After a rather disappointing night, Sapphire Zephyr arrives back at her secret entrance to her laboratory, her armor covered in electrical burns and a silver sticky mesh that no amount of patting would get off during her flight back.
Taimi: “Hwe~h… this’ll never come off…”
As she just repainted the entire frame last week after finalizing the weapon and armor loadout, the silver mesh webbing used to immobilize has incredibly odd properties, appearing to be solid metal, and yet adhesive.
And it’s annoyingly ruined that paint job.
Without her influx of money from the cafe, which she has ducked out of for the last few weeks due to certain “problems”, she is now in a bind as she doesn’t have the funds yet to buy new paint.
Pochi approaches her. “Mistress, welcome back. You appear… uhh more silver than usual today.”
Taimi dishearteningly takes off her helmet (I assume she’s inside now), “Hi Pochi. I got caught in some trap when I went to help Lizbet and Nani, now I’m covered in this stuff that wont come off. Looks like it’s going to need to be scraped off and repainted… again.”
Pochi: Say no more, Mistress. I’ll get right on…making you tea. Be right back.
Pochi narrowly avoids having to contribute to the scraping.
She proceeds to remove the rest of the suit, which has conveniently been made easier since it was first made as she doesn’t need assistance anymore. Of course, there are a few joints that she has to really work off because of the sticky metal-like webbing stuff.
Lizbot: Hi Taimi! Good job tonight!
Lizbot’s shiny smiley face appears on the local monitor.
Taimi: Good job doing what? Getting caught?
Lizbot: Maybe? Uh, you look angry right now. But hey no more glowy! That’s good right?
Taimi hadn’t really been paying attention, so she looks at her arm to see the lack of glowing.
“Yeah, fantastic,” Taimi mentions with absolutely no enthusiasm at all.
Lizbot: Great! So, I’ve been researching those guys that showed up tonight, and I found nothing at all! Isn’t that interesting?!
Taimi sighs, “Wonderful.” After removing all the pieces of the suit, she pulls one of the gauntlets back and a generic scraping tool and goes to work on it. Slowly, and again with little enthusiasm.
She quickly finds that the scraping does not work.
Lizbot: Huh, it looks really solid. Maybe you need a solvent to get rid of it?
Pochi re-enters the room just then. “Here is your tea, Mistress.” He says this, shooting a glance at the obnoxiously smiley face of Lizbot. “Perhaps we could turn off the power to the building, and your mood might improve.”
Pochi then sidesteps towards the monitor that she’s displaying on and hits the power button.
Lizbot: Hey!!! That doesn’t make me go away, you know!
Pochi grumbles. “Do you need any assistance, Mistress?”
“I don’t know,” Taimi mumbles while still sitting and holding onto the gauntlet she was scraping, “I just don’t know why I’m still doing this.”
Pochi: I would be guessing to make your armor clean, Mistress? Can’t go about with silver goo all over your hero uniform.
Pochi: Well, don’t worry about it for now. Have the intruder research its removal while you drink tea and relax.
Lizbot: Already going that, Pochi~
Pochi sets the tray with tea, a muffin and some butter on her table. “Well, if you need my help with anything, let me know, I have to research a way to delete rogue AI.”
Lizbot: I heard that!!!
“Thanks Pochi,” she says, but doesn’t move to touch any of the stuff on the tray.
As soon as he exits, Lizbot’s screen turns back on.
Lizbot: Don’t fret the small stuff, Taimi! I borrowed Lizbet’s credit card information and ordered you more paint! She won’t even know! I disguised it as “cookies” and sent her some as well so she wouldn’t notice!
Taimi: You shouldn’t do that, Lizbot.
Lizbot: Don’t mention it, Taimi! Your my best friend!
Lizbot’s face starts spinning with sparkles all over the screen.
The night proves rather awful for the down on her luck heroine, as sleep proves difficult. The next day in the late morning she receives a call from Susana.
“Hi Taimi, are you feeling any better?”
Taimi answers while sitting curled up on bed, “Yeah, I guess so.”
Susana: That’s good…I really need you to come back to work. I’m on the third temp from the agency, and “he” is the worst one yet, if not just for being the wrong gender but also the worst server I’ve ever dealt with.
Taimi checks her wrist to see if she’s glowing. No glowies right now.
Taimi: “Alright. I think I can manage today.”
Susana: Great, it will be nice to have you back. Titi and Selene have been picking up all of your shifts between awful temps.
Taimi: I’m sorry for causing so much trouble.
Susana: I got your doctor’s note, so I know you were not in any shape to come in right away. I’m just glad you’re better. So, I have to get back to work, but please come in for a night shift tonight?
Taimi: Sure, no problem.
