Michael Vickers And The Vickers Ball

<Michael> [ It's about three weeks, altogether, after the death of Richard Vickers. His death has been all over the papers, in the headlines, proclaiming his demise at the hands of the Slayer and her new understudy. A ripple of fear spread throughout the moneyed classes at the news… ]-
<Michael> [Shortly after the death of Richard Vickers, news came back to Paxia that his son, Michael Vickers, had returned from his post in the campaign against the Arcolian Empire to take the reins of his father's business. Now, three weeks after his father's death, Michael is holding a ball- primarily to assuage the fears and worries of the shareholders, and the wider Vickers family, as well as to introduce himself to the industry.]
<Michael> [Curiously, about a week ago, an invitation arrived- for Tyraline Paskell. The Vickers and the Paskells are fiercely opposed to one another, and generally tend not to mingle in public. And yet… She was invited. The ball was being held at a somewhat grandiose Art and Performance Centre near the middle of Paxia- a guard was positioned outside to accept invitations, quietly monitoring the flow of wealthy shareholders and the like into
<Michael> [ Neville had, as always, been chosen to escort Tyra and whatever partner she chose, and this particular night she apparently chose not to shake him off. Security within the hall was fairly tight, so Neville took up position by the gate- he knew the score when it came to balls. Bodyguards just ruined the entire ambience. ]
*Tyra is of course intrigued by this, considering she's gone ahead and made the effort to attend. Not even this ball seems to put a dent in her preference in clothing though, keeping away from dresses as is her style. The day's clothing though is rather more formal than her usual wear, a full blown well tailored black suit (with dark blue vest underneath the jacket) and bowtie to boot.
*Tyra also has a hat propped on her head in a somewhat rakish fashion, her dark hair left loose still. Her hands are still adorned with fingerless black cloth gloves, the signet ring of the Paskell family ever present on her right hand. A set of black heels complete the ensemble, adding a 'click' with every step.
*Diana on the other hand was wearing… an abomination (by her reckoning). A massive gold-hued dress, with little frills everywhere, ribbons tied around it, multiple tiers, what seemed to be the outlines of a veritable superstructure underneath… As well as a relatively ample train. Though… it seemed to be quite fine, not impeding her or needing an assistant. -
<Diana> - Indeed, AU-X, while present, was not even remotely involved, instead seeming to flit this way and that, monitoring events. No, she was keeping her train aloft with goddamn psychic powers. "Ugh. I hate this formalwear. But if sis says it's the thing you're supposed to wear…" Big sigh.
<Michael> [ A well-dressed chap in a neat black jacket-and-pants ensemble awaits to see their invitations, whenever they're ready to go in. ]
*Tyra glances back at Diana, giving the engineer a reassuring smile. "Afraid so, Diana. These little get togethers have a bit of a bar to clear before getting in." She glances down at AU-X, frowning. "You be careful, now. No getting swiped and revealing company secrets."
<Diana> The robot whirred slightly, and Diana shrugged. "It doesn't actually know anything." Then she sighed a bit more deeply, clasping her hands at her waist. Or, rather, at the massive dress… crest? Bulge? At the same height. "Anyway, let's do this."
*Tyra chuckles. "He doesn't, but he's quite the engineering sample…" She nodded, stepping forward to present her invitation. "Tyraline Paskell, with guest Diana Lucerne."
<Michael> [The greeter takes the invitation with a slight bow, reads it, looks at a guest list… And then hands the invitation back. "Please enter at your discretion, Madame Paskell, Madame Lucerne." ]
*Diana curtseyed - tried to curtsey. Something, and made sure to diligently follow Tyra~
<Michael> [The inside of the Hall is rather grand in an old architectural style, easily predating the Age of Magitech. Sweeping columns, dark, rich wood and marble floors and walls, staircases with gilded banisters, a golden chandelier above… The main area is a large, well, ballroom, with most of the participants talking and cajoling each other along the walls of the room. Waiters prowl about with trays of drinks, wines in particular…-
<Michael> Whilst tables of small, hand-held finger food litter the corners of the place. It really is quite the setup. ]
*Tyra takes a few steps, hands clasped behind her back as her heels click along with each motion. "My, my. He's certainly pulled out the stops for his grand return and rise to power."
