5249/Ms. Adam's Interesting Talents

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Ms. Adam's Interesting Talents
Date of Scene: 18 February 2021
Location: Conference Rooms - Hellfire Club
Synopsis: Shaw makes some small revelations to Nicole.
Cast of Characters: Nicole Adams, Sebastian Shaw

Nicole Adams has posed:
     The limo ride over to the Hellfire Club was, to say the least, a touch nerve-wracking. Oh, to be certain, it was a luxurious affair, posh as anything could be. But it was eerily silent, with Nicole taking the time to focus on deep breathing and basic calming techniques.

     They helped, to a point.

     Thankfully, the ride over did not muss up her appearance. Her pressed black slacks remained free of wrinkles, as did the white button-down blouse with its lace modesty panel, that kept decolletage from being on display at all. She'd had time to slip on her black parka, though it remained open in the front. Soft black boots made little sound as she followed along, twirling the ends of a stray wisp of honey gold that had escaped the bun pinned at the back of her head.

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
The woman with Nicole is silent during the ride, and escorts her up to the conference rooms on the eighth floor of the Club. Sitting at one of the tables is Sebastian Shaw, looking down at a tablet, flipping through what -- at a glance -- looks like stills from surveillance footage. When Nicole and the woman enter, he stands up and motions to the chair across from him at the table, "Ms. Adams, a pleasure. Thank you for coming. Is there anything I can get you?" he asks.

The assistant is dismissed with a simple, "That will be all Ms. Fox. You may return to your usual duties." The woman nods, and then walks back to the elevator to get back to whatever it is Shaw has her doing. Shaw for his part sinks back into his chair, and says, "You didn't tell me of your...unique abilities the other evening M. Adams. Were you holding out on me?" His expression is friendly, a small smile crossing his features.

Nicole Adams has posed:
     Lovely. Nicole was busted. Though she kept her lips trained to a polite smile, there were shadows of worry in her eyes that would not quite go away. Though it was only early afternoon, it seemed perhaps not an inappropriate time for a little bit of liquid courage! "Not at all, Mr. Shaw," she replied, shrugging off her parka and draping it neatly over her lap as she slid into the chair. "Would a mojito be out of line at this hour, do you think?"

     A quick glance over at the tablet in his hands confirmed her worst fears. Her smile faltered, and her grip upon her parka tightened just a tiny bit. "I've held out from my own kin, Mr. Shaw," comes the reply, each syllable somewhat clipped. "The first few years of that weren't easy, but it got a lot easier when I cut ties with them."

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
"Not at all," he pushes an intercom button and says, "Ms. Santiago, could you bring a mojito up for Ms. Adams, and I will have a glass of wine. The pinot I opened last evening. Thank you." He adds, "Give them a couple of minutes, and it will be here."

He leans back in his chair, at her answer, and then nods, "That is understandable. Powered individuals, mutants, and the like are in a rather precarious position these days. I suspect some other people will be coming to speak with you about this, but, I consider it a lucky coincidence we met only the night before this terrible riot broke out. You displayed a fair amount of power. How are you feeling?"

Nicole Adams has posed:
     "Honestly? After that, I had the headache from hell, pardon my language. But I slept it off, mostly, thank you."

     Nicole purses her lips, settling back in the chair, with a soft rustling of fabric against the posh, plush seat. How much did she dare to tell Shaw? How much did he already know?

     "I would have been disowned if I hadn't held out. My family is rabidly anti-mutant. There's a damn good reason I hate yellow and black."

     Peridot eyes peered intensely at him, as she considers the situation. Was it perhaps just coincidence that she had met Shaw only the night before the incident in Mutant Town? "Nobody's approached me yet. Who would?"

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
"Aside from how unfashionably garish it is?" Shaw asks about the hatred of yellow and black, with a small smile. "It seems to be an issue a number of powered individuals have. I know of another who has almost the exact same problem with their family." Shaw observes. He looks over as the door to the room opens and a man carrying a tray of drinks arrives. He's dressed perhaps not as modestly as Nicole might expect. The man puts Shaw's drink in front of him first, and then sets the mojito in front of Nicole.

"Thank you, Ken." Shaw says to the man as he makes his exit, and then he turns back to Nicole, "Use of power is known to cause...headaches if you are not trained to properly handle the sudden, large, output of energy. No other physical or mental ailments from this?"

Nicole Adams has posed:
     "I've never trained my gifts," Nicole replies, curling her fingers around the highball glass with its minty payload. She seems content to nurse her drink for a moment, or so it appears. But the contents begin to swirl very slowly, as if being idly stirred by an unseen hand. It is almost as if the mint leaves within seem to twirl and dance within the haven of liquid and ice. "My degree of control primarily extends to how well I can keep them hidden. Sometimes, as you saw, it fails."

     The motion of her drink slows, then ceases entirely, and she takes a long, slow sip of liquid courage. "Thankfully, no. Just the headaches, when control fails." She pauses, chewing her lower lip for a moment, debating the wisdom of continuing further. But, as she glanced around the room, then back at Shaw, she was left with one thought--this was someone who could either be her best friend, or her worst enemy.

