Topside Assignment

Summary:
September 07 2014: Mera and Aquaman discuss Rowan's future. And are interrupted.

Atlantis

The capital city of the Atlantean Kingdom, a wonder in its own right. As yet, no surfacer has ever seen it.


Characters

NPCs

  • Nameless Assassins

Mood Music:
[* None]


Several days have passed since Arthur volunteered Mera to keep track of Rowan. Several days that have stretched out into literal weeks. And Mera is not known for her patience. So, finally, she demands that Arthur return and talk to them. She's learned enough about Rowan, it's time to resolve this once and for all.

*

Aquaman comes when summoned. Like a good husband who's wife is a superpowered assassin sent to kill him from a prison dimension. Or just a good husband. He knew this was coming, and he sense that Angry Wife Syndrome is looming on the horizon.

*

Rowan himself is nearby, though not actually in the palace at present. He's swimming about the city, just… looking at things. He's kind of in a daze at the moment, lost in comparative memories of how this Atlantis differs from the one he knew. It's a bit disturbing and that's the truth. Rowan is used to be disturbed… but it doesn't make it any less real when it happens.

*

Mera is, as has become habit, trailing after Rowan at the outer edges of her telepathic communication distance with the displaced soldier. That distance has increased considerably in the past few weeks, and is currently reaching to about 200 meters by surfacer reckoning. <He has been doing this increasingly of late. I think it's time to give him a task.>

<A task? He's been with us for a handful of weeks and hasn't yet become an enormous sea serpent of doom. I'm still not comfortable releasing him upon the world. With that fool Namor's constant, if somewhat understandable, destruction of surface world installations I'd prefer not to release a sea monster upon the world for them to also blame us for.> Mera can literally hear the frown on her husbands face in her head. Arthur idly wonders if there's such things as telepathic emoji, and the thought alone makes him grin somewhat foolishly as he comes to a top in the water a few hundred yards away from Rowan, letting the other man spot him and make the approach. Best not to surprise a shape shifting uber water dragon thing.

*

<No, but he has assisted surfacers a couple of times, and used dragon-like characteristics to do so. I believe he would not do anything that the surfacers would use to view us negatively.> Mera also approaches, though she arcs around so that she appears to approach her husband from a direction other than directly behind Rowan.

*

Aquaman is still grinning at the thought of telepathic emoji smiley or frownie faces showing up in Mera's head when Rowan approaches, "Hey there soldier." he says, turning his gaze to follow where Rowan was looking, "See anything interesting or just window shopping?" he quips. Though he's not certain that Rowan will know what windows are, after all, surface thing.

*

Rowan's silent for a moment, lost in thought. "Oh. Your Majesties." He bows, not having noted their approach. "Forgive me I was… lost in thought. This part of the city doesn't exist in my world. It was destroyed in a surfacer attack ten years before I was born…" All that's left now is ruins and burnt out husks too radioactive for even the Atlanteans to risk handling. Fortunately water is a good insulator against such things.

"What brings your Majesties out of the palace?"

*

Mera hasn't been BACK to the palace since Arthur thought it would be funny to volunteer her to help Rowan get used to this version of Atlantis. Perhaps a bit surprisingly, though, she has realized that she does not at all regret the time spent. Well, okay, maybe she regrets a little. After all, who knows what sorts of bad habits the palace-folk have picked up while she's been gone.

*

Aquaman chuckles at that, "We don't spend much time in the palace to begin with, much to Volko and Orm's chagrin." he says light heartedly, "Too much to do." he shoots Mera a curious look then glances back to Rowan, "We've been doing some thinking on your position here." he says finally.

*

"Oh?" That gets a faint eyebrow raise from the Blue. "And what is my position here to be, your Majesty? I take it, since I've not heard from the Blue delegation to your nation that I am presently still in… exile…" He sighs. Being without a home is kind of depressing.

*

<Perhaps part of an envoy to the surface? He does know far more about their … unique traits than I do.> Mera offers to Arthur silently. Though, upon hearing the Blue say the word 'exile', she starts second-guessing that suggestion. Sending him off might be the worst possible option out of only bad options.

*

Aquaman considers this as he eyes Rowan, "As I said, the Blue will bide their time, and a month is hardly any time at all diplomatically speaking. Be patient, they'll eventually come around." he doesn't sound concerned about it, "However, you could be useful in other ways. I'm going to appoint you a position on my War Council, which admitedly doesn't see much service in our current times, but I prefer to be preventative now over sorry later. You will have two responsibilities which you will split your time evenly amongst. Firstly, as you are the soldier with the greatest experience battleing the surface, you will advise the Atlantean military on surface dweller tactics and the type of weapons used against us by them, then begin helping plan out defenses we can build to accommodate for such things. You will hold only an honorary position for now, do well and it will become official and this may become a more permanent fixture for as long as you would like to do it."

