained the situation, revealing two interesting nuggets of information: The NS had EJO-blocking rope, and it was apparently "given" to the NS by the Mafia. Both tidbits were sent direct to Mach via text-only comms. Was it a "gift" to fight a common enemy? A third slightly less-critical nugget was the fact the soldier immediately knew who she was. Aera was flattered she was apparently already known to many in the shogunate, but considering how many embarrassing situations she'd been put in during NS missions, she had a nagging suspicion the rank-and-file knew some... private details about her.

Aera approached the bandaged soldier after he explained the status of ROT's forces and their own; thankfully the only casualties consisted of injuries and EJOs, no deletions. "I see, thank you for the report. Now..." Aera responded calmly, then trailed off as she looked for a crate or smaller boulder at a decent sitting height. If she found one nearby she'd gesture towards it. "Have a seat, let's get that wound looked at." She'd stand behind or next to the soldier depending on the location of the wound if he chose to sit on a rock or crate. If there were no items to sit on and he chose to sit on the ground, she'd kneel next to/behind him. She had her Recharge and IV abilities ready to use; she wouldn't use her more powerful Electro-Therapy ability unless the wound was severe, since it took a significant amount of time to recharge.

Mach returned Skywriter and Pest's salutes with a quick salute of his own before he focused on the captives and made his introductions. The rotund one was all-too-happy to call Mach's bluff, bracketed with insults and threats. [[i]BambooSword and RageClaw, please,[/i]] Mach texted to his NetOp. Mazer heard a chime come from the PET, with the simple request scrawled across the screen. Mazer took a deep breath and audibly exhaled before he slotted the chips in with a slight shake of his head. [And I thought this was supposed to be R&R,] Mazer thought to himself. He made a quick glance of the field, the crew was static and there were no viral signatures or weapons fire detected, so Mazer went back to reading his book.

Mach received the notification of the chips' upload right after nameless minion #1 spoke his piece; Mach more or less ignored the large one. His saber hilt materialized in his hands, which were crossed behind the small of his back as he was leaning down towards the captives. The intel passed by Aera about the EJO ropes added another level of threat to the situation to both sides, Mach didn't want to delete unarmed captives, but the threat of deletion was now a tool he could use. That said, it wasn't the first time he's deleted Navis, TerrorMan fell to him twice in rather brutal fashions. "Indecisive? Alright, I'll choose for you," Mach replied calmly before whipping his left arm out from behind his back, hilt facing downwards in his hand. The cyan energy blade sprouted forth like flame before tightening into a sharpened, green-tinged edge, just prior to plunging straight down on the bound program's right leg, its point aimed just above his knee.

Regardless of the mook's reaction, Mach released released the saber (hopefully either still embedded in the minion's thigh or the floor below) and focused back on the woman as she introduced herself as Trebuchet, an officer of ROT, and a replacement for Guillotine, who was recently mentioned by the Shogun as the program who would secure Jack's trunk-sized prison. He'd never met her, and now the allegation she turned traitor from ROT forced him to at least partially question the security of the trunk. The Shogun seemed to trust her though...

Before Mach could respond to Trebuchet's newest round of insults, Roc literally beat him to the punch with a percussive reply of her own. Mach couldn't help but whistle at the impressive force and sound of the blow, while being partially thankful he himself wasn't on the receiving end. Mach stood up straight as Roc gave her own theory to her commander, while her blows appeared temporarily halted by Pest and Skywriter's restraints. "Hm, not sure," Mach replied after shooting Trebuchet a quick glance. His right hand, hanging down at his side, began to twist and stretch, his fingers curved and flattened out slightly to form a set of wickedly sharp claws. He brought his hand up, checking it over as he flexed his fingers, causing some of the joints to pop along with the sharp scraping of metal on metal. "... but she did mention her arm. Any suggestions for which one? Seems like either would take at least a couple swings, or some digging." he asked Roc with an eyebrow raised, his tone still so casual it seemed like he was asking for advice for what color tie to wear.

He doubted his new attitude would've gone over well with Skywriter, who looked like she was a few moments from going green. She tried to steer the conversation towards the needed info. Mach took her words seriously, as she made several valid points. Trebuchet claimed this was a "show of force" and "much and more on the way," so it might just be ROT trying to keep the NS from intruding on 'their' turf. That said, they must've underestimated the NS's strength if they were willing to dedicate a small contingency to wipe out the camp, or didn't care about their forces getting repelled/captured. Though he intended to find out, Pest too made some valid points. Trebuchet seemed to be rather resistant to brute force, and cutting her arm off seemed like a messy affair, so Pest looked to be preferable (and very eager) option. He looked at Trebuchet to gauge her reaction, but regardless he'd face back to Pest and grin. "Very well, didn't want to spend the next half hour picking cellulite out of my fingers. Just don't overdo it, not until we get something useful from her."

Mach didn't interfere with her work, but decided to be a bit cautious and went back to the minion he intended to skewer, and pulled his saber from the floor and/or the program's leg. The blade temporarily died down, allowing the saber hilt to be safely stored at Mach's hip. He then turned to Skywriter as she continued to hold Roc back. "The Shogun sent me to clean up, along with his blessing to engage ROT and to 'not bother reasoning with them'," Mach replied matter-of-factly, though he partially embellished some of the details. Though he appeared surprisingly calm, suspicion continued to rise in his mind. Either the Shogun feared another assault, like Trebuchet alluded to, or possibly to get him out of the camp. That albeit implausible theory didn't hold much water, but paired with the trunk being secured by an ex ROT just seemed far too convenient. He shot a message to Yasu.

Quote (Title:Guillotine)

General Yasu,
What do you know of Guillotine? The ROT officer captured at the attacked Netfrica camp claims Guillotine was prior ROT before turning traitor, and though the Shogun ordered me here to repel the enemy, the battle is already over and their captured weapons were sent back to our main camp long before I was tasked here. He also mentioned Guillotine would secure the chest we captured. I have a creeping feeling something's amiss here. Please advise with any information you may have.
-Subordinate MachMan
The soldier gratefully accepted each of Aera's instructions, taking a seat on a nearby chunk of boulder, which had helpfully broken off into a curved shape with back support. Still not the comfiest seat, but at least he could sit up straight while Aera worked on his head. Due to the positioning, she'd either need to work from the side or in front. As soon as she started to remove the bandages, though, he'd shake his head and press one hand to it. "No, uh, sorry, I just wear this to give me some character. The injury is actually..." he murmured, quickly opening up his tunic. He further shrugged until he managed to get out of it, leaving him only the shabby yellow fundoshi. "It's here, on my abdomen," he pointed out, showing a data-bleeding gash on his stomach about a half a foot wide. It looked much more serious than he'd been acting like it was, but on the other hand, not as messy as his presumed head wound would have been.

"It probably needs a bandage or something. I got hit by some chunks of rock when one of these exploded. Can you do something about it? Oh, an IV? I guess that works. Can you bandage it up too, though?" he asked. He didn't seem particularly shameful about his state of dress, but his voice was pretty dull, so it was hard to tell if he had ulterior motives in wanting Aera to examine the stomach wound, which was pretty close to his groin. The other soldiers had all gathered around to watch, seeming far more excited about that than the interrogation unfolding further in the camp.

That said, they all jumped a bit as a shrill scream came from the other side of the camp. "Gyaaaah! You bloody mother lover, yuv' skewered me!" the griping navi cried, gripping hard into the sand and reeling his head back, opening his mouth wide and gaping like a fish between screams. "Y'bastard, y'bastard, y'bastard!" By this point, each of the other identical red robed ones were squirming in the same way, either trying to break free from their bonds or thinking that being moving targets would make it harder to stab them. Unfortunately, the one rooting them to the ground, the big lady, was sitting entirely still rather than rising, even as the others elbowed her.

"Suck it up, skinny," Roc scoffed at the one that had been stabbed. "There's more where that came from if we don't get our info." As much as she seemed to love it, Skywriter looked squeamish, letting go her grip on Roc to retreat a few steps and cover her mouth. Pest's face was impossible to read, given her mask, but she was staying quiet. The bird girl smirked back at MachMan, flexing her own talons as well. "I'd start with the right. Most people are right-handed... don't even pussyfoot around with the left or you might have to make her a double-amputee before she speaks up," she snickered, her sharp teeth showing in a wide grin. "She can get used to tossing rocks with her left hand! That's how generous we are."

