"To Think What Nobody Has Thought"
The letter came in the mail,
on real paper, but without
a return address on it.
Granny Whammy pulled out
her pocketknife and flicked it
open to slit the envelope.
We would like to arrange
a meeting to discuss matters
of mutual interest. We see
a need to update policies and
take a broader view as the world
changes its view of superpowers,
because superpowers are changing
our world. Please post a notice on
your website if you are amenable.
Granny Whammy was not amenable.
This wasn't like her occasional meetings
with Dr. Infanta. This would mean dealing
with a full-blown criminal organization.
She balled up the offensive letter,
grumbling about organized crime
and uppity supervillains, then
threw it at the circular file.
It went in. She might
be old, but she could still
hit what she aimed for.
Granny Whammy rang for
the webmaster in charge of
the SPOON website, and then
ordered him to begin a sweep
for viruses and hackers.
Nothing turned up, but
it never hurt to check.
"Well, that could have gone
better," Captain Left said as he
watched the SPOON operative
trying valiantly to find a trace of
his access to their official website.
"We had to try," Captain Right said,
brushing her hair back from her face.
"Things are changing too fast to leave
everything as it is. The time is right."
"If only SPOON saw it that way,"
said Captain Left. "Ah well."
"Granny Whammy has done
some great things for soups,"
said Captain Right. "She just ...
can't keep up anymore, she's
too much a product of her time."
"A time that's past," said Captain Left.
"I'm afraid so," said Captain Right.
She tapped on a tablet computer,
bringing up images of an archipelago.
"SPOON was our best bet, because
they have the recognition and respect
of the public. Now we'll have to try
someone new, with fresh ideas."
"You mean that kid running
the Maldives," said Captain Left.
"I have heard good things about
President Latheef," said Captain Right.
"When he makes a deal, he keeps it,
and he's putting some damn fine things
on the negotiating table for soups."
Captain Right chuckled. "What
would we do with a tropical island?"
"Use it as a recuperation resort,"
Captain Left said immediately.
"We would have to go
in person, both of us,
and not just our doubles,"
Captain Left said with a sigh.
He hated going out in public.
He did so much better when
he could monitor everything
from behind his computers.
Going out was her job.
"It would show respect,"
Captain Right replied.
"What if we reveal ourselves
only to be rejected again, or worse,
attacked?" asked Captain Left.
Captain Right shrugged.
"He is the President of
a tiny island nation,"
she said. "He would
have to catch us first."
A smirk twisted his mouth,
and Captain Left said, "Point."
"Besides, what if it works?"
said Captain Right. "Imagine
how wonderful it would be
to emerge from the depths --
how much more we could do."
"It has potential," said Captain Right.
He glanced at BlackSheep and
its Beach Pasture. So far,
almost everyone who had
moved to the Maldives
seemed to love the place.
"Latheef is a popular leader."
"I think that we need him,"
said Captain Right, skimming
the latest news from the Maldives.
"The task is not so much to see
what no one has yet seen, but
to think what nobody has thought,
about that which everybody sees."
"You think this President can
do that?" said Captain Left,
fingers drumming on his keys.
"He already is," said Captain Right.
"The new currency alone is dragging
the world along behind it like cans
tied to the tailpipe of a car."
"Do you really believe
in Contingency X?"
Captain Left said as he
looked at his old friend.
"That such a thing is
even possible for us?"
"I believe that Hans Löwe
and Richard Truett knew
what they were doing when
they created Kraken," she said.
"I have faith in their foresight."
"All right, we'll try again,"
said Captain Left, "but it's
your turn to write the letter."
"Agreed," said Captain Right,
and took out her stationery.
* * *
Granny Whammy -- Helen Laguardia was Whammy Lass in her youth, one of the first really famous superheroes. She served in World War II. She has olive skin and brown eyes. Her wavy hair was black, and is now white. As Granny Whammy, she runs the Super Power Organizational & Operational Nexus.
Origin: Always a big strong girl, she came into her superpower at puberty.
Uniform: Whammy Lass served in the army and wore camo fatigues. Granny Whammy customarily wears dark green pants with a cream or white blouse, often with a camo-patterned sweater or vest on top.
Qualities: Master (+6) Commanding Respect, Master (+6) Wisdom of Experience, Expert (+4) Organizational Skills, Expert (+4) Stubborn, Good (+2) Activist, Good (+2) Armor, Good (+2) Soup HIstory
Poor (-2) No Longer a Spring Chicken
Powers: Good (+2) Strength
Motivation: Use the right tool for the job.
Captain Left (Marko Agüero) -- He has tinted skin and brown eyes. His hair was blond but is now mostly white and receding. His body is still trim and fit. Marko speaks Argentinian Spanish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, German, Hindi, and Italian. He enjoys Kraken's exercise facilities even though he's not much of a fighter or an athlete.
Marko often finds face-to-face interaction confusing and stressful, but he does great with online interactions. He keeps an eye on BlackSheep (as Capricorn) for young soups in trouble and follows world politics through the nets. He takes an especially dim view of mad scientists, but he likes ethical zeteticists just fine. His personal assistant is a cyborg Super-Gizmologist.
Origin: Marko came out of a secret lab. Genetic engineering gave him Super-Intellect from birth. Further modifications from neurosurgery and super-gizmology made him a Telepath and Technopath. Much of his scalp is netted with tiny scars, and thicker ones trail down his spine.
