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The day had been dark, overcast, and cold.  Now that the sun had gone down the temperature would probably drop even lower.  It was supposed to rain that night, but the way things had been going that rain would probably instead be snow.  Should it snow, the only place for it to land would be the city streets below.  There it would encounter the world; in all it's dirty and grimy splendor.  It (the snow, not the world) would be taken and used; crumpled into balls and hurled at unsuspecting bystanders... if it was lucky.  Most of it would just sit.  It would sit until it was no longer pretty or convenient and then it would be cast aside.  Piled up.  There it would rest and melt, and become a dirty slushy parody of it's former self.  The runoff of the city would stain it -dirty it- and shortly after that it would fade away into memory.

    "Ugh!"

The grunt of annoyance resounded through the expensive apartment, shortly thereafter accompanied by the slamming of the front door.  The apartment, door, and grunt of annoyance all belonged to a woman; Millenia Lustre.  She was a tall, blond, and beautiful woman with an attractive pair of foxy ears and a matching tail.  Some might claim that calling her beautiful was a failure to truly convey the nuance of her visage.  There are even more that would agree with the assessment that 'beautiful' was not enough whole heatedly, as well as add in any number of lewd descriptors and adjectives.  However, she was more than just the sum total of her physical appearance.  She was a shrewd tactician, the practical second in command of one of the most powerful- if not the most powerful -organization on the planet, and currently being groomed to run for office to replace an empty senate seat.  Even then, beyond the titles and administrative accomplishments she was also one of the most powerful beings on the planet in a very literal sense.  Millenia Lustre was also known as the Epoch Empress:  Mistress of Time.  A super villain moniker that was equal parts for theatrics and description; Millenia could control the very flow of time itself!  She was far more than simply beautiful woman...

...And yet...

The things that made her more than just a pretty face weighed heavily on her mind as she sunk into her sofa.  She let her eyes wonder around her neatly arranged apartment.  The bookshelves held expensive copies of trendy books specifically purchased for display purposes.  Millenia had constructed most of this apartment based on outward appearances, on what people would think if they saw it.  Sure, she still had taken her own personal comfort into account in some respects, but usually only in a context that wouldn't conflict with her desire to keep up the illusion she had carefully crafted.

Appearences... That is what it was all about really.  Appear as though the world is fine and it continues to spin on.  Appear as though you're holding it together and...

Millenia stood up from her sofa and walked over to her kitchen.  She removed the tight sweater she had worn to... 'work', and unzipped the tight skirt that she had chosen to compliment it.  As she rounded the small island of table that separated her living room from her kitchen she kicked off her expensive heels and let them clatter against a nearby wall.  Now relieved of her clothing she simply tossed the vestments aside haphazardly on the route to her mini-bar.  She selected an expensive red wine and popped the cork.  After pouring a generous amount into one of her crystal glasses the foxy blonde waved a perfectly manicured hand over the contents.  

To an outside observer nothing much had happened, though if one could view the flow of time as she could they would have seen that she had sped things up a bit for the glass and the all important contents within.  She had forced the glass to rush through a few minutes, relative to the rest of the universe and herself, allowing the wine to breathe.  Satisfied with that the proper wine drinking rituals had been observed (albeit, with a bit of her own personal flair) she plucked the glass from the table and took a large sip.

After a moment of savoring its taste, she smiled.  It was bad.  Well, you can't help a bad batch.  She considered just how appropriate a bad glass of wine was after the day she'd had.  The blonde looked across her apartment at the window and balcony beyond.  She could see the first flakes of snow falling past the glass already.  So it would be snow after all.  

With a snap of her fingers she was across the room and sliding out onto the chilly balcony.  She was dressed differently as well, now in a red silk robe and a pair of fuzzy slippers.  It was funny, she thought to herself, that what had just happened must seem amazing to someone who had no idea what she could do.  From her perspective she had simply put the world on pause for a scant few (relative to her) minutes so that she could get more comfortable and not miss any more of the initial snowfall.  If one were to look in her bedroom they would see her discarded underwear laying haphazardly on the bed, and the closet door suddenly hanging wide open.  Millenia took another idol sip of her terrible and expensive wine (she had left the glass hanging in the air while she moved through the stopped time) and considered the prospects of starting her own winery upstate somewhere.  Really any kind of alcoholic production could be made easy through the application of her abilities.  Artisanal hand crafted vintages could be produced in the proverbial blink of an eye.  She smiled and gazed down on the city.

There were plenty of applications of her powers that would be better than her current line of employment, she figured.  Being a super-villain was... awful really.  Yes, she realized; it was awful.  She swirled the glass of wine in her hand as she swirled the thought in her mind.  It was analyzed, gauged, nibbled on and finally processed.  She hated being a super-villain.  Why hadn't she ever had this blunt a thought before on this subject?  It seemed quite obvious now, really.  It was so clear.  This job- no; these responsibilities had taken everything from her.  A loving home life.  A sister.  A mother... And her soul.  

What had it given her in return?

Another attempt to sip her expensive and terrible wine was met with an empty glass.  She sighed and dropped it, allowing it to shatter into dangerous shards along the floor.  Millenia looked down at the mess she'd made and her eyes softened.  A hand gesture later and the glass was whole again and resting in her palm, the pieces sliding back into the formation they had been a few moments earlier.  There was no reason to take her frustrations out on the glass.  However, she again regarded the empty contents and sighed.  It wasn't as easy to restore the actual wine itself...not unless she wanted to make herself very uncomfortable.  She gently placed the glass on the ground and looked out into the city.

What had this life given her in return?  Money, power, at least ten apartments (only two of which she used with regularity), and shackles to an organization that disgusted her.  She was living a life that she wasn't sure had ever really been her's to begin with.  If it had, she couldn't remember when.  She was accomplice to the... well, murder wasn't the right word for it... the permanent entrapment and containment of hundreds if not thousands of women.  Women whose only crime was a desire to do good or the circumstances of their birth.

She had helped deliver a pair of women to that fate only today, in fact.  Her gaze fell on the upscale apartment complex that had been the scene of the crime, just a dozen or so blocks north of her.  Specifically the apartment of one Doctor Chandrin of the biological sciences and her amazonian (quite literally in this case) girlfriend.  Chandrin's 'crime' was simply that she'd gotten in the way of Millenia's employer and needed to be removed.  Her girlfriend meanwhile just had some undesirable genes... So Millenia was tapped to help her boss gain access to the apartment complex and...

Dr. Chandrin was petrified (literally transformed from flesh and blood to cold unyielding marble) while stepping out of the shower; not an ounce of awareness of her fate registered on her lovely face.  Shortly after, her lover had woken up from her nap, stretched her sore muscles from some earlier work out and then froze forever in marble relief as well.  Both women had probably wished to spend the holiday together...now they would spend significantly more time in each other's company, though they would be unable to appreciate it in their dreamless stony slumber.  At least, it was the blonde's hope that they would be displayed together.  The logistics of everything would be determined by the gorgon who'd caught their eye.  

Millenia stroked her arms as a shiver ran down her spine, though she was unable to tell if it was from the frigid air or the memory of the event.  She had witnessed it countless times, with many many people.  In the end it was difficult to gauge which was worse; the fact that she was getting used to it...or the fact that some small part of her enjoyed it.  There was a tiny ounce of excitement when she replayed the memories of the incredibly beautiful forms of women that had been rendered in stone.  

