Description: The warning bell has rung, and all throughout the busy hallway, students are bustling through the hallways to get to class. Two students are lagging behind, and a mysterious figure in a black hoodie is trailing along behind them. Waiting for them all at the door is the tall and handsome hot-blooded transfer student, still wearing the much-maligned uniform of his former school. As the transfer student cautions, with a husky voice, "Trespassers are not allowed," the mysterious interloper pauses, spellbound by his charm. "But in your case, I may make a special exception..." #PepperSpanglesAdventure #SpanglesAU #BaoziBuddyBoyStudios #CombotAdventureTeam #Hack [Pay 20 Moebucks To Continue Reading]
Compared to the sister technologies of the HitBit livestreaming suite, the technology of Violet Systems' ComBot battleframes was surprisingly complex. Whereas the former was rushed to consumer markets to lock down the next generation of extreme sports enthusiasts, the latter was developed on a much longer timeline. More importantly, though, the military and mercenary markets would have little to no tolerance for holes in the information security protocols used to communicate with such expensive hardware.
What they don't know... -could- hurt them, in this case.
Whereas the HitBit devices had thin security layers and were clearly built by rushed engineers for the enthusiast market, the encryption protocols used by the ComBot line were remarkably dense and compact, allowing only the most basic and necessary features for remote installation of software. That is to say, gaining brute-force access to a ComBot was nearly impossible.
Unless one had physical access.
Anti-tampering mechanisms were subverted by the abrupt manner in which the AY4M3 unit had been decapitated, allowing Nagase to plant a number of electrodes and trace wires into the convoluted, spaghetti-like insides of the AY4M3 head unit. Through these measures, and a great deal of patience, the Iga-ryu ninja was able to find three different means of access.
The first required close proximity access to a ComBot. By sending a certain transmission, she could remotely shut down a ComBot for up to two minutes by forcing it to enter maintenance mode.
The second required physical access to the ComBot unit. Only maintenance mode could be triggered with the burst; all other transmissions required use of the ComBot's public key. For ease of maintenance, that public key was written in a scannable 2D barcode printed on the inside of a maintenance panel on the back of the ComBot's head.
The third route of access required access to the USB-X socket just within the maintenance panel. When a thumbdrive is signed with the ComBot's public key and attached, a number of additional diagnostic algorithms could be loaded.
ComBots have been deployed all over the world by this point, thanks to the aggressive salesmanship of Violet Systems. And some were purchased in great quantities, ensuring that Nagase would be able to 'borrow' them for a few minutes at a time without anyone noticing.
And now, dimly lit by the sliver of a nearly new moon... here she is. The location of her final graduation test: the HitBit data storehouse. Locked within is a treasure trove of information: the data aggregated from the preliminary rounds of the King of Fighters tournament. It would be an incomplete record, but a profitable one for Violet Systems, having allowed them to manufacture custom-made ComBots with the aggregated combat mechanisms of a vast majority of the King of Fighters participants, gleaned due to their innovative scanning technologies.
And Nagase has just made her move, using her cellphone to incapacitate two of the ComBots around the outer perimeter when their marching patrols carried them just past a blind spot in camera coverage. The greatest weakness in any sufficiently advanced corporation is the hubris of thinking their technological defenses are impregnable. Within seconds, the ComBot guards' access panels are opened up, and thumbdrives are encoded with their unique access codes, and placed inside.
A minute later, the ComBot guards are awake and on the move again. Nagase, for her part, has already retreated to the relative safety of the street outside the employee entrance, leaning quietly upon a lightpole. To a passing observer, it looks like the techno-ninja is just a random dirtbag punk teenager derping around on her cellphone. A baggy black hoodie is pulled over her frosted flame-orange hair. She looks like she's texting, but she's actually thumbing out commands to her compromised ComBots, corresponding with them wirelessly. Her amber glasses display the view through one of the compromised ComBots.
This is... almost too easy.
There were something that weren't even worth it, no matter how easy it was.
The Data Storehouse was just a coicidence right now for Nagase. An unfortunate one, or a fortunate one. Because tonight, it was the inner sanctum of the one Yoshiaki. The executive of product for the entire Combot line, the man was.... socially reclusive. His presence at this location was actually not publically known. After the guards come back online, the pair of AY4M3 (in fact, tonight, most of the Combot models were the various fighters) continue their patrols. It was uneventful... until a defiation comes into play.
The guards were being called inside.
The patrol pattern was broken. They were leaving their post... and it wasn't from Nagase's actions yet. Secrurity checkpoint after security checkpoint is bypassed, as they drive deeper into the heart of the warehouse. And then, they reach them. Lines of lines of black server boxes... decorated with paper tassels.
The interior was... done up like a high school.
It was the server farms, that much was obvious. But in the secure of secure sanctum of the Combot facility, in the heart of it all, this was out of place. Lockers were set up. Several file cabinets were placed to highlight the 'hallways' and 'doorways' between. It was like a great big place of pretend. The Combots turn around the corner, following instructions given to them. And the vision of the Combots transfix... on their secodn master. And there, Yoshiaki was sitting at a 'lunch table,' a laptop up in place, dressed in a Justice High uniform hand tailored to fit him. Male uniform, thank god. His eyes were peering through their thick, coke-bottle glasses as he taps away on the laptop, rubbing his hands eagerly as he looks back over to Nagase's hacked Combots.
On the table, more school uniforms were folded into a neat pile.
Aaaaand there it is. It -was- too easy.
