2019-10-16 - Not Under Wizard


Nick seeks out Pepper and ends up finding a Cat Burglar.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Oct 16 05:20:35 2019
Location: Brooklyn

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Things have been almost normal for Pepper Potts since the incident at the Stark Industries parking lot in which a number of rather furry mutants attempted the abduction of both herself and a tech by the name of Laura Barielles. Well, at least it's been as normal as things generally are at Stark Industries. Though today she actually gets a bit of a break from that. A lunch appointment at Tavern on the Green. The food is good and there's generally leftovers. Which someone generally likes to mooch.

It may be a surprise when a large brown wolfman steps through the door at the Tavern eyes scanning. This is where the people at Stark said Pepper would be for lunch. It's nice that she's out for lunch, certainly for Pepper but also likely for Nick. Since he needs to eat and he's got a perpetual food black hole for a partner.

Speaking of… "Do you see her Isis?"

"Are you sure we can afford to eat here?" Isis is saying as they step through the door of the tavern. It's quiet, and perhaps only Nick will hear it. If they're lucky. Following the the big brown werewolf, the cat eared woman is wearing a crop top, jeans and a jacket.

"It does smell good in here though and I'm hungry." Because of course she is.

"I … uh … no I can't see her. Not yet. Maybe she's around the corner." The feline-like mutant doesn't suggest she could stand on the counter to look. She might have at one point in their history.

"…but you see, Miss Potts, you cannot begin to understand the importance of a warm pair of socks. I claim that current fashion has no concept of the idea. Wool — it is about wool, not about…the garment being able to reach your knee or to fold over the edges of one's boots."

The brisk British acccent takes this stance very firmly. Ambrose, in a rather nice black suit-coat and a gemstone-blue dress-shirt gestures towards Pepper across the table. He's at least half-tamed his hair into something semi-touseled. In his hand, a glass of red wine. On his plate:

Nothing. Because he was hungry.

"It does not matter if it itches. It is exemplary in keeping the cold from nipping." And so there, he seems to conclude with a nod.

It's just about the last time this year that Pepper can enjoy sitting outside to eat before the cold fully sets in. She's stubborn, though, and she's out on the patio in her preferred corner table — the one that's more easily accessible to people outside of the restaurant property.

With her bag sitting on the chair next to her and Ambrose seated across, she only looks at him amusedly as he speaks with such conviction. "You're preaching to the choir, Ambrose, though when I want true warmth, I tend more toward Orenburg goat or Qiviut." She plucks at the gossamer lace shawl she's got draped around her shoulders. "Though of course not for socks. For those, I have a friend with a sock knitting machine and access to Wollmeise. All the colors." She says that last like it means something.

Their table holds the remains of a lunch, including a wool-cozied tea pot.

"I'm hungry too." It's not that Nick and Isis couldn't afford to eat here, it's that they couldn't afford to do it regularly. While the PI business pays the bills it's not the sort of thing one usually does when one makes a habit of frequenting places that charge twenty eight dollars for a burger. Gleason is very much a 'Pizza' kind of guy. Pizza is tasty, economical and prevents Isis from clawing his arm off when she gets hungry. Which admittedly, she does less these days.

"There she is. She's got a guest. Hope he doesn't mind us intruding."

Ambrose and Pepper will see Nick and Isis way before they reach the table. There's a sort of ripple throughout the restaurant as everyone turns to stare as they walk by. And why wouldn't they? It's not every day one sees a wolfman in jeans. And Isis? Most definitely has cats ears peaking out from her head. So. Mutants.

"Miss Potts. Hope we're not interrupting." Nick says when he reaches the table, tipping the brim of an entirely imaginary hat first to her and then to Ambrose. That's not… him is it?

You know. Tony Stark. Nick's never met the guy himself.

"I can't see her …" Isis can't because she's eyeing that plate of food on the table they're passing. "A guest?" She looks up and peers at Ambrose carefully. "I wonder who that is."

The heads turning have the smaller mutant moving closer to Nick and as the pair reach the table, Pepper and Ambrose will feel the waves of 'calm'. Isis knows how to subdue a crowd and it's not to recite poetry.

"Hello Miss Potts." She says rather politely, still peering at Ambrose with those slitted blue eyes.

"I admit, I know little of the finer wools, but I do know of Qiviut and toast your good taste." Ambrose salutes the red-head across the table with his wine and then lifts it to his lips to sip at it.

