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Climate Justice [IC]

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The South River, near the Pramas Bridge
Thursday September 17, 2015
12:14 PM local time 

It was a warm September day for Freedom City, the weather already in the mid 80's and rather muggy.  Some might have believed that the larger than normal mid-day crowds along the city's waterfront were because of the weather, but that was likely only one reason.  The other was the scene playing out on the South River just west of the Pramas Bridge. 

Out in the river was a massive, 380 foot long multipurpose icebreaker and platform supply vessel, the Horizon, which had been undergoing repairs at one of Freedom City's dry ocks further up the river.  Now it was underway to return to the Arctic and resume operations in support of a major oil company's exploratory ocean drilling in the region.  But currently it was holding its position in the middle of the river between the Mona-Glen and Pramas bridges, unable to continue forward. 

This was due to close to a hundred brightly colored kayaks and canoes that were in the water underneath the Pramas Bridge, effectively blocking the vessel's path towards the bay.  The small boats were filled with protestors from various environmental groups protesting the drilling in the Arctic, many of them holding signs denouncing the damage to the region.   

In addition, about a dozen other protestors had suspended themselves from the Pramas Bridge, with ropes and banners between them, making it all but impossible for the Horizon to proceed forward without hitting or entangling some of them with its tall central tower.  Several police boats were out on the water, trying to get protestors to move, while a number of other police officers were up on the bridge, attempting to get the protestors suspended from there back up and out of the way.  The traffic jam this created on State Route 4, which crossed the Pramas, only made the scene all the more chaotic.

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Torpedo Lass was working at the VA, in Veteran Outreach when for her usual lunch time as she was listening to a radio she heard of the protest.

She sighed. "This could be bad."

She pulls out her smart phone. "Jim, this is Mary... Yes you nailed it on the head. There goes one of my vacation days, right?" She said, then breathing a sigh of relief. "You're a Saint. Annie could use the hours before her maternity leave. Thanks."

She walks behind a dumpster and ducks behind it. Not to hide her identity, but for modesty's sake as she puts on her costume. As she steps out a Gulf War I vet spots her, she'd been talking to him earlier that day. "Time for your other job Chief?"

"Oh yea, Sir. Can ya watch this until I get back?" She said, handing him the light bag with her business clothes.

"Sure, anythin' for a Navy girl." He said, taking it. "You got my cell number right?"

"Of course, Sabre."

The former Navy aviator grinned at her using his callsign, nodding to the Seaworthy Sentinel of Freedom City.

Mary nodded and saluted, he may have been retired but she still respected the stripes, and she jumped off to the river in one leap, landing in the water a safe distance from the protest and police cordon. She kicks after touching bottom from her landing momentum and swims up to the surface. Expecting to need to stay floating she blows her vest up, holding position and observing the situation. Keeping an eye for any collisions or people falling from their tethers on the bridge.

"This... this is reckless. One thing to fill a town square, another to risk people's lives." She grumbled. "What limits free speech... But my job is to make sure everyone stays safe... not to interfere. Looks like I play lifeguard." She muttered, hoping her observation in this situation would not be prophetic.

Of course with her bright red and now puffy vest and sailor collar she would be visible, to the protestors and the police combined. Torpedo Lass' costume's high visibility was a blessing and a curse.

Edited by The Osprey
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The sudden appearance of Torpedo Lass' brightly colored form streaking through the air and splashing down into the water caused a brief distraction among the police, protestors and various onlookers, as no one was quite sure who, or what, it was that had landed in the water.  When the World War II heroine appeared back up at the surface, those nearest her seemed relieved by her reappearance.  The protestors wasted little time returning to their chanting slogans against damage to the environment and corporate greed. 

The police out on the water turned back to trying to steer the protestors in kayaks off to the sides of the river to open up a channel for the Horizon to pass through.  So far, they were not having the most luck, with only a few of the protestors allowing themselves to be guided off out of the way. 

