ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is from the November 2014 Creative Jam. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "orphans and runaways" square in my 9-29-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Danso & Family thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

WARNING: This poem features some intense topics. Highlight to read warnings, some of which are spoilers. Topics include runaway and homeless youth, mistreatment of a teen girl, religious abuse, hostility against superpowers, parental condemnation, superpower injury, pressuring someone to use a superpower, a horrible argument, questionable use of a superpower, and high stress. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your mindstate before deciding whether to read further.


As soon as the girl walked into the SPOON base,
Groundhog knew that something was wrong;
her whole demeanor raised alarms for him.

She was tall and healthy, but slouched down
as if trying to hide her true size. She had fair skin,
brown eyes, and long brown hair escaping from two braids
fastened at the ends with rubber bands. Her clothes
were rumpled, both knees ripped out of her jeans,
and she carried a worn army-surplus dufflebag.

"Hi, I'm Groundhog. How can I help you?"
he asked, giving her his best smile.

"I'm Cassandra. I heard that you helped people ...
who were soups, or were hurt by soups," she said.

The alarms in Groundhog's head escalated sharply.
He thumbed the yellow button under his desk that
would alert Granny Whammy to a situation
which was serious, but not an emergency.
"Are you hurt now?" he asked Cassandra.

She shrugged. "No more than usual."

Groundhog brought out one of the soft, fuzzy blankets
that they kept for visitors in distress. This particular one
was white with pink cupcakes. "Here, take this,"
he said as he draped it around her shoulders.
"How old are you? If you're still underage,
I can call one of our youth advocates for you,
or a supportive adult if you'd like to name one."

"I'm eighteen, today," Cassandra said,
"and I have a driver's license to prove it."
The plastic card snapped against the desk
as her thumb released the corner of it.

"Okay, that makes some things easier,"
Groundhog said, verifying her age.
"Can you tell me what happened?"

Cassandra pulled the edge of the blanket
through her fingers. "When I was fourteen,
I manifested a superpower, Flight.
I wanted to learn how to use it properly,
but ... my parents didn't like it.
I could only practice in secret, and
if they caught me, I got in trouble."

Groundhog hid his flinch. "I'm listening."

"They're really strict. They belong to
the Evangelical Methodist Church,"
she said. "First they tried suppression therapy,
but when that didn't work, they looked for
something more permanent."

"That sounds alarming," Groundhog said.
Suppression therapy was legal, but it wasn't
very effective, and it could do a lot of damage.
There were worse things to worry about, too.

"Six months ago, they found a man who
said he could cut the power out of me,"
Cassandra went on, "and now it hurts,
all the time, not as bad as it did at first
but just this constant nagging ache.
I miss being able to fly. I miss the wind
in my hair and birdwatching eye-to-eye ..."

Groundhog shuddered. "I am so sorry to hear that,"
he said. Clipping was legal too, though rare because
almost nobody could do it. In some cases it could
save lives, but more often it destroyed them.
"We've sheltered runaway teens before --"

"Oh, I tried that," she said grimly. "They caught me
every time, and dragged me home, like a runaway slave.
But my parents don't fucking own me anymore.
I'm a free woman now, and nobody can
make me go back to them."

"What were you hoping for when
you came to us?" Groundhog asked.

"I don't know," Cassandra said. "A place to stay?
Maybe a job?" Her voice dropped to a growl.
"Somebody to send that clipper to meet the devil,
that'd be nice. I've heard some dicey things about SPOON,
but I'd rather belong to you than to my parents."

"We don't own anyone," Granny Whammy
said evenly as she walked into the room.
"We're a loose conglomerate of people
with superpowers, working together
in pursuit of our mutual interests."

Groundhog heaved a sigh of relief.
Granny Whammy would know what to do;
she always did. Quickly he summarized
the situation, emphasizing the chronic pain
which the clipping had caused for Cassandra.
"What do we do now?" he asked.

"You stay on first aid duty,"
Granny Whammy said. "I'll go
make some calls in search of
more serious assistance."
She headed back to her office.

