1963-11-28 - Jade Jubilee
Summary: Queen T'Challa visits the decorating legal wonder that is Jennifer Walters. They talk about Act-F and other issues.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
tchalla jennifer 

Christmas in a law office means Christmas ornaments and Christmassy things. The partners have enough money rolling between them to afford some pretty greenery and red ribbons, bunting for the holiday season. Of course that means someone puts it up and that job falls to the tall green woman in a knock-out siren's gown that defies every expectation of 1963. Let's be honest: shapeless sack dresses and trapeze dresses do not suit a woman almost seven feet tall with a physique like that. On the other hand, someone poured a torchsinger's ruby gown over her, tied the straps behind her neck out of convenience with twine, which is a total travesty, and left her to hang several glass orbs from hooks. One after the other are put up from a box nested with tissue paper.

The radio plays tunes, Andy Williams and Frank Sinatra, and there are more boxes full of these precious ornaments. For the most part, they aren't decorated heavily except for a tinge of colour or some nice, incised patterns. None of those weirdo ornaments with ugly plastic protrusions or shapes. It's a law office, a bastion of culture and conservatism in one. They need to look good. Which is entirely why Jen is singing with a great long twenty-foot swag of pine over her shoulder, hooking up another ornament, singing to "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."

Fact is, even (er, especially) in that form of justice, she's actually pretty damn good.


Being neither Christian nor from a Western cultural background, the obsession with Christmas is a bit beyond T'Challa. Nevertheless, she has been in the United States for several years going to school, and she has learned how all of this goes. Which is why she does not consider her poor herb-sharpened senses assaulted as she nears the law offices and picks up the music. (She also doesn't think of it as Musak; the term hasn't been popularized widely enough just yet.)

Having received a message from Jennifer, the young Queen of Wakanda is only too happy to make time to stop by and see her lovely lawyer. Once she reaches the building, walking alone down the sidewalk, she lifts her hand intending to knock firmly, then spots the buzzer. Assuming it to be the preferred method, she pushes the buzzer instead and waits.

When the door is opened, T'Challa stands there alone, seemingly with little heed for the chill of the late December New York weather. Dark jeans gird hips and legs, simple flat-soled boots cover her feet, a bold purple blouse peeks out from a knee-length black jacket with a patterned motif to its leather's finish, bold gold hoops hang from her ears, emphasizing her beautiful and nearly bald dark-skinned black head. She has come alone; there's no sign of a security detail, nor of an Embassy car.


Muzak is a ways off, and Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra don't quite count as easy listening even now. Especially in this particular frame. Holiday traditions still have a certain sheen in a place where the temperature gets colder than 10 degrees Celsius at winter's arrival. Besides, Jennifer has an excuse to match the favourite colours of the season with no shame whatsoever. Her hips wiggle under that dress, obviously custom, and she stretches up to plant another six foot swathe of pine over a nail planted into the moulding. Someone will no doubt be unhappy about it, but what Kurtzberg says goes. At least as far as everyone else is concerned.

For no reason in particular, Jen dances while she goes. It's something impressive to see — a Hulk dancing. Bruce gets all the bad press and his cousin makes the world stand still in trepidation and possibly jealousy for someone who can look that perfect. Her hair tumbles down her back in a wild green waterfall held in place by a few bobbypins that lost that battle long ago, and it's this way that Priscilla admits T'Challa to the foyer. She has nothing to say at all for this, other than to look over to the common area, and then nod.

"I think this is the first time I've seen you in casual wear. It looks lovely on you. Purple is very much your colour." That's hello from the woman singing and masterfully hooking more of her pine-y boa up to the next nail. "Is everything well or should I get the conference room? Priscilla, is upstairs open?"


T'Challa watches her lady lawyer dancing, and cannot help the smile that creeps over her usually masterfully impassive visage. She loves dancing; it's a real passion for her. She also appreciates custom and attractive clothing; she has issues with 'standard' sizes and cuts, given both her height and her sheer physicality. Not quite the issues Big Green over there does, but still. "This is how I usually dress for a day at school. It is why I am rarely mobbed in public for being 'the Queen'." Because honestly, most who would see her would never think 'Queen of Wakanda' if they didn't know her on sight.

"Actually, I received that note you sent. This was the first time I had free, I am afraid. I may attend an american university, but they seem to view the Thanksgiving holiday as an excuse to double up on homework and project assignments out of fear we may forget something otherwise." Yeah. Thanksgiving, another holiday not practiced in Wakanda. "I hope this is not a bad time?"


