Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Never Carry Them Forward"

This is spillover from the April 7, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer and [personal profile] librarygeek. It has been sponsored by EdorFaus. This poem belongs to the Dr. Infanta thread of the Polychrome Heroics series, and is a direct sequel to "More Anxious to Agree" so you'll need to read that one first in order for this one to make any sense.

Warning: This poem contains angst and emotional fallout from the recent activity as Alicia frets over what happened.  She's really upset, and it's not something that can be fixed in fast or straightforward ways.  If that's touchy territory for you, think before you click.

"Never Carry Them Forward"

Alicia jogged through the alleys
of the warehouse district, gun
slung over her back, noting that
the men originally stationed
to contain potential firefights
had already withdrawn
according to orders.

The last three of her people
waiting onsite were all Guardians,
who wouldn't leave until Alicia did.

She rounded the corner to find
Cheval, Lorry, and Nanette
tucked out of sight in a niche
where two buildings joined.

"So how did the mad plan go?"
Cheval asked her.

"I didn't even get to test the TIG,
and I wanted to see what it could do
in the field, but I couldn't get a clear shot,"
said Alicia. "Then Hefty flagged me down.
"He and Fiddlesticks called their cop friends
to deal with the gunrunners and the guns."

"That sounds like it worked out,"
Cheval said with a nod. "You don't
look very happy, though."

Alicia wrapped her small arms
around him and pressed her cheek
against the wide wall of his belly.

"We made it look good. Nobody
will know it wasn't real. I got away.
But I think Fiddlesticks is really hurt,
and I didn't mean it," she said.

"What happened?" Cheval said,
his big hand coming up to pet her hair.

"We were playing tag, you know,
running and dodging and shoving
each other," Alicia said. The gun on
her shoulder shifted, and she shrugged it
back into place. "I tried to trip him with
my powers, and -- and it worked,
but he fell awful hard."

"You didn't stop to check
on him," Nanette guessed.

"I couldn't," Alicia said with a sigh.
"We were playing for the cameras
on the walls, and that would have
given it away -- or else we would
have to erase the footage, and
then what's the point?"

"What about the helmet camera
on the battlesuit that you mentioned
to Nanette when you made contact
earlier?" asked Cheval.

"I don't think they'll release that,"
Alicia said. "Hefty won't, anyway,
and I'm curious what the Omaha
police department will do."

"It would probably hurt them
more than us if they did,"
Cheval said with a nod.
"We can always do some
damage control later,
if it comes to that."

"They're solid," Alicia said.
"I think they can do better
at dealing with Crosshairs and
his men and all the guns."

"I agree," Lorry said. "They have
more training for that sort of thing, and
the law behind them. It's more efficient."

"Wait, how did you get those bruises?"
Nanette interrupted, her voice sharp.

Alicia rubbed one hand over
the yellowing mark at her shoulder,
as wide and long as two fingers together.
"He tagged me with one of his sticks --
he was trying to spin me around," she said.
"We were just roughhousing."

"Men," grumbled the nanny.

"I'm not the one who really got hurt,"
Alicia said. She sniffled and wiped her nose
against her shirt. "I didn't mean to, it just
happened, and now I'm worried.
Maybe I should go back and
check on him after all."

She was trying not to cry.
Really she was.

"This is a warm zone, Miss, and
it's getting warmer," said Lorry.
"We need to get out of here."

"But he was nice to me and fun
to play with and I like him,"
Alicia whispered. "I promised
that I wouldn't hurt him for real and
then I messed up. It's all my fault."

Whatever the problem was, she
could heal it with a touch -- if
she could reach Fiddlesticks
without anyone interfering.

"I'm sure the police department will
take good care of your friend,"
Cheval said. "Let's leave now,
and keep an eye on the situation
from a safe distance. If he doesn't
recover properly, then we'll think
about how to handle that later."

"I feel awful now," Alicia said.

"What do we do when we make
a mistake that hurts someone?"
Nanette prompted.

"Say sorry," Alicia recited. "But
they'll be keeping close watch --
Oh! Could I send him a message?"

"I'm sure something could be
arranged," Nanette said.

"It's natural to regret mistakes,
but we should learn from them,
and never carry them forward
to trip us in the future," said Cheval.

"Warm zone, Miss," Lorry reminded.

"We can go," she agreed.

Cheval picked her up, Nanette
stepped in close, and Lorry
took them all home.

* * *


"We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us."
-- Lucy Maud Montgomery

TIG is short for Tickle Inducement Gun. It's a prototype super-gizmo intended to overload the nervous system and incapacitate people without killing them.

Bruises are typical of the minor injuries considered reasonable in sparring or roughhousing. Mangled knees requiring hospital care exceed that range, hence Alicia feeling guilty. Bruises go through color changes as they age and the pooled blood breaks down. Yellow doesn't usually appear until after 24-48 hours, so here it shows how fast Alicia is healing, already out of the blue-and-purple phase into the green-and-yellow phase.

Emergency response in tactical situations has a set of descriptions for the danger levels: hot (actively hazardous), warm (potentially hazardous), and cold (reasonably safe). Lorry being a bodyguard as well as a teleporter, it's his job to manage location in relation to risk assessment.

Apologies are meant to relieve guilt and repair damaged relationships. In cases like this, a verbal apology may not be enough, and circumstances may make apologizing in person difficult or impossible. Fiddlesticks actually doesn't blame Alicia for what happened, because he's more mature and knows what went wrong; but that doesn't make her feel any better. There are tips on how to apologize.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, family skills, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing

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