3901/For Betterment of African Trade and Economies

From Heroes Assemble MUSH
Jump to navigation Jump to search
For Betterment of African Trade and Economies
Date of Scene: 22 October 2020
Location: African Trade Federation offices, Empire State Building
Synopsis: A conference on African trade and economy growth results in a casual meeting between Natasha Cranston, and T'Challa. Natasha caught comment on a shared Narobian-Wakandan school computing infrastructure initiative and inquired about it.
Cast of Characters: T'Challa, Natasha Cranston

T'Challa has posed:
The African Trade Federation was hosting a day long seminar on trade and economic growth within the African continent. Representatives from over a dozen nations were on hand, as well as UN officials, executives from corporations, and academics from related fields.

A number of conference rooms were being used for break out sessions on various aspects of the topic, with attendees able to choose those they wished to go to. T'Challa had taken part in a round table discussion, sitting on the panel with primarily government officials from various nations. There were few questions for him. After all, Wakanda is a tiny nation of farmers and herders, that does not regularly engage in trade outside of the nation. Though one of the nearby nations mentioned a partnership with Wakanda on computing infrastructure for schools, news which probably had not been publicly released before.

Now it is time for a break, and T'Challa has wandered out and over to where the buffet tables are set up with coffee and other beverages, and all manner of snacks, healthy and otherwise, to hold people over until the break for lunch. He puts some fresh sliced fruit on a plate, seeming to favor the pineapple, and gets himself a cup of coffee before moving over to take a seat in some chairs that have been scattered about in small groupings to enable conversations. An African woman stands not too far away, drinking bottle water, who has been seen in his company at the event. Not Okoye, though it's a good bet for anyone who knows enough to suspect she's Dora Milaje.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Cranston Multinational has gotten its usual invitation, although its past few representatives tended to view it more as an opportunity to try and solicit some under-the-table bribes from coutries who desperately needed the business. This year, however, the new CEO has decided to personally grace the conference with her presence.

    Natasha had been mostly quiet and listening attentively during the presentations, only offering the occasional question with regards to improving the logistical capacity of the areas concerned.

    She, too, is taking advantage of the break to freshen up her coffee before looking around for people to network with. She meets T'Challa's eyes for a moment, then her gaze flickers briefly from him to his 'companion', before looking back at him and smiling like someone who's just solved a puzzle or learned a secret, and approaches him.

    "Your Majesty, good afternoon," she offers with a brief bow - not perfectly correct but closer to 'person of high status to a ruler not their own, in a neutral venue' than most people would know to aim for. "I hope you've found the discussions edifying so far?"

T'Challa has posed:
T'Challa takes a bite of the pineapple with his fork, following it up with a bit of honeydew. Neither of them native plants in Wakanda. And given they do not import, moments like this are some of the only times he has for enjoying them, short of having them brought in special for himself. Which T'Challa has done on occasion, but tries to not overdo it. Even if the cooks go around him to place the favored treats before him now and then.

He looks up as Natasha Cranston walks over, the woman's face familiar to him. He sets down his plate and wipes his fingers on a napkin as he rises, just a man greeting a woman, and with a polite nod of his own for her. "Miss Cranston. A pleasure to see you again. The dialogue has been pleasing. I am only hopeful that it will result in actions," he tells her in his softly accented English. An accent that has a noticeable amount of British English flavoring in it as well, likely from his time at Oxford.

"Please, would you join me? I was just taking a break after the panel discussion," he tells her. "And how are you finding the conference? Do you see opportunities for your company?" he asks her.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Natasha laughs, a well practiced sound - rich and melodic, yet not so loud as to be disruptive. "Oh, the nice thing about a shipping company is that there are always opportunities. No man - or nation - is an island, after all." She inclines her head toward the pineapple on T'Challa's plate. "As long as people want things they cannot easily produce themselves, there will be business to be done..."

    "I must admit, I was somewhat surprised by your comments about computing infrastructure..."
    She leans forward in her seat for a moment, never quite crossing into personal space. "It's an excellent idea and a good information technology infrastructure is essential to operating in the modern economy, neither of your countries is known for having the tech base required to build one on your own - " she glances briefly around the room. "- and I could name three people present at this conference off the top of my head who would have absolutely made themselves the centerpiece of an announcement that they were partnering with, ah, 'developing countries', to bring their technology up to speed -- and four others who'd do so just to spite the first. Yet none of them have..."

    She tilts her head as she trails off, then smiles that smile again and leans back. "My apologies; I get too interested in a good puzzle sometimes..."