Pest's offer won out, though, which delighted Pest and may have let down Roc a little... Skywriter at least seemed happy about that than the idea of cutting someone's arm off, but she may have been happier if it came before one of the guys got stuck in the leg. Roc started covering his mouth, saying it was going to be hard to hear anyone's plans, their own or ROT's, the guy would have to be quiet. The bug lady took Trebuchet, pinching Trebuchet's gut for a moment, before flattening out the space and smoothing it with one hand. Next, she leaned forward and began to insert the needle on her mask into the lady's skin, slowly, but way deeper than seemed healthy.

Trebuchet clenched her jaw for a moment, then exhaled deeply. Shortly after, she tensed up again, throwing her head back again. "I can feel it... this Worst One has a desire to graduate, even if it means taking the strength of others. That is good- rrrgh... Yes, good. All that matters is that one is strong," the navi monologue, an odd choice given her present situation. Pest's eyes flickered back and forth between red and green; she was silent except for a disturbing slurping noise. She didn't seem ready to talk yet, but sweat was running down her broad forehead.

To the side, Skywriter nodded hesitantly. "That might work... If ROT values power that heavily, she can't be okay with losing all of hers to Pest," she reasoned. "And I guess if the Shogun gave us orders to go all out, then it's okay."

Quote (Response from Yasu)

The truth is I know little of Guillotine. She came over to us after defecting upon one of the ROT's trains, which carry their arms across Netopia Net. She's helped us in a few instances since, on various missions. I've known her to seem distracted, concerned with her past. She has not fully integrated, in my judgment. I believe you're right to be suspicious. I will go investigate the matter personally and return a report in short order. There has been no activity at my area and the training of the troops has gone without a hitch so far.

Sure enough, Trebuchet's resolve seemed to be weakening. One might expect that after the initial stick of the needle, she'd have begun to get accustomed to it and the discomfort would lessen, but the pale look on her face and the way she clenched her eyes closed suggested otherwise. Either Skywriter's theory was right or else Pest was draining data as zealously as she'd always claimed she would.
"Hm?" Aera canted her head slightly as the soldier revealed the bandage on his head was more of an attempt to show originality than address an injury, and directed her to the actual wound after an uncomfortable amount of disrobing. Aera's brow furrowed as a look of frustration grew on her face as she looked up at the soldier. "Why didn't you tell me it was this serious? Jeez, sit back a moment," she complained before pressing her index finger against his forehead to push him back into the recess of the boulder on which he sat. It seemed she was more disturbed by how he concealed the severity of his injury, rather than the location.

She knelt side him and examined the wound, the fingers of her right hand crackled with green sparks and pressed them on either side of the wound before attempting to pinch some of the wound shut as restorative energy flowed through her fingers. An IV pack materialized in her left hand, which she applied to the soldier's abdomen opposite of the wound, to provide pain relief and additional slow-and-steady healing. Though she would prefer to just zap him with regen programming, she was afraid the wound wouldn't heal correctly. The majority of the healing she had to administer was for superficial or all-around damage to armored Navis; this soldier was basically going against rock with nothing more than cloth and a bloated sense of pride. She shifted position as she focused on closing up the wound to get a better angle, eventually ending up between the soldier's knees. Her brow remained furrowed as she concentrated on closing him up, not saying a word as she did so.

"Bandage it up? Might be best, don't want this to open up... How about we use some of your tunic? I don't have any bandage-generating programs." She looked down at her own tunic, then quickly banished the thought and focused at the bandage up on his head. "Or... we could use the perfectly good bandage on your head," she insisted as she pointed a finger to said perfectly good bandage. Her attention was quickly diverted by an unsettling scream nearby. The sparks over her free hand quickly changed from a friendly green to a volatile pale cyan as her free hand snapped out towards the direction of the screaming, but after a quick check of her allies' status, neither were in duress nor calling for assistance.

Vector, who was still standing guard, couldn't help but take notice to the pained screams coming from the building upon which he stood. He could plainly see the prisoner writhing in pain, likely from the sword embedded in his leg, the blade undeniably belonging to his master. His statuesque pose faltered for a moment, his head panned over to look directly at Mach. Did his sight betray him? Did his master attack an unarmed prisoner? His gaze was greeted with an opened palm from said master, with a text-only message. [[i]Stand down, this is only an attempt to intimidate, I don't wish true harm upon them.[/i]] Mach's message was mostly true, but a quiet, albeit nagging voice in his head suggested wasting the three where they sat would be an optimal result. "The EJO-blocking ropes would make it easy," it said.

Mach returned a venomous smirk to Roc as she suggested removing Trebuchet's right arm, but Pest's solution won out, which seemed to disappoint the avian Navi. She'll likely get her fun later on, and Mach could bet on the attack being repelled and prisoners captured due to Roc's efforts. However, Pest was ultimately the best tool for the task at hand, and she got to work quickly. Trebuchet oddly seemed to salute Pest's abilities, like this was an initiation to graduate her in the ranks of ROT. Mach stepped in and put his head next to Pest's as he spoke to her newest victim. "She is strong, and said comrade is fighting for the right side; not yours."

Thankfully Yasu's reply was punctual, but the information she revealed wasn't very reassuring. She herself was on the way to investigate, but it may be too late. It was out of Mach's hands, and his hands were already somewhat full with ROT prisoners. The fattest of which was rapidly losing color. He moved to her, and leaned down to her ear as she was energetically sapped of her energy. "You said there was "Much and more on the way," where are they located? I'd like to pay them a visit, to save them the trip." He expected a feeble attempt at superiority of their forces, to which he would respond, "Then I'll finally have a challenge. Don't waste my time, or yours. Jury's out on how much longer you have, Pest doesn't seem keen on stopping."
The soldier kept quiet, perhaps a behavior he'd cultivated after numerous scoldings by other officers; it would not be surprising if whining or complaining tended to put one in worse graces with Yasu than simple silence. Still, when Aera ended up between his knees, he couldn't help gulping; the crowd closed in a bit as well, given that the look of the situation was a bit obscene when viewed from the wrong angle. The treatment patient stayed quiet a bit longer after Aera had finished asking her question, then slowly, thoughtfully, responded. "Actually, my tunic and all that got kind of dirty during the attack... and my head-bandage is always hairy on the adhesive side, you know? So it might be best if you had something clean that I could use to bandage it up," he noted.

The crowd of tunic-clad men seemed to grow quiet in anticipation. Perhaps to their condemnation, none of them seemed particularly interested in the torture scene, even once screaming began, when they had Aera to hold their attention instead.


"Bzzz... yes, and getting stronger... bzzz..." Pest spoke between slurps. It was hard to tell how much having the needle embedded was impeding her ability to talk, without knowing what her mouth looked like behind the mask.

Trebuchet was somehow managing to hold out, her curls beginning to become matted to her head with the sweat running down from her forehead. She couldn't banter much any more though. She gave a wretched frown towards MachMan for a moment, then reeled her head back and clenched her teeth. Either out of sympathy for her or worry for themselves, the other robed navis began babbling, each trying to offer the information that MachMan wanted. Unfortunately for them, it all sounded so jumbled and inconsistent that it seemed like an entirely unrehearsed lie.

"WatchTower's gunning for you're main camp, blighter! Soon she'll be rainin' arrers down upon the head of any'un too stupid to surrender!"

"The big man himself's aimin' for your first general, the green one! Nob'dy stands up to BrainMan and lives, nob'dy! And if she's willful, that'll just make it go all the w'uss for her!"

"Domm's headed for anyone who's isolated and given' em what's what, so they'll know they're on the losin' side! Anyone you don't know there wherabouts of is about to become one'o us, whether they like it'ur not!"

And yet, no report from Yasu indicated that any of those things were happening. MachMan was likely waiting for another word from the main camp, to let him know what Yasu found there, but another messenger arrived first. The heavy noise of several feet came from behind the wrecked wall of the meditation hall that the NS had started putting up, before it had been attacked. Doubtless MachMan was already preparing to attack when the source of the noise revealed itself. Several women in skintight, single tone bodysuits, wearing masks with demon faces and horns, approached, carrying a mobile throne between the four of them. Even with all four of them supporting the weight, their backs were bowed and their movements strained. The figure atop the throne was clad in blue armor... one less familiar might have taken him for Neo-ShogunMan only his different coloration and great girth told differently. A great spear was embedded in the armrest beside him; on the other side, a bowl of some strange, brown pudding quivered.

