Silence. Nonanswers and inaction and more inaction as time and dark and who knew how much closer these other Stormers got closer to waking up their ancient aliens. They needed a way through and now.
"Right. I'm gonna make a hole," she declared, kicking off the floor of the tunnel and pointing one finger at the gargantuan blockage. All she'd have to do was push, right? She'd pushed before when her juice ran low, so she'd just push for more power in one go. Easy. These tunnels had withstood the sheer thundering impact of the Atlantic Ocean coming on top of them with no damage to their tasteless megalithic carvings. What could go wrong?
Halo of sparks springing into being around her head, she fought the burning in her gut until it seemed ready to go and then... Let it go.
Cassandra snorted, the dismissive noise audible over the link, "Someone thought highly of themselves. Can we go destroy their shit now? I'd rather not be down here one minute longer than we have to."
Seriously. Unknown aliens ahead of them. An unpredictable threat of Utopian intervention behind them. This was not the time to Indiana Jones this crap when the word of the day was 'don't touch the shiny toys that might provoke the end of the world'. Find it. Kill it. Get out before anything permanent happened.
As Deezy moved headlong into the surf like some kind of spastic kaiju in her exosuit, Cassandra restrained herself to snickering behind one hand. She was all too happy to wait and see if they were cheating the horizontal part of the dive before dashing into the surf given her, ya know, total lack of diving experience. She nodded happily at Emily, a big grin on her face and going through a few basic warm up stretches, "Loving the confidence. I could probably pull the look off but skin tight wetsuit is probably as close to that as is safe for me now even if we weren't about to go swimming in cold ass water. You wouldn't think it, but half way down California, you get that freezing current. Much less fun than you'd think to splash around."
She chuckled as she realized she was babbling, clapping her cheeks twice for that little surge of endorphins, "Sorry. You of anyone know that, Miss Thompson. Ready when you all are."
Cassandra whistled respectfully, arms crossed over her chest. Emily had been down a long time, and it showed. That was *far* and *deep*.
If she was less certain about Deezy's capabilities, she'd have been nervous about going so deep in something that looked and felt like a second skin on her. But the fact she wasn't sweating despite the heat of the African beach, reassured her on that front. No, the weak link in this chain was her. That much she was certain of. The brunette bombshell sucked in a breath, chuckling softly. This was insane. One security system and they were so dead. She'd watched enough deep sea horror movies to know that. Still, insanity was the new normal these days.
"So... Can we *poof* down there directly with that info, or do we get a warm up swim before knocking on Utopia's door, Sir?" she asked, glancing at Ryan.
"Nice," Cassandra responded with a enthusiastic nod of her head.
If they were going to play scary as hell real life super hero against a literal planet altering cabal of super scientists and revolutionaries and ancient aliens, might as well get some life saving toys to make it a little bit less dangerous. It made her feel a little better that Temple wasn't going to be in the line of potential fire. The girl had been through too much as is, and if she had a better grip on danger than the bombshell brunette had gained avoiding blowing herself up via firework mishap through the years... Nope. Nope. Not gonna think about it. Too many potentially paralyzing doubts already as the less-than-a-week newbie at this whole Stormer thing.
Right. Shiny new toy.
She excused herself and ducked into the nearest bathroom with a slightly-forced chuckle, striping out of her outer layers and into the super scuba suit. It looked good on her, not that anything looked bad on her per say, but still. If she had been told a day earlier what she was about to go do... Well it would have looked something like this. Except maybe with some black? Oh, and pink. Pink was a nice non-threatening color without being boring long as they were throwing stealth out the window with flashing lights that'd end up saving her life if things got hairy down there. She took a minute securing her hair into a quick and dirty ponytail ready for stuffing into the suit's hood, squaring up with her reflection, flashing herself a test smile, and bopping out of the bathroom back to the group.
"Still scared as shit to be perfectly honest," she confessed, bundle of clothes under one arm as she gestured with the other to indicated Deezy's marvel, "But *this* helps. A lot. Looking forward to the Mark II. Let's blow up some suns."
