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Shark Week: Baby Shark


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Freedom City Medical Center
Freedom City, New Jersey.
Wednesday, April, 10th, 2021
7:22 PM

 

Eight thousand employees.  Fifteen hundreds of which are physicians.  Eight hundred beds.  Ten doctors at the top of their fields with a superhuman specialization.  And absolutely not one person with an answer to the question permeating throughout the sprawling Freedom Medical Center.  Just where was baby Koa?

 

It had been a good hour since everyone in the Labor and Delivery floor had fallen asleep.  Including a woman who ended up sleeping through her own delivery.  It had only been five minutes.  But for Ata Kahale it was the longest five minutes of her life.  When she awoke her baby was nowhere to be found.  Hospital security was quick to pull the camera footage.

Footage that has now dominated the the Freedom City news cycle for the past hour.  Six robed figures exited the supply closet on the floor after everyone had fallen asleep.  They entered Ata Kahale's room and left with her child back towards the supply closet.  Disappearing without a trace.    

Edited by Brown Dynamite
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Jessie didn't typically watch the television news. She got news articles on her phone and tried to keep up with the highlights of what was happening in the world, but television news programs tended to make things as scary and sensationalized as possible, and it wasn't great for her equilibrium. She made a special exception for Freedom City Today, though, because she liked their cooking segments and could always just flip to something else when the news segments were on. This morning's Amber Alert had cut right through a piece on making your own sourdough starter, though, and Jessie hadn't been able to look away. "It's so sad," she murmured. "How could they have gotten through all that security to steal a baby? Who would do that?" 

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GHOST

 

No. Nope. It was not gonna happen. 

 

Casper was not gonna let it happen.

 

He'd caught it on the news, a baby stolen from the hospital by people in robes. The hospital was going to be swarming with people, sure, but he'd get there too, flying through Freedom as fast as he could.

 

Ghost tended to take things happening to children kind of personal.

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Sea Devil 

 

"No that does not sound right. No I do not think so. Goodbye." Aquaria hung up the phone and gave it a goggle-eyed glare, then hopped into the other room where Jessie had been watching television. It had been trivially easy for her to hear both her phone conversation and the television set. 

 

"They asked if I knew anything about a cult stealing a baby!" Aquaria croaked, sounding thoroughly scandalized. "Do you know what we should do?" she told Jessie. "We should go down there. Yes, and we should help them find their baby. So then they will have their baby, and they will not keep asking 'Aquaria, do you know anything about a cult stealing a baby for sacrifice?'" She was in high dungeon as she stomped into the mud room, her toes squishing on the tile as she snapped open her patched-together, stolen but still technically hers, power armor.

 

"That is a rude question that makes, no sense!" she added, her suit popping open with an audible hiss. 

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Jessie looked dubiously from the television to her roommate. "Maybe it's not a very good idea for you to be going down there then, if they're already asking you questions about did you take the baby," she offered. "We could call the lawyer Erin got for you and ask her what she thinks. You don't want to have to go answer questions at the police station again, right?" Even as she said it, though, she was distracted by the images unfolding again and again on television. Heroes were supposed to help people, and that family really needed help! "Maybe we could go and just look around quickly," she finally offered. "In case there are some bad guys hanging around." She went to put her uniform on, hoping that this wasn't going to be a bad idea. 
 

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Delighted that Jessie was going to be coming with her without her even having to sing pleadingly to her or do a dance, Aquaria helped make sure Jessie had all her gear, even the Lemurian shield she wore strapped over her back like a backpack. Maybe things were actually going to go well for them today despite its very irritating start. "It will be a delight! We will save the baby and everyone will say we are heroes," she croaked hopefully as she hopped her way over to the big swinging apartment window. Like most heroes in Freedom City, she and Jessie had the special sort that actually opened and not the terrible transparent cages that half the Surface population locked themselves into half the time. "I will see you there!" she called as the thrumming internal drive inside her suit propelled her out and away. 

