Siaosi

Description:

Character Name: Kamole Kealoha
Player Name: Sean W. Mahaffy
Background: Son of renowned environmental sociologist, Keone Kealoha

Motivation: Malama aloha ’aina (take care of the love and connection to the land)
Codename: Siaosi (Earth Worker)
Origin: Electrocuted in fuel algal colony during severe storm @ Kola Sugar Mill
Uniform: Koa warrior, living grass skirt & lei

QUALITIES
-2 / ‘Green Police’
+4 / Botanist
+2 / Ecologist
+2 / EMT
+4 / Mau Rakau
+2 / Student
+2 / Wealthy

POWERS
+6 / Body of Algae

STUNTS
+2 / Adaptation (Moist environs only {dry & heat = -2})
+2 / Armor (Preparation time / ablative)
+2 / Healing (Soft tissue repair only)
+2 / Plant Control
+2 / Regeneration (Needs organic matter to replenish)
+2 / Shape/Size-shifting (Size needs organic matter transfer)

Miscellany
Vulnerable to combustion

Bio:

Kamole Kealoha
codename: Siaosi {see-ah-Oh-see / ‘earth-worker’}
Father: Keone Kealoha; ED of Malama Kaua’i, Partner in Kaua’i Eco-Rountable

Saturday, 12/13/2008
North Kaua’i

He turns on the portable radio and adjusts the antenna near the window trying to hear the announcements over the rain driving against the glass and roof of his home. In the dusk like twilight of early afternoon he tries to use the lightning flashes to see the dial and tune to the local weather station’s channel.
”…A TORNADO WARNING CONTINUES UNTIL 115 PM HST FOR THE ISLAND OF KAUAI IN KAUAI COUNTY
AT 1246 PM HSTNATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR CONTINUED TO INDICATE A TORNADO. THIS TORNADO WAS LOCATED OVER PAKALA VILLAGEMOVING NORTHEAST AT 35 MPH.
A TORNADO MAY ALREADY BE ON THE GROUND. IF YOU ARE IN THE PATH OF THIS DANGEROUS STORMMOVE INDOORS AND TO THE LOWEST LEVEL OF THE BUILDING. STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS. IF DRIVING…DO NOT SEEK SHELTER UNDER A HIGHWAY OVERPASS.”
“Damn” Keone mutters to himself thinking that the Koloa Sugar Mill and the new algal farm are not safe. If the storm harms the systems, it will severely stall the progress he’s worked so hard for these last two years. “Kamole, get suited up. We’re headed to the mill. The systems need to be shut down manually so they don’t crash and fry the hardware during this storm.”

“Right dad, already on it.” is the reply from the young college student.

This is no Sunday drive. Weathering this storm in a four wheel drive jeep would be brave. Tossing yourself and son out in a Toyota Prius is near fanatical zealotry. That however, is the level of dedication which the Kealoha family has for the socio-ecological impact they hope to achieve through the KSM Algal Farm project.

Finally arriving at KSM, they pause staring out at the water pouring down so hard they can hardly see the buildings of the complex. As one they turn to each other and say with conviction “Malama aloha aina”, then open the doors of the Prius and dash towards the huge dark shape they hope is the main building and not a downed Koa tree.

Once inside part of their fears are confirmed. As with their home and much of the area they’ve driven through to get here, the main municipal power is out and the backup systems are drawing from the solar batteries. That in itself is not such a perilous problem. It simply requires a few switches to be thrown after getting to the server console, forcing a shut down of the OS so they can unplug it and severe the connection to possible surges. The more difficult and dangerous issue is that the wind turbine needs to be manually disengaged since the overrides failed and the gale force winds of the nearby tornado could cause serious damage. Kamole takes that task upon himself knowing that his decade and a half of Mau Rakau training gives him a decent physical advantage over his father’s ability to climb the tower and throw the clutch in this weather. Going to the upper floor, he opens the ceiling hatch and heads out onto the roof in order to begin climbing the ladder above the green house.

Calling the effort challenging is an understatement. The rain is so heavy that visibility is limited to several yards. The rungs of the ladder are slippery and vibrating from the buffeting winds whipping through the structure. His clothing acts like a wing-suit catching the wind and trying to rip him off with each gust. Finally he reaches the turbine housing and is able to disengage the clutch and let the prop spin freely.

