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Gizmo

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Freedom City Guidebook

Freedom City PBP: A How-To Guide

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  1. The door opened almost immediately, revealing a masked man in a deep blue suit. "Hey, how you doing? C'mon in," he greeted them with a lopsided smile that seemed a little chagrinned with the whole situation. Stepping out of their way he continued, mostly for Fa'Rua's benefit, "I'm Jack of all Blades, obviously just call me Jack. Otherwise this would be weird." He quirked an eyebrow to emphasize the wry punchline - either the result of spending a lot of time talking to young children or just having dramatic body language. "Now, mi hermanita didn't say; which one of you is Copycat?" He immediately raised both hands to forestall a reply. "Wait! Don't tell me, I can use my famed powers of deduction." The swordsman made a show of looking between Ashley's clearly cat themed mask and her Lor partner's visor as if in deep thought.
  2. "That's probably a good attitude to take," Ryder agreed with Jessie, having already downloaded the museum's app on his phone on handed before their guide could ready himself. The Robugs had secreted themselves away in the high schooler's shoulder bag, the more excitable among them intermittently trying to sneak peeks from under the flap while their more reserved siblings pulled them back out of sight. Ryder himself sounded a little less exuberant as he mulled over Singularity's words. "It's weird though, right? Like, a future-me or alternate-me still has a bunch in common with me-me. So I start thinking about what intrinsically makes me a unique individual and if somebody already has all those elements what does that even mean? It's heavy."
  3. 'Jill' gave an amused snort and shook her head. "No, I'm a grappling hook gal. Walking's fine with me." She gestured for Rosalind to lead the way; she knew the spot the teenager was referring to but figured it was best to let the girl set the pace herself. "You're pretty local, right? Settling in to the campus alright or still getting used to being away from home?" She was more getting the vibe that Rosalind was still getting used to being in her own skin let alone anything else. That seemed like a topic to work up to, however.
  4. Part of supporting the community and being a resource of experience and expertise meant that Erik needed to make himself accessible. That wasn't at all compatible with the carefully guarded anonymity of a secret identity. While he liked to think that he'd mellowed somewhat in the last ten years - not that he liked thinking about his life in blocks of ten years because that meant he was getting old - he absolutely had more to lose now than he had at the beginning of his career. He'd expressed those concerns to his partners on more than one occasion; Min had put things into perspective by describing in vivid detail what she would do to anyone foolish enough to endanger their children. Talya's advice had come in the form of her specific brand of spy craft, which was how Jack of all Blades exited the stairwell out onto the building's rooftop in a sharp navy blue blazer, cut with a collar that referenced his costume's greatcoat. The jacket was reversible, with an opposite side that matched his slate grey slacks with a subtle herringbone pattern. The black dress shirt he wore undone to the middle of his chest was better tailored than anything he would have gotten for himself while the belt buckle in the shape of a filigree spade was more tasteful than it had any right to be. He'd put on his bandana mask and a version of his costume'd persona's wig Talya had designed, with the long black hair pulled back in a ponytail. "We should do this sort of thing more often." His sister was already waiting for him, leaning against one of the rooftop garden's trellises in a similar outfit, her own jacket a deep crimson with a dramatic flared bottom that echoed the wider cuffs of her pants. She twirled a grappling hook launcher idly around one finger, a stronger and more compact design than the models they'd once used, curtesy of her own wife. "What, socialize as a family?" "Things that involve Talya buying me clothes, but sure. Your thing, too."
  5. "I'm just saying it's weird they want to meet me for this," Erik expressed for the umpteenth time in the past few days. He refilled a glass of orange juice from the pitcher in one hand and slid an omelette onto a plate with the spatula in the other. Breakfast was a busy affair at the Espadas household between the number of mouths to feed and remembering who'd decided they were a picky eater that morning. Navigating the crowded kitchen as deftly as a battlefield he swapped out the container of juice for a steaming pot of coffee and filled a mug. "Tu hermanita asks you to do a favour for one of her school friends and suddenly you've got an attack of what? Modesty?" Gina fixed her son with a flat look and a raised eyebrow as she accepted the mug. Technically Min was more than capable of corralling the kids on her own while Erik and Talya were occupied, pregnant or not but Raina was busy with plans of her own and Neko and Owain were at Claremont and Gina didn't need much of an excuse to spend time with her grandchildren and daughter-in-law. Erik made a scoffing noise and made a gesture of protesting innocence with the pot. "I said I'd go, I'm gonna go! But this is the sort of thing people go to, like, Stesha for. Or honestly Martel and her bunch in the castle if you're a space lesbian." Gina took a long sip and leaned back in her wheelchair, making no attempt to hide her amusement. "Sounds like you need to accept you've become a respected community elder." She received only offended sputtering in response.
  6. Gizmo

