4766/It Came from the Deep: Into the Abyss

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It Came from the Deep: Into the Abyss
Date of Scene: 17 January 2021
Location: Challenger Deep, The Mariana Trench
Synopsis: A city is saved, a Simulacrum put to rest, and an Ancient Evil unleashed. Also Meggan is secretly a sparkly bright shining glitter princess.
Cast of Characters: Maxima, Vivian Vision, Kara Danvers, Meggan Puceanu, Caitlin Fairchild, Donna Troy

Maxima has posed:
Previously on It Came from the Abyss: A Tale of Lost Cities

Maxima, her friend Supergirl, Troia, and Vorpal journeyed to a remote Atlantean bazaar in the West Pacific, only to find the place ravaged by alien looking Lurkers from the deapths. Lurkers similar to the ones that have been plaguing Atlantis for some time now. After a fierce confrontation several of these creatures were slain letting out horrifying keening death screams and the rest fled destroying what remained of the bazaar in the process. Their trail lead to the Mariana Trench, the deepest Abyss in the entire ocean. Though a slightly different would be needed to brave those crushing depths...

With a new team assembled, some faces familiar, some new, Maxima and allies float over the waters of the West Pacific. Maxima has somehow extended the ability to fly like she does to those who would otherwise not be able to. Directly below them in the abyssal depths lies the Mariana Trench. It is the final bits of preparation before they will take the plunge where few have gone before.

"Thank you again for coming." Maxima says looking from one member to the next. "This assistance in recovering the lost city of my people means a great deal to me. It is uncertain what we will encounter down there but it will not be friendly. We will need our own light, as very little can penetrate those depths. I will be creating a telepathic network between us, so that we need not waste precious breath and can communicate just by thinking, so do be careful with stay thoughts. Are there any questions or does anyone have anything to add before we go?"

Vivian Vision has posed:
Deep under the ocean. Another place Vivian Vision wasn't expecting to end up. And just like deep space it's another place she'll be visiting in her usual yellow cargo pants and green t-shirt combination.

The main difference being for this mission she's got some kind of psionic interface in a re-enforced pressure proof container to allow for telepathic communications to reach her and she's consumed a store of chemical reserve energy. Just in case they're away from the sunlight long enough to run down her battery.

"I should be able to adjust my density to sink down to whichever depths we require and can emit light as needed," she informs. "Although I do not think I can illuminate a vast area for long periods of time."

Kara Danvers has posed:
    Wearing a variant of her usual affair. pants, body suit in blue, golden belt, long red cape, red boots, and a red helmet with lights on the top. Supergirl gives a thumbs up and says, "Check check. Checking communications." She also turns the lights on and off and smiles. "I'm set. This'll be interesting. I've never swam this deep before.

    Underneath her cape - oxygen tanks. She's come prepared. Unlike her trips in to space, this time she doesn't want to have to hold her breath until every particle in her body hurts. Taking a book out of her sort-of-sister from another reality Power Girl, Kara has started slowly gearing up her ability to manufacture more modern (read: Kryptonian) materials. Not just what she uses to make her capes. Her tanks have an odd sheen about them, as does her mask. Those with the vision to look close enough can see a highly ordered crystaline structure, super thin, maintaining the integrity of the otherwise normal Earth metals and glass.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
A girl who lives on the boundary of traditional Atlantean territory and that claimed by a republic might not exactly have a loud presence. But she has been found in the court of Atlantis enough that whispers in the right ears relay tales of the water-witch, the keeper of the light on Gotham's blood-streaked coast. Anyone expecting an impressive show might be disappointed by a bare-footed, golden-haired girl. Maxima doesn't need much bargaining to convince Meggan to show up. "Help the ocean" or "Mariana Trench" about does it for the smiling English student.

Now, here she is, her hands a frame for the unknown depths. The Mariana Trench hangs invisible, a trough sliced in the Earth's thin crust. "Light shouldn't be a problem," she offers warmly. "I can take care of that until no longer needed." A slender tress is curled around her finger, and she carefully wiggles her ankle, ensuring there's no issue with the thin knife secured in a holster there. Literally that's about the only preparation she has. No weight belt, nothing like an oxygen tank, nothing at all by way of a mask.

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
Caitlin had spent much of her time flying doing absolutely nothing practical with it. It had gotten to the point she was slowing down the group and had to be reined in. Loops, acrobatics, dives, swift rises... Maxima's gift of flight is a dream come true and the redhead makes great use of it. After long enough over water, though, its' hard to hold a frame of reference for entertainment. She settles into a flying formation with the others. Like Kara, Caitlin's wearing a helmet and sports a heavy oxygen tank on her back. The peeling label indicates the liquid state of the respirator's contents. It should be enough oxygen even for her supercharged lungs to sustain quite a bit of activity under the waves.

"I've never been swimming," Caitlin reminds Kara. "I'm not terribly buoyant, you know. If it wasn't for Queen Maxima, I'd be doing an impression of a rock."

Donna Troy has posed:
    This is a mission Terry's going to have to sit out part two for. With a few days to think through the problems of getting down to the bottom of the Marianas Trench, the Titans contingent has had a bit of a change of personel to go with the new deep-diving equipment, with the current group chosen for being less squishy.

    It's a well-known fact that while most of the world has gone metric, Americans prefer to measure things in more old-fashioned systems of measurement, such as feet, pounds, and Number of Elephants Equivalence. The NEE factor, measuring the equivalent number of elephants sitting on your head that the pressures of the sea at these depths has been calculated to the nearest 16th of an elephant, and the team picked accordingly, with Caitlin and the prospect Vivian joining Kara and Donna on this trip.

    Donna adjusts her diving gear with a mildly theatrical sigh. "You know I was just getting used to the feel of going into battle without wearing a suit of armor, and then we do this. It seems strange to be wearing armor to protect against the sea rather than sword blows, but then I guess a sword rarely hits you with a force of eight hundred and seven and four sixteenths NEE. Which I am convinced is a figure Vic totally invented, by the way."

    She hovers over the water, watching Caitlin with vague amusement, as everyone gets themselves ready for the descent. "Remember everyone, your limbs are going to move a lot more slowly than you are used to. Timing will be off. Inertia will be high. It's going to be weird down there. On the bright side, we're about to set a record for the deepest dive in history."

Maxima has posed:
<Okay, let's go.> Maxima thinks rather than says, but it is clearly audible to all present through the telepathic network of mind. Without any hesitation she plunges beneath the ocean's surface, though the splash is slightly larger than it seems like it should be as she has apparently surrounded herself with a barrier of telekinetic force. While the water provides more resitance than the air it is not yet significant enough to slow the members of this group too much and soon the surface light grows dimmer and dimmer as they traverse the first 4000 meters to the yawning crescent shaped chasm that is the Mariana Trench. It hasn't changed much since their last visit, still a yawning expanse of abyssal darkness that seems ready to swallow them all up.

