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Gizmo

Interceptors: Liquid Therapy IC

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(Continued from Interceptors: Intervention)

Leaving Lynn to contact her friend on the FCPD, Jack and Colt changed into their civilian clothes and headed out into the city. In his short months in Freedom, Colt had noted the locations of a number of local bars, but the native West Ender led them past the obvious spots to a discrete hole in the wall a couple of blocks from the brownstones. Only a simple neon sign reading a neutral 'BAR' heralded the heavy wooden oak door with a poorly repaired crack down the middle. Inside a rattling radiator staved off the chilled January air next to a long wooden bar and a number of tables.

Dressed in a heavy denim jacket and jeans, Jack pulled up as chair and raised a pair of fingers to the bartender, who nodded briefly and began pouring two drafts. The young man rubbed the stubble on his chin. "I think this is the longest I've gone out of mask in a month, not counting sleeping," he admitted to Colt.

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Colt was suddenly acutely aware that maybe Jack would be uncomfortable being seen out of costume with a man who was known to be a super hero. "I Reck-" He stopped himself suddenly, and made an attempt to drop the "old west" from his speech patterns. "I mean, I think it is good to get away sometimes."

"Speakin' er...Speaking of which," He started in a whisper, "What should I call you while we're here?"

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"Dude, relax. Nobody's paying any attention to us, that's why I chose this place. If someone asks, you're from Houston, alright?" The drinks were brought over by an attractive waitress with short black hair and matching lipstick. Jack gave her a winning smile as she dropped off the glasses, then turned back to Colt. "Okay, so it was a reason. As for a name, uh..." The swordsman rubbed the back of his closely shorn hair and shrugged. "I dunno, something random, I guess. How about... Eric? Whatever, bro."

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"Reckon Eric'll do just fine, then." Colt took a sip of his beverage, easily bouncing right back to his native speech patterns. "Mmm!" His eyes lit up. "Na that's what I call'a good drink! What'a'ya call this'n, miss?" He asked the waitress. He had noted Jack's look, and thought maybe he could get the girl to stick around the table a little bit longer. Pair of charming gentlemen that they were, and everything.

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"It's actually a microbrew from a local brewery," the waitress said, brushing her hair behind her ear as she turned back around. Totally ignoring Eric, she held her empty tray across he lap and beamed at Billy. "Are you, like, from the south? I love your accent!"

From across the table the fencer gave the cowboy a dry, unimpressed look. Thanks a lot, man. Smooth.

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Colt leaned back in his chair, lifting one leg to lay it across the other. He used his left hand to tip his hat at the girl as he said, "Houston, ma'am!" then threw his left elbow over the back of the chair. He took a sip from his drink and looked across the table at Jack. He raised his eyebrows in a surprised look as if to say, What just happened?

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"Texas? Ohmigawd, I was just in Austin last year for South by Southwest!" The waitress stifled a gasp. "Are you, like, a musician?"

Before Colt could reply, is teammate interjected. "Actually, Bill just moved here to be in our band. You know what they say, if you can make in Freedom, you can make it anywhere, right?" The swashbuckler gave her a grin full of perfect teeth. "I'm Eric. And you are?"

Her eyes widened as she turned to Eric. "Really? That so exciting! I'm Tricia." She looked back to Colt. "What's your band called?" Behind her back, Eric gave Billy a shrug.

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"Aww, now ya gone'n done it, Eric." Colt shot him a menacing look. He smiled afterward and For a moment, Jack couldn't tell whether or not the look had been real.

Turning the smile on the waitress, Colt attempted to keep up the act. "Shucks, ma'am." He laid it on thick. "Seems I can't take ma friend here anywhere. I reckon he's a sucker fer attention. 'Specially from a pretty face like yers."

Yer gonna get me'n trouble one'a these days, Jack. Reckon I'm just glad I'm a decent actor.

Colt continued, "We're called the GC Foxes. An' Don't bother askin' what it means." He said with a wink.

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"Aw, Bill just thinks that 'cause he's so modest," Eric insisted. "This guy could be a superhero and he wouldn't make a big deal about it. Strikes me, there's nothing wrong with having a conversation, especially with such pleasant company."

As Tricia covered a small smile with her hand, a voice rang out from towards the back of the bar. "Hey, Trish, how 'bout some service, huh?" The speaker was a broad-shouldered youth wearing a Freedom City College letterman jacket, sitting at one of several tables which had been dragged together to accommodate nearly a dozen similarly clad young men.

The waitress made a bit of a face before calling back. "Be there in a second, Paul." She turned back to Billy and Eric and rolled her eyes. "You go out with the quarterback once..."

"Uh, how 'bout now? the jock called back belligerently, eliciting a chorus of snickers from his teammates. "We're the FCC Firebirds!"

His teammates began an impromptu chant. "Ef cee cee! Ef cee cee!"

