2020-09-25 - Arcade Madness: Mario Kart

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Arcade Madness: Mario Kart

BF's seventh anniversary scene -- friendships, romances and rivalries play out on the bitter battlefield of Mario Kart!


Eri Shimanouchi, Pink Moon Stick, Mikoto Minagi, Setsuna Higashi, Steven Universe, Kasagami Araki, Takeo Akamizu, Setsuna Meioh, Endo Naoki, Fuu Hououji, Haruka Tenoh, Chitose Shiratori, Niramo Umokeshi


Game Center Crown

OOC - IC Date:

9/25/2020 - 09-29-15

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Game Center Crown +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+
 A blue sign with bright yellow and pink lettering announces the name of this  
 arcade, which is nestled in the bottom story of a tall white building,        
 emitting cheerful chiptunes and the chirps of digital battle onto the         
 street. The spacious room, painted in friendly pastels, is host to rows of    
 arcade games, all under the watchful eye of an attendant at a semicircular    
 counter in the back. Most of the games are aging, albeit gracefully, but      
 there are a few newer cabinets, including the very popular Sailor V game.     
 Most are controlled with buttons and joysticks, but there are a few equipped  
 with plastic guns, steering wheels with seating, or mini motorcycles, and of  
 course the ubiquitous Dance Dance Revolution station. Near the window, there  
 are a few crane games heaped with cheap stuffed toys, sometimes including     
 reproductions of whatever magical girl is making the rounds in the media      
 The Furuhata family runs this arcade, and their son, Motoki, works here       
 often. They also own the cafe right upstairs, called Fruits Parlor Crown,     
 where Motoki's younger sister Unazuki works as a waitress. Fruits Parlor      
 does a brisk business off arcade customers, and the arcade itself has a       
 perpetually sticky carpet due to the desserts and drinks brought from         
<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.
<SoundTracker> City Streets - Sailor Moon (Arcade) OST - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAs3u6mtIL0

Game Center Crown holds a Kharity Kart tournament every year, and after six annual events, it's just become a part of Fall for them and the local Shopping District they're a part of, as much as the temperatures cooling off and the leaves turning brown. Unlike many arcades, Game Center Crown is not extremely dark inside; afternoon light is spilling in through the bank of front windows, and it aims more for 'friendly' than 'overwhelming' when it comes to the lighting and volume. Though today of all days, it can't help but be Kind Of A Lot.

They've been selling tickets for weeks, both directly to their customers and to other local businesses and even schools, who like to use the tickets as prizes in their own promotions. It shows: the arcade is packed, a sea of merry humanity. Every game has been set to 'Free Play' for the duration of the celebration, and there's a joyous cacophony of bells, buzzers, and a couple dozen cabinets' worth of theme music and sound effects. Plus, of course, the laughter and shouting of the players themselves.

The main attraction, however, has been staged at the back. There are whispers that the cute blond proprietor, Motoki Furuhata, sold his soul to get a VR simulation version of Mario Kart -- not to mention a triple handful of the equipment; such a thing has never been seen before. The chair/wheel/visor/headphone combinations are packed cheek-to-jowl in a wide circle A truly epic Gordion knot of power and connection cords is not-quite-sparking in the center, like some kind of primal altar to The Race.

"Well, he's an animal lover," is all Motoki has said about where he got the goods from, laughing and scratching his head. And indeed, posters of cute, adoptable cats and dogs are stuck to every arcade cabinet today, as well as, of course, the main banner draped across the entrance, which advertises that all proceeds from the Seventh Animal Kharity Kart will be going to the Animal Kingdom humane society.

People are looking hungrily at the VR setup, but it has yet to open, nor is there a line set up; it's unclear how the first racers will be selected. But there's plenty of other games to play -- and food to eat, the buffet tables straining with Fruits Parlor Crown snacks and treats, replenished as quickly as possible by an overworked Unazuki Furuhata (Motoki's younger sister), who is trying to stay ahead of the ravenous hordes on a pair of roller skates.

Get your game on!

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Ready Mikoto? Because ready or not here we..."

Two stitched together gloriously mustachio'ed pastel mascots begin to count down. And as it finishes, the Inu Daruma brothers throw up their limbs exuberantly - as if there are some frames lost.

"... go!"

BGM: Drug Dog Reinforcement Connect Remix - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-H1i3ecsRg

Arrows start to descend, and her footsteps begin to tap into the four sections of the Drug Dog Reinforcement platform that indicate the cardinal directions of Drug Dog Reinforcement.

On screen four anime styled girls begin matching the arrows in a dance that seems vaguely reminiscent of an 80's style music video while ringed rainbows shift around them in the background.

And on the platform, Eri moves along with them. She's wearing a pair of faded jeans with several grass stains on it. And a pink T-shirt with a smiling anthromorphic daisy, with the words LOVE DAISY in print around it, and a pair of sneakers. Recruiting her arms into it, she swings them around as her feet tap all around with a sort of energetic enthusiasm, on occasion tossing in a clap with a certain consistency.

"... it's going to pick up in just a few moments..." She says with an air of overconfident dignity as her feet tap down in a sudden quick step where she manages to nail the timing of the staccato like pace with her footfalls despite the energetic upswing. "... wowwww... you're really getting the hang of it." She observes, as if she has the time to watch her despite the tempo being so extreme.

She's not going to break her senpai's high score anytime soon, but if she couldn't beat a first timer like Mikoto despite how physically gifted Mikoto is - then she wouldn't be much of a kouhai, now would she? She had simply determined that the best way to take advantage of Free Play was simply to introduce Mikoto to this.

"Just think Mikoto-chan. You're dancing..." She says with a note of breathless whimsy, "... for cats!"

As if in evidence of that, there's cat adoption posters hanging all around the machine, despite the cabinet mascots being dogs. The price of admission was enough to contribute to that cause, so them dancing is not truly part of it... but it's still good fun, right?

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto Minagi, newest member of Ohtori's ANIMAL CARE CLUB after two years of a clubless existence, is of course here to support an animal charity event. She happens to know some of the cats up for adoption! This might just be because Mikoto is friends with so many cats in Tokyo. How can Mikoto have such a wide and expansive feline network?

That is a secret. A cat secret. For cats.

Just as much of a secret to Mikoto are the mysteries of VIDEO GAMES: for all Yumi's efforts to bring her the magic of gaming, she's always been a little too old-fashioned to really comprehend the glowy box of fun lights. Helpfully, though, the arcade doesn't only have stand-up arcade boxes of fun lights with buttons which have withstood an eternity of mashing. It also has more hands-on activities, like...

"Hup!" Mikoto huffs, black shorts and a pink shirt with a cat's cartoon face emblazoned on the breast, as she jumps up to hit two arrows on the floor of the dance machine at once. There's a black case resting beside the machine, and in the confines of the Drug Dog Reinforcement arena, all she has to do is hit the glowy arrows when they show up on the screen.

Her first efforts were lacklustre - "Ready!", she said when Eri asked, in that boisterous manner of someone who was not slightly ready - but now she's figured out where all the arrows on the floor actually are in relation to her feet. It means she doesn't have to look down all the time, like someone staring painstakingly at their keyboard as they type. (That, by the way, is precisely how Mikoto types.) And now she doesn't have to look down all the time - she's doing much better than she was.

She spins around to hit the next sequence, which was, in fact, entirely unnecessary, but who doesn't spin when they're dancing? Certainly not Mikoto. "What's it picking up?" She asks, cheerfully, and with no dignity at all. Her momentary distraction in asking that question, of course, sees one of the anime girls on her screen disappointed as she misses an arrow. With an alarmed little noise at the back of her throat, Mikoto gets back to hitting arrows with her feet, which is harder than it looks.

For a moment she is wrapped up in concentration, but if anything could break through that intense miasma, it's - "Cats!" Mikoto affirms, with a sunny smile. Of course it's not strange to dance for cats in a box full of dogs! Dogs and cats aren't actually enemies, that's just what humans think. Actually, they just talk a bit differently to each other! Mikoto could share this cat wisdom, but instead what she says is: "It's for cats!"

She might not really be able to beat the numbers on Eri's screen, but if it's for cats, she'll give it her best shot..!

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Did someone say... hungry?

Setsuna Higashi is one of many here today, happy to help at the idea of the Animal Kingdom humane society (for some reason she particularly tries to help such causes), and she is absolutely part of the ravenous hordes partaking of snacks and treats. Another high-piled dessert is disappearing as she eats it while looking curiously at all the power and connection cords over the equipment.

It is kind of a lot, but it's bright and friendly for Setsuna--chaotic, yes, but she's part of it this time, having even partaken of some of the arcade games between snacks. She has... and will again!!

After dessert again. It's for a good cause! And also for whipped cream. Can't forget that. Setsuna happens to be moving away from the buffet tables right now as she finishes this one, moving closer to one of the game embankments to watch people play. She is her usual calm, pleasant demeanor... But she's actually having a really nice time so far.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Life has been quiet the last week or two for the Universe family. There has been a distinct lack of appearances of a certain stout child at events or get-togethers. As well as fights that break out. At school, word got around that he was fine! Just something else involving the family has taken up a lot of free time.

At least that is what most common folk know.

And yet, when the Kharity Kart rolls around, the boy appears! He also brought a purple controller with a wheel attachment, just in case there weren't enough controllers to go around, as he wasn't entirely sure what the event entailed. Just it was a Mario Kart game.

And boy does he have a good one at home.

But there are also pictures of animals everywhere "Oh I wanna take one home!" Steven says aloud, but knows already that wouldn't happen. He already has a 400-something pound Lion. Mind you it doesn't need litter or food, but he still needs upkeep.

He is very needy and adorable. Sometimes.

"Oh I like the idea of racing for charity! Like, I wonder if Nascar racers do that when they race..."

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Clearing herself away from a pile of Student Council Business, Kasagami Araki has made time for a long, long overdue outing with a certain majestic Setsuna Meioh! And what ever could have drawn the Duelist towards this event? She might be a history nerd, but electronic nerd is not exactly her calling card.

Kassie definitely didn't light up with a grin like a six year old after seeing those dogs and cats up for adoption. Also if things like 'free play' were noted by her, she certainly didn't SAY anything about that convenient, non-wallet-evicerating fact.

She certainly has dressed up for the occasion though. Take one off-the-rack dress shirt, cover it with a sleeveless vest snagged from a bargain bin shop, add slacks all in a white-red-black contrast. Finally, stick on her beloved coat, signs of repair carefully hidden away. There's even a fedora, the pinstripe version at that, in defiance of all other attempts at good taste.

Rather than immediately try to sit upon the Electric Throne of vr mariokart and show the world her lack of speedrun strats, she is working on flagging down the overworked waitress for a bounty of milkshakes and snacks to bring upon her beloved Setsu-chan! Finding a nice chair and table to observe the battlefield of vidya from, she pulls out a chair and places the tribute of a triple-decker caramel milkshake before the Guardian of Time. Leaning against her love just a little, she takes the cherry on top of her own strawberry one and dangles it distractingly just out of graceful eating range of either of them.

"So what do you think? It will be a new contest of skill, but with luck and determination shall we dominate these veterans of the VR battlefield for our kourtly kitten companions and doggish doges?" Offers Kassie to her compatriot.

