Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poems to Write: Broken Angels

I have a list of poems that I want to write in this thread. If you don't have ideas for Broken Angels prompts on Tuesday, you can pick any of the planned poems that you would like to see written out. These notes will contain many spoilers, and possibly triggers, so consider whether that's likely to bother you.


Cas is studying first aid. The gang has already gotten assorted education from the Finns, but some members plan to take outside classes too.

Possible first aid schedule for Cas:
Saturday, October 17, 2015 -- Babysitting Safety and First Aid (5 1/2 hours)
Finn introduction to CPR?
Saturday, October 31, 2015 -- Basic First Aid (4 1/2 hours)
Finn gang first aid?
Sunday, November 15, 2015 -- Parenting First Aid (infant/child CPR, 9 hours w/lunch break)

Wilderness First Aid (adult CPR, four 5-hour sessions)
Saturday, November 21
Saturday, November 28
Saturday, December 5
Saturday, December 12


Hali's wing injury poses an ongoing challenge. Some of this has been addressed in posted material, such as "By Our Every Action," but there is more to be written. Here is an approximate sequence:

"Their Wings Too Heavy"
* The first meeting between Cas and Hali encountering Heron occurs at Blues Moon. Shiv practically has to drag Heron away from them to avoid causing an incident. Of course Shiv knows about the problem, you can't miss it, he's not happy about it either, but it's not the kind of problem that can be fixed by grabbing. :/ And Boss White promised that Cas and Hali would be safe at Blues Moon, so everyone else will just have to deal with their own issues on their own time. Heron normally has excellent brakes, but to a healer, a toddler with that kind of injury is as riveting as a toddler shrieking, so it takes him a minute to tamp down the urge to Do Something. Actually being able to fix the problem will require a lot of little steps, including but not limited to ...

* Convince Hali that people aren't going to grab her, sit on her, or try to hurt her wings.

* Casually and without saying anything about it, put on nature videos that show birds preening themselves and each other.

* Shiv gives Hali a doll with angel wings, so she can have one that looks like her.

* Hali sees Simon giving Dairinne falling lessons, and Simon offers to teach Hali with accommodations for her wings.

* Hali starts letting Boss Blaster fix individual feathers that get out of alignment.

* When Hali starts showing interest, encourage her to try preening her own feathers. It doesn't matter if she does it "right," just that she makes an effort.

* Once she gets frustrated about not being able to do the preening perfectly, ask if she'd like some help. This may take a few rounds before she agrees, or not, depending on how things are going.

* Gradually make preening part of Hali's regular grooming routine.

* Cas and Hali would need to meet Heron and get comfortable with him before he tries to get a closer look at Hali's wings.

* Then Heron has to figure out whether it's something he can fix. I would bet it is, because at least part of the problem is the same as Shiv's arm that he wouldn't let Heron mess with: the bone healed with the ends offset. Heron would've made a point of finding out how to heal that kind of injury, just in case Shiv ever changes his mind.
* * There are two typical methods. The fast way is to sever the connection between the bone ends, move them back where they should be, and put them together the right way. The slow way is to 'walk' the ends across each other until they are in the right position. Each has its own pros and cons.

* In any case, it will take a while for Cas and Hali to trust Heron enough to let him fix it.

* Because they also have to deal with the aftermath, which is several days to several weeks of miserable muscle cramps and bone aches as the body adjusts to having parts in a very different arrangement. It'll probably take less time for Hali than Shiv, because her problem is fresher. It's still going to suck, and there's a limit to how much that can be ameliorated, because the body really does have to get used to its new configuration. Turn the nerves off and that doesn't work so well. Hali has to trust people enough to believe that it will get better, or the process of fixing the physical damage will do a lot more emotional damage. She's skittish enough already without making that worse, and unlike Shiv, it's not at all native to her personality.

"Releasing the Parts from False Position"
"By the Actions of the Muscles"
* Since this is considerably after Shiv got his brain fixed, and he and Dr. Infanta have an ongoing arrangement, he will have his arm fixed by then, and can warn Cas about the pros and cons. That'll make it easier to get through. So that's another setup piece that needs to be written.


"Exist Without Permission"
Lincoln has sky rats. This is the kind of place where it's easy to hide things you don't want to get caught doing. Years ago, somebody made flying rats, and they got loose. The original ones were albino lab rats with white pigeon wings, which remains the most common form. Since then, people have caught them for pets and bred them with fancy rats to produce several variations. Interestingly, they don't show the same colors as wild Norway rats -- either the wild rats won't mate with the winged ones, or the winged genes are so dominant that the wild traits don't show. The flying rats have become part of the city, like some towns have white squirrels. Love 'em or hate 'em, you can't get rid of 'em, because in the end they're rats with pigeon genes.

The idea I had was that Boss Blaster would first see one of the usual-colored rats in with the pigeons, and not be sure what it was until he'd seen it a few times and finally got a close look, which is when he flips out. They're not exactly common, but you see them more in some parts of town than others.

