Wednesday, August 5, 2015

2015 Summer Writing Challenge Final Week - Multiple Man

This past week was even more pathetic than the one before. Shortly after publishing last week's post I attempted to drive out to my sister-in-law's to meet my nephew. Sadly, my car died on me while making the trek. It's been an annoying week of getting to and from work while also attempting to revive my car. We managed it - it takes a bit, but it starts up now; won't be taking it out of town, though - and so hopefully the next month won't be as stressful.

However, added chaos and nearly hitting my breaking point at work put a complete halt on my writing. I was so embarrassed to check in on this last week of the challenge. I had to let people know that while I did attempt to work on Multiple Man's rework this week - just like with Shadowcat last week - I didn't really get much further than what I had already come up with a few months ago.

Because of that - again, just like with Emily last week - a lot of what you're seeing in the below bio I thought up as I was writing it here. For instance, I had a fairly strong idea of what I wanted Cody to look like, but I didn't get around to writing it before Sunday, and as I wrote it out here different little things popped up. Such as the fact that he has scars, freckles - and Keahi's reaction to them - always wears sneakers, and that he needs reading glasses. Most of the backstory was created this morning as I was writing this, as well as Cody's hobby of gardening.
New Name: Cody
Basic Info: Age Not Figured Out Yet, 5' 11", 155lbs, Brunette, and green eyes
Tweaker Glitch; Sub-category: Soul-Splitter/Cloning
Cody is capable of converting a fresh drop of his blood into an exact copy of himself. These can be mindless drones with “hive mind”, but Cody has to spend all of his mental ability “remotely” controlling them. So, he usually defaults to the “Soul Splitting” part of his powers. This means that when he makes a copy he can make it autonomous by “gifting” it some of his consciousness.
The clone has the knowledge and personality that Cody selects - usually subconsciously via deciding what he wants the clone to do - and it is “locked” away from him while the clone exists. He can still “remotely” tap into that knowledge and personality as long as the clone is close. Cody’s ability to tap into the part of him birthed into the clone diminishes with distance. It completely “locks away” if the clone is ever 200 or more miles away; basic knowledge learned is a default that Cody would never have to “gift” to a clone and therefore will never lose it. If the clone is ever killed, that part of Cody’s consciousness returns to him; along with any new knowledge it may have picked up while away from him. However, the trauma of the clone's death gives Cody a migraine. He can also reabsorb a clone to get rid of it without causing that trauma. To do so, Cody needs skin-to-skin contact.
The almost instinctual reabsorption of the clones is due to his "soul" craving to be whole again; it's almost a gravitational pull. To prevent himself from accidentally absorbing a clone before he wants to, Cody tends to wear gloves and as much other clothing as possible while he has a clone nearby. Also because of this pull to be whole again, the closer the clones are to Cody the more mental control over them he has; allowing him to dictate their actions with little to no argument from them. Cody has had a few clones that wandered far enough from him to feel true autonomy, and it was a struggle to bring them back into the fold.
I may or may not create a story arc centering around Cody's darker side of his personality splitting off as a runaway clone that Cody was never able to track down and reabsorb. This would explain why he's so cheerful most of the time, and it would be fun to see the interaction once the runaway clone finally returns - or runs into Lia.
He can create multiple clones at the same time via multiple drops of blood. In turn, each of the clones may use their own blood to create clones of their own; breaking off some of the personality Cody gave them to put into the clones they make. So on and so forth. Cody can also decide how much or how little of himself to give each clone. The amount of himself he inputs into each clone determines both how many clones he can create in any given time, and how many clones the clones can create. The death of any clones Cody's clones create will give the clones migraines, just like Cody. If more than three of Cody's direct clones die and return to him within a half-an-hour his migraine gets so bad that he is completely immobilized. If six or more are killed within a half-an-hour of each other the trauma is so severe that Cody falls into a coma that lasts an hour for each clone past the initial six that were killed.
To prevent losing himself completely, he caps his clones at 25 clones of himself. There is further restrictions on the cloning. The actual mechanics are still being ironed out, but the fewer clones Cody makes, the more clones his clones can make; and the more generations of clones can be made before the only thing left are Hive Mind clones. The more clones Cody spawns, the smaller portion of his “soul” goes into each one, which means less personality to split into other clones. Generation chains are shortened. At 25 clones from Cody, each clone can only make Hive Mind copies because it doesn’t have enough of Cody’s core to split into other clones.
While it still hurts - and always will hurt - to draw blood in order to use his power, much like a diabetic who has to prick their finger constantly to test their blood, Cody has become used to the pain of blood draw from his fingers.

