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“Be careful with that, ya mook.”

The hissed voice echoed in the gloom of the cavernous space, and was coupled with the sound of a slap as one of the intruders into the quiet space smacked his fellow upside the head. They called it Devil’s Cove… or at least, some people had done, a very long time ago. Most people now didn’t call it anything, because most people didn’t come to this water-logged cavern a few dozen miles from Freedom City’s harbour. Why would they? There was nothing out this far. The wi-fi reception was terrible.

But there were some things it had going for it. This late at night, when the stars are in the sky and the moon is shining down on the waves, there is a kind of quiet beauty to it. Serene, even. The natural cavern is far enough away from the city that there’s no intrusion of sound or pollution this far out. Few prying eyes came out this far.

Which also made it a fantastic place for smugglers.

The submarine that they had used to get this far was now surfaced at the mouth of the cave, the dull, dark metal glinting under the pale moonlight. The top hatch has opened, and a dozen people are in the process of quickly and efficiently unloading the cargo.

Crates upon crates of contraband have filled the belly of the submarine, and in amongst all of them was the secret that had – unknowingly – ensured that the entire venture would come crashing down. Somewhere in there, there’s some Daka Crystals. The extremely valuable items were due for sale to some very unsavoury characters, and word had hit the street that they would be coming in tonight.

Edited by Kai Wren

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Diamondlight

 

Diamondlight had rented a speedboat and tied it up just a hundred feet from the cove. He didn't want to alert anybody with the motors. He had clambered over the beach carefully. 

 

He had dressed in black; a leather jacket and turtleneck, and equally black pants. He checked his mobile phone; not good reception here. Maybe that was why they chose this place. He sighed and put it back in his jacket. 

 

No matter, he said to himself. He could handle a couple of smugglers. 

 

Spying the submarine however was another matter. Simple smugglers didn't have submarines. 

 

But then, they were smuggling Daka crystals. 

 

Ever since he had found out about the family secret he had made it a mission  to understand the flow and trade - usually illicit - of Daka crystals through the world. It took bribes and a careful cultivation of contacts, but he had money and he had a way with words. 

 

Slower now, he carefully picked his way into the cave...

 

 

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Hidden in darkness deeper than the eyes of any normal Surfacer could penetrate, Aquaria clung to the cave roof and listened to the voices below her - the green and blue colorings on her back blending in with the colorings of the rocks. She had seen the footprints and toolmarks of Surface-Men in the cave during her last visit, but she'd hoped they'd simply been stranded boaters rather than whatever was going on below her. She'd always found an eerie, sad beauty to this place during her occasional visits, stretching back long before she'd come to the Surface to stay. These rocks should have rung with the songs of a tribe; there should have been eggs in the crevices and younglings in the shallows, and the sweet scent of meat and drink should have filled in the air. Instead, the air was filled with the sounds of Surface-Men and their machines. She would have moved on if they had come in a normal boat but she knew Surfacers did not travel under the Sea without a reason. Why had they come underwater - and what was in those boxes? 

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Her homework done for the night, Casey Blankenship (aka Miracle Girl) had decided it was a good night for flying; sometimes she flew over the city itself, typically stopping to enjoy the view of the bay from the top of the Centurion Statue, but other times she was in the mood to enjoy natural beauty, like the endless trees of the Pine Barrens or the restless majesty of the Atlantic. Tonight she was over the ocean, high above the coastline, when she heard a very strange sound she'd never heard before; a mechanical rumbling seemingly coming from under the ground!

 

She stopped in the air for a few seconds to sweep her gaze over the area in question, and was stunned to see a hidden cave she'd never noticed before; even more shocking was the presence of a submarine in said cave! Her quick glance told her something wasn't right, so she allowed herself to drop, with perfect high dive form, several hundred feet straight into the water below. The blonde heroine allowed her momentum to take her down deep, all the better to swim well below the surface as she approached the cave entrance.

 

As she got closer, she noticed a sharply-dressed figure creeping along the shore: tall, male, mid-thirties. He didn't carry himself like a fighter, or at least not like a close combat specialist, and all he had on his person were his wallet, phone and a set of keys; a reporter, then, or a very confident spy? Unsure if he was friend or foe, Casey continued to quietly swim closer, with only her eyes and the top of her head visible above the surface. Once she had a better idea of the man's intentions, she would make herself known, one way or another.

Edited by Heritage

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There were definitely a lot of people doing this work, whatever this work was that they were doing. Most of them seem pretty intent on that work, too, and not one of them spots the Deep One lurking in the shadows.

