ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the March 3, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] balsamandash, LJ user Wyld_dandelyon, and Anthony Barrette. It also fills the "American as Apple Pi(e)" square in my 3-2-15 card for the Pi(e) Bingo Fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the SPOON/Granny Whammy thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem mentions some historic conflicts and survival tactics which may not be to everyone's taste.


"A Safer World and a Better Future"


Whammy Lass came out of World War II
with bad memories and good intentions.

For all that superpowers made people uncomfortable,
she persisted in believing that acceptance
was possible, necessary, perhaps
even inevitable.

The late 1940s saw the rise of
nuclear proliferation as more countries
wanted to get in on the game and old alliances
frayed under the pressure of new developments.

By the 1950s, there were bomb drills
with children hiding under their desks.
Dr. Infanta explained how much that was
scaring people and why it was a bad idea,
but nobody listened to her about it.

Whammy Lass remembered how
World War II had ended, whole cities gone,
nothing left of them but flames.

It was difficult to let go of the instincts
that had kept you alive under fire,
but they sure could screw up
your life when you got home.

There were times when Whammy Lass
seriously believed that some whackjob politician --
never mind the supervillains! -- was going
to push the big red button and kiss off
all the sacrifices people had made
trying to save the world.

In the 1960s, a backlash began to build
as people chanted "Ban the bomb!"
and lobbied for peace.

For decades, paranoia was
as American as apple pie.

It didn't last forever, though.

Protests and budget changes
led to the military decommissioning
the first of its missile silos in 1965,
the Atlas F and Atlas E series.

That same year, hurricanes
blasted through southern Louisiana
and gave people even more to worry about,
although the local soups did their best
to mitigate the damage.

In the 1970s, the military began
to sell off its old bases, and
Dr. Infanta pounced on the chance
to buy an Atlas F site in New York.

"Honey, what in the world
are you going to do with
a gigantic hole in the ground?"
Granny Whammy asked gently.

"Build a safehouse," Dr. Infanta said.

"Hmm," said Granny Whammy.
"You may be onto something there."
She had grown up during the Depression
and knew better than to waste anything --
especially elaborate infrastructure built with
the best government money could buy.

The two of them continued in their efforts
to convince people that it was a better idea
to prepare for emergencies in advance
than to run along behind after they happened.

That led to improvements in teaching
first aid and disaster management skills,
so that when things went wrong -- from
violent storms to violent supervillains --
there was usually someone on hand
to cope with the catastrophe.

By then, private fallout shelters had evolved
from inhospitable cans in the ground to
something more sophisticated, so
superheroes and supervillains alike
took to installing secret lairs that could
resist anything from an atomic bomb
to a superpowered attack.

Granny Whammy also encouraged people
to establish shelters useful for withstanding
storms, wildfires, and other ordinary disasters.
If funds ran tight, she organized bake sales, and
people came just for the novelty of saying they had
bought an apple pie from Granny Whammy herself.

When Beale Air Force Base near Westbord
sold off its Titan I sites, SPOON bought one and
converted the complex into the Tubman Bunker
for soups to use in case of a crisis, complete
with underground farms for animals and vegetables,
plus generous living and recreation space for people.

In the 1980s, the government decommissioned
the Titan II bases, and it took some fast talking
to convince people not to destroy the silos.
Instead, they too were sold off and many of them
were converted into community shelters.

Safety was becoming as American as apple pie.

You could buy freeze-dried or dehydrated food,
rescue gear, and even entire go-bags at
camping stores and surplus outlets.
You could find freeze-dried ice cream at any
museum or planetarium giftshop, thanks to
Dr. Infanta's fascination with the stuff.

There were still supervillain attacks
and natural disasters, but now
the shelter system helped
protect people from the worst.

During the 1990s, the Iron Curtain
came crashing down. On June 13, 1990
Granny Whammy went to Germany
and ceremonially drove her fist
through the Berlin Wall.

She even kept a piece of it for
her personal museum, alongside
a pebble from Hiroshima in its lead box
and the first white silk alp lily she'd made
to commemorate the Sterbenfeld device.

"World War II happened, but we survived,"
she said, looking at the somber display.
"Then the Cold War happened,
and we survived that too."

"We always survive," said Franz.

"To all the ones who weren't as lucky,"
the old veteran said solemnly,
and they clinked glasses.

