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NAME: Augustyne Phyffe (Gus Devlin)

Gus is a very level-headed and (usually) mature individual, one who is very aware of who he is and of his place in the world and (for the most part) is contented with it. He is very cool-headed and rational in chaotic situations and while he might snark about it, seems to thrive in the middle of chaos. He is very comfortable around people and very easy to get along with.

Growing up with two sisters, he is very comfortable around and gets along well with women and tends to take on a protective role around them, but he will also grudgingly allow himself to be manipulated by them when it comes to having fun or trying new things (or carrying shopping bags.) He’s the type of person friends go to when they need a place to crash or need a couple bucks. When it comes to girls he likes, he will usually try too hard, making him act very awkwardly. He gets along fairly well with other blokes and has shown himself to be a loyal friend. He has a lot of respect for friends and people he trusts, even if they’re authority figures, but is usually guarded around and cynical of new people. He had a girlfriend in high school and one his first year of university, but wasn’t ready to settle down, and has since preferred to keep his relationships casual.

He likes football (and refuses to call it soccer), cricket, tennis, and rugby, both playing and watching, and enjoys watching hockey and baseball. He likes British punk, skaa, and metal music and British food. For a heterosexual male he has recently cultivated a wide knowledge of designer clothing and fashion, but this knowledge is mainly academic and not put into practice with regards to his personal style, which tends to be casual and scruffy. He only wears clothing with natural fibres such as cotton if he can help it. He will also tend to frequent his flat in nothing but a pair of boxers or his artist’s apron since he can illusion himself some clothes if guests ever show up at his door.

He also has a great love of art, particularly Renaissance art, Impressionism, and post-modernist works. He has never been much of a reader, and likes to keep music or the tv on whenever he's at home. He also still reads comic books as he did as a child and enjoys video games. He loves cooking and barbecuing and preparing food for people, but is a rather horrible cook. Most of his cooking experiences end with meals akin to eating charcoal, tasteless mush, or shoe leather. He always has copious amounts of alcohol on hand- always wine and beer, and usually gin and scotch as well.

With his tendency to be drawn to chaos, Gus in contrast is very uncomfortable with formal, ordered, highly organized situations. He doesn’t sit still very well at meetings and while he possesses knowledge about “proper” social etiquette at large social functions, does not normally exhibit it himself. In general, he is usually vocal about expressing his displeasure regarding things he does not like. He hates using public washrooms or washrooms in other peoples’ homes. He doesn’t get along well with thuggish or overly physical people, or people who don’t respect personal space or opinions. People who don’t respect women are a particular pet peeve of his. He also thoroughly despises paperwork and doing research himself, preferring to get answers from people. Animals, even pets, make him nervous.

As far as hopes go, Gus is a bit of an indeterminate and as such he doesn’t think too much about hopes for his own future, preferring to take things as they come and make choices as they’re presented to him rather than thinking too far ahead. Gus doesn’t hope for much beyond happiness and safety for his family and friends.

Unhappiness and danger for his family are his greatest fears, particularly losing another member of his family to violence the way he lost his mother. But because of his fatalistic streak he won’t admit to fearing much else, believing out loud that whatever happens is going to happen and all that can be done is to be prepared and face challenges and fears head-on. Except for animals. He strongly believes that animals should never be challenged or faced head-on. He also fears public speaking and publicity of any kind.

Beyond his level head, generosity, and magical talent, Gus’s greatest merit to SHIELD would most likely be his education in criminology, along with his ability to show great adaptability and easy acceptance of changing circumstances/situations (‘rolling with punches’, as it were) while still being cynical and untrusting of strangers. Despite his scrawny physique, he maintains good physical shape.

His greatest flaw might well be his lack of killer instinct and his inability to really take charge during a situation, preferring to take orders and let others lead. While he’s a decent shot with a weapon, he’s never going to be much of an offensive threat to people. He can’t cook and while he can drive and enjoys video games with where he gets to fly a helicopter or drive a tank , he isn’t very good with vehicles or technology unless it’s something he’s practiced with a lot. He also gets queasy around blood and jumpy around animals, although he would most likely stand his ground and make a sarcastic comment before engaging in whatever he needed to do rather than running away.

Gus's mother was a radio operator in the British army who had a brief affair with judge Lord Julian Phyffe, Baron Alvanley, Earl of Carysfort. Since Lord Phyffe was married with children of his own at the time of Gus's birth, Gus's mother kept the identity of his father to herself, working hard to provide for Gus on her own. When he was three, his mother began dating an army officer and she left the army to become a police officer. She married the officer the next year, and Gus was legally adopted by his stepfather. His stepfather couldn't have children of his own so when Gus was five, eight year-old Mia joined the family from foster care, and when he was nine his parents brought home another foster child, five year-old Nell, who was a quiet, timid child. Gus adjusted quickly to being first a little brother and then a big brother, joining in Mia’s games and troublemaking, while becoming fiercely protective of Nell. Painting and drawing were his favourite pasttimes as a child when Mia wasn’t dragging him along on some sort of adventure. His childhood was a happy, relatively uncomplicated one.

