Shuri and Bayonet at Hera's Fortune

Hera's Fortune casino: a towering white monument amongst a sea of shady, dark gambling establishments and, more importantly, the apparent destination of Bayonet, judging by what Jon had told Shuri about his navi's movement patterns. The white, marble exterior of the building was a front, of course; inside lay several forms of debauchery and it was no secret that the Hera's Fortune, although once only a high-end gambling destination, had recently become a Mafia hangout. In reality, it wasn't just a Mafia hangout. PantheonMan of the Bloodhounds had publicly purchased both the property and all associated merchandise and assets some time ago. Since then, it had gotten an upper and a lower floor and seemed to deal largely in adult entertainment, besides just gambling and liquor.

... With all of that in mind, it was about the last place Bayonet would want to be seen. HoundMan still had her in the back alley just before the turn in to the front yard of the casino, but she was fighting to get out of his grasp. "Ma'am! Hold still! Hold it!" he urged her, but his warnings were clearly falling on deaf ears. HoundMan was using both his arms and his teeth to keep a hold on her.

Even having led them to the place, there was a clear problem: to allow her to pinpoint the culprit or destination any further, they would have to allow her into the casino... and to do that was a death sentence. The place would be full of Mafioso, whom Bayonet had never exactly been on great terms with, especially not the gambling, womanizing, alcoholic ones. They only chance would be to hide her identity somehow or otherwise to get in there without her and see if they could accomplish the mission with no further guidance from her.

"She can't go in like this, sir!" HoundMan yelped, now speaking to Jon. "They'll recognize her clothes! I'm going to pull her clothes off, then she can go in!"

"For Christ's sake, Dog, think about what you're saying!" Jon groaned. "Well... actually, yes. That might be our only chance. But leave her navi suit at least..."

"No good, sir. They'll recognize it. She needs more of an image change," HoundMan suggested, now using his teeth to try to tear off her signature red-and-gold coat.

"She only has two GMOs. One's out of the question, because they'll recognize it just as well. The other is... let's just say there's complications with that as well. Marching in there wearing a swimsuit is hardly going to go over any better..."

"No one would expect Bayonet to do that, though! Put her hair down, put her in a bikini, and she can go anywhere without being recognized! It's the best plan we've got, sir! Respectfully!" HoundMan explained, continuing to speak with his mouth full. He let out a slight yelp as Bayonet shoved her buttocks against his groin, then withdrew slightly, realizing that looking that horny was probably not helping his case.

"Fine, fine," Jon groaned. Once Shuri arrived, he would pose her the essential question: "should we risk it without Bayonet, or use HoundMan's idea? This is not an easy call to make."
Shuri opened her eyes when she no longer felt the immediate effects of teleportation, recognizing the establishment as Hera's Fortune, which in recent times specialized in the three B's: booze, betting, and butts. It wasn't really her kind of place; she never drank, wasn't much for gambling, and while she certainly appreciated the female form, she preferred a more covert, intimate experience when she partook of that sort of thing.

But anyway, she wasn't here to do any partaking. She was here to make sure Bayonet didn't do anything to get herself recognized, or else become the laughingstock of the NetPolice. And since the payout for doing so was good, she definitely cared about doing it. HoundMan was doing all he could to restrain her...which was barely good enough. It was clear as day that letting her in as-is was basically an instant mission failure, which meant that to find the true culprit and put an end to this, they had to figure out how to get her in without anyone knowing who it was. In theory, it'd be possible to track them down without her, but it'd be a lot easier if she just led them straight to the one responsible. Not to mention the incredible pain that would be trying to keep her out.

And now she got to make the call. Joy. "I think I actually agree with HoundMan on this. Bayonet's well-known for her tactical prowess...and more importantly, and for lack of a better term, a massive wet blanket. I doubt anyone would recognize her if we let her hair down and put her in something skimpy, like a swimsuit. Besides, it's a plan, and each minute we spend here is another minute that someone could walk by and blow what little cover we currently possess." Seriously, their group was a well-known NetPolice Navi, a dog faced Navi with a raging boner, and a female ninja with a giant shuriken attached to her back. They probably stood out just a tad in a place like this. Actually, she should probably fix that on her end...poof! No more of her namesake attached to her back. Now she just looked like a normal female ninja. Yep, completely normal. Nothing to see here.
"Fine, you're right. We can't afford to send you two in blind and, honestly, she wouldn't be much safer outside in an alley. Besides, if there's anything of Bayonet in her right now, she won't let the Mafia get the best of her, nomatter the conditions," Jon agreed, preparing to activate the GMO.

"Sir, yes sir! Although, respectfully, I would say her ability to fight out of whatever is controlling her seems pretty low... Doesn't leave much room to rely on her strength or character," HoundMan reminded Jon. "Awaiting activation, sir! Shuri! Once its activated, we have to head out quickly with her and stay alert to understand the situation to the best of our ability!"

As HoundMan was speaking, Bayonet's clothes began to glow, then all but vanished, including what was left of her hair accessories. Her brown hair fell luxuriously to just beneath her shoulder blades; its actual shape was wavy and glamorous, like a movie star's. Speaking of things that curved more than expected, nearly her whole body was now exposed, showing off a great amount of lightly tanned flesh,well balanced between muscle volume and fat where it needed to be. Her only clothing now was a tight, two-piece bikini, decorated with a symbol so ancient that no one could possibly remember where it came from: the Union Jack, spread across her chest. The bottom was blue-and white only.

HoundMan relaxed his grip reflexively, beginning to pant again. Bayonet looked momentarily surprised. "Jon, you never mentioned a GMO like this!" she pointed out.