Nagase grits her teeth as the patrol moves out of its preordained pattern. A tried-and-true security principle that is often forgotten by upper management is that formulaic and rote patterns will, in time, be circumvented: it is not a matter of if, but -when-. Nagase makes good use of the gaps and vulnerabilities she finds in patrol routes, so it would make perfect sense for them to rotate between several different routes on a random schedule.
The problems with that are twofold. Firstly, the change happened right as Nagase hacked into these robots. Secondly, the robots are completely abandoning all pretense at -actually doing their damn jobs-. Aren't they supposed to be patrolling the perimeter of the campus?
Irritably, Nagase seethes. She had already downloaded schematics to the building -- nothing can get built in Japan without paperwork being filed in triplicate to multiple bureaucratic authorities, after all. Nagase steps away from her lightpole, and towards the shadow -- but before her form can be darkened by the extreme contrast, she simply vanishes--
-- shadow-stepping sideways, clinging to the corner of the wall adjacent to the camera she is now just out of reach of. Exhaling a measured breath, she lets herself fall from the wall, subsequently vanishing--
-- again, only to reappear on the ceiling of the security antechamber which the Combot guards are so graciously providing her entrance to. Each of the black-garbed kunoichi's forays into a camera's path lasts only an instant, as she harnesses her blindingly fast method of translocation ninpo to progress forward.
One checkpoint, then another, and another. The process would take her under two minutes to run, but instead she's forced to stay in the shadow of the robots' lockstep pace.
The final destination of the Combots seems to be Nagase's ultimate goal, as well. The passageways are getting tighter and more rigid, and her Battle Disc System alerts her to the sound of many, many more Combots converging on a similar point. Memorization of the plans and the air conditioning system routing suggests that it will be considerably more difficult to progress any further by shadowing her droids. For now, mindful of the watchful electronic eyes, she ducks into a side room with no windows and no monitoring. Only then does she withdraw her slim cellphone out, squinting at the view afforded her by her two advance scouts.
Bile rises in the back of her throat at the scene she is bearing witness to. This isn't a server room -- not any more. It's a ghastly pantomime of a high school.
She waits for what she determines to be the last set of Combots to enter before she flits in as well, keeping out of visual range of any of the bots inside by hiding behind an air conditioning duct -- one prop that can't be maneuvered about according to the mad otaku's sinister designs.
She proceeds to watch vicariously through the eyes of her combots, suitably shielded by her positioning. As long as the Combots follow the mindlessly direct pattern commanded by their less-security-minded oppressor, she expects to remain safe...
All the best laid plans were ruined when Yoshiaki got involved.
The executive begins to undress the two combots, as he talks into a headpiece. "Okay guys, I'm gonna convert these AY4M3 into our PCs. Let me get uh, two more Combots, and then we can get the official meeting of the 'Justice High Spangles' fangroup underway. Lets have a rolecall. We got... Female Hoedown Dillo OC, we got our Injun Joe. We got our Lightning Spangles. We got our Honoka- wait, what?' He pauses a moment. "For the last time, we aren't going to allow Lina Inverse into the Justice Spangles AU, okay? We have the dignity of the canon to consider. Now are you gonna play average High School transfer student Honoka? Or are we just gonna have to kick you out of the group? "There is a pause, as Yoshiaki sneers into the Combot's face.
"Yeah, that's what I thought."
The security approach for Nagase was not difficult; while her hacked Combots were not live right now, the security patterns... were not being filled in. The other combots continue their routines, with the massive holes in the security patrols open. There were still the keypad access to the inner sanctums, bypassed either by the combination, or by the electronic rfids of the Combots with certain overrides. A S3RG31 Combot, dressed in a Spetznaz uniform, walks by the air conditioning duct... and pauses. Tilting its head upwards, it stares at the duct with the red eyes. It halts, staring. Staring. And promptly marches away, unaware of what it was even looking at.
"Okay, I got yours Injun Joe!" Yoshiaki states on the headpiece, typing away on the computer.
Nagase narrows her eyes at the manner in which Yoshiaki is proceeding. And... what the heck is he talking about, or who is he talking to? The kunoichi navigates through a few menus on her cellphone, maneuvering the mic so that she can pick up better reception of the conversation taking place. Moments later, a custom app is returning the audio of the -other- people on this unsecured conversation.
The tech-ninja's skin begins to crawl with the implications of this conversation.
There are -more of them-.
Shuddering at the ways in which the notable fighters are name dropped into the conversation, it doesn't take the shinobi long to figure that Yoshiaki's attention will be 100% focused upon his tasks.
Quietly, Nagase hits Record, and cuts the volume of the conversation down to a reasonable volume, tucking the phone back into her pocket just a moment before the S3RG31 walks around. It's peeking in the air conditioning duct -- the same one she had accidentally brushed her hand on when flitting over to her current location. She frowns, realizing that her heat signature hadn't quite faded away yet. Problematic.
As the S3RG31 unit looks away, the shinobi looses a shuriken over its head, zinging off the air conditioning duct. One moment later -- when the unit would be about to scan the vent again -- Nagase would have immobilized the unit entirely with her remote access code.
According to her knowledge of the protocols, it's quite possible the interaction would have been noted. But that's why she's continuing to listen to the conversation through her Battle Disc System -- any slight waver from Yoshiaki's rapid-fire conversational tone would be instantly caught. Best to see if he notices changes while she's still in cover, before she tries anything significantly riskier...
The conversation over the Battle Disc System was... painful.
