linear b

Nov. 14th, 2014 04:35 pm
wild_pegasus_appeared: (sad)
[personal profile] wild_pegasus_appeared
Juanita is the only legal child of her parents. The Linears are crowded to the point of bursting, and until something can be done, every resident is entitled to one replacement. Two parents, two children. If, however, Public Health officials aren't present for subsequent births- well, the child won't be legal, but Public Health can't stop them. Nita's parents believe very firmly that God is the only one who has any say in the size of their family, and so it's only Juanita, their firstborn, that Public Health knows exists.

Having illegal children isn't easy. Citizens are entitled to all the usual benefits- food, clothes, medical supplies- but Nita's siblings aren't citizens. Only Nita and her parents have the ID bracelets they need to obtain such things. They share their food, and hand down clothes, and buy vaccines and medicines on the black market. Money is always, always, tight. Both of her parents work two jobs, scraping for the untraceable chits known as floaters they need to keep their family provided for.

It works, mostly. Nita spends her days at home, watching her siblings. She learns to pretend to be stupid so 'she' has to retake classes with Teacher on the tri-d, and can let one or more of her siblings take over. Miguel in particular is fascinated by Teacher; he often borrows her ID bracelet to study all sorts of advanced subjects that are quite beyond her. She's equal parts proud of him and sad he'll always be so trapped; none of the interesting schools or jobs are open to illegals.

At least her parents care about their family, she supposes. They're illegal, but they're loved. She hears horror stories sometimes when she's out and about, of families in the lower Linears, desperately poor families who sell their latest child off every year just to survive. Nita always cuddles her siblings extra when she hears those stories. Illegal doesn't mean you're not a person. She can't imagine selling anyone, let alone someone in her family, to those... those... scum. Never. Never, never.

Everyone's hoping for the space station to be completed soon. There are stories about it on the tri-d sometimes; once the station is completed, they'll be able to launch colony ships. Whole boatloads of people, sent to settle another planet. No more crowding on Earth. No more restrictions on child bearing.

No more illegal children.



On this particular day, Public Health officials have been spotted in the Linear's market. It doesn't seem to be a crackdown- no one's actively searching for illegals, as near as they can tell it's a standard preventative vaccination run- but it's always best to be safe. Nita rounds up her siblings. There's a couple safe nooks they can go to, ducts in the back of the Linear where Public Health officials can't fit or don't bother checking. She always rotates which one she uses, so this time they head for the one to the east of the market.

As they weave carefully between the people in the hallways, fighting against the flow of the crowd to go in the opposite direction away from the vaccine tables, Nita's struggling. Miguel's gotten a printout of something or another, and keeps failing to watch where he walks, and Ana's carrying her old rag doll of a stuffed horse and it's "tail" is trailing on the ground when she's not paying attention. It's all she can do to keep an eye on them.

And then all of a sudden, everything goes wrong.

There's a pile of boxes outside this store- they're being guarded, of course, but the guards are looking for thieves, not at the boxes. And the hallway is busy, and someone knocks into a guard, and he catches his balance on the boxes, but it's unstable and the boxes fall-

-right towards Pedro, who has in his usual way wandered towards the guards to admire their fancy uniforms.

Nita shrieks. The boxes are huge, for all that they were poorly stacked they look heavy, and Pedro's just a little boy- she's running, but she can't reach him-

"No! No, no, Pedro!"

And then suddenly the lights are out and Pedro's in her arms, crying hysterically. Nita holds him close for a moment- he's here, he's okay, she doesn't know what happened but he's okay- before passing out unconscious on the floor.

Date: 2014-11-23 10:37 pm (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
Nita's scream and subsequent collapse are enough to summon over a couple of the Public Health Officials distributing the vaccines. Miguel, Tomas and Ana manage to extract Pedro from underneath her with the help of some of the bystanders but when the approaching PHOs are spotted, they are forced to fade into the crowd where they won't be spotted by the officials. They're all reluctant to leave their sister, but as a few of their neighbors remind them in angry whispers, they're illegal and cannot be caught.

