ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
I wrote this story for a fat-positive contest last year, although the voting eventually stalled out with some finalists selected but no winner(s) announced. Recently I went back to the story in light of my new Terramagne setting, and it fits that very nicely. Here, then, is a team of fat superheras of assorted ethnicity. The story has been sponsored by an anonymous donor and I'll be posting it in sections.

Begin with Part 1, Part 2. Skip to Part 5.


"The Hand of Sedna" Part 3


The plan involved several stages. First, Hamako asked her girlfriend Michi for help hacking into the Shell corporate computer system. Michi, who was over a year older and already in college, gladly obliged. Between Hamako's search of public information, Michi's hacking, and Ahnah's clairsenses they managed to piece together what the company officials intended to do, and where, and when. From this they calculated how best to make contact with the relevant people.

The next stage took them to an ugly office building attached to a factory. Shell had bought out the facilities, intending to adapt them for assembling parts that could easily be shipped north and for manufacturing other parts on site. They would find the project supervisor working inside.

Kesuk tested the door. "Locked," she said, shaking her head.

"So not a problem," Naartok said. She casually wrung the doorknob off its flimsy aluminum stem. Then she poked a finger into the hole and wrenched the door open.

Kesuk darted inside. Inna followed more cautiously. "Stay here," Inna said to the others. We'll be right back."

"We'll be waiting," Naartok assured them. Hamako and Ahnah nodded. The cooling breeze plucked at their clothes but could not cut through.

They talked quietly as they waited. Hamako reviewed the schematics for the office building, and for the ship they intended to visit shortly. Ahnah scanned for interlopers with her clairsenses, but kept reporting all clear.

Naartok's stomach growled.

"You should eat something," Ahnah said. She still made her own pemmican from dried meat, fat, and berries. She pulled out a ball of the stuff wrapped in wax paper, round and wrinkled as her own body.

Naartok preferred powerbars, although she took care to tuck the plastic wrappers back into her pocket. She felt vaguely guilty about eating something so commercial, but well, pemmican was bland and powerbars came in chocolate.

Then came the rapid patter of feet. Kesuk dashed along the corridor in a blur of super-speed. Hamako cast a forcefield just in case extra speed was needed. Kesuk eagerly flopped onto her belly and slid the rest of the way, gaining velocity from the reduced friction. Hamako curled the end of the forcefield to catch Kesuk.

"Did you find the right guy?" Naartok asked.

"Oh, yes," Kesuk said as she bounded to her feet. "In fact, the hardest part was going slow enough so I didn't lose him, while still evading the security guards." She pulled three tiny bottles of energy drink from her fanny pack and chugged them.

Naartok peered down the hall. "I don't see him. Are you sure you didn't lose him?"

"I thought he was right behind me!" said Kesuk. "Well ... not too far behind, anyway."

More footsteps sounded, but it was Inna who trotted into sight. "I locked the security guards in a closet," she said. "They won't be getting out any time soon." Then she looked around. "Where is Mr. Moore?"

"I guess I better double back and look for him," Kesuk said glumly.

Just then a tall, thin man loped around the corner. One hand pressed against his side. Kesuk waved at him cheerily before ducking out of view.

"Come back ... here, you ..." he panted as he staggered after her.

"I don't think he's kept up with his stairmaster workouts," Kesuk said to Hamako. "It sounds like he's been faking his sessions in the corporate gym."

Mr. Moore finally reached the doorway and sagged against the frame. Naartok simply tucked him under her arm. "Let's go," she said.

Hamako furled a forcefield around their whole group. Ahnah reached out with her power of teleportation and whisked them all away to the survey vessel.

They landed softly at the stern of the ship. Around it the water shone a brilliant blue, waves tipped with white, under the paler blue of the sky. Naartok set Mr. Moore on his feet, and Hamako kept him contained in a forcefield.

"Okay, this research vessel has a length of 187 feet and a maximum draft depth of 16 feet, so that's a lot of space to search," Hamako said. "Its standard complement includes three commissioned officers, two licensed engineers, and six general crew. It can also hold up to two dozen passengers."

"How many of those are we likely to find today?" Naartok asked.

"This early in the project, probably half the workers -- the captain and his assistant, one of the engineers, two or three crew -- but not passengers," Hamako said. "They don't need as many people for the preliminary work."

"We can handle that many, right, Hamako?" said Kesuk.

Hamako nodded. "I can carry that many in a forcefield, if you can get them out here where I can reach them."

Once again, Kesuk darted away to lure their opponents into the open. The officers appeared first, to be neatly scooped up by Hamako. Then came the crew.

The engineer announced himself with a crack of gunfire, barely missing Hamako. He hurried to reload his rifle. Naartok stomped hard on the metal deck, rocking the ship and knocking him off his feet. Inna screeched a sonic blast that warped the barrel of the gun. Hamako popped him into the forcefield with the others.

