2019-09-11 - Help Is Found In Strange Places


Mari and T'Challa continue their plan to catch Rivera

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Sep 11 05:21:51 2019
Location: Mari's Office

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Theme Song




McCabe Industries Showroom is located in the fashion district of New York. It's an upmarket looking place that screams class. The lower floor is all showroom, with glass classes displaying McCabes latest pieces and a catwalk and stage to one side.

The upper floor is offices. A waiting room with a reception desk and two offices on either side. One of which is Mari McCabes - nicely appointed with a decent view of the city.

It's here that Mari's visitors today are directed, the ex-model leaning against the edge of her desk when they arrive. She's expecting them. Dressed in a nice business pant suit, her bruises and grazes are more obvious now - she's not used as much make up to hide them.

T'Challa is as ever dressed in dark fabric with deep colors to serve as accents, in this case a cobalt blue shirt under a dark grey suit. Another McCabe special, naturally.

"Hello Mari. You're having a better day than last night I hope?" It would be difficult for her to be having a WORSE day. Well, okay. It wouldn't be difficult but it would require that someone put some serious effort into it.

May arrives alone, and dressed very differently from the formal event. Functional black boots with a short heel, simple black jeans, and dark-colored t-shirt under a fitted jacket that has got to be just a bit too warm for September. She enters the office with functional but likely not at all stylish aviator sunglasses in hand, and offers Mari and T'Challa a polite nod each.

"I was told you wanted to speak with me."

"T'Challa…" Mari pushes herself from the desk and makes the Wakandan's side, reaching up to press a kiss to his cheek. "I could say it just got better." she smiles. "Last night wasn't so bad, I had the company of two good looking men and one very capable SHIELD agent … Ah, Hello Agent May, come in."

Offering a hand, Mari nods slowly "I did. I wanted to personally thank you for helping avoid an incident last night. Please, take a seat. Andrew, tea and coffee for our guests please."

The man at the reception desk nods and heads off, it will be a moment before he returns.

"I also wanted to explain a little and perhaps … enlist your assistance, if you'd be willing."

"Agent May. Pleased to see you again." T'Challa says, giving the Asian woman a formal bow as she enters.

You were most effective last night. Admirable. He adds in Japanese. He probably knows that she is ethnically Chinese but he's less sure that she speaks it. So…

"I am of course willing to assist." He smiles to the model. "Though of course I cannot speak for SHIELD."

May, if she has bothered to look, knows that T'Challa has a file. Not only was he a monarch but he had a heroic identity that was classified at Avengers levels.

"Perhaps we could sit and do this though?"

"I will need to receive clearance to assist from SHIELD, but I've at least been given the green light to listen to what you're requesting. Especially after the events of last night." It's true that there are elements in SHIELD that likely share the same opinion as those odious men, but they are in the minority and they are NOT in power. In her own mind, May could not have cared less if McCabe were openly Asgardian. Those men were openly harrassing her, and they would have received the exact same response regardless.

She returns T'Challa's formal bow and replies in Japanese. I am trained to do what I must. It certainly didn't hurt that she was only too glad to try and rip that man's thumb off considering how vile he was being.

She moves to take a seat when one is offered. "If this is about pressing charges against Federer and his cohort, SHIELD has already given me approval to assist you in that matter."

Andrew returns with a pot of tea, no coffee, and places on the low table between the chairs. Without asking, he pours three cups, puts a small slice of lemon in Mari's and hands it to her. "How do you have tea, Sir and Ma'am?" Is it good tea? May has to wondering.

"Show off … " Mari murmurs to T'Challa with a smile. "I won't be pressing charges against Gordon and Howard. I'm convinced this wasn't their fault and they were acting under the influence of something or someone."

"I have asked however, they be held for as long as they can before being released. It will buy me time but still cause me problems."

"WAND is aware of my predicament, Agent May. There's a case file but let me try to explain. A business rival, Molly Rivera, has done a deal with a devil. She's been given the ability to control the emotions of others. This power she's been using to turn people against me. Enhancing jealousy at fashion shows and causing my models to turn on each other, riots outside shops that carry my clothes and now, she's affecting my board."

Mari glances to T'Challa, gesturing for him to continue the story. He's been with her for most of this.

"We are reasonably given to understand that she has this ability because she has signed a contract with a demon lord. A big league demon lord. Which one isn't really the issue because the problem cannot be solved by confronting him." T'Challa takes up the story smoothly and returns the smile to Mari.

"What needs to be done is the original contract - a vellum document likely - must be located and destroyed. Rivera will be keeping it in a safe place. We do not as yet know where. Destroy the contact, though, and all her supernatural ability will be cancelled. Simple, but not easy."

May accepts the tea with a word of thanks to Andrew, indicating she drinks it plain, then holds the cup in her hands as Mari and then T'Challa explain why the two men behaved as they did.

A small sip of the beverage reveals it to be quite acceptable and she considers their words. "So you're seeking assistance in locating this vellum contract upon which the details of Ms Rivera's deal with a demon are spelled out, and to have it destroyed."

