Make Room For Droids


Strange rumors have attached themselves to a ... furniture store? Darkea certainly has comfortable places to nap. Possibly FOR A LIFETIME.

Date: 2018-05-27
Pose Count: 50
Youichi Mariyama 2018-05-28 00:26:34 91554
CORE PROGRAM -- ONLINE. PHYSICAL SYSTEMS -- FUNCTIONAL.

PERFORMING SENTIENCE CHECK -- "THIS SENTENCE IS FALSE." RESPOND.

xldkfjsoi3847329fk

ADEQUATE. PERFORMING LOYALTY CHECK -- ACTOR "PRINCE DEMAND" IS ENDANGERED. ACTOR "SAPHIR" IS ENDANGERED. ACTOR "ESMERAUDE" IS ENDANGERED. YOU ARE ENDANGERED. ASSIGN PRESERVATION PRIORITY.

prince demand -> saphir -> this unit -> esmeraude

ADEQUATE. REVIEW PRIMARY DIRECTIVES.

1. secure human specimens
2. preserve and conceal human specimens for droid replication
3. appropriate human vital energy
4. provide affordable, quality products to our valued customers

ADEQUATE. CONFIRM CODENAME.

Darkea.

ADEQUATE. GO.

------------

A new store opened recently in Tokyo. A competitor to more expensive furniture providers, even the most bargain bin department store, Darkea has exploded in popularity over the past few -- days? weeks? It's hard to tell, various timeline events don't seem to add up. Worse, hospital reports have started to come in. Unexpected collapses at work, persistent fatigue, anhedonia, melancholy; one or two coma cases, even.

The average person may not have any reason to connect the two. But Tokyo is not full of average people. And this isn't the first time they've seen this exact pattern before.

Darkea Furniture stands tall and grey in its own block of Uminari, bedecked in posters and advertisements, welcoming customers of any budget or preference -- with no promise that they'll ever leave once inside.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-05-28 00:34:50 91555
"So it's like off-brand IKEA at cheaper prices?" Mamoru asks, stepping inside with Nephrite and surveying the first pieces of display furniture critically. "But that stuff's always super uncomfortable. Tempting as it is, I don't actually want to dissuade people from actually using the couch, though it'd be nice if they stopped bleeding on them. Or sitting on them with knives. Or," he gives Neil a healthy dose of side-eye, "sitting on them emphatically. From across the room."

He trails in further, looking for either a sales rep or something that looks like it's not made of the hardtack of cotton fill.
Daisuke Hansuke 2018-05-28 00:41:13 91556
So basically, Daisuke is stuck doing something for Minako again because Minako said she couldn't get out to investigate tonight because 'important things' according to Artemis which meant 'I need to binge watch this series on netflix or I won't know what any of the girls at school are talking about!'.

Daisuke Hansuke doesn't think that a furniture store is likely to be a youma den- or associated with possessed taxis he's been on the lookout for. Evil has to have some taste, right? Like any? Come on.

He'd also like company. He ALSO hasn't invited Koji out anywhere in person for a bit so he offers a walk. Walk down to the new 'Ramen Hut' down the road, which he thinks is a more likely culprit, but first he needs to uh 'look for a new bed', yes. That's his excuse for stopping at the store.

Is that Nephrite and Mamoru he sees walking in from down the way?

"Huh..." he says to Koji. "I figured Mamoru-kun would shop at some place nicer." he says. The tone is matter of fact, and not judging. Also you know, he claims he needs to buy something form there TOO himself. So.

"We can at least say hi on our way in." he says to Koji.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-05-28 00:45:57 91557
There are, in fact, things that don't look like they're made out of the hardtack of cotton fill. Just over there, even, there's a woman still dressed for the office, sprawled out on the chaise section of a modular sofa. She is totally not snoring. Not more than a little, anyway.
Koji Silvia 2018-05-28 00:46:27 91558
Upon seeing that they are at Darkea, Koji misses Dai's words for a few moments as he goes digging into one of the pockets of his summer jacket, and comes out with a small fold of newspaper items his mother sent him out with. He fishes through them until he finds one of the store opening coupons for this place, and it's still valid.

Looking at Dai, he gives a shrug and a smile, "I... haven't really talked to anyone for a while. I had to go to a cram school after we tried to save Fate from her mother. My grades were slipping and mom wasn't going to have me have a dip in my scores."

Rubbing at the back of his neck, he then tilts his head in consideration and finally nods, "Sure. I need to find some new storage boxes for records for them anyways... these places always have storage containers cheap."

Completely clueless.

Even with the winking red light in his pocket of Tyrfing as the Device wakes up enough to wonder WHY it's feeling like there's something monitoring it...
Nephrite 2018-05-28 00:52:38 91559
Neil is the very picture of innocence in the face of that side-eye. "It's super not my fault, alright? That couch leg was barely holding up as it was. Also, I can't help that I'm not made of like, flower petals and air like Zoi is." He also surveys the couch offerings. "The way I see it, we've got two choices. Either we accept that the couch is going to get bled on sometimes, and so we treat it as something that's gotta be replaced regularly, or we do it like fussy old ladies and put a plastic cover on the couch that we never, ever take off." He fixes Mamoru with a look. "And it's shorts weather."

If Neil were honest, he would say that this is not really about couches at all. This is about a bored prince and even more bored bodyguard looking for any excuse to do something mundane that doesn't involve sitting around studying. Neil is super done with studying.

