The Tides of Blood: Detective, Friend, Hostage

February 02, 2015:

Following the events of The Tides of Blood: Blackmailing the Bats, the Caped Crusader and Queen of Atlantis have a chat.

Unnamed Underwater Atlantean Outpost

Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Depth? Incalculable. Batman tried, he knew the speed in which he descended, counted his breathing but the distance in the amount of time they covered was not anticipated - intentionally disorienting. He only knows a general location and it is nowhere near Gotham any longer nor Metropolis, east of the Caribbean Islands several dozens of miles. Obviously underwater further down than all but the most advanced Surface submersibles would dare attempt.
Inside a grotto the Batman sits on his knees in meditation in a oxygenated location, there is actual underwater plant life within the cavern he is held. A pool that acts both entrance and exit to the tunnel-ways that lead to the Atlantic ocean beyond. He has not put up a fight and has been silent, speaking to none until Mera arrives.
No cape, no utility belt - only his cowl and his costume. He had to swim briefly so his gloves are off as is much of the armor plating that comes with this particular costume.

Mera was initially VERY annoyed at having been called by a Surfacer requesting to speak with her and her alone, but when she learned it was the Batman — one of the people Arthur had spoken of to her and in a positive light — she agreed to take the time away from the tasks of preparing for war to come and speak with him. Her own journey was much faster, as she was able to use a portal of sorts created by a spell-caster to shorten the distance she had to travel.

After having made the Surfacer wait just long enough for her to arrive, the pool entrance to the grotto is abruptly disturbed. First by the three-tined head of Aquaman's Trident, then by Mera herself. She stops still standing ankle deep in the pool and looks at the cowled man with eyes narrowed in suspicion.

"State your reason for summoning me, and do so quickly."

"I was summoned by your own first. Rather rudely." Batman offers back as his eyes open and he gazes upon Mera, "Arthur's trident, you wear it well." Standing upright the man's head tips in casual regard, "I have information on Aquaman's shooting, information I was tasked to acquire by your Commander Tula."

Mera's hand tightens on the aforementioned Trident. She does NOT wear it well, not in her own mind. She carries it as a reminder to everyone of what she's lost and why she's making the decisions she's making. "Then tell me, and do not lie. I will know." And without any of the gentleness she is capable of, she attempts to delve into Batman's thoughts to determine whether or not he's lying. She's never met the man before so does not already have a mental link of sorts to him and thus has to forcibly try to glean the information she's seeking.

Batman's jaw clenches at the intrusion, an intrusion that has his mind slamming doors one after another. The psychic echo resounding before his voice in his own head is projected, "I know you can hear this. Get out." Amazing, something very few humans let alone normal ones are capable of but this man's mind seems to be a fortress. Near impenetrable. Yet only human, a very disciplined and well-tempered human - surely if she wished to push she could battering ram down doors but how exhausting would that be? And would it be worth it?
Beyond the mental struggle the Caped Crusader keeps his eyes locked on Mera and begins to speak,"Us cooperating would be much quicker, I have not come here to lie. I was Arthur's friend. I want to get down to the bottom of this just as much as you do, our countries are at stake and your country is far larger than my own."

Mera blinks and actually flinches back slightly at the rather abrupt 'Get out'. Okay, then. That was one thing Arthur had never told her about the man. "Agreed. I will accept your words as truth, though if you prove to be deceiving me…" She lets that hang and begins studying the man visually, making mental notes about the way he's seated, his posture, anything she can discover about him. One thing she does note immediately is that his attire seems … incomplete.

"I am a man who enjoys fact. Deceit rarely caters to that… " Batman's posture lightens just slightly, "Aquaman's death was engineered by a master weaponsmith and a specialist in Atlantean culture. That isn't a simple attack by the world of the surface. That is time, preparation, familiarity. For instance, the bi-facial head of this round was meant to make sure when it hit Arthur would stay down, that alone says it was someone who understands how durable Aquaman is. That one alone not an outstanding accomplishment considering the publicity your husband has garnered, his feats and accolades."
A wince and the man is reaching in to his shirt to rub fingers over a wound that is coated in a strange Atlantean jelly. It's helped him immensely with his bullet wound received at the Tin Roof Club several nights before. It helped on keeping him alive through the journey and has been remarkable in accelerating his healing rate. Withdrawing his fingers he speaks again to the Queen,
"This weapon, it would have worked just as effectively underwater as it had above water. It is beautiful really like any good true instrument of death."

Mera actually bares her teeth slightly as Batman describes the weapon used to kill her husband. The treated wound is noted, though that was likely as much altruism as compassion. Blood in the water attracts predators of all sorts. "Do you know who created it? Or why? Or who delivered the killing blow?" That last question is likely a dicey one, as she could use that information to go on a vengeance quest on the Surface that would likely not end well for anyone involved.

"An artisan. One who has access to alloy not available readily, orrichalcum and a coating of vibranium. Neither of these deposits easy to find and if they are upon the surface, they're heavily guarded or already depleted. Which brings us back to Atlantean hands on another point."
"The footage I was able to view before coming here had patchy audio. This was pieced together and timed, Arthur was struck thirty three point four milliseconds after the shot was fired. That says the shooter was considerable distance away… To travel those ranges this awkwardly shaped devastating round had to catch up to and break past it's own sound waves several times, each time it did so it shed. Your commander Tula and I traced these back to their source, it was twelve miles away and a small patch of less than two square miles, combing this we found nothing immediate but that is an impossible shot. A shot only the best of the best would attempt. Do you have anyone in your military capable of this? Highly unlikely. There is only a handful in the entire world and they're all outrageously expensive. Whoever has designs in this has very deep pockets."
The Batman begins to pace, "Also chemical propulsion is out, which leaves several other variables but not many. Even fewer if we want to blame this on American military or even privatized. This is dirty with one of your owns treachery coupled with outside help of legendary marksman skills. I can help you narrow that one down."

Mera watches the man pace as he explains the information he's found. Some of it goes right over her head, as her grasp of the Surfacer's language still isn't one hundred percent, but what she does comprehend is troubling. And it's straining her already thin temper. "If you have a sample of the orrichalcum, I can determine its source of origin. As to who dealt the killing bl—"

She pauses briefly and looks away for a moment, forcing her expression back under control, and hopefully her voice as well. "None of our forces could have done what you say." None that are capable of breathing air, anyway. And someone wearing a breathing unit would have been obvious. "Then do it. You trace the Surfacers, I will find the treachery that has occurred in my own realm."

"Tula has all the evidence we collected, shedding from the round casings. I will find the weapon and the man behind the shot. You handle your end and we can hopefully solve this without anymore bloodshed or a war." Batman is in full agreement.
"We are in the Puerto Rica Trench, aren't we?" A rhetorical question. The longer he is here the closer he is to figuring out just exactly where this hidden Atlantean outpost is. Probably best to get the man out of here quickly or silence him further somehow. "I also want to see Arthur's body."

That last request earns Batman a flat stare for a solid three seconds. "No." Then without any further explanation she turns and disappears back into the grotto's pool to be replaced a moment later by the Atlanteans that escorted the cowled Surfacer here in the first place.

Batman deadpans Mera. He almost wants to get angry but the woman is Aquaman's wife. He must respect her wishes even if it will slow their investigation. After what seems like a minute worth of silence, "Very well."
She is leaving and the Atlanteans who delivered him have returned to take him back to the surface. There is much to be done.

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