Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Gizmo

Nanofibers (IC)

Recommended Posts

While Trevor Hunter leaned against a wall of the quaint tailor shop's back room, the portly but genial Frank Jr. made a few final alterations to Wander's new uniform. With their Claremont days officially behind them, the new outfit was something Trevor had intended to have ready for Erin immediately after graduation, but with the steady stream of crises that had followed, they'd only now managed to make it in to see the portly but genial friend of the family. Fortunately Frank had already had Erin's measurements and had a very nearly completed version ready and waiting when they arrived.

Share this post


Link to post

Erin wasn't really comfortable undressing and dressing for an audience, but in this case part of the audience was Trevor, who'd seen her naked often enough already, and Frank, who seemed totally disinterested in her body except for how it filled out the uniform he'd created. At the moment, he had her standing on a pedestal in front of a five-panel mirror, spinning around like a very slow merry-go-round while he hummed and muttered and made adjustments. She wasn't sure what he was doing, but it seemed important to him. Honestly, she was really happy already with the black and purple uniform he'd designed for her, bold without being garishly bright, and with strong lines that looked a lot cooler than the gym-uniform style her Claremont getup had always had. Frank had also assured her that this was more durable fabric, a definite plus.

As she spun, Erin used Trevor's face as a spotting point to keep herself from getting dizzy. "What do you think?" she asked.

Share this post


Link to post

Trevor's expression might have indicated a reservation of judgement or even disinterest on most people, but for the habitually stoic young man it was practically beaming. "Very nice," he commended with a faint smile and nod. "Like the darker colours."

Frank made a short noise around the pins held between his lips. "Know your audience, I always say," he drawled as sausage fingers placed the pins and the rest of his tools aside on a nearby workspace. "Well, this oughta tide you over for now, but I've got a couple notes for the other copies." Stronger materials or not, given the rate Erin went through uniforms, having a few spares had seemed wise. "More importantly, when're you going to let me make you another dress, hm?"

Share this post


Link to post

Erin raised her arms above her head, testing the pull and give of the fabric. She wouldn't know for sure until she took it through its paces in the training room, but it felt good for now. It fit close enough to give opponents nothing to grab onto, without being tight enough to constrict her movement. "It feels good," she told Frank. "And it looks good. Thanks." She stood on one foot, checked the fit of the cuff to her uniform shoes, and smiled ruefully at the comment about the dress.

"Why would I need another dress when I've already got one?" she asked, only half-joking. "I haven't even worn it in a fight yet." She left unspoken the fact that she'd need to be working another year to pay for a tailored formal dress, when she wasn't at all sure she'd be going back for another day at her new job. She and Trevor had already gone round a few times about the uniform, but she didn't have a lot of room for pride when it came to an essential like a uniform. Dresses were different, though. She switched feet, checked the other cuff, and nodded with satisfaction.

Share this post


Link to post

Frank made exaggerated grumbling sounds as he shuffled off to pack away the various tools and materials he'd taken out for the final fitting. Trevor straightened from his reclined position and walked over to where Erin was testing out the fit of her new uniform. "Does look good," he restated, brushing a brief kiss on her cheek as she righted from adjusting her cuffs. With a slightly wider smile he admitted, "Take a little getting used to, though. Started thinking of 'Claremont blue and gold' as 'Wander blue and gold."

Share this post


Link to post

"That's just because I was the only one who wore my gym clothes to work," Erin pointed out with a chuckle. "Someone else gets those colors now, they're not mine anymore." She returned the kiss just as lightly, then did a quick spin to show him the entire costume. "Maybe tonight we can go out on patrol and test it out. Probably still plenty of cleanup left to do." Even with the villainous Doktor Archeville contained, there were still reminders all over the world of his terrible works.

Taking his hand, she stepped off the pedestal and picked up her neatly folded pile of street clothes. "I've been thinking," she said, "how easy it would be to just take another name, put on a mask, and be a different hero entirely. It's a little funny, isn't it? Hardly anybody would ever know."

Share this post


Link to post

"Mmh," Trevor murmured, tilting his head slightly to one side, "or the same mask with a different face behind it?" He was certainly no stranger to musing on the odd nature of identity and the personas of their dual lives. He offered Erin a wry look. "Hate to suggest covering your face, but I do worry about security." There were several schools of thought when it came to the division between civilian identities and codenames, but Midnight naturally favoured erring on the side of secrecy.

Share this post


Link to post

"Exactly," she agreed, tucking her clothes away into the battered knapsack that no longer carried her schoolbooks. "I mean, there might be a lot of reasons. Just basic security is a good one. But then there's also changing the perception of you if you don't like your old image. Or just giving yourself some anonymity." She zipped up the bag, then took another moment to study herself in the mirror. "It'd be different if it were just me, you know? But now it's me, and it's Erin in Seattle, and Erin in Blackstone, and even if we all get our own identities, we still have to share a face for the rest of our lives." She smiled ruefully into the mirror. "Least if I got a mask now, it could be black instead of blue or gold."

