2019-09-05 - Sarah Go Boom


Mari and Priscilla call for Sarah Black as a mystic expert, and encounter Something Else instead.

Log Info:

Storyteller: Jimmy Baxter and Hank McCoy.
Date: Thu Sep 5 12:03:37 2019
Location: Harry's Hideaway

Related Logs


Theme Song



Quick recap: With some investigation, Mari McCabe and some allies discovered an abandoned address of Molly Rivera. Among other things, they found folders of contracts. Not mere business agreements, but something more esoteric. Those present knew enough to know Something Spooky was afoot. They needed an expert, and somewhere private enough to discuss it.

For the former: Sarah Black, WAND agent, comes recommended by SHIELD. For the latter: Harry's Hideaway is a perfect place to grab a nice, shadowed booth, to catch Priscilla up on the recent events, and to get the contracts in front of their mystic expert.

Priscilla Kitaen has never heard of Harry's Hideaway. But given enough information, she is able to make her phone tell her how to get there. As it is, given that they are meeting at a tavern sort of locale, she chooses not to show up in gold-accented purple spandex with swords and blasters bedecked all about. Instead, she packs all of that in the saddlebags on her bike, and comes rumbling into the parking lot perhaps ten minutes before the appointed hour.

Pris dismounts, gives the place a thorough once-over with eyes, nose, and mind - she's a mite paranoid, frankly, and with good reason! - before then finally pulling the bright purple full helmet with gold-accented emerald green coiled dragons on each side off her head. She walks to the door with the helmet in her right hand, pushing with her left. The purple-accented black leather motorcycle jacket rests over the painted-on tightly fitting beaded and bedazzled distressed boot-cut jeans. Black motorcycle boots complete the look, with chunky wide two-inch heels (because Pris almost never actually puts on clothes without heels, except for actual combat ops).

Once inside, the mocha-skinned curvaceous woman gives the place a thorough look over, sweeping the room to locate exits, people, problems, and seating areas while making sure of what she does - and doesn't - feel in the area. Then she starts towards whomever she actually recognizes in the room.

"Uhm. Hey." Yep. Pris is feeling hyper-verbal. Can't you tell?

Priscilla's eyes find a classic, shadowy hole-in-the-wall tavern, the kind of place people go when they want to occupy dark corners. Her nose finds old whiskey, and the cigarette stains in the ceiling from back when smoking inside was legal. And her mind finds a scattering of people, all minding their own business, and expecting others to mind theirs. Yes, a few people's eyes catch on her, but significantly less than almost anywhere else in the city. Nobody's here to bother her group or do them harm, just as they don't want to be bothered.

This really isn't the sort of place Mari would frequent, not unless she was in her Vixen persona and ready to crack skulls. Her arrival here had bee discreet, the ex-model dressed in jeans, t-shirt and jacket - not her usual quality, something far less to blend in.

When Pris arrives, Mari is sitting in a booth with a beer in front of her. Whether the beer is for show or not, it's hard to tell.

"Hey there. Take a seat. I understand we're expecting someone else?"

Priscilla moves around Mari and sits across from her, sliding in and setting her helmet on the bench seat of the booth beside her. She too is 'toned down' as much as she can manage; not being on stage, she is not pumping out the field of desire that so often surrounds her. But even so, Pris is still Pris.

"Well, you said you wanted a trained mystic. I'm afraid I only know one. So … I called her. I dunno which of us was more disappointed that it wasn't for that date we were aiming for. But I'm pretty sure she'll show."

Sarah Black has been up this way before, though not specifically to Harry's. Another magical acquaintance lived nearby for a time, before once again taking her show — and her house — on the road some weeks back. But she's familiarized herself with the area, and it's within her range, so rather than Ubering up here or signing a car out of the SHIELD motor pool, she opens a portal from her flat in Brooklyn to a discreet spot between buildings or behind one and steps through.

From her arrival point, a minute or two of walking brings her to the bar's entrance, and she steps inside without seeming to pay much attention to the nature or class of the establishment. She's dressed in civvies as well, a plain button-down blouse in a rich lilac color tucked into a nicely-fitting, comfy-looking pair of jeans, and camel-tan suede ankle boots with chunky two-inch heels on her feet.

