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Ocean Heights Amusement Park
Port Regal, Freedom City, New Jersey

Monday. September, 7, 2015
2:04 PM

It was closing day for the Ocean Heights Amusement Park.  Labor Day always marked the point in the year where the park would open only to private events.  And with that knowledge came special promotions to try and get as many people to visit the waterfront property.  80% off astronomically overpriced food, live concert by local bands, even tickets were at reduced price.  The park wasn't operating at a loss by any means, but on this day they were relying on numbers for profit.

And it worked.  The amusement park was filled to the brim.  Mostly families looking for one last big excursion before the school year really got going. It was a restful a day as any for many.  But, then again many people weren't at the pier area overlooking centenary narrows when the two Atlantean princess rounded the corner.  The larger woman pointing at into the crowd yelling out without warning, "Hold Fiend!"

Those with a keen eye could easily forgiven for assuming that the person she was yelling at came from Atlantis based on appearance alone.  In fact, it would have likely made the situation less explosive had that been the case.  But, Aquaria Innsmouth was no Atlantean.

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The crowd naturally retreated from the object of a superherione's scorn - exposing two figures, one of whom faced her accusers squarely even as she threw aside a half-eaten turkey leg. As close as she stood to her friend, Jessie could hear the faint croaks of Aquaria's heavy breathing and see the sacs bulging at her neck through the heavy lining of her hoodie - signs, she knew, of anxiety to the point of terror from her amphibious compatriot. But the Deep One stood her ground despite her fear, three-fingered hands tense and ready at her sides. "Hey!" she called up, crest bristling under her still-pulled up hoodie. "This isn't one of your gluttonous bone palaces built on lies and blood, princess!" The word was sizzling scorn in her mouth - an obscenity from a throat twisted by foul sorcery, no doubt. "You can't just come here and start trouble with law-abiding residents! I have papers!"

Jessie could hear Aquaria muttering to herself with every inward breath, croaks and gurgles that she knew were very foul Deep One oaths about the way the object of anger dined on its own voidings, an automatic reflex probably not audible to anyone else. 

Edited by Avenger Assembled

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Jessie had been sitting on her hands on the picnic bench, staring at the untouched turkey leg in front of her and trying not to pay attention to all the danger signals her brain was sending her about the press of humanity all around them. Despite all her centering attempts, her head snapped up with nearly painful speed when the yelling started. Abandoning her plate, she jumped to her feet behind Aquaria, then, realizing how upset her friend was getting, interposed herself between Aquaria and the bad people. "Go away!" she yelled, curling her hands into fists. "We belong here and you don't! You're making everything worse! You're scaring people! Leave us alone!" Jessie was obviously one of the people being scared, to judge by her flushed face and hammering heart, but she seemed very willing to exorcise that feeling with violence if necessary. 

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"Bone palace?  The only bones, were wrought by the vile servants of Dagon who dared attack the innocent.  I am on to your aims. You plot to assault these good people!  Not on this day.  The Daughter of the Seas shall see to it that your fiendish plot is put to an end"  Thaelia screamed back to Aquaria.  Completely unsure of what she meant by papers.  Assuming the 'papers' to be some sort of list of body parts to collect for some sort of dark sorcery.  All the while Tethis had her face buried in her palm shaking her head. 

"Erin, I'll calm mine if you calm yours."  Tethis mistakenly offered to Jessie.  "You, look a little different."  The Atlantean princess didn't want to use the word ragged.  But, there was a general "the years have not been kind to this girl" vibe going on from her former schoolmate in her opinion.

Thaelia for her part was now standing there with her mouth gaping open at being told by Erin that they didn't belong there.  Only rebounding upon recalling their conversation months ago.  "No, this is not Erin!  She is her Anti-Earth doppelganger who switched places with her.  Clearly the Deep One is wretching a plot is to sully Erin's good name."  Admittedly, the details were skewed from Thaelia not fully paying attention to Erin at the mention of a Deep One sitting in Project Freedom.  But Erin clearly did use the words Anti-Earth at some point in that conversation.

<"Calm down Thaelia, you're making a scene.">  Tethis called out in Atlantean as the parted crowd began to pull out their cell phones at the sight of the spectacle.

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"Sssh, ssh, it's okay," said Aquaria, moving into action. First she put herself between Jessie and the Atlantean harpies, then she put her hands on Jessie's arms, keeping them in her view the whole time she she couldn't get started. "These...bad people were just leaving, because we weren't doing anything wrong." She turned to face the Atlantean duo, her black pupils dilated until they almost filled her yellow eyes. "How dare you," she croaked from between clenched lips. "We were having a good time. Everything was going okay. And...and who calls herself the daughter of the seas, anyway?" she hissed at Thaelia, her anger bubbling out when she thought of the ball of fear and anger Jessie was barely holding back - and how these spoiled royal fatcats had nearly ruined everything for her best friend in the world. "Millions of people live in the seas! Why don't you call yourself something that makes sense, like Breeds-With-Kin?

