Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Forgotten to Breathe"

This poem is spillover from the August 4, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] librarygeek and [personal profile] siliconshaman. It also fills the "comfort" square in my 8-1-15 card for the As You Like It Bingo fest, and the "hiding an injury / illness" square in my 6-16-15 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. This poem was sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Officer Pink thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

WARNING: This poem contains some intense action which some readers may find unsettling. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. There are thefts, superpowered fighting, a foot chase, concealment of injuries, messy medical details, difficult ethical dilemmas, symptoms of extreme PDSD, help-resistant behavior, trust issues, tactile defensiveness, flashback/panic/anxiety attack, emotional overload, use of a superpower on someone unable to defend against it, and other whump. This is heavy-duty hurt/comfort, they just don't know each other well enough for it to go smoothly. DO NOT PANIC, Ansel is NOT DEAD, just unconscious for a while, as you'll see in "When We Get the Rough Times." If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

"Forgotten to Breathe"

Ansel was in the middle of lunch when
Bert hollered, "There's a theft in progress
at an ATM -- patrol's already on the way
to cover that -- we're heading for where
someone spotted that blue dog to see
if we can catch whoever's behind
all these crazy-colored critters!"

Already in motion, Ansel
wolfed down the rest of his food
and scrambled for his patrol car
to follow Bert and Justin in theirs.

When they reached the corner market,
the fluffy canid was dashing around the booths of
vegetables and other goods, holding a whole carton
of beef jerky as the irate owner chased him.

It looked so much like a scene from a movie
that Ansel thought surely the trainer must have
taught his dog to do that on purpose.

It was just as effective as in the movies, too,
creating a lot of conspicuous chaos.

Ansel kept one eye on the little blue beast
and the other on the crowd, because chances were
the person in control would not be far away.
He didn't see any likely suspects, though.

Then something fizzled against the sidewalk at his feet.

Ansel dodged behind a tree just as a spray of
eerie orchid plasma bolts stitched along
the ground where he had stood.

"Justin and I will get the bolt lobber.
You stay right on that dog!"
Bert ordered over the comm unit
clipped to Ansel's uniform.

"Yes, sir," Ansel replied.

A knife glinted in someone's hand,
but he ignored that; Bert could handle it.

Ansel could see his quarry just ahead, and
was determined to keep up this time.

A streak of blue fur headed for
the edge of the market, beyond which
lay the wooded depths of a large park.

Then a strange charge crackled through the air,
making Ansel's skin tingle and hair stand on end.
Every electronic device he wore went dead.

He hesitated, looking over his shoulder
and wanting to turn back for his team -- but no,
he had his orders and Bert wouldn't appreciate
Ansel second-guessing them on the fly.

Ahead of him, the canid darted down a dirt path
with police pursuit hot on his trail, then
ducked through a berry thicket.

Grumbling, Ansel searched for a quick way
to get around the obstacle and find
whatever other path was the goal.

He was no tracking expert, but he
managed to spot a tuft of silky blue
snagged on a thorn, which led him
to where its owner had emerged.

The new trail was covered in
rocks that wouldn't hold a footprint,
but it was quiet and headed for the heart
of the park -- ideal for hiding out --
so Ansel hurried down the path.

He heard a crackling crash of branches
up ahead, and put on another burst of speed.

There was no sign of the canid, but
Ansel caught a glimpse of someone running,
clad in a dark tracksuit with the hood pulled up.

"Stop! Police!" Ansel shouted.

The runner didn't stop.

Before long, though, he slowed,
moving in a way that started to make
Ansel worry about the fugitive's health.

He wasn't quite limping, but rather
staggering from tree to tree, his hands
reaching out for any support.

"Stop so I can get you some medical care,"
Ansel tried, with no better results.

The man sped up again, long legs
keeping him just ahead of Ansel,
but the fresh rush of energy
soon petered out.

At last the fugitive sagged against
an oak tree, his thin frame shuddering,
no longer able to conceal whatever
illness or injury had brought him down.

Ansel approached slowly, carefully,
watching for weapons. He kept a hand
on his own zatzer, just in case.

This close, he could hear the hacking coughs
that shook the stranger's lanky body.

"Hey buddy, can you tell me
what's wrong?" Ansel asked.

The young man tried to wave him off.

That wasn't happening for sake
of the tortured breathing alone,
nevermind fleeing a crime scene.

