Doctor Consultation

May 08, 2019:

Katsumi goes to the Hall of Justice to find help against Loki's curses

The Hall of Justice, Metropolis

Built in the same architectural Art Deco style of buildings such as the Empire State Building and Union Terminal in Cincinnati, it harkens back to a simpler time. With its wide open rotunda as the lobby and carpeting gracing the marble and granite floors, the Hall of Justice seems to embrace the concepts of Liberty, Freedom and the Rights of all Humanity.

It is a practical building; a front desk is manned 24/7 with a less-than-obvious security force, ready and able to help any who may seek aid from those within. Beyond, down massive lines of corridors, lies the inner workings of the JL. High tech labs that mix both alien and earth technologies can be found there, conference rooms, and even some living areas.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Loki

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

The Hall of Justice is definitely larger and more impressive than the Avenger Mansion or even the Titans Tower. It is far larger, it is very spacious, and although it is not really a modern building, it is clean, neat and looks busy due to a large staff of volunteers, and researchers and some security (mostly for show - real security is unseen).

There is a front desk, and yes, Katsumi is authorized to go into the building, although they actually call Dr. Strange from there to tell him there is a person with an appointment to see him and then a guard escorts Katsumi to an meeting room in the upper floors. This is the Justice League, and they are almost an international superpower by themselves. These guys had the largest (by a huge margin) space station ever built on Earth until the U.N. built the Peak. They respond to no nation, law or agency but their own charter.

Strange is one of the most obscure members of the League. And that is how he prefers it. He doesn't look much of a superhero. He is older than most, clearly in his forties, and although quite tall, he is not powerfully built. And he is wearing a black three piece suit, not a costume. He really looks like a doctor.

"Ms. Oshiro," he greets, "welcome to the Hall of Justice. Spoiler told me you needed to see a magic-user, but… she wasn't very clear about the problem," he pauses, offering the young woman a seat. "So pray, tell me, how could I help you?"


It took her a while to get this arranged. Truth be told, Katsumi had to figure some things out for herself before she'd make this venture - or even really trust herself enough to do this. But it was a trip to Metropolis in her future, after all! And despite her efforts to dress as nicely for the occasion as she could, she may still stand out a bit as odd. It isn't the bright, inhumanly magenta eyes the girl is sporting. It's not her 'delinquent schoolgirl'-esque wardrobe, of slightly open, rolled-sleeved white button-up, black skirt, shoes, and black choker. No, it's the aggressively-woolly calico feline she's carting in her arms. The one with the perpetually surly expression.

She doesn't mean to look like an off-brand Paris Hilton. She just doesn't trust the feline to not run off or get into trouble. Perhaps ironic, given who she is.

At last, she seems to've reached her destination. And as soon as she enters the meeting room, the calico seems to've had enough and hops down from her arms, neatly landing on all fours.

"Bart!," Katsumi yelps. The cat does what cats do and ignores her in favor of sitting on his haunches.

Katsumi refocuses on the man. "You're Strange?," she asks bluntly. Then the wording registers in her ear, and her expression scrunches. "S@#$, that sounds weird. I mean- you know what I mean. Sorry. Rude. Uh, yeah." It's a little overwhelming, going through full-fledged, high-end superhero bases and running into the older, more experienced types. She still doesn't consider herself one, after all. "Do I call you Doctor? Or..?"


"Doctor is fine," replies the man. "I don't have a code name. I am Doctor Strange, Ph.D. I used to be a surgeon, and I was pretty good," he smiles wanly. "It was another life altogether. Magic Changes Everything." The way he says it Katsumi can almost hear the capital letters.

His eyes shift to the cat named 'Bart', and gives it a studious glancing, then nodding politely. "I suspect your name is not actually Bart," he offers, taking a seat. "Would you please speak for yourself?"


Katsumi Oshiro folds her arms beneath her bust and shoots a dejected look aside to mutter, "You're tellin' me…" Magic does, indeed, change everything. Stripped her of the career she loved, and threw her headlong into massively confusing danger. And gave her weird peepers. Can't forget those.

The feline, when addressed, lifts his head to the male human. "You are correct, of course," replies the calico in question. His voice is resonant, clear, with a deep and confident timbre usually found in professional orators or storytellers. Yet it's colored with a distinct English accent. In fact, it may most resemble James Earl Jones reprising his role as Darth Vader.

