2016-09-30 - Tokyo Motor Showtime

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Title: Tokyo Motor Showtime

The Tokyo Motor Show kicks off to a thrilling start. Students have an opportunity to enjoy its many wonders, while models make their latest debut... but not everyone at the show is here to have a good time.


Kozue Kaoru, Marinette Dupain-Cheng, Setsuna Higashi, Fuu Hououji, Chika Aki, Lera Camry, Tsuru, Rei Hino, Endo Naoki

GM: Utena Tenjou


Tokyo Big Sight (Tokyo International Exhibition Center)

OOC - IC Date:

09-30-2016 - 11-25-2014

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Tank! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2rVnRwW0h8

The Tokyo Motor Show is breathtaking in scale, filling the Tokyo International Exhibition Center (aka Tokyo Big Sight) to capacity and then some. Imagine hall after exhibition hall, swimming in massive red carpet, linking dais after dais, these platforms coated in sparklingly new, unreleased vehicles, experimental concept cars, and -- it must be acknowledged -- beautiful young women who've been hired to help show them off. There are company officials wearing suits too, of course, eager to give lectures on the latest and greatest in automotive ambition at the drop of a hat.

The soundscape is tremendously deep. The buzz of the crowd, the hawking of the presenters, the occasional roar of an engine, the chime of a jingle, the sizzle of croquettes frying down at the food court...

There is significant pride-in-place at being one of the first visible showcases near the entrance, and today that pride, and that place, have gone to a project that creates a crowd many heads deep every time the switch goes on and the demonstration takes off.

The crowd tends to murmur soundbites like "truly autonomous vehicles" and "unprecedented safety" and "Keiko Seito" and "mouu, but look at the designs, they're so /cute/!"

And the display... well.

It has several components.

  • There's an actual car, sleek and luxurious as a Sunday morning nap on a bed of rose petals, glistening black with a faint scattering of golden feathers curling and floating across its dominant lines. It's the sort of car that looks like it's going a thousand miles an hour even while it's holding completely still.
  • There's a floor-level display, easily viewed from above by the standing crowd, which could be the ultimate mouse racetrack. The course is complex, with obstacles, ups and downs, twists and turns. Within it, tiny replicates of the larger car navigate at high speeds in real time. Every so often, there's a squirt of water or of grease or even of ink across the windshields, causing the cars to adjust or crash. They don't crash. Ever.
  • And there's a video screen, showing a similar sight out on a real racetrack, with real vehicles. It's harder to adjust the environment on the fly at the human scale, but it seems clear that these cars are succeeding at driving themselves, avoiding one another, and also the people in overalls who stroll through the course with the absolute confidence of someone who believes from the bottom of their heart that they will not get hit.

At the head of the display is a woman, standing proudly in a suit, holding a tablet and taking questions from the audience. She has fluffy brown hair pulled back into a bun that is determined, over the course of the day, to flop into a ponytail instead, and brilliant green eyes. Surrounded by the crowd, she seems as exhilarated by the attention as any driver might be going ninety miles an hour -- settled into a groove, taking things as they come, lest she get overwhelmed instead. "Yes? Yes, the XB-9000 system could theoretically be installed in any engine, though significant modifications would have to take place in some of them to allow for fully computerized control. The Black Phoenix has been optimized for XB-9000 use." A wide grin breaks across her face like the sunrise. "And I've always loved great-looking cars."

"But what about the expense?"

"The thing of it is, previous attempts at autonomous cars have used LIDAR, which is very expensive. But we know that there are creatures who move at tremendous speeds for their size, in the dark, in inclement weather, using /sonar/ -- the XB-9000 has digitized this effect, and navigates using sound! And to pre-empt the next question, it's not disrupted by unexpected noises. I mean, running the small-scale demonstration in this loud exhibition hall is evidence enough, but if you don't believe me..."

Her eyes settle on the cluster of students just entering the hall. "Hey, kids, come on down, come closer, right up to the edge of the display. You got your phones with you? Have them pump out your favorite songs, point them straight into the track. All at once, now, let's get some real cacophony going!"

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Cars are not at all one of Setsuna Higashi's areas of expertse. ...That's exactly part of why she was so excited to have the chance to go and see them, and it's also part of why she's a little nervous about speaking up and asking questions of her own in the process.

She has her little pass on a lanyard about her neck, and she dressed up a little for the show. The purple-haired girl wears a long, knee-length red dress with white lines at some of the seams, along with a few touches from a certain fashion line; a loosely-draped sweater in a blue so light it's nearly white, gathered about her wrists, and brown boots because it was cold outside. She has an Aohime bag slung over her shoulder. And she is looking around everything with big red eyes as she starts to step inside.

Even as she turns the corner she can see the first display, look at the beautiful lines of the car before her through standing crowds, just enough to get her looking more closely. She comes in just in time to hear vague sounds about the expense, only able to hear more closely something about unexpected noises. But then she's one of those called in. She blinks over at the woman with the rablet in the suit, as if confirming that she meant /her/ along with the others. But she did want to get loser...

Setsuna hesitates before picking up her pace and hurrying along closer. "If you're sure..."

She slips a red-and-white phone out of her bag, a very pretty, very adorable thing. Pressing a few buttons, Setsuna turns on the music. She holds it out, not entirely sure of herself, and there's a strain of absolutely cheerful, upbeat music coming from her 'phone'.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo is here to see cars. He's never been super into them--subways and bikes have served him well for most of his life--but every now and then he considers what is might be like to own a car. Not that he could ever afford any at the Tokyo Motor Show, but they're neat to look at.

His eyes follow the demonstrations on the screens, both the big and small cars, seeming appropriately impressed with the lack of accidents. When called upon he scoots closer to the display, digging out his phone. He has to punch a few keys before he finds the right video online: A video of bats, making bat noises. He holds the phone up toward the track.

<Pose Tracker> Chika Aki [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Chika Aki was in the crowd of students, quietly following them near the back. She isn't the most comfortable around large crowds, nor does she exactly know a lot about cars. But! When she learned where the Exhibition was going to be held she couldn't resist coming along.

She is attenstively listening to the discussion, and when the group is asked to bring out their phones and start to play music she hesitantly draws out her own. Her eyes look around to make sure others are starting to play music before she searches up and starts to play some light, happy music.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Lera Camry, too, is here to see cars.

She waves at Endo as she walks in; she owns a car, though she doesn't get to drive it so much. She still takes care of it, washes it all the time, and looks after it lovingly. She comes in from the back and looks up, before she walks on in. She has a black T-shirt, blue jeans, and a green jacket on. The girl grins, lightly, as she steps up.

One arm reaches out past Setsuna -- and then she sticks an iPhone over her shoulder, blaring out some American punk rock music.

(Green Day, specifically.)

"Look at all the cars!" she says, as she looks at the screen -- watching the race track curiously.

<Pose Tracker> Marinette Dupain-Cheng [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

The sights are absolutely dazzling for those with the right mindsets. Technical aficionados are sure to be delighted by the cutting edges of automotive technology; racing fans can dream of the next year's truly amazing contests; anyone with an eye for design can delight in what the next generation's curves might permit.

Marinette Dupain-Cheng is, naturally, in this last category. To some events, she might bring a notebook; here, she has three poking out of an Akai Mirai handbag and a fourth in hand rapidly being filled with sketches. Quick charcoal notes of just about everything there is to see - the cars, the outfits of those showing them off, a few notes on the architecture and how the displays are organized in a building this big... The world of the future is here to be witnessed, and Marinette is taking notes, occasionally brushing her pass out of the way.

