Terrible Things
Roleplaying Log: Terrible Things
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Emma Frost finds she has a reason to meet with one Pamela Isley, and they strike a bargain.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: October 11, 2019
IC Location: Gotham, New Jersey
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 12 Oct 2019 02:10
Rating & Warnings: G
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Whenever you meet someone for the first time, there are always questions to ask.

Like: What can I get out of this?

Will I be safe with this person?

Can I trust them?

-=-=-=-

What can be gotten out of this could be summarized with a list of the things that have risen and come to pass.

Vines and walking trees in a Metropolis museum.

Over twenty incidents in Gotham involving intense customized psychotropic compounds… and that is putting it mildly. Poisoned lipstick was a common thread, but so were dead fossil fuel executives. So were shopping sprees, where the planters served her will.

Other things, mentioned in rumor, things that were nipped in the bud - hopefully - and perhaps only left forgotten in odd corners, because their creator is not the most well of people in this green and blue world. Crops that convert carbon dioxide into something near to diamond. Apples that are laden with morphine precursor. Kelp, modelled on the Portuguese man of war…

Poison Ivy can do a lot for someone.

-=-=-=-=-

Will I be safe with this person?

We all know the answer to that.

-=-=-=-=-

Can I trust them?

Pamela Isley's history can be studied. Of course, in her later college years, she went a little… unusual. But she has always been earnest. Deceitful, treacherous, yes, but those have always had the clear signs of being an act, an assumed poise, something that she was DOING, not who she was. (And she was, genuinely, never all that good at it. Debriefed accomplices may have been in love with her, even then, but they would freely admit it wasn't rational. Some even recognized they were poisoned. Did they care? A different story.)

But if you know these things, you can plan ahead. Or at least lay out the calamine lotion.

-=-=-=-=-

Initial contact was curious but cordial. An address got passed along, perhaps on a piece of paper handed over in a FedEx envelope to an address in its own right. Plenty of cutouts. Details.

The address led to a barren horrorscape where the stern heel of Frost Industries had tread but lightly - New Jersey. On the banks of a river, there is a pocket space that isn't park, isn't lawn, isn't anything. The trees grow and there are deer - there should be deer, anyway. Where did the deer *go*?

There is space to park above the river. There is a path; someone has laid down duck there are water-tolerant grasses and a hillock, rising up - it's large, really, like a fossil sandbar… or an overturned ship, long buried, but something like that would have been noticed.

Along the path, there is a tree branch that has been decorated. A whistle, carved from a bone - a deer's shank, presumably - is hanging from a leather thong.

It has something scrimshawed in the side.

"say hello! :)"

It seems clean, at least.


New Jersey really is a terrible place, but there is one thing that can be said for it:

It has a very high number of criminals who are exceedingly good at murder.

And sometimes, an excellently done murder is precisely what one needs.

Normally Emma Frost would never dare to be found in something she finds to be positively dank and dreary as this riverbank (at least by concrete Manhattan standards) after sundown.

But she has a bit of murder on the mind, and she cannot tolerate a thing poorly done.

So here we are, with her driver parking her sedan where there is room and being told to wait. He’s accustomed to it, and he pulls out his phone to play another few levels of Candy Crush. She exits the backseat and runs her gloved hands over the thick leather pants she’s chosen for the outing despite the summer heat that persists still, runs them over the lines of her corset and sophisticated duster jacket with its banded collar. The white of the ensemble seems to take on colors of the area around it—ash grey in the shadows, more cream in the patches of dying sunlight.

Her pristine stiletto heels are not precisely the sort meant for uneven ground. Some would argue that the platform boots aren’t really even for walking at all. But here she is, making the best of it as she carefully picks her way over the path that curls over the terrain. The effort of the exercise is not outwardly apparent.

Eventually the path leads to a whistle.

Gross.

Her lip—painted a silvery, dusty rose—curls up in disdain. God only knows whose lips have been on that.

Also, considering who is supposed to be lurking out there, God only knows what is on that. She quickly decides that it is probably not entirely wise to use.

