1964-11-17 - A Sinking Feeling
Summary: It wasn't ever going to be as easy as Magneto lifting a sub and impressing the girls.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
erik wanda 


0825 hours. South China Sea.

No one said this would be a nice trip or even a nice time of year. Arrangements performed by the Ethiopian dignitaries in conjunction with the Chinese delegation allows for an agreement. The interested parties will meet in Bangkok, and steam into international waters around South Vietnam. The Chinese won't tolerate anyone landing on Hainan. South Vietnam might tolerate such things, but they're engaged in a brutal and bloody struggle with the north that will end in ugly ways. Even for a master of magnetism, there are protocols.

That protocol is a very odd sight, a Liberian-flagged ship escorted by four Thai and two Indian ones, full steam ahead. It's not going to be the fastest option but most of the group left Manila and Singapore as soon as he agreed. They've been in place for a few hours at best.

Grey, choppy water greets them. Flybys at distance of US jets has been prone to shattering the murk. Other boats are around, lit on the horizon. Soviet, Chinese, North Vietnamese, American: none are treated as innocent in affairs. Hostilities are a hard thing.

Aboard the main ship with Erik is Zillah, that unflappable Israeli who probably has a job other than 'secretary' of something or other. He can be landing for all it matters, but this isn't a warship; it's a sleek frigate, yes, and probably stolen from a very rich yacht-owner who didn't pay his taxes.

"Nine miles from the likely site. We close any further, the Americans are going to be yelling and possibly firing," she says in her brusque way. She seems to expect disaster. "They say the subs are around there." She points. Hard not to notice the giant barges surrounded by neutral countries' ships.

Magneto, as he is properly known, has not come unprepared. Armor has been fashioned that adorns his frame, made of a heavily compressed alloy that he has spent well over a year developing. It is unlike anything known to mankind, with a hardness that exceeds titanium but doesn't quite meet the indestructibility of, say, vibranium. The plating covers his frame from neck to toe, shielding his vital areas with a matte mixture of deep amber and violet that somehow seems to reflect light in an odd way, like an opaque mirror. Beneath this, he wears a bodysuit of black; the X-Men uniform, emblazoned insignia covered by the playing over his chest.

In this, he carries an aspect of his persona that is almost Kingly in nature. Words, when spoken, are well chosen and carry the weight of an entire world with every uttered syllable.

"You need not advance closer, my dear," he tells Zillah, eyes focused upon the area indicated. "I can already smell them."

Two tiny metal spheres, which have been floating ominously in a perfect orbit around his neck, begin to bend and unwind, forming tendrils of metal matching that of his armor. These tendrils, at the beck and call of spinning fingers, form into a helmet that falls upon his head, shielding his skull, his neck.

He turns then, looking toward Zillah with eyebrows lifted. "Now is the time. Yes?"

Zillah wears her habitual suit and a coat. It's cold up there, and windbreakers are not widely distributed. A desert jacket will do just fine, the hood thrown back. Cinching it shut would be pointless. "We need to make contact with the others." Somewhere the captain and the crew of 280 are definitely capable of managing their own affairs with jets, warships, pontoon boats, and more. "I worry about the speedboats that might come blow us out of the water. Grave at sea, bad for a practicing Jew. I should be in the watered lowlands. Not in this hellhole."

They're fitted for a recovery mission as much as war. There may be no point if their work does not engage properly. The choppy green-grey waters foam around the hull and rock the boat. The weather in the early light isn't great, but the wind is steady and not at a full gale, nor is it raining this far out from land. They're too far to even see the coastline of Vietnam, but it is there, and the various members of the crew tracking matters on the plotted maps know exactly where they are.

"Don't tell me you're moving out," she says, jerking her head to the bridge. "Tell them. We need weeks and cranes to do this. You are the impossible, and if we can reclaim this, we can learn what is worth dying for without dying."

"You tell them," Magneto answers, as if to suggest that he's here as a favor, and not to take orders from the woman. "I have work to do."

The Master of Magnetism lifts his arms, and begins floating off his feet and into the air. He moves slowly, at first; but then, as if driven by a sudden burst of force, he accelerates out over the water. His body drops into a vertical position, and within moments, he's no longer visible to the naked eye; only the contrails of damp air disturbed show where he has gone.

Flying low to the water, he will remain invisible to radar in this regard. It only takes a minute and a half before he comes close to where the subs have sunk, and there, he slows to an upright halt.

