2019-07-27 - The Aftermath


T'Challa checks in when Mari misses a meeting.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Jul 27 05:47:30 2019
Location: Sky Apartments - Apt 6803

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Theme Song




Mari has had to reschedule a number of meetings today, well her assistant has. The ex-model has been beleagured in her own apartment. Right at the moment, Detective Gibbs is there taking a statement from the woman and a crime scene unit is sweeping the place.

The normally pristine place is in disarray. It's been tossed at the very least though the full length, full height glass window has also been shattered - from the inside, for those that know what they're looking at.

"That's right, Detective Gibbs. She was here when I got here, going through my … unmentionables drawer. I'm fairly certain she wasn't a fan, either." By the door to the apartment are two of Mari's security team, they've been there since the early hours of the morning.

Knock knock. T'Challa had come up to Mari's apartment, led by her somewhat beleaguered assistant. She'd been feaverishly rescheduling but she hadn't actually GOTTEN to T'Challa and when he arrived there was a minor panic. Of course the prince seemed concerned for Mari's well being when told what had happened. So he was shown up.

"Mari? Goodness. What happened in here?" He says, standing in the open door behind the two detectives.

"Did she take anything, Miss McCabe?" Gibbs is asking as T'Challa appears.

"Not that I know of Detective, but I've not touched anything to check yet. I know that your boys would want to go over the scene before I did. When I've done that I can let you know. If we're done here?" Mari looks over to Lisa with a startled look when the pair arrive. "T'Challa? I'm so sorry. Lisa has been busy rearranging my morning."

"Sorry, Ms McCabe, I hadn't quite made that call when …" Lisa shrugs.

"It's alright Lisa, I'll take care of T'Challa, why don't you find somewhere to work. The police will be finished here soon."

Gibbs nods, noting the Wakandan and Mari heads to her guest. "I had an early morning visitor, she seemed rather keen on getting her hand on my pendant though there might be more to it than that."

"Can I offer you a drink?"

The crime scene unit is just packing up as well. Clearly they've already been here for sometime.

"Perhaps I should offer you one. It looks like your place is about to become a crime lab." T'Challa gestures. "That is if the police don't need you for more questioning…"

Do they? They kind of looked like they were done. And there might be a place where T'Challa can offer her a drink if she cares to step down from the heights up here.

"After your pendent. I take it, special as it is, you do not keep it just anywhere."

"Go Miss McCabe. I'll look after the details up here." Lisa answers quickly. "We've the insurance assessors coming in, then a glazier and the cleaners. I'll have this place looking tip top as soon as I can." She's camped out on the kitchen counter at the moment and doesn't seem willing to move.

"I would love that, T'Challa and some food, if we could? I've had a bagle all morning and I'm rather hungry."

Getting her bag, the ex-model smiles at the Wakandan Prince "You didn't have to come up here, but I'm glad you did. The place normally looks much nicer than that." beat "I never take it off really. Which is why it was such a surprise to see her in my bedroom. I thought she was after a …. " She doesn't finish that statement. Shocking the goddamn Batman was one thing. But not T'Challa. "I have it on reasonbly good authority that the perpetrator, a Madam Masque, was after technology though. It doesn't make sense why she would be using my pendant as a cover. I can't help but wonder if this is connected to the other … attempts."

T'Challa gestures out the door and then follows when Mari begins to move. "Madame Masque. Sounds rather operatic. I suppose we should be thankful that she has not chosen to call herself the Phantom."

He smiles a little, trying to lighten the mood. "If she was after technology why raid your apartment. Your company does not produce it and you are not known to use it in your heroic persona. Something seems ever so slightly off there."

The elevator opens and then closes as it takes them down. "There's a rather good cafe not far from here. I'm sure you're familiar with it?"

"You know what's worse?" Mari gives T'Challa a sideways look "There was no really cool music or anything. I ended up hitting her in the face with my frypan." That draws the smallest of grins from the ex-model. "She expected me to fight and I did. I just wasn't where she expected and I fought dirty." Which might explain why there's no marks on the woman at all.

"The only thing I can think of, T'Challa, is my wearable tech but you're right, I wouldn't keep that at home. Not the prototypes." beat "Masque, by the way, seems to employ androids or the like. That was a robot I fought, not a flesh and blood human."

None of it makes sense to Mari at the moment. But she's worked enough crimes to know that initially they don't.

"Oh, Henrique's? It's divine and one of my favourite places. It might be busy at this time of day though."

