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December 2017 Featured RPG
Ark City
Spring 2167 // March April May

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 Step Right Up, April 5, 2167 | Leo DoBrowolski
Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Mar 9 2018, 11:22 AM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
Citizen
Tier 3
668 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


Were Bruce the protagonist of a novel or a movie, the scrappiness of his campaign would pay off in the long-term, as his unorthodox decisions would lead to a strong base of support come Election Day. That hi opponent was a popular incumbent from Haven with political savvy as deep and wide as Bruce’s devotion to his career, with a long-established political staff with multiple successes under their belts while his campaign consisted of himself, his sister and brother-in-law, and Larissa – his friend, patient, and ribald nightclub owner – created the perfect conditions for an underdog story, a David vs. Goliath despite TU’s, and Ramsey’s, beliefs to the contrary. That he was an Evolute forced to take Suppressant and the first Evolute Councilman in history had only been elected a few months ago, that he was ethical and had an uphill climb against rumor played no role in their perspective. Somehow he was Goliath and they had been using that for fundraising.

The rumors had only worsened in the three months since his announcement. A natural outgrowth of the claims among certain segments of the population that Shangri-La had been a front all along for his eventual efforts to take over Ark, and that he would rely on his brainwashed, addicted benefactors to stroke his ego and support his efforts to hoard power. Faced with the Hobson’s choice of proving them right by seeking the position or dropping out and abandoning all hope for making an effort, he chose the former while reaffirming his ethics and his desire for a clean, fair campaign and election.

Bruce was wildly popular in Evesdown, which was unsurprising and would serve him well were he running for the seat in Jacks, but provide little more than moderate fundraising opportunities and a massive boost in morale. He had supporters in Haven as well, of course, even if Ramsey’s base outnumbered them and he had to pull them away one by one through promises, professionalism, and presentation. On more than one occasion since the announcement, a client had arrived for their appointment with their checkbook, eager to make a campaign donation; Bruce told them each time to put that away and to send it in the mail after they had finished decompression.

This Tuesday evening brought them to a park in Haven for a picnic meet-and-greet. An assortment of sandwiches and finger foods were available to anyone who stopped by, while Bruce provided campaign literature and the opportunity to ask him questions face-to-face. It was advertised as open to everyone of all ages and from all districts, because he wanted to have his finger on the pulse of the city more broadly, rather than only aware of his neighbors’ concerns.

He knew his neighbors’ concerns.

Bruce had finished speaking with an elderly gentleman about the pension system, and he excused himself to sidle up to the buffet and make himself a plate while waiting for someone else who wanted his ear.

@Leo Dobrowolski
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Leo Dobrowolski
 Posted: Mar 10 2018, 03:13 PM
Quote
Evolute
32 YEARS
Cartel
Tier 4
112 Posts
If Leo touches a person's bare skin (alive or dead), he can tell you everything about their physical history. Medical conditions, healed breaks, pregnancies, surgeries, anything that has affected their body in any way. He can also feel anything they are currently feeling - pain, nausea, breathlessness etc, as if it’s his own body.
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@Bruce Vaughan

I’m sorry, Leo had said when he had first been told that Bruce Vaughan was launching his campaign. You’re telling me that the evo who runs the fucking brothel is trying to run for office?

It’s not a brothel, his friend Chris had replied primly (while Leo was pulling fragments of glass out of the side of his head). It’s a spa.

Leo had snorted. Pull the other one, Chris, he had replied. I’ll believe that when I fuckin’ see it.

Shangri La’s true nature aside, Leo still had trouble believing that Bruce was running for office. He’d never met the guy, but the whole thing seemed so improbable as to be completely ridiculous. People didn’t vote for Evolutes. People didn’t like Evolutes. Surely there was no way this man could possibly win? Why was he even trying?

But Vels had been talking non-stop about his great the guy was, ever since he’d heard the news - and while Leo wasn’t always in the business of accepting the character judgements of a knife-wielding psychopath, he did have to admit that Vaughan seemed to have good policies. Everything he said sounded sensible, and compassionate, and a lot of the people in Leo’s social circles were buzzing about the fact that the man was even trying to run for office. The very fact of his existence seemed to be inspiring excitement and stirring up a kind of spirit among Evolutes that Leo hadn’t seen before.

So he’d heard about a picnic, and Vels had badgered him to go, and eventually the promise of free food and the idea of being able to meet this guy, the guy everyone in his clinic was talking about, stirred Leo to leave his part of town. It was a fine day for a walk to Haven, and by the time he got there the event was in full swing.

Haven was the kind of place that could make Leo feel guilty about just being there, and today was no exception. The word “picnic” had implied a level of relaxation that Leo had apparently horribly misjudged - he arrived to see that everyone was dressed at their best. The men in suits, the women in sleek dresses, and Leo in...a t-shirt, hoodie and jeans. Great. Just...great.

