Closed Ultramarine

Discussion in 'Role Playing Games' started by Lee, Jan 13, 2018.

Watchers:
This thread is being watched by 5 users.
  1. Ivy

    Ivy Commander

    Messages:
    133
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Commander
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Color #:
    008080
    ACT III


    ACME Detective Provisional Branch, Colombo, Sri Lanka

    ACME Commander Ivy Monaghan scanned the area. Calm blue oceans border the small bay and the Sri Lankan ship that would be towing ACME’s Trans-Undersea Navigational Aquacraft to deeper waters.

    It had been approximately twenty hours since she got that call from CEO Barbara Rosen, and her orders of business was to summon Deric Storm and Nevon Blair to join her. Deric Storm had signed the SOUL contract and was fitted to a STUN suit, so she knew he was dependable. Nevon Blair rose from humble accountant to one of ACME’s best mathematical modelers in the field, and since this case was about estimating the unknown, it was up his alley.

    Both men were nearby, getting ready in their own way.

    “We’re heading into the TUNA in an hour,” she gave her usual serious but friendly greeting, “Are you both ready?”


    ***

    Deric had only half heard Ivy's question. He was still dealing with a little bit of jet lag from their sudden departure from San Francisco. He took another sip of his coffee, trying to jump start his weary body and jumbled brain.

    Just when he seemed to start getting back to normal, ACME found a way to toss everything on its head. Now, it seemed they were working with VILE again.

    Last time THAT happened was a couple years ago in Russia. Coincidentally, that seemed to be the last time things were going well for the Nebraskan. He had been part of the strike team that worked with VILE to storm (no pun intended) the fortress at Torun Zamok to stop a madman in possession of a weaponized C-5 system. The force had included both members of his current team, along with a few other agents, including his girlfriend at the time. The mission had been a success, but things had changed, both personally and professionally. A couple weeks after they got back to San Francisco, he had proposed to his girlfriend, Calina Corranos, who tearfully accepted.

    Everything was going so well; naturally, that wouldn't last.

    Calina slowly started becoming more secretive, but Deric had assumed it had something to do with work. About four months later, Deric woke up to find his fiancee gone and the engagement ring he'd given her on the dresser without a note or anything. He had gotten nowhere when he tried to find her through ACME. All his requests for information about a possible assignment she might had been on had been shot down at the highest levels. Even some favors he called in from his undercover days had come up empty; the woman had seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth.

    The next eight months had been spent volunteering for just about every assignment that would get him out of San Francisco for a couple weeks. Anything to keep from going home to an empty apartment every night. He had been heading at warp speed towards a major burnout and, thankfully, some his old teammates had staged an intervention.

    Dr. Sidney Freeman, one of ACME's chief psychiatrists had recommended (actually, almost demanded) a transfer to a teaching post at the Academy. Deric had been named mentor to a group of trainees who flourished under his tutelage. It re-ignited a passion that Deric hadn't felt since joining ACME. Deric regained much of his former personality, while also working some other cases as well. About four months, Deric had finally stopped wearing the discarded ring on a chain around his neck.

    Two weeks ago, Deric had gotten back to San Francisco from a case dealing with the Field Museum in Chicago. Someone had actually tried to steal Sue, the museum's famous tyrannosaurus skeleton. Working as an instructor at the Academy had allowed Deric to hone his own skills.

    He had been home doing some of his laundry when he received the message from Ivy, informing him of his placement on the team heading to Sri Lanka. The briefing meeting with himself, Ivy, and, surprisingly to the farmboy, Nevon Blair had been brief. The team members had each received a packet with the information on the particulars of the case before hopping on the plane.

    He had spent the first couple hours of the flight perusing the packet of information. It contained the mission parameters regarding both Chase Devineaux and Carmen Sandiego. ‘El jefe has sure stirred up a hornets’ nest this time if the Evil Queen is so deadset on us dragging him home,’ he had thought at the time. The fact that Barbara Rosen has been so adamant about bringing both Chase and Carmen only back to HQ had raised a red flag in the back of Deric’s mind. He had heard a rumor that a couple years ago, Rosen had been the one behind the attempted removal of Chase. The memory of the board’s very public failure had brought a smile to his face.

    He spent more time going over the intelligence ACME had on the other major party in this whole situation... Gunnar Maelstrom. The man had a chilling reputation. Known for his mood swings whose fury and suddenness matched his name, the agency considered him as much of a threat as the leader of VILE, who had actually apprehended the man when she was under ACME’s employ.

    Early in his ACME career, Deric had captured an associate of Maelstrom’s known as Bilge, real name Hermann Retzlaff. Remembering the fear in Bilge’s eyes when Deric mentioned Maelstrom’s name, coupled with what he had read in the dossier, there was only one conclusion Deric could come to, paraphrasing a line from one of his favorite movies:

    Maelstrom was a certified genius AND an authentic wacko.


    ‘Yeah, this is going to go well,’ Deric sarcastically thought for the sixth time since leaving San Francisco.

    Turning to face Ivy, Deric glibly responded, "Aye-aye, cap'n," flashing a mock salute to the redhead with one hand while holding the duffel containing his gear and STUN suit with the other.

    "Seriously, though," he continued, taking a more serious tone, "something about this mission stinks, Red. Rosen's holding back on us."


    ***

    Nevon Blair spent the past year or so travelling around Asia. After Kamchatka, he started learning Japanese from a girl he met in St. Louis. She was there on holiday with her parents, and Nevon was on a mandatory rest period. He came back to San Francisco about three months back to finish his detective training, with a focus on mathematics.

    When he first started out as an ACME accountant, he had no idea how much he would like field work. But now that many of his friends have gone this way and that, Nev was beginning to realize what mattered most in life. He had passion for calculations and trying to solve a crime using formulas instead of deduction alone. In a few months, his thesis on formulation of criminal behavior was going to be finished and judged by ACME’s panel.

    For now, he was staring at the ocean and sky. Even though there was hardly a cloud around, the weather forecast said a lot of rain could be on its way.

    He was about to say something when the Commander’s voice asked if he was ready, but he listened to Deric Storm’s assessment. He was right, though Nevon knew next to nothing about Barbara Rosen, this did seem really weird.

    “Maybe Rosen doesn’t have all the information either,” Blair chimed in, “We’re told to back up the Director, Mr. G, and Miss Mayhew, but we haven’t even spoken to them yet.”



    ***

    “We won’t know until we get there. Devineaux, Grovington and Mayhew wouldn’t be risking their own lives without good reason,” Ivy paused to think about the names, within ACME itself, loyalties were fractionalized. Eleanor chose to save Chase’s career over her own, and Eugene had always been more of a lone wolf than a team player. “We’ll need to get as much information from them as possible when we rendezvous. As for now, the orders from HQ are clear and I intend to stick to them.”

    It wasn’t surprising that Rosen’s words were still on the mind of both Deric and Nevon. Bringing back the ACME detectives was a mission in itself, but dealing with an external threat while trying to capture the woman who’s eluded the company for almost a decade? That was asking for magic.

    Her thoughts were interrupted by a low, almost inaudible hum as the water near the docks rumbled. The ACME TUNA rose with a calculated steady motion. It was small, and originally made to track down other submarines that were often used by cartels and criminal organisations that transported contraband. While the TUNA did not have any weapons itself, but what it lacked in size or artillery it made up in speed and durability. Without glass, it depended on exterior cameras and sensors for navigation. And when fully sealed, it resembled a chiseled white arrowhead… one that could withstand several direct ballistic hits while keeping the six to eight occupants secure.

    “Seems we’re always the guinea pigs for new company toys. Buckle up.”
     