"I am sure we can get in." T'Challa says with supreme confidence. The news that she fought an android just gets a shake of his head.

"Another person with more resources than sense. At least most of them only blow it on expensive yachts and gaudy houses."

This from a man who was a king and surely lived in something approaching splendor in his days. He lives very very well at the moment, even. "Can the New York Police Department handle someone who can make anderoids? I would not denigrate their hard work, but I would think that this is a little bit out of their wheelhouse."

"I don't know T'Challa, it's a good question and one reason that organisations like SHIELD and the Avengers exist. Even the vigilantes and … freelancers … like myself serve a role. The Police though they have a hard job though and this sort of thing just make its harder." Mari shakes her head and looks at the man when he's so confident.

"The Batman visited not long after I had … disposed … of her. It seems she's moving in on Staten Island. I'm happy for him to handle for her and if she comes after me again, I'll do something more … permanent."

"I might do some more research into the disposition of my pendant though and the others that form that collection. Maybe there's some connection there, don't you think?"

"The Batman. You are simply awash in colorful characters. The Black Panther. The Batman. Next you will tell me that you are meeting with spies and heads of state. And I shall wonder whether you are not secretly a queen, possibly in exile." Still trying to lighten the mood though it is true. Mari seems to have a colorful cast around her.

"There might possibly be. And even if there is not, it would be interesting to see what had become of those artifacts. Do you think they are still in Africa?"

"You're teasing me? I get around…" Mari smiles and actually colours. "When you run around the rooftops of New York in a suit, you get to meet all sorts of people. I don't know Batman all that well, but the suit is hard to miss, don't you think?" she shakes her at the rest of it "Not a queen in exile. Just a girl from a poor village in Mohannda." beat "Besides, I'm not King of the Necropolis…" It's her turn for the moment.

"I think most of them are, yes. I looked sometime ago and found a few of them. They were all gifted to different tribes when they were created." She's thoughtful, the cafe isn't too far ahead and her tummy rumbles, just a little.

"There's be an awful lot of interest in my collection and my pendant though, so I wonder."

"Do you now?" Get around that is. Yes. T'Challa is teasing her and he's teasing her something fierce. They get in and one look at the two of them gets them a table. It's like magic. Well, the kind of magic that comes of being rich, influential and personable. A potent combination, that.

"Where's the interest coming from if I may ask? Competitors? Private parties? The dark web?" That's a good question. Some of the interest may be legitimate but if she's having theft attempts some of it might be a front.

"Don'cha know it…" Mari slurs, smiling and looking a little more relaxed. The teasing is appreciated.

It's a kind of magic, certainly, that they're ushered into a table so quickly.

"That's a good question. There's been several attempts on my collection from what looks to be unrelated criminals. Some high end, others low end. I'm beginning to wonder though. My security team have found requests on the dark web as well. People looking to acquire but even those seem to be more opportunistic than not."r
Mari slides into a seat and puts her hand on her pendant - it's not often she touches it but she does today. "A couple of private collectors have asked to buy it. I guess we've got a few places we can start."

"A private collector might do it if they were unscrupulous enough. But even the very rich do not usually have the resources to waste on multiple attempts. They might put out a bounty and let things play out as they may but that would cast suspicion on them. No, if I had to guess I would think this stinks of misdirection…"

T'Challa takes a seat and folds his hands in front of him. "If they want your pendent they may want the others. Find those, I think we will find out who wants yours."

"Many private collectors do but I'm sure you know that." Mari smiles. Watching as the Wakandan folds his hand on the table. "I'll do that. Perhaps a dashing, exotic, businessman might be tempted to make an offer at some point. It might smoke others out, so to speak."

Letting out a breath, Mari takes a moment to centre herself, it's been a long night and an even longer morning. There's a faint smile at T'Challa, a thanks for the break he's offered her.

"Now, you were coming to talk to me about our next foray in the Zone, weren't you? You deftly organised additionally assistance yesterday. That was quite impressive." she finally says "I think we could arrange a regular 'soup kitchen' in the Zone. Once a week, have a place where we distribute food and clothes. Make it a regular thing, so people know to expect us. Learn they can count on us."

"I might do that, of course. If I am dashing and exotic enough that is. If not perhaps we can ask Tony Stark?" Tony is many things but, um, exotic?

"I was coming to talk to you about coordinating new efforts yes. There are other major players in the city we might try to sway to our side, but it is important to keep helping the people directly however we can. What do you think that next steps should be? Beyond making sure that we are dependable?"

