The Cat Comes Back
Roleplaying Log: The Cat Comes Back
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

T'challa pays a visit to one Jessica Jones. He's got a new job for her.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: August 17, 2019
IC Location: Alias Investigations, Hell's Kitchen, New York
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 18 Aug 2019 05:13
Rating & Warnings: PG
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Some of the desks have been moved out of Alias Investigations, which is no longer an apartment thanks to giant explosions. Instead, it's on another street, in a building which is decidedly non-residential. This hasn't stopped Jessica from replacing desks with a couch and coffee table. And while presumably that's supposed to be for client comfort, the reality is she's eating noodles out of a take-out box at that self-same couch, perched atop a pile of blankets that make it look like she sleeps there.

The office is still barren enough for an office, and God knows it doesn't have a kitchen or a shower. But then, that's what the take out is for, and all sorts of places have showers. Gyms, for example. Her hair is wet from one, so she's certainly found somewhere to do it.

There's a Grumpy Cat plushie on a big bookshelf in the corner that surveys her domain. He probably won't try to challenge the King of Cats for his title, but…maybe worth mentioning.

It was not hard to monitor her progress.

Though the Wakandan embassy provided an extensive report on the bombings in New York from their intelligence services, T'Challa had issued explicit orders not to intervene, focused on their agenda at the time. Aside from the refugee sanctuary they had set up during the invasion, he had been more or less laying low. There were, in short, many challenges for the Wakandan king to sort out. Old business, as it were, was a priority.

The Milaje, as a group never exactly fond of the woman who theoretically could snap the King's neck, had insisted on securing the perimeter on the floor of her office, mostly from the neer-do-wells that seem to hold a particular fondness for the private investigator. As for the rest, one could very barely say that they had seen the king of Wakanda enter the building at all, let alone Alias Investigations. There would never be any record, or any indicator that T'Challa had ever been there. Such is the nature of sensitive operations.

But for Jones, the young man walking into the office — noticeably unannounced — strides in like he had just come in from a long rain, with the meter and composure of a man returning home. There is that certain familiarity between friends, though one would be hard pressed to tell with the young panther's mood and disposition being customarily as it is. He carries with him a black messenger bag, marked with silver filigree and exotic geometric patterns. "Miss Jones," he begins, as customarily abrupt as ever, "it has been a long time…"

Jessica Jones does a double take. "It really has," she says, eyebrows shooting up. Events had just shaken out in a way that had made it seem to her that the King had needed her to stay out of his space, and she'd respected that. And there certainly were events and issues aplenty for her to tackle herself, things that swept her attention away. There's always another case, always another lead, always another angle.

She puts aside the take-out, dark eyes flicking to the bag with her customary curiosity. But they soon return to his face as she stands, waving to offer the couch to him after shoving the blankets to one side. She pivots to grab her office chair instead, the rolly one, promptly straddling it and rolling it back and forth while she drapes her arms over the back of it.

"Want some take-out?" she asks, like he's anyone else who has come to visit. "I bought plenty. And…what can I do for you?"

There is an odd rhythm to the panther, strange and out of sync with the rest of the world around him. Where one is relaxed, he is ready, and where one is in motion and surprised, he seems all too calm. As she sets aside her meal to gather the chair, he watches her with sharp eyes darker by a shade than most things someone would have the discomfort of running into in any given day. There is a pause in his step, as he hovers with his weight over one foot as she moves.

The interesting fact of it is that T'Challa's stride and tempo never really changes. It's always just slightly faster than one and slightly more calculating than the other, something very deliberate in the way he speaks and the way he presents himself. To that end, when he raises a slow hand to her offer, he does so with the premeditation of someone who knew she would ask that. "Actually," he asides, the mildness in his tone still hard to pin down, "I thought you would appreciate it if I brought something of our own. A pilau, with braised berbere lamb, and some sweet maize snacks for your other clients."

He raises the bag, pointedly, before setting on the table next to the couch.

"You would do well to eat well, Jessica Jones. Consider it a compliment of the homelands, in recognition of the business we must do."

Jessica's eyes light up, and a genuine smile touches her lips. She'd thought there was a file folder in there. "Then the homelands have my thanks," she says, as she scoots forward to pull out a bowl of pilau. She's soon found a spoon for it and is digging in. Her eyes close in bliss. The food was only one part of the country she'd fallen in love with while in Wakanda, but what a part! And she hasn't had any since coming back to New York. She'd forgotten how incredible it was.

Three bites in before she remembers the rest of what he said.

