Costumes and Masks

A Shootist Disarmed

A Shootist Disarmed

by Arcie Emm

You may wish to see prior Shootist stories:

  1. The Shootist
  2. A Sylph Protected / A Shootist Avenged

Thank you very much to Puddintane, Renee M, and Stanman for reviewing this concoction for me.

Chapter 1 - Ms. Dupensk

Bursting forth from Transition, the exploration ship detected a habitable planet, causing her pilot to begin dreaming about spending his discovery bonus. Drifting closer, as his ship’s sensors collected more data, those plans grew less ambitious. He determined that it held an abundance of minerals, yet few were rare and those were buried under deep seas. He had found a water planet, where the only livable space was islands, none of them large enough to hold a decent sized city. Bitter at his discovery’s apparent uselessness, particularly to himself, the pilot named the planet Pyrite, fool’s gold.

His judgement proved correct; few paid attention to his find. The main reaction coming from the clerk at the Interstellar Discovery and Charting Partnership while drafting the official chart entry, when he cursed the unimaginative predictability of exploration pilots and officially designated the planet Pyrite 23.

Its brief flirtation with civilization over, the planet returned to obscurity. The next period of forgetfulness passed in an eye-blink to the planet, but lasted over nine centuries for humanity. Not until another, more fortunate, exploration pilot found a nearby band of asteroids, dense in rare minerals, did Pyrite 23 find a purpose, at least to the mining companies intending to exploit the new find.

Recognizing how loneliness, danger, and the emptiness of space could prey on a miner’s thoughts, these companies operated ten day shifts before removing a miner for four days of R&R, which posed a problem for the frugal employers,  where to send them. Transportation to nearby settled worlds seemed a reasonably priced option; however, it came with complete loss of control over the men. Instead of arriving for transport back to the asteroids, many ended up in jails, hospitals, or somewhere lost in drunken stupor. The second option involved contracting pleasure ships. This solved the control problem, but at greater expense. So whenever possible, they found a relatively close, uninhabited world, then built and operated their own facilities. Pyrite 23 fit those requirements perfectly.

Crews descended upon the planet, chose likely islands and built facilities. By the time any of the miners showed up, there was already a frontier port, complete with bars, dance halls, theatres, inns, restaurants, and brothels. Yet unlike most such ports, usually on planets that were empty due to inhospitable weather, beasts, pests, or foliage, Pyrite 23 did not require a protective dome. The temperate climate of the islands made the outside enjoyable, opening unusual opportunities for recreation and entertainment on what would otherwise have been an ordinary miner’s R&R haven.

These more wholesome activities kept the port from taking on the dingy and run down atmosphere so common amongst its kind. Soon people other than the miners started choosing Pyrite 23 as a place to visit. First came the management of the mining companies, and then those seeking adventure upon its seas.

Yet these advantages could not keep the planet going when the asteroid mining operations dried up. Pyrite 23 depended upon the operating funds from the mining companies, the money spent by the miners, and the fees paid by the few adventurous tourists. However, instead of allowing the planet to again fade into obscurity, an entertainment conglomerate purchased the entire operation. With free rein upon the planet, they built resorts and theme parks, often spanning multiple islands. Yet the massive casinos proved the biggest draw, turning the planet into a destination for the masses. And like that first pilot, most who broke free of Transition had dreams of fools gold.

Not all. For those who did not seek short-cuts to wealth, lucrative employment contracts existed, particularly for attractive women. Management recognized the temptation that the seeming availability of beautiful women offered to men, who hoped, though usually failed, to get lucky in more ways than one, even though they usually failed. Old school thinking perhaps, but nobody denied the profits. Thus the passengers aboard the Siren’s Cove Employee Transit Tram could cause a visitor from Darson to go into seizures, as he tried to decide at whom to look.

Even the more worldly would find it difficult not to gawk. So the casino minimized the gawking, here where nothing could be earned, by keeping tourists off the employee trams. As for male employees, most grew used to the feminine richness in which they lived, preferring to spend their commute like anybody else, anywhere else in the universe. This day, like most days, the tram’s passengers, male or female, engaged in sleep, reading, or quiet talk with seatmates. All except one, who sat upright, alone, and stared fiercely out the window at the passing seas.

