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Another Day, Another Costume by Windwistle
Another Day, Another Costume by Windwistle
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~~~~~~~~~~
Another Day, Another Costume
Anne Staszalek

Anderson shuffled the papers in his hands and cleared his throat before
continuing in his usual phlegmatic way. Princess used to herself that if it
was important enough to have brought them all back from a much needed week
off, it should have been important enough for the windbag to have memorized
his stupid speech. "And so, although Terra itself has you to thank for the end
of those threats, with the demise of Galactor, I'm afraid there is nothing we
can do but end the funding for this project..."

Mark's jaw hit the floor. 'I knew he'd be the worst. Jason was watching
Anderson and the Defense Directorate assistant standing before us with
undisguised tension, but then again, paranoia was his byword. Tiny was, as
usual for him when food was not a topic of conversation, half asleep, and
Keyop was juggling a few gas grenades in a way that was making me *very*
nervous. Men... did they really think this would be a permanent job?'
Princess' eyes narrowed as she sniffed softly at the reactions of the others
of her team. She shook her head. Luckily for them all, at lest *one* of the
team had their head in reality.

Those concert and trips to the movies with Mark had been encouraged by
Anderson; after all, if he could pair them off, all more to the cohesiveness
of the team. Mark was a sweet boy, and when he truly discovered his sexuality
he'd be a fun person to be around. Indeed, she had enjoyed the trips, but for
her, they had been fact finding missions for what would have to be their
careers after the threats of otherworldly agents was a distant memory.

Anderson cleared his throat yet again, trying to collect the attention of the
whole team. Princess shook her head to clear it, and began to listen again.
The pomp and 'thanks for risking your lives' were finally over; benefits might
be discussed now, and while the others would soon devolve into pouting,
swearing morons, she wanted to be sure she knew the score.

A slender bracelet, much different than the heavy com links they all wore was
lifted from the portable podium and shown to the team. "This will be the comm
bracelet we'll be exchanging for the ones you wear now. Without a foe, there
is no need for your birdstyles; but we of the Terran Defense Coalition do not
want you to go unthanked for risking yourself for all of Terra. There are full
sense hologram projectors built into here which I'm sure you'll find
useful..." Eyebrow raised, Princess wondered that if they had something like
that all along *why* had she been forced to wear the other. She shrugged; no
matter, it would be hers now.

"So, what are we to DO with it?" Mark was trying valiantly not to cry from all
that had happened. Princess rolled her eyes. 'Stupid drama queen... next he'll
be spouting about how we're all a family..." Just to the left of her, Mark's
voice raised "After all, Anderson, we're not just a team, we're a FAMily!"
Choking back the snort that threatened to escape, Princess covered her face as
if trying to compose herself, and again shook her head as Security chief
Anderson replied.

"They're really quite interesting, Eag...er, Mark... for example, if you put
on a bear suit and turned the link on, anyone would think you were a bear... "
Anderson tried holding the tray of links out, but Jason sullenly stared at
the chief and Mark was still trying to grapple with the thought of not being
the head of a team. Princess stood and stretched, giving Keyop the look that
had the younger member putting the grenade away. He brightened; when Princess
wore that face, things *happened*.

"We'll be getting some sort of pension, right, Anderson?" She walked forwards,
took one of the bracelets, admiring it in the light before slipping it on. The
assistant nodded eagerly, glad there had been no bloodshed so far. His voice
was soft, quavery and seemingly eager to please. "Oh yes-- if you sign the
document we have prepared here, a full two weeks of your old salary a month!
Plenty to live on as we have offered you wonderful savings plans in the
past..."

Jason snarled and nearly ripped the comm link from the tray as she turned on
the assistant. "We were saving your precious world at the time-- saving money
was not on the list of the things we did... I'm a RACE CAR driver, fer
goshsakes...." A clipboard appeared in the assistants hands as if by magic,
his voice now a nasal whine. "Well, if you refuse, there are a few things I
will need answers for... Oh yes, we'll be reclaiming those cars of yours
now... you seemed to have forgotten to mail your payments on them for the last
few years... and the Porsche, and the Bugatti, and even the Iroc, I'm
afraid... we'll leave you the mini van if you sign that you'll be sending
payments again, though... and remember to get insurance and to try and be a
responsible driver this time..."

"WHY YOU LITTLE..." Jason dove and again, as if by magic, three large,
immobile guards appeared, holding him back from dismembering Anderson or the
weasel next to him. The man turned to Tiny, eyes still on the clipboard. "And
it seems your board bill has well exceeded the norm, sir... we'll be taking
repayment for the 3,000 credits in food you charged in the last week...."
Tiny's eyes filled, one tear falling from his eye. "My... FOOD??...oh NO!"

The weasel turned to Keyop next. "And there seems to be a large bill for
damages and maintenance of a... seal?? With your name on it??? Perhaps you
might be able help us understand that, Sir?" The youngest member of G-Force
looked stunned. Princess walked to the front of the room; enough was enough...

"We'll sign, Sirs... just give me a moment to speak with my 'brothers'..." She
smiled sweetly, convincing even the bureaucrat. She only had a short time--
while the team was reeling from these announcements was the perfect time for
her plan.... it would work, and they'd have enough money when they were done
to throw the stinking pittance from the TDL back in their faces...

As Anderson and the other left, all the eyes of the team turned to her. mark
practically stomped over, and grabbed her arm. "PRINCESS! How could you! *I*
am the leader.... and this isn't FAIR!"

She patted his cheek and clicked the com link onto his wrist, tossing another
to Jason and letting Tiny and Keyop snag their own. She removed Marks hands
from her and hopped up to sit on the podium. Leaning forwards, she looked each
team member in the eye, then began. "I've got a plan..."

Outside the room, Anderson accepted the cigarette from the other. The man
leaned over to the Chief. "Think she was serious??" Anderson shrugged,
lighting and taking a deep inhalation, blowing the smoke from his nose before
replying... he could *swear*, at that moment he heard a muffled "NOOOOOOO!"
from the inner room, but mentally shook his head- after all, the door was
soundproof. In about ten minutes, the team filed out, the men all looking
shellshocked but all ready for the waivers. They signed the papers and left,
and strangely enough, within four months, the pension checks began returning
in tiny pieces, mailed directly to now Security *Admiral* Anderson at his new
office, a supposedly top secret base in the Andes Mountains....

---=+*^*+=---

"And now.... those lovely ladies you've been waiting for! Baby, Posh, Scary,
Sexy, and Sporty... the SPICE GIRLS!"

The lights were bright, the music raucous, the heels teetering, and the
audience screamed as they took the stage. Beginning to belt out their first
song, Scary Spice leaned towards Posh Spice once and yelled into the other's
ears. "I hate to admit it, Princess, but you were right!" Posh raised an
elegant eyebrow and screamed back, seeming to play onstage with her "sister"

"Be glad I didn't make you learn an instrument Jason... besides" She looked at
Sexy Spice who was prancing about the stage, wiggling her hips to the
audience's delight. "Mark really seems to like it."

THE END?

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