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Boston, Saturday 16th July


The sun was high, the heat was high, the humidity was high. Plenty of fluids, sunscreen and shades were the order of the day. 


A tall, lanky girl dressed in baggy trousers and a crop top sat roasting in a park. She had an acoustic guitar on her knee, which she was strumming with considerable dexterity. She wasn't putting a lot of effort in - more of an idle strum, listening for new tunes, making up compositions, but the trained ear could tell she had remarkable skill with her fingerwork. Long, marfanoid fingers, bordering on the uncanny. The girl was maybe five nine, five ten, but even for that height her fingers looked about an inch too long for normal. 


The girl was Summer Sands. Olive skinned, brown eyed, long black hair without any style. One of those faces that was too odd to be beautiful, without being too weird to be ugly. A long face, with something wistful in her expression, something enigmatic in her style. 


She was, as they said, lost in music. 


She was also waiting for someone. Bernadette O'Connell


Aka the merely magnificent Multi-Girl...


Summer Sands wanted to enter the open mic upcoming talent show in Boston. And she had reached out to Bernadette. They both had the same music teacher. 


Summer had left Claremont two years ago. Summer was a T-Baby. 

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Bernadette O'Connell made her way into the park where she had arranged to meet Summer when the older girl had reached out to her. The red-headed eighteen year old was also nearly five foot ten, but where Summer was lanky, Bernadette had a slim athletic build from her years of playing lacrosse before her powers had manifested her Freshman year in high school. The Irish teen was dressed in a grey and black plaid mini-skirt with a simple white cropped tee with a pair of sunglasses.


As she made her way into the park, Bernadette's thoughts wandered to the unexpected message from Summer. The two had been in some music classes together during Bernadette’s first year at Claremont and they had some similar interests in music, they really had not gotten to know each other particularly well before Summer graduated.


Spotting Summer where she was seated in the sun playing her guitar and Bernadette started in that direction, glancing around slightly to see who was in the area. During her first year at Claremont, the Irish teen would have been much more nervous about being out in public like this given her general lack of control over her duplication powers at the time. Now, after two years at Claremont, the red-head had much greater control over her powers and confidence in controlling them.


"Hey Summer, how ye been?" Bernadette called out as she drew closer to where Summer was seated, the red-head’s slight Irish accent hard to miss.

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Summer stopped strumming, breaking out into an awkward smile. She didn't answer - not straight away, for that was not her nature. Instead, she put the guitar to one side, handling it with reverent care, and stood up, giving Bernadette an akward hug to match her awkward smile. 


Summer Sands had always been shy, and here she was, still shy as ever. 


"I've been ok. Trying to make it as a musician. Because... you know..."


Summer was a T-baby. She couldn't fire lightning bolts out of her eyes, or bend steel with her bare hands (or, as some were able to, just her thoughts). Instead, Summer had a relatively niche and peculiar ability. She could split her thin ten fingers into even thinner ones, giving her a total of sixteen fingers and four thumbs. Even more bizzare - she could then detatch some or all of her twenty digits and send them floating into the air to do her bidding. 


Summer "Fingers" Sands indeed. 


She was a skilled musician, but having such incredibly dexterous and multitudinous fingers made her even more so. She could pluck strings and hit notes in ways nobody else could. 


But alongside the strange gift came a nervous disposition. The world didn't like T babies, and if six fingers was the sign of a witch, then what was ten?


"Got to keep the pinkies hidden" she explained. "I mean, you know I can play with only ten, right? It's just... well, I get the urge to use more. Its like... playing with an itch on your nose..."


She sighed, looking downcast. 


It was a vexatious conundrum, and one Bernadette had heard before. Despite her shy nature, Summer was a talented musician and - if she could overcome her shy nature - a talented performer. 


To add poetic misery to the equation, Summer had one more minor ability, she could shine. Literally shine. She could illuminate the air around in her in sparkling colours. 


A guitarist with sixteen fingers, four thumbs, and her own inbuilt light show. What else could she be but an entertainer?


"How are you?" she asked Bernadette. "Ready for this? I can play anything you want..."

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Bernadette returned Summer's hug, although the red-head’s hug and smile was not nearly a awkward and much more confident. The Irish teen then gave a nod as Summer mentioned trying to find her way as a musician and the problems with being a T-Baby, something Bernadette knew all too well. Although neither of them were readily identifiable as T-Babies, both initially had problems with keeping their powers in check (which their times at Claremont had helped with). Of course, Bernadette could more easily pass off having a duplicate or two as being twins (or triplets) as opposed to Summer's much more bizarre abilities.


