Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "When Opportunity Meets with Planning"

This is the freebie for the January 8, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "villain" square in my 5-1-19 Gimmicks / Roles / Characters card for the Pro Wrestling Bingo Fest. This poem belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series, and it's the prequel for "The Consequences of Their Own Neglect."

"When Opportunity Meets with Planning"

[Thursday, April 2, 2015]

Cash looked around the room
at the members of his new team
sprawled on the leather pit group.

The house belonged to Esra Tracey,
a teleporter with the cape name Dot Dash,
generally called Dot. She shared the place
with her boyfriend and his two sons. It made
a great lair, because the master bedroom
on the main floor had been done up as
a bunkroom with multiple beds and
thus good crash space for guests.

Her friend Makeda Kerouac was
known as Dubiety for her ability
to make reality completely unreliable
with illusion, confusion, and warping.

Kace Morrison, or Hardbody, was
a black-hat tough guy and a strongman,
in case the team ran into trouble. Tattoos
covered both of his arms in cloudscapes
of black ink and mysterious figures.

Terek Ellis, known as Jook on
the streets, had curled up next to
Kace, dark skin blending into the seat.

The two white hats had also gravitated
to each other in one corner of the couch.

Geno Bowen, or Affectivity on the job,
was a telempath and their first aid guy.

The shapeshifter Shirina May was called
Alibi, since her job was usually not to ride out
with the team but rather to make sure anyone
under suspicion got seen somewhere else
at the time any mission went down.

Cash himself had created a new persona,
complete with a whole different costume.

Ice Fog wore a snow camouflage outfit
and carried very businesslike waterguns.
He advertised his abilities as Ice Powers
and Fog Powers. He had spent weeks
learning how to make clouds of frozen fog
to disguise his Phasing so that people
would mistake it for Vaporous Form.

They had practiced diligently together for
months, preparing to raid human traffickers
to extract their victims and maybe deliver
a little well-earned retribution on the way.

However, Cash had gotten a tip from
Kraken, who wanted him to do a favor
putting a lid on some shit for them.
It'd make a good training mission.

"Okay, folks, time for the final exam,"
Cash said. "We're going to rob a bank,
the Quayle Bank & Trust Company."

Uneasy rumbles rippled around the room.

"I dunno ..." Shirina said. Her hair
shifted colors in slow, restless waves.
"Isn't there a legal way to handle this?
I mean, there are banking regulations;
just report the problem to the police."

Cash shook his head. "It's been tried.
Either they weasel out of the charges,
or the CEO buys off the damn judge.
We're down to black-hat solutions here."

"That's not what I signed up for," Geno said.
"Why should we go along with this?"

"Because I got a hot tip that this bank
routinely refuses to help abuse survivors
with the financial services that they
need to escape," Cash explained.

Kace folded one hand over the other and
cracked his knuckles. "You don't say."

"People on the pastures have been
complaining about different branches
of the same bank pulling this crap, like
defying restraining orders and handing over
address information to the other party on
a joint account," Cash said. "That's not just
trying to keep them from their money, but
putting people in very serious danger."

"I read a bleat on BlackSheep that
their CEO encourages it," Makeda said.
"He gets all of the branch managers
to play fast and loose with deposits
and fees, fake accounts, shit like that."

"Wasn't he a politician once?" Terek said.
"You can't trust those fuckers. The word
on the street is that bank foreclosed on
houses they didn't even hold papers for."

Cash grimaced. "That's why we've
been asked to put a stop to it."

"Well, they are about to regret
their poor life choices," Dot said.

"I'm on board with that," Terek said.
One foot jittered too fast to see.

"Can I hold your coat?" Shirina said.

Geno took off his plain white hat and
twirled it on a finger. "... think I maybe
need a new hat. I am now fantasizing
about punching the shit out of someone."

"Nope. No hitting," Cash said firmly.
"The whole point of the exercise is
to make this clean." Then he cracked
an evil grin. "Just remember, everyone,
the only thing these guys care about is
money. We are about to kick them where
they live ... and after the mainstream
finds out about what they were doing,
they are going to hemorrhage clients."

Makeda's power flittered through the room,
idly bending straight lines into curves.
"But nightmares are fair game, right?"
she said. "No permanent damage."

"Oh, I imagine everyone at a bank has
a few nightmares after a robbery," Cash said.

"I'll provide backup in case anyone needs
an alibi," Shirina said, "but I won't actually
go into the bank with you. I'm still not
a supervillain, even if we work together."

"That's fine," Cash said. "I want
plenty of eyes on 'Cold Cash'
when Ice Fog makes his debut."

"Besides, we all know who
the real villains are," said Terek.

"So what do we know about
this bank? Traffic flow, security,
targets?" Kace said thoughtfully.

"I'm glad you asked," Cash said.
He dealt out a stack of folders with
the information Kraken had provided
as a starter. "Kace, scope out security.
Makeda, hack in and see what you
find online. Terek, use the blueprints
to draft a plan for raiding the vaults.
Dot, mark any places you won't
be able to teleport through."

"I hope it ends with good fortune,
even though I'm hanging back
on this mission," Shirina said.