Eyes turn to observe the area around him, searching for signs of trouble.

Zillah rolls her eyes hard enough they creak in the orbits after she turns away. The woman has an easy way of walking despite the driving wind. She knows how to bend her knees and move at an angle rather than forcibly against the driving force breaking on the bow. Her hair's bound to be a mess, but she hardly cares. One of the deck crew accept Magneto's departure as their signal and hurry to her, extending a hand to make possible the capture of the woman before she flies away too.

"We shouldn't be here," shouts the man.

"God willing, you go home to complain to your parents." She shakes her head and heads up to warn the captain of what he already knows.

South China Sea. Depth 75+/- meters.

The sea offers nothing but the faint whispers of snarling foam and surging breakers. Given its relative shallow state, the South China Sea doesn't tend to boast huge storm waves. It's still the Pacific and tempestuous in spite of the auspicious name. Magneto's senses need not search terribly far for the wrongness. Water conceals much but he might instead discover something that should not be. Underfoot lies a radial circle about a mile wide, and another within that, and a soaring array of spangled lines and spreading interconnections not unlike a Buddhist mandala. Except he's trying to look at it from a distance that only gives a skewed sense of the shape, rather than enjoying a bird's eye view. A high, precise spiral emerges off to the side, relative to the mutant, forming a disturbingly lovely spiral that isn't natural to any formation that big. Oh, plenty of sawtooth shells have the same mathematical precision. If that's a mollusc, it's as big as a skyscraper, going down into the seafloor.

Oh, the four oblong tubes of varied lengths also probably correspond to more familiar manufacture. Most of it's steel, copper running through, cheap tin used in places. Heavy metals for the reactor cores, that sort of thing.

For a few long moments, Magneto lingers. His eyes turn down to the rolling turmoil below and he begins to frown. Not all, it would seem, truly meets the mind's eye.

He had also suspected only to find two submarines. To sense four of the massive objects is… troubling.

Jaw set, he closes his eyes and turns his palms. Words begin to rustle through his mind, memories he's learned to drag from both near and far. Torture, the swastika, the green hair of a young woman, the red hair of a lover. Warmth and friendship, pain and anguish. Love and hate; compassion and malice.

Far below, the ocean floor finds itself… disturbed.

Arcs form in the waterlogged sand and dirt, concentric circles as the natural state of things becomes unnaturally disturbed. Two of the four are similar in size; he will choose them first, and with it, the ocean begins to rumble. A deep quake, and the rapid disturbing of the water that tells of something uncanny taking place in the deep blue.

|ROLL| Wanda +rolls 1d100 for: 9

|ROLL| Erik +rolls 1d20 for: 2

Not a great deal of metal, precisely, answers the wall. More importantly the spikes of energy rolling throughout the system come into the fray with damning force, relying on pathways cut from compressed minerals rather than folded metal. Oh, true, there are filaments and bits there, but the coral-encrusted formation works perfectly well with utterly refined crystal of a purity rare in the world.

The metal? Don't even ask what the alloy is, for its creation doesn't belong on the terrestrial periodic table and the variations therein might flummox or charm the magnetokinetic. Is it possible to love a chunk of stone? One of those thin ribbons, he might, a thing of artful elegance.

Unfortunately for Magneto, the structure, a mile or more wide, does not particularly take well to shaking the ground well. For one, it goes deep down. Two, he's not the first earthquake to upset the debris field lately and the reaction is simple: a massive, charged bolt fed by an enormous power source aligning on him in seconds.

Four subs?

Try a sub or two chopped neatly to pieces. Explosion? He's not near enough to tell. Massive energy beam?

Wanna be the experiment?

When electricity passes through a normal filament, Magneto can tell. It affects the metal in certain ways, and the sensation is similar, but… fragmented. Jointed. There is a pattern there, to be sure, but it is broken, and that alone is disturbing.

Still, what he does sense in that massive structure is… enticing. Almost erotic. He gasps, opening eyes that are reddened with the onset of tears.

Still, the build up of power does affect the magnetic field, and that he can sense. His eyes dart wider, and with a sudden release of his fingers, that tugging grasp upon metal so deep is released. The pieces of submarine sink back into the ocean floor, and with a harsh jerk of his head, Erik darts skyward. Fast.

Explosive bursts on the boats line up their radios one by one. Technicians shout and hurl their headsets away if they can. Others drop to their knees in pain. Order prevails where it can for the navy, sailors commanded to hold their places rather than abandoning posts. Hands clap over ears. People cry out in fear and rage and awe.

