Gavin de Luc

ARMA
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66 Setting the Bar High

About Gavin de Luc

  • Rank
    Nicely Seasoned

CHARACTER PROFILE

  • GENDER
    Male
  • PLAY-BY
    Fergal Devitt
  • AGE
    30
  • SEXUAL ORIENTATION
    Heterosexual
  • RACE
    Empowered Human
  • JOB
    ARMA Shield Sergeant
  • 'SHIP:
    Married to Rebekah Lynch
  • LOCATION
    New York State
  • FACTION
    ARMA
  • APPEARANCE
    Gavin stands at five feet, ten inches and weighs in at between 165-185lbs depending on health/motivation, though has recently been on the lower end of that due to lack of alcohol abuse and lack of proper eating. Even before the first Resonance he was always fit, but he has fluctuated in and out of peak physical condition over the years due to various factors. He has absolutely no physical enhancements whatsoever, so it has always been a point of pride that he could somewhat keep up even with the physically empowered humans. Even ‘somewhat keep up’ might even be a bit of an exaggeration, but he’ll stand by that one regardless.

    What is noticeable, especially in New York, is the rough and hard style of dress compared to Gavin's comrades in ARMA outside of his native Shield Division. He isn't seen often without his unshined and often dirty array of combat boots these days, nor without his trademark leather jacket which is about the only piece of clothing he maintains regularly. In regards to maintenance outside of weapons, he does the bare minimum he's allowed to skate by with and it really shows by the present day. Drunk, dirty, and angry are pretty consistent words to describe Gavin at this point in his life.

    His gait and mannerisms are nonetheless still very military, and Gavin is also known for the intensity that he carries around with him that makes it damn near impossible for him to relax these days. He lost the 'off' switch for that when Rebekah went missing, and finds it extremely difficult to be casual even in demeanor anymore. Sure, he’ll crack jokes and be funny sometimes, but his physical stance doesn’t shift from combat readiness to the point where he even has immense trouble sleeping or relaxing even when completely alone these days.
  • PERSONALITY
    Excerpts from two evaluations. The first comes from May 2018, when he was officially under review for Sergeant. The second is from February 2020, the most recent one which has put Gavin temporarily stripped of command pending review that will likely result in demotion. These range from official remarks to which Gavin has seen, to unofficial remarks and verbal conversations made by his superior officers that he was never privy to.

    Attitude/Interpersonal Skills

    “Operative DeLuc has one of those attitudes that is always positive while remaining completely committed to the mission. He has a natural rapport with others, and has a knack for making people feel important when speaking to them. Even when separated from his partner, he is routinely selected to by his peers to be their representative when disputes or other things happen to require it.”

    “Sergeant DeLuc has had trouble adjusting after the disappearance of Lieutenant Rebekah Lynch. He is much more abrasive, and there are routinely a flurry of complaints and concerns voiced whenever he is back in New York City for that fact. His group seems to still be loyal and protective of him, but cracks in that have started to show recently. Counseling has proved ineffective and self-awareness seems to be going down steadily. There are also several documented instances of excessive intoxication on record since November, enough to be a concern moving forward.”

    Administration

    “Operative DeLuc has shown satisfactory organization and time management skills, but his planning skills leave much to be desired. He is very much the type of person to ‘wing’ things and make adjustments on the fly rather than come in with a workable plan in place from the beginning.”

    “Sergeant DeLuc’s lack of skills in this entire area is cause for concern. Being a good fighter isn’t near the entire job of a leader, and DeLuc seems unable or unwilling to realize this fact. His selfish desire to cowboy around this job puts himself and everyone else he works with in danger, and needs to be addressed and quickly.”

    Knowledge of Work

    “Operative DeLuc has an exceptional knowledge of most practical aspects of his job in Shield division due to his extensive military experience and service in the Dragon War. He is noted to teach more inexperienced operatives on his own time to improve overall unit readiness on a consistent basis to supplement pre-existing training.”

    “Sergeant DeLuc has more than satisfactory knowledge of all aspects to his duties in the Shield Division.”

    Communication

    “Operative DeLuc is a superb informal communicator, but seems to have a problem when it comes to formal communication. Slang and enough irreverence to be a problem slips through way too easily, and he appears to respect authority noticeably less than most of his peers with the exception of when he is in the presence of Lieutenant Rebekah Lynch.”

    “Sergeant DeLuc has proven unsatisfactory in nearly all categories since November when it comes to communication with anyone. His subordinates, his equals, and his superiors have all suffered because of his inability to do this aspect of his job. He can hide behind excuses all he wants, but at some point a soldier needs to press forward and stop wallowing in self-pity.”

    Teamwork

    “Operative DeLuc is the sort of individual who puts forth maximum effort but seems to even prefer other team members getting the credit of that work over him. He has been noted to talk other teammates up in front of superiors and even give them credit for work that he did on more than one occasion. He has even refused to be put forth before the promotion board previously, but the likely reason why was because any promotion would have separated him physically from Lieutenant Rebekah Lynch until now.”

    “Sergeant DeLuc has come back with a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas and does not delegate effectively anymore. He takes on too much responsibility, likely as an effort to ‘prove himself’ that if allowed to continue will grow into a danger to both himself and any men under his command. Just because this dangerously fast and loose style has worked so far does not mean it will continue to do so, and some kind of change needs to occur soon.”

    Decision Making/Problem Solving

    “Operative DeLuc is rarely the main problem solver, but he has shown to be extremely decisive and has absolutely no hesitation in trusting orders and other operatives even in the most stressful of situations. Even though, especially separated from superior officers, the plans may not be the best the quality is made up for with the quickness.”

    “Sergeant DeLuc is an arrogant decision maker who routinely goes out without taking proper time to plan and instead relies on his experience to ad hoc solutions to problems as they arise. His decisiveness is still there, but what little problem solving ability he had before is gone now. Whether it is because of a death wish or because he is incapable of thought without Lynch there to hold his hand is for a psychologist to decide.”

    Independent Action

    “Operative DeLuc, to be frank, looks lost when asked to complete simulations and other training exercises alone more often than not. It is clear he’s used to taking orders, and when not given even general ones he seems to flounder more than nearly any other soldier.”

    “Sergeant DeLuc has been focusing on this aspect lately almost to the exclusion of all else, but it has improved. His drilling and simulation times are all personal bests and he has finally seemed to grasp what he needs to do without any direction.”

    Leadership

    “Though his rank does not afford official authority, Operative DeLuc has managed to get quite a bit of unofficial authority even when separated from his partner. He seems to be a natural leader, and is always seen leading after-work activities and even workout schedules for other operatives to improve readiness, morale, and team cohesion. Other soldiers look up to him, and by all accounts he takes that responsibility very seriously.”

    “The foundation of trust and respect Sergeant DeLuc has built up has been crumbling since November. Cracks are starting to show, and confrontations with coworkers crop up now where it never had before. If the Sergeant does not shape up soon and get back to his former form, his abrasive nature may prove to be more of a detriment in a leadership position than is worth keeping.”

    Managing Change and Improvement

    “Like we find in many career enlisted, there is a resistance to change present in Operative DeLuc particularly when people he views as inexperienced are conducting the training. He very much thinks he knows the ‘right’ way of doing certain things and was initially very stubborn about it. This stubbornness seems to only be present when away from Lieutenant Rebekah Lynch, but over time this issue has been partially corrected as he has seen firsthand the effectiveness of some of the tactics employed by ARMA. He is very much an individual that will default on what he thinks is correct rather than what he has been trained on when the going gets rough, which is a detriment that should be noted. He will give lip service to new techniques, but his actions have shown his dismissiveness to adaptability as a useful asset.”

    “Routinely refuses new trainings that are not mandatory. Stuck in ways and unwilling to adapt as times change. Started off seemingly trying to copy what Lieutenant Lynch would do in situations, but after experiencing failure in doing that is very reluctant to deviate from essentially one base plan for every situation. He has an inflated sense of his ability to be a tactician on the field, and just does things his way regardless of training when it comes to actual missions for the most part.”

    Dependability

    “Operative DeLuc is often the first one in and the last one out of any work assignment. He has a perfect attendance record and has been satisfactory in everything he has been asked to do since joining ARMA.”

    “Sergeant DeLuc is on the edge for this category. He shows up at the last possible second to be considered ‘on time’ and more often than not refuses to do work that isn’t strictly mandatory. His appearance has deteriorated and he has lost some weight. His depression and instability have not gotten better, and seem to be impacting his work ethic more and more as time goes on.”

    Safety

    “Operative DeLuc is a safe and methodical worker until it comes to situations involving noncombatants or other individuals he considers as friendlies. On the field generally he is fine, but careful monitoring should be done whenever he deploys to assist Knight Division. He seems to want to play hero a bit too much and talk people down, and that attitude poses a danger to himself and everyone else working with him in those situations.”

    “Sergeant DeLuc is a safe worker only in the most technical and limited sense. He and his men are generally put in safe positions, but everything around them tends to be a wreck after they go through an area. Excessive force seems to be the new normal for DeLuc, and the mandate to keep him away from working anywhere near the Knight Division is upheld due to the likely public relations nightmare that would result.”

    Additional Notes

    “Operative DeLuc is a good soldier in his own right, but when paired with Lieutenant Lynch both of their performances raise noticeably. He lacks the command presence of his partner, but is a great enforcer. There has to be a certain level of professional distance between commander and soldier, and someone like DeLuc is extremely useful in bridging that gap. One additional concern that needs to be brought up is the fact that Operative DeLuc gets more attached than is healthy for a leadership position. He gets emotionally invested enough in people that if he is ever the one calling the shots, their lives might very well go above completing the mission.”

    “Sergeant DeLuc needs a strong leader with command presence to get him in line. He needs someone to follow, and until he gets that his problems are likely to never go away. As long as DeLuc works in Shield Division, that leader needs to come with experience that matches or exceeds his own as well. He has shown ability in the past to completely and totally undermine any authority an inexperienced leader had when he did not respect them or agree with their decision on the field. Just because he waited for a moment where he could justify doing so in the past does not mean that the intent was not there and he was not waiting for that moment to undermine that authority he did not respect. While in hindsight he was mostly correct in his assessment of [REDACTED], that does not mean that the assessment was not made for all the wrong reasons. His ego has only increased as of late, and a change of scenery to take him down a peg or two might be needed if that leader cannot be found.”

    ..

    November 14th, 2017. Mandatory Counseling session. Audio and Video.

    The camera is focused on a brown, cloth couch where a man and a woman sat close enough that their shoulders touched but seemingly focused on a conversation with an off-screen interviewer. They were holding hands at the time, and seemed to just be getting over a bout of laughter. The woman, Rebekah, had long orange hair worn in a waterfall braid and was dressed in a leather trench coat and jeans. Just by reading body language it was clear she was the dominant one, the initiator. The man, Gavin, had short brown hair in a crew cut style and wore a leather motorcycle jacket along with jeans. His body language tended to copy and play off of Rebekah’s throughout the entire session. Both were on the shorter end, with Rebekah being 5’6” and Gavin being 5’10”. Both were on the more lithe and fit side than towering in stature as well. Rebekah weighed in at around 135 pounds steady, and Gavin jumped around between 180-190. The video feed doesn’t start with any specific question, but instead in the middle of one of the answers.

    “Now picture this, if you would.” Rebekah started, freeing her hand from Gavin’s grip and leaning forward on the couch. Her tone is absolutely deathly serious, like she was about ready to reveal some sort of horrible secret. “You’re in your kitchen, kind of in a rush because who isn’t these days? You need to eat something before you go out to work, so you decide to make something simple, y’know? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches sound good, nothin’ fancy or anythin’. You get a couple finished, and since you’re on an all-you-can-eat diet you take the first bite. You’re expecting the nice, smooth goodness from some good protein peanut butter but there’s somethin’ wrong. Somethin’ just causing this vast disturbance in the Force, like some inconsiderate eedjit left broken up crackers in your peanut butter jar for the express purpose of sabotagin’ your life.”

    Gavin at this point was leaning back on the couch and stifling laughter with his hand with mixed success, but Rebekah continued in irritation that was partially real but also purposely exaggerated: “Now, yah might be askin’ yourself who in the right mind would do that sort of thing. Just breakin’ up crackers in a perfectly good jar of peanut butter like that, ruinin’ the entire experience for someone they claimed to love and care about.” At that, she paused for a few seconds to lean back to meet Gavin’s posture and allow a smile to cross her features.

    “I don’t have any actual, ARMA needs to know complaints, though. We make a good team, and most of the issues we’ve had were already ironed out by the time we got to America. I mean, he’s still kinda useless as a spotter even this many years later but we can’t all be perfect. Maybe I like ‘em a little bit scrawnier and weaker.” she finished, just off-the-cuff like but that last comment got an immediate and gratifying response from Gavin.

    “Just because I’m like a hundred pounds behind you on bench or whatever—“ he started, but was immediately corrected by Rebekah with the most smug grin on her face. It was obviously a sore spot for Gavin that she enjoyed picking at every so often.

    “Two hundred. I have all of our PRs on my phone if you wanna check.”

    “—Y’know, it’s hard to go to goddamned superhuman levels of pickin’ shit up when you’re just a normal dude whose cool ‘post-Resonance power’ is throwin’ shade! That shit is tiring to practice too, okay?”

    There’s a timeskip in the video, and when it comes back both Gavin and Rebekah are postured at the edge of the couch and leaning forward at the counselor.

    “What are some things that Rebekah does that annoy you?” the counselor asked, in as neutral a tone as she could manage despite what was undoubtedly one of the livelier sessions she’d had that day.

