2019-12-20 - We Don't Talk About the Spider


Meeting up at the Sukiyaki Hot Pot, Ken and Babs share what little information they have with Pepper and Ambrose

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Dec 20 05:05:52 2019
Location: Sukiyaki Hot Pot

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Theme Song



Tokyo Sukiyaki is an out of the way Sukiyaki restaurant in Staten Island. It's also quiet which suits the needs of Barbara Gordon today.

Kenuichio Harada has booked a table, in the back corner which is also nice and quiet. It's prepared and ready, those who were invited to this lunch are directed to it without preamble. There may already be people here.

The red headed PI is making her way through the restaurant now, leaning heavily on the cane that she uses. The long skirt she's wearing, swirls just above her ankles and the blouse is understated. If anything, Barbara Gordon is unremarkable - except for her long red hair that falls like flames down her back.

Having spent the night in the hotel room paid for by Pepper's own card and reassuring his mate that all was well despite the brief blip of nonexistance, the Jackal arrives at Tokyo Sukiyaki looking relatively content. As if Ambrose would let the chance to indulge himself pass by; that, and the boisterous bed-thumping one room over quieted down rapidly after he slapped his palm against the wall and let the Bane tendril beyond to nibble for a bit.

Rich kids these days, oy.

He wears last night's well-fitted clothing and shedding the suit-coat leaves him in the crisp white dress-shirt beneath the raven-feather's black suit-vest. The tie got ditched somewhere, apparently, and one button is undone to reveal a fine steel-link chain at his neck. Having not slept as is the Bane's wont, his hair remains tamed yet.

He appears at Barbara's side almost ghost-like with a black-gloved hand hovering beneath her elbow. "Might I escort you to your table, milady Barbara?" asks he, giving her a polite little smile.

Having apparently arrived separately from Ambrose, Pepper enters the restaurant just a few moments later. Unlike the man who'd accompanied her to the ball the evening before, she is wearing entirely different and appropriate businesswear in an emerald green so deep it's easily mistaken for black, a wide copper cuff bracelet making sure that there's no chance of the spider tattoo peeking out past the cuff of her jacket.

She catches up with Ambrose and offers Barbara a smile hello. Thank goodness Arananet seems enough at ease today that this lunch shouldn't have any unexpected surprises.

Kenuichio Harada is not waiting at the table and it is in fact long enough that waters and menues have been distributed by the waiters before he arrives. He is in typical understated business wear. A jacketed suit and pale blue tie. It looks like, for him, it was just another day at the office. Which it was.

"Barbara-san. Potts-sama. Aetherton-sama. Pleasure to see you all. Have you been able to order yet?"

"Thank you, Leuitenant Atherton." Barbara answers, resting her hand on Ambrose's arm as they make their way to the table. Sliding into her chair, the redhead orders a glass of sparkling white and pours water for all four place settings.

"Hello Miss Potts, and just Barbara, or Babs, please." The milady makes her blush, just a little bit. "I'm not sure if Harada-sa—- Ah, he made it. Kenuichio-san, thank you for joining us. We have not ordered yet, but we will soon. I was hoping, you would recommend something."

As people peruse the menu, and Ken takes his seat, Babs lets out a long slow breath. "I only know some of the story from last night, but I know you both must have questions." Kenuichio gets a glance from the redhead "Kenuichio-san seems to know a little more than I, it seems."

Babs really can't help but glance at Peppers wrist, even if she doesn't say anything … yet.

"Babs then." Ambrose echoes this with a lightly amused relish, as if he found it charming. "And greetings, Miss Potts," the gentleman adds to Pepper upon her arrival. He seats himself directly across from Barbara after escorting her to the table and orders hismelf a glass of red wine. He glances up from his menu when Kenuichio arrives and spares the man a distracted pale smile.

"Well met again, Kenuichio-sama. I am still reading through what delights are offered." Delicately picking up the bulb of his wine glass, he sips at it and mulls the liquor about his tongue. A small indent between his brows proves him musing…at least until Barbara asks about questions. Looking up beneath his lashes, Ambrose lifts his eyebrows in patent display.

"I would like to know who dares to toy with reality. It is a dangerous magic. Surely the upper echelon of those who dare manipulate it are aware of this trespass?" By his steely undertone, he doesn't approve of this, moreso because of his own discomfort in the matter of wild magic than anything else. "They must desist."

Pepper greets Kenuichio with the same practiced ease as yesterday, then settles at the table. She gives the menu a long glance, missing Babs' own look at her wrist, then requests one of the better saki offerings on the menu.

"I agree that it would be very helpful to understand a bit of what exactly happened last night. JARVIS noted that he completely lost the link to my phone, and I didn't think that was actually possible." Well, so long as the device was still at least mostly intact and had a working power source. It IS a StarkPhone after all.

"I recommend the sukiyaki." The Japanese man smiles in Babs direction. "It is quite good. I would say it is similar to stew, and it is in concept, but you will not find the flavor's similar. It is… sweeter. A soy sauce and sugar base."