At the edge of the trench Maxima waits to make sure everyone is still together. While she does, she closes her eyes and focuses. Reaching out with her mind she probes the depths of the trench. Her expression seems to go from sudden elation to shuddering revulsion in the span of a split second. <<I felt something, it was faint, but at least a faint mental presence that felt Almeracian is down there... along with something else, alien, horrific, and feeding.. There is no time to lose.>> And with that she plunges on ahead into the Stygian darkness.

Kara Danvers has posed:
    Kara has never been 'that person' who has helped gear up her fellow Titans before. It feels nice. It's a shame she still doesn't know how to relate what she's doing scientifically with the group. The concepts on Earth are still so alien to her. The worst part is - they all think their terms and approaches are completely rational and logical. Their perplexing ideas of how the universe is constructed is tantamount to a religion in her eyes. At least the scientific method is alive and well and they are willing to change their view points when presented with new evidence.

    Kara holds out her hand to Caitlin, "Then you can swim with me and you'll learn as we go." She has had mostly negative experiences under water on Earth. From a bomb detonating right next to her that she dumped in to the bay of Metropolis when a bank robbery went horribly wrong, to the monsters they fought in the bazaar not just recently, to Brainiac's ship crashing in to the ocean.. and something she hasn't even told any of her friends about, her own Fortress of Kara that had to be destroyed when it detected Power Girl and started producing weapons to destroy her.

    So far the best thing to come from the oceans for Kara? Tempest. That adorable mage team mate who is rarely ever around. She supposes Aquaman ranks up there too. He's not on her wavelength though. She must ask her cousin about him some time. "Ready? Down down and away!," she says and dips under the wave yanking Caitlin with her irrespective of if she's really ready or not. This is Maxima's mission, she's here to help out this new foreign friend. Finding this city is personal and she understands that, having lost Kandor to Zod.

    As they dive deeper and deeper, Kara turns on her lights. They don't penetrate that far and down here with the mask on she can't use her heat vision - and even if she did, she'd be fighting the mighty oceans of Earth, sapping away the heat and her energy quicker than she can push it to its limits. That'd also be a bad thing, because down this deep they might as well be on an alien planet, there's no sun to recharge her here.

    Kara thinks to the group as she talks as well. She is not used to this telepathy thing, "If we can get the city without disturbing that monster all the better."

Vivian Vision has posed:
"It will certainly be my first time swimming in deep water," Vivian chimes in when Caitlin mentions she's not used to swimming. "And I expect I'll mostly just be sinking and walking around on the bottom."

The deeper they go and the darker it gets the more she adjusts her holographic systems to compensate. Creating a bubble of light within the darkness. Just barely big enough to allow the team to see, but not so big it'll draw attention.

She switches so her audio output is being wirelessly sent through the telepathic device.

"The cold may also impact you. At the depts we're reaching it will be similar to that a polar environment." Of course the Titans engineering department have probably factored this in too. With heated diving suits or team members for whom the cold just isn't an issue.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
Caitlin isn't the only one enjoying the freedom of the air. Though if needed to assist with any last minute preparations, Meggan pitches in. Carry a tank, check a hose, she can do all of that. Otherwise she watches with an intrinsic interest until it's time to roll. "Swimming gets easier with a practice. In a way, it's like flying. A thicker medium, that's all." Casting up that friendly encouragement to Caitlin and Kara, she adds a smile.

Dipping from a great height to skimming over the wavetops, the blonde casts her arms wide to almost embrace the violent heave of the Pacific. The upper reaches are always the most excitable, though a rather efficient kick from her covers far more distance than it has right to. After the initial plunge, she rotates to align with a swan-dive that cleaves downward through the enveloping ocean. That whole matter about illumination is answered on the visible spectrum with a shedding of bioluminescence from the long trail of her golden-silver hair, cast off her iridescent skin. That slight bluish cast isn't accidental. Light that gleams and flickers could be seen as a warning, past a certain point. Won't make much of a difference once they leave behind the murky last light into a place known only to darkness since the primeval beginnings of the sea, minus the odd bolide.

For a tactical sense, she swings wide to take up a point behind Maxima, within reach of the others should the need arise. No need for a motor! There /should/ be more resistance to the building pressure around her, a struggle to advance with increasing odds stacked against her. But with the fluid movements as she swims, they aren't showing up nearly much.

<<Feeding? To our benefit if it's already glutted. Meals down there are few and far between. We probably can't count on that, can we?>> Her thoughts are crystalline to a telepath, unnervingly easy to register. A pulse of approval follows Kara's thoughts. <<A good idea.>>

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
"Y'know, the cold never's bothered me," Caitlin remarks. "Humidity though, hard pass. I never want to go to southeast Asia again."

She holds Kara's offered hand tightly, welcoming both the emotional and physical support. Descending into the depths without a means for traversing them easily is not Caitlin's idea of a good time. She's a hell of a swimmer, granted, but more in the sense of being superhumanly strong rather than being proficient at the task. Everyone else on the team has the advantage of instinctive mobility granted by dint of their sheer force of willpower.

For Caitlin, the surface is a couple of *miles* of vertical climb, swimming as hard as she can against the density of her body.

Donna Troy has posed:
    One person who won't be arguing science with Kara is Donna. She knows it's not her field, so she tends to stay out of thing when they get too scientific -- though oddly, she'd rather agree with Kara's assessment. They do things differently on Themyscira too. There the great flourishing of ancient Greek science continued, undimmed by dark ages, in the hands of immortal women whose intellects are divinely boosted. However who have continued that flourishing in a culture that largely deems science a philosophical pursuit rather than a practical one, valued for the abstract pursuit of knowing the infinite better rather than for technological innovation.

    The results are a little weird, and differ significantly from the science of Patriarch's World. Personally Donna suspects the reality probably meets somewhere in the middle, just on the law of averages.

    Donna is on the pretty comfortable edge of the spectrum when it comes to swimming, and makes the descent relatively comfortably. It's a lot deeper than she's used to going, but water is water, right? Being raised on an island, you get a lot of practice. That island being the one it was, she feels reassured by the short, silent prayer to Poseidon she made before the descent.

    <<If this is their natural habitat, they are probably /really good/ at detecting nice tasty souls from a very long way away,>> Donna replies to Meggan's thoughts. <<My guess is we can probably count on being the local equivalent of a fifty foot high neon sign reading 'free lunch'.>>

Maxima has posed:
<<Troia is right. The strange creatures we fought in the bazaar seemed to be consuming souls, most denizens of this planet don't seem capable of surviving down here so it would make sense if their senses evolved to reach where their prey normally dwells.>> Maxima agrees with Donna, her voice coming across the link as they descend into the inky blackness, lit primarily by the lights of Meggan and Vivian.

<<I have no doubt your warrior spirit will carry you through.>> Maxima mental voice sounds in Cait's mind, across the mental link images of the other thoughts that color Maxima's thinking creep in, primarily Cait slamming a massive hammer down upon the core of ZZGU.

