The dancing had started not long after the small troupe had rejoined the party. Whilst Jericho should have partnered Natsuki for the first dance, the ‘honour’ had gone to Prince Kai, with Jericho partnering Lady Elisa and Baldur … partnering Miss Gabrielle Trent. The Crown Prince partnering the Part Elf had certainly garnered comments – the general public opinion of Natsuki is not … high though there weren’t many who dared voice their thoughts too loudly.
Still, there was some grumbling and it’s likely it was heard.
Prince Cullen had stayed – much to Kai’s amusement and had attracted his own share of attention from the gathered misses. He’s currently on the dance floor with one of the younger daughters though Natsuki is keeping a weather eye on that.
Keeping a weather eye whilst finally getting her dance with Jericho.
Baldur too has found himself the centre of some attention and has been dancing fairly non stop since they got there. His partner is Lady Bethany Vidorias, the younger daughter of a Noble House that specialises in crops for textiles. Not … that they would admit that, of course. Noble Houses don’t engage in Commerce, after all but the girl seems to be … giggly around the cyborg.
Kai is dancing with Gabrielle and from the look of him is enjoying himself immensely. Whether she is, is a good question as they whirl and twirl around the dance floor.
The dance is just coming to an end when a growl can be heard from the direction of the ‘sitting’ Pumas.
Gabrielle is probably enjoying herself. She had after all requested that Natsuki use her connections to convince the prince to do so. It’s not easy to tell for those who don’t know her though because she has a perpetual half smirk on her face. Kai… might find that charming or amusing. Certainly her wit is quick enough.
Jericho is also keeping an eye on Baldur as they dance not that that’s hard. He stands out among the crowd. He’s about to go rescue him from his present situation when he hears the growl, frowns and glances behind him. Why are the bots doing that now?
As it turns out, Baldur isn’t as terrible a dancer as he thought himself to be. It might also be fortunate that Gabrielle tanked the cyborg’s first dance as she probably had a better idea of what she was doing than he did- and probably could take a few toe stubs. It’s probably more than obvious that he’s being extremely careful as he goes about things, worried perhaps that he might accidentally hurt someone.
By the time he’s entertaining Lady Vidorias he seems to have gotten the hang of the dance steps, and he might have even started to enjoy himself save that the girl is finding this way too amusing for whatever reason. The thought that she might actually be taking a shine to him has simply not crossed his mind, because the way he sees it he’s old enough to be her grandfather!
The sound isn’t from the music, and he releases one hand to let the girl spin outwards he cranes his head around to look in the direction of the noisy metal felines. Those’re the only things that growl around here- or so he can hope anyway. Anything else might be trouble. …not that growling pumas can’t be trouble.
Baldur might be old enough to be Lady Bethany’s grandfather but she doesn’t see it that way. She giggles again as he lets her spin, the growl from the Cat making her eyes go wide. “That … bot just growled… Does it do that often?” It’s probably fortunate that’s the last strains of the song and the young lady remembers to curtsy prettily. “Thank you for the dance, Sir Baldur.”
Natsuki snorts softly as she watches Kai and Gabrielle “Who do you think is coming off best there …” she’s a little relieved that they seem to be getting along, at least. The growl has her looking over just as Jericho’s cat stands into crouch. It rumbles again and turns it head in his direction, the rumble sounding something between a growl and a purr.
Natsuki’s cat isn’t far behind it and the part-elf’s widen and tugs on Jericho to head in that direction.
There’s a murmur amongst the guests who start to gather about them, perhaps making it difficult for the Taniguchi / Trent contingent to get near.
“I say, Miss Taniguchi …” That’s Kai, escorting Gabrielle with him. “Why is your Puma’s eyes glowing?”
“That’s a good question…” Jericho murmurs to Natsuki. Whom would be coming off better there? He’d love to listen just for the entertainment value.
“Is it supposed to be doing that?” Gabrielle asks mostly Jericho.
“Nooooo…” Well maybe no. He’s not sure. For all that they’ve studied these bots his people still don’t know much about them.
