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About Gizmo

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    The Tiger-Force at the Core of All Things
  • Birthday March 10
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    Winifred breathed something that almost could have been a soft laugh at the twee shapes Cathy deposited into the cloth she held out before wrapping up the ice and placing the bundle to the base of her skull. Better access to tension points hadn't been on the top of her list while choosing a new hairstyle but it was a fringe benefit nevertheless. Moving to one of the other sinks she silently set the cold water running with her free hand, awkwardly splashing a little on her face while taking calming breaths. She appreciated the other girls not drawing attention to the whole production and focused instead of pulling out of the spiral of self-reproach that could turn a near-miss into a full-on episode. She closed her eyes for a few long moments and focused on the sound of the running water, her thoughts her own. She turned off the faucet and looked up when Raina spoke, a shaky smile spreading across her face again. "Believe it or not, 'kickass' was precisely the overall effect I was seeking. I don't think most ladies could pull that off but you make it rather the jammiest." The alchemist gave a hiccupy laugh before her bottom lip quivered of its own volition. Pressing her mouth back into a thin line she covered her eyes with her freehand. "Eugh. No idea where this is coming from, pardon me. It just... It means quite a bit that you like it."
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    "Oh, you're doing jokes now, I see," Set scoffed as Huang feigned ignorance of the fairly newsworthy manner in which the godling had made his presence known in Freedom City, bumping his shoulder into the dhampir. He looked about with unconcealed interest as they walked through the first floor of the plaza and then through the glass elevator as they rose. He could have dined at the restaurant on his own any time since he'd arrived but it had always seemed a little on the nose, at least if he were showing up alone; formal dining was a hard sell with Skehmet. His followers expected snaps of the most up-and-coming hole-in-the-wall establishments and this was anything but. As the setting for a date, however, it had some charm. "Generally speaking I appreciate the local commitment to pomp and theatre."
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    While Talya knocked Cathy off balance Erik deftly parried Phaedra's thrusts, letting each attack come within a handspan of landing before snapping his fiery blade up to block. "Hey, I'm not old!" he objected to Raina's complaint with exaggerated hurt, placing his free hand over his heart which had the side-effect of making it clear how little he was actually moving as he evaded the formidable assault of the winged teenager. "Talya and Min are totally robbing the cradle, you don't even know." He casually flicked his eyes between the three girls, staying on the defensive and gradually but deliberately opening up his right flank while keeping Phaedra's glaive occupied, continuing to muse aloud, "Although I though being the leader mostly meant I got shot the most? Women digging scars sounds like a cliché but..."
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    Once she was on the floor Eden made a beeline for Dimitri and his promises of chocolate while babbling in a rush about the adventures she'd already had including something about her babysitter setting a bad clown on fire which in most other households would have sounded like an exaggeration. Erik returned from the kitchen while Min prepared tea and placed a mug of scalding water still steaming from the kettle in front of the thermovore without comment before handing Ace one of a pair of bottles, stems held between his fingers. The label featured what looked like a heavily stylized boxing match and a largely unreadable font that would have looked at home on a heavy metal concert poster. "It's an IPA, kinda citrusy," the fencer provided as he prepared to sit down. Before he could a plaintive wail sounded from down the hallway, quickly followed by a second. Rolling his shoulders with a sigh, Erik put his drink down on a coaster before standing back up. "Well, you were going to get to meet the twins sooner or later anyway. I'll be right back."
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    Sofia dropped into an undisguised combat stance as the construct erupted up from the sand, expression wary but Faiza seemed far more concerned about Corinne's distress than any immediate danger. "Oh, honey!" The friction manipulator moved forward but stopped short, clearly trying to figure out how to give the younger girl a hug with the colourful spike in the way. "It's all going to be alright, I promise! You're in the very best place for learning to control your gifts, the very best." She looked over her shoulder to Sofia and gestured meaningfully with her chin. The toned martial artist paused awkwardly for a few beats before observing, "It's... kinda pretty? Like with all the colours and shapes and stuff." Sofia rose from her stance once it was clear that they didn't have much to fear beyond an emotional outburst and rubbed a hand over one shoulder. "You could probably use that for performances or whatever, once you've got it down? While you're dancing, yeah?" She gave Faiza a shrug, obviously not in her element when it came to being supportive but giving it a game effort all the same.
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    Set regarded the plaza wryly as he stepped out of the cab, tugging his dark red jacked into place over a black shirt and bowtie. "Mayhaps we need discuss your working definition of 'special', sweet," the godling drawled. While Set could be a touch sensitive over the iconography from the height of Heliopolian worship being misused he seemed to be taking the glass pyramid in conditionally good humour. With his brick red dreadlocks twisted up atop his head in a beehive style he cut a striking silhouette but compared to his habit of walking about town entirely shirtless the ensemble was keeping things notably low-key. "Tis where I originally descended to the mortal plane, you know." He took Huang's arm and allowed himself to be led away from the street.
