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  1. - Top - End - #241
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    Default Re: Sharkguard: The Sea-Roaring Defender IC

    Some of the scientists are still in sorry shape, and need to be supported to keep them upright, but everyone should be able to get up or down a flight of stairs, at least.

    The friendly spider skitters over as you motion to it, earning a few shrieks from the scientists, who understandably aren't quite up to trusting the giant arachnids after their ordeal. The door to the stairway is heavily covered in webbing, and the door itself has been auto-locked, indicating that someone outside the floor is aware of what's going on, at least. Neither obstacle is much of a challenge for your titanic strength. The stairwell is clear in both directions, as far as you can tell, though an alarm starts blaring obnoxiously as soon as you force open the door. Your spider friend growls and bites at the klaxon on the wall, which actually somehow does the trick.

    Everyone is able to get out of the lab and into the stairwell without being attacked by the other spiders. "The Hero Helper lab has some first aid equipment in it. Let's head up there." is Saravati's suggestion.
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  2. - Top - End - #242
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    Glad to see that getting everyone out of the door is a breeze, Sharkguard nods to Saravati as they begin to make their way up to the floor where the Hero Helper lab is. Sharkguard makes sure to close the door behind them first as the rest start making their way up the stairs. No one didn't want any spiders aside from the friendly one to follow them. Sharkguard did wonder why an alarm went off as soon as the door was forced open. If they're like one of those alarms designed to keep people from breaking in, then is everyone else in the building already evacuated? So long as the spiders haven't spread to elsewhere, things seem under control at the moment.

    The shark-man takes lead of the group as they make their way up the stairs just in case something lurks from above. He can't help but check the following spider every now and then to make sure it isn't doing anything rash. Thank goodness Sharkguard can resupply his first aid kit once they get up to the Hero Helper lab.
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  3. - Top - End - #243
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    The spider is well-behaved (as giant arachnids go) for the short trip up the stairs. The hostile ones still inside don't seem to follow, at least for now. The door to the Hero Helper floor is locked as well, but no alarms go off as you force it. As you enter the Hero Helper lab, a security guard rushes forward, but stops short when he sees your unmistakable frame come through the door.

    "S-Sharkguard!? What are you doing here? Did you come to help? The elevator's out! Did they make you climb all 50 stories? What's going-"


    "That's enough, Mr. Wallace. Sharkguard was already here."
    Saravati pipes up, waving her hands to indicate the lab. "Let's get these people lying down, let the aides take a look at them. Sharkguard, there's an aid station in here. We can take a look and see what we've got."

    "Oh! You were... that's an honor for us, then! Sorry this has all gone to hell. Security's locked the building down best we can. Scanning the floors. They're coming from somewhere way down below, but far as we can tell, the animal testing lab's the only floor they've made... it... to." He stares uneasily at your spider friend. "Uh, you know there's one following you, right?"
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  4. - Top - End - #244
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    Opening the door to the floor, Sharkguard greets the security guard with a smile. "Can't be sayin' this spider infestation came at a convenient time. Was in ta MRI room when it happened." He points to the friendly spider. "Talked with this lil' guy here. Can't speak but I think he be got some understandin' so don't mind him too much." The shark-man motions the spider to a corner of the room. "Just stay here for a bit, okay? I won't be too long," he says to the spider as he pats it's head.

    Sharkguard helps those injured to whatever beds are available. His strength is more than well enough to carry them but he makes sure to be gentle considering he's also harder than diamond. Once they're all resting and examined the shark-man heads to the aid station to see what there is available. While sorting out what treatments are needed and what aren't, Sharkguard asks the nearby security guard, "So what be happenin' when ta spiders came? Anyone outside aware or is it has ta situation only be known in ta building?" Best to get answers while Sharkguard has the chance.

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    I'd like to make a Medicine check to see what sort of injuries or symptoms each scientist has: (1d20+10)[29]
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  5. - Top - End - #245
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    The spider sits obediently in the corner, poking and sniffling at all of the equipment on the counters, much to the consternation of the scientists still working in the lab.

    Of the workers you rescued, all have had a few bumps and scrapes at least, four have been bitten, though two are in much poorer shape than the others. Two were simply cocooned, and they seem to have recovered fully by this point. All of them are stable, and though the bitten ones especially could use a hospital visit, nobody is going to keel over while you deal with the spider issue.

    "So far, knowledge of the situation is only confined to the building and Mr. King. Majestic Industries doesn't like stuff like this becoming public knowledge if it doesn't have to. Not that things like this happen often." He adds hastily.

    "There was no warning in the lab downstairs. The elevator doors opened, and they just started pouring out. We managed to call for help, but locking the doors didn't help us much." There's an edge to Saravati's voice that hasn't been there before.

    "Whatever is going on started in the underground floors. Let Sharkguard go down there. He can handle it a thousand times better than you ever could." That fangirl attitude is still there, though.
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  6. - Top - End - #246
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    With everyone stable and safe on this floor, Sharkguard can't help but chuckle at Saravati's fangirl-ish moodset even when she's so sharp-tongued. "Well yarr be all glad I'm here," he responds in a friendly manner. "I just be glad I ain't there when King was contacted. Can't be a pleasant feelin' to know yarr company's been invaded." The shark-man walks over to the elevator doors and takes a good look down below. "Ain't gonna be fun for anyone getting an elevator back up either. Looks like I be takin' ta stairs down." Sharkguard could definitely jump down but he had no idea if anyone is at the bottom. He could also try climbing down the elevator shaft but that could take even longer. Best to be safe even if taking the stairs will be a nightmare.