The fish and sea creatures as they descend down down down through the inky darkness go from the familiar to the nightmarish. Big eyed and savage toothed Angler fish with their glowing lures, menacing Viperfish, Coelecanths, and Vampire squids. Some are giant monstrousities more reminiscent of horror novels like massive Oarfish, Giant Squids, and Goblin Sharks. It is perhaps a relief though that no Lurkers seem to be appearing, at least not yet.

After what seems like an eternity in this lightless void where darkness seemes to extend infinitely in all directions, Maxima's mental voice can be heard again. <<The mental presences are growing stronger. We are getting close.>>

Kara Danvers has posed:
    Kara sinks at a rate best for Caitlin rather than herself. No need to push herself.. let the weight take her down to buoyant and then 'fly' just a little against that too. Her lights shine around on to many different creatures who have never even seen light like that before, or use it to hunt.

    "I wish we'd been able to get Aquaman or Tempest with us. They know more about these oceans than all of us combined," she says in to comms and of course over the mental link at the same time. "When it comes time - let Maxima dash for her city. If it awakens anything that wants to eat us, the rest of us work as a distraction until she can get free. Then we leave. The fewer of these things we have to destroy the better. For us and for them."

    She gives Cait's hand a gentle squeeze, "How are you doing Cait? First big swim, very very deep end of the pool. For all of us. Breathing okay still?," she checks on her friend and looks her over, shining her helmet lights on to her body. She can't hear the heart rates of her team as easily in the water. It's all lengthened and subdued from the thick pressure.

    "How is everyone else doing?," she asks and looks around. Then she catches sight of Troia and smiles behind her mask. This is not the same Supergirl she left behind when she disappeared in to space for months. With Troia gone, Kara stepped up with Kate and they did their best to keep the Titans on track, especially when those villains picked a fight.

Vivian Vision has posed:
<<I have no idea if synthezoids have souls,>> Vivian muses as the group sinks deeper into the depths. <<But now is not really the right time for that philosophical discussion. Do we know much about these creatures and their capabilities? Physically strong? Technological weapons? Mind powers? Magic?>>

At this depth most of her information gathering systems are cut off. So she's relying upon a datastore made up of every possible ocean related fact she could upload in the time allowed. Including technical guides for every known swimming technique known to Humankind.

And yes the datastore does include the entire soundtrack to 'The Little Mermaid'. Thankfully for the group only specially directed thoughts are being sent via the telepathic interface..

<<I hope no-one will mind if I record this adventure for scientific purposes? I do not think there has been much documented about this part of the Earth and it will greatly interest Great Aunt Nadia and the other members of GIRL.>>

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
Caitlin checks the dive watch on her wrist, the steady tick of the pressure meter estimating their depth.

<Viv, get all the video you can. It's not often we get a scientific expedition to the bottom of the ocean.> She signals at Donna and Kara. <We're coming up on two miles, ladies,> she advises Kara and Donna. <I'm struggling a bit with my breathing; I'm switching to the liquid PFC infusion. Donna, do *not* throw up this time,> she bids the Amazon.

Caitlin adjusts a tube into her helmet and liquid starts to burble into it. Her grip tightens on Kara's hand, trembling with suppressed panic as liquid perflurocarbons replace the pure oxygen in her mask. Caitlin's had more experience than most with liquid ventilation, and adjusting to breathing liquid only takes her a few seconds. She flashes thumbs up at the others, and gives Kara's hand a squeeze to indicate she's ready to continue their descent.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
<<Not the first time down this deep. The bottom of the trench is another story. An excellent one, after all of this.>> Meggan's correction is gentle and laced by humour, a good mood despite the fact a blobby fish with another nodule stuck to it decides to approach. The wisping swirls awakened by brushing her hand aside, urging it away, sends the hagfish and its mate bobbling end over end for another meal. No matter how tasty that gently glowing limb looks, those needling teeth are not quite getting their chomp in. So does she take advantage of the shifting proportions enforced by the depths, adjusting at some cellular level that creates very subtle tells. Soon in the deeps there might not even be purpose for the modifications of fish higher up. But the delicate fanning of gills at her throat works for now.

The same general physiology of an Atlantean holds up, notably those of the pure-blooded variety, with shifting augmentations to further ease the swift transit of the deeps. That doesn't mean getting ahead of anyone. Sparkling shades shift away from a steady golden hue to something blue-shifted, the longer wavelength better suited for not being absorbed by the surrounding waters. Or stunning a long, thin filament that very much is alive, flashing its alarmed messages at her. She does not flash back.

Pirouetting in the stifling, infinite void, she trails her fingers through the water and hangs in place. Those minute adjustments of her fingers match up with a catchy Opetaia Foa'i song. <<Down to find a lost island.>> Slow undulations form as she visibly tilts forward, feet pointing to the sky.

<<Were they like the earlier hunters that struck the coast months ago, they hunger. Feeding and devouring consumed them, and they would strike one another in their frenzy. Like sharks.>> She extends that thought while they might get flashes of impressions from her, the monstrous depths and widths of an inverted pyramidal chasm vaguely felt. Traces of minerals, the poisoned upwelling of a stack from somewhere ruthlessly deep. Therein lies the risk of being even privy to her unveiled thoughts, they weave and burn through an enormous literal volume of water while actually plucking out strange strands. Heavy salt; ink-sweep jet, the burst-bubble run of a frantic vampire squid getting out of the way; hate-hate-hate.

Malice, thick and heady on the tongue. A long webbed finger points. <<There.>>

Donna Troy has posed:
    <<Record away Vivian!>> Donna sends. <<Never know, you might end up recording some important piece of information that we miss, apart from the scientific curiosity. And we are going somewhere very little is known about. I'm not sure even Aquaman or Tempest know a whole lot about what's down here, it's not exactly prime real estate for Atlanteans either. As for the creatures, information is limited by the things that look like eyes are the weak point. >>

    As they approach their quarry, Donna readies her weapons. She has brought along her lasso, because you never know, but it's not a weapon she expects to be useful in the dense medium. Her sword, though being rigid would suffer less than the lasso, she leaves at her side. For this environment she's going with a long spear. It's not her favorite weapon, but you don't get to be an Amazon without training with one, and they're definitely the weapon of choice for under water. The waters of Themyscira are guarded by giant megalodon shark, and long Amazonian experience has shown that undersea monsters are best dealt using a /long/ weapon.

    Donna gives Kara a thumbs up and sticks her tongue out at Caitlin behind her mask. Her eyes go to look into the darkness surrouding the ring of light around the group. <<If we're going to get into a fight it would be nice if we could do it with the advantage of something solid beneath our feet,>> she says.