They should; th ebeam blasted through the ocean boils away the immediate mass of water above it. The stench of burnt brine and vaporized steam rises into the air, and the ghastly beam scorches one of the boats where Magneto tries to dodge aside. It clearly aimed at him. It very obviously means to blast him with a broadside wide enough to take out a proper ship.

Which it does. In a matter of seconds, the nearest ship on the path cracks down the centerline and goes straight into the water, inrushing seawater claiming a fresh victim. If they'd had that in the War, destroyers and carriers would've steamed fast as they could in the other direction.

The air around Magneto shimmers with palpable energy. He soars skyward, going higher and higher, while a sphere of heavily focused magnetic force builds around him. A shield of sorts.

Then, with an abrupt motion, he stops. Easily 100 meters up, he stops almost on a dime, and flips over himself, hands stretched downward.

The sinking ship immediately ceases its downward plummet. He holds it there for a moment, readying himself for the great pull.

The ship nearer is meant to support pulling a very large chunk of subnmarine out. It hardly counts as an enormous barge, like the 190 meter long and 50,000 long ton monster boat waiting around to perform a massive lifting. This one is far smaller, though not without problems when the crack threatens to pull the pieces into the abyss. Whether the site below wants to shoot a second time remains unseen, literally and figuratively, but energy hums in a vast centrifugal well focused on the sawtooth spiral structure crowning a ring of smaller spires.

A mile of it. A mile of networked energy conduits, it has to be terrifying, humbling. Nothing quite like this exists on Earth, not the way New York has a power grid. This would be more like sitting atop a glowing blue well.

Sailors shout and some lurching along the breakpoint are already donning life preservers, looking at the safety launches. Well, now what?

At least the sunken subs are quiet.

There, in that span of a moment, Magneto draws a deep breath. Then, with a great cry of passion, he pulls. He pulls hard, fingers trembling with veins pressed against skin. His eyes are wild, his body poised like an arrow against the broken ship.

Water stops its fill of the lower decks. The ship's two pieces begin to scream as metal rends against itself in places torn, but it rises. It rises up and up, causing water belowdecks to begin flowing back out and into the ocean.

Above, the shield around Magneto begins to glow a soft white. His face is one of utter torment and peace, a savior amongst the skies, backlit by the rising sun.

Aboard the Cormorant…

"Any movement below?"
"None, sir," reports an officer.
"Is the Explorer launching lifeboats?" asks a beleaguered captain, not quite sure what he's seeing.
"Yes, sir, though they may be unnecessary. Er. He's doing what now?"
"Earning what I'm paying for him," mutters Zillah. She clings to a railing inside the ship, hissing for breath.

On the water…

That crew might be grateful, though right now, the panic is considerable. Water headed out, big crack plunged together. What will mend the burst seam is an unknown to them yet, but a few ragged cries overcome the shouts. Hey, they're not dead yet!

Once the ship is leveled, Erik drills down deep inside; beckoning his power to a different level. Pieces of the ship rip free from each other and begin crawling together, bending and rending and forming a latticework of webbing designed to hold the ship together, at least for a little while. All the while, his body is lowering, down and down toward the bridge of the Explorer.

Said bridge finds its rooftop ripped clean off, exposing the CO and officers to the cold. "Captain." Magneto glowers at the man, his voice booming. "I strongly suggest you evacuate to a neighboring vessel. This will not hold forever. Then… you and your people need to turn around and go the fuck back home."

Ya think? Not a thing the captain can say to a mutant like that, or even think in the privacy of his own mind. He really might start thinking about that retirement condo in Palm Springs the wife keeps suggesting. Golf, gardening, no sign of an ocean anywhere. Perfect given this future, especially after remembering the Battle of the Coral Sea. This comes across as gut-churning.

"Right, suit up and evacuate the crew through the emergency launches. Go! Gentlemen, this is not a drill. Get Epstein on the horn and out, let's go!" shouts the captain.

Zillah, on another ship, hisses under her breath. "This is going to be an ugly situation. Make sure the reports are clear. No jets, no Vietnamese. If we end up at Hainan, China is going to have provocation for war."

Magneto rises into the air then, his eyes closing, mind focused. He will hold the ship together as long as he can; should the Captain's crew perform as expertly as they've drilled, maybe they will get out alive. Eventually, however, his focus simply wanes, and the ship begins to splinter.

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