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Threat to Society (IC)

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GM

July 10th

The Open Ocean, Outside Freedom City...

Congressman Jim Powers gave the cursory salutes, the cursory handshakes, and the cursory small talk as he inspected the air-craft carrier Centurion, named after Earth's Mightiest Hero.

Now there was a man...

He didn't like the military life. He was a practitioner of a different type of warfare. Political and diplomatic. And he was not always particularly clean about it. But he was successful. And driven. Ever since the death of his son in the terminus invasion.

After the formalities of the inspection, he sat down with the Admiral, Saul Chambers, in the captains quarters. They loosened their ties slightly, but did not drink.

In Admiral Chambers, Congressman Powers had found an ally. Another father who had lost a son in the terminus invasion. Another man who was driven.

"A fine ship" he noted, pressing his hands together.

"It took me a considerable amount of time to shuffle the monies around to equip the ship for its particular missions, Admiral. Are the crew up to it?"

The Admiral nodded.

"They are the best, Sir. Well trained, loyal. I reviewed the logs myself. Obviously, they will not know the full details of our operations. But the ship and crew are fully operational nonetheless..."

Powers sat back, satisfied. It had been a long time coming.

"Well then, I suggest we start phase one...." he said, permitting himself a thin smile.

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GM

A little later...

A pules of Terminus Energy - small, but significant, fired off in the bowels of the Centurion. A pulse that, despite being several miles off shore, attracted the attention of none other than Harrier...

Meanwhile...

The dolphin appeared to be a military pet. It had a bleeding thing strapped to its dorsum. Wave-Eye could only imagine what it had been trained to do.

It swam up to Wave-Eye and petted him in a friendly manner.

"Hey, I found you!" it said.

"I got a message! There has been some disturbance at the big floaty metal home! They need you!" it said in a friendly voice.

"You are good in the water, right?"

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Drifting about the coast of Freedom City was so far one of Nochehuatl's favorite hobbies. It allowed time for reflection on and planning for the future, he got a chance to chat with passing boaters(many of whom were only initially nervous when he appeared bside them), and he had stopped several small smuggling runs, a few attempted kidnappings, and even a ritual summoning a giant octopus for some reason.

For all that, he was still in a dour frame of mind, and the crunchy shell and tough flesh of the giant crab he was mnching on did little to help. Speaking around a mouthful he answered the bleeding creature cooly:

"Hello little dolphin, I see whoever sent you was..strict in your teaching. I hope you did not have to dodge any sharks on the way here in such a state. Am I good in the water? Ha!" he smiled with a mouth full of fangs "I am a power in the water. Lead on, little dolphin, if I am needed, I will help." He swallowed the mouthful loudly, tossing aside the carcasss of the crab into the darker depths and following closely his mamallian guide.

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GM

"Great!" said the dolphin.

"The human's, they live on board the big metal home! it moves around a lot, but I know where it is now! they treat me very nice, give me lots of fish to eat, and we play games. They teach me how to play a game where I find a big metal ball in the ocean, its great fun!"

"Here, follow me!"

The dolphin, full of happiness as having found a new friend lead Wave Eye towards the Centurion...

"Here we go!" it sang as they arrived. "Errr...I don't know what to do now, I am sorry. I just know there is some problem on board, sorry!"

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Steve felt the familiar prickle that bespoke Terminus energy while sitting in the break room at HAX, drinking coffee and thinking about what to buy Gina for her birthday. When was her birthday, anyway? Unfortunately, the brush of Terminus power took priority over both work and pleasure. Always concerned by Terminus radiation, particularly since none of the super-scientists he knew had anything on the roster for today, Harrier decided to take action. He was on break anyway, so he punched out, writing the laconic "Situation" on his time card that bespoke a super-emergency, and took the elevator to the roof before changing into his armor.

After a moment's thought, he activated his "Caradoc" disguise as well, taking to the air looking like a shining storybook knight in silvery armor with a dragonshead jetpack rather than a spike-and-horror Omegadrone as he rocketed towards the source of the disturbance. If he was on his way to meet someone new, looking his best seemed the most prudent option. If they were innocently toying with entropic power, he could investigate them and learn more: if something sinister was going on with the power of the dimension of his birth, he could show them a hint of why it was better not to tamper with forces beyond the ken of mortal men.

