15153/Feel the Mud Between Your Toes

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Feel the Mud Between Your Toes
Date of Scene: 15 June 2023
Location: Great Jones Day Spa
Synopsis: Emma Frost and Susan Storm join Janet van Dyne at the spa for some well-earned relaxation.
Cast of Characters: Janet van Dyne, Emma Frost, Susan Richards

Janet van Dyne has posed:
Janet's one of those ultra-elite who insists on five-star service everywhere she goes. That includes trips to the day spa where an entire wing is shut down and the staff is reassigned to care exclusively for Janet's party. Dressed in white slacks and polos, the spa staff formed a wall of personnel to escort Emma, Susan, and Janet into the celebrity wing. Drinks and snacks were put out immediately for refreshment and the ladies were given the total run of the place for whatever self-care they wished.

For Janet it is a mud bath, and it's one of the few times anyone will ever see her with any kind of dirt or smudges. The socialite is propped up with a floating pillow behind her neck and otherwise completely immersed in bubbling sediment that smells strongly of petrichor and essential oils. And there's a cup of champagne nearby, which she is drinking through a crazy straw that terminates near her lips.

"I love playing hooky," Janet remarks with a self-satisfied tone. Her eyes are lidded in self-indulgent bliss. "Also I love cancelling meetings with government officials. The mayor's office is hitting me up hard for donations. I told them I'd think about it."

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma already owns a spa that does this! But she's more than happy to do it with others. She's just insisted onfooting the bill for it even if this is being done at Janet's influence. "Yes, you do. That hasn't changed since we were in boarding shcool. I think that it's lost some of it's shine then. Since you have both more responsibilities and so much of an easier time getting out of them and no one can call you on it."

FOr Emma, it's something exotic involving volcanic treated rocks and some sort of natural ointment or.. There's certainly quite a lengthy list of things it does to relax and clean. "And I fail to see why someone like a mayor even ranks on something you have to tolerate thinking he's worth your time. Or is it fun to push down at the little person?"

Susan Richards has posed:
Susan Richards might enjoy the occasional spa visit, even if typically they're more automated and technologically assisted than going to even the most highly acclaimed spa in New York. But sometimes one's personal high tech paradise just isn't good enough.

For one thing, she has to mix her own mimosas. And she's indulging in not having to do that while visiting with Janet.

While Susan relaxes on a massage table on her stomach, arms crossed under her chin, one eye peeking open to glance over to Janet as she murmurs dryly. "Aren't you the CEO of your company, Janet? Is it really hooky then?"

She gives a little nod towards Emma and grins, "She's got the right of it... I mean, I always play hooky, but then, I've got a virtual assistant to handle remote meetings for me and I can just slip out of the building without anyone seeing. And then it's just 'Oh, sorry, cosmic radiation emergency' and the rest of the day is free."

Janet van Dyne has posed:
"All politicians are little," Janet observes. "Running a nation requires a lot of little jobs, and those are best done by little men and women. That keeps them from wasting time sandbagging in the corporate sector. Keeps employment more competitive."

She opens her eyes and sips more of her drink, sending it gurgling through the straw. "But half the fun of playing hooky is knowing you have work to do and then just... deciding not to do it. Right?" she queries. "I can lie to anyone about an Avenger's Emergency or a natural disaster in Florida. But I like letting the mayor know that his only value to me is what he brings to the table. If his competition can do better, they'll get my vote. That's how we got the zon--" she looks back over her shoulder at an employee passing by, then narrows her eyes slightly before looking over at Emma and Susan. "Well, let's just say I support politicians who support local business owners," she clarifies.

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would lean back, "Well yes you can. And that does take the fun out of things if you can always claim something completely reasonable and benevolent? That must take all the fun out of things. Where's the Janet I spent time in boarding school with that ruled the school with an iron, perfectly manicured fist?" She would muse over and glance at Sue.

"You have to bother with meetings at all? Such a shame. I just delegate them to someone else or just telepathically instruct everyone that I was present and to do it without me." The joys of abusing your power as the woman in charge. "So how goes business, Janet? Side and primary?" Yes, Emma occaisonally kept tabs on that 'other' thing Janet was up to from time to time.

"And how goes things with your little chew toy Sebastian, Susan? I hope you've reminde dhim of his place."

Susan Richards has posed:
Susan snorts softly and snickers out, "Well, really, corporate life attracts those with ambition... who then simply pay off and control those who go into politics anyhow." She perks her eyebrows, face twisting thoughtfully. "Hmmm, I suppose it's /possible/ I've been playing hooky wrong this entire time, Janet dear."

