2019-07-07 - The New Fashion


T'challa comes to town looking for new threads and meets two business women.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Jul 7 05:38:17 2019
Location: McCabe Industries

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Theme Song



McCabe Industries is a shopfront as much as it's the Headquarters for Mari McCabes business. The front of the building is lined with full width and full length mirrors, allowing people who pass by to see the latest fashion that McCabe has to offer. It's not fashion for everyone - it's not priced that way at all.

Today, there's a parade occuring on the small catwalk that occupies one side of the area. Mari McCabe is there herself, watching critically and speaking to Pepper Potts, who the parade is for. "I particularly like that one. It's very practical whilst still maintaining some feminine lines."

Around the dark skinned womans neck is her fox headed pendant. Her blouse and pants of course, are her own design. On her wrist is a small wearable tech device, clearly modified to fit in with the look she's going for today. But modified, by who?

"Miss McCabe. Your one thirty is a bit early." One of Mari's assistants says quietly from behind Mari and her guest. Behind the assistant is an athletic dark skinned main with a small smile. He's well dressed but it definitely looks like off the rack fashion. A sports coat and shirt, the former black the latter purple.

"I never like to keep a lady waiting. I hope that's no trouble." He's got an accent. African from the sound of it. Which makes sense given the man's look.

"I am T'Challa. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance."

Watches the private fashion show with clear interest, nodding her agreement with Mari as she points out one outfit in particular. "And it has pockets? You really do think of everything." The wearable and its modifications on the designer's wrist catches her attention, thus she's completely taken by surprise when the assistant announces another arrival. She turns to see who it is and it actually takes her a moment to place the name and face.


She stays quiet for the moment to give Mari a chance to greet the man, even if he has just unintentionally horned in on her appointment time.

"Pockets and that fabric? It's bullet resistant." Mari answers with a very faint smile. "I mean, it's only going to be so useful, given how much skin is still exposed but every little bit helps, doesn't it?" She's not joking, either. She's been on this for ages, perfecting the fabrics and ensuring that the information isn't released to her competitors.

"Shall I mark you down for one of those, then, Miss Potts?" Mari blinks at her assistant and smiles apologetically to Pepper "It must be back to front day. You were perfectly on time and now my next appointment is early. Would you excu-" blink. Oh Wow. "-se me?"

Holding her hand out to the man, taking in the suit and barely not shaking her head, she smile again "Mister T'Challa, a pleasure. I'm Mari McCabe. May I introduce you to Miss Potts?" He can see that they're doing something, so she doesn't say anything to that. Yet.

The dark skinned man takes Mari's hand and politely bows over it. Very old world kind of manners. "A pleasure, Miss McCabe. And Miss Potts, very nice to meet you as well." Yes, she'll have heard of him most likely.

"I was hoping that a fine fashion house such as this could provide me with a bit more of a refined look. But I appear to have interrupted an interesting conversation. Is Miss Potts in the market for a bulletproof garment? I did not realize Stark Industries competitors had become so desperate."

It's a light joke but clearly he knows where Pepper works. "I suppose if that is the case this is a bad time to be in town for business."

Pepper returns T'Challa's greeting with a polite nod of her own, sure that he's heard of her through the notoriety of who she works for. But then, that's been par for the course for years now, so it's nowhere near close to bothersome to her.

Bullet resistant? Really? Pepper looks at Mari with raised eyebrows. "And here I thought it was simple wool gabardine." She turns to look at the outfit a bit more directly as that particular model stops and doesn't disappear again with the others. "Did Tony find out I'd contacted you and insist on this?" One thing's for damn sure, next time Tony has a gala or something to go to, she's getting one of Mari's designs for him. The Colombian company boasting bulletproof clothing is honest enough, but their fashion sense is beyond abysmal.

That is, if she manages to figure out why he's been looking so ill lately and do something about it. It's not at all helpful that he flatly refuses to see a doctor.

