2019-08-13 - Redefining Fashion


Rescuing Mari to take her to lunch, T'Challa offers assistance with Mari's latest plans

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Aug 13 00:00:00 2019
Location: Sky Apartments - Apt 6803

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Theme Song



Mari's still curious about who the Black Panther is but she's not had time in the last few days to go hunting. Apart from that, they've got a 'date' coming up - to visit the tunnels under that facility and she doesn't want to push her luck. Or she's busy. One of the two.

Rivera's little stunt at Mari's show a few weeks ago is still having an effect across her business. Profits are down - though only slightly but the Board want to know what's being to address this. Which is why Mari is currently working on a 'collar' for a dress that is really a wearable. She's looking to integrate this type of tech into her line, so people can be fashionable and up with the latest.

It's a working lunch for the woman as she stands in her showroom giving directions to her staff there.

"Will wonders never cease in this emporium of fashion?" The accented voice is that of T'Challa, Prince of Wakanda. Or perhaps T'Challa, King of the Dead. It is the same voice either way. A lilting and slightly amused voice as the very fashionable prince steps into the showroom.

He really is one of her best advertisements.

"No,no. It's not sitting right. I don't like how the edge here …" Mari's fussing with an outfit when T'Challa walks in "… sits proud. It ruins the line but apart from that, it's damn uncomfortable. And yes, I know … fashion isn't comfortable but we don't have to be making it worse."

"Yes Mari but the materials used for this wearable just aren't flexible enough. This is the best we could we do …"

"Hmmmm" Mari doesn't sound impressed at all.

T'Challa really is one of Mari's best advertisements which might be why he gets a big smile when he arrives. "Wonders, T'Challa? I suppose you're going to say that I'm working!" She teases as she holds her hand out to the man. "Are you here because your missed me or did that dashing acquaintance of yours, The Black Panther, send you to see me?" Still teasing, Mari turns a displeased look to the outfit before giving the Prince, or the King, her full attention.

"No of course not. You work all the time. I cannot think of a time when you are not working." The Prince says with a bright smile.

"Oh the Panther is Dashing now is he? I shall have to tell him you said so. No I am here because I thought it might be nice to drop in on you and rescue you from work. That is, if you wish to be rescued."

He notes the wearable she's working on carefully. He is after all a tech specialist. He MIGHT be able to help though they'd need some materials first. Materials that they do not yet have.

Mari's people draw back a little as Mari and T'Challa speak. "All the time, hmmm? I suppose I do." It certainly seems like it lately. Between McCabe Industries and Vixen, the dark skinned woman isn't getting a lot of down time. "Dashing? Well, he's built well - that suit of his shows that." Mari teases "As to the rest? It's hard to tell." She considers the Prince, the smile growing slightly. "Rescue me. That sounds good actually and if you've a mind, we can review where we're at with Life Systems."

Yes, the Panther might be able to help. Yes they do need the materials and Life Systems are the ones that might be able to do this. Right?

"I'm taking a working lunch. Forward my calls if you need to, but I trust you can handle most of them till I get back." She tells her assistant. "Shall you save me, then, T'Challa?"

"I shall rescue you, indeed, fair maiden." T'Challa grins and offers his arm. "I was thinking of rescuing you to a walk and then lunch, if you don't mind. There is a place not to far from here that I think you might enjoy. It has a view and is rather exclusive but…"

T'Challa shrugs. He's good for getting into exclusive places.

"So you've been looking, have you? And has he told the Vixen anything? I must say your outfit looked fetching when I saw you in the disaster zone." The mustard yellow is an ODD choice, most people of Mari's skin tone would go for the purple, but it works and it works well. It has a slimming effect. Or… something fashiony like that.

"Mah Hero!" Mari pretends swoon before taking T'Challas' arm and letting him lead her from the building. "An exclusive view? You have me intrigued. Where are you taking me?" She certainly doesn't mind walking - the fresh air, such that is in New York is certainly welcome.

"Have you looked at anywhere you'd like to live while you're here?" Mari had given T'Challa her real estate brokers name and some suggestions.

