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

Carolus brings Domino and Illyana up to speed on Warren and Alison's murders.

Other Characters Referenced: Warren Worthington, Alison Blaire, Gwen Stacy, Danielle Moonstar
IC Date: October 26, 2019
IC Location: Xavier's Institute
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 26 Oct 2019 20:20
Rating & Warnings:
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

* OOC Time: Sat Oct 26 12:44:15 2019 *

* * *

Carolus Sinclair has taken over one of the meeting rooms in the Institute's faculty area, roping it off and making certain that anyone who is looking for information about his emergency alert gets routed there. He's planning on being here more-or-less all day to give multiple waves of people an opportunity to get in touch with him in a semisecure location.

A couple of pitchers of water and some glasses are left out on the long meeting table at the center of the room, along with some donuts and little sandwiches. Carolus himself is seated at the head of the table, sipping on an unhealthily massive soda that he probably got from a nearby gas station.

A folder sits in front of him, opened, displaying a timeline of events going back to an incident in February. His phone is sitting active on the table next to the folder, its face currently displaying a contact identified only as SPOOKY.

* * *

Some things in life you just plain make time for. Neena cleared out her schedule, made sure that one other bad influence of late had gotten the message whilst living under a proverbial rock, then made the trek back to the Institute.

When she shows up she's already looking appropriately grim, having gotten a head start on that festivity. The uniform has been left behind, she's planning on making a few adjustments to it anyway, but there's still a whole lot of black covering what would otherwise be a whole lot of white.

A simple "Hey" is offered in greeting. She only knows Carolus from a very brief exchange back at Worthington Tower during some mega plant crisis. It was kind of a weird time. A glass of water and a chair are claimed but she doesn't dive into the 'what have you got' until one more individual shows up.

* * *

It's hardly Illyana's fault that Limbo has no cellphone reception. The fact that she's used that as a convenient excuse on any number of occasions when she'd rather avoid being put to work is entirely coincidental. It's a bit more difficult to ignore a message delivered in person by Domino.

Not that Illyana would have. Not in this case. It would be difficult to describe Illyana's relationship to very many of the X-Men as 'close', but she is (somehow) still a part of the team. What happens to the other members does matter.

A flash of silver-white light suddenly brightens the wall outside the meeting room, and then footsteps are heard approaching. As if someone had crept soundlessly along the corridor and then given up on sneaking for the last few feet.

Illyana appears in the doorway, not in uniform but at least not looking like the Demon Queen of Limbo. Shredded black jeans, heavy boots and a black skull-motif top are the order of the day. Cold blue eyes flick from Carolus to Neena - accompanied with a quick look-I'm-here expression - and then back to Carolus as she steps inside.

"What have you got?"

No preamble, but at least she didn't teleport right into the room.

* * *

Carolus waves back at Domino with both of his right hands. He pulls himself away from his phone and up to the surface of actual attentiveness, looking at Domino properly. The scent of her is familiar, from the incident with the giant mutant plant that turned out just to be some kid's science project gone wrong. The sharp contrast of darks with white skin is especially striking with /his/ vision, but he's polite enough to take notice without staring.

The flash of light outside quickly draws his attention to the doorway, because /sudden lights/ are also exceptionally visible to him. He tenses for a moment, but a passingly familiar scent emerges out there too, and by the time Illyana has made herself visible he's begun relaxing again.

He clears his throat, scooting forward in his chair a little and tapping at the folder in front of him, "Long story short, Warren and Dazzler were elaborately murdered. No suicide involved. We suspected as much from the start for reasons I will assume are obvious enough, but Danielle and I were able to visit the crime scene. The ballistics don't entirely fit, the crime scene wasn't gone over correctly, the crime scene wasn't properly guarded, there was a little evidence of an extremely competent clean-up, and we discovered that Alison was drugged with ketamine before she was killed."

He takes a moment after that, fidgeting with the folder in front of him. It's not necessary. Carolus just really hates thinking about that last bit. After a moment he continues, "Danielle and I went to check out the building where Warren's wings were sent for disposal. All of the people there had been converted into techno-organic blob zombies by a substance that was leaking out of what remained of the wings. Analysis of this substance suggests that it was extremely targeted— meant to eat Warren's wings up and stop them from healing properly at a measured pace."

"Additionally, both bodies vanished from the morgue in the middle of an electrical disturbance before they could be meaningfully examined by anybody."

"I was actually hoping that you," he inclines his head towards Illyana, "might be able to use what's left of Warren's wings to find out where his body ended up. But I don't know if that sort of magic is up your alley. And, er… how do you prefer to be addressed?"