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"No, we're not going to go into the hospital, we're just going to see if there are bad guy around who need stopping-" Jessie tried, but Aquaria was long gone. With a sigh, she perched on the windowsill and leapt off, arcing through the open air until she hit the roof of the building next door and started running. Running and leaping was less efficient than flying but it did cover the ground quickly, and was probably the only part of hero work that Jessie really enjoyed. Being at the top of the leap, suspended weightless for a long golden moment before gravity kicked back in, that was maybe her favorite way to feel. She'd tried to paint it a thousand times, but so far nothing had ever been quite right. It was enough to get to feel it, especially on a beautiful spring evening where even in Freedom City, a few stars were beginning to dot the heavens. 

 

As she got close to the hospital, Jessie turned her attention from the sky to the ground, trying to spot any disturbances that might spell trouble. There were always people around a hospital, and she spotted a clot that looked like probably reporters, and lots of police cars. If magic people had stolen a baby, they could be very far away by now, but it was also possible they weren't. Magic sometimes made people pretty dumb. 

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GM

 

When Sea Devil and Singularity arrived at the hospital, much like Jessie White feared it didn't take long for the police on the scene to corral them to an empty room for questioning.  What was unexpected, is that they weren't the only person in the empty delivery room to be questioned.  Ghost's reputation with law enforcement was equally shaky.  Despite the trio's good intentions it was clear that they had become the prime suspects.

 

"Alright, alright. Give us a moment"    Detective Valerie Archer waved away two enthusiastic uniformed police officers.  The Latina detective looked between at the two humans and one Deep One.  Then without saying a word she locked the door and placed her forehead against the door.  Sighing in open frustration before finally addressing the three.  "I'm sorry there's nowhere to sit.  But, I think it's better than the visual of dragging three heroes to the station for a bad photo op.  I'm Detective Archer with the Major Crimes unit, assigned to this kidnapping.  I assume you're here to help?"  

 

It didn't take super senses to hear the loud whispering out in the hallways. Even above the beeping of the various medical implements and broadcasts, one could hear the audible suspicion as a second group of flashily dressed people(and Deep One) arrived on the ward.

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GHOST

 

"I wasn't even here when the kid was taken! C'mon, give me a break, I just wanna help!" Ghost was arguing with one of the uniformed officers that had started questioning him on the entire thing. "Look, I walk through walls. Not... y'know... out of supply closets!" He did not sound amused. At all.

 

When the detective pulled them aside, he looked around at the lack of chairs, then decided to sit cross legged on the air itself. "A kid was taken, right? I'm more surprised we're the only ones here." He tapped his goggles. "Any chance to see the place where the kid was taken or that supply closet? I'm wondering where they went."

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"I can help you," croaked Aquaria from inside her power armor, which she was keeping firmly shut around the Surface-Men to avoid frightening them. "I can hear spells and tricks, and Singularity is very strong. Together we can find the people that stole the baby. We are helpers of your kind and of your children." Her voice was odd, an electronic bass that buzzed and echoed like nothing human, but it seemed to trouble the average Surfacer less than her regular voice. "And so can this person. Are you a real ghost?" she asked curiously. "I know a ghost, she is from a land called Canada." 

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Jessie sat quietly where she was put, texting furiously on her Archephone. She didn't have a lot of contacts on her phone, but "Erin(W)" was right at the top of her list. 

 

how do u know if ur arrested?

 

The response was quick. 

 

!!!

wtf

are u ok

 

Jessie frowned. 

 

ok for now. went to hospital bcuz missing baby. police have us in room w door locked. think they r sus of A and weird guy i don't know. they called A before we left home to ask ?s. no star squad i think.

 

Jessie surreptitiously tilted her phone to snap photos of Ghost and the police officer, then sent those along as well. The reply was again quick

 

ask if u r under arrest. if yes, ask for a lawyer and dont say anything else. y did u go to hospital if they were already asking questions?

 

we wanted to help

 

if they arrest you, call me and i will send the lawyer. it's bullshit because you are ex-PF and they're afraid of deep ones. maybe next time stay home tho. 

 

That didn't seem like the most helpful advice under the circumstances, but it was true that Jessie only rarely had terrible things happen to her when she stayed at home. She had gotten arrested there one time, though, so it wasn't infallible.  Setting the phone aside for a moment, she looked at the police officer. "Are we under arrest?" she asked plainly. "We haven't done anything wrong, and I know you don't arrest most superheroes who come to crime scenes to try and help people." 

