I’m at a loss for words. I had only gotten about two days of recuperation when I got a text from Spirit asking me to meet him at the TTLHQ for a big agency-wide meeting. I was gearing up for my follow-up with Michelle — that’s Arctic Hellfire to you. Normally, I wouldn’t spare it a second thought. Maybe someone left the stove on. Maybe that wee-tod, Zeau, put metal in the microwave again. It could be a ton of things. For the most part, living at the TTLHQ was like living in a big dorm where all your roommates are…well, SUPER! Bottom line: It probably didn’t even pertain to me since I’m always so quiet and mindful and respectful of others…
This time, I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Spirit came to us and informed the Legion that he had an insider tip — an informant whose name he wouldn’t disclose — that a massive shipment of high-tech weapons was coming in and going to be off-loaded at the Archipelago docks in two days. Holy shit! Could this be the opening we’ve been waiting for? Spirit wanted EVERYONE in the Legion to be on-board because we were going to encounter very heavy resistance, heavily armed, and out-manned / out-gunned to the extreme. This operation could go tits up on a moment’s notice! Okay, okay, settle down Hazel. Just breathe. Even though it happened two days ago it still gets my blood boiling and my heart thumping. Everyone put their hands into the mix like one big happy football-team family and Virgil lead us in the CHEER! Hoooah! But I quickly approached Spirit after the hooplah and hullabaloo to pick his brain.
“Hey, Boss, mind if I beg your ear and bend it for a word?”
“Sure Hazel. What’s up?”
“How well do you trust this intel?”
“I trust the source.”
“Will you give me a name?”
“I promised confidentiality.”
“I respect that. And I’m afraid that this is exactly the kind of scenario a sneaky little bitch would orchestrate to force the Legion out into the open with it’s pants down. Now, I’m not shy — especially around strangers — but I have no intention of being caught with our proverbial dicks in our hands…will all due respect, boss.”
“I see where you’re coming from. I’d give you my word, Hazel, if I thought it would help but somehow I doubt it will.”
“I’m glad we’re seeing eye-to-eye. I’ll do my own research. Independent of the Legion and without any reference or connection to you or your contact. But before we go all out and make these preparations I need to verify the veracity of this information.”
“A team is prepping for an on-site recon mission. The Doctor and Diane will go in inconspicuously and report back. You’ve got a day to do your homework before we have to act.”
“That should be plenty of time.”
“I hope so.”
I left Spirit and went RIGHT to the War Room Operations Deck. Vigilance was already there…um, doing something wrong. I sat down at the computer and began digging into the deep web — looking for shipping logs, manifests, cargo holds, customs declarations, itineraries, ports of call, dockmasters, harbor police, coast guard reports, crew rosters, etc. And it took me almost 18 hours, 3 pizzas, and a case of Nitrous energy drinks to confirm that Spirit’s contact had, indeed, given us good intel…very good. I was able to find it’s last port slip and we used that and some advanced math to make the shipping lane estimation and figure out just how far into international waters it was at that moment — and how many miles off the Archipelago it would be when we hit it with a preemptive strike.
(I had Verge take a quick pic of me on my phone chillin’ next to Matt’s hover car)
Virgil suggested that we board the boat before it ever even pulled into dock at Century Station. It was a sound plan and we had Spirit driving us in his hover car, under the cover of a magical Haze of Darkness, to secret us to the boat’s rendezvous point. Very risky business! It did, however, catch them off guard and significantly lessen their defenses — probably saving the lives of a few TL members in the process.
The details of the battle are a little vague. After my first casting of Shadow Meld I began to actually SINK through the floor before I got control of the spell. Mentally, I was able to remain focused enough to keep myself…erm, tangible. But when we debarked the hover car I nearly slipped right through the deck of the damn vessel! Something very scary was going on with my magic! And that’s twice that these shadow / darkness spells have been acting weird. Well, weirder than usual. My shimmering armor, surprise, actually turned into a GIANT SUIT OF SHIMMERING ARMOR…instead of being, you know, invisible. Sigh. The Darkness followed me as I regained my footing on the boat and I dropped it in favor of my sight-unseen spell which wouldn’t impair my companions as badly as the cloud of darkness. I still kept to the shadows and they seemed to wrap themselves around me as if…almost tangible…or alive with a life of their own.
I was a little scared because this hadn’t really happened before — although something similar occurred the other day when I rescued Arctic Hellfire. I was a little nervous…and a little disoriented…but it felt natural, and comfortable.