Jennifer's height probably makes T'Challa short. On the other hand, short of Asgardian gods and the stray Olympian here or there, in this form she is probably the tallest woman in the room. And nothing like a good case of irritated jealousy to make her even taller, without an actual limit on what that might be.

"It helps to escape the cameras. Photographers seem to be moving in packs to look for some kind of scoop. Anything, now, you know? I had to climb the rooftops to get away from their attention in Queens, and that is hard on my shoes." Jen could be teasing. She might not. Her familiarity with the less expensive clothing stores in the city is definitely not by accident.

"Not a bad time, though, and by all means, come in. Priscilla, I can handle it." She dismisses the secretary from watching the decorating, probably off to make coffee or pronounce evil spells in the basement to the lords of law and order. The imperious woman slips out the door with pose beyond what even a tsarina of Russia might summon, giving lessons on comportment and swishing. "I do not regret escaping my days of exams, believe me. Though the bar doesn't make it an end. We read more than we breathe around here. So you might have gained some insight from Dallas…" A grimace forms on her nightshade lips. It's not a word she likes to remember. "…that I got called up to serve on ACT-F. That happens to be a terrible acronym. But this whole international effort for peace seems a bit one-sided. A particularly American-Soviet venture, you know, even with a Korean American in charge."


T'Challa appreciates it, on at least one level. Usually, in most rooms, she is the tallest woman by a good margin. Add being black, buff, and almost bald, and let's just say she always draws some measure of attention, and not always in a good way. A bold, brash green attorney is a wonder for her, to not be the biggest and boldest female figure in the room.

The Wakandan Queen is impressed with Priscilla's poise, but will leave her to her cult of law and order all on her own; the Old Ones are not popular with her people. "I enjoy reading. My only problem seems to be wrangling the other items on my schedule to have time to do more of it." she admits, smiling. But she sees no need to go into law; being a head of state is bad enough, thanks!

"Yes. Dallas." As warm and friendly as T'CHalla sounded, now she is somber and dark, almost brooding. The event has left a mark, even a scar on the young queen's soul. She gave her word, and she failed. She nods, eventually, sharply. "I agree that it is necessary to involve other nations in this effort. I have done what I can. And I will be doing more." More? Oh yes. Few in all the world really know the might of Wakandan technology. But Act-F soon will. And so will the aliens who dare murder a man for his words.


Jade giant, lady liberty, she can be either of these things. Jennifer, however, is left to string up fifteen feet of pine greenery between the various hooks. She does this by standing upon her toes, just to make it a little more secure. Sideways inching assures she is practiced for those uncomfortable encounters when someone asks her to try a waltz or a foxtrot over Christmas, preferably without a lampshade on their head.

"As long as you know your priorities. School tends to eat it up. It's important to get educated and a degree, but not at the expense of life. And other duties." Pointy claw duties in a vibranium suit. They are the suggestions behind the open discussion had, a familiar nod between them both.

She gives a long look at T'Challa, and then finally sighs. "It is important for a unified front. The more middleweight powers the better. Less likelihood this becomes a fight between Johnson and Khrushchev, though at this rate I expect a man in a suit of armour to show up from the fortieth century declaring he is the one rightful emperor of the cosmic federation of Amerikanya."


If she were in her suit, T'Challa might help with the greenery; she could climb the walls and even hang from the ceiling as needed. But not in these boots, sorry. So she just watches, and perhaps steps forward to hand Jennifer the next length she needs. All without a word, neither being asked nor offering to help. She just does it.

"Believe me, I am incapable of losing myself in my studies." the young Wakandan comments, openly. It just is the way it is. There's a part of her that would love to, but she just can't. There's too much to be done, and she has to be the one to do it. She can't fob it off on anyone else.

"I know nothing of powered armor from the fortieth century. But I intend to offer the team the assistance and support of Wakandan technology." She hasn't even told her advisors or regency council this, but she is telling Jennifer. She trusts the emerald woman that much. "Including my stratofighter."


The long tail of greenery is bound together, the boxes of ornaments open on the desk and a chair. Help is easily ascertained by pulling out any of those silver balls to hang from the swags that rim the room in festive detail, winding up the stairs to the second floor. Already the red ribbons are tied there, proof she is quite busy on that front.