"I can imagine it is temptin'." The red-head responded to Summer’s comment about struggling with the desire to use her additional fingers to play her music. "Maybe someday ye can be in a position ta fully reveal yer ability."

"Just got ta get there first." Bernadette added with a playful smile.


"An' on that note…." The Irish teen added as her expression became thoughtful. "Probably as ready as I can be. Between the two of us we can handle whatever this competition throws at us."

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And so, later that day...


At the Irish Charm...


Well, it would be an Irish-themed pub, wouldn't it?


It was a big place, a crowded place, a hot stinking mess of a place. The crowds loved it. Many were dressed in Green and adopted faux irish accents. The landlord, a stout, short man with pale skin, orange beard and genuine authentic Irish accent had even taken to wearing a green hat. "The Leprachaun" they called him, although not to his face. He was a cantakerous old man who was handy with his fists and despised the whole Irish theme. But then, his hatred of the pub he had built was famous, and part of the attraction. 


"A whiskey. Double..." shouted Summer. She had to shout, for a rather bad Irish Folk band were currently on, to much cheering and mockery. 


"Ferking kids" grumbled the Leprachaun, rolling his eyes. "Pegged you down fer a Guiness. Like every other Irish wannabe..." he looked at Bernadatte, daring her to order a Guiness and conform to his stereotype. 


Summer gulped the double down in one shot, screwing up her face. "I hate whiskey. But... dutch courage eh...." she said, wisely putting the shot glass down and resolving to drink no further. 


"What are we playing? I can cover anything, you know" she said with some pride. "I thought a cover of Sunrise Dawn..."


Sunrise Dawn were a manufactured teen pop band, as bland and jolly and good looking as you could imagine. Their first Single, we are Sunrise Dawn, was storming the charts due to massive popularity amongst teenage girls. 


"...in the style of Blackhammer Bonesplinter" 


Whereas Blackhammer Bonesplinter were a dirty, offensive death metal band with a well deserved reputation for complex musicianship and guitar pyrotechnics. 



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Bernadette took the packed Irish pub as she and Summer made their way into the establishment. Looking about, the red-head tried to gage the crowd and what might peak their interests.

When the two girls reached the bar, the Irish teen smirked slightly at the owner’s comments about Summer’s request for a Guinness. When he looked her way, Bernadette did not hesitate in placing her order, "I'll 'ave a White Hag," she stated with her own authentic Irish accent, naming a craft beer from Ballymote.


Once she had the craft beer, the red-headed girl took a drink while she focused back on Summer and the discussion of what they should play. She blinked a moment at Summer's suggestion running through in her mind how the proposed mix of genre would sound.


"That's a pretty bold blend o' styles, but I think it might be a wee bit o' a contrast, even fer this lot." Bernadette gestured towards the raucous crowd with one thumb.

"How about we start with somethin' a bit less jarrin'? Like Bad Reputation, ala Avril Lavigne. An' assumin' that goes over well, then your idea?"

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Summer raised hey eyebrows and then looked down, chewing on the suggestion. "Less Jarrin'? I mean jarring? Yes, we can do that. I mean, you are doing me the favour here, it's your call.."


Her long, bony fingers writhed independtly. They had joints and tendons and muscles that laughed at the simplicity of the average finger. To Summer Sands, the average human hand was as dexterous as a dog paw. 


"Lets go backstage then, give us time to prepare?" she asked. "Unless you want some dutch courage yourself? I am buying..."


The bar was heaving. Drinks were everywhere, as was a drunken jocularity that preceded the progressively more toxic and maudlin stages of intoxication. Even the bouncers were smiling and bopping along to the bad Irish folk band. 


Across the bar, in a VIP session, sat a white haired man with an impressive white beard. He was short, stout, but had a kind of regal solidity to his build, mirrored by somewhat ostentatious archiac clothes - a purple waistcoat, sile white gloves, a monocle. Despite the anarchronism, he pulled it off. 

"They call him the Duke" said Summer. "He set up this competition. Some very odd characters have come, thats for sure. But I am sure you and I can win!"

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"I just figure we should start with somethin' that will more easily get a good reaction. Then we can go with yer idea o' pushin' the envelope an' show our range." Bernadette responded as the discussed her counter proposal to what they would play.


