Social Service – Variant Child Services 8

I know that if I was reading this, I’d be burning with curiosity as to who the members of the different teams are, and what their abilities are. Many of these people are not going to be a part of this story, so I’ve decided to give you all a sanitized version of my notes on the book. This is the stuff that Stella would know from working with these people.

The department is MUCH bigger than just four small teams of four supers. The only supers working there are the intervention teams. They’re expected to enter into situations requiring the skills of a social worker, but are too dangerous for normal human social workers due to the involvement of people with abilities.

There are dozens of clerks, researchers, administrators, and investigators. Several of them are intelligence analysts working directly for the head of the department. It’s their role to spy on schools, healthcare facilities, homeschoolers, and social service agencies to find evidence of abuse of or by people who might be supers or powereds.

They work closely with the FBI, DHS, and for kids abroad they work through the State Department, and sometimes through various military agencies when children of soldiers need help.

The department is headed by Lisa Black, a career bureaucrat who moved from the FBI to head the DVA’s child services department after she broke a child slavery ring. People in and out of the DVA have learned the hard way not to interfere her department’s mission.

Intervention Team One

Frank Mueller – Frank has the power to turn into a big floppy eared dog-bear thing the size of a horse. Even in his unshifted state he’s strong, tough, and heals rapidly. Though he’s his team’s guardian, he often defuses situations without any resort to physical force. A man who looks like Hagrid from Harry Potter, or a giant floppy dog six feet tall at the shoulder is a subject of wonder and joy for most kids.

Janet Hu – Frank’s teleporter. She can teleport by herself as much as she likes, but taking others takes a lot out of her, and people teleported by her are disorientated. She was never in the HCP, and like most of the teleporters drifted into working in VCS teams by accident, but stayed when she saw the good the teams can do.

Matt Lansing – Frank’s healer. His healing powers are slow, but allow people to regenerate and heal damage that they normally could not. He’s able to use his powers on himself to far more effectively than on others. He’s in peak physical condition without ever having to exercise, and can rapidly regenerate from anything that doesn’t knock him out or kill him. Unlike most of the healers and teleporters, he’s an HCP dropout.

Janet Smith – Frank’s ‘other’ she’s able to sense and control the functionality of her own and other people’s nervous systems. She can turn people into uncoordinated wrecks, or crank herself or others up to inhuman reaction speeds and levels of grace. Her power in this work is most useful for finding kids who are hiding, or finding people trapped under debris.

Intervention Team Two

Miriam Foster – Her healing includes the ability to adjust the hormonal balances and brain functions of the people she heals. With enough time and effort she can heal psychiatric and neurological problems like epilepsy, Tourette’s, and severe depression. Everyone in the department knows that she used to be a hero, and that she served with Linda, but nobody knows what their hero identities were.

Stella Hawkins – Stella is still somewhat belligerent, but being kicked around a bit has taken some of the bluntness from her. She’s been recruited because the team thinks a metal lady would be fascinating to children, and her power and training seem ideal for the role of guardian. Dean Blaine recommended her for the role despite misgivings about her attitude.

As revealed so far, Stella isn’t a shifter with an all steel body as her alternate form. In Super Powereds book 2 she transforms just her fingers into metal. With Monique’s help, Stella has learned that her power is more like Chad Taylor’s. If there’s any kind of metal in her vicinity, she can get a read on it, and then bond her muscles, nerves, bones, and organs with that metal. Now she has access to quite a few more tricks like:

Bond her body with silver, which is lighter and more conductive than Steel, so she’s much faster than when transformed to steel.

Bond her body with alloys of titanium, a trick she didn’t have access to because she didn’t know to carry a chunk of titanium alloy around with her. Titanium alloys are much stronger and lighter than steel, so despite Monique’s claims to not be able to make people more powerful, in Stella’s case she really has made someone more powerful.

With Monique helping to coach her, Stella can bond her skin with copper or silver, and the rest of her body with something non-conductive like lead. That will make Stella immune to electrical attacks, as electricity will literally roll off of her.

Tiffany King – Miriam’s team teleporter. She never went through DVA training, but she’s a potent and useful teleporter somewhat similar to Mister Transport, but more limited in range. She can only jump a several hundred kilometers at a time, and there’s a ‘lag’ between when she leaves and when she arrives. If she teleports from DC to LA she and the people she takes with her vanish from existence for an hour or two.

Gerald Jones – Miriam’s ‘other’ he’s an absorber who can both absorb and emit energy simultaneously, and can do any radiant force including kinetic energy. He’s one of the most powerful members of any of the teams. His combat skills are top notch, as he’s the only one to have gotten through most of his Junior year in HCP before realizing that he wasn’t cut out for the work. He’s also got the worst people skills, though in part this is intentional. His power is of less use if he cannot provoke people into hitting him.

Intervention Team Three

Linda Anderson – Team Lead and the first person to fill in the fourth team member position with ‘other’ instead of advanced mind. She has a strange form of advanced mind that gives her the ability to control and read the language centers of people’s brains. In practical terms, it means that she can speak any language even on just meeting someone, but her power can do a lot more than that. She can turn off people’s language centers, making them incapable of speaking or understanding anything. She can turn off an advanced mind’s telepathy, as well as several other types of power, and for the most part her power also acts like telepathy. If she turns her ability on someone full force, it greatly reduces their reasoning abilities. She can literally make someone stupider.

