5027/An Interesting Thread

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An Interesting Thread
Date of Scene: 04 February 2021
Location: Conference Rooms - Hellfire Club
Synopsis: Shaw offers Katsumi some support in these trying times. For a price.
Cast of Characters: Sebastian Shaw, Katsumi Oshiro

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
The car door opens and the woman who was riding with Katsumi steps out, before she motions for Katsumi to walk throug the doors to the imposing club in Midtown. Once inside, the opulance of the place is very clear, and the only individual standing in the lobby -- aside from Katsumi and the woman who called herself 'Tessa' -- is Sebastian Shaw. He is dressed in an immaculate suit, and when the doors open he is apparently finishing a phone call.

"Yes, yes. But, do it through an intermediary so they don't know who is buying them. Thank you. My two o'clock is here. I have to go." He hangs up the phone, slips it into his pocket, and then grins at Katsumi, walking over and extending a hand.

"Ms. Oshiro, I am a big fan of yours. It is an honor to meet you." His smile is genuine, and if she takes his hand, he raises it to his lips to give it a gentle kiss, "Your fight last year with Tokoyo Rose was magnificent." Clearly, he's done his homework.

Katsumi Oshiro has posed:
It took a little convincing for Katsumi to accept the offer. She'd been trying to lay low and avoid drawing attention to herself. So someone sending specifically for her sent all kinds of haywire signals. But she was assured that it was nothing to be worried about, and here she is - awestruck by the aforementioned opulence.

Dressed modestly, by her standards, in skirt, tanktop, and boots, Katsumi plods into the room and immediately cranes her neck to take in the various detail. "Sugoi~...," she marvels in Japanese, those inhumanly-hued irises flitting hither and yon.

Finally and abruptly, they land on the imposing Mr. Shaw. "Really?," she asks.

The offering of a hand is noted, and a faint smirk edges the corner of her lips. Americans and their obsession with grabbing hands. But she's more curious about she summons than anything, so she gives her gloved hand expecting a shake. What she gets is more unique. "Ah-," she baffles, watching the distinctly European gesture in a moment of atypical stunned silence. Mention of her fight, however, brings her back to the forefront.

"Oh, yeah. You saw that?" That fight was of particular importance to her. It was the second time she won the women's title. By all accounts, it was a great match - and particularly rough. The fans wanted her blood for taking the belt from their beloved champ. "Nothing for nothing, but.. isn't it a little odd that someone in your position be into something like what I do?," she asks.

It's not an offhandedly self-loathing question. Her life experience has taught her that wealthy people detest her line of work. After all, her adoptive parents were wealthy, and they /disowned/ her for it.

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
"Of course. I have seen all of your matches." In the last twenty four hours since he became aware of Katsumi. Shaw shakes his head at her question, and then adds, "I am interested in a great many things, and find wrestling to be a entertaining distraction. It doesn't hurt that you are srikingly beautiful." He is a charmer. He then looks over to Tessa and says, "You may go now, Tessa, thank you," before turning his attention to Katsumi.

"Are you hungry? Would you like something to drink? Do you want to have our discussion in private? The entirety of the Hellfire Club is at your disposal Ms. Oshiro, all you need do is ask," he says as he leads her out of the lobby and into the main complex itself.

As they walk, he discusses her fight with Tokoyo Rose, "I think you did an amazing job with the jump off the top turnbuckle onto Rose. It was expertly executed, and your landing was perfectly believable. I would have loved to have seen it in person..."

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro blinks owlishly at the compliment. It's been a minute since she'd heard that one. At least since before landing in America this time around. But in fairness, she's been a mess since landing; either looking fatigued and worn out, stressed and at the end of her rope, or crying and pitiful. She's had a Hell of a confusing, emotionally damaging time. "O-oh, uh, aheh..." She paws some silky blueblack hair over her shoulder reflexively, a nervous habit she's recently picked up.

The mention of Tessa gets her to glance after the other female. So casually dismissed! And then right back to Shaw, and the flattery vanishes. "Anywhere," she says, then after a beat clarifies, "I don't really know what you wanna talk about. The news has already run its pieces on what happened, so.. I don't really have much to say on it..." Much to say that she'd willing to easily divulge, anyway.

"Mm, seeing the Total Eclipse in person is definitely better, yeah. Just like actual eclipses."

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
Sebastian Shaw seems to make a note of the reaction that his compliment gets, and he rests his hand on the small of her back for a moment as he guides her towards the elevator, "I am famished myself, I missed my lunch dealing with some business. I had hoped to meet you earlier, but, apparently my invitation was waylaid." He leads into the elevator and hits a button -- the doors close with a disembodied voice saying "Level 14 - Victorian Restaurant" -- overhead.

