Tired of Being a Symbol

December 07, 2014:

Aquaman, Mera, Wonder Man, and Nick Fury have a little chat.

The Triskelion

The Headquarters, Armory and Fortress of the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division is, for the most part, an unassailable tower in the midst of the diplomatic sprawl that is Midtown East. The primary intelligence clearing houses and most of SHIELD's senior leadership are all housed here, along with a veritable army of agents and staff to keep the place running, the world spinning and the weirdness at bay.

Characters

NPCs: Nick Fury

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

If there is one place where the paranoid conspiracy theories about G-Men in black helicopters ring true, it is the Triskelion. Contrary to popular belief, Nick Fury does not spend all his time there. There are meetings to be had with various intel heads and UN Security Council leaders, not all of which can be done via holoconference. Sometimes a more personal touch is needed. It's actually that very thing that brings him back to the Triskelion in one of those black helicopters today. The new initiative, a merger of two very powerful forces for Justice and Order, is going well as can be expected in these early stages, but there's still a lot to be worked out. One of those things is named Arthur.

The Old Man may be one of the few who does not underestimate the King of Atlantis. He knows that the Sovreign of the Seas would be an invaluable asset in the fight to keep the planet safe. Convincing him to join? That won't be easy, but that never stopped him from trying. He's asked Simon Williams, the Surface's (and SHIELD's) very own goodwill ambasador to request the meeting. And that meeting is scheduled to start very soon.

-

Simon has been fairly successful at this "ambassador" thing mostly because of the indulgence of Mera and Arthur and the occasional aid of the Blue dragon-soldier Rowan. Still, it's played Hob with his acting career. That's probably fine; he was getting oversaturated in stupid fake-hero roles in Baye movies. A few real-hero things like helping to deal with disasters and the occasional villain incursion should correct that impression, and then after a few years if he's bored, he can try to get another part? Maybe.

Meanwhile, he's delivered the request to the Rulers of Civilized Atlantis, and come on ahead to prepare their reception, because he's still not good with the transition between lung-full-of-water to lung-full-of-air.

-

Aquaman's face is unreadable as his form slices through the water along the coast line, and not because he's underwater, but because he's deep in thought about the coming meeting. SHIELD doesn't generally call Arthur, in fact, this might be the first time he's been openly approached. It leaves him wary. To make certain the invitation was legit he put a call into The Operative and was given the grumpy old man's version of a thumbs up before he was uncerimoniously hung up on. Still. It's disconserting. Almost as much as the rumors of the Justice League's new merger, as if it were a company to be sold off for parts to another conglomerate. He reaches back with his and touches the back of his wife's hand as she swims through the ocean next to him, the simple brush of fingertips calming him every so slightly. He offers her a small smile, <This man is important and dangerous, treat him with respect but not defference. And please, do not provoke him.> he speaks directly into his wife's mind, a form of communication he's become remarkably comfortable with in the short while they've been wed.

As the Triskelion comes into view, Arthur just smirks at the underwater detection and security measures. Cute. Hey, at least they recognize there might be an actual /threat/ from that direction, puts them above most of the others in that regard. He exits the water at just shy of a hundred miles an hour, arcing through the air on a plume of ocean four stories high before landing with a deceptively heavy THUD on the concrete docks build to hold Helicarriers when they're more carrier and less heli. The glinting golden trident is on his back, but it's still there, as is the simple crown he wears as a reminder. Being a king really is half about the show of it all. Idly he wonders if he'll be shot at for his semi-unannounced arrival.

-

Mera offers Arthur a smile back, and replies in kind to his advice about the Furious man they're on their way to meet. <I will defer to your judgement on these matters. I've seen the Surfacers do this frequently.> You know, when she's actually visiting the surface, usually in the company of the displaced Blue. For her own part, she knows the alliance Arthur has had with a group of exceptionally-powered Surfacers has been important to him, and she can tell that whatever's happening to change that dynamic is disturbing her husband. If this leader they're to speak with is the reason for it, she might not be able to promise to remain calm.

When Arthur makes his rather ostentatious arrival at the strange structures jutting into the water and the building built on the land behind them, she arrives with likely just as much fanfare, though a lot less of a thud. Instead of all but throwing herself out of the water as her husband did, she makes use of a nice little Russian Water Tentacle to deliver her to his side, and steps gingerly off of the solidified water form to the sound of the water splashing onto the concrete as she simply releases it instead of pushing it back to the rest of the water at their back

-

Nick would have anyone who shot at visiting royalty shot. Really. Don't do that. None of the security personnel do. Instead Arthur and Mera are politely greeted by uniformed SHIELD agents and escorted to the elevator that will take them straight to the Director's office.