A quick glance around locates Pris quickly enough, and she heads toward the table.

"Hello," she says, her Londoner accent plain even from that first word. It's possibly a moment of awkwardness that a second word, or more, does not seem to be following.

Sarah does look to Pris, and gives her a halfway smile, at least.

"Would you like a beer or a drink?" Mari asks Pris as she sits, nodding in acknowledgement of her words. "I'm sure she'll be here exactly on time as a wizard is neither early or late." It's a bastardisation of a movie quote.

"Mari McCabe…" the dark skinned woman holds out a hand. "Are you the wizard we're expecting?" It's said with a smile. "Or the one that we need?"

Pulling the contracts out of her bag, Mari lays them on the table for people to look at.

"I didn't get your name from Voodoo, but I was organising more drinks, did you want one? Please, take a seat."

The 'contracts' are copies, but the texturing printed on the paper hints at what the originals must be. Old-fashioned papers, ink handwritten on vellum. Not anything a modern business would use, but the exact kind of contract you'd sign with a faerie, a demon, or a particularly stuck-in-his-ways vampire. They're hard to read, and it's not sure at a glance whether it's because of the archaic, calligraphic handwriting, or if they're in another language entirely.

"Sure. Whatever you're having'll do." Pris offers to Mari as she offers a drink. She's not picky. But Priscilla clearly misses the movie quote reference; she doesn't even twitch internally.

When Sarah arrives, Priscilla waits her turn and then offers the Londoner a warm, rich smile and a gentle right hand, a tingle coursing up her arm as they touch. "Hi, Sarah. Thanks for being able to make time for this. I appreciate it. Sorry it took this before we could get our schedules to mesh." That said, Pris tries to make room beside her instinctively, even though it might be easier for Sarah to sit beside Mari.

Out come the contracts, or copies, and Priscilla does glance at them. But she doesn't stare; these aren't the originals, so the magical sense she might get from them is nil; and she finds reading hard enough when it's not all flowery and hard, so she's passing on the headache to come. "They look old as f*ck."

Answering Mari, the new arrival says, mutedly, "I am Sarah Black. It is a pleasure to meet you, Ms. McCabe." The movie references seem to fly right by without notice. Sarah's handshake with Pris is… perfunctory is probably the best word, as is the smile she gives the dancer in return. She does take the offered seat, though, and immediately starts looking over the copies once they come out.

Mari smirks and gestures to the barkeep "Jug of beer for the table." She doesn't bother asking for clean glasses. Why bother? The cleanest they'll get here is wiped out with a tea towel.

"A pleasure, Miss Black. Hopefully you can make head or tail of these, I can't. Well, except for the general intent of some."

"They're not really *old* as I understand it, Voodoo." Mari turns one of the contracts and points to the date. It's quite recent really. "But contracts like these aren't common." Another contract is turned over. "These ones are with smaller less known fashion houses, designers, people in my industry, and seem to be promising 'wealth' if I paraphrase it, in return for something."

One contract is turned so the last page is visible "This is just one of a few that references an overarching deal with a … Mephisto. Agent Rogers wasn't sure but he thought the name sounded familiar."

There's no tingle of magic on the pages themselves, not that Sarah or Priscilla can find. These have the same words as the originals, yes, but the power and binding is in more than just words. As Sarah starts reading them more fully, she finds Latin mixed in with the English, more like reading a medical document than a legal one.

There's a split between the contracts: some of them between Rivera and other, small-time fashion houses, offering wealth and power, written more to mimic the main contracts. On those, Molly Rivera is always one signee, with the other signature being an array of strange, hard-to-pronounce names. The receivables, the services provided to Rivera, sound more metaphysical than material: 'jealousy' on one night over a month ago, 'anger' several different times, 'outrage' and 'adoration' elsewhere.

Yet, they're not clear on just what Rivera gives in return. The service is always provided 'pursuant to contract M1'.

And finally, towards the bottom of the pile, they'd find contract M1. Before delving into the wording, the name on the other signature would stand out to Sarah.


