Lynn had hardly entered the apartment when she was grabbed and shaken by somebody. She was about to teleport away before she realized it was Rose that was shaking her. “Who in the world is that girl, you have got to tell me.”
Lynn began stammering in suprise, “Didn’t I explain it already? She is one of the Belly’s major engineers. Other then the stuff I explained in the story I don’t know anything else about her.”
“I don’t know what the Belly is paying her but it isn’t enough. I’ll double it, no triple it if I can get her to work for me personally. She managed to fix my motorcycle using spare parts the robot just happened to be carrying. Do you know how much the special effects department wanted to charge me for that? 2000 Naacals. Do you know how much she said the parts had cost her? 50 Naacals! And that is just the beginning…”
Tried of being at the whim of the bigger woman’s strength, Lynn carefully moved herself several feet inside the apartment and out of reach of Rose. “You don’t say. I’ll listen to your rant but would you kindly not so forcefully show your opinion.”
Rose reddened slightly before closing the door to the apartment. “I’m sorry, it is just she has already saved me thousands of Naacels on repairs and I swear that the stuff she fixes are better then they were when I bought them. It is simply amazing.”
Lynn noticed the large open section in Rose’s wall. “Ah, a secret thief hideaway. I’m not really surprised. Is this where Emiray is performing her magical repairs?” Asked Lynn but her questions was answered for her when Emiray poked her head out from behind Rose’s motarcycle.
“Oh, Lynn. You’re back.” She eyes seem to be shining. She held up something and Lynn saw that is was Rose’s watch. “This is an amazing device. It is capable for running all sorts of electronics at a distance. Whoever invented it was a genius.”
“Please be careful with that. It would be very difficult to replace if it broke.” Said Rose was a worried look on her face. Rose whispered to Lynn, “After what she did for my motorcycle and other equipment I wasn’t able to refuse her when she asked to look at my watch. I think that might have been part of her plan from the beginning.”
Lynn looked Emiray over, she seemed to be covered in black grease stains. “All right, I’m sure your having a great time disassembling Rose’s belongings and then putting them back together but we have a plan to see too and not much time. Rose I hope you don’t mind but I took a look at the letters you wrote. Your plan to go after the Euclidian Key tomorrow is a good one and since we came to you about theft advice we should follow your direction.”
Rose wave her hand back and forth, “No problem assuming you didn’t break the seal. I was waiting for you to come back before we went shopping. There are several things that we will need to get before attempting a thief in the University District. You know the most about the security there so I wanted you here when we went to get disguises. Emiray, are you done with my watch yet?”
“Yes, the high quality design made maintenance on it easy. There were a few parts that needed to be exchanged so I took the liberty of doing so. It probably would have lasted without the replacements but since you can’t have it fail at an inopportune time I thought it would be best just to make sure. Some of the pieces in there could probably be updated with newer versions but since the Belly generally runs several years behind other places I didn’t have the necessary parts to upgrade it.”
“I see, thanks.” Said Rose as she took the watch from Emiray and strapped it back onto her wrist. “Again, if you ever want to change your employment I could use your assistance.”
“I’ll consider it.”
“Do, it would be fun working together. Now we should get going. Emiray, I need you to come along too. From what I heard the security measures in the University District are more advanced then those here and I want you to help me pick out appropriate countermeasures.”
Rose lead the two of them out of the apartment and to the elevator that would take them to the bottom floor. However instead of pressing the button to the lobby she pressed against the flat metal below the buttons and a secret drawer pulled out. On it was several buttons and Rose pressed one of the them before shutting the drawer.
The elevator began to lower and Emiray leaned forward to look at where the drawer was. “Nice, solid engineering. The seems are almost invisible. Did you have this done?”
Rose shook her head, “No, it was part of the building’s initial design. Most of the buildings in the Entertainment District have them. They are one of the worst kept secrets in the Entertainment District and anyone who has been here for very long learns about them. However it is considered rude to talk with people about them so they still remain a secret to those outside.”
The elevator began going below the first floor and deeper into the ground.
“Does this lead to the Belly or somewhere else?” Said Lynn interested.
“It leads the the hidden part of the Entertainment District. Most people call it Backstage. Special effects, props, tools, and everything else people might need are found down here. Criminals like me tend to use it extensively because some of the stuff we need can not be found in a normal shop, however most people in the Entertainment District find themselves down here every once in a while.
