Description: Abigail has a visitor to his workshop, Clio, in the dead of night. What brings this small visitor at such a strange hour? She needs a workshop and one at the heart of the harbor of her home is the perfect place for her to do what she needs to do to replace her sundered chain.
The Wheel of Fate is Turning.
Years in the past, Clio St. Jeanne, only a child, snuck around the warehouses and shipping crates. She hummed to herself music from the action cartoons and movies she watches. Heroes and fighters play out in her head. Behind her, she drags a length of heavy bike chain. She doesn't see it, but sparks scatter in her wake. Small violet lights that shine like embers and ash in a sputtering fire only to wink out of existance after only a moment. She is small, wrapped in an overly large hooded sweatshirt, face hidden from view. Her long black hair tucked down the back of her shirt.
She is hunting.
That night she would leave with a bloody lip, but a man larger than her would be left in a heap. Clio had seen him take something that wasn't his earlier that day. She remembered his face, and his look. He was like the others. Mad Gear. That name would remain with her for years.
Clio St. Jeanne, Lieutenant with the NOL, technically missing in action and presumed killed by Leo Whitefang, sits on the edge of a harbor freight hub and looks over the water blanketed by a velvet night sky. She is in a hoodie again, not in the patrol uniform of her former unit. And she's smiling. There's a man here she remembers from what seems like aged ago. One she has seen make names for himself. Names that suggested he had done much like she did. And with a little detective work, she found out he might just be the kind of person she needs.
A spark of fire and a circle of iridescent sigils and Clio leaps from the edge of the warehouse to land on the ground with a quiet thump. She straightens and stretches out, grinning like a cat in the night as she taps the nails that jut from the toe of her boot against the ground. Sparks light. Clio walks on.
Her destination, the workshop of a big ol former Mad Gear monster by the name of Abigail.
The roar of death metal fills the Bay Area of Metro City with its pulse pounding, headache causing, window rattling rumble. It can mean only one thing. Abigail is back in town.
The Superhuman Colossus had been busy for the past few weeks. Neo League and other adventures had pulled him far and wide but all good things must come to an end and as the saying goes, there's no place like home. Ultimately his earth shaking footsteps bring him back to Metro City and all is well in the world once again..asuming his beloved Monster Truck is in good condition and business is up. Fortunantely that seems to be the case as his signature truck can be seen looming off of a side street near Abigail's Scrap Metal while the garage itself is open, flashy neon sign with its cartoonish display of the goliath, flickering and sparking as it casts its colors across the area.
His employees are long gone, leaving Abigail alone as the Death Metal roars out of a radio set on a table just outside of the massive workshop. It must be some sort of internet radio connection as the music eventually begins spurting in and out and the disturbance brings Abigail lumbering into view from further in the machine shops interior, towel draped around his neck, upper torso bared and oil marks smeared everywhere..likely in the middle of some modding job. He frowns and reaches down , pinching the radio between two fingers the size of a childs legs..and ends up squeezing to hard, shattering it like so much styrofoam in his inhuman grasp. "Grah! What the hell!?"
"Home," Clio says to herself, feeling the vibrations thrum through her chest the closer she gets to the garage. She's feeling good in the night, walking through the shadows cast by the neon stacatto. She passes the monster truck, running her fingertips along the tire, just to be one to touch something of the giant's. She may not be armed, but she is carrying a friend in the pocket of her hoodie.
But then the music stops. Clio frowns, but her attention grabbed as she hums and hears the cries of distress from the poor radio deprived giant. She uses the moment to slip closer into the otherwise empty garage. Slinking in in the wake of the destruction.
"Shit," she says, "That was a good song, too." She laughs, taking languid steps around to look and spy on things. She may look like she's casing, but she's still a sort of cop at heart. She also just likes being nosy and curious about what Abigail has going on.
"This place is a long way away from an embassy," she comments, pulling a sack out of her hoodie. A paper bag, a cartoon logo on the front. "Got you a little snack. Sort of a payback or a remember me?" she explains, bouncing the bag in front of her and grinning a sharpish little grin to the big man on campus.
"We're closed." grunts the behemoth, reflexively, and still feeling the anguish of losing the music and his new radio. His back is to Clio at the moment, casting her in the shadow of immensity that seems like it's capable of dwarfing a billboard. He then blinks, nostrils flaring. "Eh?"
