|Bollywood and Worst Case Scenarios|
Dante is there, randomly, to peer over Ren's shoulder. He grins just a bit, whispering. "You want to dance, don'tcha? Well, go on in! If ya need an audience, I'd be happy to provide the hand claps!" He laughs a bit in a good natured manner, but he doesn't seem to be making fun.
Serenity 'blinks' and retracts rhinophores at the unexpected voice. Ren twists to look, but manages to hold onto the leftovers. "Hk! ...hello, Dante." Ren offers him a pat on the arm with a damp 'wing' "I was just on my way back to the office," Ren holds up the bag, "but if you're here, I have a convenient excuse to delay, yes?"
Dante laughs. Nods. "Yeah. Don't worry. Things're taken care of on our side. You're gonna have a LOT more 'paperwork' but...that's why I hired ya, brainiac. I'm gonna have to start setting up a patrol schedule once I...figure out who else we might be getting in....ah. This is gonna get complicated." He rubs his forehead. "The pain of bein' the good guy." He gestures over at the dance club. "You want in, huh? Well, let's go. See what you can do? n.-"
"Patrol schedule?" Ren repeats curiously. "I was not expecting that we would have many new recruits until we had worked out a better advertising strategy." At Dante's suggestion, Ren tugs open the door with two layers of fin on one side and one on the other. Ren grins and looks back to Dante. "Did you make posters of Kotal and yourself posing bare-chested, while I wasn't looking?"
Dante snickers, ushering Ren through the door. "Why? The very thought of it making you 'wet' there? ... Get it? Because you're a sea creature? T-...ya know what, never mind. No. We're taking over 'TASK', so we're gonna be the new police force. Now, move yer fins."
"You could do with more dry humor," Ren retorts, squeezing through the opening to ripple backwards (nearly dunking an inattentive dancer). Serenity then regards Dante uncertainly. "The new police force? Does mean the city is going to go from near-anarchy to law-abiding, and we're responsible for telling this to people with large teeth or unexplainable dangerous powers?"
Dante grins, nods, offering a thumbs up. "I think the name of 'TASK' will give us a little more respect n' that, especially with the backing of the big honcho himself...but yeah! Ain't it great?" He rubs his chin. "Also, we get access to the computer, Gegoshi...so, talk about increasing our reach and intel. Whoo mama." He looks a bit down-trodden though. "She's TOTALLY got a she-boner for the big D there, though...so sadly, no AI nookie for me."
"AI..." Ren repeats with a frown, then looks more thoughtful. "Hhh. I don't know how much value the name will have, given the fact that they needed replacement. The support of those in charge of the city, though, has more value." Ren waves a vaguely hand-shaped extrusion of the fins toward the ceiling. "People have only to look at the boundary of the city to see that they remain in power."
Dante waves it off. "Gegoshi's kinda...MORE than AI. I dunno what she is really. I ain't down with ALL the technology bull shit. I mean, smart watches? Really? ...ANYWAY. She'll be super useful. We'll have access to recon all over the city, the capacity to setup blockades and defensive areas on a moments notice, etc..." He nudges Ren. "Enough stalling. Dance for me, wench. n.-"
"'More', as in an artificial person, or as in an AI interface to a connected city?" Ren asks curiously. At the latter remark, Ren says with a grin, "I'll need to find out the proper male retort to 'wench'. 'Cup boy', perhaps?" Ren spins to ascertain how much dance floor is clear before shortening and folding fins inward.
Dante snorts, flopping into appropriate seating. He shrugs. "Cup boy sounds good. How about 'Mead lackey'? 'Beer hound'? That sounds like booze hound. Heh." He signals for a beer flow and laughs, howling as much like a wolf as he can muster. "A hound I be!"
