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Name: Doctor Allison Miranda Gaither
Aliases: Doctor Gaither, Al (by Frank), Gator (by Vita)
Age: 29-(2033, Grorn's discovery), 31-(2035, Chicago Incident)
Alignment: Neutral Good
Occupation: Field Enigmologist, Enigma Analyst (Post-Chicago Incident)
Related Mecha & Kaiju: None
-Smart Glasses: Allison's glasses do more than aid her farsightedness, they also provide computational assistance while out in the field thanks to a satellite uplink.
Dedication: Allison has an unusually strong work ethic, though many have referred to it as work hard-assery. She is keenly focused and able to complete many tasks in a fraction of the time one usually could. It makes her a bit difficult to work with, not everyone can keep up with her and she doesn't enjoy slowing down, but it allowed her to graduate her advanced collegiate studies in 1/2 of the projected time and made her a highly useful field worker for UNDER. She studies all possible angles within reach and often considers possibilities most researchers won't, which is why she does so well in a field that often defies normalcy.
Doctorate in Enigma Studies: One of the first full fledged graduates of this new field, Allison is as close to an expert on the properties of this impossible substance as it gets.
Zero Tolerance Policy: Though it has softened in recent years, Allison was infamous as an 'ice queen' for many years at work, known for her brusque refusal to work with anyone that couldn't keep up with her processing speed. This was not out of dislike for the person in question, rather an enforcement of her own workaholic nature failing to see the logic in slowing down to explain something she finds simple to someone else.
Love/Hate Relationships: Allison is a woman of many contradictions. She loves Enigma studies but hates getting into the range of a kaiju or any sort of mutated organism, where the substance can usually be found. She loves being able to work at her own speed but also hates working alone. This makes her seem moody and difficult to get along with, and it often takes a great deal of effort and energy to get her to lighten up around someone. Energy she would usually rather focus elsewhere.
Workaholic: Allison's dedication is often taken too far, working far past healthy limits and forgoing things like food and sleep in pursuit of desired answers.
Kaijuphobia: After several near death experiences at the claws of kaiju, such as Phadron and the Wendigo, Allison has developed an intense fear of getting anywhere close to a kaiju again. She keeps this fact to herself, with only Paul and Horvath knowing, though largely not by choice. Nightmares have been less intense since taking advice from Paul. This fear also extends to others, people she knows can often tell if she cares about them by how much she reacts to hearing they're going into kaiju territory. She has been seeking therapy for this since the Wendigo attack, and has been achieving some positive results.
High blood pressure: A genetic issue she is medicating for, Allison has a family history of heart problems. Stresses from work have not helped this, but in later years she would begin to seek remedies and achieved a healthier state of mind and body.
Farsighted: Allison requires corrective lenses to see clearly, a consequence of long hours of overuse studying and working. She doesn't really feel bothered by it, but wearing contacts is a nonstarter for her unless absolutely necessary.
Personality: Allison is, in a word, brusque. She is highly self-motivated, driven by a deep seated desire to understand the weird new world around her. But she often gets bogged down by her own tendencies to overthink and overwork, combined with a complete lack of ability to separate work and play. And, as a coup de grace, she has a tendency to vent her frustrations out onto others, no matter how deserving of it they may or may not be.
She was primarily raised by a single, blue collar father who both praised her academic prowess and never challenged her anti-social behavior, her capacity for emotional depth and sharing said depth are both in need of work. As such, she's developed a reputation of sorts among co-workers as a defense mechanism-laden ice queen. This is furthered by her lack of patience for having to explain things more than once. When working, she feels the need to be at her best, and if another is incapable of matching said best, then they are better off apart.
But in reality, as her continued working relationship with her complete opposite platonic soulmate Frank Womack demonstrates, there is much more to her than meets the eye.
Introverted and possessing a well honed wit, Allison is usually found by herself when she has the option, whether that's in a lab or out in the field. That said, her reputation often leaves her alone even when she doesn't want to be, and despite her best efforts to conceal, that hurts her a lot. She does, deep down, enjoy people. Meeting and befriending them can come quite naturally, she just lacks patience for coddling them and has no desire to teach.
