1964-10-27 - Crystalline Cruise Party Crashers
Summary: In which our heroes meet some strange little crystalline creatures and a sunset cruise has some unexpected entertainment. (Mike as ST)
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
clark wanda ninette magma mike-matthews 

The Esprit de Liberte is a dinner cruise ship with three public levels for patrons, the topmost level being where the controls are from which the ship is piloted. The most lower level contains the engine room, storage, and other mechanical portions of the ship. The top public deck contains a lounge with padded couches to enjoy a drink, conversation, and to take in the view. The mid-deck contains seating for dinner and an outdoor deck at the prow of the ship that allows outdoor views. The lower deck contains a large dance floor and performance area for a DJ or live band and is enclosed with large glass windows that afford a view of the sunset.


It was supposed to be a sunset cruise with dinner and dancing. It's one of those society events, a fundraiser for something or another with a lot of fancily dressed gents and ladies wining, dining, and judging one another all in the name of charity, or art, or a new wing to something. All of that ceased to be the focus of the event when approximately five minutes ago, something came barrelling through the dance floor on the lower deck, knocking over two men in suits, three ladies in diamonds, and a white-coated staff member coming down the steps from the mid-deck. Nobody got a very good look at it, but it was brilliantly colored, shimmery, and fast, and it may have even looked like it was attempting to.. dance.. with those that it left tumbled in its wake. From above, on the dinner deck, shouts could be heard, as the dessert course appeared to be undergoing some technical difficulties.

The sudden chaos of something colored and shimmery knocking things over, and technical difficulties with the dessert draws Amara out from the conversation she had been suffering through for the last ten or twenty minutes. She moves towards the noise on the dinner deck, tucking her red satin purse beneath her arm as she frowns, looking around to see if there were any more fast moving shimmery things.

Ninette has been judging the food and finding it… acceptable. Dessert would be the defining dish, but then technical difficulties have kept it from happening. The shouting and general dismay have her standing up from her table and walking away from the man chatting her up, who she has no intention of going out with, and she heads toward the shimmery things, not away, with an irritable look about her.

A beautiful night on the water should allow Wanda to preside over alcohol and an empty table except for herself. The intense Transian woman does not invite casual conversation. Her inexperience in English and the laconic responses divert most haphazard attempts. A glass of wine in hand has yet to see much use. Her narrowed eyes survey the iridescent brilliance sliding through the boat at great speed. Being the twin sister to a speedster, and not a speedster herself, inculcates her against total shock at things moving faster than she does. Finally, something thrilling beyond numbing attempts at socialising in ways that make no sense to someone with precious little experience with hobnobbing. This is what she relies on Doctor Strange for. Going hunting after ephemeral sparkly things is what she does. She abandons her table and stalks deeper into the dinner deck. With any luck that hideous chocolate ganache thing will explode.

With pencil on paper, Clark had been writing about the cruise and the entertainment, field notes being jotted down as he cut into his steak at a patio table, when the noise of the commotion hit his ears. People falling, something moving, shouts? His ears focused to pick up what the content of the shouts were, as he stood up to begin approaching the rapid moving shimmering thing, trying to get a good glance at it, before taking a look to track the nearest restroom…somewhere he could change, if necessary. He's hoping it wasn't, and was just a matter of confusion.

While Clark is locating the nearest restroom, a small men's and women's single-occupancy stall on either side of the steps that lead down to the lower-deck, the shimmering spinning lights suddenly split off into multiple smaller objects. Wanda and Ninette get a more clear look at them as they flit across the tables. They are crystalline in appearance, strangely geometric but ever shifting to somehow seem to have multiple long appendages, sometimes wings, moving in a strange ballet of motion over the tables and past people, seemingly trying to sample all the food and drink and examine those gathered at the same time. Light seems to refract through them like prisms. As she comes up the steps, Magma is nearly bowled over by one. They are roughly a foot tall and seem capable of moving through the air at high speeds.

There's a shocked cry when she's nearly bowled over by the little prism-crystal person thing. Amara catches herself, trying to make certain that she doesn't actually fall over, although she loses her purse in the mess. Once her feet are secured she glances around, trying to spot where it went, calling out, "Over here!" She has zero actual idea that there is more than one, and this might be less helpful than she thinks.

Ninette finds herself near Wanda as they both go looking in the dining area for just what's going on here. "Did you see that?" she says in a thick French accent. Her only experience with something like this is crystal spiders that were up to no good. Since putting the freeze on them would out her as a mutant, she goes for something a little more mundane. She takes off her stiletto heels and wields one of them like a weapon, waiting for one to zip close enough.

