ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the June 3, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] rosieknight. It also fills the "first person narration" square in my 6-1-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

By the way, this was my mother's favorite poem of the last batch I sent them; she said it made her laugh. We have some family stories about snapping turtles. My grandmother got chased by one. Honestly, I probably would have skedaddled too.

"Snappy Action"

At first it was funny when
we found the snapping turtle
in the little employee park
behind our factory.

It got strange when she
started climbing up
the chain-link fence
to get back to the pond
where the wastewater collected.

We all laughed
when she fell off the fence.

Duke just had to go over
and poke her with a stick.
She hissed at him
and bit the stick in half.

It was a two-inch-thick stick.

Then she started chewing
on the chain-link fence.


She was cutting through the metal
as if her jaws were wire snips.

"Okay," I said, as I
backed slowly away
from the super-turtle.
"It's time to call SPOON."

* * *


Ironsides -- She is a Common Snapping Turtle, about 20 inches from nose to tail tip. Rescued from a factory pond, she is now the mascot for the SPOON base in Easy City. She lives in their rain garden full of brightly colored plants.
Super-Durability means she is tougher than most things around her, so she can bite through wires, and she has survived having a truck backed over her. Super-Intellect for a reptile with a small brain means she's about as smart as an ordinary dog, so she can figure out simple puzzles and is difficult to contain. Super-Strength is not as much as a human's, but she can dig through concrete or lift fallen logs. She is smart and strong enough to climb or chew through most fences. Also she once bit the forefinger off a supervillain who teased her. Yeah, that's on YouTube.
Origin: Hatched in a polluted pond full of runoff from a Louisiana factory.
Qualities: Master (+6) Snapping Turtle, Good (+2) Agility
Powers: Average (0) Super-Durability, Average (0) Super-Intellect, Average (0) Super-Strength

* * *

Ironsides is a common snapping turtle, one of Louisiana's native reptiles. If you're surprised by the smooth shell, you're thinking of alligator snappers, a distantly related species.

Factory pollution is a serious problem with many negative effects. In Terramagne, mysterious chemicals form one of the commoner causes of superpowers. There are ways to prevent pollution and things you can do to fight it.

Animals can be quite smart and many excel at solving puzzles. Chimpanzees, like humans, may solve puzzles just for the fun of it. Some reptiles show complex and flexible behavior too.

Definitely call SPOON!

Date: 2014-07-30 11:05 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
I love it! I needed a good chuckle, and it's more at the situation than at the turtle herself.

But I wonder... what will her offspring be like?

Re: Definitely call SPOON!

Date: 2014-07-31 12:44 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer

You WENT there? You really, really did!


Must, must, read both the poem and your comment to hubby in order to share my pain!


(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-31 01:05 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Ooh yeeks, snapping turtles rather scare me! I was once bitten by one of those; a teacher of mine rescued it from the middle of the road, warned me to be careful of the claws but allowed me to touch its shell. I unwittingly petted said shell a little too near one edge and snap!city. I got hurried home to run my finger (the middle one, if you can believe it) under a faucet and get bandaged up. Turtle got released at the local quarry.

Easy City is growing on me like mad. :) I have biases in that direction anyway, I admit.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2014-07-31 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Re: surly reptiles: I don't think that particular teacher knew just how aggressive snappers were. I'm guessing, looking back on her reaction, that she knew garden variety non-bitey turtles, box turtles or similar. I didn't know any better myself at that point, so. Ow.

Re: Easy city: Iiiiiii now want to see a couple folks having a marvelous time fitting in with the colorful city down thataway. You can probably intuit who. I also want to meet more of the EC-Spoon regulars.

*marks calendar* This, and the discussion of another post, have solidified a prompt or three in my head. I'll be late due to work and travel delays, but I'll be there.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2014-07-31 04:28 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Re: snappers afield: This was relatively rural Wisconsin marsh country. If ever my niece gets near a snapper and I'm there, I'll be warning her away but quick. Look but don't touch that beastie, Laura!

Re: EC-Spoon: I've been sniffing around the discussion post, and yes, I definitely want to see the trio of founders in action. ... Oh, dear. I've just had another prompt hit me on the head. It has to do with Seraphina settling in. I'll save it for Tuesday.

Darnit, there are two characters who I can see in Easy City, but they're AU in a couple of 'verses already in addition to their originating universes. That probably doesn't make a lot of sense. Heh. I may have to backchannel you something to clear it up a smidge.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-31 01:10 am (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
Fun! There were rumored to be alligator snappers in the river near our house in Connecticut. Snappers are pretty scary even without being super.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-31 08:34 am (UTC)
lynnoconnacht: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lynnoconnacht
I can see why this one made your mum laugh. It made me laugh too. ^_^ I'm sad it ends there, though. I would've liked to see how SPOON handled the situation. ^_^

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2014-08-02 07:58 am (UTC)
lynnoconnacht: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lynnoconnacht
I think this dynamic works best with the short length. It could be picked up later from the SPOON side though.