    Out of the Bag

    "Going good, Hedgehog?" Erik greeted Utsuwa as the teenager entered, stooping to pick up a toy car that had somehow made its way downstairs to the training mats. The instructor wore a plain white t-shirt and light grey sweatpants, his feet bare as he exchanged the toy for a practice sword of his own on a nearby shelf, noting the white furred housecoat that appeared to be reclining there. He gave the feline a look with a raised eyebrow as though to ask who it thought it was fooling before turning back to the stretching student. "I'd ask if you'd been practicing in the meantime but that seems like a foregone conclusion. You remember the footwork we were working on last time?" When Owain appeared he paused, not surprised so much as trying to gauge the reaction of the two young men to each other. He looked to the various cats around the room to see if he could read anything from them, too but quickly decided that he wasn't going to waste his time trying to read the body language of cats that weren't actually cats. "Good work. That's up to Utsuwa, though. I know he had stuff he wanted to work on specifically." He raised his hands with the palms upward and looked to Utsuwa with a neutral expression.
  7. Gizmo

    Out of the Bag

    Erik didn't pretend to be particularly convinced by either of their assurances but decided the best way to show them respect was to take them at their word for the time being. "Offer stays on the table," he told Neko in particular with a level look. "If it ends of being too weird we can move it elsewhere next time. That said, I think that's probably a good attitude." He nodded in approval to Owain. "None of us get to pick our crappy relatives." He hadn't been pushing the young man to talk about the Green Knight but between what Talya had told him and what he'd inferred from Neko and Owain's own accounts he'd developed some opinions. "If you want to talk to Utsuwa about it but want to have an adult around, let me know, yeah? Not trying to get in your business, so no pressure." He pulled a face and placed a thumb and knuckle against his forehead as though beset by a sudden migraine. "Neither of you are going to get why it's embarrassing that I sound like I'm trying to be a 'cool dad', huh? 'If you're going to be experimenting with magic swords we'd rather you did it in the house where we know you're being safe!' Dios." Trying to reconcile how old he felt with the knowledge that his wives were both immortals and the young teens upstairs were World War II veterans Erik headed downstairs to prepare the space for the training session.
  8. "It's actually Mrs. O'Cure," Ellie greeted with a lopsided smile for the hesitent teenager. "Well, it's technically Dr. O'Cure but nobody needs to be that person, amirite? You can call me Jill if that works for you." It was always a bit of a toss up how she was going to have to handle her secret identity - or identities - around Claremont Academy but if she'd been introduced to Rosalind by codename she could roll with that. "I figured we could find a spot wherever on campus you felt comfortable? Unless you've got any questions for me right off the bat?"
