2020-07-17 - CLAUE-strophobia?


Mari McCabe, Avery and Spider-Man meet in the Disaster Zone, plans are made to go after the mysterious Klaue and his thug minions. Or are they goons?

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Jul 17 02:08:10 2020
Location: RP1 - Disaster Zone

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Theme Song



Someone is more than a little vexed, nay—she's PERTURBED by the thugs daring to attack innocent people trying to repair the hideous damage done to the city. As if the bureaucratic dreck and politics weren't enough, no, now there's bands of cretins with big guns and more slowing things down? Attempting to kill people? Sure, Zeal isn't entirely averse to killing when it is warranted, but she's always been one to protect others when she can, that's sort of her thing. Since studying with her mentor she's come to suspect that life in the real world is something /special/, and that maybe, just maybe killing should be avoided.

Cut to today, some few days after the attack of Jaws and the Sonic Twit Brigade, she's out and about, keeping an eye on the various reclamation projects ongoing. In street garb, she is carrying her costume in a backpack, in case she needs it, and she's wearing her Bat-comm, hey, looks like bluetooth!

Pitching in, she is working alongside some people distributing care packages, though ever vigilant.

Mari is concerned about what's going on in the Zone but she's also got her own business to run, which is why she's not been done there during the day since the attack. Today though, she's managed to slip out for lunch.

It's a very well dressed Mari who is talking to the foreman who is responsible for the work on the 'park'. "I'm grateful you and your people are still here, Robbie." She's saying.

"Not to worry, Miss McCabe. The work is paying well and our people can see the good that it's doing…"

Noticing the young woman who's helping out, Mari offers a smile to her. "Looks like we've got a few more volunteers as well. I'm going to check on them, let me know if you need anything more, ok?"

"Will do, Miss McCabe…"

Mari picks her way across the street to where Avery is helping out.

Avery is taut as a harp string, the last two times she was here doing stuff there was a fracas and a kerfuffle, respectively, she's hoping for a dull time this time, honestly. Still, she is pretty perceptive, and presently dressed in simple jeans that have seen better days, her shoes with the Hello Kitty (Hello Isis?) patch, and a grey sweatshirt with a unicorn air-brushed on it.

She looks up as Mari McCabe makes her way towards her, and with a murmured word to her fellow volunteer, she wipes her hands and moves to meet Mari half way, smiling. "Miss McCabe, a pleasure." She offers her hand. "Avery Aaronson, honored to meet you, ma'am."

If Mari notices how tense Avery is, she doesn't show it. Lots of people are stressed and somewhat highly strung in this area. It's not a nice place to live and it's dangerous, not to mention many of these people lived through Registration …

A few people greet her, a small girl darts out to hug her legs which has the ex-model crouching down and pulling a colourful ribbon from her pocket. The girl takes it shyly, gives Mari a quick hug and darts away, causing the model to smile and laugh as she rises.

"Miss Aaronson. Thank you for coming down to help. Every hand is welcome and appreciated. I … don't think I've seen you here before, What bought you down?"

If Spider-Man ever stopped to really *count* the number of crimes he thwarts in a day, from petty purse-snatching to grand theft superscience, he'd probably be too busy with that to actually thwart more than half of them. But it's been a fairly eventful day, and as he webs his way towards the care-package distribution, he thinks wistfully about lunch. Maybe he should have taken the time to swap back to civvies and pop into one of the bodegas across the river …

Ehh. They'll still be there. Probably. (But woe betide the villain who plunders the bodegas when Spider-Man wants lunch.)

One swing comes to a halt, and Spider-Man simply releases that strand of webbing, somersaulting lazily through the air before landing on his feet, gymnast-style, arms raised like he's posing for the judges. He's a couple of meters away from both Mari and Avery - didn't want to land *too* close to them. "Good afternoon, Ms. McCabe," he greets the literally super former model, waving to Avery as well. "Any signs of trouble today?"

A bright smile as she sees the little girl, a hand tousling her hair as the youngling makes good her escape. And the she's shaking hands with the super model and super heroine AND CEO. "Avery, an it please you, Miss McCabe." Her hand brushing her hair back after after they shake. "Actually, I was at the snafu some couple weeks ago, as well." She doesn't mention the most recent one of course, that's bad form and she'd at best be given a stern talking to by any number of Bats!

When Spider-Man makes his entry, she instinctively shifts, moving to keep him in her line of sight and still tense, but watching for any signs of danger in the environs as well. A smile to the waving greeting. "I have not seen anything."