She's also talking a mile a minute - not always entirely in local languages - and abruptly jabs an elbow to the person at her side. "Take a look at that! You don't normally see those kinds of angles on modern cars, the last decade's been focused on aerodynamics, but there's a je ne sais quoi about a vehicle that has that, comment dit-on... it's like they decided it should look like it's ready to stand and conquer! It's not really the normal approach for vehicular design, and really interesting to see-" She blinks, suddenly realizing that the person at her side is not Alya, who presumably wandered off about three rants ago. She takes an awkward step or two back "Oh! Sorry about that, I just got caught up in taking everything in and- ack!"

And down she goes - well, almost. She stumbles, staggering a few steps with arms windmilling to regain balance - and somewhere in there, her pencil went flying. Where it goes, whoever knows - but finally, she manages to catch herself on a handrail. Safe!

...safe, and presented with the Black Phoenix in all its glory. The woman presenting is a professional but passionate about her work - and between the presenter, the technical details, and that gorgeous design, Marinette's jaw simply drops. It's amazing beyond imagination, and it takes a moment for her to actually parse everything. After a moment, she starts whispering to herself - but not so quietly she can't be heard by whoever's standing nearby. "That's azam - I mean amazing! So it's a...sonar imagery? I wonder how it would handle something flexible like a tarp..." But the students have been challenged, and the fashionable middle schooler quickly takes out a sleek black smartphone, swiping to pick a track.

...the rock music that blares out -sounds- like it's wearing a leather jacket.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

There will, presumably, come a day when Fuu Hououji needs a car - either to drive herself, or to be driven in by somebody whom she trusts. That day is several years off at best - and Fuu is hoping that by the time she's old enough to worry about driving, there'll be even more efficient hybrids, if not entirely eco-friendly, vehicles to choose from.

But that's not what she's here for.

The display of the XB-9000 caught the eye of one of her computer club sempai, and since Fuu was done with classes and the archery team wasn't practicing, she figured that witnessing this application of computer science was worth taking some time away from the studying she needed to do in other courses. And she is, quite clearly, impressed - staring at the parts of the display, listening to the spokeswoman talk, and trying to figure out just what kind of codeslinging was necessary to make a car that can drive itself under this wide range of circumstances.

Her phone, however, does not get added to the supply of 'distraction noise' being utilized to try and confuse the computerized model cars; Fuu's taste in music tends towards game soundtracks rather than hard rock, and as such, anything she might cue up is probably going to get drowned out. She can guess at how the sonar avoids getting confused, too - most likely the sonar only 'listens' on the specific frequency that it's designed to use, possibly including a little bit up and/or down for Doppler effects and to 'listen' for other XB-9000 units' own sonar pings. That, however, does raise a question - and the question, in turn, makes her raise a hand.

"How well does the XB-9000 handle the presence of other cars not under the control of a compatible system?" she inquires, when given the chance to do so. "A human driver is going to be far less predictable than a computer, after all ..."

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

All kinds of noise blasts down into the tiny racetrack, but the cars are undeterred -- sometimes they have tiny reactions, little joggles, minor adjustments, but they stay in their lanes and away from one another.

The crowd bursts into applause, the engineer swaps the view on the video display to a cell phone code for more info after thanking her volunteers with two thumbs up added for good measure, and then -- at least for the moment -- the presentation is definitely over, because so many people are trying to get into the exhibition hall to see what the fuss is about, that the current group can do nothing but be filtered along.

There's a lot more to see -- particularly nearby are the new-model motorcycles, a presentation on the future of the flying car, and a bank of racing simulator machines which, miraculously, have no line right at the moment -- and are being advertised as the revolutionary next step in driver education. They have VR visors, seats, pedals, wheels, the works.

Keiko smiles to herself, and blots her forehead with a towel. Then she rummages around in her duffel bag for a drink, guzzles a mouthful, and starts taking questions from the ever-changing audience. Her answers are eager and passionate. Today, she's on cloud nine.

"Please, see for yourself," she adds to Fuu cheerfully, in between other questions from grown-ups wearing suits, gesturing to the video display of real cars on the track. Examining them more closely, about a third have real drivers, and they are, indeed, doing all sorts of random starts, stops, and turns, which the computerized vehicles seemingly effortlessly compensate for.

OOC: As this is a social, we'll be on the three pose rule for the rest of the evening; by all means, pose in when you can, mingle, goggle, and play.

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"Fully autonomous?" Someone lowers their designer sunglasses, which they're wearing indoors. She looks at someone in the crowd of onlookers and journalists who made a statement about the Dark Phoenix's offering. Loosely encircling her neck is a drape which looks like it belongs on a ride in a convertible, flowing in the wind.

One can picture it so clearly, looking at her, like she was in a car always in motion. Perhaps some fan, some wind machine is blowing? And yet the motions of her blue hair are not quite as exaggerated as the drape.

She's wearing a black felt bomber jacket with paneled patches here and there which seem designed to draw attention to the color and an Aohime logo of course, on the bottom right. It's unzipped almost entirely to reveal a contrasting loose bright blue top that left her mid-riff entirely uncovered, save by the jacket with the zipper at the bottom.

Her dark skintight pants look like they were made just for her, like an extra layer of skin, the panels on the side giving it a more flexible feel, which led into heeled boots. Casting a glance towards the Dark Phoenix side of the show room, towards the tiny track with the crash proof cars, it lingers there for a moment before she says more, "That's very impressive but not for me I think."

She gives that area a dismissive wave and slides her sunglasses back into place, "I think I'm looking for something a little sportier. Where I can feel the thrum of the engines as I- ramp up the throttle."

Leaning up against the hood of an azure Ferrari, whose sleek body design seemed to be a callback to the prior decades, but with modern power and luxury, she gave a small smirk. "This- is more my style." She leans back against it provocatively, pressing a palm down. Her statement was answered by a blitz of flashes.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"Yes, I'm looking!" Setsuna answers Lera cheerfully, though it might be hard to hear her. And hearing all the music, it muddies together into almost nothing for her, but still those little cars keep going. Big red eyes look over the track. Not before a smile at Chika who has music like hers, though. But--

She pauses, as she spots Marinette again. A moment ago she was windmilling. Is she still all right, or is she going to tip over again? As the new group starts filtering her along, Setsuna smiles Marinette's way. "I should take some notes like you're doing."

But then she starts moving over a little, until she's here out on the floor looking over everything else.

"Oh... Oh, Lera!" She glances to see if they still have Endo, too, but either way, "Let's try the simulators! They look so..."

She blinks over to see what must be an interview, with a girl very familiar to her. Setsuna tilts her head over at Kozue. What does she mean? She's implying something. But what?

"Um. Right!" Setsuna waves over cheerfully at Kozue, her Aohime bag flopping against her side, and latches onto Lera's arm to take her over towards the simulators. She seems in slightly more of a hurry than she was before, and once she's there sits right in one of the seats if she's allowed.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo waves at Lera in return when he spots her, doing the same for Setsuna, smiling brightly at his friends. Once he's decided that the cars are bat-proof he lowers his phone, nodding to himself. He spends a moment more at the railing, watching the smaller cars before pushing off and heading over toward the familiar faces of the two girls.

"This is kind of cool, right?" He makes a short gesture around as he crosses paths with them on the way to look at flying cars. He gets distracted soon enough, about-facing instead to follow toward the simulators. "You know, if the bat cars get really popular, nobody will even need to practice driving. Can you imagine that?"

