At the Black Knight Castle

August 30, 2016:

Investigating the Black Knight's legacy, the Avengers fly to England

Castle Garrett

Desced in scene.


NPCs: Wooster the Butler

Mentions: Nathan Garrett


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The test flight of the Avengers One as Nathaniel is calling their very, very modified Quinjet has gone… surprisingly well. All things considered.

All things considered being that:

*Half the electronics are missing. Leaving a number of holes in the pilot’s cabin.
*There is not even a control wheel. He connected to the flight systems directly through his armor and what he called a brain-machine interface.
*It is an anti-gravity transport, and no one had built an anti-gravity airplane using regular Earth technology as components yet!
*Neither the plane or Iron Guard have any kind of flight permit valid in the 21st Century.
*But no worries, he said, we have a cloaking system that maybe will work.

Apparently it worked. And they flew at around Mach 3 all the way to the Black Knight castle. Match 8 won't be available until Iron Guard gets the frictionless force-field going 'maybe next week'

Landing is smooth when the plane actually stays hovering a couple feet over the ground. At least he called ahead to tell one Mr. Dane Withman he would have visitors at tea time.

Castle Garrett.

Located in the rolling countryside of Great Britain, the keep rises into the blue sky, it's white-grey walls and spires contrasting well with the azure backdrop, and green fields. It does show myriad signs of damage — a combination of old battles, and general disrepair — but it is by no means a crumbling ruin.

Just old.

And lonely.

The inner courtyard is easily large enough for the quinjet to set down without disturbing anything…much. The livestock do not appear to appreciate the disturbance — particularly the horses. And the ostlers attending them. One horse is stabled apart from the rest: a magnificent black stallion… which just happens two have horns on its head, and giant, bat-like wings — but it is still a horse. Sort of.

The beast kicks up such a fuss, that the stablehands will not go near him… until a man in jeans and a black leather jacket appears at the front doors to the castle itself. He wears black helmet on his head, and a sword is slung over his back. He puts his hands on his hips, shakes his head, and approaches.

"Visitors usually knock!" he calls out in a British accent.

While she was a pilot herself, Black Widow was more than happy to let Nathaniel deal with helming the pilot's chair, mostly as she took the flight quite easy, reclining one of the crew seats all the way for a good rest on the way. Blindfold on and everything. It's rare she gets genuine moments of rest without the need to be alert. She also seems to wake on cue when they arrive, tossing the blindfold off, and fixing her hair real quick, calling over to Nathaniel, "you want to handle the talking? Don't want to scare him away or anything."

As they move to disembark and Natasha catches a glimpse of the horned winged horse, she smirks and turns to Nathaniel, "remind me to ask if he can get me that unicorn I wanted when I was 4."

Nathaniel will definitely build the pilot controls so they resemble those of a current airplane, but it wasn't a priority, so it will also come next week. So far he is the only one that could fly the Avengers One.

Knock? But where is the door of a castle? Does it have a drawbridge? Oh well. "I do not think Whitman is going to scare easily, he has been in the business for some years." He points to the winged horse.

The airplane door slides aside and Nathaniel lets Natasha to climb down first. He jumps down right after, an armored figure in silver and red, the armor design similar to the famous Iron Man. But he pulls off his helmet right away, and then offers his hand to Dane. "My apologies, I am not familiar with what counts as door for a castle," he offers with a small grin. His accent is faint but hard to identify.

Whitman takes a moment to consider this response, tilts his head from side to side, mouth-shrugs and finally nods his head. "You make a good point," he concedes as he half-walks, half-jogs the rest of the way down the steps to the jet and the two people disembarking from it.

Taking Richards' hand, he gives it a firm shake. To Romanoff he offers a roguish half-grin, and removes his helmet (tucking it under his left arm). "A pleasure. You seem to know me… I recognise you," he says to Richards. "The armour, anyway." To Natasha he adds: "You may call me Dane. What…" Distracted momentarily, the Black Knight turns to the side and motions with an arm at one of the stablehands, and the winged stallion.

"You forgot to mix his hard-feed properly again, didn't you, Stevens? You know it makes him cranky! Get him some mints and he might forgive you…" Shaking his head, Whitman looks back toward his guests. "Come inside, and we can talk. Would you like something to drink?"

