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When Did They Get Robots? (IC)

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'Days like this are why I should stick to Southside. There are fewer robots in Southside.'

This odd thought had been brought about by an odd day. On a whim, Gabriel had decided to do a short fly-over patrol of the West End, wanting to stretch his metaphorical legs a bit, maybe see some new parts of the city. That's when he'd spotted ten shining robots standing outside a bank, firing at the couple of cop cars, backed up by a few men with large, high-tech rifles that fired energy blasts. Sounds from inside the bank said there was a robbery in progress. He had, of course, immediately headed down to intervene. A lucky shot had destroyed one robot, and he'd damaged a couple more.

Unfortunately, he was one man, and there were several robots and gangsters. At the moment, he was taking cover behind a police car, the driver of said car having been unfortunately hauled off by paramedics after being hit by one of the gang members. He ought to be fine; Gabriel had been hurt worse and come out alright. Several times, no less.

Still, he was pinned down while a robbery continued, and lives were on the line. If only he had some help.

"Wouldn't mind a helping hand right about now, Lord. Really wouldn't mind it at all, no sir. Pride's no issue for me."

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The latest volley on high tech attacks struck again, but with a much different sound than they'd made striking the wrecked police car. A brilliant blue wall had appeared between the robbers and Gabriel, soaking up the attacks with a faint crackle of energy. "Easy on the city property, boys. That's your tax dollars at work," called out a young woman's voice, directing the attention of those present to a crimson and black clad figure perched atop a nearby building, hands glowing with obvious power.

So distracted, the first of the robot was unprepared as a blade of molten hot flame seared through it's arm, leaving wasted scrap metal to clatter loudly to the ground. "Oh, so now you're making wisecracks?" replied the sword's wielder, a swashbuckling character is a royal blue great coat that fared behind him as he flipped acrobatically back into the air, using the damaged robot as a launching pad. Letting the fiery rapier disappear from his grip, he swung from a street lamp with both hands, an arc of sparking electricity following him as he continued to move and forming a new scintillating weapon. "Did you guys not hear what happens to anybody who tries something in the West End, or are you just that dumb?"

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"Crap, it's him!"

The gang members panicked, fleeing inside the entryway of the bank, leaving the (now 7) robots to fight the heroes.

Gabriel didn't immediately recognize them as he took this moment to shoot up into the air and plant a sonic blast right in the face of another robot, blowing its head to scrap. He then dove behind cover of the force field.

"Thanks for the force field, ma'am. Though...who are you guys, exactly?"

Honest curiosity filled his voice. He felt like he should know these two, but it had been a busy week...

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"We have got to get a better press secretary," the fencer drawled, cartwheeling though gunfire as the robots reoriented themselves, placing himself between them so that they accidentally stuck each other with misplaced attacks. "Jack of all Blades, critically acclaimed swasher of buckles and lover of women, pleased to meet you!" he shouted jauntily over the cacophony.

"Jill O'Cure, long suffering sidekick who has to put up with that sort of talk all the time," the young woman added, rolling her eyes as she bent the shimmering wall to wrap around the remaining robots, trapping them inside with Jack.

"No respect!" her brother bemoaned, apparently not the least bit concerned with the odds against him. "Mind taking care of the losers over by the bank, Mr. Clean?"

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A lightbulb went off in Gabriel's head.

"Wait, I've heard of you guys before! Sorry, it's been a day, let me tell you."

He quirked a smile at the banter the two were exchanging.

"Well, if you're swashing buckles, does that mean she's buckling swashes? And call me Gabriel."

With a rush of air, he was hovering behind the gangsters in the entryway, his face completely serious. Almost angry, even.

"Your fire hit three cops and one civilian. Lucky for you, none of them are dead."

Almost without warning, one of the men was blasted off his feat by an echoing sonic blast, flying through the air bonelessly until he skidded to a halt not far from the dome of energy. Another of the gangsters slams against the wall of the entryway, also knocked out by a sonic blast.

Now there are only 4 men. And Gabriel seems no happier. He glances at one of the men, and when he speaks, there is an odd timbre in his voice.

"You should be afraid now."

The man is sprinting towards the police line before his gun hits the ground, sobbing with fear. The remaining three men try running back out into the open, firing at Gabriel as they go. The hero in white dashes upwards in the sky, giving them some space to breath. Though, he seemed to be turning around, almost like a fighter about to make an attack run.

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"Buckling...?" Jack began in an exaggeratedly shocked tone as he spun from robot to robot is a whirling flurry of lightning strikes, tearing away at joints as Jill's force wall finished encircling the mechanoids. Springing upward, the fencer landed atop the shimmering construct just as it folded into an encircling globe. "Buddy, you better watch what you say about my sister!"