And then right on cue, she leans in, a swift romantic smooch as the radiance of arcade lights dances off of their faces before she smiles.

"Though I might just lose my focus, the shine of your eyes is more captivating than any dancing lights from a screen Setsu-chan!"

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Takeo had heard of the event and wasn't originally going to go. After all his animals are a rabbit that gives him no end of misery and has probably cursed him to die a horrible death, and the other is his best friend. Sparkles. The Horse. Who is loved and well cared for. He kind of felt like going to support other animals who don't have the awesome bonus of his love and devotion, but he owns Game Consoles. He can just play something.

Except then Takeo heard it was a racing event. A racing game event. Takeo's entire existence revolves around three things. Those being Bacon, Racing and Gaming. Usually in that order and when combined with his incredibly competitive nature.... Well. To say he's trained for this his entire life would NOT be an understatement.

So it is that Takeo walks into the Game Center, crowded as it is, and removes a pair of cool, if cheap sunglasses. He rolls his shoulders. Then he cracks his knuckles and looks around. "Time to Race and save some kittens."

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

She is no regular haunt of Tokyo's halls of neon and pixels, is Setsuna Meioh, but she finds arcades bright and appealing -- especially when they are filled with joyful laughter. This is a quiet and self-possessed sort of enjoyment, the kind to warm the corners of observant garnet eyes. She stands tall and still, too naturally upright of bearing to lean against a nearby claw machine, with her fingers laced comfortably before her.

Waits suit the senshi, somehow. So do the light and airy layers she's donned: a striped button-up shirt atop a floral slip, cinched into place with a broad leather belt. There is nothing about these items which would suggest pairing them, but they coexist upon the sometime-model in odd harmony.

The end of this wait lights up those garnet eyes, though, with all thanks to the arrival of a milkshake-bearing duelist. They meet at the table, and she is upright of bearing enough to lean against, too, as it turns out. Kassie is warmly received -- that milkshake will be warmly received in a moment. She sees the cherry, too, by a flick of her gaze.

"The cause is good," she returns before a toss of her chin to veil their greeting in sparkling evergreen mystery. Setsuna reaches up mid-kiss...

...and lets the cherry dangle, instead sweeping the fedora from her girlfriend's raven head to set it on the table next to their milkshake. She takes a seat with a sphinxish hint of expression to her face, especially after that comment on dancing lights and shining eyes. "I would not want to lose sight of my own favorite distraction," she says to the scarred and noble face thus unshaded.

A certain dance machine is not so far from their table. Setsuna takes a sip of sweet caramel before commenting, "I think perhaps Mikoto-chan has the edge. If it is for the cats. How could she not?"

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

Endo Naoki is a casual gamer at best, not often seen within the hallowed halls of the arcade except for when he's visiting with one Ren Aizawa. But the cause for todays even is enough to bring him out to the arcade, having picked up a ticket earlier in the week.

Once Endo has had a small snack and drink, he then occupies himself with the arcade machines. He's chosen one of the simple ones, an old pac-man cabinet in the classics isle. This will do until the racing machines open up.

It's a good thing this is free play, because he's not very good. "Aaah, this guy..." He laments, as the pink ghost consumes his yellow sphere for the fifth time in the past minute. "How did he get so smart?"

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

On the one hand, Fuu Hououji is not, by inclination, a race-game fan. Her predilections are documented as running heavily towards RPGs, and sometimes to RPG-adjacent games with a more action-y bent - Tower of Doom, Golden Axe, and so forth: fantasy brawlers, and even those can be a stretch.

However, Fuu can't deny that the cause is very much a worthy one - and let's face it, virtual reality gaming is a fascinating subject no matter what kind of games you'd prefer to play on it. So, on behalf of the Hououji family, Fuu has brought a rather generous donation for Animal Kingdom, and in between looks that are variously longing, eager, curious, and (very occasionally) impatient as she directs them towards the still-waiting MKVR cabinets, Fuu continues to make the rounds among other games. She's clawed her way back onto the Tower of Doom high-score screen, availed herself (ostensibly in-passing) of the buffet table, and is presently gravitating towards where Setsuna and Kasagami are sitting - although she's reticent to interrupt the happy couple, if they're too focused on each other.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Eri laughs at Mikoto's question, "The tempo is!"

Eventually the music reaches its outro, and with one final flourish of steps, she connects her feet against them just in time. The Inu Daruma mascots come back on the screen, the stuffed mustachio'ed dog like creatures cheering.

She's broken a decent sweat, though she's not entirely out of breath, not by any stretch of the imagination. She's done this often enough with Kyouko that if her stamina lasted only one song she'd have to be carried out of there by the time her senpai were finished.

As it stands though, she's acquitted herself well. It's not a perfect score nor an unbroken chain, but it's still good enough to be worthy rather than embarrassing to the one who taught her this.

There is scattered applause, though the audience is mostly those waiting in line to use it themselves. Given the free play nature of the event, they haven't drawn a big crowd. Swinging down to pick up her bag and shouldering it, she turns towards Mikoto and lifts two palms.

"You did great Mikoto! Was that really your first time? You weren't holding out on me?" There's a light tease in her tone, as she knows it's not likely that Mikoto has done this before. That simply anything that requires any degree of athleticism would give her an edge over any beginner.

Stepping off the platform, and swivelling around, she eyes the pair at the nearby table and notes to Mikoto with a wry whisper, "Looks like we're being watched. Up for a challenge?"

Casually, Eri slides up to the table with the pair of Kasagami and Setsuna, as she faces Setsuna with a held up hand and smile of greeting before she throws down the verbal white glove in challenge, "If you two aren't too busy flirting - price of admission in Sheratan's name says your girlfriend can't beat Mikoto at her second round of Drug Dog Reinforcement ever."

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Setsuna Higashi is not in a position to take animals home--she already has fairies to worry about--but she can still appreciate them. And the last of this ice cream. As she does, she looks over Endo's shoulder-from behind him, naturally--as she sort of tilts to get a view over her taller friend. So it's really more 'around.'

"Oh, so it isn't going well?" Setsuna asks of him. "Oh--it's this one! Yes, I like this game."

She doesn't even comment urther on how he's doing... for now. She just watches.

<Pose Tracker> Haruka Tenoh [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Kasagami Araki dangled a cherry teasingly out of reach. Setsuna Meioh wisely refrained from an attempt on it, so it hung between them after she gave it a garnet glance.

And by the time the two lovebirds separate from their smooch, Haruka Tenoh is holding the little red globe between forefinger and thumb. She pops it casually into her mouth, leaving Kasagami with the stem.

"Yare yare," she sighs. "You two know I don't approve of indecent behavior in public." They know NO SUCH THING of course. Haruka puts a fraternal sort of hand on Kasagami's shoulder. "I'm relieved you're past cheek-kissing, though," she confides in a serious tone. "Sometimes Michiru gives Settchan one of those French greetings, and I'm not sure I'm ready for an indirect kiss with you, Araki."

Haruka is wearing a slightly rumpled, casual short-sleeve button up in grey, with a carefree necktie idling about on her chest and a pair of white chinos. She gives Eri a nod when she approaches. "A challenge," she observes to Kasagami wryly.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Oh!" Mikoto gets it now! The tempo is picking up, which must mean it's getting faster, because it definitely is. There are still a couple of missed arrows, on her screen, but she does her valiant best. For cats..!!

Luckily, Mikoto's athleticism means she's not too out of breath by the time the song ends, though certainly she's puffing out air with more force than is strictly necessary. She slips out from under the bar on the machine (she's still quite short), and shoulders Miroku's case again, straightening up with a smile to Eri.

"Yup!" She chirps to Eri's query, because she has never known another world; though surely, in all worlds, Mikoto still shows talent in the physical arts of Drug Dog Reinforcement. "I don't come here too much... and I like the cafe better when I do!" She waves to poor Unazuki Furuhata, as the thought crashes through her mind. (Waitresses... on roller skates..? This is a revolution in delivery she'll have to raise at dinner later.)

She beams, with a firm nod and an affirmative grunt, as Eri notices their audience and whispers to her. Mikoto is always up for challenges, and so she bounds up besides Eri to Kasagami and Setsuna's table. Er - Setsuna's --

That brief moment of hesitation which had her slowing for a moment is interrupted by Eri's invitation, and Mikoto's cheer returns in full force as she puffs her chest out. "I'm very good!" She asserts, with bravado.

Does Mikoto know that Kasagami cannot possibly resist a siren call like that..?!

Here is the secret: Mikoto knows many things.

<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Chitose Shiratori has never really played video games. For, you see, Chitose's mother banned video game from the home. Never would a video console grace the Shiratori home. When young Chitose asked why, her mother would never give a direct answer.

"No, no Chitose. You really don't want those video games." Her mother had said when the young girl was six years old. "They're just so... disappointing."

This had confused Chitose for a full decade until her mother told Chitose 'Midchilda' was actually a real place and zoomed back off into space. It was at that time Chitose was enlightened.

Her mother's videogame elitism rubbed off on Chitose, and so Chitose's mainly here for the animal charity and the social aspect. Of course, this means that Chitose is at the edge of the gathering over at the buffet table. She's watching the festivities and the VR, but currently doing not much else. Not yet, anyway.

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

Motoki taps you gently on the shoulder, to get your attention over the noise.

And you, and you, and you...

It transpires that everyone's ticket, which has been displayed on a lanyard kind of like a convention badge, has a mascot sticker on it. And the dozen or so CAPTAIN STARDUCK stickered badges... ARE UP FIRST FOR THE NEW VR MARIO KART GAME! This is a significant honor. Lucky!! No will not be taken for an answer; Motoki is the master of the friendly-but-implacable brotherly cajole.

There's a huge screen that's going to be broadcasting the race. The party doesn't STOP but a crowd does begin to gather. This is history in the making, after all -- the first race of its kind in an arcade. He's recruited a few helpers, like his sister (the buffet will survive a few minutes of neglect, or at least, it can be refilled afterwards) and his grumpy friend Chiba, to direct the lucky few into their chairs, familiarize them with the idea of the seat, pedals, steering wheel, and visored headset. Get the VISOR on, and you steer the wheel to your character and kart selection. Gas pedal is 'confirm' and brake pedal is 'back'.

The usual suspects, Mario and friends, are all available, and a wide variety of weird-looking kart customizations also. You want giant wheels? You can have giant wheels. You want bat wings? You can have bat wings! Sky's the limit.


A cheerful theme song is pumping in over the headset, which very effectively cuts out the external noise of the arcade and party:

<SoundTracker> Mario Kart 8 - Mario Circuit - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRG2zkBcmeM

Once you've made your selections, presumably awaiting everyone else to be finished, the visor whisks you away from those typical video-game screens to something much more immersive. You float, alone, in a vast and endless blue sky... you can't see yourself, except for your hands, but you can see the kart around you, in absolutely splendid detail.

And your hands... in an interesting design choice, they look like YOUR hands, not Wario's or whatever. Right down to any rings or jewelry. There must be an integrated camera above the seat or something.

Also, a microphone -- after the first couple comments start coming in over the headphones, it becomes obvious that trash talk^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hconversation with the other players is possible, even though you can't see them yet.

