2019-07-15 - An Interesting Collection


T'Challa arrives to discuss business as Mari is talking to the police

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Jul 15 03:46:35 2019
Location: McCabe Industries

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Mari's office is often quiet. It's the way she likes it when she works. Today, it's not. Two NYPD police officers are just leaving, followed by a plain clothed detective. "Thank you for your time, Miss McCabe." The plain clothed one is saying. "If you think of anything more to add, you have my number. And we find anything, you'll be among the first to know."

T'Challa is supposed to meeting Mari here. A working dinner as they discuss some potential business. The dinner might be a bit late, though. Clearly Mari's been distracted for the last little while.

T'Challa has indeed arrived and he has arrived in one of the suits she provided. And why not? It looks good, it's quite comfortable. Everything about it says 'quality' and 'taste' and 'refinement' and possibly also 'money', because these suits are not for everyone. Mari is in the high end fashion business and it definitely shows.

"Miss McCabe. I hate to drag you away from your work but your seven o'clock is here." That's not her assistant. That is actually T'Challa at her door.

The suits do indeed look good. As they should. Mari prides herself on her business. There's a reason that people like T'Challa come to McCabe Industries after all.

"Thank you again, Detective Gibbs." Mari shakes the man hand and shows him out just as T'Challa arrives. The uniformed police would have passed him on their way down the stairs. "Ah, so he is…" Mari smiles at T'Challa. Gibbs gives the man a once over "You have business to attend to. Until later, Miss McCabe."

With a nod to T'Challa, Gibbs heads out as well.

"Come in. I'm running late, I'm sorry." Mari holds her hand out T'Challa as well. Still quite formal. "A spot of bother about my collection again, I'm afraid." She gestures to the display case that's near the window.

It's full of artifacts. Some of which, T'Challa might recognise as being from close to Wakanda.

"Dinner will be here in about an hour. I thought we could get started, though, if that's alright? I certainly have something to drink in my office, at least."

"Interesting collection you have. Is it from home?" Mari had mentioned she was from africa originally though she hadn't said quite where. The range of artifacts she has is not overwhelmingly extensive but it's enough to be anyone's pride and joy. And here he thought she might collect paintings or articles of clothing.

"I am not opposed to a drink and yes we should get started." It was after all a working dinner.

"Hmmm?" Mari had entered her office when T'Challa asks that question. "Oh, yes. Mohannda. Some of them at least. Others are from Zambesi and other nations in the area. Someones taking an interest in it, though. Two attempts to steal it in as many months."

Coming out with two tumblers and bottle of high end scotch, the ex-model pours the drinks and hands one over to the Wakandan. In the case, he might notice one shelf has pendants and bracelets similar to hers. Not fox-head but the design about them looks similar.

"How did you go with your negotiations, might I ask?"

"Mohannda. That is quite close to Wakanda." And it is. Right next door as it were. "Mohannda is your home, then?" Interesting that she should have grown up so relatively close to T'Challa.

The Prince, for she knows he is that now, takes up one of the glasses and savors a taste of the scotch as he takes in details. "They went well enough I think. We shall speak to them again later I am sure but at the moment everyone is in agreement on key points. Now, of course, it comes down to money and as they say here in this country, money talks. I find sometimes that money talks more truly than the words people say."


"I suppose you could say that." That Mohannda is close to Wakanda. "Doesn't mean I know a lot about Wakanda though." She teases the Wakandan a little as she sips her scotch still looking at the collection. "I believe this item here might be familiar."

She opens the case and takes out a pendant, it's bright green and sort of shaped like a diamond. It certainly looks like something from close to Wakanda, if not Wakandan itself. T'Challa might be familiar with the tales about it - an Earth Totem gifted by one of the Gods. There's a whole story to it. What he might also recognise though is that this is imitiation item, not the real thing.

"There is not much to know. It is, as I said, a nation of farmers. We do not have much but we are proud of what we have built and we are proud of our history." T'Challa leans closer to look at the pendent.

"That is a very fine replica and an excellent piece of history. Was it the target of the thieves or were they after something else?"

As a replica there isn't a whole lot of value to it, so he wonders why it might be here in her collection.

