ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem was written outside the prompt calls, inspired by a discussion with [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It fills the "diplomacy" square on my 3-6-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. It has been selected in an audience poll as the free epic for the July 1, 2014 fishbowl reaching the $200 goal. This poem belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics. It's a sequel to "The Ones Who Would Do Anything" and won't make much sense until you have read that first.


"Wherever We Find Them"


Groundhog rubbed the back of his neck.
He had been searching for months
in hope of turning up the family
who had lost Rosita.

Danso had been able to provide
an approximate location for where
the baby had originally appeared to him,
along with some observations
about the range of her teleport jumps.

There was no guarantee that she had
come from anywhere near there, because
she could have jumped more than once
and first jumps were often longer,
but at least it gave them a starting point.

More importantly, it set a timeframe,
allowing Groundhog to focus on
birth records and missing person reports
within a two-week window.

Searching through their contacts at the
Super Power Organizational & Operational Nexus
yielded nothing, but even though soups had
a higher chance of having superpowered kids,
most were still born to ordinary parents
who would have no connection to the group.

Finally Groundhog made contact
with the Durante family, who reached out to
SPOON in another city about their missing baby.
She had been reported as kidnapped,
so the police looked in all the wrong places,
but eventually the desperate parents
turned to other possibilities.

Faramundo and Amada Durante
had three sons already,
aged three, six, and nine.
Gil, Fernán, and Eduardo
missed their little sister.

The whole family had looked forward
to this first, much-wanted daughter
and were devastated by her loss.

The incident all but shattered the family,
some relatives accusing others
of carelessness or worse,
and everyone having an opinion on
how things should have been done differently.

Groundhog managed to convince the Durantes
to come to the SPOON base for a meeting
to figure out what to do next.

They came, but Faramundo Durante
refused to acknowledge the circumstances.
"My daughter is no freak!" he snapped.

"Rosita is a normal, healthy baby girl,"
Groundhog said evenly,
"who has the power to teleport."

"Her name is Consuela,"
said Amada Durante.

"Well, she's been going by Rosita
long enough to recognize it,"
Groundhog explained.
"Danso, the boy who found her,
had no way of knowing her given name."

"We don't care about that,"
Faramundo said, his fingers
tapping restlessly at his belt.
"We just want our daughter back."

The situation called for diplomacy,
which was not his best skill.
Groundhog was good
at sympathy and support,
excellent at matching people to projects,
but not so adept when it came to
sorting out personal conflicts.

I wish Valor's Widow were here,
he thought, not for the first time,
but she was busy negotiating
a ceasefire in Eastbord
between two superpowered gangs.

"Of course you do," Groundhog said.
"It's not that simple, though.
We need to make sure that
Rosita stays safe."

If she had teleported away
from her birth family once,
then she could do it again --
and she was much too young
to learn control yet.

Danso had power manipulation
and the Muffler had nullification
which meant they could keep Rosita
from getting herself lost again.

As far as Groundhog could tell,
the Durantes were not so blessed.

Fortunately Granny Whammy
came to the rescue.
Not even Faramundo could
stand up to her stern, wrinkled face.

"I have made arrangements for
Rosita's new family to bring her here,"
Granny Whammy declared.
"This way we can all sit down
together and talk about options.
Superpowered children have special needs,
so looking after Rosita isn't quite
like looking after an ordinary baby."

"Our daughter doesn't have
any special needs,"
Faramundo protested.

Somewhere in Egypt,
a river is flooding,

Groundhog thought.

"She does if you want
to keep her this time,"
Granny Whammy countered.

"I don't care about all that,"
said Amada, wringing her hands.
"I just want to see my baby girl again --
and I would like to meet the people
who have been taking care of her, too."

"It will be good for her
to see you again,"
Groundhog said.

Faramundo grumbled but
finally agreed to the meeting.
Amada gave a watery smile.

Groundhog heaved a sigh of relief.
It wasn't over by a long shot,
but at least now Rosita would
get to see her birth parents again.

He couldn't help remembering
one of his favorite quotes:
We must take care of our families
wherever we find them
.

His own parents had messed him up,
as much as they had loved him,
keeping him indoors so that he couldn't
fly away and hurt himself again
because they hadn't known anyone like
the Muffler who could damp down his talent
until he was able to control it himself,

but he had found a new family
here at SPOON, and he wanted
to make sure that nothing so awful
happened to other young soups.

It wasn't easy work,
but it was worth it.

* * *

Notes:

Groundhog (Eunan Campbell) -- He has strawberry blond hair, green eyes, and pale skin with freckles. His weak lungs mean that he can't handle altitude changes well, and tends to catch every cold or chest bug that goes around. He works at SPOON as a dispatcher. He wants to support other soups so that bad things don't happen to them like what happened to him. He's one of the few people who is compassionate toward supervillains, because he understands how traumatic superpowers can be and how they can mess up someone's life.
Origin: When his superpower first manifested during his infancy, he disappeared into the sky, and before he was rescued he got so high up that it damaged his lungs. His parents were frantic, and after that, overprotective. Left with vulnerable breathing and a timid nature, he stopped using his power.
Uniform: Navy blue shirt and pants with the SPOON logo embroidered in silver on the chest pocket.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Dispatcher, Expert (+4) Soup Contacts, Expert (+4) Sympathetic, Good (+2) Classic Literature, Good (+2) Dexterity, Good (+2) Green Thumb, Good (+2) Sewing
Poor (-2) Weak Lungs
Powers: Good (+2) Flight
Limitation: He is acrophobic and agoraphobic, so he never uses his power. It still works, in theory; he's just too afraid of it to activate it.
Motivation: Support people with superpowers.