"It'll be okay," Groundhog told Cassandra.
"Granny Whammy knows what she's doing."
He pulled out the first aid kit and offered
the girl a small bottle. "Here, try putting
some of this on your wrists. Blue chamomile
is the go-to first aid supply for soups."

"I'm not really a soup anymore,"
Cassandra said sadly, but she still
dabbed the thick ultramarine oil
on her wrists as instructed.

From Granny Whammy's office came
faint sounds of conversation, the phone
dialing and hanging up and dialing again.

"You were a soup, and if it's your power
that's hurting you -- whatever might be left of it --
then the blue chamomile should help,"
Groundhog said as he tucked the bottle
back where it belonged.

Cassandra sniffed, then wrinkled her nose.
"Magical healing perfume?" she said.

"It's essential oil," Groundhog said.
"Even ordinary people use it to help with
nausea, anxiety, all kinds of complaints.
It just happens to do more for us."

Granny Whammy's voice rose enough
to make out actual words this time.
"... served with boys younger than that
in the war, and they did their part just fine,"
she was saying. "You know I wouldn't ask
unless this was important. I've got nobody
left to call, and I have to try something."

"Am I causing trouble?" Cassandra whispered,
squeezing her hands between her knees.

"No, you're not," Groundhog assured her. "There just
aren't many people who could help with this sort of thing --
any talent in the Power Manipulation field is rare, and
most healers can't affect superpowers directly, just the body."

"Superheroes use our powers for the public good,"
Granny Whammy argued in her most persuasive voice.
"I'm not asking the boy to pull miracles out of his ass,
Hannah, I'm just asking him to take a look and try."

"I'm hungry," Groundhog said, hoping
to distract Cassandra. "What would you like
from the vending machines while I'm up?"

"I'm not fussy," Cassandra said.

Groundhog came back with an apple, a banana,
a ham sandwich, a garden salad sandwich,
and two bottles of tropical fruit juice.
"Take your pick," he invited.

Cassandra snatched the apple and the ham,
bolted the first few bites, but made herself
slow down before Groundhog had time to warn her.
"Thank you," she said to him.

"Are you feeling any better?" he asked,
touching his wrist to indicate the blue chamomile.
"A little better," Cassandra agreed.

Just as they finished eating, Groundhog heard
the soft tap of Tumbler arriving, and looked up
to see her with Danso and Hannah.

It was Granny Whammy who stepped up
to explain the situation to the teenager
who stood nervous but resolute
beside his foster mother.

"I'll do what I can," Danso said.

Cassandra was still more-or-less hiding
under the comfort blanket. At Groundhog's urging,
she loosened her grip and sat up a little more.

"Are you a healer?" Cassandra asked Danso.

"Not ... exactly," the boy hedged, and Groundhog
couldn't blame him for being cagey about his abilities.
"I spent a while on the streets myself, looking after
some younger kids, and sometimes I can ...
help with superpowers, a little. Let me look?"

"Sure, go ahead," Cassandra said.

There was no outward sign of Danso's ability;
he simply gazed at the girl for a long minute.

And then flinched.

"That, um, that really looks ..." he stammered.
"I mean, I can see where it's healed some
but no wonder it's still hurting you."

"Can you fix me?" Cassandra asked
in a small voice. "Or at least make it
so that it doesn't bug me all the time?"

"I'm just not -- my control isn't quite --" Danso began,
then took a deep breath. "I don't know everything
about my power yet. I'm afraid to mess around
in there. I might just make matters worse."

"Oh," Cassandra said.
"Well, thanks for being honest."

Danso swallowed once, twice.

It was hard to tell, given his chocolate skin,
but Groundhog thought the boy's color might be
drifting toward gray, or possibly green,
in any case nothing good for him.

"Scuseme," Danso muttered,
and hurried out of the room.

"Oh, now look what you've done!"
Hannah snapped, rounding on Granny Whammy.

"That did not go as well as I hoped,"
Granny Whammy admitted.

"Jesus Christ on a snow-white jackamule, Helen,
what did you think was going to happen?"
Hannah said as she waved her hands in the air.

"I thought it would work," Granny Whammy said.
"Plenty of young soups just need a bit of a push.
I've seen it work before, or I wouldn't have suggested it!"

