Title: Magica
Who: Colin, Gloria and Tiago
When: February 9th, 2011
Where: De la Vega Memorial Park
What: At the scene of a minor accident, Tiago and Colin encounter a paramedic who isn't all she seems.

===< de la Vega Memorial Park - Residential District >--—< #178 >===
A sprawling expanse encompassing multiple city blocks, de la Vega Memorial Park seems determined to instill color amidst the office buildings and paved streets around it. The walkways sectioning off areas of the park are composed of whitewashed brick with borders of curved Red bricks in an almost Spanish 'S' style like those seen on roofs.
At the south end of the park is a large fountain of polished white marble composed of four dolphins facing the four cardinal compass points, spewing water. Included on the south side of the park is a few open fields for picnics and a skate park. Between the north and south ends of the park are large fields, flower beds of brightly colored flowers, and numerous trees, from Oak to huge Redwoods.
The north end of de la Vega Memorial Park is considered the 'main' entrance, despite there being multiple entrances into the park passing through the seven-feet high red-brick walls with white-tile capstone crenellations every ten feet. The main entrance is an arch of black-lacquered steel in winding vine patterns leading into a brick-laid plaza which includes a granite statue of Zorro: A man in a mask, large hat and flowing half-cape wielding a rapier in one hand and a coiled whip in the other.


It was a quiet evening as it was, the Park by this time wasn't completely closed, so there will still people wandering about. But, at this time, it's mostly groups of teenagers hanging out, or young couples enjoying the night air and ambiance, lights pointing out the various brick-laden paths one could walk.

Colin Reed and Tiago Ferruguento are not teenagers. So.

Still, with a slight break in their work schedules…and the thought of hanging out inside the Redwood was always an idea, the guys figured a nice walk-and-talk was in order. Something calming, relaxing.

Though, as one of the younger teens tries to do a grinder off the fountain and faceplants /hard,/ Colin is already picking up the pace. The teen accident victim lifts his head, and his face is covered in blood while his two friends start freaking.

It's sheer luck, perhaps fate, perhaps divine providence that the ambulance was rolling nearby — heading out from Mercy Hospital to gas up. It swerves rapidly when the driver sees the boy on the ground, points him out to her partner. It screeches to a halt a half dozen feet from the youth, and the paramedics are out in an instant. From the passenger side leaps a tall, bald black man in his late forties, his blue uniform bearing the name 'Weigel' above the breast pocket. From the driver's side, slightly more calmly, comes a lovely blonde woman, her wavy hair bound back in a ponytail. Over the pocket of her uniform is the word 'Gaines'. She approaches the victim while her partner steps in the path of the young man's friends to prevent them from getting in the way.

The woman kneels beside the youth to examine him carefully, her voice sharp to keep his attention. "What's your name?" she asks him. "Tell me your name, kiddo. George and me, we're going to take good care of you. Can you feel this?"

Tiago Ferruguento's hand is already slipping into his pocket with the intention of fishing out his cellphone when he spots the ambulance coming to a halt nearby. His eyebrows jump up in surprise, a smile touching his lips. "The emergency services are ever so good in this town, you know," he says to Colin, clearly believing the presence of the paramedics wasn't just luck and was instead evidence of spectacular efficiency.

Something is… buzzing at the corners of his mind, though, a sensation that feels vaguely familiar but which he can't quite place. Still, he jogs along beside Colin, their dash no longer quite so urgent now that the medics are on the scene but feet still carrying them in the direction of the accident all the same. Until a woman climbs out of the ambulance.

Tiago slams on the brakes, his hand shooting out to grab hold of Colin's wrists, eyes wide as he stares at the woman, watching as she begins tending to the injured teen. "I… that is…" His murmurings tail off, every hair on his body standing on end. He knows what it is he's feeling now but he's never experienced this sensation so overwhelmingly before. "Magica…" he mumbles to Colin in Portuguese, never taking his eyes off the lady. It probably isn't difficult to figure out the English translation for that.

The boy's friends say his name is Todd something, and the injured kid affirms this in a weak voice. When he's touched, and asked if he feels it, he lets out a youthful yelp of pain. Further investigation will find most of the blood is from a bloody nose which has to be reset, and he has a slight concussion besides. His friends are trying to calm down, but it was a pretty bad spill in their eyes, and they're hovering a little too close, even as one tries to call Todd's parents on his cel.

And it seems a night for cel phones, as Colin was also going for his own when the Ambulance pulled up. "Comes with the population," he whispers at Tiago's assessment. Meaning either response times are sky-high in a post-Quake world, or the superhero presence in the city requires it. Possibly a mix of both. He wants to make sure the kid's all right, even if he's not the right kind of doctor. It's not like he can make plant-based artifical limbs to turn someone into a chlorophyll-powered cyborg freak. Yet.

He stops as he sees Tiago's expression change, and concern grows further, deepening the creases at the corners of his mouth. "Tiago," he whispers, feeling his shoulders itch out of worry.