Rose continued, “I suppose the only real rule for Backstage is that unless you came with them you don’t know anybody. It shouldn’t be an issue for either of you but if you do recognize somebody don’t say anything. In return they won’t recognize you.”
“I see,” Said Lynn, “The place is very… Entertainment District.” She could find no better way to explain it. The Entertainment District was much different then the University District in may ways and this was just another one of the cultural differences.
When the elevator stopped they came out into a bustling underground marketplace. There were enough people that it felt busy. The only thing that was really different from the street level of the Entertainment District was that people seemed to be deliberately ignoring each other. Lynn thought about it as she walked and this place was making a great deal of sense to her. Phantom Thieves and others needed equipment and they couldn’t just buy it on the street, so this place must have been built underneath the city to meet that need.
It really was the backstage of the Entertainment District. There were even several restaurants where people could been seen relaxing alone or maybe talking with a group of other people. Many of the people at those places seemed to be intent on writing, generally on a computer but some of the were using paper.
“So this is Backstage.” Said look as she looked around. After several people glared at her she began to keep her eyes to herself. “This place is just touching the Belly and sells many useful equipment so sometimes engineers shop here. I have heard stories from some of them, though it is in the Second Quadrant so I have never been here before.”
Rose stopped before what was a clothes shop and motioned them inside. “Is this where we are getting the disguises?” Asked Lynn.
Rose shook her head and then eyed Emiray up and down. “No, here were are getting the esteemed engineer some new clothes. The ones you are currently wearing are far too small and boring. When was the last time you got new clothes?”
There was a pause as Emiray tried to find the answer to that question. Her current jumpsuit had served her well since she had gotten it, though she really didn’t remember when that was. After a second Rose grabbed Emiray and dragged her inside the store to try things on.
Maybe an hour later the three of them came back out of the store. “I don’t see why you chose those clothes, they are too plain. You need to think of your appearance more.” Said Rose.
“These are fine. Besides I like pants, and skirts are too inconvenient. They get caught on things and don’t protect your legs. They are hardly practical at all.” Said Emiray in indignation.
“I suppose,” Said Rose. She couldn’t criticize Emiray too much. Her own opinion of clothes was hardly normal either. Phantom Thief Clothes used pants for some of the same reasons that Emiray give, although those clothes were not exactly plain.”
“So where next? We still need to get disguised and security prevention measures right?” Asked Lynn.
Rose nodded and lead them through more of the underground streets. It took most of the rest of the day to finish up the preparation shopping and they had several bags full of stuff to bring back with them. Lynn had already made several trips back to the apartment to bring back the things that they had bought.
The bag Emiray was carrying was full of half broken electronics and parts. They had managed to find a electronics store and it had been difficult to persuade Emiray to leave there. She had been fawning over all of the pieces and parts inside the store and they had been unable to get her to leave without her making a large purchase of parts. Most of them were from a generous helping of discount broken electronics. Emiray was planning on taking those things apart and keeping all of the good parts that she could find. She had been amazed at how many serviceable pieces had just been thrown in a bin.
The only thing she had really splurged on was some porcelain patching kit which she was planning on using to repair the break in R08’s head. She would need to mix some other things into the mix to help give it strength but it would help close the hole.
One of the stores Rose hadn’t let either of the others enter. Lynn wasn’t even sure that is was a store. It was simply a building wall with a door in it. Rose went inside after telling them to wait and after around half an hour came back out and told them she her business there was over.
After they had finished getting everything she headed back toward the elevator. Lynn managed to convince all of them that they should get something to eat to they stopped at one of the restaurants.
When they finally arrived back at the apartment it was getting late and Lynn was getting tired. Emiray and Rose however seemed to plan however. Emiray had secluded herself in Rose’s workshop as soon as they got back and began working on the disassembling her parts and preparing the counter security measures.
Rose had turned on her computer and was looking over various floorplans. Lynn wanted to ask her what they were for but decided that it would be better to ask in the morning when Rose was done with whatever she was doing. Lynn didn’t really have anything to do, her powers weren’t really useful for this kind of preparation. Instead she decided to go to be early. The worst case scenario for tomorrow involved her fighting several high level Espers and then going head to head ageists a fully charged Euclidian Key. She didn’t know if she would be strong enough to deal with that much but she at least didn’t want lack of sleep to be the reason that she lost.