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    "Okay, first?" Madison snapped back at Raina, swipe a raised finger through the air. "Mommy and daddy using blood magic to give you a boost is not 'training'. What we do is not the same. Second? She doesn't have 'powers', she has a time bomb which - in case you weren't keeping track - has actively tried to murder everyone in this room at some point. So maybe don't go mouthing off like a stupid--" "Maddie," Celeste interrupted with a sigh, heaving her shoulders petulantly. "The Headmistress was very clear that I needed to have a really good reason before shooting Winifred again or I'd get in trouble." That seemed like a non-sequitur for a moment but looking over to the alchemist explained why the archer was raising concerns. Winifred had already been taking slow, deliberate breaths to help keep herself calm but once Raina's parents had been brought into the conversation her grip on countertop had turned white knuckled. "Oh, don't stop on my account," she spoke up through gritted teeth. "This has been such a productive discourse so far." Despite herself Madison took a step backward away from Winifred before regaining her bluster with a huff. "Ugh. Keep it in your pants, Wei. Come on, Celeste, we'll just use the other bathroom." Without waiting around to let things escalate any further the pair made their retreat out the way they'd come. The silence that followed hung heavy in the air while Winifred closed her eyes and silently recited the element. She let out a long breath before digging into her bag and producing a small cloth stained with old grease and other less easily identified substances. "Cathy, be a dear and put some ice in this, would you? Just need a moment to cool off." She managed a weak smile, looking between the other two girls. "I'm fine, honestly. It's fine."
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    Although she hadn't meant to make it obvious Winifred had been waiting for Raina to chime in before speaking, raising her eyebrows minutely in a small gesture of acquiescence when she looked over. Crime scene investigation seemed like an interesting application of her talents and a rather useful skill to practice but the Academy had burned through a considerable amount of goodwill when it came to extracurricular group activities. She doubted the pyromancer would have appreciated everyone else agreeing before she'd had a chance to make any objections known. She'd also been a bit distracted trying to remember if Matthew's hound had been there a moment prior. They could be infuriating in that way. "I'm sure we can at minimum provide an alternate point of view," she replied evenly, folding her hands in her lap.
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    "Best one so far, maybe," Sofia suggested. "It's pretty normal for second gen's powers to keep developing over time." She titled her head slightly as she watched Corinne dance about, trying to decide whether or not the new girl was being entirely forthcoming. She wasn't an expert in whatever sort of manipulation allowed her to turn empty air into stepping stones but in her experience the powers that couldn't be summed up in a few words were the ones to keep and eye on. Faiza smiled at Corinne's play on words shaking her head. "Different physics manipulators will tell you different things but in my case it's more about focusing on the way I want the world to work and giving the world a little push until it's true." She raised an index finger to emphasize her next point. "Studying the science teaches me what I can do, if not the how. This is a school, after all and knowledge is power." "You're speaking in inspirational poster quotes again, Fi."
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    Between Raina's aplomb, Riley's stoicism and Matthew's nonchalance, the straight-backed composure with which Winifred carried herself was certainly in keeping with the group's overall theme. While her resting expression had been accused in some colourful language of constantly conveying irritation those who'd spent more time with her recognized that the thin line of her mouth as the Headmistress addressed them had less to do with polite respect and more with holding her tongue. After so much time she'd hoped they were there to finally get some answers about Archer and whomever had implanted him with the control device but instead they were receiving further obfuscations. "One might hope for a more thorough explanation before being asked to agree to something, yes," she agreed coolly with Raina's sentiment. Assuming the others agreed she was hardly going to refuse but she didn't appreciate the spectre of their poor social standing being brought up as the proverbial Sword of Damocles.
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    "Seems like that would be pretty awkward, yeah," Sofia agreed with a not unsympathetic nod. "Air walking thing's neat, though." "It's very good!" Faiza agreed with considerably more enthusiasm, broad smile dimpling her cheeks. "You're in exactly the right place for learning to control your abilities. Everyone here is special in come way, I just wish they were all as willing to put in the work as you!" She took a few steps around Corinne so that she could stand next to her while getting a better view of the zen garden. "My own powers revolve around controlling friction. When they first developed I was slipping about all over the house, I can tell you. Now, though, if I just lower the coefficient of friction in that sand..." She raised a hand and narrowed her eyes briefly. On cue the patterns raked into the sand disappeared as the entire surface became perfectly smooth and uniformly distributed. "Simple!"
