Smoking Mirrors

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These birds don't have to see Gordon Freeman yet. It's not time. (Art by The Angry Messiah)
Smoking Mirrors
Player: @Oak
Origin: Mutation
Archetype: Controller
Security Level: 50
Personal Data
Real Name: Maxwell Wesley James
Known Aliases: Smokey, Max, Jedi, Smoking Marrows
Species: Human
Age: 20 (March 4, 1991)
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 175 lbs.
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Brown
Biographical Data
Nationality: American citizen
Occupation: College student
Place of Birth: Montgomery, Alabama
Base of Operations: Steel Canyon
Marital Status: Dating Bladehart.
Known Relatives: Relatives back home along with recently discovered family member Kara James (Lady Siege) and her immediate family
Known Powers
Known Abilities
Psionic communication, telekinesis, vague thought and impulse manipulation, biokinesis
One deck of playing cards, several small mirrors, dice, armor (light), clipboard
Magical in origin in game, but I can't change that.

You see that picture? The drawn one to the left? That's done by MrMartial




Maxwell James comes from a quiet home and a relatively peaceful family in Montgomery, Alabama. The boy seemed to enjoy all the things an average American boy likes in his youth, but around the age of thirteen he began to show typical signs of developing psychic powers. Outcast by his friends, he was only sent to school until his teachers found out about his powers, taking his academic success as a misuse of his powers to cheat on tests. He was expelled from school and forced into home school. From there, he flew right through his studies, graduating at age sixteen and entering into college. In his years of homeschooling, Max lacked any real friends or social contact with those his own age, so he relied on training his psychic abilities, magic tricks, cooking, and the Internet to occupy his time and fill the void in his life.

After a single semester of college in Alabama, he was sent to Paragon City to begin study in the culinary arts, his cooking having become far more than a hobby. All by himself, the journey to Paragon City was far more than just a move to a new college. This idea was originally suggested by his father, hoping that in Paragon City his son could find friends more easily. The idea was finally embraced once Max realized he would get a chance to start anew. And so with a farewell to his family, he boarded the plane that would take him to what he hoped would be a better future.



Upon arriving in Paragon City, young Maxwell James found himself fairly alone. However, he remained upbeat about his situation, realizing that while he started out with less than he had, no amount of conformity can replace true opportunity. Under the guise of Smoking Mirrors, he set out to use his abilities to assist the citizens of crime-ridden neighborhoods. Though he successfully managed to assist other heroes in helping the innocent, he made no friends at first. He merely remained that quiet psychic that remained in the back. At least, until he ran into Dexter.

The Templars

It was aboard the Peregrine Island ferry where Maxwell met his first real friend, Dexter, the Bow-Slinger. Staring at him awkwardly, Smoking Mirrors was a tad shocked when the red-haired young man looked at him and asked who he was. So, Max introduced himself as Smoking Mirrors, the "master of psychokinesis and the culinary arts!" Dexter's proverbial ears perked up at the mention of cooking, and offered him a position in the Teen Templars. Max promptly asked if he could rephrase the question into one beginning with "Do you..." And so the question of whether or not he liked space stations and cute girls was answered with a hearty, "DO I EVER!"

Since then, he's been a member of the group, getting to know most if not all of the members and befriending the lot of them. He's even met some of his closest friends in the group. Even those he hasn't met in the group have been met through it. He'd do anything he could for the group, even if it's cooking pumpkin-based treats. Seriously, these people don't get enough pumpkin! Ever! Regardless, they're his friends and his team. He's proud to be a part and proud to have such great allies.


Depressed. Utterly sad and not speaking to a single one of his friends. Conditions had brought Max to keep to himself, even in the company of friends, and only speak to their minds. He was sitting in Pocket D near the arenas, staring at the floor while his friends talked about various things. Soon, a very tall, very pretty woman walked up and hung out with the kids. She seemed fairly shy at first, but warmed up to the group, Max aside (he still wasn't speaking.) She continued on talking and making friends with the kids.

At one point in conversation, Lunar Dusk used one of his Kheldian abilities, and Kara seemed to be genuinely saddened, if only for a brief moment. She shrugged it off and kept talking, but Max entered into her mind and began talking to her about what was wrong. He discovered that she'd recently lost her Kheldian counter-part, and began discussing it with her and wishing her the best.

