Spooky Spying

The room was filled with a rather uncomfortable silence, save for the muffled screams and shrieks from rooms further on the haunt, and the seconds with nary a peep nor flutter of movement seemed to clumsily thud along. The two progs looked at each other with possibly quizzical expressions, then looked to Slay, seemingly expecting her to have some sort of explanation. Thankfully the silence wasn't broken by the tell-tale creaking sound of the doors opening; it appeared they'd hit a temporary lull in the steady flow of patrons thus far.

The closest Prog to Slay couldn't help but find out itself, and slid one of its rabbit-like ears under the silken curtains, then propped it up just enough for it to peer underneath. "Uh..." The Prog croaked as its head twitched. "They've freakin' ghosted. Was this part of the plan? If so, I wasn't told..." The other Prog seemed to jolt upright in shock, then darted past Slay and attempted to shove its own head under the curtain. After thrashing and sputtering a bit to get a clear look, it too became even more agitated. "Yep, gone." The pair almost comically fought the curtains as they tried to retreat and stand in front of Slay, but once they did, their "expressions" were less than comical.

"Now what tha hell do we do? We can't just 'stop' this thing!" One cried out, tilting its ears to "air quote." The other turned to its compatriot, looking equally flustered. "But we lost blondie! Isn't she important or somethin'?" the second sputtered. "Not to mention a guest, he ain't there neither!" "Gah, Rein's gonna flay us!"

It became obvious the progs were starting to lose it, and for good reason; Pyre appeared to have disappeared along with the last guest. Something had to be done, and there was no telling when the next patron would fall into their proverbial laps. Silver lining: it didn't appear anyone else other than Slay and the two progs knew of the "issue," thanks to the one bed camera "being on the fritz" as one of the progs previously mentioned.
Slay was thankful that the Progs hadn't fully taken her advice to remain quiet and still, because as it turned out, there was a situation behind the curtain requiring immediate attention. Typical wisdom would state that when one pulls back a drape and does not find a ghost behind it, one would be relieved. Slay felt no relief, thinking back to CrypticMan's inhumane experiment / possible staged show, during which her new friends and acquaintances had seemingly been deleted off the net, and wondered if she was going to be forced to endure a repeat performance.

Maintaining the show was important to keep heat off her investigation, but finding her partner was far more important... not just because she cared about Pyre's safety, but also, because the disappearance may be directly related to the criminal activity they were investigating. "First things first... I'll send a message," she resolved.

Quote (Slay to Pyre)

Are you hiding or invisible? Where are you now?

With that brief message sent, Slay focused next on how to investigate while maintaining the flow of customers. For this, she might be able to utilize the help of her fellow workers. "Okay guys... Damage control. I need one of you to go check whatever is controlling the electricity in this section, whether that is some machine, a navi, or whatever it may be. For just this area to be affected, somebody must have turned it off or damaged something. Check it out and report back, please," she requested quietly.

"You," she requested of the second, "Check the other exhibits and see if you can find her or that silent NormalNavi we saw, or anyone acting suspicious, then report back. Thanks..." she finished, presuming they would be willing to help. "In the mean time... I'm going to handle investigating this area for secret doors or anything like that. At the same time, I'll move customers on... and also handle them like Pyre was," she insisted, drawing in breath at the end. Slay didn't know if she or her customers were going to appreciate having a blood spattered ghoul stand in for a busty ghost here, but she was going to have to try.

If the two Progs departed, she would take the moment before the next customer arrived to root around under the bed transportation device, looking for any kind of hidden door or mechanism that could have transported the navis. Of course, it was worth remembering that navis were more predisposed to zap completely out of space than humans were... it might not be possible to find any trace if the two had just teleported.

If someone did come in, she would hide back behind the curtains, peeking out or the darkness to try to get a feel for who it was before deciding how best to engage them.
Slay sent her message off to Pyre, but a "disconnect" error popped up in her mind during the attempt. There was no telling if the message reached her ghostly compatriot, and the lack of reply was further evidence of something blocking her attempt to communicate; it didn't seem like Pyre to ignore her messages.

Thankfully her communication with the two Progs was more successful, they seemed to at least partially snap out of their panic as the Navi gave them marching orders. The two looked to eachother, then asked "Electrical control?" The other tilted its head from side to side as it pondered during its reply. "Not sure, maybe outside?" The two stopped their discussion when Slay gave another "mission" for the second prog, whichever one volunteered or was left. The left-most prog nodded and said "Okay, I'll check the rest out; I got no idea where the lights are controlled..." The other twisted in place to face its counterpart. "Well neither do I! I just guessed ya mook!" it cried out, seemingly offended it got the proverbial short straw.