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi transforms into Youma Form Heavy Racer!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Youma Form Heavy Racer!
COMBAT: Steven Universe transforms into Youma Form Light Racer!
COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh transforms into Youma Form Medium Racer!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki transforms into Youma Form Heavy Racer!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki transforms into Youma Form Medium Racer!
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori transforms into Youma Form Heavy Racer!
KART: Endo Naoki is ready to race!
COMBAT: Setsuna Meioh transforms into Youma Form Light Racer!
KART: Fuu Hououji will be racing as Link!
COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi transforms into Youma Form Light Racer!
KART: Eri Shimanouchi is ready to race!
KART: Setsuna Higashi will be racing as Red Shy Guy!
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi transforms into Youma Form Medium Racer!
KART: Setsuna Higashi is ready to race!
<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

"Setsuna-chan, hello." Endo peeks up from his game when Setsuna appears in the vicinity, smiling briefly at the girl before he shakes his head. "This game, I don't know how people beat it." He admits. "The ghosts are too good."

He's about to offer Setsuna a try when he finds that his ticket is called. "Ah! I guess it's time, right?"

And off to the VR machines it is. Once the helmet sinks onto his head Endo blinks several times, adjusting to the new space that he's found himself in.

"Aah, this guy has sunglasses. He must be the cool one." And so Endo's choice is made.

COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi transforms into Youma Form Medium Racer!
COMBAT: Takeo Akamizu transforms into Youma Form Light Racer!
<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Oh--" Stsuna does not in fact try the thing. Yet.

Hooray!! Setsuna does not try to say no. Instead her eyes light up and she brightens, legitimatey surprised and pleased. Video games are not exactly her area of expertise, but she's taken a side course in them by now! Course... Yes, course is relevant, isn't it?

When sitting in the chair, Setsuna puts on the headset, steers around for the characters...

She finds one that seizes her heart quickly, and starts going through the options. There are almost overwhelming numbers of options, but comfortingly she sees the nice red of the Shy Guy, and picks that one cheerfully, unaware that they might be used to stealing Babies Mario in another game. It's fine.

She chooses from there... the, which seems terribly bright and fun, leaving the Shy Guy to carefully perch on it. How is he handling the controls?? It is a mystery, but he does it on Crimson Slim tires.

And finally... the Peach Glider. Just because she knows someone would appreciate it.

"All right!" Setsuna exclaims, cheerfully. Her bike hops. Hop hop!!

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Suddenly, there's a tap at Mikoto's shoulder..! She fixes Motoki with a sceptical expression for the interruption, only to look down at her lanyard when he points it out. She scrutinises the sticker on the badge, looks over to Eri...

And over to Kasagami, once she's checked how Eri's reacting to all this. "Let's play dancing later!" She assures her, as if the escape Eri has offered Kasagami from Haruka's flirtatious dialogue is something which extends throughout time. Well, Mikoto knows many things, but the intricacies of interpersonal embarrassment aren't really amongst them.

Luckily, the embarrassment of a lot of people watching her aren't really amongst the things Mikoto knows to be nervous about, either. This is especially useful given how MUCH instruction she needs on how to use the setup they've set up for the racers - this is absolutely the first time Mikoto has worn a VR anything. There are a few nervous moments where she almost yanks out the cords by moving the wrong way, but eventually she gets situated, and even updated on the basic controls.

"Waaah..." That's, more or less, the noise Mikoto makes as the world around her disappears to make way for THE WORLD OF THE GAME. Sniff sniff, she determines that she is, still, in fact, in the arcade - the buffet smells delicious, by the way, that never stopped being a thing or anything - but all she can see is character selection..?!


Mikoto, of course, has never once played a go-kart game. Or any kind of Mario game. So she looks at the characters, and decides... the tortoise looks like the biggest boss in the room. He's huge, and round, and all spiky, with black spiked armbands... of course she has affection for someone like that! (Her black case is laid down beside her, of course.) So, naturally, Mikoto chooses Bowser as her racer. There was never any doubt.

And the alteration she makes to her kart is, of course...

... to give it cat ears. And a tail. In the world of the game, you don't have to just be a metaphorical cat. Nyaa! And, of course, in affection for who her character reminds her of, she makes sure to choose a red and black kart, with pink and yellow highlights.

And the largest possible wheels. That's just logical. This tortoise fellow is very large.

Shh. No one tell her what role Bowser tends to play in these games.

And so she taps the gas pedal to confirm everything, and looks back and forth as she, as far as she can tell, rocks up in that go-kart. "Whoaaa...!" This is Mikoto's eloquent summation of this strange new technology.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Niramo has been out and about the entire time, but instead of socializing and staring at the VR setup taking center stage inside the Game Crown, she was instead fighting a one-sided war with the most stubborn of opponents: a claw machine!

"Ooooh, come on..." Three tips of metal clasp around the bottom of a chibi Sailor V plushie. She almost felt hopeful that she was about to succeed when the claw ascends back up and the stuffed toy slips right through! Niramo hangs her head and lets out a heavy-hearted sigh and puts away her small wallet. "I knew these things were evil."

And that's when she's distracted from her plight as she receives a tap on her shoulder and she was told about the special drawing on her badge. "Huh? I saw the Captain, but I thought...ooh, sure, of course I want to race!" It doesn't take much effort to have her leave the claw machine behind...for now.

The setup looks simple enough to remember during the heat of racing and has the usual layout for a normal arcade racer machine. What really sets it apart is the visor that brings your view directly into the game itself. Even just being on the character selection menu is engaging, and Niramo looks for a few moments before she spies who she wants to race as. "I always thought Luigi needs more time in the spotlight." He was more down to earth than his brother and modest, which always seems to prove to the Juubanite that fame isn't everything.

While the karts might be iconic for the racing game, Niramo wanted to try out the newcomer vehicle, selecting the Comet bike body after a few moments. "There's a lot of choices too..." Deciding to keep things simple, the Slim tires are chosen and the Super Glider. "What does a glider have to do with racing, anyways...?"

Maybe wind speed could make you go faster? She wasn't sure about the newer series of games...

The colorful blue void is a little unsetting to only see your hands in as the technology loaded it all in, but it before she can start to twist around in her seat to see if there where any sort of easter eggs hidden away, she hears several voices starting to speak up on the headset, and she grins as she can better hear the other racers. "This is going to be amazing, I can already tell. Best of luck, though i'm going for gold here!"

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Pinstripes go pinsquish as Kassie is bamboozled thoroughly by Setsuna! Her perfect raven hair settles back into place, oddly absent any hathair, and an agreeable laugh meets her beloved. Her head tilts just a touch.

"I'll just have to make sure I draw in all the world's treasures then, all so I can outshine them for your eyes alone." There's a teasing devilishness in that tone for a second, but then there's dancing! DDR-dancing at that!

And so she bemuses on the points of the cat-dog battle being played out by her two friends as well.

"You're right, Mikoto is truly friend to all felines, a force of kittenry. But never underestimate a gardener's focus and sneakiness!" Contends the young woman in turn.

Fuu too gets Kassie's attention just before all social heck lets loose! She makes an obvious motion to join in a welcoming gesture!

"Fuu-chan! Come over here, the milkshakes taste fine! Let your tastebuds leap in!"

Before she can say much else, she finds a hand upon her shoulder, a challenge laid at her feet, and a suspiciously empty stem in her fingers. Her gaze darts from daring, brotherly Haruka, to Eri and Miko.

There's this look of betrayal to her elder rake, and yet the brief blush and fierce opening of her mouth chomps close just as quick. Cherry stem to her mouth like a faux-cigar. Bite-twirl! Then she plucks it out of her mouth and wiggles it like some really tiny sword.

"R...romance is a vast sea, Haruka Tenoh, and I'll have you know I'm not one for floaties! I think a synchronized swim in the depths of romance is fitting for us. After all, I'm so greatful for a font of knowledge like yourself to throw us a liferaft if we need it!" Comes Kassie after only a few seconds of forcing a recovery.

Her glare is one of playful promised vengence for this romantic pilfering!

There's a challenge on the field though, and she's up on her feet! Said stem is pointed right at Miko-chan. One boot sets upon a chair, and she leeeeans in!

"Mikoto, dearest of friends..." Starts the young woman enthusiastically!

Kasagami takes this promise to heart. "Don't forget! Our dance battle will be glorious!" Griiin.

Even with their challenge battle put off, there's yet another before them, as she has a winning sticker! With a walk that is full of confidence in the skills she absolutely does not possess, she gets herself familiar with the VR controls. Choices, choices! After not much consideration, she wheels towards the oddly-appealing dinosaur-thing, Yoshi! Her customization, though, is more 'measured'. She ends up in a kart that's basically a cross between 'rolling throne' and 'hotrod'. Yoshi is apparently trying to fabricate a claim to Bowser's position as King, as this one has a crown. The throne-kart pops a ridiculous wheely-hop every now and then, after she eyes that hoppy Shy Guy!

"...I can see why Fuu-chan plays these things." Muses the Duelist. All videogames are alike to her, it seems!

<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Chitose still meanders near the buffet table, mostly watching the gameplay on her own with something of a slight smile. She is extremely content to just watch. She doesn't even notice Motoki had tapped her shoulder for a few moments. When she realized what had happened, she shrugged and went on over to the VR game.

She takes the VR mask and puts it over her face--except Chitose wears glasses! She tries her best to get them on without ramming her glasses into the lenses. After a few seconds, she takes off her glasses, and tries to adjust the IPD to make the vision better, until she finally arranges it as best she can. She sighs for a moment and looks around at the VR, and then down at her hands. She looks at her hands for a few moments, perhaps a few moments more than she should have.

Then she turns and begins to consider characters. Her cursor lands on the weird purple guy with the weird mustache, but then she turns it over to the woman in blue, Rosalina.

As for vehicle... she decides on a motorcycle, which is small and fast. She's not exactly sure which one, she just picks a random motorcycle. But she sits back and relaxes after that, getting ready for whatever this game is.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"An out." Eri corrects Haruka with an impish grin and crossed arms, acting as if she isn't noticing how flustered she is - though it wasn't really when she said it, it is now, "A round of DDR will give her some time to cool herself off from an unexpected run in with you, Haruka-kun."

Does that imply that Haruka is hotter than that kind of a workout?

Obviously yes.

However, a tap from the shoulder and a check of the lanyards by Motoki soon after...

"Really?" Eri looks a bit awkwardly startled. Though she no longer seems so shy that she'd be too embarrassed to take part like she might have been in the past, "Ah. Guess I'm part of the main event too?" She notes to Mikoto.


A minute later.

"I guess we're all part of the main event." She corrects herself, before eyeing Haruka, "You might need to tie one of her hands behind her back... to make it fair."

Eri isn't exactly certain whether real racing skill translates to Mario Kart virtual skill, but she suspects that Haruka is certainly going to be quite the contender.

Taking her seat, she lets Unazuki adjust the headset on her and plays at the pedal. "So this one is..." She pumps it experimentally, awkwardly putting one foot each on one since racing games have never really been her thing especially ones with realistic pedals, "... and this one... ah got it! This is so realistic it's a bit disorienting..."

Quickly moving through her options, Eri considers with a finger to her chin, as she rotates the wheel. Eventually landing on...