Fortunately, recent years have been kinder to her, a new job with much people that operate at her level and a less stressful environment have worked wonders on her, and now she is known to smile and laugh far more often than before and has quite a few people she can call a friend.
All this said, she is still a pragmatic introvert, preferring comfy clothes with form taking a back seat to function. Her lab coat is a frequent mainstay of her wardrobe, but underneath is usually a modest tank top, loose-waisted khakis and, if she can get away with it, open toed shoes or even slippers. Also, when fully relaxed, you see that deep down she is an enormous dork with a surprisingly in-depth knowledge of several 'geek' fields, though she rarely speaks out about this, as Frank would then learn, and then EVERYONE would.
History: Allison Gaither was born in a small South Carolina town in 2004, growing up in a small farmhouse with a large amount of acres. Her father, Roger Gaither, was a quintessential salt of the earth type, working at a small local factory as a maintenance man. Her mother, Terri Leeds, an american literature professor at the local college that dreamed of more than the small town she was ‘trapped’ in, played a minuscule part of her upbringing, sending money and the occasional birthday card every 3 years or so, rarely close to her actual birthday. She never learned their story from her father, and rarely broached the subject. It didn’t take much to know it was painful for him.
Her father tried his best to raise her alone, playing the role of emotional support and authority figure surprisingly well when it counted. But frequently having to work overtime hours meant he could only do so much. At first she was an outgoing child, playing out in the massive backyard and catching bugs in mason jars, but after she started schooling, where she was bullied for her lack of ‘traditionally feminine attributes’, she retreated inward. She began reading every book she could find, and learned things far beyond her level at a speed that, had she the confidence to speak up when young, might have allowed her to skip grades. Her teen years were slightly kinder, making a small handful of friends and learning to help her father around the house made them closer too.
Then her life took a turn for the worse. Her father was in a terrible accident at work when she was 18. Enigma technology had entered the playing field of the workforce, and the company he worked for had replaced their old parts with new enigma powered ones to keep up with the competition. Her father researched and learned with the best of them, becoming a qualified enigma engineer and keeping his old job, but that didn't change the simple truth. Enigma, brand new to the world then, was nigh impossible to predict. There was a reaction at the factory, cause unknown. A small fire broke out while he was inside of the power cell, attempting to make repairs. His body was horribly burned, and despite the best efforts of medical professionals, he died within a week. It was this event that led her down the path of studying enigma for a living, to prevent this from ever happening to someone else.
Years passed like a blur. Allison entered university, putting her fierce intelligence to good use and never stopping to look up and watch the world change around her. She graduated with honors, eventually becoming a full fledged Enigmologist, one of the first generation of graduates in the field. She made no friends at this time, but attracted a fair bit of attention in the academic world for her thesis about enigma effects on topsoil microbiomes. Many wondered what this reclusive wunderkind would do once finished with her studies, but in the end her career move surprised every one of them.
She could have worked for anyone she wanted in the industry, massive companies practically begged to have her on payroll, but she instead chose to work for the humble, underfunded american government bureau, the Unified National Department of Enigma Research. UNDER for short. Once there, she got to business immediately, developing a reputation as their toughest, and least personable, employee. She would go after any potential enigma startup with a merciless zeal, finding every possible reason to prevent them from building another refinery or harvest from a particular place, often drawing many complaints, most notably at the co-workers that were required to work with her. To say she was unpopular was an understatement, but after school, nothing about that phased her. Many rumors about her went around, from her dead parents to even tall tales about her sexual preferences making her so difficult. None of this phased her.
Of course, one rule of working in UNDER vexed her greatly. To reduce risk of mistakes, any evaluating agent cannot work alone. The problem was, no one in the department was half as qualified as she was, and she made sure they knew that. She had no patience for the inexperienced, which felt like she was teaching an intern rather than working with a colleague. Until, that is, a fated encounter happened one day outside of Detroit, when a colorful RV pulled up at the site she was working at, and openly corrected an assessment she was doing with details even she had failed to consider. Frank Womack, an intellectual equal but exact opposite in near every other way, entered her life. He was hired on at her recommendation.