    Sharkguard looks at the giant spider and motions for him to follow. It's probably for the best to take him along to avoid any complications that may arise between the spider and scientists. Before being out the door, Sharkguard gives a wave and a proud call. "Now be sure to barricade ta doors in case any spiders decide comin' up. I likely be awhile but no worries; yarr sea captain ain't comin' back in shreds!" Once Sharkguard and the friendly spider leaves the room, he starts making his way down the stairs to the bottom levels. It definitely will be a long trek. Fifty floors is a long way down and the shark-man definitely won't appreciate it. He'll be tired by the time he walks all the way back up after dealing with this spider issue. That's if he isn't tired by the time he's made it down.
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  7. - Top - End - #247
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    It's a long, boring, tiring trek down 50 flights of stairs back to the lobby, though you reflect that it could have been worse. You could have had to go up them. Your spider companion follows. It has an easier time of it than you do, often unspooling silk and dropping several floors down the stairwell at a time.

    In the lobby, security has set up around the doors to prevent anything from escaping into the city. The lower floors have been evacuated, and many of the workers are milling and sitting around the waiting area. You are allowed past the large barricaded double doors that mark the stairs down into the subfloors and offered a flashlight and walkie-talkie, in case you end up in an area where the power is out. The first two floors are unremarkable, storage and custodial areas, as Saravati described. The lights are still on, workers' belongings scattered about. This area was obviously evacuated just as a precaution. There is nothing sinister here.

    The third subfloor is a bit more unsettling. A plant lab, many of the rooms are lit by heat lamps and ultraviolet lights, but the overhead fluorescents are out, bathing the floor in eerie red and purple glows. Still, you find nothing particularly spider-y here.

    The fourth floor is completely dark, the power totally out. The hallway the stairs open onto is scattered with scrap metal, dust and bits of plaster and concrete. The falling elevator seems to have crashed against the wall of the shaft here on its way by.

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    A Notice Check, good sir.
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  8. - Top - End - #248
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    Well Sharkguard is right about one thing, going down the stairs is an incredibly tiring experience. He's glad to see that the lower floors have been evacuated and the workers and scientists here are safe; their wait for everything to resolve however must be excruciating. Sharkguard gladly takes the flashlight but leaves the walkie-talkie behind; it's likely he did that out of pride over his abilities. The flashlight however will be much more useful in the case of darkness. His smell only does so much for sensing and his bioelectric signals sometimes might as well be a poor-man's infravision, if even.

    Sharkguard gave quick passes at the first two sublevels, but is much less uninterested when he sees what is below that. The plant lab is eerie in it's red and purple lights. For a moment he wonders, are spiders attracted to purple and red lights? It doesn't make too much sense really but who knows what kind of testing is done. The shark-man just hopes that this lab is used for research that benefits the world instead of one person.

    Heading down into the fourth sublevel is where he gets a good feeling; it's the kind of good feeling when you know there's something bad here. "Stay close to me," he says to his spider friend as he enters the room, relying on smell and bioelectric signals to search around. He holds off from turning on his flashlight for now in the case that he'd give away his position to whoever is lurking here. He's prepared to use the flashlight and call out if is needed and he's pretty sure he will.

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    Last edited by Starsign; 2012-08-31 at 08:17 PM.
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  9. - Top - End - #249
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    This floor smells musty, not just the stale recycled air of the floors above it, but kind of dank and mildewed, like it hasn't been used at all for a while.

    You and the spider make a circuit of the floor, navigating in the dark through a few empty offices and storage rooms, coming up empty until you come full-circle to the stairwell again. You don't get anything but confirmation of your suspicion that this floor has been unused for quite some time. Everything has been moved out have for a few sealed boxes, and everything is covered in a thick layer of dust.

    From what you can tell, the power is out completely on the fifth floor below you as well. In the near pitch black, you can't see much more than a couple of feet down the stairs, and none of your other senses are picking up anything from down there. One of the few things you can see is the door to the fifth floor. All of the entrances to the stairwell that you've passed on your long trek down the from the Hero Helper lab and during your exploration of the subfloors have been closed. This one is open.
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  10. - Top - End - #250
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    Sharkguard gives a quiet sigh as he turns up nothing on the fourth sublevel. He had a good feeling and it turns out that his 7th sense is misguiding. At the very least a thorough sweep means that there's no doubts that he missed anything here. Though why have an empty sublevel right after a more used one is an interesting question.

    Said question is more interesting when Sharkguard sees only one door open for the fifth floor. He can take a wild guess that whatever was in here was meant to have it's doors shut and windows covered. By this single open door, that did not happen. Considering it's not too far from the elevator shaft either, it'd give a reason as out where the outbreak came from. Moving through the door to the fifth floor, Sharkguard enters the darkness as he reaches for his flashlight. "Ahoy!" He calls out to the darkness, content with saying just one word. It should be all he needs to attract attention anyway as he turns on his flashlight to take a look around. He knows he's getting close now. It's not so much like a hunter heading to his prey as it is a mother bear meeting the hunters in her forest.

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    Notice check in case it matters: (1d20+4)[16]
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  11. - Top - End - #251
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    Whether it's the "ahoy" or the flashlight beam cutting through the darkness, you get something's attention as you move into the 5th floor. A clacking, tapping sound echoes softly through the darkness. It sounds like the skittering noise the big spiders make, but different somehow. More solid. Bigger. Your arachnid companion growls and shuffles behind you.

    The flashlight beam catches movement on the floor as you advance. Spiders. Little ones, hundreds or thousands of them, moving towards the elevator. You've found the source of the spider stream.
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  12. - Top - End - #252
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    Sharkguard nods to his spider friend as it hides behind him. When in doubt, always stay behind the large shark-man. The 'soft,' more solid tapping sound very much indicates something of huge importance; it's probably something very unfriendly too though it doesn't mean Sharkguard won't try to reason with it. He managed to make one spider friendly so it couldn't hurt to give another a try... So long as web-breaking isn't needed of course.