"I don't know if you're exotic enough for my tastes." Mari teases. "But I suppose you'll do in a pinch." What would people think hearing her talk like that!

"The next steps need a lot of work and pushing. They need id's and places to live. I've been wondering if we might not fix up some of the accomodation they're using. Or find places that we might move them to, out of the dangerous areas?" That brings Mari eyes up to T'Challa "You asked me, when we first started on this path why the Zone had been left as it is. If the spirits are that restless, would that not be part of it? They could affect the living, couldn't they? The workers and such?"

"Alas. Why must I be so normal?" The Wakandan prince grins. He has a sense of humor she'll have to give him that. The menu arrives and he begins to look it over. What to choose? Maybe a benedict.

"The ghosts will be part of it yes. They will have the ability to disrupt and influence things but not a whole city of eight million people and surely not the government officials who never come near the zone. No, there is more going on and I am afraid some of it comes down to bureaucracy."

A sad and all too common tale worldwide.

"But yes the workers, the residents nearby. They could affect them. And sabotage equipment though I doubt they have gotten to that point yet. They would not have listened the other night if they had."

"So terribly normally." Mari smirks. Yes, he's got a sense of humour, one that matches hers in many ways.

"I meant in affecting the immediate area, T'Challa. The workers etc. Did you note, the other night how the ones in the centre of that hole were so much angrier than the ones on the outside. Was it the larger spirit that drove that? Or something else?"

She's getting distracted but it's quite fascinating, really.

She's silent again as she looks at the menu. "The eggs florentine look amazing. I might get a side of bacon with those." Her dark eyes come up, to fix on the Wakandan's "Did you need special training to become The King of the Necropolis?"

"To an extent. Ghosts are easily swayed by emotion. They have a near instinctive drive to get close to anything that lets them feel, but this makes them near exclusively drawn to intense and often negative emotions. Rage. Lust. Greed. You get the idea. The ones further back hadn't been swept up but if we had let that continue it is near certain that they would have been."

Of course he knows a fair bit about ghosts. He's been dealing with the dead for some time now. Not a 'long' time compared to those who have devoted their lives to it but definitely long enough.

"I should think that I did, but what I got was more on the job. It became necessary rather suddenly."

"Isn't that nearly always the way? On the job training, I mean?" Mari considers carefully, placing her order when the waiter comes over. "Was there something there then, that was stirring the emotion or was it that larger spirit that was doing it? I had in my mind as we watched that something or someone might have been manipulating them."

"Surely there are some that benefit from keeping the Zone just as it is. Sad to say, but that's how it is."

T'Challa's comments on becoming necessary gets a quirk of her eyebrow "I know how much you like you like being mysterious, and that just makes it more so." She won't ask. Maybe he'll share in time.

"Well I suppose with many things on the job training is normal. Being a monarch of a kingdom of the dead is definitely an unusual job though and I would have appreciated an apprenticeship period." He smiles wryly. "But no. The panther goddess decreed it and I obeyed. I am her champion, after all."

That might make it even MORE mysterious. "There will be some who do. Politicians making it a permanent issue. Contractors getting fat off city contracts. But I think those few are outweighed by those who would benefit if it were fixed. As to the ghosts? It could have gone either way. Some spirits are just full of rage and can sway others. But a skilled necromancer might whip them up. Without further investigation it's impossible to say one way or the other."

"So there is a higher power. The Panther Goddess, hmmm? And her champion at that." It certainly is mysterious and Mari just watches T'Challa. "You are very much alive, though, if I'm not mistaken. I'm fascinated, T'Challa and would love to hear what you can tell me."

Wakanda. It has it mysteries.

"I take it you don't feel it needs investigation at the moment, so I'll leave that line thought. What do you think of fixing up accomodation as our next steps? The ID's are going to take a while but there are things we can do that make them comfortable more quickly."

"There is a higher power, yes. There is always a higher power. You did not think that kings were the final say in anything, did you?" T'Challa laughs. "I was not even the final say in Wakanda. I mean certainly I had all of the authority, but I had the needs of the people, the politics of the tribes, and the international stage to consider. What is the phrase? There is always a bigger fish. Or cat, in this case."

"It most certainly warrants investigation. But you asked a question that I am unable to answer. It is possible but I do not know. If there is someone among the living deliberately affecting the ghosts there, they are hiding from the usual mystical guardians. Otherwise the ghosts would have mentioned. As a rule they are somewhat resentful of necromancers."