"Including a stratofighter? Hell's bells, you really know how to make an impression. I have no doubt that the good president and council will be choking on his cigar, and wondering how to answer that." The laugh that pours from her is not in the least cruel, but it does have a slightly intimidating edge to it. When monsters capable of ripping the beating hearts out of men laugh, however kindly, some part of the hindbrain remembers strongly what is there for all the conscious mind happily trots along. "To see the look on their faces. Oh my, that's a moment of quiet pride. Anything can but help at this point. I don't count myself an expert on technology like some people, but I know we are outgunned and outmatched on that one. The wounds on the President…"

Her eyes are a little too irradiated in memory as she looks up at the Wakandan Queen. "Any thoughts? Have you heard anything from Sue about it?"


T'Challa seems only too happy to keep fishing out greenery and silver bells. She even has this unnerving tendency to be in the right place at the right time without any conscious cues from Jennifer. And she tends to pick up the bells with a curious trick of the wrist which keeps their clappers from sounding, which means there's no belling the panther. Not yet, anyway. It appears to be just a simple and natural action of hers.

Jennifer's amusement, and the sound of it, pleases T'Challa. She actually grins, a ferocious expression. She wants to make an impression on the so-called Superpowers. That's precisely why she's making the move she is. They have long wondered about her isolationist and secretive country. And if it is time to face threats from beyond their own world, and come together, she will make sure everyone knows Wakanda intends to contribute and be accounted.

"I have heard nothing from Miss Storm." T'Challa answers. "But I was there. I saw his wounds up close. They were energy blasts, high-energy and focused. My own analysis " Did we mention T'Challa's specialty in physics has been high-energy systems? " indicates the most likely format is projected charged plasma bursts. Which, despite all of my research, I am not yet able to reproduce stably and consistently. But the burn dynamics look right, and it would account for the 'gunshot' sound of their release, as there would be a physical action in the shot."


Rats. There went the brilliant idea to put a bell on the cat to know where she is. Not that it matters. The shadow in Jen's head likes to rampage around until the cowering targets are flushed out, anyways. Not that anyone has reason to suspect that.

She takes silver balls on their wires and woven strands, hanging the baubles up liberally. Her pattern goes two balls to one bell, though not always. T'Challa's assistance garners a smile of thanks. Wakanda has the upper hand in this event, though playing with bear and bull may not come without risks and horns.

"Charged plasma bursts. That sounds very particular, technology in extremely limited values. Chances are Mr. Richards might be consulted on that to help determine the possibility. I'm definitely no expert but I know someone who is. That tells me whatever we're facing comes from up there." Her fingers point upwards. How very scientific of her. On the other hand this is Bruce Banner's cousin. She ain't dumb. "Not something I like. We'll probably be facing things that definitely hurt to be hit by."


"Hurt to be hit by? Yes. Very much so, I imagine, though perhaps not quite as much as those microbots the other night." T'Challa answers. What microbots, one might ask? "They flew in swarms, out of some portal or gateway. They were not much larger than the segment of a human phalange individually. They … they bored right through anything in their way, and they devoured that man." Right in front of T'Challa, if that haunted tone of voice is any indication. "They did not seem able to penetrate my vibranium weave, nor the one woman's energy field. But nothing else stopped them. I suspect alien energy weapons could be similarly devastating, given my own research experiences." T'Challa would love to consult and do research with ESU alumnus Reed Richards, but she's a bit subdued right now to give in to that thrill. Sorry.

"Do you think they are related to the assassination? I hate to be the one to start saying everything is connected. I don't believe it is. Though after vampires and devils in Central Park, a girl has to wonder." Lawful Good aligned Jen does not like this notion whatsoever, that much is plain in her displeased expression and the festive smile wandering down. "Energy weapons and alien technology are going to do worse for us. I think we will see many more technological and scientific minds turned towards research. Research recklessly done is nearly as bad as none at all. With the controls off, just about anyone can do anything they like."

Her words fade away as she holds one of the delicate balls up and finishes that long march of green and silver ornaments. Finally, she steps back to assess her work. "Aren't I a ball of friendly hope and joy. The question now is what to do about all of them. Other than rip them to pieces."


"It was not subtle enough." T'Challa offers, but only after a good minute or so of serious thought, even missing a cue or two about helping with the handing of items. She's deep inside herself, thinking. "No, I do not think it was immediately connected. But it was a dark and terrible threat, and I was virtually helpless to protect anyone but myself." And clearly, that affected the young queen. It bothered her, profoundly, not the least of which because it reminded her all too clearly of how she felt in Dallas.

"It's true. The sparks to the imaginations of the depraved and indifferent could well be even worse than the alien threats themselves. But first we must deal with that alien threat." T'Challa offers. She's not exactly bright and full of hope and joy herself. Just determination. That's all she's got, but she has it in spades.

