Catch and Release

January 06, 2015:

Rain is finally released from captivity. Sort of.

Atlantic Ocean, Twenty Miles(ish) from New York City

The Ocean. There is water.

Characters

NPCs: Atlantean Soldiers, Krang (cameo)

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Mera has been travelling about with the Surfacer liaison, Simon Williams, partly checking up on different areas of the ocean floor, partly showing the man around. A tour of sorts. They've just ventured into an area she's not been to in quite some time, and she stops, tilting her head slightly as if listening to something only very faintly heard.

~ Simon, ~ she communicates telepathically, ~ Do you detect anything … unusual?~ He's not telepathic at all, but she knows that some of his senses are surprisingly far more keen than those of the average Surfacer. And she doesn't hesitate to employ his abilities when they might be useful.

~

Last time Simon was in New York he ran into a strange fellow in the market, about seven feet tall, horns, lived in a weird old house that fell from the sky. So he chatted for a while and learned that the witch who owns the house was currently Namor's unwilling guest. Which, really, did him no good at all.

Until today. Simon focuses his hearing. His vision is already shifted around so he can see, more or less, even in the strange murky places. But it looks like where they were before, so he listens.

And there's a … sound? Conversation, maybe. But it's not something you'd ever expect to hear underwater, and usually if you do, it's muffled by the really noisy engines of submarines. So he nods, and signals yes. If she's using telepathy rather than speech, after all, it must not be safe to speak. Maybe it'll draw a sharktopus or something, down here in the Abyssal Plain you never know.

~

Under the sea~ Well, it's not too bad. Rain's a bit worried about this 'destroy all surfacers' business, but what's one witch gonna do? And in fairness, humanity has been pretty lousy to the ocean. But she's been pretty cooperative, all in all. Even if she's worried about Doctor Strange, Captain and home. At least the manor shouldn't be on fire, right? Nevertheless, she would do her best to be polite, pick up some of the local lingo and maybe learn about sea critters, shells and stuff. Magic is likely verboten and it's probably she didn't bring her guns - so she'd likely have a time of it anyway.

But there's plenty to do on the modified vessel, even if she might not have much luck befriending anyone.

~

Place: Modified Atlantean Warship. Surrounded by the Ninth Expeditionary Fleet. Atlantic Ocean. Underwater.

Days in Captivity: 48

The middle of an angry harangue, spoken in the Atlantean language by a gruff, militaristic voice. "… there's the cost of desalinating her drinking water, of course. Filling an entire ship with air for one prisoner. The team of chefs that you insisted she have. These… books, made from Surface World tree pulp. The platoon of our finest guardsmen, all of whom need to be in environmental suits just to be in the same room with her. And, most egregious of all, you've kept a dozen of our best mystics sequestered away on an air-filled prison ship just in case someone shows up to rescue her."

The bald, blue-skinned man pulls on his goatee, as if tearing it out would somehow drive his point home a bit further. "When will you finally give up this experiment, Your Highness? There is nothing to be gained by detaining this woman any longer. We should toss her out into the ocean and be done with it."

The Atlantean man's impassioned argument seems to be very popular with almost everyone in the room. Floating in the council chamber of Namor's flagship, several of the Atlantean Fleet's elders have come to once again make their case for dumping the Surface Worlder into the ocean. So far, they've been unsuccessful at convincing Namor this is a good idea. But, it appears they have finally begun to wear him down.

With his eyes closed in resignation, the only white guy in the room rubs his temples."Very well. She does not appear to possess any useful intelligence, and my hopes of using her as a bargaining chip have been… unfruitful. I will accede to the Council's wishes in this matter. But I will oversee her execution personally."

~

Mera nods back to Simon and gestures for him to lead the way toward whatever he detected. She's also 'listening' telepathically, though that really doesn't work well at any distance and for anyone that she doesn't know. ~ What do you hear? Is it a Surfacer vessel, perhaps? ~ It's rare for one of those to be wandering about this far down into the ocean, but it's not completely unheard of.

~

Air… speech in air. Atlantean speech in air. The accent is different enough that Simon can't make it out, not with his beginner's mastery of the language. But he can hear, now that he focuses on it, that it's moving. There are tiny sounds of motors, not the high pitched clanging whining ones found on the surface-dweller crafts, that make the whales go deaf, but something more subtle and quiet.

~Atlantean vessel~ Simon attempts to project. ~Not one of yours.~?

Something in the movement of the water tells him. It's moving that way, about a half mile. Ionic energy surges and he moves forward, approaching to visual range, but staying low towards the bottom.

