Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Morninghill"

This poem was inspired by a comment from [personal profile] fred_mouse about superheroes with disabilities, especially dementia. It also fills the "Thank God It's Friday ... Again: Time Loops" square in my 12-17-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] fyreharper. This poem belongs to the Aquariana thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.


Bunker Bill wasn't talking about the War today.
He was talking about the semi-trucks that
he'd worked on after retiring from the Army,
big gas-guzzling smoke-belching beasts.

"They're heavy, too," he said with a chuckle.
"Don't stand behind one that's backing up."

Coral Rothschild nodded and listened to the story
about how Bunker Bill's friend Jimmie-Tom had
backed a truck over him, which fortunately
did no harm due to his Invulnerability.

His dementia made long-ago memories
clearer than today, but that was all right in
an environment designed to accommodate it.

Nearby, Dean Rountree sat under a potted sapling
that rippled constantly as flowers came and went,
oranges ripening and greening amidst the leaves.

The Timebending which had once been precise
enough to make him a popular horse race announcer
had slowly degraded into power incontinence
that left him unable to work anymore or even
travel safely among ordinary people.

Just out of range from his power, Arabesque
lounged on a bench, her dexflan leotard
matching the black swirls on her white skin.
She often kept him company because her
Chameleon Skin would speed up or slow down
its slow shift of pattern, allowing her to tell
when his power was fluctuating again.

Morninghill was the first soup care facility
for people whose superpowers had
gotten shaky in old age, retired soups
who needed support for other reasons,
and those whose powers precluded
independent living at any age.

A series of connected buildings wrapped
around a sheltered interior that included
parks, boulevards, courtyards, a pond
fed by a winding creek, and even
an outdoor theatrical stage.

Within this protected space, most of
the staff were soups or supernaries,
only a few naries in essential positions
they hadn't been able to fill otherwise.

A majority of the soups, however, were people
with visible quirks such as Chameleon Skin --
it gave them a good job and provided
constant reassurance to the residents
that this was a soup-friendly place.

The Republic of the Maldives in general
had become a precious refuge for soups
of all kinds, responsive to suggestions
that would improve everyone's life.

Now they had Morninghill to retire in comfort, and
the hospital ship Nightingale which offered care
to people in the outlying islands, soup and nary alike.
Then the supervillains had taken one look at
Nightingale and chipped in to commission
the building of the Restitution.

Coral looked around at the lovely rest home, and thought
they were building upon history a very promising future.

* * *


Bunker Bill (William Ross) -- He has pinkish-fair skin, brown eyes, and gray hair. He joined the Army during World War II and was one of the first people publically known to have superpowers, manifesting near the end of the engagement. He subsequently deployed in a variety of other wars.
Origin: A Nazi bomb exploded in his bunker. He was the sole survivor, and was completely uninjured. Also completely nude, as the blast destroyed his uniform and melted his dogtags so badly that they were almost illegible.
Uniform: Army uniform on duty, street clothes off duty. He thinks very little of soup costumes and is downright cranky about "those fool kids running around in plastic pajamas."
Qualities: Master (+6) Veteran, Master (+6) Woodworker, Expert (+4) Dutiful, Expert (+4) Grandfather, Expert (+4) Storyteller, Good (+2) Dexterity, Good (+2) Leader, Good (+2) Mechanic
Poor (-2) Alzheimer's Disease
Powers: Average (0) Invulnerability

Coral Rothschild -- She has fair skin, dark blue eyes, and short straight brown hair streaked with blonde. Originally from Westbord, she is interning at the Morninghill soup care facility in the Republic of the Maldives.
Origin: Her powers grew in gradually.
Uniform: street clothes.
Qualities: Master (+6) History Major, Good (+2) Listener, Good (+2) Beach Bunny
Poor (-2) Coping with Change
Powers: Good (+2) Super-Intellect, Average (0) Eidetic Memory
Motivation: To become a good scholar.