"Good fortune is what happens
when opportunity meets with
planning," Cash said firmly.

It would take months to plan
a bank job like this, but
it would be worth it.

* * *


[Character by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer]
Secret identity: Cold Cash / Ice Fog
Name: Charles Jay Feldman


BACKGROUND: MMA fighter with a decent middle-range prospect for success,
sidelined by injury. Manipulated into working for a local criminal as a
thug, and has built enough of a reputation (and desire for recognition) to
strike out on his own. After a career of bank robbing, he has moved on to thwart human trafficking and other abuses in a new persona as Ice Fog.

Motivation: To prove he’s the toughest villain in the area.

Expert (+4) Mixed martial artist
Expert (+4) Thief
Good (+2) Computer programmer
Poor (-2) Don’t Call Me a Coward!

Origin: His first job for the local thug was to help steal an armored
car en route from one major town to another. He found out once inside the
body of the vehicle that it wasn’t transporting money, but a strange
briefcase with four vials in padded wells. When the driver crashed the
armored car into the side of an overpass, he found out what happened when
the substances mixed.

Expert (+4) Meta-control of Ice
Good (+2) Phasing
Limitation of additional mass approximately equal to 2X body weight. He can only stay phased as long as his breath lasts.

Signature Stunts
Sets off the sprinklers and uses the water to freeze people in place.
Water balloons on the bandolier, either frozen solid to be thrown as solid
weapons, or pierced to allow water to spray out into frozen spear points.
Leaves frost outline when he phases through something while “armored”.
Keeps two ¾ liter metal water bottles in reserve on the tool belt, with
carabiners clipping them in place as extra security.
Ice Fog: creates a dense cloud of frozen water in the air, impossible to see through; can hide Phasing so it seems to be Vaporous Form

Costume: A plain beige coverall with no patches, with a leather tool belt.
Unzipping the coverall reveals a bandolier worn over a black tee shirt.
Carries a pair of large supersoakers spray-painted money green. Arranged
on his person- two ice picks, one visible (tool belt), the other hidden,
(left shoe).
Ice Fog wears a snow camouflage uniform and carries very businesslike black waterguns.

Uniform: At work, polo shirt, dress slacks, black Reebok tennis shoes.

Middle twenties, say 25.

Hardbody (Kace Morrison) -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and short brown hair with a mustache and beard. Full-sleeve tattoos cover both arms in surreal cloudscapes of black ink. He works on the extraction team with Ice Fog (Cold Cash) as a heavy hitter and meat shield.
Origin: Kace had been working as hired muscle for several years when he spent a bonus on his first sleeve and gained Super-Strength. He got the second sleeve later and developed Super-Toughness.
Uniform: On duty, he wears, a black tactical outfit with a face mask. He favors black off-duty too, often with a baseball cap turned backwards.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Enforcer, Good (+2) Courage, Good (+2) Tactical Thinking, Good (+2) Teamwork
Poor (-2) Heavy Sleeper
Powers: Good (+2) Super-Strength, Good (+2) Super-Toughness
Motivation: To do his job well.

Hard Body
3. It also means someone who is buff or ripped, who works out a lot and is very muscular-- hard body, not soft and flabby.
4. Somone who wont backdown from nothing.

Dubiety (Makeda Kerouac) -- She has fair skin, brown eyes, and long straight brown hair. She is a supervillain from San Francisco, Westbord, California. As a computer wizard, she excels in hacking and digital art. She works on the extraction team with Ice Fog (Cold Cash) as a hacker and distraction agent.
Origin: Her parents did a lot of drugs. She doesn't need to.
Uniform: On duty, she wears a psychedelic zentai suit with giant fake ears. Off duty, she wears fashionable women's clothes.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Computer Wizard, Good (+2) Existential Intelligence, Good (+2) Flexible, Good (+2) Life of the Party
Poor (-2) Low Drug Tolerance
Powers: Expert (+4) Questionable Reality
Her abilities include Confusion, Illusion, and Reality Warping. Dubiety can create objective or subjective images. She can affect everyone in the area, with a range up to one square mile. She can choose to affect, or exempt from effect, up to 11 specific individuals. She can use up to four superpower effects at the same time, and apply them to different people. So it's possible to scramble perception completely, with no way for victims to cross-check what really happened.
Motivation: Reality is overrated.

du•bi•ety | \du̇-ˈbī-ət-ē also dyü- \
plural dubieties
Definition of dubiety
1: a usually hesitant uncertainty or doubt that tends to cause vacillation
2: a matter of doubt

Reality Warping can change the way the world is or works. Confusion is a subskill of Mental Manipulation. Illusion can be subjective (within the mind, so only certain people perceive it) or objective (creating a false impression that everyone can observe). Combine them, and there is no way to tell what actually happened.

