Atlantean Transport Craft RAS Nautilus, Mid-Atlantic,
January 26, 03:32 PM.
Ya know, when most people have their offhand chatter about the Ancient City of Atlantis
, and how it’s at the bottom of the goddamn ocean,
they usually fail to grasp just how far down that really is.
Or how long it takes to get there by (sort of) conventional means.
A realization Malcolm passed the past twelve hours observing grow on the faces of the other passengers around him- All that joy and wonder of knowing they were about to step into a literal magical kingdom slowly starting to melt away into boredom, maybe tinged just a bit with trepidation at the thought that the only thing separating them from the crushing pressures outside was a thin layer of magitech and Atlantean steel that was beginning to smell just a liiiittle
bit like farts.
...To be honest, it was the most fun Mal’d had all week- sitting there in this repurposed Atlantean Troop Carrier, shooting through the ocean at speeds that laughed directly in the face of physics as the surface knew it, laptop open, headphones on, little paper bagged lunch his Ma insisted
on making him sitting unopened to his side. Sure, the air-scrubber stopped working sometime after they’d passed Bermuda (hence the smell) and that guy in the back who kept fake-whining ”Are we there yet?”
stopped being funny four hours ago... But hey; the food was free. And it didn’t taste like airline food.
See? Silver linings.
It might have been just another long trip for someone like Malcom, having been woven into the rich Kasimir family, but just going down into Atlantis was the journey of a lifetime for Virgil. He had done some moderate exploring when he left to get some air, but it didn’t compare to going to the Sunken City itself.
Virgil himself was seated calmly, jamming out to some tunes to try and drown out the noises of the jokers and whiners. Between his fingers danced purple lightning, tapping against an invisible drum as he closed his eyes and took in the music. Maybe he’d talk to his good friend Mal whom he sat next to on the ride down, but Virgil didn’t want to be another source of annoyance on an already long flight.”Hello.”
A thin young man stood over Malcolm. He scratched a hand through his blond hair, pushing a few strands out of his face. He nervously smiled, his eyes droopy in a way that seemed disconcerting, but there was this aura about him, something that everyone in the ride felt, but nobody quite understood.”My name is Bjorn,”
he said haltingly, clearly struggling with the English language. ”It’s nice to… meet, meet you. What’s your name?”
he said, holding out a thin hand and smiling nervously.
Now, Malcolm wasn’t expecting that.
After the requisite swarming of people badgering him for selfies (as was the norm whenever he was in public) a few hours back, the scarred boy had been left largely to his own devices the whole way down to the bottom of the sea... Which may or may not have had something to do with the other boy seated next to him casually generating visible arcs of electricity with his fingers
...Not that Mal wasn’t extraordinarily grateful
for that mind you, but hey.
Still, pulling off his headphones and flashing a little grin, the Kasimir ward took the older boy’s offered hand and gave it a friendly shake.”Malcolm. Good ta-”
Admittedly, before he actually got a look
at who it belonged to. And felt an involuntary raise of the iconic ‘Kasimir Brow’ upon his own face.”...Meet’cha.”
He couldn’t rationalize in that moment, looking up at Bjorn through his glow-hiding contacts, but something just seemed… odd.
Then again, he was also staring directly at and secretly through
a person while sitting next to a living capacitor on a boat going to an ancient city on the bottom of the ocean, so he wasn’t exactly in any position to judge, he figured, and buried that feeling and the raised brow that went with it just as quickly as they’d appeared.
pick up on the accent though.”Er du… Norsk?”
Bjorn’s eyes widened slightly, almost unnoticeably, but he quickly shifted into an excited smile.”Ja! Jeg er fra Trondelag!”
he said excitedly. <”You speak Norwegian?”>
A rhetorical question clearly, but it seemed to be more the shock of it than anything.<”Not good enough to recite poetry, but I can hold a conversation.>”
Malcolm responded with a widening grin as he gestured towards the unoccupied pair of seats directly across from Virgil and himself <”Please, by all means. Have a seat.”>
Bjorn nodded energetically, and then took the seat as offered.
Hearing some faint noise and a new person sitting right across from Mal and himself, Virgil pulled on his headphones and flashed the young man a smile. “I’m Virgil, glad shorty here is making some friends.”
He felt like it would be too rude to simply put his headphones back on and go back to ignoring the world. With a hand shoved into his pocket, he paused his music and pulled his headphones down to he could engage in some actual conversation. “So, what sort of stuff can you do? Everyone knows the king opened this place up as a way for Metas to be safe.”
