Jump to content
Avenger Assembled

(IC) Do You Have To Be An Ocean Away?

Recommended Posts

March 2018 

UC-San Diego

 

The UC-San Diego campus wasn't quite dead during spring break. They had far too many residential students, and students who lived on-campus, for that. But as Mark Lucas sat on the soft green grass of the Warren Mall, he mostly had the place to himself, minus a picnicking couple down the way and a guy doing his best to study despite the occasional gust of wind kicking up the pages of his textbook. He wasn't really paying attention, though. "I've been keeping an eye out and so have our friends, but so far there's been no sign of any assassins. I think maybe this was another empty threat. Listen, I promise I'll Skype you once we get there - yes, my phone has service in Dakana. I'm just waiting for my friend so I can give her a ride. Love you too, babe, and give the baby a kiss for me." Feeling sentimental, Mark hung up the phone and checked the West Coast time - did he had time to pop back over and see his wife and son before playing taxi for Tsunami? Probably not. With a sigh, he slipped his phone in his pocket and waited for his rendezvous. 

Share this post


Link to post

Tsunami

 

Giang Trang made her way onto the campus of UC San Diego, a small suitcase in tow.  The Asian young woman was dressed in a pair of jeans with a red windbreaker with the Del Mar lifeguard on it.  Normally Giang’s spring break would involve increase hours as a lifeguard on Del Mar Beach, but this year Callie Summers, the current headmistress of Claremont Academy had requested her assistance in meeting with a pair of future Claremont students.

 

And so, Giang was traveling to Dakana.  She had mixed feelings about the trip. While she was happy to help out Headmistress Summers, there was also the fact that her birth mother was last known to be living in Dakana, married to a Dakanan nobleman.

 

Ever since Giang had first learned her true mother’s identity, she had chosen not to investigate any further.  She knew her mother was the oldest daughter of the villain Typhoon, and given that her birth father had placed her in seclusion in Vietnam to be trained to be a weapon in his plans against Dr. Sin, she was not overly optimistic on what meeting her mother might revel.  So she had been content to continue her life as it was and look no further into her past.

 

But now it was very likely she would encounter her mother, but that was something she would just have to face when the time came.


"Good morning Mark."  Giang said as she approached Marc Lucas.

Share this post


Link to post

"Hello," said Mark, giving Tsunami a warm smile. She'd heard plenty about the famous 'creator' who worked for the United Nations even after he'd stopped operating in costume, and from his gold tie and dark suit to his sparkling white teeth and the magnetic gleam in his blue eyes, he looked every inch like how he'd been described in the years since he'd gone public with his face and identity. "Are you ready to go?" Mark knew Tsunami had been fully briefed on where she was going and what she was doing (and he truthfully had not been paying much attention when he'd been summoned to act as 'mass transporter' for his fellow Claremont alum. She'd look a little out of place in Dakana, a country he'd only visited a few times himself, but he figured someone Raven had dispatched would know their business. "It'll be about 5AM local time when we get there," he offered, "so my advice is visit one of the local coffee places before your meeting. I have a friend who makes me pick up Dakanan roast every time I'm in-country, and it is to _die_ for." 

Share this post


Link to post

Tsunami

 

It had been some time since Tsunami had seen Mark, but he seemed very much the same as those prior times.

 

"Yes, I believe I am."  She replied when he asked her if she was ready to go.  When he mentioned the local time at her destination, the Asian young woman nodded.  "I had checked the time difference, but that does sound like a very good idea," she replied in response to his suggestion.

 

"It will provide a bit of time to prepare and I can change into a more appropriate outfit for the meeting."  She added, indicating the small garment bag she was carrying along with her small suitcase.  "So, whenever you are ready."