As soon as we boarded the ship and my darkness was cancelled the laser cannon opened fire on Spirit but he evaded with his expert driving skills. We were worried our ride my get blown from the sky but Vigilance took matters into his own hands by ripping a door off the nearest cargo crate and hurling it discus style at the laser energy cannon turret. It neatly sheared off something…um, blinking and important looking and the thing was out of commission — but not before it got a few more shots off at our boss. Diane wasted no time in putting two arrows into the nearest threat. Her efficacy is a thing of wonder…and it’s a little scary sometimes. The Doctor began playing leap frog amid the giant cargo containers and looking for other targets. I calmly approached the nearest merc, invisible, and blasted him with a magical net trap — but he must have sixth sense or something because he narrowly avoided what would have been a perfectly aimed shot! Ah well, live and learn. I bypassed him and left the fighting to the more aptly combat-trained members of The Tomorrow Legion and began to make my way toward the bridge.
The next thing I know I hear “everybody jump!” over the radio and, without thinking, my feet lifted off the ground and there was a giant rumbling shock-wave of rolling metal undulating the deck beneath me. Whoa! Was that Virgil? Holy shit! What did he do? I didn’t have time to dwell on it because the next thing I knew, Doc was leaping tall buildings in a single bound and, with baseball bat in hand, hurled himself at the bridge window. That drew my attention to the window where an arrow now protruded from the glass and spider-cracks stretched out in every direction. A big guy covered in robotics equipment and some kind of shimmering field looked out at the mayhem and calmly loaded his gun in some kind of a stare-down competition with…was that Diane? CRASH!!! The big guy kicked out the window only seconds before the doctor slammed into him with the baseball bat and took PLASMA to the chest simultaneously! Holy shit! From my vantage I was able to blanket the entire bridge cockpit area in a spooky horrific aura that scared the other henchman shitless but left Mr. Roboto and The Doctor unafraid…if a little unnerved.
In the next instant I had a split SECOND to register a flying Preposterous comet entangled with Mister Roboto and they streaked out of the bridge like a meteor! I did my best to fire off a magical seine but it wasn’t fast enough. Gah! I’ve gotta practice my targeting more! It seems to be more useful than my “gun” practice these days…if less practical. Anyway, I charged up to the bridge but I did see Diana wrenching the scuttles and hatches leading below-decks. She must be worried about the announcement over the P.A. system that, while in a language we couldn’t understand, probably meant, “(click) Ahhh…this is the captain speaking, we have reached a cruising altitude of WAKETHEFUCKUPWE’REBEINGATTACKED.” But my Russian is spotty at best. I once dated a Russian guy actually. Kind of stuffy.
Anyway, I knew I could best serve the Legion’s cause if I slowed this boat down and stopped her dead in her tracks! I spared a moment to analyze the high-tech equipment in the captain’s bridge but it was completely beyond me. I figured out how to turn the engines off but I didn’t have time to decipher anything more so…that’s when my ACE came in handy. A 050 cal automatic handgun does wonders – even with single rounds – for breaking electronics — especially the really expensive shit.
Outside it looked like the rest of the team had gotten the super-villain under control — and by subdued I mean shot through the heart…and Diane’s to blame. She gives BOWS….a bad name! Seriously, we need to find the goddess a hobby. She’s got so much pent up aggression and hostility. It’s…erm, charming in a way…but totally uncool. She really got into it with Verge on the way back. Spirit kept quiet and let the kids squawk but I was just thankful to be alive. Overhaul was kind of a push-over without his fancy gimmicks and high-tech force fields and…robot machinery stuffs. I shudder to think how this might have gone down had it transpired on the Archipelago Docks and with more of Iron Mike’s henchmen there. Especially that Amaya woman who confronted Diane earlier. Oh! I didn’t even tell you. Iron Mike tried to bribe Diane to just walk away for $150,000 – he did so through his crazy ninja assassin chick lieutenant, Amaya…but the goddess wasn’t having any of it.
Ah well…I’ll TTYL Matty, I’ve gotta get some rest. Big day in the morning. I’ve got a meeting with an underwater recovery specialist. He does reclamation, repair, and excavation for oil companies and prospecting. Very highly recommended by super pricey. The good news is he’s got his own crew and carries all his own insurance. I’m hoping he’ll take the job. Daddy Warbucks, er…Spirit has got deep pockets but I hope he doesn’t BALK when he sees the bill.