<Agreed. I think we may have found the start of a new unit I've been considering building…>

*

Rowan nods, brows knitting together in thought. "It will not be looked down upon that I am a foreigner?" He doesn't know how secure Arthur's hold on the throne is here, and there were times when appointing a non Atlantean, even a non citizen, would have been dangerous for his Arthur.

"I can train your men in surfacer tactics and combat, though it will be from my own time and there will be differences. I may need to travel to the surface to learn more of their military capabilities… though that seems like that might be difficult."

The Blue swims a few paces away in thought. There's a subtle shift in the water and he twists back sharply. "Did you feel that?"

*

Mera glances at Arthur with a questioning expression, but turns her gaze back to Rowan quickly enough. <A new unit? You will have to tell me mo…> Instantly going on the alert, it's clear that Mera also felt that subtle shift in the water, and starts trying to locate the source by attempting to 'feel' along the currents. She's done something like this before, but only very occasionally, and not with much success.

*

Aquaman smirks a bit and continues, "The second responsibility would be Intelligence work. Currently I am the only Atlantean that frequents the surface," he reconsiders, "well, /we/ are the only two, but my Queen is very new to their world. While your experience with them is perhaps more violent than I would like, you have experience I need. You will spend time above water, speaking with the people, witnessing their abilities, their technology. Recon." his smile fades a little bit, "Make friends, alliances, but understand your foremost mission will be to understand them so that you can help defend us against them should the worst come to pass." Oh joy. A life of double lives. "Of course you are free to choose not to do either of these if you wish, I am King, but I am not /your/ King, and I'll not force a man into service who owes me no fealty." the smile returns, "And I need no answer now, merely your word you will think on it."

Then Arthur nods, "Oh it will be looked down upon greatly." he says with an honest expression, "Now ask me if I care." his expression hardens slightly, "If you can't take some ridicule and backbiting, then I'd suggest the world you came from was a great deal kinder then this one," a glance at Rowan's scars and Arthur smirks, "I'm guessing that's not the case." When Rowan stiffens Aquaman's eyes narrow a bit. When Mera goes on alert, his fingers curl around the shaft of the trident strapped to his back, his hand resting on the length of it sticking out behind his hip. While they seek the water currents, Arthur resorts to a different sort of sense, and reaches out to the wildlife that surrounds them all, seeking disturbances in the thriving ecosystems.

*

There is something vague and unnatural. It's scaring the wildlife, the fish. The location is hard to pin down but… no wait. It's getting clearer. It's close. Very close.

It's right on top of them.

A yawning hellgate opens wide, much like the one Mera saw in Metropolis when Kida came through. This one, though, disgorges a dozen Nameless cyborgs, eyes glowing with psychic power. As one they hone in on the most powerful telepath present, that being Mera, and lash out at her with their combined wills.

And then one sees Rowan. "SLAY THE DRAGON WARRIOR AND THE ATLANTEAN ROYALTY!"

At virtually the same time Rowan has summoned a shield from his bracer and pulled his spear. His skin has gone scaly and a great finned tail has sprouted behind him. "DIE NAMELESS!"

*

Mera looks up just as the hellgate opens and she very quickly conveys to Arthur that it's the same sort of thing she'd told him about, but only gets about half of that declaration out before the psionic attack sends her reeling and crying out. And reflexively lashing out by shoving a wall of water away from herself like sending a brick wall hurtling forward at about thirty miles per hour.

*

Aquaman's eyes widen slightly, then narrow as he whips the trident from his back in a great arc. When Mera cries out he her starts her direction only to see her recover and counter attack. They hurt his wife. Arthur's lips pull back from his teeth in a snarl and the glint on the golden weapon becomes a blur as he doesn't bother with subtlety. He accelerates to nearly 200 knots in under 20 yards, the trident leading the way. You hurt his wife, you don't get Aquaman, founding member of the Justice League, you get the King of the Seven Seas.

*

The wall of hard water sends the Nameless scattering moments before Arthur impales one of them, though impale is such a small and calm word for the violently destructive wrath Arthur visited on the cyborg's body. As one the 'borgs manifest glowing, psychic blades and split off to engage separate targets. Arthur gets the most but Mera gets a fair few herself. Another wave of psychic energy lashes out at the telepath, though she may be ready for it this time.

*

Rowan whips his spear forward and there's a mighty thrum from the tip of it. The water around one of the Nameless boils with sonic energy, creating a temporary bubble… which then collapses with the weight of the sea atop it, compacting the cyborg… more than is healthy. Or survivable.

*

Mera is indeed ready this time. She was never a strong enough telepath to turn that ability into a weapon, but she never really needed to. rushing toward the cyborgs with that angry scowl that usually makes even Arthur cringe, she throws one hand to block an attack aimed at her while at the same time reaching to 'relieve' the closest cyborg of his weapon. And possibly also his entire arm.