Magica indeed. And a further flare of magic occurs as Gloria realizes the condition of her new charge. "Okay, Todd," says the blonde, letting a little trickle of magic repair some of the damage that's deeper, not so readily apparent. "We need to stand you up, alright? Come on. You're going to be fine." A broken nose, a concussion — nothing too drastic about these things.

With George's help, Gloria gets Todd to his feet and helps the boy hobble to the back of the ambulance. "I don't think this is so serious you have to go to the hospital in an ambulance," she says, "as long as your friends can get your parents out here to bring you in. Your nose is broken, but George is an EXPERT at setting broken noses. You also have a concussion. You are going to feel sleepy, but you CAN'T go to sleep, do you understand?"

She's still speaking loudly and sharply as she turns to Todd's friends. "I'm counting on you two," she says firmly. "You keep him up and walking around. Do NOT let him go to sleep. George and I will stick around 'til his folks get here. You get through to them?" Her lips are set in a thin line, the ponytail making her look severe. She is not to be messed with.

Tiago, big brave superhero that he is, actually takes a step back out of fear. His fright is clearly etched in his features too as he studies the paramedic's every movement intently. Nothing about her suggests to him that she is an evil force, quite the opposite, but this is uncommon. He senses spirits constantly, every day, everywhere, and doesn't even notice it anymore. But magic, pure magic like this… this is something new and he doesn't know how to respond to it. A gasp escapes his lips as he feels a sudden surge of magical energy produced by the woman, his grip on Colin's wrist tightening for a moment.

"Magic," he says, in English this time, voice quiet. "Powerful magic. Her." He nods in the direction of the no-nonsense paramedic to let Colin know what he's talking about. "She is… I do not think she is human, Colin," he whispers. "I do not know /what/ she… it is. But… but I do not think she is a threat either. It is… it is…" He finally manages to tear his gaze away from the woman, suddenly switching to meet Colin's eyes. "I can not explain. I just know this. I am not crazy, I promise you this."

He looks back at the lady, swallowing hard before coming to a decision. "I think… I should talk to her. I want to know what is happening here."

The young woman speaking is enough to intimidate the pair of friends, their concern for Todd and frantic dialing of his parents' phone is enough to keep them obedient for now. Todd is a little glassy-eyed, but the slight assist from Gloria, unbeknownst to everyone else, does help. He's more alert, he's listening to the instructions and nodding along, just as his shorter friend actually does get his parents on the line, and babbles a quick message that smounts to 'hurry, get over here!'

As Tiago continues to react in a way Colin's never seen, the botanist grows a touch more nervous. He eyes the trees inside the park in the distance, gauging hos fast he can run, and how long it would take him to get his gear… He even looks at the ground. Mostly paved bricks and the occasional yellowish grass stalk. Not much he can do here with his actual powers, either. "Wait, wait," Colin says, trying to calm the man down. "You can…sense?" His mind reels; this might be the first time Tiago's ever mentioned magic, and he's keeping an ear out in case someone's trying to listen in. "She? The EMT? What…what did she do?"

Gloria nods to herself as the boys regroup — most teenagers are smart enough about doing what needs to be done to keep themselves safe, as long as you give them a few instructions first. George, meanwhile, is taking care of Todd's nose — it's reset quickly, though not painlessly. But given what the boy did to himself, a little pain is a small price to pay.

When Todd's nose is reset (and he's walking back toward his friends, clutching it), Gloria calls out to him, "Todd! No more skateboard without a helmet, you hear me?" And then she turns back to George. "I can watch 'em," she murmurs to the man. "Want to go gas up and get the coffee?"

"Tall caramel Frappucino, extra whipped cream, right?"

"You know me so well," the blonde says with a sweet smile that's very unlike her severe professional persona. "Go. I can handle this." George heads around to the driver's side and takes off, while Gloria finds a spot from which she can watch the teens.

Tiago lowers his gaze a little at Colin's words, guilt crossing his features. For both professional and personal reasons, he really should have told Colin about this aspect of his powers before now. But telling him would have brought up other questions that he hasn't been ready to answer. Which isn't a good enough reason to keep Colin in the dark.

"I… yes. Yes, I can sense these things. Magic. I do not encounter it often so… I… I am sorry, I should have mentioned this." He clears his throat, tugging a hand through his hair. Now is probably not the time to get into this. He feels his gaze being dragged back to the woman, watching as she talks briefly to her partner. "I do not know what she did. I cannot explain what I feel. It is… it is like…" He frowns, shaking his head as he tries to find the words, both because it's harder to think in English when he's this distracted but also because he just doesn't know how to describe the sensation. "It is like she is not doing anything. She just… /is/ magic. Like she is… /made/ of it. I have never felt anything like it."

He sees the male paramedic make his exit and realises now is his chance to talk to the lady in relative privacy. "We have to talk to her, Colin. I have to know what she is." He offers his partner a glance which could be described as apologetic, before letting his feet carry him towards the mysterious being that has lit a fire in his brain. "I… excuse me," he mumbles once he's close enough. "Can I… who are you?"

