Closing Night at NYFW!
Roleplaying Log: Closing Night at NYFW!
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Something goes horribly, horribly wrong at New York Fashion Week…

Other Characters Referenced: Red Robin, Batgirl, Nightwing
IC Date: September 11, 2019
IC Location: New York City, NY
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 13 Sep 2019 02:24
Rating & Warnings: PG (For death.)
NPC & GM Credits: NPCs by Harley Quinn
Associated Plots

It's been a very full day for the runway, for no less than four designers have already come and made an enormous production of their fall lines. But of course, today is the day that Gotham darling Charles Arany is showing his new haute couture line, a show he's titled 'Gotham Sunrise, New York Sunset'.

And why would he call it that? Why, SO GLAD YOU ASKED!

Because each sumptuous dressing gown and smoking jacket he's dreamed into being, every one of the fantabulous gowns and striking tuxedos that he's designed, are grays and blacks to make the models themselves look like various features of the Gotham and Manhattan skyline. Hair and hats are set in brilliant golds and coppers. And when the show started ten minutes ago, fog machines began spewing voluminous clouds across the catwalk and over its edge into the crowd that's gathered, and the backdrop has a split between a stylized sunrise and sunset.

In short, it's every bit as fabulous as the outlandish designer himself.


The last time that Amelie had been in a fashion show she'd been wearing a designer dress, walking the stage and playing the role of one of the many models. Of course, this had been in Europe and she had been using it as a cover to organize the poisoning of a particular industry figure, but it had been a profitable and enjoyable evening for her…and she really had liked the dress.

While she'd brought out that particular cover identity again for this trip? So far it had been more of a meeting, greeting and maintaining the ties of the false identity that made her real contracts that little bit easier when needed. Cover identities were like flowers in a garden, one had to take the time to nurture them and make sure they would grow.

That and…well, there were worse ways to spend an evening than sipping champagne and admiring a bit of fashion after all.

—-

Slightly less thin than the typical model, just as outlandish in dress, Starfish waits for the perfect moment. She had spent a considerable amount of time figuring out her plan, to come out and show off, for really no good reason. That is, until she noticed just how big the crowd was. It makes her hesitate, marks her as different. One of the other models encourages her, fearing for the poor girl's career. That she is in no way involved with.

It's not too long then that Starfish finally emerges onto the runway, wearing… well it's definitely New York themed!

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A wide length of cloth strapped to front and back by thick cords between each other that hang down and really leave little to the imagination, depicting a map of a twelve city block region of Manhattan on each, with bands around her wrists and ankles that have a plastic toy car (one each of black, red, yellow, green) attached. On her head is a traffic light, which changes at standard intervals as one would expect. It's full-scale but probably not heavy. Almost all of her thighs, her flanks, most of her arms and legs, both hands and feet are showing skin.

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Just as though she is part of the fashion show, she walks the runway, turns like she sees the other models that are almost certainly expected to be there by the designer, and returns to backstage. Those familiar with Starfish just might recognize her. Who knew she was a fashion model!


For one Kory Anders, Fashion Week has been nearly as hectic as your average demonic invasion, with numerous bookings and appearances at a variety of shows, and all the other fuss that goes with them: the media events, promotional appearances and after parties, the business stuff with her manager. Maybe, somewhere along the line, someone could have pointed out that all that exposure conflicts a little with the 'secret' part of the whole secret identity thing, that there are less obtrusive choices of superhero day jobs. Oh well!

There's no question that this event, as a capstone to the entire fashion whirlwind, takes it all to a different level. It's a big stage, a big crowd, and some very famous designer. And yet Kory seems in her element. While the designers are the true stars of these things, her participation has gotten its own buzz for violating the usual boundaries of 'fashion' and 'commercial.' It seems the gloriously tall alien beauty's loook is unique enough for famously . Plus there's something very fitting about putting her in a New York-Gotham show, or one that contrasts the starlit black of night with the golden sunrise.

And boy do they play that up. Taking her various turns up and down the runway (there are a lot of outfits!), she always manages to look like a walking skyscraper, getting turns as evening-gown versions of the Chrysler Building and Finger Tower, and other famous landmarks. And her hair. Oh boy do they have fun with that giant red mane. She doesn't get hats so much as she gets construction projects on her head, at least one of which features golden spikes sticking out of it as if to mimic the glowing rays of the sun. Beneath, the vivid red seems to ripple and glow with light. Special effect, or real?

And then there's her walk. Tyra would no doubt approve of the fierceness, of a balanced grace born of interstellar warfare, transplanted to the narrow expanse of the catwalk.


