Situation Analysis

June 02, 2017:

Spoiler returns to the Avengers Mansion to talk to Nathaniel in a more rational (but not less tense) way. Some detective work is done

Avengers Mansion labs

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Ravager Flash Deathstroke

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Two days off. She promised. When she promised she hadn't had much intention of actually following through. After a nap and food and a dinner and a movie through which she had half dozed, Stephanie felt so much more like herself. Enough so that she returned to the Mansion the next night, suited up. She had cleaned her mess and was wondering if they'd replaced the monitor. If not she'd go out, change her shirt, hit a wal mart, buy a new one, and then come back…. after changing again. Ugh, so annoying.


Fortunately the monitor has been replaced. Fortunately because it was an expensive Starktech model, not for sale in Walmarts. But the Avengers have deep pockets. Or Stark does.
But the room is occupied today. Armored Nathaniel, most screens alive with mute newsreports from a dozen different countries, and holographic windows floating all around him.
“Spoiler, good to see you,” he greets, voice metallic, the helmet retracting to bare his head. There should be a large and visible bruise where she hit him, but there is barely a yellowish spot. “Did you manage to rest?” Now in his normal voice.


Spoiler can't help but note that he's armored. She pauses a few steps into the room, arms falling to her sides so her cape can flutter closed around her. Under her cape, her right hand closed into a fist, upset with herself. And then the helmet retracts and she' positive she's going to be faced with teh ugly reminder of her lost temper when all that she's faced with is the faint yellow of bruise nearly healed. It draws her up short and under the cowl her eyes widen.
"Yes," she says.


Well, he still has two broken fingers. But under the gauntlets she is not going to see them. No need to give her unnecessary guilt or anything. As for being armored, he usually is. The rare thing was two days ago his armor wasn’t with him in some form or another.
“Very good, welcome back,” he smiles. “If you want to use the computers, I have almost finished.” Holoscreens blink out in spiral order. “I was just performing data gathering for some… projections.”


"What sort of projections," Spoiler asks, moving forward, eye on the fading screens. Unaware of the injury to his hand, she doesn't smile back, but at least her voice isn't growlly and cold as it had been growing.


“Financial, nothing important for the world safety,” explains the young man. “But I plan to make sure the Maria Stark Foundation can finance the Avengers for years even if Mr. Stark and myself are removed from the board. So once a week I gather data and run it through economic models and equations. Then I… move certain assets.”


A beat of silence.
"You're playing the stock market." What? She's heard Bruce comment about such things now and then. She doesn't understand it the way Wayne does, but it doesn't mean she doesn't recognize it for what it is. Her head tips to one side at this thought, lips seeming thoughtful.


Nathaniel nods, “hedge funds. It is actually somewhat entertaining, but not very fulfilling. Money is such an… obsolete concept. Well, maybe not right now, but it will be in a few decades.” Last screen blinks out, and he stands up. “Yet we need deep pockets, and we can rely just in one man. Stark is a great man, but he risks his life every day. And SHIELD is a powerful ally, but we would not want to be dependent of them, either.”


"So you're building a nest egg," Spoiler comments, lips set into a thoughtful line. "I can't say I blame you." Because the girls of the bat family basically have to do the same thing. Her head tilts. "…..how's your head?"


Is nest egg the technical term? Nathaniel will stop when he gets to the billions, in maybe a couple years. “I suppose so,” his eyes narrow faintly at the following question, though. “I had a headache yesterday,” he rubs the scalp where the yellowed skin still reminds him she did her beast to break his skull. “Fine now. Next time I will let the taser hit me. Easier to recover.”


"I'm really sorry about that, by the way," Spoiler says, turning her head down and doing a really good job of looking contrite.


Nathaniel snorts. “I asked for it,” literally, he did. “I thought you needed some release and strongly suspected a hug was not going to work, hmm?” Given how tense she was it would have likely led to a fight anyway. “I also learned I need to find more time for unarmed combat training.”


"Hmm… Not as dumb as you look," Spoiler quips on a smirk, seeming to agree with all of it. "Still, I shouldn't have just snapped. I could have done more than just cracked your head."


Nathaniel smirks back, “I am a genius, my skull is very thick.” And a broken skull wouldn’t have killed him. Just kept him down a week or two. He hadn’t expected the metal pole. “So sit down, Ms. Violent Violet. Today you owe me a full story so I can forgive you. Names can be changed to protect the innocent, but leave the facts, please.”


Spoiler sighs lightly, resigned and soft. She sits where offered.
"I dont' know if I can even begin to say anything that wouldn't tip you off," she starts, fingertips drumming lightly on her thigh.
"Really. I'm better. We don't have to talk about this."


"Start in the beginning," offers Nathaniel. "Flash was investigating the disappearances of some newly cocooned Inhumans, correct? And he was attacked."
Holoscreen appears over his head.

1 - Flash was investigating operation involving kidnapping of Inhumans. Was there a D.E.O. link? The Justice League hit a Nugenesis lab three weeks later.


Start at the beginning. Spoiler's lips press into an unhappy line and her arms fold over her chest again. She crosses her legs, one knee set upon the other. The foot still on the ground twists the chair about thirty degrees away from Nathaniel. Her eyes flick up to the holoscreen and the question is read.
"Deathstroke was sent for him. You really want to ask me if the DEO was involved with that and then expect me to NOT want to EMP nuke their computer systems?"


