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[Plot Thread 2.2] Stars in the Water


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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."  

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Houston was amazing. Well, maybe not Houston the post disaster warzone abrim with refugees, but Houston the location of Novastorm and her new future definitely was for a few very good reasons. A) she had been hired on the day of her first interview with a salary she could definitely live with. No call backs. No you're-not-quite-what-we're-looking-for-Miss-Durrants. Just stuck landings and 10.0s marks from the reluctant doubts in her mind as she, indeed, Managed It. B) Novastorm had an apartment complex for it's employees, so here she was, running on a treadmill in the cozy common gym of said apartment complex in the early AM, one of it's newest minted tenants catching up on her good fitness habits. The hotel had turned into a media wasps nest after her little stunt a few days ago, so a discrete exit and a place to crash had been nice.


Not that she was intending on hiding. This weekend was going to be *crazy* soon as she found a place where she could kill an evening with some pounding music and strangers that weren't assholes. Maybe Danny had an idea or two..?


Sweat trickled down her brow, muscles starting a good burn, as the beat in her earbuds changed to a new opening chorus enroute to a proper drop, as her music nerd friends back west would say. Ha. She had definitely earned it in her mind. Her sessions with Deezy, *the* Deezy, blowing shit up were both hard work and all the fun she could have hoped for, a little bit of the performance anxiety melting away under the heat of the genius creator's enthusiasm. She was close enough to the promised fun parts of her degree, that maybe, just maybe, picking up a little bit more knowhow would be worth it to keep up with one word in ten that came out of Deezy's mouth. Ha. Assuming she would have time. Employee orientation was neatly sandwiched between her morning and afternoon sessions, but after she was done with that..? Who knew what her bosses would have in mind for her?


Cassandra laughed under her breath , shaking her head and nearly stumbling off the treadmill, as she pictured Ryan in a Captain America suit. Yeah. Right.   

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Emily, now fully at home in the sea, never questioned what Memory was telling her never doubted its sincerity, in fact she felt honored and awed to have been chosen to convey Memory’s message, even though she didn’t understand much of what it was telling her.


Having spent most of her time in the ocean in recent months, it was easy to lose track of the days and weeks, and so it was that after her audience with Memory she turned her sights on the islands of Hawaii and sped through the deep waters to her surface home. She didn’t learn of the things happening in Africa until she arrived there and saw the news about the Deus Novos and the Utopia they had secretly created. That this is what Memory had warned her about Emily was certain, and she knew just who to talk to about it.


Emily walked through the glass doors into the relatively new offices of Nova Storm Seattle and walked up to the desk. The attendant watched the Striking young woman who was wearing a sea colored dress and no shoes stride with purpose toward her. “Can I help you Miss?”

Emily smiled at the young man, “Yes I need to speak with Ryan Hawke, it is very important.”

“I’m sorry but Mr Hawke is not in today. Did you have an appointment? Miss?”

“It’s Emily, and in or not I am sure you have the means to get in touch with him.” She holds up her hands palms up and water condenses out of the air into the fine shapes of frolicking dolphins which leap from hand to hand. “Call him and tell him Emily is here and bears a message of importance from the Sea itself.”

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She had not expected to have to go back to school.


Oh true she, Temple, didn’t have to attend one of the numerous now over crowded schools in the Houston area, but Davian, her Legal Guardian, had insisted that she finish her high school education even if she decided not to attend college.


School was boring to Temple. She never really learned anything why would she after all she could memorize a whole text book and recite it back verbatim and as for knowing how to do something, literally anything, well if the person asking her how to do something knew how to do it then so too did Temple.


Davian didn’t want her to rely upon her powers, but she couldn’t help it and sometimes she didn’t even realize she was using them. They just came naturally like breathing.

 It seems that most of the empowered could barley register when her powers were in use and even when they did, they never seemed to know what they were feeling was or where it was coming from. Of course, Temple had the same difficulty with detecting their powers if the power was subtle or weak. If it was a blatant power or a really big charge, like some of the thing Cassie did when she blew stuff up, she could detect it, not directly, but as interference of her normal scanning power.