Groundhog edged away from the two
superpowered and highly agitated women
verbally going for hell-for-leather.

Now would be a good time to exercise his discretion
and go track down the missing teenager.

Groundhog found Danso in the men's room,
washing his face at the row of sinks.
"How are you?" Groundhog asked.

"I've had better days," Danso said
as he leaned on the white ceramic,
both hands gripping it hard enough
to make his brown knuckles turn tan.

"Can you think of anything that might help
you feel better?" Groundhog said gently.

"I really want to go home now, but ..."
The teen's voice trailed off as he
glanced at the door and then looked away.
The sounds of the ongoing argument
carried clearly through the heavy wood.

"I'll go let your mother know that
you're ready to leave," Groundhog said.
It was the best he could do to help.
Reluctantly he went back to the lobby.

"For the love of God, Hannah, I had to
do something!" Granny Whammy said.
The corner of the desk was slightly crumpled
where her fingers curled over it. "What did you
want me to do, just stand there and tell the poor girl
that there's no hope? You have to understand --"

"No, I don't," Hannah said in frigid tones.
"What I understand is that you brought
my son here and then got him hurt.
I don't care how fucking desperate
you are, you do not do that. SPOON is
dead to me, do you hear what I'm saying?"

Groundhog cleared his throat.

"What?" Hannah snarled at him,
smacking her talent down on his
so hard that it felt like getting hit
with a nerf-covered lead mallet.

Groundhog would rather have faced
a mother grizzly armed with a popgun,
but he screwed up his courage and said,
"Danso would like to go home now, please.
Also the argument is making him uncomfortable."

"Understood," Hannah said curtly.
She pushed a button on her vidwatch.

Moments later, Tumbler touched down again.
She stared as she looked around the room.
"Wow, what hap--" she began.

Hannah growled.

"O ... kay," Tumbler said slowly. "I'll just
take you home and mind my own business."

Danso wobbled back into the room,
looking more than a bit hungover,
and leaned against Hannah.

"You and I will finish this later,"
Hannah said to Granny Whammy.

"Mom, you can't yell at Granny Whammy,"
Danso whispered. "She's Granny Whammy."

"Please leave this to me," Hannah said
in a much gentler tone than she'd been using.

Danso hesitated only briefly before nodding.

"Home," Hannah said to Tumbler,
and the teleporter obeyed.

Back at his desk, Groundhog opened the file
for Hannah Patterson aka the Muffler.
The status field currently said, Fully booked,
information requests only
. He erased that
and replaced it with a fresh entry. DO NOT call
until after SPOON has done a large favor for her

His hands were shaking.

Granny Whammy looked exhausted;
the fight with Hannah had taken a lot out of her.
No, not just exhausted, Groundhog realized
with a sinking sensation: old.

"Call someone from the backup list to come
and cover the main office," Granny Whammy said.
"I am going home. I am going to slather myself
with blue chamomile. Then I am going to bed."

"Yes, ma'am," Groundhog said quietly.
He could sympathize. His head was killing him.

As soon as she left, he used the backup list
to call for a replacement to finish her shift --
and then logged himself off too, calling in
another dispatcher, because he'd be useless.

Cassandra was huddled back in her blanket,
balled up in the corner chair, even her feet
tucked under her butt so that the only thing
that showed was a tuft of messy hair.

Oh, crap. She had been in here
the whole time, listening to that uproar.

"Hey," Groundhog said softly
as he knelt in front of her.
"The coast is clear.
You can come out now."

The blanket shifted, revealing
a narrow tear-streaked face.

"I'm sorry," Cassandra said.
"I didn't mean to hurt anyone."

"You didn't," Groundhog said.
"You did not cause what happened,
you were just the cause of it,
if that makes sense. It's not your fault."

"I guess," Cassandra said.
"I still feel bad about it, though."

"Of course you do," Groundhog said.
"I feel bad about it too. Things went wrong.
You did the right thing coming here, though.
Now we know there's a clipper out there
who hurt you, and might hurt someone else,
so we can try to get him off the market."

"Could I ... maybe ... come home with you?"
Cassandra whispered. "I don't want to stay here."

