15483/Sometime it's not just paranoia...

From United Heroes MUSH
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Sometime it's not just paranoia...
Date of Scene: 15 August 2023
Location: Hellas International R&D Offices
Synopsis: Elektra meets Marc Daniels at the elevators of Hellas International's R&D division, and what starts as her genuine curiosity about his position at LexCorp quickly turns into a debate about the ethics of 'free' energy and Superman.
Cast of Characters: Elektra, Blackout

Elektra has posed:
While they weren't the pinnacle of modern, cutting-edge technology that Stark Tower represents, the Hellas International Research and Development offices on the 50th floor of the Croft Centre Building were a particular point of pride for those that followed the company closely. Innovative new tech was not the primary industry of Hellas International, but that didn't mean that they ignored it entirely.

Elektra Natchios stood in front of the bank of elevators, every bit as formidable as the sleek, state-of-the-art space around her. The floor, a seamless blend of deep blue marble and chrome, reflected the subtle lighting overhead, imbuing the area with a soft, serene glow. On one side, a stunning visual of neural networks blended seamlessly with circuit patterns, celebrating the power of the human mind.

Dressed immaculately in a tailored designer suit that fit her lithe form perfectly, Elektra was the embodiment of grace and power. The pants suit was an inky black accidented by a blouse of such a deep crimson shade it was reminiscent of a merlot wine, complementing her olive skin and raven-dark hair, which was slicked back elegantly into a ponytail. The heels she wore only accentuated her poise, adding a few more inches to her already statuesque frame.

She glanced at the display panel next to the elevator, noting that the car was currently on the 42nd floor and making its way up. Her fingers drummed lightly against the leather clutch she held --- a simple accessory that contained everything she might need, from her sleek smartphone to a razor-sharp throwing star.

A soft chime sounded from a nearby interactive panel, drawing her attention. It showcased a looping video about the latest in biotech enhancements and artificial intelligence innovations, all being developed by Hellas International. It was propaganda, of course, but effective nonetheless.

The stillness of the elevator lobby was occasionally disrupted by muted sounds -- distant footsteps, soft murmurs from neighboring offices, and the low hum of machines. But for the most part, it was peaceful, allowing Elektra a moment of quiet introspection as she stood alone.
Blackout has posed:
Having finished his brief presentation about the new exotic particle he discovered while working at Lexcorp, Marcus Daniels can be seen walking toward the elevator bank. Currently he's wearing a black business suit with a black tie and black shirt. The material seems unique and uniform. As if the suit, tie, shirt, and even shoes are made of the same cloth. If it is in fact, cloth. It seems darker without a sheen and quite flat and light absorbing overall. The brightest point is a red pocket square and a lapel pin with an encircled L upon it of red metal. Oh, and of course the untanned skin of his hands and face. He clutches a black leather folio that is just larger than standard paper. It's buttoned up with an L impressed into the leather. Another indicator of Lexcorp, just as his pin demonstrates.

His approach is silent. The material and footfalls are seemingly dampened. Though, he doesn't seem to be trying to be stealthy. Instead, he has a little hum going on in his throat of a few bars from some song that is likely stuck in his head.

He scans the various elevators for a depressed light button and notes that there is a woman already standing and awaiting the car's arrival. So he moves up to stand on her right, only inches toward her flank, yet two feet away from her. Clearly indicating that he's also waiting on the lift, but that she will surely go first upon the doors opening. He also doesn't want to stand directly in front of the door. That would be most rude. He glances at the number indicator to try and discern how long the wait will be and he's taken interest in the commentary from the interactive panel.
Elektra has posed:
Changes in the light. In the air. Reflections against brushed chrome. Humming. It's impossible to know just what causes the little shift of Elektra's attention, a glances stolen over her shoulder at the approaching man. No smile offered. Not at first.

Elektra had gotten used to being called an 'Ice Queen' since she'd taken over as the CEO of Hellas International. She was, in general, not the warm and bubbly sort. If she wasn't getting straight to business, she preferred to occupy herself with cat-and-mouse games in which she watched others squirm while she slowly picked them apart. It could be anything that instigates that kind of predatorial reflex in her -- an employee seeking a promotion, a partnering company trying to expand, or a boardroom meeting that she'd merely gotten... well.. 'bored' of.

