Coffee Shop Conference

January 16, 2017:

Peggy, Constantine, Red Robin and Steve meet to discuss the man known as Hanussen.

A Coffee Shop - NYC

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Winter Soldier, Zatanna Zatara

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

There was been quite a bit going on lately with SHIELD, with Bucky, with the past. Not the least of all, is a supposedly immortal Nazi magician. That is certainly something Peggy has not forgotten and has, in fact, been doing quite a lot of research on the man. To that end, a meeting has been set up. Apparently a magician by the name of John Constantine wants to meet with her to know what she knows about Hanussen and attempted to find a way to contact her through Steve Rogers.

As it's clear to her that Steve isn't sure if he trusts the man, she has decided to put the meeting on somewhat familiar turf and in a place she is sure believes will be somewhat secure - the coffee shop right across from the Triskelion. It's somewhat neutral territory and in New York City it's not out of the ordinary for people to be talking about strange things in a coffee shop. With the tablet that she has in front of her, a whisper of conversation about magic and undead sorcerer's could just be a script meeting. It also, of course, stands to reason that she had Agents sweep the shop before the meeting.

Near the back corner of the shop, she has set up a table. A mug of steaming tea sits steeping in front of her and she stirs it as she waits for this John Constantine who can conjure Captain America to a mystical pub.

—-

John Constantine arrives more or less on time, which is a testament to just how important the information he's after must be to him. He arrives alone. Either he trusts SHIELD, Captain America, Captain America's woman, or some combination of all three implicitly, or he feels reasonably confident that he is enough all on his lonesome to handle any sudden malice on the part of that organization — rightly or wrongly in either case, who can say?

He pulls one hand from his pocket to pull open the door, crosses to her table — she looks exactly like she did in the photos he dug up whilst doing his due diligence online — and drops down into the seat opposite hers with a grace that has its origins in careless swagger rather than any kind of groomed elegance.

"Ta luv," is how he chooses to greet this American icon. "Good of you to come. Heard anything about Miz Jones, by any chance?"

Jessica Jones, holed up in SHIELD now, taken there by Cap after she somehow managed to soak enough spells to down an elephant and not die.

—-

Coming out of the restroom, a man comes out dressed in civilian clothing. A brown leather jacket, light blue dress shirt and dark blue jeans. Originally, the man had on sunglasses and a hat, but Peggy told him that it made him look like he was trying to be undercover. Which was true, he was. Now, he just hides in plain sight, just remaining calm and nonchalant to avoid the radar of stardom.

Coming in at Constantine's question, he offers a reply, "She's fine. Recovering at the moment, hopefully she'll back out and doing her thing in no time." His tone is quieter than usual, perhaps the last encounter with John having made him a little more subdued while attempting to parse… whatever that journey was. "Hope you're well."

—-

Hours of preparation, gone to waste.

The whole reason Red Robin had come to New York City in the first place had been to pursue his investigation into the events surrounding Zatanna Zatara, which had included making contact with the costumed vigilante known as Spider-Man, and following up another lead he'd gotten from the aforementioned stage magician/actual wizard about someone who might know about the true identity of the man seemingly behind all of this, though she'd only been able to refer to the woman as 'Captain America's Date'.

Also somewhere in the middle, a magical mystery tour sidetracked the whole thing.

It had taken a remarkable amount of effort to figure out who 'Captain America's date' was, almost as though SHIELD didn't want their agents' identities being compromised to whoever felt like looking them up or something, and then of course he had to figure out a way to get into the Triskelion and talk to her, which was something else SHIELD didn't seem very keen on. Not that he doubted his own ability to get in and out with minimal fuss or bother, but Red Robin liked to be thorough.

And then, as he was staking the place out, getting ready to make his approach, he saw Agent Carter head across the street to a coffee shop.

"Seriously??" the caped and cowled young man complained to the empty air, then glancing down at himself, in full costume.

That wasn't gonna work.