  2. Joe Kerr

    Joe Kerr V.I.L.E. Agent

    Messages:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    VILE Agent, Part-Time Security Consultant
    Location:
    Tivoli Gardens, Denmark
    Color #:
    8a2be2
    Near Kerala, India...

    Body and pride equally bruised, Joseph offered no resistance as he was yanked to his feet and led away. Silently allowing the guards to shove him forwards, the jester contemplated what he’d just witnessed in Maelstrom’s ‘office’.


    The Norwegian’s actions had made it apparent that Patty had fed him a lie about Roux; a daring gamble to protect the man in the iron mask.

    Adding together what he had observed, the jester started to paint a portrait of the imposter:

    This person was comfortable with subterfuge and well-versed in combat. He also had to be someone with a similar build to Acton and decently adept at French. Most importantly, the imposter was familiar with Joseph himself, and someone that Patty could trust implicitly; that left a very limited pool of individuals to choose from.


    In Joseph’s mind, the shadowy figure took the form of one particular person; the conclusion seemed almost audacious, and yet, no other solution would fit the puzzle...the imposter was...Chase Devineaux.

    ***


    The fact that Chase was involved did not trouble the jester so much as the reason for his involvement. What was his purpose? Did Patty mean for him to act as saboteur at her behest or was he the bait to drag ACME into the fray; Or was she secretly playing both sides for another purpose?

    This shrewd, manipulative side of the young woman felt both foreign yet familiar to Joseph, yet another piece of the growing enigma that was Patty Larceny.

    ***

    Mutely looking out the jeep, the jester forced himself to refocus his thoughts back to the focal point of the conversation; Carmen challenging Maelstrom.

    It had been refreshing to see the boss donning her signature costume; it was a clear sign to any VILE member that the game was on. The racing bet was unusual for Carmen but Joseph had learnt to never doubt her when she was ‘playing chess’; it always amused him that so many challengers had failed because they never realized she was always playing in three dimensions to their one.

    Case in point, while Joseph would bet money that Maelstrom did not intend to keep his word, he was confident that Carmen not only expected it but had already factored it into multiple scenarios and contingencies. It was just another reason she would always be superior to Maelstrom.

    Despite this assurance, Joseph knew the madman was not to be taken lightly. While his unrestrained arrogance and greed would guarantee his downfall, Maelstrom was exactly the type of foe capable of turning it into a Pyrrhic victory.

    ***

    Amidst his musings, Joseph heard the word ‘submarine’ mentioned and his expression turned grim.

    The Red Queen and the Mad King would soon descend upon Davalaya with their armies in tow; the battlelines have been drawn save for one player, the Amber Maiden; is she friend or foe, or another contender to the throne?

    Only time would tell.
     
  3. Kid Kidman

    Kid Kidman V.I.L.E. Agent

    Messages:
    117
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Currently named Neb Ulyss
    Location:
    Here and there
    Color #:
    323E4F
    Back on the MAMBA...

    It was a perfect disguise, Neb had to admit. The bright red coat and hat was almost a person in itself. Seen from a distance, almost anyone wearing it was undoubtedly Carmen Sandiego. The real one could stand beside you and you’d never know. Anyone who equated the woman in red with the woman that led had been successfully distracted.

    As Neb had been.

    A short week had changed that. The red had taken on a new meaning, one less innocent. This was a construct of defense, worn when defense was needed.

    The shadow leaned against a doorway out of shot, one foot up and resting against the frame. She didn’t know what good her presence here did, but a memory had rattled to the surface. Carmen once told her she was her lucky charm. Perhaps her simply being here helped. Or not. The woman seemed on an island of her own by the time the transmission began

    Neb promptly left the room then, for what she’d seen in the background was too much to maintain the silence necessary. For a few seconds she paced outside until she steeled, then returned for her first good look at Dr. Gunnar Maelstrom.

    He was everything Carmen was not, his grotesqueness exaggerated against her sheen. He was as repulsive as he was hypnotic, his movements as fluid as clumps of slime dripping upon rocks, his eyes alight with the madness of a revenant.

    Very little of her attention was left for the conversation as she studied the scene. Flag was not there, and Chase looked… She couldn’t place what was wrong with Chase. She couldn’t see him well, but he was not how she remembered. And Joe… She averted her gaze to keep her place.

    This was Carmen’s domain for now. A statue, a priestess, a holy relic facing down a force of evil as it tried to seep through this 17” portal. It pressed its face up close, trying to untangle her with words in lieu of hands.

    And then the screen went dark. Neb blinked and rubbed her lip, only now aware of the dent she’d bitten into it.
     
    Invader, Julie Justice and Jade like this.
  4. Flag

    Flag V.I.L.E. Agent

    Messages:
    29
    Gender:
    Male
    Color #:
    808080
    [Co-written Flag/Patty]

    As soon as Maelstrom’s Valkyrie left Flag at the labs, she went to the garage. Mechanics fixed up old trucks here, and they were used for minor labors like carting equipment and sometimes people.

    She filled one to a full tank. Diesel gas was smelly and gross, especially because she had to use a homemade pump to push flammable liquid from one rusty metal barrel into another rusty metal barrel. In these parts of rural India, you made do with what you have.

    Two little girls with brownish sunburned hair stared at her with wide eyes as she did this task. When she looked at them, they ran away giggling, then they would come back to check her out. Patty didn’t mind it, she felt out of place to begin with.

    By the time she returned to the abandoned zoo, there were people scurrying. Emil came to talk to Wick at the labs, about a conversation Maelstrom had with some actress in red. Of course Carmen would find them, Patty cursed in her mind, and of course she’d make contact now, just before they could safely escape.

    When both men saw her, they stood up straighter and reported that The Professor wanted all four prisoners in the sub. When she asked why there were now four prisoners instead of three, they told her Plague fought for his friends. Again, Patty cursed in her mind, she had only been gone for thirty minutes!


    She would find Flag glaring at Emil, who had unknowingly interrupted the staring contest that he had going with Wick before dragging the guard into a hushed conversation somewhat down the hall. Their secrets were a mystery until they opened up about them to the blond, who looked flustered to hear it.

    Flag flicked his eyes toward her at the word "red." He knew just as well as she that this wasn't some 'actress' that contacted the girl's latest boss and the information weighed on his features. While the men continued to brief her about the surprising amount of VILE hostages, he nodded an offer to punch them out if she provided him the opportunity.


    The Valkyrie came to Flag’s cage but instead of a nod, she shook her head, “Carmen negotiated your release,” she told him, “in exchange for something he really wants.”

    Wick and Emil both readied to take the prisoner.

    “Grab him,” she told the boys, “Let’s head to the sub.”


    Flag's lips formed a thin line as he clenched his teeth and processed her words. He then turned to focus on Wick as he unlocked the enclosure door. For the briefest moment he readied himself to tackle the man anyway, but was assured against the notion by the weapon that Emil leveled in his direction.

    Another assurance was issued, seconds later, when they pulled out ties for his wrists. As Flag allowed his arms to be bound behind him, he cast his gaze toward Patty. He watched her with a complicated expression until Wick put a hand on his back and shoved him down the hall.


    Having already secured the truck Patty wanted to run anyway. Maelstrom would be busy with this, too busy to try hunt for her. But if this ends with her current mentor surviving, the Valkyrie won’t be able to find peace.

    So she did exactly what any good student would do if they knew their leader had violent tendencies, follow along until a better opportunity arises.

    “Don’t hurt him,” she instructed the two men as they got into the jeep, “he’s merchandise now.”
     
