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May 2020 

 

Radikal2002 has been a frequent and active presence in the comment section of Gimmick's videos for most of the year - her memes are dank, her counter-trolling epic, and her support for noobs real as long as they don't ask anything too stupid. Her avatar is an atomic symbol, a hydrogen atom, and she's a frequent commenter on various heroic Youtube channels. 
 

She doesn't normally extend invitations, or reveal anything about herself. So it's a bit of a surprise when she posts "If you think you have enough, meet me tonight at - and then what looks like a string of random numbers - if you aren't smart enough to decode things like that. From Rot-13 to binary with a trip through a substitution cipher based on the Anarchist's Cookbook comes

 

"323 Carlton Street, Ashton, 9PM." 

 

Ashton isn't exactly no go territory but Gimmick knows it's no joke there. Well, that's not true - just not always a very funny one. Much of the suburban community burned during the last Terminus invasion, and though it's been rebuilt, the ground is still haunted by the ghosts of the past - and this area is Ground Zero for the next generation of Terminus mutants. Sometimes strange powers manifest here. Sometimes strange people live here. 

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Gimmick bounced across the rooftops, the modifications for his Spring shoes definitely working.  Lots more bounce than he used to get. Normally he'd be recording by now but for all he knows this is just a  bunch of angsty teens meeting for something. Not worth wasting memory space on. Then again if this is something and he manages to keep it from escalating...could make a good vlog. 

Still, Ashton? Ashton. That itself was enough to pique his interests. This place wasn't someplace you go for no reason. And it's certainly a place he could at least brag about having been. About 3 buildings and a mugger covered in silly string later and  he was at, or rather on top of, the address.

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Not long after his landing, he was joined on the rooftop by a bolt from the black sky above. The robot came down like a silver streak, coming to a landing just above the rooftop with a distinct crackle of blue-white electricity. Her wings were spread, an angel's wings cast in steel and lightning, and she looked him over with a distinct smirk on her mirror-bright face before she spoke in a throaty whisper. "Hmph. I thought you would be taller." The voice was feminine, probably, as those flat white eyes looked him over speculatively. "I am Angelic. I seek your technical expertise.

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Gimmick nearly falls off the roof after the electricity crackled down. The android heroine appearing behind him was more than enough to startle him.

"Technical Expertise? What kind of technical expertise..." 

He shrugs of the shock pretty quickly. This ought to be pretty darn interesting. I mean I'm pretty good at whipping up some kind of prop or something if she wants a comedy act but past that what can I do that she couldn't? 

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"I require the services of a cinematographer," replied Angelic. As she spoke, she began cracking her knuckles, chunk-chunk-chunk, her wings folded behind her like a long steel cape. "one capable of capturing the dimensions of a superheroic engagement." She cocked her head with a faintly audible click, then said, "On February 7 you fought a Russian mafiya cell producing illegal guns for the black market. What was the rig you used?" She opened her hand, revealing what looked to be a flat, holographic playback of said video (complete with tinny audio) emerging from her palm, as if to jog his memory. 

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"Uh... Wait those guys are Mafiya? Nevermind, Doesn't matter. I used the same rig as I always use.."

Gimmick opens a satchel, his (infamous to those who watch his channel) Bag of Tricks. After shuffling through the bag he produced a Fujifilm X-T3, A very high end video camera. He turns it on and aims it at the heroine, beginning to record.

"I'm sorry so...What do you want me to film? We aren't going to be doing anything illegal or anything are we?"
 

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Angelic studied the camera and said, "There is a group of vultures in Ashton who are feeding off the fear and misery of the people after the invasion - selling them false cures. I want to take them down, and I want to be filmed doing it." She cocked her head and said, "Your technology is acceptable. You may join me if you like. I can arrange payment for you, better equipment, connections, etc. I only need your recording and your promise to delay release so that I may show it first, privately. The recording is...a present.

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"False Cures? Wait are we taking Snake Oil or Essential Oils"

He holds the Camera over his shoulder, more than happy to help with this but...

