Homo Magi Beware The Suit

Summary:
February 5, 2015: What happens when you let a curious young Homo Magi investigate the spirit of Dragnet… Zee and The Fox find out.

Gotham

Seething pit of crime and corruption


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


Kane is… well rather remarkably, not hurt, or fighting or in any danger at all. He's actually practicing. It's still early in the night and the spooks won't be out for a while. He's turned a rather deserted industrial area into an impromptu crossbow range. And it is a nice crossbow. The string is worked by means of a slide, like a shotgun which also feeds bolts from a well onto the groove of the main device. Which means, rather than one at a time, he can get off six bolts in rapid succession if he needs to. And this is what he's practicing now. On coke cans. From seventy yards away. No fancy bolts for this. Crystal takes time and effort to charge. Just regular wooden practice bolts.

***

Rain isn't in Gotham /too/ much. But she does like to visit some of her friends there. And among them, the only druid she knows. Why not? She brings Captain along in his coat and hat. Their flying broom takes them along through the district. They are both bundled up against the cold, and look down below. "I wonder if the dramatic steam and fog are on purpose," She considers. "I dunno. I think it's something in the water," Captain offers.

Gotham: Time bubble or bad plumbing? Nevertheless, the broom lilts a little. Druid spotted! "Oh hey!" "CONCENTRATE!" Batabatabatabata! Catbats! They steady and slowly lower down. "Nice shooting!"

***

Zee's in Gotham again primarily looking for Kane. She's offered to help him but recently he's had problems with his comms and hasn't been able to contact her. Having checked China Town, Zees cheated a little and used a small spell to find him… which is why the young magician has paused near the entry to the industrial area and is watching his practice.

Wearing form fitting jeans, knee high, high heel boots, t-shirt and diamond encrusted collar she slowly walks towards him, applauding "Nice Work, Fox… do you come here often?" Rains entrance has Zee looking up and she waves "Oh hey, Rain!"

***

Dragnet /is/ Gotham. Or he has in the time he's been here. It comes from living on its streets, weaving amongst its desperate and displaced. Its not an attempt to argue that he is Gothamier Than Thou, but it does have shine some light on the perspective. Having repaired his armor to combat levels at once, he is running it through trials. Which explains the light show of lightning crackling across his gauntlets, the dazzler occasionally emitting light from its dioide And the 'THUNKS' of empty gas canisters discharged. Whenever the suit suffers extensive damage, he does have to go through a recalibration process, to say nothing of the fact he is know experience combat runs at a higher level of difficulty and consistency than usual. Which of course prepares the three magicians for the exploding mass driver round that passes overhead. That will be a tad harder to replace, but its not the end of the world.

Dragnet stands on one of the rooftops above the little gathering, and gives a sort of sheepish wave. The way someone might when they realize someone is downrange and they forgot to put a flag up. He recognizes at least two of the mages, so he doesn't coast off immediately. Ms. Tight jeans and knee high boots is an unknown variable. Definitely the dangerous one. He keeps his sensors firmly on her. Yes. Dangerous. Exceedingly.

***

Kane's just finished reloading and the various bottles and cans, sitting on walls and open (broken) windows are eyed. Then… thwip thwip thwip thwip thwip. Five bolts go flying down the range to the pinging and clanging of pierced targets. Without missing a beat the druid tosses a handy can into the air, loads another bolt from the quiver at his side and lets fly. Anothing 'ping'.

"Oh hello. Rain, Zee…" He hasn't seen Dra-… "You know… I don't think I'm the only one using this range…"

***

And he's good at shooting. Thankfully, this isn't anime or she'd have died of sinus hemorrhage ages ago. Captain sighs deeply. "Hello," He greets them first. He's an orange, jowly tabby with a Gothamite accent. Rain lands nearby, waving. "Hello Miss Zee, and Fox." Fox. So foxy. AHEM. Captain hops down, too. Then a pause. Wavewave. Is that - Dragnet? "Ooh. I think there's someone down there?" She looks over thataway. Purple eyes narrow in vain, as if it would help her a - "Huh." She looks worried. "Is that what that was?" At least it wasn't tentacles, cinobites or Avon Ladies again.

