Who Wants To Talk About Murders?! II
Roleplaying Log: Who Wants To Talk About Murders?! II
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Carolus, Ghost Spider, and Moonstar discuss their findings relating to the murders surrounding Charles Arany's studio.

Other Characters Referenced: Starfire
IC Date: October 06, 2019
IC Location: Xavier's Institute
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 07 Oct 2019 04:58
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

* OOC Time: Sun Oct 06 20:04:11 2019 *

* * *

To say Dani is struggling with some decisions she made recently is putting it ever so mildly.

Those internal struggles of hers, however, do not stop her from continuing to run the Institute in Warren and Alison's absence. Nor does it stop her from looking into the murders that occurred during Fashion Week.

In fact, it's what she found concerning those murders that finally has Dani reaching out to Carolus. Either by text or Institute e-mail and the message simply reads:

'I've some information for you. Stop by my office when you have a moment.'

And that's where Danielle Moonstar can be found. In her office, which is very plain. It has desk, with computer, a chair behind the desk and two chairs in front of it. A folder sits atop her desk and upon that folder are a few post-its with some notes haphazardly scribbled upon them.

She stands at one of the large-ish windows that look over the lawn. In her hand is a plain old coffee mug with strong black coffee in it. Idly the woman looks down at the steaming liquid and murmurs to it, "Sure wish you were something stronger."

* * *

"It's a school and some people live on-campus. They're not entirely unused to seeing people in costumes, but they'll still give you a few second looks." Carolus warned Ghost Spider, a few minutes ago. She had become his back-up for this case not long ago, and he didn't want to leave her out in the dark on this. He also wanted his peers to be aware of who he was working with, even though he had plenty of confidence in her as a 'help me not get murdered' buddy.

If it was needed (or simply asked for), he provided some plain clothes and a hoodie to wear over the suit.

"No need to demask if you don't want to." He'd added, to make it clear that he wasn't pushing.

NOW…

One train ride later, Carolus leads the way into the institute. He's in his nice business clothes with his unusual anatomy on adequate display, and wouldn't really look all that out of place teaching here, if not for the fact that he's only barely old enough not to just be a student.

He carries a heavy duffel, which contains the plating Ghost Spider had pulled from the assailant, and a chitauri rifle that he took from arms dealers.

He leads the way to Danielle's office, arriving just in time to catch her remark. Carolus's eyebrows and antennae lift in unison, but he remains silent on the subject all the same. Clearing his throat, he gestures towards the door, "Ghost Spider, Danielle Moonstar. Danielle Moonstar, Spooky."

Setting the duffle aside, he unzips it and out comes both the chitauri rifle and a piece of copper plating in a plastic bag. The plating is passed to Ghost Spider, who actually got close enough to explain it better. The rifle is set down lightly on Moonstar's desk.

"So this crap is going on again." He gestures irritably towards the rifle, shuffling his bag to the side and taking one of the two chairs that every office everywhere has — the one farther from the door.

* * *

It was terrible. Ghost Spider had to chase after a fashion disaster (in that it was a disaster and also fashionable) and could barely slow it down.

AND BEFORE THAT SHE WAS SHOT AT BY WEIRD GOONS AND A RACIST.

Gwen has not been having the greatest week. "Carolus, that's all fine, but, why are none of your problems easy or fun or have, like…"

"Morals to the story? Does your world just have way more hate and way less poetry? Seriously."

Ghost Spider had also dressed up for the trip into Xavier's Institute, adding some loose jeans on top of her legs and a hoodie jacket (hers, not Carolus') that make her more look like she's dressed for the New York chill from every direction but the front (with two coats on). Well, her turquoise rubberized flats that are just a part of her costume are kinda obvious, but maybe she's wearing crocs, you don't know.

Introduced, she gives a haphazard two-finger-and-thumb salute as she's introduced as 'Ghost Spider' and a quiet 'hey!' when she's introduced as Spooky. "Ghost Spider is right. It's nice to meet you. Atlas, AKA 'Fuzzy Doofus', has got me into a bunch of trouble recently but that seems kinda normal around here. Anything I can help with?"

