15176/Old Stomping grounds: Hellfire Club 2023

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Old Stomping grounds: Hellfire Club 2023
Date of Scene: 03 June 2023
Location: Hellfire Club - Manhattan
Synopsis: Meeting up in an old stomping ground with a couple of old aquaintences. Conversation and plans ensued.
Cast of Characters: Sinister, Emma Frost, Tessa

Sinister has posed:
Nostalgia literally means: The pain of the past. The little twangs that pull at the strings of memory and occasionally have one seeking a yesterday which can never return.

It is a Friday night in the city that never sleeps and whereas many a soul is out on the town, most favour a different kind of locale than the Hellfire club. For one: this place is exclusive with a capital E. One doesn't simply wander in, past the foyer at least. And that? That perhaps is what drew Nathaniel Essex back, the knowledge that when he shows up, individuals seeking ingress will have to watch him nod to the doorman and simply walk on past. And the entirety of the place, is of a bygone year.

"Ahh, they really don't make them like they used to..." the Englishman's tone has a whistfulness to it, the drapery, the turn of the LAST century stylings, with all the modern twists. He doesn't even check his coat, merely heads on into one of the more private rooms of the place, where cigars can be smoked and conversations happen of a kind that shake Empires. Or you know, doctor the stock exchange, which ammounts to the same thing.
Emma Frost has posed:
Emma is drinking her usual scotch on the rocks - sans rocks. She enjoys the second glances that that brings. Almost as much as she enjoys her private label scotch, brought over from Scotland just for her.

She has very few things that money is necessary to enjoy, and that is one of them.

Sitting back at her favourite 'booth', she listens to the latest person who comes into the private rooms (there are several beyond this one), and chuckles to herself. "Well, well. Are you in the mood for company?"

She fully intends for him to sit, but she makes it a request.

"Come. Sit."
Sinister has posed:
"My dear Emma, it has been a while," Money, it makes the world go round. Gravity is only a secondary force, honest. Essex nods to one of the liveried servers, who do not need to be told twice. After all, an exclusive scotch is about the same as a small batch cognac in the grand scheme of the exact same indulgence vein. He draws up by the booth, clicks heels together and bows his head in an incline, before settling himself in an altogether graceful collapse and cleverly nonchalant posture.

"It has been a little while. For some, I suppose not long enough, but I -do- hope you've been busy, since last we met." Very shortly his drink is brought, in austrian crystal. The decanter is left, just in case.

"For certain company? Always. For others, less so. I'm glad to see Shaw is... not here tonight."
Emma Frost has posed:
"Me? Busy?" A quiet tsk erupts from the woman. "No, how are you. No, you look marvellous as always. No, yes I would love a scotch." Of course the faint bit of laughter in her eyes tells another tale. Waiting for the servant to fetch a tumbler, she continues, "It's been quiet, I must say. I'm almost to the point of stirring the pot to see what comes of it."

"Tell me you've got some exhilarating news?" Emma takes her scotch and swishes it slowly before drinking it. "Pardon. My bad. Should we celebrate the eve with a cigar?" She holds up her hand in anticipation of his answer.
Sinister has posed:
"Busy doing nothing is an artform, miss Frost. A terribly delicate one, that very few have mastered in its entirety--" Arching an eyebrow a little (he does that very well, truth is) the rhetorical drink-banter has him glancing at the scotch she already had with a chuckle. "You intend to indulge in Ouisca~ban to the fullest. You should do so with my partner, he's quite the whiskey conniseur... which frankly is alarming, given the way he can knock it back as if it were just water. /Savour/, for crying out loud..."

He eases am arm along the back of the overstuffed seating of the booth, idly tracing a stud in the leather with his index finger tip. And he is good to his own habituation: he savours his cognac with a delicate sip. "Oh to be bored and bantering about the 'q' word to tempt fate. A cigar sounds capital--" quieting whilst the servant brings a portable humidor so that they may make their selection, he choses a rather classical havana and sniffs the leaf, satisfied enough to allow it to be cut and the long match provided. A few puffs have silvergrey wafting toward the coving high above. "I'm always busy. Busier since our last encounter with Jean -- I have discovered... heroism. It's been an ongoing exercise in linguistic savvy and providing indesputable evidence. I believe I have a future appointment with the Sorceror Supreme at some point, though I am sure I will be left with more questions than I received answers for. I didn't bother coming to the X-men this time, it seemed pointless given the animosity last time."

