2020-07-26 - Sub Rosa: Shark Bait


REACT works against the clock to shut down strange tech causing earthquakes and volcanos on the east coast.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Jul 26 02:03:23 2020
Location: RP Room 2

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Theme Song



The first thing that everyone on the east coast woke up to this morning was a little bit of rock and roll. Literally. An earthquake, though a small and distant one, rumbled the northeast, though it wasn't enough to do more than make lighting fixtures sway and wake people up. That had been noteworthy, after all it's far from an everyday occurrence, but that had only been the beginning. Increasingly more noticeable shakes had rolled across the coast for the next few hours, with the source seemingly located far out to sea, prompting bemused speculation on the airwaves.

Then two hours ago all hell broke loose. The water just outside of New London Connecticut began to boil and within 20 minutes a 900 foot tall volcano had risen out of the sea. And that's when things started to get REALLY weird. Bodies started to wash up on the shore. Atlantean bodies armed for battle and many of them with signs of having been killed in it. And then something else emerged from the sea and attacked the New London submarine base, prompting a response from SHIELD and others.

RESCUE could certainly help with that but there is another problem. The seismic activity is getting worse. And what's more it's starting to become less localized. Present projections show that it will start shaking directly under New York in less than an hour. Fortunately there is already a probable location for the source of the seismic disturbance. Unfortunately it is near the base of the volcano, in the harbor. Underwater. Sonic scanning shows that there is likely some kind of structure there. Some kind of structure that isn't supposed to be there. That harbor is swarming with anomalous sea life, though, which makes getting both in and out a bit risky.

SHIELD central is standing by to provide whatever information or support is requested though they are by the sounds of things busy coordinating emergency combat operations.

When that tremor started hours ago, RESCUE spun up REACT and started collating data while preparing to launch. Now with a specific target and mission, REACT has swung into immediate action. They may not be truly military, but they are led in the field by a woman with a lifetime of fierce military experience in crisis and situation management, and they respond according to the training she has drilled into them all - even those who ostensibly outrank her.

Dr. Veronica Kelsey rolls onto the Bearcat as the rear ramp rises up to seal behind them, one of the last to get aboard after checking all of the gear and materiel they have assembled for this mission. "Augmenta can get down there. And the acquatic drones. Hank, I need you to test the seals on that diving rig against your fur; last thing I need is you drowning out there."

Then that sharp, crisp militant voice calls out, "Pilot, launch!"

Within less than sixty seconds, the enormous VTOL aircraft has lifted up to 'ground' or 'water' level on RESCUE's campus and started liftoff, catapulting itself into the air and rearranging its vectored thrust as they aim out to sea and then draw bearing directly across Long Island to the Sound and the volcano within those waters.

"Let's bring up every scan we have and start planning deployments. Humblebee feeds coming in. As soon as we are over the Sound, we drop the first acquatic drones and confirm the sea-floor scans and alcalinity readings." Veronica is the science lead, here, with Toni still ensconced in her lab. She'd rather have Patriot here, too, but they don't have time to argue. Too many lives are in danger. "Remember to replicate everything back to HQ. Toni and her team will need all our intel, if we fail."

Hank figured there'd be immediate need for RESCUE shenanigans when the quake hit, so, dressed to the nines in his costume. He and Hisako were able to make the trip in about 50 minutes, for once Hank is driving /fast/, and Bessy, yeah, she's not even straining a bit at being driven obnoxiously fast, engine purring.

Of course he radioed their position and ETA, and drove to the campus from Westchester.

Once they're geared up, he nods to Roni, having adjusted his morphic costume to accommodate the breathing apparatus, and his visor to help form a seal.

"On it." Hank lets her check the seals, and then gets busy with the drone deployments, and monitoring.

Hisako's first thought when she woke up to a mild earthquake - just enough to vibrate her bed and rattle her window - was that it was like she'd never left home. Her second thought, hard on the heels of that first one, was to remember that she WASN'T home, and the rest of her brain woke up in a massive hurry on that realization. She might in fact have been ready to get on the road faster than Hank was.

