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Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.


Jack awoke feeling pretty good. The Codeine helped a lot. Viola had put on some fresh make-up and looked a bit more relaxed. He smelt pastries and the aroma of hot tea. The sugar and caffeine hit brought him back to the land of the living. He curled one hand around Viola's slim waist, kissing her on the cheek.

”You did great today, honey, with that jump off the roof. Let me find out our status from Berenice,” he said. He was about to pick up a tempting baklava but instead he began to call for a taxi to pick them up, from the pastry shop rather than the safe house.

“Well honey, how about me and you do some shopping in north Beirut? I might get a tailored suit made.”

“No, Jack, we are not going shopping!" Viola was shocked. Obviously her husband was addled in the head from the effects of wounds and Codeine. "You are going to the hospital. What are you thinking of? You have two wounds and all I have done is give first aid. You must be properly treated. I will knock you out and carry you there myself if I have to! You wait here. Don’t go anywhere until I come back.”

Viola stamped angrily down the stairs and out. She went over to the bakery to see Madame El Din. She asked to borrow a scooter. The lady’s young cousin had one which sometimes they used to deliver pastries to private addresses. Viola gave $100 to borrow it for the rest of the day. She got a helmet and went back to the safe house.

“Jack, come on. I have got a scooter. I will take you to the Embassy. They will let you in because I am a French citizen and you are my husband. Our passports prove it. Then you will be treated properly. Come with me now.”

She began to try and drag Jack down to get him on to the scooter. He knew better than to argue with her. Eventually after a bit of grumbling he complied with Viola's wishes and hopped on the back of the scooter with her, holding on tight around her waist. He knew the traffic would be a nightmare around here. He leaned in to her ear before taking off.

Viola would have enjoyed riding the scooter more if the situation wasn’t so worrying. The engine’s torque wasn’t as good as her electric Vespa back home, but there was still fun to be had from nipping through the gaps in the lines of stalled cars. The air was thick with fumes. Although her passenger didn’t have a helmet, she hoped they would not be stopped and fined. It was only about $35, but the waste of time!

They made the French Embassy in under 10 minutes. Her completely valid French passport in the name of 'Viola', nom de jeune fille 'Reese', nom d'epoux 'Tremblay', easily gained their admission. They surrendered their various weapons at Security and were brought to an interview room where a counsellor came to meet them. He began in French, but switched seamlessly to English when Viola informed him that her husband was American.

“Madame Tremblay, this is an unusual situation.”

“Monsieur, I think that it is very normal. We are detectives working undercover for Interpol in an important case. Our position has become compromised and my husband is injured. We require the assistance due to a citizen and an officer of the law in the performance of their duties. If you do not have the full information about this, please speak to our superior, Capitaine Berenice Laurent. She will confirm all I have told you.”

“Please be calm, Madame, I have already spoken to the Capitaine. We did not expect you so soon, that is all. She requested me to offer you assistance, and a porter is coming now to bring your husband by wheelchair to our infirmary. I notice your clothes are dishevelled, perhaps you would like to change? One of the female staff will be happy to lend you something.”

“Oh, thank you, Monsieur. That is very kind. May I borrow a dress, perhaps? But first I would like to see my husband made comfortable. He will need new clothes too, actually.”

“Certainly, Madame. We will go to the infirmary now.”

Viola wanted to stay and hold Jack’s hand while he was worked on, but the medical people asked her to leave so she would not be in the way. One of the female nurses took her away and comforted her. She offered Viola a bottle green midi-dress. It had a low V neck, spaghetti straps, and a long slit up the left thigh. It was simple and sexy.

*A bit too sexy for Beirut, perhaps,* Viola thought, *I can wear my white blouse underneath.* She thanked the nurse and changed, sponging traces of blood from her legs. The bloodied white jeans went into one plastic carrier bag and her jacket into another. She put her headscarf on again, and looked at herself in a long mirror. The colour scheme of the bold green dress, white shirt, taupe scarf and black shoes seemed to work. *Black and white go with everything,* she thought, *and Taupe is a grey-brown, an earth colour, it goes well with the green. Hm!* She smiled in satisfaction. *But I need better shoes, low heel slingback sandals, perhaps.*

“Très chic, Madame,” the nurse congratulated her. Soon it was time to go back and find out how well Jack had done in surgery.

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

Jason woke a little groggy from the half hour procedure. Still in his hospital gown with post IV treatment for fluid replacement. A Recovery nurse with black short hair checked his vitals, then gave an approving nod.

“Mr Tremblay, at this rate you will be fine to leave the infirmary by the end of the day. Do you have a next of kin that’s able to take you home?" She asked.

“That would be my beautiful wife Viola, thank you,” he answered with a smile.

As he sat watching television all he could think about was seeing his wife and leaving hospital. He wondered how long he had been out of it for? Would both he and Viola need another disguise? When was the Interpol crack squad team coming to make the drug bust on the illegal cake operations? Where would they stay now? Would there be time to go shopping again? He thought about all of this while he waited for his wife to arrive.

Viola came in soon, wearing a rather lovely green dress.

“How are you feeling, Jack? The doctor said everything went well, and you should recover completely. You must do your exercises, though! I will help you. I have been through it with my shoulder. The nurse took out my stitches and I am nearly 100% healed.”

She sat and took his hand.

“I’ve spoken to Nassir. He’s going to come and collect the evidence we got. Some of it is very important. The bag of drugs, for instance, and the cyanide tube. I don’t know if the documents I snatched are useful, but your accounting researches will be crucial.”

She sighed.

“Berenice is organising a big raid. They will try to shut down the lab in South Beirut and the shipping operation at Ahmad at the same time. It will be difficult. Actually I’m glad we're not involved. You're wounded, and that kind of big action scenario isn’t really my thing. I’m better at the undercover work, being a secretary or a hostess, or even a bunny girl, and finding information with my feminine wiles. Yes. We are to stay here in the Embassy overnight. You will sleep in the infirmary and I will have a cot next to you. Now, you must be hungry. I will ask for some food for us.”

They watched TV together. There was cable, Netflix, anything they wanted. Local news in Arabic, French and English on the Al Jazeera channel. Viola was tired of reality. She wanted to divert herself with something purely comic. She took command of the remote controller from Jack and searched up the classic comedy Black Books. Soon the sound of her therapeutic laughter was ringing around the infirmary. The nurses would have come to complain if Jack and Viola weren’t the only patients.

It was well and good Viola changed the channel on the TV. Jack was tired trying to keep up with current events with subtitles. The classic British comedy Black Books hit the spot for him. Not familiar with this series, having binged on shows like “The Goodies” or “The Young ones” this one wasn’t familiar. *There’s that guy from Star Trek,* he thought. Nevertheless it made him laugh. Holding her hand he leaned over and gave her a quick kiss on the lips. She made a wonderful nurse in addition to being an amazing spy and loving wife.

A nice young man took a quick glance of Jack's notes at the end of the bed, then gave him a smile. “Monsieur and Madame I will leave you a menu card for tonight's dinner. Monsieur, you will be required to stay overnight here. Madame has requested a cot next to you,” he said, then left them alone.

Jack closed the curtains for a moment to afford some privacy with Viola before speaking in hushed tones.

“You and I will be returning to the US soon. Then you may be partnered with a new police officer to train. I will return to ordinary police detective Jason Henderson filling up reports. Then you perhaps as Olympe Reese having to train up a new recruit. I wish it wouldn’t end like that. Olympe I cannot lie when I say that I’ve fallen in love with you for real this time,” he said quietly and softly.

He then reverted to Jack when he next spoke.

“Viola, I'm going back to work as a humble police sergeant. Getting swamped in mounds of paperwork and administrative duties. It would be a fate worse than death. What can I do?” he said quietly.

Viola turned the volume down while she listened to Jack’s, or Jason’s, concerns. Olympe lived most of her life in the Zen moment, with little thought for the long term future. Right now her worries were what to have for dinner, what to shop for tomorrow if they were let out from the Embassy, and how soon Jason would be fit enough to have sex. Of course she made plans for the future, in the sense of general goals, like becoming a detective, and then she would carry out the actions needed to achieve them. But that wasn’t how she lived her life day to day. Now, his words concentrated her mind on serious matters.

She thought about the two different but connected points. Jason said he was in love, but really it was infatuation, the chemical rush you get at the start of an affair, provoked between them by shared experiences, the pleasures and dangers they had gone through together. Living as man and wife, having all that sex only added to it, *And I spoiled him with dinner and presents, the sexy cabaret and everything, but it was fun!*

*Is it shallow and cruel of me to pretend to be in love with Jack, Jason, whoever he is? Am I pretending? The husband and wife thing is part of the undercover role. What’s real?*

At this stage, Olympe liked Jason a lot and enjoyed the sex but she hadn’t fallen for him deeply. Yet. He was an oasis in the sex desert she had wandered in after the end of her affair with Rachel.

*The only man I really loved was Hisashi… he killed himself over me! I can’t let another guy get hurt.*

She sighed.

“Jason, there are…”


“Jason, do you really want my advice? Maybe I’m the wrong person to ask. I, er, I’ve made bad mistakes.”

She paused, watching the low volume TV. Olympe had a bit of a thing for the actress Tamsin Greig. She looked totally hot in Black Books and was still a real hottie 20 years later in her 50s.

Viola switched to the weather channel.

“Maybe Sergeant is just a stage you have to go through to become a Lieutenant. I don’t know. You don’t have to stay in the regular police. We could resign, start a private agency of our own. Or Berenice might get us into Interpol if this drugs case ends well. We’ve done a lot for her, gathered evidence at considerable risk. That’s worth something. Let’s get through Beirut and see how things look the other side. Try not to worry now. Your most important decision tonight is what to have for dinner. You have to rest and get well, Jason, before you worry about the future.”

Feeling like his balloon had been popped, Jack was a little deflated by Viola's response. Seemingly thinking he should only worry about dinner. Then have adequate rest. He wondered if she was a nurse in a previous past life? But he knew she listened to his concerns. He was still full of smiles. Then laughed at the banter on the television. That is until she changed the channel to the weather

"Viola honey, we all make mistakes. But I know one thing. Hiring you was no mistake. If falling in love is a sickness. Then I’m afraid the prognosis isn’t looking to flash. I think I’m looking at a cure right now. Hey, honey can we watch the comedy channel please? The weather is depressing if I’m stuck in here,” he said with a beaming smile.

He settled back in his bed adopting a more resigned serious look.

”What’s for dinner anyhow, I’m starving. You know what they say about hospital food. It’s Umm,” he added with a cheeky smile.

Poor Jack! His confession of love seemed to fall flat. Viola took no notice and concentrated instead on his career woes.

The fact is, Viola is used to people falling in love with her. She's handsome, elegant, flirty, kind and generous, a good dancer, and gives great head, so of course boys and girls are going to fall in love with her. That's just how the world works, in her view of it. At least four boys and two girls have fallen in love with her before now, and one of them killed himself for her, and now she's suddenly crushed with guilt and shame at that memory because Hisashi was the boy she actually loved, those long months ago in Tokyo and he killed himself on a whim, after they fought because she pushed him away to protect him.

*I should have told him the truth. I should have accepted him and Taka-kun would have got him safely out of the country like me. I don't know if I can ever go back. Hikaru-chan may never forgive me for what I did. I could be married now, with a baby, and a house in the suburbs. A part-time job teaching English and French conversation for pin money.*

She flips the TV back to comedy and hunches forwards to prevent Jack seeing her dry sobs. Perhaps he will take her jerking shoulders for laughter.

*Or I should have stuck with Roger!* She tells herself. *He was fun and warm and sexy, a good dancer. We both knew it was just for the sex play and we never got serious emotionally.*

But Olympe needs love in her life, not just sex. She needs someone she can be open and vulnerable with. She reaches out with her hand until it finds Jason's. She doesn't look at his face because she wants to hide hers. She doesn't know what it will show. She doesn't know what to say to him.

... A minute passes ...

"Thank you for loving me, Jack, Jason. I'll just go and help the nurse bring your dinner. All the food will be good because it's French."

She goes out in a swirl of skirts, to fix her face.

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.


It was a dank, grey, misty morning in The Server. The Deep was even darker than usual. The old-fashioned tungsten filament lamps of the MPY Kuudere Detective Agency struggled against the gloom. Ms Moon Potato, Janjan and Chanmi moped at their desks, nursing coffee and donuts from the nearby corner diner.

Olympe's chair was empty because the flighty minx was late again, but her desktop was majorly blocked up with a black violin case ranged between the upright Corona typewriter, massive Bakelite dial phone, and Yancey's Rolodex.

The instrument case had not been there when everyone left the night before. Moon was the last one out, and she had locked the door, so she was certain no-one could have got in and put the thing there. Except maybe Olympe herself, who had a key of course, inherited from Yancey when she took his place.

The three detectives weren't yet used to Olympe. She was different to Yancey in various ways apart from the obvious one. Maybe she would do something odd and jokey with a violin case. Who knew? They drank coffee, nibbled donuts, and gave sideways looks at the portentous box.

Janjan broke the silence. "Where's Ms Olympe, and why's she got a violin case?"

"Fucc if I know," replied Moon. "To either question. I'll speak to her about her tardiness." Moon held a moral ascendency over the tall blonde detective because it turned out that Olympe was even worse at accounts than Yancey had been. "As for the violin case, well, maybe it's just a violin?"

Chanmi nommed half a chocolate praline donut, and shuffled her butt restlessly. "She told me she plays the piano. And sings. But not at the same time, it's one or the other. If you play piano and sing why would you have a violin? Maybe it's got drugs in. If it's drugs I'll happily dispose of them through my… connections."

"Yan(dere)?" Moon asked, "No, forget I said that name." She stared at the gloss black shell of the violin case as if her steely gaze could drill through to the secrets within. "Olympe's not into drugs. Maybe it's drink. I can imagine her carrying a kind of a picnic setup for making cocktails, but why put it in a violin case?"

They had observed that Olympe was much fonder of cocktails than Yancey, he had been a rye and water boi, so Moon's theory was plausible. No-one wanted to check the violin case, though. It kind of brooded, all black and silver, mysterious, like religious equipment from a priest's portable paraphernalia. There was something ominous about it, in the yellow half-light of the green shaded desk lamp.

The office door opened. It was a tall girl in a boi-ish, French blue trouser suit and a black pillbox hat with a net veil. She had a large handbag in her left hand and a brown paper sack in her right. The detectives gave the stranger all their attention. They thought it might be Skyen the Mod, who wore a veil when she came incognito to brief a case to them, but Skyen usually wore skirts, owing to her tail.

The newcomer advanced and put the paper bag on Chanmi's desk, then swept her hat off and slung it blithely at the coat-rack. It missed and sailed into the kitchenette.
"Bollocks!" She had a posh British accent. "I could do that okay with a snap-brim."

Moon grinned. She and Yancey always used to flip their hats at the coat-stand, and usually hit the mark. Her black beret hung there now. His fedora didn’t.

With her veil gone Olympe’s identity was revealed. Her pixie cut hair glowed in the room's yellow lights, and the gold flecks in her hazel eyes.

"Morning everyone," she chirped, "How's tricks?"

"You're late, Olympe," Ms Moon Potato said in a voice which verged on a growl.

"Yeah, sorry. I walked for the exercise and there was a new window display at Isetan so I got distracted. Anyway I'm here now, and I brought donuts."

Chanmi had already detected this important fact. She was arranging the fresh supply of pastries on a plate with the leftovers from earlier, and worrying about the calorie count.

"Ms Olympe," said Janjan, "We're all wondering what's in your violin case."

"What violin case?" The tall girl danced behind her desk. "This violin case? It's not my violin case. I don't know what's in the violin case. Shall we take turns to guess?"

The others shook their heads. They were wary of the contents and didn't want to prolong their apprehension with a silly game.

"No? Let's see, then." Olympe unlatched the lid. "Oooh! It's The Gun! How curious." She took out the various pieces of a 1930s style Tommy-gun; the steel firing mechanism, a grip, a wooden shoulder stock, and a chonky drum magazine, pregnant with cartridges. She began to slot them together with metallic clicks.

"Put it away, for Goddess's sake!" snapped Moon. "You know what Yancey might do if he was here!?" The Gun always was liable to trigger Yancey’s dark history of violence.

"S'okay, I'm not Yancey." Olympe brandished the weapon theatrically, making sound effects. "Dakka Dakka Dakka! Ha Ha Ha! ... No. It’s simply not elegant." She locked The Gun in the safe where they kept their most dangerous weapons.

With The Gun safely stowed away everyone relaxed. Olympe grabbed a mug of coffee and a donut and sat down.

"How did The Gun get into the violin case anyway?" Janjan wanted to know. "It's supposed always to be locked up because, you know..."

Olympe cut him off. "It is locked up now, and it'll stay there. It came out by itself because it wants to be fired. You can’t blame it, that's its nature.”
Her face was glum. “It misses Yancey," she maundered. The others eyed each other.

"Look," said Olympe. "I know you all miss Yancey. I'm sorry I can't be Yancey for you. I'm going to try to become a better Olympe instead. Moon, I'll be on time tomorrow, I'll even be early. I'll bring donuts, everyone's favourites, and a newspaper and I'll stop mucking around so much, I promise. Cause you were all my friends before and I really need your help now, so, um...” She hung her head. “I'm really sorry."

Moon got up. "Olympe, come here," she said soothingly, grabbed the taller girl and pulled her in for a warm hug, then held her hands and spoke directly to her eyes.
"You're right, Olympe. I miss Yancey a lot. We all do, but you're here now. You just need to... Believe in yourself. Become a better you. Let's say that's what was in the violin case, a better Olympe, and you got her out and you just have to polish her up a bit. We're all gonna help you." Janjan and Chanmi joined the group hug.

Olympe's eyes were twinkling with tears. They overspilt and ran down her cheeks, and she smiled as broad as the sun.

"Thank you."

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.


"feth that hurts! Nurse!" Jack almost shouted as he awoke. The anaesthetic had worn off during the night. The nurse came flying in. She knew exactly what he needed.

"Be tranquil, Monsieur Tremblay, I have some painkillers for you to take right now." She helped him to sit up and gave him some medication, then checked his vital signs and noted the observations on his patient record.

"You can have breakfast soon, Mr Tremblay. You will be able to leave us today if the doctor allows it. You will need to do physio so we will explain it to you."

Viola had gone out for a shower. Now she came back wearing the green dress again over her white shirt. Her face was not yet made up. She looked wan.

"I'm here, Darling. How did you sleep? Are you in pain? We can rest here for the morning. Berenice gave me another VPN connection and we can watch some of her raids using our phones, if you want to. The SWAT teams have got Go-Pro cams. It's going to be like a videogame, a 1st person shooter, Call of Duty or something. Only the blood will be real. I don't know if I want to see it. It hasn't started yet. You should have breakfast, Jack, and you have to learn the exercises for rehabilitation of your wounds. The raids can wait. We can watch the edited highlights later if we want."

She sat and took his hand.

"Jack, Jason, I had a nightmare last night. The man I shot, I don't know if you saw it, we were on the roof terrace and two guys were coming for us with guns. You were looking for the way to get down. I was guarding our backs. You must have noticed their bullets and me shooting back, all the noise. You probably didn't see it but I shot one of them, right in the head. He must have been killed. No-one could survive that kind of a hit. I didn't care at the time. I was defending myself and you, but in the night, last night... Everything came back to me...

Her head drooped.

"I didn't want to be a killer, Jason. I carried a gun because you have to, in the USA, and I don't know, I did all the training but maybe it never really took. Maybe I shouldn't be in this job."

Jack heard her say both his real name and his cover name. He chose to speak his mind after hearing her confession about her nightmare.

"Pia, it's ok. It's perfectly fine to have those feelings. The mind is a tricky thing at the best of times. I've also experienced that feeling. An image of the person I killed also plagued my mind for a time. You wouldn't be normal if you didn't have those pangs," he said in a softer tone, holding her hand and giving it a gentle squeeze. Pia smiled at Jason's kind words.

Breakfast arrived, brioche, a puffy fluffy toast with poached eggs that looked beautiful stacked on it. She had eaten earlier and had just a coffee to keep him company. The rest of the morning went by quickly. The physiotherapist came to show Jack his exercises. New jeans were brought for them and Viola gave back her borrowed dress with thanks. *I must have one like that, so graceful with the long skirt!* she thought.

Eventually a message arrived from Berenice to say the raids had been completed successfully, and the couple could safely return to their hotel. An official car took them and they spent a quiet afternoon. Viola came back from the gym feeling stretched, calmed and sweaty. She showered and made sure Jack did his exercises, then began to pack their stuff for the return to Paris.

Viola wanted to glam up for the flight. She chose a dramatically colourful, green, purple and gold patterned dress with matching handbag and high heels with a bit of a platform. She made her face quite bold to compliment the striking outfit, then hid her glowing eyes behind chunky shades. It would have been fun to go shopping but there wasn't time. They took a cab to the airport. At check-in, Viola offered her card and requested their tickets to be changed to first class.

As Jason buckled up his eyes briefly closed and he smiled. He felt his body sink deep into the chair as the aircraft’s engines roared into the take-off. He knew right then that his career path had changed. There was no going back to playing traffic cop or teaching new recruits. With Pia by his side he felt invincible. He also knew he may never find a woman quite like Pia. It was incredible but he was besotted by her.

It was still early evening as the plane arced around Paris on its approach to Charles de Gaulle. The lights of the city spread out below, the Eiffel Tower, and the characteristic pattern of the great boulevards, and monuments such as Montmartre and Notre Dame.

”We are here, honey, finally. I never thought this flight would end. I could eat a soufflé right about now. Can you smell it?” he asked looking at her. He reached out to hold her hand. The air hostess told him to put his seat in the upright position for landing.

“Flying first class is pretty good, isn’t it?" Viola replied. "It’ll be even better on the flight back to Chicago because it’s much longer. We can have soufflé for dinner at the hotel. I don’t suppose you’ll want to go out with your leg.”

