There was some embarrassed muttering going on.
"Can anyone remember why we agreed to this?" someone hissed.
"I thought it was because we didn't feel like being MOBBED," a redhead said.
"But we'll get mobbed MORE if we do this, won't we?"
"I'm trying to not think about that too much," another one said.
"I think this whole scenario indicates that none of us is thinking at all."
There was a squeaking sound.
"Promise me you'll get rid of all the leather clothing from the General Store after this."
"I was already planning on that."
"Actually, I thought the leather was by far the best bit of this deal," said one of the voices. There were some muffled squeaking noises as of someone being punched in the upper arm by someone else wearing leather gloves.
By this point, anyone spying on this group would have noticed that each and every one of those assembled there was male. And dressed in leather. And quite resembling a boy band, had the person in question spying on this group not been under a large rock during the latter half of the 1990s.
"Can anyone even move properly in this getup?"
"I can," piped up the voice that had said he liked it.
"Enough to do the dance that we choreographed earlier?"
"'Maybe not ..."
There was an authoritative sounding sigh. "Well, we might as well get on with this."
The curtains opened, bathing the previously dark scene in stage lights.
The lighting finally revealed eight male Boarders, all dressed up in black leather, with the expected modifications requisite for a boy band line-up to set up their 'personalities':
Elcalion, the handsome Aussie: a black bandanna.
Tawaki, the Board's authority on birds; rolled up sleeves and a flashy belt.
Wikimaster, the earnest newbie: a white shirt, along with the leather, and a nervous grin.
Pigeonarmy, the zealous Kiwi; a frown (but adorable, practically smouldering, as all the female Boarders would later attest) and a leather vest over more black.
Leto, the veteran Boarder; a long, elegant coat (black of course), and a stylish hat.
Techno-Dann, the jaunty techie; tousled hair and a trim leather jacket.
Platinumyo, one of the latest newbies; a sweet smile and a leather cap.
And in front of these seven, the most visible; Huinesoron, in a black trenchcoat and a low buttoned black shirt. There was a massive sigh as he pushed his ponytail back, the elf unaware that he gave those before him a further peek at his muscles.
All of them sported headsets and spiked leather accessories. And, if we're honest, in a few cases, rather more eyeliner than was probably good for their health.
And before these handsome young men, a veritable sea of girls and women. Boarders all. All overcome by hormones, lust, and in the cases of a few of the older ones, crazed biological clocks.
Whatever their underlying reason, the female Boarders were all gathered to appreciate sweaty, leather-clad male flesh. They waved banners proclaiming that they were in love with one or other of the line-up, or, usually, that they wanted Huinesoron's babies. One such sign was carried by an enthusiastic newbie by the name of Cirichen.
Had any of the men been in a better position, there would have been things to admire.
Techno-Dann, perhaps, would have appreciated the high quality speakers that had been set up for the show, had they not been ready to blast the music of a boy band.
Huinesoron would have possibly been ready with cameras out in the audience to record such a rare situation, had he not been actually part of it.
Leto and Elcalion might have appreciated the fact that they hadn't been left out, but for both of them this was an obvious mixed blessing.
Wikimaster and Platinumyo were both obviously nervous, afraid of the girls, and in any other case, would have enjoyed being paid attention, but here and now, it was not the case.
Tawaki was unruffled; it was impossible to tell what he would have liked or disliked about this.
Pigeon was muttering foul epithets under his breath.
Regardless, it was time to begin.
With a beautifully executed shimmy, the boys moved into the beginnings of their opening number, a breakaway pop hit with bubblegum overtones and lots of opportunities for excessively high vocal harmonies. By the time they'd finished that and were onto the second song, their movements had been hampered by skilfully thrown bras, and stagehands had had to use brooms to sweep up the drifts of underwear thrown at the stage.
As Leto passed Elcalion during the dance, he muttered 'At least that's got to be all the underwear thrown.' Elcalion replied hurriedly with 'PPC. Bags of infinite volume. LOTS of knickers!' before the tides of choreography swept him away once more.