  • * *

A college-aged young man with touseled black hair pushed under a knit cap steps into the coffee shop from the January cold, not long after Constantine enters. Dark sunglasses hide his eyes, and his choice of slightly bulky jacket, a scarf wound over his shoulders and the lower half of his face, muddles his appearance all the further.

The time he takes to get a coffee lets him study the interior - he's pretty sure Carter isn't the only SHIELD agent present, because an agent with a pulse is a smart, cautious agent - and he sees the rumpled, British mage join the woman, and /then/ there's Captain America.

This leaves the young man in the crux of a dilemma: Break off and wait for a more opportune moment? Or make the leap?

He can feel it, that sensation he always feels right before jumping off of a building. His heart in his throat, excitement and anticipation and something like existential terror.

Shortly, someone else pulls up a chair at the table.

"Constantine," his voice is electronically shrouded, fuzzed and lowered by a device currently hidden under the scarf. Constantine and Rogers, a least, have heard it before. "Captain Rogers. Agent Carter."

"Nice place," Red Robin says in a deliberate facsimile of smalltalk. "Good atmosphere. What do you know about immortal Nazi sorcerors?"

—-

Stirring her tea in a non-hurried manner, Peggy glances up when John Constantine drops into a chair across from her. "Mr. Constantine," she nods her head in a formal sort of greeting. Her mouth opens to answer him, when Steve exits the bathroom after taking off his terrible disguise and does so for her.

Peggy sets down her spoon on the saucer, milk and sugar well mixed into her dark tea as she studies the man in front of her. He doesn't look like someone with the abilities Steve has said that he has, but she also knows not to judge a book by its cover. "Well, I've been led to believe we have a matching interest in stopping—"

About then, Red Robin pulls up a chair to what she assumed was going to be a private meeting. A hand quickly grasps the hot cup of tea, ready to throw it directly in the intruder's face. Her eyes narrow at his quip and the fact that he knows their names.

To Steve, she asks, "Were we expecting a fourth party?"

—-

John's blue eyes tick over Peggy's shoulders, fix on the hulking shape of the supersoldier exiting the restroom. He sinks back in his seat on a lazy angle, hangs one of his arms over the back of his chair, coat pulled wide enough open to show the majority of his left side. "Oh, can't complain," is his answer, with a glint of something amused in pale blue eyes. Their trip through the nightmare nethers of Ashley the Not-Demon doesn't appear to have stuck to him at all. Literally or figuratively.

He's just about to engage with Peggy when that fourth individual drops in, looking like some sort of wintery holiday unabomber. One of John's brows creeps incrementally upward, dry skepticism unfolding across his expression — until Robin says something, and he recognizes the vocal filter. The brow falls again, his expression dropping into a deadpan that only just barely illuminates around the edges with simmering background notes of amusement.

"We weren't, but he's good fer it," says John, which of course will put Steve in something of a bind if the big man happens to disagree. "Nothing brings people together quite like being crammed into a strange and unfamiliar orifice, eh?" No explanation, though. "Anyway, yeah. Let's chat. I've got tickets to book, I think."

—-

There is a short pause as Steve merely processes John's entrance as well as that of the unexpected visitor. There is a moment or two of silence as Rogers considers the situation, merely hiding his mouth between two clasped hands as they rest upon the table top. A glance is given toward Constantine, but it seems as if the American Symbol is okay with it, merely giving an "It's fine" to Peggy before nodding toward the new arrival. After all, if Steve wished there to be one another person, to be with Peggy, he figures that Robin can be John's +1.

While the others seem talkative, Cap does not. Instead, his gaze seems to be around the room in general, clearly being the watchdog for the group as the others talk shop. There is an occasional flicker back toward the trio gathered here and there to show he is listening, but it's clear this is Peggy's show for the time being.

—-

The choice to switch to a more civilian disguise was an easy one to make. Even in New York, people would look in askance at one of those costumed weirdos just strolling into a coffee shop and sitting down. It would cause all sorts of fuss and bother that they don't need, especially so close to Spy Central.