And if an invasion was taking place, he could destroy them all. It was a sunny day as he rocketed over the beach and out to the ocean, the sort that he'd have enjoyed under other circumstances

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GM

Out at sea, by the Centurion...

Over the radiowaves, Harrier picked up the signal...

"This is the USS Centurion...please Identify yourself...we are on military operations. Be advised, if you do not identify yourself we will take aggressive countermeasures. Repeat. If you do not identify yourself we will take aggressive countermeasures..."

The operator at the radar control looked at the blip on his monitor.

"It is an Omegadrone Sir. It's almost certainly him."

"It" said Admiral Chambers, leaning over the young man. "It. Don't forget that Son. Repeat the message. And ready the weapons. Just in case. We all know the drill here. "

"This is the USS Centurion...please Identify yourself...we are on military operations. Be advised, if you do not identify yourself we will take aggressive countermeasures. Repeat. If you do not identify yourself we will take aggressive countermeasures..."

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"Here we go!" it sang as they arrived. "Errr...I don't know what to do now, I am sorry. I just know there is some problem on board, sorry!"

"No need to apologize," Wave-Eye replied with a rare burst of kindness(and more than a little pity at what fate the dolphin was likely to suffer) "you have done as asked, retreat to the cove a little south from here. Many fish live there" he added as he swam quickly towards the towering bulk of the Centurion "help yourself."

Nearing the surface, he quickly made a sweep of the hull, checking if anything was obviously wrong with it. Once that was done, he surfaced without so much as a ripple on the tossing grey sea. Digging his hard nails into the tough steel, he began the laborious process of climbing aboard.

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(GM)

Wave-Eye clambered up the impressive armoured hull of the Centurion slowly and carefully, the steel creaking and rending under finger and nail.

As an aircraft carrier, it's main defence was its on board fighters. But the Centurion was not lacking in either artillery or state of the art gunnery as Wave Eye could see during his ascent. The crew, whilst not on full battle stations seemed to be well drilled, alert, and...expectant?

As he approached the rim of the ship he coul hear soldiers patrolling and talking above him.

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"Caradoc" hovered in mid-air, barely able to see the distant silver shape of the aircraft carrier on the horizon. It occurred to him, in a strategic way, that he really should talk to Miss Americana about having a radio implant made one of these days. I have none by nature; what use would an Omegadrone have for one? And in the time since, he'd always flown with people he could talk to, rather than with distant forces on the ground to worry about. He had something of a moral dilemma, given that he was trespassing in the waters of this nation's military, but after a moment's debate his determination to get to the bottom of the Terminus mystery around here pushed him through. Stowing his 'sword' and raising his hands, 'Caradoc' flew low and slow towards the carrier, doing his best to make it clear he had no hostile intentions.

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The ship was vast, a monument of iron to the ingenuity and resources of the humans that dwelt in this age, and while Wave-Eye was busy climbing it like a scaly spider he had plenty of time to think over the message.

So far, the place seemed to be in order. He could feel the steps of terrestrial soldiers marching, orders being shouted filtered down to his ears, and idle talk of men of war on and off duty chatting above. What he couldn't hear or feel was something wrong.

There is no panic, no dangerous quiet. No trouble seems to have put anyone on edge. I would almost say I have been lied to. He felt vaguely annoyed at the idea, mainly because he wanted to gain at least a little notoriety and going on eel hunts, dashing from one potential area of danger to another trying to find a suitable task, wasn't his idea of a good plan. Thus absorbed, he quite forgot to keep up even the least accoutrements of stealth and secrecy about him, and swinging himself over the edge he slammed heavily to the deck with a crash and a torrent of furious, incoherent curses and snarls.

Regaining his feet he glared about himself, in the heat of the moment giving no thought whatsoever to hiding.

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GM...

...On the deck of the Centurion...

"Halt who goes there!"

The soldier, a young, brave man and his slightly older darker skinned buddy, both levelled their guns at Wave-Eye as he clambered aboard. The men where not decked out as elite soldiers, but they seemed a little crisper than the normal soldier. Well drilled, keen, and alert.

