2016-08-17 Millinery

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Date 2016/08/17
Location Zarazee Shop District
Participants Beachcomber, Gearstrip, Pipes
Plot Zarazee Casino
Summary Three minis are off to see the wizard. First stop: a quiet clothing shop.

Casinos aren't really the geologist's bag. Life is a gamble in and of itself after all, the lottery for simply existing within the universe they inhabited is plenty for him. The chances of being that particular bit of energy that was chosen to ignite in a field somewhere, or into a star in a nebula, or countless previous lives were so small, so absurd, that the notion of gambling for money lacked allure in comparison. However, the shine from the strip around the casino is pretty mesmerizing, the mix of diodes and LED and neon-gas fed lights swirled and shone in an endless medley of hypnotic patterns to pass beneath and between, assaulting the senses from all sides. Nothing seemed to remain still in this area, whether it's chattering crowds of organics bustling about shouting and laughing with one another, or the spin and twirl of a storefront's signage begging for attention, or the flashing, glittering lights and dance of more entrepreneurial vendors hawking their goods. Beneath it all there pulses a rhythm. A beat. A life force. The city, the planet, has a pulse and Beachcomber can feel it thrum and thump from the seismic sensors in his pedes all the way up to his optics. It's like navigating his way through a fever dream, or like a few other things he's experienced once or twice ahem, and more than once Beachcomber's hand seeks out part of Pipes's frame to ground himself from the onslaught of colors. He can just imagine Raj coming to rescue him while he stood zoned-out and gawking in the middle of the street - he'd never hear the end of it.

A hand falls on Pipes, lightly touching his shoulder to keep from getting swept up in the visual overstimulation, and offering a bright grin to the other minis. "So: you guys looking for anything specific out here or just shopping for souvenirs?"

Unlike Beachcomber, Pipes has no trouble adjusting to the buzz and electricity of the shopping district. In fact, this is his element. There is little Pipes loves more than a good shopping trip, and it's even OK if he doesn't buy anything! It is the hunt for that perfect new thing, or that perfect thing he already has but really could use another of, that he enjoys.

While the initial forays from the ship ventured to the casino and nearby bar, Pipes stayed back to study and plan, poring over brochures, advertisements, maps, and circulars published by Zarazee commercial entities. He has a multi-day strategy laid out back at his habsuite, and a printout in his hand provides an itinerary for this, the first day. He might even follow it!

Pipes waves his list at Beachcomber to answer his question. "Here's the plan! Although I might change my mind partway through, depending. That's part of the fun!" He pauses as the fellow blue mini once again reaches out. "You all right, Beachcomber? I guess this place is pretty glitzy!"

"I'm mostly here to explore," Gearstrip says. "I was just a little nervous to go by myself. You know how it is." Well, maybe they don't. Her hands are a loose clasp behind her, fingers twined together as her pale optics flick over the brilliant glare of the lights down here. "So I'm a tagalong, ha." Her smile is a little crooked and uncertain, her weight balancing forward into a bounce on her pedes.

"Aw yeah I'm fine," Beachcomber grins, giving Pipes's shoulder a friendly squeeze and snuggling up close against his side. "You know me, I'm the touchy-feely sort~" It's a little more than a half truth, at least - he's not unwell, just mildly overwhelmed. He really should have sobered up for this trip - it's kind of hard to tell at first glance if some of the walls are actually melting or if that's just a display screen for an advertisement. Oof.

The geologist's other hand reaches back towards Gearstrip in offering, turning his grin her way and waggling his fingers in invitation to hold. Minibot chain, let's all stay together. "Fate has decided we three should journey together for now - and I would never question fate about such charming company~"

Pipes can tell that, despite his companions' statements, the place is perhaps a bit much. But he does like Beachcomber's framing of this junket. So ... noble. "Well, I'm super happy you both are here!" He glances at his list, looking for ... ah. "Here, there's a couple of shops on my list that are more high-end from their descriptions. Maybe we can start with one of those? They might be quieter."

Gearstrip chortles a little, her teeth grazing her lower lip. "Sure," she says. "Let's see what the high end looks like." She looks at Beachcomber's hand a little blankly for a long moment. Her fingers tighten in their clasp behind her as she looks back up at him, and she hesitates for a long and wary moment before, slowly, she lifts her hand and proffers her digits to take his in a very light, shy clasp.

