Jack-O' - Dance Dance Friendvolution!

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Description: Mercedes Deletraz, seeking out the mysterious Jack-O' Valentine, finds out that the REAL Jack-O' Valentine is the friends we made along the way -- like, for example, Jack-O' Valentine!! Read in horror as a conspiratorial Frenchwoman is brutally befriended, which definitely happens!(?)

The sound washes over everyone like a veritable sonic attack, a screaming shout of psychic youth into the hellscape that is the modern day fucking psycho-corporate wasteland that rules Southtown. They nuked Mt. Fuji, for chrissake! The only solution is to kill your boyfriend and/or realize the eternal truth that I AM TRASH MAN / WORLD IS A DUCK

The dance floor is not omega-packed, however, because it's Wednesday night and that is kind of the total nadir of things, which is why there is an actual band here playing on a stage rather than the traditional 'guy with sex haircut and laptop.' The sound has been filling the place - and it suddenly stops.

Two people speak. One is the lead singer of the band. "THANK YOU! WE ARE PHIMOTIC FRONT!" declares the singer, in English. She raises one hand up and mimes pulling down a glove or something in front of it. "Follow us on SoundCloud! That's with a P H, nerds! Now I wanna hand the mic over to Slap Nuts on Bass so he can -"


The other is the woman near the bottom of the lefthand amp stack. "Finally," gripes Mercedes. "Oi! Bellbottoms!" she calls upwards. She leaps up then to grasp at one of the mentioned articles of clothing. "Get down from there! I have some questions for you!"

From the look in her eye, this woman - MERCEDES DELETRAZ - isn't going to be asking her where she got the pants.

COMBATSYS: Mercedes has started a fight here.

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Mercedes         0/-------/-------|


Ramlethal Valentine: Actually, you are the younger Valentine. Also, I suspect you may be broken inside.

Jack-O' Valentine: HA HA DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT~~ Now I must go accomplish an incredibly important mission!!

And, after wisely instructing Ramlethal to deliver a message that would most assuredly throw Evil Rock-Empress I-No off her scent off, Jack-O' launched into adventure, prepared to put everything on the line for the sake of a mission of vital importance...!



This horrified realization courtesy of MAGICAL DISCO QUEEN JACK-O' is largely lost in the upswell of music that booms ceaselessly from the speakers surrounding her as she perches herself listlessly on the mighty tower of one of the band's amp stacks. Heedless of all the odd stares and warnings she gets, the would-be Valentine, sprawled in a way that might be described as cat-like if the cat was hopped up on amphetamines, is currently adorned with the existential anchor that is her jack-o'-lantern mask -- which makes it all the odder when those glowing green eyeholes widen like dinnerplates and the gaping emerald mouth gapes even wider in horror as her distracted thoughts finally catch up to her.

She's been like this for the past hour or so. Or two or so or maybe three, the point is, most of her time since arriving in Southtown has been spent getting involved in one distraction after another, leaving an endless trail of destruction and/or confusion in her wake. In comparison, her time in the Duck Pond has been relatively subdued, largely spent towards the cause of analyzing dance patterns of club goers to understand contemporary trends a bit better and thus more thoroughly ground herself in the zeitgeist of the era. It's important. Truly. So important she's dedicated an array of floating, sproingy minions to the cause, dotting the Duck Pond with their presence as they try in hopeless vain to imitate the dance moves of the people here and largely only succeed in freaking people out. It might have something to do with the GIANT SPAWNING PODS that she's installed in the corners of the club. But that'd be silly.

It's /also/ so important she's forgotten about her INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT MISSION until the EXACT MOMENT a certain Mercedes Deletraz meanders her way, flipping herself into a more properly seated position as she hammers a fist into her open, gloved palm.

"Ooooo this is no good! Now if I have nothing to show for it, I-Noes' gonna yell at me even HARDER! And then That Man will say something cryptic like 'the plan has been de-escalated which is all according to my plan and Jack-O' stop shoving your face in strange things' but also it'll have some kind of double meaning that's actually really nice when you think about it and I just don't have time for that when I have so much more important data to collect!"

Oi! Bellbottoms! calls Mercedes. And Jack-O' --

"Mm. Still, this is -fascinating-. Who would have thought even cultural norms like the way we dance could change so drastically in such a short amount of time? I suppose the human engine of progress applies to all things, even how we connect with one another. It's strange, but wonderful, but I'm not quite sure I understand it yet..."

