Second Fiddles

Episode 20 – Chameleon

July 21, 2022 Second Fiddles Season 2 Episode 7
Second Fiddles
Episode 20 – Chameleon
Show Notes Transcript

Sophia wakes up from stasis and gets to know Chameleon, the shapeshifting sidekick.

20 - Chameleon

SOUND: MUSIC FADE IN

MAX
Episode 20, Chameleon.

SOUND: AIR WHOOSHING AND STASIS POD OPENING UP

SOPHIA
-A cat. Eliot is not a dog! Hello. You are not Tammy.

CAM
I am not. Name’s Cam. Short for Chameleon. Which is me. I’m Chameleon. Good morning, Recall! Did you enjoy your super long slumber?

SOPHIA
Is it morning? I have no sense of time. Also, I am nauseated.

CAM
Heck if I know! There’s no point in measuring things with earth-time anymore. Oh, and there’s a bin over here if you need to hurl. I was feeling a little pukey when I woke up, too. Luckily, we have artificial gravity, or else we’d have puke floating around the spaceship.

SOPHIA
It’s nice to see you, Cam. You did not need to introduce yourself, we have worked together in the A-league for years. And please, while we’re traveling together, call me Sophia.

CAM
Sophia. Sooo-phia. Sounds good! When I woke up, my memory was kinda fuzzy, so I thought it might help. Obviously I didn’t think of your power helping you stay sharp. Here, let me help you up. Your legs will be a little wobbly.

SOPHIA
Oh, thank you.

CAM
You steady?

SOPHIA
I think so.  How long have you been awake?

CAM
About two days. I was supposed to wake you up yesterday, but I was trying to figure out what happened with your transport. Something went wrong. 

SOPHIA
Went wrong? What are you referring to? I don’t appear to be missing any limbs.  What about my sidekick, Lullaby? Is she awake?

CAM
Ya see, that’s the problem.

SOPHIA
Problem? Where’s Ren?

CAM
I don’t think your sidekick made it, Sophia.

SOPHIA
Please be direct and specific. I do not care for vague statements during times of stress. Did Ren survive the teleportation process?

CAM
She’s not here.

SOPHIA
Not here, as in, her body was broken apart into individual atoms as she was teleported, thus ending her life? Or not here, as in, I was the only one who made the trip?

CAM
Okay. So, I don’t actually know. Her pod looks empty, but the bio-signs are telling me otherwise. Her file says she has the ability to make people fall asleep with her voice. Whoever’s in this pod is either telepathically masking their appearance, or they’re invisible.

SOPHIA
Let me see. Or, I suppose, let me not see. This pod here?

CAM
No, that was mine. The other one.

SOPHIA
Ah, yes. Give me a moment.

SOUND: BLEEPS AND BLOOPS OF FUTURISTIC KEYBOARD ENTRY

SOPHIA
You are correct. This is not Lullaby.

CAM
Do you have any idea who it is?

SOPHIA
Yes, it is my new friend, Elijah. You may know him as ID, or Invisidude.

CAM
I’ve heard of him, but we’ve never met. He works for Annie Conda, right?

SOPHIA
Not any more. He is currently working for… someone I shouldn’t tell you about.

CAM
Okay, you’re gonna have to give me a little more than that. Like, why is he here?

SOPHIA
He was in the room with me when I was teleported. The teleportation system, or whoever was operating it, must have locked onto him by mistake.

CAM
It wasn’t a tech malfunction, we were beamed up here by a sidekick named Passport.

SOPHIA
Ah, yes, I know who he is. I was only aware of his ability to teleport himself or one other person at a time, not multiple someones. I wonder if he overextended his powers, causing this erroneous… error.  I’m sorry, this is a lot to take in.

CAM
I get it. Not having your sidekick with you for this must be a huge letdown.

SOPHIA
Yes. That’s part of my disappointment, but I’m also considering the other dominoes that may potentially fall because of this.

CAM
Such as?

SOPHIA
As you have most likely been informed, Smasher is my father. Yes?

CAM
Yeah, I was briefed.

SOPHIA
Well, in addition to my perfect memory, I am now able to transform in a similar fashion to my father–

CAM
But?  Sorry, I sensed a but.