Share this post


Link to post

Mark's teleport put them down smoothly in the spot he'd been directed to by Callie Summers, one he knew well from his own previous trips to Dakana. "All right, you can catch a tram down into the development from here if you want," he said, stepping back away from the window that gave them a view of one of the 'experimental' Western communities located near the edge of Dakana's capital. "And from there, mass transit will take you almost anywhere you want to go. I'm mostly stuck here," he admitted with a smile, "they have nullifiers around to make sure no strange white guys pop into the capital without an invite. By the way," he added as he opened the door of the tourist observation platform where they'd landed, "make sure you get your coffee _in_ the capital, not in the expat development," he said, gesturing down to the U-shaped construction project at their feet. "I am pretty sure they sell them Folgers' and just tell them it's Dakanan original."  

Share this post


Link to post

Tsunami

 

Being friends with Kat Shade, Giang was rather accustomed to the sensation of being teleported, so she was perfectly relaxed as Mark transported them nearly halfway around the world in an instant.  Looking out at the development below, she gave a small nod as Mark offered more advice.  She then smiled as he mentioned the nullifiers in place to prevent unwanted guests from just teleporting into the capital. 

 

"Likely a wise precaution, all things considered."  She stated before turning back towards Mark.  "Thank you for the assistance Mark.  I hope it will not be another five years before we have reason to see each other again."

 

The Asian young woman then made her way out of the observation platform and over towards the tram to take her down into the development, where she will be able to get on a maglev to the capital. 

Share this post


Link to post

Lacking a better idea, Mark followed along after her, taking out his phone and tapping a few buttons before he had reception. Behind her, the much more fleet-of-foot Tsunami heard Mark beeping his way through the buttons, and then, "Hey babe and baby! Greetings from Dakana!" There was the sound of a burbling small child, and then a familiar woman's voice, "Mark! It's good to see you, darling. And you're sure no assasins followed you there?

 

"Pretty sure!" said Mark cheerfully, tilting the screen so Tsunami could see a familiar face - Nina al-Darsah with a small child with fluffy black hair on her lap. "See, it's just me and Tsunami here." 

 

"...Tsunami, eh?" Nina peered out of the phone at Tsunami, bouncing her son on her lap. She suddenly barked something in Arabic, something that made Mark hesitate and say, "I...don't think so?" before he disappeared. On the outside, Mark's teleportation was a swirl of black bubbles, as if he was paint suddenly being taken up and deposited elsewhere. 

Share this post


Link to post

Tsunami

 

Giang had looked over as Mark followed along with her, before focusing back on her destination to not appear as if she was trying to listen in on his conversation.  When Mark held up the phone, she did look over, recognizing Nina, who she had met once before.  The other young woman's reaction was a bit of surprise, as was Mark's sudden departure, causing Giang to sigh slightly.

 

When she had met Nina during the attack on Ocean Hights Amusement Park by Dam, she had already learned about her birth mother.  But there had never been any opportunity to discuss this with Nina then, or that the other young woman was actually Giang's aunt. 

                                                                                                                                     

Perhaps at some point she should make the time to speak with the other young woman, but for now she had another task at hand.

Share this post


Link to post

Tsunami got a few dozen yards down the mountain. The air was chill with the cool of early morning, the sky the color of a new dawn, and all of a sudden there was another sound like popping bubbles behind her. When she turned, her ride was back - this time joined by the familiar figure of Monsoon. The latter had changed into her armor, all blues and whites and Arabesque designs, her face invisible behind a mask like blue-white porcelain. "Tsunami!" she called. Mark was behind her, holding a big, bouncy baby boy who was eagerly waving his arms and gabbling, a small soft bear clenched in one chubby fist. Mark did his best to look discreet, but the look on his face was faintly apologetic. 

 

"I never thanked you for saving my life during the Time of Vengeance," she said. "Perhaps I had my reasons. I look at your face now - and I think I know it. What is your family?

Share this post


Link to post

Tsunami

 

Or we can talk about things now.  Giang thought to herself as Mark returned, this time with Monsoon and their child along as well.  The fact Monsoon was now in her armor was not lost on the Asian young woman, but she kept her hands casually out to her sides as she gave a small bow.


