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F-ing Diabolical

Showbusiness


Eliza Hays
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It was a rather odd building Hays had found herself standing in front of, or, at least odd by her reckoning. A gargantuan sprawling mansion hewn from gleaming white stone and unusual rooflines formed into a strange exaggerated pastiche of an old French chateau, all dressed up in the garish red-white-and blue banners of the "American Hero" franchise towered over her. All around the grounds she could see media, cameramen, sound recorders, and other general Vought International busybodies all running around, occasionally tailing after what she presumed to be a supe of some description, given the garish attire. 

At least she'd been able to browbeat the costume designer into adding pockets to her own getup. Calling the initial draft a "clown suit" likely didn't win too many friends, but, it seemed to get the point across.

Truth be told, she was in fact decently happy with how her 'super suit' had turned out in the end. Perhaps it was a little tight, maybe even what some from her time would have considered a little scandalous with how closely it fitted her form, but, it was certainly less draggy than the Special Air Service hand-me-downs she'd been issued with way back when. It even had some actual armour too, though, she had at least some doubts about it. It all felt a little too light for what was advertised. Either way, the old shield would more than make up for that if push came to shove. 


"Britannia! Hey! You know, that 'concerned citizen of his Majesty's Commonwealth' thing? People loved it! Just a few details we have to go over..."

"Ma'am?"

"Pssh, please. Ashley. Call me Ashley. Listen, the ratings are good, points are all on track, that debut script's almost done, you're gonna love it! We've just about sorted all the paperwork too. Oh! And we're teaming you up with Starlight, marketing seems to think we're on to a hit there."

"I am hearing a "but" on the horizon. Something's bothering you, what is it?"

"Oh no no, no bother. Just... Ok, so, I understand you aren't used to some things yet. I get it. Some people are probably going to want an interview, do you know what to do in an interview?"

"Not typically my wheelhouse I must confess. I'm not sure why you have me doing this sort of work, surely our time would be better spent going after that insurgent cell analytics managed to ID? Our window's closing, they won't stay above ground forever."

"See, this! This is why we love you! Look, ok, this is important. Work with me here, and I'll work with you. So, smile for the camera, don't screw it up, don't make us look bad and for god's sake put that cigarette out."

 

TAG @Morrigan@MATT

Edited by Britannia
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Starlight was perhaps more at home with this sort of thing than others might have been. She was here, decked out in her hero outfit, polished and ready for the cameras, as she already had a fake smile plastered on her face, trying hard to make it look natural. It got easier the more you did it though, and so she was not too worried on that score. Looking over at Brit, she would smile slightly, hoping she wasn’t taking it too hard.

Adjusting to this life, it could not be easy, and she would be here to guide her. Hopefully se would figure it out eventually, as she would watch with some bemusement with how she dealt with Ashley. Stepping closer, she nodded to the woman, as they knew that the cameras were going to roll any second, they had a few moments, yet.

“Looks like you’re adjusting…well.” She looked over the super suit that Brit had been given. It seemed like it fit, and it wasn’t too garish. She knew that sometimes these outfits could be a bit…much. But overall, she had turned out fairly allright. She looked over at Ashley, giving her another broad smile. “Ashley. I think she’ll do great. Look how far she’s already come,” she said, as she chuckled slightly.

Indeed, this was looking up for them, as hopefully Brit would find her place in the modern day. Putting her on tv tough might be considered a bit…she wasn’t sure if she was really ready, although now would be the test, of course. “Just remember. Act natural and that will be one way of getting through this. I’ll be right here if you need me, just follow my lead.” She had been doing this quite some time, so she could figure out just how to help her along.

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"Ah, right." She took a last couple of drags and quickly tossed the cig away, stepping on it with her reinforced boots before looking back up with a slight smile, her tone turning more jovial despite the old enhanced combatant looking perhaps a little annoyed at Ashley's request at first.  "Not 'on brand' I take it? Fine, if you want your 'talent' with an active nicotine craving clawing at them for your interview."

"Oh trust me, I have seen faaaar worse. Nicotine cravings are the least of my worries."

"I'm assuming that I don't particularly want to know about this 'worse'?"

"Probably not, and you didn't hear that from me, ok? That's classified. Right! Well, cameras'll be here soon so I'd better go get back to it. Don't. Screw. This. Up. It's both our asses if you do."

Brit simply watched as Ashley turned and left, the talent director pausing only to give Starlight a quick nod in reply to her reassurances. Meanwhile the supe was simply looking over all the cameramen and audio specialists scrambling to get all their strange looking equipment set up. She was able to recognise that this box must have been a camera, and those tubes must have been microphones, but their shapes and forms still seemed so bizarre compared to the old equipment she was used to seeing for the newsreels following folk like Soldier Boy.