She laughs and nods her head to Emma with a sigh, "I do. Someone's got to be the liason between Reed's technobabble and..." She frowns and chews her lower lip for a moment, "Some polite term for... regular people?" She snickers softly, "Oh, things have been rather uneventful. I really thought Fisk would be more trouble at the club, but... I suppose he's off... doing whatever it is he does during the day. Looming? I'm assuming he's always just looming."

Janet van Dyne has posed:
"I'm pissed off at Lahore, Mumbai, and Ecuador," Janet informs Emma with an urbane amusement. "Feel free to plug and play with those and figure which is which. But, profits are up, my competitors are in slumps, and we've got a sizeable chunk of the distrubtion and sales market completely cornered."

The mud makes squelching noises as it moves and upheaves while Janet stands up. Everything from the neck down looks like a walking mud puddle. She swipes off palmfuls of the mud as best she can and walks across the drainage stones over to a partially enclosed shower to rinse off the rest of the detritus. "I don't know why everyone gives Fisk such a bad rap," Janet comments over the falling water. Her silhouette can be seen in the opaque crystal glass. "He's a savvy businessman, and donates tons of money to good causes. Sure, he's a little crooked, but then again-- who isn't?" she philosophizes.

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would mm, "Well, all the better hopefully that he'll get strangled in it and never come out. Or maybe Atropos will decide that he's had his fair share of things and then cut it." Her leaning back over and sighing in the stones. "But, ehre I am bringing up business when we're all here to have fun and enjoy ourselves. Do forgive me ladies. And I can't speak much for Fisk. Man has a reputation as a cutthroat, but so do I."

Laughing at Janet, "And spoken like someone that's come tot he conclusion that it's the most efficient way to get things done."

Susan Richards has posed:
Susan perks one eyebrow higher and hums out thoughtfully. "My my. The world of fashion So very cutthroat. Then again, I suppose it /is/ important you secure your network of supply for... fabrics." She shrugs lightly and hums out, "Oh, he seems perfectly reasonable. Perhaps a little careless about his walking sticks, though I suppose the one time I saw him break one I /did/ spook him a little. He stormed off before I could apologize."

She nods her head and laughs, "Well, you know, bemoaning things with people of similar stature and experience is /practically/ the same as having fun. And it's always nice to get to catch up and reconnect with people I /don't/ have to worry about tearing a hole in reality with their latest invention."

Janet van Dyne has posed:
"I promise you, Nadia did not sneak in here in my pockets," Janet reassures Susan immediately.

She cuts the water off and dries off with brisk toweling, before she's handed a luxuriantly soft white cotton robe to shrug into. "And Susan's right, I mean-- there aren't a whole lot of other women who share our particular concerns. Jesus, come to think of it, I'm friends with most of them," she mutters. "And then stack that with superpowers, and we are in a very tiny little, uh, family here." With the robe belted around her waist Janet moves to the mani/pedi station and settles into it while a team of staffers go to work on her cuticles.

"I don't know how it is in the tech sector, but right now my biggest problem isn't my direct competitors. It's getting undercut in the Asian markets with knockoffs," Janet explains. "We've been bagging a lot of corporate spies lately, hunting for the pattern master prints in the JVD Warehouse. And one of my designers got hacked by a professional out of... Moscow? Belarus? Some Slavic country. Six weeks later this dressmaker in Foshan launches a lineup of new outfits. Cost me a fortune to get the PLA to go in there and lock it down. Thank god for the corruption in that country," she declares.

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would muse, "We always need to recruit and headhunt more. Perhpas that's something you could work on a bit with GIRL. Make science and megacorporations, earn your first hundred million by the time you can get your driver's liscence." She would nod over at Janet and laugh quietly. "Good, something to be said for the one that knows how to move the pillars of society to thier own benefit. You should trademark that phrase and sell it on one of your shirts, Janet. I'm sure it would be incredibly popular."

Glancing over at Susan, "I can't even imagine. And I even have some experience with children that can do that. But your's are on an entirely different level. You have my complete sympathy."

Susan Richards has posed:
Sue laughs and shakes her head, "Oh please, Janet! Nadia's /far/ too responsible for me to expect such shenanigans from her. Really, her and Val and the rest of GIRL are probably more responsible than we ever were." She snickers and sighs out, "Alas, poor Janet van Dyne, so isolated, so few of us who understand her ordeals and trials. Perhaps we should start some sort of organization."