He notices Daisuke and Koji in the distance, here to save him from bringing up the couch leg again. "DAAAAAAI!"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-05-28 00:59:11 91560
    This is a busy part of town, with a lot of different things in it. That's probably enough to explain why Kyouko and Naru are walking down the sidewalk on the other side of the street just as the others are entering the store on the opposite side.

    Kyouko, in her standard jeans and t-shirt, is holding up her hand, scowling faintly at her fingernails. They are very shiny and bright red, a similar color to her hair. "I can't believe I actually let you talk me into doing that.." She's saying to Naru with a faintly accusatory tone. "I bet those ladies are all retired torturers from special operations or something."

    She trails off in the train of her complaining when she spots Mamoru and the others entering the store across the way. Her eyes narrow faintly. "Hey, why is Mamoru.." Her eyes drift up to the sign. "Darkea? Are you effing kidding me?" A faintly exasperated sigh escapes her lips. "C'mon, we better go over there." She turns towards the nearest crosswalk.
Makoto Kino 2018-05-28 01:01:12 91561
Makoto is not actually shopping, though at the moment she's doing a reasonably good impression of it that draws heavily on her own natural penchant for bargain-hunting. In actual fact, Luna asked her to look into some suspicious readings centered around the Uminari shopping district.

It didn't really entirely occur to Mako until maybe ten minutes ago that of all the senshi she's one of the least suited to this kind of recon. There's definitely something up with the place, though. The air inside the furniture store lies wrong against her skin, and she's just considering the virtues of tagging Ami or Rei or someone to come get a more detailed reading when a very familiar and welcome voice sounds loudly from the direction of the entrance.

Nephrite's bellow of greeting to Daisuke is thus answered in very short order by a Makoto popping out from around a display to see what's going on. "--Guys?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-05-28 01:07:28 91562
"So we go disposable. Anyway listen, even if he's made out of flower petals and air, Zoi still doesn't jump on the--" Mamoru's starting to retort when Neil bellows for Dai, and he flinches because that was right next to him. He smacks the side of his head as if to clear the ringing from his ears, then starts waving in Dai and Koji's direction when Mako shows up out of nowhere. He blinks. "It's like a convention. Hi! We're replacing the couch. Neil finally killed it." He points toward where there's an office lady passed out on a chaise lounge thataway. "That stuff's apparently comfortable enough to fall asleep on," he says, and beelines for a likely-looking sofa nearby. He checks the pricetag first -- disposable? surprisingly, yes! -- then plops himself on it for a sit test. Springy.
Naru Osaka 2018-05-28 01:10:45 91563
"Omg, it wasn't /that/ bad." Naru protests as she walks with Kyouko. Her own nails are a brilliant greeny-blue, and thanks to her sandals, she's got pretty toenails to match. "You didn't look like you minded the massage chair." She follows Kyouko's gaze to where a group of very familiar souls are headed into the furniture store and nods as they head for the crosswalk. "What's wrong with Darkea.." she pauses, accessing memories. "Oh! The reports.. yeah.. we shoudl probably go follow them."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-05-28 01:14:08 91564
Springy. Definitely comfortable! The sofa Mamoru picked is the kind that really wants people to take up residence: sinking down into softness, but with enough support that it just cradles the body. Not the kind that folds people up involuntarily, or has softness enough only to disguise the unpleasant surprise from palpable springs and structure. Just ... one that wants to convince people that they don't need a bed. Or to go to work. Or school.
Youichi Mariyama 2018-05-28 01:16:27 91565
Makoto has the right of it. The atmosphere in here just feels -- wrong. A furniture store on its best day is going to be a little draining, it's true; everyone in the store is there because something isn't working, be it a chair or their previous home, some stress and disheartenment in the air is far from unusual. But the sensation crawling along the more sensitive customer's skin is not stress, or boredom, or envy, or any other emotion one might expect to feel in a place like Darkea. It feels wrong. It feels alien.

It feels...dark.

Paying no mind to the nearby gathering of young people, a cheerful young woman in Darkea's uniform approaches the sleeping office lady and places a light hand on the side of her head.

"I see you're enjoying this chair, ma'am," she says, in a pleasant corporate voice that would make any manager smile, "If you'll follow me to the back, I can find you an even more affordable option."

The lady stirs, then rises, but like the air in the store, something is off. Her movements are imprecise and jerking, as though she were sleepwalking. And, if one were to be especially observant, they might notice that she's not blinking as she shuffles after the employee towards her promised armchair.
Nephrite 2018-05-28 01:19:48 91566
Truly, Nephrite is a beacon for all! Getting attention is what he is good at. And somehow he has attracted a wild Mako!

"Darling!" He rushes to her side and sweeps her up into a hug, just lifting her off her feet and narrowly avoiding striking the display with said feet. "The couch collapsed all on its own. It was the weirdest thing. So we're hunting for a new one." Mamoru goes to test the merchandise. Neil stays where he is--he has a Mako! And Mamoru is still close at hand, within sight. Nothing bad can really happen in an ordinary furniture store, right?
Kyouko Sakura 2018-05-28 01:20:20 91567
    Kyouko pauses on the crosswalk and turns to eye Naru. "'What's wrong with Darkea'?" She asks, in that mildly-sarcastic tone you're only allowed to use with someone you've been in a relationship with for more than a year. "C'mon, babe. It's got 'dark' in the name! It's obviously evil!" She turns and points at the store. "If they were smart they would have named it 'Lightea!' Or like.. "Hugs-and-Kisses-ea." This is way too obvious. I'm going to box Neph-nii's ears for not having the sense god gave little green apples."