Abigail slowly turns, shaking his hand free of the remains of his destroyed equipment and he looks on Clio curiously, attempting to wrack his brain for some distant memory core that will piece this all together. It takes him a moment or so but eventually something clicks and it's helped by the smell of that food and the logo. It's been awhile, true enough, bute ven Abigail is not so dense to have -completely- wiped all recollection of the insanity of those days.
"Hey...I remember you.." he grunts, sounding non committal on if he's actually excited or not. Confused might be more accurate. "You were..uh..trying to get into the UN building!"
He beckons for her to come closer, eyeing the bag of food she carries. Apparently this trick actually does work on junkyard dogs. "Whatcha got there...?"
Clio isn't dressed in her old uniform and she is missing her chain, so there's a good deal of difference going on with the girl compared to how she is now. She's just happy he remembers and he's not about to go squashing her as he looms larger and shadow casting in front of her.
"I was already in it, but you were hellbent on doing a good job. So I figured I'd offer some burgers to you for all that work. They're the four stack, I-can-already-feel-my-heart-stopping kind. Though I figure to you they're not even enough to make you thirsty." She laughs and pats the pocket of her hoodie, "But I only have so much room in this coat."
"I heard you weren't part of Mad Gear anymore, that you went legit, and, uh, yeah. I wanted to see if the stories were true for myself," her tone drops, toward a more serious voice, a more curious and honest one. Her born and bred in Metro accent coming through more. Even if she technically is a French national, she was in Metro by the time she learned to speak.
"Eh?" rumbles Abigail. The sound is..indeed still a touch non committal. He considers the girl and the offering of food. The look in his eyes is such that he could lean one way or the other at the drop of a dime. Unpredictable, to say the least.
But something seems to snap in him, and he caves. Perhaps because there is no one around at the moment so there's no particular reputation or moodiness to maintain for the sake of appearences.. Or maybe he's just actually rather affable. Or simply hungry and wants that sandwich.
"It's complicated." he rumbles, "I still consider myself 'Mad Gear' in some ways. It's what keeps some of us together. It's all we know. But a lot of don't do that old stuff anymore. So in that sense, I guess you could say..former Mad Gear.. And yeah, I got a business to run now. Why?" His eyes light up, hopefully, "You wanna buy a truck??"
Sandwich offer a success. Clio sets the bag down, and then walks away from it like you would leaving bait for a hungry tiger. Or several tigers stacked atop one another. Her hands rest behind her head, thumbs hooking into that oversized collar that she wears. She's looking above, to the ceiling, for hoists and winches. Part of her wants to get up higher rather than be down here on level with the behemoth.
She wouldn't mind standing on his shoulders either, seems to her like a fun ride.
"Good for you, just want to say that. I wasn't talking shit, but this is a better look for you." and seeing him away from one group makes her feel a little better about her own split, in a small and gnawing sort of way. "But I'm not looking for a truck. Though I think you can help me for what I am looking for."
She cranes her neck, poking her head around piles of tires, prods the tires with a finger, and gauges their climbability. "I need a chain. Big one. And I need an engraver. You do custom stuff and you've got the arms to find something good and heavy enough for me to work with. Something for an engine block, or over by the boats. For a bit of space to do a bit of work, I've got some savings left if I can manage to dig into it."
"I told you -- I said 'in a sense'.. Alot of us still hang together and still think of ourselves as Mad Gear.. we just don't all run with Belger like the ol'days... I hire alot of them. J, Two-P, Roxy..Axl. They all work for me.. But I get your point. No, I got books to balance now and..fans!" Abigail brightens up a bit at that notion but then falls quiet and curious as he considers Clio's words. He steps forward and then leans over to snatch up the bag of food. Above him, there are indeed hoists and winches and the sort and other curious contraptions including what looks like something meant to roll barrels in from above and bounce them off of netting down towards the giant Mad Gear skull and gear print in the center of the warehouse floor? Odd..
"Hruh? A big chain..space?" he repeats thoughtfully. Both are easy enough for him to supply but he looks at Clio with a sort of discerning eye as he considers her request in the context of her recent line of questioning. He makes a rumble like an idling semi truck and then: "You not trying to get me dragged into anything are you? I aint looking for no hassle."
Clio nods along, listening to Abigail's run down and all that he's doing. She smiles when he gets excited. "I won't let anyone hear that you're a good guy, might have too many people swarming you and shit," she says with a sneaky little laugh and a conspiratorial glint in her eye.
She turns around and looks upat the winches. Watching them, wondering what all they were used for. Time flies in short bursts, she thinks. "I'm not getting you into anything," Clio asks, a wave of her hand. "I just need a workshop that's on hand. I've got to get a chain and do some designs."
