Description: For the second round of the Golden Angel tournament, the weekly party is... a fashion show? With contestants asked to create unique swimsuit designs using nothing but Golden Angel(tm), everyone's gathered to see the results. But it looks like there s a slightly rough evening ahead for everyone involved... and some suspicious activity all around!
The second week of the Golden Angel tournament is currently underway, and as promised, yet another massive publicity event is equally underway. Rather than at the waterpark proper this time, the current big party is set at the adjoining concert and event space, the grandiosely-named Golden Angel Hippodrome. From the outside, it's a gala indeed -- colored spotlights at the ground level make the white exterior of the arena building awash in various bright hues, while white spotlights criss-cross the night sky like metronomes, evoking the idea that some huge movie premiere is going on in the space.
Inside, the mood is equally festive, with decorations and music covering the crescent-shaped outer lobby, including the cafe space and the gift shop. Golden Angel employees dressed in daringly-cut beachwear formed entirely from the company's signature product greet guests, give directions, and otherwise engage the crowd. A few spots on the floor have been roped off and involve performers: musicians, dancers, even someone juggling torches. And of course, what event would be complete without the bulky-yet-curvy figure of Goldie the Hippo, the park mascot, who wanders the lobby engaging in the sort of strategic photo ops one might imagine a giant ballpark mascot of a bikini-wearing slutty hippo to have.
But all of this is set dressing for the main event: a fashion show where contestants have designed their outfits entirely with bottles of Golden Angel(tm)-brand swimsuit-in-a-can. While the crowd has been engaged in the carnivale-like atmosphere outside, the contestants have been given space and time backstage to fully create their entries, though planning ahead for patterns and the like was allowed. Now the crowd is beginning to filter in to the stadium seating around the weird aquarium-stage hybrid at the center of the arena. As they do so, an extremely deep and velvety male voice speaks over the intercom at heard-over-a-riot levels: "Ladies and gentlemen, our main event is about to begin. Please take your seats. Thank you."
High above all of this, standing with the tech crew in the shrouded skybox, is one Rei Hazuki, who -- after a bit of a tongue-lashing from his cousin -- needed to make an appearance at this party. Alma was too busy, Angel was too... Angel, and in Rei's eyes, SOMEBODY from the SYFI needed to be here, for multiple reasons, a few of which he can't share with anyone around him.
"Looking forward to the event, sir?" a tech asks of the redhead.
Blinking out of whatever was consuming his thoughts, Rei looks at the tech in brief surprise, then shrugs. "We'll see, I guess. Just hope it all goes smoothly." There's a brief pause, before he adds: "There's no sharks in that thing, right?"
The tech looks aghast. "I don't think so, sir. Should there be?"
"No, buddy. There really shouldn't."
Not everyone takes the ground level entrance.
Not everyone is welcome - but the night sky might make it easier for shooting stars to be seen, no matter how blinding those spot-lights are. On the outside, the sound of a chain and a ball dragged across uneven terrain is muffled by the rather extravagant sounds, lights, and the mics that are inside. With a lick of her lips behind the mask, Jack-O' glances up at the massive waterpark, eyes wide. "Of no surprise - humanity creates yet another celebration of life after the brush of death." The Gear thinks in her head, "My, I certainly want to know more about them. Is it instinctual, or is it a learned response? What, of all things, could this be? Pursuit of greater knowledge? A scientific breakthrough? Or is it something greater, an understanding and a path towards peace between all of them?"
"Just thinking about it -" The voice rises, childlike, "- IS BOOOOOOOOOOring~!"
"C'mon Dorpos, let's go Go GO!" A surge of energy builds up along the ball on the ball and chain, as the Gear swings him forwards, slamming him into the rocky, disheveled ground nearby the Hippodrome and rockets skywards. A pillar of light, for a moment - before the fundamental laws of gravity begin to take hold once more, the Gear dragged downwards, falling feet first towards the ground. At least to the benefit of all the stadium goers, she might be a tad harder to pick out as she had crashed into the pool /before/ the crowd had pulled themselves in. "Perfect landing~!" The woman? remarks as she pulled herself free - "...Golden angel? Well, I so totally am that~. Hmmm... lemme see." Nicking some chocolate and candy - it wasn't /that much/, Jack-O' went back into the room for a swim-suit in a can.