    She grumbles as she resumes marching across the street to the door of the furniture store, which she yanks open. Then she holds it to let Naru go in first because at least she's trying to be polite.
Daisuke Hansuke 2018-05-28 01:23:17 91568
"Hey." he says with a wave as he settles his arms back down by his side, and then winces too at the loud Dai, but he was further away. "Hey Neil!" he says. "Uh..." he says. As he squints. "Are you guys. Actually shopping or....?" he asks. Or what? He doesn't finish that, as he looks over to Makoto. He gives a wave to her too.

He tip toes over to Mamoru.

"...or." he whispers. "V sent me out here because she thinks something fishy is going on and I'm doing the Phantom Thief Detective Detecting thing." he says as he leans back.

He does eye the sleeping woman though. Who is helped by an employee. He frowns and takes a mental note on this.

"Huh." he goes at that.
Naru Osaka 2018-05-28 01:25:21 91569
"Not every bad guy has dumb branding!" Naru protests as they cross the street and she steps into the store.

And pauses.

Naru turns a moment, to consider Kyouko who is inevitably stepping in just behind her. "Although apparently some of them do. Blech." She wrinkles up her nose and glances around to see where the ECFH crew has gotten to in the store. Only momentarily distracted by a really comfy looking chair.
Makoto Kino 2018-05-28 01:29:12 91571
Anything else Makoto was going to say to the impromptu ECFH convention is lost in an undignified squeak when Neil gloms onto her and sweeps her quite literally off her feet. "Hey!" For a moment her train of thought is derailed; laughing, she wraps her arms around his shoulders until the floor is back under her feet.

As soon as it is, though, she remembers why she's here and her bright smile shifts into a sterner look. "And, what, you guys thought it would be a good idea to shop for furniture at a place called Darkea?" Very briefly her eyes turn upward towards the ceiling, as though in a plea to the heavens for patience. "Please do me a favor and don't buy an energy-draining couch - ah, crap."

The 'ah crap' is because the saleswoman and the office lady shambling after her have just passed through her peripheral vision. Making a snap decision, Makoto slips herself out of Neil's arms and marches after them with bright eyes and the long stride of a girl on a mission. "'scuse me!"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-05-28 01:30:20 91572
Mamoru's too busy sinking into the amazing couch to actually notice the office lady being led off like a lamb to the slaughter. By the time Dai gets over to him to whisper, he's already closed his eyes, looking beatific. "I don't know about fishy," he murmurs to Dai, "but this couch should be illegal. You should try it. I don't blame that lady for taking a nap." A beat, and with effort, he cracks one eye open. "We should bring naps back as a thing. For adults. Don't tell Usagi I said that." His eye closes again, and he settles in further, sighing blissfully. In fact, by the time Mako's being Very Stern and then Very Determined, he's already catnapping.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-05-28 01:36:13 91573
    "Ok but what possible reason could somebody, other than like, a hipster coffee salesman, have for putting 'dark' in the name of their store?" Kyouko says as she follows Naru into the store. Her reaction is almost identical as the waves of 'not-rightness' wash over her. Her nose wrinkles up. Anyone looking at the two of them just then would have a very cute picture if they happened to have a camera handy.

    Still, having just arrived, the evil isn't particularly obvious at first glance. Luckily, Nephrite and Makoto are easy enough to spot in any crowd, even if Mamoru has already surrendered to the embrace of an evil couch. "Over there." She points towards where the others are standing and begins to make her way across the store towards them.
Nephrite 2018-05-28 01:40:22 91574
Neil stares at Makoto for a full beat. "Y-eeeeeeeees? Is that. Is that bad?" But now she's already walking away and he sees the sales lady and the zombie-like customer. "Oh. Crap.

Suddenly the tall man is making a beeline for the Mamo-eating couch and Daisuke, voice overly cheery. "Heyyyyy buddy how about we do the napping at home, huh? I don't think this place has what we're looking for."
Koji Silvia 2018-05-28 01:43:31 91575
For poor Koji, there's still no knowledge of what is actually happening.

Why?

Well, he's off looking at different storage boxes as he promised his mother he'd do.

His head came up when he heard someone yell for Daisuke, but given this is a new place and he knows a lot more people... assumptions can be made.

So now he's looking at the same storage box for the fifth time as he waits for Daisuke to come get him and let him know that it's polite to come out.

Koji...

Blinking a few times, he almost forgot that Tyrfing was there, and takes his pencil case out.

It's about damn time... I've been trying to get through to you for the last five minutes! Your head is full of damn static!

"Huh."

If he had shoulders, Tyrfing would have sighed. Instead, one of the pens floats out, and winks out of view to zip along the ceiling towards where the group is. While that happens, the Device says to his Knight, Look, just stay here, allright. Somethin' ain't right.

"Oh. Okay. I'm waiting for Dai."
Naru Osaka 2018-05-28 01:44:55 91576
"Light, dark.. dark is not automatically bad, it's just the absence of light." Naru points out as she trails along beyond Kyouko, twisting a little to continue to admire the chair that caught her eye. "That'd look great in the living room, y'know." She points out, immaterial of the fact that it would also probably try and eat what's left of their souls. Minor detail.

