shiori_makiba: name and butterfly (inoue tsubasa)
[personal profile] shiori_makiba
Poem: Guard-Bug

by shiori_makiba

Words: 884 in 114 lines

Based on the audience poll, Guard-Bug had the majority.

Part of the Polychrome Heroics series in the Berettaflies thread. Inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith during the February 2016 Thank Muse Its Friday session.

 

Most of the poem set shortly after “Secret World” but the end jumps ahead.

 

 

“Guard-Bug”

 

The people from SPOON said she needed a mentor.

They had probably already said this earlier.

But to be perfectly honest,

Tsubasa had difficulty processing anything beyond

'I'm not dead' and 'I have wings' the day she woke up.

 

Standard operating procedure for new soups, they said.

Not required but highly recommended.

Especially if she decided to do cape work later.

 

Tsubasa wasn't sure of that direction.

Her wings were pretty and just might allow her to fly.

They were also a big tempting target.

The principled supervillains might avoid causing permanent damage

but not all of them were that decent.

And even not-permanent damage would still hurt.

No thank you.

 

She thought about declining.

But the idea of someone to talk to,

who knew what it was like to have

your whole world change was very tempting.

 

She might have stayed on the fence about the issue

but then she started seeing things.

Things that were there, thankfully,

just not visible to anyone who wouldn't see in ultraviolet.

 

Wings she might have been foolhardy or stubborn enough

to tough out on her own.

Her eyes going weird so that nothing looked right

and the gods only knew what else

because they said she was still flickering.

Pointer wasn't certain what that (hopefully) last power was –

it seem to be hovering between Insect and Soul powers.

 

She wasn't that stubborn.

She asked to meet a mentor.

 

Because of the Insect Powers, they picked Facet.

Or Bug-eyes as everyone seemed to keep calling him.

 

The nickname (slur) should have been enough of a clue.

Tsubasa blamed lingering shock and sickness

for making her a little slow on the uptake.

 

So she was more than a little surprised

when someone with big, fly eyes

where human eyes ordinarily went

walked into her room.

 

She managed not to scream when

her brain realized that yes, what she was seeing was real.

She laid that down not to any sort of internal discipline

but the fact that while half of her brain was going 'Eek! Fly eyes!',

the other half was going 'Oooh, pretty colors.'

 

She did gasp and her body stiffened.

A reaction made enough more noticeable

by her wings flaring out.

 

It was almost enough to make her miss

a soft, resigned sigh.

Almost.

 

The sigh drew her attention

to the rest of the man

standing in the doorway.

To the way his arms were crossed

and his shoulders hunched.

As if to ward off a blow.

 

Tsubasa suddenly felt like she had kicked a puppy.

'A hurt puppy,' she thought, noting the wan quality of his skin.

That and the tightness around the mouth said tired and hurt to her.

'Wait, didn't they said one of the local heroes was stung by the Berettaflies?'

 

'Yes, they had.

And if the caller knew it was a strange bugs,

they probably asked for someone with insect powers.'

 

The kicked puppy feeling re-doubled.

 

“Forgive my reaction. You startled me,” Tsubasa and bowed.

Low, low as she could get without kneeling on the floor.

She might be American born and raised

but her parents were not.

And her mother had made sure her children's

Japanese manners were as good as their American ones.

It saved trouble when they visited family.

 

And the Japanese way of apologizing felt more correct in this case

than the American I'm Sorry.

 

“It's alright. You aren't the first to react that way.”

'That doesn't make it right,' Tsubasa thought

but nodded as she straightened back up.

She made a promise to herself to be better than this.

 

She started by looking Facet straight in the eyes and introducing herself.

“Hello, my name is Tsubasa Inoue. I look forward to working with you.”

 

It might not have been the most promising beginning

but Tsubasa was determined to make it work.

It helped that Facet was willing to meet her halfway.

More than willing, he seemed surprised that anyone

would make any effort to overwhelm their initial reaction to his eyes.

 

Tsubasa tried not to think about that too much.

It made her angry.

But you couldn't (and shouldn't) control someone else's behavior.

The only person whose behavior you could control was your own.

 

So Tsubasa controlled hers.

She made a point of always looking him in the eye.

And before too long, her staring had more to do

with the beautiful swirls of color than lingering revulsion.

 

And if other people were too stupid

to see the person Facet was,

then they didn't deserve him.

 

Adalina, Ashley, and Tsubasa didn't agree on everything.

But that was at least one opinion they shared.

They were also amongst the few who always called him Facet.

And snarled at other people for calling him Bug-eyes.

Honestly was it so hard to call him by his actual cape name?

 

Some joker had starting calling them his guard-dogs.

'More like guard-bugs,' Tsubasa thought.

