ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the September 5, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from Shirley Barrette and [personal profile] readera. It also fills the "anchor" square in my 9-1-17 card for the Pirate Fest Bingo. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

"The Choices That Make Families"

Family is an anchor that
holds firm in a stormy world.

It's there when Keras decides
to adopt instead of fathering children,
because there are already so many
who need love but haven't found it.

He takes in Alex, who is
intersex and uses a wheelchair;
Calderon, a survivor of severe abuse
and detached from his father's reservation;
and Katherine Don't-Call-Me Kitty
who has some feline features.

They live on a community farm
that compensates for disabilities
and gives everyone something
constructive to do with their time.
It's a good home, a good life.

It's there when Professor Eichi Moritomo
sets up in a rambling Victorian mansion.
He and his wonderful wife Masumi
share the master suite downstairs.

Upstairs, his younger daughter Bunko
shares the second master suite
with her new baby girl Asuka.

Eichi's older son Hideki and his wife Chie
live in the third master suite. Their daughter Rei
has the tower bedroom and their son Jun has
the square one. These days, Rei mostly lives
in a sharehouse with her dance partner Haru,
its happy bustle reminding her of home.

In an apartment above the detached garage
live Eichi's younger son and his wife Yoshie
with their twin sons Kazuki and Eiji.

Eichi is a proud patriarch, and
nothing makes him happier than
seeing his family gathered around
the great dining room table.

Not even the shadow of growing up
in postwar Japan can dim this light.

Fortressa doesn't know
what the hell they are.

Oh, she knows that the girls
in the Pit Group are her minions,
and they're none of them likely
to run off and leave her for some man.

But Socket.

Socket is different,
and Fortressa doesn't know
what to call it when someone is
in love with you (but trying not to be)
and you don't love her back (not exactly)
because you've sworn off love (because reasons),

but you'd be devastated if she ever left.

It's there anyway, that anchor
hooked under her ribs, beside her heart,
holding her life safe in its harbor.

Sometimes family ties
are not made of blood,
but of promises.

* * *


Keras (Dwight Brecken) -- He has fair skin marked with darker tan, hazel eyes, and long straight brown hair. He also has a pair of tiny goat horns on his forehead, goat ears with full parabolic function, a moist nose and partially divided lip, and short wattles. Once the human parts of his facial hair grew in, he learned how to trim his beard so it looks more human and hides the wattles. Although his horns are small now, they will grow backward and then out in slow spirals. Keras also has a brown-and-white goat tail, which requires all his trousers to be custom-tailored so it can stick out, and his penis has a full furry sheath instead of just a foreskin. Fauns are prone to syndactyly; he only has three stubby digits on each hand. His legs and feet are normal, though.
His heritage is primarily Greek, a little Italian, and some American. His sister has distinctive, squiggly hair striped in shades of brown and black but has declined to check whether it comes from goat or human DNA. Keras has three children, all adopted from the special needs list -- one disabled, one survivor of severe abuse, and one superkid. Because he needs some adaptive equipment, and so does one of the kids, it runs down the family budget. Their family lives in Rain City.
Keras works as a counselor with troubled populations. He lives at Pacific Ridge Community Farm on the edge of Rain City, which is staffed about half-and-half by people with special needs and their caregivers in a model called lifesharing. Its brother farm in Easy City, Downbeat, provides live-work space for musicians with Down Syndrome. His specialty is teaching people that it's okay to be different, but it's not okay to be mean. So he often appears as a "show soup" to let people meet someone with superpowers. Graham Finn brings him to the Nebraska State Penitentiary so the inmates can meet someone who's just a regular soup, not involved in cape politics. Keras came to the attention of Kraken as a teenager but chose not to join. He does occasionally alert them to troubled youth who seem like a good fit.
Keras enjoys historic recreation, and attends SCA events as a faun. He is a particularly agile dancer and much liked by the pipers and other musicians -- he teams up with whoever seems like a good match for stage performances or just for fun.
Uniform: Keras likes casual, comfortable men's wear. A challenge is that all of his bottoms and hats need to be modified for his unusual body. His SCA persona is a faun; he goes topless and wears goatskin chaps, allowing his natural tail to show. In front he wears a priapic codpiece styled according to period fashion.
Qualities: Master (+6) Adaptable, Master (+6) Father, Expert (+4) Counselor, Expert (+4) SCAdian, Good (+2) Dancer, Good (+2) Fast, Good (+2) Intrapersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Sense of Humor
Poor (-2) Adaptive Equipment Is Expensive
Powers: Good (+2) Goat Features, Good (+2) Super-Immunity
Keras has the horns, parabolic ears, penis, and tail of a goat. The horns (and the reinforced skull underneath) give him an advantage in headbutting attacks, or resisting concussions. He has Agility, Iron Stomach, Sex Appeal, Super-Hearing, and Super-Smell at Good level. However, he dislikes anything moldy (like blue cheese) and won't eat mushrooms either. He has a strong body odor, which some people (mostly heterosexual women and gay men, plus a few who like soups) find very appealing and some others (mostly lesbians and straight men) dislike.
Motivation: To show people that it's okay to be different, but it's not okay to be mean.

