The Hellfire Club had waited long enough, it was time for action.
Shaw had kept a very low profile during the Expansion.
Determined to slowly make the moves he felt would make the Hellfire Club relevant again when the time was right.
And that time was now.
"Ladies and Gentleman, we can no longer wait in the shadows." He began, as he addressed the Inner Circle.
"Over the past year, I have assembled you because you most fit what I want the new Hellfire Club to be, and I have done a fine job, if I say so myself." He said, getting a few chuckles.
"First I recruited my Black Queen: Wanda Maximoff, AKA the Scarlet Witch, a woman with truly incredible power." He said as he nodded towards Wanda, who gave a small bow.
"Then I recruited the White King: Wilson Fisk, a man who would truly brutalize those who get in his way."Shaw continued, The Kingpin followed Wanda's lead and proudly bowed as he name was called.
"Then I recruited the Red Queen: Frenzy, a woman whose power rivals even the strongest hero out there." Unlike the others, Frenzy didn't bow, instead choosing to give a small head nod.
"We still have some work to do with her." He said, getting some more chuckles, although it was clear Frenzy wasn't amused by his joke.
"In the Red King, I went to Roberto da Costa AKA Sunspot, a young man who had plenty of potential, it just took us to unlock it." He said, Sunspot, of course, bowed when he was acknowledged.
"That left the White Queen... a position I'd spent a long time looking for the perfect person to fill that role." He began.
"I'd looked high and low for her, determined to get someone that could truly fill the role as it deserves....and then after almost a year of looking, I found her." He continued.
"I found a woman whose beauty dwarfed almost every woman I had ever seen, a woman who looked like the perfect mix of business, pleasure and extreme power, it took a while, but I'm proud to say I finally brought her into the fold." With that, the doors opened and in walked a blonde woman who was everything Shaw said she was and even more.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm proud to introduce the White Queen of the Hellfire Club: Karen Starr." Shaw finished, as the new White Queen strolled in and gave everyone plenty of time to drink the sight of her in.
Even with her body hidden by a cloak, her unmistakable beauty shone through and, even hidden by a cloak, her large bust was very evident.
Even if they weren't saying it out loud, everyone in the Inner Circle would agree that Shaw had just hit a home run.
The trip for Rogue and Darren didn't take too long.
Lex had made sure that she had plenty of spots that she could use as a safe house dotted around the city.
And she was already very close to one of those safe houses.
"Tell me what you know about Christoph." She insisted as soon as she got him inside.
"Look, I don't know much, I just know that I heard that he's got some hooker that he usually visits, named Vanessa, before you ask, I don't think she was anyone before the Expansion, from what I hear she's just some random broad." Darren said as he sank down onto a filthy armchair.
"So where is Vanessa?" She asked, although this lead was probably going to be even more of a longshot.
"This time of night? She's usually on some street corner, looking for a john." He responded, although Rogue immediately realized that Darren was about to throw some monkey wrench into this situation.
"But, no one has seen her for the past few weeks, I'm guessing when Christoph heard someone was looking for him, he made sure she disappeared as well." Darren said.
"Like disappeared in what way?" She asked, hoping he didn't mean what she thought he meant.
"Don't know, might have taken her with him or he might have stuffed her in a dumpster somewhere, I don't know Christoph, just heard rumors about him, if they are true, then he probably was smart enough not to dump the body in some dumpster." He said with a headshake.
"So where did all these rumors come from?" She asked, hoping this would be the lead she was waiting for.
"Look, I was one of Vanessa's regulars so I know he was also a regular, I would show up on her doorstep with a six pack and the money and me and her would get drunk and go at it, if she was drunk enough then she'd open up to me about everything, didn't matter that I didn't love her, she just wanted someone to listen to her, she told me about Christoph being a client and that he was incredibly dangerous, but not much beyond that, the other stuff I heard because I would ask around, this was all before people started taking an interest, back when it was just a rumor that some guy was taking mutants out." Rogue was irritated that she wasn't gonna be able to get to Vanessa (although she hoped that was temporary), but this was a great help already.
"So, who told you the other things about Christoph?" She insisted, even if it was just old wives tells with a new coat of paint, she still wanted to hear them.
"Just random people I sell to, been so drunk that I can't really place rumors with faces, once the murders started gaining traction down here, people started shutting up about him." Darren said, right before Rogue turned to leave, with a proclamation that she was going to ask around about people he sold to.
"It wasn't supposed to be like this." Darren said, the sadness in his voice told Rogue that she should give this guy a few extra minutes of her time, so she turned around and nodded, a silent way to let him know that he could continue.
Even now, Rogue felt an obligation to give an ear to a wounded soul.
"I grew up in Colorado, I was a wide receiver in high school and college, shattered my high schools record for most catches, most receiving TD's, most yards, I was as good of a player as you'd find, just turned 19 and was ready to tear things up in college." He began.
"Then my knee was pretty much destroyed after a dirty hit and that was that, makes it kinda funny that I tried to run from you tonight." He continued with an unamused chuckle.
"That was the end for me, I lost my football career, lost my scholarship, lost my girl when she found out I cheated on her, lost any future I had, some of my boys were selling drugs, so I figured I might as well, needed some income to take care of this woman I had knocked up." He gave a head shake, he looked up at her and, for the first time, she got a good enough look to see just how world weary he truly was.
"She couldn't handle the fact that I was dealing and she moved away and took my kid with her a few years before the Expansion, then the Expansion happened and I had to get out of Colorado as fast as I could because I couldn't stand to watch everyone dying around me, so I drove until I reached Metropolis and I spent the past year here just dealing and waiting out the clock, waiting to see what was gonna finally put me in a grave, Christoph is probably gonna get to me before I ever get to see my kid again, if she's even still alive." He concluded, letting his biggest fear bubble to the surface.
"Look, if you're telling the truth, then I'll have a much easier time finding him and, once I've found him, he's going away forever." She said, determination in her voice.
"Once this is all done I'll give you some places to go to in order to dry out and to get you back on your feet." She said as she left Darren to his thoughts, the regret he'd spoken with was all the evidence that she needed that, deep down, he was still worth saving.
But first, she had to find Christoph and deal with that problem once and for all.