We’d gotten back ot the base just long enough to debrief (and get Warden to patch up my bullet holes from Apex, owie) and hear that the other team had teleported back in when the alarms all sounded, up the elevator we went and Xaedas is there with Midnight. He’s wearing a really expensive-looking suit that suits him quite well…
When we get to the briefing room, Warden has got all the screens set up as one giant battle map. Something airborne is approaching, and the Nautilus has already disgorged its fighters to tangle with it. As it gets closer we realize there’s something on the surface too, as well as something under the water, and the Nautilus is taking fire within 75 km of the base. We can hear twenty or thirty Centurion voices all talking at once, I can sort of pick out what they’re saying but Midnight sums it up for us and advises Valkyrie, Seven, Red, Phoenix, Xaedas and Autumn to prepare for air defence. Just then, we feel the base shiver and hear the muffled “CRUMP!” sound of the artillery firing.
The Captain replies, “No, they can handle it. And it’s time we got them their new uniforms.”
Midnight looks at him, “You want them to get used to them in combat?”
He shrugs. “We did.”
Ivanka rolls her eyes and leaves again, muttering, “Yes, yes. I get, I get…”
" Black Skull has come with their airship and landship, and it looks like they found Megashark. You non-fliers, if the ship gets near us, they will try to board. Stop them. If they get to Lord Havoc, they’ll probably crack the Vault while they’re there, and we don’t want the items stored therein in their hands."
Ivanka returns carrying a box of discs about the size of a CD. Each of us grab one and Midnight demonstrates how to activate it (tap it against your front where your belt buckle would go) and tells us, You’re going to find it’s more than just cloth. Try not to let it mess with your head."
We activate ours, and cloth unfolds from it and wraps around us, and it sort of feels like there’s someone there with me… not quite in my head, more like behind my ear? Weird. Cassanova does an active ping of the suits and determines that they are not their own sentience, more like an emotional echo of their wearer.
Captain Awesome exclaims, “To Victory!” as he and Miss Midnight head down to the prison level. I make my mental link with the fliers as they take off to get the Black Skull’s air force off the Nautilus so that it can go deal with the landship.
X asks Warden to put up Megashark’s stats and starts reading them off to us, really, really large shark, natural and not cyber so maybe I can control it? I don’t know if my powers work on animals or not.
Looking at velocities of incoming vehicles, we figure we’ve got about two hours before they’re on our doorstep, they’re all moving around 35 knots.
We discuss what each of us might be able to do while the fliers are doing their thing. Shockwave gets started on a device to jam their communications. Lady Lightning hacks into their communications to allow us to plant some misinformation, and Cassanova starts figuring out what misinformation to feed them to help take some of the pressure off our fliers. Lightning then starts developing a computer virus to download into their system and puts it on all the media she can scrape up, even one of those old big 5-1/2" floppy discs in case it’s that archaic… the plan is that she and Pulse will teleport in to download it manually into their system and then teleport back here. Lightning and Jade notice some seismic activity along the ocean floor, Warden assures us that all entrances to the station are secure and that they are likely targeting the Vault and the prison. Once the comm jammer is deployed, the activity down there halts. Pulse and I had meanwhile been getting out deep sea suits for everyone and after he was finished with the communication jamming device, Shockwave turned to modifying one of the suits to fit Jade in his bug form.
Meanwhile, the other group’s hiding behind the Vipers, air-to-air dogfight with the two remaining wings of bi-planes after Cas’s misinformation sent one back to the airship and the other off to “support” the group on the ocean floor that was closing in on the “primary target” and then to wait for further communication… then they hit Shockwave’s big red button and jammed all the communications… At which point the seismic activity down below stopped entirely. Then the submerged contacts (Megashark and his handlers, presumably) increase their speed.
Our artillery goes quiet momentarily as we take a direct hit to the deck and it knocks out all the centurions out there. Jade and I get into our SCUBA gear, and I drop Phoenix and Seven out of the mental link so I can link to Lightning and Jade, and we head out the lower docking door while I’m asking Lightning for an update on Megashark’s location…
It is COLD out there. That’s about the only thought I have until I see the black shadow in the distance.
Jade, did you see that? “Tastes like… a really weird sharkfin soup? And you need to get out of my range.”
His shriek rocks me back a bit, the massive shape turns towards him and heads to him faster than we’d have thought possible. It’s huge, it makes Jade look like a snack I try to mind-control it but it’s thoroughly animal… so I go looking for its handlers. 3 of them with companion sharks that have lasers on their foreheads…
Meanwhile Cassanova has discovered that our new suits have built in communications and asks X why the airship just went off the radar… the response was, “Red Star make go boom!”
Lightning and Pulse take this as their go-ahead to teleport onto the deck of the landship… Pulse knocks off the crewmen with her pulse while Lightning gets to the bridge, where an officer pulls out his sword and pistol, she tases him and he falls to his knees, only to discover that her virus is useless because there are NO computers. At all. With the landship’s complement of Marauders pouring onto deck, they settle for throwing the engines into reverse and then demolishing the bridge before escaping. With landship immobilized and defenceless, the base’s heavy artillery rapidly pounds it into a smoking ruin.
I catch the mind of one of the handlers and tell him to order Megashark to go bite the landship. The other two start frantically messing with their consoles after Megashark veers off and Jade goes after one of them after punching Megashark does nothing more than scratch his chitin.
