2019-10-27 - The Beginning Of An Idea


Emma requests a meeting with T'Challa and Mari to discuss her latest idea

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Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Oct 27 04:18:22 2019
Location: 2 East 5th Avenue - Penthouse

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T'Challa and Mari McCabe have reached out to Emma Frost to discuss some more 'business' with her. They haven't really had chance to catch up after the blondes assistance at T'Challa's house warming and this meeting is a little overdue. But that's the way things go.

Mari arrives with a bottle of sparkling apple juice that comes from a darling little supplier upstate a bit. No wine, she's picked up on a few things when she's met with the blonde previously.

She's waiting at the door to the Pent House now.

Emma actually answers the door herself when Mari arrives. As this is a business meeting, she's dressed in a power suit, in this case one /not/ of white, unlike her usual mode. Nope, this particular suit has very striking and crisp lines, and the material of the slacks and jacket are a light drinking matte black, the shirt, however, is dazzling white silk, that's very much accentuated by the dark jacket, and very modestly cut. Black shoes are glossy, the heels making the woman a couple inches taller, like she needs to be much taller, and her jewelry are jet and diamond confections.

A genuinely warm smile welcomes Mari as the door opens, and Emma motions her to enter. "Hello Mari, welcome to my home." She'll embrace the woman, speaking again when they separate. "May I take your overcoat?"

Gracious hostess? Yes, she can be. Sure, there's staff for that, but Mari's a friend as well as a business partner.

Catseye was not thrilled to discover they would be having company. Rather than being comfortable in furform or halfform, she's in smoothskin and dressed in a deep purple suit, one that is cut to accommodate her lavender furred tail. In her own home she's dispensed with the usual sunglasses, letting her cat-slitted eyes be seen, though her diamond and amethyst jewelry rivals Emma's jet and diamond pieces. She's currently curled up on one of the couches, typing away furiously, then saves her work with a sigh as Emma greets Mari. Closing the laptop, she rises to join the other two women. "Sorry for the delay, Mother. Rough draft of the report is in your email. Will pretty it up later." She smiles politely at Mari. "Pleasure to meet you at last. Sharon Smith."

"Hello Emma." T'Challa takes his coat off and hands it in Emma's direction when she asks for it. "Very nice place you have."

Being a former King T'Challa is well versed in the art of the compliment but in this case he really does mean it. He smiles and looks around before his train of thought is interrupted by the arrival of an amethyst haired woman.

"Pleased to meet you Miss Smith." The look he gives to Emma is a polite 'I didn't know you had a daughter' kind of look. Smith. Not Frost. Interesting.

"Thank you, Emma." Mari lets T'Challa help her from her coat and hands it to Emma to put away. "This is a lovely place indeed. I've bought a gift for you, I trust it meets with your approval." The ex-model hands over the bottle of sparkling apple juice with a smile.

"Hello, Miss Smith. I'm Mari McCabe, please call me Mari, and this is T'Challa." Just … T'Challa. "It's a pleasure to meet you as well."

Mari glances back to the door before continuing. "I am expecting someone else to join us. They've been inadvertantly delayed but I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for your assistance the other night at T'Challas. T'Challa and I were talking and there's something that we would like to put to you."

It's been a mere moment since Emma has shown Mari and T'Challa in, and there's another arrival already. Dresses also in a business suit, though hers is a rich burnt sienna brown over a light apricot silk blouse, Pepper Potts knocks at the door. She likewise arrives bearing a gift — fresh pressed apple cider from an orchard halfway across the state. It's clearly the real stuff, not even filtered to be a transparent liquid.

Taking the moment while waiting for someone to answer the door, she checks her phone and deftly taps out a reply to JARVIS. Yes, she will pick up pastrami for Tony on her way back.

Catseye answers the door, though Emma is just down the entryway with the others. "Please come in, Ms Potts, it's a pleasure to meet you. Everyone is still getting settled. I'm Sharon Smith." Her tail is coiled lightly around one ankle. Too many new people to be relaxed at the moment, she's keeping the tail in close and tight.

Emma takes the coats, and smiles in response to T'Challa's look. "My daughter, Sharon. I actually have recently acquired another." Yes, Emma's a tad bemused and amused at her rising collection of daughters, but…seems genuinely happy about it too, deep down. It shows in a calm, a slightly more relaxed Emma, less distance and chill. Still dignified, but not as hard seeming. Though that could be in fact her ease with T'Challa and Mari as well.

