Whale Of A Scene

Log Info

Title: Whale of a Scene
Emitter: Ellipse
Characters: Antigone, Miranda
NPCs: Elite Squad
Place: National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD
Time: 7/6/2010, late evening
Summary: A squad breaks into the National Aquarium to steal … a whale?? Antigone and Miranda intervene with destructive force.

A little shy of midnight in the city of Baltimore, and an area near the harbor buzzes with late night activity. The Convention Center is not far from here and has just opened its doors from an evening concert. The Hard Rock Caf and local clubs blare out noise pollution into the night. Cloud-covered, it's a night so dark that the city lights seem to reflect back to earth, surrounding the people going to and fro in a glowing bubble.
If you're not looking up - and who looks at the sky when there's so much on the ground to see? - it would be easy to miss the subtle silhouette against the clouds. Four military helicopters with some kind of industrial netting strung between them, descending over the National Aquarium.

The Lyric Opera House isn't that far from the inner harbor, and thus Antigone and Miranda have started the modest walk towards that area. Their journey began about five hours ago, when Antigone found herself with last minute tickets to the Baltimore Symphony's chamber series. Many people could have been found to fill that second seat, and let it not be pointed out that Miranda was not Antigone's first choice. Even if second, she's proven to be enjoyable company. As Antigone steps out onto the dock at the habor, just across from the Aquarium, she looks at Miranda. "Thank you for joining me," she says. "You have been pleasant company."

And to be fair, Miranda's first choice would have been Stephanie. Still, the concert was good and she enjoyed herself immensely. At Antigone's words, Miranda smiles, "It was my pleasure. With my memory, live music is a special joy. Unfortunately, since my tastes tend more towards classical or jazz, I'm kind of out of step with most of the other students." She sighs softly, then smiles at Antigone. "Since you paid for the tickets, I'll pay the taxi back to the school."

Antigone makes a polite nod to Miranda. She turns about, creating a dramatic swish of her coat and she leans herself against the railing. "A taxi seems extravagent," she says. "Surely the trains are still running at this hour?" Baltimore is not London, although she may not have realized this yes. "I believe we both are, largely. I certainly would have been pleased with some punk in an appropriately subterranian venue. I believe in appreciating a range of art forms."

Miranda smiles, "I'd rather not take the chances on the company we might find…" She pauses. "Gunshots or explosions. Inside the aquarium." She does not do the sensible thing, but rather heads towards the aquarium, calling back to Antigone, "Dial 9-1-1."

Antigone straightens up immediately. She produces her mobile from the pocket of her jeans, but holds off on actually dialing. "Perhaps we will have better fortune than the authorities," she says. She puts her mobile away, instead producing her sword from inside her coat. Who knew she could do that? She clips the sheath to her belt to keep it ready and starts out at a run around the harbor, towards the pier the aquarium sits on.

Antigone and Miranda reach a side entrance first, the lock not too difficult to defeat. The National Aquarium lies eerily still, punctuated by light from those exhibits that never go dark. The shots came from the direction of one of the open-air exhibits. Partway inside, the darkness shifts to reveal the shapes of two fallen security guards. Beyond, glass doors forced open onto the exhibit courtyard, and a squad of men moving rapidly, including several suited up for diving. Radio static snaps - snarls - crackles - as evidence of rapid contact as the helicopters lower the net towards the pool.
A sign, backlit by the tanks inside, indicates the squad's target to be the blue whale exhibit.

Miranda sets her phone volume on low, so it won't make any sound, then dials 911. "Shot… help…" She whispers into it, then sets it next to the security guard. She'll get it later… if there is a later. She then draws her lightning gun, and looks towards Antigone.

Antigone pauses to check the pulse of the guards, crouching near each guard. "They will live," she says, sounding thankful. She rises and draws her sword. "I would venture to guess," she says, looking towards the sign, "that somebody is attempting to steal a whale."

The dive team drops into the exhibit pool one by one, even as the net skims the surface of the water.
Those that remain take up station along the near wall. One of them depresses his radio button. "All's quiet now."
"Good," comes the response from the other. If one had to guess, the speaker is probably aboard one of the helicopters. "Slow and steady. This will take finesse."
"Finesse," he snorts. "To lift something the size of a … whale."
"Your gift for metaphor astounds me. Pascal out."
"Catch you on the flip side, hot stuff," the ground commander replies.
"Sir?" a wavery female voice says at the end of the line. "There's someone out there, sir."
"Oh, for …" the ground commander growls. "Come out here and get shot already! It's midnight and I'm still sweltering out here!"

Antigone departs from Miranda, gesturing for the girl to stay quiet. She puts her sword away for the moment, jumping up to grab the lower railing of one of the maintenance walkways. Once she snags it, Antigone grunts, pulling herself up and swinging over. Atop the walkway, she stays low and moves carefully, getting closer to the tank. Looking up, Antigone spots one of the helicopters. Best to cause some distraction. A moment's focus and Antigone's spell of darkness descends up on them, putting the occupants in a dark, soundless fog.

Antigone's sorceries draw the attention of the ground team. They have no idea what that is or how to combat it, but shooting - shooting they know, and they're apparently very good at it. A hail of bullet breaks the night, slamming into Miranda's force field, tearing into the sword-wielding arcanist.
One of the hail of bullets gouges Miranda's arm, the rest fried away by the force field. Antigone is worse off, but even after enduring several hits, she's far from bowed.
The water ripples, but the dive team is still underwater with the whale and the net.

Miranda's lips are pressed to a thin line, the blood on her arm showing bright red against her ivory blouse. Still, she says nothing, simply opening fire, sending a crackling line of lightning down across the enemy forces. Four of them fall to the ground, stunned. Not as good as she had hoped for. But between the glowing, crackling force shield and the lightning gun, she probably has their attention.

