ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the April 1, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] chanter_greenie. It also fills the "hands" square on my 3-30-14 card for the [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.


"An Unexpected Connection"


Sintonizao was working a shift at the
Super Power Organizational & Operational Nexus,
using her synaesthetic energy manipulation
to relay messages coded to the recipients.
This made it easier to coordinate
a team of superheroes in a fight,
even if they weren't a regular team.

The current occasion went well
until Savoir Faire returned to base
with a prisoner in tow.

The Sponge was blasted out of his mind
from powers he had absorbed,
giggling like an idiot in his lemon costume
and flinging bolts at random.

The problem was that bolts,
unlike beams, could be deflected
from nearby surfaces and thus
create a ricochet hazard.

Sintonizao shouted a warning to Savoir Faire,
his name a spangle of gold in the air,
then abandoned communication duty
in favor of casting energy shields
to contain the damage from the bolts --
of which, so far, she had counted
heat, force, and lightning.

Someone had been having
a ridiculously good time.

Sintonizao managed to keep the Sponge
from destroying the whole room
or melting Savoir Faire in his boots.

Then a force bolt bounced off
the door window and a computer screen
and hit her in the chest hard enough
to knock her flat.

"Medic!" shouted Savoir Faire as he
broke a chair over the Sponge's head.
"Absorb that, trou du cul!"

The Sponge lay motionless on the floor.

Pax scrambled around the corner
with a first-aid kit the size of a suitcase.
He had healing powers, but
they were limited to intimate contexts.

"What happened?" Pax asked
as he surveyed the wreckage
and the two people down.

"She got hit by a force bolt,"
Savoir Faire said. "The Sponge
is so allumé he can't shoot straight,
but the bolts ricochet all over.
I coshed him with a chair."

The Sponge chose that moment
to groan and stir on the floor.

Savoir Faire pinned him with a booted foot
and snarled, "Do not even think of it."

He kept the Sponge contained until
Pax declared him relatively uninjured --
the padded costume had cushioned
some of the force -- and then
hauled the prisoner away.

"Take care of her," Savoir Faire
said over his shoulder as they left.

"That could be challenging,"
Pax said. "There's a list
that Granny Whammy gave me
to memorize about power compatibility --
it says you're asexual, right?"

"Yes," Sintonizao said,
arms clutching her aching ribs.

"That leaves out my best trick, sorry,"
Pax said. "I'll do what I can,
and if you need more support,
we've got other options."

"Fine," Sintonizao said,
peeling up her shirt
to show the bruises
pooling prune-flavored
under her skin.

Pax's hands were gentle
as he examined the damage,
prodding carefully at her ribs
to test the integrity of the bone.

"I think they're just cracked,
not broken," he said, his voice
warm and soothing as a sunbeam.
"I can wrap them for you if you like."

"Yes, please," Sintonizao said.

Pax took his time with
the stretchy bandage,
looping it around and around,
just snug enough to give
a little support without
making it harder to breathe.

"Just relax," he said,
his fingers busy at her chest.
"You'll be fine."

Sintonizao felt better, and better,
and eventually realized that
just wrapping her ribs
wouldn't account for
that much improvement.

It took her another minute
to figure out what was going on.
"You taste like soup," she mumbled.

"What?" Pax asked.

"Your power," Sintonizao clarified,
"it tastes like chicken soup."

"But I'm not doing anything,"
Pax protested, lifting his hands away.
"Magical healing cock is a power
that only works in bed."

Sintonizao groaned
as delicious chicken soup
gave way to unpleasant prune.
"You were doing something,"
she said, "and I want it back."

She clasped his wrists
and pulled his lovely warm hands
back to her aching ribs.

Oh yes, that was better.
Chicken and ginger and garlic
in rich golden broth.
That was wonderful.

"Okaaayyy," Pax said,
drawing out the word
like taffy hot from the pan,
"I think maybe I'm feeling something?
But so far I only know one way
of using my power, and this is not it,
so you'll have to tell me what you want."

Every touch helped, his fingers
delicate as they finished
fastening down the bandage.
He tugged her shirt into place.

"We could cuddle?"
Sintonizao suggested,
tentatively because not everyone
was willing, or was too willing
and interested in the sort of things
that she didn't care to do.

Pax just grinned and arranged himself
comfortably against the wall,
then opened his arms.