    Kid Kidman, Julie Justice and Jade like this.
  5. Carmen

    Carmen Queen of Crime

    Messages:
    36
    Color #:
    c00000
    [Co-written Carmen/Neb]

    Neb was restless for the rest of the trip. There was so much to absorb in so little time, yet she couldn’t keep focus. She attempted sleep and failed, studied Vic’s research and drifted, stalked the two ACME agents but came to no real insight. She became envious of Carmen’s calm, yet at the same time questioned it. There was little place for a mind to rest.

    The shadow eventually settled for expelling her excess energy into pumping iron with whatever heavy objects she could stuff in a bag and watching the video of Carmen’s challenge again, scratching about for a revelation.


    ***

    As the time neared for rendezvous, the master thief finished her preparations with the ‘surface team’, much of it included Vic’s instructions under various scenarios. As she entered Neb’s temporary bedroom, next to hers at the head of the MAMBA, she carried parts of her gear, her wrists and ankles were already wrapped in high-tension elastic cloth.

    “I’m gearing up, has Vincent given you something to wear?”


    ***

    “Nah, I haven’t wanted to bother him yet,” she said as she put down the heavy bag of equipment. “The ACMEs seem to be behaving themselves. I’m surprised you let them on our top secret spaceship.”

    ***

    Carmen returned the shadow’s observation with light laughter, “You don’t think they deserve a ride for sharing adequate information?”

    ***

    “I’m just as surprised they’d accept one from us,” Neb replied with a laugh as she wiped the sweat from her face.

    In the background Carmen’s voice dictated from her tablet, and she turned it off so she might hear the real one better. “Could be the fatigue talking, but sometimes it seems like our groups are more rival siblings than actual enemies.”


    ***

    Deftly, the woman checked all the necessary tools and links to her exploration jacket. She had three waterproof battery cells in total, all fully charged. Satisfied, she wore the coat and zipped, feeling it tighten against her arms and body.

    “I think that would depend on which sector of ACME we encounter.”

    As she said that, she nodded towards Neb’s darkened tablet, “Did you get anything new from re-watching that?”


    ***

    After watching the feed on a loop for the past 20 minutes, Neb had certainly found a few things worth mentioning.

    “Some, although you’ve probably noticed these already. Dr. Roux is more prone to heroics than I’d imagined, and there’s something weird about Chase. The idea that Chase came to Harbin in a standard suit makes little sense, Maelstrom’s preoccupation with Dr. Roux’s mask is also strange. And Flag....”

    She paused in her list. “But that’s not what I’ve been trying to figure out.”

    Carmen was back in her breezy disposition and she didn’t wish to upset her, but to gauge Maelstrom’s threat, it felt necessary to ask.

    “Carmen...who is he to you? Is he really the reason you left ACME?”


    ***

    Stretching the fingers of her tactical gloves to examine them, she paused to consider the questions, and involuntarily smiled.

    “What have you heard, about why I left ACME?”


    ***

    Carmen’s dressing routine was making the event ahead all the more real, and it began to make her nervous.

    “Usual dumb stuff,” she said as she brushed it off. “You left for the challenge, you were tired of playing it safe, you’re a manipulator, ect. I never asked for real. I always suspected ACME did something untenable, to someone, to you….”

    She ran her fingers through her hair. “But Maelstrom says he’s responsible, and I’d like to know where he got the idea.”


    ***

    Grabbing her boots, the leader took a seat on the bed next to her company.

    “Certain men ache to take credit where none is due,” she said she put on one half of the pair, “Your guess is as good as mine, frankly. Everything Maelstrom said today was also news to me.”

    Then as she put on the remaining pair and began the tedious task of lacing them up, she took a moment to consider Neb’s words, “Who… specifically, called me a manipulator?”


    ***

    Neb exhaled.

    “Rosen.”

    This talk was certainly a long time coming.

    “It was the last cycle and I ended up on private jet with Rosen. We fought, or rather, I fought and she laughed at me. I don’t know how much of what she said was true, so I more or less dismissed it at the time. Even if none of it was, though, I think that woman is enough of a reason to leave.”


    ***

    To this, a slender brow rose, “Barbara Rosen told you I was a manipulator?”

    After a moment, a chuckle resounded, “I suppose she’s right, then, it takes one to know one.”

    She returned to her task of lacing her boots, ensuring that they would keep her warm and dry.

    “I left the organisation because it didn’t suit me,” she stated almost as if she had rehearsed those words before, “but had I stayed…” Carmen touched Neb’s chin and nodded, “It may have been for Rosen.”
     
    Lucy, Invader, Jade and 1 other person like this.
  6. Chase

    Chase Director

    Messages:
    600
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Director of Operations
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Color #:
    536373
    [Co-written Chase/Roux/Joe/Flag]


    Somewhere in Kerala, India...

    Chase Devineaux, still masked as Doctor Roux, was the first in the sub. As he observed from the journey, the sub was docked to the side of a ship. The only entrance was from the top. It had a cylindrical hull 13.5 m (44 ft) long, 5.7 m (19 ft) high, a 3 m conning tower with periscope, and decent air conditioning. With a single diesel electric engine, it could hold about seven people, not entirely comfortably. The irony was that this Russian Priz-class (Prize-class) deep-submergence rescue vehicle, was made it Kamchatka. It could go down to about 1000 meters, so Chase hoped they weren’t diving much deeper. The usually red craft was painted yellow, probably to disguise its origins.

    Dr Acton Roux, with his hands tied in front of him, removed the navy sack from his head and entered the sub. The first person he saw was a version of himself in the beaked mask. Sitting next to the man, he awaited in silence.

    The first thing the jester noticed was the odd colour of the submarine; apparently there were no limits to Maelstrom’s bad tastes.

    As he entered the dirty ochre hued craft, he noted with some humour that he was once again confined in a metal prison. Carefully moving forward, Joseph sat down on the unoccupied side of the imposter.


    Like his consociate before him, Flag likened the situation to a previous imprisonment where he was forced into a subsurface Russian ‘hole’ by gunpoint. Hopefully, he wouldn't be stuck in this one for a month.

    Unable to climb with his hands bound behind him, the Sivoan was forced to jump from the ship’s deck and landed unceremoniously on the submarine’s floor. Shuffling to stand, the first person he noticed was the jester, whom he was genuinely surprised to see.

    Blinking past him, he noticed the imposter posing as the ACME director and failed to contain an ironic laugh at the sight. Flag knew who wore the doctor’s mask and regarded the disguised ACME director with little more than a glance in his direction as he sat next to Joe.

    Seconds later, the hatch above them slammed shut.


    As soon as the hatch locked, Chase moved towards the doctor, showing his bounded hands,
    “Acton, untie me.”


    When Chase Devineaux picked him up from the silo and tied his wrists, it was a convincingly complicated slipknot. Simply pulling his hands apart quickly released the doctor. Unclicking the blade’s edge from the beak of the mask now worn by the ACME Director, Acton used it to snap the plastic that secured Chase’s arms.

    Peering over, the jester watched Acton work, for the first time, without any sort disguise. He had occasionally wondered about the Frenchman’s true visage, but had never envisioned him as someone who could pass for Chase Devineaux’s brother.


    Once freed, Devineaux grabbed the hidden Kris at his side and used it to untie Joe Kerr.

    Rubbing his slightly chafed wrists, Joseph afforded a warm smile to the man who freed him.

    “Remember the time I ‘borrowed’ your car? Those were the days, eh?”

    Chase gave Joe’s words a nod as he slashed the binds for Flag, “One of these days we need to meet under better circumstances.”

    The jester’s only reply was a hearty laugh.

    The Sivoan noted the dagger being used to cut ties and shot the director an inquiring glance “That’s familiar.”

    Flipping the knife from edge to handle, Devineaux pointed the hilt to Flag, “Yours, it was useful.”