Clio shakes her hands out and makes a handful of quick gestures and a circle burns in the air before her. The crackling light a ring of sigils that spark and shift colors before fading away. "These need to go onto a chain. I have a big pattern in a tube I brought with me. But I need engraving tools and a metal shop like yours is the best place for me to find one."
She sniffs and thumbs at her nose. "Also, old stuff and things that are important are better. Like, old chains, ones people might not want. And, well, this is my city, so something that held on tight here is better than just buying one. You understand, big guy?"
The huge man's face crinkles up slightly at the thought of being considered a 'good guy' by any stretch of that word. It's not a pretty sight, more like a pitbull that just got frustrated at something. But he doesn't exactly dispute it either. Of course it's not a high bar to cross either considering that the dedicated Mad Gear Abigail was a party to kidnapping and extortion and dominating the Bay Area as is Chief on behalf of one of the worst criminal minds Metro City has to offer.. but at least he's trying..
"Hn.." he grunts, letting the comment about his nature slide and be brushed off of his dense skin, "So you need a place to do some work. A big chain and some engravin' tools.."
He ponders this for a few long seconds as her demonstration of her sigils blinks into existence and then fades away and then he finally shrugs. At first it looks non committal but then: "Alright fine. Just don't get in the way or complain about anything. I aint got the time!"
He pulls off the dirty oiled workshop gloves and tosses them over into a heap near one of the stacks of used tires, "Plenty of chains in the junk yard, probably. Yer welcome to look. Course if you need something to big for you to easily move..I'll have to do it.."
Clio's somewhat smark aleck grin aside, she knows the kinds of people Mad Gear are. She knows the kinds of people Abigail worked for. She's fought them at times. Kidnapping, extortion, fighting, all of it terrible stuff but Clio St. Jeanne learned at the NOL's military academy. She's had undead phantom witches bring fire from the depths of the earth. She's had a skeletal demon try to worm into her mind. She's held a conversation with Relius Clover.
Clio St. Jeanne knows bad people. Abigail's done bad things, but no one so giddy over having fans is an entirely bad person in her book.
"S'all I ask, big guy," Clio says once the permission comes down from the titanic mechanic. "Tell you what, I'll also get you a new radio, and whenever I'm working, just ask me to handle the buttons. They always make them too flimsy, don't they?" she jokes, walking around and scoping. She hums and tests the tie pile before quickly darting her way up to the top to perch on the heap in a deep crouch. Better to be up high in her opinion.
"I can handle the little fragile things, you can grab all the big ones. Seems pretty easy to get. Least it's not too complicated for me," she says with an easy laugh.
There's another pause as Abigail studies her and then watches her scurry atop the tire pile, takes note of how at ease she is in the area, even just speaking with him..something that has had many visitors knocking at the knees at the propsect of doing. He concludes: "Yeah..you're a Metro City girl, alright.. Strange you didn't get wrapped up in all the stuff going on with Mad Gear or Skull Cross or even Haggar and his folk..what with that light show you just put on.."
He nods his head, ultimately satisfied it seems. Apparently she's passed whatever passes for a test in the deep recesses of his mind. "Alright, fair enough. Just dont' get to comfortable! I'm not lookin' to make a hait of leasin' out space. I got projects to do! Moddin' needs space!"
He turns his back to her at that, starting to step towards a pile of equipment that needs scooping up and putting away. "..Course, aint no real hurry though." he adds after a brief bout of silence.
Born in Paris, raised in Metro. It's her home. It's where she's most comfortable. The Academy let her find her heart, but her soul will always be on the streets of Metro. From the rank stench of the bay to the never ending light pollution in the city center. And she looks it, perched up at the top of the tires, grinning to Abigail. "That light show is why I didn't get in all that," she says, "And, uh, last time anyone from Mad Gear saw me up close I was like twelve. You guys could always take a punch."
She drops to a sit and lets her boots kick in the air, thumping her heels against the rubber of the tires. "I'm only here as long as I need to be. Just a stop back in town to make a new weapon and then I'm bouncing with my teacher. He's a pretty cool old cat."
She hums, tilts her head, and watches Abigail start to make his way toward the equipment pile that needs scooping. "Sure, sure, and I like my music loud, too." She doesn't make no motion to give him a hand, but she'll somehow find a way to slink her way off the tire pile to be close by to casually take a thing or to and put it wherever Abigail is moving stuff to.
