Cold Comfort (pt.1)

November 29th, 2014: Something evil stirs and alliances form in the dark cold November nightscape of Gotham. (Emits by Taskmaster)

Port Adam - Gotham

Near Little Odessa, south of Miller Harbor, Port Adams.



  • Hugo Strange
  • Pascal Maroni
  • Nika "White Fox" Golyak
  • Dr. Archibald Monev
  • The Volk (Gryzunova's men of the Odessa mob)
  • Max Cort

Mood Music:

Port Adams of Gotham City largely controlled by the Russian mafia many of whom live in Little Odessa further west and inward of the city. Crime lords dominate this location, shipping both in and out goes through them. If it's not handled by a man called the Penguin it probably belongs to the Russians. Fortunately Taskmaster is on good terms with the Russians of Gotham and just about anywhere else, usually. Almost as good of terms as his favorite employer the Baroness is. A private military contractor and security head who runs the Naga Trading Co. A cover and big hitter on the international front. A business that owns a good portion of the facilities around this area. Though, they're not standing in front of one of those right now. This is neutral territory.

A three story shipment managing building with several large barges makes up the immediate points of interest, a sideways frigid wind, the occasional blast of snowflakes and what feels like ice, it's pitch black out, the occasional dim spot of light visible here and there but it's not much for illumination. The Volk they call themselves, ex-Russian militants and some of the real bad asses of the Odessa mob. They're also close connections for both Taskmaster and the Baroness. They run this particular wharf section and look at home in this cold as a forklift rolls by,

flanking it are two heavily armed men in fur lined coats. Smart. The fur, Taskmaster is wearing the same fur lined style of jacket on the outside of his UDON version outfit. Standing next to him all chattering teeth and bones is Dr.Archibald Monev… beside Pamela Isley he is perhaps the Lady Snakes most prized scientist and he knows it. He's also a prick.

"This is absurd… wh-wh-why are we out in the cold? We have a perfectly good warehouse not even a half a mile away."

"Shut it Doc, this is best place for us right now. It's in safe terms for us, not so safe for the chumps we're meetin' up with."

"If you say so, you there! Ruskie, bring me my thermos!"

The big man with the upturned nose turns, looks at Dr.Venom, laughs a sharp barking laugh and spits at his feet.

Taskmaster releases a chuckle past his skull mask, the cold air making it mist with each expulsion. "He likes you."

Baroness does not seem at all disturbed by the weather, standing a few feet away, she rests beside a large trailer, her spine pressed against it, one foot propped along the ribbed metal 'wall' while the other booted appendage is pressed solidly in the ground, a 45 degree angle held and maintained, unwavering like a statue if it was not for the slight movement…

The wind pushes at the hanging edges of her trench coat, like carved and skinned beasts, each side of black hide is trimmed in the grey white bush of fur tha rode upward and twined around the collar beneath the fall of her own thick noir hair. Gloved hand slid over a tablets screen, finalizing a few presses and transfers, the relaxed set of her lips was that of its usual unreadable apathy, even the way eyes settled upon the screen, only looking up when she tucks the small device into an inner pocket in her coat.

"Ah Monev, when will you learn? You're the smallest on this food chain, it's pointless to try and tell the bear to dance for the chipmunk. The chipmunk needs /smaller/ friends to tell what to do. Hm?" A single brow rises then, as well as one corner of her lips when her subarctic gaze now splinters Taskmaster and Monev's way. "I'll hire the first midget I meet. Just for you." There's a circuis here in Gotham, right?

"Not necessary… " An indignant snort escapes Monev at Baroness' words and he holds up his cell phone. "Where is Miss Isley?" He inquires of the two. It's well known Archibald has a thing for the woman that goes well beyond professional recognition and esteem. The man has a crush that borders on the creepy.

"Calm down, slugger. She'll show when she shows." Taskmaster offers over with a grin behind his mask. He cannot blame the guy both the Baroness and Poison Ivy were creatures akin to Greek Goddesses in regards to their looks.

A woman peels away from a throng of Russian workers stalking towards Baroness' group with a sense of purpose and authority, "Privet, Comrades." The informal used, obvious familiarity as the Nika 'White Fox' Golyak strides in to the Cobra gathering. A hand extended to take Baroness so she can give her a kiss on the cheek and a handshake. "I apologize for the weather and regret to inform you Gryzunova will not be with us. I am in his place."