Like many of the tram’s passengers, she required a second look. That look would show her older than first glance implied, but her beauty had a warmth to it, though somewhat cool at the moment. A frequent visitor or a fellow employee would think her a dealer, probably in one of the more expensive rooms, until she stood, showing her height, leanness, and grace, and then they would recognize her as a dancer, probably in one of the stage productions. At one time they would have been right. Nearly twenty years before, when Ellene Dupensk had first arrived on Pyrite, she’d danced as a chorus girl at Flickers, a small casino pulled down twelve years ago. From Flickers she had moved to larger casinos, until she’d reached Siren’s Cove, where they’d recognized talents of greater worth than those of a showgirl.

She provided a calming influence over her often high-strung colleagues, being a natural peace-maker, problem solver, and confidante. So despite never having had children of her own, they contracted to use her natural mothering instincts, first for the dancers but then, over the years, for all who worked at the casino.

Very much upper management now, she only rode the tram in order to allow employees to approach her with their problems, which was not happening on this particular day. Everyone saw the anger in her eyes and knew the cause behind it; the disagreement between her and the new head of marketing having served as recent grist for the rumour mills, a test of wills that everybody knew she’d lost. They also knew that today was the start of the new marketing gimmick dreamed up by the winner, and that Ms. Ellene rode along to judge its impact, harshly from all appearances.

Nobody would call her a prude, she had spent much of her time on stage wearing nothing more than a headdress, heels, and a smile. Nor did she complain about the costumes her girls wore at the casino, despite how little most covered. But both situations occurred under the watchful eye of casino security, not as the girls made their way to and from work, away from any real protection. She cared less that many of the girls wore similar things on their own, Siren‘s Cove‘s had no responsibility for those bad decisions. However, the casino did have responsibility for what she saw today as the tram crossed the chain of four islands housing the majority of the planet’s single women. Every time she spotted another example of what that smarmy pervert, Elston Dinwald, claimed would ‘showcase’ the beauty of their female employees, Ellene’s teeth clenched a little tighter. She admitted Dinwald and his staff had done a fine job of choosing candidates. Each girl wearing one of the new outfits numbered amongst the casino’s most beautiful, so none of them needed the garish styling of a tasteless pimp to showcase their beauty.

The new outfits were hideous.

Dinwald had started on the right track, the rompers and mini-dresses were the same as those worn by the waitresses in the casino’s premier nightclub, The Pearl. They hugged curves and she had always liked them, particularly their colour, a deep midnight blue . If they had stopped there, she would have dismissed most of her fears. Instead, the new ‘genius’ decided to make them sexier by cutting away additional material to show more skin. Even worse, they’d garishly emblazoned ‘Siren’s Cove’ in large, glittery silver lettering across the back of each girl. They embarrassed her, making her wonder how much of a bonus they’d had to pay to convince the girls to wear such eyesores.

So ridiculous were the outfits she found herself questioning if she had blown everything out of proportion, since the new outfits were so over-the-top as to minimize their actual allure. Such thoughts were brushed aside as they pulled into the next station and she spotted the dark haired girl waiting to board in a too-tight romper, complete with a belly button-exposing neckline and a bottom that gave only a half-assed effort at coverage.

Protests to the contrary, mothers often feel more protective of one child over the others and Ellene wasn’t any different from most. As much as she hated what the seasoned employees were wearing today, she had some confidence that most of her girls could handle the additional burden of their outfits. She felt much less confident about the pretty, little miss on the platform, proudly perched atop high-heeled boots like some junior member of the streetwalker sisterhood. Despite a personal history that had shocked Ellene to read, the child had the survival instincts of a lemming, seeming always willing to follow someone over a cliff.

Instead of the scowl she had directed at the previous bonus seekers, Ellene gestured for the girl to come towards her. Proving herself at least somewhat aware of the need for self-preservation, the girl hesitantly approached, nervously, saying, “Hello Ms. Dupensk, you wished to see me?”

“Hello, Sascha, won’t you take a seat?”

“Umm...okay. Thank you?”

“Tell me about your new outfit, it’s not your normal style.”

Glancing quickly downwards, as if she had forgotten what she wore, Sascha said, “Oh, it’s not, but Mr. Dinwald offered me a bonus to wear it on my way to work. To advertise for the Cove.”

“Sascha, you know, just because Mr. Dinwald asks you to do something, doesn’t mean you have to do it.”

“Yeeeah, I guess. Is he going to ask me to do something that you don’t want me to do? I heard that the two of you were having a disagreement about something.”

