Anti Mutant Measures

August 28, 2016:

Emma and Betsy investigate Donald Pierces house and get an interesting surprise or two. (Emits by Mana)

Morningside Heights - New York


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

A few things are certain. Money is flowing through the Hellfire Club to the Purifiers. That money is being handled by Donald Pierce, who holds the position of Black Bishop. Selene Gallo, the Black Queen, is busy protecting the club from outside threats and, at least from the outside, refuses to entertain the thought that one of them might be guilty.

Emma, and Betsy, know that there have been thefts from Pierce's own company, Pierce-Consolidated Mining and recent contact with 'Freki', a feral werewolf, has encouraged them to look more closely at those thefts.

That's bought them to Pierces own home in Washington Heights. There's been precious little from the company records, now they need to investigate the man himself.

It's evening, the sun has long since dipped beneath the horizon and the two women are observing Pierces house from some innocous postion on, or near, the street. They know that Pierce himself will be at the Club tonight - it's Sunday, that's where he always is.

There's no obvious physical security in the form of people from what they can observe and from other information they know the house is protected by high tech measures - infrared detectors on the walks approaching the house, biometrically keyed entry pads and the like. A bit overkill? Perhaps, but this is New York.

The measures though aren't anything the two wily women can't overcome.

To be entirely honest, Emma Frost would rather just read Pierce's mind and steal everything she needs to know. But she has discovered - much to her need for Excedrin afterwards - that he has perhaps some of the most advanced psionic scrambler tech she's ever encountered. She's not sure if it's a device he's wearing, or something implanted, but she has not been able to penetrate it, and she has tried.

Imagine how irate she would be if Emma knew that tech was actually something stolen from Emma herself?

Normally, Emma would make sure to place herself in the Club to keep an eye on Pierce and look for an opening to talk to the Black Queen about his activities. But her discussions with Elizabeth have convinced her that they may both be needed to pull off entry into the house, and it was easy enough to task someone else at the Club to watch over Pierce and report his movements. The girl doesn't even need to know she's doing it to do a great job. Isn't telepathy wonderful?

Dressed down - bright white high-end women's business attire does NOT go well with breaking and entering unnoticed - Emma looks through the spyglasses provided and then hands them back to Betsy. "Well, Miss Ninja. Should I go get the bear? Or do you think you have a plan?"

Betsy accepts the binoculars and scans through them, shaking her head. "No. In reserve, perhaps— but you see those bushes? that hedge? Not ideal, but it will do as a line of advancement. Watch the window there, near the trellis." She goes to tug her mask into place, then pauses and kisses Emma's cheek. "Be careful, and watch for my signal."

This is an infiltraiton Betsy is remarkably well-suited for. The ninjas' garbed herself in black and shadows, thin grey giving subtle countours to her bodysuit. Her hair's bound back in a tight, low poinytail, and a scarf covers her lower face from view.

She doesn't take one of the windows or doors— rather, after scouting the location, she scales a wall with toes and fingerpads and pries an external vent cover out. Once she's inside, she opens a window and flings a narrow, knotted silk rope down to the first floor— along the line of advantage she'd identifed as the best approach for Emma to take.

A glimmer of light from a mirror to signal the blonde, and once she's near, Betsy hauls her up like a fisher taking in a net, hand over hand.

Entering via the vent to the house was a good move on Betsy's part. It circumvented the security measures in place on the windows and the doors.

Strange that opening the window from the inside hasn't caused a disturbance. Maybe the security system is designed to cater for that.

Pierces study is just down the hallway to the left. When they enter, it looks like your quintenssial male domain - heavy timber desk and chair, dark panelling on the wall. The computer is actually built into the desk and the filing cabinet is behind one of the cupboard doors.

There are a lot of cabinets though, they'll bear investigating.

~// Don't forget to reconnect those wires on the way out. //~ Emma whispers very softly in Betsy's ear, as they start creeping down the hallway together. She's sure that a few had to be snipped, crimped and the like to disable alarms on the window and the vent, but though she has the electrical engineering to know /how/, she hasn't the experience disabling security systems to have been any good at getting them this far.

That's what the ninja is for. And so perky!

Emma eyes the computer and debates the right response. ~// I cannot imagine his system would fail to alert on the insertion of a drive, and I'd have to assume it's hardened and not Bluetooth accessible. Frankly, the best solution I can think of would be to steal the hard drive, but it's not as if he could miss that'd been done. //~

Thankfully, Emma is actually smart enough to have thought of this in advance. No, seriously. She pulls out two devices from her small backpack. One she holds as she scans over the desk until she finds the CPU and locates the internal hard drive of the unit. Then she lays the second carefully in place over the drive and activates. A tiny progress bar of itty bitty lights starts, as the device reads the actual magnetic signals on the platters of the target drive and copies them precisely, without even moving the magnetic head of the drive, to the unit contained inside the device.

Isn't that convenient?

~// See anything in the cabinets? //~

~A moment, darling. I need some focus.~ Betsy holds a hand out towards the cabinets and exhales meditatively, focusing. Psychometry is far from a reliable psychic talent— sensing the imprints left on objects by repeated handling or strong emotional connections. And frankly, Betsy's… not very good at it. But there are enough lingering traces to speed the search up quite a bit, to find the one file cabinet that's opened far more deliberately than the others. She picks the lock with a rake and tension tool in a surprisingly short amount of time, digging into the cabinets and pulling out the individual files that hold the most 'weight' psychically. Tax records don't have the same astral mass as a financial transcation on a murder order.

