ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the December 2, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] rosieknight. It also fills the "bets / wagers" square in my 1-2-14 card for the [community profile] trope_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.


"Racing the Whirlwind"


Working even part-time as a teleporter
for the Westbord SPOON base
had some definite perks.

Eggrace was making great money
while trying to decide whether
he wanted to attend college,
as his parents were encouraging --
or go full-time as a courier,
a lucrative and prestigious career
for which no college was available.

He was also making great contacts,
meeting a lot of other soups, and
learning how to trade favors
for things that he wanted.

He loved competing against
other teleporters, but most of the time
it wasn't much of a competition.

Most of them could easily outreach him
when it came to distance. He could carry
half a dozen passengers -- more than
the two that most couriers could handle, but
far less than the tonnage of a real cargo hauler.

Conversely, Eggrace specialized in delicacy
and most teleporters squeezed hard enough
to crush an egg inside a carton, let alone
keeping one intact on the end of a spoon.

So when word came through the grapevine
that there was another teleporter known
for delivering a particularly smooth ride,
who'd be touching down in the Westbord area,
he got excited and proposed a contest.

It turned out that Whirlwind didn't work
for SPOON and wasn't even, strictly speaking,
on the heroic side of the cape,
but Eggrace didn't care.

They made arrangements to meet
in a quiet corner of a park.

Eggrace brought his friend Respite,
who was not a superhero but rather
a supernary Emotional First Aide,
which specialty was currently advertised
with a heart shaved and dyed red
on each side of his head below
a floppy crest of dark hair.

They also had two pounds of
assorted salt-water taffy from
their favorite vendor, because
it wasn't much of a contest unless
you had a good stake to gamble with.

Eggrace was very much looking forward
to sampling the Italian candy that
his opponent was planning to wager.

Whirlwind arrived in a soft whiffle of air,
her short dark curls stirring in the breeze
and her heart-shaped face set in concentration.

Her gizmotronic wheelchair was padded
everywhere like the rollcage of a racecar,
designed similar to a dogsled with
a passenger space behind her seat.

Wedged into that space were
a middle-aged man with thick muscles,
a younger man in impressively loud clothes,
and two little girls giggling with excitement.

"Well, it looks like you caught the best ride in the park!
I'm Eggrace, and this is my friend Respite,"
said Eggrace, substituting a bow for
the usual handshake in respect
of Whirlwind's fragile bones.

Whirlwind laughed and introduced
her brother Sarvaturi, who was a healer;
his bodyguard, Donato; while the girls
Tina Mae and Mary Jo were sisters of
some friend named Andrew who wasn't along.

"Everybody off," Whirlwind said,
shooing them away. "I'll need
all my focus for the contest."

The first round was a traditional
egg-and-spoon race, in which Respite
divided half a dozen eggs between
himself and Sarvaturi, the objective
being to transfer them to the girls
as fast as possible without breaking any.

Eggrace concentrated on moving
smoothly, delicately, picking up and
depositing each egg like a precious thing.

Nobody so much as cracked a shell.
Whirlwind was clearly faster than Eggrace,
although on the last jump the displaced air
tipped the egg off the spoon to land in her hand.

Respite and Donato counted off candies
and exchanged them based on
the teleporters' respective performance.

The Rafaello was made of white chocolate
and coconut, intensely sweet, the kind of thing
that appealed to soups whose powers
burned a lot of calories. Eggrace loved it.

Whirlwind seemed to favor the candy apple
flavor of salt-water taffy, sharing out
some of the others with her friends.

"Our turn," Donato said, and produced
a bottle of wine, two crystal goblets, and
a pair of lap trays padded on the bottom.

Eggrace sat on a park bench, watching
as Donato set the tray on his knees,
covered it with a white linen napkin, then
filled the goblet so full that only surface tension
held the deep red wine inside the brim.

Well, he'd wanted a challenge ...

Eggrace concentrated on moving himself
from one park bench to the other,
while holding onto the goblet, the wine,
the shifty little beans in the padding of the tray,
just firmly enough to keep them stable
without crushing the fragile glass.

He landed perfectly, heaved a sigh of relief --
and that made a single drop of wine
spill over to trickle onto the cloth.

"Rats," he muttered
as Whirlwind flitted across
the same distance without spilling anything.