-- Jack-O' completely ignores her, it seems, in favor of tilting her head as her mask's eyes narrow into pensive slits.

"Hm. More data might be necessary. I--"

And then she feels the tug on her bellbottoms. Jack-O' Valentine blinks. She looks down at Mercedes. She squints.

"OH!" she shouts in joy, clapping hands together -- and the sudden motion apparently alerts one of those sensually gyrating Gearlings on the dance floor (don't think about it too hard) to its mistress' distress and/or elation, because soon enough it is launching off the ground, green eyes narrowed with a soldier's determination.

"Thank goodness you're here! I was about to give up hope! This is super super important and I need you to answer as honestly as you can, okay??" Jack-O' leans forward. Her masked smile, mysterious. Her eyeholes, truly intense.

"Is dancing about butts now??"

Whereupon that Gearling seeks to collide with Mercedes with the most adorable warcry ever, the impact making an exaggeratedly rubbery 'BOING!' sound upon impact like the world's cutest bouncer.


Truly. Horrifying.

COMBATSYS: Jack-O' has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Mercedes         0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Jack-O'

COMBATSYS: Mercedes catches Spectral Sentinel from Jack-O' with Va te faire foutre!.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Mercedes         0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Jack-O'

Mercedes had, upon her entrance to this place, seen the floating sproingy-boingy creature and immediately knew some shit was going down. (The clubgoers, being whacked up on goofballs, probably just rolled with it.) The spawning pods have also been photographed with her cell phone and forwarded to the in box of Alan R.B. who may never receive them.

But that's for the future, or potentially the past.

For now Jack-O says "OH!" and is pleased at Mercedes' sight. Mercedes rolls her eyes and says, "You had better get down here this moment or else - what - huh!?"

The masked face gets up in her grill. Mercedes leans backwards, retracting gently like a power-assisted seat in a costly vehicle. Her lips pull back in a moderate grimace. "What - "

Jack-O asks an obvious and sensible question and Mercedes' brow knits in dismay. At this exact moment a Gearling slides forwards in order to extewminate her in the most cuddlebug way possible - or so it thinks - because without looking away from Jack-O, Mercedes leans fractionally back, sweeping one leg as she does. Her hands raise up in something like a crooked old-timey boxers' stance for an instant, on their way to executing (but not execute-ing) a sweeping swipe that digs her nails into the side of one Gear and holds it still, Mercedes's hand contorting in the process to crunch its head against the heel of her palm as three fingers and thumb press inwards, grinding with force sufficient to terrify yet intrigue the sturdiest of twittermen.

Her pinky stays extended because she's a lady.

Now Mercedes answers:

"Was it ever not?"

That's a question, not an answer!

(Slap Nuts the bassist is momentarily distracted by Mercedes' hand. He was going to say something about the System.)

Behold, as the valiant Gear strives in epic struggle against its oppressor, wielding its sword in a brave attempt to free itself on behalf of its great and terrible mistress. It is a tribulation of epic proportions, from certain perspectives.

From others, it's just a teensy tiny little cutesy wutesy critter wheeling its arms around wildly as it squeaks like a chewtoy with every flex of Mercedes' fingers.

It's really just kind of sad.

But, you know, adorably sad.


Its great and terrible mistress, Jack-O', remains blithely oblivious to its struggles as she remains perched on that amp, feeling the ever-present thrum of music as she rests her masked chin upon her palm and peers at Mercedes. "Hmm..." she muses, softly. "Oh, I suppose you're too young to know the older trends, aren't you? Or maybe it was me who was too young. It changes sometimes, you know?" Her voice, once possessed of a bubbly effervescence, now seems to be almost contagiously serene -- like listening to the gentle lap of the waves on the shoreline or indulging in the comforting heat of a sauna. "Sometimes I have memories that stretch back decades, and the next..." Her fingers snap; that mask's smile, somehow, grows sadder.

One of life's little mysteries.

"... I've only lived for a handful of days, or not even at all. Sorry. It's hard to relate to things like this when your relationship with the physical world is as tenuous as a fraying rope."

With that, Jack-O' slides off those amps. Despite the /noise/ and despite how gentled her voice has become, it still carries with an easy confidence as the jack-o'-lantern ball and chain familiar that is Dorpos CRACKS into the ground she impacts heels-first.

