Additional background material for "In The Soup": The Falklands/Malvinas Transition

lone_cat asked for more information about the plebiscite that transferred sovereignty over the Falkland Islands from Britain to Argentina. I am putting it into a separate post due to the presence of secret history and possible triggery content.

What the History Books Say (the public history)

World War II marks the earliest point at which “official” Terramagne global history diverges from ours. Whammy Lass ("A SPOON in Every Pot") became the first person to publicly assert superherodom. The consequences of her activities on behalf of the Allies, and later in the cause of world peace, changed the pace and results of many movements in Terramagne.

One result was that the T-United Nations became a functional international governing body, with the global focus primarily on positive goals that people agree on pursuing, and dangerous situations that people agree need to be stopped. No official record exists, but there is general consensus among historians of the era that a number of private sessions involving UN officials and Whammy Lass led to the the UN's evolution into an organization that could take effective action and provide support for nations wishing to participate in its initiatives.

A major UN initiative, spurred by recognition of its significant contribution to the outbreak of World War II, was to promote the renunciation of colonialist attitudes and encourage colonial powers to devise procedures by which their colonies could gain independence. Britain, encouraged by the generally peaceful transition to independence in India, wound up taking the global lead in this area. Converting processes that had already been used in the foundation of the Commonwealth of Nations, the representatives of the Crown in British possessions were charged with establishing institutions that would allow self-rule and not be totally outside the experiences of the local population. A region that could demonstrate that they were able to establish and maintain a government was granted the opportunity to schedule a plebiscite on their self-determination, voting whether to remain aligned with Britain as a member of the Commonwealth, affiliate with another nation, or become independent.

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Shortly thereafter, despite no overt talks having been scheduled, the Falkland Islands, which had not yet petitioned for a plebiscite, were scheduled by Britain to hold one in early 1953. Despite having been thought loyal to the Crown, the final vote was nearly three to one in favor of affiliating with Argentina, which subsequently gained sovereignty over the islands and restored the name Islas Malvinas by which they had earlier been known. The local population was allowed to retain their British citizenship, and granted work permits for the Malvinas in perpetuity for themselves and their descendants. The British naval base remained active and British territory; the rest of the islands became Argentine land.

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Background material for "In The Soup"

Very special thanks to ysabetwordsmith, who supplied me with a lot of background information as we began filling in blank spaces in mid-twentieth-century Terramagne global history, nudged a lot of my speculations in a direction consistent with their setting, and approved my additions to their canon. This work would not be nearly as detailed or coherent without their support. Thanks also for sharing many of the sheets for characters appearing in this demifiction.

There's a running email exchange where we worked up a lot more "public" (generally known in Terramagne) and "secret"; detail about the historical and current background to this piece, and deeper information about the characters I have created. Reader comments will encourage me to post some of it. If there's anything in particular you're interested in, please let me know in your comment.

Kraken contains an extensive communications division with many responsibilities. The most important one is a massive information management and disinformation campaign, which began very soon after Kraken began active operations. The campaign's primary function is to discourage and discredit investigations prompted by breaches of Kraken security.

Another ongoing disinformation project organized by the Kraken communications division is a continuing series of long-format mainstream media featuring activity surrounding scandalously wealthy French business leader Louis-Paul Cranquienne, who is bent on returning France to its position of European glory. He is CEO of Cranquienne SA, which is constantly up to whatever sort of no good is required to make an entertaining story. Something often "ripped from the headlines", thus the current emphasis on criminal zetetics based on the recent attacks by the Spectrum. His style is directly contrary to Kraken's: flashy, showy, splashes his name over everything, and way over the top. Operations are always noisy and visible.

Captain Left and Captain Right are the official titles of the people currently serving as Kraken commanders. When appearing in their titular roles, they wear their uniforms of state.
Both captains have a number of stunt doubles, who almost always appear for them as Captains Left and Right. This practice was adopted in anticipation of the omnipresent threat of takedown attempts directed at leaders of supervillain organizations, recognizing the disastrous consequences should the effort succeed.
Kraken's captains are also living symbols of the organization's foundational principle of redundancy: a successful single attack should never disable or destroy the system. Accordingly, Kraken captains hardly ever appear in their uniforms of state in spaces not secured and controlled by Kraken, and even then never both appear together.
Kraken membership is aware of this policy, and so expects a person wearing a uniform of state and looking like the appropriate captain to be a stunt double. However, they are careful to help maintain the façade by interacting with the double as though they were the captain. Failing to do so is viewed as constituting a security risk, and dealt with as appropriate.
Stunt doubles are from the communications division. They are always skilled actors, most often with Expert [+4] or Master [+6] Improv Skills, and typically with some form of leadership experience, as they may be required by events to perform as the actual Kraken leaders at any time. They are both familiar with a number of prepared scenarios that permit them to "go offstage" and hand the authority their uniforms represent back to the captains they portray.

Most Kraken officers wear a round black hat like this.
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. 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.