"Fox, good to see you up and moving." Taskmaster says to the woman.

"Yes, I am… " Some edge in the woman's voice as she looks at Taskmaster. It's at this point almost old news that her brother Nikov was killed their last meeting, not by the mercenary fortunately but by another.

"How goes the hunt?" Taskmaster inquires.

"It goes. I will find this bitch and the archer one of these days and I will make them bleed out like pigs for my brother." A knife has appeared in her hand now and she is holding it aloft, a dramatic display but one that holds meaning, at least to the platinum blonde haired woman with the scar covered face. "But that is not here or now, this is time for business not pleasure."

Baroness' bodyguard nods his head, not adding much to that as he knows the woman in part holds him responsible. "So, without Vlad, you're in charge of the operations here in Gotham?"

"Nyet, I am only here temporarily, leadership here is… changing hands currently. I am to oversee." She smiles, a rough smile that makes her already mangled face twist up a bit. A motion of her head past Baroness towards Monev, "What is this little man? I was not informed of strangers."

At the front gates of the shipping facility a trio of SUVs is rolling through, buzzed through as they are expected. A radio transmission goes ahead to both Nika and Anastasia from separate sources. The Baroness is never without her intel.

"Incoming, our guest has arrived." Nika informs Taskmaster and Baroness. "Gryzunova says if this goes ugly we are to kill him and dump him then end operations in Gotham. He must be important."

Taskmaster personally has no clue who the man is only that he had very important business with Baroness, Baroness on the other hand was intentionally handed intel about the man, he let her see his face, he wanted her to know he is the head of Special Response Department in Gotham. The world-renowned Hugo Strange, displaying his hubris and confidence that he is well known for.

Baroness casts a look towards Monev, her upper lip curliung away from teeth. The sneer of the serpent, but that of a half-assed amused grin. Considering his bitching when they first joined hands with the woman and he had to share space… It was like he would poison her to remove her from his precious space. Now he just wants to watch the Hallmark Channel with her and have little green babies.

It was disgusting.

The only thing that sets Baroness into motion is greeting Nika, that armored boot pushing against her post to set the metal-jointed woman into motion. Her jacket fluttered open and then snapped shut, one hand fastening it closed as she leans forward to return the kiss on the cheek - to Nika's opposite - switch. Though the jacket was snapped closed and chinched to fit over the hourglass waist of the black widow weaponry beneath could have easily been seen. Strapped around thighs, hostered at her hip, but just low enough where the curvature pushes the coat away. Perfectly placed.

"He is my /leetle/ Napalm bomb." That accented voice comes forth then, even the gesture that pinches fingers together in emphasis, only to follow up with a sweeping gesture and an all too dark smile of joy. Small packages can have /big/ impacts.

"I am sorry for your loss. Do let me know if I can assist.." Baroness is bad at emotional responses, the only thing she could offer with a backing of fact is muscle and blood, can't hate a girl for at least trying, but it is cut off by the display, one that has Baroness' chin rising, that placid facade settling back upon her with ease.

"It is personal. I appreciate offer." The woman's smile is once again grim and she adjusts the submachine gun she was holding behind her to the front as those vehicles come in to view.

"Yobogoya." Taskmaster says to what appears to be no one in particular.

"What are you on about you imbecile?" Archibald snaps at Taskmaster. "Oh, was that out loud? My bad. Still figuring out this new earpiece." A tap on the jaw of his skull mask has the man changing frequencies as he watches the vehicles pull up and park, one door after another opening. "Hey, at least they didn't show up in force." Which, sarcasm, they did. SRD armor in black. No logos, no symbols, nothing identifying. At their head is a man in a woolen cap with a beard, a heavy high collared coat and a walk that says 'im in charge' though it seems to be favoring one leg. Flanking him is a broad shouldered, muscular man with a ballcap and a scarf, a badge on his belt GCPD. NOT SRD. This one isn't hiding who he is, why would he? Gotham's corrupt cops never do. They're more egotistical than the Sardines.

"Our guests of honor." Nika remarks and then steps to Baroness left, opposite of Monev and Taskmaster.