"Well, I'm not sure that would really be ..."
Groundhog began, then remembered
that she was eighteen and he didn't need
to be qualified as a foster parent.

"Never mind. I'll just go ... I mean,
I'll think of something else," she said.

Go sleep on the street, Groundhog suspected,
and oh hell no, he was not letting that happen.

Groundhog sighed. "If you're going to stay with me,
there are some things you need to know," he said,
lifting his chin. "My superpower is Flight, but
I can't actually use it. I injured myself with it when
I was a baby, so my parents kept me indoors for years,
and now it's hard for me to go out. I usually travel
by teleporter, always when I'm upset ... like now.
So if any of that is going to be a problem for you ..."

"No, it's fine," Cassandra said, shaking her head.
"I guess it's kind of nice to know that someone else
had awful parents, too. That it's not just me."

"My parents aren't awful, they just ... didn't really
know how to raise a superkid," Groundhog said,
trying not to think about his limping attempts
to coax his power back into working order,
especially the most recent disaster with the kitten.
"Most ordinary adults don't know stuff like that.
They meant to protect me. They did keep me alive."

"Yeah, that's what mine said too."

Groundhog winced. "Let's just go home.
It has been a crummy day all around," he said.
"I don't have a spare room but I've got a comfy couch."

"I'll take it," Cassandra said hastily.
"I'm feeling better now. That blue stuff helped."

Groundhog keyed his vidwatch to summon Tumbler,
who appeared looking somewhat the worse for wear.

"Tell me this is a milk run," she begged.
"I thought that woman was going to tear my arm off
when I touched the kid to carry them home."

"Cassandra and I need a lift to my place,"
Groundhog said. "I'm putting her up for now."

"Okay," Tumbler said, beckoning.

Groundhog stepped into her embrace,
pressing their bodies together and
tucking his feet between hers
before wrapping his arms
securely around her waist.

Tumbler reached one arm around his hips
while the other hand cupped the back of his head,
sheltering him against her body. Then she sighed.
"I hate to do this to you when you're already
so shaken up, but I need a hand free
for my other passenger," she said.
"Which one do you want to give up?"

Groundhog was still struggling to formulate a reply
when Cassandra said, "You just need to be
touching me, right? And he needs to be held tight?"

"Yes, that's correct," Tumbler said.

"I've got an idea," Cassandra said,
and then she snuggled against his back,
wrapping the silly little cupcake blanket
around all three of them. "Will this work?"

"Perfect," Tumbler said.

It really was. They shifted a bit,
but Groundhog couldn't really tell
whose hands went where, and it
didn't matter so long as he was
protected during the jump.

Tumbler set them down softly on
the compass rose rug taped off-kilter
on his living room floor so that it
actually aligned with North.

Cassandra untangled herself from Groundhog
and took possession of the squashy brown couch,
shoving her dufflebag under the end table.

"You two take care now,"
Tumbler said, then disappeared.

"Yeah," Groundhog said softly.
"I think we can manage that."

* * *


Cassandra Vogler -- She has fair skin, brown eyes, and long brown hair habitually worn in braids. Parts of her hair tend to bleach out to a more golden tone. Cassandra is an only child, with no cousins or even close friends her age. Tall for a girl, she tends to hunch down in attempt to hide her true stature. She is gawky and awkward in her body.
Having just turned 18, Cassandra demands that people treat her as an adult woman and quickly becomes belligerent if she feels that people are treating her like a child -- because to her, being a child is associated with people being free to hurt her. Now that she's an adult, she wants to learn how to defend herself. She dislikes coffee, but insists that it's an acquired taste and she's determined to acquire it.
Her family belongs to the Evangelical Methodist Church. When Cassandra's superpower manifested, her parents first put her into suppression therapy, which spurred several unsuccessful attempts to run away. Later they found a clipper to remove her Flight ability. That loss has left Cassandra with chronic pain, and a deeply conflicted identity crisis over whether she is still "really" a soup with her power crippled. She is more at risk for lashing out than for regressive types of teen rebellion.
Origin: Her superpower emerged at puberty. Her parents immediately started trying to make it go away.
Uniform: Street clothes.
Qualities: Good (+2) Artist, Good (+2) Birdwatching, Good (+2) Bookworm, Good (+2) Endurance
Poor (-2) Hostility Issues
Powers: formerly Average (0) Flight
Motivation: Escape from parents.