Behind stage, there is a minor nuclear war happening as Charles Arany realizes that Starfish has somehow made it into the lineup. Not only into the lineup but onto the catwalk. "WHO LET THAT TRASH FIRE ON MY WALK?" he roars into a headset that no doubt leaves several production assistants wincing in pain as they pull their own away from their ears while he continues. "For heaven's sake, can we get an EMP out there? Did anyone take photos of that? THAT MONSTROSITY ISN'T MINE. Seven months of the pursuit of perfection for what? For that hack to RUIN IT. The entire aesthetic ruined!" Backstage, he grabs a man by the collar. "You're fired!" One of his aides is desperately pinning a dress into place to fix the way a pleat lies on the Gotham Public Library gown, and looks up at him in horror when she hears, "And you! WERE YOU SLEEPING? You're fired!"

"B-but Mister Arany!"

The tirade continues, as he points to a model just as Kory comes back behind the curtains from the latest round. "And you! …finish the show, and then you're fired!!! And find that crasher! I want her arrested!"

"I don't think you can d—"

"Don't you tell me what I can't do! You're fired! …After you get me my power smoothie. Where did I set that down?"

A stage hand, covered from head to toe in black, down to black mesh over her face, races up to hand it to the flushed older man.

"You're not fired," he tells her as he rips the cup from her hand and sucks loudly and angrily at the steel straw.


For her part, Nico Minoru is in…

THE AUDIENCE.

Being midway through the shift between gothique waif and muscular sex bomb (so defined internally), Nico does not want to model even if you paid her a milli- OK, she'd do it for a million dollars, but nobody offered. She has been trying, somewhat vainly, to get contacts, and much less vainly, to get ideas.

And of course she has smoeone to support. Starfish might have noticed Nico startling in surprise from the fourth row, but it is Kory to whom she throws in a spontaneous "WHOO!!" that does not quite fit the mold of the event, but hey, it's better than a silent chorus of camera snaps or —

Nico tenses up as she sees a man in black for a moment, but she relaxes when it proves to neither be a ninja nor a belated arrival of Batman.


Someone arrest that girl …where'd she go? Maybe that new model knows! She's wearing… well that's not even related to the fashion show theme. But it is impressive!

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A bafflingly thin tetris game board display, as an infinitely progressing game plays with disappearing lines and everything. What else is part of the outfit? Who cares! Tetris!

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Again, out on the catwalk, letting everyone see the game in progress, the lines disappearing, the… sounds of a tetris game… And the model is different from Starfish. Different height, different skin tone, different hair colour. She doesn't care that Mister Arany is upset. Getting out in front of a crowd is monumentous. Getting near to anyone in said crowd, that's the part she is less thrilled thinking about.

One would think that two ridiculously unthemely numbers would be enough, and the models conspiring against Mister Arany would be limited to two, but… there are more apparently, all ready to go with complete outfits that have no business being there and yet no one can seem to quite stop the onslaught. It's like an army of professional party crashers coordinated so that no more than one is present at a time. Highlights include…


A collage of photographs depicting super-closeups of the spot they cover, very difficult to identify for most people. It's tasteful, at least.

A simple black body suit with what looks like a congruous line of glowing colours wrapped and never crossing from head to toe in a multitude of hues.

Dozens of plush animals strapped at seemingly random spots, nothing but plush animals. Very racy but impractical. The plush animals are from top to bottom in alphabetical order. Aardvark strapped to head. Zebra strapped to bare foot.

Frankenstein's monster. It's not fashionable, it's more like a really detailed halloween costume. With little lightning effects that flow over the hair. Fantastic makeup job!

A lioness costume, open mouth looking like it's eating her style.

A dress made entirely out of spent bullet casings of every calibre. Shoes made from dismantled handguns.

Full-size paper maché replica heads of each member of the Addams Family, plus Lurch. Why do they look happy? Must be an Addams Family thing. There's also a hand. All dangling from fishing line cord at chest level over a mourner's dress. with tiny gravestone-style clogs worn on her feet.


Amelie's wandering through the crowd does take her past Nico in time for her 'WHOO' and it brings a slight smile to the French assassin's lips. A little break in the 'class' is refreshing after all. A little shift in her stance, the amber-eyed woman's gaze turns to sweep over Starfire as she walks the stage. Well, even she has to admit the rather district beauty is striking.

Thanks to her perception, Amelie's gaze swaps and flicks towards the direction of backstage. She'd spotted Starfish, she'd even recognized her…but she hadn't realized she was simply there causing trouble. Huh.

Then she's giggling at the next look, her mouth hidden behind her hand.