On January 10, 2003 North Korea withdrew
from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

That evening, the President called Granny Whammy.
"I think they might have a person of mass destruction."

"Yes," she replied. "I'm worried about that too."

They waited and watched, but nothing more
came of that than saber-rattling.

In 2013, SPOON bought a decommissioned
storage facility near Axelrod, Kansas
that had started out as a limestone mine
and later become a government facility.

Now they repurposed it again, this time
as a shelter for soups and for victims of
superpowered incidents, with a combination
of permanent shelter pods and space for
parking recreational vehicles, along with
amenities to keep people occupied.

There was an entire school system's worth
of connected classrooms for teaching
a variety of bunker skills.

Granny Whammy herself came to
the grand opening of the Archimedes Ark,
where she pulled her tucker stove out of
her wallet and put it into a makeshift oven
of carefully stacked bricks.

Stilts leaned over to watch her,
his forearm crutches clicking quietly
as he moved closer to her workspace.
"What are you going to make?"
the younger superhero asked.

"Apple pie," said Granny Whammy. "It's traditional."

It was her nod to all the hard work
of producing a safer world and a better future.

* * *

Notes:

Stilts (Rodney Davenport) -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and wavy dark blond hair. He bruises easily and heals slowly. He lives in the Heights. Rodney has always been fast and agile, enjoying such sports as Tae Kwon Do and walking on stilts, which is where his nickname originally came from. On several occasions he actually used stilt walking to get past enemy defenses, while working for SPOON. Since he got injured by the supervillain Warpcore, it's more a reference to the fact that he walks with forearm crutches, although he is trying to figure out how to use hand stilts to walk upside-down. He has already adapted his knowledge to practice Criptaedo. He can use his crutches to trip or hit people, and to block attacks, quite effectively. Although Rodney has spoken to several healers, the nature of Warpcore's talent makes the damage difficult or impossible to fix, and so far nobody has been able to help.
Origin: His super-speed grew in during his teens. On reaching adulthood, Stilts joined SPOON. Several years later, he tangled with Warpcore in a fight that damaged his legs.
Uniform: On-duty, he wears a dexflan unitard, melon colored with white trim. Off-duty, he wears street clothes over it. His super-speed is enough to shred regular fabric if he exerts himself too much; better to be prepared than left naked.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Determination, Good (+2) Activist, Good (+2) Criptaedo, Good (+2) Thinking Outside the Box
Poor (-2) Recovering from Injuries
Powers: Master (+6) Super-Speed
Motivation: "You're not seriously suggesting I should quit superheroing just because some bitch fucked up my legs? Come over here and I'll show you what I've still got!"

* * *

"Do not hide behind utopian logic which says that until we have the perfect security environment, nuclear disarmament cannot proceed. This is old-think. This is the mentality of the Cold War era. We must face the realities of the 21st century. The Conference on Disarmament can be a driving force for building a safer world and a better future."
-- Ban Ki-moon

The alliances of World War II shifted and led to the Cold War. People feared nuclear proliferation, and "duck and cover" drills became common.

This led to calls for nuclear disarmament and a move away from nuclear anything. There are things you can do to discourage the use of nuclear technology. In Terramagne, similar sentiment applied to dangerous applications of superpowers.

Decommissioned military bases provided space for many shelters, including Atlas F, Atlas E, Titan I, Titan II, NIKE-Ajax, and AT&T comunication bunkers. They started being decommissioned in 1965, and by the 1970s, many of these were sold off.  Our world's shelter system is patchy and not used to best effect.  Terramagne's is far more developed; they use it frequently for ordinary disasters, and occasionally for superpower incidents.

In local America, there is Silohome near Saranac, New York. In T-America, Dr. Infanta bought the site near Sarazen, NY and built Alcazar Ark. The old control center is now a private bunker immediately under the house, and the deep silo has six pairs of living and common floors, an amenities floor, a storage floor, and a machinery floor. Dr. Infanta has recently added bunker space for Judd with a pasture and barn, inspired by a different underground home in L-America.

Titan I bases included Beale Air Force Base, which in Terramagne, SPOON bought to create Tubman Bunker in Westbord, California. The Titan II bases were imploded and destroyed in L-America but salvaged in T-America.

Private lairs are popular with superheroes and supervillains alike. Terramagne has Damascus Domes similar to L-American Monolithic Domes, Vigilance similar to Terra Vivos, and Sitzkrieg Bunkers similar to Risings Bunkers.