The special effects began to kick in with their third number.
"My soul is on fire." A careful burst of controlled fire skyrocketed behind Huinesoron, as he said the opening line for the song. "Let me show you how hot it burns!"
An odd dozen girls fell to the floor and were promptly trampled by their rabid compatriots before being portalled safely away by Medical staff.
They complained bitterly once they'd been revived.
Ciri abandoned her banner to the mercies of the human tide and clambered onto a neighbour's head, struck with a wonderful idea. She would crowdsurf to the front and throw herself at that object of desire, Huinesoron. His eyeliner was too much for her fragile inhibitions to stand up to. They burnt and died as she watched him. Divesting herself of her underwear (in order to tuck it in her pockets so that she could pull it out and present it to him more easily), she launched herself on top of the crowd.
The boys launched themselves fully into this song. True, it was embarrassing, and the looks the girls were giving them were more than a bit worrying, but it was too late for regrets.
In the crowd, Ciri had just been passed towards the front by a helpful Trojie and Pads. "Thank you!" she shouted to the two below her.
"No problem!" Trojie shouted back.
"I need a beer," Pads commented.
"You had beer. You drank it. Then you threw the bottles at the stage. This isn't a Sex Pistols gig, you know."
"I need more beer."
"No you don't. And I notice you're still wearing your underwear."
"Course I am. And I picked up a few pairs that looked like they might fit, too," said Pads triumphantly.
"You'd better be washing those before you wear them ..."
The bickering was drowned out in the inspirational powerchords of the next number. Ciri was almost at the stage.
On stage, the boys were rather sweaty in their leather clothing, under the hot stage lights. Elcalion, with his bandana, seemed to be having the best luck.
Huinesoron wiped his brow, and turned towards Tawaki, not noticing the young girl crowdsurfing towards the stage. "How many more do we have to do?"
"Just one more song!" Tawaki shouted.
Huinesoron lurched forward to the front of the stage and began attempting to introduce the next song, when a small face peeped up over the foldback speaker and then launched at him.
"OOF!" was roughly the noise that came from the poor man, as a rabid fangirl caught him amidships.
A silence fell over the crowd for a moment.
And then, like the lionesses they were, the audience of female boarders roared.
Ciri flushed as she peered down at her hero. "Hi," she said.
"Er," was as far as Huinesoron got before a roadie pulled Ciri off him and another one hauled him to his feet to begin the song.
However, Ciri wasn't bothered. After having hauled her offstage, the original roadie had been called away to some emergency involving knickers and had left her alone, and the other roadies were busy. Very busy. So they didn't notice that she was still backstage. She hid in a corner, determined to ambush the object of her strange affections when he came offstage later on.
Front stage, the crowd only grew louder.
The song ended, with fireworks.
If the boys had thought they had been loud before, now the women were positively deafening.
'Let's get out of here!' whispered Techno-Dann to his neighbour, who happened to be Plat. The newbie nodded ferociously. Tipping waves to their fans, the boys trudged offstage, looking more like the survivors of the First World War than popstars post-concert.
'Water! Water!' Pigeon cried. 'For the love of Undefined Deities, give me some water!' A minion rushed forward with bottles for all, and our stars were herded to dressing rooms. Unseen, a fangirl-shaped shadow followed.
Inside the dressing room, Huinesoron let his head thump onto the counter, and dripped sweat. "I can't believe that," he said.
Leto chugged down the water remaining in his water bottle before he answered. "Believe what?"
"Araeph! She threw her bra at me!"
Leto goggled. Their fellow Permission Giver behaving like that? "Please tell me you're joking."
"Could be worse," Techno-Dann added, as he stripped off the leather accessories.
"How could it be worse?"
"My sister was out there."
The men shared a collective wince.
Ciri crept closer, drawn by the testosterone and leather scents on the air. Also the hairgel.
She tensed for a moment, and then pounced. But before she could lay so much as one sticky finger on her prey, someone grabbed her by the scruff of the neck.