T-America has stringent surveillance laws, protecting individuals, even less savory ones like Crowe, from having their location, or activities they have reasonable expectation of privacy for, disclosed without their consent. Although "In The Soup" is not above occasionally playing fast and loose with these laws (they're supervillains, after all), the video in this sequence was shot by Crowe from one of his own security drones and posted online for reasons of his own. "In The Soup" snagged it from there.

The Centro de Detención para Superpodereros (“Superpowered (people) Detention Center”), the first prison in the world designed and constructed specifically to contain soups, was constructed by the Argentinian governent in the mid-1950s in response to an upsurge in overt soup activity. It is located in Puerto Argentino, on the Islas Malvinas, the name of which had been restored to the islands previously known as the Falklands after a 1953 plebiscite transferred sovereignty from Britain to Argentina. It has 285 beds in solitary and double cells, all with some form of what was hoped would be methods of suppressing superpower effects.

El Trece is one of the major Argentinian television networks. It has a particularly strong news division, and widely-watched newscasts.

ZMT Pty. Ltd. is an Australian corporation specializing in preemptive zetetic mitigation. Its being a Kraken operation is hidden from view in the usual fashion by several layers of ownership that pass through various tax haven countries.
Zetetic mitigation is the engineering discipline of designing and developing safeguards and procedures for zetetics research and development to reduce the likelihood of zetetic substances being released to the surrounding environment, and the range and severity of any leaks that do occur. The term “preemptive” is applied when the mitigation work is incorporated into the design and development of the experiment or manufacturing operation being performed, the specific zetetic substances involved and their characteristics are considered, and the safety procedures developed are implemented and practiced before operations begin.

Recreational vehicles are categorized by the frame on which the living quarters are built. Class C RVs like Kaleidosculptor's are built on a small truck frame. Check here (at least until it's sold) for an example vehicle of roughly the size and age of hers.

Erasure is the practice of a culture to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of a characteristic or identity claimed by a subset of its population. It is frequently employed to discredit or deny membership in the culture to the subset. Documented instances of identities that are erasure targets include: alternative sexualities from people of color (PoC); PoC from alternative sexualities; bisexual from other alternative sexualities.
Many narratives surrounding the 1969 Stonewall Riots have been subjected to erasure. (The Wikipedia page linked to above is one of a very few that even acknowledge that PoCs and trans women were part of the demonstration, let alone on the front line.) The upcoming movie presentation has been severely criticized by the QUILTBAG community for focusing its story on a cliché-ridden caricature of a white homosexual male and erasing or marginalizing many of the leaders of the demonstration.

Character descriptions for "In The Soup"

Most of these characters were created by ysabetwordsmith, who has graciously shared them with me for inclusion in the reference material. Characters wholly or partially created by others have been identified.

Featured Characters:

Mr. Pernicious -- Alonzo Donati is an Italian of mixed Moorish descent from Lucera. He has brown skin, blue eyes, and straight black hair. He wears a long black moustache.
Origin: Growing up in the foster care system, he experienced much discrimination because of his ancestry. Due to the constant recriminations and abuse, he came to view himself as the personification of evil, developing superpowers in the process.
Uniform: Classic villain garb consisting of a black top hat and cape with an impeccable Italian suit in black fabric and a white dress shirt.
Qualities: Expert [+4] Intelligence, Good [+2] Dramatic Personality, Good [+2] Fighting, Good [+2] Gizmology, Good [+2] Wealth
Poor [-2] Internalized Racism
Powers: Expert [+4] Evil Eye, Good [+2] Temptation
Limitation: Evil Eye can be blocked by traditional methods such as cornetti or nazars.
Good [+2] Minions: There are nine lieutenants and many faceless drones. Mr. Pernicious pays little attention to telling them apart.
Motivation: To be the physical embodiment of evil.

