Friends Abroad

January 15 2015: Bobby Storm and Roberto catch up a bit

DCI Apartment Commons

The apartment commons area of the DCI building is quite spacious, comfortable and high tech.



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Bobby is in the apartment 'commons' area. He's not often here to relax and that's case here. He's letting the computer crunch numbers on a veriety of X-Related projects some business others less so. The whole Dam investigation has (ahem) been bottled up. Fortunately there are people watching the Dam itself and so at least they'll have warning if anything happens. Right now the ice nerd is just sitting in front of one of the consoles, watching a readout with one eye and messing around on minecraft with the other as he waits for the computers to finish up their calculating.

Storm flies in, landing on the balcony with ease. She strides into the room, that air about her of nobility that she always wears like the sable furs of royalty. "Everything seems to be fine at hhe dam so far, Robert. Are you certain our information about ghis attack is accurate?"

For a guy with his name on the building, Roberto da Costa has been incredibly scarce on the premises lately. This isn't entirely unprecedented — people familiar with the Brazilian have known him to spend the deepest weeks of winter curled up in a fort made of heating blankets, a villa in the Bahamas, or the laps of twin Czech gymnasts. This year is no different: seeming confident that X-Red could run itself for a while, he more or less vanished.

Seems like the recent terrorist attacks have changed his mind, though: he comes striding through the doors now, looking around for any team members who happen to be handy, and spots Storm and Iceman. He waves and makes his way toward them. "Hello, hello," he says before he's really close enough to start a conversation. "I'm back. There's a mess. I can help. All of our people are okay? Simon said no one was hurt."

Bobby looks up. "Yes, they're all okay. No, I'm not sure they're accurate but I still have an unxplained defector in Titan Hands and…" He holds up a printout with just one phrase on it, sent from an untracable address. 'Who watches the watchers?'. On it is a picture of Storm taken, it seems, this very evening.

"So… either someone is pulling the best, most creepy prank eer, or we do indeed have some kind of problem."

Storm says, "Someone has been looking in on Rorshach and his team. Or so the letter would imply." She frowns and looks at the picture. "This was taken in the last two hours, while I was flying from the dam to here." She doesnt sound the least bit happy as clouds start to gather overhead. "Roberto, it is good to see you again. Are you here for a while, or just coming up for some air from your adventures with the twins?" Her tone makes it hard to guess how she genuinely feels about the matter, possibly disapproving or maybe even teasing Da Costa about his playboy ways."

Roberto peels off his blazer, flicks it over the back of a swivel chair in a careless move that he probably spent weeks perfecting at Rich Douchebag Preparatory, and takes a seat. Bobby's reassurance that none of their people were injured seems to ease a weight from Roberto's mind, so that he can focus on the printout Cold Twin shows them. "Madonna. I wish I looked that graceful in the air," he says, keeping his tone light even if the topic is serious. "No twins this year, either. Hot springs in France." He offers Ororo a half-smile. "I gather we've got an X-stalker? It wouldn't be the first time. Although apparently they're not active in Europe. I'd relocate the team if we weren't needed here."

"Telephoto lens, I'm guessing, but out there you couldn't have been more than a mile away or you'd never see through all the trees. So someone familair with us and the reasons we'd be watching the dam. I didn't make it a secret but there aren't that many people that know. Which means either we have a leak, or it's someone who already knew about it. Aka, our would be terrorists." Bobby sighs. He likes problems, but not problems that inolve whole towns getting wiped out.

Storm shakes her head, her frown starting to show on her face. outside, it starts to rain on what had been a pleasant winters day. "It would be a refreshing change of pace to only have one problem to deal with at a time. Je suis Charlie."

"Are we sure this isn't one problem?" Roberto suggests, putting one hand to his chin and drumming the fingers of the other against his side. "A threatened terrorist attack in a remote area, followed by actual attacks in major metropolitan ones? It's a very neat distraction, especially since the X-men — well, at least we Reds — are known to operate out of Manhattan." Again, he glances at the printout. "They could just be rubbing our error in our faces."

"Could be." Bobby nods. "But I haven't seen anyhting to suggest the Brotherhood was behind the recent stuff. Of course they could just be very sutbtle." The ice nerd sighs and lays the paper aside, rubbing his eyes. The computers will crunch it out soon enough. What he wouldn't give for Mike and Doug though. "Everything okay with you two otherwise? Not seen either of you in a while."

Storm shakes her head. "From what the Professor knows of the Brotherhhod, they have no known ties to Al Quaida." She starts to pace, then seems to realize what she is doing. Taking a deep breath, she closes her eyes and soon the rain stops and the sun comes out again. "my apologies. with so many needless deaths, i'm finding it difficult to remain calm."