He places a paw upon the fluff of his chest and his head tips in a bizarrely cordial gesture. "My name is Herukage, Emissary of Maika-no-Yomorinushi, Lord Protector of the Night. And you, as I understand, are the new Sorcerer Supreme. It is fascinating to meet you." The paw lowers again.

"I call'em Bart. Bartholomew. Get it?" Katsumi pauses a beat, then clears her throat softly. "Thought he needed a nicer name. Anyway, what's this Sorcerer Supreme thing?"


Strange bows his head again to the cat, "I suppose I am new as many count time. I was ascended after the death of Yao, the Ancient One, now almost twenty years ago." The Ancient One held the title for six hundred years, which for most immortal beings is probably an acceptable (if unimpressive) length of time.

To Katsumi he replies, "Sorcerer Supreme is a title awarded by certain powerful mystical entities to their main agent on Earth. It grants me the ability to call upon extraordinary resources and argument my learned skills, making me more capable to defend the Earth from hostile forces. And that is enough about me, young lady. Why are you here?"


"Yes," says the calico. "I knew of Yao." But he spent the last several hundred years encased in stone, so there's a fair amount that Herukage has missed! He falls silent, however, to let the two speak more freely while he begins padding about the room to inspect things.

"That's.. right, okay," says Katsumi with a befuddled nod, not entirely grasping the gravity, but at least gravity-adjacent. "So I ran into this jerk, alright? And he cursed someone I know; the guy I used to work for. Made him obsessively want me back. Like, more than anything. Including eating. The short is, I need to get'em uncursed."


Strange was expecting something more related to the obvious (for him) recent changes in the young woman, but if someone else has been cursed, that is absolutely something within his field of competence. "I see. Do you know the name of the person or persons responsible? Or can you at least describe him?"

That is something Spoiler should have told him outright. People suffering curses are best dealt with as soon as possible. Would have saved Katsumi the trip to Metropolis, too.


"Uhh, yeah! Guy calls himself Loki. Looks like Renaissance Faire Skrillex," Katsumi explains. "Also a complete @#$hole, but you probably figured that out, what with the cursing." Once she gets going, the brazen Japanese girl tends to not hold much back.

"God of trickery, he claims," supplements the calico. "Whether true or counterfeit, I could not determine."


Strange hrms, leaning back on his chair, "no, he is the real one, the Asgardian trickster, I know him. A jotun, a master of illusions, but also quite adept to all kinds of sorceries." And he was having a good season start. "I had hoped he had left the Earth for Asgard at least for a few years, but I will never be so lucky."

But that is not Katsumi's problem, really. "Very well, I need you to take me to the cursed ones. I am quite sure I can overcome Loki's magic, but it won't be easy for me and it is best done as a ritual casting. He is a deity, and his spells are backed by a tremendous intrinsic power."


"Though an odd one," comments Herukage, "it would of course take the Sorcerer Supreme to be the first to acknowledge the power of a god."

Katsumi eyeshifts to the cat, then back to Strange. "He's a little salty about how people've been taking us. Him. The deity I'm supposed to fight for, or whatever." She quickly diverts back onto the matter at hand, "Doesn't matter! Anyway, the guy's in Japan. We could go there, but I might need to go, uh.. different. Not like this. Not recognizable, maybe? It might create a huge thing if the Punk Princess shows up with a god@$# wizard to voodoo up her former boss."


"Indeed?" Strange does not seem to think there is any problem at all. "I can teleport us there right away and, if really necessary, hidden by illusion." He was not going to show up as a flashy wizard type, anyway. Is Punk Princess really her code name? He is not going to ask, some things are better remaining unknown.

To the cat he gives a considering look. "Asgardians have been involving themselves in Earthly affairs for a few years now. Much to the concern of those mystically bent, and I think not being taken too seriously by the bulk of the population. Then again in America we don't take many things seriously enough."


The calico rolls his jade eyes in obvious irritation. "So I have noticed. The colonists here think very highly of themselves. Were it not for those with… 'metahuman' ability, they likely would have been destroyed by now for their hubris." Herukage has been on the receiving end of 'American arrogance' since arriving, as it were. "Or perhaps it is ignorance fueling the ego," he pontificates. "Before being sealed in my new stone body, humans revered the gods and understood their position in coexistence. A cycle of respect and caretaking."