(ng_moonmoth, tweaked by ysabetwordsmith) The Preacherman (Ezekiel [Zeke] Harmon) -- Tall (190cm), gaunt (60-65 kg), pale. Stringy black hair, except for a small clump which turned silver from the event in which he gained his powers. Piercing gray eyes. He is his parents' only son, and the youngest of four children. Zeke is currently 25. Sisters one (35) and three (28) are married, live in town, and are raising families. Sister two (32) is Rhoda, who hitched a ride and got out of town in her mid-teens, and hasn't been seen since. As the eldest son, Zeke was groomed to follow in his father's footsteps and become a preacher. Home-schooled; tenth-grade equivalent level. He supported Dad in church leadership, and prepared and distributed marketing materials (tracts) for the church. Currently romantically unattached and uninvolved -- "dedicated to the Lord's work." Hopes to eventually find a woman who is a "pure and holy vessel" which he can "fill with the Lord's blessing" to "quicken a new life."
Dad started out as a street-corner preacher, who later opened a storefront church in the "bad part of town." Mom was a community organizer who gave it up to stay home with the kids and help out when Dad was preaching. She was killed when Zeke was two, attempting to intervene to stop gang members from catching and beating a kid who was about the age where kids get recruited into the local gangs and had wandered into the wrong neighborhood. Incident convinced Dad to leave "Sodom and Gomorrah" (IRL: Kansas City MO/KS) for a more peaceful place.
They headed west, stopping one day for lunch in Gilead, a town of several hundred inhabitants in a historically "dry" county in south central Kansas. Finding that the town had no active church and a mobile home for rent cheap, Dad decided to check whether the town would support a church. They did.
Zeke travels around thumping Bibles, raising Cain, and generally making a nuisance of himself. He has a strong following among forks and other zealots, with many contacts in those subcultures. Despite his high opinion of himself, his moral compass points somewhat off True North.
Origin: Last summer, with a tornado bearing down on the trailer park where the family lived and the church was located, Dad and Zeke went up to a nearby high point to "pray to the Lord" to divert the tornado. A bolt of lightning struck the hilltop, killing Dad; but the tornado changed direction and spared the town and the trailer park. Zeke survived what amounted to a grand mal seizure triggered by the bolt, and upon recovering consciousness, discovered that he was Filled with the Power of the Lord. He can now Call Down the Lightning, and Gather the Winds to Smite the Wicked.
Uniform: Having been a voracious consumer of the western stories that hold the equivalent place to comic books in T-America (at least the morally straight ones that Dad let him have), he adopted a media-stereotypical Western preacher's outfit: black frock coat/pants/oxfords, white shirt, black string tie.
Qualities: Expert [+4] Moral Compass, Good [+2] Motivator, Good [+2] Orator, Good [+2] Zealot Contacts
Poor [-2] Fundamentalist Rabies
In short, an archetypical D&D low-level Lawful Stupid Paladin.
Powers: Good [+2] Summon Lightning: can open electrical circuits between sufficiently charged clouds and the ground.
Average [0] Energy Projection: able to extract energy from local weather systems and direct it at what he's looking at (normal beam width approximately equal to foveal field of vision, about 2 degrees).
Average [0] Hypnotic Speech: can cause one or more people who hear him directly and believe the truth of what he is saying to become entranced (no initiative, but can be awakened by others) for roughly five minutes to an hour.
Average [0] Weather Control: able to redirect air masses to trigger weather phenonomenon (Spin-Off Stunts: Trigger Rainfall, Plague of Hail, Sow the Wind/Reap the Whirlwind, Dispel Clouds).
Average [0] Minions: Half a dozen of the local teens/twenties, who were already attending his church, were inspired by his hypnotic speech to pledge their faith and support. They now sport exclusively Western duds and weapons, and style themselves the "Posse." One of them is a gizmologist who has built a Chariot of the Lord for Zeke to ride in, and modified a Duck to serve as an armored assault vehicle for the Posse. Although Ducks began as open vehicles, these are enclosed for safety during air travel. These are lifting bodies, which allows Zeke to use his Weather Control powers to make them fly.
Signature Stunt: Smite the Wicked. Can target Energy Projection to those who are currently entranced by his Hypnotic Speech by Calling on the Lord to Smite The Wicked.
Limitations: signature stunt is currently only ability to combine powers. Use of powers constrained by his (limited) imagination and ability to fit them into his worldview. Weather Control and Summon Lightning are physical inputs to local weather, which might propagate side effects well beyond the immediate area, or adversely affect his plans.
Vulnerability: Smiting the Wicked triggers a pseudoepileptic seizure ("Speaking in Tongues") of duration and severity proportional to the amount of energy released, during which he is incapacitated. The same would probably be true for other combined power uses. He typically compensates for this by "rounding up the Posse" to defend him until he has recovered.
Motivation: Rid The World Of Evil.
He thinks he's hot stuff, but more astute soups will be horrified at the thought of someone with rudimentary telekinesis and mind control powers running around loose and untrained.

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Also Appearing:

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 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 street clothes to blend in with local populations. 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.

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 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.

Brittany Cuthbert -- She has fair skin, brown eyes, and light brown hair. She is Australian. She was disqualified from the 1956 Summer Olympics for having Super-Speed. After that, she was recruited by Kraken and invited to the first Anything Goes Games in winter of 1956.
Origin: Her superpower grew in gradually.
Uniform: Kraken uniform of dexflan and capery. The jumpsuits are sensibly designed with sleek fit, plenty of pockets and fasteners for equipment. They provide Expert [+4] Camouflage to a designated user, but if worn by anyone else, turn garish neon colors.
Qualities: Master [+6] Determination, Good [+2] Athlete, Good [+2] Spy, Good [+2] Teamwork.
Powers: Average [0] Super-Speed.
Motivation: To go faster.