Oh no! What a cutie! Beachcomber offers Gearstrip a reassuring smile when he feels her fingers in his scuffed up hand, making sure not to squeeze as he curls blue digits around her hand. The hand that had been resting on Pipes's arm slipped down to similarly catch his fingers as well with a pleased little hum. "Sure thing, Pipes - you're the mech with the map, lead on oh wise Navigator~"

Noble? He'd have a good hearty chortle if he heard that description - one which may not be long for this world as he starts to lightly swing their hands back and forth. "Weee're off to see the Wizard~ The Wonderful Wizard of Zarazee~ He really is a wizardful Whiz if ever a Whiz there... be~"

<FS3> Pipes rolls Earth Culture: Failure. (4 2 2 2 5 3 5)

Pipes feels like he should know the song Beachcomber improvises, but it eludes him. Must be the distractions everywhere. After quickly orienting himself, he puts his list away and takes Beachcomber's hand without a second thought. He guides their little (little) group to the closest "high-end" shop on his list. Its sign is neon-bright but with a hint more class than most others. The script on it isn't intelligible.

Inside the shop, the din of the street is muted, overlaid by an upbeat but mild sort of Muzak. The windows to the outside are tinted to reduce glare, but the interior lighting makes up for it, again a hint more classy, with less strobing and flashing. The merchandise? Clothing, for all shapes and sizes. While the majority of the wares are smaller for organic customers, there are some outfits and accessories for larger beings. Along the back wall stretches an impressive rack of hats.

"Are we going to see a wizard?" Gearstrip pitches this question low, a kind of almost sotto voce, possibly so that she can distance herself from the question if it turns out to be stupid. She has no cultural frame of reference for the song whatsoever, which leads her to an awkward literalism.

As the daisy chain of minibots strings its way into the clothing shop, Gearstrip looks around in a kind of puzzled fascination. "Oh, it is quieter in here. And-- easier to look at." It's clear that she finds the wares a little more confusing; she asks Pipes, "Do you want cloth stuff?"

Beachcomber grins brightly at Gearstrip's question, offering a gentle swing of their joined hands. The movement is meant to be playful, and he hopes it conveys - though he doesn't have much experience with Camien culture and hand speak there. "We might be," he supplies cheerfully, following along in the center of their little chain of littles. "As long as we don't fall asleep in a field of poppies first."

The store is, indeed, ritzy. Like, Mirage-levels of ritzy. Ooo Mirage needs a hat. Or a shawl. What kind of cape would he wear? Are capes gaudy? He never knows. "Swanky," Beachcomber lets out a soft whistle, glancing around. The colors were more muted in here, the walls less melty. He's fine. It's all good.

Pipes can tell the others are more at ease, which makes him even happier than before, somehow. He turns to answer Gearstrip. "Maybe. It's not my thing, really. But it's kind of rare to find a clothing place that has stuff that would fit us, so it made the list." Even though he picked the place, he is at a loss for what to look at, so he wanders from rack to rack, hoping to find something that piques his interest.

"I don't know what that means," Gearstrip tells Beachcomber a little apologetically, "but I don't think I could sleep anywhere down here. So much noise and color and light, it doesn't seem very rechargey to me." Biting a little at the inside of her cheek, she lets her gaze rove the clothing displays with humor crinkling her expression. She seems inclined to amble after Pipes, de facto leader of this little expedition, and makes no move to pick anything up or try anything on, but she's never worn clothing in her life -- with the exception of the protective goggles that even now are strapped to the top of her head.

Beachcomber, on the other hand, wanders straight for the wall of hats, hand on his chin, studying the collection thoughtfully. He tries to imagine what Mirage would say about such an accessory, fingertips drumming against the edge of his jawline as he considers and reaches for one off the rack. It's white and a little bit fuzzy, the texture leaving darker trails when his thumb brushes over it against the grain, dotted with sprigs of beads and ... whatever these little shiny things are. Maybe also beads. Maybe it's all beads. Beads and netting. Maybe this isn't a hat at all? Maybe this is some sort of xeno- insect catcher? No, no, it's probably a hat. There's a small brim at the front so it's probably a hat. He plops it onto his head - a little too small to fit over the square edges of his helm - and turns to where his companions are exploring. "What do you think? Is it me~?"

Pipes puts down the slinky number he was examining - just what are you thinking there, Pipes - and gratefully heads towards Beachcomber and the hats. The geologist looks like he knows what he's doing here, so maybe Pipes can salvage this first stop for himself. "Hmmm. It's actually not bad." Pipes has no sense of style, just to be clear here. He examines the rack himself, and pulls off a cap, not unlike the one his holoform avatar sports. Soon the square hat is upon his own square head, bill facing forward properly. "10-4 good buddy."

Gearstrip laughs: a bright, merry peal of sound. She covers her face with both hands, peeking out at them both through the frame of her fingers. "Oh my," she says. "They're so funny. What are they for? Should I do one too?" She looks at the array of hats with a new kind of mystification now, you know, for all of the myriad ways she can be totally ridiculous. She pokes one or two hats near to her position, prodding a beret that is, sadly, way too small for her helm and then lifting a few others aside to explore all the avenues on display on this rack.