"Still. There's something unusual about you. You came here looking specifically for me, or else you wouldn't have tried to single me out. Which means you must have tracked me here, which shows a certain amount of dedication... did I-No send you?" As she speaks, Jack-O' tugs those gloves a bit more firmly over her hands. Her masked head tilts, a sigh escaping her. "... Mm, that might be a bit problematic if so. I was hoping I might learn something from you but... OH~~!"

And just like that, Jack-O's demeanor shifts on a dime. She leaps up into the air, hands clapping together in a perfect freeze-frame moment as that mask makes a most joyous expression. Her voice, a bubbly squeal of HORRIFICALLY SACCHARINE JOY. "I know, I know~! We can have a dance-off!! I'll get super duper valuable data and then you can help me continue to exist and then and then and then maybe if I dance you up SO HARD YOU PASS OUT I won't have to worry about all that other stuff! Right? RIGHT!"

Her right hand sweeps outward. And with the threading of magic, a glowing, ephemeral layout of organ keys assemble before her. She starts to play. Furiously.

"OKAY! Jack-O's amazing dance party is ready for business!!"

And judging by how those pulsing pods start spitting out /more/ Gearlings as if by command of her efforts, it's prrobably not dancing she's talking about.

"Let's boogie oogie oogie, mysterious stranger!"

But it's fine. Everything is fine.

COMBATSYS: Jack-O' focuses on her next action.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Mercedes         0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Jack-O'

Mercedes' hand moves with a peristalsis of pain that unfortunately does not do much against the Gearlet even as Jack-O begins explaining things. "I'm not," she begins but then Jack-O's words practically overwrite her speech bubble, to her consternation. She yields a pace because she half way has to, or perhaps because her shoes are too expensive to risk Jack landing on them.

A series of faces crosses Mercedes' gob as Jack-o speaks. She mentions I-No, or is it I know, or iNo, or some god damn thing or other; Mercedes can't piece the name together and despite her cunning plan to foist work onto a co-worker, she is remiss in her reading of the knowledge base. Need to know, and Mercedes does not need to know a whole lot of things. Her lips purse tighter as the dance-off is proposed. Her arms fold before her, after she tosses the Gearlet to the ground and steps on it casually.

(Slap Nuts the bassman tugs at the extremely high - as in, 'up to the cheekbones' - turtleneck collar he has on. That's the uniform of Phimotic Front, you see; get it?)

"Let me think about that for a moment," Mercedes says with a cold tone in her voice, before --

Wait, she thinks as those keys exist. Waaaait. This isn't some kind of funky chi or a brood of brats born of over-generous social welfare policies, Mercedes thinks: This is some kind of deep strangeness, a cthonic energy the likes of which her masters have not often seen. A ripple of music raises, and as the Gearlings begin to come forth like pollen from the trees, Mercedes takes in a deep breath.

She snaps her fingers at Slap Nuts: "Beat, worm," she tells him.

Slap Nuts starts playing a thrumming line after a four-note downward chord even as his bandmate says to him in very small letters, "tell them about the album dumb ass, stop staring at - wait, is that chick a serial killer?" ("i /hope/ so!" says Slap Nuts.)

Some people have desires.

Mercedes begins to shake her hips in an asymmetric way as the thick sludge of Slap Nuts' steady playing fills the club, and she saunters forwards one step, two steps, three steps - she snaps her fingers aaaaand then she slides one leg forwards to try to hook her jagged-ass copper toed heel into the back of Jack's leg and yank it out from under her.

"GET DOWN," she shouts at Jack -- a double entendre!? Single, at least!

"And stop saying I Know, dammit!"

COMBATSYS: Mercedes successfully hits Jack-O' with Vous Desequilibrer.
- Power hit! -

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Mercedes         0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0          Jack-O'



These are the sadly saccharine sounds of a deflating Candy Crusader as it is sadistically crushed underheel. Jack-O', of course, obligingly raises a hand to her mask, letting out a quite coy gasp as those shining mask holes round and widen.

"Oh no! Non-consensual!!"

The mourning, however, does not last long before the sound pollution that is the Phimotic Front (which, of course, Jack-O' gets "OHHHHHH I GET IT" and doesn't get "waaaait, do I--??") clots the air with the assault of soundwaves. Green eyes somehow squeeze shut as Jack-O' feels the crime against humanity that is Slap Nuts' rhythm. She starts to wiggle like she spontaneously decided she was made of jelly, the motions f her body almost bizarrely graceful as her wobbling arms lift upwards toward the ceiling.