The man didn't seem to be in a mood for pudding. Once the girls had brought him a bit closer, he jumped down; though he was very fat, he was tall as well and strongly built. He grabbed up the spear from his throne and held it up straight as he approached; the upward stance rather than a lowered one might indicate he was relying on it for protection rather than intending to engaged. The size of the weapon, nearly a regular man's waist in circumference, made it more of a battering ram than a spear, though the tip was pointed. He made his way wordlessly for a bit, seeming somehow out of breath despite just a few steps, then thrust his meaty finger forward accusingly. At first it seemed he was pointing towards the captives, but it quickly became apparent that he'd singled out MachMan.

"I see you're busy, MachMan, but hopefully not so much so that you can't tell me where the hell your leader is?!" he growled, his deep voice somehow coming out even heavier than the armor made him look. "Do you know how this makes me look to the rest of my men in the Teksqp, when your leader finally agrees to a sit-down meeting with me, I provide a location, food, women, wine, whatever he could desire, even provide you Techari tools to aid you in your present struggles, and he stands me up?! Where is he? What is he doing?!" he whined, thumping the butt of his spear up and down impatiently. Ridiculously, it sounded like, while the NS was facing attacks on multiple fronts from the ROT (supposedly), he was treating being stood up as the start of another war. He held up one finger and wagged it back and forth indignantly. "It won't do, MachMan. I will not let it stand. You will beg your leader, if you must, to respect our original agreement!"

"Look, lard-ass, we're a little busy right now?" Roc pitched in before anyone could stop her.

"I don't have words to waste on you, bird," the big man growled.

With all of this going on, Yasu finally responded with a new message.

Quote (Yasu)

"Something's gone awry. There's no sign of Guillotine. I can't get a response from the Shogun, who is supposed to be meeting with Boss Oni alone now. And worst, perhaps: of all the nonsense you could imagine, the trunk is gone, but Jack is here. Someone released her. Miraculeusly, she hasn't run off... I'm in a room with her now. Her story is nonsense. She claims the Shogun and Guillotine removed her from the trunk and left together after asking her the location of BlessMan, leader of the Blessers. Then, the two left together heading for Blesser's Court, if you believe her ridiculous story. There is no way it can be true... the Shogun made no mention of this to me or you, two of his most trusted soldiers. All the same, if you have things in hand there, I would like you to go perform reconnaissance at this Blessser's Court at the attached address. Update me as soon as possible."

Unfortunately, calling the current situation "well in hand" might be a mistake. MachMan was probably going to need a little more damage control here before he left, unless he trusted one of his squadmates to take care of the issues here for him.
As Aera continued working on the soldier's wound, she couldn't help but feel like the crowd around her was starting to creep in closer. She made an unamused sigh as she eventually closed up the wound and stopped the bleeding. She looked up at the soldier as he then explained why his headband wouldn't be an ideal bandage, same for his tunic. Aera raised her eyebrows, wordlessly questioning the NS footsoldier to determine if he still had ulterior motives.

Though it didn't seem like he was the lecherous type, Aera seemed to channel a bit of Yasu's innate distrust of men to default him in the aforementioned category. However, unlike Yasu, it seemed like she could at least have some fun with it, since the soldier was no longer seriously bleeding. "I see... well then,..." she trailed off as she moved her hand up and over her ear, sliding her middle finger across her skin to move her bangs over her ear.

She paused a moment, letting it linger briefly before her hand reached around the back of her head and quickly undid the NS Footman headband, which fell down around her neck. She also untied the thin strand holding her slightly longer ponytail in place. Without them, her softly curved locks lay across her back, with a few curls laying over her shoulders. Though the headband wasn't quite long enough to fully encompass the soldier's waist, the added length of the hair-tie let her make the bandage wrap around snugly. It took her a moment to tie the final knot, then took a step back to see if the bandage would hold.

If it appeared the treatment would hold, she'd glance around to the crowd of soldiers, her hair swishing noiselessly over her shoulders. "Anyone else hurt? Serious injuries first!"


Mach leaned back up to a normal posture as the minions babbled on in a jumbled mess of information. It took a bit of effort for Mach to discern the different stories, and though they didn't sound genuine at face value, they may actually be more than just idle threats. That said, Mach didn't need them to know that. "Uh huh, and I'm a Cybeast," he retorted sarcastically.

He'd start to test the validity of their threats, but a new player made his appearance, announced by a myriad of footfalls nearby. Mach's eyes darted towards the direction of the noise, and caught Vector in his peripheral; the fractal Navi spun in place and coiled its body and spear as if ready to pounce. They both expected something to crash through what remained of the wall or roof, but were instead greeted to the sight of a hand-carried throne, upon which sat an oddly familiarly-themed Navi.

The heavy-set armored Navi looked like a fat cousin of the Shogun, but the style of his mask along with his throne-carriers gave Mach a hint to the Navi's identity. It took only a sentence or two to prove his suspicions. This was Boss Oni, of the NetMafia, and he knew Mach by name. It seemed the heavy-set Navi was well informed, or Mach was making a bigger name for himself than he expected. He nodded politely, disregarding the indirect insults, and spoke calmly. "Boss Oni, I presume."

Mach finally received a communique from Yasu, but the message was alarming. Jack was released, though was placid enough to not skip town, but alleged the Shogun and Guillotine were both heading to the Blesser's Court, the apparent location of BlessMan. As a result, the general requested he perform reconnaissance on the area. Mach quickly shot back a reply.

Quote (Re:Guillotine)

Understood Ma'am, but critical info has popped up. The ROT prisoners claim a myriad of (albeit unfounded) threats are inbound, including a "WatchTower" enroute to lay siege to the main camp, and "BrainMan" gunning for you specifically. Unrelated, Boss Oni is here, saying the Shogun was a no-show. I can move to put eyes on the Blesser Court, but I recommend this contingent moves to bolster the main camp's defenses in case these claims turn out to be true. Or do you feel the camp is adequately manned & secured?

Mach responded to Boss Oni's declaration, shooting a quick glance to Roc just prior to focusing on the spear-wielding Navi. "Let's keep things civil, for now. I shall see to this personally. As a token of good intentions, I leave these ROT prisoners to you for your own purposes. They've been... prepared for you."
What had been a discrete murmur of interest became a sudden bevy of gasps and commentary as the Neo-Shogun soldiers thoroughly appreciated Aera's hair-down look, seeming more excited about it than one might think reasonable. The one she was working on continued watching with a dull expression, but he discretely shifted his sitting position a bit. If Aera was watching his fundoshi, she'd be close enough to realize what was happening, but then, watching his loincloth underwear intently would be a little rude in its own way. "That's better. Thanks, Subordinate Aera," he finished, sounding no different than before treatment, despite the fact that he wasn't leaking data any more.

At Aera's insistence that other injured soldiers step forward for treatment, the results were likely exactly what she expected: each of the soldiers began questioning each other over any wounds. If she looked quickly enough, she'd see one try to pull another's spear into his shoulder, but it was snatched away at the last moment. The scene was clearly chaos, perhaps a good indicator of why Yasu was so prone to ignoring them rather than giving them even the slightest attention or affection.

Finally, two pushed their way to the front. One of the two was holding his butt with one hand while the other supported him using his shoulder. The one without the butt injury spoke up. "We've got an injury here! Wounded on his arse, that's why he didn't want you to treat it," the navi informed Aera, helpfully pointing at his buddy's butt. "Fact being, he's too embarrassed for you to treat it. It'd be easier if you gave me some clean cloth and I'll do it," he suggested, holding out one hand to indicate she ought to hurry. The crowd hushed up, waiting to see what Aera would do.


"You presume correctly, but the time for exchanging courtesies is over! I had a hot bath, a feast, and ample women ready for that purpose, for your leader. Now I only want to know how you intend to make this right," Boss Oni snarled by way of greetings, sounding like he might be spitting behind his mask. To the side, Roc curled her lip distastefully; she had no patience and little propensity for following orders either, as MachMan might recall. It would be best if MachMan could wrap this up quickly, or else face fresh whining and indignation from the visiting mafioso. To that end, he offered to turn over the captives they'd secured to the mafia.

