[Plan: At the office on Wednesday, Didi mentions she is taking Chrysine out to shop seeing as she doesn't have anything to wear to the club. Liz and/or Lorraine overhear, object to Didi's obvious lack of taste, and invite themselves along. Hilarity ensues.]

Things were not going according to plan. But then again, with this team, that was pretty much modus operandi. The gaggle of girls stood in front of a music-blaring storefront.

"Look, Liz, do me a Cheesy would ya? We're not going into Hot Topic." Diedre rolled her eyes. "Chysine's not 13."

"Oh, please," retorted Liz. "Like I'm the one who brought us to a frikkin' mall to shop."

"Well 'scuse me guv'nor, but some of us actshlly 'ave t'live off our salaries." Diedre pouted back.

"My point exactly," Liz pressed on, looking critically at the array of wares displayed on the storefronts. "You want bargains, you hit the streets, find those little out-of-the-way shops that aren't run by mass-marketing corps feeding the mindless-consumer trough."

She smiled in reminiscence. "You meet the most interesting people that way."

"Ahhh..." Chrysine's ears dipped as she glanced from one fellow officer to the other. "What's wrong with that I usually wear?"

The two girls stopped their bickering to look at each other, then at Chrysine.

"Um, err... you take this one, Dee," Liz said as she escaped into a nearby store.

"Chicken," Diedre spat at the retreating woman. Turning to Chrysine, "Nothin's wrong wi' wot yer wearin', Fuzzy, s'just work clothes. When yer going out to have fun, y'gotta have fun clothes."

"Fun clothes." The tall Clade stared down at Diedre and tilted her head in a manner the shorter woman found reminded her of a confused dog. "This is going to be another learning experience, isn't it?"

"You betcha, partner!" Lorraine's cheery voice chimed in. She took a few light steps and turned to look at the Clade face-to-face, then gave a slight frown. "For both of us. I've never tried make-up color analysis for someone with white hair." Her expression brightened and she took Crysine's hand in hers, leading her into one of the many boutiques. "That's one of the reasons we came to the mall first—the smaller shops have bargains, but the people here know their colors!"

After everything they'd been through in the few short weeks together, Deidre was of the opinion Chrysine was basically fearless. And yet the look the Clade had given her before Lorraine had dragged her into the store seemed to be one of pure panic. Well, there's a first time for everything.

"Whoa whoa! L'raine, first: clothes, and second: no analysis. Emphasis on fun here." Diedre rolled her eyes following after the tall Clade and firey pyro. "Experience analysis, gawd! Nobody never relaxes around here!"

Chrysine stared at the inside of the store in bewilderment. It was a mass of clothes in all colors, sizes, shapes, and styles. ‘Retail therapy’ indeed. She didn’t know what to look for, much less how to start looking for it. Her fellow officers, on the other hand, were sorting through items at a rapid pace, holding some up to look them over with a critical eye, placing select articles against her skin or hair, and asking ‘what do you think’ as if expecting her to know how to answer.

“The Lieutenant had a suggestion,” she said as Dedire, Liz, and Lorraine breezed past. “He said I should try dating.”

After a couple of seconds, Liz commented wryly, "Chrysine, don't take the thunderous silence as a criticism of the idea. We're just shocked that the El-Tee would actually have the sense to suggest it."

She shrugged. "Maybe his stint as Mama Jama's bed-warmer has rubbed some sense into him."

Turning to her companions, she announced, "OK, we have a slight change in strategy. If Chrysine is going to be hunting for meat, we need to make sure she's got the proper gear."

Lorraine dropped the neon-yellow halter top she'd been holding against Chrysine's torso. "Oh, God yes—you, girl, are going to cause a riot when we're done."

“But I do not want to cause a riot.”

"Hm, no—you're right. The message needs to be 'available but strong', I think. White primary and maybe a pastel." She dragged Chrysine to the changing rooms, snagging a few things on the way. "Try the fleece cropped jacket and this pantsuit—let's see how the colors go."

Diedre, mouth agape from the comment about dating to the freakin' pantsuit interrupts, "A what? We're going to be kicking it in a club not a business meeting! No man'd date someone that dressed like their Pitch! That's... creepy" gently separating Lorraine from Chrysine, Deidre continues in a broken southern accent, "And pastels? What is this, Easter? Should we get her a bonnet too?"

"Of course not! But she's new to the scene and I don't want her to attract the kind of attention she doesn't know how to appreciate." A glance at Chrysine's undeniably attractive form, a smirk, then "Yet."

"Ugh! Whatever!" Turning up to Chrysine as they moved to another store, "You're going to stand out, so let's find something that says 'Look but don't touch.' I was thinking something that distances you from 'The Winter Fox' and is more of a statement of who you are..." Diedre flipped through some of the dresses, "I mean the place is a rave, but there's no point in dressing for—oh, look at this." Diedre held up what could only be described as a formal risque toga and gave it a title, "Greek Goddess."

"Oh, please! The 'Dite look went out months ago." As she was about to dismiss the concept entirely, a sly look flashed across Lorraine’s face. "Although... Athena could work. Warrior and wisdom, wields a spear—and I think I know where I can get an animated Medusa head!"

“Ahhh...” Chrysine looked somewhat intimidated by the rapid change in venue and the sudden presentation of different sets of clothes. “I think taking a spear and the Aegis into a rave would cause the riot you mentioned, Officer Hemelshot.”

Liz looked on at the spectacle, biting her knuckle to keep from laughing out loud. Then she caught the flow of emotion coming from the bewildered Clade and sobered up.

"Ladies," she admonished, trying to keep her tone light to soften the rebuke. "As appealing as the prospect of playing dress-up might be, Chrysine is not a doll. While she certainly needs our fashion help, let's not forget it's her decision what to wear."

The tall Clade brightened at that. “I thought that whatever I wear should not be too binding... in case there is trouble and we need to defend ourselves.”

Liz tapped her lip as she considered the idea. "At the same time, you don't want the cloth to be too loose, or it will get in the way."

As she sauntered over to inspect Chrysine from all angles, she continued, working her way up from the bottom up. "High-heel boots are out; we don't need to emphasize your height any more than it is already. Something soft, cloth or suede, tight enough to display those muscular calves.

"Fishnets are de rigueur, but not a requirement. A short skirt or pair of pants; either one can be modified to show off your beautiful tail. I'm tempted to suggest a bandeau; it's really up to you how much of that creamy skin you want to show. Gloves are an option, of course; I'd hesitate to cover up your hands, though. They are quite lovely."

She ended her litany with a gesture in the direction of Chrysine's face. "Shades. Definitely shades."

“The Lieutenant suggested I get two pairs of sunglasses, actually. One for while I am on duty, one for off.”

Liz stepped up close to gaze into Chrysine's eyes. "You are your own woman. Whatever you choose, it must come from you. Look within yourself, find out who you are, and make the world see it."

With that, she turned and glided away, idly glancing at the displays decorating the aisles.

"Well, now that the pagent queen has spoken I think we can get on with our lives. P'rhaps we're going at this from the wrong angle, Chrysine, what are you expecting the club will be like?" Diedre asked.

“The club?” Chrysine thought for a moment. “I really have no idea. I have never been to one. Would it be like the arena?”

"Well, mostly. The place is a 'no-questions-asked' rave where people go to let loose and have fun. Dancing, drinking, etc. There'll be people there like us who are outcasts from society in general." glances at Liz, "They'll be wearing what they want irregardless of what's fashionable." glances at Lorraine, "So there's no point in buying something that will make you more uncomfortable wearing it, if the point is to have fun."

"I just want to look... nice."