Her operator tilted his cap down to hide his redenning face. "Well, it's not particularly becoming of a police officer to show off so much of her body," he spoke plainly... although that didn't explain why he had made it in the first place.

"Well, you know, I always had a similar question about my figure!" she continued. "Why did you design me with such large breasts? You always say that a navi should be designed for function, and yet-"

"F-For the love of Dog, God! Dog!" Jon babbled, throwing his cap onto the floor. "Move her! Towards the door, post haste!" he interjected. Jon's reaction was more likely to alert nearby mafioso than anything right now. "From this point on, I must cut communications. Good luck."

With Jon out of the picture, HoundMan untangled Bayonet from himself as quickly as he could, hampered both by her efforts and his own raging, aforementioned "stiff salute" for his commanding officer. Thankfully, once he had peeled her off, she began to drift towards the entrance like a zombie.

...Speaking of which, looking at the front, Shuri and HoundMan confirmed they must be at the right place. A disorganized zombie mass of women were coming through the door. Only one man was visible; a fairly handsome but thin guy by the door with shaggy black hair, combed but still falling over one eye. He was dressed in a sharp, black, pinstriped suit and tie. He seemed a little overdressed to be a bouncer... but he also didn't seem to quite be a bouncer. He looked more like he was taking inventory. He also looked downright unhappy... worse than overworked. The frown on his face made him look like someone had sucked out his soul. He spoke to no one as he went through the list.

This presented a dilemma. On one hand: Bayonet getting in would be easy, as they were expecting her. On the other: Shuri getting in would be hard even if she wanted to act like a sex slave, since she wouldn't be on the list. Then again,she was a ninja, so she could probably find another way to infiltrate if need be. On the other OTHER hand... how the heck would she manage to get HoundMan in? There were literally no other guys going in, at least not at the moment.
And thus was Bayonet essentially stripped down to a bikini. Her looks actually raised a certain ninja's eyebrow. She definitely preferred the guys, but when a girl like THAT showed up...well, it almost made it seem worth it to deliberately throw the mission and find a nice dark alleyway with her in tow. Almost. She couldn't even blame HoundMan for his...reaction. The only reason she wasn't doing the same was because she didn't have the equipment for it. "...Well. Becoming of an officer aside, I really have to wonder if you'd have more success catching criminals if you went around like that..." It'd certainly work on her. She was really good at putting business before pleasure, but she just hit all the right notes for her...ah, what she wouldn't do just for the chance to get in one good grope, or even more. Of course, absolutely none of this showed outwardly, as she looked as stoic as ever, but if anyone in the area could read minds, they'd have some extremely interesting material to check out.

Anyway, now the swimsuit wearing Navi had questions about why she was shaped the way she was. It seemed obvious to Shuri, though; her operator was more of a perv than he let on. But, considering the results, was that necessarily a bad thing? Seriously, she hated to sound like a broken record, but...dang. A body like that, and it was being wasted on someone known for being a prude. If she had that figure, she'd probably quit being a ninja and just go around doing anyone that struck her fancy. Then again, she did this line of work because she found it entertaining almost as much as for the material rewards. Almost. And speaking of work, looked like they were about to go on the move, and without Jon's assistance. Which was probably a good thing by now, the way he was going. "...You'd think an operator of a NetPolice officer would know enough when to keep a level head." Still, there were no real signs that anyone was bothering to look their way, so they were safe. For now.

Now, let's see. Bayonet was off to join...a disconcertingly large number of women that seemed to be acting like her, being forced inside against their will. But, there was a more immediate problem: that guard Navi. And he was the absolutely worst kind for her: so disinterested that he'd probably be nearly impossible to distract from his duties. Hmm, what to do. Well, fortunately, zombie pace wasn't the quickest of paces, so she probably had time to do a quick check in the name of familiarizing herself with the situation. Anything at all that might help her get herself and HoundMan in that building would be a good thing to focus on.
"He's still just a kid in the end," HoundMan gossiped, explaining Jon's behavior as though he was perfectly mature and composed himself. "People say he and his navi aren't close to anyone besides each other. I wouldn't be surprised if he sees her a little like his girlfriend. And they're both sticklers for regulations. Respectfully, ma'am... if you think he's overreacting, wait till she learns all this happened to her. I feel sorry for all petty robbers and tax frauds for the next month or so..."

With more information on Jon's personal life than she had ever needed or asked for, Shuri returned to the task at hand: how would she enter the casino / pleasure palace without alerting the clearly unstimulated guard at the door? The first step was clearly a close examination of the building. From the angles available to her, she noticed only one window: a large, purple curtain, hanging suspended by two statues in the middle of the third floor. Of course, that screamed "stage show;" if she went in that way after climbing the building, she would likely find herself in the middle of performers... especially judging by the white strobe light effect coming from behind it.

Something was casting light off the roof... well, spotlights for advertising, but something else as well. It might be another party up there, or possibly a glass roof. Maybe something lamer like a solar panel or a navi made of aluminum foil. No telling. There was no ladder up, but plenty of ledges and gripping points for a ninja to scale the wall using.

One final possibility: a basement entrance was clearly visible. While that might seem like a jackpot, she heard some kind of bizarre violin music coming from behind it and a sound like voices grunting and shouting in violence. Maybe pitfighting? The door was also locked, but the lock was an antiquated one that could be picked. Furthermore it was a rather classic door, which could be broken.