"Good jump," she said. "Remember, I'm nineteen --
I've been working a year longer than you have."

"Nice of you to stroke my ego, but I was
born with my talent on. Most people
don't get theirs until later," Eggrace said.

"I was seven," Whirlwind said quietly.
"There were some issues until I learned control."

"My parents kept me in a baby sling
or toddler harness until I was old enough
to remember not to pop off without them,"
Eggrace said, "which was about, yeah, seven."

"The park has tower blocks in their equipment bin,"
Tina Mae said. "We could play Tumbles."

So Respite dropped a quarter in the slot
and brought out the blocks, carefully
stacking them on the lap tray for Eggrace
while Sarvaturi set up a tower for his sister.

It wasn't too difficult at first, hopping
from one bench to another, but it got
progressively harder as Tina Mae
removed blocks with little care for the
overall stability, only her own move.
Respite was more thoughtful but
only marginally more dexterous.

It didn't take long for the tower to topple --
under Respite's hands rather than
because of Eggrace's teleporting --
but Mary Jo and Sarvaturi lasted
only one round longer.

They were swapping candy
after each successful jump, though,
so Eggrace got to try the dark chocolate Baci
which was like a brownie with a hazelnut on top,
and Whirlwind loved the raspberry taffy
with its American flag design.

"Why do some of these have little pictures in them?"
Whirlwind asked, holding up a pink-and-green piece of taffy
that looked rather like an actual watermelon.

"It's so you can tell the flavors apart,"
Eggrace explained, pointing to them.
"They have forty-six different kinds.
See, the cherry is plain pink but the
cherry cheesecake is pink-and-white."

"How many are in here?" said Whirlwind,
sticking her nose into the white paper bag.

"Probably most of them; we brought
two whole pounds," Eggrace said.

"We didn't bring that much Ferrero Rocher,"
Whirlwind said. "I'll have to send you
something else from home."

"You did better than me on everything
except the actual egg-and-spoon race,"
he pointed out with impeccable sportsmanship.

"Maybe I just want to give you chocolates,"
Whirlwind said with an impish grin.

"In that case, go right ahead," said Eggrace.

He might not have won all the races,
but winning the friendship of another teleporter
was a prize sweeter than any candy.

* * *

Notes:

Eggrace (Sean Kavanagh) -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and curly light brown hair that comes almost to his shoulders in a shaggy skater haircut. His parents are ordinary but quite good at problem-solving. They taught him to practice teleporting with an egg in a spoon so he could learn finesse, hence his nickname. Sean belongs to the Activity Scouts and has a fascination with geography, maps, orienteering, and anything else to do with travel and location.
Origin: His mother had serious complications during pregnancy, went into early labor and nearly died. A teleporter on the scene jumped her to the nearest hospital. Eggrace was born with Average (0) Teleportation and would pop around the room if unsecured. His parents kept him in a baby-wearing sling, almost all the time, and later in a toddler harness, to keep him from getting lost. Since then his power has grown with practice, and at 18 he recently started working part-time for the Westbord SPOON base as a courier.
Uniform: Street clothes, typically what's fashionable for teen boys currently. He sometimes wears a mask cut from a red bandana.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Navigator, Good (+2) Gentle, Good (+2) Graceful, Good (+2) Teen Culture
Poor (-2) Hates Being Alone
Powers: Master (+6) Teleportation
He has a maximum range of about 36 miles, which is the diameter of an average U.S. township. He can carry 6 passengers at a time, but nothing like the tonnage of a high-powered cargo teleporter. Neither can he do the "stone-skipping" trick that most teleporters can use to make effectively long jumps in shorter stages, barely touching down between them. His strength lies in the fact that he can deliver an absolutely smooth ride, even for an injured person or an infant.
Motivation: "Light as a feather." He prides himself on his finesse and is always striving to do better.

Respite -- He has fair skin and brown eyes. Currently he wears his dark hair in a shaggy crest, with a heart shaved and dyed red on each side of his head. He works for the Westbord SPOON base as a supernary providing emotional first aid, both on scene during emergencies and at the base itself.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Emotional First Aide, Good (+2) Agility, Good (+2) Emergency Management, Good (+2) Gamer, Good (+2) Resilience, Good (+2) Soup Contacts
Poor (-2) Fitting In

[Character by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer]
Name: Vittoria Colombo
Secret identity: Whirlwind

Appearance: A ninteen-year-old young woman with a heart-shaped face
beneath a cloud of curly brown hair (worn short in deference to her
medical needs), a straight, narrow nose and full lips. In profile, her
Italian heritage is obvious.

