2020-02-28 - Time To Hit The Black Runs


T'Challa reveals more information about the synthetic blooms.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Feb 28 08:28:49 2020
Location: Wakandan Embassy

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The Wakandan Embassy is a rather impressive affair. Which makes sense, even poor nations tend to have nice embassies. Got to be able to impress your guests. The interior is decorated in contrasting light and dark colors. The floor is paneled hardwood - mahogany mostly - and the walls are a pale ivory, splashed with silver, white and tan in the furnishings and accents.

Fortunately tonight is NOT the night of the ceremony that T'Challa had mentioned - they're short one for that anyway - but there had been a very nice dinner with the local Wakandan Charge-D, as the Ambassador was elsewhere, and then the prince took his guests up to one of the studies. Which is to say a rather nice room with reference books and computers and a mini bar off to the side.

"Would either of you like a drink, by the way? I am going to access Wakanda's files on the herbal extract and it's similarities to what SHIELD recovered in a moment but there is some VERY nice port here…"

There's very nice everything at the mini bar, really.

"Wouldn't say no to whiskey."

This comes from over by one of the windows of the finely-decorated room. At an earlier command, the panes shifted to allow a view outside while protecting the interior from prying eyes. Steve turns, led by a small smile, and begins to walk over towards the mini bar. He's shrugged out of his suit jacket and remains in his suit-vest, a matte-black affair over a deep-blue silk button-down, cream-colored tie tucked beneath the vest's buttons. His dress shoes and hair alike shine.

"Hope there's enough similarities between the extract 'nd the vials in SHIELD's labs that an antidote could be fashioned…or at least something like an Epipen: something to slow down an overdose. Just a leap-frog from that to something like a neutralizing agent," he opines, fine features composed in quiet concern.

Mari is wearing one of her creations. One does not simply go to the Wakandan Embassy without looking ones absolute best. Around her shoulders is a wrap that she removes as they enter the room and hangs it over the back of one the chairs. She takes Steve jacket and does similar before looking over to T'Challa to see if he is going to relinquish his jacket.

"I'd like a whiskey, if you're doing the honours, Steve." She says quietly. The blossoms, Klaue, reverbium - it's all a worry for her.

"That would be good however, we still need to work out what Klaue is doing."

T'Challa finds the whisky, pours two, and then a port for himself and brings all three glasses - monogramed with the seal of the Panther Throne - over to his friends. Once they're served he starts up one of the computers and puts in a security key.

Actually it scans his retina but in a very low profile kind of way.

"Wakanda has put some research into counteracting the worse effects of this plant, the trouble is that fatal doses are likely to be fatal VERY quickly. Even with a counter agent, administering it on time will be difficult. Might help though if someone actually manages to benefit from it and go berserk."

The data starts to come up. T'Challa brings it up on a larger screen so that everyone can look at it.

"Well let us see here. Yes. The synthesized agent is very similar to the real article but… even more dangerous. How nice." That's a bit dry, that is. "Let us see if any progress was made in tracing it more specifically…" He pulls up another file and displays it.

"Actually yes." There's photos of the HYDRA affiliated distribution agent in New York. He's speaking to two someones. Mari might recognize one of them, it's one of the people who has in the past attempted to steal her pendant. The other neither T'Challa nor Mari know.

But Steve does. His name is 'Von Strucker'. And he is a VERY bad man.

Whiskey glows in the ambient light of the room even through the crystal bottle, etched with fine frosted designs about its central body. From here, the Captain can see its quality and nods. "Looks like somebody else has got it," he murmurs to the woman, giving T'Challa a bit of a grin.

Steve's own whiskey is neat, two fingers in volume, and entirely for the taste; it will do absolutely nothing to him otherwise. Sipping at it, he nods again to himself. His eyes then flickers to T'Challa and his current affairs. The graphs and numbers on the screen aren't kind. Medicine might not be his forte, but the super-soldier knows just enough about it to quantify that T'Challa's dry humor is merited.

Mari will likely catch the Captain's reaction to the face on the screen first, given the Prince of Wakanda is facing the computer. His mouth opens before shutting to a thin line of abject disapproval. Frankly, Steve looks thunderous.