Beachcomber grins gleefully at the approval, plucking it off his helm and plopping it back on its holder. Hmm how are these arranged? "They're hats," he offers to Gearstrip when she moves closer, nabbing a far-too-big sunhat with a ridiculous brim off its peg. "Mostly for decoration though I think some organics also wear them for protection? To shade their optics from the sunlight." And plop. Down it goes right on top of Gearstrip's head with an amused rumble of his engine. Don't panic, its just him, no need to flail. "They're good for blocking out the light from overhead, see?"

Pipes returns the cap to the rack and looks for another to try. Beachcomber's explanation of hats matches his own understanding, so he doesn't add to it. He does, however, feel compelled to comment on his choice for Gearstrip. "That one might block out light from everywhere, it's so big. It's a nice weave, though."

"Eep." Gearstrip makes a little squeaky noise of surprise and laughs again, before reaching up to slide the hat backwards at an angle so that she can peek out from beneath its very silly brim. "I wonder if it's porous or if you could turn it upside down and use it to hold liquids. It's huge."

"Might be a bit flimsy for a bucket." Hmmm which of these would fit Mirage? Mirage's head is a bit bigger than his own, being so much shorter than his roommate. Beachcomber's fingers drum against his cheek thoughtfully as he scans the wall. He spies a rather pokey-pointy style in metal and plucks it up to inspect the large yellow V front and center that arcs up off the helm, an aggressive arrow pointing to ones optics. Naturally, he plants it on Pipes's head next and takes a step back, sweeping into a low bow. "Your Majesty~ All hail Emperor Pipes~"

Pipes does nothing to stop his coronation, but accepts it with appropriate dignity, which in this scenario means a good amount of snorfling. He sweeps a hand dramatically to one side. "My fellow Cybertronians. As your new leader I ... declare today Hat Day. And also Shopping Day. Till all are one!" One could judge this as bad comedy.

It may be bad comedy, and Gearstrip may genuinely not get some of these jokes, but the spirit of humor still carries her to more laughter. Cackling in delight, she lends the clap of her hands to her applause. "Okay, Emperor Leader Pipes." That's-- not how emperor titles -- oh never mind. Replacing the giant woven hat on the rack, she finds smaller, felted hat with a black ribbon and a couple of little kitty pointed ears sticking out of either of its sides, which she puts on. Or tries to. Her goggles make its seat very precarious and awkward.

"Huzzah for Hat Day~ 'Til all are One!" Beachcomber waves his hands in the air, but contrary to popular belief he does care. He cares quite a lot, thank you. He cares about you, Pipes, and you, Gearstrip, and you, hat rack. He cares for you all. He also cares for how CUTE those little EARS are on Gearstrip. Oh noooooo! He has to touch them. Gingerly. Carefully. So teeny! Fuzzy! Gaaaasp! "Awww you look like you're Ravage as a biped~! Rav-gear. Gear-age. Strip-age?"

Pipes cannot imagine why there would be felinoid ears festooning a hat, but then again, as he said earlier, clothing isn't usually his thing. "That's ... unique! Do they work or are they just decoration?" After a thankful clasp of hands to his subjects, he abdicates his title and returns the crown to the rack. Next up: a black, cylindrical topper with a modest brim and a high-sheen band. On it goes.

"Somewhere I feel like Ravage is feeling insulted and doesn't know why," Gearstrip chortles a little as she pinches the bridge of her nose between thumb and middle finger. "I don't think they do anything. They don't have any working components, no wiring or -- anything, it's all just this ... cloth material stuff." Gearstrip bites her lip again as Beachcomber combs her ears. "They're dumb," she says, "but I kind of like them for no reason," and then she laughs again. She's been laughing a lot since they came in here. Hats are hilarious. She once got a Rodimus star for knocking one off a guy. "Ooh, now you're tall, Pipes." (This is not accurate, Gearstrip.)

Would Raj wear kitty ears like that? Oh gosh, they would be so cute on Mirage. And Torque would make him hold her kitty and pose because they both had cute little ears. And then she would want to try it on. And then Mirage would tell her she could keep it because it suited her far more than him. Heh. Silly Mirage. Beachcomber's hand wanders towards the oversized sunhat from earlier, drawn to that floppy brim for no other reason than it's floppy, when he spies Pipes's next choice in attire. The grin that splits his face is bright and giddy, and he hops over next to him to spread his arms in a presentation pose. "Look Gearstrip! We found the Wizard!"