The PHOs determine that Nita is unharmed, but one of them has enough experience with parapsychics to piece together from the bystanders' stories what must have happened. He insists that Nita must be evaluated, so they load her up a medical transport and arrange for her to be treated at a hospital near the Center for Parapsychic Talent.

The Center is contacted and, while the receptionist professes herself skeptical at the story as presented, she agrees to have someone check it out. In short order the head of training and recruitment is at the hospital, being led into Nita's room.

Date: 2014-11-24 12:29 am (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
"Lots of questions you have," the stranger says with a chuckle. "I'm impressed you have that much energy. Your parents are, ah, conferring with the LEO. When someone went to let them know about your- accident, they found quite a few extra kids. They'll all be along shortly."

Date: 2014-11-25 08:31 pm (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
The man sighs and sits on the chair next to her bed. "They're illegal, Nita," he points out softly. "You know we can't just ignore-"

He's interrupted by the door opening. In files quite a crowd: Nita's parents, all of her siblings, and three LEO officers bringing up the rear. The room is becoming quite crowded; it was definitely not designed to hold this many people.

Date: 2014-11-25 08:34 pm (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
"Nita!" Pedro cries, starting to race towards the bed, but their father catches the edge of his shirt and hauls him backwards. "Nitaaaaa..."

"<She's a witch,>" their mother hisses to him in Spanish. "<Don't you go near her, you hear me?>"
Edited Date: 2014-11-25 08:37 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-11-25 08:43 pm (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
The man scowls at the LEO officers at the back of the room. "I was going to explain," he complains. "What you did in the Linear is called telekinesis. It's one of the parapsychic talents. Have you heard of the Center for Parapsychic Talent? We asked your parents if we could bring you there for some lessons."

He starts to say something else, but stops, eying her family. Nita's parents are now standing protectively in front of her siblings; Pedro is crying, while Ana and Tomas are clinging to their parents' legs. Only Miguel is peering around them to look at Nita.

Date: 2014-11-25 08:49 pm (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
The man in the chair looks like a deer in extremely bright headlights. He squirms in place and casts a panicked look at the LEO officer closest to him.
Edited Date: 2014-12-01 05:06 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-12-01 05:08 pm (UTC)
undercover_talent: (thinking)
From: [personal profile] undercover_talent
"Oh, for heaven's sake," the LEO woman mutters, stalking towards the bed. She puts a hand on his shoulder, but addresses herself to Nita. "Look. Nita, right? It's okay, honey. We know you're not a witch. But you do have talent. You used it to save your little brother. You remember that? You moved him away from the falling boxes with- your mind." She exchanges a glance with the man in the chair. "We just want you to learn how to do that properly, at the Center. So you can save more people."

Date: 2014-12-01 06:28 pm (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
Pedro ducks out of his father's grasp and runs up to Nita's bed. He flops himself half on top of her for a hug, squeezing her tightly. "Niiiita, thank you thank you thank you, I was so scared!"

Date: 2014-12-01 09:05 pm (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
"I'm the best at Teacher," Pedro agrees, his voice muffled in Nita's shoulder.

Nita's father growls and heads for the bed, reaching for Pedro. "<Pedro, what did I say?>"

"No! Nita!" Pedro cries, clinging to his sister.
Edited Date: 2014-12-01 09:05 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-12-01 09:12 pm (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
"<Pedro, I said get away!>" her father growls, reaching out for him.

Date: 2014-12-01 09:14 pm (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
The lights flicker, and Nita's father is shoved violently backwards into his wife by nothing at all.

Ana and Tomas scream. "<Witch,>" Nita's mother hisses, trying to steady her husband. "<Don't hurt us! Just... just give him back!>"

But Pedro is already backing away from his sister. "Nita...?"
Edited Date: 2014-12-01 09:14 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-12-01 09:29 pm (UTC)
undercover_talent: (ummm)
From: [personal profile] undercover_talent
"Nita is a telekinetic, not a witch," the LEO woman says firmly. "She's not dangerous. Just young and untrained. We can teach her at the Center."

Date: 2014-12-01 09:38 pm (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
"Take her," Nita's mother says in accented Common. "Keep her. Witch, she's possessed, take her."