Another figure pulls up the rear behind the first two men walking towards the Cobra/Russian crowd. A slender man in winter jacket with a suit underneath, a shaggy mop of dark hair. Facial recognition marks him as one of the aged Sal Maroni's men. One of his captains. A capo, a made man who sits at the table. Also a cousin by the name of Pascal Maroni. Bold move for one of Salvatore Maroni's men to show up in Little Odessa.

"Mon/ev/.." The final syllable of his name is hissed out by Baroness, a low word that cut like the frigid wind to slice black strands like whips across her facade, furling the ends and then snapping them out. The arriving entourage the main focal point of keen gaze. The way she said his name though was his one and only warning from here on out.

Baroness does not move to greet them, there is only a light sift in her stance, one that balances weight from one hip to the other just in time for her to catch the light lean and utterance from Taskmaster - slowly nodding, the only motion that dips her chin ever so slightly before it returns to its airy rise. The smile grows the closer the man gets and when there is the distance between them enough to pass words on an even tenro she greets them.

"Strange. Cots…. Pascal.. A bit out of your haunt." From behind daark frames those eyes shine crystal clear, landing upon each and lingering upon Pascal. Bold, testing, like their entire show.

"All of our names in that short amount of time? I am impressed Miss Cisarovna. Or do you just go by Baroness?" The lead man asks, coming to a stop before the tall woman. He is surprisingly straight backed despite the limp and more solid built than one would expect of a psychiatrist turned bureaucrat. "The Taskmaster, Doctor Venom and… hrm." He studies Nika Golyak a moment, "You I do not know." A scan of those round glasses and he smiles in a toothy lopsided fashion, "Where is Miss Isley? I was hoping to see one of my former patients."

Pascal is surprisingly an attractive man beneath the mop of dark curls, his sharp eyes rest on the Baroness (who is taller than him) then look over the rest. "Good to meet you, my cousin sends his regards and apologies that he could not make it. He's a family man and this is the time of year. I am sure you can all sympathize."

Max Cort is a broad, muscular man who has the build of a gladiator underneath that GCPD winter coat. His reddish blonde beard flecked with ice and snow already and he's only been out of a vehicle for half a minute. No words from him. Only glares and silence.

Taskmaster cants his head to the side and says nothing, this isn't his place to speak. Not yet at least. He's not one to stay silent too long.
"Dr. Strange, a pleasure to meet you." Monev adds in. "I've read several of your books, quite fascinating. We will have to hold our own dialogue after this little meeting if you can pencil me in." It's always hard to tell when Monev is being sarcastic or not. This is definitely one of those times.
Nika "White Fox" Golyak much like Taskmaster is quiet, though she does offer a wave towards the nearest warehouse, "We can take business inside. Not so cold if you would all prefer. It is late, it will only get colder."

"I am whatever name your Google wishes to call me. I /prefer/ Baroness, under these circumstances." Her words are eased, aiding that smile to form. No hands, no other offered greetings, and she is just fine with that, though some curses come up from the backdrop, an echo to ring in accordance with the approach of whiting and hissing pistons, as well as the mechanical crunching paws that shatter ice formed over puddles and crack it beneath the massive metal appendages. From their hind flank Ravage is performing its own assessment, that barbed tail whipping side to side, threatening the sleek black SUV's paint jobs with proximity before it leaps upward and lands upon the trailer Baroness was once leaning upon.

"Isley will arrive as soon as she is done. Soon." Baroness states. "I am fine where we are…" Though the offer was left open for their guests. ".. But the climate does not affect what is to transpire. It's rather fitting."

Isley was already inside. She couldn't stand the cold, no matter how layers of green she wore, it still rocked her to the core and with the absense of the sun, it made her just a little bit bitchy, and too on edge. So she takes to domesticating the warehouse, greenery placed at odd ends and corners, growing themselves at a slow pace but quick enough to be full grown by the time of the crews entry. Even if a deal was going to be good, there was no sense in trusting the security of others. She had to have her own.

Her sentry was taken along for the ride, a seed that started out within her pocket, placed in a nurturing area within the delipitated warehouse and grown, while not fully adult, it'll prove handy, and plus she needed a conversational comrade to pass the time.

Everyone knows a greeting could take hours.

"There should be a rule.." She mutters to her latest creation, standing near the half-cracked window of the warehouse. "..crime in Gotham should be committed in between the months of March and October. The rest of the months should be spent in the Carribean, or Paget's Isle." She sentry grumbles and groans, in which Ivy shakes her head. "No. The Pennystones. It used to be called the Pennystones. Wait here, get everything else ready. I'm going to join the meet and greet, I'm warm enough."

