Earth 81: Spoils of War

August 07, 2014:

One year prior to present events, Rowan provides security for the King and Queen of Atlantis during a tech demonstration in his home dimension.

Atlantis, Earth 81

The Atlantis of Earth 81 is a fortified camp, an arsenal, and a city at war.

Characters

NPCs: Blue Scientists, Killer Robot

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Earth 81, Atlantis.

Rowan does not ordinarily merit meetings with royalty like Arthur. However his superiors insisted that he be present when they march in the reprogrammed assassin-bot that he recovered on his last foray into the ruined military camp just outside Metropolis. The genetically modified Blue suspects this is mostly so he can be on hand to break the thing if it turns out that they haven't reprogrammed it quite enough. The eggheads are getting ready to make their presentation and, probably, ask Arthur for the first target. He hopes it's that asshat Overlord. Damn psychic cyborg has been responsible for most of the trouble in the immediate area. Him, of course, and his army.

The Blue commando strides into the throne room with his strike team and kneels respectfully at a distance from the throne. "Your Majesty." The living weapon says deferrentially.

*

The King is not the man he once was, he hasn't been for sometime now. Halfbreed that he is, many always suspected he was less Atlantean in his heart then he let on. Those claims have long since been silenced by the sacrifices Arthur has made. "Rise." he says, leaning forward so that the light cast by the biolume in the crystal floors and columns slides over his features. A portion of one side of his face was torn away in the battle with the Manta's forces years ago, the gaping hole where his eye once was sits dark and massive in his scarred face, giving him a pseudo skull like expression. The missing ear on that side of his head doesn't help the impression any. His head is shaved where there aren't any scars, allowing only for a golden beard. "Why are you here Rowan?" his tone is as it always is, warm, polite, kind… and aloof.

*

Mera stands beside and slightly behind the throne on Arthur's blind side, partly to show solidarity, partly as a silent reminder that any attempts aimed at him have to get past her.

*

Rowan rises, as bid. His team does likewise. "Your Majesties," He inclines his head respectfully again. "The Councilors of the Blue bade me present a tool of our enemy recovered in war. This machine was intended to be used against us. Our scientists believe they have sufficiently altered it that it may now be used against them." And he's here to make sure nothing goes wrong. Because when you're one of the fiercest warriors your people has produced in a generation, you get these kinds of jobs. Having a reverse engineered assassin bot attack the King would be bad. Not because it's particularly likely to hurt or kill him, but definitely because there might be a diplomatic incident because of it.

And his wife would be pissed. That'd be bad too.

*

Aquaman leans back in his throne, "Very well." he says, and there's the scrap of metal on coral as the Trident of Neptune that now sprouts from the stump of the King's left forearm shifts on the arm rest. "How do the Councilors propose we use this weapon of the enemy?" he asks the question in the tone that suggests he suspects what is coming.

*

Mera visually studies Rowan and each of his team in turn as if determining the best way to end each of them quickly should the need arise. She IS paying attention to the conversation, but as it's between Rowan and her husband, she can appear to be paying attention elsewhere.

*

The Blue strike team are… well, soldiers. Elite soldiers to be sure, and powerful hydrokines each of them, but Mera has seen Blue before and knows what they can do. Rowan himself, so it is said, can become a great sea serpent at will, or manifest other, more subtle transformations. His eyes are just… He's got the stare of a soldier too long in the wars. That too is sadly common. There is only war in these last decades and it's gotten increasingly ugly.

"By your leave, your Majesty." Rowan steps aside as a team of Blue scientists and dignitaries walk in with an apparently Atlantean woman.

"Your Majesty." The chief among them addresses the king with a deep bow. "By your leave, we wish to present to you this machine." He taps a few controls. The woman's appearance flickers for a moment and then she is a man. Then a woman again, then no longer Atlantean but human. And so on.

"These were being constructed to infiltrate and sow death among our people. Thanks to your valient soldiers, as well as our own Rowan, we have recovered this one from the ruins of the camp where it was being made. It's loyalty programming has been stripped and replaced, and it stands ready to use it's rather formidable weaponry for our cause."