So, instead of touching any part of it, she stretches out her psychic awareness to the area around her to find all of the little pricks of human consciousness around her. She finds the driver, cursing about losing again. She will also, as she expands herself to the wider realities of the world as only a telepath of her caliber can, hopefully find the mind of one Pamela Isley in the mostly empty void of thought.

And wherever she is, Miss Isley will perhaps hear a whistle that she is no doubt expecting, in the tone she was expecting to hear it.

All the while, Emma stands there with her arms crossed under her breasts and waits. With her immaculate blonde tresses pulled back into an austere French twist, she has the decided air of displeasure.


A sound doesn't ring out through the New Jersey greenery.

But it is heard.

Prior to this - when Emma reaches out with her mind - she can tell that there is a person out there. There is a subtle feeling that the local area has something more going on than it ought to, especially considering the distinct lack of animal life — there are no night-time insects, although there is the distinct and distant reep-reep-reep of frogs. Just not here. Not near here.

But that one person… her position doesn't quite make sense.

Things become clearer when Emma releases that sound, though.

The trees rustle in the wind. (But there is no wind.)

They seem to form a cathedral, blocking out the black sky with its scraps of underlitten orange clouds. (They didn't before.)

The ground splits open, quietly. (That one — well, alright. That one is just straight out new.)

The splitting of the ground comes from tussock and root intermingled with wet and clammy soil. There is a subtle sound of water pouring. The river laps extra hard at its banks. The scent that rises isn't rotten - not at all - but whether or not it is pleasant to the nose of the predator of a concrete jungle is a question for the beholder to answer.

The orchids smell nice, though.

Now that the way is cleared, the truth becomes apparent. There is bright, almost painful synthetic light coming out from the space beneath. The duckboards make a path downwards - corrugated, even, and safe to negotiate, though stilettos may make it advisable to take it slow.

This is a Quonset hut, buried, perhaps, long ago. The roof has been lined with high intensity fluoresecent lights, making the interior bright in a marginally painful way - that unnatural strength of light that is optimized for the pleasure and health of leaf, not human. Inside this buried place it is as bright as day. Orchids are growing, within; there are other things, towards the back, less colorful and less recognizable.

And front and center, casting over a dozen different technicolor shadows thanks to all the lights is -

"Ah! Welcome! Come in, come in," Poison Ivy calls.

She isn't particularly green right now, though maybe the light would make it hard to tell. Her long red hair has been brushed recently enough to look presentable. She is wearing a pair of faded blue dungarees and a work shirt with the sleeves removed, buttoned up and with asymmetrically ragged lapels. She looks blissful. Her eyes lid as she leans against a shapeless object which, now that it is in relation with a human figure, seems to have been a filing cabinet once.

The side of her lip quirks up. "You found the fingering on the whistle, first time. I'm impressed. Did you play the flute?" Did; a flautist, presumably, wouldn't be here, now, having this conversation.


“I can’t say as that I did,” Emma replies. She implies her lack of classical flute training, she means the finding of any detail whatsoever that would have brought her into contact with a possibly poisoned whistle.

The trek down had, at the very least, managed to dispel most of the outright displeasure from her features. Alas, the extra walking and the smell of damp earth—which should be the pleasure of any good gardener—preserves a small measure somewhere about the hard cast of Frost’s masterfully painted-up eyes.

As she kicks out a foot to widen her stance into something more provocative, the telepath settles her eyes and her senses on the woman who she would perhaps hire but could never trust. After all, Emma Frost is a corporate woman. A woman who sets planes in the air, trains upon the land, and boats upon the sea.

“But I am a woman of many talents…”

A pause brings another consideration of the surroundings now that her eyes have somewhat adjusted to the unpleasant intensity of the lighting. She never did like fluorescent lighting—terrible for a complexion’s appearance. Still, she is a woman who dabbles often in the strange world of mutants and their abilities. It means that the otherworldly control that Pamela Isley is considered with a critical and assessing eye, a wonder of a kind, rather than any sort of awe or fear. Her attention lands squarely back on the redhead with a twitch of her nose as an unrelated thought momentarily nags at the back of her mind.

“…as are you. Which, of course, is why I’m here. A pleasure to make your acquaintance.”


