Cuffs' Office

The area SplashLady had been directed to held many private offices, which were fortunately open for public visit. The main hall was somewhat surprisingly narrow, but it didn't seem like there would ever be a lot of traffic. The painting was stark white, befitting the Netpolice, with sterile blue carpeting. Beyond the start of the hall, where an elderly gentleman in full armor knocked at the door of one Officer SoapMan, she would find the closed door labeling the office of Cuffs. The engraved plate described her as Rank 4 of the NP's Prosecutions division.

PhotoMan was nowhere in sight, so she would either need to wait or start alone.
In her usual green beam of light, SplashLady arrived at the entrance of the hallway. Despite the implications of how she exited NetVegas, she was fully dressed in her usual getup, much to the potential chagrin of some people. She looked around, but noticed her partner was nowhere to be found. She doubted he went on without her, though. It just wasn't PhotoMan's MO. Speaking of him, for some reason she was feeling especially warm towards him. She knew she'd felt that about other Navis before, but couldn't quite place why that was...

"Huh, guess I beat him here. I'll just wait until he arrives." Hmm...there wasn't really much to see in the meantime, however, just white, blue, and doors. Although, that guy in the armor made her kinda nervous for some reason. Which was odd, since he seemed like a decent guy...
A big, spongy looking creature came out of the door the armored guy was facing and they exchanged a few pleasantries. The sponge man let the old navi into his room then looked back and forth in a suspicious way. When his eyes met SplashLady's, he seemed to panic, then shut the door behind him...

There was little time to think about the events that had transpired, however, as PhotoMan beamed in nearby. "Hello again, SplashLady. I apologize; resolving my situation took a little longer than I expected. I'm ready now," he assured her with a nod, heading towards the door of Cuffs' office. "Before we start, I should warn you: Cuffs is known as one of the Prosecutions Department's least approachable officers. She's very efficient at her job, but she's not a people person. This part of her reputation is why I believe that the photograph would take on such an inspiring quality, but it also means we must be very tactful and possibly even crafty. I don't think it will be easy to get her to agree."

With SplashLady thus clued in, PhotoMan knocked on the door with three quick, professional hits. "Excuse me... Ms. Cuffs? If you are not preoccupied, may we have a moment of your time? I'm from the Showbizz Foundation and would like to discuss a business proposition," he addressed her, taking over the situation without asking SplashLady this time.

The two heard movement inside, which would have been a good sign, but no voice responded to them. Instead, after a short wait, a navi opened the door slowly, then leered out of the doorframe at them. The woman was very tall with tanned skin and bleached blond hair that didn't match her otherwise Electopian appearance. Her outfit consisted of a dominatrix-like black, rubber-like bodysuit, covering her entire voluptuous body. Her shoulders , hands, feet, and chest were all armored as well; a zipper dangled from the upper brim of the suit, which extended all the way up to her nose. Atop her head, a black policeman's cap held a gleaming golden badge, although again, the whole look made her look like a less than legitimate law enforcement official.

Her eyebrows were upturned and her eyes somewhat wide, as if she was intentionally trying to scare them. She still said nothing... PhotoMan gulped audibly, although his face didn't change from its usual passive expression.
Hmm...weird. That guy sure acted suspicious. But it was probably just a character tic or something, so SplashLady just shrugged and kept waiting...all of two seconds, when PhotoMan finally arrived. "There you are! I was starting to wonder what happened!"

She listened to what he had to say on Cuffs, which was...not all that encouraging, really. Sounded like she'd be a tougher nut to crack than Strum or Armor. "All right, got it. Let's go!"

And there was knocking, and answering. And, uh, once again, it was fairly clear why PhotoMan chose her. Though, if she was that famous for being so cold, she could understand how showing another side of her would be, er, 'inspiring'.

"Er, hi! ...May we come in? Or maybe you'd rather go somewhere else to talk? Either is fine by us!" The eye thing wasn't really scaring the mermaid Navi or anything, though it did strike her as kinda rude. You don't stare at someone when you first meet them, no matter how much you want to, after all.
The navi continued to stare down at the two with an indefinable look in her eyes; the only look it really gave off was unnatural. If she always looked like that, it was pretty hard to imagine that she'd be terribly photogenic. With the personality PhotoMan had established from rumor and hearsay, it seemed like she had to be either pitying them or trying to scare them.

