|The Inner Circle Meets|
|What: The Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club meet face-to-face to discuss some pressing issues of the world and how they will be handled by this shadowy council|
The usually busy Hellfire Club has closed it's doors tonight for "renovation." To the regulars believe this story easy enough, the parties that the Hellfire Club throws are legendary. And those who aren't part of the club would view it with no suspicion.
However there are oddities to be noticed, the bouncers of the club look much more serious that on regular nights. And the same six people can be seen casually passing by looking about a bit as they do. Unbeknownst to the general population they are the Hellfire Knights, a team of mercenaries at the beck and call of the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club, the best kept secret in the world.
Inside the Hellfire Club, the Inner Circle has come together to meet. The only light in the room is candle light and the roar of the fireplace. A long table has been moved into the room as dinner and alcohol are being served to the Inner Circle. The Black Side on one side of the table, the White Side on the other, except for Sebastian Shaw.
The Lord Imperial of the Hellfire Club sits at the head of the table, Tessa standing silently behind him. As his Inner Circle settle in and before long he stands, holding his glass of wine (1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild) and proposed a toast to the assembled, one that was new to most everyone here but one that Shaw had repeated often in the last decade.
"If it cannot break out of it's egg, the bird dies without being born. We are the bird, this world is our egg. To be truly born we must smash the World Shell. So my fellows I give a toast: To the Revelation of the World, so that Hellfire will Reign!"
Emma Frost raised her glass of champagne and toasted, "To the Revelation of the world."
The White Queen of course sat in between her White King, Lex Luthor and Rook Victor Creed. She was dressed in the traditional Queen garments, with an extravagant silk and fur cape, leather corset, panties, and stiletto boots. Her eyes moved about the room as she took in the latest incarnation of the Hellfire club. "And greetings everyone."
Arriving at the club Lex Luthor steps out of his limo then breathes hard. His mind drifts to a hat that rests in his office. For the last day he has been wearing it everywhere it goes. Part of him knows he should wear it but it's a sign of trust. Besides Lex Luthor, an avid disapprover of hats, to suddenly wear one would be suspect. Also the hat would clash with tonight's motif. Stepping into the club, ten minutes before the toast, Lex gives a nod to the nights. Striding through the room dressed in a white frock coat with gold embroidery throughout the design. The vest is the same color gold as the embroidery, a white shirt with the appropriate frills sticking out of the vest. His pants are white and come down to mid knee followed by the long white leggings and black shoes.
There is personal business to attend with his Queen but that would only come after the meeting. Sitting down on the opposite side of Shaw Lex would sit there, greet who he would need to and wait for the toast. "To the Revelation," he let the words roll off of his tongue as if he were savoring them like the fine wine that rested in the glass raised in the air. "Of the world."
"I dunno about the rest'a y'all, but I got chills over here," Victor Creed murmurs to the White Queen and King through a barely restrained smirk. The feral mutant in garbed in the ruffled, ornamented silk and linen ensemble of the club, with white trim and a pristine white shirt to offset the dark amber of his coat and trousers. Hair that normally juts whichever way it pleases has been slicked down and gathered into a tiny tail at the back of his head. He made himself at home within moments of getting seated; by now, he's sunk comfortably into his seat, left arm draped over the side while his right holds the wine glass aloft.
"T' breakin' the world," he toasts, smirk twisting into a razor-edged grin.
"Now that the pageantry is out of the way," Sebastian said with a smile as he sat down at his seat, "It has come time for the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club to once again make it's presence felt. This is not to say that we are going to show us or our influence. But now that I have put this Circle back together, it is time for us to shape the world in our image."
With a chuckle looking at his assortment of members, "And to get you all in the same room for a change."
"So we will start with introductions, "All of you know who I am, for I am the one who invited you to this place of the elite. I have been the Lord Imperial and Black King of the Hellfire Club for the last ten years, after our previous White King," Shaw paused as he looked for the right words, "accidently discharged his firearm into the body of his White Queen and then his own temple. It just so happened that as this was going other members of the Inner Circle at the time were meeting with very unfortunate accidents that left me in charge."
