A Lifetime Ago

Sebastian Shaw was dead. It was over. It was... it was finally over.

It was time.

The dust hadn't even had time to settle before Alistaire invoked his authority as the Black King and called the Inner Circle to order. Once everyone was assembled and the usual formalities were out of the way, the Black King snapped his fingers and a Pawn brought an item draped in cloth to the center of the floor, before being dismissed.

"Lady Selene, esteemed others.. this is the end." He drew back the cloth, revealing a stark black filing box and a steel drum. "My time as the Black King, as any member of this organization is complete. I am departing peacefully, and taking nothing from your ranks or your resources for myself." He laid a hand across the lid of the box. "This was my previous way out. My... means of mutually assured destruction. Meticulous files, really. Compiled by the very best."

Another glance around the room, with eye contact in all the right places, before he let out a breath. He produced one of his favorite blades with a flick of the wrist, and smoothly cut open the box. He upended the contents into the drum, giving the exterior of the box a firm tap against the rim, before dropping it in as well. He reached into his pocket and swapped the blade for a lighter. He ignited it, then dropped it into the drum. He watched as it took a moment for the contents to ignite. The smell of burning paper, tinged with a hint of metal and plastic from clips and discs and thumb drives, wafted through the room.

Alistaire let the white noise of the fire and the furtive murmurs of the Inner Circle hang in the air for a long moment. "But I think I like this better." He signaled for the Pawn again, and the drum, still burning, was wheeled out. No sense leaving any scraps to be investigated. There were instructions to add accelerant and repeat as many times as necessary. Resurrection was too common a theme in his family to allow the information the same opportunity. "I can't honestly say I wish you all the best, but I can leave one piece of gentle advice. Something I read somewhere or other...

"'There will always be fools who believe that if a man dislikes violence and goes to great lengths to avoid it, it is a sign of weakness and vulnerability.'


Six weeks and three days ago

The courtship had been particularly public, and suitably extravagant. The wedding had everyone who mattered invited, and everyone who could be found on such 'short' notice showed up.

At the end of the day, there was a Mrs Reiko Shaw.

Six weeks ago

"I just need to cut out a few last cancers... I'm changing things going forward." He kissed his wife on the forehead. "Let me do this, and keep you out of it. I'll be back as soon as I can. If anything happens, go to my aunt."

Five weeks and one day ago

"Breaking News: Efforts were mobilized by the US Coast Guard in cooperation with neighboring national authorities today, in a search for wealthy socialite Alistaire Shaw. Shaw's ship is believed to have been destroyed in an unexpected storm while at sea. Although trace wreckage has been found so far, there has been no indication of the crew or any passengers' fate--"


"Hello, Mrs Shaw? Your husband has been found. We were instructed to contact you, along with his aunt, to inform you that he's left against medical advice, and being transported directly back to Manhattan by private security. He should be arriving at your primary residence with an armed security and medical escort within the next few hours."
It had been a very strange six months for the New Mutants.  With everything that had gone down with the X-Men, they had reaped some of the benefits of being associated with them, experiencing a surge in popularity, albeit on filtered through the still somewhat unstable and FOH harboring New Jersey climate.

Angel was also damn certain someone was following Sara and her around on campus.  She hadn't yet had to teleport them into one of the campus fountains or anything like that, but she was certain it was close.

Her own life was falling into order well enough.  She'd shifted her major, applying her gen eds and some of her other courses into a theater major.  She natural flair and presence helped considerably, and theater folk were largely some of the most accepting she'd known.

Not too bad a time to be a mutant, all things considered...
The fall of Sebastian Shaw did not change much of the societal face of the Hellfire Club; it was still where the people who mattered gathered, just with one less cranky meglomaniac. But the effect on the Inner Circle and the plans Shaw had for them quickly disintegrated. His loss of power left a vacuum that nature only allowed for a moment.

Selene had waited for years, if not decades, for the opportunity. She had a lifespan long enough that while her whims could seem mercurial, the patience for her machinations to unfold seemed boundless. Once Shaw was arrested for his unfortunate assault on an international businessman, the poisoned whispers she had been planting since he slaughtered her followers took hold. Shaw's name was worth nothing, and someone of prominence needed to take control. Selene did it with smooth efficiency.

All of Shaw's promises were quickly discarded.