    “The toaster.” Was the immediate response, almost as if he had been waiting for the opportunity to talk. Rebekah started laughing almost uncontrollably, then, but Gavin kept talking completely deadpan without missing a beat: “I got her a gag gift one day ‘cause I saw this ridiculous thing through a shop window one time, it was a toaster. Now you might be thinking -- that’s a shitty gift but wait… it’s a defibrillator toaster. You might wonder how that is annoying and life-altering, but Becks has a routine. Go ahead, Becks, show the good counselor what you screech every mornin’.”

    Rebekah put her hands out like she was holding the defibrillators while stifling her laughter as best she could right then, grinning ear to ear, and then just started in the most hyped Irish voice imaginable. “Oh no! We’re losing them, jam it! BEEP BEEPBEEP! Nurse, we need 20ccs of cream cheese, stat!” Gavin was just staring forward at the counselor with the most deadpan and mildly irritated expression as Rebekah turned towards him and tugged the sleeve of his jacket before starting to speak again but with a much more overdramatic, sad voice: “He’s bread, Gavin. Time of deliciousness,” she paused only momentarily to flick her wrist up so she could see the current time, “5:24PM.”

    At this, Gavin just cups his face in his hands in mostly over-the-top exasperation. The counselor was stifling back giggles from the absurdity of what she was witnessing. Rebekah put an arm over Gavin’s shoulder and looked up to the counselor and with the most deadpan tone added “I’m sorry, ma’am. He’s toast.” as she pulled him tight for a one armed hug.

    Both the counselor and Gavin started laughing at that one, with Gavin muttering a “God damn it.” As he did so. Eventually, everyone in the room regained their composure and Gavin spoke up again, just giving a defeated gesture in Rebekah’s direction while leaning into her a bit more on the couch: “You see what I have to deal with here?”
  • PERSONAL BELONGINGS
    SIG P210-6 Heavy Frame 9mm Luger with wood grips (everyday carry)

    Tango 51 .308 Bolt Action Sniper Rifle (rare mission carry)

    Enchanted to ARMA standard Osburn and Gunby Pattern 1796 light cavalry sabre ~32 inches (common carry)

    Enchanted to ARMA standard Emerson Fixed Blade Combat Karambit knife x2 in shoulder harness (everyday carry)

    Schott Perfecto leather jacket (non-combat mission/everyday)

    Silver Thread Waxed Motorcycle Jacket (combat mission/uncommon. Reference picture: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71uZnxk16OL._UL1500_.jpg )

    Array of basic silver thread normal clothes

    Customized Portable Ward Package (2 Repulsion, 2 Dispelling, 3 Obscuring when first equipped, but often in the field Gavin has an incomplete set due to lack of frequent Ward shipments.)
  • ABILITIES
    APPROVED - FEB. 24, 2017
  • SKILLS
    APPROVED - FEB. 24, 2017
  • HISTORY
    APPROVED - FEB. 24, 2017

STAFF APPROVED ABILITIES/SKILLS/HISTORY

  • APPROVED ABILITIES
    Umbrakinesis (As a general rule the more shadows/darkness in the area = more cool stuff available and less shadows/darkness in the area = less cool stuff available. Core limitations is power gated by amount of darkness/shadow in area and being unable to create darkness/shadow with magic with the exception of the limited and taxing shadow mimicry, only to manipulate already present shadow. In relation to this, all shadow constructs dissipate within seconds when the shadows used to create them are gone. For example, if floodlights were suddenly turned on in a previously completely dark building all umbrakinetic constructs Gavin created would immediately dissipate in all areas the light touched.)

    Low Drain

    Cloaking while already in deep shadow like at nighttime or in a dark room

    Offensive Shadow solidification while already in deep shadow like at nighttime or in a dark room (Offensive uses most common. Slashing/Piercing trademark.)

    Night Vision

    Enhanced healing while in darkness (3x normal human healing under conditions of complete darkness.)

    Noise dampening (More darkness = more noise averted with less energy spent. Ranges from low to medium drain depending on darkness present and what noises are being covered up.)

    Medium Drain

    Cloaking with limited but still present shadows such as shadows from people and other objects nearby such as most urban areas with tall buildings nearby or alleyways even in daytime.

    Manipulating intensity of shadows. (Basically turning an already present shadow/patch of darkness into vision denial to the point where you can’t see outside the shadow while you’re inside of it unless you have some form of night vision.)

    Offensive Shadow solidification with limited but still present shadows such as shadows from people and other objects nearby.

    Defensive/Non-offensive shadow solidification while already in deep shadow such as nighttime or in a dark room. (Usually in the form of a wall or makeshift shadow armor like a gauntlet for punching hard thngs or even the form of a human being for a distraction.)

    Mass offensive shadow solidification while already in deep shadow.

    High Drain

    Defensive/Non-offensive shadow solidification with limited but still present shadows such as shadows from people and objects nearby.

    Cloaking with little to no shadows present (such as being in range of floodlights or in an empty field at high noon or any situation where the only shadows present are his own and a small number of other humanoid ones or the equivalent.)

    Mass offensive shadow solidification with limited but still present shadow nearby.

    Short range Umbrageous Teleportation (Only within 100ft, limited to connecting shadows, and can only be used when the user is in contact with a shadow – even if it is his own. Regardless of distance traveled only has energy for use once an hour.)

    Shadow Mimicry (Able to turn up to 40% of his body into shadow for a brief period of up to 3 seconds. Drain ranging from medium-high in optimal conditions of total darkness to immediate incapacitation in low darkness scenarios.)
  • APPROVED SKILLS
    Fluent in English and Gaeilge languages from upbringing and Rebekah tutoring respectively.

    Proficient in interrogations from time as a 35M in the United States Army

    Extensive dragon fighting knowledge/experience from service in Dragon War

    Extensive zombie fighting knowledge/experience from European excursions.

    Average in Modern Army Combatives hand-to-hand.

    Proficient in Georgian style sabre fighting drawing from Rowarth's Art of Defense on Foot from tutoring from Rebekah.

    Skilled marksman with a variety of firearms from US Army/Dragon War experience

    Proficient sniper from tutoring from Rebekah.

    Proficient in tactical driving from years of experience and sticky situations in Europe and domestically. Is typically the driver in his Shield unit.

    Mechanic skills picked up mostly from time with the Silver Wings onward. Someone needs to keep the damn wheels turning.
  • APPROVED HISTORY
    Becks Birthdate November 15, 1989

    Gavin Birthdate July 25, 1990

    2008: Joined US Military out of high school. Assigned 35M, HUMINT collector. 31 weeks of training between Basic and Advanced Individual Training.

    2009: Graduated AIT and began work. Reported to 10th Special Forces Group. Was part of the group support battalion in Fort Carson, Colorado.

    2010: Resonance event in May. SFC DeLuc.

    2011: Dragon War involvement. Enlistment in Irish Army. Meets Rebekah Lynch.

    2012: Dragon War

    2013: Dragon War ends. Help in stabilizing Western Ireland. Sergeant DeLuc, Company Sergeant (Equivalent to 1st Sergeant) Lynch. Ranks held when exiting Army Ranger Wing and moving to general Army.

    2014: Stabilizing Western Ireland. Marriage.

    2015: Stabilizing Western Ireland. Toward end of year Lynch ‘retires’ as a Battalion Sergeant Major (NATO OR-9) due to frustrations and not being able to do nearly as much as she hoped to help people. Deluc retires as an Sergeant (OR-5) at the same time. Cons to not being a war hero and native.

    2016: Across the pond trek. Welcome to the Silver Wings.

    2017: Silver Wings merge with ARMA. Goes better than expected.

    2018: Resonance wave v2 in November. Probably somehow linked to the mythical promotion to Sergeant a few weeks before. ARMA service continues. By end of year Beck is officially MIA. Downward spiral.

    2019: An exercise in futility and insanity.

    ___

    January 25, 2017. Snippets from one of the initial interviews with ARMA. Audio and visual recordings in an office room off-site.



    “What can you tell me about your time before you enlisted in the United States Army?”

    There was a momentary shift in expression from Gavin, and regret and anger passed through his face all at once. This change lasted only for a second, as did the silence it came with. He played it off as just fixing his leather jacket, well enough so that the interviewer seemed not to notice. He seemed somewhat disheveled, with bags under his eyes from the lack of sleep from the rough schedule he’s had for the past few days. Apparently he was quite a way’s out before coming to New York City for this. One thing that was notable from the second that he opened his mouth was the exceptionally weird accent mix he had picked up from his time across the pond in Ireland that was a weird mix of southern drawl and Irish brogue.

    “Nothin’ particularly interestin’ happened then.” He started with a laugh, continuing to adjust his jacket for a few more seconds before lacing his fingers together to stop the fidgeting. “ew up in a place in Fayetteville, Georgia. Did te usual shit in high school, played some sports like most any kid there. The fuckers ended up winning the state championship the year after I graduated.” At this point Gavin leaned forward in his chair with an exaggerated expression of disappointment while extending his right hand with his index finger and thumb only an inch apart with the rest of his hand clenched like a fist. “I was this close to being a state championship winner and havin’ my name etched in the school record forever. Ugh! Life isn’t fair, man.” he finished with an almost comical sigh, leaning back to his previous position and lacing his fingers once more.



    “Tell me about your time in the United States Army.”

    “Nothin’ much to say here. I got in, went through basic and AIT and got out. Got assigned to my unit, em, just started to get into the groove of things… and started to feel pretty confident that I knew what the fuck I was doing and bam – global apocalypse. Just like that.” The man shrugged his shoulders after that and silence filled the room for a period of about ten seconds. “I don’t know what else to say, honestly. I’m sure you have access to my service record. I got a few expert Marksman badges, the fuckin’ physical fitness badge, my jump wings, and fuck if I remember what else. I don’t even have ‘em with me because they were worthless by the time I went across the pond. Uh, after the Resonance happened, there was fuckin’ nothin’ left. We had no goddamned command structure. So I left, because there wasn’t a damn thing I could do stateside and I thought, em, it was a different story across the pond – and I was right.”

    The flash of anger and regret washed over his features again at the end, but was gone just as quickly as the first time. There was a certain tenseness that crept into his posture while he answered the question, though it quickly dissipated once he was finished. It was subtle, but the movement was definitely there.



    “Tell me about your decision to go over to the United Kingdom to fight in the Dragon War.”

    “Now, I don’t want you to think this is a knock on how the States ran things before the Resonance… but we were caught so off guard by the damn thing we weren’t able to tie our own damn shoes for a while. There was so much shit going on, the fucking zombies coming up and magic springing from the goddamned heavens and shit. I still don’t understand what the hell happened, and I don’t think anybody ever will.”

    Gavin’s demeanor was more relaxed at that point, and the fidgeting had gone away completely. His steel gray eyes did not waver from the interviewer’s like they did previously. It seemed like this was a much more comfortable topic for him, and a happier one despite everything that had happened.

    “All this shit goes down, society crashin’ around ya… I just felt like I needed to DO something, y’know?” the man paused for a moment and let a smirk cross over his features before continuing in a lighter tone: “Plus, we all killed dragons in recess as kids didn’t we? I figured, fuck, I could become a real life dragon slayer out there. How hard could it be?”

    There was another pause before he added a lot more seriously, “Apparently, it was pretty damn hard. Lost a lot of friends to those damned lizards. Once you see one field of fire, ain’t nobody in the unit taking it less than deathly serious no more.”



    “You noted on your papers you were part of the Army Ranger Wing, can you elaborate a little on that?”

    “By the time I got over there, em, the government forces were still reeling from what had happened in the initial strikes. I got off the boat in Ireland, and they were taking any warm bodies they could muster to fight against the damned things. Whereas in the States my, em, abilities were seen as… freakish the Irish fucking loved me for ‘em. Americans saw a freak, but the Irish know damn good resources when they see one and won’t turn back the help. I got fast tracked in the unit because they were the ones coordinating the most with the British forces on the front line trying to find effective ways to kill the damn lizards and they figured shadowcastin’ was worth a shot.”

    At this point, Gavin reached into his jacket and pulled out a green beret that he laid on the table so the interviewer could see. “I figured this would be proof enough, but if it’s not I still have my old uniform with the uh unit patch identifiers and worst comes to worst you can always just contact the Irish government and they’ll confirm everything. I know I’m not as famous as my partner, but if you look really hard on some of the pictures she’s in, you can catch my ear or something in the photo. Em, the only times my face is ever fully in the damned frame I’m wearing a fuckin’ mask, though.” The man did his best to suppress a chuckle, then, and only partially succeeded. “Life is unfair, I’m tellin’ you. If I was just a little bit better looking and a lot more Irish, I could ‘ave been the one on the news and talk show radio circuit for the last few years. I dunno how much news you get from across the pond over here, but if you get anythin’ you should at least recognize her.”

    He paused for a moment, failing to suppress a smile, as he added: “The promotion potential was a lot better in Ireland, too. I only got to specialist in the United States, but Sergeant in Ireland. They had so much faith in my abilities, along with, em, the dire shortage of able bodied fighting men that was completely and utterly unrelated to my promotion prospects, that they pushed me in a solid leadership position pretty quick.”



    “How did you meet Rebekah Lynch?”

    Even at the mention of her name, Gavin’s face absolutely lit up. “She was my first commandin’ officer, actually. She’s different, too, though her changes are more on the physical side. Like Captain America if he was a permanently hyped Irishwoman. She was in the first group of women to ever join the Army Ranger Wing in Ireland, uh, along with I think three others that cycle right before the Dragon War started.”