At least I’ll remind them how the other half lives, he thought to himself as he made his way through the assembled crowd. He tried to be as unobtrusive as possible, but Leo could feel eyes on him as he moved. These were not his people. This was not his place.

He should leave. Quit while he was ahead. Walk away. Leo caught someone looking at him with a particularly unimpressed expression, and decided to cut his losses and run. He turned to leave, and -

And promptly walked into a man carrying a plate of food.

It could have been worse. The food mostly ended up on the floor, rather than the man’s (horribly expensive-looking) suit, and at least Leo didn’t knock him to the ground. But that didn’t stop the hot bolt of adrenaline from lancing through Leo’s stomach. This wasn’t his place. This was the kind of place where guys like him got arrested just for being. “Shit, I’m so sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to. I’ll - I’ll go and get you some more.” And then he was looking into a pair of very blue eyes - and Leo realised his day had just gotten even worse. “Oh my God, you’re him! You’re Bruce Vaughan. Right?” It was impossible not to recognise him from the flyers - perfect smile, strong jaw. Holy fuck. “I’m so sorry. I was just - leaving, so I’ll…”
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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Mar 11 2018, 03:52 PM
Quote
Evolute
45 YEARS
Citizen
Tier 3
668 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


Living in Haven for as long as he had provided Bruce with a confidence in the space that he had lacked during his college interview for Nocht. Back then, fresh-faced, eager, and a young seventeen, he had been acutely aware of how he didn’t belong in this district. He was a boy from Evesdown, a Tier 3 Evolute from a long line of Evolutes, with two hard-working parents who took pride in their professions but for whom the poorest family in Haven had access to assets and resources that remained nothing more than a pipe dream. He had spent five years at Nocht, between undergraduate and graduate studies; in that time, he had familiarized himself with how the denizens behaved, what they prioritized, how they spoke. He’d dated privileged sons and daughters, made friends, forged connections.

Yet he had fled back to a more comfortable place upon graduating, the moment he had a job offer. It was Shangri-La that made him comfortable, his own slice of Haven, opened, decorated, and operated according to his rules and specifications that had granted him the self-assurance to move among the moneyed class. He was an Evolute born in Jacks, and at least 15% of people who knew his name thought he was a pimp, but he belonged in Haven every bit as much as his neighbors. He paid his taxes, he involved himself in the community, he voted in every election, and his ID listed a Haven address. He had elbowed his way to his niche.

Yet he still empathized with those, like him as a child or from even more meager origins, who felt under the microscope for every second they spent in this immaculately kept park. Particularly when contrasted with the tent city in Sanctuary Park back in Jacks.

Bruce had finished filling his plate, opting for cold sandwiches, rather than hot, and meat and cheese rather than egg salad or tuna salad, wanting to avoid anything that might drip on his shirt and stain. His only deviation was for pasta salad, which he would eat with a fork and thus would present no problem.

It wouldn’t have, until a young man careened into him and sent the plate –and its contents – flying. A dozen noodles, two olives, and half a cherry tomato splattered against his chest, leaving streaks of oil and vinegar, and a few tomato seeds, in their wake. His plate clattered to the ground, flipped upside down so the food touched the grass; his sandwich and side dishes belonged to the ants now and whatever birds took their share.

He blinked, somewhat amused by how the stranger raced to apologize and how he coupled it with a bit of profanity, as Reese would in the same situation. How quickly this young man went from mildly embarrassed to downright mortified as he recognized Bruce’s face and properly placed him. All the while, the mental manipulator removed his jacket and slung it over his shoulder and then withdrew a handkerchief from his pocket to blot (not wipe, never wipe because that only spread the stain around rather than absorb it) at the mess.

“I’m Bruce Vaughan,” he confirmed in a tone both patient and tender. Not like a typical politician and not like a brothel owner, certainly not like someone who brainwashed non-consenting parties for his own nefarious purposes. “And I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage, since I don’t know your name.”

The skin around his eyes crinkled as he added, “You don’t need to leave. Hardly a day goes by when there isn’t some spill or another.”

@Leo Dobrowolski
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Leo Dobrowolski
 Posted: Mar 11 2018, 04:54 PM
Quote
Evolute
32 YEARS
Cartel
Tier 4
112 Posts
If Leo touches a person's bare skin (alive or dead), he can tell you everything about their physical history. Medical conditions, healed breaks, pregnancies, surgeries, anything that has affected their body in any way. He can also feel anything they are currently feeling - pain, nausea, breathlessness etc, as if it’s his own body.
Sandrine is Offline


@Bruce Vaughan

The guy confirmed that he was, indeed, the man everyone in the whole fucking park was there to see, and Leo didn’t think he’d ever wanted to sink into the floor quite as much as he did right now.

