Goo Goes to the Beach!
Roleplaying Log: Goo Goes to the Beach!
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Firestorm tracks down more of the orange slime that he encountered in Metropolis.

Other Characters Referenced: LexCorp
IC Date: November 27, 2019
IC Location: The Coast of Delaware
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 30 Nov 2019 07:46
Rating & Warnings: G
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits: GM'd by Emma Frost
Associated Plots

The samples of the orange mold taken from the sewer—extracted from the hardened crust left behind— had already begun to deteriorate, and the initial hypothesis could easily be that the exposure to the chemicals of the sewer and what had been transmutated had accelerated the process.

The cells had already died off by the time they could be put into a lab.

And so, the search for a living sample began.

The search would lead Firestorm down the sewer once more. And it would take time. But eventually… eventually…

Tiny traces of the organism would lead down past the water treatment facilities. Down, down, down…

Until…

The stench of the sewage gives way to the sting of salt. The sound of water being forced through pipes gives way to the crash of waves. The seashore. A seashore, where a small pipe hovering just above the water's edge, near a dock, is lined with thready veins of a familiar, pulsing orange.


"I really hate the sewers," Firestorm notes, and not for the first time as he floats along through the dark tunnels. Thankfully he provides his own light source, and more thankfully, he doesn't need to trudge through who-knows-what. It's not something he really wants to think about.

It could be worse, Professor Stein notes in his head, observing along with Ronnie as they continue. In any case, at least we managed to find some sort of trail at all.

Ronnie could sense the growing concern from the other as they continue after the trace amounts they manage to find. His nose wrinkles as the smell shifts, if just slightly. "Hey, is that…?" Frankly, he's just glad to be out of the sewers, and at least if there doesn't prove to be any big enough exits, he can just phase through solid material with a subtle rearranging of molecules. He doesn't take too deep a breath once they're out, the smell of sewage still lingering, but besides that, they've got other things to check out.

There! the Professor says, and Firestorm is zipping over towards the pipe and that by now tell-tale note of orange.


The closer that they'll come to the pipe, they may notice that the grey pebbles of the beach shift and swirl under a rising tide.

It's not terribly terrifying, perhaps, at first glance. Those threads of orange, pulsing like a heartbeat around the pipe.

Until. (A dreadful word that may be becoming a theme before all is said and done.)

The pipe comes more closely into view, betraying the fact that the entire interior of the thing is completely coated in the stuff. It spills into the water, spreading thin over its surface like an oil slick.

The entire underside of the dock is covered, the boats bobbing in the water to betray more orange, just beneath the water line.

It's everywhere.


"…that. Is probably not good."

I wholeheartedly concur.

Firestorm squints down at the shifting surface of the water, or rather the orange that coats it. His eyes trail towards the dock and the nearby boats and he grimaces at the sheer expanse of the stuff. "Well, we found it. …a lot of it." More than the Professor likely bargained for, that's for sure. He circles around and then towards the pipe again, the urge to just torch the stuff rising.

But not without a live specimen, the Professor reminds him, and so he sets to work transmuting up a glass ball around a bit of the slick on the water.


As Firestorm draws nearer still to the pulsating slime, the goo begins to prickle. What was once content to stretch its length along the pipe and explore, slowly stirs and begins to— Well, the closest way to explain the locomotion is to say that it begins to look like an upward drip. It begins to stretch in dozens of points towards the other living thing, save that it doesn't venture too terribly far from the pipe. The residue on the water doesn't seem to be as quick or as obvious to respond, it just congeals and shines on the surface of the waves and rocks in time.

Fortunately for our hero, that means that it's remarkably easy to collect, along with a measure of the sea water, once the glass ball has been conjured up from the sand.

It's nearly beautiful in its way, catching the afternoon light just so and standing out starkly from the darker water of the Atlantic coast. It languidly laps against the glass enclosure with every moment, twisting and turning in subtle ways that betray its own sort of life and dull will.