Then the parrot rat shows up, and for a while all is well. Until one day it can't fly. Well, sometimes they get too fat to fly, that happens fairly often. Boss Blaster isn't satisfied with this explanation and scoops up the rat.

Naturally he calls Heron to look at a "sick pet" ... who hates rats.

And the rat turns out to be pregnant.

I don't think it has occurred to either of them yet that rat fanciers would probably pay $$$$ for one of those pups. Boss Blaster will hate to part with any of them, but he doesn't actually need 11 parrot-rats, and he does need money. Rats breed fast. This could help solve that problem. Though now he has another project he didn't intend to take on.


"In Some Home Neighborhood"
Neighborhood adoption of the Broken Angels proceeds briskly. The poor and lonely elders in the neighborhood notice that not only is Boss Blaster fixing up the park, crime is dropping and there's a rumor about free food too. So they decide to show their appreciation.
* It starts with the couple of old ladies already in the loop, who drop by with cookies.
* And then someone brings a whole apple pie.
* And someone else shows up with a cake.
* And one codger comes by with a casserole because he knows everyone else will bring desserts but no real food.
* And then someone brings a scarf because everyone else will be bringing food.
* Finally Auntie Joe shows up with a leather hunter's cap with ear flaps, lined with real fur, and Boss Blaster -- who has been answering the door while everyone else is out working, with increasing confusion and flusteration, finally just drops his brain. :D


The lead pipe issue:

"Doing Business with Lead-Pipe Cruelty"
* Just after discovering the problem, Boss Blaster asks Shiv to check the lair for lead pipes so all of those can be removed.

* Once the lead pipes are exposed and the city obligated to replace all of them, Dozer and other soups come in to filter lead out of the soil, which is tedious and expensive but much better than anything local-America has.

* Residents will be advised to check whether they have lead exposure, and if so, get treatment. Much cannot be fixed with ordinary technology, but various superpowers can fix various aspects of it. This has its pros and cons.

* Ongoing repairs throughout the city will be exhaustive and require federal aid. But some of those put Boss Blaster in a better position, financially and politically.


Pressnall Pocket Neighborhood is a tiny house development that Boss Blaster starts setting up in February for singles and small families of low income. It has a boundary of fences and hedges to protect residents from the Tatterns and other hostile gangs, plus a security guard.


In spring, a park worker asks Boss Blaster if he wants tree seedlings for Stone Soup Park. Boss Blaster declines because that park doesn't have enough room for trees on top of everything else -- it's meant to be mostly open grass for people to romp around on. However, this gives him the idea to buy another empty lot to plant trees, which leads to Shady Grove Park.

Boss Blaster also buys an empty lot with an old basement that still floods, which he turns into a wildlife pond surrounded by native plants, bushes, and trees. A swamp filter captures runoff from a nearby parking lot and cleans it on the way to the pond. This becomes Frogmorton Park.


The food truck park is at the intersection of Antelope Parkway and Military Ave, bordered by North 14th Street and Court Street. It has a bus stop (plus code R7JX+3M Lincoln, Nebraska). It is across Antelope Parkway from the Hendricks Training Complex, a little north of the university.

Note that T-America has zoning, taxes, etc. that discourage junk food in higher-traffic areas and encourage healthier choices in the best locations. Including a salad place, fruit stand, smoothie bar, etc. or special dietary accommodations such as a vegetarian or halal truck in the business plan would make it much easier to acquire the land and permits. The more of those things there are, and the less of outright junk food like burgers or donuts, the easier and cheaper it will get. There are people who make sweetheart deals and the government pays them to start the business. I doubt Faster Blaster is that good yet, but he does know a bit about the food-related perks due to Blues Moon, so Boss White could talk him through it and probably get a deal with minimal investment. *chuckle* Though convincing poor folks to *eat* fresh produce will probably involve a lot of free samples and bribing Shiv to make a few trips as an eater.


Boss Blaster is working through the process of improving prostitution in Lincoln, Nebraska. It wasn't his original plan but has become part of the Broken Angels. This includes:

* Buy and refurbish an RV for the sex workers to use. (late November-early December)

* Simon helps the interested sex workers figure out if they want to work with disabled clients. This includes a very hot "teasing" scene with Simon and Amando, which ends (as planned) with Amando excusing himself to the shower while Simon and Tolli lock themselves in the gym.

* Deal with the primal soups in the sex trade.

* Address the human trafficking issue, which is something Boss Blaster has exactly zero tolerance for.

* Run off the juice pimps, especially the ones using zetetic drugs to control their hookers.

* As the gang gains political power, agitate for prostitution to be legalized.

* Buy buildings that can be renovated for use in sex work, one general, one for people with disabilities.


As Boss Blaster gets his intended projects going, the car stuff develops:

* [personal profile] dialecticdreamer has him acquire controlling interest in a small garage.