    Advancing further, Sharkguard moves his flashlight around as he follows where the swarm of spiders are coming from. Every now and then he moves he flashlight to a random part of the room to see if there's anything else of interest. The main area of interest however is just exactly where the spiders are coming or breeding from. The shark-man knows where they're going so no need to bother the trail itself. What matters is where the trail begins at. While the flashlight does most of the sight-seeing work, Sharkguard keeps his senses up just in case they pick up something everything else doesn't.
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  13. - Top - End - #253
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    The spider stream leads around the corner and under a door on the far wall of the floor. From the outside, there's no indication of what the room in question is. You can't tell if it's an office, a lab, storage or something else. There's no name or identifier on the door, just "503" on a small plaque at eye level.

    As you approach, you hear the clacking sound again, a little louder, a little closer. After a few moments of tense silence, a light switches on, the soft glow pouring out from the crack under the door. A light, sultry, feminine voice floats from inside. You can practically hear the smile.

    "Come on in, sweet."
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  14. - Top - End - #254
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    Sharkguard raises an invisible eyebrow as he sees the spiders coming from the door only labeled 503. He can guess that this room is a normally unused room. The fourth sublevel is pretty much empty so it wouldn't be surprising if the fifth is normally not used either. Sharkguard does have quite a bit to ask King when he gets this problem over with; since everyone is a victim here however it's not really something the shark-man would pressure for.

    ...At least all of them are victims except for the voice behind the door. The soft, sultry voice that someone down here would not normally make unless they have control of what's happening.

    Sharkguard's eyes narrow a bit as he hears the voice. It's one thing when he breaks into a dangerous place uninvited, it's another when the person in the place invites him. The ahark-man could try something unexpected like smash through the wall next to him but it is probably for the best to try and get this resolved without need of force. Sharkguard puts on his best friendly superhero look as he confidently enter the room where whoever is in there is expecting him.
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  15. - Top - End - #255
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    Door 503 is unlocked. It opens easily for you. The room behind it is very large, easily the size of the entire Hero Helper floor. It is packed to the gills with scientific equipment, including some very bizarre and sinister-looking machines. There are also a large number of spiders of all shapes and sizes, from giants like your companion to normal ones. They have covered the room in webs, like the floor upstairs you just escaped from, but to a lesser degree. Most of the "regular" spiders are coming into the room from several very small tunnels that have been dug through the walls. Presumably, they go up to the surface somewhere beyond Majestic's property. A desk along one of the walls has been reclaimed and is now covered in papers, books, test tubes and other scientific paraphernalia.

    In one of the far corners, what can only be called a large nest has been created from cushions, webbing and junk scavenged from the rest of the room. Near it sit several large balls of dense webbing. Living in a semi-abandoned building, you've dealt with enough pests to know spider egg sacs when you see them. These, though, are supersized, probably belonging to the huge creatures you fought earlier.

    In the center of all this stands the... person, for lack of a better term, who invited you in. At over 8 feet tall, it's very unusual for someone to be able to look Sharkguard in the eye. This woman meets your gaze easily, a pair of glinting red eyes giving you a once-over. She has chin-length black hair, cut in a sharp-angled style that frames her face, and deep red lips currently curved into an appraising, and apparently approving smile. In fact, she's a knock-out all around. Ivory skin, a pinup girl's figure with curves in all the right places, well-toned muscles that accentuate rather than distract from said curves, tight-fitting black-and-red clothes that leave little to the imagination, and elegant, elbow-length gloves. This woman could be a supermodel- or a superhero.

    From the waist up, at least.

    From the waist down she has the body of a spider. Eight long, jointed legs that curve out, then down to wicked-looking points, explaining the clacking, tapping noise you've been hearing. A curved, oblong midsection that gives way to a very large, circular abdomen. Unlike the spiders you've been dealing with all morning, which have roughly resembled overgrown tarantulas, complete with fuzz, this woman's lower half is sleek, gleaming chitin, jet black accented with a bright fire-engine red. On her abdomen is an hourglass marking- the infamous identifying feature of the black widow.

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    Her smile widens when she sees the large spider behind you. Her teeth are white and human, save for a pair of long hollow fangs that curve down where her canines would be. "Rosie, darling! There you are! And you've brought me a present!" She beckons you inside with a wave of her arm. "Not what I thought they'd find in that lab, I admit. I do hope my precious pets haven't given you any trouble. They can get rambunctious when out of my sight."

    She settles in at her desk and gives you that disarming smile again. "It's a pleasure, sir, more than you know. Name's Kim. Kim Hunter... or Arachne, if you're feeling theatrical. Now, what brings the mightiest superhero in all the city down to my little lair, Sharkguard?"
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  16. - Top - End - #256
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    Sharkguard enters the 503 room and finds himself stunned at how packed the place is compared to everything else on this and the previous floor. Whoever lives here has had plenty of time to make the place comfortable. The spiders here makes the animal testing floor look rather pristine compared to this. The machines in particular attract the shark-man's attention; these machines are the kind he sees in the lairs of mad scientists rather than a industry corporation with a focus on medical research. He really wants to ask Saravati what these machines are for once this problem is dealt with.

    And then there's the female in the middle; being as tall as him definitely means something even not factoring in the spider half of her body. She's a hell of a figure in multiple ways, practically none of them being ways Sharkguard likes. The lack of immediate hostility is a good thing, probably helped by the minimal amount of force he used before. Still it's probably for the best not to mention the three spiders he knocked out earlier.