"Thank you for coming, Your Highness, and welcome." She accepts the sparkling apple juice with a wicked little laugh as Mari offers it. "So, not fooled a bit by my lush act, I see." She hangs the coats in the closet, and will lead the way towards the balcony. A thought reaches out to Catseye. «We'll be on the balcony, let Chef know there's one more to table, please.»

Pepper smiles to Sharon as the young woman answers the door, deftly tucking her phone away. "Good to meet you, Ms. Smith." She's already shed her overcoat, entering with it slung over one arm. "I hope I'm not too terribly late?"

She can hear the others slightly further in, but keeps her attention on Sharon as she was raised and taught to maintain a certain level of politeness when a guest in someone's home.

Sharon smiles. "Not at all. Please, let me take your coat while you join the others?" As long as she can stick with memorized phrases, she'll be fine. Unfortunately, different to most people means inferior, and language is a struggle as her mind works differently. Once the coat is hung, she escorts Ms Potts to join the others, then ducks smoothly out to consult with the chef on the meal. Settings and chairs will also need to be adjusted, but Catseye will see to the minutia while MotherMotherFrost sees to the guests. They make a good team that way.

"It is not an uncommon act." T'Challa chuckles. "Many a person wishes to appear like they can drink irresponsibly and still be responsible. It also encourages their rivals to do likewise."

'Sharon' has some interesting body language and ordinarily T'Challa might push on that point but it seems rude here especially since Emma is claiming the young woman as kin. Or at least adopted kin which given the differences in appearance seems likely.

"So. I was quite curious to get your invitation Emma. May I ask what all this is about?"

"It pays to pay attention and in my office you are careful to only take water and soft drinks. You are amongst friends, Emma and given what I've observed it would be impolite to bring you wine. Besides, this is my favourite and it's really quite refreshing."

"Hello Pepper, I'm glad you could make it." Mari greets the redhead as Sharon brings her in. "Emma, have you met Miss Potts? If not, let me take the opportunity to introduce you. McCabe does business with Stark Industries and I also class Pepper amongst my friends."

"Apart from the fact that we have some samples to show you all, Emma, I believe you also had something to speak with us about as well."

"Ah, so I am plebian, am I?" Yes, Emma is teasing the prince, she knows damn well she's pretty far from that. To a follower of Bast, Sharon's body language would probably be very eye catching indeed. "Of course, Highness, it is simple…I've decided I want to build a school for mutants, humans and other powered sorts. I would like to see whether yourself and Mari might be interested in such an endeavor." She smiles to Mari as she speaks of the beverage. "I am always looking for something to pass for alcohol, now that I'm dry, over seven months now." Yes, she's proud of that.

A polite smile is offered Miss Potts as she joins them, and Emma offers hand. "I think we've probably met in passing, but it is a great pleasure to meet you in person, Miss Potts, welcome to my home."

She nods then. "In any case, that's it in a nutshell, I've even already acquired the lands to be used - it ties in somewhat to the other matter, it is on the fringe between mutant town and the disaster zone."

Pepper shakes Emma's hand readily, moonshine-esque cork-stoppered jug still in her other hand. "Thank you so much for inviting me, Ms. Frost. I brought some fresh cider from an orchard in Modena," she offers, hefting the jug slightly.

She offers Mari and T'Challa smiles by way of hello, because she's not forgotten that they're here.

Sharon spends some time seeing to the needed adjustments, then slips back into the room with the others, as silent footed as any cat, even in heels. She lingers against the wall, watching the group silently, tip of her tail twitching.

"Interesting…" T'Challa says as he sits down. He's clearly thinking. Education is not something that he's been heavily involved in at an operational level. As King he was certainly concerned with it, but only as a matter of infrastructure and policy.

"What manner of support are you looking for? I can certainly send capital your way if that's what you're interested in. But I might also speak to my contacts in Wakanda. I can potentially see useful avenues for a… partnership."

"A school?" That sounds interesting to Mari as she takes a seat next to T'Challa and takes his hand in hers. "That's not something I've any experience with but it's certainly of interest, depending on what you would like from me."

The ex-model looks to Sharon and then Pepper, to see what they're reactions to the news is. This is certainly an opportunity for Stark Industries, she thinks.

"What do you think, Miss Smith? I could see there would be a demand."

"Absolutely my pleasure, Miss Potts, and as you're a friend of Mari's and in my home, please, call me Emma." Emma accepts the offered apple cider, and smiles her thanks. "Thank you, very thoughtful." Since they're out on the balcony, they get treated to a brisk breeze and a lovely view of Washington Street Park at night, currently it seems there's a bit of a gathering in the quad by the university, faint strains of music occasionally to be heard even with those lacking augmented senses.

