2019-08-22 - What Sort Of Contracts


Vixen gets a lead on Rivera and recruits some friends to help search

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Aug 22 07:41:44 2019
Location: New York

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Theme Song



It's taken some time but Mari's people have found a lead on Rivera. An old business address in the backstreets of downtown New York and her apartment somewhere on the Upper East Side. Mari's reached out to a friend, or some friends, to go with her to look it over hoping to find some idea of what the hell is going on.

It's Vixen who arrives at the office - a ground floor shop front with dirty windows that open out on to the street.

It's dingy and rundown and doesn't look like it's been occupied in a while. If NYPD have been here, it's not clear.

Currently Vixen is jimmying the back door to open it and gain entry. That shouldn't take her long to do.

Perhaps not as soft-footed to the supernatural ear, Steve still arrives on-scene with surprising care as to sole-placement. He's in civilian clothing, a baggy t-shirt beneath a loose sweatshirt and running pants…all of which conceal Kevlar padding in vest and pants. No shield on his person, but a sidearm, oh yeah. His baseball cap doesn't conceal anything but his identity…in theory. Slipping down the side-alley, he can hear what sounds like the most subtle, delicate sound of…lock-picking?

"Miss McCabe: never expected this to be a part of your skill set," he comments sotto-voce on approach, once he's certain he won't be startling anyone clear from the pavement.

Prince T'Challa of Wakanda is an interesting person to be sure. A man with many interests and many talents but he is decidedly NOT the kind of man who would typically be seen jimmying the lock on anything - if for no other reason than he really doesn't want to give the police any reason to look into him. He does however have a few friends. One very patriotic one, to be sure, and one who dresses in a dark cat like suit. The Black Panther - who is absolutely another person… … … so far as Mari knows.

"I was told that this city was a wonder of lights and activity. But from what I have seen of it, it's rather dirty and all of the windows could use a good washing."

That's the Panther who has dropped down from the OTHER direction also silent as a… cat. A cat.

Not a ghost.

"I have lots of skills." Mari smirks in the dim light, the white of her teeth catching what little light there is. She doesn't use Steves name - not when he's dressed like this. "But this is one I picked up when I went to retrieve my pendant a few years ago. Comes in handy when you're doing some investigation work."

She's unrepentant and not a little bit cheeky.

"And here's the Black Panther, you got the message." Yes, Mari startles just a little when he speaks. She hadn't heard him at all. "Thank you both for coming. I don't know what I'm going to find here, but the last time I encountered Rivera - she caused a riot and I'm just one woman." This might be dangerous or it might just be dirty.

"Huh, that's strange …" the door swings open "That wasn't … locked. I would have thought it would be, given the condition."

"We're looking for anything that might tell us where to find Rivera or what she might be doing. I'm sure you both have questions." It's T'Challa after all, that's Mari told this story to.

Flicking the lights on, the office is a mess. A dirty coffee cup or two on the desk, filing cabinets whose drawers don't quite close. A computer sits on the desk in the corner. A layer of dust covering most of the surfaces.

"Not about to snub my nose at it, given I learned to hotwire cars by stealing Nazi trucks," Steve replies in the same quiet voice as he halts his approach a respectful distance away. Not need to loom over someone lock-picking, it tends to engender unnecessary stress. T'Challa's arrival, however, has him inhaling sharply. A knee-jerk reaction to reach for his hidden sidearm is averted mid-motion and he nods to the Black Panther respectfully. His eyes shift back to Mari once more.

"Figure a concise version of things'll work just fine." The opinion is leveled as the Captain follows Mari into the office. His brows meet in a frown. "Don't see any fingerprints right off the bat… Boot-prints…?" he muses aloud as he steps in, rolling on the noiseless balls of his feet.

They do call them sneakers, after all.

"Just use these." The Panther says, flicking his claws out briefly. He follows the other two in, with a nod to the Captain, equally respectful. He doesn't need any lights to see but certainly appreciates them. It is an absolute wreck.

"Whomever left here did not bother taking all the furniture." Which would often be the case in, say, an eviction scenario when the locks were changed but even so most people would go to some lengths to get their property back.

So, why is that computer here. The black-suited man pads over to it and examines it. "Hrm. Relatively new model. Still plugged in too. Since the place still has power…" He touches the on button.


"Ah. Apple."