    “I have your journal,” Acton added, and showed the sash on his person, partially hidden by the grey suit.

    Flag loosed a quiet “heh” and retrieved his ritual dagger from the director’s grasp, returning his enemy’s civility for the second time in as many days. He might have pondered on this, but was overcome with a unexpected sense of relief at the doppelganger’s words. “Good…” He started to ask him for his satchel, but the ache he had been trying to ignore came back into his awareness as he relaxed. “Would you mind hanging onto that?” He inquired as he passed the knife over to Acton.

    The man in the gray suit accepted Flag’s knife for safe-keeping, and then began regarding the submarine’s interiors, particularly noting the wall of controls, “These are locked, non?”

    Removing the plague mask, Chase handed it back to Roux, “You want to keep this?”

    The doctor shook his head but placed the object into the satchel anyway, “This will do no good for any of us in this deathtrap.”

    “Never thought I’d see the day you declined to wear your mask. Glad to see you are well, Acton.”

    “ ‘Well’ is relative, my friend, I was in a metal silo, now I am in a tiny torpedo.”

    Putting a hand on Acton’s shoulder, the jester nodded understandingly, “Believe me, I know the feeling.”

    Turning, the jester joined his friend in perusal of the odd collection of dials, cranks, levers and knobs that made up the submarine’s main controls.

    Glancing over, he motioned to the ACME Director, “You wouldn’t happen to know how to operate this craft would you? These controls are a little archaic for my taste.”


    “It’s a modified Priz-class Russian submarine,” Chase knew this because a few years ago, he had deeply researched Kamchatka, Russia’s largest submarine building center, “But…,” He opened the main lever’s cover to poke at a failed start sequence, “Maelstrom mentioned he would ‘tow’ us, I don’t think the rudder works.”

    “That’s reassuring,” Flag said under his breath with more than a hint of sarcasm.

    The jester snorted; a man as dishonourable as Maelstrom was not likely to keep his word.

    (Continues below...)
     
    Jade likes this.
  7. Acton Roux

    Acton Roux V.I.L.E. Agent

    Messages:
    16
    Gender:
    Male
    Color #:
    403050
    (...continued from above)

    Somewhat exasperated, Acton returned to a seat and sat down. As a Frenchman, he preferred to get certain things out of the way first, “I have come to know you, my friends, we may not have all agreed, but it is an honour to perish here with you.”

    Chase Devineaux listened but said nothing, in a way, the Frenchman was right, this was a deathtrap. It was best to let the man get that out of his system before blind hope brought disappointment.

    Flag blinked at Acton, frowned, and then rolled his eyes. If what the blond ex-VILE said was true, then it would be foolish for their primary captor to kill them before they met up. Afterward might be a different story, especially if what 'he really wants’ was an exchange of submersibles. In theory that could provide them an opportunity to act if they were willing to be patient.

    While he appreciated the doctor’s sentiments, Joseph disagreed with the notion of this being their metal coffin; death was simply not an option for the jester at the moment. Before he could speak his mind, Acton continued with his observations.

    Gesturing a hand to both Chase and Joe, he continued, “Both you and you have seen the video, non? I heard it, her voice. I have not heard her so grave since Tunisia.”

    Chase’s glance snapped suddenly to the doctor’s, “Wait, ‘when’ Tunisia?”

    “When you destroyed your own tower, ‘Tunisia’!”

    He knew the answer, but hearing it spoken brought back his own theories on the actions of a Minerva.

    Flag stole the director’s opportunity to speak. “What did she say?”

    “She did not sound well, too placid, too cold.”

    Joseph noted Roux’s discomfort and wondered if it was the first time Acton had witnessed Carmen in full ‘mission mode’.

    Filing that thought away for a later time, the jester turned to enlighten Flag, “She bet Maelstrom that she could find the hidden treasure of some sort of temple, ‘Devalaya’, before him. It’s a ‘winner-takes-all’ bet.”

    The corners of Flag’s lips twitched upward as he took in the jester’s words.

    Shaking his head the jester addressed his companions in full seriousness, “Not just us. All of VILE is at stake; she’s risking everything on this one.”

    “I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not just going to stand by. Maelstrom might think us mere pawns but he’s forgotten that a well-placed pawn is just as dangerous as any other piece on the board.”


    “You think we’re well placed?” Chase spoke as he briefly tested the strength and seal of the submarine hatch.

    Joseph’s only reply was to stare at Chase with a raised eyebrow.

    “We cannot aid her without aiding ourselves, mes amis.”

    Flag held up his tattooed hand to interrupt again. “Were any details of our exchange, or the temple relayed?”

    Nodding positively, Devineaux answered, “They’re meeting at a neutral location, she gives him the coordinates to this… Devalaya, and he hands us over,” at his own words, a scenario of the exchange began to take shape, “If this engine doesn’t work, we’re dead weight, we’re just going to sink.” Automatically, his eyes followed the painted pipes of wiring behind the consoles.

    “It’s a sub...we’re supposed to sink.”

    The brief moment of silence told Joseph that his attempt at humour had fallen flat. Shrugging off the failed joke, he resumed his increasing feeble attempt to comprehend the steering.

    While his peers discussed sinking, Acton could only imagine that they must depend on Carmen’s graces for their safety.

    The detective began tapping around the back panels, searching for something viable, like a battery indicator, disconnected nodes or at least a schematics diagram.


    Flag allowed his eyes to follow Chase around the submarine as he started knocking around it. While the director explored the unseen, the Sivoan noted the dirty condition of the window as well as a lack of cameras. “She’ll want verification that we’re alive. It’s likely that we’ll have to get out for that.”

    “I’m of the opinion that she’s counting on us to escape at some point”

    “That would be then.”

    Finding useless labels in Russian and frayed wires, Devineaux traced the loose ends to their origins.”

    “And if we do not succeed in escape?”

    Flag’s eyes flashed toward the doctor. “We shouldn't dwell on that,” he instructed before returning his attention to Chase as he stopped to focus on something.

    So here was somewhat of a jackpot, in the back of one of the panels was an old tool box along with loose ‘backup’ connectors and replacement parts, many of them clearly broken and saved because someone had hoarding issues. The smaller wires may be brought back to life if he could find nuts and bolts to fit them together… The last time he saw steel bolts that size, they were holding together the rims of Dr. Roux’s goggles.

    “Hey, Acton, how much of your mask can we take apart?”


    The doctor retrieved his mask from the satchel, “There are communication components in here, if we take it apart, we risk losing that.”

    Joe looked to Chase, “What do you have in mind?”

    “It’s Diesel-Electric,” Devineaux hinted to the indicators that show fuel and engine functions, “There’s gas in the tank, but no electricity for steering the rudders…”

    A sudden click from a corrugated speaker overhead caused Chase to look up.


    This is your ‘captain’ speaking, Prisoners,” a husked man’s voice forced itself though, “Brace yourselves for a cast-off!

    “There’s another ‘communication component’...,” Devineaux commented, looking towards the doctor.

    “A oui, my friend,” Acton handed over the mask, “Then let us make this sub manageable.”

    Chase firmly nodded and took the mask in his hand. At the same time, the submarine began to move, “Everybody hang tight,” he clasped a painted steel handle, “keep your heads cleared from the console.” Devineaux secured himself in a seat, “It should be more stable once we’re submerged.”
     
  8. Carmen

    Carmen Queen of Crime

    Messages:
    36
    Color #:
    c00000
    [Co-written, Carmen/Patty (as Renee Grovesnor)]


    Somewhere above the Laccadive Sea…


    While the teams had their plans in order, Carmen found a moment to centre her thoughts. Aware of the long pause between her last communication with Renee Grovesnor, she touched the ACME communicator in her possession to ping Chase’s assistant.

