Friday, October 23, 2015

Microstory 175: Ormonda Brooks

The problem with anomaly abilities is that they are generally limited to the biology of the anomaly. Fictional representations of special abilities more often than not have a character who can somehow magically use potentially destructive abilities without damaging their clothing—or rather, they won’t even bring it up at all. If a character can transform themselves into liquid form, but can’t transform other objects, then why exactly is it at all believable that their clothes are somehow exceptions to this rule? Sometimes, the person with powers, or an associate of theirs, will science their way into a special kind of clothing that adapts to the wearer. A pyrokinetic will, for instance, always be wearing a special suit that can withstand extremely high temperatures. Which is great, except that they make no mention of the fact that such an astonishing invention could have other uses, like—oh, I dunno—for firefighters? Gee, thanks for making an impervious suit of armor for our hero to wear. Think you could make more, and maybe pass them out to law enforcement officers, and other first responders? That’d be great. Ormonda Brooks was one of those kind of anomalies whose ability only helped other anomalies. Whenever she sewed a garment, a special kind of oil was excreted from her hands that imbued that garment with the properties of whichever anomaly wore it first. This oil would combine itself with the natural oils of the wearer, and become literally tailored for them. This was, by its very nature, not useful to all anomalies. Hosanna can sense other people’s emotions, regardless of what he’s wearing. Quang can autocalculate measurements of things around him, but that never has an effect on his clothing. In contrast, however, Blake Williams would benefit from one of Ormonda’s pieces, because the vibrations from the earthquakes he absorbs and dissipates damage normal clothes, and force him to change after every one. This example isn’t that big of a deal, but for Diane Ghoti, who can spontaneously generate fire, the gift of a Brooks suit was extraordinarily helpful. These garments always took a long time to make, because Ormonda was not a particularly gifted sewer. And at first glance, the oil could not be used for preexisting clothing, or harvested and utilized by someone else. But with time, such harvested samples were studied and replicated beyond her death from old age. And they gave rise to a host of other applications.

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