Tumbler (Leanna Nolan) -- She has tawny skin, amber eyes, and long straight red hair. Her body is slim and strong, with small breasts and narrow hips. Leanna has been a gymnast since her toddler years. After her superpowers manifested, she came to work for the Onion City SPOON base, with the understanding that if anyone ever identifies her assailant, SPOON will help bring them to justice. As a teleporter, she excels at reaching people even in the midst of a fight and pulling them to safety. She is friends with Leapfrog down in Easy City.
Origin: During her last Olympic tour, someone tried to poison her with an unknown substance. She completed her routine and then dropped to the mat with convulsions. After spending several weeks in the hospital, she developed superpowers.
Uniform: Navy blue shirt and pants with the SPOON logo embroidered in silver on the chest pocket..
Qualities: Master (+6) Gymnast, Good (+2) Organized, Good (+2) Patriot
Powers: Expert (+4) Teleporting, Good (+2) Super-Speed
Motivation: To discover the truth.

* * *

Homeless and runaway teens have many reasons behind their situation, but nearly half left because of abuse and/or neglect. Although LGBT teens make up only about 10% of the population, they are around 40% of homeless/runaway teens. Similarly, soups make up a disproportional amount of displaced teens in Terramagne-America. In some states here, there are no laws against running away from home, and police do not get involved; in others, fleeing teens can be hunted down and returned by force.  Parents can hurt their children in many legal  ways, such as this list found by surveying suicidal teens.  States vary as to whether they check all, some, or none of the homes before returning runaway teens to their parents. In T-America the average is better, but still not perfect. This set of tips for preventing teens from running away is aimed at healthy families. Teens fleeing for cause should consult a resource such as National Safe Place. There are also ways to help a friend who might run away.

This is the comfort blanket offered to Cassandra. Feeling cold is common in cases of emotional trauma, so a warm fuzzy blanket can help. SPOON stocks plenty of blankets for this purpose, just like ambulances and firetrucks do.

Evangelical Protestants, and particularly the Evangelical Methodist Church, are known to oppose homosexuality. I have used traits such as sexual orientation and gender identity to estimate which churches would most likely object to superpowers in Terramagne. However, bear in mind that not all of them do so -- some consider powers to be neutral and the application to be good or evil, while others may even consider them a gift from God.

Parental rejection of a teenager's identity is most common among gay or trans teens, but can occur for other reasons. In Terramagne, superkids run a much higher risk of being condemned or kicked out of the house, compared to ordinary ones. A healthy family encourages and supports young people as they develop their identity.

Gay conversion therapy such as Exodus International has provided the inspiration for superpower suppression therapy in Terramagne. It's a tricky situation because the therapy can do serious damage, and suppressing thoughts may make them rebound even stronger, but banning such therapy may also do more harm than good. See a map showing the location of gay conversion therapists. In Terramagne, it is possible for a superpower to shut off after manifesting, but it's very rare. Suppression therapy aims to achieve this deliberately, and has a factual success rate around 1%, although the claimed rate is much higher. More often what it does is cripple someone's ability to use their superpower safely, consciously, and precisely.

Clipping (permanent removal of superpowers) is currently legal for consenting adults, or for minors with parental permission. It is possible to remove superpowers safely, much as it is possible to remove other body parts safely; but it is much easier to do badly than to do well, especially without training. Removal can be life-saving or at least life-improving in the case of superdisempowers or superpowers that cause serious problems. Removal of healthy superpowers consistently does more harm than good. Slightly less than half of clipping procedures are unsafe, meaning that it is self-induced or the performer had no apprenticeship and no medical backup in case of complications. The rate of physical complications requiring treatment is about 1 in 20 for safe procedures and 1 in 4 for unsafe procedures. Figures for psychological complications vary widely. For this I did some research into unsafe abortions, which also have a high rate of complications.

Cassandra consistently displays closed body language.

