Legion Tryouts: Introducing, Kid Couture!
Rokk Krinn, aka Cosmic Boy, glanced again at the display and his brow furrows. “Next candidate, uh, Kid Couture?” he says in a disbelieving tone as he looks up to see the meter-high form of the Athramite candidate waddling forward, swaddled in a complicated and multi-layered robe-and-sash-and-rakishly-tilted-beret sort of outfit. “Really?”
Up on the dias, Ayla shares his dubious expression, while Dreamy looks up from coloring her nails with an expression of interest, for the first time today. Gates’ expression is inscrutable, although he shifts as his many legs change their precarious grip on his seat, which, as he has already pointed out, was not designed with his species comfort in mind…
On the floor, Gim and Gigi share a bemused grin as the short candidate stops and rearranges his sash fastidiously before introducing himself in an overly loud tone, as if unaware that his voice is being amplified so that all present can easily hear him. “I have the amazing ability to control fabric, altering the cut, color and weave of any garment by will alone! As Kid Couture, I offer my services, as a meta-powered crimefighter, and, more importantly, as a sorely-needed image consultant to the Legion of Super-Heroes!”
Rokk turns to share an amused grin with the others, only to see Dreamy nodding her head in enthusiastic agreement to the small applicants’ big words.
Recognizing a battle brewing in the near future, he turns back to the Athramite and gestures in a manner he hopes doesn’t appear as dismissive as it feels. “Show us what you’ve got, then.”
Kid Couture blinks his three luminescent green eyes in what Rokk dimly recalls is the Athramite equivalent of a respectful bow, and turns to Gim and Gigi, raising his four stubby sash-draped arms in a ‘come and get it’ gesture, which elicits a brief snort of amusement from Gim as he steps forward, spinning the pair of combat batons he has at hand for the purpose of this nonlethal combat demonstration. Gigi keeps a serious demeanor as she steps back, readying her quarterstaff, and apparently intending to use Gim’s approach to conceal her own movements.
And, as quickly as a striking serpent, Gim’s own clothing wraps around his legs and pull together tight, snapping his legs together and propelling him to the floor. Gigi leaps over her fallen partner and uses her staff to pole-vault through the air towards the Athramite applicant, but is pulled off course as her own clothing comes to life and wraps her up like a mummy, causing her to fall to the ground beside Kid Couture, who has moved smoothly to the side, like a bullfighter avoiding a charging animal, his own clothing rippling with his sudden movement.
Arms upraised like an orchestral conductor, Kid Couture gestures theatrically as Gims clothing continues to crawl up his body like a constrictor, binding his arms as thoroughly as his legs, while Gigi’s uniform similarly reconfigures itself into a tight set of bindings, holding her immobile. He bows slightly to the two combat trainers, and with a flourish of his four three-fingered hands, their clothing unravels and slithers back into place, weaving itself back into leggings and sleeves and tunic, showing no signs of their previous animation.
Rokk was somewhat startled at how effortlessly the cloth-manipulator had taken out a pair of competent fighters, and grudgingly admired how the candidate had short-sold himself, and avoided mentioning his ability to animate clothing, to enhance his showmanship.
“Impressive,” he admitted, as Gim and Gigi moved off of the exhibition platform, and the pair of combat robots powered up. “You may find the second phase of the tryout more challenging…”
Kid Couture’s three eyes blinked again, as he turned to face the robots, which waited patiently for him to make the first move. Again his arms flew up, and the long sash wrapped many times around his barrel-shaped body uncoiled itself and flew through the air as the small figure hurled himself to the side with surprising speed for such a short-legged and portly-seeming fellow. The sash wrapped itself around the head of the combat robot closest to the dias, blinding it’s sensors, and coiling around its twin taser-equipped limbs. The cloth smoldered as the electrical current singed the fabric, but the robot was twisted off-balance, and into the path of the electrical discharge of the second robot, as the nimble Athramite had dodged in such a way as to place the blinded robot between himself and the unhindered one, placing it in the line of fire.
As the blinded robot continued to stumble, jerked off-balance by the entangling sash, it smashed into the unblinded robot, and was struck a decisive jolt from the taser-weapons of its fellow. As it fell to the ground with a clunk, smoke rising from the scorched fabric that had laid it low, Kid Couture ran straight up the front of the dias, out of the view of the watching Legionnaires, taking advantage of his size and multiple limbs to scuttle across the vertical surface like a spider, and above the line of fire of the second robot, which had aimed at a much lower-to-the-ground target.
As it moved to get a clean shot on the scurrying applicant, moving along the vertical surface as fast as a running man, the smoldering fabric of the much-abused sash snaked out from the fallen robot to ensnare the feet of the remaining combatant, causing it to sway precariously before finally toppling to the ground with a thud. Quick as a snake, the fabric slithered across the frame of the robot, straining as it attempted to restrain the arms of the machine, until the sound of grinding gears signaled the end of the fight, as the tougher-than-expected fabric overpowered the power of the servo-motors that controlled the machines limbs.