SOPHIA
But, I haven’t fully mastered my transformative abilities yet. As in, I’ve only done it once. And it was a disaster.

CAM
Am I in danger? 

SOPHIA
Not currently. Only if I become enraged.

CAM
What does this have to do with your sidekick not being here?

SOPHIA
The only way I was subdued the last time I transformed was with Lullaby’s slumber-inducing powers. She put me to sleep with her song, and when I woke up, I was back to being... me. Her presence here was to ensure our safety.

CAM
I’m not gonna lie, Sophia. That’s not very reassuring. Have you thought of meditation?

SOPHIA
I have thought of many things, yes. I have memorized hundreds of relaxation techniques. However, I have yet to be presented with a situation that allows me to test them out.

CAM
Well, let’s hope you don’t get ragey anytime soon.

SOPHIA
Yes, let’s.  How are you coping without your hero? As I felt when Smasher left, you must be missing Captain Spangles.

CAM
Do you mean, before you found out that Smasher was your dad?

SOPHIA
Yes. I still miss him, but I’m also angry with him. And frustrated. But mostly just sad and full of questions.

CAM
Well, we have many, many, many, many days to talk about it, so when you feel up to it, you can tell me every sordid detail.

SOPHIA
Thanks, Cam, I appreciate it.

CAM
And to answer your question, yeah, I miss Spangles. Mostly. Sometimes he can be a little condescending or oblivious, but I’ve been working on him.  I’ve wanted to get to know you better for a while, Sophia, so I’m glad we have the opportunity. When we worked together – ya know, when you were still a sidekick – we were always so busy helping our heroes out that I don’t think we had an actual conversation about anything but fighting crime, well, ever.

SOPHIA
Yes, we were usually limited to small talk.

CAM
Spangles is a strong personality, and Smasher is, well, you know, destructive? They’re a handful. It’s been nice to fill in as a hero for a while, and not have to wait on the sidelines.

SOPHIA
Yes, I saw that you made a few public appearances as Captain Spangles and Smasher and the others, so the world doesn’t know they’ve been gone for months. Have you been fighting crime, too?

CAM
Yes, as much as I can. Just seeing me as Spangles or Smasher usually scares most criminals away, so it’s been fairly easy. I prefer to go as Spangles, though, because Smasher’s so big, it nearly exhausts my powers.

SOPHIA
Would you mind if I ask you how your powers work?

CAM
No, I don’t mind. It’s pretty simple. I can reshape my body at will. My mass doesn’t ever change, so when I shift into someone smaller, I’m more dense, and when I’m larger, like Smasher, I’m less dense, which makes me weaker. I normally have less muscle when I’m taller.

SOPHIA
How much mass do you have to work with?

CAM
In earth’s atmosphere, it translates to about 180 pounds. It used to be less, like, when I was a baby, obviously. When I eat an excess of calories, rather than getting fat, I just gain mass, but it’s almost impossible for me to lose it. Hence why I’m much taller than I used to be.

SOPHIA
Ah. You are a very tall woman, so that makes sense.

CAM
Oh, I’m not a woman. Well, I might be. I don’t know.

SOPHIA
I’m sorry, I do not quite understand what you’re saying.

CAM
I normally look like this because I find that appearing female causes people to underestimate me. Also, this is a comfortable face for me. It’s my sister’s face.

SOPHIA
What does your normal face look like?

CAM
I don’t know. I mean, I don’t have a normal face.

SOPHIA
What about when you were born?

CAM
When I was a baby, I was discovered in a small pod in a cornfield. I know, super original, right? When the pod opened, I met the couple holding their infant daughter in their arms, and they said I was her spitting image from the moment they laid eyes on me. They thought I was a gift from God or whatever.

SOPHIA
That’s a familiar-sounding origin story.

CAM
Tell me about it. Anyway, my sister and I were raised to think we were twins until I was 13.

SOPHIA
What happened then?

