Forester, Sentinel, Slingshot, Viper and Agent Grey.
6:35 am EST, Atlantic Ocean. 18,000 feet below sea level.
Time until Tsunami Machine Activation: 5 hours 25 minutes.
Viper barked: "Dammit Grey! He's not going to talk and his goldfish have returned!"
With the hammerheads just beyond the glowing sphere, the interrogation’s pace quickened.
Forester expertly put an arrow into U-Man’s left gill. He cried out in anger. The last of his breath was gone. He answered no more questions. His eyes were filled with hate and murder.
Slingshot crashed a big black fist into the back of U-Man’s skull, knocking him out cold.
The amphibian fell to the sphere’s floor in a broken jumble. Grey attached the strange breathing apparatus to U-Man’s face, saving his life.
As Slingshot predicted, the sharks stopped ramming the sphere. Slowly they dispersed, showing little interest in the hard, glowing orb.
Sentinel reformed the bubble, causing it to brighten a moment. (You now have 28 Power Points and, therefore, 56 creation points)
Grey said: “All right, get that net off him. Search him.”
Slingshot’s pliable digits combed U-Man, but Forester’s keen eyes found a small black piece of technology.
“I’ll be dipped in $*@!” said Grey. “It’s a tracker of some kind. Makes sense, I suppose. Ocean’s a big place. It’s like a digital compass,” he said, squinting at it with his one good eye.
“It’s pointing down, beneath us. And north-northeast. As good a lead as any. Sentinel, can you lower us? Maybe dim the lights?”
There was quiet and dark and a sense of descent, like an elevator that wouldn’t stop.
(OOC: At this stage, do you guys bring U-Man with you, release him into the water? Re-net him? Let me know your opinions on this, and the majority will rule. Thanks!)
Grey, perhaps sensing Forester and Slingshot’s eyes upon him, said: “I owe you lot this much:
I work for CHESS. That’s the Central Headquarters of Extra-normal Surveillance and Security to you.” No one had ever heard of this agency before.
“We locate, monitor and convert extra-normals like you lot. We protect citizens from any threat you might pose. In the old days, I was liaison between the Freedom Force and the US government. After Black Bat went rogue, and Nemesis was discovered to be the son of Computron, and Stentor was connected to the S’Korian Star Empire, CHESS’s suspicion of the FF alienated them… and finally resulted in the FF resigning their government sponsorship in ‘92. By then, my career was ruined.
“I’ve always had a rocky relationship with CHESS because I wanted to use the superheroes against the supervillains. Seems smart enough. But CHESS still sees you lot as a security threat.
“Starting a New Freedom Force will get my ass cooked. But it’s the right thing to do. Especially now, when there have been so many leaks from CHESS to SKULL. I needed outsiders on this one.”
(OOC: Replies at this point, if any. When conversation is finished, then…)
Sentinel’s sphere swam down, deeper and deeper to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
There was no sign of Lightning Strike.
After their conversation, the sphere needed to be fortified again.
U-Man’s tracker gave no indication of distance, just direction. And Sentinel was almost spent.
“You’re dead on yer feet,” said Grey to the beacon of liberty. “Crash this thing and we’ll swim the rest of the way.” Grey got his helmet back on.
They all geared up, let the sphere rupture and swam down down down for over half an hour.
The lights mounted on their pressurized suit illuminated little. At times, vertigo threatened to overtake the stalwart squad.
But the techno-tracker became their compass point as they followed onward and onward, deeper and deeper down into the fathomless depths.
Now they were exhausted… in spirit as well. They thought their eyes were fooling them at first, but then it was clear there were lights beneath them. They slowed and continued.
Then they found the light source, and their minds couldn’t take it all in.
Below them was a colossal leviathan! A monstrous, star-shaped mass that might have been bigger than a city block! Impossibly, the thing was moving… slowly through the depths.
The light source was violet organic phosphorescence!
IT was what the tracker was tuned to!
