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  • The Socialite's New Clothes IC

     mercy updated 1 year ago 2 Members · 96 Posts
  • mercy

    Member
    March 18, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    Ichante
    March 6, 2078, Seattle

    The jarring notes pf her ‘link alert Ichante of an incoming call. A quick check of the incoming call code lets her see that it is from an unfamiliar number. Still, there is a chance that this could be a job or business opportunity, especially now that she is starting to get involved in charitable issues.

    The caller is female and her voice is heavily accented with French. >>Hello? Is this Ichante, by any chance? My name is Monique Chevalier and I have recently been told that you design clothing for discriminating tastes. Would it be possible for me to come by and see what you have to offer? I am unable to locate a shop attached to your comm code, so could you please give me directions?<<

    1

  • Tecumseh

    Member
    March 19, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    Ichante takes the call, not because she particularly wants to but because the little voice inside her head tells her that it might be a good idea. Ichante is not a fan of the little voice, which came back from Texas with her, as its advice is often annoying and/or inconvenient. But it speaks to her in Lakota, which she trusts, and she grudgingly admits it has a good track record so far.

    The caller could have gotten Ichante’s commcode from any number of sources. She’s on good terms with Voula, the manager of Seattle’s Lordstrung’s store, but it would be unlike Voula to make a referral instead of a direct sale. Lissie, a PR exec with Charisma Associates, could have passed Ichante’s name along, but Lissie only wore black and wasn’t terribly interesting to work with. She had done a suit for David, a Salish-Shidhe fixer of sorts, but how often do people turn to fixers for sartorial recommendations? This could also be a trick, a ruse by some corp to extract a magical asset and put them to work.

    [i]But but but… Excuses, excuses,[/i] the voice in her head chides her. It has a point.

    Nothing about the call seems threatening, but Ichante decides that a meeting in public might be prudent all the same.

    <<Hello, Ms. Chevalier, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. You are correct that I do not have a shop of my own. All of my pieces are custom, so I do not carry any inventory. Might I suggest that we meet at Lordstrung’s flagship store downtown? Their café, mBar, only serves real coffee. I can share my portfolio, and we can browse Lordstrung’s AR menus for additional ideas and inspiration.>>

    She checks her calendar. It’s wide open, but no need to say so.

    <<Today is Sunday, so they close at 19:00. I can meet late this afternoon or early this week, at your convenience. Breakfast or lunch tomorrow, perhaps?>>

  • mercy

    Member
    March 20, 2019 at 12:29 am

    Sunday Morning, March 6, 2078, Seattle

    There is a slight pause on the other end of the call, then the woman speaks again. >>No, this afternoon is as good as any time and the location is perfect. I will be wearing a dark blue pantsuit. Would 1600 be a suitable time?<<

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  • Tecumseh

    Member
    March 21, 2019 at 2:08 am

    <<Yes, splendid. I will see you at mBar at 16:00. I’ll be wearing…>>

    She quickly glances at her wardrobe. It seems disingenuous to wear her Vashon Island pieces to a meeting with a prospective client of custom clothing, so Ichante should wear something of her own. A happy cry bubbles up when she sees her Second Skin, a recent purchase that she hasn’t worn more than once or twice. That will allow her to remain armored, no matter what she’s wearing over it.

    <<…a light grey suit with lilac stripes.>>

    The call concluded, she gets to work. Ichante’s always been good with her hands so she still enjoys drawing on paper, even if it is anachronistic. AR gloves are okay, and DNI is fast and slick, but the tactile pull of pen over paper still feels best.

    Designs are coming more easily these days. Ichante’s always been gifted – “inspired”, her friends say – but ever since Texas her imagination has run that much hotter. The little voice in her head chimes in occasionally, and it has something valuable to add at least half the time. Similarly, the magic to make the designs a reality is coming that much easier too.

    In no time at all, she has her design done. Gathering up a simple suit to act as a template, she magically transforms it into her vision. Please with herself, she waits until later in the day to give herself a healthy glow, plus a magical makeover. Sitting in front of the mirror, she adjusts her looks to make them somewhat more Caucasian, in a perhaps vain effort to get the potential client to identify with her. She tweaks her skin a bit, lightening it up. She lifts her cheekbones and gives her nose a cute point. Her hair softens from black into a dark brunette. Satisfied with the effort, she puts on her glasses to complete the smart look.

