Juniper Daze
(teaser)

1.
It was a shame that Juniper Days’ parents were probably too high to remember her. It was a shame because, at the start of this story, she was probably as high as they had been when they named her, but unlike them, she was doing some pretty tight shit.

At the ripe age of none-of-your-business, Juniper was descending down the outer eastern wall of an alter-tower, the newest and brightest starscraper in the Oh!-Zone. Alter-towers had the unique ability to alter into different shapes and appearances in order to accommodate guests ranging from a Terrarian diplomat to a tanker ship-sized Kravokiian ambassador.

Juniper looked at her reflection in a window and clutched at her make-shift repelling cable. It was the only buffer between her and the building facade, and the only thing keeping her from a very quick death. The alter-tower that Juniper was attempting to repel down was in a state of transition from two small hotel wings to one giant circus tent.

Unfortunately for Juniper, it was transitioning with her dangling outside, nine windows away from becoming part of a huge metal and polyglass cage. Juniper had already improvised twice that day and she was feeling very inflexible. It’s hard to be flexible when you’re tangled in a rappelling cable unless you’re a pleasure sprite from LunaLatex. It wasn’t Juniper’s fault. There hadn’t been an altering listed in the tower’s schedule. A surprise guest was coming then. Someone important.

Juniper’s cable twisted and turned as the tower fitted and fretted to change its steel outsides into thick poles and bars. The altering had not only entangled her in her rope, but also started the rope in a slow swing against a sharp edge that was converting into a popcorn stand. Juniper’s synthetic rope was growing thinner with every swing she made. She racked her brain, willing it to do something useful. Her brain sectioned off, allocating different tasks to different parts and sloshing them together to try to find a solution. Her intelligence and resourcefulness were considered “not terrible” for a human that was likely conceived by parents on spores.

“Grrrghhh,” the alter-tower altered at her. Juniper’s not-terrible brain made some instantaneous calculations and came up with a reasonable plan. It involved swinging at the correct angle to one corner, taking hold, placing feet on two separate window ledges, and finagling her way in through one of the windows before they were altered into mechanical elephants or something. It was doable if she swung just right.

Juniper pumped her legs and wriggled. One...two...

Her rope snapped with a relieved THWIP and sent her plummeting down.

II.

Amaury DeLion was the most expert of hotel managers. He had graduated top in his Interplanetary Hospitality Management program, was recognized for his talents at his first workplace, rocketed to the very top there, then was offered a higher top to rocket to at Cabal Corp. He was the head manager of the Straight of Cab-alter Suites and he was very good at his job. He was trim, had a well-kept mustache, five slim limbs that looked professional in suits, and he indulged in a glass or two of muleberry wine every night. Italy no longer existed, but if it did, he would probably be French.

Currently, Amaury's job was overseeing the altering of Cab-alter Suites into a bigtop. He was supposed to have been on vacation (a pleasure cruise to LunaLatex) but Amaury had too much pride in his job. When he heard that a VIP was coming to his alter-tower, he couldn’t very well be getting lathered up by a pleasure sprite, could he?