Redeye (Cillian MacDowell) -- He has fair skin and short wavy brown hair with a single eyebrow stretching across his forehead. His eyes are ordinarily gray, but fire up red when he uses Laser Eyes. He wears glasses. He is tall and wiry.
As a supervillain, Cillian secretly blinds people, then later is caught by another supervillain and blinded himself, then eventually gets super-gizmotronic eyes and laser guns. More sophisticated than an assassin or a thug, he doesn't always kill. He can cripple someone's threat by blinding them, causing other injuries, destroying crucial equipment, and so forth.
Origin: Childhood surgery to correct vision problems left Cillian with superpowers. His parents sued the eye doctor and the case dragged out for years while they used their son as a pawn. When he turned eightteen, he left home and turned from casual pranking to more malicious use of his abilities. This attracted the attention of other supervillains, who began offering him jobs.
Qualities: Master [+6] Aim, Expert [+4] Sneaky, Good [+2] Hitman, Good [+2] Profiling, Good [+2] Sabotage, Good [+2] Supervillain Contacts, Poor [-2] Cruel.
Powers: Good [+2] Flight, Good [+2] Laser Eyes.
Motivation: If they're too blind to see what's right in front of them, they should just be blind.

(ng_moonmoth) Kaleidosculptor [“Candy House”] -- She describes herself as "mongrel Asian"; her parents' families emigrated from Singapore to Rain City. She is in her mid-30s, 165 centimeters tall and 58 kilograms. She has short hair, invariably dyed in one or more neon color(s); the dye job changes every month or so.
Laser light show artist who creates and performs shows at raves and festivals in and around Westbord. A techno/dance/house music lover and electronics geek who defected to rave culture after being hassled out of her high school's science and computer clubs for having "girl cooties" by male students she describes as "horny little boys with their heads stuck up their ******* asses". Was intrigued enough by the equipment being used for shows that she started hanging out with, and learning from, the folks who were running them. Eventually started getting some gigs herself, and got better quickly. Became successful and in demand enough to start touring. Currently she travels the rave and festival circuit in an aging Class C RV, packed with lighting equipment and some custom gizmoelectronics, and decorated on the outside with artwork depicting giant-sized sweets of the sorts used to decorate a gingerbread house. Kaleidosculptor hasn't ever used her deadname on the rave circuit; she's only known by her handle.
She uses her superpower to create custom light show equipment, and disable surveillance cameras monitoring impromptu rave locations. Also picks up additional money and gizmotronics as a specialist and rave community talent scout/observer for Kraken. When she's not traveling or working a hush job for Kraken, she parks with friends wherever she is, or goes up to Rain City for a while to hang out with friends she met there while growing up. Kaleidosculptor also participates in art MOOCs when she has the chance, and is trying to make some contacts in the art department at the University of Washington so she can get some studio access and make some progress toward an art degree. She's feeling like she's ageing out of the rave circuit, and is working on establishing her next career.
Origin: She was running the light show board at a Rain City rave (roughly 2000) when someone who was near the board took a hit of what they expected to be Ecstacy, but was actually a zetetic gas. The gas concentration was high enough that the original user died when struck by a laser beam. Nearby ravers had not received enough gas to be affected, but the cloud of exhaled gas was the right concentration to cause her powers to manifest. She can now alter the refractive index of any transparent substance, and can use Microscopic Vision to observe the effects. She's working on improving the precision with which she can use her power; right now, the edges of the affected regions are often fuzzy, and improvement is difficult.
Recruited into Kraken a couple of years later, when she foxed a surveillance camera in a closed factory that Kraken was using to monitor a safety hideout they had set up there. An impromptu intake interview led to a couple of trial jobs; success at those jobs, and demonstrating discretion and secrecy, resulted in an invitation to become a Kraken "associate".
Qualities: Expert [+4] Light Show Artist, Good [+2] 3D modeling (includes sculpture and computer), Good [+2] Electronics, Good [+2] Raver Culture, Poor [-2] Interrogate Authority.
Powers: Good [+2] Alter Materials Properties, Good [+2] Microscopic Vision.
Limitation: Alter Materials Properties only works on non-opaque materials, and can only change index of refraction.
Uniform: Colorful tank top, clashing neon board shorts, Doc Martens.
Motivation: Succeed outside the mundane world.

The Charioteer (Hiram Cooper) -- He has pale skin, watery blue eyes, and limp dishwater hair receding from his forehead. Because his migraines include visual effects and bright light is a major trigger for him, he usually wears dark-tinted glasses. He excels at following instructions whether spoken or written; given a suitable manual, he can figure out almost anything, to the extent that the manual covers or up to Good level.
Origin: Obsessed with the idea of Jesus as divine carpenter, he threw himself into learning how to make and repair things during his teens. An accident in his church youth group's garage turned his budding gizmology into Super-Gizmology.
Uniform: Usually a dark suit or shop jumpsuit.
Qualities: Master [+6] Dexterity, Good [+2] Bible Studies, Good [+2] Following Instructions, Poor [-2] Migraines.
Powers: Good [+2] Super-Gizmology.
Motivation: "Every skillful person in whom the Lord has put skill and understanding to know how to perform all the work in the construction of the sanctuary, shall perform in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded.