"I can see that you are. Your sister is particularly proud of the country and of you, I think." Mari answers as she watches T'Challa inspect the pendant. "It is a good replica, yes. As are the other from that collection. Mine is the only authentic piece to that set. But it takes a good eye to recognise a replica."

There are four other items that are displayed with that pendant. All of them different and yet, similar.

"I think that's what they're after, yes. I only acquired the last replica a few months ago and someone did a piece on me in a society paper. The collection was displayed in the background and mentioned in passing." she shrugs a bit. "If someone thinks they're real…"

Maybe that's what it is. Maybe it's something else in the collection but that particular set has … interest for more than just its artistic value.

"So money talks? Your money, I'm assuming. Is there anything more I can do to help there? Like lean in a little and offer a contract if you're successful?"

"I have a good eye for details." T'Challa says straightening up. "How is it that a young woman from Mohannda who came to this nation with nothing possesses an original piece of that set? It is over a thousand years old." Well over, but he's not going to say that. Not just yet.

"Everyone's money talks. These contests are often to see who can talk the most loudly. Usually that is done with the most money but that is a bit crass for my tastes. And it is certainly possible you could be of assistance. Sometimes money can talk without spending any and you have a widely recognized name in this city. So does Miss Potts. The strength of your names alone would add considerable weight to our investments regardless of the amount of capital you are actually fronting. It is not what you are doing, you see, but what you COULD do."

"Then I will lean a little on the deal and see if we can tilt the field in our favour. These things must be handled delicately, after all, too much of a heavy hand could mean resentment from those we wish to deal with." Pepper might be getting a visit soon. The three of them on this venture could be incredibly lucrative and beneficial. "But that's part of what you've come to discuss tonight, isn't it?" Why they're having a working dinner.

"The fox head totem is mine." Mari smiles, as T'Challa exhibits knowledge of the artifacts. "It has been in my family for years. It was given to me when my mother died …" There's the faintest of sorrow that colours that. "… and taken from me in my teens." She considers the Wakandan. "Not many have heard this story. Most …think my trip to Africa in my late teens was to visit family. It was not …"

"Yes. Resentment is not ideal. Awe, but not resentment. Though awe is unlikely." It's not easy to awe people in business. Sure they might be impressed by names and the sizes of the checks but only the rare few have the charisma and personal magnetism to inspire genuine awe.

"If it was taken from you in your teens, how then did you get it back?" That's a bit personal and T'Challa knows he is pressing, but he's already revealed some big things about himself. Maybe he has some social credit here.

"You are plenty awe inspiring. Particularly dressed like that." Mari teases again. He's right, she knows that but they can make a good showing as a 'team'. They just need to get the terms of things right.

She takes another sip of the whiskey and looks at T'Challa. He is pressing a little but she intends on pressing herself.

"When I came here, I was heart broken. My father had been killed and they'd taken the totem. A friend took me in, they didn't have much but they helped me heal. I learned to fight. When I was strong enough, I went back. I found the ones that had killed my father and stolen my pendant and I took it back."

It's so calmly said but he might get the feeling that it was anything but at the time.

"As simple as that. You looked for them. You found them. You took back what belonged to you." T'Challa sips his drink and looks at her as if to say 'nothing is ever that simple.' He's right. There's all kinds of complications that arise from taking vengeance like that.

"And then you built a fashion empire after becoming a world famous model." He says turning and gesturing to the grand view from the office here. "It is almost a fairy tale, is it not?"

A light challenge to the story. Not that he thinks it isn't true, but that he thinks it's incomplete.

"I didn't say it was simple." Mari answers quietly. "But I regained what was mine by birthright, yes. It wasn't simple, as I suspect you already know, coming from that area. Gangs and Cartels are … rife. Corruption even more so. There's a reason I didn't remain, once I got it. A reason why I returned to America."

Maybe later she'll tell him about it but not now. His … social credit … only extends so far.

Turning to gaze out the window - it's a good view from here, her penthouse has better, Mari is silent for a bit. "I returned and I recovered. I couldn't work, I was too beat up. Too … messed up. I became Vixen. Helping others when they needed it, defending against crime. But you need money if you're going to do that sort of thing, effectively, and people were asking about my designs. I started small, one design at a time."