Later, the two of them went somewhere else to talk, as he was depressed and she had troubles of her own. They traveled to a tall building, one of Max's favorites in Steel Canyon, and began to talk further. As they continued to talk, Max eventually began speaking verbally, dropping the mental communication altogether. He warmed up to the nice woman and began to call her Miss Kara. She told him just to use Kara, or if Miss anything, Miss James. Pausing for a moment, Max questioned her on her surname. She confirmed that James was indeed her last name, stating that it was fairly generic. He agreed, pointing out that it was his as well. They later checked the family tree and discovered that they were, in fact, related. Since then she had become his hero, his confidant, quite possibly his best friend, and so much more. He adored and admired her, wanting to do anything he could to make her life easier and brighter.

The Kara saga drew to a close when she departed for another dimension to help free the locals from their oppressive rule, leaving the young boy alone again in the world, armed only with the hope he would see her once again someday.



Max has various abilities based entirely around his mind. He has, in fact, taken to performing various everyday tasks with his mind to keep him sharp, though he makes certain to work on logic as well as his technique. Though he isn't as strong offensively as a good deal of psychics out there, but he makes up for it with control, his healing ability, and, occasionally, his logical thinking ability.

Several mental abilities other than affecting the physical world around him surfaced as well. For instance, Max has the ability, as do most psychics, to read minds and emotions, though he rarely does without permission, because he finds it to be rude.


Furthermore, Max has the ability to heal, or speed up the healing process of, his friends, allies, etc. Coming with that is the ability to energize them and help them focus on the task at hand should they need it. This includes offensive as well as defensive movements, and tends to increase general team efficiency and effectiveness greatly whenever he's around.


...What? How'd this get here? Ah well. Max is currently attending Paragon City University for a degree in the culinary arts. He enjoys cooking, and is quite talented in the kitchen. He enjoys everything from frying eggs to baking cakes, and almost, almost everything in between. Blech. Pumpkins.

His cooking ability eventually lead him to a conversation with fellow hero and cooking enthusiast Volo. After a bit of discussion, Volo decided that the two should have a cookoff, which hasn't happened yet, and that Max should be the first cook at Volo's Roadhouse. Not given much of a choice, Max more or less accepted, but whether or not the restaurant is built will be another story.


Suddenly finding himself alone, Max went through a time where he had nobody to turn to. His cousin was very upset with him thanks to the trickery of his Praetorian self. His best friend retaliated against the Praetorian duplicates, viciously attacking one and landing himself in Zigursky. All others whom he deemed trustworthy were either not around or busy with other things. He could find no consolation for his spirit, mind, or heart. Still a lost little boy in the world, he was used to being pushed around and occasionally even beaten up for his lack of actual power. He lived his life in a sea of desperation without any direction. Eventually, he was forced to move in with his Aunt and Uncle by Kara's brother, Johnny.

It was around this time that he began to look closer at the swords that Volo had bestowed upon him. Finally, he took up a katana and ninja blade and began training with them, doing what he could to look out for himself. As he grew more familiar with sword fighting, he gradually began using it more and more, even using it in the field for hero work. By the time he finally saw his cousin again, a few months later, he was fairly comfortable in using them, due mostly in part to practicing on the hordes of zombies invading at the time. Seeing her once more, they talked of the occurrences that lead to their time apart, though Kara was shy and did not talk much at first. Max answered her silence by telling her of how his life had been without her, and she hugged him close, crying. It did not strike the boy until later that he'd been given all the reason he needed to simply forgive her. He had officially seen her vulnerable, something he was beforehand not at all familiar with.

He moved on, his life returning to normal for the most part, though his experiences stayed with him, and his sword fighting continued on for some time.

He has since stopping using the swords, but never forgotten how. He's recently taken up teaching Bladehart to use his swords as well as her own sai.


Yet another pic by MrMartial. I can't get over how well he draws those eyes.

Soul Edge - Named by Volo for its dark texture and large, moving eyeball, this Rularuu Edge was the first sword Max was given. It is said that the blade is in fact alive, and will speak to the mind of its wielder and demands bloodshed, which would further explain the name. However, Max has heard it say nothing, though ever since he began to wield it, the eyes tend to move around a bit more frantically from time to time. Regardless it is a wonderful blade, and he takes good care of it.

Lyssa's Razor - Named for the Goddess Lyssa, this large, thick blade resembles something a pirate might use. It was the second sword given to him, paired with Soul Edge as Volo wanted to get as many swords away from his wife as he could before she murdered someone with them. Lyssa's Razor is a particularly shiny blade, with a fine crafted handle and hand guard recently customized to include the image of the goddess herself on the outside. The handle is, in fact, crafted of a magical focus that allows Max to use his psychic powers to produce telekinetic bullets and fire them at his foes, though they are nonlethal.

