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Gizmo

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  • Birthday March 10

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  1. Set Set, timeless primordial god of the unspeakable unknown and continuously trending social media darling tossed the gold foil embossed envelope onto his kitchen counter and seethed. “A gala. An Olympian - one who famously espouses the rules of hospitality as though pulling teeth with ill-spun piano wire - plans to hold an event of culture and fashion.” Wisps of dark grey clouds formed along the ceiling, following overhead as the storm-caller paced and made irritable gestures to the empty room. “As though Hades would recognize style were it to break a gaudy marble pillar over his furrowed brow.” Spinning on his heel Set pointed an accusatory finger at the full length mirror mounted on the back of the apartment’s front door, crimson lightning flickering amongst the indoor clouds. “And clearly reformed deific destroyer turned gregarious gadabout tis my brand! Unconscionable!” Jaw set stubbornly the gosling snapped his fingers and his shirtless shendyt look transformed into tasteful if subdued tuxedo with a blood red cummerbund and a lapel pin in the shape of the was sceptre. “Mayhaps I ought to ‘phone it in’. Spats as passive-aggressive spat.” He considered the outfit in the mirror for a split second before snapping his fingers again. Instantly the godling took on a female presentation and the suit was replaced by a backless gown in the same deep red, her dreadlocks twisting themselves upward to accentuate her slender neck and shoulders. She turned in a half-circle and looked over her shoulder at the mirror, placing her hands on either side of her read and experimenting with how far the neckline should plunge. Her painted lips curled into a grimace. “Ugh, nay. Subtlety be for cowards.” Turning back around she snapped her fingers rapidly, trying different iterations. The tuxedo returned but cut for a feminine figure, with then without a dress shirt underneath. Set tried the gown with a male presentation, the something high-necked and severe, something with a massive bustle, a sailor uniform-inspired number with buttoned hot pants, an asymmetrical leather daddy meets Roman centurion look, low-rise bellbottoms with a tight t-shirt that read ‘Demeter Was Right’ over the silhouette of a snowflake, a Sunday-best dress with petticoat and a peacock feathered fascinator, followed by an outfit that was nothing but three strategically placed such fascinators. The outfits sped by one after the other with Set’s form changing just as quickly as they snapped their fingers faster and faster. “Professional, then? Make it a work trip.” In a male presentation this time they adopted a more ornate version of their usual shendyt with a wrap over one shoulder that called to mind a toga. His head took on the aspect of the pointed eared Set animal, short black fur covering a long, canid snout. Considering for a moment he snapped his fingers again and grew two more such heads on either side of the first, each looking down at the outfit from a different angle before turning upward with a chorus of unimpressed groans. “Unbelievable,” the leftmost head grumbled before winking out of existence along with the rightmost. Set returned to a fully human appearance and narrowed his eyes at his own nude reflection. “Not an allusion, nor antic, nor affront, then. Simply… Set.” The godling stood in silent, motionless contemplation for several long moments before slowly adopting a more androgynous physicality than they usually preferred. They reached back to run long fingers through their dreadlocks, letting the brick red hair grow out until it reached down to their ankles in fluid curtain that swayed in the preternatural indoor wind. A single piece of lightly coloured leather wrapped around the lean muscles of their torso in a sort of sleeveless romper, the shorts ending only an inch or two past their pelvis and the neck rising to just below their chin. With a more purposeful snap than their earlier experiments that leather split in a thousand diamond cuts, becoming a mesmerizing expanse of fishnet-like pattern where darker skin showed through. Another snap and brighter red fur, thick and almost feathery, grew around their neck and bare shoulders, part boa and part mane. Light caught sparkling flecks of ruby red, stunning gold and the truest of black across Set’s cheekbone, down their arms and legs and behind countless diamond windows. At a glance it might have appeared to be body glitter but a closer examination would have revealed tiny, perfect scales dusting the godling’s form. They snapped again. Thick golden rings appeared on each finger alongside curved talons that shifted from a smokey black at the base to gleaming red at the tips. Each ring bore a a single etched hieroglyph and as Set raised their arms to either side impossibly delicate golden chains trailed from them to connect to matching armlets then further still to disappear somewhere in the voluminous mane. They moved about is a slow dance