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At first, it just didn't compute.

"Freaking nerd... Why'd he have to go and be all cool and stuff?! I can't believe Stereolactic is... Pidge!!" Larmina kicked the stone wall of the cadets' secret lair.

"That's like the fifth time you've said that today," Daniel grumbled.

It was the sixth, but she ignored him, also for the sixth time that day.

"Doesn't it bother you that he's been hiding this for so long? He lied to us, and none of us suspected a thing. For all we know, he could really be a robot or something! Who knows what else he's hiding?!"

Daniel scoffed. "I'd think we would notice if he was a robot..."

"Actually, with sufficiently advanced technology, we'd have no way to prove he's not a robot," Vincent mused.

"You're missing the point," Larmina continued. "He had us all completely fooled. One minute they're all cool-looking robots from outer space, and then WHAM! He pulls off the mask and it's all a total lie! Nothing but... cartoon characters!!" She clawed at the air in fury.

"Chill out, Larmina... it's not such a big deal," Daniel began.

"Yeah," Vincent said, trying to offer encouragement. "I mean, people crush on cartoon characters all the time..."

"Hey," Daniel broke in defensively, "speak for yourself, weeb!"

"UGH!! You losers don't get it at all!"

Daniel, whose grasp of empathy was terrible at best, shrugged easily. "Nah, I totally get it. Your rock star buddies ended up out of reach, and now they're sour grapes. It's understandable. It's not like you were seriously going to get any backstage action anyway, right?"

With a growl, Larmina whirled on him so fast she sent him backing up into a wall. "They are NOT sour grapes! I could SO nail him if I wanted!" She pointed a threatening finger at his chest, her face millimeters from his. "This is nothing like your little boyhood crush on my aunt, so don't even compare it!"

Daniel tugged at his collar, visibly uncomfortable. "I... don't know what you're talking about! I-I don't have a crush... she's too old for me anyhow!"

Vincent rolled his eyes at him. "Uh-huh. A likely story."

Larmina started to tune out their comments as she paced furiously across the room. "I bet he's been laughing at us the whole time. And he was right there when I said all those things about Stereolactic... I've never been so humiliated in my life!" She held her head in her hands, hiding her reddening face. "I can't let him get away with this!" She shook her fist in rage, then stalked off in frustrated embarrassment, muttering to herself. "I'll show him... I'll show you all..."

Vincent and Daniel exchanged concerned glances.

"Uh... yeah, that's not creepy at all!" Daniel gestured to her receding figure.

"Yeah... Something's definitely weird with her." Vincent nodded. "More so than usual, I mean."

*****

The day had started out so great. The intergalactic music festival was going to be perfect.

They were still setting up for the concert, and the stadium was yet to fill with crowds of fans, but there was already an energy in the air that had everyone buzzing with excitement, especially Larmina. She'd spent the whole night fantasizing about her encounter with her idols, getting off to their music instead of sleeping, but she had energy to spare and just couldn't sit still. It was like her skin was covered in unquenchable fire, and she was loving every minute of it.

"O! M! G! It's finally happening! I've got to make a good first impression. I'm finally going to meet them! This is my chance to show Stereolactic how much I adore them!"

"Yeah, with your mouth, right?" Daniel made a crude gesture with tongue in cheek, literally.

"Hey, when you become world-famous superstars, you deserve the whole backstage VIP experience with all the groupies. It just comes with the package. And that's exactly what I plan to give 'em!" She raised her eyebrows suggestively and slung a conspiratorial arm around Pidge's shoulders. "With some help from my new favorite wingman, of course!"

Pidge jumped, startled at the sudden attention. "Um! You know that rock stars are just people, right? How do you know they're even... attractive, anyway? They wear masks all the time," he added nervously.

Larmina stared past him with a distant, dreamy look. "I just know they are. I can tell from their music that they are beautiful people."

