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Champagne Shenanigans [IC]

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6th November, 7:00 p.m.

The butlers and caterers were ready, the drinks plentiful, and the entertainment varied and, well, hopefully entertaining.

Felix Fassbinder wandered around his mansion doing a few last minute inspections, and the very rare adjustment. He had always liked a party, and didn't really need an excuse to throw a wild one now and again.

At the mansion gates, a few maids, in slightly saucy outfits stood ready to greet the guests, armed with champagne glasses and bottles of excellent vintage. A jazz-classical fusion three piece string group, in black tie were sprucing up a selection of classical music. The mansion was illuminated and laser lights played across the sky. A small gambling table offering black jack, poker, and craps had been erected in the main hall.

Felix was dressed in a magnificent dinner jacket with the colours reversed - white jacket, trousers, and bow tie, and jet black bow tie.

He fingered one of the invitations, in gold print...

Autumnal Celebrations

F. Fassbinder cordially invites you to an evening of music, champagne, entertainment, and celebration at his Mansion. Come on over and enjoy yourself for one wild night!

V.I.P. and 18+ Only

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The Hughes family had been delighted to receive the invitation. It was just what they needed to settle into the high end of the business world here in Freedom City!

Well, Corbin wasn't nearly as excited, and there was that pesky age limit, but it didn't take his parents long to figure out how to fudge his age a bit. He was a mature 17-year-old, they knew he wouldn't touch alcohol anyways, and he was always big for his age (standing about a head above both of his parents) anyways.

So, they went out to buy some new formal wear. Corbin at least managed to talk them into letting him customize a bit...

Corbin's slightly non-traditional outfit featured a black mandarin collar jacket, a white banded collar shirt, a dark blue vest, a basic black button cover (1 at the neck, and 1 each on the buttons at the ends of his sleeves), basic black dress pants, fairly comfortable shoes, a plain black belt...with an unusual buckle. The buckle had taken the most haggling. But Corbin's parents wanted him at the party (to "experience what it's like to meet potential business partners in this environment" and such), and he was reluctant to go (and to lie about his age). So they compromised.

His father had a classic cut black and white tuxedo on, and his mother had a elegant, conservative, maroon dress that, while not the "flashiest", still complimented her appearance well.

They made it through the initial door check for things like age with no troubles, Corbin not showing the slight nerves he experienced as that went on. They then arrived at the door to the main hall, where a man in formal wear was waiting. He raised an eyebrow at Corbin's non-traditional style, then spoke.

"I will announce you as you come in. May I have your names, please?"

Names were given, and the door was opened, the man stepping into the hall slightly, and raising his voice.

"Now entering: Mr. Albert Hughes, Mrs. Sarah Hughes, Mr. Corbin Hughes."

The announcer stepped back into the hallway, shutting the door behind him. Smiles on their faces (fake that some might be), the family proceeded into the party.

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Felix went out to the hallway. Some dribs and drabs had arrived. Nobody really important, but enough that the band were playing, drinks had been poured, and conversations started. The party was not warm, but it was warming up.

Aha, the Hughes family!

He had had some superficial dealings with them in the business world. Very competent business people, both husband and wife. He had thought about head hunting them for Fassbinder pharmaceuticals. Maybe I still will said the businessman in him. He didn't know them all that well personally, but he had heard good words.

Walking over to them, he took Mr. Hughes by the hand and gave his wife a slightly saucy peck on the cheek. "Why Mrs. Hughes! You look ravishing! almost as handsome as your husband!" he joked with a twinkle in his eye.

"And I would Imagine this is your son? I had no idea he was 18 allready!" he continued, shaking hands with Corbin. "Felix Fassbinder" he said, introducing himself.

"Champagne?" he asked, clicking his finger at a waitress who came with three full glasses.

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Albert smiles and shakes Felix's hand, giving him a wink and leaning over for his own peck on his wife's cheek.

"I lucked out, Mr. Fassbinder; she brings beauty and brains into the relationship. I only bring in the brains."

