2020-02-09 - Melt Some Brains


A visit to Emma's latest project has Mari and T'Challa talking strategy again

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Feb 9 05:14:04 2020
Location: New York

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Large projects take a great deal of legwork. So, for example, that one wants to open a school. You can't simple buy, or build a building and then hire some teachers. There's permits to acquire, accreditation to secure. Palms to grease. Relationships to build. It's an undertaking even before the undertaking begins.

However, all of that has finally happened and the School that Emma Frost has dreamed of building is now well on its way to being a reality. So much so that now the buildings are being put up. There is a mountain of paperwork that has already been done and much more that will follow.

T'Challa is on his way to visit the blonde businesswoman with his usual partner in these matters, Mari McCabe. It will give him a chance to view the actual site and bring some news. Wakanda has agreed to provide aid and instructors if Emma is willing to reserve a certain number of spots per year for Wakandan students. It is highly unusual for them to be educated outside of Wakanda however like all nations Wakanda has a small mutant population, and a small fraction of that small population cannot be educated in the traditional way, or require the attention of someone more versed in… special students.

The Wakandan Prince's car is just pulling up to the work site and T'Challa getting out.

Mari slides from the car as T'Challa gets out, dressed immaculately in a pants suit. The dark skinned woman looks around as she waits for T'Challa to join her.

Her involvement in this is more on the support side. She's not got an education background or any real skill in that area. However, she can certainly see the need for a place where mutants and other skilled children can be safe and the need just seems to be growing.

"Well, this is looking very, very good, T'Challa."

It has been some time in the works, no question, and the shadier parts were actually easier on Emma than the more legal ones, ironically. And there was a 'minor' event a few weeks back in which she was actually, very briefly, kidnapped. She's recovered now, but there was some downtime healing.

Regardless, she cannot help but be more than a tad thrilled that ground has been broken, that the deals needed to make it happen were struck, and her venture partners are actually people she feels she can trust.

Sure, they'll have oversight, they're investing a ton in this project too — but unlike her last foray into education, /these/ partners won't actively be working at cross purposes, they'll let Emma do the job.

That means something.

That means /everything/.

Emma is actually the last to arrive, a last minute call at Frost International /required/ attention. Regardless, the white Rolls is pretty distinctive, the woman dressed in immaculate white, as usual, a sleek pantsuit with a long white coat to cover it, eyes bright she is handed out by her driver and then approaches Mari and T'Challa. Mari is hugged, and T'Challa as well if he permits. "My friends, I lack the words to express my excitement, and my gratitude for all you've done."

T'Challa does not mind being hugged. He has a wide smile on his face. "It is looking good isn't it Mari? Emma. It is good to see you again. And you are of course welcome. I wanted to come by and let you know that Wakanda has formalized the proposal that I thought they would make."

There had been some discussions about what they might offer and what they might require in return.

He turns to look at the work going on. "Well. This seems like it is shaping up well. I heard you should be able to open relatively soon, is that correct, Emma?"

Mari returns the hug - she's a lot more demonstrative than Emma and hugs are just part of her life. There's a smile as T'Challa receives the same treatment. "I can't believe how good it's looking. Is it safe to tour, Emma?" The news the school might be opening soon is certainly received well.

T'Challa hadn't shared the Wakandan news with her, insisting on waiting till he could tell Emma. "Wakanda has? That's wonderful news." Knowing there will be some more things to discuss regarding that, she'll leaves Emma to lead it.

A smile when T'Challa allows the hug, she's not that familiar with most people, not /genuinely/ hugging, anyway. Emma faux-hugs like a world champion. These are not those hugs. "I am delighted at the progress, yes. Once the final permits came through I hired work crews to get underway and have been running two shifts to make sure there's little in the way of delays." She moves over to a bin, taking out hard hats for everyone, donning one herself (white of course).

"Oh, that's tremendously good news, T'Challa. I look forward to the presence of your countrymen as both staff and students."

Once they're all helmeted, Emma leads the way towards the the Quad, at the center of which is a rather large fountain, and four walkways forming a sort of an X leading to the various sections under construction. "The fountain and quad are the heart of the campus, I wanted it to have an open area in the middle where people could meet, hold events, and be social while surrounded by the rest of the school."