Blue Chamomile is an essential oil derived from the chamomile plant, often shortened to "blue" among soups. It soothes a variety of metaphysical complaints and is their go-to first aid supply.

Healthy snacks for teens and kids may be simple or more elaborate. In our world, there's a trend toward vending machines with healthy food, which is farther along in Terramagne. At SPOON the risk isn't obesity, but rather people filling up on junk when they need serious nutrients to fuel a lifestyle known for high activity and high injury. So they have one machine with fresh fruits and vegetables, one for sandwiches and yogurt, one for candy and chips, one for fruit juices and other beverages. The water cooler is free. They have other resources, but that's the stuff they make sure is readily visible in the most public areas.  Sizes are smaller in Terramagne than here, as they skipped the portion growth, and it's common for vending machines and restaurant menus to highlight their healthier options.

Pushing too hard on teens can cause problems. There are tips for avoiding this. Granny Whammy grew up in a time when civic duty was paramount, and that doesn't always mesh well with contemporary perspectives.

When parents or other respected adults have loud, hostile arguments that can be very stressful for teens. There are healthy and unhealthy ways to argue. Hannah goes all Mama Bear when something threatens her kids, so she and Granny Whammy aren't giving a great example of how to fight fair.

Ideally, nobody is above the law; in practice, the law often doesn't apply to people who are wealthy, powerful, and/or respected. Here it's a case of social rather than legal exclusion -- Danso excusing Granny Whammy just because of who she is. Fortunately Hannah responds by deflecting that rather than turning it into another argument.

See the compass rug and couch in Groundhog's home.

Merry Giftmas!

Date: 2014-12-22 02:24 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
I'm so happy this was sponsored!

(And not only because I have a story which intertwines with the three poems!)

Most of the enjoyment is that, before I even click on a new item, I /know/ that it's depicting a world which is /different/ than ours, and trying much harder to maintain social cohesion. A world where schools don't seem to have metal detectors at every entrance, not because they are living like ostriches, but because the early, early interventions in the forties (anticipating the baby boom becoming school age, rather than dragging their feet, for example) has kept school populations /functional/ at the very least. Add to that changing opinions on child nutrition, exercise, child psychology, etc. and the small gap of 1945 becomes a /large/ difference in day-to-day life.

Hannah /did/ make mistakes in the way she handled her part of the argument, but I consider it very akin to Danso falling and breaking an arm-- because Helen /suggested/ the activity he was NOT prepared for, was NOT properly trained for, and felt like he could NOT say NO to. Pressure like that is VERY bad for teens, and Hannah's Mama Bear reaction is FULLY understandable in that light.

Oddly, I'm not left /happy/ about the argument, either; I want to watch this /resolve/ itself, not just each having a say and the status quo continuing. (Because, frankly, Helen DID put Danso in a LOT of danger with her tactic, and she is MUCH older than he is. She should've recognized that he lacks the right training to be /ready/ to "fall into the deep end of the pool" as a swimming test.

So, it's a continuing thread, not a major bummer. My only worry is that IF Hannah seems to back down, it will send Danso in particular the message that Helen was "right" and HE was the one with a problem, or is otherwise incapable. There's an enormous difference between /untrained/ and /trained/ use of any skill, and he needs to be reminded of that, in MANY ways.

Sigh. Now I want to go back and reread it, just to "check" if I missed anything...

Re: Merry Giftmas!

Date: 2014-12-22 03:10 am (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
I'm kind of wondering if T'ema would be an appropriate character to bring into this. Her meta-power is high-level "Resonance Magic", so it's possible it can resonate at a soul level. She can potentially manipulate anything that can resonate, including the soul or body. She also has Healing as a power, since she's able to heal herself. It might be a bit of work (and possibly also a deus ex machina), but she could, by combining abilities, heal others' souls.

There's no easy way to play or write an "ultimate" type character without ultimate challenges, is there? Without something to provide a change in a character (whether by conflict or simple twist of perspective), there's no story.

Re: Merry Giftmas!

Date: 2014-12-22 03:34 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Could you link to something with your character T'ema? I haven't read much of your writing, and am INTRIGUED.

Re: Merry Giftmas!