After giving Illyana a moment to answer, he continues, "To round this all up, given the particulars of the crime scene, the targeted infection of Warren's wings, Dazzler's… condition… and the ease with which they appear to have been dispatched, we're looking for somebody who could've tampered with Warren's treatments without anybody really taking note of what they were doing, and somebody that neither of them would expect to hurt them."

"Cameron Hodge is a prime suspect." He concludes, grimly.

* * *

Neena can't say 'right on schedule' to Magik's arrival but she cracks a humorless smirk when the blonde seems to read her mind. It saves her the trouble of having to ask the initial question to get the ball rolling. Maybe being a bad influence goes both ways.

The two ladies now present aren't the only oddities. She can't help but watch Carolus and the operation of those extra appendages. Does it make life any easier or do they tend to get in the way? How difficult is manual dexterity when the brain has twice as many points to keep track of? Such questions are never given life, they're retained for another time.

This meeting has a much different focal point.

Soon enough she's releasing a breath which she didn't realize had been held. -Not suicide.- While this creates a whole slew of additional concerns it is at least nice to know that Warren hadn't suddenly gone off the deep end and murdered one of their own on his way out the door. He may have gotten really bad for a while there but it would have hurt something special if she learned that he had truly lost everything along with his wings.

Hearing about the scene has the wheels of her mind quickly spinning. She's been on the hunt for a group of very well equipped mutant assassins lately but this doesn't fit their M.O. Not unless they're changing up their approach. Still, it doesn't seem likely that it's the same crew.

Then matters get truly worrying. 'Techno-organic blobs.' -Extremely targeted.- A fresh wave of tension falls into the very still ex-mercenary.

This is some seriously epic levels of Bad.

Sinclair's labeling of the prime suspect is met with a slow nod. Domino's already wishing that she would have put a bullet in the man's head when she saw him back at the tower. Whether Magik can work such magic with broken and infected wings is another point of thoughtfulness, sliding a cold look Illyana's way to see how she responds.

Then comes her own offering. "What can I do?"

* * *

For her part, Illyana doesn't seem remotely surprised, in any way unsettled, or even particularly curious about Carolus' additional limbs. Probably because she rules a dimension full of horrifying creatures that differ far more from the accepted human norm, and if she scrutinised every weird-looking demon she came across, she would never get anything done.

Illyana's perspective is a unique and probably not entirely healthy one.

Not having taken a seat, Illyana just stuck her hands in the back pockets of her jeans after asking her question, her weight shifted slightly to one hip. Her posture doesn't change when the word 'murdered' is used, but her eyes, already cold and guarded as always, go positively icy. Suicide was a weak way out for any X-Man, but murder? That demands a response. Illyana listens silently as Carolus gives them the run-down, eyes narrowing when he mentions that Dazzler was drugged. That's an additional insult.

When Carolus addresses her directly, Illyana shifts her weight to her other side, some of the coldness in her eyes giving way to a look of calculation - and a flicker of amusement to match the faint smirk that tugs at her lips when his efficient summarising hits a speedbump. "Illyana is fine. Magik if you feel the need." She still looks thoughtful, then gives a nod. "There are things I can try. I should be able to get you something. But I'll need the wings. And what I have to do might not look very… respectful." There's a faint note of warning in her voice. There aren't nice ways to do black magic.

What finally gets Illyana to move is the news that Carolus has a suspect. Not seeming to hear Domino ask her question, Illyana's hands come out of her pockets, she takes a step over to the table and leans on it, palms flat against the surface. "I have a question. We have a house full of telepaths. Why isn't one of them in his head right now, if you think he did this?"

* * *

Carolus centers his attention on Domino. He seems to recall that she was very… shoot-y with the plant. He drums a finger against the file and replies, "Given the staging of specifically a murder-suicide, and the relative ease with which Warren and Alison were dispatched, it is my opinion that this feels very /personal/. It's intended to hurt people around them while getting them out of the way. With that in mind, we can't really rule out any investigators being targeted."

"Basically, we need everybody in on this to have consistent back-up on hand. In that regard, it's good that the pair of you turned up together." He says, "But beyond that, there is somebody who would be useful to /rule out/ if possible. Cecilia LeFrak and her son Hunter might be red herrings, but they're the ones most likely to benefit the most directly from Warren's death."

"Root around in what they've been up to and determine whether or not they're involved in any of this."

His attention swings back to Illyana, "Illyana, then, for the moment. I am told that codenames are for the field, but as I'm sure you're aware, the feelings on that are… variable."

To her warning about the particulars of what she might do, he shrugs lightly, "We are a little beyond disrespect mattering much, and even if it were prone to offending me I would make allowances in exchange for leads. Danielle has the wings, so you'll want to link up with her. She'll probably be keeping them at headquarters proper, given the… close nature of our current probable enemy."