Sarah just shakes her head at the two men, slipping her left arm inside Albert's right.

"I think we both lucked out, Albert. We just need to figure out where our son got his height from. And Felix, thank you for inviting us; I know we're new to the scene, so I was worried it would be a while before we could get to know some of our compatriots...and competitors."

She gave Felix her own wink as she and her husband accepted champagne glasses.

Corbin, meanwhile, had been wracking his brain for what he could remember on Felix Fassbinder. Unfortunately, he could only recall the man's name, and the name of his large and successful company: Fassbinder Pharmaceuticals. He smiled and offered his hand to Mr. Fassbinder.

"You know how time flies, sir. It's a pleasure to meet you, thank you for having us. I'll skip the champagne, though. Not to my taste."

Not to mention he wasn't even 18, let alone 21.

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"Ah yes, of course!" replied Felix "and please, don't call me Sir! makes me feel old, and the night is still young!"

Passing a flute of champagne to Corbin's parents, he continued "So, what are you up to, son? following in your parents footsteps? I could use those to brains in my own company, truth be told. If you have any of their business sense, I could probably use yours too!"

He nodded at a few more guests, raising his champagne glass at them. A couple of B-grade hollywood actresses (all shoes, short skirts, and a little too much make up), A senator (eyeing up the previous), a rock star with several young attractive lady friends, and a businessman (with what was quite possibly a female hired for the evening to make him look younger). Felix didn't really approve, but he had lived for long enough amongst this world that he accepted it too.

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Corbin smiled slightly at the insistence to "not call him sir". When Felix asked what his plans were, the smiles on his parents' faces went...somewhat brittle.

"I'm...keeping my options open. While the business world has a certain level of appeal to me, I also have found I have a deep passion for history. I'm currently looking into what it takes to become an archeologist. A real one, who would be officially recognized, rather than some of the more...amateur...investigators out there."

He gave a crooked smile.

"I've been interested long enough that I worked at picking up a few languages, just to read some of the original material from the various areas I study."

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I hate this.

In a long, trailing red gown that not incidentally hid the lines of her body well enough to conceal the tentacles wrapped around her midsection, Joan Collier stood patiently in line and wished she was anywhere else. Snobby society parties, servants dressed like French maids from a fetish catalog...why am I here again? Oh, right, because she'd made that stupid bet on the World Series with Fletch Beaumont and she'd lost. Now here she was, doing the society gig, while Fletch took the usual society reporter for a romantic getaway in the Hamptons. What is this, 1940? Women on the society beat indeed. But she kept a pretty smile on her face and kept her eyes open, mindful of the story.

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It had been a while since Etain had attended a party, though she did not miss the dancing, she missed greatly the opportunities to play music along with the bands. Though she did not know if that was allowed here because Ms. Cynthia had told her it was a very different type of party. Mr. Franklin had been the one invited and they were attending as there guests, though Etain was technically too young, she had been curious about the event and Ms. Cynthia said that they need not mention her age while they were there.

They arrived in one of the larger vehicles they generally had and was met at the steps. Etain was dressed in one of her favorite party dresses with a brass butterfly necklace and her hair tied up and held back with several matching clips. Her shoes were lightly colored slippers that were barely visible under the skirt of the dress. Ms. Cynthia's hair was in a neat bun, and she was wearing a shiny spring green evening gown of modern styling with one thick green strap holding it up at the shoulder and a darker green scarf wrapped around her and she had her arm on Mr. Franklin who had stuck to a navy blue suite and white undershirt but had a green tie that matched her dress.

As they were announced by the people at the front Etain spent a few seconds sweeping the room, was several servers, but there were also a band. They looked like they were having fun. She saw several other people too, some other woman around a some guy whom she did not recognize, an older man who was looking at some girls in rather immodest outfits, and out of the corner of her eye a splash of blue that faded slightly with movement. Ms. Cynthia did not miss her almost immediate stop at this place and passed her quietly,

"It looks like that's the host, should we say hello."