Date: 2014-12-22 03:36 am (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
Just the one poem so far: "Song of Life"

Re: Merry Giftmas!

Date: 2014-12-22 03:58 am (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
Just thought of something T'ema would say about the thing that made Danso sick: "The one who did this I would not call a butcher. A butcher is precise in her cuts! I believe an insane lumberjack without training did this work, and I wish to teach him what he did."
Also: "My people say that felling souls is not worth what you gain from them; growing souls is."

Re: Merry Giftmas!

Date: 2014-12-26 01:49 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Oh, yeah. A good butcher has finely calibrated eyeballs and hands... and *sharp* knives.

Re: Merry Giftmas!

Date: 2014-12-22 06:42 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
because Helen /suggested/ the activity he was NOT prepared for, was NOT properly trained for, and felt like he could NOT say NO to.

AKA "coerced consent", and no better when it happens for a "good cause" than when it's used to cow a rape victim.

Granny Whammy is WRONG about this. "Civic duty uber alles" is like "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one" -- a decision you can only make for YOURSELF, not for someone else.

Re: Merry Giftmas!

Date: 2014-12-22 10:41 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer

You stated this more succinctly than I would have (I avoid that particular comparison because locally it invokes the 'colloquial use' argument and completely derails the original point) but I agree quite wholeheartedly.

I do, however, think that Helen is working from a sincerely held but /outmoded/ belief, with no INTENT to cause harm. It's the only reason I think the situation is actually resolvable.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-22 02:49 am (UTC)
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (Default)
From: [personal profile] fred_mouse
commenting just to let you know I'm still reading - haven't had the spare oomph to make coherent comments for a while.

HI Fred!

Date: 2014-12-22 10:41 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Hugs if you need them. Always.

Body language

Date: 2014-12-22 03:01 am (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
Closed, withdrawn body language is often a sign of victimization, and sadly, victimizers often target those who have already been victimized -- it's easier to break the branch that has already been cut, or did not learn to stand boldly. Those who are timid or withdrawn in public are usually targeted because of the reduced chance of fighting back of speaking out. In self-defense classes, one's body language is trained to appear bold and outgoing, because this has a higher chance of putting off random assault. So it's good that Cassandra got to the SPOON base without being attacked, and it's good that she's seeking self-defense training. Otherwise she has a high chance of being attacked and misused again.
Edited (fixed dup word) Date: 2014-12-22 03:03 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-22 03:19 am (UTC)
chanter_greenie: Commander Seth Goddard of Space Cases fame (SC: Goddard - do the best they can)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Oh, my gosh. Tell me there's some way to a) return Cassandra's ability to her and b) drop a double armload of righteous fury on both that clipper and Cassandra's parents?

Granny Whammy's actions were misguided but human. The clipper person and that girl's parents... the duration of their actions and reactions, to say nothing of the content, crossed the line into monstrous territory. Whether or not they meant well, what they did was abusive, not loving. Granny Whammy goofed, badly. Those people... I haven't got the vocabulary for it, but they crossed a *line*.

You likely know all of this already.

Related, my ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) and quiltbag heart aches a little, here.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-22 04:34 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chordatesrock
You already have a character who could fix this. Please, pretty please get her involved.

Re: Well...

Date: 2014-12-22 05:55 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chordatesrock
Tierra Smith could fix her superpowers.

Re: Well...

Date: 2014-12-23 02:15 am (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
I wouldn't say fix, but Tierra could certainly help restore some kind of power.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-22 07:07 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
Reading this has made me think to ask: has anyone in Terramagne ever tried the Calley Defense (aka "we had to destroy the village in order to save it")? Because reading about this kind of religious-loony parent, swearing up and down that they LOVE their child and everything they're doing, no matter how harmful, is for their own good, always makes me think of that.

For your own good

Date: 2015-11-23 02:34 am (UTC)
shiori_makiba: Makiba Shiori in Kanji and Roman Letters (Default)
From: [personal profile] shiori_makiba
The phrase "for your own good" made me think of a C.S. Lewis quote that I learned of recently.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-22 04:28 pm (UTC)
lynnoconnacht: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lynnoconnacht
I... have no words, but I wanted to let you know I'd read this.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-23 02:35 am (UTC)
lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lb_lee
Yup. We've been Cassandra before. It's pretty much exactly like that. (Just thankfully, there are no clippers for multi--though our folks DID almost get us to Colin Ross that one time. Thank god I found out about the malpractice lawsuits.)