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Lera moves to the floor with the others. She looks at Setsuna, a smile on her face, and then she tilts her head to the side; then, she nods once at her. She waves at the others, too.

"So--oh, hey, it's her," Lera says. She remembers Kozue from the fashion show; and, of course, when they talked about her. She waves at her, cheerfully, despite having barely spoken a dozen words to her in her life. Then, she looks at Endo, and flashes a grin at him as he approaches. "It's super cool! I didn't really see many cars on Midchilda, y'know? I mean--the town I lived mostly had busses and trains."

A beat. "I-I mean. AMERICA." She sputters and then stammers, as she walks after Setsuna. "Lead the way!" she declares, as they walk towards a simulator, stumbling until she finds her footing. "C'mon, Endo-san! We're gonna race. You'll have to work twice as hard, so Team Rendo can beat Team Leratuna."

She did not clear that nickname with Setsuna in advance.

She hops into the simulator, then grabs the wheel. The bracelet around her wrist gleams. "I feel the need. The need for..." She pauses -- and Broken Ground leaves her hanging. "Ground! You're supposed to..."

<No. Sky is Goose. I am Iceman.>

"You're getting Iron Eagle III all wrong!"

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

There are some basic instructions that bleep on the interior of the VR screens, for those sitting down to take a drive. Other than that input, however, it's a remarkably complete sensory experience -- looking left and right, one sees adjacent cars rather than adjacent players. Since Honda funded the simulator, they're all in the latest model Civics -- and, because the designers know what matters, one is allowed to adjust the tint of one's paint with a press of a button before setting off.

Stage One of the simulated track involves some cones to swerve around, some turns, and some actual stop signs and traffic lights; basic, certainly, but the way the car accelerates feels remarkably realistic for something that is only visual input.

<Pose Tracker> Tsuru [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"You ain't very thrifty, huh?"

Leaning against the wall, a lanky, deeply tanned man clicks his cheek in lazy consternation. His scale-patterned black sport coat and long-tipped leather dress shoes are not out of place in the parade of fashionable people Rei Hino has seen as she followed in Tsuru's wake today, but despite the ferocious, spiky excess of hair product, something about this man seems too rough for the auto show, too callous for a world of appearances. His jaw-length sideburns, the lupine prominence of his teeth, and the sloppy carelessness of his posture mark him out.

Tsuru lifts her hands from Rei's face. She'd been blending the black-red ombre of the volunteer model's lips. "No one buys clothing for themselves," she replies.

"Whatever that means," the lanky man says amiably. "Our people just want to know where all this money you're making is going. Guess that's a pretty obvious question, huh?" Limousines, new staff, premium jewelry, large silkscreened banners.

"I thank you for your patience," Tsuru says. "And apologize--"

"Nah, nah, let's not talk now," the man waves dismissively. "I can see you're busy." He pinches off a wink to Rei. "I'll catch up after."

Tsuru bows, hands ornately in her lap, and holds it until the intruder has loped off. Turning back to Rei, she makes a few final adjustments. She pauses for a moment in thought, and briefly it seems she will make a belated comment on their recent visitor. Instead, she gives a small nod of approval, draws up her sleeve carefully, and turns to clean her brush in a small basin.

  • * *

"Try to imagine the lights are hitting the whites of your eyes," Tsuru advises gently. "If you do not look directly, they are easy to ignore." If it is not obvious what she means by that, it becomes obvious when she nods to the Big Sight security guard, who pushes the door open and lets them out onto the floor amidst a popping profusion of flashbulbs. Tsuru continues to both disappoint and delight by showing up in a plain, slim white kimono, relying on her ethereal presence and a few artful notes of vivid red to command rather than demand attention. Her lower lip is marked with a crimson wedge of red; her ink-sleek hair gathered with a lacquered comb of the same.

Leading Rei across the floor, Tsuru never hurries or pauses. Every step feels well-practiced. If she has to stop to let others pass, she does so decisively, and waits until her passage is obvious. It is a patient progress, from a young woman who thinks nothing of her own convenience.

Stopping before the Ferrari Kozue is being paid to adorn, Tsuru unfolds a hand out to her side, indicating her companion. "May I introduce Rei Hino?" she asks. "She is our Akai Mirai model for today. Hino-san, this is Kozue. She is Aohime." This last is stated so simply. "You may look to her for assistance if you require it."

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Fuu hadn't noticed the actual human drivers in the video feed; she maneuvers to where she's got a better view of the screen, and takes a look for a couple of moments. How *did* they solve all of those problems? This is years ahead of anyone else's R&D ... but Fuu will have to keep chewing over that question without being able to gawk, because the crowd pressure behind her is consistent enough to force her to move along.

"I'm fairly sure that they'll want people licensed to drive their own cars," she points out to Endo with a friendly smile as she winds up in his and Lera's wake, meandering towards the simulators. "After all, if something goes wrong with the computer while you're on the highway, you'll need to be able to take over quickly, won't you? Although I should hope that they'll have optimized the system to avoid surprise downtime before the Black Phoenix hits market."

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"Yes," Setsuna agrees with Endo that it's cool, right along with Lera. "I don't remember seeing any bat cars," Setsuna answers Endo, having failed to catch his meaning entirely. "But I can definitely imagine that!" She almost sounds pleased with herself for the statement. She keeps talking as they keep walking, though she peers up at Lera and gives her a level look as she insists on 'America.' "I--"

Pause. That /name/.

"That is NOT our team name!" Setsuna insists. "Not even a little bit! What's wrong with 'Team Setsuna and Lera?' It's very functional!"

But she climbs into the simulator too. The car model doesn't mean a lot to her, but as she sets up for VR, she finds the /important/ button. Press press press until she reaches a nice, brilliant red.

"All right... go!"

...It takes Setsuna a few moments to actually figure out the accelerator. Then come the cones to roll over. She misses... one of them. "Um..."

She leans over, "How do I stop?"

She misses the appearance of a certain designer whose clothes she's wearing and a new model.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo heads to the simulators, asking, "Is Leratuna a fish? Do you catch that in the sea?" The boy laughs as he moves to sink into a seat, fiddling around and getting comfortable. "Ren'd be really good at this. I'm not good at games." Or driving. Which this is more of.

"Hello, Fuu-san. Do you think so? I guess that makes sense, but those cars'll probably make people more lazy." Endo nods his head somberly as he turns to address the other driver, and then settles back in to experience the miracle of driving.

He hits every cone on the beginner course.

<Pose Tracker> Marinette Dupain-Cheng [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

There's a dozen technical questions to ask, and a hundred design questions - but all too quickly, those gathered around the Black Phoenix are being ushered along to see the rest of the show. Marinette tries to get one last glimpse of the prototype car while trying to turn off the power chords of Jagged Stone - fumbling the volume up to maximum before finally getting it silenced - and grins in spite of herself. She calls out as the crowd moves on - "Nice show!"

They're moving on, though, towards the motorcycles and flying cars and simulators. Marinette catches a smile her way, and waves back to Setsuna. "I just wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything - oh, I hope I have a spare pencil or two, I have no idea where mine went..." It probably won't cause any trouble, right?

Briefly, her attention is distracted by a girl in cutting-edge fashion - and Marinette does a double-take upon catching sight of the logo. "...no way, is that..." She stumbles, bumping into a tall highschooler, and getting slightly disoriented. Her arms are held in close to at least keep her sketchbook safe, but she starts drifting toward the new-model motorcycles and sports cars. Another glimpse of KOZUE, paired alongside Rei Hino - and after rummaging in her bag for a minute, Marinette digs out a fresh pencil to start sketching.