The plane touched down. Jack and Viola got fast-tracked through immigration and baggage claim. They were soon out of the airport and in two taxis heading once again for the Pullman Eiffel Tower Hotel. Only this time, they checked into one large room as man and wife, still using their undercover identities. A message from Berenice arrived while they were beginning to unpack. She was still in Beirut, flying back the next day. They were asked to report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at 10:30 the day after.

“That’ll be for debriefing and to find out what happened," Viola remarked. "I’d like to know how much our undercover work helped them plan the raids, and whether everything is wrapped up. The bonus is we’ve got a whole day free in Paris if you feel up to doing anything, Jack. You need to keep up the physio exercises but don’t strain yourself.”

Viola doffed her travelling outfit to wander around in a slip while she finished unpacking. Then she brushed her teeth, fixed her make-up and put on a simple black, long sleeve minidress and pumps.

“What do you want for dinner, Jack? Do you want to eat in the room, or do you feel up to the restaurant?”

Jack unpacked sketchily and began his regimen of getting ready for a night out. A nice hot shower, shave, moisturiser, and a liberal splash of after shave.

"The hotel restaurant sounds fine."

They were both soon ushered to their table for two. They could see the tall terraced buildings illuminated in lights, and people sitting outside alfresco style, in the warm evening. They had picked a busy night, it seemed. Jack ordered Pinot Noir and the wine was poured. He reached out and lightly held onto Viola's hand before speaking.

"So we have a whole day in Paris? How far is the Palace of Versailles? Could we visit there? Perhaps some more shopping?" he asked.

Another evening in Paris, the City of Light, in another wonderful restaurant. Jack was being manly and masterful, picking the wine decisively, and making light of his injuries which must actually hurt like hell unless he was taking plenty of Codeine.

*He's half out of it. I must keep an eye on him, make sure he doesn’t over do things,* Viola thought. *I’ll check his wounds when we go back. Men aren’t good at taking care of themselves.*

She sipped her glass with relish and looked up the Palais de Versailles on Maps.

“Versailles is about half an hour’s drive. We could go there in the morning, have lunch out nearby and come back to Paris in late afternoon for shopping if you like. The shops are open to 19:00, some of them later, the big department stores and the shops along the Champs-Elysees. What do you want to shop for, Jack? You look very nice in your suit, would you like another one, or perhaps a good coat to match it? Maybe a raincoat for the summer. Or shoes. You should try Les Bottes Gardianes, they are a kind of French cowboy boot from the Camargue. Wouldn’t that be interesting? They make other boots and shoes too. I might get something.”

"French cowboy boots? What did you call them, Les Bottes Gardianes. That sounds interesting, I think I would like to buy a pair. Good coats are always a good idea. I'm ok in the suit department for the moment," he answered. "What about your Jimmy Choos? we don't know what Berenice recovered from the drug house yet, do we?" he added.

Viola was impressed that Jack even knew what Jimmy Choos were and what they meant in terms of fashionable footwear.

*I’ll replace them with more Jimmy Choos too, actually, but Jack doesn’t need to know that. They are cute with that white ankle stripe as well as functional. Perhaps tomorrow I will flash my Louboutins at him, and see if he understands.*

She went into a brown study, thinking of all the wonderful styles she might add to her collection when they visited the special shop. *They will have a seasonal collection now, too!* Hidden under the table she rubbed her thighs together, starting to feel a literal sexual excitement at the idea of browsing and selecting from the iconic French maker’s range.

*I can buy some boots and some sandals and some flats, maybe lace-ups and slip-ons. There must be some interesting colours… I must relate it to the rest of my wardrobe, of course. There’s always a way to wear brown and black shoes, and white if you’re clever. Maybe I should have something wild, like leopard or snakeskin. Snow leopard would go with my catgirl outfit. Dare I try shuffle dancing in something like that? Yes, surely it can be done. How can I get everything home? Of course. First class means a bigger baggage allowance! And I can reclaim the VAT on everything, Ha Ha Ha!!!*

Her dangly earrings swung and tugged at her earlobes, and the excitement transmitted itself to her nipples, which perked up under her dress.

*Why am I so horny?* It was the time of the month. Viola tried to turn her mind back to the table and Jack. The waiter brought the appetisers. She drank more wine. She gripped Jack’s hand tightly.

“Yes! We will go to Versailles tomorrow and then we will go to La Botte Gardiane and look at shoes.”

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/11 03:42:54

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

Jack could feel her hand tighten on his. He remembered this feeling from her before. He knew he had to take it easy with the codeine and alcohol too. Fortunately the pills he took earlier had cut the edge of lingering pain in his thigh. The hot, aromatic stew had the desired effect coupled with the wine. Enough to melt away all the cares of the world. Then sitting across from him the catch of the century as far as Jason was concerned. It was no wonder that he fell in love with Paris. Now all he needed to top it all off was a change in career path. That would be the icing on the cake.

Paris in the evening, dinner and wine, a handsome partner, the prospect of exploring Versailles and the hallowed halls of La Botte Gardiane, all combined to erase Pia's lingering doubts and worries from the previous few days in Beirut. She decided to dedicate herself to pleasure and forget work for the next 36 hours. They both savoured rich Boeuf bourgignon and pommes de terre sautées. The world became a better place. She chose Poires belle Hélène for her pudding.

"Pears! It is a decadence I can think healthy. Please may I have a glass of Sauternes as well? I will go running early tomorrow, before breakfast."

After dinner they walked slowly in the dark streets, to enjoy the ambiance and give Jason some gentle exercise. When he grew tired Pia flagged down a taxi. Back at the hotel they undressed and she helped him to shower, inspected his wounds carefully for any sign of infection, and bandaged them again. They watched TV until Jason got sleepy, then Pia put him to bed. She removed her make-up, did a full skincare regimen, and got herself off with the help of the shower, to avoid the buzz of her Magic Wand. She hoped her moans were covered up by the running water. She didn't at all mind being overheard in the throes of passion, but she worried it would prevent Jason from having a good night's rest. *If he heard me I hope he doesn't think I'm bulimic!* Pia counted her calories but she dealt with the excess through healthy exercise rather than purging.

In the morning Pia got up early and went for a run in the nearby park surrounding the Eiffel Tower. The weather was perfect, sharp and cold. She felt marvellous! The beautiful surroundings and the view of the great monument made the kilometres fly by. It was the first really good exercise she had managed for several days. When she returned to the hotel Jason was up and getting himself ready. She had a quick shower, then redid her make-up and picked an outfit for the day. Bluejeans, black turtle-neck sweater and her houndstooth check jacket on top, black zip-up heel boots. To add more interest she put on a long wig then tied it into a loose ponytail with her blue patterned Charvet scarf. She admired herself in the mirror.

Jason had the wit to match her style with jeans, a white shirt and a dark blue blazer. They had a simple buffet breakfast and hopped into a taxi. It was about 10 when they got to the Chateau de Versailles, opening time, so it was perfect. There wasn't much of a queue for tickets, and they were soon wandering the vast palace and gardens, checking the map for the most interesting things to see.

They went into the Hall of mirrors first.

"This place is amazing Pia! French royalty stayed here right? They called this their home?” he asked. There were 30 painted compositions on the vaulted ceiling by Le Brun, depicting the glorious history of Louis XIV during the first 18 years of his reign, from 1661 to the peace treaties of Nijmegen. "Was this king a good one, Pia?" he asked.

"What is a good king, Jason? I don't know. Louis lived a long time. He fought a lot of wars and made France the most powerful nation in Europe, until the British organised a coalition against him. Then it all ended."

They walked in the amazingly richly decorated halls of the palace. There were oil paintings, elegant furniture, tapestries, and gold leaf everywhere. But not enough toilets. In historical times ordure was found in all the secluded corners.

"All these riches and the money for Louis' wars came from taxation of the lower classes. The economy was in ruins when he died," Pia objected. "Ordinary people just want a quiet life and enough to eat. I'm not saying it was better in the UK."

Pia felt maudlin, thinking about those ancient woes. She did not want to infect Jason with that mood. Instead she smiled and led him to the extensive formal gardens, where manicured nature would refresh their spirits. Far from the traffic of central Paris the air was clean and healthy. Spring was in the air; flowers such as daffodils and crocuses bloomed and the trees put forth their buds, bright fresh green to announce the renewal of life after a bleak winter. The grounds were adorned with water features including fountains and pools, and many statues.

"Anyway I suppose people are proud of it all today or it would be torn down, like the Bastille was. I mean, it is beautiful, really. Jason, you must tell me when you get tired. Your wounds are still fresh. You must not overdo it. We can have lunch very close by. There are several good restaurants."

The architecture was all very beautiful and the gardens manicured with precision. But he did feel a bit tired now, only taking Panadol so as not to make himself sleepy. He didn't want to spoil his chance to view the sights over some minor discomfort and niggling pain. But he was just being his macho self in this instance in front of Pia. It was so damn good to forgo the facade of being Jack now and revert to Jason. He no longer looked at Pia as an undercover married partner to Jack, or a police partner for Jason, but definitely as a girlfriend and now more repeatedly as his nurse. It annoyed him just a little that his body lacked the same enthusiasm as his heart or mind!

"Lunch sounds like a good idea Pia, I'm a little sore still but will soldier on," he answered.

He looked up his Google Maps and found a restaurant close by, Ladurée. Then a quick look at what's on offer in the savoury range. Avocado toast with asparagus, or salmon, Caesar salad, or Ladurée club sandwiches, which all looked tasty.

Versailles was such a huge place that there were kind of little road trains and golf buggies to help disabled people get around the grounds, or if you were just tired or lazy and wanted to ride. You needed a ticket for the train and you could jump off and on, but the buggy was like a taxi. Jason swallowed his macho pride and admitted to Pia that his wounds did not let him walk so far as the restaurant.

“It’s okay, Jason, you’ve worked enough today for physio. If you overdo it you’ll set back your healing. We’ll get one of those buggies back to the main entrance. I know Ladurée, they do the most excellent macarons. I think I’ll buy some to take back to Chicago.”

They got one of the buggies to the main entrance, and it was a short stroll from there to Ladurée. The restaurant was mainly a baker and patissier which sold high end sandwiches and salads as well as various kinds of pastries, their famous macarons and, at this time of the year, expensive Easter treats. They were ushered to a table set for two, and began to check the menu. The club sandwiches looked amazing.

“Let’s share, oh please can we share, Jason? If you have the bacon club sandwich and I have the smoked salmon, we can taste both. But the grilled cheese with fruit looks so good too!!! Do you think we can have all three and share?”

"Of course we can have all three and share a plate for two. Then while we are at it try some of those macaroons," he said and ordered a club sandwich mix plus macaroons for them both to try out. While he was waiting he took a couple of panadol with some mineral water. The pain was still there in the background but he was taking it easy. It didn't take long for the food to arrive along with more mineral water.

"The Queen Marie Antoinette and the Dauphin who became Louis XVI were married here in Versailles. Hey, didn't they both lose their heads on the chopping block during the French revolution?" he asked.

He started eating the club sandwiches, relishing the taste. The bread and filling were so fresh. He ordered a fresh pot of tea for them both to compliment the macaroons.

"Wow, they are tasty aren't the,y these macaroons just melt in your mouth right?" he asked, heading straight for the dessert as usual. He wondered if there was more to see here but then realised that they still needed to fit in some shopping still. "Pia, when do we need to go to that shop, what was the name? That's right, La Botte Gardiane for shoes. Can we see a little more of the palace though, is that possible do you think? Like the King and Queen's bedroom?" he asked.

“Of course we can, there’s plenty of time. I think they had separate bedrooms partly because Louis spent a lot of time with his various mistresses. Royal marriages weren’t about love, really, they were about sealing major treaties. Still, it will be interesting to see. Probably his bed is bigger than my flat in Tokyo was.”

She bit into her salmon sandwich with pleasure. The texture of the bread was so mouth filling and delicious. They munched through the whole meal for three, then Jason got stuck into the macarons and tea. Pia had one, which was as dreamy as something angels might eat. *Ambrosia? I had better stop at one. I have to watch my figure. I’ll go to the gym this evening.* She reduced her calorie load by taking lemon in her tea rather than milk.

“I just have to pop into the powder room for five minutes, Jason. Why not buy a box of macarons to take back to Chicago? We can give them to everyone in the office as a change from donuts. They keep for several days.”

She went for a wee and to touch up her makeup. Pia wanted to be immaculately elegant throughout her stay in Paris. It took a lot of work to be effortlessly chic. Coming back, she began to search up Louis the 14th’s mistresses while Jason was finishing his macarons and tea.

“Ha ha! One of Louis’s mistresses was called Olympe, what a hoot! They didn’t have any children together and she got exiled later. Probably for the best. The man was an absolute goat, you know! He had mistress after mistress and dozens of children, it says here. I mean they didn’t have proper birth control but probably he wouldn’t have cared anyway. A bit tough on the women, though. I’m glad I can decide when I want to have babies. I suppose they put up with it for the prestige and wealth. It was better than being a peasant wife anyway. Until you got your head chopped off in the revolution.”

They finished lunch and went back to see the King’s bedroom in a tour group. As suspected, it was separate from the Queen’s. In fact, they had completely separate apartments, each consisting of half a dozen rooms which visitors could only enter according to strict protocol, the guide explained. There was a passage linking it to his mistress’s small apartment.

“Well, his bed isn’t bigger than my Tokyo flat but his bedroom is about as big as my apartment in Chicago, and it’s only one room, and he’s got like six rooms and it’s only a little bit of the whole palace. When you think of all the money this must have cost, you can see why they had a revolution in the end.”

"Wow, talk about opulent! You're right, it's no wonder if the rest of the country was going it tough while these guys lived in luxury. I guess that's why they lost their heads in the end isn't it?" he said. "It says here In Versailles the queen had a series of small rooms beyond her State Apartments which were reserved for her personal use and for service by her ladies-in-waiting. Marie Antoinette acquired more space by fitting out new rooms on the floor above. Such as a Billiard Room and even had a miniature summer apartment built on the ground floor, which opened onto the Marble Courtyard and contained a bedchamber, library and bathroom," he added.

The exit was through the gift shop, of course, where a wide variety of tasteful merchandise was offered, including costume replicas of Marie Antoinette’s sumptuous jewellery. The real items had sold for millions at auction just a few years previously. It all looked quite impressive. There were bags, purses, commemorative coins featuring the king's portrait. Books, honey jars, writing implements, quill and ink, candles and other trinkets and souvenirs. Of course Jason wanted to purchase a book such as the life of Louis XVI for starters. It was available in many languages.

"Olympe, would you like a Marie Antoinette necklace, broach, or pearls? I will get it," he asked.

“Oh, would you like to give me a pearl necklace, Jason?” She smiled and arched an eyebrow suggestively. “That’s a lovely idea, but the replica is too splendid. I don’t know when I would ever wear it. Perhaps a little broach would be nice. Something I can wear every day.”

She chose a piece in the shape of a loosely tied ribbon. It was enamelled and mounted with many small Swarovski crystals in place of the diamonds the original must have had. Once Jason had paid, she let him pin it on her lapel.

“Thank you very much! It is beautiful. It will sparkle so well in the light. Now, would you like to explore elsewhere, Jason, or go back to Paris? I am not so mad on shoes that I have to go shopping if you are tired or want to do something else.”

"Why don't we go and see the Notre-Dame de Versailles it's not far from here. Of course we can get a taxi ride. I do need to still take it easy. But we should go and see that shoe place after this though. I'm still up to that if we go easy on the walking," he said.

Jason hailed down a taxi and they both got inside he looked over towards Pia half feeling sorry for her. As he knew she liked to walk to most places.

"I'm sorry Pia, I know you loved walking and all. But say, I like your broach, it does look nice on you," he said as they took off into the streets of Versailles. Weaving in and out of traffic, taking in all the sights and sounds. The taxi pulled up close by to the church another piece of amazing architecture. It was Louis XIV who ordered that the church be built for the town. In 1791 it was declared a cathedral but converted to a Temple of Reason in 1793. After the Revolution the bishop of Versailles chose the Church of Saint-Louis as his seat instead, which is now the Versailles Cathedral. Between 1858 and 1873, a new chapel was added by the architect Le Poittevin, who also built the market-halls of the Marché Notre-Dame. The church contains sculptures by Pierre Mazzeline and Noël Jouvenet.

Walking with Pia and holding her hand it felt wonderful being a tourist again. He didn't seem to grow tired of the architecture either.

"I'm amazed at the amount of work and detail that goes into this Pia. You see, not all kings could have been that bad to warrant having their heads chopped off. I wonder why they called this a church of reason in 1793? This place still looks like a Catholic church to me." As he walked with her it was a combination of her expensive perfume and her athletic physique that made him a bit dreamy around her. Holding her close and noticing these things seemed natural.

“People have built all kinds of amazing monuments to religion," Pia remarked. "In Japan there are incredible temples and shrines for Buddhist and Shinto belief. What happened in the French Revolution wasn’t a denial of spirituality so much as a rejection of the established control of religion by the state. The people were so angry at the traditional power structure that they went a bit mad, really. They even invented new months of the year and a decimal system of hours and minutes as well as rejecting religion. The whole system was torn down and rebuilt, but it came back in some way.”

They wandered in the vast space, amazed by the intricate carvings, the stained glass windows, and the feeling of peace.

“I don’t know," Pia said. "I’m not religious really. My parents are basically agnostics. I’m not against religion. The best of it is about kindness and helping our fellow humans. If people are good to each other, does it matter if they do it because of one god or another goddess or just simple humanity?”

They walked hand in hand. Pia worried if Jason was alright, considering his wounds were still rather fresh. *I must be sure there is no infection and he does his exercises, or he will not recover properly.*

“Listen, Jason, we don’t have to go shopping. Let’s take a cruise on a bateau mouche. It’s a big boat which goes along the River Seine and some canals in Paris. You can have dinner and see all the sights. Wouldn’t that be a good way to spend some time?”

"You mean a romantic dinner for two on a river boat cruise. Sure, it sounds great, but I know you like your shopping. I will have to make it up to you later on," he replied, giving her hand a gentle squeeze.

Jason reluctantly agreed with Pia on this idea but he wanted to look at one more thing before heading out to the boat. He hailed down another taxi then after paying the required fare for them both.

"Okay honey, one more place before we go out to the boat if you don't mind, it's called the Queen's Hamlet," he told her, as they climbed in and the taxi took off again to its new destination. "It's okay honey, just a little walking then on the boat you and I can relax, have dinner, have some champagne and wine. Enjoy the sights. I've taken some panadol already. I'm right for a little more," he said.

The queen actually used the hamlet as a place for relaxing walks, or to host small gatherings. Tthe hamlet was also a functioning farm, a point upon which the queen insisted, which meant that it served an educational role for the royal children.

During the Revolution, the Hamlet had quite a rough time. Built without much thought for longevity, as was the norm for such follies, the cottages aged badly and were damaged by bad weather. Napoleon ordered a full restoration between 1810 and 1812, but in doing so had the most dilapidated structures torn down, including the barn and the working dairy.The farm, which almost totally disappeared over the course of the 19th century, was reconstructed in 2006 and is now home to a variety of animals looked after by the Foundation for Animal Welfare.

"Isn't this place amazing, Pia? The Queen did a good thing here and I'm happy the French restored this place. She must have thought highly of the Royal children to consider their education," he declared.

The little preserved hamlet put Pia in mind of two royal places she knew from her own life. Near her parents’ home in Kew Gardens in London was a kind of chalet called Queen Charlotte’s Cottage, which had been some kind of tea house or retreat for one of the Georgian queens. In Tokyo was the Empress’s Fishing Pavilion of the Meiji Jingu shrine, a quiet building next to a pond where the Empress used to go to relax. Both places were delightful, secluded houses where the women of a royal household were able to enjoy themselves apart from the company of their royal male counterparts.

*I mean even if you’re a queen you still have the right to look after your own children,* she thought quietly, while still doubting the life of wealth and privilege such people had enjoyed at the expense of the bulk of the populace. *Still, Jason’s quite the culture vulture, bringing me to this kind of place as well as the cathedral and everything. All I wanted to do was go and buy shoes. I ought to be ashamed of myself. Philistine!* But she was already calculating a way to achieve all their ambitions.

“Jason! Listen! The bateau mouche cruise with dinner doesn’t start until 20:30. We have time to go to La Botte Gardiane and look at shoes, then join the boat cruise afterwards. Look at the menu, it’s superb!

She showed him the 'Excellence Menu' on her phone.

Glass of Moët & Chandon Champagne (125 ml)

Duck foie gras, mango chutney and raisins
Lamb fillet mignon, cauliflower tabbouleh, herb pesto
Scottish salmon with basil focaccia
Open crab ravioli
Creamy pea soup with peppermint and fresh goat cheese

Scallops, sweet potato risotto, seaweed cream
Cod steak, tomato tagliatelle, cardamom sauce
Fillet of beef, pea pudding, veal gravy
Seared duck breast, Anna potatoes, honey and lemon sauce
Risotto of black rice, coriander and confit tomatoes

Trio of Seasonal AOP Cheese

Sweet chocolate pastry with crispy sesame biscuit
Exotic entremet
Creamy strawberry & vanilla pastry
Trilogy of exotic fruit sorbets
Strawberries in basil syrup with yoghurt ice cream

Coffee or tea & «Martell» VSOP Cognac

Mouton Cadet, Réserve Graves
Crozes Hermitages - La Rollande
(1 bottle for 2 guests)
1 bottle of Evian (750 ml) for 2 guests
Or 1 soft drink (330 ml) per guest

There were also vegetarian selections, which she knew Jason did not require.

“It all looks good. The wine’s nothing very special but it’s definitely not plonk. This seems like an excellent menu overall, and we’ll see wonderful sights from the boat, and it will return us nearly to our hotel at the end of the cruise. We can walk back from the pier, as long as your leg is alright, or we’ll get a taxi. Shall we go?”