“Please, lets be reasonable,” offers Nathaniel, “the DEO is a massive organization, you cannot blame them all of this. However…”
Holoscreen flashes:

1 - Flash was investigating operation involving kidnapping of Inhumans. In part as consequence of his investigation, the Justice League hit a Nugenesis lab three weeks later. Nugenesis being a DEO operation 99.98%% likely.
2 – Flash is attacked by Deathstroke. Incapacitated, not killed. The investigation was merely delayed a few days. Was this a warning? Deathstroke is extremely expensive mercenary/assassi. Not to be used for mere warnings.

“And then, what happened to you?” He adds.


Spoiler is reading the list being built. Her back bows every so slightly, shoulders coming up, chin tucking down. It's subtle, this physical turtling, but it's there.
"Nothing."
Voice flat again.


Nathaniel gives Steph a long, careful look. “I was trying to help,” he notes, frowning. “This was not ‘nothing’, this is a chain of events that do not really make sense to me, Spoiler. I have dug a good deal of information, all pieces of a strange puzzle. And you are a detective.”


The mention smacked Spoiler as wholey unfair and completely accurate. It still urked her that she still didn't know why either of them were targetted.
"Ravager, Deathstroke's daughter attacked me while I was looking to break into Trinity Hospital for blood samples that I hoped would help SHIELD with their investigation into the biological changes that were causing the shift to metahuman in some but not all of the mist victims. Ravager was unsuccessful and made a new attempt some time later."


Nathaniel blinks quickly. “Another piece,” he murmurs. “And another piece that does not make sense. Ravager does not attack heroes. She is a mercenary, but not an assassin. Her M.O. is rather different to Deathstroke’s.” She is hardly as expensive either, but still.
Nathaniel even hired her to dig info on Roxxon once.
“Was she trying to kill you?” He asks. “Or was this another warning?”


"No. Do damage. Put me out of commission for a while. Someone hired her, and I don't know who. She…" Spoiler turns her face away a half inch. "…was stopped…" Spoiler's shoulder shift ever so slightly, uncomfortably. "…before she could do too much damage."


Nathaniel grunts. “See, I got this…”
Holoscreen flashes:

1 - Flash was investigating operation involving kidnapping of Inhumans. In part as consequence of his investigation, the Justice League hit a Nugenesis lab three weeks later. Nugenesis being a DEO operation 99.98%% likely.
2 – Flash is attacked by Deathstroke. Incapacitated, not killed. The investigation was merely delayed a few days. Was this a warning? Deathstroke is extremely expensive mercenary/assassi. Not to be used for mere warnings.
3 - Ravager (reported to be Deathstroke’s daughter) attacks Spoiler. Again a mercenary acting against the usual M.O.
4 - Ravager was reported jailed in Belle Reve. Max security prison for super-humans. Incarcerated: 3/14/2017. Inmate ID: BR-24-74892847W. Undisclosed arrest information. No information on charges, trial or sentence.

Another holoscreen shows a mugshot of a one-eyed Ravager, taken from the Internet.
“The GCPD did not arrest Ravager,” comments the young man. He checked. “Makes me wonder if this was leaked to draw attention? Perhaps to damage her reputation? Jailed for unknown reasons in one of the most secure places on Earth.” He shakes his head.


This news about Ravager catches Spoiler's attention as she uncurls from the semi-protective half ball she was in to lean forward and peer at the mugshot.
"How long ago was this?" Spoiler demands, hand already starting for the computer to get the information herself.


“Reported incarcerated Match 14th.” States Nathaniel. In a tone that hints the date could be completely made up. “Belle Reve is under the D.E.O. indirect control,” naturally. The plot thickens. But everything points to the DEO. Not just Nugenesis, but deeper plots.


"March 14th… " Spoiler frowns, biting her lower lip. "I'm kicking myself for not having kept better track of the days but… I spotted her in Gotham… It doesn't feel that long ago. Let me see what my logs have." She turns to her phone, typing with her thumbs quickly before… "April. Nearly three weeks before that. Dammit." Spoiler breathes, actually cursing.
"Okay. She may or may not be n lock up in Belle Rev…"


Nathaniel nods. “Is it important for you?” Holoscreens go out. “This is, almost no doubt, another DEO operation. Possibly securing assets. Manipulation. You were a victim, but no one died. If you want to investigate further, I will back you up, but I would advise you to put it behind you. We have larger problems to tackle.”


"Larger problems?" Spoiler asks. She's not sure about that, but for the moment world-ending is definitely higher on the priority scale.


“AIM, Roxxon, even the Hood gang,” mentions Nathaniel. He is not going to worry too much about the fate of hired guns, even if they are good looking. And the DEO dirty deeds are unlikely to endanger the world. He does worry about Spoiler, however. “Whatever is going on in Gotham, I suppose.” Because almost anything going on in Gotham is probably bad.


It makes Spoiler sigh light. All the things he mentioned were just the normal run-of-the-mill problems. They'll be worked with but they weren't larger enough to fully distract from her own issues. They really should, but they don't.
"What intel do you have on their movements?" she asks, forcing herself to put aside her own issues once again.


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