Ansel eased closer, trying
not to spook him again.
"You don't sound too good.
Maybe I can help with that;
I know some first aid."

The fugitive gave a rattling laugh
and turned to look at him.

Then Ansel could see the blood
trickling over his lips and chin,
all down the front of his clothes,
the red shockingly bright against
the heather t-shirt that he wore
under the dark tracksuit.

"How badly are you hurt?"
Ansel asked, hurrying forward
to catch the man as he slumped.
"Did you get shot or stabbed
in the fight back there?"

Head shake.

Ansel made a quick search anyway,
desperate to find whatever injury
was compromising the man's airway.

He found nothing -- no injuries
on the slim body, not even a weapon
bigger than the small decrepit pocketknife.

Ansel thought about handcuffing
the fugitive for safety's sake, but
worried that the pull on his shoulders
might impair his breathing even more.

The man doubled over coughing,
scarlet droplets spraying everywhere.

Lack of clues notwithstanding,
something must have caused
serious internal bleeding.

"I really need you get you to a hospital,
but someone shorted out all my gear --"
Ansel began, only to have the man
wrestle out of his grasp.

"No," the stranger wheezed. "M'fine."

"You are certainly not fine!
You are coughing up blood,
which is so over my pay grade
and not something even a real medic
could fix in the middle of the woods!"
Ansel argued, just managing to catch
him again before he hit the ground.

The last thing the poor man needed
was to crack his face on a rock.

"Can't help." The stranger's voice
sounded scratchy and resigned.

Ansel's mind flickered through the possibilities --
he could be lying, but that didn't make much sense;
he could be faking, but that didn't fit the other symptoms;
he could be dealing with something so odd that
a hospital really couldn't do any good.

So far, Ansel didn't know enough about soups
to fix more than minor complaints, but he did
know that superpowers often caused quirks
far astray from ordinary human bodies.

Sometimes all you could do was trust
that they understood themselves, and
let them make their own decisions.

"You're telling me that taking you
to a hospital wouldn't help,"
Ansel echoed carefully.


"Do you know what's wrong
with you?" Ansel asked.

Another nod.

"What can I do to help?" Ansel said.
"If you can give me a hint here,
I'll do my best for you."


Then another coughing fit brought up
alarming dark red blobs, followed by
a round of miserable retching that
drove the stranger to hands and knees,
held up only by Ansel's firm grasp.

"Okay, you recognize this,
which means you must have had it
before," Ansel reasoned out loud,
rubbing a hand over the man's back.

He was too busy heaving to respond.

"You got through that, so
you'll get through it this time too,"
Ansel said. "It's awful right now,
but then it will be over."

Even with minimal information
and a very reluctant victim,
Ansel could at least provide
moral support and make sure
he didn't fall and hurt himself.

The wiry body shook and shivered against him,
not breathing well but apparently getting
just enough air to keep going.

When the latest round subsided,
Ansel asked, "Can you tell me
anything else about this?"

The stranger leaned against Ansel,
too weak to hold himself up.
"I'll heal," he rasped. "Always do."

"From coughing your lungs up?"
Ansel said dubiously.

A firm nod brushed the hood away,
revealing a shock of turquoise hair,
the highlights aquamarine and
the lowlights more periwinkle.

"It's you," Ansel whispered.
"There's no trainer, nobody
with Animal Control. You're
the dog -- and the deer and
the ferret too, I bet."

The stranger gave him
a desperate, panicky look
and started coughing again.

"Take it easy," Ansel said,
patting him. "You're not
running anywhere just yet.
Is this a soup thing?"

The hazel eyes were wary
and bright with tears, hints
of blue and green and gray
peeking through the lashes.

Tiny, hesitant nod.

"You're a shapeshifter,"
Ansel said, wracking his mind
for everything he'd read about
superpowers and what could go
wrong with them. "Your own ability
does this to you? Tears you up
inside somehow when you shift?"

Firmer nod.

"Okay, so you just need to give
yourself time to heal," Ansel guessed.
"How about you tell me your name
while we're waiting? I can't keep
thinking of you as 'stranger'
or, worse, 'dog' forever."

The man rolled his eyes
and shook his head.

"Fine, then I'll call you Turquoise,
for the hair," said Ansel. The hood had
left it a mess, so he used his fingers
to comb the long bangs out of the way.

A shuddering laugh turned into
another spate of hacking.

"Got it," the man admitted.
"Name's Turq."