Miles Andreasson – Linda’s teleporter, and never went through the HCP. He’s an incredibly powerful and flexible teleporter with a worldwide range, but he can only do it a dozen times a day. Part of his compensation package is that he’s allowed to use two of those teleports for personal transportation, so he can live wherever he wants. Currently, he lives in a small beach house in Hawaii. He’s an amiable slacker, but gets along well with kids.

Iris Wilson – Linda’s healer. She’s an older woman, the oldest member of any of the teams, and over the years she’s taken a bog standard healing power, and become quite proficient with it. Despite the fact that she could make much more money with her power elsewhere, she is content to help the VCS.

Bruce Ramirez- Plays up being a stereotypical cowboy, since that works well with kids. He’s Linda’s team guardian, and though he appears to be a strongman he is instead a kind of absorber. His body will take most of the damage aimed at him by physical impacts or radiant energy and use that force to make is body stronger and tougher. He gives cowboy hats to kids as a means of charming and distracting them, this may or may not have happened for a powered kid from Chicago with a disgraced father.


Jamie Wei – Team Lead and another healer like Miriam, except his healing powers are more ‘normal’ able to do only what the best surgeons and medical care can do, but do it quickly. He cannot cure disease or do anything more fancy than reattach limbs if he has both halves. He’s pretty much at the bottom of the range for healing powers, but is an exceptional manager and administrator; often helping the other three team leads. He’s morally opposed to using his powers only on those that can pay the sort of exorbitant fees that most other healers would charge.

Jane Morrison – Jamie’s team guardian, she’s a shifter that turns into a humanoid elephant. She pretends to be Queen Celeste from Babar when dealing with young children. Of all the guardians she’s by far the strongest and toughest. Like Gerald, she made it to the Junior year of HCP training, but dropped out when she realized what it would be like if even one child saw her brutally beat down a criminal looking like a beloved storybook character. She tried to join a PEERs team, but copyright and trademark issues spiked it. She worked as a kindergarten teacher for a few years until Jamie’s previous team guardian was killed in action, and he approached Jane to replace her.

Lucas Carter – Lucas is the team teleporter. He was in a bush league super sports team, but after getting his arm ripped off (and reattached by healers) on two different occasions decided that he’d rather do something less violent. He was recruited by Monique, who also used to be involved in a super sports team.

Monique Lopez – Jamie’s team ‘other’ Monique is able to analyze people’s meta human abilities just by looking at them, though to be really effective she has to be touching them for several minutes while they use those abilities. She also has the ability to increase people’s control of their own powers. She cannot make them MORE powerful, but can give them additional skill and flexibility with what they do have.

In addition to the examples given in the story so far, Monique can make Jaimie able to inflict damage or reshape bodies with his healing ability, and Lucas gains the ability to do dimensional shifting and become insubstantial. However, she avoids doing this as much as possible, because she’s well aware that there’s an addictive quality to enhancement of any kind.

By contrast, she could do almost nothing for supers who already have a great deal of skill and control with broad and flexible powers. Chad Taylor or Globe would get nothing from her.

Social Services Chapter 11
Social Services Chapter 12

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8 thoughts on “Social Service – Variant Child Services

  • J.D.Rhyder

    Thank you for this reference! It helps keep all the characters on track in my mind, without my resorting to looking back through the story multiple times.

    I’ll probably follow suit once I’ve introduced most of my characters; though that might be a little while.

    Keep up the great work!

  • Leecher97

    Not to sound like a know it all but while not as conductive as silver or copper, gold is far from non-conductive. Keep up the good work, I love it.

  • Owen

    Gold may not be as good a conductor as copper or silver, but it is still very conductive (being the third most conductive metal after those two). Titanium is probably the least conductive pure metal readily available, although there are some alloys that are fairly common that are less conductive. If she can do steel, she can obviously incorporate carbon, and there are some metals that when combined with carbon are very poor conductors. It would depend on how her power defines a metal though, as most of the truly non-conductive compounds that involve metals are ceramic.

  • ShadoCat

    On Stella’s resistance to electricity, Gold is very conductive (look at the contacts inside a computer). All metals are conductive.

    The question asking for a non-conductive metal on Quora got this reply:

    “There are none. By definition metals are materials with delocalized electrons that travel with ease inside the material/component. The electrons are massive carriers of energy with charge so they carry current and heat.

    The worst metallic conductor of heat and electricity is titanium. It has an electrical conductivity of 420 nΩ⋅m
    and a thermal conductivity as low as 15 W/m⋅K. Alloys of titanium have even lower values due to the scattering mechanisms. ”

    However, electricity takes the easiest path. So, if her outer shell is gold, having titanium or, better, a non-metal (non-flesh) interior works great.

    • glenmurie Post author

      Right, so the trick is that Stella can now bond different parts of her body to different elements. She bonds most of her body to titanium, and her skin to gold, copper, or silver, and the electricity literally rolls off her back! 🙂

  • glenmurie Post author

    I cannot figure out how I got lead and gold mixed up with each other. Thank you for the comments. The issue has been corrected.