Besides, he saw what happened to Spider-Man when he tried to get a hot dog in costume, and the last thing Red Robin needs right now is to get chased out by a shotgun-wielding barista.

Given the pressing nature of things, the Gothamite crime-fighter doesn't bother dancing around the issue. There's information that he needs, and that clearly Constantine needs as well, and there are physical lives and metaphysical existences both equally on the line. What happened after they went into the warehouse didn't change that. If anything, it made the seriousness of things more clear.

"There you go," he says, sunglasses still hiding his eyes as he looks directly at Peggy, apparently viewing whatever perfectly sensible concerns Agent Carter might have about divulging crazy secrets to an anonymous weirdo as completely resolved.

—-

Peggy's hand remains on the cup of tea, ready to use it as a method of surprise before taking Red Robin out with a kick of the table. This is a sensitive topic of conversation and she takes those things very seriously - just like security. However, John and Steve both verify that they know the man sitting across from them and that he is trustworthy. That doesn't answer all her questions.

Agent Carter frowns and instead of gripping the mug in a way that would spray Robin with hot liquid, she takes it by the handle and blows off some of the steam as she watches what she can see of the man covering his identity in sunglasses and a large scarf. "Yes, there we are. Though, I am not in the habit of divulging sensitive information to someone I don't know the name of. A codename is fine, as it seems you're either susceptible to melting or wishing to hide your actual identity."

A look is given to Constantine as he says that he will vouch for Robin because they were crammed in a strange an unfamiliar orifice. Her mouth opens as she starts to wish to address that, but then she just closes it again. Maybe some things are best left unknown.

—-

There is a long pause as Rogers debates what to share as Carter seems all but confused. After a soft sigh, he does explain somewhat in a muted tone, his attention not toward anyone at the table. Perhaps it makes it easier to share the knowledge in doing so. "Not sure you want to know," he begins. "But it was a demon's butt that was a portal to another world that had wizards. And not like the kind in Harry Potter. I think, I haven't seen the movies."

The important thing is that Cap's trying to help, right?

—-

"Red Robin," is the response Peggy gets, in that electronically altered voice. It's a handy gadget, though it's less effective without something hiding it, which makes the scarf all the more useful. The young man's own mug of coffee remains untouched, though he can see the subtle cues in the SHIELD agent that suggest she's thinking of using her tea for more than just drinking. A faint tension, imperceptible if you weren't the sort of person who'd spent years studying exactly that sort of thing, and barely noticeable even then.

She might not be a supersoldier, or possessed of arcane knowledge and sorcerous might, but Red Robin suspects that in her own way she might be the most dangerous person sitting at the table.

"I've been investigating this situation for a few weeks, after capturing a serial killer in Gotham by the name of Michael Kazinsky before he was able to claim his thirteenth victim. I didn't realise that incident was connected to anything else until the Gotham Antiquities Commission gala, though it's taken time to follow those threads, and among others, they led back to you."

Steve's explanation gives the younger man pause, his eyes squeezing shut behind his sunglasses before he gives his head a faint shake.

"It's a long story," Red Robin says Peggy-wards. "And the wizards were in this world. It was like a tunnel or a shortcut, I think, and one end was a demon lady's butthole." He looks to Constantine briefly, perhaps hoping for some kind of backup on this, but before long he's turned his attention back to Peggy again.

"The thing is, Agent Carter, that people have died because of this. Twelve young women," from seemingly nowhere (a beginner's sleight of hand trick, really; they were up his sleeve) he produces a small collection of photographs, spreading them on the tabletop. Twelve young women, in their early twenties. All of them with dark hair and pale features; some with dark eyes, some with light. "Kazinsky's victims. If Hanussen didn't egg him on, his 'boss' did. The people at the gala. I'm sure you have a better accounting of just how many names you can put on this man's file, and I'm sure it's a long and grisly list. I'm going to see this through to the end, and I would appreciate any information that you can provide."

