David walked along the surfaced submarine, the ocean waves gently lapping along the sides. Anyone else would look upon the glittering red waters under the setting sun and be taken by the beautiful sight.
However, David was not moved at all. He only had one thought in mind, the same thought that plagued his mind for so many years. His eyes flitted from the waters to the radar sensors flashing in his HUD. He scowled a little when his scanners returned nothing he was looking for. Just slow moving marine animals and the heat signatures behind him.
David turned around, scowling malevolently as he faced the real core component of his plan. He stepped towards the vital key, kneeling down in front of one of them. David cradled their chin in his gauntleted hand, tilting their face up while focusing the big glowing red eyes of his visor on them. David pursed his lower lip, unsheathing one of his long knives from the side of his boot and pressing the tip of the blade against the neck. He heard panicked, muffled pleas from the owner of the neck and David tightened his grip on the knife’s handle, very tempted to shut the racket up. Then again… There was no point, his target hadn’t arrived yet. There was no point if the target wasn’t around to witness the death.
David turned his head to look down along the line of sailors he had tied up, twirling his knife in hand. He still had a few to wear his target down, he could spare one. Walking towards the hostages, they began to beg and cry out, though the gags made it all noise. Still, even if those gags were removed, their words would still be noise; at least with those gags, it made their noises bearable. However, with the lack of progress in this plan, David sheathed his blade, switching to infrared vision while looking out to the shallow depths of the surrounding waters. He unlatched the gun from his back, taking brief aim at a slow-moving sea turtle before pulling the trigger and firing a harpoon. The projectile flew into the waters, a black leather cord trailing behind it. David felt the gun buck a bit in his hands before flipping a switch beside the trigger to reel the harpoon in.
A man breached the waters, leaping out from the surface while tossing aside the black cord he had in his hand. Throwing away his harpoon gun, David instinctively pulled out a longknife and was stopped mid-swipe when the Aquaman grabbed David’s forearm and smashed his fist into David’s gut. Sucking in his stomach with a grunt and quickly shaking off the momentary daze, David exchanged a few blows, scoring a few unsatisfactory nicks on Aquaman before David powered up his visor, the big beady eyes glowing red. Aquaman uppercutted the helmet, a loud echoing clang sounding from the impact. David grinded his teeth as a burning plasma beam fired from his visor and harmlessly into the sky before headbutting Aquaman and kicking him away. Taking out his other longknife, David spun the knives in his hands before holding them in reverse grips and readying himself.
“Manta, we’ve been playing this game for far too long. It ends tonight,” Aquaman said curtly.
“As long as I’m breathing, it will never end until you’re dead!” David retorted before lunging forwards and slashing at him. Just seeing Aquaman made everything else blurry and seem insignificant. For the time being, it was just him and Aquaman on this submarine.
Aquaman brought the trident tied to his back forwards, blocking David’s knives with the trident’s shaft. Each unsuccessful blow made David more and more frustrated, but he quickly tempered himself; he learned from experience to not let his anger overwhelm him. David thrust one of his long knives forwards, which was knocked out of his hand. David then went on the defensive, dodging and deflecting any swipes from the trident. David feigned a stumble, which prompted Aquaman to thrust his trident forwards.
David quickly sidestepped and clashed his remaining long knife in between two of the trident arms, twisting the knife upwards to force the trident head up. Letting go of the knife, David looped his arm around the staff, immediately tightening around it before shooting out a blade from his wrist to stab it towards Aquaman’s accursed face. His target quickly raised one half of the trident’s staff, clashing with David’s forearm and veering his blade up. The tip sliced across Aquaman’s brow, opening up a shallow cut.
“Just… die…” David growled, pushing his forearm down on the trident shaft. Aquaman tightened his lips, pushing back.
“Cease this struggle, Manta… It will only end in one way…” Aquaman grunted, opening his lips to show his gritted teeth. David tilted his head slightly down, powering up his visor once more.
“You’re right, only one way,” David snarled. When Aquaman attempted to pull away, David jerked his arms in, his blade grazing Aquaman’s forehead.
Seeing him trapped, David pressed the advantage, powering up his visor. David felt a knee hit his stomach, causing him to double over. He used the momentum to headbutt Aquaman with his heavy helmet. David heard a strained grunt as the glowing red eyes burned against Aquaman’s forehead.
“This ends today!” David roared.
Suddenly, the submarine bucked a bit, stumbling David. Aquaman suddenly twisted his trident clockwise, straining David’s elbows and forcing him to loosen his hold. In the span of a quick second, David felt the trident’s shaft knock into his stomach before it pulled up abruptly to catch him under the chin. The plasma beam fired skywards once again before he stumbled to the side as the blunt end of the trident smashed into the side of his helmet.
Falling onto his stomach, David let out a frustrated scream, stabbing his armblade into the submarine’s surface before pulling it back out and rolling away to avoid a trident swipe. Getting to his feet and moving a short distance away, a flashing red icon in his HUD indicated a damaged left thruster for his jetpack. David dismissed it, eyeing the tied up sailors before spreading his feet a little further apart to keep his balance as the submarine shook again. He tightened his fists, his arms shaking in barely contained anger as he stared at Aquaman.