"There was never any need for thanks Monsoon."  Giang replied as she stood back up from the bow.  "But you are most welcome, I am glad I was there to be able to help."

 

"As for my family, I was raised in a remote village in northern Vietnam by a couple I believed to be my parents.  They taught me the Eastern philosophy and classics as well as trained me in the art of war.  But shortly after my seventeenth birthday, they took me to Hong Kong, where I was introduced to my true father, a man named Kong Zi Khan.  To the world, he is simply a successful businessman, but in truth he is a chief lieutenant in Dr. Sin's criminal empire."

 

"I was his fifth and final child, born to fulfil my role as the last of the five classical elements of the Wu Xing.  Alongside my half-siblings, we were to aid my father in freeing himself from Dr. Sin's control and helping him expand his own criminal empire.  But I chose not to follow that path and fled.  Eventually I was found by Raven, and brought to the United States and placed at Claremont."

 

"A few years ago I learned that my birth mother was Murjana al-Darsah."  Giang then finished, her gaze focused on Monsoon.

Share this post


Link to post

"...yes, I have heard of you," said Monsoon quietly, her voice still muffled by her armor as she took a few steps closer to her niece. "The Spawn of Sin. Ah, that we must meet at such a time, when the fate of the land whose blood is in our veins is frozen like a dead tide! I had thought you must still be in Asia, but here you are." Her youthful desire to avoid being like her sisters had found her here on a Dakanan hillside, her husband and partner standing behind her with her son in his arms, but that discussion was neither here nor there. "...Mark said you were here to find students for his school, and that is not my business. But if you are looking for your mother, I can...open the door. I have seen her since she married her husband, and she is my ally. I do not know you. You may not like what you find.

Share this post


Link to post

Tsunami

 

If Giang was insulted by being called the "Spawn of Sin," she did not show it.  "To be honest, I have not acted upon the information about my mother’s identify because I am already hunted by half the Triads and Tongs in Asia, so I am not keen to add additional possible enemies in the Middle East."  She replied to her aunt.

 

"And I am here as an envoy on behalf of Headmistress Summers, so that is my first priority.  I…had not intended to go looking for my mother, but I rather suspect our paths may cross, given I am to meet with the royal family, although I will admit that information about the internal politics of Dakana are extremely sparse."

Share this post


Link to post

"Murjana and her husband are loyal citizens of Dakana," said Monsoon, which was arguably true depending on how one recognized the legitimacy of the current royal family. Nina had given much thought to this issue. "Who recognize that a strong Socotra means a strong Dakana - we have found common cause in the last few years." Was the Dakanan dynasty so different from her own? Raised up by the blood, given a people to reshape in their own image, albeit with a rather more fractious people than those her father had ruled. "You will find that tongs and triads have little reach beneath the lion's paw; and Murjana sees the wisdom of my father's abdication.At least, she had _better_ still do so. "She may be a friend, if you are willing to accept that she is not like those you know in Freedom."  

 

Behind Nina, Mark was producing a variety of toys for a fussy Richie, seemingly pulling them out of thin air and discarding them to the same place when they didn't satisfy the baby. "If you need to do the thing you came here to do," he said, calling out to Tsunami, "we can come back later." 

Share this post


Link to post

Tsunami

 

Giang listened as Monsoon talked about Murjana.  "I fully expected I would have little to fear from Dr. Sini's followers here.  I doubt Headmistress Summers would have asked me to make this trip if there was much chance of that."

 

"As for my mother…I had no preconceived notion of how she would be.  If I were to find someone that did not immediately see me as a weapon or tool to be used for their own gain, I would view that a marked improvement."

 

The young Asian woman then looked back at Mark as he spoke up.  "I am not immediately pressed for time.  This arrival was timed so I would have plenty of time to make it to the capital for my meeting."