Costume: Her uniform includes a tinted helmet, obscuring her features at
the same time it protects her head (and neck—the bracing magnetically
links between her uniform and the helmet. Dexflan and ballistic cloth are
meant to absorb energy.,which has visible plating on arms, torso, legs,
etc. Her wheelchair is custom-padded, and has protective paneling with a
standing sled for passengers. Her gloves are custom leather, armored on
the outside.

Uniform: Seldom seen in street clothes, which are worn only at home.

*Qualities: *Expert (+4) Courier, Good (+2) Mischievous Good(+2)
Observant, Good (+2) patient, Good(+4)Swimmer (LIMITATIONS)
Poor (-2) Mistrusts the Police

*Powers: *Expert (+4) Teleportation
Poor (-2) osteogenesis imperfecta (severly changes the way she uses her
powers, note the protective gizmotronic gear)

Miscellaneous: Her ability is accompanied by a sharp displacement of wind,
a circular gust rushing outward with herself (and her passengers) in the eye.

Background: Her adoptive father technically bought her from her
birth parents only a few days after she was diagnosed with osteogenesis
imperfecta, raising her as his daughter even as he worked feverishly to
develop gizmotronic adaptations to help make her childhood physically
safer and socially more normal than most children dealing with the
disease. He was working on a gizmo specifically to strengthen her bones as
a way to counter the effects of osteogenesis imperfecta which could not be
repaired with gene therapy.

Her papa developed several shields and kinetic absorbers with her as an
enthusiastic patient zero. At age six, the beta leg braces which allow her
to walk were developed. At age seven, she flickered right out of the
braces and broke both legs and a hip when she landed. Her medical
treatment began a rumor of human testing/slavery which led to Interpol
raiding the lab when she was nine. Given an opportunity to escape
“protective custody,” she teleported to a safe location run by a minor
member of the Marionettes and was quickly adopted by a couple with a son
only a few years older. Her papa is still in prison, waiting for her to
reach twenty-one before exacting revenge on the agents and police officers
who frightened and injured his daughter in the raid.

Today, she is debating what to study at university, and looking into the
online education opportunities, while working (technically) as a black
cape, as nearly every job is for a Marionette.

Motivation: Get the Healers where they need to be and back again, safely!
Note, for her own physical safety, she tends to ONLY deploy healers to
safe locations, or retrieve a healer and a cooperative or unconscious
patients. A restless or struggling patient could cause enormous damage.

Sarvaturi Rizzo -- He has light olive skin, brown eyes, and short curly black hair with a short beard and moustache. His friends call him "Turi," a childhood nickname that he now permits only to people he really likes. He has a strong need for belonging, but chooses his friends rather carefully. Sarvaturi is homosexual. He uses sleight-of-hand mostly for entertainment now, but he grew up picking pockets to supplement his scanty allowance. He's from a big family, and while they're paid well, it has to spread over a lot of people. Although raised Catholic, he's not particularly religious.
As a healer, Sarvaturi specializes in trauma care and soup care, although he has some familiarity with illnesses and other complaints. He uses his gizmotronic skill to handle cutting-edge portable medical equipment, including some super-gizmos designed for treating soups. His bedside manner is all balls and sass. He teases, he jibes, he pokes playfully at people, and he cracks awful jokes. People who like him say it's bracing. People who dislike him say it's abrasive. Patients who prefer his brash approach tend to find Clara's compassion cloying; those who prefer her style usually consider him offensive. But he's a great match for many mobsters, and he does not let them bulldoze him with stubbornness the way Clara sometimes does. Because of this, people expect them to hate each other, but they're actually good friends, albeit discreet ones because of her hospital job.
Sarvaturi has terrible fashion sense and does not care. He thinks it's funny to wear two different patterns that don't match, and in fact it's often good for a laugh from the kind of patients who appreciate him, even though a lot of people complain that it's unprofessional and other gay men actively pick on him for it.
Origin: Born into a satellite family, Sarvaturi grew up in a convalescent resort for the Marionettes. As a teenager, he began showing interest in caregiving, and his superpower grew in gradually. One day a teleporter and an underboss crash-landed on the resort's landing pad, both of them badly injured. Sarvaturi managed to save the teleporter's life. With that accomplishment in hand, he approached one of the lieutenants with an offer: if they'd get him into Italy's best paramedic school -- which he could never qualify for with his backwater Sicilian education -- then he'd come to work for the Family full-time after graduation. The Family naturally pounced on this deal, and it worked out great.
Uniform: Hilariously bad fashion, often the newest and fastest things he can find.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Dexterity, Expert (+4) Paramedic, Good (+2) Brash Humor, Good (+2) Determination, Good (+2) Gizmology, Good (+2) Negotiation, Good (+2) Self-Defense, Good (+2) Sleight of Hand, Good (+2) Soup Care, Good (+2) Stubborn
Poor (-2) Outrageous Fashion Sense
Powers: Good (+2) Healing
Motivation: To belong.