Stranger still, Sentinel could tell that the mammoth starfish-behemoth had energy coursing somehow within it! There was considerable bioelectricity, and some scant industrial “man-made” electricity! Could it be some kind of underwater spaceship?! But… it seemed to be alive!!
The endless layers of barnacle and coral that had built up on its surface over unknown years concealed its true nature!
The heroes stared in gaping wonder at the otherworldly star giant.
Re: U-Man: If Forester’s Tangler Arrow is still in place around U-Man (or easy to refasten), the archer says, “I’m all in favor of keeping Gollum with us—just so he doesn't come back and ambush us later.”
“Problem is,” he looks at his archery gear, “I’m not exactly equipped to the string along another beau. If we decide to keep U-Man as a prisoner, someone else will have to play tugboat.” Forester raises his shoulders and looks to Slingshot and Viper.
Re: Grey: As Agent Grey speaks about CHESS, Forester nods slightly and tilts his head a few degrees to the left. “I appreciate the candor, Grey. This background about CHESS explains a few things.” As a gesture of openness, Forester takes off his woodland hood, so only a thin black mask covers his face, revealing the hero’s Tom Sawyer red hair.
Then the archer says to Grey: “And while we’re filling in missing pieces, I’ve been meaning to ask about Agent X, now that there's finally some time to talk. Is there anything more you can tell us about how exactly he died or who his assailants exactly were?" Forester pauses. "Was his body found? It would be good to know what else we might be up against.”
Scratching his head, Forester pauses momentarily, then says, “So Grey, does this mean that Venus and Sgt. Stone also share your opinions of CHESS? What about the other active or retired super-types. Polar Bear and Kid Dynamo? Storm Giant, Intrepid, or Flexiwoman? Any word on their experiences?" When the Starfish arrives, Forester fires his long-awaited Corrosive arrow at the base of the one the cyber-mollusk's limbs.
What to do with/to U-Man: "Forester is right about this. Besides we don't know what to expect once we find their base. Perhaps U-Man might score us an easy ticket inside - maybe their base entry system runs on retina scans or dna codes or fingerprints ... (glancing at U-Man) or "gill" prints in his case."
"Grey, until recently the government had a bureau set up to taste tea imports ... a whole stinking agency for a bunch of old men to be sure imported tea to the US was up to their taste bud standards and if not for budget cuts, they'd still be operating! We'd have to be fools to think that there wasn't some right wing watch dog agency out there in the government for heroes like us. Your record speaks for itself and until you give us reason to doubt your motives, your word is good enough for me ... I'm just glad that CHESS was foolish enough to choose someone that wasn't a pencil pushing yes-men toady to put in a serious position so that this threat can be dealt with properly."
What to do in the shadow of the star giant: Sentinel tries to sense further regarding the energy flow from the star giant. He looks to see if U-Man's condition remains unchanged in the presence of this power and also tries to feel if energy flow has changed or exchanged between the tracker and the giant.
"Perhaps this is a space creature of sorts that crash landed that has been harvested for no good use by Skull and is now powering their base of operations, Sentinel speculated to himself, "Either way it seems stealth would be the best way to proceed until we can determine further what we are dealing with, particularly if we continue to remain unnoticed by it."
Sentinel would choose to try to get closer to learn more before making their presence known, and entering the ship (if it is a ship) undetected if that was possible, but the lack of communication with the others might not allow for this.
"Good work Slingshot. But now what do we do we do with him? Venus baby is still gone from our heads, so that means no back up to pick him up and I doubt we'll want to leave him on our tail. I s'pose we could tie him to a rock at the floor of the ocean and come back for him later..." (glances at U-man) "IF...we remember."
Grey said: “Starting a New Freedom Force will get my ass cooked. But it’s the right thing to do. Especially now, when there have been many leaks from CHESS to SKULL. I needed outsiders on this one.”
Viper: "Dammit! Are we the good guys or the bad guys then! You threw me a green suit and told me our country needed us. Now it seems like we're just pawns in ANOTHER ringmaster's circus! Grey, I need to know." Viper looks at the others for help. "I know don't know about CHESS, FREEDOM FORCE, SKULL who's it what's or any other troupe. What I wanna know is would you 3 stick your head in the mouth of a lion for Grey, for his causes, for what we're doing now?"