"Oh yeah? How do you know they're not, like, giant robeasts under the costume or something? Blurrrgh, rahrrr!" Daniel pounced on her, making a scary face and monster noises.

"Oh, shut up," Larmina giggled, shoving him away playfully.

Vincent rolled his eyes. "It's not like they'd have room for a giant robeast under the costume, anyway."

"Well, I'm going to find out today, one way or another. I'm going to see what's under that costume if I have to peel it off with my teeth!" Larmina rubbed her hands together with a devious grin.

"Larmina! You're lucky your aunt Allura's not here yet to hear you say that," Pidge chided her as a scandalized blush crept up his face.

Larmina waved a dismissive hand at him. "Yeah, well, what my aunt doesn't know won't hurt her. She can keep on living in her own little world, thinking I'm some hapless little virgin. You boys can try your luck with the Zarkonian neck-girl or the chick from Spillproof Lid for all I care, but I know I'll be getting some action tonight. And I've got my eye on Stereolactic!"

Vincent raised an incredulous eyebrow. "Really, Larmina? All four of them?!"

She puffed out her chest proudly. "If I could get tag-teamed by anyone, it would be them!"

Hunk, who was listening to Stereolactic and just pulled out his earbuds, joined in. "Can't argue with you there, little sister. They'd be my first choice too!"

"Right on!" As they exchanged high-fives, Hunk looked over her head to wink at Pidge with a mischievous grin.

"Not you too, Hunk!" Pidge turned away from them and pretended to be very interested in a console, his face already reddening with humiliation.

*****

That night, for the second night in a row, Larmina hadn't slept at all. She was looking worse for wear, a little shaky with a light sheen of cold sweat, but she still had to make it to her classes. She'd just made some important changes to her schedule, after all.

Pidge looked up from his lesson plans, confused. "Are you sure you're in the right place? Don't you usually take martial arts with Keith around this time?"

Larmina scoffed. "I already know all there is to kicking butt. I thought I should learn about something I don't know, like..." -she looked down to read off her schedule card- "...theoretical physics!"

Vincent looked at her skeptically. "You've never even read a physics book in your life."

Larmina viciously snapped at Vincent, "Well theoretically I could be interested!" Then she promptly sat down and spent the entire lesson dreamily staring at Pidge.

Next she showed up in his lab unannounced. He actually looked startled.

"Larmina! What are you doing here?"

"I was... wondering if you'd need anything heavy carried for you today!" She smiled sweetly at him. It had a disconcerting effect.

"It's... nice of you to offer, but Hunk usually handles all the heavy lifting around here. Uh, thanks, though!" He tried to wave her away politely.

She didn't move. "OK, I'll just watch, then."

"Um. You don't have anything better to do?"

"Nope." Her eyes did not leave him that entire afternoon, and neither did her creepy smile.

Later, Daniel caught her spying. She was leaning into a doorway to stare at him while he worked on his computer.

Pidge was sitting at his elaborate workstation, working intently while bobbing his head with gigantic headphones. At first she thought he was just listening to music while doing sciencey things, but then she wondered if he was actually making another masterpiece right then. This was a golden opportunity. His back was turned to her, and the volume was turned up pretty high, so there was no way he'd hear her coming. She settled in to watch gleefully from the doorway while he worked his magic. As she stared, one hand absentmindedly wandered downward and settled between her legs. While she was playing with herself and plotting her next move, Daniel turned a corner just down the hall and froze in his tracks.

"Larmina? What're you do-" She'd grabbed him by the shirt and slammed him up against the wall before he could even finish his sentence.

"You!!" Larmina growled in his face. "How long have you been there?!"

Daniel winced, startled. "I-I just got here! I saw nothing!!"

"You breathe a word of this to anyone and I'll beat you senseless... with your spine," she warned him.

Daniel could only nod enthusiastically.

She scowled at him in suspicion, but eventually stalked off. There was still one more class for the day, after all. One last chance to get DJ Prong.