  9. "That is the point of jail," Ryder agreed amiably, apparently unbothered by Aquaria's abrupt shift in tone. He squinted for a moment in consideration before correcting himself, "Well, the point is really more of an antiquated tool of fear mongering designed to disproportionately disenfranchise specific racial and economic groups while generating massive profits for a select few with a side helping of security theatre and political clout. But that just makes what you said even more true, huh?" Meanwhile Magenta perked up at the compliment and scuttled over from in front of Baxter toward Aquaria, rubbing to top of her triangular head with the back of one curved forelimb as though shining herself. Yellow seemed to recognize Jessie's quietly mounting stress and landed near her feet, bobbing her head in a sort of commiserating apology and trying to reduce the number of moving objects Jessie needed to track. "We're probably fine though, yeah! Well. Somebody did come back in time to try to kill me and called me the 'father of modern war crimes' so that definitely changed up the critical lens I apply to my own action, y'know? But hey, Utsuwa is... hmm." He looked over to his taciturn roommate and suppressed a small wince before turning back to their visitors with a broad grin. "Off campus sounds fun!"
  10. "Some people are always going to assume the worst," Ryder nodded along to Aquaria in a commiserating tone, "but it's awesome that you were able to repurpose the armour and, like, put your own spin on it with the underwater vibe!" He'd done a little research ahead of time but hadn't managed to learn much about Deep Ones except to avoid asking Heroditus any follow-up questions. "And Baxter, what a good guy you are!" With a friendly cheer that matched the dog's own energy surprising well he knelt down to offer the back of his hand to sniff. "These guys are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black!" As they were introduced the Robugs disengaged from their perches on Ryder's cardigan, the cricket bounding from one side of Aquaria to the other before landing on the teen's shoulder, the preying mantis scurrying excitedly up to Baxter's front paws before taking a queue from her creator and backing up to a respectful distance, the wasp buzzing nervously in the middle distance between Ryder and Utsuwa as if undecided on where to go and finally the beetle slowing walking over to the edge of the pool, apparently disinterested in the larger conversation. Ryder himself looked up from Baxter at Jessie's rush of words and a flicker of surprise touched his expression before giving way to a broad, genuine smile. "See, Utsuwa, I told you we picked the coolest ones. Alternate dimensions, carving out a new life, that's total badass stuff! Claremont is pretty nice, to answer your question, Miss Jessie. I mean, look at the sort of people we get to meet here, ha!"
  11. Claremont Academy Early Afternoon, Wednesday, November 3, 2021 Dr. Ellie Espadas had gotten used to walking the Claremont Academy campus as a visiting mentor rather than a student but she hadn't really been expecting to be asked back to speak with another student. Guess I'll take it as a vote of confidence, she mused to herself, long maroon coat switching about her ankles in the brisk November air. She'd worn a tan turtleneck and black slacks with enough stretch to move about freely; she wasn't expecting that sort of action specifically but around that many kids with powers you never knew when the situation might call for some acrobatics. Waiting outside one of the school's dormitories she mentally reviewed the brief description she'd gotten of Rosalind Sommaripa ahead of time, which hadn't been much more than a photo of an uncomfortable looking teenager and a couple of sentences about extraterrestrial jewelry. Ellie considered the chunky bangle bracelets hanging about her own wrists. Probably not looking for accessorizing advice.
  12. Gizmo