Jook (Terek Ellis) -- He has sorrel skin, black eyes, and nappy brown hair in short dreadlocks. Both earlobes are pierced but he rarely wears earrings there anymore. He has a silver tragus ring on each side and a tiny silver nasallang through his nose. Jook works on the extraction team with Ice Fog (Cold Cash).
Origin: Terek grew up in a poor neighborhood near several sources of urban toxins. His superpowers developed while he was stealing to survive.
Uniform: On duty, he wears a gray uniform with an urban camouflage tactical vest, hat, and face mask. Off duty, he wears men's street clothes.
Qualities: Good (+2) Friends on Both Sides of the Street, Good (+2) Streetwise, Good (+2) Thief, Good (+2) Tough Guy
Poor (-2) Impatient
Powers: Good (+2) Super-Speed
Motivation: To survive.

a Burglary.

Dot Dash (Esra Tracey) -- She has fair skin, gray eyes, and long straight blonde hair. Her cape name is Dot Dash, and she usually goes by Dot. When she teleports, she creates an effect of scattered spots and streaks. She works as a combat teleporter on the extraction team with Ice Fog (Cold Cash). Dot has a strong tendency to run from problems, and she has a hard time sticking it out instead.
Origin: As a teenager, she ran away from an abusive home and developed teleportation as a survival skill.
Uniform: She wears women's street clothes. On duty, she wears a gray hoodie and balaclava.
Qualities: Good (+2) Activist, Good (+2) Dancer, Good (+2) First Aid, Good (+2) Visual-Spatial Intelligence
Poor (-2) Sticking It Out
Powers: Expert (+4) Teleportation
She can carry up to 11 people at a time and can jump clear across a continent. Although she does not have global range with a single jump, she can make up to 4 jumps in short succession, so her range is effectively global. The visual speckling can be mentally disorienting, so most people prefer to close their eyes, but it's not physically jarring; the ride itself is pretty smooth. However, for people with visual weaknesses or migraines it can trigger unpleasant side effects.
Motivation: Escape is a way of life.

Affectivity (Geno Bowen) -- He has tinted skin, black eyes, and short black hair. He works on the extraction team with Ice Fog (Cold Cash) for physical and emotional first aid. He is experienced in trauma-informed care.
Origin: His abilities grew in slowly as he trained in caring professions.
Uniform: On duty, he wears a white paramedic jumpsuit with a medical mask. He started out with a pure white hat but now prefers one with a gray band ... just so people know his patience isn't limitless. Off duty, he wears light colors, often white and pastels. He is especially fond of pink.
Qualities: Good (+2) Constitution, Good (+2) Emotional First Aide, Good (+2) Interpersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Outdoor Activities, Good (+2) Paramedic
Poor (-2) Saying No
Powers: Good (+2) Telempath
Motivation: To help people.

affectivity (countable and uncountable, plural affectivities)
1. Ability to experience affects: feelings, emotions, judgement, motivations, etc.
At the same time, the kinds of affectivities evoked in us, such as fear and gratitude, also depend partly on how we envision and interpret the objects in question.

Alibi (Shirina May) -- She has peach skin, emerald eyes, and fox-red hair. However, she is a shapeshifter who can take on any appearance. She works on the extraction team with Ice Fog (Cold Cash), impersonating targets to break into places or teammates to provide an alibi.
Origin: Her abilities emerged at puberty. You know all the "your body is changing" stuff they throw at tweens? It was an understatement.
Uniform: She wears women's clothes, often neutrals or other soft colors with one eye-catching piece. On duty, she doesn't need a costume of her own because she mimics someone else.
Qualities: Good (+2) Dexterity, Good (+2) Emotional Intelligence, Good (+2) Peacemaking
Poor (-2) Self-Defense
Powers: Expert (+4) Shapeshifter
She can hold a foreign shape for up to 6 hours. With a 15-minute break between shifts, she can string together four of them to cover roughly 24 hours before she needs a break of at least 4 hours. She can mimic an individual well enough to fool facial recognition and casual acquaintances easily. The better someone knows the source person, and the longer the deception needs to last, the harder it gets to fool them.
Motivation: The truth isn't always what it seems.

* * *

"Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning."
Thomas Edison, inventor

Dot Dash's house has a main floor and an upper floor. See the exterior end, front, and back. The great room is next to the kitchen. Beyond that, the powder room lets into the laundry room. The master bedroom has been turned into a bunkroom. with a large bathroom. Upstairs, Dot and her boyfriend share the second master bedroom with its master bathroom. The boys' bedroom has an ensuite too.

Planning is an essential life skill. Learn how to create a plan for your strategy.

The banking industry is fraught with corruption. It not only attracts psychopaths, but studies show that it actually rewards untrustworthy behavior. Examples of bank fraud in this poem were taken from the chicanery of institutions like Wells Fargo and the Bank of America. In local-America, Dan Quayle has been active in both politics and banking, with some questionable practices, and in Terramagne has gone on to found a large bank of dubious character. These offenses often mix legal and illegal ways of mistreating people, and they routinely evade justice. In particular, victims of domestic violence face tremendous financial barriers, and banks often assist the abuser by giving out information or contacting victims at home. Considering that principled supervillains in Terramagne tend to accept the consequences if caught fairly, you can see why they might object to this nonsense.
Tags: activism, cyberfunded creativity, economics, fishbowl, free stuff, gender studies, poem, poetry, reading, safety, weblit, writing

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