Iridescent shapes flashing apart from the crystal punch bowl or a chandelier gains Wanda's notice. She stands on her tiptoes to see over the heads of fellow diners who might be prone to standing instead of bellying up to a table. Amber eyes narrowed in scrutiny try to track the gem-like beings zipping this way and that along linear axes. Such a pretty dance, if she held any sort of capacity for appreciation such things. "Yes." An answer to Ninette arrives before notice of her presence. No weapons visible on her except the wine, but she looks about for some kind of pudding or liquid. "Maybe they hunger."

This isn't the time to change, Clark decides. The situation's still too unknown. Instead, the young man moves over to those on the dinner deck, checking over those who might have been barrelled over to see if there's any woundss. His ears stay attuned to the noise of the movements, trying to keep prepared in case the gems come in his direction. "Is everyone alright? We all might want to start heading down the deck, just to be safe…"

The people around the dinner deck are having a variety of reactions from the "Ooh, how neat," sort who seem to think this is part of the dinner entertainment, to a few who are screaming and acting as if someone had just dumped a bucket of spiders on them. There's a bit of chaos, but Clark would notice that no one seems to be injured save for a few bumps or bruises from falling or tripping. But people do seem to begin clearing out of the room at his suggestion, particularly those nearest to him.

Magama's call draws the attention of some of the staff who rush over just in time for the sparkly thing to dart off across the room in the opposite direction, with the harried staff in tow.

Ninette pulls out a heel and just as one of the things goes buzzing by her, *CRACK* it smacks full force into that heel and it… splits into four smaller pieces which all go ricocheting in different directions until they all zero back in on Ninnete and suddenly she has four tiny sparkly geometric sprites tugging at her hair.

Wanda, finding a glass of wine that hasn't been consumed near at hand, seems to attract a more positive reaction as one of the larger things races up and dips delicately into the wine, the red staining its crystalline surface and being subsumed inside, causing its colors to shift more to the red spectrum before it delightedly spins in circles in the air nearby.

With the staff running off after it, Amara turns towards the dinner deck itself, moving further in and looking around. Much like Ninette she seems to be uncertain how to proceed without outing herself as a mutant. But, when she spots what happens to the one that Ninette hits with her heel she blinks, "Maybe we should…catch them?" She wonders, seeking direction from someone that might have a better plan than running around.

Ninette drops her shoes on the table and tries to pull one of the gleaming little menaces out of her hair. "Not. My. Hair," she seethes. Hey, her hairdo was elegant as hell, and now it's getting messed up. She tries to capture at least one of them and to swat away the others. "Out, out, out!"

Wanda falls into the squarely unimpressed but decidedly curious camp. A bowl of pudding might be called for. Possibly some chocolate shavings and sauce, if she can locate such at the dessert bar. Staff rushing to assist flow past her, and she maintains a vigilance uncommonly sharp even at the best of times. Whilst the little creature drinks from her wine, she fetches up a bowl to see whether a meal might be desired by their unsuspecting guests. "Feed them?"

They're still not directly dangerous…that's curious. Why are these things here, then? They seem to be enjoying the wine…nonetheless, when Ninette's being tugged at by the small sprites, Clark moves to dash up to her, trying to catch one in midair and grab it in his palm. "I hope these things have a ticket." He remarks outloud, as his hands move to rapidly clap down on one. "Does anyone know what these things are?"

Magma's advice on capture seems to be heeded, at least by the staff, one of whom grabs a centerpiece and up-ends it on top of one, capturing it within. *tinktinktink* the little thing goes against the glass agitatedly. *tinktinktink*

Ninette manages to catch one and pull it free from her hair. It makes a high pitched sound like, well, two glasses rubbing together. It's not pleasant, but neither is it harmful, it wriggles in her hand and is prickly, pointy. Clark, as well, manages to catch one from Ninette's hair, the smaller ones fitting within one's palm. Both wriggle and make high pitched noises when they are caught. The other two continue to harass Ninette, attempting to pull her hair out of its fabulous coiffure in revenge for being whacked with a shoe.

Wanda finds herself a couple of untouched desserts the next table over and as soon as she offers them, the two that were in Ninette's hair immediately forget revenge and instead dive into the dessert bowl, coming away covered in ganache. Meanwhile, the one drunk on wine continues to spin giddily near Wanda, almost singing to her in its high pitched crystalline whine.

