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Dr Archeville

Do you want tentacles? Because that's how you get tentacles.

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"Hmm. I have heard worse than that." She made a slow, deliberate smile, not too big so that she didn't look too terrifying. "Below, we learn that Atlantis is rich when we are poor, has full bellies when we are hungry, and is jealous of what we have. When they find temples to our gods, they pull them down and erect their own in their place. Some will kill us for their sport. There are some who are not bad." She considered telling Archeville the truth, that the stars were almost right and that one day the first would be last and the last would be first in the Great Jubilee, but she knew that truth usually unsettled Surfacers. "When the crisis came this year, I met an Aquaria who was an Atlantean! Oh, there are many strange turns in the Cosmic Coil, that poor thing." She shook her head, or rather, her whole upper body. "A Deep One superhero would be one of great power, yes?" she croaked softly. "What could one do?" she asked, curious about this being with his reputation for farsight. "To raise Lemuria would slay Surfacers and so bring them down upon us. To humble Atlantis would mean more war. To fight the false priests would fill the oceans with blood and bring down our enemies even so." She tapped her armor and said, "Do you like it? I found it in the Sea of Stars. It was the armor of a Star Knight, but it was changed by their enemies.

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An interesting tale.  But if the Atlanteans were rich and well-fed, what were they jealous of?  No, best not to question that now.  Perhaps I can chat with Siren about it later.

 

"Superheroes do not necessarily have great power," he replied, slipping into a professorial tone, "as there have been many who were little different from their fellows, at least in terms of abilities.  But one thing all have in common is a desire to combat evil, oppose criminals.  To protect those who cannot protest themselves."  He paused in thought a moment, remembering what Vale had said about Deep Ones being semi-hive minded.  "You've seen humans, surface worlds, who act out against other humans, yes?  Criminals, who steal or attack other humans, yes?  Are there criminals amongst the Deep Ones?  Do any Deep Ones steal or attack other Deep Ones, purely for personal gain, acting against the agreed-upon norms of your society?"

 

He did a double take at her armor, "I have seen star Knight armor before, but that looks like nothing I've ever seen before.  Which enemy was it?  The modifications they made seem quite extensive."

Edited by Dr Archeville

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"Dagon and Hydra teach us to turn our teeth outward against our enemies, and for the weak to make themselves strong. But if one has broken the law, he will flee,as I did, "or die." She made a gesture with her upper body that was as close as she could get to a shrug. "I could not understand your Blackstone when I was in it. Being locked in a cage was like a slow death; one fit only for the very worst." She tapped her armor, and said, "They are called the Spectrum Knights! They make war against the Star Knights, but tell many lies. They must have thought I would be their friend, because I have so many enemies here. They steal armor of the Star Knights and use it. They are very clever, but they are not friends.

"The Spectrum Knights are an interstellar terrorist organization that arose after the Incursion," commented Vale. "We don't know much about their origin, but they seem to have begun as a group of dissident Star Knights who favored a galactic revolution." 

 

"That was how I went to the Sea of Stars! I came back with my friend Bliss. She lives in space!

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"Fascinating," he replied, both in response to the armor's origin and Aquaria's society.

 

I was not expecting to learn so much about spacefaring organizations today, especially not from what - er, who I'm talking with! 

 

"Have any of these Spectrum Knights made it to Earth?  And your friend, Bliss, does she come here, or is she only ever in space?"  He wanted to talk more, learn more, about these topics, in part because of his future plans, and in part to get away from discussing Deep One society.  And yet, he knew he must face those issues.  After all, isn't learning the best way to dispel fear?  "So... Dagon and Hydra teach that the weak must make themselves strong.  That only the strong are fit to survive?  That the strong do not help the weak?  How are your children raised?  Do they just fend for themselves, or does someone watch over them?"

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"The strong do help the weak," Aquaria croaked firmly. "That is why I am here, because I want to help. We help them grow so they can be strong." Moving onto the happier subject of children and spawning, she said, "There is the mating time, and then all the females lay eggs together, and then we all tend them until the young wriggle free. Our young are much...faster than yours," she added. "They already have their teeth, and they can eat meat, and they can swim very fast. My friend says they are like if kittens and sharks had babies, but they are not mammals. We raise them all together, so that they all can grow strong for our people. I have spawn of my own, and they too have spawn, but it is...it is not like it would be if I was a Surfacer." Again, that attempt at a shrug. "Can you mate?" she asked him curiously. "Not all of your parts smell like a Surface-Man's.

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Archeville nodded along, not expecting to learn that much about Deep One young, but fascinated nonetheless.

 

Makes sense for a predatory species.  But sharks eat their young -- do they do the same?  What are the survival rates?  And their rate or, and susceptibility to, mutations?  Could Aquaria herself be a mutant, with a brain and neurochemistry just slightly different enough to get her to think differently from her fellows?  Ah, no, that can be dangerous, thinking revolutionaries are mutants who were born different.  And yet, if the Deep Ones do have a quasi-hive mind, then a mutation to one's brain might be necessary for her to hav-

 

And then her question threw him.  "Well, I... that is, I have not attempted to since my change into this form.  Before my change, I had, many times.  Well, performed the act, that is, with women and men and other, but never produced any offspring."  He sensed a moment to examine another aspect of Deep One society.  "Have you and Singularity, or you and Jessie...?," he asked, while raising one hand and crossing his index & middle fingers over each other.

