Nothing to Be Concerned About
Roleplaying Log: Nothing to Be Concerned About
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Lois Lane interviews one Emma Frost after the latter's acquisition of Takahashi Enterprises in the wake of the opening party of the new Metropolis branch of Frost International.

Other Characters Referenced: Akari Takahashi, Lex Luthor
IC Date: November 06, 2019
IC Location: Metropolis
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 22 Nov 2019 20:10
Rating & Warnings: G
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

The acquisition of Takahashi Industries placed Emma Frost squarely in Metropolis’s city limits. It certainly was one of her company’s more visible takeovers, particularly as it moved the organization more prominently into the Metropolis area and into several key Asian markets.

Of course, Frost isn’t particularly a stranger to press. She’s just notoriously cautious about it. A carefully prepared press release is doled out to most of the press inquiries that come from Metropolis rags, tech and luxury magazines (who both have an interest in where the acquisition is leading), and a few business magazines are turned away as soon as they submit the proposed questions.

But then an inquiry from the Daily Planet came, promising an interview by none other than Lois Lane. The way it was marketed to the CEO of Frost International was that to turn this one opportunity was suicide.

Which brings us to this moment, where Frost has actually deigned to come into Metropolis and one of the conferences in the newly rebranded Frost International tower has been decked out to be made more comfortable for a member of the press of Miss Lane’s stature.

From the hospitality basket on the table with fruit and water to the fresh flowers that fill the corner where the fancy coffee maker lives, no detail has been left wanting. And Emma? For her part, the CEO is sitting at said conference table in front of a laptop after having made this conference room her mobile office.

The blonde is in the middle of the inglorious task of processing through her email, sporting a white jumpsuit that has a bustier-like top with a lace overlay and a sash belt about her waist. The matching white blazer she wears over it at least attempts to make it more conservative.

She’s very bad at sitting idle while waiting.


It's not fair to say that Lois Lane is a hostile interviewer. The interview with Captain Marvel wasn't even unkind even for including at least a small amount of "so how do you respond to people who call you a fascist?". It's an odd position to be in when Lois Lane wants to interview you: you definitely can't say no if you want press, unless you want the press to say that you refused to talk to one of the preeminent journalists in America if not the world, but journalists known for their trust capital are a real double-edged sword. You just have to be confident that you're squeaky clean and, if you're not, that nobody will ever find out. And when it comes to Ms. Lane, the latter is hard to ensure.

Surprising possibly zero people, Lois shows up fifteen minutes early. It's a chilly day in Metropolis, and she's dressed for it: a wide crocheted band covers her ears and pulls her hair back, and her coffee cup, a ceramic reusable travel mug with bands of pink, green, and white, sports a matching mug-cosy. Her fall coat is white wool, thin enough to flow but fine enough to keep out the chill. Under that, she's dressed conservatively well: a violet dress shirt that brings out her eyes with a just-below-the-knee white skirt. In deference to the weather, she's also wearing frosted hose (in 2019?!). Her white heels seem to have not a bit of street dirt on them, but the satchel she clutches is old worn, soft leather.

When she arrives at the conference-room-cum-office, her polite smile is as bright as sunlight on ice. "Good morning, Ms. Frost," she says as the receptionist ushers her in. "Thank you for making time for me today."

Her eyes take in the room in a practiced instant. No detail has been overlooked in the room, and each one is, to the quick and discerning viewer, catalogued and carefully sorted. She sets her coffee and satchel on the conference table, offering a hand to shake.


Lois is, of course, made to wait until the precise moment of the appointment, but offered every courtesy until then. Water? Coffee? Tea? Mint? Anything else?

But then the minute comes, and the woman is leading Lane on with but a nervous glance towards her wrist watch to ensure precision.

Rising to a stand and the full of a height that - courtesy of her tall stilettos reaching not even part of an inch beneath six feet, Emma outstretches an exquisitely manicured hand towards Lois to meet the reporter's own. "Oh, certainly," she replies with every note of her cadence and tone finishing-school perfect, her lips curled upwards shrewdly. "It's my pleasure, of course, to have the time requested." Once the cursory pleasantries are over, she reclaims her hand to use it to gesture to a seat beside her, even as her left hand closes the lid of her laptop. "Please… Please, do sit down?"


Lois is absolutely shorter. Diminutive, even, in comparison to the tall and statuesque Frost. It doesn't seem to bother her, though: given that both women have that HBIC aura, the room is full of tall personalities.