    Out of the Bag

    "'Bloody' works, too," Erik assured her quietly, clenching his fist over the little flicker of illusory fire then forcing himself to relax his hand. "I don't honestly know. I only met her the one time and we didn't, uh, talk much. There was a robot pirate and a bunch of those cultist ninja guys in a museum-- you know what, that's not really important." He waved away the temptation to get sidetracked by the easier conversation of an anecdote. He looked back to Neko where she had taken a seat and belatedly put together her meaning. "Oh! Like a bloodline, it's tied to-- right. Yeah, that makes sense. Hm." Setting aside the questions that raised he met her eyes with a serious look. "You don't have to stay up here. What I was going to ask is if you'd rather I moved the training session somewhere else. The whole point of you and Owain staying here is for you to feel safe. That means you get a say in stuff like this."
  13. “Sure but I’m saying that you already train with your sword all the time - like arguably a concerning amount not that I’m judging - but fighting in armour? That’s the other side of the violence coin, right?” Ryder was still pitching his choice of mentor for the day to Utsuwa as they walked across the campus, his arm over his roommate’s shoulders. He wore an oversized cardigan knitted in a rainbow of pastel colours that reached halfway down his thighs open over a black tank top with a heavy metal band’s name across it and paint splattered jeans. His enthusiasm was more convincing than his reasoning but fortunately he caught sight of Sea Devil before Utsuwa could cross examine him. “Haha, oh wow! It’s like if you asked somebody to reverse engineer Star Knight armour, wild!” He slipped away from Utsuwa to jog up to Aquaria and get a better look at her suit. Up close she could see a collection of brightly coloured robotic insects hanging off of the back of his cardigan. “Hi, sorry, I’m Ryder, this is Utsuwa, we were supposed to meet you?” The teen gave her a broad, dimpled smile before looking over to acknowledge the second woman and her furry companion. “Hi— oh! Say, do you know Mrs. Hunter-White, works over at the HAX building? You’re a dead ringer, is why!”
  14. Gizmo

    Out of the Bag

    It wasn't exactly the reaction Erik had been expecting; it was hard to reconcile the polite teenager he'd gradually gotten to know with the knowledge that she had seen far more death than he had himself. The illusory katana was convincing and disturbing but it didn't taste the way the real one did to his metamagi senses and so his attention remained on her expression. He let out a long, audible breath and quietly replied, "I think so but it's... attached to him so I don't think he had a lot of say in it." If he'd been more proactive he could have spoken with Utsuwa ahead of time and tried to get the kid to open up and clarify some points but he'd been trying to give the boy his space. After another beat of silence broken only by the drip of illusory blood from the blade he softly continued. "I know what the sword looks like, Neko. C'mon, you don't need to be looking at that." He extended an open hand, still more than a full step away from her and she felt a small tug on the magic threads woven into the image she'd created. Not enough to pull it away without her permission, just an offer to carry the metaphorical weight for a moment.
  15. Gizmo

    Out of the Bag

    Erik blinked a few times as he considered Neko's assertion. "He is like a hedgehog, yeah, wow. I'm going to use that." He returned his attention to conversation at hand and gave the girl a small shake of his head. "Oh no, there's nothing you need to do, that's not what I was getting at. The thing is..." He placed his hands on his hips and looked at the ceiling, deciding finally that there was nothing for it but to be direct. "Utsuwa has powers, yeah? Specifically, he's got a magic sword, only not like Owain's? It pops out, can be sort of a surprise and I didn't want you getting surprised." He was starting to speed up his words a bit and forced himself to slow back down. "You know I can sense stuff about magic and I haven't gotten into it with Utsuwa himself but I've seen the sword before, yeah? And I'm pretty sure you'd recognize it too 'cause it used to belong to the Crimson Katana." He stopped to give her a chance to process, hopping ripping the bandaid off had been the right move.
  16. Set had followed after Phantom and Sea Devil before taking up a lounging lean against the wall toward the back of the group of deliberating mages. She chimed in with a, "Oh, queen! Tis the energy I desire to behold!" in support of Aquaria's visceral suggestion and told Invisigirl in a low aside with a wink, "We'll arrange a life drawing session, oh adorable artiste. Photos be fine but my third dimension is truly one of my best features." The godling sniffed audibly at Masques musing. "Naturally he can banish her. There can be no contest." Huang's capabilities fell squarely with the list of things Set took as a point of personal pride. "Technically I'm not one to, well, age as such," she added in a begrudging concession to be helpful in the face of several literal children screwing up their courage, "however I'm of a rather delicate constitution these days?" She gave a theatrical sigh. "I have been proclaimed as awfully distracting, one supposes."
  17. Gizmo