Boss Oni paused and rubbed his chin-strap thoughtfully. Even with the heavy armor and cloth undersuit hiding it, MachMan could see the fat of the big man's chin moving at his neck. "You are wise, to offer a gift. Considerations like these are important between friends. However..." he swept his hands at the prisoners, then crossed them back at his chest. "What am I to do with these? The men are too pitiful to be soldiers and the woman is far too fat and homely to serve as base for one of my slaves! The Oni Mark would be wasted upon her," he grumbled... a serious case of the pot calling the kettle black, as Oni was by far the fatter of the two. "I need a better offer. I hear that the ROT have other women in their ranks, far more beautiful ones. If you'll include those in your deal, to be surrendered once you've captured them, then I can forgive the slight against me and we'll reschedule the face-to-face meeting with your leader to another time."

Skywriter gave MachMan a worried glance. She knew as well as anyone that the mafioso was asking way too much, in exchange for what ought to be a mere rescheduling. Oni looked at MachMan for a moment, then followed his glance over to Skywriter. He tilted his head up slightly. "Or... she looks like a good representative. Yes... perhaps... she could show me how sorry your shogun is for forgetting our meeting? Tell me, MachMan," he continued, making a guttural laugh, "does she know how to say 'sorry?' I know the bird doesn't. She looks like she'd snip me with her claws if I gave her the chance."

"Snip you? Ha! I'd rip you open from your groin to your forehead," she scoffed. Oni seemed pleased enough with himself to let that slide.

He turned back to MachMan, then tapped his finger upon his armor. "What do you say? You outrank these two, I'm certain. I'm a generous man... if a pretty girl tells me they're sorry in a convincing way, I can't refuse them. Or, I could take the captives, I suppose, but you'll need something better to offer me than that sorry lot." Skywriter was already shaking her head but not verbally refusing, but Boss Oni didn't seem like he'd take that refusal from her.

In the midst of this, MachMan somehow had more pressing concerns, as the response came from First General Yasu:

Quote (Yasu)

If BrainMan is looking for me, he'll likely attack the troops I was training moments earlier. I can't allow that; they'll be wiped out easily at this point and I have no idea if he's bringing technology that can render their EJO ineffective. The main camp will be safe. Subordinate Escort, Arch, and Sake are all there and it won't be easy for anyone to break through with them defending. I'll take care of BrainMan, they'll take care of the main camp, and part of your squadron ought to be able to stall Boss Oni for now... We can hardly be expected to care about the fat bastard's feelings when we have a full scale attack to worry about. You, however, I need at the Blesser's Court. Divide your forces between the Netfrica camp and the Court as you see fit, but someone has to get to the bottom of what Guillotine is doing.
"You're welcome, just don't make it a trend, okay?" Aera teased the soldier while brushing her hands against her tunic. Her offer of treatment to the crowd re-ignited some chaos, even to the point of soldiers attempting to wound themselves... If the one managed to stab himself in the shoulder, she'd be more than happy to call him out on it. Two finally came forward with a legitimate, albeit embarrassing, injury. Aera kept a straight face, even at the prospect of looking after a literally butthurt footman. Sounded like said "patient" was too embarrassed to have her treat him, due to the nature of his injury. "Ah," she trailed off contemplatively. She wasn't entirely sure of the extent of his injury, and it didn't help that his buddy made it seem urgent that the wound be bandaged up immediately.

She produced an IV pack, and presented it to the Navi. "Not sure of the extent of his injury, but would this help?" If additional material was needed, she didn't have many options other than using the legs of her pants. She couldn't simply remove them since they appear to be bound tightly to her lower legs, but they were fairly baggy around her thighs. She also couldn't confirm what she was actually wearing underneath, (and didn't feel so exhibitionist as to find out at the moment) so removing the tunic was a no-go. Not entirely amused with the situation, her brow furrowed as she finally made her decision, "Hm... alright..." she grumbled as her hands moved to her sides.

She flattened her palms out and crouched slightly so the rings around her middle fingers pressed against the sides of her legs just above the knees. A shrill buzz of electricity came from beneath her hands as they gradually moved up her thighs with a gradual angle forward. Unseen to the crowd, two arcs of electricity stretched between the rings on her fingers with her bare skin, slicing through the material of her pants like a plasma torch. The burn area was so small it barely showed any singe marks on the dark blue material. After tracing her hands up to her waistband, she slid her hands back several inches, careful to not cut into her waistband, then moved her hands back down to the point where she started. When it was said and done, she cut two spike-like isosceles triangles out of the sides of her pants, which fell away and in to her waiting hands. This produced two long, fairly broad bandages without revealing too much. That said, she probably went a bit overboard on the width of the triangles, since they left two windows to the sides of her thighs and hips. It also begged the question if she was wearing high-waisted underwear, or none at all...

She handed the bandages to the wounded soldier's comrade, with a slight rush of red on her face. She tried to play it off as nothing, but it seemed like she could feel the prying eyes of the crowd... "Here... that should help, alright?" she asked, while some errant built-up energy crackled over her fingers.


Vector had finally calmed down and placed his spear upright, but he was fuming at how such a conspicuous intruder eluded his sight. "Did they teleport right next to the building? How could they sneak that quietly with a throne?" the SP questioned in his mind, while occasionally sweeping his eye across the group while returning to guard duty. Mach was pleased the meeting didn't immediately come to blows, and Oni at least partially appreciated his offer, though he didn't seem satisfied. "I thought of them more as information resources than manpower, and they've given me plenty after some 'coaxing,' I bet they'd give you the courtesy of spilling their guts to you as well," Mach negotiated in lieu of accepting or refusing the Navi's demand to capture ROT soldiers of a fairer variety. A quick glance would reveal Skywriter similarly felt the demand was a bit outrageous.

He focused back on Boss Oni, who had gotten his eyes on Skywriter. Mach kept his cool after the rotund Navi's proposal; it helped that Roc countered with contempt in spades. Boss Oni even had the gall to suggest Mach pull rank to have Skywriter "apologize" to him. It reminded him of when he had Sylk entertain PantheonMan in Hera's Fortune, leaving her very vulnerable. However, knowing how strong she is now, he wouldn't be offering her up as much as 'siccing' her on him. Though he could safely assume the Teksqp Navi was not at all her type. "I am the ranking one, yes. But these girls, all of them, are combat specialists... not "negotiators," if you catch my drift." Mach began, gesturing to his squad mates behind him with a tilt of his head. "So it's best I utilize their strengths, as any good leader would, which should be no surprise to one of high rank such as yourself." Mach concluded with half condescension, half complement.

While expecting an unfavorable reply from Boss Oni, Mach sent a message to Aera. [[i]"Aera, form up once you're finished up out there."[/i]] A reply came a few seconds later. [[i]"On my way!"[/i]] Aera's small wings spread outwards as her propulsion systems came online, and she calmly took to the air to promptly make her way to the center of the encampment. She quickly caught Vector's eye, which undoubtedly noticed her significant change in appearance. She'd been in much more compromising situations attire-wise, but she fought to keep her blushing in check, though she did shoot the fractal Navi a friendly smile and a thumbs-up, to reassure him.

She made a shallow arc to descend into the ruined building, the glances she attracted didn't help her slight embarrassment, which showed not only by a very slight flush in her face, but also the fact several electrical discharges arced from her feet to the floor below. The display was impressive nonetheless, especially to Mach. To Mach's recollection this was the first time seeing Aera with her hair down since Hera's Fortune. To keep up appearances, he kept his comments to direct comms only. [[i]"Customizing the uniform a bit?"[/i]] Aera shot him a glance, which he met with his similarly sapphire eyes. [[i]"You could say that..."[/i]] [[i]"Regardless, you're rockin' that look."[/i]] Mach struggled to keep from staring or grinning, especially after seeing the blush on her face briefly intensify.

With the crew assembled, he shot a message to all players, to relay the new mission objectives and assignments.