* * *

Carolus' throat clearing pulls Moonstar's attention away from the windows and the outside lawn.

In fact, the Cheyenne woman turns away from the windows now as she shifts her gaze over to the doorway. "Hey, Carolus." Comes the typical greeting and while there's a moment of surprise at his partner-in-crime, that surprise is hidden pretty quickly.

"Nice to meet you, Ghost Spider. Most just call me Dani.."

With introductions completed by Carolus, Moonstar turns her attention to the duffel bags. There's a quizzical look to her features, "What -", begins her question, but soon enough Carolus pulls that chitauri rifle out. That's enough to stop whatever else Dani might say, as her gaze settles on that weapon.

Quickly now, she walks over to her desk, her cup of coffee absently put somewhere as her gaze looks at the weapon.

"Where did you two find this?" She asks, and when the rifle is set upon her desk Moonstar reaches for it to make sure it's completely powered down.

"Wait." She adds suddenly as a memory is jogged, "You sent a message a couple of days back about an arms deal gone wrong." She looks between the two, "A car exploded, correct?"

* * *

"No," Carolus asides to Ghost Spider, "the extra anger and hate bring out a lot more poetry. It just tends to be bad. Bad, or 'technically a manifesto'. As for the 'why', I suspect a sprawling, complex interaction of socio-political differences that lead to a lot more inequality and personal stressors resulting in more lunatics."

Back to Moonstar, "Yeah. Arms dealers in the Bronx. It's not the first time I've heard of it, but I thought it'd mostly been cleaned up. Didn't Stark Industries end up getting the clean-up contracts for this stuff? Anyway, it looks like a bit of it is out in circulation again. The one I /didn't/ bring back here was a sonic cannon or something like that."

"A hearse," he corrects, "the vans that were transporting the weapons weren't explosive. I think 'Father Death' had just loaded his car up with too many munitions. Whatever the case, I wanted to get at least one piece of the loose goods to you. I think you might be able to figure out where it came from and where it's been better than the police."

He looks back at Ghost Spider, "Sorry, already a fuzzy guy here. Talk about 'fuzzy something', and all thoughts jump straight to him."

He gestures at the copper plating he passed to Ghost Spider, "You got a look at the thing, and I didn't. So I'll let you explain that bit."

* * *

Ghost Spider holds her casual pose as Dani reacts. Less than most people! Well, this was a school for mutants and some of them got pretty different.

"Yeah, I'd say 'you can call me Spider-Woman' but that doesn't really help, does it? And around here, it's… not a name I can use. I get headaches trying, funny enough."

A heave of the shoulders and a light sigh later, Ghost Spider nods along with Carolus' story before raising a finger to explain. "There was a parking garage in Hunts Point I swung in on. Carolus had already started laying into them and dragging them around. It was… a big, black hearse, and two panel vans. A dude with one hell of a jawline and buzzed-short hair holding this enormous hand-cannon goes sprinting off. Another goon with a big chopped up sonic cannon tries to blast Carolus, so I web 'em up. Carolus gets out from under the truck, and starts putting blue laserbeams into engine blocks - and the hearse just up and explodes in a total fireball. Like, action movie tier pyros."

Gwen makes a 'pshoooooooooom' sound with her mouth as her hands spread out to either side to pantomine an explosion. "I barely had a half-second to get behind something, it went off like a whole shopping aisle of bombs."

Her hands drop to her hips as she considers the second half of the story. "Anyway, when we were following the fashion murderer, I caught a glimpse of a brass mannequin beating feet away from the scene. Wouldn't stop for anything - four fingers to the hand and with pretty good strength" She means REALLY good, but 'normal people' really good. It really changes your perceptions when you measure your striking power by the number of old full-metal-body Buicks it hits like. "and all gangly. I caught a plate off of it, but it was like walking down the herbal aisle in an organic food store. All… oily and herbacious."

* * *

The mention of Stark having the clean up contract brings a quick look from Dani and then a murmur of, "Something like that."

Gently now the woman sets the rifle down upon her desk and just stares at it. The thought of the Chitauri invasion pricks at a lot of mostly dorman feelings. It's enough to cause the woman to stay silent far longer than she should.