CAM
My sister, Madison, got her period. I got mine too, the same day. I didn’t like it, because I was scared, and it was new, and I wished it would stop. I think I started having a panic attack, which must’ve triggered my powers, because the next thing I knew, I didn’t look like Madison anymore. I’d turned into Freddie, one of my friends from school. Going from having your first period to growing a penis in a matter of minutes is really traumatic. Luckily, I was at home when it happened, and not at school or anything, so it didn’t ruin my life quite yet.

SOPHIA
Is this when your parents told you how they found you?

CAM
Yup. I forgave them for keeping it from me. But Madison has hated me ever since. I kept presenting as her twin, to keep up appearances, but she thinks I stole everything that made her unique.

SOPHIA
But what about you? Do you have a sense of self?

CAM
Ha! That’s what I was saying.  I don’t know if I’m a man, or a woman, intersex, or some other species.

SOPHIA
Hmm. Do you think you are an alien?

CAM
Well, kids, here’s where it gets tricky. I submitted to a ton of testing, and whatever form I take on, my chromosomes, hormones, genetic markers, all that BLEEP, match what I present. Even if I shift into someone who’s intersex or has extra chromosomes.

SOPHIA
So you can change at the cellular level. That is fascinating. How does that explain your menstruation?

CAM
When I’m female for longer I do get my period. I’ve been tested, and my eggs are normal, and I’m fertile. When I’m male, my sperm is good, too. I could technically impregnate myself if I wanted to. Which I don’t, because that’s completely BLEEPed up.

SOPHIA
It makes sense that you prefer they/them pronouns.

CAM
Labeling myself has been almost impossible. There are so many terms, and none of them seem to fit me. The one that makes the most sense is genderfluid. And I don’t use cis or trans to describe myself, because how can those words apply to someone who doesn’t even know their assigned sex. I’m still trying to figure this BLEEP out.

SOPHIA
Do you prefer to present as female? Or is it just out of habit?

CAM
Definitely habit. Wearing this face is familiar. It’s like a security blanket.

SOPHIA
My friend Pitch is dating a sidekick named Security Blanket. Sorry, that was irrelevant.

CAM
No, that’s okay.  How ‘bout you? Are you in a relationship?

SOPHIA
I am not, unless you count my love for Eliot, my cat. I’m mostly heterosexual, I think, but I’ve never acted on it. My friends like to tease me and say that I was promiscuous before I lost my memory, but I’d like to think that wasn’t true.

CAM
Why? Be proud of your choices. I’m promiscuous. I mean, I’m not a sex addict or anything, but– Sorry, that’s probably way too much information.

SOPHIA
No. I wanted to ask you about your sexuality, and if it relates to your powers, but I didn’t want to offend you.

CAM
For you, Sophia, I’m an open book.

SOPHIA
I am very interested in how sex works for shapeshifters.

CAM
I’m a hundred percent pansexual. To me, attraction isn’t defined by gender or sex. When I thought I was a 13 year old girl I was attracted to people that I thought were interesting. When it comes to sex, I’ve been with cis and trans people in every possible combination. Being able to transform my sex parts, I’ve always been searching for what feels the most… natural, like a never-ending sex-quest!

SOPHIA
Have you drawn any conclusions thus far?

CAM
It all feels natural. That’s the problem.

SOPHIA
That doesn’t sound like a problem to me. Some girls have probably wondered what it would be like to have a penis, especially considering the ease of peeing standing up.

CAM
You’re right. I don’t know why I’m complaining. You’re also right that whenever I go camping, I grow a wang to make pissing in the woods easier. I’ve even tried to go complete Ken-doll down there too, but you gotta pee somehow.

SOPHIA
Do you have to turn into an already existing person, like your sister or your friend Freddie?

CAM
When I was younger, that was easier, yeah, but the more I experimented with my powers, I realized I was a blank canvas. I usually have a reference point, though. I’m not gonna lie, I used to be really shallow. I mean, I can look however I want to, so why not be beautiful? I remember this guy I saw at the Babylon 5 convention this one time. He was so hot,  I wanted to be him. So I was. When I BLEEPed people as him, and it felt great at first, like I was a celebrity. Bagging me was an ego boost for them, too.

SOPHIA
I imagine that got old after a while.

