She told me to change things because it isn’t as impossible as I’d thought.

Imogen slides out of the booth to return the mop to the bucket and then rolls it over to the waitress before coming back to sit down again. She takes off the brown wig, her pink pixie sticking up every which way, and steals one of my fries.

“Oh starflame—HOT!” She gasps as the hot sauce zings right to her nose. She grabs my water and chugs half of it. “Are you trying to kill me?”

I shrug and pop another fry into my mouth. “It doesn’t bother me.”

“Oh that’s going to burn for a while,” she says, fanning her open mouth. “All right. If we’re going to find this script, we need to figure out who stole it.”


“You don’t think I’m going to let you do this alone, do you? We’ve still got time. There’s three hours until our last panel at ExcelsiCon, and what better place to reveal who the script belongs to if not at that panel?”

“I can’t ask you to help me—”

“I want to. Friends help each other, yeah? I mean, I’ve lived in your shoes for almost forty-eight hours, I think I know you better than I know my brother.” And Imogen smiles at that, because she knows Milo better than she knows herself, I think. “So, tell me everything you know about this thief.”

“Well, they’re at this convention, and they always seem to post when some big Starfield thing has happened or is about to happen.”

“That makes me think it’s someone associated with the film. Another actor?” Imogen leans back in the booth and frowns. “But then wouldn’t they have their own script?”

“No. My agent said I had the only one.”

“So, it has to be someone on the inside, someone who doesn’t like you. A fan wouldn’t know things that are going to be revealed, and the thief posted that General Sond excerpt before Vance was announced. Starflame!” She gasps and jerks ramrod straight, the color draining from her cheeks. “Right before I shoved Mr. D-Bag out of the booth and poured two malts on him, he told me that Princess Amara doesn’t have happy endings and that I’ll never get a second chance—because he already knew.”

She looks me dead in the eye, and we say together:

“Vance Reigns.”

I push my fries aside, my appetite gone. A waitress comes to take the basket, but Imogen snags one with as little hot sauce as possible and eats it. I say, “It makes sense. No one in Hollywood likes him because he’ll do anything to get ahead. He even pitched a fit on the set of Blades of Valor. His poor PA quit after that. No one likes working for him. He’s hungry for fame. If he frames it so that he finds out I’m the one leaking the script…”

Imogen nods. “That would definitely boost his standing in the Starfield fandom. Girls are already ovulating over him—have you seen the shitposts on Tumblr? Some of those people need to be hosed down they’re so thirsty. And Vance is staying in our hotel. So he could’ve been the one to fish your script out.”

I don’t want to get my hopes up, but my heart is beginning to beat in my ears. It must’ve been Vance. I just didn’t recognize him because I’d never seen him outside of awards shows. I didn’t think he would be a suspect.

But honestly I’m not surprised.

“All right—yeah—okay. So what now?”

“Now,” Imogen says, grabbing her bag and scooting to the edge of the booth, “we have to prove it. What do you say, partner?” She sticks out her hand.

I smile and accept it, and she pulls me to my feet. “This might sound a little weird,” I say, “but I feel like I know you. Aside from the whole we-traded-lives part.”

At that, she smiles widely and says, “Welcome to the fandom life, where you never know anyone but you always know everyone.”

“Like Harper,” I say before I can stop myself. “Which,” I look away in embarrassment, “you might have to explain some things to her. I kind of ran out of the convention when she figured out that I wasn’t…that I’m…And she’s so great and nice and perfect—she didn’t deserve all of the lies I told her.”

Imogen crosses her arms over her chest and studies me, as if I’m some plot twist in a story she hadn’t expected to like, and then she leans in and asks, “Do you like her?”

“W-what?” I sputter, and a blush spreads across my face. I grab the receipt and hurry to the cash register, and she follows me like a Baskerville hound.

“You do!”

The cashier rings up the order. I dig around in my purse for exact change and hand it to her, my cheeks so hot they’re searing. “I—it’s—”

“Then you don’t like Ethan?”