"FEED them?" Amara just blinks at this possibility, although the proof is in the…pudding, as it were, when they flit over to start in on the dessert bowl. Armed with this, she starts to look around for something to offer them as well, grabbing the nearest staff to her to try and enlist their help in finding food, "Quick!"

Ninette looks at Clark and utters a surprised laugh. Then she tells him, "That joke is terrible." Once she's caught one of the little blighters, she holds it up to peer at it. "You behave," she tells the thing. She sets it on the table and puts a glass over it. Take that, hair-ruining menace. She pries another one out of her hair. "Put that pin back, that's real pearl!"

"Feed them," repeats the dusky-haired sorceress in her fashion. Her tone remains fractured and low, driven in large part not to upset their fractal crystalline guests that flock around the bowl and glass. "Wine?" Wanda asks Amara, being that she's the nearest individual and Ninette suffers dreadful coiffure malfunctions. Assistance on that front is rather deadpan in its delivery, bridled in cool statements. "They eat. See, they want to be happy too."

"…They're here to party." It clicks as Clark says it outloud. The 'dancing', the wine, the pudding…it seems even small crystal things want to unwind. The journalist rushes towards his table down the deck, grabbing his steak before spinning around and making stride back to the dessert deck, setting it down and releasing the crystal in his hand towards it. If this will assist in distracting them, it might work. "It's one thing that they want to eat, but we need to hope this will actually satisfy them. Do we even have enough for them, considering the duplication?"

With the help of a nearby staff member, who starts pouring out glasses of wine, Magma is able to attract the ones nearby, even the one trapped under the centerpiece, as they sip at the wine that she holds and trill and spin happily around her.

Ninette places hers under a glass and it agitatedly *tinktinktinks* in an effort to get out, bouncing off of the walls of the glass prison angrily. She is also able to retrieve her hairpin with real pearl as Clark offers up his steak. All of those around Clark and Ninette gravitate toward the steak. They poke into it and begin sucking it into themselves. They seem to draw food in like a straw or syringe, and it changes their hues as they do so, the steak making them go a kind of reddish color.

The ones that Wanda feeds seem to be content, making their way through the desserts. People within the dining room that have fled begin to peer in curiously. The rest, have seemed to have decided to retreat to the lower and upper decks where the little menaces seem to be departing to head into the dining room. More and more of them seem to be coming, most about the size of the originals. Only a handful are the smaller size of those who encountered trouble and split smaller.

"Wine…" Amara agrees, holding out the wine to the little things, when Clark brings up his point, however, she looks slowly towards Wanda. The woman seemed to have figured it out, maybe she'll have the rest figured out. "What shall we do when we run out of food, or they are no longer hungry…if they ever are not hungry." The words are spoken quietly, and carefully, not wishing to alert the things to either possibility.

Ninette replaces the pin once she gets it back, and as the crystalline things go for steak, she fixes her hair. Hmph. Finally she gives the one under glass a Look. Then she sets a bit of complimentary bread beside the glass and lifts it up. "Eat this," she tells it. Hey, it's good bread all things considered. She glances to Amara and says, "Maybe music? They seemed to like dancing."

What wee menaces. Perchance they can be teased to morph together into a very large crystal shape that strikes terror into the heart of evil space-faring aliens. Wanda patiently sits with the bowl in her palms while the little creatures make their appearance. She does not rush into any conversation, and her manner remains rather calm as long as no threat presents itself. "Can you ask them? Where they go, what they need?" Briefly her amber gaze slides to Amara, acknowledging the risk with grave levity.

"Feeding them is attracting more of them…there has to be a source. Should we try and trap them, maybe?" Clark moves over towards the dining room, watching them filter in. His eyes and ears focus - does there seem to be a point where they're all coming from? Some sort of sound that's associated with them that he can then use to track new ones appearing? If there's a problem with bees…you need to find the hive.

Where are they coming from? That seems to be an excellent question, and as Clark listens very carefully, he can pick up on that crystalline whine that seems to be their singing or speaking or communicating of some sort. They seem to be emanating from somewhere on the lowest deck, near the engine room, though as he listens it seems that the sound is more prevalent around them. Wherever they were coming from, they're all filtering up to the dining room and accumulating there. It seems they've attracted nearly all of them at this point.

With the bread from Ninette and the aid of the staff, it seems that all the little crystalline critters are busy eating whatever they've been presented with. Those that are drunk on the wine seem to dance and spin in the air, looking vaguely reddish, or rose, or even champagne colored depending on what it was they consumed. The once filled with steak seem to be a little less dancy and a little more sluggish, just idly drifting through the air near the tables. They all make that little crystalline singing sound, though at different pitches and frequencies. For the moment, there doesn't appear to be any danger, and people start filtering back into the room, looking at them, attempting to poke at them, like humans do because they are curious creatures.