*Diana nodded, chewing on some random finger-food. "Mm." …Totally disinterested."
<Michael> [ With Tyraline and Diana now there, it wouldn't be long before they eventually caught the eye of someone. After all, Tyra's face *was*known, one way or another, to a fair few people within the industry, and a Paskell was as rare at a Vickers ball as an undercooked steak.-
<Michael> [So that it was that, after only a few moments, a tall, young-looking man with neat blonde hair and blue eyes approached. He was dressed in an undeniably military blue dress coat, with a gold trim and high collar, with tight white trousers tucked into shiny black shoes. He wore a rapier on his belt. This would be their illustrious host, Michael Vickers.]
<Michael> "Madame Tyraline Paskell, I presume?" He asked, with the air of polite interest.
*Tyra gave Diana another wink, though as she felt the Eye of the Crowd falling upon her a bit more refinement crept into her mannerisms. At the approach of the young man a slight smile reappeared on her face, offering a slight bow and nod of the head. "Indeed. A pleasure to meet you, Mister Vickers. If only it was due to more fortunate circumstances."
*Michael returned the bow, bowing from the waist in a practised and elegant fashion. "Indeed. I was at first hesitant to call this so soon after his death, but I swear that I could taste the fear on the shareholders's lips grow ever stronger with every passing day…" He paused for a moment, and then turned to Diana with a small smile. "I don't believe we've been introduced, Madame…?"
*Diana calmly intoned back. "Lucerne. Diana Lucerne. An R&D officer and personal friend of Miss Paskell. I see you are well, then." …Maybe not as formal as it could be, but considering the near-breakdown she had talking to Xiri, it would do.
<Michael> "Indeed?" Said Michael, with a sense of… Relief? In his voice. "Then I'm glad you've come, Madame Lucerne. I think we have much to talk about." Said Michael, giving her a gentle nod, before turning back to Tyraline. "I'm not going to mince words, Madame Paskell: you're no doubt curious as to why you've been invited…"
*Tyra couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at this comment towards Diana, though her features were quickly schooled once more. "I'd be lying if I denied such, I'll admit. Fraternization between our two families tends to be a rather tricky affair."
<Michael> "That's certainly true." Said Michael with a dry, quiet chuckle. "But I think you will find that I am an altogether different type of creature compared to my father, and, indeed, to the rest of my family." Said Michael, his eyes turning back to Diana for a moment, before returning his gaze to Tyra. "Meet me in an hour on the upstairs 4th balcony, on the right side. Bring Madame Lucerne here- there is something I need to discuss."
*Diana raised an eyebrow at the 'much to talk about' line… but let Tyra do the talking. AU-X was… fetching a wineglass for her. She too was more than a bit suspicious…
*Tyra tilted her head slightly, mind whirling through a dozen possibilities as she consider Michael's words. "Mm… very well, then. We'll be there." She spared a glance down, her hand having freed her pocket watch for a moment so she could make note of the time.
<Michael> "Excellent." Said Michael, nodding his head and giving both ladies a warm smile. "Then I'll see you in an hour. Enjoy yourselves, please, until that time…" He said, and with another bow, he prowled off back into the crowd. He could occasionally be seen talking to various people, in the same polite, warm yet reserved fashion that seemed to be his usual approach.
*Diana looked at Tyra, once he was out of earshot. "…What was that all about? And why am I suddenly so important to him? Does he intend to cajole secrets out of me or something?" Entirely coincidentally her little assistant passed her a wineglass.
*Tyra gave a nod in return, watching the newly minted president make his departure as she slipped the silver watch back into her jacket pocket. A contemplative noise issued from the woman's lips, a hand reaching over to pluck a glass from a passing waiter as well. "Curious. Very… curious. I'm unsure, but it may be rather business related."
<Tyra> If cajoling secrets is his aim though, this will be a rather boring evening.
<Diana> "…Ah." Then a wry grin. "At least, though, if I'm careful, I can slap him without being a blatant culprit should he get fresh~" …Joking tone. Slapping a CEO that's the enemy of your company is serious business.
*Tyra actually giggled for a moment, shaking her head. "My, my, that'd be quite the sight."