He leaves a name out, of course, one that he knows Constantine knows very much about, but he errs on the side of caution with regard to SHIELD's knowledge; he certainly isn't about to out Zatanna to the organisation if they weren't already aware of her, protecting her identity as vigorously as his own.

—-

Steve's explanation is met with a few blinks from Peggy Carter. "Through—" No, she's not sure she wanted to know that. As she watches the man who is clearly not looking at anyone else at the table, she stops herself from asking is Steve had to go through the same portal it's clear Robin and Constantine did. "And wizards. I…see." Perhaps more than she ever wished to. "I haven't seen those, either." The Harry Potter movies, not demon butt portals.

It takes a little while for her to get back on track, which is a necessity. This is a sensitive and important topic. She attempts to cover it with a sip of her tea. It's a small one and when she sets the cup back down on the saucer, she's mostly under control. She listens to Robin's tale as spins it, eyes looking at the pictures as he sets them down. While she may not know Zatanna Zatara personally, she recognizes the look being similar to the woman who was Bruce Wayne's date to the auction and the one who used the book.

"I see," she tells him. It's a noncommittal response to whether she knew this information before or not: a technique Red Robin has almost certainly heard utilized before. It's hard to study Robin's features when they're so dutifully covered, but she goes by body language and the fact that she agreed to exhcange information with Constantine and he has given his own permission to share it.

"Since the auction, I have been looking into the man you know as Hanussen. He went by Erik Jan Hanussen before the War, but unsurprisingly that is not his real name." Picking up the tablet, she tilts it toward herself as she taps in a few numbers and then sets it down on the table in front of them. It now shows an old picture of the man they recognize from the auction. "And he, also, is supposed to be incredibly dead. He was supposedly killed before the War even started."

—-

For his part, John seems content to let Steve's explanation of the orifice situation stand uncorrected. For all intents and purposes, it's good enough. Robin's slight tilt of the head his way, looking for confirmation on his clarification, gets a short nod and a one-shouldered shrug. "Yeh. Switzerland. Which I've always wanted to visit, but I'd sort of hoped I'd be flying first class." Instead of…worst ass.

He doesn't say that, though, and is more interested in the entry-level /appearing/ of the photographs. It tickles him. John does love to see people dip their toes into the craft.

He's quiet after that, listening to the other pair at the table exchange information — at least until Peggy asserts that the man is supposed to be dead, at which point he grins, a very quick flash of white, sharp as his eyes. "Clearly it didn't take. I was there to watch him die once already. Man's got a solid case of immortality going for himself. And that, really, is my angle of interest. I want to know what kind of immortality it is. How it connects wi'the book. Which he didn't get, by the way. It's in a safer place, now."

…probably.

—-

A technique Red Robin has heard used indeed, and used himself on more than one occasion. But lately he's had cause to be more free with at least some of his information, not holding as tight-fisted a grasp on his investigation as the Batman wold in his position. He knows that there are elements of all of this that are beyond the world he usually operates in, that he is in many ways in over his head. Not that he's going to let that stop him, of course. It just means he needs to cooperate more with people whose areas of expertise are more… Pertinent.

And since many of the people who have information he needs were /probably/ rubbed the wrong way by the Dark Knight telling them to get their asses out of Gotham City after the debacle at the gala, this disclosure, this at least appearance of openness rather than secretiveness, makes for a decent olive branch.

It worked with Spider-Man, anyway.

The idea of someone not staying dead is of course not alien to Red Robin, not when there are things like Lazarus Pits out there, but it seems like Hanussen's means of revival is more /immediate/.

"What was that book, anyway? He was willing to commit a massacre for it, didn't seem to care if it drew attention to him…"

—-

"No, obviously it did not." Peggy slides her finger across the tablet and the picture slides. There's a bit of a look to John as he says that he already watched the man die once before. While she does not say anything about that statement, it certainly means that she's updating some of her previous thoughts on him.

