2019-09-30 - It's The Klaw


A trip into the Disaster Zone reveals Mari and T'Challa have a common enemy

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Sep 30 06:29:29 2019
Location: Ruined Building

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Theme Song



Mari and T'Challa have a LOT of business together. Some of it personal, some of it professional, much of it quite pressing. Today T'Challa has offered to attend to one of the more 'exciting' or 'dangerous' pieces of that business. A ghostly investigation into the place where a totem had been found and what very well may have been a malicious ghost tried to kill her. Or The Panther. Or both.

The walk into the Zone had been long for T'Challa fit though he may be moves at the pace of a man and doesn't leap across rooftops like the Panther. Mari could have flown here but alas her princely companion is ground bound. Nevertheless it is now early afternoon - slightly on the warm side - and T'Challa is approaching the building where it all happened. It looks less sinister in the daylight and slightly tumbled down.

The Prince is for once not in a suit.

It's Vixen with T'Challa, Mari in her yellow and brown costume. The walk has worried her, she's fit and they'd paced themselves sensibly on the way in.

"It's that building where we saw her." The dark skinned super hero says to the Monarch. "We can go into it, but you need to be careful - it's not stable. If I tell you to leave, you'll do that, right?" She's still not sure if the 'spirit' will be there or if it had just been a coincidence.

T'Challa steps forward and peers at the building. "Hmmm. I am not seeing anything at the moment. But yes if you tell me to leave I will do so. Can you show me where the incident took place?"

He of course knows where the incident took place. He was there. This is the price he pays for leading the double life. He's actually not very far forward when he stops and peers.

"Wait. No. There IS something here…"

"Hello Vixen…" A woman's voice says. Same voice. Same woman. "You didn't bring your little Rainbow to come play. What's wrong. She got the sniffles?" The laughter is almost cruel, as if the being is taking pleasure in the thought of Gabrielle suffering.

"She, it … whatever it was, was in a corner of that structure." Vixen answers, giving T'Challa a sidelong look before moving closer. "Well, it doesn't seem we need to go any further…"

"No, I bought someone else who wanted to meet you. I'm sorry, I didn't get your name…"

"Oh? Who's this? Not the same pretty kitty as before. Living the double life are we Vixen? Does the Panther know you have another squeeze?" The voice is coming from all around them. T'Challa seems to be turning in a slow circle but it's hard to say if he's looking for something or tracking something.

"Can you paint with all the colors of your rainbow? I'm one of them. Violet you can call me."

"Violet." T'Challa says aloud. "It isn't very polite to speak where other people cannot see you."

"Oh, your squeeze has opinions. I'm surprised you haven't cured him of that, Vixen."

"Maybe both of them know of each other and neither have a problem that I do." Mari answers steadily. It takes a lot to upset the woman, and better than this have tried. Mari's no angel after all.

"Violet." That name's familiar and Mari looks at T'Challa. Has he remembered the story that Grayson told them. "Are you musician as well?" With a harsh laugh, Mari smiles a little ferally "I like my squeezes to have opinions. It makes so much more worth while."

"Well…" Her voice sounds close behind them. "Maybe I'll make his opinions MINE!"

The specter of a woman appears behind T'Challa and reaches for him but he was already prepared. A short african spear appears in his hand and he turns to swipe it across the ghost behind him, batting her hard into the ground ten feet away. That crown of blue ghostfire flickers into being above his head.

"You…" Violet hisses. When she looks up… she looks almost exactly like Gabrielle. But where the rainbow haired woman is light and easy, the ghosts face is twisted and hateful. T'Challa returns Mari's look.

"Violet." He murmurs. "Could it be…?"

"Violet Harper… perhaps." The behaviour certainly matches what Grayson told them, well to some degree anyway.

Mari moves to take up a defensive position in front T'Challa "This is your show, I have no idea what to do here. And I doubt asking questions is going to get me anywhere."

T'Challa twirls the spear in his hand but doesn't seem so sure that questions are a foregone conclusion. "Do you know who I am?" He asks the ghost.

"You are the King from Across the Sea." Violet spits, clearly not happy about that.

"And do you intend to try that again?"

The ghost woman's face twists in hate. "No."

"I think she's safe, Mari. Well. For the moment. Were you the one who tried to prevent Vixen from recovering the totem."