Physical Appearance: He keeps himself in good physical condition for a man his age, but he's not nearly as strong or buff as the other adult Glitches around the orphanage. He exercises to stay fit, not to be strong. He has light brown hair that he keeps in a short cut; just long enough to run your fingers through. His light green eyes are vibrant and have a sparkle to them; it's one of the first things that attracted Keahi. He keeps himself clean-shaven, and his face is a little round.
He doesn't have any piercings or tattoos, but he does have a bunch of little scars scattered throughout his body - mostly around his joints; wrists, knees, elbows, fingers - both from his klutzy childhood and from use of his powers later in life. He has a tiny scar just under his lip from when he bit through it in his youth.
He has a few freckles under his eyes and across the bridge of his nose. They've faded over time, but they become prominent in the summer when he has more sun exposure. Keahi thought they were adorable and would love to stroke ones on his nose like he was a cat.
He has a typical "dad" look to him. He wears casual slacks most of the time, but switches into worn jeans whenever he's doing an activity where he might get dirty: playing with Lia outside, doing yard work, construction/maintenance on the house, camping, etc. In the summer he's particularly embarrassing to Lia by wearing shorts; showing off his "pale, chicken legs" as Lia complains. Thankfully, he's not QUITE dorky enough to attempt the socks and sandals, but he does wear sneakers with white tube socks fully extended about half-way up his calf; almost as embarrassing. When he wants to take Lia to the beach or public pool - a rare occurrence, especially after Lia's powers manifested - Cody "dresses up" by putting on good old Bermuda shorts. Lia is NOT pleased with those. He'd probably even wear corduroy in winter if he could find any for sale anywhere.
As for his tops, Cody wears faded band or sports t-shirts with his jeans and shorts. The rest of the time that he's in his slacks he goes for light polo shirts, casual button-downs, or sweaters. In the spring and fall - or mild winters - when it's just a little chilly, he's been known to throw on sweater vests; argyle ones most often. Regardless of how casual or fancy he dresses, unless he's going to a formal event where dress shoes are expected, Cody will always be in sneakers. Being a single father for the majority of Lia's life proved that one should almost ALWAYS be in sneakers and ready to run after the child.
Not quite embarrassing, "Stereotypical Dad" enough yet, Cody's eyes are starting to fade. The guy has to whip out reading glasses. At least Lia convinced him to make THOSE a bit more fashionable. Simple, thin, black frames that fit his rounded face well to make him appear more sophisticated. All he needs is house shoes and a glass of Scotch after work and he'd probably be a typical 50's father.
Cody's color scheme has earthy spring-like tones. Light brown - typically just his pants, but brown accent in his shirts as well - and green, with a splash of yellow and blue.
Because his power is blood-based, he wanted a way to always be able to draw blood if the need arose. Before meeting Keahi, he would have a pin on him at all times. It would take a moment to undo it from his collar and prick himself, but it was otherwise fairly efficient. Although Keahi wasn't a fan of her husband having to injure himself, she wanted to make sure he could draw blood a lot faster if needed, and so they customized his wedding band. It's a bit thicker than a typical ring, and there's a secret latch that's hard to accidentally open, but one he can easily flick open with his thumb. He then can prick himself on the needle point of the latch.

The cartoonish nature of Chibis probably won't make this very useful to anyone besides me, but this is how I picture Cody:
Chibi Cody is so adorable and unthreatening... <3 data-blogger-escaped-td="">
The inspiration for Cody's ring; from the anime "Attack on Titan."
While not as impressive,
a Real World version of the above ring.