     And someone this powerful, she had no wish to make an enemy of.

     "I'm just glad the broken bottle someone threw hit me, instead of some kid out there." And yet, there was no sign of any cuts... were there?

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
The man takes a sip of his wine as Nicole speaks, and then sets his glass down after a moment. If he notices the swirl of mint leaves in the drink, he makes no comment. Rather, he goes with, "Have you ever lost control like this before?" It is a simple question, and it seems he is evaluating the girl, watching her nervous ticks, and movements.

Nicole Adams has posed:
     "Once, several months ago. Last April, I think," Nicole replies, taking another sip of her drink. It was familiar, comforting, and refreshing all at once, steeling her for what must be said. "There was some outreach work going on in Mutant Town. I was just checking it out, enjoying the day, maybe seeing if I could help out. Some kids got jumped by anti-mutant bigots, and I damn near lost my shit." She wrinkles her nose and shrugs, peering into her glass. "You can guess what happened."

     Several long moments of silence follow, Nicole's brows furrowing as she thinks back. "Next time after that, I was walking home from work and got jumped in a park not far from home. It was somewhere around early September. I was lucky help arrived, but I still think my attackers are probably re-thinking their life choices to this day."

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
A thin smile crosses over Shaw's lips at Nicole's comment. He nods, and then says, "Good for you. It is good that you can stand up for yourself. Not all mutants can." He takes another long, slow sip of his wine, before he says, "Nobody from the Xavier Institute, or any other group has reached out to you about what was on display last evening? I see from the surveillance video a number of other notable mutants there. Curious why they seem to have not contacted you thus far."

Nicole Adams has posed:
     "I'm sorry, the what Institute?" Nicole looks genuinely perplexed, her brows furrowed in utter confusion. "I've had my hands full just keeping my head down and living life without getting canned from my job for being a mutant. What would any group want to do with me? I'm a nobody." Distinctly rattled by now, loose items in her immediate vicinity begin to react. Pens start to clatter about in their holders. A loose paperclip or two begin to dance and shimmy atop the smooth surface. The edges of paper are tugged this way and that, being pulled into mild disarray. But, nothing goes flying. Not yet.

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
"There are some groups -- misguided though they may be -- that believe banding mutants together into a segregated school away from the population is the best way to promote mutant rights, and protect them. It is a quaint idea, borne out of an older time and the well meaning, but stupid, belief that isolation is the key to protection. We live in a more civilized age now, and the Xavier Institute should be left in dust of the past, but, I do not wish to give you my full op-ed piece on it right now." Shaw replies, smiling a bit.

"I believe mutants should be out and proud of their abilities. Make friends with those outside of the mutant community, build relationships. Establish and lead clubs." What? "Develop relationships that can insulate mutants from bad actors. You will never see a pitchfork or torch outside of the Hellfire Club." Only inside. In the Dungeon.

Nicole Adams has posed:
     Nicole settled back in her chair, closing her eyes and taking several deep breaths. Gradually, the items on Shaw's desk grow still once more, with nothing broken or other than in a mild state of disarray. For the moment, calm seems restored. "So are you saying that, at this point, there's a fairly strong likelihood that sooner or later, one of these groups or this Institute is likely to come knocking on my door?"

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
"One of them already has Ms. Adams." He either hasn't noticed the distress she is in, or, probably, doesn't much care. Shaw is in command here, and he says, "I had hopes you would be a bit quicker on the uptake, but...the Hellfire Club is friendly towards mutants. We do not believe in discrimination against them, or in leaving them out in the cold. I provided you my card should you need assistance with anything, but, apparently you lost it." Shaw stands up, and says, "Were I you, I would find it, and keep hold of it tightly. We can be very valuable allies to you if you require it, Ms. Adams."

Nicole Adams has posed:
     "I haven't lost it." Also standing, Nicole pats her left hip pocket, smiling slightly. "But aside from you, nobody's come a-calling yet. And please, I must insist, it's just Nicole. Whenever I hear 'Ms. Adams', I half expect to see my mother."

     Were there actually those who wouldn't discriminate against mutants? Could she really be quite that fortunate? There was something about this gentleman, something that made one look twice at him. "I'd hardly describe myself as slow on the uptake. Cautious. But slow, no. You have me curious now, though." She pauses, debating how best to phrase the question. "Are we perhaps more alike than it seemed at first, in both of us being, shall we say, different from the world?"

Sebastian Shaw has posed:
"Again, Ms. Adams, here, there are certain rules of address I must adhere to. If you would prefer to go by Mr. Adams, I suspect that could be arranged. Dr. Adams, The Right Honorable Lady Adams. Any military rank. Or Sister Adams. But most of those come with certain strings attached." Shaw replies with a tight smile.

"That is a question you will probably have to take to your grave, Ms. Adams. You -- and many others -- may suspect it, but there is a power in keeping that aspect of my life, to myself. For now." He then motions to the door, and says to Tessa who is waiting outside, "Make sure Ms. Adams has a car to bring her back to her apartment."