2020-01-13 - To Scan Or Not To Scan


Steve gets an invitation for lunch and finds out about an old 'friend' in town.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Jan 13 06:23:01 2020
Location: New York

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Mari had sent a message to Steve, inviting him to have lunch with her and T'Challa to discuss something about the Disaster Zone.

There's been enough publicity to know that she's often seen in the Wakandan's company, socially. The Avenger must wonder whether Mari is aware of his identity as the Black Panther by now - because she works that one too.

The restaurant is nice, of course, probably chosen by T'Challa - the man does have excellent taste. When Steve arrives, he's escorted to the table where Mari is sitting, sipping a glass of wine - already.

T'Challa does have excellent, and rather expensive, tastes but he can afford it and he has the connections to get reservations. He is sitting at the table when people arrive. Reading a paper and enjoying a very nice cappuccino.

"I really do suggest the calamari here. There's something they do to the seasoning. The shellfish platter is rather nice as well." Steve will be along shortly, surely.

Speaking quietly with the hostess at the front, a tall and broad-shouldered man in a custom-fitted dress-suit cranes his head to see where she gestures towards — ah, yes, both Mari and T'Challa are settled already.

"Thank you, m'am," he says, giving her a polite smile, and then walking on. The hostess sighs to herself after he's out of ear-range: that's definitely America's ass.

"Did I hear someone say something about calamari?" He takes a moment to give T'Challa a formal nod of greeting rather than an outright bow (to avoid drawing excessive attention) and he takes Mari's hand up as if he might kiss it, but does nothing more than gently squeeze her fingers. "Won't say no if someone's ordered it. Barnes and I enjoyed it last time we were here." Steve settles in his chair with a sigh that might as well be content and looks between his tablemates curiously. "Food or gossip first?"

"You have gossip?" Mari smiles at Steve as he takes her hand - not seeming to bother that he might indeed kiss it. The woman is very relaxed with the heroes. "It's good to see you again, it's been so long." Of course, neither she or T'Challa are aware of Steves canid adventure.

"Let's order and we can talk as the food comes. I know I have a Board meeting this afternoon that I need to get to."

"The shellfish platter for me, please, T'Challa."

Steve's smile goes very briefly cheeky. He simply lifts his eyebrows at Mari's query and picks up the menu. A quick scan down its finely-scriped print with sundries listed sans pricing (of course) and his order is: "The New York strip, medium-rare, with the root vegetable side. I'll stick to water, please." It's enough calories to pad his stomach fr now. Taking a deep swig from his water glass, the Captain then sits back in his chair again.

"Gossip, news…it's information with a different wrapping each time," he replies a little more quietly. "You called me?" Hands interlaced above his belt lift and rotate palms up.

"You're a worse tease than I am." Mari pouts a little as the orders are placed. "Well … news. Black Panther and I have been working in the Disaster Zone, following … well, pendants, totems like mine." The spirit caller touches her foxheaded pendant as she speaks. "Someone was trying to collect them all. There's a legend that if all the Totems of Anansi are in one place, great power will exist. Needless to say it is something that we want avoid."

T'Challa will have more to add to that, of course and the dark skinned woman glances at him to continue.

"Possibly." T'Challa laughs. "Steve. It is good to see you again. I am afraid this isn't entirely a social lunch, but it is good to see you all the same."

He takes another sip of coffee and puts down his paper.

"We need the ability to rapidly search a large area from the air. There aren't many ways to do that… legally. And you were the first person we thought of. To help avoid said possibly quite bad thing."

While it's tempting to steeple his fingers across and before his chest like some evil genius mastermind, Steve doesn't give in to this temptation. He does give T'Challa a lingering look and then Mari an equally considering glance.

"And the bad thing to be avoided is the illegality of otherwise searching a large area from the air without my input? Or just the Totems all collected into one place?" He squints. "What're you thinking, as far as taking to the air? Vehicles? Instruments? Timing…?"


"Well, the legalities of it are concerning. Not even my smile would be able to convince a judge if they decided to press charges. The bigger concern is the conflagration of power that will come to be." Mari gives T'Challa another look.

