2020-06-22 - Dancing Queen


Mari investigates Hammer Bay and Discovers… Dancing?

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Jun 22 07:06:45 2020
Location: Sky Apartments - Apt 6803

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Theme Song



For the first time since arriving here in Genosha the Vixen is out. Her job is to get the lay of the land, blend in while doing so and hopefully make it clearer what they're dealing with here. There are a few options. One of them is to investigate the HYDRA compound at the north end of the island. Another would be to poke around the city and see what comes up by getting away from those areas where foreigners are usually encouraged to stay. Or she might venture to the ruins of the facility that Shayera and Steve ruined.

T'Challa left it up to her. Since the Panther is known to these people he isn't operating openly but he is on standby and available on comms back at the Embassy where he can use Wakandan technology to support her.

Wherever she has chosen to go the night is only barely lit by a waning moon and while the cloud cover is minimal starlight only provides so much light. Perfect for getting around unnoticed.

Vixen had missed feelings about this mission. The consequences of getting caught are extremely high. The HYDRA complex was very tempting to investigate but in the end, Vixen had chosen to poke around the city - she knows that Genosha is hiding things and she wants to see … those things they wouldn't show tourists.

Vixen to Control. She speaks into their comms, the waning moon barely highlighting her outfit. A cat suit, not a panther habit, but a close fighting outfit in all black, designed to help her move covertly.

It's pretty bad here. Very different feel than the parts of the city they've allowed us to see.

"No surprise." Comes T'Challa's voice on the comms. He is watching her progress on several monitors, the footage provided by small Wakandan drones and satellites. "You're getting into parts of the city with patchy security coverage, but if they do spot you they'll assume you're some manner of revolutionary."

The Wakandan prince taps on his holographic fancy keyboard and leans back to watch what comes up. "It looks like there is a building up ahead about a mile from you that Intelligence has flagged as being a hub of anomalous activity." Meaning that something odd is going on there and they don't know what. Could be government activity or could be something else. Just entirely unclear.

The building in question is ten stories tall and looks very run down. Might be a tenement or might be something else. Doesn't look like much from the outside but if there's security - and there might be - she'll want to take care in picking her point of ingress.

"The people down here …" Mari answers, starting to move again but keeping to the shadows. "I am a revolutionary by their standards, aren't I?" she teases as she moves.

"OK, I've got the building. I can't see any security personnel but I also don't know what other sort of security there is." She considers her approach. Generally she prefers to approach from the top, through the roof if she can. Tonight, that might be a bit more difficult - a human sized silhouette against the sky is a problem.

"I'm going to use the fire escape in the alley and check the windows. It will tell me at least what might be in there…" Vixen moves in that direction, carefully but quickly.

"The people down there are poor and desperate. In many cases they are not particularly well treated. And they always have to be on the lookout for the Magistrates, the secret police, who use a number of unsavory techniques to suppress dissent." T'Challa says as he moves drones to new locations and sees if there is any networked security in the area. He is no hacker but Wakandan intelligence has compromised most of these systems before hand. They've been here a while.

"I am not showing any heat signatures in the outer reaches of the building but I cannot yet see further inside. Be careful."

Mari climbs up the fire escape and can see in the windows. In most cases it looks like people used to live here. The rooms she can see are laid out like apartments and there are things in them that look like left over detritus. Nothing she sees though suggests that anyone lives here now. On a few of the windows she can see light coming from somewhere further in the building but not all of them. It's unlikely that power would still be running here if someone weren't keeping it up.

"I don't like it. This building looks deserted, mostly. Did they take all the people away? The rooms are empty but there's something further in. I'm going to slip in through this window." The Vixen says, choosing a window that's to the back and out of sight.

Summoning the spirit of panther, Vixen has spirit claws grow from her fingers - slipping them into the frame to force the window open. Hopefully there's no security on this.

"I don't like it either. Be careful. I've found the main ventilation system. I'm going to have a drone pry off the grate and see if I can get inside from there. Until then I'm only going to have the eyes on your suit itself and satellite thermal imaging." Which he does have pointed at her but gets less and less useful the deeper into the building she goes.

There is, thankfully, no security on the door and the apartment she has found her way into is pretty ordinary if dingy and clearly abandoned. In the hallway outside, things likewise look ordinary but the glow of lights draws her down to the corner and when she reaches it that's when things get interesting.

Further in, around that corner, the space is broken up into two hollow towers with now long dead atriums at the base of both and with the roofs of both enclosed to keep off the weather and provide the floor of the penthouses. This was probably a nice place and the two separate rings of floors join to create a blocky figure eight. But on this floor, and on several others both above and below her, someone has installed modern lighting and cleaned away the detritus. Plastic conduit shields the wiring for the lights which all lead deeper in. What's more she can now see the elevator and by contrast to the rest of her surroundings, that looks new and very well maintained. Someone is using this building but has kept the outside dilapidated to hide that fact.

"I'll try and keep in touch. And I like the idea of you having your eyes on me." Mari will always flirt it seems.

