Old Days

Summary:
November 28, 2014: OsCorp and Blackhawk Inc. meet for a business proposition, Zinda finds a familiar face.

The Chrysler Building, New York

The Chrysler Building (at 4nd and Lexington) is THE art deco structure, easily the most identifiable with the deco movement. It is the tallest brick building in the world (1,046 feet). The offices are mostly given over to private organizations such as Bank Rome and InterMedia Partners.


Characters

NPCs

  • One dead incubus.

Mood Music:
None.


OsCorp and Blackhawk Inc. have been quite busily trying to concoct some business deal involving a subsidiary that they both have a keen interest in. There are executives who handle this thing with much more zeal than Norman, but all the same he has shown up at the event in order to impress. But there is only so long he can press the flesh before he needs to take a break. At present he sits at the bar, a few fingers of whiskey sitting neat in the bottom of a glass.

He reaches into his pocket and produces a StarkPhone. Sure, OsCorp are working on their own brand of smartphone but for now it is still in R&D and he has to admit that the competitor's product works fine. He flicks through a few messages, artfully ignoring them before letting out a brief exhalation of frustration. He looks back over his shoulder towards where the meeting is still in full effect, looks back at his drink and downs it in one.

"Another."

Given that Zinda's here for PR, she's been given the usual "don't hit the bar /too/ hard" speech- as if she doesn't know any better. At least they don't have her wearing the miniskirt uniform for this. She's here as PR for business types, not photo-taking tourists and the like.

So she gets to wear one of her lovely, if under-used cocktail dresses. Dark blue satin and silver heels, with her hair done up in a retro-ish hairstyle. The company does like her to, even when not in the uniform, have just enough of a "retro-chic" flair, as if to remind people she's "not of our time," even if she's entirely happy to live in it. Even if the prices for liquor are ridiculous. Thank goodness her tab is covered by the company tonight. She saunters to the bar flags down the 'tender. Bourbon, neat.

The bartender isn't the usual guy, standing out just for the difference of his look. All white, in a suit that seems far too expensive for the job, but there he is, nonetheless, putting drinks in front of half-soused businessmen. He serves Mr. Osborn with a gracious nod, his ice-blue eyes steady. "Here you go, sir. Business going well?" he says.

At Zinda's approach, his smile widens, slipping down the bar, moving in such a way that it seems utterly natural as he steps over the withered body of the incubus who'd been the original bartender, hidden beneath a simple blanket. "As the lady likes it. On the house," he says and the glass he hands her is lightly frosted, no need for ice at all, still cold without getting watered down.

"Why don't you ask her?"

Norman nods at Zinda, taking a sip of his own drink as he watches the bartender and the Lady Blackhawk critically. After a moment he reaches out a hand to her, leaning the other elbow lightly on the bar.

"Norman Osborn. My business partner would be turning handsprings if he knew I was meeting you and that he hadn't been invited. He was quite smitten in his younger days, to hear him tell the tale."

He takes a sip of his whiskey.

"Before my time, of course."

Zinda's eyes widen a little when she looks up at the bartender, meeting his gaze, he… looks and sounds familiar. It isn't until she puts her hand on the chilled glass (and, yes, some places /do/ chill their glasses but combined with the familiarity, it jogs the memory), and she grins. She doesn't /say/ anything just yet- remembering the sort of weird shit she ended up getting pulled into when she ran into him back in the day… well. She doesn't want to blow his cover. He's probably in the middle of something, and best left to it. But she does give him a wink of recognition, and slides her contact card under a napkin with a tip.

Osborn gets a polite smile in greeting, then a laugh. "You got a partner old enough to remember me?" she asks, taking a slow sip of her drink. "Boyhood crush I hope, then. Otherwise, I'm really gonna start believin' everything I hear about older folk not leavin' the workforce, creating a lack of upward mobility for younger workers," she says, then shrugs a little. "I get interviewed by a /lot/ of college students working on history or gender studies projects," she says.

Elijah Snow takes the card, of course, with the requisite modicum of stealth and sleight of hand necessary, palming it and dropping it into his pocket. He then calmly pours himself a drink, Jamaican rum, a hint of the islands a contrast to the air of cold that seems to follow the Ghost of the 20th Century wherever he goes. Elijah Snow watches the interchange between the two with amusement.

Insofar as he knows, there's nothing particular about Norman Osborn that might inspire suspicion. But there are signs, if you know how to read them, in the air, in the seen and unseen, energy that coalesces around figures of importance, pivot points. Recently, such signs have begun to show their face in Osborn's vicinity, although whether they portend great happenings for him or someone close to him, Snow could not say. But he does like to keep track of such people.