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GM

 

"A child was taken from her mother."  Detective Archer answered rather frankly.  Sidestepping whether they could visit the room the child had been kidnapped yet.  She moved on to Aquaria's offer.  Apparently open enough to what Ghost and Aquaria were offering to listen.  "You can hear spells?  So was this magic, like for sure for sure?  Department 32 has our magic guys.  That paperwork's going to be a real pain."

 

"No you're not under arrest.  Honestly, you'd have to be some real sickos to return to the crime scene so soon after.  Which I don't believe to be the case,"  Detective Archer paused.  Her eyes shifting to the glass pane on the door outside.  And the occasional wandering eyes from the nurse station.  "Although, I said that.  I'm sure plenty are already writing you all off as suspects.  Probably won't take long til it's a social media rumor.  Consider this a more gentle hand than being detained and wasting all our times.  I don't want to cause any undue stress on the victim's family.  Time is of the essence when it comes to these things.  And I'll take anything that will help cut the time down.  If you can truly help, fine, I am willing to talk to the family and see if they're willing to speak to you. "

 

 

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GHOST

 

Huh. With the X-Ray active, Ghost could see that the one in the armor was a frog. That was... unsettling. But fair enough, nothing that needed to be brought up yet, right? Still... weird.

 

"I'm just the friendly neighborhood Ghost," he replied to froggy with a grin under his mask. "But I can promise that I'm not Canadian."

 

He wasn't picking anything else up, so... no secret exits or anything like that. Maybe magic then, like Kermit was talking about?

 

"So, magic? Smelling anything funky then?"

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Sea Devil shifted uneasily in her seat, long-fingered hands wringing together in that way Jessie knew bespoke nervousness. "There is much magic here. The song is broken, as if many have sung what they should not." She reached up and tapped a button on her helmet, turning the faceplate translucent and showing off what did indeed look like the large face of a very large frog underneath. She cast her goggle-eyed gaze on the detective and said, "Some of it echoes from you. Have you been in the closet? Perhaps it sounds from there. We should listen to it. 

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"It might be better if somebody, um a victim advocate, maybe? If somebody like that spoke to the family," Jessie offered. "We don't want to bother them, and we aren't, um, trained to deal with upset people." The news that the cop was echoing whatever disruption Aquaria was sensing had Jessie giving the detective a close second look. "Sea Devil is good at sensing magic and I'm good at noticing other things, so if we could see the closet and the room where the baby was, that might be more effective and make less, ah, undue stress. If she says there's magic involved, then it's definitely magic." 

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GM

 

"I haven't been in any closets since high school."  Detective Archer joked though barely cracking a smile as she pushed through the question.  "The crime scene technicians still have the scene, and I have been interviewing witnesses until you all came and volunteered your services.  We were actually waiting for a social worker to come down, but middle of the day.  It's hard to get in between the packed schedules."  It didn't take an expert to tell that from her tone that the word witnesses was very generous.  Considering the news reports of everyone falling asleep.

It was at this point she actually answered both Singularity's latest request and Ghost's earlier one of seeing the supply closet.  "You may examine the closet.  I will have to accompany you of course.  Just...try not to make a bigger scene"

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GHOST

 

Casper had heard of Archer. She was a good cop. Some bad stuff in her past, but she probably hadn't been guilty, so... yeah, alright. He knew what it was like to be accused of things you hadn't done.

 

"Alright. Let's see that closet, then." 

 

He nodded at the other two. The... frog... and the young woman. He'd seen weirder. But it was still weird. "I'm Ghost, by the way. I'm not really much of a magic guy, so I guess I'll let you take point." Ghost gestured with his hands. "Lead the way, Detective Archer."

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Once inside the closet, Aquaria barely hesitated before wriggling out of her armor, leaving it splayed open wet just outside the door. There was only so much space inside, after all. Neither fish nor frog nor Surface-woman but all three just the same, she squatted, long legs tucked beneath her so they extended past her head, in the midst of the closet and closed her great black and gold eyes. "I will listen. You may look. You will not disturb me." And then she made a noise low in her throat, a deep throb of thick sacs that echoed in the small room, and then she did it again. The noise wasn't loud as such but they could feel the power of the infrasonic bass as it vibrated through the walls and through them all. 