The idea of someone not staying dead is - also - not an alien thought to Peggy, though generally in her experience it deals with being on ice for awhile or…well, she's not exactly sure what it is that has kept Bucky alive so long. Maybe also ice. Ice generally seems to do the trick, though that is not the case with Hanussen. "However, I am sure it has something to do wtih the fact that he was quite big on the occult. And, not only that, the Nazi occult division. Many considered him a clairvoyant."

Robin's question is met with a slight shrug of her shoulders. "I'm not sure. It was something called the Liber Consecratus. All I know of it is what I could see it do at that auction and that was certainly a bit. And as I know him to be a man wishing to collect powerful items, I am sure that has something to do with his desire for it." As John has confirmed that it's in a safer place, she also glances at him with a raised eyebrow. "I assume, however, you may know more about it."

—-

How much of what's being said that John knows isn't clear, but nothing said so far seems to surprise him, or even rouse much in the way of intense interest, so he's either got the best poker face in history (arguably possible), or he's well-entrenched in the details.

Like those to do with the book, about which he appears readily forthcoming, now that it's safely elsewhere. "Liber Consecratus is what people call it, but that's a bloody stupid name for a book. 'Holy book?'" He tchs. "Also known as the Liber Sacer, or the Tome of Saint Honorius. It was a collaborative effort between Honorius and his contemporaries of the time. The actual book you saw at the auction was only half of the book. It contained a second book that wouldn't be readily accessible to anyone who didn't have the magic know-how to find it. Encrypted, obviously, and— anyway. For the most part it dealt with how to spare your soul from limbo, how to raise the dead — bollixy necromantic shite. There was more there, deeper, but it's still not clear what he wanted it for. Gave it a thorough examination before passing it off again, and I didn't see anything directly related to his condition — or if I did, it wasn't specific enough to tell me anything." He folds the arm that dangles over the back of his chair, propping his forearm on the top of the seat back and scratching lightly at his freshly-shaven jaw. He cleaned up to come to this meeting. Someone had better appreciate it.

"I'm not actually convinced the book was for him. The bloke's got a running association with a Prince of Hell. He might've wanted it for a trade."

—-

The 'Prince of Hell' part is of course the point where every cell of Red Robin's being wants to scoff. To not just roll his eyes, but to demonstrate such complete disdain for the very possibility that even his spleen rolls its eyes, and it would have to develop eyes first to do that, which would probably imply a severe medical condition. And it would be gross.

Everything he's seen over the past several years has read like a concerted effort on the part of the universe to convince the young man of the absurdity of the very idea of divinity, working hand in hand with his grounded, practical nature - well, grounded and practical for Gotham City, anyway - and it's impossible for him to view these things as literally true. Powerful beings, surely, but no more reason to toss out science and go back to sacrificing oxen than Thor Odinson running around.

They've just got a better PR department, he figures.

"The entity those girls were sacrificed to, Mammon," Red Robin says; the other thread that ties the disparate events together, along with Zatanna. "I don't have a frame of reference for a lot of this," he admits, with a faint shake of his head. Human evil he can grok, magic and allegedly actual demons… "Is there any other information on Hanussen? Any thread to start pulling on?"

—-

"Prince of Hell?" Peggy chalks this up to perhaps a street name or a code name rather than an actual prince of hell. She may have a more open mind than Robin, but it certainly doesn't automatically go to literal princes of hell when something like that is brought up. John's information about the book has her watching him intently and clearly memorizing what he's said for later. Her own research did not have much on the actual properties of what the book could actually do.

"Perhaps. He was trading with quite a bit of a nasty stuff before his 'death.' It took awhile for me to actually find out more, as there's not a lot of solid information on Hanussen. However, there is far more detail on Hermann Steinschneider, which I believe is his actual name. Old SSR files believe he was heavily involved in the study of the Spear of Longinus - the Spear of Destiny for those not caught up on Catechism or Latin - after it was purportedly in Nazi hands."