and smiled at the faintly tinkling of the links. Similar gold accessories appeared in their trailing dreadlocks with another snap, followed by a thin, practically filigree tiara across their brow that curved upward into two points, more than a foot tall and shaped to evoke the ear of their Set animal head. Their already dramatic kohl eye makeup became something that drew all attention inextricably to their piercing grey eyes, smokey shadow that seemed to roil like something alive and blood red liner cutting through it like the trail of a dagger. They took a few steps in a lazy circle to survey their handiwork from all angles. Each time their bare feet would have set down on the apartment floor a shift pool of sand rose up to meet them, crystallizing into a breathtaking stiletto heel before dropping away into formless grains again as soon as their weight shifted to the other foot. The sand trailed along after them like the train of a wedding dress. Set completed their circle and regarded themselves in the mirror with a smug upward turn from the corner of their lips. They rolled their neck and shoulders with a predatory sort of grace, setting the fine chains clinking in chorus with the soft shifting of sand. The storm cloud that had been hovering overhead rumbled and broke, showering them with a fine mist of summer rain. The beads of water refracted light glinting off of scales, traced crisscrossing lines down the leather netting and highlighted the arched curve of long calves. “Well now. Let none say the once guardian of blessed Ra’s barge has forgotten how to slay.”
  2. "They make me proud," Ryder agreed, scratching the top of Yellow's head with his index finger. "And yeah, one of your older gauntlets! The army had it and they weren't being what I'd call 'responsible' with it so..." The teenager made a vague gesture with his hand, inviting Koshchei to fill in the blanks. "They, y'now, ceased to have it." He felt a little self-conscious relating that story to the device's actual inventor but moved on. "The capsules were pretty much out of particles anyway but there was enough to check out and, like, it's one thing with current over-the-counter tech and a decent geopolymer binder, obviously, but I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out how you would have synthesized them in the first place without knowing the specific wavelength ahead of time or going through just, I mean, a ridiculous amount of tungsten running trial-and-error tests.
  3. "Mayhap risking accusations of arrogance... have you seen us?" Set purred with a cheeky wink, expertly sliding into frame beside Neko, feline ears twitching theatrically. For her part Sekhmet stiffened slightly, shifting from one foot to another as she tried the gauge where to stand given the implied but unseen audience. "Nay, I jest. Fortunate are we to have grown a community most active who know the value of welcoming the unexpected and unknown with kindness!" The godling continued discussing the cultivation of that online following in rosy terms, interjecting a few jokes for pacing, a public speaker with practice on a time scale impossible to mortals. That bounty of time did not prevent Sekhmet from growing visibly impatient as he went on, lips curling up around her rows of sharp teeth. "Titles of grandiose rhetoric to prey upon the 'clicks'," she interrupted flatly. "The phrase be 'clickbait' oh gorgeous grump," Set replied cheerfully. He placed a finger to one side of his face as though letting Neko and her audience in on a secret in confidence. "Never claim Set knows not hot to play the game!"
  4. Set snapped his fingers in recognition. "Ah ha! An ascendent sun of content creation indeed!" While only moments had passed since Neko had made her more comprehensive introduction her accounts pinged in rapid succession with notifications that Set had subscribed to and followed her channel, tagged her in a social media post telling his followers to be on the lookout for an upcoming collaboration - along with a string of shocked cat emoji - and organized a raffle giveaway on one of this own channels for gifted subscriptions to her videos. That legwork done the phone vanished from his hand again with a small flourish and he gave the girl a genuine, beaming grin. "I would be truly heartbroken should you not, oh robed reviewer! I can send a boilerplate press strategy to your manager, correct links, pronoun etiquette, most efficacious SEO terms, so forth!" Sekhmet sniffed the air again and narrowed her eyes in the direction of Neko's seemingly unoccupied shoulder but said nothing. "And I adore you," the godling added in Red's direction. "I am indeed patron of redheads, obviously and I do believe you count. Have you a scarab sibling, mayhaps? Absolutely too cute!" Returning his attention to Neko, Set rolled his neck as if working out a tight muscle and a pair of feline looking ears sprouted from the top of his head, covered in brick red fur, shorter than her own. "Speaking of cute, what do we think? Shall I add the tail? Might it read a mite appropriative? Tis your gimmick, Neko-chan, tis your call, naturally."