Gargantua (Bertha Brunswick) -- Originally Bertha had light brown skin, brown eyes, and long nappy brown hair. Now Gargantua has skin of granite streaked in lighter and darker shades of brown, and her hair is a tough, spongy material in tufts of brown. Although she still has a feminine shape, she has lost the fine details of toes, vulva, nipples, and so forth. Her hands are mitten-shaped. Her face still looks relatively normal, though. Due to her size, weight, strength, and low dexterity Gargantua tends to break things a lot. She also sinks in soft ground. She is immune to most environmental hazards.
She has long enjoyed traveling, and has crossed much of Europe with some forays into Asia and Africa. She speaks Arabic, English, Esperanto, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Russian, and Yoruba. She also likes African and Middle Eastern drumming, primarily hand drums such as a djembe or doumbek. Her dancing is only average, though. She readily absorbs new ideas and gets along well with new people, crossing many cultures. In college Bertha was studying a variety of interdisciplinary classes in geography, world politics, tourism, and outdoor activities. She had not yet decided whether she wanted to be a diplomat, a travel agent, or a wilderness guide.
Then Gargantua became a stone giant and all of those opportunities dried up abruptly, which has left her sad and lonely. As a supervillain, she helps plan and guide trips for a variety of other supervillains. A drawback is that people often mistake her for a frontline fighter or bodyguard due to her appearance and powers. She really isn't. Her size and strength do come in very handy for wilderness challenges, though.
Origin: Caught in a landslide while hiking in the mountains, Gargantua emerged as a stone giant. People were terrified of her for no good reason and constantly tried to drive her away. So she became a supervillain because at least in that community there are people who aren't afraid of her.
Uniform: Sometimes Gargantua wears a simple kimono, mumu, or sarong of capery. But often she just goes nude, since environmental factors have little impact on her anymore -- and also she doesn't have much left in the way of sexual characteristics.
Qualities: Master [+6] Cosmopolitan, Expert [+4] Traveler, Good [+2] Drummer, Good [+2] Languages, Good [+2] Social Studies, Good [+2] Wilderness Activities, Poor [-2] Fragile World
Powers: Good [+2] Stone Giant, Average [0] Invulnerability, Average [0] Super-Strength
Motivation: To belong to a community

Nanette Abraham -- Nanette is tall and lanky, with fair skin and brown eyes. She has long straight brown hair, which she usually puts up in a ponytail or French roll. Her face is plain, even horsey. Nanette is one of the Guardians in service to Dr. Infanta.
Nanette was born a telepath. It made her life awkward growing up, especially before she learned to hide it.
Uniform:She usually dresses in nice but reserved women's clothing.
Qualities: Expert [+4] Patience, Good [+2] Conversationalist, Good [+2] Endurance, Good [+2] Nanny, Good [+2] Smart, Poor [-2] Fanatically Devoted to Dr. Infanta.
Powers: Expert [+4] Telepath
Motivation: Keep Dr. Infanta safe and happy.

Facanapa (Fausta Buffone) -- She has olive skin, brown eyes, and long wavy brown hair. Her body is curvy, with more bust than bottom. She comes from the Calabria region of Italy. Her favorite martial art is Bastone Calabrese, the Calabrian stick fighting, and she has an assortment of gizmological or super-gizmological sticks in addition to plain wooden ones. She also loves strategy games, especially Dama (Italian checkers). Facanapa uses her trickster skills to gather information, deceive people, and manipulate them. Facanapa handles a lot of the espionage for the Marionettes.
Qualities: Expert [+4] Trickster, Expert [+4] Mob Boss, Good [+2] Agility, Good [+2] Bastone Calabrese, Good [+2] Daring, Good [+2] Strategy Games, Poor [-2] Playing It Straight.
Powers: Good (+2) Illusion.

Dvorak (Imogen Kron) -- She has fair skin, dark blue eyes, and short wild white hair like milkweed fluff. Her hair used to be a slighter darker platinum blonde, a little thicker and more manageable. When she developed superpowers, it moulted over the course of a few weeks and came in much finer, a pure silver-white. Imogen has a heart-shaped face and a tall slender body, but generous cleavage for her size. She is an only child.
Imogen lives in Rain City. She has a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree in nanotechnology from North Seattle College. For a foreign language, she took Esperanto. She loves movies, especially science fiction ones, and collects movie posters. One of her favorites is The Little Ninja. Dvorak wants to be rich and powerful. Also she just kind of loves playing with people. Beautiful and sexy, she doesn't hesitate to use seduction to get what she wants. However, she can just as well take it by subterfuge or force. Her nemesis is Qwerty, and Dvorak usually runs rings around her.
Origin: Her powers developed after using a metagenic vaccine base called Aegis. It causes about 1 in 100,000 people to develop Super-Immunity, and about 1 in 1,000,000 to develop additional superpowers.
Uniform: On-duty she wears a hip-length cape of white capery, a utility belt, and a catsuit of platinum dexflan with a round boob window. A glowing blue ring around the rim of the boob window makes the "Power" symbol: . Her white boots have heels high enough to look sexy, but low enough to run and fight in effectively. Off-duty she enjoys wearing fashionable clothes, and her favorite pair of earrings resemble paperclips. However, she dresses for locale, so often that means business chic. In the workshop she changes to a slim jumpsuit with many pockets and a tool belt.
Qualities: Expert [+4] Computer Wizard, Expert [+4] Corporate Espionage, Expert [+4] Sexy, Good [+2] City Girl, Good [+2] Concentration, Good [+2] Geek, Good [+2] Logical, Good [+2] Movie Fan, Good [+2] Ninjutsu, Poor (-2) Dealing with Nature.
Powers: Average [0] Super-Gizmology, Average [0] Super-Immunity, Average [0] Super-Intellect
Motivation: Money and power.

