05.19.2013: Fashionistas
Summary: Elspeth calls on Lucretia to display a new dress, and they wind up discussing more serious matters.
Date: 19 May 2013
Related: None
Lucretia Elspeth 

Elspeth's Private Quarters!
See Below!

It's an invitation! Delivered politely to Lucretia's Infosphere mail, it invites the lady to see the new creation that Elspeth has been working on, and take a spot of tea as well. Elspeth's room is an inner room in the Academ Arcology, this living space lacks true windows. It does have large vid screens along the curving walls, but they're more often displaying equations, schematics, and spreadsheets than rolling vistas. The room itself is fairly large, and ovoid in shape, with a few protusions which make up the bath and the kitchen. A bed is protected from sight by lace curtains that can go from transparent to opaque at the desire of the homeowner. There's a small entertaining area with a dining table and a couple of low couches. The rest of the space is taken up with equipment of various sorts. At any given time, there are at least four projects in progress, with holographic displays for the plans of the next step. Shelves hold various parts and supplies. The final bit of space is an indoor garden under artificial sunlamps. A profusion of plants, with a strong preference for native strains almost extinct after the terraforming, is growing. The plants seem healthy, well-tended, and are often in bloom, filling the room with a faint, complex perfume.

At the moment, one of the central areas has been reserved for a mannequin, and on the mannequin, a long black dress. The dress, clearly a final prototype, shines with expensive, non-synthetic silks, and it has a curious texture to it, rippled like water, but also reminiscent of feathers. Even so, it's much plainer than Elsepth's usual creations on first glance.

Making her way through the Academ, Lucretia offers a smile to people she passes as she heads to the area of the Arcology with private quarters. She knocks at the door, and steps inside when the door opens, wearing her hat, a teal dress, and carrying her staff which is topped with a giant aquamarine. The brunette smiles at the dark-skinned woman, "Elspeth, darling. Thank you for the invitation. I'm positively dying to see what you've got to show me."

Elspeth opens the door with a bow. Unlike most of her public offerings, this one has a bit of a flourish to it, and Elspeth actually grins as the lady walks in. "And thank you for accepting the invitation, Lady Lucretia. Would you like some tea, or sandwiches? I made them myself this morning." She closes the door behind the other woman, changing the privacy settings slightly so that one of her colleagues does not simply walk in, ranting about a current project. With her other hand, she gestures towards the dress. "I've been told that subtlety is actually a virtue, so I'm trying to do something…a little different. Take a look."

"Tea and sandwiches sound wonderful, thank you," Lucretia answers with a smile for the other woman. She steps further inside, her attention quickly settling on the mannequin on display. Moving to it, the Witch hmm's aloud, and her free hand lifts to brush along the dark silk, "Oh, my. Real silk? How delightful, darling. What did you do to it, though, I wonder?" Fingers still brushing along the material, she tilts her head to glance back to Elspeth, "Whatever you did, it -is- quite lovely. Although, not quite what I expected from you, if I might say."

Elspeth laughs, like a woman with a secret. She goes to the kitchen and fetches a platter already mostly prepared, apparently anticipating Lucretia's acceptance, and returns, placing the tray on a nearby, high table. Under Lucretia's fingers, the silk flutters - it seems that the rippling/feather effect is caused by many, oddly shaped panels of silk that cover the whole dress. Quietly, Elspeth suggests, "Activate your aura, if you would, my lady?"

The tray is met with a smile, though Lucretia keeps most of her attention on the dress for the moment. At the suggestion, she glances curiously to the younger woman, thin brows arching upwards, "What -did- you do, darling." Amused, she turns back to the dress, fingers still on the silk as her eyes turn white and the gold-flecked green aura of energy flares to life about the woman.

And as that energy flares, the dress seems to come alive. Microscopic sensors woven into the fabric register the energy, and send out responding current of their own. Current that stirs the silk panels, and they turn, like flowers blooming, revealing 'petals' beneath of aquamarine shot through with metallic gold. The dress 'blooms' in a wave out from Lucretia's aura, until it is a riot of color, matching her own aura of power. Elspeth smiles like a smug cat, and pours the tea.