"Starting lineup, bay-bee!" the player next to Paul exclaimed loudly, high-fiving the quarterback.

"You know it! We got the Atom Bowl this weekend and we are gonna rock the his-ouse!" Hoots and hollers of agreement came from the rest of the lineup. "Y'know, your not supposed to get busy the night before a big game, but it's not for a couple days. You see what I'm saying, Trishie?" Paul smirked while his teammates whistled and made catcalls, much to the waitress' obvious annoyance.

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"Y'see, Eric, It's guys like them that're makin' people think chivalry's dead." Colt said to Jack. An' I reckon they really, really make me chomp't the bit...

Colt looked up at Trish, "Beggin' yer pardon, miss. But at' the risk'a soundin' cliche, is that fella over there botherin' ya?"

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Tricia gave Billy a wry smirk. "Welcome to the glamourous world of waitressing. They're obnoxious, but harmless."

"I gotta go with Bill on this one," Eric replied, turning his head to catch the belligerent jocks in his peripheral vision. " There's definitely a line to be drawn with this kind of thing..."

As the fencer spoke, Paul the quarterback staggered to his feet and walked across the room to the Interceptors' table. "Maybe you didn't hear me," he said roughly, placing a meaty hand on the waitress's shoulder.

Eric's eyes narrowed to slits as he exchanged a look with Billy. "... and laughing boy here just crossed it."

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Colt nodded at Jack's words and quickly drained what was left in his mug. He stood from his chair, and in turn placed his own hand on the jock's arm. "An' maybe y'all didn't hear me. I said, them's fightin' words!"

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Paul frowned at Bill. "Hey, buddy, that's assault!"

Still sitting, Eric shook his head. "Unintentional irony aside, that's just Bill being nice. He's southern, believes in giving folks fair warning." Suddenly the acrobat was in motion, spinning out of his chair to stand and delivering a snap kick in one fluid motion. The foot caught the quarterback squarely in the chest, and forced him to release his hold on Tricia, who immediately retreated to put the Interceptors between Paul and herself. "That's how we handle creeps in the West End." Eric was shocked to realize, however, that the bow had barely fazed the football player, who rubbed his chest with one hand and made a fist with the other.

"You just made a big mistake, freak!" The rest of the Firebirds began to get up from their chairs.

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"Na, I reckon that ain't no mistake. That's what I'd call a good decision." Colt said as he strut towards the Quarterback. The man seemed to be taking hits to the chest alright, but Colt wondered if he'd like it when he started messing with the man's face. Stepping in quickly, he threw his forearm into the man's face, and connected hard with his nose.

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The quarterback hit the floor hard, out cold. Tricia let out a small squeak as the rest of the Firebirds paused for a moment in shock. The player who had been sitting next to Paul snarled. "Get 'em!" The four jocks who had been sitting on the side of the tables closer to the door rushed forward while the rest of the bar's patrons began to flee to the exit. The bartender bucked behind the bar and the remaining six players quickly maneuvered out from behind their tables.

The Firebirds tried to use their superior numbers to their advantage, with two jumping at Eric and another pair attacking Billy. Reflexes sharpened through actual, deadly combat put football field tactics to shame, however, and the Interceptors easily stepped around the clumsy swings. "I know I should feel bad about this," Jack smirked as he drove the palm of his hand into the nose of one of his opponents. The jock staggered back clutching his face, blood running between his fingers. "But it's a little bit hilarious," the swashbuckler concluded.

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"Reckon that's the first sensible thing ya've said all day!" Colt shot back towards his teammate, ducking a particularly vicious punch. He used the football players momentum to give him a little push and send him skittering across the floor. But it wasn't meant to be an actual attack.

He quickly tucked down and rolled behind one of the other Firebirds. Rising to his feet, he laid his left hand on the back of the man's neck, and rammed his hand into the man's kidney. "Startin' line ma ass! Reckon y'all couldn't fight yer way outta a paper bag!"

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"You guys have to remember, you're not just embarrassing yourselves here," Eric admonished the jocks as the remaining Firebirds joined the ruckus. "You're representing your school, even the city!" The Firebird Billy had easily sidestepped around went down with a groan, trying in vain to steady himself with a barstool. His teammates swarmed the swashbuckler and cowboy, coming at them from every side. Even so, their combined efforts meant nothing to the two Interceptors, who avoided their blows almost casually.

Their numbers and close grouping offered Eric some interesting options, however. His arms shot forward, catching two of the football players upside the head, and he forced their skulls together with a mighty crack. The teammates' head rebounded off of each other, and they collapsed in a heap atop their quarterback, unconscious. "So much for school spirit, huh?"

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"I hope y'all're doin' better'n yer classes'n y'are here." Colt quipped as he rolled across the top of one of the tables. He grabbed on of the chairs from the other side of the table and quickly flung it one of the football players.

