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The Island of Valaxa 

Indian Ocean

Saturday, August 16, 2014

4:27 PM

 

Thirty years ago the island of Valaxa was discovered by an Indian fishing ship.  Since then researchers have made various attempts at attempting to bridge a relationship with the local population to no avail.  The presence of outsiders has been met with violent resistance.  The Valaxans have even managed to sink entire ships to make their message clear.  With ritualistic dancing and whooping afterwards in open celebration.

 

Earlier this morning to avoid an incoming storm a commercial plane took an alternate route flying over the island.  A local Valaxan actually flew off the island and smashed a wing wholesale.  Sending the plane crashing down below.  It wasn't long before local air authority lost contact with the plane.  And an emergency scramble quickly took place.

 

When a local expedition team was led to try and recover the plane they too were met with resistance.  The timely arrival of the heroine known as Triakosia prevented the second plane from being shot down.  In the process she managed to capture a Valaxan and both parties were able to reach a consensus and arrange a sit down meeting.  Shortly afterwards the Freedom League was contacted and agreed to send in two representatives to help smooth things over all the easier.

 

Currently, the trio of Gabriel, Triakosia, and Velocity were on a Freedom League Pegasus jet with a group of sociologists who had been preparing them for their upcoming meeting.  All waiting for the signal that it was okay for outsiders to land on the island for the first time in its known history. 

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"Well, we are in the holding pattern, waiting for permission to land."  Velocity reported as she glanced back at the other occupants in the Pegasus. 

 

Normally the speedster did not travel by the League's Pegasus planes, seeing that as fast as they were, she was able to easily out distance them running.  But given that this mission included others, among them civilians without the ability to run or fly faster than the speed of sound, and the issue of having to wait for permission to arrive on Valaza, it had been necessary for her to be aboard.  And in any event, she was the only League member present who had been trained on piloting the space planes. 

 

Even as she appeared to focus back on the controls and airspace in front of her, Velocity was still able to keep tabs on the others, thanks to her goggles.  Mainly she was focused on Triakosia.  As a member of the League, Velocity had learned about the woman's arrival, and knew of the League's concerns that she could be some sort of duplicate like the Alpha Centurion.  So far, there had been no indication that such was the case, that still did not mean Velocity was not going to keep an eye open, just in case.

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For her part Dancia Devon, the before mentioned Triakosia, was a little torn about this trip. The reporter in her was kicking herself that she would be unable to write about this once in a lifetime opportunity to report on this hopefully historic event. Though on the other hand she was more than happy to help the League after all they had done to help her after her arrival.


She sat calmly in the Pegasus waiting for them to be allowed to land, it felt natural to do this like she had been in this situation before.

 

“It’s a shame we couldn’t have flow here under our own power. I assume there is a good reason we couldn’t do such a thing?â€

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Gabriel smiled a bit at Triakosa's question.

 

"Well, putting aside the fact that the ladies and gentlemen coming along are more comfortable flying in a plane than with us carrying them-"

 

Here the silver-and-white clad man gives a slight tilt of his nod back toward the team of diplomats and sociologists accompanying them.

 

"It seems like the locals are more comfortable with us all coming in in one plane, rather than the somewhat more hostile setup of flying and running in. Us having to wait for their approval gives the locals at least a sense of control, which is important. It means they're not feeling quite so defensive, and thus may be more open to, at minimum, us getting everyone off the island alive. Ideally we'll get them happy with the idea of not knocking our planes full of helpless passengers out of the sky."

 

His words were friendly, but while the man was legendary for his ability to defuse a situation, there was a hint of steel in his voice when he talked of the passenger plane.

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GM

 

"There is also the barrier.  An invisible dome shaped one that tears outsiders to shreds.  It doesn't reach this high.  It would make your landing theoretically more painful.  Escaping as well.  If only we were allowed to run some tests we could know for sure."  A heavy set middle aged Indian woman in a lab coat spoke up.  She was Dr. Pushpa Baskhaar.  A recognized researcher in metahuman studies.  Known for her series of books in trying to crack the code on 'parahumans' as she dubbed them.  