"Wow wow wow!" she enthuses, brightly. "This is really terribLAHGH"

And this is the sound that Jack-O' makes as the terribLAGH music distracts her -just- enough to not noticed Mercedes' gyrating jump until she finds a heel biting the back of her knee and introducing her to the terrible concept of gravity, a thing to which she is not often closely associated with. Her legs go up. Her back goes down.

'GET DOWN!' proclaims Mercedes.

"I DON'T KNOW YOU THAT WEAUGH POWER HIT" rebutts Jack-O' as she flips head over heels and crashes in an inelegant pile of limbs on the ground below.

"ooohhhhh and in public too"

The little minions are assembling themselves, floating around the peripheries but not yet advancing. Jack-O', meanwhile, seems like she might stay in that heap, her masked eyes literal spirals of confusion.

Which might make her subsequent recovery feel even more abrupt as she presses hands to the ground and -hefts- herself upward into a handstand, Dorpos flailing about her in a dangerous sway of his pumpkin-mace-like body.

"Ohhhh, I get why you're confused! You think I'm saying I-No, when I'm saying I know!" conversational to the bitter end, Jack-O' continues the pace of both her words and her motions as she speaks, hips flexing as she spintops on the ground; as she does, that halo at her head begins to -expand-, and -spin-, flying upwards along her inverted body like some crazy, floating hula hoop that swings in to buzzsaw into Mercedes with the first graceful swivel of Jack-O's body --

"I know it's confusing but when I'm saying I-No I'm not saying I know because sometimes I know very few things, but I know I-No extremely well! Unless -- oh no, did you think I was saying I know when I was saying I-No?!"

-- and then again, as she launches herself off the ground, halo finding its way around her left leg as it swings in for a sawing, overhead kick, complete with an additional of magical, spiked halo driving mercilessly for Mercedes.

"I know you know it wasn't I-No, it was I know! Stop confusing the subject!! ... um. What were we talking about, again?"

COMBATSYS: Mercedes blocks Jack-O''s Hell Angel.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Mercedes         0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0          Jack-O'

Mercedes rolls her eyes. "It liked it," she says.

And then - P O W E R H I T -

Hey that worked out, she thinks. Mercedes raises up one foot as if to stomp a grinding heel-crush into Jack-O's body and rip that mask off, but the Gearlings. Those little bastards fill her peripheral vision. Mercedes is wary. Watchful. Waiting. She sets her other foot down with a click, before the huge flailed mace rises and she watches it.

"I know you know what I mean," Mercedes answers as her opponent begins to twist apart. (At this point every onlooker has now gotten into position as befits people who are seeing a spontaneous match. The Duck King is out spillin' drinks with somebody, so he will be of no help - just like police.)

"Listen, you," Mercedes begins: "I know you know that I don't know I-No, and I know that I-no is someone that you know -" The halo top is expanding and with an exploding force matching that of six thousand burning suns, Jack-O closes -- strikes! The burst smashes Mercedes back, only a twisting of her arms to catch some of it on an X-cross over her abdomen keeping her from joining Jack in the Fall On My Ass Club.

"Aaaaaarrrgghhhh shut your fucking mouth and tell me what you're doing here you masked menace!" Mercedes exclaims, shaking her head once and sucking in a deep breath. At which point --

A cool wind rises. It is pretty obvious here in The Club because the air becomes notably clearer, all the lingering sweat, stank, interior cigarette smoke (JAPAN~) and leftover stage craft moves towards the southwestern quadrant of the building. That is the way that Mercedes is facing. The air is fresh, swift -

And Mercedes leaps into it, borne forwards to aim a donkey kick with both legs right square at the center-mass of Jack! "And once you're done shutting up, you'll give me the answers I want! I know it!"

"FUCK" she adds, because she did it again.

COMBATSYS: Mercedes successfully hits Jack-O' with Coquin Mistral.
~ Cruel hit! ~

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Mercedes         0/-------/--=====|=====--\-------\0          Jack-O'



And this, this is what a short-lived victory sounds like.

Jack-O' Valentine's guffaw of glee is transformed within a flash into a spittake of surprise (one would assume, at least; who knows what the glowing green energy spraying out of that mask really is) as she finds herself being pummeled with two heavy, booted soles aimed with a donkey's vicious precision for her solar plexus. The glowing green eyes of her mask literally bulge outward in shock as she goes from hands on bodysuited hips to just sort of flailing wildly through the air on a one-way trip across the dance floor. With a CRASH she bowls over a few revelers, buried in bodies, ass in the air, legs just kind of twitching limply for a moment. This might be the perfect time to strike--!