He didn’t really beat around the bush. With an open mind policy, Virgil felt like he didn’t need to hide his powers from the people here. His secret identity as Static Shock? Maybe, at least for now. He didn’t want people to start remembering where he was from and what he let happen.
Bjorn again had that open-eye expression for a second, but quickly began nodding.”Well, it’s hard to show off in here but…”
He began stretching his shoulder theatrically. Then he softly tapped the side of the troop carrier, leaving a small dent in the wall for what appeared to be basically no effort. ”I have super strength, I think that’s what it is called. I can lift really heavy things… I do not know the exact amount,”
he said. Bjorn rested his hands behind his head and slouched into his seat.”I cannot wait! Are you all as… er… excited? Yes, excited as I am?”
he asked, smiling widely. He seemed happy to be able to talk to them. It was true that finding friends in a new place was difficult, but Bjorn seemed a little… overly excited.
Seeing the look on Bjorn’s face, again, Mal felt a strange tightness in some recess of his psyche he couldn’t quite narrow down and again, he forced it down before it could show on his face.’...What the hell is that?’”Well… yeah.”
The boy answered without missing a beat or dropping the charm ”The Atlanteans are basically the be-all end-all for advanced sciences on this planet, so for a guy like me, this is basically Mecca-”
The teen paused mid-sentence, eyes darting off to the side suddenly… before that grin of his came back in full force.”...Speakin’ of; you guys might wanna look out the window.”
For there, rising up on what passed for a horizon on the shadowy floor of the sea, was the shining light of a civilization that stood defiant and resilient for countless millennia.Poseidonis.
University of Poseidonis
When was moving around like this going to feel natural to her again?
It felt like her every movement was hopelessly encumbered by some invisible force—oh right, gravity
. That was a thing, and for the first time in more than half a year she was feeling it’s strength again. When, exactly, was the last time she had transformed back into her human form?
Oh, right...the end of highschool, just before summer. With highschool over, there had been no need to ever turn back again, at least, not until now.
Awkwardly walking past a group of other kids on their way to orientation, she was unsurprised their odd glances—she was moving like she was underwater. Well, she technically was
, but…”Ugh, I hate being human,”
she muttered to herself. ”One wrong step and I could trip and break a knee, or a few dozen other important bones.”
She glanced up at the beautiful orientation hall that towered over her. It was honestly like something out of a science fiction movie, a comparison that could be applied to all of Atlantis. She could only wonder what the interior would be like, or her dorm room for that matter.
It had been a while since she had actually slept
Virgil would never cease to be amazed at his new environment. Everything about Atlantis was spectacular. He couldn’t wait to roam around and find all of the cools nooks and crannies of both the school and Atlantis itself.
For now, however, he had orientation to get to. This was the very first class of the college, and Virgil was honored to be apart of it all. Had it not been full-ride, he wouldn’t have taken the offer to come, but it was everything he needed and so much more.
It was here that he noticed a young woman seeming to struggle with simply walking on the ground below them. Virgil wasn’t going to lie to himself, getting used to being so far underwater was a slight challenge, but she seemed to have actual difficulty with just walking. “Um, are you okay? You need some help?”
He sped up to walk next to her, his arms out in front of him, offering them if she so desired to take them.
Karen turned to see a young black man. She offered him a smile that did little to hide her embarrassment at her current state. ”Ah...thanks, but I’m alright. It was just a rough trip here. Still shaking it off.”
She was dressed rather simply and unfashionably—a jersey with the number seven on it, a pair of black sweatpants, and white tennis shoes. They were the only clothes she had that still really fit her in the chest and hips. She’d apparently been doing some growing in those eight or so months.
Virgil shot her a smile and waved his hand dismissively. “Yeah, long way down, right?”
He could certainly understand that. His legs were a little shaky when he first got up after the long trip down here, it was no surprise that others were feeling it as well. “I’m Virgil, by the way. Are you here for superhero school, too?”
He felt like it was only right to introduce himself to as many people as he could. Wherever Mal was, maybe he could meet this lady as well, the both of them certainly needed friends, most likely being the youngest two in the college.”Karen. Actually, I’m here for the non-superheroic parts of the school,”
said Karen, chuckling. After all, the whole point of this was to get some down time from her life as Lady Arcana. Malcolm probably wouldn’t be happy with her learning to be as superhero as Karen
Then again, she’d taken basically every course on magic that was available here, so perhaps she was also violating the spirit of her attendance.
Walking this far with Mal in his mind, Virgil turned to look for him. Mal was only a year younger, but it felt to Virgil like a world of difference. It seemed strange to Mal, maybe he’d have to talk to him a bit later…
If he could find him.