Madeline Cartwright

Hero once known as Ex Machina

Description:

Skills

Awareness: Capable (3-6)
Coordination: Average (4-6)
Influence: Bad (5-6)
Insight: Great (2-6)
Knowledge: Great (2-6)
Logic: Capable (3-6)
Might: Bad (5-6)
Resistance: Average (4-6)
Stealth: Average (4-6)
Survival: Average (4-6)

Vitality: 6

Ability: Builder

Free: Build simple things
Advantage: When using Engineering Knowledge
Impossible: Attempt to build impossible devices

Traits

Traits allow for a +1 to the roll. Alternatively, the player may apply a trait to remove or add an And/But from the result.

Ideals: Responsibility
Method: Direct
History: Machines/Tech Power
S1: Epathically Open

When in the field:
*8’ metal pole with grips and tool tips/storage caps
*Messenger bag with tools
*Wrist rocket and ammo

Bio:

Madeline’s earliest memories are of Paradise, Michigan, on the shore of Lake Superior. It’s about as far from everywhere as you can get without actually leaving the country, across the water from Sault St. Marie. Sure there are other places farther north along Superior’s shore, but Paradise was Maddy’s home. Bordered by the great lake on two sides and a national forest on the other two, it was an idyllic place to grow up as an outdoorsman: hunting, fishing, camping galore.

Only Maddy wasn’t the outdoorsy type. Not by choice, at any rate. She manifested an ability with machines early, when as a toddler mechanical and technical things routinely failed around the house … and mysteriously recovered, better than ever. As Maddy’s language skills improved, so did the mech and tech. Things no longer failed. They worked superlatively. They never broke down.

It wasn’t long before her parents managed to figure out she was a Machinist, an individual whose superpowers enabled her to understand, communicate, and manipulate machinery and tech on a … well, they never did figure out how far down she could reach.

Best guess: molecular level.

Given the remote nature of the town, there wasn’t much outlet for her talents. She quickly became the best shade tree mechanic in the neighborhood. It wasn’t long before she was working a steady afterschool job at Tinker’s Pit Stop (8165 N M 123, Paradise, MI 49768, to be exact) while she was still in elementary school. Tinker’s is long gone now, like so much in the world, but while it lasted, Maddy spent the lion’s share of her young life there, dreaming of a place that had more machines and tech than she’d ever imagined.

That changed when she bought a secondhand laptop with her job money from Tinker’s. It didn’t take long for her to discover how to jump on the internet. The world opened up and she might never have left Paradise had the universe not intervened.

The first intervention was the death of her parents in a home fire while she was working at Tinker’s half a mile away. She was sixteen. The fire wiped out everything and only the charred bones of her parents were recovered from the smoking ruin.

She lacked relatives to take her in. However, she had a job at Tinkers and everyone knew it. Her employer became her guardian. The state was relieved to have at least one minor a proven productive member of society, free from criminal record, so the unconventional arrangement was winked at.

She continued working and attending college remotely. Scholarships took care of the educational costs. Her innate talents took care of the rest, graduating with an engineering degree (with parallel degrees in digital languages and software engineering) 4 years later.

The second intervention was a week after graduating college. She was hired to live and work in St. Louis, Missouri, as part of a tech start-up. St. Louis was a bustling city, as different from sleepy Paradise as the surface of the moon. It was all rather overwhelming with all the people. She quickly established an online identity and took up the handle “Tinker”, as a nod to her first employer and a wink at her talents. The start-up failed due to clashing personalities in the management but by then Maddy was already supporting herself as a freelance trouble shooter and tech engineer, building from scratch all manner of gadgetry for her customers.

Part engineer, part technician, all artist, Maddy quietly and surely made a solid business online, delivering remotely out of a garage apartment/tech shop. One would think that someone with her talents was wasted running a small independent shop online, but for all that she lived in the big city, she appreciated the privacy: it gave her more time to spend with the machines and the tech, to listen to their stories, to revel in their energies both potential and kinetic.

The third intervention was getting trapped in a superheroes battle with a supervillian on the waterfront of St. Louis. It was a fluke: Maddy just happened to be there when the battle erupted around her. She found herself warping whatever machinery or tech she could reach to protect herself and the people immediately around her. Maddy saved several families that day. When the dust settled, she found she had instinctively created a mech/tech battle suit that completely encased her. The media arrived and she decided that maybe keeping her face out of the papers would be a good idea. She kept her suit on—with encasing helmet—when the reporters rushed up with the micrphones and their cameras. When asked her name by the police once they arrived on the scene, she flippantly gave “Ex Machina” and the media picked it up. She managed to create a distraction (the machines in the area were only too happy to help!) and disappeared in the confusion that ensued.

Maddy hoped that everyone would forget about her. She figured they didn’t need her. St. Louis already had a home team of superheroes. The media had other plans. Hailed as the newest of the St. Louis area superheroes, there was no backing down, no escaping the notoriety. Even though no one knew her real name and her face had been completely covered by her battle suit, she felt she could no longer maintain a life as a civilian. For all her grasp of things mechanical and technical, for all that they sang to her and she sang back, it hadn’t occurred to her that what she could do could make her a superhero. She never thought of herself and her talents in that vein.

She was a Tinker, an Inventor, an Artist. She wasn’t a fighter.

But there was no denying what she’d done on the waterfront. Her conscience wouldn’t allow it. She found the heroes’ base, walked in, and asked to join. She was met with skepticism at first. She was unremarkable in appearance and physique and admitted to possessing zero battle skills.

The fourth intervention came immediately during that initial meeting: every mechanical and technical object reacted in recognition of her. She told everything to simmer down and behave. They obeyed. When asked, she couldn’t explain how or why it happened. It’s never happened before. Not on that scale, at any rate, and not like what happened on the waterfront.

Oh sure, her “friends” are everywhere, more numerous than birds in the sky and trees or fish in the sea, and she can hear them as a background whisper 24/7. She can whisper back. And she can bend them, morph them into new shapes and pathways, new configurations and purposes. Like an artist mixing colors on the palette and brushing them on canvas to create something new, she could do the same with machines and tech, with their energies and digital pathways, their networks and code.

Maddy assumed the job as the team’s tech support and gadgeteer. She stayed as much out of the battles as possible, preferring the safety behind the lines, surrounded by her workshop tools and her machine/tech friends.

And so she stayed until Destruction Day.

Stories

Madeline Cartwright

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