Right now, at this stage, it was one sided. There was in fact a non-zero chance that Yoshiaki was in fact alone, and these other RPers were chatbots, waifus, or something in between. Lightning Spangles Bots were well-renowned at being the cutting edge of social simulators, as the countless eroge fangames demonstrated, ranging from 'Vanilla Spangles' to more eletic niches, such as 'Wolfkin Spangles,' 'Lasso Spangles,' and the always popular 'Inflatable Spangles' games.
Needless to say, Yoshiaki only privately produces the Vanilla ones.
Yoshiaki's attention was set on his tasks. "Okay." He says, as the S3RG31 remains... paralyzed on the spot. "Uh, hang on that Injun Joe. Looks like this Combot is unresponsibe. I can just grab another one." A silence. "Oh, a N4G4S3? Well uh, that's not an active model." Another pause. "Long story. Basically, you know that really cute ninja girl from Rumble? We'll, she's like some kind of super ninja hacker, you know, like Radical Edward from Cowboy Bebop?" There is another pause, as Yoshiaki glowers. "No, Edward isn't a guy, she's a girl. Oh my god, how can you know Lina, and not know Edward? Are you some kind of troll?" Yoshiaki shakes his head... and then squints at his screen. "Oh, hang on a second." Yoshiaki furrows his brow at the computer.
"Oh, shit I think there's a warm body in here."
Nagase hangs out with a great number of people. Conversations about anime are unavoidable. But most of these shows... eh. Lightning Spangles stands apart from the crowd, but the character names really don't ring a bell for the most part -- she's more apt to pay attention to the more current series than any ancient history from the 90s. The only piece of the conversation that stands out is the mention that the ComBot is unresponsive.
Damn. Time for plan B.
With a flicker of motion, Nagase is on the move. In two seconds, the access door to the S3RG31 model is opened up, and a red flash drive is slammed into it. Another two seconds: the access door is removed, and the restart sequence is initiated. One more second, and the ninja slaps her armored hand on the android's keister. For good luck.
The S3RG31 marches towards the datacenter door, following its new command sequences via the flash drive.
And Nagase? She folds her arms behind her head and starts walking towards Yoshiaki, like... nothing was wrong at all.
"Oh, hey, is anyone in here?!" calls out the girl in a dark-colored hoodie. It's true that she's listening to the conversation -- but she pretends she has no clue at all. "Helloooooo... the door was left wide open for me..."
The ninja assassin bites her lip as she rounds the corner. Plan B carried considerably more risk for her. But the Battle Disc System rates its chances of success pretty high nonetheless.
"I hope there's no bad guys in here..." she notes aloud, mimicking the certain catchphrase of one of the aforementioned characters who managed to get a new series released sometime within Nagase's lifespan. "Bad guys have no rights!"
Something was wrong.
Yoshiaki starts to sweat, face turning red. Someone was... here? Was it a spy from Lee Chaolan, or maybe his coworkers? Or was it a proper intruder. The door was left open? Yoshiaki was pretty sure he locked everything down, he made sure to lock things down before he did 'special maintanence work' at the office. That was the only way he could get time away from the missuss; while the married life had its ups and downs, sometimes you just had to have a little time with the boys to live out your high school fantasies in a Lightning Spangles canon! "Oh man, okay guys, we are gonna have to raincheck. I think someone is in the facility." The voice calls out, calling aloud.
And she says the words.
Yoshiaki narrowed his eyes at the screen. She was in the server floors, but Yoshiaki takes the laptop, and ducks underneath the table. He quickly taps away. And a voice comes over the intercom overhead, as the S3RG31 strides forward. "Uh, he he, hello... girl.... there are no bad guys here, but uh, you are trespassing. Okay, you have five choices: One, the police can punish you. Two, you can let me punish you. Three, you can let the Combots punish you. Four, Mr. Chaolan can punish you. And five..." Yoshiaki pauses.
This was the ultimate test.
Nagase, naturally, hears everything communicated to the other party, but as an expert in infiltration, she makes no sudden motions to pull the connection. Panic is a double-edged blade that cuts both ways, and abrupt termination of the the connection is a red flag that sticks out in later server log analysis. Here, instead, she just waits for another person to bail on the conversation before dropping her end of the trace, with a slight and nigh-imperceptible tap of her finger upon her thigh.
Nagase looks around the room she finds herself in -- file cabinets moved to suggest a hallway. An empty bucket in the middle of the floor -- one that wouldn't be there in a real classroom, but left instead for its existence in a number of slice-of-life anime. The paper markers suggesting class numbers for each classroom door. It's... a pretty extensive makeover, suggesting this =isn't= the first time that the room has been made over for a night of clandestine roleplay.
he kunoichi half-smiles at the nervousness in the voice. She's aware she's on camera -- and she is definitely cautious avoid showing the full grade of mirth that the situation would otherwise merit. But she pretends she doesn't know where the cameras are, for a moment. As the list of possible punishments is enumerates, her hands begin to flail around, as she looks for the camera...
... Hold on, what -are- her hands doing?
It will become clear when the count reaches five, and the trespasser looks directly into the camera. Her left arm is bent into a 'V' shape, index and pinky finger extended in an arcane gesture to her right, held about shoulder-height. Nestled in the crook of her left arm, her right hand rests, one index finger pointed directly at the camera.
"... Wait, one moment... when you say -you'll- punish me... will you punish me in the name of the =moon?="
Only then does the hoodie-clad kunoichi crack a full-on smile for the camera. "Gosh, this place looks amazing. It's just like Sakuragawa High back home! I..."
She falters, looking down. And then she makes a fist with her right hand, and pounds it into her left palm just like a good anime character should.