"It doesn't start until 20:30? That means we still have time to go to the shoe shop. As for walking back from the pier I will see how I go later on. At the moment I'm still good as long as the walking is limited," Jason replied. He hailed down another taxi. He certainly was enjoying today's sights. Then as he opened the door for Pia, he tried out some French with the driver.

"Pouvez-vous nous emmener à La Botte Gardiane s'il vous plaît," he said slowly. The taxi driver chuckled a little with Jason's pronunciation but fortunately was able to understand the destination, and drove them both there. It didn't take long. Jason helped Pia out of the car and paid the taxi driver the required amount.

"Well, we are finally here Pia, what colour do you think would look good on me?" He was checking out some short boots. "How do these look? I bet they would go well with jeans? What shoes are you after exactly,"? he asked.

"That's a good boot, Jason, a distinctive style which takes you away from the American cowboy look. That warm tan colour is nice, kind of camel I'd call it maybe. A black boot would look good, too. Suede is more casual, obviously. If you got them in black I'd let them get a bit distressed, because very shiny black boots will make you look like you're in the army or something. If you wear them with jeans you can either go with skinny jeans inside the boot which would show off the French styling or boot-cut jeans of course, which is basically flares which are really on point this season so that's good but don't go too far, if you have a very wide bell-bottom it's going to look too wild and loose. You don't want to look all undisciplined, certainly not at work and even off duty you don't want to look like a hippy. Or maybe you do?

"Basically I think guys have to look more buttoned down than girls but when you think about flower power and psychedelic fashion from the late 60s, early 70s maybe I'm being too unimaginative. Why shouldn't boys be able to wear colourful and flowing outfits? Whatever you choose is good by me."

Pia's mind was rocked by her sudden men's fashion thoughts but she decided to put the idea of Jason in a caftan to one side and concentrate on choosing some new footwear for herself. The range was impressive, and you could choose a style and order a custom colour version.

Some knee-high, tight riding boots might be fun, kind of a dominatrix look but more practical... she mused. *But actually I won't today. I'll have some Gardian boots for sure, though, cause that's their signature style, and something practical, and something a bit more unusual too. I mustn't spend too much.*

She bought a pair of 1/3rd Guardian boots in black, a nice pair of Maury slip-on flats in a nude colour which would be comfortable and practical, and for the unusual pick she had a pair of man-style Derby lace-ups in white leather.

"What do you think, Jason, won't these go well with lots of outfits?"

"All of them would look good with your outfits Pia. I don't think I want to intentionally look like a hippy though. But I think I will finalise my purchases also," he said.

Jason had selected two types this time, the full Gardian waxed split and the Jules coffee low boot. Having gone up to the counter to finalise payment with the Sales Clerk, he waited for Pia to finalise her purchases. Time was getting away with all the trying on of shoes and browsing. But it was half past eight for dinner on the boat. He had another look at the menu with so many choices it all looked good. But he wondered if there would be time to look anywhere else? But something also caught his eye as he hailed down another taxi he wanted to see the Pantheon in Paris.

"Ok, let's go and have a look at the Pantheon in Paris." He helped carry her bags of shoes.

Pantheon Paris is a majestic archeological site situated in the Latin Quarter. It is the most ancient structure (125 AD) from the Roman Empire, and one of the city's most magnificent spectacles and this grandeur is visible from every corner of Paris.

After paying the taxi driver again Pia helped her out of the taxi but didn't realise that they both had quite a few bags of goodies. Perhaps they should drop off all this shopping back inside their hotel room first? But then thought after this they most definitely will do that! But there was one thing here that captivated him and that was the Foucault pendulum.

IN 1851, PHYSICIST LÉON FOUCAULT demonstrated the rotation of the Earth with an experiment conducted in the Paris Panthéon. By constructing a fixed 67-meter swinging lead bob beneath the central dome, Foucault was able to prove that the earth was in fact in rotation at all times, as the plane of the pendulum never changed, yet it seemed to move with earth’s rotation.

"Wow! Look at this, Pia. This is how we know the earth rotates on its axis."

“I’ve never been here before, Jason. It’s amazing! Somehow I remember seeing a big pendulum like this, maybe it was in London or, I don’t know, maybe I came here when I was very little and I don’t remember it clearly. Anyway it’s great to find something so important to science in such an old building. Thanks for showing it to me. You really have taken Paris to your heart, finding such amazing things here.”

She held his arm close and together they watched in silence for several minutes as the long pendulum made its weighty arcs and began visibly to trace a path around the circle, showing it was holding a true course while the Earth rotated underneath it. The ornate marble of the floor added to the scene, creating a sense of Victorian era magnificence.

"If someone made this experiment now it would probably all be grey and beige concrete or something. I wonder what Flat Earthers think about it. I ought to have some idea, because I studied Psychology. I expect they would reject the evidence as a forgery. Something to do with confirmation bias.”

She checked her wristwatch. It was time to move on.

“I’m sorry, Jason, but if we want to go back to the hotel to drop off our shopping and freshen ourselves we should go now or we may miss the start of the Bateau Mouche cruise. You look lovely of course, you do not need to worry, but I must change my dress for something more appropriate for an evening out. I promise to be as quick as I can...”

They caught a cab. During the ride back to the Pullman, Pia thought about her change of clothes. It had to be a dress, something feminine, elegant, not too ornate or too revealing. *Nothing’s going to happen tonight anyway, his wounds are too fresh to let him go dancing, let alone… * Her wardrobe was limited to her travelling selection. *Hmm, hmm… I’ll wear the dark blue bishop sleeve dress again. That fits the requirements.*

Back at the Pullman Eiffel Tower, Jason had to wait 3 minutes for Pia to change and 17 minutes for her to refresh her make-up. She kept the long wig and added some light necklaces to her jewelry, the gold contrasting well with the dark blue cloth, and she pinned her new Marie Antoinette broach to her breast. They jumped in a cab and quickly reached the pier, boarding in good time to be shown to their seats for the luxury dinner cruise.

“Here we are!" She chirped. "I’ve never been on one before, actually. It’s like that rule that if you actually live somewhere you never visit the important things tourists go and look at. I don’t know. London and Paris both have so many wonderful places to go to. I’m really looking forwards to this cruise, Jason. We’ll see glorious sights, I’m sure.”

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.



A young woman rendered incognito by her net veil sat at the counter of Sadie's Diner, nursing endless black coffee and a plate of egg banjos she had personally instructed the so-called chef how to cook. It's a delicacy unknown in the entire continental United States but when you get into the detail it's a bread sandwich with a fried egg as the filling.

The tall blonde was waiting to be joined by a Japanese police detective on secondment to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, whom she had assisted in a sex trafficking case in Tokyo's neon soaked clubland of Kabukicho a couple of years previously. But Taka-kun never showed, and she sighed, not knowing if this was a good or bad sign.

As the girl began to eat her egg banjo, a Honda Super Cub in the scarlet and gold livery of the Royal Mail burbled to a halt in the parking lot. The pimply young rider dismounted and entered the sacred space of the diner, his white, open-face helmet tucked under one elbow. He extended a telegram envelope to the blondette at the counter.

"Sir... Ma'am... Ms... Your Majesty... Highness..." he faltered. The address 'Frog Prince' on the message seemed incongruent with the apparent reality before him, a clearly feminine human who was enthusiastically nomming a messy egg banjo. Olympe put her half-eaten sandwich down to give the messenger boi the hairy eyeball.

"What is it?"

"Telegram for you, sir, miss, er... please would you show me your ID?"

Olympe dug into her handbag and held out her right palm with a small token of some kind lying on it, which clearly satisfied the PO boi of her credentials, since he saluted awkwardly and handed her the envelope. She slit it open with a table knife and scanned the contents.

"Is there a reply, my lord, lady? It's pre-paid."

"Give me a blank, please."

He opened his satchel and handed her a clean telegram form. She took a ballpoint pen, filled her answer up in a moment, and handed it back with a 5-Coin.

"Thank you very much!" It was a generous tip. "I'll go back to the post office directly." The boi saluted and rushed off to get the telegram into the message system ASAP.

Meanwhile Olympe considered the import of the odd signal. It was from Lord Yuzu, who habitually communicated by rather indirect methods since he detested modernity, apart from some exciting bits of it such as his illicit orbital gunship, but the less said about that hobby the better. *You can call it a shuttle all you like, Yuzu, no-one who's seen it will be fooled.*

Once again 'Yuzu would be delighted if the Frog Prince would favour him with her presence at his country home, Cowley Court, blah blah...' Actually the wording was not that prolix:


Olympe could think of several reasons why Yuzu might need her down at Cowley, some of them not so savoury, but the wine cellar was heaving with fine vintages and her socialistic principles demanded she absorb as much of the elite plonk as possible. Hence her reply:


The tall blonde left an 11-Coin on the counter and went home to pack for a long weekend with dancing.

The new day dawned fresh and misty, a wonderful, crisp, early autumn morning with the promise of some warm sun later. Olympe buckled her steamer trunk to the luggage rack of her two-seater and set out on the long drive to the Mellow West, where Cowley Court promised various amusements -- lawn tennis, billiards, contract bridge, the primal savagery of croquet, boating on the lake, cocktails, and white tie dinners -- Yuzu's cryptic warning of 'Balls' was particularly intriguing.

Two hours later the energised detective crunched to a halt on the gleaming gravel in front of the honey coloured stone pile which Yuzu called home. The east and west wings seemed to spread forever, promising gracious accommodation for any number of weekend guests. She leapt from the car, and footbois fussed around to unlatch her luggage and move the sporty roadster to some remote garage.

Olympe went into the front hall to sign the visitor's book and see who else might have arrived for the weekend.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/10/12 05:32:03

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

For some reason there were no staff in attendance to conduct Olympe to her room. She waited, whiling the time away by flipping back the pages to see who had been invited to earlier weekends. No-one of much significance, it seemed. She stifled a yawn.

There was an exciting rorting noise from the drive and in strode a tall, dark, handsome man in motorcycle leathers. He signed the book before he clocked the tall, hot blonde.

*I should have worn a heavier scent!* she thought, miffed.

"Nice seeing you here," he said.

"Have we met before? I don't think we've been formally introduced. I just arrived a few minutes ago. I don't actually know where the butler is... So, um..."

Her embarrassment was saved by the arrival of two saturnine figures, the butler-bot Michiko, and a taller, more human presence whom Olympe quickly recognised.

"Muun? What in The Server are you doing here?" she chimed in a cut-glass English accent.

"Good afternoon, Ms Olympe. Lord Yuzu has invited a significant number of guests this weekend and felt the need for a 'full court press' as he put it. I admit I did not fully understand the import of the term at first but I am led to understand that there are certain doings afoot which require the utmost professional support, hence my presence as a backstop to Michiko-bot." The female butler clandestinely gestured at her rather doddery looking bot companion with a sideways nod of her head, and a lofted eyebrow.

"Oh, I see." Olympe tapped the side of her nose with a forefinger. "Well, that's all to the good and hopefully there will be no teetotalitarianism in effect. I don't think I could survive. Listen Muun, Yuzu summoned me with a dark and cryptic warning of 'balls'. What do you know about that?"

Before Muun could reply, Michiko-bot buzzed a greeting.

"Good day, Mr... Bip Bip Bip... McDaniel. I shall summon a footboi to carry your appurtenances to your accommodation. Your room is in the West Wing, between Ms Olympe's and Doctor Mayoy's. Light refreshments are currently available in the 3rd withdrawing room."

"Excellent!" Olympe interrupted. "Mr McDaniel, shall we take tea together or do you prefer to go up to your room and unpack?" The tall blonde positively twinkled. "I don't think we need to change, it's very informal. Oh! I'm so sorry, my name is Olympe Reese."

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

Kevin scratched the back of his head before the robot gathered his attention. “You can have my helmet if you want, though I’m afraid I didn’t bring anything else with me, haha.” He wasn’t planning on staying long anyway.

Then suddenly, by some miracle of the heavens, he caught the full attention of the woman he laid eyes on at the very beginning. But this time, there was a name attached - Olympe Reese.

“Kevin McDaniel. And yes, tea would be nice.” He offered his hand for a shake. It’s the least he could do, being a gentleman and all, though he wondered if anyone else had any plans of showing up to this event. It’s a bit awkward feeling being the only two here in this rather empty building. Nothing can be done except to make the best of it. And with the way things are starting now, he concluded it can only get better.

Olympe shook the offered hand, said "How do you do," and went to lead the way down long, wood panelled corridors, around corners with Chinese vases on stands, past mullioned windows which give views over manicured lawns, a tennis court and, in the distance, a lake. There was a white flying boat sitting on the water, a two-motor high-wing monoplane.

The pair reached a large, well-lit room equipped with lavish amounts of occasional tables, soft furnishings, oil paintings, standard lamps, and other such decorabilia. Tall french windows stood open to allow a gentle breeze, scented with roses, into the space. There was a sumptuous tea buffet laid on a long sideboard.

"Here we are!" Olympe chimed. She helped herself to a cup of Assam with a spot of milk, and a digestive biscuit. She sat with her left leg draped elegantly over the right, swinging her foot slightly. She was wearing gloss white derby shoes with a man style low heel. Her tea length skirt allowed her trim ankles and calves to twinkle in the warm early autumn light.

"Now, what shall we talk about, Mr McDaniel?"

The young man grabbed himself a glass of unsweetened tea with lemon, a sharp contrast to what his newfound companion chose for a drink. He’s a simple guy, preferring names that are easy to pronounce on items of worth and other things. Though admittedly he felt like a sore thumb.

Wearing only a white shirt with a leather black jacket with jean pants and plain sneakers, he looked comfortable if anything. Then again, it would be a bit strange to wear something formal while riding in a motorcycle. Regardless, he came as he is and Olympe doesn’t seem to mind, not that it mattered to him in the least.

“Well, I overheard you talking to your friends about Lord Yuzu,” Kevin commented. He took a sip from his tea before continuing. “Who is he?”

"Who's Yuzu? That's a good question. You've clearly got qualities. Well, you can see Yuzu's rich. He's got more Coins than anyone. He's so rich he isn't even on the leaderboard because he's too high above it. No-one can tell how many Coins Yuzu's got because it's all hidden behind a firewall of alien Base-8 code. But a place like this, and his hobbies, well, really this place is one of his hobbies."

The blonde sipped her tea.

"Actually it's a metahobby cause the cricket team and the weird aircraft are part of things too. Yuzu's very eccentric. All he wants is to play this game of gracious English living like he was in Downton Abbey. You have to go along with it or he'll cut up rough. I've tested the boundaries. He tolerates me because we're related in an odd way and I've been helpful to him a couple of times, plus I've got nice ankles and can dance. You'll need better clothes to fit in but don't worry, I know where we can get you some. Yancie left a lot of his stuff here so I'll ask Muun to root it out for you. There's even a penguin suit. I can tell by looking at you it will fit pretty well, so that's okay. But look at this:"

She delved a folded telegram form from her handbag and handed it over. It read: +++NEED YOU HERE SOONEST+++BALLS+++YUZU+++

"What do you make of that, Mr McDaniel?"

He took the note from her hand and began to read it carefully, only to do so a second and then a third time. His eyebrows raised upon the word ‘balls’. Intriguing, if a bit odd. Though if this is a sign of Yuzu’s eccentric behavior, then he should proceed with caution.

He’s not comfortable dealing with the strange and foreign, which from Olympe is what Yuzu is. And if her words are any indication, he won’t be able to get out of it. For now he had to play along and wear another man’s clothes just to be a part of the status quo. And here he thought this was a bed and breakfast kind of affair, but in a country club. Needless to say, he was wrong.

“It could mean anything, Ms. Reese,” he commented while returning the letter to her. He relaxed in his seat before grabbing his tea once more.

“Perhaps he’s in need of tennis balls. Maybe he’s throwing a party - a ball per se. Maybe it has to do with his sexuality. The possibilities are endless.”

"His sexuality? Interesting idea! That would explain the presence of Doctor Mayoy but she's very professional and would never let slip any patient's details. She was very kind to me when I had my trouble. So that's a dead end. And actually Yuzu is throwing a party. This whole weekend is basically a long party. Mayoy may be here for social reasons. There probably will be a ball, or an informal dance at least, so I hope you can dance or you'll end up a wallflower, which would be rather a shame." Olympe's eyes measured Kevin's frame again, and she spoke on.

"If you have to come all the way out here you may as well try and enjoy the occasion, I always think. However there are two main reasons I come to Cowley. One is when I've got a scheme to liberate some of Yuzu's Coins and put them to better use. Always entirely ethical, I assure you! The other is because Yuzu wants me to do something for him, and it's often something not necessarily to my advantage. For instance there was the Case of the Cursed Cow Creamer, which is rather a long story but it ended happily. Even the bit where the Palace got set on fire. This message looks very much like he wants me for another job like that. Not burning things again; it was an accident anyway."

Olympe stopped swinging her leg, unhooked it, planted both feet on the ground and sat up straight. The clustered tiny diamonds in her earrings sparkled as she spoke.

"Look, Mr McDaniel, I had better let you know I am a private detective. Yuzu calls me in when he's got a secret to hide or discover, or some other odd problem. Usually I bring a partner but this time everyone else in the agency was busy so I had to come by myself. It was lucky I met you in the hall. Well obviously it wasn't luck, it was narrative causality at work. You need someone to help you navigate this place, and I need someone to stand by my side when I talk to Yuzu. To bear witness to whatever malarkey he has in store. Do you think you could do that for me?" She smiled in a most winsome way.

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

Kevin blinked, still holding on to his tea. He didn't have the chance to taste it due to listening and attempting to understand the millions of words that came out of Olympe’s mouth. *A very chatty woman she is, not that it’s a bad thing.* Though he’s afraid that by meeting her he had gotten himself into a mess he wasn’t planning on participating in. And here he thought he was meeting a random woman to possibly flirt with, not a detective!

“Uh… sure,” was his reply to her question, an answer that he knows he’ll regret later. But she asked so nicely and she needed his help! “Couldn’t say no to a beautiful woman.”

Though something is troubling him, the seemingly seriousness to the matter. He is a stranger, not at all versed in the ways of a detective. If there is cover to uphold, he could easily blow it. If there is evidence to find, he might accidentally hamper with it without notice. He’s an equivalent to a child wearing shoes on the wrong foot. He had no idea what he’s doing.

“…The mission itself isn’t dangerous, right? Cause I would like to live to see my next birthday.”

He’ll be thirty-three years old next month. Still in his prime with many more years to experience love, adventure, and other meaningful things.

"Oh thank you! Thank you, Kevin!" She grasped his hands and leant forward. Her fragrance wafted over him, citrus and marine, the scent of Mediterranean coasts, sun-baked rock, pine, lemon and bergamot.

"May I call you Kevin? You can call me Olympe. I can't tell you what it means to have the support of a strong boi like you. Now listen, the mission isn't physically dangerous, at least I don't think it will be. I've been shot three times--" She indicated her left shoulder, her right buttock and her heart, "--But it was never anything to do with Yuzu so don't worry, you'll be fine. Would you like to have a gun even so? I've got a spare one." She rootled in her handbag and brought out a tiny pistol. It looked like a toy, or one of those novelty cigarette lighters which lights the flame out of the barrel when you pull the trigger.

"Please don't shoot anyone! I'm sure you won't need to, Kevin."

Suddenly a shadow fell across the pair of them. A presence in the french windows, a medium tall girl in a white midi dress and plimsolls. She carried a wooden tennis racket. Her face was east asian, very attractive, and she had wonderful straight black hair falling to her shoulders.

"Oh hullo!" said the stranger. "I hope I'm not interrupting something. I only wanted some tea after practicing against the stupid robot machine."

Olympe slipped the little gun back into her purse as she leapt up.

"Mayoy! How nice to see you."

"Ah, excuse me but I don't think we've been introduced, Ms, uh..."

Olympe flipped back the veil on her pillbox hat.

"Pia, it's you! When did you arrive?" The two girls hugged and air-kissed like old friends. Olympe then gestured to Kevin and said; "This is my associate Mr Kevin McDaniel. He is assisting me on a case."

Mayoy, presumably the Doctor who attended both Lord Yuzu and Ms Reese for unknown sexual reasons, extended her hand.

"How do you do, Mr McDaniel. I hope she's paying you the going rate."

"Oh!" exclaimed Olympe, and pulled a smartphone from her clutch. Dramatically anachronistic, it was clearly mil-spec, laden with armour and exotic sensors. She tapped rapidly at the screen. There was a subtle 'popping' noise and Kevin found his jacket pocket suddenly weighed down with something. If he took a look it was various disc-shaped tokens denominated 1, 5, 11 and 23. They seemed to be gold plated plastic and totalled to 50.

Kevin was taken aback at the amount of times Ms. Reese had been shot, even more so when she mentioned it flippantly like it was nothing. He was about to protest at the thought of having a gun and was just as ready to bow out as quickly as he had accepted the mission, until another woman came along with the typical introduction, leaving all eyes on her.

He looked up and down at said woman, her curves so ample that a tent was pitched in his pants. Of course, that short burst of arousal was too soon; he realized that she was a friend of Olympe, meaning that she’s also one of the crazy ones. Yes, he’s calling Ms. Reese deranged, but he won’t say it out loud, at least not yet.

As usual, Kevin didn’t get the chance to speak, though his eyes turned to the detective once her friend mentioned about paying him. It wasn’t long before he felt something in his jacket, only to take it out of his pocket and observe the gold plastic that amounted to 50 in currency.

“Thanks, Olympe.” He responded with a small smile, believing that the amount given was enough for him to have a change of heart in abandoning the mission. Regardless, he still sees her as a nutcase and no amount of pay would change his opinion of her.

He puts it back into his jacket before he turned his attention away from the detective and towards Mayoy with a curious expression on his face. Is it possible that she knows of the current mission they’re in? Perhaps she could help them out; a three stranded cord is stronger and more reliable than two, after all.

“Care to join us in our case, Ms. Mayoy?” he asked, his arm now propped up on the table with his head resting against his hand. “Surely that alone beats tennis with a robot.”