Of course, the larger problem was going to be getting down the people who had suspended themselves off the bridge…

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Torpedo Lass swam over to the closest Police Boat she could find. If she had to jump again, she needed a steady platform.

"Permission to come aboard? Maybe I can talk some sense into everyone if you got a megaphone." She said. "That and then I can focus on those bridge hangers-on. To be honest I think there's a difference between a simple protest outside of the shipping lane and this... someone's gonna get hurt. You guys, the protesters, or those on the ship... That and they might be more receptive to a cape than the police... no marks against you, but they are rather polarized."

It was clear whose side she was on... everyone's. "At the very least I could come aboard and then I can hop up to the bridge and try to settle things so that everyone has their say. Without trouble increasing for all of us."

She knew by talking with the Police, things might be harder with the Protestors... she had to choose her words carefully and she knew it. This wasn't telling off pirates off the coast of Somalia, or dealing with a hostage crisis. This was a political timebomb, and lives could be lost in the process of defusing it.

Edited by The Osprey
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"We could sure use any help you might be able to provide."  One of the police officers responded as Torpedo Lass swam over and climbed aboard the police boat.  "Unless we can get them cleared out, the ship is going to have to stay where it is.  Which of course is what the protestors want." 

Another officer extended his hand toward the superheroine, offering her a handset attached to a cord extending out of the console of the boat.  "Here, this is for the PA system.  Should be good enough to be heard by everyone out there.  Hopefully they will be more willing to listen to you."

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Torpedo Lass nodded as she looked over to the mass of police and protestors... the protest lines beginning to push against each other.

She cleared her throat. "Attention everyone... Police and Protester alike. I can understand this situation, and the issues for all involved, but my purpose here is not to take a side but to look after the safety of everyone on the water. Right now there is substantial risk for everyone involved in this protest. The Protesters, The Police, and the crew of that ship."

She stepped up to the bow as best she could while holding the handset. "You have the attention of the press, and the world, in the process this has escalated well past who started what, or who risked whose lives. With my being here this will only circle around the world. Your voices have been heard. But I can't stand idly aside while lives are in jeopardy, no matter whose side is on the issue. At this point everyone in the water needs to make a margin around the ship large enough for a tugboat to move through, or an emergency services boat to come through. That and anyone dangling from the bridge to find a way back up."

She looked up at the dangling protesters. "There is no way around this, if you do not head up to the bridge at once, I will do so for you. If any of you fall it's not just your life, but anyone who is hit by you when you land! Not to mention traffic on the bridge is at a stand-still and risks a collision with a pedestrian or with another vehicle. This spectacle is over."

"At this point, everyone, it is better to think of everyone's safety. I only act on that regard."

She looked to the Police officer, handing them the handset. "At this point it might be a good idea to back away. I have a feeling if the police back off the protesters will expand their bubble. My goal here isn't to break the dead-lock but increase the open margin in the water in case some idiot that's dangling falls into the water." She said, pointing to the protesters hanging from the bridge. "Those people are heavy objects falling from an extreme height waiting to happen. I'm focusing on them first."

"I just need that margin if something goes wrong... and thank you."

She stretched out. Looking up to one of the bridge supports, she looks for a spot she could jump up to, to get to the pedestrian level of the bridge, then crouches. "Hopefully this will end without anyone dead..." She thought as the nautical heroine jumps off for the bridge.

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The police officers on the boat that Torpedo Lass had boarded increased the volume of the PA system, so the superheroine's voice would cut through the various noise of the scene around them.  As Torpedo Lass began to talk, several of the protestors fell quiet to listen to what she had to say, but a few continued to shout out chants, but they were barely audible over the her speech. 

Once Torpedo Lass had finished, some of the protestors gathered in kayaks appeared to be swayed by her appeals, as they started to paddle toward the outer edges of the river.  But some of the kayakers remained defiantly in place, as did all those who had suspended themselves from the bridge.  Apparently they were not satisfied with simply having their message heard, but fully intended to prevent the Horizon from departing. 