"Don't get me wrong I think this whole "Anti-Vax" Nonsense is as dumb as not feeding a kid cause they might choke but I don't think it's technically illegal. And honestly? As long as I hold distrubution rights for the footage I'm more than happy to do this for free"

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"No!" declared Angelic, sounding deeply annoyed. "We are-" She looked away, walking to the edge of the building, then turned back to Gimmick. "We are in Ashton," she hissed. "The scars of the invasion were burned into these people's souls, and into the land itself. Their children are often Terminus mutants. Not the pretty sort like Psyche or Phalanx,' she sneered, "but sick, weak ones who die in pain. There is a small company here that skirts the law by selling colored water and crystals to people with sick children." One of her metal hands had curled into a fist by the time she was done talking. "One of their employees is selling his own drugs on the side. If we happen to catch his masters doing something worse while we watch him, I call that good news.

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"Ah. Yes that does make more sense."  Gimmick once again shuffles around in his bag, this time producing a Joy Buzzer that he puts on his right hand. "Theres more Snake than Essential with these oils then? Lets bust up some Conmen. And Drug dealers! A two-fer-one."

 

He smiles sheepishly

"Or rather lets have me film you bust up a Conman/Drug Dealer."

He may be smiling, but on the inside Gimmick was madder than Yosemite Sam by the 3rd act. He normally doesn't have much of a problem with con-men. Trick a rich prick out of a couple grand, sure. They won't miss it much. Trick a struggling family with a sick kid out of a good portion of there immediate fund? You sir are human trash.

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"Excellent." They made plans to rendezvous at the building across the street the next day in the late afternoon - the 'shroom-selling clerk would be on duty, and they could reconnoiter the site before launching their combination sting-prank. They could see the offices of YOUR CHOICE MEDICINE  across the street, shuttered against the night, with images of happy families on the glass that belied the reality of their false cures. "Message me when you are there." Angelic spread her wings, ready for the take-off. "How will you be dressed?

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"Look for someone in a trenchcoat. I'll have my costume on underneath in case I need to hop in."


Truth be told the Social media hero was kinda hoping to get to jump in. This would make a great video, and as much as he realized this was Archangel's show he was still aching for the ever present Spotlight. 

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The next day, there was a man in a trenchcoat outside the Your Choice Medicine office. It was a clear, crisp spring day in the rest of Freedom City, but somehow the skies over Ashton always seemed a little too bright and cheerful, as if the universe were overcompensating for what had happened here a few months earlier. People passed him by on the street, but then came the distinct sound of a cleared throat. 

 

The girl looked up at him with eyes hidden by dark, rimless shades that looked like something out of the nineteenth century. A black hoodie advertising ENTOMBED in white letters against a flaming background was pulled up but it didn't hide the shock of blue-black hair peeking out from underneath. She looked him up and down without taking off her sunglasses and made a distinct hmph noise, wrinkling her pierced nose, before she led the way inside the store. 

 

Your Choice Medicine was a bustling place; more was the pity, with crystals and juicers, self-help books and astrology manuals. There was "alternative medicine" to treat all manner of ailments ranging from "electrosensitivity" to "toxin cleansing", all of it carefully phrased so that no fraud laws were actually broken. One section of pills, the target of Angelic's ire, promised "a treatment regimen to treat entropic radiation syndrome". 

 

"Idiots," the girl muttered, her voice like Angelic's but not quite. 

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"Worse, desperate people"  Gimmick followed behind Angelic. "They can be so much easier to pull one over on." 

 

Taking note of the folks in the store Gimmick began going through some of the things on the shelf. None of this made sense, selling desperate people things that at best could sure a headache when they need treatment for much worse. And far worse, there was nothing Funny about it either. "Heh, Get your Essential Snake Oils here! Essential Snake Oils for sale." He muttered.