There was also the option of hoping the doorman was either weak enough to be overpowered or careless enough to be fooled. Regardless, HoundMan was following her around like, yes, a dog, so she would probably have to lead and he would follow.
Well, if nothing else, Shuri could respect a tight knit Navi and operator. She herself tended to avoid getting particularly social with anyone other than Naomi. She liked being a freelance ninja, but it could get a bit lonely at times. Of course, there was that one time, now wasn't the time to think about that of all things. She had a mission, and she intended to see it through. "Overreacting indeed. If I had a body like that, I'd probably just make the bikini my standard outfit, theme be damned." Which reminded her, Bayonet had said earlier she was a virgin...despite having a body like that. What a waste. If she wasn't involved in this personally, she'd find some way or another to fix that, because, seriously, it was a crime against Navikind that she had never shared her 'gifts' with anyone. ...Yeesh, if someone could read her mind right now, they'd probably think she was some sex crazed pervert, instead of a consumate professional. But, could anyone really blame her for thinking about such things at a time like this?

Now, let's see. The window just screamed 'trap', so that was a no-go. There was something odd about the roof's lighting...but while she could get up there easily enough, she somehow doubted that HoundMan had a ninja's athleticism, so there was little point in seeing what was up there. And that basement entrance clearly had people in it, so that wasn't really a good choice. There was also the option of going up to the main entrance and asking if they'd let the two of them in...well, maybe it was worth a shot, since none of the other choices were striking her as particularly good. "Wait here, HoundMan. Don't move an inch until I get back." All right, deep breath...

And so, she raised her arms a bit, and ran in as girly a style as she could muster. Maybe if she came across as cute instead of sexy, the other Navi might be more inclined to listen to her, considering he wasn't paying attention to...well, some of the women going in. "Um, hi! My friend and I wanted to check this place out tonight, but that's a big line! What's going on? And is there any way we can cut in? Pleeeease?" All right, stare at him, with big purple eyes...yep, that should do it. She really didn't care for acting like this, but, well, she didn't have any better ideas at the moment.
"Huh? So what's your body like?" HoundMan asked Shuri, displaying his usual amount of tact. "Respectfully, ma'am, no complaint will be filed if you wish to wear a bikini on this mission!"

Thankfully, HoundMan was intelligent enough to understand he probably shouldn't continue speaking like a stereotyped police officer and politely shut up as they approached the front door guy / inventory manager. Of course, his approach ended there, as Shuri ordered him to stand like a statue while she handled the rest. To his credit, his dog-like ability to sit completely still with his ear(vent)s erect was perfect for following that order.

Shuri managed to circle around the sea of zombie women to reach the doorman. To her relief, he became far more personable upon encountering someone that wasn't a zombie. "Haven't seen you around before. Name's Achilles and I'm the floor manager here at Hera's," he announced, taking his eyes off his inventory pad. "Now, ordinarily that means I handle greets, cheats, and deadbeats in our casino parlor,but today, I'm handling.... meats," he laughed, although even he didn't seem amused by the corny rhyme. "Yeah, you and your friend can come in. Just let me tell you a little about Hera's first..."

Achilles went back to counting as he spoke, seeming more enthusiastic about the introduction than his inventory. "Main floor is our gambling scene. On the left and right walls you'll find elevators... second floor is Purgatory, where you can find adult entertainment in a one on one, physical experience. I have recommendations, if you like! Third floor is Heaven, our adult stage show. Boss's orders: that's all girls,so you oughta know that going in. Basement is Hell, which is like uh... how about just not go down there," he finished, averting his gaze. It almost seemed like he was so eager to give the explanation just so he could warn her not to go down there. "Course, there's a VIP area in the very back of the first floor, but you're not allowed in there. You can, however,enjoy our first floor bar and our specialty house drink, Ambrosia. I'm a guy who likes a stronger drink, personally, but its sweet and you can drink it all night with just the right amount of buzz! Not guaranteed if you try to drive home, though, but clearly not many do."

Shuri had painlessly managed to gather an explanation of the casino, as well as entrance, so that was nice. "Those girls are headed back to the VIP room, boss's... well, I was going to say orders, but this seems like something else. I don't even want to know what he's using them for," he shuddered. It didn't seem to be a shudder of disgust, but rather, resentment. "But, not my call to make! In they go. For God's sake, though, don't you get mixed up with them."

Finishing his explanation, he flipped his hair and smiled. "If your friend doesn't show, come see me and I will take a much needed break while I show you the sights! Just so long as you don't plan on dancing... One thing I can't do," he chuckled. The thought of him dancing seemed significantly less awkward than the alternative concept of her real "friend," HoundMan, dancing.
Well, that was surprisingly painless. She found herself with a green light, and a basic idea of how the building was arranged (though she knew better than anyone that it wasn't necessarily the complete description). "Cool! I don't think he'll be a no-show, though...oh hey, there he is!" Shuri waved over at HoundMan, and ran over toward him...though, not at top speed, obviously. More like a speed an average human could attain. And when she got close, she had more instructions. "Looks like getting in the building isn't going to be a problem. Just, leave the talking to me, and don't do anything...stupid." That wasn't really the word she was looking for, but since everything else she could think of was basically a synonym for it, eh. "Or anything that'll draw attention to us. Now, come on."

With that, she marched right on in, HoundMan in tow, energetically waving at Achilles as if to say 'Thanks again!'. Now, the easiest way to find out what was going on was to find a way into that VIP room. But first, she'd need a good look at this first floor...
Achilles waved goodbye, unable to hide the depression as it crept back onto his face, dragging the smile off his lips and causing his eyelids to droop. He must have really been starving for someone to talk to...