She, was possibly the only person who looked rather wicked bundled up, red scarf wrapped around her neck double time, peacoat nearly bulked due to the layer of satin and cashmere beneath, green boots as tall as her calves lined with fur.. baby, it's cold outside.

She takes the long way however, coming upon the gathering from behind so that Strange and crew could see her approach, yet also allowing Ravage first shot to let them know she was coming without a glance.

"I'd prefer to go inside." Archibald Monev says behind his scarf, a glare given to Baroness before he spies Ivy and Ravage walking towards them. "Beautiful." He murmurs, whether he means the robotic attack dog of the Cobra Queen or the Floral Femme Fatale it's hard to say, well, aside from those who know him. Baroness' crew is well aware of his infatuation with his fellow scientist.

"Oh, Pamela." Hugo says with a smile, a wide, toothy sadistic smile. "I was hoping to see you in this ensemble. I do suggest we go indoors myself. Though, I can weather the cold if need be. Pun intended." The man is attempting charm but he also doesn't seem as afflicted by the chill as Pascal or Monev. He's as solid in his stance as the mercenaries and the GCPD sergeant.

"Let us go inside then. More privacy there." Nika says as she watches Ivy walk towards them. "We will not be overheard… this city is infested with vermin of all kinds."

"Yeah, the Bat." Maroni adds. "He's not just any vermin. He is /the/ vermin. Him and his whole damn flock." Not waiting for the others Pascal Maroni strides towards the warehouse, "Shit, what is this thing?" He stops dead in front of Ravage and Ivy. "What do you feed it?"

Cots says not a damn word. He's too busy trying to stare down Taskmaster. Who, seems oblivious to the man.

"Boss, I'd suggest inside. Just so the Ruskies don't think we don't like their hospitality. Ain't that right Golyak?"

Nika releases a grunt, "We don't care one way or the other Taskmaster. We know you Americans cannot handle the cold like us, it is why I had men set up a meeting area with heaters inside. Just for all of you and this little get together. I have orders that reach far beyond any of you to make sure this goes as pleasantly as possible, the real boss, he has plans, big plans and all of you are his current stars. I do as I am ordered."

Hugo only smiles at this. He knows who the Volk-Odessa mobster speaks of, as does Taskmaster. "Very well, inside it is." Doctor H.Strange says with another of them too wide smiles an elbow offered to the Baroness. "A lovely coat by the way my dear, what sort of fur is that?" Small talk. He'll entertain it if she is willing in their walk.

Pausing Baroness glances between Monev and Hugo, sliding those eyes like ice over a table towards Ivy. This better not get bloody. Though, her plants do good cleanup. A tilt of her head and she is sliding her arm through Hugo's, accepting the offer though the touch is extremely tentative and easily withdrawn from - her coils loose.

Passing Ravage Baroness' gloved hand rises as it lowers its head down off the edge of the trailer, drawing leather coated fingertips over its chin giving it affection in that mere moment and speaking to Pascal as they commence to the warehouse. "He eats what I tell him to."

Not your normal female, the compliment to her jacket does not earn Hugo a smile or a flushed look, let alone a boasting tenor. She doesn't really care. "Olinguito. Another one of those mountain dwelling vermin. It's insulated enough." And that's about that with small talk, though a sidelong glance towards Taskmaster is his queue.

I pay you enough, talk for me!

Seeing Isley though brings a silent smile upon her lips, a secret one, as if all of those Baroness works closely with have their own visual queues, their own personal language she offers them.

Hands shoved within her pocket, gaze lingering and locked upon each of the 'others' present. She's already sized up Baroness and Taskmaster, each in their own weight and judgement that brings a smile to crazy eyes and fingerwaves when no ones looking. And they do look, yet hardly catch. There was enough of this red-head's brain to go around betwixt the two, enough to make others jealous.

"Dr. Strange." Is all she was comfortable offering. He knows her secrets, the way she thinks and walk, every tone and inflection within her voice could be easily told and left guarded.

'Did we pick the wrong warehouse' 'What is that noise' 'What the hell are you doing to the vines in there.. they need fertilizer, not water! FERTILIZER'

Ivy was not present, but she moves along with the crew to their intended destination, oh how the mind splits to threes.

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