Oh, yes. This is a great spot to end the poem on. ^_^ But the story is far from over and I would dearly love to see how SPOON deals with Ironsides and how she got to be their mascot sometime is all. ^_^

(no subject)

Date: 2014-08-01 06:44 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
We once found a common snapper in a dangerous location on the side of the road near the entrance to the UPS shipping facility (we were dropping off a box there). We relocated it -- carefully! -- to a nearby ditch that had some water in it.

I have a pretty good idea how much pressure a normal snapper of that size can exert with its jaws. It doesn't surprise me at all that a super-powered one effectively has heavy-duty dykes that blast right thru fencing wire.

Snapping Turtle

Date: 2014-08-02 02:36 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The turtles can go through quite a large stick. I live near Lake Placid NY, and we once caught a rough shelled snapping turtle that was as big as the bottom of an average outdoor garbage bin. It's shell was over two feet long, head to tail. It was really far away from any water, so my dad relocated it, using the garbage bin, to a nearby swamp. He did let all us kids in the neighbor hood look at it first.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-30 11:18 pm (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
We used to get box turtles all the time in Tennessee.. just as glad not to run across a snapper, though. Ouch! :)


Date: 2014-07-31 12:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
Box turtles are much more personable and less dangerous. Snappers tend to be mean and even ordinary ones have a powerful bite.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-31 10:59 am (UTC)
ext_74: Baron Samadai in cat form (Default)
From: [identity profile] siliconshaman.livejournal.com
whoa... you mean Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles could exist in Terramagne?! Radical!

Seriously though, I like the way you're considering the fallout of pollution in a world where you can gain super-powers by exposure to 'mysterious chemicals'. I bet the Terramagne version of the EPA has a bite worse than Ironsides!


Date: 2014-07-31 07:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> whoa... you mean Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles could exist in Terramagne?! Radical! <<

Square root, dude!

So far, I have not found anthropomorphic animals. They are almost certainly present, given their prevalence in comics and the dynamics of Terramagne as established. I wouldn't be surprised to see them as a minion race. But sewer people would be a possibility too. It's a thing people could prompt for, if they want to see it.

>> Seriously though, I like the way you're considering the fallout of pollution in a world where you can gain super-powers by exposure to 'mysterious chemicals'. <<

Yay! I've been enjoying the exploration of origin stories, which I've always loved. They cluster a lot. One of the most common is innate ability, which can be simple family inheritance or a result of environmental exposure. Both chemical and radiological agents feed into the latter. Both can also cause later manifestations, which is more typical of mainstream comics. Chemical can be either deliberate -- people who were experimented upon or modified themselves on purpose -- or accidental, and there are a lot of accidents. And sometimes the changes can be passed down to offspring, not just from germline alterations, but epigenetic ones.

Then there's another large group of people whose talents grow in slowly as they push the envelope in a specific direction. I'm starting to think that's what you get if a latent person throws their whole weight at mastering a skill, it can ramp up to super level. Intelligence becomes Super-Intellect, Gizmology becomes Super-Gizmology, etc.

Some people are directly given their superpowers; this has several subcategories including gifts from higher powers, artifacts or technology from a person who makes those things, and the Power Bestowal ability. I haven't done aliens yet but it's on my list.

Beyond that are the weird-ass ways that only show up for one person.

>> I bet the Terramagne version of the EPA has a bite worse than Ironsides! <<

SPAZMAT does. They're not as indifferent to human suffering as the Men in Black -- they have to do a lot of casualty care -- but they can swoop in and take over a scene. They are pretty effective at containing Gizmology or Super-Gizmology mishaps, and if someone reports a supercritter in conjunction with pollution, this is who gets called in to deal with the root cause.

The EPA is still trying to catch up, hampered by corporate interests. So people know that this sort of thing is possible but they think of it as very low, like a cancer risk (which is often grossly underestimated also).

One serious problem is that the results are erratic, sometimes hard to replicate, sometimes impossible. Take an Average (0) Metagen, and douse a hundred people with it. One of them will turn into a soup. Ten or so will drop dead. Most of the rest will just get sick, and recover. Some metagens have worse effects; for instance, the ones Judd had in the wagon killed everything they touched except for him. Nasty stuff. Metagens intended for human use -- makeup, tattoo ink, etc. -- are less likely to kill, so you'll see a pattern where most people have unpleasant reactions and one or a few will gain superpowers. Most metagens work by activating someone's latent potential.

Far less common are metagens with a higher rate of manifestation. These may work by creating a power where no latent potential existed, although some of them also bring latents into manifestation. It creates a different shape of transformational footprint in the population exposed.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-27 01:06 am (UTC)
gingicat: woman in a green dress and cloak holding a rose, looking up at snow falling down on her (Default)
From: [personal profile] gingicat
This is one awesome turtle. At some point I'd love to see something about Granny Whammy visiting it.

One of my few superhero fanfics bounces off of a canon story about pollution:


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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