Anyway school was boring and she hated it.


She finished the test well before the other kids in the small classroom located on the Nova Storm campus and got up and turned it in to Mr Durry, the teacher for her and the other kids who were children of some of the Nova Storm employees.

“Do I have to stay,” she asked him, putting a bit of a pout on her face and in her voice?

“No temple you can take the rest of the day off, I’m sure you did just as well as you normally do.” Durry smiled at the young girl whom he considered his brightest student. He was such an easy pushover. Temple smiled at her teacher and turned to leave, and the smile became a smirk as she saw the other kids still taking the test.


She went outside and across the open flower garden to the small cafeteria and into the alcove where the snack machines were. After getting some juice and a granola bar (she really wished they had some candy and cokes but everyone was so health crazy here) and while she snaked she let her mind scan out. She recognized a few of the minds and one in particular. A real smile came to her lips and she stepped.


With the sound of cracking ice, Temple appeared right in front Of Cassandra’s treadmill

“Hey Cassie I’m out of class wanna do something?”

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Temple's miraculous arrival jerked Cassandra out of her runner's high, one missed step sending her stumbling backwards and nearly off the back of the treadmill. She stabilized herself inches from a less than graceful dismount. The teen got an amused shake of the head from the superhumanly-striking woman. She waited until the machine hummed down to a halt before pulling her earbuds out, wiping her brow. The tinny notes of 'Wildcard' were barely audible before another sure press of a screen put an end to that distraction.


"You get almost too much fun out that trick," Cassandra replied without an ounce of reproach, grin betraying the fact she'd do the same and worse if she could, "Now what did you ask? Too busy almost losing my dignity to catch what you said."


She held up one hand as Temple started to repeat her question, laughing as she pieced together the time and the vibe of the teenager's whole mien, "Ha. I get it. Bored and in search of something to do, right?"


Cassandra started toweling off the worst of the sweat as she talked, black leggings and green tank top soaked from her aborted routine. The two stormers had the room to themselves, a gentle request having cleared out the gawkers and worse who had showed up last time she had come in for a run. The bombshell brunette was no powerlifter but she was *pretty sure* one guy had hurt himself trying to impress her. Hmmm, maybe not so much 'just' a gentle request from her as the invisible hand of her employers at work. Hard to tell. Regardless! A bored, smart teenager needed something to do, and she wasn't that far removed from looking up at her own brothers with similar boredom to turn her down. Throw in superpowers, and who knows what might happen? She had... Yeah. She had time. Pay it forward.


Looking back up from her watch with a grin to split her face, she laughed, "What you got in mind? I need to shower and change, but after that, I got about an hour to kill before Deezy needs me to blow some things up."  

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Ryan was in his Houston Office, wondering if the day was going to be interesting or not.  Having recently hired both Cassandra and Temple, though with Davian as Temple's guardian, hired perhaps wasn't the right word, they'd increased their lead on pretty much the rest of the private sector, with more Stormer Employees than any other.   His phone rang, and it was of course a number he recognized, as it was the old Seattle office.  "Mr. Hawke, there's a young woman here who is very insistent that she speak with you.  She says she bears a message from the Sea itself."   He could hear her confusion, and he sighed.  

He'd somewhat lost track of Emily after the party,  She seemed to spend alot of time at sea.  He respected her desire for privacy, but after what they'd experienced together, he couldn't deny a request from her out of hand.   "Very well.  Hand her the phone."   

The young attendant looked at Emily and handed her the phone.   "I'm going to send you a portal to me. That okay?"

"Yeah."  She hand the phone back to the attendant who hung it up, hearing only the dialtone.

As she spoke Space seemed to warp before her, opening into a portal to Ryan's office.  Emily quickly stepped through, into Ryan's Houston office, and he smiled as the portal closed behind her.   