"Great! Understood, ma'am! My lips are zipped!" HoundMan affirmed, giving a sharp salute that, again, he really ought to cut back on while in Mafia presence. HoundMan tried to keep his eyes on the prize as they navigated a sea of all sorts of zombified, stumbly women, making their way into the building.

The inside was about as Achilles had described it, with one major surprise: it looked like there really wasn't anybody in here who wasn't either a zombie woman pouring through the curtained doors in the back or an employee, dressed similarly to Achilles. Unlike Achilles, who seemed like he was about to put himself out of his misery with how much he was hating his jobs, the others simply looked bored, at worst negligent. There were no customers whatsoever for them to deal with. Luckily, being vigilant wasn't high on their list of priorities either, so it looked like there'd be no danger at all for Shuri and HoundMan as they moved around. At this rate, they might even be able to follow the crowd of women with no danger... but then, who could say what would happen once they were inside the VIP area.

Furthermore, how far did Shuri's obligations extend? She needed to follow Bayonet as far down the path as she could, but they couldn't expect her to follow an NP officer into a den of mafioso, could they? Unfortunately, there was no way to ask Jon that question at the moment. For now, she needed to keep an eye on the slowly shambling but eye-catching figure of Bayonet... part of that would be figuring out how not to lose her when she went into the VIP area, where all the girls were obviously heading. However, it also appeared that she had plenty of time, so slow was Bayonet's walk... Shuri could probably go grab a drink, play a few rounds of blackjack, hit the slots, and still be in time to enter the back area with Bayonet.

HoundMan looked like he wanted to say something, but too bad for him: his lips were zipped. His head was turned towards Shuri with a perfect, stoic frown, but his tail armor was wagging and his ear vents were standing.

Taking inventory of her surroundings, Shuri spotted an elevator to her left, the VIP room in the back, and the bar to the right. There also seemed to be employee areas behind the bars, although she couldn't get to them without going around the bar's counter. One worker was assigned to the bar: a gold-colored heelnavi dressed in a suit. Similar heelnavis were working various games around the room, including poker and roulette, just to name the easy-to-name; there were also slots, which were, of course, not manned. In the center of the room, lost amidst the throng of girls which parted around it and then converged, was a chip purchase/trade-in booth. If there was a worker in there, it was impossible to tell who they were due to the density of women surrounding it.

One last detail: Shuri could hear something like a woodwind instrument being played in the back area. She had to hope this wasn't another thing like the "hell" that Achilles had mentioned earlier... But there didn't appear to be any violent noises coming from back there. She did hear voices, however. It was possible that any customers who had chosen to be here tonight were the VIPs allowed regular access to that area...
And so, Shuri and HoundMan entered. Apparently, an army of seemingly possessed women wasn't very good for business, considering the total lack of customers. Either that, or the gambling part of the building had completely taken a back seat to the adult entertainment. Both were entirely possible. The employees didn't look like they cared much, so moving around shouldn't be a problem. As for the area itself...looked like standard casino fare. Nothing that stood out, or that particularly excited her. Gambling wasn't really her thing.

Still, she had plenty of time to check and double check things, since the massive line was so slow moving. She just had to make sure she didn't lose Bayonet in the sea of women. It wasn't really that hard for her trained eye, since not too many of them were going around in a Creamlandian bikini. Too bad she wasn't able to get a really good look at her for more than a moment at a time, since it'd really break up the monotony of waiting...speaking of monotony, what was that sound? It sounded like a flute or something coming from the all-important VIP area, but from this distance she couldn't make out a melody or anything. It did, however, call to mind that fairy tale about the man that played a bewitching song and led all the rats out of town with it. Maybe this was something similar?

...Hmm? Oh great, HoundMan wanted to say something. It probably wasn't anything she couldn't figure out herself, but, just in case it actually was important..."...What is it? Just, keep it quiet. And no saluting." Please, do not make her regret lifting her gag order, even for a minute...that was all she asked of him.
"Thank you, ma'am! Respectfully, if PantheonMan is the ring-leader here and we are entering a VIP room, chances seem pretty darn high that he's in there. While most won't recognize my commanding officer in that outfit, I think there's a good chance he will. He's sharp, but more importantly, they've had a lot of run-ins already... and he's not the type to forget a woman like that, from what I hear. I actually here that besides his whole free property, free body shtick, he's pretty possessive," HoundMan warned Shuri in a series of whispers. He seemed to know quite a lot about PantheonMan. "We must not allow those two to meet in these circumstances! The consequences could be messy, in every sense of the word!"

It was clear that HoundMan didn't believe that they could allow Bayonet to enter the VIP room. They needed more information on what had hypnotized Bayonet, which meant that somebody would have to go into that room, but they couldn't both take their eyes off of Bayonet. "How about I stay here and watch her while you scope ahead? I say once you figure out what's hypnotizing her, we high-tail it and take her with us! Then I can call in backup from the NP to take care of the source. Respectfully, the two of us aren't anywhere near strong enough to clear a casino full of Mafia."

HoundMan may be making sense for once, but there were two outstanding concerns. First off, if they waited for backup, what was going to happen to all of the zombies who already poured in there? Secondly, wouldn't she get more pay, possibly even a medal, if she stopped this thing herself? Thirdly, could HoundMan really be trusted on anything?
Well, how about that. It was actually a good idea to let HoundMan talk, since he spilled both useful info AND made sense while doing it. "Hmm. I suppose it does all make sense. Very well, I'll take a look in the VIP area. And no matter what happens, do NOT go in there yourself. It'll be a lot easier for me to talk my way out of things if they think I'm alone, let alone if they recognize you as NP. Besides, I can take care of myself."