[Character design by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer]
Name: Donato Rossi
Secret identity: none

Appearance: Short, medium brown hair, tanned, light brown eyes with green
tint. VERY muscular build. Some freckles. Dresses to suit the mood (stone
face wears a suit and tie).

BACKGROUND: He was a late baby, and an only child of one of the /legal/
accountants. On their way to boarding school (which he was looking forward
to) at age 11, his parents’ car was targeted by a rival Family. In the
attempt to capture/kidnap the trio, their car was run off a typical
mountain road. Both adults died, and Donato was presumed to be dead with a
quick check. He crawled out of the wreck at least a day later with minimal
injuries, found his dad’s concealed-carry weapon, and headed directly
overland toward the last farmhouse/vacation cabin they passed with signs
of current habitation, in order to get to a phone. He stayed awake until
the recovery team arrived, led the way back to the wreck—took a long
look at the scene and passed out.

He stayed in a Family safe house for two years before being willing to
socialize outside the house/Family, and never returned to formal
schooling.

Motivation: Protecting the people worth fighting for.

Qualities: Expert (4) Beat with ugly stick(s), Expert (4) Paramedic, Good (2) Autodidact, Good (2) Teetotaler
Poor (-2) Fanatic devotion to his charge

Powers: Expert (4) Toughness, Average (0) Regeneration, Average (0) Direction Sense

Signature Stunts – He just KEEPS COMING—like a Terminator!

Uniform: Two preferred :Motorcycle or military boots, jeans and denim
jacket (tailored), all black, or tailored knit silk polo shirt, sports
jacket and dress slacks with custom made Italian shoes (hidden lockpicks
in many seams on both outfits).

Miscellaneous: Has been assigned to Turi for at least the last five years,
probably much longer, because he has the patience to deal with the other
man’s outrageous behavior.

Mary Jo Jackson -- She has fair skin, blue eyes, and long wavy blonde hair. She has one younger sister, Tina Mae; two older sisters; and one older brother, Andrew. Their oldest brother, Lyndon Baines, got involved in a Nashville gang and died after about a year when a police chase in a stolen vehicle went bad. Their parents are deceased and they live with their grandmother.
Mary Jo is good with her hands and a clever student in school. She really wants to join the Activity Scouts, but their family can't afford the dues. She worries about her brother Andrew because she doesn't want to lose anyone else.
Qualities: Good (+2) Dexterity, Good (+2) Smart, Good (+2) Sweet
Poor (-2) Worrier

Tina Mae Jackson -- She has fair skin and straight blonde hair cut just above her shoulders. She is the only person in her family with brown eyes, and people sometimes make an issue of it, claiming that she must be illegitimate, which is not true and infuriates her older brother Andrew. Her next-older sister is Mary Jo; they have two more older sisters. Their oldest brother, Lyndon Baines, got involved in a Nashville gang and died after about a year when a police chase in a stolen vehicle went bad. Their parents are deceased and they live with their grandmother.
Tina Mae is equally good at getting into and out of mischief with no real harm done to anyone or anything. She enjoys coloring, and collects day-old newspapers from a nearby diner so that she can color the funnies.
Qualities: Good (+2) Coloring, Good (+2) Mischief
Poor (-2) Thinking Ahead

* * *

Teleportation is among the more common superpowers. The more salient aspects include distance, mass, and finesse; people are often notably better or worse at one of the three.