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Jessie did not seem bothered by the sudden increase in humidity or amphibian aromas when Aquaria opened her suit, instead skirting deftly around the Deep One and into the closet itself. She kept her fingers laced together to avoid accidentally touching anything, but did her best to look for anything strange or out of place or broken, anything that might show where the bad guys had gone. She wasn't very good at this, she knew, but there didn't seem to be a lot else she could do at this point. Her phone chimed with a new text message. 

 

have you figured out if you are arrested yet?

 

probably not, Jessie wrote back. police lady says it would look bad. we are looking at crime scene

 

y r u looking at the crime scene? Jessie could practically hear Erin's incredulity in the text. It was hard to argue. 

 

so they dont arrest us, she answered with a mental shrug. 

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Sea Devil opened her eyes and croaked. 

 

"Real power was used here. I can hear it." She hopped upright and said "Not the magic of Surfacers. The power of Those Below. But not Deep Ones," she added firmly. "Things would be different if it had been Deep Ones.Much worse. She shook off that thought and added, "It is the mark of the Shark-Things. Either the Atlantean ones," she had been on the surface long enough not to spit though it was sorely tempting, "Or the ones made by the Man-Shark. Megala-his name is hard to say. Megalodon." She closed her eyes and remembered. "We know him.

 

She croaked again and added, "I can follow their spell. But it will take time. Can any of you do it faster? The Shark-Things would not have done this just to eat him, but..." She hesitated, then said, "We need to hurry.

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GHOST

 

And... Kermit was not too keen on introductions. Alright then. They'd be Kermit, then. And... they got out of the armor and got naked. Wonderful

 

Casper decided he would do as she asked and stay outside the closet. Give her time to... do whatever she needed with those spells.

 

He'd seen enough magic to pick up on what the runes were supposed to do, at least. Some kind of teleportation or someting. Rest was just gibberish to him.

 

"Megalodon?" 

 

That was... surprising. Casper hadn't ever fought Megalodon, but he was just some giant shark monster, right? What would he want with babies? Eat them? 

 

"I, uh, what exactly do you mean faster? Get there fast, track them fast? I, might be able to get us there fast, but I need to know kinda exactly where it is." Ghost paused. He was talking to a giant frog. "And it's not exactly comfortable."

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Aquaria flexed her muscles, strength rippling beneath her tattooed skin. Her voice was fathoms-deep, echoing in a chest and throat bigger than any man's. "I can listen for their spell and find where they went. But it will take time. If you can find them faster, you should." Then she knelt and began humming, a low, deep throb, and seemed to turn her attention somewhere else. 

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"There's some kind of white powder in here," Jessie murmured from where she was crouched in the corner of the closet. "I don't know what it is or what it means, but it doesn't belong here. It might be salt, if this is Megalodon." She frowned at it, as though hoping it would reveal its secrets, then turned to Ghost. "Megalodon is a shark-man-thing," she explained to the strange hero. "He was a human doctor, but he did mad science on himself and turned himself into a bloodthirsty villain who kills for fun. When he takes his medication he is human, and he is also sleeping with the director of Providence Asylum, so he gets treated lightly. But he is very dangerous. When we fought him at the amusement park five years ago, two civilian people died and many were injured. If he took a baby, he might be trying to do mad science on it, too." 

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  • 2 weeks later...

GHOST

 

"Yeah, I've, uh, heard of him." Heard the shark-man-thing bit, at least. And the killing for fun. Everything else was new to Casper. He frowned under his mask. Mad science on babies? That was just wrong

 

He kneeled down and looked at the symbols, making sure not to actually touch anything or do something that could disturb Kermit. 

 

"So he's the standard mad scientist turned monster type deal, then? Doesn't really sound like a magic type." Ghost looked over at Kermit. She looked so weird. "I might be able to help out." Focus his power into stuff around him, just needed to figure out what to go...

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Aquaria hopped back into her Sea Devil armor, the metal closing smoothly around her. Then she extended her trident towards Ghost. "Take the blade by the hand," she told him. "But do not bleed on it." Doing so, the grip cool and damp and somehow smelling of fish, let Ghost hear the song of the universe, a deep and resonant throb that echoed infrasonically in his chest, with whispers of what lay below if only he paid attention - "Do not listen to what they tell you," she added firmly, "it will do terrible things to you. Give it your power and the song will hear you. Then we will go there.

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