- Birth Name: Isaac Heinrich Nadelmann
Zach, Schaden, Erich, Mr. Glass, Dr. Colette, Izzy, Mulligan, Stickey Joe, Dr. Richard, Stacey, J. Leeroy, Force, Lewis , William Cross.
- Gender: Male
- Age: 34 ...we think
- Height: 5'6"
- Theme Song: Sweet Dreams
Eclipse's Pianist, dealer, alcoholic, Piano tuner, Punching bag for hire, Rubix's Pianist and audio technician
Square, Mafia, Going Square Again
- Playlist: Here
Up to V-day
Isaac came to Step City with his parents and brother William in '78 from Leipzig, his father a construction engineer and his mother a psychoacoustics researcher on the STEP project. His parents' work helped him develop a keen love for piano, nurtured along further by testing boosts starting in '84. The arrival of V-day ('86) itself brought him a wealth of musical talent, but no noticeable vibe. He and his sibling survived despite relative proximity in what was to become the Grey district; sufficient reason enough for him to believe neither were truly jamdeaf.
Heinrich (Nadelmann Sr.) caught stirrings of the Scientist's rebellion shortly before it exploded in '89. While he decided the project wasn't worth putting more lives at stake, his wife Inge thought differently. She was the only jamdeaf among them and she was determined to resolve that. It split the family. So he cut off relations with the labcoats to protect his sons, taking aliases and going quiet. Isaac had few friends left to lose.
Up to the Dance Wars
While survivors polarized into new factions, Isaac 'Tailor' continued uncovering his vibe. What he was learning caused him shame, so he remained square and worked publicly on his musical skills. He wasn't going to pick a side and explain to people his power was self-harm, or that he liked it. With help from his father, he instead studied anything he could to better understand how the vibe affected people. Isaac eventually came out about his vibe to his brother, who did not share Isaac's shame and immediately shared his own vibe. While Isaac could mask his injuries, William healed extraordinarily fast. Where Isaac could move harm between people, William could temporarily move wellbeing to improve another's health and senses. They experimented to learn more, but kept their abilities private so as to avoid faction attention. Neither had interest in choosing sides.
Five rough years of rebuilding passed, and Isaac was able to seek out some former friends still living in the Grey District. He scrapped by, focusing on self-education and earning a living through music performance, but he did find Ardette, whom he hadn't seen since the early days post V-day. Through collecting music resources to further his main source of income he also built a friendship with Mr. Tobias.
The brothers lost their father late-winter that year, at the hands of a bandito ...and no-one even cared. The island moved on. Isaac unraveled a little as the work to keep ends met only became harder. He fell out of touch with several friends. Got in far better touch with his vibe - it had been William's suggestion they rent out their healing/harming services for profit. Isaac still preferred anonymity while helping square district. And so the aliases started... as did healing faction members, collecting protection rackets, cross-faction trafficking, and eventually drug abuse. Isaac hid the worst job details from his brother, though both knew they couldn't fool one another for long. Times were bad.
Dance Wars to Present
When the Dance War erupted - Brothers 'Weal' and 'Woe' fought side by side to keep squares out of danger. In the chaos, they were overwhelmed by a mix of vibe users, some toxic, and separated by the resultant destruction.
Isaac assumed William was dead, though he pushed his wound-taking abilities to their limits trying to reach out and stop this. He had no way of knowing if he'd succeeded before he had to flee, but his brother's ability to regenerate meant the possibility remained. He hid for the remainder of the dance war, too injured to risk more fights. Once the fires burnt out, he was unable to locate any signs of his brother: no demise, no survival, no closure. And so, Isaac took on one more alias - William Cross.
He does not recollect much of the intervening years between then and present day. He knows he did a lot of bad, a lot of selfish, and a lot of drugs in between. He spent most of his addled time looking for any information as to his brother's fate. No luck.
By the time he ran out of drugs/favours and resorted to Funk Mafia's front doorstep, Cross's vibe had changed him further, unfairly. It's hard to remain a saint when your power is hurt and your family's gone. Perhaps there were FM leads who knew he'd died - maybe his brother was working in territory he did not have previous access to. Or so he told himself; the hunt for closure was mostly out of old habit, and a way for him to make the pursuit of pain and pleasure seem a little more justified. So he threw himself into the faction life recklessly. For the first time in years, he had a legit job and a consistent place to sleep. It wouldn't have mattered what faction he'd been in.