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

"What case is that, Mr McDaniel?" Mayoy's accent was New Yorker. "I've assisted the kuudere detectives several times, always indirectly. I'm not an action girl. I like sports well enough but I know when I'm out of my depth. If we went onto the lake I'd prefer you or Olympe to be rowing, or sculling, whichever it is. I'd sit in the back of the boat, watching you do all the work."

She sat in a chair set at right angles to Kevin's, crossed her legs and laid her tennis racquet on the floor. Olympe went to the buffet to refresh everyone's drinks. She came back with a glass of cold *hojicha* for Mayoy and a fresh black tea with lemon for Kevin. She shuttled back and returned with another cup of Assam for herself, and a plate of chocolate chip cookies.

"Here, something for you Americans." She sat down and nibbled her McVitie's Digestive. It was exciting enough for a English girl. Olympe waited to see the interaction between Kevin and Mayoy. *It was fun when we were engaged but we're both better off apart,* she thought. *Mayoy is so wise!*

While Kevin, Doctor Mayoy and Olympe conversed, a Gordian Knot of social precedence was under consideration in the butler's pantry. Michiko-bot and Muun were wrestling with the intricate problem of seating for the *informal* black tie dinner they had to plan for the evening. The pair reviewed the guest list:

Lady Sakura
Olympe Viola Reese
Doctor Mayoy
Firegirl VioletMist
The Garden Fairy Yura
Major Dammijj

Lord Yuzu
Det. Sgt. Takayuki Komai
Mr. Kevin McDaniel
Doctor Foster
Mod Tsuchimursu
The Reverend Scarlet
The Hon. Algernon

Dsam Muscle Primcess

Lord Yuzu and Lady Sakura were fixed in their positions as host and hostess at the head and foot of the table. Olympe must sit at Yuzu's right hand because she was the Frog Prince and technically outranked Yuzu in the Imperial hierarchy while her Husbando was Frog Queen. Tsuchimursu merited an elevated seat due to his Modhood, but the Reverend Scarlet was also also a Mod, and a boi of the cloth too. Although the Garden Fairy Yura was complaisant, Firegirl VioletMist had a surprising capacity for upsetting conventions. The two butlers planned out a configuration with wargame models, scrapped it and made a second one, then a third. At this point Michiko-bot suffered a stack overload and shut down to reset her OS, leaving Muun to complete the plan by herself.

*I'll just serve stronger cocktails and no-one will notice the fine details of the seating,* she decided. Muun was very good at accounts and understood the principle of proportionality. There was no more time to waste on the table plan when the fine details of the wines for each course had to be resolved. She began to give orders to the footbois and maids.

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

“If I recall, correct me if I’m wrong, Olympe,” he responded when the detective arrived with fresh tea and cookies. “It had something to do with Yuzu and his letter. We were both trying to figure out what it means, since the only thing he wrote out of the ordinary is ‘balls’.”

He grabbed a chocolate chip cookie before continuing. “Ms. Reese wanted me to accompany her when she meets him. And I guess that’s it.” He took a bite out of said cookie; the chocolate bits easily melted in his mouth and the baked dough was soft. It reminded him of home when his mother used to bake them on the weekends when he was little.

“Apparently I might need a gun and she was about to give me one when you arrived, not that I needed it. I mean, I would rather not put myself in harms way if the mission required such.”

If he had to return the 50 back to back out, so be it. Nothing, in his eyes, is worth a life lost, especially when you still have a lot to live for.

Just then another person entered the refreshment hall, an elderly man with a smile so genuine it’s contagious.

He was wearing a striped, long sleeve shirt with a pair of suspenders holding his blue dress pants. Brown shoes were worn for this occasion, if not than it would be worn at church. They were his lucky shoes, always granting him luck every which way he goes. Possibly why he’s still alive. He thanked his good luck shoes for that.

“Well hello there!” The elderly man said to the young group of whipper-snappers who were sitting nearby. “Mind if I sit with you? Of course you don’t, Haha!”

Before anyone could say a word, he took the nearest available seat. He had to take his time though, no thanks to his arthritis.

“Name’s Jimmy John Oscar, but you can call me Jimmy John or Jimmy for short. A pleasure to meet your acquaintance!”

He continued speaking. “You know, this must be my lucky day being invited to Lord Yuzu’s home. I thank my God in the year of our Lord… forgot what year it is, but I also thank these lucky shoes of mine, see that?“

He lifted one of his legs to show off his prized possession.

“My wife brought me these shoes on my 60th birthday, bless her heart. She couldn’t make it today, had to do with IBS. Don’t know what it stands for, but she said to go on without her. That I did and it’s been a long time since I smelled some fresh clean air, woo-whee!”

He chuckled lightly until he saw the plate of cookies on the table.

“Are they sugar free? If not, can’t have them cause of my diabetus. Sugar and I aren’t a good mix, but can do with some tea! You have any black tea? Reminds me of a black friend I had, name is Malcom. I think black is his favorite color since he talks about it all the time. Anyway, what’s your names? Already told you mine, right? Name’s Jimmy John Oscar, but you can call me Jimmy John or Jimmy for short.”

Doctor Mayoy was looking somewhat sideways at the blonde detective as Mr Oscar doddered into the withdrawing room.

"Pia, you weren't going to give him *The Gun*?" she hissed.

"Goddess' sake no, Mayoy! It's safely locked up. I just thought Mr McDaniel might like a discreet pistol to strengthen his Aspect."

"No-one needs any pistols, Pia," the Doctor stated plainly. "Mr. McDaniel will be fine with his native wits. You've just got to get the poor boi dressed properly and guide him through some social niceties."

Mr Oscar seated himself with the creaky aplomb of age. Olympe stood in respect for the ancient and responded to his self-introduction.

"How do you do, Mr Oscar. I am Olympe Reese, this is Mr Kevin McDaniel, and here is Doctor Mayoy so fear not about your diabetes but don't eat the cookies, I'm sure they're crammed with sugar. I'll ask for something more suitable."

She went and pulled the bell rope to summon a servant. When the maid arrived, Olympe requested low sugar biscuits. A plateful of diabetic friendly Rich Tea was swiftly procured. She brought the treats and a cup of black tea to Mr Oscar.

"Ha ha, when I was a child we played a game to see how many of these you could cram into your mouth and eat at one go!" Rich Tea are one of the driest biscuits known, almost like crackers. "But I'm not going to do it now!" She smiled broadly and played with her jewellery. "Would you like to go on the boating lake, Mr Oscar? I'd be happy to scull you around before cocktails."

Meanwhile Mayoy was anxious to reassure Kevin about the dangers of the weekend.

"Mr McDaniel," she addressed him directly, "There's been a bit of a misunderstanding. Pia here, Olympe, I mean Ms Reese, has had some odd adventures but she's never lost an associate. Well, that blonde girl in the forest of ghosts but it was a very difficult situation and anyway the victim was reincarnated so it doesn't count. But look, there aren't many chances to be killed in Cowley Court. I suppose you could fall off the roof or drown in the lake, but we have two doctors on hand because my sempai Doctor Foster is here this weekend. So don't worry." She patted Kevin's hand in encouragement. "How 'bout a game of tennis? It's good, healthy exercise and not nearly as dangerous as croquet."

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

Kevin was a little relieved when Dr. Mayoy explained the situation in detail, though the reincarnated lady bit had him concerned. There’s more to Olympe than he originally thought; not only is the blonde nutzo, but she also had dealings with the occult! How else was she able to perform something like that?

“Yes, we should play a game of tennis.” If anything, it’ll keep him occupied and not think too much about the inevitable mission. “But go easy on me. I know you’re a pro at it, so try not to make me look too bad on the court.”

He had his manliness factor to uphold after all.

Jimmy John grabbed a handful of the dry cakes and began to nibble on one of them, putting the rest in his pocket for safekeeping. He heard Olympe speak to him about a … coat? He isn’t too sure since his hearing isn’t up to par. Perhaps the hearing aids are low on battery; you can’t tell these days with the elderly.

“I think the weather’s too nice for a coat, but it’s almost autumn, right? Now that’s coat wearing weather! Or do you mean float? Now see, I love root beer floats - the diet non-sugar kind, you know, cause of my diabetus. It’s a rare treat, but it’s worth sharing with the grandbabies.”

He added, “I have three little ones who visit me from time to time - Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then I don’t see them again until next year. Figured they don’t like the sugar free candy I give them… or maybe it has to do with something else? I’m getting old, so it could be that. Never know with these youngins.”

"Children have to go where their parents take them, Mr Oscar." Olympe told him. "I've eaten diabetic sweets. They taste a little flat compared to standard recipes but there's nothing wrong with them. I loved visiting my grandparents when I was little. I used to steal dog chocolates from their pantry. Did you know chocolate is poisonous to dogs, so they have to have special treats? Cats too. The doggy chocs were pretty yucky though. We also had homemade chocolate cake, which was much nicer, and cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Now listen, Mr McDaniel and Doctor Mayoy are going to play tennis, and I'll take you out on the lake. Mayoy will stay with you while Mr McDaniel and I get changed. We'll be a few minutes only. You can have another nice cup of tea in the meantime."

She beckoned Kevin up to the first floor (second if you're American) and easily found their rooms because Olympe had visited Cowley Court a number of times and knew the layout well.

"This room used to be Yancie's," she told Kevin. "It's a suite with a bath, very nice." They went in and found that the staff had filled the wardrobes with the clothes Yancie had brought the last time he visited, when he had to leave in such a hurry that a lot of things were left behind. Olympe went through them with easy familiarity and quickly set out two outfits.

"Here you are! White trousers, shirt and plimsolls for tennis. You can use a tie, I mean a necktie, instead of a belt. That adds a very stylish touch, you'll be quite the dashing young beau. Don't get a lot of ideas about Doctor Mayoy, though, because Mod Tsuchimursu is sweet on her. Once you've finished your game, change into this evening wear for cocktails and dinner." The evening suit was severe black with a stiff fronted white shirt, and a bow tie which looked difficult to do up, plus patent leather shoes.

"Will you be alright, Kevin? I've got to change into my sculling kit."

He began to think about the owner of this room. Who is he and what is he in relation to Olympe? Where could he possibly be now and why wasn’t he invited to the party?

“Ms. Reese, I do have a few questions if you don’t mind.” He stared at the two outfits that were placed on the bed. The evening one seems to fit his style somewhat, but the other for tennis, not so much.

“Firstly, do I have to wear that?” He pointed to the tennis uniform. “Secondly, who is Yancie? Is he your brother, cousin, husband, or…” He was running out of ideas on what to possibly call him, but surely she got the point.

“And lastly, was he invited? I would think so if he lives here and I’m wearing his clothes. Speaking of that, wouldn’t he be bothered? I would be if someone sees me in it without asking for permission.”

Olympe was opening all the closets, riffling through the suits hanging within; there were at least seven or eight plus the dinner jacket outfit she had already laid out. She paused her caresses of the luxurious fabrics at Kevin's questions, and turned to face him. She made a moue, in fact she looked like a girl on the verge of a snit.

"Please call me Olympe, or I shall feel you don't like me. Yes, of course you must wear the tennis outfit, Kevin, because you'll look absolutely super in it! There are some very nice girls here this weekend. You should take any chance to impress, or if you like bois it's the same, there are some very nice bois here too. You must look smart! You look smart now as a motorcyclist, yes, but tennis requires a new look. We always change our clothes a lot on these weekends. I don't know why you should mind about it."

She ran out of steam, turned to open a chest of drawers and began to go through the shirts and accoutrements inside, in some kind of displacement activity.

"Yancie is my older brother," she said over her shoulder. "I've never been married. I pretended to for an undercover case once, I still have the passport. I was Mrs Tremblay, a French woman with an American husband. Yancie's in IRL Tokyo at the moment, with his Japanese girlfriend Hikaru. They'll get married if I have anything to do with it, they're so right for each other."

She closed the drawer and turned back to look Kevin in the eyes. She was smiling again. She unpinned her hat and set it on a surface. Her hair was in a choppy pixie cut and she had gold stud earrings.

"Here, I'll show you some pictures." Olympe searched up the photo album on her smartphone. She showed Kevin some photos of a young man, mid-20s, tall, with shaggy honey-blond hair and hazel eyes. In one he was dressed in a pink blazer and black trousers, and there was a white girl on his arm, wearing a flapper dress. In another he wore technical hiking gear in greys, greens and blacks, and his right hand was in some kind of plastic brace. In a third he was wearing a rather preppy outfit of khaki chinos, a sky-blue long sleeve shirt, and a dark blue pullover slung around his shoulders. Yancie and Olympe looked very similar. They could almost have been twins.

"He wasn't invited because he's busy. Anyway I'm just as good at detecting as Yancie. Since he's my dear brother I think of these clothes as mine, although obviously they're too big." She picked up the dinner jacket and posed with it, checking her look in a tall mirror, then laid it out neatly again, and got rather close to Kevin. He could smell her scent, citrus and marine, evocative of warm, craggy Mediterranean coasts. Olympe rested a hand on Kevin's forearm and lifted her face to search his. Her eyes were hazel with gold flecks. She wore light make-up, with only a little eye-liner and no shadow.

"Your concerns do you great credit, Kevin. I believe Goddess put the right associate in my way when she brought you to Cowley Court. Please wear the clothes, enjoy the atmosphere, relish the food and drink, play the games, flirt and dance. It's going to be a fun weekend. I'll help you through any little difficulties."

She stepped back and watched the tall biker's reaction.

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

Kevin frowned. “It’s out of respect, Olympe. It has nothing to do with liking you or not, or having an interest in you.”

At first, back when he was signing his name in the visitor’s book, he was thinking about flirting with the woman. But that was before he discovered that she was a detective, was shot three times, insisted on him joining a mission involving Yuzu, and finding out that she had reincarnated someone. And if that wasn’t enough, she was forcing him to wear clothes he doesn’t even like! Not to mention that it belonged to her brother of all people. If that’s supposed to be her way of a pick up line, then all she’s going to get is the busy signal.

“And I’m not here to attract men, as they’re not my type, nor women… well, not at first, but that’s besides the point.” His mood had changed for the worst; it came from flirty to confused to fear to now downright anger. Perhaps it’s time he finally put his foot down.

“I was here only to eat a little something and leave, but somehow I’ve gotten myself into this mess with you wanting me to look special in front of people I don’t give a damn about. I could care less about Yuzu and his ‘balls’ obsession, Dr. Mayoy, Yancie, and especially you.”

He continued. “All you do is yap yap yap about gak. That’s right, bs. And I’m getting really fething tired of it.”

He was seething at the detective, wanting to say more. He wanted to tear her a new one if it was possible. But instead, he took a few deep breaths, turning away from her as he tried to recollect his thoughts. He had likely overstepped his boundaries when he just wanted to air out his frustrations. Insulting Olympe wasn’t part of the plan, and for that he needed to apologize.

“…Look, I’m sorry. I lost my temper,” he admitted before he turned to the woman with anger still boiling within him. He’s doing his best not to explode again and felt the need to leave the room. “I don’t think I’m in the mood to play tennis right now.”

What he wanted to do was smoke a cigarette and get out of this nightmare he’s in. He believed that he’ll wake up from this and be in his bedroom, ready to start a new day early in the morning. It had to be that, right? It had to be.

Olympe drew a very deep, slow breath, huffed it out and spun on her heel. She went to the sideboard, where there was a tantalus with decanters of whisky and brandy. She set out two glasses, poured a finger of whisky into one of them and squirted a splash of soda water in for health. She took a deep sip of the whisky then faced Kevin again.

"Thank you for your apology, Kevin. I apologise in turn for my behaviour. I've pushed you too hard. I've talked too much and too fast. I forgot what it's like to be a n00b in The Server, all the strange jargon and customs which are so confusing until you start to get a handle on things. I should have gone more slowly. But listen, there's no shame in being a n00b. Even I was a n00b once, and I turned out alright. It's just important to have fun and learn from higher level members. Let's have a drink and I'll shut up and answer your questions. And if you want to leave after that, of course you should but I hope you'll stay for dinner at least. Don't bother about the tennis. Mayoy can shift for herself, she'll find someone else or maybe she'll play with Mr Oscar. And I'm sorry again for talking so much, it's only because I'm a girl and we have twice as many words per day as bois. I didn't make that rule so you mustn't blame me. Would you like whisky or brandy, or something else? I can call a servant."

Kevin sighed deeply, his hand sliding down his face before it rested under his chin. Thoughts were racing in his mind; to just leave Olympe with the drinks and have a drag is more preferable, especially since she’s talking again with a pisspoor excuse to back it up. But maybe he’s being too hard on her who’s trying to make amends. The least he could do is take the olive branch extended to him.

“…I'll take a shot of whisky, please,” he muttered before he went to take a seat across from the detective. He said nothing more, simply going into his pockets to take out the 50 that was given to him, along with a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.

With his fingers, he slid the currency towards Olympe’s direction, before he lit up a cigarette to take a deep drag of the much needed nicotine to calm his nerves.

He sighed right after, smoke blown from his mouth like a tea kettle overheating on the stove. Leaning back on the chair and with eyes closed, he rested in an attempt to get his mind together. He was in familiar territory, not having a care in the world. It was like that when he rode on his motorcycle and he’s trying to get that now. Hopefully she doesn’t mind his unhealthy habit in her brother’s room, but it’s too late for that now, isn’t it?

Olympe poured a finger of whisky in the other glass and gently placed it within Kevin's easy reach. "Glenfiddich 15 year old Solera Reserve," she remarked, leaving the Coins on the tabletop for now. She opened a window, to let the smoke out. There was a view towards the boating lake. *I wish I was out there...* she thought, *I've overdone it with Kevin and now he's in a bad mood, sulking or moping. What should I do?*

An ancient wisteria clad the outside wall. Its great, tough limbs spread in all directions. offering a gnarly living scaffold which could be used by someone agile and daring to climb from the ground up to a bedroom, or sideways from one bedroom to another. The leaves were still verdant though summer's flowers had long faded and fallen.

She sat down and sipped her drink, leaving a lip mark on the glass, then pulled a powder compact and lipstick from her handbag, and checked her make-up. She got up and put her pillbox hat back on, adjusting it rakishly and folding the net down over her face once more. Sitting down again, Olympe got out her smartphone and pointed the camera at Kevin. Tapping the screen several times she quietly hmmed and put the phone away.

"What type of motorbike have you got, Kevin? How fast does it go?"

Whether Olympe noticed or not, Kevin was eyeing her the entire time, observing her physical features while she did this and that around the room. He took another drag of his cigarette when he glanced at her hips, so round and sumptuous… Admittedly the detective is more beautiful when she’s talking less.

He let the smoke escape his mouth while he reached for the drink, taking a good gulp of it before slamming the nearly depleted glass down on the table, not breaking it of course. The alcohol content was strong, but it felt good the first go around. He’s not ready to drink the rest in the glass, but instead went back to smoking what’s left of the tobacco stick.

Another drag, another spread of smoke escaping out of the window, and Kevin felt completely spent. He doesn’t like to get angry as it takes so much out of him. At least watching Olympe checking her makeup and putting on her hat was keeping him entertained.

“I ride a Yamaha Super Tenere ES. It’s my baby,” he responded, prideful of his bike. “I don’t try to test the speed, as long as I can feel the wind against my body… that is what matters most to me.”

Being that he doesn’t see an ashtray in sight, he dropped the cigarette butt into his cup. It won’t burn the glass or anything as there’s still a slight bit of liquid left inside. The residual alcohol popped into blue flame and burnt off in a moment.

“Why?” Kevin asked, his position in the chair more upright than before. “Do you have one yourself?”

Olympe was a veteran of the male gaze. She had been a bunnygirl cocktail waitress in a casino in London, a hostess in a louche bar in Kabukicho, Tokyo, and a bikini-clad barmaid in a skimpy pub in Western Australia, all roles she performed with some skill for undercover investigations. She knew exactly when bois were eyeing her up. *Goddess gave girls curves so bois' eyes would want to rove over them,* she thought, and remembered Chanmi the cyberpunk's wisdom; *Just make it a glance, not a stare, unless we're in a nightclub and you're serious.* She sipped her whisky and soda again.

"A Yamaha Super Tenere sounds awesome. I've got a Vespa Elettrica scooter. It could probably beat your Yamaha over the first 50 yards, cause it's electric and got torque out the wazoo, plus I got the plates put into the police traffic computer so I never get any speeding tickets, which is great. But basically it's for buzzing around town, top speed of 45mph in sports mode and a range of maybe 40 miles. Any long journeys I go by car or train. Did you ever do a road trip on your bike, Kevin? That would be pretty cool, cruising dark desert highways, and staying in remote motels."

She got up to wash Kevin's glass and dispose of the cigarette butt.

"It's cocktails soon so maybe we should stop at one drink."

He nodded. “When I lived in England, yes. Would travel here and there around the UK to relax and get my bearings. Just moved here weeks ago since I needed to start over with a clean slate. Not saying that it’s bad over there, just… memories that I would rather leave behind.

A bad relationship involving infidelity on his then fiancée’s part had nearly broken him. It left him with months of binge drinking and prodigal living; he was going downhill fast. But ever since he thought about ending his life by riding off a bridge in his motorcycle, the sense of becoming one with the winds of Mother Nature had forced him to change and not to allow himself to hit rock bottom ever again. What was meant to be a weapon for suicide had became his saving grace. He loved his motorcycle dearly and wouldn’t give it up for the world.

“Don’t tell me I have to wear your brother's suits for this. Well, I mean I would do it just this once… as long as it’s not that tennis outfit.”

He chuckled weakly. “Anyway, I don’t plan on drinking more than I did. Need not to overdo it for… personal reasons.”

Taking a shot of whiskey was one thing, even though it was a risk on his part. He doesn’t want to get drunk as past times were less than pleasant and it nearly destroyed his life. He can’t start over in a different country performing the same unhealthy habits again. Hopefully Olympe would understand his limits to such things and not pressure him to drink at cocktail hour.