This explains now why there is a mask-less, (it's around her neck) Jack-O' with an ankh on her front and a two piece - black and white striped full bodysuit that split perfectly about the side of her thighs, down the middle of her chest, and framed her rear absolutely perfectly - like some kind of halloween 'sexy prisoner' outfit. Complete with a tiny hat on the top. What helps is Dorpos, the ball and chain, is still stuck to her as she glances around.
Oh, and that floating halo perpetually stuck above her head, too. With a lollipop in her mouth, Jack-O' peers around. "It looks like I'm more of a prisoner than an angel in this... perhaps it's the duality of it all."
Who ordered the dour Hizoku? Likely someone who wants someone else dead. But hey, it's not like Duo Lon can't go somewhere to actually have fun, right? Right? Maybe he's just here to enjoy the show?
...OK, realistically he's probably here to off someone. Or at least to get some information on someone he's supposed to off.
But he's at least TRYING to fit in. Clear because he's dressed in a t-shirt, hoodie, jeans, and sneakers. It leaves him looking like a gangly teenager. But he still has his hair in a braid, with the bead at the end. Can't leave ALL of his weapons at home.
At the directions over the loudspeaker, Duo heads in that direction, rather awkwardly folding himself into one of the seats. Despite his spindly limbs, he manages the task with reasonable ease, given his bendiness. It doesn't particularly look too weird, though, so... success. God help anybody who tries to sit behind him though...
What an interesting place.
For Kang this was more just something he came to observe. His travels had taken him to Southtown and he was told of the new park that had opened up so he figured it would be a nice place to check out and relax. So there he is wearing some gaudy swim trunks and an equally gaudy hawaii'n shirt that is left open to expose is massive belly. A straw hat rests on his head and he carries a bottle of water with him as he goes to see what all is about to go down.
"A show? HMM!" The Korean muses to himself and gets a bit of a grin. He isn't aware just what kind of show it is just yet. In his mind he knows what he wants it to be and he is going to be disappointed. He is hoping for action and while there will be some, it isn't the type he is hoping for. Will he get more ideas for his movie? Will he find actors!? No, probably not, but don't tell him that.
The process of people filing into the arena does take some time, and in a few cases is busy enough to mask the arrival of some Real Weirdoes out there in the crowd (you know who you are). However, before too long the arena doors are shut, but thankfully not locked, both because that's a fire hazard and because there's a non-zero chance that one of these fashion attempts is going to be so fantastically bad that people will need to make a hasty exit. The house lights begin to dim, leaving the major illumination coming from the sides of the stage, a series of white lights pointed upward so that their light cones make a series of wedges along the walls, and reflect the ripple-like patterns made by the water in the aquarium underneath the stage as well.
There is a sudden swell of music and then, from backstage and tracked by a spotlight, walks out the tanned, gold-suited emcee of these proceedings, Kintoki Aho himself, holding a wireless mic. Up to this point there had been a steady but low pulse of background music during the pre-show, which fades out; while it wasn't loud, its absence makes the crowd take notice of Aho, and thus the ambient sound starts to die down enough for him to start the show.
"Hey, everybody! Thanks for making the first week of Golden Angel a success. I'm glad you could all be here for what I'm sure is going to be an exciting evening that will show just how versatile Golden Angel(tm)-brand instant swimsuits can really be. Are you ready to see the entrants?!" The crowd is either hype-drunk or just regular-drunk enough to be enthused, and they show it with a loud burst of applause, cheering, and whistling. "I thought you would be. So without further ado, let's start the show!"
MEANWHILE, IN THE TECH BOOTH:
Rei watches Aho leave the stage with a straight-up WWE promoter walk, and his brow furrows. Something about that guy rubs him the wrong way, but he can't quite put his finger on it. Maybe it's the gold suit? Or the tan. Something about a man with a deep tan over the age of 30 seems suspicious.
"Something wrong, sir?" asks the tech from before, sensing the change in Rei's demeanor.
"Nothing serious, er..." He turns to look at the tech. "What's your name?"
"Kai, sir," the tech responds, watching the various camera signals and cues on the board.
"Kai, if this were all an elaborate ruse by an international crime syndicate dedicated to exploiting fighters for their own financial and political gain and you were a low-level functionary in that organization, you'd tell me, right?"
"Probably not, sir," Kai responds, flipping a switch. "I expect such disloyalty would result in my immediate termination."
As the fashion show music swells, Rei stares at the tech.
