5479/Fortune and Glory: Dont Shoot the Messenger

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Fortune and Glory: Dont Shoot the Messenger
Date of Scene: 07 March 2021
Location: Various locations around the world
Synopsis: Several candidates for Lott's legacy are chosen. Three in particular; Bane, Cinque and Jovian investigate clues to what is going on and why they were chosen. News of the hunt leaks around the world and the focus on who is seeking it and what it is increases as does scruitiny of the Nazca cartel, drawing the attention of Lara Croft as Jovian asks her help which in turn draws the scruitiny of W.A.N.D.
Cast of Characters: Jovian Anderson, Lara Croft, Cinque Evers, Bane
Tinyplot: [[Log Tinyplot::Fortune and Glory]]

Jovian Anderson has posed:
A series of events have been set in motion, long ago, by an old man dying, disastified with the world the way it was. His own efforts to change it had only been partially successful, but in the ashes of the great war, thought the world would never be the same again. While this is true, a new age of heroes has dawned....on the path to Fortune and Glory.

Jovian has known SOME form of message would arrive but he certainly didn't expect it in the form of a carrier pigeon. At first he couldn't believe it, but the bird just sat there, band its foot. He waited for it to, he didnt know, turn into a person or something but it just sat there as Jovian cautiously approached. He took the band and read it, curious when it said,"

In archer's rest beneath the shadows brail,

The knowledge men seek both bold and frail

Opens knowledge and treasure sold

All that glitters is not gold."

A riddle? Seriously? That was the last thing he would have expected and...he was stumped! He had planned to ping Sara to find out what the Nazca cartel was up to but weird riddles was definitely not what he had anticipated. Fortunately, he had been in the hero game long enough that he also knew a few others who could help and dialed Lara, "Hey...this is Jovian, we met a while ago on that smuggling Job...I need a favor..."

All around the world similar pigeons made their way to a dozen different candidates. The only thing aside from the riddle was a curious logo of three crowns and three swords that might look familiar to some since several companies and brands looked similar, but it wasn't QUITE the same.

A simple search with a cell phone and google images told of the fabulous legendary treasure left by one Archebalt Lott, 'adventurer, explorer, man of action' who many thought was mostly a myth but the wikipedia article indicates that while many stories were clearly fabricated, the treasure itself was very real and that at least five or six trusts were remarkably still intact despite a world war, the cold war and a few attempts by various european or state governments to nationalize them. Many attempts had been made based on clues that people thought had been left, there had been scandales, kidnappings and even frame jobs but thus far no one had obtained any of the treasure and many believed it wouldnt ever be found. The last major attempts had been hot in the early days of the 90's at the dawn of the age of the internet.

Until now.

Lara Croft has posed:
Lara had been in her jeep when she got the call, commuting from work at the Triskelion north of Manhattan and heading back home in Greenwich Village. She'd remembered Jovian when he'd jogged her memory and then settled in as he relayed to her what information he had on this matter, including images or what have you.

"I've heard of this before." Lara notes. "Archibalt Lott has a number of buildings around the globe associated with his company. I drive past one, in fact, on my way home, as luck would have it." The British explorer had continued to tell Jovian from her driver's position on the night he'd called her.

"I'd be happy to poke around the building, but otherwise, this riddle could... well, the man was eccentric, to say the least. His exploits are renowned, but also... quite mysterious. Many believed he was truly mad." Lara had further said shortly before she'd ended the phone conversation with Jovian and started on her way.

Cinque Evers has posed:
After receiving the message from the pigeon just as he was getting off his stakeout, Cinque hurries back to Jamii shelter. Cinque checks the supplies for tomorrow's breakfast in the kitchen, before heading to his hidden bomb shelter. Cinque turns on computer and begins to search video images of matching the type the breed of pigeon that he saw deliver the message. Cinque quietly confesses to himself that he is not happy that someone knows his movements that they can track him down with a pigeon, especially after getting ambush recently.