"Yes. It's mine. I did the work to get it."

"You mean you killed the one who had it before."

"He shouldn't have had it. And I needed it."

"As safe a irate snake." Mari mutters, listening as T'Challa speaks to the spirit.

"What on earth did you need the fire totem for?" that's the logical question. "And are you Violet or just part of her?"

Mari doesn't like that this seems to be the person that Gabrielle is meant to be. Sort of.

The ghost stands up and gestures to herself. "You see this? It's kind of a fuckin' drag. No buzz from booze, no sweet highs, nothin' good about being dead. Someone told me that if I could get that totem, they'd fix that problem. Doesn't help when that little Rainbow of yours goes flying everywhere, riding my stolen body. You cost me the chance to get that body back!"

She seems upset about that but honestly T'Challa isn't sorry that she's not in Gabrielle's body. He MUCH prefers Gabrielle to whatever this is.

"So, you wanna cut a deal? Give me the totem back and I'll see what we can do for you?"

Mari gives T'Challa a sidelong look. She rather likes the crown on his head… idle thought.

"Who is Rainbow then? And who is 'we'?"

That sounds more like the woman that Grayson had described. Addict and crude, to say the least.

"I might be willing to deal, when I know *who* I'm dealing with."

"Well YOU are dealing with me but I've got a buyer. A very powerful buyer. He was gonna get me a sweet new body after all. Or maybe just take my old one back. Either way, I'd be happy." Violet looks at T'Challa and laughs.

"Oh your squeeze doesn't like that Vixen. I think he likes the little Rainbow. Well too bad. That meatsuit she's wearin' is mine. You're more reasonable aren't you Vixen? I can get you a lot. I know where a lot of people are keepin' their dirty secrets and bein' a ghost I can find out more. You want some rivals out of the way. Just let me know. And if you've got more rarified tastes, we can always talk to my buyer. Totems are at a premium right now."

As to Mari's question. "Rainbow? I dunno. A fluke. Something that was supposed to give me power and then killed me and then made off with my body to add insult to injury. When I get my hands back on her, she's a goner."

Mari agrees with T'Challa but she's managed to school her face to not show her emotions, mostly. "If you're buyer gets you another meatsuit, you're not really going to be a ghost anymore." The ex-model points out. It's horrifying the way Violet is speaking.

"Totems are, are they? I have three in possession, you know. Why are they of such interest right now?" Really, Mari wants to punch the ghost and be done with it.

"Yeah but he won't until I deliver him the totem." Him. So it's a he. That might be valuable later. At least they can be sure this doesn't have anything to do with Rivera. "So I'm free to bargain with you right now. And hey, I've learned how to borrow meatsuits. I could show you a thing or two. Or three, maybe, if you let me borrow the King there."

T'Challa glances to Mari and rolls his eyes. She's bold as brass he'll give her that, but she's also reckless and crass.

"From what I hear they're a full set. And he wants all of 'em. Says their true potential can only be unlocked when all of 'em are together. And hey I don't have to find him all five. He just wants me to find him one and boom. New body for me. And either way, well, I get to settle accounts with my old one don't I? So what do you say Vixen?"

"I think it's cute that you think you can teach more than me." Mari's smile is sharp as she looks at the spirit. Bold as brass is right but Mari is right up there with Violet.

"And he wants the Fire Totem, that I have." Not to mention the spirit and earth totems that she also has. "What would he give you for three, then? Surely that's worth more a meat sack, right?" T'Challa may well want to throttle Mari after this, but reckless seems to be her middle name.

"It helps to have a direct line to the meat puppet." Violet smirks. Mari's offer has her considering. At least she has the vile ghost's attention though whether or not that's a good thing remains to be seen.

"Three huh? That'd have to be worth more than just a new body. But he's the kind that I'd have to renegotiate the deal with. And I suppose YOU'D want a cut too if you were gonna give 'em up. So how's about it sweetie? What would you want?"

T'Challa IS kind of giving Mari a look but at least has the good sense not to say anything… yet.

"I might, of course." Mari doesn't dare look at T'Challa, she can imagine the look he's giving her. "I'd really need to consider. Information is the sort of the thing I'd be interested in." Like who the buyer is, not that she says that.