Personality: While it's not exactly a
personality trait, Cody's klutziness and accident-prone youth made him very awkward as a kid. He was generally very friendly and outgoing, which helped him forge tight friendships and had him be likable by most of his classmates, but his awkwardness kept him from really connecting with too many people. His spontaneous cloning whenever he injured himself made him even more of a target for teasing and shunning, but even so, he kept a fairly positive outlook throughout most of elementary and early middle school.
When he was a young teenager the fact that his powers only manifested via blood, coupled with the knowledge that Glitches were considered second-class citizens and his very small friend circle, put him into a typical "gothic teenager" phase. While he never went so far as to purposely cut himself, he did become obsessed with blood and dark imagery.
Just before graduating high school - after nearly mastering his powers - the gothic phase ended and he returned to a cheerful, friendly, outgoing person. He was still a bit awkward, especially around women. This awkwardness was another winning trait in Keahi's eyes.
He remained optimistic and playful, losing most, but not all, of his awkwardness while with Keahi. Even now, especially around Lia, he tries to remain that person.
After Keahi's disappearance, the "helicopter parenting" that he learned from his own parents kicked in. He was terrified of losing Lia as well, and now he didn't have Keahi around to reign him back from the only type of parenting he knew. On top of that, his powers allowed him to take "helicopter parenting" to the extreme: ALWAYS having either himself or a clone with Lia at ALL times except for when she was at school; the school wouldn't allow him to hover.
He is EXTREMELY protective of those he cares about, and has no problem bringing out a terrifyingly dark version of himself to do whatever needs to be done to keep his loved one safe. While he doesn't get angry easily, he can become very scary when he gets frustrated.

General History: Cody used to be a huge klutz and very awkward when he was young. He was constantly injuring himself accidentally. Because of this, his parents were a bit overprotective of their accident-prone child. This helped instill the idea of "helicopter parenting" in Cody. It also kept him a bit on the outskirts of his class's social circle. He had friends growing up, but it was a tight-knit group of five. While he was liked well enough that kids wouldn't go out of their way to tease or bully him, he was still awkward enough that they had no problem teasing or laughing whenever he tripped up.
Cody's powers manifested when he was about 10, and that made things even more awkward for him. Now, whenever he would draw blood - which was fairly often given how accident-prone he was - at least one clone would spontaneously appear. Now people would tease him for the clones. This teasing was added to the intensity of the knowledge of his powers and what it meant to be a Glitch. He became Gothic between the ages of 13 and 17. He re-invented himself over Christmas break his senior year of high school - finally coming to terms with everything - and became his normal bubbly self. Not to many students liked him though, despite his attempts to befriend and help others. Mostly because he had his powers under control and used his clones to help himself study: allowing himself to study all of his subjects at the same time and then reabsorb the clones to get the information. He skyrocketed to the head of the class, but everyone called him out on the "unfair advantage" of having almost infinite amount of time compared to everyone else. Even though he was the top of his class when he graduated, this "unfair advantage" resulted in him simply being able to walk and receive his diploma, with no other acknowledgement of his GPA or the multitude of extra-curricular activities - clubs and sports - he participated in.
It stung to be shunned like that, but it helped him connect more with Keahi - who was actually kicked out of school due to her being a Glitch - and help her become courageous enough to attempt college after all. Plus, the Glitch-friendly Hawaii Pacific University appreciated both the vast array of extra-curricular and top GPA. They saw it as proof that even if he were to use his powers, it would be for positive development.
Cody and Keahi had a typical college relationship after he convinced her to go to HPU with him. He proposed to her when she was a senior at the college, and they got married shortly after graduating. Using his powers to absorb as much as he could while in college, he was able to quickly climb to the top of his field. Although I'm still not entirely sure what "field" that is.
While this is still subject to change, as of right now I have it set up that Keahi and Cody end up moving to Colorado to be closer to his family. The trick with this - which is why the location may change - is that Colorado is a great distance out of Cody's clone-range, and I wanted him to leave a clone at the family home while he's working at the orphanage. That way Lia has her childhood home to go back to if she ever wanted to return to a public school and/or after graduating from Emily's school. Having the family home be in Colorado would mean either
A) Cody sells the home which will be a huge shock to Lia's system since she was expecting Emily's school to just be a boarding school and she could come home during holiday breaks,
B) Cody either leaves the home with family with the understanding that he and Lia can take it back at any time, or he leaves it unattended completely over the years, or finally
C) Cody locks away a piece of himself as the clone lives it's own life out of Cody's home.
I'm rambling...
Cody started up gardening as a means of meditation, as well as further training of his powers. It is incredibly easy to prick one's self while gardening, and it's incredibly helpful to be able to clone one's self while doing yard work. Anyway, Keahi got pregnant with Lia a couple years into the marriage. They were a loving, playful, happy family for about seven years. Then Keahi heared about the environmental turmoil in the Ring of Fire portion of the Pacific, and wanted to join other Evoker Glitches in helping calm the area. After much debate, Cody agreed to her helping with one of his clones as her guardian. It changed his personality slightly to be without that part of him while it was with Keahi, but he tried to not let it affect Lia.
When his clone was killed, he created a new clone out of all of his compassion and paternal instincts in order to leave the best guardian he could for Lia, and then raced off to where Keahi was when she was attacked. He spent a little over a month attempting to find her, but even with his paternal self locked away in his guardian for Lia, he still desperately missed his daughter. He eventually gave up his search and returned home. He still makes a week-long annual pilgrimage to Keahi's last known location in attempt to find more clues about her disappearance.
Terrified of losing his daughter too, he vowed to NEVER let her out of his sight; a slightly empty vow since her schools wouldn't allow him to hover over her. He did debate homeschooling her so he could be around her 24/7, but he realized how much she needed the socialization and normalcy. The rest of the time, however, even when on his pilgrimages or at work, he always left a clone behind to be able to watch over his daughter. His own over protective parents didn't really see much wrong with what he was doing, and so without Keahi around to tease him about being ridiculous, no one reigned him in.
Lia's powers actually manifested when she was yelling at her father about not allowing her to grow up and be independent.
Due to being at the top of his field, Emily and Ryder reached out to him to assist with the orphanage and school when it evolved into a boarding school to help Glitches learn to control their powers. He turned them down originally, wanting to stay in his family home in case Keahi found her way back. He also wanted to keep his focus on his own child, not split it with children of other people; as noble as that is.
When Lia's powers became too much for him to train her alone, he called Emily up to see if their offer still stood. When she gladly welcomed him to join their staff, he sent Lia ahead to start her training while he tied up loose ends at home. Lia was ecstatic at first - thinking she was finally getting some independence - only to be mortified by her father's sudden appearance at the school as part of the faculty.
Boy, I'm good at writing backstory on the fly when I'm typing it here. Why can't that work the rest of the week when I'm writing the bios for the challenge?