He gestured to Emma, "And that is when I recruited my dear, Ms. Emma Frost. Of Frost International and headmistress of the prestigious Academy of Tomorrow. She is the White Queen."
A glance over to Lex and he adds, "After which I eventual got around to recruitting Mr. Alexander Luthor her, media mogul and billionaire industrialist and an 8th Level Intellect. He is the White King."
He smirked as looked at both Zoya and Sabretooth, "I do doubt many of you know our Rooks though, they are two of the most dangerous people on the planet though, Zoya Naryshkin and Victor Creed. Our Black and White Rooks.
"And finally, our most recent addition, our mysterious Black Queen, Jeannette. Out of all of us, she has head a membership in the club proper for the longest," Shaw said gesturing politely to her."
Shaw placed his elbows on the table and steepled his fingers, "So since this is our first meeting in such setting, there is no old business. Any New business?"
The White Queen gently placed her glass onto the surface of the table and glanced towards Shaw and then the rest of the room, "First things first. The hot topic; Genosha. It's a bit of a slum town currently (with relative promise), but I want the club to have an inside source. I have decided to put together a small branch of my academy there."
A small smile spread across her lips, "I know we all don't particularly like the leader of our newest little 'country', but we do make it a point to everything about everything, don't we?"
Speaking of, Emma is reading the surface thoughts of everyone in the room.
"I wouldn't advise that," Lex says firmly in response to Genosha. He looks to Emma and the group, "Genosha is about to become extremely hot. With the mounting tension between the Island and the neighboring governments something is going to give. When it does there will be a war," there is a grim undertone to Lex's words but the proof is there. Not many trust Magneto and an Island comprised entirely of mutants is bound to make anyone jumpy.
As Emma digs into Lex's mind for surface thoughts there's a lot of chatter about random bits of news: , o O ("Snowden is no patriot," says the familiar voice of the chief of command. "Today marks a historic win for Apple in its case against Samsung," an analyst says. "I hope she likes sky diving," Lex's voice says. "J.C. Penny takes another hit as its stock prices are now worth over one-third less than prices in 2012.")
"As for business I have one official bit: the first white rook. He will be here the next meeting. Someone that is intelligent, capable and equally powerful," Lex pauses letting his green eyes roam over the room. Then they stop at Sabertooth, "El tigre de Guatemala. La garra sangrienta de Fssen. La Bestia di Praga nel 1997," Lex rattles off three of the names he's dug up on Sabertooth in the appropriate native tongue, "Big fan. I need to talk at you soon about a job."
A smile is given to Shaw, "And I am about to shape the world in many ways Shaw. I will be doing my part with Project Sherman and Project Defender."
Skimming the surface of Creed's mind is a bit like watching a Nine Inch Nails video on repeat; whatever is really on his mind is buried beneath that ever-shifting layer of psychic grime on the outside.
"I been thinkin' about that myself, lately," he begins, shooting the mind-reader a fleeting, but positively wolfish grin before glancing around at the rest of the table. "An' Lexy here's got a point:" He gestures to the White King, wine sloshing in his glass. "It probably ain't gonna be long before things get ugly over there; way I see it, though, that kinda ugly's a check just waitin' t' be cashed."
Creed gulps the whole glass down with that, and after wiping the back of his hand across his mouth, he adds, looking directly in Luthor's direction, "Always nice t' meet a fan, in any case; even better when they got business."
Unfortunately for Emma, Tessa was keeping his mind shielded at the moment so she didn't get anything but a big empty spot. Shaw leaned back a bit and smiled with the discussion of Genosha, he personally had no love lost when it came to Magneto and to see him fail was going to be quite the thing to sit and watch.
"Regadless, we have no control of the situation with Genosha at all. I have men in my pocket from every major power in the world and none are willing to make a move right now."
He shook his head, "Opening a branch there would be bad form. We don't even have branches in other major countries such as Russia or Israel. We don't want to send the wrong message either. Plus, if I understand it correctly, Mangeto is running a socialist society there. There's no money to be made openly operating in a socialist society. Instead I think we'll have to be prepared for when the so-called 'Powers that Be' decide to grow their spines back and take Magneto out of the picture."