Share this post


Link to post

Mark blinked. Oh wow, she's really going to do it! He was too diplomatic to interfere with his wife's groove, especially when he was busy with the baby. "Hey, that's great," he said warmly. "I'm not authorized to be in-country for more than another half-hour or so, but Monsoon has a waiver." 

 

"Being the sister of Dakanan royalty has its advantages," commented Monsoon dryly. "Even if my sister's husband has been somewhat estranged from his relatives of late." Monsoon blew her husband and son a kiss. "I'll be back soon, darlings. Take good care of our boy, Mark." When Mark and Richie were gone in another shower of black bubbles, Monsoon stared after them with her masked face hidden for a moment before turning to take the lead from Tsunami. 

 

"My sister's estate lies in the plains outside the capital," she said, "in the Crocodile Kingdom. They are the only Muslim kingdom in Dakana - and they would rather you call them that, rather than tribe. It is a small kingdom - but no less prideful for that, as they should be.

Share this post


Link to post

Tsunami

 

Giang stood quietly off to one side as Monsoon said goodbye to her husband and son, giving a slight bow to Mark once more as he excused himself and teleported away once more with her infant cousin.  She then focused back on Monsoon as she explained where Murjana lived with her husband.  At least it sounded like the estate was near enough to the capital so as not to cause to significant a delay for Giang to make it to her meeting at the palace.

 

"I understand."  She replied as Monsoon explained how those among the Crocodile Kingdom preferred to be addressed, walking alongside the other young woman as they continued down toward the settlement where they would be able to get transportation toward the capital.  Not one to pry into the matters of others, particularly someone she hardly knew, Giang chose not to begin asking questions of her aunt, allowing Monsoon to talk about what she chose.

Share this post


Link to post

Monsoon's story was one told second-hand, a younger sister reflecting on her older sister's family, or perhaps a lioness considering the relative merits of a larger female on the same ground. The Crocodile Kingdom had converted to Islam a thousand years earlier when the first Muslim traders had arrived in the region, in a time when the distance between kingdoms meant that the traditional Dakanan secrecy had not yet evolved. Their connection to other nations (or perhaps simple ambition) had convinced the Crocodile Kings that they should rule Dakana - and for a time they had, before an uprising led by the Lion clan had cast them back to their riverine stronghold. Tsunami knew all about how long grudges could be held among people like that. "Murjana's husband is Mamba, the Crocodile Lord. She rules at his side, and their children share both their gifts. But they are loyal to the true monarch of Dakana."  

 

For all of Monsoon's talk, the hard part turned out to be getting there. The Dakanan light rail station was the wonder of advanced technology that Tsunami had been promised, but the automated clerks proved recalcitrant when confronted with Monsoon's diplomatic passport - which after all, didn't cover her guest! Facing down against a trio of holographic profiles, all of them identical smiling women who seemed to be operating on a limited script, was a new challenge for the hydrokinetic princess, who behind her masked face seemed to be getting irritated even as Dakanan oldies played on the outdoor speakers and a crowd of expats from the nearby settlement formed behind them. 

Share this post


Link to post

Tsunami

 

Giang listened as Monsoon explained what she knew about the Crocodile Kingdom.  In truth the Asian young woman was a bit concerned that a grudge might exist between Murjana's new family and the current rulers of Dakana, hoping that the statement that they were loyal to the "true monarch" of Dakana could be taken at face value.

 

But the other things Monsoon had reveled gave Giang a brief pause.  She had not actually considered that she might have other half-siblings as a result of her mother’s new marriage.  She should have suspected that would be the case, but had in truth not given it much thought.


She was suddenly pulled from these thoughts when she realized they had been stopped at the light rail station, Monsoon apparently starting to get upset with the automated clerks about letting through.

 

"It is not a problem."  She stated quickly, hoping to taper Monsoon's irritation some.  "I have a visa."  She added, quickly removing the passport she had been provided for the trip.