Mari chuckles. "I'm not sure Miss Potts realised she was, Mister T'Challa." He might need to correct her on that. "Then again, most of my high clientele don't realise they are. That's mostly because they don't realise it's available to them - the fabric is a McCabe innovation and something that I've just introduced."

Shaking her head to Pepper, Mari indicates for one of the other assistants to approach. "Not at all, Miss Potts but it is something you're interested in, isn't it? Feel free to look more closely, if you like. It took me ages to perfect.

"A new set of clothes, Mister T'Challa? I would love to, if you'll just let my assistant get your measurement, we can discuss your preferences." beat "What brings you town, if I might ask?"

"Ah. Then just someone with an eye for fine fashion." T'Challa says with that faint smile getting a little bigger. He clasps both hands behind his back and watches both women.

"I am attending to investment opportunities in this fine city. Some of my business partners are looking at acquiring a startup that has done some interesting things with flexible electronics and high capacity storage systems. As I am an engineer by training, I wanted to see for myself what the technology looked like before I decided to put money behind it."

Flexible electronics. How coincidental that Pepper and Mari were talking about one of the primary applications for that kind of thing: Wearable tech. And how convenient that they should both be here when he showed up.

"Oh, it is simply T'Challa. That is my given name, not my family name. We do not have quite the same naming conventions where I come from."

No, Pepper did not realize she was, and that is likely NOT a good thing. And while she might initially feel that bulletproof clothing is excessive, she can't help but suspect that Tony WOULD insist on it if he found out. She steps toward Mari's assistant and discusses with her briefly about the garments on the model.

She even steps over to speak with the model, asking her a few questions and apparently taking the young woman's answers into serious consideration.

And then her ears catch on the words 'flexible electronics' and she glances over toward Mari and T'Challa again. Thanking the assistant and the model, she steps back into their conversation. "This is also a direction that some of our Research and Development teams have been delving into. I hope you don't mind if I nose in here a bit?"

"Miss Potts most certainly does have an eye for fine fashion, T'Challa." Mari answers, highlighting the correction on his name with grace. "Not all, Miss Potts." Mari hadn't meant for her to feel excluded. "An engineer, hmmm? It's funny you both mention it …"

The dark skinned woman gestures to the device on her wrist. "I'm looking for ways to integrate wearable tech into my designs. The things on the market are so … technical." She's not wrong. They're good and useful but they're hardly flattering.

"Can you tell me more?"

"Not at all Miss Potts." T'Challa says with a nod in the redhead's direction. He steps back to make room for her and give a sense that she's involved in the conversation and not lurking around the edges of it. Very subtle but very diplomatic. Someone very aware of how a room, a conversation or a situation reads.

"The startup is called LifeSystems and they have been working on flexible circuit board and display technology to go with miniaturized high capacity batteries. I have some expertise in power system design so I was particularly curious myself. Their prototypes could be as small as an inch wide, so they could be worked into clothing, or used as some manner of jewelry. It shows promise. Whether or not it shows enough promise to fund further development is another question but my partners seem to think so."

The dark skinned man smiles a bit. "Though I would think that if Stark Industries decided to, they could easily compete in that arena. Still, if you were looking at, say, implanting a cell phone onto a decorative bracelet. Or into a dress or a gabardine…

Well. That tech might be at LifeSystems right now.

"What is Stark Industries interest, if I may ask, Miss Potts? My understanding was that Stark competed primarily in the heavy industry and weapons sectors."

Pepper smiles her thanks at being included in the conversation. "I'm fairly certain we don't anything quite like LifeSystems. SI's focus lately has been mostly medical equipment and green industries — clean energy and the like. Though I can see the flexible electronics fitting in very well with the medical side of things."

Oh, she can imagine it very well. And it looks an awful lot like Star Trek.

For her own part, despite the company she works for, she doesn't appear to have anything particularly tech-forward on her person. Of course she has an ever-present phone, but the wristwatch she's wearing is a true analog device, not even quartz movement.

Mari's eyes light up as T'Challa speaks. "I spoke with a representative from LifeSystems sometime ago as they were just starting out." It's interesting, isn't it, that the ex-fashion model come business owner is looking at this. Doesn't McCabe only do clothing? Why this?

