(2014-08-25) White Court
White Court
Summary: Laurel accompanies Emma to the Hellfire Club. Emma meets with Kate, then discusses her plans with Laurel.
Date: 2014-08-25
Related: NA
Scene Runner: NA
Social/Plot: Social

Emma lingers a few moments more, making sure everything is utterly perfect, both on herself and upon Laurel, before she sends the mental energies towards the controller embedded in the wall, causing it to activate and unlock the door. It's a little thing, but such conveniences are a quiet, ever-present display of power, which communicates itself firmly to all those around her. It's all part of the personal of the White Queen. Just like the ever-perfectly coifed appearance and the regal bearing.

« I am glad you have chosen to visit again, Laurel. Some things are changing, here at the Club, and I will appreciate the chance to make sure you see and experience that. » Emma sends to her lover, as they finally emerge from the private bedroom attached to her parlor. Beyond the parlor lies her private office, and one of those changes incarnate. « Remember the rules. » she offers gently, before opening the door to the parlor.

"Katherine. Thank you kindly for your patience. Please, come in. Would you like any refreshment?" the tall, regal blonde offers to the brunette waiting in said office for her, inviting the younger woman to join her in the parlor. She offers no explanation to the brunette for the presence of the grey-haired young woman in white, nor does she make any introductions. Not yet.

Laurel, the Moon Maiden, heroine and member of the Justice League, says nothing. She simply nods her head to Emma. Dressed in white lingerie that recalls the glories and beauty of the Roman Empire, Laurel walks to Emma's left and slightly behind her. The choker and the sigil of the White Queen around her throat marks to the members of the HFC that Laurel is not here as a member but as Emma's guest and pet. A simple roll but one that has already resulted in at least one lesser member being driven almost to insanity because he dared touch the White Queen's property.

Laurel offers a small smile to Katherine.

Kate Bishop makes her way in, not looking to touch anything that belongs to Emma, being far more wiser than most her age. She bows her head to Emma and nods. "I'm fine, thank you, My Queen." She says, a nod of her head in reverence to the woman. "You call, I answer. That's the way this works, no?" She smiles to the other woman and nods in greeting. Kate tries to stay formal, but behind closed doors she's all about getting to the point. "Is there something you needed me for?"

"Please, have a seat." Emma offers to the brunette, as she makes her way to her own throne-like seat and sits down. She waits for both her future Rook and her pet to settle in, before she continues. "That is indeed how this works, Katherine. As my Rook, you will often operate with autonomy outside these walls, gathering intelligence or taking actions as I have proscribed or as otherwise required. But when I call, you answer." It's something she has already outlined for Kate, and she expects she didn't need to be so specific for her. But spelling it out to her enables her to so inform Laurel, so that she understands a bit better.

"The intelligence you have already provided has proven quite useful. Of those you have been able to identify, all but two are currently safely retrieved and recovering. Some, sadly, better than others. Nevetheless, they are safe, and I hope to assure they will remain so." Emma explains, without specifics, referring to the job she established with Katherine and her partner. "I would like you to refocus your efforts, if you would. I still want to know whatever you can find on the other two. But I suspect the lack of information is endemic, and why they were not with the others when they were recovered. What I need now is some understanding of the profile elments these children share. What lies in common between them, in their backgrounds, their environments, that made them attractive targets."

Emma's voice goes cold and brittle with edge. "Whatever that is, it gave these bastards the feeling they could hunt these children with impunity. I intend to find them, Katherine. And when I do, I intend to make sure they never threaten another child, ever again."

Laurel does not take a seat but, rather, kneels to Emma's left. She remains an ornament, hands on her knees, spine straight. An enhancement to the White Queen's position. However, it is obvious from the intelligence in her eyes that the Moon Maiden listens. This is information Emma intends to get back to the Justice League. Otherwise, Laurel would not be here with her lover. She considers Katherine as well, evaluating words and poise - trying to determine what makes this woman worthy of Emma's trust in so sensitive a manner.