"I see you've not read my full dossier, such as it is," Black Widow deflects non chalantly, as she follows Nathaniel out of the plane, "it's usually the gate, and then the main door of the courtyard," Natasha remarks dryly, before setting her blue eyes on Dane, tilting her head slightly, and remarking, "well, he looks good enough, so clearly, gives you someone to push at the media," she offers glibly, still not talking directly to Black Knight, though she does extend her hand eventually towards Dane, "Natasha, pleased to meet you."

"English castle, I'd ask if you have some fine scotch by any chance," Natasha says, before quipping, "and if you got a white unicorn in your peculiar stables, I'd love to go for a ride."

"Nathaniel Richards, although I go by as Iron Guard right now," a brief glance to Natasha, "I will try whatever she asked for," replies the young man. "And thank you for receiving us. I did not mention the reasons of the visit, and they are not very pleasant. There was a robbery at a S.T.A.R. Lab facility in New York a few days ago. A piece of advanced gear confiscated years ago to a former Black Knight was stolen."

Dane Whitman is shaking Natasha's hand, roguish smile and all, when he hears the words 'former Black Knight' from Richards. It stops him short. Fixing his guests with an intent stare, eyebrows furrowed into a deep frown upon his brow, he finally releases Romanoff's hand… and glowers.

"Wooster," he remarks over his shoulder to a waiting butler (an older, balding man, standing dutifully at the castle doors, awaiting orders). "Brandy for our guests, then see to it that we are not disturbed, thank you."

Wooster bows. "Very good, Sah. The Drawing Room?"

Whitman nods his head. "Please." The butler departs, and Whitman leads Richards and Romanoff inside. The castle interior is much more well-kept than outside. Stone arches open into the central hall, decorated with tapestries and stained-glass windows. Dark green carpet covers only portions of the stone floor, and the ceiling is very high.

It is not all medieval in style — the place has been outfitted with reasonably modern lighting, electrics etc… Dane turns down a corridor toward the well-furnished Drawing Room, and directs his guests to some comfortable seats around a table. Wooster already has drinks prepared.

"Tell me what you need," the Black Knight says, getting straight down to business.

Looking between Nathaniel and Dane, Natasha quips, "if we're doing the codenames bit too, well, I'm the Black Widow." As they follow Dane inside the castle, Natasha mutters, "so…were you actually in the court of Arthur Pendragon?" She's done a bit of intel gathering, and some of the info that popped out about Dane when doing real intelligence proved the stuff of fairy tales. The kind of information that should be tossed by any decent person for fairy tales and heresay.

She does leave the business part to Nathaniel.

Nathaniel follows the other two in silence until offered a seat, then he speaks. "It was a group of super-criminals. Melter and Blizzard and an unidentified man that eluded us and fled with a high-tech lance-like device reputedly belonging to Nathan Garret. There has been rumors about a group of costumed criminals operating in the New York area the past year. Many of their criminal actions have been foiled by the local authorities and crime-fighters, yet they have managed to elude capture thus far. Some seems to be new faces wearing old codenames and gear of older criminals."

So the suspicion is someone could claim the Black Knight's name in the name of villainy. But Nathaniel lets Dane draw the conclusion himself.

"This weapon, I would like to know what is it able to do?" he adds.

"Uncle Nathan?!"

Dane practically tips over his brandy in his haste to put it down on the little table, his gaze shifting back and forth between Richards and Romanoff in alarm. "He's dead… so it can't be him. … Can it?" The tall man sits back in his chair, massaging his jaw with one hand. "Merlin's beard, it can't be him…"

After a slight pause to get over his surprise — and dismay — at the news, Dane looks back at his guests once more. "No, it's far more likely — as you say — someone has appropriated Garrett's weapons, and name, for his or her own gain… It's my name too, now… God help us."

Now he finally drinks his brandy.

All of it.

A faint hum from the sword slung over his back draws his attention and he glances sidelong at the blade. "Hmmm, yes. You're not happy about this either, are you? Competition, is it? Figures." Dane looks over at Natasha. "Remind me, and I'll tell you about Camelot another time, luv. This…" and he shakes his head.

"The lance is a work of art," the man says in reply to Richards. "It'll thwart most blades, blast most barriers… but it's nothing compared to the Ebony Blade. Garrett tried to accomplish with technology what the Blade does with magic. It's… not the sort of thing one wants on the street."