Today, it's the LexCorp insignia's that catch her attention. Her dark eyes flit from one to the next in those few seconds she spends appraising the new arrival. She hadn't recognized him (not that she would recognize most of her employees on sight), but it's that lapel pin and the clasp on the folio that make her eyes sharpen.

Lex Luthor might not have been her 'nemesis,' but she wasn't wasn't thrilled with him ever since he attempted a hostile takeover of Hellas International a couple of years ago. Of course, at the time, they were without her leadership since she was busy being dead. Luckily, she got better, and came back to the company's rescue.

Her eyes return to waiting for the lift, and she waits until the man is settled behind her to address him.

When Elektra speaks, her accent is exotic. There are hints of British, French, and Italian influence, yet not one stands out and none of it seems put on. A woman of the world whose origins might be assumed to be generally 'European,' but even that could be misleading.


She hadn't even turned around to face him. Not immediately. It isn't until the question is out that she turns more fully and raises a hand slightly from her clutch to make a subtle gesture to him in general.

"It's a very nice suit."

Still no overt smile, no more than an impatient flicker at the corners of her lips as they're both forced to wait as the elevator stops at seemingly every floor, but as they search his, her eyes are so intense and unafraid to linger.
Blackout has posed:
He looks to her thinking that she's talking on a cell phone, ear bud, implant, something unique - and not to him. But then he realizes she's not otherwise engaged and offers a gesture. Then there's a second of confusion he tries to translate the maker's name. Marc even began to say, "Par.." in a queryful tone before she clarifies.

When her following words are processed and make a whole lot more sense, he replies glancing down at his suit then back up, "Oh, yeah. Not Bugatti." - he really has no idea what she originally said and he ruins the attempt at repeating it. Then meeting her eyes he finishes, "But thanks."

In an attempt at making small talk to shift away from the uniqueness of his suit - which he shouldn't have worn in the first place - he offers. "This place is super high tech, isn't it?" with a brief nod to the interactive panel on the wall.
Elektra has posed:
Well, that's enough to chisel some of the ice off of that cold exterior. When he responds with the name of a French automaker instead of an Italian tailor, a slow smile curls her lips, her eyes never once faltering away.

"Si seulement."

The French for 'if only' leaves her lips as smooth as silk and twice as rich as Teuscher chocolates. Even as the amusement lingers, a glimmering light in the darkness of her eyes, she nods.

"By some standards, though I've seen some in Tokyo and Shenzhen that would make this whole building seem absolutely archaic by comparison. I'm afraid our focus simply isn't directed towards those kinds of theatrical demonstrations. Our budget tends to be allocated to more practical matters, like research."

There's a pause, then. It looked like the elevator might make it the rest of the way, but it stopped just one floor below.

"How would you say it compares to LexCorp? Are we trend-setters or behind-the-times, by comparison?"

There's something so intrinsically confident about her posture that probably anyone that's ever been in a fight would recognize -- and certainly anyone that's had any martial arts training. She isn't tense, but her weight is perpetually balanced, her perfect posture effortless. From the top of her no doubt expensive hairstyle to the tips of her designer shoes, she is confidence confidence personified, completely comfortable in her own skin.
Blackout has posed:
Her voice is indeed enchanting and it causes him to reflect to the stark contrast of a woman he once knew. Her words are intriguing when regarding the buildings in other parts of the world. He has little experience with such things, yet it's very familiar with the LexCorp building that he works within.

There's a slight turn of Marc's frame to be more direct in conversation with and toward her before he states, "The building I work in is super high tech with so much security and layers upon layers of Star Trek level applications. Computers in the walls, even. I.. well, like that." He handwaves toward the panel and then he finally catches her notation of 'we' in her query. He asks, "You said 'we'... like. You own this place?"

His stance is casual, yet trying to keep a professional facade to his level of communication with her. He keeps his eyes on hers and they do not wander except to indicate the panel. But back to her face afterward. There's no looking around, being distracted, nor glances down to her body. That wouldn't be appropriate. He speaks in a baritone voice, yet it is squelched to soften his words and dampen the decibel. He's also probably ignoring the elevator for now. She's the focus of his attention.
Elektra has posed:
/You said 'we'... like. You own this place?/

"After a fashion," Elektra offers cryptically just as the chime sounds. Her eyes are drawn back for a moment towards the chrome doors that slide open in front of her, and she takes a step inside, turning to press the button for the lobby before stepping towards the back of the car.