"The light's a little harsh, I know, but this used to be someone's grow op," Poison Ivy says. "I brought in a battery; that's about all that's changed…" She slides a hand through her hair then, tossing it back as she half-turns away, letting her guest come down. Turning her back, in fact. She must not be concerned.

Or she's crazy.

But why not both?

"I'd offer you a drink," Ivy continues as she saunters with insolent ease - or complete comfort - around another obscure piece of bric-a-brac, a rack that might be some kind of hydroponics. She pauses for a moment, stroking along the petals of a particularly enormous… orchid? It must be an orchid. That riot of color and shape doesn't make sense otherwise. Some kind of fragile bloom. "But… I'm afraid all I have is water, and I suspect it wouldn't be to your taste."

Her eyes turn back towards her guest as she reaches whatever-it-is. It's a chair: one with casters. She puts a hand on the back of it and begins to walk it towards Emma. If the research looked at how she was earlier in the year, she might almost be a different person entirely. Maybe it's because it's fall: she has the privilege of being ripe.

Ivy's eyes lid. "It's a privilege; really. So, I understand you're looking for help… and I understand very little other than that, although, of course, I'm a woman of science, and I can make a couple of educated guesses."

The chair is turned round. The seat is offered, with the quirk of the eyebrow and no words.

"But that's all they are. Guesses. Why don't we get this consultation started? Tell me what you need."


“I need a lot of things,” Emma says, moving towards the offered chair and taking it. Her legs cross, and—after tugging her gloves free and setting them upon her lap—she settles her arms upon the plastic arm rests with all of the regal bearing that one would expect were they to know the title she claims. “But what I need of you is a far shorter list.”

Her head tilts, taking in everything about her in both the seen and unseen worlds, and then she continues as she looks squarely at Pamela Isley. “I need a pair of people dead. And I need them to suffer a great deal. And I need for it to not come back to me in any way, shape, or form.”


“Mm hmm hmm,” Poison Ivy says.

There isn’t anyone else in this room, even if the plants feel weird to a psychic touch. Not so much negative as — well, more advanced than plants ought to be. Still, that means they might be as smart as an ant. Maybe. If you extended the analogy.

Her arms fold as she listens.

Then she touches her chest with the fingers of her left hand, right over the heart. “KILL somebody? My God, the very idea. But human life is a sacred thing,” her voice lowers, “as long as it’s rich, right?”

Having said this, she crouches. It puts her eye level, in fact, slightly below Emma’s, although the way she raises up her arms to put elbows on her knees and her chin on her knuckles doesn’t really speak of submission. Her eyes are shining like there’s some tense laughter behind them, but her lips smile. “Tell me about the middle part. What kind of suffering do you want? There are some things I can’t do, but if you’re being open-ended about it, oh, I can give you a lot. Well, them: you just get the pleasure of the advertising. That’s always the problem with killing: you can’t enjoy it from the other side.”

She is quiet for a second. Her eyes don’t blink. In fact, they slowly turn to the left, towards a patch of foliage. (There is absolutely nothing unusual about that patch of foliage.)

Back to Emma. “I’m rambling. But seriously, though. Tell me how you want them to die.”


“However pleases you best,” Emma replies, tone cool. “You see, the problem is that they can point in my direction if they decide to get talkative. So, if you can determine that they haven’t… or who knows, should it be they have… Well. Let’s just say that the price you command will reflect my gratitude.”

The plants that surround her bother the telepath very little, despite their strange animal intelligence and the way they thus impact the psychic environment. When one makes a habit of traversing the astral plane, one grows very accustomed to the odd things that the world can call into being.

“They’re presently being held in Alaska, if I understand correctly, but will be extradited to New York very soon for crimes committed there.” Emma lifts her hand and studies her silver manicure. “That is to say, there will be opportunities for things to go awry.”


“Oh, have a little fun with it,” Poison Ivy says.

Then she listens.

As she considers this, her arms unfold. Then unfold. She takes a deep breath in through her nose and that may point out that she hasn’t been breathing much other than that.

“Are they going to the Raft?” Ivy asks.