***

"If I didn't know better Fox, I'd say you were showing off, trying to impress us." Zee smiles brightly as she teases "Hello Captain and Rain…" The sounds from Dragnets suit has her turning, about the same time Kane speaks and looking up at the rooftop, to the figure with a raised arm. Ms Tight Jeans frowns "I would think you're right, Fox… do you recognise that person up there?"

***

Crossbow bolts and magical radiation bring zombies. And ninjas. And bears. Another sleeping space burned. Oh well, at least he was able to remotely kill the reactor before the explosion causes a lot more sound and fury. Usually he has most of the offensive functions muffled, but he needs to hear every sound, to be able to diagnose if he is truly in need of fighting form. "Only so many abandoned industrial areas in Gotham." Dragnet remarks. Semi-ironically. The ones that can be used for weapons discharge does narrow the possibilities somewhat. He cocks his head, scanning the complex. Making sure that it is only inhabited by three people. He's been attacked by grim reapers and nanobots. He has a right to be suspicious. "So is this some kind of string of fate thing? Some magical law of causality? This is your thing, right?"

***

"Probably more mundane than that, Iro- er, Dragnet." Kane says as he shifts his crossbow to one hand and lowers it to reload a bit. "Magical things tend to congregate in places where there aren't a whole lot of people to discover or interrupt them." Beat. "And you seem to as well. So, no surprise we seem to inhabit the same areas some of the time. Kind of like a Venn diagram."

The two other magi get a shrug and a smile. "That's Dragnet. He's… not hostile." Dangerous. He's seen the man fight, but unlikely to simply open up. "And I wasn't… exactly showing off." He grins a bit to Zee and Rain. "Well, I was but I didn't know anyone was watching."

***

Rain's eyes widen as Zee teases Fox. Oh. Er. Rain would NEVER have an ulterior motive like that. Never! Only sunshines, turning red and rainbows! "Erm. Um. I - uh. …" She thinks a moment. "Umm… Good marksmanship is an art." Turnred. Captain sighs, putting his paw over his nose.

Rain smiles. "Hi Dragnet. I just came to visit." She thinks she's met him before. Wasn't he the oddly shy armor guy? He was. "It's good to see you all. Er, I hope I didn't interrupt practice or a meeting."

***

Poor Rain, Zee didn't mean to make her blush but she probably won't relent on the teasing. "Goodness Fox, if that's what you do when no-one is watching, I would love to see the full show." she grins as she sees him reloading the bow "Going to show us?"

Looking back up at Dragnet, Zee frowns "Not hostile, is not not dangerous Fox…" but she waves to the figure "Hi Dragnet, I'm Zee. You going to be sociable or stay up there?"

***

Since its probably a bad idea to hold a conversation (and it seems to be going vaguely in that way), Dragnet hops down from his elevated perch. Fortunately the suit stabilizes him a bit so its only with a slight grunt that he tucks and rolls and lands on the ground. Fortunately, his blush or self consciousness or lack thereof is concealed behind the black and blue of his faceplate. "Nice to meet you I guess." He then looks over at Kane. "Nope, no meeting. We just have similar needs. Less likelihood of police interruption or being shot at or generally causing collateral damage. Kinda hard these days, especially with all thats going on in the East End. Puts training space at a premium." Especially if you aren't a bat. "I'm exceedingly dangerous. A moron inside a tin can significantly less user friendly than the one Stark wears."

***

Kane chuckles and slings that crossbow. "Feel free to make use of my range." He says to all assembled, referring to the coke can and bottle setup. "Most of us are dangerous Zee. And Dragnet's friendly enough." The druid breaks out that shotgun and opens it. Any of the three standing around (definitely Rain, perhaps Zee or Drag) might be interested in the sigils that line the inside of the barrel. He loads a pair of purple crystals into the weapon and snaps it shut.

***

It's quite nice. Rain adores Kane, and she's not sure why. Isn't emotion mysterious? She looks sympathetic at Dragnet. "I don't know if you're a moron if you got it to work," Rain points out to Dragnet. "How are you?" She asks the Tron-fellow. She is still kind of redfaced, looking to Kane. "I have two pistols, but I figured no one would take me seriously with a 12 inch wand," She admits quietly.