Alexander - A gilded longsword, this blade's namesake is Alexander the Great. Max acquired it from a collector, finding that the ability to color a blade gold without reducing its effectiveness, durability, or combat potential is an amazing feet indeed, and he cherishes and takes care of the blade just as he would one he himself made. The handle depicts in marble a Greek warrior raising his shield up high in triumph.

Xerxes - A gilded scimitar, this blade's namesake is the legendary Persian ruler Xerxes, as one might expect. Max acquired it from a magic shop, finding it to his liking despite it lacking any actual magical properties. Its handle is crafted of polished mahogany, a grip accommodating to the grip of a human hand.

Togo - A Japanese katana, Togo is the first sword Max ever wielded. It is named for Master Togo, famed for improving relations between the denizens of Cantha and the Tengu of the land. The sword is fairly run-of-the-mill for a katana, but it's been well taken care of. In its combination with Shiro, it represents the goodness of mankind and the hope for humanity yet. But that's a bunch of poetic crap.

Shiro - A ninja blade, Shiro was the second sword Max ever wielded. It is named for Shiro Tagachi, legendary assassin of the emperor of Cantha. It is a fairly simple sword for a ninja blade, but it is very well taken care of, shining as if it were new. In the combination with Togo, it represents the darkness in men's hearts and the assured destruction of the human race by its own hands. But that's a bunch of poetic crap.

The Twins - Still unnamed as of yet, the Twins are a set of blade handles with foci inside of them. With these in his hands, he's able to project psychic blades to be used in combat.

Miscellaneous... I guess?

Stand back, I'm from the Internet!

The Internet has always had quite an influence on Max's life in various ways. Being that he's read up on various topics and experienced many different fads, allowing him a broader understanding in many situations, plenty of jokes to keep himself amused, and, most notably, the source of his mental defenses. Furthermore, in his time on the Internet, Max has picked up the ability to speak H4x0r (A dialect of leet where nearly every letter is replaced instead of just vowels), earning him at least a few acquaintances within the Freakshow, though he doesn't spend a whole lot of time talking to them.

Being familiar with a lot of net fads, and therefore a lot of anime, videos, etc, Max will every now and again dress up in a costume having to do with such a fad. At one point he dressed up in a light brown trench and a black shirt and pants, recreating one of Rick Astley's outfits in the music video to "Never Gonna Give You Up." Later, Max took it upon himself to dress up as Matt from Death Note (If you watch the anime you won't see much of Matt, though the costume is based on the anime) after failing to make Ryuk and Mello. He's been seen with a squid on his head, dressed as the Spy from Team Fortress 2, and dressed in any and all manner of costumes when he gets bored.

Finally, after healing has taken its toll on Max, he'll often refer to random thought impulses and indulge odd questions and observations concerning the people, objects, and world around him. A few times he'll even fall back on things from his big Internet days to keep his mind occupied while he remains conscious to continue the fight. To some it may seem like he's lost his mind, but he's just occupying it. Maybe.

Final... Fantasy?

Max, being the huge nerd that he is, decided to start a game of Final Fantasy VI and name the characters after people he knows. Below is a list, mostly for reference, of characters and their names.


He could be seen around hangouts such as Pocket D, armed with a Gameboy DS (He curses that he got the DS Version due to the lack of the Vanish Doom Trick.) Though he gets into the game and enjoys his time playing it, as well as seemingly knowing it like the back of his hand, he will and has been known to save it and turn it off or at least pause it for a friend. Regardless, the game has definitely proven to keep him entertained when he's bored or lonesome, which was the point of the thing in the first place.

Social Links

After playing through Personas 3 and 4, Max did some looking into the major arcana of the tarot cards and imagining where the people he knew would fit into his social links. It frankly didn't take him very long to start sorting people based on what he knows about the major arcana. Given that, he put together a nifty chart!



Adam Walters - Adam Walters is crazy. Very crazy. Not that that's a bad thing. He seems dead set on the idea that Max is a jedi, and that he'll one day save Max from a sea monster in Cimerora. But, all in all, he's not intolerable like a few select people Max knows, so he's okay.

Advent Ace - Not entirely sure if he can consider him a friend, Max shares a mutual respect for Kenny after socking him in the face. They've even come so far as to have a friendly duel, which Max lost, but still managed to feel that he did well. Both fighters respected each other at the end of the fight, and Kenny even gave Max assertion lessons!

Ballistic - Recently, Max has gotten to know Vanya a lot better, especially after he manned up and asked her out on a date. He appreciates many things about her, from her intellect to her strength to her compassion. But it doesn't hurt one bit that she doesn't mind the Communist jokes. They've since gone their separate ways, but Max respects and appreciates her to this day.