"They've amazing technology however, they're small." Which is a risk she has to consider. Small can be good but it can also be bad. That there's someone willing to invest in them, certainly has her interest.

"If you don't mind, T'Challa, Michael would like to get your measurements as we talk?" beat "I've been wondering myself how to integrate the tech. LifeSystems may be part of the answer, but there's so much more. Like powering and protecting it."

"Of course." T'Challa stands slightly aside so that Michael can get started without crowding anyone. Well. Anyone but him.

"Waterproofing it would be the biggest issue. It would do no good to have clothing that you can't wash or take into the rain. However some of the things that are being investigated wouldn't react to water like traditional electronics. So there are promising avenues. Beyond that, what are you thinking you'd need to protect them from?"

The question is asked almost as a joke. As if he's saying 'what? Do you think MMA fighters will be wearing it or something?'

"Miss Potts if you're interested in green technology then you may be interested in the battery technology alone. The papers I've read have some innovative solutions for energy storage that are considerably less toxic and more efficient than existing battery technology. The thought that had gone into that was one of the reasons I became so interested. Lots of people design electronics without really thinking about the ELECTRICITY part of the equation." And that's not bad but it is a shame in his opinion.

"If they succeed we could be looking at a new generation of smart devices. Imagine your shirt being able to display your blood pressure. Or running shoes that can adjust to your gait or activity to keep you comfortable." Imagine HEELS that could be comfortable. T'Challa doesn't say that but it might occur to both women. As well as the applications of that kind of battery tech to things like pacemakers.

This, well… this sounds like business.

Having honestly very little involvement in R&D herself, Pepper can only imagine the uses some of the things named could have. Though she does know from reading over budget report exactly how much of SI's R&D goes into exactly what T'Challa mentioned. "That is one place where Stark Industries to not cut any corners. But, I can venture to guess that we would very like be interested in more than a couple of the things you mentioned there."

The thought of a piece of fabric being able to do medical tests alone…

Lifting her phone, she taps at the screen quickly, sending a message to JARVIS asking the AI to run a quick search on T'Challa. Does he currently hold any US patents? If so, what are they?

"Imagine an evolution on fitbits that let's someone monitor the calories they eating at an event, among other things?" Mari adds. The possibilities are endless really. And she wants to be the first that introduces the fashion to the market. She's not stupid, she knows she'll have an edge for a short while before other fashion houses catch up - but she intends to have the advantage and exploit it.

"Protect? Well, physically against fluids, knocks and cuts. You'd be surprised how much of a beating fabric actually takes in day to day wear." The dark skinned woman says, watching as Pepper and T'Challa interact. "But there's also the possibility of tampering to consider and all the IT security concerns about things that monitor so many personal attributes, to consider."

"Intentional sabotage is very difficult to protect against. However nothing we're looking at should be capable of harming a wearer. The power requirements can be brought down considerably with the right materials. That is part of what the next round of research would establish, if we deem it worth pursuing."

Jarvis does indeed return about a dozen US patents for T'Challa and several submitted in Europe as well. Apparently he does indeed deal with power system design, but also with vibration and sonic mechanics and a couple of other facets of high technology. Clearly a very educated man who was selling himself a bit short when he said he had an 'engineering background.' This man is an inventor and undoubtedly extremely intelligent.

"Correct, Miss McCabe. Very good." T'Challa smiles. "Perhaps if it is of interest to both of your companies, you would care to meet my business partners. At this stage of the project I believe they would be open to additional investors, should this particular prospect turn out to be worth it. I'm having lunch with them tomorrow at the Century Club."

Oh. Well. That is a rather exclusive space. And he's inviting them to come.

Huh. Fascinating. Pepper gives the list of patents a VERY quick glance then has JARVIS forward them to R&D (and thus very likely Tony as well) to see if any of those would be worth looking into for their own developments.

"The Century Club? I haven't been there…" since Tony last did something less than publicly acceptable and the place started declining his requests for reservations. "… in a while. I'll need to check my schedule, but I can probably make it."