She waits until her companion is settled as well before she extends her hand in a more greeting.

"Elektra Natchios."

Which likes conjures not just the realization that she's the CEO of the company but also the daughter of Hugo Natchios, the former Greek Ambassador and the original founder of Hellas International. Elektra's life has been a tumultuous one and not all that private by comparison to the average person. Both of her parents had been murdered at different points in her life, but she was young enough for both to be left an orphan. When she did re-emerge into the spotlight, it was attending Columbia University and then stepping into the role of CEO shortly after.

About six years ago, it had been widely reported that Elektra Natchios herself had been murdered. Two years after that, she resurfaced. It turns out, she'd been kidnapped and her death had been faked to keep the authorities from looking for her.

...Or, something. That was the story, anyway.

She took two years after coming back, she resumed her post as CEO of Hellas International just in time to thwart that hostile takeover attempt by LexCorp. All of this, of course, happening plainly for the media to report on.

For some people, following Elektra Natchios was better than The Real Housewives. And they only knew the half of it.
Blackout has posed:
Just as expected, Marc moves into the lift, push the button of the lower floor, and will move to the back to stand to Elektra's left. His back touches the rear of the lift perhaps a foot from her. He listens and processes the realization that she's not just the owner, but the /owner/. Further realizing the depths of her story that he recalls reading.

"Oh wow. Hi." He'll say in greeting again before adding with a bit of excitement beneath his tone, "Marcus Daniels. Or Marc for short. And you're a legend in the media." Then he realizes that he went a little too far. "Not that I'm sensationalizing the loss of your family. Sorry for that. It's just that reading about your life is like reading a Disney movie plotline." He pauses and realizes that he stepped in it again. He stands there, jaw slack and lips parted. He raises his left hand with index finger up and says, "That sounded a whole lot better in my head. Dang, again. Sorry. And I'll just shut up, now."
Blackout has posed:
If there were any reports of Marcus Daniels, they weren't in the news. He was just a low level research scientist working for a man bent on discovering the secrets of zero point energy and Marcus took the brunt of that failed experiment. The lab exploded and Marcus was sent into a 6 year coma. All that took place while Elektra was being 'murdered'. So their stories' timelines overlap where neither could have been around for the other to even be aware of. And his was inconsequential compared to hers. He's essentially a nobody. Just another research nerd.
Elektra has posed:
Elektra's lips purse, and as Marc seems to struggle for exactly the right way to say that he's at least somewhat familiar with her past, she lets him.

Not in the way that most people would. Most people might try to jump in and help the poor man or at least offer some sort of signal that she understood he didn't mean anything by what he was saying. Most people exist in a polite society where at least one person tries to defuse awkward social interactions before they got worse.

The dark haired, olive-skinned woman in the expensive pants suit just stands there, watching him and occasionally blinking in a way that almost seemed to be an intentional reminder she hadn't turned to stone.

It isn't until he says that he'll shut up that her smile once more hits at the corners of her mouth, giving just a little shake of her head.

"If by Disney movie you mean the origin story of one of the villainesses, I'll accept that," she muses, finally some inclination that she's not in the least perturbed by the fumbled greeting. "Believe me when I tell you that I'm well aware of the media's voracious appetite for tragedy. There's been a collective grumbling from the paparazzi that there hasn't been been an attempt on my life recently. I fear that if it goes too much longer, the one of them may take matters into their own hands."

She says it, but she doesn't fear it. There's no hint of concern in her features.

The elevator was moving down smoothly through the floors, and it seemed that despite the glut of people trying to go up, no one but them wanted to go down.

"Do you mind if I ask what you were doing here, Mister Daniels?"

He didn't really expect her to call him Marc, did he? It wasn't as if they were besties. She didn't even shorten Matthew to Matt, and they'd been in an on-again-off-again relationship since college.
Blackout has posed:
His internal dialogue is that of chiding himself for being an idiot with the words that came out of his mouth. That struggle is evident on his face as he awaits her response. He did not expect her to take it so well and even elaborate with the drama aspects - and of course there's that subtle smile that she possesses. Disarming and soothing. He knows his mouth always gets himself into trouble, but when a woman smiles, he knows that the trouble is likely diffused. Or at least quelled until later when she can, if motivated, exact revenge. He himself reveals a slight smile; impossible not to smile when a woman smiles to a man, and then making light of his comment offers him a relief like none other.