"He's kidding," Jill assured the white clad figure as she clenched her fist, tightening the glowing blue bubble until it crushed the structurally weakened robots inside with a squeal of wrenching metal. "You can tell because his mouth is ooh snap," the young woman abruptly changed her attitude mid-sentence as Gabriel dealt with the remaining robbers with extreme prejudice.

Perching atop the twisted pile of scrap, Jack whistled low at the show of raw intimidation. "Y'know, the white threw me, but in retrospect, the cowl and authoritative name really should have been tip-offs," he remarked conversationally.

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Gabriel finished his comparatively slow turn, having taken stock of the current status of the fight. Two gangsters out cold, one sobbing as he's being cuffed by the cops, and three of them running and firing the occasional wild shot from their over-sized guns.

Thankfully, they were still pretty close together. That helped when Gabriel, still dodging energy blasts, closed to about a hundred feet away.

'Good; the space is clear far enough around them...' he thought with a small smile.

Taking a deep breath, he called out as he dove closer.

"You boys should stop shooting-"

Suddenly, a wave of sonic force rushed out of his mouth with his next words.

"And get down on the ground!"

These thugs were also knocked unconscious. With a smile, Gabriel flew back over to the Espadas siblings. He glanced at Jack first.

"Wow. Are you always this serious in a fight?"

He offered his hand, his grin nearly splitting his face.

"Thanks for the assist."

He turns to face Jill, a more respectful smile on his face. As he shook her hand, he offered a slight bow of his head.

"Nice work, ma'am. Now, are the two of you ready to-"


Four gangsters emerged from the bank, the last of the group. Each had a hostage, each with an over-sized pistol held to the head of said hostage. The leader appeared very nervous as he head an utterly terrified middle-aged woman. A ten-year old boy, a twenty-something woman, and a man in his late 50s looked to round out the hostage situation.

Gabriel's face went from "friendly" to "not amused" in about 0.5 seconds. He made no immediate moves, instead choosing to size up the situation. His next words were spoken at low volume.

"Crap. I'll try to negotiate, but this could get ugly..."

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Atop the building, Jill O'Cure tensed, preparing to leap from her elevated perch, when a slight gesture from her brother caused her to pull up short. "Hold on. Let's see how Gandalf the White handles this one," the fencer instructed quietly, his demeanor taking a subtle shift to one of sober contemplation.

"What?!" the young woman hissed, taken aback. "We don't even know-"

"So let's give him a chance," Jack cut her off smoothly. There was something about Gabriel, something on the far edges of the metamagi's superhuman awareness that might have been nothing more than a mundane hunch, that told the swordsman to hang back. He hadn't managed as well nor for as long as he had without listening to that kind of hunch.

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The hostages, all of them, were silently weeping as guns were held to their heads. Cold, cruel weapons, pressed to their temples.

Gabriel's face was an impassive mask, hiding the anger, fear, and desperation. None of it showed. He took a couple steps forward, then stopped. He kept his hands hanging loosely at his side, and when he spoke, his voice was loud enough to be heard, but carried no harsh tones of anger or condemnation. Just gentle tones meant to sooth attitudes.

"Right. I believe you, I really do. But...I kind of have to ask. Are you sure you want to do this?"

"Of course! We want to go free!"

"You're willing to kill that woman to do that? You, over there. You're willing to kill that little boy because you messed up? Do you have any siblings? Kids? Anything like that?"

The leader and the one holding the old man shook their heads, confusion evident. The other two nodded nervously.

"Well, how would you feel if you found out they'd been killed by guys like you? Angry, I bet. But more than that, terribly sad. Do you really want to do that? Besides, let's look at the facts. Right now, you're guilty of armed robbery. That means jail time, yes. That sucks. Jail sucks. We could spend hours talking about what got you here. But that's really not the important part. Right now, you go to jail for a few years. You play your cards right at your trial, you act nice, and you could be out sooner than you think. Then, you could actually do something with your life. I personally know of several companies that work with guys who made it out of jail legitimately. Jobs, housing, the works. Real, genuine, second chances."

He pointed to the gun the leader had, slowly.

"You pull that trigger? You'll be lucky to get out of jail ever. Now, Jersey doesn't have the death penalty. But 50 or more years in prison, what kind of life is that? Why not put the guns down, sit down, and we'll make sure you guys don't get hurt, and you can at least start working on making the best of things. Please. Don't...don't become killers. I've seen people like that. Don't do it."

Slowly, three of the four gangsters lowered their weapons, dropping them to the ground. The boy, elderly man, and twenty something dashed for the police line.

But the leader...there was something different in his eyes. An odd gleam.

"They may not have the guts to do this, but I do!"

He went to pull the trigger...and found he couldn't move!

"Good thing you didn't notice the subsonic waves I was hitting your nervous system with, then. Come on, ma'am."