Striving for excellence in everything she does, Kory is barely a step beyond the curtains before she begins shedding the gown she was wearing so that she can change into the next one, while someone runs up to wrangle her hair. There is no time for concerns over modesty and personal space (although as a bonus, Tamaraneans aren't huge on these either!). Unfortunately, the scene playing out backstage is not among those in which lacking familiarity with 'strange earth customs' can grant her oblivious relief. Sadly, she has spent enough of her time on Earth and in this profession to become familiarized with this particular aspect of its culture.

And… she is not terribly big on bullies, nor so easily intimidated as many young and vulnerable models tend to be.

"Mr. Arany, there is no cause to yell," she tells the man plainly, while something is being glued to her face. "In fact, the mics might pick you up outside." For the moment, her voice is calm and unbothered. "If someone has entered the show without permission, the venue has security, yes? You can say there was a schedule mix-up."

As for the threat of being fired after she finishes the show… isn't that sort of how these things work by default? That paradox of space and time is not one that Kory tries to unravel. Once she's ready, she goes striding back out, only to be faced with a variety of the strange models coming up onto the stage still. Unsure how to finish when she has no idea how long they'll keep going for, she tries to catch one of them for a quick word at the tail end of her walk. "Excuse me… do you know how many of these there are? I think someone has mixed up the show order." Her tone is friendly and not very arrest-y.


"Security!" screams Arany from backstage, his hands going over his eyes. "Blind! I'm blind! The charlatan has blinded me with the atrocity of those seams! HELEN! FIX IT!" Yes. Helen. The aide he fired not twenty breaths ago.

He coughs once, and waves a hand as a puff of fog gets into his face. "Who dialed the fog up so high?"

"I-I did," Helen squeaks as she covers the microphone of her headset for a moment. "Because you said you wanted it to look like Gotham and New York, not Mayberry."

Arany simply coughs again, and then looks up to Kory. "Why are you still here? You're supposed to be," cough cough "on the catwalk!"


For Mister Arany's sake, his sanity, his show's remaining integrity, the unending series of horrors appear to have ceased. When the much more reasonable-seeming Kory catches her object of chase, the mystery model stops and takes a very long look at the orange-skinned woman, getting every detail with an expression of awe. "You um…pretty," she compliments genuinely, if not quite in correct flow with the conversation. "oh. Uh…" She looks around a bit worriedly and rapidly. "These? No, I don't um… no idea…"

"Thank you, it is very kind to say so," Kory echoes the compliment from the show-bombing model with her usual near-radiantly warm smile. Given other the woman's nervous behavior, she doesn't press her on the exact origin of the runway-crashing bunch, but merely offers: "I thought some of the outfits were very interesting. Such unique concepts! I especially liked the one with the animals." Naturally.

Of course, she's not there to chit-chat either, and with Mr. Arany no doubt approaching a heart attack back-stage, she seems eager to cap off the night so that whatever confusion can be sorted out. Surely, there is nothing villainous in a few extra models appearing, so it is hardly anything to worry over excessively! "If you are done, then, I will finish! Hopefully I will see some of you after the show!"

And so it goes. Kory completes her last walk, this time in a two-sided, split-design affair that echoes the entire conceptual basis of the show, the two cities and the temporal contrast. If the entire thing ends up seeming like something a Batman villain would come up with, that is not her problem either! And while her professional demeanor and bold Amazon-like walk may have permitted no levity the first time around, since the show is over… well, she may sneak a little finger wave back at Nico as she makes her final return trip.


The walk is done, and the other lesser-billed models quickly to come out to join Kory, leaving open the place open for Mister Arany to come and stand, beside Kory and her show-stopper gown. He should come up beside her, dwarfed by her height, and… oh, wait. There he comes, after taking another long sip of his "power smoothie" and then handing it off to the stagehand with her black mask.

His body shakes as he tries to stifle the coughing, but everyone backstage has started making very nervous looks at each other. And Helen… is now on a walkie talkie strapped to her side. "Yeah, it's probably nothing… but… could you send a medic? He'll be offstage in just a few minutes and I would…"

And the screaming interrupts her.

Oh, wait. But there was no screaming? Except that one of the models has very much started screaming as she notices the stream of blood that's started pouring out of his nose and mouth just before he collapses on the stage and goes deadly still.


The mystery model changes again, subtly so, back to the first face Starfish wore, but not in a modeling outfit. Relatively normal clothing, that would let her blend in with normal persons. She looks a lot like an assistant, and she is very attentive to Mister Arany's plight, approaching and showing no hint that the display of blood disturbs her in any way. Her eyes move to the smoothie, or where it was last seen. "Uh…poisoned," she utters regarding the symptoms. Her best guess. That is almost definitely not the result of a cardiac arrest. Almost. The slim chance it could be nags her. "Probably," she adds to what she said. The nagging stops.