"I have always wanted to be an educator, I was headmistress of the Massachusetts Academy, as I think I've mentioned to yourself, T'Challa, and Mari as well. And there's another school I had offered my skills too, but the offer was rather firmly rebuffed by one of the administrators. So…I decided to build my own, and administer it /my/ way." A flash of blue eyes shows her still lingering ire about her treatment. "Initially I would like to have the infrastructure improvements we'd discussed for the rest of the area done there first, and if you have other wants and needs, I'm happy to discuss them."

To Mari. "You needn't worry about the day to day, mostly I need help with the initial building, and yes, some financial backing. I can administer the school just fine. Also, contacts to help with finding students, that would be a fine thing." A faint smile offered to Cat as she offers a nod to a mental query, in the wake of Mari's question to Cat.

T'Challa considers a little bit more. "Mutants. Wakanda has a small population of them and to be honest it is one of the things we have always struggled with, having people to teach them to control and how to use their powers properly. The population is simply too sporadic to have any kind of continuity. I think I could persuade the Kingdom to make funding and possibly even instructors available to you in return for being willing to take some students from Wakanda."

This is a rather delicate thing. Wakanda COULD offer a school like this a lot but they have a vested interest in not tipping their hand too much. Still a few highly educated experts as educators and some funding in return for taking on some students seems equitable.

"Mari and I might be willing to help with some of the things we've been working on, donating them for educational purposes." That, of course, would just raise the profile of their joint business venture with Emma, so it makes good sense.

Catseye nods to Mari, "A school is needed. One where the students are encouraged to be an active part of the community, rather than kept in isolation." If that is a direct jab at the school she is currently attending, well, it's earned. "Mother is more than qualified." A slow breath in, a slow breath out. But the tail is agitated, the fur fluffed as she remembers. "My birthmother abandoned me in an alley less than an hour after birth. Obvious mutant with cat eyes, tail… Thankfully, shifted form into a kitten and escaped slow death in a plastic bag. Stray momma cat took me in, raised me. Grew up -cat-. Was sixteen when Mother Frost found, helped me change back to smoothskin form for first time since birth." Now the tail settles down, more, perks up lifting into a happy position as she smiles at Emma. "Language, use of hands must be taught before age five or window closes. All texts say so. Mother -beat- that. She gave me language, how to use hands, wear clothes, mathematics, art… I owe her everything. And that would have been enough alone, but she adopted me, gave me family, a Mother who -wanted- me." There's no mistaking the love she has for Emma. She looks back at Mari, "So… am obviously biased, but can't think of someone I would trust more to teach and protect students coming into new abilities."

"Of course I'd be happy with financial backing, Emma and as T'Challa says, providing some of the things we've been working on. Donating them, of course. If you're prepared to take on the administration and handle the accreditations and such, then I think this sounds like an excellent idea."

The ex-model listens as Sharon speaks. The womans appearance doesn't seem to be even noticed by Mari, though she notices the agitation. "I'm sorry to hear that, Miss Smith, but I'm glad you found Emma to help you. And you think others will come to this school?"

"Will you be able to find enough instructors, Emma? And what about security of the students? Even with the Registration Act gone, there are still pockets of people who aren't fond of mutants in general."

Still those are things that can be overcome and Mari seems to be quite keen for this.

Pepper is visibly intrigued by Emma's explanation of the reason she invited them here. "I believe the Maria Stark Foundation can likely help with some of the funding. There are grants that you can apply for, but for any considerably larger amounts, I might have to speak with Tony directly."

There's always the option that Pepper offer her savings to help fund the school, but it wouldn't be nearly enough to do what Emma has in mind.

Encouraged and maybe a little surprised to find such ready acceptance from all three of Mari, T'Challa and Pepper, Emma smiles more than politely, it is a far more genuine thing. "I have considerable resources of my own, of course, but this sort of endeavor? I would be hard pressed to manage, and harder pressed to explain to the other board members of Frost International, it would not be a money making venture, and even with controlling interest it is bad business to alienate them."

She looks to T'Challa first. "Mutants are always welcome, and I'll be happy to accept those from Wakanda you would wish to send. As to instructors and funding, that would be gratefully accepted as well."

To both Mari and T'Challa she offers warm smiles. "And yes, the thought of the wearable tech being showcased on the school grounds is a great one."

She falls silent as Cat tells her tale, drawing the girl to nestle at her side, and arm about her in a clearly motherly and protective gesture that would fly in the face of Emma's public reputation.

She smiles to Mari then. "Oh, I'm fully accredited up to collegiate level instruction, and a licensed educator and administrator. I just have to renew my certifications and I'll be able to handle things, yes."