Probably white hats for everyone honestly, that being the usual color on job sites for managers and VIP's. Hence the name 'shinies.' At any rate they take a walk and things are proceeding at an INCREDIBLE rate. Some of the construction technology advances that have occurred since the Blitz are nothing short of amazing. Mostly, actually, what takes time these days is paperwork and inspection. A lot of it, they can see, is pre tensioned concrete though some of it looks heavier and given whom this school will house that makes sense.

"Wakanda has." T'Challa nods to Mari. "I can almost see it now. It's going to be beautiful, Emma. Have you given some thought to what you will call it? And have you started recruiting students yet?"

He glances over at Mari. "We may have identified several from the displaced population in the Disaster Zone that will need help. There is an unusual proportion of mutants there, some of them having been brought there by forces outside their control. Also, Mari wished to… appraise you of a potential problem developing within the zone. We do not think it will affect you here but it could and you should know."

Klaue. Yes. T'Challa will let Mari explain that one.

There are indeed inhabitants of the Disaster Zone who would benefit from Emma's school and Mari has been making a list. "T'Challa is correct, Emma. I have information for you and think it would be worth a trip down to speak to them, when you're ready of course. We've done a lot of work, the three of us, to gain their trust and they should receive your proposal well - but it should be delivered in person, I think."

Putting the hard hat on, Mari follows the others and makes a face at T'Challa. She really would rather not think about that - but they don't have a choice. "Ulyssey Klaue - is not a name you are probably aware of but he is someone who both T'Challa and the Black Panther have had dealings with. And by dealings, I mean not good ones. He has come to America and set up operations in the Zone - and he is looking to collect the Totems of Anansi." She touches the foxheaded pendant at her throat. "He's tried for mine at least once and killed one of the bearers of the others, already."

"Well…I'm quite egocentric as well you both know, I toyed with the Frost Academy, but that seems too much. It is a joint venture, after all, and it seemed to me that the thing should reflect the sheer diversity I want to promote here, so I would like your input - which do you prefer, Haven or Horizon Academy?"

She honestly can't decide which she likes better. She DOES like the speed and efficiency of the construction techniques they can employ, less fond of the red tape, but that's the price of admission as it were.

"I have not yet done more than extend some feelers, but I am certainly open to helping the displaced. I confess to being a bit mutant-focused, old habits die hard, but that said I am also well acquainted with their particular set of needs."

She turns her gaze to Mari as T'Challa mentions some news of interest. "Of course I'll go and speak with them, I'll free a day up, several if need be. I quite understand the value of face to face."

She frowns at the mention of Claue. "So…this person, this 'Claue' is trying to gather items of power like your own and has proven willing to kill for them?" She nods once. "I will keep an eye out, in fact I have some mercenaries I can likely throw at the problem if you think it would be helpful?"

"I like Horizon, personally." New Horizons are things that intrepid explorers the world over have sought, whether it's finding what lay beyond the next hill, over the seas or pushing toward the moon. T'Challa looks around, keenly observing how things are going. It DOES seem to be well though the pace is tremendous.

"Klaue is something of a maniac. He was trouble for me when I was King of Wakanda and seems to be determined to be trouble again. He is quite willing to kill, distressingly well resourced and obsessive to the point of irrationality when he sets his mind on something."

The Prince looks out toward the Zone, not too distant. "At the moment more mercenaries in the Zone might not help matters, but I think you SHOULD provide for aggressive security here. Klaue has no reason to dislike this place, or know of it, and no especial hatred for mutants however he might decide for reasons known only to himself that this place is in his crosshairs and then… Well. There might be trouble."

T'Challa glances to Mari. "Which I think brings us to a slightly more esoteric issue. It is likely that Klaue has secured the services of a necromancer. I am given to understand that it is possible that mutants can have powers that interact with the magical and arcane. Have you heard of anyone with those kinds of talents going missing… and if you have not, do you have the ability to find out? Mari can provide more details. She was with me when we found evidence of their work."

"Horizon, definitely. Haven sounds … sheltered and perhaps a little too like a private security firm." Mari agrees. She wouldn't have objected if Emma had decided on Frost Academy, that the businesswoman hadn't is … nice.

"We know that Klaue has recruited a number of gangs in the area. Equipping them to do his dirty work - unfortunately, some of those are branching out into other entrepreneurial pursuits using the resources and sometimes it's difficult to tell which is which."