Susan sighs and nods her head, "Well, Fantasticorp has... unique issues with knockoffs. Since so much of our technology is proprietary and can't simply be emulated with lesser tech, we have fewer knockoff problems than most tech companies." She frowns and shakes her head slowly, "But a lot more issues with people trying to reproduce our particular products without understanding the underlying principles and cutting corners they don't realize shouldn't be cut."

She laughs softly and sighs, "Well, luckily my kids aren't the type to get into trouble too much... and really, if they do, usually Ben or Johnny are around to handle the more... super powered issues if they come up."

Janet van Dyne has posed:
"...does it have to be the *kids*, or can any ol' person get in trouble to summon Johnny Storm to the rescue?" Janet looks over at Susan and flashes a teasing, completely unrepentant grin. "I might even have my old schoolroom poster of him somewhere in storage. Ask Emma, she was there when I got it," she says, and uplifts her chin at that notable as if daring Susan to question Janet's honesty.

"As for the counterfeit market-- the approach I'm taking is to make these shops work for me, not against me. I pay pretty significant bonuses out to my production facilities in order to give them the means to undercut the competition. It's amazing what those sweatshops sell for; I bought a warehouse with five hundred workers on site, bumped their pay by five hundred percent, and offered bonuses for anyone who could identify one of the counterfeiter shops. And it still costs me less than I pay in janitorial wages *alone* for the fashion house."

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would glance over at Janet, "Presuming it survived. I don't quite remember the state we left that dorm room in or if anything we had with us was on fire. I just know there was quite a bit of hush money paid by daddy that I've rather forgotten all the particulars of." She would lean back over adn listen to Janet explain the way to do business. "Marvelous darling, Marvelous. Something to be said for making the local economic system bend well to your whims."

She would lgance over at Susan, "In that case, isn't it easier to just give them to Valeria and Franklin to deal with? Valeria could use the fun and Franklin could stand toe xplore his horizons some. He still spends a great deal of time socializing at Xavier's."

Susan Richards has posed:
Susan eyes Janet. Oh, how she eyes Janet. Such eying. Truly indescribable, the way her eyes narrow slightly. "Do you want me to tell Johnny you asked about that? I'm sure I could just give him your number, but I will /entirely/ disavow any knowledge of this. Mission Impossible style." She snickers softly and sighs out. "Well great, now I'm going to be thinking about you having his poster up in your room and..." She feigns shuddering and reaches for her drink for an exaggerated sip.

She snorts out and sighs, "Well, bumping up knockoff employee wages probably still winds up being a deal. So I'd say on a purely economic basis, your strategy is sound and should be continued." She clicks her tongue softly and nods her head to Emma. "And I know Franklin's been visiting there often. I should stop by sometime and see how things are going, but I'm trying not to smother the kids. Val's GIRL projects haven't resulted in any real trouble, so I don't want to smother Franklin... I mean, if he's getting out and socializing I /certainly/ don't want to discourage that!"

Janet van Dyne has posed:
Janet sticks her tongue out at Susan and contents herself with a low cackle of amusement. The socialite gestures with her chin at her mimosa, summoning an attendant to bring it over in hand so she can take a few sips without interrupting her manicure.

"I have had to come in a time or two and tell the girls--" Nadia and Val, obviously-- "to pack it in on a project. Either they were going fantastically over-budget or it was the sort of thing where 'catastrophic property and/or climate damage' was a major risk. I'm sure there's an economic return on portable black holes, but I can't help but feel like the juice isn't worth the squeeze on that one."

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would glance at Susan, "I think that your family's issues probably outweigh mine. They make our things seem rather trivial in comparison." Here Janet and Sue were going on about the economic backlash of portable black holes and here she was having to deal with all those issues from Scott and Jean's progency from other timelines was complicated and Logan's pack of feral family members.

"YOu could always just find them a separate planetoid out there, tell them to setup a domed area for them to do experiments in, terraform it some and pump in some amtosphere, then let them know if they destroy it you're not helping them make another one."

Susan Richards has posed:
Susan can't /really/ bring herself to glower at Janet's cackling, but she can muster up a suffering look that just screams 'et tu, Janet?' at her. And then sighs out.

She nods her head solemnly and murmurs dryly, "Well, I haven't really considered worrying about GIRL's budget unless it started getting near to bankrupting a sizable country of course." She sighs out and shakes her head, "No, no return short of weapons development, and while I have /no doubt/ Val would be a truly stupendous weapons dealer, I think I'd prefer /she/ not realize it."