"Hi, Turq, I'm Ansel," he replied.
"Thanks for telling me your name.
Now we know something about each other."

Another eyeroll.

"It's my job to pay attention to things,
connect the dots, solve problems if
I can," Ansel pointed out. "That's
not a hard name to guess."

Turq just huffed at him.

"Does anyone else know about this?"
Ansel asked. "Do you have friends
who can take care of you when
your superpower hurts you?"

"No," Turq said. "Not safe.
Can't trust anyone."

"Then no wonder you're ticked
at me for sussing it out," Ansel realized.
"I'll do what I can to help you, but
a soup medic I am not."

Turq smirked agreement.

The time between spasms was increasing,
which Ansel took as a good sign.
"Are you done coughing yet?"

"Not yet," Turq said.
"Feels like ... one more round."

"Calm before the storm?" Ansel asked,
carefully stroking the blue hair away from
Turq's sweaty forehead. It flopped over
his hand, heavy and soft as silk.

Turq, not having much choice,
leaned against him for support,
but Ansel could feel the man's skin
crawling and flinching at the touch.

"Let's get you down on the ground,"
Ansel suggested. "Maybe you can
rest a little until that last round."

Turq nodded, and Ansel
lowered him onto his left side,
curling up one knee for support.

Ansel kept one hand on Turq's shoulder,
just enough contact so that Turq
would know where he was.

The labored breathing slowed,
and at least Turq had stopped
twitching so much now that Ansel
was touching less of him.

"You know, you've led me
quite a chase recently,"
Ansel said. "You're turning
into a real pain in my tail."

Turq wheezed something
that might have been a laugh.

"And you stole my lunch,"
Ansel said. "I hope you
like barbecue sauce."

Turq licked his lips.

"You have got to stop taking things
that don't belong to you, though, that
never leads anywhere good," Ansel said,
stroking a hand down Turq's arm.

The man flinched again,
and Ansel stopped moving.
Under his fingers, the arm felt thin,
with muscles stretched taut over bone.

"Are you getting enough to eat?
Got somewhere safe to stay?"
Ansel asked, worried about
something new. It wouldn't be
the first time that scant resources
had pushed someone into crime.

He was learning that for soups,
it could be even harder to find
a decent home and regular work.

Turq tried to shake him off again.

"All right, I'll stop being nosy," Ansel said.
"I'm concerned, that's all. Just because
you've been making a nuisance of yourself,
doesn't mean I want to see you suffering."

Turq stilled, and for a moment
Ansel wondered if the man
had forgotten to breathe.

A hasty press of fingers to throat
found the fluttering pulse, though,
silent reassurance that Turq was
still clinging stubbornly to life.

Then he started coughing and
retching again, worse than ever.

Quickly Ansel dragged him
back up to hands and knees,
holding him steady while Turq
heaved up clots of something
as black and sticky as tar.

Ansel hoped that the company
would give him some comfort,
even if the physical touch was
more necessary than welcome.

This time when it ended, though,
Turq's breathing sounded clearer.

"Better now?" Ansel asked.

"Yeah," Turq said as he
sat down. "I'm fine, really."

Ansel's definition of fine
was a long way from Turq's,
but at least he was improving.

"All right, let's get you
cleaned up a little," Ansel said,
sorting through his supplies.

The wipes he kept in his kit were
actually designed for removing blood,
because crime scenes could be messy
even if you were trying to be careful
not to get anything on yourself.

Turq sat still, tolerating Ansel's touch
long enough to mop off his face.
The shirt was hopeless.

"When we get back to my squad car,
I've got a bag of spare clothes in the trunk,"
Ansel said. "I'll give you a fresh shirt so that
you don't have to ride in that mess."

Panic flared in Turq's eyes.
"I won't go back," he said,
his voice turning shrill.
"I can't. I won't."

"Go back where?" Ansel asked.
"You mean a squad car? The station?"
A queasy suspicion slid through him.
"Turq, did someone hurt you before?"

It would explain a lot of the flinching
and general resistance to help.

"I can't I can't I can't,"
Turq chanted until he
locked his teeth around
the rising whine, his body
rocking slightly in its place.

If that wasn't a flashback,
it was gearing up to one,
and Ansel knew better
than to push any farther.

"Okay then," he said,
patting the air instead of
the skittish supervillain.
"Nevermind that, just focus
on getting your breath back."