"Welcome to Novastorm's Houston Headquarters, Emily."   His smile was warm and invited.   "How have you been?"  She seemed more comfortable now, though considering what she'd said her reason for contact was, he was both anxious and curious.   "Would you like me to get Deezy and Davian to hear this, or just tell me first?"

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On 3/30/2020 at 5:17 PM, Cassandra Durrant said:

Looking back up from her watch with a grin to split her face, she laughed, "What you got in mind? I need to shower and change, but after that, I got about an hour to kill before Deezy needs me to blow some things up."  

Temple smiled she liked Cassie even thought they weren't that close in age. "I'd don't know I thought maybe..." she stopped mid sentence and stood with her mouth hanging open her brow furrowed. Temple snapped her mouth shut and looked around casting her mind out seeking. 


Temple had felt an incredibly strong, almost overwhelming, wave of rage. Not her own rage which she had tamped down since settling in here and it disappeared almost immediately, but for the half a second that she could feel it, it was engulfing. The kind of rage that makes you think you could set the whole world on fire with your mind. And in a post-Storm world it's a little scary that someone might actually be able to.


"Temple," asked Cassie?


The younger girl just shook her head as she concentrated, how could she tell her friend what she had felt without revealing her secret.

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On 3/30/2020 at 7:11 PM, Ryan Hawke said:

"Welcome to Novastorm's Houston Headquarters, Emily."   His smile was warm and invited.   "How have you been?"  She seemed more comfortable now, though considering what she'd said her reason for contact was, he was both anxious and curious.   "Would you like me to get Deezy and Davian to hear this, or just tell me first?"

Emily smiled at Ryan he was still handsome and even fitter looking than he had been when they first met, but she remained silent as she stepped up to the windows over looking the campus. Ryan could see that the sea-blue dress she was wearing was of the clingy sort and that the sun light revealed that the dress was all she was wearing.


"Emily, you told the receptionist in Seattle, that you had something important..."


She spun around rapidly and leaned back against the window, pursing her lips, "Yeah, sorry. I don't spend time among people much anymore. This thing in Africa. Aside from the obvious, I believe there is an even greater danger. I better tell you before we try to explain things to your friends.

Do you remember when we met on the ship we fought that sea creature? Well this is somehting like that and it's incredible and its all true. I met a jelly fish called Memory..."


Emily tells Ryan everything.


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Ryan watched her, noting the changes in how she carried herself, everything.  In six months' time, she'd changed abit, and from her words, clearly she was staying at sea more than anyone else could.  "So you spoke to a six inch immortal jellyfish, It told you that the activities of others like us will call back these living suns, which could be even more powerful than us.  Strong enough to shatter a planet."    

There wasn't a hint of disbelief in his tone, or accusation.  He was simply saying it aloud even as his own enhanced brain worked through the clues, and possibilities.   "It directed you to the Sahara, or at least to tunnels beneath it that aren't man-made.  We're to find the buried places, not burial places, of the Living sunss, and keep them from being disturbed, or destroy them utterly.  There's probably traps, as the Suns were paranoid, cruel and untrusting, even of each other."   

"So that either sounds like some sort of precursor higher order species, or outright alien species, that came to Earth before and has expressed it's displeasure.  Here I thought today might just be normal."  There was the beginnings of a smile curling his lips."

"I remember reading a study once that said certain types of jellyfish could indeed be functionally immortal, progressing and regressing through their life cycle endlessly.  That one lives so long as to develop a means of intelligible communication with a human or Stormer, is abit out there, but if it was alive long enough ago to see some cataclysmic event,  remember it all this time, and now warn us of such a thing."

He shook his head.  "Hell Emily it damn near sounds like you communicated with the Gaea of Myth, the spirit of the Earth itself, because honestly I can't see a jellyfish knowing these things, especially those that occur on land, let alone how to communicate them so any of us might understand."  

He could understand it speaking to her in that form in a way.  Jellyfish were believed to be among the oldest animals on the planet, though fossil data only went back 600 million years, due to their general lack of anything to fossilize.