The show would /begin/.
If no one makes it out first, then the one out first would also be one of the weirder ones. Who even allowed back up!? Angry >| faced marshmallow gears, seen around Southtown, parade forwards with little sticks with flags on them instead of spears with sharp points (or sticks) and inbetween them all is Jack-O', in the 'flesh' as she strode out, dragging Dorpos forwards. The Gears, clearly men in suits. Right? Right! And the little halo above her head that spun around rapidly was just some sort of special effects!
And the way she dragged the ball and chain forwards on the ground like it wasn't anything, clearly .. empty. "Hello, HELLO~! I just threw this on, so I hope you all don't mind~! Hee hee hee... you better vote for me....~" Jack-O' proclaims, as she slots Dorpos into the air. Little wings pop out of the familiar as the ball and chain woman dressed in a rather revealing prison outfit swings around it, holding onto the chain and stretching one leg out to show her little outfit~!
That is before swinging up to stand upon the ball with wings, then flip to stand on it with her head and hands! Spinning atop it for a bit - as unfair as it might be because of her Gear lika abilities, Jack-O' swings forwards afterwards before landing on her feet, Dorpos dragging himself through the air instead of holding on anymore. With a wink, she shashays, swinging her hips back and forth as she heads back out from the walk-way, and into the back!
The Marshmellow men all POOF away.
Duo's unaware of what's going on in the tech booth -- more's the pity, that might actually be relevent to what he's doing here. Sadly there's only so much one man can do, he can only be in so many places at once. As it is though, he actually offers applause at the proper time when Aho's speaking. Though his expression doesn't change.
That is, until Jack-O's show. One brow raises, and he blinks. Confused? Probably. Interested? Who knows. He shakes his head a bit when the marshmallow people disappear. That was... different.
The crowd does... not entirely know how to react to Jack-O's appearance on stage, the nature of her outfit, what in the actual hell was going on with tiny men made of marshmallow, or -- frankly -- any of what's going on. 'The crowd' in this instance absolutely includes Kintoki Aho, who sort of stumbles back onto the stage with a mesmerized expression before coughing very loudly and smiling a ten thousand watt smile at the audience. He may be gobsmacked, but the man is a professional.
A professional what, nobody's entirely certain.
"Well let's give a big round of applause to..." Aho pauses, tilting his head a bit and pressing a finger to his ear, clearly listening to an earbud and then blinking in surprise at the response he gets. However, it's a smooth pivot from that to "...our mystery entrant, who neglected to fill out the entire release form and contest entry card! She certainly gave us a dynamic show, didn't she, folks?" The crowd can't help but clap at this, because the promoter's energy is infectious, and also because clapping politely or energetically is less mentally taxing than trying to figure out what just happened.
Once the applause dies down, Aho continues apace. "Our next entry comes to us from the good old United States of America! In the ring she packs quite a punch, but here on the runway we're hoping she's going to show us some military chic... GOLDEN ANGEL(tm)-style! Give it up, ladies and gentlemen, for MINT... PANESH!"
Mint is no stranger to the stage -- she's been in front of thousands of people plenty of times before. Science Fair, high school graduation, graduation from Rutgers, military awards ceremonies. It's not being in front of everyone else that really worries her.
No, what worries her is that at any moment, her costume for this so-called fashion show could fall apart in a most spectacularly embarrassing manner.
Luckily, she wasn't going to be the -first- person to walk across the stage -- Jack-O' saved her from that dubious honor. So the only enemy here is her own nervousness -- and as she catches sight of the crowd through the gap in the curtains, she makes up her mind to silently banish that beast from the room.
When it's time, Minal "Mint" Panesh strides right through the curtains, a towering monument of renewed confidence, with the most badass racecar-themed costume she could fashion. It's... not very practical for -swimming-, mind you, but... that wasn't the design objective, was it? She used this Golden Angel concoction to fashion a swimsuit with a pearl white basecoat and cerulean blue accent lines, and a jet-black racing stripe running straight down the center. Now that she's properly psyched up, the Marine has no problem strutting her slim, toned physique down the runway with confidence. Her bionic left knee is coated in the chemical as well, with the skin-tight material melding perfectly around it in a synergistic fashion. Aside from the ornate anklets fashioned from Golden Angel, the rest of her dark-toned legs are left bare.