With a few quick experiments, she decorates the standard Go-Kart with Melon decals. And adds a set of Pteradactyl like Glider wings that have Banana like decals on them.

What is she thinking?

Why it's simple...

Clearing her throat, "Representing the Brontomelons of the Fruitosaurus Dimension - I, Yoshi, shall be your opponent."

And then experimenting with the controls, she activates several audio clips in quick succession as her taunt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiUlb_Ra4W0

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Takeo feels the tap and grins as he learns that he's a racer. Which. You know. Of course he is, he races. That's what he does. He nods to Motoki and grins that roguish smile of his. Offering a fist to bump, and maintaining the roughish grin, he moves toward the racer station. He narrows his eyes as he sees the choices. "Easy." He states, selecting the Shy Guy, and then a Comet Bike. He looks around him at his competition and blinks not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES as he sees Mikoto.

"Mikoto?!" He says blinking. Then. "Eri?!" Then "Fuu?!" And then with the narrowed eye of a rivalry, he says, "Kasagami." Before ending on, "Oh hey Endo. Ready to loose my friend?" He winks.

His attention returns to Mikoto. "You play video games?! Is that why my copy of Soul Caliber disappeared?!" He looks her up and down and shrugs. "Wanna get a burger after this? I bet we can find an awesome Bacon Cheese with extra bacon SOMEWHERE after all this. My treat."

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

"I-I got picked?!" Steven says suddenly, as he gets patted. "Oh boy! Do I need my GameCube controller?" he asks.

It quickly becomes evident that he, in fact, does not. "Look at thooooose..." The boy says, filled with oh-so-much excitement. He even sees people he knows get picked, like Kassie and Mikoto and Fuu! "H... How many people I know got picked in the crowd?!"

When the seat are ready for players, Steven scrambles into one. "Stinks for you guys! I was playing Double Dash earlier today, hee hee! I am ready!"

Correction-- the boy thought he was ready. What was expected to be one of the standard VR rides shapes out to be something way more different. "Wait, I can't feel the visor-- Oh hey, extended cast!" Steven begins looking for picks, and then settles on one, one that feels the most correct.

Cause he is gonna be a hero one day, but is still kinda a kid. So he settles on a childlike version of a hero! "Okay, I played him before, just gotta remember, tight turns." He selects a standard kart hoever, worried about what the other kinds may do to steering and handling.

Uh"Okay, I think I am ready to go!" he says, after hearing some microphone checks.

Of this is absolutely going to be way differen than he was expecting.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

A nod and a low, respectful, "Ohaiyo Hououji-san," greet the incoming Fuu. The Outer Senshi is ever given to awareness; she maintains it, even when focusing so much on her beloved. She looks to Eri and Mikoto as the LOVE DAISY throws down the glove, and then -- then to Kassie. It is a curious look when it reaches the duelist, gravy and merry all at once.

"For Sheratan's honor, brave heart." Privately, Setsuna really wonders about the name of this game. "By blade or by boot, I entrust it to you."

Haruka, for her part, gets an incredibly even, "Is that so." We're talking glassy-black-surface-of-a-subterranean-lake sort of even. That's how her younger sister can know she got her ribbing in well...

But it is thanks to that ribbing that she gets to enjoy the way Kassie's signature red suits her cheeks, so perhaps a balance is struck.


Time's Guardian is not a gamer, by any stretch, but the promise of VR had her geekish interest from the get-go. She needs no cajoling, just secures a seat next to Kasagami and begins inspecting the accoutrements. "Clever," she muses in approbation, all the while turning the visor over in her hands. The stage does not faze her any more than the runway, nor does her utter inexperience at things involving video games. Setsuna is calm and curious.

The visor slides down over her head and tucks over her long emerald hair. The world becomes character selection, and the gas pedal and brake and steering-- familiar enough inputs for a college student who nonetheless doesn't really do controllers -- work in strange ways. Characters spin wildly for a second or two before she methodically gets the hang of it, and then she scrolls...

None of the characters are familiar to her. Hmm.

No, that's not correct. One is familiar enough that she smiles below that visor. Small and pink and adorable... And clearly a brave racer capable of going head-to-head with these big dinosaurs and metal men. Ah, she must choose a car, too? Setsuna scrolls until she finds a round-edged bumper car and selects black as its color. Nice and simple; close enough.

With her destiny locked in, Setsuna Meioh is whisked away.

She really does end up marveling, holding her digitized fingers -- still elegant in form and detail, right down to the pixel-sparkles on her black nails -- up to admire the extent of this technology. "This is very impressive," she begins, thinking to commend Motoki, but it hits the mic too. And then she hears Eri's bizarre challenge.

Especially that weird cartoon ending.

Now, now Setsuna is wondering what she might have gotten herself into...

<Pose Tracker> Haruka Tenoh [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Haruka smiles, shaking her head a little at Kasagami's enthusiasm. "I think that was four water metaphors," she notes. "You might want to find some to do with clocks..."

With the devil's own luck as ever, Haruka Tenoh is seated as one of the first to try this mysterious new game. She adjusts the seat as best she can for her height, casting an amused glance back at Eri as she does so. "Your senpai not being here does make me feel better about my chances," she says, half-modestly. "I think she'd be disappointed if I didn't knock you off the road a few times, though."

With the headset settled on her straw-blonde head, Haruka steers thoughtfully around the kart choices, settling on Tanuki Mario. Suitable for the woman who dreams of flight, for the Sky-King...

"This one looks like trouble," she explains her choice aloud to her competitors, her voice wry. "Oh, is that Luigi?" she asks Niramo's avatar. "You can call me Onii-san, if you like."

A Baby Peach joins, and Haruka lazily checks who that is, not expecting to know them. She definitely wasn't expecting to know them REALLY WELL.

"Aw, Settchan," Haruka sighs wistfully. She understood right away. "I see we've been looking too far for a Pure Heart."

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

The invitation to partake of a milkshake is deferred by the summons of champions, and Fuu puts her sweet tooth aside in favor of going where Motoki directs her. At first, she doesn't think anything special of it, but a moment later, realization sets in and Fuu goes starry-eyed. (Almost literally starry-eyed. Super Stars, to be specific.)

Whatever the criteria were for selecting the first round's participants, Fuu will be one of the select dozen. Specific fandoms aside, *this* is the moment around which dreams are woven, and it takes all of her long-practiced decorum not to simply begin squealing like the wish-granted fangirl that Fuu ultimately is, in her heart, *right now*.

Fuu pays close attention to the cursory tutorial, adjusting her seat, making sure she ingrains where the pedals are, the gearshift (if there is one?), any other physical controls besides the wheel. She's had to reckon with VR headsets before, and it takes some finagling to get the visor focused so that she can see clearly enough in-game, but the necessary adjustments are made ...

- Character Select -

Oh right. She's not as big a Mario fan, although she knows the core cast well enough. But if this is based on the latest console game ... Fuu chews briefly on her lower lip, then 'maneuvers' through the selection. Her foot stomps on the gas pedal with a little more emphasis than it probably takes - but they have Link in the game, all is well, or at least all is well *enough*.

She takes her time (within reason) selecting her cart and its options; while Link is one of the faster racers once he reaches his top speed, *getting* to that top speed will be the operative challenge. A balanced loadout seems advisable: protecting her investment, as it were.

"Let's have a good race, everybody!" Fuu chimes in while they're waiting for the last players in the group to finalize their preparations. Honestly? Much as her inner gamer would LOVE to come in first and leave the rest of the group inhaling deeply of digitally-rendered dust, exhaust, and scorched rubber? Just *being able to play this* is the true prize - and they've all won that much already. So she can afford to be a good sport for the rest of it.

Mario kart 2020 anniversary.PNG
<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Mario Kart 8: Race Intro https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_192OlhWCrE

LET'S PLAY! unfolds itself across your field of view...

...and the karts float downward to Earth.

Or at least to something very Earth-like.

It's... a pastoral setting; the sky is no longer a pure blue, but a puffy-clouded sunrise. Cool, clear-feeling.

You can almost smell the cows.

And you CAN hear them, lowing contentedly to either side of the track. A cowbell clatters lazily. And the wind is blowing lightly... creaking a windmill slowly... a cock crows from the window of a gorgeous nearby barn...

The track is dirt and grass, and lined by rustic wooden fencing. There a few low hills and bumps but no mountains, no anti-gravity. In a way its lowkey nature as a farm makes this MORE spectacular. It's so believable. It's... beautiful, really, in its sheer level of detail. Flies are buzzing over a nearby trough. The rising sun is filtered by an interposing, broadleafed tree. The small crowd of multi-colored Toads, on hay bales and other slapdash countryside bleachers, hop up and down with excitement. Their cheers, too, are audible. Waiiii! Waaaiii~iii~!

It's SO immersive that there is quickly no separation, in the mind, between the wheel and pedals in the hands of the gamers in Tokyo and the drivers in Mario Kart. The tension of the visor strap is rapidly falling away also.

There is only... the race.

And the other racers. Their karts, and their characters, are rendered with marvelous care. You may see your own hands on the thrumming wheel but you can tell right away that everyone else must be seeing your avatar, as you are seeing theirs.

A spectacled turtle on a cloud soars upwards and hovers, next to the big checkered MARIOKART banner. He's holding a fishing pole, suspended from which is a traffic light.

An organ sounds. Engines rev in direct competition.

<SoundTracker> Mario Kart Race Start https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOoCEIwswYg

The acceleration feels stunningly real to everyone but Haruka, who will find it a little too floaty but, nevertheless, the best VR racing she's ever experienced. Velocity wind howls, though not painfully, and not too loud to overpower the soundtrack that strikes up:

<SoundTracker> Moo Moo Meadows https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzJV36Rd7eY

The initial cluster of racers -- it isn't at all clear yet who's in the lead, it changes continuously seemingly every millisecond -- rapidly approaches a vast array of floating, slowly spinning, prismatic crystal boxes with giant white question marks on each side. Upon impact, they break into an item, which can be used very intuitively -- and, more often than not, very destructively. Whatever hand motion you pick is the right one, it seems, to wreak havoc.

Being havoc'd, at least, is not TOO realistic; at the level of the disorientation of the spinning teacups ride at the carnival, maximum, and often far less.

OOC: Please +kart/item! There is a corresponding +attack on your form already and you are encouraged to use it on your victim(s,
in some cases) immediately. There will be new items almost every round. It will be mayhem. It will be glorious.

OOC: If you get a blue shell, roll again, it's too soon. ;)

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"All right, Yoshi...!" Setsuna H will accept the challenge. She does so seriously, gravely. But she doesn't have the familiarity Steven does. This is fine, though. She is delighted with her very red setup, about as red and pink as she can make it, and is already shifted into a good seat for maneuvering.

Obvious delight touches her features as the words unfol and they start to float, float downward... into a lovly setting that is fairly unfamiliar to Setsuna except in pictures. She hears cowbells, and cows, the creaking, sees the lovely surroundings...

To look at her, Setsuna's Red Shy Guy is very small for such a big bike, carefully perched over it with hands on the bars, giant mask with big eyes looking forward. The crimson wheels shine in reflected light.

She sees her own hands, sure, but the Red Shy Guy is adorable!