Maxima has posed:
<<I am fine.>> Maxima's thoughts come across the link in response to Kara's question. Though it is the only answer she was ever likely to give, the Stoicism of the Almeracian warrior caste being what it is. Whether she actually is fine on the inside is another matter as the scenery continues to skew more and more towards the nightmarish.

The abyssal layer falls as they breach into the space known as Challenger Deep and with it the familiar creatures that have been recorded by the observers that dwell above. At first Challenger Deep seems clear of life. That is until shadows in the inky blackness begin to move at the edges of the light and as they come up upon the bottom it is like a twisted wonderland of eldritch horror.

Giant tubeworms litter the sea floor, but live up to the moniker far better than the 10ft varieties recorded at lesser depths. The tubes themselves are like 30 foot spires and the creatures within, inky black horrors with glowing eyes like the protrusions of Angler fish at random intervals along their length. Moving among them in the water, similarly decorated amorphous masses of tentacles that resemble the creatures fought at the bazaar. Truly huge Giant Isopods like something out an H.R. Geiger illustration scuttle along the bottom. Some areas lit minimally lit by the eerie glow of bioluminscent corals and microorganism only adding to the disconcerting ways the other shadowy creatures seem to move in ways that defy sane explanation. Amidst this terrifying 'ecosystem', following the direction Meggan pointed everyone in, lies the mouth of a yawning cavern in the sea floor that leads to gods know where.

<<There.>> Maxima concurs with Meggan, the images of 'there' moving across the telepathic link as well. As the heroes approach, however, the entire ecosystem seems to come alive, countless creatures hungry for them.

Kara Danvers has posed:
    Kara concurs and says to Vivian, "I don't mind. Who is GIRL though?" It's not something she's heard about as she doesn't hang around the Titans tower chitchatting too much most of the time. She's not yet heard Nadia talk excitedly about her business initiative.

    Kara nods to Gloriana and says, "Stories about the deep. I'd love to hear those." Her eyes turn toward the cave in question and says, "It seems we're going to need to be hasty. I'd rather not tangle with these things if at all necessary. Maxima, let's push on and deal with our exit later."

    She holds Cait's hand as it is squeezed and watches her cautiously in case she suddenly struggles with breathing the liquid air. She seems to hold it together and there is a smile. Kara is impressed. A hand is placed to her chest and she says, "/krym rao w kryp fis doliause tahn/" to the group in general. It sounds very much like a prayer. Kara floats in to the cave, conserving her energy for when she might need it. "Ready Maxima? Be quick if you see it."

Vivian Vision has posed:
<<Oh yes I was so distracted I forgot to say I am doing well. Somewhat more waterlogged than I usually prefer but my systems seem to tolerate this depth. I have lost direct contact with the surface though.>> A subsection of her mind begins calibrating her optical blasts for underwater use. They won't have anything like the reach they would in the air. Too much energy gets lost boiling water, although that in itself might be unpleasant for creatures adapted to this sort of cold, dark environment.

<<It's Great Aunt Nadia's research lab. Genius In action Research Laboratories. Once we are closer to the surface I can arrange a visit if you would like.>> She considers the situation for a moment then adds <<Unless anyone objects I am going to produce the most light I can. I suspect anything adapted to this depth will find even a little but of light painfully bright. It could slow them down or discourage them from attacking.>>

Or it could drive them into a feeding frenzy or lure them directly over at Viv.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
<<It was too much to hope they might be nice.>> Meggan's thoughts trail as she counts off the strange shapes emerging from the marine snow and rocky gouge of an oceanic plate grinding its way in a deeply subducted dive for the mantle. Here the thin, puckered skin of the earth is twisted in ways fit to make the floating young woman narrow her eyes. A thin rime of green frosts enormous, black pupils swallowing up too much light. The shift in her physiology have been subtle all along, her cells forcibly altered on the micro level to deal with pressures so strong they implode the normal structure of anything not biologically evolved or warped to endure the crushing, gasping pressures.

Tentacles waving round and round make that knife completely useless, strapped neatly to her side. But perhaps, then, knives are simply for show. Her slender, elongated fingertips are soon enough armed by pointed, long claws that certainly don't seem to be all that unfamiliar. Water circulating through her nose to her mouth is cold, a murky cloud expelled to the icy chill. The occasional kick doesn't mar her buoyancy, though she looks to the others. <<Do you want a pulse of light? Expect they will want to eat us all, given the chance.>>

Her tone is piqued, mildly tilted. This close to something exuding such malice keeps her teetering, poised, waiting. <<Ready when you are.>>

Donna Troy has posed:
     <</throniv poseidon w kryp vadhad rraop i.../>>Donna transmits, followed by the telepathic equivalent of a laugh and <<FAIL. I'm still flakey on the structure, and I have no idea what the word for 'realm' is, Supergirl. Trying, though. >>

    She lets her forwards momentum die down naturally to allow the others to drift ahead of her as she takes up the rear, spear held out and eyes on the open space around them as the approach the darkness of the cavern. <<They'll know we are here soon enough, and light will be more familiar to us than them. No reason the light should be centered on us though. Let's put down some flares, that way we'll see them coming into the light well before they are onto us. Cait has a few designed to work at this depth. We can drop a couple ten, twenty feet from the mouth of the cave. That way if we're leaving in a rush, we won't be running into darkness.>>

    The point of her spear weaves slowly from side to side as she covers the angles to their rear as they approach the cave mouth.

Maxima has posed:
Maxima nods her head in agreement with Kara and somehow the sensation of this carries across the link as well, the sense that she is in agreement. <<Yes, we move fast. The light will be our advantage. It will take too much time to fight them. Produce as much as you can while we move.>> She begins to gather her telekinetic power even as the deadly landscape eldritch horrors comes alive around them, gathering it for a burst of pure speed for herself and for the others as well should they require it. <<Go, now!>> She gives the signal bursts forth like a hypersonic torpedo making straight for the yawning cavern, weaving through the grasping black slick bodies of the monstrous tubeworms and the grasping tentacles of the many 'eyed' other things.

A split second after Maxima vanishes into the darkness of the cave however, a shockwave current rips through the water like two powerful forces just collided /hard/. <<You! What have you even become?! How do you reist me?! Why do I bar my path?! WHERE IS THE CITY?!>> Maxima's anger and even rage can be felt clearly across the link, images along with them of another young woman, who looks exactly like Maxima save for a strange technological circlet and other implants through her body not disimilar from technology seen in Brainiac's drones but twisted by that familiar black Lurker ichor, barring her path into the cavern. And from deeper within more humanoid Antlantean/Lurker hybrid creatures seem to be emerging.

<<I AM THE HARBINGER OF THE DEEPEST MAW THAT SHALL CONSUME THE LIGHT AND ALL LIFE!>> A powerful psychic broadcast rips through the area easily felt by all. <<YOU FOOLS WILL BE AMONG THE FIRST!>> The mental voice is uncomfortably similar to Maxima's but colder and almost echoing.

