Federation-Apocalypse Session 181a – Jaws

In coral reefs, gamete incompatibility prevent...

Pretty but painful!

Kevin promptly had the Nightwind Voyager move up front for the trip through the reefs; that way he could both pose in the front and be ready to do something about the reefs if necessary. Besides, he had one of the larger ships – and the toughest.

Raphael preferred not to be distracted while navigating reefs that had already gotten one ship. At the moment, the Corals were just as big a threat – at least to them – as the Machines! Still, he left most of it to the Thralls – who actually had some nautical skills. He knew spaceships, matrix hoverships, and core vehicles – but not ancient sailing ships!

Marty was piloting his ship; looking at the channels, this wasn’t something he’d want to take in even a light rain. Visibility of the reefs was limited at best, and the navigation was tedious. The blasted corals apparently didn’t like to grow in straight lines or to provide nice wide spaces to navigate through. Luckily, it did look like the traffic through the area had slowly widened a small channel through the reefs.

Of course, that left thralls piloting the remaining four ships in their little flotilla. Two elected to take the reefs slow and steady – but Te’gani thought it best to get through as quickly as possible and challenged another Thrall (who looked at him like he was crazy) to a race to the far side of the reefs.

Kevin advised them to pay attention to the people who had done this before!

(Te’Gani) “Why don’t we strap lots of iron to the front and simply plow our way through? I’m sure that would be faster!”

(Kevin, with some exasperation) “Because this is a sailing ship, not a starship with a fusion drive, atomic and plasma weaponry, and a defense field!”

It was a tight fit – especially in some locations. Other channels weren’t nearly so bad. Marty went with shiphandling (at which he was actually pretty good!) while Kevin – of course – went with layering their hulls with protective spells and having the Thralls conjure some reef-spirits and water elementals to help them avoid bumping into and damaging the reefs.

There were still a number of close calls, including times when the hull ground worryingly in some of the tightest spaces. During one of the tight turns the Nightwind Voyager nearly got rear-ended by the thrall in a hurry before the rest of the thralls involved managed to bring that ship to a controlled stop.

(Kevin, with more exasperation) “What’s the rush Te’gani?”

(Te’gani) “They said we needed to get to the other side before nightfall. So I am trying to move this ship through quickly. Besides, we have enough magic to repair any damage and we can’t permanently die either.”

(Kevin) “No, but some of them can, remember?”

The near-collision had left them turned in a very awkward way, and wedged. It took some time to get unstuck…

Fortunately, Marty (with the telekinetic thrust from the Thralls to help) was up to it – although the whole episode reminded him of Battling Business World Miami and their speedboat races!

Well, “battles” would be closer.

Kevin, meanwhile, had put Te’gani in his pocket and put someone more patient, thoughtful, and considerate in charge of steering!

Hmph. Maybe he should send the idiot kid to work for Dr Brenner for a bit. Better him than some random Thrall! Still, he might be able to cause some sort of disaster there too…

Marty, in passing, suggested simply sending him to sailing school, so he’d understand why you didn’t pull stuff like that!

After finally getting the ship unstuck, and a little more careful winding through the reef, the final obstacle was a sandbar.

Oh well! At least that was only a “get stuck” sort of problem! Marty aimed as directed, took a good look first (Aaagh! This “caution” stuff really WAS getting to him!) and was just about to go for it…

Meanwhile, Raphael had gotten bored waiting – and had decided to make things easier.

He made some “ship-in-a-bottle” pocket dimensions tied to rowboats. That way they’d be able to breeze through the reefs and the shallow water – and it would like them up for broadsides if they encountered a waiting enemy!

He started with his own ship, then rowed over to the next of his ships… It only took a few minutes per ship.

He caught up with the front of the line as Marty was starting to consider closing on that sandbar – and Marty was delighted! That would make things much easier on everybody, AND he got to say that he’d been on a ship in a bottle!

Kevin settled for heroically posing on a rowboat. It would look silly in a bottle!

As the giant glass bottle approached to swallow his ship, Marty suddenly had the revelation that the BBW model hobbyists had gone too far! It was bad enough when they stole a carrier battlegroup to put on the mantle, but now they were stealing fleets in other universes too!

Well not really – but it certainly looked like it…

(Marty, jokingly) “Hey, you really are going to get us across, right, and not stick us on a mantle?”

(Raphael, puzzedly) “Why would I put anything on my mantle besides robot squid heads?”

(Marty) “Okay, just making sure! Go right ahead.”

Sadly, neither Raphael nor Kevin had ever tried to row a boat – and Kevin was busy posing heroically in the bow anyway. That would make it hard to row across the dangerous bits of the sandbar…

Raphael figured that it couldn’t be terribly complicated – it was an awfully primitive and simple method of transportation – but all the random, conflicting, currents were making it more complex than he’d thought.

Kevin promptly threw raw (telekinetic) power at the problem.

There was a bit of confusion as Raphael threw in his own Telekinesis – he figured that he’d be far more helpful that way than actually rowing with his “stick-like arms” – but between telekinesis, magic bottles, and a rowboat with shallow draft, they got through the rest of the reefs without any major issues – except for attracting a number of fish and other sea life interested in the sparkly glass bottles floating in the water.

Marty in particular watched uncomfortably as a shark easily big enough to eat his ship followed along close behind, lurking in the murky waters.

(Kevin) “Don’t play the music! It makes them aggressive and smarter!”