"Unless they're using quantum bullshit to create water from thin air," Cassandra interjected, a frown of concentration lingering on her face, glancing at Deezy for her input, "I'd think they have just the one tunnel leading out, forked the thing, and plopped the mother of all desalination plants between it and the freshwater lake. It'd have to be a hell of a lot hardier than the ones my brother deals with in the Navy to anywhere close to fill an entire lake that fast, but, yeah. Maybe?"
She shrugged, smiling as she worked the problem the way she would a fireworks display. As her sweat cooled in the air conditioning, she was fighting a shiver, but the bombshell brunette was not going anywhere, not unless it bogged down and they sent Miss Aquawoman off to get eyes on. Especially with Temple looking uncertain. Fake it till you make it.
Pondering the fact that *she* was the Heavy, God help them all, of the group, Cassandra's tone wasn't quite flippant as she studied the big map of the central Sahara and associated coastline. After working with Deezy for the past few days, she wasn't quite sold on the idea that the water needed to have come from an ocean. At least directly via a tunnel that was still there. Someone like Mr. Hawke could, maybe, open a warp directly between point a and b. Or Deezy could tinker up some solution the bombshell brunette couldn't even imagine. Or who knows what. She grunted as she failed to see what she was looking for. An x marks the spot would have been nice.
"So, assuming we can find the tunnel entrance on the coast, find it's not obviously boobytrapped or blocked, and pull a mini sub out of our butts that fits in said tunnel, sounds good. If not, well... We'll need to go in via their new lake and avoid any defensive stuff they have set up there with a mini sub we pull out of our butts. Going with Plan Ask Forgiveness Rather Permission that is," she chuckled, numbering the steps on the fingers of one hand, "Oh, and speaking for myself, I've never been scuba diving let alone cave diving."
Cassandra gestured at Deezy, grinning, "Yes. This. These Utopian people haven't openly murdered people yet, I think, and even if they are as crazy as they could be, ignorance is the enemy here. We get in, get info, try talking, and if that fails, *then* we go tomb raiding for ancient aliens under Utopia's lawn and try to save the camels. Man, that was a crazy sentence, but it fits in a crazy world, right?"
She laughed, venting her own mounting stress and leaning back in her chair again, "Crazy world. But, yeah. I think it's worth the risk. Nobody names themselves 'Utopia' with the intent to kill the world."
Part of her didn't want to think about the mythic aspect of the powers at play here, creating or redirecting a small sea's worth water into the heart of a desert in less than a day, hoping that it was a machine at work rather than a person. Much as the kind of machine that could do this would be the most blackest of black box technologies, so out of conventional context as to be silly. And maybe useful. What was that lake in Russia..? Anyway. Cassandra kept smiling, waiting for a reaction.
"Okay. So an immortal jellyfish doesn't want the crazy Stormers or anyone else looting what a group of what sounds like aliens left behind the last time they were on Earth."
She paused on that sentence, letting the thought digest as her lips quirked and then settled again. If Deezy bought the idea, who was she to dismiss it out of hand? Everything that had happened since the storm was blatantly ridiculous and amazing, so what was one more leap down the rabbit hole. Cassandra leaned back in her chair, looking at the room and sucking in a breath. May you live in interesting times...
"Which sounds pretty cool. The maybe aliens, that is. Not them getting testy if they don't like the look of us these days. More important, from what he said, it sounds like someone very important made the crazy Stormers our problem, too," she continued, nodding respectfully in Davian's direction, "What's the deal with that? Who are these guys and what can they do? Is there a plan? I've done my share of stupid shit, but I'm not bullet proof, let alone me proof, if it comes to that."
Concern danced in her eyes, lips thinning when she glanced over at Temple protectively, the brunette bombshell finishing up with a shrug.
...She had been kidding about putting her boss in Captain America's super suit.