"Because none of them are involved yet." Carolus answers Illyana's question. He adds, "But to be truthful, I would be worried about sending one out to scan him. If Hodge /is/ responsible, he's been positioned to gather information on our capabilities for a long time. Finding a way to keep telepaths off of him, or hurt them for trying to inquire— I think you see where I'm going with this line of thinking."

"I'm sure we'll get around to trying that anyway," He continues, "but things have been happening very quickly."

* * *

Once again Neena has to nod at what Carolus suggests. This -does- feel personal. Already a previous encounter is running through her mind, the one time she had found Warren at the tower in his office dealing with family. They had been nothing but arrogance and cold shoulders. She'd bet her last hand grenade that they had some connection to this elaborate plot. They had the motivation, the resources, and the connections.

And now Domino has their names.

As far as having backup goes she passes another look back to Illyana while openly stating "We seem to work well together. Looks like the buddy system is a go." If only all problems could be so easily resolved…

The idea of putting some telepaths on the prowl is a good question from Magik. The response given by Carolus is troubling, but meritable.

"If this actor has access to that techno-organic stuff then it stands to reason they'd also have psychic defenses. Just a few months back we pulled a high profile telepath out of a lab where they had been utilizing psychic inhibitor tech. As I recall we never did find everything that we were looking for. Who wants to bet that we'll find the missing piece in the coming weeks?"

At 'things have been happening very quickly' she dips her head once more, adding "We need to move carefully. Don't strike until certain. These bastards may have gotten the home run they were looking for but they'd know better than to think they're in the clear. They'll be looking for retaliation."

For that matter, she still owes Hunter a swift punch to the face for the way he sneered at her back at the office. Not that she's bitter or anything. The little punk has it coming.

"I'll dig into LeFrak and Co. Sloane might be helpful there." SHIELD connections and computer-savvy and all.

* * *

Illyana is consistent back-up? She's going to have to upgrade her association with Domino from 'someone I keep throwing demons at because I haven't found their freak-out limit yet' to something more professional. She can handle that.

Domino gets a glance back over her shoulder. "I'll make sure you have a way to get hold of me." Wait - there IS a way around Limbo's lack of cellphone reception? "Before you get thrown out of another window." She probably didn't need to mention that. In any case, her attention is quickly back on Carolus.

The 'for the moment' gets a slight raising of Illyana's brows, which is probably mostly hidden by her bangs. If things weren't quite so grim she might ask what else he has in mind to call her. Instead, she just gives a brisk nod. "I'll find Dani."

What Illyana's most interested in is the answer to her question… and she's not entirely happy with it. "I do." See where he's going with that. "And if he does, that sounds like an admission of guilt." At which point she'd be more than happy to drop him into Limbo and let the demons play with him. Let's see him be prepared for that! Of course, she doesn't actually say any of that.

Pushing off with her hands, Illyana steps back from the table and lets Domino and Carolus talk strategy. She has her own assignment. She does put in, "Let me know if you need a way in - or a quick way out."

She's turning into such a team player.

* * *

"One more thing." Carolus can't help but be reminded of his conversation with Moonstar when they were looking for a way forward.

"I understand that everyone is going to be out for blood, but this needs to be as clean as we can make it." His antennae droop a little, "As much as I appreciate the desire to avenge, Warren and Alison were trying to improve the lives of the mutants around them and promote the repeal of the registration act. This already isn't good for that, but if we end up going and enacting our own justice in a way that winds up public we could be doing harm to the very causes that Warren and Alison were attempting to champion."

"This isn't an order, and I'd prefer not to argue with anybody about it. But this is…" He pauses, glancing down towards the folder beneath his hand, "This is the end of Warren and Alison's story. We have the opportunity to give it a different conclusion than their murderers intended, and I would prefer if it was a positive thing."

"That's not a judgement on anybody who would prefer something more decisive," Carolus flips his folder shut, "and I am given to the impression that Danielle would prefer the more decisive course of action. That's her call, not mine."

He smiles grimly towards Illyana, "I expect that we will be taking you up on a secure entrance or exit sooner or later. I'm not sure when, but it's only fair to suggest that you should expect it."

"Do either of you have any further questions?" He asks, picking up his ludicrous soda and sipping at it while he waits for an answer.

* * *

There's an eyeroll and a dismissive hand-wave which -might- happen to involve a little emphasis on a middle finger towards Illyana when she mentions being thrown out of another window.

"Oh goodie. A fresh hotline to Hell," she deadpans while, sure enough, considering that Illy has had a means for easier communication across the dimensional limits this whole time and never bothered to mention it before. Dom really can't be surprised that a demon is keeping secrets. The albino's just a plain old mutant and she keeps plenty.