When Summer asked if she was ready to go back stage, Bernadette gave the older girl a grin before chugging what remained of her craft beer before putting the empty bottle down on the bar. "I'm ready now." She replied as the pair started backstage.


As they went, the red-headed Irish teen glanced over at the Duke as Summer pointed him out. "Well, now we know 'r true audience." She responded. "But I doubt we can win him over if we don' do well with the crowd."

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Backstage was hot and sweaty. The sweat was born not just of the heat, but by adrenaline. By nerves, excitement, trepidation. One young man had already fainted and cracked his skull. He was a good looking boy, and was already being tended by a couple of well intentioned young women. Well... intentioned young women, anyway. 


The Irish folk band had taken bows and headed off, to lukewarm applause. It was the kind of crowd who would give a goodhearted cheer to anybody bold enough to take the stage with a smile on the face. The atmosphere was tingling, positive - nobody was inclined to spoil the mood with a boo or hiss. Although a heckle might well be on the menu. 


Two punk girls with microphones and drums took the stage next, and started to belt out some interesting and aggressive music - it certainly was original, and whilst it relied more on spirit than technique, the attuned ear could tell they were actually able to sing and play. They started with a number called "Kiss my hiss" which had the crowd hissing along at the right moments. 


"Well this is it...." said Summer, her voice faint. She looked like she might pass out too. Her  mutation was bizzarre, her skill on the fretboard unmatched, but Summer "Fingers" Sand was no fighter. She didn't have the power, endurance or grit of Bernadette. 


"Are you ready?"


Maybe it was the stress of the environment. Maybe the heat, maybe the commotion...


...but Bernadette was aware of something... pulling her. Not physically - and certainly not a compulsion, or malevolant  mind control. Something very subtle, something that gently and innocuoulsy suggested she be here. 


Or more precisly, something that was pulling her double here, with Bernadette tagging along. 


This place was attracting duplicators!


Was Summer part of this spiritual seduction... she couldn't duplicate herself, but her fingers... ah yes her fingers! She could duplicate her fingers!

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Bernadette took a deep breath as she took in the heavy atmosphere that was backstage. Glancing at Summer and how she appeared almost on the verge of fainting, the Irish teen grabbed a bottled water from a table set up in the backstage area and held it out to the older girl. "Drink up, need ta be on top form." She stated with a smile.


Once Summer took the water Bernadette gave an affirmative nod to the question as to whether or not she was ready.


But even as she did, the redhead took a moment to look around the backstage area again as she felt the strange compulsion to create some of her duplicates. Resisting the urge, Bernadette frowned slightly as she wondered what could be causing this strange sensation. After two years hanging around Charlie, a slight bit of paranoia had rubbed off on the teen and she scanned the backstage area to see if anything seemed out of place.

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Summer nodded, cracking her knuckles. They made such a ripple of crackles, they were almost a percussion instrument in themselves. 'Twas amazing the utility of mutant fingers, if one stopped to consider it. 


But stopping they didn't have time for. 


The two punk girls, aka Riot and Ruin, were screaming and shouting and the whole stage was errupting. The punks had gone a step too far hurling abuse and obscenity at the crowd, and the bouncers had to step in. Quite a struggle, too. Both girls were hurling speakers and drums around, with a loud cacophony of crashes, and a small firework display as one amp caught fire. 


They were quickly bundled off, still fighting, whilst some of the crew put out the fire. 


"Get on, quick! Your next!" hissed the compare from the side of the stage. 


Across the backstage, Bernadette could see the Duke roll his eyes at the two punk girls, looking most displeased. He lit a cigarillo (in defiance of the pub rules) and sat back to study Bernadette and Summer, his nose upturned in regal confidence, and yet his smile rather generous. 


And now, the stage was empty, waiting for guitars and vocals to entertain a riotuous crowd...!

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Bernadette watched the situation with the two punk girls with a slight feeling of amusement, all the while she was fighting the urge to go out to try to help with the situation. Yet another result of the last two years at a school for superpowered teens and hanging around with several that often went out to use their powers to fight crime or otherwise help people. But the redhead remained where she was and resisted the urge to create some duplicates, just in case.


As the stage manager began to usher her and Summer out, clearly wanting to get things back under some semblance of control, Bernadette gave him a nod before glancing over to Summer and giving her a reassuring smile.