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"I'm not going to let them take you away!" Jessie insisted, her eyes wide enough to show white all around the irises. "You told me about Atlanteans, how they're bad and they hurt you and your family. We don't know what they might do!" Jessie could've easily broken Aquaria's hold on her arms, but for the moment she was holding perfectly still, her attention mostly focused on the aggressive strangers. Well, the one aggressive stranger and the one who had called her by the wrong name. It was easy for people who knew Wander to get the two of them confused. Fighting here could make trouble for Wander too. Jessie knew that, but it was not as important right now as making sure she and Aquaria were safe. "Can we call the police?" 

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"Unlike the dark gutter filth of murderous servants to the most malevolent wretches in existence you claim lineage from, I descend from a god of the Seas. I do not merely hail from the seas, it is a part of me  A thousand pardons if such concepts fly over your heard.  But, this certainly will not."  None of Thaelia's usual bluster was present. No she was letting her temper and poor decision making run the show.  Something both sides of her family tree could claim inheritance to.  Truth be told, the insult was as much an excuse to punch something as it was actually insulting.  An excuse, Thaelia gladly took as she swung wide in Aquaria's direction.

"Oh gods.  Now, we're going to be a news story."  Nereid put two fingers in her mouth and whistled out to Glamazon.  Quick to recognize this was probably the moment that Erin, or not Erin as it were, would pull out a bat or something the princess who would be queen figured further escalation should probably be avoided.  "Hold.  I know you have had a rough three months.  Alien kidnappings and that other stuff.  But, Deep One or not, you cannot just pulp people Thaelia.  How about, we just do as the Deep One suggested and go our separate ways?"  

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Jessie shoved Aquaria abruptly backwards as Thaelia began to swing, moving to take the hit with her own body in a motion that seemed more instinctive than planned. The punch was a solid one, it took her square in the cheekbone, knocking her head to one side and starting her nose to bleeding. She seemed to shake herself for a moment before gathering her wits again and opening her eyes, eyes that looked quite different from the frightened girl of a few moments ago. Singularity watched Glamazon with flat, assessing eyes that were empty of everything save the desire to make Thaelia no longer be a threat, or an obstacle, or anything at all. 

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"Nono, please!" Aquaria begged as she moved to one side of Jessie, her throat pulsating rapidly in a deep, bass hum. In her mind, four cold dry walls were closing around her - and around Jessie, too, and she would never see her friend again. The psych ward was so far down below, and it sounded so lonely down there with no one to talk to..."Brekekeke!" She kept herself from getting between Jessie and the latter's fist, but she got where she was sure Jessie could see her. "I'm sorry, Jessie, I'm so sorry, I shouldnthavemadeyoucometothefair, it's all my fault!" She shot one glance at Thaelia, one only, and felt the urge, deep in her breast, to go for the Atlantean's throat - but stifled it. There were more important things than vengeance right now. If she was alone, things would be different now. But she wasn't. I hate them! I hate them all so much! "Please, we'll go home, and you can turn on your special music, and you won't even have to leave your room, and I'll make brats on the grill and they'll be much better than the yucky stuff here, it'll be great!"  

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Thaelia held her fist in the air looking confused.  Punching a deep one was easy.  Deep Ones were the bad guys.  With secret machinations and magical mind controlling staves.  The Erin doppelganger was another matter. She was essentially a bystander. One with a frightening as all hell stare.  This was definitely not the dramatic spar she imagined in her mind when it came to fighting Erin.  Where she would get a congratulatory seal of approval pat of the back, maybe a big audience applause.  No this was not that.  In fact the look of the people around them was a mixture of fear and pity.

With good reason, the sight of the frog woman attempting to console her friend after the burly amazonian Atlantean punched her clearly told a more sympathetic story.  Thaelia knew it had to be the Deep One's machinations at work.  Perhaps she was some sort of master social manipulator.  So good at it, that even Thaelia regretted her actions.   The princess felt as if she had either kicked a puppy in front of its child owner.  Or the owner in front of a puppy.  Whichever made the whole thing look a lot worse.