Share this post


Link to post

Shifting his stance to wrap his arms around Erin's midsection, Trevor stooped his considerable height enough to rest his chin on her collarbone from behind. "Maybe. But your doubles aside, my Erin is the one who can take on the Terminus and win. Wouldn't worry about differentiating." That was a victory he'd be feeling the rush from for a while, regardless of what other disasters might arise in the mean time. "If you've got a new identity in mind, though, you know you have my support."

Share this post


Link to post

She relaxed into the embrace, resting her cheek against his as she watched them both in the mirror. "I don't worry for my sake," she told him. "I am the one who can take on the Terminus. But Erin in Seattle can't, and if someone sees her face and thinks she can, that could cause big problems. And if the Erin in Blackstone were to escape somehow, and someone were to see her and think she's me... well, it would cause big problems in the other direction. Stuck on the idea of thinking up a new name, though," she admitted with a soft laugh. "Coming up with Wander took forever, and it's not even very good."

She slid a hand up to run her fingers through his dark hair. "You're lucky," she teased. "Never had to worry about a hero name."

Share this post


Link to post

With a short, baritone chuckle, Trevor shifted his head toward her hand. "Hah. True." As much as the responsibility of his inherited mantle weighed on him sometimes, it had removed certain logistical challenges from the equation. Erin also had a good point about the potential repercussions of even well-intentioned confusion over her increasing number of interdimensional counterparts living on Prime. "May want to get a more objective second opinion, though. Might end up with a fedora otherwise."

Share this post


Link to post

"The fedora looks way better on you," she told him soberly, the smile only playing around the edges of her lips. "Don't think it would work so well for me. My hair's not even long enough that I could pin it down for flips and jumps. Besides," she added comfortably, "if I had my own, I couldn't wear yours. But maybe a second opinion..."

Turning her head, she called over to the tailor. "Hey Frank? If I wanted to do up more of a disguise thing, how should I accessorize this outfit?" Under her breath, low enough that Trevor could barely hear, she murmured "Please don't say new uniform, please don't say new uniform."

Share this post


Link to post

"I figured that was already the idea, kiddo," Frank called as he ambled back into the fitting room. "Purple on the field of black draws the eye, keeps attention off your face, hmm?" The tailor adjusted his glasses for a moment, giving the young couple a wry look. "I assume a mask has already come up in discussion?"

Trevor rose from his stooping position to stand next to Erin, giving Frank a slight nod. "Of course."

Huffing a bit, the older man drummed his hefty fingers on a nearby workbench. "Well, covering up isn't as important as distraction. All folks remember is the domino mask, not the face," he noted with the seriousness of someone who'd spoken to the issue more than once. "Get too busy, though, and the brain'll filter it all out, go the other way."

The fedora wearing hero looked thoughtful. "Hrn. Focusing on height, build, hair colour instead of complex patterns, ornate elements?" In response Frank tapped one finger to the side of his nose before pointing to Trevor.

Share this post


Link to post

Erin frowned, looking from Frank to Trevor as she tried to follow the technicalities of the conversation. It sounded a lot like they'd talked about this before. "So... nothing fancy?" she hazarded. "Just, like, a mask to cover part of my face? It'd have to be cut so it didn't block my peripheral vision, or fall off." She slanted an amused glance in Trevor's direction. "Probably means no fedora either, I guess. I'll just have to be cool by association."

Share this post


Link to post

"Falling off's no problem," Frank assured her airily, waving one meaty hand as he dug out a sheet of paper and a stubby pencil from a drawer with the other. "Introduce enough super-geniuses to the indignities of spirit gum, and just watch what they come up with. Can keep the eye holes wide enough, too, cut the style to emphasize that bone structure of yours..."

Trevor watched as the tailor quickly sketched out a few possibilities. "Could use lenses, like mine," he suggested, frowning almost imperceptibly in thought. "Red eyes have a psychological effect."

The older man pulled a face. "Red and purple? Kid, intimidation is one thing, nausea is another."

Share this post


Link to post

Erin laughed, both at the comment and at Frank's disgusted expression. "I think I'll get by with using the glasses you made when I need to," she told Trevor. "I like the idea of a mask that's not too big," she told Frank, pointing down at one part of the design, "just kind of enough to make me look different, but easy to take on and off, and that's not gonna shift around." Frank gave her the sort of expression that said she shouldn't be telling her grandmother how to suck eggs, but a few more strokes of his pencil had both of them nodding. "Yeah, that's cool," Erin said approvingly, then looked to Trevor for agreement.

Share this post


Link to post

Looking over the shorter pair's shoulders, Trevor was mostly impressed by the way Frank was able to render a recognizable version of Erin's face with a few simple lines and by how different a shape that face took on with the proposed mask. The aesthetics of such a thing were largely abstract to him, but it seemed effective and perhaps more importantly Erin liked it. Nodding briefly in support, he looked questioningly to Frank. "Adhesives...?"