*

Aquaman's forward momentum is suddenly halted as he comes to a stop, one hand on the metalic face of the cyborg ka-bob he's just made. The sudden stopping causes the body to continue on it's way, ripping free of the trident in a sprawling flopping of limbs tumbling through the water. The head remains in Arthur's hand. He turns to eye the coming group of soldiers and his fingers close into a fist, crushing the metallic skull in a flood of blood, lubricant, and smoke bubbles. "You hurt my wife." he says in a dark and cold tone, bracing himself for the impact of the cyborgs as a whole, letting the fight come to him. The resulting impact resounds with a crash of metal and flesh and a roar of pain from the King as one of the cyborgs blades manages to bury itself in his thigh.

*

The energy blades are made of pure psychic energy. However they are also carrying large underwater knives. Mera, as an assassin, is probably quite familiar.

Arthur's attack just causes one of the cyborgs to disintegrate. There's a muted underwater thud as Rowan takes impacts to his shield and then punctures a pair of Cyborgs through their chest and out their backs. Dropping the blade he unleashes another sonic blast at the Nameless that dared to put blade to the King of Atlantis' flesh.

Then he's under fire. The remaining Nameless, cornered and isolated, begin flinging bolts of psychic force. Rowan takes two on the shield and one on the scales before one strikes him in the shoulder and shears into it.

*

Mera has a knife now. And a disembodied arm. You know, she can work with this. One for stabbing, one for bashing in the skulls of those that pissed her off. And, hearing Arthur's own reaction to an injury just fuels her anger all the more, and solid-water shapes start moving about like a pod of irate Orca, pairing off to squash cyborg craniums between them.

*

The trident whips in a circle around Aquaman, his hands rotating it with skill and the barbed tips slice neatly through armored robotic parts as if they were tissue paper. He catches the arm mounted sonic weapon of a cyborg by spearing him through the forearm and then twists his wrist, which swings the weapon back up and into it's owners face, effectively decapitating him. Arthur turns quickly, his eyes narrowing as he takes in the situation and the remaining cyborgs, "Enough!" he bellows into the water, his voice ringing out as he raises an open palm as if he were lifting something in his hand. Shadows far down on the ocean floor shift and move in odd ways, and the waters around the battle itself begin to flicker and dim as massive shapes pass by overhead, their passing blocking out the flitting sunlight like great clouds in the sky on a sunny day. From below the shifting shadows begin to clarify into thousands of snake like shapes cutting their way through the water towards the invaders.

*

There's only a few left. Rowan's powerful tail propels him forward onto one of the remaining Nameles and he rips into the cyborg's metal alloy body with his bare, clawed hands. He's snarling now, the sound deep and resonant and carrying across the city in the water. Still the remaining two press their attack on Mera. There's nothing left for them to lose, no way for them to get home.

*

Mera simultaneously stabs and bashes one of the remaining cyborgs, but that leaves one that she's not really paying that much attention to. But, considering she's ANGRY…

*

The great body of a whale passes just outside of the fight, and Aquaman moves along with it, traveling in the wake. Its passage hurls currents about with abandon and what defense the cyborgs were creating is flung apart as they're tumbled hither and yon by the speeding mass of the whale. Arthur's hand rests on the side of the creature as it goes by and he watches, seeing the fight from above as it begins to come to an end, "Keep one alive." he orders to Rowan and Mera.

*

There's only one left. Rowan turns and throws his hand up. A sonic blast knocks him, hard, into the palace wall. Then, all is silent. Rowan, well, the half draconic being that was Rowan, floats there, eyes narrowed, then goes to retrieve his spear.

*

Mera all but audibly snarls at the last cyborg as Rowan takes it down, then almost immediately turns to look for Arthur. She knows she heard him take a hit, and that trumps her current almost-blinding migraine. <Arthur?>

Aquaman floats in the water next to the whale, blood coloring the water around him crimson as it slips from his thigh. He rests his head against the whales side and smiles before patting it once, issuing it thoughts of gratitude before sending it on it's way. He smiles again and then turns to look towards Mera, <I am fine. The wound is sealing now.> he heals pretty quickly and it wasn't serious.

*

Rowan collapses his spear once more. His draconic features begin to fade away as he returns toward Arthur and Mera. "Nameless." He half growls. The words almost like a curse. He knows these people, oh yes.

*

Mera moves over to check on Arthur anyway despite his reassurances, and thankfully he's proven to be telling the truth. Then she turns to look at Rowan as he approaches them again. "Rowan, are you injured?"

*

Aquaman looks down at his leg, it won't be healed for some time, but the bleeding has already stopped, which is a good sign. He turns to eye Mera, searching her visually for any marks or wounds. He did hear her scream after all… nothing. Good. Not good enough, "See to our soldier." he says before turning and making his way towards the unconscious cyborg.

*

"Just my shoulder, your Highness. I'll be alright." His shoulder is punctured and he's bleeding a bit, though he doesn't seem to discomfited. "We will wake soon. We should get him under irons, your Majesties." Without really waiting Rowan starts leading the way back to the palace. There's work to be done, apparently.


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