If that were the sum of her show entry, it might not win any awards. But the war veteran also has applied the Golden Angel compound to her ridiculously oversized KNUCKS, restyling them away from their utilitarian aviation-inspired design to look more like vehicles from the late 60s. Pearl accents play nicely against glossy blue. And she didn't stop there, for the athletic musculature of her upper body is practically hidden beneath a large breastplate and two large shoulderpieces. Together, they gestalt into more of that classic hot rod look, with LED headlights in the chestpiece and taillights affixed to the back of each shoulder.
In fact, the one area Mint didn't pay attention to was the walk. She doesn't sashay like a fashion model might, no... She marches. When she makes it up to center stage... she salutes the audience. Maybe she should have brought her hat? Luckily for her, the cheers and applause overwhelmingly drown out the laughter, and she turns to proceed for the exit in a calm and orderly fashion.
On the one hand, Mint does not necessarily give full-on supermodel out there. On the OTHER hand, her performance and her outfit are less existentially confusing than the person who came before her on stage. The result is that the crowd doesn't exactly go bonkers or anything but they definitely clap enthusiastically. After all, she really did put some work into that outfit, considering she started with a material that largely appears to be a bottle of pre-prepared Bisquick. As he regains the stage, Aho is clapping enthusiastically himself before turning to the audience. "Truly inspired! Thank you, Ms. Panesh, for showing us the sky's the limit when you're creating with Golden Angel(tm)-brand instant swimsuits!"
tContinuing on, Aho addresses the crowd once more. "Are you ready for more fantastic outfits, ladies and gentlemen?!" While the crowd gets hyped up, Aho puts his hand to his ear once more, and then frowns. A big frown. Notable, as never once in the entirety of his public appearances for this tournament to date, has he frowned.
MEANWHILE, IN THE PRODUCTION BOOTH:
Rei blinks at the frown, noting it himself. "Huh. Is that bad news?" he directs to Kai, who may or may not be a loyal member of an international crime syndicate (decision pending).
"I don't know, sir," Kai says dutifully. "It appears that Miss Panesh was the... last... official entry."
That gets a blink or two out of the SYFI representative. "She's WHAT?"
BACK ON STAGE:
An astute lip reader would notice Kintoki Aho, of Oudoukou Chemical Concern, furiously but silently mouthing the words: 'She's WHAT?'
Without missing a beat, Aho straightens and adjusts his tie. "I've got some bad news, folks. It appears that in the contestant green room, there was a horrible accident. A fire started in a wastepaper basket, which triggered the fire sprinklers in the room, and..." He lets the sentence trail off. After all, the Golden Angel folks have made it clear, about a zillion times as required by health and safety laws in about 20 different countries, that while Golden Angel will stand up to salt water, fresh water is a different story entirely. He doesn't need to finish that statement for the audience who, figuring it out, give a collective 'awwwwww' of disappointment.
"But don't worry, folks! We've got plenty of fun for you ahead here. We'll take a short intermission, and then our OUDOUKOU GIRLS(tm) will be performing for you live on stage! And as an added bonus, everyone is entitled to a free drink at the Angel Cafe during intermission!"
Free drinks from a location with a liquor license definitely merit an enthused crowd, and people begin filing out for the intermission while Aho makes a swift exit offstage, clearly babbling to someone as he goes. Perhaps the winners will just be... announced at a later date?
IN THE PRODUCTION BOOTH:
Crossing his arms over his chest, Rei Hazuki watches Aho leave, and brings a hand up to rub his chin thoughtfully. "That was slick and absolutely not at all suspicious." Aya hadn't said there was anything untoward about the -- and here he pauses to look blankly ahead of him -- 'butt battle' party, when he'd asked her. But this? This entire thing is suspicious. Rei hasn't raised any of his concerns to Alma; it would be like kicking an excited puppy. So for now, he just resolves to keep an eye on things.
Plus, that girl, the one with the little marshmallow dudes... his proverbial spidey-sense was tingling on that one. Hmmm.
"Well, I guess I can go home," he finally says aloud. "It's been real instructive meeting you, Kai, and that's a fact."
"Indeed, sir. Would you like me to call you an Uber, sir?"
One dark red eyebrow goes up on Rei's face. "Uber? Really? Not doing great on the convincing me you're not secretly an evil henchman front, kiddo."
TO BE... CONTINUED?!
Log created on 20:39:08 01/27/2018 by Frei, and last modified on 20:57:46 02/10/2018.