Their service together in UNDER lasted the better part of five years, Frank more than capable of matching her wit but often going so far beyond her into unnecessary territory that it created a whole new kind of stress she didn't know she could experience. But even their tenure came to an end. Right as another event began.
History likes to give the first kaiju discovery to Kyra Scott. But few know that the first unconfirmed sighting belonged to her and Frank, who witnessed the awakening of Grorn in Miami days before Asag's immortalized rampage. Events after that were never quite the same, Frank growing ever more intense in his desire to understand kaiju while Allison just wanted to go back to what she had before. They temporarily separated after the events at the Hadron Collider, reuniting briefly for an expedition into Appalachia, which ended with Frank nearly killed and eaten by a wendigo and Allison so shaken she couldn't bring herself to even say goodbye as she left Frank behind in search of an escape. Then, of course, came Horvath, and everything changed again...
"Welcome back, Hatchett!" Captain Horvath shouted, salty wind whipping at his thinning dark hair. The weather outside of Site Argus was clear, with blue skies and gulls cavorting about. A rare sight. "Not too bad a flight, using our multi-million dollar experimental aircraft just to pick up mail deliveries?" The red haired pilot lowered his shades as he advanced down the catwalk, Harpy engine settling down behind him, a wisecracking smile beginning to form.
"You came out here just to see little old me?" Hatchett said, "Here I thought somebody died! Wait, nobody died, did they?" Horvath smirked just long enough to put the man on edge.
"Why wouldn't I come out? The weather's fine! It's practically non-arctic out here! So, anything interesting from the mainland?" Hatchett shrugged, whipping out a selection of various envelopes and boxes. One in particular he held aloft. "You know," Hatchett started, "when I took this job, I never once imagined junk mail would follow me all the way out here, but wouldn't you know it? It has. Congratulations, Captain, you are officially a sweepstakes winner!" Horvath gasped, grabbing the envelope. "My favorite! You know me so well! Immah go frame this shit! They somehow even got my address!"
"You might wanna wait on that for a second, Captain! I've got a big one back in the cab. And you'll never guess who its for!"
Back in Horvath's office, the pair regarded the mystery package. A large cardboard box, way too big to have been cheap, with a simple name sloppily written in black sharpie. "Allison Gaither. Didn't even include the Doctor bit." Hatchett mumbled. Horvath gazed at the box, feeling a great deal of retroactive sympathy for Pandora. There was no return address, and it rattled around something fierce when shaken. It was as though every christmas he'd ever had were forgotten.
"She's on her way back from Borneo right now," Hatchett continued, "Should be back soon. Want me to take it to her room?" Horvath continued to stare silently.
"Whatcha thinking, Captain?" Hatchett inquired. Horvath stroked his scarred chin, false eye flashing. "You know, it's funny. Despite all of my valiant efforts, I know little more about our good Doctor than what can be found on paper. I have facts and figures concerning her life and history, but little else. Do you know how much that vexes a man like me?"
"A great deal, I'd wager." Hatchett said, nudging and winking. Horvath cleared his throat and said, "Well, considering how little we know, and the mysterious circumstances of this box's arrival and lack of guarantees about its safety, I suppose we have no choice but to... inspect it. It might be a bomb or anthrax or something! I don't want Doctor Gaither's life on my hands because of some silly notions of privacy!"
"Yes, anthrax. We have to check for that." Nodding in tandem, Horvath whipped out a knife and slowly reached for the box, prepared to sate his curiosity. As the tip of the blade made contact, the door swung open.
"Horvath, have you see-" came the voice of Lieutenant Vita Wells, who took one look at the situation and knew exactly what was happening. Her eyebrows dropped an inch.
"Tell me that package is yours."
"Well," Horvath said, rolling his good eye, "Technically this whole platform is mine, so..."