She settles into the provided seat and reaches into her satchel to pull out, of all things, an honest to goodness pen and hard-backed pad. These are settled on the table and promptly ignored, at least for the moment.

"Of course. You've made yourself a delightful little eyrie in here. Half the time my own desk doesn't just have piles, it has strata."

Not a finishing school girl. That much is clear. As much as Lois is poised, it's more the comfortable slouch of the gunslinger than the book-balancing elegance of the socially trained. Or, indeed, the true style of the military officer: confident, prepared, apparently relaxed.

"How are you enjoying Metropolis so far? It doesn't seem you've been here long."


"No, I should say not," Emma agrees, settling into her own chair and then crossing her legs beneath the table. An arm drapes with a fluid elegance over the arm of her black leather-wrapped seat - a contemporary arrangement of line and comfort if ever there was one - and she places a token bit of weight on it, just for the pose of it.

Everything, obsessively considered.

"I find it an invigorating change of pace, although I'm still mostly based out of New York."

Invigorating.

That's a word that might not normally come to one's tongue when space itself seemed to object to your opening night in Metropolis.

"But the business community here is delightful. Mister Luthor has been particularly welcoming and helpful."

But even as they sit, the CEO is not content to let things lie so superficially as at the words passing betwixt them. In short order, as Emma looks Lois straight in the eyes, her gaze has a decided piercing quality. Because she's absolutely making an effort to get down to whether this is a normal gauntlet run, or whether Miss Lane has tripped across something that would mean trouble. She leans on her other talent - her telepathy, in particular - to set the course for this morning's conversation.


"Invigorating."

Lois's violet eyes crinkle at the edges. "That's one word for it. I'm glad the events on your Metropolis debut didn't cast too great a shadow. Of course, the other way of looking at it: you do know how to make an entrance."

To Lois's possible detriment, she doesn't flinch to meet Emma's bright eyes. If eyes are the window to the soul, then what Emma sees inside Lois is something like a shining neural network. Metropolis's business community is at the center today. Branching from it are the major and minor-league players. LexCorp is of course one of the biggest and brightest. There's a tenuous line connecting it to Takahashi Enterprises, which has been relabeled Frost. Branching from them are the lists of changes — sales to R&D, Tokyo to New York and Metropolis. The major (and not-so-major) changes of the last year orbit the connection like electrons: this supplier replaced by that one, the other branch carefully and quietly pruned. Potential conclusions and predictions link to multiple nodes: if this executive steps down, it means that a seemingly-separate project has fallen out of favor, for example.

It's a galaxy of connections, and some of them are more tenuous than others, but so far it doesn't look like Lois has anything truly solid. She definitely suspects the Takahashi takeover was hostile and pointed, but that's not a rarity in business. The question is why. It's not unknown for corporations to shift focus, but the stated reasons for the merger are clearly a fig leaf.

So why is Lois here? To feel out the situation. To get a sense of who Emma Frost is and what she wants in Metropolis. To see if she can tease out details of Frost's connection with LexCorp. There's at least one possible opportunity here: LexCorp is shrouded in her mind with a sense of great suspicion. Lois is in general suspicious of big business, but those shadows are all the deeper around Lex.

But over all this, Lois is as pleasant as a spring morning. "I'm surprised to hear that," she says. "Two tech companies in the same city mean stiff competition, and Mister Luthor isn't known for sharing."


Leaning forward, the woman in white picks up her coffee cup and takes a long sip, covering her multi-tasking and sorting of facts. Her eyes closed? Why, nothing more than Emma Frost savoring the exquisite selection of the coffee beans that were brought from so far away to make her drink! Certainly not the mask for her concentration. Certainly not.

"But we're not in competition," Emma counters amiably, her eyes reopening. "Not really. I mean, really, all that I'm particularly interested in is what can be purposed towards my transportation lines. Mister Luthor really has a much bigger scope than I do. We had a delightful conversation and he understands that he has much bigger competitors than Frost International."


"Of course," Lois replies with a tiny tilt of her head. She plucks up her pad and pen and begins writing, though the text is… not. It's not text. Despite having clearly been born in the eighties, this woman writes in shorthand.

"But it would be fair to say that Frost International wasn't in competition with Takahashi Enterprises. Nor has it ever been. Regardless of scale, big fish eat little fish all the time."

This sets aside the relative size of the fish involved. Frost International isn't quite so large, at least on paper, to have eaten Takahashi Enterprises in its recent prime. Lois goes on:

"Apart from removing a link from your supply chain, how will Takahashi Enterprises fit into Frost International's projects? The move to Metropolis for R&D is a big shift; are you bringing over the Tokyo staff? Hiring locally? Bringing in existing Frost International talent?"