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"Bill, you're so naive," Eric sighed as cowboy's target took a hardwood chair to the face. "These are football players at a community college. They don't take classes." As their teammates fell to the floor like flies, the remaining Firebirds became increasingly desperate, swinging wildly at the amused pair. One of them recovered from him attack just in time to see Eric's fist coming straight at his mouth, but there was nothing he could do but stagger back to collapse across a table as the blow connect solidly. The fencer shook his hand out. "Sheesh, hard head."

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Colt rolled around behind another one of the attackers. "Well'n that case..." He replied to Jack as he grabbed one of the men. "They won't mind losin' a few brain cells!" He slammed his fist into the man's kidney once again. He quickly followed that strike by pulling backwards on the man. Throwing his weight backwards and down to the floor, he used his legs to judo throw the man backwards into one of his teammates. The pair of football players connected. The one that was standing attempted to catch his flying friend. But he was largely unsuccessful. Rather than remaining standing, he instead stumbled backward and the pair crashed through a table in the center of the room.

Finishing his throw by rolling into a standing position, Colt readied himself for another attack. "Guess that one wasn't playin' wide receiver, eh, Eric?"

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Eric grimaced at Billy's joke. "That's why you should leave the funny stuff to me, man." The last jock of the group that had been attacking his attempted to grasp the swordsman is a crushing grapple. Nimbly leaping backward and out of the way, Eric launched forward off of a chair to arc over the football player, where a sharp kick to the top of the head was enough to send the heavy college student sprawling to the ground. Landing lightly, Eric indicated the broken table. "Too much collateral damage."

The final Firebird charged forward with a roar, intent on knocking Billy off of his feet. The cowboy stepped around him easily, and the football player struggled to regain his balance.

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"Hey," the cowboy shot back, "I reckon that's his fault. He didn't have'ta fall through it. I gave'em a good pass!" Colt finished speaking just as the last of the football players lunged at him.

Mid-sidestep, Colt stuck his foot out and tripped up the man. His momentum turned out to be his undoing, he went face-first into a nearby wall, rattling some of the pictures hanging there. "Reckon I'll give them jokes one more go. Now that's usin' yer head, partner!"

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The final football player staggered back from the wall, wobbling about on his feet, but remaining upright, looking blearily at Billy. Eric ambled around the fallen Firebirds to stand next to the cowboy, shaking his head. "Jeez, I better put this guy out of his misery before you launch into a stand-up routine." Stepping forward he tapped the confused bruiser on the cheek to get his attention before bringing his fists together on either side of the jock's head. The man dropped to the floor like a stone.

Eric turned to those of the starting line-up who were beaten but conscious. "This is the part where you collect your snoozing buddies and make tracks."

One of the Firebirds managed to pick himself up off of the floor with some difficulty. "Man, we'll... we'll call the cops on you!"

The fencer snorted. "And tell them what? That two guys took out eleven of you putzes? Even if they believe you, good luck ever being taken seriously again." He folded his arms and stared down the jock with an infuriating smirk. After a long moment, the FCC students began lifting their fallen teammates up and making their way out the door. "I'll assume, 'and don't come back,' is implied," Eric called after them.

Once they'd left, Tricia ran up to Billy, her hands covering her mouth. "Ohmigawd, that was amazing! You were so fast! You're like a real life cowboy!" Standing nearby, Eric resisted the urge to throw up his hands in exasperation, and moved to begin righting the bar's displaced furniture.

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"Aw, shucks, little lady," Colt responded, a little uncomfortably, "It ain't nothin'. Now I reckon Eric here's the real hero. He's the one what did the scarin' away. Things could'a gotten a lot worse if'n they'd stuck around." Colt returned the chair he'd thrown to it's table. He stooped to pick up his hat from where it had fallen after he'd thrown one of the players. Dusting it off and replacing it on his head he frowned at the broken table.

"Well, ain't no help fer't now. If'n those boy's don't have a tab, I reckon I'll pay fer that."

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Tricia gasped. "Oh, Mac, you're not going to make them pay for all of that, are you?"

"Hmph," the bartender grunted, standing up from behind his counter. A heavy set man in his late sixties, Mac wore a blue and white striped dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. "Figure it's worth it to get rid of those morons. Ten years go, I woulda tried throwin' 'em out myself." He snorted. "Woulda gotten by butt handed to me in my own bar, too, odds like that. You guys do that, whatd'yacallit, tae kwon do stuff or somethin'?"

"No, nothing like that," Eric replied, righting the last of the intact chairs. "Just some basic self defense courses down at Dana's. Keeping in shape, you know?"

"Sure, sure," Mac agreed amiably. "Well, it's good stuff, anyway. You two are welcome here any times. Just maybe take it outside next time, huh?"

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