Ansel thought over his options,
and none of them seemed good.
With his gear shorted out, he
couldn't call for backup now.
If he left Turq here, the man
was sure to disappear.

Handcuffs would be useless
on a shapeshifter if Turq
remembered to change form,
or possibly worse than useless
if he forgot and panicked enough
to hurt himself fighting them --
not to mention that Ansel still
didn't know exactly what had
caused the internal damage
and didn't want to risk more.

An ordinary jail cell wouldn't
hold a shapeshifter either,
not to mention the possibility
of compounding whatever
prior trauma had made Turq
so frantic about confinement.

Sure, the young man had probably
broken a whole handful of laws,
if their case stood up in court, but
as far as Ansel knew, none of those
were for violent crimes -- and he
really didn't like pushing those odds
for anything less, because panicking
a soup could endanger not just him
but also everyone else around him.

Ansel and his chief were in
complete agreement on that.

By then Turq had calmed down enough
to give him a wary, confused look.

"Back with me?" Ansel asked.
"What color is my hair?"

Turq snorted. "Bubblegum."

"Remember where we are?"
Ansel said. Sometimes
grounding questions helped,
after a flashback or panic attack.

"Briarwood Park," said Turq,
looking around at the trees.
"I like it here. It's pretty."

The forest was quiet except for
a cool breeze stirring the leaves,
and the distant chatter of squirrels.

"I like it too, especially when
the leaves start to turn," Ansel said.

"Yeah, and the nuts ripen," said Turq.

"How are you doing?"
Ansel asked gently.

Turq whimpered and
dropped his chin to his knees,
wrapping both arms around his shins.

"That bad, huh," Ansel said.

"Where do I even start?"
Turq said in a wrecked voice.

"Anywhere you feel comfortable,"
Ansel said. "I'm listening."

Gaining control of a situation
wasn't always about exerting force --
he didn't have the kind of power
that would let him overwhelm
a supervillain -- it could be as
simple as helping someone
regain control of himself.

Once you had established
a stable foundation, then
you could work on solving
the problems at hand.

"I can't talk to you," Turq muttered,
looking up again. "You're a cop."

"Yes, I am," said Ansel. "That makes me
responsible for fixing things that go wrong.
I think there's a lot more going on here
than just the few thefts on the surface."

If he could only coax Turq into
coming back with him, there were
people with a lot more experience
in helping traumatized supervillains.

Turq shivered, hunching into his hoodie.
"You have no idea," he said.

"Come on, walk back with me before anyone
comes looking for both of us," Ansel said.
"Alternative justice is flexible. We can work
things out, and I'll even help you find somebody
that you'll feel more comfortable talking with."
He reached out to pat Turq on the knee.

Turq closed a hand over Ansel's right forearm,
squeezing just hard enough to stop him.
"I'm sorry," Turq said.

Something flashed from his hand
through Ansel's whole body, shock and pain
of nerves suddenly stunned senseless --

and then darkness.

* * *


Officer Pink (Ansel Nicholson) -- He has ruddy skin and hazel eyes. His hair starts out light brown but he has it changed to pink by Paintrix, after which it also tends to stand straight up. He discovers that the pink color just feels right for him, and decides to keep it. Ansel is tall and athletic, with a rectangular face, wide shoulders, and trim hips. He is heterosexual and has a girlfriend. He sleeps so deeply that he's easy to sneak up on after he's asleep.
Ansel works on the Bluehill police force. He often volunteers for youth outreach and other public speaking. His pink hair helps other soups identify him, breaks the ice at presentations, and encourages people to ask him for help. On the downside, it also makes forks and other bigots hate him.
Origin: Upset by the increase in bullying, Ansel starts doing presentations at schools in Bluehill. The kids give him the idea of coloring his hair pink so he can see firsthand how people treat someone who is visibly different.
Uniform: On duty, Ansel wears the Bluehill police uniform. Off duty, he likes casual, sporty clothes.
Qualities: Master (+6) Compassion, Expert (+4) Citizen, Expert (+4) Cop, Expert (+4) People Skills, Good (+2) Athletic, Good (+2) Cheerful, Good (+2) Jigsaw Puzzles, Good (+2) Kindness, Good (+2) Listener, Good (+2) Problem-Solving Skills
Poor (-2) Deep Sleeper
Powers: Average (0) Wild Pink Hair
Motivation: To make the world a kinder place.