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Angelic made a small, soft noise under her breath, turning her head to give cold stares to patrons. "They had a choice. They chose other than science." As the crowd definitely started looking at them, she seemed to change - clothes falling to the floor, skin rippling and vanishing, and suddenly her back erupted with silver-electric wings as her human guise gave way to the machine beneath. 


"Attention, patrons!" she called as she strode through the store, "there is a drug dealer among you!" 

 

"We know that!" called one of the patrons, a middle-aged man with a greying ponytail! "It's a drug store! It's not illegal!" Angelic glared at him, distracted from her march to the counter, and seemed briefly at a loss for words as the man clutched his herbal supplements to his chest in surprise. 

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At that precise moment, an armored figure crashed through the window and executed a neat forward roll before revealing itself as a caped man in a tight-fitting tuxedo and neat domino mask. "Greetings, citizens! I am The Best Man! Your pardon, but I need your-" The man, who did indeed look dressed for some sort of super-wedding party, stopped and blinked as he stared at Angelic. "I beg your pardon, were you here first?" 


"Two supervillains at the same time? What are the odds?" declared the man who'd yelled at Angelic earlier.

 

The android heroine responded with a look that briefly made it look as if steam was about to come out of her ears. "I am not a supervillain!" She went for the Best Man, throwing a wild punch that the man easily dodged. The Best Man did a complicated backflip that resembled karate, and threw a kick at Angelic's head that struck with a _gong_ sound but didn't actually seem to do any damage. 

 

"Your pardon, Ms. Robot, but I do believe I'll have to cut in line!" 

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A multi-colored set of sticky strings fire toward The Best Man,  Gimmick flashing his best gameshow smile as he managed to muck up the crook, only for his barrage of silly string to go completely avoided by the Best Man.

"Wow, you just stole the Gentleman Bandit's bit and added a marriage twist didn't you? Speaking as quite possibly the leading authority on the subject,  if your going to devote yourself to ONE Gimmick at least make it original"

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"Everybody's a critic!" said the Best Man, neatly dodging Gimmick's attack. He didn't seem bothered by the teasing - if anything, he shot the other man a real smile before turning back to face Angelic. 

 

"You miserable idiot!" Angelic spat at the Best Man. "We are in the middle of exposing this place for what it is and you are ruining it with your robbery! I am going to shove your hat-" and then she told him where. That actually made the Best Man lose a step, and nearly get punched in the head for his troubles. 

 

Executing a neat backflip, he jumped backwards out the window he'd smashed. "I can see the two of you have an arrangement going. Here, let me help! Something from my French collection?" And with that he hurled _something_ past Gimmick's head that hit Angelic in the midsection, erupting out quickly into what looked like an elaborate bridal gown complete with veils and train. Disgustedly, Angelic tore the new garments away, hissing like an angry teapot as she spread her wings wide. 

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Gimmick sighed, bounded across the room and tapped an open palm across the Best Man's chest, sending an electric shock through his system with no permanent damage done, but a lot of stunning for the criminal.

"Trust me, I know everyone's a Critic but you do need to take some legitimate criticism, also the Best Man just gives a speech at the wedding, he doesn't have anything to do with the Bride unless something real messed up happens. So the dress trap was kinda stupid."

Gimmick's trench coat was left behind after that jump, revealing his Jesterish costume.

Edited by Growth Spurt

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The zapper worked, sending a jolt of electricity through the Best Man that sent him staggering. The moment the shock faded, Angelic lashed out and grabbed him by the arms with both hands, lifting him into the air and squeezing hard. He gasped, losing his hat in the process, and declared, "Uncle! Uncle!" He gave them both a disgusted look, seeming to cease his struggles. "What sort of superheroes are you, defending a place like that?" 


"We are not defending that place," said Angelic, her mechanical voice sounding scandalized. "But you cannot just rob the people there! They have been through enough. Parents doing everything they can to save their children. They are not for you to play with!

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"Yeah. Not sure what to add to that and I don't think I should need to repeat it."

Gimmick reached into his bag and produced an aerosol can. 

"Put him next to the wall, I'll make sure he can't leave and we can continue."

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