Lucretia blinks in surprise, her eyes widening a bit as she watches the silk of the dress begin to move, "Oh." Her smile grows as she watches the colorful bits of silk begin to bloom, overtaking the black and the entire dress is then colored to match her aura and the brunette lets out a long breath, having not realized she was holding it, "Darling, it is -wonderful-. Perfect, really. How -did- you do that?" As she speaks, her attention remains entirely on the dress, fingers running up the now colorful material.

Elspeth grins. "It's an experiment. Clearly, use of Awakened abilities causes energy output - part of the bleed is even in the visual spectrum," she flicks her fingers at the aura, "so I've been working on developing passive sensors which can register activation of an Awakened's abilities. Unfortunately, at the moment the range is negligable, and it seems difficult to get a 'generic' wavelength - I have to tune the sensors for a specific aura that I'm familiar with. So," she laughs, "it's not very useful for anything, yet. But I did think it would make a nice trick." She retrieves a tablet from beside the mannequin. "And for times when you're just not interested in walking around in State, it also has a manual timer - you can set it to bloom at different times, at different speeds, etc." She demonstrates a few of the settings that can be accessed. "This does make the dress delicate - if it gets torn, burned, or too wet, the microcircutry is probably going to fail." Stern Look at the lady witch.

Lucretia lets her aura dissipate, eyes returning to normal as she listens to Elspeth's explanation. She nods a bit, watching as the different settings are demonstrated, and she tilts her head to look to the dark-skinned woman in amusement, "It is lovely, Elspeth. And you have my word that I shall do my utmost to not ruin your beautiful piece of art," she intones the last bit solemnly, but with a grin on her lips. Stepping away from the dress with one last look at it, she moves to the woman's side, "An interesting bit of technology, too. Shall we just presume I've not gained weight since the last time you made something for me?"

"Your word is quite reassuring, my lady," Elspeth says, just as solemn and with just as much enjoyment. As Lucretia's aura subsides, the dress also quiets, becoming the rippled, simple black again. It's clear that the woman basks in the compliments, for all she's trying not to visibly preen. "I'm working on interfaces between our abilities and technology, as you know. Getting the electronics to acknowledge our energy output is the first step - you can't reprogram humans, but you CAN redesign machines." She chuckles at the last, and indicates the bedroom area. "There's a privacy screen there, if you'd like to try it on. I can make any alterations that might be necessary."

"You should be proud, darling, I think this is my favorite of your work thus far. I am of course Valen, and a bit biased towards pretty technology rather than practical, but you are so wonderful at the pretty part," Lucretia comments, lightly touching the younger woman's arm before reaching to pick up one of the cups of tea and take a small sip. "I suppose I might as well see about trying it on, then, hm?" She sets her cup down and steps back to the mannequin, green eyes going to Elspeth, "Is there anything I need to know before I put it on?"

Elspeth laughs, looking both embarassed and pleased. "It's just simple application of some very ubiquitous physical concepts. There's no reason why science shouldn't be aesthetically pleasing," she adds, with a shrug. "And…uh, this one /shouldn't/ overheat or spark, and it's lined against the skin, so you shouldn't feel any of the circuitry. If you do, let me know immediately, hmm?" It only takes one dress starting to catch on fire before THAT disclaimer becomes a part of the boilerplate.

Nodding, Lucretia sets her staff aside and removes the dress from the mannequin, "I will certainly inform you, should I encounter any problems with it, darling." Taking the dress, she turns to step off into the bedroom, turning the curtains opaque. The sound of rustling clothing can be heard and a moment later, the brunette noble steps out of the bedroom barefoot and without her hat on. Arms held out from her sides, she does a little spin in the dress, "It fits wonderfully. How does it look?" Her aura flares a moment later, causing the dress to 'bloom' again into matching colors, and the older woman grins a little before letting it fade once more. "I do love that. It's beautiful, Elspeth."

Elspeth sips her own cup of tea as she waits for Lucretia to don the dress. When she comes out, the scholar puts down the cup and examines the fit and look of it with a critical eye. "Lovely. You have the grace to carry it off well even when it's in it plain mode, my lady. You make the dress look quite beautiful." She grins as it flares. If Elspeth was ten years younger, she might bounce on her toes or do something else childish. As it is, she clasps her hands before her chest, and looks all manner of pleased. "I am so glad that you find it acceptable."