Kate Bishop nods. "I understand… There's also a bit of information that was overlooked." She walks over and hands a manila folder to Emma before turning and walking back. She takes her time, showing off her wares at the same time as showing off her standing. She may be real-world on the outside, but her upbringing screams First-World. She retakes her seat. "Every one of those children had their abilities reported to their pediatricians. I checked to see if it were a single one, and that came up fruitless. However, it would have to be someone who has access to all these medical records, which leads to either NIH or WHO. This has the government's greasy fingerprints smudged all over it."

Control. Control. Do not lose control. Emma accepts the folder offered, and flips it open, scanning over the information within as Kate summarizes aloud. The White Queen is frankly struggling to contain the rage this news brings up within her. But she can do it. She will do it. "That was precisely the first part of the information I was looking for. Thank you, Katherine, for your diligene and care with this matter. Please express my gratitude to your operatives for their hard work." Without ever naming Emma, of course, but large checks are never unwelcome.

"We will need to plug this leak of information. But we will use it, first, to find those responsible." That, ladies, would be the royal 'we'; it is very likely there will be some new coma ward patients very soon, and some positions in the US federal government that will be open due to the medical inability of their current holders to perform their duties. And that's just the beginning. "I still want to know what made them pick the victims they did, over others. Surely, these cannot be the only children with powers reported to their pediatricians. But, we'll want to backcheck that as well."

Laurel considers the words being spoken. The clues. What's being shared by Katherine. What is still unknown. Her mind works on logical levels. Sorting through paths. But something more important is happening. Laurel does not reach out physically but with her mind she works through meditative exercises. Allows the mystery of these children being exploited and taken to vanish and be replaced with calm and tranquility. Something to spill over into Emma's mind. To calm down the White Queen's rage.

Kate Bishop nods. "I live to serve." She says, even half believing it as she says it. She listens to the rest of Emma's orders. "Exactly. I don't think they're done. I think they're ramping up for a next phase. Logically speaking, they should look for children with the highest offensive capabilities, while building on invulnerability." She nods. "I'll broaden the search out from New York, and see if I can expand into nationwide."

"Please do." Emma offers, as the searing white heat of her rage slowly abates, banked for later. Connected with Laurel's mind, the other will be only too keenly aware that this is only a stop-gap; Emma still fully intends to take action, and she won't hesitate to make it decisive and final, brutally direct. These people have declared war on /her/ people, and the White Queen intends to make it explicitly clear that will not be tolerated. "If you have need of additional resources to facilitate the broader scope of operations, do whatever you deem appropriate. Funds will be provided, as will additional contacts." she offers to Kate.

And it will be Laurel's job to make sure the line isn't crossed. That it is the Justice League that handles rescuing these children and, if need be, dealing with the government. That no one dies. Not even the bad guys. She closes her eyes and smiles. It isn't easy loving a Queen, it seems.

Kate Bishop nods, understanding that this topic is finished, yet she doesn't feel a dismissal. "Is there anything else, or shall you wish me to take my leave, My Queen?" She asks, bowing her head again.

When the meeting with Kate Bishop is over, the White Queen does not rise, but instead merely motions again towards the door to the parlor, as it gives a 'snick' sound and opens slightly, allowing the brunette to depart. When the door closes, another snick of sound indicates the locks have been activated again. Then the regal blonde sheds just a hint of the ice-cold formality she has been maintaining, and reaches out to lightly brush her fingers over the bare shoulder and neck of the grey-haired young woman kneeling at her left side. "If you would like to sit in the sofa, now, you can." she offers Moon Maiden, with a tiny bit of a smile. The floor where she kneels is well padded and carpeted, not hard at all on the knees by comparison, but still sitting in a sofa would be more comfortable.

"I think." Laurel says, as she rises to her feet, "That I have another seat in mind." She settles in Emma's lap. This isn't a sexual manuever. It is one of intimacy. Giving Emma human contact. Reminding her that the world is one where people need to touch each other. "You're really worked up over this, darling. I'm angry. We all are. But your rage is flat out dark side heavy."

Emma Frost does not react as the White Queen would to someone using her as a seat cushion. Instead, she slides her arms around the younger woman's midsection and keeps her close. "Yes. Yes it is." she offers in response, not even trying to deny it or downplay her feelings. Laurel was telepathically connected to her mind the whole time, after all; it would be pointless to lie unless she was willing to alter Laurel's memories to match. She is not willing to cross that line.