~

The boarding party consists of Namor, and a complement of his Royal Guard. It's not completely unheard of for him to visit the prison ship, so the ship's crew isn't terribly surprised. However, they do stand just a bit straighter when their King walks through the bulkhead. As always, he's the only Atlantean on the entire ship that doesn't wear an environmental suit, a fact which has earned him a certain amount of mistrust from his people his entire life.

The ship's captain is quickly apprised of Namor's presence, and shows up in record time. The traditional Atlantean Forehead Bump is exchanged, and both men pretend to be completely unhurt by the collision of skulls. But aside from this, Namor has little time for pleasantries. "Where is our guest, Captain?"

The captain looks bemused. Apparently he's grown somewhat fond of his charge in the past month and a half. "Well, Your Highness, she's where she usually is."

Namor looks a bit exasperated. "She's doing it AGAIN? Human behavior is so puzzling. Come, let's pay her a visit. Also, I have written an order for her execution. Fetch me your largest knife." He begins walking down the hallway, as ominous music plays in the background.

~

Rain would probably feel pretty sympathetic towards Namor's dilemma, even if she's sort of a bargaining chip. She'd also really rather not be tossed out. So much for friendship, alas. But she does try to be polite, and she is curious. She is unaware of the fate in store for her. Death by sharktopus!? Nevertheless, she remains quiet and friendly. If she's given stuff, she reads it. She's not too sure about the Atlantean Forehead Bump, though. It would probably knock her into next week easily.

And Rain is kind of odd, even as surfacers go. Alas, she doesn't hear the ominous music as she's puzzling over something on a table. Hmm, hmmhmm. If they come into visual or hearing range, she looks over her shoulder, smiles politely and waves before - wait, Namor's here! Well she does stand and curtsey at least. No need to be rude. If she doesn't see or hear them, she stays quietly puzzling.

~

Mera smiles amusedly at Simon as she follows him toward the source of whatever he's heard. ~ You don't have to think so loudly. ~ She's communicating in Surfacer English out of deference to Simon's limited grasp of the undersea dweller language. ~ I think we're well enough acquainted now that you don't need to 'yell'. ~ As they approach the undersea vessels she can start to pick up the faint vibrations in the water that herald a vessel travelling. ~ Not one of ours? Then… ~ Oh. Namor. This could be problematic.

~

~ Sorry, ~ Simon replies, less force behind his surface thought. He's gotten more practice talking underwater, but his voice still sounds weird, sort of sharky-floundery, to be honest.

He finally hears something he understands. 'execution. Largest knife.' THAT catches his attention. Especially since it's Namor's voice, as best as Simon remembers it anyway. He hasn't said Imperious Rex yet, but … that's probably on the way.

~

"Leave me with the prisoner." The room quickly clears out, as Namor waits in the passageway between the section of the ship that has been converted into living space for Rain, and the rest of the ship. As soon as he's convinced that everyone else is out of earshot, he switches to the overly-formal (and overly-pompous, depending on who you ask) version of English that he's carefully crafted over the last seventy years or so.

"It's a pleasure to see you, as always. I hope you've finally grown accustomed to Atlantean garments. Far preferable to what we normally clothe our prisoners in, I assure you." Given the general motif and the depths at which Namor's people live, it's likely that Atlantean prisoners wear some sort of horrible leech monster as a garment.

He actually chuckles at his semi-joke, as if this is an ordinary conversation. But his tone switches gears very suddenly, and his expression grows darkly morbid. "We don't have much time. I've decided that you are to be executed immediately. Budget reasons, mostly. And my people think that you're an abomination. And the prison ship hasn't been cooperating with our stealth systems. And… well… there are a few other reasons, but I think you've mostly gotten the point." Taking a few steps closer, he looks downright menacing, as if he means to perform the execution barehanded.

"Which is why you'll need this." He holds out a very large, very red pill. "It was invented by an old friend of mine during my time with the Invaders. Swallow the pill, and you'll be able to survive underwater for about two hours. As we're a mere twenty of your miles from the coast of New York, you should have ample time to swim to shore before you asphyxiate."

~

Rain looks quietly concerned. She sees that the others have gone. "Uhm. Thank you. They're very nice." And she's glad to opt out of leech-tentacle-monster wear, thanks. She believes Namor and doesn't care to find out the truth. Her expression betrays her. If it worries Namor, it exponentially worries Rain. Really. She frowns a little. "Oh. I'm sorry to hear that," She rubs the back of her head. And then he steps closer. It's hard not to just bolt, but frankly - where would she go? Try to OUTSWIM them? Yeah, right. Dream on.

