Saturday, January 27, 2018

Octopus's Garden

With Dirge's threat to Atlantis hanging in the air, the team went back to base and got a message from Councilor Tyno, Torpedo's contact there. It was mostly garbled, but he clearly wanted Torpedo to come home and included, among other static'd-out words, "the proteans." It was a bit puzzling to Torpedo that the Proteans would be a threat. They were peaceful, intelligent octopods who, in the distant past, were rumored to have helped the original Atlanteans learn magic and become water-breathers.

They looked into their options. Land Shark, worried about the effect his water phobia could have on this mission, asked Disco to supplement his anxiety drugs with calming lightshows. Fire of Saturn wasn't able to go along herself, but rigged up some alien space suits that she "found" to serve as diving suits. Disco gave her some spanglies to add to his. Torpedo got his flying fish shuttle out of storage and they headed out to sea.

On the way, Torpedo advised Land Shark that, after a really nasty civil war a hundred years back, Atlanteans really don't do shark stuff. Wearing a shark costume would be seen as something akin to going around festooned with swastikas. Land Shark, already doped up, might not have fully processed this.

Once they got over water, Torpedo jumped out and swam, happy to be back in the ocean. The ship had an automatic homing system that required no human interaction, but, as it began to dive, Land Shark decided he wanted to bring it in himself and grabbed the controls. The vehicle hit the water at the wrong angle, which created more leaks than its auto-repair function could handle. Eventually, Torpedo got everything straightened out and they continued. It was fine until Land Shark announced to the control tower that "Shark One" was requesting permission to dock.

So anyway, Atlantis was built largely of undersea stuff like pearl and coral. They also made extensive use of a substance called vitredur, which looked like glass of varying colors but was hard as steel. Their architecture had an ornate, gothic look to it with lots of delicate spires and projections. Torpedo looked into the possibility of asserting his rulership rights as Prince of Atlantis. He was told that, while the Imperial Guard would follow him right now, establishing political control would take some time.

They also found out that what Tyno had been trying to tell them was that Octopolis, the city of the Proteans, was under attack. A group of piratical surface-worlders led by the armored raider, Aquatherm, had surrounded and the city and was on the verge of breaking its perimeter. Aquatherm had been a nuisance for years, but had never tried anything this big before.

Off to Octopolis, they found a city with smoother, more organic architecture, being attacked by armored goons riding shark cycles. Torpedo dove in (or, I don't know, can you dive in when you're already underwater?) to slug it out with the leader, who had water control powers and stuff. Land Shark helped out with stony shark heads from the sea floor. Disco commandeered a shark cycle and started mowing down minions.

Eventually they slugged most of the bad guys and the scattered remnants ran away. Then Torpedo was invited to lead the ritual of renewal at the volcano to reaffirm the unity between Atlanteans and Proteans and things like that. Disco found the Proteans easy to communicate with because they used shifting color patterns to express themselves.

As the mystical energies were taking shape, something went wrong. Power was drained from the assembly at an alarming rate. Finally the big stone face carved into the volcano glowed, the ground shook, and the fiery form of Dirge formed from the volcano. As it did so, a group of cultists who served the fire spirit began to change into quasi-bestial forms.

To be continued next session.