*Does he have a dark history?* she wondered, trying to interpret Kevin's face and demeanour. *Well, he is not the only one.*

"Kevin," she said kindly, "You're not the first member to come here seeking a change of life, a chance of healing. Most of us find it in time. You can't truly die, so you can have all kinds of adventures, explore many ways to change yourself. The thing is, the emotions you will experience in The Server are just as effectual as the ones you have IRL. What I mean is that if you fall in love here, you fall in love. Love is wonderful, and it's dangerous. I found that out the hard way. When I first got here I treated it all as a big game. Of course in one way it is, that's the point, therapy and education through role-play. But, uh... I don't regret what happened to me. I'm learning so much from it."

She finished her own moderate drink and glanced out of the window. Someone had gone out on the lake, a tall girl with short blue hair in tight athletic costume, splashing quite a lot as she paddled wobblily along in a wooden racing skiff.

"I think that's the major. She had to learn to scull for some expedition she was on. I'll introduce you to her if you stay for cocktails. No-one will care if you drink soda water and fruit juice. I do so hope you'll stay, and wear the dinner suit. I can't make you but it's a wonderful suit and you'll look so handsome in it. All the girls will want to be the one you lead in to dinner."

Kevin rested his head on his hand as he pondered Olympe’s words. *Even the most chatty can give you some nuggets of wisdom,* he thought to himself. *Yet still...*

He closed his eyes, trying to remember what love really is. It came out to be a lie, everything was. He’d given up so much of himself to her, only for her to throw it away to be with another man. It hurt more than anyone could ever realize, it was worse than death itself, the pain. He doesn’t know if he could learn anything from that. And even if he did, well… he doesn’t want to go there. He had mostly moved on, but the massive scab in his heart remained. He’s afraid to pull it away to see if he has truly healed. Will it bleed again? Will fresh skin be revealed instead? He doesn’t want to know. Now is not the time to wonder about such things.

He chuckled softly when the detective complimented him. Directly or indirectly, it doesn’t matter. Perhaps it’s his turn to return the favor. It’s worth a shot; and if the end result becomes awkward, well… the show must go on.

“I would rather.. lead you into dinner tonight, if you don’t mind.” He said in all honesty. Truth be told, his heart is pounding in his chest. “I... I would like to know you a little more, not as a detective and all that. I want to know the real you.”

Olympe watched Kevin with a level gaze as he made his play.

*I'm dangerous to love,* she thought, and looked away for a moment, but it seemed an abdication of responsibility just to tell a boi that and leave him to Fate and his own devices. *I can't forget what happened to Hisashi. I was responsible.* Her head dipped as she remembered, then she braced up and straight eyed Kevin again.

"I'll permit you to squire me around Cowley for the weekend and we'll see how things go. Let's start with the cocktail hour and dinner."

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

When silence fell in the room, all he could hear was his breathing and thoughts, the latter so loud he couldn’t tell if he was speaking to himself.

*Did I move too fast? Does she hate me? What if she refuses?* They were running through his mind like an Olympian on track going their fastest to earn the gold. He couldn’t help but feel that it wasn’t a good idea when Olympe turned away, leaving him hesitant to speak on his behalf. But when she spoke the words that granted him a chance to woo her over, he smiled.

“Thank you, Olympe.” He didn’t want to tarnish his chances by saying anything beyond that.

A breeze seemed to be rising in the extensive grounds. The wisteria leaves began to rustle, and there was a flirring sound. Olympe turned to look out of the window again. A face appeared beyond the mullioned aperture, a broadly smiling white girl with wavy brown hair to her shoulders and a crown of flowers.

"Sorry, Mizz," the apparition said, in a Floridian voice, "They told me Olympe was up here so I flew over to say hi, uwu. But as she's not here I'll leave you alone. Bye now, see you at cocktails maybe... Uwu..."

Before the odd girl could vanish Olympe flipped her veil up and called out, "Yura, it's me!"

The stranger did a double take. "Oh yeah! It's you, Olympe. Can I come in, uwu? I'm getting tired."

"This is Mr McDaniel's room so you need his permission, Yura." Olympe stepped away from the window and gestured to her companion.

"Please may I come in, Mr McDaniel, sir, uwu?" the newcomer smiled.

His curiosity took the better of him when he noticed the detective at the window talking to someone, only to introduce him not a moment later. He stood from his chair and walked over to Olympe’s side, looking down at a young woman who appeared to have a verbal tic. He simply waved at her before replying.

“You are free to come in, if you want. But make it quick since I need to change clothes.”

He wouldn’t dare undress in front of a total stranger, even more so with Olympe. Sure he’s kinda sorta maybe starting to ‘date’ her, but he’s not comfortable doing such and so soon. Instead he’ll wait patiently until they’re done. Who knows, maybe he’ll join the conversation. After all, her friends do seem to be an interesting bunch, even if they seem to be on the crazy side.

Olympe stepped to Kevin quickly and whispered into his ear.

"You may be a bit surprised at how she looks but Yura's lovely." She stepped back to the window to help the visitor climb into the bedroom. They hugged and kissed cheeks the way girls do.

Yura drew herself up to her full height to be introduced. She was very smol, under five feet, slightly built but feminine, pretty in a *girl next door* way, with warm brown eyes and light make-up. She wore a short sleeve, spring green shift dress, knee length, gathered at the waist with a black sash from which hung two tassle bags, one chonky, the other smol and sparkling with a faint blue glow, or perhaps that was a trick of the afternoon light. She had on black ballerina pumps, and her back was adorned with translucent wings, currently furled. Their shape was difficult to see. Her age looked mid to late 20s.

"Kevin, this is The Garden Fairy Yura, a dear friend and colleague. I mean she is a fellow detective, though not from my agency. Yura, this is Mr Kevin McDaniel, my... um..." *My associate...?* The small pile of Coins still lay on the occasional table, symbolic rejection of their earlier compact.

The fairy girl curtsied, a quick bob. She grinned broadly and her eyes twinkled.

"Your new boifriend, Pia? You're such a *fast mover*, uwu!"

"He's not my boifriend!" Olympe protested.

"But you're in his room unchaperoned. You gotta admit it's suggestive, uwu."

"Only because I wanted to show Kevin Yancie's wardrobe. No-one knows Yancie's clothes better than me or Muun. Kevin's borrowing them because he arrived by motorcycle with no luggage."

"You're on first name terms, uwu!" The observant detective pointed to the outfits spread on the bed. "And you're helping him dress for dinner. Case proved, uwu! I could almost wish I had got in first, though Tsuchimursu would be so jealous." She held out her hand to Kevin for a conventional shake. "It's so nice to meet you, Mr McDaniel, uwu. Welcome to Cowley Court. It's my first time here too. Everything's lovely! The park is beautiful and full of wonderful nature. I love flowers and plants and all creatures, even the naughty snails who eat up my Hostas, hora." A spasm of ire for the naughty snails fleeted across her brow. "Well, maybe I don't love them quite as much." And her irrepressible smile returned after this brief contemplation of gastropod devastation.

"The Garden Fairy has a lovely home in the Sub-tropical Cays, but snails are rampant in the foliage there. I helped her out once, to return a favour." Olympe explained rather obliquely.

Never in his 32 years of life had he met someone as original as Yura. A garden fairy wasn’t someone he was expecting to meet, since he thought they belonged to stories and fables little children would hear around bedtime. He didn’t think that they existed in real life; then again, one’s childlike innocence and beliefs in such things usually disappear around adulthood. Still, Kevin’s glad to see that they are real and get to see one in the flesh. It’s something to add to his book of first experiences.

“Contrary to popular belief I’m not her boyfriend, Miss Yura,” he replied respectfully as he always tended to do. “She’s allowing me to prove myself however. We’ll see if it becomes official after this weekend. Nice try on your detective skills though."

He shook the fairy’s hand and smiled at her, listening to her dislike of snails ruining plants and other things. He’s not one for flowers, unless it’s a gift to someone he cherishes with his heart. But other than that, he knows nothing of them except how pretty they are.

“You certainly have a way with words, the both of you,” he said, complimenting the women. He then focused on the fairy. “And the way you dress, you’re sure to attract some positive attention if you plan to attend cocktail hour with us.”

"Oh yeah, cocktails!" The fairy girl exclaimed. "Actually I'm going to change into something more interesting. I'll see you downstairs, Mr McDaniel." The visitor bustled out of the door the conventional way. Olympe closed it and turned to Kevin.

"Yura's the loveliest member, so kind and gentle, very good with children, and she caters splendidly in an informal American style. Just don't make her angry, because her combat Aspect is surprisingly fierce, but I'm sure you won't. Now. I'll leave you in peace to change because I have to redo my make-up. I've already planned my outfit. I'm saving my flapper dress for another night, so I'll wear a little black number and some jewellery, nothing excessive. Oh yes, that reminds me..."

She went to a sideboard and rootled in a drawer. She brought out a silver boutonnière holder, and a gold chain and fob, designed for a gentleboi's formal waistcoat.

"Here! Gold and silver together are so on point now. We'll be the cynosure of fashion." She tapped at her phone. With a gentle pop a furled white rose appeared on the dresser. The stem was neatly trimmed and wrapped in wet tissue and silver foil, leaving a pair of green leaves to accentuate the bloom. Olympe removed the foil and put the flower into the boutonnière holder, adding a few drops of water to keep it fresh. She stood the arrangement upright in one of the whisky glasses.

"There! That's perfect. Will you be alright, Kevin? If you have any difficulty with your bow tie just knock me up, I'm only next door."

Kevin didn’t say a word. Instead he made his way over to Olympe, placed his hands on her shoulder from behind her, and proceeded to gently escort her out of the room.

“I will meet you in your room, once I’m ready. Please don’t worry about me and get yourself changed.”

With that said, he opened the door and led her out into the hallway, only to close and lock the door behind her before she could say a word.

With a sigh, he picked a dark blue suit from the bed and began to change into them. Of course, he had to take off his jacket, shirt, and pants, revealing himself in only his boxers. It didn’t take long for him to put on his formal attire, though he was having slight trouble with the boutonnière.

Unfortunately the flower stem broke in half during the process. He cursed to himself before he attempted to salvage it; a flower with no stem and a few missing petals were all that’s left, but at least it’s on his suit now.

He looked in the closet to find some shoes to wear as his current ones weren’t formal enough. He found a pair of black suede shoes and decided to put them on. Amazingly, they fit just about right. He then made his way to the door and unlocked it, closing it behind him when he made it to the hallway. He decided he’ll wait for Olympe rather than speeding her up by knocking on the door.

If she takes too long, he’ll just go to the cocktail area to see and talk to Dr. Mayoy, Jimmy John, and Yura. Besides, they aren’t a couple nor are they dating. They don’t necessarily need to wait on each other, right?

Gaining her own room, Olympe cleansed and redid her make-up, using eye-shadow, blusher and dark mascara to create more of a dressed-up feminine look than she normally wore. She reviewed her perfume arsenal -- Erolfa, Royal Oud, Silver Mountain Water, and the erotically charged Sublime Vanille -- all from the house of Creed. She spritzed with Royal Oud, whose complex base of Oud, sandalwood and Tonkin musk granted authority. She felt the need to brace herself for confrontation with Yuzu. Higher layers of lemon, pink pepper and bergamot conveyed elegance rather than sensuality. *I don't know I want to seduce Kevin yet.*

Her little black cocktail number was sleeveless, off the shoulder, fitted in the bodice, with a slim, relaxed skirt falling from the waist to halfway down the leg. It exposed a lot of upper torso skin. She wore it with a serious push-up bra to make the most of her slim bustline, concealing the straps with a short, open front bolero jacket whose sleeves ended in slit cuffs just past the elbow.

She slipped naked legs into black Jimmy Choo slingback sandals, and began to play with her jewellery, admiring the gold, silver and pearl accessories, some of which were actually disguised surveillance devices. She selected gold stud earrings in the shape of a crescent moon filled with tiny diamonds, a delightful trinket she had come across while working a freelance case in Atlantis. Finally she oohed and aahed over her new Chanel cocktail ring, a dramatic sun and rayburst of white and yellow gold with many diamonds, which had cost more than her car. Sliding it onto her right index finger, she posed and admired herself in the mirror.

Olympe preened, postured, practised her poses to maximise her impact. She knew The Server's algorithms would react to the theatre of the members and provide support for their Aspects. She reinforced her detective role by including her tiny pistol in her clutch purse. Satisfied, she waited for Kevin to call on her.

While Kevin and Olympe primped themselves, the other inhabitants of Cowley Court were preparing for the evening in their own ways. Michiko-bot finished her reset and reactivated, to oversee the menu. Muun dealt with the problem of the seating plan by sending it to an associate, Chanmi the cyberpunk sidekick, who was an expert on spreadsheets. Chanmi handed it off to her AI, who in a flash returned a slightly odd placement because he was too busy solving crosswords to worry about some stupid human issue of 'boi-girl-boi-girl'.

The bois assumed their Bondesque black tie outfits, while the girls prepared themselves for different glory. As the portentous hour drew near, many hearts throbbed with excitement and expectation of delight. Finally, Muun and a pair of lesser servants formed ranks in the 1st withdrawing room, spirits, mixers and equipment arrayed, awaiting the arrival of Lord Yuzu's guests.

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

Tap, tap, tap was the foot hitting the floor while Kevin waited for his not really date. With arms crossed, he looked at the time on his smartwatch; they have fifteen minutes left until cocktail hour. At least, according to said watch, he reached his walking and exercise quota for the day.

With his patience running thin, he made it a mission to knock on the door rather than wait for her to come out on her own. And that he did with three successive knocks on her door, followed by a quick message.

“Hurry up, Olympe! We only have fifteen minutes!”

He’s not one for being late on special occasions.

Meanwhile, Jimmy John Oscar was fully awake from his nap, deciding that now is a good time to stay away from the sugar free cookies or risk getting into a no sweet coma. He wanted to meet Lord Yuzu and his entourage in person. If only he could take pictures, but his flip phone doesn’t have the capabilities to do such a thing. Oh well.

Slowly but surely, he stood up from his seat and began to walk around the waiting room. He noticed the two bots and just watched them from afar, thinking to himself loud enough for anyone nearby to hear.

“Must be nice having robots to do your chores. You see, back in my day, we youngins had to wake up early in the morning to make our beds and do chores before we had a bite to eat. Nowadays, this generation thinks they can just sit around and play all day. They’ve gotten lazy, I tell you what. You kids wouldn’t make it if they were born in my day. No siree!”

Olympe was practically outraged by Kevin's early knock-up.

"15 minutes!" she shrieked, "It's an eternity." Her door snapped opened. "Haven't you heard of being fashionably late? Come in here if you can't wait patiently." Olympe, shining in glory, pulled Kevin into her boudoir, where lacey underwear disappointingly was not spread around the furniture because the taut blonde was relentlessly organised. You couldn't call it OCD but she liked to know all her stuff was neat.

There was a wide bed, a writing table, a dressing table crowded with make-up paraphernalia and luxurious looking scent bottles, an occasional table with an easy chair, and two large wardrobes. Olympe's room was not as well appointed as Kevin's suite. She had a handbasin but no bathroom and would need to use the shared facilities along the hall.

"Sit down while I do my lipstick," she invited him. The door was left open as a defence against any suspicion of impropriety. Olympe's lips were already perfect but she spent five minutes examining them on the general principle that a boi must be made to know his place.

While Kevin made his forlorn hope assault on Olympe's door, Muun and Doctor Foster were grappling with the issue of Mr Jimmy John Oscar, apparently a revenant of parties past. They wanted to inveigle him into a jacket and string tie which would suit his attire and give him the air of a gracious Southern gentleboi, a disguise Muun thought would bear Lord Yuzu's examination. "It's only black tie so Lord Yuzu will forgive nearly anything for an American," Michiko said. Muun nodded. They offered the senior the garments and guided him towards the reception room where cocktails were ready for dispensation. On entering they found several guests had already assembled. Doctor Mayoy, wearing a black, off the shoulder midi length dress, shaped but not fitted, and black high heel court shoes, hastened to welcome the newcomer. Her hair was gathered behind and bound with a silver clip or barrette, allowing her elegant ears and silver hoop rings to be viewed.

"Mr Oscar, how are you doing? Let me introduce you..." There were already several girls and bois waiting to be let loose upon the bar. Muun stepped into position and began to serve while Mayoy was making introductions. She didn't worry about precedence so the order came out pleasingly random.

"Major Dammijj." A six feet tall girl, strong and athletic, with somewhat east-asian features and bob cut navy blue hair. She wore a midnight blue military uniform with trousers, half-boots, rank badges and medal ribbons. A ceremonial (?) dagger and a pistol hung at her belt.

"The Reverend Scarlet." A medium tall boi in red priestly robes and biretta. He smiled kindly, and began to voice some benison, but Mayoy swept the poor elder right along. "You'd be stuck for hours..." she whispered in his ear as she brought him to:

"The Honorable Algernon." A tall, thin boi in a conventional DJ. He had dark hair and a pencil moustache. "Call me Algie," was the first thing he said.

"Firegirl VioletMist." Another tough, athletic girl, maybe 5' 7" in a scarlet bodicon minidress and combat boots with a white flash on the heel cuff. They were Jimmy Choo if you knew your footwear.

"Dsam Muscle Primcess." A short, wide and muscley member wearing a cerise DJ with a massive buttonhole. Xe pressed Jimmy John's hand warmly. The good doctor left Mr Oscar to go and get herself a drink. Goddess knows, she needed one.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/10/21 04:56:04

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

“It was nice to meet you, but I’m here for Lord Yuzu,” Jimmy John commented. “Is he late to his own party? Probably stuck in traffic or some such. You would think that someone who’s in charge will be at his party on time, but nope! What a shame.”

Lord Yuzu was in his study. He had dressed for dinner but he wanted to examine an odd artefact he kept in one of the cabinets which housed his extensive collection of objets d'art. This particular item was the reason he had summoned the detectives to Cowley Court, however he was now having second thoughts about involving them. His previous dealings with the members of the MPY Agency had had mixed results. The Affair of the Formosan Frog was a success, but the Case of the Cursed Cow Creamer had been extremely taxing. His worry weighed on his mind, and he was beginning to think that asking Olympe might be an overreach. But there weren't many detectives in The Server, and there was a lot at stake. *I'll lush her up with a good dinner first,* he thought. *Then I'll put the matter to her.* He locked the treasure away, and made his way to the reception.

Upstairs, Kevin couldn’t help but smile, leading to a soft chuckle when he took his seat on the easy chair. With impatience now gone and being replaced with amusement, he watched as Olympe put on her makeup.

‘Never seen you this upset before,’ he mused, learning more about the detective with each new situation that occurred. Note to self: never rush a woman while in the process of beautifying herself, you might get shot… or worse. In this case, he received an earful.

“You look marvelous, for what it’s worth,” he eventually commented on her appearance. “I feel like the luckiest man alive to have you on a not date tonight.”

It felt like a real date, even though it’s just him going through a trial period to win Olympe’s heart. He wondered if there’s more to her than she let on, any secrets that she isn’t willing to share with him. It’ll take time, that much he knows, but he wondered if he’ll get the chance to know the real Olympe. With Lord Yuzu and his friends showing up, it’s likely he won’t get his chance tonight.

It appeared that Dsam Muscle Primcess could talk the hind leg off a donkey.

"Don't worry, Mr. Oscar. Lord Yuzu will be here in his own time to get a cocktail. He'd never miss that opportunity. Where are you from, by the way? You remind me of someone... who is it?... Yes! Colonel Sanders! Actually I'm allergic to the coating on some types of fried chicken. Are you from the South? I'm from California. I don't know why I was invited but I'm glad to be here cause there're so many interesting members to meet. Let's get some cocktails and circulate. I'll introduce you to anyone you like cause I just don't care." Xe took Jimmy John's hand under xer arm and led him to the bar, where Muun and assistants were deftly producing nearly any arcane concoction you could think of.

As Jimmy John and Dsam requested drinks, new arrivals also wanted refreshment. The room began to ring with happy chatter and the clink of glasses.

Meanwhile, Olympe concluded her dilatory lip inspection and eyed her beau in the mirror.

“I feel like the luckiest man alive to have you on a not date tonight,” he told her.

*That's right,* she thought, *So don't fuccing blow it! Ooh! Black suede shoes are an interesting fashion choice!*

"I'm ready, Kevin. Let me just check you and we'll go down." She fussed over his bow tie, her massive ring throwing glints and sparkles. She noted the sad disrepair of his buttonhole and turned again to her phone. A few seconds later a fresh, delicate rose was neatly slotted into the silver holder.

"You're rapidly getting more valuable. But I gave a moon to the Princess so you've got a long way to go. You need some scent. Borrow my Silver Mountain Water, it's unisex." There had been no cologne in Yancie's room because he took it with him when he was hospitalised.

Olympe anointed Kevin with the icy, mentholated perfume, which held zesty citrus top notes of bergamot, blackcurrant, galbanum and orange. As it warmed on his skin, it unfolded hearty aromas of green tea, layered with salty ozonic scents, building from a base of sandalwood and musk. She inhaled with satisfaction.

"Let's go." She led the way down to the reception room and allowed Kevin to have whatever he wanted, and to bring her a French 75. The tall glass gripped elegantly, she began to cruise the scene with the aid of a guest list discreetly provide by Muun.

Det Sgt Takayuki Komai (B)
Doctor Foster (B)
Doctor Mayoy (G)
Dsam Muscle Primcess (T)
Firegirl VioletMist (G)
Lady Sakura (G)
Lord Yuzu (B)
Major Tomoko Dammijj (G)
Mod Tsuchimursu (B)
Mr Jimmy John Oscar (B)
Mr Kevin McDaniel (B)
Ms. Chormy#8164 (G)
Olympe Viola Reese (G)
The Garden Fairy Yura (G)
The Hon. Algernon (B)
The Reverend Scarlet (B)

"The point of a cocktail party is to mingle and meet members. Who do you want to talk to, Kevin?"

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/10/22 12:11:59

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

Little does Dsam know, Jimmy John can talk up a storm just the same.