The sudden feeling of a watery hand on her shoulder helped to snap the Glamazon back into the moment.  She snapped her head back to look at Nereid.  <"Apologize, I understand your trepidation.  But, look at them.".>  Which frankly was less effective of a selling point when one of them was staring daggers at them and the harmless looking party was the Deep One.  So Thaelia didn't apologize.  Instead she stood there, fist raised quivering with uncertainty.  Unsure of what was the appropriate next step.

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At first it didn't even seem as though Singularity heard Aquaria's pleas, focused only on her enemy. But then her eyes slid sideways for a moment, her face softened just a little, even as the bruise on her cheekbone purpled, yellowed, and disappeared. She gave Aquaria's hand a little pat, then stepped forward, bringing herself nose-to-chin with the Atlantean interloper. Somehow, the difference in height did not make Singularity any less formidable. She stared into Thaelia's eyes for a moment, then spoke in a voice that was too low to carry to the onlookers. "I am a very bad person," she told Thaelia, her voice very flat, very even. "If you hurt my friend, I will kill you. Get away from us."  

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Glamazon stared down at Singularity.  She had no doubt that there was some truth to what the shorter woman was saying.  The look in her eyes was anything but meek.  Enough to give Glamazon more cause for hesitation.  Thaelia wasn't afraid of getting into a knockdown, drag down brawl with someone intending to kill her.  But, how far would she have to go to actually stop her?  The Erin look a like clearly recovered quickly.  With a piercing stare that showed absolutely no inch of quit in her.

There were just enough questions left hanging for Thaelia to do as asked.  Without so much of an asking for pardon, or even a boisterous declaration, she turned around and began to walk away.  Subdued from her rage, by an absolute lack of intention of testing how true the words really rang. The last thing Nereid expected to see was Thaelia being cowed out of an altercation.  Giving a nod of affirmation she quickly followed after her relative.  Push come to shove she would have fought with Glamazon if turned that way, but she much preferred a peaceful solution.  Or as peaceful as whispered threats went, which was a step above wildly punching strangers.

<"So....while dad would probably be proud.  That was completely uncalled for.">

<"I do not wish to speak of this.">

<"Zero chance of that.">

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"Let's go, Jessie," said Aquaria, visions of the oceans drinking Atlantis in her head. Everyone was staring, and pictures were being taken - the Atlanteans leaving didn't mean it was a good idea for them to stay here. She didn't bother heading for the taxis they'd come in on - instead she started pointing Jessie right towards the ocean. Jessie couldn't swim as well as Aquaria could, but she could certainly swim very well indeed; fast and powerful, and far away from any human beings. Swimming home would give Jessie time to cool off - in more ways than one. It occurred to her that the Atlanteans might try and stop them on the way - but she wasn't going to let them chase her out of the ocean again. We didn't do anything wrong! At the edge of the pier, she hopped to the top of the jetty (and over the security ropes) and looked back at Jessie, waiting for her to join her. "Race you home!

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Jessie refused to go anywhere until the Atlanteans were out of sight in the crowd, her posture still rigid and dangerous. When they were gone, though, she allowed her shoulders to slump and her posture to relax as she followed Aquaria out of the food court. She looked more disoriented than upset in the wake of the confrontation, adrenaline draining away to leave her confused and uncertain. "Why did those Atlanteans try to hurt you?" she asked Aquaria as they walked onto the pier. "We weren't even doing anything. And how did they know Erin?" Jessie hadn't really processed it at the time, but it was obvious that at least one of them had thought she was her doppelganger. Why would Erin consort with Atlanteans? 

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Aquaria crouched on the wooden beam, looking for a moment like an amphibian gargoyle. "They don't need a reason to hurt me," she said with great feeling, the low rumble of her multi-chambered throat as she spoke. "They take and they take and they take, and they live in palaces and eat food whenever they want. When we try and get a little for ourselves, they hunt us with spears and nets. They probably thought they could start trouble with me and send me to Blackstone, or take me to an Atlantean prison..." She trailed off at that horrific image. "Erin's a Surfacer, she probably thinks the Atlanteans are just like Surfacers who live under the ocean. That's the lie they tell everyone." She scrubbed a three-fingered hand across her face and admitted, "It's weird Nereid didn't try and get in the fight. She was the one who caught me in the first place." Her lips pulled back, far, an unpleasant expression. "Maybe the big one was new in town, and they wanted to show her who she could beat up. But we beat them, didn't we? And we did it the nice way, too." As she spoke, she leaned forward and started climbing on all fours, head-down, towards the welcoming water below. 

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For the second time that day there was the sound of screaming on park grounds.  Rather than anger it was fear that fueled the fire this time.  The crowd that had dispersed once the argument died down found themselves spurred into action again.  All over the park groups of sharks began to rise from the beneath the nearby waters.  Their powerful jaws snapping in the air threatening.