Beachbreak - Well... You see, The Chad and Max have always been. Even before they knew, they were destined. The Chad is a great man, though a huge flirt. But that's alright. He's a brilliant strategist, and it's just insane what the mind of a surfer can do. Max has much respect for him.

Bladehart - Ronnie is a wonderful girl, even if she's self-conscious. Initially having met her only in passing, eventually he ran into a couple more times, but he never could've imagined she'd fall for him, or that they'd be happily dating. However, it's an extremely welcome surprise, and he's very, very glad to have her in his life.

Blase' - Amelia is a total nerd, but awesome for it. Having gotten over his crush on her, Max was happy to see her with Rich, and see the both of them happy. She's never been much one to take anybody's crap, and is usually quite nice, if a bit flaky at times. She's a great girl, and Max is glad to know her.

Boreal Diamond - Steph is actually a very cool girl. She likes her shoes a lot, which just means she takes care of them, and she's easy to talk to when hanging out. Max likes to tease her because she's easily embarassed, but if it came down to it, he'd likely side with her in many situations.

Bow-SIinger - Dexter is a really great guy. Let Max into the Teen Templars due to his ability to cook! He even tried to help Max with his crush, though unfortunately that didn't quite go as planned... Since then, Dex has been an inspiration, a leader, and a very close friend, guiding Max through most everything he'd had to go through and always being there for him and the rest of the Templars. All in all, Dex is a wonderful leader and a great guy. Max is sorry to see him retire, but understands he wishes to move on with his life.
Dexter, only not really. Art by MrMartial though I edited it.

Dragonine - Older than sin and a master of martial arts, Max had a large respect for Zihao. He saw him as a good ally and an easily approachable psuedo-mentor. Max Swanton Bombed him once. It was awesome.

Dusk-Hawk - David is an interesting person. Rich and weapon-obsessed, but positively shy around women. He is a superb combatant, and great to have on one's side in a conflict. Max respects him for all of his abilities, and thinks he's a great guy.

Elemental Envoy - Jinx is a very cool guy. Kind of quiet, not really familiar with emotions, but very funny (though maybe not on purpose), and quite a fine guy to talk to. Good head on his shoulders. He hasn't been around much, but Max still likes him.

Empyre - Devon made Max a scarf. Any doubt he had about her were immediately redeemed. She's a bit socially awkward, but that's half the fun. She's a sweet girl, and Sparky should stop giving her so much lip.

Fire-Burn - Jack is a pretty cool, down to Earth guy once you talk to him in a personal level. He can be pretty abrasive and let his emotions run away with him, but only because he's a caring guy and knows what he's got. He's probably dead. :(

Galaxy Shot - Claire is a very nice girl. She's a real sweetheart, even after what happened to her stepmom, who totally deserved it. She doesn't like cursing and gets shy and embarrassed as easy if not easier (if that's possible,) than David. She's a wonderful girl and a pleasure to be around.

Graff - Graff is easily one of the manliest people Max has ever met. He's always excited, always ready to go, and a superb swordsman. His drill will most certainly pierce the heavens. Max still gets awkward text messages from him on a daily basis, though none of them seem to make any sense.

Graffiti Samurai - GS is odd for certain. He has read nearly everything in a book, but the books he's read must be incredibly screwed up. They've got being a samurai all wrong. Nevertheless, he's a good man. A little too excited about things, maybe, but good. If Max finds the people hating on him, they're going to be very, very sorry.

Lady Siege - Kara was nice to Max even before they found out they were related. She's one of the sweetest people he can think of and he's glad to have had her in his life, especially since he thought he came to Paragon all by himself. She watched out for him whenever it's possible for her to. Not something he's used to, he did what he could to pay her back. She had become like his big sister, and he doesn't mind it one bit. He made certain she was taken care of, as she tends to neglect her health from time to time. She has since departed for another dimension, but Max understands her decision and hopes she is doing well.

Lovesong - Bailey asked him out on a date, and despite his suspicions, he went. She seemed to enjoy herself, the spying of two certain people who will remain nameless aside. She's a nice girl, if a little street, and Max is glad that he met her.

Mamushi - The woman has watched him on more than one occasion, whether or not he was aware of it. She even snuck up on him for their first actual meeting, whether or not she intended it. But eventually they began talking, and they got down to the truth of the matter. She is a talented swordswoman, and had interest in teaching Max to use his blades. Having no formal training, he requested a demonstration of her sword and her use of it, and gladly accepted her offer. It is due entirely to her that his swords are named, as she instructed him to treat them as entities and not tools.