The Irish teen led the way out onto the stage as the stage crew managed to put out the fire and made her way up to the microphone in the center of the stage as Summer moved to get her guitar hooked up. As she waited for Summer to get ready, Bernadette looked out to over the crowd, flashing a dazzling smile. She noted the Duke's somewhat indifferent gaze (accompanied by a generous smile). Just ye wait. The redhead thought to herself.


As Summer began the first cords of Bad Reputation, Bernadette began bobbing her head to the beat as the removed the mike from the stand and started moving towards one side of the stage to the rhythm of the music.


I don't give a damn 'bout my reputation

Living in the past, it's a new generation

A girl can do what she wants to do and that’s what I'm gonna do


Bernadette began to sing as she danced around the stage, moving from one side to the other to the beat of the music and the lyrics. The redhead put her heart into the song, looking to draw the crowd into the feisty and fun nature of the song.

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Summer tapped, strummed, plucked and hammered the fretboard of her guitar. The song was no adorned with runs and clever harmonics. It was a performance that would have, on her own, given her a thunderous applause - perhaps even the crown of the night. 


But this was Bernadettes night. The crowd alternated between stunned silence and screams of adulation. This would be the show of the night - of the year - of the century!


And everyone knew it. The other contestants shook their heads and got their coats. The Duke rose to his feet = he was a short man, perhaps five six, but somehow he had the regal air that elevated him another six inches spiritually. 


He did something he had not done the whole night. He clapped. 


Encore! Shouted the crowd. Encore!


Even the bad tempered Leprachaun, stewing in his own bile at the bar, shouted Encore. 


Even the Duke shouted Encore. 


It was pure improvisation - matching a pop song with a heavy metal flavour. But somehow Summer pulled it off, exploding onto the stage with guitar pyrotechnics, grating sweeps and piercing pinch harmonics. 


But that was just the beginning... 


...how would Bernadette stun the crowd this time?



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Bernadette let the enthusiasm of the crowd wash over her as she finished out their first song. As the cheers for encore began, the Irish teen walked calmly toward the center of the stage again, the mike down by her side as she looked out over the crowd with a sly smile. Stopping just to one side of the center, she waited as Summer came out to join in the center and begin the bold fusion of two very different musical genres.


As Summer's bold guitar chords began, Bernadette tossed her long red hair around in wide circles a few times to the heavy metal laced pop beat. When she came to a halt, her thick hair was something of a wild, tangled mess, but that only went all too well with the current number.


After a few moments of Summer's explosive guitar work, Bernadette then began to sing once more. She began by pretty much singing the pop lyrics straight, while still somehow blending it to the heavy metal flavored beat. But then after a few lines, the Irish teen switched to a fully heavy metal inspired rendition of the lyrics. As she continued to switch between the two styles, Bernadette used it as an opportunity to better showcase more of her vocal range.


Just as she alternated singing styles, Bernadette's stage performance also varied. At times she mimicked the overly choreographed moves used by Sunrise Dawn in their music video, before abruptly changed to a head-banging, thrashing style that would carry her across the stage.

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The crowd blew the ceiling of the pub. They put their arms in the air, as if they did not care. Screams and silence ricocheted off the walls and into the street below. Outside faces pressed against the windows of the already over filled pub, trying to take a peek at the origin of the sonic spectacle. 


There was no doubt who would win. they had already won, bar the announcement. 


Stepping off the stage, the pair were met by the Duke, thumbs tucked into his waistcoat. 


"In all my years - and believe me, they are more than you would think - I have never seen such as display of theatre and music. I am impressed, and the greatest challenge of advancing years is to see something you have not seen before. Old patterns mutate, but they are still the old patterns. This was as fresh as a bed of roses. Bravo!"


Of course, the pair were jostled by new found fans and celebrants. A couple of quick witted folk were trying to get in quickly - offers of management or a record deal floated among the crowd. 


"This is proving to be an extraordinary night. More successful than I could have hoped for. But this is not the place for conversation. I have a private room and some champagne, if you would care to celebrate in a bit of privacy. Bring whatever new fans or friends you wish - I would just like a conversation and I can't hear myself think out here!"

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A wide smile was on Bernadette's face as they finished their last song. Stepping up next to Summer, the redhead wrapped her free arm around the other girl’s shoulders as they looked out at the cheering crowd together.

"Thank yea, this is Summer, an' I'm Bernadette, ye 'ave been a fantastic audience."