Joystick (John Homer) -- He has floppy brown hair, hazel eyes, and very pale skin. He is short and scrawny. He wears large clunky glasses. He is enthusiastic and hyper. What social skills he has are primarily centered in nerd culture. John joined the Dweeb Team because he had the relevant skills and needed a place to stay.
Joystick excels in manipulating hardware. He can build things and also control them with his superpower. He can also sense and influence the weather. His current interest lies in merging these things to create super-gizmos for weather control. Being young and inexperienced, he has not altogether figured out the difference between weather and climate.
Origin: When he was five, John's kindergarten class went on a carefully supervised tour of a super-gizmology lab. John slipped away, somehow got into the active parts of the lab, and accidentally blew it up. His new superpowers manifested while he was still in the hospital recovering from his injuries. He drove his parents and teachers nuts for years, building things and making trouble, until he finally ran away and/or was kicked out of home (he tells the story both ways) at fourteen.
Uniform: Gang t-shirt printed with motherboard lines, jeans, and tennis shoes.
Qualities: Master [+6] Nerd Culture, Good [+2] Dexterity, Good [+2] Meteorology
Poor [-2] Wisdom.
Powers: Good [+2] Super-Gizmology, Good [+2] Technokinesis, Good [+2] Weather Control
SunBrella: Good [+2] Localized Weather Control. Creates a traveling dry area within a rainstorm, with about a three-foot diameter.
Motivation: Because I can, that's why.

(ng_moonmoth) The Quartermaster (Richmond [Rich] Longstreet) -- He has mocha skin with a shaved head; he had nappy hair which was a pain to keep in good shape between the pitch and the pool, and now he's nearly bald. He is 195 centimeters tall and weighs 105 kilograms. He keeps in good shape.
Rich is the third of five children; he was born and grew up in Atlanta. Dad was a dining car cook for the Southern Line until passenger service was curtailed in the late 1950s. When Dad was let go, he opened a soul food restaurant ("I done got tired of fixin' white folks' food for white folks"). Mom stayed at home and raised the kids. Family was active in the local (AME) church.
Joined the Army out of high school in 1976; wanted to get away from the South (the Army still had its own problems, though) and get GI Bill money for college. Assigned to Quartermaster Corps, and found he liked the work. After his hitch, decided to try and set up in the San Francisco Bay Area. One of his mates when Rich was stationed at the Oakland Army Base mentioned he could put in a good word with the Longshoremen. Rich got a job at the Port of Oakland and worked through two years of community college before transferring to UC Berkeley as a junior. After graduating, one of his frat buddies (Alpha Phi Alpha) pointed him at a warehouse supervisory job in San Francisco. He's still there.
Bisexual; Rich first experienced attraction to males while in the Army, and stayed closeted through his hitch and college. Came out and became active in the LGBT community a couple of years out of school. Not in any long-term relationship; he hasn't had one that's lasted more than about a year.
Rich makes a point of participating in as many public and outreach events as he can. He'd much rather play sports than watch them -- intercollegiate water polo (center back) and club rugby (flanker) at Cal. Played a fair amount of pickup rugby after college, and is helping coach a women's rugby team right now.
The warehouse where Rich works is part of the Kraken logistics division, operated by a Kraken-controlled shipping company, hidden by the usual layers of ownership. His frat buddy was a Kraken talent scout who thought that Rich could work out well. The warehouse mostly handles items from legitimate Kraken operations, but occasional items that need to be moved quietly also pass through. Rich is currently the warehouse manager there. He has also held various offices in the ILWU Warehouse Division, and is currently representing the ILWU in their joint negotiation of the Northern California Warehouse Master Contract with the Teamsters.
Origin: Rich was a shipping manager in the fall of 1989. He was in his office, taking care of some extra items because a good chunk of his crew had left early to go to World Series Game 3 or meet up with friends to watch, when the Loma Prieta Earthquake collapsed one of the unreinforced masonry walls of the warehouse on him before he could take cover. This activated his latent Telekinesis, and Rich unknowingly diverted almost all of the falling brick from burying him completely. Crawling out of the rubble, mostly unhurt but badly scraped and with a knock or two, he started digging through the fallen walls to try and quickly uncover any of his crew who had gotten buried. Soon understanding his newly manifested powers, he unpacked much of the debris without success. Reporting his new powers to his boss at the warehouse got him opportunities to be part of logistics teams for Kraken operations, where his telekinetic abilities can substitute silently for many things that would otherwise require noisy machinery.
Qualities: Expert [+4] Discipline, Good [+2] Teamwork, Good [+2] Contact Sports, Good [+2] Athlete, Poor [-2] Erasure Target (race and sexuality)
Powers: Good [+2] Telekinesis.
Motivation: To be an inevitably visible part of his community.