The mention of hearse and then Father Death pulls Moonstar's back to the conversation at hand. "Father Death." Moonstar says that name with a good amount of derision and only as Gwen speaks up does the Cheyenne woman quiet again.

She listens to what the young woman has to say, as she adds to the story.

Only after both finish telling their portions of the arms-deal story, does Moonstar speak up again. "I'm glad you're both safe."

"I can definitely see what I can find out on where the rifle possibly came from. I've some contacts that run in similar circles as this - hopefully they'll be able to help."

Which causes a frown to tug Moonstar's mouth downward, but only for a minute.

Her expression settles back to something attentative as Gwen speaks again. At the mention of the copper plate, Moonstar extends a hand to Gwen. "Mind if I take a look at it?"

"I was also able to pull several things about Mr. Arany and his business. Employee records, police reports, and while there was the typical sorts of things you see with a business, there were a few red flags."

* * *

Carolus seems to catch that Moonstar is put a little off-balance by the rifle. He nods to her silence and says, "I know. I felt the same way. There are a lot of ugly things out there, but it's a bit different when the ugly things you were involved in come back to haunt people. Isn't it?" It's a rhetorical question. He doesn't seem to expect an answer.

His only comment on Father Death is an irritable little sigh that is most /certainly/ as much of an understatement as such an expression can be.

"I was lucky she came by for that one." He adds, not at all grudgingly. As mutants go Carolus is pretty formidable in terms of raw ability, but his actual field experience is low.

He reclines in his chair, wings vibrating lightly as he finds a comfortable position for them, "I thought there might be. Perhaps it's just because I don't do this quite so often as some of you, but I didn't expect them to go barking for a warrant in response to an on-the-fly request like that. I was /hoping/ it was just going to boil down to tax irregularities or something equally benign."

He glances at Ghost Spider, "You get headaches trying to call yourself Spider-Woman?"

"It's essential oils, by the way." Carolus clarifies for Moonstar, "It smelled like something inside was making use of them. I don't know offhand if lavender or neroli are industrially useful in that way under ordinary circumstances, though. Whatever it is, there was a point in Ghost Spider's scuffle when I could smell the thing pretty distinctly."

* * *

"Yeah. A little. Worst is when I dropped out of the sky. Hit me like a pole to the head. Now it's just a vague feeling, like it's not right, like something's off. So, more like a normal uneased headache, not a spider-uneased spider-headache." Ghost Spider explains to Carolus. "It's fine."

It doesn't SOUND fine but Gwen seems more or less OK with this low degree of weirdness with all the high degrees going on.

"Sooooooo… You guys have laser cannons? That's cool. I thought Stark made those, though. That and bad coffee."

Carolus goes to offer the plate, and Gwen has little to do, so she flops into a chair and crosses her right leg over her left, getting vaguly comfortable. "So this brass… golem thing forced a window, murdered someone with some scissors, then hopped back out the window, down and across, back inside, and out the front door. Barely anything slowed it down - doors, stairs, webs - but it had a lot of momentum. Inside the body there was more oil, and a bunch of wires, like a robot."

Gwen leans forward. "But why would Tony Stark send something like that out to kill her with scissors? I thought he was, like, good in this dimension. Or less bad."

Because CLEARLY ONLY TONY STARK MAKES ROBOTS.

* * *

Carolus' rhetorical question is left as that and only brings a faint look from Dani.

A look of agreement.

"Well, I can't say I saw any tax irregularities for his company." Comments the black-haired woman, "But the two interesting facts I found were this -"

"One of his former models had a restraining order against him. When he died he had ingested a number of homeopathic medicines, which I find interesting, since you both remarked about the smell of essential oils."

"There's also footage of this robot you both saw."

The rest of her explanation pauses, however, and then an eyebrow of Dani's rises upward when Gwen leans forward to talk about Tony Stark and dimensions in the same breath. "I can definitely say Tony Stark is not evil here." Then, "And I'm just going to throw this out wildly here, but are you from a different dimension Ghost Spider?"

Her question is pretty calm, having dealt with different dimensions in her career here at the Institute, so at least there's that!