"He likes to talk," Katsumi cuts in. "But you're saying we could just.. like.. TELEPORT there?" Her fists plant to her narrow hips, almost skeptical. Almost. "And what kind of illusion are we talking? And can we maybe get my stuff from my apartment? They're gonna start pitching it if I don't go back in a month-"

"Oshiro-san," sighs Herukage. "He is not here to help you move house."


"Perhaps," replies Strange. "But some of those so-called metahuman obtained their gifts through self-improvement and raw intellect. Humans rule the world now. Respect can't be demanded anymore, only earned every day."

He chuckles at Katsumi questions, standing up. "Indeed. Your apartment might be a good starting point." He walks to stand a closer, and then gestures briefly, murmuring the words of a divination spell. "I think I know where, and now," he turns, this time waving his hands in a larger circle, the wall glows orange gold, and then a circular rift seems to open, leading to… Katsumi's place in Japan! And the doctor just steps in, through the gate.


"Ohmygod!," yelps Katsumi at the blatant and obvious demonstration of magic. There it is - her home, which she's not seen in basically a month, and rent is already no doubt due. The girl hops through with a mixture of fear and excitement, and lands in her abode.

"I will just wait here, then. Though I believe we would have more to discuss, Sorcerer Supreme." Herukage patiently begins licking at the pads of his right paw. This is Katsumi's bag to deal with; her personal business.

Katsumi hardly seems to care as she hurriedly flits through the small, cramped abode. She doesn't even care that she's still wearing shoes here. "Aahhh!," she panics. "How'm I gonna move everything this fast!?"

Of note, there doesn't seem to be too much. The apartment is only a few rooms, and very compact. In the 'den' rests some modest, low wicker chairs, a flatscreen television, a couple gaming consoles and parephernalia; but most importantly, a high-end desktop computer with obvious and expensive video and audio mixing equipment, and an assortment of instruments including three guitars - a bass, acoustic, and shiny blue electric - an electronic drum set, violin, and high-end electronic keyboard, all arranged in a semi-circle for easy access. In the bedroom, a modest futon, drawer, and closet. The bathroom doesn't carry much, other than towels and linens, while the kitchen hosts her cookware (of which is minimal) and her food (of which is mostly instant and low maintenance).

It is, however, worth noting that her home is METICULOUSLY well-kept.


Strange wasn't planning to stay in the apartment for more than a few minutes, but when Katsumi comments about moving, he chuckles. "Well, I suppose I can keep the gate open for a few minutes. Transport from Metropolis would be easier." But he had no idea Katsumi was moving permanently to the US.

His focus is the cursed people, though. He is scanning subtly, but there doesn't seem to be magic in the immediate area. "Ms. Oshiro," he asks, "can you name the people you believe Loki put under a curse?"


"Aahhh!," Katsumi continues to panic. A few minutes!? That's not long enough, is it!? It's not even nighttime! She doesn't have superhuman strength to work with, nor superhuman speed! She's just regular Katsumi! Athletic and strong for a girl her size, but still! She hurriedly rushes between the rooms, prioritizing her delicate instruments and machinery to awkwardly haul and gently place in poor Strange's office.

Herukage is now staring with a tilt of his head.

"Just one person!," Katsumi reminds as she rushes between the polar opposite geographical locations. "My former general manager!" She awkwardly walks her desktop computer through the portal, then hops back in to the Japan-side. "And since the curse is, like, making him obsessive, it wouldn't be anything to get'em to meet us somewhere nearby. I could just call'em."


Now she is taking everything? Well, the volunteers at the Hall have seen all already. They are not going to be surprised if she hauls a whole house of furniture out of the meeting room. That is a Wednesday at the Hall of Justice.

Strange is patient. He has seen weirder people that Katsumi too. A few. "By all means, call him, please. We can haul your possessions while we wait." Not that he looks forward to keep that gate open for an hour. He is just a human sorcerer, not the Rainbow Bridge of Asgard. Keeping an intercontinental gate open for long is exhausting.


Katsumi Oshiro is a girl who believes in taking every advantage and opportunity life presents. Right now, she has an open portal between her only worldly possessions and the country she'll be living in for the foreseeable future. She has to save what she can! And to her credit, the girl has some hustle in her bustle. So even lacking the superhuman strength, she's making some clear and evident progress. When she hops into the portal again, she's dashing off into her bedroom with cellphone already out.

"You have known her for ten minutes. I am stuck with her," reports the calico wryly from Metropolis. Oh yes. The cat's world is frustration and exhaustion.