She pauses to let this sink in and then continues, "He was stabbed to death - or so the file said - before he finished his work. The SSR believed it to be Goebbels, jealous that he might have too much influence with Hitler. He was interred in a local cemetery. I had a local agent exhume the grave and, of course, it is empty."

—-

"Yeah. Mammon," John confirms, for Robin, with a short nod of the head. "Prince of Excess."

The next time he does anything of note, it's when his brow ticks upward just enough to indicate what might actually be interest, and that's when Peggy mentions the Spear of Destiny. That is quickly followed by another 'tch' sound and something disgruntled. "Because bloody of course," he says, which could mean anything. It does cause his gaze to settle on the table for a time, wheels obviously turning. It's an open question whether or not he's paid attention to the rest of it, though 'stabbed to death' also gets a slight shift in his expression.

"He's left the States again," says John, suddenly, virtually out of nowhere. After a beat, he glances up again. "We think we know where. The rest of your information is good. Pity about the grave, I'd been curious." After another tight-eyed moment of consideration he adds, "There was a rumor of a body half-buried outside of the city of Berlin, before the funeral. Why anyone would /half/ bury a body is something I'd very much like to know. Don't suppose your agent could look into that, luv?"

—-

Red Robin is at least /trying/ to keep an open mind about things, since he's aware they're not fitting into the usual framework in which he operates. It's just… Difficult.

Magic, he knows, is distressingly real, and he's had a few bad run-ins involving powerful ancient artifacts before, with at least one of them netting him a (possibly literally) eternal enemy (whose name would probably make Constantine either embarrassed or laugh his ass off) but there are still aspects of all of this that really go above and beyond. Kazinsky's sudden burst of power and change of manner, for one, or the fact that whatever was talking through the serial killer knew his real name.

"Where?" the vigilante wonders, when Constantine informs them that Hanussen was no longer Stateside. It's not really surprising, and for all Red Robin knows, the elder sorceror has access to the same butt-network they traveled through previously, making intercontinental jaunts faster than flying commercial, /and/ slightly more pleasant, too.

"I'm going to see this through," he continues, lest the spellslinger try to convince him to sit the rest of it out. "There's someone I owe that to."

—-

"Where?" Peggy asks, almost at the same time Robin does when John says that he knows that he's left the country. There's a raised eyebrow, expression looking a bit put out that it seems most of what she is here to reveal is already known. "If you knew most of this information, may I ask what the point of this meeting was?"

With a shake of her head about the half-buried body, she says, "According to my files, the half-buried body was Steinschneider's. It's possible that the supposed murderers were interrupted. I can ask those agents to do a bit of digging, however this is rather the definition of a cold case."

Glancing at the enwrapped Robin for a moment at his insistence on being involved, she raises an eyebrow. She certainly knows about personal stakes. "I should think it goes without saying that the Spear also disappeared at the same time he was assassinated. Even if it is not for his own personal use, it seems clear that he's collecting artifacts of importance. There were, of course, rumors that the Spear had magical properties, but at the time I chalked it up to Nazi propaganda. I assume I should take the rumors more seriously? Or is it just bullocks?"

—-

"I didn't know about the Spear, for one thing," John says, opting to pick up that thread of the conversation rather than the 'where' bit. "And that may be what I need to take the next steps. It probably is, actually. I've been collecting information about him for weeks, but you had different access than I did. Until we figure out how to strip him of his immortality, there's no point in going after him, is there? We /might/ be able to capture him, but it's bloody difficult, and people would probably die in the attempt. I've got a piece of his body and something that belonged to him — there aren't many places he could go that I wouldn't be able to find him now."

John slowly eases his arm up and off of the back of his chair. He leans forward, loosely lacing surprisingly elegant fingers together on the tabletop. Both of them receive a long look, and eventually he tilts his head to one side, as though conceding something. "If you want to help, who am I to say no? First, we look into the Lance. And I'm going to need Jones on this, so she needs all the King's Horses, etcetera, to put her back together again. At that point, we'll get together about where he went. Loose lips and ships, and all that."

