(Character introduced by Dialecticdreamer.)
The Numerator (Olivia Moore) -- She has toffee skin and black eyes. Her hair is dark brown with golden highlights, a mass of spiral curls that falls to her shoulders. She has a slightly triangular face and a high forehead. She is nine years old and full of mischief.
Olivia's mother is Dr. Melissa Andersen Moore, who teaches graduate-level economics at Northwestern University, a prestigious private college. Melissa is convinced she's better-equipped to understand her daughter's long-term needs than some under-educated worksheet-pusher with a second rate degree and a "teaching credential" barely more useful than a Red Cross babysitting certificate. Olivia's father is Edward “Ned” Moore, a stock analyst putting in long hours at work, then taking the weekends for the trappings of success. His latest attempt at "father-daughter bonding time" was playing golf. (Olivia is currently analyzing which of his set of custom-made clubs is most expensive, and plans to use it as the activating lever in a Rube Goldberg device.)
Her parents have been married fifteen years, and live a 'comfortably wealthy' lifestyle without the flash of wild parties or the self-destructiveness of drug/alcohol problems. They think the best way for their daughter to be a well-adjusted adult is to keep her with her age-mates in a good-quality public school in a suburb of Chicago. (Where she is bored out of her mind.) So far NOTHING has even gotten them to ground her.
Olivia is currently fostered with Dr. Carolina Fleer, who has moved several times for professional reasons and is now in Onion City installing their Fleer train. Olivia needs someone who can keep up with her mentally, provide suitable academic challenges, and help her learn social skills.
Origin: Her mother had an unremarkable pregnancy, ending her six-week maternity leave from teaching at the university with a cheerful wave to the au pair they'd chosen months in advance. Because breast milk is supposed to be superior, she made time between lectures to express and freeze milk for baby Olivia. How was she supposed to know that someone hadn't installed the high-energy particle baffling between the third floor lab ceiling and the barely-used fourth floor staff ladies' room?
Uniform: The Numerator has been working on a child's motorcycle helmet with tinted visor, creating a HUD she plans to use as a computer display, among other things, including housing a sensor array and recording devices so she can review the next “experiment” many, many times. At Brooklyn Superhero Supply Shop, she picked out a new outfit: orange t-shirt with three red gears on the front, orange shorts, red dexflan tights, red capery cape, gold mask glasses with polarized lenses, gold krevel gloves, gold krevel utility belt, and gold dexflan boots with krevel soles. Off duty, Olivia wears typical street clothing of good quality. She does not wear jeans or skirts, always dressy slacks and low-heeled ankle boots. (Which hide her one childish indulgence-- flowered ancle or cuff socks, often worn deliberately mismatched.)
Qualities: Expert (+4) Math, Good (+2) Class Clown, Good (+2) Dexterity, Good (+2) Maguire Things
Poor (-2) Desperate for Attention
Powers: Expert (+4) Super-Gizmology, Average (0) Super-Intellect
(Average Weather-Sense will grow in later.)
Signature Stunts: whatever she builds, there is always some OBVIOUS element which not only proves that she is responsible, but requires destroying one of her parents' possessions to use a component.
Limitation: Her Super-Gizmology exceeds her Super-Intelligence, so the Numerator tends to "overdrive her headlights" and make things that don't work perfectly, or work but she's not sure why.
Motivation: "Mom, I'm bored. Mom? I'm booooooored. Are you listening to me? Okay, fine. I'll go find something to do."
In Terramagne slang, "Maguire things" is their equivalent of "MacGyver things." Instead of a TV show, they had Maguire, an Irish super-gizmologist known for building things out of scrap because he didn't want to buy them or couldn't easily find what he needed. In essence, it's similar to Jerryrigger's ability to make something out of anything. So "Maguire something" is valid, but so is the generic "jerryrig" or "jury-rig."
Dr. Carolina Fleer -- She has fair skin, gray eyes, and long slightly wavy brown hair. She is tall and strong, with a rectangular face. She is married with a daughter (13) and a son (11). She is also fostering Olivia Moore, the Numerator. Carolina collects antique models of trains, airplanes, and other machines. She also enjoys spending time with other women in STEMZ fields.
Unlike most Super-Gizmologists, she wants people to replicate her work, but they just don't understand how. Her main project at present is production of Fleer trains, which are gravitoelectromagnetic trains with a top speed around 600 mph. The GEM engine is what distinguishes this super-gizmo from ordinary maglev trains, making them faster and more stable. The first Fleer was the High Line connecting the five boroughs of New York, and later extended to nearby parts of Eastbord. Another line runs in Westbord. The third is currently under construction in Onion City. The bottleneck is that Carolina has to build every engine herself, and repair them if they break. She is offering a six-month paid internship to any qualified Super-Gizmologist or Super-Intellect who thinks they can figure out how to replicate her work, making Fleer Industries a magnet for recent graduates.
Origin: Her powers grew in gradually, and she showed an interest in STEMZ from a young age. Her mother (a mathematician) and her father (an architect) both supported her interests.
Uniform: Blue-collar work clothes on the street, lab clothes in the lab. Often she wears men's clothes because of how well they fit her tall, straight frame; but when people get snotty about her gender, sometimes she wears a shirt with a pink collar just to rub their noses in the fact that she is smart, female, and builds shit that nobody else can understand.