The arrivals at their table first garner themselves an idle, midlly irritated glance. Then his eyebrows slowly rise. The wine glass remains tucked to his mouth for a moment before he sets it aside and gives Pepper a look.

"I did not know you were expecting further company," the master-thief comments lightly as he allows his gaze to freely comb over both Isis and Nick with an openness almost daring. When one lives as long as he has, ears and extra fur aren't beyond comprehension.

"Part of that was intentionally misleading, Ambrose. Orenburg down is the best quality cashmere in the world." The general atmosphere around them does get her attention, and the almost strange calmness does too, but when Pepper looks up and spots the approaching pair, her response is to smile brightly.

"Mr. Gleason, Isis," she greets them with clear familiarity. "I wasn't expecting you, but please, join us." She quickly pulls her bag from its chair to hang off of the back of her own chair. "This is a good friend of mine, Lieutenant Atherton. Ambrose, this is Nick Gleason and Isis Marik of Paragon Investigations." She's already angling the remains of a bacon appetizer plate toward Isis.

"Lieutenant?" Nick looks at Ambrose and holds out his hand. "Well. Thank you for your service."

Nick might perhaps be forgiven for thinking that the rank means that Ambrose is modern military or police. The latter especially he works with quite closely and he hasn't really been running in the right circles to meet someone whose commissions were signed by Queen Victoria.

"What is it you do if I may ask, Mister Atherton?" The big wolfman has a deep resonant voice, but he's polite and friendly and his ears are very, very expressive. They perk when he's paying attention and twitch to accentuate things as he speaks.

"We visited Laura Barielles in the hospital today, Pepper." Nick says carefully, placing his cell phone on the center of the table as Isis no doubt tucks into the remains of the bacon appetizer.

Ooooh. Bacon. Isis' ears perk up as the plate is slid towards her. "Why do you say that, Nick?" Thank you for the service That should mark her as somewhat more of an oddity. "Nice to meet you, Lieutenant Atherton."

Much to everyones surprise, probably, Isis holds the plate to him first, offering him what's on the plate before she even touches it for herself.

The mention of the Laura has her nose wrinkling and a wave of sad fear washing over them.

There's a subtle roll of Ambrose's eyes towards Pepper. This concept of being introduced overtly, both first and last name, is something he's still weighing as 'normal' — for over a century, he was only a nom-de-guerre in the Jackal.

"A pleasure to meet you both," the master-thief replies with a perfectly polite smile only half-reaching his eyes. He does return Nick's handshake; the Bane kept heavily in check does not bite or eve sniff. It would not do to entice physical combat when Ambrose is contentedly full. Upset stomachs are a bother.

"I am a collector of antiques." Ambrose doesn't expand further. Rather, he lets his attention slide between the arrivals to weight them and their body language, semi-human or not.

"Have you eaten lunch?" Pepper asks the newly arrived pair as she glances up and across the patio, causing a waiter appears with two menus as if by magic.

And then Nick mentions Laura Barielles, and her expression falls almost in perfect time with the wave of sad fear. "How is she doing? I feel really bad that I've not had a chance to go by and visit with her over the past couple of days."

"Um, no. We were going to pick up something on the way out." Nick takes a bite and offers the rest to Isis. It's almost ritual the way he does it. Then he turns his attention to the phone and unlocks it. There's a picture of a woman who looks a lot like Laura, but she's got distinct animalistic features and is covered by a fine coat of black and white fur. Also her ears are on top of her head. She looks a biiiit like a polecat.

"Physically she's healthy. But whatever was injected into her activated something. Or maybe implanted something. She's been undergoing changes."

And counseling but Nick doesn't say that. Even from the picture the distress on the woman's face might well poke at Ambrose's bane. She looks like she wouldn't put up much of a fight right now. And she'd be a tasty meal.

It bears remembering, though Ambrose doesn't know this, that Pepper had nearly been injected with the same solution.

"She smelled …" Isis adds, shivering a bit as she takes the plate from Nick and rubs her ears against his arm. "… like others in the facility I grew up in." The distress is evident but not enough to refuse the plate.

"And her mind … feels a lot like Nicks."

Which is to say animalistic. Nearly feral.

The smaller mutant turns her eyes to Ambrose for the moment, trying to work him out. "How do you know, Miss Potts…" beat "Nick, can I have these things called claws?" She means the snow crab claws that are on the menu.