Women that were now no more than the sum total of their looks.  It was a fate that scared the foxy woman and seemed more and more likely to be her own one day.  The gorgeous Kitsune had recently found herself acting in cross purposes with the goals and desires of the organization and those of her mother; the now disgraced (and officially thought to be rendered in a decorative fate like Dr Chandrin, through a clever deception on Millenia's part) ex-senator Viviana Lustre.  This hadn't really been anything new, but it had become increasingly difficult to protect her mother from herself, and drastic action had to be taken.  Action that had annoyed the boss, and lost a valuable (but not irreplaceable) asset to the organization.  Now her mother was in hiding and becoming increasingly unhinged; a feat Millenia wouldn't have thought possible a few months ago.  To make matters worse, her do-gooder sister had become more active shortly after their mother had been 'petrified' on the national news and it was becoming increasingly difficult to protect her as well.  

Her time was limited...

The blonde chuckled darkly to herself.  Oh yes, how ironic that her own time was becoming limited.  Her gaze -and with it, her thoughts- turned towards the headquarters in question.  M. Dusa industries; the thinly veiled front for the clandestine organization Medusa.  Within it sat her other mother: frozen in time due to a botched experiment.  Millenia was doing all this for her, too.  Medusa was the only organization on the planet that had a hope of solving that particular problem.  Though, her mother had remained frozen for more than twenty years now.

Millenia turned her eyes downward and tried to pick out individual people in the mass of lights and sounds below.  The snow was already beginning to stick and the park across the street from her building was transforming from dark shades of green to a pleasant white.  That wouldn't last long.  The sides of the streets were beginning to pile up with the grey soot stained mounds of the accumulated dirt that the city generated.  She knew the sidewalks would take longer to reach that point, but it was only a matter of time.

A stiff breeze nudged her against the railing of her balcony and for a moment she was stricken with an intense feeling of vertigo.  Her vision of the street rose and fell to the rhythm of her quickening heartbeat and it took a few moments before she re-centered her mind.  She flicked her fuzzy ears back and forth to remove the snow that had accumulated from her brief time on the balcony.  She was on the fifteenth floor, only half way up of this particular building, and she'd never really been afraid of heights...  It must just be nerves, she told herself.

...But...

The conflicted woman looked down towards the street below and considered something that had never crossed her mind before.  ...If she fell, that would be it.  The end of it; the struggle, the constant attempts to live the lives other's had laid out before her.  She wouldn't even end up a lovely bauble for her mistress' ever expanding collection...  That would probably make her angry and upset...  Before she knew it the lovely kitsune was leaning a little bit more and more against the railing of her balcony, looking down at the street below and-

-A green flash of light drew her attention upwards.  The snow and cloudy night sky made it almost impossible to pick out shapes, but there was a clear green blinking light slowly falling with small white powder.  It appeared to be similar to the kinds of lights that radio towers and aircraft used for nighttime visibility.  Millenia wrinkled her brow in confusion.  What was that?  Some kind of weather balloon blown off course?  She stared at it for a while, watching its decent.  As it grew closer, a shape did begin to emerge.  It was a small cylinder; not unlike a pill.  There was no sign of a parachute or other means of slowing its decent, but it decelerated all the same.  It also became increasingly impossible to ignore the fact that it was heading straight for Millenia's balcony.

The woman backed away slowly as the small capsule landed by her feet.  Small spider-like appendages extended from the bottom to form makeshift landing struts and then...nothing happened.  The green light kept blinking, now obnoxiously bright given it's close proximity to her, but otherwise it merely remained perched in front of her.  For the next few minutes Millenia stood her ground and looked at the small package that had arrived, figuratively, on her doorstep (and literally outside her window).

Eventually curiosity won out and she reached gingerly out to touch the surface of the cylinder.  The moment the surface of her skin first made contact with it's exterior there was an immediate reaction.  First there was a wheezing of escaping gasses, which caused Millenia to pull her hand away instinctively.  Once that phase was complete the small capsule then shifted and melted away, as if it hadn't been made of anything more substantial than air.  After it finished dissolving it revealed... a small glass vase with a single flower resting within it!

The flower seemed to give off it's own light; green at first, but as the Kitsune gently reached out to grasp it, the light shifted to a deep and lovely yellow.  Millenia stopped short of actually making physical contact with the unearthly bloom and instead gripped it by the small glass vase.  She lifted it closer and noticed a small piece of what appeared to be paper taped to the side of the glass.  The flower's colors continued to shift between green and yellow as the blonde removed the small sheet and examined some writing on it's surface;

    "My Millenia,    I hope this finds you on St. Heartyline's Day as I intended.  I wish I could be there with you...  I... There is a lot going on.  I wish I could have parted with you on better terms.  I hope all is well.  I wish... Ah but if wishes worked...  I'm sorry I'm terrible at these notes.  I wish I was- damn it...  I should rewrite this.  ...So I can't rewrite this I don't have any other paper.  I'm running out of space.  I found this flower on a planet with no other sentient life on it, so if it has a name no one told me.  I've decided to not take up that mantle of responsibility and instead leave it to you.  ...I love you and always will - E"

It took some time for Millenia to realize that she had been holding her breath.  She slowly exhaled and spent some time normalizing her breathing.  The flower continued to shift between yellow and green.  It looked not unlike a rose, yet at the same time its shapes and textures appeared completely alien.  An alien rose.  Her earlier caution forgotten, the blonde plucked the flower up drew it close to her chest.  A cold breeze played across her cheek and she wiped away the dampness that had accumulated there.  Suddenly Millenia felt very cold.  What was she doing out on this balcony at this temperature in the snow?  She gathered up her discarded wine glass and the small simple glass vase before retreating inside.

A few minutes later she placed the flower back in its small vase, now filled with water, and then placed it on the table in front of her sofa.  She poured herself another glass of wine and positioned it next to the flower, then gathered more than a few blankets to wrap herself in from her bedroom.  After every light in the house was turned off she planted herself on the sofa and stared out the window at the city beyond.  The light from the flower was faint, but with everything off it filled her house all the same.  It's colors danced across the Millenia's face, occasionally revealing slick streams running down her cheeks.  Tears.  It seemed there would be rain tonight as well.  Though there was more; a smile.  Sad, but still there. 

Millenia Lustre watched the snow fall over the city.  It was beautiful, gracing the world with a hint of purity and hope.  Perhaps the world would chew it up, dirty it, and cast it aside with time... there was no real way to tell.  Eventually it would melt, surely.  Today, though, it fell.  It would fall again too, someday.  Snow would fall, Millenia realized, no matter the circumstances of the ground beneath.  Yes, that was true.  She realized something else as well; no matter the circumstances of her life -no matter how much of it didn't belong to her- there was something, one thing that was hers.  No matter what may come to pass, that was true.

No one, she thought, could take away this moment from her.  ...And despite everything?  Her only wish was that she could send a note back.  She made due with a silent 'I love you too'.     
St. Heartyline's Day Wishes
So this is a little something I whipped up for valentine's day.  It's set in the midoriverse, which is the same universe as "Starphoria" (which you can read in my gallery here) and a collection of stories over in Sekikumo 's gallery and the two stories; The Jollyween Jape and A Holly Jolly Wintermas!

A lot has happened between those stories and now, so if you're confused and want to ask questions, comment away!  Also comment if you just enjoyed it!  Also feel free to comment if you hated it!

Millenia Lustre belongs to Sekikumo !

Hope everyone's heart chocolate gift day was bearable!