"These bastards went after /my/ students. They may not have been on school grounds, but they knew who they were. They knew, and still they made their move." Emma offers, by way of a bit of explanation. Not nearly enough, surely, but a start. "And what they did to these children … " She doesn't complete that thought. But Emma knows. She knows all too well.

Laurel rests her forehead against Emma. More contact. Reminding her that she is loved. That there are good things in this world. There is a reason for kindness and decency and even mercy. "And we will get them, honey." Laurel promises. "We will hunt them down and we will deal with them. You're on the trail and the League will help. I will help. Okay? You know you can count on me. But I need you to remember that you aren't them. You aren't a torturer or a murderer. Okay?"

Emma accepts the closer contact and embrace, but she doesn't entirely rid herself of the burning fire of her angry intent. "Yes. We will get them." she promises. No, she vows. Laurel would recognize the difference.

The platinum blonde beauty raises one hand up to cup Laurel's cheek, caressing gently as she looks up into the heroine's eyes with her own ice blue orbs. "But you're wrong about me. I don't do it lightly. And I don't enjoy it. But I /am/ a murderer. I have killed before." It's probably a moderately shocking revelation, since nothing she's ever mentioned has even hinted at such a thing.

No, it isn't that shocking. Laurel is quite intelligent and she's had a chance to know Emma as intimately as any human on the planet. She did not know, specifically, that Emma had done so. But she is aware the possibility existed. She knows there was tragedy and pain in the past. She knows Emma did something to put that behind her. Or at least lock it behind a door. "Okay." Laurel agrees with a faint smile. She kisses Emma's nose. A cute move. Disarming. "I love you and you aren't a psychopath. You're capable of love, capable of empathy. You're capable of resolving a problem without killing and, if it really is the ONLY resort? I will support you."

The other woman smiles wryly. "You do realize that there isn't another human being on this planet that would come close to agreeing with you about me, right? Capable of love and empathy? Seriously?" Emma makes it a joke in tone, because Laurel too is being light-hearted and easy-going about all of this. But she is quite serious. No one would ever presume Emma to be capable of either of those things. Not even - rather, especially - her own family.

"You need to understand something, Laurel. I do care deeply for you. And I have absolutely no desire to see this drive us apart. but … I have to stop these people." Emma explains. "They are people of power and influence. Law enforcement and the rules will not apply to them, no matter how much they should. And no one will be able to stop them unless they are willing to step outside all of those power structures, and destroy them. Not just hurt them, or ruin them. Destroy them. Nothing else will stop them, nothing else will prove to the likes of these people that they are vulnerable, and need to back off. Otherwise, they will just come at anyone who tries even harder than they already have."

"Oh, dear, yes, but you have to understand that I know things you do not." Laurel says, leaning her cheek against Emma's shoulder. "I know history, honey. Killing one person? Or even a hundred? Won't stop this. It isn't people don't this horror. It is organizations. Institutions. Removing people won't do the trick. Convincing the people who pay their bills that this is a bad idea? That will make it happen. We need to fight the institution. Not the people." She kisses Emma's temple. "Trust me on this. History has shown this to be true, again and again. Cut down a head and another replaces it. We need to remove the whole body."

Emma shakes her head. "Laurel, organizations are made of people. Individuals. Take out the right ones, make examples of them for all to see, and they will stop. They will understand that trying things like this again will lead to more repercussions, and that their power, their numbers, will not protect them or hide them." Admittedly, Emma sounds incredibly dangerous. But she also sounds serious, and convinced. She knows people with power. How they think. How they operate. And she believes she can make them stop. "The people paying their bills are scared already. More fear won't make them stop, and reasoned arguments won't be heard. The only way to stop this is to stop those arrogant and evil enough to think what they did to these children is acceptable. To show them, conclusively, that it is not. And make sure the point is made so explicitly that no one else wants to follow in their footsteps and suffer that price."

"No, honey. All that will happen is that new projects will happen. Things will get moved. New people will be put in charge." Laurel lifts her head and smiles kindly. "It happened in the Roman Empire. Take down a cult by arresting and executing the members and a new one rises. Will you please trust my advice here? Trust that I might have some insight? Look beyond your anger and see that, perhaps, I might be able to give you wisdom to help you? I am told I'm rather brilliant."

