2067/Inner Circle: Court Has Been Called

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Inner Circle: Court Has Been Called
Date of Scene: 11 June 2020
Location: The Inner Sanctum - Hellfire Club
Synopsis: A Inner Circle meeting, discussion presidential ambitions, the kidnap and return of their own, and further plans for the teen club.
Cast of Characters: Emma Frost, Lex Luthor, Sebastian Shaw, Malcolm Merlyn, Alton Schmidt

Emma Frost has posed:
The Inner Sanctum is alight as it hasn't been for weeks, possibly months. With a Presidential campaign in the works, many of the Inner Circle on their own projects, and a general agreement from many of the circle (though not all) to avoid Selene... the Sanctum hasn't hosted their usual discussions, debates, and plotting as they otherwise might.

Emma Frost, the Queen of the White court, sits in her throne. Instead of a corset and high-heeled thigh high boots, as she might wear to these sorts of affairs, she is in a loose, lace-and-guaze dress of white, still astoundingly sexualized for what it is, but less pressure on the stitches and wounds it conceals from her recent 'disappearance'. Which may likely be a topic of conversation this evening as much as Lex's Presidential ambitions were-- the circle has a vested interest in protecting its own.

She crosses her legs daintily, toes pointing in the not-quite-so-high heels she's wearing with her dress. An untouched glass of sparkling wine sits at her hand.

Lex Luthor has posed:
Lex Luthor sits impatiently in the seat reserved for the White King. His life has been in a word busy, between his campaign and the return of his old nemesis. So, while these meetings of old were welcome respites from the world at large, today it is sadly one more thing to do on a day already loaded with too many things to do, even for someone with the capacities of Lex Luthor.

Still, impatient or not, the man had his manners, "Emma," he says turning in the direction of the recently returned member of their little circle. "I was sorry to hear about your ordeal, if there's anything I can do to help, just let me know."

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
Sebastian Shaw is very much in the "traditional" attire for these meetings, seated comfortably (but not TOO comfortably) in his throne, watching as everyone moves into their proscribed places. Seeing everyone is on time (rare, but given circumstances probably not surprising), and after Lex has commented to Emma, he rises to his feet and speaks:

"This meeting is called to order. Before we advance the agenda, I would like to take a moment to express my profound relief that we have Emma back with us tonight. While we will go into a bit more detail on her recent ordeal shortly, suffice to say I'm quite pleased we won't be searching for a new White Queen." He chides with a slight grin in Emma's direction, "And with that out of the way, our first item is the Presidential election, so...take it away Lex. Obviously there have been some major changes in the race since we last spoke."

Malcolm Merlyn has posed:
    There is a moment of hesitation from Malcolm's direction as Sebastian and Lex both acknowledge Emma in their own way. Blue eyes cast over towards the Queen upon her throne, as a nod is given. Certainly there is a thought within that head of his of momentary concern, but it is fleeting at best. Those blue eyes play around the room, taking in the rest of the environment as a slight smile sits upon Merlyn's lips. Taking the measurement of the room, supposedly

    Then, as Shaw shifts the attention of the meeting to the presidential race, that attention then shifts to focus on Lex. No words offered for the moment. There will be time enough for speaking later.

Alton Schmidt has posed:
Mike, of course, sits in his own chair...he's quiet for the moment. A bishop in the presence of kings and queens knows not to speak first.

Catching the flight over from Germany took doing, as usual, but having a private plane helps quite a bit when things are called suddenly.

Mike wears a finely tailored suit, of course. And...while an American election doesn't help Germany directly, at least not till the trade deals come through, he is interested to hear how it's going now that Lex's opponent isn't someone as well known as Stark. Kelly didn't seem to have quite the same influence Stark had.

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma gives Lex a wry grin. "Thanks," she murmurs, reaching over to squeeze his hand lightly and reassuringly (as if Lex Luthor needs reassurance!) before pulling it back to her wine glass. She sips lightly, nodding to the Black King as he calls the court to order. "Major changes indeed," she muses aloud, but leaves it mostly to Lex to address. Luthor in the top executive position would be an extreme boon to the Hellfire Club. And it wasn't like there hadn't been past members of the Inner Circle to hold the position. The difference is that this time, both courts are largely behind the White King, instead of removed tot heir own petty infighting.