"Avery then." Mari smiles and assesses the young woman carefully. "Ah yes, I remember. I believe you saved some people and for that you have my thanks over again. Snafu … I'd rather hope it doesn't become the normal situation." She teases, turning as Spider-Man swings into view.

"I thought we agreed it would be Vixen or Mari…" There's something about the woman that should put people at ease. "And no signs of trouble today, though I have people watching out. Are you patrolling or did you have a specific engagement?"

"Mari," Spidey corrects himself sheepishly, walking closer. "And - Avery, is it? I hadn't caught any of your names before," he says to her, inclining his head politely.

"Anyway. Mostly patrolling today, haven't had time to really settle in anywhere for long. Figured I'd loop over here to the DZ and see what's happening. Plus," he lowers his voice a bit, "just what those goons are after from you. Not something you'd part with easily, I can guess that much."

Aves makes a conscious effort to untense, it is hard, but she's now only /almost/ as taut as a harp string! Baby steps.

"Of course, what is the phrase - I thought it most clever, ah… 'All that evil needs to prosper is for good men to do nothing'." A faint frown. "Men or women, I do believe it is an old quotation originally."

A shrug. "I do not stand idly by while villainy is in the offing, I might not be able to toss trucks about, but I am far from helpless."

She smiles then to Spider-Man. "Aye, Avery, Spider-Man." She nods then at his questions. "Indeed, WHY do these people wish you ill, Miss McCabe? IS there aught we might do to help?"

"I think you'll find, Avery, that 'men' is a generic term to encompass all humanity." Mari smiles again as she nods, noticing the woman trying to relax. "And that is indeed the phrase and rather apt, don't you think?"

At the reference to tossing trucks around, Mari's eyes slide to Spider-Man. He's a lot more than he looks with that build. "Ah well. Not everyone can toss trucks around and it's important that small details are seen too. We all have a part to play in the production of Life."

The question is warranted and Mari sighs. It's not something she likes to discuss, at least she'd caught up with T'Challa about it. "They don't wish me ill, directly. You have a strange turn of phrase, Avery. Like you were educated from a Victorian novel or some such." It does earn Avery more of a dark eyed gaze as Mari touches the fox-headed pendant at her throat. "If I'm correct, and I may not be, they are messengers from an man named Ulysses Klaue who wishes to posses the six totems of Zambesi. This is … one of them."

Spider-Man finds himself nodding, fairly emphatically, at the old saying which Avery quotes. It's not quite the way *he* usually words it, but in its way, that saying is even more evocative - because sometimes, maybe even most times, you don't *need* great power to act against evil when it happens. Even if it helps.

So "Avery" is probably more than just a young woman with a particular drive to do good … but he hasn't caught her other identity, and he's in no hurry to do so. Mari "Vixen" McCabe is another story, and her identity as a superhero is basically open.

That, however, is beside the point. "Totems of Zambesi … the name doesn't ring a bell, but I don't deal in magic very much. Are the other totems accounted for, or unknown?" Spider-Man inquires, even as he lets himself think a few dark thoughts about bad guys on set-collecting sprees (again).

"Oh, I understand, but it seems odd to me the notion that women and men are less than equals, of course they have different strengths, but the scales will balance on the whole, methinks." Avery nods emphatically in support of Mari's assessment. "Indeed, I very much do agree." A wry grin. "Perhaps that might be why I repeated the quote?" Oh, well, still a bit stiff, but at least the girl has a sense of humour!

Spidey is /decidedly/ more than he appears, but…/Avery/ was not there, Zeal was, and she doesn't want to blow her secret ID. "Mmm, different strengths, a balance of forces, no question." She can't help but laugh a bit bittersweetly. "My education was…exotic." She leaves it at that. "I apologize if my turns of phrase are off-putting, I have been working on speaking more to the vernacular."

Avery listens intently to the explanation about this 'Klaue'. "So, the Totems, be they Artefacts of Mystic Power, then?" Yes, the capital letters are quite audible. "If there is aid I might offer, it is yours. I might be able to pledge the aid of my…sister, the one known as Zeal." She's smooth about the delivery, but keen enough senses will detect the lie about the sibling.

Mari just chuckles at the concept of being less than equal. She'd dare anyone to challenge her on her strengths. "I didn't say they were off-putting, I was just noting the difference. It normally indicates an interesting education. I find it quite quaint, actually."