She turned to face the other supe, returning her smile as she hefted the big 'shield of victory' a little, making it sit more comfortably upon her arm. "I'm actually rather nervous about this." A small chuckle escaped from her. "It's almost funny really. Jerry's biggest guns didn't make me feel such a way, yet a canon is giving me cold feet. Brit took a deep breath and changed her stance a little. She wasn't even quite sure how to stand for one of these things. Should she look all heroic? Stand tall and flex slightly like Benjamin always did with a cheesy grin? Perhaps looking stern, serious and slightly dangerous is what would please the audience? Or would the crowds be more into a more casual relaxed vibe? She ended up relaxing her shoulders a little, and taking a couple of deep breaths as per Starlight's suggestion there. It certainly did seem like she knew the way of this sort of thing. 

"Act natural, okay, I can probably do that. Say, how long have you been doing this? The interviews, the cameras, the showbusiness. You certainly seem comfortable with it all."

Edited by Britannia
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It seemed that Ashley left soon after, which suited Annie just fine. She had been looking to have more of a private conversation with her fellow hero after all. “Yeah…I get you there. Sometimes it does feel easier at times fighting supervillains than dealing with the media.” She gave a slight laugh. Well, to be fair, she had gotten used to it with time. It still did not make it exactly easy, just a bit more bearable than it had been.

Someone knew to all of this? Well, she would know that it would certainly seem overwhelming to them. “Need anything, ask me. I’ve been dealing with these people for quite some time now. Just make sure to give them a bit of a show. That’s all they ask for really.” She was sure that would be one way of doing it. Making it so that they got what they thought they wanted, their hero shining bright.

“A few years. Even before I joined the Seven. My mom…she saw a chance to put the kid on display. So that was my life growing up. A little supe-star,” She smiled, although the smile didn’t reach her eyes. It was not an easy life living like that, and she was sure that it would be something that she would not wish on most.

She looked over at the camera people. They were still getting ready. They had a few minutes still, as she brushed a stray hair to one side. Always had to be perfect after all. “I’ll let you in on a little secret. You never really get used to this,” she said as she whispered to Brit. She said this because she felt that this woman was someone who would be able to tell Bullshit right as it came out of a person’s mouth, so why not just get done with it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It was about then that the “whirlwind” would happen as a rather angry looking blonde came out surrounded by a few other people.

One of the was reminding her of talking points. Another was trying to continue to do her makeup. The next was just following after her taking notes.

As they approached the pair the scowl turned into a smile that actually looked genuine. “Oh it’s good to meet you Britannia,” she said as she reached out to shake her hand. “Good to see you again Starlight. We are going live in a few minutes, can we get someone over here to fix Britannia’s makeup she is looking shiny,” the woman snapped. “This is very exciting!” She returned her attention to the women in front of her. “Your first team up after the whole Stormfront debacle,” she said as she settled in her chair.

A crew member started buzzing around Britannia like a bee trying to get at her face.

”You both need to take a seat,” she indicated to the chair with microphones on them.

@MATT@Britannia

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The second world war supe continued to just look on at the assembling crew, watching slightly warily as they pulled out pieces of what to her were near unidentifiable pieces of equipment in the vague shapes of what she once might have known. Cameras made out of black plastic and metal with strangely glinting lenses and no reels or crank attached, and odd pill shaped things either being held in their hands or on the end of large boom arms covered in a strange almost fuzzy looking fabric material. Those, she reasoned, must have been the microphones.  

"A... show? I would have thought we would have been given more prep time for that. I'm not even sure what sort of routine these people would want. If they want me to break out into a song and dance number they might end up being sorely disappointed. I've never had the talent for such things." She paused for a moment, letting that deadpan delivered comment sit for just a moment before cracking a smile. "Joking. Answer the press' questions, build up the mystique a little like it's a cheesy radio drama. I think I can probably do that, just, let me know if I'm about to make a fool out of myself here." 

That smile faded a little when she heard what Starlight had to say next, however, being replaced with a look more tinged with concern. The woman's previous job description definitely did not include all the glitz and glamour of showbusiness, but, being able to get a good reading on people was certainly part of it. She considered her words carefully before speaking up next. "I understand that until recently it was thought that people like us were born, rather than made. I... am sorry that you had to go through that at such an early age. I had a choice in what happened to me, I volunteered. Can't imagine what it would have been like otherwise. Listen, if you ever need to talk, I'm always here-"

 

"Oh it's good to meet you Britannia"

 

Britannia turned to face the voice, even with her sentence interrupted and its previously serious subject matter, she once again put as genuine a smile as she could manage back across her features as she reached out a gloved hand to accept the handshake. "Likewise! I assume we are almost ready to start? Lovely location you have picked out here by the way. Positively enchanting. Are you all set up over there?"

 

We are going live in a few minutes, can we get someone over here to fix Britannia’s makeup she is looking shiny.”