 

"Ah."  Another one of the scientist raise an anxious hand as woman flew into view in front of the jet.  Arriving before they could discuss the reasons for the merit of the plane any further.  She was a brown skinned woman with dark blue tattoos ordained over what flesh of hers could be seen.  For the most part her body seemed to be covered in a strange metallic armor.  Which did not cause any further discomfort on a perfectly hot day.  The islander hit the front of the plane with a metallic mace.  Hard enough for a loud thud to resonate.  But no so hard as to come off as an attempt to shoot down the plane.  It was a signal to land.

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Velocity had been considering Dr. Baskhaar's words and wondering just how good this barrier might be at keeping things out.  While she was able to vibrate her molecules and pass through most things, it was still possible it might work against her, not something she wanted to try out at high speeds.

 

She was thus a bit surprised as the woman flew up in front of them and almost jerked at the controls of the spaceplane to try to avoid her as she flew forward and hit the front of the vehicle with her mace.  But the speedster was able to see that there was not much force behind the swing before most have even fully registered she had closed.

 

So she simply smirked slightly as she gave a nod to the woman outside.  "Well, that was friendly, a simple hand signal likely would have been good enough."  She then began slowing the plane down a bit more as she followed the woman down, preparing for a VTOL landing where directed to touch down.

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Gabriel actually grimaced at the mention of "tearing things apart" from the good Doctor.

 

"That somehow got left out of our briefing. Thank you for the information, Doctor Baskhaar."

 

It was easy to tell his thanks were sincere. He didn't twitch as the local struck the plane with a mace, instead opting to give a friendly smile and wave. His voice carried to the others despite his lips not moving. 

 

"Not exactly the friendliest greeting, but hey, she's not trying to tear us out of the sky, so that's a plus. Um."

 

Gabriel's whispered voice actually seems a bit unsure as it pauses.

 

"How high should I dial up the charm when we get out of the plane, do you think?"

 

Velocity, at least, would know that Gabriel was asking if he should turn the full force of his powers toward being an incredible force of personality. In this case, in the hopes of keeping things friendly and peaceful. Unless a local detected and misunderstood said use of said powers. 

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GM

 

The bystanders didn't quite understand what Gabriel meant.  At least not to the level his fellow Freedom Leaguer did.  To them, he was practically a charming cult of personality.  They hung off his every word even in his current state.  Which made them all too agreeable to his request.  It also meant they'd not actually be providing constructive criticism as far as Gabriel's intentions were concerned.

 

They landed in a heavily forested clearing.  It was a small opening with a circular entrapment of trees.  There were wooden huts in the area as well as a much larger wooden structure.  But there seemed to be little much else that could actually sustain a population.  A few notches and groves in the ground signalling the location of obvious traps.  Some weapons could be made out hidden in the large building.  Clearly this was not their main living situation, the area served another purpose.

 

The woman whom had signaled for the plane to land was waiting on the outside.  Trees shaking in the distance made it clear she was not alone.  Her assistance well hidden.  "Lay down your arms." she called out warningly.  Not that anyone other than Gabriel understood.  The language was an isolated one.  Like many such the only tongue it shared any similarities with were that of Atlantean. 

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"Well, it certainly couldn't hurt to go full bore." Velocity replied to Gabriel’s question with a small grin as she brought the Pegasus craft down gently onto the ground. As the others debarked, the young speedster when through the shutdown checklist for the aircraft. A few moments later she appeared beside the others in a blur of yellow.

It took Velocity only a split second to take in their surroundings, something she was able to do without even having to turn around. The woman who had flown up to lead them down was so far the only of the locals showing herself. "So…what did she say?" The speedster asked, putting her hands on her hips as she stood beside the others.

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Dancia didn't speak the language but she did have some experience in reading people's tone and intent, she guessed they all did but she choose to make her living from such things.

