The Fires of Hell at Christmastide
Roleplaying Log: The Fires of Hell at Christmastide
IC Details

Emma and Tessa take another step in trying to figure out what was done to Mutivac.

Other Characters Referenced: Sebastian Shaw, Jim Frankowski
IC Date: December 25, 2019
IC Location: Hellfire Club Estate in Upstate New York
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 15 Jan 2020 21:45
Rating & Warnings: PG
Scene Soundtrack: I Know Where You Sleep by Emilie Autumn
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

There are some significant advantages to shoving everyone back to arm’s length. Namely, there’s no one to notice when you slip away at Christmas in upstate New York for another few days at an estate reserved for elite hedonists.

Emery and Tasha were on their separate holidays. Emery with his daughter and self-made family. Tasha with her parents and siblings.

It was supposed to leave Emma alone to be her own brand of angry and very drunk, like so very many Christmases before. Perhaps if she realized how much she resembled her parents in the moment, she might be more swayed to exercise some semblance of control. To maybe pick up a phone and ring Tony up and try to get herself back to better coping mechanisms. She could, after all, make an excuse for being in Metropolis to see if he was in town. She toys with the idea for a few hours.

But any thought of it dies when the summons comes from Shaw, and he informs her that he is sending a car. She refuses neither summons nor car, but rather is packed and ready to go by the time it arrives.

The timers made certain that the lights came up on Christmas Eve, setting Emma Frost’s beautiful penthouse apartment to glimmering and glowing from front door to terrace. But she was already gone and visions far darker than sugarplums became the only thing for which her brain had room.

When she got to the Hellfire Club mansion, she settled into the room set aside for her and she slept well for several hours to take off the edge of the trip. Then she dressed for the evening’s late affair. Leather pants. Her bustier. Her riding crop. Her hair pulled back into an austere low bun.

And then she descends to the basement at one in the morning on Christmas Day.

The sound from the other side of a locked door is a piteous whine. “Please,” a man begs. “Let me out and I’ll double whatever you’re paid.”

Frost says nothing, but rather mixes for herself a French Connection in a crystal Old Fashioned glass and then settles on a club chair nearby with legs crossed. She sits there for a long time with her eyes closed, listening to the man’s words… but also, more importantly, his thoughts.

“The astonishing thing,” says Tessa as she emerges, “is that it has taken so long to reach this stated figure. His initial offer was fifteen per cent.”

Tessa had not stepped out anywhere particularly fancy or complex. There is a small nook, secured, where the guards would be able to take their ease. It is where food is prepared and delivered to the prisoners. Though the intake is discreet, and the channel is not large - for the Hellfire Club does not keep many prisoners - it is laden with a level of security, check and double-check, that is hemorrhoidally tight.

Tessa knows this, because she designed it herself, stem to stern, replacing Pierce’s simple if admittedly approximately adequate automatic shipments. She doubted the prisoners would have much appreciation for an improvement in the quality of food.

Tessa is wearing one of her own leather bustiers. She has her hair pinned up near-perfectly, and she is wearing calf-high leather boots that creak. Beneath this she is wearing skin-tight but warm looking dark grey leggings with a high waistline and visible elastic. She has the expression of someone who has been working for sixteen hours and is not yet done. There are the tiny marks of imperfection that come from this, although a casual observer might only see that she is fractionally slower than she should be.

She also has a lit cigarette dangling from her lips. She approaches the door and leans against the wall, pressing a button that immediately changes the character of the pleading from the occupant. “Sound filter,” she explains. “New last week. He couldn’t hear you if you shouted.”

Tessa takes a long drag from the cigarette and exhales it towards the door vent immediately. “His stepmother,” she explains. “She beat him. He’s called out for her when he sleeps. She did not resemble me.”

After several more cycles of this Tessa becomes visibly disgusted and returns to the miniature galley. There is a pop and a faint scent of astringent mouthwash. Tessa speaks - “What are the goals of the interrogation?” - and will then, BLESSEDLY no doubt, be silent for about thirty seconds as she cleans her mouth out.

As the sound of Frankowski’s mewling in his dark little room changes to a more quiet and palatable volume, Frost relaxes a slim degree in her seat without opening her eyes. She doesn’t need them open, after all, to feel the way Tessa slides about the room.