At this point Moonstar sits down in her own chair and reaches for her coffee. She has a feeling she's going to need all of it.

* * *

Carolus looks deeply confused at the suggestiong that Tony Stark might be involved with this. He explains, "From an outsider's point of view, Stark is one part narcissism, two parts smugness, one part good intentions, three parts insufferably intelligent. The good intentions make or break him, so he usually comes out doing something positive. I'm sure he /does/ make laser cannons since he is one of the Earth-based tech giants of this reality, but he certainly doesn't make coffee."

"Remind me to make you a primer. In exchange, make me a primer about your reality so I can stare enviously at your greener grass and nicer lamps."

In spite of making jokes about it openly, he makes an incredibly clear decision to let Ghost Spider explain as much or as little of her circumstances as she pleases apart from what's already obvious.

"Who does that? Who makes that their M.O.? Murder by way of essential oils. Do you have an I.D. on the person with the restraining order?" He half-expects that they're already dead. Or possibly, "dead".

* * *

"Yeah, I've gotten… Some conflicting but mostly positive stories about that. But alright." Gwen agrees simply, letting the matter of 'but how about that villain, Anthony Stark' drop. It's easy to go with your gut - your first reaction.

Especially when your instincts normally border on 'reactively useful prescience'!

"Sorry. Yeah. I'm from a universe sorta-kinda like this one. I can't say everything's 'more normal', but… It's simpler? Tony Stark runs Starkbucks, the biggest trash corporate coffee chain around when he's not running around with the biggest black sheeps of the PMC game, 'War-Machine'. And 'a weird robot' would basically be the most dangerous thing around that. Most things around here are, actually. Mostly I get ninjas, lizard people, or Captain America. She's great, by the way. How's yours?"

Carolus' offer for a primer gets a dismissive thumbs-up. "Sure, no problem. Wouldn't it be depressing, though?"

Back on subject, the idea of a dude with a restraining order on multiple women gets a clear disgusted narrowing of her mask's expressive eyes. "Sounds like a narcissist creep. 'Oh, you don't want me around? Bwah-ha, model for this!' or something."

Gwen shrugs. "Sorry, it's not hard to imagine. I was a liberal arts major."

* * *

"Wait." Dani states slowly, her mind working to process everything Gwen just said, "In your reality Tony Stark is heir to a coffee fortune?" Oddly enough that prompts something of an actual grin from Moonstar.

"That's amusing."

But then the reality of this conversation sets in and Moonstar once again turns a look to Gwen. Especially when she drops the info that Captain America is a she, that causes Moonstar's eyebrows to rise upward in surprise.

There are several questions Dani would like to ask, but for the moment she doesn't. Instead she files those questions for later, as the three move back to the conversation on hand.

Both Carolus' and Gwen's statements prompt answers from Dani, "The model's name is Miranda. From what I can tell she's very much alive, but no longer in the industry. Some sort of accident happened and she retired some years back."

"I would suggest we start there and see if we can trace anything more about this Miranda."

* * *

"Starkbucks." Carolus repeats, not quite disbelieving. He could see it, but it would probably be a result of some sort of lunatic pettiness rather than a sincere desire for 'Starkbucks' to exist. Or at least, that's what he would believe based on his limited understanding of the man. They've only encountered one another in passing, but some people are just Personalities like that.

"Only insofar as this reality is generally depressing. It is my reality, after all. Frame of reference is mostly neutral."

"We don't have any interdimensional travel experts on speed dial, do we?" He asks Moonstar, in a tone that suggests he strongly expects that he'll need to find one during business hours.

"Miranda. Alright." He nods, scooting forward to the edge of his seat to rest his wings more comfortably. They twitch in aggravation behind him, "Things are busy around here, so we'll follow up on that if we can. I haven't gotten around to tracking down Starfire yet, but I think she might have some useful contacts there, so I suppose we can make that our next stop."

"Does that sound sensible to you?" He asks, pressing both sets of hands together in a gesture that by now probably registers as something close to a tic of uncertainty.

* * *

"Actually I think he just wanted his moustache on coffee cups. He did the PMC ironmonger thing before the coffee thing." Ghost Spider explains. "But he could have gotten his money from a coffee empire. It seems like a thing to have an empire with."