Emma did tilt a brow at the disagreement in her idea. Of course, there were flaws in the plan. Especially if and when the hammer would come down on the country, she would hate to develop too much a connection to possible students. She played with the stem of her glass, "Regardless. I think we should have an inside source."
When Shaw makes the comment about taking out Magneto a single thought flickers deep down underneath all of the news static . o O ("They already are.") Whether or not someone wishes to dig deep enough to find that tidbit and alert the smartest man in the room that someone inside his head. Thanks to previous efforts made by Emma Lex is a little more keen on when his mind isn't quite alone.
"An inside source is different than a school or branch on the inside. If you're talking informant that would be easy, give the right inhabitant," he avoids the m-word, "Amnesty, money, a new identity, something else or a combination and they would sing." Everyone has a price, even Genoshians.
"In what other ways do you suggest we shape the world? The economy is a nice target just begging for the manipulation," Lex is talking about the global economy and not just this country's but he is a man about money. He's not daring to suggest the military as it is being taken care of.
"When the shit hits the fan - before the shit hits the fan - the people who're gonna be fightin' against Magneto--they're gonna need supplies. Weapons. Maybe even bodies," Creed rattles off as he leans in to set his empty glass on the table. "Yer right there ain't no money t' be made from Mags--it's whoever gets in his way that we wanna deal with." A beat as he studies Lex, philanthropist, Shaw, the redeemed human supremacist and Emma, the educator, and then he settles back in his seat with a low, throaty chuckle.
"Maybe not 'we', exactly, but, y'know."
"The thing is Alexander, we cannot just manipulate these events and situations in the open," Shaw said quite seriously, "The Hellfire Club are the -Secret- Masters of the world. We do not run politics or economist through the crude manipulations that every politician or stockbroker does."
"As for the Genoshan... issue, I've already secured the Club's safety when the proverbial 'shit' hits the fan," Shaw said a bit cryptically. He may seem like the 'redeemed human supremacist but he still had an mean streak that Victor hadn't seen as of yet. And also has already stacked the deck so to speak in the whole situation.
"Well Mr. Creed, I take it you're volunteering yourself in regards to the 'Genosha Issue?'" Shaw asked with a little smirk on his face.
Cryptic was Sebastian's MO, that was for certain, even moreso lately. She pondered this for the moment and then turned her attention back to Creed, "Could be dangerous, but fun. And we could have you out of there before this inevitable downfall. Eyes and ears, at least. And claws when applicable."
Shaw goes on about the rules of the club and Lex adheres to them. However, there is a difference between being a shadow organization and an organization that does nothing. The world will need to be moved at some point if they wish to break through it. Then an idea strikes Lex, "Eddie Thorson," he says aloud. His mind races processing the idea, "Control him and you control Gods. Control him and you control wealth. Thor, posing that his realm mirrors that of Norse lore with some alterations, could be in line to take over the crown from his Father Odin. Eddie is the adopted son of Thor. Making him in line for the crown, control the teenager and the Gods will be under our thumb," and Eddie does have a mind that could be easy to control. He's a nineteen year old runt with potential, but got lucky when a God crossed his path and took pity.
"I'm thinkin' me, whatever extra hands I can get, an' a buttload'a hardware could be enough to let 'em think they can buy themselves a fightin' chance," Victor says to Shaw, as if setting up a joke of some kind. To Emma, he adds, "An' don't worry: won't be the first race war I survived."
When Lex makes his pitch, the mutant savage peers quizzically in his direction, and by the end, his brows are both arched in a mixture of amusement and disbelief.
"So you wanna--what, kidnap the little fucker for ransom?" After a glance around at the rest of the Circle, he returns his gaze to Lex and adds, "I mean, I'll do that, too, if that's where we're headed - I don't give a shit which gods he hangs with - but I just wanna be sure; some brat from Norway or whatever's a hell of a big step away from this Genosha."
Shaw nodded, "The mutant/metahuman issue is an issue that Hellfire Club takes seriously. I've spent ten years setting everything into perfect position so when the inevitable violence started, mutant and metahuman kind would be in a position of victory."
There was some anger in his voice now, "And of course, Erik, as always, has to go acting rash and ruining years of planning. I'm surprised the man is still alive."