Roberto gives Ororo a sympathetic look, then turns to Bobby and raises his dark eyebrows. "I want to rebuild Central Park," he answers, without bothering to explain his state of mind. "Not me personally, of course. Well, actually, yes me personally, because I can pick up heavy things like trees. But I mean as part of X-Men Red. Set up a kickstarter, DCI matches donations, then the X-men do the labor ourselves, in uniform. Something constructive; something to make New Yorkers feel better. Then we beat the hell out of the Brotherhood to make ourselves feel better." He smirks ruefully. "It's a two-pronged morale attack."

That actually makes Bobby laugh. "I'd like that. I'll get on it. E-mail Doug to help your guys do an internet blitz. Kickstarter's a great place for this kind of thing. We'll see who we can get to show. Would you be up for that by chance, Miss Munroe?" Bobby never did get around to calling her anyhting else. Other than Storm. When they're in the field. "Once we get done with that, yeah, hopefully we'll have Brotherhood leads."

Storm looks over to Sunspot, her usual aloof manner having returned that makes her hard to read. "Do not think for a moment that only team Red is helping with that endeavor, Mr. Da Costa. I would be rather offended if you did not allow my assistance." Her cell phone rings and she answers it. after a few moments, she hangs up. "That was one of the engineers at the dam. they found something amiss. i shall report back as soon as i find out what it is."

"You're right. The roster should be flexible," Roberto agrees, favoring Ororo with a genuine smile. "I will admit, I am not absolutely set on the sequence, either. We can beat the Brotherhood up first, if we get the right leads." He shrugs magnanimously. "I'm always in favor of collaborative, responsive planning. You guys give good feedback." He glances at Bobby, then adds, "But, speaking of leads. Do we have any? I'm feeling nice and relaxed from taking the waters, and that's always a great mood for punching people."

"Yes, actually. Buuuut…" The ice nerd waves a finger. "You need to be prepared to do some travel. How do you feel about Tokyo?" He's betting at least that Roberto knows some very pretty, very friendly young women there.

"Are you kidding? I love Tokyo! We can't bring Doug, though." Grinning, 'Berto blurts all of that out in a single breath, before continuing at a slower pace. "White boy, perfect Japanese, awkward with girls?" He smirks and shakes his head. "We can't be seen with him. We would never live it down. And more importantly, we would have considerable difficulty living it up." He sits back and steeples his fingers, settling in for more serious matters. "What's the lead, though?"

"Yakuza." Bobby grimaces. "Our Brotherhood defector says that they tried tried to buy explosives from two sources. One was the Yakuza. The other was some old IRA contacts Europe but I don't know who they are. I do have a name for the Yakuza contact, however. Sato Sakai."

Berto's comment about Doug draws a smile. "Fine, no Doug. What about Illyana or Mike? Or Sho. He's a Japanese friend of mine. Busy but if we can find him it might be good."

"My Japanese friends are mostly J-Pop stars and fashion models. Yours will probably be more helpful," Roberto says with a grin. Then, abruptly, his expression changes. "Actually, I might know some people with Yakuza ties. I didn't think of it, but you can meet some shady people in VIP lounges." He cocks his head to one side and looks upward. "I'd have to remember their names, but I might be able to get in contact with a couple. It could be worth a shot."

"Sounds like a recipie for a road trip to me. Just remember that I don't actually speak very much Japanese. So no ditching me in night clubs." Not that he'd be hugely worried. Bobby knows that many Japanese people learn English even if most don't learn it well. "Shall I carry a stick for you to beat them off with?"5r

"Nice phrasing, Bobby," Roberto answers with a laugh. "I don't know what kinky stuff you and Nancy get up to, but in my experience, beating off works better with just the hands." He waggles his own hands, teasing, then continues, "Anyway, getting ditched won't be an issue. My Japanese isn't fantastic, either. We'll have people with us. And if any of us gets swamped with romantic attention, we'll just tell them we have some gang members to track down and be even more impressive."

The trouble is Bobby can 'totally' see that working for Berto. Only making the right type of woman more interested. That he doesn't visualize the same scenario for himself is probably a flaw in his thinking, though it could just be put down to relative inexperience. "You have offices out there in Japan or will we need a business cover of some kind?" He grins.