The sharks were each wearing mechanical human limbs.  With no visible explanation as to how they were breathing on land.  Screaming echoed throughout the park.  The attack clearly not isolated to a single point.  The powerful gaping maw of a shark lunged out of the water towards Aquaria.  A mechanical whirring serving as the Amphibianlike Deep One's only warning beforehand.

Near the Atlanteans a shark leapt out of the water towards a nearby couple.  Pinning down the woman, and scaring away her male suitor in the process.

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Now maybe Jessie would've been quick to respond on any other day, seeing as how she had a lot of combat training, even if she didn't remember it, and an extremely strong protective instinct, not that she could always control it. But the fight with the Atlanteans had left her edgy already, practically vibrating with the desire to fight something. When the sharks presented themselves, it didn't take a heartbeat before she was in action, leaping over Aquaria and smashing the first one in the nose, no grace, no plan, just violent reaction. It seemed to do the trick though, sending the shark back into the water, where it didn't seem inclined to come out again. The second shark retaliated by biting her arm, but since the jaws were not strong enough to so much as dent her skin, she merely turned to look at it with a glare that promised death. 

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GM

The Shark that pinned down the woman revealed a blaster in the pocket of its mechanical shoulder.  A red laser stream flew out towards Nereid.  But, the Atlantean heir to the throne rolled out of the way.  Another climbed up from the side of the pier attempting and charged through.  Attempting to clench its jaw around the Glamazon's neck.  But Thaelia merely pushed the beast away avoiding its gaping maw.

Nereid who, had yet to take on her signature water form dove in and kicked the shark pinning the woman into the sea.  The creature's body twisted and bent as it flew through the air.  Making no signs of resurfacing after it crashed into the depths of the water.  The two remaining sharks having failed to bite anyone remained as aggressive as they burst on the scene.  Their aggression not acting as a filter to the sounds of screaming in the park.

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Aquaria made a noise somewhere between a growl and a croak, a deep bass rumble that shook the air. The sharks, and other creatures that spoke the languages of the deep, distinctly understood her cry as "Hey! What's your problem!?" Scrabbling rearfirst up the side of the pier, she planted her forelegs and kicked powerfully with her back, striking the shark in its midsection. The cartilage was weak there, she knew, and she heard the familiar, satisfying crunch of gills rupturing and flesh tearing, along with the ominous sound of metal snapping. "It's dead! Drop it!" she said to Jessie before she reached the deck of the pier again. From there she crouched on all fours and leaped impossibly far, her powerful back legs propelling her into the middle of the screaming crowd. "I think I heard something over by the...big wheel thing!

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"Clearly the Deep One's plot is being enacted."  Glamazon called out to her cousin.  Throwing a left hook in the midst of her conversational accusing.  The Shark's jaw gave way well before Glamazon's fist finish pushing against its flesh.

"Because Deep Ones are known for their technology?  Come now, Deep Ones with battle armor.  Even if bargain bin limb only armor, I know you love your tales dear.  But surely you realize the jest."  Nereid replied unconvinced of Glamazon's theory.

"I suppose dark magicks would be mo- Did you hear that?"  The Atlantean back and forth was interrupted.  Glamazon able to make out the screams came from two opposite directions for sure.  Though it was hard to be sure without actual visual confirmation.   "The situation has turned most grave.  We shall have to separate."

Edited by HG Morrison

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Singularity stared into the dark water for a moment, then turned her head slowly back towards the park. "No," she told Aquaria with great confidence, her eyes wide and her pupils blown to the point where they almost consumed the irises. "There are more, worse, back toward the place with all the mirrors. People are screaming and screaming..." She grabbed her own elbows and literally shook herself, the glazed look leaving her eyes. "We should go and help them. It's what the superheroes would do." Jessie was not really a superhero, but she was a pale copy of one, and maybe that would be enough for today. With a massive leap, she propelled herself in the direction of the hall of mirrors, ready to face whatever was causing the screaming. 

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GM

Aquaria was the first to arrive to her destination.  Bouncing along the roofs of the various rides and stalls brought her to the nearby Ferris wheel.  The ride was still in operation while two sharks were climbing its sides.  Snapping their mouths at passengers inside of the carts.  Two more sharks were on the ground level.  Chasing people around the Ferris Wheel.  Awkwardly moving their legs in doing so, showing that their mechanical legs were not built for running.  The conductor of the ride was nowhere to be seen.