Susana: Thanks, doll! Have a nice day.
She hangs up.
Taimi goes back to trying to sleep, but likely failing.
She wakes up to the sound a phone call.
She answers the phone, “Hello?”
Lizbet: Taimi!!! Hi!!! You left so suddenly last night. You okay? Anyway, I’m outside so let me in.
Taimi: Lizbet? Hold on a second.
She pulls herself out of bed and drags herself to the door.
She straightens the outfit she flopped out of bed in before opening it.
Lizbet glomps on Taimi, her skill at taking even the knowing by surprise unparalleled.
Taimi: Hi Lizbet (she’s used to this by now)
Lizbet pulls back. “Hm, you need a shower.” She then holds out a sweet smelling coffee and a bag of what looks like pastries from Elimeno’s Coffee.
“Mmm, probably,” she takes a pastry, “Thanks.”
Lizbet: Brain food! I had the organized group of Lizbots researching those guys from last night. They didn’t get much, but I put the hyper adhesive metallic silver alloy webbing through a bajillion tests only to find out that silver stuff isn’t metal at all. It’s not from Earth or the Moon or anywhere in space.
Lizbet grabs a pastry and walks into her apartment and sits on her couch. “I’m going to ring up a bunch of random people to see what they think. But this is totally out of my knowledge sphere.”
“Wonderful,” she says with a mouthful of pastry. She swallows, “It certainly doesn’t scrape off.”
Lizbet: Yeah, it only reacts to intense heat so far. You’ll have to blow torch it off.
Lizbet polishes off her pastry and then licks her fingers. "So, grapevine at the cafe is you’re coming back!
“Yeah, tonight,” Taimi checks the time, now that she’s suddenly reminded about it.
She has time.
She is amazed at how quickly word spreads, though.
Lizbet: Cool. It’s funny. Everytime I go there without you there, that girl Selene thinks I work there, and she makes me wear a costume and serve tables. It’s kind of funny really, when she scolds me for dropping stuff, threatening to get Susana to fire me.
Taimi: Well, you are in there quite a bit.
Lizbet: Yeah well, maybe you can tell her I don’t work there. Not that I wouldn’t mind, but I prefer just going there for the cake and to bother Jennifer.
Taimi: I better get that shower soon. Wouldn’t want to ruin my first day back by smelling like… well, like I do now.
Lizbet: Okay, well I’ll come by tonight! Make sure they put me at your table!
Taimi: I think they know by now. Wouldn’t want you making a fuss like last time.
Lizbet: Just because I tipped you a thousand once… even though you gave it back.
Taimi: That is quite a bit…
Lizbet: They kept saying Oh you’re so busy and all that, but you totally weren’t. That new girl… Chris… she really doesn’t know anything.
Lizbet pops up. "Okay, I better get going then. Oh right—it’s angel night. Selene said to tell you since you hadn’t been in a while. It’s new so she said to give you money to pick out a new cosplay outfit for it. But I got it for you. It’s in your locker at the cafe.
Taimi feels slightly worried, “Thanks. I’ll see you later then.”
Lizbet yawns. “Can’t wait to see how cute you look!”
Lizbet then smashes a pastry between the two of them as she glomps one more time, and then rushes out.
Taimi arrives at work! Yay. No glowing so far. The door jingles as she enters.
????: Welcome to the Cosplay Cafe. I’m your host, Martin. How many are in your party?
The new temp guy is wearing a butler’s costume.
Taimi: Martin? I work here.
Martin: I haven’t seen you. So you don’t want a table then? Fine. Whatever.He goes back to doodling on the seating list.
Martin: He then ignores the stupid girl who enters saying she works here, but he doesn’t believe her. She’s just some flat girl who thinks costumes are cute.
Taimi just sighs and heads for the dressing room.
It’s at least ten minutes before her shift, where she finds Titiana lying on the bench.
Titania: Oh thank god, Taimi. We were starting to think you were never returning.
Titania: The temps… ooooh, the temps.
Taimi: I, uh, met one of them when I came in.
Titania: You mean Martin? Yes, please come back to work before we have to pay him again.
Taimi: Well, that’s what I’m here for.
Taimi: Sorry for being gone so long.
Titania: Oh, we know it wasn’t your choice. But it was so long.
Inside of Taimi’s locker is an angel Flonne costume and a blond wig plus big blue bow and wings. Meaning no pants.
Taimi sighs and mumbles, “Thanks Lizbet…”
Titiana works at the bar above, which opens with the night shift, and closes at 2 AM. Taimi usually only works the floor until closing.
Taimi changes as Titania heads to the bar.
Selene pops her head into the locker room. "You look adorably 10 years old… you got tables 9 through 16 tonight.