There's sleek motorcycles, aerodynamic curves to sweep through the air. There's the coming year's Ferraris, with those agressive edges she was admiring earlier. And...there's the newest glimpses of both Aohime and Akai Mirai fashion being modelled. It's admittedly this last that gets the most of Marinette's attention - well more than the cars they are ostensibly presenting - and she's soon sketching page after page of the two models.

It might stand out, not being a camera - but she has enough room to sketch in peace, hard-won through judicious use of elbows.

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFODclG8mBY

Rei Hino had been feeling under the weather. A foggy head sat upon a reddened throat, tickling with malice. Her lymph nodes had swollen up with contained malaise and her coordination was, if not 80, then certainly not 100% either. But she wasn't going to let that get in the way of the offer that had come her way.

Aohime and Akai Mirai were names that had been on a number of tongues lately, and for the curious afficionado the name of Tsuru was not far behind. The fashion wunderkind of the Infinity Institute hadn't been on Rei's radar until recently, and the Shrine Maiden of Hikawa had not been able to learn so much as her last name. Attempts to suss out any mutual friends had come to nothing, and it would seem that even Tsuru's classmates couldn't shed much light.

These informational scraps did little to quell Rei's interest, and when the offer came, she was ready.

From head to toe there was little subtlety in her attire, but it says much of its designer that this didn't detract from the outfit's elegance. Her shoes rest upon three inch heels, kissing every step with a lush shade of Spanish Carmine offset only by the strong of delicate pearls marking the border between flesh and fashion near the knuckles of her toes. The bare alabaster of Hino's long legs climbs up and up and up some more, ending with a high hemline slashing diagonally across her thighs, lower on the right and higher on the left.

The dress from her waist on down is a form fitting gradient of the same Spanish Carmine on her shoes, darkening slightly around the colors edges before bleeding into a blood red crimson from her waist to her neckline...though there was little neck to the line at all.

At its peak the dress isa swooping "v," like the common two line doodle marking flying birds in the distance, cupping the lower three fourths of her bust but ending there like a corset. In an orange-red pattern marking the garments peak and swooping around her ribs with three strokes on each side is a design evoking a six winged bird, its downward beak and wingrips pointing towards her hidden navel.

Upon her left hip is a loosely bound sarong, flowing from Spanish Carmine to orange red to orange flecked with salmon as it descends. It is not wrapped around her so much as it perches at her waist, swaying with her steps to asymmetrically frame her stride. A tapering slash of pearls marks the point where the sarong meets the rest of her dress, curving like an animal's claw or a raptor's talon.

If it ended here then nobody could dispute the striking beauty of what could be called a distinctive and beautiful cocktail dress, but all those reds could only manage half the picture. Behind her stride, behind the sarong that follows, drags a flowing, sweeping ocean of black. The starless night follow her like a silent retinue, only meeting its mistress just beneath her head. Her thumbs, arms, shoulders, and neck are all engulged in the dark. Her fingers are naked, three gold bands mark either wrist, and two more arch along her shoulders, continuing at the back to loop together. In the front, these golden shoulder stripes end in lines of pearls, hanging like necklaces just above her breasts and along her collar bone respectively.

Her neck is covered, but aside from the very top, just below the chin, the black is broken by an orange field, upon which stands the cube of characters marking the Akai Mirai logo.

The tanned goon of a man seems more delinquent than dilettante, and his casual demeanor only emphasized the ethereal beauty that possessed the white-wrapped couturier. Stiffening reflexively at the laughable suggestion that he'd be catching anything but a kick from her later, she nonetheless suppressed her instinct to retort, and instead followed Tsuru's lead.

The advice is welcome, and its worth is soon apparent. Rei has long been interested in modeling, and though she's dabbled in its periperhy now and again, this felt like the truest of her efforts to date. She readily matches Tsuru's pace, if not quite managing the pure pinnacle of her demeanor. All in all she isn't accustomed to meeting peers of similar age who command her admiration. With few words spoken, she is already rather taken with the quiet dignity and classical sensibilities of the quiet designer.

She bows to Kozue with all the respect and practice of her training in etiquette. "It is an honor to meet you, Kozue-san. I will, Tsuru-sama."

Without further fanfare, she takes her place by her own automobile a la mode. The Lamborghini Centenario convertible looks like a car fit for the gods, sleek and muscular and unique in silhouette. This model is painted a dark and vivacious red, its wheels, seats, and bumpers in a full fleshed black. The color matches the Akai Mirai insignia reclining at her throat. She assumes a piercing gaze, staring into the crowd with the hint of a smile, striding purposefully along the magnificent beast her beauty is meant to promote.



<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"Ren-chan is pretty awesome at games," Lera admits, with a look forward. She does okay with the course -- her steering doesn't knock any cones over, but she isn't as fast as she would like. However, her grip slips on the wheel a little. "Um--"

She sputters at Setsuna's outburst. "It's--it seemed like a cut name! But..." Her nose wrinkles. "I think Endo-san's right. It's kinda fishy-sounding, isn't it? Could we be Team Setsera? No, that sounds weird... Higashry? Camgashi?"

<Eyes on the road.>

"Yeek!" Lera yelps, before her virtual car knocks a few cones over. "Um--try the pedal! The other one!"

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

There's a girl in the crowd that she recognizes. My. Kozue lowers her sunglasses again, and waggles her fingertips in her direction. She's in a hurry isn't she? But the look she gives her, there's promise in her return. She's about to lift those sunglasses back when an ethereal white presence parts the crowd.

If Tsuru is unhurried, then Kozue is completely languid right now. She waits patiently, then upon introduction, sizes up Rei in a way just as unhurried, "My~ Tsuru-san. You certainly know how to pick them. She's AkaMira through and through."

Her lips deign to adorn her face with a smile, "A real classical beauty." The kind a girl could feel self-conscious, putting herself up against, especially when she was wearing that. She tries to tell herself again it's not a competition. Those who defined themselves by the other- it still tied into her. Rei's bow is met with a dip of the head.

"Good to meet you Hino-san. Or should it be senpai?" As a student at Ohtori. Of course she'd know who Rei Hino is. The girl had a literal fan club's worth of admirers. Then again, so did she now. A soft chuckle leaves her mouth, "Maybe not after all. I guess here I'm your senior as a model, even if you've got a year on me- otherwise." A pause, "I'll be counting on you to do a good job filling in for little Nori-chan."

She watches Rei leave to take her place, her eyes upon the sweeping ocean of black following her it actually takes some effort to take her eyes off her. Casually she adjusts the scarf around her neck

Her eyes move across the crowd of flashes as she raises back up her sunglasses, her own extra shield. Though she had to make certain to lower them every so often to draw attention to them. And right now- they're falling upon the one girl who stands out in the observers, by virtue of the fact that her pencil is sketching, rather than her camera flashing.

Kozue waits until the girl's head dips again, and within moments her shadow has fallen over her. Her lips, four gradients of blue to abyssal black, seamless in nature, murmur just beside her ear. "Your bag is AkaMira right? You have very good taste." Perhaps she didn't choose her, and that's why it's not superb taste, but that's no reason not to make a good impression. Maybe, just maybe, she'd change her mind.

When Marinette looks up again, Kozue is right there, asking silkily "May I see?" She gestures at Marinette's pad.

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

At the end of the first stage in the VR simulation there's a sign which reads -- 'stage two: racetrack!'

Whereas the first course was somewhat realistic, all about precision and maneuvering and following instructions, the second half of the experience is nothing but the open road, and an invitation to accelerate as much as you dare.