    He paused for a few moments and leaned back in his seat, allowing a certain smugness to wash over his features as he continued, more prideful by a country mile listing off her accomplishments rather than his own. “I did pretty good by the end of my service term, but what she did was unreal. National hero of Ireland. Holder of the most senior NCO rank in the whole goddamn army in only, what, nine and a half years? Demolished army or not, that’s gotta feel pretty goddamn nice to put on a resume. Awarded the Military Medal for Gallantry with Distinction, along with kickass title in The Angel of Connacht and most famous female soldier in Ireland since Grace O’Malley or Anne Bonny while bein’ twice as good. Hit a one in a million shot with a .50 cal right in a lizard’s eye as it came to turn a city into a field of flame which ended up savin’ hundreds of lives. I’m not on her level, fuck, I don’t know if anybody is. But I think it’s a goddamned testament to my ability that I’m even able to kind of keep up.”



    “Tell me about what you did after the war.”

    By this point, Gavin was upright in his chair and it looked like some time had passed since the last question on record. He was really relaxed by this point, and accordingly he slipped into even more slang and casual speaking than previously. What little façade of professionalism he had before was gone, and for now he was talking just like he was shooting the shit with a friend at a pub. “Towards the end there, em, Becks got frustrated. She got the title, she got the fame, and… she got at least what looked to be influence. She found that with the limited resources left, uh, that didn’t amount to a whole lot no matter what she tried. She found that being a legendary military commander didn’t translate to a lot politically with the military so wrecked with lack of funding and early retirements, and got really frustrated. I couldn’t really help, because I was an outsider anyway and since my, uh, differences were so much more obvious once the war was over I was kind of seen more as a freak instead of an asset again. Becks was untouchable, but I wasn’t and when she started pissing people off her enemies started gunning for me instead. I’m not an Irish citizen, and was threatened with deportation because the refugee crisis was so big more than once. Wonderful way to repay the service I did to the country, y’know, but it was just part of that political game the big wigs like to play.”

    Gavin shook his head, then. “Eventually, it just became too much of a strain and we decided to give something else a go. Becks always had too much integrity to be a politician, and wasn’t willing to pick her battles when lives were at stake. She also wasn’t willing to start a rebellion or anything, because it would just mean more people would die and fuck if we knew if it would even work in the first place… so we left once we realized we could not achieve the goals we set out to accomplish in Ireland. The powers that be simply would not let us. Fuckin’ gombeen aristocratic bastards in charge that they are. Pox bottle cunts, all of ‘em. Only out for themselves and lookin’ after their own power. We lost so many fuckin’ men in the damn war our voices were drowned out by the massive influx o’ refugees and the politicians could safely ignore us for the most part as long as they made sure their dirty dealin’ was kept under wraps and away from the public.”



    “Tell me what you did once you left Ireland.”

    “Well, funny story actually, em, we originally couldn’t even decide what the hell we wanted to do. We knew we wanted out, but not the nitty gritty details of it all. Me, bein’ the masterful strategist and forward planner that I am, uh, wanted to basically run blind into Europe proper and… see what we could do there. I figured, y’know, what’s the worst that could happen? Becks got some commo with some of the lads we served with in the Dragon War about this cool opportunity with the Silver Wings over in America. I naturally absolutely hated the idea of fucking with dragons again so soon and was super against it. Becks, being the manipulative genius that she is, never really discouraged my shitty idea, but forced me to make a plan on how we were going to do this cross-country trek across Europe. Once I sat down and, em, got to thinkin’… uh, the Europe trip was fuckin’ impossible. Hordes of zombies, rumors of shapeshifting fucks runnin’ around every which way and shit. Ridiculous. I swear most of the ideas I come with are better than that one, honest.”

    He paused for a moment, making a dismissive hand gesture before continuing: “Right when I’m frustrated and about ready to give up, Becks comes over with a game plan for going over to America to join the Silver Wings. Has this giant list of positives like the leadership core looked solid, uh, we know a lot of the blokes over there, the existing infrastructure and shit, and it was real hard to come up with an argument to not go at that point, so we did.” Gavin paused, then, to give an exaggerated exhale of frustration. “Typical woman, ‘eh? Watches you flounder and fail for just long enough to come up with all this stupid stuff like logic and facts and reasonin’. I just wanted a cool European adventure, dammit. Now I’m back in Yankee central and can walk across a city block without shoving through a crowd but can’t go three steps without some form of kill yourself store hailing from the great state of obesity bein’ in my face. Shit’s still weird to me, man.”



    “Tell me why you decided to join with ARMA.”

    “Well, haha, truth be told, I was against the whole trip.” The man confessed with a laugh. “I thought it was a lie at best and a trap at worst, em, because no offense… but I’ve had nothing but bad encounters with the Order of dry shite maggots. Always so damned uppity and superior, lucky I’m able to pass myself off as a normal shithead human so they didn’t really get too interested in me. T’be completely honest I’m still half expectin’ some creepy old dude with a sea captain level beard to walk through that there door,” Gavin started, pointing to the door behind the interviewer, “And throw some sort of goddamn fire in my face while screamin’ some incoherent religious shit at me. That was the reason I was walking so damn slow on the way here, it’s not because I’m a langer or anything – just memorizin’ the space between the lights in case I was right and y’all tried to murder the mudblood or some shit.”



    February 20th, 2018. Snippets from an internal morale check within ARMA. Audio and visual recordings from an office room in-site.

    “It’s been a little over a year since you joined ARMA, how do you feel about the experience so far?”

    Gavin had put on some weight since the last video, and looked healthier. Steady access to food and a safe place to rest did wonders in that regard. He was wearing a black suit without a tie, sitting down in the chair with his right ankle sitting on his left knee and leaning back in the chair. He was in full business attire except for the black combat boots he still wore.

    “It’s been fuckin’ great. I admit, I was, uh, a little bit skeptical at first but I haven’t felt this at home in a while. I get to go back to civilization a lot more now and feel useful doin’ so sometimes helping out the Knight Division and the integration in general went better than expected. I’m not super enamored with all of the guys I’ve interacted with from your organization, seem kinda green and uppity for my tastes, but the ones that are good are not just that but exceptionally good. Like we were great on our own as the Silver Wings, don’t get me wrong, but ARMA has some really fuckin’ great resources and innovation to work with and it has only let us become even better than we were – barring the random pox that slips through every so often that happens with any unit. It’s amazin’, and without the immediate threat of getting burned to death every second of every day I think I enjoy this a lot more on the day to day than the Dragon War. Now it’s more like once or twice a month. Becks will be more jumpy and excited about it, I’m still sore so I’m more than happy to just sit on my ass and rest a bit. It’s hard, but holy shit does it feel great to be part of the scariest motherfuckers on the block for once. None of this ducking for cover when a lizard flies over, y’know, it’s the rest of the goddamned world that ducks for cover when Shield rolls up with the big guns. It was a little tiresome in the beginning when all of the Dragon War guys wanted an autograph from Becks, like holy shit guys… I did stuff too, damn it! Why don’t anyone ask for my autograph? Same shit as when we first joined the Silver Wings, except with fuckin’ nerds this time instead of soldiers.”

    Gavin laughed, then, and adjusted his leg so both feet were now on the ground while doing so. His tone was not bitter at that last part, and if anything it absolutely reeked of amusement. “It’s a bit of a challenge, but I’m up for it. I’m not the most rough and tumble guy in the squad, but I’m used to not being the top dog. Uh, it’s not an adjustment for me, and I fit right in with my role. It’s comforting having so many ex-military guys in the same division, along with so many Dragon War veterans to lean on even when the spooks from Cloak come through askin’ weird questions about the condition of yer buddy’s butthole or the mages that come and do their rounds lookin’ like they had never seen a goddamned uniform before let alone a firearm. They understand, man, and it’s fuckin’ great to have everybody on the same page and firing on all cylinders when the bureaucracy is away. Our ranking system is a little weird and I’m not a hundred percent sure where I stand right now, but that’s to be expected with all the changes coming through the pipe. The responsibilities we had all transferred over, thankfully, and last I heard I’m under consideration for Sergeant. With the all-star lineup we have, I’d be more than happy to sit on that for the duration if I can manage to get the damn spot. If it’ll force me to move, though, I’ll probably just turn the damn thing down. I’d rather just stick with the solid group we have now rather than go off to whereabouts unknown only to find out I’m in a unit with a bunch of goddamned Yanks or mages or someshit. No offense.”



    To: [REDACTED]
    Cc: [REDACTED]
    Subject: Update on Sergeant Gavin DeLuc, 11/28/19

    Subject took the news of LT Lynch's disappearance bad enough to cause a psychotic break and lashed out violently when we told him at 0900. The precautions you originally suggested, [REDACTED], were all followed and prevented a much worse outcome. With an inability to use his powers, the subject instead managed to re-open his wounds in a fight to escape the room. Three of our personnel, which are again not combat trained, received injuries in the confrontation.

    [REDACTED] suffered a broken jaw from an elbow to the chin. [REDACTED] suffered a broken arm. [REDACTED] suffered numerous bite wounds to the hand and a concussion from repeated headbutts. Equipment destroyed included: [REDACTED] and [REDACTED], which will take some time to replace. Subject was taken down by a taser and was then tied to his bed at 0930 to prevent further injury to himself or others during this period and the preventive measures have remained in place. At 1000 the subject partially broke free of constraints and nearly managed to knock over one of the lights, and by 1015 was re-secured to the bed and two armed guards were posted in the room to start 24/7 in person surveillance to ensure the subject does not break free.

    I recommend that the subject be taken to a more secure facility, because sleep will be very difficult with the [REDACTED] in place and that will likely only further increase the violence displayed. Physical recovery time will be increased slightly to 2-3 weeks. Natural recovery recommended because it is unsafe for anyone to be near him right now without intense preventive measures in place. Further recommendation that the subject, Sergeant Gavin DeLuc, is not cleared for duty until a full clinical assessment is made into his mental state to ensure that these violent outbursts will not appear again.

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    Gavin de Luc
  • Typist's Role Play History
    Started on the Adventure Quest forums in 2005 and progressed from there to run the gamut of forum software and sub genres at least in fantasy.
  • Role Play Sample
    [color=4000FF]”You're welcome to give it a shot, but I make no promises that I'll actually try it more than once.”[/color] Gavin replied honestly to Cressida's mention of a possible insomnia cure. [color=4000FF]”The dreams are often worse than the actual sleeplessness, anyway – in any case, do not consider it a priority.”[/color]

    Down in the hold, the pirate lord simply nodded when the witch swore that she would not look through his documents. In truth, there was nothing held there aside from repeated and failed attempts to craft a letter to the very woman that the witch had identified in presence and void rather than name there was very little that the outlaw was afraid about her seeing even if she did rifle through his possessions. That was the real reason he was so comfortable doing so, because she already knew damn well his fatal flaw – and keeping her happy so that she did not spread it around was the least that he could do strategically speaking.

    When she called him generous, Gavin snorted despite himself for the second time during the tour. [color=4000FF]”You may have a different opinion the first time you see how demanding I become when there's imminent threat.”[/color] he warned, though his tone was lighthearted. [color=4000FF]”The other captains don't call me a tyrant for no reason.”[/color]

    A brief flash of disgust at the word tyrant told Cressida just how much he personally agreed with that assessment. If this was any other new crew member, the Mad Dog would not have let that slip – but since she knew so much else anyway things like his own personal feelings to the things that others said about him was nothing in comparison. She would either prove herself a valuable addition to the crew, leave of her own accord, or do something that forced him to kill her relatively quickly anyway he figured. If she went out on her own accord, it was likely that she would go back to the same woods and live in harmless isolation as well – and even if she didn't the witch was not the charismatic type to go spreading the word far and wide.

    When Cressida made a face at the explanation at how cooks were chosen, the smile returned to the pirate lord's features. [color=4000FF]”Sure, but you're not just any fresh pup. You won't be gunning for their job, and they know damn well that since you can't help them when things get a bit turbulent that their jobs are safe regardless. Generally speaking, I'm not going to turn away anyone who bleeds and nearly dies to keep my standard waving that still wants to sail under the black. If there's no room on the ship, soft landings can be arranged elsewhere with trusted fences. One thing you have to understand... is that as long as you serve those papers that you signed faithfully and don't go rogue from my own or Alfie's orders... I will murder and maim in your defense in an instant. I've served with a lot of these people for nearly a decade, and as long as you prove yourself a trustworthy member of the crew they will accept you with open arms.”[/color] Pride seeped into his voice at times, here, and it was mostly because the man was not lying. Whatever his faults, Gavin treated the men who sailed under him with the utmost respect and care and had razed entire villages to a man for daring to assault one of his crewmen.

    When the witch talked about herself being the source of gossip normally, Gavin allowed some of his amusement to creep through. [color=4000FF]”That will remain true for a while, because as you yourself said – Cressida Ravencrest is the new and shiny thing upon the ship.”[/color] he paused for a moment, but then continued on: [color=4000FF]”And then by the time the next edict is to be written and sent they will debate furiously again my reasons for doing some of the stupid and outlandish shit that I do – and some of them are even at least partially correct. I trust that the conversation that we had in your place of residence will stay between us?”[/color] his tone was pleasant enough, but the hard glint in his steel gaze let the witch know quite well that he would not look kindly on her spreading her soul reading out to the others, even in jest.

    To be honest, the exaggerated swaying and rocking that Cressida did to overcompensate for the passive moment of the ship amused Gavin to no small degree. It would last only a few days to a week or two at most, but he would enjoy every second of watching her stumble around to remind himself that at the end of the day – past all the magic tricks and implications she was still just a human without any sea legs. When she asked if there was anything else major, however, the pirate lord just cocked his head to the side in a nonverbal way to tell her to continue because he was not quite sure what she was getting at.