Alex Brecken -- Thon has fair skin, brown eyes, and short brown hair. Thon is short and plump, and thon rides an electric wheelchair with mauve cushions. Thon has genetic abnormalities which include ambiguous sex and muscle weakness. Thon can stand and walk a little, but feels much more safe and comfortable in a wheelchair. Thon is currently eight years old. Alex is the adopted child of Keras (Dwight Brecken), and the older sibling of Calderon and Katherine. They live at Pacific Ridge Community Farm on the edge of Rain City. While Alex has many "cousins" around the farm and a few facetime friends, thon's real passion is penpals. Thon enjoys corresponding with people from around the world, especially other genderqueer or disabled folks. Their hobby is virtual vacations, because it's often difficult to make long trips to exciting new places in person. So each of them focuses on local attractions, for which they make photo-essays to share with their friends. Alex is currently dreaming about becoming a travel writer someday, and is researching how people with disabilities can accommodate their needs on the road. Thon is proud of showing off where
Qualities: Expert (+4) Penpal, Good (+2) Cheerful, Good (+2) Planning Ahead
Poor (-2) Limited Mobility

Calderon Brecken -- He has rosy-tan skin that deepens toward copper in the sun, dark brown eyes, and short straight black hair. His father came from the Colville Reservation and his mother was an undocumented Mexican immigrant in Rain City. He is the adopted son of Keras (Dwight Brecken), the younger brother of Alex, and the older brother of Katherine. Calderon was severely abused as a preschooler and taken away from his mother, but the damage was already done; he had such serious behavioral problems that no normal family would tolerate him. So Keras brought him to the Pacific Ridge Community Farm on the edge of Rain City, where the boy has improved greatly. Calderon's goal is to overcome his past well enough to help other abuse survivors; he wants to wear the silver Sowilo pendant, but doesn't feel ready for that yet. He loves animals, and finds that working with them on the farm helps pull him out of his bad memories into the world as it is now.
Qualities: Good (+2) Animal Lover, Good (+2) Compassion, Good (+2) Work Ethic
Poor (-2) Survivor of Severe Abuse

Katherine Don't-Call-Me Kitty Brecken -- She has fair skin, dark brown eyes with vertical pupils, and curly light brown hair to her shoulders. She has large black cat ears atop her head in addition to her human ears, a black nose pad and the beginnings of tabby facial streaks coming in, and a furry black tail. Her features seem to be growing more feline over time. She is currently four years old. Katherine likes her given name and her cat aspects, but hates being called Kitty. She always introduces herself as "Katherine Don't-Call-Me-Kitty" to the point it has become her middle name. She is the adopted daughter of Keras (Dwight Brecken), the younger sister of Alex and Calderon. They live at Pacific Ridge Community Farm on the edge of Rain City, a home for people with disabilities and their caregivers.
Qualities: Good (+2) Adorable, Good (+2) Gardener
Poor (+2) Don't Call Me Kitty