"Are you familiar with a man named Ulyssey Klaue? T'Challa and the Black Panther know him well …." She clearly still thinks the two are different people.

As to what they want …

"Klaue is operating in this area." T'Challa nods. Steve may or may not remember him but it's easily possible that the former Wakandan king has spoken about that thorn in his side before. "He is employing mercenaries in the Disaster Zone and that cannot be good. They're hiding out in tunnels and they have done some excavating. We need something that can identify tunnels that should not be there. Ground penetrating radar, I am thinking."

So, a satellite then. "It should be done sooner rather than later though it is not incredibly time sensitive. In addition, once identified we will need to clean those mercenaries out. There are quite a few. Could use a man with a shield."

The minute twitch of Steve's brows gives him away. Yes, he knows of Klaue, and of the amount of vengeance wished upon the man for his harrassment of the Wakandan Empire. Klaue has been a slippery one, but only until now, apparently, given T'Challa's report.

"Could use a man with SHIELD," he says in a pun idle but for the way he smiles faintly to himself. "Don't see why I can't back-check records, see if there's any scans that've been done lately. If not, don't see why more couldn't filter in. Place's full of places weak in structural integrity. If any SHIELD agents need to enter the Zone again, we need an updated layout of the place. Since Klaue's on SHIELD's radar…seems easy enough to swing."


Mari sees the tick and focusses on Steve, nodding slowly as he mentions a man with a SHIELD. "We might at that. I don't think the Panther would object to extra assistance next time we go in. Or any time. He's hired thugs indefinitely to work for him here - and they're all extremely armed. Sonic weapons."

That should sound familiar to Steve - Klaues nortorious for those. "Enough that I upgraded my suit recently." T'Challa earns a smile for that. "Which reminds me, I want to train with the Panther and develop a fast ball special. Maybe you'd be interested in that too?" That's to Steve.

"From what we … extracted from one of his thugs, they patrol from the DZ to Red Hook. Bringing goods in for Klaue. He didn't know what but he did confirm they've made more tunnels, branching off the old subway system down there."

"If you could help … I'd sure appreciate it."

"There is one other thing. I think that you and Bucky should join Mari and I at some point at my place. We have spoken a lot of work and there is much work to be done but I have an absolutely wonderful place on Fifth Avenue and I have not had a chance to really have friends over. There was the sting we did but I do not really think that counts."

The Wakandan Prince smiles slightly. "Have you met Miss Emma Frost, by the way?"

There's a non sequitur if ever there was one.

"As I mentioned before, don't mind seeing if I can requisition the satellite. Might not be immediately granted to me, hence the back-check on the scans. SHIELD keeps half an eye on the DZ at all times as it stands. Klaue 'nd his men'd have to be smooth criminals to get away with this for long." He nods towards Mari and T'Challa both, acknowledging that the conversation at hand means Klaue indeed wasn't able to succeed for much time at all.

The Captain's solemn expression breaks to a reserved pleasure at the mention of less confrontational gatherings. "Right, don't think a sting counts either. Sure. I'll check with Buck, see how he feels about things, 'nd we'll pick a date 'nd time — but no, haven't had the pleasure of meeting Miss Emma Frost. Heard about her, but never met her." Steve seems curious despite himself.


Mari gives T'Challa a sideways look. "His apartment really is very nice." She agrees. "It will be nice to entertain without having an ulterior motive. T'Challa is in most evenings. I can take a night off from patrolling for the two of you." They must be laughing that Mari doesn't know T'Challa's secret."

"Thank you, Steve. I'd appreciate it. Klaue certainly seems to have a good operation. If it wasn't for the totems that we'd found, we wouldn't know about him" She shakes her head. "That area is used for so many things."

"Ah, we met Miss Frost some time ago and have a few interesting things in the works. She'll be licensing some of the wearable tech we've been creating for commercial applications but …" Mari looks to T'Challa to add more.

