2019-08-07 - Behind The Locked Door


Mari goes a Panther hunting. What they find … is horrifying.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Aug 7 06:37:53 2019
Location: Disaster Zone

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Theme Song



Mari is curious about the Panther. She has some suspicions but nothing she can even really voice, call it … intuition more than anything. Which is why, she's dressed as Vixen and sitting atop a building not far from the apartment that T'Challa is currently inhabiting.

She's been there a little while and nothing has happened. Maybe there's been some interesting glowly light coming from the apartment windows, but that's it. She's patient though and she really has all night.

Though, she's wondering if she might be here all night and if her gut feeling is wrong.

The Panther is also curious about the Vixen but the Vixen won't know that. Nothing has happened here for a bit but her patience is about to be rewarded. She sees the panther leave T'Challa's suite with a leap. It's possible he got there before she did. The prince DID say he knew the Panther very well.

He's off and moving though. Toward the Disaster Zone. He's quite agile, using the rooftops to traverse and making great big leaps where there isn't an easy way forward. Athletic too. And that suit shows it off.

Why would the panther be curious about the Vixen? T'Challa only has to ask and Mari would tell him. The panther has but to speak to her … she's not the one being mysterious.

Finally something, Vixen gives the Panther a small lead before calling the spirit of an Eagle and a Panther to her - their glowing silhouettes forming behind her as she mimics their abilities. The Eagle to get across the gaps, the Panther to give her the speed she'll need to keep up.

That suit doesn't just show off the Black Panthers agility and Mari can appreciate the … line of it. She's a designer after all, mmmhmmm.

Over the roof tops, towards the Disaster Zone, running lithely behind the man, she follows.

It takes a little bit of time to traverse the rooftops to the DZ but not as much time as one might think. The Panther moves quickly and thankfully he doesn't seem to have seen Mari.

Once he arrives at the zone he drops down onto the ground. Which is wise. The buildings here offer much less certain paths and a lot of them are tumbled down. He starts to look around. Clearly he's searching for something.

After a few moments he takes off at a run. Moving deeper into the zone and, wait… now he's weaving. Has he spotted her? Is he trying to lose her? Or is he just concerned about being followed in general?

Vixen has to be careful as she follows the Panther, those glowing silhouettes are rather obvious. It's possible to shield herself though as she traverses the rooftops behind him. It's when he drops to the ground, she's going to have trouble - keeping him in sight there is a problem.

Waiting for him to start moving again, Mari lets the silhouettes fade before calling another - this time a brown bear. As the form appears behind her, her nose rises to the air and she breathes in. That's really not pleasant, there's so many scents here, but she's got the one she wants …

As the Panther starts weaving, she takes her time … using his scent to follow him onwards.

Scent tracking is safer but it means that she does have to fall behind a bit. Consequently when the Panther arrives at his destination he has a solid three or four minutes alone before Mari catches up. When she does she sees that he's come to the same plaza that they discovered those labs in. The hole in the ground is still here and he drops down lightly into it. Moments later she sees a light come on and start to move. He's prowling again, taking his time and searching.

If she WANTS to drop in on him this is probably a good opportunity. He'll be a bit distracted and she can pretend she wasn't following him, just arrived at the same place.

It is safer just far less pleasant. These streets are filled with refuse and people here rarely bathe.

Still, she's got her quarry and arrives in that plaza, pausing in the shadows to watch carefully. Had he seen her? It doesn't seem so, but she's cautious.

Waiting another minute or so, Mari dismisses the spirit she's called to her. Then she's off, into the plaza and down into the hole.


She lands in three point crouch. "You! What are you doing here?"

The panther suited man spins and Mari can see him flick his hand to produce short little claws at the end of his finger tips. "You!"

It takes a moment for him to relax. She's probably not a threat, right. "What do you think I am doing here. I came back to see what could be learned from this place. I might well ask the same of you and at the risk of sounding juvenile, I was here first."

"Ohhhh, nice claws." Mari smirks as the hand flicks out. She goes to grab it, when he relaxes, and inspect them. "Retractable, into the suit. Nice touch."

"Well it might have been that or you might have decided to have a picnic. I don't know. It was safer to ask, than just assume, don't you think?" She's sassying him. "I came to check things over, I believe I told you that the night we found this place, that I would come back."

She flashes the Panther a big smile "Don't you share your toys?"

"I am a Panther after all. What kind of Panther would I be if my claws were out all the time?" The claws are finely made and machined. Very advanced, probably very expensive. Whomever this person is, he has or had some serious backing. The light coming from his suit dims and he looks behind him.