"Whoa, are you seeing this?" Vixen makes sure she gives the camera in the suit as good of a view the area, well as good as she can without breaking cover. "Someone is definitely working here and has been doing some upgrades. Whatever they're doing, they don't want people to find out - why else leave the outside as we saw it."

The cover is less here and Vixen moves carefully, following that conduit further into the building.

"I see it." T'Challa's voice comes. He doesn't respond to the flirting, not after seeing that. He's still trying to work his drone through the ducting. "It all looks pretty well maintained. Modern too. The building is about fifty years old but that lighting can't be more than eighteen months. Professionally installed too. This isn't dissidents hiding out, or if it is it's someone with money."

There's a short pause and a small clanking sound much further in. "Ah, finally got that drone in. Hmmmm. There's a wall here that isn't on the building plans. Let me…" Mari sees th drone zip into empty air and rise a few floors. "Yes, the wall crosses multiple floors. Someone has created a new space further in and blocked it off over multiple floors. That's expensive work. I'm thinking government. See if you can find a way in but be careful. There's duct work ahead of you that the drone just came out of and you should fit, but there also has to be a door somewhere on one of these floors, or maybe all of them, if you want to try to get in that way."

"Unless I miss guess, I'm going to say it's military. That conduit and the type of wiring they're using." Vixen answers as she moves. "I'm going in through the duct, don't want to risk the fact that may be someone behind a door. No one expects the inquisition…."

She's noticed he's ignored the flirting and lets out an internal sigh. It helps relieve tension but she gets it.

Sliding into the opening the drone has made, Vixen moves quietly along the way. "I … think I hear something."

"I'd say that's a good guess." T'Challa says. "Be careful…" He's said that before but it doesn't hurt to say it again.

She can hear something as she moves through the vents. It's indistinct at first but as she gets closer she can tell its a rhythmic chanting. Oddly it is either not in a language she understands or else a lot of it is just grunting and vocalization.

As she gets closer she can hear the slap of feet on metal flooring and flesh on flesh. Is there dancing associated with this? It must be in one of these rooms near her but she can't see from the vent she's at. Maybe, though, some of the gadgets the suit came with might be of use here.

Vixen smiles at the second 'be careful' and doesn't respond.

Mari had spent some time going over the 'extras' that had been added to her suit. There's a pouch that holds several Kimoyo beads - similar to those in her bracelet but these have a different function.

With great care, Vixen stretches her fingers out and places one of those beads on the wall, where it clings. A second bead 'hums' to life in her hand and projects a 3D image of what the other bead can 'see'.

"It sounds like dancing, something tribal … but that doesn't make sense."

"It's a… haka." T'Challa says, also watching what her beads are relaying. "A tribal dance of Polynesian origin. That is… odd. If there were to be dancing I would expect it to be from closer to home. Genosha has no ties to Polynesian nations or people groups that I know of. Of course why there should be dancing at all…"

As Mari watches a glow begins to surround the men and markings that look very much like tattoos start to appear on them. The dance gets faster and faster. The motions are repeated every couple of minutes but at this point is must be exhausting. It is clear that the people - all of them very fit and most of them rather martial looking - have practiced this extensively.

"I'm reading power… hrm. Odd. The instruments on the beads are registering something very like the power I sometimes detect in my suit when ghosts are nearby. But not quite the same thing. I would say they are channeling…"

At the climax of the dance one of the men picks up a steel bench and breaks it in half over his knee.

"Goddess above…" T'Challa swears.

"It is, yes. If I'm correct, the Haka was a tribal form of greeting designed to show how fearsome a tribe was. Most of these are men, but there are a few women and yes, they are getting frenzied. That's the word that Mari would use for it.

"Check the tattooes out. Can you get a good look at them? I don't recognise any of the symbols but we should be able to research them." Or, you know, maybe T'Challa has a research section.

"Whoa." Vixen draws a sharp breath in as that bench gets broken "… I want to go take a closer look."

"Not from this angle. It looks like they cover quite a bit. See if you can roll the bead forward and…" He pauses.

"You do know that getting closer means getting in the room with them right? One of them just broke a steel bench over his knee. There's eight of them in there. I do not particularly think 'closer' is a good idea." There might be a way to get a closer look, though, without physically getting closer. Maybe. She'll have to be either very sneaky with the bead or very clever with whatever else she has in that suit.

"I'm recording the chant to see if we can find anything on it later. Haka were a form of tribal greeting but versions of these dances could also be used to tell stories. Granted I do not think they were called haka when they were. But we might be looking at one of those. A tale. They were usually of important historical figures or… gods."

It's a fascinating way to encode stories and normally T'Challa would be happy to discuss it but right now he's trying to figure out why performing this dance has made these people stronger. He's never heard ANYTHING like that.

"Then I need to get closer so we can get this …" Vixen says, considering her options. "I know it means getting in that room, unless I can move that bead or … let me think."

"You said the readings were similar to your suit? Do you get anything remotely the same, when I channel my spirits?" It's a segue as the ex-model ponders the other problem.

