Time Traveling Machines, Oh My!

Brief Title:
Time Traveling Machines, Oh My!

Suzanne Endo, Sebastian Shaw, Amora the Enchantress, Sally Blevins

Scene Runner/Watcher:

IC Date:
07/13/12 20:30

Private Room, Hellfire Club, Upper East Side, Manhattan, NYC

Sebastian invites Suzi to stop by, hoping to discuss what he has learned from Emma relating to the Cybermancer. Sally is still acting as Suzi's bodyguard, and Amora is there to help assure privacy - and make trouble.

Social or Plot:


Given the import of matters with which Sebastian Shaw is both acquainted and apparently being helpful, a call from him is routed immediately to Suzanne Endo. Having her private cellphone number helps, of course. But the fact that it is Shaw assures she /answers/ that call, despite how busy or harried she may be feeling. And his voiced request that they meet - again at this social club on the upper east side - face to face is taken seriously. 'A new variable' has arisen, or so he has said.

Suzanne arrives in company with her 'personal assistant', and emerges from the car with the lovely American blonde, leaving her assistant to carry that large leather-wrapped metal case that has not been away from her side since she returned from Hong Kong after the first Ghost attack. Suzanne herself is dressed - or so it would appear - for a social outting, rather than business, and fetchingly so. She and Sebastian have never quite managed that dinner date they had originally planned before the attacks, but there is certainly no reason not to dress the part.

The young Chinese woman finds herself welcomed by name to the club, proof that someone of great import here has already earmarked her as a guest worthy of special attention. Suzi allows her assistant to precede her through the doors into the club's interior, likely one of the only telltales there is to the fact the blonde's presence is more about personal security than note-taking or bag-carrying.

Already in the room, rising from his chair as Suzi enters, Sebastian Shaw is dressed in a fashion that may be called 'charmingly antiquated'. Though not the full-blown finery of bygone days the Hellfire Club indulges in among themselves, it is enough to be notable. A white dress shirt with ascot and silk vest, black trousers and riding boots.

"Suzi, please...have a seat." he says as he gestures to a nearby chair, noting as well, the utterly...enchanting blonde woman who accompanies him, "This is Amora." no title, no honorific, "She is privy to many secret things and can keep them so."

Indeed. There may be no woman on Earth so beautiful as Amora. This evening she has dressed in the style of the 20s, a gorgeous flapper dress of green with an underskirt of black. A fishnet brimmed veil wrapped about the upper part of her expertly quaffed, blonde hair. Kept short this evening, and a pair of three inch stilletos to match. She smiles, her eyes sparkling green as she looks from Suzi to her bodyguard to the case. She does not rise. Others rise for her. Normally.

The much shorter, younger woman nods to acknowledge Sebastian as he rises and addresses her. She gives the seated blonde - stunning, truly - a long, assessing look, before she offers her a slight nod as well. Another special figure, clearly, and one suited to keeping their meeting secret despite the surroundings. She can accept that easily enough, though clearly she prefers to use her own means to keep secrets - including simply telling no one. It is the best way, after all.

"Good evening, Sebastian. Amora." Suzanne offers, and she makes her way towards the indicated chair, waiting until that case is settled beside her chair before taking the seat. "I see I will have to learn more of the ways and fashions of this club, if we are to contiue our association. Even when I make the attempt, I cannot seem to 'fit in' quite yet." she offers, without condemnation. It's almost more amusement, or perhaps just a light turn of phrase before the weight of important matters comes to the fore, crushing all humor in its path. "Thank you, nevertheless, for the invitation." She is well aware she is not yet a member here, however august the body may or may not be.

Sebastian remains standing and walks around the table, pausing as he nears where Suzi sits, as he does he says casually, as if discussing the market today, "Stealth and Smart tell me everything is just about ready, so now it's just a matter of time before the Ghost returns and they can enact their plan. We might try goading him a bit to hurry that up." life-and-death, all in a day's work, but what comes next - not quite, "Tell me please, Suzi, what do you know of time travel?" Blunt. To the point.

Amora smiles as she is greeted. As Sebastian gets down to business, she drums her fingers one the tabletop. Once. Twice. Three times. A sphere of glittering, green energy grows to surround those present. Utterly impenetrable by any force, matter or energy. Nothing will enter. Nothing will escape. Complete confidence.