Releasing Summer, Bernadette gave waves to the crowd as she walked over to put the microphone back on its stand and started off stage. Knowing her hair was now a wild, chaotic mess, the Irish teem simply pulled it back into a ponytail as she and Summer stepped off stage and to the greetings and congratulations from those gathered back there, not the least of whom was the Duke himself.


"Thank yea. The inspiration was Summer's, I just helped in tha execution." The redhead responded to the Duke's praise in a confident tone while nodding in thanks to several of the well-wishers to either side. It was all a bit chaotic, and thankfully Bernadette was able to handle the jostling a bit better than most, using one hand to keep Summer steady beside her if necessary.


At the Duke's offer to move any further discussion to somewhere a bit more private, Bernadette glanced over to Summer, the redhead's expression indicating she was willing to accept the invitation if Summer was.

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Summer nodded. For all her incredible dexterity and musical acumen, for all her exuberance on the stage, she was awkward and shy. Now she wasn't performing, it looked like she was floundering in the attention, the crowd, the heat. More than floundering - drowning. 


The Duke took her hand and she held it like a life raft. He lead her through the crowds to the VIP suite backstage. Although Bernadette and Summer could still hear the applause, the din of the crowds, it was muted here. 


The Duke had decorated his room elegantly, a few trappings to tell a tale of his background, his nature. A couple of books on the law, on the occult, and on genetic biochemistry - this was a man of wide interests, it seemed. A hat, a coat - purple, aged, well maintained. Some tupilps flowering in water. A bottle of champagne that he dutifuly opened, and poured into crystal glasses. 


He offered one each to Bernadette and Summer, drinking none for himself. He seemed more intent on admiring and studying the two of them. For her part, Summer took the glass and drank. Her hand shook slightly - adrenaline at work. 


"Now, ladies, you must tell me. From whence comes your musical gifts? Beethoven himself would be turning green with envy, methinks..."

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Bernadette followed along with Summer and the Duke, thankful they would be getting away from crowds that were overwhelming Summer.


When the entered the Duke's room, the redhead walked slowly around the edge of the room, looking over the decorations and books within the room. Once again, too much time around Charlie had rubbed off on the teen.


Turning back to their host as he came forward with two glasses of champagne, Bernadette took the one offered to her before moving over to stand near Summer.


"Well… fer meself, I've always been able ta carry a tune, so ta speak." She began taking a brief sip before continuing on. "Growin' up, I had some singin' classes, but never quite focused on it, due ta money an' other things."

"Then two years ago I got the opportunity ta attend Claremont Academy down in Freedom City, where Summer was already a student." Bernadette gestured to the other girl. "We were both in music classes an' the music club together fer her last year an' I have continued with that last year. That opportunity really helped refine whatever natural talent I might have had."

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The Duke stroked his elegant white beard, contemplating Bernadette with small and deep eyes. 


"I should say refined is an understatement. There is something celestial about your voice. Celestial and Infernal too - after all what really is the difference?"


He turned to  Summer, studying her fingers. "And you?"


Summer cracked her fingers and shrugged. "Just a gift... and practice...."


The Duke continued stroking his beard and studying the two. "Claremont academy you say? The prep school? Interesting. I have heard many rumours about it. I do hope they are true!"


He smiled - it looked like a full, genuine smile. 


"I shouldn't be pressurising you. But you are both sparkling delights. If you could ah... how would you put it..." he tapped his fingers. "Dare to show your other talents, this evening would be the greatest in the century!"


His eyebrows raised in humour and appreciation, wiggling with anticipation. 


Summer Sands looked at Bernadette for the lead, wriggling and squirming with the prospect. 

Edited by Supercape
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"I hope there is nothin' infernal about it, otherwise me mum will disown me." Bernadette replied with a small smirk at the Duke’s comment.


However, her expression became more serious as he turned to their attendance at Claremont Academy and having suspicions about its true nature. If it had not been for that context, the request he made to them could easily be taken in a very different light. In some ways, it would almost be easier to deal with if he had been making such a lecherous request.


Glancing over to Summer, Bernadette could see the older girl seemed almost excited about being able to revel her abilities, but was waiting to see how the Irish teen reacted.

Focusing back on the Duke for a moment, the redhead studied him a bit, trying to discern if there was any malicious intent. It seemed he was genuinely interested in the two girls and learning about them had no ill will (at least that Bernadette could detect).