"And you, Prince of Wakanda. What is it that makes a man set aside a Crown and move on?" It's her turn. He had to know that was coming.

"After a modeling career that is the envy of many aspiring young ones." T'Challa points out. He hasn't sat yet. He seems to be more comfortable standing for this. And in any case the view is nice from up here.

"A good king acts for the good of his people. Even if that means laying aside the crown. I encountered something that it was agreed should be handled by me, personally. But that left me unable to see to my people's needs. So, I stepped aside. I gave up my birthright to care for my people. Even if perhaps they will not know why, or how."

"I suppose there's that." Mari answers. Her office is open and they can sit in there, or there's the couch by the wall in the reception area they're in.

"I gathered as much, I was interested in what could be a higher calling. It's not like you left in disgrace, you're sister wasn't made Queen, after all and if I understand things correctly, you left a regent in charge. Did you expect to go back after … this adventure?"

The trial by combat. She'd got all that.

"Were you a terrible King, T'Challa?" She's teasing again.

"There was not much time to arrange a regency and to call a leadership contest at that point might have ignited a crisis. It still may but the matter is out of my hands now. The regent and the queen mother will have to see to the smooth functioning of the nation. I can no longer."

As to what he's doing now? That gets a slight smile. "There are those who probably would say I am a terrible king, but I do not think I was. No, I was given oversight over something that requires all of my time and attention and those same duties have now brought me here to New York."

"And you're not going to tell me." Mari grins back in return. "You're trying to make me think it's your company and the mergers and acquisitions that your looking into." Taking another sip, the ex-model turns to look at the business man and consider him. "And yet, I think there's more to it than that."

She'll not push though. Not yet. She'll follow him, he might guess that, and see what she can discover.

"Have you had chance to look over the list of neighbourhoods and places I sent over? Are there any you might like to visit?" She's not changing the subject, not really. Just giving him space to know that she won't push too hard - not yet.

"Everything is business, Mari. But not everything is mergers and acquisitions. Still, the mergers are important. I do not attend to such things to fill my time. And it is certainly convenient that I am here to be able to attend them." He smiles slightly.

"I have yes. The upper east and west sides look very nice. As does Battery Park. Do you have any personal recommendations? And do you know of a good realtor? Or do you have one on retainer?"

"I'm sure everything is." Mari knows a sidestep when she sees one. "Apart from haunted tours of New York, so you can get a feel for the people, what other things do you intend to fill your time with? Dancing, I hope, for one." She's a terrible flirt and she knows it.

"Upper East and West Sides are good. Have you looked at Hells Kitchen? They've refurbished that area in the last few years. I'm quite partial to it and my apartment building is just divine. Rather exclusive too."

Gesturing for him to follow her to her office, which is nicely appointed with nearly the same view, she goes to her desk and pulls out a card. "This is the realtor I use. I don't have them on retainer but they do well by me." Maybe one day she'll show him her apartment. Maybe. For all that Mari's a public person, there's somethings she likes to keep private.

For now, though, they really do have to get down to business and Mari hopes the NYPD can get a lead on the attempts on her collection.

"I have not. It has something of a reputation. However it has always looked rather nice when I have come through. Do you think I should consider it?" Yes that was a dodge and T'Challa does the right thing conversationally by moving on, not lingering and letting it become awkward.

"I shall contact them. Now, would you like to talk about potential arrangements? Or would you like to talk about the history of ghosts in New York? I am becoming quite the expert. Call it a hobby. I do not have many things to fill my time but I do not need them. As I do not generally have large amounts of free time."

"I do. I think you'll like what you find there." Hells Kitchen that is. "Speak to my realtor, tell her I sent you. She'll look after you, just like she looks after me."

"Dinner will be here in about ten minutes, we should talk business and then if time permits, because you don't have much free time, maybe you can tell me about the ghosts." She's curious and the fact that curiosity killed the cat, doesn't deter her. She knows that satisfaction bought it back. "Take a seat, and we'll get started."

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