"Hold it, we were briefed about this one....Wave-Eye isn't it?" he asked, without lowering his weapon.

"We better radio this in. Admiral will want to know about this..."

He spoke into his comm unit relaying the message.

"Roger Roger...Admiral En Route to Speak to Subject...Proceed to Deck 2 Urgently...We have Incoming...." crackled his radio in response.

The older soldier turned to Wave Eye.

"Well, you heard the man!" he said, indicating the way with his rifle "The boss want's a word. And it looks like we got some action. Hope you are ready for a war, Wave-Eye!"

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GM

Meanwhile...Out at Sea....

"Fire a warning shot!" commanded Admiral Chambers as he strode off to meet Wave-Eye.

The cannons boomed, and an explosion bloomed next to Harrier, enough to shake him off course a few millimetres, but not ruffle him. A direct hit might be another matter, however...

"Warning...this is a Military operation...Unidentified object...if you do not identify yourself...you will be treated as a potential hostile and be subject to full range of response options...." came the message.

However, Harrier Picked up Another Message, right in his ear, like a voice speaking to him. A woman's voice, as far as he could tell.

"Hello? Hello? Can you hear me? I'm in the Centur *kverp kverp* You have to stop them, I don't know how long this will *kverp* and they may find it *kve-kverp kve-kverp kve-kverp* its dangerous! you have to *kve-kve-kverp* and now they have some fish creature *kverp* I checked him *kverp kverp* and he is *kverp* be careful! I know you may not tru *kverrp kverp* but dont *kverp kevrp* anyone! find out for your *kverp...zzzzzt*"

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At any other time, Wave-Eye would have gazed in wonder at the magnificent flying machines the humans had learned to wage war with. Right now, he was too angry to care about such things.

Looking at the humans with undisguised irritation, Nochehuatl gurgled "Yes, that is my name. I am eager to know why he would summon me, with so little information and no danger in sight!" he stalked past them, glaring at the one who had asked if he was 'ready for a war' "I have seen more wars than you have hairs on your forehead, stripling, and I tell you this: no-one is ever ready for war when it comes. You just absorb it more or less painfully" he snarled in answer, thudding moodily to where the leader of this floating fortress was held, knocking on the door with a spined hand.

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GM

"Sir! We are professional soldiers Sir!" snapped the younger man, in retort to Wave-Eye. He meant it too. These guys were not your average grunts.

"At ease, men!" said Admiral Chambers as the two soliders brought Wave-Eye into his office. He was surrounded by a couple of other armed soldiers and a few other officers.

"Wave-Eye...I heard...I read all about you, Son..." he said, a little stiffly. "I know you can fight. No stranger to war, either. Well, we may just have one here. The Centurion, well it's on a top secret mission. Even I don't know everything that's going on. We have some scientists down below, and something bigger down below us, apparently. All dates back to the Terminus Invasion. You know the Terminus Invasion, right?"

He stood up stiffly and marched up to Wave-Eye.

"Look Son, we got a situation. The Centurion, it's here to make sure that the Earth is protected from any further Terminus Invasion. Because the next one, we may not get lucky. The Centurion, the other Centurion, he ain't with us any more, so we have to make do with this ship".

He stood up tall and proud.

"And our mission is this. No exceptions, no mistakes, no terminus. We don't accept anything that could expose us to another invasion. Our goal, our only goal, is to make sure the Earth doesn't get turned into a ball of cinder by the next invasion. You got that? because it isn't over Son, it's never going to be over..."

He pointed to the Radar.

"And right now we have an Omegadrone heading right for us. So my question is, are you with us, Son?"

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Out at sea, Harrier actually stopped his flight directly towards the aircraft carrier and began tracing a big circle in the sky around it, weighing his options. If they are experimenting illegally with the Terminus, I can gain what knowledge I can and depart to find my usual allies. I would depart now, but if there is a prisoner aboard that ship, or someone trying to send me a message, I cannnot leave them to their fate. Steve wasn't one for subtlety, or for making a quiet approach: he turned and roared back towards the carrier, after a moment dipping and plunging directly into the sea beneath. He zoomed along just beneath the water's surface, straining his sensors as the water behind him exploded into steam from the heat of his burning engine.

