Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "In the Face of Complacency and Cowardice"

This poem is spillover from the August 4, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] siliconshaman. It also fills the "Jail Time" square in my 2-28-19 card for the Meet Ugly Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem contains topics that may disturb some readers. It includes bereavement, crying, China's crimes (including religious and racial discrimination, murder, genocide, and organlegging), politically motivated prison breaks via teleporting, and they're not careful about only releasing innocents, vandalism via graffiti, China having hysterics, and other mayhem. Most of the story focuses on the response, so the description of offenses is more general than detailed. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before deciding whether this is something you want to read. It's not closely connected to anything else, so skipping it won't leave a gap.

"In the Face of Complacency and Cowardice"

[Friday, January 31, 2014]

The room was quiet
except for the sound
of someone crying.

Assai slipped through
the long gauzy curtains
of the teleporters' club.

The Blue Mongoose
was one of many clubs in
Easy City, but the only one
that catered to teleporters.

"What happened?" Assai said
as she sat down beside Lizardbus.

His forked tongue flicked out,
nervously licking his face.

"Chao Xian's aunt got arrested,
but before he even heard about it,
the prison killed her to harvest
her organs," said Lizardbus.
"They were close before he
had to flee China, so he's
pretty broken up about it."

"That's horrible," said Assai.
"It's hard to believe that
a developed nation is still
doing such heinous things."

Lizardbus shrugged. "It's
China," he said. "They're in
the bottom ten for valid reasons."

"Well then, someone should
remind them if they aren't going
to be civilized, neither are we,"
said Assai. "We're supervillains.
We don't have to put up with this."

Lizardbus smiled as much as
his reptilian mouth would allow,
though it showed more in the blush
that pinked his scaly cheeks.

"Sister, I like the way you
think," he said. "What
do you have in mind?"

"We're teleporters,"
said Assai. "You and I
can both carry lots of
passengers, and so can
Chao Xian when he's
thinking straight. I say
we hit China and liberate
some political prisoners."

"And put them where?"
Lizardbus said sensibly.

Assai tapped her lip. "Mothers
with children should go to Italy,
especially if any of them have
some superpowers," she said.
"Chao Xian has relatives into
Falun Gong, and Norway is
good for those refugees."

"We could probably take
Uighurs to the Maldives,"
Lizardbus mused. "Muslims
have that zakat thing for
travelers in distress and
people held in bondage."

By then, Chao Xian had
cried himself out, at least
for the time being, and was
sitting up to look at them.

"We've got an idea,"
said Assai. "We want
to teleport prisoners
and set them free."

"Falun Gong people?"
Chao Xian asked.

"Those and Uighurs
and anyone else that
China hates," said Assai.
"I'd rather not release
child molesters, but I'm
not planning to ask why
anyone is locked up."

"They put Falun Gong
and Uighur prisoners in
concentration camps,"
said Chao Xian, "usually
not the same prisons as
the violent criminals."

"That's useful to know,"
Lizardbus said, "though
like Assai, I'm not picky."

"I will help," Chao Xian said,
dragging his sleeve over
his wet face. "Let's go."

The three of them hit
a Falun Gong prison first,
rescuing dozens of captives.

Chao Xian managed to land
in the shower room and
scooped everyone in it.

Assai landed in a dormitory
and Lizardbus in a courtyard.

Behind them, they left
a message spray-painted
on the concrete wall.

From long familiarity,
we know what honor is.

It is what enables the individual
to do right even in the face of
complacency and cowardice.
It is what enables the soldier
to die alone, the political prisoner
to resist, the singer to sing her song,
hardly appreciated, on a side street

The next day they swept into
an Uighur concentration camp.

The day after that, a tip led them
to a prison for Tibetans. That one
had baby lamas, so they routed
those refugees into Italy.

They kept up their campaign
all through February, as
the Chinese government
got increasingly hysterical.

On the last day of the month,
they hit the first Falun Gong prison
again, freeing more of its victims.