Share this post


Link to post

Elsewhere 

 

The Crocodile Emir and his wife sat before their thrones, giving the proper submission to the White Lioness and the Red Lynx, as befit loyal sub-rulers of Dakana. Bum-bum-bum! The traditional musicians were pounding away on their hippopotamus-skinned drums and playing their flutes made of leopard bones. The central throne room of the Emir's palace was crowded with the Emir's followers and their families, all there to show their loyalty to the newly-anointed heirs to the throne. So what if the Emir's father had tried to kill their father? More than once? With the current Emir's help? Mamba was a man of ambition, but he had played his cards close to his muscular chest and not made the challenge that Red Hyena had. He was an ally, and his ceremony of submission was important. Interrupting it would have been an insult that the Crocodile Emir, who never forgot an insult, would remember. 

 

The Emir had served hot coffee liberally to his royal guests, and sweetmeats too. The musicians had been playing for at least half an hour; White Lioness and Red Lynx had observed one 'shift change' already as drummers and pipers and all the rest built and built and built towards a crescendo that...that had been coming for a good fifteen minutes now? Distinctly the Emir was smiling, his hands folded on his lap as he carefully did not look directly at his monarch's agents during this ceremonial moment; though his outlander wife was as impassive as stone, her head wrapped in a scarf in the same green-and-brown that were omnipresent in the tiled walls of the main room of the Emir's palace. There was the distinct, omnipresent sound of running water from the river that ran underneath the throne room, an echo of sound that played along with the music. 

 

At this rate, how were they supposed to make it back for their meeting with Tsunami?

 

-

 

On the train 

 

Monsoon was silent on the tram, hands folded on her lap despite their mundane surroundings. It seemed that the interior of high-speed trams didn't vary much between nations - there were commuters here and advertisements, and landscape passing by beneath. If the commuters were dressed in Dakanan fashions rather than Western, if the advertisements were in Arabic and Swahili and at least two or three other languages, if the landscape of high-walled river valleys went by almost too quickly to see, well. Monsoon and Tsunami, neither of them local and the former in armor, were the objects of quiet but intense attention. The locals didn't get many like them. 

 

"We will be there soon. Do you need time to change?" inquired Monsoon. 

Share this post


Link to post

 

White Lioness

Whilst Àjàṣorò really did appreciate the need for ceremony she couldn't help but be bored by the whole thing, thankfully the mask she wore hid her expression which was sure to have caused expense. In fact, the only reason she'd been able to stand so still this long was that she had been thinking about improvements to the costume she was wearing, the skirt for one was definitely going to have to go. She glanced down at the ArchTech phone she'd picked up last time she had been Kenya, almost certainly a knock-off, they'd have to leave soon if they were going to meet there guest. A guest, more importantly, had come from America!

 

<"How long do we have to wait before we can leave without causing a major offence?"> she whispered to her brother <"At least Makeda put on a spread when the Red Hyena's put on their show of loyalty!">

Share this post


Link to post

Tsunami

 

Giang took a seat on the tram near Monsoon.  Despite having been in the United States for over five years now, she still sat with perfect posture.  While she noticed the looks she and Monsoon were getting from the locals, she only took the most cursory looks at some of the local fashion before focusing on nothing in particular in front of her. 

 

When Monsoon asked her question, Giang looked up at the other woman.  "I did bring something to wear for my meeting with the royal family.  I expect it would be best to change into it before we to Murjana's estate."  She replied.

Share this post


Link to post

Kamau stood beside his sister draped in the ceremonial garb of his station though just as surely masked by his facade of princely indulgence.  <"Even minor offense would become major in the lands of the Crocodile.">  he hushed in reply to his sisters query though he too was well aware time ran short.  <"He will most likely keep up precisely to his allotted time.">  he mused in an almost silent whisper counting upon his sisters keen hearing to pick up the supposition.  Enough to cause discomfort and inconvenience though short of anything officially troublesome.  