Smiling quietly she let the two of them take lead.

Franklin Fidei saw this as an excellant idea as he moved towards the crowd. He was a high ranking business partner in a furniture company that dealt heavily in refinishing antieques and talking with a chemical company owner would be a great business endeavor. Cynthia did not acknowledge the connection, but found that the action made both her companions happy as she got closer and her date opened with his arm held out,

"Good evening to you Mr. Fassbinder,"

Looking towards the other people he was talking to he also added,

"Ohh and good evening to you as well, I'm Franklin Fidei of Setanta Imports and this is my date the lovely Cynthia Fowler, and this is her niece Etain."

Etain kept close behind and waited for her to be introduced as well, and when it came she gave a nice smile and a curtsy that was so graceful it didn't seem possible in such a layered dress.

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"Delighted to meet you, all, especially the beautiful Etain!" replied Felix. Giving her a peck on the back of the hand.

"Will you excuse me one moment young man?" asked Felix of Corbin, spotting the remarkable Ms. Collier amongst the guests queuing up. He called over the rock star, a man named "Sleaze McRock", who sauntered over, still wearing his shades over his eyes and two groupies on either arm.

"Please meet my young friend Corbin Hughes" he said, and, turning to Corbin, said introduced the rocker to Corbin, whispering in his ear "sing's like a drowning cat if you ask me, but he is cunning as a fox, knows how to play the crowd and the business. Quite a sharp mind, as long as he dosen't indulge to much. "

Grabbing a champagne flute, he rushed over to Ms. Collier, and pulled her out of the queue.

"Madam, you simply must join the party!" he insisted, pressing the drink into his hand. He wasn't overly fond of journalists, as a rule, but this lady was of course something of a star. "We have an indoor heated pool and jacuzzi inside, perhaps you may like to relax there later, once the party gets going?" he winked at her good naturedly.

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"Dr. Estelle de Havilland."

Was it strange that she was used to being announced when she entered a room? Certainly it wasn't normal; at least it hadn't gone so far that she expected to hear it whenever she entered a Starbucks. Such idle thoughts were dismissed as her sharp eye began to scan the room, looking for rivals, enemies and friends.

Rather than put her hair up in some sort of elaborate arrangement, she'd opted for her traditional long braid down her back; since her hairstyle was simple, she felt comfortable selecting a black-and-white patterned dress she'd been eager to try on. Her jewelry and shoes were elegant and understated, since the dress really did all the talking. Taking an offered flute of champagne with an appreciative smile, she noticed Felix Fassbinder talking with a several guests. Not wanting to interrupt her host, she positioned herself within his eyeline but several feet back, sipping her champagne and waiting for him to finish.

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Fusion gave the bon vivant older man a hard look before Joan judged that Felix was just flirting with her. Looking down at the chemical magnate, she said with a distinct smile, showing teeth, "You first, Mr. Fassbinder." She took a drink, trusting her hardened constitution to protect her from the effects of weak alcohol. She had to drink the hard stuff to get really hammered these days. She fought the urge to shove her wedding ring in the guy's face, never liking the idea of hiding behind her marriage as a way of discouraging certain types of men. Especially the certain types of men she couldn't discourage too hard as long as they were actually behaving themselves. "Or is that something you prefer to leave up to your staff?" she asked innocently.

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"Oh don't mind me, I'm just a foolish old man!" replied Felix, disarmingly. "But you never know, I may join you for a little dip later on. I can still do a mean breast stroke" he laughed, hoping the journalist would loosen up.

"Come on in, join the party, have some fun! and do drink the champagne, my dear, it is a most excellent vintage. I'm sure there are various people you want to mingle with for your magazines and articles and so on, but its just as much about you and letting your hair down!"

He put his arm round her and smiled for a hired cameraman who took a shot of them.

"And speaking of letting ones hair down, I must briefly excuse myself" he said, wandering over to the long haired Dr de Havilland.