"This suit has a stealth mode, doesn't it? If I activate it, I should be able to slip into the room and move that bead so you can get a better look at those markings."

She's already engaging the stealth mode, it's a small 'shield' like the Wakandan planes use - not that Mari knows that - and renders her all but invisible to the naked eye.

"I've never scanned you when your spirits activate. We should try that when you get back here though." The Prince replies. "And yes. It has a stealth mode. That should cover you provided they don't notice the vent open when you're climbing in." Which would rather give her away. Also if she made any noise. Since the shield won't mask the noise. Wakanda has to use mountain ranges to mask the noise of its capital city.

There is still dancing going on when she does manage to slip into the room but it has spread out and the participants are ritually breaking things. Or at least it looks like ritual. It looks like it is intended to be part of the dance. Fortunate for her, that makes moving around and gathering information easier. She just has to be careful not to bump into anyone.

"We should, yes." Vixen answers and then says nothing more as she exits the duct. She moves carefully so as not to make a sound and plucks the bead from the wall so she can hold it and let T'Challa get a better feed of the markings. Something tells her the dance and the markings … mean something.

A heavy chair is just crumpled and tossed against the wall in front of her. Vixen pauses, holding her breath but has to move quickly again as the next dancer moves to right where she's standing.

The eyes on the dances are … creepy. Not quite human but Mari can't put her finger on why. That man, right there, has a very flat stare and she swears that the woman next to him seems to have slits for pupils … but perhaps that's just a trick of the light.

"Steady…" T'Challa says. "I'm getting good images…" He's nervous but he doesn't let it come through his voice. As Mari clears another dancer she can see something in the back of the room. At first she thinks its another person but quickly realizes that it is not. It's a very large wooden mask. What some might call a tiki mask. The eyes are glowing and as many of these do it looks rather unpleasant.

"Can you get closer to that, Mari? There's writing on it I want to take a look at."

There is but getting closer means getting past three more dancers. One of them just picked up a large, long piece of steel bar stock. And of course it's difficult to say which way they will move next. There's a pattern to their movements but it's a criss crossing very intricate kind of pattern.

There's no response from Mari. She doesn't dare make any sort of sound as she's not sure if these people have enhanced senses. One might assume they're immersed in the dance but that would be a silly assumption to take.

Eyeing the steel bar stock and the three dancers, Mari moves again. A few fast steps, a side step, slide to the right and then the left. She's closer now and T'Challa can see the mask a lot better - but he might well need her closer too.

And now, she's on the intersection of the three dancers moves.

As with the others the dancer breaks it in two, this time over her own head, and then all three turn inward and the first dancer tosses the steel pieces to the other two. This space is getting very tight and Mari is going to have to do some very quick and delicate maneuvering to get out of it.

"Closer… closer… yes. Good. I've got it. Now get out of there."

Get out of there IDEALLY without being seen or caught. This is exhilarating but it's also on the verge of giving T'Challa a heart attack. He does not want to have to put on a Panther Habit and go down there to sort things out. That would make for a very truncated visit here.

Mari would have T'Challa disavow her rather than the latter but yes, her heart is pounding and there's a buzz to the activity.

It takes very careful timing - something made more difficult by the fact she's got to hold that bead still long enough for T'Challa to get the images he needs … a step forward, duck down as the bar sails over her head, pivot and step back a half step.

The Kimoyo bead is attached to her suit - leaving her hands free in case she needs them. It's not a mad dash across the room, but the same measured movements … She's surprised no one can smell her, she's sweating so much.

The duct is just up ahead and that's Mari destination.

To be fair they are also sweating and quite a great deal at that. Mari can smell them herself. She can also feel a buzz in the air. Power. Not magic, per se, but more that tingle down the spine when something significant is happening. There's one last obstacle to dodge. A rather large man grabs one of the other dancers and hurls him bodily. Like everything else this has the air of ritual but he throws him right AT Mari without really meaning to. And that means, well, even if she dodges there's probably going to be a heap of person in her way for at least a few moments and if they start tossing eachother around in earnest in here it's going to be near impossible NOT to be knocked over by someone.

Mari sees the man hurled in her direction and makes a split second decision. Launching herself forward, she tumbles, intending to roll through the gap in the bodies ahead and come to her feet just in front of the duct.

She won't get through the gap without brushing up against one of the dancers but they're close enough that hopefully they'll think it was the other dancer.

Hopefully that doesn't start a brawl. And what's with the power she's feeling?

Mari does have to actually bump into one of the dancers - one of the few women - who spins to try to see who touched her, but by the time that happens she's already in the ducts and she can hear T'Challa breath a sigh of relief in her earpiece.

"Good. Get out. Come back to the embassy. We've got a lot to go over. Try not to give me any more scares while you're on your way back hmm? I'll have the chef whip up something to steady the nerves."

Something boozy, probably.

"Don't tell me you were worried…" Mari breaths as she starts to make her way out of the building. She'll be careful, of course, but her mind is on other things - like what the hell those dancers were doing.

"Be back soon, Vixen out."


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