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Callista was getting used to
to the quirky party culture of
her new home, and she adored
Rei's gregarious, extended family
whom Rei introduced to everyone.
Rei's grandfather Eichi brought along
his protégé Romeo, whom he had
more-or-less adopted, as well as
his children and grandchildren, which
turned the house into a delightful riot.
Callista also came to rely on Handspring
to pop her around the house, and it
was starting to change how she thought
about space, not as rooms in a cube but
as one wide plane that was simply
folded into interesting shapes.
"Drat," she said one day when
they arrived in the introvert party.
"I left my tablet downstairs."
"I'll get it for you," Handspring said,
depositing Callista on the couch
before popping away and then
back just as quickly. "Here."
"You know, every time you do that,
reality bends a little," Callista said.
"It feels like jumping on a waterbed."
"Say that again, say that again,"
Romeo chanted, waving his hands.
"I think I almost got it this time!"
His study of theoretical physics had
gotten him interested in teleportation
and how it worked, although he had yet
to produce a usable hypothesis.
"I said, she when jumps, it feels like
reality stretches and wobbles," said Callista.
"Professor! Professor!" Romeo yelled,
and galloped down the stairs.
Soon he came back with Eichi,
trailed by an amused Rei. "What's
so exciting, Jiji?" she asked.
"Ah, Romeo has a new idea about
teleportation," said Eichi. "Something
about a springboard, come and listen!"
So the two physicists commandeered
a couch, shooing the jigsaw puzzle
off the coffee table to replace it with
Eichi's table-sized tablet computer,
which they promptly began filling
with complex equations.
"Hey, that bit looks familiar,"
Callista said as she watched them work.
"It's the mass-energy conversion."
"Why yes," Eichi said, "we think that
some forms of teleportation work by
a fluid exchange between the states."
"The new bit is, maybe Handspring
uses the spacetime continuum like
a trampoline," Romeo said, bouncing
on the couch. "You actually follow this?"
Callista shrugged. "I like math," she said.
"Well, I like physics and geometry,
which I used in gymnastics."
"I wish I could see the world the way
you do," Romeo said wistfully.
"It'd just make you dropsick,"
Callista reminded him.
"Nah, I never get carsick," Romeo said.
"Well ... okay, then," Callista said,
putting a hand on him in hopes of
minimizing the spillover. "Handspring,
would you mind jumping again?"
"Sure," she said, and popped out.
"Wow," Romeo said. "Oh, wow."
He leaned over the computer and
scribbled more equations, only some
of which Callista could understand.
"How do you write elastic recoil
in numbers?" she wondered.
The two physicists looked at her
and scribbled more, each working on
a different section of the screen. "That
is a very astute question," Eichi said.
"Thank you, Ojiisan," said Callista.
Handspring popped back with a carton of
Eichi's favorite glow-in-the-dark jellyfish ice cream,
along with a more ordinary dark chocolate. Listening
to the conversation, she said, "This is like being there
when Stephen Farffler invented the wheelchair
and the crankset. Disability rocks."
"Why do you keep saying things like that?"
Callista said. "It's bent my whole life out of shape!"
"Well, that too, I suppose," Handspring said.
"It makes us see things from a different perspective,
and that inspires us to invent things that other people
don't even realize are needed. I certainly wouldn't
trade my teleportation for legs, and I think you just
cracked the glass ceiling on their equations."
"Yes, yes, this is wonderful," Eichi said.
"Rei, whenever you go back down, tell Mitsuki
that I'll be up here for quite some time."
"I'll tell her, but I think the whole house knows
that you and Romeo are going to be serenading
Juliet all night," she said with a wink.
Callista looked at the two physicists snuggled over
their computer, and thought about how she never would
have met Handspring or known how teleportation felt
if not for the peculiar nature of her superpowers.
Maybe disability was a cause for pride, after all.
* * *
Rei Moritomo -- She has golden skin, black eyes, and long straight black hair. She 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
Romeo Vega -- His heritage includes Hispanic, Italian, and American. He speaks Arabic, English, Finnish, Italian, Latin, and Spanish -- having picked up Arabic and Finnish for sake of the challenge. Romeo lives in Westbord, where he is a postgraduate student of theoretical physics. He wants to move concepts from theoretical physics to applied physics. His birth family doesn't understand him at all, which hasn't helped his ability to form healthy relationships. So he has attached himself to his mentor Eichi Moritomo. Sometimes Romeo visits Handspring's house.
Origin: His superpower is growing in gradually. He doesn't actually believe in it, because he still feels like he doesn't know very much about physics. The effects are weirdly adorable.
Uniform: Most often he wears casual men's clothes, such as a polo shirt and jeans or khakis. He loves geeky t-shirts, especially the ones that make people stop and ask questions about them.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Energetic, Expert (+4) Physics Student, Good (+2) Adorable, Good (+2) Impervious to Motion Sickness, Good (+2) Poet, Good (+2) Protege of Eichi Moritomo
Poor (-2) Friendzoned Again
Powers: Average (0) Super-Intelligence
Motivation: "Physics is my Juliet. I stand under her balcony reciting poetry, and sometimes she blows me a kiss."
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 father of two sons and two daughters; and the grandfather of Rei 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
* * *
"I have learned that the biggest disability any of may ever face is our own attitudes. When my health took a turn for the worse, I found myself facing yet another disability, and this one has taken me from a strong man, able to do a hard days work, in six months, to a man hobbled by pain, and unable to walk unassisted. I thought I was open minded about people with disabilities before, but now, having found myself facing challenges in every area of my daily life, I am gaining a whole new respect for those who went before me, paving the way with their strength and determination. The learning curve of living with a handicap is a tough one, but I still thank God daily for giving me the opportunity to see things from a different perspective."
-- Jeffery F Walton
Disability pride looks not just at people's ability to overcome handicaps, but to benefit from their unique perspectives and to appreciate their contributions to culture.
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. Within the extended family, names for relatives vary slightly; Ojiiji is a general term of respect for elderly men, while Jiji is used for one's own grandfather.
Spacetime may be imagined as curved in relation to its interactions with mass, light, and other things.
I was amazed to see that the gizmotronic, glowing jellyfish ice cream is also available in our world. :D It's one of many bizarre flavors. You can watch a video about it. While not exactly cheap even in T-America, it is far more affordable there than here -- you can get a pint-sized gourmet carton for around $25, as opposed to $250 per scoop here. See also a recipe for dark chocolate ice cream. There are a few versions available for sale, such as this Zanzibar.
Stephen Farffler was a Nuremburg watchmaker and paraplegic who used his knowledge of gears to create a hand-cranked wheelchair, precursor to the bicycle and tricycle. The crankset is the assembly of parts which powers a bicycle. In T-America he was a Super-Intellect and Super-Gizmologist.