"Are you good enough to get me information, Violet? Like who was doing experiments on people for something called HEAT not far from here?" Violet *should*. That was she was being held and Mari rather suspects that this spirit has the information already.

Of course, she plans to follow the spirit when she goes to renegotiate.

That makes Violet's grin go wider. Yes of course she knows that. But she's also by nature a grifter and an opportunist. "HEAT? Oh I think I've heard something about that… I MIGHT be able to find it, but it WOULD probably cost you something to make it worth my while."

T'Challa turns around to face away from Violent, right near Mari's ear. "Ghosts are creatures of 'passion'. Strong emotion. They slip up when they're driven to anger, or joy, or despair. They don't really have any middle ground though."

"Cost me?" Mari touches T'Challa's arm to let him know she's heard him. D'oh. She knew that but had forgotten - dealing with spirits directly like this isn't her thing. "I'm offering you three totems to take to your buyer. That's my cut of your renegotiated deal."

Taking a breath, she looks at Violet disparagingly. "I doubt you could negotiate a deal with your buyer to give you what you want and I doubt sincerely, you could find the information I'm looking for. You just don't seem that … clever … to me."

Anger should be easy with this woman.

Violet's smile starts to widen but then Mari begins to criticize her and her expression changes faster than might be thought possible. One moment smug, the next furious.

"Bitch!" This one really is classy, isn't she? "I can get that guy to give me anything I want. He's NOTHING without me. Couldn't even find his way into the tunnels underneath the Zone without my help. You think HE's the brains of this operation. Puh-leeze. Where do you come off? I should charge you extra for that!"

"And I'm sure you got him lost in the tunnels…" Mari answers, smiling broadly. The anger is quite delicious really and she's going to get what she wants. "… I bet you took him to the opposite direction of his destination." beat "How long did it take you to find where he was going?"

She might give up that information in her wrath.

"I found him lost in the tunnels. I know those collapsed subway projects like the back of my hand. Used to hide out there sometimes. He should have been grateful to have me! In fact I think he was." That last gets a 'so there' kind of tone from her.

"You know I got him to the old Western Terminal in less than an hour." Bingo. While Mari and T'Challa may not know what or where that is, with the name and the fact that it's associated with the subway, it shouldn't be too hard to find.

"And THEN He told me to go find the totems. He needs me for EVERYTHING. I'm only helping him because he can get me a body. And when he does, ooooooh…"

Now she's got a mad and rather unpleasant look in her eye.

The old Western Terminal. That will be on a map of the Subways. Easy enough to find on their smart phones. Mari's eyes slide to T'Challa but that's the only interaction he gets.

"Why on earth would Joseph Hunter be grateful to *you* for anything…" The name of Violets agent next, thank you very much. A deliberate wrong name is a risk but Violet doesn't seem all that smart.

"Ulysses Klaue is VERY happy to have my help because he is an utter dunce! Even with that fancy sonic arm of his!"

That gets a soft gasp from Panther. "I know that name." He murmurs. That will require further explaining but not right when Violet is talking to them.

"Why the hell did you say Joseph Hunter anyway you stupid- Wait."

Uh oh. Violet's eyes are narrowing and her rage very much focusing on Mari. "Why. You. Little…"

Mari starts at the name, it's subtle but T'Challa won't miss it. "So … do I." Her attention though is on Violet and wondering how she's going to extricate herself.

"You little what? Vixen? Why, yes, yes I am." beat "Have you met King T'Challa by the way?" The womans eyes dance a little as she readies herself for the attack she's sure is coming.

She's not wrong. Violet seems to have been a very emotional person. Maybe the real, living Violet would have had the sense not to attack now, but the ghost most assuredly does not. She snarls and lunges. Her fingers seem to lengthen to needle points and rows of lamprey like teeth fill her mouth.

T'Challa spins and smacks her with that spear again, knocking her to her knees in front of Mari and placing his foot on her back.

"Bow to the Vixen. Wielder of the Tantu Totem."

Violet does not bow willingly. She tries to grab Mari's leg and bite.

A silhouette forms behind Mari as Violet starts to change. Two infact. The rhino she prefers for toughness and the wolf for its sharp teeth and claws.

Her nails lengthen to claws, but she doesn't move as the woman lunges trusting her thickened hide to take the first blow.