Agent Carter says 'bullocks,' and John's chuckle is just a rumble in his chest. "Bollocks, luv, but good try. Bullocks would be a cow without any plums, wouldn't it?"

—-

"And captured with his powers intact, he could just escape whenever he felt like it," Red Robin muses. That's the problem with people with those sorts of abilities, even the slightest opportunity would see them scurrying off to start causing trouble all over again. At least most of the sorts of villains he deals with can be contained in a conventional cell - though for how long varies wildly based on the whims of fate and the relative competence of Arkham Asylum or Blackgate Prison's staff from day to day.

If they couldn't neutralise Hanussen's abilities, what options would they have for imprisoning him? Leave him in a medically induced coma forever? See if Superman can toss him into the Phantom Zone?

Yet the idea that there's no alternative but to mete out a long-delayed death in punishment doesn't really occur to Red Robin. Maybe Zatanna's sardonic comment in the library was a better idea than she intended. All they need is a useful analogue to freezing him in carbonite.

"Fair enough," the vigilante decides, on Constantine's decision to keep certain knowledge compartmentalised for now. "I'll do my own digging, maybe I can find something useful."

—-

"Oh yes, correct my slang," Carter rolls her eyes at John, though there's little actual annoyance or heat in her words. Instead, it's a bit of a smirk. "I thought this was an intelligence exchange, not grammar school. Fine, is the mystical rumors of the spear complete 'tosh'?"

With a frown, she looks between the two of them. "I need no reminding of how dangerous he is, I experienced it first hand. There is no question as to involvement. This man is dangerous, even without the book. As the Red Bird was saying earlier, he was willing to kill multiple people for what he wants and inspired, if not coached, a serial killer. He must be stopped and it seems to me that it is not a mission for a single person."

She exhales a sigh. "If you have a way of tracking him, then that's something and clearly makes it easier to ensure we can find him once we have all the information we require. I'll look into SHIELD's archives a bit more. Perhaps the Goebbels link to his death may turn something up."

—-

There are means to create cells to contain someone like Steinschneider — John made one with Chas, after all — but the task of getting him /into/ it proved more difficult than anticipated, and before long it had a different tenant altogether. Useful, but John has been forced to admit that it's an unlikely means to resolve their immortal Nazi sorcerer problem.

So technicalities aside, he nods at Robin's assessment, and then again at his offer to dig. He produces a business card, and slides it across the table, idly wondering how it is that the occupant of all of those extra layers isn't halfway to heat stroke yet.

Peggy gets a wink — that's his only response to her light rebuke — and then a small shake of the head. "It's not tosh, no. Something like that — items, places, people present at events like that one, they don't come away from it unchanged. It's a mythical one though. A thing out of legend. Sometimes you can't take the stories you hear about things like that literally. Like the idea of the holy grail being a goblet, for instance — /that/ is tosh. But it does exist. So whether we're looking for an actual spear or not, I can't say. Probably, though. The bit where he was stabbed to death is suggestive, innit?"

—-

What Constantine says about the Holy Grail opens the door to a terrible possibility - Dan Brown having been right about something.

Red Robin finds himself hoping that the Englishman is just talking out of his ass on that one, because who wants to live in a world where Dan Brown wrote something other than complete nonsense?

He does take the offered card, though he hadn't brought anything similar to use in return, but Constantine would likely already surmise that he could be reached through Spider-Man, who was responsible for the caped and cowled young man having come along on the previous excursion. By the time Red Robin make the card vanish, he's already memorised everything on it anyway, but it never hurts to have the card itself, just in case.

"If there's nothing else, I should get going. I'll contact you if I turn up anything." The young man gives a short nod to the table in general, encompassing Peggy, Constantine and Captain America with a kind of ruthless social efficiency, and then he turns to go; by the time someone else in the coffee shop passes through the line of sight between the table's occupants and Red Robin, he's managed to vanish.

His coffee is still sitting there on the table, completely untouched, though, so at least they know he wasn't a ghost.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License