More puffs, exhaled from the corner of his mouth. "I mean, don't get me wrong, I do understand their position, but to pardon a turn of phrase, it's better the devil you know than the one you do not. We have Brood. I had to outsource."
Emma Frost has posed:
"Oh! You hurt my heart just thinking about it. No one needs a five scotch to guzzle. Lord knows there is enough cheap to spend your time and money on if that is the way to spend your evening." And to make a point of her complaint she grabs up her left breast bone to make her point.

Not that she really cares. There are plenty of people who like to play at rich, and here is one of the deciding factors of being really rich, and the wannabees.

Of course the servant was quick to interpret Emma little snap. Almost as if they had seen this before from Emma. The only difference is her company.

"I do love a cigar with my scotch. Thank you.." She bends over to light it up, and breath a round "O" from her mouth. "Too bad it's becoming harder to find places to allow you to enjoy them." And then, "You? Found heroism? Hah! Tell me this is a joke?"
Sinister has posed:
"I assure you, black comedy is one of my strengths," Sinister replies, after a polite little laugh at the drama. It deserves its recognition after all. He leans back a measure, watching her down his nose and across the planes of aristocratic cheekbones in a foreshortened regard. "You don't -really- think I would waste my time and efforts containing a Brood outbreak /alone/ do you? But in the same vein, I dislike trusting individuals to get the jobs done right, so I had to ... supervise. You see, I like this planet. It has all of my best work on it."

It's truth. When it comes to existential problems such as extra-terrestrial snooping on terra firma affairs, even a villain like Essex takes exception.
Emma Frost has posed:
Sitting back in her seat, Emma frowns. "No. I wouldn't expect you to do that alone." Whether she means it as a compliment or a slap on the metaphorical wrist is not immediately certain. "You've got reasonable people to look at this?"

Note: Emma would be the first to pat herself on the back in so many kinds of ways, and she isn't so stupid to put herself to the front of the experts on this one. The brood needs a very special kind of researcher and people to deal with them. And while she might help - she wouldn't be so proud that she would be up in the front directing everyone else. Or worse doing the hard stuff.

Right now? Emma threw off her devil-may-care for her let's get down to business face. "Tell me more."
Sinister has posed:
"Well..." Sinister thinks about this carefully. "No. But what I do have is as I said, the knowledge of how heroics work. Put the evidence in front of the White hat card carriers and the narrative often writes itself. There's very little need to control it, as you well know Emma." His cigar is puffed, then as he does with his cigarettes when indulging, he shaves the cherry, making the tip of it a cone. Why, is anyone's guess. "I suppose a timeline would be in order, for an appropriate understanding of the chain of events, hmm?"

Sometimes brevity is the soul of Narrative exposition.
Emma Frost has posed:
"True. All true. I know I have had a brush with heroics a time or two before. I don't really enjoy it, to tell you the truth. Or.." Emma flicks ashes above the ashtray, and takes a long sip of scotch. Putting the cigar back in her mouth, she continues. "To make it more plain, I don't enjoy the expectation that you will keep on doing heroics. It's nice, but surely some things require a modicum of not being nice."

She doesn't say evil - she won't go that far. But almost evil? Yes. Most certainly, yes.

"Do you have a timeline?"
Tessa has posed:
The doors opened to admit another person into the smoking room. Which seemed to be aptly named at the moment considering some members were choosing to partake. This was one of the 'public' rooms, those open to general members. Though it was more private than some of the others, a bit more cozy yet no less opulent. For opulence and excess were synonymous with the Hellfire Club. It is where the rich went to hobknob with their own kind, to see and be seen, to learn and share secrets that might help them outside these unhallowed halls.

Yet, the Hellfire Club had changed over the years. No longer was it purely the den of iniquity that it had once been. Women had been members for over a century now. They also no longer had a required dress code that most would call scandalous. Which is why, when one of them chose to wear that clothing, they tended to draw attention even as most of the members tried to not get caught staring. After all, they had reputations to uphold. Though perhaps it was good that social media was banned from all but the most public functions or one risked their membership and standing with their fellow members. No cameras. No pictures. The less shared about the place, the better. It helped their reputation grow.