The radio spurts on, then off. Someone is yelling into it - and making no sound.
The ground team leader smirks. "Well, good - someone shut the bitch up."
"Sir!" the wavery female protests. Amazingly, she wasn't one of the fallen ground team members.
"Tell me you aren't this nice all the time, Morrison. Seriously."
"You're an asshole," she replies, then, self-consciously, "… sir!"
The ground team leader rolls his eyes and focuses on Miranda. "Hey, the hell you think you are?" he shouts. He aims his weapon …
A crack from the other helicopter above as another sniper fires, the shot winging Miranda.
The ground team leader fires, hitting her squarely - a dead-on shot, enough to send the young woman reeling.

Antigone looks up and over at one of the helicopters. She needs a distraction, and damn the consequences. And that's why, after a moment's intense glare, the pilot's clothes catch on fire. While the helicoptor pivots and shifts in the air, coming crashing down towards the pier, Antigone leaps downand lands near Miranda. Her landing's wobbly, shifty, perhaps from the several wounds she's sporting, one in her shoulder and another in the leg. Call her totally bloody minded, she just grunts and pushes through it. "Are you okay?" she asks Miranda, as she pulls the other girl towards the wall.

The dive team is scrambling for dry land, toppling out of the water and trying to get their bearings. There's a lot of shouting, gasping, and no order whatsoever.
The ground team member known as Morrison shrieks and dives … and maybe it's the operatic screaming that does it, but she rolls away unscathed.
"Ford!" she shouts at the ground team leader. "You … you … you!" With a little (still rather timid) growl, she whirls instead on the two young heroines - but who she's even aiming at is unclear, because the shot goes wide.

Miranda flickers her forcefield to left Antigone inside it, which will give the other girl a little extra protection. She says in a dead, flat voice. "No, I am not all right. I've been shot." She works quickly on her lightning gun, moving several bits around, then hum from it going from a soothing sound to something more like a swarm of angry bees. She then aims at the second helicopter, firing at it. Blue lightning traceries dance around the outlines of the helicopter. It comes down with a crash. With TWO down, the third helicopter is dragged down into a nosedive on the far side of the pool. The fourth helicopter, despite the obscure, lands safely. The net lines gets dragged over most of the divers.

Now landed, the undamaged helicopter is finally out of the radius of shadow. A figure vaults out, queueing its - her? - radio as she sprints away from the scene. "We're grounded -"
"No, really, Pascal? I missed that," Ford growls.
"- spare me. Abort." She vaults a fence and ducks back inside the aquarium.
The ground team leader - Ford - snarls and stomps over to grab Morrison's arm. "Come on, lily-liver, this is your favorite part," he says.

There's not much left to do, though. They've clearly skunked the plan, whatever was going on. Antigone shifts to Miranda, looking at the other girl, checking on the status of her wounds. The slow, grinding whine of rotors draws her attention. They survived? The two are running, and Antigone can only keep her attention on one. As she does so, glowing tendrils leap up from the ground and wrap about his legs, holding him in place. "We should depart," she says to Miranda intensely. "Before the local authorities arrive."

Morrison hesitates for half a second, then throws down her weapon. "Don't shoot! I'm harmless."
"… oh, is that ever true," Ford's voice rises from the depths of the snare.
The dive team, thoroughly bedraggled, start to pull themselves over the side, but one glance at the fact that their ground commander is bound by glowing tendrils, and they're obviously in no fighting shape.
Of course, the sound of sirens is already approaching - maybe they were before, but only in the silence after the crash can they clearly be heard.

Miranda fires at the last helicopter, lightning tracing along it and the smell of frying electronics in the air. "I've got zip-cuffs in my purse after my last run in with VENOM. We should secure them, then go." And the fact that this teenaged girl is casually mentioning a run-in with one of the largest terrorist groups on the planet is perhaps a bit unnerving. Even more unnerving is the fact that her voice is /still/ emotionless. "If they resist, I'll finally get to see the depolarizing effects of an EMP pulse on the human nervous system first hand."

Even Antigone takes note of that. She turns, hearing the sirens in the distance. "Redundant," she says. "If they attempt to swim they will not get far, and it appears the local authorities will cover other avenues of escape." She nudges Miranda, and gestures with her hands. A glamour comes and hovers over them both, hiding their wounds. It should last long enough. "Quickly," she says, ducking into the shadows.

Miranda sighs and murmurs, "Very well. I do not wish to remain here alone." She follows along behind Antigone, reclaiming her cellphone and calling the school. She has to figure that the 911 call will be traced and the school will have to do damage control. Again.


(Baltimore Sun)

An assault squad, backed up by four stolen military helicopters, broke into the National Aquarium late last night and attempted the unthinkable: an airlift theft of blue whale Becka, one of the aquarium’s more recent additions. Under the cover of darkness, they might have completed the first stage of their scheme, but something alerted two unidentified neohumans to the break-in.

There followed a swift and vicious firefight, with crackling electricity and sudden darkness faintly visible from the pier. The vigilantes broke the impasse by crashing three of the helicopters, disrupting the operation permanently.

The final helicopter landed under the practiced hand of decorated airforce officer Lianne Pascal, the only known squad member to have escaped. Along with army sergeant Tyler Ford, Pascal apparently planned and executed the attack – the why, however, remains a mystery, with Ford refusing to speak to the authorities.

Though the grounds around the blue whale exhibit will require extensive re-landscaping, property damage was minimal. Had the airlift commenced, any attempt to intercept could have endangered Becka’s life.

“Why do you steal a whale?” wondered an aquarium curator. “Except to prove that you can?”

Regardless, the National Aquarium’s sincere thanks go out to the unknown vigilantes.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License