--and yet, the very moment that Mercedes makes her expert recovery from that forceful kick, she'll find a flying minion barring her path. One stubby little hand points a wand forward. The other crosses under it. Legs twined together.

Is it -- is it doing a Sailor Moon pose??

The world may never know for sure, as seconds later, a spherical expulsion of emerald, arcane might -ripples- from the tip of its wand with a shocking amount of power for something so tiny. The magical shockwave expands to -hammer- Mercedes further away, all with a delightfully high-pitched "wahhhHAH!" from the creature as Jack-O' slowly rises to her feet.

"... I see. Interesting." Once more, the voice is calm, as Jack-O's gloved hand reaches towards the cool iron of her mask. "I'd be lying if I said that wasn't a painful experience, but I'm grateful all the same. A modified form of savate, isn't it? There's something different about it. Supplemented with chi...?"

And as her hand falls, she pulls that mask away, pinkish red eyes gentle and smile of a subdued kind of serenity that could melt ice caps simply from the easy sincerity of its warmth.

"I'm sorry. I'd be happy to spend some more time with you, because you seem rather interesting... but I'm not going back, I'm afraid."

COMBATSYS: Jack-O' successfully hits Mercedes with Spectral Warlock.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Mercedes         1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\1          Jack-O'

What IS that green shit coming out of Jack-o's mask? Mercedes is not eager to taste it, but one might fairly assume that the flavor of that material, strange and slimesome as it may be -- is green.

As Mercedes lands she finds herself face to mask with another of those little Gearlets, and she immediately reaches forwards to try to seize -


The burst of green force smashes her backwards, not quite off her feet but it's a near thing. Staggering back, she has to gasp for breath for a moment, looking at the Gearlet to Jack-O, back to the Gearlet, back to Jack-O, to the horse, back to the Gear-let, finally to Jack-O again. "You --"

And then the masks come off.

Jack-O is revealed, warm and caring and sweetly-sporty.

Mercedes instantly, fundamentally hates her, deep within her soul.

"Hnf!" she says. "Bold of you to assume I'm here to take you in like some kind of turkey. Would I be taking along your disgusting little imps or would I need detached housing? Pfeh - your abilities and your appearance will surely be filed in the archives, perhaps alongside the CRUSHED REMAINS," this towards the wand-wielding Gearlet before her, "of one of your PATHETIC familiars - and that, in the end, will be that. Unless you would like to volunteer? Perhaps to become a protected species of some sort? Hnh hnhn!"

Her hair is tossed with one hand.

Sauntering forwards - only stumbling like once - Mercedes closes the distance. And when she gets close enough she snaps up one foot with abrupt speed to try and dig the toe of her shoe into that bared face! It's a slap, but with her foot! She'd probably have used the sole if

A. the angle was right
B. She'd thought about it
C. she cared
D. both B and C

COMBATSYS: Jack-O' blocks Mercedes' Medium Kick.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Mercedes         1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\1          Jack-O'

"Oh, I see. So you don't know what I am yet."

Jack-O' Valentine looks nothing less than at ease with herself and her situation -- the type of easy, infuriating confidence that comes from when one has a wealth of experience at such things. It is a sea change from the bubbly madness that came before, and yet it seems to fit her like a glove just as much as her previously insane behaviors did.

Like looking at the other side of the coin, freshly flipped.

Her arms crossing under her chest, the strange, red-eyed woman's bellbottoms sway mildly as she rests her weight on her right foot. Her head cants like an owls as she considers Mercy's words, and her approach -- and perhaps much to the poor young woman's chagrin, it is sympathy rather than anything else that crosses Jack-O's expression.

"I think I understand, now. You're..."

Her Gearlings float around her, assembling into strategic formations that seem designed to call attention to them and their relation to Jack-O' for her next words.

"... a minion, aren't you?"

Mercedes closes the distance. Jack-O' holds her ground. The tension of her legs is a subtle thing, easily missed. "Your orders come from higher up, huh? Or maybe you saw an opportunity and decided to seize it. The initiative is impressive, but you'll have to forgive me--"

The foot comes, spearing forward toes first -- for a face that simply isn't there anymore.

Instead? Instead, Mercedes will find her foot caught between Jack-O's own, the woman flipped into a handstand, pincering that limb tightly. Her jack-o'-lantern familiar, Dopoulos, goes flying straight upward into the air from the motion, chain at her ankle elongating as it goes.