“Manta, surrender now. You’ve tried and you’ve failed many times. End it,” Aquaman ordered, raising his trident and pointing it at David.
“That’s one difference between you and me, Aquaman,” David said in a dangerously calm voice, pursing his lower lip as he slid his arm blade back into his gauntlet. “Collateral damage.”
David activated the thrusters in his legs and jumped off the submarine, crossing his arms over his chest and straightening his legs to pencil-dive into the waters. He boosted through the waters, running an X-ray scan and infrared scan. He honed in on the generator room, two turrets unfolding from his shoulders before seeing the outline of a whale slowly bringing its head away from the submarine.
‘You’ve ruined my chance, you stupid fish!’ David thought scathingly, unsheathing both of his arm blades while redirecting both of the turrets to the animal.
Then, David dipped to one side as one of the turrets was wrenched from his shoulders while something dug in between his shoulder blades. David quickly fired a low-powered shot from his visor, bucking his head back to hit Aquaman and knock him away. David turned around, aiming his remaining turret at Aquaman. His ever elusive target held his trident in front of him, effortlessly hovering in the waters.
The turret suddenly swivelled towards the submarine and fired a torpedo.
“NO!” Aquaman cried out, zooming forwards towards the vessel.
Quickly folding his turret back into his shoulder, David boosted through the water with the jets in his legs, intercepting Aquaman and tackling him into the side of the submarine. David threw a punch towards Aquaman’s face, but only met metal as his foe veered his head to the side to avoid the blow. However, David shot the blade out, stabbing into the hull and moving his arm towards his enemy’s head.
Aquaman kicked his legs out, causing a strong current that shot him to the side. David felt the current pull at him and he nearly lost his grip on Aquaman, but he activated his leg thrusters, the embedded blade slicing across the length of the submarine. Why won’t this goddamn Atlantean just die already?
David was suddenly pulled away as something exploded from inside the submarine, blasting both him and Aquaman away from each other. David was thrown further into the depths. Through his spinning world, he saw the submarine crumbling, indicating that the torpedo had made its mark. Then, the sight was ripped away as David was thrown around like a ragdoll. If his jetpack had been fully functional, he might’ve been able to escape… But thanks to that Atlantean bastard, David’s jetpack was damaged and his functioning leg thrusters weren’t enough, leaving him to the elements.
David curled up and coughed out when his back slammed against a rocky wall, receiving a red warning that his leg thrusters were now damaged beyond use. His limbs flailed around as he was helpless to the strong currents. David forced himself to focus on his GPS locator on his HUD, seeing through his blurred vision that he was travelling further and further into the oceans and away from any mainlands.
Then David’s world came to a halt, freeing him from the violent spinning as he slammed against a soft surface. Regaining his breath, he assessed his vitals and suit status. Miraculously, he was bruised and quite beaten, but no major injuries were present. Every thruster on his suit was destroyed, one shoulder turret was still operational, power supply was still intact, and both arm blades were present. His suit was holding and wasn’t too damaged, just some missing armour plating and chips dotted around.
David struggled to his feet, looking at his surroundings. He had crashed into a seabed near a rock crevice. Several strands of seaweed were swaying slightly. Some crabs were scuttling around the ground and small schools of fish were swimming at a safe distance away from him. David narrowed his eyes as he caught sight of a faint, pulsating light in the crevice. He slid out an armblade and cautiously entered the opening, shuffling through the narrow passage before his eyes widened upon reaching the other side.
Skyscrapers were towering from the ocean floor, flickering lights shining through the dark depths of the ocean. Glass passages trailed between buildings along different floors. Flashing neon signs glowed brightly, seeming to advertise anything imaginable: food, furniture, pleasure, even hospital and firefighter services. David checked his location; according to his GPS, he was approximately 433 kilometres west of Reykjavik. He was nowhere near any logged cities of Atlantis, so this must’ve be an abandoned city. However, the architecture of the buildings didn’t match Atlantis’s structures, not even remotely.
David narrowed his eyes, looking over the cliff and spotting what looked like the entrance to a glass passage that led into a building. The sign hanging off from the side had a neon clown head dancing side to side with the words ‘CIRCUS OF VALUES’ flickering. David pressed on, jumping off the cliff and sliding along the side of the rock face before coming to a stop in front of the heavy metal door. He held onto two of the spokes protruding from the metal wheel, attempting to turn it counterclockwise. It held firm, to which he made one abrupt pull and managed to get the wheel spinning.
A bright red light shone as he pulled the door open slowly, letting water flow into the short passage before he stepped inside. David shut the door behind him and a loud blare sounded in the small room. He looked up as the water level receded and he glanced over his shoulder to see the water being vented back out into the ocean. Then the room went from a bright red to a bright green as the door ahead of him opened automatically, admitting him into the building.
David slowly stepped into the building, his turret unfolding from his shoulder and swivelling around. For all intents and purposes, it seemed that this building was abandoned. It sure as hell looked like it. Puddles and small areas were already flooded with water, trash and junk was littered everywhere, not a soul was in sight. He ran infrared scans, but it returned no heat signatures near his location.
Now that he looked even closer, David noticed that there weren’t even any rats or bugs. Sliding out both swords from his gauntlets, David was not reassured in the slightest by the lack of any life here. That usually meant something worse was around.