“Well you should care! Why back in my day, we respected others. As the good Lord once said, ‘do unto others as they do unto you’, something like that. Though I’m surprised you’re showing me a great deal of respect, feeling quite… well, I don’t know how to explain it, but it feels really good!”

As the two walked over to the table of cocktails, he complimented on the drinks.

“I tell you what, they’re all quite colorful like the rainbow. I used to drink a lot back in my day, but can’t do so now cause of my heart. You don’t mind if I have a glass of water instead, do you? You can have whatever you want, of course. I won’t stop you, haha!”

He looked up at them with a smile. “I’m glad you came to accompany me. Without my wife by my side, feeling quite lost like a child not knowing how to get home. I know they have these devices called ‘gps’, however that’s pronounced, it’s too complex for my old brain. Cause we used maps back in my day; we weren't blessed with technology like you youngins are.”

He shook his head. “Just shows I’m getting old…”

Kevin wasn’t sure whom to talk to, since originally he wasn’t planning on staying this long. Now he’s having a not date with Olympe and the many drinks lying on the tables are making him a bit uncomfortable.

“You go on ahead and talk to whoever you please. I think I need to be outside for a bit.”

The temptation to drink is strong, but he had to resist or risk falling into bad habits. He knows he won’t stop if he chance it, especially with a seemingly unlimited amount at their disposal. He fidgets, awaiting the detective’s response.

Olympe was scanning the room, identifying other guests to introduce to Kevin, as they approached the table where the cocktails were made:

`"I think I need to be outside for a bit."`

"What is it, Kevin? Is something wrong?" Olympe asked, with a worried look. The tall, taciturn Mod Tsuchimursu, and the voluble Reverend Scarlet, were both circulating. To be drawn into such company as a n00b would be a trial for anyone. "We can go out and sit quietly if you like." She read his face... realised *He's a drinker who doesn't want to be. Of course he's unhappy in a cocktail party. I'm so stupid!* "Here, come with me. I'll show you the way to the gardens."

Olympe quickly led the suffering young boi down a corridor, through some french windows, out into the rose arbour. The dusk of an early autumn evening, still warm, and glowing with the westered sun, filled the gardens. The sky overhead was midnight blue spattered with brilliant stars. The low light made it difficult to tell the colours of the blooms, but their scent drifted in the air. Industrious bees were still operating; their wings lent a gentle buzz to the otherwise silent vista.

"it's alright, Kevin, you're going to be okay." She took his hand in both of hers. "You don't have to drink, you can have fruit juice instead of a cocktail, or we'll just wait here and talk until the dinner gong. There'll be wine with the meal of course, but just stick to mineral water. I'll speak to Muun. She'll arrange it so you're not poured any alcohol."

She watched Kevin closely, wondering if his sudden aversion to drink was connected with his dark history.

"It's a pleasant evening. Let's stroll and take the air." Olympe coupled herself with Kevin, put her right hand under his left elbow so he could lead her, and subtly nudge-guided him to walk her around the gardens. "This is the southern aspect. We can turn left and go to watch the moons rise over the Edge of the World, or we can turn right and see the sun set over the lake. Both views are beautiful. All views are beautiful in Cowley, if only your heart is at peace. And maybe someone with a troubled heart could find peace here."

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

Meanwhile Dsam was making sure Jimmy John had the drink he needed. Fresh spring water was served in a highball tumbler, with chonky irregular ice cubes clear as glass, and several thin slices of yuzu fruit.

"That looks so good I'll have one myself!" Dsam exclaimed, and followed Jimmy John's suit. "Please call me Dsam if you like, Mr Oscar. I'm a very bad member but I misbehave in the right kind of ways to have fun. Who do you want to talk to specially? It's a cocktail party. We can talk to everyone and we should!" Xe led xer senior companion towards a nearby pair of members, one a slim, medium tall white girl with long pink hair, in a wonderful, warm yellow midi dress with shoulder straps and a bow on the left shoulder, relaxed bodice and full skirt without crinolines, nude sandals. Her partner in chat was an east-asian boi wearing a conventional dinner suit. He looked very straight up overall.

*Troubled heart finding peace… is that even possible? With Cowley, perhaps anything is.* Kevin mused. He had seen fairies, robots, and many other out of the ordinary people and situations that show that he doesn’t have to blend in to the norms most of society dictates. To a degree, he can be himself, just not around Yuzu for obvious reasons. Still that little bit of comfort is like balm to the injured soul.

“Let’s see the moons rise,” he suggested before he led Olympe on the leftward path that would take them there. He walked quietly, contemplating on what else to say or do. Lately the detective had been aware of his limitations and boundaries, and therefore is being quite respectful in regards to that. But what could he do in exchange for her kindness? Perhaps, maybe...

“I appreciate your kindness towards me, Olympe.” He started while he glanced towards her with a small smile. “If this would help repay all you’ve done for me, I would like to become your associate again and help solve the case, no credits needed.”

He figured that’s what was most important to her, otherwise he would not have been offered it from the get go. He shouldn’t have denied it then, but he hoped that she’ll reconsider and allow him to somehow pay his dues. He owes her that much.

Jimmy John took a sip of his drink with both hands. His fine motor skills aren’t what they used to be, so his hands are a bit shaky. Luckily he didn’t spill his drink and is enjoying the added flavor of yuzu fruit.

“Why, I just want to talk to you!” He cheerfully replied. “I was taught by my mother, who was taught by her mother, to always give someone your undivided attention. If I talk to someone else, then I’ll be ignoring you which is quite disrespectful and I don’t do disrespect!”

With that said and done, he continued.

“Dsam… that’s an interesting name. Hard to pronounce though, makes me think the d is silent. But it’s a creative name, better than Jimmy John Oscar!” He then began to laugh. “There’s a lot of Jimmy Johns in the world, but I’m sure there’s only one of you! Makes you special.”

Outside, Olympe followed Kevin's lead round to the east side of the Court. The far distant Edge of the World wasn't actually visible from here. The Server was configured with some curvature so it was below the horizon; you had to get pretty close to see the actual edge. The moons had risen, one great large one the same as Earth's, lambent yellow in the evening rays, the familiar figure of the rabbit with his mallet and mortar full of mochi partly concealed by a dark arc of shadow. Half a dozen smaller moons swam to the left and right of the big one, all sporting the same bite out of their discs, a gaggle of ducklings following their shining mother up to the river of heaven, the Milky Way flowing overhead.

"Thank you, Kevin," she smiled, and patted his forearm with her unengaged hand. "I haven't done much for you so far, though, just got you some decent clothes. My partner would say if you work as my sidekick you deserve paying in real Coins at the standard rate of 25 per hour, plus expenses. It's all gonna come out of Yuzu's pocket in the end if I've got anything to do with it. Anyway, let's put the Coins and the case on the side for now. Yuzu's obviously a bit diffident about it or he would have braced me soon after I got here. He's probably counting on me enjoying my dinner too much to say no to him afterwards. So let's enjoy our stroll for now. We can miss cocktails but we must go back in when the dinner gong is sounded. No-one's had the chance to admire my ring yet, and I can't wear it again tomorrow."

The elaborate sunrayburst sparkled in the yellow moonlight as she lofted her index finger from the clasp of his elbow.

Olympe leant to and fro to subtly influence Kevin's steps around the walls of Cowley Court. Honey coloured stone, lingering warm from the day's pleasant sun, glowed in the encroaching dusk as they perambulated, the scent of various flowers, roses, hollyhocks and cosmos mingling with her Royal Oud and his Silver Mountain Water.

"This is the twilight hour, Kevin, when the walls between the worlds are their thinnest. Can you hear anything, a secret message phasing in and out of reality like Mexican radio in the southern borderlands? Where would you like to go, if you could go anywhere? I can't promise to take you there, I'm no sorceror, but I'd like to hear your dream."

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

Kevin closed his eyes and took a deep breath, letting it out as if to meditate on her words. His dream… what is it exactly? It shattered back home when his ex fiancée cheated on him with another man, resulting in a near suicide among other terrible choices. He never really put into thought what he should pursue in the here and now. He remained silent as he pondered, letting his mind and heart do the talking for him.

“I suppose I want to be free, though I get that from riding my bike.” He said this after opening his eyes with his attention on the detective.

“I suppose what I really want as a dream is to have a family of my own, a loving wife and children to greet me whenever I’m home from work.”

He added, chuckling while shaking his head. “Call it a fantasy, but I want to love again… but…” he trailed off, turning away from Olympe as he looked at the sky above.

He could hear light chatter in the distance. Likely a few had gone outside to enjoy the night air like they are currently doing, enjoying each other’s company. He could only hope that Olympe doesn’t mind his own.

Though compared to her, he felt out of place. She was leagues ahead of him in terms of well… everything. He’s just a country boy trying to get by. What could he possibly offer her?

“…What about you? Surely you have some dream in mind you haven’t accomplished yet. Tell me what you desire… perhaps I too can help you just the same.”

Dsam chatted like a champ as xe led the gentle old man closer to possible new acquaintances. Ms Chormy#8164 of the beautiful yellow dress loomed, with her Japanese interlocutor, or xe and Jimmy John could swerve away in a pre-prandial jack move and engage with the urbane Algie, the taut Firegirl VioletMist, or even approach the lofty Mods Tsuchimursu and Reverend Scarlet.

"Ha, Jimmy John, you're special even if you share your name with someone else. I know a boi called Richard, and the place he works has like five of them, Richards I mean, so yeah, the office is full of Dicks but they're alright from what he says, just a bit confusing when you're on a conference call. My name's pronounced Deesam btw, thanks for talking to me cos there's members who wouldn't. Your mother spoke true wisdom but don't forget at a cocktail party we can talk to each other, then meet someone and talk to them too. I don't know a lot of members here either, so I want to find out. But first, what're your hobbies and interests? I'm into baking and doll couture. I make special cosplay suits for dolls, most of which I sell. It's pretty good Coin actually. I make some full size outfits too, but that's more difficult. I made this dinner jacket I'm wearing. What do you think? Do you like the colour, the texture? Here, stroke it, it's velvet. Lots of girls like a DJ they can stroke."

The buzz of conversation filled the room, interspersed with the merry ting of cocktail glasses being tapped for greeting toasts, and the shaking up of fresh drinks. Muun favoured the sensuous 'Tokyo Roll' technique but she was more than happy to rattle the hard ice vigorously if someone wanted their Negroni to fizz pink with micro-bubbles and spicules. The guests began to spill out onto the Eastern terrace where they could enjoy the moons rising.

Jimmy John placed his hand on the velvet jacket and began to feel its surface. He ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ in response, only to place another hand on the jacket. His interest in the texture caused his hands to roam all over. If it made Dsam uncomfortable, the elderly man wouldn't have noticed. He was too absorbed in how the velvet felt against his fingers.

“Now what, this is velvet? Oh my… oh my indeed, I tell you what. Never had I felt fabric so soft and… I don’t know how to describe it, but my wife never had anything like this. Why… it makes me all giddy inside! Wish those robots gave me something like that, but nope! You should’ve been the one to dress me Dee-Sam, but I don’t think my wife would like that.”

He released his hands from their body and coughed. Perhaps he’s clearing his throat? You can never tell with Jimmy John.

“Now where were we… oh! Dollies!” His hearing aids concluded that word rather than hobbies. “My wife collects Dollies, you see? Though she wanted the raggedy Anne kind since she lost the one her mother gave her. She told me she wanted one to hug and to sleep at night, so I tried to find one with no luck! Dagnabbit!”

He frowned, but immediately perked up. “Say wait a minute. Didn’t you say you play dress up with your Dollies and for grownups too? Maybe you can make a Dollie for my wife. She’ll appreciate it. Heck, I’ll even pay you for a job well done!”

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

"A Raggedy Anne doll? The dear things of childhood!" exclaimed Dsam. Xe whipped out a phone to search up patterns.

"Yes! I could borrow a machine. There's a haberdashery shop in the village. Yes! With luck you shall have a Raggedy Anne this weekend. We'll go to buy the fabric together. It's going to be fun. Now dear Jimmy John, I insist on introducing us to some of the other guests."

Dsam, energised by the prospect of xer new dollie project, squired the old gentleboi towards a pair who were talking in low voices. An athletic looking white girl in a scarlet minidress, whose long sleeves and combat boots lent some glaze of modesty. Her hair was a black bob. The Reverend Scarlet was her interlocutor. Their costumes glowed ruddy. A snippet of the conversation overheard...

"Being a mermaid was okay in the end, kind of fun, y'know. You shoulda tried it too, Scarlet."

"No, it's not for me. All that violent swimming and jumping, the waves... I get motion sick so easily, I find even taxicabs rather violent. I go everywhere by train or trolleybus."

"Hiya!" Dsam piped up brightly. "I'm Dsam Muscle Primcess and this is my new friend Mr Jimmy John Oscar. I'm gonna make him a dollie."

* * *

'Surely you have some dream in mind you haven’t accomplished yet. Tell me what you desire… perhaps I too can help you just the same.'

"There're things I’d change, Goddess knows, if I could have my time over. I loved a boi once, he loved me, and... It didn't end well, he... He died." She hung her head, fiddled with her ring. "There were factors I was unaware of at the time. But that's the past, tricky to change. Time travel's a dangerous business, Kevin. I've used up all my luck in that direction. I live in the Zen moment now. Maybe things will change but I've no Disney dreams in mind."

She sighed, braced up and smiled.

"I refuse to be maudlin! We're here for fun, Kevin. Whatever Yuzu throws at us we'll deal with it and come out on top, I promise you!"

The gong for dinner rang out, measured notes reverberating throughout the Court and the immediate grounds, summoning the guests to the formal table.

Jimmy John nodded in agreement to Dsam’s claim of making a Raggedy Anne doll for him, so much so that he had to put his two cents worth to the tale.

“Yes they are! And I can’t wait to show it to my wife, she’ll be so pleased that I’ll have to take a picture of her sweet little smile. But I only have a flip phone and it doesn’t take pictures well. Don’t know why not. Just have to get one of those big phones the size of your entire hand! And they talk too, believe it or not. I swear technology these days is blowing my mind away, woo-whee!”

His attention went straight to the Reverend Scarlet, ignoring everyone else because surely they know about church.

“A pleasure to meet you, Reverend! Like my new friend said, I’m Jimmy John Oscar, but you can call me Jimmy John or Jimmy for short. Now I have to ask you what church you’re from, because I have an inkling you’re one of those preachers on TV. Mind you, I wouldn’t mind seeing you there, but I prefer to hear the word in person, you know? Just not the same!”

* * *

“My condolences…” Kevin managed to let out before Olympe’s behavior changed quickly and for the better. He listened to her words afterward and shook his head, not at all agreeing with what was said.

“I know we’re here for fun, but it’s okay to show a side that makes you… vulnerable.”

He then heard the dinner dong and cursed. This is not the time to head back, not when she shared a part of herself that he wanted to see - the sensitive and real side of Olympe that isn’t all posh and glam.

He sighed, only to take her by the hand and gave her a small smile. He’ll have to discuss that particular part with her later. If she’s willing to take Yuzu on with whatever she has in mind, then Kevin should too.

“Let’s go, Olympe. As much as I want to, we can’t be fashionably late on this one.”

"Quite right Kevin, we must make a good entrance. Allow me to show the way." She held his hand and took the lead, guiding him to a room where the guests were all assembling prior to entering the dining hall. She stopped just outside, gently removed her hand from his and held it in position to rest on his left forearm.

"Please lend me your arm, Kevin, and we'll enter in glory!" Her splendid cocktail ring coruscated in the subtle multidirectional lighting, returning glints and fulgent flinders. "You are seated to right of Major Dammijj. She's tall with short blue hair, military uniform. Just follow her because she's being handed in by Yuzu. I am between you and Mr Oscar. It's quite informal tonight so don't worry."

They entered the fray. The Major was instantly visible, taller than everyone except Tsuchimursu. Next to her was a shortish middle-aged white boi, rather round but looking full of energy. His eyes gleamed as he chatted with his statuesque companion.

"That's Yuzu," Olympe murmured, "He's mad for all this stuff, this Downton Abbey cosplay. It actually is fun once you get into it, so best to go along with him. The major's a space marine, head of security on a starship, very sporty, great fun. You'll like her. Let's go over and I'll introduce you."

She waited for Kevin to lead her.

A slight degree of confusion had resulted from the challenging modern seating plan, developed by a professional structured methodology in which Muun had handed it off to her associate Chanmi the cyberpunk sidekick, who handed it off to her AI, Taek_00000101, who didn't understand differences between genders and was too busy solving crossword puzzles to spend many milliseconds on the problem. As a result, Mr. Oscar was to lead in The Garden Fairy Yura. Now Dsam put the couple together.

Yura was wearing a laurel green mini-dress, fitted bodice with a scoop back and a short puff skirt with crinolines, matching ballet pumps. Her wings were furled neatly, and a warm smile wreathed her face.

"Mr Oscar. It's a pleasure to be led in by you." She dipped into her tassle bag and sprinkled a pinch of fairy dust over the elder. He felt his energy lift, a genuine renewal powered by natural magic rather than the false vitality of drugs.

Dsam took xer leave. "I'll see you later, Jimmy John, we can discuss the doll after dinner."

"A doll, Mr Oscar!? Are you interested in dolls? I do love dolls," exclaimed the pixie girl. "Do you have a special favourite?"

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/10/29 21:15:54

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

Kevin admittedly was nervous, but was trying not to show it. He simply nodded and followed Olympe here and there as she explained who’s who in the room. When she mentioned Major Dammijj, he glanced over in her direction and took in her tall form. *Must be something to have your own starship,* he mused, wondering if he’ll be able to see it in person sometime this weekend.

When his eyes turned away from her and towards Yuzu, he simply blinked. He had thought that he'd look more like a royal and not dressed in such a way that doesn’t bring forth that kind of aura. *Perhaps he’s trying not to bring all the attention to himself? Who knows?* Then again. Olympe did say this is informal, which could explain Yuzu’s current attire.

“Ready when you are, I guess…” he said with a nervous chuckle. He needed to pull himself together or risk embarrassing his not date which would open a can of worms that he didn’t want to deal with.

When Jimmy John felt the pixie dust on him and with his strength renewed, he laughed joyfully as if he was the happiest man in Crowley.

“Ho ho, what wonderful magic you have! I feel like I’m in my 40s, ready to take on the world!”

He gave Yura a warm hug before continuing.

“Never would I thought I’ll see a garden fairy, didn’t know they exist like the tooth fairy. You two are in competition in stealing the hearts of youngins and kids at heart, which my wife always told me. I love kids!”

Surprisingly, (or was it due to the pixie dust?) his hearing aids were able to correctly decipher the question given to him.

“I don’t have a favorite doll, but it’s for my wife. Dee-Sam was kind enough to make a Raggedy Anne for her, bless their heart. I tell you what, you all have been so kind to me, it warms my little soul…” He then began to wipe his eyes as tears began to form.

“Excuse me, just being emotional I guess. Give me a minute and I’ll be back to my jolly old self again!”

Yura returned Jimmy's hug and patted his back.

"Of course we are kind to you, that is our way, uwu." She gave him a handkerchief to dry his eyes, and waited for him to compose himself. "Now, let's get sat and we can enjoy a lovely dinner."

As Kevin led Olympe to the table, she whispered in his ear.

"If you've got any doubt about how to use something, glance at me for a clue, but don't worry, once you're in the flow you'll begin to channel an Aspect, and it'll get much easier."

The phalanxes of gleaming silverware did not seem so forbidding. Some odd memory was tickling the back of his mind; in some way the names and purposes of all the different implements were familiar, even ones he had never seen before*. He squired a glamorous girl, his suit fitted beautifully. He felt dapper as he led Olympe to her chair.

"Thank you, Kevin," she smiled as he seated her, then threw her gaze around. It was amusing to see the grand Lady Sakura handing Firegirl VioletMist to her seat. Doctor Foster was escorting...

*Oh my Goddess Taka-kun's going to sit right opposite me!* Olympe twigged. She tried to cover her sudden agitation with a close reading of the menu card.


Gazpacho (V)
Meat loaf, or Vegetable lasagna (V). Roast autumn vegetable medley (V).
Salad (V)
Tapioca pudding (V)

(V) Vegan

The good doctors Mayoy and Foster made a rapid clinical decision to swap seats, allowing Mayoy to sit between Takayuki and Foster, and opposite Jimmy John Oscar.

Lady Yuzu asked the Reverend Scarlet to say a grace. He stood, composed himself, and orated in a sonorous voice.

"We join our hands to offer up our grateful thanks to the beneficent Goddess whose bounty, provided through the diligent cultivation of kindly nature by skillful and hard-working members and bots, will soon fill this lengthy table with sights and smells to provoke our appetites, and food and wine with which to satisfy our appetites and bodily needs..."

Scarlet drew a deep breath and looked set to continue but Lord Yuzu quickly gave a loud “Amen” and thanked the Reverend for his words. The worthy prelate looked somewhat deflated as he sat.

Waitrons poured water, and the first wine, a well chilled vinho verde with a delightful spritz. Gazpacho soup was ladelled from silver tureens into fine china plates decorated with the Yuzu emblem, a bright red frog sitting on a yuzu fruit. The assembled company began to eat, drink and converse. Olympe sipped her wine and began to engage with nearby members.

"Taka-kun, how are you? I expected to see you in Sadie's Diner yesterday. Did something happen?"

"I am sorry, Pia-chan!" He bowed his head for a moment. "I was delayed and my phone lost signal so I could not call you. When I arrived you had already left. We will catch up later, yes?"

They both nodded understanding, and turned to talk to their neighbours.

"Jimmy John, you look splendid! How are you finding everything?" Olympe asked.

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

Repromotion: The Case of the Halloween Hauntings.


A saga for the spooky season.

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

While Olympe started to converse with Jimmy John, Kevin decided to give it a go by getting Major Dammijj’s attention.

“Hello Major,” he started, allowing the Aspect to keep him in check. If it wasn’t for that, he'd be a nervous wreck. “I was told by Olympe that you have a starship. Is there by any chance you have pictures or is that classified?”