That, however, was a little while ago. She's suited up as well - nothing so fancy as Hank's costume, but presumably RESCUE had a suitably waterr-tolerant suit she could borrow, plus breathing gear. If she has to gather her hair up tighter than usual to fit under a helmet, there are worse things.

She doesn't have a lot to do during the flight, but she's reviewing what data and intel are available to her - particularly how deep they'll be and what the water pressure and temperature are like down there. If she has to armor up, it's going to be a whole new batch of physics compared to armoring up in a gaseous environment (such as, for instance, regular air). She's also considerably less at ease about invading a volcano than she was when the context only said 'earthquakes' … probably not surprising anyone … but she's holding herself together pretty well.

RESCUE has very, very good intel resources. There is indeed a structure at the base of the volcano. It looks like it is modular and it also looks like it was pushed there recently. It's not in very good shape, in fact it is visibly leaking in several places. But enough of the structure is intact that if one of the airlocks can be opened, people can get inside and deal with whatever the HELL is going on in there.

There is just one small problem to be dealt with before hand.

As the Bearcat approaches the drop location something leaps out of the water at them. It is a shark. It is a shark the size of an OIL tanker and it misses them by less than a foot. A quick look at the sensors confirms that it wasn't there when they entered the bay and the moment it hits the water it's not there again. But in the instant that it was leaping at them it was VERY VERY much there.

Illusion or something stranger? Teleporting monster sharks? Whatever the case, Rescue needs to get to that wrecked structure because the shaking is intensifying by the minute. There are some mutated, hostile Atlanteans down there but they are nothing that the group shouldn't be able to handily deal with and get to their goal.

At least the aquatic drones give them a very good picture of what they're jumping into and the optimum route to get there.

"What the Hell?!" Veronica shouts as the goddamned supersized shark freaking materializes out of nothingness, leaps at them with impossible strength and speed, and barely misses them, then proceeds to disappear just as mysteriously as it hits the water. "Launch!" Roni screams, and the first acquatic drone is launched from the bay at the bottom of the aircraft, falling a few hundred feet to impact the water … and slice right through it. The Minnows are purpose-built for this kind of thing, after all.

"Get me water temperature, salinity, chemical analysis ASAP." Veronica instructs, as she bolts in her chair, rips open the velcro straps holding her in, and hoists herself up out of her chair by main strength of her arms and shoulders alone, swinging over to drop herself bodily into the Augmenta armor and then starting the close-up and seal process. "If another comes up like that, let's try the screamers and see what it thinks of that. If it gets close enough, hit it with an AG pod and let's see if it can propel itself through air with any agility beyond original momentum."

ONce the armor is sealed up, Augmenta unlocks herself from standing position and starts clomping along towards the monitors, checking those readings as she preps herself for launch. "Finish your checks and suit up. Make sure your tether belts are secure; I can get us there a lot faster than either of you can swim, and time is clearly of the essence. I'll be bringing along that pod of earthquake foam charges, just in case."

Now it's just a countdown to launch.

One can almost see the Beast's stupefaction, first…even a megalodon doesn't get /that/ big, second, they don't just materialize from water, then he nods. "Running scans, suggestion…fire suppression foam, /freeze/ the water, as an impediment, it seems to be serving as some sort of dimensional aperture. Best I can suggest in the short term."

Once the checks are done, he helps Hisako with hers, and then thumps her shoulder to indicate readiness.

And then he walks to the ramp at the back, prepared to jump out just as is, so long as he lands on his feet even on rock, he'll be fine.

Hisako isn't a scientist at the rarefied level of either Dr. Kelsey or Dr. McCoy, but when she sees the carrier-sized shark leap THAT close to the helicopter, once she finishes stifling a squeak of terror, she starts wondering how a shark that big exists. And where it came from/went back to.