    Out of the Bag

    "Hey kiddo, doing alright?" Erik greeted with a sort of sheepish wave, accepting the bow with the knowledge that they were both compromising on what felt natural to them. He'd initially given Neko a specific nickname as was his habit but between the language barrier and cultural gulf taking the wind of his humour's sails and the girl's formality around address he'd shelved it for the time being. He ran a hand through his close cropped dusty brown hair in a gesture Neko had come to recognize as meaning he was pausing to put his thoughts into the simplest words. There was an extra note of hesitation in his expression that she hadn't seen often in his confident manner. "Another Claremont student is coming to train downstairs soon," he explained finally. "You may know him? Utsuwa? Undercut, frowns a lot?" He waved his hands by each side of his head to illustrate the haircut and mimicked the dour expression, then gave a genuine frown as he second guessed whether or not that seemed condescending. "I wanted to check if you two had talked much..?"
  18. Gizmo

    Out of the Bag

    The Espadas School of Self-Defence and Swordsmanship! Afternoon of Friday, October 22, 2021 Erik Espadas reflected that secret identities and half-truths had seemed a lot less bothersome when he hadn't been the one having to juggle them between other people. It was straightforward enough to respect the privacy and often complicated circumstances of the young people who came to train with him or his wives at the dojo but it was entirely thornier when those circumstances started to intersect with each other. Trickier still with a significant language barrier. He'd been putting it off for that reason but Utsuwa Ranaga has a session scheduled in about half an hour and when it came down to it he wasn't willing to let the quiet girl staying with his family get walk in on a reminder of her long dead abuser without fair warning. "Damn creepy tattoo sword," he muttered under his breath as he walked from room to room in the second floor apartment above the training space looking for Neko.
  19. Mentors Willing to Play: Jack of all Blades - fencing instructor, expertise in... let's say 'non-academic' magic and energy manipulation, super-senses, leading disparate personalities, daddy issues Jill O'Cure - Claremont alumnus, medical doctor, expertise in healing and energy constructs, managing reckless teammates Midnight II - Claremont alumnus, expertise in mechanical engineering, vehicle design and repair, stealth, close quarters combat, disabling opponents' bladder control Wail - high school civics teacher, veteran hero and small business owner, elder gay, expertise in sonic projection, fighting with enhanced strength and durability, being un-@#$%ing-breakable Ghost Girl - Claremont alumnus, expertise in cold/ice projection, spellcraft, artifact creation, undead and other cryptid abilities, magical creature husbandry, defiance of the natural order Reagent - Claremont alumnus, founded successful line of cosmetics catering to meta humans, expertise in alchemy, chemistry, managing anxiety and anger issues, physical transformations Students Student: Chitin Would Like to Meet: Aquaria! Armour, big hops and positivity!
  20. "Oh, like food food? That's easy!" Ryder exclaimed in pleasant surprise before being distracted by Owain's transformation. "Huh. So, did everybody else know he was a sword guy and an animal transformation guy? That's two whole things!" He tilted his head further and further to follow Natalia's path up the wall, transferring his weight to one foot and lifting the other off of the ground until he was practically parallel with the ground. As the conversation continued he spun about like a figure skater to right himself and face Bernadette, pointing an approving index finger toward her. "Also doable! Music we've got! Lemme make a call!" Pulling out his phone he tapped on his most recent conversation and waited for a beat while it rang. "Hey! Yeah, all good but listen, can you swing over with Elena now instead of when we were thinking? Oh, and pick up some beer or... Wine, maybe? On the way?" There was a pause and he rolled his eyes. "Not for us, there's a painting lady. No, not a lady who's a painting, they are the painting." Another pause. "If I was already drunk I wouldn't be asking you to get beer!" This time he rolled his eyes with such force he bent over backward. "Because we're not in Japan! It does too make sense! Fine, whatever, just the food then, please. You suck. Love you." Putting his phone back into his pocket he told the others, "Jenny was already on her way with Elena anyway." Cupping his hands around his mouth he called up to the ceiling, "Could you let the bird know if you have any dietary restrictions?"