Torpedo Lass easily managed to leap up onto the nearest edge of the Paramas Bridge, finding a major traffic jam awaiting her due to slow down caused by lanes being blocked by police vehicles and police who were trying to get the suspended protestors back up onto the bridge.  The dozen or so hanging protestors were suspended by cables that had been attached to the railings and supports of the bridge.  But the police had no easy way to get them all up, particularly as they were roped together once they had lowered themselves down.

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Torpedo Lass hopped down to the sidewalk. Seeing that the protesters truly intended to put police at risk by tying themselves up as much as to the bridge.

Looking about she had an idea... namely the press helicopters and police helicopters. She looked around for a police officer.

"I got an idea. It'll need rope, three helicopters, and a whole lot of coordination." She thought. "If I could somehow get every protester to be pulled up at the same time! What I couldn't give for some CSAR. Three Blackhawks could take care of this easily."

She looked down at the protesters. "I could pull up by the center line, but that's the weight of the entire dangling mess one cord has to deal with."

This... isn't turning out to be easy.

She decides this is going to turn into a all-day affair. Torpedo Lass takes off her gloves, grabbing on to the line supporting the protestor as close to the center of the group as possible, she goes over the side and slowly begins to climb hand over hand using her insane grip from her equally insane strength until she starts getting close to the person at the end of the line.

"Okay, we can make this easy, or make this hard. How is that line tyin' you guys together? Around the waist, or looped through a caribiner... what is it?"

The look on her face was not one of someone wanting to play around. "Trust me, I can hit that water just fine, I'm a tough sailor girl. Fighting me isn't gonna work. I'll just climb up on one of those police boats down there hop up and try again. One way or another this is over."

"I got alllll day. So how are you guys tied together?"

Edited by The Osprey
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Down at the bottom of the rope was a woman in her mid to late thirties.  She was setting in some sort of harness to which the rope was attached.  As Torpedo Lass drew near and shouted down, the woman looked up, but did not appear overly surprised to see the patriotic heroine hanging up above her. 

"We have no intention of fighting you or anyone."  The woman called back up.  "We are here to stop that ship from leaving port and continuing to pollute and destroy a pristine natural habitat.  If you and the police want to forcefully remove us, you are more than welcome, and end up looking like fascists on national TV in the process." 

With that, the woman focused back on the scene below them in the river. 

Torpedo Lass was now close enough to see that the cables and banners stretching between this woman's harness and the protestors on either side were affixed to either side of the harness and were separate from each other.

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"Funny you say that, I know what Facism is first hand, lady. Trust me if this was a Facist state you'd be dead by now. That ship would have just plowed through you. Heck... you would have been disappeared in the middle of the night weeks ago!" Torpedo Lass said, sighing, shaking her head. At this point her bubbling anger was just gone. These were whipped up zealots. Then again she's heard rattlings about corporate plants in protest movements to cause radicalism. Then an idea percolates in her head.

"Then again whose idea was this to get you up here, eh?" She said, looking at the lines as she slid down further and worked on disconnecting the first line connecting her to the protester on her right. "Who's running your show? Ever think you might be whipped by a corporate plant to pullin' off stunts like this to make your movement look like crazy radicals? The press can spin it like that too... you know how corrupt the Mainstream Media is."

Psyops... best darn thing she's ever heard of. There had always been spooks of one type or another on her ship in modern times. While Torpedo Lass wasn't the spook type she's heard enough conspiracy theories to perhaps start cracking the veneer of a protester to get the info she wants. Perhaps by showing she doesn't trust anyone, she might get the protester to say something interesting. "To be honest I'm worried about you, and the others tied to this bridge. I couldn't care less about the ship being stopped or not. It's your right to protest by blocking it. But using the bridge too? That does show a disregard for someone's life... startin' to think something's up."

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Torpedo Lass' attempt to try to trick the protestor into reveling some information failed to make much of an impression on the woman.  The protestor was now ignoring the superheroine, focusing instead on calling out support for the protest to those down below in kayaks that had not yet moved out of the way of the massive ice breaker. 