"It's less an apartment and more a… house that someone built on top of a tower." That's true. It is three levels. You could have ten people living there comfortably and they wouldn't have to see each other much. There's a hot tub and pool on top. The whole place is very… lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

Without the, you know, moral bankruptcy.

"You might be interested in her latest… project. She is planning to establish a school in the city for mutants and other 'unusuals.'" It's not an entirely new concept but it would most certainly be the only public such institution in the city. Emma Frosts interest in 'unusuals' however is not at all well documented so why she should have it is interesting. "She's quite charming, if somewhat intense. You and Bucky might like her. Mari and I certainly do."

"Won't say no to some simple company 'nd good food." Steve spreads his hands to encompass his tablemates and the table itself as if to further make his point. "Buck 'nd I'll be there, just let us know when. Can't guarantee it, what with the demands of work 'nd all, but I think Buck would argue we deserve some normal life now 'nd then."

He sips further at his water as he glances between T'Challa and Mari, his interest still moderated as to this Emma Frost's plans. "Think I heard something about it on the news. 's'a good thing, 'specially with it being out in the open. Not opposed to meeting her if you're vouching for her. Buck 'nd I have met many folks over the years."


"Then maybe we can arrange a meeting. Emma is … well, she's become a good friend." Mari adds, smirking at T'Challa's description of his place.

"Now that we've got the business out of the way, shall we enjoy the meal and talk about simpler things?" Is there such things as simpler things in their lives? "You might want to ask T'Challa how he feels about me winning we spar."

"I feel like I would like a rematch at some point. Perhaps you could spar with Bucky or Steve though. They might give you more of a challenge." That should tell Steve right there that Mari doesn't know. Because the heart shaped herb is a taaaad more effective than the serum in terms of physical results and Steve certainly knows what T'Challa is capable of though possibly not the 'upgrade' Bast gave him when he accepted the position of King of the Dead.

"If we can have her there we will. If not we will arrange it some other time. But lovely. We'll contact you with the times. I am quite looking forward to it. Now. Shall we enjoy some very good food?"

Admittedly, Steve is pleased to see their food arrive. While it's being set upon the table — and doesn't that steak glisten lusciously — he nods and smiles, this time with less reservation.

"Sure. Set up a meeting." He does eye T'Challa after his comment, but for no longer than the necessary second needed to impart a silent understanding in matters at least pertaining to the standard flavor of Black Panther known to the Captain. "'m happy to spar if you're interested, Miss Mari. Buck has his own say in those matters." As he picks up his knife and fork, he glances back up between the two, a muted glitter of amusement in his eyes.

"Last time we were doing SHIELD yearly physical exams, there was a hand-to-hand combat test. Buck threw me so hard, there was a shape left in the ceiling. I was impressed," he shares with a blandness in counter to the laughter in his eyes.


"We can rematch whenever you're ready." Mari smiles at T'Challa. "I'll even let you use your ghosts because I'll use my spirits." No, Mari doesn't know and whilst she might have had suspicions, they've not been fed. T'Challa is playing his cards close to his chest.

"I'd like that, Steve. Having people who can I really cut loose with is good. Black Panther and I destroyed a building in the Disaster Zone the other day - now he's a strong one. Quick too."

"I'm sure I can sweet talk, Bucky. Or at least convince him I'm harder to hurt than I appear. Well now, that's impressive I must say - has he let you live that down at all?"

"The Panther's no one to tangle with lightly," agrees the Captain once he's finished sampling everything on his plate. It's scrumptuous and he can't wait to assuage the soft growling of his stomach. "Dunno about Buck though. He's got his own mulish streak that's wider'n the Hudson — sometimes puts me to shame." Steve grins now, content to tease his other half since Barnes is not present to remind the blond super-soldier of the last stubbornly-idiotic thing he did.

"But far be it from to speak for him. Has he let me live it down? No. Reminded me just last week that the ceiling's due for a new imprint. Told him it's his turn to owe the Triskelion a new observation window. All's fair in love 'nd sparring." On that note, conversation turns to techniques less often used over the quiet clinking of silverware. Steve, for one, is relieved to enjoy some normalcy and good company over good food. It's rare enough.

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