He didn’t look like a brothel-owner. Didn’t sound like one, either. Leo had known many, many pimps in his time, and Bruce didn’t seem to have much in common with any of them. “You have me at a disadvantage,” he said, accent so perfectly Haven that Leo wanted to go and accost one of the people who’d told him that the man was born and bred in the Jacks. Leo gave am embarrassed cough. “Oh! Uh. Sorry. I’m Leo - Doctor Leo Dobrowolski. I run the free clinic, down in the Jacks.” Where I clearly should have stayed, fuck me this place is ridiculous. There was no reason why Bruce would know anything about his clinic, but Leo was proud enough of the place to want to brag about it, just a little.

Bruce smiled. He really was unreasonably attractive, Leo decided. It simply wasn’t fair. The eyes, the mouth, the jawline...what was it about Ark City and attractive men? Must be something in the fuckin’ water. Those were eyes a guy could get lost in, for God’s sake.

Too late, Leo realised that he was probably supposed to hold out a hand for the other man to shake. It was the kind of polite gesture that would be expected, around here. But a quick glance into his mental diary reminded him that the beginning of the month was a Bad Time for handshakes, and he found himself stammering: “I’d - uh, I’d shake your hand, but I’m - I’ve got an Evo thing, uh…” Oh my God, you absolute idiot, close your fucking mouth. Leo took a breath. “My Suppressant injection’s due tomorrow. So I’m a bit...sensitive. At the moment. You know?”

For fuck’s sake, Dobrowolski.

“You don’t need to leave,” the guy said, and Leo shrugged. “Because I’m doing so well at making a good impression so far,” he replied, deadpan but with a slight, self-deprecating smirk on his face. He sighed. “Sorry. Can I start again? I’m Leo. My patients keep talking about you, and my buddy Vels met you on the SkyRail once and won’t shut up about how great you are, so I decided I should probably meet you in person if you’re gonna end up having a say in my district.” He smiled. “I’m not usually this nuts. I promise. And I really am a doctor, despite appearances to the fuckin’ contrary.”

Another deep breath. “Anyway. I wanted to meet you, and see if you were for real, and all. But I seem to have just done an amazing job of ruining your clothes, so I’ll go hide and you can send the drycleaning bill to me, OK?” Leo fished in his pocket and pulled out a card, which he held out to Bruce. “And maybe if we ever meet again you could pretend this didn’t happen?”
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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Mar 15 2018, 05:56 PM
Quote
Evolute
45 YEARS
Citizen
Tier 3
668 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


“The free clinic?” Bruce’s eyes lit up with far greater interest than he had shown a moment ago, perhaps far more interest than a wealthy man running for the Haven Council seat should show given that the other man had already admitted that it was located in Jacks, as far out of his purview as the former nation of Bolivia or the moon itself. “I have a great admiration for anyone serving that population.”

Which certainly sounded a mite hypocritical given the population to whom Bruce catered these days, but his early career had seen him in Jacks, working with patients who lacked two nickels to rub together while they struggled to recover from all manner of addiction, from alcoholism to jitterbug. A major plank of his campaign platform was the construction of public housing in Sanctuary Park, replacing the tent city with a permanent structure that would shelter the homeless from the elements at no cost to them.

“How many patients do you see weekly? If that wouldn’t break patient-provider confidentiality.” Bruce’s business worshipped at the altar of confidentiality and would never demand another professional break theirs to satisfy his curiosity. Professional ethics too the gold each time in the competition with any of his other emotions, hobbies, or interests.

The other man’s remark about his scheduled injection earned a nod of understanding and told him a bit about himself. Not only was he an Evolute, but he had to be Tier 3 for a mandatory injection (not Tier 1 or Tier 2 if he ran a clinic of his own accord) or else he had a power that affected him such that he voluntarily submitted to the drug. That it was touch-based and possibly sensory. He could be a telepath although his nervousness belied that. Perhaps an empath or precognitive or retrocognitive. The possibilities were endless. Whatever his Bruce wouldn’t put him on the spot, and he certainly wouldn’t circumvent free will over this (or anything). He then leaned in somewhat conspiratorially, lowered his voice, and allowed his accent to slip away. “The day before I’m always fine, but the day of, I drag.”

Then, almost as if the moment had never occurred, he straightened and returned to blotting the stain from his shirt.

“If you’re a doctor, then you know there are far worse stains to get on your clothing than a bit of salad dressing.” Bruce’s mother was a nurse practitioner who had worked in both the emergency room and the ICU for as long as the mental manipulator could remember. When he had been young and she came home with bloodstains on her scrubs, she told him it was marinara sauce or ketchup. Bile became mustard. Other fluids…well, there was a reason that her first stop upon walking through the door when she came home from her shift was the shower and the hamper.