  5. Sekhmet stood almost impossibly still as Neko made eye contact, matching the girl's preternatural unblinking stare with luminous golden eyes. She listened to the entire poem and greeting before meeting the bow with a deep inclination of her head. "Well met, oh courteous mortal." As she straightened her head seamlessly became that of a tawny furred lioness with a distinct black streak. While a few other convention attendees were startled by the sudden change Neko could smell in the aroma of blood dried in desert heat that neither this nor the human appearance had been illusions. "Know me as Sekhmet of Heliopolis, She Before Whom Evil Trembles and Lady of Slaughter." Sekhmet's shorter companion tilted his head and cocked an eyebrow in theatrical inquisitiveness throughout the exchange. He clicked his tongue and placed his hands on his hips. "And yet you receive deference and respect unbidden!" "I be respectable," Sekhmet countered flatly. He nodded amiably. "True! Whereas I be Set," the gosling introduced himself with a cheerful wink. He produced a smartphone with a flourish and proceeded to operate it one-handed while his attention remained primarily on Neko. "You I know from somewhere, aye?"
  6. Red buzzed a short tut-tut of dismissal at the compliment but flew in a pleased little loop nonetheless. She lifted the three segmented legs on her right side then lowered them one at a time in a countdown before going live with the camera installed behind the black dot at the front centre of her elytra. As Neko spoke she banked gracefully through the air over the heads of the crowd, angling for the most flattering angle and most interesting backgrounds. The Robug had been raring to get to work since Ryder had introduced her to Neko and Red was approaching the convention livestream with all the enthusiasm of a new sheepdog. One of those background shots captured a young man with thick, brick red dreadlocks and wearing a silk suit in an impossibly loud floral pattern and a thick gold necklace under the jacket in place of a shirt. He stood with his back to Neko and her camera, next to a much taller woman with the sleeves of a golden-yellow dress shirt rolled up to prodigious biceps and the buttons only done up to just below her ribcage. The shorter of the two was shaking his head in irritation as he indicated a life-sized cardboard standee of what was clearly himself, topless and wearing an ornate, folded skirt, winking and giving the passing crowds a pair of enthusiastic thumbs up. "Behold and despair, oh Mistress of Slaughter! Such feeble idolatry that should fail to capture the divine truth of my chiselled musculature! My jawline most cutting! Lips so exemplifying the platonic ideal of fullness as to inspire nothing platonic whatsoever!" "Tis inks upon thickened parchment," his companion pointed out, sounding incredibly bored by the conversation and distractedly sniffing the air as Neko passed. "Sculpture may be printed thrice across dimensions by machines, Sekhmet! Or better still, the venue might have commissioned one of those statues made of multitudinous children's blocks!"