<Michael> [And so the two young lades spent the next hour or so doing whatever it is a rebellious corporate princess and eccentric roboticist do at a high class ball, until the time came for the two to finally meet their suspicious-acting host! A simple mahogany door separated the aforementioned balcony from the larger interior of the building…]
*Tyra breathes a bit of a sigh, taking a moment to 'steel' herself so to speak. With that she approaches the door, raising a hand to rap a knuckle on it thrice.
*Diana was at a more distant standby, AU-X cutely wielding an empty hors d’ouevres tray as a makeshift and ludicrously ineffective shield behind her. She figured expressing her trepidation through the robot would diffuse suspicion.
<Michael> A few moments pass before Tyra gets a response. Michael himself opens the door, revealing to his two guests a clean, spacious, elegant yet simple balcony with an excellent view of the River Pax and the night sky. "I'm…" He notices the little droid, and pauses for a moment at the sight… Before bowing and stepping aside. "I'm glad you came. Please, come out here."-
<Michael> Michael isn't alone, either. A short ways away stood a woman, somewhat tall, maybe 5'9, wearing a long, form-fitting black dress that covered up her arms as well as her neck. She had long red hair, and looked as nervous as Diana apparently felt.

*Diana slowly walked out, keeping a fair amount of distance - which put her near the railing of the balcony… and passing it off as leaning against it, as if exhausted. Of course, in reality, she was telekinetically reducing the weight of the ridiculous dress.
*Tyra gave the woman a nod of greeting, carefully keeping her face blank as she stepped through the door. "Curiosity tends to get the best of me at times. Evening, Miss Summers." She considered for a moment, finding herself a spot on the rail to lean against as well. "That explains why you wanted Diana here, I suspect."
<Michael> May Summers- for that is her name- gives Tyra a nervous nod, although it seems that actually being recognised does very little to improve her mood at all. "Ah, so you've heard of our dear Madame Summers. Excellent." Said Michael, walking over to the balcony and leaning against the rail. He seemed… Very relaxed, actually. "That'll speed things up a bit. Anyway… I guess we should kick things off."-
<Michael> "First and foremost, Madame Paskell, Madame Lucerne, I want to thank you both for coming. I know there's been bad blood between our families in the past, especially where my father was concerned, and… I'm hoping that tonight we might be able to circumvent that somewhat."
*Diana blinked. "…That said, I don't have a real role in that bad blood, other than being an employee. I admit being a bit confused as to this whole thing…"
*Tyra chuckles, shifting so that she's looking out at the view with her elbows propped up on the railing. "Perhaps. It is my father and grandpapa you ought to be making overtures of course, but I'll listen and see if there's potential here."
<Tyra> « overtures to of course*»
<Michael> "Well, there *is*a reason I'm going to you, of course, but we'll get to that in a minute." He said. "But first… May, if you please?" May nodded nervously, and approached Tyra… Before pausing and looking over at Diana, hesitantly. "Give it to Madame Lucerne." He said, and May nodded again. She approached Diana this time, taking out a small pocketbook and handing it to her.
*Diana looked a bit… well, confused, looking at said pocketbook as if to appraise its contents, even flipping through it a bit.
*Tyra raises an eyebrow, remaining silent as she watches Diana.
*Diana spent a number of minutes reading through the thing, pages flipping like a possessed wind was roaring through them… then she clapped it shut. "Intriguing, if very martial in bent. I'm not sure how you intend to solve the economies of scale with that last design, at least for mass production." Then a much more manifest edge on her face. "…Explain the opening pages."
*Tyra shifts slightly, giving Diana a bit of a smile. "What's the executive summary?"
<Michael> "I'll do that." Said Michael. "The first pages were stolen from Paskell laboratories about nine months ago." He said lightly.
*Tyra immediately loses the smile, expression shifting.
*Diana nodded. "The subject matter is heavily centered on alloys, both Psykanium and conventional. At least none of my work was taken. Not that I keep it in the regular files anyway." Her tone was, just FYI, witheringly deadpan. In a sense like the stereotypes of the very robots she built. "There IS a lot of original content. Though certainly nothing close to what I'd deign to make."