Pepper's support comes as something of a surprise, and a welcome one.

"There is always the danger that those who are teaching will want to use their students for their own purposes. Children with power are always at high risk." The Wakandan prince says that, of course, without knowing really any of Emma's background in that regard. Or Sharon's for that matter. But he seems to think that Emma would be trustworthy as well, else he would most certainly not be making this offer.

"Well money the four of us have in abundance. So I shall offer some of my own resources as well, and see if I can convince some of my investment group to contribute as a charitable donation." That way there's no strings attached.

Catseyes story gets an almost-smile. "It sounds, Sharon, like you could not be in better hands. Tell me. Do you think students like you would benefit from being taught by someone who fancies himself an inventor?"

He means himself. T'Challa couldn't do it all the time, not by a longshot, but he could run workshops.

Catseye rubs her head subtly against Emma's when she embraces the girl. If she was in furform it would be a full on kitty headbutt, but this is time for smoothskin manners. So annoying and indirect. Cat is better. "Inventors have flexible minds, have to if want to make true breakthroughs not incremental change, yes? Mutations, powers, differences in upbringing can result in different ways of thinking. Am one example of that. Teachers who see benefit in different approaches, rather than insisting there is only one way to solve a problem are very much needed."

"Then I think we have something we can aim for." Mari smiles, watching Sharon interact with Emma. Squeezing T'Challa's hand, the ex-model looks at him "You'd be marvelous as an Instructor. You always have such a way of doing things." She doesn't suggest herself but there's a possibility she might later.

"Have you put together a business plan yet, Emma, or were you sounding out the waters to begin with?"

"Between the four of us, five including you Miss Smith, I think we have a lot of pull with people. It will be good to be able to benefit others with what we've what we achieved for ourselves."

"Yes, well, that's a legitimate concern, T'Challa. I ran afoul of just that sort of thing at the Hellfire Academy, I was not the sole administrator, and my…colleagues…overruled me on many occasions. I confess I was party to just that sort of abuse as a result." Emma's not proud, but these people are her friends, and that means they deserve the truth. "But…the price paid nearly destroyed me, I will /never/ make that set of mistakes again. If I do this, if /we/ do this, I will be the sole administrator. I welcome all of your input, your support, and will always give them due consideration but the onus and burden of running things, those are mine exclusively." She looks from person to person, each in turn. "Can you live with this? I need your help, but I won't and can't be put in a position where I might be overruled again. Not after…that."

A smile. "And yes, T'Challa, you'd be welcome to help, I'd very much enjoy having you speak and teach. And you, Mari, could offer a great deal." A nod. "And Miss Potts as well."

She does keep her arm about Sharon, perfectly comfortable with that closeness. "I have a very tentative outline, little more than a shell, and a wish list. Assuming my control stipulation isn't a deal breaker, I'll work up a formal presentation and send it to you all in a few days. Acceptable?"

"Oh, and another thing, this school is going to be open to mutants, to humans, to mutates, to aliens, to Inhumans — in short to anyone. It is to be a place that is meant to promote understanding and coexistence. That's very important."

Were T'Challa still king he might ask for at least some kind of advisory board where Wakanda's interests in the matter can be given a formal voice and he can't promise that the Kingdom won't ask for that all the same. But as things stand? He's content to give Emma this chance. If the gamble turns out badly, the Black Panther might pay a visit.

With his Honor Guard.

""Yes, good idea. It should be open to regular people as well. A haven for the gifted and the powered, yes, but if people are to learn to coexist they actually need to coexist. It does no good to keep them separated. All that does is increase the feeling of otherness and alienation."

T'Challa drums his fingers for a moment, still thinking. He does that, Mari knows. "I shall be an occasional presence then, Sharon. I do hope you like engineering."

Catseye smiles, "Mostly electrical engineering. Occasionally design specialized tools for friends who need something that just isn't out on the market."

"I really like that idea." Mari agrees with T'Challa. Mari isn't really aware of The Institute but it's important that co-existence happens.

"Well, why don't you get us your business plan, Emma and we'll get moving but for now, given we're all here and we've got some nice juice, why don't we relax and enjoy our evening?"

Oh, Emma's sure that she'll have to accept some measure of oversight, but…she's going to ask for what she /wants/. At the very least hopefully they'll get something put together that will at least mitigate the damage a committee could do.

"Very well, I'll prepare the business plan, and outline my ideas for you all, and see they get to you safely."

And then she smiles. "SO, yes, let us enjoy the view, the food and the company."

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