He went to his soup, using the right spoon for the occasion. He never had Gazpacho before, being a meat and potatoes kind of man. Though after tasting it served cold, he nodded. It isn’t something he’ll have on the daily, but it tasted good overall.

Jimmy John was about to talk to Yura about her wings, wondering if they felt like velvet and if she’s comfortable with him touching them. That is, until Olympe asked a question.

“Quite well, thank you er… I don’t think I recalled ever hearing your name. No matter, I would just call you Miss and that’ll nip it in the bud, haha!”

Of course it wouldn’t be Jimmy John Oscar if he didn’t add more to the conversation.

“I tell you what, this tomato soup tastes pretty cold. Don’t they warm their soups or cook them? I don’t know, but it seems kinda strange to serve you cold soup. Not good for the soul!”

He added. “My wife used to fix tomato soup back when she could cook. Add a little cheese and crackers and boy, I’m in heaven! Mmm-mmm good, I say! I do the cooking at home now and I’d say it’ll taste better than this slop! Least I have my sugar free cookies, cause of my diabetus of course, so might as well munch on that…”

He reached into his pocket and grabbed three sugarless cookies from earlier, nibbling on them slowly and loudly. Can only do so much when you have little to no teeth.

"We met this afternoon, Jimmy John, I served you tea and biscuits. My name's Olympe. Between you and me..." She lent close to whisper, "Our host is split between generosity and meanness. He gets lots of tomatoes free from the kitchen garden, but to make a good cream of tomato soup would mean spending Coins on heating it up. So it's served cold in silver tureens!" She sat upright and spoke at normal volume. "Hot tomato soup's lovely. What a pity your wife could not come this weekend. Is she... very indisposed?" She threw a glance over at Doctors Mayoy and Foster, caught Mayoy's eye and made a double eye flick towards the ancient before returning her full attention to him. "Whatever you want you shall have, dear Jimmy. We must respect our elders because we will be them one day."

Olympe looked for Muun, who leant close. "Please would you bring some cheese and crackers for Mr Oscar?" The consummate butler smoothly organised the out of sequence provisions. A plate of table water biscuits and three blocks of assorted cheese appeared after only a minute.

The Major was a handsome girl with somewhat east asian features. Her prim uniform gleamed with badges.

"Please call me Tomoko. I'm only in these duds because I'm no good at fashion. It's not my starship, actually, I'm just the head of security. She's the Starship The Heart of Choko, a semi-demilitarised, fast light reconnaissance cruiser. Difficult to spot and the speediest ship in the fleet." She grinned pridefully. Tomoko sounded like a native English speaker with an odd foreign accent. "Also very luxurious because we mostly carry VIPs around, ambassadors and royalty. It's a pretty cushy duty usually, though we've had to get out of a couple of hairy scrapes. Here's an image."

She unrolled a sheet of grey plastic into a phablet. "The Choko in stealth mode." The picture showed a sky full of stars. "Here's a landing display..." A pic of a gleaming shape wreathed in fog pierced by glittering laser beams. Her exact form was hard to make out. "That was shot when we were on the way to deliver the Princess Himawari to the Planet of Wonder. What a mission! I was still a captain. If you'd like a ride I can take you up in my dropship, Mr McDaniel. Perhaps we could discuss it later this evening. Which room have they put you in?"

Jimmy John was munching on what is now a half of a sugarless cookie, covered in his own saliva. He placed it on a napkin along with the other two cookies that were in his hand and replied.

“Well you see, my wife can’t come because of IBS. Something to do with the bathroom I guess. She wasn’t feeling well and told me to go on without her. But I’ll be able to cheer her up some when I come back home by surprising her with a Raggedy Anne dollie from Dee-Sam!”

Ever the talker, he continued. “Aw shucks, Olly-em-pee, you don’t have to treat me special! All I really wanted was some warm tomato soup! Though it’s mighty kind of you to give me cheese and crackers, but it’s just not the same, no sir!”

He added. “Tell you what. Tell me where the microwave is and I’ll heat it up myself! Won’t cause a dime either, so Lord Yuzu can keep his change.”

Kevin blinked and marveled slightly at the pictures. They were interesting to say the least, but it wasn’t what he was hoping for. At least Tomoko is offering a ride on her ship, which is something he couldn’t refuse. But there’s one little thing he needed to ask her before accepting the offer.

“I would love to, but only if Olympe could come with me. It’ll be a nice surprise for her too.”

With the question asked about his room, he answered. “I suppose Yancie’s room. He’s Olympe’s brother by the way. I’m also wearing his clothes.”

He chuckled. “ Honestly it wasn’t in my plans to stay this long, yet here we are.”

"Cowley Court has a way of drawing you in, I guess. There's a lot of fun things to do." She laughed briefly and her blue hair shook. "Yancie's clothes suit you very well, Kevin," she smiled, and ran her eyes slowly up and down your frame. She leant close to take in your fragrance, then leant back to eat soup. "Sure, we can take Olympe up for a spin if she wants to. She might not want to, though, so better check it out with her first. If she doesn't like the idea, maybe we can go on the lake, or play tennis. Just you and me."

Lord Yuzu interjected: "Olympe's down here on business, so I'd be best pleased if you don't fly her off in your ship tonight. There's an important matter concerning the cricket club to resolve first. Once that's dealt with you can go wherever you like." He had finished his gazpacho and was sipping wine. He turned back to Tsuchimursu.

"Let's enjoy dinner for now," Tomoko said, and finished her soup. "Michiko-bot will tell me your room and I'll pop along later, so we can work out a flight plan."

Olympe cast a glance leftwards, trying to keep track of Tomoko and Kevin's conversation while she entertained her august companion. She turned back to Jimmy John.

"What a shame your wife couldn't come! I'm sorry the soup was cold, Jimmy. It's just a modern style, they're taking it away now..." The waitrons were busy removing the gazpacho plates. "I'll make sure you have hot soup tomorrow night. The fishcake will be lovely and hot now, with mayonnaise and dill and a piece of lemon, I hope. Won't that be nice? I'm going to have the Farl and Dulse myself. I'm not a vegetarian but I do love some good seaweed, it's so full of minerals. Excuse me..." She turned back to Kevin.

"Did Yuzu say something about cricket?" she whispered. *It could be a clew."

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

When Tomoko decided to go into his personal space by sniffing him and checking out his current set of clothing, Kevin blushed and laughed nervously, feeling a lump in his throat. Seems like the Aspect wasn’t capable enough to prevent that from happening.

“Yeah… I guess Cowley is special to a lot of people. Maybe I’ll find someone or something here while I’m still around.”

He said this while looking away… and straight to Lord Yuzu who apparently had other plans with Olympe. He sighed, feeling a little disappointed in the fact that he couldn’t spend time with the detective on the ship. He’ll either have to wait til the other’s done with her or refuse the trip altogether.

“Sorry Tomoko, but I’m not comfortable doing anything alone with a woman, especially while I’m on a date. Well… it’s not a date per se, but still… I would rather not unless Olympe is with me.”

Jimmy John rubbed his hands with glee. “Oh, I love fish sticks! They fit right in my hand and they’re easier to bite into. Of course I could use a fork if I’m going to dip them into ketchup, so I won’t make a mess of myself. Though I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to add some mayonnaise to it, especially if you mixed it with ketchup! My grandbabies show me that trick and I couldn’t believe how good it tasted with some fries, you know the curly ones? They’re my favorite, I tell you what!”

Apparently, the pixie dust had worn off, meaning that his hearing was whacked out again.

While the elder awaits his fish(sticks), Kevin whispers back to Olympe.

“He mentioned a cricket club. Don’t know what that has to do with balls unless it features another country club where only men are invited…”

Once again, Yuzu’s sexuality is being questioned. Unless the detective could think otherwise, that’s the only logical conclusion. At least in Kevin’s eyes anyway.

"That's an important clew, Kevin. Yuzu's chairman of the Cowley Cricket Club. Cricket's a team sport. It's too complicated to explain now but balls are very important. Well. So he wants me for something to do with his cricket club. Again." The blondette made a moue. "The situation must be serious, considering what happened the last time. Oh, well, let's enjoy dinner at any rate." She perked up as a plate of steaming hot potato farl, artfully slathered with dark green slime, was placed in front of her, and her wine glass was refilled.

Tomoko noted the aside between Kevin and Olympe.

"You're on a date/not date, huh? I know the feeling. Look, Kevin, if Olympe's trying you out, you're in with a chance. She's got pretty high standards. We'll take a rain check on the dropship until you and Olympe work out what you wanna do." She turned to Yuzu. "My Lord, how is your *shuttle* performing?"

"Oh, I never use it nowadays, Tomoko. Mistress Kou told me it’s too alarming, so I go by airship or seaplane if I have to go anywhere.”

Olympe waited for Jimmy to be served a fishcake with ketchup as well as mayo.

"There, eat up while it's hot, Jimmy." She leant back as he leant forward and reached out to tap the Garden Fairy's shoulder. Yura looked at her. Olympe made a dip and sprinkle motion with her thumb and forefinger, as if sprinkling sea salt. Yura took a pinch of fairy dust from her tassle bag and let it drift over Jimmy's head. The blue sparkles, accompanied by a subtle tinkling sound effect, renewed his energy once more.

"How is your fishcake, Jimmy John?" Yura asked. "Mine is very good. I might ask for ketchup too." She resumed conversation with the old boi, leaving Algie to talk to Scarlet, who had been chatting with Lady Sakura. A ripple went around the table.

Olympe turned to talk to Kevin again. “Where were we?”

“Maybe the ball he mentioned was a prized possession, a special kind of ball you can’t find anywhere else,” Kevin whispered back. “He might have lost it and wanted you to look for them or perhaps it was stolen…”

He took a glance over at Yuzu before whispering to Olympe once more.

“Though maybe we shouldn’t assume, and just ask him upfront. It’ll be a lot easier for the both of us, I’m sure.”

When Tomoko caught his attention, Kevin responded in earnest.

“Thank you for understanding. And yeah, she’s pretty high standard… but that’s keeping me on my toes, so that’s a good thing, right?”

He turned to the detective again and smiled, turned back to the Space Marine before he continued.

“I may not deserve her, but I’m glad she’s given me a chance. That’s at least something I can cherish here in Cowley. And if nothing else, we can still be friends.”

Jimmy John felt a great deal of energy upon him, not knowing of the pixie dust used again by Yura. He felt renewed once more with good hearing being top notch. It left him surprised at the fish with ketchup and mayo however, when he probably would’ve refused to eat it.

“This is the funniest looking fish stick I’ve ever seen, but it looks tasty alright. Let me…”

Grabbing a fork with one hand and a knife with the other, he carefully cut a small piece of fish. He then dunked it into the ketchup, doing the same with the mayonnaise, and popped it into his mouth. After a few chews, he swallowed it and his eyes beamed with delight.

“Oh my, this is the best tasting fish stick I ever had! It’s so fresh I could taste the ocean! My word!”

The elder repeated the process over again, only to comment indefinitely about the fish until there was no more on his plate.

Keven laughed in response to Jimmy’s love of fish, until Olympe seeked his attention once more.

“We’re on the subject of balls and asking Lord Yuzu for better clarification. But I suppose we can push that aside now and enjoy our meals for the time being. We can do the rest later at his convenience.”

"Yes, let's concentrate on eating, Kevin."

The fishcake is handmade. Fragments of hot smoked salmon and poached smoked haddock, mixed into mashed potato with finely chopped dill, formed into patties, coated with flour, beaten egg and Japanese panko breadcrumbs, fried in sunflower oil and served piping hot, sprinkled with Maldon sea salt and more dill. Fresh mayonnaise, also handmade, and tomato ketchup for those guests who would like it. The plate is completed with half a lemon wrapped in a square of muslin. Yura helps Jimmy to squeeze the fragrant juice onto his portion. She crunches into her own serving, the crispy panko crust yielding to her knife with a crackle, revealing the aromatic contents. She forks up a watering mouthful, closes her eyes in bliss as she savours the contrast of salt, sharp and smokey flavours, the crunch of crisp panko and melt of the soft potato.

"Oh, it looks so nice, perhaps I should have chosen it," Olympe commented. "When I was little my parents often took us to restaurants and they would share their meals, swapping a piece of Daddy's steak or Mummy's chicken for my fish or my brother's pasta, that sort of thing, and I naturally believed that is how all meals are eaten, and even now I like to exchange a bite with my neighbour." She eyed Kevin's plate meaningfully. "Would you like to taste my farl and dulse?"

"In Japan we have many types of fish stick called *kamaboko*, different shapes and flavours." Takayuki Komai, speaking across the table to Jimmy and Yura. "One type is part of New Year celebration for us, good luck to eat for first breakfast. I think you would like them, Mr Jimmy John."

The buzz of conversation rolled around the table, members talking in pairs with one neighbour or the other, or joining three way chats sideways and across the white linen expanse. The plates were gradually emptied and the staff prepared the next course, with a change of wine, a hearty red Cotes du Rhone.

"Will you have meat loaf or vegetable lasagna, Jimmy?" Yura asked. "There are lentils in it, very tasty. You can some of both if you want."

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

“Uh… sure!” Kevin replied before he cut a big piece of his fishcake and placed it on her plate. “You don’t have to give me... whatever that green stuff is. I don’t think I’ll like it that much, if at all.”

The green parts, which he assumed are the dulse, are too slimy looking for his tastes. In all honesty, anything green is no good for a meat and potatoes fan. With wine kept being delivered and served, it’s making Kevin very uncomfortable. He excused himself and went outside to have a smoke. It would calm the nerves and help him focus on other things that don't involve alcohol. At least he made it this far without falling into temptation, but it was a test he doesn’t want to go through for a while. He’ll wait a while until dinner is over with.

Jimmy John however is enjoying the talk of fish sticks with Takayuki Komai.

“Well I think I might like them myself too! Though I think my grandbabies would like them more cause of the shapes. If they look like dinosaurs or trees, then I’m sure it’ll be a hit for the kiddos! Though it’s probably best if it was chicken nuggets with various shapes and all. They like them better that way, though my wife doesn’t. She would rather have chicken or fish soup. Soup of any kind would do wonders for her!”

The elder was finished with his fish and was nearly full. But when Yura asked for a choice of what to eat next, he declined.

“I’m sorry Miss Yura, but I’m about to burst! Can’t eat anymore, though if Lord Yuzu doesn’t mind, I’ll have a doggie bag to save for my wife. Shame she can’t come, but that doesn’t mean I can’t bring it to her! With that and the dollie, she’ll be overjoyed! Would love to see her smile.”

"We'll have Michiko-bot put you up a picnic parcel to take home and enjoy with your wife, Jimmy," Olympe told him. "Takayuki-san knows all about fish sticks. Taka-kun, please tell us."

"Of course! Well there are many variety in form, like loaf, or tube, or crinkly cylinder, or kind of fish or leaf, maybe" he made shapes with his hands, "And there is usually some colour or pattern or something in the middle."

"It's like seaside rock!" Olympe broke in, "But you get that in the UK and it's sugar."

"I have not eaten any rock, Pia-chan." The Japanese continued, "So kamaboko can be sliced like a loaf and you eat cold or in hot soup. Also there is *chiizukama* which is cheese and kamaboko combined. Very delicious."

Yura licked her lips. "I'd like to try cheesekarma, uwu. Where can I get some?"

"In Server City there are Japanese cafe where you can have it. I heard there is a head-patting cafe, actually, maybe it is there, or of course a good grocery store. They are easy to eat, no cooking needed, just cut in slice. You should have it with soy sauce."

"I went to that cafe! It's Italian food but the owners are Japanese and you can get your head patted. I like to have my head patted and pat other member's heads," Yura smiled at certain memories.

As the lively exchange continued, Olympe worried about Kevin's absence. She made an excuse and tracked him down by his smoke. *Smell IS important in detecting, I always said so!* She found him in the rose garden, watching the last rays of the sun glow up the boating lake. She stood at his side and looked at the seaplane, painted orange and pale blue in the dusk.

"Is it the wine worrying you, Kevin? I don't think you're alcoholic but you seem a bit shy of it, which may be a good thing. I used to drink more than I should, but I'm sensible now. Did something start you on it?" She put a hand to his arm.

“Those fish sticks sound mighty interesting!" Jimmy said, "Though I may have to go to a Japanese restaurant rather than Japan to try them out. Though they don’t need to give me luck since I get that from my lucky shoes! And so far, I’ve been blessed!”

With all this talk of patting, he decided to do so to Yura’s head. “You don’t need to go to a fancy restaurant for patting. Heck, I’ll do it for you as many times as you like! Least I could do for all this fairy magic you put on me. I feel like a brand new me, thanks to you!”

He then spoke in whispers while patting, saying: “Now who’s a good fairy! That’s you, yes you are! Good fairy!”

Kevin was startled when he heard Olympe’s voice, so much so that he nearly dropped his cigarette.

“It’s just… I’m a recovering alcoholic,” he admitted before he turned away from her. If she wanted to know the real Kevin, might as well give it to her.

“Some bad life events led me into using drinking as a crutch. All day long I would drink to take my sorrows away.”

He then took a drag of the cigarette, allowing smoke to pass through his mouth afterward.

“Quit cold turkey. Wasn’t the wisest choice, since I ended up drinking again. Just this time it’ll be a can here or a glass there, nothing more.”

He turned to the detective with a sad smile. “I’ll be alright, Olympe. You go back there and have fun. Don’t worry about me.”

Olympe read Kevin's sad face, looked down at the ground, stared at the lake for a bit, and looked back to him again. A slight tension of the eyebrows was her only expression. She locked his arm up with both hers, but she didn't pull.

"It's very brave of you to be open and vulnerable with me, Kevin. I'm not going to leave you here all alone to mope. I've done enough moping myself, I know how horrible it feels. It was a girl I suppose, someone you loved who didn't love you back, or worse, she loved you and left you."

She squeezed Kevin's arm. Her regal scent filled the air.

"I'm not going to tell you to pull yourself together. I never pulled myself together without help. Either a friend helped me or I got an idea, an objective, a purpose. So I'll help you. Let's go inside and finish dinner without wine. Then we'll hear Yuzu's proposal. That may give us a worthwhile goal. What do you say?"

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

In the dining hall Muun continued service to the other guests. If Olympe and Mr McDaniel chose to miss a course they must have a good reason. But their absence was noted by Yura and Takayuki, who had the same idea of what it meant but different reactions.

*Hee, hee!* the Garden Fairy sniggered silently, *I'm not such a bad detective after all!* She hid her giggles in her reaction to the head patting. "Ha ha, it tickles, Jimmy! You must have a talent, uwu, or maybe it's patting your grandchildren so much and I'm only smol. But please let me go because I want my meat loaf, uwu."

Takayuki's face looked like stone. *Mata ososugiru'n da zo. Kuso!* `I'm too late again. gak!` His meat loaf was put in front of him. He ignored it.

"Are you okay, Mr Komai?" It was Chormy of the beautiful yellow dress. "You were in a brown study."

He shook his head. "Yes, thank you Ms Chormy, my mind was elsewhere for a moment."

Outside, Kevin blinked. Was he that easy to read? Likely so, as Olympe had hit the nail right on the coffin. It was about a girl not loving him back and went as far as to cheat on him rather than telling him up front that it’s not working out. He sighed, dropping the cigarette butt on the ground before mashing it with his shoe. Might as well make the best of tonight while it’s still here rather than dwelling in the past for now.

“Alright, alright… let’s go.” He said to his not date as the two went back inside. Jimmy John stopped with his doting of Yura and frowned at Takayuki.

“Now, I don’t know what you said, but they sound like fighting words! And we don’t fight in another man’s house, you see? So why don’t you talk to old Jimmy John here and tell me what’s the matter, cause you look like one of my grandbabies who was put on time out.”

He gestured to them to eat the meatloaf.

“And if you won’t eat your meatloaf, then you just wasted the cook’s time in making it for you. Why, if you weren't hungry, you should’ve said so beforehand like I did! Now I suggest you put it in a doggie bag so it won’t be thrown to waste. I tell you what, the one thing I hate more than disrespectful children is wasteful adults who have no concern for others and the less fortunate!”

Jimmy John was no longer the jolly fellow that folks know of. He was actually pretty angry and was letting it known, especially to Takayuki. "Way to go, Taka-san. You just made Jimmy John Oscar mad. Here’s a gold star for your efforts. Bet you feel good about yourself now, huh?"

The Japanese man smiled. "I am fighting with myself, Mr Oscar, so I need a lot of strength." He head bowed to the old man and began to eat. Chormy looked concerned. She glanced to Tsuchimursu, who seemed content to ignore the by-play. The big Mod turned to Lord Yuzu.

"I have never played cricket. Could you give a short explanation of the rules?"

"Yes, easily! Let me see... There are two sides of 11 each and one side bats first. They are in, but only two at a time, and the other side is out in the field. Their job is to get out the batters who are in, by bowling the wicket over or catching the ball and so on. The batters try to hit the ball as far as possible so they have the most time to run to and fro and score runs, but if they hit it a very long way they don’t run because it’s a four or a six. When a batter is got out he goes into the pavilion and another batter comes in until he’s out. Once all 10 are out..." Tsuchimursu and Chormy were hanging on Yuzu's words. Tomoko smiled. She knew this story from other parties.

"I thought there are 11?" Tsuchi asked. At this point, Olympe and Kevin re-entered the hall and took their seats without fuss. The waiters bustled to put their plates in front of them.

"Yes, but you can’t bat by yourself so the last man in is always not out." Yuzu continued. "So now the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get out the other side who are coming in. And when both sides have been in and out, you do it all for a second time, unless someone has already won. But often it ends in a draw."

Olympe whispered in Kevin’s ear, “He always makes it seem so difficult.” She pushed her red wine glass away untasted.

"How long does it all take?" Tsuchimursu was stunned.

"Up to five days for a first class test but village matches are a day."

"Surely you get hungry, with all that bowling and running?" Chormy asked.

"There are breaks for lunch and tea." Thirsty, Yuzu paused to drink water. Yura piped up.