“To be honest, I’m not entirely certain,” Frost slowly begins, hesitant to admit it. After all, what is admitted to Tessa will as assuredly get back to Shaw as the sun will rise in but five short hours.

“I used Frankowski’s theoretical and prototyping knowledge to build Mutivac in the first place, and he was there when they altered it in Kenai.”

There while they tested the alterations.

There while they tested the alterations on her.

There while they tested them on children.

“I’d hoped he’d have a more straightforward set of answers as to what was done. How it was accomplished. But there are… gaps.”

"Indeed," Tessa answers. She then spits.

She emerges into Emma's view again. She is walking with one hand on her hip. "I have reviewed the possibilities and there are several, which I will review for the sake of centering information."

She slightly raises her thumb. "First," she states, "is the possibility that Frankowski's intrinsic ability has been to some extent overestimated; that he was taking responsibility for the work of others, or perhaps that he undertook lucky guesses that led to a successful prototype. Such things are not unknown, witness the invention of vulcanized rubber."

"Second," Tessa continues, raising her index finger, "is that when he undertook his work he was in some sense actuated, controlled or otherwise influenced by an external actor. Such entities extend past the bounds of easy credibility quite quickly. However, this prospect cannot be conclusively ruled out. However, we lead now to the third plausible outcome, which is:"

"That he has received a psychic treatment,"

"And that in some way, shape or form his personality and his memories have been changed."

"The easiest would be to simply remove part of his memories. However, if he is not fraudulent in his ability, it would be worthwhile for this hypothetical individual - let us say Person X - to maintain him as intact as possible. In such a case, the full and intact individuation of Frankowski would be retained, as if sealed. This is no doubt a source of mental distress for him, which -"

'mama,' comes through the tinny speaker. 'mama please'

"As we see," Tessa says with another little moue of disgust.

"It would be plausible to present yourself in the role of a savior using classical pressure techniques," Tessa concludes, "but there is a more efficient means to which you have access. I must speak in generalities by necessity."

Now, at last, she looks to Emma, and asks: "Do you need him intact?"

“It’s not the first,” Emma says, begrudgingly, after expressing her own disgust at the man’s outburst with an audible ‘ugh’ and a roll of her eyes. She then turns her attention back to Tessa. “Not entirely, anyway. The ability has been there before. He just often lacks the creativity to extrapolate the greater learnings, grows blind somewhere in the midst of the process to possibility. He’s an efficient engineer, but lacking in art. Still. I couldn’t have built Mutivac without stealing what I did from him.” A pause. “The second possibility has more merit, I suppose.”

The telepath takes a measured sip from her glass.

And then there is the matter of Tessa’s last question. A long sigh follows as she considers it. Considers the personalities in play. The risks.

She takes another, longer sip.

“I think,” she finally replies, “that he’ll need to remain intact, yes.”

There is more sound coming from the room, and she exhales audibly as she attempts to keep her temper controlled. And then, her eyes narrow a degree and slide in Tessa’s direction.

“So that means no Selene.”

"She has not been informed of this situation at present," Tessa responds to Emma.

She walks over towards the door that holds the man.

"You will have free reign. Will it be simpler for you to operate with aid, or to penetrate this man's mind while he is otherwise distracted?"

"You distract him, I suppose," Emma says after a long moment, drinking most of her glass before setting it aside and getting more comfortable in her seat by sinking more deeply into it. She nestles her head along the back edge of it and then gently folds her hands—one atop the other—as she settles them along the boning over her belly, and then closes her eyes as she centers herself for the better form for deep diving.

Maybe this will be easier once she’s truly dedicated to the task, she reasons to herself, as she she cheers herself on wordlessly as one invariably must when the choices distill to their essence: to whether or not Tessa goes back to Shaw with nothing or some set of answers. Reports back as to whether or not Emma was able to deliver what he is asking of her.

Going back without something to say is… not really the preferred option here.

Shaw’s moods have been spectacularly sour as of late. It can mean terrible things for those who make it worse. Emma expands her awareness—prepares to slip out of her physical form to her more powerful, agile astral state as though it were nothing but one of her delicate silk robes.

“Let us begin.”

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