Then it happens, just as he is relieved from completing his task. The wind catches him and twists his body while his boots slip on the platform. With the rain in his eyes and falling awkwardly he blindly reaches out to grab hold of anything to keep from falling. His fingers find smooth and slick surfaces until they are able to surround a cable. Desperately clutching now with both hands which slip along the life line he has found, he continues to tumble off the platform as the anchors attaching the cable give way to his unaccustomed weight. The further he falls while holding this tenuous cable, the harder his body drags against the insufficient staples, but his body is reacting without thought and simply clutches harder to the snake like thing in his grasp.

Everything slows down, his perception is able to filter and process his senses into a manageable stream. He has fallen off the edge. The wind is whipping his legs and feet around the pivot point of his hands clutching onto the cable he is sliding down and which is following him. There is only 15’ left before he strikes the glass above the algal tanks. The hairs on his wrists stand up, followed by his arms, neck, head and chest. Five feet to go, curl into a ball despite the static tingling all over his wet skin. Hands won’t let go of the grounding cable. In fact, they’re starting to spasm and clench tighter. Breath knocked out of his lungs from impact with the glass and slight pause as it tries vainly to resist his striking blow before shattering and allowing him through. Smell of ozone as the St. Elmo’s Fire begins dancing along the cable and intensifying his aura. Hitting the surface of the algal vat with force only slightly lessened from the glass’s resistance again causes him to cough out what little remaining breath he had.

Then he can no longer distinguish anything; sight, sound, smell, sensations of any sort are burned from his consciousness. Blue white light everywhere while his every muscle responds to the abundant electrical charge flowing through it. The pain elicits a scream of agony, but his empty lungs try to draw in as much air as possible to deal with the crisis. There is no air available; he is completely submerged in the fuel algae. Sphincters dilate; his whole body is opened to the blue-green fluid which is also being fried by the lightning strike directed through it by the rod and cable pulled in with this thing flailing about. Cellular membranes burst and nuclei collide in a desperate struggle to survive and grow stronger through cooperation. If his brain were processing anything, he may have felt the compression wave of the thunder or the algal oil igniting.

As it is, he can’t even choose whether to panic or wait as his father rushes to put out the fire before it spreads to the other vats prior to even contemplating pulling his son’s seemingly lifeless body out from under the flames. Keone is terrified at his son’s condition; badly burned and not breathing. He first turns the body over and attempts to Heimlich as much liquid out as possible. Some clear fluid trickles out before he performs mouth-to-mouth forcing his own breath into his son’s lungs who coughs up more clear liquid. Keone then begins CPR on Kamole, hoping beyond hope that Hina hears his prayers and keeps his son alive.

Knowing that he has to keep CPR going or he’ll lose his son – he calls 911 and continues CPR until the ambulance arrives in the storm. The EMTs take over and get Kamole on route to the Wilcox Memorial. With CPR seemingly ineffective, they begin administering defibrillation shocks sending more and more current through Kamole’s already battered body. When they notice his skin tingeing toward blue where it’s not charred, they administer oxygen through the CPR mask.

Once at the ER, there is finally a weak pulse underneath his burned flesh. But he is still blue and not breathing on his own. Kamole is taken to the burn unit and treated as best they can while keeping a line of oxygen in the air they force into his lungs. His burned skin is peeled away and slathered in ointment covered with rolls and rolls of gauze bandage. There is not enough left anywhere for grafting, he will most likely be scarred for life. Having done all they can the burn staff send him to ICU looking like a badly mummified new corpse who can’t breath on his own. He is put into an oxygen tent with heavy tranquilizers for the pain he’d be in if he were conscious. The medical staff is becoming quite worried and confused about the poor boy. His pulse has become stronger, but he’s still not breathing and turning from a blue tinged pink towards a brownish bluish gray as the night goes on.

Dawn’s light streams into the windows of the Wilcox ICU ward falling softly upon a very curiously fragile young man. His face seems to turn towards the sun’s rays of it’s own volition, for surely the unconscious boy can’t control his body with all the pain killers and damage he sustained in yesterday’s accident. In a short time one of his hands reaches up to pull away the linen which covers his chest in shadow. Now exposed to daylight, what’s left of his skin begins to tinge further away from a healthy pink but slightly green within the brownish blue-gray. Doctors and nurses aids have gathered around trying to keep his father out of the way while they attempt to figure out how to help the young man whose chest is now belaboring to breathe.

However, it is only his father who notices that his son’s hands are trying to remove non-existent coverings where the staff is casting shadows. His mind racing, he can’t believe the absurd ideas that are forcing themselves to be understood. Only clear liquid was extracted from his son at KSM, his skin and flesh turned bluish, his lungs won’t expand on their own, no matter how much oxygen is presented to his son’s body it won’t process, his body is reacting to photo-tropism, the slight greenish tingeing can only be weak attempts at photosynthesis . . .