And dips forward into a humble bow, making sure that the -other- camera catches a good view of her lower body attire -- a black pleated skirt, cut daringly short, to complement a pair of dark grey leggings which would almost certainly fit the Zettai Ryouki Grade A classification. Even with her deep bowing, though, the skirt is about a centimeter too long to sacrifice modesty to the high-angle overhead camera.
"I-I'm sorry," she stammers, redness staining her cheeks as she looks up into the camera, her amber glasses slipping downwards slightly across her nose. "I d-didn't mean to interrupt...!"
Meanwhile, the S3RG31 unit continues advancing forward of its own volition, carrying on with Plan B in complete ignorance of the otaku-in-remission's feminine wiles. If permitted, it will enter the cage containing the removable backup drives...
If Nagase kept it up, he was going to be an 'otaku-in-emission!
"Eeeaaargh!" That was the sound from over the Intercom as she strikes the pose. And then, silence. The S3RG31 is held up, for a moment, at the gate. It seemed to be waiting for a cue, of some sort. The cage was locked; a final level of security which Yoshiaki himself kept in place. And yet, it already was beginning to click open, as Yoshiaki hits buttons to ensure the last security blocks were gone.
Nothing was going to keep this jewel from entering his domain!
"Y-you were supposed to have said 'all of us will punish you,' oh my god." He mutters to himself away from the Intercom, unsure. He was sweating profusely, his glasses fogging up, as he goes back to his chat. "G-g-g-guys! There is a school girl here! Grade A! Absolute Territory! And she's completely moe!" "Of course she's of age. I'm not some kind of pervert! She's at least 15!" Yoshiaki wheezes, rubbing his hands together. "We won't even need a Combot now; gosh can you imagine having a real girl joining us?" Yoshikai returns back to the intercom, as the security locks complete, and S3RG31 enters the cage. Yoshiaki peers from over the table, grinning broadly with blackened and yellow teeth. "Oh no! Don't worry! Come on in! You're just in time to join us! Come on in!"
"You can meet the whole Showup Hoedown gang!"
... /All of us/ will punish you? Just goes to show that the tech-ninja spent more time watching anime in a side window than actually listening to the dialogue. The hoodie-clad Nagase rises, moving over to poke at a few of the makeshift decorations signifying this as a school hallway, nodding with faint appreciation. After all -- she has to politely pretend to be doing something else instead of quite obviously hearing all the typing and chatting going on.
With a satisfying click, S3RG31 is allowed entrance into the cage. The optical sensors take in the scene, and the first few data drives are located. Now... the process of copying some choice elements of the drive system can begin...
When Yoshiaki finally grins back at her with his unkempt teeth, Nagase's leg shudders just a bit. She'd expected a greasy, unbathed otaku, so... he's better-looking than that, at least. But the grill of blackened and yellow teeth almost forced her to drop the smiling act.
As she is beckoned over, she manages to gain some semblance of control over her features, grinning much more amiably -- with just enough "goofy teenager" look to banish the "worldly confidence" look from the shinobi's expression.
"Y... you have a Showup Hoedown group? Like..."
She straightens up, the heels of her boots clicking together on the floor. One index finger is again extended, but it's to demonstrate a point before she can properly continue.
"/Which/ Showup Hoedown gang: classic, or the new one?"
Now it's -Yoshiaki's- turn to be tested.
The question of all questions.
As the cute teenager in Yoshiaki's fantasy world turns the question on to him. The question of all questions. A moe high school girl asking HIS opinion on popular media? He couldn't create it better in his fantasies. While the S3RG31 gets uninterrupted access to the servers, Yoshiaki rubs the back of his neck. "Well, honestly..." Yoshiaki looks that the computer, and then, back to the girl. Back to the laptop. He takes in a deep breath.
"I really think that the new Pepper Spangles has been very underrated."
You could almost -feel- the heat from the laptop. Yoshiaki continues, face bright red. "I mean, don't get me wrong, I understand the appeal of the classic Lightning Spangles! A lot of people grew up with that. But when you are talking about the new Lightning Spangles, you have a completely different demographic. I mean, I really don't want to see a woman my age running around like some kind of cartoon character!" Yoshiaki continues, his monologue... not... ending.
And didn't have any sign that he was slowing down.
"It also really bothers me to have such a basketcase playing a character like that. I mean, with Pepper Spangles, you can clearly see an innocent young girl who is very cute and adorable, who isn't a child-killing self-loathing loser trying to recapture one good gig. And that's before the drinking! Jezebel Spangles is a notorious alcoholic, who beat up kids! I wouldn't even give that woman the time of day at a convention! I know there are traditionalists who are very opposed to the new Lightning Spangles, but I think if you give it a chance, and pass over the nostalgia filters, you could see..."
Meanwhile, he had exposed his laptop in view.
Nagase could probably see the ventrilo group; it had at least 7 people on it. That much wasn't odd. The names were all generic otaku names... which might have been the warning. Because if Nagase noticed further... the laptop wasn't connected to the internet. That much isn't odd, maybe it was a private local network, like a LAN. Maybe.
It's been a while since Nagase was in high school. She should be honored to have been classed as 'somewhere over fifteen,' though the comment had actually made her skin crawl.
... Just a bit.
She has a job to do though. And that job means holding the creepy otaku's attention for... just a bit of time.
Just a bit.
As the diatribe continues, though, she notices the executive delve into full-on monologue mode. All of the social cues which would be necessary to sustain someone in such a state... prove to be completely unnecessary after a few moments. No motion of her face, none of her hand motions... nothing at all aside from her mere presence.