"--your offer is very sweet, but a little too forward. How about introductions, instead? I'd love to get to know you. You can call me Jack-O' -- I'm a little hazy on the details sometimes, but if there's one thing I'm absolutely, undoubtedly certain of, it's--"

And then, like all things affected by the fetters of gravity, Dopoulos falls.

And then engages rocket thrusters, as jack-o'-lanterns are wont to do (???) to aid in the process, just as the calm, upside-down Jack-O' is overtaken with a bright and bubbly smile, her voice pitching up towards dangerously sugary levels...

"I~ love~ CANDY~!"

... just as Dopoulos comes crashing down, intent to ram into Mercedes and -knock- her away.

"Umm... is this how you're supposed to dance?? Something about this doesn't feel quite right..."

COMBATSYS: Jack-O' successfully hits Mercedes with Quick Strike.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Mercedes         1/--=====/=======|=======\==-----\1          Jack-O'

"I'm sure you do," Mercedes says as she lowers her foot contre-smack, raising one arm up to guard her core.


Mercedes's lip curls in a smug, authorative way.

'A minion, aren't you?'

A minion

a minion

a minion

a minion

"Uh?" Mercedes says, before Dopoulos smashes into her and her soul flies visibly out of her body, a shadowy double-image of Mercedes as she is bodied utterly and emphatically. So shocked that she hits the dancefloor hard enough to bounce, rising again and thankfully making contact with her soul again: FORES-- HUMA-- MERCEDESALITY RESTORED -

And landing on her feet, panting for breath. She clutches at her side, where she was bodychecked by the great rider.

"Refined sugar gives you cellulite and murders your pancreas," Mercedes gasps out. The wind picks up again, even as the Phimotic Front start to play a sort of ominous chord. "As for the introduction - I am Mercedes" she pronounces it in the french way, naturally enough "and I am NOT! A MINION! You miserable little globule! Look at this shit you have laying around! That!" she says, pointing at a Gearlet, "THAT," pointing at another, "THOSE are minions! I!"

She points at herself.

"Am glamorous and deadly! BEHOLD," she concludes, as she rises up in the air abruptly, causing the band to ooh and ahh appropriately and start to clap in an irregular rhythm.

"I am going to kick you in your chest."

She hovers for a moment, bobbing up and down like a medusa head in hit Netflix Original Series: Castlevania. (Featuring the voice of Jezebel Faiblesse as the Succubus.) And after THAT the wind snaps and she lunges forwards-- this is not even really flight although it may *seem like it to the inattentive* and it is certainly a diving twist downwards. As she descends from her unnatural self-buoying, Mercedes twists -

And aims to drive both heels straight dead on into the lower reaches of Jack-O's ribcage, the wind seeming to pile up behind her and GRIND HER DOWN EVEN FURTHER! "Aaaaaooohohohohoaoaoaoaoaaa~~!!" Mercedes cackles.

COMBATSYS: Jack-O' blocks Mercedes' Mont Ventoux.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Mercedes         0/-------/--=====|=======\==-----\1          Jack-O'

"RUDE" Mercedes says in the middle of whatever happens

CRUNCH goes Dopoulos as it smashes into the ground with the completion of Jack-O' Valentine's backwards flip. Landing sprightly on her heeled feet, her wide, wondering eyes blink once, twice, one gloved finger tapping against her lower lip as Mercedes recovers herself.

"Cell~u~lite??" she wonders, head canting. "Oh!! Don't worry, my body is like WUH-ZOW WHEEE SUPER EFFICIENT sooooo that never happens to me~!" And here, she flashes Mercedes a 'v' sign, as clearly the minion-but-not-minion would feel excited and happy for Jack-O' to learn that the Gear never has to be concerned about the downsides of, well, anything indulgent. Hurray!

"Besides, candy is a handy anchor into the material existence so that you're not just a random assignment of 1s and 0s not knowing if you exist or have folded into a phantom state between here and ~The Other Place~!"

As everyone clearly knows.

And, truth bombs delivered, Jack-O' just kind of busies herself with making a good faith effort at shimmying her hips to the music as Mercedes recovers. It lasts all of five seconds before she just up and quits.

"Uggghhhh it's no good," complains the Gear moments later, body sagging in visible defeat as she sighs out. "If it's all about butts, then why is this music so bad for it?? This doesn't sound like grooving music, it sounds like ominous fight music and-- ... oh. Oh? OH!!!"