    When she continued, however, especially with the mention of Alfie's distrust of anyone close to the magic ability of the Mad Dog himself let alone someone who was very possibly more powerful... Gavin let his amusement shine through at that, because there was no use hiding what was already obvious. When Cressida made the implication of turning the pirate lord into a beast, the man actually allowed himself a laugh. [color=4000FF]”Careful if you try, I might end up as diseased as my moniker.”[/color] he responded playfully, before pausing and letting the facade reclaim his outward countenance.

    [color=4000FF]”As for any particular things to avoid, don't touch the flag. The standard of a ship is one of battle, and like all battle standards even the spare ones are to be treated with the utmost respect on any vessel whether it be military or outlaw... for subjects, I suppose anything to do with anybody's life before becoming a pirate should be avoided. If they decide to tell you of their own accord, that's their business – but oftentimes the reasons for any man to turn to this line of work are rather painful and there are a lot of men and women who try their best to just forget the time that came before.”[/color] his tone had turned to all business at this point, and he continued as such. [color=4000FF]”For the first few captures, I would also avoid having a public opinion on who saw a vessel first. When the sightings are particularly close or even simultaneous there is a lot of fighting that goes on about it and that's up to Alfie or me to deal with. Having an opinion and siding with one man or another just gets them pissy, especially when it's a newer crew mate. If you have any particular talent for medicine, assisting Doc Harvey in dealing with the day to day medical needs of the crew would be the fastest way to get them to accept you. Heal a rash here, a sleeping problem there, and a broken bone or two and these men will cut down hundreds in your defense without a second thought by the time a month has passed. If you decide to help the cooks out as well and do a good job, the same holds true as well. I doubt they will want to go back to what we have now when they realize that things can be different.”[/color]

    Gavin at this point clapped his hands together as he took a breath, and finished: [color=4000FF]”Now, the last thing I want to do is keep you from your sleep so if there is nothing else?”[/color]

    Truth be told, the pirate lord would have to continue the fortnight long internal debate on what he was going to do from this point forward, because the presence of Cressida opened up so many doors in regards to prizes that could be taken that would have before been impossible – and cities that before may have been impenetrable that now could be burned to the ground. He might only have access to the talents of the witch of the woods for a small time frame, so he had to be damned sure he did not waste the opportunity.
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  1. Blasphemy and Sacrilege

    Cold gray eyes watched the tank of a man turn around and every fiber of Gavin's body tensed up for just a second as he prepared himself to unleash every shadow in his range at the first hint of magic. Now that he was face to face with the man and was actually looking at him rather than at his movements for the first time, the soldier realized that the man's face looked familiar for some reason. Why it was familiar didn't exactly matter in this moment, because the man's alcohol ravaged memory couldn't conjure why exactly it would matter in the first place. He had a terrible habit these past few years of flat out ignoring things like training, the news, and other sources of information that most people used to stay aware of their surroundings. He had been far too busy imploding for any of that to really matter, and it was occasions like this that made that a disadvantage. The tank of a man didn't even flinch when he dropped the cloak, which was another thing that the American didn't like. If the guy was actually a priest, he would have been shitting himself knowing a potentially hostile magic user with visual and noise cloaking abilities was inside of the building. The man just calmly adjusted his collar… and he wasn't even holding anything. No firearm and this confident was a bad combination, but at the same time he wasn't openly hostile and certainly didn't immediately lash out like Gavin would have in a situation like this. The accent was weird, too. He had never heard anything like it before, which put him even more on edge. Not Vanguard with an accent like that, and exceedingly calm in the face of someone who he could only assume to be a magus. This guy was either Order or a very powerful non-human. Or insane to the point of being in delusion of their own abilities, if he was extremely lucky today… which he wasn’t, because he was locked in a church trying not to freeze to death. Wait a minute. If it talked like a vague European, dressed like a Catholic, and was super calm when faced with magic it had to be an Order magus. Gavin rolled his neck to crack it as the tank finished speaking, and waited a couple seconds before replying. "All else being equal, I'd prefer us both not stand here like morons until us and the old guy upstairs freezes to death. I also think it would be fucking pointless to fight and die like an animal underground when we could just agree as mages to hold off at least until we're off of holy ground." he conceded, voice measured and neutral. He was carefully watching for the reaction when he called the other man a mage, hoping to see confirmation. Gavin certainly wasn't a mage, but Empowered Human just didn't flow off the tongue nearly as well. "What I don't understand, though," he continued in the same neutral tone as he worked out what his attack strategy would be if the guy went fucking berserk on him, "Is I thought you fucks worked in threes." It was why ARMA had to beef up their usual patrols, because the Order liked to have trios running around that were admittedly a giant pain in the ass to deal with at times. Gavin spent most of his career in SHIELD, so he didn't exactly enter combat against the Order of Light very much but it was one of the few things that he did remember from training. The smart thing to do would be to just placate the guy and fuck off with cloak before a reassessment or just waiting the guy out and leaving in the morning. That was what a man who valued his life above all else would do, because it was smart and extremely sensible when you had an acute sense of self-preservation. But color him curious, and at this point in Gavin's life he was willing to sacrifice a bit of safety to sate spur of the moment curiosity. Worst case scenario was they both died in combat, which was a lot better than liver failure or a car accident in terms of ways to go out.
  2. Blasphemy and Sacrilege

    Fucking hell. Tank woke up to the cold and was suspicious, which left Gavin in a position of few good choices available to him. He could just strike from the shadows and assassinate the guy, but aside from being rude would also not fix the bigger issue of being in danger of freezing to death. He could simply go back into the warmer room with the elderly man, but that would mean an immediate confrontation when tank got back into the room since there was no way to appear nonthreatening in that situation. He could just remain hidden, but the need to stay completely conscious the entire time would make time go excruciatingly slow. He had very little outside assistance possible with that route, too. If he had anybody that would come out and try and get him, he would have called them already. Maybe Aingeal, but that idiot would be just as likely to get herself killed in the attempt as to actually be helpful. So to aid in the decision, he just slipped back and observed the tank of a man as he went along trying to find the intruder. Maybe it was the paranoia talking, but the guy moved eerily similar to someone who was combat trained. There was very little wasted movement, and his posture was all wrong for a civilian. Far too upright and measured, when most people would be spooked into terror at a bump in the dark in a situation like this. He was far too calm, which meant that it was likely Gavin drew the short straw here considering he couldn't exactly exit the building at this point without killing both himself and everyone else inside by letting the cold in. Wait a minute, that's genius. Mutually assured destruction, that was how he was going to do this. That was going to be how he avoided killing everyone before freezing to death in the House of God. As they walked down the service hall stairs, the soldier made a point to put his revolver out of sight by slipping it into the folds of clothing and waited until they were both at the bottom of the stairs before dropping the cloak and noise dampening all at once. "Dead man's switch on the door, I lose consciousness and we all freeze to death. I got no interest in fighting on holy ground or dying right at this second, so I'd appreciate it if you didn't either." he started in a conversational tone, his blended Irish and American Southern grating even to his ears because he knew how recognizable it was in case this jackass was a member of a faction who hated ARMA. Dude looked like he could easily be an outlaw or a Vanguard, that was for sure. "I can't get out right now, but neither can you or you would have done it already. Can you fix the boiler, or would you like assistance so all three of us don't become popsicles by the end of the night?" He came off almost bored, and that was largely because he had damn near perfected the apathetic facade over the years, much to the chagrin of his supervisors. He stretched his arms out slowly with his palms open and facing the man to show that he had nothing in his hands and let the tank act as he would in response. He was more than ready to cut the man down in an instant if this attempt at peace didn't work, but hopefully a bluff was all it took to prevent going that particular route. ...hopefully.
  3. Nobody Expects the ARMA Inquisition:

    ”Given that you’re a mind reader, Lieutenant Walker, I hope you don’t mind me thinking out loud so that the others can hear me as well. I’m also going to be very candid with y’all, given that any secrets will be vetted out anyway soon enough.” His body language was completely relaxed, now, because once the threat of neutralization was slipped nothing else really mattered. His life was already forfeit at this point, so all that remained to see was how far he could push his skills to advance that life into a state that he could live with. ”Since I do not wish to be… neutralized, I guess I better start making the case I don’t need to be. My sunny disposition is not suited for Knight Division, so we can strike that immediately. That wing needs peacemakers more than dogs of war, and that’s not me.” Snarky and flippant were two ways to describe the tone that the soldier was using, though his stance remained the very image of respect. He was now railing against the authority that chained him so, as much as he yet dared. ”I would not be adverse to a swap back to Shield, if there was a pressing need. My specialty is leadership at the squadron or platoon level, but I’ve led companies before and would again if we should find ourselves attacked again by monsters or men that would seek to have us all die violently. But it is at the moment too safe, and too stable.” Therein lie the crux of the argument that he was about to present. That safety and stability were new enemies that he did not intend to suffer for long. Gavin wasn’t completely oblivious to what he had become. He was going to kill himself before an enemy did it at this rate, especially with his own ability to control the terms of combat in Shield. Self-preservation was an instinct that he had not let go of, despite trying very hard at some points. With Cloak, and the added incentive of his employer to get him killed during the course of work, that would change. He would have no control over the battlefield, and no control over what duties he was assigned. An elite level ex-special forces operator with the ability to make himself invisible and completely silent was an asset that most would be able to pay dearly for, and that wasn’t even including abilities past his most basic. ”Cloak is the most interesting, and probably the best choice to put a killer who you were thinking about getting rid of anyway. You could send an operative to die and not have to suffer the bad press of them doing something stupid while wearing your badge… I’ll play ball, but I need something in return to make sure we both get what we want out of this.” This was stupid and risky, but it also forced a resolution. If this gambit failed, at least it ended without years starving as an outlaw in the vast nothing of the outside. He knew it was impossible to win a confrontation with Lieutenant Walker, so he was fully prepared to end his own life rather than let his mind and powers be wiped. He would rather die than be neutered, and that was one of the only reasons that he was still in this organization to begin with. The relaxation in tone and posture was almost unnatural at this point, because it was the mannerism of a man who accepted that in all likelihood they would not leave the room alive. ”I’ll sign a contract, a year or so long with Cloak. I will remain functioning enough to do my job, or I will simply die and your issue is over. Also in that contract, which I want no less than ten copies of, you will agree that at the end of the contract I am free to walk out without the aforementioned neutralization resulting in death or in my case specifically most likely complete power negation. You will also agree that as long as I end up my end of the deal, my memories and mental faculties will remain intact as well and I will suffer no retribution from ARMA personnel for having the gall to survive, if I do in fact make it to the end.” A pause and a smirk, here, because he had nothing to lose at this point. If one is going to demand things, they might as well not stop there and go full out. The board was not used to being talked to like this, with such candor. He could tell, and steel gray eyes relished the look on their faces before this meeting reached its inevitable conclusion. ”Two years is my hard limit, and a willing signature on that end of the spectrum would have to come with more incentive… seeing as though if I get this contract you have pretty good incentive to make sure I do not last the duration, I think we both know I would not receive the full benefits of any contract written out due to untimely death negating it. I am perfectly fine with that arrangement, frankly. Give me a soldier’s death, or I go off to find someone else who can. That’s my counteroffer, and I think we both know that if there wasn’t a need for someone to die in service to their country that I would not be here to listen to talk of neutralization – it would have happened already. The only question that remains, now, is whether or not I leave this room alive or not.” This was not a gambit that Gavin expected to survive. Even if it was accepted, one way or another he would be dead by the time the contract was up. ARMA weren’t idiots, and they sure weren’t letting someone with his skill set just walk. What if he was captured by the Order of the First Light or another organization and tortured, brainwashed, or worse? There was no way that was happening, and that’s exactly what the soldier was counting on. The very fact that he was physically present to hear threats and given a space to move into meant that there was a need. If there wasn’t a need, he would have just died in an unfortunate vehicular explosion or something else that could have been chalked off as an unfortunate accident. He still would not survive the term, but he could trick himself into thinking he had a chance for long enough to have an honorable death. A good death, one in combat against an enemy that was either technically or numerically superior. Close quarters would be the ideal, so he would know who did it. And if ARMA could not provide a threat deadly enough to kill him without betrayal and sabotage, at least he knew he was good enough to force their hand in that respect. And if he actually made it out the other end… well, he would cross that bridge when he came to it. He would actually need to be perhaps the best in the world to pull that off, however, which would mean his negotiations with alternate employers would be … interesting, to say the least. Call him a drunk, call him a loose cannon, call him suicidal… but one thing you could not call Sergeant DeLuc is a coward unable to make a stand.
  4. Old spectres and new phantoms