Sintonizao leaned back against him,
carefully to spare her tender ribs.
He wrapped one arm around her waist
and the other over her collarbones.
She found it ironic that the one man
with orgy-fueled superpowers
showed more consideration for
her boundaries than those without.

"In bed, it would take hours to knit bone,"
Pax said. "I have no idea how long
it will take for you to heal like this."

"Not complaining," Sintonizao said
as she pillowed her cheek
against his neck.

His voice and his hands
could just keep doing that all day.
Eventually someone would
post replacements for both of them.

By the time Savoir Faire came back
from securing the Sponge in a cell,
Sintonizao was half-asleep
and no longer miserable
over her injured ribs.

He stared at them, saying,
"I was not expecting you
to embrasser."

"Fixing my ribs," Sintonizao said.

"I thought your gift only worked
between the sheets,"
Savoir Faire said to Pax.

"So did I," Pax said,
"but I am very glad to be wrong."

"You gain power, the more people
you touch, do you not?"
Savoir Faire asked him.

"I have before," Pax said.
"I can't predict it in this case."
"Shall we find out?"
Savoir Faire offered.

Sintonizao gave a lazy wave
of her hand, and her ribs
barely twinged, no more
than a hint of plum
under chicken soup.

Savoir Faire snuggled up
on the other side of Pax,
wrapping an arm around them both,

and oh, roast chicken, the kind with
garlic and lemon slivered under the skin
and sprinkled with Herbes de Provence.

"Okay, that I definitely felt,"
Pax said. "This is so subtle
compared to the main mode,
it's going to take a lot of practice."

"Mmmkay," Sintonizao said.

Soft murmurs from the door
announced that someone
would take over communications
from another position, and this area
could be cleaned up after
they were done with it.

Savoir Faire draped his black coat
across the three of them
with the sound of dusk falling.
"It takes as long as it takes," he said,
and they settled down to wait.

* * *

Notes:

Sintonizao (Shirley Macalister) -- Shirley is short and plump. Her brown hair falls just below her shoulders. She has green eyes and ruddy skin. She wears thick glasses. Knock said glasses off and she's got a problem. Shirley comes either from the northern Midwestern U.S. or the Canadian parkland; she doesn't like to expressly say which. Her accent when speaking English can weight either way. She's Scotts Irish but bilingual in English and Portuguese, and she knows snippets of a few other languages as well; she loves code-switching and obscure references. "Anybody makes a Shirley McLain reference gets a poke in the eye."-- Sintonizao, jokingly, on her real name
She is panromantic asexual, somewhat kinky, and proud of it. Her superpowers and personality make her very much a square peg, but Shirley is slowly coming to terms with that too. She generally likes people, which shows in her knack for conversation. She is flippant and lighthearted in speech. Her high nerd quotient is sometimes connected to the gab thing, sometimes not. This helps her notice things that other people overlook. Shirley is exuberant, gregarious, and eccentric; a magpie distracted by shiny things. She has one l-o-n-g memory, and holds grudges. She urgently wants people to like her, but she can miss social cues and conventional references, sometimes causing tension. Her dayjob lies in commercial radio; she also does communication work for SPOON, especially relaying emergency messages.
Origin: Her powers started manifesting at an early age, roughly three or four. The perfect pitch came down from her mother's side, the synaesthesia may or may not have done the same, and apparently the genetics were just right. Bingo, a soup in the family. They've gotten progressively stronger with time, and Shirley has grown pretty creative with them. She mainly used them as unique parlor tricks at first: showing people the colors of their names, projecting along with songs, etc. The memory and intent aspects of her powers really started to strengthen when she was in her late teens.
Sintonizao first took on her codename late in college, while working at the campus radio station. It means "tuned in" or "tuning in," and it's apt. To her, musical notes and musical keys have colors, as do letters, numbers, and words. Her powers actively link her synaesthesia, her memories of concepts and ideas, and direct thought, then translate it all into energy she can use in very specific ways. If she thinks the word 'shields,' for instance, connected with the concept or memory of shielding and the color she associates with the word -- then she has a forcefield-type shield directed wherever she (or somebody else) needs one. This may sound like a lot of deliberate mental work, but it's almost instantaneous to her. She has also learned to create highly specialized energy beams powered by intent.
Uniform: This includes a silver mask decorated with musical notes in shades of blue from turquoise to midnight. The matching capery duster also has an embroidered border of staff lines and notes. Usually its colors are blue-lake for the fabric and silver for the embroidery, but capery responds to superpowers. With that amplifier effect, it can perform as chameleon camouflage, provide sound effects, cover scent, and do other synaesthetic tricks. A drawback is that if Sintonizao's power goes out of control, the capery reflects that by going haywire in color and effects. Out of uniform, Shirley looks like somebody's version of a library lady.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Gift of Gab, Good (+2) Bilingual in English and Portuguese, Good (+2) Multi-variety Synaesthesia, Good (+2) Nerd Is the Word for a Word Nerd, Good (+2) Support Network
Poor (-2) A Twitchy Elephant Never Forgets
Powers: Expert (+4) Synaesthetic Energy Manipulation (Signature Stunts: Shielding, Messages Coded to Recipient, Intentional Energy Beam; Spin-Off Stunt: Capery Display), Average (0) Pattern Recognition, Average (0) Perfect Pitch
Limitation: Prolonged use of her powers can leave her giddy, prone to unintentional discharges of energy in some form or other. Alternatively, it can drop her like a rock, similar to sub drop plus nightmare elements. In a worst-case scenario, the backlash knocks her out entirely; this has only happened once.
Motivation: To speak up fairly for those who can't. Everybody deserves to have a signal.