Quote (Mission Update)

Gen Yasu requests recon on the Blesser Court, but this location needs to remain secure so we'll unfortunately need to split up. Roc, Skywriter, Vector, stay here and hold the fort. Pest, Aera, you're with me. Questions? Objections?
"Don't worry. By the sounds of Subordinate MachMan's prisoners back there, it doesn't sound like we're going to be facing much trouble from the rock thrower again," the head-wrapped soldier posited, casting a glance over to the interrogation.

When she addressed the two newcomers and offered the IV, the two looked at each other, before the more talkative one shook his head. At this distance, his eyes looked a bit weasel-like, along with his long neck and lack of a chin. The other was pretty nondescript. "No, it's an open wound, ma'am. We need to stop the data bleeding," he insisted, while the other nodded weakly. As the two were presented with her new gift, they looked so enthralled in watching that they seemed to forget the injury entirely. The soldier that had sustained the injury actually uncupped his hands to accept the scraps. Aera didn't see any data spilling out.

By now the crowd were loudly commenting to one another, those in the front excitedly explaining what was happening to those in the back. "Moe!" and "Kawaii!" were chief among the comments, while others were begging each other to produce some sort of injury to keep the act going. Finally, she was summoned away, getting a nice out from the situation. "Subordinate Aera! Aera, Aera, Aera!" the men chanted, banging their spears against the ground in unison. It seemed that Aera had just built herself a personal fanclub by accident and with only a few minutes of her time.


"Huh. And yet we have had not a single attack from these insignificant dogs; even if they're biting your heels, from what I see here, that is really only a concern to me if you are my friend. And you are not my friend until you give me something of worth," Boss Oni reiterated, maintaining his stance that the three bound up were useless. It was hard to tell if he really believed they were useless or if he was the type who only valued a gift if it was appropriately nicely wrapped. MachMan refused his call for apology, which earned a scoffing laugh from the big man, causing his armor to clatter noisily. "That one, a combat specialist you call her? Look at her! She's white as a sheet! Hopefully that's just all the violence. I might take it as a bit offensive if the mere prospect of apologizing to me caused such a skittish reaction. I'm not so fearsome as I look..." It was becoming clear that the big man was quite capable of taking offense wherever it pleased him, but less clear how to reasonably quell that indignation.

"Hrrrmhmhm... Come now, you're telling me you've never sampled one of them?" the ogre-like navi chuckled, leaning in closer to speak conspiratorially, although it was hard for him to get his face close at all given that his gut extended so far past it. "Oh, I think about it all the time... you lucky bastards, you and that dragon, surrounded by all these girls... You can tell me there are some here and there who are combat specialists but are they all? All those women? Not one of them?" he asked, breathing harder through his mask. "I'd mark them all... even the little one with the mask. I'd mark them all, every one... Our high rank, MachMan, they crave it... Don't they advance on you from time to time? My girls, they all do... they do whatever I ask or sometimes they offer... Your girls must do it too. Men like us: handsome, powerful, ambitous, we share these qualities..."

The dialogue had gone from uncomfortable to delusional quickly, but Boss Oni had to wrap up as Aera approached. Perhaps not realizing who she was, he chuckled once more, speaking in a throaty, low-pitched growl. "Her? You have not sampled that one?" he asked, punctuating the question with a laugh, before backing off. As he watched the two interact, which went by in only a sequence of back and forth, playing glances, he grumbled under his breath. It was pretty clear he had more disdain for whatever relationship they had than admiration. He only grew testier as it became clear that he was somehow getting brushed aside for real business.

The responses came back to MachMan quickly enough:

Quote (Roc)

I don't know who or what you're talking about, but you can leave that lardass to me. We'll negotiate, sure, if that's what he wants... if that means talking, okay, if that means wrapping my claw around his little fatty, that's fine too. If he tries to make a move I don't like, I'll just fry him up and have me some bacon!

Quote (Skywriter)

I don't want to contradict your orders, but I really think that maybe I should accompany you to Blesser's Court. Pest is better equipped to deal with the prisoners here and I'm not sure i trust her to be around something like a "Blesser," if you understand my meaning?

Quote (Pest)

Whatever you say! I'm powered way up now and I'm good to go. I hope we get a chance for me to show you how strong I've gotten!

((Topic opening soon in Homepages))
Aera anticipated her uniform modification would bring about comments from the crowd, but she didn't at expect the chanting upon her departure... As she fought to manage and hide the increasing flush and embarrassed smile on her face, she wondered if they now expected an 'encore' of sorts; the soldiers seemed to be acting like a cluster of diehard fans at an idol's concert. Though she wasn't sure how to react to this unexpected and embarrassing situation, she also couldn't help but feel quite flattered.

She also couldn't avoid nervously checking the cut breeches in her pants in case the holes were a bit too large to maintain her modesty, but not to the point of running into anything as she transited. Vector saw her fan club and heard their cheers, but had an unsurprisingly muted reaction. In his (fairly biased) mind, it only made sense to idolize her, for he truly believed her to be without fault.


Boss Oni wasn't buying it; the prisoners weren't proving to be as enticing bargaining chips as Mach would've hoped. He stood his ground as Boss Oni continued to scoff at his explanation for not offering up Skywriter to "apologize" to the Mafia Navi. [[i]Persistent horndog...[/i]] he thought to himself, though he kept his placid expression. Though he would've had an unique pleasure in seeing Roc go hog wild on the mafia Navi, he didn't want to immediately burn a potentially crucial bridge between the Shogunate and the Mafia. He personally didn't like the idea of being buddy-buddy with mobsters and criminals, but thus far the relationship seems peacefully cold, and he didn't know how much behind the scenes work was put in to prevent all-out conflict with the Mafia.

He didn't move his head at all when Boss Oni proverbially leaned in to speak "man to man" with him, but at he least gave the mobster eye contact. Though said mobster's pontificating metaphorically made his skin crawl, especially the latter half of said pontification, he did his best to not interject. That said, it didn't prevent him from putting the tubby lecher up several positions on his mental "shit list." He also wondered why the Shogun even agreed to meeting up with such a Navi, considering they seem to be near foils of each other. That said, Boss Oni was the one who extended the invite, maybe the Shogun used the meeting as a cover to sneak out of the camp... but why would he go to the Blesser Court?

Aera made her entrance, which caused Boss Oni to further ask if he'd "sampled" her too. If Mach wasn't distracted enough by Aera's attire customization, and held back by his goals to not further foul up political negotiations, Boss Oni would've gotten a very sharp answer right between the eyes. The non-verbal exchange between Mach and Aera did do well to shut him up though, even if it was accompanied by a palpable disdain for the pair.

Mach promptly received the replies from his squadron-mates, and only Skywriter had objections to the plan. He originally wanted to keep her at the camp due to the requirement of stealth for the deployed mission, but he then realized while Skywriter's smoke abilities could give them away, they could prove useful to distract and conceal their movements if stealth was no longer an option. He was still adamant on choosing Pest over Roc for the Blesser Court recon, Roc had the subtly and stealth of a hand grenade, while Pest's agility and assassin-like combat abilities seemed to be a better fit. He also had a much better chance of keeping Pest at bay if she were to go rogue, compared to Roc. That said, Skywriter's concerns about Pest with a Blesser wasn't unfounded; Pest might get infected if she drains their data... but Pest should've already gotten her fill from nearly drinking Trebuchet dry.

Aera sent a message in regards to the replies from the rest of the squadron, particularly Skywriter's assignment. [[i]"I can stay behind so Skywriter can take my spot. I can support Roc, Vector, and the rest of the troops here... and I think I might be a morale boost for the soldiers if we get attacked again..."[/i]] Though he would liked to have her close by, she had a good point, and he had little doubt she'd be able to handle herself with Vector, Roc, and a motivated group of soldiers to back her up. [[i]"Alright. I wondered what that chanting was all about,"[/i]] he replied with a slight tease through direct comms. With his plan decided, he shot another message to the entirety of his squadron-mates.

Quote (Mission Update)

Got your replies. Roc, Aera, and Vector, you all will stay behind. Keep Boss Oni occupied and keep an eye out for ROT reinforcements; especially if this "Domm" character turns out to be a true threat. Skywriter and Pest, you're with me. This is recon-only, but we'll need quiet takedowns (Pest) and concealment (Skywriter) if things go south. Unless there are any other objections, let's move out.