Lex Luthor has posed:
"Most welcome, my dear," Lex says, smiling wryly at the squeeze of his hand.

Greetings are given to the rest on hand before the Sebastian calls the meeting to order and gives Lex the floor.

The billionaire smiles tightly."Indeed, much has changed since Stark dropped out of the race, Senator Kelly stepped in to fill the void with the backing of the Liberty Party, and the Unity Party's got their man chosen as well. It's now a three-way race. That said it's hardly as though everyone who was for Stark went to Kelly, or even to the Unity party. My people tell me I've picked up a lot of the futurists in support of Stark, as well as some of fellow captains of industry who had been counting on Stark to be friendly, but most of his youth vote is now polling as undecided, I suppose they're waiting for the next superhero in a shiny suit to run," he scoffs and takes a moment to take a sip of his water before he continues.

"Regardless, right now, Kelly is my biggest threat, he's got a broad base of support and we're on the opposite sides of the mutant issue, right now that's working to my advantage with Genosha fresh in everyone's minds, and let's face it, people's memories are short, who knows what will be on their mind come November."

Lex shrugs, "Still, I'm in a good position still, even with my recent distractions, my people say we'll have a better picture of how things are shaking out once the other two have had a chance to campaign a bit more. However, any opportunities to trip them up will not go amiss."

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
Shaw replies to Lex, "I know you don't want any dark money on your side of the race, but it shouldn't be too hard to convince some of our usual suspects that while you don't need their money you'll still be amenable to their business interests, which might at the least keep them from donating too heavily to the other candidates." Most will cover their bases just as a contingency. Hell, most of the people in this room will probably do that very thing...well, maybe not for Kelly, but for the Unity party at least. "Likewise we can press some of our overseas friends to not-quite-discreetly enough make some illegal donations to Kelly. They'll likely get flagged but the implication will be all we're really looking for. Still, Kelly's anti-mutant agenda and strong social values that, I regret to say, he actually holds to compared to most of his colleagues, give him a fervent base. Nothing to scoff at, anyway." Shaw notes, "We've put out some discreet feelers for some of Stark's former campaign staff, particularly those who worked on the web-based portions of his campaign and youth outreach. If we get any bites we can send them your way, but by all indications the machine was as haphazard as you'd expect a Stark creation to be." He glances about the room, "Any other comments on the election? It seems for now we're in a bit of a holding pattern until the platforms are better defined."

Malcolm Merlyn has posed:
    It is when Shaw actually solicits for opinions is when Merlyn actually deigns to speak. "As much as the youth of America will say they are avid participants of democracy, they are rather lax in actually showing it. If one can get them motivated enough to actually put down the cellphones and vote, then that person wins the election." There is a pause, as Malcolm taps the top of the table with his right index finger. "Going for the youth vote is a viable ploy, but we shouldn't get too excited if they don't turn out. Hedging our bets here would certainly be ideal."

    Tap. Tap. Tap. "I do think that you are right. We are in a holding pattern until we can gather more intel. We can use this time to plant our seeds of discord."

Alton Schmidt has posed:
Overseas donations? That sounds like a thing Mike can help with. "...If you'd like to make some ill timed foreign donations, I can make that happen. See what I can do about making Kelly look like he's trying to get foreign influence in an American election. Americans usually hate that, last I checked." It's not much, but Mike doesn't really have as much influence here as he'd like. Downside to being in a foreign country.

Emma Frost has posed:
"How ruthless of you," Emma purrs at Shaw with a laugh. "But yes," she nods to Schmidt, "having some of the EU folks throw money at Kelly would be marvelous." She wrinkles her nose. "Fuck him," she practically spits. She is usually far more refined and controlled, but she's also coming off of a horrible life experience, in a fair amount of pain, and somewhat under the influence of prescriptions to stave off the worst of it. "Kelly is, as well know, also fantastically difficult to //buy//. I know some of the membership has tried, but not only is he a mutant-hater, he's one of the few barely-honest Senators we have. Tarnishing that reputation a bit seems like a charming idea, and I'm all for it."