Reaching with one hand, he took the card, mindful of not brushing the other man’s fingertips as he assumed it was skin-to-skin contact that activated his power. “Well, Leo, it’s nice to meet you, and I can promise that I’m for real. I can also promise that I don’t need to pick a man’s pocket for dry cleaning any more than you need to leave over an accident. Now, have you had the opportunity to eat yet? How about we both go over to the table and have some sandwiches.”

Since ants were currently crawling over the one that Bruce had claimed for himself a couple of minutes prior.

@Leo Dobrowolski
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Leo Dobrowolski
 Posted: Mar 17 2018, 01:29 PM
Quote
Evolute
32 YEARS
Cartel
Tier 4
112 Posts
If Leo touches a person's bare skin (alive or dead), he can tell you everything about their physical history. Medical conditions, healed breaks, pregnancies, surgeries, anything that has affected their body in any way. He can also feel anything they are currently feeling - pain, nausea, breathlessness etc, as if it’s his own body.
Sandrine is Offline


@Bruce Vaughan

“You’ve heard of it?” Leo felt a surge of pride at the light of recognition in Bruce’s eyes. He wouldn’t have expected someone all the way out here to care one whit about his place - though if the guy had grown up in Eavesdown, like everyone said, the chances were that he still had some networks in the area. He raised his eyebrows at the question of how many patients he saw, but then shrugged. “I don’t think it violates confidentiality. Uh…” Leo furrowed his brow in thought. “Maybe...somewhere between one-fifty and two-hundred? Ish? Could be a little less - depends on how long appointments go on for.” The clinic had a somewhat unorthodox approach to appointments - anyone could be sent back out into the waiting room if an emergency turned up. “My receptionist would know,” Leo admitted with a sheepish grin.

After his mention of the Evo thing (and still the guy was miraculously not running a fucking mile after Leo had managed to make a fool of himself, what was with that? Maybe he really was as amazing as everyone said he was), Bruce leaned in, accent disappearing for a split second, Evo slang on his lips, and Leo gave him a truly delighted smile. “I drag the whole fuckin’ week after,” he replied, while his hindbrain was muttering: this man is amazing.

And just like that, Bruce was back to being the same Haven guy he had been a minute ago. He grinned. As someone who regularly had to change shirts at work because of blood and/or vomit, Leo wouldn’t have thought twice about food on his own clothing. “Well - yeah. But when the clothing in question is a suit that nice… not to mention you gotta be here the whole afternoon, right?”

It didn’t seem like Bruce was going to take him up on his offer of dry cleaning - Leo sighed a little to demonstrate that he wasn’t overwhelmingly happy with the other man’s logic, but decided not to protest. The guy had the air of someone who was not easily steered from his chosen course.

“I never turn down free food,” Leo quipped as they walked towards the buffet, but his smile belied any sarcasm in his tone. The spread was an impressive one, and Leo was half a pace behind Bruce as they loaded up paper plates. There was a shady spot nearby which seemed mostly free of people, so Leo headed towards it - careful, very careful, not to risk spilling anything on Bruce a second time.

Leo’s expression turned thoughtful as they ate. “Hey - can I ask? Do you think you’re in with a chance?” he looked up at the other man. “I get a lot of aggro, you know? Evo doctor. Lot of people have a problem with it.” Leo’s blue eyes sharpened. “And you do mental stuff, right?” he wiggled the fingers of his left hand as if to indicate some kind of telepathic ability. “You think people’ll look past it, with you?”
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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Mar 17 2018, 06:10 PM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
Citizen
Tier 3
668 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


“One hundred and fifty to two hundred per week?” Bruce repeated, eyes glimmering. He was impressed and did nothing to hide this from his voice or his expression. That was between eight-thousand and ten thousand patients per year. What an incredible service to provide to an under-invested community. Before the other man could bring up the matter, he asked, “How do you secure your funding?”

Despite Leo’s smile, his admission turned Bruce’s expression into a frown. He shook his head sympathetically while the reflexive, “That’s rough; I’m sorry,” left his lips. Dragging for an entire week after his dosage was a misery that Bruce wouldn’t wish on his most obnoxious neighbor. What could this man have for his powers that he had such a reaction to the Suppressant? To ask would be socially unacceptable among the high society of Haven and the general convention of his neighborhood in Evesdown, which stayed his tongue.

“That’s the spirit!” Bruce remarked with a warm chuckle. That was one of his family’s mottos, along with the custom of bringing a dessert or a dish when visiting a person’s home and that one should never go to bed angry in a relationship. They made the short walk to the buffet, and for the second time in so many minutes, Bruce put together a plate for himself. This time, he chose a cheese sandwich and forwent the pasta salad for pretzels and an apple. One benefit of the spill was that it caused him to make better choices the second time around.