One can, of course, see other peoples' cars on the road, to blow past or follow as one will.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

One of these days, Fuu thinks as she looks at Rei Hino, she's going to go shopping and actually get a couple of Akai Mirai outfits to add to her closet. For all that she was helping out at the fashion show where AkaMira and its sister line debuted, she *still* hasn't managed to make any use of her membership card - things keep coming up.

She manages to drag her attention back to the virtual 'test driving'. "Goodness," she observes. "Aren't you supposed to drive between the cones instead of over them? Or am I thinking of a different sort of driving game?"

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Maybe Setsuna will have the chance to talk to Kozue a little later on. Maybe Marinette will find her pencil. But right now?

Right now there is the matter of a team name and it is vital. "It's not cute! It's totally fishy! Except fish can be cute!" Setsuna answers Lera with a little frown, as she approaches a stop sign in the distance. "Setsuna and Lera! ...Or Lera and Setsuna! Or I guess using your names," past the stop sign, "Lerana or Setsura or Lerasetsu. Or--"

"Oh!" Setsuna stops sharply, right in front of a stop sign. "I did it!"

The drama of new model debuts would be of great interest to her... But now she's just set to get on the open road. "Ah..."

Setsuna leans forward, "I'll do my very best to win!" She /floors/ it, and the other drivers will see a red car shoot ahead. Setsuna takes this thing as fast as it can go. Into the...

Nah. Better not to say it.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo considers, and then informs Lera: "I think Setsuna-san's suggestion is the best choice, Lera-san." While he's offering this advice his car is doing donuts. But in reverse. When he does clear the course--which happens, eventually--he doesn't do that great in the actual race. There's lots of bouncing off things, and swerving. He probably hits a few people, making brief appologies. "I think maybe not the cones, no."

Eventually, once he's crashed a few times, he decides to call it quits. "Alright, I'm going to go look at the flying cars. I want to see what it's like." He waves farewell to those clustered around the simulator, and heads to the next display.

<Pose Tracker> Chika Aki [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Chika didn't really push to the front of the crowd surrounding the front-display. She was kind of on the fringe, standing with her hands clasped in front of her as her blue eyes just watch the display of the demo-cars zipping around on their own. Its easy to watch, and easy to let engulf her attention. She didn't look to be the most interested in learning to drive or running into the simulators.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"Okay, Endo-san!" Lera calls out.

Then, it's time to focus on the road. She listens to Setsuna work through the question of their team name. "I-I can see it," she says, "but maybe Setsulera? Or... I'm not--"

A red blur shoots by her car.

Lera's mouth hangs open, before she hits the accelerator. It doesnt't throw her back in her chair, but it /certainly/ rockets forward like no one's business. She grins, then, and leans forward, as she grips the wheel a little tighter.

"Look at you go!" she calls out. "I-I'm gonna try to catch up!"

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Flight Of The Bumblebee https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYAJopwEYv8

Keiko Saito, the engineering genius behind the XB-9000, has given her presentation over again once or twice in the interim, but now there's a lull in entrants to the exhibition hall. She exhales gustily with happy exhaustion. Her nose twitches in the general direction of the croquettes.

Then her eyes widen as she's approached by a man in a white suit, surrounded by men in black suits. "Keiko-chan~!" he greets with the bellicose intimacy of a beloved classmate.

"Suzuki-kun," she deadpans, pointedly using his surname.

"Would you look at those models?" Takashi Suzuki whistles, low and tight. "I'm shocked you didn't get one for the Black Phoenix. You're like the only one here without one."

Keiko's eyes narrow, dangerously. "She's a big girl, my car... she's more woman than most people can handle, no human adornment necessary."

Takashi snorts indelicately. "Don't think I haven't heard you talk about the models he--"

He's cut off by a scream in the crowd, not far from the VR simulators /or/ the press corps.


Both of them turn to look as the crowd becomes a kicked anthill, noise and confusion. Through it all, elbows flying, comes a kid, a real shortie, holding at least two more purses than he ought to have (making for three, total). He manages to make it into a gap in the crowd, tucks his head down to his chest, and goes into an all-out dash, trying to create space between himself and those who seek to stop him.

OOC: The thief can certainly be thwarted by meddling kids. Get around him, get him to trip over something, pour on the speed and catch up, the possibilities are endless...

<Pose Tracker> Chika Aki [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Chika might have been day-dream dozing staring at the running automobiles of the demonstration, but when the shrill cries of THIIIEFFF breaks out she perks up pretty quickly and blinks as she looks around for the source of the trouble. She was at the front door display, pretty close to the XB-9000. Hopefully, that sthe way the kid is going to try and go... Because Chika is tentatively edging out into the broad doorway, standing there and watching him as she waits to see if he is gonna try to make a break past her for freedom, or if he is going for another way out.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

A purse-snatcher at a car show? Fuu blinks, her mind racing briefly - and then she casually angles so that her purse *looks* like it might be a tempting additional target.

What the thief shouldn't be able to see is that she's hanging onto the strap even tighter, her right hand and an almost white-knuckled grip hidden by her own body from his(?) gaze. Ideally, if he gets greedy and tries to increase his haul even further, the ensuing tug-of-war will pull him off-balance however briefly - and maybe give her a chance to stall his flight enough for security, or civilians more confident in their skills for an impromptu apprehension of evildoing, to close in and secure him without any loss to her own belongings.

She'd BETTER not lose her purse, anyway: she's been making good headway on a few games on her 3DS, and losing THAT would be a real pain. System and games can be replaced, but the hours she's put into exploring maps and levelling characters? Those are ireplaceable.

<Pose Tracker> Marinette Dupain-Cheng [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Marinette Dupain-Cheng watches Rei Hino take the stage, and it is as elegant and amazing as could be expected. For a moment, her pencil - or charcoal, perhaps - stills completely as Marinette watches the newest model at work. Her eyes become just a little more discerning, a bit more analytical - perhaps a match for Rei's piercing gaze, perhaps not.

"I suppose the goal is to show off the Lamborghini, not the Akai Mirai...hmm. So if it's framed like that..." Her gaze drops, as could be expected, and she focuses intently on sketching for a minute - maybe two, even, without even glancing up to take reference. Is this tableau what she's actually sketching?

She shifts, and her bag shifts, and suddenly there's a shadow over her sketchpad. Marinette starts in surprise as there's a murmuring in her ear, a silky voice clad in elegance and perhaps a little audacity, and-

Stumbles, clumsily, and sure to collide with anyone close enough to murmur like that. "Wh - sorry! You surprised me - thanks, I needed something to hold my supplies and snacks and the style was..." Finally catching herself - and if she hadn't won a wide berth from the crowd before, she's certain to have one after flailing like that - she blinks, jaw dropping for a moment. "Hang on - you're KOZUE, right? I saw your debut show, that was certainly a surprising way to launch the new lines - I don't think anyone had expected student models! And - oh, right."

She looks down at her sketchbook, frowns, adds a couple more lines. "I'm not sure it's anything much to look at, but after seeing the new lines I got a little inspired, and...ack!" She's won a gap in the crowd - and that would-be thief seems to have on it, barrelling past her. It's too sudden for her to do anything but yelp, and trip, and fall flat on her rear having done little more than slow him up a moment. As she tumbles, her sketchbook is lost, flipping through the air.

Easy enough for her questioner to catch, and showing a pageful of sketches that fit neither the red nor blue fashion lines...