More Midoriverse:

An Uncanny Mission - 01
Buyer's Remorse - 01
Holding Out for a Hero - 01
To Catch a Thief 01
Voyages of the Kawaii Star - 01

And the secret origins of the midoriverse:
Brush With Death
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Esmeralda the Greenie Meanie!
So here is another Esmeralda, this time from the amazingly talented ActionKiddy !  She really knocked it out of the park!

I really do enjoy seeing different artist's take on Esmeralda.  Actionkiddy's is kind of fairy like (I *love* the fur collar).

I hope everyone enjoys!
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Lumina's Stage Outfit
Just a little illustration of Sekikumo 's Lovely Lumina in the costume she had to wear at a holofilm shoot in Starphoria.  Which you can read here:

Starphoria 21: Summations

Art by Dvega !
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The Rabbit's Foot Company has embarked on their latest mission, a gig as bodyguards for famous actress Artura Lembront, who's been receiving cryptic threats in her fanmail.  Together with the Bunnie Feets Company, they have landed on the planet where her latest film, How Soft is a Feather, is being shot, and have agreed to take shifts looking after her. 

After the strange attack from the animatronic octopus, Melfy found she couldn't really sleep as well as she'd wished. Deciding to use her time productively she sent a series of research questions to the computer. First: about the actresses themselves.  Specifically rumors surrounding their disappearances. The computer sends back a reply that tells her that rumors are the only thing that existed for the first two actresses that disappeared. Roberta Zathura was believed kidnapped by Elvaan assassins, and Scarlet Sansa was thought to have run away with a wealthy Kemomi suitor. It was only upon the disappearance of Brilla Wilson that the pattern emerged.  As for the actresses themselves, there was very little in common aside from the usual Colliewood stories about their love lives.

Melfy then directed her questions towards the directors; where any of them active at the same time? The computer relayed back a timeline of the director's work. The first one; Carla Chapni was active for six years before she disappeared from the public eye. One year later Brenda Iwak's career began. After her disappearance another year later Sam Ani's career began.  Unfortunately the pattern breaks there, and it took another three years for the next director; Ikra Wanto to appear. And unlike the last two before her, Sam Ani was killed in a shuttle explosion that atomized her ship, leaving no wreckage instead of merely disappearing. The last two directors before Wan also have student film work from at least three years before the previous directors in the chain retired.  However, every director's career, for one reason or another ends on the movie where their lead actress disappeared.

Melfy looks up articles of about the directors and finds that many critics regard the director's styles as similar, further, many of the directors on the list do in fact cite some of the others as influences on their work.  Finally, Melfy looks up the producer, Janice, and finds that she graduated from the university of FuwaFuwa prime and then spent a few years working in Colliewood until she found herself producing. There are no records of any issues with her, or any of the film's she's worked on having any large issues.

Melfy considers all this information and slowly drifts off to sleep, awaiting her meeting with the mysterious Wan in the morning...

Melfy tries to process all this information while she lies in bed. When she wakes up, she can't help but find the pattern of the directors appearing and vanishing is heavily suspicious. Aside from a few outliers, it almost seems like they were never really active at the same time. The main snag is the student films appearing before the previous director vanished. When she wakes up, she calls up her ship's computer, and asks it to try and look more closely at those director's histories while they were students. Are there public records of them in school? Photos? Did they appear at any awards shows? She wants to find if their existence as a student could have been faked.

She also asks to see pictures of these directors. Are they of similar build and body shape? Do their voices sound alike?

The computer gets back to her quickly, and states that all the students went to private institutions and she cannot gain access to their records without a police warrant. She does also mention that the directors were all the same build, but were relatively secretive; they were rarely recorded or photographed. The computer sends all the visual imagery she can, and Melfy notes that all the directors were of different races. The first two were Elvaan and Pescan respectively, the third was a Marshyan, the fourth was Elvaan, and then the last two before Wan were Pescan and Kemomi respectively.

Melfy ruminates on this fact, but knows that even before the space age cosmetic surgery was a thing, and with current technology any manner of holograms or the like could have been used to create the illusion of different appearances. She writes up a quick summary of her suspicions, that the director may have been the same person on all of the films, changing her name and appearance each time. She sends this to her allies and the Bunnie Feets Company, telling them to be wary of Wan. Then she gets up and gets ready for her 'date' with the director. Realizing this might be dangerous, she sends out another message to her team, asking them to come looking for her if she doesn't send them status updates every hour.

The messages are sent and received in time for Ni to walk back into the trailer, yawning.

Ni: What are you up to today?

Melfy: A lot. I did some research last night, and, well, why don't you read it for yourself? I sent it via text message to your communicator.

Ni: Wha?

She looks down at her communicator and then she groans.

Ni: This is a goddess damned book! I can't be expected to remember this and my lines!

She laughs.

Ni: Hey...who's gunna look into this octopus thingy by the way?

Melfy: Ugh, fine. I'll summarize. In short, I think the director on all the movies where there were disappearances are actually the same person. She changed her name and appearance each time, pretending to be a new person. That's my theory, anyway.

Ni: Wow, conspiracy theory much? Did she send that animatronic puppet after us too you think?

Melfy: I don't know. Once I check up on Artura I'm going to take a look at it.

She goes over to the area where the actress is sleeping and knocks lightly on the wall.

Melfy: Miss Artura, are you doing okay?

Artura slides the wall open and looks up at Melfy. Her hair is messy and she isn't wearing any makeup...but she is still ravishingly beautiful.  Her robe is tantalizingly open enough to show off some cleavage...but Melfy cannot see anything beyond that.

Artura: I'm alright. I didn't get an amazing night's sleep, but it was good enough.

Melfy: That's good. I'm going to have a look at that thing that attacked last night, and then we'll be switching shifts guarding you. Please be... extra careful today. Don't ever let yourself be alone without one of us with you. All the previous women vanished on their last day of shooting.

Artura: Ah... will you want me to stay on your ship tonight then?

Melfy: It would put me at ease, yeah... but I can't force you.

Artura: No, it's fine, I think that will be good.

Melfy: Thanks. I know we've only just met, but I am legitimately concerned about your safety. I don't want to lose anyone who's depending on me. I have some suspicions about what might be going on here... but no evidence. I don't want to act on my thoughts until I'm sure, but until then... just be careful.

Artura: Right.  I will be careful, I promise. Who will be watching me today?

Melfy: I'm not sure, actually...

Ni: We...didn't plan that far ahead did we?

Melfy sends out a message to the two teams asking who is free. Lumina will be busy acting, but from her own company Vhaja and Krysta are free, assuming Krysta can be dragged away from her girlfriend.

Venus sends back a message: Dana and I are free on our end, although Dana didn't want me to send this.  

Shortly after Evylin sends a text: Still working with Janice. She says there was a problem with props she needed to take care of.

Melfy has a long exchange with Krysta, who seems adamant that some sort of curse has been placed on Lumina by the makeup artist. Lumina (and Vhaja who has looked her over) insist there's nothing wrong with her. Eventually Melfy asks if either Venus or Dana would be willing to partner with Vhaja for guard duty since Krysta is being difficult.

Venus responds with: Yes, I will do it; Dana seems to not want to talk to Vhaja right now.

Melfy: Okay, looks like it's going to be Venus and Vhaja. They should be here shortly. Until then, I'm going to look at that thing that attacked us.

She heads out to inspect the octopus-robot thing.