Singularity had crossed the distance to the Hall of Mirrors with ease.  Outside of the entrance there were four sharks destroying the outside of the area.  Smashing and vandilizing all the decorations, while ignoring the people running outside.  Though that wasn't to say everyone was free to go as they please.  An elderly man rushed outside of the entrance only to be caught from behind by a fifth shark who pinned  him to the ground and bit deep into his shoulder.  Listening closely Jessie could make out the faint sound of laughter mixed in with all the screams echoing from inside the Hall of Mirrors.

The Atlanteans had split off in two opposite directions.  Glamazon's venture towards the bumper boats brought her to the sight of four shark fins circling the various boats.  One of which was capsized.  The red discoloration in the water told the grim tale of what occurred to the passengers of that boat.  Nereid had in turn made it to the Ferris Wheel area after Aquaria.  Uncertainty visible on her face

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Jessie gave the Hall of Mirrors one considering look before her attention was fully grabbed by the shark biting the old man. There was blood, a lot of blood. It was very bad. The blood was getting on the ground and everywhere because something bad was eating the old man. There were monsters and they were going to kill all these people and the mothers and the fathers and the little kids would all be eaten and the blood would be everywhere. The blank white space came roaring up again, and this time Jessie didn't even fight it. 

Singularity sprang into action with a single uneartly wail, more like a siren than a scream. She landed behind the first shark, grabbing it by its nostrils and ripping it backwards, snapping its jaw and very nearly tearing its head off as she freed its teeth from the old man's shoulder. Allowing the mutilated creature to fall to the ground, she completely ignored the old man and instead turned her attention to the other shark in reach. A sharp high-speed jab through the place where an Adams Apple would be on a human was probably sufficient to destroy the thing, but she made absolutely sure by using the initial wound as a handhold for ripping the thing's head off. Shark blood was, perhaps unsurprisingly, quite fishy smelling. 

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GM

After Singularity's visceral display the three Cyber Sharks in the area rushed towards the blood covered woman.  All three diving mouth first for a limb.  Only one successfully managing to latch on.  But it wasn't Singularity's flesh that was pierced.  Instead the shark's razor sharp teeth began to shatter on impact.  The elderly man began openly sobbing.  His eyes closed not daring to look up at the world around him.  Breathlessly he called up to Jessie, "Thank you.  Thank you so much."

*        *        *

Nereid looked over at the Deep One that had been arguing with her cousin/adoptive sister.  Or as she remembered her more clearly, the one she captured after the Deep Ones invaded the surface years ago.  Despite her people's old claim that all Deep Ones look alike, there weren't many that looked like that.   Not that Tethis was going to bring up that she captured a Deep One committing petty thefts.  After the earlier outburst, she wasn't sure whether to expect cooperation or otherwise.  "Hey, law abiding resident.  If I defeat the sharks on the ground, can I trust you to take the ones above?  We are stronger than the surfacers, so we have to do our part and help out." 

Not waiting for a response Tethis charged forward after a Shark fired a laser at the control panel for the Ferris Wheel.  The control panel blew up.  Smoke funneling into the air acting as a cover as the Atlantean princess dove through it.  Nereid's flying quick missed its target narrowly.  Proving that perhaps jumping through something that impaired your vision wasn't the most viable tactic.

*        *        *

The sharks in the bumper boats area kept swimming around the boats. Taunting the various passengers by grazing their vehicles.  Blood in the water swirling around as they moved.  The passengers moved around in fear.  Every motion risking capsizing the metallic flotation devices.  To the Glamazon it was literally the sight of animals playing with their food.  It was a different sort of predatory behavior.  Not instinctual for survival, but sadistic.

 

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Aquaria flinched at the Atlantean's words, she couldn't help it. But when she actually stopped to hear them, she bobbed her head up and down before croaking in dismay as one of the innocent Surfacers was thrown down from the Ferris wheel into the water below. It looked like a male, probably? And young; certainly too young to be menaced by horrible cyborgs from the sea! Probably a result of Surfacer experiments, she decided. Sharks were magnificent predators of the deep; they deserved better than to be turned into the mindless slaves of whatever monster was using them to hurt people. Though I guess they'd probably do this anyway! At least it's not dolphins. Leaping forward, she called to Nereid in English, "I'll get that one and then climb the wheel!" With a few hops, she was in the water - and all her Surface gawky awkwardness was gone in an instant. She kicked with powerful legs, her clothes only a drag on her rapidly moving body as she wrapped two big green arms around the man in the water and kicked back to shore. 

"Don't worry, citizen!" she called as she hauled him onto the docks, both of them dripping wet from their sudden bath. "You're in good hands! Just call me...Sea Devil!" And with that, and a few more mighty leaps, she was back in the water. 

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