"Give it to me." Vita demanded. Horvath, knowing a lost battle, relented and stepped back. The lieutenant, barely able to see over the top of the large box, lifted it up with ease, checking the name. "You're going through Gator's mail now? What did she do, take the last clean bowl at breakfast?"
"Actually, Odd did that," Horvath said, "She's going through a phase." The attempt at humor did not dampen his second in command's baleful glare. Without a word, she hoisted up the package and headed to the door, shutting it with her foot. Left alone, the pair glanced at each other.
"Wanna go through everyone else's mail instead?"
Vita made her way half-blindly down the winding, clear walled corridors of Site Argus, face warmly lit by the bright sun outside, filling her with energy. The package was large and unwieldy, covered in different kinds of packing tape, and clattered like broken glass with every step. It was so large she had to stop and swerve around anyone headed the opposite way, turning each encounter into a large, awkward ordeal.
"Gator I swear if there's something stupid and pointless in here..." she growled after the ninth such pass. Rounding another corner and heading into the residential ward of the complex, she nearly bumped into a familiar, well-aged face.
"Dear me, my apologies, Mistress Wells," came the sonorous voice of Oliver as he jumped backwards out of her way. She only grunted in assent as she stepped past him into the first common area, which resembled a fountain lobby you'd find in any average midwestern shopping mall. She hated how that pious old man referred to her, but she had learned over the last several months that there was no talking him out of his honorific way of speaking. And unlike most people who broke her rule, he could actually defend himself.
"Are you faring well? That parcel seems rather unwieldy," the old knight said, turning around and pacing behind her. Looking back, she could see the man was shirtless, and his impossibly shredded abs were at eye level. Normally a cause for delight, this only made her uncomfortable.
"I'm busy, Oliver," Vita huffed as she continued, but Oliver followed behind like an anxious parent waiting for their child to drop their ice cream. "Why are you following me?"
"I was going to inquire about something once you were finished carrying that," Oliver explained. "But it can wait until you are finished. Would it go faster if I carried it?"
"Okay," Vita said, dropping the package flat onto the floor and turning around, "You clearly don't know a sign when you see one, old man. Does it look like I'm having a hard time? And why are you walking around half naked?" This last statement came out without a thought. Oliver had clearly been training, his long silver hair was tied back and his only attire was a pair of athletic shorts and a damp towel around his neck. To her frustration, even his sweat smelled incredible.
"I... may require your aid, Mistress Wells. I'm afraid I am locked out of my quarters again." Vita sighed long and hard, everything starting to make sense.
"I've told you, its biometric, you old fart," Vita grumbled. "Just put your hand on the knob."
"I have. It did not work. The machinery of this time is... fascinating, to say the least. If you could aid me, I would be forever in your debt." The sequel to Vita's sigh was even longer than the first. "Can't you ask anyone else? Horvath is-"
"Not answering me at the moment," Oliver interrupted. "Master Paul is away, taking part in the Chicago search and rescue operations with Lady Morowitz, Master Frank is nowhere to be found, and Master Friesen is at his cousin's wedding ceremony. You are my final hope." Vita went silent, face twisting in barely contained frustration. Reaching down and grabbing the package, she motioned for Oliver to go. "If you just used the wrong hand again, I will find a way to end you." She mumbled.
Turns out, there was a serious glitch in the coding of Oliver's doorway. It took hours of oversight, even a visit from Head Engineer Dino Laramie, to get it working again. All to Vita's ever growing chagrin.
"Is there anything else, Oliver?" she politely inquired with her bright teeth bared. The old knight shook his head, stepping inside. Moments later, he emerged in plain civilian clothing. "Much better," he said. "Now I must abscond to the kitchens, this business has left me in need of a morsel or two. A thousand thanks!"