"I have already been planning a few ways to help ratchet up the pressure, to push the Ghost towards the attack." Suzanne affirms easily, confidently. Almost too confidently, really. Oh, she believes in herself. Of that there can be no doubt. But she also refuses to allow herself to give in to the very real, natural doubts that worry at the edges of her mind.

Shaw's question is enough to bring Suzanne up short, going no further with her talk of the Ghost, instead peering curiously up at the big man. As Emma found, there is nothing in Suzi that yields to that 'weakness' of being shorter, beneath the other. It's a subtle trick many have tried to use against her. It doesn't work. But the surprise topic does, as does the green sphere of energy slithering outward to surround them. She glances towards Amora for a long moment, and then nods to the blonde. OK. Point to the lady with the interesting powers.

Suzi doesn't look back to Shaw immediately. She takes her time, refusing to be rushed or hurried. But neither does she shirk away or hide from the topic. She just takes her time, quite comfortably. "Time travel? Well, I suppose I know the same as most who have taken advanced physics courses and studied high-energy systems. I have every reason to believe it is possible, and also quite dangerous. Even more importantly, in some ways, I can firmly say that causality makes even /my/ head hurt." Should anyone be checking, by any means, they would know Suzi has spoken the absolute truth, without reservation. But anyone with half a brain - and the others in this room are definitely each carrying far more than merely half - can also tell she chose her words very carefully, to leave a particular impression. Only their reactions can tell her if she has succeeded. "Is there something important we need to deal with, relating to time travel?" she queries calmly.

"-Technically-, quite correct." Sebastian notes, putting special emphasis on the first word. He walks behind the much smaller woman and gently lays a large hand on her left shoulder, it rests there, a gesture akin to one of familiarity, devoid of threat, no pressure, and his own words are chosen just as carefully, "Do not imagine for a moment that when I ask such an odd question, I don't have some inkling as to what the answer -actually- is, please."

His tone is carefully kept almost neutral, but there's the tiniest edge that hints at the slightest bit of annoyance at Ms. Endo's imagining he'd be satisfied with her answer. "I also ask because, with the Ghost involved, there's an -additional- threat I hadn't been aware of." Yes, technically this is rather -his- doing, and he -loathes- having his own choices come back to bite him. Images of a terrible machine from the future rise in his mind, and the notion that a lunatic like the Ghost getting access, even by accident to -anything- even vaguely like Nimrod...

Amora waves her hand over a spot on the table and a rather large (and by this we mean two feet tall and a foot across) tankard of foaming ale appears. She picks it up by one hand and takes a rather large gulp of it, mmming softly. "They are beastly little creatures but they know how to brew." Amora mutters to herself.

Suzi doesn't react to Shaw's hand on her shoulder, although frankly any woman with her confidence level would react almost immediately to any man trying to act so paternal or get touchy without prior permission. That alone should be enough for the others in the room to know Suzi isn't intimidated. She has no illusions that her personal assistant is going to stop Shaw from snapping her neck, but she doesn't even twitch.

Suzi lets silence drag out, watching Amora's demonstration with avid curiosity. She is smart enough to figure this must be proof that this is not a 'power', but magic. She knows such a thing exists, if not how it works or how to stop it. Magic makes her head hurt almost as much as time travel. Almost.

When Suzi finally responds, there is a gentle but firm edge to her tone as she does so. "Do not imagine for a moment, Sebastian, that I would say anything but what I intend to say, no matter how odd the question. You asked what I know of time travel. I have told you what I know of it. The fact that you ask this implies that you know something that, to be blunt, no other living person in the world should know. You may not know me as intimately as you might like, but even so you must have some idea what I would do to protect myself against someone fitting that particular description. Do you not?"

Decisions, decisions, how much to offer? Sebastian weighs the pros and cons of what he will say next. Dominate? Gain confidence? Offer a little in exchange for more? He slips his hand from her shoulder, savouring the feel of Suzi's skin. Even now, little pleasures matter. They -always- matter. His own was suprisingly less rough and calloused than one might have imagined. He steps around her, letting her see him again. He links his hands behind his back and does not quite cease moving as he finally speaks.

"A machine from the future, based on some of my own work, very nearly killed me not too long ago. Let's just say I am justifiably concerned about how such things can destabilize an already touchy situation, shall we?" His expression seems pleasant, almost amused, but his eyes show otherwise. He isn't frightened, but firm in his resolve here. Utterly."