It had started with one glance to the system taskbar tray. And then a second furtive glance.
The executive -has- to be on the Internet, doesn't he? That's the only way he can talk to his friends. ... But...
Nagase leans against the table that the laptop is stationed upon, the lower hem of her skirt brushing just below the tabletop. Pressure is applied -- her palms rest lightly upon the lip of the table. One can stay attentive for a lot longer, after all, just by having something to lean against. And really... she wouldn't want to lean against any of the fancy decorations he's set up...
She flashes the executive a pneumatic, attentive smile as she nods back at him. By blocking the view of the screen with her body, the kunoichi was able to accomplish a number of things. Particularly, she was able to slide another device into the USB port -- only the head of the device would be invisible. A custom Nagase construction, the device would not be complicated -- it would just provide keyboard/mouse services, allowing the Battle Disc System to take command of the computer.
Nagase flashes a pneumatic, attentive smile. Flickering lights dance upon the lower rim of her glasses -- flickering lights that make no sense when she keeps nodding her head like a deer scare. Flickering lights that would resolve into a nonstop datastream of code -- a repeater display for the device directly behind her, allowing her to watch both Yoshiaki and the screen at the same time on an undisclosed frequency band. As long as he doesn't notice that tiny, nigh-invisible device plugged into the side.
"Gosh. I... I have to say, it's really refreshing to hear that!" Nagase beams back, nodding her head with no small amount of good cheer. "You know, it... almost brings a tear to my eye!"
The kunoichi's hands whip back into her pockets for a moment. Her fingertips fly about within the folds of her hoodie -- commands issued not to the executive laptop, but to her Battle Disc System's AI.
Her hands are tucked in her laptop. She rocks her shoulders forward, craning her neck up to look upwards at the executive. Her cheeks flush red. "You're like... the only one that's =agreed= with me. I've been telling people ever since the unscheduled vacation... man. It's -about time-, right? They need to reboot the series -- to remind people about what's fresh and -unique- about Lightning Spangles. To capture the joy and enthusiasm -- to rekindle the flame of discovery, we need someone who isn't flawed. Someone who anyone can just look at, and for each episode, we can just forget the world and believe that it's all just as perfect as she is.."
The laptop may not be on the internet, but the Battle Disc System has access. And she's quoting someone -- an internet poster who just happened to have said the exact same thing in a pro-Pepper forum.
Meanwhile, her advanced AI -- at one time worth the net domestic product of a Southeast Asian country -- is hard at work delving through the secrets of the executive laptop.
To say nothing of the S3RG31 model, who has also managed to obtain the first two hard drives and has left the secured cage. The hard drives were not placed on the ComBot's person -- they were left 'carelessly' on a shelf out of sight, easily blended in with a number of other things.
"Is Pepper your -favorite- character, though?"
Yoshiaki was... still unaware.
Whatever the Combot was up to, the man was much more interested in this petite teenage schoolgirl. As she blushes, Yoshiaki blushes as well. He didn't know what would happen if she lost control of herself, and couldn't resist the allure of Yoshiaki any longer. Could it be possible to have a real high school encounter in his fantasy high school? Could his friends handle canceling the session tonight if Yoshiaki had to have a real encounter, just like the adventures they roleplayed out? "Is she my favorite?"
"Here, it is better to -show- you why she's my favorite!" Yoshiaki sputters, as he quickly types away at his laptop. "Oh, hey!" He says, as he drags a folder into a... drive... on the desktop. "Don't worry, it's a copy! You're not the first one who's interested! But let me hurry up..." He clicks away on a few things... and connects to a website, through a corporate portal. Oh thank god. Maybe he -wasn't- insane and lonely. But then... who were the other corporate people? Could there... could the entire workplace be FILLED with people like Yoshiaki?
Could -LEE- be part of this!?!?
Going to the favorites, there is a brief flash of... very technical links and news sites. Going into a folder, it goes into Lightning Spangles, and amongst the various links, hidden around the IT team (or perhaps ignored), he goes to 'Pepper Spangles Adventure. And there, it shows the loading screen... of a game. The game is a dress up Pepper Spangles flash. And it was flash, actually flash. The game was hosted on the official Justice High Spangles website. There is only one review, by someone by the name of BaoziBuddyBoy. Yoshiaki smiles widely, as he steps aside, gesturing for the laptop. "Go on! You gotta play it!"
"It's a real live Justice High Spangles visual novel!"
The Battle Disc System flickers a notification in the lower right of Nagase's vision. Much of the petinent data had already been scanned. And yet... nowhere in the network shares available to the laptop was there any sign of the data structures necessary for even -one- of the ComBots.
It wouldn't be found on the laptop itself. Nagase's last hope would be to retrieve the secondary hard drives deposited by the S3RG31 Combot before they could be found by some other means.
And then... the executive spurts out the word "MOE!" and steps towards Nagase. Her eyes widen in panic; her fingers twitch within her hoodie pockets. With the quick command, the remote process window is aborted, the evidence shunted offscreen a mere instant before the disguised kunoichi steps out of the way of the laptop.
She swivels about to face the laptop as it becomes the focus of attention, her Battle Disc System recording each and every iota of the ritual. A folder being dragged... a corporate portal. Surely, it has to be on a VPN. They wouldn't be so bold as to...
Nagase's eyes somehow manage to get even wider. She's smiling -- but not necessarily because of the images of the new Lightning Spangles.
She's just been led to the Yellow Brick Road.