She was named Lady Paramount with her promises of righting what Shaw had taken so wrong. She embodied the hedonistic past of the Inner Circle but her alliances showed how she could rehabilitate the Inner Circle from the path it had been set on. Her dark yet silken touch seemed a balm after the iron grip.

All other chapters of the Hellfire Club around the world were still subordinate to the power of the New York chapter. However, Selene reversed much of what Shaw ordered. All other chapters would reform their ranking to her wishes. Once the more classically game rankings were applied, they formally acknowledged the New York chapter was in charge. Then it was in the other Clubs' hands to impress her and reap rewards from doing so. Selene's proper feudalistic system was more palatable than what had been put in place previously.

For the young, rich blood of New York, invitations were sent out for some functions held at the Club. After a couple, Selene had more secret invitations to those of Hellfire lineage, like Worthingtons, Wyngardes, Braddocks, and Frosts, as well as to those newer to society that showed promise Selene was looking for.

Selene kept tabs on the recipients of those special invitations and what they had done in the time after her ascension. When she had all of the international business settled, invitations to the young blood of New York City went out. They would be allowed, one by one, into one of the inner sanctum parlors where the Lady Paramount and Black Queen of New York City sat casually on the lone chair in the room.

One of her slender fingers idly tapped the rim of the wine glass with a very deep red liquid in it. The gatekeeper to the Inner Circle was ready.
It was the end of a long work day with meetings, arguments with his father, reminders from Sage about how the orchestrated downfall was going, and a few appraisals keeping him late. Stephanie had a late class so he had no real need to rush home. Though a nice bottle of Chilean wine couldn't be amiss.

He rolled his shoulders as the elevator slowly descended to the parking garage. Most of his employees were out for the day. He huffed out a breath and loosened his tie. He tried to remember when he next boxing class was supposed to be. Tomorrow or the day after he assumed. It cut down on his patrolling but did have a side benefit of giving more tools to use as he patrolled. Since most of what he knew about the fighting arts prior to taking those classes were not very punch-heavy.

As the doors rumbled softly opened, he tossed his suit jacket over his shoulder and let it hang down his back off his index finger. The parking garage was mostly heated so he wasn't particularly worried about catching a chill. He hummed to himself as he started to saunter to his fixed up dark green Tesla Roadster.

He was oblivious to any counter-measures Sage had set up or to anyone else lurking in the garage. Though the buzz and soft clink of one of the overhead lights flickering on and off made him glance at it. He needed to remember to call maintenance about that.
Josephine hummed a tune to herself, some little archaic french nursery rhyme she'd learned from Papa, as she put the lid on the pot and left it to the final simmer. Now, for cleaning. it wasn't as though she was a messier cook than the norm, it was just that she tended to move in one long straight line throughout the whole process. From butchering, to washing veggies, to seasoning, etc etc... a large number of utensils and measuring implements left in her wake. She liked to hand wash everything, too. She knew there was a dishwasher, but it wasn't something she reflexively thought of.

She supposed the first step was to clean up the blood, before anyone else came into the kitchen.
"You'll forgive me, but I'm rather surprised to hear from you, Mr. Rosenthal." Stephanie replied after picking up the phone, expecting the call to have something to do with some unfinished bureaucratic process, or perhaps some regulator asking questions about why she'd been dismissed from the board. It was surprising when the next thing he insisted was for her to call him 'Ben'. What she'd heard next absolutely floored her.

"... you what?" She paused for a moment and spoke into the phone. "Ben. I'm flattered, and you know that I do want it, but Sebastian will kill you if he finds out you've been in touch with me like this, let alone to offer me a seat back. You have kids and a grandchild." But she didn't hang up, she couldn't even if she wanted to. She remembered Ben Rosenthal as a fairly mild-mannered man, but she heard a righteous anger in his voice when he spoke. He didn't know what exactly Sebastian had done to them, but he'd clearly influenced their minds. She imagined that such a thing would be especially offensive to a man who had loyally backed her father through thick and thin.

"You'll forgive me, Stephanie, but I've also taken the liberty of getting in contact with your husband, through quiet channels. Allow me to be very clear about this. We want Sebastian Shaw out of our lives, and out of the company that we spent our lives building- that he is <i>destroying</i> with his personal grudges. Something that he would never have done in the past. The news hasn't come out publicly yet, but the last quarter was ... pretty dire for us. Sebastian's lost a lot of his old political influence and the loss of the Veridian accounts hurt us more than we thought it would. We're virtually shut out of Latin America entirely now, and the Europeans are too broke for us." 