    In response, Renee called back.

    “Miss Sandiego?” Her voice greeted the thief in only whisper, “I can’t text, but I can talk.”

    Renee,” Carmen acknowledged, “Are you in distress?

    “Barbara Rosen knows... I needed to tell you that, so you’re prepared.”

    Ah, hence the silence.

    “Yes, I’ve been reassigned to a new lead,” Renee paused to breathe, “She’ll be sending a team to join you… led by Commander Ivy Monaghan.”

    I see,” her words were emotionless.

    “There’s another thing that I need to tell you, it’s about Gunnar Maelstrom…” Grovesnor started, “I was doing... due diligence, Mr. Devineaux usually has me dig backgrounds on all his suspects.”

    Of course.

    “After Maelstrom’s arrest about a decade ago, he was extradited back to Norway to stand trial.” Renee read from her own notes, “He temporary escaped but was arrested in Finland, evidence suggested that he was crossing into Russia. They stashed him in a local Finnish prison. Norway filed a request to have him returned to Norway, but there were problems. This back and forth took years and was never passed. During this time, he was transferred to several facilities… and according to records, he died in Finland.”

    He’s deceased,” the declaration had no questionable intonations.

    “He was pronounced deceased, three years ago,” the assistant confirmed, “I have copies the medical examiner’s report, and a death certificate, should I send?”

    There was silence.

    “Miss Sandiego?”

    Renee,” Carmen asked, “Where are you?

    “I’m... hiding in a staff closet.”

    The thief exhaled, “All right, first, leave the staff closet,” sounds of hesitant shuffling came from the other side, “I’ll need you to formally request Gunnar Maelstrom’s information from Norway and Finland under Chase’s clearance,” she instructed, “Next, I’m sending you what we discovered during our own research. Then you need to present all of this to Barbara Rosen.

    “But that could elevate this to a case.”

    Precisely,” she affirmed, “And I’m opening my coordinates to you, please track it and ensure Commander Monaghan has this information.

    “If I may, I’d advise against that,” Renee carefully revealed, “Rosen wants the Commander to arrest you.”

    I expect no less,” the former detective appreciated these subtle nuances throughout ACME’s hierarchy, “But it’s a trade-off, the more information Ivy has, the more easily she can help.” It was good to know some things remained predictable.

    “You never answered,” The assistant asked again, “should I send the death--?”

    There’s no need,” Carmen swiftly interrupted, “It’s nothing in my hands.

    The assistant debated whether to speak, and it triggered something familiar. When Chase Devineaux became single minded, he used the same tone of voice.

    Give my coordinates to your commander,” the thief proceeded towards ending the conversation, “and the three-dimensional map we’ve made of the seamount. Vincent will send you additional information as we receive them.

    “Gladly,” Grovesnor agreed, “I’ll do that.”

    Thank you, Renee.

    “Be safe, Director--,” it was a slip that Renee attempted to clarify, but the connection had already cut. Hopefully, nobody heard her.
     
    Julie Justice, Invader and Jade like this.
  9. Narrator

    Narrator Agent

    Messages:
    11
    Gender:
    Female
    [Co-written: Patty/Lee (as Chris-Kurt-James)/Vic (as Maelstrom)]


    Kerala, India

    Why didn’t you tell me you were getting a call from her?” The Valkyrie asked to her mentor’s back while the men loaded necessities into the submarine. From what she could see, it was canisters of air in crates along with some utilities and a few excavation machinery. A large part of the hull was cleared out, probably space saved for loading whatever they find from the ocean.

    Her team hacked the tower,” A comms engineer responded. His name was Chris or Kurt, or something annoying; and for a while, his was the only American accent in Ultralett until she came along. “We didn’t know until she pinged and then we had no choice but to connect.

    Don’t f*king answer for him,” she snapped.

    Children!” the Norwegian raised his voice without turning around, “We are about to do something no man has ever done, take a moment to soak that in.

    The final crate slid into the submarine and the blonde saw dart-like ammunition poking out through a loose lid. Prying it further she spotted underwater firearms.

    Why do we need guns?” Her eyes widened and the question came out before she could think.

    You honestly think someone like Carmen Sandiego wouldn’t have already contacted her military arm?” Chris-Kurt started talking again.

    Her what?

    A-C-M-E, genius!

    Are you stupid?” The Valkyrie was looking for a fight, and now she’s found one.

    James,” Maelstrom interrupted and turned to the boy, “get off the ship.

    Me? But I’m the communi--

    Leave now or I dump you at sea, choose your path.

    Throwing the Valkyrie a look, James (whose name would be forgotten by her as soon as he set foot back on land), grabbed his jacket and begrudgingly exited.

    You don’t need a comms guy,” she commented when the American was still in earshot.

    After a while, her mentor ordered the doors sealed and pressed a button near Chris-Kurt-Jame’s station, “This is your Captain speaking, Prisoners, brace yourselves for a cast-off.

    Tapping the top of the station’s empty chair, he fixed his eyes on the blonde, “Did you know why I chose you over him?

    The girl shrugged, “You’re going to tell me?

    Two birds, Valkyrie,” the Norwegian replied calmly but with a hint of annoyance, “Two birds, and you are the one stone.

    He walked behind her and gripped both his hands on her shoulders, pressing into them. Then he leaned over her ear, “Do not disappoint me.
     
    Julie Justice and Jade like this.
  10. Flag

    Flag V.I.L.E. Agent

    Messages:
    29
    Gender:
    Male
    Color #:
    808080
    [Co-written: Acton/Flag/Joe/Chase]


    Inside the prisoners' submersible...

    As the submarine descended the depths, little was heard but the creaks and groans of an aging vessel. Acton Roux studied his peers and noted that one, in particular, may be in pain.

    “I would like to see it, my friend,” he pointed towards his own back, “the neuro inhibitors.”


    Flag turned his attention away from the shades playing across the window of their current prison and rested his gaze on the unmasked doctor. Like himself, Acton was sitting aside while the more technically inclined of the group fussed over the submarines consoles. When their movements allowed, he switched seats and lifted the back of his shirt so the implant could be inspected.

    From his position, the jester looked over at the faint glint of metal coming from Flag’s back; it was a welcome distraction from the exasperating task he had been trying to accomplish.

    As far as the four passengers knew, the antique sub was supposed to serve as nothing more than a glorified prison van; so it came as a surprise to the jester when he discovered that the craft had a working ballast tank and basic trim system. Unfortunately, whoever designed the system to operate said ballast tank had apparently not put ‘user-friendliness’ on his list of priorities.

    Mutely observing the interaction between doctor and patient, Joseph struggled to recall ever seeing or hearing mention of a metal implement on Flag’s back; the alternative, that it had been recently acquired during their incarceration, caused the jester to wince in sympathy for his VILE colleague.


    The doctor attempted to utilise the dim submarine overhead lights, but it became clear that he needed more help. Using the lens from his dismantled goggles, he created a small tool to direct more light to specific areas.

    “What pains you most, from skin to bone?”


    "Bone?" Flag shifted slightly so that he could look over his shoulder at the man in an attempt to gauge the question. "What do you mean by bone?"

    “How deep into your back or chest does it feel?”

    The Sivoan nodded before pausing to think. The whole area was sore, but much of it had turned into a dull ache since he had awoken on the dirty floor of the enclosure. The only exception was when he settled the wrong way and it pinched or pulled the irritated skin around it. The pain, however, went beyond surface marring. "Not in my chest, but it feels more in my back than on it. The areas is... tender."

    “May I see movements?” With Flag’s permission, Acton studied the implant by moving his temporary patient’s left arm, and then right arm.