In any case…"Possibly, Mister Aetherton but I have not seen any sign of their response as yet." Which could be because on the scale of bad things to do with magic, toying with reality in small areas rates underneath immanent dimensional invasions and similar things.

"In any case, what I can tell you is that it is an international crime syndicate with membership that includes a number of beings featured in stories commonly considered myth."

Sake soon arrives and Ken orders some miso soup and sukiyaki for himself. With beef. Mmmm beef.

"Barbara-san has investigated into some of their local operations and she may be able to tell you more of immediate value. Moving that publicly, though, that is new. And worrying. If they're that bold their plans must be well advanced and their grip on local crime quite solid."

"Do you not think I'm sweet enough, Kenuichio-san…" Babs offers a small grin and nods in acceptance of the recommendation. Sukiyaki it is then. At least it's not KFC, right?

"I have only experienced the field once, when we were at a conference at the University. A … what was it, Kenuichio-san? … creature insisted on showing us the field and telling us to beware, I have no idea why it chose me to do so unless it's because I'm a PI."

She's good, the redhead, at maintaining her cover. She knows exactly why the Tengu showed her. She just … can't say anything.

"Initially I thought this was tied up with the Yakuza but I can't be sure. I *think* the Yakuza are working with these beings however, Kenuichio and I have a mutual contact who advises she's seeing this all over Staten Island, the gangs are being organised and bought under one banner of management."

Funnily enough that mutual contact is a redhead as well.

"Did you see the announcement that was released this morning?" Babs pulls her tablet out and opens a media site. There it is, a claiming of responsibility for last nights mayhem and threat that this is just the beginning if the Guardians of Staten Island don't desist. It's signed, The Gorgon and Friends.

Still savoring his red wine sip by sip, Ambrose's menu now lies ignored upon the table. He seems to have no inclination to ordering food, but this is par for the course; the Bane fed last night and he is content to nurse the drink instead.

His gaze narrows as he listens, attention shifting between Kenuichio and Barbara. When offered the opportunity to see what the media has to say about it all, he sits forward in his chair to frown down at the screen.

"Whomever this Gorgon is, they have moved swiftly. No wonder the authorities were running about like startled chickens last night. I applaud their steel, however, in continuing with the galantry — a good showing of faith in their own abilities." His eyes go distant now midway across the table. "I wonder that I might know a player or two upon this board…" he murmurs, almost to himself. Then comes the chuckle, a warm sound curling up behind his teeth.

"Oh, but this takes me back. I am not unfamiliar with underworld warfare," he explains, looking between his tablemates. "I have not dabbled in such intrigue for…a time."

Pepper asks for clear soup and Okayodon, then sips delicately at the saki as she looks over the information displayed on the tablet. Well, that's dismaying.

"Are they referring to who I think they are by the Guardians of Staten Island?" From her limited knowledge, this sounds like something the Yakuza would be part of, all right. After all, anyone posing a threat to their organized thug squads would be immediately targeted. It's honestly disturbing from her point of view.

"Is there anything that I can to do help figure out who this Gorgon person is, and how to stop them from causing even more chaos than a single enclosed ballroom?"

"Near as I can tell the Gorgon is an actual Gorgon. Eurayle, though I cannot say if it is the being that the Greeks knew of or just somoone using the name." Medusa has popped up too so… who knows. "I do not doubt if you are familiar with seedier people in Staten Island that you DO know some of the people involved. I am given to understand that these Gorgons chased off other organizations to establish their dominance."

They seem to want this island, or at least all the crime on this island. And that is somewhat disturbing.

"I did see the announcement, yes Barbara-san. I also saw that the Stock Exchange was closed due to repairs. It will open tomorrow but there has been some small damage to the economy which means that the story is generating national headlines. I cannot help but believe that was intended."

As to what Pepper can do… perhaps Babs has some ideas.

"Did you formerly dabble in such, Aetherton-sama?"

"I really don't know who the Gorgon is. What I do know, after doing some work for Kenuichio-san is that The Hand who had a sizeable operation here has been pushed out." There was a reason Babs chose to become a PI and it wasn't just because she was good at it.

Peppers assumptions and musings might just be derailed with that comment. If they're still here and The Hand was pushed out … does that mean they are collaborating?

"What do you mean, Leuitenant? Know a pla—-" Kens already asking, so Babs subsides with a small smile to Ken. His question. "As to Guardians? Perhaps, Miss Potts? There's one group that are incredibly secretive but they make it known that they protect Staten Island."

"I'll be sure to let my father know, Leuitenant, that you applaud the mettle of his men." beat "Still how did they infiltrate the event? Were they a guest or employee of the hotel?" The other option, that they might be police, doesn't seem to occur to Barbara Gordon.

"I'm not sure, Miss Potts, how you may help. I'm still following the threads of the case myself. To be honest, until last night, I didn't think a lot of it." Batgirl however, had. Kenuichio knows that. "If I understand what our mutual contact sent me this morning though, they need some weapons to combat the threat. Cold Iron and … I believe she copied on you on too, Kenuichio-san. I didn't recognise the other requirements, except holy oil."