And then, the pill. Her eyes widen. "I - uhm." That's - quite awhile to swim. But she'll take what she can get. Still, the enormity of the dead isn't lost on her. She bows her head a moment after accepting it. "Thank you." Hey. Rain's definitely got a servant mentality and she knows she's way over her head. She's also just plain grateful she isn't skewered on the end of a trident or something. She's at a loss after. But she takes a deep breath. "Alright." And on cue, no sooner, she will do as told.

~

Mera detours a bit to use a bit of topography as concealment as she spots the first of Namor's fleet of undersea vessels. ~ That's what you're hearing, yes? What is his fleet doing this close to coastline? ~ She watches the vessels with partial curiosity, partial suspicion, partial worry. She's heard all sorts of things about Namor from Arthur, and she's short-tempered enough to take them at face value.

~

Rowan is swimming close… and he doesn't look like Rowan. He looks like a draconic humanoid with a tail cutting through the water. Mera'd contacted him earlier but he's short on details beyond 'please meet me nearby'. So here he comes, standard 'I don't really want to be seen' mode.

~

Simon's not … sure … he's hearing what he thinks he's hearing. It's in English, and it sounds like Namor, but it's actually reasonable and not ranting, which means … maybe the situation in the Southern Kingdom is not quite what it seems. Which means more chatting with Fury about strategy.

~I think he's trying to let her go. His … warlords? want her dead.~ That's consistent with what he's heard from the spy guys, that Namor has warlords, right? Well, the ones who will talk to the surfacer guy anyway. Living in Atlantis is strange.

~ If he releases her, we need to get to her right away. ~

~

"Unfortunately, this means I'm going to have to stab you. But don't worry, I still remember human anatomy fairly well. I'll run the blade through something that looks dramatic, while cleverly missing your fluid sacs and gills. This might make it a bit harder to swim, but I'm fairly certain that Captain America could do it."

He summons the crew back in, and the guardsmen quickly surround Rain. None of them look especially excited about the prospect of having to execute Rain. Apparently they've gotten used to having her around. However, they're more than willing to carry out their orders.

"Captain, give the order to purge the air."

The Captain presses a series of buttons on his crab-shaped wrist computer, and the ship suddenly begins filling with water. Within seconds, the water is at knee-level, and it continues rapidly rising as the ship's systems pump out all of the offensive air.

"Where is the knife I requested?" A nervous-looking cook quickly approaches Namor, presenting him with a large fillet knife. "Apologies, Your Highness. We had to clean the anglerfish guts off of it first. We were in the middle of preparing our new specialty: Anglerfish Tacos."

~

Say what. Rain listens. Her eyes widen a bit. And really, she'd gotten kind of used to the ocean peeps. They weren't too bad, aside from - well, one gets the idea. Still, a Namor stabbing probably isn't much fun, regardless of missing fluidsacs and gills. "I - thank you." Right. If Captain America… Rain is like, 1/32 of Captain America, but she can /try/. Dangit. She looks sympathetic to the unhappy guardsmen. She is, after all, the executionee. And unaware of what's going on inside.

She can but watch as the water starts filling. It's hard not to look a bit nervous, even if she does so have an out. And then, Anglerfish Tacos. It would be super adorable if she weren't about to get shivved. But she definitely sympathizes with the anglerfish right about now.

~

~ Her? Her who? ~ Mera looks toward the vessels again. ~ There is a Surfacer on one of those vessels? ~ Why? What does Namor have to gain? ~ Agreed. Be prepared to move quickly. ~ She then sends her thoughts out further. ~ Rowan? How close are you? A fleet of vessels — I think Namor — is here, and there is a Surfacer amongst them. They mean to kill her. ~ She looks at the various vessels trying to guess where the Surfacer is being held.

~

'… going to have to stab you …' Oh hell. Simon hears pumps start, which makes it hard to hear anything like speech … so … need to get inside.

He moves through the water like a torpedo to the ship that's running pumps… he looks at the metal in front of him, and with a single focused punch, he's inside. There's now a hole, and an ionic warrior on his way to … oh crumb. X-Ray vision would be SO useful about now …

~

~Close. Very close.~ Rowan thinks in return, slowly arcing upward from the sea floor and shifting as he does, going from draconic man to actual sea dragon. He cants his head as the sound of crunching metal echoes through the water and begins to speed up. ~Do you need a big boost or a small one?~

~

"Prisoner Number 2…" The fact that there is only one other prisoner before Rain says a lot about the efficiency of the Atlantean Penal System… Unless they use a weird numbering system. "… you have been charged with one count of being human. Pursuant to the laws of Atlantis, this is punishable by any method of execution that Atlantis' King chooses." Namor holds up the recently gut-covered kitchen knife. "As King, I choose… this kitchen knife. But I want the record to show that my cutlery options were severely restricted."

By now, the water is up to Namor's neck. Within another second or two, the entire place will probably be filled up. "Men, open the waterlock."