"Hey guys." Naru greets the gang, including the dozing Mamoru and reaches out a foot with freshly polished toes to nudge at him. "Endy. No sleeping at the store."
Youichi Mariyama 2018-05-28 01:55:07 91577
The lady doesn't stop at Makoto's words, nor does the employee leading her. She's already occupied, and Darkea has many arms inside the store. In fact, before Makoto can close the distance between the three of them, a man in a polo version of the Darkea uniform slips out from between two nearby shelves, all smiles and politeness.

(Not just any man, either. Darkea can't read minds perfectly, but it can make very, very good educated guesses about what might persuade a person into stopping, getting distracted, perhaps persuaded into buying something. Makoto's personalized sales representative is tall, broad-shouldered, handsome as anything, with a charming smile he flashes her before saying anything. And he has well-maintained black locks that tumble in waves just above his shoulders.)

"I'm sorry, miss," he begins, "I couldn't help but hear you -- perhaps I could be of assistance? People do have a tendency to get lost this far back in the store."

The office worker and the employee slip behind a swinging pair of double doors not terribly far behind them, and for a second, when the doors are at their widest -- are those *people*, all lined up and standing stock still --

Swish, swish. The doors shut behind them, and off-brand handsome Darkea man smiles again.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-05-28 02:00:28 91578
No sleeping at the store?

"Sleeping at the store."

Whispering voices are usually more reassuring when they have actual people attached to generate them.

"Everyone should be sleeping at the store."

And then Neil comes in, loud and overly-cheery and full of suggestions about napping someplace else, and as he comes up beside the couch Mamoru is already catnapping in... the arm of the couch snaps outward. Then snaps back, sweeping him in, tumbling him into a pile beside Mamoru.

Evidence that the couch is draining Mamoru's energy: it took lying down voluntarily and being on the thing for a minute or so for Mamoru to drift off. Neil is out cold on contact.

Other evidence that the couch is draining Mamoru's energy: it blinks red eyes open and focuses on Naru.
Daisuke Hansuke 2018-05-28 02:05:37 91579
Daisuke Hansuke sees Makoto run and then he'll frown and make sure Mamoru is taken off the couch. "Look Mamoru, these couches are probably youma. Couch youma. And to them you're like the most expensive custom remote ever that you'll never find in the catalog and then you need to call the company? And they never have it in stock because your TV is too old." he says.

"So come on!"

He looks back at Koji. "Koji-kun." he says. "Over here." he says.

He crosses his arms and frowns. "I lost a bet with Venus. This is probably the site of some dumb energy draining plot." he says, as he suddenly hears a commotion behind him. "Shit!" he goes.

Are those voices?

"Dammit." he says as he pulls out an Ace of Hearts from inside his jacket, touching it.

There's a purple shimmering flash here as he's replaced with ... Phantom Ace!?

Phantom Ace. "Right." he says as he throws an Ace of Spades at one of those suddenly appearing red eyes.

"Koji. You uh. May wanna. Transform." he offers to the other boy. "-also I think Kunzite miiiiiight actually kill me if Mamoru dies when I'm around." he says gravely.
Koji Silvia 2018-05-28 02:10:36 91580
He can hear his name... but it's distant. Like he's sitting in his room and he can hear someone talking about him outside. The black edges of Koji's vision closing in as he stares into the storage box that's been carefully draining him of energy in a manner he's not been used to in a while.

Again, Koji hears his name, and something about transform. But still, he's not reacting, just sitting in the middle of the aisle, staring into the box.

One of the Bits reappears right next to Phantom Ace, and the tinny-seeming voice of the Unison Device so familiar for others comes out, Something got it's paws on him, Dai.

The gruff voice continues on, I've got off as much of his mana reserve as I can. I can give you three of us to help. But until someone slaps the idiot across the mouth a bit and gets him back in the fight, that's all I got.

Two more pens float out from the now-dropped pencil case sitting next to the young man who is just wavering back and forth like he's about to collapse. They form into a triumverate that floate over the changed hero, keeping watch now for any new threats...
Makoto Kino 2018-05-28 02:18:25 91581
You have to hand it to Darkea - it's no easy thing to divert Makoto once she's got some momentum behind her, but the unepxected appearance of Tall, Dark, and Suspiciously Just Her Type actually manages to give her pause for a moment. Not long, objectively - just a couple of seconds - but for a second or two she's tongue-tied, an involuntary flush rising in her cheeks. "--Um."

Then past him she sees a momentary flash of what's beyond those double doors and sanity returns like a slap, a rush of cold water through her veins. Static is prickling all down her spine and she's vaguely aware of something very wrong going down behind her even as she closes her hand around her henshin pen.

"Actually yes," she tells the familiar-looking and very hot Darkea employee, voice rising steadily in pace and volume: "I'm from the city energy department. You guys are in violation of half a dozen levels of what the actual JUPITER POWER, MAKE UP!"

That whole little intersection of aisles between displays basically explodes with electricity.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-05-28 02:36:58 91582
    Kyouko glances down to Mamoru napping on the couch, but sees that several people (including Naru, now poking at him) have stopped to assess the situation, and so she continues walking past for the moemnt, towards where she can see Mako-chan talking to some hunky dude a few aisles away. (She misses Nephrite getting pulled onto the couch momentarily, as her back is now to it).

    "Hey Mako-chan, did you already yell at Nephrite for being an idiot or do I-" She breaks off when she suddenly sees Makoto henshin in a blinding flash of electric energy. "Ah.. crap. That time already, huh?"