"Mine," said Kaitlyn with a dangerous look in her eye. "I don't care if he is shaking what his mother gave him in a pair of black leather pants. Mine."
Huinesoron got up from his seat and went over to Kaitlyn, and hugged her tightly after she let Ciri go. "It's true," he said. "I'm hers."
Kaitlyn wrapped her arm around Huinesoron possessively and started to lead him out of the room. She looked over her shoulder and added, 'But you can have any of these others. I'm not a greedy person." Ciri could barely hear as the two left the room Kaitlyn saying "Now, let's get you out of those pants..."
In the five seconds or so of stunned silence following, there was the sound of hundreds of pairs of running feet, gradually getting louder. Before any of the band or Ciri could do anything sensible, however, a tidal wave of Boarders, sweeping before them those roadies foolish enough to try and prevent them from reaching their goal, erupted into the dressing room.
By the doorway, Pads and Trojie stood, with what at first look seemed to be themselves. One pair, however, was dressed in more black and with matching Flashpatches. Agents.
"Didn't expect to see you here," Agent Trojie said to her Boarder counterpart as she passed out a few condoms. "Make sure those are put on properly!" she shouted.
"Well, everywhere else was deserted," the Boarder Trojie said with a shrug. "Figured might as well go look."
"True." Agent Trojie heard some giggled plans. "No, no! Boys don't work that way! At least, not human boys," she added, looking pointedly at Laburnum.
"I want a beer," Agent Pads said, as she eyed her counterpart's bottle.
"No Pads, we're on Duty."
"I agree," said Boarder!Pads. "There should be more beer."
"Look, either you two go and join the orgy, in which case, take these," Agent Trojie began, doling out a handful of condoms each, "or you give us a hand, or you get out of our way. Yes?"
"Oh for the love of- look, if you don't know what it does, leave it alone," said Boarder!Pads to Neshomeh. "And if you can't work that out, I suggest you go find a girl to snuggle with."
"She's got a point," Agent Pads added kindly. "Can I send them on a beer run?" she asked her partner, pointing to their Boarder counterparts.
"Well, while being sent to buy you alcohol is tempting," Trojie began, watching the orgies get underway, "this kind of thing doesn't happen that often. Fancy making hay while the sun shines?" she asked Boarder!Pads, gesturing at the other Boarders with her handful of rubber doofers.
"Well, if there's no beer I might as well," said Pads, shrugging. "Geronimo?"
Agents Trojie and Pads watched their counterparts wander away, and sighed. "Now aren't you glad I seduced you?"
"If the alternative was getting pawed around by this lot, then maybe." Trojie started throwing the condoms around like confetti. "Pretty colours," she commented.
Meanwhile, the boys were being handled rather roughly.
"Hey! Watch it with the shirt!" Techno-Dann yelled from underneath a swarm of girls.
From a corner another one of the boys yelled. "Miss Cassie, Miss Rilwen, stop! Please!"
"How the hell did hS escape this!?" Elcalion shouted angrily as he was pinned against the wall by several Boarder girls who had a thing for Aussies. "Crystal, get off me!"
Pigeon strained away from a few eager girls. "He has a girlfriend! July! I hate you!"
"I haven't done anything to you!" the boarder in question shouted back, from somewhere near Leto.
"I take exception to that!" exclaimed at least two other female Boarders, Cassie definitely being one of them. "I do things you don't like too!"
"Ladies, ladies, can we please, PLEASE calm dowwwnoooohNOO!" Techno-Dann tried to appeal for calm, only to be carried off shoulder high by a group of giggling Boarder girls. "Dammitall, Inkling, put me DOWN!" he shouted, tried beyond all patience.
However, his predicament was lesser than Wikimaster's. At least Dann could breathe. All that could be seen of Wikimaster was a hand, waving helplessly in a pile of the younger female Boarders. Eventually he threw himself towards the surface and gulped oxygen. Just_theDoctor grabbed him before he could run away, however.