She laughs softly, "Oh, I don't think I'd want to do that, Emma. I mean, it would be entertaining I'm sure, but then we find out the random asteroid we picked is some civilization's ancient religious site and suddenly we've started an interstellar holy war and..." She grimaces, "That would be /such/ a headache to attend PR meetings about."

Janet van Dyne has posed:
"I'm pretty sure Val and Nadia have no concept of what their operational budget really is," Janet confides in the two women with her. "I told Nadia she had to be in charge of administration and cost analysis, but I'm pretty sure she just handed that over to her friend Ling and told her to report in if they were going broke. She's a lot like her dad," Janet says, and sighs a little theatrically.

"But GIRL is turning a pretty tidy profit now. In a bunch of sectors, too, not just engineering or astrophysics. One of them came up with a noninvasive way of doing a root canal. Gonna revolutionize the dental industry," she declares. "I still want to ask about putting some of the other girls to work doing security outside of the lab premises. Can you imagine an asset like a team of Red Room-trained young women at your disposal?" she wonders aloud. "Forget the SEALs, I'll let those girls cover my back any day."

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would lean back, "I might urge caution over on that." On the 'Red Room Security'. "That might bring back some bad memories. Also have you seen what the profit ratio is on personalized security? After you cover all expenses, you're making about as much per hour as your janitor in one of your upscale fashion houses does. It's not even worth the administrative overhead. Just have them get in a fight with a supervillain and have a company you own stock in get the rebuilding contracts and call it a tax writeoff." she would deadpan.

"And Valeria's a teenager. Or in her early twenties." Emma tended to not pay attention. "I think we're well past the point that she may or may not have realized something. I should hope that she -only- limits herself to weapons development."

Susan Richards has posed:
Sue chews her lower lip thoughtfully, "Well, I imagine we /could/ have had more home economics and budgeting in Val's education... then again, Reed programmed the teaching terminal, and if I know /anyone/ who stares blankly and has wind whistle through his ears at the mention fo budgeting... 'But Sue! It's for the betterment of humanity! It's the cutting edge of science!' and so on..."

She laughs out softly and nods her head, "Oh yes, every time she visits Victor I expect her to come back wearing a cloak and declaring herself Duchess of Manhattan or somesuch. Or coming home in a flying castle with an army of robots..." She clicks her tongue softly and shakes her head. "Children. They're wonderful, but they are... wonderful. So wonderful." Yes, that is definitely what Sue was intending to say. Entirely. Definitely.

Janet van Dyne has posed:
"Y'know, I never thought I wanted kids," Janet admits, her eyes slightly unfocused and aimed at some spot distantly overhead. "Not everyone can carry it like you do, Susan. Physically I mean. Then there's running a corporation, being an Avenger, not wanting to settle down in my early 20s..." She exhales a little and drops her gaze. "After Nadia came along I kinda... I don't know. It just clicked for me. Being a mom. Even as weird as being the surrogate-slash-stepmom. Then I started thinking about it again, like... I felt that clock ticking." Janet puts a palm on her stomach, unthinking. "I hoped that, you know, with Steve--" she breaks off and looks away, and dismisses that line of contemplation with a few fast blinks and a shake of her head.

But she turns those green eyes over to Emma and her lips curl into a smile. "You never know," she suggests, and rolls a shoulder in a shrug. "Someday someone might show up needing a parent, and that might end up being you."

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would smile, "Well, I'm very glad that you both have it and it makes you happy. And honestly given the mayor and his constant intrusion's on Janet's 'me time' Val declaring herself sovereign of the city would only be a step up. And you say that lik eit's very much a perjorative, Susan. Much in the same vein as 'interesting'."

Then going quiet over as Janet would mention Steve and quickly change the subject. "It isn't to be. I don't have the personality for it nor would I be particularly fitting for it."

Susan Richards has posed:
Susan slowly rises up and grins impishly at Emma, eyebrows perking high as she sighs out, "Oh, Ms. Frost! Not having the personality for being a parent, and not being a fitting one has never /really/ been a foolproof defense against becoming one..." She sighs and shakes her head slowly, "But I should probably go deal with some business..."

She hums cheerily, "And besides, I bet you'd be a remarkable parent. You'd hate every moment, but I'm sure you'd still make sure to excel." And as she's heading towards the changing rooms, she chimes out, "And we really need to do this on a regular basis! Maybe rope some others in. Make it a little club."