While in jest, her comment about the paparazzi wanting to take her life to generate drama does warrant a brief concerned look, though he realizes that she's not at all concerned about it.

Finally, she gives him permission to speak. Not that he needed it, but it's an open invitation for him to make another stupid remark - of which he will double down his efforts to avoid. So when she asks why he's here, he's very happy to answer. "I'm a research scientist at LexCorp. We've been working with his particle accelerator to discern the nature of our multidimensional universe in search of exotic particles that would indicate a leak from an alternate universe into our own. That leak could be utilized as a source of free energy. A means to power the world at little cost to ourselves. Having discovered such a particle in recent experiments, and being lead on the experiments, I was tasked with sharing snippets of the discovery. Mr Luthor doesn't share that often, but when he does, he wants to ensure that others are well aware of his achievements. And to offer insight into what the future of free energy will look like in the LexCorp world of tomorrow."
Elektra has posed:
"Ah. Trying to get something for nothing. The LexCorp way."

It's pure venom in her tone, the kind of predatory curl of her mouth that makes prey animals scurry for the safety of a hollowed out tree trunk or a burrow. She doesn't even look sorry about it. Not, at least, until she's done a few seconds of internal stewing and wrestled the desire to find and kill Lex Luthor back under control. Then she raises a hand slightly from her clutch in an appeasing gesture.

"I apologize. It's not your fault. My feelings about Lex are what they are, but they're entirely professional and likely very mutual. I'm sure you're excellent in your field. You explain it well and you have the social disposition of a true scientist."

Which was both a back-handed compliment about his fumbling and a /very/ fancy way of saying 'NEEEERRRRDDDD.' Despite that, though, the first part seems absolutely sincere.


The elevator finally stops and the doors open. Without waiting for it to be offered, Elektra takes the first steps out, though she doesn't go far. The lobby is full of people bustling through their day. The Croft Centre Building didn't only house the Research Labs of Hellas International. There were residential floors and many other buildings in the skyscraper.

Hesitating to give Marc a chance to catch up, Elektra clings to her clutch lightly.

"Mister Daniels, it has been an absolute pleasure to speak with you. If you have other obligations, I understand entirely. However, I have some time between meetings, a car waiting, and I wondered if you had time to join me for a quick bite for lunch. Nothing terribly fancy, but I'd be interested in hearing more about the LexCorp World of Tomorrow. Or, at least, what draws you specifically to it. I find personal beliefs to be much more compelling than corporate propaganda."
Blackout has posed:
Her words and tone are hardly missed. He's aware that most people do not like Lex. Heck, Marc himself may be on the fence about the man as well. He even nods acceptance of her harsh words toward his boss.

Marc picks up on social ques and tone; even though he cannot control his own mouth when his brain is working a bazillion miles a second. He also smiles at the backhanded compliment - if it was a compliment - when she delivers it. He lowers his head a moment in regarding shame of his words.

When she exits, he'll follow and glance around at the lobby ensuring that he exited on the correct floor. When she addresses him once more, he'll pause to hear her out. When asked to lunch, Marc's head cants slightly to his left and then he says, "Of course. I'd be happy to join you." and he'll expect that there won't be any time wasted in getting to the car in question.

After the brief segue, he'll settle into the seat and do his best to answer, "Your question... what draws me to it. Namely money and the freedom of research. I don't have the full vision or ability to see into the future as Mr. Luthor does. Nor can I truly conceptualize what a world powered by Free Energy would look like. I just know what it means to me... if fulfilled and not corporatized for profit like most great ideas or inventions. I think that Mr. Luthor has a vision of the world where he alone has the market on energy. While 'free', it's not actually free. But a whole lot cheaper and cleaner than what we have now. Our dependance on fossil fuels and fear of nuclear energy coupled with lobby groups funding political agendas to keep people under the control of big oil... that can be a thing of the past if we can easily, safely harness, and provide Free Energy to the world. I understand that it's decades away. The infrastructure isn't there. However, the research is solid and we've managed to extract, cheaply and efficiently, energy from an alternate reality by tracing the exotic particle to its source."