She couldn't speak for Adalina and Ashley

but found she didn't mind the comparison.

Everyone needed defending sometimes.

Facet was one of the people she chose.

 

He had been right.

It was just like kittens.

No matter what you promised yourself,

you always ended up coming home with another cat.

But Facet thought he could get used

to this particular set of cats.

Yay!

Date: 2016-02-21 07:05 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This is beautiful. I'm glad that these folks are starting to come together into a proper hive. They really need each other.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2016-02-22 03:40 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
>>When I read the Berettaflies poems with Facet, my first thoughts were always - that guys needs more friends. Or at least better friends, ones who will use his proper cape name and stuff.<<

He really does. One of the poems I'd like to write would cover a meeting at Loyola University to talk about dealing with the berettaflies, a week or two after the incident. It's a chance to introduce him to entomologists -- some of the students and professors would just adore him.

>>I also figured that with the way their superpowers are manifesting, all the ladies are going need someone who knows what it is like for people to be afraid of you.<<

Yes, that's true.

>> Even if Adalina develops no scary super-powers, the fact that Ashley and Tsubasa HAVE will make people leery of her.<<

Adalina actually has the scariest power of all: Hive Mind. Most singletons are just utterly creeped out by that one, even if it's not aimed at them. It simply isn't as obvious as, say, Tsubasa's wings.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2016-02-22 04:18 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Plus Facet, which makes four, and he can already see through the eyes of insects. They'll be formidable, once they settle into themselves and decide what they want to do.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2016-02-22 04:37 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
Yeah, I honestly don't see what the universal freakout over his eyes is all about. Maybe because of the horror movie? I've never seen that, and I do remember reading a superhero comic about a character called The Fly when I was a kid. Plus, I read science fiction; compared to a Sulamid or a knnn, he's going to parse to me as "humanoid alien".

I keep wondering -- does he see in multiple images like a fly-eye lens, or does his brain integrate them? (Or have you answered that and I've forgotten?) My bet would be on the latter, given that ordinary people are perfectly capable of adjusting to things like glasses that turn the room upside down!

Re: Yay!

Date: 2016-02-22 05:02 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
>> Yeah, I honestly don't see what the universal freakout over his eyes is all about. Maybe because of the horror movie? I've never seen that, and I do remember reading a superhero comic about a character called The Fly when I was a kid. Plus, I read science fiction; compared to a Sulamid or a knnn, he's going to parse to me as "humanoid alien". <<

Primarily it's the uncanny valley. Facet looks almost human except for the big compound eyes. Another aspect is that many humans have a certain atavistic aversion to insects because some bugs are, in fact, dangerous and waiting to think though that can get you killed. (A few humans like insects, but those aren't the folks he have been meeting so far.) A third is the lack of habituation. Most people can adapt to weird things after a while. But Facet doesn't spend much time around the same people except for a handful of contacts at SPOON. People haven't bothered to get to know him. As Adalina's therapist has explained, there are a variety of straightforward coping methods to deal with creepy feelings -- if people can be arsed to use them.

I myself would probably be in the category of "Oh wow, you have such beautiful eyes!" camp. Seeing them on a human face might be weird, but I deal with all kinds of alien critters. As long as he's not a threat, I'm smooth with it. And to be honest, he would probably register as "kicked puppy, must protect" on my scale of threat assessment.

>> I keep wondering -- does he see in multiple images like a fly-eye lens, or does his brain integrate them? (Or have you answered that and I've forgotten?) My bet would be on the latter, given that ordinary people are perfectly capable of adjusting to things like glasses that turn the room upside down! <<

It's a lot like having binocular vision, only more of it. There are individual images that tend to overlap and merge. So Facet has a much more distinct sense of depth perception, and nearly spherical vision. Even though he can't blink or move his eyes, he can shift his perception from one area to another, and achieve a similar effect as looking around or blinking from one eye to another.

With the insects, it is far more diverse -- he can process all the different input, but it's more of a kaleidoscope of different images that come together to create a shifting impression in his mind. Adding the Hive Mind ability that Adalina brings might make it possible to smooth out the seams more.

Date: 2016-02-21 09:20 pm (UTC)
capri0mni: abstract butterfly shapes made from question marks & exclamation points (quester-flies)
From: [personal profile] capri0mni
I love how Tsubasa thinks of him as a puppy, and herself and the others as guard-dogs, while he thinks of them as his litter of kittens.

That's a nice symmetry.

Date: 2016-02-22 02:35 am (UTC)
thnidu: A shield-shaped hunk of watermelon rind, with bits carved away to make 2 staring eyes and a mouth. By bensanaz (melonhead)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
What they said. :-)


• Facet was one of the person she choose.
→ one of the people she chose.

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