    Being called a present isn't the best way to start off a conversation but Sharkguard ignores that as he kindly responds to Kim. "Well yarr friends did throw a surprise 'party' but no one be seriously injured in the end. They be quite friendly if given ta chance to talk with." He motions his hand over to the spider that had been following him. "Like this lil' mate. Yarr known Rosie for awhile now?" Sharkguard decides to not get straight to the point just yet. It's clear there's something he doesn't know yet and he'd like to find out what before coming to conclusions. "Based on ta room, seems yarr have been here awhile. Mind tellin' me how long it took to sort out ta room here?"
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  17. - Top - End - #257
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    "Oh, a year, maybe two? I admit time can get a little hazy when you spend it all working in the dark. It wasn't as bad as all that. Most of this was already in the building, in one place or another. Just a matter of heavy lifting, really. Allowed me to get up and running much faster than I would have otherwise. Straining to get one of these devices down 30 flights of stairs is no cakewalk, but it certainly beats waiting 6 months for some quasi-legal shell company in Eastern Europe to build you a new reverse anti-matter generator, which was my other option. 'A year or two' is the answer for your question about Rosie, as well. She was my first complete success, and she's a sweet girl, you're right." Arachne reaches over and nuzzles the giant spider's head.

    "Glad to hear that nobody got hurt, love. I should have gone with them. But then, what's a field test without a few kinks to work through? They were going to have learn to work independently one of these days. Better they learn on a quick sojourn through the building than venturing out into the big scary world." You realize that Arachne's words of concern are for her spiders, and not the scientists whose lab they invaded.

    "I do hope something worthwhile turns up in the data from all the detestable things they do up there in that lab. This is all a bit more direct than I usually care to be. It's going to cause a great fuss. And how did they drag you into this, Savior of the Seven Seas? Did they call you in for the 'emergency,' or were you here on business of your own?"

    Kim retreats to her nest and settles in. "I admit I don't get a lot of company down here. It's nice to have a guest. Please, make yourself comfortable." She gives you an ingratiating smile and points one of her many legs towards a refrigerator mixed in with all of the mad-science machinery. "Would you like something to eat, something to drink, dear? It is close to lunchtime. Normally I wouldn't offer, but I imagine our tastes are a bit more in line than they would be with a... typical human. I believe there's still some fish left from one of our recent, ah, hmm, call them shopping trips, and some rather lovely wine as well."
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  18. - Top - End - #258
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    Sharkguard's smile slowly begins to fade as Kim goes on answering the shark-man's questions. He finds it hard to believe how she's been here for so long without anyone noticing. He can guess any sub-level past 3 are not explored at all. What he's more interested, and worried, right now is what her whole deal is here. She called Rosie a "complete success" and their journey out to the animal testing floor is a "field test" and she's looking for "data" of some sort.

    Trying to maintain a positive attitude towards Kim, Sharkguard politely responds, "Nothin' I be needin' to eat now. I get a hearty breakfast just in case and... No meanin' of offense but I don't exactly borrow items from an underground galley." He pauses for a moment to make sure no one is making any sudden moves. Sharkguard stood at the other end of the room from where Kim is at her desk. More cautiously and seriously, the shark-man asks, "Now if you be wonderin' how I came here, I came for an offer ta CEO gave me. 'friad I can't speak about it more than that." Of all things, Sharkguard did not want to tell anyone that his DNA and data were tested, It's bad enough that some of the less inspiring companies will be getting it; he doesn't want anyone else he can't trust to know either.

    "So, if you don't mind me askin' what's all yarr friends be doin' on ta animal testing floor? I be gettin' ta presumption that there be data yarr want." The shark-man then takes a look down at once of the bigger spiders who happens to be futility nibbling on his leg in curiosity. He chuckles quietly as he goes to nuzzle it's head gently. Even if they are large, creating spiders, they do seem rather cute in their own strange way.
    Last edited by Starsign; 2012-09-07 at 09:30 PM.
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  19. - Top - End - #259
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    The leg-biting spider nibbles your hand when you reach down to pet it, then rubs against you, kind of like a cat. Rosie comes up and pokes at the smaller spider. It rubs against her too. They are rather cute for giant arachnids.

    Arachne smiles indulgently. "You're here on an offer from the CEO himself? Let me guess, the Hero Helper program? Good cause, in the sense that the good they've done has so far outpaced the bad. I don't know what Mr. King told you, but that man is quite wicked, and not to be trusted one bit. He could tell me the sky is blue and I'd still go outside to check for myself."

    "He is exceedingly rich though, and while I don't care for the man, his money is most persuasive. Like any researcher, I take my funding where I can find it, and accepting Mr. King's ill-gotten gains is much less hazardous than robbing banks or pointing death rays at city hall or any of the other schemes the so-called 'supervillain' set like to hatch."

    Kim skitters over to the fridge and pulls out what, on closer inspection, turns out to be a small stack of dead rats. "They get caught in the webs. Seems a shame to let them go to waste. They make fine snacks." She tosses several of them to her spiders before biting into one herself. It's a bit unsettling, even for someone who lives on raw fish.

    "To answer your question, yes, sweet, data, quite a bit of data, in fact. Now, I presume you have noticed that, like you, I no longer resemble a baseline human. And, I'm sure that when they were giving you the tour, someone made sure to mention that the animal testing lab had its budget and responsibilities slashed? And they danced around what exactly it was that the animal testing lab did? Am I right? They've gotten predictable."

    Kim spreads her arms wide and bows with a flourish. "I am what they did, Sharkguard. One of their great successes, much to my delight and relief, for one doesn't volunteer for a transformation like this without a bit of trepidation. They do not test products on animals. They test the animals themselves. Genetics, grafting, cloning, augmentation, everything you can think of. All utterly illegal, naturally, which is why they're so good about keeping up the illusion that it's an unimportant, half shut down lab. There were others like me, of course. A man they gave frog-like qualities to, if I recall correctly, and a snake-woman. Doubtless there are many more, but those are the ones I remember. I'm sure that once they've analyzed your DNA, they'll try their hand at a shark hybrid as well."

    "Now, what does all this have to do with what I'm doing down here, tucked away down in the depths where nobody goes? Well, if my dear spiders are ever to reach their true potential, they'll need something more. Mixing in human DNA will allow me to guide their development, will imbue them with many benefits, including human intelligence, I hope. I could, of course, do my own research, discover my own answers, but that would be quite time-consuming, not to mention messy. Messiness tends to attract unwelcome attention."