Lex Luthor has posed:
Nodding to Shaw, Lex says, "I'll gladly take all of that help," he says without reservation. Lex may be proud but he is also practical. A man doesn't win the presidency alone, even if that man is Lex Luthor. "Do let our friends know, if they slow their donations to Kelly and Unity party, they will have my gratitude, win or lose." After all even if he remains /just/ Lex Luthor there is much to be gained by courting his favour.

"Thank you for your offer as well, Michael, if you can coordinate the European business I'd appreciate it, just make sure there's enough cut outs between you and the money, mm."

There's a nod for Malcolm too. "The youth are fickle, and frankly I don't appeal much to them, unless of course I suddenly become popular with superheroes, and that's not likely to happen," he says wryly. "Though I am open to suggestions on how to win them over."

Emma gets Lex's attention next, "My investigators have been all over him, unfortunately you seem to be right, Kelly is allergic to scandal. He's a bigot, but he's one that dots his Is and crosses his Ts. However this foreign money business is a start, by the time they can prove they had no knowledge of the donations my campaign will have had weeks of ads out about Kelly being a puppet of foreign governments." A small smile crosses his lips. "Almost a shame we can't make it look like he took money from Genosha, but they'd need money to give and even the press wouldn't buy that."

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma taps her lower lip thoughtfully. "Not Genosha, but some of the Magistrates still live in exile on the main continent, don't they? The ones that didn't get themselves murdered by Queen Lorna a month ago, at least. They have money and resources. Maybe they might be inclined towards Kelly."

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
"Might be worth looking into." Shaw agrees, "While it won't affect his base any, being supported by a group as virulently racist as the Magistrates of Genosha might keep some fence-sitters away from him at least. And that's where this particular contest is usually won: On the margins. And as noted, the youth vote is unreliable, and likely won't turn out now that their anointed one is out of the race, but the good news is that I don't see Kelly attracting them at all, and I'd be surprised if the Unity Party was bold enough to pick someone that would actually appeal...they'll toss out a party insider and tell everyone they should be glad for it." Shaw takes a sip from his wine goblet and continues.

"Does anyone else have further comments or ideas on the election? If not, we can likely move on to our next item."

Malcolm Merlyn has posed:
    There might have been a widening of the smile there from Malcolm as Shaw lays down some good points. Or it could have been that dig on the Unity party, too. Nevertheless, there is just a nod from the White Bishop and no additional commentary provided for the election race. He seems quite ready to move on.

Alton Schmidt has posed:
"If hate is his flaw, let hate be his guide. Don't stop with the magistrates...see if the companies that were responsible for sentinels will support Kelly. Perhaps imply he'll find a way to make Sentinels safe for use again. Have interviewers subtley ask questions that attach him to the least popular anti mutant programs in America. If Trask or someone close to him endorses Kelly, all the better. If Pro Humana endorses him, that works too. Get every extremist group you can find backing Kelly."

"...If it's possible, perhaps one of those extremist groups might even murder someone, or several someones, and claim they did it for Kelly or to help him get elected by 'making America safer.' Or whatever slogan Kelly is using to justify his current hatred. There's always a justification. The more you know about why his hatred exists, the easier it is to exploit it. There's always a why." Could be simple, could be complex, maybe it's even something personal that happened to him.

Emma Frost has posed:
"Mm." Emma waves a hand dismissively. "Assuredly Trask and his ilk are already donating to Kelly. As for frame-ups, they are tediously more difficult to manage than one might think, especially in an area where eggheads like Reed Richards or alien boy scouts like Superman might show up and prove the frameup and backtrace it to us. Risky. Something to consider, but only proceed with if we are entirely sure it cannot be brought back to our doorstep."

