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the power of steam

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“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.” Kristen hisses, under her breath, and fiddles with her jacket. “I look ridiculous. ” She stands on the train platform, long prop rifle propped against one leg.

 

“You look awesome.” Sam replies. He won’t describe himself exactly as into this steampunk lark, but he does like the way it makes him feel. It’s almost badass. Almost. “Don’t you feel like you’re harking back to your theatrical roots?”

 

She shoots him a dirty look and hoists her rifle up. “I took one theatre class in uni. One.

 

“And I’m sure you were top of the class, like you always are.” 

 

“I mean- I was but- that’s not the point .” Kristen shoots him another dirty look. “You know, I was thinking about it for ages, and I’ve finally figured it out.”

 

“What?”

 

“You look almost exactly like Ernest Rutherford - if he had a monocle and looked a bit like a pirate.”

 

Wow, he’s almost chuffed at the comparison. Almost. He tips his hat to her, and drawls, “All science is either physics or stamp-collecting, milady.”

 

“Ugh, get out.” Kristen replies, but she’s laughing anyway, and that’s all that matters. “Is that a real Rutherford quote?”

 

“Yeah.” 

 

Kristen shifts her weight a little, just for a second, looking almost rueful. "This is very odd for me, Sam."

 

"I'm usually the one who wears all the costumes, you mean?"

 

"Yes, but-" She replies, but there's a note of hesitance in her voice. "I know I was... just mocking you, but I almost... like this costume? Thomasin Flint's really confident. I like how powerful she feels, how secure. Is that weird?"

 

He shrugs, and looks over at her. Yeah, she does look confident. Happy. There's none of the Kahu-driven annoyance he's seen in her eyes for the last few weeks. "Only if you make it weird? I get it, if that helps. Wilfr-"

 

But Cleo is striding towards them, looking irritated, all decked out in her steampunk gear, and he shushes herself.

“Are you two quite ready?” Cleo asks. She wears the steampunk gear far more comfortably than either of them ever will.

 

They both murmur general noises of affirmation.

 

“Good.” Cleo replies. “We’re about to call action. Do you remember what to do?”

 

“Of course… Steampunk Jones.” Sam replies, a smidge cheekily, because the whimsy of it all is very fun, even if everything else is a little bit weird. 

 

“Good.” Cleo says. “Make sure to hit your marks, Wilfred Lucke, Thomasin Flint.”

 

She walks off, dress swishing wildly behind her.

 

Kristen snorts. “Wilfred Lucke? Could you sound more like a character made up by a bad author?”

 

Well, that’s just insulting. Breen opens his mouth, ready to reply, but in the far distance, Poppy yells, “Camera!” 

 

There’s a general kerfuffle in the distance, and someone replies, “Rolling.”

 

“Sound?”

 

More kerfuffle. Breen briefly wonders if the crew knows what they’re doing, and then remembers he doesn’t really want to know. 

 

“Speed.”

 

“And… action! ” Poppy calls.

 

Within moments, Steampunk Jones is barreling towards them, her pistol drawn. “I’m here to end your crimes, Lucke and Flint! You will feel the wrath of Steampunk Jones!”

 

Kristen hoists her rifle up and yells, in a vague approximation of an English accent. “Not so fast, Steampunk Jones!” and she’s grinning broadly as she does, obviously genuinely having fun, looking more relaxed than she has in days.

 

Yeah, Breen still doesn't quite get steampunk, but if something like this makes Kristen feel happy, then surely it can't be all that bad.