They were brawny sorts, for certain. Men and women who were clearly used to a hard life at sea, doing rough work. In another age, they might have been accompanied by parrots and wear eyepatches – these days, the uniform seemed to consist mostly of a motley assortment of firearms, a handful of which looked disturbingly advanced to be in the hands of crooks like this.

“Oi! Who goes there?”

The cry went up at the far end of the submarine, when Diamondlight was just ten or so feet from the rear end of the submarine, having picked his way through the cavern rocks. The individual in question levelled one of those firearms in his direction, squinting into the darkness as though he couldn’t quite believe that he’d spotted anyone – let alone that someone was there.

That’s probably something to worry about, but not quite the only thing, because from the hatch in the middle of the submarine another man emerged. This one was clearly not one of the workers. For a start, he wasn’t carrying a crate.

More tellingly, though, the man was tall, intimidating, and augmented. Over six foot tall, bald but for the dark stubble on his jaw, and with his right eye replaced with a gleaming red lens, the right side of his body was made of metal which gleamed more brilliantly than that of the submarine on which he stood. Having heard the cry, he gestured towards the far end. 

"Go back up Barry." He growled, "If he's jumping at shadows, throw him into the sea, that'll wake him up a bit."

Three more of the criminals ran off to carry out his orders.

From her position under the waves, Miracle Girl also spotted one thing which stood out amongst the general work. Most of the contraband was just that – contraband. Cartons of cigarettes, alcohol, a crate or two of firearms; none of it good but none of it mind-blowing.

But, still in the hold, there was one sizeable crate that her superior X-ray Vision couldn’t penetrate, and one person sat on it. It was hard to get details on that person with just their skeleton to go on, but they were definitely a woman, and definitely swinging their legs back and forth as though bored out of their skull.

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Diamondlight

 

Diamondlight put up his hands slowly, showing his was unarmed. 

 

"Whoa! Easy there! Don't shoot!" he said, trying to project his voice softly. "I'n not armed! Just taking a walk!" he said, calmly. "I didn't even see this...what is this? a submarine?" he asked, pretending to spy the vehicle for the first time. 

 

"Look, I'm sorry! You guys must be the Navy, or something, right? Out on exercises or something?" he asked, politely. "NATO, I guess?" he asked. He kept his accent his normal pan-European flavour. "You sound British" he commented. 

 

"Look could you put the gun down, I'm not Russian or anything! it's making me nervous..."

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Aquaria shifted nervously, not sure what to do. She was growing more and more convinced that the Surfacers in the boat were bad (especially when she saw the one with the red eye), and found her sympathies with the passerby unexpectedly confronted with the gun. She remembered what that was like; and the subsequent fight that had landed her in a Surface cell. If I make a distraction, she thought, that one can escape while I swim away under the surface. Even without her armor, there were very few Surfacer watercraft she feared and this one that went beneath the waves was decidedly not one of them. If they traveled in a boat like that, then the Sea was their enemy - not their friend. After some consideration, she made her move. 

 

She made sure she had their attention first, croaking a loud Brek-ek-ek! Coax-coax! that echoed off the walls of the cavern with a sound that she might have found lovely under other circumstances. Leaping downwards from the roof of the cave, she landed on all four limbs on the top of the vessel, then bounded down again to land on its midsection, muscles designed to propel her through the waters of the ocean handling the short fall with no difficulty. 

 

When she'd landed, she inhaled and boomed loud enough to make her throat sac bulge, lights reflecting off her great eyes and serrated, triangular teeth as she sounded - "SURFACE-MEN!

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“WHAT THE –”

The cyborg’s shout of surprise was less-than-dignified, but to their credit, the seafaring folk are clearly hardier than most ‘Surface Men’ would be.

“Hang on a moment.” Said one of the women, “Did that monster just assume we’re all guys?”

“I think it did!” Shouted back one of her companions, with a menacing BRMMMMMM of laser light suddenly thrumming from their advanced-looking weapon, “Get it!”

What followed was an intense burst of bright red and blue beams of energy as four rifles opened up on Aquaria, lances of light punching holes in the stone walls of the cavern and scorching away ancient rock. Not one of the lasers actually came close to touching her, though.

“TO THE LEFT YOU IDIOT! NO, YOUR OTHER LEFT, UGH, JUST LET ME DO IT!”


Naturally, all of this was very loud. The echoing cavern was suddenly filled with the sound of laserfire, and Barry looked over his shoulder with wide eyes. His gun followed, swivelling away from Diamondlight.

“Yeah, yeah. Navy. That’s us. Navy. You, you should get outta here, fella, before you get yourself in trouble.”

