How to Win Ghosts and Influence People

July 11, 2018:

Emma and Dani get together to talk shop about souls. Well, one soul in particular. The one belonging to Agent Phil Coulson.

REX XXIII

A fancy dancy super exclusive cigar club.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Phil Coulson, Sharon Carter

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Emma is not afraid of handling her own appointments and arrangements. She does is a lot, even, for those things that she likes to keep under the radar. And there are a number of things that she most decidedly prefers to keep under the radar.

This particular meeting that she's arranged, for example, would be one of them. It's the crossing of two worlds that she certainly would prefer to keep very much separate were all things equal. Unfortunately, they aren't. Thanks for that, Phil.

Therefore, under the direction of one Sharon Carter, Frost reached out to another of her genetic ilk, Danielle Moonstar, in order to discuss a SHIELD matter. …When she really would rather that absolutely no one ever know that she ever dabbles with SHIELD at all. So. Wine. So. Much. Wine.

It really shouldn't be a surprise that Frost keeps herself in good memberships at private New York clubs. This one is a cigar club that boasts an incredible array of private wine labels and high end whiskey, private rooms, and the air filtration system that keeps the small tables smelling of fine tobacco without being oppressively smoky. The tables on the floor are spread widely apart, and the booths line the wall with a dimness that makes privacy easy in a lot of ways. The leather couches and dark wood tables offer the feel of luxury, while the dark bronze bare bulb fixtures keep it from looking too Old World.

She's there a half-hour early, to handle a few things like elbow-rubbing, her private box, and having them start prepping an appetizer plate without any consultation with Danielle Moonstar about that at all. Because she really doesn't care about Dani's opinion about the selection. Her selections are always fabulous by her own estimation. She doesn't need someone else's naysaying involved.

Meetings. They lurk around the corners like some wild predator ready to pounce upon some poor unsuspecting fool. While Danielle Moonstar is hardly unsuspecting or a fool, the invitation from Emma Frost did come as a surprise to her.

They have little contact in either world; SHIELD or the X-Men, but Dani is hardly one to shirk responsibility.

So, here she is. For today she's dressed in more than her typical SHIELD uniform, but not something she'd go work in the barn with. Today Dani's outfitted herself in a turquoise blouse, neatly pressed black slacks and black ankle boots. Her hair is pulled back in a simple braid and wrapped tightly in thin strips of dyed red-leather.

Unlike Emma, however, Dani's early arrival is only by ten minutes. Once within the establishment it only takes Dani dropping Emma's name for the Cheyenne woman to be led to the White Queen.

"Ms. Frost." Is Dani's polite, if somewhat formal, greeting.

"Miss Moonstar," comes Emma's refined reply as she looks up from her phone, her smile the equally polite variety that never really touches her eyes. "So glad you could come. Do sit."

A hand unfurls across the table from herself, to the other sofa. She runs a hand over her belly to smooth the lines of her Versace sheath dress, and then her pale gaze slides past the other woman, to the black attired server at the bar. There's a small nod, and the server's off. It's not until the message is received that she then turns her attention back to her fellow mutant. "I assume there was no trouble finding your way in?" Not that she cares really, mind, but it's polite to ask.

When the invitation to sit is offered, Dani nods. "Thank you."

Both so formal and painfully polite and with that thanks given Danielle sits across from Emma.

Once settled, the black-haired woman brings her gaze back to the blonde. She waits to speak then, as Emma issues silent commands to the wait staff. It's only after Emma returns her attention back to Moonstar and asks that last question that the Agent of SHIELD speaks up again. "No problem at all." She answers, "Especially after they realized who I was here to see - your name just seems to open so many doors."

Now Dani's hands settle atop the table and fold together. "So, what can I help you with? Your invitation didn't exactly say."

The fact that her name means something does not come as a surprise to Emma, for as much work as she's done to be sure that it is so. She smiles on, however, for the recognition of a job well done. It falters, briefly, only as Emma closes her eyes and sets herself to the finely tuned work of filtering perceptions and verifying that they are well outside of earshot from the other minds around them. "Why, I was referred to you by a certain Miss Carter," the blonde offers a beat after her eyes reopen, even as she picks up the leather-bound drink menu to peruse it for a moment. "On the matter of a certain Mister Coulson." She closes it and hands it across the table afterwards.

"Are you more a wine or spirits girl? I can offer you a cigar, too, if you like. I've got a lovely collection cultivated in my box here, and I pulled a few choices just in case." Her smile colors itself serpent-wise as she tilts her head. "We've never really had an opportunity to really talk and suss that sort of thing out, after all."