"They can't keep their damn fingers out anything," growls the man. "That's Von Strucker. Baron. Looking forward to getting my hands on him."

And maybe around his neck.

"He's been a thorn in SHIELD's side for too long."

"So it seems." Mari smiles at Steve as she accepts the glass from T'Challa. Mari drinks her whiskey on rocks and adds a splash of water to it before taking a sip and closing her eyes. The liquid burns pleasantly down her throat as T'Challa starts his search.

When her eyes open, that image is there and she grimaces. "Do you recognise that one, Steve? That's the one who was on the helicopter that day." The helicopter she's not told Bucky about.

T'Challa probably wonders about that "Not long before you got here, I had several attempts on my collection. One while Steve and another SHIELD agent were in my offices. Steve chased one of them, onto a helicopter that was waiting …"

"Who … is Von Strucker?"

"Helicopter?" T'Challa had not been there for that and this is not a story he's heard. And it is also not a story he's aware that Bucky hasn't heard. So when she starts telling it.

"He what?" The Wakandan prince has a difficult time hiding his laughter but he tries bravely. "Oh my. Steve. Tell me that people have heard of this tale of courage and…" Recklessness. He doesn't say that. "… skill."

"Von Strucker. I know that name… HYDRA, yes?" T'Challa hasn't had to deal with these people in some time. "Why would Von Strucker be talking to…"

A few more keystrokes as he pulls up the report associated with that photo.

"Hrm. Nothing solid on his presence, but it is noted that some of the inbound shipment did not get distributed into the city. It was diverted somewhere upstate, near or across the canadian border. And Von Strucker is believed to have gone that way himself."

Another thread. They already need to go to Genosha, but THAT will probably have to be addressed sooner or later. Whether sooner or later is honestly up to Steve and Mari.

"This photo was taken after your incident, Mari. Was he never caught? Or was he carted away and has found his way out somehow?"

At Mari's prompting, the Captain takes a few steps towards the computer with its shockingly high-quality picture of Von Strucker and the other unknown individual. He peers for only a second before nodding.

T'Challa's a good point to start about this figure involved with the helicopter. Steve adds, frustrated, "I do recognize him. How'd he manage to get out of incarceration so fast? Should've been charged with aggravated robbery with a dangerous weapon and felonious assault bare minimum, if not destruction of private property and endangerment of innocent lives."

Still, the Prince's muted chuckling garners him a wry little smirk from Steve and equally dry glance. "I don't take kindly to bullies," the man reminds T'Challa in a flatly-amused tone. "'nd nobody is interested in a story about me jumping into a helicopter from that height." A handwave to dismiss the idea. "Think it might be time to go take a gander at the maple trees up north?"

This he asks to the room as a whole, looking between Mari and T'Challa. "Beautiful skiing weather. Buck made sure that we had some cold-weather fatigues shaded for snow stashed in the back of the closet."

Because Barnes would absolutely do this.

"I promised not to mention it to Bucky but it was very impressive…" Mari smirks. "I could watch it all day." She corrects "They were taken into custody. I'll have to check my correspondance - it's possible they made bail and got out. If they did, it means they have some very backers."

Bail for what they did wouldn't be cheap.

"I'm sure there's some very nice black runs up that way and I'm been dying to see how T'Challa skies …" because you know, snow and the Wakandan. That's got be to hilarious. "When are we going?"

"Good question. I suppose it depends on whom he was working for. Possibly HYDRA but I would venture a guess not. If he tried to take Mari's necklace, maybe he's working for Klaue. In which case I would speculate that Klaue got him sprung, somehow. I have not heard of any recent jailbreaks so… possibly someone got paid off."

That sort of thing DOES happen of course, but it is disturbing as all hell all the same.

"In any case it is funny that you should ask, Mari. Because I am sure that we were JUST talking about how much I would like to take a skiing holiday."

They were absolutely not and while T'Challa can ski it is NOT his favorite thing to do. Snowboarding. Snowboarding is SO much better.

But also not his favorite thing. His favorite thing about ski lodges is hot chocolate.

"We can go very soon if you like, Steve. Though we do have a ceremony to attend with Mister Powell. May I ask, by the way, how far back your association with Strucker goes? And… how bad it is? I do not think you ever mentioned when we were working together."