"I do trust you, Laurel. And I believe in your wisdom and intelligence." Emma offers. "But I need you to understand the same. Yes, I am angry. I will not deny it. But I am also coldly certain that this is necessary. They must be stopped. They will not stop on their own, and they cannot be allowed to continue." Emma sighs, caressing Laurel's cheek with her hand. "I adore your heroic spirit, and I would never dim it. Never. But I need you to understand that … I am not a hero. I have neither your morals, nor your ethics. But I have my code. I will not allow these monsters to hurt another child and sit idly by. They must be made to pay, and to stop. And they will understand and respect nothing less than their own personal devastation. Nothing else will touch them."

"No. They don't need to pay." Laurel says it simply. "They need to stop. And you are wrong. We will find other ways to stop them. Give us a chance to work through this. Together. Between the two of us, we can come up with solutions that will work. Not just create a stop gap that will shut them down and force them to scurry under a new rock." She sits up so she can look into Emma's eyes. "I insist. Don't make me get forceful with you, love. You might like it too much." She winks.

The White Queen shakes her head. "Laurel … they have to be stopped, /and/ they have to pay. Nothing less will /keep/ them stopped." Emma sighs, closing her eyes as she lowers her head. She is, frankly, not used to anyone arguing with her like this. It is tiring actually trying to convince someone when they don't want to be convinced, and when she hampers herself by her own choice not to take the easy solution. "We have to find those responsible. Find those who gave the orders. Find those who decided this was a good idea. And /those/ we have to remove. It won't be easy. And this isn't about just punishing foot soldiers, however guilty they may be. It is about hunting down the true decision makers, those who believe they are truly and completely untouchable, that all of this is just numbers on the abacus. And then forcing /them/ to understand the horrors they have visited, unwarranted, upon these children." Emma pauses. "I will not allow them to scurry under a new rock. This is a cancer that has to be rooted out. And it will only be possible by mobilizing every resource at my disposal, including myself." Laurel well knows that Emma is not one to put herself into harm's way. But for this, she will do so. "I do not yet know all that it will take, to accomplish this. But I already assume it will take everything I have, and things I don't even know I have, things I cannot afford to risk. But I will have to, if I want this to end."

"And if this goes all the way up to the Senate? The President? How far are you willing to go, Emma?" Laurel takes her lover's hands into her's. "I am not saying that your methods might not need to be employed. You know what I can do beyond lunarkinesis. I can drive people insane. I can literally render them howling mad for the rest of their lives. And I've had to do that before. I know that choice must be made at times. But not until you have looked at all the options. Until you understand the variables. There is too much we don't know yet. I am not telling you no. I am telling you, please, let's make sure we fully understand what we are doing and the ramifications of our plans before we go through with them. Please? Let us solve this together. Let me help you."

Emma sighs, holding onto Laurel. "Honestly? I am willing to go as far as I must." She lets the other woman take her hands. She nods, and she listens. She doesn't interrupt, despite how she longs to do so. She doesn't even answer right away. She waits.

"I am afraid to let this taint you, Laurel. You … being who you are … is important to me. I could not live with attainting or damaging that." Which is Emma's way of saying she's scared. "If I let you help me, then I let this touch you. And I don't think I should. For your protection. For the protection of someone I value." Even now, she can't say it. Even now.

"A part of me longs to accept your help, Laurel. I want you with me. I want your support. Your trust, your faith. But if I accept .. then what we do … what I believe we /must/ do … will sully your reputation as a heroine. Potentially damage your relationship with the League, and the League's with the world." Emma sighs. "That is not a choice I can make."

"Mmmm." Laurel closes her eyes and lays her head once more onto Emma's shoulder. "While I appreciate your image of me and of the League, I think you should realize isn't quite as white and noble as you think. Certainly Captain America has killed. Black Widow very much so. I have no doubt Tony has perpetrated more than his share of white collar crime. We're no saints. And today proved that you have information we need to get back to the League. Otherwise, I wouldn't be here, would I? The truth is, your organization is a bit like a flip side of the League. We are power in the limelight, making change. You are power in the shadows, making change. We need a member here to ensure the League gets the intelligence our mission requires. ANd you need me here. And if you need me here? I need to be here."