When Gus was fifteen he participated in his school’s art show and was astounded to realize that when people asked him questions about his paintings, they were asking him questions about things he wasn’t seeing himself, and each person seemed to be viewing a painting unique to themselves when they looked at his canvas. His mother pulled him aside and explained to him that Gus had inadvertently worked magic into his canvases, projecting illusions onto the artwork that allowed the viewer to see something they, personally, found to be pleasing to them. When Gus prompted her for more details she couldn't elaborate and he realized she was relaying information to him that she'd been given from someone else who recognized what he could do- an old family friend, Lord Phyffe, who, while unable to perform magic himself, had theoretical knowledge of it and was willing to help Gus to better understand what he could do. He was already helping both of Gus's sisters who had manifested slight magical abilities as well.

Lord Phyffe tutored Gus and his sisters to help them better understand magic and the nature of their gifts, and while Gus came to suspect Lord Phyffe was his father, he never broached the subject, being contented with his life as it was.

After scoring very well on his A-levels, Gus left his family and his country and, in movie cliché tradition, moved to New York City to focus on his art. After two years of living with no direction and no responsibility, however, his mother, now a police constable in London, was shot and killed in the line of duty. Devastated by the loss, Gus became determined to find a way to take meaning and pride out of his life and make a contribution to society the way his mother had, and for the next year he agonized over how to do this. He moved back home to be with his sisters and father, falling into his mother’s role of holding everyone else together.

Shortly after turning twenty-one, Gus became convinced that his future lay not with art, but with law enforcement and enrolled in college. Gus studied criminology at the University of York, focusing his attention on increasing his physical strength, still participating in art shows as a hobby in his spare time. He then went to the Institute of Criminology at Cambridge University after completing his three-year degree from York and finished a one-year M.Phil. in Criminology there. He completed a CKP course which allowed him to join the Metropolitan police constable training programme at twenty-five years of age.

Three months into his training, however, Gus was approached by a liaison with SHIELD, having come to their attention recently through showing some pieces at a local art show a few weeks prior after receiving some press when a patron at the show claimed Gus’s work contained explicit material and no one else was able to see it, leading to a local news story about the odd incident, which was leading Gus to deflect a lot of questions, many of which were being asked by his colleagues and superiors in the police service. The chance to join SHIELD came as a relief for Gus, who accepted eagerly.

Gus possesses the ability to create illusions over natural fabrics (cotton, linen, hemp.) He can work an illusion in the fibres of fabric that work on the mind of the person seeing it, making them believe they’re seeing something that isn’t really there. Gus has a small amount of control over what the person will see. For example, if he works the illusion to make people think they’re seeing a police uniform, they will, but two people might see two different-looking uniforms (for example, one might see a Metro Police Services uniform, and one might see an NYPD uniform), depending on what their mind constructs. In that case, he would have to be very specific about the illusion he works into the fabric to make people see an identical image. The more detailed an illusion needs to be, the more time it takes to construct. On the flip side, he could arrange a fabric to present an illusion much more vague- so people see something pleasing to them, or something surprising, or something evocative, etc- but he may not have the slightest idea what they end up seeing, since everyone’s minds work differently.

Originally limited to making people see what they want to see on an artist’s canvas, Gus has been able to extend his ability to working illusions on pieces of clothing people are wearing, as long as they’re natural fabrics (meaning he can’t change rayon, polyester, etc.) or a blend that has a natural fabric in it (unless it’s less than 10% natural.) Illusions on blends can’t be maintained as long as those on completely natural fabrics, though, and the less natural fabric is in a piece of clothing the shorter amount of time the illusion can be maintained. Even a 100% cotton piece of fabric, however, can only be magicked for about an hour at a time, since creating illusions drains Gus’s energy, and he’ll generally need to rest for at least two hours before he can magick the fabric again. (2:1 ratio of rest to magic, generally.)

Gus’s illusions do not change peoples’ features or hair, and they cannot fool technology, including security cameras and night-vision goggles. He has manipulated up to six pieces of fabric at once in the past but the dispersal of magical energy means the more he does, the less time he can do it for, so creating illusions on six sets of clothes would only last a few minutes. The more time he looks at a particular piece of fabric the easier it is to magick it and the more time the illusion can be maintained, which is why he is still far better with magicking canvases or his own clothing than someone else’s clothing. If he focuses on a piece of fabric for a long period of time (the time it would take to create a painting, for example) he can work the spell unconsciously, but if he’s working an illusion in a hurry he needs to speak a word or words he’s trained himself to use to gather and focus his ability quickly.

Beyond his criminology background and police training, and the SHIELD training he completed fairly easily, Gus’s most useful ability would probably be his people skills, mainly an ability to make people comfortable, put them at ease, and get them to open up to him. He is fluent in French and can understand and read Latin. Although he can’t perform it, he has a wide knowledge of magical spells and gear from years of studying. He also has a few contacts in the magical community, though he mainly sticks to consulting with his sisters and Lord Phyffe. He has a vast knowledge of video games and comic books, and some knowledge of art history. He has recently been trying to study uniforms and fashion to aid with his clothing illusions and increase his knowledge base there.

Gus, 25 years old, is average height and lanky, 5’10” and 160 pounds. He has a Brit’s pale skin, and has dark hair he keeps a little bit long. No tattoos or piercings. He has a Northern London accent. He uses a lot of hand motions when he speaks, and has a very expressive face. PB Jordan Gavaris.
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September 2013

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