"Sorry pal, orders are orders!" The other quipped back before zooming towards the tunnel at the end of the room. The Prog that was still near Slay grumbled, but didn't appear to refuse the task it was left with. It turned to the slot where the grabby, shadowy hands came from and asked "you guys have any idea?" Several pairs of arms slithered out from the slot, then tilted their palms up in a comically cliche'd "shrug" expression. "Bah, why do I even ask you idiots..." the prog groaned and turned back to Slay. "I'll look around, even if it's just to find someone who can tell me where to look. Good luck... Though I think you got the hang of it quick! Just don't tell Rein... PLEASE. She'll have our hides!" it pleaded before darting off on its search, leaving Slay alone to investigate the room.

On closer inspection, the bed was of a standard design; it was supported by four legs so one could look under the bed by simply moving some of the pillowy sheets out of the way. The room was already quite dark, so it was difficult to see anything minute, but there didn't appear to be anything beneath the bed other than a simple flat floor. If she felt around on the floor or the underside of the bed frame, she wouldn't feel any odd seams or latches; the underside of the bed was a simple frame that supported the mattress.

The haunt was still surprisingly quiet, had they just finished the first "wave" of guests when the haunt first opened? A few moments later, she received a message from "Prog." If she decided to open it, the message would read:

Quote (Prog)

No luck so far, though I happened to find a boxing glove, maybe it belonged to that one Jock we dealt with earlier?
She also had yet to hear the clattering of chains or mechanical clunking of the mechanical chair in the Scrooge room, so she may still have more time before a guest arrived.
Slay was not surprised to find that her message hadn't gone through to its recipient, but she was a little disheartened. On one hand, she was more resilient against spooky stuff on the net than the average navi, but on the other hand, she was more sensitive to the tropes as well, and when friends started to go missing, she couldn't help but assume the worst.

The Progs were not as familiar with the area or protocols as Slay had been hoping either, but they were still game for the task, and their reassurance that she had been a quick study made her feel a little better. She gave the two another slow nod, then, as they left, pressed her fist to her chin and slumped her shoulder. "Who's Rein?" she asked herself aloud, keeping her voice to a quiet mumble. She would just have to avoid talking to employees she didn't know, if she wanted to keep that promise.

The bed was very, very normal, she soon learned, although perhaps that was a good thing... if she discovered some sort of warp-pad hidden under the frame or anything crazy like that, she would have to begin to question what sort of resources their enemies had available. The fact that there was no such thing almost made it seem like Pyre had left of her own free will.

She sat down in the bed for a moment, then stared upward with a black-eyed gaze, trying to get into the mind-set of the customers... or else, perhaps just wishing that Pyre would appear floating above her like an apparition. While she was doing that, a message came, though it meant very little to her. "How'd he lose his glove? I can't picture it," she thought to herself, briefly wondering if she was had fallen asleep on the bed and was now dreaming. If Gordon had been listening, he would probably have a creative suggestion involving a murderer.

When no ideas came to her, she decided to try and get all the information she could. At this point, she could hardly imagine the rest of the ride was relevant, but with time on her hands, she peeked through-as well as she could without falling in, anyway- to try and examine the next area. She figured, albeit on low odds, there was a chance she would find a person or clue there that could offer her some idea about Pyre's whereabouts since her disappearance.

She kept her head low and her movements discrete, since after all, she didn't want to upstage the ghost of Christmas Past if they were in the middle of a flashback.
As Slay collected her thoughts on the awkwardly soft bed, her upward stare proved to be fortuitous; her albeit brief period of stillness allowed her eyes to adjust more to the slightly darker areas of the bed, and pick out a seam-like irregularity in the ceiling. On closer inspection, it looked like the seam was caused by a significant portion of the ceiling, around a 5x5 foot "tile," didn't look to have been set correctly down in its frame. To her recollection, she either didn't see it before, or simply didn't notice.

Her slight venture deeper into the haunt wasn't very exciting, since there was a lull in guests that she was presently enjoying, the next portion of the haunt was also experiencing a brief period of inactivity. From what she could see, a group of small, ugly, dirty child-like programs sat on a mud-mired snowy hill. Nearby was another door, which appeared to be the entrance to something like a school; suggesting the scene was depicting a childhood memory of the Scrooge character. Lita, the stardom-seeking girl they met in the dressing room, was standing near said door and looking a bit frazzled, but hadn't noticed Slay's slow and fairly stealthy approach. In fact, it didn't appear any of the programs in the room had yet to look in Slay's direction or make any indication of noticing her.