"This is going to be something else."   He looked at her.   "Do I have the right of it?"  he knew Deezy and Davian enough to know they'd not just dismiss this all out of hand, but all the same, he also knew how crazy it sounded.

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Emily smiled and remembered the feeling of Memory in her mind. 

"Yes I know how it sounds," She walks forward and takes his hands in her and looks him in the eyes, "I cant really describe the feeling but You saw what we encountered on the ship. and have seen what others like us have become.

Is it so hard to believe? 

Me, I was already a believer, but when I cam ashore and saw the news about this group in Africa and the two seas they created. I knew that Memory spoke truth and gave us a warning we need to heed."

Emily gives his hand a gentle squeeze, "I need you to help convince them, your friends."

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Cassandra wondered if she hadn't accidentally hurt the teenager somehow. The handful of Stormers she'd met were more resistant to her, well, herness than most people, but Temple definitely had her inner demons, so hopefully she hadn't done anything to bring on this sudden moroseness. That was the opposite of what she was aiming for here. The bombshell brunette gave the younger girl a little time to think, softening her grin and finishing the job of toweling off. Spotting the communal wipes dispenser out of the corner of one eye, Cassandra turned and strode over to do her part of being a good gym patron.


"Ya know, we don't have to wrack our brains over this," she called over one shoulder, falling back on the lure that had always, well, sometimes, okay, rarely, gotten her out of trouble, "I've got a bunch of Cokes and my personal catalogue of everything fireworks related upstairs. It's like putting together one of those thousand piece jigsaw puzzles except they explode their way into Vahalla if you do it right. The weekend *is* calling..."

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Ryan nodded once.  "Alright Emily I'll bring them in."  With that he quickly typed out a text to Davian and Deezy.   It was best to start with them, The other heads of Novastorm, and then reach out to the rest, across the world itself.  

"Deezy, Davian, We've got a situation.  I know you're busy, but you need to drop whatever it is, and come to the Command Center Deezy set up.   I've got Emily here, and she just revealed a new threat we all face, and We need to decide how to proceed."

Eschewing his powers, he nodded to Emily.  "Come on, I'll show you the Command Center."  She followed behind him to a an elevator which went down as opposed to up, and he nodded.  "Safer this way, and it lets us protect our secrets."   

When it opened they went down a short corridor, and went through a large door, after Ryan used both the palm and retinal scanner.   It was of course seemingly straight out of Science Fiction, suitably so as the whole place was furnished by Deezy herself.   Inside was a large situation room, with screens, terminals and a central Table with some sort of projector in the middle.  "From here, well, we can get the information we need, and talk without fear."   He showed Emily around, and made his way to one of the terminals, going ahead and getting a search going for incidents in the Sahara.

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Deezy's response text was succinct.




When she showed up at the control room there wasn't any weird inventions in evidence. Her hair was wet, hanging limply down from her head in scraggly locks. She had an oversized T shirt on over a pair of knee length khaki shorts and a pair of white sneakers with untied laces flapping around as she jogged in.


"Hey Ryan," she greeted cheerfully. "Emily. Nice seeing you again. So what's the new threat?" From her tone she could have been asking about the latest sports scores.

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Davian strode into the gym in a full three-piece suit and the air of a very exasperated man. He had a Bluetooth wireless earpiece - a sign to Temple and Cassandra that something serious was going on since he detested the little devices but they did leave his hands free. He waved the two over to him; none of the 'rich boy throwing a party' from the island. Here, he was a man with a very serious mission and the laser focus one would expect from someone more Ryan's age and background.


". . .care. You'll have my backing as you always do so long as my interest aligns with your voting record and bills, Senator. This is now my central concern. Make it yours or plan out several dozen more fundraisers to cover the loss of my interest. I'm going to assume you have intelligence meetings to attend and junior Senators to corral, so I'm going to hang up now." He touched the slick black plastic and waited for the disconnect beep, then sighed and rubbed at his eyes in irritation. "I have no idea how my mother made it through her younger years. I get my patience from my father, but she's the one that could give a look and change the politics of the Western World." 