Melfy doesn't really learn anything new about it. It is still some kind of device that looks like it is coated in rubber to make it look like an octopus. To be fair, it really does look like one; if she hadn't slashed it open it would have fooled her completely.

With nothing else to do, she waits until Vhaja and Venus arrive.

The two arrive in short order. Venus gives a slight nod at the octopus and looks at Melfy in a 'what happened?' kind of way.

Melfy explains the attack in the night to them.

Ni walks out and gives Venus a fist bump.

Ni: Yeah it seems the leader of our rivals got attacked by an evil prop squid last night.

Vhaja: Interesting... did you discern any clues from the wreckage?

Melfy: Erm... no, not really. It's just a rubbery... octopus... thing.

Venus holds up eight fingers.

Vhaja sighs.

Ni: Right, prop octopus.

Vhaja: There must be something that can be gleamed from it. Allow me to take a look.

Vhaja kneels down and inspects the 'corpse'.

Vhaja can tell one thing for absolute certain. This octopus machine was in no way magical in nature. Upon viewing it more closely she finds nothing to contradict anything Melfy already said about it.

Melfy: Well? Any insight?

Vhaja: ...none in particular. Mechanics is not my strong suit.

Melfy: Like I said. Some kind of rubbery... octopus-y... thing.

Vhaja: So... it would seem. Do we have any idea who on staff is in charge of props?

Melfy: I can try looking it up.

She pages her ship's computer to look up if there's anyone on this film's crew that has done animatronics work before.

 The computer responds: Ophelia Drizzle.

Melfy walks over to Artura.

Melfy: Ophelia Drizzle. Does that name ring any bells for you?

Artura: Uh...not particularly. I mean...I've seen her around I think.

Melfy: Well, she does animatronic work. I assume you knew that much?

Artura: I would assume so, she does everything.

Melfy: So you do know something about her. What can you tell me?

Artura: She's Pescan... and um...quiet.  Nice...and works a lot with...uhm...you know, in holo films.

Melfy: No offense... but you seem to be hiding something. Why didn't you mention her last night when you saw this robot?

Artura: I was tired, and if you'll excuse me we still don't even know if this came from the prop department!

Melfy: Fair enough. Either way I need to send someone to have a bit of a talk with her, but everyone on my crew is busy except... Krysta.

Venus face palms and then makes a scowl that looks like Dana.

Melfy: Hmm... props, eh? Evilyn said Janice was checking up on a problem with them. Hold on.

She texts Evilyn asking if she can look into Ophelia from the prop department while she's there with Janice. She summarizes the incident with the octopus.

Evylin texts back: ...Oh, got it, will update you as I go along.

Melfy: Well that solves that. Okay then, before I leave for my 'date' I'll just put this evidence somewhere safe.

Melfy looks for someplace she can hide the wreckage of the octo-bot.

Melfy and Vhaja easily pick out a stretch of beach covered in dark seaweed, and are able to hide the 'octopus' under some of it. You'd have to have a really keen eye or already know it was there to see it.

Once that's done, everyone gets to their jobs for the day. Vhaja is on bodyguard duty, Lumina is prepping for her part in the film, with Krysta watching over (her chest) closely, and Melfy heads to her meeting with Wan.

Lumina and Krysta have made their way to the makeup tent again, and find that the Noire Elvaan woman Vhaja told them about was there as well, fitting Kemomi and Pescan women with wings and horns as needed depending on their rolls as angels or demons. Many, Lumina notes, are nude, but plenty have pasties and thongs.

Lumina heads to the costume woman to ask about what she will be wearing. Krysta looks around for her new rival, the makeup artist Azala.

Krysta easily finds her applying makeup to a gorgeous kemomi woman. Evidently she must be playing an angel due to her white sparkly makeup. Lumina meanwhile, asks her question to Miriel.

Lumina: Oh, um, hello. My name is Lumina; I will be playing an angel. I was wondering if you could give me one of the more ... conservative costumes?

Miriel: Well, to be honest, I have very little work to do for you, as you've already got wings. The director has mentioned that she would prefer you perform nude of course.  I can offer you some... lovely pasties to cover your nipples...?

Lumina: Y-yes... please. Um... are you sure I couldn't wear, maybe, a bikini or something?

Miriel looks at Lumina's worried face and softens her expression.

Miriel: How about...I stick some feathers over you like this...

She quickly draws a sketch of a feathered 'outfit' that looks a bit reminiscent of clam shells on a mermaid.

Lumina: Oh! That... that would be a bit better, yes. Could you do that?

Eventually, Krysta stops staring at the makeup artist and wanders over.

Krysta: Hey, that's not that bad of a sketch, actually.

Miriel: Of course it isn't I'm a professional. 

She looks more closely at how she sketched it, noting how the outfit is drawn for a busty woman, despite the fact she currently perceives Lumina as much smaller.

Krysta: Why can't anyone see the horrible truth but me?!

Miriel: Anyway, I could easily build this upon you right now, but if the director doesn't like it you'll have to...what are you on about?

Krysta: Her boobs! Her boobs! Look at them!

Lumina: Hrrmmmppphhh.  Could you please stop talking about my breasts for just once in your life?!

Krysta: But they've been shrunk!

Lumina: My chest is fine! If you're seeing things, why don't you start looking somewhere else on my body?!

Krysta: But... but... the boobs, babe. I need them!

Miriel: That... was probably for the best then.  At their current size I would imagine she has significant back problems...I would hate to imagine them any larger, no offense my dear.

The costumer begins working on a feathery bra for Lumina, which, while significantly more than pasties...is still far more risqué an article of clothing she'd normally wear.

Lumina: They are the same size they have always been. My... friend is just imaging things.

Krysta: F-f-f-f-f-friend?! Just friend? Babe, what're you talking about? We're partners, sweethearts, soulmates!

Lumina: Well, a friend hangs around because she likes something about you. A soulmate likes EVERYTHING about you. And right now you're only talking about one thing!

Miriel: Ignoring this outburst...I'm afraid the same solution will not work for the bottoms.  The most I can offer you is a thong my dear...or a loin cloth, but you'd have to go nude under it I'm afraid.

Lumina turns her back to Krysta and tries to give a smile to the costumer.

Lumina: Oh... well, I really appreciate you doing what you can. Thank you, Miss Miriel. Vhaja was right that you are a very nice person!

Miriel: Ah, yes, so you're part of her group...what do you know of Vhaja my dear?

Lumina pauses and thinks for a moment, while Krysta stares in stunned silence after being accused of being a bad lover.

Lumina: Um... well, she's very smart... and usually very quiet. And... she had some tragedy in her past... but I probably shouldn't talk about it without her permission.

Miriel: No no, I think you've answered enough. I think I may have judged her too harshly initially...

She leans in close to Lumina so Krysta cannot hear.

Miriel: What is her problem?

Lumina: Um...she is just upset. I think someone hypnotized her to make my... chest seem smaller in her eyes.

Miriel: I see...and that is all she's been focused on?

Lumina looks downcast.

Lumina: Y...yes.

Miriel: Hey, chin up! I'm sure she will realize her foolishness soon. In the meantime I will need you to change into your costume and report to the makeup artist. Understood?

Miriel hands her the...'clothing' that is to make her costume.

Lumina: Yes. Thank you...

She still is embarrassed about the skimpy costume, but she tries to hide it so as not to offend the woman who made it for her.  Krysta, meanwhile, seems to have had some sort of epiphany.

Krysta: I got it! It's like that that story, the Empress's New Clothes! Everyone else is just pretending to see her boobs the normal way, because they'll look like idiots if they act like they could just shrink overnight!