"Good evening, so glad you could make it!" said Felix, pecking her cheek. "Felix Fassbinder at your service. What a delight it is to have you here!" he snapped his fingers as another slightly saucy waitress came with some caviar.

"Would you care for some caviar with your champagne?"

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Out front, a white Audi Q7 Limousine had pulled up, with the ArcheTech logo emblazoned on the sides. Several of the paparazzi outside flocked to it, hoping to see who was within. Doktor Archeville was expected, but who would he be with? The veritable amazon, Fulcrum, whom he had been romantically linked with for months? Or someone else?

Oh, this is so exciting! I have not been to a function like this since The Event, so now I can finally enjoy it without worry!

"Shall we?," he asked his companion, offering a hand as he opened the door.

The camera flashes were blinding as they exited, but they went at a steady pace to the main doors. "Doktor Archeville, does Fulcrum know what you did at Oktoberfest!" "Doktor, any truth to the rumors your company is experimenting on confiscated Grue corpses?" "Doktor Archeville, is it true ArcheTech intends to purchase Fassbinder Pharmaceuticals?" "Doktor, who is-"

He paused at the doors, and turned back to the crowd, showing off his stylish new black tuxedo. "My, my, what a wide array of rumors! You will get answers soon enough, at the next ArcheTech press conference, scheduled for the end of the month!"

The Doktor and his companion entered, and exchanged brief words with the announcer.

"Now entering: Herr Doktor Viktor Archeville, Miss Americana."

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"Shall we?," he asked his companion, offering a hand as he opened the door.

"I'd be delighted." Miss Americana took the good doctor's hand to allow him to help her from the car, decorously arranging her dress as she stepped out onto the low heels she'd chosen so as not to overwhelm her escort for the night. As a superheroine with no secret identity, she'd chosen to attend in her signature colors, though certainly not in her typical uniform. A shimmering dress of deep red clung to her every curve, the neckline skirting just high enough to remain classy while inviting minds to wander, the skirt down almost to her ankles, but slit nearly to her thigh for ease of movement. White diamonds burned and sparkled at her wrist and ears, while a diamond necklace with a sapphire pendant provided the requisite blue.

With her blond hair curled and pinned up artfully, she looked far more like a supermodel than a scientist, but that was all part of the plan. There was a certain amount of socializing and political maneuvering required for a company like ArcheTech to stay on top of the scientific heap. She was happy to do her part to make that socializing go as smoothly as possible. Giving the doctor, and then their audience, a brilliant smile, she stepped into the party with him.

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"Good evening to you Mr. Fassbinder,"

Looking towards the other people he was talking to he also added,

"Ohh and good evening to you as well, I'm Franklin Fidei of Setanta Imports and this is my date the lovely Cynthia Fowler, and this is her niece Etain."

Etain kept close behind and waited for her to be introduced as well, and when it came she gave a nice smile and a curtsy that was so graceful it didn't seem possible in such a layered dress.

Albert and Sarah Hughes smiled and shook hands, introducing themselves to the newcomers. They turned to introduce Corbin....

"Will you excuse me one moment young man?" asked Felix of Corbin, spotting the remarkable Ms. Collier amongst the guests queuing up. He called over the rock star, a man named "Sleaze McRock", who sauntered over, still wearing his shades over his eyes and two groupies on either arm.

"Please meet my young friend Corbin Hughes" he said, and, turning to Corbin, said introduced the rocker to Corbin, whispering in his ear "sing's like a drowning cat if you ask me, but he is cunning as a fox, knows how to play the crowd and the business. Quite a sharp mind, as long as he dosen't indulge to much. "

Corbin nodded and whispered back.

"Uh, thanks, I suppose."

He turned and smiled at Sleaze, then turned to greet Fidei, Fowler, and Etain.

"Nice to meet all of you. Etain, nice to see you again."

His carefully schooled expression hopefully communicated that Etain needed to watch what she said regarding school. Corbin then turned back to Sleaze.