On seeing — and hearing — that name, Sarah freezes for a moment, before muttering, "Bloody hell. This… is very much in the Not Good category. Any contract with a demon or devil is bad enough. But that is not the name of some petty rhymer or infernal. That is a Lord of Hell itself. The person making these pacts is treading in dangerous waters."

Priscilla is woman enough not to pout, but she definitely looks discomfited at least slightly at Sarah's greeting, for some unknown reason. Or maybe not so unknown; she did mention to Mari that there was a date in the offing with the mystic in question, and there doesn't seem to be that level of chemistry with them now.

Pris only makes a passing attempt at examining the contracts, and quickly gives up. She doesn't explain her difficulties with reading; she never does. Pris just doesn't bother to work at it very hard, and lets the others finagle written language.

Pris' expertise is people. And she is concentrating on two in particular. She wasn't there when Mari found the contracts, and contact with something like this could have consequences, and she's trying to make sure she's tuned in enough to catch it if there's a dormant imp riding the fashionista. But most of her attention is on Sarah.

And then Sarah speaks, and Pris sits up. She doesn't try to hide the change in posture at all; she makes a display of it, eyeing the Londoner very carefully.

And then Pris interrupts the expert.

"Hang on." the dancer comments, and reaches out to lay her fingers on the back of Sarah's hand as Sarah is holding - and examining - the last contract. "I don't want to call you a liar. That's rude. But … there is something wrong, here. Something wrong with you. And you're trying to play pretend. And I can't tell the difference if you're pretending your emotional reactions, or the words coming out of your mouth." So, yeah. She doesn't want to call Sarah a liar.

But she is.

|ROLL| Jimmy Baxter +rolls 1d100 for: 33

|ROLL| Priscilla Kitaen +rolls 1d100 for: 39

Mari freezes as Priscilla interrupts, gathering up the contracts, close to her. Not letting them out of her hands. It's casual but Pris will pick the tension up. Mari thinks something is very wrong.

There's a glow under her t-shirt as her pendant glows and the ex-model is soon silhouetted by a glowing wolf.

"What part of Maidstone are you from, Agent Black?" It's a casual enough question but Mari's travelled enough to know a London accent when she hears one. Maidstone is close-ish to London but it is definitely not London and the accent is different enough.

Sarah pulls her hand back from contact with Pris's, while giving her a… well, not a sharp look, per se, but what a toned-down version of one might look like. And then she turns to Mari, and states, looking slightly confused, "I grew up in London, actually."

Priscilla frowns as Sarah patently refuses to even address the situation, and shakes her head. She instead turns her attention to Mari, hanging her head slightly before she goes on. "I am sorry, Mari. It was my idea to call her, my idea to ask her for her help. So it's my fault. But … now I can't even trust what she's saying. And our lives, others lives, depend on it."

Trapped into the booth by Sarah sitting beside her, Pris cannot exactly extricate herself cleanly from this, much to her consternation. But she picks up her helmet from her other side, and scoots over against the wall, away from Sarah. And she refuses now, it seems, to look at the other woman at all. It seems lying with words is one thing, but lying with one's emotions? That sticks in Voodoo's craw something fierce.

Mari cants her head as the wolf spirit comes on, looking intently at Sarah and then sliding free as she puts the contracts in her bag. The ex-model might not be psychic but she can read people and she can smell the unease that rolls off the dancer. That's on top of the other more unusual things about the woman.

Given everything that's been going on, Mari is going to err on the side of caution.

"Your friend is not human, I would say. If she was before, she is not now. I hear gears whirring and there is no heart beat. Given that Madame Masque has sent an automaton after me before, I suggest this conference is ended and I'm calling in SHIELD as something is clearly not right here."

The numbers are being punched in as the ex-model makes way for Priscilla to move out.

Sarah starts to get to her feet as well, and looking at Mari, she says, "That really isn't necessary…"

And then she lunges, trying to grab the phone out of Mari's hand, or failing that, to knock it away, before attempting to bolt for the door.

When Sarah - or what appears to be Sarah - stands, Priscilla slides to the edge of the bench seat, ready to leave herself. Then the figure leaps towards Mari, and Priscilla … well. The real Sarah has seen this; Mari has seen hints of it as well. But neither has quite seen Priscilla actually go full-out before.