Natasha sits down and reaches to take hold of her glass, swirling it a bit, before bringing it to her lips for a sip, closing her eyes for a moment, and then nodding in approval. "I can grant you the castle has a well stoccked cellar." She doesn't seem awfully interested in the actual business, unless she's putting on a front, her blue eyes, however, do make a habit of intently looking at Dane, studying him almost.

"So that is…actually…a talking sword, yes?" Natashaa asks, not a sliver of surprise visible on her visage. "So long story short, you, like us, want this guy caught and the lance returned, yes?"

"Honestly, the old reports about the capabilities of the lance seem… unlikely," comments Nathaniel. "Plasma, ionic energy, forceblasts," he enumerates. "Either Garret was an unrecognized genius engineer or," he blinks. "Or maybe we are dealing with one of Baron Heinrich Zemo inventions. Those men were allies. So it makes sense. Ionics were one of his specialties. A shame S.T.A.R. Labs had not a chance to investigate it."

But he is speculating. The Widow is centering precisely in the problem, so Nathaniel will see what Dane has to say about it and sip this 'brandy' stuff.

"My uncle was almost as brilliant as he claimed to be," Dane replies pensively, sipping more of his own drink. The man's expression is no less worried, despite having calmed a little. "Science seems to run in the family… I'd err on the side of caution regarding his lance — he was trying to compete with this after all." And he motions to the sword.

To Natasha he explains: "It doesn't… talk so much as… communicate. Not in words, if you know what I mean. Look, I don't care who has my uncle's weapons out there — no one should. Whoever they are, it sounds like they already have some formidable allies. You're right to be concerned."

The moment he uses the word 'concerned', Dane gives Romanoff an arched eyebrow — clearly intrigued by her apparent lack of concern, given the situation. It is also just another excuse to eye the gorgeous woman sitting across from him. Dane finishes his brandy, and motions for Wooster to pour him another.

The dutiful butler does so.

"What else do you know about the break-in and theft?" Dane asks Nathaniel.

"The way I understand it, when it comes to people like you, science and magic are really inter-changeable," Natasha offers, not so keen on locking on jargon, she just wants to get to the bottom of it. Is Dane going to join them or not, which she prett much illustrated with her blunt question.

"So you will join our little endeavor to bring it back and put a stop to the man or men behind it?" Natasha presses Dane, before lifting her nearly empty glass towards Wooster, "I thought it was British courtesy that a lady need not ask, am I wrong with that perception?"

To answer Dane's question, Nathaniel says, "Not much. As I mentioned the criminals were Melter, also one of Garret's old associates. And Blizzard, although I am told this one was not the first man to wear the Blizzard outfit. Also a third man, unidentified so far, who escaped with the lance. They knew what they wanted and they knew the device has arrived the labs minutes before. And they killed six members of the labs security team. Well, Melter did it. The Avengers captured them, but they escaped shortly afterwards from the police precinct cells by unknown means."

Castle Garret has another visitor, a stealthy arachnid that decided he was going to slink around and attempt his best not to trip any security while snooping, scouting, espionage, intelligence, whatever one wishes to call it. It's pretty much just being nosy.
Spider-Man hasn't exactly read the dossiers or caught himself up on everything that is transpiring but this is part of the gig, this team stuff, protecting the future, protecting the now. He bought the spiel.
The Blue and Red outfit of Spider-Man is different from Parker's but not by a whole lot. His entrance being a crawl around a corner along the wall. "So, this place… you need someone to dust all those hard to reach places, seriously."

"My apologies, Ms. Romanoff," the aging butler replies as he refills her glass. "Would you care for any additional refreshment? Sandwiches, perhaps? Assorted biscuits and nuts?"

Dane's eyes twinkle with suppressed mirth at Natasha and Wooster, but he does not comment on the matter. Rather, he find himself glancing sharply upward at the new voice, blinking in surprise and instinctively reaching for the sword over his back.

Then he sort-of recognises the outfit — one Spider-Man or another does feature relatively often on the News after all, at least in the States. Dane glances from him to Nathaniel, and then back and forth a bit more. "I… did not see that coming," he murmurs. Then to Spidey: "Do you want the job? I'm sure Wooster would appreciate the help — wouldn't you, Wooster?"