    If there was one thing Gavin was not expecting, it was to be grabbed. Instinct took over a moment as the soldier’s left hand stopped fumbling with his keys and reached up to grab the offending arm and yank it forward. The shadow caster was only a little over two inches taller than the woman, so this had the unintended side effect of pulling her in quick enough for the top of her head to crack him on the jaw. That bit was not pleasant, but the warmth of the woman’s form against his own for a fleeting few moments was something a little rarer than just mundane pain. Standing at such similar heights, he could feel her breath on his neck and the soldier’s steel gray eyes locked with the woman’s light brown for just a moment too long. ”Fine,” he finally said after that moment’s pause, releasing his hold on the girl at the same time. ”You drive, then. It’s armored up pretty thick, so it’s a little lower to the ground and a lot heavier than a normal SUV. Please don’t crash, it’s fucking expensive and I can’t exactly get a replacement right now.” The earlier contempt in his voice was gone, replaced with an odd blend of confusion and acceptance. He had no idea why Casper was doing this, but he also didn’t exactly care enough to ask too many questions about it. It was what it was at this point, and he was fine just going along with it. He reached for his keys again, and once his fumbling hands finally got a hold of the damn things he tossed them unceremoniously to the woman beside him. The doors were unlocked to the vehicle anyway, so there was no need for him to open the doors. ”I can give directions once we’re inside.” he added, not missing a beat with the rapid acceptance of the latest weird thing to happen to him today. ”It’s not parked that far from here.” There was something off about the delivery of the words, though. His tone was friendly and conversational, but his body language was all wrong. The shift in the latter was quick, and had only happened in the last minute or so. The man’s footsteps were unsteady, but nevertheless moved at a deliberately faster pace than the woman behind him. Every time she sped up, so did he. For the moment at least, the soldier simply seemed to be refusing to look in Casper’s general direction as he kept moving forward through the field of shell casings and empty liquor bottles. His left hand was clenched inside of a pocket of his leather jacket, and his right hand clutched with similar tightness against the grip of the carbine. Gavin still had no idea what he was doing, or what he was going to do five minutes from then. At this point he was just kind of going with it, anything to get him away from this area and this feeling. He needed to put some distance between himself and the place where Gibson went off into the fucking ether, and he needed to do it quickly. If Casper was coming, she had better hurry up and start driving. Soon, the man reached the bottom of the hill and started jogging to get to the vehicle just a few seconds sooner. Though the windows were tinted, he could still see just enough inside to verify that everything was in there through the outlines. His ARMA badge was on the dash, and the half dozen or so duffel bags filled with ammo and other firearms that he had brought with him were directly behind the passenger seat, with some of them partially unzippered out of laziness. While the haphazard setup was normal to him, it did not exactly occur to him that it was not normal for anyone else. The thought that not everyone drove around with enough weapons to stage an impromptu bank robbery or military coup would baffle him, so he did not bother to warn the woman in the slightest of the weapons cache inside of his own vehicle. What would be the point? Wasn’t everyone just as paranoid as he was these days?
  5. Blasphemy and Sacrilege

    Thank God there were no dogs. Gavin’s power set allowed him to hide from discerning eyes and ears, but not from those with noses strong enough to identify specific smells… normally the alcohol. For now, though, it looked like he was in the clear. He went methodically through each room, much faster than he would be able to without his powers due to not needing to worry about the noise factor of his own movements due to his noise dampening. He would have to either accidentally kick a metal pipe or literally run into someone to be heard at this point, which allowed some liberties to be taken. As he progressed through the building, his patience to methodically search each room waned quickly. If someone was hiding in a closet or deep underneath a couch or bed… he would deal with them later if he had to. If anyone put that much effort into hiding, it was very likely that they weren’t exactly a threat to him at the present. It was the ones who took no efforts to hide that were the dangerous ones, especially when one was unlawfully trespassing. The police would not pursue a charge with current conditions, but there would be no shortage of individuals ready to kill trespassers regardless of extenuating circumstances. The doors that were unlocked were opened and the rooms searched, but when a door was both closed and then locked the shadow caster did not bother breaking that lock. It was lazy, sure, but something made him uneasy about picking locks in a holy building. As he made his way throughout the building, however, he became more and more sure that there was nobody inside. By the time he opened perhaps the one occupied door in the establishment, he had gotten sloppier. The door was opened a tad more quickly than usual to save time, and while the noise of the door opening was absent due to magic the second it took for the soldier to register that people were inside of the room meant that the door opened several inches wider than was strictly necessary. Luckily, it seemed like both of the men inside were asleep. There was an older man audibly snoring, and a younger one built like a tank that also had his eyes closed. This was the major source of warmth in the building it seemed like, because the two men inside were maintaining it. For now, Gavin was content to just shut the door and continue on his way. The warmth from the room would be nice, but avoiding an unnecessary confrontation was more important at the present. The rest of the building was free from the bone chilling winds, and while he could not stalk these halls forever… he also did not have to deal with that confrontation right this second. If he could find the source of the heating in the first place, he could also loiter beside it and ensure that a confrontation was never necessary. Sulking next to a radiator or a boiler was not exactly dignified or respectable, but it was a sight better than making a rabbi panic in their own house of worship or freezing to death besides. In years past he might have relied upon his charisma to just walk in, but for now he was just happy that neither of them were awake enough to notice the door being opened. For now, the goal was to finish searching the rooms so he knew generally what he was going to be dealing with in here and then find the heating system to camp out next to. It was still early enough in the day where he could get back to his place of residence as long as he warmed up completely first, and that was likely going to be the plan of action. If he could not locate the heating system, or it proved insufficient to actually fully warm him up… well, he would be stuck here for the night to avoid a large risk of freezing to death. And if the heating system completely died... Well, hopefully it wouldn't come to that.
  6. Old spectres and new phantoms

    When the woman gave her explanation of why she was out there, the soldier just shrugged in apathy. That was much more mundane and boring than he thought, and he made no effort to conceal that feeling in his facial expression. It was not exactly a secret that Gavin had an ego, and despite the fact that ARMA tried its best to instill the idea that those with powers were not inherently better than those without… there were some holdouts. The soldier was more prejudiced than most, and one of them included a consistent habit of talking down to civilians that he saw as trying to play war and having the body language to match. This time was no different, though he left the comments to himself this time. Truth be told, he was starting to mentally disconnect from the situation in front of him and just let himself enjoy the feeling of the alcohol taking effect and spreading throughout his body, until she started talking about Gibson again. That got him to stop spacing out and actually pay attention to what Casper was saying, if only for a moment. But unfortunately, a moment was all that was required. When the woman said that the ghost was disappearing and that it was likely talking to Gavin that kept it in this world, the soldier’s steel grey eyes unfocused completely as he abruptly sat down to process the statement and what it meant. God damn it, he hated having a rush of emotions flood through him. That was why he started drinking in the first place, to avoid the rush of emotions that always threatened to drown him in their intensity. While he went off on Gibson for being an idiot and getting himself killed in the Vanguard, Gavin didn’t exactly do a whole lot better. The ruthless took power in Ireland as well, because they were simply willing to force out or kill those who did not comply with demands and lacked the stomach for political assassination. As much as he wanted to say his friend’s life would have been better if he had followed Gavin across the sea, the simple fact of the matter was that the shadowcaster only survived himself because he was lucky enough to be attached at the hip to someone who death himself seemed to be uniquely terrified of. In the end, every cause that either of them had ever fought for had failed. The United States was fractured and barely a shadow of its former glory. The Vanguard of Humanity was never able to destroy the monsters had that infected the planet Earth with their presence, and indeed could not even maintain their initial standing across the world and was confined to very narrow areas in most nations outside of their native South. The Republic of Ireland never reclaimed the eastern half of the island, and never approached the prosperity of even the other major nations post-Resonance. Everyone that pushed for progressive, reformist policies like Rebekah did once upon a time were forced out of the country or stripped of all power to resist in favor of a system of warlords with no transparency and no accountability. As for ARMA, they never had the ambition or the guts to seize a truly global agenda and would likely never even attempt to. Can’t fail in a task you never try, eh? There was no point in telling him that, though. Sometimes the kindest thing was a harsh word and an omission of truth, to let him think that Gavin had somehow done better. He would not burden a dead man with the failure of the living. By the time his eyes refocused, he was already up and walking to pick up his carbine and head back to his truck. His footsteps grew visibly more unsteady the more that he walked, but he bent down to pick up the carbine and just kept walking. He couldn’t stay here. Not now. He needed to leave, to put some distance between himself and this place. His right hand held the carbine lazily, barrel pointed downward while his left hand fumbled in his pockets to retrieve the keys to his vehicle. He was in no condition to drive, and once the alcohol that he had binged fully hit him he was going to be even worse off. But he didn’t care. He was not going to stay in this place and be forced to deal with his own failures. To be forced to confront actual emotions and fears that he had been bottling up for years. He might be the only one left, but damned if he was going to sit here and cry about it. What right did that fucker have to come back, just to throw some shit at him and then just fucking vanish into nothing? What right did he have to put his death and failure on Gavin’s shoulders? Fucking hell, why was his face starting to get wet all of a sudden? Why was his breath bottled up in his chest and coming out in gasps as he walked? Oh, right. The drunk crying, the type that he didn’t have the self-control to stop once he started. Just when he thought his week couldn’t get worse, some supernatural shit started happening to catch him completely off guard and send him further down that hole of drinking to cope with emotions he didn’t know how to keep a handle on.
  7. Blasphemy and Sacrilege

    November 8th, 2020. Upper West Side, New York City. 1330hrs. Fucking hell. This was suicidal and stupid, even he knew that. But he did it anyway, because he had become weak. His stockpile of alcohol at the house did not last for nearly as long as he thought it would, which forced him outside in the frigid cold to get more. Smashing the window of the liquor store was probably not the best decision the man had ever made, but what the hell else was he supposed to do? The beer was frozen and had destroyed their containers, and the liquor was already looted before from the other end of the store. He did eventually manage to find some rum stashed away behind the counter that was untouched, but it wasted valuable time that could end up damning him. The soldier had many layers of clothing on, but that only got him so far. A thick parka was his outer layer, which his heavily gloved hands tried desperately to find some small bit of warmth inside. A layer or two in he had a snub nosed revolver and his karambit knives, but they weren’t exactly accessible in his current state. The gloves that covered his hands were too thick for any real dexterity, even if they weren’t completely numb from the cold. He had never bothered to get any of his extremely thick winter coats enchanted, because he never had the occasion to really use them since he had joined ARMA. He always stubbornly wore his leather jacket or something lighter and just wore layers, but very little of his silver thread clothing was actually very warm by itself. It wasn’t like his chances of being shot at today were very high, and if anyone wanted to try and stab him through this many layers of clothing they were welcome to try. The far more immediate threat, of course, was the damned cold. He had assumed it was too far back to his house before some severe frostbite kicked in, and the bike that he tried to steal to expedite the process was frozen to the point of the pedals breaking off when he tried to get moving on the damn thing. That wouldn’t work, so he needed to find something else. He needed to force a way inside of a building, but if he guessed wrong and there was no heating he may just be fucked. He needed something with lights, because if they still had power it meant that they probably had heat. Maybe a store or something, because there might still be blankets left and if he was really lucky maybe a heating unit. Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be any stores outside of a bike store and a bunch of restaurants nearby… and none of the restaurants seemed to exactly be open. There was another option, the churches, and Gavin would not try that particular option unless he was desperate… and he was just desperate enough to do it. The nearest one was a Jewish synagogue, with big wooden doors and lights that were still on. No doubt there were people inside, and even if there wasn’t they had power and likely some material inside that the soldier could use to get warm again. The single bottle of rum that he downed earlier would hold him over, at least for now, so at least he wasn’t shaking at the present. Boots stomped against the snow coating the ground on the way, and hands desperately trying not to shake from the cold tried the door. Locked, predictably. The windows on the doors were opaque, and had the Cross of David prominently displayed on them. Gavin couldn’t see whether there was light inside of the door, which meant he had an interesting choice. He could break down the door with his powers, but if the heating was not on or able to turned on inside he would just freeze to death slightly slower due to letting all the cold air in. He could also try teleporting inside, but if there was not a connecting shadow that ran underneath that door… He wasn’t exactly sure what would happen, because he had never wanted to change materializing inside of solid material like a door before. The likely result would be instant death, but when the alternative was slow and withering death for the crime of wanting a damned drink it didn’t sound so bad. Since the light outside was still on, this was his best shot at not freezing to death. Steel gray eyes locked on to the door, and the man breathed deeply before letting the shadow over the door take him. If he was going to die, he wouldn’t close his eyes for it. A second later, he was just past the door no worse for wear. It was noticeably warmer inside, and the soldier immediately threw off his thick gloves and started rubbing them together furiously to try and get some feeling back in them. Upper West side was an affluent part of town, of course its infrastructure still worked. Thank God for the small victories. A cold, calculating gaze surveyed the entrance area… but it didn’t seem like anyone was home. After a few minutes, the man lost the parka to have easier access to the revolver in the jacket underneath it. If there was anyone in here, he doubted it was the actual men and women who came to this holy place. In an area like this, all the locals were safely in their homes and away from the danger of the outside. Unless they were goddamn alcoholics with no self-control, that is. Fucking hell. He hoped it didn’t come to that, killing people in a goddamned church. If he had to do it, he would… but despite the awful things he had done to survive in the past, something about even the thought of killing someone in the house of God revolted him. With any luck, he would just be alone with his paranoia and nobody else would show up. What were the chances, anyway? Looking around, with the scattered lights still on… he determined the chances were too damned high and activated both cloak and noise dampening. Pulling out his revolver from the pocket of his second jacket, he held out the firearm in front of him and started moving to search the building, starting with whatever room was directly in front of him. He would not be taken by surprise and killed like this, feeling naked without the protection of his silver thread armor. Trespassing on a church, lightly armed with the stench of alcohol over his body from the residue from the liquor store... no, not like this. Not here. If there was anyone inside of this place, he would know before they ever caught a whiff of him. No regular human, or even most altered, could detect him like this. If they did somehow manage to gain awareness of him, he knew damn well they weren’t human and could react accordingly. He would get them first, before they got him. Killing a monster in the house of God wasn’t sacrilege, was it?
  8. Finding your faith