Maxima's mental voice comes across the link again, it is strained with a forced measure of calm. <<I can sense the city up ahead. Please get it quickly.>> Did Maxima just say please?! Such is perhaps the import she places upon the lives of her subjects. <<I will face her here and keep her from pursuing you.>> With the emotions bleeding through the telepathic link, it is very clear these two are about to throw down, hard.

Vivian Vision has posed:
It's probably for the best that Vivian is receiving all of the psionic emotional information via an external device. Otherwise the emotional output from Maxima and her foe might overwhelm the young synthezoid. Thankfully instead of directly triggering emotions within her it's currently set to display emotions with convenient icons.

In this case mostly some very frowny faces.

She can't hope to match some of the faster members of the expedition under her own power, but she'll make best speed towards where this city is supposed to be. Lighting the way and, if need be, firing some eye lasers at incoming threats.

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
Caitlin flashes a thumbs up at Donna and reaches for her belt, with extreme low-drag pouches mounted. She slows down enough to fish out a few of small strobes and lets them float to the ground below. They start blinking with an eye-catching yellow-green even under the depths of the sea, and she lays them in a line leading out of the cave mouth.

It's then that Maxima screams, and the psychic backlash has Caitlin gripping her head and curling in the water in consternation and pain. Still-- the Titans are tough stock. She rallies quickly and counts noses to make sure no one's floating up, and sets a course for the City, following Maxima's pleas. Thank goodness for the lending of that flight power, or Caitlin would be stuck doing the breaststroke the whole way!

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
Emotions bleeding down that mental link she has no resistance to are a poison for Meggan, wrath and rage interposed with the harbinger of violence that Maxima and her opponent maintain. Her fingers rake through the water, willing it to churn, weaving, twisting where the confused currents at the uttermost bottom so rarely go. It's all fuel to stir and shunt barren seas around, feeding them the overflow and they rise in response to the golden-haired girl. They move for her. They churn with her unrest, Maxima's anger, a reflected disquiet.

Anger can be a quiet force or an explosive tide. Malice simmering from the bottom of the trench saturates the water and the grey snow of millennia stirred up by motion. Muddy swirls exploding in Maxima's wake and Meggan's relentless encourageent present a problem for visibility perhaps, but they certainly make it more confusing for hunters reliant on other senses to pick out the heroes. Not just visually, but with all the cross-currents and building whirlpools, the sonic and vibratory noise dampens a suite of other abilities. Writhing tubeworms might be hard-pressed to catch her when accelerated by borrowed telekinesis and her own projected ability to swim at unnatural rates. She darts around with a strategy probably familiar to an Atlantean or their satellite states, creating a maelstrom in miniature. Hopefully it gives cover for the others to move through.

The evident Atlantean water-witch turns near black eyes to the crooked fissure in the crust home to the strongest source of emotional turbulence. Some backlashed rage seethes through her, joined to the thrill of the hunt, the pitiless eyes of impassioned nature personified in a creature only human in shell. And not even that, right now.

Donna Troy has posed:
    When Troia was very young, growing up on Themyscira as the daughter of Queen Hippolyta and somewhat confused about her position in the island and in the court, with Diana a shadowy figure who had left the island decades ago, she had wondered whether one day she would be expected to wear the royal tiara her mother bore. To assume the duties her mother carried. It was something she never asked about, but fervently wished would never come to pass. Her mother all too often seemed distant and burdened, and in little Troia's imagination, that tiara became a heavy weight, a dreaded possible future, a constricting band of metal that would burn joy from the world.

    The backwash of anger through the psychic channel feels like a band of burning metal around Troia's brow, and for a moment those old forgotten fears rise up in the younger Amazon princess, dredged up from some deep corner of her subconscious, too confused and muddled to have context beyond that instant burning ache and an inexplicable sense of dread anticipation of an unknown future.

    Troia winces with the sharp pain, gripping her spear tightly at guard as she stifles the sensation and pushes the vague, contextless memories back down where they belong. She blinks into the gloom surrounding the sphere of illumination cast by the flares Caitlin has dropped, seeing for a moment in the dark shapes moving there a reflection of the giant forms she has seen so often looming in the distance in the waters of home, the great Megaladon that prowl the waters there.

     She shakes her head rapidly, to wake herself up and bring herself back to the present, and checks on the positions of the rest of the group. When she's confident everyone is still where they should be, she resumes her course, holding the rear-guard as the group advances into the cave, spear at the ready for anything that may be following them in.

Kara Danvers has posed:
    "/bythtahn/," she says with a smile to Troia, "You did really well!" she encourages. She moves in with a gentle speed until suddenly Maxima is all up in her head with the wild emotions. A look of confusion crosses over her face - she is SO not used to this psychic stuff, then she realises what's happening. "I guess we found your other missing thing too," she comments.

    Determination spreads across her face and she nods to Caitlin, "Come on, we're going faster." The water shudders as she starts to 'fly' more intensely against it, pushing back against the thick weight of it and pulling Caitlin along with her toward where the city should be hiding.

    It's one of those things, Kara is having trouble keeping some of her thoughts to herself on this mission, "I'm sure glad I'm not a Princess." The weight of what Maxima is facing fills her with the same dread she felt when Zod took Kandor from them, or the notion that may be her parents are still alive somewhere out there..

Maxima has posed:
As the area is lit up and the others enter the cave, the Battle of the Maximas comes into plain view rather than just fleeting images along the mental link. One of the combatants is clearly not like the other. A hightech circlet engraved strange alien circuitry encircles her foreheard like a tiara. At various points metal protrusions also emerge from her body covered with strange blinking lights that look reminiscent of technology seen in Brainiac's drones during the last invasion. However her most striking feature is that what passes for her uniform has been replaced by an almost sentient seeming black ichor and the blackened veins extending from her eyes before disappearing around her temples.

It is a vicious battle of ferocious blows that send shockwaves through the surrounding waters. Through the telepathic link the others also get the vaguest images of another battle being fought between them in the Astral Plane as well. For now they seem to be evenly matched, though as the fight drags on it seems like little by little the real Maxima is losing ground.

Meggan's enraged currents and even an Atlantean maelstrom through the eldritch creatures outside of the cave into chaos while the others move in. Giant inky tubeworms bump into each other and become tangled as their usual senses are confused, while the bottom dwelling horrific giant isopods scurry from the light, and for the more amorphous things it is all that they can do to keep their shape. Meanwhile Vivian's light and eyebeams illuminate the cavern causing the denizens within to recoil, one or two who approach too closely are made to think better of by the wounds Vivian's lethal lasers inflict, though they continue swarm at the edges of the light. Creatures that seem like they were once Atlantean in their former makeup before being taken by this 'Deepest Maw'.