Well, ironically, the week that I feel I did the least amount of work towards the writing challenge happens to also be the week that I win the random draw of a $10 Amazon voucher for participating. So, that's a positive for the week!

I don't have an e-reader, and so I downloaded the PC version of Kindle, and then purchased the three e-book short stories that Rick Riordan wrote as Percy Jackson/Kane Chronicles cross-over tales. He wrote them as incentive to buy the paperback versions of some of his books, but knew that some people won't buy the paperback since they already had the hardcover - me and Hubby being such people - and so he later released the stories as e-books, and I had been meaning to buy them for a while now. So, thanks, Ali Luke, for the voucher prize, and the ability to finally have these stories!

The only thing I really did this week for the challenge was Ali's Mini-Challenge for the week; figure out what I'll be doing with the momentum from this challenge. As I mentioned last week, I had already decided a few weeks ago that my writing group - Struggling Writers Society - would be doing its own month-long writing challenge in August.

Well, it kept me until about 11pm on the first to finally decide on what my challenge would be, and post on the group's event page. In the end, I decided that I was going to keep the momentum going with X-Men.

I haven't touched X-Future: The Second Generation Begins in almost two years. Mostly because of how tedious it is to sort through all the posts in order to come up with the plot I'd translate into prose. Well, that's my challenge this month. I want to get at least one new chapter up before August 31st.

Not really off to a good start. It's the fifth and I have yet to even open up the forum to start cataloging the posts I'd be translating. I'm hoping to whip my butt in gear now that the car is running and the Writers’ Huddle challenge is finally done. I'm hoping to at the very least have the posts figured out by Sunday, and the posts I'll be reworking into prose sorted by my next post next week.

I'm also thinking of letting you folks know how I did with the other mini-challenges Ali pitched our way.

Here's to a more productive writing week again.

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