    Ichante lives in the Underground, quite close to the entrance to Lordstrung’s, so in theory it should be a short outing with minimal chances of violence. Still, Seattle is Seattle and the Underground is the Underground, so Ichante puts on her Second Skin – setting it to transparent – then her new creation over it. She steps out of her low-ceiling apartment and heads up toward the department store.

  • mercy

    Member
    March 21, 2019 at 7:25 am

    Sunday Afternoon, March 6, 2078, Seattle

    Monique steps out of a cab at the entrance to Lordstrums, the fashionable and upscale department store at precisely 1500. The doorman smiles at her as he opens the large glass door to the store, his eyes roving over the woman. Her tailored and expensive pantsuit marks her as just the sort of customer that Lordstrums likes to pander to; affluent trendsetters. Her clothes are the current fashion and her brunette hair falls to just above the shoulders. She is carrying one of Lordstrums’ chic umbrellas in the crook of her arm, letting the sales people know that she has shopped here before. A well-dressed sales associate approaches Monique as she removes her sunglasses and lets her eyes adjust to the inside light. After exchanging pleasantries, Monique moves off on her own, with a promise to ask for help if she needs it.

    She wanders through the large store, visiting several departments and actually purchasing something from the lingerie section. Arriving at the trendy mBar, Monique notes that she has fifteen minutes to wait and settles into a booth that gives her a view of the entrance and orders a drink, letting the pretty waitress know that she is expecting a friend and providing her with a description of the clothes her friend will be wearing. She also arranges to cover the check for both women.

    Her implanted ‘link gives Monique perfect time, but she still refers to the somewhat anachronistic watch at her wrist, a habit she has never broken. She sips from her drink and waits for her guest to arrive.

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  • Tecumseh

    Member
    March 21, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Ichante intentionally waits until just before the meeting time to arrive at Lordstrung’s. She is entirely aware of her lack of discipline around spending, and the heavy credstick in her pocket is begging for action. It was ridiculous, really; she should be making all of her own clothes for little more than the price of the material. That still didn’t stop her from buying her Ace of Coins outfit before the whole Texas fiasco, because she’ll be damned if black juggernaut hide with platinum thread stitching and solid gold accents isn’t genius that should be recognized.

    Still, it’s wisest to limit her exposure to temptation, so Ichante gets to Lordstrung’s at 15:55 knowing that she’ll arrive at mBar a few minutes later. Her commlink provides the store’s host with Ichante’s real SIN. Security is tight, as one would expect of a luxury store in a AAA neighborhood. It makes her feel safer about not carrying a gun, even if the gun’s primary purpose is to make her look less like a magician in combat. Ichante’s magic is twice as good as her marksmanship, but sometimes a kilo of metal and composite materials is a comforting weight next to your ribs.

    Ichante actually knows the manager of the Lordstrung’s store, Voula, who has hired Ichante on occasion to magically prep rich customers, but Voula is a good Greek Orthodox lady who doesn’t work Sundays. Ichante walks to mBar, nimbly avoiding the sales ladies waiting in ambush with various Eau de Parfums to spray on her as she walks past. Ichante is more of an Eau de Toilette woman herself.

    Her heels – which max out her short stature at 1.5 meters – click on the marble floors. Just before arriving at mBar, she takes a moment to compose a little spell that will improve her personality and make her less likely to make barbed comments at inopportune times. She then greets the hostess – Ichante’s head barely clearing the tall host stand – and is led to the table where Monique is sitting. During the approach, she takes a quick glance at the astral. Monique appears to be mundane and seemingly unenhanced; she’s fit and athletic and appears to be in good health. Ichante returns her vision to the physical world and smiles as she reaches the table.

    “Good afternoon, Ms. Chevalier. I am Ichante.” She extends her hand in greeting.

    Spoiler
  • mercy

    Member
    March 21, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    Sunday Afternoon, March 6, 2078, mBar, Lordstrums, Seattle

    Monique smiles at the young woman who was led to her table and extends a manicured hand to take the one offered. “Good afternoon, Ichante. I hope that the booth is satisfactory.” She lifts her glass, most of the liquid still in it. Her voice is heavily accented with French as she continues. “Thank you for seeing me. I arrived a bit earlier and took the liberty of ordering a drink. May I get something for you?