    Galway Province, Ireland. February 11st, 2013. 2155hrs. This was it. This was the road to the end. A massive invasion force was marching toward the province of Galway, and Gavin was unlucky enough to be part of the diversion that would stall for the time needed for all of the civilians to flee. They were to stop the draconic forces, mostly the terrifying mages who looked like a terrible mixture of reptile and human. Their vile fire magic had killed uncountable masses at this point, and orders had come down for higher ups given the reptiles storming the previous borders en masse over the previously more or less secure borders to evacuate the entire damned country. The creatures were more intelligent than the dragons, though thankfully less so than humans. Individually, they were not that powerful. They won fights against mages because most mages were fucking terrible, not because the reptile mages were particularly powerful on their own. When in groups, however, their combined power was enough to torch an entire city to ashes in a matter of minutes. With virtually all of the winged dragons headed farther down south for an unknown season, the slower bipeds were left to spearhead the new westward push of the aliens. Ireland was to be given up, but the military were to be the ones to cover the final retreat and lay down their lives for the greater good. At least, that was the pitch. Nobody expected them to survive, so the remnants of the defense forces in the province were all riding to their doom as a ragtag bunch of misfits. Remnants of the Irish and British militaries were in abundance, but also volunteers from nations across the sea like Gavin himself were thrust into this position as well for better or for worse. It had been for volunteers only, and those who were particularly patriotic or had nowhere else to go signed up for the suicide mission in droves. Better to die in battle than drown due to a leak in the ocean, or be stuck out there to get roasted to death should the stalling mission fail. Better to take destiny into their own hands, they figured. Not Gavin, oh no. He wanted to be on that boat yesterday, but he wasn’t about to leave Rebekah here to die even if it meant he was damned as well. She grew up in this county, and was able to see her family in person one more time before departing in tears to ensure that they would be able to make it to the deep ocean before any of the reptile invaders made it to the western coastline. Rebekah was promoted to Company Sergeant and given command of roughly ninety individuals simply due to the fact that she was the highest ranked Irish soldier left on the ground. All of the officer corps were either down south or getting onto the boats themselves, which left Sergeant Lynch in charge of Galway’s last stand. They were arranged in three platoons, with Lynch taking the vanguard and the two other most senior enlisted taking lead of the left and right flank. Darkness fell early on in the night, but the bright headlights of the vehicles cleared the way, at least for now. All of their proper armored vehicles were destroyed at this point, so they were riding in the biggest and heaviest trucks they could get their hands on that were retrofitted with as much armor as was possible and decked out with two machine guns in the passenger seat and bed. Each truck also carried the flags of the soldiers fighting within the truck, which meant that the one Gavin was in had both the Irish and American flags streaming on the sides as it raced down the road. Body armor was worn by some, but against the threat of fire most saw it to be useless. Those who could get their hands on fire resistant gear slapped that shit on, but the rest of them typically just wore their plain old uniforms. The average age of the troops here was on the depressingly low end, probably early twenties with those being younger or older not an uncommon sight. The ride there had been boisterous, to say the least. The Irish soldiers sang A Soldier’s Song both in Gaelic and English almost nonstop for most of the ride, with Rebekah and the gunner in the back physically touching Gavin whenever the verse about soldiers coming from a land beyond the wave came up. It was a ritual that had developed because he was the only foreigner in his immediate unit, and had become a real asset as the war raged on due to his magical talent and the fact that he was quite frankly better than just about any other mage they had encountered along the way. They had gone over the plan numerous times, and when they started approaching the border the boisterous singing quieted down into almost complete silence as the praying started from the vast majority of the group. They were making peace with their God, fully aware of the fact that they would not be making it back home. Gavin himself was never religious, but he did spare a few glances over to Rebekah in the passenger seat with her head bowed and muttering a familiar prayer that she did before every major battle. ”Lord, I ask for courage. Courage to face and conquer my own fears… Courage to take me where others will not go. I ask for strength... Strength of body to protect others... Strength of spirit to lead others. I ask for dedication... Dedication to my duty, to do it well... Dedication to my country, to keep it safe. Give me Lord, concern... For those who trust me, and compassion for those who need me. And please Lord.... Through it all be at our side.” Many of the Irish soldiers wore blue face paint at least in a few lines across their cheeks, and Rebekah was no different. Hell, even Gavin did it because he wasn’t about to refuse a morale boosting exercise immediately before riding right to his death. As she was finishing her prayer, Gavin glanced over one more time and let his left hand slip from the steering wheel and held it out for a moment before it was grabbed tightly by the woman to his left. ”We’ll make it through.” the American said with a conviction he did not truly feel, ”We always do.” The American’s steel gray gaze met with the Irishwoman’s soft brown as she gave him a forced smile in response. Dress code was nonexistent, and most soldiers just let their hair grow out naturally due to the lack of time during the war to actually do any self-care or grooming, but this mission was a little different. They had time to prepare, and most wanted to die how they lived – so many of the men, including Gavin shaved off their facial hair and trimmed up enough to look good for what would likely be their final photographs to be sent back to their families. Some of the techie mages managed to upgrade some radios so every member had one, and the live feed made it back to the people on the shores so they theoretically would know how many to expect coming when all was said and done. If the group managed to survive, it would also mean that a rescue party could be sent back immediately and they could hop on one of the last boats out. An unlikely proposition, but it was good to know that if somehow, they managed to make it through this suicide mission alive they wouldn’t be left out here to starve to death or get whacked by the next patrol. Rebekah was always more of a rebel than Gavin was in some respects, and her own personal style was one of them. Her orange hair dye that she adopted early on in the war was redone, and her longer hair was braided in the style of the Celtic warriors of old. She eventually pulled her hand away, however, to reach for the radio in the truck and give out the order they had all been waiting for. ”Turn off the headlights, and put on your NVGs. I just wanted to say a quick word before we went into radio silence for the last few minutes of peace before contact with the enemy.” Gavin already started the dampening effect around their vehicle, mostly out of a precaution because these pre-battle speeches tended to get a little loud. He would not activate the darkness for a few more minutes now, because there was no possible way the enemy could be in line of sight to the convoy now. Steel gray eyes, altered to be able to see clearly in the darkness, glanced over to Sergeant Lynch as she gave her speech with admiration and pride written clearly on the American’s face. ”Today we stand as the last line of defense for the tens of thousands of refugees at the shores that are packing up their entire lives to flee their homes as we speak. Three days ago, you all answered the call to help save these lives by making a line in this ancient ground to give the rest of humanity hope. Hope that this alien menace can be stopped, and our sacred homeland may one day be reclaimed from the jaws of the reptile invaders that currently hold her hostage.” ”Someday, when these invaders are but a history lesson for the children of Ireland, the entirety of the world will come together and remember this place… this sacred ground watered with our blood, freely given to heavenly cause and say that humanity was here! They will say that the soldiers here, on this day, taught our enemy that humanity does not falter! That we proved to those reptilian bastards that humanity does not surrender! And most of all, they will salute the battle standard of our ancestors and say that we are the reason that they yet draw breath! Their mothers, their fathers, their daughters and their sons… all alive and well because we DID NOT FAIL! Faugh an Beallach! Clear the way!” With that, the woman put the radio down and manned the machine gun in the passenger seat. They had made their separate peace before riding off, promising each other that they would not devolve into tears and I love yous in the midst of battle to get both of them killed like idiots. They held a simple wedding the day before to join them in the eyes of God, and if they both survived it would be made public when both of their families could make the trek over to attend. For now, though, the shadowcaster just focused on maintaining a minimal shroud over the vehicles around him and a moderate noise dampening to make sure that they were not heard in their approach. After the awful waiting that seemed like an eternity, the enemy was spotted on the horizon. Previous encounters showed that these reptile mages were not immune to their own fire, and tended to have quite the accuracy at a distance with their magic. Up close, however, they were not immune to panic and were not nearly as comfortable flinging around that deadly fire. This led to a simple, but extremely dangerous strategy in closing the gap and fighting the enemy in hand to hand combat to prevent the mass use of magic. Their scales were thick, but not thick enough to deflect bullets like their trueborn flying cousins. They were also not immune to solidified shadow, which in this much darkness meant that as long as the American stayed alive he could cut a devastating swath of death throughout the battlefield. Which would be more necessary than initially thought, because not only were there hundreds of the abominations present… but two dragons circling overhead as well to protect the flock. This was not in the plan because while the two species had worked together in the past the dragons were never intelligent enough to actually guard the mages for any extended length of time. Their animal level intelligence made it impossible, or so they had thought. ”I’ll take care of the dragons. You take care of the mages. I love you, Gavin. Stay safe and don’t do anything stupid.” Rebekah whispered, grabbing the 20 inch barrel HK417 that she had become so famous for shooting down dragons with before and jumping out of the damned vehicle with all the casualness in the world. Like it was routine and like those weren’t the last words that she would ever speak to her husband. Fuck. With Rebekah there, Gavin could at least lean on the aura of confidence that she always had to make it through the initial charge and steel himself. With her gone, he was just left by himself staring down a suicidal run forward that would likely see him killed instantaneously. Alone. Despite his best efforts to hide it throughout the campaign, the fact remained that Gavin seemed to feel fear more than most others that he served with. The fact was, he was still terrified to die and only forced himself to keep it together so Rebekah didn’t notice. With her gone, the façade of confidence started cracking immediately. All he could do now is maintain the cloak and noise dampening and hope to God this plan worked, because if he fucked up and any one of them caught wind of what was happening… all of them would die without firing a shot. If anyone panicked and fired a shot too early, it would also kill them all due to making a noise too loud to be dampened without significant power expenditure and advanced warning. But the wedge held together and waited. They waited until they were within one hundred yards of the enemy, and then they lowered their machine guns and started firing into the masses of the reptilians. The drivers also started flooring it to close the distance as quickly as possible, and in Gavin’s case he started to scream the words to spells to unleash every bit of shadow he could into killing and disabling the invaders with as little power expenditure as possible. As soon as the machine guns started firing, the shadowcaster dropped the noise dampening and as soon as the trucks started ramming into the aliens he dropped the cloaking entirely. He would not let Rebekah down, not now. He would survive this, regardless of what it took. Sharp and deadly stakes rose from the ground in intervals to impale the monsters where they stood while balls of shadow as big and dense as cannon balls were propelled as fast as the Altered could manage in a wide arc in front of Gavin’s lead vehicle as he used almost all of his remaining power all at once to cause as much initial damage and panic as possible. Here in the pitch black of an Irish winter night, his strength was as high as it ever could be with the complete lack of a moon overhead to wash away the shadow. This was the strongest he had ever been, with more shadows than he had ever had to fuel his powers. He just needed to cause enough initial damage to give the rest of them a chance, and he willing to damn near kill himself casting spells to do it. From above, he heard the roar of one of the dragons above and looked up to see the damned thing soaring straight at him. He could hear the screams of his fellows as their vehicles were met with the fireballs of the mages, but so far Gavin had cleared a path for himself and those immediately behind him that they were able to just roll on through… until now. ”Fuck…” he muttered, his face draining of color immediately. He didn’t have enough left to take down the dragon, at least not quickly and in his panic he just froze there with his foot hard on the gas pedal and watched the dragon open its mouth to rain fiery death over the wedge… Then a shot rang out and hit the fucker in the jaw. The force of the impact and surprise factor on the dragon caused it to redirect its fiery breath to the back rows of the mages, killing at least a hundred of its own kind in one fell swoop. A second shot hit the wing bone of the creature, causing it to screech in pain and start losing altitude, and the third shot hit the fucker right in the eye and dropped it over another group of reptilian mages. The corpse falling out of the sky must have killed at least a dozen of the damnable creatures, but that still left one more dragon. But by the looks of it over half of the ranks of mages were destroyed, and the American raised his left fist in the air to give a cheer of celebration for a moment before turning his attention back to the battle… Too late to react to the ball of energy that hit the truck he was in and sent the damned thing flying. Due to the lack of a seatbelt, he was flung into the air quite a distance away. He lost his radio in the fall, alongside the rifle he had between his legs. His means of communication and his best nonmagical weapon both taken from him in an instant, and then everything went black. The next thing he knew, the American was on his back in the middle of a pile of heavily scorched reptilian bodies, and absolutely covered in wet blood. Whether that blood was his or someone else’s, he had no idea, but what he did know is that his head hurt like hell. He propped himself up on his elbows to observe the situation around him, and to be frank it looked better than he had expected. Out of the thirty trucks they had brought with them, every single one of them seemed to be destroyed. There were still about a dozen fighters still alive, using the destroyed hunks of metal as somewhat effective cover against the remaining mages who seemed to be doing the same. There seemed to be about two dozen of the mages left, and one of them just got brained by a sniper round as he was watching. The second dragon was also dead, riddled with bullets in both wings and its face that looked like they came from multiple machine guns while the American was knocked unconscious. That meant Rebekah was still alive, so Gavin just needed to do his part as well. He still had some energy left to play with some of the shadows that covered every inch of the battlefield, aside from the bits on fire. Three reptilian mages ducked underneath a destroyed truck in front of him, and soon each of them were decapitated by a trio of higher speed scythe slashes that cleared one small group of human soldiers to advance just a little bit farther. The shadowcaster was too drained to cast spells without at least whispering the words to the spells, but he had assumed that all of the reptilians around him were dead already. He was wrong. The good news was that the fucker was just as drained as he was, or he would have died in a ball of fire. The bad news was that the American had thick, reptilian hands around his neck and was close to either getting his neck snapped or suffocating to death because he was caught in an exhale from the start. God, it was a strong little monster. If Gavin didn't have such a muscled neck it would have snapped under the pressure instantaneously. The bastard lunged right at him and had its body weight sitting on the human’s stomach, and the mage itself was absolutely wretched looking. Severe burns covered its entire body and seared the skin beneath the thick scale, and it seemed to be breathing out of sheer spite while it summoned the last of its life force to kill one last enemy. The thing had the ugliest elongated lizard face the American had ever seen in his life, and its jaw seemed to be locked open with burns so severe in its mouth that the human could see its jawbone, along with the charred flesh that remained attached to that bone. He wasn't sure how it was still alive, but the reptile seemed pretty to determine to ensure that Gavin didn't remain breathing for much longer than it did. He was too far away from the action for anyone to help him, because he had given no indication that he was not simply a corpse at this point. The pile of bodies would probably block vision of the reptilian basically lying on top of him at this point, so he needed to come up with a way to get himself out of this situation himself. He had his pistol in a leg holster, but it was secured by a strap and there was no way he could get that strap undone in this condition… The knife. He had a knife. Gavin used his last bit of energy to lunge his chest forward in order to grab the fighting knife on his right thigh, and then just started stabbing as fast as he could will his muscles to move. The first stab was too weak to pierce the scales, but the second and third ones in the exact same spot started to dig deeper and deeper into the stomach of the beast. The American twisted the knife around as best he could to release or at least loosen the grip of the creature and cause as much internal damage as possible, but the stubborn thing continued holding on tight. Just as his vision started to black out, the reptilian loosened its hold as the blood loss became too much for the creature to bear. The man immediately shoved the creature to the side as it struck human with fist and foot in its last gasps of life. The strikes hurt, but were not nearly as life threatening as the choking and within about thirty seconds the beast was too weak to fight or simply dead. Breathe. Breathe. The man became acutely aware of a few things in that moment as he regained awareness of his surroundings. The first thing was that he had liquid on his face that his grimy hands could only somewhat wipe off, which was likely spittle from the reptile’s jaws. The second thing was that he had pissed himself while being choked out and so his pants were soaked, and the third thing was that the humans appeared to be winning now. There were roughly a dozen reptilians left to six humans that he could see, and another sniper shot rang out to make it eleven mages and eight humans if he counted both himself and Rebekah. They could do this. Gavin dropped the knife he had been clutching for dear life and carefully and slowly reached for his old American issued M9 and undid the holster for it. He drew it making as little sound as he could, thanking every god there ever was that the enemy mages were too distracted with being shot at that they neglected to notice the melee that was going on behind them as he lined up a shot at the closest one. It was stupid, but in the moment, there was no thought behind these actions. It was just instinct, and his instinct was to kill as many of these abominations as possible to ensure that none of them made it past the border of Galway into the lightly defended ports behind them. He fired his first burst of four shots in time with a burst from the assault rifle of an ally to help cover the noise, hitting a lone mage hiding behind a truck multiple times and wounding it severely. The fucker was so distracted by the threat from the front that it had no idea that there was a threat from behind, but it hissed something to its comrades that made them very aware of what had just happened. Fuck. If only he had been a better shot. Before the reptiles fully turned back to observe where the shots could have come from, Gavin discretely dropped the pistol and just played dead as a last ditch effort to survive. He closed his eyes and did his absolute best to remain as still as possible, hoping for the best and knowing at least he wouldn’t see his death coming at worst. In these tense moments, he was acutely aware of every discomfort possible that would make him want to move. The disgusting blood, spit, and piss that covered his body was absolutely disgusting and most of it came in layers at this point. His upper back was lying on a few small rocks that dug into his flesh in the most uncomfortable way, and the soil underneath his body overall was wet and goddamned cold. To shiver while the mages were watching was to die, though, so he fought the urge as hard as he could. He stayed completely still, refusing to flinch at the sounds of gunfire and the smell of burning flesh and the screams of those being torched to death by that roaring dragon for what seemed like a goddamned eternity. Then all the noises stopped. Gavin waited ten long seconds, counting as slowly as he could before he opened his eyes and took a look. Two injured mages hiding behind a truck about fifty feet from him, looking in the other direction. The soldier grabbed his pistol, aimed, and emptied the rest of his clip of eleven bullets right at them in quick succession. About a five of the shots missed entirely, but the other six found their mark around center mass and ended up dropping both of them fairly effectively. Thank God for hollow point bullets. Gavin continued pulling the trigger after the clip emptied for a few more seconds, not registering the metallic clicking and lack of bullets due to exhaustion and the sustained panic and fear that he was still suffering from. Any second now, any of the surviving mages would burn him to a crisp for taking that stupid risk and he would be burnt alive for making too much noise. Any second now. Huh. Guess not. The soldier pushed himself up, finding himself still dizzy from the concussion sustained earlier as he got a full view of the battlefield for the first time. The smell of burning flesh remained exceptionally strong in the air, and the landscape matched the scent. Human bodies burnt to the partially melted bone by dragon breath littered one end of the battlefield, with reptilians riddled with bullets littering the ground in front of him and behind the trucks that made it past the initial push. The stench of burning flesh was nearly unbearable at this point, and anyone who was not a veteran of this war would have been doubled over puking at one whiff of that awful scent. Not Gavin, though, because as unpleasant as it was he had smelled worse in the beginning of the conflict. They had held the line, but at tremendous cost. Even with Rebekah coming down to observe the damage up close, Gavin only saw four people total still standing… and that was including himself. Two additional soldiers seemed to be breathing, but they were visibly burned pretty badly. When he caught site of his wife, however, everything else seemed to just fade away around her. Rebekah seemed to have her uniform burned moderately, and made sure to give a wide arc to some of the hunks of metal that used to be the trucks that were still bright with heat from the fire magic of the reptilians. Otherwise, though, it just seemed to be sweat and dirt which meant that she didn’t sustain any major injuries. The American could spot the exact moment that Rebekah noticed that the figure completely covered in dried mud and reptile blood was him, though, because she immediately started sprinting towards him and tackled him to the ground in a fierce hug. She managed to hold in the tears until she had made physical contact with him, which meant that she probably thought he was dead. Which was a fair assessment, because so did Gavin for most of that fighting. ”You picked a hell of a day to not wear a seatbelt,” she breathed in between tears, ”The rescue crew are on the way and…” she paused, pulling her arms off of the American momentarily to actively check his body for injuries. ”Fuck, I didn’t hurt you did I?” ”Becks, you’re perfect.” Gavin murmured, the reality of the situation finally hitting him. It finally hit him how lucky he was to not be one of those charred corpses on the ground, and he started crying too in a mess of fear, guilt, and relief to be alive. They had done it. They had won. And it was mid-sob that once again the American lost consciousness, all of the exhaustion from his massive power expenditures and injuries catching up to him all at once as the adrenaline finally wore off.
  9. Drinking Buddies [02.25.2020 7PM]