The older man gave a pleased harrumph at the design before shaking his head. "Well, you know how I feel about that morphic molecule jazz, but in this case, it's the way to go," he explained. "Bonds like a second skin when you put it on, peels right off if you know where to pinch it. Handy as all get out, I gotta admit."

Share this post


Link to post

Erin nodded at the description. "Sounds perfect," she told the tailor. "I should be all set after that, and the costume looks great. Thanks so much for all your help, Frank. I really appreciate it." She shook his hand and gave him a full-out smile that she only rarely used with anyone besides her close friends. Picking up her knapsack, she turned to Trevor. "You want to grab some lunch on the way home? I think we're kind of out of groceries again." That wasn't exactly unusual around Hunter Mansion, for all she was trying to change that.

Share this post


Link to post

Frank grumbled something largely unintelligible but vaguely curmudgeonly as he saw the teenagers off, but wasn't able to hide how clearly pleased he was at Erin's approval and thanks. The portly tailor also gave Trevor a pointed look at Erin's offhand mention of 'home', which the younger man responded to with typical stoic deadpan. As much as Erin's stay at the estate was intended to be a temporary measure, it had felt surprisingly natural.

"Could eat," he agreed as they stepped out onto the street. "But... Hrn. No good way to say this," he decided, giving his girlfriend a frank look. "Want to examine you for mind-altering nanites."

Share this post


Link to post

Erin furrowed her brow at him. "That sounds kind of unpleasant," she replied. "You mean nanites like what the Interceptors got infected with, that made them go nuts? Why would I have any of those in me? I mean, I worked at Archtech, but I never had any physical done, or any medical work done on me by Dr. Archeville. Well, I did when I first came to Prime, but that was years ago, way before he was evil. And if I had nanites in me, I'd have just started attacking people and... done whatever he said..." She trailed off as she remembered the moment in the house when she'd bought the evil lizard genius the time he needed to escape. It wasn't a pleasant thought.

She scratched her scalp, feeling a sudden itchiness under her hair that was probably entirely psychological. "What would I have to do?" she asked.

Share this post


Link to post

"Probably nothing to find," Trevor agreed with a nod, putting a comforting arm around Erin's shoulders. "Rather find nothing now than get a nasty surprise later, though." Archeville hadn't had much opportunity to introduce anything into Erin's system, and even if he had the powerhouse's superhuman immune system would have made things difficult even for artificial intruders, but the mad scientist had found some opportunity to control other heroes and the young man wasn't about to leave Erin in potential jeopardy by being complacent. "Pretty good idea what to look for. Should have the necessary equipment at the Manor."

Share this post


Link to post

"Honestly, I'd rather get lunch," Erin muttered, but she sounded resigned as she headed for her truck. "You don't really think he's still got sleeper agents, do you?" she asked as she slid behind the wheel and tossed her knapsack into the rumble backseat. "I mean, it would be stupid for him to be lining things up for another try. Nobody's ever going to trust him again, even if he's rich and has a lot of friends and manages to stay out of Blackstone. Hell, being out of her mind doesn't get Singularity a free pass to run around and do what she wants, why should Dr. Archeville get away with killing a bunch of people because he was nuts at the time?" She was scowling straight ahead as she started the truck and buckled her safety belt.

Share this post


Link to post

"Make it up to you with dinner," Trevor promised seriously as he got into the passenger seat of Erin's truck. He truly loathed ruining the good mood she'd been in after seeing her new uniform, butt this really was potentially serious. "Wouldn't need trust if he's controlling them," he pointed out with a small shrug. The picture of just what had happened to Viktor Archeville was still a little murky, with those most involved being fairly tight-lipped about it, and it was hard to say just how much of the takeover attempt had been planned and how much had been pure madness.

Share this post


Link to post

"Yeah, I guess," Erin allowed glumly. The drive back to the manor was mostly silent until Erin flipped on the radio to her rock music preset. She drummed her fingers on the steering wheel and lifted a hand to brush away hair that wasn't actually there anymore. Finally, she said, "As long as we're scanning, I don't know if a nanite scan will be enough. He had access to psychics and stuff, psychics he could fool. Maybe he had more mind power than we give him credit for. Someone like Eve could probably take a look and make sure things are like they're supposed to be." The idea of asking Sage to go through her mind made her profoundly uncomfortable, but Erin was damned if she was going to let her desire for privacy make her a security risk.

Share this post


Link to post

"Probably wise," Trevor agreed with a subdued nod, privately glad he wouldn't have to suggest psychic measures himself later. Apart for the worldwide rebuilding in the wake of Archeville's betrayal, there was a lingering sense of paranoia and disquiet that the dark haired young man doubted would fade any time soon. It was little comfort, but at least it seemed unlikely that the scientist would have an opportunity to put any contingency plans into motion immediately. "One thing at a time, regardless."

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

×