"Really, Sebastian. You don't know her intimately yet? What is wrong with you?" Amora murmurs before taking another sip of her ale. "This little chess game you two are playing is fascinating but, really, you're dancing around the issue. You know, Shaw. She knows you know but not how much you know, so she wants to find out. You're playing little word games of dominance and power. Adorable, really. A bit counterproductive, however. We already know she can play the game. She already knows you can. We all know everyone in the room possesses adamantium testicles of varying sizes so I'm going to hit the fast forward button on this little exercise and get to the good part."

Amora points to the large case the blonde holds. A swirling mist of green appears around it. The case vanishes and then reappears, wreathed by green mist on the table. The latches snap open. The case opens all on its own, revealing what's inside.

"I skip to the end of mystery novels, too. Bad me. I deserve a spanking." She winks at Suzi, who is suddenly holding a riding crop in her right hand.

Sebastian pulls back, and very subtly a line of tension stretched taut in Suzi relaxes a bit, allowing her to breathe a bit more regularly. She watches Sebastian appear, and listens carefully as he speaks, her eyes widening noticeably - yes, poker players, she /let/ that happen - at the explanation of his concerns about time travel. "Well then, I suppose the truth is we have more in common than either of us thought." she offers, as the first olive branch in the tree of knowledge she's about to offer.

"I /will/ want to know how it is you learned of my own situation, given I am very well aware there isn't another soul who /could/ know about it, as I saw to that myself." Herself. Her other self. Whatever. Suzi glances at the blonde at her side, and then down to the case beside her chair. When that case then is snared by Amora's magic she startles up from her chair, her smartphone suddenly in her hand. Her thumb and forefinger move rapidly, disarming the rather devastating charges inside the case, rigged to go off should /anyone/ but herself open that case. Yes, Amora just very nearly killed everyone in the room - save likely herself and Sally - and destroyed the suit that lies at the crux of all this drama. "You /idiot/! Do not /ever/ co-opt something of mine again without /asking/ first. I prefer not to be made a murderer by sheer happenstance, thank you very much." Yes, Suzi is livid. Yes, Suzi just smack-talked a goddess. No, Suzi doesn't care. She has a point.

Turning towards Shaw, riding crop in her other hand, Suzi steams at him for a bit, wordlessly asking him if all of his associates are so callously clueless. Finally, at last, she finds her voice again. But it isn't soft anymore. There is snap and bite to her words, like she's using them to slice away his illusions. "A very long, complex and confounding story made as brief as I can manage: A tear in spacetime opened in my lab several years ago. Through that tear came multiple figures, including a woman wearing a very advanced suit of powered armor. She called herself Cybermancer. She and the others were, apparently, from an alternate future timeline. They were seeking to grab me, so that she could take my place, and work her way into the confidence of Anthony Stark."

Beat. Beat. "She was in fact /me/, from that alternate future. A cyborg, I estimate far more machine than human. I observed the suit, what it could do. I held out against them, and managed to snare her gauntlet. It was one of the primary control interfaces for the armor. I used it to command the armor, forcing the others back through the portal and then sending her as well, sealing the breach." She makes it all sound so easy. It doesn't at all sound like the harrowing, hair-raising forty-eight hour Hell that it was. Suzi keeps her vulnerabilities in check. "Within months of that incident, I resigned from Stark International, and then worked to start my own company. Meanwhile, I have spent countless hours and billions to research and develop technologies to accomplish what I saw that suit do. I have built the Cybermancer. /Without/ giving up my humanity in the process." At least, so far. "/That/ is what Ghost nearly found the night he attacked me. /That/ is what I destroyed to prevent him from finding it." And she has just proven without a doubt that she is willing to do it again. Even at point-blank range.

Sebastian walks over to the goddess at Suzi's outburst and strokes a hand down her shimmering, golden hair. It isn't a gesture in any way of ownership, more like soothing a tiger before it tears someone apart one would rather it didn't, "Restraint, if you please, Amora. This is all somewhat new to Suzi, after all." He seems to genuinely appreciate the exercise of such restraint.