The destruction of Eclipse was a wake-up call that the Funk Mafia was not as stable a faction as it used to be. He'd made new friends, and was losing them despite the safety of FM. It marked Cross's decision to sober up and walk out on the Funk Mafia. The Don left shortly after that, leaving a power vacuum likely to cause inter-faction fights. Cross intends to refuse should he be asked to pick a side within a side. Let them say their threats if they must.
He is content with being forgotten. A faction never wastes time on those they forget.
Since the Flares
A lot. Except for the massive sum of money and a home in square district, Cross still has difficulty believing "the Flares" even happened. He chooses not to dwell on it much, as he is out of contact with most of the people in FM these days. The money itself was quietly donated to a one Mr. Tobias - under the conditions that he 1) open up the neutral club he's always dreamed of, 2) hire Cross on as a pianist, and 3) the source of the money be listed as an 'anonymous patron' as per typical faction behaviour, leaving Cross with no ownership ties whatsoever to the club. He likes to think the original William, would have found this a better use of his talents than working for FM.
It's been a decent way to reconnect with the square community, keep an eye on other faction friends, and try to clean up his life. Theoretically he could also keep an ear to the tracks for any gossip of a lookalike - people knew his brother too, so perhaps someone will confirm his passing away.
Cross is terrible. He's a good man in there somewhere, but it's a bit lost in a fog of self-defined morality that rubs some folks the wrong way (if he isn't rubbing them himself). He's sharp when he's lucid - given his penchant for alcohol that most distilleries would liken to winning the lottery, he's not lucid often. He rolls with his weirdness and takes pleasure in just watching people's reactions to it. This doesn't mean he's not crafty or intelligent - he just doesn't bother acting like it most of the time.
The Good Man is finally getting some time outdoors now that the alcohol isn't drowning him out, and it's confusing everyone. Especially Cross. He didn't think he could sober up and stay like this for long. It's been an absolutely horrible ride, being aware of all the bullshit he's done over the years, but he also kind of welcomes the opportunity for others to throw stones. Fair game. A sense of closure. Everybody wins.
He's used his wild-child persona so much over the years, it's as much a part of him now as his more private pre-vibe nature. Hard to say where the lines were, his vibe has blurred much.
Dance \ Vibe styleEdit
Discofox, tap dance, tectonik (when hes drunk), and jumpstyle, all of which he blends into quirky hybrids, tap at the forefront. These are his favourites and build vibe fastest. He can work slower dances like classic waltz, but on their own he finds them poor for combat needs. Time with the Mafia has improved them a little. Cross is an absolute piece of shit at shuffling and it's hilarious. Laugh at him if you get the opportunity.
His vibe ability is the manipulation of damage and pain. Between himself and another, to anywhere on the body, so long as equivalence is maintained. Much of his focus has been spent mastering 'masking' his injuries. This allows him a hidden weapon in combat. Though dangerous, he is much more likely to take on injuries from teammates at his own risk, since his risk is comparatively minimal.
His main limitation is distance - Cross needs proximity to transfer damage cheaply (body contact is best, clothes don't impede). The more distance, the more likely he is to run out of vibe, leaving himself unable to mask injury and thus vulnerable. He will not overextend like this unless absolutely necessary.
Masked wounds don't heal, being paused and hidden away as if nonexistant. It costs him surprisingly little. To him it is as automatic as breathing, though he can willfully relax it to allow certain wounds to reappear and thus heal normally. It allows him to micromanage injuries over time without putting himself in danger. Masking responds to new injuries like an adrenaline surge - while the delay is minimal, certain vibes may do their harm before it kicks in. He can mask others, but it's not nearly as efficient as taking their injuries on as his own.
Cross manipulates damage like currency. It's an inexact science: at its simplest he can pool small injuries together, or break a life-threatening wound into a very wide swath of equivalent bruises. Like breaking a dollar into pennies, one's body can quickly run out of space for this trick.This costs Cross little when it's within one person. Damage transfer between people is the more expensive functions of his vibe, to the point where it becomes inefficient to attempt at distances exceeding five feet.
Cross hasn't solved why, but moving damage to someone's brain is incredibly difficult to do. It feels as if they're very far away. His current theory is that vibe and mind might be closely linked, so perhaps he is fighting against their vibe in addition to the quantities being moved. Destructive harmonics, if you will.
Pain can be one of the cheapest uses of Cross's vibe pool, enough that he can transfer it to an opponent even at some distance. The greater the pain however, the greater the cost. 20-25 feet seems to be the threshold where it again becomes too difficult. His opponent experiences pain so long as Cross focuses - it is not permanent like damage. Cross can temporarily 'steal' pain in this fashion too. Cross can only give pain so as long as he is hurt - masked or not. He can never give pain exceeding his injuries, so the less you injure him, the less horrible this ability is.