One hand smacks into her open palm with dawning realization, eyes sparkling with jubilant excitement.


A second passes, as this dawning realization that she already realized before and promptly forgot because her memory is like swiss cheese actually sinks in for her.


And this is declared quite roundly as Jack-O' finally notices Mercedes floating into the air and demanding she BEHOLD. And so, Jack-O' BEHOLDS. Her lips purse together. She looks to the Gearlet Mercedes indicated. And then the other. Listens as she declares herself glamorous.

"Okayyyyyy I can see that, sure! Deadlamorous! But ummmm um um um there was something else that I forget that applies here I think?? What was it... what was itttttttt..."

Mercedes fills with DEADLY INTENT.

"OH yeah!" shouts Jack-O', as Mercedes declares her intent.


And so, having damned Mercedes to the fate of a glamdeadly minion, Jack-O' finally, FINALLY takes note of her hovering there. Making her intentions clear. And Jack-O', of course, does the only sane thing:

"Ooohhhhh are you using wind currents to suspend yourself in the air?? That looks fun! Me too, me too, me toooooooooooooooooooo--"

She lunges for the flying Mercedes, arms spread wide and fingers wiggling with disturbing range of motion.

"--ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooOOH NO MY CHEST"


And this is the sound of Mercedes and Jack-O' making contact in mid-air as the latter embraces the former, diffusing much of her acceleration before it can begin -- which doesn't make the impact any /less/ painful as the two go into a mid-air tailspin across the entirety of the club, crashing through lighting, props, everything as phantasmal Gear minions attach, flap their wings -- and just INCREASE THE ACCELERATION to try to slingshot them both bar-wards.


COMBATSYS: Mercedes fails to counter Medium Throw from Jack-O' with Coupe Direct.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Mercedes         1/-------/=======|=======\===----\1          Jack-O'

COMBATSYS: Mercedes blitzes into action and acts again!

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Mercedes         1/-------/=======|=======\===----\1          Jack-O'

COMBATSYS: Jack-O' endures Mercedes' Improvised Slam.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Mercedes         1/------=/=======|=======\====---\1          Jack-O'

There is a sound as two insane women with superpowers smash into each other in midair in the middle of The Duck Pond on a night when there's a live band because Duck wants to get some people in here to turn tables and sell beers.

That sound can be rendered as: skwish

Mercedes writhes in momentary agony as her leg gets jacked up and overextended, knee snuggled up neatly into her cleavage as she hisses out in pain and despair while Jack-O speaks and shouts. ARE they fight clubbing? Mercedes never saw that movie! She was practically a fetus when it was out! The intense enthusiasm of Jack-O has burned itself into Mercedes' brain...


But she is able to hiss at her as they fly through the air, as they are propelled by the Gearlets, "I am NOT a MINION! Do I look like I am yellow and have one eye, that I am shared by your grandmother on Facebook?!" Her hands come up to grasp at Jack-O's shoulders as she pivots round -

Pulls her up slightly, improbably -

Now that means SHE will surf against Jack-O's body as they strike against Duck King's profit margin!

(Half of Phimotic Front have collapsed. "Refreshiiiiiiiiiing" says the bass player.)





Jack-O' and Mercedes are /flying/. It's magical. Just look at them, snuggled up together to the soft lighting of drunken patron's perceptions, surrounded by cupid-like companions who lovingly guide them on their breathtaking journey--


--towards the magical world of extremely shatterable glass.


And so does Jack-O' become the world's most perplexed-yet-enthusiastic surfboard as the spectral Gearlings release them -both- in tandem to slingshot them away. The collision with the bar is a raucous one as Jack-O' literally /rebounds/ off the bartop surface, clinging tight to the bodysurfing Mercedes in the process.


And with that saccharine shout, off they both bounce, spinning an angry path into the back of the bar in a domino effect of bursting glass and spraying alcohol. It's bad. It's really bad. It's just... everywhere/.

Which might make Jack-O's following, far calmer words a bit harder to discern:

"Calculating trajectory..."

Possibly, until its too late.

"There. That should do it."

Because the very moment her back crashes through the bar and into the nearby wall, Jack-O' is curling herself up against Mercedes. The soles of her shoes plant themselves into the other woman's midsection with fluid flexibility. And as she starts to rebound off the wall with an "oof!" --

-- she seeks to SHOVE Mercedes further into the air, straight through the bar,


before PUSHING off the wall after her, Dopoulos' rocket thrusters (?!) forming and firing as she goes.