    Kim continues, as casual as if she were discussing the weather, and not an army of giant sapient spiders. "And there's the rub, of course. There are already great stores of data about mixing human and spider DNA. They collected it when they made me what I am now. But of course, they'll never let me have it, and I can't go up and get it myself. I'd cause a panic, one they'd most likely try to spin into a supervillain attack, heroically stopped by whatever do-gooder was closest. I'd never get a chance to tell my side of the story, never finish my research, my poor babies would be left all alone."

    "That's where my darlings come in. They're quite good at retrieving things. And a giant spider invasion? That's quite embarrassing, not at all like a supervillain assault. I guarantee you, Sharkguard, that you won't see a word of what happened here in the papers tomorrow. King and his cronies will sweep it all under the rug. Bad for business, and not something their pet journalists can spin."

    "They will grumble, and fuss, and probably send someone down to talk to me. Maybe even King himself, if he's angry enough. But that's all they'll do, is talk. Too much potential down here to do anything else if they can help it. A lecture about my 'recklessness.' And I'll have my data, all the same."
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  20. - Top - End - #260
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    Sighing quietly, Sharkguard knows that Arachne is pretty much right on the dot when she speaks about Majestic Industries' CEO. He gives a small, frustrating growl directed at no one in particular. "Yarr right. I knew what I be gettin' into when I signed up; for ta program that is, not to sail down to these subbasements and find yarr here." The shark-man can't help but turn away slightly as he sees Kim and her arachnids dig into leftover, deceased rats. He tries not to make a huge show of it however, what they could eat can be a lot, lot worse than simple rats. He didn't exactly like the idea that King had "hired" her in some sort of way. It IS better than causing a huge scene but still not exactly good, especially when other civilians get dragged up into it.

    However it's when Arachne mentions about what the animal testing lab does that Sharkguard's eyes flare up in surprise. He knew his data would be sent to other companies that need an eye on but he really didn't know Majestic Industries themselves did such experiments. So they turned Kim into that half-spider form, among other problems. Sharkguard really is going to talk with Saravati about this. He hasn't felt so... Disappointed in quite a while, and not just at himself. "Nah," he says in a quieter tone now, "they skipped that floor's 'detail' in typical landlubber fashion. I should've guessed somethin' when I saw half dozen people there. I be guessin' King has a hand in keepin' it afloat?"

    Most importantly right now however is what Sharkguard needs to do about Arachne. She hasn't told him all he wants to hear and he frankly is hating a theory he has about the spider-lady's creations. Her motivations past "gain human intelligence for her spiders," can wait. In a more serious tone, Sharkguard tells Arachne, "I be thinkin' them upstairs ain't the only ones trying to dance away ta details here. How did these spider friends of yarrs come to be?" He leans against a wall and crosses his arms. "I gotta be sayin' that I can imagine more than just a lack of budget keepin' so few scientist at the animal testing floor. When I got to there, I rescued people from being cocooned and poisoned. Yarr said ye be here for a year or two now. Ta trip up for yarr spiders today can't be ta first."

    Sharkguard is ready to narrow his eyes and accuse Kim but keeps enough of a composure to keep other possibilities aside from his theory available. He tries to ease his voice a bit as he tells her, "I want yarr to tell me how ta spiders are created. I can promise that if yarr are honest and I like what I hear, I ain't lettin' ta secret leave yarr room; trust me on that. But I must be knowing what ta process is." The shark-man internally takes a deep breath and waits...

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  21. - Top - End - #261
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    "Oh, no doubt some of his personal fortune goes into it, just like very other shady or illegal thing the company does. Not that you could ever prove it. Far too many secret accounts and laundering operations between him and any results."

    "I'm hurt, love. But I forget how used you must be to dealing with all the mad-science types, so I'll forgive you." The irony of that statement coming from an unbalanced half-spider woman in a hidden lab who has given herself a super-name, and whose goal is to make giant, intelligent arachnids so that spiders can "reach their full potential" is apparently lost on Arachne.

    "Well, you can't very well fault my darlings for defending themselves, now can you? Now I know it's only my word you have to take for this, but I'm not in the habit of snatching away the poor interns they have working as cover up there. I assure you, my babies don't go around eating people for no reason. And neither do I, dear. They're horribly chewy, for one thing." You can't tell if that last line is a joke or not.

    "I want yarr to tell me how ta spiders are created. I can promise that if yarr are honest and I like what I hear, I ain't lettin' ta secret leave yarr room; trust me on that. But I must be knowing what ta process is."
    The threat in your voice seems to have sailed right over Kim's head. She perks up immediately. "You want to see it, then? Wonderful! I don't have enough supplies to make a full-sized specimen like Rosie, but I have a few far enough along to make an effective demonstration." The spider-woman sets about powering up several of her strange machines, which spark and whirr to life without trouble. Between that and the lights overhead, it's just another indication of how long Arachne has been here. The power is out on this whole floor and the one above it. She must have some sort of generator or a separate hookup for her lair.

    From a cabinet, she pulls several ultra-heavy, shielded boxes, plastered with all sorts of warning stickers. From another she retrieves a plastic terrarium, sectioned off, with several normal-sized spiders in each partition. "The genetic changes are difficult, time-consuming, and honestly, rather boring to watch, as it's just me fiddling with computers and microscopes and syringes, love. Lucky for you, the ones in here are all ready for the next step."

    "Come on, darling. There we go. Good. Being very brave." Arachne coos as she reaches in and one of the spiders climbs up onto her hand. "In we go." The spider is placed in a small box that looks rather like faceted glass, but from the way Kim is holding it, clearly weighs too much to actually be glass. The box gets placed in the center of an array of mirrors, which then gets shut away in the center of one of the odd machines. Another machine, which appears to emit some kind of energy, is lined up with the first one, and a chunk of... something luminous and blue is taken out of one of the shielded boxes and placed in the core. "Alcindoromycine! Expensive stuff. The growth catalyst! Need at least twice what I've got here to make even one of my real giants. Horribly toxic to most mammals. Also just aces at scouring pots and pans! Course, you can't use them for a year or two afterward, but still."