 

"Ah, yes, sorry. I flew here instead of waiting in traffic. I suppose they don't design cosmetics with that in min- woah." She took a step back, flinching a little at the suddenness of the makeup artist getting to work right there and then! Though, after a quick joke comment about it and a barely suppressed sneeze, she soon held still enough for them to do their thing. She quickly had a look in the kit's compact mirror, raising a brow, and muttering something along the lines of "I suppose it isn't rationed anymore" before sitting down just as asked. "Well then, let's get this 'show' started."

 

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“They usually stick to a schedule, although it’s something that you’ll get used to. No song and dance…not literal, but more metaphorical,” she would answer. Yes, that’s how she felt, saying the company line over and over. Not something that she particularly liked, but when you got paid to do. Job…there it was. “They just want to see ‘Britannia’ get a proper introduction and all that. Probably don’t even have to get too into it, just the broad strokes.”

Dealing with the media was part and parcel of how she went through every day. But she managed to get through it in an amicable way, at least she believed that she did. Annie nodded, sighing, as she let the smile crack just a bit. “Thank you. I really appreciate that. I might just take you up on that one of these days.”

The cameras were rolling in what was now familiar rote to Starlight. Maybe growing up in the spotlight had made it so that being part of the Seven, the Vought ‘family’ was not so sudden and surprising as it might be to other heroes. She nodded, at the blonde assistant, as she smiled confirming she was ready. Taking a seat, she would lean back, a deep breath as she placed her hands on her lap just as the cameras started.

She could see that Brit was already getting annoyed at all the theatrics that went into getting ready. She was used to it by now. Annie had already gone through the hair and makeup, and honestly, it was more than a bit absurd how much went into it. But the director was already giving the countdown to when they were live….three…two…one…

 

“And we’re live! Thank you for joining us today with a very special edition of American Hero! Today we have our shining heroine, Starlight! She really does light up our Vought family with her wonderful smile as a literal beacon of justice. We also have the woman out of time…Brittania here to tell us all about how she finds the future! The cameraman panned out to focus on Brit, as Starlight had sort of worried that was exactly what was going to happen. Oh well, she figured….

 

“So first off, we want to focus on YOU, Brit. Tell us a bit about yourself, don’t be shy!”

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  • 4 weeks later...

The blonde woman had people still buzzing around her nearly right up until the cameras were rolling. Immediately she smiled and looked straight at the camera. “Well don’t we have a great surprise for you today on American Hero! A brand new hero… though I guess not quite so new,” she looked over to Britannia. “My understanding is that you were around when our beloved Soldier boy was. Did you ever meet him?”

@Britannia

@MATT

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Even after all the poking and prodding of the makeup artists, and all the preceding hustle and bustle, the shift to going live and getting asked all these questions still took Eliza a bit by surprise. Still, she straightened up in her chair, adjusted her new "super suit" just a little and gave what she at least hoped was a winning smile for the camera all the same. 

Quote

“And we’re live! Thank you for joining us today with a very special edition of American Hero! Today we have our shining heroine, Starlight! She really does light up our Vought family with her wonderful smile as a literal beacon of justice. We also have the woman out of time…Brittania here to tell us all about how she finds the future! So first off, we want to focus on YOU, Brit. Tell us about yourself, don't be shy!"

Eliza paused to think, mulling over just how to give a response to that. The future had been strange to say the least. There were many things that, from her perspective, were almost alien in how they worked. Sure, some things had been almost predicted in works of science fiction, from the compact portable communicators worn on the person of almost everyone to even some of the fashion sense, but others had seemed to come out of almost nowhere. Even researching such things had been difficult, what with libraries had become scarcer that before. 

Did fewer people read nowadays? Perhaps that was yet another thing she would have to ask Miss January about. 

Oh, right, the question. To begin with, she took on a more official sounding tone, starting with simply stating how she couldn't divulge certain information under the official secrets act of 1939. It was no lie of course, but, she figured at least it'd serve a dual purpose in both managing the expectations of a no doubt interested public and amping up that "image" she had been told so much about. 

"Still, I can tell you this much as the information has already been released as far as I know. My name is Eliza Hays. I was born in 1919, and served British intelligence during the second world war, first in signals and codebreaking, then as a volunteer for the 'enhanced combatant program'. Both Fritz and the United States had their own you see, and we didn't particularly want to be left out of it all. "
 

Quote

“My understanding is that you were around when our beloved Soldier boy was. Did you ever meet him?”

Britannia stifled a small laugh, thinking back to the overly patriotic supe, all dressed up in his old GI gear, barking orders to American infantrymen in his clipped "movie star" like tone. "I met him quite a few times, yes. I would even consider him as a friend. We did not often serve together though, our specialisations and duties often led to us having very different objectives even in the same theatre. You know, he still owes me five dollars. The man was not quite as good at poker as he professed to be."

 

@Morrigan @MATT

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