Freebie Mondays: Fashion Disaster

Freebie Mondays: Fashion Disaster

It’s been a long time since I wrote about a scene that took place during one of my game group’s session. Part of that is because we had to take a huge break while the hubs and I were moving. Part of that is that few things are as hilarious as what you’re about to read. I laughed so hard throughout this session that I just had to immortalize it. I took a few liberties to make it all fit in one scene, but my game group seemed pleased with how it turned out, so I present it here for your enjoyment.

Learn more about Darkspace over here.
. . .

“Why don’t we just offer to allow the archaeologists to come with us into the unknown in exchange for using their orb,” Domerin suggested, keeping his voice low as the group huddled in the hallway.

Ves didn’t usually pay much attention to this part of the conversation because it wasn’t particularly interesting. Since they were visiting a well-known Warsinger temple, filled with people who were aware of their identities, there probably wouldn’t be anyone to shoot – or anything to blow up – and that meant she didn’t have to do much other than look pretty. Possibly, at some point, she might have to lie – which she was getting shockingly good at. And if they were really lucky, she might get to hack something.

She hadn’t hacked anything since Eddie asked her to poke around the Kree’chain government database so they could gain access to the surface of their quarantined planet. Actually, she was rather fond of her work because she had managed to change the legal divorce requirements to include a fictional song their group hoped to ‘find’ during their trip. She tried to get Pantriss to write the song, but it hadn’t gone well. When Eddie found out, he made her change it all back.

But not before she created a historical controversy centered around the non-existent song. It made her giggle just thinking about it.

The group had finished their conference by now and Pantriss had stepped forward to speak with the Warsinger representative, who stood about ten feet up the hallway, waiting serenely for them to finish their discussion. They must have decided to go with Domerin’s plan because she couldn’t remember anything else important poking through her distraction.

“Hello,” the Warsinger said as the group approached. “Can I interest you in one of our services today?”

“No,” Pantriss replied without hesitation. She was no-nonsense, Pantriss. That was probably why she was their new leader. Ves liked that because it meant they got to skip a lot of the boring stuff. “You have an artifact in your possession,” Pantriss went on even as the Warsinger opened her mouth to make another query. “An orb. We need access to it.”

It was rather a shame the first three orbs hadn’t been enough to complete Eddie’s experiment. He had been so sure he only needed three of them, he hadn’t even waited until they finished retrieving the third artifact to combine them. Eddie was a man of action. Ves liked that because it kept her life interesting. Plus it would have been far more dramatic had the orbs revealed their secret in the heart of the hidden temple of a quarantined world. Kind of like those old adventure stories she read growing up.

Archaeology hadn’t ever been that exciting when she was a kid. Her parents had spent years digging through the dirt, uncovering tiny tidbits that just so happened to be rare enough to be worth keeping them in business. Working with Eddie was entirely different. There was almost always something to blow up, and plenty of angry people chasing you for various reasons. Combined with Pantriss’s action-oriented strategy, they made an effective group.

Though some people didn’t exactly approve of their methods.

“You’ll need to speak with our archaeologists,” the Warsinger said – which was good, because that was the plan. “Wyatt Scott and his assistant Vesera Montague. They don’t usually see many visitors but-“

Before the Warsinger finished, Eddie grabbed Pantriss’s arm and pulled her back into the group huddle. It was clear Eddie had something important to say – otherwise he probably wouldn’t have tried to drag a Dranfel around without warning – but Pantriss shot him a bit of a look.

“We should just go and speak with these archaeologists,” she said somewhat sternly. “They sound nice.”

“That’s because they’re us!” Eddie hissed indignantly.

“What do you mean?” Pantriss demanded, mystified.

“Wyatt Scott and Vesera Montague?” Eddie repeated the names in a mocking tone, as if that would make everything make sense. When the group gave him nothing but blank stares he sighed. “Those two are me and Ves. They’re fake identities we created.”

Ves gasped the kind of long, dramatic gasp one might find in a stage show even as she whipped out her pad and started typing furiously. The Warsingers’ website looked like something out of the stone age, so colorful and full of flashing gifs it had surely been built in some bygone era and forgotten about aside from a few updated mentions of special events. But there, near the bottom, under the staff section was a picture.

Ves gasped again as she turned her pad and presented it to the rest of the group. “Who the hell do they think they are?” she demanded in a hoarse whisper. The picture was obviously doctored, because Ves would have recognized the fabulous dress Ms. Vesera Montague was wearing. But where someone got the audacity, the sheer gall to photoshop someone else’s face over top of hers-

“We’ll just have to get to the bottom of this,” Pantriss said in a tone which Ves evaluated as far too calm.

“She just said they don’t take many visitors…” Giana protested or, at least, started to.

Ves gasped again, louder this time and more dramatically. She practically glided across the space between herself and the Warsinger, breaking out of the center of the group even as she threw one arm across her forehead.