The Sponge -- Lenis Cummins is a supervillain who is not a leader but rather a very popular henchman. He makes the rounds of more powerful supervillains in need of support, and they like him because he wants to get into trouble with superheroes. It makes him excellent as cannon fodder or a diversion. He uses his irritating personality to goad superheroes into attacking him.
Origin: Lenis started out as a petty crook, and realized that he enjoyed getting whomped by superpowers. He sought it out more and more, then gradually developed the ability to control such energies himself. It is unclear whether this was innate, or acquired from other soup.
Uniform: He's scrawny, so he wears a bright yellow uniform with a lot of padding to make himself easier to see. Parts of it are just dexflan and foam, but other parts are kevlar and other armor.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Henchman, Good (+2) Armor, Good (+2) Connections in the Underground, Good (+2) Football Fan
Poor (-2) Annoying Little Shit
Powers: Good (+2) Power Manipulation
Power Manipulation allows the Sponge to steal powers that are used on him, and to absorb energy which can then fuel any of those stolen powers instead of taking damage.
Vulnerability: Energy Intoxication. Stealing powers, using them, and absorbing energy all feel good to the Sponge, like getting drunk or stoned. So the longer a scene runs and the more he hits he takes or makes, the more intoxicated he gets, and the more it impairs his functionality. Fights usually end when he gets too blasted to shoot straight or avoid capture. The effects wear off slowly, like alcohol, and he's usually hungover the next day (all abilities downshifted).
Motivation: Provoke superheroes into using their powers on him, because he's addicted to that.

Pax has gained a new spin-off stunt, Magical Healing Cuddle. It's unclear yet whether he'll be able to get it to work again for anyone else.

* * *

Allumé, -e adj. 1. lit up; 2. slang drunk.

Cul [L culus] m arse (Am ass), bottom. Not as strong as in English as this word is also used non-offensively to mean the bottom of an object. See enculer.
trou du cul (abbrev. trou duc') asshole. Used for a (male) person that is considered ridiculous or stupid.

Chicken soup has many health benefits. See a recipe for Healing Chicken Soup.

Magical Healing Cock is a variation of Intimate Psychotherapy and a popular example of Hurt/Comfort. But what happens when you cross that with an asexual casualty? Pax's power began with a bite from a radioactive bonobo, and bonobos are stupendously versatile in sex and affection. So it adapts.

Embrasser [from en- in and bras hand] vt 1. to clasp in the arms; 2. form. kiss; see baiser,bécoter, sucer; 3. to adopt, embrace.

See a recipe for Roast Chicken.

Cuddling is good for you in many ways. It is used in some forms of therapy. It reduces stress and pain, and promotes healing. Enjoy the Cuddle Sutra for ideas.

LOVED IT, again!

Date: 2014-04-20 11:36 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Is it too much to hope that the acronym SPOON comes from "the Tick"? I swear, every time I read it in Polychrome, I hear the earworm from the kids' cartoon!