"Mr. McRock, nice to meet you as well. How long have you been in the music business?"

Corbin attempts to keep one eye on the rocker and one on his parents and the other guests. He generally succeeds.

Albert turns back to Franklin.

"So, Franklin, what do you do around Freedom City? I mean, what field does your company work in?"

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Estelle beamed appropriately at her host and responded with a quick peck of her own. "Thank you so much for inviting me, Felix! An excellent turnout, from the look of things." She accepted a bit of Beluga, which she nibbled delicately. "Mmm, delicious, thank you!"

Hearing Dr Archeville's name announced, she turned to see the brilliant polymath enter with...Miss Americana, from the brunch!

"Goodness, that Viktor moves fast; such a naughty one!"

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"Indeed!" agreed Felix, smiling. "I think I shall have to greet them, excuse me one moment, madam!"

He strode over to the couple, not recognising, but certainly admiring Miss Americana. The Doctor, he did recognise. Perhaps he had drunk a little to much wine tonight, but his normally sharp mind was struggling to remember all the recent news on the Doc and his company. Wasn't he looking to expand or something?

"Good evening and welcome!" he enthused, as the waitresses plied the couple with champagne.

"Delighted to meet you both... Miss... and Doctor... I really must have a chat with you sometime about some business. But lets not spoil the evening. For now, come in, welcome, and please mingle!"

"You must excuse me for now, I have some of the nights entertainment to attend to".

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Taking a step towards him and the other guess that had been passed over to Corbin by the host she made room for Mr. Franklin and Ms. Cynthia to talk to what looked to be his parents,

"I deal in antique furniture mostly, it takes me a good bit of places, mostly around Europe,"

"I'm a historian who researches myths and folklore, it's surprising how much the two professions actually intersect because of the stories some items tend to garner over time."

"It is very nice to see you Corbin, as well as you Mr. McRock."

It was an unusual sounding name, looking at him he didn't seem like a famous person so much. Corbin was much more handsome then him, but he did say he was in music,

"I very much like music myself, though I have not been able to play since I came here. I have been so busy with school and such."

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Not long after the limo is moved from the front entrance, a loud roar can be heard approaching the mansion, and with it, a blazing streak rocketing across the night sky. It comes to a halt right above the entrance to the mansion, with an impressive boom accompanying it. Where the streak stops, a figure can be seen in mid-spin, righting and slowing itself just a bit, as a twirl of fabric stripes spin, before the figure rockets to the ground, and impact of its landing kicking up a gust, momentarily sending a wave of air through the crowd of paparazzi trying to protect their cameras.

At the moment of the landing, the figure now there was kneeling from the impact, a pair of rather long coattails wafting back down by gravity. Finally he stands, and there, wearing a jet-black suit, the v from the neck showing a black shirt beneath with no tie, stood Lance Factor, also known as Victory, AEGIS' newest public face, as he brushes the coattails back. Keeping one hand in his coat pocket, he uses the other to make sure his blonde hair all stayed swept back, and walks over to the front door, putting his metallic hand palm-up, showing a hologram of the invite, with his name on it. As he walks, the paparazzi have recovered from the impact, and have wasted no time snapping off picture after picture from an entrance like that.

"I trust this is the right place?"

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"Victory!" Miss Americana said warmly, turning to greet him with a kiss on the cheek. "It's so lovely to see you here," she told him as the photographers snapped their pictures. "I had no idea you'd be coming tonight, but that was quite an entrance you made. You know Doctor Archeville, of course," she added, nodding to her companion. "We'll have quite a little enclave of science here tonight, which will be wonderful if things start to get dull." She laughed and went inside then, out of the reach of most of the cameras, anyway.