Moving down further on the rope, Torpedo Lass saw that the cable between the protestors was hooked to the bottom of the harness, where she could not easily reach it hanging from the rope suspended from the bridge, and appeared to be covered with masking tape, making it all the more difficult to get to the knot or carbineer securing it. 

Although the patriotic heroine's attention was a bit focused on the protestor and how the lines to the other protestors were secured, she was also very good at keeping an eye on her surroundings.  So she noticed that the attention of some of the police on the boats and the protestors on the kayaks had turned out toward the bay to the east. 

Glancing back that way, Torpedo Lass saw a large bolder flying through the air over the river, at an elevation below the bridge.  Standing on the bolder was a woman wearing a red, sleeveless costume with a golden stripe down the center of the front and across the collarbones and waits, with similar gold strips on the legs. 

The woman and the bolder were just about to pass under the bridge below Torpedo Lass and the protestor...

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"Well... that's news..."

Torpedo lass sighed. "Umm... hang out." she said to the protester, as she times her letting go to land on the Boulder as it passes under them. Somehow her time on the pitching deck of a naval ship trying to hop on another one in the same conditions paid off.

Standing up on the giant boulder she turned to the woman. "Interesting day for a trip..." She said, crossing her arms, and sort of awkwardly over her still fully inflated vest. "I'd... assume this is just a mode of transportation and you're not intending to do anything with this boulder... other than figure a place to safely park." She said, pulling down her goggles. "Name's Torpedo Lass... let's talk."

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Now that Torpedo Lass was closer to the woman standing on the bolder, she could see the woman had short brunette hair, dark eyes and complexion, appearing to be in her early-thirties.  The woman had not reacted when the patriotic hero had dropped down onto the bolder, but did fix her gaze on Torpedo Lass. 

"I am Tundra."  She replied with a heavy French accent.  "As for what I intend to do with this bolder, I plan to make sure that vessel never leaves this harbor.  I would advise you not to try to stop me, but I suspect you will try to do so regardless."

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"Well, I'd like to negotiate something where all sides at least aren't locked in mortal combat instead, Ma'am." Torpedo Lass said, relaxing her posture. "Can something be arranged where your grievances can be heard out, and in a way that won't cause harm to all the parties involved, would that be acceptable?" She looked downward at the boulder for a moment supporting the two. "In this day and age, I do not think the old line of "You can't have your cake and eat it too" will apply... Not with the technology I've seen." She said, with a look of concern on her face. "I would wager if you call yourself Tundra, you care deeply for your home. As much as I care for the oceans I have the privilege to swim in."

She calmly stepped forward. "I'm not the type to obstruct a ship or even potentially damage one... I've had enough of that in my life. I have a unique responsibility, now."

She pulled up her goggles, her phosphorescent eyes now visible and showing her honesty. "I'd like to help, but in a constructive manner. This... is escalation. Please... we could end this peacefully. Without hurting each other or anyone. I'd like to think of alternatives."

She didn't seem desperate with her tone. She was earnest in her want to have this day end in a way that won't end in violence or anyone getting hurt. But she was starting to think if wishes were fishes...

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"Noble sentiment, but it fails to account for corporate greed and mankind's insatiable desire for oil."  Tundra replied simply as Torpedo Lass tried to reason with her.  "Talking will not change that ship's course, or prevent it from supplying the oil rigs that are destroying untouched natural areas."

"So I am afraid I must continue with my goals, even if it means we will come to blows."  She then added, as she brought her hands up in front of her and then swept them out to the sides.  With Tundra's sudden gesture, the large bolder she and Torpedo Lass were standing on was torn apart, breaking into dozens of smaller chunks of rock.   