    After that business is concluded. Monique gives Ichante a close look. “Let me get right to business, then. I am the personal maid for someone who is always interested in finding new talent, especially when that talent has not had much exposure. I must say that although I could find no retail shop for you, there is some very nice word of mouth on the street about your ability. If you have made the clothes you are wearing now, I think that the word of mouth may indeed be accurate. Would you mind if I examined the stitching?”

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  • Tecumseh

    Member
    March 21, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    Ichante takes a seat and orders a cappuccino, dry, with whole milk.

    “You flatter me,” she says, nodding to Monique’s request. At first she considers extending her arm, but then decides that it would be more efficient and less awkward to simply remove her suit jacket. She has a white buttoned shirt underneath. Passing the jacket over, she sits back into the booth.

    While Monique inspects the jacket, she takes a moment to speak about her portfolios. “These are my concept drawings,” she says, placing a leather-bound portfolio on the table. Then she shares an ARO with digital images of her final creations. “And these are the finished products. Coats, jackets, and blazers are a specialty, as are skirts and slacks. There’s some activewear in there too, plus some tops and shorts. I’ve only dabbled in accessories: a few hats, gloves, and scarves.”

    She gives Monique as much time as she wants to review and ask questions.

    “As I mentioned, all my designs are custom, and thus meta-friendly. Big or small, I make them all.”

  • mercy

    Member
    March 21, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    Sunday Afternoon, March 6, 2078, mBar, Lordstrums, Seattle

    Monique carefully takes the offered jacket and sets it at the far end of the table from her drink. She spends a few minutes with her eyes closed, just feeling the material before reaching into an almost invisible pocket of her own suit to remove a small jeweler’s loupe that she puts to her right eye. Bringing the jacket closer, she examines the seams in minute detail, first concentrating on the outer seams before turning the sleeves inside out to look at the work there. She is humming some sort of tune as she looks, but pauses a few times to exclaim in French.

    Monique takes a good half hour examining the jacket before she puts everything right and hands it back. “I have to say that you could put some fine seamstresses out of work, or at least give them a good run for the money. Why are you not better known? I would like to view your portfolio now.” She slips a pair of gloves on and begins flipping through the ARO of the images Ichante has provided her. When finished, Monique puts her gloves away and smiles at Ichante. “I am very impressed and I am certain that my employer will be, as well. Now, can you work with armored clothing and add certain extras that provide protection against certain elements as well as add other extras designed to keep the clothing looking as it should? My mistress is frequently in the limelight and there are crazies out there that have on occasion made threats or even acted to harm her, so you see why I ask that question.”

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  • Tecumseh

    Member
    March 22, 2019 at 3:20 am

    “Why indeed?” Ichante smiles wryly to the question of why she is not better known. A month ago the question might have gotten a rise out of her, but now she’s feeling more at peace with it. She attributes it to Wakan Tanka, the Great Mystery, but it’s a little early in the relationship to pursue that explanation so she edges around it.

    “The powers that animate the world aren’t always things that we can understand. I try to accept it in its mystery rather than trying to impose my limited metahuman understanding on it. Living with incomprehensibility is part of life.”

    She smiles and laughs, sipping her cappuccino. “But perhaps that is too fatalistic for some. In more practical terms, I suppose I have a nontraditional résumé, one that lacks the right schools and internships that open up doors. I did do some freelance design work for Vashon Island, but it was a challenging, competitive environment. Catty, if we’re being candid. If your coworkers don’t steal your work as their own, they socially squash you and undermine you with management.” Ichante smiles and shrugs; she doesn’t look particularly disappointed that it didn’t work out. “Not a good fit.”

    Ichante demurs at the question about modifications. “I’m no armorer. The basics are simple enough, like ballistic fabrics and linings, as are some of the more routine modifications. Gel packs, for example, are quite simple to integrate, and can actually add both textural and visual interest to a design, especially autumn/winter pieces. But more complex enhancements, like pulse weave or shock frills, are outside of my primary area of expertise.”

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by  Tecumseh. Reason: Grammar
  • mercy

    Member
    March 22, 2019 at 6:46 am

    Sunday Afternoon, March 6, 2078, mBar, Lordstrums, Seattle

    Monique tilts her head just a bit to the right and smiles at Ichante. “I so agree with that philosophy, although I have never heard it put in those words before. I, too, live in a world that should have been completely unavailable to me, given my birth and upbringing. My life since my employer took me off the streets could easily be said to be incomprehensible to the younger me, but I have learned to adapt and embrace it for what it is.”

