(2014-10-24) Who is PAIN?
Who is PAIN?
Summary: Emma Frost checks in with Moon Maiden, and they discuss the ongoing investigations into the group responsible for kidnapping and experimentation on metahuman teens.
Date: 2014-10-24
Related: Various
Scene Runner: NA
Social/Plot: Plot

Laurel's earbud will chirp with JARVIS' soft British voice. "Recognized: Guest, Emma Frost. Arriving, Lunar Villa. Routing complete."

The tall platinum blonde, dressed in yet another of her seemingly infinite supply of unique variants on 'stark white women's businesswear', appears on the small pad of the platform where the Zeta Beam transport system was installed. She does not address the computer, for one does not address anothers' servants unless absolutely necessary; it is a degree of familiarity that is inappropriate.

Instead, Emma simply steps off the platform and starts along her way into the Villa, nodding to the apparition-like figue that appears to welcome her as it has every time she has visited. She does not rely on the Villa's alchemical systems to guide her, but telepathically seeks out the woman she came to see, and heads in that direction, until she arrives in the room with the alchemical-projection screens suitable for the reams of interesting drawings and mathematics being worked out longhand across them.

"That looks … interesting." Emma's in no means stupid. But higher-order mathematics by hand are not her thing. Still, she's a telepath. It wouldn't take her long to pick out what it is Laurel is working on. But maybe she decided to ask conversationally. One does always need something to start with, don't they?

The Moon Maiden has been working a theory. It is the same theory that intelligence agencies use to ferret out terrorists and that social media networks use to figure out clients. Social networking. Work the math of personal connections and find out the answer. In this case, the answer to a question:

Who is PAIN?

The working theory is they must have plants in intelligence agencies. In the CDC. In the staff of various executive and legislative branch officials. Otherwise, how would they have found the information they needed to track down and kidnap those kids? How would they get the funding? So, the question is… who are the double agents?

Of course, Laurel feels the touch of Emma's mind the moment it happens. She welcomes it and sends out, not words, but the intense joy she feels whenever she's in her lover's presence. Then she returns to work, sorting out variables. When Emma's physical presence can be felt as well, Laurel doesn't look away from the numbers but smiles.

"I've missed you." Laurel says. "And you know very well what I'm working on. I'm using the Epps theory of Social Convergence to sort out who in the NSA and FBI might be agents of PAIN."

"Or at least providing them intel." Emma finishes, nodding as she steps up behind the hard-working heroine, sliding an arm around Laurel's waist from behind as she presses gently against her back. "Do you have names, yet, for me to confirm?" Emma won't terrorize anyone until she has her facts straight, and not just mathematics. She'll get the truth from their minds. But she'll also likely use that to gather more intel, on additional links, anything they may be aware of that PAIN is working on. "How have you been doing? Any follow-up headaches? Any nosebleeds?" She'll know if Laurel lies, not that the other woman normally would. But both can be rather stubborn.

Laurel wouldn't, no. "No headaches. No nosebleeds. I seem to be fully recovered. Thank you, though, for being concerned." Laurel leans back against the beautiful form of Emma Frost. She closes her eyes and revels in the feeling, for a moment. A gorgeous body and a talented mind, combined and here to share this moment of intimacy with her. "I've had to increase my protein intake, though. Apparently I used a lot of iron when I channeled the magic of the Alchemical Engine to that degree.

"Iron. Interesting." Emma offers, following by rattling off a few select foods she is aware of that are exceptionally high in natural iron intake. Supplements are fine, but organic and natural iron is a much better choice for the kind of replacements needed here, despite the quantities necessary. "That means you've gone anemic, until we can get this taken care of. So you need to be more careful. You'll exhaust more easily, get less oxygen out of the atmosphere into your blood stream." Not that Laurel doesn't know that, but Emma set herself the task of taking care of Laurel's recovery process. She won't stop until it's well and truly done.

"I take it then that you do not yet have names for me to confirm?" Emma asks, re-addressing the point. Laurel's recovery is important. But so is the rest.

Indeed, all things Laurel already knows. In fact, she's been eating foods rich in iron. She just had a meal of liver earlier today. Lunch. Still, she listens with a smile as Emma rattles off her instructions and enjoys the sensation of being mothered by someone so close to her. But, of course, the conversation returns to the task. The math.

"No." Laurel admits as she looks over the images. "They're being very careful and I think I've gotten some false positives. People who, more likely than not, are spying for other agencies but not for PAIN. NSA plants in the FBI or maybe even Russian or Chinese operatives."

