james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Wanted to create a unit of enhanced lifeform super-soldiers, taking otherwise expendable kids, trying to duplicate documented Origin Events on them, then training them to be loyal and competent troops. So, in these effete days they might run into a legal issue over the child labour angle.

Could they disguise it as a sports program? Or dance? Nobody seems to mind what gets committed to make athletes and dancers.

Date: 2017-02-19 09:44 pm (UTC)
violsva: A graffiti white maple leaf surrounding the words Toronto Maple Waffles (toronto maple waffles)
From: [personal profile] violsva
if they disguised it as a sports program for disadvantaged youth, they could set it up as a charitable organization.

Date: 2017-02-20 07:42 am (UTC)
lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lilfluff
(fictional) Italian Social Welfare Agency light.

From the manga/anime series Gunslinger Girl. The SWA was officially a charitable organization that provided access to expensive and/or experimental medical care for those who had no other hope -- strangely the only people ever picked to benefit from the SWA's care were young girls. Because what mafioso would suspect that the cute girl walking by was in fact a highly trained, cybernetically enhanced, and brainwashed government assassin?

Set up some sports programs then send home fliers for a free sports summer camp. Subliminal stuff in the nightly movies. Chemicals in the food. Surely it's a coincidence all the camp counselors are active duty special forces.

Date: 2017-02-19 11:35 pm (UTC)
voidampersand: (Default)
From: [personal profile] voidampersand
This is simple.

1. Eliminate job-killing regulations against toxic chemicals, radiation, etc. in the environment.
2. Bring back red-lining so communities can maintain property values and cultural cohesiveness.
3. Pass strict but necessary laws categorizing super-powers as weapons of mass destruction.
4. When the kids with powers emerge, arrest and conscript them.

No socialist big-government programs needed. Whatever gross injustice you may desire can be provided by the free market.

Date: 2017-02-20 03:30 am (UTC)
violsva: Merida from Brave, with the text "Solve all your problems by turning your mother into a bear" (Merida bear)
From: [personal profile] violsva
Unfortunately that seems likely to produce a lot of kids with powers and grudges; much easier to grab them early and say you're teaching them teamwork and leadership skills to prepare them for excellent jobs. Like straight-out-of-high-school military recruitment.

Date: 2017-02-20 02:26 am (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
If you want to go notably dark with it, there's always the "conversion therapy" de-gayification example. You can do just about anything to children if you're making them straight.

Date: 2017-02-20 08:40 am (UTC)
beatrice_otter: Cover of Janelle Monae's Archandroid album (Archandroid)
From: [personal profile] beatrice_otter
Or making them "not autistic"! Fun fact: Ivor Lovaas, the same guy who came up with conversion therapy, also created Applied Behavioral Analysis using the same tools and practices, which he used to try to make autistics "normal." And while the psychologist community in the US has figured out that conversion therapy is dangerous and destructive when applied to gay kids, ABA is still the "gold standard" for therapy for autistic kids in America. And it is the only therapy that US insurance companies will cover. (Because of this, you do have to be careful, because there are some therapists who call what they do ABA so insurance will pay for it, when it has nothing whatsoever to do with ABA.

The thing is, with gay kids, the conservatives would be okay with anything if you say you're trying to make them straight, but there's a large core of Americans who would object.

You take autistic kids and tell people you're trying to help them be normal, and only the autistic community (and a few of the other disability communities) are going to be upset. Everyone else will think you're a hero for saving those poor children.

Date: 2017-02-20 12:51 pm (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
Unfortunately very true.

(I fall into the gap where people didn't generally know what autism was, and the ASD kids I'm aware of recently are sufficiently fortunate to have sensibly concerned parents and supportive schools.)

A really forethoughtful supers program will quietly invent something -- post-vaccination syndrome! -- to explain why the kids who are good candidates for superpowers need curing.

Date: 2017-02-19 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ffutures.livejournal.com
Four words - Sunnydale High swim team.