After a quick check to make sure no one was looking, Shuri walked over (casually, not ninja-like, in case someone looked her way while she did so) until she was right next to the door to the VIP area. Another check to make sure no one was paying attention, and...well, it'd be a tight fit to say the least, but she should be able to squeeze herself into the giant line long enough to get inside, and get more details on just what was going on here.
HoundMan started to salute, then stopped himself halfway. "Yes, ma'am! Remember: exercise caution!" he warned he ninja once more. It might seem like nagging, but then, a police officer who didn't remind hired help to be careful around the mafia was really just negligent.

Shuri squeezed her way through a crowd of zombies and into the main room, which looked to be full of enough zombies already that it was no wonder they were progressing inward so slowly. Right now it felt like being in a mosh pit, but it was likely to get worse as more girls poured in. She couldn't even make out if there were any distinct mafioso or decorations; the room was just to full to see much of anything.

Built into the wall were two statues, depicting Zeus and Hera, each with one hand wrapped around a long rod. The rod came down towards the floor and hollowed at the center of its length, into a red velvet throne. Inside said throne was an imposingly muscular man with olive skin and windswept, unkempt brown hair.His chin was adorned with a strap of stubble, missing his upper lip. His eyes were brown and sharp, despite a sort of crooner's droop, that romantic aspect that made one look perpetually forlorn. It didn't quite work that way on him, as his face seemed to default to a satisfied grin. A scar ran from his the line of his jaw all the way to his forehead; although it crossed the eye, the eye itself seemed to be in good condition. His clothing consisted of a white toga worn off the shoulder and braces around his arms and legs, meaning that most of his impressive physique was constantly visible.

The person in the embedded throne was clearly PantheonMan. The next step, then, was to find the mysterious flute player. As Shuri got a better look around, she noticed several other sitting areas, embedded into the walls with velvet seated couches, forming half-circles around tables. A few people were seated at these... judging by their unusually war-like appearances, they were probably Bloodhounds. The fluter was in one of these, although it was smaller and sealed by a gate door with gold bars; (although it didn't look locked).

The musician herself was a lanky girl, also with tan skin but not muscular at all. She had bad posture and fairly offputting gray-green hair, matted to her head in a way that looked unwashed. Her clothing consisted of an olive-green skirt, mostly; her chest, not badly sized, was covered by a gold ornament that wrapped around her and looked to be styled as a two-headed snake. In her lips and hands, she held a golden flute,also shaped like a snake. Completing that motif, her eyes looked slitty and reptilian as well.

"Gentlemen, ladies!" PantheonMan announced, his voice booming above the roar of the crowd,even though he wasn't using any kind of projection mechanism. "Welcome at last to my Bloodhound appreciation night! To celebrate the occasion, I've allowed you all admitance to my VIP showroom... but lore than that, I've prepared a feast! Our own Piper recently infiltrated a gathering of NetPolice... a clandestine gathering held by the known NP sponsor, Aroma. As you may also know, Aroma is a lesbian... as such, she likes to hold a girl's night out for lesbians inside the NP. I hear it's quite a gathering."

"Indeed it was! I enjoyed the party immensely-" Piper offered, stopping her music to talk. PantheonMan cut her off.

"I'm sure! However, I have no love for the NP. I do?however, appreciate the female form... and I find it a shame that those girls repress their sexuality and meet in secret! Dear Piper over there has helped free them of their inhibitions and also... to open their minds to new experiences. Hmhmhm..."

The surrounding tables cheered, being composed mostly of like-minded evildoers. Piper stopped playing again to speak up. "Uh, Boss, before you start... This wasn't a NETPOLICE gathering, exactly. Like, there was a lot of NP there, but it was open to all girls. In fact, I counted a couple of our own there too. Like Zazz... she's in here somewhere-"

"Then that will remain a secret amongst us Bloodhounds," PantheonMan laughed in response, remarkably calm about the prospect of his factional comrades being hypnotized and then sexually abused. "And I should remind you and the audience that if you stop playing for a full minute, the entire effect wears off. So, with that in mind, please, play us some mood music!" Piper began playing again, her eyes showing little concerns despite her earlier correction. The boss spoke up again, while leaning his cheek onto his fist. "There there, Piper. I'm a firm believer in letting the cook taste first. So I'm allowing you to choose your partner for the evening first before us boys have a go."

"Now Boss, there was a lot of girls. I made a list at the time, but I can't remember them all-"

"Then just pick one you like right now! Live in the moment, my friend!" PantheonMan guffawed.

This distraction would be a good chance for Shuri to escape and make a report if she wanted to. There were several other opportunities presented as well, however: she now had privileged information she could use against the BloodHounds charisma-giant, if she wanted, although this would likely be unexpected behavior only to his own allies, whom he was doublecrossing. She could possibly shut down he plan if she could just stop the music for one minute. She could find a way to PantheonMan himself and score a rare face-to-face meeting with him... or possibly take him out and end the night that way. She could even get some hypnotized lesbian action without anyone noticing if she wanted to and didn't mind the ethical dilemmas that presented. It was a buffet of opportunities... but if she wanted to stop something terrible from happening to who knows how many innocent women, she was going to need to make a decision while the party was still stalled.
The good news was, she was in. The bad news was, Shuri wasn't tall enough to peer over everyone and catch all the details. She wasn't exactly tiny, but...well, usually, her being average human height helped in her line of work more than hurt it. Let's see, what COULD she see...well, there were those statues that led to a throne. She recognized the Navi sitting on it as PantheonMan, owner of the establishment. His very presence cemented that at the very least, he consented to this happening, and at most, and probably more likely, he was the mastermind behind everything here. Not a huge shock, but it never hurt to know who was in charge.