They had just settled with Bruce sitting on a napkin to spare his slacks, with another napkin unfolded in his lap to protect it from any dropped crumbs when Leo posed his question. The little gesture with his fingers was familiar; Reese did that on those occasions when they discussed his powers, and occasionally clients did something similar. Familiar if not always flattering. He pursed his lips together thoughtfully while tapping a pretzel against the edge of his plate. “You looked past it, didn’t you?”

Snapping the pretzel in half, he popped one of the salted curves into his mouth, chewed, and swallowed.

“You came over alone with a man who has a reputation for brainwashing attractive people into becoming merchandise.” His expression was neutral as he recited this, as a simple fact without allowing his opinions about the rumors to cloud his tone or his face. He knew the rumors, could recite them backwards and forwards as he did now to call upon them for a point. “Does it make you nervous?"

@Leo Dobrowolski
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Leo Dobrowolski
 Posted: Mar 18 2018, 10:37 AM
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Evolute
32 YEARS
Cartel
Tier 4
112 Posts
If Leo touches a person's bare skin (alive or dead), he can tell you everything about their physical history. Medical conditions, healed breaks, pregnancies, surgeries, anything that has affected their body in any way. He can also feel anything they are currently feeling - pain, nausea, breathlessness etc, as if it’s his own body.
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@Bruce Vaughan

“I think so?” Leo frowned as he ran over his calculations. “Maximum of twenty patients for morning surgery, then paperwork, then another twenty - which is forty per day, which is....two hundred? Per week? Max? But not always that many. And not always different people, too - I got a lot of regulars.” It had taken a while for the inhabitants of the Jacks to start using the clinic, but now that they trusted it, Leo was always busy. “I wanna start doing regular health classes as well - nutrition, that kinda stuff. And something for the homeless population - though I'm not sure what, yet.”

At the question about funding, he shrugged. “A few different places. Trusts and foundations mostly, some corporate sponsorship too.” All the Cartel money was routed through different trusts and businesses - nobody had yet succeeded in tracing it. Even the people who knew about Leo’s Cartel connections hadn’t bothered to try; the clinic was too useful. “Some city council funding - though not as much as I’d like.” His smile turned a little sly, but there was humour in his eyes. “So I wouldn’t say no to more, if you’re ever in a position to help.”

He waved away the other man’s concern with an easy grin. “It’s fine. I need a high dosage to keep my medical license, so it’s worth it.” Much as Leo resented all the rules, he was prepared to go to great lengths if it meant he could remain a doctor.

Once they were seated, Leo digging into a ham sandwich (and he was definitely going to have to come to more events in Haven because the catering here was good), he was caught unawares by the other man’s calm voice, the neutrality of his expression. Leo raised an eyebrow, gaze sharp with interest. The last thing he had expected was for Bruce to lay it out like that, give voice to the rumours about himself. Leo gave him a thin smile. That was exactly what Vaughan’s detractors said about him - and Leo wasn’t naive. He knew that some people did misuse their abilities, just as people with weapons could take advantage of what they perceived as other weakness of others.

“No,” he replied, shaking his head, voice thoughtful. “It doesn’t make me nervous. ‘Cause I'm an Evo too, and I know we don't go around using our abilities on people. I didn't mean to suggest that you'd do that.” It had been impossible to tell from Bruce's tone if he had taken offence. “But I know that Typics don't always see it that way. Plenty of them think we don't have any self-restraint.” Leo sighed.
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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Mar 18 2018, 08:10 PM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
Citizen
Tier 3
668 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


Bruce followed along with the other man’s math, although it hardly qualified as advanced calculus. Two batches of twenty patients each day for a typical five-day work week resulted in two-hundred per week excluding slower days or longer cases that cleared a calendar. That was certainly the type of work that the mental manipulator supported, and he nodded his understanding, already making a mental note that he should look into donations to keep them afloat.

The mention of nutrition classes and a program from the homeless earned a smile and a more enthusiastic nod than the one before it. Rubbing his chin, he remarked, “Vaccinations and bug checks, at the least. It’s inhumane, that tent city. If I had my way, they would all have permanent housing, and the people struggling with addiction would have a two-month program sponsored by the city to help them.”

His phrasing was a tell. Not the addicts but people-first language that emphasized addiction as a medical matter. That had been his first career, after all.

He offered another murmur of sympathy regarding the conditions of his medical license. Bruce had been fortunate in that; the mental health community saw the benefit in his powers, and thus his dose was the legal minimum, set by the Carrie Institute’s calculations rather than anything more pressing in exchange for his livelihood. However, he allowed the matter to drop in favor of their meal and the conversation that took root afterward. Leo’s oversimplification of the reason for his trust and the complexities behind the politics of Haven.