This time, Assai left a new message
sprayed across the prison wall:

The liberations will continue
until the organlegging stops

* * *


Chao Xian (Liu Hai Wei) -- He has dark amber skin, almond-shaped black eyes, and straight black hair buzzed short. He speaks English and Mandarin Chinese, and is learning Esperanto. Hai Wei started out in the Chinese army, but when he developed superpowers, he had to flee. Kraken picked up him while he was on the run, delighted by a water-relevant teleporter who could carry lots of passengers per trip. Gradually he made friends with other teleporters, and took the cape name Chao Xian. However, his relatives in China are still suffering, because some of them practice Falun Gong, and soups are badly treated too.
Origin: Hai Wei was killed in a beach battle, but he revived. The government became very possessive and intrusive after he developed superpowers, so he fled the country.
Uniform: He wears practical men's clothes, usually in dull colors.
Qualities: Good (+2) Agility, Good (+2) Chinese Mysticism, Good (+2) Kinesthetic Intelligence, Good (+2) Soldier, Good (+2) Teamwork
Poor (-2) Persecuted by Chinese Government
Powers: Expert (+4) Water Spirit Powers
He can teleport if there is any moisture in the air, although the more water there is at the traveling points, the easier it is and the more passengers he can carry.
If injured, he heals the damage, faster if he can submerge. If killed, he revives and emerges from the nearest body of water.
Motivation: To fight against China's oppression.

CHAO m & f Chinese
From Chinese 超 (chāo) meaning "surpass, leap over" (which is usually only masculine), 潮 (cháo) meaning "tide, flow, damp", or other characters that are pronounced similarly.

The Chinese word xian means "immortal," or more generally someone with superpowers since many abilities are attributed to such beings. This often appears in the names of Chinese soups, the way "man" or "woman" does in English.

Schafer noted xian was cognate to xian 䙴 "soar up", qian 遷 "remove", and xianxian 僊僊 "a flapping dance movement"; and compared Chinese yuren 羽人 "feathered man; xian" with English peri "a fairy or supernatural being in Persian mythology" (Persian pari from par "feather; wing").

Con Moto Assai (Calandra de Luca) -- She has light olive skin, brown eyes, and long straight mahogany hair. Her cape name is Con Moto Assai, or Assai for short. Con Moto means "with audible movement" and Assai means "aplenty." Calandra grew up in Catanzaro, Calabria, Italy and later moved to Rome for studying opera. For a while, she worked as an opera singer. After the fire, though, she couldn't stand being indoors that much, so she became a street singer instead. She also began working for the Marionettes because her particular emanata -- which sound like Italian opera -- fit much better with the soundscape of a city than the more common cracks and whizzes.
Origin: During a performance, the opera hall caught fire. She sang, transporting herself and the rest of the opera cast outside the building.
Uniform: Calandra wears elegant women's clothes. She prefers dresses or skirts instead of pants.
Qualities: Good (+2) Assertive, Good (+2) Graceful, Good (+2) Fan of the Classics, Good (+2) Musical Intelligence, Good (+2) Opera Singer
Poor (-2) Claustrophobic
Powers: Expert (+4) Teleportation
Her emanata include both vocal and instrumental sound effects of Italian opera.
Motivation: Refinement.

Con moto
with movement With (audible) movement

very; aplenty Comes after other terms; e.g. allegro assai ("very cheerful")