From below Dann's shoulder, Oozaru Angel looked around. "Hey, does anyone know where any bigger rooms are?"
"Somewhere to the left out of here there's an auditorium," Vixenmage shouted helpfully from near Leto. She was holding one of his shoes.
"TO THE AUDITORIUM!" Oozaru Angel shouted.
With that, Dann was carried outwards.
The other orgy-ists followed, carrying their chosen male, and followed by a now quite bored Agent pair who entertained themselves seeing if they could aim for and successfully hit nominated body parts of various Boarders with thrown condoms.
"Well, I don't think they need our advice any more," said Agent Trojie.
"And we have dispensed the rubber production of an entire latex-tree-growing third world nation to them," said Agent Pads. "Do you think they need us to stick around any more?"
"The brief was to stop anything 'Bang Bang Sob'ish happening." Trojie shrugged. "So I think we have to stay. Oh no!" She covered Agent Pads' eyes. "Trust me when I say you did not want to see that."
"Was it Boarder!Me?"
"Then you're quite right, I didn't. Ooh, ten points for the left buttock of Sara." She handed Trojie another prophylactic.
"This could go on for *days*" Agent Trojie complained, hefting the contraceptive expertly and then throwing. "Did we bring food?"
"Yes, but if you let word get out about it then we'll be stampeded."
"Tell me none of it is spreadable or soft-fruit-like?"
"None, but I doubt this crowd cares."
And with that, two the marched towards the largest group of lusting Boarders.
"We know you're all very busy right now," began Trojie, "But have any of you by any chance seen, laid hands on or copulated with our Boarder counterparts in, oh, say the last five minutes? We need a word."
A helpful arm poked out of the mass and pointed. It appeared to belong to Fynn.
"Ta," said Agent Pads, and hauled at the indicated torso.
"Ah. Pads. You need to give these Boarders some lectures on having it off, I mean, seriously."
"You interrupted me to tell me that?"
"Tell Trojie. I'm busy."
And with that, Pads-the-Boarder returned to the pile.
Searching for Trojie proved unfruitful as she was buried deeper than an arm's length from the top. After having uncovered Anjilly, Chatvert, SealRat, Artic Blade, BattleHamster and wingnut, all of whom became irate, Agents Trojie and Pads decided to instead actually fulfil their original briefing and check on the health and wellbeing of the male Boarders.
"Did you bring the oxygen masks?" asked Agent Pads as they advanced upon the first male; Techno-Dann. "He looks a bit blue, poor thing."
Agent Trojie shook her head. "It looks like he might need a bit of CPR."
"Well, I'm not going to do it."
"I'm not going to either, could you imagine talking to the DoSAT Techno-Dann? Telling him, oh, hi, I had to perform CPR on the Boarder!you because you got squashed under a pile of lusting girls from the Board?"
Fortunately, Eni, insanegrrl and Tomato all quickly volunteered.
"How do we know we can trust you?" Trojie asked sternly of the Boarders.
"Because they came from the pile around Pigeonarmy, not Dann, I think," said Pads. "Do you know HOW to do CPR?"
"Sure thing!" they chorused.
Getting Dann out of the pile was probably considerably more difficult than reviving him, all things considered.
"Trojie, do you have a megaphone in that bag?" Pads asked after they'd fixed Dann up. "I have an idea."
"Er, yes, as a matter of fact I do," said Trojie, fishing it out of the bottomless backpack. "Here you are."
"Ta." Pads climbed to the top of a pile of wriggling bodies, ignoring the squeals of protest as her hobnailed soles dug into their flesh."LISTEN UP, you hairy lot!" she shouted into the megaphone. "These boys have got to LIVE through this, so either you all play nice, or we're shutting this whole party down, okay! That means no suffocating, injuring, whipping or excessive flagellation, burns, including friction burns, or any kind of object, yes, that sort of object, - don't you look innocent there missie 'Err...', - being involved. And if you must use food at least ask if they have any allergies!"
She took a breath. "And learn to SHARE!" she finished.