Most jobs don’t often provide the opportunity to toss your concussed boss behind the nearest piece of furniture. It’s the little things.

I think people underestimate the difficulty in copying someone else’s voice – for shapeshifters I mean. It depends on the nature of the shapeshifting to a degree. If the shapeshifting involves copying their brain and memories and perfectly copying their throat and muscle memory and vocal cords, then it would probably be easier. You’d still have to be careful not to slip back into your own cadence, or slip in some slang the other person wouldn’t use. Anyone who’s going to be a professional shapeshifter will probably spend at least a little time learning how to do impressions, but if you’re just changing your outsides to match someone else, I think getting the voice right might be the hardest part. How many times have you seen in a show some shapeshifter clonk someone on the head and assume their place, and you think, how do they know what they sound like? Maybe they heard then say a few sentences, but that doesn’t tell them if their target says stuff like “I’m going to head out soon.” vs. “I’m fixin’ to head out soon.” Or whether they say soda or pop or coke (calling soda ‘coke’ is like trying to rent a car and saying, “Yeah, I need to rent a Prius. Do you have a Ford pick up truck Prius?” Coke is a kind of soda!) Or if they say “fireflies” or “lightning bugs” or “firebugs.” A co-worker might not pick up that kind of slip up, but a friend probably would, especially if they like giving you shit about calling soda “coke.”

Not everyone has a super distinct voice, but most people can usually tell their friends apart if they’re talking in another room, and shapeshifting usually involves interacting with people who know the shapeshiftee.

I’d think the more distinct a voice is, the more markers there are for people to key off of. They’re easier to learn to imitate, but those same markers become pitfalls if you don’t get them right. People can sniff out a bad impression of a distinct voice a lot easier than they can a bad impression of an unmemorable one, but people tend not to have a lot of unmemorable voice impressions in their repertoire, and that’s where I think shapeshifting infiltrators would get into a lot of trouble. After all, the guy with access to the BSL-4 level of the bio-warfare lab isn’t likely to talk like Gilbert Gottfried, but he’ll sound distinct enough to his colleagues that you can’t just clonk him on the head and take his place without studying his voice for a while.

There’s lots of other things that could give away a shapeshifter to someone who’s on the lookout. Body language is a huge thing. Maxima definitely carries herself differently than Math or Sydney. If Maxima was suddenly skulking around Archon HQ like an introvert, it might not immediately trigger the impersonation alarm, but she’d get stopped a lot by people asking if she was feeling okay.

Eating a lunch in the breakroom comprised of mercury and stem-cells would probably be a big giveaway also.

The September Vote Incentive is still up!

Enjoy variant outfits and lack thereof over at Patreon.

The new one is giving me some trouble. It’s a multi-girl piece and I tried squishing them in together and trying to make the legs look like they’re not tangled up or bent at weird angles took so much more time than it should have. I might decide to do a WIP on Thursday, but I ought to have a finished piece for the next monday post.


Double res version will be posted over at Patreon. Feel free to contribute as much as you like.