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Fake Geek Girl

Ken Brady works as a writer, consultant, and strategist across the global geekverse. His fiction appears in Analog, Strange Horizons, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, Weird Tales, Writers of the Future, and many others. He lives somewhere between Oregon and Japan, possibly in seat 4C.

She doesn't know you can't have both a rebel starfighter and a colonial interceptor dogfight in the same tattoo. The pair of ships that streak up the outside of her left calf and all the way around to the inside of her thigh is a travesty, though you have to admit it's dead sexy. Like her green skin, it got your attention.
Obviously, she's a fake geek girl.
She only put the tattoo in that location to distract men from its inauthentic vibe. You're distracted. You're also outraged. You're so outraged you bristle at the phaser she's got belted to the same hip, because it looks more like she badly painted and modded a real 9mm handgun to appear like the 60s TV prop. A true fan would know to rough the gun's surface and use a dull aluminum paint like the original propmaster did. She should have gotten the same dude who applied her skin makeup to help her there.
You lament the phaser, the starfighter, the interceptor, the skin color. Three entirely different universes. All of them mixed up in one place.
When she unholsters the phaser with her left hand and levels it, draws a bead on one of the panelists on a raised dais at the front of the room, you want to call her on her bullshit right here and now. Does she really think she can get away with this? Then she quotes from one of the lesser-known tie-in novels and you groan. Of course, you know which book it's from, but, seriously. Who does that? It's barely even canon.
"I've had it with your directives," she says. "Who put you in charge of the universe?"
Of course she does.
Of course.
Because she's a fake geek girl.
The quote is wrong, wrong, wrong. She's changed the meaning. It was spoken by a man in the novel. Besides, there weren't any left-handed crewmen on the original series. Wrong again. You've been a superfan forever, own all the books, the collections, the comics, VHS, DVDs, Blu-Ray remasters of every series. You even have a few Laserdiscs.
You're confident you're right.
Once again, you're outraged. Because if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention, right? You can't let tourists pollute your fandom with their constant updates, gender changes, reinterpretations. Let that go on and you lose the thread. Drop the ball. Give up the game. Kill the magic. Where does it all end?
You have to speak up.
"Well, actually," you say, "the quote is 'directive.' Singular."
These things matter.
She doesn't hear you. More likely, she just doesn't listen. They never do.
She keeps her cheap-ass phaser leveled at the panelist, and people in the audience turn around to look at her like she's some sort of alien, puzzled at the interruption. They must know she's a fake geek girl. It's so obvious. The way she stands, shoulders squared, off-hand bracing her grip, steady against recoil, it's like she's never held a phaser in her life. She probably doesn't even know how one works. The panel moderator leans over his mic and says something about how she should wait her turn, then the sound system cuts out.
You shake your head. What next? You're surrounded by amateurs.
Maybe you should repeat the precise quote, but louder this time, because you still feel responsible. You have to stop her before she makes a huge mistake, gets it wrong, taints the legacy, ruins everyone's childhood. She'd want that. Anyone would. The last thing she would want is to be remembered for making a fool of herself in front of professionals and real fans. For being a fake geek girl, for not getting everything exactly right. Perfectly correct.
If she doesn't want to face the certain taunts and ridicule both here--and, even worse, online--she would want to get it right. Unless she enjoys rape threats, she should care about getting it right. She should have studied more of your world and maybe she should have practiced before coming here, before ever opening her mouth, but she didn't. Now she'll suffer the consequences.
Maybe that's what she wants. Maybe that's what she deserves. She can't go back anyway, even if she knows she should. It's too late for that. The only thing she can do is apologize and try to make up for her transgression. For her carelessness.
Someone has to help. So, now it's on you. It's on you because you know better. She hasn't lived in this world the way you have. That's why you're here, to help others understand.
It's time to be a hero.
You put your hand on her shoulder. In one smooth movement, she spins, knocks your hand away, adjusts her stance, and swings the pistol's muzzle right in your face. You're impressed how quickly she moves. You enjoy watching the way her muscles flex, the way her hair dances then falls into place. So sexy. This close to her, you notice how good she smells. There's no scent of makeup or paint, and the green didn't come off on your hand. One point for her. She would totally be your type if she wasn't so clueless about all the other things that matter. You smile knowingly at her serious expression, then shake your head. It's so cute.
Maybe she's doing this to get your attention. The more you consider it, you might be right. It's all about you. No, you're sure of it. You're also pretty sure she's got the phaser set to stun.
Does she know that? Probably not. Why should she? She's a fake geek girl.
You should explain it to her.
The End
This story was first published on Friday, March 31st, 2017
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