    With both machines prepped, Kim flips a switch and a brilliant neon blue beam shoots from one into a receiver on the other. The whole machine begins to glow, ghostly blue tendrils seeping from every crack. Kim laughs madly. "This never gets old! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" After about 30 increasingly loud and unsettling seconds, the first machine *dings* and shuts down. Arachne rushes over, yanking the second machine open and pulling out the little box, which she opens onto the counter, letting a rather dazed-looking spider spill out.

    "Give her a few moments, love. This is always my favorite part."
    Sure enough, the spider begins to twitch and spasm, and grow. The transformation looks terribly painful as the spider continues to twitch, but after about a minute, it has grown from the size of a thumbnail to at least a foot and a half long. Arachne seems delighted. She procures a rat from the fridge, places it in front of the new subject, and gently runs her fingers along its back. "Welcome to the family, sweetheart."

    "Well, Sharkguard? What do you think?"
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  22. - Top - End - #262
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    Sharkguard decides to remain quiet and avoid making any changes to his expression until Arachne is finished her little "demonstration." He really couldn't fault the spiders for defending themselves against Sharkguard when he spews out high-force sea water at them; he isn't as forgiving though when they go to wrap up humans in cocoons and poison them. He knows they don't quite have the understanding of morality at this level of intelligence, which is what makes them a danger to other people. So on one hand learning intelligence could help civilize them; more likely however is that they could be very unstable even to Arachne. A mad scientist rarely lives a life where just one of his or her creations turn against them after all. Still, better spiders than something naturally hostile.

    Sharkguard is very much amazed by the machines Arachne uses to create her rather large spiders. He has little idea how the whole contraption actually works though he can wager a guess that the growth catalyst is used along with the mirrors and glass to mutate and amplify the body and structure of the spider. Alcindoromycine, the catalyst, does sound a bit familiar. Has Sharkguard heard of it before?

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    If possible I'd like to make a Knowledge (Streetwise) check on Alcindoromycine: (1d20+8)[20]


    If there is anything that bothers Sharkguard the most, it's how the transformation itself is a painful experience. Arachne clearly takes way too much enjoyment in such experiments that are not pretty to take. He can't help but wince a couple times as he watches the spider grow in size and doesn't quite get why it's Arachne's "favorite part." When Sharkguard transformed long ago into what is he now, it wasn't exactly a painful experience. Most of his senses failed to work during the time but it wasn't obviously painful.

    Still, he could have witnessed worse and his slowly returning, if a little fake, smile shows it. "Well I be sayin' that it could be messier. Got a lil' worried yarr might have used humans for such... Experiments." He tries not to sound so accusing anymore now that he's seen her "work" in action. His pose loosens as he gives a more relaxed posture. "But anyway, if yarr don't mind me askin' one more personal question, what's ta plans after learnin' how to give these spiders human intelligence? I see they be rather friendly given ta chance. Yarr plan for them to have a crew of them and an island yarr all can live at?" As Sharkguard asks this, he hopes Arachne doesn't have petty ideals of world domination or revenge against the scientists that turned her into what she is now. It's pretty typical for a mad scientist to think that way but the shark-man might be hoping Kim is an exception to the rule.
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  23. - Top - End - #263
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    "Humans? Oh no. Well, not yet. That may be inevitable during the later stages of the experiment, but getting there at all is contingent on that data I sent my lovelies upstairs to get."

    Her indulgent smile returns as you ask what the future holds. "It will be up to them, Sharkguard! If all goes well, my darlings will be able to choose for themselves. I admit I wouldn't say no to a private island, or our own little country somewhere. Arachnepolis? Arachnatopia? Has a nice ring to it..."

    Arachne's flight of fancy is interrupted by a loud scraping and scrabbling noise comes from out in the hall. Even Kim seems confused and alarmed by it. After a few tense moments, it turns out to be two of the big spiders from upstairs. They growl and hiss loudly when they see you, but don't attack in front of Arachne. One of them is clutching a computer in its mandibles, the cords, keyboard, and monitor all dragging on the floor behind it. It seems incredibly pleased with itself, like a big stupid dog who managed to fetch a stick.

    "Oh, Gus, sweetheart. You never were very bright, were you? Well, I can see what's on here anyway. Perhaps we've gotten lucky."

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    Streetwise nets you this knowledge: Alcindoromycine is a rare and complex compound, very difficult to produce in anything more than trace amounts. It has a variety of strange effects on the molecular structure of living things, provided it doesn't just kill them first. Tiny samples sometimes show up on the black market, usually stolen from research labs. The buyers are almost always mad scientists.
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  24. - Top - End - #264
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    Sharkguard's own smile begins to fade again as Arachne mentions how human experimentation may be inevitable in the future. While he's glad right now that it's just being done on spiders, working on actual living humans is going to irk the shark-man greatly if it comes to that. For how close it'll come to that, who knows? Right now that isn't the immediate concern, but instead what Sharkguard needs to do about Arachne.

    He goes to open his mouth and let's out a "Alright, but-" before he is cut off by the scrapping and scrabbling down the hall. He narrows his eyes until he sees the spiders come in, at which he eases up when they hold off from attacking. Instead he is perplexed at how the spider managed to get it's mandibles on a computer with cords, laptop, and monitor attached with it. As much as he is tempted to ask Arachne what he needs to tell her when he came down here, Sharkguard can't help but admit he wants to know what kind of information Majestic Industries' animal testing floor has. "Set it up if yarr can," Sharkguard asks Arachne in a slightly anxious manner. "Yarr got me curious at what info be there too."

