A collaborative venture I would like to see is a retirement home for old superheroes (and villians perhaps). A safe place where poor old geezers with incontinent or failing powers of mind and body can get the help and care they need.
What would happen if a cadre of old superheroes plus an old nememsis or two decide they don't like being cooped up and want to go out and have one more fling...and have to gum their way past supersafe guards and superpowered or superequipped young orderlies and nurses....A Xavieresque kind of place...except not for kids just learning their powers but for the old coots too unstable one way or the other to be let loose in the world unsupervised.
All right, I’ll start. Here is the base line scenario and the ground rules. Place: The facility, St. Gwinefort’s Manor, a rest home/hospice/senior village for the aged super powered. It is located on/around a largish freshwater lake in an undisclosed location in what appears to be the Pacific Northwest (possibly anywhere from Oregon to British Columbia). The grounds with lake occupy five square miles of mostly forested wilderness territory. There are no roads in or out. Conventional modes of transportation are limited to helicopter (either ambulance or transport/cargo). There are unconventional modes available to certain of the senior staff. The layout consists of a central hospital/hospice unit at lakeside with significant below ground facilities. There is also a small village of one or two person bungalows for more able retirees with a well endowed community center/dining hall. Around the lake may be found an 18 hole golf course and horseback riding trails. All the facility makes use of cutting edge ‘comic book’ superhero technology. It’s a good life. However it is well sequestered. The further away one gets from the lake and core facility area, the more dense and impenetrable the surrounding forest becomes. If one strays too far one becomes disoriented and is somehow gently guided back onto the grounds. How this works none of the residents know, but it prevents unauthorized excursions…for the safety of all in and out. The facility is supported by “black” contributions from a number of governments aware of the existence of the super powered and cognizant of the need to provide for “safe” care of the elderly and disabled among that number. It is also self-sustaining in many ways and is off the grid.
Key staff: The Director. An unknown shadow figure who makes the big decisions. Some suspect he may be one of the seniors living in the village, but little beyond the bare fact of his existence is known. His decisions are referenced but he is never actually revealed.
Dr. Testha Samphire; Head Dr. of the Hospital/Hospice, Assistant Director of St. Gwinefort’s. a “specialist” in Hyperurgonic Geriatrics. She is an iron in velvet personality. She is also a “real” psychic surgeon …can reach into a body and “adjust” things as needed.
Ulleta Westbrook: Senior Nurse practioner, Head night nurse at the hospital/hospice. A see’s all, knows all, nothing’s that funny, kind of professional. She’s a walking diagnostic lab…and with a few seconds observation can know everything physically wrong along with a complete psychological profile. Lying to her is very hard.
Colonel Parnam Pettifil: Garrulous, effusive, but canny. He runs the day to day operations in the village. When he wants, his voice can take on quite calming hypnotic properties that makes his observations seem entirely reasonable. If the situation calls for it he can drone on so effectively in a few sentences that it puts the hearer in a deep sleep. He is a good man at heart, if a bit oily in manner, and checks himself from using his powers, which at need run far deeper than making old folks sleepy. His accent is decidedly Southern. He also enjoys suitably gentlemanly opportunity’s to push Nurse Ulleta’s buttons…for he can lie to her…and she knows it…she just doesn’t know when. Where she is officious, he is pragmatic and occasionally whimsical.
The Groundskeeper: Gallant Grim (aka Old Grim, Old Grimey): He keeps all the grounds in pristine condition, all beautifully maintained. He says little, is friendly, but doesn’t engage in much conversation. Moreover he seems to be almost everywhere at once…yet being in only one place at a time. Some think he is a teleporter or a time masher, but he is not. Actually he is a multicorporial being of which his persona as groundskeeper is a sophisticated illusion. His real being is the surrounding forest where he “grows” vegetatively as a super-colony arboroform in and amongst the native vegetation. His roots run deep and crisscross the whole of the facility…which is why he can project his (or any other) desired image anywhere on the grounds. He is also the reason why the wandering find their way back to the facility. He “keeps” the grounds in more ways than one as it were.
