Oh, starflame, they actually think I’m Jessica Stone.

Cool, cool, coolcoolcool. Just roll with it, Imogen Ada Lovelace, drama is your favorite class in high school. Improv it.

Darien Freeman—ohmygod, the Darien Freeman, Federation Prince Carmindor, the love of my Tumblr life—leans into the mic we share (WE. ARE. SHARING. A. MICROPHONE.) and introduces himself, “I’m Darien Freeman.”

Oh my God he’s Darien Freeman.

…I know he is.


Cool, cool. Keep calm.

I thought today was just going to be a normal day. Just another Thursday at ExcelsiCon, helping my moms in their booth while drooling over the best cosplay. You know, the usual con stuff.

I think everything started going wrong when I decided to go to the hidden bathroom, the one on the second floor of the showroom’s hotel, the Marriott, a really magnificent building in the middle of downtown Atlanta. Pockets of vendors are spread out over the four hotels that make up the convention center, all connected by sidewalks and skybridges. My moms just happened to get a booth in the biggest showroom in the main hotel (they should, they’ve been going long enough). That’s how I know about the off-limits restroom. Technically it’s reserved for special guests, but there’s never any signs, so it really doesn’t count as breaking a rule. Anyway, I’d done my business and exited the stall to wash my hands, humming the Starfield theme that Milo got stuck in my head earlier, when I saw her:

Princess Amara.

I mean, Jessica Stone.

She was just standing there, and for a second I thought her eyes looked a little red, as if she’d been crying. Which was odd, because I really never imagined Jessica Stone crying about anything. Her life is perfect.

When she saw me, she looked away and began rummaging in her purse for her signature rosy lipstick. I guess I felt sorry for her—I don’t know—so I unpinned one of the buttons on my lanyard and held it out to her.

“Hi. I’m sorry for bothering you but I’m a really big fan,” I said, which was one hundred and twenty percent true. “And I just wanted to tell you that I loved the way you portrayed Princess Amara. It really, you know, struck a chord. So, thank you.”

I put the button in her hand: #SaveAmara.

It’s from the initiative I’d started to bring Princess Amara back for the Starfield sequel.

She looked down and she just…got really angry. “Save Amara?” She shoved the pin back into my hand. “She can’t save anyone—much less herself. She’s better off dead.”

Then she turned and retreated into a stall.

Honestly, I was too stunned to talk. I just pinned the button back onto my lanyard, checked my reflection in the mirror, and walked out.

I didn’t know what to think. Maybe I thought she’d take the pin. Slip it among the dregs of her Prada bag and leave, forgetting it until years later.

Instead, I tried to act as if her reaction wasn’t rude, or mean, or that I wasn’t beginning to feel just a little bit angry too.

I’d just pulled down my beanie when I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Jess?” a volunteer said, looking at me. “It’s almost time.”

“No, I’m not—” I pointed back to the bathroom just as the volunteer’s earpiece started to chatter. Panicking, she did the one thing that volunteers were absolutely not supposed to do.

She grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me down the hallway…

And now here I am.

On the Starfield panel in front of three thousand people, standing room only. Displaced like a Yu-Gi-Oh! card in a Pokémon deck. Like a Nox in the Federation Court.

Like Princess Amara on the starship Prospero.

And I am in really, really, really big trouble.

Through one of the side doors slips a girl wearing a suede jacket and a black space queen beanie. The same beanie I have on. It feels a little like looking into one of those fun-house mirrors. You know it’s you looking back, but it’s slightly distorted. I mean, not in that wonky super-tall or super-wide way—it’s just that something’s off and you aren’t quite sure what, and only you can tell. She and I have the same wide eyes and heart-shaped face, the same build, and I know she sees the same thing: a girl who looks a little too much like her, as if plucked from some impossible universe.

And right now, at this moment in this universe, I’ve been mistaken for her.

I remember what Jessica Stone said in the bathroom. The snarl on her lips.

Save Amara? She can’t save anyone. There was no love in her voice for the character she’d played, or for the fans who loved her. She’s better off dead.

