6:00 am. EST
Slingshot and Forester were slowly dying. 20,000 feet below sea level, in the center of the Atlantic Ocean, their tanks were running out of air. They couldn’t surface, for fear of the bends, and their time was running out.
Their minds turned to the unlikely chain of events that had brought them here… to their dark, cold doom!
Yesterday morning, both had been contacted by a mysterious government agent named Mr. Grey. Grey explained that the US was being blackmailed by SKULL, a worldwide subversive terrorist organization dedicated to global domination. SKULL is the most extensive, powerful, and dangerous such organization in history. They apparently have access to rare technology… and considerable wealth. Their legions are fanatically loyal and no SKULL agent has ever been captured alive.
The origin of SKULL is still shrouded in mystery! Some can date it back to the Knights Templar. In fact, it may refer to the mystical skull that the knighthood were accused of worshipping, before their order was declared heretical, and destroyed. Or perhaps, that is just what some would want us to believe! SKULL, and the Knights, has also been linked to John Dee (the court sorcerer for Queen Elizabeth I), Adam Weisthaupt (the founder of the Bavarian Illuminati), the Thule Society (the occultic order that inspired Nazi mysticism), and even the Freemasons. (The skull and crossbones was originally a Templar symbol, appearing on their tombstones. It alluded to Gol'gotha - "the place of the skull" - and the cross - where Jesus Christ died. The symbol meant resurrection to the Knights Templar. It later become synonymous with piracy after the Knights were outlawed for sorcery and blasphemy, and turned to piracy and banditry as their only means.)
“Which brings us to the present,” Grey continued. “SKULL has issued a blackmail ultimatum to the US government. They claim to have created a Tsunami Machine. They claim it was responsible for the Asian Tsunami. If they don’t receive $100 billion, they will destroy the Eastern Coast of the United States. Millions will die.
The US has 26 hours left to pay.”
With the Freedom Force still missing, Grey had assembled four independent superheroes in a Manhattan safehouse:
1) Slingshot: The malleable man of might!
2) Forester: The arboreal archer!
3) Sgt. Stone, The big WW2 soldier with skin of granite and a heart of gold!
4) Agent X: Black-garbed man of mystery!
(OOC: Feel free to insert introductions/ descriptions of yourselves, replies, etc.)
Electing to work alone, Agent X followed a lead he had uncovered in London, while the other three set out to find SKULL before they activated the Tsunami Machine!
Stone had a contact in Interpol who reported two ships missing in the Atlantic, days ago. Grey loaned the three heroes a prototypical government amphibious ‘Manta Craft’ to scout the ships’ last locations. After hours of fruitless searching, they were ready to give up, but then strange sonar readings appeared. With Stone at the helm, the three tracked them deeper and deeper into the icy black depths.
Suddenly, they were surrounded by hammerhead sharks!
A man-shaped object, moving very fast among the sharks, slammed into the craft, rupturing the ship’s hull. The Manta Craft came apart, but not before Forester donned a pressurized dive suit, and Slingshot grabbed an air tank and a flashlight. KRASHHOOOOOMMM!!!!
In the roaring chaos, the two lost track of Sgt. Stone! The hammerheads dispersed as Slingshot and Forester hid among the jetsam of the lost craft. Slingshot’s near-invulnerable skin protected him from the crushing pressure of the depths almost as well as Forester’s suit protected him. His quiver of arrows was beside him inside the suit.
Hours passed. Running out of air, and fearing the bends, the two could only ascend far too slowly. The oxygen tanks were almost empty now and things looked hopeless! In six hours, the US would pay or SKULL would activate the Tsunami Machine!
Then, fate stepped in. Another Manta Craft appeared before the desperate heroes! The two swam to catch it, but not before it was engulfed by a swarming school of hammerhead sharks!
Fearing the worst, Slingshot reformed his massive elastic body into a sort of giant ray. With Forester hanging on, the two just barely caught up to the craft as Slingshot began to black out from lack of air. He crashed into the top of the ship, much harder than he intended, and part of his giant shape pressed into the Manta Craft’s control fins, driving it downward.
Slingshot awoke again as the Manta Craft began to glow with golden light. The light moved up and out, surrounding the Manta Craft in a spherical shape. The light was solid! And it pushed the two heroes off of the hull. They clung to the translucent sphere!
The now-shielded Craft was still falling, the hammerheads were swirling, and our two heroes’ oxygen tanks were now both completely out of air!!
OOC: PCs can hold their breath for Endurance combat turns, at a cost of 2 PP per turn.
"I’m happy to meet you, Slingshot,” Forester says warmly, as he extends his arm outward to shake hands. “And I’m glad to see you don’t carry around a real slingshot and super-powered stones. It’d be a shame if we started tripping over each other.” Forester points his thumb upward, hitchhiker style, to draw attention to the bow and arrows on his back.
"There's something I'm still not tracking on," Forester said, gesturing to Mr. Grey. "SKULL has been up to its eye sockets in mysticism since the very beginning, yet the Tsunami Machine sounds like a strictly technological device. Are we dealing with a 'new' SKULL, or is hocus-pocus just part of their hype?" Forester wanted to meditate on these points privately before the mission began.
(later…) Miles below sea level, with an arsenal of arrows sealed inside his diving suit, Forester is definitely out of his element. Archery skills alone won’t get him out of this aqua mess. Forester continues to grip the mysterious sphere that had appeared out of the blue (blue water, that is) only moments before. It may be his best hope for survival. With Zen-like awareness, the out-of-place archer tries to detect anything helpful, or even more unusual, about the translucent object and his fishy surroundings. Then if actions permit, he tries to evade, since those circling sharks sure don’t seem friendly.
I'll hold my actions for one of the three following things, they are in order of importance.