It just means Mari gets to crack head some more.

"As to the necromancer, we believe he has yes. I heard rumours of the tunnels under the Waldorf being haunted, so I asked T'Challa to go with me. When we go there, there were several ghosts bound to an area and they attacked us - while Klaue goaded T'Challa over a PA type system."

"I was unsure which I liked better, they both are descriptive of what this place will be." When both Mari and T'Challa favor Horizon, Emma just smiles. "Horizon Academy it is." Emma tracks where T'Challa is looking. "To the north will be the library and medical center, side by side, by far the two largest buildings." A chin point to the west quadrant. "Sciences and Engineering." To the South. "Student center, and housing." And then to the east. "That will be Arts & Athletics, including the Powers Center." Eyes study the quad. "There will be small rock gardens, and plenty of trees, and a stage suitable for concerts and other events in the middle near the fountain."

She does focus on what is being said about Claue, and adds 'aggressive security' to her list. "Do you think we should put up a wall around the grounds?" On the one hand: Secure, but on the other: Separatist.

She can feel the faint approval from Mari, offering the woman a warm smile in response. She shakes her head, eyes hardening when she hears about the taunting under the Waldorf. "If you need me, I would be happy to crack some minds for you." Bypassing the head entirely.

A look then to T'Challa. "I know of a few mutants with magical related powers, I have not heard of any gone missing, but I don't keep close tabs. I'll reach out and let you know, mm?"

"No, not a wall." T'Challa says as he takes in the verbal walkthrough that Emma gives him. "A wall will not seriously impede the kinds of men that Klaue employs. They will simply blow it to hell or insert via the air. No, I am simply urging you to be ready to defend what you will build here and the students you will house." And she's right. The wall separates the school from the area around it and that sends the wrong kind of message to the locals.

"We may need that. Mari and her partner in crime, the Black Panther, have dealt with Klaue's men before. Even interrogated them. But I do not think they have ever had telepathic assistance. Is that correct, Mari?"

He knows it is. But he can't say that.

"If it is a mutant it is entirely possible that they were coerced into this. And Klaue is not the kind of man to leave 'loose ends' laying around once he is done with them."

There's a short pause. "Ah Mari, you had said that he was moving about some kind of vibranium… packages? Unstable ones?"

"Klaue is a master of sonic weaponry, Emma. T'Challa is quite right that a wall won't do much at all. Besides, we want the students who go here and the community to feel they belong to each other, a wall will give the wrong impression." It might be tricky, but it will be worth it, in the long run.

"We have not, no, T'Challa. All we had was the Panthers claws and my … persuasive … talents. Telepathic assistance would be very, very helpful. Not only for the thugs we can catch but if Klaue mounts another attack against us - and I'm sure he will - to be able to try and track him down."

Even knowing if he's close to the area would be helpful.

"Reverbium, T'Challa. In some cases, just the reverbium itself and in others weapons that utilise it. It's … dangerous and if the Black Panther hadn't been there, I would have been in a lot of trouble. But you know this, I told you, I'm ok for you to share the information."

Thinking that T'Challa is being deferential, Mari encourages him to add to the story. What she doesn't realise, is that he is likely minimising the opportunity to give away his secret.

A baring of teeth that is vaguely a smile. "I always do my best to protect what is mine." The not-quite smile turns to an actual smile. "And I won't stand for any shenanigans that might cost me students." Never again. Never. "Trust that my security measures will be thorough, and very aggressive about protecting the students, the staff and the grounds. In that order." The wall? Not mentioned further.

Emma meets T'Challa's gaze, and she nods. "If you still have one or more of them — these minions of Claue's, well, I'd be happy to delve deeper for you."

Well acquainted with the coercion of mutants, Emma nods. "Any meta could be so coerced." She observes.

Looking to Mari, she nods. "I can track a mind within some few miles with relative ease. Further as I get to know them better. Regardless, yes, lets see if I can't get you more info. In fact when next you go against these people of Claue's reach out to me, the White Queen will gladly lend her aid."

Fortunately Emma is only receiving stronger thoughts and emotions, she's not delving, these are her friends after all. Some of the very few people around who even know she's a mutant, let alone a telepath. And even they probably don't know just how strong of one Emma is - though who knows, they might have done some research on the topic.