"One, The mall sounds great. I'm definitely short a lot things, could kill for some actual TexMex, and next day we're free, sounds like a plan," she started, pointing at Temple before shifting her attention back to Davian, thinking. He wasn't wrong that it was the smarter play to stay here. Heck, if dealing with a bunch of nutty, planet-altering Stormers turned into a fight, she was no tougher and worse trained than the most basic Marine to ever come out of boot camp. Give one of them a rocket launcher, and she'd probably be outgunned, too. Still, sounded like Temple was game, and she'd never forgive herself if the younger girl got hurt poofing around Africa while Cassandra sat around watching HR training videos. Boring besides. And boring was a small death. She smiled as the proverbial devil *and* angel on her shoulders agreed on what to do, shook hands, and ran off.
"And, two, Sir, I'm in. Leave the approve part up to me. If a 'threat' can be talked down, I'll talk it down or do my best to make people understand why it had to be blown up," she answered with a chuckle, putting her best 'Bada Boom' foot forward, "Lead the way, Sir."
The ocean was amazing. Emily had loved the water her entire life, but this was a communion with it she'd never imagined before. When she was under the waves she was stronger, faster, and more at ease than she'd ever been air-side. She wasn't Aquaman with the creatures of the sea at her disposal, but then again she also wasn't expected to rule over an underwater kingdom with politics that made Game of Thrones look cuddly. So when a mixed pod of dolphins and swordfish sharks approached her, she was understandably perplexed. The dolphins came forward first, swimming close enough around her to gently bump her with their noses; she got the distinct impression they were trying to make her comfortable. Next came the mako sharks, forming a loose sphere around her. The dolphins swam to one side of the sphere and gave off a series of excited clicks as the sharks began moving; it was clear Emily was to move with them.
Other animals that drifted near them actually stopped and gave them room, like cars pulling over to the side of the road when fire trucks came blaring past them; they didn't flee as they normally would from such a large frenzy passing by. They swam faster than any shark should be able to, passing from the eastern coast of the United States where Emily had last been ashore deep into the equatorial region of the Pacific in a matter of hours that should have taken days. After a time the sharks split apart to drift in place around a submerged plateau rising from the ocean depths. The shelf bore a pristine coral reef, exploding in colors and vitality. Emily was herded by a single shark companion towards the center of the reef before that shark also took up sentry, floating in lazy circles just below the surface overhead.
"Thank you." They weren't words - a jellyfish lacked the physical structures necessary to speak - but she felt the intent in her mind and knew it was directed at the both the sharks and her for making the journey. A singular immortal jellyfish floated up from the rich life teaming in the reef and made it's way to just in front of Stormer. For it's kind, it was enormous - nearly six inches from bell to tentacle tip. "I am Memory, Emily. What is known upon this world is known within me. As you and other walkers have become loud upon the world, it has been comforting to know that at least one of you has returned to the waters. It gives me hope that all will not end with you and your kin."
The jellyfish bobbed closer and Emily could feel a sense of immeneness to it despite it's relatively tiny size compared to her. This was a creature of both power and timelessness. "Others of the loud walkers, Emily, they have changed that world to their whim. This alone is not enough to rouse my fear - their new waters are an interesting new current to the world. In their ignorance and carelessness however, they have uncovered an old truth of the world. Of you walkers. If they are not careful they will call back the living suns to our world's shores. I fear that even you new loud walkers will not be sufficient to protect our home from their return. They are powerful, proud, cruel creatures, Emily. They will destroy you and your kin if they see them as a threat. They will burn the entire world and spread it 'round our star if they deem it necessary. As they have done here once before."
One small tentacle pointed back behind Emily. "Gather your kindred, Emily of the Waters. Go to the places they have uncovered, beneath the dry place walkers call the Sahara Desert, in the tunnels they made to fill their new sea. Look for the tunnels that are not theirs. You must find the buried places of the living suns; you must keep them from the unwary and the foolish. If you can, destroy their places completely - but be cautious. We do not know what safeguards they left in place. They were cruel even to one another and trusted no one. Learn and act, Emily. Before it is too late for us all."