Another small laugh as the conversation turns and Mari removes the pendant and holds it so they can view it. It's 'tribal' in design. The fox head made from bone or perhaps wood, bracketted on both sides by what look like teeth.

"Magical? It is thought so but no one has ever really divined their full nature. The legend goes that the six tribes of Mohannda were beset by great evil and the God known as Anansi gifted the totems to each village to protect them. Since then, the totems have been passed through the lines and I received the Spirit Totem, when my mother died." There's a lot more to that particular story and both Spider-Man and Avery can see she's truncated it.

""I know the location of two other of the totems. The remaining three … I'm seeking. I was given a quest by Bast to locate them."

They might intuit from that, that there's something powerful about the six …

The name of "Zambesi" might not ring any bells for Spider-Man (or, for that matter, for Peter Parker), but Anansi and Bast? Oh, *those* names he knows - particularly Anansi's, for obvious (if indirect) reasons.

"Sacred rather than magical," he says, "but still very much supernatural … yyyyeah, no wonder there are bad guys who'd take an interest. And I'd best my best web-shooters that Bast gave you the quest, at least partly, to keep them out of villainous hands." He lets out a faint sigh; after the business with the Dark Elves, he was sort of hoping to stay off of the supernatural side of things for a little while. Say, maybe until Halloween.

"If you need my help, Vixen, then absolutely call me, and I'll link up with you as soon as I can." With those words, Spidey pulls up one side of the 'shirt' of his tights, just enough to expose a slim utility belt, and withdraws what might as well be a business card from one of the compartments. "First number is for general messages, second is for emergencies," he explains, offering the card to Mari.

Avery studies the pendant with avid interest, but she doesn't try to touch it, that would be (in her mind) disrespectful. "I thank you for your kind words, Miss McCabe, some people /do/ find my mannerisms to be less than endearing, some even less than that. It is most distressing how our differences oft fuel unkindness and strife. Truly, they should be celebrated, a source of boundless joy in discovery, and limitless possibility." Why YES, Avery /is/ a bit of an idealist.

And her zeal is manifest.

The tale of the totems is definitely listened to with care. "Miss McCabe, when you seek these others, might I offer my sister's aid? I know she would wish to lend her hand." Truth, except for the sister part!

Sadly, Bast and Anansi mean no more to her than any other names she's been hearing, all inscrutable, she's not dumb, but her real world knowledge is rather lacking. She doesn't have a card, but she DOES have a notepad, and jots down her number, twice, once for each overtly heroic person present! "My 'digits'." She offers simply.

"Sacred yes. That's a better way of putting it though I'm told, with great authority, that should all six be bought together, their power will be manifest. And whether that's good or bad, I really don't know." Mari puts the pendant back about her neck now the pair have had a look at it. Wait, did Spider-Man just get a glimpse of a etheral spider perching on Mari's shoulder? Did Avery see it before it disappeared?

"Perhaps your sister might be able to help, Avery. What we need to do now is decide how to deal with the immediate threat. You were right, Spider-Man, when you said I wouldn't part with the pendant easily. It was taken from me, once - and I hunted those thieves down and dealt with them."

Looking towards the subway, and taking the card and piece of paper offered, Mari considers.

"Those thugs will not stop coming and we're concerned about Klaue's ulterior motive. Sending people so brazenly … he's got an angle. I was thinking of heading into the subways and looking around. What do you think? Fancy a little a tunnel delving in a couple of days?"

As she puts the numbers safely away, she hands out her own card. "If you need me, call. Or drop by the showroom. They'll often know where to find me."

*Did* he see it? Spider-Man does a double-take at what he thought he saw out of the corner of his eye, but by that point, it's gone - if it was there to begin with. "I can try to hang around this part of the city more for a few days," he offers, "and if any more of those goons show up - you know, I keep wondering what's the difference between a goon and a thug - if they try again, I can see about slapping spider-tracers on one or two of them in the fight. That might make the search a little easier."

Spidey spares a look towards the subway entrance. "Underground's not my favorite terrain, but I've done it before. I'm in, let me know when and where." He accepts Vixen's card with a nod, tucking it away in his utility belt.

"Miss McCabe, does your totem oft manifest creatures about you? More than once have I seen a spider 'shade' upon thine shoulder, is this a normal thing, or something other? In any case, Zeal will assuredly be here and aid to the best of her ability." Avery is not shy, it would seem.