Emma listens to Laurel, letting the rest wash over her. She's still tense about it. But Laurel seems so convinced, she has to accept that Laurel wants this to go this way. She's not going to stop her short of mind control, and she refuses to do that. So she's going to have to accept this. "Honestly, you asked to come. I agreed. I did not specifically arrange for Katherine to give her report while you were here." Still, she smiles wryly. "However, I did decide not to reschedule it, on purpose. I hoped she had some of the intel I had put her on, and that it was intel you could make use of, at least potentially." She also hoped it would help Laurel, knowing why it is Emma's time has been so scarce of late.

"You really want to join the Club, on a more permanent basis?" Emma questions. "I enjoy having you here, of course. And I know you have found pleasure here. But joining us here long-term would be a big change from that." She's not saying no. She's questioning if Laurel has considered the larger scope of consequences to this idea.

"I'm going to pass the information along. We have some of the best tech experts in the world on our side. Better than you have, I suspect." Laurel says. "Not bragging. Just the truth. And while Emma Frost is a little too high profile to go wandering about the CDC reading minds, looking for links to Project REBIRTH, its possible no one will notice our telepath." See? Crafty Laurel.

"I think having me here would help you keep your balance. And me being here, it would help me understand a few things as well. Rome wasn't a meritocracy. Not strictly. It was built on a foundation of social strata. There were organizations like this, back in the day. It wasn't a harmful thing. Indeed, properly steered, such organizations are key to a healthy society."

"I didn't say you were bragging. And I agree. You have at least one tech expert up there that none of us can compete with." Emma is nothing if not pragmatic and honest. Even when it galls her. "I was actually going to hire a shapeshifter to go hacking through CDC records. But if you think you can get Marvel Girl in there, I certainly won't stop you." Of course she knows who the telepath is on the League.

"Alright, Laurel. If you want to join the Club, the only question that remains is how." Emma answers. "If you want a full membership, you have to be nominated, vetted, and then pay a five million dollar fee. But. There is another way. I can secure your membership, directly in service to me, and to my position on the Lords Cardinal. But then you would have to become one of my agents in the Lords Cardinal. Particularly, you would become the White Queen's Bishop."

Laurel closes her eyes, briefly cataloging how she could raise five million. In truth, she's one of the wealthiest women in the world. What she has in her Lunar Villa is worth an uncalculatable amount of money. None of it, however, is what she wants to sell. So, when Emma suggests another way, her eyes open and she smiles. "Well, doesn't that sound very, very formal. Tell me, oh White Queen of my heart, how does one become a Queen's Bishop and what does said Bishop do? I somehow don't think I'll be performing religious ceremonies."

Emma smirks a bit, and shakes her head. "No. The Lords Cardinal are not a religious organization. Instead, the titles are based upon an interpretation of the pieces in a classic chess set. Rooks are most often the most powerful in the courts outside the royals themselves. Primary agents, lieutenants with their own functioning force of agents outside the Club to enforce missions and goals. Knights are chief enforcers. Bu the Bishops are chosen allies, selected due to a particular access or resource they can provide, making them key to the plans of the Royals." The White Queen explains. "It would mean revealing to the others of the Lords Cardinal explicitly who you are. But I am virtually assured they would accept you and my bid to bring you aboard. If you are sure that is what you want."

Laurel laughs. "I don't wear a mask. I'm one of the most famous and well-known superheroes in the world. When I use my powers, there are silver sparkles. I couldn't hide my identity even if I wanted to. And yes. I want to be here with you. I want to be by your side. I think this is important. To me. And to you." She touches Emma's cheek and then stands up and curtsies. "Your Majesty." She pauses. "You'll need to get used to the mocking. There'll be a lot of it in private."

"Oh, I will, will I?" Emma inquires, eying her potential new Bishop standing before her. "And why, pray thee tell, will I have to get used to mocking in private? I would not accept that from any other ally." Oh, Emma knows Laurel is not like any other ally. But that doesn't mean she isn't going to protest. Mocking is really quite annoying. And Emma has to deal with an awful lot of annoying on a regular basis.

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