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As he walks in, Victory sees Miss A coming to greet him, and responds with a big smile. "Hey there! I wasn't entirely sure if I wanted to be here, but since you're here,too, I'm glad I came! And you're looking absolutely fantastic , as always." He leans down a bit so she can give him the kiss on the cheek, as he takes his "normal" hand out of his pocket and wraps the arm around her in a friendly hug. "I appreciate the compliment. Admittedly, it's much easier to make a big entrance when you have rockets for feet. Don't need to rent a limo or anything!"

He nods, letting her go so she can head off, and extends his hand to Archeville. "Ah, yes. It was a great honor meeting you at the event you hosted, Doctor. I just wish I knew enough about the science behind everything going on with me so I could've pitched some ideas, too."

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Felix was talking to the firework display company when he first heard, and then saw, Victories descent. The cyborg needed a night off, he thought, hoping he was going to be on full government duty. Those secret service agent fellows were always a little to stiff, and on occasion a little to perceptive.

Mind you the entrance had been spectacular. Maybe Victory had a little bit of "show off" inside him?

That gives me an idea!

Walking back to Doctor and Miss A, and giving the latter a blown kiss (with a wink), he came up to Victory.

"Impressive entrance!" he said, clapping his hands. "So glad you can make it! champagne? I hope it doesn't interfere with all that wonderful steel gadgetry and technowizardry!"

He congratulated victory with a friendly pat on the shoulder. "That really was something special, your entrance! How fast was that ladies and gentlemen?" he continued, to a wider audience, and gave another smile to the camera who papped the foursome. There was another round of applause for Victory.

"I don't suppose you would care to give us a little show later?" he asked in a lower volume, privately. "Having some fireworks later, and if you fancy zipping through the display it would so cool!"

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Ah, the host himself! So prompt!

Archeville firmly shook Felix's hand when he introduced himself, and smiled warmly. "Thank you for the invite, Herr Fassbinder! I must say, this is an outstanding estate you have here!" He took the champagne from the waitress, but did not drink, instead merely holding it.

Is that what I looked like at the Brainiac Brunch, running around greeting everyone?

Victory's arrival grabbed the super-scientist's attention, partly because he was glad to see another familiar face. "A pleasure to see you again, too," he replied, shaking the cyborg's hand. "As for knowing more about science, well, I am sure Doktor Volk can help you. Ah, will she be joining us this evening?"

When Felix returned, Archeville took the time to glance about the room. Well, to an outsider, it appeared he was merely glancing over the room, but for him, it was a detailed look at everyone and everything within his sweeping field of vision.

Oh, there is Dr. Estelle de Havilland! And Joan Collier! Oh, I do hope Mona is able to make it!

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Victory shakes his head as he does the same with Dok's hand. "Unfortunately, no. She's apparently putting the finishing touches on some kind of new piece of equipment. She wouldn't say much about it, except that I'll be quite happy with it. But she does send her greetings."

Almost as soon as he's done shaking hands with Archeville, he finds himself immediately greeted by their host. As he turns to greet him, he does have to admit that it seemed his big entrance did what it was supposed to. And then some, apparently. "Mr. Fassbinder, I presume? Quite a party you've got going. And thank you, I most certainly will have some champagne."

When Felix pats Victory on the shoulder, he could likely feel the plates of metal beneath, although the jacket softens the feeling a bit. Looking over to the cameras as they take more shots of the group, he can't help but feel a bit overwhelmed. Sure, he gets this sort of attention while going out and doing his heroics, but this sort of function is a whole different beast. And he doesn't have his helmet on, either.

At Felix's request, Lance quirks an eyebrow. "Really? I mean, I'm certainly willing to, but I don't have any routine or anything in mind. But if you can get me to talk with whoever sets up those sorts of things, I'll be willing to give it a shot."

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"Excellent!" replied Felix. "I don't exactly know what your capabilities are, of course. But the bigger the display, the more you can show off that super technology of yours heh? How about some firecrackers in your hands whilst you do it? or some flares on your boots? Have a word with my guys. Hey, you never know, maybe the good Doctor himself can strap you up with something extra special for the show?"

He gave a wink to the Doctor and in fluent German continued,

""

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