After the ranks for the Inner Circle were given, Selene disappeared for a few days to handle business with other chapters of the Hellfire Club. When she returned to New York, she had invitations issued to the newly ranked members of the Inner Circle. They would each be shown to a different room from the one where they received their ranks.

The large, circular room had a black and white tiled square in its center. Where the pawns should have been on the large chessboard were two long tables. There were ornately carved and appropriately colored chairs at each spot for the rooks, bishops, and knights. No chairs sat in the white king and queen spots nor in the spot for the black king. The black queen's position had a familiar throne in it.

At each position was a triangular name plate made of gold with each person's name and rank. A couple positions had "Reserved" on their name plates: one of the white bishops and one of the black knights.
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.
Lena rested her arms on the rail of the mezzanine, a glass of champagne in one hand, and a paddle with a number printed on it in the other, watching New York City's wealthy elite milling about, inspecting items they intended to bid on later that evening. It was all for a very worthy cause, of course, orphans in Outer Northwest Slobovkistan, or some place like that.

She plucked a canape from a passing waiter, some kind of melon wrapped in paper thin prosciutto ham. She wondered what thinly sliced smoked orphan would taste like with melon, and decided it might be better with strawberries and brie. She thought about how irritating the contact lenses she wore to mask her demonic orange eyes were. She thought about catching that waiter after the auction and devouring his soul.

Her presence at the auction was to acquaint New York society with the lovely daughter of the eccentric and wealthy Dr. Nathaniel Essex, just arrived from London, so they wouldn't question, and would, indeed, welcome her presence among them, all the better to cement her position in the new, improved, Sebastian Shaw-less Hellfire Club. Daddy very much wanted to keep his fingers in - and eyes on - such a potential resource. And it wouldn't do to disappoint Daddy.

She smiled brilliantly at the venture capitalist and his much younger trophy wife who stopped to make small talk with her. The wife was thinking about her latest trip to the salon to be waxed, botoxed, and wrapped in seaweed while comparing herself to Lena's genetically engineered, inhuman physique, and wondering how many carbohydrates were in the marinated mahi-mahi appetizer she had been nibbling on for the past 15 minutes. The husband was chatting away about his latest investment in a company that wanted to build a new high-speed rail system between England and France, while mentally undressing Lena. A quick telepathic image of the wife in a funhouse mirror, and Lena in black leather lingerie, and the couple quickly excused themselves to hurry off to their respective bathrooms.

Lena ambled down the staircase onto the main floor where the auction items were on display. Perhaps this "being nice" was something she could get used to after all.
Jay had less of his senior year in front of him than he thought. He was behind on his senior year job shadowing. Most of his fellow students on the rez had access to all the Keewazi technology businesses and labs to do theirs in. He was in New York City and had fewer options.

He knew he could have gone to the Future Foundation and gotten credit for it. However, him showing up at Pier 4 would have been a signal for Mary to prank him somehow. Rather than deal having to redo somethings due a prankster shapeshifter, Jay got some suggestions from his school for some science-based businesses in NYC that he could get credit for.

Jay currently stood outside a nondescript building housing several businesses that could fit his science job shadowing requirement. He checked the slip of paper once more to make sure he had the right address. If he had not been specifically looking for this building, he doubted he would have even noticed it.

Shrugging to himself, he headed toward the front doors. He had an appointment with one of the businesses inside. He was dressed in a light jacket over a button-down shirt, his cleanest pair of jeans, and his pair of green Chuck Taylor All Stars on his feet. Not very science-y, but comfortable to him.


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The Next Generation of Marvel Heroes

Current Game Date

June, 2013


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