Be careful… Professor Stein warns as he notes the reaction from the rest of the slime. Its main body? Firestorm studies the new slime globe to make sure the thing isn't eating through as he plucks it up, grinning a bit. "Easy peazy. What were you saying Prof- oh, whoa..!"

He jerks back in midair, eyeballing the rising tendrils of slime by the pipe. When it seems that it has a certain limit to its range, or at least that its willing to venture, Firestorm drifts in closer once again.

Is it drawn to living organisms..? the Professor wonders, and both study the water in search of potential victims. The stuff had been pretty eager to go after those poor workers in the sewers the other day, after all.


Contained inside the glass, it doesn't seem to behave like it event knows that it's collected, save to explore the edges where the water's surface and the glass sphere meet. After a bit of splooshing around, it innocuously oozes upwards and seems to try to collect at the top where the water doesn't touch while the ball rests in Firestorm's hands.

Once they start searching the water, there don't seem to be any people trapped beneath the surface of the water. It seems that there are no victims to be found.

Until.

A larger wave generated by the incoming tide breaks up the orange slick upon the water and gives a glimpse of the sand and pebbles roiling beneath the surface. Perhaps there might be a something worth looking at, like the thin layer of fish bones picked clean and discarded by the orange thing.


He can't help it, with the movement from within the glass ball, Firestorm's attention just keeps drifting towards it as he hopes it will hold. The Professor clears his throat, bringing him back to focus as they study the water, both relieved to see no sign of victims. Obvious ones, at least.

Oh dear, Stein murmurs, and although they aren't Ronnie's choice words, his sentiments align. Despite the fact that he doesn't have to worry about breathing under water, he sucks in a breath before plunging downwards.

"Oh, that is gross…!"


For whatever reason, the slime is not in a particular hurry to be anywhere near Firestorm and it immediately pulls back as much as it can away from where he dives in. The greasy marks - which seem more like a diluted form of the slime than anything else behaviorally - try to pull back but they have a harder time with the waves moving them to and fro.

Beneath the surface of the water, it is a horrorscape. The slime has consumed everything it can, flora and fauna alike, clinging where it can but otherwise being turned and rolled about like oil bubbles. All manner of things have died here, although the most numerous remains seem to be fish and crustaceans. The occasional gull skull is in the mix, too, making it most likely that this has been an opportunistic hunter more than anything else.


…fascinating… Stein marvels, although Ronnie can get a sense of horror from the Professor, unless it's just some shared sensation as he's plenty horrified by the scene they've come across below. But he also realizes that Stein's observations include the reaction of the slime to their presence when they dive beneath the water.

Both of them focus upon the underwater graveyard now, and with some urging, Firestorm explores its reaches, looking above to see just how far it's spread in comparison to the slimy film above.

It doesn't seem like it's actively eaten anything below the water itself, Martin Stein considers. Perhaps there's a chemical reaction with the seawater, or the sodium content in particular. Notice how weak its reaction was in certain areas when we passed through.

"Did it spill out here on accident then?" Firestorm poses, lifting his gaze from the bones and varying forms of detritus to the water's surface. He propels himself upward, watching for the slime's response as he moves to break through again.


Beneath the surface of the water, Firestorm will find that - as far as he goes - the area is just devoid of anything living. No plants, no animals. Now, the fact of the matter is that the pulsating slime mold thing is also missing from the area. Eventually, even the oil slick above clears, allowing the sunlight to once more dimly filter into the waters of the Atlantic.

But there's also something else amiss. Here, there's evidence of the ocean floor being disrupted, in the way a series of fresh rocks - still sharp, rather than worn by the ocean - fan out from a pair of soft hills.

The bones are here, too, although they've grown bigger as larger animals have fallen prey to whatever was here before. Directly above one of these fans, a few scientific buoys bob with their instruments hanging deep into the water and their tethers holding them fast.


It's an eerie seascape that they've entered, nightmarish even, given that it's so still, so empty. Firestorm can tell as Professor Stein rescinds his earlier speculations, but for a while neither of them say a thing as they can only look on in quiet horror. And then they come upon the unearthing below, making a cautious approach.