She frowns at Shaw. "The next order of business.. I supposed I shall bring up the elephant in the room for the rest of the court. It is true. My recent 'vacation' was merely a cover for having been kidnapped. Much of my experience was... vastly unpleasant." If Selene leans forward a bit hungrily and pleased at that, Emma gives no sign of noticing. "I do not know much about my captor, save he wasn't interested in ransom or information. He was some psychotic doctor obsessed with mutant genetics, and who thought through torture he might force additional mutant powers to manifest." She snorts at that. Lex, beside her, might notice she is trembling slightly, despite her outward sneer of disgust.

"Not everyone he brought to his little hospital survived the experience. I am grateful that I was recovered, obviously, though I am under doctor's orders to rest for at least a few more weeks. I will attend the Masquerade, obviously. It wouldn't do to not keep up appearances."

Lex Luthor has posed:
There's a smile for the dig at the Unity party. "True," he says to Shaw, before reaching for his water again. He has a sip then nods about the Magistrates, "They're a good choice," he says, before he turns to Schmidt, "If groups like that are nudged that way then so be it, but I don't want to know about it," he says, keeping that wall between him and anything truly villainous. The dangers of a foe who can hear your heartbeat, but then Fisk has that problem too. "As Emma says, Trask will likely support Kelly on his own, regardless, after all Kelly will need /something/ to enforce his draconian legislation on the mutants."

"That's all from me on the election, Sebastian," he says to his old friend and surrenders the floor to Emma.

Lex indeed does pick up on the trembling from Emma, but gives no sign beyond a small, supportive look in her direction. Which is about the limit of outward signs of compassion from Luthor, before he nods. "Well, we are glad you've been returned to us, and this doctor? Is there anything we can do to settle accounts? We can't allow our membership to be taken without due, retribution."

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
"That's the rub. The man is a ghost." Shaw's expression shifts into something unpleasant, as there's little he likes less than being made to feel less powerful and resourceful than he is. All the more so when it extends to the web of influence that this room shares. "Tessa has been scouring every information source we can access, and so far the well is completely dry. Emma's acquaintances at Xavier's may have more information, as several of their students and faculty were among the other victims. From what little we have gathered, this "Sinister" is extremely resourceful, powerful, and technically prodigious. We will keep looking, of course, but it doesn't look like traditional avenues are likely to find much. Though if anyone can sift through it all and find those flakes of gold at the bottom of the pan, it's Tessa."

"So with this dearth of information, any thoughts of quick retribution have to be set aside. Certainly given opportunity, we will extract our full measure, but even if we find him it's going to take a great deal of planning to determine how best to /hurt/ him, much less to convince him his obsession is not worth crossing us." Sebastian notes, "So we play defense for now. Security has been tightened, I ask that none of you utilize non-Club transportation, unless your private arrangements meet or exceed our own for security and discretion. If you have one of Lex's X-gene cloakers, make sure you keep it on outside of secure areas. The floor is open for comment, but in terms of direct action it is my belief that all we can do is try to prevent it from happening again at this point."

Malcolm Merlyn has posed:
    "A ghost..." The term is mulled around in Malcolm's head as he considers the implications. A person...unfindable from even the Inner Circle. That in and of itself is impressive. And the fact that this mystery physician has Shaw up in arms. That....is most impressive, indeed.

    It is enough for Merlyn to give a moment to consider. Normally, he would be rather confident in his own ability to protect himself....but if this one got to Emma...then he is capable of a great many things. "Xavier's. So...he was targeting mutants." It was a straight comment, a statement of fact. "Some of us wouldn't necessarily be a target, if it was strictly based on the X-Gene. However, additional precautions would not be amissed."

    Not that Merlyn isn't cautious by nature..

Alton Schmidt has posed:
"...I might have to add some security myself. Particularly stateside." Because if mutants are being targeted, his son might be a target. Wasn't this time, but then...maybe nobody knew about him to begin with. No matter. He'll have to sort this out.

"...Emma, he might be a ghost, but is there anything we can do for you?"