Caitlin and Supergirl, with Donna bringing up the rear, find their path forward mostly unimpeded thanks to the bright light Vivian is filling the cavern with. The crack in the Earth continues yet deeper beyond Challenger Deep as the pressure continues to build. Glowing sigils, clearly magic in nature, begin to appear on the walls though they represent no language seen in over 40,000 years. Some are closer to pre-historic cave paintings while those who have studied Atlantean history might recognize the vestiges of proto-Atlantean script. The sigils become more numerous as the tunnels continue until they open into a rough circular chamber with increedibly large glowing quartz-like crystals set into the walls at each of the cardinal points, all manner of sigils etched into their surfaces and on the floor a single much much larger sigil that fills the chamber. And at the very center of all this a small Almeracian city bottled by Brainiac's technology. The entire place seems to practically thrum with mystical power and barely held back malevolence and hunger.

Vivian Vision has posed:
It's hard to say how much it'll help, but in addition to her holographic light field Vivian begins pumping energy into her communications systems. Configured to microwaves they'll slowly start to raise the water temperature around her. Probably not enough to be harmful, but for creatures of the deep dark depths? It might just be enough to make them reluctant to get any closer.

Anything that does get close enough to try take a bite will find she's a most unappealing meal, fifty tons of solid mass that's able to strike back, while anything that stays back has to endure pulses of searing laser.

Of course all the weird magic, symbols and tech get scanned for the records! You never know what might prove important later on.

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
<Viv, I hope you're recording all this. We could end up flipping a lot of archaeology on its ear,> Caitlin projects. The sounds of battle stir her into motion and she churns forward on that borrowed power. One creature lashes at her with tentacles; finding the redhead surprisingly more well-rooted than most, it's yanked towards Caitlin. A knife strapped to her calf whips out, severs two tentacles, and buries itself in what looks like a thorax. Off the creature goes, bleeding ichor.

<Viv, you're with me,> Caitlin tells the synth. <I'm gonna need help stabilizing the city before we move it. Donna you guard our backs. Kara, you're the fastest; if it sounds like Maxima needs help before we're done here, go help her.>

She swims over to the sunken city; unfortunately her tools are fairly limited given how hard it is to wear a backpack while travelling at high speeds underwater.

Caitlin winces away from another psychic echo, looks to Donna. <Donna, if that feedback gets too bad...> she trails off, pointedly. Caitlin's had bad experiences with psychic assaults. She holds a hand out. <Can you lend me the lasso? I don't know if it'll protect me but it might... I don't know. Help.> The precise way Donna's lasso works isn't quite the same as Diana's, but the principle is the same: an affirmation of the deepest self.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
Vivian taking care of the light assists the others to find their way. Meggan ceases to fling dervishes, for the disquieted sea responds to the furious elemental tugs until the whirlpools practically waltz with her through the darkest, narrowed deeps. She flits through the crushing pressure, more flying than anything. Webbed fingers and feet assist her progress as she glides in front of the undulating isopod in a snowy white frame with claws fit to break her in half with a good clack. The menacing rise probably intends to frighten, a threat display awash in malice. Particles fly up in the eerie light, crystals shattered and flickering with the projected synthezoid's light. Meggan is simply bound to fling herself into the fray at speed, answering the psychic echo seething through the mind. Maxima's own battle is something that spurs her on, perhaps.

And it might be the wrongness of it all. Donna, Caitlin, and Kara are bound to be far more logical about the matter. Hers is a primordial reflex guided by that peculiar set of tactics, colliding with the isopod at its more vulnerable legs, whirling the two of them into a storm that bounces off the rooftop and wall of the deep fissure closing in. Better to jettison the flailing, snapping creature away, down the direction they just came, as she takes up the back for a moment. Nothing like starting a frenzy elsewhere than hucking the contents of the proverbial chum bucket where you want the other sealife to go.

Donna Troy has posed:
    Troia's spearwork is rapid and precise as she focuses on thrusting rather than slashing moves to cover their backs as they progress into the cavern. Under water, thrusts work better, but it's not just that - she's not going for kills, she's trying to hurt the creatures crowding them, leaving them with a fear and respect of that metal point. Corpses get in the way of a rapid exit, but foes who fear your spear keep their distance.

    The proto-Altantean glyphs are beyond TTroia's knowledge, but she recognizes them for what they are, and what they represent. The sorcerous power of the place she can feel. Magic is a known quantity to Amazons, and Troia has always had a certain senstivity - and resilience - to sorcerous powers beyond what is normal even for Amazons. Such are the unpredictable ways of the goddesses gifts, she assumes. If she only knew the truth of the blood that flows in her veins, that Hekate herself is her neice, she might think more on the topic.

    Troia nods her head slowly to Caitlin, and pausing for a few moments from the fray while Meggan and Vivian deal with the encroaching creatures, she unwinds her lasso from her waist, but rather than passing it to Caitlin she winds it around her upper arm before handing Caitlin the other end of it.

    <<There is strong magic here,>> she warns. <<Around the bottle. If you are going to approach, it is best we remain connected by the lasso, Cait.>> She's not going to try getting into the supernatural metaphysics of her theory why - it's more of a feeling than anything strictly logical anyway, but then when magic pertains she'd trust her feelings over any attempt at logic.

Kara Danvers has posed:
    Kara's feet touch down on the floor of the cavern and she looks around with fascination, "What is this place?" Her eyes widen with the wonder of it all. It looks very old and very strange. Like nothing she's seen on Earth yet. Then again, this entire adventure has been like that. The deeper they go the weirder things seem to get.

    "Right. I see no reason to delay Maxima's victory.. then again may be her culture has a sense of honour that dictates they do things by themselves. Well, too bad, she's on Earth and we're a team here. /sern raogrhysu/," she says. A small smile looking over toward Meggan, "I'm sure glad we brought her."

    Kara thrusts out a fist, not a hand, and flies back toward Maxima making the water practically oscillate around her generating deep deep ultra low bass sounds. Kara bursts through a small horde of the black ichor creatures on her way right for the mecha-Maxima for a torpedo like punch, then looks to Maxima and gives her a wink, "I've got your back Princess."

Maxima has posed:
It is blow for blow between the Maximas back and forth, eyebeams lighting up the chamber and debris flung about in opposing telekinetic storms. That is until out of nowhere comes a Kara torpedo that manages to land a crushing blow against the Simulacrum sending the false Maxima crashing into one of the cave walls and kicking up a massive cloud of dust and debris.

<<I will never go back!>> The simulacrum shouts at them both. <<I would rather die than be forced to marry, all life and light can just cease, there is nothing worth saving!>> She grips her head as she writhes against the rocks, making seemingly very little sense. <<I will not see this city of my people fall into the hands of ones such as you!>>

It is a confused jumble. Destroy everything, preserve city, marry? The telepathic waves from the Simulacrum grow stronger as she screams in pain and confusion, a torrent of memories rushing over all present.

There is the aftermath of Genosha when the Simulacrum first arrived on Earth searching for Brainiac and the lost city, helping with the rescue efforts and meeting Earth's heroes for the first time.