"I wanted to thank you for inviting me to join, Jennifer." the young queen comments. "Your international sensibility and awareness has truly been a key to many successes for me of late, and I want you to know that I appreciate it, and you, very much. It helps that you were aware of this before I was. Your connections are almost as important as your brilliant mind."


Jen listens for quite some time. She sits in the one chair out of the many she knows can take her weight; being tall also means being as dense as an Asgardian god or a statue, and that makes her hell on furniture. Her dress glimmers in a red wash, tinted more ruby, and the twine at the back snaps to allow the straps to slide apart. She startles, but pulls away the broken bits. It was never more than a temporary fix anyways.

"Hear me out for a moment, if you would. Suppose this is like our debut, a coming out. The whole planet. For whatever reason," Jennifer waves a green hand, "we were off-limits. Possibly a treaty, our name was lost to accurate maps. Now we are recognized by the first starfarers to show up on our shores like Commodore Perry did to Japan. We rather forced open the doors to a nation shut off from pretty well the whole world, the way my father tells it, and that brought about all the upheaval you can expect. Now that's us in this age. That so called god says he had forged treaties with other nations or leaders at the turn of the ninth century. For a thousand years, what, did we go in peace? Now we're awake. A great leader of our peoples is dead. What are the chances we are on the map again, and everyone else is going to follow these first comers to see about trade, exploitation, and power? I hate to use the historical parallels of Japan or the colonization of Africa, but the spirit of the thing is how a culturally rich, diverse place otherwise isolated from the mainstream gets affected when those mainstream nations come around. In our case we're talking about other worlds, and now I sound like some kind of television program or a far out fiction magazine."

She does, and she knows it. Her smile is a bit strained, for all that compliments are showered upon it. "I'm not that well connected. But thank you."


Odd thing is, as bright as she is T'CHalla doesn't call BS on anything Jennifer has to say, because she is a wise student of history, especially the history of her home continent, and she knows better. She knows this is precisely the sort of thing that could and very likely may happen to the Earth and her peoples in this new age. And she's no happier about it than Jennifer is. "In Earth's history, no indigenous people save one has ever managed to survive the incursion and exploitation of an outside, colonizing force."

Wait. Save one? Oh. Right. Wakanda, the never-defeated. The never-colonized. The still-free. The secretive. The isolationist. The supposedly unfriendly.

"You are better connected than I, in this place and amongst these peoples." After all, T'Challa has never actually had a conversation with any other member of the Four but Reed. She would never have heard about Act-F prior to its unveiling, save through Jennifer.


It's almost with a regretful smile she holds up two fingers. "Technically Thailand, although the people aren't a perfectly homogenous tribe. They were never forcibly tested by the Chinese in modern times, which probably helps. Ethiopia — Abyssinia, from ancient times — also makes for a rather good example of a nation standing alone despite the Italians' attempts in the last few decades. But the point stands. It turns out badly for the most part, with a people assimilated or enculturated outside their own standards, subjected to illnesses and other upheaval. And so here I am." Jen waves her hand around. "Worried out of my gourd for what this might bring and maybe a few too many trigger-happy people not aware of how rough this road really is."

She sighs aloud. "I suppose we can't ask half the peoples of the Americas, Africa, and Oceania to come give their thoughts on how the rest of western Europe treated them for a nice parallel. We don't even know much about the names of who is up there. Hard to cry wolf when we haven't got the word for wolf."


T'Challa doesn't argue the point, whether she agrees or not; she respects Jennifer enough to let it go, as the point is still well made and cogent. "For now, the only names we have are 'alien', and 'Kree,' though my impression is that there is already more than one threat out there. Otherwise, why would one kill the other?" She cannot even be sure that the green shapeshifter was a Kree. She certainly has no idea it's a Skrull. Nor does she know which alien species is responsible for the artifacts in Wakanda that led, progressively, to their advanced technology and science. "I suspect that there are aliens who may come intending only peace. But even those can have catastrophic consequences to the aboriginal peoples." Happy fun times!


"Quite right. So shall we make the most of this and try to get over what we know?" A crooning end of the record means that Jen has to decide which way to go. Fix up the player or go out and fix things. "Aliens aren't all one kind. That's what I keep reminding myself. Now, where was that box of blue bells?"


T'Challa smiles and gestures towards one of the boxes. "Blue bells." she offers, as she walks over to pick them up, and then returns to Jen's side, offering the other woman a hand with a smile; not that Jen needs the hand, but it's the thing a friend would do. "So. I take it you love music, dancing, and Christmas? Or is it the green?" Enough with the serious talk, perhaps. At least for now. They've gone far enough.

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