She's basically been going over the checks on her gear since she finished putting it on, but she does one last round with Hank's help, nodding in reply to the shoulder-thump. Armoring up while physically tethered may be tricky, but if she needs to use her powers for impact absorption, she can do that much easily enough.

She does have her questions for Hank, though. "If the water's surface is acting as a portal, wouldn't that impede *us* from getting to the structure … ?" Questions like that won't stop her from joining the others on descent, though.

Upon hitting the water it is probably to everyone's immense relief that it is NOT acting as a dimensional portal. At least not currently. They simply splash down into it and begin making their way toward the ruined structure. It looks like it was once an underwater lab of some kind, clearly designed for pressures at greater depths than generated by being at the bottom of the New London harbor. One wonders exactly how it got here but by the look of it, it wasn't gently.

A vibration is felt through the water as the volcano roars again, reminding them exactly how much is at stake and how much time they do not have. As they swim the Bearcat reports back in. "Water checks out as normal but there is an anomalous magnetic field that we can't quite pin down."

That's all there is time for because the shark appears again, this time underwater. It is MASSIVE but instead of attacking them it rams the structure they were making for. It's head is forced through part of it and as it begins to swim away it pulls the modular lab with it, wearing it like some kind of massive collar stroke back ornamentation. A number of mutated atlanteans and sea creatures hitch a ride as the thing pulls out to sea and it is going to pass RIGHT in front of them.

This is when the underwater drones pinpoint the exact room that the source of the earthquakes is located in. It's now on the massive shark's back being dragged out to sea.

So, here is a scientific question: How does one shut down something that is creating earthquakes while it is being dragged away on the back of an unnaturally huge shark that is also being ridden by potentially hostile creatures?

In one small mercy, an airlock passes right in front of the team and it's already half open. So they CAN get inside fairly easily. In one small annoyance a pair of shark atlantean hybrids takes this opportunity to try to take a bite out of RESCUE.

"Hang on." is just about all the warning Veronica, inside Augmenta, can give. With the tether lines attached, she slams the impellers to maximum to shoot the distance to the shark and into the half-open hatch, even as her arms swing forward. "SHIELD SHIELD SHIELD" Roni shouts in warning as she powers up the launcher on her back, its magnetic launcher firing rapidly a series of pods, with AG pods to strike said hybrids and carry them up, up and away from the REACT squad in the water, followed by - and this is why Roni warned everyone - a trio of screamers.

The less-lethal sonic- and flashing weapons fired in water are going to have less immediate range, but are going to be much less directional, and the effect of that scream underwater is going to be pretty devastating. All three are wearing RESCUE-designed special ear protection, but in water the shockwaves are going to bypass that almost certainly.

She can only hope it's enough of a distraction to get them to where they need to go. This has to be stopped, as much for the Atlanteans as the humans.

"Ah, yes, that's a good point, and it seems I was mistaken." Not the first time, nope, Hank has made -many- mistakes in his life. Still, he flicks the coordinates of the magnetic anomaly to their HUDs, and then waits for the all clear, and then jumps, angling his fall like a sky diver, and then twisting to hit the water with his feet first to absorb the most impact trauma, under the water he'll go to the bottom, flex his knees, and then push off with ten TONS of lifting force to propel him towards the structure unless there's something trying to eat him, of course.

Dr. Kelsey has her powered suit, Hank has his legs; Hisako just armors up on the way down, keeping it fairly small - about eight feet in height, so they still have room to maneuver. The tether has to pass through the psychokinetic field, though, and maintaining that 'gap' takes an unaccustomed strain on Hisako's focus - but it's either that or cut herself loose, and she'd rather not sever that connection without consultation. Just … yeah, there's basically a slightly-wider-than-the-tether hole in her defenses. Try not to think about it.

And as she lets Hank's leg strength tow her along, Hisako realizes that the shark, if you can properly *call* it a shark - how much oxygen must its gills be straining out of the water to keep it from asphyxiating? - looks even bigger without the helicopter's hull between it and Hisako and her teammates. She doesn't even squeak this time, even as the teralodon (exalodon?) rams the structure away, taking whatever's controlling the volcano with it. Like a helmet.