Hidden blades, portable compact energy cannon and of course, superior strength, even by Atlantean standards.

*

Aquaman watches this in silence, letting the scientists show off their new toy without saying a word, allowing them to talk and talk and talk to fill the silence as it becomes clear he's not going to ask questions just yet. The longer he's silent, the more they talk. Eventually they begin to repeat themselves and there's a glint of gold as the trident's prongs make a cutting motion through the water signaling silence. He stands then and begins to walk forward. One hand holds the Trident Posiedon the other hand /is/ the Trident of Neptune. The amount of power in each hand is frightening, to have both held at once is… There is reason Arthur is King of the Seven Seas. He reaches out with the Trident, which collapses down into a golden fist with a creepy molten metal ripple and he runs his fingers along the bot's 'cheek'. "Was is possessed of AI, a remote piloted drone, or does it carry the mind of a psy?" he asks. Cyborg, android, or drone essentially.

*

"The chassis was developed for an AI, your majesty," The chief scientist steps aside for the king to examine the robot. "It had hard coded loyalties to one of the Psychic Overlords near Metropolis. It would have been too difficult to reprogram a cyborg brain." Not to mention somewhat unethical though that's not always a consideration these days. Desperate times, after all.

Rowan himself is standing off to one side, out of the way, arms folded, looking bored. The king and queen he is both carefully watching but until and unless something goes wrong or the royals decide they want to address him, he's just scenery.

*

Mera stays where she is, silent and observant, though she's prepared to instantly turn that … thing into a pile of scraps.

*

Aquaman nods as he circles the bot, "Do you know which one?" he asks curiously as he moves, slowly eyeing the bot up and down. He's… not so impressed. Not that robotics isn't impressive, it is, but a robot is hardly ideal weaponry for use underwater. There are bouyancey issues and while the Atlanteans are designed for it, no surface world bot has managed to make it to any real depth while pursuing Atlantean craft. Implosion is always a thing with them. Squish. Still… This shows a change in their thinking that Arthur isn't comfortable with.

*

The bot does seem to move around quite well and depth and the Blue scientists have not modified the chassis or structure in any way. This thing was meant to come down here and kill things. Which mean… it could operate from here without any trouble. Well, much trouble.

"The one who calls himself Occulus. Telepath and Electrokine."

Rowan rolls his eyes. Occulus is a player, but not the player. That's Overlord.

*

Aquaman nods his head at that, Occulus hasn't the stones to actually face Arthur himself, not after the tsunami event in Boston, but he's big on sending minions to attack the Royals. Death Ray the Manta has been known to deal with him, though why Arthur cannot fathom, for all his madness Manta is no fool and he suffers them not at all. "What effective countermeasures have you managed to develop in case they begin dropping these upon Atlantis?"

"We are currently developing devices that will disrupt their holographic disguise. Allow me to demonstrate."

The scientist places a small sphere near the robot. It pulses with light and the robot's disguise fades, revealing a metal skeletal creatures replete with weaponry. "Unfortunately they are currently short ranged and low powered."

The robot looks about, eyeing Rowan. Rowan eyes it back, arms folded.

"Do you wish us to program this creature for your use?"

*

Aquaman continues to eye the robot, "Rowan," he says, his eyes not leaving the creature, "What say you?" he waves the metal fist in the murder-bots direction, "Should we return the surface worlds weapons upon itself?" the question seems sincere.

*

The commando seems to consider. "Under ordinary circumstances, I should say yes Your Majesty." Rowen glares at the robot. "But in this case no. Not that they do not richly deserve it, but I am most uncomfortable with weapons that make their own decisions about who to kill."

*

Aquaman nods his head at the words, "This is designed to kill from shadows, to spread fear and despair among a people." he shakes his head slowly, "We are not so desperate we must resort to such lengths." His tone sounds firm and hard, and the knuckles on the hand holding the trident widen slightly. "Dismantle it, learn from it all you can, use its technology to improve our own, find ways to counter it, and when that is done… see that you keep its specifications on file." which is to say, don't destroy it completely. They are not so desperate as to resort to that yet… but yet doesn't mean never.

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