Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Unkind Cuts"

This poem came out of the April 2015 Creative Jam. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] technoshaman, [personal profile] alexseanchai, and [personal profile] mdlbear. It has been sponsored by LJ user Ng_moonmoth. This poem belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics, and is a prequel to events mentioned in "Critical Analysis."

"Unkind Cuts"

Sendoff worked her way slowly and carefully
through the set of exercises her physiotherapist
had recommended for restoring function,
as much as it could be.

One of her surgeons said that it was
impossible to get back all of
her former performance.

We will just see about that,
Sendoff thought grimly
as she stretched and twisted.

It had all gone to hell when she had tangled with
the supervillain Bankshot and the cocky little bastard
had deliberately aimed for permanent damage.

The policeman who had originally
tried to stop him had lost an eye.

Two civilians had disfiguring facial injuries
that probably wouldn't heal clean.

Sendoff had piled into the fight
just because it was there and
she was a superhera, which meant
without her bow or bola or anything else
beyond what she had in her pockets
or could grab off the ground.

Bankshot had sliced her cheek
(which would heal), nicked her radial nerve
(which would probably stop twanging eventually
since it hadn't been severed all the way), and
worst of all banked several shuriken into her upper back,
cutting into muscles and tendons that she needed
to draw and fire ranged weapons (which the doctors
really didn't expect to heal well enough to take
the kind of strain she put on her back).

He'd gotten away, too, although
he did have to abandon the stolen goods.

So now Sendoff was stuck in physiotherapy
trying to regain as much as she could, and it was
nowhere near as fun as her training exercises.

"Hey, don't lose heart," said the young veteran
on the parallel bars. "Experts don't know everything.
Mine said I'd never walk again."

"Oh yeah?" Sendoff panted.
"What'd you say to that?"

He lifted his hands from the parallel bars
and took a single, wobbly step before
he had to grab for support again.

"Need a new hobby," he said.
"Think I'll take up hiking."

She laughed, even through the burn
of her back muscles protesting the exercise.
"Good answer," she said.

He turned a little farther toward her so that
she could see the t-shirt that read,
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
The difficult we do at once.
The impossible takes a little longer

"I'm Bryant," he said, leaning on
one bar to offer her his hand.

She had to stretch to take it,
back muscles screaming over
the full extension. "I'm Hazel, or
Sendoff if you want my cape name."

He grinned at her as they shook hands.
"Give 'em hell, sister," Bryant said firmly.

Sendoff let go of his hand and returned
her attention to the exercises that,
thanks to Bankshot, had become
a torment instead of a pleasure.

She was really never going to forgive him for that.

* * *


Bryant Barnard -- He has fair skin, blue eyes, and ginger hair buzzed short. His family life is raucous and mostly positive. Due to injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked a project he was working on, Bryant was recently released from the Army Corps of Engineers on a medical discharge. Not content with the prediction that he'd never walk again, he decided to take up hiking. He just has to take it slow and stay on the easy trails for now. He has kept in touch with many of his buddies from the Army, and also keeps an eye on other veterans in general. Bryant enjoys games of physics and dexterity such as jenga and pickup sticks.
Qualities: Master (+6) Optimist, Expert (+4) Army Veteran, Expert (+4) Engineer, Good (+2) Army Buddies, Good (+2) Big Boisterous Family, Good (+2) Stacking Games
Poor (-2) Walking

* * *

Most superpower conflicts amount to little more than agonistic behavior and dominance fights. Just as this rarely leads to death or permanent injury in the animal kingdom, so humans use similar techniques, although the details vary. In Terramagne, most people -- including almost all superheroes and about two-thirds of supervillains, strongly prefer not to kill. This trend toward nonlethal combat helps minimize what could otherwise be catastrophic damage from superpowers run amok. There are, of course, still some truly evil characters who do heinous things. They tend to be unpopular.

The human back is an intricate network of muscles and tendons. These are easily injured by tearing or cutting. The human forearm is richly supplied with nerves, which are finicky to heal if injured. Many types of recovery can be aided with physiotherapy, although much depends on the quality of care. A hostile therapist does more harm than good; a helpful one can make the difference between recovering function or not.

Spinal cord and other major injuries can make it difficult to predict who could walk again. Some people are just made of stubborn and walk when it's supposed to be impossible. The Army Corps of Engineers has a saying about the impossible.

Hiking is a fun hobby with a lot of benefits. Be careful hiking in the beginning or after an injury.

Holding a grudge is a natural human response to harm. It can be satisfying or it can cause problems. Understand how to stop holding grudges, even when it's hard to let go of anger.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, writing

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