She pulls the files on by one, takes a photo with a high-definition portble camera, and replaces them. Betsy's memory is excellent, but not photographic. She puts every file precisely where she found it— oriented properly and staples and post-its in place.

~Much here. Too much for me to make a good summary of,~ Betsy says, going through the final set of drawers. ~I'm copying everything of relevance.~

As Emma's device blinks happily - reading the magnetic media beneath, Betsy's own investigations lead her to one of the cabinets. The records there are fairly mundane though. Letters to colleagues, requests for funding and supporting and the like.

On the screen of the computer, Emma will note the emails and instant messages that are being pulled up. These are between Pierce and three or four people. As she watches, whilst much of it seems to be in code, a pattern becomes clear. They all relate to facilities that Pierce-Consolidated owns (where the thefts occured) and they all seem to be passing sensitive information to outside the company. Why on earth would the CEO be doing that?

Betsy's investigations also hold similar revelations. Some of the letters, which appear to be personal in nature, are very badly written - not something that either of the women would expect of Pierce. Betsy might notice a pattern appearing though, the bad writing is fairly consistent and relates to the holdings where robberies occured. The correspondance occurs before the thefts, sometimes months but each one stops just before them.

All of a sudden, alarms sound through the house and the two women are hit by a psyion blast. It's painful, even for ones of the calibre, and might disable them momentarily. At the same time, beams shoot from the cornices, targeting just the two women.

On the stairs they can hear the footfalls of the security guards.

Emma has no idea what they set off, or how. Interesting that it knew to attack with a psionic wave pattern, but there'll be time enough for curiosity later. Staggered to one knee, the blonde of the pair pulls up her hood as she transforms to her diamond form, said energy and beams reflecting harmlessly away now. Then she snatches her copy drive off of the CPU shell, turns, and reaches out to scoop up Betsy.

Fair is fair. The ninja did haul her up into the window, after all. She ought to return the favor.

Unwilling to leave any evidence, Emma hauls the ninja with her as she goes through the open window and then leaps to another nearby rooftop - not the rooftop where they started out this evening. "Time to go, dear." she comments, jogging away and hoping Betsy at least managed to hold onto her camera as they left.

Betsy's instincts run deep— she grips her gear, shuts her eyes, and springs into a few handsprings to avoid the attack of lasers. She takes two across the shoulder and lower hip, searing her flesh, but the ablative nature of her bodysuit combined with a scattered psionic shield helps diffuse the worst of it.

She tucks the camera back up her sleeve and puts her arm around Emma's shoulders, and for a moment allows herself some respite to get her psychic shields up in place again.

By the time they're on the roof, she pats Emma's arm and then announces she's able to move on her own power. It's mostly true, but she keeps a hand on Emma for support and balance as their feet slap against the rooftop.

"Dizzy, but better," she says, her tones clipped and professional. "Strong psychics— they knew we were coming. Trap," she says, slipping a little on slick tiles.

The next rooftop, the pool house to the exact, is still on Pierces property. As Betsy and Emma land, more defenses spring up, just as Betsy slips. Laser weapons, albeit mounted and not portable but so very similar to the weapons the Reavers and Purifiers use, target with precision the two fleeing mutants.

If they can be sure of one thing, in all of this, these weapons know to target them and not the security guards who are starting to spill into the yard.

Was this a trap or does Pierce have anti mutant measures in place? If it's anti mutant measures, why?

Either way, their escape route is obvious. The fence line is not far and surely that will be an end to all this?

"Worse than a trap." Emma growls, as more blasts ping off of her diamond form, shredding clothing away. This is infuriating. And she'd be dead otherwise. "Time to go." She trusts Elizabeth's psychokinetic talents to carry her to the next rooftop over that accursed fence line. But Emma has to get there the old-fashioned way: she leaps, lands with an impact crater in the street, and then has to run and jump up to the next rooftop and scamper away from the edge and any follow-through fire. Then she turns back to heck on Betsy, hoping her ally - alright, alright damnit! friend, are you HAPPY NOW! - is alright.

Betsy flings herself off of Emma's shoulders with a leap and a grunt of effort, flinging psionic force out to form a pair of glittering amethyst wings— vaguely resembling a butterfly. They carry her across the rooftops and she flings shadow and smoke behind her, with psionic talents and more conventional smoke grenades alike, obscuring their path of retreat. She hits the roof when Emma does, rolls once, and the kunoichi is up and running, her left arm hanging useless and favoring her right leg despite her exceptional pain-blocking talents.

"Muscles are stunned. Can't… overrride it," she pants, struggling to keep up but barely staying with the leggy blonde as they flee, into the night.

"Don't be silly." Emma complains, and just scoops up Elizabeth in her diamond-hard arms. "Sorry for the lack of padding. Now hold on." Running. Why is it always running? Oh, because sneakers don't have license plates or VIN numbers. Damnit, this is so annoying.

The two women make safety, laser beams still shooting at them but fading out as they make the safety of the perimeter.

It doesn't take long for them to get clear. What they've taken for this is a data stick full of emails and instant messages and photos of personal letters that seem to relate to Pierce-Consolidated holdings where thefts occured.

When they finally get to analyse all of these it becomes clear that Pierce has been communicating security information about the facilities and the contents of the facilities to outside sources. It is certainly not coincidental that these communications stopped occuring not long before each theft occured.

Moreso, the incoming correspondance is that of people who are taking orders, not giving them. Couple that with the fact that the defenses in his home seem to target mutants specifically - what does that make Pierce? Certainly involved with The Reavers. But also someone in charge.X-Red will certainly want to know about this, given their interest in the topic.

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