In that moment, she could hear the tell-tale muffled rattle of chains and a scream back from where she came; the section before hers had a guest! It wouldn't take long for the occupant(s) in the mechanical chair to be tossed into the bed, but as one of the progs mentioned, the camera watching their section of the haunt was on the fritz. That left Rein out of the loop and none the wiser, otherwise she surely would've already sent a runner or came down herself to find out why her Ghost of Christmas Past went AWOL again, and why the rest of the cast in the room seemed to scatter off in different directions.
Slay blinked her eyes a few times, slowly, as she inspected the ceiling. There was something there after all... but before she went crawling into the ceiling in her search and left her designated position, she had a few more things to inspect.

As it turned out, though, the next room didn't look worth inspecting. By the looks of it, the only thing upsetting their flashback apparitions was the lack of anyone to practice their craft upon.

Annoyingly, no sooner had she peeked out of her own exhibit than another customer slid in. It was going to be pretty difficult to entertain customers and also investigate Pyre's disappearance, she was forced to admit. Slay resolved that once this customer had been pushed along their way, she would come up with some way to keep it moving despite her absence, then move on to the more pressing issue of her friend's possibly ceiling-oriented abduction.

Slay made her way back quickly, then approached the bed. Whoever had been deposited there probably wouldn't be particularly frightened at this point: after all, Slay was only producing more chain rattling for effects, and as an approaching silhouette, she was small in stature. Once she got closer, however, she poured on the spookiness by standing still with a pregnant pause.

With eerie, deliberate slowness, she parted the curtain slightly with one hand, then moved her head closer, to stare inside with one large, jet-black eye. Mostly, she had to figure out what sort of marker the person was carrying. Hopefully, they would be the type she could simply drag and throw into the next area, instead of having to verbally guide them.
Slay's quick retreat to her section of the haunt went without issue nor apparent notice from the "entertainers" in the adjacent section, and nothing appeared to have changed in her absence. That said, neither of the two Mr. Progs had returned either. Upon entering the room, she heard the doors leading into "Jacob Marley" scene slam open, and the sound of something hitting the far-too-squishy down mattress with a soft "Eep!". She was close enough to hear the guest's voice, and from the sound of it, the person in the bed was likely female.

Slay approached the now darkened bed, due to the previously-noted short of the lights when Pyre and the unknown guest disappeared, which actually played in her favor. While the light in the room was fairly low, it was enough to cast her shadowy silhouette against the silky curtains of the bed. As the horror-themed Navi approached and paused for near-cinematic effect, she could hear a stuttering breath coming from the guest in the bed. It seemed she had already made an effect on the unwitting program.

After parting the curtain and peering in with an unsettling darkened eye, Slay got a good look at her newest guest: the glowing white bracelet was eye-catching, but to some it wasn't as eye-catching as the guest's overall appearance. She was heavily customized, to a rather odd combination of themes. The program was covered head-to-toe in armor, but styled like that of a Yokotan "Seifuku" uniform. The program's small feet were covered in white armor to the ankle, which then transitioned to much sleeker, curved black pieces of armor that gave her legs a slender, but unmistakably feminine profile while the white and hunter green plates over her kneecaps and shins respectively denoted her robotic form.

Further up was a skirt made of several roughly rectangular slats of hunter green armor with a white trim. Said skirt looked to be capable of taking a bullet, but far to short to cover the white (and clearly visible from Slay's angle) outline of panties. The overly squishy mattress did some to preserve any dignity, but it was clear the robotic Navi was designed with a gynoid aesthetic.

Further up still was a very thin black-armored waist that tapered out to give her a noticeable hourglass shape, but with a smaller than average bust behind a broad red metal tie, which extended nearly down to her skirt and up to her white collar armor. The black armor of her abdomen extended up over her bust, but tapered inwards like a halter top. The rest of her upper torso and the majority of her arms were made of white, segmented armor with broad cuffs of hunter green around her elbow joints, which were black and very blocky and mechanical compared to her slender legs.

Her face was as white as the other similarly colored parts of her armor, and while it had the point of a nose, she had no mouth to speak of, almost like a mask. She did, however, have two shimmering, glassy blue mechanical crystals for eyes, complete with feminine eyelashes and small structures nestled inside like mechanical irises. One of her eyes was mostly covered by hair-like armored slats, fairly similar in size to the plates that made up her skirt, but distinctly shaped like an asymmetrical bob cut. Behind her head were four broad red armored plates spread in an X formation, like a large, mechanical bow.