He moves to help extricate the woman, the criminals eye's following them as he was reduced to silent rage!

"Glad I could help you, ma'am. Now go over to the police, I'll handle-"

"Look out!" she screamed all of the sudden.

Gabriel turned, his eyes widening as he say the criminal coming out of his paralysis faster than expected. The gun tracked towards the hero in white. Gabriel shoved the middle-aged woman to the ground, trying to shelter her with his body even as he moved his hand to try and knock the man out.

'Too slow!'

Indeed, it looked like he was going to take a nasty wound. Again.

'Stesha's going to kill me for this.'

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"Bam!" A lance of crackling electricity rocketed toward the lone gunman's head as a grinning Jack of all Blades appeared beside him from out of nowhere in a flare of royal blue. So mesmerising had Gabriel's speech been that the flamboyant swashbuckler had been able to slip away unseen with surprising stealth, silently closing the distance between the pile of wrecked robots and the remaining criminals. The sudden blow caught the man aiming for Gabriel solidly in the chin, the energy of the blade diffusing though his body like a taser shock as Jack continued with his thrust until his knuckles connected solidly with flesh and bone. Spasming, the bank robber collapsed to the ground just as his twitching finger tightened around the trigger. The shot went far wide, only barely grazing the hero in white as he moved to place himself in its path. Jack responded with an economy of movement, kicking the weapon away with his booted heel and a suddenly dire expression.

An inarticulate grow rumbled in the back of his throat as he leaned down to roughly grab the unconscious man by his collar until his sister's voice called over from beside Gabriel. "He's fine, hermano, we're fine, it's all good." Concentrating, the young woman briefly examined the thin line of red traced across the hooded negotiator's left bicep before covering the wound with her right hand. A warm blue glow, like daylight through curtains, poured from her fingers into Gabriel's arm with the by now unfortunately familiar sensation of accelerated healing. When Jill removed her hand a moment later, the only remaining damage was the tear in his sleeve. "There we go. Not bad, Wonderbread. Little talky, but..."

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Gabriel sat on the ground for several moments, catching his breath and letting his body calm down. The healing energies Jill was producing helped a great deal.

"Tell Emeril over there he has my thanks, Miss Mini-Medic."

There's a sarcastic grin on his face as he speaks. Clearly, he's getting into the spirit of joking around.

"Seriously though, thank you both. I'd probably have survived that, but it would have hurt. Plus, Fleur de Joie would have given me an earful for getting badly injured again. I'm thinking of looking into some sort of super-kevlar or something. Anyways, looks like I'll just need to replace the shirt, and give the jacket an evening."

He stands to his feet, but is promptly set upon by the young boy and the middle-aged woman. Closer inspection shows they seem to be parent and child. After a moment, they both release him.

"Thank you so much! All of you!"

"Just doing the right thing, ma'am. Head over to the authorities, they'll get you squared away."

The elderly man walks over more slowly, holding out his hand to first Gabriel, then Jack, then Jill, a smile on his face.

"Fine work, youngsters, fine work. You do this city proud! Just like the boys and girls from back in my younger days."

After he'd shaken all their hands, he too headed to the police line.

"Always nice to be apprec-"

Gabriel's next words are cut off as the 20-something woman suddenly grabs the lapels of his jacked and pulls him down a touch to give him a very enthusiastic kiss. His wide eyes show he didn't expect this. He's not fighting tooth and nail against it, though.

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"Pfft, 'mini'," Jill scoffed, still looking over Gabriel's arm. Finally looking over she gave him a small, affable shrug with a note of apology. "I can pretty much guarantee he won't get the cooking joke, but A for effort,"

Tossing the last gunman back on the ground roughly, Jack let out a harsh breath before turning himself, wry demanor once again securely in place. "Sorry 'bout that, Gabe; shoulda gotten that guy a second sooner, but I wanted to see where you were going with that."

"Meaning you were distracted by his oddly man-pretty voice," Jill drawled as she dusted off her gloved hands, apparently satisfied that the hooded hero would be fine.

"It is awfully man-pretty," her brother agreed amiably, shaking the elderly gentleman's hand with a surprisingly deferential nod. "So you've met Fleur--?" The question was interrupted by the young woman's enthusiastic show of gratitude. The siblings stood silent for a beat than another before the elder turned to his sister. "My voice is man-pretty, right?"

"Hermano, I don't care how much you're contributing to my college fund, I'm not answering that."

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After several long moments, Gabriel was able to take a breath. He looked a bit dazed.

"Uh...you're welcome?"

But before he can get more words in, the young lady has moved on. She gives a quick hug to Jill, whispering "Thank you, too!" in her ear, before moving on to Jack. A devilish smile and she was giving the dashing swordsman his own personal kiss!