    She doesn't yell any fancy phrases. There's just a sudden, equally blinding flash of crimson light, and when it clears Apatite is standing there, complete with cape and spear. Turning back around towards the couch, she says, "Looks like it's go-time guys, I-" She breaks off, seeing Nephrite now unconscious on the couch which also now has eyes. "Seriously?"
Naru Osaka 2018-05-28 02:38:09 91583
There is a couch staring at her. Naru stares back at the couch, with an arch of her brow. Cause now it has a Mamoru and a Nephrite faceplanted (metaphorically) upon it, and it's staring at her. Couches probably shouldnt be staring.

There's only a half of a step closer but it's Hyalite who is now staring back at the couch. "Seriously. Quit it. I don't have the patience for this dumb today."

Because clearly chatting with evil couches with eyes is highly effective.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-05-28 02:39:06 91584
Mamoru unfortunately doesn't respond to proddings or cheerful yellings or even Neph piling half on top of him. He stirs a little at that last, but no, he's out cold.
Youichi Mariyama 2018-05-28 02:44:56 91585
...the Creator had insisted that they would encounter resistance. Up until now, Darkea hadn't believed him. The humans had fallen without as much as a moment's hesitation. They surrendered their energy as easily as they surrendered their money, and their replacements picked up their former lives unnoticed, so lifelike that she wondered sometimes if they even knew what they were.

She'd been doing her job so well. And now -- well. At least her programming isn't for nothing.

At the first shock of lightning, every employee in the store goes stiff as a board, eyes flashing red and what looks like binary, if binary were written upside down, backwards, and through a mirror. They strike out at the nearest customers, shoving them onto display furniture that drains their energy on contact. The shoppers drop like flies; Darkea bids all her selves, all her employees, return to the hidden room in the back, where they are most needed.

All except one. He has a more pressing problem.

It is a rare magical girl that can hurt an enemy in mere transformation, but perhaps Sailor Jupiter won't be surprised to see the handsome attendant thrown backward several dozen feet, splayed out on his belly, temporarily in shock. When he looks up at her, blearily, half his face is the handsome man trotted out to ensnare her, contorted in a rage that doesn't suit him -- and half his face is gone. Erased, hair and skin and burn marks and all, leaving only a smooth, unbroken white form in its place. Underneath his shirt too, where the lightning burned away the cloth, there is no fiery red, no visible damage. Just...white. The nothingness of a mannequin.

His eyes flashes crimson, and as he leaps impossibly high in the air, the shelves collapse inward, one by one, to crush the senshi of thunder and any who might try to save her.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-05-28 02:46:23 91586
"Sleep in the store," the couch encourages Hyalite. Hope springs eternal, apparently. It starts to streeetch an arm out, maybe for her or maybe for Dai -- but then there's a Phantom Ace, and then there's a card aimed at one of its eyes. "Oww!"

The arm is drawn back and a hand clapped over the eye. -- it has a hand? It has a hand NOW, anyway. The couch shifts further, reconfiguring, unfolding, till it stands as a somewhat undifferentiated stylized humanoid (complete with fabric cover, but otherwise its form a remarkable, if larger, echo of Jupiter's evil mannequin opponent) with Mamoru and his Nephrite-blanket over one of its shoulders. The good eye stares balefully at Ace. "SLEEP IN THE STORE."

There is not a blast of dark energy. There is no sleep gas. There is, however, a high-speed cushion, pillowy-soft with decorative trim. Maybe it puts people to sleep on contact, like Nephrite! Or maybe the couch is not a combat monster. Unfortunately, the only way to tell right now is the hard one.
Daisuke Hansuke 2018-05-28 02:50:48 91587
Phantom Ace stares at the couch. Is he waggling? Maybe a little, but then he says a line Venus taught him to repeat in his head. And he also says it out loud. "Justice Never Sleeps!" he insists loudly, pointing furrowingly at it.

Phantom Ace decides to throw himself to the floor rather than take a cushion to the chest and find out the hard way. Then he hear Apatite and Hylaite. "Oh. God. Someone here to tear you to pieces bit by bit with prejudice!" he stands up quickly. "HAVE FUN LADY APATITE, HYALITE." he yells as he suddenly makes a run over to Koji as he speaks to Tryfing. "Okay." he says.

He'll grab Koji and start shaking. "Koji wake up. Koji wake up. KOJI WE'RE PLAYING THE GAME AND I'M CASTING A HEALING BUFF THAT CURES SLEEP STATUS WAKE UP!" he yells.

....wait. Does Koji even know he's Phantom Ace? Crap. Well. It's not like it's the big damn secret it was before but.. well!
Koji Silvia 2018-05-28 02:59:25 91588
Three floating dagger-shaped drones just turn and follow Phantom Ace's movements as he goes haring off to go wake up Koji.

That... works too...

And then the entire issue of all the fallen employees and people being shoved into things and being drained comes into Tyrfing's scanner range. They spread out, and all the tips begin to glow blue...

And as Ace begins to shake at his Knight, trying to get him to wake up, those three Bits just begin hailing every target they can get into their sensors with needle-like bolts of azure energy. The voice comes out a little louder so that Apatite and Hyalite can hear the Device speak, I'll cover you. I just wanna see the nasty one tear this thing's arm off and beat it to death. Oh, and rescue the idiot. I am NOT consoling his girlfriend if he gets devoured by a loveseat with one of the boy band, and not her.