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"That is what Deep Ones are in your stories," Aquaria croaked flatly. "Things that want to mate with Surface-Men, or who trick them into mating with them. I have read what your writers say. Surface-Men with rot in their brains, who think everything must be as rotten as them!" She was kinetic now, briefly bounding up the side of the wall, then clinging to the ceiling. Archeville could feel Cassandra Vale's readiness behind him, not so much a tenseness but a watchfulness. "I am not yelling because of what happened to your ancestor, and I know I must be nice to Surfacers hurt by Deep Ones" she informed Archeville from her upside-down position above his head, but he could hear the seething in the Deep One's voice. "but Deep Ones do not want to mate with you. Or with any other Surfacer. You are mammals with hairy bodies and...and gonads, and your females hatch your young from their bellies, it is..." She made another noise, then shook herself like a seal fresh from the water. "It is perversity.

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Archeville took a step back, eyes wide in near-panic.  Steady, steady, stay calm, she's not going to attack you... probably.  Not the reaction I was expecting.  Looks like I touched a nerve, there -- I'll keep that in mind.

 

He re-composed himself, and crouched a bit, holding up his hands defensively, in supplication.  "I am sorry, Aquaria, truly.  Clearly my question has upset you, and that was not my intent.  I should not have asked such personal questions so soon after meeting you, and that question, I see now that I should not have asked at all.  I had only asked because," he shook his head, "no, no, it does not matter why.  All that matters is that I offended you, and again, I apologize.  If there is anything I can do to make up for this, please, let me know, and I shall try my best to make amends."

 

What a strange, strange day this has been.

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Up on the ceiling, Aquaria looked down at the cringing Surface-Man - and dropped back onto all fours, legs tucked up beneath and forelimbs out front, next to him. "I...I am sorry," she croaked softly, almost subsonic in her harmonizing. She shot a nervous glance back at Dr. Vale, glad she didn't seem to be in trouble. "They taught me those words too, when there is guilt." She looked up at Archeville and said, "It is fair. I asked you of your mating." She considered the conversation they were having, and the things that Surfacers feared and disliked, then added, "I am not homophobic. Many of my friends are females that mate with females." She wriggled her back leg loose so she could scratch behind the unarmored portion of her head. "Let me sing you a song." And so, she did, a low, throbbing tune that made her throat bulge and echoed in the bass. 

 

Dagon made the male

Hydra birthed the female 

They are the pair 

 

She made a small noise, then rose again to her bipedal status. "The male would now sing of the great body of the female and the might of his seed, and the female would sing of how sharp were her teeth and wide was her mouth. But there are no males here who can sing like me.

 

 "I do have a full anthropological workup if you're interested, Viktor," said Cassandra Vale, a friendly hand on Archeville's shoulder. If she could feel the technorganic stuff within, she made no comment on it. "Aquaria knows many songs." 

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Archeville rose from his crouched position and smiled weakly at Aquaria.  Glad to see things had ended on a non-bloody note.

 

And then those inhuman notes issued forth from her throat, and his face froze, then his smile twisted into a grimace.  His breaths came quick & shallow, his blood pressure climbed as his heart raced, his vision dimmed, his limbs felt like rubber.  Just when he thought he'd gotten a handle on things, on being in the presence of a Deep One, the sight and the smell, her singing -- which reminded him so much of the ululations of the Deep Ones who had rallied under him, chanted war songs in his name, sang praises to the new age R'K'Vll would bring -- brought on another panic attack.

 

Fortunately, Vale had placed a hand on his shoulder just as the worst hit, and the song was brief, so he didn't collapse completely.  He stood hunched over, hands on his knees, taking slow, deep breaths.  "I... I would be... interested... in seeing those... workups," he struggled, trying to remain calm and clinical.

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Not sure what was happening, Aquaria backed up, watching the two Surfacers talk. "Aquaria, thank you for coming today," said Cassandra Vale seriously. "I promise that the next time we invite you to Freedom Hall, we won't lie to you about why we're doing it." She gave Aquaria a little bow, eyes cast down, and Aquaria did the same. She gave a little wave to Archeville on the way out - perhaps she had overtaxed the former hybrid with her song and her presence. Ah well she thought as she closed the armor over her face, hopping her way through Freedom Hall and then into the sky overhead as she went. I did not say the things to him that made me very angry. So that is good. Perhaps he just needs time to consider who he is. 

 

 

"How are you, Viktor?" Cassandra had led Viktor Archeville into her office, an overstuffed academic's office full of paper-filled filing cabinets and boxes, a ruggedized laptop on her desk one of her few concessions to modernity. The walls were decorated with collections of Atlantean and Caribbean art, splashes of bright color and strongly-formed figures that reinforced the impression of this being an emeritus professor's office somewhere. There was coffee here, heavily mixed with cocoa, her favorite.

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"I am... improving," he managed to say after a few moments of deep breaths and centering exercises.  "This is not at all what I'd expected when I came here today.  But, as I said earlier, I understand why you all did it.  Well, why Comrade Frost did it."  He took a mug of coffee-cocoa, held it in his hands a moment, felt the warmth radiate through his hybrid flesh.  "I shall have much to discuss with my therapists when I see them later this week."

 

He sighed, took a sip of the drink, stared off into the distance a bit as he collected his thoughts.  At last her turned to face Vale, "I am interested in reading about what you've learned from her, about the Deep Ones and Aquaria herself.  I need to know just how anomalous she is, and how standard the Other's ones were.  Not now, though.  If you could email it to me?"  Another slow sip, "and about that armor, in case those Spectrum Knights are a potential threat to Earth.  Though I suspect I should need to talk with someone else about that."

 

He engaged in some idle chit-chat with Professor Vale as his mind settled.  Once he felt steady enough, he thanked her for the beverage and retreat, made his goodbyes, and walked out of Freedom Hall, enjoying the simple stroll for a bit.  I collapsed, but I did not break.  A minor setback, one I can recover from, learn from.  I remain myself.  I am... Viktor.

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