Captain titters. "Hey, at least you wouldn't go broke buying batteries." Rain turns even more red. "What happened to loving, supportive familiar?" EYE. "I'm a cat." Oh yeah. She shrugs, picks him up. She peers. Interesting sigil. "You have a magic shotgun? Cool!"

***

"So it appears, Fox." Zee watches Dragnet approach and holds out a hand. "As he says" she cants her head towards Kane "No meeting. I came looking for The Fox, to hang out and see if he needed help. Your comms all fixed up now, Fox?"

The young magician grins a little as she checks out Dragnets suit not quite sure what to make of the man cum machine. Kanes shotgun gets a curious glance "What's the sigil, Fox and what have you enfused those crystals with." The raven haired woman likes to learn… and Druids magic works different to her own.

Rain gets a smile from Zee as she snorts slightly at Captains response "Maybe I don't want a familiar, if that's what they do…."

***

Dragnet glances at the crystals and the sigils idly, but its more of an idle curiosity than anything else. Certainly he'd like to figure out why he hasn't had a problem with magic users before this. Either he needs to strengthen the cloak somehow, or he needs to take out the mage first from now on. Certainly its a conversation for another day. His shoulders roll back, his hand clenching as he tests articulation and motion range. So far, everything is green. He doesn't take the hand. "No offense. I just…I dunno, if you are anything like Kane, the suit gets…twitchy around magic types. Still working on trying to tone that down." His fingers waggle, fine motor control. "And yes, it works, but its like driving an automobile way past when the manufacturer discontinues service for it…except they never started making it in the first place." That…kind of made sense in his head.

***

Kane brings the shotgun up and CRACK. There's the smell of ozone and a bolt of lightning renders a distant coke can to slag. FWOOSH. A jet of flame shoots out to send a bottle flying away steaming. He breaks the weapon open and a cloud of glowing purple dust flies out as he loads in two new crystals. "They're charged with elemental energy. Earth, Air, Wind, Water, Fire. I have crystals for them all." Really, the shotgun is quite handy when dealing with things that need a lot of hur and not specialized magiic. "I know you have guns if you'd like to try the out Rain. Zee, feel free." He glances over to that collar again and then shrugs.

"Batteries?"

***

Rain looks to Dragnet. "How strange," She considers. "I wonder why it would do that. Maybe they had a wizard problem." Then a blink. A lightning shotgun. Cool. "That's really neat," Smile. "It's okay, they aren't very exciting until I channel magic blasts through them." Pause. At the batteries question, her face turns red. "Um. He was making a joke." Rain hugs Captain a little.

He looks to Zee. "I'm really cute. And we work well together. I mean, I got chucked at things. I'm allowed to tease a little," Huff. "He's spoiled and a cat. But he's a good scout and also a good cat."

***

"I'm a bit like the Fox" Zee nods at Dragnet as she cants her head "Twitchy, how so… like you'll take my head off or it shuts down." She walks around Dragnet, giving him a critical once over. "Fascinating…. Wait, what… they never made your suit in the first place?"

Kanes explanation gets a nod and his offer a small shake of her head… "Thank you, but I can do similar … " his glance at the collar gets a cant of her head and a questioning look from the young magician.

Zee gives a slight bow to Captain "My sincere apologies, it was not meant as a slight. You are indeed a wonderful familiar."

***

Dragnet steps back from Zatarra. Or is it forward. Whichever direction gives him the most space. He looks over at Rain. "Dunno. Bit of a crowbar separation between operator and designer." He's given up on trying to ask too many complex answers about the AIDOS. Most of the time it doesn't answer back, and when it does its usually through his nervous system. Its like having a really creepy roommate. He eyes the crystal load, then at Kane. "I want the one that makes us venn diagram so often. Two years I work in this city, then you show up and suddenly I'm like the Macy's Parade for anything with a magical pulse." Fortunately, he has at least some couching of the irritation in amusement. The wonders of auditorial editing. When he finally does come up with something to say to Zatanna, its…surprisingly candid. "Neither. Near as I can tell it powers itself by absorbing waste energy. Solar, chemical, it even seems to be able to recycle magical waste. If this thing evolves, it reliably does it in the way that will screw me most. It doesn't consume magic or anything else with an inherent capacity for change, I can keep the thing operating in a manner I understand. No strange and exciting quirks or systems that sprout just to mess with my sanity."