I nab my receipt and whirl around. “Ethan? Oh God no. Wait—” I narrow my eyes, cross my arms, and imitate the same scrutiny she gave me, which causes her to lean backward a little. I don’t even have to ask the question before her ears begin turning pink and she whirls to hurry out of the diner.

“You like him!” I accuse, following close on her heels. “Rule six! It was a rule for a reason!”

She shoves open the door and steps out into the muggy Atlanta afternoon. This is the photo I promised the paparazza, and I put on a smile as she snaps pictures while Imogen and I make our way down the street. Imogen is so flustered and lost in her own head that she doesn’t even notice. “I thought you made the rule because, well, you liked him.”

“I definitely do not. I just didn’t want to see him getting hurt, especially since you’re so cute in all the ways I’m not—and in all the ways he likes.” Her ears are growing redder and redder, and she can feel it too; she quickly arranges her hair over them. I catch up to her as we cross the street, leaving the paparazza behind. “You didn’t hurt him, did you?”

“Not on purpose! And you hurt Harper!”

“I didn’t mean to!” I say defensively. “But I want to apologize. I screwed up.”

“Yeah, me too.”

Ahead of us in the streets is a parade—all types of people dressed in cosplay sashay down the avenue to the tune of every fantasy and sci-fi theme the marching band behind them can play. There are Vulcans and mechas and Jedis and Labyrinth goblins, anime demons and zombie pirates and dragonborns and sailor scouts and dark elves—heroes and villains and everyone in between. Whatever apologies we were about to make to each other for messing up our friendships fall away as we’re caught up in the magic. I’m filled with the memories of stargazing on hotel rooftops and singing the Starfield theme off-key with a bunch of strangers I didn’t know but understood and seeing all of those radiant Amaras through the viewfinder of a camera—

And all of the stories I want to tell.

Only when the parade has passed and the street clears do I turn to the girl who could have been me in another impossible universe, and I say, “I want to save Amara.”

WHILE JESS IS GROVELING TO HER ASSISTANT, since he clearly will never want to see me ever again, I fix my pink hair—wig no longer needed—and march straight into ExcelsiCon to gather reinforcements. The moment I flash my badge, my badge, to the attendant and ride the escalator up to the showroom, I feel like myself again, and I breathe in the con stink as if it’s fresh air.

I need to find Milo and Bran. They’re the only ones who can help me with two parts of Jess’s plan, which rides a little on the side of batshit but, to be fair, some of the best ideas do.

“If we’re going to save Amara, we need to prove she exists,” Jess had told me.

I didn’t expect the plan she laid out next. It will take an impossible amount of luck to pull it off, but ExcelsiCon has always excelled at the impossible. I just hope it can work its magic one more time.

At some point I also need to text Harper and tell her the truth. I don’t know if she’ll ever want to be my friend again—especially after I purposefully hoodwinked her into hanging out with someone else—but I can’t not try. Harper and I have been internet friends for years. She’s the one person who believed in my Save Amara initiative when no one else did, and I’ve been the ultimate crappy friend to her.

I just hope Milo and Bran are at my moms’ booth and not at some movie screening. There isn’t enough time to hunt them down, and with my luck they’d be missing.

Instead, when I turn the corner, I find Harper at the booth talking to Milo. They both notice me at the same time—my pink hair does kind of stand out—and their conversation instantly dies.

Welp. There’s nothing quite as uninviting as ruining good conversation.

My moms are on the other side of the booth, by the FunkoPop throne, assisting a customer buying that gorgeous Nightwing figurine—you know, the one with the really nice butt?—and I hurry over to Milo and Harper sporting my best apologetic smile.

Harper watches me wearily as I approach. “So, you’re Imogen.”

“Hi, Harps,” I say painfully.

She doesn’t look as surprised as I thought she would. Even worse, she looks disappointed. “So the other person really was…”