Date: 2017-02-19 09:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] murasaki-1966.livejournal.com
You forgot gymnasts. The amount of training, self-denial and bullying has amounted to child abuse. Also using drugs happens

Now, I love elite gymnastics, but it sure troubles me the methods that have been used in the past.

Date: 2017-02-20 12:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] realinterrobang.livejournal.com
The methods are still being used. Don't kid yourself. And in China, it's probably worse than you can imagine.

The Chinese would do exactly what James proposed without even bothering to camouflage it, and without really using "expendable" kids (unless you consider that children in rural poverty in China are definitionally expendable, which the Chinese government may) if they promised that the family of the super-soldier kid would be well-off in perpetuity. They pretty much already do this to recruit potential elite gymnasts.

Date: 2017-02-20 01:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seth ellis (from livejournal.com)
Globally, the escalation of athletic performance goals to the point that mere professionalism requires an all-consuming dedication from a very early age is probably the worst thing to happen to all branches of sports and athletics.

Date: 2017-02-20 02:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nojay.livejournal.com
You mean like high-school American football?

Date: 2017-02-20 05:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seth ellis (from livejournal.com)
Among other things. Nowadays, in some parts of the country, promising football talent is recruited well before high school. Twelve-year-olds start getting watched by the big football feeder high schools.

Even for less consuming sports, there's increased pressure to dope, or at least to devote your entire life to shaping your body in a certain way.

Date: 2017-02-20 07:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilfluff.livejournal.com
Apparently a big part of China's enforcement of the one child policy was refusing official government documentation to second-or-later children. Meaning no government benefits, no banking, no legal residence anywhere. I don't recall any word on the children of those folks but my suspicion would be that they're denied documents as well since there's no documentation for their parents...

So carrot or stick approach: Stick, just grab them, legally they don't exist anyway. Or carrot, "Your kid will get official paperwork, free schooling and training from elite instructors, and upon completion of training will enter government service with bonus ranks. All you have to do is sign this paperwork saying you'd like for them to enter the superpower initiative program."

Pretty much every country variation of this available. How many who entered the US without proper documentation will go for an offer of, "You get legal permanent residence and your kid you brought with you gets citizenship, a scholarship to this boarding school, rotc, and a college scholarship." With indoctrination and empowering during the boarding school.

Date: 2017-02-20 01:41 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
IIRC it's not that the children are denied documentation - it's that local officials don't register their births, for reasons of benevolence (or because they're running close to the district's "allowed" number of supernumerary birth waivers). The children go on the books once they start school, but that doesn't count against the area's "births over quota" statistics...

Date: 2017-02-19 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nojay.livejournal.com
Sounds like the plot of the manga/anime, Gunslinger Girl. The Italian Social Welfare department took young girls who were sick, injured, abandoned by their families[1] etc. and cyborged and mentally programmed them into assassins used against local terrorist groups. The first prototypes (Elsa and Angelica) were a bit rough around the edges and broke in rather unpleasant ways. Not a happy happy fun story but engrossing.

[1]The back stories of the girls, when revealed tended towards the macabre -- one was rescued from a pedophile snuff movie studio set, another was hospitalised after her father tried to kill her for the insurance money etc. One of the second generation girls (Petrushka) was a ballet dancer who attempted suicide when she got bone cancer that was going to require her legs to be amputated to stay alive.

Date: 2017-02-20 07:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilfluff.livejournal.com
Oof, yeah, I liked the way the series would bounce between cool fight scene and reminder that the SWA was screwed up at a fundamental level, nice interaction between a girl and hander, reminder that yes things are still Just Not Right.

But as you point out given their pasts there's an argument that the SWA's brainwashing and stripping (most of them) of their memories has left the girls happier (well, not Elsa, sigh Lauro what were you thinking?).

Date: 2017-02-19 10:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] w. dow rieder (from livejournal.com)
Well. You have just triggered a novel subplot--or possibly a novella--that is now busily writing itself using my brain. Unfortunately, not one that will fit into remaining plot space in the present book.

In other words, yes, they probably could.

Date: 2017-02-19 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ext-1732410.livejournal.com (from livejournal.com)
OK, so now a non-initiate shows up to open class:-) what happens next?