Directly to Sabretooth he says, "The Hellfire Knights are at your disposal, they have the latest in next-gen military hardware courtesy of Shaw Industries, Hammer Industries and Lex Corp. Minimize mutant causalities if you can, otherwise I don't care what happens. Just keep the Club's name out of it."
And then in regards to Lex's points, "Thor and his family are off limits. They is too much power there to confront directly in any sort of way. Thor and Sif are the type of people, gods, whatever, who nearly attacked Emma for just 'thinking' that Emma was controlling Edward's mind. If they sensed our involvement at all they would level this place and leave us all dead. And Thor may be one of the only beings around who could ensure my death."
Emma rolled her eyes at Lex's suggestion, and finished off the rest of her glass and immediately tapped the edge for it to be refilled, "Agreed. I simply took interest in the boy and it was nearly regarded as an act of war. No matter, I now have little interest in their 'pet human'."
Lex figures there's a story behind Emma's words and he says no more. Looking to Creed with money green eyes he says, "I was talking about manipulation. Kidnapping not so much," mum is the word when it comes to Genosha. Did they have the right idea about supply the enemy of mutant kind? Yes. It's just the plan is a few days too late. And right now Lex needs the government too much to spoil that apple.
The Black Queen shakes her head. "Kidnapping family members of deities would invite disaster. And worse, attention," she agrees. "But, the best way to control a teenager is the illusion of choice. If you can find a way to make him favour you over his adopted family..." she says, trailing off. "No telepathic control, no blackmail. Just win him over. It can't be that hard to find out what a boy his age wants, and to simply give it to him."
A shrug and a disaffected 'ehn' is all the reaction Shaw's mandate about Thor's family gets from Creed; he's way more focused on pondering the possibilities of introducing high-end military hardware to the already strained situation in Genosha.
"Other'n that brainwave about Genosha, I got nothin'--nothin' the likes'a my fellow royalty'd be into, anyway," he offers with a hint of wryness.
Shaw considered what Jeannette said and while he wasn't sure if it was a wise plan, "Well, Alexander. While I'm entirely happy with the idea, Jeannette does have a good point. If you think you can get him to our side without provoking the wrath of the so-called Gods, go for it."
He took a drink from his wine as he considered, "Now then, back to Genosha for a moment. With Victor setting up our own little private army there, it's time to reveal the trump card."
Shaw removed a small device and pressed a button on it. He then slide it down the table. As it activated a hologram appeared from it. It was a Sentinel, the giant robots that someone, supposedly the US Government shadow ops, was using to fight mutants and metahumans, "The Sentinel Mark IV. Made by Shaw Industries for a secret project in the United States Government. Project: Wide Awake. I have full schematics to share with all of you about weak points and limitations. As well as these."
He pulled another device out of another pocket, "Gene Suppression Unit. While this is on your person any mutant or metahuman is undetectable to the sensors that the Sentinels use to find and target mutants and metahumans."
As one of the other mutants in the room Emma of course took notice of this reveal. She was surprised, but it fit, regarding Shaw's recent behavior. Something like this /had/ to be on the horizon. And well, at least she was on the right side at least.
She opened her silver and diamond encrusted cigarette case and immediately lit up. She leaned forward to examine the sentinel hologram, "Well better you than anyone else. Obviously we need to take precautions about the academy."
"Don't Sebastion," Lex says very firmly to Shaw and uses the man's first name for the first time. He looks at the Black King, "You unleash them in Genosha you risk bringing down the wrath of a God upon your head. Unleashing them now would be more catastrophic than you know," as he waits in silence Lex focuses on all the news stories he heard once again as a precaution. "Especially if you unleash them on Genosha." Deep down the White King knows the secret. That there are already ground units within Genosha, and who they are is a mystery to Lex. However, he knows who sent them and knows that man would probably use mutants. The last thing Shaw really wants is to have a dead mutant U.S. operative because of something Shaw industries created.