Gabriel tilted his head a bit to the side.

"She's...friendly. And forgive me if the sound of my voice distracted you. I try to keep that sort of thing under control. But I was kind of pre-occupied."

Man, this lady can sure hold her breath!

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Fortunately, by the time the gratefully freed hostage got to Jack, the swordsman was able to see the dramatic display coming and brace himself with a wry nonchalance. Smoothly sweeping the woman off her feet, he returned the kiss in a suitably histrionic but ultimately chaste manner. Setting her upright once again, he bowed low over her hand. "Any time, madam."

Jill had stepped slightly behind Gabriel after the hug, keeping herself out of reach while one eye squinted in a long suffering expression. "Something to be said for fading back into the night after a job well done."

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Gabriel just chuckled.

"Yes, well, it's not so bad to shake things up a little now and again, is it? At any rate, I'm going to go briefly speak with the cops. But if you two don't want to stick on-scene any more, could you wait on a nearby rooftop? I'd like to chat for a couple minutes, compare hero notes and all."

Suddenly, he turns and flashes a grin at Jill, turning his hand so she can see the sheet of paper with numbers scrawled on it.

"Maybe tease Jack a bit."

With that, he walked towards the police, giving Jack a firm pat on the shoulder as he passed the swordsman.

"Good game."

Man, he's in a good mood.

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Still occupied with the rescued hostage, Jack gave Gabriel a thumbs up without looking as the white clad man passed. Eventually extricating himself, the swashbuckler offered a low bow before firing his grapple and swinging off, Jill propelling herself with a series of force field constructs behind him. Circling around, the pair landed unseen on the rooftop of a building down the street from the bank, high enough that they could easily observe the going ons below.

"I'm just saying, that was pretty gross," Jill told her brother, arms crossed and head shaking slightly.

Jack snorted. "What's gross is coming in second to a guy who dresses like a very clean Jawa," he retorted with a good natured smirk, evidently not terribly broken up about the situation.

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Gabriel spent less than five minutes going over a couple of details with the police. A handshake and nod were exchanged, and Gabriel walked back into the empty space near the pile of scrap.

Then he was suddenly floating in the air in front of the siblings, coming in for a gentle landing with a smile on his face.

"Okay, so you managed to kiss her longer. Bravo. But..."

He waves the card in Jack's face.

"I got a number."

He tucked the paper away in a pocket, cleared his throat, and got down to the more serious issues.

"So. Thank you again for your help, both of you. Was there anything you wanted to ask me? I'm not huge on being territorial in Southside, but I understand other heroes are more picky. I don't want to step on your toes more than I may have already done. Incidentally, Yes, I've met Fleur a few times. Sometimes, it's even when she's not repairing serious injury to my pale self. Thankfully, none of it's damaged my, how did you say it? Ah, yes, my "man-pretty" voice."

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"Alas, that my many charms should remain unsampled," Jack bemoaned, leaning against a brick stairwell entrance with his arms crossed across his chest. If the swashbuckler was truly upset, he was certainly hiding it well. Gabriel seemed to catch an impression of affable resignation, but the wry smirk fixed under the other man's royal blue bandanna mask made him difficult to read.

Atop the edge of the same brick outcropping, Jill perched with her legs hanging off the side, swinging back and forth slightly. "What, do you make a habit of getting shot? 'Cause, man, pro tip of the day-"

"Jill," her brother interrupted unexpectedly, raising one hand to forestall her. "Wasn't his fault. You come into the West End, you answer to us," Jack confirmed soberly, addressing Gabriel, "but we've got you back as well. Pun should have never gotten a shot off."

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"Maybe you'll find a lady who wants more than a free supermarket sample one day?"

He smirked as he stepped onto the roof. He glanced at Jill, quirking an eyebrow.

"Better to say that I keep finding myself helping out in dangerous situations. I'm still alive, and civilians are unhurt. Makes it a win in my book. Besides, after nearly getting disemboweled by super-ghouls, a little glancing blow like that is nothing."

He turns his attention back to Jack, more serious now.

"Nobody gave me a booklet with territory markers, but I'll keep it in mind. Do you have a phone number? A Jack-signal on a rooftop? Some way to contact you, in other words. Today was just a random patrol, but tomorrow could be a gang, or gun-runners. I want to make sure we can take them down hard and fast. As for watching backs, I'm all about that."

He offers his hand to Jack with a smile.

"We cool?"

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"What can I say?" Jack shrugged broadly with a smirk, "I can never bring myself to charge. Yeah man, we're cool." Standing up from his reclined position against the bricks, he accepted Gabriel's hand and shook it firmly, the fencer's grip not surprisingly strong. Reaching into his greatcoat, he produced a simple white card with a capital I embossed on it. "Here. You get in over your head, give that number a call."

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