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About Gizmo

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    The Tiger-Force at the Core of All Things
  • Birthday March 10
  1. Trinity Hospital June 28, 2017 "Another one?" Ellie Espadas asked, watching as a weakly groaning man in multiple layers of worn clothing was wheeled past on a stretcher. Behind the check-in desk Joanne simply hummed an affirmation, focusing on the data she was entering. Ellie couldn't blame her for her laissez-faire attitude. This had to make at least a dozen similar cases over the past few days: people left weak and drifting in and out of consciousness. If this case matched the others after a night's sleep with an IV he'd be up and about with full-body aches and hangover-like symptoms for his troubles that would gradually subside over the course of the day. The prevailing assumption among the staff was that a new recreational drug was to blame, though so far none of the blood work had shown any evidence to support the theory. It didn't help that several of the sufferers had turned out to have warrants out ranging from petty theft to assault; one of them had reportedly collapsed in the middle of an attempted mugging. With the look of a man getting off of a double shift, Hernandez wandered over to join the so-far one-sided conversation, fingers laced behind his bald head. "Picked that one up outside a convenience store. Owner found him in a heap while he was taking out the trash, said something about it being dark or seeing a big shadow? I dunno, guy's English wasn't great in the first place and he was shook over the whole thing, yeah?" The big man rubbed his face and leaned heavily against the wall. "Had a baseball bat next to him so I'm guessing armed robbery. Braugher's all 'don't assume' but what, he's a Comets fan? C'mon." It was Ellie's turn to make a vague murmur in reply, eyes narrowing slightly as she watched the supposed robber disappear behind a pair of double doors. A junkie collapsing in the middle of trying to get money for another hit was a tidy enough story but the patients she'd seen didn't seem like they were going through withdrawal, they seemed... drained. There were stranger things than designer drugs in Freedom City. "Where was that convenience store, again...?" "Hm? Oh, y'know, the one a block down from St. Sebastians, on the corner with the yellow sign. I hear they found a few more like that over in Greenbank, too. Who knows how many that makes now." Hernandez realized a little belatedly that he was talking largely to himself and a still disinterested Joanne as Ellie had already begun to stride purposefully toward the door.
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    Winifred grumbled as she swabbed at the most severe scrapes and cuts on Robin's left arm. "Were I feeling glib I'd point out that you've missed several nights of sleep of late." She doubted her ministrations were in time to avoid any immediate infection but she hoped to at least mitigate some of the risk. Part of her was not overly upset about any potential stinging, either. "To answer your question directly, however, no you haven't missed any specific appointment of which I'm aware. That said you haven't been very good about keeping me appraised of your terribly busy schedule of reducing yourself to a pulpy, sleep-deprived precipitate so what do I know?" The look she shot her roommate while depositing the first swab into the garbage can at the end of the bench was more glum than irritated. "Frankly, you have me worried."
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    The twisted line Sofia pressed her lips into suggested she wanted to take at least one more shot at Riley as he marched off but she at least wasn't deaf to Corinne and Hannah's pleas and had enough presence of mind to remember why they'd original come over. Letting out a long breath through her nose she tossed her hair over her shoulder. "Alright. Alright, fine." Regret and annoyance mingled in her expression as - removed from an immediate argument - she was able to tell how upset the tall blonde was with the whole thing. "Sorry, Corinne. We're maybe running a little hot there. It's just-- well, it's nothing you need to worry about." With her back temporarily to the larger group and Riley walking away no one caught the look that crossed Celeste's face at the woodsman's remark. It was subtle regardless, not exactly anger but very still and somehow a little bit alien around the eyes, cold and porcelain. The winged girl was usually more than happy to relate her origins but even the same person asking twice was unlikely to receive the same answer. Wether she took issue with the comment about parents, accusations of negligence or the suggestion of a guarded childhood would have been anyone's guess. Instead the look quickly passed and she turned back to the Brohort with a self-assured smile. "I'm sure we can all agree the moment's passed. Right, boys?" She addressed the group but made eye contact only with Ryan, continuing to quietly single him out for reasons that remained her own. "I'm sure you have laundry that needs seeing to and we wouldn't want to keep you."
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    "Ah well, that's an excellent question, isn't it?" Winifred tsked, closing the distance from the door to the gymnastic equipment. With ongoing coaching from the more fashion forward among their circle the displaced Victorian had managed to update her aesthetic but her straight-backed posture was still hard to miss. Somewhat less refined was the displeased noise in the back of her throat as she got close enough to take better inventory of Robin's varied injuries. "Testing the capacity of a hitherto unremarked upon talent for accelerated healing, are we?" Her roommate knew Winifred well enough to hear the irritation in her voice while she rummaged about in her messenger bag for cotton swabs and disinfectant among the more esoteric supplies. Robin knew Winifred well enough to know that suppressed irritation sometimes seemed to be her default mood but it was rarely so pronounced as to be immediately evident. "Come over to the benches. You're sitting still long enough for me to at least look over that mess."