He stops there as he takes a mental and verbal inventory of what he shared, making sure not to overshare and to ensure that he's keeping within the realms of his approved topics from the presentation.
Elektra has posed:
The journey through the lobby had indeed been swift once the invitation to lunch was accepted. A few of the security guards nodded her way and the doorman who opened the way for them smiled pleasantly, "Ms. Natchios."

The stretched black sedan was already waiting at the curb, and the stoic driver opened the door for her, offering her hand to help her in. Once seated, she scooted across to the other side to make room for Marc and crossed her legs, waiting patiently while the the the car shifted into motion without an instruction from her or explanation about her guest.

Once Marc was finished, though, she lifted a single, slender eyebrow.

"So we should eliminate all means of energy competition and self-sufficiency because men in power are historically known for being benevolent? Environmental benefit aside, are you suggesting that it's a good idea to transfer all of our energy resources -- the infrastructure that powers everything from our food production and storage to our nuclear arsenals -- over to the control of one known megalomaniac that everyone /knows/ should be in prison but can't find enough proof to put him there?"

There's an amused twist of her lips that somehow seems more patronizing than amused.

"You do understand that the reason those disparate groups are currently fighting is that they can't agree on a single solution that isn't wildly unfair? How do you think that might change if you were to consolidate the control of energy under one individual? Do you imagine that they'll all think it's suddenly fair and move on?"
Blackout has posed:
Marc does his best to explain in a tone of careful consideration and word choices. "For me, it's a means to an end. I'm trying to make up for lost time. Attempting to continue the research I started nearly a decade ago which was sidelined by an accident. For him, Mr. Luthor, I'm completely aware and in agreement with your assessment that it's not the best plan to put all the power in the hands of one man. Especially him. However, he's my current benefactor, the one who holds the keys and patents on the technology by which I'm able to do my research. That, coupled with the technology that gives me the edge and speeds up the process of discovery and utilization. I know I sound naive. However, I'm doing this for science and progress; the hope for a better future. And if he were truly a criminal beyond all the standard practices of any national or international corporation, wouldn't Superman have put him behind bars by now? Or is Superman actually on Luthor's side and they simply dance to the tune of good ratings of the media?"
Elektra has posed:
"Oh, Superman. The original social experiment of consolidating /actual/ godlike powers into a man and letting him run amok, unchecked in society. And how has /that/ gone? Billions of dollars of damage to infrastructure, countless lives lost, and the last I checked, we still have rampant crime, drugs filling our streets, children being kidnapped and sold by trafficking rings. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, but if we're levying charges for lives damaged or lost that we can prove in a court of law, I'm afraid he'd be taking himself to prison long before Lex Luthor."

Even as Elektra's saying all this, though, it seems entirely conversational. There's nothing like the original venom she'd had for Lex directly when they first started speaking. Then again, Superman had probably never tried to take her company from her by force. As 'professional' as she claimed it was, there was most certainly a 'personal' vendetta against Lex.

Still, she smiles a little and it softens that steely demeanor.

"To be clear, I appreciate your candor, Mr. Daniels. I don't want you to get the impression I don't. I'm enjoying this conversation and your thoughts on the matter. Please don't let mine dissuade you from your own views, but I prefer to be direct. I find it cuts faster to the heart of the matter."

And if anyone knew about cutting to the heart, it would be Elektra.
Blackout has posed:
There's a feeling that Marc gets, something akin to he realizing that there's way more to the story between she and Lex than just surface or business animosity. Though he doesn't know the full story and it's probably none of his business. And then there's the other aspect of her dislike of Superman. Which sort of brings a smile to his face as she's detailing his collections of 'good deeds' which are nothing more than collateral damage.

Her softer words directed at him regarding the conversation are received with a nod of acceptance and he states as the vehicle comes to a stop at a light. "I appreciate that; and everything you've said. It's refreshing to find someone who shares openly and without regard to feelings and social norms. However, I will say that I feel I've stepped on a few nerves which will likely ruin any lunch that we share. I'll take the initiative and step out here, so that you may eat in peace. I do appreciate the offer and perhaps if we ever run into one another again..."

He opens the door and will step out. "Have a good day, Miss Natchios." He'll close the door and move on.

In the seat, he's left a business card: Marcus Daniels, LexCorp Research. 969-867-5309