T'Challa gets a wide eyed look though, she hadn't expected that.
Herss Violet tries to bite, Mari's spirit claws grab the womans hair and Mari tugs Violets head back. "I am Vixen. Wielder of the Foxhead Pendant. You … will yield. Now."

Violet struggles still but Mari has her held fast. She can't get loose and she can't look away from Vixen. Finally she hisses and spits. "Fine. I yield."

For now. That's unspoken but quite clear. She will remember this. Or, well, she will TRY to remember this. Ghosts aren't always great at that but Violet seems to have singular purpose which likely means she's both fairly fresh and has a lot of pent up rage to keep her focused.

"What is it you want, oh majestic wielder of the Pendent?" She asks mockingly and angrily. T'Challa still hasn't moved to let her up. She can stay down there for now, staring up at Mari unwillingly.

"Good girl." Mari says condescendingly. She's a good woman, not a great one. Her claws loosen in the womans hair and she straightens.

"You will return to Ulysses Klaue and tell him you have a lead on the fire totem. It's going to take you time to bring it to him though. And now, you're going to tell me about HEAT and the labs that were making it. And your part in it."

Violet smirks. "It's one of the best trips you'll ever have. Why, you know something about it? Or you want me to score you some? They were making more, a special batch I think, when I had my accident. Too bad, they were gonna give me a supply too. That'd have kept me high for daaaaays."

She's being defiant, or as defiant as she can be while still under T'Challa's foot.

"Sounds pleasant." The King of the Dead mutters.

"What's Catalyst: VeH0TH?" Mari looks at T'Challa as he mutters, touching his arm consolingly. No, Violet isn't pleasant but many of the people that Mari has to deal aren't. "That's what they were using to make the Heat. What is it? And what about your accident? What happened?"

"And what is it you're going to tell Klaue?"

"Do I look like a chemist Bi-OW! I mean, Most High Holder of the Magical Pendent?!" She gives T'Challa a glare and he glares back. "I don't know. All I know is I laid down on the bed and when I got up I was minus one meat suit. Didn't know how important it was until I lost it. And THEN it gets up on its own and starts walking around!"

"And what are you going to tell Klaue?" T'Challa presses.

"Ow! I'll tell 'im the yarn about how I have a lead on the totem and it's going to take time for me to get it. Happy?!"

"So you don't know … what's in your body?" Mari presses, frowning as she looks at T'Challa in question. "Was there anyone else in the lab? Did the … chemists … say anything?"

They're about done here and Mari doesn't want to press their control too far. "I'm … satisfied." she answers about Klaue. That will buy them sometime.

There's one thing that Mari knows though. Klaue won't be getting his paws on the totems.

"No. Not that made sense to me." Violet grates. Finally T'Challa lets her up and she backs up very quickly.

"I'd best be seeing to your 'commands' milady." She sneers, and then she vanishes. The Wakanadan prince sighs and shakes his head a bit. "That may bite us later. I do not think she will take that laying down. She will try to twist that somehow. Or she may just betray us outright."

She's probably gone if he's talking like that.

Mari smiles sardonically at the way Violet addresses her. "Be gone …" she gestures and watches the spirit vanish.

When T'Challa starts speaking she turns to face him "No doubt but we have a small advantage at the moment that we need to use. I need to find Western Terminal and pay our friend Klaue a visit." With another look around the area, Vixen inclines her head.

"Let's head out, get you somewhere safer and you can tell me how you know the name Klaue as we walk." She's taking her phone out and sending a message. To the Panther. "I'm letting the Panther know I want his company. Violets not wrong, I do get around."

"Mister Klaue has violated our borders and laws in the past. He has stolen things considered important to my nation and he is rather violent on top of that." He's also a security risk for people finding out how advanced Wakanda really is but naturally T'Challa doesn't say that.

"I had to deal with him and clean up his messes more than once during my time on the throne."

When she starts moving he does. His phone vibrates but he doesn't answer it. That particular pulse means that the message was forwarded. And he knows where it was forwarded from.

"I'm sure he'll attend you shortly. Though cats are nocturnal I've often observed." How VERY convenient for the Prince that is.

"You plan to deal with Klaue in the Panther's company? I believe he also has a history with the man."

"Is that your phone?" Mari glances at T'Challa "That's some hell of a vibrate function you've got there." She … smirks. Yes she knows what she said.