  21. "A spirit, huh. Kinda like a one-building Doc Metropolis?" Ryder mused, scratching his jawline with one finger as he considered their next move since his initial greeting seemed to have been coming on a little too strong. "That's a good question, Owain." He watched the brightness of the glowing outline dim gradually and made an intuitive leap. Cupping his hands around his mouth he called upward, "Sorry, didn't mean to startle you! You hungry?" He turned to look sidelong at Natalia with a preemptive shrug. "Everybody's gotta eat. <Do you know what she would eat, Neko?>" He was gambling that the shy church spirit didn't eat friendly teenagers.
  22. Chitin Diplomacy check: 1d20+15 28 Maaaaake... F R I E N D S ! ! !
  23. "Yeah! It really-- uh. Huh." Ryder glanced over his shoulder toward Cyan and the speaker and froze, blinking several times and tilting his head to one side in manner that brought to mind a confused golden retriever. He quickly spun back around, searching the opposite wall for any sign of a projector. Finding none he rounded back to the back wall of the old church and took a few steps forward, gaze locked on the faded painting of a woman with a halo standing in front of buildings with onion-dome roofs. Who happened to be actively bopping her head along with the blaring music. Ryder was reasonably sure that the gutted electronics meant that there was nothing to power some sort of sophisticated flat screen. There was so much dust in the air that it would have been obvious if the image was being projected from elsewhere. He could think of other ways to achieve the visual effect but they would have required an investment of some combination of time, expertise and money that seemed like it would have been hard to justify. And so, with his engineering inclinations stymied, he switched to his other main mode of operation: making friends. "Okay, so... hi!" he called over the music, waving amicably. "Didn't realize there was anyone already here! I'm Ryder, these are my friends. Always nice to meet a music lover!"
  24. Chitin Notice Check: 1d20+10 25 Ryder has lots of Super-Senses... when he's in his armour! None currently.
  25. Set - Restrooms (with Phantom and Aquaria) “Oh, Ra’s conspicuous nipples!” Set swore as the hotel reconfigured around her, stamping one foot against the dated pattern of the tiled floor in petulant irritation. “I was speaking unto a fan! I only attended to observe, mayhaps to live-stream, then assess the vibe and see within how many hotel chambers I could get divinely freaky with… ah. Thy eldest progeny, oh She Who Stands Above All Mortal Magisters,” the godling finished her tirade with an awkward cough as she realized who else was in the room. She started paying attention to her surroundings in time to notice Aquaria kick at the door. “Woah now, peace my good armoured amphibian! The building be agitated enough; think how you might feel having someone kicking apart your bowels, eh?” She got closer to the Deep One to give her a winning smile and caught something of her mounting agitation in her frog-like countenance. “Nay then, listen oh saltwater siren. Desert goddess, aye?” She placed the fingertips of one hand to her corseted bosom. “I have spied plenty of carrion in my days and any being claiming that title is an absolute disaster of a imprisoned primordial being. Truly, we talk, you know, and I’ve not seen her at any of the good parties. Whereas we are obviously fabulous and we be with the Master Mage. We’ll be out before your fins have had a chance to dry.” Though Set was laying it on pretty thick there was an undercurrent of genuine encouragement in her words and an invitation to focus on something other than whichever element of their situation was triggering Aquaria. “Do you know? We be in a restroom, we be killing time, I shall have a mirror selfie with the Sea Devil, methinks. Be you on social? Sweetgills, you shall have a lineup competing to hang onto your back, hm?” She started to guide Aquaria away from the door with a light touch while giving Phantom a significant look. “Times be you just desire to look good and times be you need to blow off some steam, aye? She Who Passes Law on the Lawmakers knows of what I speak! …truly, I respect and care for thy son. Respectfully.”
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