"More than acceptable, dear, and you know it, look at you, about to squeal in delight, aren't you? And thank you for the compliments, of course," Lucretia smiles at the dark-skinned woman as she teases and wanders her direction, reaching for one of the small sandwiches and taking a bite. "So what is it that I can do for you, hm? You must let me give you something in return for this delightful piece." She glances down at herself, free hand running along the black silk, "It is quite lovely, even like this. But, black -is- my color."

Elspeth sniffs, mock haughty. "Squealing lacks dignity, my lady. I'd never do such a thing." A beat of wry silence. "…while other people were around. As for what you could do…?" She laughs. "Mention my works favorably, I suppose. Unless you can get me on the research team for that rumored 'guest' on the Ring, then I'll be content with simply knowing that you're wearing, and enjoying, my little hobbies, and sharing that enjoyment with others." Although there's a wistful lilt to the idea of being involved in the Hostile research, the woman is clearly not serious about that request. "You've been quite kind, Lady Lucretia, to indulge my whims of artistic endeavor. Consider the occasional /working/ prototype the least I can do."

Smiling, Lucretia leans close in an attempt to peck the younger woman on the cheek, "I shall enjoy it a great deal, then. But I fear that particular request is sadly beyond me, even if I am a High Lady's little sister." Laughing lightly, she nods, "And I intend to continue to indulge those whims, Elspeth, so please, do let me know when you've come up with your next piece. Even if it is one of the more..fire-likely ones." Grinning, she takes another bite of the sandwich. Waiting a moment, she continues in a different vein, "You've taken my warning to heart, I hope?"

Elspeth acceeds to the peck, for all she looks a bit bemused by it. "I completely understand, my lady. And thank you - I certainly will! It's such a pleasure to see someone enjoy my work," she adds, a touch dryly. Of course, the change in subject wipes the smile off of the scholar's face. In an instant, she's solemn and thoughtful. "I have. I've warned those of my fellows I could - I mentioned the dreams, of course, and suggested that there may be a danger that sought to lure or abscond with the Awakened. I didn't have to hint far in that direction - we're smart people. I didn't mention anything specific, but the Academ, at least, should be considerably more cautious in who we send, and what support they have, when venturing outside of the cities. Unless someone gets cocky."

Lucretia takes her cup of tea and moves to find somewhere to sit, speaking as she does, "I do not know if I mentioned at the time, but there were three pods, not just the two. I believe I felt it was a bit too much to cover while we were in public, even telepathically. So it stands to reason that..the missing Awakened woman is with the third Hostile. Either fled the planet somehow, or they've holed up somewhere." Crossing her legs, she shakes her head, "And it's unlikely that's the only group of Hostiles here, don't you agree?"

Elspeth gestures to the nearby seats, waiting until Lucretia has taken one before taking another for herself. "I agree. Just speaking mathematically, sending only three scouts to a planet the size of Imperius, and hoping to acquire useful intelligence OR hostages is unlikely in the extreme. They're clearly intelligent, so it's more likely that it would be a fairly large number of semi-independent or independent scouts, dispersed over a wide area with similar missions. Normally, I'd say that their heavy augmentations would mean that they'd have to remain in the wilderness, but…" she shrugs, "they're changing their strategy, and they've had 500 years to prepare for infiltration. Especially considering the tenor of some of the dreams, I find it possible, even likely, that some Hostiles may be operating under disguises and able to blend in with our population."

Nodding as she listens to the scholar, Lucretia voices her agreement, "Right you are, darling. Though that last bit is a touch disturbing to consider." Leaning back in her seat, emerald green eyes study Elspeth in silence for a few moments before she inquires, "What have you made of your dream recently? I admit, that last bit..I could see sort of fitting the dream where I peeled my skin away and was an alien." Shaking her head, the Witch hrmph's aloud.