Then it gets down to more brassy tacks. "Ok, I'm going to go out on a wild limb here: Maybe the weird robot and Miranda is the same person-robot-thing. Maybe it's one of those times where the accident and leaving the public eye really isn't, and now they're getting their revenge! Though, I have no evidence. Mmm. Ok, maybe that's stupid."

A sheepish scratch of the back of the head. "Sorry. I've always wanted to proclaim the 'it was actually that person!' in the whodunnit books and shows. I've seen a lot. My dad's a mystery novel nut, but he takes all the fun out of them."

"We can catch up with Starfire, sure. I'm, uh…"

Gwen mutters something into her mask unintelligible. "She shouldn't be too hard to find, and I've got her number." She adds, more intelligibly.

* * *

The question about interdimensional travellers brings a slight look from Moonstar. "Possibly. Though I can't promise anything." She answers, as she looks between the two, "I can reach out to them and see if they're willing to help." Not that Dani knows exactly what they need help with, but she's going with the assumption it's to get Gwen home.

As for Gwen, Moonstar flashes another one of those brief grins at the mention of moustache on coffee cups. "That does sound like Tony." Murmurs the woman, "Even here I would say if he could he'd put his signature scruff on a coffee cup if he could."

And he doesn't even have a coffee company!

To the talk about Miranda, Moonstar nods to all the points. To Carolus the Cheyenne woman says, "It sounds sensible, yes.", and then to Gwen, "While I can't say she's the one we're specifically looking for, I agree that there's something more there. We definitely have to do our due diligence to make sure she really isn't the one behind everything."

"Just let me know if you two need any more help and what you find out? I'll see if I can dig up anything on herb-infused robots, but also about our gun problem here." Again her gaze drops to the Chitauri rifle for a silent moment, then it's back to the pair, "In the meantime, Ghost Spider if you need a place to stay you're welcome to stay here. We have room."

And most of the Xavier times have spent enough time in other dimensions to know just how hard it is.

* * *

"I don't want to make the assumption that the robot is the person before we're more certain of it. It's more likely to be a proxy. But that's not to say that it isn't possible— that sort of thing happens." Carolus replies to Ghost Spider, frowning slightly at the potential answers here. The least gruesome is 'just a killbot', and that's gruesome enough.

"Mm? No, it's fine. Don't keep ideas like that to yourself. Drawing boards are always useful."

He nods towards Moonstar, "I appreciate it."

Hesitating, he adds, "I think that we here at Xavier's are all a little too familiar with winding up alone in potentially hostile places to be altogether comfortable with /not/ doing something about someone similarly stranded."

He looks away, percolating on whether or not to inquire into certain matters. Especially with Gwen here. But, having been offered rather a lot of help in the last few minutes, and being perfectly aware of what Moonstar was implying earlier, Carolus comes down on the side of checking anyway.

"Are you doing alright? Is there anything that I can do to help?" He asks.

* * *

"You know?" Ghost Spider cedes tonally, sliding back into a full sprawl in her chair as her neck loses ground to the back of the chair and her spine extends languidly. "I actually hope she's just… weirdly controlling the killbots or psychically imprinting on them. Becoming an oily crafts mannequin that kills people brutally… Like, that was a glory kill. The blood spatter - arterial, across the side of the wall, and the pouring down the table… she didn't die to the eye wounds. Those were for show. It was arranged. That was someone leaving a message. I really don't think it'd be better if I was right and the girl became the machine."

The gun is tapped, and Ghost Spider snaps out of her poor posture reverie. "Thanks for the consideration. I didn't… want to make a big deal about it, but I'm sorta-kinda-not-really staying with the Titans right now. I don't wanna make problems for them, so I don't really want it getting out, okay? If they hadn't taken me in, I would totally take you up on it, because I bet you'd all understand that I'd rather my room be alone, my door had a lock, and my housemates not be…"

Gwen's eyes - her entire expression, really - falls to her lap. "… Uh, psychics. I'm trying to keep it on the down-low. I've already made a choice about how I'm going to present myself: That I'm Ghost Spider, and I'm from another dimension, but I really don't want to really step in it with all the other parts of the potential other-me's."