Kesuk skidded around a corner, her copper face blanched pale. "What happened I heard a gun is everyone okay?" she said all in one breath.

"He missed," Naartok said, jerking her head at the engineer.

"So that's where he went I couldn't find him I'm sorry I'm sorry," Kesuk panted.

"It's okay," Naartok said. "It was a close call, but nobody got hurt. Calm down."

Kesuk took a deep breath, then said more slowly, "That seems to be everyone on board. Are we ready for the next phase?"

Hamako lifted her forcefield and the men inside it. "I'm ready," she said.

Everyone looked at Naartok. The large girl clambered up the safety railing at the edge of the ship and sat on it. She met the captain's eyes. Then she kicked off into the air.

Naartok hit the water, transforming as she sank. Now she could take her true form, her body as large and strong as her soul. The ocean around her was vast and durable. At last she did not have to worry about breaking things. A layer of insulating fat made the cold water feel quite comfortable. The great blue whale groaned in pleasure, the world rippling into shape as her echolocation brought back a three-dimensional image.

Inna appeared, morphed into the sleek torpedo of a common dolphin. Her sharp clicks went off like firecrackers alongside the sweeping searchbeam of Naartok's sonar. Hamako streaked past in her harbor seal form, flying underwater. Kesuk paddled in circles as a sea otter, chittering happily, then rolled onto her back. The keen spiral of Ahnah's horn pierced the surface as the pure white narwhal breached and spouted.

The human men were blurred by the sphere of Hamako's forcefield and the air it held. Naartok could just detect the faint thrum of their bodies and the hard bright pinging of the metal fillings in their teeth. There was something else, too, thin and wavering. Oh yes.

They were screaming.

Naartok laughed, deep and booming as a tidal wave scraping along a beach. The men were safe inside Hamako's forcefield; they would not be injured. But soon they would have far more to scream about than a little superpower and a dunk in the ocean.

* * *

Notes:

Pemmican is a traditional food throughout much of North America. You can make your own. The flavor has been compared to bland dog food, so some people add spices.

Because forcefields are energy rather than matter, they can be cast as a frictionless surface, so that sliding on one is akin to sliding downhill in terms of gaining speed. Curling the end of the forcefield dissipates the momentum for a safe stop.

This survey vessel provided inspiration for the one in the story.

Blue whales range throughout much of the world's oceans.

Cetaceans use echolocation for various purposes including communication, navigation, and hunting. The exact use varies by species, and we don't know all the details yet.

Common dolphins prefer temperate waters but occasionally venture farther northward.

Harbor seals follow the coastlines of most northerly waters.

Sea otters appear along part of the Alaskan coastline.

Narwhals are small whales native to arctic waters. The males have a spectacular single tusk; females usually have no tusk or only a very short one, but about 15% of females have a long tusk. They are sometimes called sea unicorns.

This is the in-story reason for having a team of fat superheras: they are all shapeshifters whose alternate form is some kind of marine mammal. Such species typically have a thick layer of insulating fat to keep them warm. Sea otters rely on dense fur instead of fat, one reason why Kesuk is the lightest member of the team.


[To be continued in Part 4 ...]

Holy-!

Date: 2013-07-01 02:11 am (UTC)
rosieknight: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rosieknight
That's why the team's called the Hand of Sedna!

Are they going to show the Shell people what they risk harming and/or risk angering if they drill as planned?

Re: Holy-!

Date: 2013-07-01 03:01 am (UTC)
rosieknight: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rosieknight
>>They are indeed. Won't this be ... fun? <<

I can see there being unintended fallout, honestly. One person's freedom fighter is another person's terrorist or dangerous extremist, after all.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-01 02:48 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
I'm loving this so far.

Though I'd guessed Kesuk might be a seal based on the first two parts, otter is wonderful!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-01 05:22 pm (UTC)
thnidu: edited from img383.imageshack.us/img383/3066/ss35450qf7.jpg (smiley)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Agreed, whether by shapeshifting or otterwise.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2013-07-02 02:10 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
Mostly it is my own ignorance - I've read plenty about seals, but didn't realize that otters would skid on their bellies given half a chance.

I live in a desert and my knowledge of sea fauna is not good. XD

After thinking about it for a night, I am quite liking Naartok.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-07-03 05:41 pm (UTC)
thnidu: A whale and a pot of petunias fall through space toward the Earth. By mitsje at deviantart.com (oh no not again)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Needs a link to Part 4.
Edited Date: 2015-07-03 05:42 pm (UTC)

Pemmican

Date: 2017-05-23 03:04 pm (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
>>Pemmican is a traditional food throughout much of North America. You can make your own. The flavor has been compared to bland dog food, so some people add spices.<<

I have to wonder if the bland flavor is deliberate. It'd fit with comments I've read about emergency rations. You make them "blah" tasting so people won't raid them for snacks.

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