Said Director is seated at his desk, fingers steepled, one eye on a display in front of him. What the surface world knows of Atlantis is little to nothing and a great deal of everything useful has only surfaced (as it were) in the last few months with Simon's stint in the place. Arthur himself is a bit more of a known quantity, being a member of the old and now defunct Justice League, but even so it's depressing how many dossiers list him as 'the guy who talks to fish'.

"What are your impressions of the man, Williams?" Direct as always, Fury.

-

Simon stops to think about this for a moment. You can almost hear the gears turning. He answers Fury with what he's been able to observe, since he rather likes the Atlanteans as a whole.

"As a person? He's extremely intelligent, he's a well-balanced guy, cares about his wife. That whole 'talk to fish' thing, from what I can tell, is almost more 'fish whisperer' than anything else, except that he's kind of a telepath. Not the pushy rude dig through your secrets kind. He's got actual friends, but only a few of them because he's king. As a king, he's savvy about land-dwellers to a much greater degree than most of the underwater folks. He's a good king, well liked and trusted. Delegates well, understands the balance of power between the different parts of their government — which I'm still trying to suss out. Their version of the ultra-conservatives hate that he's part surface-human, but that's more out of racism or superiority notions. I trust him. I trust him WAY more than that arrogant Namor guy, even if Namor did help us out in WW2."

Simon puts his sunglasses back on when he hears the elevator coming up, in case there's other people coming along. The glowing eyes bother some people.

-

Aquaman is keen on having his people work with those of the surface world… but he's been burned before. Meetings like this with people like give him home, but there are limits. "Dear, see to their carpets?" he asks quietly as the pair are escorted into the building. Not that the lobby is likely to have a great deal, but Aquaman suspects the upper levels will have that short tough carpet that's ubiquitous among office buildsing the world over and the pair of them are literally dripping sea water where ever their bare feet tred. Having his aquakinetic wife see to makeing sure they don't leave things damp and messy is a small courtesy but an important one he thinks. The ride up is quiet and he stares throught he glass wall out over the bay and the city just beyond. <Hell of a view.> he says softly to his wife.

-

It takes Mera a moment to catch on to what he meant about the carpets — she's not really spent much time inside Surfacer buildings, and Rowan doesn't seem to care if she's dripping seawater on his furniture. But, after just a moment both of them are about as dry as they'll get, and the water she removed from their skin, hair, and clothing is seemingly 'tossed' over one shoulder back into the water behind them. She doesn't bother cleaning up what they've already dripped.

Elevator. New experience. Mera is wary at first when they ask her to enter a small box of a room, and when it lurches into motion she's immediately tense and ready for the worst. Well, until she realizes that Arthur is completely at ease and pointing out the view outside. Wow. <It's like our home, just … no water.>

-

Indeed no water. And those odd surfacer flying conveyances. 'Helicopters' seem to buzz to and fro quite a bit. It must be an odd sight for the sea queen even with all the odd sights she's seen already. The elevator opens to Nick Fury's office and the Director rises. He doesn't bow. This is after all his domain, but he does over a respectful nod to the visiting royalty. King Arthur. Queen Mera. You've met Mister Williams, I presume."

Fury sits back down and steeples his fingers again. "Make yourselves comfortable. I'll get right to the point. I asked Williams to invite you here so we could talk about developments within the Justice League and your place in them."

-

Simon nods greetings to Mera and Arthur, remaining standing until after they sit. He's pretty much here to be the dogsbody, really… he has glasses of water for the two, in case they feel dry, and otherwise, he stands to the side unless he's directly addressed. Oh, and he'll advise Fury if there's some point of etiquette, but so far, that's not been an issue. The Justice League thing, that's of interest, because he's been hearing rumors, and tried to volunteer if they'll have him… but Hill had simply said, "We'll see how things work out with Atlantis" which was code for "You're not cleared for that information.

-

Aquaman smiles warmly, <Yes, yes it is. Bit brighter too.> he notes in what he finds passes as humor, which is to say a statement of the obvious. He lets his eyes play over the city until he turns around to face the doors they walked through only a second or so before they 'ding' and open. He walks into the office and nods his head to Fury, "Of course." he reaches out a hand to Simon and grins, "Simon!" he says, offering a hand, "I didn't know you'd be sitting in. I approve." he doesn't seem to mind at all though. "If we are here to talk Justice League then Arthur is fine." Address a hero and you get the man, address the office and you get the crown. It's a hard balance to walk, but so far he's done alright. He dosen't take a seat, not because there isn't one there, rather he has bad history with surface dweller chairs… they're meant for people who're less dense then he generally speaking.