Engines rev. Hers does, too. And suddenly... start! Setsuna drives down into the pack, in a cluster of racers. She slams right into a box that bursts around her, giving her... a green shell! Setsuna decides--there is a place where green must go.

"Yoshi!" Setsuna calls. "I challenge you!!"

And Eri's Yoshi gets a green shell slammed right towards them like serving up a volleyball!

COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi has used Green Shell~ on Eri Shimanouchi.
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi partially dodges 7 Fatigue damage from Setsuna Higashi's Green Shell~, taking 27 Fatigue damage!  Critical
Hit!  Eri Shimanouchi is Quipped!  Stagger applied to Eri Shimanouchi!
<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Realism. Takeo grins. He may not be actually sitting on the Radical Electric Blue racing bike he tears through Tokyo on, but he sees the handlebars and feels the throttle. It's not the same, since it's a controller and not the real thing. There's no real resistance, there's no rea feel to the engine he straddles. The sound of wind is there, the sound of the land, but there is no real wind and he can hear the conversations of those around him.

That's fine. It's close enough.

The light goes green and Takeo hammers the throttle in much the way he does when he's racing for real. The Mario Kart Comet leaping forward in a similar, if cartoonish fashion to the way his Kawasaki leaps forward when he hammers the throttle. He instinctively pulls back on the controller and leans back, like he's going to pop a wheelie. He clears his throat when that doesn't happen and instead gets back to the race at hand.

His eyes are on the track, and he looks left and right to get situational awareness. He usually races smaller groups, no more than three, maybe four other racers, so the crowd is different. Well, that and he's racing a Giant Lizard, a Cartoon Princess, and a freaking firebreathing Lizard King.

He'd say this is not normal, but let's face it. Takeo has had to race stranger things in his time as Lancelot.

Instead of joking or being his normal flippant self, Takeo is focused. His eyes scanning for traps and the movements of others. He concentrates on teh road. He's in his element and he knows it. He leans into the throttle, wanting to crouch on the bike to gain more speed, but the little Ninja from Mario 2 doesn't replicate that. Just stoically looks adorable on the bike, and twists the throttle.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

Endo waves at Takeo, and then the rest of the familiar faces around him before virtual reality washes him away.

When the lights count down and the game starts, Endo hits the pedal. His kart-a very purple thing with gigantic off-road tires-putters to life and begins its slow acceleration behind the rest of the pack. It doesn't take long to gain speed though, and soon he's bumping and fighting amidst the middle of the pack.

Endo quickly finds it was a good idea to pick the heavy racer, as his driving involves a lot of swerving into other people. When the pack bursts through a line of item boxes he finds a glowing green icon hovering at the corner of his vision, and with a bit of fumbling he finds the button to make it to whatever it does.

Which is, it turns out, shoot a high-speed red shell at the nearest thing in front of him. Which just so happens to be Link!

COMBAT: Endo Naoki has used Red Shell~ on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji braces 21 Fatigue damage from Endo Naoki's Red Shell~, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji is Quipped!  Fuu
Hououji's Block and Parry abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

So many worthy karting opponents! Her competitive spirit already burning thanks to Eri, as soon as she spies that rivalrous Takeo? Well, she aggressively hops in his general direction. Hop. HOP HOP! There's much fury in this royal dino!

It's hard to not be wow'd by the utter detail in the simulation though. Her mind briefly is reminded of the many animals at Ohtori...even if she's thinking more 'ostritch' than 'cow' today. Taking in a big, deep breath of the rural life, her avatar makes multiple tongue-lick-attacks as she does this. Luckily the Duelist-Dino doesn't devour and spit out any of the other racers.

When the race is signaled, Kasagami presses the throttle with all the subtlety of a rhino. With a jerking start she goes forward...and for now basically starts racing with all the recklessness one might expect. She lets out a laugh as the speed hits her, and she very nearly meets side of the track thanks to the wrecking ball of End-kart!

But no, into a box she goes, she yanks bodily on the wheel, and lines up a shot on a few fellow racers as a set of crimson shells surround the royal kart!

This pleases the Would-Be-King. Yoshigami launches the shells with an imperial laugh, heedless of how badly she might take the next oncoming corner.

Two are intentional, one shell chasing towards Lancelot and the other Tanuki-hunting Haruka. And for the third!?

Dire betrayal! As it goes for the tiniest Setsuna Meioh! Her beloved gets a taunting hop!

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Triple Red Shells! on Setsuna Meioh.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Triple Red Shells! on Haruka Tenoh.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Triple Red Shells! on Takeo Akamizu.
COMBAT: Setsuna Meioh braces 21 Fatigue damage from Kasagami Araki's Triple Red Shells!, taking 17 Fatigue damage!  Stun applied
to Setsuna Meioh!
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Yup!" Mikoto chirps, goodnaturedly, as Eri realises they're the main event. It's not that she's shameless; it's just that she doesn't even realise she could be embarrassed.

Wait, that's the same as being shameless..?

"What's Soul Caliber?" Mikoto asks, head cocking to the side as she tries to puzzle out Takeo's queries. She would have expected the headset on her face to feel weird when she made that motion, but strangely, it doesn't bother her at all.

The sight of Bowser headtilting is probably worth a thousand words, but Mikoto can't see herself, so she doesn't know that part.

Instead, when he offers food, her enthusastic response is immediate: "Yeah!! Burgers!" Burgers are just as important a future proposition as dance battles. The two of them, of course, must momentarily be put off in favour of... karting.

Sniff sniff sniff. As Mikoto lowers down, there's something which doesn't seem quite right about the deeply immersive visuals: they don't smell like cows. But the visual landscape certainly takes her in, so she can ignore that little incongruent detail.

Pap! Down on the racetrack. Those big wheels bounce up and down a bit. Her cat kart will thank her for the easy descent. And they're off--!!

Mikoto finds that her acceleration is slower than some of the smaller racers around her; but with sufficient attention to the gas pedal, she finds that she quickly starts catching up. And even moving past some of the other racers! She's very fast! She slams right through an item block, and receives: a banana.

Corners, though. Corners are hard. While grappling with one of them, she tries to figure out how to help herself, and comes on the command to RELEASE THE KRAKEN - that is to say, the item she ran into with her face. And so, on one of those bends, she leaves behind a discarded banana...

... right in Chitosalina's path!

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has used Banana on Chitose Shiratori.
COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh fails to brace Kasagami Araki's Triple Red Shells!, taking 49 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Stun applied to
Haruka Tenoh!
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori fails to dodge Mikoto Minagi's Banana, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  
<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Careful." Eri notes to Haruka with a certain unseriousness, "You might just end up making her jealous, the more you do that."

Raising her fingertips off the wheel to wave towards Takeo. "My... only challenging him are you, Takeo-kun? You'd better watch out for my stomping feet."

As the race takes form to the pastures and meadows. "Wow..."

Suddenly gripping the wheel with a certain seriousness, Eri brings herself up into the initial cluster of the race, and changes her feet to stomp down on the accelerator pedal, maneuvering her Yoshi Avatar through the crowd of prismatic crystal boxes. And as it busts...

A green shell.

Eri responds to Setsuna's challenge with the Yoshi sound effect, which sounds off a 'YOSHI!'

Which is ill timed because as she tries to dart to the side, the shell totally slams into her back rear wheel.

The Dino avatar flails to regain control as her Kart nearly tips over in one direction and slows to a stop. After a few seconds of slow down(and perhaps a few near misses from her fellow racers nearly crashing her), she throttles forward again with both feet pressed up against the accelerator.

Seeming to sight her 'Yoshi' twin down on the horizon. She immediately tries to sight her in the distance and...

Just as she spits out a triple red shells, Eri suddenly fires off a green shell.

Assuming it strikes, her avatar turns its head to look at Kasagami as she finishes her drive by shelling...

And her avatar sticks out her long tongue.

"Yoshi!" She says aloud, without using the sound effect...

... in an attempt to complete the betrayal of one her own kind.

COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi has used Green Shell~ on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki perfectly dodges 25 Fatigue damage from Eri Shimanouchi's Green Shell~, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical
<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Chitose looks around as cows and a ranch appears. "Wait, why are we racing on a ranch?" She asks, mostly to herself. Then she looks and sees her opponents, consisting of... turtles, dinosaurs, what looks to be a pair of cultists, a guy dressed like a Tanuki, someone dressed as a medieval serf, and -babies-.

No one can see Chitose's eyes, because they slightly narrow when she realizes the two baby characters. Chitose has had -bad experiences- with children.

The organ sounding off finally gets her to look forward, and she presses her pedals, as the motorbike rockets forward. The first few moments of the ride went pretty quick, and it's not long before she comes across a translucent box. She actually almost swirves away, only to just barely scrape it. When she realizes she didn't lose speed because of it, she sighs in relief. Her item cycles quickly, spinning around until it comes to... a squid? Whatever this squid is. Does she just throw it into the road? She fires it, randomly, to see what it does. Instead... it flies up and away. Huh.

Chitose doesn't see it, but what DOES happen is that the Blooper appears over Eri's Yoshi, and the two Shy Guys and tries to spread ink all over their vision.

Chitose watches behind her for any sign of the Blooper, before she finally looks back in front of her just enough to see her coming up on a banana. She tries to turn (and in the realspace one can see Chitose try to shift her body to compensate) but just barely runs over the banana, causing her to spin to a stop.

"Hey!" Chitose looks around for a moment, trying to spot her assailant. "Who did that?!"

COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori has used Inky Blooper on Setsuna Higashi.
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori has used Inky Blooper on Takeo Akamizu.
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori has used Inky Blooper on Eri Shimanouchi.
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi braces 5 Fatigue damage from Chitose Shiratori's Inky Blooper, taking 4 Fatigue damage!  Diversion applied
to Eri Shimanouchi!
COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi braces 5 Fatigue damage from Chitose Shiratori's Inky Blooper, taking 4 Fatigue damage!  Blind applied to
Setsuna Higashi!
COMBAT: Takeo Akamizu decisively counters 6 Fatigue damage from Chitose Shiratori's Inky Blooper, taking 2 Fatigue damage!
Diversion applied to Takeo Akamizu!
COMBAT: Takeo Akamizu's counterattack, Super Horn, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Chitose Shiratori!  
<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

The shift from reality to digital is a remarkably swift process. Before long, Steven forgets he is even sitting at a booth! The environs shift and coalesce into a familiar setting. "Oh hey! I remember this map! I think? I might be different than I remember..."

The child at least remembers the setting. "Hey cool! Like, imagine when video game consoles in peoples houses will just be this! That would be so cool, huh?" he says to everyone.

This race might be tricker though. it is usually just a bunch of computers. These are people! They are smarter than computers! Well, possibly. Some of them might have never karted before.

The race counts down to the start, and Steven revs the engine ahead of time a in a certain pattern! "Boost staaaart!" he says happily, as the light signals green, and he takes off, leaving a trail of fire behind him! "Woohoo!"

...Unfortunately, behind a light racer, people close in quick by the time the item boxes are in sight.

"Gimme gimme!" he says aloud, running into one head on. The fun jingle of the roulette making him bounce in his seat.

He sees the item he gets. "Oh yeah! Time to get snippy!"