<Michael> Michael looks over at Tyra, then Diana… "No doubt you have some questions. I mean, I have things to say, but…"
*Tyra shifts her gaze back towards the view. "So, you had one of our projects courtesy of your late father. I take it your own R&D was playing with the plans as they saw fit, then?"
*Tyra is rather more matter of fact in tone now, possibly resembling her father far more than one would expect possible.
<Michael> "Yes, more or less." Said Michael. "They stole your… May, I'm no good at this, please make with the technobabble." "Certainly." Said May, nodding her head. "They stole the work on refining the Psykanium process as well as strengthening Warforged alloys to allow for larger creations to be made in a feasible amount of time and cost. You'll find those designs past all the stolen data…"-
<Michael> Michael nodded. "Exactly. And, so, as one of my first actions as President of Vickers Corporation, I'm giving this back… To Paskell."
*Tyra almost loses her balance, looking at Michael. "Just like that?"
<Michael> "I'm not being entirely altruistic, I'll admit, but… I'm not asking for anything like money." Said Michael with an enigmatic smile. He almost seemed to be enjoying himself.
*Diana eyed him. "Then… what are you asking for?"
*Tyra raises an eyebrow, composing herself again. "As the woman asks, yes. What's the price on this?"
<Michael> "All I ask… Is that you start actually producing at least some of these designs." Said Michael, and in a rather quick reversal of his earlier mood, he… Deflated a little.
*Tyra tilts her head, looking somewhere between confused and amused. "Producing the designs? That's… a rather odd request in exchange for handing over said designs."
*Diana vaguely tched. "…What, do you not have the factories for it? Stock plunge or no, I'm well aware that Vickers quite possibly has a more directly militarised factory base than Paskell."
*Michael looks over at Diana, and… Sighs. "Actually… Vickers is practically on its last legs, even though we've been keeping it quiet. All things considered, we actually should've folded about two months ago." Said Michael wistfully.
*Diana drummed her fingers a bit, focusing more attention on May. "Ah. That sort of thing is more her territory-" vague nudge at Tyra "-then."
*Tyra frowns, leaning back against the railing with her arms crossed. "The shareholders would cry for your head on a platter and your blood to bathe in if they knew you were admitting that to a Paskell, you realize. You simply want us to produce these designs, but I'm not seeing where you profit from this besides a warm feeling of a Vickers design surviving the collapse."
<Michael> "You want to know how I profit? Well, it's like this." He said, shrugging his shoulders. "In about, I don't know, a month, two months or so, Vickers in its current state will end, probably absorbed. I, having spent all of a month as its head, will put my top hat back in its box and re buckle my sabre and return to the battlefield." Said Michael. "… I'm a career soldier, by this point. It's my calling, and I'm not going to deny it."-
<Michael> "But, I will answer your question, but… Do you remember the crimes my father committed? Specifically, selling the weapons to insurgents?"
<Tyra> They're hard to forget. Treason is a rather eye catching accusation.
*Diana scoffed slightly. "Also, pointless inefficiency in the name of some convoluted ideal of competition."
*Tyra glances at Diana at that, looking a bit amused.
<Michael> "Well, the deal was weapons and they would blow up Paskell factories, you know, the ones producing Warforged for the war effort…? Anyway, my father gave them more than just weapons." A pause. "… It turns out he also gave them our Warforged data. These insurgents worked for Arcolia, and… As I've recently learned, they have more of a magitech industrial base then we thought." He let that hang for a moment.
*Tyra goes silent for a moment, then murmurs a rather impressive string of Elvish curses under her breath. Where did she pick those up? "Your father was an idiot. Bad form to speak ill of the dead but Damane above. You have evidence, I assume? Presented to the government and military?"
*Diana shook her head. "Dreadfully, amazingly stupid. No offence… to you, anyway. So basically you want to bridge the technology gap as quickly as possible, since its going to be you getting shot at by Arcolian Warforged."
<Michael> "Exactly. For the first time in this 4-year-war, we're actually *behind*technology-wise." Said Michael, before turning to Tyra. "… Yes. That's… Part of the reason Vickers is being shut down. The Government is, for lack of a better term, severely hacked off." A wry smile. "… And the military knows because they've already encountered them in the field." … The smile fades just as quickly as it came.-
<Michael> "My father was an idiot, but more to the point, he was a traitor, and many good men and women are going to *die*because of what he did. I'm glad the Slayer did him in, for one." The words provoke a shocked gasp from May, but Michael doesn't really care.