Bert Armbruster -- He has sorrel skin, brown eyes, and short nappy black hair. He is sturdy with a muscular build. Bert grew up in the St. Louis part of River City through grade school. Then he moved to Onion City, where he trained for the BASH team. Eventually he moved to Bluehill for an opportunity to lead their handful of BASH officers. Bert excels at overwhelming difficult targets. However, he's no good at delicate tasks that require de-escalation, and prefers handing those off to someone better qualified. On vacation, he loves traveling to interesting places off the beaten path, and always comes home with great stories to tell about his adventures.
Qualities: Master (+6) Teamwork, Master (+6) Tough, Expert (+4) BASH Officer, Expert (+4) Integrity, Expert (+4) Mixed Martial Arts, Good (+2) Courage, Good (+2) Leader, Good (+2) Strategy, Good (+2) Traveler
Poor (-2) De-escalation Skills

Justin Bates -- He has peach skin, gray eyes, and short ash-blond hair. He is slim and graceful, fast on his feet. He orients most on scent and taste, which very few people use as their dominant sensory mode, so he's often a little out of phase with people around him. Justin is married with a baby on the way. As a BASH officer, Justin excels at identifying and protecting vulnerable parties during a mission, like if a raided lair happens to have children inside it.
Qualities: Master (+6) Fast, Master (+6) Fidelity, Expert (+4) Anticipation, Expert (+4) Family Man, Good (+2) Aikido, Good (+2) BASH Officer, Good (+2) Cooperative Games, Good (+2) De-escalation Skills, Good (+2) Housekeeping
Poor (-2) Scent/Taste Dominant

Crackleball (Grady Detwiler) -- He has currant skin, brown eyes, and short nappy black hair. He is slim with wiry muscles. He is fifteen years old. Grady had been in "temporary" foster care for several years, due to questionable reasons, when his superpowers manifested. His foster parents kicked him out of the house, but lied that he had run away. Currently Crackleball lives in Bluehill, working with a loose-knit gang.
Origin: While playing with a plasma ball he'd been told not to touch, Grady broke it, injuring his hands in the process. Not long after that, sparks began trickling from his fingertips, and later from his eyes.
Uniform: Street clothes, considerably nicer than he could afford on his own. He likes to steal current fashions from students at the good schools.
Qualities: Good (+2) Alert, Good (+2) Knife Fighter, Good (+2) Opportunistic, Good (+2) Street Smart, Good (+2) Thief
Poor (-2) No Family Ties
Powers: Expert (+4) Plasma Bolt (Signature Stunt: EMP Field)
Crackleball can fire plasma bolts from his hands, eyes, or forehead. He can channel all his energy into one burst or launch up to five bolts simultaneously. That makes him far more versatile than most bolt shooters who can only do one or two bolts, usually from only their hands or eyes. He's even pretty good at hitting different targets simultaneously. He can also discharge the energy as an electromagnetic pulse which shorts out all electronic equipment in the area. Because it is a super-power, it has a chance of affecting super-gizmos, which ordinary EMP can't.
Motivation: Scrabbling up the social pyramid. However, Grady harbors a secret desire to reunite with his birth family.

Turq (Drustan Moreau) -- He has pale skin and hazel eyes with hints of blue, green, and gray. His hair was originally brown, but is turning turquoise from the top down. His eyebrows, beard, and mustache are still brown. His ears are pierced. He is slim and muscular with a heart-shaped face and long legs. He is left-handed. Drustan is Scorpio with Pisces as a moon sign. His heritage includes Welsh, French, and German. Following incidents of child abuse and neglect, he grew up in the foster care system, so he has no real family support. The results of that have not been very good.
Drustan fell prey to a mad scientist whose disturbing experiments gave him superpowers. The body horror from his ordeal has left him full of dread and melancholy, making it difficult for him to connect with people. He also gets anxious about being tied up, locked in, or confined in any other way. That has given him a nasty set of striationary marks, more than once.
Turq works as a supervillain; he is a capable thief and a useful distraction, but iffy in a real fight. Most often he uses the shapeshifting, although his neural blast allows him to disorient people or shock them unconscious depending how much force he puts into it. He does his best to conceal the drawbacks of his superpowers, because he doesn't want anyone to take advantage of him. He is fatalistic about injuries and resistant to help. His cape name is a double tap. It's short for turquoise, in reference to his hair. It also touches on the Turk chess machine, which in Terramagne was not a hoax but an early gizmo.
Origin: Mad science torture. The supervillain Carl Bernhardt locked Drustan in a strange metal chamber and bombarded him with mysterious energies that caused his body to warp. He escaped when he finally manifested teleportation. Now he works as a henchman for hire.
Uniform: Street clothes. He prefers clothes with stripes, spots, or other patterns because they hide bloodstains better. Usually he wears dark or neutral colors.
Qualities: Good (+2) Adaptable, Good (+2) Chess Player, Good (+2) Fast, Good (+2) Supervillain Henchman
Poor (-2) Body Horror
Powers: Average (0) Teleporting, Average (0) Neural Blast, Average (0) Regeneration, Average (0) Shapeshifting
His alternate forms include caney, deer, and ferret.
Vulnerability: Turq has difficulty controlling his superpowers. Shapeshifting screws up his body in ways that leave him coughing and vomiting blood afterwards. However, he can heal the damage -- anything that doesn't kill him instantly probably can't kill him at all. Teleporting can leave him disoriented and twitching from misconnected nerves, or scrambled inside, or all of the above. He actually travels by disintegrating and then reintegrating somewhere else, rather than by blinking from one place to another the way most teleporters do.
Motivation: Get through the day without screaming too much.