He continued to look to Boss Oni, and spoke up to officially conclude their meeting. "Though I'd like to continue this conversation, I'm off to address the reason you're here. I don't intend to keep you waiting long, but I leave you in good hands regardless." He gave a polite bow, his wings splayed outwards in preparation for takeoff at the same time. Before he took flight, he shot a glance to the still tied-up prisoners. "You just might have gotten off lucky, but I won't be surprised if I come back to your chairs occupied by corpses. Have fun with that thought," he chuckled as his wings swung downwards and sent him up and out of the building through the mostly absent roof.

Mach planned to pause for a few moments for Skywriter and Pest to catch up, and for him to pass the coordinates to them. He also sent a message to his NetOp to fill him in on the developments. Once everything was wrapped up, he'd beam up and out of the network to the Blesser Court.

After the three departed, Aera leaned in, putting her upright hand next to her mouth as if trying to whisper something to Boss Oni. With her ego somewhat inflated by the adoration of her new fans, and an increased comfort in a more "dominant" persona, she spoke quietly with her brow lowered. "Truth be told, you got it backwards. I sampled him."
Once Aera left, the soldiers slowly got back to pulling their weight by fixing up ruined parts of the camp. One might hope the show had motivated them, but they were still moving about as lethargically as was typical. While some were undoubtedly wanting to follow Aera, they shied away at the thought of getting close to the interrogation, which had sounded pretty brutal.


The demon masks of Oni's girls stared back silently while his uglier, more distinctly featured mask leered out from beneath his kabuto. Bright yellow eyes watched MachMan critically. "A fine idea. Speaking to your Shogun directly will be the quickest way to set things back on course," he nodded, crossing his arms across his chestplate, which connected to his expansive belly-plate. "The least your subordinates can do is entertain me until our meeting. Perhaps we can mend this relationship yet," he smirked, as MachMan flew off. Skywriter and Pest followed, leaving Aera, Roc, and Vector behind.

It was clear where Boss Oni's attentions were now headed, as he turned to Aera. He motioned for his girls to approach; they did so, carrying his throne laboriously upon their shoulders, then kneeled to bring it down to the floor of the net. Oni was at least kind enough not to force them to carry it for the moment, but apparently self-absorbed enough to want to take a throne while everyone else stood. Even sitting, the throne added enough height so that he was about eye level with the others, and he was large to begin with. "So... You aren't willing to apologize to me?" he questioned all of them, turning his head slowly. "Understandable. We got off on the wrong foot. But I am your guest, at least, am I not? Certainly you'll take a seat with me and entertain me, will you not? You Shogun girls like to just sit crosslegged upon the ground, as I recall. This meager camp will allow you little else."

Using one large hand, he unfit the lower part of his mask, revealing sagging cheeks of wobbly, pitch-black flesh and yellow fangs, seeming to snarl in a way that wouldn't allow him to close his fat lips around them. Unabashedly, he began shoving whatever the chocolate-colored confectionery was into his mouth... it might have even been chocolate syrup, though it was unpleasant to imagine he was eating that raw. While smacking, he wagged one finger at Aera, addressing her much less courteously than DragonierMan's SPs would remember him acting. "You, I'll allow to sit with me. Come... my throne is spacious enough for two," he chuckled, clearly patting his knee rather than any space on the throne. That was because there was none, of course; he was obese enough to occupy the whole thing.

"Hold on there, Fatty," Roc slowed his roll, raising one hand. "Maybe you didn't catch my drift earlier when I told you that I don't like playing around. Your whole thing is going to drive me up a wall! If you want me to show you my boobs, just say so, don't ask anyone to sit on your damn lap."

Boss Oni glowered and addressed Aera again instead. Vector he ignored so hard that it was questionable whether he'd realized Vector was there. "She's uncouth. Aera, you and your master understand that future comrades such as us subsist on niceties and platitudes. You understand the value in... bonding with me, don't you," he growled in a guttural tone, patting his knee again. "So answer a question... when MachMan designed that uniform for you, did he put panties with it?" he asked, eyeing the suggestive openings she'd made earlier and licking chocolate from his fingers.
Aera leaned back and crossed her arms as Boss Oni ordered his throne basically front and center, before climbing upon it. Aera wondered if the girls carrying said throne were Navis, SPs, or just summoned programs, but felt equally bad for them regardless; it would take a significant effort on Boss Oni's part to get on her good side. He continued to dig himself a hole by beckoning them to join him on his throne and "entertain him" in lieu of sitting cross-legged on the floor. From Aera's memory to date, she'd only seen fellow female NS members sit in limousines, on chairs, or (in one subordinate's case) on Mach's lap.

Aera struggled to not recoil at the sight of Boss Oni palming what looked like oil into his swine-like mouth, but couldn't help but look temporarily nonplussed as the repulsive Navi rather arrogantly "invited" Aera to sit with him. There was honestly nothing about the Navi that made her even think about humoring his request; she felt he was essentially the antithesis of her Navi. She regained her composure and did her best to not directly insult... or attack... the Navi. Instead she simply rose a few inches from the floor, then calmly kicked her legs out and leaned back as if reclining on an invisible chair, which looked rather easy thanks to her EM Lev systems. She crossed one leg over the other, causing the material of her pants to stretch and conform more to the shape of her thighs. "I didn't realize you were such a charmer, but I've already found a seat."

She glanced to Roc from her lofty seated position, slightly confused by her fiery comrade; she also found the mobster's style of posturing grating at best, but didn't seem to protest showing her "assets." However, if memory served her correctly, Roc previously had to be restrained from stripping when they first met in the bunker... Regardless, her attention was drawn away when Boss Oni addressed her directly and by name. Since he knew Mach by sight alone she wasn't surprised he knew her name, but it still left an uncomfortable feeling to be so easily known by the Mafia. She looked back to the obese Navi, though she didn't particularly care to continue giving him eye contact as he spoke.

Going straight for the proverbial throat, the mobster blasted past the line in the sand and asked if she wore any panties beneath her uniform. To be perfectly honest she didn't know herself, but she had no intention of revealing that to him. It did beg the question though of who actually designed the .GMOs. Was it Mach, Mazer, a mix of both? So far her .GMOs have been stylish but also tame... She'd think about it later. She answered the Navi, after a fleeting half-grin showed on her face. "That's for me to know," she started with an almost cliched tease, but changed gears. "... and for you to likely fantasize about," she ended with a slightly condescending note.
Oni smirked, seeming as if he was entertained by Aera's playing coy for now. "Not a lot of back support there, but suit yourself," he chuckled, licking his lips and pausing to stick more of the chocolate in. He continued to smile as she continued to tease (and covertly insult), but that expression didn't seem as genuine as it had at first. "That's fine, Aera. I find... when I meet a new acquaintance and want to know her better... it often takes some time for me to grow on her. But eventually, they come around," he explained with an ominous growl, motioning for one of his puppets to come over. To demonstrate, the yellow-clothed puppet leaned over his throne, placing two hands on his thick thigh and keeping her mask close to his face. He placed one hand unabashedly upon her shapely buttocks, then locked his lips with hers... well, the lips of her mask. Ridiculously, he didn't actually lift the mask before making out with her. When he was done, he gave her a quick swat on the bottom and she left wordlessly to stand with the others.

"You see? She loves it... You can learn to love it too, with time," he grinned, his fangs gleaming between the frame of his dark lips. "Of course, if you need help learning to love it," he suggested with a shrug, then motioned for the girls again. The red one and the blue one grabbed hold of the giant spear resting at the back of the throne and carried it around, to place it in his hands. Now released from the throne, it was clear that it was a hollow tube. "Some women fail to realize my greatness... and isn't that the case for all great men, all throughout time? When that happens, I'm forced to give them a bit of persuasion, using my Oni Mark. Think of it as a contract: I take a bit from them and from that essence, I make a new, loyal servant, one who loves me for who I am. I don't see it as an ill thing to do... rather, it puts things in their proper place and creates order from the chaos of this world. Isn't that what you Neo-Shogun girls love? Besides sitting cross-legged in the dirt, I mean."