"Yes, I can imagine that you are...at the end of your rope, perhaps? It's been a long couple of days for you, I am sure. I remember what it was like when I discovered my powers." As he says this, he glances sidelong at Katsumi, and then the doors to the elevator open.

"And, perhaps I will be able to see it in person. I was just in Tokyo, but, unfortunately did not have any spare time to see a match with you. Though, my understanding is, you've stayed behind while the rest of your company flew back to Japan? Have you finished your contract?" His question is probably purely prefunctory, as he likely knows the ins and outs of her contract with her promoter as well as she does.

Sebastian Shaw has posed:

The doors slide open to reveal Shaw, and Katsumi staring up at him wide-eyed and agape. Powers!? He moved onto that assumption so quick! And to just brazenly admit he has abilities, himself! He's doing a heck of a job keeping her off balance. "P-p-powers? Who said anything about p-powers?," she stammers. Katsumi is not a gifted liar. She's a marvelous instigator and heat-magnet, but liar? Apparently not so much. At least not when flat-footed.

As he steps out, she's just a step or two behind him. Her gaze drops firmly to her feet. "Not.. exactly. I needed to stay behind and try to, um, figure some things out. And make sure Sindie's okay." That's the excuse. She'll go with that one; Sindie can be her meatshield.

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
The usual hustle and bustle of the Victorian is notably absent. The entire restaurant is empty -- aside from the maitre'd at the entrance. He says in a slightly British tinged accent, "Mr. Shaw, Ms. Oshiro, may I lead you to your table?" Another light touch to Katsumi, this time on the shoulder, as Shaw says, "Lead on." He follows in Katsumi's wake to the table. "We will take the bottle of Yamazaki 55 year old, thank you." Shaw orders, before he pulls out a seat for Katsumi.

"I said powers. And if you'd like we can demonstrate on each other later. It is part of why I invited you here, aside from to offer you my services and resources to clear up any...legal difficulties you may be facing." Shaw adds as he comes around to sit at his seat.

He picks up the menu to glance at it for just a moment, saying, "Order anything you like. And, who is Sindie? Is there anything I can do to assist you with her situation?" Shaw seems in a very solicitous mood, and he looks into her eyes, adding, "There is nothing the Hellfire Club wouldn't do to..help you with your situation Ms. Oshiro."

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro is lead along rather stiffly, silenced by the room interior and how everything seems to be going so fast. If she were grilled on how to get out of here, the best she could come up with is finding the elevator and hitting the '1' button. Past that, she's already lost. When a chair is tugged out for her, she almost robotically takes a seat and smooths out her skirt in the process. When one wears skirts as often as she does, one gets used to how to sit properly. Punk Princess, though she may be.

"Yeah. You did," she says, dazed. And then she blinks. "Sindie... the girl I put in the hospital. I wanna make sure she's okay before I leave the country." As excuses go, it's a fair one. She's pretty sure poor Swan is going to be hospitalized for another week or two. Not that that's a /good/ thing.

"Nono, I can't demonstrate.. um, anything.. on you. That's how I got in this trouble to begin with. And anyway, I dunno how to make'em activate. I made a whole list of things to try, and so far nothing's triggered it. My next thing was testing to see if anything happens with a specific kind of opponent. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Like Sindie." She was going to hit up some underground fighting arenas, but kept getting distracted.

Though her gaze dips briefly to the table, it raises again to study Shaw across from her. "What is it you want, though? Why me?"

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
Sebastian Shaw notices how ill at ease Katsumi is, and while he doesn't press it, he does seem to be using it to his advantage. "I have had Tessa -- she's my personal assistant by the way, I did not mean offense earlier when I dismissed her, but that is our relationship at this point -- look into Ms. Swan's arrangements. She is getting the best care that money can buy in the City, at no cost to you or your company. Again, this will be taken care of for you."

The question of what he wants elicits a slow smile, "There is one thing I want from you, but aside from that there are things I want for you. You, clearly, have some sort of special power. I have seen it with my own eyes -- and seen it often enough in the world to be able to recognize it -- and you're not...the usual sort that has a power like this. Mutants who have powers are noticed from birth. Your power seems to have been activated, and, I am very curious about why that is. If you would like, we can offer you training facilities where you can try to reactivate your powers on fighters from around the United States, in a safe, controlled, envronment. No need to go looking for fights in the less reputable gyms around the city."

He sets his menu down as the bottle of whiskey arrives, and then motions for the maitre'd to pour him a couple of fingers, before he asks, "Would you like any? This whiskey is...exquisite." He then continues, "As to what I want for you: the Hellfire Club is a club for exceptional people, and you, are exceptional Ms. Oshiro. Your beauty and athleticism should have been enough for the Tokyo branch to notice, but apparently they have been remiss in their scouting of prospective members. I am not so negligent, and would like to -- potentially -- offer you a membership with us. In exchange, for a single vial of your blood, so that we might help you determine just how your powers were activated."