After another long, awkward pause, she finally moved aside to let them in. The inside of her room was also mostly black with leather furniture. She really seemed to be trying hard at the dominatrix thing. With surprising politeness (or some other motive), she pulled them each a black chair in front of her desk, scooting them to a cozy distance. She then took her seat behind the chair, then promptly looked down at the floor with a glazed look in her eyes.

Still she failed to speak; now she wasn't even looking at them, on top of the original silence. After closing the door behind himself and taking a seat, PhotoMan cleared his throat and began to speak. "Ms. Cuffs, if you're interested, I'd like to photograph you on behalf of the Showbizz Foundation and my own portfolio. The intention of this shoot would be for a gravure publication. You would receive a portion of the profits from sales of the end work and the photography can also be great advertising for one's personal objectives. We have specific ideas in mind and there would be a wardrobe to adhere to, but..." he rambled on, explaining their proposition.

The officer's eyes had darted up near the beginning, but after that, she just rested her head on her hand and looked down at the floor, her pupils shaking mildly. Her body had begun to shiver visibly... her eyes darted up towards PhotoMan with that same difficult to define look in them. PhotoMan gulped again, slowing down slightly in his speech.
All things considered, SplashLady was a bit surprised at how PhotoMan was taking charge in the situation. He did seem a little rattled, though...maybe it was how he was hiding it? But he wasn't going off the beaten path, so to speak, so she stayed quiet and let him give it a go.

Unfortunately, this led to an awkward silence, of which she had a funny feeling that this wouldn't be the last. Time to fill in a blank or two. "Of course, if you have any ideas, we'd be more than happy to listen to them! So, any thoughts on all of this?" All right, hopefully that'd help to make this a three-way conversation. Though, considering how Cuffs had acted thus far, it wasn't exactly certain...
The navi stood up, keeping one hand over her mouth and both eyes glaring into SplashLady's own. Keeping that hand over her mouth, Cuffs zipped the bodysuit down away from her mouth so that she could talk. "You're wanting to take photos of me..." she muttered through her hand, obscuring her voice somewhat. Her eyes darted back away, so that she stared towards the wall. "Why?"

"My own interest is in my portfolio, but beyond that, I hope to provide an inspiring photograph to all buyers. I believe that aspects of your character, persona, reputation, and even appearance could combine with expert photography to create truly remarkable results. I hate to be a flatterer, but you've got something of a fanbase," he continued.

The navi's eyes shook again as she stared at the wall; she pressed one fist against it as if trying to steady herself while keeping the other over her mouth. Why were PhotoMan's words distressing her so much?

"For this particular shoot, we've prepared an outfit that I believe your fans would be amazed to see... an entirely unexpected look for you. I've got a .GMO file that will replace your current wardrobe with that meant for the shot. It's... well, I'm not sure if you're familiar with the human concept, but imagine women's undergarments. These specifically are pure white, lightly frilled, and-"

For whatever purpose, Cuffs seemed to lose her balance. She flew off the wall towards the desk, brushing aside a broad swath of papers so that the air was briefly littered with forms and reports. Her hand caught the desk and then she rocketed further, barreling for the door and opening it gracelessly. She ran out into the hallway, not even stopping to close it behind her.

"... This does not seem to be going well. We're going to need to convince her somehow, but it's going to be difficult if she won't give us a conversation. With only my mild knowledge of her, I can only offer her the traditional incentives," PhotoMan sighed, leaning further back in his chair than he had been moments ago. When Cuffs had come across the desk, he'd receded in his chair as a desperate, reflexive method of protecting himself, thinking she was going to attack him. "Perhaps if you, as a fellow woman, spoke with her briefly and without my presence, you might have better luck?", this was not going well. At all. It was never a good sign when someone went racing out of their own office. "Well, I really didn't expect THAT to happen..." Well, she half-expected someone to do it, but it wasn't Cuffs.

"Yeah, I think I need to talk to her one on one. I wonder why she did that, anyway? Based on what I heard, you'd think she'd be harder to rattle than that..." Though, oddly enough, it DID seem to back up the whole 'another side of her' thing PhotoMan had brought up in the notes. Or something like that. "Anyway, standing around here isn't going to convince her...I'll be back!" With that, SplashLady hurriedly walked outside, and started to look around for the NetPolice Navi, or any hints as to her whereabouts. Who would've guessed that she'd be doing detective work in the NetPolice building?
"You think she's the one who's affected? I thought she was storming out in anger, but perhaps you have a better eye for this than I do. At any rate, please go to her and try to convince her; I'll be waiting here," PhotoMan finished, crossing his hands in front of himself and preparing to wait patiently.