Running into the lovely pilot had been merely a bonus bit of kismet. He'd last seen her flying over the Sudan, giving her a wink as he dropped from her airplane with a back-up parachute, a tommy gun and the mummified hand of a sixth century saint. He really should have thought to pack something to eat, but, in the heat of action…

"Something like that," Norman explains to Zinda, taking another taste of his whiskey. "He was my chemistry professor in college. But believe me, he doesn't work out of necessity. Something about idle hands being the Devil's playthings."

For a moment, he tilts his head to one side and eyes Elijah pouring his own drink. His forehead creases. He is in a unique position of having come from money while still making his own fortune entirely for himself. The sight of the help at ease never sits well. Still, he's meant to make a good impression and so he tries.

"I'm surprised you have the time for interviews with students."

"I try to do what I can. When I first got… Y'know, here, there wasn't a whole lot I /could/ do. Took a while to get my pilot's license, all'a that. Getting myself up to date. Learned as much from them as they did from me. The Gender Studies majors really liked giving me music, novels, poetry and that sorta thing. History majors were big on books on, well. History. Never got the chance to go to college myself, havin' a few kids able to tutor me on what I missed when I skipped a few decades was… kinda nice." She shrugs and smiles a little.

Elijah Snow listens for a moment and casually intervenes. Since he's not really a bartender, he doesn't have a bartender's deference. He's not so much undercover as finished with his work and, well, no reason to deprive these people of service because their agency chose to hire a serial rapist who drained wealthy women of funds and vitality to tend bar. Elijah quite enjoys the activity himself, and it gives him free access to the wares.

"The Devil has a lot of playthings, in my experience, Mr. Osborn. Idle hands may invite him, yes, but idle hearts are where his true access lies," Snow says, taking a sip of his rum. "You didn't miss much of interest, I can assure you." he says to Zinda. "Although the Beatles were pretty nice…"

"I suppose, then,” Norman begins, turning his gaze squarely at the Bartender who is making it increasingly clear that he is not one, "that I ought to be glad that the Devil does not exist. Not that I often find myself idle."

You could say that again. He might have a nice reputation with the general public, but the business world views Norman Osborn as a tyrannical autocrat. Every aspect of his business is ruthlessly overseen by him, with those who fail cut off and left adrift without so much as a second look.

"I preferred the Who, myself." Hardly. Emily had dragged him to an anniversary tour of some sort in college. Mindless racket. But it always served as an ice breaker at meetings.

Zinda shrugs. "I've seen some stuff in the books I wouldn't'a minded seein' first hand. But I gotta say, bein' able to be around /now/, while I'm young enough to enjoy it… that ain't so bad." She grins a little. Elijah would know all too well the sorts of reactions she used to get, being a pilot while also, gasp, being a woman. He probably saw some of those reactions while with her. Hell, some people probably questioned his sanity for getting in a plane with her, nevermind her /actual/ skill level.

Elijah Snow had long since learned never to underestimate a woman. Sherlock had taught him that, although he also made it clear that it was only certain women. But then, there were only certain men one need beware either. The point was to discern one from the other. The undesirables generally made the better company, Holmes had concluded. Snow was inclined to agree.

"Some of the photography's much better than the experience. Look through the old Life magazine archives. Beautiful and you don't have to try and look over someone's shoulder or get elbowed in the ribs," he says. He won't comment on how many times he appears in the background. To Osborn, he simply smiles, "I believe there's an old saying as regards the devil's greatest trick being his own nonexistence. I would say that you are right, the Devil doesn't exist. There are many Devils, each a power unto himself, and to be feared only in your degree of placing yourself under their power."

"I see," Norman answers, the look he spares for Elijah not an altogether pleasant one, "You'll forgive me, I have to make sure my associates don't sell the company out from under me trying to make this deal."

His words are pleasant enough but the stony look on his face is not. The conversation was not so bad. He'd heard similarly insanity from the homeless back in the days when he used to take the subway. And with all the flying strongmen and reanimated super soldiers running around, there certainly was more room for the strange than there used to be. No, he just didn't like the way he was being looked at. Or looked through. Norman Osborn is a man used to being the mountain, not the valley.

He leaves his whiskey, expensive and barely touched, on the bar and moves back towards the men in their suits loudly discussing the virtues of Augusta National over the National Links in Southampton.

Elijah Snow watches Osborn's back as he departs, his head cocked. Something about that man, it reminds him of someone. It takes him a moment to place it, but Zinda's presence help, for it's of her area. No, not Hitler. Everyone defaults to Hitler. Hitler, while evil, was a weak man, though, thin of character and less respected by his inferiors than one might think.

No, Norman reminds him of the Italian. Mussollini. Il Duce. The man who made the trains run on time. No matter who got tangled in the rails.

"Madame Blackhawk, why don't you and I, as they say, leave this popsicle stand? They don't let you smoke indoors anyway, and I'm rather dying for a Dunhill." he says, snatching up the bottle of Bourbon and taking it with him as the body of the incubus finally melts into smoke, leaving only the faint, acrid smell of salt and brine.


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