Now, let's see, there was definitely some sort of flute playing in here. Once she managed to get a better view of the area, the ninja Navi took a look around, eventually espying a snake themed Navi that fit the bill. Hmm, most likely, she was the one responsible for the mass hypnotic sta-holy hell, that man was loud. But, maybe she ought to listen...a clandestine gathering of lesbians in the NetPolice? Well, that was new. And...repressed sexuality? That explained why she wasn't affected by the trance, but so many others were: she didn't repress anything about her sexuality. As long as they got her motor going, she didn't care one bit if they were man or woman.

The next bit, however, proved quite interesting. First of all, she had some handy blackmail material, should she be forced into a direct confrontation with PantheonMan himself. And second, she now knew how to stop the trance. The plan had been to just find out what was going on, then retreat...but circumstances had just changed. Things were a bit farther along than anticipated, so it was possible that she didn't have time to get back, especially in a crowd like this. Sure, her only actual responsibility was to Bayonet, but she wouldn't hear the end of it from Naomi if she let others fall victim to this plot. And besides, she just had to get...Piper, her name was? She just had to make her stop for 60 seconds, and everything would be undone. Surely an alluring ninja such as herself could pull that off.

Speaking of which, she'd just manage to break free from the crowd. Quickly and quietly, Shuri went right over to the seating area with the literal snake charmer, and softly grabbed one of the bars with one hand, and slowly beckoned Piper with the other. She made sure she was as much to the side as possible, so that she could the package that was her. Her decently sized, yet still extremely perky breasts. Her firm, shapely buttocks. Her inviting thighs. All that, wrapped in the aura of mystery known as a traditional ninja outfit, cowl and all, with only her eyes completely exposed...surely that'd get her attention. "Hey there...I'm sure you can do better things with your mouth than that."
The snake charmer turned her slitty eyes towards Shuri and looked her up and down without reservation, figuring the ninja must be another of her slaves. Unfortunately, her attitude seemed a little like that of Achilles: something about knowing you were talking to a sex slave took some of the fun out of it, maybe? Or perhaps she was just more focused on her work than she had initially looked. Regardless, she continued playing her flute diligently. The good news was that at the very least, she didn't seem like she had noticed that Shuri wasn't one of the figures who had been at the party.

Another figure squeezed Shuri's buttocks lightly; it was surprising she wasn't falling prey to more of that, what with all the half-awake lesbians all over the place. The navi who had done so was of a similar height to Shuri, dressed in a red costume like a witch, including robes and a conical hood. A mask covered the upper half of her face, but the rest not covered in the bizarre costume was cute,with golden curls and smiling lips. Her robe was slit all the way up the sides and attached by a series of clasps, showing off her fair skin and considerable curves. She wore no shoes or ostensibly anything beneath the robe. "Don't be discouraged! We'll go in together," she whispered in the ninja's ear (or around that location, since it was most likely covered).

Something about the new girl resonated with the snake charmer, even though the girl's figure and sex-charged come on had been very similar to those of the ninja. She kept playing, but hurriedly got up to open the gate and let them in. The red robed girl held one arm around Shuri and moved her inside,into the relative darkness.

The crowd cheered and PantheonMan laughed; they both seemed content that the guest of honor had made her pick. "Two is a couple but three is a party, eh? I haven't decided how many I'm going with yet, but let's just say... it's a good thing we have plenty to go around!" he laughed. The crowd cheered again. "Next, we'll have..."

Shuri's attention would need to shift to the small, dark room she now occupied with two other horny women. The red robe girl, who smelled rather nice at this proximity, turned her smile again to Shuri, speaking in a whisper that seemed much more composed than anything Bayonet had managed. "If you'll start, my dear?" she asked, standing back. "And please, don't hold anything back~"

Unfortunately it seemed Shuri was going to have to lead entirely... and perhaps more unfortunately, her target wasn't exactly as pleasant smelling. Close up, she smelled a little oily... playing the flute that long and feverishly in a cramped room had certainly worked up a sweat.

The snake charmer was sitting in a lazy recline with her legs parted and her shoulders slumped. One elbow sat upon the armrest of the embedded couch that circled the room apart from the entrance, while the other elbow dangled. Unlike the other rooms Shuri had seen around, this one had no table.
On the plus side, it looked like she was coming across as sufficiently hypnotized. On the other hand, she wasn't exactly lighting the snake woman's fire. That was a problem, since she needed to get in there and keep her from playing for sixty straight seconds...

...But an unforeseen boon came in the form of a witch Navi, who, quite frankly, looked much better to her than her actual target. Fortunately, she'd sensed someone behind her before getting grabbed, so she didn't reflexively kick her in the head, and ruin her cover. "Oh, that sounds nice...the more, the merrier~." The other Navi seemed to draw some interest, and the gate was opened. Finally, now she could end this before it got out of hand. Looked like the crowd was focusing on them for a moment, but as long as she didn't do anything really stupid, the hard part was over for her.

Perfect, she got to lead. While this wouldn't be such a good thing if she was actually being affected by the flute playing (then again, if she was, she definitely wouldn't have gone with this), it meant that, for a minute, she could have her all to herself, and that was all she needed. "Oh, I won't...I'm giving it everything I've got!" Well, that was true, at least. Whatever it took, this chick was going an entire without playing her flute. The question was, could she do it without gagging, since the snake Navi was...clearly needing to learn about cyber deodorant. "N-Now that I'm here, though, I'm a little nervous..." Ha. This didn't even register on her nervousness scale. "...Ahh, here I come~!" With that, she walked over to the reclined Navi, with deliberately exaggerated hip sway; she wanted to give off the vibe that, while nervous, she was still into the whole thing. Upon reaching her, she took a seat on her open lap. And, as much as she hated doing so, let her face mask down, revealing a shy, yet seductive smile. Hey, she didn't wear the mask because she was hideous.