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Setsuna is zooming ahead of Lera in the middle of their name talk. She's too busy concentrating to keep it up for the moment, trying to avoid going off the road with... moderate success. Moderate in that she at least makes it back /onto/ the road after. Then there's a shout--

Her car peters out as Setsuna disentangles hrself, stepping away from the machine immediately to look out and see--Someone with many purses! The thief!

"I'm going!"

Setsuna dashes forward, ducking behind one person and in front of another before she finds a clear path. She's still got her own purse over her shoulder as she lowers down and starts in a dead sprint after the thief, just like she would in track. Setsuna is very fast and a dedicated sprinter, though she's had some time without training, and he's got a head start, so will it be fast enough...??

<Pose Tracker> Tsuru [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gWyMXpBcTY

Tsuru pauses next to Kozue as she departs. "When you are ready, make sure to pose with Hino-san a little. You don't need to arrange with the photographers; they'll notice." Gliding off, she allows Kozue to impress on her own. She needs to meet the money.

Tsuru spends a few minutes speaking with a group of executives. She's by far the youngest in the group, and yet they array before her in an unconscious arc, allowing her to address them. She won't compete for speaking space, humbly allowing her elders to interrupt or silence her, never trying to speak until the way is cleared. This quickly has the paradoxical effect of ceasing interruptions; the executives can get nothing from her at all without requesting it, and as much as they like to dominate conversation, they aren't comfortable with total monologue.

Tsuru's neck swivels, pale and graceful, for her dark eyes to follow the thief's progress with the curiosity that, in context of a crime occurring right in front of her, seems disconcertingly indifferent. After a moment, she looks instead to how others are reacting, and is surprised to find a diminuitive young student readying herself to intervene. Strange, isn't it? Excusing herself effortlessly from the thoroughly distracted executives, Tsuru makes her way to Chika discreetly, not wanting to interrupt any impromptu heroics.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.


Lera looks up when she hears the cry. Her eyes widen, before she looks sharply to the side at Setsuna. She nods, quickly, after her. She isn't quite as graceful as Setsuna in untangling herself from the simulator. When she does, the simulated car veers off to the side; then, Lera is bolting after Setsuna, running hard as she can.

"I'll go to the other side!" she yells. "If one of us beats him, we can push him into the other's path!"

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Kozue gives Tsuru the smile she's come to expect, "Of course they will. Let me know if you need me for anything- special." Then she watches her leave. She's not interested in meeting the money herself. That's not what she's here for.

Kozue doesn't cover her chuckle when Marinette stumbles back- flailing, speaks her name. "That's right. Do you have one to give me in exchange?" And after a moment. "You saw that did you? Well when it comes to Tsuru-san. You ought to expect the unexpected." So many already did. After all, Tsuru wasn't attaching her own name to her line- what she wore, the splash she was making.

The call of 'thief' draws Kozue's attention, but she's no do-gooder. They had security for that, and she was in no danger. When she sees the blur of the thief running by with three purses, she simply takes a half-step to the side. The girl with her however is not quite so fortunate. She's falling. And just before she would fall completely on her rear, a hand lashes out, catching her at the small of her back and arresting her fall.

It's like the Blue Princess had just dipped her with a swimmer's grace in the middle of some synchronized exercise, one foot just off the ground as she balances upon the other. Her face mere centimeters from hers, blue eyes drawing her inward. Scarf fabric so dense, and weightless at the same time brushing against her.

Perhaps a few rose petals from another display just floated on by. Her hand reaches out to the side and catches the fluttering sketchbook as it falls. "I disagree." She straightens back up, bringing Marinette back to a standing position, and teases lightly, "I think there's a lot worth looking at."

The passing of the thief isn't worth a mention. Her hand slides away from the small of Marinette's back like she just did nothing truly praiseworthy. She flips through the pages at a delicate pace, "My. Some of your designs are truly creative." They may be amateurish, but she had to admit they had talent, "Maybe you should stop by her shop some time. You might be able to catch her attention with some of these- unless-" She looks at her out of the corner of her eye, there's a twinkle there, "-you plan to be one of her many rivals?"

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Suffocation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHpbxkKVnEU

Keiko and Takashi are among the hundreds of bystanders who watch the drama play out; the thief goes tripping over Marinette, and loses his grip on one of the purses in so doing, a soft leather affair that probably cost thousands of dollars and may well contain thousands more. It lands with a thump in the sprawled girl's lap.

The time it takes him to fall back into his rhythm allows Setsuna and Lera to make serious gains, and they catch up to him around the same time he's passing Chika (and, more distantly, Tsuru).

There is likely, here, to be a convergence of plans.

"Looks like all's well that ends well," predicts Takashi.

"Kids these days sure are energetic," Keiko agrees, cautiously, in the manner of one unaccustomed to agreement with her conversation partner..

<Pose Tracker> Chika Aki [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Chika doesn't notice Tsuru moving closer. But she does see Setsuna and Lera at a dead run behind the thief. Her eyes flicker in recognition at Setunas on approach. This makes up Chikas mind, and builds up her confidence enough for what she does next.

Chika waits until she is sure the thief is commited to running by her. And then, she enacts her most drastic of special abilities; The legendary GLOM. Chika is a small girl, and has absolutely no idea what she is doing. But maybe showing a bit of her 'love thy enemy' style, she just... tries to grab the kid running with the purses up in a hug. At best, her added weight is gonna slow him down! Maybe he slips free, if he saw her coming. Or maybe he just barrels through her, and she goes sprawling. But Chika is gonna try!

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

And the bait, apparently, goes untaken. Fuu is good with that, though; she simply turns to interpose herself in the thief's most likely route of escape - not planning on confronting him, but at least trying to stymie him long enough for the others to close the circle and keep him from getting away.

Of course, he MIGHT just try to shove past her anyway - but Fuu doesn't intend to be pushed aside that easily; she should be able to resist enough to slow him down at *least* enough to be noticeable ...

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"Right!" Setsuna answers Lera as they run, but she can't say any more than that if she wants to keep up her speed. People who aren't fast enough to get out of her way are ducked around, her red skirt swirling, her purse flying out behind her held there only by the strap.

"I'll take the right!" Setsuna calls as she sees him, as they start to catch up, and just as Chika aims to slow him down, she banks the direction she mentioned.

The purple-haired girl rushes to grab the boy outright from her side with both hands, planting her feet for stability to keep them all on their feet. Huff, "That's enough!"

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"I'll go left!" Lera answers Setsuna. It's good they agree, too, since after they break apart, she isn't likely to hear her. Lera doesn't run as fast as Setsuna, but she is bigger; at five foot eight, she towers over a lot of the girls here. She bolts in after Setsuna is making her flying grab -- and Chika hugs on.

She skids to a stop, to the side, and arms out -- ready to grab on and jump in. "Stop right there!" she calls. "We've gotcha surrounded!"

A beat.

"A-And hugged!"

<Pose Tracker> Marinette Dupain-Cheng [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Marinette was, indeed, falling back, sure to hit the ground - and in fact, her handbag does tumble from her shoulder to hit the ground with a thump and a tiny squeak. That's lost amid Marinette's own slightly less tiny squeak as she doesn't hit the ground, but instead finds herself caught in a graceful near-embrace.

"I - um - er - that - thank you!" She stammers a moment as Kozue helps her back to a standing position, taps her index fingers together as the thief's getaway continues. "Sorry for the trouble - I'm Marinette Dupain-Cheng, by the way - and it's not that much, really! Just a few inspirations, I'd have to be careful to avoid stepping on either of her lines. I'm not sure there's enough there yet to turn into my own style, but..."