“I appreciate the solidarity, but some of my fellow Evolutes are put off as well. A lot of people think that I’m a pimp, Evolute and Typic alike.” Bruce lifted his sandwich to his lips and took a small, polite bite rather than cram a third of the thing into his mouth as his stomach growled for him to do, reminding him that it had been a while since his last meal and he had been on his feet for most of the day. Once he had chewed thoroughly and swallowed did he continued, “My reputation in Haven is mixed. My immediate neighbors might not be thrilled with the publicity or with my profession more generally, but Typics also make up a large part of my clientele. My clients know me, and they trust me – they like me, and they vote. I’d like to think they wouldn’t all support Ramsey behind my back.”

He shrugged elegantly and took another bite of his sandwich.

@Leo Dobrowolski
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Leo Dobrowolski
 Posted: Mar 20 2018, 05:02 PM
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Evolute
32 YEARS
Cartel
Tier 4
112 Posts
If Leo touches a person's bare skin (alive or dead), he can tell you everything about their physical history. Medical conditions, healed breaks, pregnancies, surgeries, anything that has affected their body in any way. He can also feel anything they are currently feeling - pain, nausea, breathlessness etc, as if it’s his own body.
Sandrine is Offline


@Bruce Vaughan

Well I’ll be damned, Leo thought, looking at the determined expression on Bruce’s face. A politician who actually cares about homeless people. It was almost enough to rekindle his faith in humanity. He gave a fervent nod. “Exactly. And it’s about more than that - a structure is a temporary solution, we need to look at why people become homeless in the first place, and fix that.” Leo had spent some night sleeping rough as a teenager, and had always been very conscious of the fact that without the Cartel to look after him, he would have been on his own. His life would have gone very differently. He sighed. “If we’re in this bubble forever, why aren’t we making it as good for everyone as we can?”

When he talked like this in front of Vels and the other Cartel members, he was usually laughed at for being eccentric - but that hadn’t stopped Leo from remaining as passionate about the subject as he had always been. What was the point in letting some people live like kings, while others had nothing? It wasn’t like there was anywhere else to go.

“A lot of people think that I’m a pimp,” Bruce told him, and Leo paused in the consumption of his sandwich for long enough to feel awkward. “I thought you were,” he admitted after a moment, shrugging, because it didn’t feel fair not to own up to it. Truth be told, he still wasn’t 100% sure on the matter, but the longer he spent talking to Bruce, the more he thought the guy probably wasn’t in that particular business.

“But you don’t seem like any of the pimps I’ve ever met,” (a compliment) “and that kid who works for you chewed me out when I called Shangri La a ‘brothel’.” There was a smile on his face, amusement rather than irritation at the encounter he’d had with Junior. He shrugged again, flashed Bruce an apologetic look. “I’ve never been, man. I guess most of the people who haven’t gone, think it is.” Rumours could get out of hand, he knew that - though the phrase adult fantasy retreat still didn’t sound any less like brothel to Leo’s ears.

Bruce said he was popular with his clients - Leo gave a small smile. “And presumably your opponents say it's ‘cause you’ve witched them,” he remarked, voice laden with irony. “How original.”
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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 10:19 PM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
Citizen
Tier 3
668 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


“Of course we do, and I wouldn’t suggest otherwise. But there’s security in having permanent housing, somewhere that belongs to a person from which they can’t be evicted. A barrier between themselves and the rest of the world. Mental illness is exacerbated by a lack of personal space, and it also makes it difficult to maintain sobriety.” Spoken like a therapist, with the compassion so often mocked as a bleeding heart and the framing that came from experience. He nodded in agreement as Leo asked his question. “I’ve asked myself that before; my neighbors and I, we have more than enough. What amounts to an insignificant tax increase would alleviate the worst burdens of the population in Jacks.”

His platform extended beyond the homeless, and if he was elected, then Bruce could afford to corner Mr. Malik and discuss an alliance to push for far more ambitious reforms. First matters first – Bruce Vaughan had to win in Haven, not in Jacks.

His sandwich rested against his lips, his teeth biting into the soft bread as Leo made his admission. It came as no particular surprise to Bruce, the expectation was one that he accepted as the price of operating Shangri-La even if he found the notion distasteful. He found nothing immoral in sex work; in the strict sense, Shangri-La fell under the umbrella of sex work as a whole but not prostitution. He had friends and colleagues in the industry. But pimps…they were a blight, people who exploited others rather than someone making an economic, informed decision in the safest manner possible.

He swallowed and dabbed the corners of his mouth with his napkin. Hiding his offense behind a mildly affable expression, he replied, “I’d hope not, since I’m not one.”

However, his mask gave way to a frown as Leo delivered his point in such a jovial tone. The younger man was correct; his detractors made that claim. The lack of ethics involved was so personally distasteful that he found those rumors – accusations, they were accusations rather than harmless whispers behind his back – the worst of the bunch, as he had lamented to Reese once. “They do say that. But, if you don’t mind, I never use the term ‘witch.’ I use my powers, but there’s nothing inherently magical or sinister about them, you understand.”