*Tyra sighs, reaching up to adjust her hat. "Alright. Alright. I can present this to the board for Manufacturing to hack at and probably R&D too, but I'm not sticking my neck out like that without separate confirmation." She taps a finger on her elbow, frowning even more. "We'll need a word with military contractors. And confirm no other copies of these designs are squirreled away in your
<Tyra> archives when the government finishes dismembering your corporation."
<Tyra> Then, /then/ I'm going to need an industrial spec shield to cower behind when my uncle and aunt hear this.
*Diana tilted her head, in thought. "Really, it might be good if we just had the archives, period. One man's betrayal shouldn't compromise years of work. And I imagine the government will not be very… open with any documents they seize."
<Michael> "Excellent…" Said Michael, nodding his head. "I'll be glad to hand over what we have, regarding research, and the like, and archival data…" Said Michael. "It is troublesome- the police are watching the tower like hawks, and the government is days away from more or less walking in and confiscating everything." Said Michael with a shrug. "I could do it myself and give you the files.-
<Michael> "We'd have to meet up somewhere without arousing suspicion, you know the deal…"
*Tyra grimaces for a moment, reaching into her jacket to pull out a small metal case. It's revealed to be a cigarette case as she flicks it open, withdrawing one and tucking the case back in. A snap of the fingers prompt a flame to appear for her to light up and take a drag from. "I am going to get strung up for this. How long do you reckon before I need to beat an answer out of the board?"
*Diana was a lot less… enthusiastic, now. "Mmm, this kind of thing is complicated. Not really my forte. Maybe if I used an automaton or something…"
<Michael> "Maybe…" Michael rubs his chin. "I could hold them for about two weeks, utterly max, before they start just using force. I can pull favours- some important people owe me favours-" Michael tapped his Silver Cross, the medal hanging from his chest, "But that's all."
*Diana nods. "Seriously, if smuggling the notebooks and rolled blueprints out in lunchboxes is what it takes, then that'll do."'
*Tyra breathes out a sigh, thinking. "Two weeks. Two weeks. I'll have to speak with Grandpapa and Father first thing and see where we move from there." She closed her eyes, cigarette smouldering away. "Multiple trips. Prioritise. These design documents need to be first secured."
<Tyra> Work our way down the sensitive material from there.
*Diana nods. "Especially anything pertaining to weaponry and military hardware. I may not have a personal attachment to your butt not getting blown up, but I have a very compelling urge to not live in an occupied city."
<Michael> "May can help you with that." Said Michael, nodding to her. "Actually, Madame Paskell, you would be doing me a great service if, well, perhaps now that Vickers is in its end days, you could find a position for her in your own R/D department…?"
*Tyra thinks for a heartbeat.
<Michael> May glances over at Tyra, saying nothing…
*Diana paused silently, hovering between suspecting it and being taken by surprise.
<Tyra> Diana, you now have an opening in your project department. Find an appropriate candidate in light of upcoming possible manufacturing and research deals and windfalls to fill it.
*Tyra closes her eyes again, blowing out a bit of smoke.
<Diana> "…A lot of words to say that. Anyway, I'm no metallurgist like you." She was looking at May, seeming… warm, inviting, and happy. "The materials development would really help with my own designs, because then I can go past the structural-support limitations I've been operating under. And the Psykanium work might be good for some of my… 'projects' I've been developing."
*Michael cracks a small smile at that. May seems to positively light up, and she reaches forward to… Well, she shakes Diana's hand energetically. "T-thank you. I promise I won't let you down…"
*Diana shook back. "Yes, I expect you not to. After all, you've already got the techbase down pat." Oddly, despite being a reference to the theft, it lacked any sort of edge at all.
*Tyra nods, gesturing as if to say 'it is done'. "Accepted. So it is say so shall it be done and all that. I'll handle my aunt and Personnel and you'll be situated in Paskell Tower by tomorrow afternoon." The woman opened her eyes again, mulling. "Pity I doubt the government will let us attempt a buy out or takeover, that'd simplify things. I'll speak with Grandpapa when I return, either way."