Lizardbus (Jerald Ramiro) -- He is a lizard man with scales of buff, pink, and gray-green. He has a short snout, a long forked tongue, and a spiny crest. His lips barely move, so he mostly smiles by blushing. His eyes are black. His heritage is American and Hispanic. He speaks English and Spanish.
Jerald earned a bachelor's degree in Geography/Environmental Studies with a minor in Conservation Biology at the University of California-Los Angeles. He enjoys outdoor activities in general. However, his reptilian appearance makes it difficult for him to find new friends. Sometimes he works for supervillain organizations because they're less fussy about how people look. His large passenger capacity makes him very useful as a teleporter.
Origin: During his Field Biology Quarter, Jerald got lost in the desert and almost died. As a result, he developed superpowers.
Uniform: He wears comfortable men's clothes, often in athletic or outdoorsy styles.
Qualities: Good (+2) California Knowledge, Good (+2) Environmental Geography, Good (+2) Naturalistic Intelligence, Good (+2) Outdoor Sports, Good (+2) Supervillain Contacts
Poor (-2) Making Friends
Powers: Expert (+4) Teleportation, Good (+2) Lizard Traits
His teleportation has a rumbling quality, like a big engine, and is decently comfortable though not exactly smooth. He's one of the rare teleporters who doesn't travel instantly; it takes time, longer with more passengers, but he can transport a lot of people. His cape name comes from a slang term for an articulated bus.
Vulnerability: Due to his reptilian qualities, he requires heat and sunlight. He gets torpid when chilled.

"Lizard bus" is slang for an articulated bus.

Geography/Environmental Studies Major
at the University of California-Los Angeles

Preparation for the Major: 5 Courses - 25 units
1) Geography 1 or 2 2) Geography 3, 4 or 6 3) Geography 5 4) Statistics 12 5) Geography 7
The Major: 11 courses - 44 units minimum
• To declare the Major, students must have completed TWO (2) Geography course at UCLA with a C or better (2.0 GPA).
• Students must take 11 Upper Division courses (minimum 44 units) from the clusters below.
• All courses must be taken for a letter grade. Overall and Major GPA of 2.0 is required to graduate.
• GEOG 191 (Variable Topics) may count towards the major. For which category, contact the Academic Counselor.
• By petition, 1 Independent Research class may apply: Geog 199 (Independent Research) or Geog 198A (Honors Research). Must be
taken as a 4-unit, letter grade course.
• All Geography Upper Division courses (GEOG 100-up) count towards the major (with a few exceptions).
1 Regions Course
184 California

2 Courses from Human Systems Core
134 Border Studies
140 Political Geography

2 Procedures Courses*
163 Field Analysis in Biogeography
166 Environmental Modeling

6 Courses from Environmental Studies & Natural Systems Core
M109 Human Impact on Biophysical Environment: What Science Has Learned
126 Geography of Extinction
M137 Historical Geography of American Environment
159D Problems in Geography: Physical Geography
101 Coastal Geomorphology
112 Analytical Animal Geography

at the University of California-Los Angeles

The CONSERVATION BIOLOGY minor seeks to provide students with a greater depth of experience and understanding the role that science can play in developing conservation policy.
All pre-requisites for the Conservation Biology minor must be completed with a grade of “C” or better:
• Life Sciences 7B or LS 1 (5 units)
• EE BIOL 100 (4 units)
• EE BIOL 116* (4 units) OR Environment 121 (4 units) – Choose one.
*Students who have received credit for EE BIOL 116 cannot take Environment 121.
• Fall 2019 – present [download PDF]
• previous requirements [download PDF]
Students who are declared as a Conservation Biology are greatly encouraged to participate in either the Field Biology Quarter (FBQ) or the Marine Biology Quarter (MBQ).

Conservation Biology Minor Preparation: Notes
1 Life Sciences 1
2 EE Biol 100 – Introduction to Ecology and Behavior
3 EE Biol 116 – Conservation Biology OR Environment 121 – Conservation of Biodiversity
* Some of the upper division courses require additional prerequisites or rely on additional subject matter, so the student must plan accordingly and
carefully. Consult the UCLA General Catalog for more information.
Requirements for the Conservation Biology Minor:
FOUR to SIX COURSES (totaling at least 20 units) from the following list:
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology 100L, 101, 103, 105, 109, 109L, 111, 112, 114A, 114B, C119A, C119B, 122, 129, M131 (same as Geography M117), 142, 151A, 153, 154, 155, C174, 176, 180A, 180B, any course completed as part of a Field
Biology Quarter (FBQ) or Marine Biology Quarter (MBQ)
Some courses from outside the department may be petitioned to count toward the minor electives. Please consult with the
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology counseling staff for the most recent updates.
Please note that EE Biol 176 and 180A are both two-unit seminar courses. If either, or both, of these courses are taken for
the minor, additional courses (up to a total of six) will be needed to reach the minimum 19 units for this category.