"I am certain that Mari could acquire another. The ones that we have caught we have turned over to the authorities. I am not exactly authorized to hold people of my own accord." Teeeechnically anyway. He has ways around that. By very politely asking Wakanda.

"I am sure that the Vixen and the Black Panther would be happy to help you with that, though. And be happy to have the help. So. What are the next steps?"

That's a question to both women. The building is being built. What remains to be done?

Emma is certainly getting a feeling of fondness from Mari. A warmth that is directed at T'Challa. There's no suspicion there either - she truly believes the Black Panther and T'Challa are two seperate people - though she knows the Black Panther is hiding something from her.

"We can get another. And if you can track a mind, then we should set up an … encounter … so you can feel Klaues mind. I take it, once you know it, you'll be able to look for it again?"

"If that's the case, from my point of view, I should like to get Emma a volunteer to read to start with."

"Then the Vixen and the Black Panther shall have the White Queen's aid, and gladly." Emma states firmly. She spends a moment sweeping the grounds, making sure there's no trouble, no hostiles, nobody hurt, impaired or in need. Emma is /way/ worse than a drug test!

A smile as her casual seeming glance sweeps the area, and the she nods. "Oh, yes. I can track a mind quite well once I have familiarity. In fact there is tech that can boost my scanning range, though I haven't anything built, I could work on something of the sort if needed." A pause, thoughtful, and then she looks between both T'Challa and Mari. "There's another option - I can follow him indefinitely, but…with my mind out of my body." She is /clearly/ nervous about revealing this. "I would need it guarded, lest I have no 'home' to return to, under /those/ circumstances I could likely follow him over any distance, provided he has no mental shields, or Astral entities on his payroll."

She looks to Mari and clearly agrees. "First Vixen acquires us another source of intel, then I reap the intel…" Which is sort of an ugly word, really. "…then we find this Claue and take care of him." She's not even sure what this 'reverbium' is, though 'unstable vibranium' sounds REALLY bad. "Whatever this guy is up to, this Reverbium sounds like something to be wary of."

"It definitely is. It is a synthetic form of Vibranium and in some states, highly unstable." T'Challa says. Emma's revelation gets an impressed look. Yes he can tell that is said in confidence.

"I think we should consider astral projection a fallback position. It is possible we might get the information we need with less risk. I shall leave the arrangement of the reading in your capable hands, Mari."

"Now, with that sordid business out of the way, shall we look to happier things? I would like to bring you both down to the Wakandan Embassy to meet with our officials there and finalize the deal. Mari, they are interested very much in speaking with such an exalted person from Mohannda. And the keeper of one of the amulets, no less."

"I welcome the aid." Mari answers in that way of hers, studying Emma carefully as she shares the confidence. "I agree with T'Challa though - we should only use that particular ability of yours if we really need it and right now, I think it is easy to find what we're looking for. I got the feeling, Klaue is enjoying baiting us. I shall be in touch soon."

T'Challa's news gets a raised eyebrow "You know I would love to meet your people. Are you sure it's just because I'm from Mohannda and wear the Spirit Totem, that they wish to meet me?" She's teasing the Monarch. "Emman, you will come as well, won't you?"

Sensing how seriously her friends take the reveal, Emma relaxes. Even without scanning she can feel sincerity pretty well, and these two once again prove that they /are/ worthy of her trust. She's really at a loss for a moment, so seldom has she had people who could be relied upon, people who would not betray her…it is a bit much for a brief instant. She turns away, arms folded over her chest as she answers. "Well then, we'll try the less risky methods first." Sad that the woman is so moved by simple friendship.

Emma's curse isn't that she cannot feel, that would be a relief, no—her curse is that she feels too much. Emotional armor, the ice queen facade, those are survival!

Aplomb restored, she turns back and smiles. "I would be honored to attend. I know that such invitations are no trivial thing." Emma leans close to Vixen. "I think he's just got good taste." The whisper /plainly/ meant to be overheard. And then she leans back. A chipper smile. "So…to the Embassy?"

"I cannot think of another reason." T'Challa says slightly teasingly. "Then come. Let us away to the embassy. I must warn you. They may try to fete us." Well, if not fete then at least invite to a rather nice dinner. Which T'Challa would like. After all they know what he likes to eat there.

Good taste? Yes. He has that. Good taste in his friends and companions. And he likes to show it off.

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