One such woman entered the room, dressed in the traditional bustier, pants (in the British meaning of the word), thigh high boots with stilleto heels, and a floor-length cloak. A choker was aroudn her neck. A single red rose was at her left shoulder, where the clasp of the cloak held it in place. The rest of the clothing all black. There were even full length black gloves. Her black hair was pulled up, though hung loose around her face to frame it. Her makeup was without flaw though there were two lines that ran down her cheeks that seemed very unusual to those who did not know her, though they were a signature markings.

Tessa was known as Sebastian Shaw's assistant. Both to the regular patrons and the Inner Circle. She did assist some of the Inner Circle members as well when her duties required it. Or Shaw requested it. And even after all these years of service, she was still quite the enigma.

She spied a pair that she had not seen in some time and floated--not literally but her gait was so smooth it might seem so--to a spot not far from them. A polite distance. "Ms. Frost. Mr. Essex. A pleasure to see you both back at the Club."
Sinister has posed:
"Mmmm. The fate of human history is very often steered incrementally by those that view the world in the microcosm, but the tangential gear shifts are very often the work of those that see the macrocosm. Atrocity creates social change, as Magneto likes to espouse... eh. I'm waxing lyrical and i should stop. Yes. I have a timeline." And he eyes Emma beneath brows for a moment, chindropping instead of leaning himself back. His eyes when he is true to himself are always red, but they currently flare to be as bright as the burning of a dying star.

And it fades again, back to the memory of distant suns. He lifts a finger, just a finger, only that... and everyone ELSE in this room, who isn't Emma and now... Tessa... is busy utterly ignoring this booth. It's as if it doesn't exist, has faded from reality and it seemed to take /no/ effort at all on his part.

"Aaah, miss Tessa isn't it? I haven't been in such a long time. And I must correct you, if you're going to address me in such a formal manner, it is /Doctor/ Essex. Mister was my uncle. Commander was my father." And you could've blown them down with a feather, but he doesn't just say that, he goes and does the Austin powers pinky to the corner of the lips, of Doctor Evil whilst doing so. There is a wry half-smile with it, that is neither cheeky nor tongue in cheek as that particular characture is.

Nevertheless: "Please draw up a seat." He does not offer his cognac decanter though, it would be gauche. And turning back to Emma. "So about a month ago, I received some intel regarding a particular radiation signature with a very short half-life which usually indicates stasis after effect, from a... source, shall we say. Investigating it, I tracked it to its source and managed to pin down a brood queen emerging from the storm drains under Manhattan island. She was going -away- from people. And that's where it began. Abherrant behaviour for thier kind lead me to unravelling the genome of a ... sample I took. Not a local by any stretch and with isotopes in her structure that originated in a star system that went supernova /some/ time ago. Like three centuries."
Emma Frost has posed:
Emma dragged her gaze over Tessa - taking in the traditional fashion - and nodding to herself. "I was bored, and I heard that some pipsqueaks were trying to stir the pots up. I thought it might be time for the White Queen to make her grand re-entry. And how are you and Mr. Shaw both faring?"

She didn't like Sebastian, but she had the utmost respect for him. After all it was his grace that allowed her to wear the mantle that she had become accustomed to. Power and Money. That's what got her her place, and dammit she was not going to give it up easily.

As Sin asks her join them, she snap her finger to get another tumbler for Tessa. Asking only "Cigar?" Then turns back to Sin.

"Interesting. Not that I understand the genetics and such as well as the scientists." Beast comes to mind. "But I know just enough. So it's taken this long to be noticed?"
Tessa has posed:
"My apologies, Doctor Essex. I was not aware and shall not make that error again in the future." Which was a statement of fact from Tessa. Her mind worked like a computer and thus she didn't forget. Ever. There was something about her that was somewhat aloof. Not in a rude sort of way. She didn't seem to show emotions quite the same as others did. Certainly she was polite. She would smile at the right moments, react to things. But there was always that hint of something like she was perhaps lost in thought or some such.