"I have a bad feeling about this…" Firestorm murmurs, Stein seconding that feeling as they find the first remnants nearby. The fiery-headed hero tilts his head back to look upwards.

Someone else may be aware of this development… Stein suggests, although unable to say specifically what those buoys might be in place for, but he keeps an eye out for any sort of identification or maker's marks.

Firestorm drifts down, closer to the rocky protrusions of the disturbed sea floor. "Did it…come from here?" Ronnie's no science major, but he's trying his best to piece together what they've seen, looking for any slimy traces, or anything else that shouldn't be under the sea.


The buoys above do, indeed, carry an identification mark: the bold LC of LexCorp. But how many things in Delaware carry that very same mark? It bobs innocently, and continues to collect data and footage.

The floor has nothing suspicious, beyond those sharp rocks and shallow trenches, evenly spaced apart. A science expedition, perhaps, scraping the floor. They must be fairly fresh for the deep ocean currents to not have erased them yet with their constant motion.


Firestorm can picture Martin Stein frowning, but he doesn't ask about it, not when they share a mindspace. More things to look into, but one step at a time. Finding nothing more of interest, he turns and starts back up towards the surface again.

There isn't anything to be done about the slime for the damage it's already caused, but he doesn't feel that he can just leave it be like that. With a sample already collected, he decides to give the slick upon the waters a good cleansing, spirals of light encircling his free fist. He directs it the shifting surface, unleashing a beam of nuclear energy.


There is certainly plenty to clear, and Firestorm might notice where there are places that the orange slick tries to congeal upon itself, only to ultimately be consumed, crystallizing in the swath of energy that cuts through the ocean water. The thicker slime around the pipe… Seems to be retreating? It is pulling itself along slowly, moving deeper into the safety of the pipe. What covers the dock pulls itself up along the posts, like it was trying to hide underneath in the greater safety found in the thin space between the boards of the dock and the water.

Nearby, on one of the docked boats, there's a sudden eruption of excited hollering at the display, and a few men start emerging. They emerge with cameraphones and an tablet and rapidly start trying to take photographs.


It'd be easier with two hands, which after a while, Firestorm resorts to, after a quick transmutation of a makeshift net-sling to keep the glass ball of slime water hanging at his side. He grins a little as he sees the stuff outside of the water begin to retract itself, zipping on closer to the docks where he dusts with some freshly transmuted sodium bicarbonate. It seems a better option than throwing blasts of energy around, just a suggestion from the Professor in his head, although he does try to scour what he can of what's been encrusting the pipe.

The burst of excitement from the nearby boats finally draws his attention, and glancing over, Firestorm gives them a bright grin and a wave. Stein politely clears his throat, getting the young hero back on track to finish things up before he gets too carried away with the attention. It's troubling that the slime's going back into hiding, but at least they can clear the water here before it upset the local ecology any more.

As soon as it looks like that much done, Firestorm snaps off a two-fingered salute at the men on the boats before he turns to try and see if they can head off the stuff in the pipeline.


The mouth of the pipe in particular is an easy enough thing to clear, so long as Firestorm can stay back. The orange goop is not particularly speedy, and so it can't pull all of itself into the deeper reaches of the pipe in time. So much of it is left to crackle and burn, turning dark and brittle. But the problem really does become knowing just how far into the pipe it all goes. How long it's been free to seep into the cracks and mazes of smaller, tighter pipes in the dark is uncertain. There will come a point where the slime fits in places that the hero of the day cannot.


We may have to find another strategy to deal with this, Professor Stein begrudgingly observes, sharing Ronnie's frustration. But at least we have what we came for, and took care of some of the problem.

"Yeah, but for how long…" Firestorm sighs, but he knows they can claim some small victories here. Time to make some reports to the JLA and do some studies on this slime sample, the latter of which he'll leave to Stein. …and then there's the matter of those observation buoys…

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