It… seemed like Barry had completely fallen for Diamondlight’s act, even if he wasn’t a good enough actor in turn to even try and act the part of a naval officer. Instead, he starts running back towards the three men coming to help him out – because now there’s clearly something going on behind them, and chaos is starting to rein supreme. Hey, on the plus side, Diamondlight is being completely ignored!

Edited by Kai Wren

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Just above the surface of the water, Casey's eyes went wide with surprise at Aquaria's dramatic entrance; where'd she even come from? But then her gaze darted over to the sharp-dressed man, and she instantly knew; the benevolent Deep One was using herself as a distraction to give the stranger a chance to escape, though Casey had a feeling his appearance wasn't nearly as 'accidental' as he claimed to be. And now Aquaria herself was at risk due to her bravery!

 

Suddenly Miracle Girl shot out of the water with a massive splash, her body glowing like a golden sun as she shouted out a defiant "Hey!" She landed in the middle of the group of thugs with lasers in a graceful crouch, then grinned like a mischievous cat. "Hi guys! Mind if I join you for a little workout?"

 

Then in a matter of seconds, the blonde heroine spun through a blizzard of taekwondo kicks, punches and strikes, each one delivered with precise speed, power and placement. Casey was no killer; even the thought of seriously injuring her enemies was painful to her, so she was always careful to use just the right amount of strength applied to the perfect spot. The four criminals dropped like sacks of potatoes, their energy weapons clattering to the deck. Then Miracle Girl turned to Aquaria and waved, beaming like a goofy kid.

 

"Hey!"

Edited by Heritage

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The sudden arrival of a second Super on the scene causes some fairly obvious panic. The four thugs that Miracle Girl handily dispatches do try to put up a fight, but they are hopelessly outclassed and that is obvious.

Nevertheless, they manage to hold their nerve. The four men with guns level them at Miracle Girl and the Sea Devil that has so suddenly intruded on their work, and open fire with everything they have! Bullets ricochet in a mad spattering dance as the cave is suddenly filled with the raucous racket of automatic weaponry.

“… Geez, these guys really want their paycheck.”

That, muttered by the cyborg, was the only thing he had to say to the display before suddenly vaulting and leaping down the hatch through which he had just emerged.

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Sea Devil took  Miracle Girl's arrival as a sign she was on the right side here. "They are bad!" she croaked triumphantly to the superheroine before diving beneath the water. Gawky she might have been on the Surface, all long limbs and bulbous body, underneath the water she moved with the speed and grace of a shark on the hunt. She swam underneath the boat to throw off her pursuers, not bothering to surface as she swam to the rear of the Surfacer vessel. She knew how these things worked; she'd heard their song in the ocean since she was a child. When she'd reached the stern she took a moment to study the propellers, then after some consideration grabbed not the whirling blades but the metal guards around them that kept debris from being sucked in. Gripping tight with hands strong enough to rip open a dolphin's spine, she bent tighter and tighter, pulling the metal into the propellers to keep them from turning. 

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Diamondlight

 

Things were happening fast, that was for sure. Diamondlight could vaguely recognise Miracle Girl, and was reassured by that. He had no idea who the amphibious creature was. That was not so reassuring. He had planned to try a little deception first, to work out what has happening, but that opportunity - and risk - was lost. 

 

Besides, they had lasers. 

 

Then again, so did he. 

 

In the blink of an eye, a dimly glowing silver forcefield lit up around him. Then, a burst of silver blue laser beams blossomed from his body, sweeping and piercing through the night air. 

 

"Scintillating!" he commented, before crouching behind a nearby rock. He hoped his eruption of light and lasers had thinned the odds. But it was wise to take cover nonetheless! 

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The four criminals who had been heading back to give backup to their fellows were suddenly dispatched in a burst of laserfire from behind them – the nonthreatening man that Barry had given the benefit of the doubt turning out to be a third vector of threat! That just left the smugglers with firearms left at the far end of the submarine, and the people inside.

The submarine itself was groaning and protesting from the damage inflicted by the Deep One, but it hadn’t yet been rendered completely inoperable. Then again, it wasn’t showing any signs of revving up, either.

Indeed, it now seemed like panic was starting to set in for the smugglers – two thirds of their numbers down in just a few seconds, it was painfully clear that the criminals were massively outclassed!

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A little known fact: just because you're bulletproof doesn't mean that being shot doesn't hurt. Of course, it's more of an annoyance than anything else, like someone snapping a rubber band on the back of your hand, but that's still a mildly unpleasant experience; getting shot with dozens of bullets is even more irritating, especially when you're trying to talk. Casey had her hands up in a placating pose as she at first tried to reason with the panicked guards, while their ineffectual rounds ricocheted off her golden energy field in every direction.