 

“I don’t speak the language but I think it’s more of a question than any kind of threat, though i don't think she’s going to wait long for our reply.â€

 

It wasn't necessarily overly helpful she knew, but she wanted to make sure she pulled her weight in this assignment, she was painfully aware that she was the junior member here.

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Gabriel had, thankfully, not "switched" his powers over yet, and was indeed able to understand the woman. He made sure to whisper his voice to the others without moving his lips.

 

"She wants us to put our weapons down. If we have any, I guess. I'm going in hands-up."

 

At a normal volume, he spoke again, and the woman understood. 

 

"Hello. Yes, we are not armed. We come peacefully. I am known as Gabriel. May I ask your name?"

 

As he spoke his next words he tilted his head back toward the rest of the group.

 

"Do you speak any other languages? My friends here do not speak as much as I do, and I must invest some of my power in being able to speak and understand so many languages."

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GM

 

She gave Gabriel a doubtful look before hinging on confusion.  "Why would I have a need to know a second tongue?"  Being from an isolated people her contact with the outside world was nonexistent.  Let alone the educational opportunities weren't likely to include learning English.  However, the concept of foreign languages was not so far out an idea.  And someone had to have sent word about the negotiations.  Which guaranteed at least one person spoke something other than the native tongue.

 

It was just a matter of figuring out who.  "Tell your leader that you all are to follow.  The Queen shall discuss matters with you."  She raised her right hand into a fist.  Four more armored women would come out from the tree line.  They were far less covered in metal than the woman whom had greeted the group.  With parts of their arms and legs showing bare flesh.  Revealing the fact that their skin was heavily covered in tribal markings.

 

They were each holding a metallic weapon.  One of the women practically in a pounce position as they waited for the "guest" to comply.  None seeming hesitant about the situation they found themselves.  A particular mousy blonde woman amongst the group of warriors kept eyeing the plane with a level of fascination.  Stopping only when the heavily armored woman gave her a sneer.

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Gabriel just kept offering the same soft, friendly smile to all the guards in front of him. 

 

<I will pass the message to them.>

 

He spoke normally now, in just plain English, to the other heroes and the diplomatic crew.

 

"She says we're supposed to follow her and her friends. All of us. Make sure no one thinks you're still armed."

 

Somewhat redundant with superheroes present, but still.

 

"We are apparently going to meet the Queen, who will discuss matters further and more in-depth with us."

 

Gabriel simply went along with the guides/guards, giving them all polite smiles and nods. He took note of the interaction between the mousy-looking one and the others. That information could be useful for later.

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Velocity remained calm when the other four armored women arrived, looking to Gabriel to provide some translation as to what was said by the first armored woman.  "Sure, should not be a problem."  She replied as she prepared to follow along with the group, having to slightly remind herself stay at a more normal speed.

 

Hmm, nothing but armed women so far, and a Queen.  This some sort of Amazon like culture?  The speedster thought to herself, also noting how one of the more timid women had seemed fascinated by the Pegasus, something clearly not meeting the approval of the leader.

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Triakosia followed the lead of the other two more experienced heroes her reporter instincts taking in as much detail as she could. Not knowing anything about this culture meant that anything they noticed could be vitally important. One thing that was obviously important was that it seemed to be a female dominated society, which might caused them one or two problems.

 

“If they are as female dominated as it appears they might be insulted if a man does the talking for us. As much as I’d like to explain to them the principles of equality we might have to play along to begin with.â€

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GM

 

The Valaxans led the group to a large crater.  There were various lookout posts surrounding the encampment providing active security.  Upon reaching the rim of the crater, the wreckage of the plane became instantly visible.  Not a single piece left whole as the island natives wasted no time in disassembling it.

 

Inside the crater was an entire village.  With cliffside dwellings made of stone were not dissimilar to the old pueblos found in the Americas.  There were various tunnels inside the side of the wall.  If not for the spiraling walkway one could assume that they were meant for traversing the village easier.  There was also the fact that most seemed to fly about through some means.  There were dozens of armed women moving about the village.  None of which seemed to pay any mind to the visitors.