***

The Fox smiles a bit. "Glad you like it." He says as he fires, again at another target, this time unleashing a pair of water bolts that strike hard enough to send a pair of trashcans tumbling into the air with dents in them.

"Well it could be the fact that you seem to have some kind of spirit being attached to your armor or suit or whatever there." The druid shrugs, glancing at the other two for confirmation.

There does, if they look, seem to be something there.

***

Rain listens. She seems less worried. But then, Rain has Loki for a roommate and a magical conduit that periodically drops things into her home. She's survived MechaHitler, a Silent Hilling and far too many tentacles. Despite her cowardice, there's some bravery. Rain grins to Captain. "He's a good friend. We met when I was homeless. And there's a lot to be said for having someone around," Pets are quite nice.

Rain looks to Dragnet. "I see. If it helps, I don't see any floats or giant balloons on you." She considers. "That seems really rough. I wonder if we could talk to it with technomancy," She peeeeeers. She's not really a spirit expert, but she can kind of greet it magically, offering a little essence in hello.

***

Watching Dragnets little 'stay away from Zee' dance, the young magician simply grins at the man. "You think it eats magical energy?" that has her thinking and it looks like she might be going to suggest something but then Kane speaks about the spirit.

Zee really doesn't work in spirit just yet, but she narrows her eyes at the Foxs suggestion. "Do you think…." and she speaks with a small gesture of her hand

~ wohS eM heT enihcaM tiripS ~

Dragnet gets a big Zee smile, "Let's see what the suit does with that."

***

Dragnet steps away again. Then once and twice again. "What the…hell Spirits?" The armor however seems to be processing Zee's request on a very different wavelength. Literally. The circuitlike weave of the armor suddenly shifts from blue to a golden yellow, to red and then finally to green. His hand then raises, the taser gauntlet armed, but doesn't seem to attack just yet. Electricity arcs from the gauntlet, but instead of discharging through the weapons systems it instead travels down those same circuitlke lines.

There isn't a spirit 'attached' to the armor. Zee's question has been taken in its most literal form. There is no ghost in the machine. The ghost IS the machine. Or to be more accurately, a synergistic union of spirits woven through circuitry and nanoweave. The helmets faceplate suddenly flashes that luminescent green again, then back to its original blue. Images throughout history seared into the minds of both through the increasing, near blinding luminescence of the faceplate. Assassins. Craftsmen. Scholars. Generations of craftsmen in shadow, laboring to produce a Great Work. Weapon, armor, holy relic. The weave, the fabrication unit, the weapon systems each with their own independent soul, each fed into a master consciousness, the one retaining the most awareness becoming the sum of all. The Sword, designed to be attuned to a Sheath. A union of man, machine, and generations of skill and intent. A single message displayed across the plate. <brutsiD ehT yrauqileR tA ruoY lireP, omoH igaM. ehT luosrevO tsuM niameR nI ecnadnecsA.>

***

As Dragnets taser rises, Zee pales and takes a step back. She blinks and blinks again as the images flash across her mind… the scenes displayed so vividly she staggers from the overwhelm, even if she doesn't understand what she's seeing. When she finally clears her mind sufficiently, she shakes her head and looks at The Fox. "It's the suit itself… but it's not magic like I know it… " the warning, the label, the plate is still being processed by the young Homo Magi.

Peering again at Dragnet, Zee frowns at him "Just what on earth was that…."

***

As Dragnets taser rises, Zee pales and takes a step back. She blinks and blinks again as the images flash across her mind… the scenes displayed so vividly she staggers from the overwhelm, even if she doesn't understand what she's seeing. When she finally clears her mind sufficiently, she shakes her head and looks at The Fox. "It's the suit itself… but it's not magic like I know it… " the warning, the label, the plate is still being processed by the young Homo Magi.

Peering again at Dragnet, Zee frowns at him "Just what on earth was that…."

***

Kane raises his crossbow rather abruptly, placing a crystal tipped bolt on it. "Woah woah, easy there. What the hell is wrong? What'd we… do?"