It's amazing how quiet the three of them are as they prowl around that empty office. "It seems we all have talents the others weren't aware of." Mari murmurs "Rivera applied for an internship with me a couple of years ago and wasn't accepted. Since then she's tried to get her own design business running, with moderate success. A couple of weeks ago she attended a launch in my studio and … well … it seems she caused people to be possessed by … spirits, I guess and riot. Several of my security guards were badly injured, one of the possessed himself. The fallout for me, is a drop in McCabe stock prices but that's a minor thing really. It's the fact she's hurting people and needs to be stopped. NYPD aren't having any success in locating her."

Whoever left here, looks they expected to be back by the appearance of things. Which might explain the computer - but not why they hadn't returned.

Until Black Panther looks at it. He can see the rental company's sticker on the side. Maybe they were supposed to have retrieved it. Either way, the desktop shows up and he can access the filesystem. Most of the files have been scrubbed from it - but was the recycle bin emptied? Or hidden folders deleted?

Steves trip around the office, brings him to the filing cabinet. There's still files in it, and a couple of folders are tilted like someone was looking at them before trying to close the drawer.

Carefully, Steve pulls the opened cabinet drawer towards himself with a fingernail. He squints at the folders and plucks the ones appearing to have been touched. A glance back at Mari is accompanied by, "Sounds like a real charmer. Yeah…she'll need to be stopped before it escalates. There's business competition and then there's using metahuman abilities to undermine at the cost of innocent wellbeing."

He walks back over to the desk and Panther, with his computer, and sets down the folders. The first is opened and he gives the Apple computer a cursory look of curiosity before considering the spread of papers. He pages through a few sheets before shaking his head slowly. "These're letters, most likely contracts. There's Rivera's name…and again there…not all type-set. This script is something different." He pulls a particular sheet out and offers it towards his cohorts. "Profiteering, it looks like."

"Extortion or was it a more amicable partnership?" The Black Panther asks as he very heroically navigates a GUI. Let's see. Undelete functions? Ah there's one. Also let's check the recycle bin and just take a look around. No one ever has a hidden folder called 'My Evil Plans'.

Though that one titled 'Archived Conversations' looks like it might be close. Time to see if there's anything in it.

"If she can possess people then I am not surprised. She might not have to be anywhere near her target. That makes locating or localizing her tricky."

"Profiteering …" Mari moves over to look at the contracts with Steve. "What is this … script." It almost seems to move across the page. "Most certainly contracts. Look at this …"

The one that Mari pulls out shows a deal the receivable of which is 'jealousy'. It mentions a time and a place about three weeks ago - which if someone was to Google they'd find was a major art exhibition. There's an associated news article - apparently, the girlfriend of the artist had caused a scene accusing him of cheating her. It was all rather messy and cost the gallery a fortune.

For Black Panther in those conversations he finds a list of names, many of them recognisable. Smaller Fashion Companies and retailers - not quite in McCabes sphere but certainly they'd be competitors to an upcoming designer.

The page containing the odd scrawling script is set down on the dusty table. Steve can't abide to continue holding it, at risk it might contain some latent magic to its surface. The Captain's not afraid of magic, but respectful? Absolutely, given he can't do much more than fleece folks blind in poker.

"Sounds like a trap would be appropriate…but that's if we know how to track a mark — somebody she's possessed. Probably would be best to have the main security and any fellow teammates armored against an attempt if we try it," he offers as an idea, looking solemn beneath the shadow of the brim of his cap.

The Black Panther opens up several of those conversations and produces a small device to pull them off the disk and store them. He'll have them come up on his suit when he has them. And that lets him move over to where Mari and Steve are to look at that odd script.

"I do not know but it is not normal. It almost looks African. I am not certain but I am familiar with certain kinds of esoteric… cypher."

Is it a cypher? Or just a really weird alphabet.

"It looks like someone was having talks with your competitors by the way, Vixen. I am just scanning them to see if there is anything especially useful."

"That sounds like a good idea…" Mari glances at Steve and then Black Panther. "At my show there was a model who seemed to be trying to find her as well." The ex-model chuckles as she realises how that sounds. "That's a longish story but to cut it short, she's powered and can dispossess people - if it hadn't been for her, more people would have been hurt. If we can track Rivera, she'd be a good one to have along, I think."

That's if they can smoke Rivera out in the open.

As Panther moves over, Mari frowns at the suit "I want mine to do that! I feel so antiquated…" Is the scrip African? Might be. It still seems to crawl over the page.