"Looking? Who wouldn't?" She's still teasing but she sobers. "I've met him a couple of times in the Zone, yes. We've certainly discovered some things together, a lot of them concerning. Would you like me to regale you with the tales?"

"Fetching hmmmm? Well I'm glad you think so, thank you for saying." The colours are more earth tones and work well with her skin. If she knew T'Challa was thinking of purple, she'd be teasing him more.

"Does anyone not think so?" T'Challa chuckles. She's a rather athletic woman of no small gifting in the beauty department and she's a fashion expert. So of course she looks good.

"Regale away. Though I am rather curious also if you have had any progress or resolution on your thievery problem or business problem?" The one that involved possession. That had sounded nasty. He could always lend her some ghosts to help with security but that might be problematic in its own right.

Though now that he thinks of it.

"Taking you? Oh. Up there." He points to the top of one of the towers. Where there IS indeed a very nice and rather exclusive Italian place…

The question brings a faint amount of colour to Mari's cheeks and she demurs from responding to the teasing. "The thievery problem seems to have abated a little but I'm trying to work out where the real pendants are. It's interesting that people have taken a shine to them. As to the other? The company figures have taken a dip. My Board is demanding to know how we'll recover."

Which might explain Mari's working on that wearable right now.

"Rivera is still on the loose and I'm looking for her still. How she can just disappear should be a worry, but this is New York. A few of our resellers have had minor disturbances in their showrooms - I can't help but think they are related. I thought I might set up a situation where Rivera might reveal herself."

Glancing up at T'Challa, Mari judges how that lands before letting her gaze be directed to the tower.

"Tossellini's? There's a six month waiting list to get in there…"

"And you think that rolling out a new line of fashionable technology is the key." T'Challa observes. He thinks on this for a moment, clearly considering. "You still have that reverbium lined fabric, do you not?"

Where is he going with that and what might it have to do with her company's profits?

"Perhaps if you were to attend another high profile event that might help. I AM settling on a house and my apologies on getting side tracked I think one of your agents has located the perfect one. Once it is secured I think I should throw a house warming party…" And if they can get the right people that might be just the thing to lure Rivera out… and possibly trap her.

The key is to not destroy T'Challa's new house in the process.

"Mmm? Ah yes there is a bit of a wait list but I have been a supporter of the business for a long time and in some very difficult times as well and, well, let me just say they found me a windowside table."

"I do, yes." Mari nods slowly, getting lost in thought for the moment. "Built into the clothing perhaps? Detachable etc. I think it's a mix of diversifying my business and enhancing what I already have. Except, well … you saw the results, yes?" That neckline was pretty ordinary, really.

"I do, yes. SHIELD allowed me to keep it, though, there's some concern about it's stability. What are you thinking?"

"That's what I'm thinking, T'Challa but use myself as the lure. Rivera hates me for quashing her dreams. If I give her myself as the target, we might get her and I'd be limiting the risk to others."

Because that's important to Mari, as well.

"You're … offering me your housewarming as that venue?" That's shocked the ex-model. "I … that's incredibly generous, T'Challa."

Her eyes stray to the tower again and she shakes her head. He must be very influential indeed.

"If it can be vibrationally isolated I may be able to come up with a way to allow it to carry energy. From there it would be simple to design flexible circuits. You'd just need patters of the fabric. Even stitching might work and in small enough amounts it would not be a danger to the wearer."

T'Challa is of course an expert in Vibranium derived technology and he could do this quite easily but he doesn't want to give that away, not yet at the moment. So for now the offer is simply that of a very clever engineer.

"What can I say?" The Prince grins. "I am a very generous man."

"Allow the fabric to carry energy? That's fascinating and opens up a number of applications really." Mari casts another look at T'Challa. "Patterns in the fabric, stitching… it all works and it could make some very unique designs as well." There's a faint smile as the prince downplays his expertise and Mari doesn't push that - she's seen his awards and inventions.

"If you could, I would be happy to enter some form of agreement. The Wakandan line of wearable tech, perhaps."