She nods her head proudly at this realization.

Miriel: Oh! Or you are just seeing them as small because it's the work of an evil witch! Or, you're holding up my line and I don't care what your personal problems are with that incredibly nice girl you don't appreciate. Move to the side please!

Meanwhile, Lumina brushes past her and waits in line for her makeup.

Krysta: Evil witch... right! The horny lady! How'd I forget about her...?

She turns and sees Lumina is walking towards her.

Krysta: Nooo... Lumi, don't go near her! Maybe she'll shrink your cute butt next!

Lumina pointedly ignores her.

Azala, meanwhile, has finished applying makeup to the various women in line and finally comes to Lumina.  She smiles.

Azala: Ah, Lumina, welcome. The director has told me that she wants you to be a sort of 'evil' angel in this next scene, so we've decided to go with some darker makeups.

Lumina: Oh... um... well, if that's what the director says...

She nervously sits down in the makeup chair. Krysta runs up next to her.

Krysta: Hey! You! I know what you did! Turn her back right now!

Azala begins her work. While she is clearly enjoying taking in every inch of Lumina's body...she is also being incredibly professional and clinical.  It reminds Lumina of a doctor during an exam.

Azala: Hrm, what are you talking about dear?

Lumina: Krysta, please do not bother Miss Azala while she is doing her work. It is very rude.

Krysta: Grrrr.....

She stalks off into a corner and folds her arms, glaring at them all the while.

Azala continues her work.

Azala: What is your lover's issue?

Lumina: She suddenly thinks my chest has shrunk. I don't suppose YOU would know anything about that, would you Miss Azala?

Azala: What? Whatever gave you that idea?

Lumina: It is very rude to interfere in other people's love lives.

Azala: It is equally rude to keep a natural wonder all to yourself and not appreciate it for all it's worth.

Lumina: ...sometimes we have arguments, but we still love each other. I do not think there is such a thing as a relationship without it's rocky patches.

Azala stops working and just starts laughing.

Azala: Oh...sorry...in joke.

Lumina: I don't think that is very funny. What about you, Miss Azala? Do you have anyone you love?

For a moment, Azala actually looks rather lost. But it is fleeting and she smiles once again.

Azala: Love is a strong word. One I'm not sure you truly understand yourself.

Lumina: Well, if you ever found someone you loved, then I am sure you would continue feeling that way, even if she said horrible, hurtful things to you. Love is a very powerful emotion, and it is far stronger than you seem to give it credit for. It's true that I am mad at Krysta right now... but... I have already made up my mind. I am going to be together with her forever, and there is nothing you can say that will change my mind!

Azala leans in close and lays a hand on Lumina's shoulder.  It feels...unnaturally cold for only a moment. Then she speaks again.

Azala: I never questioned your loyalties to her.  But... can she make the same choice as you?

Lumina: Trusting someone is a part of loving them. Without trust... everyone would always be alone, even if they were surrounded by people. Because without trust, everyone is just another enemy.

Azala: Then I'm sure you'll have nothing to worry about.

Lumina: ...I worry about a lot of things. But never the loyalty of my friends.

The woman finishes her work on Lumina and has her face the mirror in front of her. Lumina is...beyond gorgeous. Every positive feature on her body is exaggerated, every flaw, forgotten.  Her curves are even more curvy, her skin more radiant, even her figure appears tighter and more toned.

Lumina's Stage Outfit by TheAmberBub


Lumina: Oh... my.

Azala: Utter perfection if I do say so myself.

Krysta, who had been staring the entire time, gazes at Lumina and her jaw drops. Even though her chest looks small... the rest of her is still simply stunning!

Krysta: Damn... babe... you look really hot.

Azala: Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a queue.

Lumina: Y-yes... um...

Ni: H-h-holy hell!  Lumina...is that you?

Ironically, all of Lumina's confidence fades when she sees how great she looks, and once again she returns to her usual, timid self.

Lumina: Um... yes, it is.

Ni: Damn...I can't wait to get into my markup!

Krysta: Hey... um, babe... you still look great... even if your boobs. Um, I mean. Look. You know I love you, right?

Lumina looks at Krysta, and then sighs deeply.

Lumina:  Yes. And I love you too.

Ni: Aww...that's cute. You too should kiss. Me. You two should both kiss me.

Lumina leans in and gives Krysta a quick peck on the lips and giggles. Then she turns and heads out the door of the tent.

Ni: Awww. Well I'll still accept one from you.

Krysta turns beet red from the kiss, and ends up awestruck, staring blankly into space with a big goofy grin.

Krysta: Phew. She... really does love me.

She wanders out after her, not even noticing Ni and her comments.

Azala: Yes, no accounting for taste.

***

Vhaja and Venus, meanwhile, have not been up to much. Artura met with the head makeup artist Azala shortly after Lumina and Ni, and even Vhaja had to note the makeup artist's work was phenomenal on the horned woman; she truly looked divine in her costume (she had elected for the pasties and loin cloth variant).

Vhaja keeps close eye on Artura, watching for anything suspicious.

Vhaja notices plenty of suspicious things, but Artura is relaxed no matter who she is dealing with, and can name almost everyone instantly. It seems Colliewood is just a suspicious place.

Vhaja continues her silent vigil over the actress, until eventually she remembers something.

Vhaja: Miss Artura... is it true that the costume designer took a mold of your body?

Artura: What? Oh...oh yes, like ages ago for that rom-com where I was a CEO. Why?

Vhaja: Ah, I was simply curious. She happened to mention it to me earlier.

Artura: Yeah. You know she's the only one in the biz that does that? But her costumes are always amazing! Also it lets you...heh, compare yourself to some of the talents of years past.

Vhaja: Indeed. It seemed rather... unusual to me at first, but everyone is welcome to their eccentricities.

Artura: Everyone around here has 'eccentricities'.

Miriel: Ah, speaking of me I take it?

Vhaja: Ah... Miss Miriel.

She nods at Vhaja and then begins to pull out a costume for Artura.

Artura: Ah... I'm going to miss your outfits Miriel...

Vhaja: You have worked together many times before?

Miriel: A few times.

Artura: Yeah, I'd say about four or five films.

Vhaja: I see. From what I have observed her clothing is always top notch.

Artura: I always look amazing in it.

Miriel: Thank you, Miss Artura.

Vhaja has little else to say, and awkwardly loiters at Artura's side will the two women chat.

Miriel: So, Artura, what about this mystery woman you're dating? Only good news about her I hope?

Vhaja: Dating? I was under the impression Miss Artura was single?

Artura: Ah...uh...I don't wish to...let the tabloids know about my social life...

Vhaja: Still, your current relationship could be connected to why you have been targeted. These things can always get messy, lead to jealousy and revenge.

Artura: Listen, that isn't it alright? Just drop it.

Vhaja: ...my apologies. Keep in mind we are merely trying to protect you. We have no desire to expose your private life to the public. However... if out of some sense of pride or embarrassment you keep from us information that could be relevant, you are only putting yourself in danger.

Artura: Well, then I will suffer the consequences, won't I?

Miriel: Sorry for bringing it up.

Vhaja: Very well. Please forget I asked anything.

The rest of the session goes by in an awkward silence. Eventually they are done and Artura heads off to wait for filming to begin.

Vhaja composes a text message to send to her allies informing them of her discovery about Artura's love life. After a moment, she decides not to include Ni in the recipient list, and then hits send.