Date: 2017-02-19 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ffutures.livejournal.com
Again, see "Sunnydale High swim team", AKA Buffy S2ep20 "Go Fish"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_Fish_(Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer)

Some very bizarre behaviour from the modified athletes.

Date: 2017-02-20 06:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adrian-turtle.livejournal.com
Why should there be any open classes? This is very expensive training! Once in a while they have auditions or tryouts for the junior classes. And there are competitions with other schools...but the little ones have not been enhanced all that much, and the older students know how to hold back enough so they don't look very conspicuous.

Date: 2017-02-21 12:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] scott-sanford.livejournal.com
From the Incredibles: "But I promise I'll slow up. I'll only be the best by a tiny bit!"

Date: 2017-02-20 12:35 pm (UTC)
seawasp: (Poisonous&Venomous)
From: [personal profile] seawasp
Sports would make it easy to disguise. If you were clever you could make most of them look like accidents to the individual members. yes, someone running the numbers might get suspicious, but you could also suppress reports of any of the "origins" that weren't so obvious as to be unavoidably on the news.

That assumes you're in a reasonably open society; as others have pointed out, in China or North Korea you don't even need to bother with the handwaving.

Date: 2017-02-20 12:38 pm (UTC)
seawasp: (Poisonous&Venomous)
From: [personal profile] seawasp
Just remember not to OVERDO your experimentation...



Date: 2017-02-20 07:52 pm (UTC)
ext_63737: Posing at Zeusaphone concert, 2008 (Bill Heterodyne animated)
From: [identity profile] beamjockey.livejournal.com
I know a Phil Foglio drawing when I see one.

Date: 2017-02-20 04:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] timgueguen.livejournal.com
How about a Boy Scouts type program? Or something like the Air Cadets in Canada?

Date: 2017-02-20 05:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magedragonfire.livejournal.com
Keep an eye on what those 4-H kids are actually learning to raise...

Date: 2017-02-21 12:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] scott-sanford.livejournal.com
I'm imagining that the adult supervision turns out to be Hagrid.

Date: 2017-02-20 06:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] keithmm.livejournal.com
Claim it's a program for giving kids a leg-up in the entertainment/beauty pageant industry. From what I've seen, you can get away with nearly anything claiming it's so Billy can become the next Tom Hanks or Susan can be Miss America and be groped by some orange-hued halfwit.

Date: 2017-02-20 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ethelmay.livejournal.com
"We want you to write it down--to camouflage it. Only for the present, of course. Once the thing gets going we shan't have to bother about the great heart of the British public. We'll make the great heart what we want it to be. But in the meantime, it does make a difference how things are put. For instance, if it were even whispered that the N.I.C.E. wanted powers to experiment on criminals, you'd have all the old women of both sexes up in arms and yapping about humanity. Call it re-education of the mal-adjusted, and you have them all slobbering with delight that the brutal era of retributive punishment has at last come to and end. Odd thing it is--the word 'experiment' is unpopular, but not the word 'experimental.' You mustn't experiment on children; but offer the dear little kiddies free education in an experimental school attached to the N.I.C.E. and it's all correct!" --C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength

Date: 2017-02-21 01:21 am (UTC)
thornsilver: (cap and stark)
From: [personal profile] thornsilver
There seems to be either an MCU canon or MCU (Marvel?) fanon conceit that Red Room's Black Widow program has been covered up as a ballet school.

Date: 2017-02-22 04:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] keithmm.livejournal.com
Not fanon. In a Marvel Knights series, part of the brainwashing that Black Widow and her fellow agents received was believing they'd been trained by the Bolshoi. In the MCU, ballet training was also specifically part of the background.

Date: 2017-02-25 08:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] scott-sanford.livejournal.com
Aside from the training in firearms and poisons, is there any difference between the Black Widow program and a ballet school?

Date: 2017-02-24 06:37 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Not quite the same thing, but Steven Barnes "Charisma" touched on this idea. Also wasn't there a Westlake story about the sudden widespread use of science in sports (and crime).

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