The shift starts out normal with tourists and anime exp conventioners arriving for dinner or to take pictures with the waitresses. While Selene’s costume looks a bit slutty, the innocent costume Taimi is wearing turns out to be the popular one with the customers thinking she’s the cutest “widdle” angel they’ve ever seen. This comes with a lot of tips as well.
An hour into her shift, Lizbet shows up.
Martin manages to sit Lizbet at Taimi’s table despite his absolute resentment of it.
Lizbet: Ahhhhh! I knew it would be perfect!
Taimi: Hwe~h… Everyone keeps treating me like I’m in grade school, though…
Lizbet: So? You look great. Soooo cuuuuute!
Lizbet: So, I’ll have a pudding and a strawberry mint soda.
Taimi, still getting back into the swing of working, perks back up, “Oh, right, I’ll get this in and be right back.”
Selene bumps into Taimi as she heads to put the order in.
Selene: Why does the new girl always hang around on her off hours too? So weird. You shouldn’t encourage her.
She then wanders back to her area.
As Taimi is coming back with someone else’s order, she begins to feel a tingly sensation up her spine.
Taimi checks her arm, “Oh no…”
She’s not glowing, but she has a mad case of goosebumps.
Despite her starting to feel funny, at least she’s not glowing. So she tries to continue on.
She delivers the food and then goes back to Lizbet’s table with her pudding and soda.
Lizbet: Thanks! Hey, how’d you get your skin to sparkle like that?
Suddenly, Taimi feels a rush of energy, as her skin begins to glow.
It’s still faint, but nevertheless, makes her feel funny.
Taimi, quietly: “Oh crap, why now…”
Lizbet: Cool effect though. Going to make Selene jealous.
Taimi: It’s… It’s nothing! Excuse me, I’ll be back in a bit!
Lizbet: Huh? Oh okay.
She rushes off back to the changing room before anyone else really notices (that’s what she tells herself anyway… hard to not notice someone that starts spontaneously glowing)
The cafe is rather bright, so no one but Lizbet seemed to notice.
Taimi: Oooooh… Why? Why now?
Inside the locker room, by herself, her skin glows a warm golden color.
Selene pops her head in. “You okay, Tai—-oh wow. What the crap is that?”
Before Taimi can say anything, Selene points to a giant spider… a tarantula as large as Taimi’s hand.
It walks towards her.
Selene: Yeah, it’s all yours Taimi. I’ll uh…take care of your tables while you take care of that.
Taimi pulls out her Personal Defense Mallet, and attempts to turn the tarantula into a paste.
She pops out.
Something stops her as the tarantula looks up at her with multifaceted eyes. Is she ready to do such a thing? Kill such a tiny thing because of her own fear?
It’s as if the words echo in her head, guilt for her action pouring through her.
Before she knows, the spider is gone.
Taimi backs up against the lockers behind her, mallet still held at the ready.
Lizbet: Taimi? Are you in here?
Lizbet comes around the corner where Taimi is. “Selene said something about a giant spider. I came to check on you… why are you quivering in the corner? What’s wrong?”
Taimi just holds herself as she slightly freaks out about telepathic spiders.
Lizbet: Hey, it’s okay. It’s just a spider. From Selene’s description it sounds like a tarantula. Probably that guy Martin’s pet. He brought a pet snake in the other day. It got out and bothered some of the guests, though why anyone is scared of a garden snake is beyond me. They’re not even poisonous.
Lizbet sits on a bench near Taimi, and gives her a slight prod with her sandled toe. “So, that hero that saved us last night, she was pretty cool. Hyperia. She’s one of the super goody-two-shoe heroes who does charity work and volunteers for tons of events to help whatever cause that they come up with that needs funding. She’s like Hero HQ’s poster child.”
Lizbet: She said she wouldn’t mind joining us on 991 calls or whatever. I think she’s in between Hero teams right now. I questioned her all night long about what her plans are now that the B-Cups are over.
Lizbet continues to ramble on.
Taimi starts calming down as Lizbet rambles on.
Lizbet: Did you give any thought to what I brought up before, about starting our own hero team now that the three of us are all official heroes and everything? With like two more heroes, we could totally be officially awesome. We should go with an awesome name like Power Girls or the Babes of Saving People.
Taimi hugs her knees, “I don’t know. I just don’t know anymore.”
Lizbet: Hey, no rush. I know I’m pushy, but I just get so excited about stuff like this.
She goes and sits next to Taimi. “Oh hey you’re really warm too… like a space heater.”
Lizbet: Hyperia is really cool. She’s like the real deal with super powers. Not genetically engineered like Nani, or an alien like Jen, but a real legacy superhuman. Isn’t that so cool?