Reminding herself that they had not hired Sascha for her brains, Ellene said, “We were disagreeing about the outfits, I do not think they are completely appropriate for you and the others to wear.”

“Oh? Oh! Why not?”

“Do you think they’re appropriate?”

“Don’t tell Mr. Dinwald I said this, but they’re kind of tacky. I like the Pearl’s version better. They’re nice”

“Very true, and these are also rather skimpy.”

Giggling, Sascha replied, “Not when you compare it to some of my work costumes.”

“Well yes, but casino security makes sure that nobody bothers you when you are wearing those.”

“Nobody bothered me today, Ms. Dupensk.”

“You can’t be too careful, Sascha. So many visitors come from off planet who we are unable to screen. We can’t keep out the scum. And worse, some of them are wealthy and powerful. These people sometimes don’t believe the rules apply to them.”

“But when will any visitor see me? I came directly to the station from my apartment, got on the tram, and will get off at the employee station at the casino.”

Ellene almost blurted out a hasty answer before processing what Sascha had said. However, as the girl’s itinerary bludgeoned its way into her thoughts, she suddenly realized the meaningless nature of the argument between her and Dinwald. They had both overlooked the most important factor, perhaps not surprisingly, since neither of them were treated as a valuable resource like Sascha and the girls. They did not live on an island that had restricted access like those on the employee tram route. As Sascha had said, nobody would see her, well at least not the dangerous perverts she had feared, nor even the regular perverts the casino catered to and that Dinwald hoped to attract. She laughed at the silliness of the entire affair.

“Ms. Dupensk?”

“It’s nothing, Sascha, I guess it’s okay for you to wear Mr. Dinwald’s outfits. Just don’t wear it when you go out.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t do that, people would laugh.”

Ellene quickly stifled an almost uncontrollable urge to giggle.

Gaby:- The Anime Days * Chapter 1 * Gaby's Entrance

"Come on, if you don't hurry up we won't get there in time"

My mom was chomping at the bit and I was dragging my
heels. I had ridden this charity Christmas event the last two years;
both in my normal race kit but this year Mum insisted I ride on the
tandem with her and in fancy dress! Well I'm not exactly a big dress up
fan but Mum was emphatic and said she knew just the outfits we would
wear.

"I look plain stupid in this"

"No you don't, come here let me fix your lipstick"

I submitted to her ministrations and caught a glance
of myself in the mirror. Cringe. At least, I thought, I wasn't too
obviously myself, and once we got going no one would really be able to
tell who was in the costume. Oh the costume, well Mum had come up with

Belle of the Ball, Chapter Twenty Nine

Chapter Twenty Nine

Stone Mountain Park, 1985

It’s an un-written law of Nature that when you really need a restroom, there’s never one around.

The Center: Meet The Enhancer-4

The Center: Meet the Enchancer - 4
by:
Stanman63


Thanks To JennaFL For Proofing And Nora Adrienne for editing!
Synopsis: A Center Fan Fiction where a new student's dream comes true and the Center gains a most valuable ally.

 

 

Kris looked at me, "We'll need your talent to take them out without destroying the bodies we need for evidence. Think you're Game?"

The Center: Meet The Enhancer-5

The Center: Meet the Enhancer : 5
by:
Stanman63


Thanks To JennaFL For Proofing And Nora Adrienne for editing!
Synopsis: A Center Fan Fiction where a new student's dream comes true and the Center gains a most valuable ally.

 

 

 

God's Will

Preamble: There are many Gods in our universe, and many Goddesses as well. Some sprout from our imagination, others are born to it, others still rise to the occasion when called. This is the story of a God whom everybody thought was slain after a fishing expedition hooked a snake the size of the world, and how he decided to return to our planet… just in time for high school.

This story is dedicated to every person that woke up one morning and wished they could be more than average, and especially to my fans

Many Thanks to Bek D. Corbin, Starwolf, and E.E. Nalley for their assistance with my fan-fiction. Their characters are used with permission (I’m still waiting for Maggie Finson to reply, but I’d like to thank her too). Also, many of the references to Norse Mythology are historically accurate (to the best of my limited research). Any inaccuracies are either product of the authors imagination, or product of the authors mistakes in historical/mythological research, be they intentional or not.

Belle of the Ball, Chapter Twenty Eight

Chapter Twenty Eight

“I seem to recall telling a red-headed rookie that she was on administrative suspension and that she shouldn’t go looking for life or death situations that would require her to remove the power inhibitor I put on her.”