"I could most certainly ask…I'm not certain there would be an answer, however." Amara replies to Wanda, giving one of the things a wary look before she addresses it, speaking as slowly as she can. "Will you remain hungry forever?" She flicks a glance at Ninette at the suggestion of music, nodding to her before adding for Clark and Wanda, "Perhaps follow them to a source, or lead them back?"

Ninette reclaims her shoes, putting them back on. They add some height to the tiny woman. "Maybe we distract these while you seek out the source?" She holds out a hand to one of the drunk crystal sprites, like a Disney princess to a cartoon bird, and sings something in French to test the waters on this whole 'music' thing. She's got a lovely voice. It's what she does, after all.

"Yes. The source. I will stay." Wanda seems pretty calm for all the stress others demonstrate, no doubt a proof of being entirely incongruent with all normal social expectations. Someone who doesn't talk during a party but feeds the weird crystalline beasts wine and dessert, go figure. The wariness lies under the surface, cat claws prepared to spring out comparatively if needed.

The engine room? Why would they have originated from there? Clark takes a moment to figure out how he'd get there from here, He needs to figure out an excuse to convince the others that it's down there, one that doesn't give him away, so he takes a moment to look as if he's thinking, before down at his hands. "Ah…ah! When I was bringing the steak over, I thought I heard something near the stairs towards the lower deck, on the side leading closest to the engine room. That has to be where they're coming from, right? They just showed up, and it doesn't appear they've coming from over the deck…" It's not the strongest excuse, but it's one no one else can argue - none of them were with him when he left to get it. He turns towards the stairs, starting to move. "I'll head down there, see if the engineers have any idea what's going on or are alright…do what you think is best. I don't think they're a threat, but figuring out why this is happening is probably the best for everyone." Clark'll proceed to head down towards the engine room, seeing if anyone's even undistracted enough to stop him from heading down there once he gets closer.

People all over the ship are talking about the strange little things in the dining room. Some are afraid and staying away. Some are arguing with the ship's captain, trying to get him to turn the ship around and go back to port. The staff are attempting to assure everyone that everything is okay and gathering people either upstairs on the upper deck in the lounge, or downstairs in the lower deck where the dance floor is, leaving the dining room on the mid-deck to our heroes. That's mostly convenient, save that people keep wandering in there to poke at the crystal doodads.

However, it does mean that everyone is distracted as Clark heads down and he finds his way to the engine room entirely unobstructed as everyone is thoroughly distracted. Down there, he finds what appears to be a bunch of boxes with various repair parts for the ship, lighting fixtures, pieces for chairs, tables, decorative finials, and one particularly large box where the last few of these little crytsalline creatures seem to be crawling out from within what appears to be some parts of a chandelier. How they got stuffed in the box with the chandelier is a mystery. But it's clear that once they woke up, they busted loose and got all over the ship.

Meanwhile, back in the dining room, Ninette's singing seems to delight the little buggers, who go whirling and twirling around her drunkenly. When Magma asks one of the small things if it will remain hungry forever, there is a crystalline whine in response and it spins a bit in front of her. Did it understand her? Is it just responding to the sound of her voice? Impossible to say!

"I see." Amara replies, and…probably doesn't. But she seems willing to keep up this conversation as she very carefully moves to set the wine down that the creature is drinking from. "I'll go with him." She offers, even though he has already left and probably got way ahead of her, between Wanda and Ninette they both seem to be capable of distraction, and her curiosity is far too great in this.

Ninette smiles, showing she's actually capable of doing such a thing, and she starts to sing in earnest. She's got a silky smooth voice, and there's no shyness about her. So this time her audience is composed of drunk and glutted crystal things, it's not the strangest thing she's ever done. So she fills the dining area with song, something upbeat that a mysterious creature from beyond mortal ken can dance to.

Where they find them only raises more questions. Clark avoids touching the box, though he does crouch to try and see if he can find a label for it, or perhaps some idea of why they'd be in a chandelier box - are they pieces of the chandelier, or were they just in the box? When Amara catches up to him, Clark gestures to the box. "Doesn't seem like we'll be getting too many clues. We should likely leave the rest to the proper authorities, now that there's some idea of what's going on to tell them. They don't seem to be dangerous…but I've never heard of anything like them." There's another sweep of the eyes around the room, vision going beyond that of a human's to see if anything of the assorted objects looks out of place. Tampered with, suspicious, in general.