Sharon Carter's name earns a reaction from Danielle Moonstar; surprise. Surprise that Agent Carter and Emma Frost seem to known one another. That thought is enough to cause Moonstar to stay silent for a few more seconds than absolutely necessary. "I see.", is what Dani finally says to Emma's declaration even as the menu is passed over to her.

It's accepted but not necessarily looked at. Instead she just sets it to the side of the table, out of the way for both of them.

Her expression shifts slightly to something lightly sardonic at the mention of alcohol, cigars and talking. "No, we haven't really talked, have we." She agrees politely, "And if you really do want to know I prefer beer. I'm pretty simple like that. I'll also pass on the cigar, thanks."

With that said Dani circles back to the topic of Carter and Coulson. "I'm going to assume if you spoke with Agent Carter then you know the full deal on Agent Coulson. That he's not really dead and that his soul is here on Earth."

"Well. He's not precisely alive, either, is he?" Emma's sculpted eyebrows arch upwards at the thought, chin tilting down just so. No, she's not surprised by the statement. "I had a lovely chat with him, actually." Well, it wasn't actually lovely, her tone betrays with its note of sarcasm.

There's a vague wave of her manicured hand towards the drink menu. "As you like. I think there are some microbrewed choices in there." Clearly, it is not where she spends much of her time.

And then one finger comes up, a beat before the server from before makes his reappearance from the kitchen. He deposits an antipasto plate that overflows with imported cured meat, cheese, olives, smoked fish, with an impressive eye for the arrangement of it. He takes orders, and then disappears again.

Frost, once she's ordered her bottle of wine, tilts her head and considers Dani. "I'm told you can speak into my dire concerns about the whole sordid little deal."

Consideration flickers across Dani's expression at Emma's initial question. Life and death. Is he precisely alive? That's a good question and one that even Danielle Moonstar can't quite answer with full conviction. What she does say is, "He's not dead. If you want to get technical about it he never was. Instead he was placed in a holding pattern -" She pauses, when Emma raises that finger and dutifully waits for the server arrives. Her order is quite simple, "Whatever's good on tap."

Then once the server leaves it's back to the question at hand, "He escaped from where Heaven had him waiting and that's how he's here." Her head tilts slightly to the side now, "I'm going to take it from your tone that the chat was full of confusion? Which makes sense. His soul is adrift and can't find his body. Most souls wouldn't even be able to initiate communication with such a sundering, but Agent Coulson did. Which is good for us and him."

The mention of dire concerns brings Dani's gaze back to the woman. "If by concerns you mean how the hell do we get him back to his body, then yes I can speak to that. I've acquired a summoning spell, if you will, that will bring him back to his body. We just need his body to be healed completely before we do it."

"Healed." Emma snorts derisively. "That's what you're calling the Frankenstein job? That's generous. He's fraying apart on the astral plane, bouncing around like he is like a cup and ball that can't seat itself. Do you know what they're doing to him? Have you seen?"

She really shouldn't be confessing that she has. She's fairly certain that spy organizations tend to frown on non-spies knowing the spy intelligence. But here she is, confessing it and confessing it with a very constrained sort of anger.

The mention of Frankenstein causes Dani's eyebrows to pinch toward the midline of her face. There's evident confusion upon her expression now and it only worsens when Emma asks if she's seen it.

"I don't." She admits, "Agent Carter mentioned they were looking into how to heal his body, but beyond that -" Which means no, she hasn't seen it. And with the way Emma reacts to whatever she's seen that's enough to cause worry to bloom in Dani's mind.

While there's the question of 'how did Emma Frost get access to it' in her mind, for now it's set firmly aside. "What're they doing to his body?" She asks, her expression tight. "Because we really do need a whole body for his spirit to return, otherwise he'll die all over again, and I'm not sure I can save his soul a second time. Pretty sure there's a one time limit on that."

"I'm not sure of the logistics and science of it. It was three in the morning or some such nonsense. But I know astral plane travel. And I know that a consciousness will always try to return to its anchor point. It needs the anchor. The body." Emma extends a hand in Dani's direction, seeking her confirmation from her alternate expert viewpoint with a lift of her eyebrows. Right? Right. Of course, Dani will agree.

"Except that whatever they're doing, it's an excruciating process. And so - as near as I can tell - he's bouncing back and forth, returning to the point of trauma and calling it star travel, and destroying himself in the process. I patched what I could when I had a lead on him, but… but then he was gone and I haven't been able to find him since. So heaven only knows what he looks like now." A pensive pause ensues, and then Emma lifts her eyes towards the low ceiling of the booth as she as she shakes her head a little and shrugs. "Feels like. Senses like. Whatever you want to call it."