Whether or not the other man did, although Bruce expected that he would, an Evolute and a doctor himself with a power that rendered physical contact difficult at the end of his Suppressant cycle. Fighting prejudice required linguistic precision, even when speaking as a detractor might.

@Leo Dobrowolski
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Leo Dobrowolski
 Posted: Mar 24 2018, 11:54 AM
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Evolute
32 YEARS
Cartel
Tier 4
112 Posts
If Leo touches a person's bare skin (alive or dead), he can tell you everything about their physical history. Medical conditions, healed breaks, pregnancies, surgeries, anything that has affected their body in any way. He can also feel anything they are currently feeling - pain, nausea, breathlessness etc, as if it’s his own body.
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@Bruce Vaughan

Robin Hood, huh? Taxing the rich to help the poor. Leo found he liked this guy more and more.

“I’d hope not, since I’m not one,” Bruce replied, and why couldn’t Leo manage to keep his fucking mouth shut? “Don’t worry, man, it’s a compliment,” he replied dryly, a wry smile on his face. Leo knew more sex workers than he could count, had no problem with the profession - pimps were another matter, however. They took advantage of people, collected money for their work. He wasn’t quite sure he believed that Bruce wasn’t another type of pimp, somehow, but he was willing to hold fire on that particular judgement. He’d have to find some people who’d actually been to Shangri-La, and ask them what it was like. “And I like your tax plan a lot.”

Then he ran his mouth even more, and managed to really offend the guy. Oh, he was good at hiding it, but it was easy to see that the mild tone of voice was hiding steel. Leo blinked at Bruce, swallowed his mouthful of sandwich. Shit.

Why couldn’t he seem to stop offending this guy? First the pimp remark, now this. He felt about three inches tall, as ashamed as he had been when Murad had called him out for saying something derogatory. Leo’s mouth set in a thin line, and he looked away. [b“I’m sorry,”[/b] he said after a couple of moments. “I only meant it as a joke.” A brief smile. “My cousin Larry used to say the thing about jokes is, they never sound funny in court..” Leo shrugged, and set down the remains of his sandwich. “I’m so used to people saying shit that I...pre-empt them, you know?” he bit his lip. He hadn’t really realised what he was doing until Murad had called him out on it - and here he was, doing it again.

“Sorry,” he said again, because it seemed like the thing to say. How many times had he tried to laugh people out of using that word, or any of the others? How many times had he said Jesus fucking Christ, you know it’s not a fucking magical power, don’t you? to some Typic who thought he was an aberration? Leo scruffed a hand through his hair. “Look, you seem like a really good guy. Like you actually wanna help people. Thank you. Don’t let assholes like me put you off, yeah?” He smiled again, and it was warmer this time. “I’d love to help with your stuff for homeless people, if you ever need anyone.” And if you think you can stand me when I’m jonesing for the Supplement. “There’s a lot of people in that park who don’t need to be.”
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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Mar 27 2018, 12:38 AM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
Citizen
Tier 3
668 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
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Were Bruce a telepath, he would object to the characterization of himself as Robin Hood, albeit not for the reason that many people might expect. As a wealthy man, the stereotype was that he would take issue with someone who stole from the rich – himself or his neighbors – to pass the money to the poor. As someone raised in a household of more meager means, he considered Robin Hood’s behavior a moral necessity under the circumstances and would root for such a man made manifest in their reality should a modern-day Robin Hood manage to evade law enforcement successfully. Rather, his opposition to such a comparison rested on his view of social policy. To cast himself as Robin Hood over tax proposals implied that his neighbors were correct and taxation was theft instead of a social obligation from those with abundance to pay into the common good. All the more important when they were, quite literally, the last bastion of life and civilization on the planet.

The mental manipulator nodded elegantly, silently assuring the Leo that he accepted the apology and explanation as offered. A small smile flitted across his lips as he lifted his sandwich again. “I’m glad to hear that. It’s popular in Jacks, although a bit less so up here.”

He knew that when he had unveiled the proposal. As a man who earned a living through informed consent, he didn’t subscribe to the idea of a bait and switch. If he was to secure this seat, then he would do so by laying everything on the table and running abashedly on his principles and his proposals, warts and all.

Bruce carefully chewed and swallowed before replying to Leo, as he wasn’t one to speak with a full mouth. He dabbed at the corner of his mouth, folded his napkin, and corrected, “Nobody needs to live in that park.”

Homelessness wasn’t an innate feature of humanity but instead a condition foisted upon the underclass and those who fell through the cracks. Bruce viewed homelessness the way he did addiction; people might engage in behavior that contributed to their current state, but nobody deserved to grapple with it, and nobody would learn a lesson left without support system and the tools to sustain improvement. That addiction and homelessness often went hand-in-hand provided insight into why he cared about this as much as he did, given his current status a wealthy Haven denizen.