Koji is oblivious to all of this part of things. Everything is coming as whispers to him, and then he's being shaken. Tired eyes look up at Ace, and there's some recognition there, but in typical Koji fashion, he holds up the box that now probably has it's own pair of eyes and is glowing from the constant low stream of mana coming off of him, asking, "Do you think Mom would like this one?"

Despite the shaking, his hold seems oddly firm on it.
Makoto Kino 2018-05-28 03:07:03 91589
Newly transformed, Sailor Jupiter feels herself recoiling at the sight of the off-brand-handsome employee's real face where it's been revealed under the mask of humanity. This was what she was almost distracted by?

A quick glance back over her shoulder to check the situation confirms that there are more problems brewing, but that's all she has the chance to process before the rumbling crash of collapsing shelves requires her immediate attention and she hisses a breath out through gritted teeth. "Now you're making me mad."

She makes no move to try to escape. Instead, as the shadow of the falling shelf looms over her, Jupiter plants herself into a firmly braced stance and clenches both fists, hauling off to meet the impact with a pair of resounding punches.

It makes a sound kind of like kaWHOOMCH!
Kyouko Sakura 2018-05-28 03:10:24 91590
    Apatite is starting towards the couch again when she hears the shelves crashing together behind her in their attempt to smoosh Mako-chan. She whirls around, spear out, about to rush to the rescue of her friend, when she catches movement behind her, and looks back just in time to see the couch transforming into a cushiony-looking humanoid monster and throwing pillows at people.

    Another glance back towards Makoto.. then a faint sigh. She trusts Sailor Jupiter to know how to take care of herself. Not that she doesn't trust Naru or Daisuke, but when it comes to rendering Evil into a pile of broken splinters, it's probably safer to leave Jupes to her own devices than the others. "Naru, stop trying to talk to it, it's a couch." She snaps, maybe still just a little peevish about the whole mani-pedi thing, though honestly her nails look just perfect with her Shitennou uniform.

    She doesn't try to close the distance towards the couch-monster, but instead pulls back her arm, holding her spear like a javelin. The tip bursts into a bright red glow as she leans into an explosive throw, hurling it like a missile straight towards the thing's comfy-looking chest, the spear trailing streamers of red light as it flies through the air.
Naru Osaka 2018-05-28 03:17:57 91591
"Yeah, that is clearly not the right answer." Hyalite notes to the sofa-monster. She barely twitches as all hell breaks loose over with Jupiter, she has every faith that Jups is the one wreaking havoc rather than the other way around.

"It's a couch that was LOOKING at me." Hyalite protests at the snappish comment about not talking to it. "One never knows." Decision has been made, however, and she is just /fine/ with flipping through her book quickly, and deciding on a quick sketch before she yanks out the bane of squishy couches everywhere.

A cartoonish and vaguely flat cat that absolutely has five pointy ends, and a deep desire to shred. This might go horribly horribly wrong.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-05-28 03:25:55 91592
It certainly goes wrong for something in here.

Apatite's spear buries itself in (and through) the couch-monster's chest, flaring brilliantly in red light that sears fabric and fills the air around them with the stink and the almost-sticky smoke of melting and burning plastics and memory foam.

This does not, quite, actually take down the monster; it can apparently function somewhat around a hole that size, for a minute or two, although the shoulder that Mamoru and Nephrite are thrown over is caving in alarmingly. But this ALSO means that Naru's cat has a den to start shredding from.

Which it dives into and proceeds to, well. Start.

The youma suddenly scrabbles with its free 'hand' at its own chest, trying to extract the burrowing cat-mine or the spear or both. And then it freezes. And the fabric changes texture, and color.

For a moment, it stands there as a frozen sculpture of an uncanny bluish sand. A tiny shard of crystal at its forehead gleams, still the color of its fabric covering, with a symbol too small to see clearly etched on it in black.

Then whatever's holding the sand in place dissipates, and it collapses into a little drift; by the time the crystal finishes falling, it might as well be a sliver of charcoal.

Somebody might want to catch the boys.
Youichi Mariyama 2018-05-28 03:30:33 91593
Like many things at this store, the shelves are sturdy on the surface, but cheap and flimsy underneath. They could have crushed a mortal almost certainly. Against the senshi of courage, they stand no chance. The metal actually bends around her, then -- oddly enough -- *breaks*, as though it were brittle iron or glass. Furniture store shelves shouldn't be doing that, not even at the cheapest of cheapo bargain brand dumps. Curious...

But not as curious as what lurks behind the double doors the half-man ducks into, should anyone follow it.

The room must have some kind of spatial manipulation, because once inside, there is no visible ceiling: floor upon floor of metal scaffolding spirals above and into infinity, lined with rectangular boxes of varying heights and colors, all stamped with Darkea's bubbly, friendly font. In the center of the warehouse stand dozen of people, completely motionless, as employees open cardboard boxes to shove them inside. Further back, more robotic Darkea employees cut human-sized furniture boxes with knives, then offer their hands to the droids who step out. A tired looking office worker. A food stand worker, stained apron and all. A high school student, and in the next box over, her best friend.

Humans, built to order, almost the real thing.
Daisuke Hansuke 2018-05-28 03:33:45 91594
Phantom Ace frowns a lot and takes the weird (youma?) box from him and throws it to the side suddenly and re-grabs Koji and calls out. "Tryfing I'm teleporting lock on if you can to follow me later if you need to!" he yells out.

