Challenge #01714-D253: Discrete ServicesteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  2 years ago 

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The Exclusive Tailors and Modistes, who outfit Super Heroes. And you can send up Mr Humphries of "Are you being served?" here if you like. -- Knitnan

The Client had been aiming for a Look. That much was established. They kept asking for the special offers, and turning down the items available to the public. Finally, after fifteen different ensembles, they said, "Maybe... something from the basement?"

Ah. That was why they were taking their time and being so indecisive. "Of course," Phil said. "Just follow me to Fitting Room Twelve." The one with the Out Of Order sign on the door and the mock stack of boxes in it to deter civilians from blundering in to realms they ought not know about. "Have you a card?"

"This is all I got," the Client fished in their back pocket and brought out a grubby post-it note. On it, barely legible, was the address and the inscription: FFS get a better costume!

Phil recognised the attempt at handwriting. "Lightning Bolt... of course. In too much of a hurry to do things properly." He moved the handle of the mop through a complicated ballet and the boxes fizzled out of view to reveal the hidden elevator. "This way, please. I will need your name for our records."

"Uh... Francis Little."

"No. Your Name. Your Super Name."

"I'm... the Blip."

"Interesting," said Phil. He knew he was going to get an explanation whether he wanted one or not. He ushered the Blip inside and operated the elevator. Taking them down into another world.

"I can make statistical anomalies happen. Ten thousand spiders in someone's mouth. A miraculous escape from a certain-doom situation. That sort of thing."

Phil raised an eyebrow. "Spiders Georg?"

"Yeah, that's where I got it from."

They reached their destination. Another world. Here, there were fabrics to fit every possible power. A body scanner to ensure a comfortable fit. Shapewear for that 'zero gravity boobs' effect, or that 'sculpted body' effect. Whatever a Client wished, Phil could plausibly fabricate it. But since the Blip was new, he guided them over to the drawing board.

If two such mundane words could cover the massive array of technology and computer-guided precision that it entailed.

"Please disrobe and step into the scanner. I promise that any private details will remain so."

Discounting the underpants zone, it was difficult to tell if the Blip was male or female. And the blank canvas rotating on the displays had that zone censored with neutral underwear. Suggestions for colour schemes came up automatically, as did a few basic designs. One query blinked on the displays. M/F?

"I don't even know," said the Blip, pulling on the oversized cardigan they wore. "I mean... I'm on puberty blockers for a while, yet? But... I'm not sure I even want secondary sex characteristics. And sooner or later, someone's going to make me make up my mind and I really don't want that."

"Some of my clients are lawyers. I know some who might be able to help you, there." Phil's fingers pattered on the keys, altering code. Now the question was, M/F/N? to which Phil quickly selected 'N'. "Now. Costume likes and dislikes..."

"Well... capes look cool and all, but they always catch on stuff. I'm clumsy enough. Body armour, yes. Sculpted muscles, no. And no nipple armour. Euw. That's just gross. Something that could hide under my street wear would be awesome. Is that do-able?"

"We have a collection of advanced options that are nearly undetectable. Only those with super vision capabilities can spot it and they are under oath to maintain secret identities whenever they are found."

"Mutually assured destruction as a guarantee?" guessed the Blip.

"Got it in one."

"Then whatever it is, it goes for me too. In the unlikely event that I actually work out anyone's secret identity, I promise that there'll be no funny business." The Blip crossed their heart. "Even if they're my worst enemy."

"That's close enough to the official version for my satisfaction. Colour scheme?"

"Oh. Uh. Nothing eye-shredding, you know? I don't want to be a target like some of the Super Tanks out there. Unobtrusive, but not... invisible. Um. I have a few ideas for a logo..." they went scrabbling through their backpack. And had a notebook full of doodles from the scientific to the avant-guard.

This... was going to be a long session.

[AN: Having never watched more than two consecutive minutes of Are You Being Served, I decided to avoid an antiquated stereotype.]

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / mheld]

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