He looked the two women over, clearly weighing a decision. "Ladies, something has happened today. A group of Stormers and post-Stormers just rearranged the central Sahara and claimed it as a Stormer homeland or something." He was very clearly trying not to roll his eyes at that. "Beyond that, Emily Thompson, one of the Stormers that came to my Halloween party a few months ago just contacted Ryan about a threat that. . .honestly, I'm not sure. Something from the 'sea itself', whatever that means. I'm hoping that it's just her feeling currents change or something from the Sahara. Either way, the world is changing again. Dangerously."

He glanced around the otherwise empty room and went on. "Ryan, Deezy and I have been preparing for what would come next. I would like to include the two of you, but it has to be your decision. It will mean placing yourself in danger, doing things that not everyone will approve of or understand. And using your abilities to do the things that us mere humans just can't in a world of people like you." The last was said with a wry, self-deprecating grin and a small shrug. "It'd be smarter just to stay here and keep going on with the lives you have." 

He put his hands behind his back and clasped them lightly together, clearly giving the two a moment to consider things and give him their answers.

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...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."  

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With their agreement, Davian showed him to the elevator leading to the Command Center.    Ryan, Deezy and Emily were already there.   "Glad you could make it Davian."  Then he saw the two newest members with him, and smiled.  "I see you brought Cassandra and Temple.  If you're all on board, that's great, given the news Emily's brought.

He went to the central computer display and called up the map of Utopia.   "This is the new nation that A group of Novas created in the Sahara, supposedly for people like us.   Turns out, though, that they're digging in a minefield of seemingly biblical proportions."   

He motioned to Emily.   "I want you all to understand, I trust Emily Implicitly.    I know what she has to say seems like science fiction.  Just remember, Save Davian, all of us here have abilities that defy the laws of nature, of what we thought possible a year ago.   Listen with an open mind."  He nodded to Emily, having prefaced this with his own vote of confidence, for her to recount her story.


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Emily looked askance at the little kid and the knockout but with a deep breath squared her shoulders. "Okay, first off my powers are not quite what the big heads at the internment camp thought they were and its not like I was lying to them, at the time I didn't know. But when I left I returned to the sea and my powers...bloomed. Long story short. I'm much more in tune with the oceans of the world than I thought. Now let me tell you about a Jelly fish called Memory...' 


As Emily recounts her tale for the new arrivals, Temple. who was silent and trying to be inconspicuous, slipped into the to find the memory itself and verify its veracity


Temples roll Details:[8d10K (9 10 4 1 5 8 4 1)]  Details:[1d10KX (5)] so three successes to do a surface skim on Emily to get first hand read of the tale she is accounting.


Surreptitiously, Temple bumps Davian to get his attention, when he looks at her she opens a metal link with him. <She is telling the truth, I can share it with you if you want>

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"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.

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<Memory. That seems more a title than a name. I wonder if the jellyfish existed as Memory before the Storm or developed into the jellyfish version of a Stormer. If the latter, environmentalists are going to have much more powerful allies going forward.> The thought was tinged with amusement and just a touch of worry.


He hadn't twitched a muscle out of place while Temple shared the memory, looking to the rest of the room as if he were only attentively listening to whomever was speaking. When Cassandra nodded towards him, he pulled himself up a little and took the focus of room once she paused. "The Utopians are making messes they don't even realize, apparently. What they've knowingly done, though, is make Stormers even more of a threat to the rest of humanity. I don't know the players beyond a few nicknames that have been floating around internet forums and a few rumor mills I keep track of for Novastorm. Until this, they seemed mostly to be scientists and philosophers - clearly they've attracted some more political and revolutionary members."