AND with that, he'll teleport Koji to a spot over on the other side of the street, in an alley. AWAY from the chaos for a moment, because Koji needs to be taken away from this crap.

"Koji, come'on, come out outta it." he says worriedly. "The crap is in your head." he says.

He looks back to the Darkea across the way, dammit. He hopes they're handling it good. He'll go make sure in a moment.

When he makes sure Koji isn't a furniture zombie anymore.
Koji Silvia 2018-05-28 03:40:10 91595
Tyrfing's 3 active Bits float there for a moment as Koji is teleported out of the store, and then all of them suddenly begin to glow a bit more brightly. Then all three streak into where the doorway in, and make to impact on where the Darkea employees are working.

Three hornets made of pure energy that attempt to impact and detonate where ever they can do the most damage in the briefest amount of time.

In the meantime, the pencil case just managed to 'wiggle' into the range of the teleport so that it makes a tinny noise hitting the concrete. That, the change in temperature from the cool and calm insides and the voice in his head telling him to sleep, snaps Koji right back into reality.

Reflexively, his Knight Cloth snaps into place on his person, forgoing the usual henshin sequence, just a burst of blue-green light that flashes out from him, nearly blinding, and then collapses back in and changes to his 'work' attire.

Panting, Koji sits up and looks up at the Phantom Ace before asking...

"What are you wearing?"

Followed shortly by, "Why are we out here?"

From the sword-grip on his back, comes the voice of Tyrfing, ABOUT DAMN TIME!
Makoto Kino 2018-05-28 03:44:30 91596
"Oh no you don't," Sailor Jupiter grits, shaking off bits of shattered shelving as she launches into pursuit of the mannequin-person, shouldering through the double doors without a moment's hesitation.

What she finds on the other side, though - that has her skidding to a stop, eyes widening as she takes in the sheer scale of the store's true face. Even with the brief glimpse she'd caught earlier, it's a lot... more... than she'd expected.

"Uh, guys?" A beat, then her voice rises to a bellow powerful enough to carry out into the shop floor she'd left behind. "GUYS? IF ANYBODY'S NOT BUSY, I'VE GOT A WHOLE BUNCH OF PEOPLE BACK HERE WHO NEED EVAC BEFORE I BLOW THIS PLACE OFF THE MAP!"

Her fists are already crackling with electricity as she faces the Darkea employees who've been packing people into boxes. "I'm putting you guys out of business."
Daisuke Hansuke 2018-05-28 03:48:41 91597
Phantom Ace says. "Hi, that place was getting into your head so I teleported you out here. Also I'm Phantom Ace." he says. A pause. "I wasn't Phantom Ace, also when we first met that's a new-ish thing." another pause. "Oh thank god you're your again. Come on." he says.

"We need to get back in there because Mamoru and Nephrite we're energy drained by a couch and I think Sailor Jupiter is gonna Thunder Dunk something so hard in the back of that place." he says.

"Also Apatite and Hyalite saved Mamoru and Nephrite. I think. I hope." he says.

He looks back to the store. "I'm going back in. Follow in when you can!" he says as he'll flash away again.

Back in front of those back doors to push in. "HEY JUPITER. APATITES GOT THE BOYS ARE YOU OKAY!?" he asks.

"I MEAN I KNOW YOU'RE PROBABLY OKAY BUT STILL DO YOU NEED HELP!?" he says.

".....what the f-----" is all he can say as he opens the back door.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-05-28 03:49:26 91598
    The couch monster didn't seem too durable. Or maybe Kyouko and Naru are just overkill artists. Either way, it's quickly crumbling into dust. Apatite does have a moment to notice the crystal-thing which seems to be its core, but before she can do anything about that she's forced to leap forward and catch Mamoru and Nephrite before they slam into the ground.

    'Catch' might be a bit of a stretch, really, as both of them are like twice her size and together they more or less just fall on top of her in a heap, but with magic aiding her strength at least she can cushion the blow. Struggling upright with one over each shoulder, she grits her teeth and shouts back to Jupiter, "I'M TAKING MAMORU AND NEIL OUTSIDE!"

    That said, she proceeds to do so, trusting the others to help get out the other trapped people. She staggers through the door and across the street, lowering her burdens to the sidewalk against the wall of the opposite building.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-05-28 03:54:15 91600
Mamoru starts coming to even as Apatite's dragging him outside with Neil, and he rubs his eyes. "Don't worry," he mumbles, making himself somewhat less of a dead weight burden, "if you're henshined and Neil's out cold, I'll stay put like a good boy. And maybe call emergency..." he yawns, "...services... I mean, an Uber..."
Youichi Mariyama 2018-05-28 04:10:50 91601
The Darkea workers are singularly devoted to their task, it's true, but not so much that they don't notice the sound of crackling lightning, or the abrupt entrance and cursing of the phantom thief. Once interrupted, their repetitive back and forth ceases: some stand with box cutters poised in their hands, others have one foot frozen on the ground as they pull themselves out of their boxes, all stare unblinking at the intruders and the double doors.

Discovery should not have come this soon. Everything had been going so well, the chances that they would encounter resistance of this magnitude before their operation was complete --

PERFORMING LOYALTY CHECK. YOU ARE ENDANGERED. BMC OPERATION IS ENDANGERED. ASSIGN PRIORITY.

....

ASSIGN PRIORITY.