"There is a sealed security door at the far end of this room. It is reinforced and barricaded from the other side. I have not been able to tell if anyone is still in there but at some point someone was quite desperate to prevent anyone from leaving this room."

Why is that? And does it have anything to do with why the roof collapsed? There's a door at the other end too. It's already open though. And clearly not as interesting to the Panther as the sealed one.

"It depends on the toy. Do you share yours?"

Mari's silent as she inspects the claws, but doesn't stop him as he pulls his hand back. "Interesting machine and workmanship. Whoever does your work is good." She notes. She's being very, very cheeky too. The light dimming gets her attention as well. It's all very interesting.

It's serious backing - and not just for money. The suit looks of the highest quality.

"Did you want to try and get through that door? Or find another entry, perhaps?" Mari asks "What was in the other room? You've been in there, I take it?" She wonders at the sealed door, whether brute force would open it.

"Share my toys? Well now, that all depends. On which gossip column you read." There's another a smirk. "But in this type of investigation? I might be encouraged to. Particularly if the person I have to share with is as … interesting … as you."


"I might be able to pry it open. Or cut it open. But as good as these claws are for fighting they are bad at digging and that is a steel door. I was about to look for another way through. Weighing my options."

The Black Panther back toward that door and runs his hand along the seam. He seems to be thinking though of cource his expression can't be seen under that mask.

"And what exactly were you thinking on sharing?" Maybe the door CAN be pried open. He'll have to get a good hook on it though. The bolts on this thing are thick and as far as he can tell, there are three of them. One top, one bottom, one right in the middle.

"I have not been through that other door quite yet. I am curious what is back there but not quite as curious as what was sealed off from the other side HERE."

"Whatever I discover here, of course." Mari smirks, looking at the door and thinking herself. "You know, I could try and just rip that off its hinges or use my own claws to break the bolts." Claws? She doesn't have any at the moment but T'Challa at least has seen her manifest some.

"Or we could explore the other room first and see if it has anything that might help us get in here. You never know, do you, unless you look."

Still the silhouette of a badger appears on Mari's shoulder, her nails growing stronger and longer. Sharp, long, claws. That should do it, shouldn't it?

T'Challa stands back from examining the door and looks at Mari. He can see the badger she's wearing. Or is it that badger is wearing her? He's not sure but it's an interesting question to consider.

"Have at it, then." The cat suited man gestures to Mari. If she can't he'll try to help but if she can, well, he'll have learned something won't he? The door itself is hard to dig through but it is possible with unbreakable spirit claws and a bit of extra strength from something else.

Though it's still a pain. She has to gouge out the steel and sever the bolts and that means digging through half the door in three places.

Mari will say that's a badger she's wearing. She's mimicking it's abilities, as much as anything. "That's a nice suit, by the way." She says, casting the Panther a sideways look as she works. "Really seems to suit your form. Why was it glowing just now?" Mari is rather inappropriate at times.

"Not quite enough oomph … hang on …" The woman murmurs, as a … glowing rhinocerous beetle appears on her shoulder. "Now I can lean into this." It does take a while as Mari gouges the steel to make room so she slice the bolts and remove the hinges. "I mean, I could have just tried ripping the door open, I suppose."

"Because I needed light. The optics function well enough in the dark but not complete dark. There does need to be SOMETHING to work with." The suited man says. He's got his arms folded and is watching Mari work. Once she's got the door suitably ruined though it does slide open revealing a hasty barricade of furniture that's relatively easy to knock over.

It makes an awful mess as it collapses.

"Hello?" The Panther calls into the darkness but nothing responds to him. "Hrm…"

There air back here is damp and somewhat musty. There's a distant drip but no signs of anyone being here at the moment.

There's some signage on the wall near the T intersection that is this doorway. The arrow pointing forward says 'Cold Storage' while the one pointing to the right says 'Vehicle bays'.

"Curious. Which shall we check out first?"

"I see." Mari glances over her shoulder at the man standing there. "I feel like you're going to hold up a score card in a moment. And the judge from … // Where are you from? //… gives Mari McCabe a 3."

With the door open, Mari stretches a little and lets the spirits fade as she peers into the room. "I wonder if I should give them the number of my decorator." She quips, stepping over the debris. "Cold Storage, I think."

Starting in that direction, she shivers a little. "I don't like the sound of it."

"Africa." Comes the response. Africa is of course a large place but that's all the Panther says. One might almost imagine him smiling as he gives the somewhat evasive answer. "But then all the best people are, I'm told."

Now he's teasing.