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Why do so many humans call me 'son'? wondered Wave-Eye grumpily, looking over the commander with a cold and very black eye. So far this whole situation had seemed suspicious, from the summons to the revelation that this man somehow knew about him, and the triton was ill-pleased at the idea of some kind of loyalty test. At least I don't have to cut somebody's head this time he reminded himself dourly, a small comfort at best. After a few seonds thinking Admiral Chambers' words over, the fishman replied "So, this ship safegaurds some new weapon or tool that will defend agaisnt the Terminus? In that case I am amazed you would call on me. I have already heard of several powerful entities who could protect this ship far better than I. That said," he added, stroking his scarred and heavily tattooed chin "it is a single Omegadrone, I do not think it will prove much of a challenge even to me" he grinned in a thoroughly unpleasant manner "I am undoubtedly with you, so long as this loyalty test is not a cover for some dirty work you do not wish revealed"

Rolling his heavy shoulders he rocked back on his heels, glancing down at admiral Chambers "Show me where it is, admiral, and I will dispatch them for you, though I confess you are timid for a leader of war" he remarked casually "why you do not wish to shoot it down yourself baffles me" a sudden suspicion shot across his mind, which he kept a tight grip on as he observed the mna in front of him.

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GM

"Be advised, Son" replied Admiral Chambers "I am guessing this is now ordinary Omegadrone..." he said, arching an eyebrow.

"Be on your guard...remember, we can take no chances here..."

"Admiral, target has dropped below zero altitude! repeat: target has sumberged!"

"Damn!" cursed Chambers, thumping the desk.

"Launch Seabirds one and two. Standard Drill, be advised, we are under attack. Sound the alarm..." he barked, as men and women of the navy flew right and left to effect his orders.

He turned back to Wave-Eye.

"Underwater, we have no support. If the sonofabitch rises above it, we can use our firepower. But under the sea, it will have to be our air support, and they take time to launch, even a well oiled ship like ours. Son, we are in your hands...."

He turned back to give some orders.

"Deploy mines!" he ordered "Brace for impact! Seal the lower chambers! Security Response team to assigned positions!"

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Harrier slowed to a comparative crawl as he hit the water, but he was still confident he would reach the aircraft carrier before they could reach him with any underwater attacks. It is all a misunderstanding, he told himself as he rushed through the blue water of the ocean, a thin trail of steam rising up from the surface above his head as his hot jetpack, its flame burning with Terminus fire, instantly vaporized the water he flew through. I will introduce myself, we will figure out what is going on about the Terminus together, and that will be that. Perhaps they have been taken over by supervillains, and I can rescue them!

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"Be advised, Son" replied Admiral Chambers "I am guessing this is now ordinary Omegadrone..." he said, arching an eyebrow.

"Indeed? I will have to see this for myself" Wave-Eye replied blandly "Perhaps it will have enough wit to surrender"

Starting at the sudden alarms being raised, he glanced around in confusion before realizing where the wails were coming from. Feeling a little sheepish at this(nobody wants to look like ignorant in front of a human), he bowed politely when the admiral declared them to be in his hands, saying "I promise you, if the drone gets past me, it will not be for want of trying." So saying he leaped out of the room and soared elegantly over the side, his legs transforming into his dragon's tail with a flare of light as he slid down into the murky depths.

Taking an instant to get his bearings, Wave-Eye felt the reverberations of the water around him, quickly detecting the roiling created by Harrier's blazing flight. With a slight chuckle and a flick of his tail, the triton shot towards the oncoming figure, fin-like hair plastered to his skull, his spines making trails in his passage, and the conch raised to his lips in preparation of their meeting.

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His armored eyes piercing the gloom underwater, Harrier was briefly taken aback by the sight of the obvious Deep One. What am I to do? He surely cannot be working for the US Navy... He thought for a moment, wondering if this was about the fight aboard the submarine the previous summer, the one where he'd made hundreds of Deep Ones flee in terror against the unstoppable Omeagadrone, then decided to press onward despite the potential threat. I cannot fight ship and creature at once, and I have a much higher purpose. I can speak with him later about his roe. He made a smooth manuever under the water, veering to avoid the fishman.