Cinque pulls up another computer search for the different images of three crowns and three swords. "I should have grabbed some of that leftover chili from the fridge before coming down here." Cinque repeats to one specialized computer the words from the poem, "Billie, show all references to the entire stanza and each line separately in literature and media. Show information on the screen at the usual speed." Cinque moves his chair back enough to be able to watch all the screens as he begins to do his search. The ability to multitask does has its benefits.

Bane has posed:
in an undsiclosed location Bane encounters a pidgeon with a message he thinks it over. "I wonder who else got this message?"
He takes the riddle and the pidgeon to the league of shadows(assassins) "This seems to be the clue toward some sort of treasure. I doubt I'm the only one to get this message. find out who else and where they are going. Then we will follow. The league members scatter and go about the task bane set out for them.

Jovian Anderson has posed:
Cinque immediately gets a reply from Billie, "the brand is a company once owned by Archibalt which had 7 buildings around the world, the most famous one being in New York, each of which were well known for having famous arc deco art inside of it that hired a blind artist that incorporated things in brail. Its well known lore to treasure seekers but no one ever figured anything out by the messages IN brail though one clearly refers to gold in all seven buildings. Further, the verse in question is actually a direct quote from poet Lustra Monique, who wrote a series of poems in the 1970s about her husband who went mad chasing down said treasure."

Bane's men contact the league of shadows. At first, there is no ping but within 30 minutes, he learns that there are more than 50 pings in a deep internet search all around the world on the specific words on the verse. He also learns about the seven buildings and that the geograpically closest one is in New York City near (but not in) the Financial district. He also learns that there is a group called the Nazca cartel, known for occult dealings and organized crime in South America and Asia that has recently increased activity and some of his underworld brokers believe THIS might be the reason they are in New York, some of the wilder fringe theories always pointed at, but could never prove they were one of or THE guardians of this treasure and that the increase of activity in New York might highlight this.

Jovian response to Lara, "I appreciate it. I'm suiting up and on the way. Be warned that there is some weird stuff going on with this, and that I think it had to do with my own doppleganger from another dimension, I know SHIELD is investigating that, who triggered this hunt and something involving the Nazca cartel. There may be elements around the buliding watching it or doing god knows what. I've been investigating them, but the only thing I know for sure is that they have hired thugs at all kinds of prearranged locations in New York City, maybe elsewhere with envelops with instructions. So they're planning POTENTIALLY something violent but I dont know what or where.

Lara Croft has posed:
Lara had listened to the rest of what Jovian had told her but ultimately had just told him she'd stop by the building and give it a look around, see if she came up with anything and contact him back.

It didn't take her terribly long to gether there, traffic in the city wasn't AS BAD as it can get.

When Lara arrived, she found a place to park her jeep and stepped out, her black leather jacket was thrown on over her hoodie that she zipped up to her mid chest level. Her sunglasses were raised up on to her hairline, to keep her loose brown locks out of her eyes, and the SHIELD Agent moved at a casual pace toward the bulding.

His info, Jovian's, had her a bit on edge, but no more than she usually felt in new places.

Lara enters the building though, it's lobby and speaks to the person who first greets her to tell her a bit about why she's there and that she's with SHIELD, and is just 'looking around' and little else at the present.

Jovian Anderson has posed:
The building in question is Art Deco to the extreme and belongs in Gotham with its unnusual architecture despite the more modern high rise apartments around it. It is 9 stories tall and designated a historical landmark. The large steps outside of it have a number of human statues that all seem to have chosen the worst possible moment to perform; a statue of liberty, Artemis, Santa Clause in marble, Uncle Sam, and the Easter Bunny.. The street is well trafficed and a number of people go in an out of the building since there is a small bank on the first floor. The riddle in question is on a base relief showing a stone carving of the workers building the trans continetal railroad with the dots showing in brail just beneath it.