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    "Oh, you don't think I could make the case myself?" Winifred asked with mock offence that soon gave way to a pleased smile. While she'd been confident in the technical quality of the cosmetics she'd crafted there was no doubt that Raina was the defter, more practiced hand at applying them and seeing the full effect in practice represented a gratifying success. "I suppose I might need a model, though. What's the term you use for the prettier boys? 'Eye candy'?" Allowing herself a smirk she turned to Cathy and added, "And I've been refining for the past six months, you know! I wasn't about to ask you to put on any of the first trials!" With both boxes packed up she led the way out of the washroom and back to the dorm room to discuss which products she should make in larger-than-sample sizes and to note down any feedback. Holding the door open with one hand she paused in consideration. "The tattoo inks could probably use more work, though."
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    June 21, 2017 Winifred considered herself to be in fairly good shape. Certainly she was fitter than she'd ever been prior to arriving at the Academy, largely thanks to the demanding 'physical education' classes that were part of the curriculum, not to mention the extracurriculars with which she found herself involved. Consequently she did not feel particularly compelled to spend any of her remaining free time making use of the school's many training facilities, yet with classes finished for the day that was exactly where she was headed with quick, clipped strides. Robin had been spending less and less time in their shared dormitory room over the past weeks - months, really. Her friend was absent many nights, out patrolling the Fens neighbourhood Winifred suspects, either sleeping elsewhere or catching brief naps during the day. When she was about campus is was almost exclusively to train, pushing herself harder and harder. At first Winifred had said nothing under the assumption that Robin was spending more time with her boyfriend and later she'd reasoned that there was nothing wrong with being driven, especially as she focused on her own projects. Eventually it had become clear that Robin was pointedly avoiding socializing, intentionally keeping to herself. In Winifred's experience that was the sort of behaviour the preceded downing an untested serum of one's own devising. Metaphorically, in this case. Stepping into the Academy's less fanciful gymnasium the alchemist pursed her lips slightly as she scanned the large room. This was only the first stop on her list of likely places to find Robin but she was hoping traipsing across rooftops wasn't going to be necessary.
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    "It's saying things like that which make people question your overall stability, Smith," Winifred sighed, grasping the hem of the hood hanging behind her friend's back and leading him back several steps to a pile of rubble that looked to have been stacked together by one of the previous visitors, since it was long and tall enough to easily crouch behind. Riley's initial position should have been well outside the blast radius but the alchemist didn't see any point in not taking an additional precaution if it was right there. Kicking a bit of detritus away to clear a spot, she hunkered down. "Thank you for humouring me. Robin would be upset if my explosives reduced one of your better parts to ash. Now, I believe you were at three?"
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    A look of shock with a flicker of uncertainty crossed over Sofia's features before Celeste chimed in, "I'm pretty sure she meant 'dark' as in 'constantly threatening to hurt people'." The shorter of the two girls didn't seem particularly bothered by Riley disparaging her; he wasn't do anything to make himself seem like a credible character witness after all. Besides, she was much more interested in whatever was happening in the air near Corinne. Sofia's scowl returned twofold and she crossed her arms. "Forget it, Celeste. He's always got some way to twist things and make everybody else the bad guy just so he has an excuse." She snorted and pointedly turned away from the survivalist. "As if anyone honestly believes Jay is the one who started that fight." "I'm sure we can all just have a nice, calm discussion about Tommy's fixation on cramming things in certain places," Celeste breezed serenely.
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    Erik probably would have had a stronger case against Talya's assertion if the note of weary hurt in her voice hadn't set him into an immediate and visceral panic. He was almost physically incapable of having this conversation frankly in front of an audience of people he didn't know particularly well overall - not with Dimitri being especially depressing and what he suspected was some sort of reverse psychology from Ace and entirely too much, too soon from Klara - but he could push his very real and complex concerns down into a compact little ball while he set aside his drink again and placed his hands on Talya's shoulders. "Hey, c'mon. This is getting way ahead of ourselves, right? I'm not exactly wilting away any minute here. And I'm not going to tell this crowd that there aren't ways to pull it off but it's more complicated than swinging over to the corner store." He rolled his thumbs gently into the muscles between her shoulder blades and continued, "I mean, obviously we're ruling out any blood magic or creature of the night stuff and considering who you're talking about just 'unaging' isn't going to cut it long-term." He tried to manage a small laugh at his own expense but it wasn't particularly convincing.