The item is deployed, and a GIANT Pirahna Plant appears on the front of the kart! "Okay, virst victim! Uhhhh..." Actuall,y a heavy target is also nearby. "Oh, gonna get me a Koopa! If he runs into me, ill lose all my speed!"

Endo may find a very large plant mouth bearing down on him!

COMBAT: Steven Universe has used Piranha Plant on Endo Naoki.
<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

The pastoral perfection has Setsuna Meioh's eyes wide, hidden behind that visor where none can see. The detail, the charm...!

She looks around at her fellow racers and their myriad masks, taking them all in at the speed of a first time gamer... which is to say, she's still appreciating their choices when they all hit the gas. The Royal Yoshigami A delayed start is still a start, though, and she's not so deep in their digital dust.

A Baby Peach's head nods ever so slightly, keeping time with cheery fiddles as she catches up. Calm and patience will be how Setsuna tackles any race, however cartoonish. She'll see how this plays out in Mario Kart...

In this case she nabs one of the last crystal boxes, steering directly into it after noting how the rest aren't treating them like obstacles. A banana powerup floats over her outstretched hand -- she's steering with the other at 10 on the wheel.

Its use seems clear enough. And Setsuna Meioh has a tactical mind, as a matter of long survival. She knows the importance of taking out one's most dangerous opponent first.

Action follows decision, and perhaps Tanuki Haruka will receive her return ribbing right now in the form of a Peach-flung banana. "A compliment to your skills," she calls to her battle sister as the digital peel arcs.

And that's when the red shell of betrayal spins Baby Peachsuna right round, baby, right round. Into one of those beautifully rendered rustic fences she goes. Is it her imagination that a hayseed Toad goes flying...?

She looks up from the extremely temporary wreckage and sees that sly hop.

Has Baby Peach ever raised a single eyebrow quiiiite like that before?

Renewed revving kicks up a cloud of cartoon dust behind the black bumper car and she's off, with a certain Royal Yoshi in her exceedingly calm and patient sights.

COMBAT: Setsuna Meioh has used Banana on Haruka Tenoh.
COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh perfectly dodges 0 Fatigue damage from Setsuna Meioh's Banana, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  
<Pose Tracker> Haruka Tenoh [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Rather than sitting up as the countdown drops, Haruka seems to relax more and more. When she jams her foot down on the pedal, it's as though she just fell into it; the precise timing has the appearance of coincidence.

"Huh," she murmurs to herself. This technology is really something. It feels almost like a real car--so close that it messes with her head, as it makes her want to start driving and not 'playing', when she needs to do a mixture of both. Isn't this a bit much for an arcade game? She takes the first turns a little easy, mostly feeling her way through the simulated handling of her cartoon car.

She's coasting towards the lead steadily as others suffer loony mishaps. Beneath the headset, a confdent smile starts to spread. Ah, well. Fancy or not, it's still a racing game. It's right up her alley. She's always been a competitive sort of person, and it's a trait Michiru encourages in her. The refined, ocean-haired beauty might not care much about Mario Kart, but she'll care that Haruka took first place over a lot of other people. A trophy's a trophy. First prize is when Michiru sees it... and says, in that inimitable voice:


...watch out for the Red Shell."

Hello Darkness My Old Friend (clip) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZmsjAu0jd0

"SHI--" Haruka swaps her feet hard on the pedals, spinning out the rear of her Tanukimobile in a last-second attempt to evade. But the Red Shell knows neither mercy nor... missing. All she does is put her car in a less stable position, to get T-boned directly and flipped repeatedly around in the air.

"--eep," Haruka sighs, mindful to tame her grown-up language around Steven in particular, and inspired by nearby digital farm animals. "Sheared sheep," she elaborates. Well, that's all right. It's fine to be competitive and show off harmlessly to your girlfriend, but ultimately she was taking Mario Kart too seriously, right? She should just...

She should just...

The Red Shell knocked Haruka into an Item Box. And that item box contained... three Red Shells.

Haruka's wholesome face suddenly sports a Grinch-like grin.

It's liberating to be in last place. Literally everyone is a target. She feels a little bad, though; the accuracy of the shell makes it not very sporting, and these are all such nice kids. Unconsciously, Haruka launches a shell whenever she aims at a person whom she feels would like something red...

In her heart it's going something like this:

"You want some?" Kyouko Sakura smiles gently down at Eri, suffused in the saintly crimson glow of stained glass. The pocky she offers sticks out of a hollow red shell.


"It's because I'm not alone, Fuu-chan." Hikaru Shidou stands smiling in her full armor, but every single one of the rubies inlaid into it is a red shell.


"Luigi... it's your brother." Mario's gripping one of his overall straps... the one over his heart, as the final shell lances out towards Niramo. His hat is a red tortoise shell.

"It's-a me, Mario...


COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh has used Triple Red Shells! on Eri Shimanouchi.
COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh has used Triple Red Shells! on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh has used Triple Red Shells! on Niramo Umokeshi.
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi fails to dodge Haruka Tenoh's Triple Red Shells!, taking 36 Fatigue damage!  Stun applied to Eri
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick transforms into MARIOKART TRACK!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji counters 9 Fatigue damage from Haruka Tenoh's Triple Red Shells!, taking 28 Fatigue damage!  Stun applied to
Fuu Hououji!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji's counterattack, Super Horn, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Haruka Tenoh!  
COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi decisively counters 30 Fatigue damage from Haruka Tenoh's Triple Red Shells!, taking 10 Fatigue damage!
Niramo Umokeshi's Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!  Stun applied to Niramo Umokeshi!
COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi's counterattack, Super Horn, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Haruka Tenoh!  
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

One of the secrets of Mario Kart is that there is a specific moment within Lakitu's race-starting countdown when you can start accelerating for a turbo-boost at 'go.' Too soon, and you'll unceremoniously stall out; too late, and you won't get the full benefit of that boost.

Fuu has played enough Mario Kart to know that trick, at least, and makes full use of it here - although even so, it's a relief that it DOES work. That could have been hilariously embarassing if they changed the timing for the VR game.

Either way, the race is officially under way - and Fuu finds herself leaning into the turns, trying (and largely, so far, failing) to drift the way the home console games permit. She decides to focus on familiarizing herself with the controls and the game's feel for the first lap, and is still thinking that when she takes a red shell directly from Roy Koopa.

"All's fair in love, war, and Mario Kart," Fuu declares to everybody and nobody, accelerating into motion once more and trying to catch up with EndRoy; she's so focused on that task, though, that *another* red shell comes at her, courtesy of Tanuki Harukio.

THAT one, she's ready for, if only in the brink of time - and the Super Horn she procured from the first item box is finally put to use, even though it leaves her scrambling to sort out the gas pedal and the brake pedal, all over again.

... look, it's only the first lap, right? She can still catch up.


COMBAT: Endo Naoki cleanly braces 23 Fatigue damage from Steven Universe's Piranha Plant, taking 4 Fatigue damage!  Endo Naoki's
Block and Parry abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The abyssal blue that must be the loading screen is finally interupted with a colorful row of letters and all of the other karts and bikes are gently lowered onto a dirt road! Niramo instictively clinches onto her steering wheel for a moment from the landing, not at all expecting it. But that small spike of fear turns into delight as she looks around at the cartoony farmland surrounding them all. It looks exactly like an idealistic farm (not that Niramo has ever seen one before), to the point she could swear that there was a gentle breeze rustling the green leaves on the trees nearby.

And the racers themselves are just as impressive to look at! Adorable little babies, several of the Koopa King's minions, even the Turtle Tyrant himself was on the field, and she starts to giggle as she sees the name on who was the biggest one here. "I'm glad you don't have fire breath, Mikoto-san!"

It's when she's looking around at the other racers that she spots Mario himself...or rather, Haruka Tenoh in the guise of the Tanuki Hero. She waves cheerfully and with a large grin on her face at seeing all of this technologic wonder right there. "Okay, 'Onii-san'! Let's hope for a clean race today, okay?" But if this was going to be as chaotic as real Mario Kart...she doubts no one will be clean after this race.

Traffic lights start to change color and the faux-Plumber revs up her engine in the time with the lights. She instinctively leans down a little and suck in a tense breath through her nose before...


Niramo takes off in time with the rest of the others, feeling amazed from how much more advanced this virtual reality system is. White picket fences are a blur as she flies down the track with the others, and her grin only grows as she nears. She reaches out with a hand and swipes at a box as she passes by--

And blinks at the Super Horn in her hand, trying to figure out what it was. A red metallic box and a bright yellow speaker rests there, not something she's familar with in the slightest. It's enough that she almost fail to keep her eyes on the dirt road and barely miss hitting other racers with her bike. "Sorry!"

The colorful chaos and cartoon violence is everywhere she looks, but Niramo feels a shiver go down her spine as she hears Haruka calls out for 'Luigi'. "M-mario...?" She turns around in time to see Mario giving her a death stare, a dreaded red shell cutting through the chaos for her! She instinctively thrusts out a hand as it to ward off the ruby missile, using the hand holding a useless speaker...


Visible sound waves echo around her bike, shaking the ground and shattering the shelled menace. She blinks for a moment before Luramo waves a hand cheekily at her virtual onii-san. "Oh yeah, Luigi Time!" One thing is for certain, though. Racing is a lot more difficult on this side of the screen.

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

Moo Moo Meadows lives up to its name. It has meadows, and it has moo moos.

The meadows ruin acceleration and must be avoided, and there are patches of grass all over this next part of the track.

The moo moos do too, in a matter of speaking (and in both respects). Hitting a cow elicits a firmly comical noise, a firm THUMP, and drivers are at a dead stop until they maneuver around their bovine obstacle.

Past all of that, however, the only thing you'll have to contend with is a long, deceptively broad curve. It's an easy turn, until it isn't. If you can Tokyo Drift it, it's an opportunity, too.

Followed by... MORE ITEM BOXES!!!

OOC: You can describe your narrative with resolving the incoming track attack however you like, in terms of moo moos, meadows, and

OOC: +kart/box again, unless you like what you have AND haven't used it yet, in which case you can avoid replacing it if you like!

OOC: Still too early for blue shells and bullet bills, please reroll them!

OOC: Reminder: your microphones are like an open channel, you don't have to be near each other to talk to each other. Trash talk,
still encouraged!

OOC: It's getting late so let's make this the last round tonight but we will continue!

COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Moo Moos and/or Meadows on Setsuna Higashi.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Moo Moos and/or Meadows on Takeo Akamizu.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Moo Moos and/or Meadows on Endo Naoki.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Moo Moos and/or Meadows on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Moo Moos and/or Meadows on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Moo Moos and/or Meadows on Eri Shimanouchi.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Moo Moos and/or Meadows on Chitose Shiratori.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Moo Moos and/or Meadows on Steven Universe.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Moo Moos and/or Meadows on Setsuna Meioh.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Moo Moos and/or Meadows on Haruka Tenoh.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Moo Moos and/or Meadows on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Moo Moos and/or Meadows on Niramo Umokeshi.
COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh fails to brace Pink Moon Stick's Moo Moos and/or Meadows, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi perfectly dodges 9 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's Moo Moos and/or Meadows, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
Critical Dodge!  Setsuna Higashi's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi braces 6 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's Moo Moos and/or Meadows, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi neatly dodges 8 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's Moo Moos and/or Meadows, taking 2 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki braces 5 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's Moo Moos and/or Meadows, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Diversion
applied to Kasagami Araki!
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori braces 5 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's Moo Moos and/or Meadows, taking 4 Fatigue damage!
Chitose Shiratori's Block and Parry abilities activate!  Diversion applied to Chitose Shiratori!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi fails to brace Pink Moon Stick's Moo Moos and/or Meadows, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Diversion applied to
Mikoto Minagi!
COMBAT: Steven Universe dodges 3 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's Moo Moos and/or Meadows, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Steven
Universe's Fade and Flash abilities activate!  Diversion applied to Steven Universe!
KART: Kasagami Araki hits an item box and scores the Triple Bananas!!
COMBAT: Setsuna Meioh dodges 3 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's Moo Moos and/or Meadows, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Setsuna
Meioh's Fade and Flash abilities activate!  Diversion applied to Setsuna Meioh!
COMBAT: Takeo Akamizu perfectly dodges 9 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's Moo Moos and/or Meadows, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
Critical Dodge!  Takeo Akamizu's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
KART: Takeo Akamizu hits an item box and scores the Triple Green Shells!!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji perfectly dodges 11 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's Moo Moos and/or Meadows, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
Critical Dodge!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki fails to dodge Pink Moon Stick's Moo Moos and/or Meadows, taking 10 Fatigue damage!  
KART: Endo Naoki hits an item box and scores the Bullet Bill!
<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Bloop bloop. Setsuna finds her screen covered in black marks, goopy and hard to see through. "Aah!" she exclaims in surprise, and does her best to stay steady and look around the gunk as she keeps going. But still she remembers...


"Sheep?" she asks over the radios, uncertain. Is it some kind of cool phrase???

No matter! Action goes on, and Setsuna pilots her Red Shy Guy merrily through, her reflexes solid. She soars past meadows, evading grass by guessing about where it is, and avoids the moo moos. It's a broad curve... and Setsuna drifts it!! So far so good!

When she hits the next box she considers her banana peel. How best to make use of this?

Against... the lady in blue!! "All's fair in..." She repeats the phrase from Fuu but forgets to finish as she takes careful, careful aim. She sails upward and onward, flinging her banana peel out into the distance...

At the other Shy Guy, Takeo!!

COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi has used Banana on Takeo Akamizu.
COMBAT: Takeo Akamizu fails to dodge Setsuna Higashi's Banana, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Tangle and Trap applied to Takeo Akamizu!
<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Takeo sees the incoming ink blot and triggers his super horn. With a blast of sound his Comet Bike splatters the ink and frees up his screen before it's even an issue. He then hammers the throttle again. "You'll need more than that to beat the best motorbike in Tokyo." He states calmly as he weaves, literally though Moo Moo's (mmm Burgers), and slips around meadows alike. At the turn, the really long one, he hammers the throttle and then lightly taps the brake while turning sharply.

The end result is that Takeo slides around the ever going. He sticks a leg out for balance out of habbit but this time doesn't correct it. He's in the motor bike zone now. When he comes out of the slide, he throttles once more, his Comet picking up speed and he passes player after player while does so until suddenly he's in the lead. He grins that roguish grin of his. "Too easy." He states calmly as he makes the first lap, and grabs another item. He notes it. Three Green shells. He smirks. Then suddenly there is a banana peel in his way.

"Mmmmmm Banana ... OH SNAP CRACKERS!"

His bike hits the banana peel and he slips and slides nearly out of control. Well. Totally out of control. But when he stops spinning he throttles up again, somehow managing to keep second from passing him. He leans forward. "NO FAIR TRICKING ME WITH FOOD! THAT'S TOO EASY!!"

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Sorry!" Mikobowser calls back, towards Chitosalina. A moment later, she realises: "... wait, that's game!" She probably meant it was part of the game, but Mikoto is very wrapped up in what she's doing, okay.

Either way, she a) doesn't sound very sorry about it any more, and b) just identified herself as the one who dared to spite Chitose Shiratori, because Mikoto never got the memo that all warfare is deception.

One reason Mikoto might be DEEPLY DISTRACTED by what she's doing, of course, is the fact that Mikoto's poor handling has gotten herself into the meadow, and poor Mikoto now has to figure out how to get out of the meadow. She tries turning around, only to be told she's going the wrong way. So she ends up just kind of... reversing out of the trap. It is the exact opposite of a graceful recovery, and several karts sail past as she's trying to puzzle it out.

At least she narrowly avoids a moo-moo once she's on the track and right-side forward again. Swerving past it, she - gets her wheels stuck in the meadow outside the track again. With a long, frustrated noise, Mikoto accelerates and jerks her steering wheel towards the other side of the track.

She kind of goes all over the track for a few minutes, which might muscle other people off into the meadows in the process, because she is really very heavy. In her scrambling, she happens run into ANOTHER ITEM BOX. This one produces...

... a Red Shell!! And Mikoto knows from observation what these do. The other lizard seems to be having an easier time hopping around, and Mikoto, in eternal vengeance, looses her weapon - right at Kasayoshi.

She fired three of these things, so she can stand being hit with a few, right?!

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has used Red Shell~ on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki fails to dodge Mikoto Minagi's Red Shell~, taking 40 Fatigue damage!  Kasagami Araki is Quipped!  Stun
applied to Kasagami Araki!
<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Suddenly black inky spots move over her vision as Rosalina moves on by, and she panics reflexively. "Aaaah! My glasses!" Eri suddenly reaches up with one hand to try and remove them below her head set awkwardly - unable to actually manage it given how pushed up against her head they are, only for the spots to start to clear by themselves.

And after the momentary confusion on the virtual reality of the situation dawns on her, "Oh right!" As she crookedly adjusts them beneath her headset.

Perhaps, Eri Shimanouchi can sense Haruka's feelings of red solidarity. The good will. The pocky stick offered to her.

No she can't. A red shell slams into her while the inky spots are still clearing, and in the midst of the impact she flubs the turn on the road.


Suddenly letting go of the wheel and crossing her arms in front of her VR headset, her Kart bumps into a 3-D cow...

And simply softly bumps off to a stop, with a comical noise.

"Eh!?" Yoshi blinks their big eyes.

"At least... it was red." The girl says with a giggle that seems relieved as she slumps a little in her chair, before straightening up driving herself back onto the main road and through an item box. She has to quickly accelerates.

It takes some time and readjustments after such a big mess of disasters that have put her at dead last place, but she's having fun, and that is what matters.

BGM Change: Yoshi's Island Intro - Music Box - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78ljfawOKLc

Yoshi drives up behind Tanuki Mario, and gets a bead on her.

"Yoshi!" The sound effect pipes up angrily. One can imagine the translation in the language of Yoshi's people. Such that the meaning is so easily understood.

Mario. For years have I served as your loyal steed... and this, this is how you repay me?

And then... softer, more emotional. It sounds like... not so much forgiveness, but understanding, "Yo... shi."

Fortunately... a pact such as ours - is not so easily broken by simple japes on the racetrack.

Pulling alongside Tanuki Mario's back wheel, her wheels suddenly drifting, briefly nudging her just to the point where she's not ahead of Mario...

... but she cannot fire on them.

Instead, the red shell spits out from her front, careening around at a curve towards...

... Link.

Before yet another cheerful noise occurs that is perhaps, also easily understood, "Yo-shi!"

The Brontomelon people have no such treaty with the people of Hyrule though...

COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi has used Red Shell~ on Fuu Hououji.
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Karma comes in the form of a tongue her way through a certain gardening yoshi. Or, more importantly, a green shell from Eroshi! Those big eyes of Yoshigami's go even more cartoonishly wide as that round bit of green digital doom comes her way.

She bodily throws herself in the opposite direction to yank that wheel, and she accidentally does a hop at the same time! Driiiiiiift! That shell slides on by, almost kissing a wheel.

"There can be only one true ruler of the weird tongue-dinos, Eri-chan!"

Kassie's next Yo-shi! sounds just a bit playfully mocking of her dear friend.

Her dastardly betrayal results in the littlest peach's brow rising. And the Duelist-dino? Well, she just grins. Big and wide and...do yoshi even have teeth!? That is one phantasmal horror the Peach of Time will now have to contend with. Kassie is not sorry. Giant eyes sparkle with loving gloating!

And then she hammers back on the throttle, leaning hard into another turn, trying to put some space between her and Haruka especially. She can hardly try to win if she suffers revengening from said windful tanuki! Which means she's paying more attention to Haruka's tail than avoiding any more mooey-swishers. It's more aggressive-reckless turning that spins herself out in the process that leaves her merely clipped. THUMP! Mooooo!

Even if it's a setback, it does send her careening through an item boxes. Her stomach growls. She should've had more milkshake before this contest! Resisting the urge to try to bite a virtual banana, her gaze falls upon several frontrunners.

Kasagami keys up her comms. "What a glorious, vicious, merciless race! This bout has taught me driving is about skill, courage, and foresight!"

Rather than look forward, she looks back! "And also about judicious use of fruit-based death!"

She openly tries to let slip those three peels right in the way of the trailing Endo, Fuu, and Eri! Her laugh begins...and then ends as her very favorite color crashes right into her, sending her into a royal kartspin!

"Hah hah haaaWaaaaahhh!" ...Did her soundfile get mixed with Waluigi's briefly???

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Triple Bananas! on Endo Naoki.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Triple Bananas! on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Triple Bananas! on Eri Shimanouchi.
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi perfectly dodges 0 Fatigue damage from Kasagami Araki's Triple Bananas!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
Critical Dodge!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki perfectly dodges 0 Fatigue damage from Kasagami Araki's Triple Bananas!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical
<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Putting aside her playful resistance to her brother, the Green Missile looks back to the rest of the racers. Her distraction from trying to figure out the purpose of the Horn and barely fighting off Haruka's assault has cost her valuable speed and time, leaving her in the second half of the pack. Nobody has any items left to fire, so it's back down to pure driving skill!

...and cows? Oh yes, cows. Quite a lot of cows. Makes sense for a farm...but why were they allowed on the race track?! "Everyone, you better moove it or you're about to get a milkshake!" She just had to stay on the dirt path and not hit any adorable cows in this herd.

Leaning down again to try to focus, Niramo presses down on the acceleration a little more and goes right for the middle of the herd. This is where a bike's smaller size comes into play, letting her cut more risky turns and twists around each bovine. She even manages to slip past Mikowser as the Koopa King tries to use their body weight as a makeshift weapon. "Mario is behind me if you're interested, Koopa-san!"

A gentle curve with plenty of room leads right to another row of prismatics boxes. Eager for a weapon, Niramo makes a bee-line for one and crashes through it, sending shards and light flying. Reaching out, she grabs...another Super Horn? At least she knew how it works this time!

A red shell flies by her, aimed for a Yoshi...wait, Kasagami?! She smirks softly as she speeds on past the flailing lizard and calls out into the mic of the headset. "Kasagami-chan, I think you're getting shell shocked."