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma shakes her head. "The medical staff here are seeing to me, and have admission rights if needed. I'm on medical leave with the company, and with my-- with Mr. Summers having moved in, I have someone waiting on me hand and foot as needed." She chuckles a bit at that. "So I am fine. Besides, I think I ran into at least four Hellfire soldiers in the halls on my way up. Security has been tightened, indeed."

She glances to Shaw. That the man was a ghost didn't surprise her, but if anyone could find the bastard for the club to arrange his untimely demise, it would be Tessa. "Mm. But... I believe the last order of business is regarding the newest addition to the building. The teen club going in on the second floor across from Algernon's." She drums her fingers on the throne's arm. "Really, all that's left is a theme and a name, I think. The engineers plans have passed muster, from the emails I looked at this morning."

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
"I know Selene has suggested a Romanesque theme. The name "The Legacy" has been tossed around, but with all due respect to our Black Queen I think these might be a bit...staid...for the crowd we're trying to attract." Sebastian notes with a grin, "And while technically I could simply do all this myself, it would seem discourteous not to have the input of the rest of the Board." He glances about, "So while the floor is open, I first move that we place Emma in charge of this particular project, in terms of theme and interior design. The final name will be voted upon, though we'll of course manage that remotely...no sense calling a meeting for one detail."

A brief pause before he notes, "Bluntly, Emma is closer in age to who we're targeting with this establishment, and has an assistant who falls into that category that may have some ideas or suggestions of her own. In either case, I trust her sense for this particular category of customer far more than I would my own." He adds, "Of course Tessa would be made available to you for any analytical work you might want to pursue in regards to completing the project. But first...are there any objections? Suggestions? Or would you simply prefer not to deal with it, Emma?"

Malcolm Merlyn has posed:
    "Hmm....The Romanesque theme is rather quaint. But, I do think that you have the right of it, Sebastian." There isn't even a second glance over to the Black Queen herself as Malcolm speaks, as Selene is most likely seething at Merlyn's use of the word 'quaint'. "It is certainly a capital idea to have one from the same demographic to be heading up the theme and design. While it isn't outside the Club's collective power to redesign if necessary, it is important for the venue to be a success from the start, in only for appearances. I believe that having Ms. Frost providing her expertise will be the correct course of action."

    A hand is waved in regards to naming. "A name is more flexible. Once a certain style motif has been established, selecting a name should be rather straightforward." Then, with a glance over towards Emma, Malcolm offers. "Should you desire it, you have but to ask for any assistance from my part. Logistically speaking..."

Alton Schmidt has posed:
Mike considers..."...I'm not gonna be much help with this, unless you want something European. If the club is designed for the young, though..." Hmmmm. Well, maybe. "...my son is probably more use for a night club then I'd be. He is an actual teen after all."

As for the rest...Mike can't add much here...

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma tiilts her head, and then nods. "This is something I can largely do while in bed," she notes dryly. "So it seems like an excellent way to keep me out of trouble and not tearing my stitches." She isn't an idiot-- while Shaw was right about the rest, she had no doubt that handing off the project was partly for that reason to. "I'll talk to Allegra as well."

She yawns a little. "Mm. If there is nothing else, might we adjourn?"

Lex Luthor has posed:
Luthor seems to retreat into his thoughts as the topic turns to the children's club, though when it seems the subject has changed and a question is being asked of the Circle, he comes fully back to the room. "I have no objections," he says simply.

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
"Then the matter is closed. The motion to adjourn is put forth, and I invoke King's Privilege to carry it. Short, sweet, and to the point. I knew there was a reason I enjoyed working with you all." Sebastian rises to his feet, grinning nonchalantly, though inwardly he's mildly perturbed by Selene's silence on most of the matters, but he'll count it a blessing until proven otherwise.

"I'm sure you're all busy, particularly our esteemed White King, but if anyone wants to join me for a nightcap in the Victorian, that's where I'll be for the next hour or so. Thank you all for coming. You will be contacted through the usual channels when our next meeting occurs. This session is adjourned."