-

Mera watches the … strange air-swimming vehicles for a fascinated moment, but then turns to follow Arthur out of the elevator to avoid looking too much like a hayseed. She nods to Fury in an almost identical manner to her husband, then looks at Simon and offers him a smile hello. That's … probably more than usual from her. And, since Arthur decides to not take a seat, she does likewise and remains standing on his left side, though not even an inch behind him. They're equals.

-

Fury quirks an eyebrow. He's not familiar with Arthur's increased density. Damn bad intel. "Arthur then." The Director pauses, considering the best route to take. He functions best when able to be direct and forthright and because of his position he is often able to be just that. "Very well. Let me be direct then. The Old Justice League has disbanded and been merged with an initiative SHIELD had been forming to combat increasingly horrific global threats. The new Initiative, called the Justice League: Avengers is not under the direct supervision of SHIELD, though includes several agents. Wonder Woman has formally joined the Agency and the Batman has withdrawn his support." That about sums up what's going on. "I believe you also have a vested interest in global stability on the surface and you have a long standing with the Old Justice League. Your abilities and influene would be welcome in the new one."

Fury doesn't spare a glance for Simon though he knows that this will be news to the man. Two birds? Perhaps.

-

News indeed! Simon considers. He'll need to talk to Wonder Woman or Superman; he's worked with both of them in the past, so if he wants to get in on the fun, they'll be the ones to go to. Meanwhile, he frowns and looks at the chairs. Ah. That would explain it. "Director Fury," Simon mentions very quietly, "Atlantean tissues are more dense than surface-dwellers. I think for future meetings we should make sure we have heavier-duty furnishings."

Now if only he'd remembered that before the meeting.

-

Aquaman nods his head, "I was a founding member. They weren't my first team." now /that/ may actually be news. Not many people knew of the Others, they kept their status on the DL for years and didn't leave much in the way of trace behind… plus, people hadn't yet become used to metahumans roaming the globe so no one thought to look for them. "In what capacity is SHIELD involved with the new team, other then their somewhat aggressive rebranding?"

-

Mera looks over at Simon while Arthur and Fury talk, wondering about the frown and 'listening' lightly to his surface thoughts. This helps her pick up his words to Fury about the furnishings, which then has her studying the chairs even as she's keepign half an ear on what her husband and the man with the eyepatch are discussing. <These objects are … inadequate?> she telepathically asks of Simon. <Or are Surfacers that much more delicate?>

-

Fury looks over to Simon with that archetypally inscrutable look he has. "Noted." Is all he says before turning to Arthur. "SHIELD provides intelligence, personnel and resources but make no mistake, this isn't a SHIELD operation. Our expertise is covert ops and that's not what this team is about. Like I told Superman, the Initiative, the League, you all belong standing in front of the darkness, not hiding in the shadows. I expect not to have to babysit this team. Frankly, if I have to, then none of you are the people I think you are. At the same time… I expect this team to have the discration to know when to not make things worse for people with a less public mode of operation." Like his own black ops teams.

-

Simon isn't skilled at telepathy, but he does put the response in the "outside" of his mind for Mera to read. <Almost all the Atlanteans are adapted to the pressures in the deep part of the ocean, and they're able to move very freely, so it's not much more difficult for them to move around than it is for a human to move through the air, or the shallower waters here. The adaptation gives them much more strength, but that comes with more dense bones muscles, so they can move. Arthur is, I think, maybe even a bit more so than many. On land, without the water to support, the mass of Atlantean bodies is more than that of regular humans, and our furniture is sometimes too fragile for regular people who are larger. But we do have stronger stuff, for larger people or those who are like me, too strong for the ordinary stuff. We just need to remember to have it available.>

He almost misses hearing what Fury has to say about the philosophies of organization … but then he's encouraged to hear that it isn't intended to be covert stuff… because, if he had to act like May or even Hawkeye, Simon would probably explode from holding too much in.