Katsumi returns with a bundle of clothing draped over one forearm, the other holding her phone to her ear. She's speaking in Japanese, <Mr. Saito! Yes, I've considered your, ehh, numerous offers. No, no need to bite off your own tongue in joy. We should meet. You know where the Agihara Apartment Complex is? Yes, the one where the guy hung himself.> She pauses to make a cringy face at Strange, <I'm in the area. Let's meet in front of there. Twenty minutes? Yes, that's fine.>

There is some obvious jubilant yelling from the other end of the phone, and Katsumi hangs it up.

"Twenty."


"Why, she seems a diligent young woman," comments Strange to the cat while Katsumi is talking on the phone. Twenty minutes. Yes, he is closing the gate. "We should move everything you want to transport to this room," he explains, "I will open the portal again when we are ready and Mr. Saito is with us."

Because Mr. Saito is also going to make a little trip. Strange needs some time to remove the curse and that means take the man to the Hall of Justice. Perhaps even to his Sanctum, as removing a curse created by a godling like Loki is not just a five minutes ritual.


"Y-you-.. okay.." Katsumi seems nervous about having the general manager in her home. But at the same time, that might be more for residual reasons than logical, and the girl is in an internal uproar already over trying to save her belongings. And then the portal closes, and the girl lets out a squeak of surprise and concern. It takes a moment for his words to sink in, and she submits to his course of action with a nod.

And then, for the next eighteen or so minutes, Katsumi is busy ensuring everything she owns is piled up in her cramped living room. It's a good thing the delicates and electronics were already moved through the portal! Odds are they'd have been damaged by this!

Katsumi leads the way outside and into the open air. And in no time at all, a rather nice, sporty vehicle pulls up along the sidewalk, and a suited, willowy Japanese man steps out with a near-manic smile on his face. He immediately rushes the girl who backs up quickly. "Easy, easy!," she wards in English. "Let's talk inside!"

And as she guides them in, she offers, "Saito Ryota, Doctor Strange. Strange, Saito-san."


Strange helps. Although more by using telekinesis than by hauling items by hand. Katsumi might have noticed how badly scarred are his hand, almost to the point of being deformed. They might have been badly crushed at some point a few years ago. Sometimes the doctor uses gloves to hide them, but not today.

Finally Mr. Saito appears. Strange waits inside, and nods in acknowledge to the man when he steps in. He makes a gesture, as if he was going to offer his hand, but instead he raises a hand, and looks at the eyes of the other man. Saito freezes, than relaxes, looking dazed. "Good, I have put him in a light trance. You are right, he is ensorcelled. It is not a curse, per se. But given the power of the caster the poor man might have been affected for years. I can definitely dispel the magic. I think I can do it in the Hall, today. And he will be fine next morning."


Katsumi Oshiro gives a light gasp of surprise at the sudden motion and reaction it seems to have in her former boss. "Yeah?," she asks, still staring at the tall Japanese man. "So, um.. what do you need me to do now? What do we do?" She walks a slow circle around him, peering at the bizarre look on his face. This world of magic and powers is still very new to her, and it's written plainly on her face.


Strange shakes his head. "Nothing else, Ms. Oshito," he replies. "Unless you want to be around when he recovers. He might be disoriented and also very embarrassed. If he was your friend, you might want to lend him your support." He walks back to the wall, re-creating the teleportation portal with some effort. "We can return to Metropolis now," brief pause, "you might also want to hire a van to transport all your items… I suppose it can remain at the Hall a few days."


Katsumi Oshiro is already trying to rush all of her things from the den to the Hall of Justice. By now, Herukage has taken to sitting on whatever furniture cats are likely not usually allowed upon - such as a desk, or counter. The woolly fellow perks when the portal opens again, and decidedly remains out of the way of everything going on here.

"He doesn't actually like me!," Katsumi reports as she runs back and forth between halves of the world. "It's kind of a long story! But he's a jerk! Decided to play politics instead of — giving me a chance to get myself straightened out!"

She's aware that, sans context, none of this likely makes sense. But given how little time she has to move her things, she's making the most of it.

"He fired me! When my powers kicked in!"

But in short order, Katsumi will have relocated all of her belongings. Sorry, Hall of Justice! You're a temporary storage garage. But thankfully, it WILL be temporary. Katsumi fully intends to hire some people (somehow or another) to move her things to the Titans Tower.

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