"Very good, Sah," replies the butler in tone of infinite politeness… and patience. Dane chuckles, and looks at Nathaniel. "Alright. I'm in. I have a name to… redeem. Again. Point me at your Round Table — you do have a table, don't you? Or are we living out of that aeroplane?"

Nodding at Wooster, Natasha takes another sip, before replying to his offer, "if you have those darling little finger sandwiches with cucumbers and cream cheese? Why, that would just about make this British vacation decent." She does outright laugh at Dane's handling of Spidey's wisecracking, "you hear that? If you want the maid job you got it, I can give you cute little french maid uniform, I'm sure you'll be priceless wearing it," Natasha offers with a playful wink at Spidey, before drinking just about half her glass at Dane's acceptance, "great, that's what I wanted to hear," turning to look at Nathaniel, she does a thumbs up gesture, "see? Even when it comes to recruitment, I always get my missions completed." She leaves it to Nathaniel to explain Avengers logistics to Dane.

"A round table? I will add that to the list of furniture to acquire," chances are it will be from Ikea, though. They are working with budget! Nathaniel doesn't seem surprised Natasha offered, so maybe they had talked recruiting Dane on the way to England. Thumbs up.

"The new Avengers are just starting, Mr. Whitman, accommodations are rather basic, but we have plans in that regard." But that is because Iron Guard has plans about everything, including things he probably shouldn't have plans for. "I was going to ask your help to attempt to track the power signature of the device. I believe it is possible if they use it the ionic energy function."

"Been there, done that. Does absolutely nothing for my figure, we'll save the slinky outfits for our fearless leader or you, Widow." O'Hara lowers himself from the ceiling and would smile but well, the mask stops these sort of things. A fold of arms across his chest and he teeters back on his heels listening at the moment, he has been caught up in his own heroic misadventures enough right now he doesn't have a whole lot to add (at least anything important). He really really needs to brush up. No one ever accused Miguel of being a hard worker. "Round table? That is a uh, pizza place right? I am fairly certain we have those."

The butler offers a bow and departs the Drawing Room for the time being — off to retrieve some of those refreshments. In the meantime, Dane himself pours another round of brandy for anyone who wants some — Spidey included, this time, now that the masked fellow is off the wall — all the while listening to Richards.

"My lab is your lab," he tells the other scientist as he sits back down, sipping more of his drink. It is a rather good thing there is a lot of this brandy (among other things) in the cellar; they might have need of it… "I already have some scanning equipment; it would be a relatively straightforward task to recalibrate it to track the device's unique signature…"

He looks up and around at his new 'team'.

"How much time do you have? You're welcome to stay the night — we have room — and we could get to work right away on finding out where the thieves went with their ill-gotten gains…" The Black Knight gives Spidey a bit of a lopsided smirk.

"Remind me to tell you about a certain Table-Round sometime. Dash it all, you've got me craving pizza now, too…"

"Your loss," Natasha grins at Spidey, before looking back at Dane, that is at least until the butler returns with the sandwiches, "splendid, you're quite alright," she says as she reaches for a couple and munches quietly. When Dane asks for the next move, Natasha states, "unless you brainiacs got a means to devise a way to track the device from here, we should be on the move."

Time here? Now, that is unexpected. Nathaniel has time, but he is not sure about the other two. He nods to Natasha. "It seems more likely the lance is still in New York. But if I could have access to Garret notes and schematics, it would be very helpful."

No comments about getting Falcon in a maid outfit. That is a concept he can't unthink. Thank you Spidey. Ouch.

"No no, your loss." The animated eyes of the Spidey outfit wink. "I'll take you up on that sometime, this story about the Table-Rounds or Squares, at the moment though I think I am going to go catch some zzz's in the Quinjet." Already walking off Spidey waves over his shoulder, "Wake me if you need me."

Dane rises to his feet.

"It seems we have a course of action," says he, addressing everyone just as Spidey takes his leave. "Richards, I'll take you to what I have on Garrett personally. Hopefully there'll be something in there we can use."

He eyes Romanoff next.

"Care for a tour, Black Widow? What's an English vacation without exploring an old castle?" The man smirks, and tucks his helmet under his arm again.

"I would be fine staying here with Wooster and be catered upon like a Princess, while you boys do the sciencey stuff," Natasha says as she drinks the last of her drink, "but if I'm offered a tour of a genuine castle, I'll take it, " she gets up from her seat to accompany Dane and Nathaniel.

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