 

In the deepest point of the crater, and therefore the center of the village, was a massive building.  As opposed to the stone dwellings, it instead was made out of what appeared to be the same metal that the women were wearing.

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"Oh wow." Velocity exclaimed as they reached the edge of the crater and started their way down, the dwellings built into the cliff side walls readily visible. The yellow clad speedster was able to quickly take in the scene, focusing on numerous details far faster than a normal person could. As she caught sight of the massive building built down in the deepest part of the crater, appearing to be made of the same metal as the armor worn by the women they had met thus far, her mind was racing.

Glancing over at the other two, she spoke in a low voice. "Say, do you think this strange metal came from some meteorite that caused this crater? If so, it could have some really unusual properties."

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Gabriel only just managed to avoid giving a low whistle at the sight of the crater-city. Still, his eyebrows rose as he took in the sight. His motionless lips didn't impede his voice from carrying to the other two heroes.

 

"Not a bad guess, Velocity. These folks seem smart enough they wouldn't use something useless for armor and weapons. I just hope the passengers are in better shape than the plane."

 

He lapsed silent for a moment, and when he next spoke his words seemed chosen with special care, though again only the two heroines could hear him.

 

"I know I'm normally the one to take the lead on these sorts of talks, but you may need to step up a bit, Velocity. Though, if their Queen can speak English, I should be able to keep the charm up enough it won't be a big issue."

 

From what Velocity, at least, had seen of Gabriel's charm in the past, that seemed a safe guess. 

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Dancia likewise took in the scene with a sense of wonder, her senses taking in more than the other two, it reminded her of another place and another time long ago as many other places did.


Standing there she felt a little excess to requirements, both of the other had long and distinguished career whilst she wasn’t even sure who she really was. But whatever happened she would do the best she could, whatever that was.

 

“Well they let us see all this so that a good sign that they want to talk. It’s got to be something we can work with.â€

Edited by TiffanyKorta

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GM

 

The group was led down into the depths of the crater.  Urged into the massive building.  The inside of the building was ornately decorated.  Etchings made in the metal varied from runic designs to pictures.  Every hallway had a guard posted limiting how much was available.  In the center was a massive stair case which they all quickly ascended.

 

After entering the room on the top of the staircase they found the passengers of the plane gathered together.  Sitting on the floor in a circle mumbling to one another.  Before they could properly check on the scared passengers, the group were quickly urged forward into another room.  A circular room with a series of pillars each holding a torch.  Like the rest of the palace the torches were the only source of readily available lighting.

 

On a ten foot tall throne made of bone and metal stood a large muscular woman.  She wore a silver toned armor with furred pieces on the greaves and gloves.  A long flowing animal skinned cape hung behind her throne.  "Welcome to Valaxa, Outsiders.  Or should I say Invaders?"  Her english came across with a thick accent, but the words were clear.

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As with everything else, Velocity was able to quickly take in the interior of the building.  She was relieved to see that the passengers of the plane appeared to be relatively unharmed, but kept her gaze focused on the muscular woman sitting on the throne.  Of course, thanks to her goggles, that did not mean she was unaware of what was going on around her.

 

Invaders?  Was the speedster's first thought, although one she kept to herself, realizing that blurting it out was unlikely to help their negotiations.

 

Instead, she more calmly stated, "I do not believe invaders would be accurate.  We are only here to seek the safe release of these passengers of the plane that was knocked out of the sky."  She indicated the gathered people on the stairs.  "I am Velocity, of the Freedom League, and this is my teammate Gabriel, and another heroine, Traikosia."  She added, indicating both in turn.

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GM

 

"You were invited.  After your mysterious vessel flew low into Valaxan territory.  Need I remind you that Valaxa has long claimed their skies as independent.  But, that is not why I call you invaders on this day.  My knowledge of your 'sciences' is naught but nonexistent.  But tell me what of this?"  She threw a small black orb in Velocity's direction her strength releasing it blindingly fast.  O course not so fast as to bother the Speedster whom caught it effortlessly.