* * *

"We must take care of our families wherever we find them."
-- Elizabeth Gilbert

In case of missing persons, the authorities have an elaborate response protocol that covers everything from wandering to kidnapping. But a wrong assumption can easily lead people astray. Several different search patterns may be used for ground, air, or virtual searches; Groundhog went with a spiral. Similar strategies are used in the geocache hobby. There are tips for families with a missing child.

Adoptive names can pose a challenge for families.

Conflict resolution is a vital skill. Understand the goals and processes of settling a disagreement.

Custody fights can get nasty. Ideally, adults should put the child's needs first. Chronic parental conflict can harm children, especially if parents fight in front of them. Blended families face special challenges in managing custody and conflict resolution. When there are disagreements or multiple segments of family, it helps to make a parenting plan.

The "special needs" category really covers all children whose gifts or limitations mean that they require support in areas that most children don't. Superkids are special needs by definition. Usually people focus on the ones with physical or mental handicaps, but gifted children have special needs too. There are considerations for adopting a child with special needs.

"Denial is not just a river in Egypt" plays on "denial" and "the Nile." Denial can help or hurt as someone copes with loss. Know how to deal with denial in yourself or others. Work with your feelings and learn to trust yourself. Understand how to help others break through their denial.

All parents make mistakes; everyone does, and it's just part of being human. Bad parents or anxious ones can ruin their children's lives. Good parents learn from their mistakes and work through them.

Need more--

Date: 2014-07-06 10:16 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
I love the views of people who are out of their depth and still /trying/. Danso was in so far over his head he probably needed sonar to find either surface or river bottom, but he kept doing his best.

Here, Groundhog is clearly out of /his/ element, and knows it. He keeps trying, AND he knows enough to keep from escalating the situation, especially when one of the adults is openly antagonistic.

A tight, intertwined character piece that develops a /lot/ of different threads in very few words.

Thanks for posting it!

Re: Need more--

Date: 2014-07-06 11:44 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
>> (I loved that about Days of Future Past, putting BAMF Wolverine in a situation that called for emotional intelligence about a hundred points higher than he has.)<<

You mean any positive integer value? LOL. Poor guy.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-07 02:28 am (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
I like this one a lot.

I'm rather worried about Faramundo; the denial is strong with this one, and he doesn't sound like someone who's going to take "you're being stupid" for an answer. Hopefully Amanda has learned how to manage him.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-07 04:34 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Her name is Consuelo. Awwww, Amada. I'm now remembering a young woman I knew who was adopted from South Korea as a baby. Her adoptive parents kept her original name, Seong Ah, as her middle name. Samantha Seong Ah [friend's last name redacted], maybe Rosita Consuelo Durante?

I have to wonder if Spoon searching for Rosita's family might have turned up/solved any other missing person cases that turned out to be lost-and-found soups. And I'm now imagining/wishing for Groundhog getting the chance to use his ability without being afraid of it. Say, in an enclosed hallway, flying just above the ground. Maybe he can move faster by flying than someone else available can move on foot/wheel, and the situation recurs.

baBINGGGG!!!

Date: 2014-07-31 11:25 pm (UTC)
ext_12246: (headbang)
From: [identity profile] thnidu.livejournal.com
Somewhere in Egypt,
a river is flooding,

Groundhog thought.


Denial is not just a river in Egypt

NOW I get it. BBBBTTTTTT!!!

Re: baBINGGGG!!!

Date: 2014-08-02 04:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
Yay! I'm glad that worked for you.

Re: baBINGGGG!!!

Date: 2016-09-24 09:41 pm (UTC)
callibr8: (diversity)
From: [personal profile] callibr8
>> Somewhere in Egypt / a river is flooding <<

This worked for me too. Took me a moment to put it together, then I grinned and thought, "That's a new twist on this idiom, and a fun one! So going to propagate this when I get a chance!"

Words, and phrases, can be such /fun/ toys!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-08-03 07:36 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
Names are important. Names have power. One of the first things slaveholders in the South did with a new slave (if it hadn't been done already) was to assign them a new name, and punish them for using the old one. This sent a very clear message of, "That person no longer exists. You are a slave now."

This is why I had such a negative reaction to the good guys calling Shithouse "Brick" in "Turning Leaves". He didn't much care for it either. So they think it's vulgar -- it's HIS NAME, and he's the one who gets to decide what it is.

(This issue ties in with some of my own hot spots as an adoptee, even though I was adopted as an infant and have no memory of my birth parents.)

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