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji fails to brace Eri Shimanouchi's Red Shell~, taking 55 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Fuu Hououji is Quipped!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji dodges 0 Fatigue damage from Kasagami Araki's Triple Bananas!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Tangle applied to Fuu
<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

The co- the moo-moos make nice big visual targets to avoid, and even now that she has a moving target before her, Setsuna's still steering with forethought and planning. She's getting a feel for the way this thing drives, too, enough that she manages a tidy slingshot which maneuvers her right beneath and past a dozy bovine nose.

Yep, they're niiice big visual targets. Big enough to, say, block sight of a patch of meadow.

Baby Peachsuna loses some of that lovely speed she'd worked so hard to conserve to daisies undertire. There'll be no Tokyo Drifting this curve for her. She skids through another Item Box, though, and as the possibilities spin into place, the senshi puts together a new strategy.

Three bananas. So, two more targets to choose. Takeo-Guy is already spinning, even if he has the lead. Chitose Shirosalina is right behind him, though... with a careful, underhand toss, Setsuna slings a peel in her way.

She's about to send a second banana Shy-suna's way when Mikoto's red shell zings through her field of vision, right at her beloved Yoshigama. All may be fair, and so on, but Setsuna experiences an odd mix of two kinds of protectiveness -- a fierce and loving sort toward her girlfriend, and a more unaccustomed and competitive sort because...

"Kasagami is my target, now," as she calmly informs Mikoto, right as she launches a banana peel at each of them.

Blame Mario Kart. It just does this to people.

Or perhaps she feels a certain shin-kicking inspiration, considering her choice of Kart pilot...

COMBAT: Setsuna Meioh has used Triple Bananas! on Chitose Shiratori.
COMBAT: Setsuna Meioh has used Triple Bananas! on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Setsuna Meioh has used Triple Bananas! on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori fails to dodge Setsuna Meioh's Triple Bananas!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Trap applied to Chitose
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi braces 0 Fatigue damage from Setsuna Meioh's Triple Bananas!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Mikoto Minagi's
Block and Parry abilities activate!  Tangle applied to Mikoto Minagi!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki fails to brace Setsuna Meioh's Triple Bananas!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Tangle applied to
Kasagami Araki!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Fuu has to remind herself, tongue in cheek, of her own earlier feelings - that they had won, she had won, just by getting to play Mario Kart in this virtual-reality form. It's a little harder to embrace that mindset when she's getting steadily pummeled by shells or her course fouled by bananas; her deft handling and evasion of a stray Moo Moo seems to have availed her little, in the face of the merrily merciless mayhem being rained down by all comers.

She does come out of the next stretch of item boxes with a trio of green shells - not the homing red shells, but the greens still pack a punch; they just have to be aimed manually, deliberately.

As the race progresses into straighter sections of track, she sets about doing so - and onlookers would get to see a furiously determined Link lining up each shot in turn. One for KasaYoshi, who's already made herself a focus; one for King Bowser Mikoopato, and the third for her pre-established nemesis, Endroy Naokoopa.

And even if all three shells whiff? Link isn't giving up without continuing to fight.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Triple Green Shells! on Endo Naoki.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Triple Green Shells! on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Triple Green Shells! on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki perfectly dodges 24 Fatigue damage from Fuu Hououji's Triple Green Shells!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
Critical Dodge!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki fails to dodge Fuu Hououji's Triple Green Shells!, taking 28 Fatigue damage!  Stagger applied to Endo Naoki!  
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi fails to dodge Fuu Hououji's Triple Green Shells!, taking 26 Fatigue damage!  
<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Chitose continues to drive down the road, her only major threat being the banana Bowser dropped. It's only when Mikoto announces her banana-related crimes that Chitose stirs and looks around, spotting the giant turtle. Huh. Yeah, that's Mikoto, all right.

And again, Chitose turns back forward to find COWS in front of her. She immediately turns to try and avoid the first cow, only to hit one of the larger bumps in the road, and again swerving to dodge the weird moles that are popping up. And then there was that ridiculous curve. Again, people on the outside can see Chitose turn in her seat just a little bit, as she tries to maaaake the extremely tight curve.

Except that as she turns Setsuna's banana is just -there-, sitting silently in her path. Rosalina tries to course correct again spins to a stop.

She grips her controller for a moment and takes a breath. She doesn't say anything, but she certainly thinks something. 'This is why I fly all the time!!' Sadly, her Device is not in game. Nor is he here today, because he would certainly have Opinions about her gameplay skills.

As she straightens her driving up, she hits another item box, and the item spin slowly comes to a stop on... three bananas? Chitose decides to fire them, almost randomly. Well, drops them almost randomly. Two of them fall backwards behind her, while she launches one forward. The one forward banana might fall in Takeo's path, but the other two might fall in front of the two people behind her: Steven and Mikoto.

In her defense, she didn't precisely mean to hit any of those three. At the same time, well, we must do as we must to win, right?

COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori has used Triple Bananas! on Takeo Akamizu.
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori has used Triple Bananas! on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori has used Triple Bananas! on Steven Universe.
<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

Roy Koopa was not expecting a piranha plant, and Endo lets out a 'wooaaa' as he spins around in place. Thankfully it isn't too violent, but there is a brief moment of disorientation before he spins the wheel around and jams the pedal again.

"Isn't that too much!?" He demands, setting off in hot pursuit.

Endo has to weave through moo moos soon after, bouncing off the side of one and calling: "Sorry!" To the virtual animal. It moos in response.

He has a harder time with the curve. He has momentum, but not steering. Dust kicks up as he skids off road, quickly cranking the wheel back to ram into one of the floating boxes. This course narrowly takes him past Kasagami's banana, which he avoids by some miracle.

"Oh yeah!? Take this!" Endo deploys his own yellow peel, a hand flinging it forward, across the track and ahead.

Unfortunately, he's so preoccupied that he doesn't notice a shell looming in the rear view mirror. It hits with a crash and sends him spinning off course...

And lands him right on top of the banana he just threw.

COMBAT: Endo Naoki has used Banana on Endo Naoki.
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi braces 0 Fatigue damage from Chitose Shiratori's Triple Bananas!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Mikoto Minagi's
Block and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki accepts Endo Naoki's Banana, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Steven Universe partially dodges 0 Fatigue damage from Chitose Shiratori's Triple Bananas!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
Critical Hit!  Steven Universe's Fade and Flash abilities activate!  Trap applied to Steven Universe!
<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Direct hit by Baby Mario-Steven! He keeps pushing forward to try and win. But this course is has hazards! Dangerous ones! None more dangerous than...! "Ooooh, moo moo!"

...Steven doesn't actually run into one. He just slows down to look at it better. "The graphics are so good! It looks just like a cow, so much better than the original!" This distraction gives folks plenty of time to close the gap.

Buuuut, good news! Once he starts moving the tiny baby, much too young to drive a kart, finds item blocks! He gets three green shells! "Muahahaha!" Steven says over communications, doing possibly the most gremlin-like laugh over communications.

Who would have thought the only place Steven would fall to the Powers of Darkness was in a video game?! How heinous...!

But a banana has something to say about his plan. "OH JEEZ--"

Queue a spinning out cart with a small child. "eeeeeeee--" the boy softly screeches, dizzy from the camera suddenly spinning.

"Yous-a gonna pay for that-a!" Steven says, faking an Italian accent. "...do babies have accents?" Not that it matters, because three green shells are primed for firing! Two fire out, toward Shy-suna and Chitos-alina!

The third has Baby Stev-io looking over his shoulder toward an older borther. "Heeheeheehee--"

--And the shell is fired backward at Niramo!

COMBAT: Steven Universe has used Triple Green Shells! on Setsuna Higashi.
COMBAT: Steven Universe has used Triple Green Shells! on Chitose Shiratori.
COMBAT: Steven Universe has used Triple Green Shells! on Niramo Umokeshi.
COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi fails to brace Steven Universe's Triple Green Shells!, taking 26 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori dodges 14 Fatigue damage from Steven Universe's Triple Green Shells!, taking 21 Fatigue damage!
Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi fails to counter Steven Universe's Triple Green Shells!, taking 32 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Stagger
applied to Niramo Umokeshi!
COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi's counterattack, Super Horn, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Steven Universe!  
<Pose Tracker> Haruka Tenoh [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

"Driving is about consistency, awareness, and technique," Haruka attempts to correct Kasagami, drily, as she jukes nimbly around a banana thrown by her fellow Outer Senshi. Tanuki Mario salutes Setsuna in her rear-view mirror. "I'm not trying to nitpick you, Araki," Haruka continues uninterrupted. "I'm just getting a little worried about what it would look like when you drive 'courageously'. You're a person with a lot of... courage."

There's a tight turn coming up. Haruka guns it, looking to make up some time. Watch this! You've never seen driving like this!

Haruka reaches for the parking brake as she spins the wheel and...

Oh sheep, this is MARIO KART. There's nothing there but the edge of her seat. Tanuki Mario skids out and hits a fence flat with the side of his car.

At least that also means the car is all but invincible. Hitting the gas again, she bursts through another row of item boxes, her eyes on the spread of competitors ahead of her. Only Eri is behind her now; Sakura wouldn't like for Haruka to go easy on her kouhai, after all. It takes her a second to actually look down to see what item she got.

It takes her another second to believe it.

Now what? Eri, Fuu, and Niramo suddenly all have very appealing backsides, no flirt intended. But do they really deserve to all get red shelled AGAIN? Haruka shakes her head.

No. As a woman who loves competition, she will foster it. From way back in the cheap seats she will strike at the frontrunners. Through patience and accuracy she will make these Red Shells burn so hot they turn blue. She waits for a straightaway... watches the middle of the pack jostle and spread. Her focus deepens, her eyes sharpen, and...

The ghostly faces of Kyouko, Hikaru, and Mario bloom around Tanuki Mario's head like a Red Shell Mandala.

Don't waste shells! PEW.

Believe in yourself! PEW!

Awawawawa! PEW!!

A Red Shell LANCES through the crowd, careening towards Takeo's motorcycle in the lead!

A Red Shell BURNS along the ground, evading the pack to pursue Steven Universe! And...

A Red Shell BONKS instantly into the car mere meters ahead of Haruka, getting nowhere close to the third place racer as Kasagami and Haruka get in one another's way accidentally.

Tanuki Mario gives Yoshi an oddly annoyed look for someone who just shot a Red Shell at him.

COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh has used Triple Red Shells! on Takeo Akamizu.
COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh has used Triple Red Shells! on Steven Universe.
COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh has used Triple Red Shells! on Kasagami Araki.
<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

As she sails on past several others, she smiles as an adorable Baby Mario zooms ahead of her. Sure, it's another player, but Steven is so cute with that fake Italian accent! He sends two shells flying forward, and she was expecting the third to be aimed at a front runner. It was that and the fact it was kind Steven doing it that she was too shocked to react as the third menace is sent right into her bike, sending her spinning and bouncing off a fence. "HWaaaaaaah!!"

COMBAT: Takeo Akamizu fails to counter Haruka Tenoh's Triple Red Shells!, taking 33 Fatigue damage!  Stun applied to Takeo
COMBAT: Takeo Akamizu's counterattack, Triple Green Shells!, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Haruka Tenoh!  
COMBAT: Steven Universe fails to dodge Haruka Tenoh's Triple Red Shells!, taking 39 Fatigue damage!  Stun applied to Steven