Professor Eichi Moritomo -- He has golden-fair skin, almond-shaped brown eyes, and white hair to his shoulders. He is Japanese, but immigrated to America as a tween. He is the older brother of his twin sister Mitsuki, who is now a master of zetetics; the husband of Masumi; the father of two sons, Hideki and Tadao and two daughters, Umeko and Bunko; the father-in-law of Chie and Yoshie; and the grandfather of Rei Moritomo, Jun Moritomo, Kazuki Moritomo, Eiji Moritomo, and Asuka Moritomo. Eichi lives in the San Francisco part of Westbord, in a large multigenerational house with some of his children and grandchildren. He studies a variety of arts including Aikido and Tai Chi for moving meditation and energy flow. Growing up in postwar Japan left him with a lot of traumatic memories. He turned to theoretical physics as a way to occupy his mind with a more productive obsession, but sometimes the triggers still reactivate intrusive memories or other stress responses.
Qualities: Master (+6) Logical-Mathematical Intelligence, Master (+6) Theoretical Physics, Expert (+4) Family Patriarch, Expert (+4) Wisdom, Good (+2) Moving Meditation, Good (+2) Mentor of Romeo Vega, Good (+2) Wealth
Poor (-2) Traumatic Past

Rei Moritomo -- She has golden skin, black eyes, and long straight black hair. Rei is the granddaughter of Eichi Moritomo, daughter of Hideki and Chie, and older brother of Jun. Rei is genderqueer and uses feminine pronouns. Her body is male. Rei has used exercise, a little reconstructive surgery, and fashion expertise to create a subtly feminine silhouette. She has not removed her male parts and does not plan to do so. She enjoys both acting and dancing in the female role. Her enormous family thinks she is amazing, and they have welcomed Haru with equal enthusiasm.
Rei is partnered with Haru Kimura. They live in a large accessible house shared with several other disabled soups including Syncope, Handspring, and the Saenz family. Theirs is the master bedroom on the upper floor, bedroom #3. Rei helps take care of their home, especially the gardening. She can put anything edible on pizza and make it taste good. A household favorite is Doorstop Pizza, made with bamboo wedges.
Qualities: Master (+6) Onnagata, Master (+6) Paralympic Dancer, Expert (+4) Extended Family, Expert (+4) Gender Activist, Expert (+4) Pizza Cook, Good (+2) Elegant, Good (+2) Gardener, Good (+2) Spatial Intelligence, Good (+2) Strategy Games, Good (+2) Wealth
Poor (-2) Finicky

Haru Kimura -- He has golden skin, brown eyes, and curly dark brown hair currently cut in a mohawk. Paralyzed from the hips down, he uses a sport wheelchair with canted wheels and no push handles. Haru has a female body but with wide shoulders, relatively flat chest, and narrow hips. He is genderqueer and uses masculine pronouns. His birth family disapproves of this and refuses to speak with him.
Haru is partnered with Rei Moritomo. They live in a large accessible house shared with several other disabled soups including Syncope, Handspring, and the Saenz family. Theirs is the master bedroom on the upper floor, bedroom #3. Haru is currently learning how to use Light Control for entertainment. He also wants to learn how to work with superkids.
Origin: A car accident in his teens left him in a wheelchair. Haru took up paralympic dancing. Recently his superpowers manifested, possibly due to his growing interest in the theatrical aspects of dance. That got him kicked out of competition. He is suing because the whole point of paralympic sports is to offer opportunities to people barred from conventional sporting events due to special needs.
Uniform: Formal wear while dancing. Nice street clothes otherwise. He usually wears trousers, but likes feminine shoes and often paints his finger and toe nails. He varies between masculine and feminine tops.
Qualities: Master (+6) Gender Activist, Master (+6) Paralympic Dancer, Expert (+4) Kinesthetic Intelligence, Expert (+4) Fabulous, Good (+2) Dexterity Games, Good (+2) Honorable, Good (+2) Sushi Cook
Poor (-2) Family Outcast
Powers: Good (+2) Light Control
Motivation: To break down the ban against superpowers in sports and entertainment.

