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March 20th, 2020 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."
5:38 PM WST, Thursday September 19th, 2019 Ryan The storm had blown up out of nowhere and it wasn't just wind and water. Lightning lanced through the air around him, the plane shuddering as air pressure and wind currents danced in angry whorls. The instruments in the cockpit had gone out several seconds before the actual storm nearly just appeared around him - not a great help and certainly a little unnerving. He hadn't lost the engines, but the power kept flickering for no apparent reason and that was starting to raise his heart rate. Over the middle of the Pacific, a water landing wasn't really one you could walk away from, not even if you made it down to the ocean in one piece. The storm seemed to pulse again. It'd done that several times over the minute or so that he'd been fighting winds and ducking lightning clusters. His whole body ached with the pulse this time and the bright flash that followed after only made sense when he realized he could feel rushing air and a tingle along his hands and hair. The plane had been hit and the screech of metal, along with the hard drag on the controls, told him that he shouldn't worry about the cargo anymore - it was gone already. Lightning struck again, feeling decidedly personal in its attack on his plane. The cockpit thrummed with the energy and split open beneath him, the metal curling back with a sheen of blue light around it. That's not right, he thought to himself as his chair began to rip itself apart as the light moved up towards it. His hind-brain grabbed control of motor functions and unbuckled him from the falling furniture. It didn't exactly improve the situation, but at least he wasn't grabbed by the light and torn limb from limb himself. He fell, feeling the thin air rush past him and knowing he'd pass out from lack of oxygen before he'd actually hit the sea and die of anything else. A glint of white on the water caught his eye. A ship, his mind informed him while also playing a reel of the highlights of his life in expectation of adding the final frame. It took a moment to realize the speck was getting larger than it should. It'd been closer to the horizon and should have slipped over it as he fell closer to the water, but instead it was steadily resolving itself into a twin-stacked white and blue NOAA vessel. That was beneath him. He'd somehow fallen sideways. He stared at the ship, his mind caught in the weirdness of the moment. It'd stopped growing. He was still a hundred feet or so above it. He'd stopped moving. There was an honest-to-go sea monster attacking it. And he was still a hundred feet above it, hanging in mid-air. Emily The Hi'ialakai had just crossed the international date line and it'd been a pretty good day, all in all. They'd been bringing in a range of sea creatures onto the ship to chip and install the new mini-cameras they'd just gotten, then release back out into the wild (usually after a free meal for the indignity). The research would help them understand what climate change and changing fishing patterns were doing to the Pacific wildlife. They'd dropped a couple of sensor-bots too, intending to come back after a year and pick them up. Emily was in the computer lab, sending out pings in a rather bored fashion to the 'bots and noting how long it took them to ping back. Necessary grunt work to make sure they'd made it to the depth they were supposed to float along at and hadn't already gotten eaten by a whale or something. There was a betting pool already on how many of the bots would be in the area, in one piece, or what they'd be in by the time they came back for them. She had a few dollars in the "used as a play toy by a pod of dolphins" bin. It usually paid out. The storm alarms blared across the speakers, startling her almost off her chair. She rolled her eyes at her own antics and resettled herself. A storm, great. She didn't get seasick, but there were some new civilian recruits that apparently hadn't worked that out of their system before signing up for a life out on the water. Everyone suffered for it. She sent out her next ping, waiting the 12 seconds it should have taken to get back to her. There was an odd whirring sound instead and after a moment she realized it was the CPU cycling up like crazy. The program she used hadn't frozen, but it was stuck counting up the data it was receiving from the probe - it should have been about 4 bytes of data and it was already past 26 kilobytes. And climbing quickly. The computer gave out a sad whine after another few seconds and then died. Emily blinked and frowned. She tried to reboot the computer, but in the moments of silence that followed she began to hear other sounds from the ship: the sounds of ripping metal and screams. Something was terribly wrong.