2020-04-20 - Security Vetted


Mari's Security Check with Wakanda comes through

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Apr 20 05:46:00 2020
Location: New York

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T'Challa had asked Mari to meet him at his house after work. That isn't uncommon though he had sounded a tad nervous. When she arrives - and lets herself in - he is back in his workshop, pouring over some data from their recent ventures. He has a stack of papers in a folder next to him which is unusual. Normally he doesn't keep anything in hard copy.

Even more unusual the folder that it's in has the Royal Seal of Wakanda on it. And her own name.

After work is a loose concept for Mari McCabe, as T'Challa well knows. It's late by the time the ex-model lets herself in, her steps sounding weary as she makes her way through the apartment to the workshop. "I swear T'Challa, we need to put in segues or something to get through your place."

It's said with a smile as she comes over to drop a kiss on his cheek before taking her jacket and shoes off and looking at him. "You wanted to see me. You sounded … on edge, I suppose. Did that package have something to do with it?" She nods to the folder on the desk.

"It does yes." T'Challa kisses her back. "And I might consider that but you know walking through this place is part of the charm. It'd be a shame if you could just rush through it all don't you think?"

He invites her to sit down before he taps the folder. "So… this is your Wakandan security folder. I asked some time ago if you could get cleared to know certain… state secrets and that clearance took time to put together. That does mean you've been under investigation by our intelligence service for a while and I've not told you." Which would rather have defeated the point in his mind.

"It would mean I could rush to your side?" Mari smiles, nudging the mans chair back a little and sitting down. On his lap. What? It's after hours and they're here, she hasn't seen him all day. "But yes, I noticed the new pieces of art work you got in too. They're very good."

Glancing at the folder when T'Challa taps it, Mari looks confused. "You're worried that you had me security checked and didn't tell me? Of course you did - that's the smart thing to do and I wouldn't expect anything less. Or did you find out about the clandestine affair I had with a Russian gangster?"

She's totally teasing, and very joking, about that last bit.

"He wasn't Ukranian?" T'Challa knows that she is joking. He takes a breath and lets it go, slowly. "The good news is that you've finally been cleared which is why I can let you in on some state secrets now. The first is that…"

He gestures behind him to a wall which opens. There's a lot of advanced, very advanced, equipment in there.

"All of that is made in… and by Wakanda. We are a much, much more technologically advanced nation than we let on. One of the most on the planet. And all thanks to our… abundance of Vibranium."

"Ukranian? No! I have some taste, thank you." Mari chuckles as she settles on T'Challa's lap and watches his face. He's … worried about something. She can tell that much, but what she isn't sure. She actually lets out a breath she's been holding as well - it's not something about her. That's … something?

As the wall draws back, Mari stands and stares. "All … of this … is made by Wakanda? Wakanda, that's an agricultural country like Mohannda? Wait, abundance of Vibranium? You said it was rare."

"It is, but in Wakanda there is an enormous mountain of it. We have built our society around technology derived from its use and applications. We present a false face to the world to prevent us from becoming an object of jealousy and potential attack. Were we forced to fight for our survival things would get… ugly. The destructive capacity we could unleash is massive. But the rest of the world, though it lags behind us, could possibly match us for pure devastation, if only a bit more inefficiently."

T'Challa lets that sink in. Then he gestures to another wall which starts to part slowly.

"Because of that danger, our kings have always taken on the mantle of the protector of our people. And in Wakanda that mantle has a very specific form…"

When the wall opens there is… a black catsuit. A familiar one.

"So you're not the Prince of a poor farming country. You're the ex-King of a technologically advanced civilisation. No wonder you didn't want me to see Wakanda when we were there …" Mari's processing slowly as she looks at the banks of equipment. Is that a table made of … sand?

It takes her a moment to turn her attention to the other wall and when she does, the door is almost fully open. She doesn't say anything - her thoughts flitting across her face as she processes that information. "The Black Panther is the King of Wakanda? He took it up when you stepped down?"

"By rights the next monarch should be the Black Panther, and I should not longer have that suit." T'Challa explains. "However the Black Panther is not just a political office, it is also a divinely appointed one. The representative and champion of the Panther Goddess. And when Bast called me to serve as King of the Dead, she did not simply lay upon me that title. She called me to be 'her' Black Panther."

So when Wakanda settles its monarchy question there will be another Panther. But… T'Challa will continue to be 'THE Black Panther.'

"I … see…" Mari says quietly, staring at the suit. Does she? T'Challa hasn't known her to be so quiet. "The man, I fight with, the Black Panther. It's you?" There's so much tied up in that question, T'Challa might pause.

"Divinely appointed. So … Bast gave you that body, after all …" Mari turns to look at T'Challa, searching his face for something. Is he … laughing at her for being so worried about him?

"Klaue knows, doesn't he?" Why she manages to make that connection, she doesn't know.

"No, the Heart Shaped Herb gave me most of it. It is an infusion we drink during the ceremony. But she blessed me further." T'Challa admits. He watches her carefully. "I am sorry Mari. I wanted to tell you. But I dared not reveal my nations secrets without being sure."

Another pause. "He dealt with me when I was king several times so… yes. He is aware. On some level. I do not know what connections he has made he does not seem… all there."

"The Heart Shaped Herb? That flower they're smuggling at the moment?" Mari's head is spinning with the information but she hasn't yelled or stormed out. Honestly it's not her way. "What on earth are you sorry for, T'Challa? That you didn't know if you could trust me? That you weren't sure I was some spy put in your bed?"

She gets it. It's just a … lot to take in.

"It explains why you're so clever with tech and the like, though." She'd rationalised that in her own way. "You must have been laughing that day we fought in the woods. Especially after the Panther had beat me so soundly in the Zone."

"I would never laugh at you. Though that contest in the Zone was invigorating." That's one way to put it. "Anyway, now you know. If… you are still interested I would love to bring you into Wakanda city." There's a lot he could show her. And a lot she could see. And the wonders of the city really must be seen to be believed.

"Anyway, yes. That flower. I do not know how they got their hands on it but… somehow…"

"It was …. invigorating… " Mari answers quietly, wrapping her arms about T'Challa's neck as she presses a quick kiss to his lips. "I … feel a fool for not working it out. I'm sure there were many indicators that I missed. But I don't fault you, T'Challa. You … I understand security though and you did what you had to."

"Things between us, progressed more quickly than either of us expected, I think."

"I would love to see Wakanda and meet your people. My thoughts in that direction haven't changed. You still need to consider what it would mean to bring me there - and if you aren't ready for that sort of attention from your people, I understand."

Regarding the flower, Mari shakes her head. "Could they have had someone on the inside get a sample?"

"I would love to bring you there so long as YOU are ready for that sort of attention." Because in the royal line or not, it will bring attention.

"Someone on the inside is the simplest explanation but also the most disturbing. The Heart Shaped Herb is carefully cultivated and not something one can get by going into the field and picking flowers. It would mean there is a traitor in the palace and I hope that is not the case."

It may be something they have to investigate. However… "For tonight, I have some strogenhoff prepared. And some wine. Can I interest you in a relaxed dinner while I show off the things I haven't been able to do so until now?"

"I think I can handle the attention." Mari answers. She's used to being in the spot light after all. It will be different but the challenge is something she thinks she's looking forward to.

"And yes, you can interest me in a relaxed dinner and show all these marvels you haven't been able to before. I … have questions." Because of course she does.

As to a traitor? Mari hopes so too.

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