She took a couple of deep breaths, leaning in towards the snake Navi as she did so. And, without further delay, locked lips with her, and began the time honored distraction technique of making out with the distractee. And while she could've still kissed through her mask, being able to use her tongue would help keep her occupied until it was too late. Though, Frenching with someone with a forked tongue...that was going to be weird. But, she'd have to deal with it. Because no force in the universe was going to stop her from stopping the flute playing. Especially now that she had less than a minute to go. She just had to deal with the BO a bit longer...come on, Shuri, this was for that BattleChip you've always wanted. The least you could do for it was give a snake woman one minute of heaven.
The witchy navi nodded with approval, as Shuri seemed to do more or less what she was hoping; the ninja took her spot in the snake-charmer's lap and next went for a kiss. The mafioso, however, didn't seem to be 100% on board with the idea. "Wait, that's not gonna work... I have to-" she started, but was cut off by a kiss from Shuri, which turned into some tongue from Shuri. Evidently, this was less difficult for her to object to, as she settled in to wrap her arms around Shuri and cup her hands at the buttocks (Shuri had been getting a lot of that lately). More importantly, her tongue was wrapping around Shuri's... then retracting in somewhere, then flickering back our for more. Weird reptile stuff.

There was a momentary disquiet from the crowd as the music stopped. With a smile, the red-robed navi slipped the flute out of its owner's hands and began playing it, seeming content to keep a safe distance away from the girl on girl. She was rather good at flute playing and seemed to match the earlier tune exactly.

The other navi's hands squeezed on Shuri's bottom enthusiastically as she tilted her head for some more aggressive tongue play... She didn't seem to remember the flute playing... and thanks to the red-robed girl, no one else did either. As far as they were concerned, it had paused for a moment, then resumed.

At least, until a minute passed.

Someone yelled out first in the audience; probably a woman, considering the vast number of them. Then a man. Then chaos broke loose, with the sound of navis letting loose attacks and battlechips. This was enough to break the charmer out of her happy place, just as she had cupped one hand over Shuri's right breast for the spice of variety. "No! The flute! Give it back, I command-!"

But there was no commanding; the not-at-all sluggish movement of the red-robed navi as she broke the instrument against the wall with a hard swing indicated that she had never been controlled to start with. "I think not. Really, you should be happy as you are, Piper. You've got a nice, safe cage to protect you... your friends, however, are out there with a crowd composed mostly of Netpolice women from several different factions... and even those that aren't will probably piece together that they were mind-controlled."

"Bitch! I saw you drink my tea at the party! How come you're not affected!?" Piper hissed, baring all of her fanged teeth. "And who are you anyway?!" she asked Shuri, doubly annoyed since Shuri was more or less in a good position to keep her pinned down.

"I hate to say since it's a bit rude... but as a specialist in aromatic tea, I often bring my own blends even when there is another server. So, you see, I never drank the liquid that, I'm guessing, acts as a primer to control your zombies when music is played," the robed woman responded. "And as for my friend here... I suspect she wasn't at your party in the first place. Can't you recognize your own targets?" The blond girl seemed to sense that Shuri would rather not be making out with an angry, criminal, smelly reptile woman, so she offered the ninja one hand to help her up. "My name is Aroma. I am no officer, but I like to act as a benefactor for the NetPolice. I thank you for your service today on their behalf."

Of course, Shuri might not want to get up, since doing so would let Piper rise to her feet. Although, even a snake would have a hard time wriggling through the gate and the battle without getting caught by this crowd.

"There will be plenty of time for Piper here to lighten her sentence by giving up technical details of her mind-control devices later. For now, why don't you tell me about yourself, Miss? I noticed you acting like you were here on a mission... are you a PolIce officer I haven't met? Or perhaps simply a concerned citizen?" Aroma continued, showing no intention of taking off her ridiculous disguise despite having introduced herself.

It could also very well occur to Shuri that she might not want to be chatting in the middle of an NP vs. Mafia brawl herself. She could probably just leave and collect her reward if she wanted to, since no one could doubt the results. Bayonet was impossible to find in the crowd, but certainly the officer was back to normal?
Ew. EWW. She could feel the snake Navi's tongue completely wrap around her own...that was just gross. But, she only had to keep her distracted for a minute, and she was at the very least keeping her mouth and hands occupied. She did, however, notice the other grab the flute and start playing. Which brought up a question...was it the flute itself that caused the mass hypnosis? The song? Or did the Navi herself have to play it? If it was one of the first two, she might be in trouble...

...But as all hell broke loose upon the minute coming to an end, it became clear it was the Navi that had the power. With a smirk, she flipped her mask back up, and though no one could see it, had a nice, big smile. "Sorry, but you're not my type." That said, she maintained her position, since keeping Piper as trapped as possible was probably a good idea. And now she asked for her name. That was a no-go, for now at least. "Oh? I thought we were keeping this anonymous."

