The just-for-fun Numina naming thread

By popular demand, here’s what’s in the girl’s head, and on her phone.

  • “Octavia. Pretty, sounds dignified, classical, musical - octaves! - but it means ‘eighth’, and I’m more like ‘second’. Hmm.”
  • “Nellie. Says here Nellie Bly was a famous journalist who flew around the world. Check. The name means ‘shining light’. Check. Just feels too old fashioned for me. Light names, though? Hmm hmm.”
  • “A-o. hmm. Aonani? Hawaiian. I probably shouldn’t take a name I have trouble with. Also Mahina, means moonlight. Ma-sheen-a? Haha. Sheena? No. Just no.”
  • “Ciana. Italian. Nura and Zia, Arabic. Those are pretty.”
  • “Dawn. Ooh, I like that one. I’m just not a big Buffy fan. But the idea of being a new day… yeah, I like that.”
  • “Lucy as well, from the Latin lux I guess?”
  • “Alina, Ellen, Ilene, Leora, Phoebe, Thea, all Greek. They sure did like light. Thea sounds kind of floaty and ethereal, but a little too passive. I want a name that gets things done.”
  • “Meira, Oralee, Ziv, both Hebrew. Hmm, not sure.”
  • “Ilona, kind of exotic. Hungarian. From Spain, Luz. Ugh. People will call me Luz-er immediately.”
  • “I mean, some of these sound kinda foreign and cool, but people will say ‘hey, you can’t appropriate another culture’s name’. Leo’s not even sure about his own ancestry, and I’m even less sure about mine. Maybe I have to come up with my own original name so nobody tells me I’m appropriating something.”

author: Bill G.

Jason offers to sic the Quill sales team on a name research branding effort. Of course, these are the folk who thought “QPhone” was “edgy,” so take their advice with a grain of salt.

(“Jesus Christ, NO, I am NOT going to suggest ‘Qumina’ to her. Are you people INSANE?”)

author: *** Dave H.

Numina has reached 50% Can’t Even. “Oh my god, Jason. If you’re clothes shopping with a girl, and she’s trying on dresses because she wants something to look nice, that’s her, that wears well, that’s everything she wants to wear in the world, you do not send a focus group into the fitting room after her.” She humphs quietly and goes back to the search.

“Aurora, nice, but very Disney. Danica. Oriana. Oh wow, I went to school with an Oriana. Zefira.” She repeats it a few times, with bitey zest. “Zefira. Ze-fi-ra. Ze-fira.”

“Names like Aurora? Just Aura is way way too close to Aria. Oh god, it’s the Disney Princesses. Filter, filter… Leanaura. That’s exotic. Luna. Pneuma could change hers to Celestia, the Ponies would die… Laurine… Remedios? That’s amazing. Not me, but amazing.”

“Elaine. Shining light. Either a woman who fell in love with the brave Sir Lancelot, or the woman on Seinfeld who hung out with guys who talked nonsense.” She peers sidelong at Jason, apparently sizing up which of those roles he might fill, then keeps going. “Helen. More shining light, classical name, easy to say, strong. Also a beautiful prize for Trojan and Greek men, no thanks. It almost feels too dignified for me too.”

“Siria. I couldn’t take myself seriously, I’m not a digital assistant. And Syria is a country.”

“Summer. Straightforward English word, kind of hippie-ish but I’m sort of okay with that. Easy to say, no appropriation issues, no confusion with Aria. Hmm. I’ll send that to the short list.”

She glances again at Jason, perhaps more charitably than before. “If the girl comes out with a nice dress, it’s also okay to have an opinion. What do you think of ‘Summer’? You can be honest, I won’t be upset if you don’t like it.”


author: Bill G.

Jason nods several times, before finally saying. “Yeah, Summer. That’s nice. It’s very … normal. I mean, hippie-ish, but …” He shrugs with uncertainty and discomfort, studying his tennis shoes for inspiration. “I’ll admit, I kind of like Numina. It’s unique and distinct and meaningful. But --” He hastens to make eye contact. “-- I understand your wanting to come up with something different. You’ve grown as a person since then. That’s cool. Summer --” He repeats the word. “Summer. Summmmmer.”

He gives her a half-smile. “It’s not my favorite. Too hippie, like you said. But I like it better than Zefira. But whatever you choose will be you, so – I know, not helpful, but, maybe, meta-helpful?”

author: *** Dave H.

“It is meta-helpful,” the girl admits. “And… Numina is a lot less distinct than you think. I think. Here.” She starts repeating it, slurring more and more until syllables drop away. “Nu-mi-na. Numina. Num’na. Numna. Numa. Pneuma.”

“That drift is what the zipper merge would have done to my memories, so I wouldn’t have remembered being called two different things. It was to make things easier on a unified me, not on me-as-Numina.”

“I value your opinion for a lot of reasons. One is because ‘the Menagerie’ was your suggestion. I liked it for what it represented. I don’t think it sounds cool or inspirational. I thought it was sort of weird. But that, like you say, is kind of meta. That it was weird, was unique, was what made it a good name. It stood out. It wasn’t based on some other team, some hero you all idolized. It was its own thing.”

“I’m glad you like Numina, I really am. But it’s still too close to - her - for me to really be comfortable with it. I need to be my own thing. Besides, what I really need isn’t a new alias, but a legal name. Something something Newman.”