Valkyrie is apparently gleefully using a piece of what used to be our dock crane as a baseball bat. Although with not all that much left to do, the fliers are recalled to the base. Jade and I come back in through the hatch. I wonder at the gauge on my oxygen tank, it’s still reading “full”…
Lightning and Pulse teleport back to base just as the briefing room displays Megashark pulling a whale-flop on the landship, causing it to fold in half and start sinking… a whole lot of Zodiac inflatable rescue vessels seem to be zipping about gathering soggy Black Skull soldiers.
It didn’t take that long for the seismic activity to resume after the communication jamming, only we now pick up 7,000 contacts. Apparently they’ve got their own devices. Fortunately we got everyone’s suits ready, so everyone except Seven and Valkyrie suit up and Warden has us go down to the bottom level in the regular elevator, corss the hall to the other elevator, and press “down” three times. And down we go, I feel like the construction worker in that Bugs Bunny episode… or maybe this is what a vacuum tube message cannister feels like, we are shot down a big glass tube that isn’t precisely straight, 30 seconds for a 2 km drop… and as we get down to the bottom, we see the complex: 6 huge glass domes. Phoenix says, "This is rather freaky, it looks like it’s something right out of “Rise of Atlantis”, the TV show from 1972."
X says, “Well, we have The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’s Nautilus, original series Battlestar Galactica Centurions, colonial Viper Mk IV fighters, Star Wars Tie Fighters, A-Wings and X-wings. I’m not actually all that surprised.”
We can see Crazy-Frog’s war-bots parked in between the domes, surrounded by a ring of centurions, and X-wings flying by overhead.
Captain Awesome and Miss Midnight are standing there in their uniforms… “All right up there?”
“Yup, we got everything taken care of, we’re letting them pick up their men overboard.”
“Good. Here are the hatches, left, then right.” As we were waiting for the pressure equalization, I idly wondered what would happen when Phoenix let rip with a fire power underwater… but when we got out, her wings of flame went right through her breathing apparatus.
It’s really heavy down here, the pressure is pretty impressive and it’s gotta be right around freezing, I’m glad all skin is covered in these suits. Since I’m not sure about my oxygen tank, I decide to only breathe as much as I need to.
Looks like the glass domes are nestled here among underwater mountains, lots of broken terrain. We start to hear the thumping, but because water transmits the vibrations so well, it was a lot further out than we anticipated, nowhere near as close as it sounded. Cassanova is the first to sense their approach, incoming anger, about 30 targets. I wish I knew how they were running diesel engines down here like this, but there were a bunch of the marauders and a few of the terror-walkers like we saw in Switzerland. The warbots and centurions notice and engage, and Shockwave is able to go pinballing around through the enemy. I merrily start KO-ing marauders since I forgot my spraypaint and I don’t know how well aerosol paint works in cold water. Phoenix ends up against something like 8 marauders all by herself, and seems to be doing just fine… X flips them over and encases them in ice, Autumn makes a station for the centurions to retreat to, Jade tosses them around, the warbots toss the terror-walkers straight up, and the fighters lurking overhead torpedo them to flinders. Cassanova and Shockwave go patrolling around in case it’s just a distraction, but it does seem to be the bulk of the forces.
Red’s warp bolt does neat things down here. X ends up brawling with a cyborg officer inside a blob of ink. We
The final after-action report: Warden’s casualty report indicates that over half the centurions and snubs are in the parts bin, so Shockwave starts trying to put them back together. Midnight takes him aside and hands him a drawing tube containing the vellum original plans… and this is where he finds out that SHE is the sci-fi geek responsible for how everything around here looks… And I’d better get him to look at that oxygen tank gauge, it’s still reading completely full.
Lightning happens to be in the briefing room when Warden is just finishing up his post-battle diagnostics, and hears something disturbing, “Area secure. Contro returning to Titans.”
Cas gets someone to take him flying around to see if the Zodiacs missed anyone but it looks like they got everyone. Which is good, now we just have to worry about who to turn our underwater prisoners over to. We definitely don’t want to give them to the US or Russia, and Switzerland and the UN are going to be tangled up in bureacratic red tape for a few months already… Maybe Ottawa will take them? NATO will be mollified by getting some of the answers they want but won’t get everything.
We end up having a party to celebrate. I have a whole piece of pizza to myself. Red Star stays up late that night, writing a progran to hack into the Pentagon and purge his files from their records. All of them.
I get some more information on the surviving “placements”: Sara’s confirmed to be still in Sudbury, David’s confirmed to be still in LA, Nicholas’s parents were wealthy and he was kidnapped into an unmarked van, but no ransom was ever demanded, the follow-up witnesses were deemed unreliable, and there has been no sign at all since. Lisa S – original report shows domestic violence in her bedroom, but the officer in charge was reassigned and the case was marked “runaway”, I’ll have to see if facial recognition software can pick her up anywhere… Jeff – no sightings, no info, he just vanished. Eva’s been sighted in the US and there are aPB’s out on her for aggravated assault and some drug chargs, and Phoenix happened to see the list over my shouder, and exclaimed, “Huh! That’s the same path that Dr. Banner’s travels took on the Incredible Hulk TV show!” So now that’s got me wondering… I might have to dig into the police records for that, see what they think she can do…