Viper stares out at the leviathan and shakes his head. He taps Grey on the shoulder. Holding his arms out and shrugging his shoulders, Viper gives Grey an underwater look of "NOW WHAT?"
Slingshot listened to Grey's and the others comments. "You mentioned that your career was done as FF disbanded. If you don't mind my asking, why is that? I'm not sure that I understand what you were doing back then with regards to the old FF and CHESS."
"Starting up a new FF might be the right thing because CHESS cannot do it itself, but what does that mean for us?" With that, he sweeps a arm across his fellow supers.
Star Giant: Somewhat slack jawed, Slingshot looks on. He's amazed at the sighs. "Holy!.. Do you guys see this?". The implications are staggering. The malleable hero is trying hard to roll with this punch. He thinks about this. After a moment, he unlocks a string of questions, "I'm not sure what we can do or what we want to do, but I think it's time to look at this a little closer. Sentinel? Can you go around this thing a little and see if there's a port or something? It hasn't been hostile yet, we might be able to simply board this and see. Does the signal point to this? Maybe we should simply move on to our target"
Still trying to figure what to do next, he looks around, sees U-Man. "Is anyone looking for sharks? He might be faking it." with that Slingshot does a once over to look for sharks.
[ooc] [move] I'm thinking in stretching toes to all members of the team and assume the ray form so we can stay together and get some locomotion. I'm not planning any hostile actions, but I'm always ready to defend one's self.
After everyone offered an opinion on the fate of their captive, Grey said, “That settles it. We take U-Man with us, all packaged up nice and neat in Forester’s fish net.”
Grey answered Forester: “Agent X is dead, murdered by agents of SKULL. We recovered the body. Before he died, he managed to get the blueprints of the Tsunami Machine to Doc Rocket, a top CHESS scientist. Rocket memorized ‘em before SKULL recovered them. We broughta telepath in on this one so Doc could tell us how to shut down the Tsunami Machine when the time came.”Grey paused. “Best laid plans…”
Forester pauses momentarily, then says, “So Grey, does this mean that Venus and Sgt. Stone also share your opinions of CHESS? What about the other active or retired super-types. Polar Bear and Kid Dynamo? Storm Giant, Intrepid, or Flexiwoman? Any word on their experiences?"
Grey eyed the curious kid. “I expect Stone does,” he replied. “Venus went back to her people when her husband, the original Paladin, was killed. The Bear was a Soviet defector. After the wall came down, he went home. Kid Dynamo and his mentor, Dynamo, had a falling out around the time the FF lost their government sponsorship in ‘92. The rest fell out of the FF before that.”
Slingshot said: "You mentioned that your career was done as FF disbanded. If you don't mind my asking, why is that?”
Grey said: “Because the idea, of the government empowering extra-normals to police their own, failed.”
Slingshot said: “I'm not sure that I understand what you were doing back then with regards to the old FF and CHESS."
Grey said, “I was assigned to give them whatever help they needed to get the job done. Sometimes that included giving them a lot of leeway. That made me unpopular in some camps… Camps that have been running things at CHESS ever since.”
Slingshot: "Starting up a new FF might be the right thing because CHESS cannot do it itself, but what does that mean for us?" With that, he sweeps an arm across his fellow supers.
Grey said: “That’ll be for you lot to decide, I expect. If we all get out of this alive.”
Sentinel’s speech ended with: “... I'm just glad that CHESS was foolish enough to choose someone that wasn't a pencil pushing yes-men toady to put in a serious position so that this threat can be dealt with properly."
“Thanks kid,” said Grey to the vote of confidence.
Viper voted the other way: "Dammit! Are we the good guys or the bad guys then! You threw me a green suit and told me our country needed us. Now it seems like we're just pawns in ANOTHER ringmaster's circus! Grey, I need to know."
“You need to know?!” snarled Grey. “WE’RE the blasted good guys!!”