    “I do not yet know how,” he exhaled, “but it would seem this has attached itself to your vertebrae.”

    “It did have ‘teeth’,” Chase Devineaux looked up from the knots of wires, “But attached? To the actual bone?”

    Flag's expression shifted into a scowl that he fixed on the director as he spoke.

    Remembering the guise that Chase had previously donned, Joseph wasn’t surprised that it had been the ACME director who had been given the unenviable task of performing the procedure; given what he knew of Chase, the jester didn’t think he had willingly complied but had given in as it was the lesser of two evils.

    What was more worrying was that Devineaux sounded as surprised as the rest of them, meaning that he probably didn’t know the full scope of the attachment’s purpose; a result of the manipulations of Maelstrom or perhaps his Valkyrie?


    Dr. Roux looked to Chase, “Clearly, the detective is incapable of such intricacies. This is the work of something else.”

    Without much immediate input, Chase lowered his brows and returned to attaching screws on the switchboard.

    Once the man went back to his puzzle, he continued with the doctor. "When can it be removed?"

    Acton became silent as he considered the question quite profoundly, “I cannot say for certain, if it can ever be removed, it will need intense study so to not harm you.”

    The doctor's moment of silence was infectious despite being transmitted by words. The muscles on Flag's face tensed as he clenched his teeth and cast his eyes downward. This wasn't what he had wanted to hear.

    The compassion that the jester recently felt for his colleague returned tenfold at Acton’s pronouncement; yet another cruel twist of fate had befallen another member of their dysfunctional family.

    Returning to his task, Joseph stared at the tangled mess of gauges and pipes that continued to taunt him. If, by some slim chance, Devineaux could get the engine and rudder working, and if, by some miracle, Joseph managed to tame the beast before him, they might actually have a shot at controlling the submarine.


    After a long moment, Flag adjusted forward in the seat and pulled his shirt back down. He then rubbed his forehead and sighed before speaking just loud enough for them to hear. "Don't let Carmen know about this."
     
    Invader and Jade like this.
  11. Kid Kidman

    Kid Kidman V.I.L.E. Agent

    Messages:
    117
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Currently named Neb Ulyss
    Location:
    Here and there
    Color #:
    323E4F
    [Cowritten: Carmen/Neb/Chase (as NPCs)]


    Laccadive Sea…

    As the hour neared, the amphibious MAMBA separated into five individual sections and reentered the troposphere. Each craft landed in the Lakshadweep Sea, and while three remained just below its surface, the head and an ACME unit continued towards planned destination.

    Neb eventually underwent the same ritual of donning of apparel. She found it to be as comfortable as it was uncomfortable, the skin tight wetsuit secure yet restricting, and she pulled at it as she situated herself diagonally behind her boss.

    In the co-pilot seat, Carmen watched the controls. Polymer-dispersed liquid crystals polarized thick windows to help filter light during the descent.

    Approximately three-hundred meters below the surface, and some miles from where they submerged, the lead slowed to a stall.

    Tonic, this is Elixir,” she calmly voiced into the radio, “we’re at the mark. Remain cloaked.

    Despite the gravity of the situation, Neb couldn’t help but notice the underwater world passing by her window. She’d never been beneath the waves like this before. Schools of colourful fish slowly gave way to larger and stranger animals. The calming azure that shown against her face darkened, and from the watery shadows came bursts of sparkling bioluminescence.

    He used to glow like that…


    In that slowed silence the thief softly rhymed, “An Hour is a Sea; Between a few, and me,” she elicited a smile from her pilot, and the woman closed, “With them would Harbor be.

    “Emily Dickinson?” the pilot asked quietly in a London accent that highlighted her Pakistani roots, “My sister loves that one.”

    Yes, Dickinson,” Carmen took a breath as the blue sea soundlessly turned black, “Renowned for fitting large ideas into a few words.

    A Rwandan engineer sitting behind the leader spoke his first words since the journey began, “What does it mean? With them would harbor be?”

    Comfort,” she summarised, “the speaker is returning to familiarity, with ‘a few’ is harbour from the restless sea.

    “Ah, see,” The Rwandan clapped his hands quietly, “you are speaking to the ones we are about to rescue.”

    The woman in red returned her gaze to the open abyss, “They are our ‘few’, yes.

    Neb smiled quietly. That was Carmen, always riding a gentle wave on the surface of whatever was going on. If she naturally floated up there or did so out of sheer willpower, the woman wasn’t sure, but it was something she admired either way.

    She checked her bracelet for her boss’s pulse nonetheless. For a while the craft went silent save for the soft beeps of monitors and gentle hum of the propulsion engines.


    Sensing a moment of sentimentality, the pilot drew a long breath and took a glance towards the placid woman next to her. When the leader returned her stare, she looked away briefly, but found some courage to speak.

    "Permission to say something while we wait out this underwater adventure?"

    Carmen affirmed, "Granted."

    "We were there, watching him, watching you," the Pakistani took off her headset and rested it at the back of her neck, "he was telling this story about... boxes? That look he gave, that story, what did he mean?"

    With a slight frown, Neb looked away from the window. This was one of many questions she’d meant to ask Carmen before their private conversation had been interrupted. Now didn’t seem the time or place for it, but she said nothing, still curious for the answer.

    It took some time for the lead to gather words on the subject. She preferred not to play into roles. What Maelstrom said was contrived and extremely calculated. While she remained outwardly dispassionate; the way he conveyed what he saw in her, coupled with recent revelations from Renee Grovestor, left her concerned. Reciprocating, she removed her headphones as well.

    He didn’t say boxes, did he?” Her reply came as though it fought through fog, “He claimed to have pulled a girl from one trap but found her in another.

    The pilot nodded, listening.

    Disassociating was easy, but the silence of those around her prompted that she continued, “He’s a hunter, he meant to place his adversaries in weaker positions,” the explanation was almost therapeutic, “In his story, he played the role of savior, changing the fate of his prey, while emphasising her helplessness.

    She smiled in a soft breath, “Does that answer your question?

    "Yeah," the woman's London accent supported her beam, "Yeah, it does. He's a bully. Joke's gonna be on him when we're done."

    The shadow turned back to the window with pursed lips and even more questions. She’d grown increasingly alarmed by the possible motivation of the man they sought, but the quickening pulse against her wrist bid that she hold off on them.

    “Did you expect you’d be doing this when you started VILE?" Neb asked instead to make light. “2,000 Villainous International Leagues of Evil under the sea?”

    Lightness elicited an amused expression. “The acronym ‘VILE’ was a joke that caught on,” she revealed with some mirth, and turned to the controls, touching a screen to monitor air pressure. “I had no weighty expectations,” she continued to watch the indicators.

    At this Neb genuinely smiled. “A joke?” She always enjoyed a good piece of VILE lore.

    Yes, the arrest form when Vincent was first caught, in ‘group’ someone had written ‘Villain’s International League of Evil’,” she smiled, “Those were lighter days.

    “On my acceptance paper, it said I work for ‘Gavcorp’,” the pilot spoke up, “Doing heavy lifting for transport machinery.”

    “For me was ‘Lorexico’,” the Rwanda joined, “Internet pipelines.”

    Having never been arrested, Neb had nothing to add, but the sense of camaraderie here was enough to include her. Nostalgia tugged at the edges of her mind, and for the briefest moment she was back on the Farm, a carefree shirt once more.

    Laughter was a good shift, but Carmen’s expression soon fell to focus. Radar indicated something large was in range.

    A few seconds later, the shadow of a 100-metre submarine appeared like a torpid whale. Behind it was a bright yellow submersible, completely dwarfed next to the leviathan.