Emergency management includes both advance planning and active incident methods of damage control, covering such essentials as shelter and first aid. By contemporary time, T-American efforts to train citizen responders have given them a CR proportion around 10% of the population. That's everyone who's taken a CPR class, fire safety, or anything else that teaches you how to cope when things go wrong. So in T-America, there is usually someone on hand to respond appropriately to an emergency, even before the professionals arrive.

Emergency food supplies mean not having to truck in supplies through questionable road access. Freeze-dried ice cream became famous as astronaut food, even though its use in space was brief and many astronauts weren't impressed with it. But it has some avid fans too. Thing is, it's like divinity: good space ice cream is perfectly dry and crisp so that it melts in your mouth. Stale, it gets sticky and gross. Dr. Infanta is a fan. In Terramagne, as here, you can find freeze-dried ice cream in many planetarium or museum gift shops, or online.

It also helps for families and shelters to have gear such as a survival kit, first aid kit, and search & rescue kit.  You can also make your own go-bag.  There another list prioritized into small and large kits.  Pack for local hazards first.

The Berlin Wall had a huge impact on Europe until its fall.

The alp lily, or in German, die Faltenlilie, is a small white flower. In Terramagne, it symbolizes WWII and the Sterbenfeld device, similar to the remembrance poppy here.

Superheroes often collect souvenirs of their accomplishments.

"To all the ones who weren't as lucky" is a toast popular among veterans.

North Korea has been very determined to make itself a nuclear power. A person of mass destruction is anyone who has capacities similar to a weapon of mass destruction. For example, Dr. Infanta, whose time manipulation can crumble whole buildings.

In L-America, the Atchison Storage Facility was converted to an underground shelter. In Terramagne, this is Archimedes Ark, near Axelrod, Kansas; it is owned by SPOON.

A tucker stove, or tucker for short, is a super-gizmotronic heating device invented in Australia. It is the size and shape of a credit card, usually made with the picture of a campfire or rangetop on it. When removed from its storage sleeve, it quickly heats to the desired temperature, and can produce about as much heat as a real campfire or rangetop. If placed inside a suitable enclosure, it can also power an oven. It requires no fuel or charging; the inventor alleges that it runs by colliding neutrinos and anti-neutrinos, but nobody has managed to prove or disprove this. Like most super-gizmology, the tucker remains largely a mystery.

Apple pie is a traditional American dessert. Granny Whammy uses an old-fashioned recipe.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-10 09:33 am (UTC)
thnidu: A shield-shaped hunk of watermelon rind, with bits carved away to make 2 staring eyes and a mouth. By bensanaz (melonhead)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Huh! And here I went looking it up and found that there really was/is such a thing as a tucker stove! Is the T-Aussie version so called out of some association with food?

You might could add a note on go bag.

Back in the day when it still existed, "iron curtain" was written with caps: "Iron Curtain".

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2015-03-10 12:43 pm (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Ah, Callahan's Place! Including alt.callahans and now the Facebook group.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-10 09:10 pm (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
Here's another go-bags reference, written by a veteran and paramedic/first responder.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-10 12:10 pm (UTC)
ext_74: Baron Samadai in cat form (Default)
From: [identity profile] siliconshaman.livejournal.com
Hmmm... I'm going to have to rethink a few things for my projected ending. Thanks for posting this, it helps me get the flavour right and it is *such* a T-universe thing. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Hmm... I wonder if they had the film Pacific Rim in Terramagne? I'm thinking of the network of shelters in that.

Thoughts

Date: 2015-03-11 10:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Hmmm... I'm going to have to rethink a few things for my projected ending. Thanks for posting this, it helps me get the flavour right and it is *such* a T-universe thing. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. <<

Yay! I'm glad I could help. This setting really is developing a distinctive tembre.

>> Hmm... I wonder if they had the film Pacific Rim in Terramagne? I'm thinking of the network of shelters in that. <<

They may have had something like it -- an invasion from another world leading to people hiding in bunkers while a few experts fight it out -- but a lot of the details would be different because they have superheroes and better cooperation. It would change the plot. *laugh* They probably would've been trying to drop a diplomat down the tube.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-03-11 02:16 am (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
"To absent friends." -- Traditional Royal Navy toast for Sundays

Yes...

Date: 2015-03-11 04:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
That's the other one. I grew up hearing these, mostly from my grandfather.

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