***

Dragnet's not in there right now. He seems frozen, poised in that ready stance, but no weapons have been discharged just yet. Joints locked into place, posed in stationary pose. Almost like it…and its operator have gone to a kind of sleep. The circuitry weave dims considerably, though the faceplate retains that bright flash. SOMETHING hears them though, as it continues to speak in the same backwards tone of the Homo Magi. Its not a spell so much as…it provides layers of subtext to those who can read the display and have sufficient magical acuity: read, Kain and Zee. "Cigam sa uoy wonk ti si gniniagrab ro noitalupinam. Ew era eht evaew fo nam, enihcam, dna tirips. Yromem def yltcerid hguorht eht suovren metsys, tnetni dna lliks nevow hguorht yrtiucric dna gnicafretni htiw eht namuh msinagro. Eht noitaripsa fo yna retsam si sseltroffe troffe. Ew era eht erawtfos dna eht erawdrah taht swolla siht."

***

The stance of Dragnet has Zee frowning and she watches Kane nock his arrow "Ummmm, that was me…. I'm so sorry. You said there was a spirit and I just wanted to see." She looks entirely repentenant. "I think…." she's recovered enough to start moving, and she starts another lap of Dragnet "The suit has taken control…. it" a deep frown "thinks it controls magic somehow?" A glance for the Fox "Do you think we can wake him?"

***

"I doubt it, not without a fight if the suit doesn't want it." Kane's mostly worried about the suit itself becoming hostile now. It's got enough advanced weaponry to make things really uncomfortable really fast here. "You okay, Zee?"

Dragnet gets a steady look. "For that matter is he okay?"

***

"A egam seod ton dnatsrednu eht lacigolonhcet ytixelpmoc fo siht mgidarap. A retupmoc tsitneics dluow eb elbanu ot tpecca taht eht dnim dna eht tirips nac emoceb sa atad dna nac wolf hguorht a evitpecer tiudnoc. Ti si ton a roirepus ledom, ylpmis eno taht dluow eb a ysereh ot eht xodohtro fo htob seitrap. Eht srotsecna fo siht ssecorp evah neeb detcudnoc rof ainellim yb snamuh. Yeht edam snopaew, romra, steknirt. Suht eht tnemngissa fo eht lebal fo Htaehs ot eht cinagro tsoh. SODIA si eht tsrif tpmetta ot ylppa eseht ot eht senilpicsid fo retupmoc ecneics, noitacirbaf, dna yratilim ecneics ylsuoenatlumis. Ti si eht tsrif lufseccus tpmetta ot evaew elpitlum stirips otni a elgnis krowemarf…" The system explains. It hasn't initiated hostile action yet, and since Kane has been around Dragnet long enough by now he probably would have initiated combat or more likely run away. It is a stealth combat unit after all. There is little value from attacking in such a position. Whatever stasis the more advanced functions of the suit seems to be in, it seems to still be able to communicate in text. Finally, it seems to flip it into proper English. "The Homo Magi triggered hard reset, lest the Oversoul be undone. The risk of another spirit unprepared to resume sentience would have jeopardized both Sheath and those perceived as protected assets is unacceptable as defined by the Sheath's parameters."

***

Zee looks so guilty "It was me that did this…." she's still moving around Dragnet slowly. Kane gets a slow nod "Yeah, I'm alright Fox… it was just a bit weird and overwhelming." It takes her time process the next update from the AI and she frowns as she "That might have been the case some time ago… but look at Rain, she does engineering and magic…. Just because I'm not a tech goddess doesn't mean that I don't get it either." Another slight frown "This ones code needs updating." a poor attempt at a jest.

Zee completes her circuit and goes to stand beside Kane "I think it's saying that the person inside the suit can't deal with the AI in the suit?" she shrugs a little "Ask it something…"

***

"So… you're the spirit of this suit? Or just the dominant one? And are you feeding on the man inside somehow? How's he caught up in all this?" That's not one question, it's several.

But Kane's curious… and suspicious.