Rosenthal paused for a moment. "Maybe we've been King's Men too long. If you or your husband or any of your allies can give us reasonable assurance that Sebastian won't be able to personally target us, we will give you the company. Maybe we would do better with a Queen. It seems the Hellfire Club has been thinking similarly." 

After the conversation ended, Stephanie set down the phone and texted Marcelo immediately.

"Have you heard from a Mr Rosenthal?" 

dolemeck: (Solemn)
([personal profile] dolemeck Dec. 23rd, 2015 05:41 pm)
Dolemeck was dealing with a lot on his shoulders. The thought that Fred might be able to get him to walk again, a Father who continued to harass him non-stop, suffering through the traumatic effects of the raid on the mansion, and the loss of someone so close to him. All of this caused the once naive and goodie two shoe Brit to start acting differently. Much differently than normal.

He managed to successfully (as far as he knew), leave the mansion grounds to go attend a Jono Starsmore concert. It was a good escape, and it felt refreshing for him to once more lose himself to the music. Unfortunately, no concert can last forever... and Dolemeck would eventually have to return back to the mansion.

Dressed in a black leather jacket, eyepatch, a vintage rock t-shirt, black jeans, and a pair of Doc Marten boots, Dolemeck used his powers to "float" back on the other-side of the fence, and start the trek back to the boy's dorm. So far, he appeared to be in the clear.
Bobbi's stalking around the school.  With the hurricane threat over now everyone's gone back to studies and the usual stuff, which had the little winged girl a little on the bored side. 

So she's sneaking around corners looking for perfect targets.  After all, someone has to lighten up moral right?  It's a tough duty, but as cloned offspring of Bobby Drake and Warren Worthington, she's up to the challenge!  As long as she isn't late to class that is.
ESU had plenty of opportunities for students to volunteer to help after the Godstorm rolled across the city. Jay was dressed in an ESU hoodie and out to help. Not a lot of white and purple in his outfit, so he hoped people wouldn't recognize him as the giant, green guy who had rampaged through the city a few months ago.

He was under a make-shift tent picking up care packages of bottled water, food, and blankets to be delivered to people living nearby. Jay had decided it was nice to be out instead of holed up in a room and brooding. He'd done enough of that recently.

He may have overloaded himself a little with care packages. But he figured he wasn't going to get a regular work-out today, hauling around stuff for other people would do.
The man that arrived at the Hellfire Club manor looked like a paunchy, red-bearded man in his forties. In truth this was a highly convincing illusion created by an "illusion bubble" around the man's body. Giving his birth name to the butler, Harrison Turks, rather than his alias, Boss Grey was guided into the building for his building. He took a deep, calming breath, steadying himself. He was a dangerous man who'd taken more than his share of lives, but he was not deluded. He knew the person he was about see could filet him with a thought, but this was necessary if the syndicate was going to make in-roads into the Northeast.

"Wait here. I will inform the Black Queen of your arrival."

Grey just nodded, metaphorically putting his game-face on.
The Godstorm made landfall just outside of New York City. Though the massive storm did not stop once he hit land. He pushed further inland. Rain battered large swaths of land behind him. While the fury of the weather abated once he made landfall, he was still a powerful storm making weathermen consider new careers.

The Godstorm was after something, and he was willing to go over land and lose some power to get it.

Though those left in the cities behind him had to clean up from the massive flooding, wind-damage, and rampant power outages.
The grounds were still rather wet and soggy from the storm. Thankfully, there was not a whole lot of damage to the Mansion, or the dorms. Dolemeck spent the majority of the storm locked in his room, playing some vinyls and sneaking a quick smoke when he could. Now that the storm passed, he could make his way out of the dorms and into the music room without fear of getting sucked into a mud puddle or something.

For the first time in a long time, the young Brit walked out of his bedroom. No wheelchair, no leg braces. He was walking with the use of his powers. He was dressed in a pair of doc martins, black leather pants, a matching leather trench, and a union jack shirt under his coat. His black hair had grown out some, going past his chin a bit, and his skin remain rather pale. He just seemed like a different person, now.
"It's good to see you made it through the storm, Ms. Burton. We were concerned you wouldn't make it back."

"Thank you for the concern, Wallace. It's been pure bedlam out there," Millicent spoke to the hotel receptionist. Ingrid Burton was the alias Millicent was using while in the States. "Has my roommate checked in?"

"She has, Ms. Burton> Should I let her know you've arrived?"