Mari is possibly interested in that as well.

Mari gets another glance. "Appreciate your tact," he commends in regards to keeping his other half in the dak about the perilous and knee-jerk reaction of throwing himself out of a pane-less window towards a gun-toting mercenary…more than two dozen stories off the ground bare minimum. He's still virulently annoyed at the concept of bail being met.

It shows in how he takes a few smooth steps off to one side, glaring down into the golden depths of his drink, before sighing hard.

"Ceremony first," he notes calmly as he turns to face Mari and T'Challa again, poise gone more militaristic. "But Von Strucker's been around since before I went under." Under the ice — which means for as long as Steve himself — something is rotten in the state of Denmark, as the saying goes. "He was part of HYDRA's deep science division 'nd probably had more'n enough to do with their application of weaponry. Somebody else made the weapons; I'd put money down there're files somewhere detailing how the weapons impacted the human body 'nd we'd find Strucker's name as the overseer." Now Steve's eyes have gone hard and blue as newly-minted steel. "How in the hell he's managed to sneak under the radar for this long, 'm not sure, but it won't be for much longer."

Not if Steve has his druthers.

"Anything for a friend." Mari smirks and winks. Of course, Steve has a secret for T'Challa he's keeping. Oh what tangled webs we weave. Sipping her whiskey, Mari paces the room. Suddenly it feels too closed in for her.

"What's a deep science HYDRA guy doing looking for knock off blooms that have a bioreactive quality, speaking to someone who was after my pendant? I don't like any of this …"

Maybe she's being fatalistic but Mari can't see anything good from this.

"Ceremony first, then we're going skiing. I have to make sure I look after T'Challa after all." And of course, Mari has the perfect skiing outfit.

"The plant sap is laced with vibranium." T'Challa points out to Mari. "That is what gives it it's mutagenic properties. The synthetic version has reverbium. It is possible that Von Strucker needed it for some manner of research." Which is not something the prince wants to think on too hard. The kinds of research one could do with that and no ethics is a bit horrifying.

"Either way, he does not sound like someone we should leave to his own devices for too long. Should he be a priority now, do you think, Steve? Or will he wait until after we've investigated the Genoshan angle?"

"Ceremony stands." Steve's gesture towards Mari is gallant if a bit wry. Surely Barnes will want to attend, if in the audience rather than included in the shirtless dance party intended.

"But Strucker's something for SHIELD to hare after. He's done enough damage to us over the years. Genosha's something that seems to require little more'n a good suit 'nd a few nosy comments. Von Strucker's going to come with a sackful of cats 'nd other weaponry we might not've seen yet. Any of us," he asserts with a frown. "Gonna need more'in a nice suit to go after him."

"No argument from me." Mari agrees with the plan "But we've a stake in this too, Steve. I hope you will allow us to … hare … after Strucker with you." If not, she'll probably do it herself anyway. Her and the cat-suited hero that she works with.

"I must confess, I'm looking forward to a shirtless ceremony …"

Because of course she is.

The only one who will be haring in any literal sense is likely Mari. T'Challa will have to cat after Von Stucker and Steve will have to Eagle after him. Eagle is the only proper animal for Steve. Ideally a blue Muppet eagle named Sam.

T'Challa does not SAY any of this. It might get him hit.

"The Ceremony will be soon. I am glad you are both looking forward to it. I hope Mister Powell is as well. Now, shall we head back downstairs. I think the charge d'affairs wanted to share a little bit of culture with you two before we adjourn for the evening." A little bit MORE culture. Because why not? Captain America and Mari McCabe are both famous and influential and good friends to have.

"In the meantime, I will ask the Embassy to see if the Kingdom can provide any more information. They may have sources not listed here. When we get to the border, I shall have a plan."

T'Challa ALWAYS has a plan.

"Only if you promise to dance with me." Mari smirks at T'Challa, finishing her drink in a gulp and handing Steve his jacket.

T'Challa gets handed her wrap as Mari presents her back so he can drape it over her shoulders. "Shall we gentlemen. And T'Challa, it worries me when you say you have a plan."

"It should not. I always have a plan. Come my friends." T'Challa motions and heads back down the stairs, chuckling in the way that only he can when he knows something that others do not.

Which is usually.

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