They walk forward and the Cat Suited Man seems to peer around. "I do not hear any power running. I wonder if cold storage is still cold…"

Drip. Drip. There are pipes running here and there and they seem to be leaking condensation. Liquid coolant then, possibly. When they reach the door it has been torn open from the inside and yes, cold air is blasting out of it.

"Well…" The Black Panther steps inside and peers about. There are racks for samples and containers for various things but the highlight of this VERY large storage room are a number of 'pods' that seem to be cryogenic storage for living people. They are all open and empty but several of them look like they were BROKEN open. From the inside.

"Of course we do." Mari's quick with the response but she gives the Panther a 'look' that says she knows what he's done. "Whereabouts in Africa? It's a big continent after all …" She's digging and he's playing coy. She might be enjoying this game, after all.

"Hard to tell but if it's not, it would explain the dripping we're hearing." She nods as they draw close enough to see the carnage. "Seems there's power, at least but maybe the occupants didn't like their accomodation."

Making her way inside, she goes to one of the ones that were broken open to inspect it.

"Given how we found Charm, I wonder if these were pre or post operation …"

"From one of the sunnier parts. With Panthers, naturally." The feline hero says, one can almost hear the smirk in his voice. He walks up to one of the broken pods and runs a hand over it.

"The metal is gouged on the inside. The glass was shattered when one of the support struts was weakened enough that warm air started to leak in. These pods are supposed to keep people asleep, in theory. I'd say there was a failure and something got out. Several somethings…

He peers a little closer. "Claws. Large ones. I do not see blood in here but the doors have been torn off the hinges. I would say we are looking at a breakout scenario. That would explain the barricade. And if I do not miss my guess, when we go to the vehicle bay, there will be vehicles missing."

"Sunnier parts, hmmm?" Mari is a mistress of 'looks' and the Panther is earning more than his share. Not that she pushes it right now, she's investigating.

"I'd say something happened to cause the cryo-system to stop. The power got turned off, maybe? Or did something cause it to fail?" beat "That door was barricaded from this side, though. So was it the inhabitants of these pods that did that and if so, why?"

The assumption has to be they felt they were under threat. From what?

"Claws, hmmm?" Mari pokes around the storage unit a little more, looking for anything that might give them a clue. Identification plates on the pods, paperwork, computers. Anything. "I think you might be right, did you want to test that premise, though?"

"Test it how?" The Panther says as he also begins to look around. The lab is in pretty poor shape. Everything in here is damp thanks to the warm air mixing with the cold air. There's some mildew in here somewhere as well. She does find papers that seem to detail surgical experiments of the type that Charm was subjected to, but that WELL predate the Blitz. This place was in operation for a long time and seemed to primarily target homeless mutants.

Or as they are otherwise known, Morlocks. These are not wise people to cross. But if they WERE abductees it explains why they were in such a hurry to leave when they woke up.

"By going to look, silly…" Mari casts the Panther an amused look before turning her attention to the paperwork she's found. "Look at this…"

Her voice is tight and any indication of amusement is gone. "These people were experimenting on Morlocks. Taking them because they were here and then using them. Charm was the last in a line of them that goes back before the Blitz." The documentation is very, very detailed and Mari understands a fraction of it.

"We should get this to a medical team to review. It might be useful for Charm at least." She turn her attention back to the gouges in the pods. "What do you think, then. Were those gouges made by claws au natural or something more? This experiment …" She flips one of the pages over to show the Panther "Seems to show they were augmenting claws and talons, don't you think?"

"Difficult to say… They might have been post augmentation, but mutants have a number of rather unusual abilities and it is not outside the range of possibilities that one of them might have had the ability to gouge metal with his bare hands. Or claws. Or what have you." The Black Panther folds his arms and considers before coming to look over at what Mari has.

"That means they did not abandon this site after the blitz. In fact it probably became easier to use. At some point they began branching out and targeting non-morlock mutants and from the papers you have, even humans they thought might have an appropriate X-Complex that could be stimulated with gene therapy."

The Panther shakes his head. "This is nothing short of monstrous."

"It is difficult to say, though some forensic analysis might give us some more clarity. Shall I call Detective Gibbs?" She watches the Panther man as his arms fold again. No quips about score cards at all.

"And no, they didn't abandon it. Why on earth would they? They had a supply of disenfranchised that no one could really look out for. What matters if they go missing? The authorities … won't care."

"We need to finish looking through this place and try and quantify what has happened to the occupants. Finding out who was running the facility should be top of list as well."

"They abandoned it before we got here though. They must have done so within a few days of Charm being found, given the state she was in. Which in turn means that it is likely that the breakout happened around that time." The Black Panther is working through the logic.