SplashLady headed back outside. Of course, misfortune had its way of finding those on paid missions, and as it was, the officer was nowhere in sight. She must have already made pretty good distance...

Or so SplashLady may have thought, until she got out and down the hallway a bit. A voice sounding like that of Cuffs (the little bit that SplashLady had heard) was coming from behind a barely cracked, completely unmarked door. SplashLady would have to get up close to figure out what she was talking about... of course, that'd mean putting her ear next to an unmarked door in NetPolice HQ, out in the hallway where anyone passing by could see her. It might be better for her just to wait outside or to go on inside, rather than eavesdropping.
...Ugh. No sign of Cuffs anywhere. And no one around to ask where she might've gone, either. Hmm. Well, she could take a walk down the hallway, at least, and see if there was any clues, at least.

And doing so paid off, as someone sounding like Cuffs could be heard on the other side, which probably meant it was her on the other side of the door. Unfortunately, she couldn't make out what she was saying, and it'd be awfully silly to try and spy on a NetPolice officer in a NetPolice office. Plus, it'd be extra silly since her helmet's ear guards would be in between her and the door, and she didn't feel like taking it off. Hmm. Well, if she wanted to convince her, she'd need to show their dedication towards the whole thing. And, well, she was pretty committed by now. SplashLady knocked on the door a couple of times, and opened the door to see what was going on...
SplashLady managed to hear just a bit of the conversation as she approached the door: "-nobody comes up to me and asks me to do this kind of thing..." Cuffs' voice came out quietly, threatening and containing a sort of breathy whisper, much like her earlier lines. Before she could speak any more, SplashLady announced her presence by knocking. The blue-clad navi entered in to find the officer by herself; feasibly, she could have only been speaking to her operator or someone in the real world.

Cuffs' eyes widened and her eyebrows peaked as she rose from the room's one chair, positioned in front of the room's one desk. The room was only partially lit and one side contained an embedded one-way mirror; it was easy to imagine that the room was intended for interrogations. The navi's hand, clad in slick, black gloves, gripped down tightly onto the chair as her eyes regarded SplashLady with some untraceable negative emotion.

"What...? What...?" she whispered out, lowering her mouth covering enough for SplashLady to see the curve of her glossy lips, held in a tight frown. She seemed confused, but she really wasn't asking anything nearly particular enough for SplashLady to do more than conjecture what she wanted to find out.
Okay, time to interrogate the officer. SplashLady drew close to the other Navi, though she remained on the other side of the desk. "Uh, listen...this whole thing is sorta coming out of the blue, I know. But, believe me, PhotoMan doesn't just let try to shoot everyone in the hopes some people will say yes. He's planned to ask for some time, I think, but hasn't gotten a proper chance to do so until now. Work related stuff kept him from doing it. But now that he's cleared out some space in his schedule, he's finally getting the opportunity to expand his, as well as all of Showbizz's, portfolio. You're not the first person we've asked today, nor will you be the last, so again, this isn't actually coming out of nowhere. Plus, it'd give the NetPolice some nice publicity! You'd really be amazed at what this kind of thing can bring...anyway, what do you think? Wanna give it a try?"
"You're not afraid of me at all," the navi remarked with interest, leaving her mouthguard tucked beneath her chin. "I'm sorry, I know I've given you a hard time. I'm happy to help out your friend with whatever he needs. I was just embarrassed, because... well, you know... it's embarrassing," she explained. Of course, none of this was knew to SplashLady; she'd anticipated that it was bashfulness rather than pride or anger making Cuffs run out. "I don't want to let anyone down. Just tell me exactly what I need to do and where to do it and I'll be happy to help."