"Thank you, but no. She knows I'm on the way."

The receptionist nods and hands her her copy of the key to the apartment that she shared with Adrienne. She promptly took the elevator up to the top floor, making her way over to their suite. She gave aknock on the door.

"Louisa? It's Ingrid." She called Adrienne by her assumed name.
New York City felt taut from the skies. As Vesper winged his way around buildings, he could feel the tense anticipation brought on by wall-to-wall coverage of the huge storm heading their way. Though that didn't mean the gangs he tracked did less.

It just meant they got more trigger happy and frantic about the next shipment getting in before the rest of the city blew away. He was on his way to a meeting. He'd overheard part of it. He didn't have all the details but enough to get there and make these drug-pushing gangs regret it.

He kept his ears tuned toward the ground as he flew. It was always good to know if he was spotted and going to be shot at. Which is why he didn't fly right by a set of apartment buildings in Brooklyn when he heard a blood-curdling scream.

Vesper adjusted course and swooped lower to try to figure out what that was and where it came from.
There was a notebook and a felt-tip marker hovering in mid-air inside the office of the Headmistress of the Xavier School. Behind it, Julia stood, invisible, inside her new hard light exoskeleton. She would have sat down, but she was still having trouble moving and manipulating the shell.

She was a little nervous, still unsure about interacting with people again, even though Mrs. Grey-Ramsey had been filled in that Julia wasn't just a mass hallucination brought on by mid-term exam jitters. It had been a while since anyone had noticed her, and just as long since she'd sat in a classroom.

The pen vibrated slightly against the notebook. Julia was trying hard to keep her nervousness in check. They didn't need any more bleeding walls or fly infestation incidents.
The Godstorm came at New York City, gathering other storms nearby to it. It wanted power Thor's little hammer couldn't easily undo. The Godstorm had underestimated the god once. If he showed up again, he would be ready. His reach was expansive. All along the Atlantic Coast, they felt his raging wrath. Even glancing touches from his circulating clouds brought damage.

There was warning he was coming, but Godstorm cared not one whit. He want right toward the harbor, using its funneling effect and the high tides from the moon to shove torrents of water into the megalopolis. He pushed on shore, making his way inland.

He was looking for something. Not that the small people trying to survive the hurricane coming ashore knew that. Their survival was not even a concern. He just pushed on land and spread his reach. He pushed his storm inland and the requisite flooding came with it. The winds howled and shards of glass broke off skyscrapers and added sharp damage to the mayhem.
Something had been tickling the edges of his prison. He had been laid in this limbo between the Cragmouth and the mortal realms by someone else's machinations. He had been waiting, plotting, massing power that the mortals were unintentionally creating for him.

Then the moment came in October of 2012. Someone drilling on the seafloor hit one of the runes holding the Godstorm in limbo. He emerged slowly, taking stock and building strength. In meteorological terms, where he emerged became a low-pressure system south of Jamaica. He moved northward, toward what he sensed he needed. Towrd the terrestrial heart of his biggest foe.

He passed over the small island nation and slipped into the fertile waters south of Cuba. There he gathered more strength, his winds howling over the third world nation.

The Godstorm made his way north, sending meteorologists into a frenzy of activity of prediction. The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts headquartered in Reading, England predicted the massive storm would head toward New York City.

The powerful being didn't care if the mortals predicted where he was going as he amassed hurricane power. Nothing could stop him.
Dolemeck was getting tired. Not just of probation, or the from the stress of physical therapy, or even a stomach that was taking way too long to heal. No. He was getting tired of patiently sitting by his cellphone just hoping and waiting for Ilya to call. It never happened, and he knew it was all over.

He broke his probation curfew to lay on the grass of the mansion grounds, just looking up at the stars above him. Ilya used to tell him that when two people who were meant to be together perished, they became stars in the sky. Dolemeck wanted to believe that so badly, that Ilya had been the one for him, and they would spend eternity together. Fate decided to say otherwise.

Dolemeck still found days where he knocked on his, no, Pete's bedroom door. He and Ilya used to go to class together, and it was a terrible force of habit. Not just that, but a reminder he was not there anymore.

He faintly touched the black eye-patch that covered one of his eyes, wondering what it was he did wrong. Was he too weak? Too silly? Why would he just leave like that? What had he done that was so wrong, that Ilya had to leave like everyone else in his life?


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The Next Generation of Marvel Heroes

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