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    "People keep referencing that collection of works to me," Winifred sighed as she rose to walk over to the wreckage Grim was surveying, the bridge of her nose wrinkling over the top edge of her hankerchief. "I missed those by a few decades, you know. Hm. I think you're right about our intruders being of varying size. One large but perhaps more than one of smaller size, from the patterns. Unless they circled about and traipsed through the glass again." Once Raina suggested their next destination the alchemist hurried to make another pass around the room, looking for anything she might have missed previously. Stopping by the window frame she tilted her head slightly to one side while trying to picture the movements that would have generated such cut. "There's something very odd about the gouges here. They make me think more of trailing cloth than a hard edge. Oh! Do you think we're dealing with ninjas?" She gave the word a distinctly American inflection and after a beat explained, "I've been watching a program about superhumans on the 'Discovery Channel'. One of the hosts mentions ninjas regularly. I understand they're meant to wear black and wield an exotic variety of bladed weaponry."
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    Where Grim may have been going for nonchalance Reagent strode into the house behind him with a straight-backed posture and clipped step that seemed to be daring anyone to question her presence. Walking into places one probably wasn't meant to go and wasn't entirely welcome had not changed significantly in the past centuries: confidence spoke volumes. Looking the part didn't hurt, either. While not particularly concerned with her 'secret identity' she'd deferred to her teammates and donned a plum coloured handkerchief that covered the lower portion of her face; in combination with her bandolier she fancied she cut quite the roguish figure. Riding boots tapping across the floors and long white coat swishing about her ankles she made for the broken glass as it was pointed out, stooping to examine the shards more closely. "This was broken with a hard wedge first, perhaps a throw blade," she hummed at the pattern, glancing up at Woodsman and adding, "or an arrow. Then they smashed through the weakened pane bodily." The alchemist tiptoed around the edge of the glass, frowning slightly. "No blood but then they would have been prepared, one assumes. Ah!" Reaching into her bag she produced a pair of tweezers and a small stoppered vial. With careful concentration she retrieved two of the shards and dropped them into the container. "They were good enough to leave us a few black fibres, however! That's a start. Mister Grim, what do you make of those slash marks?" There was an animated energy behind her voice that Riley would have recognized best from working together in the Academy's lab, though it occasionally bubbled up while practicing music with Matthew or discussing a new idea for her side project with Raina. Winifred was rather enjoying herself.
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    "That's not why I wear the wig, Corncob. And if you're thinking about Dr. Dreamboat, already know the guy," Erik shot back to the other two men, stooping a bit to hand Terry over to Dimitri and foisting the half-asleep Emily off on Klara when she mentioned 'adorable babies'. "I know people. Well, people with kids. We go to barbecues." Further banter was abruptly cut short by Talya's frank explanation of her plan. In the weighty silence that followed the swordsman was painfully aware of the eyes on him, turning from their guests just long enough to give Min a wounded look as she headed for the kitchen. "...and I'm usually pretty good about spotting an ambush, too," he commented dryly after the gap in the conversation had become a little past awkward. The tone was light enough that to most ears he would have sounded genuinely amused but he was standing in front of several certifiable masters of deflection. He couldn't be too upset; Talya still struggled with open and honest communication and had a tendency to overcompensate. Covering half of his face with one hand, he retrieved his beer with the other, letting out a long breath. "You know you're supposed to invite my friends to an intervention, yeah?"
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    "Stop making Hannah uncomfortable, short, dark and psycho," Sofia demanded with a scowl that suggested she'd heard the survivalist's last comment but was pointedly ignoring it. The imposing athlete turned to the three larger boys - she refused to use either of their squad names on principles of good taste - and continued, "You morons stop making everyone uncomfortable. Why is that such a difficult concept? Ugh. Just try to ignore them, Corinne. They don't seem to understand the meaning of 'no'." Celeste circled around to put a supportive hand on Hannah's shoulder while the brunette hid behind her book. "If you stood up for yourself more this sort of thing wouldn't happen so often," she murmured in a sympathetic tone before turning to the Brohort with a distinct smirk, locking eyes with the quietest of the trio. "Honestly, Ryan. You know better than this."
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    "I may not be much of a swimmer," Winifred allowed, having only learned the very basics since she'd begun at the Academy, "but that looks about as 'good swimming' as the Thames." She didn't get quite as close to the edge at Riley, though curiosity still had her leaning further forward to peer into the murky depths than might have been strictly advisable. "I've heard good things about the local beachfront. Did you go there on your Earth? No trees in the sand, I'd assume." She followed Riley's suggestion, setting one of her smaller flasks of byzantine fire next to the weathered vehicle; they were testing the tripwire mechanism in this case, not the explosive itself. The wire was carefully spooled out, the opposite end pinned to the bottom edge of the warehouse. She thought she'd struck a good balance between sturdiness and unobtrusiveness with the thickness of the spun metal but gauging how taunt to make it felt more like guesswork than she liked. "How do you suppose that looks?"