"Do you want to just give me the positives you have and let me winnow out who are the ones we want and what the others are up to?" Emma offers. OK, sure. She's guessing her big, beautiful heroine is going to say no. But she's going to ask, because she wants these people. Badly. And she's tired of doing nothing.

"I hope you will not mind." Emma begins, still holding Laurel. "But I need to ask if you and your friends are aware of something. I've had two of my operatives report to me, recently. They have, somehow, been switched. Their minds are in each other's bodies." Emma can find her own solutions. But since her operatives didn't do anything she can find to cause this, she's concerned it might be a wider problem.

"Magic." Laurel explains. "We're not sure of the root cause but it has happened to multiple people across the world. We're told it should wear off in time and can be undone by any skilled magic user. I can recommend two off the top of my head. A woman named Topaz and Zatanna Zatara. Either should be able to switch your operatives back."

Laurel's eyes flicker over the alchemical illusion showing her math. Finally, she points to a single name. "This one. This one is the most likely suspect. His math is WRONG. He has connections he shouldn't and has no connections where he should. I think he might be a replacement. Possibly a shapeshifter."

Emma glances over Laurel's math, and then seeks out the side-board containing the definition data for the variable that has represented this particular individual for the purposes of the other woman's equations. "Alright. I'll make that happen. I presume you would prefer to preserve him in place while you continue the search?" Emma is more than happy to capture the bastard and rip his whole life from his mind, but she's quite capable of the more subtle approach, and is guessing it is more appropriate here, despite her fury over the situation. "Given my connections with Zatanna and Hellstrom, I'm sure I can get it reversed." Assuming Emma is willing to be indebted to the Black Court, at least.

Assuming that, of course. Laurel smiles wryly. "I'm sure you'll figure it out. You're as clever as any woman I know." She takes a seat on one of the benches in the room, then watches Emma for a moment. "I think that we shouldn't remove him until we have a better understanding of the situation. If we take a hasteful action, we might miss some vital intelligence from his connections."

Emma nods. "Alright, then. I'll keep things very subtle, and get everything I can. Anything that points to other contacts, additional intel on him, etc., I should forward to you to assist with your work?" the platinum blonde telepath confirms. She won't want some exceptionally keen handler becoming aware of her close-by presence to this target, so she'll need to make some special arrangments. But this is worth it. Finally doing something to hunt down these bastards is worth it. What an arrogant name: PAIN. As if they actually know the meaning of the word.

"That would be very helpful. Thank you, Emma." Laurel speaks formally but her smile is warm and delighted. She knows she can trust Emma to handle this situation and the extra information will help with her calculations. "How are you doing? How are your students doing? You've spent all this time taking care of me and I've had little time to take care of you."

"Of course. I am happy to be doing something to help, after all of this." Emma replies just as formally, as she quite warmly holds Laurel, her other arm sliding around the grey-haired heroine's waist to join the first. "I am doing … fine, I suppose. The students are adapting to the changes. The staff are having some challenges, but they are adults; they will deal with it." Or they'll be gone. Emma doesn't need to make that clear. "I admit, I would have preferred to spend more time together. But considering all that is going on, I understand the demands upon your time, just as you have always understood the demands upon my own. Are you still interested in pursuing the idea of joining the Lords Cardinal?" They've had no chance to discuss this in quite a while.

Laurel takes her eyes away from her work and focuses them on Emma's lovely, perfect face. She steals a kiss. Then another. Life revitalizing kisses that remind her of what she fights for, every day. "I think we should wait until after the problems with Mongo are gone. Ming's agents are still running around on Earth and I'm best suited to monitoring the network up here."

Emma welcomes those kisses, each and every one, as she turns the other woman around in her arms so that they can face one another. "Alright. That seems reasonable. And I agree that dealing with the threat of an entire alien world trumps little things like a social club." Yes. Emma is teasing; they both know the Hellfire Club is anything but just a social club. But Mongo /does/ trump even them, and she knows it. "Is there anything more I can do to assist you with that situation?" she queries.

"No, I don't think so. The network is attuned to myself and Marvel Girl. We would need to take it offline to reattune it to you, so even if we used you to give Jean a break, we'd lose time that Mongo could slip through." Laurel admits, sadly. "And you need to focus on protecting your students first. Just having you here, though, lifts my spirits."

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