* I know that he hooks into the local car culture and pressures the drag racers to take their activities outside the city. This makes for an amusing encounter with the cops as they decide to overlook the implication of illegal or at best quasi-legal activity that solves the very bad problem they were having with people drag racing in traffic.

* Cars are not stolen from Lincoln. They are stolen from other cities or rest areas along the highways, processed in Lincoln, then sold elsewhere. Plus the Broken Angels get some extremely hot cars from Italy by way of the Marionettes, since nobody will be looking for those in Nebraska. It's a great hub for this kind of work, because there's plenty of open territory, abandoned warehouses, empty roads, and highways going elsewhere.

* One of the people who joins the gang is actually a car girl that Boss Blaster meets at a car show. Her job is to sprawl over the cars and make them look sexier.

* Another is an Italian teenager dumped on him rather abruptly when the Marionettes run out of ideas to handle her. But Boss Blaster gets along with her quite well, and then she just doesn't want to go back to Italy. It's an example of how gangs can solve problems by swapping people.


Boss Blaster obtains a supply of zap guns that disable voluntary muscles and related nerves (but not involuntary ones). He discreetly alerts the police that these are nonlethal and minimally risky, which starts a debate over their legality. Ned insists on testing one personally.

Conversely, Boss Blaster does NOT allow armor-piercing arsenal in his city. It's another thing he has exactly zero tolerance for. He lost a friend that way once -- a drawback of Armor is that sometimes a powerful enough weapon will punch through it, but then medics can't get in to repair the damage.

It occurs to me that Boss Blaster is uniquely well placed to force conversations about some things, like legalizing prostitution and improving the gun control laws. But he needs a lot more political leverage, fast, in order to make any headway.


This is the point of organized crime. It's a safety valve for the wilder elements, but it's not complete chaos. In this regard, it relates to the equation of dominance and submission: people participate not because it lets them do whatever they want, but because it's preferable to the alternatives. You can't remove all evil or wildness from humanity, but you can keep a lid on it.

None of the other gangsters in Lincoln have the brains, organizational skill, or budget to win in the long term. Knowing the locale gives them a certain advantage, but that won't last forever. If anyone in Lincoln had had real potential, someone would have moved up shortly after Boss Batir got arrested. That didn't happen. They've just been scuttling around like a bucket of crabs, picking at each other. Boss Blaster is stepping into what amounts to a power vacuum with some rubble underfoot. That doesn't mean the local hoods won't cause problems, just that they aren't very effective at running a gang. The smart ones will ally with the Broken Angels. The dumb ones will pick fights. The lead content in Lincoln water explains the high rate of stupidity.

Among the ones we've already seen are the remnants of the Hammerheads, and the Tatters. We've also mapped out some likely places for gangs with pimps who will take exception to the drastically better prostitution in Broken Angels territory.

The soft edge consists of people backing away or joining up for the first several months. Some time after that, probably in spring, Boss Blaster will start running into more durable difficulties. But by then he'll have more territory, and a lot more allies, allowing him to roll over the smaller obstacles and make good fight with the tougher ones.

Early on, the people coming to Boss Blaster are the most alert, the ones always watching for a new opportunity. Even Noa, who is the least assertive, is observant. Later on, though, he'll start running into people who are stupid, violent, or just plain opposed to his plans. Some of the real lowlifes like the bucket-of-crabs scramble of Lincoln's underworld without a cityboss, because it lets them get away with more shit than they could under someone like Boss Blaster. So there will definitely be friction ahead.

Thus far, we've discussed a variety of expected conflicts with:
* the gaybashers
* the guys who rob hookers, or worse
* the smallfry holding territories adjacent to Boss Blaster's new turf, not all of whom may be amenable to joining forces
* some cops who may not realize that Boss Blaster is already suppressing crime in their city

Two major plot points occur when the tension erupts into violence:

"Not a Sudden Problem"
* Another gang starts a fight with the Broken Angels. In the aftermath, when someone tries to arrest Cas for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, he freaks out -- and his angelic nature starts bubbling up. Ned then intervenes and actually manages to damp it back down, which is unheard of.

* When a gang ambush turns into a major firefight, Ned gets caught in the crossfire. (This is why ordinary police usually stay out of cape fights, but that doesn't stop Ned.) Boss Blaster and Cas intervene, and evacuate Ned to Italy for expert care.


So far, Lincoln is just a bit of a dustbucket, not a shithole so bad people go out of their way to avoid it. Nebraska and the Dakotas aren't great territory in general. But if Faster Blaster can get Lincoln spruced up a bit, then they'll have a functional triangle from Lincoln-Omaha-Siouxland (Sioux City). They would control all the major highways in the state except for a few stray bits. Plus Boss White has contacts up on the Omaha Reservation, hence the Siouxland connection. Eventually they might reach up to connect with Sioux Falls in South Dakota.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poetry, reading, writing
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