"It's easier. You know? So that's why I'm the Ghost Spider, and not Spider-Woman, or…"

A thumb at the corner of her mask seperates it from the body piece. She pantomimes tugging it up over her head, but her thumb lets the seam fall back flat on her costume rather than peeling it off.

"You know."

"But hey-" Gwen begins on the weird alien gun thing. "If you need help punching a racist, that's definitely a punching problem and not getting me implicated in a murder. I'm definitely down to help out."

Carolus' question gets a bit of a start. "Hey, you're the one basically paying me to hero. So, it's a lot better now that I can afford food and stuff. Cash, as it turns out, is cash. Can't open up a bank or apply for a job around here even if I wanted to."

* * *

Gwen's mention of kind of, but not really staying with the Titans garners a faint grin from the woman, and a, "Well, if you find you need another place to stay." She waves at the room in general, obviously saying she's welcome here should she need it.

However, at that mention of psychics, Moonstar can't help but turn a thoughtful eye back on Gwen, as Dani says gently, "By an large most psychics aren't going to barge their way into your mind and I would be mindful of all the other ways people can find out things that you may not want them to."

Gwen's offer of helping to punch those people that need it pulls another smile from Dani, though that smile falls a little bit at Carolus' question.

"Keep doing what you're doing." She says simply, before she rises from her seat, "So, let me know what you find out as you investigate further, and once I hear about where these rifles are coming from I'll let you know. If I dig up any other info on Miranda, I'll let you both know too. Just be safe out there and don't take any unnecessary risks. There's enough craziness out there that we don't need to lose either of you. Don't be afraid to call for help, either. Got it?"

* * *

"There are plenty of psychics to go around, here and elsewhere." Carolus states, matter-of-factly. It's mostly a friendly warning to be cautious, and perhaps a quiet affirmation that, No, Perhaps Xavier's Institute really isn't for her. After a moment's more thought, he adds, "You will have a difficult time avoiding them altogether, though. It isn't uncommon even for middling criminal organizations to have low-level psychics on payroll as a just-in-case measure. I don't know if the Titans are proximal to any, but I would sooner assume so than assume otherwise."

"And yes. This individual is quite theatrical in their murders." He agrees.

Carolus begins to collect his things. The gun, pointedly, is left on the desk. He knows Moonstar's contacts and that she can take care of it better than he can. But he also just doesn't want it around. He pauses a moment as he zips up the bag, pointing at the rifle, "I can take it to lock-up if you want. But I'm not taking it home."

He doesn't think he needs to explain why not.

Carolus regards Gwen with some surprise when she takes his question to be aimed at her. He wasn't too specific, so it's not unreasonable. But even so, the reaction is a little bit embarrassing to him. He rubs at the back of his head with his right hand, "Er… yes. Well, I meant— we'll talk about it later."

His attention swings back to Moonstar, "Okay. Thank you, again. I imagine I'll be checking in again soon, so take care until then."

"If there's nothing else, I think we'll be going. It's a bit of a ride back to my side of town." Lifting his now mostly-empty duffle, Carolus makes for the door. As he had the last time he visited Moonstar, he exits with a wave of two hands, pausing to grab the rifle if he's asked to take it off to lock-up himself— and perhaps for Ghost Spider, if she lags behind.

* * *

"Good luck with the laser rifle, and the… uh, crazy racist. And the maybe-a-person-who-fell-into-a-vat-of-mannequin-chemicals, if that's even a thing, investigation too. Carolus has my number, so just have him text me."

"Helping out's what I do. I'm a…" Ghost Spider pauses, half-getting-up, half not, and just sort of hangs there. "… Actually I have no good idea for a snappy line there. I guess just call me if you need some extra sticky-strong."

Gwen finishes standing up, slapping her cheek and squeaking a hand down her mask. "Ughhhh, that sounds WORSE!"

"Let's get out of here before one of those psychics senses the existential guilt I feel for how trash my tag-lines and catchphrases are."

She heads for the door, but pauses at the frame. "Thanks for, uh, being cool and understanding? It's been in short supply in my life."

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