Keone starts raving “Get away from him! Get him out of that tent, he can’t breathe oxygen anymore!” This drastically reduces the confidence which the staff had at Mr. Kealoha’s ability to be rational. They try to calm him down and remove him from the area. He reaches through and grabs the plastic sheet of the oxygen tent and rips it away. Immediately Kamole’s body relaxes and begins to breathe in all the staff’s carbon dioxide exhalations, stunning nearly everyone into immobile silence. Keone picks himself out of the grasp of his would be assistants and calmly steps closer to his son. “He’s not entirely human anymore. Somehow the algae fused into his metabolism and he’s more plant that mammal now.”

Hearing his father’s voice, Kamole smiles weakly and whispers “Malama aloha aina”.

  • * *

Over the following months, the transformation has continued to progress. Where once young Kamole was flesh, blood & bones – now he is flesh-like algal pudding, sap & wood.

  • * *

“This is going to take some time to get used too” Kamole thinks to himself. Waking up in the greenhouse is still emotionally very disturbing. I have to constantly stop the thought process of feeling like an exile thrown out of my home and away from my own bed. The physicality of enjoying dawn’s early sunlight is quite an invigorating consolation though. That however is the crux of the situation, I am no longer simply human. I live in two worlds now and must adjust to this dichotomy of new experiences.

The most basic and persistent change I can only define in some sort of empathic ESP. I don’t believe that I hear anything beyond normal human audible frequencies but I know what people are feeling and what the plants around me need. I’ve already adjusted the soil composition and watering schedules for our greenhouse residents, and they are flourishing with truly astounding and abundant flowers. I’d almost argue that they in turn respond to my needs as well. It appears that no matter where I lay down to sleep, there is a clear opening for the morning’s sunlight to shine onto me.

Our dog Reginald however is terrified of me. I suppose that makes sense. I can’t possibly smell like anything remotely similar to the human flesh I was once comprised of and still resemble. Dad and I find this entire fantastical system of the events quite the bewildering.

* * *

Experimenting further with this ESP, I have begun communing with residents of our greenhouse. It takes a bit of effort to differentiate my own feelings from what I am trying to perceive as theirs. In fact, the attempt in itself seems to make it more of an effort. When I’m not paying attention to this effect, I simply react to the information faster. If I want to trust this however, I will need to practice more so that it is a conscious effort and I can make sure that I’m not imagining this all as a grand persistent hallucination. I will not validate this with the semantics of a communicable language since I do not comprehend the intricacies that human verbal and visual communication is capable of delivering. Yet there is a portion of my consciousness that believes with practice and experience I may learn – that I am now merely ignorant of not only the language and form, but also the conceptual basis of awareness needed to understand.

As far as bodily composition, it seems that my human flesh and bone structure has been replicated in some fashion. My nails somehow seem to be a form of bamboo and need to be trimmed on occasion. We’ve also found that I regenerate much faster than a human or many plants. I know that I should feel pain when injured but I don’t experience it like I used to. When we’ve taken samples I have no qualms about sacrificing pieces of my system. I do tend to require much more ‘food’ afterwards, as if I now need the additional material to replace what has been lost. Subsequent to this, it has become apparent to me that my tastes have evolved to relish what most people would deem rotten. What I once considered ripe, now tastes entirely far too bland and inedible. It is not until food has started decomposing that I start salivating in anticipation of delightful tasting splendor.

* * *

It IS language!!! They speak in terms of light quality, moisture, nutrients, degree of heat, and feelings. I just don’t yet know HOW this information is being conferred from one organism to another. I can now ask for and receive answers to specific questions, hold conversations about the day’s light & nourishment that are depleted in the soil. They have even offered to always keep the shaft open for me throughout the day while I’m in the greenhouse. The rather confusing bit though, is that they have confirmed moving themselves so that I get the unobstructed morning light shaft. It was simply not part of my worldview that they had the consciousness or ability to choose and act on a set of external stimuli anything like that. Then again, I am now capable of auto locomotion only utilizing the same plant based fibers that they have instead of the mammalian muscle fibers I was born with.

Which reminds me, I haven’t gone to a Mau Rākau Wānanga with kumu Iolana in quite some time. Reentering training will help me get acquainted with and test my new body’s limits and strengths.

Siaosi

Truth and Justice Rumhann