Her voice was still coming in quiet whispers, but she'd gotten control of her breathing now, so she didn't sound nearly so gasping and odd. Her eyes still had an unusual expression, but it turned out it was just her own especially timid nature that was giving her that look, rather than trying to freak anyone out. While those elements were coming together, they were still going to need to find a good place to hold the shoot and furthermore, they hadn't actually informed her of PhotoMan's little opportunity statement in relations to this particular shoot.
Wait, she was supposed to be afraid? Well, after surviving the Undernet, SplashLady probably had confidence to spare, or something. "Great! Location and stuff...PhotoMan can cover that better than me. Let's head back to your office, and we can get started! And yeah, I can understand feeling that CAN a little offputting at first. But don't worry, once you get started, it's actually really easy!" Or so it seemed. She hadn't done it herself, but that's how it looked for Armor and Strum. Come to think of it, it'd be her turn pretty soon...and she did say she'd do it. Hopefully everything she was saying about it was true...
"I don't think I'd want to make it a career either... but if it's for your friend's career, I suppose it's fine," Cuffs responded with a nod, then slid her mouth covering back into place. She spoke some more afterwords, but it was difficult to make out any of it due to the mask and it sounded like it was just more along the same lines, expressing willingness to help people and so forth.

Cuffs walked behind SplashLady as they headed back towards the office, pausing to cast a glance at a slouching navi dressed in purple who'd just stepped off the teleporter pad at the end of the hall. Turning her head forward again, she followed SplashLady inside. "If it will help... I am willing to pose for you," she told PhotoMan, lowering her suit again to speak only to cover her mouth once again with her hand.

"Outstanding. You can look forward to a portion of any revenues, as well as the networking," PhotoMan assured her; if he was surprised that SplashLady succeeded, he didn't show it.

The officer tilted her head, widening one eye and screwing up the other. Photoman was repelled slightly, thinking that he'd done something to agitate her, but SplashLady was able to interpret the look as curiosity. "You needn't do all that," Cuffs offered.

"No, such rewards are certainly owed to the photographer's subject. However, there is the matter of our terms. I feel like the sofa there will be a fine location for the shoot... something in white would be even better, but a black leather sofa is casual enough. You remember the details of your wardrobe, correct? " he continued, then hesitated a bit. She nodded back, although with hesitation of her own. "Good. There is one other condition, however; I feel like people would like to see a personality that runs counter to the one ordinarily attributed to you."

"I agree!" Cuffs responded with surprising enthusiasm, moving over to the chair next to him and placing one hand on the arm of his. He recoiled slightly in surprise, then blinked. "People have a lot of misconceptions about what kind of person I am! Showing them a new side will be great..."

"Yes, I'm glad you agree," he murmured, sounding slightly awkward in spite of his monotone. "A subservient Cuffs, taking on the role of the dominated rather than the dominator, will be fresh and exciting for a lot of people."

"Yes, a revision of my image! Kind, helpful, friendly... dominated?" she responded, sounding excited at first, then skeptical. "Like... what do you mean?"

PhotoMan coughed into his fist, then continued. "Well, when people picture you, they imagine you as a dominatrix due to your image."

"I suppose they do..."

"Someone who puts people in handcuffs."


"...Possibly a collar..."

"... C-Collar?"

"Yes. These elements together would form the truly inspiring image I'm imagining," he finished, speaking quickly as if afraid to give her a chance to let it all sink in. He sunk into his chair a bit as he noticed her fist shaking on the armrest beside him. He looked back to SplashLady for more support, staring unblinkingly.
"Yep, everyone that does this gets a cut of the proceeds. I forgot to mention that earlier." After reaffirming PhotoMan, SplashLady watched as PhotoMan proceeded to come perilously close to placing his foot in his mouth. She would've stepped in to assist in avoiding that, but...well, she wasn't entirely sure where he was going. Though, that last bit was pretty suspicious..."Um, he's not saying that you need to be in handcuffs or anything for this!" ...He wasn't, was he? "That said, though, it'd be a good idea for you to look more...submissive, I guess is the word? Like PhotoMan said, this is all about showing something completely different about you!"

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Sabrina was still enjoying herself in the hot spring. However, something in the distance piqued her interest. It was small, sorta looked like a chip. However, as she discovered by reaching back for a certain something, there was a problem... "...Ack!"

"What's wrong, Sabrina?"

"Uh, I messed up, and put the towel too far away...I can't reach it without getting out!"

"So get out and grab it real quick, before someone else comes in!"

"But what if someone comes in right when I'm out? I mean, I'm naked, here!"

"...Listen, I'm really busy right now. Can we talk about this later?"

"I, uh...guess so. I'm not really ready to hop out yet, anyway."