<Tyra> I think he's going to have to be the one to muscle it through the board.
<Michael> May blushed a little at that, and Michael chuckled. "… Well then." He turned back to Tyra. "You might end up owning Vickers assets after the government confiscates them, but it'll take at least a year or so, so…" He shrugged. "Any further questions for me… Paskell Princess?" A slight smirk.
<Tyra> And you were doing so /well/, too.
*Diana smirked. "She doesn't like that name, you see."
<Michael> "Was I doing well? Well, pardon me, Madame, I take it back. I had no idea admitting to theft and bandying around borderline state secrets was the way to successful conversation." He said, smiling.
<Tyra> Well, now you understand just how much I /despise/ that name.
*Tyra shakes her head. "I should take the papers to court for plastering it all over, really. Emotional distress."
<Michael> "Then I promise the sound will never pass my lips again." Said Michael with a theatrical bow.
*Diana waved her hand dismissively, knowing quite well she wasn't the magnate. "And besides. Delicacy and sensitivity of the subject doesn't matter. Only results!"
<Tyra> I'll hold you to that.
*Tyra finishes off her cigarette, flicking it over her shoulder and snapping her fingers again. A quick burst of fire consumes it entirely before it even makes it past the railing in freefall. "But no, that'll be it. If Grandpapa agrees I think I can find a few places to stage possible transfers."
<Michael> "Quite." Said Michael, nodding to Diana. "I can't help but find that a refreshing thing, Madame Diana." said Michael, before turning back to Tyra. "Sounds about right, then. I hope Mr. Paskell agrees… For my sake, as well as many others."
*Tyra pushes off the railing, nodding. "I suspect he will. Hopefully. I'll need him and Father behind this." She turns to face Michael, offering her hand.
<Michael> Michael takes it, delivering a gentlemanly kiss to her hand. "It was a pleasure meeting you, Madame. Perhaps, in the future, when… Or rather, if- I return to Paxia, I'll have the pleasure of your company again."
*Tyra raises an eyebrow ever so slightly, waggling a finger. "If you don't come back, I'll take it that you preferred that over another meeting. Keep that in mind, hm?~"
*Diana resisted a clear urge to say something more, instead just nodding politely, and smiling a bit at May.
<Michael> "Ah!" Michael snickers. "Caught between death and the scorn of a beautiful woman- a trap of my own devising." He said, smiling… "… Well then. I guess it's nearly time for me to make a speech that will, with my luck, be the headline of every paper from here to the other end of Agnesia by tomorrow." Said Michael, clearly not relishing the prospect.
*Tyra shook her head. "You'll get no sympathy from me, Mister Vickers. That has been my life for the past few years." She turns to begin walking, nodding towards May. "Miss Summers, I'll see you tomorrow bright and early. Welcome to Paskell Industries."
<Michael> May nodded eagerly. "Thank you, Madame. I'll be there. I look forward to working with you." Said May, before turning her gaze to… AU-X.
<Diana> The little machine turned to her, and clicked a bit, its eye lenses rotating slightly as if to refocus the image. "Ah yes, my Assistant Unit! Semi-autonomous, even. I AM a certified controller… and then some, so I like to keep it around. Don't worry, you'll get used to it~"
<Michael> "It's cute…"
*Diana nodded enthusiastically. "It gets that a lot. Which is a help."
<Michael> "C-can I… Can I touch it?" Asked May shyly, whilst Michael quietly watched on, a bemused look on his face.
*Tyra slowed in her exit, looking rather amused now herself.
<Diana> "Oh, go right ahead. It won't bite! That'd be silly."
<Michael> May poked it on the shoulder, gently… Before bending down and hugging it enthusiastically. "Hee…" She cooed, whilst Michael merely closed his eyes for a moment and walked past. "Well, I'll leave you ladies to it. Until next time, Madame Diana, Madame Tyraline… May." Said Michael, bowing and making his exit.
*Diana smiled… possibly even blushed a bit. Eventually, though, her own exit had to be made!
*Tyra made her own exit as well, expression going pensive again. "Men. Always complicating things."
<Michael> May reluctantly lets go of AU-X, and makes her own exit too…

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