-

Aquaman quirks a brow, "And what of sovergien territory? Where does this new team, and SHIELD as a whole, stand on such issues?" and now we're getting to the crux of the matter and why SHIELD generally isn't seen speaking with Aquaman at all. They are a UN sanctioned military group. The UN refuses to acknowledge Atlantis is a thing /at all/. If SHIELD has any fingers in the JL:A pie, where does this put the 'imaginary' king of an 'imaginary' place? "The UN has made their stance very clear when it comes to my people and my home, as SHIELD is directly beholden to the UN it occurs to me that that perhaps SHIELD and Atlantis share little in the way of interests."

-

Mera nods slightly to Simon at his explanation about the furniture, but then her full attention is pulled back to Arthur when he brings up what likely what has really been bothering him about this whole recent turn of events. She's heard many a complaint from him about how the Surfacers seem incapable of even considering the possibility of a civilization on the ocean bottom. Their littering habits sure do seem to corroborate, anyway.

-

Nick looks Aquaman over carefully. Those are political matters and while the Director is many things, he isn't a politician. "That's not in my juristiction. I don't get to decide who recognizes what. My eye is on people who don't recognize anything and I would think that our interests coincide there if nowhere else." He just hopes it's enough.

-

Simon has had this discussion with one or two of the Atlantean folk, after he was given a translator device or charm (he doesn't know how it works) and the gist was this: the Surfacers don't see us, and they should, but when asked if they'd ever gone up to see the Surfacers, just about everyone had not. It's really a two-way problem. Simon hasn't talked with Mera or Arthur about it, but he considers it now.

"Your Majesties, the problem is not just that Surfacers don't always believe Atlantis is real. It's also that the Atlanteans, and for that matter the Blue and Black, don't really understand the Surface people - they never see any. Even though there is much more in common than there are differences, our peoples don't know each other. They've never really met… And only a fraction of the Surface people live anywhere near a coastline."

He pauses. Where to go with this. Oh, right.

"We need to know each other better. When you were in the old JLA, you were at least seen, people could ask who you are. We need to have at least one Atlantean in the team."

-

Aquaman doesn't smile but he doesn't frown either, "They may, they may not. Your mandate covers less then one third of a planet you ignorantly call 'yours'. Mine covers the other three quarters. You fill my skies with polluting tankers laden down with hazardous materials pumping their filth into my oceans and you think I'm worried about alien dictators and interdimentional warlords?" he turns to Simon, "I was born part of the forty-four percent of surface dwellers who live within driving distance of the shore. I am the closest thing we have to a bridge between those worlds and I'm telling you Simon, I am growing weary of being a symbol. I have stood before invading alien hordes, zombie armies, a sea of hellfire, more giant robots then I can count, and a few godzilla rip offs that, shockingly, weren't from the ocean floor and I have done all of this for years. How well has this worked out for my people so far?" Arthur's frustration is clear in his voice, "How many times do I have to be called in to save your world before you people just stop damaging mine? I'm not asking you to save us, we don't need saving, but it would be nice if you'd stop actively causing us harm." the last bit was for Fury, "Of course I will help if the need arises, I am not a fool to think my nation is somehow exempt from global threats, but your Justice League: Avengers will not have an Atlantean on it's roster, at least none of mine. I think I'm done with public relations via team heroics for a time."

Mera was specifically asked to show Fury respect and to avoid provoking him, otherwise she'd have spoken up already. As it stands, she simply lifts her chin just a little as Arthur makes his decision about this Justice League: Avengers thing. Of course she was going to side with her husband on this one. But, there's this tiny bit of her mind that hopes she won't be forbidden from returning to the surface after this. She was told to try a food item called …pup corn?

-

This would normally be the point at which Fury applies some leverage. Leaning on the right thing can be remarkably effective… but what does one do to the Sea King? Well… there certainly are places that could be leverage. But that seems… unwise at this point, so instead he simply nods. "I see. I take it that this is your final answer at this time?"

-

Simon looks dumbfounded, for a moment, but then his expression goes completely neutral. To the telepathic sense, it's obvious that he's just slammed down a wall to keep himself under control; not even surface thoughts are tangible, everything is fuzzed out.

"Director Fury, I apologize. My resignation will be delivered by end of the day. Arthur. Mera. It has been an honor knowing you, and I am sorry I won't be visiting you further. I hope you will consider what I said though. I've seen that your people and the surface dwellers alike are equally insular, equally blind, equally hostile to people they've never even met. I believe the only way that the Surface and the Deeps are going to respect, to survive one another, is to actually interact on a day to day, person to person basis. I was beginning to hope that could happen. I'm sorry to find I was wrong."