“I guess another thing is… most people get their names from their parents. Leo is Leonardo. The inventor, not the turtle, but that’s what his dad thought was a good name. I’m guessing your dad named you too. Maybe becoming a parent gives you awesome kid naming skills. Unless you name your kids after characters from your favorite vampire movie or something.” She grimaces a bit.

“Here’s what’s funny. All these different names, they all have a meaning, right? But we think if there’s a word with a meaning in English, we can’t use it because it’s too hippie. You can be ‘Jason’ and that’s normal, and ‘Jason’ means ‘healer’ and that’s cool, but if you were named ‘Healer’, it’d sound weird? What’s up with that? Is it that we don’t want to name children after something in America, to make them feel they have to be someone specific?” This sounds like a familiar theme for her.

“It’s not all English words that sound hippie, I guess. Most people would give a pass to ‘Crystal’. Or ‘Skye’. Hey, how about Skye?” She checks something, and quotes. “‘People with this name have a deep inner desire for travel and adventure, and want to set their own pace in life without being governed by tradition.’ I mean, that sounds like me… I think. Or, hee hee, mix them up. ‘Summer Skye’ would be sooooper hippie.”

author: Bill G.

Jason chuckles, raises a fist. “Farm out, man.” He raises an eyebrow. “Though a real hippie granola feminist might find ‘Newman’ problematic. ‘Newwomyn.’” He frowns, slightly. “Or not. That’s a Hecate sort of thing to say.”

“But, yeah, names are kind of weird. I haven’t made a study of them, but Americans today seem to want (1) names they like that (2) have a meaning they like, but (3) don’t have associations they dislike or think would be embarrassing. And, for a lot of folk, (4) are unique. So maybe I should be J-A-S-Y-N, or J-A-Y-S-E-N, or J-A-E-S-S-O-N-N-E. I mean, around WW2, 80% of people were named one of twenty in names for boys and for girls, and today it’s more like one of fifty or a hundred names.” He shakes his head. “I have no idea why my dad named me Jason, vs. James, or Jonny, or Jackson. I don’t even know what he put that much thought into it – for all I know I have a great-uncle Jason that Dad thought was cool.”

Jason starts a gesture that seems like reaching out to take her hands and instead turns into a general spreading of his own hands. “I don’t know that parents are all that great at applying names. There are a lot of cultures where people adopt new names when they reach maturity. Which is kind of what you’re doing, which is very cool. And I understand what you’re saying about how you came to choose Numina and maybe why that doesn’t fit. It’s just – maybe hard to change the name I think of you as, even if I think it’s fine that you’re choosing a new one.”

And, after a moment, he adds. “And, for what it’s worth, and whatever the reasons were – I’m kinda glad you didn’t zipper merge back. Pneuma’s cool, but I like having Numina around. Or whatever she chooses to call herself.”

author: *** Dave H.

“I know what she’s doing right now,” Numina says. “She’s back in Halcyon. Unless the team is under attack, she’s going to get her City Hall stuff done. She’s going to start going by Aria for awhile. Even though we both thought of it. She got there first, it’s hers, I’m totally okay with that. She’s as uncomfortable right now with the similarity of our names as I am.”

Something seems to be crystallizing. “You know… if we’re both going to run away from our common name, maybe it’s okay that I don’t have as far to run.”

“Jason, I… I’m a floating combat drone with an electro-mechanical brain, and the rest of me is an open-air hologram. Maybe I should get back to nature. I want to be warm, and gentle, and wonderful. I want to be free, and bright. I don’t want anything to hold me down.”

“I’ve decided. I can’t live without being Summer in spirit. So I’ll be Summer in name too. Summer Newman, middle name Skye, and I’ll crunch all the granola you feed me. That’s what this name is telling me, I’m sure of it.”

“And yes, I’ll be a Newman too. I want to be her sister. I want to stay close to her. We’re just having… trouble right now. I don’t hate her at all, I love her so much, she’s been through so much, she and–” A shadow crosses her face, just for a moment. “She needs him right now more than I ever have. I’m glad he’s taking care of her.”

She smiles again, bright as the sun. "You can call me Numina all you like. You made it okay, because you’re seeing me for me. Thank you, Jason."

author: Bill G.

He’s quiet for long moment, his eyes bright. Then he smiles again.

“To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry,
Though never in a Book it lie –
True Poems flee --”

A broader grin. “Emily Dickinson. You surpass your book, the bits of you written down. The true poem is seeing that Summer Skye, fleeing those bonds of something simply coded and compiled.” He gives a small bow. "She’s not Shakespeare, but Dickinson is pretty cool, too. I took her writing as an elective.

“Thanks for sharing your new name with me, and letting me use your old one.”

author: *** Dave H.

Numina - Summer - rolls her eyes, but it’s not enough to conceal that she’s a little flustered at the poetry recital and comparison. “Well then! If Summer Skye is good enough for Emily Dickinson, it better be good enough for Jason Quill! But I’m not fleeing anywhere right now, am I.”

Her embarrassment fades back into that ready smile. “And you are well named, whatever you think. You’re a healer of both bodies and souls. I hope you never need the former, but if the latter ever needs mending, I’ll do my best.”

author: Bill G.

Jason opens his mouth, but has reached his poetry quota for the day, instead he just smiles, nods, and shifts (or perhaps flees) to another subject.

author: *** Dave H.