    Contact,” the thief indicated audibly to her peers, “Elixir going bright,” she turned on the lights that indicated her position while reminding the vessel behind her to wait, “stay dark, Tonic.
     
    Jade, Invader and Julie Justice like this.
  12. Narrator

    Narrator Agent

    Messages:
    11
    Gender:
    Female
    [Cowritten by many authors, edited to The Valkyrie's point of view.]


    The sound of machinery reverberated inside the Orca-class attack submarine. First commissioned by the Canadian Navy and designed by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, the plan was picked up by Chinese investors and ended up in the hands of Doctor Gunnar Maelstrom when schematics and parts were stolen during delivery.

    This submarine was the only one of its kind in existence, it was virtually undetectable when under water. It was nuclear-powered, and quieter than a Russian OSCAR II SSN.

    Fully operational, it could hold a crew of 62, but for now; Maelstrom brought with him 18 paid soldiers, 9 passionate volunteers, himself, and a Valkyrie.

    The blonde chewed on her lower lip as the sub glided through open water. There were no windows, but it was fitted with cameras to help with visuals. That was the only way she could still keep tabs on the prisoners. Even with their tiny scarred windows, she could see light and shadow moving inside. Figures that were probably busy coming up with schemes to save themselves.

    She hoped convincing ‘The Professor’ that the sub needed to be at least fueled was enough to help the four men.



    Once they reached the neutral location, a section of the MAMBA was waiting for them. The sub was twice its size, but that snakehead stayed steady. It was lit up like an alien aircraft, in all this midnight black, the Valkyrie felt a pang looking at the details on her monitor. It was machine, but it was still in her taste and by her design, it was very Carmen Sandiego.

    Communication channels connected, and Maelstrom spoke first.

    I have your gift for the exchange,” he croaked over the microphone, “You may approach.

    The other vessel made a move, like a dark manta ray, it came to pass near the yellow sub. If they were separated by this distance on land, the blond guessed, they could probably see each other’s eyes. The MAMBA made another pass, this time, above the sub. It was scanning for heat signatures, or something similar, directly through metal. The blonde could tell Maelstrom knew what it was doing too, because he watched with the kind of fixated envy she’d seen before.

    The craft pulled back away from both submarines, but not far, and Maelstrom received his coordinates. The Valkyrie smirked to herself as the marine biologist looked disappointed. There’s no indication Carmen was anywhere nearby, and if she was, she wouldn’t even speak to him.



    We agreed I’d have to see the temple first,” the Norwegian spoke into the radio, this time he sounded different, and the blonde guessed he realized he might have been talking to ‘not-Carmen.’

    The whale began to move again, and the manta followed, coupling with the yellow sub. Behind, another section of the MAMBA also tailed. Although its lights were off, the cloaking didn’t let it deflect all radars while it moved at this depth. Maelstrom saw this too, that two crafts were following him, but he made no indication that he was bothered. Instead, he glanced to the monitors towards the closer one.

    In the sonar reading before them, a mountain came into view. There was no pausing, and the eyes of her mentor dilated in the dim light like a madman’s. Before the Valkyrie could breathe to speak, the Orca entered an underwater cave. Looking at the monitors, she could see the yellow sub still towed behind, but the narrow lava tube caused the MAMBA to trail behind rather than next to it.



    Grueling minutes passed with only radar feedback for direction, but they finally reached a cavern at the center of this seamount. The cameras outside detected nothing at first, but glowing bioluminescent beings began to flash in and out.

    Then she saw it, a misty aqua glow in the distance. It came closer like a dream.

    The Orca stopped to hover, but suddenly something was wrong. Passing through the lava tube had compromised the smaller sub, and its failing engine lost connection. It was dropping.

    There was some commotion on board about how the weight of that thing was going to pull the larger submarine down as well. But it took no time at all for Maelstrom to order they dislodge.

    You can’t just let them sink!” the blonde spoke up.

    She received no reply, he got what he wanted, what she thought no longer mattered.
     
    Julie Justice and Jade like this.
  13. Chase

    Chase Director

    Messages:
    600
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Director of Operations
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Color #:
    536373
    [Cowritten: Chase/Roux/Flag/Joe]

    Air canisters in this old Russian sub weren’t something Chase Devineaux fully trusted. Since the towing began and they were submerged following the silent black Orca, the detective counted his respiration. When the MAMBA appeared and they passed one another, very literally as ships in the night, he held his breath. This subconscious action was to help him focus. Through sanded windows and out in the dark, he saw nothing but the movements of linked lights, and from that, he found familiar behavior.

    The MAMBA was looking for the best way to save this little yellow sub, but it could not act.


    Acton pondered his own fate as the VILE vessel circled. How terrible it was to be in this position, metres from freedom, but unable to escape.

    The notion of teleporting between vessels had crossed Flag's mind, which was enough to sting. He flinched as the tiniest bit of his own electricity arched through the trap on his back and shocked him.

    Swearing under his breath, he watched the MAMBA slide out of sight with some longing. There was nothing he could do but wait.


    They began to move again, and Devineaux released held air from his lungs. “We need to take control of this thing,” that was more of a mantra to himself. Then he turned to the jester, “Help me watch the indicators, while we’re still in tow, I’m back at the switch board.”

    “Roger?”

    The reply was equal parts uncertainty and frustration, directed mostly to the wall filled with an obscene number of gauges and cranks.

    Scanning his ‘nemesis’ for what felt like the unteemth time, the jester’s eyes traced the intertwined pathways of metal tubing before him.

    Joseph could easily picture a gloating Maelstrom, fully in his element, soaking up every bit of this underwater excursion; this was his home field advantage, and were it not for the MAMBA, it might well have been an insurmountable one.


    A wall of darkness appeared, a seamount, but those inside the submersible were oblivious. Dragged by its guiding cetacean into the lava tunnel, they were completely blind. Only the occasional near-scrapes against cavern walls indicated where they may be.

    The sounds echoing through the hull were less than reassuring and what little light there was in the submersible made it difficult to observe anything in the darkness outside. The reflection of it off the glass made it difficult for even Flag to pick up the waters shifting shades - until that dim light suddenly bounced back off of something big.

    A sudden impact followed by the scream of metal against volcanic stone and pushed Chase out of focus.

    “What was--” he spoke but his answer came with the sputtering of a diesel engine. The air became still, and cold. From where the glass was clearer, he could see a glowing… bubble? Off in the distance, something glimmered like the refraction of a cabochon.


    Acton stood, joining the detective to look out the fenestra at surrealistic imagery.

    Startled by the impact, it took the jester a few moments before he realized that the displays had started deviating from their previously stable pattern.

    They didn’t have much time to pause, that last collision damaged the sub, and it was losing buoyancy. The towline attached to Maelstrom’s larger craft snapped back after dislodging, Devineaux could see it floating lifeless outside the porthole.

    Then they started to fall, nose first.


    The familiar lights of the MAMBA reappeared in the windows as it dove ahead of their sinking vessel. The action was sweet, but somehow it made Flag even more uneasy with their situation. "Are they trying to catch us?"

    “Liquidometer!” Chase called to Joe, the trim system sent water in and out of the ballast tanks, if they were sinking, that was the first place to look, “Check the ballast tanks, emergency blow-out system?”

    Hoping that he had picked up something during his spell in Vegas, the jester made his most educated guess and started turning a few of the cranks.

    For an eternal minute, Joseph’s eyes stayed glued to the gauges and displays, watching the changes intently; the only sounds heard were made by the craft itself as it creaked and groaned in its descent.

    Reluctantly, the jester broke the stalemate, “Bad news, the main trim pump isn’t working; good news, the backup has kicked in. I don’t think they’ll hold out very long though.”