Carolus returns with a 'sales pitch' which Neena has heard time and again. -Every time- she had tried to play ball and -every time- she had faltered. But, failure can also be a learning experience. Steps have been made. Tech had been procured. And for all of the BS that she had put Alison and Warren through the -very least- she could do is to not defile their murders by adding more bloodshed on top of it.

Her personal endeavors may not have such a guarantee but where this operation is concerned she offers the rarest of paired words in her vocabulary. Far and above more rare than 'help me,' 'thank you,' or 'I'm sorry.'

"I promise."

She won't be robbing their fallen of their vengeance.

One unknown matter does remain, however. With a sip of water she holds up a single finger, looking to Carolus when she asks "Who's currently in charge? Dani?"

* * *

In the midst of a briefing about the murder of two of their team-mates and Neena is giving Illyana the finger? It's a shocking breach of etiquette and the blonde sorceress probably should have hidden the look of satisfaction that appears on her face from getting a reaction out of Domino. At least it's gone as soon as it arrives.

"Don't worry, you won't have to sacrifice anything to make it work. And you won't have to worry about getting a wrong number."

Try not worrying about that now, Neena.

Illyana, too, has heard The Speech before, though probably not as often as she should have. Too many still see her as Colossus' innocent little sister. She spreads her hands to the sides, palms out. Innocent. "I'll be good." Maybe not so innocent.

And she stopped short of making a promise like Neena, too.

"I'll be waiting for it." She replies simply, and lets Neena wrangle the chain of command.

* * *

"Danielle is in charge, yes." Carolus confirms, matter-of-factly. He straightens up a little to add, "Sorry if I offered the wrong impression, but it's certainly not me. I'm just a messenger and information collator."

He fishes a pair of /very obvious/ burner phones out of the satchel besides his chair, and slides one to each of them, "I'd prefer to avoid electronic communications, but I gave Danielle a burner with some contacts I pre-configured and I've done the same with these two. If you need to get in touch quickly, these are probably good for a few uses before they're a liability."

"Friendly third parties involved in this investigation— Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Ghost Spider…"

"Warren's assistant, Kiff, is also probably in danger. We can't keep too close a watch on him without getting noticed, but I thought I ought to mention it. I think… that's actually it."

"Illyana, er…" He focuses on Domino, "I didn't ask your preference of address, did I? Sorry about that. What would you like to be called? At any rate, thank you both for coming. I'll be around the rest of the day if anything comes up, and I'll try to keep you up-to-date."

* * *

At 'you won't have to sacrifice anything' Neena gives Illyana -such- a look.

One more nod to Carolus soon follows. Danielle's a good choice but Domino can only imagine the amount of stress being placed upon her shoulders lately. It would be a good idea to let the Cheyenne know that she's 'back' without reservations.

"You're fine, Atlas. Great work here."

The burner is taken and pocketed with well practiced motions. "Agreed. I'll keep off the grid as much as possible."

Magik's 'suggestion' of being good is met with "I can help make sure you do." It might seem laughable coming from the murder-happy albino but when she wants to be focused she can put a laser to shame. Illy can take it as a promise or a threat if she so desires. Or both.

The other three names are noted and filed away. Kiff..there's a tough one. Given the opportunity she'd form an extraction team to get him somewhere safe as soon as possible..except for the matter of such an effort being noticed. She hates to leave any potential allies or resources out there to fend for themselves but it is what it is.

As far as how to be addressed? Had the question been asked any other time she would have given the codename without a second thought. It isn't such an easy decision anymore. It may have taken losses from their roster to finally get the pale lady to commit to this family but she's finally getting there.

"Neena's fine. Appreciate the intel."

* * *

Any private doubts Illyana might have about Dani running point when this whole thing at least began with the return of her own personal demon in bear form… do not show on her face and are certainly not voiced. Illyana has a ton of faults but she stands by her friends. There's just a sharp nod of acknowledgement.

Illyana steps forward to collect the phone that's sliding in her direction, and it disappears quickly into a pocket. "Understood." She has her own ways of making contact if she really needs to, but the phone will make it much easier - and probably more comfortable for Carolus.

At Domino's so very confident comment, Illyana's head turns sharply enough to make her hair sway. But she doesn't say anything, just holds Neena's gaze for maybe half a second and then gives a very slight nod. Make of that what you will.

Oddly, there's one thing that puts a minor dent in Illyana's composure.

"You don't have to thank me. This is important."

She's still human enough to know that.

* * *

"Neena." Carolus repeats, with a nod, "Atlas or Carolus are fine for me. I, er, probably said that already. And thank you, I appreciate your confidence."

Smiling up towards Illyana, he replies, "Yes. Even so."

"I look forward to hearing from you both again. Be careful. Be safe." He advises.

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