I'm so happy to see a funny-comforting twist to the sex-healing trope. The synesthesia made it stand out as well, but the combination definitely evoked fond memories of Saturday morning cartoons.

(No, they weren't on a special channel; we only had three, and sometimes local PBS reached far enough. LOL.)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-21 02:16 am (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
This is yummy! Cuddles!!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-21 05:37 am (UTC)
thnidu: Tom Baker's Dr. Who, as an anthropomorphic hamster, in front of the Tardis. ©C.T.D'Alessio http://tinyurl.com/9q2gkko (Dr. Whomster)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
I love it!

Aha (from Notes), so it's actually "Sintonizão" with a til, yes?

Iirc, "embrasser" has come to mean "kiss" rather than "hug"...
wordreference.com, Thread: Je veux t'embrasser:
bryona, Junior Member / Native language: USA, English
The dictionary lists "embrasser" as potentially meaning "to kiss" or "to hug," but until recently I have only heard it used as "kiss." How likely is it to mean "hug"? How would one say, "I need a hug," if the meaning is not at all sexual and the statement is not directed at a child?
Merci pour votre aide!
Sev, Senior Member / Béziers, France / Native language: France, french.
If you say "Je veux t'embrasser" we would understand "I want to kiss you".
Embrasser in the sens of hug is not used. If you want a hug, you'll say "Je veux/j'ai besoin/j'ai envie que tu me serres dans tes bras".
beri, Senior Member / Location: Paris / Native language: France
or fais-moi un câlin (between friends, "câlin" is understood as "hug")
Sev
Quote Originally Posted by beri
“or fais-moi un câlin (between friends, "câlin" is understood as "hug")”
I've thought about this one, but IMHO it can still be ambiguous, that's why I recommend to avoid it if there are any doubts about your real intentions. Anywat, it's what you will say to children.
And "baiser" definitely no longer simply means "kiss"!
http://french.about.com/od/vocabulary/g/baiser.htm

Definition: (old-fashioned) to kiss
Les hommes ne baisent plus les mains des femmes - Men don't kiss women's hands any more (hand-kissing gesture)
Note: Baiser is also a vulgar slang term, depending on the context. In the above sentence, it is obvious that baiser means kiss. In a sentence like Il m'a baisée, of course the listener would hear "He f...ed me." Basically, if you have any doubts, find another verb for kiss, like embrasser.
(vulgar slang) - to outdo, to be had; to have sex
Il s'est fait baiser - He was really had/outdone [cf. "We were screwed!"—Dr. Whom]
Related: un baiser - kiss; le baisement - kissing (e.g., the Pope's hand)

Typos:
• "Just relax," he said,
his fingers busy at her chest.
"You'll be fine.
-> Add closing quotation mark

• began with a bit from a radioactive bonobo
-> bite
Edited Date: 2014-04-21 06:50 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-23 02:42 am (UTC)
chanter_greenie: a starscape, including a spiral galaxy (on a quest for a jewel)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
I was going to mention the fact that one particular word didn't usually mean 'kiss' anymore! Beat me to it. *giggling*

You're right about the tilde, I think.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-23 03:07 am (UTC)
thnidu: Tom Baker's Dr. Who, as an anthropomorphic hamster, in front of the Tardis. ©C.T.D'Alessio http://tinyurl.com/9q2gkko (Dr. Whomster)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
I got the tilde from Google Translate:

1. Port sintonizao (no tilde) → Eng yields
tuning—Did you mean: sintonizado

2. No, I didn't, so Eng tuning → Port yields
afinação

tuning-noun
sintonização tuning
afinação tuning, adjustment, setting, timing, refinement, finery
ato de afinar tuning


(Hmm, that typewriter font came out way too small. Sorry 'bout that.)

And thus I have once again used language geekery to avoid what I meant to do... which tells me it's time for bed.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-23 02:34 am (UTC)
helgatwb: (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
This was funny, sweet, wonderful.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-20 11:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] siege.livejournal.com
What gets me with this incident is that Savoir Faire is actually being a gentleman, rather than a parody of one. I like that he doesn't have to be exaggerated all the time.

Yes...

Date: 2014-04-21 12:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
Sometimes the guy is a real douche. Other times he's a sweetheart. And I'm never sure which is going to happen until it does. It's funny that some people find him more irritating as time goes on, but he's growing on me.

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