“Jess?” the moderator says, and both Jessica Stone and I turn our gaze to Felix Flores, an internet-famous foodie and founder of the podcast SCIFI BYTES. He’s looking at me. Only me. I don’t think anyone notices the real Jess in the crowd. “Do you wanna take this question? Spoilers for all of you who haven’t seen Starfield yet! How did you feel when your character, Princess Amara, died?”

I blink and my eyes dart to the fan who asked the question. He’s tall and gangly, but I can’t really make him out, blinded by the stage lights.

Darien hesitates beside me, looking from the moderator to me and then back to the moderator. He begins to lean in to the microphone, but then so do I.

I don’t know why. I shouldn’t.

Maybe because Jessica Stone is in the crowd, and I’m up here…

…something just shifts.

She’s better off dead. Her voice echoes in my head and I can’t stand it. My lanyard is laden with the burden of fifteen #SaveAmara pins and I think of those fifty thousand signatures from the petition demanding to bring her back from the dead.

The podcaster—and everyone else—is urging me to answer the question. I know exactly how Jessica Stone would feel. I hate it.

I take a breath, trying to remember the tone and crisp lilt of her soft Southern accent. “I was heartbroken.”

In the crowd, Jessica Stone’s face hardens.

Felix barks a laugh. “That we were—”

I cut him off. I’m not done. “She never should have died. She should have lived. She deserved to live.”

The fan who asked the question stares at me, mouth agape, as if that was the most insane response I could’ve ever given to that question. It’s no secret that Jessica Stone hates Starfield. That she can’t wait to get out of the franchise. Like Robert Pattinson in his Twilight days, Jessica degrades the franchise every chance she gets.

But not now.

Not here.

I shoot a look at Jessica, who is glaring up at me with all the hatred in her bones. Good. Because Princess Amara is better off alive.

And I’m going to make sure everyone knows it.

I AM GOING TO KILL HER. I don’t even know her name but I don’t need her name to put her in an unmarked grave. I am going to chop her up into so many pieces that when alien archeologists find her bones in a thousand years they won’t even realize that she was once human.

That is how hard I am going to kill her.

Spinning on my heels, my phone clenched in a death grip, I march out before anyone has even risen from their seats. I duck around the six-armed Zorine without so much as a second glance. She tries to say something to me, but I don’t hear her.

All I’m seeing is red. I am livid.

“Wow, I thought Jess was super fake, but she was so cool on that panel,” says a girl behind me as the ballroom empties. “And how she relates to Amara? I really hope they save her.”

“Me too! I live-streamed the whole thing,” replies her friend. “My comments section was going nuts.”

I glance up at the two girls. They look like high school sophomores, neither one cosplaying anyone other than their nerdy selves—all faded jeans and tees with cute sayings or pictures of male figure skaters clutched in an embrace.

“She’s so cool.”


I turn away as they pass, but they don’t even blink. They don’t realize that I’m the real Jessica Stone. They just saw my doppelgänger on stage, so why would they even think it was me?


To everyone?

I don’t like this. I can’t like this.

Breaking off from the crowd, I follow the signs to the backstage area. There’s a volunteer guarding it, of course, but when I rush up and tell her someone’s getting sick around the corner, she darts off to help and I slip into the hallway where the panelists had exited.

My anger is morphing into some sort of confused panic. The girls’ conversation echoes in my head. How cool Jessica Stone was. How they related to the way that imposter felt about Princess Amara. They had to be joking, right?

Why don’t they like me?

Starfield has only been out for a month, and I’ve gained close to a million followers because of it—which should be great, right? You want to be famous on social. But while Dare’s touted for being one of the best character revivals of the decade, and Starfield as one of the best remakes in recent years, I am—

My phone vibrates again. And again. My assistant, Ethan, had said I should take the apps off, but then I’d be worrying what people are saying while I’m not looking. I’d be worried about what they could say.

My agent swore that playing Princess Amara would put me on the radar. It would make me a household name, like Jennifer Lawrence after The Hunger Games or Emma Watson after Harry Potter. Well, it put me on the radar, all right. But Starfield wasn’t a book series; it was an old sci-fi TV show. And that attracted a different kind of crowd. What my agent should have said was that Starfield would make me a household name like Kelly Marie Tran, or Daisy Ridley, or Leslie Jones, actresses whose biggest stories are not about their performances but about the trolls who chased them off the internet.