And as Mercedes soars, she may or may not notice the looming shadow above her.

The looming shadow that is Jack-O', gripping Dopoulos in both hands.

As the familiar transforms from rocket-powered jack-o'-lantern to rocket-powered iron maiden.


Which will open up gapingly wide before seeking to SNAP like a trap around Mercedes, and encase her comfortably...

... so that Jack-O' may piledrive her into the dance floor in a build up of force and red-hot magic.


COMBATSYS: Mercedes counters Forever Elysion Driver from Jack-O' with Coupe de pied bas.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Mercedes         0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0          Jack-O'

"Don't you call me a minion in front of the help!!" Mercedes declares with great heat as glass shatters and breaks and mid-shelf liquor goes flying, a precious bottle of Hennessssaaaaaayyyy that may be intended for G. Howard rescued by a quick-thinking bartender. The wall smashes but Mercedes is being held to. Is she?

Fukk, Mercedes thinks, as she's thrown upwards and forwards and into the air once more. Her back passes through the bar and at this point to be quite honest her blouse is looking like it's seen better days. (The slacks are made out of denim, however slatternly the fit, and as such they are holding up better.) As she is showered in glass, she tilts her head back -

The Iron Maiden looms.

Mercedes knows that the iron maiden is a libel invented by Protestants in England in order to justify a steady diet of Brexiting and atheism. But she knows that just because the iron maiden is #fakenews doesn't mean that it is not a thing here, now - and when that lantern splits and grows, she knows she has but one quick moment to act. The Iron Maiden snaps -

And Mercedes has already spread her legs apart. And so, it doesn't close!!

The mistral wind pours down over the bar floor and rises up, wafting Mercedes' hair and giving her a feeling of breezy air-cooledness as she answers Jack-O's implications of "friendship" and "happiness" with hot disdain: "If you want to dance, dance! If you want to be friends, find someone stupid and surrounded by toy models! This is Japan - just go through one of the radiation belts and look for plastic models! The key word is 'Gundam'! You can find everything! But don't ever -"

She snaps her fingers,

"Assume that I want to be friends!"

"For I," and now Mercedes twists herself round - hooking her leg to try and make the side of that clamping iron maiden tilt inwards, "WILL NEVER BE FRIENDS!"


Maybe she doesn't quite realize the implications. She DOES sound French. (And maybe she has considered the implication of never having friends. She DOES sound French.)

After this she kicks away from the iron maiden to land back on the bar with a click of her heels. Stomping once, a glass rises and she grips and takes a sip at which point someone says, "miss i was usin that as an ash tray" and Mercedes goes completely silent.

Dopoulos the Iron Maiden does not shut close. It strains and tries its hardest but the little iron maiden that could, couldn't.

Such is the power of never skipping leg day, and also being French, probably.

And to all this, to Mercedes' firm rebuttal of her friendship, Jack-O' Valentine only has one, very wise, very prescient, very important thing to say:

"Ohhhh, fiddlesticks."

And so it is that Mercedes kicks Dopoulos the Iron Maiden so had it subsequently transforms back into a jack-o'-lantern and then also goes flying at high speeds through the air, -YANKING- the chain upon which it is connected to Jack-O'. There is a moment there, where she hangs in mid-air, reddish-pink eyes wide. Perhaps her feelings are hurt. Perhaps Mercedes has done the impossible and crushed the Valentine Spirit. Perhaps --

"Wow this was a whole lotta fuUAAAGH RUNAWAY DERPOS"

And so as Mercedes lands with aplomb, Jack-O' goes flailing her wiggly way out of the club carried by the momentum of Mercedes' blow, blowing her an indomitably sugary-sweet kiss as she goes.


Of course, the second she blows that kiss, all the Gear Minions start to glow, as if triggered by some secret command.

And of course, as someone says, "miss i was usin that as an ash tray", the remainder of those glowing minions fly for dear Mercedes --

--and promptly explode, in beautiful bursts of magic and misery just as Jack-O' explodes through the nearby wall and out of the club.


The sound... of friendship.

COMBATSYS: Jack-O' can no longer fight.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  <
Mercedes         0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Jack-O' successfully hits Mercedes with Spectral Warlock.

[                        \\\\\\  <
Mercedes         0/-------/--=====|

Log created on 22:34:21 10/24/2018 by Jack-O', and last modified on 06:29:55 10/29/2018.