"Competitors yes. But look here … " Mari takes one of the contracts that Steve found and points to the name in the 'receivable' section. "… My competitors look like they were targets …" Indeed there are several of the contracts that match up to that list but not all.

As Steve sets his page down, the page blows over. There's a final clause on the contract that seems to reference another contract. The name Mephisto … is clear.

It's a really weird alphabet to Steve, at least, who's now placed aside the last of the folders he was skimming through. All contracts, all aimed at either turning businesses against Mari's own business or taking them over through subtle means. The sudden shift of the paper, apparently on its own, is enough to make the super-soldier go very still.


It rings an odd, dark, uncomfortable bell in the back of Steve's brain — immediately, WAND comes to mind — there's a link there. He glances up at T'Challa. "Doesn't sound like someone interested in sunshine and rainbows."

"Well perhaps if you are rather nice to T'Challa, he'll help you upgrade." The Panther chuckles. it might be odd for Steve to hear the Panther talk about HIMSELF like that in third person but it's also a sign that he hasn't trusted her with that information quite yet.

"It really does not, does it. The alphabet is African I am sure of it. But I do not know what it says off the top of my head…" He pauses, reading some of the conversations.

"Ah. It seems like someone was soliciting… support to make McCabe Industries valuation go down. There was even talk of a hostile buyout should the valuation drop enough. Criminal conspiracy, anyone? But with what certainly seems to be black magic? A little bit out of my usual field of expertise I must admit."

"Are you quite alright, Captain?"

"Captain Rogers?" Mari feels Steve still beside her and turns to look at him. "What is it?" It's only then that she reads the last page of the contract "Mephisto? Is that a crime lord? It's not a name I'm familiar with or from one of the Cartels back home."

"More than that I think, Black Panther. If these companies failed, then Rivera's company would do well. So it's not just about ruining McCabe Industries but ruining it so she can climb on its carcass perhaps." beat "Out of your field of expertise but you're good at hunting are you not? And I believe you are very good fighting."

And no, Mari is blithely unaware that T'Challa and Black Panther are one and the same. He might be wondering what she'll do when she finds out. "I'll talk to T'Challa. I'm sure we can come to a business arrangement."

Steve glances down at the name and then shakes his head, as if he might jostle something into place in the tizzy of his mind. "It's my memory, there's a lotta stuff jumbling around in there. I've seen this name before, but not recently. Been some time. Brain says I know somebody who might know it."

Blowing a sigh, the Captain rubs at the back of his neck. "Talk with T'Challa, yeah, he'll be able to help you out. You can reach out to me again if you need another body present. I can bring back-up." Lethal or non-lethal, pending on personal plan preferences.

"Mephisto?" The Panther cants his head in a way that indicates surprise since his face isn't at all visible. "That is not exactly a common name. I could see it being used by a particularly pretentious criminal boss but… this seems like it might be more. Can you look into the documents, Captain? Or do you at least know someone who can?"

"I'll send you the files also. These text conversations are riddled with references that I am not familiar with and some of it might be code. Does your old contact still work?"

Mari's hypothesis gets a nod. "If this really IS about boosting her business then she'll want to make another move soon. Something dramatic. Something that will really send McCabe's valuation tumbling. Something like that would have to at least get on the nightly news I would think."

For men 'new to town', Black Panther and T'Challa certainly have some interesting contacts. Mari will get to the bottom of that and soon. "I'll check with some of the folk back home and see if they know the name." Mari shakes her head. "I don't know what Rivera has got herself into but it's not … good."

"I'll take you up on that offer, Captain Rogers. I have a feeling that when we find her, it won't be easy." Vixen starts to collect the contracts they've found "I suppose I can take these with me." What could possible wrong? The Black Panthers statement gets a nod. "I've a new range releasing soon, that would be a good target and … that reminds me, you'll come to T'Challas house warming, won't you Captain? He's graciously agreed to let me be Hostess. You too, Panther - if you do that sort of thing."

He's in costume, probably not.

The Panther recovers his device and looks back at the Captain and Mari. "T'Challa throws pretty good parties from what I hear. I'll be otherwise engaged that night. But do have fun…"

And with that and a nod the cat suited hero steps out the doorway and vanishes remarkably quickly. Must be a feline talent. That leaves Mari and Steve to make their way home but between the two of them the Black Panther is sure they'll make it just fine.

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