“Oh it’s terrible!” she gasped, forcing tears to the edges of her eyes. “We simply must see Ms. Montague! It’s her sister, you see. Such tragic news. Family emergency. It really can’t wait.”

She could feel some of her friends cringing behind her. Giana didn’t like these kinds of tactics, and always got on Eddie’s case whenever he drew outlandish attention to himself. Domerin was  probably looking for a way to pretend he didn’t know her anymore and Eddie was probably sore he didn’t think of this himself. She trusted Pantriss and Ruhk to go along with it though, at least long enough to see if it worked.

Which it totally did. She even managed to squeeze a pair of real tears down her cheeks – one out of each eye – as she blinked up at the Warsinger with a pleading pout.

The Warsinger blinked and, for one awful moment, it seemed she might not buy the act. But then she laid a hand on Ves’s shoulder and squeezed it gently, her face transformed with sympathy. “Oh dear, that’s terrible! You simply must see her right away. Come with me.”

Score!

No one impersonated her and got away with it! After all it was she who was the impersonator!

The priest led them to a small dome and left them to their own devices while she sought to speak with the two bogus archaeologists. The walls were thin enough that it was easy to hear people moving through the nearby hallways – seven or eight in all – about as many as they had with them. Pantriss wasted no time and took no chances, arranging the group throughout the dome in such a way that they could easily deal with an ambush, should one present itself. They had experienced far too many ambushes of late, and Ves wasn’t really keen on having to shoot her way into a fake archaeologist’s office.

Luckily, when the door swished open again, only the original Warsinger passed through. “They will see you now,” she said, making a sweeping motion toward the hallway behind her.

“Excellent!” Ves replied, making sure to sound relieved as she stepped out of formation and made her way past the priest. “Oh, we will need some privacy, of course. Very sensitive matter, I’m sure you understand.”

If the Warsinger gave her a side-eye, she didn’t pause long enough to take notice. She was only about five feet away from this imposter and she wouldn’t be turned aside now.

It was all she could do to keep from kicking down the door; that might have been a little too dramatic of an entrance, or so some tiny, logical voice in the back of her mind warned when she reached for the knob.

Forcing herself to exercise restraint, Ves pushed the door open and strode through at a stately pace, though what she saw inside made her blood turn to ice.

The woman on the other side of the desk looked nothing like her in person. She might have been trying to dress the part but… well, if this was effort, Ves was the Queen of Sheba. Her clothing was black and somewhat mimicked the Goth style Ves was known to cultivate. Even now, beneath her armor, she wore the finest tight-cut blouse made from a shade of fabric so black it absorbed light from the area surrounding her. Over that, she wore a corset of bright pink, accented by ruby red crimson and adorned with a series of tiny chains. From that flowed a black, multi-tiered skirt. Though of course she had to cram it into the legs of her armor. But comfort wasn’t really the question here.

One should never fail to look fabulous, even if no one else could see the full measure of how fabulous they looked. Which was why Ves wore even her spiked choker and skull-chain gloves beneath her armor. Should she step out of it right this moment, she would be glowing and glorious – as expected.

The woman sitting on the other side of the desk, this fake Vesera Montague, wasn’t even wearing a corset! And the blue dye near the tips of her hair was so faded, it was almost indistinguishable from the black.

“Who are you?” she demanded, even as her friends filed into the room behind her.

“Uh… Hello,” the woman behind the desk replied, her expression tired, her tone bored. “I’m Vesera Montague-“

“Don’t play this game with me,” Ves snarled, planting her hands on her hips and leaning forward, though it was hard to be imposing when she barely broke five feet without her heels. “I know you’re not the real Vesera Montague!”

“Uh… yes I am,” the woman snapped. At least she had a bit of sass in her.

“No you’re not,” Ves retorted. “And I know because I’m the real Vesera Montague.”

The woman behind the desk – whoever she was – managed to summon an acid glare to level in Ves’s direction. “No, I’m Vesera Montague!” she pressed, unwilling to back down.

Rage filled Ves’s chest. “How dare you?” she roared. “You’re not even wearing a corset! Pantriss,” she half-turned to face the massive Dranfel filling the opposite side of the office, “punch her in the face!” That would teach this imposter to fuck with her. Pantriss was strong; she could break this puny little upstart in half.

Pantriss glanced at her and Ves nodded. She curled her hands into fists and raised them excitedly in front of her chest, ready to cheer her friend on.

Pantriss sighed and strode to the far side of the desk where some contact took place between Pantriss’s curled hand and the imposter’s cheek. On the whole, Ves thought it rather lacked effort. The Dranfel didn’t even leave a mark on the imposter’s face.