Clark's inspection of the room and Amara's help leads them to determine that it seems they got packed into the box. There's no sign of them in the other boxes. How they ended up in the box is a mystery, and not likely one they're going to solve by looking at it. The label is a generic well known lighting fixture supply store. Nothing unusual there. The box seems normally sealed, as though it were sealed up at the plant with the things inside. There's nothing out of the ordinary about the box itself. It seeems, for all intents and purposes, that the things likely just looked like chandelier parts and whoever packed them had no idea what they were doing with them.

Meanwhile, in the dining room, the little crystalline creatures continue to spin and dance and begin to lift and swirl around Ninette. It's actually quite beautiful, as a small cyclone of the things becomes larger and larger. People within the room watch in fascination as they all seem to coalesce around her, sated and stained colors based on what they'd tasted, then they begin to start to rejoin. The littlest ones first, coming back together into the small one foot tall ones.

"I'm not entirely certain that the proper authorities are going to be able to figure this out." For what might be proper authorities, but after searching, Amara does seem to be in agreement with Clark that there isn't a whole lot more to do. She reaches a hand up to brush her fingers through her hair, tucking it out of her face, "Bring the box, though…and we can go back to where they others are, yes?"

It must be quite a sight, the blonde bombshell singing amidst the swirl of colorful, bright beings. Ninette might even look deceptively innocent. In any case, she does her job and keeps them occupied while Amara and Clark get the box.

"Maybe not, but it's only proper." Clark bends down to pick up the box, carrying it out after Amara up back to the dining room. He sets it on a table that seems relatively uncrowded, turning to Ninette as she has the crystal creatures distracted. "Anything change with them, miss? Someone seems to have packed them in a chandelier crate, for some reason." Clark then glances towards the nearest official-looking person, quietly attempting to get their attention. "Uh, excuse me. Do you know if we're heading back to port, or what's happening?"

It would seem that the ship has indeed turned around and is headed back to port. The crew member nods to Clark and says, "The Captain is bringing the ship back in." She then looks at the spinning crystal things. "Isn't it kind of amazing? What do you think it is?" She seems completely fascinated. The creatures nearest Clark, however, seem displeased by the presence of the box, as all of them nearby immediately flee the area, getting closer to Ninette, which could get uncomfortable given how close they are spinning near her.

And yet, none of them touch her. But they do begin to fuse, more and more of them begin to form together, creating fewer and fewer of them, but the resulting creatures that dance in the area are considerably larger. When all is said and done, six crystalline figures, resembling geometric faeries of a sort, with wings and long limbs, twirl like ballerinas around Ninette, their colors once more prismatic.

"Who knows…" Amara offers her opinion as to what they are, her hands carefully folding in front of her. She makes no move towards the box, and doesn't look like she's going to do much beyond wait to see what the authorities might say when they are finally there. Although, she does move just a fraction closer to Ninette, just in case things go from just dancing to something worse.

Ninette shakes her head to Clark as she continues to sing, and she gestures to them. The obvious changes are there, the fact they're coalescing, but they're still dancing. Her song winds to a close, and she takes a breath, starting another one quickly. It was a great idea, except what happens when she stops? She doesn't seem eager to find out.

"ALright, thank you." Clark responds to the crewmember, before considering her question. "You know, I don't know what they are exactly, but they're proof of how beautiful the world is. That something like them can exist, not dangerous or threatening." He keeps watch on them fleeing the box, but Amara's there to assist Ninette, so instead Clark grabs his notepad, and begins writing. This is definitely something he doesn't want to neglect to get all the details of.

When the song stops, the creatures stop their twirling briefly and just hover, and when a new song begins, they take up their dance, but as the ship begins to close in on the city, eventually, they begin to spin off, darting around Amara and Clark, around Ninette and Wanda, and the crew members who fed them, as if in some kind of thankful dance, their crystalline voices rising and falling musically, and then they simply just, whoosh right on out the door and out to sea, away from New York City. There's no telling where they're headed, but they just dance out over the waves, light from the moon glinting off of them until they vanish from sight.

"It could have been so very much worse." Amara murmurs to Ninette after the figures have vanished, a smile being offered to the woman, then the others before she starts to make her exit before other reporters and things might show up to make note of peoples presence.

Ninette's voice tapers off when the creatures fly off. Then she clasps her hands together and says, "Did you see that? They turned out not to be irritating little bastards after all!" So delighted. She approaches the other two, resumes tidying her hair, and she says, "That was more than worth the price of the ticket."

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