She spreads her hands, taking a half-step to buy a little breathing room from the Ohtori student, glances at the modeling still on display as things get very hectic in the wake of the collision. "To be honest, I'd rather work on it a bit more - I'd rather not just give away my designs. I'm not sure what my plan is, but-"

Abruptly, guided by timing and luck, the thief's lost purse finally completes its arc to land square in Marinette's arms. She blinks, utterly baffled for a moment, looking down at the purse before back up to Kozue. "-what the heck am I supposed to do with this?!"

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The thief runs into grabby Chika and bodyblocker Fuu at the same moment that Setsuna and Lera try to snatch him up from either side. Caught between four girls, he acts in desperation -- ripping open the two remaining purses and throwing them backwards, over his shoulders. They criss-cross over each other in midair, spilling their guts all over the floor. If there are any other thieves or unsavories in the crowd, that stuff (money, cosmetics, papers, electronics, and more) is in real danger, and it leaves the girls with a choice -- to save someone's precious belongings by immediately gathering them up, or to go after the thief, who rips himself free, wriggles between feet and knees as necessary to get out of there -- he's /really/ small and squirmy -- and pelts out of the exhibition hall, not looking back.

Meanwhile, a grand dame sort of woman -- old, big, grey-haired -- approaches Kozue, Marinette and the incongrously sleek and hip purse. "Ohhh, my deaar," she gushes, in heavily German-accented Japanese. "You have saved my purse! Thank you so much!" She tries to grab Marinette's hands in both of her own wizened ones, so that she can shake them firmly. Then Kozue's, too. Her gratitude knows no boundaries, nor any specifics whatsoever. That doesn't make it less effusive for its ignorance.

<Pose Tracker> Chika Aki [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Chika squawks when the kid flails in her grip, trying to cling to him as best she can when he starts to throw the purses. Thats what she wanted to see though! She isn't exactly fighting back terribly hard, especially once he has thrown the purses.

Chika disengages, leaving the wrangling to the much bigger girls! She instead is moving away from the scuffle, wringing her hands a bit before she looks down at the belongings on the floor and starts trying to corall them into a pile before they get snatched up!

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The important part, for Fuu, is that the thief is leaving empty-handed - unless the site's security intercept him; the fact that the purses and their contents aren't leaving *with* him is more important to her than trying to help apprehend the purse-snatcher.

So she doesn't try to prevent his escape; let somebody more used to hand-to-hand deal with him. Fuu is more concerned with trying to prevent anyone ELSE from stealing money or electronics or other items that were in the rudely-discarded purses. She didn't quite see what came out of which bag, so she just does the best she can to secure the items, and hope that the purses' owners can (accurately and honestly) confirm what belongs to each of them. The most Fuu is going to look at is to check wallets for identification that can help match up belongings a little bit.

Security guards rush up and pepper spray the old lady away from Kozue."

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The plan with Lera /almost/ works, but Setsuna for one didn't count on that desperation move. The boy wrests himself out of her grip, and Setsuna hesitates for a moment, immediately tensed to go right after him. But...

But does she really want to tackle a kid to the asphalt of the road...?

Setsuna steps back, and decides to focus instead on the objects, finding that it's what she would care most about too. But Chika and Fuu have them covered. There's... a /lot/ of stuff though.

Setsuna decides to act as a guard for their gathering effort, grabbing any wrist that gets too close to snatching objects up that doesn't look like Chika or Fuu's.

<Pose Tracker> Marinette Dupain-Cheng [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

As quickly as Marinette asks the question - or, perhaps, spurred on by the volume of her surprise - she is given an answer. "Avec plais- um, I mean, it wasn't any trouble!" Just as quickly, both her hands are grabbed and shaken with enthusiasm; all Marinette can do in return is smile in some bewilderment.

She bows politely when freed - grins for a moment at KOZUE being subjected to the same treatment - gets one hand shaken -again-, and finally manages to hand the purse back to the old lady. "I'm glad we could help - I hope you have a good day!" Beaming, she stoops to pick up her handbag, perhaps murmuring an apology to the poor designer item that had to rest on the floor so long.

(Or maybe an apology to something or someone inside, but that would be just as silly.)

Somehow, though, the whole episode has been calming - or at least jarring enough to derail - and so Marinette is able to stammer just a little less as she turns back to Kozue. "Anyway, I was looking at the differences between a runway show and modeling along with, well, these vehicles." With a hand, she indicates the Lamborghinis and Ferraris and sundry. "Have you done much modelling to notice a difference? I mean, I haven't put anything on a runway, that's likely to be ages away, but..."

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

There's a ghost of a smile at her awkwardness in light of being saved, but she doesn't even dismiss her apology, she acts like it never existed in the first place, "Marinette? Do I detect a hint of French? It's no wonder you have such an interest in fashion." Her Japanese is flawless, so Kozue suspects she's lived here their whole life, but she'd think anyone that can trace their ancestry to France might as well have fashion in her blood.

"Ah?" Kozue closes the sketchbook, as if she did so reluctantly. "Then you'll have to forgive me for taking a sneak peak." She offers it back to her. "Don't worry, your secrets are safe with me."

A purse lands in Marinette's arms. A grand dame is approaching. She's not so eager to have her boundaries violated but she does get an idea of how to turn this to her advantage. "What are you supposed to do with that?" Before the purse can be handed back, an arm moves around Marinette from the side to draw her in. The old dame gets a single hand instead for her two to shake. "You're supposed to smile, Marinette."

Suddenly Marinette might be blinded by the onslaught of camera flashes, if she hasn't yet learned the trick of letting them hit the whites of her eyes. It's good publicity.

But soon the purse is returned and Marinette is a few steps back from KOZUE. It's not really a question she's thought about, she hasn't done modelling long enough to get introspective on the details, but she does think about it for a few moments and then- "On the runway, you have about thirty seconds to make an impression. To make a splash. To sell your look- your attitude- your style. To tell the story you want to tell."

She gestures to the ferrari, takes a step back to give her a better look of Kozue and the car at once, "Here- a lot of people would say I'm a fixture or an ornament, but that's not quite so. It's all about selling an image of what the car is about through your image. Associating the car with me and my style- to make it a part of the story that I'm in." She gives her a light grin, "Do you understand?"

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The grand dame leaves Marinette with a fat wad of bills pressed into her little hand as a reward; the camera flashes warn her away from doing anything so patronizing to Kozue. And then she's on her way, out of their hair, and they'll find out later that they just got their picture taken with the mother of the CEO of BMW.

The owners of the other two purses fight their way through the crowd, and land on their knees amid Fuu and Chika. (Setsuna can try to stop them if she will, but their tearstreaked faces are about as much proof of authenticity as they're likely to possess, short of patient and systematic comparison of IDs, which will check out in the end.)

One, a middle-aged man with a camera slung across his chest, burbles gratitude. The other, a too-cool-for-school teenager, some athlete perhaps, brushes those tears away so quickly it's easy to think they were only imagined, and her gratitude falls somewhere in between a mumble and a growl.

Meanwhile, a few dozen yards away, the engineer behind the XB-9000 is stalking out of the exhibition hall, surrounded by -- escorted by? -- men in black suits. And the man in white is laughing. Something must have happened during all this ruckus.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Setsuna doesn't have the heart to stop two teary people from coming up closer anyway. When she sees those faces, Setsuna aborts her guardian stance to let them pass by her, looking down at them amidst Chika and Fuu with a more than a twinge of sympathy for how upset they must have been.