But the stranger was so surprised by the flurry of activity that Ves had more than enough time to leap her desk and seize control of her computer console. The moment her fingers came in contact with the keyboard, she had access to the system. And the moment she had access to a system, she cracked it open like an egg to reveal its gooey secret bits.

Over her shoulder she could hear Eddie screaming, “Who are you really?” She imagined he had the fake Wyatt Scott by the hair and was either slamming his head against the desk or reaching for his shotgun.

Ves stopped paying attention to most of what was going on behind her at that point. She had information at her fingertips and she wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip away.

Unfortunately most of the information was as boring as her fake counterpart. There was nothing in this database except a list of artifacts and studies the pair had worked on since they started using these fake names.

“Wyatt Scott is mine!” Eddie’s voice rose above the haze of din behind her. “Ves and I made these fake identities ourselves!”

Damn right!

But try as she did, Ves could find no reason why these two usurpers had stolen them. Everything they had done since assuming the identities seemed shockingly above board.

“Here, let me try,” Giana suggested, her tone exasperated.

Come to think of it, Ves didn’t really know where Domerin had gotten off to. Pantriss was keeping her imposter away and she was pretty sure Ruhk was helping Eddie with his imposter. Perhaps Domerin was still trying to pretend he didn’t know them.

Giana was now the only member of the group with proper psychic powers. Rather than read the truth out of the fake Montague’s mind, though, she must have used her abilities to convince the woman to speak openly instead. Because when she said, “Why are you pretending to be Vesera Montague?” the imposter sighed with exasperation of her own.

“Listen, I’m not supposed to admit this, but we’re witness protection!”

Everything seemed to stop. Ves’s fingers paused and hovered above the stolen keyboard. Eddie stopped yelling. He, Ruhk and the fake Wyatt Scott emerged from the other office. Everyone glanced at everyone else, lips pursed, expressions pensive.

At least the imposters hadn’t stolen their bogus identities outright. Someone else had; but why?

Someone must have asked the question because the fake Wyatt Scott sighed. “We don’t know the details,” he insisted. “The real Scott and Montague disappeared somewhere around ten years ago. Since I’m an archaeologist, they thought my daughter and I would fit the personas well. There hasn’t been any trouble, until today.”

“Oh… So you are a real archaeologist then? Maybe you can still help us.”

“Hey!” Ves exclaimed, unable to help herself. “Eddie is a real archaeologist!”

Eddie cleared his throat as if he had just choked on something. “Er… Yeah!” He glanced at a few of their companions, though his gaze never lingered long. “I have a degree and everything…”

“You have an artifact in your possession,” Pantriss went on, ignoring the exchange. “An orb.”

Ves’s fingers went back to work on the keyboard, summoning the appropriate set of details from the database. Then she slid aside and allowed the fake Montague to resume her position beside the terminal.

“We’re familiar with it,” she said, casting a weary glance in Ves’s direction.

“Great!” Pantriss declared. “If we could just borrow it for a little while-“

“How long do you need it?” Wyatt Scott interrupted with a frown.

“Well…” Pantriss started, then glanced at Eddie. “How long do we need it?”

“Well…” Eddie replied, shifting his eyes in a way that suggested he was trying to calculate the possibilities.

But since they potentially wanted to carry the orbs with them into an unknown, uncharted territory that would take at least a year to reach, none of the numbers he tossed out were likely to be satisfactory to the scientists.

“Here’s an idea,” Domerin said, almost seeming to materialize out of nowhere – where had he gotten off to this whole time? “Why don’t you let us borrow the orb for now? We’ll promise to return it when we’re finished with it. And in the mean time, we’ll leave and you’ll never have to hear from us again.” His tone suggested that this was probably the best offer anyone was ever going to get. And based on the way her friends were nodding, Ves guessed most of them agreed.

“All right,” Fake Wyatt said, though somewhat reluctantly. “We’ll have the Warsingers fetch it for you.”

“Great!” Eddie replied, apparently satisfied with how things had gone. “Oh and, by the way, here are the coordinates for a previously undiscovered Warsinger temple, in case you’d like to check it out.”

Fake Wyatt’s mouth formed a tiny O.

“But you have got to learn how to dress properly if you’re going to be me,” Ves added, fixing her counterpart with an acid glare.

“Ves!” Pantriss hissed.

“No, seriously,” Ves insisted, her tone dry. “I have a reputation to maintain. I didn’t start a fashion line so that people would think I dress from the Hot Topic section of Ebay! I’ve already replaced your fashion shop bookmarks with proper sites where you can supplement your wardrobe…”

At that point, Pantriss wrapped one strong arm around Ves’s waist and began to pull her from the room.

And so they accomplished their mission. The Warsinger priest brought them the orb from the archive storage and they left the fake Scott and Montague in peace.

Though not before Ves snuck a coupon for 50% off a purchase from her fashion line into the fake Vesera’s inbox, just to really drive the point home.

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