Dani does agree when Emma looks at her, she even goes so far to nod in her agreement and offer. “Yes, agreed.”

And then when she explains that something within the process of ‘healing’ Coulson’s body is excruciating, that causes Dani to frown. “I can find him. Or at least I have a more magical means of locating his soul. It’s likely not as quick as astral travel, but it’s something we can use if needed.”

And by this point Dani echoes a similarly pensive look as she glances aside, eyes unfocused, “I think the sooner we can get him back to his body the better. I’ll have to ask Agent Carter when she’ll be ready with his body and then once it is I can do the summoning spell.”

With those last words of hers the Cheyenne woman returns her gaze to Emma. “I’m glad to see he has friends in other areas than just SHIELD. It’ll do him good for when he returns - I think he’ll likely need everyone of them.”


Emma peruses the antipasto arrangement in front of them, before scooping a few of the Mediterranean olives and marinated chunks of mozzarella onto the plate in front of her personally that looks like red Murano glass.

She holds her tongue as the server comes to deposit the beer and wine in front of their respective diners, and she doesn't speak in his presence, save to confirm that the plate is to her satisfaction.

But once he’s gone again, the polite smile fades. “Likely. …He doesn't know precisely what’s happening. And, while he may be a kind human, he is only human. Magic is not my expertise,” and she’s still rather angry at all of its practitioners in general for an uninvited encroachment of their world upon her own. It bleeds in the undertones of her words. Not overt animosity, but …something darker in the delivery. “I am highly concerned about the end result.”

-—

As soon as the beer is set near her the black-haired woman idly grabs it. She doesn’t quite drink from it, not while Emma speaks.

A vague sardonic look enters Dani’s gaze at the mention of Coulson being only human. “Pretty sure mutants would have a hard time dealing with all of what he is as well.” She murmurs, then, “And I can’t say I’m too fond of magic myself. Too many loopholes.” She ends grimly with.

And now she takes a drink of that beer of hers, quiet for those few seconds, once finished she speaks again.

“I can promise you the spell I received came from the horse’s mouth, as it were. I made a deal with Death and when deals are struck with their ilk they typically don’t lie. I’m told they aren't demons after all.”


Emma just levels a flat stare in Dani’s direction at that. And then drinks her wine. “Would a demon tell you they weren’t a demon, knowing that you’d inherently distrust a demon?” The question is offered up, and then the woman tilts her head to one side.

“I mean, I don’t typically run around telling the rabble that I’m a telepath. As an example. And that’s just me being a mutant. I imagine the bias against demons is a little more extreme.”

She stabs a lump of marinated cheese and takes it in one bite. And then she continues. “But. I can only repair what’s there. Help tether it down. I can’t find him. World’s too large and populous. He’s too weak, is my guess. No pattern to where he’s showing up; he’s not controlling it. You find him, and I’m willing to help if it’s needed.”

She stabs a small twist of coppa, examining it. “Provided that the group is small and good at keeping its mouth shut about my talents.”

Pale eyes come up to observe the Cheyenne woman, and then a ghostly sort of smile appears. “Less extreme bias is still bias.”

A hand rises upward to acknowledge what Emma says about demons; there’s a point there, and Dani can agree with it.

“I’d be worried more sure, if I were an everyday mutant -” A twitch of a sardonic smile here, “But I’m not. I can tell Death for who he is, not a demon, not a monster, just the inevitable conclusion at the end of our life.”

And she leaves it at that.

“I’m going to aim for something small. People who knew him best so it aids the spell I’ll be using. I’d appreciate if you were there - I have a feeling he might wake up confused. My psychic talents aren’t necessarily the best at soothing.”

“It’s going to be soon, retrieving his soul. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you to be prepared. I’ll give you as much advance notice as I can.”

Not your everyday mutant. The telepath feels some slight there as Dani touts up her abilities, deserved or not, and it causes the ghost-smile to dissipate. Or maybe she’s just chewing the coppa.

“I’ll be there,” Emma promises, unhurried and unworried. Setting down the fork now that it’s been robbed of its small and solitary possession, she chooses to take up the poured cup of wine that she has in front of her. She swirls it a little to encourage it to breathe a little more, and then she takes a sip.

She appraises it, and then sets it down. Letting her head slowly fall to one side, that smile born of politeness and cultivated appearances reemerges.

“I’ll take whatever notice you can give, certainly, but I will make it work regardless.”

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