Cinque Evers has posed:
"Hhmm, art has always been a perfect vehcile to clean drug money." Cinque is typing with one hand, "Billie, show me any links between this company, and known drug cartels. Start with our own investigations into Boss Morgan and the heroin trade, and branch out from there." Cinque frowns slightly and really needs to save to get the parts to build another computer like Billie as he turns to his other computer to type the information in manually. He begins to search through any connection between to him and Archibald.

Cinque swivels in his chair to the other computer to search the identity of the blind creator that design the art deco.

Bane has posed:
Bane reviews the information. It seems this is challenge they sent out many messages baiting certain parties into persuing this. He turns to ranking members in his militia. "find me all you can the Nazca Cartel, press all our south american contacts, place someone insid if you must. I want to know what they are up to asap"
Bane has sent men to 6 of the seven possible buildings New york is close enough that bane chooses to go himself but decides to keep to the shadows and lurk and survey the area and people coming and going to gain information.

Jovian Anderson has posed:
The Militia does so. They are close enough to be at 3 of the 7 within the hour and arrange for proxy agents to do so until the rest of them can arrive. Bane sees what Lara saw outside as the five statues seem to get the occasional tip, Uncle Sam getting about twice the tips the rest of them do, with the traffic into the bank increasing.

Jovian arrives immediately after Bane, wearing what is recognizable as a 'costume' he sticks out like a sore thumb but to his eye he sees three or four other people scoping out the building that might also be contenders of some kind. Knowing Lara is inside of the building, Jovian enters, giving tips to the three statues that reach out to him as he walks in but otherwise ignoring themand looks right at the artwork she mentioned, "Any clues? I mean a building is a pretty wide clue. Money is nice, but these guys arranged one robbery and foiled another its just....messed up."

Bane's militia identfies three groups of random thugs near the building, waiting for something. They are random and ad hoc, the flotsom of the underworld some skilled others barely so.

Jovian Anderson has posed:
Billie responds, "The creator of the art is actually the father of Lustra, and many believe that her husband married her to learn about the treasure. Karlos Monique was medium in fame, nothing Rembrant level but his works all have quite a bit of value to them and he produced few, he was a scultpor and painter. His work does appear in a number of other buildings created in the 20's-40's"

Lara Croft has posed:
Lara had looked around at all the performance statues on her way in, even smiling as she passed by some of them in tothe building.

But once inside, she just settled in to her 'tourist' persona of looking around casually. Her hands went in to her jacket pockets and she just started to stroll around after being greeted inside the building.

She noted as much as her perception would allow her too, but that did include potential shady individuals lingering on the perimeter of the area.

Ultimately though, when Jovian arrives, he'll find and see Lara standing by the place with the brail engraving. Lara could speak many languages, but brail wasn't one of them...

She does spot something though and is moving toward the plaque, tothe writing. Her fingers move over it like she's maybe trying to read the bumps and dots. But she isn't, she's moving her fingers across the plaque to try to find a way to get beneath it, because there's...

Lara glances over toward Jovian when he arrives and motions to it. "There's something under the engraving." She says in her thick London accent, not even starting off with a 'hi' or a 'how are you'.

Cinque Evers has posed:
While allocating some of his mental power to review the upcoming week's volunteer schedule, and calculating how much time is needed to build stands for the upcoming Spring Arts and Craft sale, Cinque has an epiphany about this message. Cinque snaps his fingers as he peers over at Billie, "Billie, show me a map of all buildings connected to the father of Lustra, but also show me all buildings that are connected to any of his known associates." Cinque leans back in his chair, "Hhmm, I am not sure what this happens to do with me." Cinque searches on the darkweb on anyone who has already hack into the company's systems to see if he actually needs to try do it locally or remote to find more information about them."

Bane has posed:
Bane arranges to have a meeting with leaders of the Nazca Cartel, Bane has learned they have trade connects with the league. He plans to use thus to press them for information. But that is later currently Bane is staked out watching a pair, young man and woman who seem also interested in what Bane is looking for. Bane sends word "monitor the thugs inform me when they move." Bane studies the statutues. "too tacky not to be there for some hidden purpose.
he moves in closer to better eaves drop on Lara and Jovian now.