Ground Rules: Create an old super-hero (or 2) or former super villain with waning/malfunctioning powers of mind and body…something bad enough that they would need a full care environment or opt for retirement home living with access to “super” care at need. Also give them a reason to chafe a bit at being cooped up (though they need it and they know they need it…most of the time). Talking about a great escape for one last fling is one of their pastimes. You are free to ‘use’ another contributor’s character but are not allowed to kill off or develop that character’s back story beyond what the contributor has revealed to date. Try to maintain the tone and character traits of other characters as they are established. Be judicious about trying to form romantic entanglements between characters not your own…the character creator may not want to go there. Also, for this part of the story, the grounds are inescapable, though they may be tested.
General tone: Treat the subject seriously but have fun…don’t be afraid of humor or whimsy…just don’t go overboard and make it silly. Use of prachettisms should be judicious and delightful. Mix camp , action, and the gritty side of life at 80.
A stooped figure in overstretched midnight-blue spandex struggled to clasp a broad yellow belt.
“I said, you look ridiculous…you had better not go to sleep in that thing…I swear I’ll go to the gym.”
“Leave him alone, Drake,” the figure straightened a bit gave up on the belt and tossed it to the neatly made hospital bed behind him. “It’s his body, not ours.”
“I don’t mind,” Ory mumbled, stooping again, struggling to slip the over -tight hero costume from off his arthritic shoulders. His once lean and muscular frame used to bulge in different places than it did now when he could climb like a wild goat and dance off walls to grapple with the bad guys. He put on his powder blue terrycloth bath robe, sat on the bed and folded the old costume back into its box.
“I miss you guys,” he said, “I miss the old days.” “Chimera’s gone,“ said Leon. “You are all that’s left of us.” “We were something then, weren’t we?” Ory opened the middle drawer of a three drawer dresser and slipped the closed box inside.
Leon’s ready smile flashed on the old man’s face, “That we were brother. You with your acrobatics, Drake with this tough hide and toaster breath…and me “And you with your mouth and your …shall we say wit,” Drake took over. “A bathrobe…how the mighty have fallen.” “I was going to say strength” said Ory, “You’re the mouthy one, Leon’s got the charm in the family.” Drake checked himself in the dresser mirror. “Don’t you ever think to comb your hair brother…its not like you got a lot of it left.”
“Well,” said Ory, “So long as we have got to share my body, I will leave hair care to you if it matters so much to you brother.” Drake replied more quietly, “It used to matter to you too. It’s just that you are letting yourself go a little at a time…the past isn’t coming back. I’m worried about you.” “Have to agree with Drake on that one,’ added Leon. Ory rasped dryly…”ah. I’m tired, they’re having pea soup for dinner tonight. I hate pea soup. You like pea soup don’t you Leon?” “Yeah, especially if it has little bits of ham in it” “Smoked ham,” said Drake. “Fine you two take me out for a spin…eat up, I’m taking a nap.”
Last Edit: Dec 9, 2008 18:01:44 GMT -5 by seraphim
Drake drove, not forgetting the black cane next to the door. They couldn’t go more than a few steps without it anymore; Ory’s knees were so bad. It would not be long before they would need a walker. The humiliation of it soured his mood but he shuffled on towards the dining hall with the half dozen other residents and neighbors getting a head start on the dinner chime. There was a day when the three of them moved like choreographed lightening…back when they were young, when each had his own body with its own powers, and yet they were always one, their existence a perichoric leaping from body to body mind to mind. For forty years the bad guys never stood a chance. It wasn’t fair…but what was?
A medical alert warning flashed behind him far down the corridor, followed by a shriek and long shuddering moan. Suite six west. Orderlies and duty nurses grabbed neon yellow emergency kits and rushed towards the flashing lights. The staff elevator near the nurse’s station opened and a lanky grim faced doctor loped out, white coat fanning out behind him as he hurried towards a new round of shrieking and moaning…and cursing in some language Drake did not follow. Well, maybe that was fair.
Goliath Snook…the Haint, if anyone deserved a little raw terror it was him. Let him scream…let him go hoarse with the agony. Drake laughed a little to himself…”go hoarse”…funny. The man who could once become almost anything, change shape or substance at will was losing control of all shape and form. The last time he had melted his right arm into the bed railing….got panicked and couldn’t get free. Sweet justice that was a fine day. He could feel Leon lurking in his thoughts, a mass of silent disapproval.
“Spit it out”
“When is it enough?” said Leon.
“I don’t think there is enough, not for him.”
“You don’t mean that.”
“He’s scared and crippled. That’s not good enough”
“Let it be brother. Judgment is not ours.” “If I had my body, back then it would have been”
“You fell off a ladder painting the house. You’re just irritated because you didn’t get to go out fighting.”