OK, they'll name it later.

"Generous and not a little bit reckless." He barely knows Mari and he's offering a way to lure an enemy out. "If you do that, you'll let me be your Hostess for the event then?" Or is that giving a message neither of then want to give at the moment.

"Well, allow the reverbium in the fabric to carry the energy. The key will be to translate it to vibrational energy and make sure it is transferred before the reactions become violent. It will also have to be insulated against vibrational energies from the outside and that isn't hard but it might be tricky to do in something light and fashionable. Still…" T'Challa grins. "I think it is possible."

"Do you want to be the hostess? It will cause a stir on a number of levels and it would be good bait." It does send a message but they need messages to get out there so that they get the right, and wrong, attention.

"I'm in your hands, it seems." Mari smirks at the Prince as they make their way to that tower. "When would you like to get started on that? And what do I need to get? I can get my people working on that now." She's excited for this. Something new and innovative that no one else will have.

More importantly, it will be very difficult for anyone else to replicate. At least in the short while. And that's all Mari needs.

The question has her looking, the smile growing on her face. "I would love to be, T'Challa, even if we weren't baiting a trap." She admits. "You know that there are some that would read such an action on your part as … as a distinctive message."

His sister for one. She might just might call in the Queen Mother.

"I will need an electronics workshop and some precision tools, which I can easily arrange as doubt that your offices do much in the way of miniaturized electronic design. I will also need some of the cloth. I am no tailor but I can work out the design and your people can make it into clothing. Does that sound good?" T'Challa smiles at Mari's obvious excitement for the prospect. It would indeed be something entirely new in the fashion world. And possibly also a couple of other worlds.

"It will send a very distinctive message and that is part of what makes it such good bait. You do not mind that, do you Mari?"

"If you can arrange the workshop, I'll arrange one of my seamstresses and the funding." Mari says earnestly. She knows T'Challa is well off, but it's a point of honour for the woman. But yes, she is excited and it shows. "That sounds wonderful, T'Challa. I'm so glad you came into the studio that day."

For a long while after the next question, the ex-model is quiet as they walk. The buzz of having a way forward no less diminished by her thoughts. "I … don't, no. I just don't want you to find yourself in a situation that wasn't of your making."

She doesn't want him to feel trapped.

"As am I. These suits fit and breathe so well." The ebon skinned prince chuckles. "And I am glad to be of help to your business. You are a good woman and you run a good company and the world should have more like you."

Do good while doing good business. The ultimate aspiration for most decent business owners.

"Most situations are not entirely of our making but I do understand what you mean. I am not especially worried as I do not think you are the kind of person to attempt to trap or blackmail me. I am perfectly comfortable else I would not have offered."

"Ah well, you do them justice." Mari colours slightly as she demurs. It had an indeed been a stroke of luck that T'Challa had entered when he did. And yes, he does look rather dashing - if the look he's garnering as they walk down the street are any indication.

"It's nice, T'Challa, to have someone to share that with. To be able to do more with success than just put the money away. Our project in the Zone, is … it's meaningful and will help so many." She smiles as she realises she's rambling.

"Then if you are comfortable and so am I, I'll be your hostess. Now, where is this place you're thinking of signing for? Somewhere near me, I hope?"

"Thank you." They've arrived at the tower and T'Challa ushers Mari inside. Over to the elevator they head and up. And up. And up. And up a LOT more. And then for good measure, more up.

"It is. There are a lot of good things to do that benefit both your business and the people on the receiving end. It never has to be one or the other in my experience…"

The elevator has a side exposed to the view and the view is spectacular.

"Not far from you, no. In manhattan. It's the new tower built above the Museum of Modern Art. I have one of the penthouses. Or at least, I hope to." They're expensive yes but T'Challa… is T'Challa.

Tossellini's is an exclusive place and that's underscored by the fact they have rise so high to get there. The view is astounding and just gets better the higher they go, Mari leaning against the rail as she looks out. "Oh that's a marvelous place. I was tempted to move there myself when I saw the prospectus but I really do like the apartment I have. It will suit you well." And there's no reason he won't get it. Because… T'Challa.