Jovian Anderson has posed:
Jovian Anderson is a bit non plussed by Lara's greeting but nods, and begins, for lack of a better word, checking for secret passages. There's nothing here that hasn't been checked by treasure hunters for the better part of a century, but as he does so Lara does notice one of the brail buttons looks different than the others and could be pressed, though it will require a bit of climbing to get there. Absolutely nothing she hasnt done before.

Cinque gets a map of the buildings, globally that fit this pattern, the most likely of which is the old Bifrost building downtown. There are 7 buildings in New York with the artists art built into them and some displays in the Metropolitan and New York State University campus museums as well.

Bane's men keep an eye on the thugs, and at first nothing happens, but someone goes up to Artemis, says something and gets a large gold medalion of some kind. The individual runs away at top speed, a few looking closely but this is immediately followed by another individual approaching Artemis, also getting a gold medalion and running away.

One of the groups of thus splits apart with the majority of the group staying there, but one of the thugs says something to Artemis, who patently ignores him, and as he tries to take something from her satchel, one of the groups of thugs immediately starts towards the crowd of statues while Uncle Sam punches the thug arguing with Artemis in the face.

To those in the building, a small scuffle can be heard outside of the building.

Lara Croft has posed:
Lara's initial thoughts on ALL OF THIS was that it seemed like a bit of a far fetched 'fool's errand' to go after Lott's legend. But... the more she'd looked around at this building the more she'd grown to be intrigued by what was here. Specifically that brail engraving, because it looked purposefully built for a purpose beyond just being useful to the Blind.

Lara hands her phone to Jovian, it's on the Camera Mode. "Tourists." She says with a faint smile toward him. "Take pictures while I... try to reach the brail marker that is-- for whatever reasons --out of reach of hands." She says in that British dry humor.

Within moments, Croft is moving to do what surely the building's employees won't approve of her doing...

She starts to climb, using her agility and dexterity to just hop up the statuary until she finds her fingers on the brail writing. She traces it, finding the button that stands out amongst the carving and depresses it... or at least TRIES too.

So far she's unaware of what is unfokding outside.

Cinque Evers has posed:
"Billie, download all the audio versions of Lustra Monique's work and play them simultaneously." Cinque continues his meticolous process of gathering information. As he listens to all her work, Cinque reads the history of the differnt buildings to see if she mentions her father work in any of her poems, or even this cartel. Cinque bites his lip as he begins to make mental notes, "One, see why the cartel is now in the city. Two, figure out why this message was sent to me. Three, see if I can get a discount on lumbe for the upcoming sale. Four, found out location for known sellers in the city linked to the cartel"

Bane has posed:
Bane is recieving updates and he gives a command "follow the ones with the gold everyone else is of no concern" Bane moves in closer now wanting to be there to see what the results of Lara's climbing and investigating would bring. Feeling confident now in his actions he decided he can move out of the shadows to get a better look at what is going on.

Jovian Anderson has posed:
The militia at three of the other buildings report that a similar exercize is happening in other locations. There appear to be groups of thugs in various locations to intercept attempts to follow the medallion holders. They request input from Bane if they should follow with stealth or speed and if need be use lethal force on the medallion holders. They also ask if they should attempt to take the medallions or kidnap them.

Cinque commands Billie who feeds a huge amount of data into the oral interface. It is a lot to process, but that is what Cinque does. The Cartel's purpose in the city is unknown but they do not normally enter cities with large numbers of super heroes. They were behind or attached to two high profile robberies. Reason the message was sent to you is unknown but darknet activity and social media now report a similar phenomena occuring all over the world. There are at least 10 other recipeints, possibly much more. Lumber is estimated to be at 25% if imported from Buffalo directly. A contractor is much easier to arrange and can be found with ease. The Cartel does not operate in New York City but they have recently made contact with a number of fixers and freelance agregators hiring muscle for an unknown purpose.