Colin's discomfort dies down a bit as he sees Tiago's expression fall. The kids are waiting for Todd's folks, while Todd presses a towel to his face which is quickly becoming red with blood. Still, he will be fine, eventually, and he and his friends will probably take the warning about helmets to heart.

Colin's stomach flips as Tiago stumbles on the words. He makes a mental note to either learn Portugese or to install a translator chip in his goggles. For later. Still, what Tiago can describe does pique the scientist's curiousity, and this time he lets the other man take the lead. Colin keeps his hands behind his back, though his fingers twitch, wishing he could make a portable laboratory right about now. Is magic? Made? The questions are deep in his eyes.

Gloria turns slightly toward the men as she's approached, though her eyes continue to flick back toward the teenagers. She's taken on responsibility for their safety, and she takes that responsibility seriously. Deciding that the trio aren't in any serious danger for the moment, she lets her eyes rest on Colin and Tiago for a moment or two. She's fidgeting, the thumb of her left hand running from finger to finger and popping each knuckle, and then repeating the process on the right.

"Gloria Gaines," she replies to Tiago's question with a hint of a smile — still serious, but, without an emergency at hand, less severe. "Emergency medical technician. Can I help you, gentlemen?"

"Gloria Gaines," Tiago repeats, as if there might be some clue to this woman's nature locked within her name. There isn't, as far as he can tell, and he suddenly realises he's at a loss. He came charging over here fully intending to uncover the mystery but now that he's here, he has no idea how to go about doing that without being rude. Still, one thing is certain. Now that he's this close to her, there's no mistaking it. His senses were absolutely right. Unexpectedly, he realises the sensation is somewhat… pleasant. Whatever she is, he doesn't think she's made of black magic. He's inexperienced in this area though, and can't be sure he's right about that. Best to stay on guard, just in case she tries to eat their heads.

"I am sorry to… to bother you," he stumbles, his accent even thicker than usual, unsettled nervousness throwing him off his game. "My name is Tiago." He opens his mouth to continue, but again realises he doesn't know what to say. Shoulders tense, he glances to Colin with a hint of panic in his eyes, clearly wishing he'd just walked on by after all. There's no way to tackle this subject politely or without putting her on the spot. "I can feel you," he says finally, lowering his voice to make certain only the three of them can hear. "I know you are… not… not what you seem. I have to know… are you…" He hesitates, confusion and, oddly, vulnerability writ large across his face. "Are you from the other side?"

When asked, the shorter young man just inclines his head, and answers respectfully. "Colin Reed." He doesn't use the 'doctor' part of his name unless he really feels he needs to, and he's not sure this is one of those times. Nor will he steal Tiago's momentum. He doesn't say much right now, because he's also very, very interested in Tiago has to say, since this is the first time he's heard it. Still, the last question Tiago asks cause Colin's eyebrows to skyrocket, as utter and total incomprehension steals across his face.

Tiago's question causes Gloria to stare at him for a moment, and then her eyes glance toward Colin querulously. Sure, she's not precisely human — but that doesn't mean she hasn't figured out the whole 'secret identity' thing. It serves her well, especially given her occupation — much easier to get away with secretly healing a few people if those around you don't realize you're doing it. "I'm not sure what you're talking about… Tiago," she says calmly, blue eyes narrowing ever so slightly, not in any sort of threat, but more a guarded expression.

Tiago hesitates, unsure how to proceed. He can hardly blame the woman for not opening up to him. Why should she? He had no right to even approach her, let alone start bombarding her with deeply personal questions. He again glances at Colin, his discomfort and guilt evident, before making a decision. He's here now, he's started this line of questioning and he'll have to back it up. Even if it means casting aside his own secret identity in front of a complete stranger.

Looking left and right to check nobody's paying attention to them, he holds up his right hand, then passes the intangible fingers of his left hand through it, waggling them a little. Anybody looking their way would just think he's doing something funny with his hands but, close up as she is, Gloria should be able to see that he's demonstrating a superpower. "I am not a normal human either," he says quietly. "I can sense magic. And you are… you are lighting up my senses like nothing ever has before."

A small frown crosses Gloria's face, tugging her pretty mouth down at the corners. She glances toward the kids again, finds they're still occupied, and then turns her attention back toward Tiago and Colin. "This isn't the time or place to discuss this," she says very quietly. "I'm working. On duty. My partner will be back soon." She hesitates a moment, then adds, "After work. I get off at eleven. I can talk then. The roof of Mercy Hospital." She nods in the direction of her base of operations.

"Of course," Tiago says immediately, muscles losing a little of their tension now that he knows he can walk away from this feeling for a few hours. "We will be there. I am sorry, I should not have jumped on you like this. We will let you get back to your work." With a nod of his head, he takes hold of Colin's hand, for support and as an apology, and makes his way away from the poor magical lady.

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