  7. "Ha! That sounds like a good way for the winner to get their butt kicked by Nat for being a possessive creep. But y'know, I like flowers. I like colours, I like pollinators." Ryder lifted the flap of his bag and multiple bright objects burst forth. The bounding robotic bush cricket, roughly palm-sized, launched the furthest, landing on the desk near Koshchei. Cyan bounced up and down on his light blue and silver back legs and chirped in cheerful greeting before hopping away to explore the space. A praying mantis cast is saturated pink and glossy white landed read Ryder's feet then scuttled forward toward their host, completely unafraid. Magenta raised her curved forelimbs toward Natalia's grandfather and held them parallel, slowly sliding them further apart. It took a moment to realize that she was trying to gauge the size of his prodigious biceps, triangular head tilting to one side in disbelief. With a muted hum of vibrating wings a little wasp shaped robot followed, hovering uncertainly in the air around her creator's head. Yellow rubbed her front legs together in an approximation of wringing hands while zigzagging about, stopping every few moments and choosing a new direction, trying to decide whether to stay where she was or risk finding somewhere new but out of the way. Well after his siblings had exited a black and gunmetal grey beetle trundled out of the bag, across Ryder's arm and down his torso and leg, in no rush to drop down to the floor. Black nodded the long protruding horn on the front his head toward Koshchei in a polite bow then sauntered over to where Natalia was seated, waiting patiently at her feet to be picked up, quietly unimpressed by their surroundings. "Sir, meet the Robugs! That's Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Don't worry, they're used to being around, well, volatile equipment but if there's somewhere you want them to stay away from just say!" Ryder closed the bag again and raised his arm like a falconer for Yellow to set down atop.
  8. Ryder was silent for a beat, not in hesitation but in respectful consideration of Koshchei's words. "Intense!" he decided finally, nodding amicably. "Normally it's like pulling teeth to get folks to articulate their personal philosophies and mantras, y'know? You ask somebody what their dream is, like capital 'D' dream and they go, 'whatever man, I just want to sell super science laser guns to kids,' and I'm all that cannot possibly be the sum total of your life's ambitions, that's so sad. If you're going for power or respect or something mind numbingly basic like that fine, at least then we can start working out a way to get you there without being a massive tool but I'm going to need a drop of introspection and self-examination, right?" He thew his hands up with the air of someone who had voiced this exact frustration more than once before. "I was thinking more like, 'buy her flowers sometimes for no particular occasion,' or 'she hates banjo, never learn to play the banjo,' but heck yeah, 'commit to your passions,' I can get behind that." He looked down to his bag as something jostled within. "Oh! Uh, do you mind if my guys look around while we talk? Getting a little antsy which is funny when you realize none of them are ants." He gestured to the front flap of the saddlebag as though that provided context for his question.
  9. Ryder bit the corner of his mouth to stop himself from laughing at Natalia's grumbling but allowed himself to give her a look with raised eyebrows when her grandfather revealed that she had talked about him. "I have a big personality," he suggested to Koshchei, "and I'm more of a, y'know, 'provides the distraction' type than a 'not draw attention' type." The teen gestured to the room as a whole. "At least there's nothing in here you'd be all that upset about catching on fire or exploding or turning itself inside out, right? Learned the hard way to prioritize that in a workspace, ha!" He was curious about the gauntlets but it seemed gauche to be too obvious about it. "Any advice on being good enough on a longer timeline?"
  10. "Sir," Ryder greeted with a hand raised an unhurried suggestion of a wave, giving an easygoing and friendly smile to the serious faced man. "Glad to meet you and I appreciate you taking the time. I know it can be crazy tough finding a chunk of unclaimed workshop space in this city, right? Matches up with that industrial, utilitarian aesthetic too, so that's a plus." He laced his fingers behind his head and took a few steps further into the room, looking around curiously to see what infrastructure had already been there and what it looked like Koshchei had set up since his arrival. "I had a chance to check out one of your older designs, actually and I was hoping to pick your brain a bit about it but you probably want to do sort of an interrogation slash cold read thing on me first?" He tilted his head to one side and gave Natalia's grandfather a broader, dimpled grin. "Ask away!"
  11. "You're doing the thing where you establish a rule then immediately show it doesn't apply to you." It didn't sound remotely like a criticism but Ryder did give her a small frown and he peered into the darkness of the abandoned building, shielding his eyes from the sun overhead with one hand. "Is this a psyching yourself up thing? If you want to bail, we can tell him it's my fault and go find some rubble for you to smash and crush until you feel better." He snapped his fingers then brought both raised forefingers in front of his chest as a different interpretation occurred to him. "Oh! Or were you saying that I would be allowed to use pet names if it weren't for other people? Aw! That's sweet." He straightened up a bit and grinned, buoyed by the thought.