The other woman then explained why she hadn't been affected, which admittedly amused her. She also correctly guessed that she wasn't at the party in question, though given the ninja Navi's personality, it wasn't impossible that she simply avoided drinking anything and kept out of sight. Her name...Aroma. That name sounded a bit familiar, but she couldn't place it. And she'd certainly remember someone that looked like that. "Oh, you don't need to thank me. I've got my reasons for being here." She declined the offer to help her up, since it was still a good idea to the snake Navi restrained. "As for those reasons...let's just say that it was in my best interests to stop this whole thing before it got underway."

With that, Shuri was perfectly content to stay on the other Navi's lap and keep her pinned, even as the sounds of battle raged around her. After all, the violence didn't sound like it was about to spill into where they were.
"How mysterious! You might have enjoyed my costume party from a few nights ago. You seem to be a natural at hiding your identity and... well, you don't seem to object to the company either," Aroma commented with a charming laugh, in stark contrast to the angry hissing coming from the other direction. "It's a shame... Our friend here could simply jack out, since you nor I have prepared any apprehension device, such as Virtucuffs or the like. But I suspect... maybe she's a little more worried about her boss than the NP? I hear PantheonMan doesn't respond favorably to deserters in the heat of battle." The snake navi started a bit, which Shuri could feel by way of proximity. Aroma was probably on the mark.

Aroma's outfit was probably a costume as well... it didn't seem to have much to do with tea or aromas, nor did it fit an NP officer. It did fit her rather well otherwise, at least. "When I saw everyone abducted from the party, I couldn't act right away. After all, they had taken so many officers... even my good friend, Bayonet. I felt especially guilty for that since... well, she was there more for my sake than for the festivities.Such a good friend... Anyway, you can understand my concern. With so many abducted, I thought for sure it was an inside job..." As she spoke, she had actually produced a teacup and pot, the latter which she was gently decantering into the former. She passed Shuri a cup, then began preparing another for herself. "I should have been more careful... Bayonet probably wanted to be with me because she knew we'd be in danger. In the past this gathering was fairly clandestine... But with so many NP girls in one place and with more invitations than ever before, we were just a target for a Mafia scheme."

"You underestimated the combined powers of the Techari and Bloodhound families! There's no way saps like you can keep up with our technology, nor our plans," Piper taunted, either because she wanted to lower their guards or because she was a sore loser.

"Well, pretty soon an officer with some cuffs will show up. Then you're going to tell us all about the little hypnosis trick Techari devised for you," Aroma chuckled. While she had smelled worthy of her name thanks to her perfume, the scent her tea gave off was unreal. It even offset the gross snake-oil stink.

Something caught Piper's eye; the slit pupil shot toward the cage and, almost instantly, so did her hand. A foot was dangling just out of view... then a body fell to the floor, while the foot stayed suspended. The body was that of a woman... but anything beyond that was impossible to make out. The body was charred black like an overdone steak, and ejected in a beam of light as soon as it hit the floor. The tanned foot lowered to ground level, bringing with it the rest of PantheonMan's body. "I wondered how this went so poorly! I should have know Piper had bitten off more than she could handle. Aren't snakes supposed to detach their jaws for that kind of thing?" he joked.

Piper rolled her eyes and now, more confidently, reached out to grab the bars and start pulling herself to the door. As she smiled coolly, Aroma dropped her teacup onto the floor and cried out: "get off of her! Come to me, now!" The self-proclaimed NP benefactor was extending both arms outward, as is inviting Shuri to embrace her. Her face, however, was no longer an erotic smile, but rather, the clinched teeth and urgent eyes of someone who sees another of those aforementioned Techari/Bloodhound tricks about to take place.

Outside, PantheonMan's thick lips curled into a laughing smile as his eyes licked Shuri over... then started to glow yellow, like they were going to shoot laser beams. It felt like time was moving in slow motion...
Shuri was content to quietly nod as Aroma spoke, never being the overly talkative type. She was, however, the type to remain vigilant for anything happening around them, even though for all intents and purpose she'd basically fulfilled her mission. In her line of work, it was impossible to be too cautious. The other Navi raised a good point: if Piper truly wanted to leave, she could. But she wasn't. Which meant one of two things...either she was scared of being punished for deserting what was little better than a battlefield, or the NetMafia had an an ace up its sleeve. She felt her flinch, which at least implied the former...but the thought of the latter left her a bit on edge. Something just didn't feel right.

Upon being offered tea, the ninja Navi raised a hand to refuse. She had a policy of not eating or drinking during a mission, unless it was specifically for mission purposes. Which was a shame, that tea actually did smell pretty good...even if it was overwhelmingly so. "Thanks, but no thanks." The snake Navi's outburst made her roll her eyes, since she'd never had any problems with unraveling NetMafia schemes before. Of course, most would probably just think she was thinking the Mafia Navi was being a poor sport, which was fine with her...and it wasn't really inaccurate, either.

But because of that, she managed to notice the body before it landed. To say that Navi was fried was a severe understatement...and her immediate suspicion about the culprit was confirmed as PantheonMan himself came down. Looked like her actions caused the mastermind himself to show up. Now would be a good time to make an escape, but she did need to confirm that Bayonet was fine, and she doubted that a NP Navi of her stature would leave a fight like this so quickly. She couldn't even do the standard smoke out technique, since using her Happo Bomb in such close quarters would probably mean she'd hit herself, defeating the entire purpose of it. Lovely.

But there was no time to curse the situation, as the Navi on the other side of the cage's eyes began to light up...she wasn't sure what that meant, but it certainly wasn't good, so Shuri instinctively leapt over to Aroma. Though she rarely did so, she ended up leading with her face, since she knew there was someone to catch her. And since that someone had a better rack than her, she figured there were worse spots to launch face first. It certainly wouldn't be the worst thing to happen to her today.