This is a threat. A threat to someone Pris views as 'under her protection.' She does not hold back.

One moment, the mocha-skinned woman is half-sitting at the edge of the bench seat, and the next she has erupted outwards, leaping towards what appears to be Sarah's back, swinging her helmet like a club towards the back of her head, then pushing off the top of the table to start sprinting off after the figure, if only to put herself between this figure and anyone - everyone - else in the bar.

It may all accomplish nothing; but Priscilla's movements would seem to almost violate physics, and definitely are far faster and more agile than anyone has a right to be. Yet even so, she's a beat behind her norm, because she couldn't feel the intent to attack before it became action.

It happens that quickly. The silhouette of a greybacked ape looms behind Mari and she doesn't think as Sarah lunges, just backhands the woman with so much strength, towards the wall of the booth. She doesn't pull the punch either.

The call goes through to SHIELD and Mari speaks "This is Mari McCabe, Vixen. I have reason to believe that Agent Black has gone rogue and requires apprehending. A TAC team is requested at Harry's Hideaway."

Without missing a beat, she turns to the bartender "I suggest you get any surveillance tapes prepared for when SHIELD get here, it will make life much easier for you."

Mari's not going to chase. Not yet.

The owner and security at Harry's Hideaway would usually step in… but they can see when it's supers in action, and thus when they're simply outclassed. The others at the bar duck under their booths' tables, while the bartender — whose nametag does not read 'Harry' — crouches behind the bar itself. Maybe he's got his hands on a shotgun there, but he doesn't expect that to be of much help if it comes to a cape battle. He just nods to Mari, keeping his distance.

When both women hit Sarah, she feels more… solid. Denser than human flesh would feel. She also resists the impacts with strength of her own well in excess of any normal human — and so far as either of them knows, for all her magical prowess, Sarah is, essentially, a normal human. She is knocked back by the sheer degree to which both blows exceed her mass — Strength doesn't help with that — but the fact that her head remained upright and still attached says quite a lot.

As do the gleaming brass and bright-metal bits exposed where the blows ruptured her skin, and the gimpses of intricate internal clockworks visible through gaps in the exposed outer shell.

And there's also the fact that she is still moving, picking herself up from whatever furniture or portion of wall she smashed into, and appears to be orienting herself to again attempt to escape.

Reacting largely by instinct, Priscilla does not stop; she takes off in pursuit of the machanoid would-be-Sarah with intent, not least of which because if she loses sight of the thing, she may never find it again, being unable to feel it like she should.

Though truth be told, Pris isn't looking forward to interacting with SHIELD again, either.

Oh well then. Mari growls, the wolf and the ape disappearing to be replaced by a glowing cheetah behind her and, of all things, a tiny dung beetle on her shoulder.

She's off, with the speed of the cheetah on her, claws growing from her fingers and fangs appearing her mouth.

It's not till she leaps to block the doorway and then throw herself at Sarah that it becomes clear what she's done. She's now able to hit with a strength of up to 50 tonnes. A strength that she brings fully to bear now - along with the claws and fangs. Fangs that try to close around Sarah's throat and claws that try to pin the woman down.

Mari is scrapper and she's not not going to let anyone but Sarah, herself and maybe Pris get hurt.

Pris will be able to disappear as SHIELD arrive, Mari … will … cover.

The Sarah-Thing is fast — certainly faster than any ordinary human — but she is still utterly outclassed by both Pris's speed and especially Mari's cheetah invocation. Mari will have little trouble intercepting her. The clockwork thing will instead lash out as it closes, attmpting to strike Mari or knock her aside, with strength approximately five times of Sarah's norm. It's not likely to help much, given the circumstances.

So between them, Mari and Pris have her — it — pinned. It's not going much of anywhere against their combined power.

Everything is well in hand. They have the mechanical thing trapped, pinned down, and soon should be able to subdue it.