Flash forward, Simulacrum Maxima is flying through space alone. The Skull ship may have eluded the denizens of Earth but she has managed to track it down. Not that she would bring anyone with her, it was none of their concern, this was her mission and she would see it through.

Flash Forward to a Maxima overwhelmed by Brainiac and its drones within the ship. Screams of pain as the Simulacrum is experimented upon and implanted by Brainiac, its psychic link to the one who created it cut.

Flash Forward, Lucidity and rebellion, the Almeracian city is found and seized with Maxima fleeing the ship, but in her disorientation and confusion, fleeing back to Earth.

Flash Forward to a Maxima overwhelmed by the minds around her, the minds of Earth bleeding into her own as she has been changed and broken by Brainiac's technology. She must get away, must hide. And so she seeks the deepest darkest point on the planet to hide with the city. But in doing so... is taken by the darkness that dwells there.

Maxima might have been about to say something about Supergirl's joining her fight, but if she was the sudden wave of memories disorients her enough that is is forgotten for the moment. <<You poor thing. I will end your misery.>> Maxima informs her simulacrum, the rage gone from her voice as long blades of pure energy manifest in each hand and she lunges forward to join the battle again.

In the viscinity of the sunken city as Caitlin swims over, her body begins to feel a little heavier, more sluggish, not the speed that she moves, enhanced by telekinesis as it is, but the movements themselves, like something has begun to slowly leach away her vitality and there is a sickening sensation that she is being watched by something terrible and ancient.

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
Caitlin falters, but a little. <Feeling sluggish, Donna,> she reports. <Not sure if it's physical or mental. Might be some feedback from the city. I'll know more in a second,> she says.

Caitlin is, among other things, a very well-disciplined individual. Most of ten years with the Titans have taught her how to do delicate tasks under extreme pressure. Once you've disarmed a neutrino bomb once or twice while under gunfire, you learn pretty quick how to keep your nerves from getting jangled.

<Okay. Power systems are stable. Life signs... good,> she announces. <I'm going to arm the inertial dampeners and engage transport mode. What's the plan once we're done? Somehow I don't think Maxima's going to stick to the plan and break contact with her Evil Clone.> It's fine, delicate work Caitlin's doing, activating and repairing the Brainiac life support systems. Without Kara's significant coaching and instruction, it would have been impossible without the Kryptonian there to help.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
Meggan abandons the morass of giant tubeworms and disturbing scuttling monsters. Let them fight it out, and hopefully Vivian can warn of any risk from behind. Up ahead, all the action consumes her focus. Blasts of ocular light and the torrential eruptions of telekinetic frisson would be a stunning display to watch if they didn't portend some kind of awful battle. She curls in on herself when the simulacram begins broadly projecting her anguished shouts, the fae convulsing in the water to yank her emotions and thoughts away. The former might have a chance, but the latter don't to the hammerbeat of intensified waves jammed through the mind. Bubbles stir around her when she somersaults in place, gasping out a sharp breath.

Maxima flinging herself into battle against her duplicate hardly improves things any, though she sucks in a breath and follows Caitlin's thoughts. <<Finish it. Faster the better. The magic only enhances the risk of something dangerous happening.>> Those glyphs glow in the bitter shadows, demanding her focus, though uncurling long enough to face them is nearly as difficult as swimming to the bottom of the Challenger Deep. Her hands spread out, clawed fingernails considerably shorter than the nasty weapons used to punch through chiton and armoured plating as found in the abyssal zone. Trying to render the shape familiar fails, for the alien nature of this magic deviates far beyond her own shores.

<<What do you need me to do?>> A simple question, a rope to cling to, as she floats slightly closer to Kara and Donna. Seems safest. Sanest.

Donna Troy has posed:
    <<I don't know what this place is,>> Troia replies to Caitlin, <<But I suspect you're feeling the effects of where we are, not of the city itself. It may be a very ancient temple, but it has the feeling of some kind of warding. Perhaps Maxima's... sister brought it here sensing something of the properties of this place would make it secure, but she may have inadvertantly freed something that was imprisoned here long ago, and stepping into the focus of the chamber could mean you are feeling the bars of that prison.>>

    She gives her end of the lasso a slight tug, making sure it's firmly wrapped around her forearm. It is the nature of these lassos that they are a focus and channel of power for their owners, and Troia hopes the lasso will be a sufficient drainage channel to 'earth' any dangerous magical energies oppressing Caitlin through herself, standing outside the center of the circle. With her free arm, she continues to weild the spear, to keep their exit clear.

    <<Meggan?>> she asks over the link. <<Do you see -- or sense -- what might originally have been at the center of this chamber? Can you identify the source of this sense of malice all about us? Something beyond what we're getting from the Maxima sisters over there?>>

Kara Danvers has posed:
    "Caitlin you've got this.. and I think you're right. We have a mission of mercy to finish here too. You should get that city and start leaving," Kara says as she slowly approaches the simulacrum - when the psychic visions of her journey hit her. She floats forward with eyes wide as the memories hit her and the emotions. It doesn't take too long for her to realise these are reflections of Maxima's fears.

    "Forced to marry?," she says peering at Maxima, then frowning at the simulacrum. "This kind of construct was illegal on Krypton. May be now you're starting to see why..." she dashes forward again, though this time not to punch her, but instead to grip her arm and flip her over. Gotta do Troia proud and actually fight smartly. Even though this is an abomination that needs to be destroyed, she's not so sure she _should_.

    Her time on Earth, meeting Kon-El, has made her question a lot of what she thought was common sense. It is then that her weight and the force of flying is used to push down and pin the simulacrum to the floor. "Shut it down Maxima..," she insists hoping that doesn't mean 'kill' in her terms, but it might very well mean that. On the other hand, it is just an echo of the real person, so would that be so bad? Again, she's not sure. "Gloriana, I don't understand how you do what you do, but I think Troia is right, I don't think this simulacrum set up a strange magical cave of glowing crystals and glyphs. We may have overlooked something..."

Maxima has posed:
"She is broken, that," Maxima searches for a word but finally settles upon, "villain Brainiac broke her." Further explanations can be made later. With Kara holding down the simulacrum, she releases her energy blades, "When I find the one who did this I will destroy them utterly." It is a rare set of emotions to see from Maxima, compassion, she is not without it even for a mere energy copy. Perhaps because it is an energy copy that wears her face and all of those trials could have befallen her. Instead she reaches out with her psychic power, Ferro-Kinesis seizing upon the Brainiac technology implanted through her double and disassembling them down to their component parts before crushing the remaining bits of technology out of existence. The headband snaps free and no longer artificially sustained the energy that had made up the Simulacrum's physical form dissipates before their very eyes.

<<Thank you.>> Can be heard in the minds of those nearby before the seperated artificially maintained conscious ceases.