At the offers, she does take the seat though she gives a negative shake of her head. "No thank you, Ms. Frost. I don't smoke." As the butler started to approach, she raised a hand to forestall his movement and let him get back to dealing with the others in the room.

She fell silent instead of responding to the pipsqueaks and reclaiming of a crown since that was a discussion for another time. Instead she listened to the tale of a monster loose in New York?
Sinister has posed:
"Anyway, long story short, it isn't my first... ahhh... rodeo with these beings and they've always been quite fascinating to me. Their reproduction is a thing that I've taken particular interest in, for probably not that obvious reasons," Sinister nods to Tessa. Appreciation of the nuances of a very efficient brain are not something he denies. "Anwyay, I dispatched her, but the worry lingered as to where she'd come from. New York is sinking by the by, under her own weight. Approximately two millimeters a year but that's significant when you account for two hundred years of downward mobility in the infrastructure. If this alien was a seeder," he spreads a hand, leaving that as it is.

"I was able to contain the initial infection of the brood creation process -- I have the infected in my keeping, in stasis at the current time." -- there's something he's not sharing, but this is Nathaniel Essex. If he didn't withold things that people didn't need to know, he wouldn't be -him-.

"Fast forward through an abundance of precautionary measures and a good helping of astute paranoia, I ruled out tapping the X-men to assist, because we'd have been bloodywell over-run by the time they'd stopped spitting venom at me. So. Metropolis and the Sorceror supreme made up the difference. I /do/ love how indestructable kryptonians are. We have a transport seed ship that got buried on re-entry into atmosphere, that got crushed by a hundred years of subsidance and released its contents. There is a junior queen. But she and her drones are contained. For now. It's possible that I missed one or two of the hive mind."
Emma Frost has posed:
"Let me guess." Emma is not one to pull her punches under certain circumstanceS. This being one of those times. "You are trying to find a way to animate those broodlings without instigating the need to have a brood mother? Thus getting rid of the part that you don't like?"

It's what Emma would try to do: Become her own brood.
Tessa has posed:
That earned a slow blink from Tessa. Even as her mind was analyzing the details, the complications, the likelihood of things going very wrong. Of which there were a lot of them that could go terribly wrong. "You are unsure if they have all been eliminated from the city?"

Tessa focused on that for now and gave a brief nod. "If I, Mr. Shaw, or his resources could be of assistance in this endeavor, please do not hestitate to ask." Though she knew there was animosity between the pair, she did not know all the details. But the fact she could offer such support was a testament to Tessa's actual power. Though many preferred to think of her as just an assistant.

"Is it merely the curiosity of learning about a new species, discovering what may have led to the development of it's evolution, or is it more a desire to pinpoint attributes for the future?"
Sinister has posed:
Sinister's attention shifts between the two women. It's a knack, knowing where someone is looking when they have no discernable pupils, let alone iris or differentiated sclera- a testament to the art of reading bodylanguage.

"You wound me, my dear," this to Emma. "I have no desire to create an army of alien insectiles. The predictability of that outcome is not good..." he glances to Tessa then, giving a faint nod. "Closer to the truth -- I will not bore you. Not everyone is savvy with the variations of the Brood. Suffice to say this: they are capable of reproduction amongst almost any species. There was /previously/ only one known cure for Brood infection. There is now two, thanks to investigation. However, the secondary cure is not what one would call foolproof, unless one looks at it in a very pragmatic light. The source of the cure is also extraordinarily rare: I am a scientist, not a theologian, but there are life forms on Earth that call themselves gods, others that we also know of known by various names but mine is Celestials. The enervistic properties of voluntary celestial interference can do one of two things to an infectee: Accelerate brood consumption, or completely reverse it." He pauses. And he didn't actually answer there, did he? Nope "But there's precisely one actual entity of the species Angel on the face of Earth, so it's not precisely workable."

Pause, beat. "I appreciate how nobody is immune to the effects of Brood infestation, /including/ gods." Small G. "But again.... that whole thing that this is MY planet and I refuse to let prolific and contagious aliens undo everything that we are, tends to make me a little more receptive to erradication. Emma, i you're bored, I can forward an algorithym to you that 'feels'..." here he airquotes "...how infectees can be identified in the general populous..." and here he looks to Tessa.