She is not at all sure what will happen if Tony hears about this. Will he insist on going along? Will he just give her the proverbial keys to the safe and send her off with the advice to 'make good choices'? It's a worry, to be honest.

Mari is clever, but certainly not extremely intelligent. She does have a head for business though. "Harming the wearer is certainly a concern however for me, it's about durability."

Michael is quite unobtrusive and he soon has the measurements they need. He disappears out to the back of the showroom without a word. He'll be back in a bit, Mari's sure.

"The Century Club, to meet your business partners? I … would like that very much." Does it strike her as strange, this T'Challa? A little bit. Maybe he's dazzled by the pretty faces or maybe they've impressed him but on such short aquaintance, she wonders.

Maybe she'll do some hunting tonight and see what else can she find out.

Or perhaps he is networking. They've expressed interest, they clearly have some access to finances. It can only benefit him if they decide to back the project he's looking at. And of course both McCabe Industries and Stark Industries have reputations even if he hasn't ever met either of them in person.

Still it is an interesting offer.

"Wonderful. I am staying at The Mark near Central Park until I can find a better long term residence. If you decide you wish to come leave me a message and I will make sure the arrangements are in place."

Mari will of course have his contact number so that she can call him when his suits are ready. He's going to need several. It's going to be a quite profitable interaction for her at least.

As for Pepper and Tony, well… IS Tony going to want to come? Whichever way it is decided that should prove interesting at the very least.

"Perhaps, if you wind up being interested enough to look into LifeSystems itself, we can arrange for a demonstration that will hopefully put all our concerns to rest. Now…"

He smiles slightly.

"Can either of you recommend a good deli? I've not yet had lunch and some place that does NOT require reservations would be ideal at the moment."

Sort of interesting. He definitely seems like a reservations kind of guy.

Glancing to Mari, she thinks that it would be in both of their best interest to talk about this Century Club lunch before they go. McCabe is a shrewd business woman, so it would be very much in Pepper's best interest to not end up trying to compete with her on anything — or worse, Tony thinking he should compete. She offers T'Challa a smile and a nod. "That sounds ideal."

And then the man is asking about someplace to eat. Now this Pepper can help with. "What manner of deli would you prefer? Jewish? Halal? Asian?" She's got her phone in hand again, pulling up the list of delis that she regularly orders from for Tony.

"We will need to go over your preferences before you leave, T'Challa…" She could get food sent in, but Peppers already offering options and that's ok. "And yes, I think you'll see me tomorrow." She certainly will know where he's staying before he leaves.

Pepper gets an imperceptible nod. They can talk. That would be wise.

"Now, Michael is bringing out some sets so we can work out what you like and Miss Potts, we'll finalise your order, in a moment."

Business, after all must go on.

"Jewish." Once Pepper has made her recommendations the rather fit man gives Mari one of those apparently trademark faint smiles.

"I look forward to it then, Miss McCabe. Until then."

A polite bow is given to both women and then the rather mysterious inventor goes over to where Michael is to finalize the details for his order. That should give Pepper and Mari a decent chance discuss this rather remarkable coincidence.

As soon as T'Challa is out of eyeshot, Pepper looks at Mari with raised eyebrows and lifts her phone to talk at it like a Star Trek communicator. "JARVIS, please share with Ms. McCabe what you found for me."

Rather than answer aloud, the AI simply forwards his search results to McCabe's wearable, or whatever it's linked to.

At the same time, she continues as if whatever JARVIS just send has nothing to do with the Wakandan. "I'm thinking the one outfit for now, but I have a feeling we'll have a lot more to talk about, and soon."

Mari watches the rather handsome dark skinned man move away and considers him before turning her attention to Pepper."Let me invite you upstairs to my office when we're done here." Mari answers, scanning the information sent by Jarvis quickly.


"You are indeed a marvel, Miss Potts. I hope Mr Stark realises how lucky he is to have you."

That's all there is for the moment but T'Challa has captured her interest.

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