Marty had to laugh a bit… Wow. He hoped that none of the sharks from the Green Galaxies had decided to go on vacation. Also, playing THAT music would indeed be a terrible idea.

(Raphael) “Ah too bad we cant make these little guys go faster. it would be nice to go the whole way like this.”

For a moment Marty was tempted to fill the water with caffeine-laced chum – but Raphael was so proud of his bottles that it would have quite spoiled the moment.

As they moved into the lagoons beyond the reefs and pulled up the bottles to remove the stoppers and release the ships one of the larger sharks got enticed by the movements of the bottle that held Marty’s ship – and gulped down the bottle and dived. That had the effect of dragging the rope and the rowboat behind it as it went off through the reefs at an impressively high speed. Kevin managed to hang onto his heroic pose (and look very dramatic) when the rowboat took off like a speedboat, but Raphael – with less impressive reflexes – had been leaning over the side to fish bottles out, and went overboard.

In the meantime, Marty had the interesting view of the inside of a fish’s stomach… Well, he’d always wondered what it would be like to be swallowed by a fish… Sadly, the neat coins and treasures inside were limited to… a fishing lure, a pair of reading glasses, and a ring.

Kevin dashed forward up the rope to hook an arm through the sharks gills while he pummeled it!

OK, he was ready to cheat with TK, but – as it turned out – his reflexes were good enough to get away with it.

The shark was moving through the water with incredible speed as it easily wove through the reefs, speeding along at nearly 80 knots. Kevin could practically hear the tail humming as it pushed the water along.

Pummeling it was only moderately effective. Well, he didn’t have much leverage at the moment – and was somewhat reluctant to hurt the thing; there wasn’t any evidence of hostility yet and they HAD dangled a glittering lure in front of it’s nose!

Still, he definitely had it’s attention.

(Kevin) “Open your tiny mind oh Shark! Let me see if you’ve being manipulated…”

(Shark) “No, no, my food! Get your own!”

Aw! It was a genuine non-malicious shark!

Meanwhile, Raphael was facing down another pair of sharks looking at the new meal that had suddenly landed within reach. Fortunately his implants included some that boosted his swimming ability – and he already had a telekinetic effect running that he could use to hold them back a bit.

Even his nanotech underwater mist-wings didn’t make him quite as fast as a shark though; he just wasn’t built for it. Worse, he hadn’t been running a very STRONG telekinetic effect! Kevin had been providing the power, he’d been doing the steering!

Oh well… At least he could multiply his mental timerate enough to do several things at once.

Sadly, shoving sharks aside and throwing off their aim simply made them even more agitated!

Meanwhile, Marty was considering… Use Witchfire to heat the bottle? But the “bottle” was the dimensional interface… that could do all kinds of weird things! And even with fireproofing, that might do bad things to the ship. Cold, maybe? That was probably not much better, but at least it might get the shark to spit the bottle out. Push out the stopper so that he could pummel it from the inside while Kevin hammered at it from the outside? How much shark fluid would leak out? And would they return to full size underwater? What would expanding inside a shark do to his ship? Maybe he could make the bottle spiky? Would that just leave him stuck inside an injured or deceased-and-sinking shark?

Drat it! This “caution” stuff was REALLY putting a damper on his spontaneity!

(Kevin) “Dummy! That food will kill you!”

He promptly used his psychic talents to painlessly pull out the offending bottle and heal the wound – and stuffed the shark full of meat. It was right enough; it HAD put out more than enough work to earn a good big meal!

As Marty contemplated his plight, a gargantuan hungry looking wolf tore open the shark’s gut and reached for the bottle!

(Marty, in the spirit of giant monster movies and Battling Business World Japan) “AAAAAA!!!!”

Raphael would have cursed if he had time… One of the blasted things had twisted back, gotten a good hold on his foot, and was busy trying to drag him down into the depths of the reefs!

His frantic twisting – and a sizeable dose of luck – left it plunging into the depths with a leathery meal consisting of his shoe as he accelerated upwards, breaching the surface like a dolphin.

He took the chance to switch to flight even if he WASN’T very good at it. That should put him out of reach of sharks!

While a – or perhaps THE – shark made a valiant attempt to leap up and grab him, it missed his other shoe by mere inches and crashed back into the water – leaving Raphael clear to make it to the ship before any other sharks can make the attempt.

(Raphael) “Arg! My genuine imitation leather boots! How will I ever find such rare and comfortable boots again? They banned genuine imitation leather years ago! Robots get me some sharkskin for new boots… Ranged weapons only”

Oh drat! Most of them were still in bottles!

He didn’t get any boot leather.

Kevin cheerily descended carrying Marty’s bottle. It was time to let Marty out! And then to pose!

(Marty) “Woo hoo!”

They opted not to “avenge the loss of Raphael’s shoe to the vile sharks” – although they did have to laugh when a Thrall suggested it.

Raphael made himself some sandals – and moved that they get on with the voyage while he grumbled about the damned fish.

After checking the ships for damage they did so – although Kevin was sympathetic enough with the sharks to cheerily wave goodbye – and to leave some meat in the water (albeit well behind their little convoy).

(Raphael) “Hey stop feeding them! They got my boot and that is enough!”

(Marty) “I gotta agree with Raphael on that one. Remember, we’ve got our fleet in bottles!”

(Kevin) “Not any more! (after all, rowboats weren’t all that seaworthy, so they’d undone all the bottles after passing the reefs) – and anyone following us can just deal with the shark-infested waters!”

The convoy moved on.

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