A firm nod. "Aye, the immediate threat, then the longer term one, each in its proper time." A grin then. "Tunnel delving, is this at all like spelunking? I have some experience at such." And dungeon delving, but…yeah, not going to mention that, might give the wrong impression.

She smiles as she takes Mari's card, and then nods. "I pledge my sister's aid as well, set the time and place, she will be there."

"Mari …" the ex-model corrects Avery gently. Miss McCabe is rather … formal. "Does my totem do what?" Mari blinks as she works through what Avery has just said. "Oh. No. I'm the one that calls the spirits - the totem is more like a good luck charm, if you like. I often call a rhinocerous beetle when I need the extra strength." It's likely easy to confuse those, she thinks. They generally aren't very large. Not like her big cats and other such animals.

Spider-Man gets a grateful nod "If you could patrol, that would good. Black Panther and I patrol here most evenings but extra coverage would be warranted. And the difference I think, comes down to the thickness of their skulls." She adds with a wink.

"If there are others you know that might like to be involved, please ask them to reach out. I know there are a few who watch this area and care well for the residents here."

"I'll toss a couple of feelers around," Spider-Man promises. "And … yeah, I thought I saw a spider 'lurking' a couple of times, and just now." He shrugs. "Maybe Anansi keeping an eye out or something?"

At the very least, it might be worth seeing if any of the other Spiders are up for helping with this 'mission,' he thinks. And seeing who else he could reach out to on short notice.

"I'll be around when I can, too, as far as patrols go. These knuckle-draggers don't have anything against broad daylight," Spidey comments dourly, "so 'evenings' might not be enough. And if I *do* spot any goons going after your people, or Hunter's pack, I'll see what I can do about planting tracers on some of them. If we can narrow down where we'll have to look, that can only help, right?"

"You did, huh?" Mari looks at Spider-Man with a small frown. She doesn't say anything more - Anansi hasn't been seen or heard for … a long, long time. Maybe she'll mention it to T'Challa though.

If she remembers.

"Hunter's pack?" Mari has heard the name but is not overly familiar. Her circle of mischief doesn't often overlap.

"As you wish, Lady, Mari." Avery's brow furrows a bit, concern showing. "On more than one occasion did I see a ghostly apparition, 'twere a spider, no doubt of that, hovering over thine shoulder for but a moment ere it faded away." She nods as Spidey corroborates the sightings too. "The Pride." Avery explains about Hunter's pack. "An association of mutants that protects Mutant Town, and the surroundings. For my own part I know precious few who might help, perhaps my sister has more contacts." At least the odd turns of phrase would be explained by them being siblings, and the boots do have lifts to give her a bit more height. Plausible, ish. Even if Mari knows Avery and Zeal are one and the same, Peter does not.

Spider-Man nods to Mari, maybe looking a little sheepish (if you could tell through the mask, anyway). "Yeah. During the fight next to the new building that one time, at least. And, of course, just now." He shrugs. "If it *was* just me then I would've figured it's my imagination, but if Avery here saw it too … unless there was a reason why you were trying, consciously or not, to draw on the powers of the spider?"

Come to think of it, what powers *would* channeling a spider give Mari? Sure, Spider-Man has his own assortment of powers which developed after that fateful bite, and none of them contradict what spiders are known to be capable of …

"The Pride, huh?" Spider-Man nods gratefully to Avery, "Good to know a name for them. - Yeah, there was this woman who's … awfully cavalier about shooting to kill, or stabbing, or so forth. I wouldn't mind a word with her, but I need to do it without getting her dander up."

If he was going to say more, Spider-Man is abruptly interrupted by a distinctive growl … or rather, a gurgle. From his stomach. "I should go grab some lunch, and I don't want to take away from what the needy here are getting," he says apologetically. "I'll see if I can do a little recruitment work, and I'll let you know who else to expect - or if my patrols bag any more of Klaue's lunkheads. Best of luck to both of you, ladies; give a holler if I can help."

He'll linger for proper good-byes, but he's already picking out a good building to make his first web-swing from in pursuit of lunch.

"Hmmmm." Mari is still thinking about the spirit spider. "Hunter and the Pride. I … I'll keep an eye out for her."

Mari isn't like many who are dead against killing. She just prefers … not to.

"I'm going to get some lunch, if you'd like to join me." she doubts Spider-Man will, but Avery might.It is time to move on though.

Avery will DEFINITELY accept the lunch invitation!


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