Unknowing of this Laura and the reason for concern, at least at first, Ambrose returns to appreciating his glass of wine. The reddish liquor spins up the walls of the glass's bulb as he spins it, all the better to appreciate the notes that rise from it. It's a motion very nearly urbanely uninterested.

He glances up from the surface of the wine when Nick turns the phone to showcase this Laura and her issue. Despite himself, there's the low-grade flicker of the Bane beneath his skin; ambient light briefly flashes through his pupils as he glances over at Isis and meets her eyes. His own eyes narrow slightly in direct challenge at the cat-like woman before they slide to Pepper, gauging her reaction in turn.

Pepper leans in to look at the phone, and she looks even more saddened, remembering only too well that their attackers had been trying to do the exact same to her. And she completely misses the flash of Ambrose's eyes. "Mr. Gleason, we need to solve this. And we need to find a way to reverse this, if possible."

One thing is for sure, Pepper has every intention of making sure that Stark Industries does everything possible to help Ms. Barielles no matter what. Heck, she'll sink her own savings in if she has to.

Nick doesn't miss that flash in Ambrose eyes and his ears tilt slightly as he tries to figure out what it was. He can see the challenge directed toward Isis but doesn't quite know what to make of it.

"We have leads. Several of them. But they all lead to places we can't get or people who won't talk to us and to be honest, Pepper, I'm running out of legal ways to get what we need."

The police might be able to serve warrants but that kind of thing can get held up in court and Nick knows they don't have a whole hell of a lot of time.

Isis' question has him glancing over and peering. "Um. Sure." Good thing he brought his wallet. "I might share one of those with you." If he can grab one before she cracks them all with her teeth and sucks the meat out.

"I wouldn't be gauche as to suggest we just find a way to 'acquire' what we need but…" It's starting to get to that point.

"The worst part, Pepper is we can be sure that one, they're doing this to other people and two, they've got more of that solution. Which means you need to be careful. They might try again."

That might get Ambrose attention. Wait. Is Pepper in danger?

Isis lets out a low feline growl as Ambrose meets her eyes so challengingly. It's never far from the surface, her feral nature and the way the Bane looked at her, brings it out. Then Nicks talking and the woman manages to focus.

"You get first choice of the food, Nick." She agrees easily enough. "You know I would go in and find what we need."

Which might very well be dangerous.

"Nicks right though, Miss Potts. They tried to get you with the same sort of serum."

Isis's sound brings the Jackal's attention right back to her. She gets a thin smile in reply. Sharks appear the same way when they cruise into a reef, shadow and the risk of a bite with the merest flick of attention. Plus, the master-thief is ever a risk taker…and asshat.

"It seems to me that the answer to this conundrum is to hire a hitman to kill the dratted bastards and keep Miss Potts contained in a place of security until the expected results are curried, yes?" His opinion comes so softly and silkily, delicately enunciated. His wine glass continues to be upheld with a pinch of the stem.

"I know, Mr. Gleason, I know, but I can't just—-hey!" Pepper goes from trying to explain to Nick why she can't just hide in one of Tony's panic rooms until the whole thing blows over to looking at Ambrose indignantly.

"I am NOT some feckless damsel to lock in a tower and let the dragon eat any knight that doesn't pass muster. Ms. Barielles is one of my employees, and they targeted her. And I am not about to forget that." She breaks off abruptly when the waiter returns, and looks up at him with an instantly kind smile.

Two orders of the snow crab claws, please, and a plate of the salmon and the rainbow trout. Thank you so much." With the order given, empty plates taken away, and fresh cups to share the tea being set out, the waiter leaves again, and Pepper's expression instantly returns to the stormy indignant it was before.

"If you can't find what we need through legal channels, it's time to start doing something else."

"That's a good thing Miss Potts because I am a really bad dragon." Nick says in a very calm voice while sliding his chair slightly back. You poked the Warrior Queen, Ambrose. You get to deal with it.

"I'm open to options. I could ask Isis to try to get it for me. She's quick and sneaky but if we're honest, industrial espionage isn't exactly in her main line of work."

There's a short pause. "Plus I'm not sending her to Ireland." Nick mock glares at Isis. Yes. Ireland. That's a long way away and as good and focused as she is a lot could happen. She might get distracted.

