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1. Mister Steiner, where are you from?

I'm from Reno, Nevada, the biggest little city in the world, but I've lived in Freedom City for years.


2a. How would you describe yourself, physically, and would others agree with your description?

I think that we can both agree that I do a pretty good job of taking care of myself. My genetics don't hurt!


2b. For the record, could you go into detail?

Oh. I'm roughly six-one, I keep myself fit, I have brown hair and brown eyes. Oh! And I try to dress nicely.


3. Do you have any distinguishing speech characteristics or recurring mannerisms?

I used to have a slight Western accent, but I've traveled so much that I don't, really, anymore.


4. What would you say is your primary motivation?

Hah! Well, at the moment, I'm mostly concerned with staying out of prison! And finding work.


5a. What would you say are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

I possess magical powers that, in a more enlightened era, would have me worshiped as a god.


5b. All right, that's a strength. What about your weaknesses?

I… suppose that I can be a little too cocky for my own good. But women love a man with confidence!


6. What is it that you love more than anything else in the world? What do you hate?

Magic. And… magic. It's a lot like playing with fire; you have to be careful or accidents can happen.


7. All right, interesting. How would you describe your mental and emotional state?

I'm fine. Fit as a fiddle. A little nervous about life outside of a cell, but it's nothing that I can't handle.


8. What is it that you are the most afraid of?

That's, uh. Hm. I guess that I don't want to be forgotten. I don't want the world to forget that I was here.


9. What would you say is your greatest ambition?

Right now, I want to be better than I am. I've made mistakes. I want to fix what's wrong with my life.


10a. How do you feel about the state of the world, and of your place in it?

The world's a mess! You have all kinds of crazy people running around, doing whatever they want!


10b. And what about you, mister Steiner? How do you fit into the world?

I… don't know, yet. Hopefully I still have enough time to figure it all out.


11. Do you have any prejudices? How do you get along with others?

Are you asking me if I'm a racist? Because I'm not. I love all people, especially when they love me back.


12. Where would you say that your loyalties lie? In what order?

That's an interesting question. I'm loyal to family and friends, I guess. I was loyal to my gang.


13. Do you have a lover, or a partner? How do you think that they feel about you now?

Jacqueline, I've had too many lovers to list, and I'm sure that they all think back on me very fondly.


14. Call me Doctor Hyde, please. You mentioned that you have a family. What is the relationship there like?

Sorry. I'm an only child, but my parents are alive. We haven't spoken for years, not since the accident.


15. I'm sorry to hear that. How would the people closest to you describe you?

I'm… impressive! I'm entertaining, I practically fill the room. I'm a people person to the absolute max.


16. Do you think of yourself as a role model?

I don't see why not. I mean, sure, I've been to prison, but I'm a self-made man. That's respectable.


17. I see. Do you consider yourself to be a spiritual person? Do you follow a religious tradition?

Doctor, I've fought gods. I've got the scars to prove it. Everything worth believing in is right down here.


18. Would you describe yourself as a team player? Do you like being part of a group? Why?

Absolutely! I have a lot of offer other people. I'm smart, I'm charismatic, I've got magic up the wazoo...


19a. Given your history, how do you feel about the place of meta-humans and aliens on Earth?

I… well, look, take it from me: they can definitely be a double-edged sword. There are some bad eggs.


19b. Certainly. But, in general, how do you feel about the world's metahuman population?

They make the world a more interesting place to live, I guess. It'd be much more boring without them.


20a. If you could give one piece of advice to yourself, what would it be?

Do better. Be better. Make positive changes and never give up.


20b. Thank you, mister Steiner. With that out of the way, we can begin today's session.

Edited by Sophistemon
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Samuel stared at the proffered money with a look of dark realization dawning on his face. He reached out, slowly, and took the crumpled bills, where a quick count confirmed his suspicions. He sighed, already sensing how the conversation would go. “We agreed on two-hundred,” he said, and his client smirked as he reached up to scratch what would, in little more than a year, become a truly awful bald spot on the top of his head. A child ran past, nearly crashing into Samuel's legs, too distracted by the bouquet of balloons she held to watch where she was going. Samuel dodged her, and then reaffirmed. “We agreed,” he said, “on two-hundred.”