-

Mera blinks once and STARES at Simon. It's not an angry look, not even a particular sort of look. But those who know her (aka, Arthur) would read that as shocked surprise. Of course, then he speaks up, and NOW her surprise is obvious to all of them. And, Arthur will likely see the beginnings of her ire. This is all FURY'S fault. And her eyes move to focus on the SHIELD Director now. And she's getting THIS close to showing her growing anger. Even seen a cat just short of bristling up in anger?

-

Aquaman meets Fury's gaze solidly, "It is." he says simply before grinning at Simon, "I said I would not join your little team, I did not say I was refusing diplomatic envoys and open dialog between us. Calm Simon, one is not contingent upon the other. You remain welcome and I hope that your continued presence will prove what I have been telling my people, that not all on the surface are polluting creatures who's apathy for the rest of the world is to blame for the foul chemicals our children have to breath. Some of them are working towards solutions, willing to reach out. I said I was weary of being a symbol to the surface, but that does not mean I'm against a symbol of the surface showing itself to my people." maybe he's been going about this all wrong, trying to show the surface how Atlanteans are people too while not bothering to find a surfacer to do the same on the ocean floor. Simon could be helpful, "That said, in the course of your day to day duties as an ambassador, if you were to be seen acting in a manner one would catagorize as 'espionage', then we'd have to reevaluate a great many things about our relationship. Colonel Fury was very clear on SHIELD's mandate conserning 'covert ops' after all. A King has to be careful."

His hand moves subtely to brush against his wife's, the simple contact more then enough for her to feel the calm steady satisfaction he's inwardly feeling, a great deal more of it then he's exhibiting outwardly. He seems almost pleased by this meeting, though without explination as to why.

-

Simon is definitely an 'asset' in Fury's mind, but there are a lot of kinds of assets and some of the most valuable ones are the ones that allow for communication between parties who would not otherwise talk to one another. "If you insist on making me accept your resignation, Williams, I will. But frankly I think it would be a damn mistake to leave us without any form of communication with Atlantis and their Monarchs. Consider that before writing that resignation." Also, he doesn't want to have to go looking for someone to replace him. How many people can breathe and talk underwater after all… and would be welcome in court? Not many.

"Well in that case I think we're done here. Thank you for your time, Authur. Queen Mera."

-

Simon watches Fury as he speaks, listens to his heart rate and the overtones… ionic supercharged senses, a useful way to read the true moods of another person, assuming you know them well. He's not that familiar with Nick Fury so what he sees and hears is stress, annoyance, more stress, and a great deal of calm confidence, which doesn't help him completely.

"I spoke out of turn, Director, but if you don't want my resignation then I'll keep it for later. Arthur, the only information I gave to Mr. Fury was to tell him honestly what I had learned about you as a person and the character of the Atlanteans I'd met. I don't have the training nor the interest to give military information," and then Simon looks at Mera. "This wasn't Fury's fault - but I'll go back, because if I'm going to ask you to send people to the surface, then I'd better be willing to go down there, especially since there's not many of us who can do it."

He considers visiting his Mother before he goes back into the ocean. She'll have a cow. Envoy to Atlantis.

-

Aquaman nods and steps forward to offer his hand to Fury, "I meant what I said, I'll help when you need me." he reaches down to slide a golden scale from his armor near his waist and he places it on Fury's desktop with a click. A new scale slides down to replace the now missing one. "That's a beacon, think of it like a button. Press it until it clicks, me, Mera, or someone I trust will get the call." he lifts his finger from the scale, "Been meaning to get one of those to you for awhile anyway, now seems as good a time as any." he then looks over at Simon, "I didn't think you were, but I wouldn't be living up to my crown if I didn't make myself clear. I hope to see you soon Simon, it would be nice to have someone to chat with who knows that a football isn't a nodule growing on the underside of a sufrace dwellers leg."

-

Mera looks at Arthur when he brushes his hand against hers, and watches him leave one of those beacon disks with Fury. She's still not happy with the Surface leader, but apparently she's been sufficiently mollified by whatever it is her husband did or said, or… something. At least she no longer looks to be on the verge of leaping at the Director in a fit of anger. <So we are leaving, then?>

-

Nick Fury shakes Arthur's hand and nods at the scale on his desk. He'll take what he can get. If he can't leave this meeting with new allies, he'll settle for at least not having new enemies. "Williams, will you please escort Arthur and Queen Mera out?" It wouldn't do for secuirty to give them any trouble. "Thank you Arthur. I get the feeling I'll be seeing you."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License