Vita couldn't bring herself to say anything out loud, at risk of trying to kill an unkillable man. "He... just wanted to change clothes? That's fucking..." she mumbled as she stepped back over to the package. Her frustrations were boiling, and the package, as close to a source for it as she was gonna get, was starting to look mighty tempting. "Its probably just some of her old files or some shit... but I dunno. Maybe..." she said as she glanced slyly around. "Dammit, after all this, I need something to make up for it. I'll just drop it off in her room after I check. I'll just say Frank did it. Or Odd. This is research! I don't know that much about Gator besides what she's told me!"
"And what have I told you?" Came a brusque voice behind her. Vita nearly jumped, in all of her frustration she hadn't taken into account what time it was. Allison had returned. "Heh, yo Gator..." Vita started, "How was Borneo? See anything?"
"It was riveting, Vita. I felt like I was back at work again, doing what I love in relative safety, putting that doctorate to good use. But, riveting as it was, its not nearly as riveting as what I heard come out of your mouth just now." Without a word, Allison grabbed the package, Vita nearly reaching to take it back on impulse. Allison's eyes brightened in recognition as she hoisted it up, but the expression quickly faded as she turned around and scurried off down the hall without a word.
"Come on Gator, I've had a long day! What's in the box?" Vita shouted after her. Allison did not look back as she responded. "Oh no, this is for my eyes only! And after this, it's probably gonna stay that way! I would expect this kind of breach of privacy from the captain, but from you? For shame. Later, Vita."
The Lieutenant, left alone, decided to forego her plans and head to the gym. She needed something to stab.
Allison shut the door of her room behind her, locking it firmly and propping it with a chair. After that stunt earlier, she doubted anyone would have pure intentions coming to her now.
"Dammit, it was supposed to come next week..." the scientist muttered, eyeing the box. "Stupid Liz... I had no time to prepare, and they nearly saw. Ah well, at least I have something to do tonight." Sitting down on her knees after retrieving a pair of scissors, she deftly sliced open the top of the box. A familiar, musty smell wafted out, bringing back memories of a completely different time of her life. She glanced down into the container, a rare smile creeping on her tired face. "Hello again, old friend."
"Whatcha got Al?" Came the familiar voice of Frank, slipping out from under her bedsheets and surprising her enough to scream. Jumping back and flailing, Allison knocked over the package, spilling out its content. She stared at her former partner, brown hair askew and drool on his cheek.
"H-how... Frank... WHY?" was the best she could stammer out. Stretching, he stepped out of bed, prosthetic leg glowing. She glanced down at the new appendage in shock, anger beginning to fade at the sight. "W-hen did..."
"Awesome, isn't it?" her former partner goaded, lifting the false limb up and wiggling it about. "I just got back with it two days ago. It works like a dream. I heard you were coming back today and waited here to surprise you with it, and I... guess I fell asleep. In your bed. And made a mess of the place." Smiling sheepishly, Frank put a hand to the back of his head. "Sorry about that, Al. We've only been back together for a couple of months and I'm already screwing things up again."
"N-no, it's okay." Allison sighed, a smile starting to show. "It looks nice. I can see why you wanted to surprise me. Now if you don't mind can you-"
"Whoa, what is THIS?" Allison's face went deathly pale. Looking down, she could see that her earlier outburst had knocked over the box, and to her horror the contents had spilled out. All of them.
"Is... this... a PS3?" Frank said, eyes glowing as he lifted an archaic piece of black plastic up to eye level. "Dude, I haven't seen one of these since I was a wee bairn. Vintage! And so many games! Are these yours????"
"Uh...um..." Her brain was reeling at a million miles a second. He'd seen them. He'd seen all of them. There was no going back. Her life and credibility were over. She'd never hear the end of it now. She could already hear Horvath's mocking words. Her senses returned as she saw Frank sitting down on the warm carpet, rifling through the things and stacking them up.
"Don't!" Allison shouted as she reached down, taking the device out of her old partner's grasp and clutching it close. Frank eyed her like a confused puppy. "I'm just stacking them all up, Al. I'm not gonna hurt anything."