The purple-haired girl decides to step out of everyone's way, and as she's backing up, she happens to turn her head to see the engineer leaving. The suits don't draw her attention today, not with the sort of event that this is, though the woman leaving surprises her. And that one man is laughing.

Setsuna frowns, slowly. "What happened...?" She doesn't get it.

<Pose Tracker> Marinette Dupain-Cheng [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Marinette Dupain-Cheng does at least look a little French, and the noticed detail elicited a bit of a nod - but the full discussion of her ancestry is a story for another day. Besides, if it were blood alone she'd be a baker...

She's still - even while talking to Kozue - blinking away the spots in her eyes from those camera flashes. Maybe someday she'll get used to it - but for the time being, she has a mysterious handful of cash and a picture she's sure to hear about later. (At length. While being punched in the arm by Alya.) At least she managed to smile, though if she looked as awkward as she felt...

Well, class tomorrow will be interesting.

She finally has her sketchbook back, and as Kozue contemplates the question Marinette takes the time to get her handbag sorted out - helpfully, there's little pocket on the inside that can hold her surprisingly-obtained gains. Nothing in there is broken, fortunately, and she's able to meet the model's gaze with finally un-dazzled eyes. The explanation is philosophical, a bit, and...


Marinette bites her lower lip a moment, looking Kozue up and down, eyes flicking to each element of her outfit. The sleek pants, the bomber jacket, the crop top, each standing out to her like it flashes for a moment - and over to the car that the Aohime model is ostensibly supposed to be presenting. It's a second of contemplation, maybe three - and then Marinette's eyes light up. "Right! So, in this case...you should make sure to have the doors of that sports car open while you're lounging around it, to fit the 'story' you're telling. You kind of look the part to be ready to go racing at the drop of a handkerchief, so if you and the car look that much more ready, it gives that impression of speed."

A beat, then Marinette grins a little sheepishly. "Something like that, you mean?" It's a bright smile - but from the corner of her eye, she can glimpse the commotion around the XB-9000. That...might that be important, too? The demo seemed to be going well...

<Pose Tracker> Tsuru [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

With the thief captured and the eyes of the room largely focused on the disposition of his ill-gotten goods, Tsuru lets her attention drift at last. There is a car next to her, a stately Bentley with a tall grey grill like an old-fashioned moustache. Discreetly, Tsuru rests her white palm on its black hood, her large eyes wide. She can feel the engine beneath through the rigidity of the hood. Tracing her fingers along to the seam, she examines it with her fingernails gently. Bending at the waist, she peeks through the front windshield, her face dimly mirrored there.

A quick glance might just suggest that Tsuru likes this car. Anything longer would make it hard to ignore the sense of childlike exploration.

Lifting her palm with graceful, muted alarm, like a startled wild thing in the forest, Tsuru glances side to side briefly. Pinching the corner of her sleeve, she ritually draws it up her forearm, her face again nothing but a snowy field.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

A middle-aged man with a camera, and an athletic teenager? Easy enough to sort out most of who owned what, in that case - but Fuu is going to double-check with them anyway. Hopefully their respective wallets stayed closed so there isn't a lot of cash or change to re-distribute.

And once the belongings have been sorted out and returned, Fuu rises to her feet, bows politely to the strangers whose belongings she helped rescue from a thief's clutches .... aaaand meanders off to see what that was about 'flying cars'.

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Setsuna can't escape without a handshake from the cameraman, and while the teenager sighs gustily at Fuu's insistence on comparing faces to cards, she also offers a fist-bump once her possessions are safely back in her care. Then the two of them -- one a reporter from Tokyo Today, the other an up-and-coming would-be radio personality -- disappear back into the churning tides of humanity that mob the convention floor.

There's so much to do at the Tokyo Motor Show that the early conclusion of the Black Phoenix's presentation is hardly even a blip. In no time at all, convention workers have wheeled away the equipment and replaced it with another display, this one of a 2015 Suzuki Nozaki, an entirely new convertible with a flip-down top and rather strikingly pink headlights.

And now the motorcycles are getting revved up, in an ear-shattering contest of engines. Noise, after all, is a chief charm point of such glorious machines.

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Kozue's grin fades as she listens to Marinette give her analysis. It would be easy to dismiss it. Tell her she doesn't know what she's talking about. How dare she tell her what her business is, the amateur. For a while she just watches her, as if the blue eyes could just consume the other girl.

Then slowly she walks back towards the door, heels clacking upon the floor. She makes a nod towards one of the show people, and there's a brief flash of the lights from the discreet click of a fob by the other. It feels like the lightest touch is all that it takes to open it on the driver's side.

It makes it look more ready to go at any given moment to drive off into some new adventure, or race.

The equally discreet thumbs up, and the ghost of a smile she gives her may say it all, that maybe the other girl had a knack for this business after all. After that, she takes a seat on the driver's side, letting one leg hang casually out, almost invitingly, like she was giving the luxurious interior equal treatment.

It wouldn't be long until she made her way over to Rei, for a photo-shoot of the two together, but for now she'd let people catch a few shots of her like this.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Setsuna /was/ going to just slip away unnoticed, but she can't. She hesitates a little but shakes the cameraman's hand, and bumps her fist against the fist of the other teenager away from her. She smiles at both, and feels a little lighter because of it.

The matter of those people she just saw down the way is tucked back away into a list of things she doesn't really understand, and thought little more about.

As she glances back around the room to figure out where she's going next, she happens to see the very notable Tsuru over there by a very well-crafted car. Setsuna almost speaks up or walks towards her, but she sees that the designer keeps examining the car. ...She must really like it. It's fun to watch.

...It's sort of secret, in a way. If Tsuru glances her way, she'll see Setsuna Higashi, still in her partly Aohime attire. The purple-haired girl is smiling at her, a gentle expression. If she doesn't...

Well, the middle-schooler is--after a moment's pause--starting to walk her way after seeing her go all expressionless again.

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.


Over by the Black Phoenix display, Keiko blinks over the sound of grateful purse-owners thanking their saviors. "Where's my tablet?"

"What tablet?" asks Takashi, smiling. She stares at him.

"What, is this revenge for losing the grand prize at the expo? Are you kidding m--"

He leans in, puts a finger to her lips. "Don't say anything you'll regret, or you'll never work in this industry again. Although... after my lawyers prove that you stole the XB-9000 from Suzuki Industries' databanks, I guess that'll happen anyway. However will your precious investors take the news?"

Keiko turns red, then white, then red, in rapid succession.

"I'll tell you what," Takashi offers, generously. "Next year, if you lose ten pounds, I'll hire you as a model for the White Phoenix."

His mirrored shades go clattering across the floor. Keiko's vicious slap has knocked them clean off.

"Tsk. Violence at the Tokyo Motor Show... what would sensei think?" Takashi's security team is closing around her, now. "Let's get her badge, boys, and see her safely off the premises."

There was never any chance that there'd be enough data on one tablet to fully replicate the autonomous driving system -- but getting Keiko ejected for causing a scene is a social wound that could cause a fatal blow to her fledgling career.

She realizes this with dull-eyed horror, and shakes off the security's guiding hands. Keiko Saito stalks out of the exhibition hall with her head hunched low on her neck. The Black Phoenix won't have any more presentations today.

  • * *


Elsewhere, in a tall tower, a masked man glances at a black butterfly, which has perched upon his outstretched finger.

"Ah," he rumbles, his voice rich with eagerness, luscious with contempt. "I sense a heart in turmoil. Fly, fly, my little Akuma..."

It flits off, through a hole in the heart of a stained glass rose.