(His Field Biology Quarter focused on herpetology.)
113A. Herpetology. (4) Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Requisite: Life Sciences 1 or 7B. Recommended requisite: course 120. Exploration and summarization of evolution, ecology, life history, and conservation biology of world’s reptile and amphibian fauna. Topics include conservation assessments both globally and in California, discussion sections focused on student-led critical evaluations of current literature, and in-class meetings with professional herpetologists to share their professional experiences and job opportunities. Letter grading.

113AL. Herpetology Laboratory. (4) Laboratory, six hour; field trips. Corequisite: course 113A. Primary focus on learning defining features, biogeography, and natural history of world’s reptile and amphibian fauna, with special focus on California species. Field trips to observe living species in field, including one extended three-day trip. Letter grading.

113B. Field Herpetology. (8) Requisite: Life Sciences 1. Recommended: courses 100, 111. Two weeks of off-campus research projects followed by two-week lecture course and offered only as part of Field Biology Quarter. Biology, particularly ecology and behavior, of reptiles and amphibians in their natural habitat. Students carry out supervised research projects, then write up and orally present their results in seminar fashion. Letter grading.

129. Animal Behavior. (4) Lecture, three hours; discussion, two hours. Requisites: course 100, Life Sciences 1 or 7B. Introduction to behavioral ecology. Methods and results of evolutionary approaches to study of animal behavior, including foraging strategies, social competition, sexual selection, mating systems, cooperation, and social organization. Letter grading.

154. California Ecosystems. (5) Lecture, three hours; laboratory or field trip, four hours. Requisite: Life Sciences 1 or 7B. Recommended: course 100. Introduction to structure, biodiversity, and dynamics of California ecosystems, with focus on Southern California, and impact of human activities on these systems. P/NP or letter grading.

176. Ecological Ethics. (4) Seminar, four hours. Requisite: Life Sciences 1 or 7B. Debates and discussions on current ethical considerations relevant to fields of ecology, evolution, conservation, and behavior. Letter grading.

* * *

"From long familiarity, we know what honor is. It is what enables the individual to do right in the face of complacency and cowardice. It is what enables the soldier to die alone, the political prisoner to resist, the singer to sing her song, hardly appreciated, on a side street."
-- Mark Helprin

Chinese New Year in 2014 is on Friday, the 31st of January (31/1/2014).
According to the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac cycle, the Chinese year beginning in 2014 is the year of the Horse. Each Chinese zodiac year begins on Chinese New Year's Day.

New Orleans
#3 in Best Nightlife Cities in the U.S.
New Orleans is a destination with its own distinct identity – one that knows how to party. The French Quarter is infamous for its rowdiness (especially every February or March during Mardi Gras), and a night out here can easily last until the wee hours. If you're seeking a more authentic New Orleans experience, head to the jazz clubs that line Frenchmen Street to watch local musicians jam.

The Blue Mongoose is a teleporters' club in Easy City. Its exterior is just a blank wall with no door. The big compass rose in the lobby has room for large groups to land. Doors lead to private rooms with smaller landing pads. Nooks in the lobby provide seating.

The bar offers celebratory beverages with and without alcohol. Across from the bar, a stage provides space for live performances. The dance floor has its own sound and lighting systems. The Cloud Lounge has curtains that can open or close to subdivide the space.

The bathrooms are done in blue and steel. The dotties are done in blue tile with white fixtures. They include a sink, shower, and toilet.

Prisoners of conscience are held not for committing a crime, but for annoying people in power.

(These links are heinous.)

China has been organlegging for years. They particularly target practitioners of Falun Gong and Uighur Muslims. They are often kept in concentration camps until killed for harvest.

Norway has provided sanctuary for such refugees.
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