 

Giving a small nod to is entourage to signal the Crocodiles entourage that their time here grew short he waited, outwardly patient, for a breakin the performans that he might thank the Emir and his wife for their hospitality and loyalty.

Share this post


Link to post

Eventually, only a few minutes before this would have made for a real breach of protocol, the Emir raised his hand - and just like that, the music stopped. "Jambo! I am delighted to greet the representatives of my sovereign as they deserve." Smiling, he greeted Red Lynx effusively, grabbing his hand right wrist with the left hand as a sign of respect. (The Lady Murjana did the same for the White Lioness, as befit a lady of the court and her counterpart in the court of the White Lion) It was hard to tell if the Emir was smiling out of approval for the emotional stamina of White Lioness and Red Lynx - or in delight at having gotten away with pushing the limits of propriety as far as a savvy nobleman could. Crocodiles did love to smile. 

 

The Emir favored a certain degree of antiquarian style, in his case favoring the 'look' of the Sultans of Zanzibar that had once been their allies, but he was as modern as any Dakanan prince. In the middle of the ceremony of greetings, while the entourages mingled over coffee and meats, the Emir and his lady wife were taken aside by bearded men in turbans with smartphones - telling them the same thing that Red Lynx and White Lioness were hearing from their own staff. 

 

"Your afternoon guest is on her way here, to the Crocodile Emirate - and she's bringing Monsoon." Tsunami's presence made enough sense; she was supposed to have arrived in the country long before her planned meeting with the royal siblings.The ongoing crisis in Socotra, where the scions of Typhoon were widely-known to be plotting his overthrow, was one of many Indian Ocean crises on the mind of the government of Dakana. Especially since an heir to that throne was only a hall away, the flat levelness of her gaze a sharp contrast to the seemingly-demure manner she projected alongside her husband. Dakana was a landlocked nation - but warring Socotrans could change that. 

Share this post


Link to post

 

White Lioness

<"Are you sure that it's not too late to give this all to you younger brother?"> she whispered jokingly to her brother as they were forced to greet to assembled court.

 

In truth Àjàṣorò was just happy that the whole thing was over and as soon as she could she could take off her mask, really she wished they'd have time to change into something more suitable, she wanted to know if her western fashions passed among those that knew of such things. It was only a secondary thought that the Crocodile's were trying to turn there visit too there an advantage, and she was willing right now to allow them a small amount.

 

<"You have been excellent and generous hosts as always Emir. I hate to impose on you further but I wonder if we could trouble you with a place to greet our guests whilst we wait for the royal craft to arrive?">

Share this post


Link to post

<"Much too late Honored White Lion.">  Kamau replied with a small honest smile as he teased her lightly on her unexpected ascendancy.  <"You are the one chosen and the one who Dakana needs."> he assured her honestly with some small amusement at her characteristic dismay at tradition interfering with her schedule.

 

"You are as always a gracious host!"  The prince cheered as the ceremony drew to a close, "The largesse and stamina of the crocodile tribe will not be forgotten."  he assured both the Emir and his lady wife, a small protocoligorically correct dig using the technically correct term if not their preferred, a clue he had taken note of their gamesmanship in the timing of the event.

 

He whispered a quiet warning to his sister, <"Monsoon is the sister of the Emirs wife.">  he pointed out as he tried to read the relations in a glance with mingled success.  <"And we are well ahead of our guests planned reception.">  he pointed out as it seemed likely the young american had business here unrelated to her meeting with the White Lion and her brother.  Tactfully he offered a gracious bow to both the Emirs wife and her sister, "Family should be together yes?"  he suggested with a wide grin apeing clueless politeness.  "We shall adjourn to answer the questions of your people and await your guests business being concluded."  he suggested and nodded to Gian, "If you like we can offer transport to the palace when your business is complete."  a note both that he took note she may have connections among the crocodile for the Emirs benefit and a chance for his sister to pester the American without the masks of protocol in the way.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×