“Now there’s an excellent question,” Baldur murmurs, pulling his glowing gaze away from the puma to look towards the girl as the dance ends. He throws himself into a hasty bow as though just remembering himself, taking the cue from Lady Bethany. “You’re quite welcome, little miss.”
Turning, he starts over towards the others, a little faster when he sees the big cats start to move.
“Maybe they’re tired of playing at display pieces..?” he suggests as he comes up by Jericho and Natsuki, eyeing the big metal cats as they approach.
Lady Bethany titters as she joins her friends, eyes wide as the Puma’s move. “He called me little miss, did you all hear?” Baldur hears her saying as he strides away. She and her friends join the crowd forming around the puma’s – at least they’re keeping their distance.
When the five of them push through the crowd, Bubbles and Sparkles (Jericho hasn’t named them yet, so that’s what they’ll be till he does), growl properly and … images start to form just above the ground.
“Incoming transmission for Captain Trent and Lieutenant Taniguchi..” a voice sounds on the external speaker of one of the bots. The images, they’re a little disturbing, a band of demons that seem to be attacking a settlement. It’s hard to tell where, except somewhere in the mountains. Deep in the mountains.
“Our long range scanners have detected a disturbance at grid coordinates … ” the sound is distorted as the details are given. “You are to deploy immediately and intercept.”
There’s a collective gasp as the images play out. Demons … are a thing to be wary of.
“Not exactly a party piece.” Jericho says, stepping toward the hologram and pulling out something to record it with. “Gabrielle I think you’ll be able to use the Taniguchi communications station to send this to the Countess.” Who wasn’t able to make it tonight, sadly. But if there’s a threat even one quite far away she needs to know about it.
Jericho is quietly hoping that the bots AI doesn’t insist on going now. It’s going to be genuinely inconvenient if they do. And the damn things can be quite bossy.
The cyborg casts a look back at the girls if only to make sure they’re well away from the massive pumas. He looks back just in time to see the projections, taking a step back, a hand sliding towards the holster of one of his guns.
Slowly he eases his hand away as the transmission plays, but he watches the proceedings warily, optics narrowing as he makes out the creatures displayed. “Well that ain’t pretty…” he murmurs.
Baldur looks up at the cats, and then towards Natsuki and Jericho. He may not know that the guild master doesn’t seem to have any designs on heading out immediately, but the cyborg sure looks raring to go.
“Not at all…” Prince Kai says, stepping forward as Gabrielle does. He’s still … holding her arm. “Do they do this often, Baronet?” he asks conversationally. It might be hard for others to tell, but Natsu knows he’s concerned. “I didn’t get the coordinates, did you?”
Bubbles turns it head to look at Kai and Gabrielle “Identify the technicians that are accompanying you …”
In Baldurs head a voice sounds //You like you are trying to determine the coordinates, would you like help with that?//
Natsu sighs and steps forward so Bubbles can ‘see’ her “Lieutenant Taniguchi, reporting in. We will deploy in twenty four hours.”
“Where is Captain Trent, Lieutenant? You are to deploy immediately.” The Puma’s turn and their mouths open, lower jaws forming a ramp to enter. The growling just gets more … insistent.
“Gabrielle Trent, Prince Kai and Baldur.” Jericho identifies the other people with him knowing damn well that the AI might think the Prince’s name is… Prince. This might amuse him if he knew anything about the singer centuries ago. But he doesn’t.
“They do this occasionally your highness but not often.”
Gabrielle frowns. “They must be recieving transmissions, what if we Jam them?”
“I don’t want them stomping off to reestablish contact if we do.” And they might do that. They’ve shown a remarkable ability to autopilot. He frowns at the nearby cyborg.
“Are you alright, Baldur?” He’s not… answering the order to deploy.
What? You people act like seeing a cyborg smacking himself upside the head isn’t normal or something! “Agh, not you again!” Baldur almost whines. “I didn’t say anything about coordinates, -they- did!”
Wonderful, he’s talking to himself. At least it sure looks like he is.
When he notices that people are looking at him he straightens up, somehow appearing almost sheepish. “Er what now? We deploying?”
Yeah. He…was kind of preoccupied so hadn’t really been paying attention.