“Guess what, Olympe! Jimmy is a head patter too. He gave me such a nice patting while you were outside.”

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

Jimmy John’s mood then was of anger, but it changed to that of shame. Takayuki fighting against himself is a battle that no one should have to face alone. He coughed a bit to gather the other man’s attention and replied.

“Now you see, I didn’t know that you’re fighting against yourself, cause that won’t be a good thing if you lose. Who then would lift you up? My offer still stands on being one to talk to about your problems. I may not know about the world and technology, but ole Jimmy John got some common sense!”

He then continued. “Not sure if you’re a believer or not, but the good Lord will give you strength. And if not, then I would like to give you my lucky shoes. They always bring me good luck and I think that now you need it more than I do.”

With that said, the elder took off his shoes and passed them over to Takayuki under the table, giving him a wink in the meanwhile. May his shoes grant him peace and all kinds of luck in this troubling time.

Kevin didn’t touch his wine, though it was staring at him, taunting him and testing his resolve. The drink he saw Olympe pass away was testing him as well. But instead of falling into temptation and let alcohol win this round, he quickly called for a waiter to replace his and Olympe’s drinks with tea or water.

“Please…” Kevin insisted. “I cannot drink this wine and I’m fighting real hard to not drink it right then and there. Get it out of my sight, if you can.”

He later sighed, wiping the sweat off his brow. Hopefully there won’t be any more alcoholic drinks being served for the rest of the night. As much as he hates to admit, he does have a taste for some and isn’t sure how much longer he would last seeing them within reach.

Jimmy John laughed in reply to Yura’s statement. “She’s a sweet little gal, glad to have patted her the best way I know how! I know my grandbabies don’t like it much. Heck, my wife doesn’t either! That’s why I need a pet of some kind to pat all day, to give me a lick and slobber my face and eat up my socks and shoes.”

"Nooo-ah!" Yura giggled, "Hee hee! I can't be your pet and eat your shoes, Jimmy, I've got a job already, uwu. Besides you don't have any shoes now cause you gave them away! Maybe Olympe can find you a pet."

"I can easily find you a pet as long as it's a froggie. Wouldn't you like a lovely froggie, Jimmy?" Olympe asked the lively elder.

"Frogs Are Our Friends," intoned Lady Sakura solemnly, as if it were an important slogan.

"That's right!" Olympe agreed. "I once opened a frog petting cafe, actually, but I lost all my Coins and had to work as a hostess for a while." She winked at Takayuki, who smiled back. He seemed more cheerful. Watching him, Chormy smiled too.

"Thank you very much for your lucky shoes, Mr Oscar," Takayuki told him, "I regret I cannot accept your gift. Please forgive me."

Chormy slipped off her chair and dove under the table. She gathered the loose footwear and handed the lucky shoes to Olympe, who had also dropped to the floor. The girls were fiddling with the laces when Muun's face appeared below the hanging edge of the tablecloth.

"Miss Olympe, I will take Mr Oscar's shoes to be polished. Here are slippers for him." She handed them a luxurious pair of blue suede carpet slippers. As Olympe reached for them, a new pair of hands intercepted the footwear. It was VioletMist, come to join the party under the table, glowing red in the subdued light.

"I'll put these on him," she said, and began gently to fit the slippers to Jimmy John's feet. "Chormy, are you getting sweet on Takayuki? Seriously, he's kind of cute. I might take a shot at him if you're not interested."

"Who are you interested in, VioletMist?" demanded the Garden Fairy, as she crawled together with the other girls. "Olympe's interested in Kevin, that's obvious, hee hee! Let's have a party under here, no! Let's have a midnight feast later on, uwu, no bois allowed! We can steal some food from the pantry."

Their whispers and giggles could not be heard clearly above the table. Jimmy felt his feet embraced by soft, supportive slippers. The four girls reassumed their chairs.

Olympe whispered to Michiko-bot, "Please remove the tantalus from Mr McDaniel's room and put it in mine."

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

“Well, I don’t know about a frog," Jimmy smiled. "Maybe a puppy dog or a kitty cat, even a rabbit will do! I’ll have to talk to my wife first to see if she wants a pet, cause I think she’s allergic to them. Hmm… on second thought, maybe a frog would be a good idea! Oh!”

Before he could continue, he felt something covering his feet. It wasn’t his lucky shoes, but comfy slippers. The elder became excited at this new discovery.

“This is the most comfortable pair of slippers I’ve worn in my life, better than my old ones! Cause you see, my old ones look like sheep, cause they’re cute and they help you sleep. My daughter gave them to me as a Christmas gift, said it’ll keep my feet warm. But dang it, these take the cake. And I’m not talking about pound cake either! Woo-wee, love these shoes already!” He wiggled his feet with glee.

Kevin shrugged at Jimmy John’s excitement with shoes and decided to ask Lord Yuzu a question. He doesn’t have much to say to the others, being new here and doesn’t know anyone well, so he figured that discussing the mission would help make time go by faster. After all, he isn’t much for small talk.

“Lord Yuzu,” Kevin said respectfully. “Olympe asked me to join in your case. I ask if there’s any info to help us along, being that all we know so far are cricket and balls.”

"It *is* about cricket and balls, Mr McDaniel, so you're on top of things already. It's good Olympe has found such an astute sidekick. Between you and me I've thought for some time the agency needed more boi logic. I'm sure you'll agree that girl intuition can only get you so far **OW!**" He jumped suddenly. "Major!"

"Sorry, my lord, a sudden clonus in my leg," the blue haired space marine deadpanned.

"Hum! Well, I hope you’re alright now." Yuzu turned to Kevin again. "We'll speak after dinner, detective. There's an... artefact... involved which needs careful examination."

"Goddess!" Olympe was agitated. "It's not the Cowley Cricket Club Cursed Cow Creamer again, is it, Yuzu?" She frowned. "Remember what happened that other time. Yancie left a trail of chaos. He fell out of a window and got concussion. He sank one of your boats. He set the Palace on fire."

"No! No! It's nothing to do with the cow creamer, Olympe. I managed to unload that fearful item a while ago. This is something else, something I, er -- *acquired* -- on a club tour in the far east. I keep it locked away unless I need it. You must be patient until we've finished dinner." He lowered his voice to a stage whisper. "It's not something to discuss in polite company."

Olympe sat back with a moue. She plied her silverware to demolish the rest of her meat loaf in silence. She paused to whisper to Kevin. "You need some context. I'll tell you about the Cow Creamer before we see this new thing Yuzu's got. We'll dodge the coffee and petit fours and talk outside.” She turned to Jimmy, who was still cooing over his new slippers.

“Tomorrow I’ll take you on the lake and we’ll find you a nice froggie. I know just the place.” She patted his arm.

“You’ll be in safe hands, Jimmy," Yura reassured him. “Olympe’s very good at rowing.”

“Sculling,” said Olympe. “I’m good at rowing too, of course, though I say it myself.”

There were blank looks all round and a moment of silence. Then the conversation restarted and rolled on. Olympe sighed and looked for her wine, but it was gone.

“Uh… yyeeaahh…”

Kevin wasn’t sure if he wanted to know the full details concerning the cursed cow creamer, believing that it’s possible this current mission would be just as or crazier than what she described. He shook his head before finishing the rest of his meatloaf. Perhaps he had spoken too soon about asking Yuzu for more information.

Jimmy John was getting tired. It was past his bedtime and he was yawning up a storm. He’s trying to stay up though, for what it’s worth.

“Tomorrow would be fine, Olly-em-pee. Just not tonight, because I’m getting tired. All this good food and chatting could wear a person out, I tell you what.”

He yawned again before continuing. “Maybe it had to do with these slippers. Must be magical cause I didn’t feel sleepy till it was put on my feet. No matter, I just need to rest my eyes some. Let me… know when… zzzz…”

Poor Jimmy John Oscar had fallen asleep, his head resting against the back of the chair. His mouth is opened slightly, meaning he’s bound to snore any minute now. Better now than later since it appears he will have a busy day tomorrow with finding a pet frog and discussing with Dsam about the doll for his wife.

Kevin noticed that his not date was looking for her wine, so he decided to tell her of its whereabouts.

“Sorry Olympe. I thought you weren't going to drink anymore for the night, so I told the waiter to take it away along with my own for my sake. I could ask them to get you a fresh glass if you want.”

He felt guilty for having to do that, but he wished he had asked the detective first beforehand. He’ll make it up to her in some form or another. She will get a glass of wine if she desires one.


I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

The Case of the Tall Dark Handsome Stranger

Ms Olympe Viola Reese, kuudere detective, sat sighing at her desk. It was late, her comrades had all left for the day much earlier, and she was struggling with a knotty problem of accounts.

"Oh! What am I to do? I've lost that important receipt and now I can't make it add up at all!" She rested her jauntily coiffed head in both hands and closed her eyes. Her shoulders heaved as she drew deep breaths to strengthen her mental energies.

Suddenly the office door crashed open. Olympe flinched and stared. A tall boi stood in the portal. He was wearing evening dress and a white silk scarf. There was a pistol, a sleek and deadly Beretta, in his hand!

"Are you Ms Olympe Reese?" the dark stranger demanded. Olympe nodded silently, her normal loquacity utterly quelled by the unexpected intrusion.

"Come with me, I've something I need from you." He fixed a stern eye on her and waved his gun in a rather menacing fashion. The blonde detective hastened to don her coat and hat.

"But who are you?" she gasped. "Where are you taking me?"

"Never you mind, I'll tell you when the time is right. Call me Maybe for now."

The mysterious Mr Maybe hustled Olympe down the stairs with a forceful hand in the small of her back. She resisted, not wanting to be manhandled in such a way.

"Wait! What kind of name is Maybe?"

But her interlocutor said nothing; he merely grabbed her wrist to tug her along. The pair jogged out into the cool night of The Server. An expansive six-seater Buick-Hudson Thunderbolt was waiting in the channel. Its long nose betokened a powerful Packard straight eight engine, and its great headlamps and sidelights were glowing bright. Olympe waited to be handed into the rear cabin but Mr Maybe simply lofted and bundled her into the boot. She gasped as he shut it emphatically.

In the close darkness Olympe felt, as much as heard her assailant jump into the driving seat and start the engine. The huge motor roared with energy as the car accelerated away from the kerb. Her body was rocked to and fro as the powerful vehicle made turn after turn, speeding and slowing according to traffic conditions she could only imagine. After a few minutes the car halted. The lid of the boot opened and Mr Maybe was there, his gun now concealed but he was so tall, so dark and implacable that Olympe dared not attempt anything from her disadvantaged situation. The strong boi extended his hand.

"Here, let me help you out. We've got a few minutes. You must prepare yourself. Your dress is... more than adequate."

Olympe was wearing a clinging, scoop back shift dress in dark red silk, part lined, with a midi length skirt, side slit to reveal a lot of leg. She resettled her hat and strappy sandals and went to open her handbag, which contained violent remedies for her predicament but Mr Maybe clamped his firm, warm hand on her wrist.

"I know what you have in there, you minx. We're going into the Scarlet Cathedral for you to mend your make-up, so don't try anything."

Olympe cast her gaze around. She quickly recognised the architecture of the Great Piazza, the centre of Server City where the tall Scarlet Cathedral on the west side faces the gaudy neon palace of the Niziiro Casino on the east.

"Let me go, you ruffian!" She tried in vain to shake his grip, but his male strength was too great to be defied. Olympe had no choice but to be conducted into the stone vastness of the cathedral, where shrines, altars, pews, confessionals and other major items of spiritual equipment were evident. Mr Maybe paused at a votary to light a candle and some incense. He muttered a prayer to The Oracle. Olympe was unable to see the reply, however, he smiled broadly.

"Fortune favours the brave," he declaimed. "I did well to take you, Ms Reese, you will bring me luck. Now, make your face presentable for a glitzy venue." He pushed her into a dark confessional.

Olympe sagged to the wooden bench and opened her handbag. She had all the things she needed for an emergency make-over. Using her smartphone's flashlight, she remade her face with smokey eyes, and spritzed herself anew with scent, Creed Erolfa, which evoked warm Meditarranean coasts with citrus and marine notes. She opened the door somewhat hesitantly.

The tall boi stared. "You look superb!"

Olympe brandished her pistol, the tiny Colt 25ACP automatic she kept as a weapon of last resort. It looked like a toy, one of those novelty cigarette lighters where you pull the trigger and a flame comes from the muzzle.

"Let me go or I'll shoot you, see if I don't!" she cried, but Mr Maybe simply swept the weapon from her hand with an abrupt move. *He's so forceful* she thought, and staggered a little. Her companion caught her up in his strong arms. He shoved her gun into a pocket, and steadied her in his embrace until she could recover her composure.

"You have me at a serious disadvantage, Mr Maybe," she whispered. "I must go wherever you take me."

"I won't take you anywhere very bad," he replied, and set her on her feet. "Let's go." He took her elbow and led her from the cathedral.

Outside, the Cathedral’s scarlet searchlights competed with the neon rainbow of the Casino opposite. Mr Maybe ignored the crowds of members criss-crossing the wide square. He clamped Olympe's hand under his elbow and led her at a steady pace directly to the tall doors of the lush gambling den. They entered and cruised the lobby until they came to the high roller tables. A crowd of glitzy gamblers parted at Mr Maybe's imperious advance. An obsequious attendant hastened to seat him at the high stakes bet-rolls table.

"You stand behind me, Olympe,” he commanded her. “I've brought you for luck. May Goddess bless my choice." He spread a cascade of Coins on the table, and began to place his bets.

Olympe could have sneaked away while Maybe's concentration was fixed on his gambling, but she felt enervated by his confidence in her role as a talisman. She waited and watched. As the stakes grew she began to pray for Maybe's success. She groaned at his failed bets, sighed, and cried with joy when he gained. The evening flew by in a blur of emotional ups and downs. Finally, Mr Maybe quit the table and cashed in his chips, much the richer than when he had started. They processed from the casino to stand in the wide piazza under the stars, the portentous moon, the gaudy neon, and the scarlet of the cathedral's lamps.

"You won, Mr Maybe!" Olympe thrilled.

"Thanks to you, my lovely lucky charm," he grinned. "And now your reward..."

He gathered her into his strong arms, brooking no resistance though she offered none, so eager she was to be taken. He lowered his magnificent, commanding face towards her and sealed his lips on hers. She swooned utterly as his manly strength and warmth overcame her. Olympe trembled, wondering what other delights Maybe had in store for her.

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
Made in jp
Anti-piracy Officer

Somewhere in south-central England.

New Scene: The Party of the Year!

The sting is the most elaborate organised by Olympe's controller since the bunny girl casino caper in London three years ago.

The target is a half-Chinese, half-Japanese businessman variously known as Mr Chung, Cheung, Chang or Chong, who is reliably suspected of involvement in a panoply of crimes including fraud, drugs, sex trafficking, and industrial scale fly tipping. Olympe's objective is to find hard proof.

The venue is the #party-rooftop, elaborately decked out with a genuine sea-water pool and sand beach with cabanas for changing, a sound stage with three top bands, a DJ and dance floor surrounded by Go-Go dancer cages, a wet bar 25 metres long, a snack bar featuring down home recipes from #sadies-diner, and a pop-up cafe staffed by the Michelin starred team from #hotel-opale. Lastly, the very secluded private areas for VIPs, where particularly louche activities might take place.

Everything has been calculated to the millimetre for maximum advantage in modern social media exposure. A precisely curated guest list of celebs, while all the generally available tickets are sold on Blockchain. Prime snippets of the event of the year will be raffled as NFTs, for Mr Cheung's favourite charity, the Emperor Penguin Society.

It's the Fyrefest over again, only it *actually is* going to be awesome. The cost has run into the millions, funds willingly defrayed by Mr Chung at his personal assistant Olympe's persuasion, for the launch of a major new business venture. If *you've* got a ticket, it's a golden one.

To honour her boss's heritage, Olympe is wearing a bespoke denim combo minidress by New York designer Kim Shui, patterned with Chinese ideographs which tout his qualities and new line of business in magically significant patterns. She stands respectfully just behind him as Mr Cheung greets his guests, prompting his memory in discreetly whispered Japanese from reference to an iPad.

It's the event of the year, maybe of the decade, and they can be honored to be part of it. This has been drilled into their heads by the stage manager over and over again since Dee was lead into the backstage area of the venue among a flurry of go-go-dancers, chatting excitedly among themselves. Each of them has been handpicked, each of them is expected to do their absolute best. No drugs, no alcohol, not a toe out of line.

Nothing is left to chance today and so Dee finds her costume and make-up lied out for her in the small changing booth. A tight fitting silken top in emerald green, embroidered with a dragon made from shimmering sequins. She checks the tubes and color palettes - waterproof. Working with professionals has its advantanges. There is a photo clipped to her mirror as a reference and Dee generously applies the specified shades of jade and silver on her eyelids and glues on the long fake lashes. When she is just finished someone knocks at her booth.

"Are you ready? Mr. Cheung would like to see you." Dee gets up, straightens her blue curls and gives herself a last check in the mirror. The stage hand looks at the tie-dyed sarong she has loosely knotted around their waist. "Where is your costume?" Dee smiles and fingers the chain around her neck holding a small silver locket in the shape of a scallop. "It will be on for the performance. It's in my contract - artist's secret." The man's eyes wander lower.

"No shoes?"

"I won't need them."

He shrugs, listens to something from his earpiece and leads her to the entrance of the party floor, where the host, some rich businessman, is speaking to the incoming guests, a tall woman in a tight dress behind him like a shadow.

"Don't speak when you're not spoken to," the stage hand mutters to her as he leads her towards them. Dee nods. She is used to deal with wealthy clients and this one seems to be very rich.

"Mr. Cheung, if you have a moment? This is the performer for the pool. You wanted to see her."

The rooftop party was promising to be a huge spectacle, from the star-studded guest list to the ostentatious display of wealth in converting a rooftop into a beach. A loud display to better shield quiet dealings that would affect all of east asia. Interspersed with celebrities and social media personalities were trade ministers, prominent businessmen, and of course officials of the Chinese government. It was in this capacity deputy minister of commerce Zhang Taosheng was attending, along with Luo Yan. The deputy minister had a bright smile that never reached his eyes and the distinct impression of a shark cruising the open ocean, waiting for the slightest scent of blood in the water.

Standing two steps behind him, Luo Yan was both beautiful and enigmatic as a Chinese Mona Lisa. Fair skin, silken hair, and eyes like black jade that drew in all light and offered nothing in return. The windows to her soul had the curtains drawn tight and the shutters closed.

The minister and Cheung greeted each other with an amiable cordiality that never quite softened the hardness of Zhang's gaze. Meanwhile Luo Yan kept her eyes on her counterpart while dipping a respectful bow to their host. There was something eerily perfect in her movements, an efficiency that transcended simple poise. All the while those lightless eyes kept finding Olympia. Unlike her comrade, Yan made no attempt to appear warm, her beautiful features perfectly impassive.

*Typical!* Olympe thought. *Two important people arrive at the same time.* She followed Chung's lead in bowing to the newcomers, muttering into her discreet comms headset to ask her assistant to ask the stage manager's assistant to take the water cabaret star back to the green room. The subsidiaries began to manoeuvre and...

"No, Olympe, let Miss Dee stay for now," contradicted Mr Chang. "Make the first band begin their set. We will all watch from my private box." For a moment it looked as if Mr Chong would offer Dee his arm, but he thought better of it and instead put a hand gently to Mr Zhang's back to usher the Chinese minister in the right direction.

The slithy promoter began small-talking the commerce minister -- Thank you so much for coming. I hope you had a pleasant journey -- but his eyes were drifting to the exotic blue-haired beauty, a look Olympe easily recognised since she was often subject to the same male gaze. In fact it was half the reason she had got the job.

*Basically he fancies her, and why not, she is rather fanciable, lovely swimmer's shoulders and long legs*

Olympe also had swimmer's shoulders, or perhaps they were rower's, at any rate they looked musclier than a fashionably thin girl should. She handed her iPad to her assistant, offered an arm each to Miss Dee and Luo Yan, and began to move in convoy behind her boss. As they processed, she bent her head left and right to engage both ladies in conversation.

"I'm sorry for the sudden change of plans but it's always best to be agile with Mr Cheung. He got where he is by moving fast and breaking things. Besides there is the whole night ahead of us. You will delight us later, I'm sure, Miss Dee."

The assistant, a medium tall girl wearing a Kabuki stagehand's jet black ninja outfit to efface herself, brought up the rear. She rolled her East Asian eyes at Olympe's prattle.

Dee accesses the situation - nothing she isn't familiar with. Here is the host, the apparently most important person of the evening, the guy with the money. Considering how everything, from the choice of the venue to the food served, are absolute first class, he must have lots of it. And therefore he is the one who Dee gifts her most beguiling smile to, ocean blue eyes sparkling like rare jewels.

"Too kind," she says to the businessman, giving off the impression as if nothing would delight her more than his company. In truth she'd rather prepare her performance and finally slip into that pool - real sea-water, too! - get rid of this itching, fake shell she is trapped in, and become lost in her dance.

Olympe speaks up and it is immediately clear to Dee that she is the one who pulls the strings here, who is the actually most important person of the evening and in control of everything that would happen today. She also gets a smile and a nod from Dee, who briefly locks eyes with her. *He may think he is giving the orders, but you are the one whispering them to him, am I right?*

Gracefully she takes the arm Olympe offers her and notices how toned they are. She is not sitting around writing memos, that's for sure.

"Oh, please, do not apologize," she answers, voice husky. "Agility is my speciality." Dee's walk betrays that statement, though, above water her movements are actually slightly stiff. How humans use those unflexible sticks they call legs day in and day out is a mystery for Dee, especially when they wear shoes like Olympe does with heels as pointed as a deadly weapon. She once tried to wear those and nearly broke her ankle. It's one of the few things she refuses to do when booked by a client.

I'm writing a load of fiction. My latest story starts here... This is the index of all the stories...

We're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. What's here is about it. 
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