There are, however, things trying to eat them. That's where Armor's job comes in; she twists around, drawing back her right arm - and the armor's right arm - before *PUNCHING* the closest Atlantean square on the sternum. It takes a good bit more effort than a punch like that in air - but on the flip side, it means she's generating a pressure-wave in the water along with the actual punch. That should help keep the other biters off the team's backs.

Now, as long as the shockwaves from the screamers don't whittle away at Hisako's focus and force her armor down …

The sudden flash and sonic burst in the water makes the shark flinch and slow. The sound of the impact of Hisako's fists underwater emphasizes the crunch of bone before the AG pods arrive to remove the distraction and perhaps mercifully remove the two sharklanteans from Armor's attention.

Then it's time to go in. The inside of the structure is a nightmare. It's bent at odd angles. Some of the compartments are breached and leaking water streams down toward the parts of the complex that are hanging off the side of the shark rather than off the back. Electrics are exposed and sparking. But while these are certainly hazardous, challenging and obnoxious none of them actually prevent REACT from getting to the main lab room.

The center of the room is dominated by a massive containment and power armature for some kind of device that is glowing brightly inside. It only takes a moment to confirm that this device is manipulating some kind of energy field to produce and direct the seismic activity and it only takes a few moments more to realize that just smashing it to pieces will result in a runaway effect that would be very, very bad. They can't break it. They have to find a way to turn it off. That means getting past the security on the computers and then disconnecting either the power or the field manipulators or both. And doing so before the shark hits something like a seamount and smashes the whole compartment to bits.

And that would be enough of a challenge if it weren't for the sound of something coming up the passageway behind them. They are about to have company. And they're running out of time. Indeed a creature that looks like a moray eel with legs and razor sharp teeth appears and just throws itself toward the entrance to the room, trying to get to REACT before they can, well… react.

Augmenta literally slams herself into the inner wall beyond the airlock at ludicrous underwater speeds, dragging Beast and Armor behind her through that same gap in the hatch. Once inside, it's time to reorganize and get moving. "Detach." Veronica orders, as their harnesses releases are engaged, and then they go slogging through the place to find what they are after. When they do, their time is short, their chances slim, and getting slimmer with the onrushing eel.

"Armor, expand and plug that doorway. Keep it out as long as you can. And warn us if you are going to lose it." Veronica orders. It sickens her to be this hard and cold about the safety of her intern, but they have to use their skills as best they can; Armor is not a scientist and cannot do what she and Hank must now attempt. "The one damped time for Io to decide to stay home with Goliath. Come on, Hank."

Tools pop out from Augmenta's belt and she hands some to Hank as they get started working their way through the device. "We can't just tear it apart, we have to shut it down. We don't have a portal to throw it through, and doing so would only endanger anyone on the other end of the portal." This is why REACT exists; can they do it?

The technobabble is sure to be pretty epic as the two work like crazy people on the device. "I'll focus on breaking the encryption, can you model the power relays…see if we can safely interrupt things." Hank glances back over his shoulder as he sees Hisako prepped to hold the line, and his expression and focus go from 'total' to 'grimly determined', she's his former student, he's known her more than half her life. A nod to Roni then. "Tearing it apart would trigger a cascade effect, right now we need to find a way to alter the frequency to something harmless…"

Surprisingly deft hands manipulate the tools he's given, or produced from his own gear as Augmenta and Beast work their techno-artistry, not quite magic, to try and defuse this horrifying superweapon.

"On it, Doctor," Armor replies, already turning to intercept the walking moray (and randomly wondering, in the back of her mind, if there was a video game or something about this). Rather than simply plugging the doorway with her armor, though, she takes a more active part in blocking the passageway: certainly she can fill the space fairly well, but her armor still takes a *humanoid* shape - not exactly the best match to fill in a basically rectangular opening.