    Sharkguard walks up to the spider Arachne called Gus and bends down to take a look at him. The shark-man wants to see if this was one of the spiders he spewed sea water at earlier today.
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    Gus growls and snaps at you when you bend down. It's clear it remembers you, and not in a good way. A quick rebuke and light smack on the head from Kim prevents the spider from going further. Chastised, it scuttles off to the far side of the room and nibbles at a rat while glaring at you.

    The computer still boots up, and with some jury-rigging and a backup monitor fished out of Arachne's huge store of junk and salvage, you are able to take a look.

    "Hmm. OK, my darlings. What have you brought me? This is... well, it's the computer of one of the researchers, at least. That's good. No benefit to rooting through some poor intern's collection of pirated games and hidden smut. Ah, what have we here?"

    As Arachne sifts through the many files on the drive, she finds a folder labeled "2009-2011_Results_Recombinant_DNA_Tests". It is password-protected, which doesn't seem to discourage Kim any. In fact, she seems pleased by it. "You don't put security measures on something unless it's worth putting security on it. This must be important, love!"

    Her trawling through the files quickly uncovers several others with incriminating sounding names- "Reptilian_Augment_Timeline", "Gene_Therapy_Feline-Closed", 2010_Cloning_Database", etc, etc. All are locked. For now, at least. Arachne is delighted. "These defenses are meaningless. There are a half-dozen programs that can crack these passwords in a few minutes. This is a treasure trove! It will keep me busy for months. I'm sure the data on the spider- Ah! There! Look, sweet. We've got it!" Sure enough, a file labeled "Arachnid_Transformation_Final_Report" has been found, deep in a nest of other folders.

    Kim smiles broadly. "Better than I could have hoped. I'll be able to complete my experiments with this, I have no doubt, and much more."

    Arachne is certainly happy, and she's gotten the data she was after. But is that really a good thing? And what to do with all this incriminating information detailing Majestic's secret experimentation?
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    At his anxiety, Sharkguard can't help but look over Kim's shoulder as she reads through each of the folders. Augmentation; Gene Therapy; Clone Database; it's a long list of science and ideas that he didn't like to see. It's much worse when it's in the hands of a 'scientist' like Arachne. The data itself is probably useless as an attempt at incriminating evidence. The shark-man didn't doubt that the workers and CEO of Majestic Industries set up plans to make sure it doesn't tarnish them. It might be best overall if simply no one had it. None of it seems like Hero Helper data so it can't be too painful for the program.

    "Arachne," Sharkguard began as soon as the spider-woman finished her happy squealing. "Can yarr do a favor and delete all ta data not the arachnid files?" Though trying to sound friendly, the shark-man knew he might be asking a tall order. Sad to say this might be the lesser of two requests he's asking her. "Yarr gots ta data these spiders sailed for and I don't be likin' ta rest of it. I'd rather see it gone... Bringin' me to mention somethin' else now."

    Sharkguard's voice slowly gains a sharp edge, if not really pointing the edge at anyone. "I came down to here to see what and why the animal testing floor was attacked. Now that I be knowin' why, I can't say that I want to simply leave this as is. Yarr spiders caused a large panic that be sealin' ta whole building down and they could've killed a number of scientists without my intervention. If I leave yarr here I could be lettin' yarr go to experiment on those scientists upstairs regardless if they been responsible for what yarr now or not." The shark-man now tries to smile as if to show that he isn't completely on the side of Majestic Industries. "But I heard yarr story and I don't be likin' to let this become a story of me bringing a supervillain to 'justice.' Leaving yarr spiders without their captain sounds awful as well. If on their own, they be likely be a bigger problem for everyone." With that Sharkguard takes a quick look outside to make sure no one is listening to what he's about to ask Kim.

    "So here's the suggestion of an old sailor. I want to get you out of ta building along with yarr children without ta attention of any other landlubber. I'll let yarr be with ta arachnid data and whatever else that can be brought out." Sharkguard casually crosses his arms. "Might not be what yarr want to hear but it's better than prison and being separated from these lil' guys." Sharkguard looks down at the nearest large spider with a smile. They really are sort of like children that need to be looked after. The shark-man really can only hope that Arachne can understand. At the very least it means that this way there is no unneeded violence.
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  27. - Top - End - #267
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    Arachne shakes her head and smiles, not taking you seriously at first. "Darling, do you really think these are the only copies of their results? There are doubtless dozens of these, stored away on other computers here, on offsite mainframes, floating in the aether in some high-security cloud server. Deleting this data won't harm Majestic or their plans, but I can use it! I can do good with it!" She continues to poke around in the files as she talks. "You've got ethical issues with what they've done up there, I understand, sweetheart, but you came here today to let them poke and prod you in the name of progress. They have your blood, your DNA, samples large and small. Certainly an old salt like you isn't naive enough to think that all your data will be going to helping cure sick children? It's simply research. Facts and figures, graphs and pictures. By itself it is not good or bad. A chart of growth patterns is not evil. It's a tool. I will not make their mistakes. Let me use these tools."

    Her expression hardens as you continue, rising to her (many) feet with a hiss. You are instantly reminded that despite your formidable gifts, you are not the only apex predator in this room. "How dare you! Siding with King? Should have known. You still see my darlings as nothing but monsters, and I with them. I like you, Sharkguard. You have a certain style, and I thought also a certain empathy, given your... unique physiology. Perhaps I was mistaken. I do not wish this to come to blows, but do not mistake unwillingness for inability."

    Arachne's anger fades somewhat. She goes silent for a moment, staring at her desk before looking back at you. "You want us out because we started a panic? You think you can get all of them out of here without attracting attention? Ha! It would take days to move my research and equipment, to say nothing of the spiders. What do you think will happen when they leave? Marching unannounced down 5th Street? I don't care what people will think of me, I chose this, as you chose your transformation. Let them gawk and stare and flee in terror. It will be fun. But my darlings won't understand. They'll be afraid. People will get hurt and so will they! They're not ready!"