So many connections, so many people. As long as her Battle Disc System is recording everything, she doesn't have to worry about remembering the specifics herself... but wow. All of the information she needs to retrace her steps later.
And the best part -- all of the HitBit and Violet sites are interconnected. And she virtually -has- the keys to access it at her leisure, now...
Pepper Spangles Adventure. Nagase looks hesitantly back to Yoshiaki, her eyes twinkling with joy. Her smile is bright and exuberant -- and she doesn't even have to exaggerate.
She looks back to the screen. "P... play it right now? I..."
She places her hands on the laptop, her left hand casually draped to prevent view of her access device, her right hand positioned near the trackpad.
"Are you sure? I... I don't wanna mess anything up!"
But still -- even before pressing any further keys, she can still admire the work that's been put into the models. "Wow, this is... really accurate!"
The Battle Disc System disagrees -- model height is 7% higher than expected, model weight is roughly 22% lighter than expected. The face is a close match, but they made her taller and skinnier. But still -- artistic liberty, perhaps?
It's worth mentioning, though. "Did you and your group model these all yourselves?" Her left hand closes, and the custom hijack device is removed in one smooth motion, as Nagase turns her beaming face up to Yoshiaki. "It looks just like her!"
The Battle Disc System only tells the honest truth to Nagase.
"Well, not exactly."
Yoshiaki remains unaware, as he allows Nagase full control. He didn't even register that he was giving her the backdoor to the whole structure. After all, it was just a high school girl he was totally gonna lay. As she tucks in, the Pepper Spangles looks coyly. There is a strong, sour smell up close to Yoshiaki. "See, you know all those tournaments you've seen? Like Rumble, or the King of Fighters? Well, the company I work for has been logging their models. Now for a lot of them, they have to be used with the Combot models. But some of them have been incomplete, or we have certain, uh, legal holds on them. But I've worked through some of the back channels, and fangames like this are totally protected intellectual property, and are actually totally legit to use some of the incomplete datasets! Like Pepper there is actually built on the model of Honoka Kawamoto from the Twilight Star Circus! And if you take a right, yeah, right there!" The man points at the tall, grim looking figure. She is unnaturally tall, with the stoic expression of an Indian princess. But there was... something... familiar about her. And Yoshiaki points it out.
"Natsu Ayuhara, from Gorin High!
"And if you go around the corner, you'll find one of my favorites..." It was a petite, humanoid armadillo, dressed vaguely like a cross between a bee and a panda. It had a short skirt, and was clutching a laptop. She had big glasses, and was blushing. Yoshiaki almost blurts out. "Nagase! She was a ninja hacker who was giving us a lot of trouble. We couldn't get complete data from her, so she isn't useful as a Combot. But doesn't she make a really moe Hoedown Dillo?"
Yoshiaki is smiling wide at his guest, waiting for more positive attention.
Nagase bristles at the high-level executive's terminology. 'Logging their models?' Yoshiaki seems familiar enough with the intricacies of intellectual property, but also seems just as willing to sidestep them in the name of justifying his vicarious fantasy world to a complete stranger. And as he leads the hoodie-clad shinobi through the labyrinthine file structure, she is committing the path to memory, taking careful note of everything she sees.
Scores of file folders, the raw vertex data for each character, the libraries needed to spring the vertices into existence on the screen. It would all run like crap if it weren't optimized for the crude delivery of the Flash platform. She double-clicks one dataset, and the model for Honoka-Spangles pops up. Wrinkling her nose with disgust, she comments, "A bit skinny...", before closing that that down.
She allows herself to be directed to Natsu-Joe, eyes going wide. "... I think her shoulders are even -wider- than Injun Joe's, but she looks... really close somehow... I don't remember Injun Joe ever wearing that loincloth though, where'd you find that outfit?"
Another close, and another window is open.
And Nagase sees a hideous caricature of herself in a fixed position. The kunoichi bites her lip, her cheeks turning a bit red -- the shade matching that of her on-screen simulacrum for just a moment.
She stares for just a few moments. That son of a bitch. The rest of the fighters, she wasn't really bothered about them. She knew that it would be nigh impossible to make an accurate N4G4S3 due to her prodigious mastery of chi that just wouldn't translate to a gear-grinding mecha. But to take -her- data- and...
And make -that?!-
The nervous kunoichi-in-disguise closes the window in a fit of seeming distraction, as well as the Flash window displaying the game proper. "W-wow, you know, it's -been- a while since we've seen the Hoedown Dillo in action, hasn't it? Like I think I'd only seen him once and it sounded like a robot or something..."
While she speaks, the mouse pointer has free reign on the computer, with only the directory of the Flash game source and the computer desktop visible.
"Ah, that was cool, thanks for showing me! But... I don't have enough time to play in-depth right now, lemme just put this back where we found it..."
Nagase drags the folder towards the server, just like she'd seen Yoshiaki drag something to said server a moment ago.
She just happens to let go of the button while the folder was over top of the Recycle Bin instead.
"... Oh. Crap," she stammers, her blush fading away into a sea of milky white pallor. "No, no, I got this, hold on..." she adds, warding off any attempts from Yoshiaki to regain control of his own computer.
She begins narrating as she moves the pointer around some more. "I'll fix it! Just gotta... dump everything out onto the desktop to find it..." She hurriedly right-clicks on the Recycle Bin icon, selecting the "Empty Recycle Bin" icon. Hurriedly, she 'accidentally' hits OK for the confirmation prompt.
The sound of crinkling paper can be heard.
And maybe a cricket or two.
"Man. Your computer's slow like mine is. They should be popping right up any second now..."