The button is pushed by Lara and the transcontinal railroad "cavern" opens up and drops a large gold medalion, seemingly identical to the ones outside onto the ground. Jovian immediately catches it in his right hand and examines the thing. He examines it closely and sees that there are a number of geometric symbols on it, Lara would recognize the most prominent of which as the Nazca lines from Peru. There are also what appears to be latitude and longitude coordinates on the fringes of both sides of the medalion. Jovian, being somewhat of an expert on shadows, immediately spots Bane when he steps out of them and whispers to Lara, "I think we have company."

The thugs outside work remarkably well in concert and grab the guy bothering Artemis and take him off to the side. As he does this, seven people come up and talk to her, and she gives medalioins to three of them as they run off.

Lara Croft has posed:
Lara gets the button pushed and feels the whole structure she's scaled start to shake. "Oh, how do I get in to these things..." She mutters quietly as she has to adjust her position quickly to keep from being dropped down to the floor in a potentially uncomfortable way.

By the time Jovian catches the golden medallion, Lara is dropping down on her own terms to land a step or two from him. Her hands adjust her leather jacket and hoodie over her torso and she steps up to his side now, quite curious adjusting her stare to look at the medallion.

It only takes her a second to get enough information from it that she reaches in to her pocket and by the time Jovian is telling her that they ahve company, Lara is pulling out her SHIELD badge by it's nylon strap and raising it up over her head to wear it against her chest. "Yeah, well..." Lara looks to where Jovian has, toward Bane?

"This location is about to become an investigation site for WAND." Lara says as she starts to raise her left wrist up to her chin to speak in to her smart watch to talk to SHIELD dispatch....

Bane has posed:
Bane sighs and then speaks into his comms "Tail themand if they catch you kill them and bring me the gold. if they don't catch you scout and report back with information. Understood?" there is sheepish "yes sir" from the other side of the call.
"Don't mind me I'm just watching. I'm a curious interested party and I'm just wondering what will come of this. don't be alarmed."Bane says stepping out into the open and addressing the pair. "so what have you found hm? what I gather that trinket you found is clue that has been planted here to lead people somewhere. But I'm not entirely sure why or where or what purpose." Bane notice Lara call for back up. He gets back on comms "authorities incoming, Delay them I'm in the middle of a conversation"

Jovian Anderson has posed:
Jovian Anderson is not violently opposed to conversation. He is former federal law enforcement and might have recognized the name if mentioned, but by sight Bane is simply another piece in the puzzle. As such, he is willing to share information to get information and is utterly unbeknownst of the pandemium going on outside or ...frankly, around the world. "Name's Bolo, this is, well Agent Croft identified herself. This all started with someone who ...knew a lot about me and about things that were real in this world, but that no one else in ours had paid attention to for a long time. It's tied to organized crime and what I thought was a crazy paranoid conspiracy theory about a treasure hunt. I've been on one before but this is nuts compared to that. Got a bizarre message from a pigeon of all things. Normally, someone sends you a pigeon it goes to a coop, this one just landed on my window sill and sat there til I took off a band that raised me here."

He gets a bit more concerned when Bane mentions delaying the authorities. At this point, besides SHIELD backup there are authories arriving since word is slowly spreading on the street that a statue lady is giving out ACTUAL gold, but only to some people but nobody can figure out who. The thugs actually form a ring around the performers and the other four performers besides aretmis take out uzis, and point them outward. They let in some people but stop others. The ones they let through go straight to Artemis every time, and then leave immediately.

The chagrinned militia are able to take out about half those running from the New York site and a third in New Orleans and Paris. The local talent simply isnt up to the Militia's standards but apparently the Nazca cartel could find better help in the latter two cities. The League is also taking interest in this and working to speed Bane's militia's to the other sites with freelancers observing on their phones. The media buzz on it is increasing though it hasnt reached maximum saturation yet.