So she's attacking: mostly leading with a punch, but if she can grapple the moray-thing, all the better. "If this is your home, you picked a bad one - but if you can understand and you want to *help*, better speak up quickly!"

The eel thing takes a hit and tries to wrap around her arm with very limited success. Its only answer to her question is an enraged snarl but that snarl is quickly answered as several more Atlantean-Shark hybrids appear in the passageway and rush Hisako. The play is simple. Can they push her out of the way, get into the room and interrupt what Hank and Veronica are doing?

This is a very, very sophisticated encryption and some of it is actually based on Atlantean tech which is not widely known so Hank has to do a lot of his work with it on the fly, learning as he goes. He is going to need a few minutes but he can be confident he will break it. In any case that just gives Veronica time to figure out that the power relays could be scrambled with a sufficiently powerful magnetic pulse and if REACT didn't bring something for that there are things in this room that could be quickly repurposed to produce one. Of course it would have to be timed or you'd just get a resonance cascade that will result on a boom of continental proportions.

The sea around them out the windows begins to turn dark. They're running out of time. This thing is headed out to sea now and who knows where it will go from there. They only get one shot at this, so long as Hisako can buy them the time. And oh the hybrids do not want to give it to them.

"Armor, if you need help, you need to tell us before it gets too bad." Veronica comments inside her suit, voice carried over their comms as she starts scavenging from the room and cobbling together a decent directional EMP. She'll have to literally attach it to the device to assure sufficient effect strength given the water rushing into the room which can dissipate and buffer such signals, But she feels incredibly rushed, which is frustrating and annoying. "Note to self for the logs: develop EMP pods for future use. Not a lot of them. But at least a few in any load-out just in case." And more work. Faster, damnit, Roni, faster.

Hank is FURIOUSLY focused on his codebreaking, damn, the Palladium Knight (his old hacker handle) hasn't -ever- faced a challenge like this before. Eyes of yellow flicker from screen to holo screen projected by his visor into water around him, visible to the naked eye so Roni can see too, just in case. "This is Atlantean, the structure unlike anything I've seen…it will take time, buy us as much as you can, Armor." He has faith, the girl is strong, she's saavy, she'll hold the line.

Sweating with the furor of his work, he keeps a wary eye on Augmenta and Armor both, the A-Team? That makes Beast the B, which is fine, he'll deal.

"Not much for conversation, huh," Armor replies to the eel-thing's snarling and its efforts to wrap around her arm. She responds to the latter by just smashing that arm against the nearby wall (bulkhead?) … and then spots the shark-hybrids.

"I've got it for now, Dr. Kelsey!" the Japanese girl replies, and meets the charging shark-hybrids by rushing right at them, taking up as much of the hallway as she can, and leading with Mr. Moray as if he were a blocking pad and she a football quarterback. In fact, that's the best summation of her technique: head down, shoulders up, powering forward with all the strength her legs - or more accurately, her powers - can deliver.

She doesn't want to get TOO far away from the chamber where Hank and Roni are working, of course - and she especially doesn't want to let any of the 'locals' get in behind her - but as long as she doesn't plow so far forward that she leaves doors, or worse, corridors open behind her, it should be fine. And she *is* paying attention to her surroundings; if there's an intersection, she'll stop before entering it.

If Hisako wanted she probably could just bull rush the lot into the next corridor or down one of the now vertical shafts that used to be a hallway but that risks something getting under or behind her. Still, she is a very effective roadblock and thus far nothing her opponents have seems to be able to penetrate her armor.

As the hull begins to creak and more water starts to pour in Hank and Veronica's preparations both complete. It's only a matter of timing the activation with the breaking of the security and the cycling of the power and… there! Done! The thing shuts down.

And then BOOM. The whole structure hits something hard. More water starts to pour in. The lab is coming apart. They need to exit now and if they want anything for later examination they need to take it with them now.