"When you settle on that place, we can start the planning then. Make sure we have things in place to close our traps when they spring." There's a lot of organising to do, to pull together a social gathering of that nature. It's a good thing Mari has a team to help. "Now, about your dashing the Black Panther… we found a cold storage unit under the Disaster Zone that seemed to be used to house … people that were experimented or going to be experimented on. They escaped and have tunneled under the Zone. We're going to go hunting in the next day or so."

Mari McCabe dropped Designer Shoes.

"I've already settled on it at least internally. What next is just the documentation process and of course the funding process. You've dealt with moving large sums of money around, I know you know how this works."

And of course it is a large place he's getting. She might well wonder why he does want such a large one. That is an excellent question of course. He probably wants some work space she might think. And that's true. It's just the work might not be what she thinks it is.

Despite the exclusivity of Tossellini's, they're shown right in to a window table with a wonderful view and promptly given a wine menu. The service is VERY attentive.

"That sounds dangerous. Are you sure you're going to be okay, Mari? The Panther is capable from everything I understand but he usually works alone. Are you in any way concerned about his ability to… work in a group? Or even a pair?"

"Well the rules of foreign investment and moving large amounts of money around, yes. It's made more difficult by your status as a foreign national." Mari nods, straightening as the doors to the elevator open and they're shown to their table. "Did you call ahead, T'Challa? Before you came in to see me?"

It makes her wonder at the level of influence he exerts.

There's a number of things that Mari wonders about T'Challa. The amount of space he needs isn't necessarily one of those - space is space and he's got that ghostly guard detail to accomodate, right?

He might laugh if he knew the direction of her thoughts.

"A lot of what Vixen does is dangerous, T'Challa. Normally she does it alone, as well." Mari murmurs. "The Panther and I aren't so different in that. I work with others when the situation calls for, or allows it. The Panther might have the same concerns about me."

Holding T'Challas' gaze, Mari considers "Would he tell you, if he did?" It's a direct question, but he might be coming to expect that of her. "Yes, I'm concerned but I intend to go in prepared and I know how to get myself out of a scrape. Should I be, though?"

"I do not know." T'Challa says, considering the question. "He may, or he may not. He sometimes confides in me but not always about things that are personal. I do know that he would not offer to cooperate with you if he did not think that you both stood a good chance of coming home."

That question gets a bit more consideration before he glances down at the wine menu. "How about a sauvignon? And yes I had called ahead in anticipation of you being… willing to accompany me. It would have been a good lunch either way but it is definitely better with company. And yes as you observe, finances are tricky."

But doable.

"I do not think you should be. I would indeed be more concerned that you will be overprepared for whatever waits you and will wind up carrying things you do not have to. Which is not to say that it might not be dangerous. It probably will be."

Mari listens as T'Challa talks, reading his body language as best she can. There's nothing to give him away. For the ex-model it seems like the Panther and T'Challa are two different people - but that's the way it is with many super heroes. "Well that's refreshing, I suppose. But you did give him the recommendation, did you not?"

She's teasing a little, the smile broadening at the discussion on wine. "The New Zealand one. It's really to die for." He'll probably think she's a sell out for not choosing a local grown one.

"If I have too much stuff, I'll get the Panther to carry it. He looks like he could manage a lot, if I'm honest." Mari snorts softly, turning her gaze out the window, her hands resting on the table as she does "Better to be over-prepared, I think."

"I did give him the recommendation indeed. And why would I not recommend you? You're rather remarkable." T'Challa grins and follows Mari's advice for the wine. It comes shortly, chilled of course. Menus also arrive and then the wait staff retreats. Very discrete, these people.

"He can. I understand he is somewhat superhumanly strong. But only somewhat. Not the likes of some of the heroes of the Avengers or similar."

Speaking of the Avengers, T'Challa seems to have some rapport with Steve which is probably at the very least interesting.