Unfortunately, he self-harms as a pleasurable work-around to this dilemma.
Don't force him into a Dr. vendy while he's masking his injuries, especially if he has enough that revealing all of them would prove hazardous. His vibe bleeds itself dry attempting to deal with both masking and the vendy's invasive efforts. It leaves him very dull feeling. Sick, if he had a lot of vibe or injuries.
The idea of being put in a vendy while masking a fatal wound terrifies him. He has no idea if his vibe, the Dr vendy, or the injury would win that race.
A good rule of thumb is if his vibe's gold colour is showing up in his eyes, mouth, and over injuries even when idle, he's severely injured. Let him unmask things in portions if you want to heal him. Theoretically he could do this in vendies too, but their cred-dependent settings tend not to wait for him.
A better rule of thumb is don't fuck with Cross's god damn health, he'll do it himself.
Claud - A complete square and that's honesly what Cross needs more of in his life. It's been nice getting to know him again now that Cross is sober and semi-functional, and not just a passed-out fixture at Claud's old apartment. Cross is surprised the guy would even open up after that shit time in both of their lives. Not that he can remember much of before.
Frankie - Okay I get that you're competent and have one of the more potentially dangerous vibe save for... y'know, never mind. You help run the show, you drink as hard as I do. Used to? Why judge. Seen as much change as I have it's no wonder you used to be so hair-trigger with me. Heh. Good luck running the Funk Mafia, my guy. Yikes.
Jack- You are so beautiful and innocent - and don't appear to understand just what that implies in a world with people like me. It's a good disguise, it really is. Of course, Frankie would kill me if I tried anything. But he's tried to kill me for less so meh. Good luck with FM.
Mr. Brown - Who? Haha no, I'm glad Remi's still got a friend left, purple or not. Either way he keeps up the tradition of not liking my face, and I'm cool with that. Also cool with accepting money in exchange for punching said face. Good sparring gig.
Dustin- Damn good dancer and you know what to do when shit gets bad. Still can't decide whether you're bi or just really nice. I clearly have too much time on my hands playing these guessing games. Kinda wonder how you're doing now that I've ditched purple club.
Shandrel - I hope your disappearance is to seek safety, though I assume the worst. I am tired of losing people to this fucking bullshit island. Bullshit Island needs to stop eating healers for breakfast. God I need to get out of here.
Sweet - Fun guy and another pacifist, huh
GoggleZ - A friend of a friend is friend enough for Cross. Didn't stop me from fucking it up pretty bad though. I mean, I'm square now but you can still come gutpunch me if you want I won't consider it a hate crime.
Yuki - Oh my God you are so fun to mess with when we aren't stepping over the line. Sorry. Fuck, I will kick your teeth if you call me skittlefountain though. Seriously. We should get drinks some time when I'm off work at Rubix. I promise I'm not nearly so much of an ass these days.
Ardette - I am sorry I'm not actually dead. I'll fix things if I can but you're welcome to shut me out anyway. Making smart choices was never my strong suit.
William - I'm sorry. I'm sorry I stole your name, I'm sorry I did shit you never wanted us to. I stuck my neck out and I got involved. I'm sorry I wasn't fast enough to get you out of that mess. I'm sorry about dad. That one isn't even my fault. I still feel like shit over this. Sorry about mom, too. Written you off as dead because it's easier, not because I believe it. I know your vibe. Knew. Fuck. I know that stacked the odds in your favour. Can't take the risk hoping any more. I'm tired of being wrong and losing someone. Wow this got darker than I meant for it to.
Cross took royal conservatory piano for many years in his youth, and has since picked up skills with other instruments. The only one that he comes close to in his skill on piano is the trumpet - his is silver.
Cross cannot mask while unconscious. Cross can be left terrifyingly vulnerable when he's asleep.
He has a scar on his left hip from damage he stole during that toxic encounter during the dance wars. He originally started drinking to numb that. It's taken this many years to heal up. It's pattern is like that of a shattered glass window.
He gets regular nosebleeds. Snorting fonk probably didn't help but he's always had them.
His vibe has changed his perception of pain. Long-lasting suffering wears on him the same, but most quick accidents and especially masked wounds, just leave a living buzz he's grown really appreciative of. He still considers it pain, but his new tolerance for it is distressing.
Cross likes naming things. A lot. His music player is Fabio, his trumpet Drianna, acoustic guitar Matilda, his Eclipse uniform's helmet Guy, and his rubber mafioso duck, Clancey. His phones are Major Tom and (mein handy) Dandy. May Rosa rest in peace, that lovely, lovely piano.