Another aspect of note on her head were two trapezoidal structures extending diagonally down and out from her cheeks; the structures were almost entirely black, with the exceptions of the flat surfaces facing forward, which were a vibrant pink, as if they were to take the place of blush marks. They seemed to be fairly redundant though, as there was a noticeable flush of red stretching over her nose between the two blush marks. The "full-contact" bracelet-wearing guest stared back at Slay's void-black eye with her own mechanical blue ones, and almost purred in excitement. "Mmmh, s-spooky..." she quivered, but didn't move.
Slay was happy to find that the girl who had fallen in didn't look like a tough or difficult customer. On the other hand, they didn't look like the type she could just grab under the arms and chuck into the next room guilt free, either, since they were neither a hearty specimen nor a jerk who deserved it. However, no sooner had Slay drawn that conclusion than she had to reverse her decision: the guest was wearing a full-contact bracelet. That meant that they wanted to be grabbed and dragged and messed with, presumably... or perhaps just wanted to feel confident that they had taken the tougher option.

Either way... "She is extremely cute," Slay admitted to herself privately. Her pale face wouldn't blush under these circumstances, thankfully, but she felt as though she might, finding herself alone, with no camera watching them, staring at a girl's panties as said girl squirmed slightly on a big, pillowy bed. It was the kind of situation that a less work-focused person might take advantage of. However, Slay was a professional, and refocused herself to the task.

In defiance of the girl's cutesy declaration of "spooky," she cranked up the dial, turning her head to an odd angle and staring unblinking. "The night is only beginning, ma'am... for now, I am your guide, but true terror awaits deeper within. Come... and meet with the Ghost of Christmas Past..." she insisted. Her impulse was to grab the closest part of the girl and use it to yank her up.

That turned out to be a bit of an iffy idea, as the closest part was the girl's leg. Before she had time to consider whether a certain degree of decorum needed to be considered whether the girl's leg was flesh or synthetic, she had grabbed the girl's legs a little too high up, inside the crook of the upper and lower thigh. She regretted that, but tried to show no emotion as she dragged the girl out of the bed and towards the exit.

Here, she remembered there were no arms to assist her this time, so she would have to do the whole thing herself. Frowning a bit more genuinely, she grabbed the other girl's other leg and hoisted her, possibly hanging her upside down for a moment, with all the ramifications that would entail for the girl's skirt. She bit her lip and fought back the urge to apologize, then prepared to shunt her cargo through the chute, into the next room, unless the girl was somehow fighting back against that conclusion.
The robo-girl seemed to hang on Slay's every word, with her mechanical gaze shifting only to examine what little she could see of the Navi. "Yes please..." guest whimpered and moved both of her arms simultaneously; her right extended towards Slay with fingers outstretched, as if expecting the creepy Navi to take her hand; the other moved towards her face, and placed the apex of her bent pointer finger against the smooth, nearly-featureless area where a humanoid's mouth would be. If the Navi had a mouth, it wouldn't be surprising to see if the girl was gently biting the first knuckle of said finger in a cliche'd gesture.

The Navi's expectations were only partially realized; however, as her extended hand was ignored and her thigh became Slay's target. The professional performer found her grip to be... surprisingly pliable, the armored plating that made up her upper leg had a significant amount of give and softness, almost like normal skin with the occasional "seam".

Though not as oddly romantic as a joining of hands between a gynoid and a horror girl, the mecha schoolgirl let out a surprised wail as she was yanked from the bed by the leg. She didn't resist, but Slay could feel a tangible quiver in the thigh she gripped in her hand. Her other leg folded up in a reflex as if trying to preserve her dignity, but Slay took hold of that leg as well, stretching them both out as the mechanical Navi was hoisted from the bed.
"Hyaaa!" the Navi squeaked as she was pulled from the bed and eventually was left hanging by her ankles. Her hands darted between her legs to push some of the large armored plates that made up her skirt in an attempt to conceal the stark white "panties" from Slay's view.

Due to Slay's grip being on her upper legs, the mecha schoolgirl's lower legs briefly dangled free, but soon Slay would feel the sides/calves of the programs legs press either around her waist, or even over her shoulders (if Slay had really hoisted her upwards a significant distance). The program struggled, but not to the point of violently thrashing. Once the program was pulled free of the bed, the hand that had previously clawed at the soft bed sheets dragged along the floor while the other remained plunged between her legs to keep her armored skirt from splaying open.