"You flatter me, T'Challa." Mari murmurs. It's possible she's slightly embarrassed by all of it. "I have a gift and I chose to use it to help others if I can. That is all."

When the wine is poured and tasted, it's crisp and has the hints of passionfruit to it. It's delicious.

Mari sips the wine once T'Challa gives his approval and looks over the menu. There's many good options to choose from. "Funny you should mention the Avengers. Both Mister Barnes and Agent Rogers seemed to know you. If I didn't know better, you've all known each other for sometime. Would I be correct in that assumption, T'Challa?"

T'Challa sips wine like, well, an aristocrat. Like someone who has grown up appreciating the finer things in life. Which he has, to be sure.

"I have a history with Captain Rogers yes. One tends to accumulate histories with interesting people when you move in powerful circles." He doesn't apologize for it. He was born to power and wielded it better, he thinks, than many might have in his stead. Not perfect no and his mistakes still haunt him. Occasionally literally.

"I do not believe I have met Mister Barnes before, though." Perhaps the man is just socially adept.

Steve might be laughing if he could hear that.

"That much was obvious, T'Challa. Particularly you're 'suitably mysterious message'." Mari smirks, watching the Wakanda Prince as he tastes the wine. "I would love to know how you know him, how you met. I know Captain Rogers, or Agent Rogers as I know him, has many duties and is a high profile member of the Avengers."

There's a pause as Mari thinks on that. "You sent that message to the Avengers, though, didn't you? Not just Captain Rogers."

"I sent it to the Avengers care of Captain Rogers. So, both in a way." T'Challa says. "I think I'll have the pene a la arrabiata."

The Wakandan folds the menu and smiles. "You're wondering what kind of international man of mystery knows Captain Rogers. I met him first through my work in advanced electronics. We have assisted one another several times. He is a good man and well worth knowing. If you have the chance, I recommend that as well. I'm sure he'd be pleased to know you either as Mari McCabe or the Vixen."

"This tray is wet. And this tray is wet …" Mari murmurs when T'Challa states his preference for arrabiata. She casts a bright smile, wondering if he'll get the reference before adding "Veal Scallopini for me. It looks divine."

"I'm wondering about the man, to be honest. The one that knows when to appear in my office and take me out to lunch. The one who has graciously offered to let me be his hostess for his housewarming and set up a trap for my enemies. The one who knows a hero like the Black Panther."

The smile is there, tugging at her lips. "Captain Rogers was in my office one time when an attempt was made on my collection. We fought together there and he jumped from a window onto a helicopter. Something tells me that he would rather Mister Barnes not know that." She winks. "Maybe I'll get the chance to get to him better if we continue our acquaintance. As Mari. Or the Vixen."

"I am somehow not surprised that Steve is just a touch reckless and just a touch embarrassed about it. At least in the sense of not wanting certain people to find out." T'Challa laughs quietly. The food will be a bit but they have company, a good view and good wine so they have plenty.

"Me? Well I could tell you more but that might spoil the mystery, might it not?" He pauses just long enough to have more wine. "In truth though it is often just that I know the stresses that come with being at the peak of power. And I know how isolating those heights can be."

"Ah well. I think with his own enhancements life might get a little boring. One doesn't go from being a war hero, to sitting at home, does one?" Mari swirls the wine in her glass and thinks on the Wakandans words.

"Maybe you're right, T'Challa. I'm still curious though." Still if he wants to tease things and keep his secrets, she'll not press. "I think Captain Rogers is lucky to have a friend like you, though."

And he is. Mari is learning that.

"You can keep your mystery, T'Challa, just as long as you come and save me from time to time and take me to lunch. And allow me to return the favour as well… " Mari's teasing again as she looks out on the view. "Shall I tell you about the time that I decided the village pigs needed a bath?" They've got time and Mari's can't prepared to make T'Challa laugh.

T'Challa leans forward and steeples his hands with a pleased expression. "I think that's a story I definitely need to hear."

They can spend a few hours like this. And then of course both will go back to work. They're highly successful people after all and there's one thing that all highly successful people have in common.

They're ALWAYS busy.

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