College has its pros and cons. For many soups, it is pointless for professional use, because it doesn't teach how to use superpowers or even how to adapt another knowledge base to accommodate them. The ones who pursue conventional higher education usually do so because some ordinary fields is highly applicable to their power, like healers who take medical training.

Gourmet saltwater taffy is popular in Westbord.

Ferrero Rocher is an Italian candy.

An egg race relies on dexterity as much as speed.

Baby slings and toddler harnesses can be safety equipment for superkids.

Tumbles is a stacking block game similar to Jenga.

Good sportsmanship includes an appreciation of the opponent's skill. There are tips for being a good sport.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-28 09:49 am (UTC)
gingicat: drawing of me based on wedding photo (Default)
From: [personal profile] gingicat
This is really sweet.

With the Jenga-analogue blocks, is Whirlwind transporting the blocks for her brother and the little girl, and Eggrace transporting them for himself and Whirlwind?

Also, I'm trying to picture a fragile woman transporting four other people in her chair! I feel like at least one of the men should be balanced on the outside. (Edit: oh, sled. Cool!)

Also, the best saltwater taffy is the one you get to watch being made, IMO. Now I'm picturing Eggrace heading to a seaside town right before the contest and making certain to pick up taffy made no more than twelve hours before.
Edited Date: 2015-04-28 09:57 am (UTC)

FUN!

Date: 2015-04-28 03:04 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
I'm partial to this, not merely because half the characters are mine, but because it shows how /realistically/ the "incidental" people on the fringes of the "cape argument" actually interact. There's a set of social rules, a set of safety rules, and courtesy rules, all of which worked beautifully here.

The challenges are fun, and both of them are good sports, which makes it even more fun to read.

Now I'm imagining all the fun complications of trying to meet up to maintain their friendship...

Re: FUN!

Date: 2015-04-28 11:02 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Oh, now I really want something action-oriented with them at the center. Bwhahahahahaha.

Me, I'm easy to entertain-- I kept picturing her father running a background check on Eggrace (from his ULTRA-top-security prison cell, no less) and just marking in a date to go CHECK on the young man, if they're still serious in six months.

Hee.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-29 03:00 am (UTC)
ext_12246: (Default)
From: [identity profile] thnidu.livejournal.com
I like these folks.


• "Well, it looks like you caught the best ride ^ the park!
^ in

• "Nice of you ^ stroke my ego, but I was
^ to

• She is the only ^ person in her family and people sometimes make an issue of it, claiming that she must be illegitimate, which is not true and infuriates her older brother Andrew. Her next-older sister is Tina Mae; they have two more older sisters. Their oldest brother...
?^ blonde

• Their oldest brother, Lyndon Baines
> Named for LBJ?

Thank you!

Date: 2015-04-29 08:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>>I like these folks.<<

Yay!

>>
• "Well, it looks like you caught the best ride ^ the park!
^ in

• "Nice of you ^ stroke my ego, but I was
^ to <<

Fixed.

>>
• She is the only ^ person in her family and people sometimes make an issue of it, claiming that she must be illegitimate, which is not true and infuriates her older brother Andrew. Her next-older sister is Tina Mae; they have two more older sisters. Their oldest brother...
?^ blonde <<

Brown eyes; fixed.

>>
• Their oldest brother, Lyndon Baines
> Named for LBJ? <<

Yep. The other brother is Andrew North Jackson. Some parents. 0_o

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2017-02-07 12:51 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Spotted another:

• some ordinary fields is highly applicable to their power
→ are

And

(Sarvaturi's profile)
• Patients who prefer his brash approach tend to find Clara's compassion cloying; those who prefer her style usually consider him offensive. But he's a great match for many mobsters, and he does not let them bulldoze him with stubbornness the way Clara sometimes does.
> Who's Clara? She isn't mentioned anywhere else here.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-15 04:47 am (UTC)
callibr8: (diversity)
From: [personal profile] callibr8
Liiiiike!

One continuity note, probably a cut-and-paste glitch. Under Tina Mae's description, is the phrase "Her next-older sister is Tina Mae" -- should be Mary Jo, yes?

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