And then Priscilla's purple eyes widen, a flare of purple light visibly dancing in her eyes as she crouches low and then LEAPS —-

Her form, at least up to the moment she hits should be perfect. Pris has watched plenty of football. Even had a friend, back when, who played. She leaps at the thing's hips and launches her shoulder up and through as her arms wrap fiercely around that body … and out through the door. Without opening it.

Splinters everywhere.

"Get back, get down!" comes a gurgled scream from outside the bar …

"We need to disable it." Mari growls, it's not a nice sound. The spirit of the cheetah is full on her and driving some of the more base instincts. Poor Pris will be getting the empathic broadcast of that too.

It. Not her. Mari has depersonalised this construct.

Her claws rend the clothing of the clockwork monstronsity and then dig into the *living* flesh, blood oozing over her claws and hands. It's only an inch thick and soon the mechanism is revealed.

No hestitation, those claws backed the by the strength of the dung beetle dig deep tearing the mechanism asunder.

Did … someone just say something? Mari's a little focussed.

After the abuse it's taken, the Sarah-Thing is now more akin to a broken toy than the threat it had been. Thanks largely to Mari, much more metal is visible through rents in its skin and clothing, and while it tries to extricate itself from the women's grasp, one arm just twitches uselessly, and one leg doesn't seem to be working quite right, either.

And then — from the eyes, from the mouth, the ears, and the gaps in the exposed metal bits, and to a lesser degree through the skin, a glow of sickly yellow light emerges, starting dimly but growing quickly brighter. And with it comes the sound of gears whirring, rising in pitch and volume, as if building toward… something likely unpleasant.

"Get away! Not safe!" Pris growls back, lost to the feelings from inside herself, blotting out the ability to feel any longer the feelings from Mari, or those projected from beyond the clockwork threat as she scrambles, holding onto the thing and trying to get further away from the bar.

She lost her team, the closest thing to family she'd ever had, to an explosion she could do nothing about. At worst, no matter what it costs, Pris refuses to lose others to the same when she can do something.

It's not safe and another glow appears at Mari's back. The ex-model is working on instinct, calling the rhinoceros to give her thicker skin. It's going to hurt at the very least, but she'll stop as many innocents getting hurt as she can.

The glow gets a very loud growl, causing the woman to track it through the body. The heart is the glowiest thing here … that will do.

Strong claws reach in and tear the thing out trying to pierce the container as best she can.

If not … she's going to get rather beat up. Or more beat up.

Pris carries the body, and then Mari's spirit enhanced form tears through the mysterious super alloy to wrench the heart out, claws crushing and rupturing it. In a way this is good - it stops the controlled explosion it was building up to, in another way it is also good - less shrapnel, but it is also a bad thing, for that means she's at ground zero when what's effectively a live shrapnel grenade goes off in that armored hand. Oh…and added bonus electricity! Pris is some distance away as she no doubt continued with her memory sparked flight, her trauma and flashback fueled speed carry the body off. And then /it/ explodes, again, about the same level of destructiveness as almost every bit of it that remains ignites but without the focus, the one part that seems to work okay is the head - but the destruction there was /implosive/, it did little damage otherwise.

The upside, at least, is that the Thing That Was Sarah is now quite emphatically dead.

Priscilla sprinted as far away from the bar as she could get in the time remaining before the explosion she has known was coming since before the glowing even began. And then it detonates.

The explosive force is tremendous, and it shreds her body terribly with hundreds of bits of shrapnel rushing outwards through her form. The electrical eruption chars and sizzles.

Really, what's left after this is rather depressingly meaty, messy, and not moving. Just lying there, shredded and smoking.

"Nngggghh…." Mari growls, shuddering as the electric shock runs through her. Fortunately her enhanced form manages to deal with most of the damage. But not all.

"Voodoo?" the dark skinned woman raises her head, groaning as she looks around. "Well, that's just brilliant." she groans and collapses, exhausted again. The spirits still clinging to her.

It's about then the TAC team turns up. They can clean up and come find Mari later. She needs a shower and a stiff drink.

And even after all this, they still don't know who in hell Mephisto is. Those contract copies sit in Mari's bag inside the bar, as much a mystery as before.

And Voodoo is definitely going to miss her shift at the Obsidian Club tonight. Whoops.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License