"If the inner circle at large is ammenable, I would request a selective buy-up of properties and expedition of building permits that would permit a degree of diversion of public attention from the regions below the city streets that are affected. Of course, proprietory data from any ... discoveries that are made from technology there, would be split /precisely/ fifty fifty."
Emma Frost has posed:
A soft laugh issues forth from Emma. "My dear Mr. Essex, if I didn't wound you, how would you know it was me?"

But what she had done was test out her theory and got a truthful answer. So he wasn't looking to raise an army of brain dead brood that looked to him for directions. Well, not quite brain dead. Sinister seems to be curious if they all are gone. With something.. With Sinister, there was always something under that thin veil of what was shown to the world.

Something that Emma could appreciate.

Something caught her attention.. "One Angel?" That was news to her. "Pray tell. One Angel to look after all these humans - and the like." Again, Emma laughed softly. "Don't you think that were there a god - a real God - He would look kindly on His earth and give us at least two Angels to look over us?"

Of course, with Emma, how serious she is is debatable.

Putting her cigar down, and taking a sip of her scotch, she nods her chin to Tessa. "I wouldn't take less than 60%."

Of course she would. But she wouldn't make it easy for them.
Sinister has posed:
"Well, the other angel that hangs about does so on and off, so I can't exactly call that one reliably /on/ earth. Semantics, I understand, but the devil is in the details," that makes him smile a quick little half-smile for some reason, gaze never leaving Emma. "And my dear, I'd know you by your choice in company -- nobody else could pull -you- off with any ease."

And then, with a smile he shakes his head. "Fifty and that's me being generous. Without me, you wouldn't get -any- of the technology, n'est pas?"

He shifts his posture, his bodylanguage open and calm, relaxed even. The cigar is shaved once again. Cone cherry, you are so satisfying.
Emma Frost has posed:
"And that is why I almost like you." Emma teases. "I would hope that no one can pull me off! Or I'm not doing my job."

She carefully lifts the decanter lid, and pours herself another measure, pausing to see if anyone needs more.

"Maybe. But you wouldn't have our science team on it. I should hope that would earn us.. sigh.. five percent more?"

Her cigar is left to smoulder into oblivion in the ashtray until she decides to light it again. IF she does.
Sinister has posed:
Sinister just gives her a long, long, long look, under his brows at that last. And there's a browspock to boot.

"Hello? Have you met me? Gracious, it's almost like you haven't and this is my first time at the table... goodness me." He seems jovial about it at any rate, as he takes up his cognac once again to savour. Comfortable in his skin, indeed.
Emma Frost has posed:
"Hello, have you met me? Of course, perhaps, I should have used another argument. Still, me? Without weaselling the other person? Tsk, Tsk. You should know me better by now." Emma shrugged as if to say, I tried. "Fifty-fifty it is then. But you are breaking my icy cold little heart by not playing by the rules."

What rules? What other argument?

"What do you think we'll find?"
Sinister has posed:
"A junior queen and at least four drones, for starters. As I said, I currently have their ship in stasis and sealed in behind molten rock, thanks to Superman and the Devil himself. The soldiers that were too far gone in transformation were helpfully banished to a prison dimension by Doctor Strange. But from the sketches my spy did for me, regarding the interior... he isn't aware of what he was looking at, but /I/ am. I think there's a working hyperdrive, certainly biopod stasis generators of their own. And most juicy of all from my perspective, a black box in the NAVSAT and likely anti-matter resistant hull plating, given that they /escaped/ not only the supernova event, but the subsequent neutron implosion that followed. I'm amazed the ship made it to Earth, but it did. I /think/ the race that these Brood once belonged to was rather advanced."