So, while a part of her was screaming it was a bad idea, Bernadette gave a small smile as two identical copies of herself popped into existence next to her. "Not exactly an' earth shatterin' ability, but I can create duplicates o' meself."


"Useful if I want ta field an' entire lacrosse team on my own." Added one of the duplicates.

"An' allows me ta provide me own backup singers as well." Stated the second.

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The duke clapped his hands in delight. "Bravo! So the rumours are true! I suspected as much! Quite the smorgesbord of talent you have there, madam! I can only imagine the sound of a choir of you. A choir! The harmonies! I would pay good money to hear that!"


He tapped his chin twice, bringing up the sound in his imagination. 


"Yes indeed. And as it turns out I have a lot of money. Some of it good, some of it bad. But it all pays the bills!" he added, with a wink. 


"I could fly you both to the Sistene Chapel! Can you imagine the sound? I would get on my knees and pray, so I would..."


He shook himself out of his vision. 


"Now tell me, why did you come? There is something about this whole event that has some curious magnetism, does it not? Speak plain and true, now. I have felt. Like an itching in my heart. Something that needs to be scratched..."

Edited by Supercape
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"I 'ave sung in an' abandoned church before with some duplicates, it does sound pretty good." Bernadette replied with a small smirk as she reabsorbed her two duplicates once again. She chuckled slightly amused as the Duke was momentarily lost in thought about a performance in the Sistine Chapel might sound like.


At his question, the redhead gave a small shrug. "Ta be honest, Summer had asked me ta join her. She has been tryin' ta get started as a musician an’ thought this could be a good steppin' stone.I have been thinkin' some about what I goin' ta do in a year when I finish at Claremont, so seemed like a good idea."

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"Ah yes, do forgive me, madam. Summer, is it? And well you are named, because you are like sunshine painted onto a Turnereaque sky. Quite wonderful. Now, forgive my fabulous fascination, but.. Claremont, is it? What can you do?"


Summer blushed, and held out both hands. In but the bat of an eye, the fingers split in 'twain and she held twenty digits aloft. The Duke raised his eyebrows. 


In another moment, the fingers came off her hands, spiralled around Summer and Bernadette and the Duke himself, and then promptly reattached themselves to her hands. 


This time the Duke gasped and clapped his hands. 


"Magnificent! Why, you two will be the musical duo of the age - I am quite sure. Tell me, have you any thought to what you might call yourself? Perhaps you need a percussionist, or a piano master! Why, I have been known to dabble on the ivory myself, quite the amateur, though hahaha!"



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Bernadette turned toward Summer as well when the Duke focused back on the shy young woman. The redhead gave Summer a supportive smile, allowing the other girl to demonstrate her very unusual abilities at her own pace.


When the display was finished and the Duke again clapped in excitement, Bernadette gave a small shrug at the question about what name they might use. "We have na really talked about what we might call ourselves. So, somethin’ we will want ta work on."


"As fer a drummer or other accompanists, that is somethin' we can sort out."

She paused a moment and looked back at the Duke with a serious expression. "But . . . is the world really ready fer performers with abilities such as ours?"

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The Duke drummed his chin with short fingers - not a pianists fingers, the astute might note, but perhaps they were sufficiantly nimble to dance around the keyboard. Fall all his portly, short build, the Duke seemed to have an air of elegant grace. A dancer, perhaps?


"I do not know if it is ready for you. But perhaps you are the ones to make it ready?" he concluded, wearing a thoughtful smile. 


"I would offer to be your patron, but alas, as much as I appreciate music, I have no head for business, law, administration. Pfft! Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork! The bane of the twentieth century. And now, I hear we have spreadsheets on computers! Woe! Lamentations! Wretched computers compounding the misery!"


He shook his head. 


"No, I am a scientist, an artist, a philosopher! A man of the Renaissance! I will not drown my sould in paperwork!" he said with defiance and pride. 


He sighed, shoulders sagging. 


"But alas, I am depleted of energy. Not the man I was, I daresay. I need something to rejuvinate me. Maybe you!... but I digress.... there is something more important afoot..."


Bernadette felt it again, that spike in the ether, that pulling. 


"Beyond my scientific mind" explained the Duke. "Something attracting me, like a black hole, tugging at my spirit. Something in the music? Can you feel it? What do you make of it? Did you come here of your own free will, or... something else? Maybe something pulled you in, something unconscious... hmmm...."

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