"Oh scrap, what are you going to do to me?" the program breathlessly asked, then seemed to put two and two together when she was dragged towards the pitch-black rectangular hole in the wall. Slay could feel a shiver travel up the girl's thighs, and her movements seemed to become more desperate and twitchy. Slay briefly heard the metal-on-metal chittering of the program's mechanical fingers scraping along the floor, then the slightly cold grip of that hand as it grabbed one of her own legs before groping around her leg and backside.

Upon reaching the pad and the darkened chute, the inky black arms began to reach out in their standard spooky fashion. Due to the guest's position, her head was the first to be grabbed by the arms, eliciting a moaning cry from the guest. The blush over the guest's facemask was practically glowing by that point, and the entire program shuddered while more and more hands curled around her head, neck, and shoulders before snaking "up" to grab less-injury-inducing parts of the program.

"Hngg, oh clang me..." the guest grunted before she tried to wrap her legs tighter around Slay, either by vice-gripping around her waist or cinching her legs down over her shoulders, which moved the program's skirt to an uncomfortably close distance to Slay's head. The grabbing hands pulled with a significant amount of force, dragging both programs closer to the chute. The guest continued to squirm and resist, but after nearly a minute of struggling in an awkward tug-of-war between Slay and the shadowy arms, the program began to spasm and thrash for several seconds, before struggling to tilt her head to face Slay head on, then whispered a ragged "T-thank y-"

The program had briefly loosened her grip on Slay, intentionally or not, causing the multiple hands clasped over her body to very quickly win the tug-of-war and tore the program from Slay. Her lower body hit the pad with a thump, then nearly brought the whole pad along with her as her body was dragged into the chute nearly in the blink of an eye. A moaning shriek followed the program upon being dragged deeper into the haunt, followed by the clinking of a small data packet that seemed to fall from Slay herself. On closer inspection, it contained a message and a small photo:

Quote (Subject: <blank>)

Call me!
-Attachment: Contact info.dat
If Slay opened the attachment, she would be greeted by a photo of the mechanical guest, but with significantly less armor and in a... very suggestive position on what looked to be a desk.

Thankfully the area had gone quiet after Slay's encounter, and she hadn't yet heard anything significant from the 'Jacob Marley room.'
The other girl's gestures made it clear to Slay that she had picked that contact tag with certain expectations in mind, ones outside of what you would expect from either a Christmas themed or Halloween themed amusement park ride. Ordinarily, Slay would consider it a professional courtesy to fully realize those expectations to their fullest. For now, loath as she was to admit it, the girl's nature was more of a boon from a convenience perspective, as her willingness to be "up for anything" made her relatively easy to manhandle like Slay intended.

Slay did indeed have to hoist the participant high; after all, she was pretty short herself, so anything less could easily result in dragging the guest's head across the floor. At first, all seemed to be going according to plan, minus Slay's face full of skirt. Once the hands started assisting and the girl's embrace tightened, however, Slay began to wonder if she was going to end up tumbling down the shoot along with her captive. Finally, the girl was unloaded. In a moment of professional courtesy, Slay stuttered out a quick, "no, thank you."

Once the girl was gone, she clicked her teeth and gave a scary scowl, though it was herself she was cross with. "Thank you? What am I... some kind of pervert?" she asked , wanting to curl up into a ball on the bed and pity herself for a moment. Picking up the data packet, however, made her think that the recipient of her awkward attention had probably been a bit of a kinky girl herself. This time, Slay couldn't avoid going a bit uncharacteristically red. "Odd place to look for hookups..." she mumbled to herself, but kept the number.

Gordon popped back up at precisely the wrong time. "Here's one: what about a killer that murders girls in order to get their phone numbers, but then realizes he can't call them if they're dead?" he offered unhelpfully.

"Pass," Slay answered with brevity, finding herself lamenting the classic navi problem of peeping operators. "Let's refocus. We have to find Pyre," she reminded Gordon.

The young man hadn't been paying much attention and tilted his head quizzically. "What... the robot not doing it for you? I guess the ghost was pretty hot too," he muttered, stroking his chin thoughtfully.

"Th-That isn't why I'm looking for her," Slay stammered, not appreciating the teasing. "Geez... let me focus," she insisted, standing up on the bed to try the loose panel she had noted earlier. Hopefully, she could manage to pull it up. If so, she would summon and use her knife to hook into the ceiling above, while swinging her way up. This would create the unfortunate effect of anyone above seeing her emerge like a real horror movie monster out of the floor, knife first.

It would also create the effect that if anyone flew in from the Marley chute unexpectedly, they would find themselves either sliding headfirst between her legs or else staring up at her crawling on the ceiling like a spider, depending on how quickly they entered.