    Gavin was never the type to complain about getting his hands dirty, which was just as well because the current situation from any outside eye was pretty disgusting. The warm food was hitting the soldier’s face, but only about half of it was actually reaching the chewing phase. He jumped slightly when he heard Cruz’s voice so close to him, but quickly went right back to shoving food into his face with just a tad more accuracy. ”Of course it is.” the soldier snapped back, words slurring much more noticeably than before. ”The taxi should be here any second now.” he continued in between bites, before suddenly pushing himself up in the middle of one and abandoned the now smashed remnants of the cheese sticks and the unopened pizza completely. ”Fuck, it’s cold.” he mumbled, glassy gray eyes surveying both sides of the street in anticipation of the cab. The man absentmindedly rubbed off the cheese and grease seared into his hands and forearms as he started to pace back and forth impatiently. Boots stomped on the ground with every step as the soldier’s upper body slumped forward and shivered. ”Keys left front pocket.” he recited as Cruz came into view once more, part of the ritual he had gotten used to saying to a person nearby that wasn’t completely destroyed when they were around. He would normally say where his keys were and where the weapons on his person were, but for once he had brought no weapons with him. No matter how destroyed he got in a random bar, his powers couldn’t be stolen from him and he couldn’t exactly discharge it by accident. He also couldn’t flat out set it somewhere and forget it in a blackout phase, which happened often enough to be an issue that was planned for when possible. … Fucking light. This wasn’t the first time he had to be dragged into his house, and it was certainly not going to be the last. At the very least, it was a good house in a good area. Five stories with a garden (though horrifically unmaintained at this point) and both basement and roof access. Hell, he even had ten parking spots reserved in the parking lot about a block down the street. Much too good for him right now, but a goddamn battle to get in the first place. It was a townhouse style building in the Upper West side of Manhattan, within walking distance of the old Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity. It was an enormous purchase, and was originally a group purchase between about four families that fled from England in the beginning stages of the Dragon War and bought up the enormous building while prices were extremely low because of the lack of public order and lack of bodies to occupy the many buildings in the city. By 2017, the house was put up for sale because the property prices had shot through the roof and the four initial families had an irreparable falling out that had to be settled in court. Gavin made a habit of taking souvenirs from doomed areas over the years to supplement his horrendous salary as a soldier before joining the Silver Winged. Mostly jewels and other easily portable objects that would retain value once society got back together. When all was said and done, the American contributed about a million towards the house by selling off all of his baubles and pooling all of his savings together from the year they had already spent with the Silver Winged. Rebekah ended up auctioning off about four dragon skulls for roughly the same amount to collectors who were much more eager for the bones than they might have thought. Four other coworkers ended up chipping in roughly a quarter of a million each in exchange for rooms within the complex, but both had sold back their shares in the years since in order to chase money or adventure. Most of them went outside of the city in search of these, but the one that didn’t was actually the one who got the tip off about the house in the first place and was at this moment a very successful house flipper who got filthy rich by making the necessary renovations that the previous tenants lacked the resources to do and just reselling. Not that Gavin could touch anywhere close to a million these days, and indeed even paying for the maintenance of the house cut a decent chunk out of each and every one of his paychecks. He was living alone in this enormous house, partially because he was paranoid and partially because anybody that he trusted enough to share the building with found him to be absolutely insufferable and left within a few months. That didn’t exactly help the soldier’s willingness to bring fresh blood in, but between the drinking and the fact that he was too damned lazy to do some of the repairs and general maintenance by himself meant that he might not have much choice in the matter sooner rather than later. The drunkard woke up on his couch on the ground floor with a groan, in an instant noticing that for some reason he had dried cheese all over his bare hands and arms alongside the fact that he had a noticeable amount of dirt on his left side for a reason he could not entirely remember. The living room itself was fairly generic at the moment, with multiple couches surrounding a fireplace that hadn’t been lit in years and a large flag of Connacht hanging above it. The room had a metal door to the back garden area and another opening towards a long and narrow kitchen area. There were three other doors that led to the bed and bathrooms for the floor, the cellar, and the foyer with stairs leading to the second floor respectively. The house was obviously a thing of beauty, once, but years of partial neglect had taken its toll and any polish the area might have once had was gone. It was much more of a functional living space than the pet project it used to be, which suited Gavin just fine. ”Fuck…” he muttered, reaching blindly for the whiskey that should have been on the table next to him but finding nothing. ”Fuck.” he hissed, a little bit more loudly this time as he rolled to his side and grabbed his aching head before forcing himself to sit up and steady himself. He closed his steel gray eyes and was content just to breathe in and out for a few moments as he steadied himself. ”I need a goddamned shower, jesus.” he muttered under his breath but made no immediate effort to actually get up. He needed to work up the motivation to do that at this point, and that motivation was simply harder to come by than usual.
  10. Nobody Expects the ARMA Inquisition:

    This was odd. This entire setup was off, the entire atmosphere of the event was not the typical. Not that he was typical, given the fact that he was a jaded drunkard past his prime trying to keep his job and pay grade… but he expected a little more hostility, to be frank. When Lieutenant Walker made the quote, Gavin just nodded his head sharply without committing to a verbal response. The next words out of the Cloak’s mouth were equally off, because if that wasn’t the purpose of this meeting… Well, Gavin had no idea what the hell this was about unless it was some wacky ass Cloak recruiting mission given that two of their officers were sitting right in front of him. Seeing Halliday knocked down a peg was also a great feeling, because if Walker wasn’t here to fuck him the soldier was safe… at least for now. This meeting became more and more surprising by the second, and when the Lieutenant continued the soldier again visibly stiffened as he was caught completely off guard by the direction the conversation had taken. He had been with Shield from the beginning, and was part of the initial merger of the Silver Winged and ARMA to begin with. Rebekah played a much bigger role, but he was at least present during the entire affair. The entire division was his wife’s baby, essentially, and she had gone above and beyond early on to help Aura make the transition as smooth as possible. It wasn’t Gavin’s baby, though. He had lost all emotional connection to that branch the day that Rebekah went missing, because she was the only thing that tied him to that job in particular once all of his original group either fell in battle or got promoted out of the squad along with getting alienated by his alcoholism and depression in the years after her disappearance. This was not the meeting he had expected when he came in, but he was not going to waste an opportunity like this because he was all but being asked to switch. He had a position of some leverage here, and he was more than willing to at least test the waters. He forced his body language to relax as much as he could physically force it to before continuing, but it was admittedly very difficult to do so when caught so off guard. His intense gray gaze locked with the mentalist’s before he started speaking, trying to gauge what the hell sort of game that he was playing. The officer had access to his file, which meant he had full access to the soldier’s vast array of deficiencies as well as his skills and power set. It was extremely risky to offer someone like Gavin a transfer, and Walker had to know that. There had to be some ulterior motive or critical need, which would complicate things if he was indeed suggesting a move to Cloak Division. If that was just to butter him up so he would accept a swap to another division as well as a demotion and pay grade drop with it, the mage could go straight to hell. If it was an actual offer, though, that would just be ill-advised from any practical perspective. Also, internal work? If everyone hated him anyway, he supposed nothing exactly changed on that front even if he did swap over to the rat hunter division. ”If that million dollar question came with a million dollar offer, I’d be willing to hear about a job swap to just about anywhere.” he joked drily as he bought himself time to both think of an actual response and to force his body to stop being so damned rigid. ”In all seriousness, as long as the pay grade remained the same I would be willing to take offers from anywhere in the organization provided I could be at my house at least enough of the year to keep it from falling apart.”
  11. Old spectres and new phantoms