There's another short pause. "Hitmen?"

"I can teach you to fight, Miss Potts." Isis pipes up, not taking her eyes off Ambrose. Nick will feel the rumble coming from her, the subvocal growl as she responds to the Bane. Asshat or not, it's managed to prick her and she's not sure … why.

But yes, she can teach to Pepper to fight. Can't she?

"Ireland? To be sure, to be sure? Begorrah and all that?" Ireland sounds fun, actually. Maybe she can convince Nick to let her go, anyway.

Pepper's flaking of his idea gets an eyebrow followed by an open roll of his eyes. He sips at his wine while more food is ordered.

"Forgive me for thinking beyond legal avenues," he murmurs snidely to himself. Perfectly comfortable in his occupation of his chair, complete with his upper arm carelessly slung over half of its back, he then returns his attention to Isis. Like the Cheshire Cat fading into view, so does his smile.

Ambrose continues his earlier thought. After all, this Nick asked.

"Yes, hitmen. But…again, whatever was I thinking, wishing to keep a friend from encountering trouble? Let us bind our hands behind our back in nobility instead and hope to duck."

"You can believe me or not, but Stark Tower is very likely one of the most secure buildings on the east coast, especially after that last attack. But even so, I can't stay locked up in there. I still have a job to do."

Sitting back in her chair, Pepper takes a breath and visibly calms herself for about three seconds before looking at Nick. "What exactly is it that you need to get from Ireland?" If it's computer-based intel, she'll just ask JARVIS to start digging after it.

"I'm not even sure who we'd kill if it's a comfort. What I could really use is a cat burglar." Nick mutters. His glance slides over to Isis and he coughs. "Er, well. A burglar anyway. A professional. Someone who could get in and out without being noticed. Unfortunately I don't have contacts like that…"

The wolfman sighs. "Ireland? There's a Lobo Technologies office there that I think might have been involved on some level with all this. Of course it's an ocean away and guarded by an army of lawyers but as near as I can figure out, that office did a lot of biotech research and interfaced with a couple of now closed companies that seem to have done a lot of the research that is being used to hut people now."

"I don't see what's wrong with Miss Potts wanting to look after herself and others." Isis says quietly, still eyeing Ambrose uneasily. She's still growling when Nick glances at her and coughs - that's enough to have her looking at him. "I wasn't doing anythin—— Oh. I'm a Cat, not a burglar. Not like that anyway."

The mention of Lobotech gets another sour look from the feline. "They seemed to be supplying stuff to companies who were do experiments like the one I was." Yes, she just said she was an experiment. "Bad things that hurt. We need to shut them down."

Wine once more swirls in his glass.

"I believe I know of someone who could assist you…but it wouldn't be legal, especially if you require a cat-burglar," the Jackal notes with a sleek and deliberately vague interest. It twinkles in his eyes even as he glances to each individual at the table. "I believe something akin to this Lobo Industries would not be a challenge to the thief I have in mind. People put such faith in modern technology. It is not infallible."

He sips at his wine again.

Pepper looks at Ambrose for at least a couple of very long moments, then seems to come to a decision. "Do it, Ambrose. Mr. Gleason, if you have a way for Ambrose's contact to reach you for any other pertinent details…"

And then the ordered food arrives along with a fresh pot of tea.

"I do actually." Nick produces his card and lays it down on the table in front of Ambrose. "I'm in the book under Werewolves." Not wizards. That would be silly.

"He is actually in the book under Werewolves. But also Paragon, which is where most people look because that's where 'Private Investigator' is.

"Thank you for the help, Ambrose. And for the food, Pepper." Speaking of. The food is starting to arrive and it's time to eat.

"So I don't get to go to Ireland?" Isis looks sad for a moment, but then the crab claws arrive and her eyes go very, very wide. "Thank you, Lieutenant Atherton. And you too, Miss Potts, this looks wonderful."

Rather than digging in though, Isis moves her plate towards Nick and lets him have first pick.

When she gets it back though …. the claws on her fingers extend and she shreds the crusteans appendages quite handily.

"Are we in the book under Cats too, Nick?"

Nick's card is drawn up and into Ambrose's hold. He considers it front and back before pocketing it within an interior pocket of his suit-jacket.

"My people shall call your people, as the movies and television shows like to claim," he replies with a smirk plain on his face. "Cheers." A lift of his glass promises results.

One way or another.

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