"Well, I appreciate your candor, Suzi, and now you understand my concern that someone like the Ghost might get his hands on something of that nature. The machine -I- encountered battled an exeedingly formidable group of superhumans to a near-standstill, caused two of their deaths-" and he pauses there for a moment in thought, ah Harry, a grand way go out, and ironically amusing from Sebastian's point-of-view, saving him and taking Nimrod down in one fell swoop. "-and teleported away after being almost completely torn apart. So you understand -why- I was concerned when I learned of your involvement with such matters." he holds up a hand to forestall further questions on that front, "I -will- tell you how I came by this information, I promise you that, but later. Just understand that, as you've no doubt noticed, you've moving into deeper waters than you've yet navigated. But-" he adds encouragingly, "-you're doing quite well, if I may say so." That sounds like a genuine complement.

Amora's eyes flash green. Literally, they glow with power. She rises to her feet, hands slamming down on the table... and cracking the hundred year old black walnut surface. Then Sebastian asks for caution... and Amora sinks back into her chair. She says nothing but stares at Suzi and smiles, coldly. Her eyes glow brighter for a moment more... and then the glow subsides.

Suzanne eyes Sebastian and Amora, not sparing a glance at all towards her erstwhile bodyguard sitting all too calmly still in her seat. Point proven, clearly. "I appreciate people who know when /not/ to push the boundaries just to be playful or silly. /Obviously/ you had a very good idea what was in the case. You should have known well enough to know /not/ to try to open the case. Yet you did not." She doesn't say it, but it is written plain as day on her face: sloppily arrogant.

Suzi listens to Shaw's story, taking it all in. Yes, it sounds bad. Awful, in fact. And she can see why such an event would leave him with the concerns it has, and why learning anything about her secrets would then panic him on the matter. But she's still pretty livid. That upset cracks a little when Amora demonstrates her power so ably. The smaller woman looks at the table, and then at Amora, seeing the cold fury in that glowing green gaze. So, she has made an enemy of a potential ally. Not what she would have wanted. But she still considers the woman a moron for doing what she did, and that hasn't changed. She's just now a very powerful moron.

"I may be doing well, Sebastian, but I have my limits. If you want to know about the suit, I will tell you. It is quite possible I may have to use it to stop Ghost, so you probably need to know, eventually. But for the moment, I need a break. And I am not leaving this room without the suit, back in its case, fully secured, and in my possession." Does Sebastian realize Suzanne just stated she will no longer be trusting the case in Sally's custody? Does he realize what else that implies?

Sebastian seems to take this all in stride, and honestly, Suzi's wounded pride and desire to seize more control for herself is seen as a -positive- as far as he's concerned. No dead weight allowed. He's been considering her for membership in the Inner Circle, and if she's going to be this hard, all the better. He actually looks rather at ease with Suzi's response. He smiles, just a touch, "Quite understandable, Suzi." he says calmly, "Please, take however long you need to compose yourself. I imagine in time you'll get used to these sorts of things." he's implying that she's likely to be sticking around, indeed, he's acting like it's a bit of a foregone conclusion. He's also subtly goading her to -get- used to them, a challenge he's fairly certain she'll rise to, and shed even more of the things he sees as holding her back.

He then adds, "And don't worry about Amora, she's a forgiving sort. She has a very long view of these sorts of misunderstandings." He knows the goddess has -something- in mind, no doubt, but really, he wouldn't be who he is if he didn't take -some- amusement in the...whimsical nature of these things.

Amora sighs dramatically and motions with her hand. The bubble about the group of them vanishes. She smiles at Suzi, eyes cold, "You'll be seeing me, dear. Quite a bit of me, in fact." Then, just as her magic shell vanished from the room, Amora fades from sight. Teleporting, perhaps... somewhere.

Suzi eyes Sebastian carefully. Can she tell she is being manipulated? Definitely. But so far, she's willing to go along. She needs the Ghost taken care of, and Sebastian's contacts have made that possible in a way she could not have managed on her own. So for now, she keeps playing. Besides, this is interesting. Lethally dangerous, and interesting. It isn't often she gets to spar mentally with those as smart as she is.

"Goodbye, Amora." Suzi offers. Note to self: find out who this 'Amora' person is. It's going to be important, because that woman right now /hates Suzi's guts/, and that's not going to be healthy in the long term. With a sigh, the Chinese woman steps up to the table and starts re-securing the case and her suit, including the charges inside. "I'll call you later, Sebastian. Have a good night." Secured, she turns to the other blonde, who has remained so silent through all of this. "Ms. Blevins. Call the car, will you?"

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