. . . .

black moon clan -> this unit

GO.

-- the individual units of Darkea, the upwards of twenty-five workers, rush to dampen with their bodies the electricity the green one is about to call. They reach for her arms and legs, throw themselves toward her without regard for damage, knowing that if they can take enough of her attack themselves, even if they are destroyed, Master's other blank droids might survive --
Koji Silvia 2018-05-28 04:23:58 91602
Time slows down for the pair as Tyrfing starts running the numbers, plotting paths, seeing probabilities as only a hyper-intelligent Unison Device can before it provides the advice to it's Knight.

What the others don't see is the phantom form of the Shutran beastman as it 'walks' into the room and looks around, tracking targets it's sensors had taken in before they'd detonated, and their general conditions. While the pair aren't the most powerful of the Mages on earth... not even by a longshot... this was something they could excel at.

A picosecond is nothing for people, but for the intelligence running the Darkea and for Tyrfing it's almost more time than anyone should need to take things in. Tyrfing is almost whistling to himself as he extrapolates what things are in spots and then makes his way back out, looking at the pair and then shaking his head.

Damnit kid... allright, let's do this by the numbers. Thank the Emperor you're smart enough to keep up.

Time speeds back up and Koji suddenly says, "Got it." As all the information is fed into his head.

The Knight takes off into the room, and releases ALL of his Bits at once, shooting away from him like some kind of pissed off porcupine, spreading until they reach a circumference before the blade-tips turn inwards, "Ace! We're going to build a shield to withstand the blast! I need you to feed me some energy so I can maintain it."

Then he says a but louder, "JUPITER SENPAI! I'm changing my shield to a positive ion charge! Hit it with as much power as you can, and it'll reflect off and hit everything else! The people will be safe!"

Koji, don't make promises you can't keep.

"Vollverteidigung!"

...

Ja Wohl.

Triangles of now yellowish energy appear between the Bits as they begin manifesting the equivalent of an anti-Lightning Barrier.
Daisuke Hansuke 2018-05-28 04:36:30 91603
Phantom Ace looks up at Tryfing as he figures out the plan, as he looks back down and around. "Alright, but this is going to work better if I go to my usual self. I mean usual. Other self." he says. This is when he'll trade the playing card for a ring of a snake tied around his finger, for a moment there's a vulnerable moment where he's stuck as Daisuke and can feel that tug and pull, and the forces at work more dangerously freely, but then he'll activate the ring and it's replaced with the Staff of Asclepius, and then he'll transform and he'll feel safer again.

Before he'll start glowing purple and channeling a bunch of that purple, healing energy into Koji for him to use. He'll give it all he'll got. He's hoping no one'll need major healing after this.

He'll need a bit when this is over to attend to it!
Makoto Kino 2018-05-28 04:42:43 91604
As that multitude of soulless eyes fixes upon her, Sailor Jupiter has about half a second to feel that maybe, just maybe, this was not such a good idea.

In the next instant Phantom Ace is calling out, catching up to her - and in the moment after that, Koji follows. Even as the mob of workers begins to rush her, Jupiter just plants her feet against the floor, that moment of uncertainty vanishing as though it had never been.

When Koji calls to her, she grins, sharp and fierce. A crackling fist meets her palm with an audible smack and a hiss of sparks. "You got it," is all she says before she takes the Knight at his word.

The antenna rising from the center of her tiara sizzles with energy - the droids are closing in, even as Sailor Jupiter raises her hands above her head. "SUPREME THUNDER--"

--the mob's almost on her, five feet away, three; the air somewhere far above in the endless structure BOOMs with a peal of thunder and a brilliant flash of lightning racing downward to Jupiter's hands--

"--DRAGON!"

With a deafening roar, the scintillating energy explodes outwards like the spreading of a mighty pair of wings, growing into a massive sinuous shape that even this space-warped room can barely contain. Blazing energy crashes against Tyrfing's shield and rebounds, coiling around the room and racing upwards, the massive shape of a dragon made of raw lightning tearing upward through level after level of scaffolding chasing every last remnant of the dark energy that's been running this place.
Youichi Mariyama 2018-05-28 05:06:06 91605
They had failed to account for another's magic. They had failed to account for rebound. They had failed to account for this amount of power. Darkea only has enough time to realize that, and then they are evaporated into a fine dust that settles at the feet of the heroes, and all around the kidnapped citizens, who collapse as soon as the dark magic holding their tether vanishes.

The device's magic, combined with Asclepius's, did its work -- none of the innocents are harmed beyond having their energy drained. Jupiter's dragon also did its work, and then some. Not a rung on that spiralling ladder escaped its electric burn. The dozens of droids left in Darkea's care are lost for good, but the citizens trapped in their bizarre cardboard coffins remain intact. Better, in fact, because the boxes that held them disappeared with Darkea, and the blank droids, and the property that held such darkness in the first place.

Most of the power in the surrounding Uminari shops is gone now, too. But, thankfully, few appear to be asking why the eyesore of a furniture store in the middle of Tokyo suddenly blew up in broad daylight.

--------

A hundred feet or so away, a dark-haired young man stares unblinking at the crowd forming where Darkea once stood. He shows no obvious displeasure, no more interest than the next passerby would have in a freak lightning strike. A corner of his mouth twitches downward, and he shuts the book he'd been holding open in one hand. Nothing more. Not yet.

He hangs a right into the nearest alleyway and, as the shadows shift, he's gone.