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    "And you needed to make fire for that, Wicked Witch of the Midwest?" Madison scoffed, moving far enough into the bathroom so that she was a pace in front of Celeste while staying close to the door. She wasn't going to back down but it hadn't escaped her notice that they were technically outnumbered. The grey cardigan that reached down to her calves suggested a wizard's robe in a way that should have been ample fodder for insults but the way it hung over a dark top and shorts was irritatingly on point, as usual. The fae archer tittered in amusement. "She'd need green makeup," she mused largely to herself, barely even acknowledging the other girls. Her tie-dyed sundress ranged in colour from deep blue to violet and the way it fit around her butterfly wings without issue suggested some amount of glamour. "The cosmetics are alchemical," Winifred spoke up in a clipped tone, all trace of her smile gone from her face and replaced with stoney indifference. She'd straightened from her lean and was standing with her back perfectly straight. Since the altercation in the Doom Room and Sofia's injury at the hands of the Alkahest there had been no love lost between Madison and herself, nor had she forgotten Celeste's actions during the fight. "Raina was testing a property activated by heat, not that it's any of your concern." The Chicago native narrowed her eyes as her attention turned to the shorter girl. "Are you kidding me? You're still messing around with that stuff?" Madison raised both hands and looked about in exaggerated exasperation as though looking for a hidden camera. "Learn from your mistakes much, head case?"
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    The reaction drew a smile of mixed relief and triumph that lit up Winifred's face and crinkled her eyes. While Raina retrieved her lighter the alchemist produced a notepad from her bag and pulled the pencil stub from within its spiral binding. She didn't even attempt to keep a straight face as she pantomimed jotting something down. "Unlikely sounds... documented entry... the second," she read aloud as she pretended to write. Where the heat from Raina's contained fire touched the eyeshadow the brown immediately brightened to a radiant blood orange hue that subtly turned more yellow or red as the light caught it from different angles. Whereas the version in Cathy's kit had sparkled, it veritably glowed against the witch's fair skin, the flickering colours making it look uncannily like lines of actual flame painted across her hand. Winifred herself seems a bit distracted by the effect herself before clearing her throat daintily and beginning to answer the Scotswoman's question. "It ought to but of course I was only able to test it on actual ice which I expect doesn't have precisely the same properties as--" She was interrupted as the washroom door opened and Madison Tyler entered alongside Celeste le Faye, their own conversation stopping abruptly as they spotted the trio of girls already inside. There was a beat of silence before Madison noticed the flames on Raina's fingertips and her mouth compressed into a twisted line of irritation. "What the hell, Sanderson?!"
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    "Meant punching people and doing cool stuff professionally more than the award show stuff," Sofia corrected with shrug that suggested that her priorities often failed to line up with those of others. "Don't worry about paparazzi, though. There's kids here, if people knew who's kids they were there'd be international assassins showing up, that sort of thing, so everybody's careful. Not even somebody like Sanderson would risk messing that up." "Not that you need to worry about assassins, for goodness' sake!" Faiza cut it, giving her friend a light punch in the shoulder. "The point is that everyone is very discrete, yes. As for the Freedom League..." She laughed again, looking a bit rueful. "The 'community' isn't quite that small. Gaian Knight does come by every few months along with the dragon woman, Tiamat. His lectures are, ah... a bit dry?" Sofia snorted flatly at that and visibly rolled her eyes behind her sunglasses. "I met the Raven a couple times. The good one, the woman. Once when I was little and she was teaming up with my folks and once before I came here. Not a lot of non-powered students at Claremont so she wanted to make sure I could keep up." Her smirk made it clear she never had doubts about that herself. "The newer Liberty League, though, most of them actually used to go here," Faiza noted enthusiastically. "The Vanguard is like the Freedom League back home, when my powers developed they sent Ms Britannia to check on things, make sure I had what I needed. Really lovely, she was."
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    "Cool. Takes discipline," Sofia replied with a nod, evidently choosing to ignore any hesitation on Corinne's part. "I can respect that. School's got beefed up equipment for gymnastics if you want to get back into that, though. You want a real workout, the Doom Room's got sequences for parkour training. I bet you've got a killer long jump." Faiza let out a small sigh. "I'm sorry, Corinne. Sofia's got a bit of a one-track mind when it comes to training. She's a martial arts specialist, if you hadn't guessed. Her parents are both heroes as well, from Mexico City." She paused a moment before gently adding, "Gossip gets around quite quickly, of course but we can have a word with everyone, to make sure no one asks about your birth father if that's still a difficult topic." Her expression was reassuring, palms upward in an open gesture. Finally catching on, Sofia made thoughtful noise in the back of her throat. "Oh. Yeah, lo siento. I didn't mean 'tall' like it was a bad thing." She rubbed the back of her head, jostling a black ponytail and looking properly contrite. "Uh, I heard your mom's a stunt person, though, yeah? That sounds cooler to me anyway."