"We know that the people are not here. I think we would have spotted them or they us with all the noise we have made. So they went somewhere. Somewhere within the last week. From the looks of things there were between one and two dozen of them. If they were all animalistic mutants they'd be noticeable and since no one has noticed them it seems reasonable to think that they did not travel very far. But if so… where are they?"

Mari's idea about searching the rest of the facility is a good one and they will do that shortly. Try to reconstruct events. But at the moment this puzzle is occupying the Black Panther.

"Where would you go if you woke up having been abducted for nefarious scientific experiments?"

"Back to where I was before I was taken." Mari answers. "These people might be homeless … Black Panther … but I doubt they were alone. Look at Gabrielle." She's thinking though. "I'd find somewhere to get food that is safe. If it *were* *me*, I'd go to the authorities but these people?"

Mari starts to pace as she thinks. "I don't think they would. If they were Morlocks, they might well head back to the sewers."

But shelter and food. That would be the priority, Mari thinks.

"Regardless, they'd head for the nearest point that they felt was safe first…" The Panther muses. "And you're right. I think that would be underground. We should check the local underground to see how badly broken up it is and whether or not there are signs that a large group recently moved in…"

Finally he relaxes and turns to look at the torn door. "They would have been desperate and despite being strong enough to rip the doors off the hinges, they didn't think they could fight. They barricaded the entry and escaped instead. What does that say about their captors, I wonder?"

He shakes his head. "Well, shall we keep looking?"

"We can do that next, if you're up for more adventure." Mari answers. She'll go looking regardless. "And we need to speak to Gabrielle and see what the rumours are. If the groups are big enough, they should have been noticed - even if no one wants to talk on them."

Turning when the Panther does, the spirit caller looks at the door and the debris as well. "That they were scared. Either they didn't think they could fight or they didn't want to. Either way, it's not good. Whoever was running this facility, has them 'controlled'."

"Yeah, I do. Come on."

"I am always up for more adventure." Mari might well imagine she can hear the smile in his voice. Always, mmm? Well that suits Mari just fine doesn't it?

"Gabrielle will know yes. Fortunately I understand she has become somewhat easier to find." She has. She has a phone now and the phone allows her to be tracked. It might be slightly amusing that T'Challa thought of that. The woman is peppy and upbeat and relatively serious when the need comes but possibly not thinking like T'Challa and Mari often think. It is, in fact, a curious kind of amnesia she has.

Regardless the two make their way back to the fork and head to the vehicle bays and here a surprise waits for them. All of the vehicles are here save one. And that one, whatever it was, appeals to have bored a tunnel into the rock on the side of the bay. In and down. Wherever they went, it wasn't to the surface.

"A mutual friend ensured Gabrielle was more contactable." Mari agrees "And I like it when people are always up for adventure. Appeals to the thrill seeker in me." Because Mari really is.

"Well now, isn't this interesting. Bored straight into the rock …" the spirit caller heads to the hole and inspects it. "I wonder if the vehicle did this or if it was one of the captives. They might have abilities that allow them to do that. Shall we follow?"

"I'm not sure which I'm more worried about. That the lab had a tunneling vehicle or that a bunch of escapees stole it…" The Panther says wryly. "Yes I think we should. But unless you are prepared for a very long night I suggest we gather some supplies. We have no idea how far they went and while I suspect it is quite close we may at least need some climbing gear. You can fly, but I must climb and while these claws are good I would prefer to be more prepared than not."

Mari can dig yes. Through steel even. But if there's a cave in is she going to want to dig through solid rock back to the surface? He suspects not.

"We might also figure out where they were headed. If they went down that suggests either the sewers or a natural cavern. Some maps would be helpful."

"Exactly." Mari agrees glancing at the Panther. Either option is a little horrifying really.

"I'm in for a long night …" Mari lets that hang a bit before nodding. "We will get supplies and do some research first. But we can't leave this too long." There should be maps of the tunnels in the City Offices somewhere, or the library. How good they are? Well, they'll find out.

And no, digging through rock and concrete is damn tiring.

"Shall I leave a message with our friend when I'm ready? Or will you come find me?"

"Leave the message. If you take too long though I shall find you myself. Now. Shall we? We can exit the zone together. It is not likely to be too dangerous but there is safety in numbers." And that is true. With these feral mutants around who knows what might pop out at them. And that's not to mention the ghosts that Mari has scene.

And the rumors of that other creature like Gabrielle.

Anyway Mari can count on the Panther's company for at least a bit longer. But it's time to go.

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