***

Melfy, meanwhile, has been waiting to meet the director. First thing in the morning quickly became late afternoon. She has been keeping busy by reviewing her information, as well as getting updates from her crew. Evylin sent her only one message since she was told to investigate the props department, and it simply read: "Something seems off about this whole situation, will let you know more in a bit..."

Eventually, however, a robot ushers her into the director's trailer.

Melfy follows the robot in.

Inside she finds a...strange set up that she wasn't expecting at all. It almost looks like a hunter's trophy room, filled with stone replicas of various animals, and stuffed heads on the walls. Wasn't this director supposed to be an artsy type...?

Melfy regards these trophies with surprise as she looks around for Wan.

She hears a splashing noise from above. There is a spiral staircase leading upwards.

Melfy: Quite the fancy trailer...

Melfy looks around the room for any places where something might be hidden.

There are many places something could be hidden...this room looks like it belongs to a crazy mountain huntress more than a director.  She hears a voice she recognizes as Wan's call out from upstairs.

Wan: Oh...Miss Melfy? Are you finally here? Do come on up, will you?

Melfy: Of course. I just didn't want to be rude.

Melfy climbs up the spiral steps and searches for Wan.

She finds that she is on the roof, but when she looks around she sees that it would be impossible for anyone on the ground level to look up here. Immediately in front of her is a pool, and swimming through it is a nude, pale form, just under the surface of the water. All around the pool are more statues of animals... and some exotic alien women. They are all labeled as to what species they are.

Melfy: Nice place you've got here.

She looks into the water and tries to get a better view of Wan.

Wan emerges from the pool a few feet away from her and then climbs from the pool. Her body is nude and pale, allowing Melfy to she clearly isn't a Kemomi woman because she has no tail. Her ears are slightly pointed, but not as pointed as an Elvaan's – it is almost as if a Yearthling and an Elvaan woman had a child. She is also wearing a swim cap and a pair of opaque swimming goggles.  She is very beautiful, with an athletic body, like a long distance swimmer or runner. She isn't lacking for any curves where it matters...in fact her breasts are almost as big as Melfy's.

Wan: Hello there, Commander Melfy. Welcome to my home.

Melfy looks her over approvingly.

Melfy: I certainly feel welcomed.

Wan: Oh, you mean this? I just feel more comfortable in the nude. At least in private.

Melfy looks for a towel to hand her.

There is a towel resting in the hand of a nearby statue of a Tsunojian woman.

Melfy picks it up.  She then walks up and tries to drape it around her back.

Wan accepts it and begins to towel off.

Melfy: So, what did you want to talk to me about?

Wan: Well, I wish to talk to you about how exceedingly attractive you are. But I think this meeting is more about what you wanted to talk to me about, am I right?

Melfy: Hmm? Well, I did want to ask you about security and the like. I know you don't believe there's any danger, but I want to keep Miss Artura safe.

Wan takes the towel and dries off, but walks over to a lawn chair and lies upon it. She stretches her body out and then takes the towel, wrapping it around her head. Without realizing it she has managed to turn the towel into a turban, and places the drying swim cap on the table next to her.

Wan: There is no danger at all. I can assure you those letters were not the genuine article.

Melfy: Oh? I heard that they were sent to the studio to be compared to the other ones, and they seemed to be a match.

Melfy looks for someplace to sit.

There are many other lawn chairs as well as stools and even what looks to be a working bar in the corner.

Wan: Ah, yes, by Janice. The woman who has been second guessing my production at every turn. You'll forgive me if I don't trust the judgment of a private contractor hired on her credits.

Melfy sits down on a lawn chair close to Wan.

The woman switches out her goggles for a pair of sunglasses while Melfy is looking away, and places the goggles next to the swim cap.

Melfy: She seems like she knows what she's doing. Why are you so sure that they're fakes? What makes them different?

Wan: An artist's intuition. She hasn't allowed anyone to see them!  She stands to gain the most from a lead actress disappearing – I'm an easy target for blame if things go wrong.

Melfy: I've heard that all the directors from previous films where the actress vanished were forced into retirement by their studio. You're not worried that will happen to you?

Wan: If this was a real threat I would be. I'm confident it isn't, and so I'll be fine.

Melfy: Just from intuition? Me personally, I prefer rock solid evidence to base a conclusion off of.

Wan chuckles.

Wan: We are very different people. Or maybe I know something you can't understand. Regardless, I think you're wasting your time on me...

She leans in close, crossing her legs as she does so.

Wan: Although I don't mind you wasting my time...

Melfy laughs.

Wan: I'm glad you find this humorous, that makes two of us. So tell me about yourself.

Melfy: You know, it's funny. I took a film class once, just for the credits. I did my final paper on you... though I just copied it from the 'web. Funny that now you're sitting across from me naked.

Wan: Well, I suppose you got kicked out for plagiarizing. Thus explaining your current job as a hired goon. Don't take that the wrong way, if you hadn't made that stupid choice you wouldn't *be* sitting across from me while I'm naked.

Melfy: Well that's just rude. Here I am trying to make small talk and you're just coming down on me.

Wan: Oh, you're right, that is rude of me. Would you prefer I go down on you?

She smiles.

Wan: After all life is full of comings and goings.

Melfy: Well, if you insist.

Wan: My my my, some detective you are. Distracted from your investigation so easily.

Melfy: Well, this place is rather distracting. What's with all the statues? Are you a director or a sculptor?

Wan: I'm a hunter. At least, that is what I like to consider myself.

Melfy: A hunter? What, do you turn your prey to stone?

Wan laughs.

Wan: Most hunters kill, or maim. They destroy that which they hunted. Where is the respect there? Why pursue a thing only to destroy it? I hunt to preserve, to collect, to enjoy. Sometimes, it is creatures, or monsters. Sometimes it is moments, captured forever in holofilm.

Melfy: Wait... you're serious?

Wan: Serious about what? My replicas of the most dangerous animals in the galaxy? About my craft as a film maker?

Wan laughs again.

Wan: I've even hunted some, as you can see by the heads downstairs.

Melfy: Ah, replicas. Okay then. So you consider films just another sort of 'hunt'? How do you know when you've 'caught' that special moment?

Wan: I...can feel it. I just know.

Melfy tries to remember the name of the student film put out by the retired director who came 'before' Wan.

Melfy can only remember that it was an homage to an Elvaan fable, but set in modern day setting.

Melfy: So is that the whole reason you went to film school? To learn how to capture those moments? Do you think you had it right from the start? I remember from my 'research paper' you got a bit of fame even for the stuff you put out in school. What was it called again? Something about a retelling of an old Elvaan fable?

Wan: Well, I admit there was some natural talent before I made that. But yes, film school can teach someone the basics.

Melfy: How impressive, you had the talent even before you went to school. Well, some people are just visionaries.

Wan: Now I can tell you are being sarcastic.

Melfy: Well, honestly, I'm no film critic. I just like the ones with cool fight scenes and sexy lead actresses. Speaking of which, who's your favorite performer you've ever worked with? I bet Artura is right up there.

Wan: Well yes, she is quite excellent. Miss Yorn is proving to be quite good as well.  She'll go far.

Melfy: How do they measure up to some of the stars of the past? Roberta Zathura, Scarlet Sensa, and the like? Or do you not have an opinion on people whose 'moments' you didn't get to capture yourself?

Wan: I've seen their films. And while I didn't get to work with them personally, I do see the talent they had. I notice you are listing the victims of these mysterious disappearances, why?