Meanwhile in the chamber of glyphs. Rather than a grounding of the mystical forces Donna begins to feel it as well as the lasso links her and Caitlin, the slow siphoning of life energies and that sinister ancient presence like a giant eye staring down at them from afar or perhaps up at them from below. As the city is moved the chamber begins to shake though the rumbling slowly emenates further out through the entire cavern and surround sea floor moving outward from the epicenter in the middle of the large floor glyph. Cracks start to appear in the crystals at the cardinal points.

<<<FREEDOM... HUNGER... CONSUME...>>> A discordant eldritch psychic voice washes through the cavern as the mystical fields waver and the floor too begins to crack. Whatever the wards of this place were holding back, they no longer appear strong enough to do so.

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
Caitlin starts choking and coughing. The psychic assault is distracting her, even with the liquid breathing apparatus at work. It confuses her bodily reactions, her reflexes. In slow motion she starts to keel over-- but not before disengaging the lost Almeracian city. Her left wrist twines four times around the nigh-unbreakable lasson; in her other hand, she clutches the city to her chest and curls up around it like a mother protecting her baby.

<Time... to ... go...> is all Caitlin gets out before the crashing waves of psychic entropy start to make it impossible for her to think clearly. All she can do-- all that her role is in the universe-- is forming a protective wrap around the city in her hands.

Hopefully, Meggan can stall the eldritch monster waking in the depths long enough for the team to extract all members.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
Those glyphs in their pulsating waves and frantic flashing distract Meggan from the irresistible source of darkness burning right beneath them. Not for all the gold in the Treasury Department will she be convinced to alight upon the floor of the cavern, least of all when the Kryptonian, Themysciran, and metahuman are so heavily focused within the technological task before them. For her, that's near to alien. Embedded magical energies flow in the worst possible way, their fluctuations tearing at her heightened awareness. Savage tugs on the crumbling empathic walls erected and shattered send her into deep, soul-jarring shudder.

<<Go.>> A warning, unwillingly torn from her mind, arrives far faster than any of those forming thoughts teetering against the inchoate darkness spawning beneath them. Flickering tableaux burn in her mind, wild and increasingly disjointed impressions that speak to an alienness, roots funneling down into the basalt bedrock stained by a deep, feverish hunger for all. Malice welded to hunger; the ultrablack void lurks, turns. Antithesis of life. <<Ancient. Old. Hungers, it's stirring. You have to hurry, /go/. It wants to devour us all, and this is old, older than what built this tomb.>>

Light in the cavern might be uneven, cycling from good enough to read by down to a dimmed shine, but its inconstancy cracks something in her. She burns, a scintillating wave of gold-tinted light starting to engulf the Atlantean water-witch aspect from head to toe. Seals cracking as it were; she makes a sound of pure pain, but that doesn't stop the incandescence of a small sun from being kindled right then and there. <<Go. Take the princess.>> The vocal voice within their thoughts veers bell-like, wild, a symphonic of a spring rainshower and the earth waking up.

Donna Troy has posed:
    Troia grimaces as the magic energies come through the lasso into her, but stands firm. Caitlin needs time to work, and if she can share that burden, all the better. Troia is remarkably resilient to magic.

    When the city is freed, she pulls gently on the lasso, guiding Caitlin forwards, and wrapping a protective arm around her friend once she's close. She spares a glance at the crystals, frowning. <<We could really have used Raven here,>> she thinks into the link. <<Unless any of you are good at repairing ancient magics, I think there's not a lot we can do except get the hell out and pass on word to people who can do more.>> She guides Caitlin towards the passage leading out, gesturing to the others to get a move on as she gathers her lasso around her arm to weild the spear two-handed again.

    Faint words, conveyed through the mental link, are Troia's first attempt to do exactly that passing on of the word. <</ischyros Poseidon, wasilias ton okeanoi, koita to skotadi edo sta vathi sou.../>> an unspoken prayer to the great sea-god, a warning of a darkness rising within his realms.

    Then, less faint, and thought in plain English, <<I suggest we collapse the tunnel when we're all out. Let's go!>>

Kara Danvers has posed:
    Kara looks somewhat relieved that this creation was less sentient and whole than a real person. Dilemma about what is right and wrong has been averted for now. She feels the weight and body of the creature crumble away leaving only bits of metal and circuitry from Brainiac behind. Pushing off the floor and righting herself, she looks at the jagged crown of technology that remains.

    "Brainiac's stench follows us to the deepest depths of the planet," she says realising that Earth really is a bit of a fixer upper. No planet is without its history.. she has to wonder just how much of Kryptons history was washed away by policy and politics.

    Kara turns back to the group and watches Caitlin valiantly pull the city from its magical bonds. She smiles with pride at her teammate and then nods to Gloriana. She looks back to Maxima, then around at the whole team, "Time to go Viv." She eyes the exit and the ichor that is gathering there... "Making a path."

    The ground beneath her feet cracks even as the world around them crumbles. What's a little more broken floor when some ancient horrible god is awakening to devour them all. The water around her thrums like a small explosive was set off and she blasts through the thick wall of monster, scattering their eyes through the water to rejoin later when the swell has calmed.

Maxima has posed:
"Goodbye." Maxima says the dissipating mass of energy. She nods slowly for a moment in agreement with Kara. She never felt anything for a utilitarian copy of herself before and yet those memories, somehow this time is different.

There is a moment, a very real moment where it seems like Maxima might actually want to fight whatever is coming. After all it too corrupted her already confused other self and somewhere within she just can't shake the doubts of how much consciousness it might have actually established that maybe it's absorption however twisted was its own way of trying to shape an individual identity. Perhaps Kara has rubbed off on her a bit, but the other self is gone now and the questions along with her.

However even Maxima seems to have the tactical sense that they should probably leave the collapsing caverns and get the city to safety. When Meggan unveils her true form of Gloriana with the light akin to a living Sun doing her best Gandalf impression to buy them all time, Maxima too acknowledges it is time to go giving a nod to Donna.

<<Brace yourself.>> Maxima's voice is tight beamed directly into Caitlin's mind even as young metahuman closes herself around the city. Maxima watches Kara burst forth clearing the path and then with a telekinetic field enveloping both Caitlin and the city, VWOOSH!!! They are off! Vivian is swept up too in another field of Telekinetic force as Maxima evacuates her city and the two otherwise more mobility impaired members of the team at startling, perhaps gutwrenching speeds, but it gets them out nonetheless.

Meanwhile the floor cracks open and a blackness deeper than the deepest darkness begins seeping out attempting to consume Gloriana's light and Gloriana herself! Eventually she can no longer hold back to the thing's coming and joins the others in their retreat.

The cavern is collapsed behind the retreating heroes, but it doesn't do much to slow the emergence of the thing from beyond, the Deepest Maw that would consume all light and life it was called, and apparently rock too as that darker than darkness can be seen oozing forth and consuming the cave mouth even as everyone hastily makes their way back up and out of the abyss of the Mariana Trench. It's still coming. They need to warn someone, to warn everyone!