CAM
Definitely. Comparing yourself to someone picture-perfect isn’t healthy. I connect more with people when I show them uneven boobs or a dad bod. I went through a phase where I thought people would like it if I had a massive BLEEP. Like, I’m talking huge. But apparently those are only fun in theory.

SOPHIA
I am in pain thinking about it.  Do your partners ever know about your ability?

CAM
Usually, no. I’ve dated a few powered people in the past, and I shapeshifted during sex, which was eye-opening. Changing parts of me in front of someone, and not having to pretend to be whoever they think I am, is really freeing. It ends up getting annoying, though, because it usually turns into a fantasy fulfillment thing. One woman I was dating wanted to have sex with every member of her favorite boyband, and she would call me by their names, like I wasn’t even there.

SOPHIA
That sounds like taking role-playing to a whole new level.

CAM
You have no idea. She also loved the show Supernatural, so I ended up rotating between Sam, Dean, and Cass for her in the bedroom. That didn’t last too long, though, because she felt like Cass and Dean should be with each other, and not her, so she felt guilty.

SOPHIA
Did you ever feel like you were being used?

CAM
BLEEP, yes! I want to please my partners, sure, but I don’t want to be their way of living out their fantasies. Especially with race. I grew up thinking I was white, so it feels like I’m crossing a line to present as anything else for someone to fetishize me. Ugh. It feels disgusting. It’s simpler if my partners don’t know what I can do.

SOPHIA
Does Captain Spangles have–

CAM
No! No, I’ve never slept with him. I mean, he knows that I used to work as an escort. That’s how we met, but he’s a good guy. He would never–

SOPHIA
Cam, you misunderstood. I was going to ask if Captain Spangles has trouble remembering to use the proper pronouns when addressing you.

CAM
Oh, sorry. We were talking about sex, and then you mentioned my boss, and my mind just went there. It’s not like I haven’t thought about it, though. He’s super hot, and he’s actually pretty kind and thoughtful. He’s just a little ignorant of how the world really works sometimes.

SOPHIA
I’ve noticed that when heroes have been working for a long time, and they’re put on a pedestal, they start to become even more entitled than they were before. It just happens.

CAM
You speak the truth.

SOPHIA
You said that you worked as an escort before you were a sidekick. How long did you do that for?

CAM
About two years after I left home. It was easy for me to be what clients wanted. I made so much money, it was crazy. During our senior year, I, uhh, kinda seduced my sister’s boyfriend, and she told me, in no uncertain terms, to “get the BLEEP out of her life and never come back.” So, I did. I was pissed at Madison for something, now I couldn’t even tell you what that thing is. And afterwards, my sister had everyone calling me “slut.” Even one of my teachers started in. And the thing is, they were right.

SOPHIA
Not having any memories of my childhood made me feel lost for a while. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted, because I couldn’t base my decisions on my previous life experiences. After you left home, I imagine you were all alone. That must’ve been very hard.

CAM
It was brutal at first. I didn’t know what to do for money, but I met a girl who let me crash with her for a while. She was kicked out of her house when she was like 15 for being trans, so we related a lot about stuff. She’d embraced her identity as a way to make money, because there are a lot of people out there with a trans-kink. She never finished high school, so her options were pretty limited, and she figured she could cash in on being fetishized.

SOPHIA
Did she push you into sex-work?

CAM
BLEEP no. She told me to stay away from it, but I didn’t listen. I mean, I love sex, and I’m pretty damn good at it, so I jumped onto that train– not the only thing I jumped on, by the way. It wasn’t until I met Captain Spangles that I felt like I had a purpose.

SOPHIA
How did you meet him?

CAM
Well, at the time, I was presenting as a fairly small woman, and one of my clients was getting aggressive. I shifted into a man, thinking I could scare him off, but  didn’t realize that he was a henchman, and he, uhh, he kinda tried to kill me.

SOPHIA
Oh! Who was he?

CAM
Knitty Gritty, the one who grinds his teeth and throws knitting needles with deadly accuracy.

SOPHIA
What happened?