"Hiring local is better for business, although we are certainly keeping on Mister Takahashi's daughter. She's the new vice president of this branch, and we're trusting her to keep her father's spirit for innovation alive. Give us an edge in some of our offerings."

Emma cradles her cup and muses over its edge, "But we look forward to capitalizing upon certain community advantages. Metropolis has a reputation for its technological research, but clearly New York is a global sales hub. I'm hopeful that concentrating efforts will maximize the brain power in both locations."


There's a possibly-grudging nod from Lois there. She doesn't LOOK grudging, but it's always a surprise when an executive justifies something sensibly. Then again, none of what Emma actually said is confirmation of anything. Just because hiring local is better for business doesn't mean she's going to do it. Then again, that's what the watchdogs are there to watch for.

"Acquisitions and mergers are always tense times for employees of both companies. Particularly the one being acquired. By necessity, there'll be layoffs and some possibly-uncomfortable shuffling, especially given that the Metropolis offices will be changing direction entirely. How long do you expect that process to take, and what are your plans for maintaining business as usual for both Takahashi and Frost?"


"Hiring local is better for business, although we are certainly keeping on Mister Takahashi's daughter, Akari Takahashi. She's the new vice president of this branch, and we're trusting her to keep her father's spirit for innovation alive. Give us an edge in some of our offerings."

Emma cradles her cup and muses over its edge, "But we look forward to capitalizing upon certain community advantages. Metropolis has a reputation for its technological research, but clearly New York is a global sales hub. I'm hopeful that concentrating efforts will maximize the brain power in both locations."


There's a possibly-grudging nod from Lois there. She doesn't LOOK grudging, but it's always a surprise when an executive justifies something sensibly. Then again, none of what Emma actually said is confirmation of anything. Just because hiring local is better for business doesn't mean she's going to do it. Then again, that's what the watchdogs are there to watch for.

"Acquisitions and mergers are always tense times for employees of both companies. Particularly the one being acquired. By necessity, there'll be layoffs and some possibly-uncomfortable shuffling, especially given that the Metropolis offices will be changing direction entirely. How long do you expect that process to take, and what are your plans for maintaining business as usual for both Takahashi and Frost?"


"Excellent question, Miss Lane." The praise is offered as though Lois needed the affirmation, and Frost is absolutely pleased for it. "We'll be normalizing for the next year, and we're prepared to take a few good hits over the next three. If you look at new efforts as really just a glorified 'make or buy' decision, we'll be able to immediately realize some telecom component efficiencies for our existing lines - particularly my company's trains - and we're hopeful that will give some room for that to happen. I trust upper management to appreciate what is at stake, and they've been given directives to keep a laser focus on integrating the Takahashi teams."

The blonde's head gently drifts to a sideways tilt, and her smile is distinctly shark-like, even in in its gentility. "I mean, I have a certain reputation, of course, for not being particularly afraid of shuffling or doing what is necessary for the longevity of the business. But, at least management will have a little bit of breathing space before I start looking too harshly at results."


"It's nice to see a company with a real eye for the long-term investment. So many are so much more interested in pleasing their stockholders next quarter. They end up running their businesses off cliffs." Lois smiles, meeting the pleased — and indeed, the sharklike — expression on Emma's face. If the woman's known for anything apart from interesting sartorial choices, it's her almost refreshing ruthlessness. She's a subtle knife, but no less sharp.

"An ambitious woman like you — and an ambitious company like yours — can't help but make a splash in Metropolis. You really don't think that LexCorp will see you as a threat to their throne? At the very least, you and they will be competing for R&D talent."


Emma seems downright amused at the question, and her eyebrows bounce upwards a beat as her lips quirk with a nearly puckish turn.

“I suppose we’ll have to see, won’t we? I think it’s safe to say that I’m not looking to make an enemy of LexCorp. In fact, Mister Luthor and I have actually spoken on the possibility of a few joint endeavors. As I said, there are several sectors in which LexCorp operates that Frost International doesn’t even touch, and I have no interest in expanding Frost International’s offerings at this time. We are focusing on refining and improving our existing lines and improving the ways that we can cater to our clientele.”

Another sip of Emma’s coffee follows, and she gently taps into Lois’s thoughts to translate the shorthand as it appears on the page.

“Our shareholders have nothing to be concerned about.”

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