"Gene Suppression?" Creed warily questions, eyes narrowing on the device. "Ain't gotta choose between duckin' robots an' bein' me, do I?" His attention shifts to Lex when his complaints are voiced, and then after a low rumbling in his throat he agrees, "You send those, an' that whole situation's gonna blow up--guaranteed. Havin' 'em for a last resort ain't the worst idea, though, right?"
"Magneto is not a man whose bad side I want to be on," Jeannette says. "If these things touch Genoshan soil, I'd make sure your name isn't stamped across the front of them," she says, nodding to the hologram. "Now, if a competitor managed to get ahold of your bluebrints and start building his own..." she says, thoughtfully. "And if you still had the only protection against them," a nod to the suppression unit. "It keeps your hands clean, and gives you something Magneto will want."
Please ëº‹ for some others before you repeat your vote for him.
Shaw nodded to Emma's obvious concern, "The technology I used to hide mutants and metahumans from the Sentinels is derived from the telepathic field you put around the Academy. Also I put in some hidden programming tied to their higher functions. One of them keeps them from recognizing the Academy of Tommorow as a threat. They -should- in theory ignore it or shut down if ordered to attack it."
"Problem is, Alexander, I can't use them or deploy them. I can only keep them from attacking certain targets. That secret government agency I was talking about are the only ones who can activate them. Hence the reason for the precautions and fail safes I've set up. For example, I had nothing to do with the attack on the Mutant Action Center. Or else I would have told them to wait a month of three for the EM shielded Ceramic model to be done."
To Victor he simple stated, "It does not effect our powers, only the signature that the Sentinels are picking up on. With it activated and on your person you'll still be everything you are, you will just read as a Flatscan to their sensors. I don't know if you've realized this Victor, but everyone in this room except for Alexander are either mutant or metahuman."
It was Jeannette's idea that took him by surprise and made him think, "Well they aren't made specifically by me, they are made by a shell of a shell of a shell that has no direct connections to Shaw Industries, but the point is a valid one," It made him look over to Lex, "Alexander, just how desperate for attention Justin Hammer these days?"
With Shaw's words Lex connects the dots. Fury and his S.H.I.E.L.D. already has ground units deployed in Genosha. Add in the "packages" Lexcorp is developing alongside the news of Sentinels being deployed by a "Super Secret Government Agency," the industrialist can see the writing on the wall. Magneto is a wanted man and he will be a beaten one. His people will be captured thanks to the Sentinels and they will probably be tried as traitors to the country. "Get anyone you care about off Genosha. At all cost if you don't want to see them in chains," he warns the room.
Lex is still going to build weapons for Fury because it benefits his needs. Yet seeing this plan laid out makes Lex really look at Fury. The man is a brilliant and ruthless tactician, and he has just earned Lex's respect. If anyone will put a wrench in project Sherman it would be the director himself.
Fear isn't an emotion Lex would associate with Fury. He would give Fury the qualities of ruthless, thorough and resourceful. All three of these together makes someone extremely dangerous. Luckily for Lex the few mutants he cares about are within this room. That doesn't mean he can't sympathize for those that are about to experience loss whenever Fury presses the button. "Hammer is pretty desperate to get into the arms race and will be more desperate once Stark Expo happens. Show him that and he'll jump all over it."
Emma took a long drag of her cigarette as the conversation continued in a heated matter. At least this first meeting with the new Hellfire club was proving to be interesting, "This project was only a matter of time, as is Genosha's downfall. However I think this is an opportune time to bring up one of the benefits of this little circle of ours. It is wise to coordinate our efforts. Not every little secret needs to be shared, mind you (nor should it). But it's time to start working together. You'll find the people in this room are quite capable."
She turned her attention to Shaw, "And that you for revealing this information, I look forward to seeing the flaws. I have a few guesses already."
Jeannette smiles. "I happened to make Hammer's aquaintance last night. I'm sure we can find something for him to get his hands on," she volunteers. "I'm sure a few of those smaller shell companies could fold easily enough, just in time for Hammer to buy them up- while happening to have the rights to a few important designs. The more clever you make him feel, the easier that will go."
"Already done," Creed brightly replies to Lex's warning. In fact, everyone that Creed cares about is already in this room, stuffed into 18th century formal wear, and idly hoping that his faithful secretary/telepath/markswoman doesn't balk too much if(when) she's asked to shoot at other mutants in Genosha.