Serenity grins and bows to Dante. "I'm impressed by the sound effects, beer retriever!" Ren hisses back, finding a clear spot near Dante. Ren motions a 'wing' toward the DJ as the next song starts. "This is entirely the wrong dance for this genre of American pop music, but the strong uptempo rhythm is all I need..." Ren bows out the upper chest, shapes 'sleeves' with cylindrical hollows between the two layers of fin, scallops a 'waist' from the fins at an appropriate height, and curls lower portions of fins around like a skirt. There isn't much to be done with the rabbit-eared frog-porpoise face shape but to curl the 'antennae' down like the edges of a veil.
Dante doesn't really HAVE much to go at this point. He looks Ren over and offers a thumbs up. "Not a bad approximation I think. Pretty sexy all things considered. That what you were goin' for?" He laughs a bit. "I hope you don't expect me to throw bills atcha. As our accountant, I think you know I can't afford it!" He's OBVIOUSLY screwing around though.
"While I'm going for humanity and accuracy," Ren cheerfully sizzles, "I certainly wouldn't mind looking sexy in the process. But I've heard that humans don't prefer noses bigger than their own." Ren taps the end of the snout. Serenity begins the dance by imitating a fast collapse onto one knee, which is rather difficult when one doesn't have any knees and is suspended in water. But Ren flicks downward and shrinks lengthwise before folding a faux knee and splaying the 'skirt' on the floor. The 'arm' motion does double duty, simulating the splay of trying to catch one's balance while actually providing downward propulsion. While crouched, Ren toggles the controls on the black disc to make the environment suit less responsive to motion.
Dante hms. He just kind of rubs his chin a bit as he watches. You know, martial arts he knows...acrobatics he knows...THIS doesn't look easy or uninteresting, he just doesn't quite know what he's seeing. Of course, he may be learning as they go. Dante isn't QUITE as stupid as he appears. ... Boy, he COULDN'T be, could he? n.n
Serenity slowly rises from the crouch in a forward-leaning posture, one 'sleeve' held behind and one in front, with curling flicks of the thinned fin edge to suggest twisting hand motions. A rhythmic bumping of one 'hip' to the side gradually increases in amplitude as Ren straightens to a standing posture. Of course there is no real pressure on the ground, but Ren folds lines down the 'skirt' to suggest a leg is moving that hip rather than just the muscles underneath the turquoise and safety-orange skin. The uncurling of Ren's back continues into a backwards bend, which Ren tries to make seem as difficult as it would be for a dancer with a backbone.
Dante hms. He notes, despite having little to add here, "That flexibility would be QUITE a good trait in the sack, I'd think." ...Because, you know, that's all his brain really focuses on generally. Pizza and beer are in there too.
"Shall we put that line on your new business cards, to make us sound more respectable?" Ren playfully retorts. Ren straightens suddenly from the backward-bend, seeming to bounce upward while crossing one leg over the other. The knee shape seems to make the aquamarine skirt flutter like silk, but faking the fast-falling fabric folds actually requires some effort against water resistance, as evidenced by the resulting swirl of the gills on Ren's back. The leg crossover is accompanied by another upward bounce and a curl of the bottom skirt edge, suggesting a brief rise onto the ball of a nonexistent foot. Meanwhile, the 'sleeves' swish with an inward pull to accompany the raised knee and a forceful outward push of the arm when the leg is planted.
Dante hehs, he chugs a random beer as they've been supplied here and there as he finishes and raises the empty bottle. "I'll see if the good Senior can lend us a hot female cheerleader to pose for the card. Think he'll be down for it? Maybe I can get Gegoshi in on it too."
Likely on account of not breathing through the mouth, Ren doesn't seem to get out of breath by speaking and dancing vigorously at the same time. The clarity of the rasping is just reduced a bit by the motion. "I would think the hot female cheerleader is the one you need to secure permission from," Ren points out. "I suppose that's better than showing the audience a violent scene, but I'd advise something safely neutral, suggesting a more passive and solid security." There's a spring in the steps that Serenity is only pretending to take, interweaving a forward shuffle with one foot while the other heel bounces the skirt edge behind. Ren aims the imaginary upraised feet away from Dante so that they remains covered from his perspective and don't break the illusion. The alternating toe-taps and shuffles take Ren in a glide to the side. (The 'brakes' on the environment suit are then surreptitiously engaged again.)