 

"Guys, the bullets don't...they're, they're just bouncing...ow...guys, please just...guys...GUYS!"

 

Her patience finally exhausted, the blonde powerhouse spun into action, effortlessly slapping three of the four into unconsciousness more out of irritation than anything else. The last one she hoisted up into the air, casually hurling her weapon against the wall of the cavern where it flew to pieces.

 

"Finally I can get a word in edgewise! So, my name is Miracle Girl; hi. What can you tell me about this operation and 'Mad Eye Moody' down below? Speaking of which..." Casey spared a quick x-ray glance below decks to see what the last two perps were up to down there.

Edited by Heritage

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The criminal at least has the decency to look embarrassed after Miracle Girl knocks out the remaining criminals outside of the submarine. Within, she can now see that there’s a few more people than the original two; another six individuals are in various states of disarray around the submarine, whilst ‘Mad Eye’ is in the process of arguing with the woman on the crate.

He’s also turned around and is pointing back down the length of the submarine. It is hard to be sure with X-Ray Vision, but there’s just something about the way the woman is acting which makes Miracle Girl pretty sure that she’s rolling her eyes.

“Uh. O-okay, Miracle Girl.” The criminal says, smiling a gap-toothed smile. “My name’s Joan, nice t’meetcha! Uh.” She holds her hands up, showing that she’s put down her firearm. “It’d be swell if you could not punch me in the face? We’re getting paid to help Zyko and the bored lady ship their stuff, okay? We’re just labour. And uh. Well. No harm done, right?”

She smiles as broadly as she can, clearly hoping that the fact that the bullets hadn’t done anything is going to excuse the fact that she tried shooting in the first place.

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Under the water, Aquaria sang a Deep One song that echoed out of the water in a strange, eerie bass, a slow rumble as she translated from Lemurian to English as she went. 

 

Their boat will sink soon

into the water they fall

And then - the young shall play!

 

She stuck her head out from the water, pulling now at the propeller with her legs, feeling the satisfying sensation of straining metal, and gave a great bellow. "You should surrender now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Diamondlight

 

Perhaps they should surrender. But I would rather not take the chance, thought Diamondlight, rather coldly. There were bullets and laser beams flying around, and rather annoyingly, some of the laser beams were not his own. Still, the lone man standing on the deck was at least starting to spill the beans. 

 

Besides, the submarine itself was a concern. If the sailors had laser weapons, then one could only speculate what a submarine had. Torpedoes? Nukes?

 

I really hope its not nukes. 

 

"And what is that stuff, exactly?" he asked the man. "I would really like to take a look. And I hope it isn't explosive...."

 

With that, he focused his energy and two thin beams of silver blue light beamed from his eyes, heating up the Submarine, intent on cutting through the bulkhead. 

 

 

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The submarine rang from the repeated impacts of the heroes against its surface – the lasers and the hammering blows from the Sea Devil would surely take their toll eventually. Unfortunately, it seemed like there was at least one other important factor in all this other than the man with the crazy eye.

Miracle Girl had been keeping an eye in that general direction, so she saw it more clearly when the woman – who had been looking generally disinterested – suddenly dissolved into mist and flew out the back of the submarine.

For Sea Devil, it is a lot more noticeable. There’s a harsh gust of wind which blows into her, and then there’s not a person in the whole cavern who can fail to notice the woman because there’s a truly terrifying amount of noise as a sphere of swirling winds tear through the cavern, pushing the water all the way out to the mouth of the cave and depositing the submarine directly on the seabed with an almighty CRUNCH. Numerous fish also seem to have been left startled and exposed by the sudden change in terrain.

The woman herself has reappeared above the submarine, in the centre of those swirling winds. She looks young – perhaps in her early twenties – a shock of bright blue dyed into her swirling mane of dark locks. She’s otherwise wearing a dark Pig Velvet t-shirt from the late 90s, a pair of torn jeans, and doc martens.

“Okay.” She says, cracking her knuckles. “Can you guys stop trying to break my digs, now? My boss is already pissed you’ve put a dent in it, and he will not. Stop. Shouting.”

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Miracle Girl smiled with a bit of wry humor. "Hi Joan, nice to meet you." There was a swirl of wind, and then the criminal found herself sitting on the deck with her sleeves ripped off and used to hogtie her, feet and hands in front of her. "I need you to sit tight for a few minutes while we deal with the rest of your operation."

 

Then the girl from below decks appeared and did her thing, which was pretty darn impressive; the sound was so loud Casey had to cover her ears! She finally managed to float towards the girl with the purple hair lock, glowing brightly and yelling to be heard over the din.

 

"Look, we don't have to fight! If you come along quietly, it'll go better for you!"

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