  12. "Managing to keep things from you seems pretty optimistic," Ryder observed, putting one scuffed up, rainbow laced sneaker directly in front of the other to walk solely on what was left of the raised edge of the curb as though it were a tightrope. He'd worn the jeans that only had a few small motor oil stains and remained paint splatter free, along with a long sleeved henley with a relatively tame colour block pattern that included a pink close enough to his strawberry blond dyed hair to make the latter look a bit more cohesive. Maybe. At least like an effort had been made, hopefully, which was really more the point. He hadn't mentioned any particular worries about how he ought to dress out loud but Natalia had noticed he'd brought along his messenger bag, the one big enough to conceal all of the Robugs at once. She knew Ryder well enough to recognize that as just the same sort of nervous decision paralysis. "Is there stuff I should, like, not mention around him? Lie of omission style?" He dropped one hand to rest meaningfully on the oversized belt buckle hidden behind the bottom of his shirt. He tended toward forthrightness in just about all things but this was Nat's family which he figured meant playing by her rules.
  13. "No fawning," Ryder recited, miming taking notes with a phantom pen on an imaginary pad of paper, "parenthesis yet question mark close parenthesis. See, this is good, actionable feedback already. But also, uh, y'know. Thanks." A little colour rose in his own cheeks when Neko whistled and he gave her a little half-wave and a dimpled smile back. "Ha, literal catcall. Gotta see if she'll teach me to do that finger whistle thing, that's classic." He glanced back toward Nat then off toward one of the better preserved paintings in the church, lowering his voice enough that it wouldn't carry so well to the other teenagers. "Not knowing what I'm doing generally doesn't worry me on account of that handsome willpower stuff you said but messing anything up with you is weirdly way scarier than just breaking another limb or whatever so you'll tell me if I'm being, like, a lot or just oblivious, right?"
  14. Ryder hooked his thumbs into the belt loops of his overalls and let out a long breath, almost a whistle. "I mean obviously we agree that I'd be a fool to say no. By any reasonable estimation you're catastrophically out of my league," he estimated with a serious tone that might have been interpreted as a teasing impression of Natalia's cool appraisal. "But are you sure you're up for it? Like, I'm probably going to end up saying some pretty genuine and heartfelt stuff about how your outfits are all fantastic and how I really admire your commitment to your personal principles and how you're incredibly fun to spend time with. And I'm probably going to take the opportunity to get to know you on a deeper, more meaningful level, the better to support and cherish you." He shook his head and gave her an exaggerated grimace. "I may even try to hold your hand at some point. People might get the impression we like each other. It's a pretty dangerous proposition."
  15. "Might get Tori's opinion first," Ryder suggested on the topic of mystical authorities. "She'd be more clued in about magic people with, like, pedigree or credentials or whatever. Ouroboros seems like a good place to start to me, though!" He made a point to encourage both Neko and Owain's singing above and beyond even his usual baseline enthusiasm and asked the Robugs to check in on El and the Bernadettes periodically to make sure everyone had whatever they needed. There was still so much to get done and he wanted to pull his own weight while also making sure everyone was organized and supported. His sister caught him as he'd finished filling another bag with debris and was looking around for his next task. "I know you like to get lost in a project but it's not like you to stall," Jenny observed, reaching over to pluck the push broom from Ryder's hands before he could object. The younger Fujioka opened his mouth to feign confusion then slowly closed it again, running a hand through his tousled strawberry blond hair and letting out a slow breath. "...any advice?" Jenny considered for a moment then shrugged. "Don't @#$% up, I guess." Ryder pursed his lips and leaned backward with exaggerated exasperation, far enough that his torso was parallel with the floor and he was staring up at one of Friend's paintings on a curved section of the ceiling. "Great. Awesome. Very helpful." Straightening back up he stuck his tongue out at her before his attempt at annoyance dissolved into an amused grin and he returned the shrug. Jogging across the length of the old church he waved a hand over his head. "Hey, Nat! You wanted to talk about something, yeah?"
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