"I said as much when we discussed this the first time with your sister. You *tried* to get to me to believe it was the Parliament." Mari smirks "But yes, there always is - though those don't get to dictate directly what you should do. Your Panther Goddess seems to have more sway."

"So you don't think there is someone, or at least you think the likelihood of such a thing is low." She'll accept that. It makes sense, though resentful of necromancers gets a quirked brow.

"I did no such thing. I simply did not correct you when you made an assumption." T'Challa taps his nose. "And honestly would 'I was chosen to be the king of the dead by the patron goddess of my nation' really have been a good thing to say? Or does it sound like someone who is a bit full of themselves and possibly slightly mental?"

Mari gets a curious look. "I have said nothing about what I think is likely. Are you trying to find out what my assumptions are? Or is this a curious way of working a round about problem? I do not know if there is someone involved. It is a possibility that I think warrants investigation and investigate it we shall."

"I might recall it a little differently but you are correct that you didn't correct the assumption." The ex-model smiles brightly "I don't know, T'Challa. You were the one who let me find out you'd been the monarch in an unusual way. Would it have been so bad do you think? You're sister knows, then, what you do?"

"I was drawing conclusions from what you had said. Forgive me if my words seemed inadvised. We shall investigate then and I'm … almost looking forward to it."

Certainly better than battling android women in her living room.

"It would have been difficult to hide it from her. Yes she knows. As does my mother and the privy council. They are the only ones, though, largely. The change was not widely publicized for fear of triggering a succession crisis. However that may change once a new monarch is in place."

T'Challa takes a breath and lets it go. "Are you looking forward to it? Hunting ghosts in the urban blight? Most CEO's would look forward to more relaxing activities I should think."

"One day you might trust me enough to know the whole story." Mari answers. There's an awful lot there that hasn't been said and she can understand why. As to the 'challenge' T'Challa's might face, Mari doesn't ask any further questions. That seemed something long in planning.

"I don't know, T'Challa. What do you think? I could face ghosts in the urban blight with yourself, an android catburglar in my home or my Board at a conference table. Which do you think sounds more thrilling?"
Herotentially telling. Mari is a bit of a thrill seeker, after all.

"And then I can get to partake of more relaxing endeavours. I think it might be a win win all around, to be honest."

"Can you punch the Board?" The Wakandan Prince smirks. "Because if you can, that one sounds the most exciting. There have certainly been times dealing with my business partners or other investors that I wished it were appropriate to march into the room at the head of a battalion of dead soldiers and explain very pointedly how things will proceed. Alas, this is frowned on. And something of an abuse."

"Relaxing endeavors? Do these take place in traditional places or do you require risk and thrills to relax? I must say Mari I am concerned that you are something of an adrenaline junkie."

That's teasing, of course.

"I could punch the Board but as you say … it is frowned on. It would also make finding good help extremely difficult. Don't you think?" There's a cheeky grin to accompany that. "Though there are times that Boardrooms disintegrate to what amounts to a brawl."

"Oh, the usual places. There's nothing untowards about all that. And maybe I am an adrenaline junkie but maybe too, it's about being able to enjoy a job well done." beat "Don't tell it worries you that I might be a thrill seeker. You could tell that just from my bio."

"I could yes. But there is thrill seeking and then there is thrill seeking." T'Challa points out. "Still, people do not usually make it to the top of large corporations by taking stupid risks. Nor do they do it by playing it safe. I am sure your judgement is sound." He smiles a little.

"So I shall defer to your judgement. What are you going to do about your thief problem by the way? We know where to look but for the moment presumably they're going to keep coming."

"And one doesn't dress in leathers and go running across the roof tops at night and yet …" Mari smirks again. "… here I am. There's a certain thrill to it, yes, T'Challa but there's also the sense of doing something that helps others. I'm teasing, mostly, as I'm sure you know."

"My thief problem? Ramp up security. See if I can get my security team to sweep my apartment during the day. And pity anyone I catch trying to steal it." She considers "Maybe I should put my collection in storage for now - let it out it's gone for upkeep or something like that."

"Security in your building is presumably pretty tight. How are they getting up there to begin with? Presumably they have tech or some other sneaky way in but does it require an inside job?" T'Challa glances back toward the tower.

"What I am getting at is, is it entirely possible that your security team has been compromised? I'm sure your people are vetted very well but… humans are human."

He smirks. "Ghosts are almost easier in that regard."