T'Challa has posed:
T'Challa waits for Natasha to be seated before retaking his seat. He relaxes back in his chair, picking up his coffee cup. He's wearing a tailored black jacket and slacks, with a dark shirt beneath, but no tie, the cut of the shirt with an African feel to it though perhaps not an exact fashion that many are familiar with. Something from Wakanda maybe then.

He takes a sip of the coffee, the other hand resting on the arm of his chair as he listens. "As I'm sure you know, we do not engage in much outside trade," he tells her. And one could dispute the choice of the word 'much' easily enough. "But even as we focus on a simpler lifestyle than much of the world embraces, there is no disputing the usefulness of computers for some things," he tells her.

T'Challa makes a small gesture with one hand. "There are definitely some learnings to be found in embarking on such paths. And I imagine it would not come as a surprise if we were reluctant to turn to others before we'd given things a try ourselves. The best way to learn, after all, is to try it yourself."

He glances around the room and then leans closer for a moment as if to say confidentially, "Though I might take down those names of yours, for later," he tells her in his soft, raspy smooth voice.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Natasha nods, conceding the point. "My grandfather always did say one doesn't learn to truly appreciate the value of something until you've tried to do it yourself. Although at the time he was probably referring to doing my homework myself rather than badger him for answers..."

    She chuckles, a fond and faraway look on her face for a moment.

    "Of course, you'd still need a certain amount of capital for the hardware itself, and one of the downsides of limited trade is that there's currently very little you have that technology companies would trade with you for, and you've always politely declined to do so. Which was probably wise, and I somehow doubt you intend to change that policy, so..." Again she trails off, one eyebrow raised as she regards T'Challa, as if she's looking for the missing piece of the puzzle in his expressions...

T'Challa has posed:
T'Challa nods his head at the question from Natasha. "I see that you have a very sharp mind, Miss Cranston," he tells her in his soft-spoken manner. "I had wondered at your presence. I do not think Cranston has sent someone even remotely so senior before," he comments. Perhaps he's aware of the activities of the past reps. "Perhaps now I understand why you are here," he says.

He pauses to take a sip of his coffee before answering her. "This is true. Though there are other ways. That two neighbors can work together. Perhaps I build my neighbor and I a fence, or pave our driveways? And he pays for the materials," T'Challa says, gesturing with his free hand. "Though in time, to deal with those you mention in the room, might take more of a commitment, yes," he tells her.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Natasha has the good grace to wince. "I'm painfully aware," she admits. "I've already spent the previous break trying to make apologies for Mestrum's behaviour, and I think several of those bridges are going to stay burned for at least a decade..."

    She sighs. "I can't undo everything my predecessors have done. All I can do is try to do better and rebuild the reputation my father and grandfather created for my company."

T'Challa has posed:
The look that Natasha gets in response to what she's gone through is a reassuring and approving one. "If you are making good strides? As it sounds that you are? Then people will notice in time," he says. "It just takes some time to overcome the past."

T'Challa inclines his head towards Natasha Cranston. "But you are making the effort to do it. And that does get noticed. Even if it takes time to sink in and undo past memories," he says. He glances around the room. "If you would like, I would be willing to commend you in front of a few people of your choice, for your help with transporting people and supplies to and from Genosha. I realize you were operating at a substantial loss in the matter."

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Natasha smiles, but shakes her head. "I appreciate the thought, but this summit is for you and yours. I'm fairly sure most of Africa has had more than their fill of 'white saviours', regardless of our sincerity."

    She sips her coffee, then continues. "Of course, if at any point you're asked if you know a reliable shipping company, I would not object to a good referral..."

T'Challa has posed:
T'Challa smiles to Natasha but doesn't comment about the white saviors other than to say, "I appreciate well meaning wherever it comes from. And I shall definitely keep that in mind," he tells her, offering more of the soft smile that has a slightly lopsided look to it.

T'Challa finishes up his coffee and says, "I should probably be heading to the next session. It has been a pleasure to see you, Miss Cranston. I wish you good luck in what you have begun here today," he says. He rises from his chair, and if she allows him takes her hand in both of his, one above and below as he makes it more of a display of heartfelt sentiment there. "And though shipping companies and landlocked nations have less interests in common, perhaps a day will come when we can work together again." He inclines his head to her.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Natasha's grip is firm and earnest and as well practiced as any CEOs; her hands are slender and elegant and well-manicured enough that a less observant man would have missed the handgun callus. "Cranston Multinational tries to remain diverse, although I admit air freight is not currently our strongest suit," she agrees. "Still, the world is ever changing -" she smiles suddenly again as she meets T'Challa's eyes. "And we've always prized our ability to adapt with it. Good day, Your Majesty. I hope we'll meet again -- and may fortune bless your endeavours as well."