Roberto would never fake a manhunt to seem mysterious. Fortunately, he's frequently on actual manhunts, so faking has always been superfluous. "Offices, no." Roberto gives a single curt shake of his head. "There are pretty stringent restrictions on foreign businesses operating in Japan, but we have trading partners there. I can easily come up with a legitimate reason for a visit, especially since we are DCI employees. We'll be staying in a hotel instead of a proper base, but if you want to meet with gangsters, that's a plus."

"I'm glad," Bobby grins dryly. "That you know about the pluses and minuses of meeting gangster etiquitte." He takes a deep breath and nods. "Alright. I'll get Simon to book us a flight. Or you can. He'll be rolling his eyes at one of us. I think he's been using me as substitute Bobby eyeroll practice while you've been hibernating."

"He needs no practice. The man is at the top of his eye-roll game," Roberto says after a long, drawn-out sigh. "Is he worried that he will be unseated? That I'm going to be walking along one day and see an eye-roll so majestic that I think to myself, 'I must hire that person, so that they can roll their eyes at me several times a day'?" He pauses, a crease appearing between his brows, before admitting, "Actually… that does sound like something I would do. Never mind." He waves one hand. "And don't you worry about making friendly with organized crime. I run a perfectly legitimate business." He suddenly snorts. "But I also lived with my father for many years."

Bobby chuckles. "I'd kind of assumed that, sort of like illegal drugs, when you're in big business Organized Crime is just something you know about even if you never touch it." He leans back and grins. "I'd never figure you the kind to be doing underhanded things really." He's too fortheright and charismatic for that.

Caught off-guard, Roberto makes an awkward two-syllable laugh: "Ah-heh." Then he glances aside, shakes his head, and smiles. "You give me way too much credit, Bobby, as always. My friends get to see my best side, but not everybody gets to be my friend." He waggles one hand. "But yes, some contact with protection rackets and graft is a cost of doing business in many parts of the world. It's not bad at all in Japan — like I said, I'm more likely to run into a gangster at a nightclub than a dockyard. But I may know some people."

"Knowing people may save lives sometime soon 'Berto." Bobby says quite seriously. "I judge people by what they do, not by who they know." Now he smirks. "Besides, if I did that, I'd have a long list of rather attractive women I'd need to interview before I could really say I knew you. And Nan might not be fond of that idea."

"I assure you, my Yelp reviews are glowing," Roberto says, feigning offended dignity. Then he cracks the performance with a laugh. "Also: you have got to be kidding. Nancy's wonderful, but she would kill a puppy for the chance to ask every single woman I've been with about me, with or without you there. That's like the biggest gossip jackpot in the universe."

"True eeeenough…" Bobby grins wryly now. He's heard Nan go on and on about gossip. Whose doing what at the Nest. Whose doing what in the Outsiders. And of course, Illyana. Oh boy. She presses Bobby for all the latest about the X-Men that she knows. He tends to tell her stories about Doug. Because he likes Doug… and also because those stories are hilarious. Poor Doug. All the understanding in the world and still just as clueless as everyone his age about what women want. "Yelp? You don't, like, have a privately hosted service where you're rated for five out of five sunspots?"

"Even I am not important enough to have an entire site just for reviews of me." Roberto sounds almost regretful about this fact. Of course, a site just for hilarious stories about Doug? Would go viral immediately, and then Roberto would be incredibly jealous. A horrifying thought, and one that 'Berto can easily dispel by talking about himself some more. "At the end of the day, I try to do the most good I can. In business, that sometimes means being a little underhanded to get the advantage, like a feint in futebol." He shrugs, then grins. "I can only hope that the lead article on the me-review site admits that at least I'm doing it with the best of intentions."

"I think it would depend on what they're reviewing." Bobby winks. "Best of intentions might not quite cover it depending." The subject matter is serious but Cold Twin knows Berto well enough by this point to know that sometimes banter is just the way to approach the matter. Still, rather the opposite of Roberto, Bobby tends to think his more charismatic twin doesn't give himself quite enough credit. And he has hints, things dropped in conversation, largely conversations with Illyana (he has few of those, and they disturb him less than they used to, but still disturb him) about why that may be but there's nothing he can do about it and he doesn't know near the whole story anyway.

"If the good intentions defense doesn't work, I can fall back on the puppy eyes," Roberto suggests, seeming absolutely serious about this contingency. "I do amazing puppy eyes. It's like a secondary mutation. I won't demonstrate right now — you're not wearing safety goggles. Just take my word for it." He flashes a grin that's disarming enough on its own.

And that's Roberto in a nutshell: a balance of optimism and altruism with a sort of indomitable cockiness, with just enough bluster and charm to smooth things over after the fact. If there's anything more there, few have ever glimpsed it.

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