Then she says, “Tell me about them.” Reaching behind herself, she twines a streak of red hair around her index finger. Her eyes return to Emma, and she explains with a somewhat less vivacious smile, “I have to get in the mood. And if you’re going to pay for a real piece of work, then I have to know why I want to kill them. I’m told I’m an erratic psychopath, but with an underlying bloody logic to my indefensible but sympathetic deeds.”

Ivy lowers her voice. “That was in The Guardian.”


“They’re a pair of guards who made my life very miserable for a few months,” Emma says, watching the way that her nail lacquer catches the abusive light as she turns it this way and that. “And they’re not. They’re a rather mundane pair, truth be told. A regular mundane prison.”

There’s an undeniable strangeness to the world around her, but—outwardly, at any rate—it doesn’t seem to impact her. Inwardly, it sets her entirely on edge and she keeps her breathing even by conscious effort. Because the White Queen absolutely hates surprises.

“You see, they also would have been willing witnesses for the end of my life if others hadn’t intervened. They know far too much about me. You must understand, then, that I really am not in a mood to abide their continued existence.”

She sniffs sharply, filling her nostrils with the earthy smell of her current environs, and then looks up to consider the other woman.

“And, should all go well betwixt you and I… Let’s just say that there is the distinct possibility that the contract could be renewed as targets continue to… to make themselves available.” Her own red lips smile unkindly. “I have a list, you see, and I’m checking it twice.”


Emma may be able to discern that Poison Ivy got completely on board with the topic of getting some kill on when she said 'a pair of guards'. Externally there is little sign of this. Mundane pair.

The air smells slightly alien; not unpleasant, exactly, but it is a reminder that this hidden faery trod was made for people not like Emma Frost. Perhaps it isn't an unfamiliar feeling. Maybe there is empathy there.

"An ongoing and well compensated relationship," Poison Ivy says, tilting her head back, letting the light rest on her neck. She taps herself there, on the hollow of her throat. "And here I thought I'd left grad school behind."

"I'm getting quippy," Ivy says. "Please excuse an eccentric."

"I know what it's like to have a list."

After this she clasps her hands and crouches slightly, getting nearer to eye level with her guest. "Let's talk rates," she says. "You wouldn't think it, but I have expenses. Do you want to send a message,"

A flower growing out of an eyeball. A whimpering as teeth begin to unfurl, revealed to be something else, with threaded white roots where veins ought to be.

"Or just have them be dead?"

And for that one, there is no history. A lot of people die, even in the modern world.

How many did *she* help?

“If they aren’t travelling together… perhaps it should be different ways. One of them discovers a previously unheralded food allergy, and the other… let’s see… geez, this is morbid, isn’t it? But it’s exciting to think about too,” Ivy says, now looking at the ground.


“I view it as something of a necessary business function,” Emma replies coolly, as though those images were not oozing into her brain like a dark sludge. The images of death don’t trouble her—she’s been in the company of Sebastian Shaw for far too long for that—but rather awaken a different part of her.

She is a creature of dark habit.

“Far be it from me to tell an artist how to create, Miss Isley. I just wish to be your patron, requesting a particular subject. The setting and form, I gladly leave up to you. I’m not opposed to suffering, you understand, but I do appreciate the fact that sometimes one must yield to a certain spirit of spontaneity.”

Leaning more heavily to one side, onto one elbow, Frost demurely drapes one arm over the other and continues. “As long as the appropriate target is dead, and no one traces their little line back to me, our arrangement will continue.”


Ivy leans back, straightens up. Her legs cross at the ankles even as she lets her weight shift back onto the plant frame which she had been standing near. The vines themselves - move a little. Not around her, but something lower down. A sudden rustling. You might expect a squirrel or something.

There is of course no squirrel.

“Tell me what you know about their habits… I can think of all kinds of things. These sound like private prison guards, from what you’re saying, and I imagine these people wipe their ass with endangered species - if you’ll excuse my crudity.”

Her eyes half-close. “It’s a little difficult to think about this.”

Blood dripping into soil.

“I mean, from a cold start.”