The adorably moe girl in a hoodie blinks for a few seconds, tilting her head at the screen.
Realization sets in, as she lowers her guard, staring at the screen. "... Oh, uh..." She bites her lip, cheeks staining a deep crimson yet again. She turnsto Yoshiaki with the frightful countenance of a scolded puppy. "That... wasn't your only copy, was it?"
The shinobi already has what she wanted -- this is =funtime= now. Now, will he be outraged at the 'accidental' destruction of his only copy, or will he show yet -another- secret location?
Yoshiaki was very eager to show her his secret place
As she takes the wheel, he watches as she kind of stumbles into blushing. Yoshiaki quickly adds, as he realizes. "Oh no, this isn't one of those kinds of visual novels! There is only kissing! It stops at the kissing in this version!" She puts in the recycle bin, and he moves to correct... and is intercepted. As she continues to stumble on her computer, Yoshiaki just facepalms. And then, the crinkle paper sound. She looks up at him with those big goo goo eyes. And the man just shakes his head.
"Ah ha ha."
Yoshiaki laughs, patting Nagase on the head as she gives those puppy eyes. "Well, I know how women don't know their way around the computer. What you did is empty the recycling bin. Instead of, well, making it empty like dumping it back out on the computer, you deleted it from good. You can think of the Recycling Bin as a sort of protection for it. As for whether that was my only copy, well." He lowers down, squatting a bit, as he smiles sweetly, looking down at her slightly.
"Let me explain to you what backups are."
Yoshiaki begins to go through his desktop. "There is a lot of points of what we call data failure. Data failure is when you have your data corrupted, unusable, or..." He gives her a wink. "Deleted by silly girls. So while you always have the risk of data failure, you can mitigate that risk by backing it up! Some of the backups are all around us!" He motions to the servers. "And of course, I got a few in the VPN and even on this computer." THere are a few clicks, and soon he opens up a folder with... all of the non-Combot associated model data. "See? There she is, along with some other models for other, uh, games." Nagase may notice several duplicates of the models in different states of dress; some wearing very frilly fancy clothing, others wearing swimsuits, and some... who... aren't wearing anything at all, though with no clear attributes shown. One of those even look a little bit like Yoshiaki. The man quickly closes out as he concludes his explanation. "I hope that cleared things up! Now, I will say, if it wasn't for the backup, that would have been real trouble! So I think that's something that you can consider." Yoshiaki puts a hand on Nagase's shoulder, as a strange smile comes at the corner of his lips.
"Maybe there's a way you can both apologize to AND thank me at the same time..."
Nagase winces. She was ready for anger, ready for him to lash out. She's a trained shinobi, and unless Yoshiaki had been spending a lot of time personally training those Combots himself, the chance of him whipping out a powerful strike against her is almost nil.
And yet, he's right beside her. The fear is there.
But no. He wouldn't.
No... instead, his reply is patronizing. Insulting. Sticks and stones may break her bones, but insults from a cog in the Japanese societal machine can never -really- hurt her, especially when she is portraying herself as a willing submissive in said patriarchal society. She forges an apologetic half-smile as her puppy-dog eyes have the intended effect, the skilled infiltrator successful in preventing any pretense of anger from being shown at the dressing-down.
The kunoichi gently steps away from the computer, stuffing her hands in the voluminous pockets of her hoodie. She tucks the device she'd used a few moments ago into a secure pocket, casting a glance down the hall to the now-idle S3RG31 unit. And as feigned relief sweeps across her face as she receives a remedial education in how backps work, she withdraws a second cylinder from her pocket, a container of chapstick. "Th-that's amazing... you have soooo many copies..."
Every keystroke, every mouseclick, every word is recorded by her Battle Disc System. It's... worthy of note that there are backups everywhere, but with the information she's gained tonight, she's fairly certain of the tasks ahead of her. A full network map of the data center, provided by the hubris of her willing guide. Detailed procedures for obtaining system access. Physical access to two hard drives of backup data.
The kunoichi uncaps the chapstick, spreading it onto her lips as Yoshiaki continues mansplaining to her. She nods, pursing her lips for the application as views of the models show up.
To be fair, she expected to see the lady models in states of undress. She had time to gird herself against that. "... Oh, hee, there's even a little bow! So many cool little details!"
What she did -not- expect, though, was to see Yoshiaki's head pasted onto a model, though. She somehow manages to keep her composure through that.
There is not much time to think about that, as a hand is placed on her shoulder, and she is drawn closer to the executive. The chapstick is pressed into her palm, as her left hand curls about her mouth, concealing the shock that is otherwise evident on her face.
Everything about Yoshiaki's expression and poise lines up with the psychological profile of a man who has never kissed a woman before, let alone, one so recently demonstrated as 'his type.'
Her eyes light up. "O-okay, but..." she stammers, in a successful attempt at feigning to look away coyly. "Only if you close your eyes! B-baka."
If he follows directions as well as she hopes, she will take a deep breath. She will wrap one arm about him. She will pull herself close. And she will press her lips into his with a (closed-mouth) kiss so intense that his eyes will roll back in his head.
Mostly because of the Iga-ryu knockout chemical that she'd just smeared onto her lips. She's immune. It's 95% unlikely that he is; most victims will be unconscious three seconds after contact.
It may be a good thing that she is holding onto the man -- and that she's strong enough to ease him to the floor if the situation calls for it.
Yoshiaki might not have kissed a girl before, but he had a lot of practice with his dog!