Tundra herself was still standing on a good sized chunk of the bolder, but Torpedo Lass suddenly found herself without any footing as the splintering rock was pulled out to the side.  Unable to try to jump to our grab one of the smaller pieces of the bolder, the patriotic heroine suddenly found herself falling toward the river below, as Tundra and the pieces of the bolder flew on towards the Horizon.

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As Torpedo Lass fell she crossed her arms and pulled two toggles on her vest as air rushed out of valves on the air bladder under her sailor collar. She hit the water with a crash as the Seaworthy Sentinel of Freedom City was sinking like the very stones Tundra commanded. But that is exactly what Torpedo Lass wanted. She kicked to swim in the water as the rest of the air left her vest and got her feet a good footing on the river bottom. Then in a single twitch of her leg muscles she leapt from the river bottom back into the air, landing on the bow of the Horizon. She turned to face her foe, pointing at Tundra.

"You're right, Tundra, my sentiments are noble! They aren't just sentiments though, it's how a civilized society resolves it's conflicts! Radical terrorists like you are people I've had to fight against in my career in the Navy... so all I have to say now to you, Ma'am is this..." She said, putting her hand into a snapping gesture. "ANCHORS AWEIGH!"

She snapped, the glove of her suit exploding to pieces from the snap as a surge of super-heated air created by the collapse and hyper-compression of air flinged from her snapping fingers towards the environmental terrorist!

Edited by Sailor
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Members of the Horizon crew pulled back in surprise as Torpedo Lass landed on the stern of the icebreaker.  When it became apparent that a superpowered battle was about to begin, they ran for cover. 

The blast of super-heated air struck Tundra squarely in the midsection, causing her to flinch in pain.  But she quickly recovered from the powerful attack, maintaining her place on the smaller chunk of bolder as she flew over the Horizon, followed by a trail of smaller bits rubble.   

"It will take much more than that to stop me."  The earth controller called out as she swept a hand down toward the aquatic heroine.  Several of the smaller rocks following Tundra sped through the air towards Torpedo Lass, but she was able to dodge aside at the last minute, as the chunks of rock impacted on the deck behind her. 

The police boats out on the water now sounded their sirens, shouting orders to the kayakers still out in the path of the ice breaker to move out of the middle of the river and away from the battle.

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Torpedo Lass knew that the boat was tough... it was an Ice Breaker after all, but right now all Tundra needed to do is hit below the waterline behind the re-enforced bow... Deck Dents could be fixed. Then again she isn't so easily repaired either. She gets behind some cover on the deck, next to a closed stairwell on the deck and prepares for a good-old fashioned firefight.

"FIRE TWO!" She shouts, snapping off another blast towards the Earth-Bending zealot! But in her haste to get behind cover her shot goes wide!

"Focus, Mary, focus... you're back in the fight again... and this isn't some AK-toting pirate!" she muttered.

Edited by Sailor
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Torpedo Lass' second blast went wide as Tundra veered her small bolder to one side.  The earth controller crouched low as she steered the bolder around toward the aft of the Horizon, continuing around toward the other side of the vessel until the central tower was between her and Torpedo Lass, taking her out of the heroine's life of fire. 

Now on the opposite side of the Horizon, Tundra turned her attention to her primary goal, sinking the icebreaker.  She sent a blast of medium sized rocks towards the hull of the vessel, but the projectiles were deflected by the sturdy hull with little to show other than some loss of paint.

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The funny thing about being a mariner by blood is you know the best positions to repel Pirates. Hearing the thuds of Tundra's failed attempt at breaching the hull was starting to grate on her. She leaps to a new position with cover nearby, shouting "I don't think so!" letting Tundra have a piece of her mind. "FIRE THREE!" she shouted as she fires off in a more focused manner, letting loose another shot of overheated air at the Earthbending malcontent.

She hoped this time there would be better results as she eyeballed another stairwell...

Edited by Sailor
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Tundra turned her attention toward Torpedo Lass as she leapt back into view.   But that did not help her avoid the blast of superheated air the patriotic heroine sent skyward.  Once again the eco-terrorist grunted with pain, but managed to remain on her feet. 