Dante doesn't seem to have much to add to the conversation. He does offer a shrug. "I dunno. The dood seems to LOVE showing off as hot chicks, so...maybe he'd be into it? Hey, you miss every shot ya don't take, ya know?"
"Showing off *as* hot chicks? A shape-shifter?" Ren ventures uncertainly. The pacing of Ren's words seems to unconsciously fall into the rhythm of the music and motion. "Well, if Senior Diablo isn't concerned about projecting an air of wisdom and gravity at all times, I suppose hosting a public photo shoot couldn't do any harm to *our* public image." Following the shuffle, Ren turns to face Dante and simulates a two-footed leap using a brief lengthwise extension of the body followed by a flop of 'skirt' and 'sleeves' that sprays the ends of gill-feathers every which way. While continuing to 'stand', Ren splays out the upper portions of the fins to the sides and ripples their ventral surfaces as if they are fabric pushed forward toward Dante by open palms making circular motions.
Dante claps, giving a whistle. He liked that last move. He nods to the former question. "Yeah, he can take different forms. I dunno if he has a natural one or what. I was just fucking around anyway. He'd probably tell me where to shove it unless I could get that wackadoo Johnny to show up. He kind of enjoys screwing with em. n.n"
Serenity grins at the whistle. "While you are certainly more level-headed, and thus less susceptable to antagonizing tricks, Johnny is quite powerful. I wouldn't suggest picking any fight just to please Senior Diablo." Ren hikes the hem of the 'skirt' a bit, seemingly using the end of one sleeve, and meanwhile raises the other sleeve as an arm outstetched toward Dante that has vivid blue fabric hanging from it. Ren scallops the edge of the extended 'hand' into fingers and tries to disguise the poor facsimiles by keeping them moving in a beckoning ripple. The bouncing motion continues in time to the beat of the music, gills swishing naturally, fin edges bouncing artfully, but the bowed-out chest not bouncing all that much. Ren scythes with the outstretched 'arm', a horizontal cutting motion, wavering alternate shoulders up and down at double the music's rhythm.
Dante just kind of nods along. He also pfffts. "Oh, I'm terrified. DEFINITELY the worst thing I've ever faced. No, really. I'm sure Mundus would start crying. Besides THAT, who said anything about a fight? I think our buddy the Senior just likes messing with em. I dunno about any fighting.
"You know, it's not especially comforting to hear that *you* are terrified," Ren observes. "I think we should let Senior Diablo do any 'messing with him', unless you know of a certain way to determine whether Johnny is smiling in good-natured humor or in sadistic glee." After gesturing and lightly bouncing in place for a musical phrase, Ren shifts into more twisty motions consisting of two alternating moves. The first move has Ren facing Dante, rapidly switching from angling right 'hip' and left 'shoulder' upward to the reverse and quickly repeating the switch three times. The second move is slower, with Ren's lower body angled perpendicular to Dante and upper body continuing to face him. Ren veils the face with a 'sleeve' while sinuously rolling the hip that faces Dante in a slow circle. The two moves are interspersed with a smile and a side-to-side slide of the neck. (Lacking a human-like neck, Ren simulates this by shrinking one side of the body above the 'chest' and then the other side.)
Dante shakes his head, facepalming shortly afterwards. "Good LORD woman...man...OK, whatever. Listen, do they NOT have sarcasm where you come from? We have GOT to have you watch more comedies. I'm not scared of either one of those motherfuckers. ... Our buddy Diablo though....he's our boss now. I need to listen to him once and a while in order to keep...let's say other privileges that I want to hang onto. That's all."
"Pardon. I believe that's what one calls 'projecting'," Ren assures. "As I don't have your healing abilities, you can understand how I might be less confident around powerful but unpredictable beings than you are." Ren adds curiously, "But privileges?" Serenity twists at the 'waist', exaggerating the rotation just enough to match an exceptionally flexible human dancer but not enough to fall into the realm of contortionists. Ren punches outward and downward along with the twist, over an imaginary leg. The push might not be difficult in air, but half of the fin is inside the forcefield and thus produces a strong vortex in the water trapped around Ren. Serenity twists to the other side four beats later and punches outward in that direction.