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
"Oh. No, it's cool, it's- I wasn't offended or anything." She calls salespeople minions all the time. Katsumi is not the type to lose sleep over it. Granted in her mind, it's playful ribbing. Those in receipt of said ribbing often don't feel the same. "If she needs something, that'd be nice. I might be, uh.. having some.. financial problems soon." Translation: she anticipates being fired. It's going to hurt. Not just financially, but deep down. The NLWF was her happy place.

"But no, I was tested earlier. I don't have the.. uh.. whatever it is mutants have. Whatever I am, it's not that," Katsumi sighs. At the mention and invitation to alcohol, she hesitates a moment before simply nodding. It's probably a mistake. A lot of things she's doing lately are likely a mistake.

"But the crowd dynamic might be a thing, too. A, a part of what triggers it. It could be a whole bunch of random little things working together," she posits. "And I might want.. one or two people present." Just in case, for support. Then again, they might protest to her endangering herself in the first place. Nessa already seemed to regret putting the pit fighting idea in her head. "Maybe, anyway."

Katsumi folds her hands neatly over her lap, brow knit. "Just blood, huh? And you think you can figure it out on that?"

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
"You are my guest here, and should you run into financial trouble, I am sure -- if nothing else at all -- I can find a use for you in one of my companies." Shaw says, before he picks up his glass and gives a small toast to Katsumi, "To new beginnings," and takes a slow sip of the drink, enjoying the smoky burn that really good whiskey does so well.

He nods in answer to her question, "Just blood. As you've said, and I've surmised, it does not appear you're a mutant. And unless you took a walk through a gamma radiation burst that you and I are unaware of, it's likely that you are what they are calling 'metahumans' these days. Individuals who manifest powers based on some sort of trigger. The crowd may have been it, but, I suspect there was something else. Your blood likely has the key to it. As to who you want to come and watch, again, whatever makes you most comfortable and able to work. I don't expect immediate results, or even anything spectacular to be honest. These things take time to develop and master." Shaw is, again, ever patient. "But, I would hope that you would consider joining our club once you have figured out how to harness them, considering the investment we would be making in your growth and understanding of your abilities."

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro immediately remembers what Nessa had said; it's magic. Somehow, someway, it's magical. But if it's hereditary, something might be found in the blood now that it's 'awakened', so to speak. If she's part oni, or non-human, it should show up. Right? And it's better to work with people who are more in-the-know than hitting up a random doctor and hoping they don't contact the authorities.

She lifts the glass of whiskey, then promptly shoots it. Etiquette? What's that? And the immediate reaction couldn't be more telling - a cringe, her face turning aside, a couple hard coughs, her cheeks flushing. Katsumi Oshiro is not accustomed to partaking in the creature. And being Japanese, she's physiologically predispositioned to have a low alcohol tolerance. The emptied glass is set on the table again, and she clears her throat in an effort to regain composure.

"You can have a vial. But what /is/ all this? What exactly do you do? And why the Hell is it called a Hellfire Club? Isn't that kind'a ominous?"

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
"As I said, the Hellfire Club is a club for exceptional people. Its name...comes from a old club in England. In fact, our original chapter still exists in London. A beautiful old Georgian building, I love it deeply. I must admit, I am a bit of an anglophile, so, it is near and dear to my heart. But, I digress, the original Hellfire Club was a sort of, club of elites who flouted the conventions of their time. They were profane, they engaged in unconventional sex, they took new and interesting drugs and generally acted in a 'devilish' way to challenge the puritanical society they lived in, broadly as an outlet to Enlightenment ideas that were being suppessed at the time. The Club continued beyond that, and kept its name while it became a nexus of influential and moneyed interests. Our New York branch, which I am the head of, is simply a continuation of the nexus of wealth and power. Our membership is a who's who of the politically and financially connected in the world." Shaw explains, nerding out just a little bit about eighteenth century politics.

"Today, though, we are primarily a social club, closer to the Freemasons or Blindenbergs than anything else, and I find that having a diverse membership is...vital for keeping interest here alive." As he says this, he watches her reaction to the whiskey, and then reaches out to pat her hand gently, "I think you would be an excellent addition here, and do hope you would consider a membership."

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
"R-really?," asks an incredulous Katsumi, having been patted and given the explanation. Her voice is a little hoarse after the whiskey. "Me? A who's who? A.. wrestler people like to boo in the ring? I'm awesome, sure, but... I'm no world leader or anything."

It's a bit overwhelming. And though her parents were, indeed, affluencial and filthy rich, she'd become somewhat unaccustomed to the lifestyle since leaving for college. It never really suited her personality to begin with; a frequent thorn in said parents' side. "And I'm not having unconventional sex!"