"The first two attempts were in my office. One, at least, came through the window. They had a helicopter. If I wasn't being visited by two SHIELD agents at the time, they would have been successful. That was one reason Agent Rogers looked at me askance at lunch the other day - he doesn't want me mentioning what he did."

Mari chuckles a little.

"As for my apartment. I had thought it safe. Where I live isn't something I publicise, after all. When the crime scene unit get their report, we'll know more. My own security team is pulling the cctv footage. But you have a point, I suppose."

"Are ghosts really? They don't get forgetful?" She's teasing a little but T'Challa can see the ex-model thinking on his words. "I need to get my team vetted again, don't I?"

"They can. The older they are they more they get like that. However tell them to do something, give them purpose, and they'll go forever. You could die and they'd still be standing guard over the same room you told them to watch for no other reason than you told them."

T'Challa chuckles. "Still it's not ideal. Much like people they have their flaws and I wouldn't go replacing your team for ghosts. But re-vetting them? That seems like a good idea. You don't want to sour the good ones but there must be a way for to make sure that everyone is doing what they should?"

The Wakandan Prince considers. "If you had to guess, how would they find your apartment? Follow you? Hack your internal servers? Intercept your mail? What's the place where you're most vulnerable? Some place public, where your things could be accessed?"

"Is that right? Perhaps that's why there are stories of ghosts that linger - someone said wait right here, I'll be back." beat "And no T'Challa, I'm not suggesting that I swap my guards for yours." There's the faintest of smiles as Mari thinks.

"Vetting is an ongoing process. After the recent issue with Rivera, there would be precedent to do so. I would have to change the firm I usually use, though. Go with a new one, one that I've had no tie to before and get things started quickly. Ideally, I could do some of it myself but time is an issue."

"Maybe I revet my senior security and if they check out, get them to do the rest." beat "How do the AVENGERS handle their security in times like this, I wonder. Maybe I could speak to Agent Rogers and the others." Perhaps.

"Following me is a possibility. It's impossible to be invisible, as you know and I've been attending a number of events lately. It wouldn't be hard to put a tail on me and be watchful. That building though, it's rather big and you're not likely to get through the front door without a reason. I'll have to check what I've had delivered, though." As to the rest "Device security is likely the next best culprit. I'll get a new one and see about upping the security on that."

"Is this what you intended when you asked me for a drink, T'Challa?" To go through her woes and offer advice?

"It is entirely possible that this has happened in the past." T'Challa also grins. "But more likely some necromancer wanted the ghosts to guard something in perpetuity. Or the ghost considered it important in life. That happens too. That's why Wakanda has a King of the Dead. To ensure that the dead remain in the Necropolis and well ordered. To ensure that they do not trouble the living."

It sounds like, in the past, they had.

"The Avengers operate under military protocols. Information is kept on a need to know basis and there are protocols to limit it's dissemination. When there is a data spill they have a team of specialists to clean it up. That is, likely, not an option you have. At least not in the short term."

"Not quite. I just intended to get you out of an uncomfortable situation and into one with sealed windows and air conditioners."

Mari's quiet as she digests that information, assessing T'Challa carefully. "Did the previous King of the Necropolis abdicate a year ago? Or did something happen that made it necessary for there to be one?" It's her turn to fold her hands on the table, waiting for their food and drink to arrive. "It's unusual to me, T'Challa, to hear you speak of that. Ordering and ruling the dead as a living being. There are many stories about Gods who live in the underworlds to keep the dead in order. But you, you speak differently of it."

She shakes her head. It's a fascinating glimpse he keeps giving her.

"No, I don't. I'll have to look around and find a firm that I can trust. They must be out there. Maybe Miss Potts might be able to suggest one she trusts." Admitting that McCabe might have a security breach though, that's a PR nightmare. It has to be handled carefully.

"Well, you succeeded in that goal, admirably. However shall I repay you?"

"I always succeed at my goals." For a moment he really does sound like a self assured - possibly slightly haughty - king. And then he smiles and it all fades away. He is, simply, T'Challa. Prince of Wakanda and, yes, King of the Dead but shhhhh. He doesn't go flinging that one around.

"I possibly speak differently of it because I am so new to it. Still it remains one of my honor and duty to do so. And my burden. It is not an easy thing to see to and it never rests. Ironic, really. That the dead never rest."

He sips some of the water at the table. "As to how you may repay me, perhaps you can regale my with tales of what it is like to be the Vixen and why you were in the Disaster Zone that night."

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