Qualities: Master (+6) Engineer, Good (+2) Antique Model Collector, Good (+2) Hot Pepper Breeder, Good (+2) Networking with STEMZ Women
Poor (-2) Tolerating Sexism
Powers: Expert (+4) Super-Gizmology, Expert (+4) Super-Intelligence
Motivation: SOMEBODY is damn well going to learn how to do this.
* * *
"The world is your playground -- play with a sense of destiny."
-- Edward Boyden
Destiny Playground has many areas of interest.
Adjacent to a parking lot, the paved play area offers a variety of painted games, tracks, and educational art. The smooth surface makes it one of the more inclusive areas, and it supports a wide range of ages. The designs appeal to visual-spatial intelligence.
Abstract lines can be used to illustrate ideas such as string theory or to invent new games.
Blank areas can be used for sidewalk chalk art or education. Here are some recipes for chalk supplies. This is a simple sketch of a hypercube. Here children have marked out a hypercube star with tape before filling it in with chalk paint. A color wheel can be used for lessons about art, color theory, pigment chemistry, light waves, and so on. Children can trace each other's outlines and then fill in the parts of the body.
The adaptive area has a poured rubber surface. Equipment includes a net climbing frame and bowl swings. In the background you can see a public bathroom building, and off to the right lies a parking lot.
The fairyland consists primarily of poured rubber, which creates a soft and colorful surface suitable for infants and toddlers. Mushrooms can be used for sitting or jumping. Fairyland ends in a climbing hill with various challenge levels of climb and slide available. It makes a great place to study gravity.
The castle play structure has ramps, stairs, interactive panels, climbing walls, and other structures to encourage inclusive play. It also makes a great place for history lessons. This structure appeals most to elementary school children.
The dragon is a fantasy-themed climbing structure with many different parts to explore. It attracts grade school and junior high kids.
The musical play area includes different kinds of climbing and swinging equipment with electronic musical panels like the one visible in the center of the image. They play different types of sound when pressed. The ground is covered with wood mulch. The age range is about 5-12. It appeals to people with high musical intelligence. This section offers musical instruments made of metal, plastic, and other durable materials suited to outdoor play.
The athletic area caters to teens and adults. It has fitness equipment for running, climbing, jumping, and swinging. It also works for lessons about time and physics. Visitors with strong kinesthetic intelligence love this section.
The crochet playground consists of a multiplanar mesh made of colorful cords. The upper level has holes of various sizes. Some are wormholes that lead back to the same level or to a lower level. Others are narrow tubes with a giant ball at the end, representing black holes. This area suits a wide range of ages and ability levels. Visitors with visual-spatial and existential intelligence like it. The lower level also has toroids and other loose shapes to move around.
The nature play area includes grass, gravel, wood chips, and sand. An artificial stream flows into one end of the sandpit. Wooden fixtures include flower boxes, playhouses, a picnic table, a bridge, stumps, and tables. This section suits a variety of ages, especially visitors high in naturalistic or intrapersonal intelligence. Loose parts include natural wood blocks, pine cones, and found materials.
One section of lawn features several learning centers for preschool to kindergarten age. The Nature and Science Learning Center includes a magnifier, a mirror, a root garden, and a garden box.
The Weather Station Learning Center includes a rain gauge, a weekly weather panel, a thermometer, a barometer, and a weather vane. The Woodworking Learning Center has two each of C-clamps, hammers, keyhole saws, and safety goggles. Cups hold golf tees and styrofoam blocks for hammer practice, along with metal nails. A shelf holds small pieces of wood.
The easel has two large clear panels that can be painted on or hold paper taped to the surface. Below the panel, a shelf holds pots of paint. The two-sided chalkboard has a shelf for the chalk sticks. The weaving panel is clear with many holes in it. Yarn, ribbon, rope, or any other narrow material may be passed through the holes. This provides a space to practice manual dexterity, knots, teamwork, and language. It also serves as a framework for art.
A large open lawn includes some sophisticated materials for playing with loose parts. One is a set of giant foam blocks in many different shapes. Another set of blocks for construction can form an arch. There is also a set of stakes, mallets, and hanks of colored cord for making webs.
The wire bead maze consists of large wooden blocks threaded over painted iron bars that twist around each other. Each colored bar is a unit unto itself, but the individual units are not connected to each other or the ground, so they can be rearranged by adults to keep the installation interesting.
A wide variety of lawn games are available, but the selection rotates so that regular visitors don't get tired of them. The staff typically put out five games at a time. These support a range of ages and ability levels. They span intrapersonal, kinesthetic, verbal-linguistic, and logical-mathematical intelligences. These things are ruinously expensive to buy, but cheap and easy to make your own.
Playgrounds promote different kinds of intelligence with many benefits. Also, children need lots of free motion and suffer neurological damage if they don't get it. Adults need physical activity too, but most don't get enough. L-America offers few spaces for people to move around and actively discourages or even punishes many activities such as skateboarding. More and better playgrounds, which appeal to a wider range of users -- or better yet, real-world spaces -- can improve the situation.
WarGames is a 1983 film about a teenager who unintentionally hacks into a war-simulating computer at NORAD, causing the US to panic over a seemingly impending Soviet nuclear strike.
"A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?"