The moment had come. Yoshiaki's eyes blinks quickly as the girl finally opens herself up to the executive. "Y-yes... so many... copies... just relax..." He begins to move in... and then draws back, closing his eyes tight. The sour smell was getting stronger, his body trembling. He was sweating so profusely. He quickly reaches for the laptop, and turns off the A/V feed. He didn't want his friends to invade his privacy on this. His thoughts swim to all the video games that trained him for this moment. He realized what this meant.
He was just like Lee Chaolan now!
This was just like with Lee, except obviously this was just one girl half his age, as opposed to a good half dozen. But just like with Lee, she was consenting! The wife would never have to know. And yet, she was taking initative, practically throwing herself on Yoshiaki. As the strength of the kiss comes, and the lips are released, the moan comes.
And Yoshiaki slumps in Nagase's arms, passed out.
The A/V feed was... running, wasn't it. That's the thought that blazes through Nagase's head as Yoshiaki had reached over to his laptop. But... luckily, she can also tell when the feed =is= shut off.
Which is great. She didn't want this on camera either.
Not -his- camera, anyway.
With one arm tucked under the now-sleeping executive, she retrieves her cellphone from its holster. "Hm? Didn't... quite catch that. Did you say you wanted a selfie?" After flicking a few options with her thumb, she raises the cellphone for an obnoxious high-angle shot. Rocking his shoulders backwards, she makes sure Yoshiaki's passed-out face is oriented towards the camera. "Now say cheeeezu!" And she makes a point of emulating his exact facial features before pulling the trigger.
Mission accomplished, she leans Yoshiaki backwards, gently lowering him to the floor. She even goes so far as to curl him up into a ball, like a cute widdle kitty.
With the executive suitably taken care of, she quickly draws the device back out of her pocket, popping it into the laptop's left-hand serial port. After logging out of the chat feed -- no doubt giving folks more reason to wonder what's going on -- she lets her Battle Disc System AI work its magic.
A number of things will happen:
Firstly, the virus and malware scanners on the executive's computer are compromised, allowing all changes to escape detection.
Secondly, a virus will be installed onto the Flash file for the Pepper Spangles game that Yoshiaki had demonstrated -- along with every single copy available on the network drive. When the game is run, it will replicate itself onto every executable available to the current computer user, ensuring that the executive's permissions will be used to maximum effect. When active, the virus will seek out specific filesystem blocks that match those of the control algorithms programmed into each Combot device. If found, the control algorithms will be patched with a segment of code forcing the Combot to shut down and wipe all of its memory buffers and hard drives -- a remote kill switch.
The first two measures were instantiated by her Battle Disc System. But the third and fourth are being performed manually by Nagase.
Third: Nagase makes a copy of the source files for this... game thing. For educational purposes.
Fourth: she makes a hackjob edit to the source files in the game, artificially boosting =all= of the girls' bust sizes from from whatever they were to a ridiculously inflated H -- definitely moving the model away from the moe audience. It's a quick and dirty hack, and the sizes will revert as soon as the characters begin moving, but it's enough to show that she'd been allowed free rein. She then hits save on this copy of the .fla file, and propagates the source file to all the backup sites that she was given.
And then she ejects the device. And logs out, a highly overconfident smirk on her face. She's been recorded by the cameras -- she knows it. And doesn't care.
"Why would I even wanna kiss you in the first place...? Baka."
She flicks S3RG31 a grin as she reaches over to retrieve her device from its access port. And, tucking the two hard drives under her arm, she whistles softly to herself as she heads on out of the office, making sure to pull the door shut behind her.
The tech-ninja feels fairly confident that her stealth infections will take root undetected in the wake of her more obvious intrusions. And just to give credibility for her social engineering escapades...?
She's making sure to keep that selfie and the catnap photo on hand for... later use.
It would be next morning, before Yoshiaki would wake.
Blinking his eyes, he smacks his lips. His mouth was very dry, and he had a headache. Blinking his eyes, he looked around. He touches his lips... and suddenly, he smiles. Remembered last night. The girl. The kiss. And then, it was like a beautiful dream. A beautiful, beautiful dream, where she... where she... had the moment finally happened? Yoshiaki realizes that it must have. And the experience was so intense, that it was like a dream! Yoshiaki laughs, as he returns back to his laptop, unaware of the 'gifts' that Nagase had left behind. Hopefully he remembered to use protection, or he would have gifts left behind with the strange girl as well. Looking at the time, he gasped. He was gonna be late for work! He rushes, trying to pack up and put away the high school props, and to change. He needed to get to the work. But when he did...
Wait until the other executives heard about what he did last night!
On the Justice Spangles Fan Page, in the comments below the Pepper Spangles Adventure, a second comment appears, under the first one. Another comment, from BaoziBuddyBoy. The comment is as follows.
"Oh wow! Thanks for the fix! I'm surprised you took my advice :). Now Athena Spangles looks proper now. Keep up the good work!"
A few days later, a seemingly innocent post will be made on an Instagram account associated with a member of defense contractor Atlas Concepts, maker of the ARTEMIS(tm) model of personal powered armor. As folks may remember from an earlier tech demonstration, the ARTEMIS was the primary competition of Violet Systems' TRULY VIOLET(tm) powered armor, which ultimately gave the Atlas product the winning government contract. The employee had since terminated her account due to much internal conflict among Atlas employees, but the innocent post of a supposed Atlas Concepts employee (wearing a hoodie) and the possibly-inebriated Yoshiaki seems to have gone viral...
Log created on 19:26:38 08/30/2016 by Nagase, and last modified on 21:58:28 09/09/2016.