Dante huhs. He scratches the back of his head. "None of this is straining ya at all, eh?" He kind of half-shrugs at the second half of the question. "Ah...yeah. Political stuff really. Like I said, we get access to a facility and use of Gegoshi and...some counter-balance to some stuff. Ah..." He sighs softly. "Ok. I was going to brief everyone as a group later...but, Diablo is also your boss. If he gives you an order, report it to me as soon as you can with EXACT details of what you were asked to do and what happened...but..." He looks pained at this one..."When he gives you that order, do it. Don't question it, just....do it. THAT is am standing order. Understand Ren?..."
As the end of the song nears, Ren returns to an earlier motion, slowly uncurling from a forward bend and little leg motion and gradually continuing to bend into a backwards curve with ample shakes of one hip. This time, the dance move is begun facing away from Dante so that it ends with looking at him upside-down. If this were a human woman, he would be getting a fine view down the top of the shirt. But as it is, he only gets a fine view of an artfully curved sheet of aquamarine muscle. Ren loses the smile with Dante's last words. "Not knowing Senior Diablo's morality, I'm not comfortable with the way you worded that. In the worst case, how many lives would an unhappy Senior Diablo be a threat to?"
Dante gives Ren a very serious look. There's a darkness in his eyes that only pops out when he's DEAD serious. "I'm hoping none, Ren. I'm hoping that I'm not being a fucking idiot here and trusting the wrong fucking creature. I would never do something like this if I thought it'd endanger innocent lives." He looks away. "It's...not optional, though. Do it...or...find another place to work. I'm sorry, Ren. It's not up for debate."
Serenity rolls over and collapses outward into a less-shapely figure. "I assure you that I have no intention of being a hero and haven't suddenly developed a new vein of self-sacrificing courage," Ren explains. "But I'm asking about the hypothetical worst-case scenario, where no debate is even possible. How many lives would it need to save for disobedience to be the better option?"
Dante stares at Ren for a few moments. He looks so unlike himself. He HATES when things get serious like this, but...it just has to be. He shrugs weakly. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Some shit like that said by some elf somewhere. I can only say this, if one innocent person has to die it better be saving at least 2. If you're asking how far I'll go to appease this guy, well...he better not be SACRIFICING any lives at all or he'll quickly find me to be more of a pain in his ass than any kinda enforcer."
Serenity watches Dante uncomfortably while he thinks, raising a pair of fins to push water through the upper part of the mane of gills. Ren nods slowly as Dante answers. "That seems a reasonable assessment. I don't mean to question your judgement of the alliance, but I had to ask." Ren motions toward Dante. Disengaging the limiter on the environment suit's motion, Ren ripples closer to put a pair of fins on his arm. "The being that I encountered in the school came to mind. Had it not been after-hours... I didn't get the sense that it had any regard for the lives of people outside of their instrumental value."
Dante nods over at Ren. Offering a smile, he pats the proffered fins gently. "I understand, Ren. Ya don't gotta explain. It's a nasty situation and following your leaders BLINDLY ain't a good idea. If you're ever uncomfortable, I'll understand anything ya have to do. I can only promise to try to keep things working as cleanly and smoothly as possible."
"I appreciate the support," Ren says with a smile in return. "Now, please don't think that I am itching to go save innocent lives by dispatching apocalypse-triggering monsters. You hired me as an administrative assistant, and I intend to go right on assisting the administration with as much distance as possible between me and bloodthirsty things or people." Ren motions toward Dante. "The bloodthirsty ones, entrust to you."
Dante laughs, nods. "Good idea, Ren. I'll take care of the bloodthirsty dickheads and you can work the admin. That's what I needed ya for. Speaking of which, do me a favor? Let Ams and Kots know that I need to meet with em ASAP. They need to re-evaluate the situation now too, I think."