    She points to the portfolio as she sips her drink. “But back to business. I have contacted my employer and she is very interested in meeting with you to discuss what should be a mutually beneficial arrangement. From our earlier conversation, I assume that you are unavailable for dinner this evening. Is that still true or could I interest you in dining with my employer? If you are still unavailable tonight, perhaps breakfast or lunch tomorrow?”

    6

  • Tecumseh

    Member
    March 22, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    Ichante nods. “Yes, quite right. The sooner we can accommodate ourselves to the incomprehensibility of the world, the sooner we can be more in harmony with it instead of living in conflict.”

    There are limits and exceptions to this, which Ichante isn’t about to vocalize. Death might be a part of the Great Mystery, but that won’t stop Ichante from punching Death in the throat repeatedly when He finally comes to drag her away.

    She finishes her cappuccino. “I am available for dinner. When I mentioned that Lordstrung’s closes at 19:00 I simply wished to indicate that it wouldn’t be a suitable location for a later evening engagement.

    “Please let your employer know that I am available at her convenience either this evening or tomorrow.”

  • mercy

    Member
    March 23, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    Sunday Afternoon, March 6, 2078, mBar, Lordstrums, Seattle

    Monique looks at the ancient watch on her wrist then looks back up at Ichante with a smile. “I can make that happen. Do you have transportation, or would you care to share a cab? If we leave now, I can have appetizers ready by, say 2000 and dinner by 2100. You could spend the time before dinner with my employer and let her see your designs. I would ask if you have any preferences for the meal and if you have any food allergies I should know about.”

    Monique waves the waitress over and slots a stick for the drinks and adds a nice tip while she waits for Ichante to respond. She also calls for a cab to be waiting at the entrance to the store.

    7

  • Tecumseh

    Member
    March 24, 2019 at 12:35 am

    Ichante smiles. “No allergies. Dwarves have formidable systems.

    “As for preferences, I believe halibut season just began. The Salish season won’t begin until May, but the Athabaskan Council season opens the first week of March. I often enjoy purchasing mine from the fishmongers at Pike Place Market.” She inclines her head in the direction of the Market, which is about six blocks to the west of Lordstrung’s.

    “I am happy to share transportation. I live within walking distance so I arrived on foot. I never learned how to drive; I’m one of those people who needs to car to pilot itself.”

    She stands and puts her jacket back on. “Thank you for the coffee; mine was delicious. Shall we?”

  • mercy

    Member
    March 24, 2019 at 8:09 am

    Sunday Afternoon, March 6, 2078, mBar, Lordstrums, Seattle

    Monique smiles as she stands. “Bon. I just happen to know a very nice halibut recipe that I have not used in a few months. We can stop at the market on the way home and pick some up. I know just the place.”

    She walks beside Ichante to the elevator and out of the department store to where a cab is waiting for them. Monique lets the driver know that they need to go to Pike Place Market and asks if would wait for them there. A fee is arranged above the normal one and they go the short distance to the market. Monique seems quite at home here, greeting several of the vendors by name before stopping at Sal’s Fish Shack. The two exchange cheek kisses and Monique chatters away in Italian for a few seconds before turning to Ichante. “Ichante, please meet my very good friend and purveyor of all types of fish, Salvadore Mantisso. If you do not already know him, you should.” She leans in closer and lowers her voice a bit. “He says he has a son you should meet if you are not already engaged or married. He has seven sons and is trying to marry off the last three. Nice boys, but they are Italian, if you know what that means.”

    8

  • Tecumseh

    Member
    March 25, 2019 at 1:23 am

    Ichante smiles tightly. She’s a regular at Pike Place and knows all the vendors, but she’s also changed her looks juuust enough to not be immediately recognizable. She didn’t think it would be an issue but then Monique introduces her by name.

    “Ichante?” Salvadore Mantisso asks, momentarily perplexed. He looks over the high counter, wondering how many dwarves named Ichante there can be in the city. He studies her face and appears confused.

    “Hello, Salvadore,” Ichante greets him. “I changed my hair,” she explains. In truth she has changed much more, but she hopes that he won’t press the matter. He doesn’t, just giving a little shake of his head while completing the transaction.

    The women walk down the covered arcade, looking at the names printed in the floor tiles of donors who had given to save the Market from redevelopment over a hundred years ago.

    “I cook in my free time,” Ichante says as they browse the other vendors. “I buy my halibut and scallops from Salvadore, my shrimp from Fish Co., my smoked salmon from City Fish. I get my lamb from Don & Joe’s, my beef from B&B Ranch, and my ham and prosciutto from DeLaurenti’s. I haven’t settled on a source for chicken yet.”