As for the creatures? The moment the impact comes they scatter. Presumably they're going to try to get out. Hisako, Veronica and Hank have an easier way out. Through a window. Why not? The room is coming apart at the seams as they watch anyway.

Thanks to the directionality of the pulse, Augmenta is still up and running. Barely. "Armor, this way!" Veronica shouts as she turns and starts hammering at the window and the wall around it with the full force of her armor's fists, ripping open a whole wide enough to get them out. "Once we're out, hold my arms as best you can." They don't have time to try to tether like before, though that would be ideal. Oops! Best laid plans.

"REACT, this is Augmenta. Sending ping. Going to need pickup!"


Hank grips Augmenta's arm with his hands, and offers Armor a hand to cling to as well, his feet? With those he'll take a chunk of the control sytems with, he can't bring it all, but he'll bring as useful chunk as he can. Sure, it is not tech he's familiar with, he'll just make his best guess, rip the stuff out, and drag it along. Thank goodness for prehensile feet and omni-dexterity! Also, super strength.

"Copy that, Augmenta!" Then, when she calls for exfil, he holds one with all his might, and hopes they get through things with minimum breakage.

The habits of land and air are not easily laid aside; if they weren't an unknown distance underwater, Armor's instinct would be to go as big as she could, and rather than holding onto Augmenta's arm, to just scoop Augmenta and Beast up together in her armor's hands, enlarging to skyscraper size.

She almost goes for that anyway, but then she remembers: *they are underwater.* Hank would probably have a happy little time with the exact numbers, but however abstruse the equations might look, they're actually fairly straightforward - trying to maneuver with her armor much larger than it is would mean she has to exert roughly five and a half buttloads more force than such a stunt on land, and that's not going to work out very well.

So Armor stays 'small,' or at least, no larger than she was to hold the corrodiro against the sea-curity hybrids. She does wrap one armored arm around each of her teammates, though, rather than simply holding hands or arms - and whatever boosters Augmenta is using to propel them upwards, Hisako adds the force of her armor's legs, pushing upwards and away from the now-disintegrating 'building' as well as she can. It's not going to be a super-leap, but it should help get them clear.

It is fortunate for them that wherever the shark was going it hadn't gotten very far. It had gotten deep enough that light was an issue but that's actually not that deep. When they surface, their pickup is waiting for them. In the distance they can see the coast and smoke rising from it. The radio chatter says that the volcano is out and that several threats have been dealt with near the Submarine Base. Sounds like cleanup operations are in progress.

Which leaves RESCUE to do what it will. They can proceed back to land and help with the cleanup and investigation or they can head back with what they have and start looking into it. Either way though, someone is going to have to get to the bottom of this.

Before it happens again.

Veronica fires her AG and vectored thrust to launch them into the water and then slams on the power of her impellers to maximum to get them clear before the place blows in and collapses, and hopefully away before the cranky Atlanteans come hunting them or their stolen tech.

Once Augmenta gets the trio to the surface, she fires a grapple and hauls them up into the Bearcat so that they can drop off everything they have retrieved. "Let's get back to the volcano and do what we can to help shore things up. There's still a huge mess, REACT. And this is what we do. Radio SHIELD and let them know we have tech they are going to want to review. We'll have it at the Foundry later if they need to look, or pick it up."

And so it is. Another day with RESCUE.

Hank holds on for the ride, and holds on to Armor and what little they could bring back from the base. This will have to be studied, that's for sure…but later, there's work to be done, lives to be saved, and rescues for RESCUE to perform.

By the time they're aboard the Bearcat, Hisako is quite happy to simply de-armor; any stray water she brought in with her is simply an occupational hazard, although she *does* try to minimize that while Augmenta is reeling them up. "Wake me up when we get there," she says wryly to Augmenta and Hank, settling into a seat - maybe the same one she was in for the flight out.

She probably won't *actually* go to sleep … but she needs to rest her brain as well as her body before she's called on for any more heavy lifting.

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