Melfy: Just trying to get a better sense of who they were ... or maybe still are? I told you, I'm not much of a film buff. But there's got to be something that connected all of them, right? I mean, even if you think Artura isn't in danger, it's still my job to try and find a link.

Wan: Of course. And you think I'm that link?

Melfy: You? Well, if I look at the evidence, it doesn't seem possible. First off, you'd be fired if she vanished. And besides, you'd have to have been making films for decades to have been involved in all of the disappearances. Though I guess that might be physically possible for an ... Elvaan like you?

Wan flicks an ear.

Wan: Go on.

Melfy: Well, that's really all I've got. I've done my digging, but there's no evidence. Not a trace. No hints from the previous 'crime scenes' to give me any indication how it might have been done, or might have done it. All I can do is grasp at straws. If it was the same culprit every time, they'd have to be an Elvaan or something, right? Not to play the race card or anything.

Wan: Well, there are other races that are as long lived as the Elvaans. But let us assume, for a moment, that you're right, that I'm the mastermind behind all those actresses disappearing. Not only that, but I plan to do it again – today, in fact. What would stop me from disappearing you right now? More importantly, what would I gain from disappearing my lead actress like that, when by your own admission my career would be over?

Melfy: Well, I suppose if you could somehow make people vanish without a trace, leaving no evidence behind, then there's nothing I could do to stop you from doing it to me. Unless... maybe you were just in it for the hunt? Testing your wits and mettle against the world? Letting them know you were coming, with a letter, perhaps, just to see what barriers were put in your way? If that were your motive, then you wouldn't want to take out your obstacles too quickly, would you? After all, where would the fun be in that?

Wan smiles at Melfy. For the first time the Kemomi woman notices that the director has fangs, similar to a Kemomi's, but a bit sharper...like nothing Melfy has seen on any Elvaan, to be sure.

Wan: Ah, that would make sense...if it proves to be true. But then again, suppose... I'm innocent.

Melfy: You certainly could be. After all, I can't prove anything. I don't have any evidence. There ISN'T any evidence. What physical object could I find to prove someone had made those actresses disappear?

Wan: What kind of evidence indeed. But you dodge the question. Let us assume, for the moment, that I am indeed innocent. Where do your suspicions lead you then?

Melfy: Nowhere. I've found there are people on this set with things to hide, but that's not unusual for show business. Everyone is sitting on a pile of sins a mile high. I know there are people, or a group of people, who COULD have done it, in terms of being in the right place at the right time. But what good are suspicions without hard facts? As far as I can think right now, the only way to prove someone did it, besides catching them in the act, is to get them to confess to it.

Wan appears to become actually a bit angry at this.

Wan: You claim to not think anyone else could be planning to do this because you have no hard facts, but you come in here and imply that *I* could do it with the same lack of facts? You're a piece of work...

She calms down somewhat.

Wan: But you are cute, I'll give you that. Tell you what, what could I do to prove to you that I am not the one you are looking for?

Melfy: I haven't accused you of anything. I'm just pushing your buttons to see how you react.

Wan: Well you've pushed the right ones then. But my question stands. What would I have to do to remove myself from your suspects list?

Melfy: Besides letting me tie you up and lock you in a closet so you couldn't interfere? I don't know.

Wan: ...Hrm. Would you be available to do that at the end of the day? I do have an entire film shoot to oversee.

Melfy: ...seriously? I mean... I sure as hell wouldn't mind, but aren't you being a bit too trusting? Hell, what if *I* was the culprit?

Wan: Call it a hunch. Something tells me it isn't you....and it's been so long since someone has offered to tie me up.

She laughs.

Melfy: Well, if you let me tie you up, it would prove you aren't the culprit... for *this* incident.

Wan: Ah but...you're only responsible for *this* incident aren't you?

Melfy: That's exactly right. It isn't my job, or my responsibility, to figure out who made all those other women disappear. All I'm being paid for is assuring that Miss Artura has the chance to work on another film after this one, if she so desires.

Wan: Then it is settled, after today's filming I'll meet you and you can place me under arrest.

Melfy: Well, doesn't that sound like fun. Maybe you can give me some tips on writing letters while we're at it.

Wan: Perhaps. The trick is to find some trashy magazines and cut the letters out of those.

She laughs.

Melfy: ...alright then, see you tonight. Oh, and one more thing. That student film about the Elvaan myth? It was directed by 'Georgia Louise'.

Melfy waves then walks out of the room.

Wan chuckles and calls down after her.

Wan: Ha! As if only one director could have made an movie about an 'Elvaan myth'.

Starphoria 21: Hard-Boiled Detective Work
Melfy confronts a strange character in Director Wan...she seems to be shady, sleazy and all around just kind of evil...  But is she actually guilty?

So, editor's note:  
Bold represents stuff coming from me, the GMItalics represents stuff coming from the player, in this case Sekikumo and anything underlined is a character speaking

The lovely party:
Melfy
Melfy grew up in an orphanage on a planet on the outskirts of the Kemomi Empire, a home for lost children funded by the government to train future soldiers.  It was here that she learned the basics of combat, though she soon found she loathed the stifling nature of a structured power such as the army.  Her course in life changed when she met a traveling mercenary guild called the Rabbit's Foot Company, operating loosely under the auspices of the Usami Queendom.  The Usami are something of a cousin race to the Kemomi, developing in the same neck of the galaxy, but they were slower to advance into the space age.  While the nations are allies, the Usami are considered something of a lesser minority among true-blooded Kemomi, though their long, fluffy ears and cute round tails are often the subject of lurid fantasies.

The Rabbit's Foot Company, while technically a division of the Usami Queendom, operated mostly independently, and recruited women from all races and corners of the galaxy into its ranks.  Melfy enjoyed her time with them, though things went south during one fateful mission.  The task was to investigate the wreckage of a derelict space station orbiting a planet at the outskirts of the Elvaan Federation's territory.  Tensions between the Kemomi and Elvaan were high, and the Company's superiors were hoping to glean some information about what the Elvaans were up to, to be used come the inevitable time when war broke out between them.  Unfortunately, the space station was overrun with the byproducts of dangerous biological experiments, and one by one the members of the Company succumbed to these lurking horrors.  All but Melfy, and her friend Krysta, were soon transformed into inanimate objects by the science projects run amok.  

Barely escaping with their mobility, the remaining members of the Company reported back with their findings.  Melfy, now the ranking member of the Company, took responsibility for their failure, and as a result they were demoted to the very lowest dregs of the Kemomi's mission structure.  Since then she's managed to recruit a pair of new recruits, but for the time being their only work is mundane tasks like cleaning duty and delivery missions.

Krysta
Krysta grew up in the same orphanage as Melfy, though being she was not of full Kemomi blood, she was often ostracized and scorned.  Her mother, as far as she could tell, was a stowaway on a Kemomi research vessel that was investigating the undeveloped planet of Yearth.  The researchers there were trying to find out why women of Kemomi ancestry were showing up on that world, but had failed to be entirely discreet about their presence there.  Her mother, during her time hiding on the ship, managed to get one of the researchers pregnant, though eventually she was found and deported back to her home planet.  Krysta was born a few months later, and foisted off on the orphanage as an unwanted child.