The Marionettes: Minions of the Puppeteer. The Marionettes have 3 named captains: Giuditta (trickster), Pulcinella (trickster), and Pinocchio (counterintelligence). They have at least an Expert superpower, an Expert profession, and three Good qualities, but some are Poor [-2] Trusting Each Other. There are 10 named lieutenants: Gigio (sneak), Facanapa (trickster), Gerolamo (trickster), Orlando (Russian fighter), Rinaldo (fighter), Alcina (sorceress), Tancredi (fighter), Agricane (Japanese businessman), Ruggiero (fighter), and Argante (warrior). They have at least a Good superpower, two other Good qualities, but some are Poor [-2] Fanatically Devoted to Leader. Other minions typically have at least a Good profession, one other Good quality, and may be Poor [-2] Thinking for Themselves. The strings go everywhere; the Puppetmaster has thousands of people working for him who don't even know he exists. Agricane was a gift to the Puppetmaster from Shigeru Fukui at Lucky Frog. Orlando was a gift from Koroleva.

Officer Pink (Ansel Nicholson) -- He has ruddy skin and hazel eyes. His hair starts out light brown but he has it changed to pink by Paintrix, after which it also tends to stand straight up. He discovers that the pink color just feels right for him, and decides to keep it. Ansel is tall and athletic, with a rectangular face, wide shoulders, and trim hips. He is heterosexual and has a girlfriend. He sleeps so deeply that he's easy to sneak up on after he's asleep.
Ansel works on the Bluehill police force. He often volunteers for youth outreach and other public speaking. His pink hair helps other soups identify him, breaks the ice at presentations, and encourages people to ask him for help. On the downside, it also makes forks and other bigots hate him.
Origin: Upset by the increase in bullying, Ansel starts doing presentations at schools in Bluehill. The kids give him the idea of coloring his hair pink so he can see firsthand how people treat someone who is visibly different.
Uniform: On duty, Ansel wears the Bluehill police uniform. Off duty, he likes casual, sporty clothes.
Qualities: Master [+6] Compassion, Expert [+4] Citizen, Expert [+4] Cop, Expert [+4] People Skills, Good [+2] Athletic, Good [+2] Cheerful, Good [+2] Jigsaw Puzzles, Good [+2] Kindness, Good [+2] Listener, Good [+2] Problem-Solving Skills, Poor [-2] Deep Sleeper
Powers: Average (0) Wild Pink Hair
Motivation: To make the world a kinder place.

The Spectrum: A superhero team that specializes in raiding supervillain lairs, including labs. Two of their original six members, Rayblaze and Thunderfist, were killed in action by the Undertaker. They're good at cracking open establishments, but poor at minimizing the collateral damage. This is beginning to attract more negative attention. Standard uniform is a monochrome dexflan jumpsuit with monochrome capery.

Demifiction: "In The Soup"

This was inspired by a ysabetwordsmith's poem, "By Our Limited Human Standards", which they wrote to one of my prompts.

"In The Soup" is a popular weekly vidcast prepared by the Kraken communications division and distributed from an entertainment portal located on their darknet. A humorous and often snarky summary of goings on in the soup world, it presents information that conscientious Kraken members need to know in a more entertaining format than dry reports or time-sink briefings by superiors. Each episode provides a quick summary of what Kraken members can safely assume that the non-Kraken public knows about events in which Kraken was involved.

Popups containing commentary (this is often where the snarky bits wind up) show up from time to time in the video stream. A highlighted area in the transcript indicates that a popup pointing to what is being described is shown on the screen. Hovering over the highlight should reveal the contents of the popup.

Implication, innuendo, and outright insults occur frequently in episodes. Tasteless and mocking humor is a staple.

WARNING: In addition to the show's insulting style, some of the events of "By Our Limited Human Standards", and some other canon-typical violence, are mentioned in the transcript. There are also scenes of public humiliation, some bad behavior by supervillains, and a couple of indirect references to unsavory supervillain activity. Nothing stronger than you'd find on a network TV crime drama, but if that sort of thing upsets you, you may not wish to read. Highlighted and flagged() links lead to possibly triggery material; hovering over the flag should reveal what lies underneath. Please consider your tastes and headspace before following.

This episode of "In The Soup" was recorded around the end of the Anything Goes Games disrupted by the Preacherman and his Posse (described in “By Our Limited Human Standards”), which was about a week before the events described in "Berettaflies". The ending of “A River So Long" takes place a couple of weeks after that.

Character descriptions and background material have been compiled into separate posts, which can also be reached via links in the transcript.

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Demifiction: "On Matters of Life and Death", part 2

Continuing the previous demifiction with the second part, set at another memorial site.