    The reality is that Ichante spends far too much of her budget on food and fashion, a fact that her financial adviser is constantly bemoaning. Money has always slipped through her fingers. When she first started working in the shadows, she reasoned that she might as well spend it as she wasn’t likely to live long anyway. The fact that she had made it out of Texas alive sobered her up, and gave her new inspiration to save for retirement because – for the first time – she believed she might actually live that long. Maybe this meeting with Monique is the start of something new, a foothold in a legitimate life that doesn’t involve dragons and the HMHVV infected.

    “Do we need anything else for the recipe?” Ichante asks. “The best halibut I ever had was at Matt’s in the Market.” She points to a half-moon window overlooking the Market from the second-story of the Corner Market building above them. “They served it with a salsa verde and I believe I wept a tear. But it was on special so it rotated off the menu and has never come back. I have a Matrix script running that monitors their menu with an alert to tell me if it ever returns. My vigil continues.”

  • mercy

    Member
    March 25, 2019 at 2:47 am

    Sunday Afternoon, March 6, 2078, Pike Place Market, Seattle

    Monique pays attention to the exchange between Ichante and Sal but says nothing, divining what she believes to be the reason. She smiles at the other woman, mentally congratulating her on being careful when meeting with a new person for the first time. She does nod her head as Ichante rattles off the names of the other vendors she uses. “Well, it seems that we use the same shops down here. I have found that the best source for chicken is a small farm on the outskirts of Seattle. It is family owned and I am always assured of top quality meat at reasonable prices. The place is small by their choice and getting on the list of customers is by invitation only. If you like, perhaps I can put in a word for you.”

    She shakes her head at her companion’s question. “No, I think that I have everything else I need at the suite. My employer is quite generous with my housekeeping fund and I keep the kitchen and pantry well stocked.” Her eyes follow Ichante’s hand and she nods again. “You have good taste in restaurants. I have had the very dish you speak of there. I hope that you like my version of his recipe. Hmmm, we do have a good selection of wine available, but are you partial to anything in particular, either for before or during dinner? Depending on your selection, we may need to make another stop or have something delivered.”

  • Tecumseh

    Member
    March 25, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    “A chicken connection? Certainly. I’d be pleased to have a referral. I know some providers from the fringes of Redmond and Puyallup – along the Salish-Shidhe border – but I’ve always had reservations about pollution. I know that’s contrary to my prior remarks about dwarven constitution, but still, we respect ourselves with what we put in our bodies.

    “As for the question of wine, I confess to not being much of a drinker. I never developed the palate for any sort of liquor or spirit. Please don’t trouble yourself on my behalf; whatever will please our host will satisfy me as well. My personal vices run more toward stimulants, like coffee and mBar.”

    Ichante pauses for a moment to take in the view of Elliott Bay. The sun won’t set for a couple hours, but it’s still a lovely view across the water toward Outremer (specifically, Bainbridge Island) and the Olympic Mountains beyond.

    “Shall we find our ride?” she asks, prompting their departure.

  • mercy

    Member
    March 25, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    Sunday Afternoon, March 6, 2078, Pike Place Market, Seattle

    Monique hefts her bag of fresh halibut and nods, turning to head for where the cab is waiting. “I suppose I should have asked before, but how do you feel about being under water? I ask because my employer lives in one of the submerged suites in the Gates Undersound Hotel. The view of the Sound is very nice when the drapes are pulled open, but we have had some prior guests complain about the feeling that the water will be crushing through the windows and drowning everyone. Of course, that is all hokum, but if it bothers you, we can move the meeting.”

    10

  • Tecumseh

    Member
    March 25, 2019 at 8:11 pm

    Ichante’s jaw drops open in an unguraded moment as she visibly blanches. She flounders for a composed response, her mouth opening and shutting a few times.

    “Underwater?” she asks, trying not to stammer. She takes a moment to compose herself. “It would be accurate to say that I am not fully comfortable around large bodies of water. Anything larger than a swimming pool makes me tense up.”

    She tries not to visibly shiver at the notion of an underwater suite.

    “The hotel has 20 stories, if I’m not mistaken, of which 5 are underwater. If it’s not too much trouble, if the meeting could be relocated to a suite or dining room above the water line, I would be obliged.”

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