All of which means nothing, but everything at the same time. Still, Sinister lets that just hang there, perhaps guaging where the loyalty will lie on that discovery, with her current allies in the X-men, or with the Hellfire club whose funds she's assisting in appropriating.
Emma Frost has posed:

For a moment Emma sits back, and gauges, to herself, what she potentially has. "Of course no matter how you spin it, a part of this has to be taken up by someone - after all, to open the doors to an invasion in the future? That would not be very smart. However, who we let slip, and how much is up for grabs. Possibly someone or something that is not tied to a group.." Like the XMen, or the Justice League. "..would be better in the long run. Shield perhaps. This new group called GIRLS could be another. Whoever they chose to share it with would be their choosing. Though we might nudge it is the direction that we want. Depends."
Sinister has posed:
There's that smile again, his gaze eeeeeeeeeeever steady. "I've already taken care of S.H.I.E.L.D. They're on standby, to make sure things don't get out of hand. This nest needs terminating, that's not in question. I however, want to observe the junior queen for a while, before she's exterminated." And that sounds like it's a dealbreaker. He /will/ research on her. Oh yes.

"I recommend cleverly applied information and steering of the narrative, Emma. After all, having favour, however narrow that might be, is useful. It isn't what you know so much of the time in this life, but whom."
Emma Frost has posed:
Emma frowns for a moment. "S.H.I.E.L.D. is a good team to have in your back pocket. They are less concerned about the politics in general, and more with the big picture. If you have started with them, I would stay with them. Most of the other groups eventually break apart with the good and bad of the arguments. Too bad.. actually.. have you gotten ahold of the MacKenzie Space Station? They aren't obligated to look one way or another, despite their being funded by the Canadian research grants. Then again, they do have Alpha Flight seeing over them."

Of course she is all for parcelling out the narrative.
Sinister has posed:
"I might, if I feel it's necessary. It's useful to at least have a blue lantern corp agent helping things... if necessary." Apparently he knows things there, too. Sinister has been a very, very busy boy. "I can trust you then, to have a word or two with select X-men? Rogue is ammenable to assist in things. Remy can go and rot in a dank cave, except that he owes me a tango or two on my terms. Logan is being incredibly logical lately, but avoid..." he sighs "...the Summers-Grey axiom. I have let all of that go as not being worth it, given I have all the information I needed in the first place. But they're still holding it... and don't believe my recent... reformation."

Scott in /particular/ has a Daddy complex going on. The thought is loud enough to actually pick up without effort at all.
Emma Frost has posed:
Ah! So he /is/ aware of the resident Blue. Interesting. And it will make her life easier by not having to explain in the future. "No, it could be quite helpful with a Blue. Less politics. Again." Of course, Emma nods her head at the potential list of X-Men. "Three three names are probably ones I would have suggested."

Of course, she has to shudder at the Summer-Grey axiom.

"I have been getting along with Jean - comparatively. I would not imagine that come next Thursday the moon will be hanging just so, and for whatever reason she'll be back bitching about me." As that was going to ruin Emma's life. She rolled her eyes. "I think we are better not to count on them. At least not directly."
Sinister has posed:
"I never do," Sinister says with a sigh, and finally, FINALLY he finishes his cigar. "So, having made your life more interesting, I do hope you've been handling yourself well, since we expurgated my cruelty and malice made manifest?"

You know, just throwing that out there, because that happens to people EVERY DAY.
Emma Frost has posed:
Emma smiles just a little bit. "You know, when people ask me that, it bores me to death. They don't care. In fact I can hear the undercurrent of 'get me out of here'. Which I'm certainly thinking! I'm afraid that every now and then I forget my inside voice and speak with my outside voice."

She must be joking.. isn't she?

"Life has been boring of late. In fact this has been the most fun I have had in weeks." With certain exceptions. "I feel I am losing my grip. Do you think I'm getting too old for this?"
Sinister has posed:
"You are -never- too old for this. After all, I am proof positive of this, am I not?" He rises then finishing his cognac and bowing low and with a flourish. "It has been a pleasure Emma. And as you are disinclined to elaborate on your bordom, not that I would intrude, I will bid you adieu. You should come by Lux some time. Lucifer would be very happy to see you..." his partner in all manner of ways. Of all the Powers that he might align himself with, it's only apt that Sinister decided to walk side by side with the so-called Devil incarnate. And by all measures, it certainly seems as if Lucifer Morningstar is the origin of the myths of the mystery man at the cross-roads, the dealmaker and the contract holder.

He must get something very good out of this particular contract, eh?

"/Do/ behave yourself in the manner appropriate to your inclinations, hmm?" And with a last look around, with all the beauty and old-world charm of the Hellfire club, he departs.