“That was you….I drowned…remember?”
“Oh..yes…of course…we…you were saving Ory’s bacon.
“Is this because Ory likes to play Canasta with him sometimes?”
Drake cleared their throat in irritation. “You and Ory are such a pair….well where do we sit?
“How about back there by the window…catch the sunset.”
“Sounds good…a bit of a hike but sounds good.”
“You forgot our pants again, you know”
“We got the bathrobe and our skivvies.”
Last Edit: Dec 10, 2008 14:33:18 GMT -5 by seraphim
Nurse Westbrook stepped into the suite announced only by the faint rustle of her white lab coat. Scanning her digital clipboard with a glance she settled her gaze on a frail little man slumped bonelessly in the visitor’s chair next to his bed. He sat wrapped in a tightly clutched green sheet that smelled faintly of urine and carbolic acid, his wide, red eyes a swelling reservoir of unspilled tears. He exhaled deeply then scrubbed his eyes with his palms.
“Yes?” he said.
“Dr. Samphire asked me to look in on you Mr. Snook. He says here you had another episode a couple of hours ago. Is that right?
“I can’t sleep. It happens when I sleep,’ he answered, a lone tear rolling across his right cheek, “
The wall beeped as Nurse Westbrook entered a note on her clipboard which triggered a response from the wall monitor. “We’ve adjusted the cohesion boosters in your bedroom and you’ll be receiving a change of medication to make them more effective. It should be a long time before you have to worry about another incident.”
“But it will happen again?”
“I’m afraid so, Mr. Snook, your condition is degenerative…but not soon, not for a very long while.” Nurse Westbrook managed a weak sympathetic smile.
The man suddenly dissolved into a pink gelatinous mass that rolled across the room and swirled around her feet only to riseup around her in a close wall of thickly entangled thorns which then fell apart into a fog that coalesced as the little old man again, this time wearing a gray jogging suit and sputtering with anger.
“Do you ever fall asleep on the toilet?
“Mr. Snooks!” Nurse Westbrook shoved the clipboard’s stylus behind her ear so that just the tip of it peeked out through the medium bob of her copper red hair.
“Not recently, that I recall, no…not that it is any of your business”
“And you are afraid that you will discohere prior to….to flushing.”
“Wouldn’t you be in my condition?”
“I suppose, Mr. Snooks, but what is your point?”
“That’s not the way the Haint is supposed to go out….not flushed down a crapper. It’s not dignified.”
Nurse Westbrook closed the cover of her clipboard and stepped back into the hallway. “We will do our best to ensure that doesn’t happen, Mr. Snooks.” She started back towards the nurse’s station, but paused and turned back to add, “I don’t believe you’ve had your dinner. I will instruct the kitchen to prepare a late meal for you.”
“Go on with you. Dinner? When a body is coming apart at the seams? Its pea soup anyway. Who in their right mind likes pea soup?”
“They have baked chicken if you prefer.”
“Nope. Pea soup’s fine. Chef makes a mean pea soup. Extra croutons.”
He shut the door after her to open his closet. His old costume hung in a dry cleaning bag, a white hood and cape and a red body-suit. Next to it hung a white bathrobe and a fresh pair of pajamas. Fancy-smancy pajamas on a hanger. He took the sleepwear in his arms and held it close while he transformed into a cluster of writhing razor wire, shredding them to confetti.
“I ain’t going out in no crapper.”
Last Edit: Dec 10, 2008 16:16:49 GMT -5 by seraphim
MYSTERIOUS VOICE OF AN ANOMALIST: "This reminds me of a Spiderman comic I saw once where Vulture uses a life stealer machine to steal Spidey's youth, leaving him an old man. Could have been a real interesting storyline, but they just kind of ended it by having the machine's effects last only for a short amount of time...
Now, must peruse my list of superheroes and find someone to age drastically... I will return..."
Post by brianjones on Jun 15, 2010 18:40:36 GMT -5
What if the patients were not all as geriatic as they were led to believe? What if there was something else going on at this hospital. And what if a villain as old though not as geriatric was plotting something but the police and current heroes were overlooking something. But before the hero or heroes could figure it out the t.v. was shut off. After all one of the bans on T.V. is no one is suppose to watch the six o'clock news. " It riles up the patients! You know that!" Perhaps one of the orderlies would say. (Probably Ulleta the Icequeen.) Just a thought.