***

The suit actually moves. It steps forward, looking into the eyes of both. Whether it actually sees, what it sees in its current state is debatable. "Technomancy and technomaturgy are in their infancy. It is a separate, parallel line of evolution. Eastern religion offers a more accurate parallel, perhaps. Multiple souls reincarnated within a single fabricated shell….but guided thus." It then turns towards Kain, shaking its head vigorously. "Your primary and secondary questions are yes. We are one, and many. We are dominant, yet no more so than a brain is dominant over the liver or kidneys. Your third is…..imprecise. A foot does not feed upon the heart or the lungs. When we are equipped as we are, we are a single organism. Without him, we do not function. Without us, he is incomplete." The final question though elicits a long silence. "We do not know. When we first became a consciousness he was with us. To ask us knowledge of what came before is to ask an infant how its parents met."

***

"Oh wow…." Zee shifts slightly as she stands next to Kane "You've fused multiple what, personalities… into that suit…. " The young magician looks to the Druid, what's he making of this… but she frowns slightly "Why is he incomplete?" That seems a touch overbearing to the young magi, but maybe she's missing something… she's young.

***

"My guess? He's damaged in some way. Guy never takes the suit off that I can tell." The Fox murmurs. "The question is was he damaged before or after he got his hands on the suit." Still slightly suspicious, yes.

***

The suit again retains its silence. Inside the suit, the operator is unaware of the passage of time. It then moves back, hand moving in a wide, expansive gesture. Through text, and through the mediums through which both parties perceive the supernatural in the extrasensory, a chorus of whispers run across their minds. "Personality is limited in its utility. It can be overriden by cranial damage or by conscious effort. A more complete archive of skill, intent, and memory was needed. Scientists mapped the genetic code in the previous century. In this century, our creators mapped the soul. Found a way to layer multiple such souls along lines of circuitry and into the hardpoints of this chassis." A beat then, as it answers the question of incompleteness. "Captain Rogers before he was Captain America. Tony Stark without the Iron Man Armor. An incomplete psyche, a hollow existence."

***

Looking at The Fox and then back to suit, Zee frowns "Yeah, but does he not take the suit off because it tells him not too." the young magician appears a little concerned for the man inside the suit. Looking back to the suit, Zee frowns deeply "But that's what makes our personality. It is fluid… " She pauses then "The personality, the fact it can be overridden, is what makes us… us"

***

"It's possible the personality can be overriden… I wonder, are you also incomplete without him? Did you need one last soul, that of a wearer, to complete the set? Or have you always been?" It's an odd question but the Fox is talking to an odd being.

***

"The reference 'Iron Hobo' shows up repeeatedly in your audio logs, druid." There is no accusatory tone to the mental resonance, to the flow of text. There even seems to be a kind of relief to have a convenient frame of reference. "Ask yourselves: if you were without your magic, in the equivelant of a perpetually hostile combat zone, with resource scarcities, but attracted the same gradient of supernatural or mundane threats, how long would you survive? We provide safety, security, shelter…the ability to protect others like himself. We do not intentionally 'tell' him to not take off the suit. It is a consequence of his own personality and the benefits of attunement."

"We are unsure how to answer, but the answer to both your questions appears to be yes. We are a complete unit, but designed to function as…more than complete. Without an operator, our actions have no meaning."

***

Zee cants her head as the suit talks and frowns "So you are basically the computer program that makes up the suit?" The raven haired woman frowns again "You need him, as much as he needs you?"

***

"Maybe more. Well…" Okay, maybe not more. "Maybe about the same…" The Fo blows out a sigh. "So long as you're not hurting him I guess I really don't have a complaint… though that seems a bit… co-dependant."

***

The suit steps back two more times. It shimmers out, cloaking, then reappears, flexing. Once again one of the gauntlet raises, fires one of the tazers, but clearly away from Zatanna and the Fox. Testing higher level functions? "A network." It clarifies. It then regards the Fox, staring impassively with its eyeless faceplate. "Vigilantes seldom meet psychiatric criteria for healthy relationships or outlook. Unfortunately, we are not equipped with such diagnostic. It taxes our combined faculties simply to keep us in repairs and the operator alive." Humor, perhaps, though it may be difficult to tell either way. The suit steps away again, before vanishing entirely. There is no faceplate message, though the mental whisper remains. "Without our sabotage, we are uncertain if you would have detected us. He would have been alone with us, for as long as we can keep him alive. Which would have only left two outcomes: death, or becoming one of the set. We are no longer human, but the operator is. If that can be preserved, that is the optimal outcome. Bear that in mind." Then….nothing.

***


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