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Wave-Eye's immense black eyes tracked the freed Omegadrone with great care, gauging the distance between the two with delicacy until he was certain they were close enough.

With a swipe of his tail he halted in a whirl of displaced water and a swirl of bubbles, and drawing a deep breath through his gills, he sent a booming roar through the conch still at his lips. The blast shuddered throughout the water surrounding Harrier, and from seemingly nowhere, long red ribbons were around him, swirling the water around him into a powerful current, trying to imprison him in a watery cage!

Or it would, if Wave-Eye's aim hadn't been off by several dozen yard. Instead of capturing him, a few arms of the whirlpool happened to pass through him, with the powerful core far enough away to leave him entirely unhindered. It did discomfort several fish who had been fleeing desperately from what they recognized as a herald of their doom, however.

Slapping his forehead with a gurgling sigh, Nochehuatl bent himself once more to the task, hurtling on an intercept course for the red and black figure. Yelling out irritably "Be still, drone! I know you can understand me, turn and fight so I can find out what's on that ship and get back to my lunch!"

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The mindless automaton turned under the water, its faceless head turning in his direction. And then it spoke, its voice stretching out to Wave-Eye under the water, distorted both by the surrounding medium and the drone's own body into something flat, cold, and mechanical, and unmistakably a threat, or rather, cold promise. "I have no quarrel with you, son of Dagon, and weighty business elsewhere." said Harrier, using the words he'd memorized after his own battle with the Deep Ones. "Go back to your people, and tell them that fearsome champions, as ever, rule the surface. I am the drone that destroyed the submarine taken by your people during their war with the surface last summer. Do not risk yourself for nothing."

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There was an icy silence following Harrier's words. The triton stared at the mutilated human, his scarred face slowly contorting into a rictus of perfect disgust. "'Dagon'?" he echoed "You dare insult me by calling that loathsome wretch my father? Conflating me with those slimy Deep Ones is almost more than I can bear by now. I," he said flatly, his voice echoing through the water "am a child of Chalchiuhtlicue, She of the Jade Skirt, the matchless mistress of oceans and one of her human lovers, adopted by the mighty Tlaloc himself upon his marriage to her. I am a triton, not one of those warped Atlanteans." He darted towards his target "You speak amazingly well and fairly, and know a smattering of the deeper matters, unheard of in drones from what others tell me" he peered closely at Harrier, and the suspicion surfaced again, edging him towards trying to find out more about what was going on "Before we start tearing each other open over that ship, tell me: do you have a name, and who sent you?" he glanced for a second at the iron bulk in the distance, uncertainty gnawing at him.

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"My name is Harrier. I was sent by no one; I am a free drone." Harrier floated in the water, his words nearly inaudible over the sound of the roaring engine behind him that flashed the water into steam. "The men aboard that carrier, whether they know it or not, have tampered with the power of the Terminus, and may well hold an innocent in their custody. The surface civilization will be destroyed if it attempts to harness the powers of entropy. I intend to find the secret of what they have done and bring it to the attention of the world, and free whatever prisoner they may have taken aboard their ship." He resumed his underwater flight at that, evidently limited to a speed slow enough that Wave-Eye could still easily catch him. "If you are a native of this dimension, your civilization too is imperiled by what they do above."

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"A freed drone...?" Wave-Eye gazed at the flame-spewing figure in utter astonishment, his anger all but forgotten "But how..I have never heard of any rescued from that thralldom..." he shook his head slowly for a moment, puzzling over this very new thing. At last he remembered himself and quickly caught up to Harrier, gurgling "Nevermind, it is not pertinent. If what you say is true(and I do not find it difficult to believe), then I might as well come along to help. I am admittedly not current in my knowledge of human laws, but I am convinced they do not hold with keeping people prisoner around things tapping into the source of utter entropy." He didn't say anything about the 'civilization' bit, tritons as a rule being fiercely independent and strongly opposed to the idea.

Keeping pace with powerful strokes of his tail he asked conversationally as they neared the ship "So, what was your plan? You seem the sort who could impose their will by presence alone," he said, glancing at the free drone's armor and the heavy pike "no speech needed. I would suggest the classic feigned captive and captor routine, but the=but your people might not fall for that trick as often as they used to." he had to force back a bitter smile at that memory.

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