 

The black orb was crushed ever so slightly from being roughly handled.  As none of the heroes present were tech savvy to a prodigious degree getting a full rundown of what the device was would be asking too much. However, all three were able to recognize the fact that the outer layer was a lens of sorts.  Much like an eye in the sky camera that many offices keep inside.  The shape meant it was stationed upon some sort of base.

 

"My sister found that below the vessel.  Before she struck it down."

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Gabriel took one step forward, his most winning smile on his face as he gave the Queen a respectful bow. If anyone was an expert on such things, they'd note it was similar to the one many in the UK might give to the royalty there, albeit a bit shallower. He straightened his posture and spread his hands a bit in a "I come in peace" sort of gesture. His body language and posture radiated respect, if not quite deference, and his whole being seemed to ooze confidence, kindness, respect, and a hope for successful communication.

 

Velocity could tell he was going "full bore", and he was surely bringing his "A Game" with his spoken words.

 

"Your Majesty, I wish to first once again express both my personal thanks, and the thanks of the Freedom League, for your agreement to invite us here to meet and speak with you on this day.

 

As for that object, I confess I am uncertain of its nature, as my gifts lie in disciplines aside from the sciences. But perhaps in a short time, we could meet with some of the crew of the vessel that wait in the area outside? They may know more of this matter, and I'm sure we would be able to convince them to be clear and truthful with us.

 

We do recognize the potential for a grievance here, and wish to do everything we can to help restore your land to its former state of peace. I promise you now, if there was some sort of ulterior motive in the diversion of the flight of the passenger plane, we will bring it to light. But please believe that to our best knowledge, their only purpose for diversion was the safety of the passengers due to the weather in their way. Nothing we have heard suggests an intent to infringe upon your sovereign territory was in the hearts or minds of the crew. Again, though, I pledge to you to assist in assuring the truth is heard and brought to light.

 

Do you find this an agreeable beginning to our talks, Your Majesty?"

 

Gabriel waited expectantly but respectfully, his hands now clasped patiently in front of his person.

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GM
 
The Queen stared at the Gabriel with his hands clasped.  Rolling her wrist she would follow up the motion with a slight nod.  Swayed by Gabriel's words to allow the opportunity.  "You may not take them out of the palace.  But, speak to them and inquire that which you need.  I expect answers before my people's vindication can be settled.  We pride ourselves on our pursuit of peace.  But the Valaxians are also warriors, do not forget this as you walk around." The warning was essentially to try and not anger the guards who seemed to be less welcoming for the most part.
 
One of the guards stepped forward with exasperation.  As she couldn't understand what was being said one could measure that she did not like the queen making concessions to an outsider.  Or perhaps concessions it was the concession to a man.  The language barrier meant figuring out wasn't an easy feat as they spoke to one another.  The guard clearly agitated.
 
The Queen stated something in the native Valaxian tongue and the guards split a path for the heroes to turn around.  The door opening afterwards.

Edited by HG Morrison

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Gabriel smiled, giving the Queen another bow of respect.

 

"You have the manifold thanks of myself and my companions, Your Majesty. Rest assured, we wish to see truth prevail today."

 

With a final bow, he turns to the other with a smile.

 

Triakosia and Velocity hear his voice in their ears.

 

"Right, keep an eye on the guards and the team with us. This whole thing seems odd. A passenger plane shouldn't have something that high-powered on it, I don't think. I'll go talk to the crew first, and work from there. We just need to play it cool."

 

Then he spoke aloud (in English).

 

"You all heard Her Majesty; let's head over and talk to these people, check on how they're doing."

 

When next he spoke, the guards understood him, and could be understood. He gave a polite and professional nod to the guards as he passed, giving them a smile.

 

"Thank you, ladies. Please pardon us."

 

He quickly began making his way to where the plane crew and passengers were being held.

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