    In a quieter voice, she adds "Where would we go? They need space, but they still need to be inside for now, away from people. I admit this is not ideal, with King and his cronies literally sitting over my head, but I will not trade it for some dismal warehouse in the docklands."
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  28. - Top - End - #268
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    Sharkguard frowns once more as he sees that his offer isn't going to work with Arachne, at least at this time. He isn't going to be leeching that data off her without needing to apply force, that's for sure. However there is no way he will let her stay here even if it's the best for her spiders. Against the better judgement of his temper, Sharkguard retorts angrily. "If I be considerin' yarrself and ta other spiders here monsters I wouldn't be tryin' to have a discussion in ta first place! I be here to avoid having to come to force and that's why I be offerin' an alternative! I'd keep yarr here but I ain't wantin' yarr to begin testin' on scientists here; what makes yarr think they'd agree to it? Yarr better than most other mad scientists I be seein' but it's only gonna to get worse from here on out." His accent weaves in and out a bit during his retort.

    With that, Sharkguard takes some deep breaths to calm down before trying to tone his volume down. No doubt he ended up scaring some of the spiders. With a more comforting voice, he continues, "Remember what I be sayin' about an island? I be thinkin' yarr could enjoy such a place for testin' as ta spiders here would enjoy an area like that." By this point Sharkguard is thinking on the fly, something he admits he could use a little work at. "Yarr working conditions would be better for everyone and all yarr data gotten can be kept for yarrself, aye?"

    Then the shark-man states a more... Difficult to believe prospect. "Let me speak with King about this. If anyone be knowin' how to move all this, it'd be him. It's a shot almost out of cannonball distance I be admitin' but above all I want to find a better way out for everyone." He looks at the number of spiders in the room as his tone softens now. "If I end up havin' to put yarr behind bars then I be imagin' yarr spiders bein' put down. I know most people above would be happy about it but I know these younglings better than them. Puttin' them down be like puttin' down an orphanage of children and either of us ain't wantin' that. Not much of a hero I'd be if I gots to sacrifice one group for another."

    The shark-man then turns around and places his hand on the doorknob. He wishes he actually got the walkie-talkie from the main floor now. "So yarr will need to give me ta chance, aye? I was pretty harsh as an old sailor is but please understand that I be in a difficult spot here." If Kim doesn't try to stop him from leaving, Sharkguard plans to head to the main floor, take the walkie-talkie, and contact Saravati about quite a few things before he even tries to get in contact with the CEO.
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  29. - Top - End - #269
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    "'Better than most other mad scientists.' That's damning with faint praise, isn't it? I take exception to the term, but I realize you're used to those a bit more unbalanced than I am. I already gave you my word that I wouldn't experiment on the researchers upstairs. I can't give you any more than that. I've no idea if human experimentation will even be necessary."

    "This island you mention. Do you have one in mind? Does this plan have specifics, or are you just trying to placate me because I didn't say 'how high?' when you asked me to jump? I know full well this current situation is untenable. I must rely on Mr. King's good graces, and since the man doesn't actually have any, things are less than ideal. If I leave here, it must be to move directly to somewhere else, and not just because you said please."

    "How do you do it, Sharkguard? I read the papers when I come across them. The most famous superhero in a city of millions, and nobody knows where you live. It's a great mystery, the tabloids love speculating about it. You must have some hidden place away from prying eyes."

    At your announcement that you're going to try to talk to King, Arachne just laughs. "He's an utterly amoral toad who got his start in heavy industry. No doubt moving large, heavy and illicit things without people noticing is one of the few things he's genuinely good at. He'll say no, even if you can get him to acknowledge my existence at all. Too much money sunk into my project to just let it go without a return. If he's forced to make a choice, he'll rather frame me as a supervillain and get a little free publicity rather than let me walk out for nothing."

    "Go on, get out. Do your song and dance, and find out for yourself how little Majestic will care. Allow me to say 'I told you so' when you return, dear."
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  30. - Top - End - #270
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    Default Re: Sharkguard: The Sea-Roaring Defender IC

    Sharkguard hesitates a bit while thinking of how to respond to Kim's "island" question. He really didn't plan out a specific island for her. He remembers seeing a few a long time ago when he originally swam south from Portfall to Freedom City. Whether those are populated or not however is anyone's guess; he couldn't tell from the distance he was at. Eventually he finds what to say as he turns around back to the spider-lady and sternly replies, "I ain't askin' yarr to leave if it meant I'd leave yarr all without a proper place to stay. I just be here to keep ta problem from escalatin' any further." At her question with how he manages to keep his little home from being discovered, the shark-man confidently smirks. "Yarr know I be wonderin' how this floor in general went under the eyes of every other landlubber here for so long. Thinkin' about it, it ain't so different from my own little mysterious harbor. Course some mysteries are best not bein' solved by ta general public, hence why I ain't lettin' this situation go public."

    However Sharkguard knows just how likely his plan isn't going to work. No matter how good it would be for Majestic Industries, there really isn't going to be a way to convince the CEO. Turning the knob as he faces the door again, Sharkguard sighs quietly before disappointingly mentioning, "Aye, yarr be right. Really I'd just be hopin' for ta best possible way out; may not be doable though. Still there be somethin' I want to check first. Might clear my skull on this whole mess." With that, Sharkguard exits the room and begins making his way back up to the main floor. He wasn't going to walk all the way back up to the floor he left Saravati on but takes the walkie-talkie and begins speaking through it. "Saravati, if yarr be there I need to talk about somethin' in regards to this situation..." His voice is first casually serious but then darkens slightly when he finishes with, "There be somethin' I have to ask and it's gots'a be private."
    Last edited by Starsign; 2012-09-22 at 03:46 PM.
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