It’s Sparkles that’s responds this time “Technicians Gabrielle Trent and Prince Kai recognised. They will need security processing on the march.” Natsu sighs and gives Kai a long suffering look. “No, Your Highness, you are not permitted to join us. Your Royal Father would have me hung, drawn and quartered…”
“Fair Natsuki, you wound me. I could team with this wonderful wonderful beside me and provide backup for you … Leuitentant and the Captain.” He’s not even trying to hide the laughter. “Tell her, Captain. I’ve been recognised now…”
“Prince Kai, this isn’t funny.” Natsu hisses. Not even Jericho manages to get under her skin like Kai down does.
“Technician Baldur recognised from previous missions. He is to report to central command for maintenance. His interface with the AI administrator appears to be faulty.”
//You appear to be having trouble with your servo circuits. Would you like help with that?// The voice in Baldur’s head sounds.
“Jericho, tell them to stand down.” Natsu murmurs, collecting herself as the holographic images fade from the ground. “And no, Miss Trent, I don’t think jamming the signals will help. Last time, they kidnapped us and tried to find the connection.”
“We will deploy soon.” Jericho assures the bot AI… and the Prince. He’s not relishing the idea of having to explain this to… everyone. The fact that the bots are talking is a novelty but the images of demons and the military rank he and Natsuki seem to have are going to generate concern and questions. He’s not sure which it’s going to generate more of… or which is going to be more troublesome.
“Continue to monitor the situation and return to inactive mode.” There is absolutely no guarantee in Jericho’s mind that the will in fact do that. They’re keyed to their pilots, sure, but they respond to the central command in the tower that appeared outside of Trent lands a little while ago. The exact nature of that connection has yet to be determined.
Though… the Baronet blinks a bit and looks at Natsuki. “Are… you saying that Baldur is defective?”
“Hey! I ain’t interfaced with no one and that’s just rude!” Baldur huffs, jabbing a finger in the direction of the puma, not seeming to care that he’s taken to arguing with a giant metal cat. Not that it’s the first time, is it?
“Agck! I don’t even know what you’re talking about!” He clamps both hands over his head as the voice chimes again, not that it helps much when it’s sounding inside his head. “And I’m not defective!” he snaps, somehow managing to catch that from Jericho, although he looks somewhat hurt that the very thought’s implied.
Then again, he probably doesn’t look in his right mind, now that he thinks about it.
“Are you alright Mister Baldur?” Kai turns his attention the cyborg but not before giving Natsuki a speaking look. Jericho hadn’t said ‘no’, after all.
“The connection with the administrative AI we installed is not working effectively.” Bubbles answers Jericho. Well, it’s not Bubbles that’s talking it’s ‘Central Command’ wherever that is. “He may be defective. We don’t recognise the technology he’s using.”
Perhaps to Jericho’s surprise, both Puma’s turn and take up position again – like two statues guarding the pathway.
“Well now, isn’t that interesting.” Kai says brightly, still peering at Baldur. “Fair Natsuki, I believe we need drinks, more dancing and then an explanation is in order.”
The crowd is just staring though now that the Puma’s have settled, some are starting to filter back to the entertainment. Jericho will see though, there’s intense interest from two of the Guild Houses he intends to approach for support.
Baldur shakes his head, and although it may not necessarily be in response to Kai’s question it may as well suffice for one. He has no idea of any differences between who’s talking, the cat or something through it, but he’s glaring up at ‘Bubbles’ once it speaks again.
“Wait, you installed something?? You dumb cats, my brain’s not circuits and wiring!”
He shakes a fist after the metal felines as they settle back down into a more neutral mode once more.
“I…think I’ll take a walk if you don’t mind, Miss Natsuki, Guild Master. Your Highness. Somethin’ extra pipin’ up in here’s just put me in an ornery mood and I don’t wanna spoil the festivities any.”
Reaching up to tip the brim of his hat, the cyborg nods at them before turning to walk it off, as they say. He’ll come back once he’s cooled down.
Giant mecha-pumas don't understand party protocol.
December 19, 2411
Taniguchi Manor, Dogwood