He smirked again, looking between Aera and Roc as well this time. Again, he patted his lap. "So come, sit. I don't believe there's any need for my mark. We're friends... good friends. It's not unnatural to want to honor one another," he suggested. "Or, since you have your seat already... show me those panties," he growled again, moving the weapon over to his armrest and rubbing it tentatively.

"I've had it up to here with this crap," Roc growled, casting her eyes over to Aera, then turning her head back to look at Vector. "You stupid, fat bastard, you know I'd rip your arm out of your socket before you could even lift that cannon. Excuse me before your girls could even lift the damn cannon for you," she laughed. "You think just because you gave us some rope and one of your Tech-head friends taught our girls how to massage, you get to boss either of us around?!"

"Let me make the situation clear, then. I did give you some rope... some rope which can be deactivated whenever we choose, with just a word from me to the Techari," he laughed, resting his fat cheek upon one fist, the chocolate-free one. "Might not mean much to you here... But what do you suppose your allies are up to? Wouldn't it be something, if they were relying upon it to subdue those other ROT mongrols, or possibly other threats, and then, unbeknownst to them, the jackout functions or even the physical restrictions seek to function? Why, that could put them in a huge predicament! So how simple would it be: secure good relations between our factions, give yourself valuable tools, and perhaps aid your allies in their crises, all by stepping out of those pants and coming to sit upon the throne of a respected, honored figure such as myself?" he urged her again, narrowing his eyes and grinning eagerly. Saliva seemed to drip from the corners of his mouth, which drooped even when he grinned.
Aera crossed her arms and listened quietly from her floating seated position as Boss Oni proclaimed his slow, but ultimately successful record in wooing women to his favor, then called one of the masked throne bearers forward. Aera raised an eyebrow in curiosity as the girl moved to the throne, but her head started to slowly turn to the side, assuming what was going to happen next would be unpleasant to witness. Unfortunately she was right, and couldn't help but have a sour expression on her face as the Navi made out with his doll. [[i]Eugh, so gross... poor girl...[/i]] she thought to herself as she forced her expression to normalize.

Her discomfort heightened as Boss Oni gave a vaguely threatening declaration and two of his other servants produced his oddly hollow weapon. Aera began to quietly charge her capacitors, just in case the conversation started to become kinetic in nature. The Navi continued to explain his methods, including the "Oni Mark," which seemed to be some sort of method to subjugate/brainwash his thralls. [[i]Are these girls victims of the 'mark?'[/i]] the SP wondered, then her thoughts turned to her own situation. [[i]Regardless, I'd rather get deleted than become a plaything for this... pig.[/i]]

Vector, who continued to dutifully stand guard, still had a proverbial ear out for the conversation. Like Aera, he'd developed an equally sour opinion of the mobster and he too restrained himself from being outwardly hostile. However, when the fat Navi ordered Aera to bear her undergarments, the back of his "helmet" split open slightly so his glowing cycloptic eye could literally peer out the back of his head. While he appeared outwardly emotionless, the SP fumed with silent outrage. He remained at his post as ordered, but he also started to form assault strategy to disarm then send the mobster reeling; all he needed was a single word to loose him upon the offensive libertine.

It looked like Roc would quickly beat him to the punch, she continued to lambaste the Navi, but seemed critical of both Aera and Vector's behavior as well; did she assume they'd be equally hostile to Boss Oni? Also, since when did the Mafia give the empire massage lessons, and why was she not invited? Those questions would have to be answered later, as the mobster brought up an additional threat. He alleged the anti-jackout rope, which he alluded to being used by multiple allies of the empire, could all be nullified remotely by the Techari. However, she felt his threat required several assumptions: first that the tech is widely distributed to the NS and its allies, secondly the Techari actually listening to Boss Oni's complaint, and finally the Techari concluding said complaint was a valid enough reason to deactivate all of rope. [[i]All that to get us out of our pants. I'm afraid that's still not enough,[/i]] she thought with a smirk. "Going from 'charm' to threats? I can't say I've seen that style of 'flirting' before," she criticized sarcastically. She felt a need to stand her ground and refuse the Navi, regardless of his threats... but maybe continued distraction would at least keep him talking until Mach got back? "When it comes down to it, you're just not my "type;" the only program in this room even close to my type would be Roc..." she trailed off as if she was starting to regret the statement as she said it, hoping he'd take the bait. She wasn't exactly lying, Roc was arguably the least grating (and definitely the most attractive) program in the room. Not including the throne bearers of course, as their sentience is unconfirmed at best.

Acting like she revealed too much, she went back to the subject of the valuable Techari tools.
"On the topic of rope, what shall we do with these three? They've been awfully quiet." Aera pondered aloud as she glanced down at the trio of prisoners still bound in the chairs. She also sent a message to Mach, hoping for some good news.

Quote (to MachMan)

"Any luck finding the Shogun? I'm not sure how long we can continue distracting Boss Oni before he loses his patience and/or gets smoked by Roc..."
If Boss Oni noticed either Vector or Aera gearing up to wipe the smile off his face, he made no notice of it, as he continued to chuckle threats and suck chocolate. "Flirting is still on the table. But when honey doesn't work, I try-" he began, before Aera finished her thought. His grin sagged a bit further until it became a confused frown. In his defense, Roc's face did something similar... she was a bit too dense to understand that Aera was coming up with a plan and not coming on to her. "Oh... I see," he murmured, rubbing his fat chin with fat fingers, the ones that weren't coated in chocolate. "Well, I can respect that too," he chuckled, shrugging but looking somewhat miffed all the same. "It's only sensible that you'd spurn my advances, then."

"Wait... what? Me?" Roc asked, momentarily crosseyed as she bared her sharp teeth. Her face was actually going a bit red. "Uh... I'm flattered, but what about Mach?" she asked, scratching at the neck of her skinsuit with one claw. "I mean, shoot, I never caught on. I'm kind of slow with these things. Uuuuh..."

"Hmph! Well, I demand entertainment," Boss Oni growled, bashing his fist down against his throne so hard that the chocolate bowl nearly teetered off. "If you're what it takes to sooth that beast-like woman's sharp tongue and fiery temper, then so be it. Sooth her... I'll continue to enjoy my snack. Dinner and a movie, hm hm hm..." he chuckled, trying to psyche himself back up. However, having lost control of the situation, he looked significantly uncomfortable now. It was clear he wasn't exactly the type to sit back and enjoy others getting all of the attention. The discussion of the other three seemed to just irritate him further. "Dammit, I don't care about them! They've got roughly the same entertainment value as the dirt all over the floor of this pigsty you call a camp! Now entertain me!" he demanded, pounding his fist again.

Roc had no idea what that meant; she went back to her old toolkit, namely clacking her talons and sneering. "You ever seen your own guts before, fat man? That ought to be something special," she smirked. "Might motivate you to shed a couple pounds. I can help with that, of course..." By this point, she'd actually crept up to her feet and was slowly approaching him, her sharp feathers dragging against the floor of the net as she moved.

"W-Wait... Entertain me, I said," Boss Oni murmured, edging up into his throat so that he sat up straighter. "Dammit, I'll do it! Mess with me and you'll have fresh targets on those pretty asses of yours!" he complained, grabbing one hand atop his cannon. "I'm a big name in the Teksqp!"

As satisfying as it was, he had already explained the consequences of taking him on. Aera and Vector were the only ones around that could stop her from getting her revenge for everything so far, however.
Her comment regarding Roc understandably caused both Boss Oni and Roc's respective trains of thought to go full-stop, but what was surprising how quickly Boss Oni suspended his attempts to woo the SP. She half-expected the mobster to take offense or be spurred on to increase his attempts. Aera tried her best to stifle a giggle upon seeing Roc's confused reaction, she succeeded in only allowing a small, brief smile to show on her face. She didn't expect such a goofy expression from a normally serious, and often downright mean Navi. It was oddly endearing to see, Aera briefly wondered what other cute little quirks Roc had to hide.

Unfortunately Boss Oni's interjection brought an abrupt halt to any potential gushing over Roc's moment of embarrassed cuteness. Aera started to "dismount" from her invisible perch as the mobster fell for the bait and unsurprisingly wanted the pair to make a show of it. Aera could hear in his voice that the haughty confidence took a hit, and looked visibly uncomfortable. [[i]That's right, you can't control me like one of your dolls,[/i]] she mentally boasted, trying to psyche herself up in case she needed to exert more power to keep Boss Oni from turning the tables. He was acting like a child on the verge of a tantrum, but she didn't want him to boil over.