    ”There has to be a better way of fixing your dead people issue than drinking yourself blind… You could always see if you could get your powers curbed or whatever. You might even be the first person who actually wants that shit, seeing as how they seem to have no use that I can ascertain.” The soldier had made the mental judgment that the woman was harmless, so his tone was almost overly friendly and comfortable. Words were slurred, but only a small amount due to the practice that he had in covering up his drunkenness to the authorities when needed. Her power set, frankly, sounded absolutely fucking atrocious and he couldn’t understand how she managed to live day to day with life that bleak. With his attempt to influence the spirits an utter failure, there wasn’t exactly a lot else to do other than drink and just ignore the man at this point. He couldn’t help in any way, shape, or form so as shitty a situation as it was it wasn’t like there would be any point in communing with spirits or whatever the fuck. When she mentioned practicing her shooting, the soldier’s head cocked to the side as he thought out loud for a bit. His intense gray gaze bore through the woman as he inspected her like a piece of meat instead of a human being. ”Cop? No, too timid.” he paused for a moment before continuing, ”Security guard? No, too pretty.” Another pause, ”You also don’t have enough mods and excessive gear to be a competition shooter. Too soft to be a vet…” The man ended up just shrugging his shoulders and just stopped guessing. When she mentioned if he had any more booze, he had binged enough alcohol to not care about a convenient use of his power and ended up just gesturing to a patch of land about ten feet away from the woman and just used the shadows around the dirt to violently eject dirt into the air and quickly create a hole around the sack of rum and whiskey in that larger stash. Most of those bottles were at least half empty, but it was a sight better than nothing. ”There’s a good chunk of booze in that hole over there, Casper. Guns and fresh booze back in the truck, if you want something a little bit more powerful than the sidearm you have on now. Melee stuff, too, more effective in alleys and spots like that.” his tone remained friendly and casual throughout, but at this point his eyes were completely off the woman as he sauntered towards the last spot the spirit was located. ”I told you that we could have stormed Ireland together.” he murmured, underneath his breath. The words were coming out with a clear disappointment and a particular type of venom. ”But your dumb ass decided to take your chances with the fucking Vanguard instead. You knew damn well we would never be able to recreate the armed forces, not with that fucking rabble. The cutthroats rise to power in the fuckery, like they always do, and they shove it down the throats of the projects like they always do. You knew that, you fucking idiot.” There was a small pause as the soldier collected his rage and his balance before continuing, but he did continue in a voice too low to be overheard by anyone. ”You were my brother, but you also never made an attempt to make contact. I did, God knows that I did but you know how fucking unwelcome someone like me is in the South. You’re dead, and I can’t help you figure out whatever dumbass quest you need to accomplish in order to leave. That’s between you and God, and God knows I’m too broke to help myself … let alone you. Good luck, but I think it’s time you went back home and stop haunting random women. I realize you’re a horndog, but holy shit dude… you’re fucking dead and couldn’t do anything anyway. You have to understand that running around with your throat slashed chasing after women who aren’t dead is creepy as shit.” With that, the man stalked off in the direction of the young woman once more. He adjusted his leather jacket to cover up the fact that he was adjusting his balance on the fly with mixed success as he hollered out to her: ”At least this spirit should be leaving you alone now, if he has any human decency left.”
  12. Drinking Buddies [02.25.2020 7PM]

    The cold night air outside immediately made him regret not bringing an actual shirt or a jacket into the bar itself. Each step was unsteady, but despite all appearances he seemed to keep his balance just fine and more than prevent himself from taking a spill onto the pavement. He would have normally driven to the bar, but he couldn’t exactly be seen breaking the law at this point and it was kind of hard to miss an armored truck in the streets of New York City. Drunk Gavin, however, was not the most reasonable of individuals in the world. He ignored Cruz’s question for the moment to fumble out his phone and make a phone call. He rose the device to his ear, shivering slightly due to the fact that his beater shirt covered very little and barked out the address of the place immediately before continuing in a tone of voice that was much more giving orders rather than pleasant conversation. ”One extra large meat lover’s with barbeque, roll it in with two things of breadsticks and a two liter of Mountain Dew. Paying in cash.” he all but yelled into the phone, not giving a single damn about keeping his volume at a reasonable level with all the people around him. The soldier was not the best planner to begin with, but the more trashed he got… the worse his grasp of the future outside of immediate wants and needs was. Which is why the second phone call was to a taxi service. He made absolutely no attempt to move to a more convenient location, and seemed more than content to loiter right outside the bar he had just left and continue shivering right by the door. He had left the establishment, so it had ceased to exist in his vision and thus his mental state at the time. After the phone call and explicitly calling the cab to the location outside the bar, he started pacing back and forth while continuing the shivering. ”I should’a just fucking drove here.” he breathed, frustration clear in his voice. ”Fucking hell, it’s not like the truck would get damaged even if I rammed it into a power line anyway.” The pacing continued for another thirty seconds ago until he seemed to remember that someone else was with him and actually turned his attention to Cruz once more. ”Hey,” he started, then shook his head slightly in a brief moment of lucidity. ”Sorry. Just a bit fucked up right now, I just need some food in me and I should get a lot better. Sorry you have to deal with,” The brief pause was caused by a momentary loss of balance where a violent lunge to a nearby parking meter was the only thing that prevented a full on fall onto the concrete. ”This shit. I should probably just go home,” he started, but completely lost the train of thought when the most timely delivery of pizza occurred, mostly because Gavin didn’t realize that the pizza he had ordered had a building not even two blocks away from the bar he had holed up in. This was not a part of the city he exactly frequented, due to the fact that police tended to get angrier about people flaunting the law in the higher income areas. If a little drunk driving and a little fighting happened in a poorer area, the chances of the police being called were much lower. Once the conversation left his immediate field of view, it was forgotten. That was a sign of enough drinking that at least this point of the night would be a complete blackout by morning, and only happened when he drank an excessive amount even by his standards. At the moment, though, Gavin just stuffed a hundred dollar bill into that confused teenager’s hand as he grabbed the entire order and sat down at the edge of the sidewalk without a word. He tossed the order to the ground, opened up the breadstick containers and just started sloppily devouring the food as quickly as possible to satisfy the momentary craving for food. Back in the old days, he would never allow himself to get this wasted. He had not gotten quite this bad in months, though, because things at least seemed to be getting a little bit better. Now, with the possibility of everything that he had worked for crumbling before his eyes… he was right back to match the worst alcohol abuses that he had ever done.
  13. Drinking Buddies [02.25.2020 7PM]

    Trust was a funny thing, and recent events had a way of changing his perspective on things. God, it just felt so bad to be completely powerless over your own life… but here he was, drinking himself half to death waiting for a decision that he no longer had any control over. Worst case, they cut him and try to dampen his powers before letting him go due to the instability. Quite frankly, he would rather die fighting than survive a neutered shell of his former self. He had no illusions of actually making it out of the headquarters building alive if he decided to try and fight his way out, but he could do a good bit of damage before the top shelf mages came and snuffed the life out of him. If they just released him, he would have to try some new line of work. He wasn’t cut out for much more than fighting at this point, and having to stay in New York lowered his options considerably. Maybe he could set up a mechanic shop or something, but his pride was too high to go to a customer service job after all of this time. He was a soldier, and would continue to be a soldier regardless of the organization or cause that he ended up fighting for. That was a fact of life, and if that fact could not be true…. He would die fighting before it was taken away from him. It was all he had left, for better or for worse. ”None of our people died, so at least there’s no personal guilt.” he admitted, tone flat as he took another long drink. ”And yes, ‘administrative leave pending investigation’.” he almost spat the phrase, the distaste and anger clear in tone and expression. Shoulders and right arm tensed for a few moments before relaxing back to normal as he briefly considered chucking his glass against the wall in frustration, but thought better of it at the last possible second. Cruz, with a laugh, asked him what he was going to do when he was on leave. She knew him well enough to know that fleeing to maintain some level of control was something that he had thought of… but he just stared back at her coolly with a blank expression and unfocused gaze and a completely rigid posture before speaking again. ”No felonies, destroying my liver, the occasional shooting range day… you know, the usual.” he said, his tone matter-of-fact and voice low. It was almost as if he was talking to himself, and maybe he was. In an instant, his eyes refocused and his body relaxed just a tad bit more as he seemed to regain awareness of where he was. ”Fuck.” he hissed suddenly, getting up from his seat abruptly in a way that made it pretty obvious how much he had to drink already that night. ”I need some air, you up for a walk?” Using one hand to steady his uneven feet, he started meandering out of the building without a response. His pace was slow, because he knew damn well that if he moved quickly the chance of falling or getting into another fight were relatively high. He had already paid his tab off, because he paid after every drink to give him the freedom to just wander off whenever he damn well pleased. It was a habit that he always had, because in the old days he never used to get more than comfortably buzzed at these places and certainly not to the sloppy drunk level that he routinely descended to these days. He had done a great job at training his voice to not slur in a manner that made it obvious to others, but the body movements and glassy eyes always gave it away.
  14. Old spectres and new phantoms

    Huh. This was an odd experience, to say the least. He wasn’t drunk enough for this shit right now, but luckily for him he knew a spot that should have some alcohol left. The soldier stuffed his sidearm back in his jacket pocket and let the shadows go back to their normal state as the woman talked. He took his intense gray gaze off of the woman for the first time and walked off in a seemingly random direction and kicked at the ground a bit to unearth a small shovel buried approximately an inch into the ground. Gavin let her continue to talk and only kept her at the edge of his vision as he pulled up the small shovel and started digging in a seemingly random spot in the ground. After about a minute of digging in silence, the man unearthed a small sack that clinked as he lifted it up from the ground. He quickly undid the string on the small sack and pulled out a half-full bottle of Fireball whiskey that he had left there maybe a month or two ago and set the rest of the sack down with another audible clink. The American unscrewed the cap of the bottle and tossed it to the side before taking a long swig of the stuff as he turned back to face the stranger in his shooting yard. ”Sorry,” the man said halfheartedly in between gulps of the drink, ”I’m not nearly drunk enough to deal with this shit right now so I am trying to rectify the situation.” The bottle emptied completely, and he tossed it carelessly to the side as he pulled out a three quarters full Jameson bottle out from the same sack and unscrewed the cap to that as well and started drinking. Once he had gotten about a fourth of that bottle down, he stopped drinking so quickly and cocked his head to the side slightly and exhaled heavily. ”So, does the spirit know what stupid task they need to complete or is the spirit ignorant to the reason why it is trapped and creepily following around young women in New York when you clearly died in Georgia you fucking shit how did you even get here?” His voice was extremely calm until the end, where the insanity of the entire situation finally caused him to raise his voice up an octave in frustration and confusion. There was another long exhale and the soldier allowed himself to close his eyes for a few moments and forced his shoulders to relax if only for a moment before the next words came out: ”To answer your earlier question, I wouldn’t have killed you regardless. Worst I would have done is fired a few warning shots to get you off of my property and then get shitfaced like I was planning to do in the first place – without the haunting.” With that, Gavin did a small test. He had seen where the woman kept glancing, and decided to try something out. He pushed – hard with the shadows on one side where the spirit would have been. It would not have touched the woman, but she would have likely felt some amount of wind from the speed at which the shadow had moved. If that moved the spirit, he knew he could affect it – and if it did not… Well, Gibson was fucked because there was no way in fuck the soldier was going to ditch everything he had in New York to go plant flowers on some idiot’s grave or something. Another swig of the Jameson and the man met the stranger’s gaze once more. ”Alright Casper, I guess I’ll overlook the trespassing just this once.” the soldier started, his tone deathly serious. ”But if I see you corralling any other dead people to my land again I’ll shoot you dead because I do not want to be haunted like you for the rest of my life. God knows if I had your power, I would’a done the deed myself and been done with it. Hell, purgatory, or whatever has to be better than waking up every morning to a fuckin’ corpse every day when you roll over in the morning or when you curl up at night.” A shadow of a smile crossed across the man’s face as he said that last part, just a part of the gallows humor that he had grown so accustomed to over the years since the Resonance. With that last barb, he tilted the bottle of Jameson back and downed the rest of it before tossing that bottle aside as well. Fucking hell, all he wanted to do was get drunk alone in peace and he had ghost whisperers come over and disturb his tranquility. At this point he might have just preferred the pack of lycanthropes, because he could have just killed them all and gone on with his day with a clear conscious. Gavin couldn’t just kill someone with a worse life than he did and feel good about himself afterwards, that would just cause that awful emotion of guilt and quite frankly he had enough of that in his life as it was. So here he was, getting drunk while this woman was staring at him like he was a fucking idiot. Because he was an idiot, and he needed a drink or twenty to deal with this shit.
  15. The ability to use sites like randimg.net when it came to profile pictures and have it be functional. What it does basically is it piles a number of images in, ideally the same exact size and randomizes the image on every page load so that the same profile picture is not used every single time and you do not manually have to change it for it to be different, just a refresh. A small thing, but for people like me who like to change up the images every so often it would be a nice convenience change.