I'd really like to toss some money forward for Stretched, but can't afford the whole thing. Expect incoming cashes!


Re: Thank you!

Date: 2014-12-23 03:13 am (UTC)
lb_lee: M.D. making a shocked, confused face (serious thought)
From: [personal profile] lb_lee
No worries, I know I missed the sale. I can still toss forward for microfunding, though!

Actually, that brings up some interesting implications for how headmates would be affected by that kind of power set you describe. Would Soul Powers only be able to work on trauma-split systems? What about channeling or natural multis? Interesting possibilities!

(In the BTU world, there don't seem to be any powers with that kind of scope. Probably just as well; they have a big enough problem with the meatsack-puppeters and mind-controllers.)


(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-22 03:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kestrels-nest.livejournal.com

I have never understood how parents can justify doing such things to their children. I don't think I want to, really. It is mutilation of the soul.

What SPOON needs is someone whose superpower is mothering. The sort of person who broadcasts love and acceptance, and keeps doing it. I know such people in our world (though they are very rare); I imagine Terramagne would have them as well.


Date: 2014-12-22 05:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> shudder <<

Thank you! That's what I was aiming for.

>> I have never understood how parents can justify doing such things to their children. I don't think I want to, really. It is mutilation of the soul. <<

I agree. Often it is religion which inspires parents to cut off parts of a child's body, or attempt to cut off parts of their soul. Other times they do it because they think something natural is ugly, superfluous, or harmful. Sometimes parents are told to do such things by doctors, teachers, the government, etc. In this case it is religion.

There's a difference between people who mean well but are misled, people who are delusional in toxic ways, and people who are abusive on purpose. The farther down that spectrum you go, the more layers of damage accrue. But even at the well-meaning end, the results can be life-wrecking or fatals.

>> What SPOON needs is someone whose superpower is mothering. The sort of person who broadcasts love and acceptance, and keeps doing it. I know such people in our world (though they are very rare); I imagine Terramagne would have them as well. <<

There are some folks with similar powers. The Muffler's nullification field feels secure and comforting, which is not standard for that talent, although it's not unique either; and she does specialize in raising superkids. Señora Cocoa has a nurturing feel. So does Aidan. Most healers and many empaths have an energy field that seems soothing to a majority of people. But there aren't many folks dedicated to raising baby soups; the need greatly outstrips the supply. So they need every one they can get. Danso's choice to pursue that as a profession is tremendously useful -- and even so, because his talent is so rare and precious, people are going to nag him to do other things with it.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-23 09:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wyld-dandelyon.livejournal.com
I look forward to the sequel(s)!


Date: 2014-12-23 09:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
"Stretched" has been opened for microfunding.

Good poem

Date: 2015-11-23 02:24 am (UTC)
shiori_makiba: Makiba Shiori in Kanji and Roman Letters (Default)
From: [personal profile] shiori_makiba
I found the argument disquieting. Part of that is that I'm conflict-avoidant and fights like that trigger an uncomfortable-anxious-better-flee-to-somewhere-quiet-and-safe urge.

I'm also annoyed at both Helen and Hannah for doing their fight about this in front of Cassandra. Yes, I understand Hannah went Mama Bear but it wasn't right for her to cause further harm to Cassandra. If someone else pulled that exact same crud with one of her kids, she would nail them for it.

Yes, yes, heat of the moment, we don't think good when we are angry and worried, etc. All understandable.

I still think they both owe Cassandra an apology.

Owe Danso one too - I doubt he needed the additional stress after that.

Hoping that everyone goes to their respective corners, calms down, gives each other needed space for a bit, and at later date discusses the actual problems and issues like rational adults. Because otherwise this particular landmine is going to keep getting stepped on and more people are going to get hurt.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-30 03:22 am (UTC)
helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
So I made some things.

Here, icons.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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