Fortressa -- Corrigan Pierce bounced off the glass ceiling in her engineering major, and dropped out of college as a result. Her sturdy, muscular build and plain face mean that many people overlook her, but she cleans up nice. She wears her brown hair in a short, practical cut. Her eyes are green and her skin is olive. She has a history of horrible breakups with boyfriends and has sworn off love. Corrigan is a talented mechanic and super-gizmologist. She has a particular hatred of "boobplate" and "chainmail bikini" armor. She drives a jeep painted in gray camo. If she can convince people to work on a car together, they can talk through and solve almost any other problem in the process.
Origin: Corrigan's natural intelligence gradually built up, with Gizmology manifesting in high school and Super-Gizmology in college. Frustration with the sexism in her field led her to build a suit of Power-Armor and become Fortressa. Periodically she flies out to smash some college, corporation, or individual who has come to her attention due to sexist offenses. Fortressa is not terribly concerned about due process or collateral damage.
Uniform: Power-Armor, with a practical gray flightsuit under it.
Qualities: Good (+2) Battlesuit Pilot, Good (+2) Intelligence, Good (+2) Strength, Good (+2) Working on the Car Together
Poor (-2) Unlucky in Love
Powers: Expert (+4) Super-Gizmology, Average (0) Minions
Minions: The Pit Group consists of seven women, all with different skills in science and/or mechanics. Together the Pit Group can repair (but not improve) Fortressa's power-armor. Their leader, Socket, is secretly in love with Fortressa.
Expert (+4) Power-Armor: Expert Invulnerability, Good Energy Beam, Good Flight, Average Sensors, Average Tools & Supplies. It has Hollaback on permanent scroll in the heads-up display.
Motivation: No one breaches my walls.

Socket -- She is a high school graduate with an excellent trade school education as a mechanic. Fortressa enticed her out of a dead-end job at a lube joint to come lead the Pit Group maintaining Fortressa's power-armor. Socket is short and curvy with electric blue hair and gray eyes. She is a lesbian with a strong competence kink on mechanical matters, and she soon fell in love with Fortressa. Given that Fortressa has sworn off love, Socket remains silent about this, merely staying close at hand to do whatever Fortressa needs to make her happier. Her BlackSheep handle is Craftswoman1438.
Qualities: Master (+6) Gizmologist, Expert (+4) Boundary Awareness, Good (+2) Emotional Intelligence, Good (+2) Flexible, Good (+2) Loyal, Good (+2) Spatial Intelligence
Poor (-2) Crush on Fortressa

* * *

This is exterior of Fortressa's garage lair. It has a one-two-three layout of machine shop, garage, machine storage although the layout of the machine room is different than shown. Fortressa has the 48x56' version as shown in the upper right corner of this set. The 10x12' office is the patch room that says "Body Shop" on the door. Fortressa also has the 16x24' office suite as shown in the upper right corner of this set, located in the upper right corner of the garage area. These are some of the important garage elements.

This is the conference room in the office suite. The popcorn machine was installed as a joke because of all the drama. But it actually makes excellent popcorn and the Pit Group have come to enjoy making some in all different flavors.

Fortressa's garage apartment is located above the machine shop. This is her gizmotronic spa tub, unlit and lit. She also has a fitness gym and a combat gym.

The cupolas are functional. The center one is a tiny room with a teleport pad and a spiral staircase leading down. The outer two are air vents. The interior of the vent cupolas looks like this. Here is part of the finished attic and stairs from the teleport cupola. That cupola has a compass rose inlaid in the corner.

The Moritomo family house is well suited to multigenerational living. See the exterior. The basement includes a recreation room and a bathroom. On the first floor, the master suite and study belong to Eichi and his wife Masumi. The second floor has two more master suites and two extra bedrooms. Rei's parents (Eichi's older son Hideki and his wife Chie) live in Master Suite #3. Rei has Bedroom #3 and her brother Jun has Bedroom #4. Rei's single aunt Bunko shares Master Suite #2 with her new baby girl Asuka. There is a reading nook on the balcony beside Bedroom #4 and a sitting area where the balcony overlooks the great room.

The house has an attached garage, but with so many people, they needed more parking space, so there is also a freestanding garage with an apartment above it. Eichi's younger son Tadao lives here with his wife Yoshie (in Bedroom #2) and twin sons Kazuki and Eiji (in Bedroom #1).

The Japanese family system has its roots in the extended families of agricultural settlements. Although it has undergone many changes over time, family is still greatly valued. In T-America, large families are more common and better supported than in L-America; and in metroplexes such as Westbord it is often much cheaper to live in multigenerational or other shared housing than to live separately. Hence why Rei looked for a sharehouse: because it reminds her of home.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-09-09 02:35 pm (UTC)
mdlbear: (poly-heart)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear

I want both the Moritomo house and Fortessa's garage. They'd make an awesome place for our family.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-09-09 06:24 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
I believe that you folks are and will be making an awesome place with the location(s) you have.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-09-14 03:39 am (UTC)
lb_lee: A picture of Sneak smiling (sneak)
From: [personal profile] lb_lee
Alex Brecken's picture is broken!

I liked this story. It reminds me of the home we've made for ourself!



ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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