It's absurd, but by no means difficult. She already suspects she knows what this Rivera woman looks like.

"Simple but not easy." Mari agrees with T'Challa, sipping her tea as the others share their thoughts and questions.

"In a way, Agent May. We don't think we need to locate Molly Rivera, she's obsessed with me. We think we can draw her out and trap her."

Mari lets that sit for a moment. "I need people I trust to help me with that. She's shown no care for the lives of innocents around me and we want to ensure that we keep the collateral damage down. We have the situation in which to get her to show herself."

There's a look to T'Challa again before Mari looks directly at May "I'm going to make myself a target at T'Challa's housewarming."

That's risky - the fall out for the Wakandan could be immense.

It is unlikely she will have the contract on her. Even in custody she and her network will remain a threat. But she might give us information if we can lean on her in the right way."

He takes a breath. "We think a party at my place featuring her might make too tempting a target to pass up. So, Mari will be highly visible. I am looking to pack the guests with… people of suitable skill. You, Agent May, seem very, very skilled."

May nods as they explain what they have in mind. "Your plan is risky. If she has access to abilities that can influence people, you want the team on your side to be trained in resisting outside influences." She already has at least two names in mind.

"And my skills have already been revealed to Ms. Rivera, so I will be a recognizable quantity. She will likely know to avoid me. I can act as a decoy, herd her toward the actual team that can be set to trap her. I already have some SHIELD and WAND agents in mind that could be useful."

"Agent Rogers has agreed to help already. He's aware of some of the issue, I had hoped he would be here today but alas, duty calls." Mari answers. "One of your WAND agents has given me some … artifacts, I'd suppose you call them … to assist but people who have psychic or telepathic resistance, or just extremely strong mental resistance would be beneficial."

"Once we have Rivera, someone capable in interrogation will also be needed." beat "If you have recommendations and could broker introductions, I would be most grateful."

"T'Challa, what have we agreed for a timeframe?"

"It is possible that Rivera will have marked you and begin accounting for you however the pattern that she displays indicates a more… impassioned mode of criminality. To wit, she lashes out emotionally, I believe. A more targeted campaign of influence would have already succeeded in severely damaging Mari's company, however she insists on going after Mari personally rather than attempting to damage McCabe Industries' value."

T'Challa CAN be rather thoughtful when the time comes. And when he's not putting on an 'idle rich' act.

"We should do it soon. I am booked this weekend as it turns out but I think after that, as soon as possible."

May is of course an Agent. She has duties. T'Challa has no idea what is competing for her attention right now.

"An extra week will give me enough time to make sure I have a suitable team ready." Knowing Rogers will be there is a good start, and that could well make it easier to ask Barnes to assist as well, not that she'd hold out much hope there. As for other agents, she'll have to go through the personnel files and see who looks likely. Perhaps even tap an outside consultant or two.

Finishing her tea, May looks at Mari and T'Challa. "Are there any other factors you want me to consider for this operation? Should I include or rule out anyone who is noticeably a person with powers?"

If Barnes does show up, Mari will be certain not to mention any jumping onto helicopters or breaking and entering that Steve might have done.

"Another week allows me to do the necessary planning and publicity." T'Challa gets a smile at that. "You can't move in society without managing your reputation, you know that. Besides, it will fan Rivera's attention a little more."

The extra time too will allow Mari to seem just that more helpless to the revenge driven designer.

"Honestly, I think she'll be driven to make a point. If you have obvious targets, that … just makes it easier to flush her out. If you need anything, Agent May, you have my number?"

May does. There's a nice little dossier on Vixen at SHIELD.

"It is a high society function so we need people who can either blend in with the guests or the serving staff. Beyond that…" Anyone who can keep calm in the face of extreme weirdness will be useful.

"We'll try to keep the number of ACTUAL socialites to a minimum. Wouldn't want any of them getting hut or otherwise influenced.

"I will of course be at your disposal should you need. And should my other duties permit."

That's likely a bit inscrutable but then… T'Challa's like that. It's in his dossier.

"There is no one, Mari, that I trust to manage my reputation more." He smiles back.

That all seems acceptable to May. Society functions are not her purview, it's theirs. She'll do her part, making sure that the compiled team for this operation is all agents very well trained and experienced in recognizing and resisting outside mental influence.

"Yes, I have your contact information, Ms. McCabe." She reaches into her jacket (which doesn't move like regular fabric, it's … weighted somehow) and pulls out a pair of business cards which she offers to Mari and T'Challa. There is a phone number printed on it. Nothing else.

"Should you wish to contact me directly."

Mari rises and accepts the business card, raising an eyebrow at what she thinks are the implication of this. "Mari, please, Agent May." she murmurs "And I will." Andrew appears at the door, almost by magic, to escort the Agent out.

"Will you be saying for lunch, T'Challa?" Mari asks as the agent is leaving "Are you sure you want to trust your reputation to me? I have a history, you know …" She's teasing. And seems to be intent on continuing to do so as the SHIELD agent leaves.

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