Lara Croft has posed:
Lara's eyes go to Bane, and... up to his face. His mask, his generaly size and demeanor... she staggers her steps and moves her weight from one to the other. He's unsettling to the British Noblewoman.

A glance is given to Jovian as he starts to speak on all of this, but the notion of SHIELD backup arriving on-site being dealyed by Bane? It's a bit... well, she doesn't care for that.

"Gentleman." Lara says to Jovian and Bane. "Whatever this is." She motions tothe medallion. "We don't know what it leads to. We don't know what any of the markings on it mean yet." That's not ture, she already knows quite a bit about what they are and mean, just not /everything/ they might mean.

"Whatever is about to unfold here--" Lara stops talking when she catches the sounds of commotion outisde.

She sighs, and shakes her head.

"Whatever is about to unfold here, nothing will be answered if we can't peacefully agree that we should work together, rather than against one another." Is she being sincere, or just trying to by SHIELD time....

Bane has posed:
Bane narrows his eyes at Lara Croft. He can tell she's not being completely forthright but if willing to play along for now. "Work together? why not. I'll bite. just keep your badge carrying friends away from me so I don't have to hurt anyone. Sound fair to you? now let me see the trinket,...please" Bane says holding out his open hand.

Jovian Anderson has posed:
Jovian lets Bane see the trinket in question. Bane's keen mind is instantly able to lock down the details on the medalion and it sounds like the one described by his men and captured therein, but....he notices odd little details that might be different. The key elements are the same, the lat long coordinates, the geometric shapes but there are odd little ridges along the edge that look at first like wear patterns but could be used in the key of a locking mechanism.

S.H.I.E.L.D. has dispatched agents all over the world at this now that Lara has made it an issue, and W.A.N.D. agents are dispatched in a wide net to try and identify those who had the medalions though of course getting them all is impossible. Chatter on the dark web in particular is very heightened right now, but there are odd memes showing up all over twitter. It still hasnt reached the news media but its only a matter of time.

Lara Croft has posed:
Lara seems uncomfortable about the tenuous alliance, but at least it's something keeping the aggression down, for now. What was happening outside entirely? She's not sure yet.

Her eyes remain on the large masked man as Jovian hands the medallion over. She retrieves her phone then and turns to take a few quick snapped photos of the place that opened up that the medallion came from, because in things like this... every detail has to be poured over...

When Lara looks back to Bane, she glances up at him and then at the item of gold. "I believe all signs point to South America's most notorious mystery locations..." Croft softly says. "Something I'm sure Archibalt Lott was rather obsessed with."

Cinque Evers has posed:
"Baxter's over there, Rojo's there, me right smack in the middle." Cinque recites one of his favorite spaghetti western quotes, "This seems like a sticky situation. Someone has made me a pleyer in a game, logically I need to find out why and how for my own safety." Cinque taps his fingers against the keyboard a few times, "Billie, keep monitoring the dark web for all information concerning the search listed here. I will listen to the files, when I wake up."

Cinque goes to check on his costume, and focusing on making sure his weapons and tools are in good working order for the adventure ahead.

Bane has posed:
"the Nazca lines, well that would make sense considering the Nazca Cartel is involved somehow, on little on the nose though. its a Key and I assume the other ones my people have found are keys as well. I'll do some independent research on this" bane turns to leave. "By the way I am Bane. if you need to find me again. I'll find you"

Jovian Anderson has posed:
Jovian Anderson blinks at the last statement but it becomes obvious that shield and NYPD and the FBI and a whole lot of other people are about to show up en masse literally at the time that Bane leaves. Its funny because the statues seem to vanish into the crowd too though the thugs are still there forming a circle to keep the crowd out and since none of them have permits for those firearms, they are quite very much arrested.

The news of the global phenomena does hit the news finally, and needless to say, the result is pandemoneum.