Warning: This piece is intense and contains some things that might be upsetting to some. The setting was a site of combat in a recent war, and suffered mass casualties (mostly non-combatants) and extensive damage and destruction over a wide area from an event described in preceding demifiction. This event is referred to, although not graphically, and most of the story takes place at sites dedicated in memory of the event. Please consider your reaction to events and locations of these natures before reading.
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Demifiction: "On Matters of Life and Death", part 1

ysabetwordsmith is a very productive writer who puts out lots of neat stuff. (For an example, see a recently posted sample, "Dangerous Refuges".) What's even more fun, they are inclined to allow posts using their settings by people who show interest and appreciation.

I've gotten involved with a variant space-opera setting, "An Army of One", and have previously posted some demifiction, "News Bulletin: The Massacre of Cascabel" and "The Conscience of the War", about an event described in one of its threads. Recent developments in the series inspired me to write another piece that follows those two, describing the changes that took place in the area around the event during the first couple of years thereafter.

Warning: This piece is intense and contains some things that might be upsetting to some. The setting was a site of combat in a recent war, and suffered mass casualties (mostly non-combatants) and extensive damage and destruction over a wide area from an event described in the previous demifiction. This event is referred to, although not graphically, and most of the story takes place at sites dedicated in memory of the event. Please consider your reaction to events and locations of these natures before reading.

The second part of the piece is here.

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Meme meme meme meme...

rhodielady_47 gave me the letter "G" when I asked to participate in a round of the letter meme. Here's what I came up with:

Something I hate: Greed. Especially the toxic sort that finds it easier to take what they want from those who already are wanting, rather than finding a way to create more of it.

Something I love: Games. The ones I like best test one's cooperative and competitive problem-solving abilities. What makes them fun for me is how they can serve as a laboratory and training ground for things one can use in "real life" -- but one where you can frequently put the consequences of your actions back in the box after the game is over, or throw them in the trash with the scoresheets if you'd rather.

Somewhere I've been: Germany. That's where the father's side of my family came from almost two hundred years ago.

Somewhere I'd like to go: Greece. I have a recurring fantasy of chartering a sailing vessel for an extended tour of the Aegean Sea, inviting close friends to join us for however long they can, and visiting places the big cruise ships can't dock at and sharing the local culture with folks who don't have to cater to tourists. That would probably take a couple years' income that we felt we could spare to make it a reality, and I'm not sure whether that will ever happen. But it's still fun to dream about.

Someone I know: Gary and I are enthusiastic participants in a musical culture that welcomes creators and performers of all abilities, and intentionally minimizes the difference between "performer" and "audience". He is also a significant presence in organizing and helping to operate spaces where members of this community gather and share their contributions. Some of these are part of larger events, others are stand-alone community-specific events ranging in size from a small gathering at someone's house to weekends at a hotel. And all of them are run by volunteers, because there's no money in it -- attempts to make any meaningful money off anything the community produces have all failed, some spectacularly so.

Favorite movie(s): The "Godfather" trilogy, although not III (a much later add-on, and the weakest of the set) so much. In addition to being a superb presentation of its source material, it pretty much redefined the gangster movie genre, catapulted many of its principals into much greater stature than they'd previously had, and left a significant impact on popular culture and the vernacular.

Favorite band: My musical tastes don't align well with popular culture, so I'll answer as though it referred to "musical performers". The Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, more commonly referred to in English as the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, has been one of the premier orchestral forces since its inception in 1751. At that time, it was one of the first orchestras to be underwritten by public subscription rather than royal patronage. Many recordings made during longtime music director Kurt Masur's leadership remain in catalogs today, and are considered reference interpretations of their material. If they ever tour through my area, I'd definitely want to attend a concert. For anyone who'd insist that a large body of musicians with continual turnover doesn't qualify (despite how some "bands" have turned over all or almost all their members), I'll offer Dizzy Gillespie.

Would you like a letter? Please leave a comment, and I'll be happy to give you one.

Demifiction: "The Conscience of the War"

Another piece of demifiction inspired by ysabetwordsmith's Poetry Fishbowl poem, "Too Much Energy". This is an editorial piece that was distributed on Carina InfoGrid about four weeks after the event described in the preceding "News Bulletin".

Warning: This piece is intense and contains some things that might not be to everyone's taste. These include graphic descriptions of war, battle, an event described in "Too Much Energy" (spoiler warning for the event -- highlight to read: the mass casualty event), and its aftermath. Also indoctrination, propaganda, and insincere political posturing. Consider your preferences before reading onward.

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Demifiction: "News Bulletin"

A prompt I sent ysabetwordsmith for their latest Poetry Fishbowl helped inspire their poem, "Too Much Energy". This inspired me to write a couple of pieces of demifiction describing reactions to one of the events mentioned in the poem.This piece is followed by an editorial, "The Conscience of the War", written in reaction to a poem written by a survivor of the event.

Warning: This piece is intense and contains some things that might not be to everyone's taste. These include graphic descriptions of war, battle, an event described in "Too Much Energy" (spoiler warning for the event -- highlight to read: the mass casualty event), and its aftermath. Also unreliable narrators and witnesses, indoctrination, propaganda, and insincere political posturing. Consider your preferences before reading onward.

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