Taimi: That’s… that’s great. They sure are amazing…
Lizbet: Yeah! With our know-how and Nani and Hyperia, and if we could get someone like Hospice on our team for backup, we would be unstoppable. Or even Jennifer or that cute little girl, Uriel’s sister.
Taimi: I bet they don’t get caught in some weird webbing stuff. I bet they don’t get themselves captured during riots and taken to some creepy villains hideout and end up losing their dad because they’re helpless (well, Jennifer did the first half of that one). And I’m sure they don’t glow like the damn BC Tundradome on game day! (it’s where the local ice hockey team plays, the Borderline Longwool Socks)
Lizbet: No, because none of them fly or jump high. And none of them are smart enough to be worth capturing, and none of their dads were super high tech military scientists who taught their daughters to be awesome. They were born with their powers and just use them… albeit awesomely, but what you do originates from nothing but your own ingenuity. That’s why you’re my hero.
Lizbet: And did you say… that’s not a special effect or something? You’re actually glowing?
Taimi: Yes, I’m glowing! Why am I glowing? I don’t know why I’m glowing. And whenever it happens, I don’t feel like… me!
Taimi: I mean, look at me! I don’t act like this, dammit!
Taimi: I feel like I’m losing myself!
Lizbet: Huh, well, maybe it’s like glowy PMS for Heroes.
Lizbet: How long ago did this start?
Taimi snorts, “I don’t know, a month or so? Not long after the Dr. What? fortress of doom, or whatever”
Lizbet: That’s why you’ve been avoiding everybody?
Taimi: It’s not just that, though.
(ooh, time for the big decision!)
Taimi: It seems like everything I do just ends in failure.
Lizbet: You mean aside from stopping a madman bent on conquering us by time traveling a pile of doomsday weapons to the 70’s. And saving all our friends, and Uriel’s sister, and Nani’s mom?
Taimi: Right, what did I really do there? I let out the captured heroes. They did all the work from there, along with you guys.
Taimi: I couldn’t save my dad, or stop Gord from becoming Bureaucraton. I mean, uh…
Lizbet: Huh? Gord is dead though. His grave isn’t fifty feet from the Magneticist, that guy who died saving us from that crazy rain spell of pure forks and knives.
Taimi shakes her head, “He successfully made it through Dr. What?’s time warp thing. He got all the doomsday devices that were sent back in time. I got a letter from him not too long ago, telling me all about it.”
Lizbet: Seriously? Whoa! That’s amazing! Wait, you’re pulling my leg, right? It’s not April 1st…
Taimi: I can show you the letter later, if you want.
Lizbet: Show me the letter. I want to analyze it. It has to be a spoof or something.
Taimi: I can’t, it melted like right after I read it.
Lizbet: Whoa! So awesome! This is like the best news ever! Gord’s not dead and now he’s a super villain! Amazing.
Lizbet: That explains why Big B is like the biggest prankster villain of all time. I always though it was meanness… it’s totally just Gord bringing people down off their high horses, clowning the whole city.
Taimi: Yeah, the letter said something like that.
Lizbet: Okay, so yeah, your dad went into the past and is out of your life, but was he ever really there? He chose not to be in your life before. You’ve always been your own strength, and my grounding, and Nani’s big sister, well… since we saved her from that horrible doctor. So, what’s really changed. Big B was always Gord. That hasn’t changed. It was like that when you were born.
Lizbet stands up. "So, you should start by going home. I’ll take your shift. Go fix up your armor and get ready for more fun, because we have work to do. There’s a lot of crazy villains, leftovers from the time travel conspiracy and the usuals to beat up. Tomorrow we start anew.
Lizbet: I’m going to go finish off my strawberry mint soda before that crazy Martin guy steals it.
Lizbet pokes Taimi in the cheek.
Taimi: No, I gotta stay. I need to figure out how to deal with this… this glowing. Maybe everyone else will feel like it’s just a special effect too.
Lizbet: If you’re sure… that’s probably for the best.
Taimi: I’m alright. I just… sorry. And thanks for listening.
Lizbet: Ooooh I get it, I listened with my heart! No worries, Taimi. Go get’em! I’ll go see if I can fix your armor then.
She raps her knuckles against her waist, and it makes a clinking noise. “Fusion torch ready to melt away silver sludge.”
Taimi laughs a little, for the first time in a while, "I don’t know if it’ll work or not, but feel free to try. Oh and… don’t tell Nani, if you could. Just tell her it’s a special effect if she ends up seeing it, but I don’t want her to get worried too.
Lizbet: I’m not worried. It’s like… magic. Magic is awesome.
Lizbet: But I won’t tell.
She makes a zipper noise and moves her fingers across her lips.