Ever the professional still, Kory is all smiles for the final call, linking arms with another model on one side leaving space for the designer on the other, ready to stand there and smile and pretend everything is fine and he hasn't been having a nervous breakdown or screaming at them for the last few minutes. It is all another form of ritual or ceremony, like her royal duties back home, and the forced smiles at such things are strangely universal.

Except for the last part.

Well, it fits better in the 'royal intrigue' category than 'trivial fashion display.' Assassins love poison across the whole galaxy!

"Please give him room," Kory immediately demands of her fellow models, offering a supporting arm to the screaming one, before glancing back toward Helen, who… is already doing what she needs to do. Note to self: Helen seems very good at her job!

"Apologies everyone," she offers toward the audience, "but please remain calm. Would the rest of you go back stage? Helen, are they able to send someone for him?" In a crisis, the Princess part shines through more clearly, as she tries to keep the situation in hand.


"They're on the way," Helen shouts back to Kory before racing out onto the catwalk to slide into a place beside him. "Nonononono, Charles. Charles! I'm here, Charlie." She curls her hand around his.

For Starfish, if she looks for the smoothie cup, she'll find it is absolutely, positively, beyond-the-shadow-of-a-doubt gone.

And now, despite the smooth warning from Kory, the crowd is now in a full out flurry. There are camera phones and SLRs firing like crazy, and it will be out all over the news in the morning. She will, however, find that her fellow models are much more willing to take the calming instruction. The screaming girl just buries her face in Kori's arm.


While Kory is admittedly not especially close to the designer, his industry standard bad behavior is no cause to deny him basic empathy, something the woman has a bit of an overabundance of. Seeing Helen join him, her look softens and she reaches to give her shoulder a squeeze. "Good, please stay with him if you can, until the medics arrive. I will get everyone backstage." Part of her wishes they could offer the man a bit more privacy, but her medical knowledge basically ends at the point where moving him needlessly is probably ill-advised. "Can the security do something about the crowd?"

Supporting the model hanging on her, she does her best to get the rest of them back stage to the dressing area, where they can at least sit down. "For the moment, do not drink anything they had here on set-" And this causes her to turn on a PA type to inquire, "Would you please go and purchase a case of bottled waters? Thank you."

Beyond this bit of logistics, though, Kory feels a bit out of her depth. While ushering the other models back, she yanks off her last hat and grabs her bag from the dressing area, and walks off a short way while fishing her communicator out of it: Dick, Barbara and Tim all get quick texts - the whole thing has a Gotham connection and reeks of necessary detective-ing.!

After this, she returns to the stage to see how things are sorting out. "How is he?"


Well, that tells Starfish exactly who orchestrated the poisoning. Whoever picked up the smoothie cup. Definitely did not see whom. The mumbly speaking girl backs away from the fallen man and the one who takes hold, not knowing anything that might be helpful to say. Statistics? Coping mechanisms? Good grief counsellor? Not a good time, even she knows. Everything too chaotic. She can't fix that. She wants to. jUst too many for her to reasonably affect at once. Well, one at a time is better than zero. The most vocal and panicked (possibly even the same subject), she begins with.

Into yonder most panicked and screaming person's mind, a feeling wells up of sorrow. It's natural to feel that after an emotional high, and Starfish's influence aims to artificially jump start the aftermath. It's hardly foolproof, but it's her best plan on short notice.


"And someone shut off that damn fog machine!" Helen screams as she wipes a stray curl from Charles's forehead. The smell of coconut just makes everything worse.

Fortunately for Kory's preference, the security guards are already ushering out all of the ticket holders, including several small local celebrities who are sure to hit their personal blogs and Instagram feeds as soon as they get home. …Oh, who's anyone kidding? It's already starting to popping up on Twitter and Facebook and the fight for the first viral hashtag begins.

Starfish will find that models - even ones at this level - can be particularly sensitive, and one of them bursts down into hysterical sobbing.

It leads one of the stagehands to rip off her mesh mask and shove a box of tissues at the crying girl. "Girls! Out of the dresses. DO NOT STREAK MASCARA ON THE DRESSES. Get backstage and get it together."

…Unlike Helen who is presently sobbing on Charles' chest.

It's going to be a long night, as the police move in next and start taking control of the scene. Anyone on that stage is going to find themselves lining up for initial questioning in a hurry if they hang around too long.

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