Dean Rountree -- He has fair skin, blue eyes, and white hair. Dean is British and used to work in horse racing where his power allowed him to distinguish the winner with perfect accuracy.
Origin: He grew up on a farm that raised racehorses. As a teenager, he got kicked in the head and almost died of concussion. When he recovered, he had control of time.
Uniform: He wears dexflan and capery cut to resemble street clothes.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Horse Race Announcer, Good (+2) Citizen Responder, Good (+2) Meticulous, Good (+2) Timepiece Collector
Poor (-2) Arthritis
Powers: Average (0) Timebending
Limitation: As he ages, his control of his superpower gets worse, leading to Power Incontinence.

Arabesque (Anha Kalaminja) -- She has black eyes, straight dark hair usually pulled back in a bun, and flat white skin marked with black swirls. She is native Maldivian of mixed Dhivehi, Arabic, Indian, and European heritage. Arabesque works at the Morninghill soup care facility in the Maldives.
Origin: Her superpowers developed after an allergic reaction to a new makeup.
Uniform: Dexflan leotard that adapts to match her skin colors. Ordinary clothing tends to irritate her skin.
Qualities: Good (+2) Caregiver, Good (+2) Compassion, Good (+2) Dancer, Good (+2) Diagnostics, Good (+2) Penpal
Powers: Average (0) Chameleon Skin
Her skin is always white with black swirls, but the patterns shift very slowly.
Vulnerability: Sensitive skin. Ordinary fabrics are uncomfortable, so is too much coverage in general, and she's allergic to a lot of things.
Motivation: To take care of people.

* * *

Alzheimer's disease erodes memory and other cognitive functions. There are coping methods for people with Alzheimer's and their caregivers.

Power Incontinence entails losing control of superpowers, often played for laughs but it's not funny if you think about it. Wetting your pants is merely humiliating; Power Incontinence is downright dangerous, and still humiliating.

Old superheroes rarely appear in the comics, but I have seen a couple of brilliant examples on television: Nightshade in The Flash and Batman in Batman Beyond. We need these examples of how people age and retire. For Terramagne, with an increasing number of soups, this is an urgent issue. On average, soups age better than naries, and not many superheroes or supervillains survive their high-risk jobs to reach old age -- but their special needs are vitally important.

Among the most effective ways of managing dementia is to create a village environment, such as Hogewey. This helps people cope and still enjoy life in a protected environment. In Terramagne, the layout of the Morninghill Soup Care Facility in Malé, Republic of the Maldives is similar, and they can also design the facility to accommodate superpowers. Morninghill was converted from a retirement village to provide care for people with superpowers who have retired due to illness or injury, as well as those whose powers preclude independent living. It is staffed almost entirely by soups, plus some supernaries, and a handful of ordinary people in essential positions they haven't been able to fill with soups yet. While some of the staff have relevant powers, a majority of them are soups with visible traits such as exotic colors or extra body parts. This gives them a good safe job, and provides residents with constant reassurance that they are in a soup-friendly place. One of the main residential buildings is also modeled on Kingshurst retirement home in Humewood. See plans for the first floor and the penthouse. The penthouse floor's communal lounge has a lovely view of the beach.

A hospital ship is designed to provide advanced medical care from a naval platform, ideally suited to the archipelago layout of the Maldives. The Mercy-class is a local example; T-Maldivian technology is much more advanced. Here's a look at the Maldives' medical flagship Nightingale, first of its kind. The second, Restitution, was funded entirely by supervillains. The flagship was created from a converted cruise ship by a group mostly consisting of American and European immigrants, so they used the oldest and most famous medical symbol, the red cross. Then the locals pointed out, hey guys, that's a Christian symbol and we're a Muslim nation, would you please add the red crescent. A few hours of research later, they plastered the ship with that plus all the other "Don't shoot, we're a medical unit" emblems they could find, scattered across the different sections.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, safety, weblit, writing

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