Patient loving spreading of something which seems visually nondescript but is laden with portent - a symbolic impression: It’s bonemeal, and no prizes for guessing whose bones.

“But I’m talking to myself, now.” Her eyes open and she turns, chin tucking down as she says, “If I get one first, will the other one suspect anything? Because that’s what I’m thinking.” Her left hand comes up, pinky finger and ring finger held up. “One fellow has a nice discreet discovery of a food allergy in the good old fashioned prison FUCKING - excuse me - commissary.”

Her ring finger comes down. “And the other one… let’s see. Cleared? No; too many points of distinction. You’d find that too anxious. His lawyer… let’s see… lawyers are ripe loam but I don’t think you want to spread things out too much, because then you create a connection, you get a LINKAGE, don’t you see. There are people out there,” and her voice takes on a sort of thrilled intensity, “people you can SEE these things, that can SMELL them. They know where they stalk and how to hunt; like spiders, like wolves, like - hm - well;”

She laughs into the back of her hand and doesn’t say ‘bat’, though the image is very clear.

“Oh! Oh, I know the very damnedest thing. I know how I can do it. It’s so dirty, though.”

She’s still thinking about the bat.

“But,” she says, clapping her hands, “You probably don’t WANT to know the details, do you? Maybe later. When it’s all said and done. Ye-es… Two birds, two fat, ugly, stinking birds - I imagine they’re fat? Don’t disillusion me here - with one split stone.”


Emma, perhaps, should be concerned.

There is every last sign that she is sashaying into very dangerous territory—into the wild that defies the tidy, meticulous sorts of control that she prefers when her morality is most at odds with the pristine white that she wears. Except that fear would mean that she isn’t capable of seizing control were it necessary. And that is not the point of this evening’s rendez-vous.

And so she continues to just lean demurely on her one arm and tilts her own head in such a way that would typically denote a small amount of enjoyment.

The telepath should know their habits, their deepest loves and most passionate inspirations and shocking secrets enough to tear their worlds apart. Except that they robbed her of that.

Instead, she only knows the shallow, exterior worlds with what she could see of their actual doings. These things come to mind: their love for further degrading seemingly powerless things and their relentless pleasure in and pursuit of pain—especially when there seem to be no consequences in sight.

She knows the unkind touch of their hands that treated her like property, like livestock destined for the slaughterhouse; the sound of their laughter; and the sickly smell of their cheap cologne and trading post deodorant. And she knows, for one at least, the intimate creases of his face as he held her limp body down and bound her hands while someone fed wires into her back and—

“I don’t need the details at all,” Emma says coolly, expression unchanged. “That would presume that I care about anything other than the knowledge that they’re dead and that they suffered.”

Sitting up straight, the telepath reaches into her jacket to pull out a small wad of cash, approximately fifty hundred dollar bills, neatly stacked and clipped. She holds it up, waves it in the air a few times, and then tosses it out. “For the incidentals. Independent of the price you name, of course. But I need for you to live up to your reputation, Miss Isley. Metahumans who brandish their powers and do terrible things are of little value to me.”

The blonde then leans back on the one arm, ducking her head to give the impression of leaning in to share her secret: “What I need is the woman who can do terrible things… intelligently.


Poison Ivy reaches out and catches it.

Flirt, she thinks.

“Well, then.”

She says a price: It’s large, of course, but surprisingly reasonable.

Maybe she’s feeling a pang of sympathy… or perhaps she’s not as good at this as she seems. Then again, where will she spend it, anyway?


“And a bargain is struck.”

Spreading her hands with a subtle showman’s flair, Emma then rises to her feet and begins pulling her gloves back on. Her eyes drop to her work there, ensuring the kid leather hugs her hands just so.

“I’ll be keeping an eye out for the obituary, and then we can settle the debt.”

Once the gloves are in place, the telepath smooths out her jacket as though it had somehow gotten wrinkled at all. (It hadn’t.)

“Until then, good hunting, Miss Isley.”

And with that, the blonde turns and disappears in the direction from which she came. To the driver who will ask no questions and for whom she has no tale.

Now all that’s left is the first bit of waiting.

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