Two guards rush to the waterlock as quickly as possible, inputting the access code. The wall behind Rain slides open, allowing any remaining air to leave, while letting quite a few smallish fish inside.

Now submerged, Namor's voice takes on a markedly different tone. Water does weird things to a voice. He swims forward, placing a hand on Rain's shoulder. "With your death, Atlantis forgives you for your sins against the planet. Fear not, the rest of your kin will soon join you."

And with that, he runs the blade through Rain's midsection and pulls it out cleanly. Then, with a shove that only an Atlantean could muster, he pushes her out of the ship and away, but on a decidedly upward trajectory.

"Close the waterlock. Dismantle her quarters. I want this ship returned to normal operation as quickly as possible." He drops the knife, and swims toward the front of the ship where the rest of his boarding party is waiting.

~

Uhm. Number 2? Her eyes widen again. They could go either way. She's desperately trying not to laugh at the kitchen knife and somewhat horrified at what her crime is. She says nothing, though. Just staring with wide, violet eyes. She doesn't even notice the cute little fish. She is just quiet, hearing her sentence and the judgment. She doesn't like it. Nor does she dare dart away at the hand on her shoulder. Actually, she's pretty deer in the headlights about the whole— huh?

"Who's- you have-" There's suddenly a hole somewhere. And then she gets shivved. It still hurts and she tries not to - well, okay. It hurts and Rain's no stoic hero. She gasps and sort of puts her hands over the wound, as she's pushed up and away with a startling power. Still, she doesn't - seem to be acting oddly.

~

Mera races after Simon, and the moment he punches through the hull of the one vessel she solidifies the water around the vessel to keep it from trying to move away. But that means she's stuck on the outside, though is likely very much visible through the opening. ~ Neither yet, Rowan. But be prepared in case the owners of these vessels try to stop us from retrieving the Surfacer. ~ Namor departs rather hastily but she's unaware of it, concentrating on making sure Simon is able to get the Surfacer woman out of there and away from these blue-skinned undersea dwellers.

~

Simon is apparently too late to prevent the shivving, but it's too deep for sharks to catch the blood scent. Of course they'd be all over Rain if she actually survived to swim to the surface, but then Namor … doesn't seem to be in the habit of thinking things through. Too many warlords doing it for him maybe.

Simon moves towards the part of the ship where he heard Namor's voice, somehow getting a vague image of the ship's insides from the sound mapping. Apparently he's learning from the dolphins.

There are, however, a few unfortunate prison guards in his way and he's not stopping for them. They'll recover. A direct hole from where he is to where the prisoner was, based on the sound. The pumps are in the way, the pumps are no more. The ship makes a funny noise as a structural beam is bent under stress. Another funny noise as air is vented into a place that actually is supposed to be dry. And Simon sees the open lock and the stream of blood and the startled surfacer girl, and swim/flies ahead to catch her. It's rather deep here. And dark.

"I have you," he says in his weird undersea voice. It's comprehensible, just strange.

~ Mera? I have her. She's been stabbed. Can we get her to safety? ~

~

Rowan roars and pitches upward, shifting as he goes. "Simon, take to the air. I'll be right behind you with Mera." He's got no ability to heal but Mera can control water which means she can keep Rain from bleeding too seriously until they get proper medical care. The blue hooks Mera with a claw as he swims surfaceward. He doesn't drag though. If the Sea Queen doesn't want to come he knows better than to try to make her. Either way once he breaches he shifts to Air and launches skyward faster than he's ever gone.

~

It hurts, it hurts. Rain is pretty resilient but it still really hurts. She is only human, after all. Although, true to Namor's word, she does seem to be able to breathe under water. How strange. "…" She is quiet, wide-eyed. Although, she soon closes her eyes to deal with the salty water. Eugh. She just sort of - well, she would doggy paddle but then she finds herself… with company? Everything is reeling. Sure, Rain is absolutely grateful for the mercy, noted their reluctance and really, Namor could've skewered her with a flick of the wrist, and called it a day.

But… She wasn't expecting… Who is …? Everything is reeling a bit. She can only make a pained, confused expression. Maybe a sort of thank you. "Thanks…" Wargharble. Really, that's for all of them

~

~ Yes, Simon, take her to safety, as quickly as possible. ~ Mera is about to follow Simon when Rowan-dragon scoops her up in one claw and launches them up through the water and into the air abruptly. Her indignant squawk is VERY undignified for royalty, and now she's angry. Sadly, short of seriously injuring Rowan, there's not a whole lot she can do at the moment to get him to let her back into the water. "WHAT are you doing? We need to help make sure Simon can get the Surfacer to shore before she bleeds to death!"

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