"How long d'you think it's gonna take this Justin cat t' get somethin' together, if he bites? I'm gonna wanna make sure the humans don't blow their wad too soon."
"Desperation will make people do things incredibly quick," Lex says with an evil smile to Creed's question. Hammer seems like an intelligent yet lost puppy in the future arms race when they last met. He would probably jump on the Sentinel idea within a moment's notice and build the first one just as quick.
Sebastian finished his wine and lit a cigar, "Well it'd only be fair, he's already building the armor for the things. Let him have the whole thing, I'll approach him as the public currently knows me, 'A oh so sad and repentant former human supremacist who has seen the light thanks to his supermodel girlfriend.' Tell him I want to turn the contracts over to him. He's an idiot so the chances of him finding the failsafe protocals in the programming are slim, and even if he did, if he removed them he's have to reprogram them from scratch. Something only about six people in the world are capable of doing, two of which are in this room."
With a puff of his cigar he looked over to Emma and smiled, "Well the obvious flaws are the balance, the CPU and the ocular units. Government would pony up the money for gyroscopic balancing of the units. They are twenty feet tall, center of balance is the same place as a human. Break that balance and they have to stager to their feet just like any other humanoid. The CPU is in the chest, and I just so happen to put a systems access port right where the CPU is, middle of the chest, round circle. It's their for maintenance, but it's easy enough to rip out, even with the ceramic titanium armor. They eyes are the only sensors it has. Another 'cost cutting measure' the government 'forced' on me."
"I am working on a control override but I'm about three months from even a test run on it," Shaw said with a shrug, "I programmed them very well and it shows in my inability to completely override their programs. However hidden in their primary AI source code is a no-aggression order against everyone in this room, with a backdoor to add others if I have too."
"Well, it's nice to know I haven't lived this long to be killed by a giant robot," says Jeannette. "That would be embarassing."
Emma was silent for a few moments, and seemed very intent on getting her glass refilled and thus emptying it after the comment of 'supermodel girlfriend'. There is an awkward amount of jealousy she will have to focus on another day. After a while she pipes up amongst the chaos, "I'll provide a very thorough list of those I want added, and I suggest everyone do the same."
Sensing the jealousy that comes from Emma thanks to a downed wineglass and long silence Lex slowly works on his glass. He tries to ignore his own jealousy but stays focused on the glass instead. While not a chug there are a few quick downs of the drink. When Emma makes the suggestion two names immediately come to mind. One he is thinking of taking off given the situation. Sabertooth would be on the list but Lex can't see one sentinel taking down someone like. An army of sentinels stand a chance but it wouldn't be a quick victory. One would be a push over for the tiger of Guatemala. So there is probably no need to add Sabertooth.
"An' I'm sure some geek couldn't just whip up a virus t' shut 'em down, or make 'em go berserk, right?" Creed wonders with an arched brow. "Anyways, long as they don't touch me or my assistant, we're good; I'm gonna need her down there." Unlike Lex and Emma, he's not bothering with extra wine, mostly because there isn't much point; it would take a caskful of the stuff to get him anywhere near buzzed.
"I would never let that happen, Jeannette," Shaw told his Black Queen while taking another puff from his cigar, "Hell, I'm only a third of your age and I would find that rather embarrassing for myself as well."
Looking back to Emma, he did note the jealousy but couldn't comment on it for obvious reasons, "All your students are already on the list, Emma... including the human ones just in case."
"Despite what popular culture likes to teach us, Victor, computer virus are very hard to write for maximum effect. Worst I could see happening short of someone like Alexander or Reed Richards writing one is they could change the Sentinel's voice from going
'Destroy All Mutants' to 'Click Here to Get your Free Male Enhancement Cream.'" He thought for a moment, "Honestly I don't know which one sounds more terrifying."
Emma realized how obvious she looked, to those who might take notice to her emotions. In her own defense it was a very intense meeting. But for now it was time to finish up business, "I think that about covers it ladies and gentlemen. If it isn't already so let's exchange numbers and contact information. Now that we are all actually in the same room, we can all let the /real/ work begin."