    Then Devineaux jumped to the switchboards and the main controls. They were taking in water, either because the pumps were malfunctioning, which the jester disproved, or this simple deep-submergence vehicle had trouble measuring pressure and buoyancy.

    The doctor gripped a bar to steady himself. In this chaos, he could see the MAMBA moving alongside them, “We are endangering her, Director” he cautioned, “what I can do?”

    “We won’t risk her, keep a reading on our air and depth,” he said, “it’s next to the batteries indicator.” Just as he finished the sentences, both propellers responded, kicking the submersible forward.

    Chase fell to the floor, but quickly pulled back up to the drive unit.
    Flag had braced to catch the detective and in doing so, lost purchase on the seat he was sitting on. The sudden change in momentum sent him crashing into the back wall of the sub, where he lingered until he was able to pull himself up.

    Of the twin propellers, one remained working, sending the yellow vessel into a wide left turn.

    Steadying himself, the jester glanced back to the gauges and let out a muffled curse.

    “Chase, we’re still losing buoyancy; not sure how though, the indicators say we’re at even level with outside pressure.”


    “But we’re not?” This was confusing. Something pulled them towards the glowing orb at the center of the seamount and the best way to deal with a descent of this caliber would be to slow down acceleration.

    “Kerr, stay on the gauge, keep the ballasts as stable as you can.”


    Arms a blur, Joseph worked to drain some water from the ballasts in an attempt to stabilize the craft.

    Devineaux steered the rudder to as wide a circle as he could, creating a declining spiral. Every pass they made by that aqua light, it came surprisingly closer. Then something even stranger happened. From the window, beads of water trailed a clear line as if they just broke through a vertical wave.

    Once again, they took a nosedive.

    The front of the submersible buckled, its titanium hull held against the sudden clash with something unseen. Chase braced for water, but none broke through. After the first hit, the craft slid forward, making one deafeningly long shriek joined by the thunder of additional impacts until it came to a screeching halt.

    A quartz iodine emergency lamp flickered, struggling for life, and then dimmed to nothing.
     
    Invader, Jade and Julie Justice like this.
  14. Carmen

    Carmen Queen of Crime

    Messages:
    36
    Color #:
    c00000
    [Cowritten: Carmen/Neb]

    Once the small submersible pivoted towards crevasses below, the co-pilot of the lead Mamba single-mindedly took control of her ship. Compressed seconds followed as the Pakistani pilot sitting next to her communicated to their sister vessel. Both Tonic and Elixir would attempt to mitigate the prisoners’ descent. This risk, in Carmen’s mind, was worth the possible outcome as the MAMBA’s honeycombed external membrane should reduce impact damage significantly. But before hull-to-hull contact occurred, the yellow submarine veered into a wide circle; leading to a falling spiral and an eventual wreck as it penetrated through the lucid half-globule.

    While she watched, unable to take action, a caustic silence burned in her chest and spanned to her palms. Carmen sharply exhaled to concentrate.

    The tracker,” she ordered, “send one down to mark the site, we’ll find a way to them.

    The pilot was lost in her own analysis of the situation, “Tracker? Yeah? ...I mean, roger that.”

    Neb had held on to the frail hope that Flag was still alive. He could be waiting until the last moment to teleport, surely, but when he failed to now, that hope was spent.

    Her grief was cut short by the careening of their vessel as Carmen seized control. Her valor hit Neb’s heart in a way she could not fathom. That gasp for air made her heartbreakingly human.

    The slow spin of the sub was encouraging. At least it was slowing and could somewhat steer, but once inside the bubble Neb could no longer see it clearly. The difference in the passage of light through air and water thwarted any effort to assess the damage.

    “Can’t we go straight in as they did?” she asked, shaken, as they hovered just outside.


    The Pakistani shook her head as she changed the MAMBA’s position to deploy the tracker, “We can’t engage the bubble with our current calibrations, we’d destabilize ourselves.”

    After a small countdown, she hit the button to fire a node into the bubble. It landed near the yellow sub, and then a few seconds later, showed up on screen.

    “It’s live,” the pilot confirmed, then something else caught her eye...
     
    Lucy, Invader, Julie Justice and 2 others like this.
  15. Ivy

    Ivy Commander

    Messages:
    133
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Commander
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Color #:
    008080
    [Cowritten Ivy/Carmen]

    “We have a hail… it’s not Maelstrom,” the Pakistani submarine pilot reported after a pause to confirm.

    In her thoughts, the lead reacted a beat slower, “It's ACME, Commander Monaghan,” Carmen knew precisely the identity of the caller, but she was expecting an interruption much later.

    The Pakistani took her cue and answered, “Commander Monaghan, you’re hailing Elixir, I’m Meiru Basra her captain, come in.”

    This is Commander Ivy Monaghan,” the voice from the radio was clear, “You’re a Carmen Sandiego associate, Captain Basra?

    “Affirmative.”

    Okay, because I just saw a wreck, Captain,” Ivy enunciated each word, “but my intel is incomplete, so you’ll have to explain to me what the heck just happened.

    The response did not come quickly.

    The downed submersible contained four prisoners,” a signature contralto, although strained, was undisguised, “Your director is among them.

    My--” Ivy stopped herself before she said something that would destabilize a member of her team. It seemed almost impossible that Chase would get himself into that situation. But they’re underwater in a seamount after a convict presumed dead by Finnish authorities… dealing cards with Carmen Sandiego... so anything was possible.

    The fact that all four in that sub might be lost was also starkly possible. Morbidly, Ivy found herself wondering if the TUNA’s emergency kit had body bags.

    I’ve sent a tracker down to the crash site,” the thief continued, interrupting a lengthy pause in their conversation, “we’re also following Maelstrom’s submarine, it’s theorised that we may be able to dock beneath the air membrane. Then we’ll send teams to the wreck.

    The air in that bubble,” the redhead inquired, “do we know if it’s safe?” That was a camouflaged question, she may as well have asked directly if Carmen thought there were survivors.

    We’ll know once we’re able to get sensors inside,” the reply said ‘I don’t know.’

    Understood,” the ACME Commander agreed, “Lead the way, Elixir.
     
  16. Nevon

    Nevon Agent

    Messages:
    38
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    ACME Detective
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Color #:
    6a99a6
    Nevon Blair was at his station in the ACME TUNA when the monitors connected to cameras outside of the windowless craft showed activity. There was a large submarine, and a smaller one, followed by shapes that looked like they came out of a sci-fi movie. ACME’s indicators outlined these crafts in blue and played out the crash like a computer game.

    Nevon blinked, “We’re either just in time or way too late.”

    His comment went unheard as ACME’s commander was already at the radio talking to one of the surviving ships. He could only hear half the conversation, but by the end of it, he was sure they were going to be docking somewhere. Dock? And leave the craft this deep undersea? That’s pure insanity!

    But then again, Nev didn’t know what he expected in a situation like this. This time yesterday he was still back in San Francisco thinking about whether or not he should buy the Adidas NMD XR1 PK Triple Black online for Dan’s birthday so they could share shoes next ACME party.

    While all of this played out on one side of Nevon’s brain, his subconscious started to make sense of the situation. If they were here to bring back Chase Devineaux, capture Carmen Sandiego and uncover this Gunnar Maelstrom mystery (either he’s dead or he isn’t), then Commander Ivy must have been talking to one of those people. This meant the black submarine belonged to one of the bad guys and the one they’re following must be led by none other than ACME’s own Director of Operations.

    Smiling to himself for being such a good deducer, he nodded a little at how easy this was all going to be. They should have known Chase would take care of half their work for them. He probably already has Carmen in custody, or something like that.
     
    Julie Justice likes this.

Share This Page