“Be careful,” he warned, and his lips curled upward while his eyes gazed steadily into the younger man’s. “I’ll take you up on that offer, so make sure you’re committed. Around these parts,” by which he meant himself and Shangri-La, “we take promises and offers quite seriously.”

@Leo Dobrowolski
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Leo Dobrowolski
 Posted: Mar 28 2018, 10:53 AM
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Evolute
32 YEARS
Cartel
Tier 4
112 Posts
If Leo touches a person's bare skin (alive or dead), he can tell you everything about their physical history. Medical conditions, healed breaks, pregnancies, surgeries, anything that has affected their body in any way. He can also feel anything they are currently feeling - pain, nausea, breathlessness etc, as if it’s his own body.
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@Bruce Vaughan

Leo shrugged. “Nobody needs to,” he agreed. “Some people want to. They won’t use services - they’ve been too badly treated.” He sighed. The city still had a long way to go in terms of helping its’ most vulnerable citizens, something that too many people in Haven seemed inclined to forget.

Bruce smiled, and there was something hypnotic about his eyes. “We take promises and offers quite seriously,” he said. Leo wasn’t sure when he’d last spoken to anyone who was so...intense. He could see what had inspired the kid in the coffee queue to such heights of defending the guy. Bruce had a level of charisma that he didn’t think he’d ever encountered before. Leo smiled back. “Lucky I mean it, then,” he replied. “I wanna help people. If you can help with the resources, I can help with the delivery.” Leo lived and breathed his clinic, his district. The determination in his expression left little room for doubt: he meant what he was saying.

He took a breath, looked down at the plate - and suddenly remembered something he’d been considering for a few weeks. Here, finally, was his chance to ask someone who might actually be able to answer his questions. “Hey,” Leo said, before he could stop himself. “Can I ask you something?” As a doctor, there was nothing he hated more than people talking shop to him on what were supposed to be social occasions - but when was he likely to meet someone like Bruce again? And he’d probably offended the guy so much that the chances of them running into one another again were slim to none. “I had a patient last month with a lot of trauma in her background. Some really bad experiences. She asked if I knew anyone who could...remove the memories.” His lips thinned to a line.

“I told her I didn’t know anyone, and that she should go for therapy instead. But I was wondering - is that the kind of thing you can do? And would you even recommend it? I…” Leo sighed. “I told her she needed to process it, rather than try and cut it out, but - ” But if someone was hurting, truly hurting, wasn’t it his job to help? The girl had preyed on his mind, ever since he’d seen her. She hadn’t come back to the clinic. “I admit, I have no experience in that kind of thing.”
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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Mar 28 2018, 06:16 PM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
Citizen
Tier 3
668 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


“That’s true,” Bruce conceded while inclining his head just slightly. “But we still need to build and provide as though they’ll take us up on it, to extend the hand free of expectation to create trust for their sake.” More than a few patients during his years before Shangri-La had fallen into that category, forced into his services as part of a court order and distrustful of everyone around them. He still strove to help them reach and maintain sobriety.

The mental manipulator possessed a number of gifts wholly separate from his Evolute abilities, which had served him well from childhood into the present. It was this personal charisma (in addition to meticulous manners and impeccable grooming) that had so charmed the administration of Nocht to grant entrance to an Evolute from Jacks. It was his charm and his patience and his smile and his capacity to listen that had turned Shangri-La from a dream into a reality. That same smile that settled across his lips as he assured the younger man, “I can certainly help with the resources.”

Bruce had never been the type of person to meet a sincere request with a tired joke. Rather than point out that inquiring whether he could ask a question was itself a question, he nodded once and assured the younger man that questions were part and parcel of events like this. The opportunity to take advantage of the proximity that might not present itself.

Leo had his full attention, and as the doctor offered a vague but unfortunately familiar description – for a medical matter not one of policy, Bruce’s smile fell away, replaced by a sympathetic frown. He would have guessed the question before the other man posed it, but manners stayed his tongue until Leo finished.

“It’s something I can do, but I couldn’t recommend it without speaking with her first. It would be irresponsible to make a determination like that without the facts.” His gaze flickered from Leo’s face to the children playing on the grass, brought to the picnic by parents who wanted to confront him about policies or who desired a good meal for the evening, both of which he considered a valid reason to attend but one of which was an unfortunate consideration. He then wiped his fingers on his napkin as though unconsciously mimicking the effect of his powers on trauma. “This isn’t a hypothetical but a real person’s suffering. In the end, she’s the one who has to live with the effects of trauma, and only she can decide what she can tolerate.”

He turned back to look at Leo, resuming eye contact as he explained, “I do take referrals for patients in need of therapy, if you would send her my way. My license is still active and despite the spectacle, I’ve maintained good standing.”

@Leo Dobrowolski
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