"What do you have for me?" she asks, though thankfully not with a full mouth. Her manners are so hit-and-miss at the best of times, but she doesn't push it all the way into straight barbarism, remembering to modulate her behavior a little around a King.

For all that she immediately takes another bite. This is indeed the first eating well she has done in weeks, and she hadn't realized how much she'd missed that, too, until now.

To this end, the king seems pleased — or at least as pleased as he ever is. It's worth noting that the Wakandans use actual stoneware for their bowls — or at least something that quite reasonably approximates such, as the bowl is not itself hot though the food is still warm from the fire. The scent of the allspice is crisp as the wire-clip cover is removed, and dish itself is rich. The lamb is very tender, and the overall berbere spice gives it a prickly full body to complement the buttery rice. Though many of the dishes Wakanda purports have spread roots throughout Africa, African cuisine in general is regrettably rare, even in New York, let alone anything similar to the Wakandan taste.

Interestingly enough, there is no file folders in the bag. There are a few beads, a few spinning trinkets the children made, but no actual paper. Then again, the Wakandans never were big on the idea of using sliced and mashed trees for the purposes of recording good ideas. Even trying to explain it seems shallow, and T'Challa is almost absolutely certain Shuri has laughed at more than a few Americans for thinking any differently.

"I will be sure to pass on your gratitude," the king finally suggests, stepping away from the table. He gives her her due time to eat, but he does not wait for her to finish before speaking, never actually sitting down, instead favoring the proverbial window with a view. He would not be here if it were not important enough for him to come, and though he does bring her favor and time in equal amounts, there is still yet business to discuss.

"It is about an exclusive group called the Hellfire Club," T'Challa speaks, gravity and the grave settling on either shoulder with the whetstone tone of his voice. "I wondered if it is something you have heard about," he says, leaving the question open.

Jessica shakes her head. "I haven't," she says. "But that's no thing. I haven't heard of all sorts of stuff that comes to me at the beginning of cases. What do you already know about it? And what do you want to know?"

Probably not a huge surprise Jessica has not heard of this club. She's hardly anything like the caliber of person that might be found in those debauched halls. Then again, her career has taken her into many strange places that nobody would expect to find her. Witness the man staring out of her window now.

It isn't much of a view. It's now a first story window that looks out on a narrow, but clean, alleyway. The view is soon stopped by the graffiti-strewn side of the building next door. It's a fine place to light up a cigarette or to get some air on a hot summer day, but it's not exactly a rarified spot.

"There is a club that they say is at the center of everything."

T'Challa is not facing Jessica when he speaks, hands loose at his sides. He's done this once or twice in the past, mostly to organize his thoughts as he speaks. She is, by now, familiar with his lack of emotes; the king never really raises his hand unless it is to command attention, and doesn't seem to have the same nervous tics that others have. He never wrings his hands, never puts them in his pockets, never crosses his arms, never paces.

He is as open as the field.

"I first became aware of this clique during my time studying abroad as a youth, open only to the richest families in the world. The say that it is a den of iniquity, where those of ill repute can get almost anything. If that were it alone, I would have no questions. But there is something beyond the pale. Something even my intelligence services cannot fathom in our surveys. There is some schools of thought that would say I am eligible to join… and for our own purposes, I intend to do so. However," T'Challa minds, the thought an drawn blade.

"I must know if there is something to the rumors first. This itself is not a thing I do lightly."

"Alright. I'll get on it. I'll let you know when I know more," Jessica promises. No job too big, no job too small, even if that includes busting into what might well be the actual Illuminati or something. But as it happens, Jess actually does have some ideas on where to start. She takes another bite of the food, then adds: "Standard disclosures about the amount of time that stuff can take apply, but I'll get it done."

Because something like that could be the project of months, not weeks, starting place or no starting place.

"Hmm," T'Challa vocalizes, lightly consenting to her disclaim without words, the slightest incline of the head enough to carry his thoughts openly.

There is a strung moment between the two that the young panther never speaks directly to, though he seems most comfortable when these things are left unspoken. By the time he lifts his eyes again, he seems ready to leave. "Jessica," he starts, oving onto a different tack. "Be on your guard. There are many stories surrounding the Hellfire Club that do not speak well to their intentions towards those without keys to every door. There are some who may have disappeared entirely. I trust you will carry out our will with rectitude and discretion.."

He does take his leave, in time. Though, it's the strangest thing. The building seems to suffer sporadic power outages shortly after he steps out of the office. Oh, only for a few moments here and there, but it is regardless an inconvenience. The New York power grid is a misfortune T'Challa would not visit on any one of his citizens. Or at least that's what he would say…

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