"That sort of matches with what I know of the man." Vixen stalks beside T'Challa, staying alert as they walk. "He was involved with the Crime Lords in Mohannda. The ones that killed my mother." She says quietly.

How long had been planning this, she wonders.

"I could deal with alone but I figured you'd have something to say about it. Besides I'm reckless, not stupid, T'Challa." the spirit caller smiles faintly. "It's kind of nice, having someone I can work with. He does, does he? Do you know what?"

"Only that it is rather extensive and violent." T'Challa says, clasping his hands behind his back and looking thoughtful. "He was, was he? Then this is personal for you." It's a good thing she's not being reckless as he might indeed have something to say about that. Several things, really.

"Will you move on him tonight? I should caution you to expect a trap. That ghost was spiteful and I would not put it past her."

"Extensive and violent." Mari repeats, looking at T'Challa trying to read him. "And yes, he was. I don't know if he was the one who killed it or just part of that group but he terrorised villages in Mohannda more than other I've heard of."

When T'Challa puts his hands behind his back, Mari runs a hand down his arm and tugs on it, to loosen it.

"I know it might be a trap but we've the slightest element of surprise at the moment. If we delay too long, Klaue will be able to organise. It's the least risk, I think … trap and disorganised. Or trap and organised."

That's if the Panther calls her. What if he doesn't? Will she go anyway?

"Both of these things, yes." T'Challa says, smiling as he lets his arm go and offers it to Mari. He's happy to do that even here in the heart of the world's largest rubble field.

Vixen gets an answer on her phone. The Panther is confirming his presence for later this evening. It's convenient for T'Challa that Wakanda IS so advanced but of course… he can't really say that. And Mari hasn't seen it yet. They didn't visit the city when they went to the Necropolis.

"Just be careful, Mari." He says, sounding concerned.

Mari doesn't take T'Challa's arm but links her fingers through his as they walk, which means she has to check her phone with one hand. "We're on for tonight, he's just confirmed."

There is going to be so much explaining to do when she finds out the truth. That will be after she decides to talk to him again.

"You've given me something I want to come home to, I'll be careful." Mari says quietly, looking up at T'Challa "Would … you like me to call you when we're done or … come over?"

That is something of a worry for T'Challa but he knows he doesn't have a choice right now. The Panther is too wrapped up in Wakanda's secrets and as much as he wants to reveal them to her, he can't. Not yet. There are some things he needs to be sure of first.

"Why don't I come find you." T'Challa smiles. "Text me when you're done. It won't take me long to come over and I'll have a gift ready for you." A gift? That's sure to be tantalizing. It MIGHT just be chocolate but even if it is she can be sure it'll be damn good chocolte.

"If you're sure. I don't mind coming to you …" Mari frowns up at T'Challa. "… you're always welcome to stay at my place. It's not as nice as your place and I don't need a gift, T'Challa."

She does smile though "I'll text you when we're leaving the Zone. I don't know how long it will take, a few hours at least, which means it will be late, or early, when I message."

"What gift will you have for me?"

"Do you want me to tell you or do you want me to surprise you?" T'Challa grins and gives her hand a squeeze. "I will say that it's related to some of the things we've been working on."

Does that mean it's a wearable? Something fashionable perhaps? Useful? T'Challa seems like the sort of person to give useful gifts.

"Surprise me …" Mari answers squeezing the Wakandans hand back.

"And I'm not going to try and guess." It's not likely a wearable - not like Mari is designing for her fashion. Something for her super-heroeing perhaps? T'Challa seems to worry for her.

"Well, I have a few hours before I need to meet my other beau, what shall we do?"

And just what is it, T'Challa needs to be sure of before he tells her.

"Care to get some food? See a movie? Or shall we just relocate to some place less dusty and enjoy the ambiance?" T'Challa needs to be sure that not only she is safe, but that she will be safe if he tells her.

"As long as I get to spend the time with you, I am happy." And that is true. Mari is a rather remarkable woman and T'Challa is endlessly glad to have met her.

"Let's go let me get changed and then go for something to eat and a movie? That might be nice. I'm happy to be able to spend time with you, too."

Mari will be Vixen for the next little while they leave the Disaster Zone. Then it can be T'Challa and Mari.

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