"If you really cared about the oceans as you claim, you would not want this ship or any like it travelling those waters.  They fill them with oil and other pollution, and simply toss their garbage over the side when out at sea.  The damage caused by the rigs this vessel supplies is even worse.  They are destroying our world in the pursuit of wealth to be provided by oil and other resources they take.  Instead, you are just another of their pawns." 

With that, the earth controller sent another blast of rocks toward Torpedo Lass.  This time she was barely able to dodge aside as the small chunks of rock impacted along the deck.

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Torpedo Lass stepped out, looking askance as she heard Tundra's rant. "Oh? What about the damage you'll do if you sink this ship?" She said. "Surely you considered the vast amount of oil that'll be spilled into the water from this ship, not to mention the gasoline and oil used in the salvage of this ship, and the detour of cargo over-land to a new port, not to mention the lingering effects of the oil in the water in this river for at least ten years. Willing to clean up after yourself?"

She held out her hand like she was telling her to stop. "No, no, I don't think you will. Thing is... I've played clean-up crew. Did my part trying to reduce the debris field after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. When ships capsized, guess who the Navy called to help get booms out to contain the slick?"

She pointed at her sailor collared self, grinning, as if to imply it needed no mentioning... "Thing is people are moving from Hydrocarbon fuels. It takes time. But people keep on fighting for a better world, and they're chipping away at the walls in front of them and from what I've seen... they're winning. You on the other hand, are pretty darn blind, and A Hypocrite to boot!" She said, noting the position in the water under Tundra before leaping at her, her jump calculated to pass right by Tundra, but with enough margin for Torpedo Lass to get in close enough to use a less destructive solution. "As for me... I always look at alternatives." She said, and as she moved in, she put out her snapping hand for another snap. This time though a different result as Tundra's world is filled with a loud, ear-splitting pop!!!

Edited by Sailor
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Tundra seemed a bit surprised as Torpedo Lass leapt into the air toward her, passing close by as she unleashed a loud ear-splitting pop from a snap of her fingers.  While the aquatic heroine's attack would have been enough to easily stun most, Tundra was far more durable, easily able to resist the attack. 

But before the earth-controller could react, Torpedo Lass' leap had already carried her past and into the water, where she disappeared beneath surface. 

While Tundra could see where the patriotic heroine had entered the water, and could likely strike at her so long as she was not too deep, continuing the fight was only keeping her from her main objective.  So Tundra flew over toward the deck of the Horizon, brining chunks of rocks and concrete along behind her.  

Coming to a hover above the deck, Tundra sent a series of large chunks of concrete raining down onto the deck.  This time, the impact of the debris produced more results, with the bits of concrete creating several holes in the deck and causing some minor damage to the Horizon.

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Torpedo Lass had the advantage of speed in the water, although it annoyed her that stun didn't even flinch Tundra. This wouldn't have been so bad intentionally sending herself overboard if it weren't for the fact she heard the ship actually groan from the next attack. Now things were starting to get interesting... although in her mind attacking the ship from above didn't at least for now, sound like a good move if Tundra wanted to quickly get this ship sunk... particularly if she wanted to do the deed before any other heroes showed up. Torpedo Lass was starting to think she might be outclassed. She had to think of something... for now she stuck to strategy, hopefully something would come to mind!

In a kick, she moves like her namesake in front of the ship, surfaces, and as she treaded water she fires off another shot. "FIRE FOUR!"

Edited by Sailor
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Torpedo Lass once again easily hit her target, but Tundra continued to prove resilient, this time only slightly flinching from the impact of the superheated air.  The earth controller looked back over her shoulder toward the water, spotting Torpedo Lass bobbing on the surface. 

Turning the small bolder she was standing on around, Tundra swept a hand out toward the aquatic heroine, sending a large piece of rock hurtling out toward her.  But Torpedo Lass was able to slide to one side quickly, causing the rock to splash harmlessly into the water, sending up a small geyser with its impact.

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