To hear that it could potentially be a true Gorgon, down to the mythological implications and dangers involved, does not have Ambrose pleased. In fact, it makes the fine hairs on his neck rise in a human variant of hackling. He's silently grateful the chaos hasn't spread to his proverbial neck-of-the-woods.

He sips deeply at his wine before he replies to both Barbara and Kenuichio, near sotto-voce, "I was once general to a gentleman who ran Shanghai's underworld for half a decade. Needless to say, we were tested regularly as to our mettle and none found it wanting. A plane crash ended this delightful escapade."

His smile is cool and rueful in its way as he settles back further into his chair, fingertips lightly drumming in a run on the chair's arm. "I am not opposed to violence in resolving issues, though I demure to Miss Potts on matters diplomatic. One must be true to their words before guns or blades are drawn."

There was NO way Pepper could miss the reports coming from Wall Street, thankfully distilled to the absolute most essential information by JARVIS. It is truly disturbing, and has indeed proven a point by disrupting the stock market for the day. She sips at her chosen soup while Ambrose explains that he's dealing with a similar group in the past, then when the flavorful broth is about half gone she sets it down more in front of Ambrose than herself.

"If there are any financial or business records you think are connected to the Gorgon and their people, I could try to do some research that way. See how they are being funded. Everything runs on money anymore, and it has to be accounted for carefully." And while there are undoubtedly better hacker types than JARVIS out in the world, there are very, very few that can parse and collate data as fast or as efficiently as the AI.

"If their money can be traced, the head of their financial organization can be leveraged against them."

"I do in fact know of some businesses you could research. Yakuza front companies that are or were being used by this group to move money. Barbara recently helped me… embarrass one of their local operatives sufficiently that they are probably in a little bit of disarray right now, but that will only last for so long."

Bab's comments get a nod from Kennuichio. "Not every being has a bane, though. There is no magic bullet that will destroy all of them. Some simply require a great deal of care, a great deal of muscle, or both to handle."

Gogrons, for example, are not weak to anything in particular. They can be hurt, Perseus did it in theory, but still. It's not an easy thing and that bit about the gaze being reflected back?

Well if these ARE the same beings, he's willing to bet that's an embellishment.
"Violence may well be necessary. This organization seems determined to 'own' Staten Island."

"Yes. The Yakuza front companies, would be good, Miss Potts. I can send you some details on those. There are more too, that we aren't sure are connected to Yakuza. Perhaps if you know any of them, you may have insight to how they operate.

"Lieutenant, perhaps you might like to meet our mutual contact and let her grill you on the questions she has." Babs give Ken a look. He's met the woman in question and it might not have gone so well. He did rather manage to tweak her nose. "And maybe you could provide insight on the operations as we see them. Kenuichio-san has a different view of things to me and I confess, for all that I'm good PI, a very good PI, I may not think as these people do."

At first, Ambrose doesn't notice the positioning of the bowl of broth. There's currently a war between memory and planning in the present occurring in his mind. Then, when he glances down idly towards his menu, he blinks to see it settled nearer to him. Subtly, he glances to Pepper. It had to have been deliberate — and eh, what is the common cold verses the Bane's intent to keep its host blissfully content and relatively immortal?

Placing the mostly-empty wine glass to one side, he picks up the bowl and sips testingly at the broth. Mmm: not terrible. Swallowing a more full sip, he licks at his lips and nods to himself.

"It does depend on your mutual contact, Miss Babs," the Jackal says, balking at the idea even as he sets the soup bowl down. "I have been told that I can be difficult when it comes to being questioned, but…I would rather not see this city fall into the hands of those who abuse magical powers as such. If my aid and experience will be useful, then by all means: who am I to speak with?"

Pepper nods readily to the suggestion that she research the Yakuza front companies. It would be no different from researching tech competitors. Heck, JARVIS might already have a whole slew of information collated on some of them.

As tempted as she is to put her phone on the table next to Babs' tablet to link the two together, there's that whole issue of electronic politeness etiquette. So she refrains. "Send me the list of names, and I'll have JARVIS get started on those immediately."

Huh. No one's asked about Arananet yet.

"Wonderful. Now… did I imagine it, or was there something about a spider the other night?" No one had asked about Araranet until now.

Ken takes a sip of his water and considers. "I would contact a being named 'the Oracle'. Or rather, I would wait for that being to contact you. I shall mention it when again they make themselves known. They have something of a flair for the theatrical. And electronic."

Oracles. Gorgons. Ken is going to go find someone to reenact Clash of the Titans upon.

In any case that may have been the mutual contact Babs was talking about. And if not… it's the OTHER mutual contact. Probably.

"Oracle will do. They work with another but they're easier to contact." Babs had meant the *other* one, but demurs easily as she eats the meal as it's bought to her. It's delicious. Kenuichio was right.

"Now, if we're done with the unpleasant side of the business, tell us about that spider, if you will Miss Potts." Babs invites. "And then perhaps, Leuitenant, you'll regale us with tales of derring do."

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