"Good. Talk to you later!" Click! Visual connection gone. "Sorry about that, everyone! My operator's in kind of a conundrum, but it's nothing we can't handle later! Or she could be less self-conscious, especially since there's absolutely no way anyone would see her, and she'd only be out of the hot spring for a couple of seconds..."
PhotoMan's eyes slowly lifted towards SplashLady, then to his feet, like a child that's been caught misbehaving in some frequently recurrent and warned against way. "Of course, I er... Never intended for you to be handcuffed," he continued awkwardly. SplashLady's words seemed to settle Cuffs down a bit, at least, so his own nervousness lessened. His eyes clicked slightly as they rolled back up towards SplashLady, accompanied by his stoic frown. "Let's go to that word you used: submissive. Since we are clearly not using handcuffs or collars, how would you go about making her look submissive?"

The two both stared blankly at SplashLady, both unsure of how the shoot was going to develop.
"Well, uh..." ...Dang, she was hoping he'd be able to fill in some blanks here. SplashLady's mind raced, trying to come up with any kind of answer to the question at hand. "...It's all about the poses, of course! I mean, theoretically you could have someone in handcuffs, but if their body language looks like they want to snap those cuffs in two, they wouldn't exactly look submissive, right?" Okay, now she felt like she was getting somewhere with this. "Well, it'll be easier if I demonstrate."

After making sure the door was closed, the mermaid Navi headed for the couch, stopping for a moment to roll her skirt up to above the knee, allowing the others to better see her legs. She then plopped down on one end, hands resting on the back of her head as she crossed her legs. "See how I look like this? All I'd need is a sunglasses-like visor and I'd look like no one would dare want to mess with me. But that's the opposite of what we're doing here!"

SplashLady uncrossed her legs, and scooted up so that she was sitting on the very edge of the cushion. She then proceeded to clasp her hands over her heart, and looked around shyly. "See how much more vulnerable I look right now? Like you could do anything to me? That's kinda what I mean. Just, using body language to look submissive, and not just props or something." She hopped up, letting her skirt fall back down to ankle level. "Er, did I make enough sense?"
The gears in PhotoMan's head clacked and whirred as he watched SplashLady, his eyes hanging on to her every movement as he desperately tried to avoid blinking and thus shooting photographs. "Once again, you bring inspiration to the craft, SplashLady. It is clear to me that the photo will be much better with a pose implying submission rather than the use of any props. Part of disassociating the officer here with her usual persona will be to take the shoot without using those handcuffs that people typically associate with her," he speculated, nodding enthusiastically.

"I see... The second pose does look easier to approach than the first. I feel like it might work," Cuffs agreed.

"Wonderful; all we need at this point, then, is to get you into the outfit," PhotoMan suggested, handing over a data packet. "I've taken the liberty of preparing the .GMO, which I described to you earlier. As soon as you're ready, equip it and we'll begin getting you into position for the shoot."

Nodding, Cuffs accepted the packet and took a deep breath. Before she could prepare any further, her clothes nearly evaporated, leaving her wearing only the white, lace lingerie that PhotoMan had described earlier. Her breasts heaved audibly as the outfit came off, causing her to blush more heavily. "Mina has control of .GMO activation," she explained.

"I see. Very well, I'll begin the shoot. For now, if you would, please recline across the couch. Try gripping onto the armrest with one hand and clutching the other just beside your hip... remove the symmetry in your legs by raising one knee. Ah, perfect..." PhotoMan murmured, navigating around the couch until he found the perfect spot.

"I can't really control my face or my breathing," Cuffs informed him, her chest rising and falling provocatively as her breaths quickly exited her diaphragm.

"... In this case, I think it's fine for the theme," PhotoMan informed her, keeping his all-business expression. "SplashLady, can you think of anything else we ought to do before I execute the shoot?"
...Phew. One more crisis averted. SplashLady backed up a bit, to make sure she was doing absolutely nothing to interfere with the shoot. But, she had one last thing to say. "Well, this is probably where I should say to relax and have fun...but I'm not sure if that completely applies here. Have fun, definitely, but in this case, I think it's okay if you look a little bit nervous. Ties in with the whole 'vulnerability' thing, you know? Don't look TOO nervous, though, or it'll all fall apart! I'm sure PhotoMan will catch the subtleties between the two better than me, so I'll let him direct you in that regard!"