Kid Couture stepped carefully off of the wall and onto the floor again, and the battered and scorched remains of his once-immaculate sash slithered across the floor towards him like a wounded snake. As the sash leapt into his hands, the scorched threads of fabric drifted free, and the mechanical fluids that had stained it’s length dripped free, leaving the sash a meter shorter in length, but as immaculate as ever, as it coiled itself snugly around his frame.
Cosmic Boy nodded grimly and signaled for the privacy field to engage, leaving the applicants watching only a static image of the assembled Legionnaires, and leaving them free to privately discuss the display they had just witnessed.
“I guess we could reject him on the grounds that his powers won’t help if there isn’t cloth available for him to manipulate…” Rokk began, only to be cut off by Gates.
“And when would that happen? When we are all captured somewhere and stripped naked?” the Vyrgan Legionnaire said with his usual acerbic tone. “Indeed, we are *far* more likely to find ourselves in a situation where a Legionnaire able to command ferrous metals would find himself lacking in materials upon which to use his powers…”
Somewhat belatedly, Rokk noted that the Vyrgans and Athramites had certain similarities. A diminutive insectoid physiology. Multiple pairs of limbs. Green luminescent eyes. A dark blue chitinous exoskeleton. A communal society based on familial packs, instead of individual accomplishments. In retrospect, it’s obvious that Gates would take the summary dismissal of an Athramite candidate as a personal affront… he thought wearily.
As if sensing Rokk’s dilemna, Ayla chose to speak up at that moment. “That aside, I’m more concerned that ‘Kid Couture’ has no previous law enforcement or emergency services training or experience, or even combat training.”
“He seemed nimble enough, when avoiding the combat-droids,” Dreamy counters, “And it’s certainly no secret that the lot of you are in dire need of an image overhaul. We need someone with taste far more than another Legionnaire who can juggle buildings or shoot lasers from their eyes.” she adds, somewhat icily.
“What?” Ayla says, clearly ready for a fight on that score, and Rokk attempts to intercede, “I really think we need to concentrate on what he has to offer the team other than a make-over and some fashion tips…”
Dreamy just looks at him with scorn, “One word. Bustier.”
Rokk can’t believe his ears, and scoffs loudly, “Oh, come on. I lost a bet. You know that!”
Gates chatters his mandibles in irritation, “I am forced to agree with the Braalian.” He stops and clarifies, as Dreamy just glares at him, “Not about his bourgeois taste in eveningwear. About judging the Athramite on his powers and skills, not his eye for oligarchic decadence and materialistic excess.”
“Oh grife,” Ayla mutters, “Can this not be about the evils of the plutocracy?”
As multiple voices rise at once, Gim and Gigi walk onto the dias, adjusting their uniforms, as if still unsure whether or not they can trust the fabric that so recently betrayed them.
Gim slaps his hand on the dias and everyone falls silent. Rokk waves for him to speak his mind, but Gigi instead takes the initiative, looking around at the unspeaking figures and offering, “His powers are certainly effective. If you don’t all agree that he’s up there with some of the other candidates we’ve seen today, you could always send him to the Academy for a refresher on law-enforcement techniques…”
Dreamy throws up a finely-manicured hand in defeat seconds before Gates concedes, “Perhaps it would be best for the Athramite to undergo further training, to give him more time to reconsider whether he wishes to commit his talents to serving the interests of the hierarchy.”
“Uh, yeah.” Ayla says, agreeing with Gates in general, if not in specific.
Rokk looks around to make sure that all are, however begrudgingly, in agreement, before toggling the privacy field off. Kid Couture is standing in what he assumes is the Athramite version of attention, one pair of arms clasped behind his back, another in front of him, and looking up towards the dias expectantly, a slender cigarette in a black holder, dangling above his scarf.
Ayla mutters quietly, “Ooh, a smoker. Honeymoon over…”
Cosmic Boy ignores her aside and speaks quickly, hoping to get this moment over and that the little fellow doesn’t take the news too badly, “We find your abilities, and your skill with them, impressive, Kid Couture, but feel that you would benefit from a course of training at the Legion Academy at Montauk Point, to learn the finer details of law enforcement and emergency services work.”
The Athramites’ three eyes blink again, and Rokk can’t be sure, but they seem to remain closed a bit longer than before. When they open, his voice is softer than before. “Your advice is sound, and I look forward to advising the trainees I have observed at the Academy. If anything, their sartorial skills are in even more dire need of my services than your own.” Dreamy suppresses a laugh, as he adds, “And I look forward to working with the lovely Carggite, particularly. She would make a fine model for a specific line of outerwear I am designing…”
He blinks one more time and shuffles away, as Dreamy mutters darkly, “Model? Her? Hmph!”