CAM
He called me a freak – super original – and I got two knitting needles to the throat. I don’t regenerate, precisely, but I can reshape damaged tissue. But then he literally threw me out the window. Dramatic, right? Especially when Captain Spangles caught me in his arms and sent Knitty Gritty to the Island.

SOPHIA
How did you start working for him?

CAM
He saw me shifting to heal my injuries, and offered me an audition to be his sidekick after he noticed that Knitty Gritty was missing most of his BLEEPing teeth. I didn’t have any training back then, but I was scrappy.

SOPHIA
I was almost expecting a Pretty Woman sort of scenario, with Captain Spangles hiring you for your… services. And then hiring you as a sidekick.

CAM
Oh god, no. I mean, when I was younger and we used to play “BLEEP, marry, kill,” Spangles was always my marry….Smasher was my BLEEP, and I will always kill Amalgamation Man. But we were just BLEEPing around.  

SOPHIA
Amalgamation Man would be my kill, too, if one of the other options wasn’t my own father.

CAM
Oh, I just said I’d BLEEP your dad. I’m so sorry!

SOPHIA
I’m not offended, just grossed out.  So, after getting to know Captain Spangles, you no longer wish to marry him?

CAM
No! I-  I, umm, I don’t think about him that way. And he would never think about me that way, so it doesn’t matter.

SOPHIA
It sounds like it does matter. You’re very quick to deny having any feelings for him. In the words of Lady Gertrude, “the lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

CAM
Lady Gertrude?

SOPHIA
From Hamlet. If you would prefer a different quotation commenting on your obvious and immediate defensiveness, I have memorized thousands of lines from books, television, and film.

CAM
No, that’s okay. One is quite enough.

SOPHIA
I’m sorry for prying.

CAM
It’s... whatever. It’s fine. If I said I’ve never turned into Spangles and jerked off to my own reflection, I’d be a liar.

SOPHIA
Oh, wow.

CAM
Oh, that was too much. I would blame it on being alone in this ship the last two days, but honestly, I just feel… like you accept me. I bet you get that a lot.

SOPHIA
I have not, but thank you. Also, that is not why I said “Oh, wow.”

CAM
Oh. Why, then?

SOPHIA
I noticed the view behind you. The vastness of space is very different in person compared to photographs.

CAM
It is beautiful, but it makes me feel so insignificant.

SOPHIA
Me too. 

CAM
Sophia?

SOPHIA
Yes?

CAM
Do you think we’re gonna survive this trip?

SOPHIA
I do.

CAM
I mean, the odds are stacked against us. No one’s ever survived a diplomatic mission to the Kromin Empire. BLEEP, no one’s even seen a Kromin, because they never take off their armor. Who does that, other than douchebag method actors?

SOPHIA
Someone always ready to fight.

CAM
Yeah.  Do you think Invisi-guy here will be on board?

SOPHIA
Invisidude is an amazing sidekick, and a great man. I don’t doubt that he will do everything he can to help us find the A-league. Besides, our combined skill-set is perfect for avoiding trouble.

CAM
How so?

SOPHIA
ID can make us all invisible as well, and you can make yourself look like anyone. Also, with my memory and knowledge, I can think our way out of most situations.

CAM
And if all of that fails?

SOPHIA
If that fails, then I will most likely transform and smash our enemies until they are very, very dead.

CAM
That is surprisingly reassuring.

SOPHIA
You’re welcome!

CAM
So, should we wake this guy up?

SOPHIA
Yes, that would be the polite thing to do. Be warned, ID is afraid of heights, so I am not sure how that will translate to being in space.

CAM
Sucks to be him.

SOPHIA
Yes. Yes, it does.

CAM
Would you like to do the honors?

SOPHIA
Thank you.

SOUND: COMPUTER BEEPS. AIR WHOOSHING AND STASIS POD OPENING UP

SOPHIA
Hello, Elijah, welcome to outer space!

ELIJAH
Sophia? What just happened?

FADE IN MUSIC

MAT
In this episode of Second Fiddles, Sophia is voiced by Robyn Rime, Chameleon is voiced by Allana Langen, and Invisidude is voiced by Nick Bessette. All the other stuff, the writing, producing, editing, that was all done by Mat Johnson. Thanks for listening!