"That's.. not what this is about, right?" Her eyes narrow just a smidge.

"I know I'm like a walking fetish in the west, but..."

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
"Oh! No! My apologies. The unconventional sex I was talking about was homosexuality in the eighteenth century. It was not something that...well to get into all of the ins and outs we'd be here for a week, but suffice it to say generally homosexuality was kept hidden by those who practiced it at that time. We have a much more liberal view on sexuality now, and so, no, that is not what this is about." Shaw says with a smile, "You are striking, and I -- as well as a good many people -- would greatly enjoy getting to know you more intimately, but that is not why I am offering membership to you." Shaw reassures her, adding, "Your exceptional nature comes, mostly, from your powers. I have powers, there are other members of our club -- who I will not divulge, but if they wish to tell you, they may -- who have powers like yours. That is what has caught my eye."

He then finishes off his whiskey, and just in time, his order arrives. It's a salad, though, one topped with some very rare looking steak. "My apologies, they know my preferred order here by heart, so, did not need to put any in. If you are hungry though, please, order something."

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro's gaze lowers to the table again, her cheeks flushing a second time now. "Uh, right," she murmurs. A lock of her hair is tucked behind the right ear. "I-, uh.. don't think I could eat right now." Tension. Nerves. Awkwardness. It doesn't help an appetite. She exhales a puff of a sigh and straightens up in her seat, determined to try to get a handle on this.

"What happens here, though? It's a social club, sure, okay. My parents did stuff like that. But what happens? Do pretty people get together and play board games? Because that's really stupid and I might be down for it." Despite - or perhaps because of - her contradictory statement, Katsumi purses her lipss in an affectedly haughty expression, hoping for more detail.

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
"What would you like to happen here? I am sure there are members who would be interested in getting together for a game or two. There are parties, we have a handful of extremely exclusive dance clubs and bars. This is a place where people come together to network, and strategize." And meet their second, younger, wife. Shaw leaves out that last part, "We are not up to anything nefarious, outside of facilitating meetings between people who...would be treated differently in the world at large. You will find that having powers changes the sort of people you come into contact with. We try to give you an outlet where your peers aren't looking to exploit you, but rather, meet with you as an equal of sorts."

He starts to dig into his salad, taking a few bites, before he says, "Sadly, I need to be going, as I have another meeting I need to get to with a member of our board. I am sure you have a lot of questions, but, you can wander the club freely, speak with members if you wish. There are only a few private rooms that would be barred to you right now, so, feel free to explore. If you'd like we can offer you lodging for the next few days, a suite that would put your hotel room to shame, and one of our on call medical staff will come by to take your blood sample when you are ready."

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
Katsumi Oshiro's expression eases into a more natural, contemplative one. Her gaze rests on the table again, half-lidded. "That doesn't sound... awful...," she reluctantly submits.

Oh, the blood. Right.

Her eyes suddenly pop back up to Shaw. "This isn't a cult, right? Like the medical people aren't gonna come in and try to get the blood sample with a jagged knife or some s***, are they?," she asks, the profanity casually slipped in there.

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
Sebastian Shaw is patting his mouth with his napkin when Katsumi asks that, and he coughs a couple of times as the question catches him off guard. When he pulls the napkin away he is smiling and chuckling, "No. This is not a cult. It will be a needle, administered by a fully certified nurse, who will send the sample to the Shaw Coproration laboratories to be tested. I can make sure you get a tracking number for it if you'd like. This is a very scientific process, carried out by top researchers in the field who are as interested in seeing what is going on with you as you are."

He stands, and then reaches down to place his hand on her shoulder again, "Once you have chosen a suite, please take all the time you need in getting yourself acclimated and informing your friends and contacts. We are here to help, and nothing bad will befall you while you stay with us." His thumb strokes up and down against her skin for a moment, before his hand withdraws and he asks, "Any other questions?"

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
Touching! So much touching! America, why are you so obsessed with touching!? Nevermind how her career was built on excessive physical contact, that's her job! This is normal-time!

Katsumi bristles a little, but forces herself to stay in check. "Okay," she says quietly, a little strained. "I'll- I'll think about it." Though she likely will agree to the bloodtest. It could be very helpful! "I think that's it. I mean, I have a /ton/ of questions, but you have places to be."

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
"Good, and if you do have questions you can speak with Tessa, or text me directly. I will give you my number," He pulls out a pen and paper and writes down a phone number, passing it to her. "If anyone asks you are a guest of Sebastian Shaw, and if they continue to press, call my number and they'll be fired." And with that, he says, "It has been, truly, a pleasure to meet you. I hope to speak with you again, soon." He turns, and makes his exit quickly.