He pinched the bridge of his nose in annoyance, then shook his head. "They've claimed territory in the middle of the world's largest desert. That's better than trying to set up in the American Midwest or somewhere like that, but realize this: none of the four countries they just claimed territory and citizens from have objected. That means there's some major manipulation going on and it's probably powers-based. Imagine how that's going to play out across the media - or in those groups that are already hateful of Stormers and just waiting for any excuse to make a call to arms." He looked around the room, his eyes sober. "This is going to get much much worse before it gets better - if it ever does. These Utopians have shown that they can," he began ticking off points on his fingers, "convince world leaders to abandon national boundaries and citizens of their country; manipulate the planet on a massive, geological scale just because they want to; and finally, that they're racist against 99.9% of humanity and have the power to do more than just spew stupidity from that."

"Which means," he sighed, looking around at the Command Center, "that we have two emergencies to deal with to keep the world safe. And that we need to do our best to keep them from running into each other. I've got a channel or two I can reach out to concerning the Utopians, but it's going to take a little bit to work through the chaos they've caused. You may not be bulletproof, Ms. Durant, but you are a Stormer and if the Utopians find you snooping around their tunnels, they're probably more likely to talk than just squish you like a 'merely human' bug. There's also safety in numbers. If you all go and I work on things here, I think we have the best chance of seeing to both emergencies without sacrificing one for the other." He looked around the group, asking in a hopeful tone, "Unless someone else here has a better plan?"

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"It may be too late already, unless we can reverse what they have done."


 All eyes went back to Emily who once she had the attention continued, "Unless they have some how placed their new nation behind some sort of environmental bubble, The introduction of that much water into an ecosystem of that size and nature, is going to create widespread ecological damage. In the short term massive die offs of flora and fauna specifically adapted to that harsh desert, new species will invade from other areas, weather patterns will change. It will affect the entire continent of Africa, eventually Europe and possible the world.


Changes like this take thousands of years. This happened over night. The planet will have a very hard time catching up," she concluded by crossing her arms.


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"You know, even if some jellyfish may be biologically immortal, the odds of any one of them living more than a few decades before getting eaten is pretty low," Deezy mused aloud. "But you know what might make sense? A lot of simpler organisms can actually encode memories chemically and transfer them to other organisms. Like...flatworms. You can train a flatworm in a simple task, then...you know...kill it, cut it's head off, and when it regrows a new head, it still remembers the training."


She frowned, thinking. "There's a jellyfish that does that too, kind of. Turritopsis dohrnii regrows in a juvenile state after it seems to die. Or, you know, maybe this 'Memory' isn't a jellyfish at all. Maybe memories are encoded in stable RNA molecules and they can be passed from jellyfish to jellyfish. So any one jellyfish is just kind of...a host. Memory is a literal term in that case, it's the actual memory-molecules themselves that are 'immortal.' Every jellyfish dies, but they keep passing around this biological record between one another, and over time it gets more complex and more..."


Deezy trailed off, seeing everyone's eyes on her.


"Oh yeah, the Sahara thing. Um. Before we do anything we should talk to them. Bombastic global announcements are posturing. We need to know who's actually behind this thing, and what they actually want. Then we'll have what we need to decide what to do about them."

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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.

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"You do lose the advantage of moving unknown to them if you approach them first," Davian interjected into the discussion. "If you make them aware that something's going on in their tunnels, they're more likely to insist on seeing to it themselves than letting outsiders in. 'Better to ask forgiveness than permission' is likely the better path to follow." 

He held out his hands, indicating that his words were advice only and he considered the decision theirs to make. He wasn't going half a world away one way or another, after all.

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"Yeah, no, we don't have to tell them anything. Just bump foreheads," Deezy explained. "Just like, 'hey crazy folks, we're Stormers too, here have this casserole we made for you and a flyer, so what's your deal?' Then we see what they say and just kinda...go from there. I mean, they clearly want and expect attention. They can't be surprised when they get it. From their point of view, we'll be doing exactly what they want."


"...and of course, it puts us in the right neighborhood to figure out how to get down there when it's time to try. Though...I kind of wish the jellyfish had been more specific, you know? Like, it's bad if THEY find it, but is it bad if WE find it? Is there a safe way to find it? Do we need to bring anything? Signal squelching? Power negation? Emily, if I give you a written list, can you find the jellyfish again and get just a little more detail?"

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