Elspeth grimaces. "I've…never been much of a prophetess, my lady. The mechanisms by which the prophetic dreams operate are poorly understood and difficult to operationalize or study." And that's just WRONG, her expression says. "But…in light of your warning, I can't help but feel that there is a desire among the Hostiles for us to become…like them? Their significant use of prosthetics and genetic manipulation is, after all, one of their distinguishing characteristics in our cultural conception of them. They could be trying to create their own Awakened. Or," she hesitates, "or find a way to corrupt and turn us into their agents. I'm sure you've heard the voice in your dreams. Kidnapping Awakened…it could be a prelude to determining how to have us use our telepathic abilities on their behalf. We know that we can't co-opt sentient eyes and ears. But /they/ may not know that. And, if their biotechnology is as far beyond ours as it sometimes seems to be…that may not be TRUE for them." She waves a hand. "It's all idle speculation, of course. I have no access to anything that's been discovered. But if it were I, I would be most concerned if that missing noblewoman returns to us."

"The voice in my dreams. The one speaking a different language, you mean?" Lucretia asks of the younger woman. "I've learned to take them quite seriously over the years, even if they are a touch..vague and hard to act upon at times. But, the rest of what you are saying, I've considered most of what you say, and it all seems like a viable possibility…." A pause, "Though the fact that they don't realize we can't use the telepathy as a weapon hadn't occurred to me. That is..interesting, and another possibility. Hm." Shaking her head, Lucretia takes a sip of her tea and manages a small smile, "I suppose at this point we are simply awaiting more information."

"They seem to be operating by stealth, this time around. It's a logical enough progression, but it also puts us at a disadvantage. You can only defend against what you can anticipate, and what little I know of our martial traditions have mostly been focused on striding forth boldly onto the battlefield." Elspeth's musings break with a laugh. "Perhaps, when we delved back into Old Earth history for our tactics and society, we should have considered the various covert organizations as much an inspiration as the pagentry of the knights." She nods to Lucretia. "But, yes. It's all baseless speculation without more data points. Even prophecy doesn't help much unless you have observed events on which to pattern it."

"Even the era of knights had its spies and sneaks, Elspeth. Have no fear, I doubt we'll be caught flat-footed," Lucretia comments with a shake of her head before she takes a sip of her tea. "I will keep you in mind, should I learn anything further regarding these topics, or anything else. Might you do the same, darling?" She casts an idle glance around the room, "What else has been occupying your time? Are you planning to attend the coming tourney, dear? It should provide a good deal of entertainment. And a brief break from thinking about what we all know is coming."

"Oh, I'm certain it's all well in hand. It does make an interesting intellectual exercise, though. And…well, my position doesn't tend to lead to any sort of classified information," Elspeth admits, "but should I hear anything of interest, I'll be happy to pass it on. As for the tourney, of course I shall attend. None of the students will be attending lectures, and I enjoy seeing the handsome lords and ladies on the field of battle as much as anyone." She grins. "Are you going to compete in any event? Or champion any particular brave warrior?"

"It does indeed. And me? Competing? Oh, dear, no. Unless they decide they'd like to have a sorcery duel thrown into the mix somewhere during the tourney. I've never spent much time on the knightly pursuits. I know the most basic rules of swordplay, but I've only played with one a handful of times in my life, and I'm clueless with the rest of it, except riding," Lucretia laughs, and adds, "I doubt a horse race is on the list, either. But, I supposed I should be a good Lady and champion any family members I have competing. Perhaps some of Kallista's children, or a cousin." She shakes her head a bit, thinking for a moment, "Cousin Niko said he'll be competing, I believe. He's the quintessential Valen knight, if I've ever seen one." She doesn't say whether that's a good or bad thing, though.

Elspeth laughs. "Perhaps there /should/ be a sorcery duel. They do tend to be beautiful and quite entertaining, and it's never a bad thing to be reminded of all of our capabilities before a conflict." She rises, a bit reluctantly, from her seat. "At any rate, we might see each other there. That would be pleasant, I think. For the moment," she turns, apologetic, to the lady, "I fear I must bring our visit to an end, as much as I have enjoyed it. I'm supposed to meet with a research team shortly. It has, as always, been a pleasure and an honor, Lady Lucretia."

"I'll have to speak with someone about it, perhaps." Lucretia muses, and then nods, smiling as she rises. "Of course, darling. The is lovely, thank you, and thank you for the company." She moves to collect the rest of her things and then turns to follow to the door, "I will see you soon, Elspeth. Take care of yourself."

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