As a half-blood, she lacked such becoming traits as fluffy ears and tail, which made her stand out amongst the other orphans.  Unsurprisingly, her lack of Kemomi features made it hard to fit in while growing up, so she ended up turning towards a life of crime and deception.  Only Melfy, who was dissatisfied with the stifling structure of the military home, spent time with her, and they soon became fast friends, almost like sisters.  When Melfy joined the Rabbit's Foot Company, she came along with her, and they've traveled together ever since.

Vhaja
The Elvaan Federation is composed of two morphologically similar races - Dark Elvaan and Light Elvaan (called Noire and Blanche in their native tongue).  In the federation's infancy, the two races were bitterly divided both socially and philosophically.  The Blanche pursued mystical enlightenment, seeking to broaden their understanding of the Essence that permeates the universe, while the Noire dedicated themselves to the physical sciences.  However, several centuries ago they reached an accord, and they now work together, pooling their two modes of knowledge to create a formidable political power.  An artificial planet called Crystalis, created with the union of science and magic, is their new capital, and from there the two races work to broaden their influence over the galaxy.

Vhaja was a young magical scholar, working on Crystalis, whose latent potential got her assigned to one of the more prestigious military research teams.  Though still a student, she was taken under the wing of a famed Blanche biologist named Yevia - a woman much older than her.  However, during her studies she and her mentor formed a strong connection that eventually blossomed into romance, though their time together was cut short when Yevia was transferred to a top secret laboratory in a space station orbiting one of their outer planets.  For months she waited to hear back from her lover, only to eventually discover that tragedy had struck.  An experiment on the station had gone awry, and all the researchers were forever lost.

Unwilling to accept this outcome, Vhaja abandoned her studies and made her way to the derelict station, where she was forced to confront the truth for herself - all the workers seemed to have been petrified by some sort of biological weapon!  However... Yevia herself was not among the statues of the victims.  Poring through the security data, she found a mercenary ship had docked there but a few weeks earlier, and some of the petrified researchers were loaded up as evidence, including that of her lover!  Though she knew fleeing the federation would be considered an unforgivable act of desertion, Vhaja opted the follow her heart, and sought out the mercenaries who had taken Yevia's body away.

Eventually, she met up with the Rabbit's Foot Company, though along the way she had came to a realization.  In the end, it was the questionable and dangerous research the Federation had conducted that was responsible for her lover's fate, and she made a vow to do what she could to prevent such a thing from happening again.  She decided to join with the Rabbit's Foot Company, hoping to curb her homeworld's dangerous ambitions, as well as to seek out a cure for her lover's fate.  The statue of Yevia (which was found, forgotten, in the storage hold of the Company's ship) now sits silently in her cabin, as a constant reminder of her quest.

Lumina
In the deepest reaches of the galaxy, living upon a tiny moon orbiting a desolate planet, live a race of winged women called the Celestials.  Strongly connected to the spiritual Essence of the universe, the Celestials have a deep-seated belief that the world is, at its core, corrupt.  The most prevailing theory is that the universe was born from the impure desires of a demon whose creed was envy - full of jealously of that which she cannot have.  As such, the color associated with envy - green, is considered taboo in their culture.

All Celestial girls are born with pure white hair and wings, and, when they come of age, they undergo a ritual that permanently changes their color, which will in turn determine their role in society.  Lumina was a perfectly normal young woman when she underwent the ritual, but to her shock she emerged with hair and wings a very dark green!  Though it was so dark as to nearly be black, the Council of Elders decided it was close enough, handing down a verdict of casting her into exile.  Immediately she was banished from her world, put into frozen stasis and rocketed off into the cosmos in a tiny escape pod, with no concern for where she'd end up.  However, after only a few weeks in cold storage her pod happened to be discovered by the ship of the Rabbit's Foot Company, on the way to the encounter at the space station where most met their fates.  After the trouble at the station, the cold storage pod she was resting in was soon forgotten, only remembered when Vhaja retrieved her petrified girlfriend from the cargo holds.  Lumina was released and unthawed, and quickly inducted into the Company as their forth member, much to her own confusion.
 

Previous part: Starphoria 20: Bump in the night
Next Part:  (When it's released)
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So I was tagged by TheLadyRock to write eight facts about my character Carlotta, and I thought it would be fun so here goes.

Rules
1- Post these rules.
2- Post 8 facts about your character.
3- Tag other 8 characters.
4- Post their names along with their creators' avatars.

1)  Carlotta is 26 years old by the time of the original Curses and misfortune story.  She has no clue of her actual age however, and assumes she is older because of her statuesque appearance and build.

2)  The Gorgon empire destroyed her village when she was a little girl, she escaped soon after, but spent a great deal of her early life running from them.

3)  She and Esmeralda were being transported in the same slave caravan, and became friends.  The route of Esmeralda's hatred for Carlotta stems from Carlotta's abandonment.

4)  Carlotta has no idea that Esmeralda is the same little Esme she became friends with in the caravan.  She did not intentionally abandon Esmeralda.

5)  Due in part to retconning on my part as the creator, Carlotta now appears as a wolf-woman (wolf ears and a tail, with slightly sharper claws and more pronounced canines).  Although occasionally her original human form will appear now and then.

6)  Carlotta has a deep attraction to women who practice dark magic and wears skimpy clothing.  She enjoys both defeating and ravaging them.  Carlotta has managed to seduce her way out of a great deal of situations she would normally have to fight her way out of because of this.  She is more than capable of actually fighting her way out of those situations as well.

7)  Carlotta's favorite kind of statue are white marble ones, but she will never admit it to herself.  If secretly hopes that if she were to meet a permanant fate as a petrified display piece, it is as a white marble statue.  Preferably with a sexy practitioner of the dark arts who will polish her every day (even if she won't be able to appreciate it).

8)  Carlotta, contrary to barbarian stereotypes, is a comparable lightweight when it comes to alcohol, but has expensive tastes in mead, so rarely drinks.


I suppose its time to tag people:

tyvadi :  Stheno

Sekikumo : Azala

acbdefgfedbca : Kurodora

ILMOL : Lamisa

StoneLadSeraphina

Drakedrakedrake1 : Miss Miyama

ArgoForg :  Ahvielle

AuroBasiliskAtom Girl

I think my work is complete here.

deviantID

TheAmberBub
United States

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:iconposyomismo:
Posyomismo Featured By Owner 1 day ago
Once again, thanks for the fav in my story "Always read the contracts" :D Any comments about it? ;)
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:icontheamberbub:
TheAmberBub Featured By Owner 1 day ago
Nothing other than I enjoy that sort of set up.  I like legally being trapped as a statue.  I wonder if this is the same universe where the woman got caught on the cursed plate?
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:iconposyomismo:
Posyomismo Featured By Owner 14 hours ago
No this time, they are diferent universes. This time the transformation is "scientific" ;) And I'm glad you like it :D it's important to me to give back a bit of the "fun" to the ASFR community :)
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:iconslootyslots:
SlootySlots Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh hai CuteHearts2 
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:icontheamberbub:
TheAmberBub Featured By Owner 6 days ago
Hey there!
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:iconzefram:
Zefram Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the fave.
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:icontheamberbub:
TheAmberBub Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2017
No problemo!
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:iconposyomismo:
Posyomismo Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2017
Thanks again for the fav in "The Forgotten Beauty (caption)" :D , any comment would be great :)
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:icontheamberbub:
TheAmberBub Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2017
Not much to say that people haven't already said.  I enjoyed it!
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:iconposyomismo:
Posyomismo Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2017
I'm glad you like it. I like comment the style, pros and cons of the story -and the translation, my great weak point ^^;-... some of feedback for get better :)
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