Uniform: Sometimes Marko wears plain men's street clothes to blend in with local populations. On duty as a Kraken executive, he wears standard business attire. On field duty, he wears a Kraken uniform of dexflan and capery; the jumpsuit is sensibly designed with sleek fit, plenty of pockets and fasteners for equipment. It provides Expert (+4) Camouflage to a designated user, but if worn by anyone else, turns garish neon colors. The utility belt contains a multitude of small gizmos and other tools. When appearing in his titular role, he wears his uniform of state, which is inspired by United States and German naval flag-rank officers' uniforms of the World War I era. The plain dark uniform is largely American, the heavy overcoat and elaborate hat German. Kraken members love The Hat: it makes them feel part of something shiny and important.
Qualities: Master (+6) Kraken Captain, Expert (+4) Stealth, Expert (+4) Friends in Cyberspace, Good (+2) Computer Games, Good (+2) Dexterity, Good (+2) Strategy
Poor (-2) Reading Emotion
Powers: Good (+2) Super-Intellect, Good (+2) Technopath, Good (+2) Telepathy
Limitation: His telepathy comes from super-gizmology, so it lacks the hint of emotion that often comes with organic telepathy even for someone not counted as a telempath. It's the equivalent of talking on a telephone. Because Marko was raised in artificial conditions, he didn't get a lot of human contact early on, and he's used to thinking of people as flat mechanical voices. Combined, these factors make it hard for him to identify other people's emotions.
Motivation: To spark connections.
Kraken ship captains, base captains, and other commanding officers wear a round white hat like this. It marks the top of the local chain of command.
Most Kraken officers wear a round black hat like this. If the senior officer usually in charge of a location is wearing a black hat, that means Captain Left and/or Captain Right is onsite.
Only Captain Left and Captain Right (or more typically, their stunt doubles) wear these magnificent gold-crested hats.
Captain Right / Sapphirina (Sandra Jaye Blain) -- She has fair skin, blue eyes, and light brown hair starting to go gray. She is tall and sturdy. She exercises regularly, most of it in combat training. Her heritage is American, British, and Russian. Sandra speaks Arabic, English, French, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, and Turkish.
Sandra learned Asian games from her mentor including Chinese checkers, mah jongg, and go. That's also where she learned kenpo, which makes her potent in a fight even without using superpowers. Sapphirina can be demanding and perfectionist with her subordinates, implacable and ruthless in pursuing enemies. Sometimes this causes problems.
Origin: Sandra stowed away on a Kraken ship as a teenager, not knowing who it belonged to. They decided that if she was desperate enough to do that, obviously she needed them. So she became a supervillain henchwoman. A few years later, a supervillain with Water Powers tried to drown her by filling her lungs with water. Sandra shapeshifted for the first time. Then her Energy Blast manifested as a UV field, giving everyone a serious sunburn. And then it turned into a laser beam and sliced a big hole in the enemy vessel, which started sinking. And then she turned invisible and her crewmates almost didn't find her in time to scoop her into water so she could breathe in crustacean form. It took a couple of years for Sandra to gain control of her powers because they tended to go haywire when she was frightened, and she had to spend several months on a secluded island with only her mentor for company. However, eventually she learned to use the Energy Blast and Shimmering effects even in human form, so she can become invisible to human sight by reflecting only UV light, or create a dazzling display of refracted colors.
Uniform: Sometimes Sandra wears practical women's street clothes to blend in with local populations. On duty as a Kraken executive, she wears standard business attire. On field duty, she wears a Kraken uniform of dexflan and capery; the jumpsuit is sensibly designed with sleek fit, plenty of pockets and fasteners for equipment. It provides Expert (+4) Camouflage to a designated user, but if worn by anyone else, turns garish neon colors. The utility belt contains a multitude of small gizmos and other tools. When appearing in her titular role, she wears her uniform of state, which is inspired by United States and German naval flag-rank officers' uniforms of the World War I era. The plain dark uniform is largely American, the heavy overcoat and elaborate hat German. Kraken members love The Hat: it makes them feel part of something shiny and important.
Qualities: Master (+6) Kraken Captain, Expert (+4) Kenpo, Expert (+4) Patience, Good (+2) Anticipation, Good (+2) Asian Games, Good (+2) Cooperation, Good (+2) Tactics
Poor (-2) Relentless
Powers: Good (+2) Energy Blast, Good (+2) Shapeshifting: Sapphirina, Good (+2) Shimmering
Her Energy Blast can manifest either as a field effect, a beam, or a bolt.
* * *
“The task is ... not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees.”
― Erwin Schrödinger
Granny Whammy's pocketknife is a Camillus TL-29 Electricians Knife, issued by the U.S. Army and other services from World War I to the present.
The principle of zeitgeist implies that each era raises up leaders who embody its particular ideals and challenges. Granny Whammy is very much a product of her time, with the strengths and weaknesses typical of people who came of age in World War II, plus the added complications of becoming the iconic representative of superpowers. She has made tremendous contributions over the years, but is no longer necessarily the best leader for the soup culture in today's world.
Taking appropriate risks is an essential life skill. (Of course, supervillains have a non-standard risk assessment.) Everyone needs to know how to decide which risks are worth taking. This is especially critical when making decisions for other people. Kraken is so big and influential that whatever the Captains decide will impact not just the people in their own organization, but the world at large. They have the weight of an effective nation, but without political recognition as such. Instead they have what's sometimes called "step up authority" -- the pull you earn by doing what needs to be done because you're the one there to see that it needs doing and who is willing to step up. Good leaders have traits and ethics which help them make good decisions. Learn how to make good decisions yourself.
This Kraken stationery has a giant squid on it.