* * *

If you are panicking over the ending, go back up and highlight the spoilery warnings.  Ansel is mostly fine.

"Thus one memory follows another until the waves dash together over our heads, and a deep sigh swells the breast, which warns us that we have forgotten to breathe in the midst of these pure thoughts."
-- Max Muller

A minor infraction may distract from a larger one elsewhere. While characters tend to fall for this tactic, the Bluehill police have sensibly anticipated it and deployed multiple teams. Sausage String Silliness is a catchall for animals running with food and causing chaos.

Plasma comes in multiple colors including pink, orchid, blue, and lavender. Plasma attacks include things like plasma bolts and EMP blasts.

While mainstream media favors the Cowboy Cop approach, Terramagne-America understands that teamwork is important. This is what gives ordinary police a chance against low-to-middling supervillains. Successful teamwork requires that you trust your teammates to do their jobs while you stick to doing yours.

Shapeshifting can be a terrific power, but not when patchy control leads to miserable drawbacks.

See Turq's tracksuit and heather t-shirt.

Blood from the Mouth is a popular trope, based on real-life problems with the respiratory or digestive system. Fresh blood is bright red and fluid, older blood is dark and often clotted, then it breaks down into tacky brown or black stuff that is difficult to recognize if you don't know what it is.

The Recovery Position is one of the most useful techniques of basic first aid.

Post-traumatic stress comes from surviving horrific events. Prolonged Duress Stress Disorder, aka Compound-PTSD, comes from experiencing not a single disaster but a series of them or a period of extended abuse. PDSD can be harder to treat if the person never had an experience of being safe or getting help, or if times of safety repeatedly fell back into awfulness again. Understand how to help someone with traumatic stress.

Flashbacks are a prevailing symptom of PDSD. Know how to get through a flashback or support someone else in the midst of one.

Anxiety or panic attacks may occur spontaneously or in response to a threat; persistent attacks without a credible threat may be diagnosed as a disorder. There are ways to handle a panic attack or help someone having one.

It can be difficult to deal with people who refuse help, especially for first responders. Understand that this refusal may not be irrational but may come from bad help or other problems that deter help-seeking behavior. Thus the most important step is to make sure you don't make matters worse. In order for people to request or accept help, it must be known, accessible, respectful, effective, and free of drawbacks that outweigh its benefits. Think about what to do when someone doesn't want help, and how to stop thinking that accepting help is a sign of weakness.

Crisis management depends on listening, empathizing, and building rapport. Active listening can help build rapport quickly or slowly, even in the face of negative circumstances.

Force is a poor means of control, and in fact indicates less power; in some situations, it is not a feasible option at all. Locally, police are dubious about de-escalation training. T-American police are far more enthusiastic about exploring alternatives to violence. This means when force is not available, they have other tools in the box.

Understand the differences between influence, persuasion, manipulation, and coercion. The use of short-term coercion typically precludes long-term influence by raising the resistance. Influence appears in situations from emergency medical care to parenting, when coercion is harmful or unavailable. Know the techniques to get people on the same side.

Turq's power of Nerve Blast is a subsidiary of the wider Neural Impulse Manipulation ability. It kind of shorts out the nervous system.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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