<FS3> Pipes rolls Earth Culture: Good Success. (8 8 4 6 4 8 3)

Pipes is slightly disappointed that the ears don't function, but he supposes Gearstrip could wire up something in them. He tries not to let the disappointment affect his demeanor, though, and he straightens his posture, wiggling slightly. "It does draw the eye up, doesn't it?" Then he finally gets Beachcomber's reference! He squares his shoulders. "Do not arouse the wrath of the great and powerful Pipes--" Straight away he buckles into a fit of laughter. Oh mech, he needs to get this hat.

"We did?" Gearstrip is never going to understand any of these references, but she's cheery and willing enough to play along. "What? Oh. Pipes is a wizard? It's a wizard hat?" (Does anyone have a clue bat?)

Oh Gearstrip. You're so cute. They need to have an Earth-Movie-Night with you. Someone slip it to Swerve that not everyone on board the Lost Light has seen The Wizard of Oz. "It's a wizard hat! Oh Great and Powerful Pipes, won't you grant this lowly tin man a heart?" Clonk clonk, Beachcomber whacks his fist against his own chest for effect. Not as echo-y and hollow as he'd like, but it does the trick. Oo maybe he can find a hat to compliment it! Or maybe Mirage would like a pair of ruby-encrusted ... slippers? Hm those would be hard to fit a Cybertronian. And somehow ruby-encrusted house shoes don't seem to fit the bill quite right. His attention turns towards the rack again, pulling down a squat cylinder in shiny blue with sparkles and feathers hanging off of it. Plops it on his own head. It's a little big. Maybe Mirage sized. He can't really see now, but it makes him chortle and strike a pose nonetheless. "Her name was Comber~ And she was a show girl~"

"Of course, my galvanized friend." Pipes makes some wizardly hand motions accordingly. He takes off the hat and starts looking around for an attendant who can carry out his purchase. Meanwhile, he spills the secret to Gearstrip. "Beachcomber is talking about a famous Earth movie, the Wizard of Oz. The wizard lived in a glittering city with a golden road, so sort of like here!" Sounds like Pipes doesn't quite remember all the details, and he makes a mental note to do a viewing for the Earth fan club.

"Oh, more Earth stuff," Gearstrip says with a laugh. "I should have figured that out for myself from who I was talking to." She taps the side of her helm and then turns her hand out towards Pipes in an open gesture, before bouncing back on her heels with another laugh. "We don't get Earth stuff on Caminus! Or hats, for that matter. Well -- mostly not, anyways..." She plucks the cat-eared hat off her head and studies it for a moment, wondering whether she can justify it to herself as a purchase. She lacks Pipes's talent for doing this. And there's so many shops left on the list. And what would she even do with it.

Yeah this is definitely a Mirage hat. It's very flashy. Mirage likes flashy, doesn't he? Beachcomber plucks it off his head with a chuckle and waves for the attendant as well. He'll have to have it gift-wrapped for him in appropriately fancy wrap for the level of ritzy for this shop. When he spies Gearstrip waffling with herself over the ears, he offers her a grin as well as his outstretched hand. "How about I get one for you? As a gift - a souvenir of our night as a trio. Sometimes it's nice to just have something silly with no purpose other than it makes you smile."

With two large (relative to the abundant organics around) bots waving, it isn't long before an attendant appears, waving them over to a nearby counter with a clawed, winged appendage. Pipes sees that Beachcomber has made a choice - "Fancy," he comments - and waits for Gearstrip to decide. "Yeah, you should pick something, too, Gearstrip. The ears seem to work well for your, uh ... look." He wiggles his fingers, trying to sound like he knows what he's talking about.

"Aw, you really don't have to do that," Gearstrip says, but she's smiling while she says it. "I mean, I appreciate it!" Wavering for a moment, she nods and turns the silly hat she's picked up over in her hands. "But I can buy it myself. I hardly use my pay for anything at all, seems like."

Beachcomber grins at Pipes's assessment of his choice. "Think Raj will like it? It's Mirage-levels of fancy, don't you think?" Either that or it's going to look very different when he wakes up in the morning.

"If you're sure," Beachcomber agrees reluctantly towards Gearstrip, tipping his head slightly. "But I'd still like to - just as a gift for a friend, y'know? That way you could save those credits in case something you reeeaally want catches your optic."

"Actually, y-- you know what, I have no idea, but I think he'll be happy that you thought of him." Pipes can't even pretend to appraise fashion at Mirage levels. The attendant is waiting expectantly at the counter. "I'm going to head over and start checking out, and then I'll figure out where we're going next!"

Smile wide, Gearstrip widens her eyes slightly as she shakes her head at him. She chortles a little, and then proffers the felted hat. She says, "Okay, if you really want to, I guess it would be rude of me to say no to a present. But maybe I'll find one for you before today is done!" This might miss the point, but-- well, maybe she can make a game of it. Time to head to the checkout line, one way or the other.

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