However, Roc shook off the confusion and reverted back to boldface hostility. Aera watched as Roc stood and began to advance upon Boss Oni, causing him to attempt to seek "higher ground," while spouting off increasingly unconvincing threats. Though it was quite entertaining to see the mobster squirm, Roc seriously looked like she was going to start carving him up once she got her claws in him. Her EM Lev drives propelled her forward and allowed her smoothly intercept and stop in front of Roc. "Easy, Roc. Let's not get too hasty," she said calmly, quickly accompanied by a private message.

Quote (Aera)

Believe me, I want to fry this pig as much as you, but unfortunately we'd burn an important bridge with him. We just need to stall a bit longer until Mach gets back with the Shogun. And for the record, I said "in this room," you goof... but I wasn't lying...

A very slight blush grew on her face, and her eyes briefly locked with Roc's before they angled past her to her fractal ally on silent guard. She tilted her head to the side to get a better view of Vector, and called out to him. "Vector, could you help out the soldiers in repairing the ramparts? We have things handled here." Vector's head spun around like an owl's upon hearing his name, and he focused on Aera as she spoke. It looked like Roc had the brute clambering for cover, and he too detected a tinge of fear in the mobster's voice; it sounded like they were putting him in his place. "Of course," he responded with a nod, before his head spun back around and he made a slight hop before disappearing behind the wall of the structure. Aera hoped Mach would be back soon, but just in case she didn't want her favorite SP to see her do something really embarrassing, and to hopefully keep the soldiers distracted. She could only imagine what would happen if one of them eavesdropped on what might happen... her "fanclub" could build into an army at the speed of rumor.

Vector landed on the ground of the encampment with a metallic thud. His cycloptic eye made a sweep over the area, then he marched forward towards the closest breach in the wall. If there were any soldiers milling about, he'd give them a glance but would move on. If any were actually doing work, he'd move in to assist, whether it be removing the boulders (or incorporating them into the ramparts), or raising/placing logs back to their proper places. Back inside the camp, Aera looked back to Roc and smiled. "Well?" she asked simply, hoping Roc would either play along, or be at least stunned even partially as much as she was a few minutes prior.
"What's too hasty? I've been patient as I could possibly be," Roc growled, gnashing her teeth as she snarled over Aera's shoulder at Boss Oni, who seemed relieved that Aera had moved in to shield him. Once Aera gave her message, Roc seemed to understand; she cast her eyes up in an aloof expression, feigning disinterest, and slouched. "Alright, alright," she murmured, still baring her fangs.

That said, just because Boss Oni was relieved did not mean he was any more pleasant. If anything, it was quite the opposite. An expectant sneer had returned to face of the mafioso, his thick jowls lifting only slightly with the expression. "Yes, let's all remain civil. I have no tolerance for savages," he chuckled, sinking back into his throne and his usual poor posture, which made it look like his weight was going to cause him to descend down through the seat. He barely noticed Vector go, as he'd barely noticed the SP this whole time. "Now, I'm enjoying myself a bit more. But what makes me really happy is to see others enjoy themselves... so go ahead, enjoy each other."

Roc gave him another glare, before turning that frustrated look back around at Aera. Her eyebrows tensed and her lips were stuck into a befuddled frown. "Rrrgh! Well, well what?! I can't tell if you're making fun of me or if you really want to do something," she grumbled. "Look, there's friendship and then there's sex, and I've never put the two together, so I don't know how it's supposed to work. I'm guessing you don't want it like I normally take it from most guys," she growled. The downside of her confusion was that, owing to her unfamiliarity with actually having nice, friendly romantic relationships, she seemed hesitant to do much of anything.

Still, determined to do something, she began with the least aggressive thing she could think of: hooking her talons into her skinsuit and beginning to yank it gracelessly down her shoulders, tearing it partially as it rounded the swell of her breasts. Beneath was the same gold-and-red, strapless, feather bikini that Aera likely recognized seeing before. "You want to touch them, to start out with? Then we just go from there?" she asked. To be fair, if Aera was into the sort of thing, that would be a great place to start; Roc's pillowy bosom was an oasis of surprising softness on the otherwise hard and tough body. On the other hand, going into it step by step like this was awkward enough, and Aera may have been planning to take it a little slower with their show.

Oni seemed pleased, at least. He licked his lips eagerly, then shoveled more chocolate into his mouth and chewed loudly. "I think you're growing on me, Bird. Hm hm hm..." he smacked, grinning with brown-stained teeth. "If you don't want to touch them, Aera, I will be happy to oblige!"

"Not for you, Fatass," Roc responded in a terse bark, which wiped the smile off of Oni's face immediately. This meeting had been a real roller-coaster of emotion for him... it was a testament to both his persistence and his selfishness that he was willing to keep riding it.
Aera received the forwarded message from the Shogun regarding Boss Oni, which brought some interesting background into the Navi's history. She too was surprised the lecherous brute used to be an idol to the Shogun, and similarly wondered how one allegedly so good would take such a severe nosedive into depravity and madness. The associated warning thankfully aligned with her goals and messages shared with Roc, but the idea that Boss Oni was one of the more sane members of the Tekqsp leadership was also hard to believe. So far she and Roc seemed to keep the Navi in check, and now had even more reasons to keep it that way. She shot a quick response to Mach.

Quote (Aera)

Thanks for the info, are you all on your way back? If not, mind giving us a heads-up before you head back our way?

"Oh no, no need to overthink it, we're just putting on a little show to pass the time..." Aera responded calmly, trying to keep her cool while preventing Roc from boiling over in frustration. Unfortunately her indirectness seemed to only further confuse her colleague; it looked like Aera needed to spell it out. This was an issue, as she was hoping Mach would be on his way back soon, and didn't exactly have a full game plan. She sent a private message to Roc to explain as she scrambled to think of something.

Quote (Aera)

I didn't mean to be overly cryptic, I'm not exactly sure what to do either. Regardless, should just continue to distract Boss Oni, and I think this would be a lot less... gross... than doing something with him.

As she sent the message, Roc made the first move by pulling down her top, revealing her sizeable chest covered only by a strapless feather bikini. Aera couldn't help but follow her claws with her eyes as she yanked the navisuit down, then to the bust that was significantly bigger than her own. She even suggested touching them to start things off, which caused a flash of red to grow on her face and her train of thought to derail. [[i]Oh jeez, oh jeez, oh jeez... Mach, hurry up already...[/i]], she pleaded in her mind. She brought her hands up, doing her best to not nervously shake before placing them gently on Roc's chest. Oh... oh wow... she murmured under her breath, surprised by the warm softness beneath her fingers. In part due to her inexperience, and the fact she was in slashing (even biting) distance, she tried to be as gentle as possible as she moved her hands and fingers around.

Though briefly absorbed in testing the softness/firmness in her hands, she realized it basically looked like she was feeling Roc up like some pervert, instead of a two-way "conversation." She sent another message, too embarrassed to speak out loud as she feared breaking the confident persona.

Quote (Aera)

You can... touch me too if you want. Your choice as to where, just let me know...
She looked up at Roc, giving her a slightly embarrassed smile as she nervously shifted her stance, causing her hips to rock slightly. She half expected to hear someone cough or a piece of stone clatter out of place, hinting at the presence of peeping toms, but continuing to worry about that didn't to much to help her in the battle to keep herself from going completely red. She thankfully had her back turned to Boss Oni so it wasn't immediately obvious, but she couldn't assume she'd have that luxury the whole time, and still needed to figure out an exit plan. At least Roc was keeping Boss Oni from trying to get in on the action; Aera would probably fire off a tesla pulse if she felt the Navi try to lay a hand on either of them.

In the meantime, Vector continued to patrol the encampment, looking for an area where his assistance could be utilized. He didn't expect the soldiers to know who he was, though he safely assumed his design was unique in the Shogunate's roster, but he didn't quite have the notoriety or appeal Mach and Aera had. That said, if soldiers did recognize the SP and show an expression of respect, Vector would respond in kind with eye contact and a silent yet polite nod. He would also stop if queried, even if it didn't involve the reconstruction of the encampment.