Yeah,” said the man, still scratching. “But the act wasn't that good, you know? You get a hundred; that's fair for what we got outta you. The kids weren't even that into it, anyway. The clown got more attention.” Samuel's hands curled into fists and he worked the tongue inside of his mouth, trying to find the right words.

I've have you know,” he argued, “that I've headlined in Las Vegas. I've entertained heads of state. I've performed works of illusion and legerdemain in my time that would have confounded to madness the greatest magicians of generations past. Despite the diminished circumstances, there was nothing wrong with my act and you know it.” The other man's smirk widened, his lips splitting into an unfriendly smile before he spoke again.

Sure,” he said. “Sure, you did some card tricks and pull some rabbits outta your hat. But there wasn't any real magic, was there? You didn't turn invisible, or levitate my car, or turn the cake into gold or nothing.” He licked his lips and then wiped them dry with the back of his hand. “I know who you are, Steiner,” he said. “My wife, she did a, what, an Internet search on you. I know who you are and I know what you can do. What, you thought that you could get outta prison after leeching our tax dollars for the last few years and then half-ass my son's birthday and still get the full amount? You're lucky I'm giving you a hundred, man. You're damn lucky.”

Samuel clenched his teeth and spoke slowly. “Magic,” he tried to explain, “is not a toy. It can be dangerous. And if I could turn cakes into gold, I wouldn't need to be performing for unappreciative troglodytes like you!” He took a step forward and towered over the other man who, to his credit, stared up at him without a hint of fear on his face. “We agreed on two-hundred dollars, in cash, today. I am not leaving without my money. If you do know who I am, if you know what I'm capable of, you should know better than to antagonize me.

The other man grinned, again, and then spit a wad of phlegm on Samuel's shoe. “Get offa my lawn, man. You won't try nothin' and you know it. One wrong move and they haul your sorry butt back to the clink.” The man stared up into Samuel's eyes, that infuriating smirk twisting his features into something oddly familiar.

The magician saw red. Acting on a mixture of instinct and impulse, he took a half-step back and reached into his jacket, withdrawing a simple, twelve-inch length of white-capped black wood. “Fine!” he growled. “Fine, then, have it your way. You want real magic? You want to see what I can do? Fine!” He leveled the wand at the man, who raised his hands and stumbled backwards, tripped over his own feet, and landed on his backside in the grass, babbling for forgiveness. “You want magic?” ranted the incensed sorcerer, ignoring him, his lips drawn back to reveal clenched teeth. “I'll show you magic like you've never seen before!” Samuel pointed the wand directly at the man's face, between his eyes, and spoke a word that split the air like thunder.

The man gasped and shielded his face with his hands, his heart hammering in his chest while he waited for the onset of eternity. A moment passed, and then another, before he peeked between his fingers and saw the attendees of the party rushing towards him. He looked down at himself, saw that he was still human, and then stood up on shaky legs. Swallowing the lump in his throat, he looked around for the magician – but there was no sign of him. He'd disappeared, seemingly vanished into nothingness. The man began to pat himself down, feeling for any signs of injury, but found nothing out of the ordinary until he reached his back pocket. His eyes widened when he confirmed his suspicions. “Son of a gun,” he grumbled. “That jerk stole my wallet.”

Another teleportation returned Samuel to his apartment where he collapsed, laughing uproariously, into a ratty old couch. “His face!” he gasped. “The look on his face! Oh, I bet he wet himself!” Still chuckling to himself, he divested the man's wallet of its remaining cash – another one-hundred and sixty dollars – and then sobered as he took in the cramped confines, dingy lighting, and third-hand furniture of his home. “Phenomenal cosmic power,” he murmured. “Itty bitty living space.” He stood, threw the remains of the pilfered wallet into the trash, and then paced to the window. “The clown got more attention,” he said to himself. “The clown got more attention?” At just that moment, a garishly-costumed figure streaked passed his window, flying off to parts unknown. Samuel watched him go with bright realization dawning on his face. “Yes,” he said. “They always do.”

Edited by Sophistemon
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