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Fighting Crime One Outfit At a Time
by: Rebecca McQuarrie
“Name,” asked the lady behind the desk in a monotone, slightly bored, voice.
“Indigo Eve,” replied the soon-to-be hero.
At that, the registrar glanced up, looked the hero up and down, and without the faintest hint of surprise, went back to her paperwork.
Wow, thought Eve, if she didn’t bat an eye at my purple skin and hair, there must be a lot of freaky looking heroes running around here.
After a moment Eve was handed a laminated card and was told unenthusiastically “Congratulations. You’re now a hero. Next!”
“Gee, thanks,” said Eve sarcastically.
As she turned to walk away, the pen pusher called out “You might want to think about a wardrobe change.”
Slightly confused, Eve looked down at her sweatshirt and jeans. While not new, they were still in good condition. Walking out of City Hall, she scanned the busy plaza taking in the vast amount of heroes. Some were speaking to field trainers; others were visiting with each other or reading the paper. It was then she made the connection. They were all in costume.
“And just where am I supposed to find something like that,” she muttered out loud.
“Here,” said a hero, who had walked up behind her and was close enough to hear, “Icon is the only place worth shopping.” He handed her a business card and continued, “Serge is a little demanding, especially if you’re new in town, so you might want to speak with one of the other associates for now.”
“Thanks,” said Eve to what was now the back of the hero as he wandered away. Apparently not everyone in Paragon was as unfriendly as the lady at the registration desk.
Looking at the card she read:
Fighting Crime One Outfit at a Time
She flipped over the card looking for more information, but it was blank.
Well, she thought, I guess I hop on the tram and see if I can find it. How big could Steel Canyon be?
Big. Very Big. Where do I even start looking, wondered Eve as she stood on the deck of the tram station, looking out over the city.
This whole adventure was more daunting than she had realized it would be. She had had a simple plan. Leave her small hometown and move to the big city. With her ‘special gifts’, as her grandma called them, she wouldn’t have a problem becoming a hero. But two missed flights, some stolen luggage, a run-down apartment, a rude clerk, and a tram-ride later, Eve was beginning to have her doubts. At least back home, even though opportunities were limited, the friendly people were not. There was a low crime rate, and everyone knew who she was. In a town of 1,200 people, she was kind of hard to forget.
When she was born, nobody noticed anything different. Babies are often born with a dark red or purple hue to their skin. But unlike other babies, Eve’s skin didn’t fade to a healthy pink; it remained a light shade of lilac. After panicking and running a myriad of tests, the doctors discovered that she was perfectly healthy. As she grew, her skin deepened in color as did her hair. She was teased in elementary school until her telekinetic powers developed. Then she was feared. Fortunately, Eve’s parents were strong, independent people, and they had raised her the same way. Ignoring what other people thought, she continued to attend school, church, and other public events. By high school, she was well-known and popular. She graduated among the top of her class and went to a local university. It was there, after a rave ended tragically, that Eve decided that becoming a social worker would not change the world as quickly as she would like to. It was there, after the shooting, while she blindly chased down one of the gunmen, that she decided to become a hero.
And now, standing lost and alone, Eve began to question her decision. If I can’t even take care of myself, how can I expect to take care of other people?
Eve shook her head and pulled herself out of her pity party for one. She looked around and noticed a large brute of a man exiting the tram. He appeared confident and seemed to know where he was going. The war mace he was sporting didn’t hurt the appearance of self-assurance either.
“Well” she muttered, “he’ll either kill me with that thing or help keep me alive. Let’s hope it’s the latter.”
“Excuse me,” she said, as he walked by “would you happen to know where I can find Icon’s?”
The man stopped and turned toward her with an angry look on his face.
Yup. He’s going to kill me, thought Eve with calm certainty.
Almost as soon as the thought entered her mind, the man’s expression changed. He gave her a dazzling smile and said “Yes. I do. In fact, I’m heading over there right now if you’d like to join me. They just called and my new trench coat is in.”
Taking a deep breath and a big chance, Eve replied “That would be lovely. Thank you.” Holding out her hand, she continued, “My name is Indigo Eve.”
“Duncan Kearney, and my friend here is Spike,” he said with a wink while nodding over his shoulder towards his weapon. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” he said as he shook her hand, “and please, forgive my initial reaction. I’ve been having a bad day and I was lost in thought. Sometimes it takes a few minutes for my head to catch up with the rest of me.”
“I totally understand having a bad day. Heck, I understand having a bad week,” she said with a relieved laugh. Maybe he wasn’t going to kill her after all.
“Shall we,” Duncan asked, offering her his arm.
“Lead the way,” she said. Maybe things wouldn’t be that bad after all.
“What do you mean ‘you don’t think you can help me’” asked Eve. Duncan had gone his own way upon arriving at the tailor, leaving Eve to the sales associate who seemed determined to ruin her new-found good mood.
“Honestly Honey,” the woman behind the counter drawled, “I’m not trying to be mean. Perhaps I worded that wrong. I think it’s a shame that you mean to cover up all of that beautiful lavender skin. You asked me for a costume that includes long sleeves, gloves, and a hood, and I think you would be much happier with something a little less…confining. Icon has a reputation for being the best, and I think if you give us the chance, maybe try on a couple of our ideas, you might be happier in the long run.”
Eve mulled this over for a few minutes. The lady had a point. She was in a new city, starting a new life and, hopefully, a new career. Why not a new look as well?
“Ok,” Eve conceded, “but if I’m going to do this, I’m not going half way. How ‘unconfined’ can I go and still be decent?”
“I have just the thing. Hang on to your sweats Pumpkin, I’ll be right back,” replied the clerk as she headed off to a back room. When she reemerged, she had what looked like a bundle of belts and some sheer black organza.
Upon seeing this, Eve asked “Where’s the rest of it?”
“This is it. It’s sturdier than it looks. Trust me. All of our fabric is specially produced for our company. It’s tough, durable, and designed to stay in place. Best of all, it’s stain resistant,” she finished with a wink.
“Does it come with an instruction manual? I’m not sure I can figure this out,” Eve said as she fingered the different straps.
“Follow me. I’ll help you out. You’ll get the hang of it in no time sweetie.”
Forty-five minutes later, Eve, wearing her new costume, waited while her purchases were rung up.
“I can’t thank you enough. This is perfect,” she said.
“That’s our job,” the saleswoman laughed,”I’m glad we could help.”
As Eve glanced around the shop looking for Duncan, on the off-chance he was still around, she noticed a rack of shoes. More notably, she noticed a pair of black stiletto boots.
“Oh my,” she exclaimed, “Do you have those in my size?”
“I’m sure we do Peach, but they really aren’t practical.”
Glancing down at her new outfit Eve asked, “And this is? Are they sturdy?”
“Of course they are. All of our shoes and boots are made of the same ultra-materials as our costumes. You’ll never have a broken heel on a pair of kicks from Icon.”
“Then ring them up,”
decided Eve,”I didn’t come here to be practical. I came here to fight crime.”