"This stuff is twenty years old, Frank, you can't just-"
"So it IS yours! Wow, I am seeing you in a whole new light, Al!" Her face turned beet red at his words. Looking away, she stammered out, "Y-yeah, well what of it? I can be interested in other things."
"I wish you'd told me earlier! This opens up at least, like, thirteen other avenues of discussion between us!"
"That's precisely why I didn't, FRANK. You'd tell everyone and I'd never hear the end of it! Ever again!" Frank's confused face returned. "So?" he asked. "That's never bothered you before. Hipple, Al, this is very unlike you."
"Its... my sister was holding on to it. Now that I have a more permanent home, she... said she was gonna send them to me. Taking up space in her attic. I don't really have a need for any of it, but... you know? I figured it wouldn't hurt to look through it before I threw it all out."
"Why would you throw any of this out? It's fantastic!" Frank nodded, sticking his arm deeper into the box and pulling out a large black sweatshirt with N7 on it. "Yeesh, your sister really does not know how to pack things. Oh hey, Mass Effect! Nice! My parents wouldn't let me play that one as a kid 'cuz it had bisexuality in it. Shows what they knew, huh?"
Allison's guard softened slightly at how... open Frank was being. Not one of these objects, pieces of her old life, were things she wanted to show to most people. It was hard enough working in a world that didn't allow her the benefit of the doubt. "Well, I might keep some of it, now that I think about it. For nostalgia, you know? I can't be that bothered by it."
"Right, of course. I... UNDERstand." Frank said with a sly wink. He reached deeper into the box. He pulled out a single game box which was still in the shrinkwrap. "Mass Effect Trilogy collection... Huh... I'm seeing a pattern here."
"My mom got that for me when I was 10," Allison said with a laugh, taking it from Frank's hands. "She didn't know I already had all three. But what else is new, right?"
"Which one in the series is Andromeda? I got to play that one a little in college. It was pretty fun!" Allison's face went deathly still as Frank's words sank in.
"Oh, you poor uninformed child..." she whispered. Without a word, she grabbed the game system and paced over to the TV on her dresser, cords dragging behind her. Several minutes of fumbling around followed. "You okay, Al?" Frank asked, standing to his new feet. "Need any help?"
"The only one in need of help here is you, Frank." the scientist said as she leaned back, checking over her handiwork as the old system flared to life. "Yes, it works!" she softly cheered.
"Man, its so vintage looking it hurts!" Frank said as the old startup screen came up. "But why are you-?"
"Frank, I cannot in good conscience allow such a crime against humanity to go unanswered." She ripped open the wrap on the trilogy boxset, slipping the first disc inside. Frank tilted his head, looking back at the door. "I don't know what you mean, Al..."
"Just shut up and grab the controller."
"Whoa, this Rex guy is great! No match for the Rex we know, though!" Frank said as he fumbled through the controls, seated on the floor. The old playstation, despite years of wear and a severe need for cleaning, was running like a dream. Allison, sitting next to him, checked her watch and was shocked to see it was nearly midnight. "It's Wrex, Frank. With a 'W'. Try to be nice to him, the whole series sucks balls if you don't."
"Geez, no pressure! How can I tell if he likes me or not! Old games don't have the kind of gauges we do now and he's so brusque!"
"You're doing fine, Frank. Its a shame my old laptop no longer works, its better on the PC. They couldn't patch Pinnacle Station into the PS version and 2's console controls were shit. Its almost disgusting, your first time is supposed to be special."
"Say what you will, Al, but I'm enjoying it! If you still want to get rid of this, I'll take it off your hands!" Allison laughed, longer and harder than she had in years. This drew another incredulous look from Frank. "You okay, Al?" he asked. Yawning, the smaller doctor rested her head on his shoulder, eyes drooping.
"Just let me have this, Frank."
March 15th, 2033: Grorn awakens, Allison and Frank are the only witnesses. She tries to forget it happened.April 17th, 2034: The Hadron Collider Incident. Allison and Frank barely survive the arrival of Phadron, who is defeated by Grorn. She volunteers for desk work afterwards, surprising everyone.
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