There's almost no need as Abigail hauls the pile of tools and a massive crate up into the air under a single hand as if he were a waiter balancing a stack of dinner plates that probably weighs about as much as a city park bench full of tourists. A few things tip here and there. A wrench, a hammer, that sort of thing. But Abigail seems unbothered by them though he does glance over with a slightly upraised eyebrow as Clio makes herself useful without being asked to and begins gathering the left over content.
"Oh yeah? You do?" He rumbles, sounding surprised at first and then he curiously asks, turning to face her while standing near the garage entrance, "You like, uh, King Diamond?"
She fought people for fun, but she always did it to help too. The NOL had her pitching in whenever she was needed. Personally, she lived for the image that Jubei gave off of languid lounging and the occasional verbal jab. But when it came down to it, the hound of the NOL was a helper and a doer. And that meant just picking up if she was going to use someone's space and time. Don't make a deal out of it, stay out of the way if you're useless, but if you can figure shit out then knuckle down. No need to make a deal out of it.
But when she's asked about the music, Clio sighs and looks up to the ceiling. "I have been living the last chunk of my life in a fairy tale European Mountain wilderness. I could love anything right now just for being loud and crashing and kicks some sort of ass."
"I got all the good stuff!" responds Abigail, cheerfully, as he drops the contents of his hand upon a nearby workshop table with a loud metallic crash that shakes the area violently.
"You want somethin' loud and bad ass! I got you, fam. You'll be all caught up when you're done here."
For all his attempts ta being stand offish it seems that without any -real- reason to be upset or rage filled..he is indeed about as affable as they come and the facade of dangerous junk yard dog easily breaks under the promise of similar interests and likes.
"I even got the latest by Hearse of the Demonic Destruction. Man you didn't hear about what happened to Ohtani. Woman walks out of the sea and then ditches a metal singer at the altar. Man, what that did to hsi music tho'!"
Clio's practically rubbing her hands together at the promise of good stuff and catching up on so, so much missed pop culture from the homeland. "I've got a lot to catch up on. I'll hold you to that," she says with a wild laugh.
She shakes her head and flips her hood up, walking toward the big man, and heading a little past him. She moves a lot, keeping mobile if she's not up on top of a high spot. The night has her awake and ready to go. "I want to hit the wharfs first though. I need to scope things out for a good set of chain."
She stop and pulls out a sigil etched spike. It glows briefly before bursting into flame, turning upright and spinning slowly just above her opened palm. "Got my own light. Looking forward to hearing that music, though, no sleep til sunrise, right?" she laughs with a bright grin. It feels good to have what she wants so very, very close. And though she isn't planning on dragging the big Abigail into things, having him around and Jubei never too far away isn't exactly discomforting.
"Oh, right, right." Abigail seems to come back to himself there..perhaps realizing he let his own personal guard down abit to much at the prospect of sharing his particular brand of music with someone that will actually..enjoy it?
"Yeah, go on then. I'll leave the place open. Nobody's crazy enough to steal from my shop. Again." Abigail dusts his massive hands off and then turns, beginning to thud heavily into the shop interior in search of another towel to wipe the oil and grease from his hands and arms onto. "Come on back in whenever you're ready."
The Wheel of Fate turns. As Clio St. Jeanne disappears into the night, she finds herself smiling. The big man was vulnerable, he had broken ties with others and had come through stronger for it. And probably for the best for others. And if anything, he's helped a number of those who were on a worse path end up better off for his going his own way.
She could only hope to be half as successful for her efforts.
She walks into the dark of the nights, the light of the fiery spike casting dancing shadows on the warehouses and paving stones of the old harbor and freight district. She wants to find the right chain, the right length of steel and worked metal. Her arcane works will do the modification that she needs. The power is in the mystic mathematics and sigil work. The formulae has the way for her needs. But the material will bring its own brand of power.
As Abigail had wondered, some other timeline in some other set of circumstances may have seen a different fate for Clio St. Jeanne, Mad Gear, Haggar and so many others. But she can only see in the few stars visible in the light polluted sky, and all of those look like points of blue light in the blanket of darkness. Azure flame to guide humanity. So much like the fire that hangs in the air above her hand.
Someday the Wheel of Fate will guide Clio back to the NOL, but for now, it's brought her back home in a way different, but so much the same, as when she left. Come back when you're ready, Abigail said, she doesn't know if she's ready for what might yet come, but it'll come. And she intends to come through the other side.
Log created on 00:51:22 01/15/2019 by Clio, and last modified on 10:37:04 01/17/2019.