"She's not a witch," the man in the chair repeats, looking annoyed. "Don't you understand what she did? She saved your son! Not only that, she used electrical power to do it. No one's ever been able to do that before! What this could mean for Talent-"
Edited Date: 2014-12-01 09:40 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-12-01 09:44 pm (UTC)
undercover_talent: (angry)
From: [personal profile] undercover_talent
"Darryl," the woman snaps, "they do not care. Drop it." She turns with a huff. "You, and you," she points at the two remaining officers, "this is clearly not a good idea. Get them out." When the officers do not move immediately, her eyes narrow. "Now, gentlemen."

Date: 2014-12-03 04:39 am (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
The gentlemen move. Efficiently. Soon, the room contains only the three of them.

Date: 2014-12-03 04:42 am (UTC)
undercover_talent: (looking)
From: [personal profile] undercover_talent
"Nita? Honey?" The woman tries, crouching next to the bed. "It's going to be okay, kiddo. My name is Cass, and I'm a parapsychic just like you-" she pointedly does not look at Darryl as she says this- "and we'll take you back to the Center, and you can learn all about being telekinetic. We take care of our own there. You'll like it."

Date: 2014-12-03 04:43 am (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
Darryl rolls his eyes when Cass says 'just like you,' but doesn't comment.

Date: 2014-12-03 04:46 am (UTC)
undercover_talent: (ummm)
From: [personal profile] undercover_talent
Cass glares at the door Nita's family left through. To Darryl, she shoots the thought, Can't see why, myself.

"Your family... needs some time to adjust. Okay? You can come back with us in the meantime."

Date: 2014-12-03 04:47 am (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
Believe me, I'm with you.

Date: 2014-12-03 04:50 am (UTC)
undercover_talent: (thinking)
From: [personal profile] undercover_talent
Cass gives Nita a minute to recover herself. Finally, she tries again. "Is there anything we can do to make you feel better about this...?" she asks.

Date: 2014-12-03 04:53 am (UTC)
undercover_talent: (pleased)
From: [personal profile] undercover_talent
"You can send them money, if you want," Cass says immediately, with a small sigh of relief. "Anyone at the Center can ask for anything- within reason, anyway- from the treasury."

Then, she beams. I've got it, she tells Darryl. Oh, have I got it. "Or. We could get your siblings IDs."

Date: 2014-12-03 04:56 am (UTC)
undercover_talent: (smiling)
From: [personal profile] undercover_talent
"Oh, we have our ways," Cass replies vaguely. "So, how about it? Fair deal?"

Date: 2014-12-03 04:57 am (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
Relying on the boss again, Culter?

Date: 2014-12-03 05:02 am (UTC)
undercover_talent: (yup)
From: [personal profile] undercover_talent
Man has to be useful for something. Besides, you think he'd veto three ID bracelets to get a kinetic like her?

Cass sends him the image of Nita drawing power from the lights to shove her father, with a version of Cass herself inserted in one corner with her jaw on the ground.

Date: 2014-12-03 05:03 am (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
I was there too, Darryl reminds her. But. Um.

Darryl pinged me when he saw her show, earlier, another voice chimes in. Useless, am I?

Date: 2014-12-03 05:04 am (UTC)
undercover_talent: (whatever)
From: [personal profile] undercover_talent
Hi boss, Cass replies cheerfully. You know it. Lazy bureaucrat, that's you.

Date: 2014-12-03 05:05 am (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
None of your sass, Cutler, the LEO commissioner responds, but his mental voice is laughing. You still need those IDs from me.

Date: 2014-12-03 05:08 am (UTC)
undercover_talent: (pleased)
From: [personal profile] undercover_talent
Hah! Told you.

"Deal," Cass says solemnly, holding out her hand to Nita to shake.

Date: 2014-12-03 05:09 am (UTC)
marrinikari: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrinikari
If you gloat, I'm keeping the IDs.

Date: 2014-12-03 05:14 am (UTC)
undercover_talent: (laughing)
From: [personal profile] undercover_talent
Liar, liar. I got you your shiny new kinetic. Cough 'em up.

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wild_pegasus_appeared: (Default)
Juanita

November 2014

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