Ms. Panzer - Randomly meeting her in Pocket D one morning as she strolled in looking for assistance, Max has seemingly managed to infiltrate her tough facade and reach her on a personal level. She's a wonderful woman, and should definitely have more confidence in herself as a person. Max has her back, even if she has a... less than empathetic response to Max's woes.

Night Stride - Diego is a man's man. A man's man's man even. He's always willing to play along with Max, even in the most childish of games. He's also good for advice, a good joke, or just idle conversation. Max thinks he's a great father, even if other people may feel otherwise.

Ninja Dan - Max's hated rival, Ninja Dan is a fine janitor, if a bit of a questionable human being. Max decided to keep what the cats were originally intended for quiet, and let everybody think Dan bought them to give away to the Project out of the goodness of his heart. Where are you, Ninja Dan? The world is a lesser place without you. D:

Poliorcetes - Hahaha. Somebody took Johnny's name. Johnny's like Max's biological big brother. Always happy to see him, always happy to do anything for him and hang out whenever, Johnny's had his back even when Max didn't want anyone too. That's what being a brother is all about. He likewise departed for another dimension, but Max respects his decision, thanks him for all he's done, and hopes he's doing well.

Pulsegirl - Emma is excitable and very active, but she's a nice girl. She's nice to Max although he doesn't know a whole lot about her and vice versa. Though he holds no ill feelings towards anyone in the group, but Max fails to see how anyone could hold ill feelings towards Emma. She's nice, and hilarious when she uses her workarounds for cursing, or gets worked up about something.

Punishing Shot - Zach, though quiet, is a great guy and an astounding archer. There's not a lot to say about him since he's an extremely quiet individual, but... Yeah. It'd be nice if he could keep that koala away from Max.

Roka Thinora IV - Roka isn't the most openly nice guy ever, but he's a good ally. Max won't tell Roka, but he's got his back.

The Scion of Dagon - Zane and Max make a good team for searching for (Zane) and communicating with (Max) people they're looking for. They work well together when it comes right down to it, but they seem to have opposing ideas in quite a few situations. No hard feelings are held concerning that, however, and Max considers her a fine ally. She's nice enough, and he doesn't mind spending time with her.

Silens Blade - Koala aside, Eric is a fine man and friend. He's a ninja with anger issues, but he's a good fighter and always a good man to have at your back. As long as Mattias isn't hanging off of his back. In which case Max doesn't want any part of it. But Eric is a loyal friend and comrade, as well as a brother in Lyssa's favor.

Starswarm- RICHARRRRRRRRD! Max and Rich have been best friends for quite some time. Even though they don't always see eye to eye, and Rich is somewhat more aggressive than he was at first, Max still considers him his best friend, and even a bit of a confidant. The man hears him out, and even encourages him to do things he wouldn't normally do. It is because of Richard that Max got back into his swordsmanship, and they've managed to stick together through all of the trials, fights, and gay jokes.

Steel Shift - If he ever smokes another cigarette again, Max is going to hurt him.

Ultrasound - Maura is a wonderful girl. She's a bit of a flirt too, especially with Max, but that's alright. Max has threatened to steal Chad from Maura and Maura from Chad. Maura genuinely cares about her friends and seems to listen to them, even working to understand what they're saying rather than shrug it off like so many people do. Max considers himself nothing if not blessed to know her.

Unhearted - Not the nicest lady at first, Max has become rather fond of Niki. She's good to talk to, good for advice, and seems to genuinely care about Max. Deep down under that facade she puts on, perhaps she cares more about the general populace than she lets on. She is a wonderful mother, even if she seems like a dreadful spouse.

Vandalous - Monroe is a very sweet and affectionate lady. They've had talks about how they're both hopeless romantic, their hopes for the future, and their fears. They quickly grew close because of this. Which is strange, because Max wasn't the biggest fan of her at first. Oh well. You can't always be right. Don't tell anyone we said that though.

Volo - Always a nice man if somewhat forgetful, Volo has been kind to Max since they first met, doing everything from offering him a job to giving him his first swords. Max hasn't a bad thing to say about the man, and thinks he'll be a great husband and father.

Volo X - The successor to previous Volos, Max met him one night in Pocket D. He told Ronnie that Max went to get his stitches changed out and got him in trouble. Then later had the nerve to say Max had to race him so he could become a better speedster. He'd best watch his feet during their race, because he's going down, even if Max has to toss a bench in front of him.

Wheelwright - Having met Quinn by chance, the two quickly grew very close. They spoke of personal things, and developed a good friendship right from the start. She's taking good care of Mini-Max, and Max is glad to see her life is looking up. Obviously, Mini-Max is a good luck charm.

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