15390/Why did it have to be there

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Why did it have to be there
Date of Scene: 29 July 2023
Location: 1407 Greymalkin Lane - Breakstone
Synopsis: When passing by gets you caught up in trouble -- Sinister's car broke down rather too close to the school. There was an x-man response that was not what was expected. An echo of the past was fractured into manifestation by Psylocke and the Trauma continues...
Cast of Characters: Sinister, Psylocke, Rogue, Cyclops, Phoenix

Sinister has posed:
Some people like storms. Disproportionately, this area of Westchester either has balmy weather more often than not, or has freak meteorlogical phenomenon, so it's a little rare for it to just seem to be brewing thunderheads. The sky is not open though, not yet at least -- the humidity threatens this and promises to play jimmy havoc with hair-dos.

The long road to the mansion winds and wends through privately owned countryside, but even close to the highway, the pine trees take over. And of course, the further you go into upstate New York, the more prevalent such woodlands become. There is a car parked on the hard shoulder not that far from the highway turnoff; a Black Lexus SUV, the kind you'd expect government agents to step out of. But its hazard lights are on and there appears to be no driver at the wheel. That's because the driver is currently walking slowly through a patch of woodland, eyes to the ground. Smokey shades, white shirt, black leather vest and pants, well heeled ankle boots on his feet, Essex appears to be examining the tree line silently. He is far away enough from the school that he might not be immediately felt and is quite good at masking his presence even then. But that doesn't stop eyes from seeing him.
Psylocke has posed:
Betsy Braddock has only begun actively teaching at Xaviers again this week, and already the rumors around the school are spreading about just how relentless a teacher she is. Some of the students have even started comparing bruises after classes, and whoever has the most impressive gets to pick the afternoon's actively. Most choose merely to lounge on the couches and watch something on the television.

Even so, Betsy spends as much time away from Xaviers as she does at it. While she does have a room she seems to prefer to spend her evenings closer to New York. The sight of her dark BMW X4 bumping along Greymalkin Lane at night isn't at all uncommon, as it is right now. She's going faster than she ought to, and not because of the threatening stormclouds -- no: Betsy just likes the rush of that feeling of being almost at the precipice of losing control. She corners the turnoff at speed, and prepares to stamp her foot down once the rear wheels gain purchase -- except it's at this moment she spots the seemingly abandoned car not far from Xavier's.

That can't be a good sign.

Frowning, Betsy taps the brakes, even as she reaches out with her mind. Wouldn't be the first time the government's come poking around Xavier's, and it wouldn't, at all, be the first time Betsy's nudged one to merely forget what they were doing and be on their way.
Rogue has posed:
Rogue has a car, but a lot of the time she doesn't use her car. She prefers to take to the skies and fly around, mostly because she can cover more ground this way. With her car she has to stay on the road, this way she can fly over the woods and the lake and just the whole surrounding area of the school. She's not a teacher there, but supposedly she watches over the students that are given detention.

Not that anyone gives THAT out.

So when she spies the car with the flashing hazards there's a tilt of her head. But instead of going to check out the car, she flies above the woods to see if she can sput anyone walking through them. She might spot Sinister. She might not.
Sinister has posed:
Reaching out with the mind reflects a relatively normal evening habitat around one side of the road. On the other side, it's very quiet. Birds that were going to roost have gone a little further afield. The beginnings of night-time forage and hunting activity have decided to vacate the area and there is a low-grade headache waiting to happen, that is very slippery to get a grip on. There's definitely a mind there, but by Golly, it's teflon coated!

And conversely, the figure eyeing the shadows of the pines stops also, turns his head just enough when he feels the incoming presence of more complicated thoughts than are usual, searching the road first, then the sky second and lastly... the trees once again.

There's momentary indecision; without a more agressive use of power, Essex only knows that there are minds there. And some at the school are less permissive than others -- but...

A phone flashlight shines from the twilight and deeper shadows provided by the pregnant sky. "I'm here, if you're looking for me..." oh, this could go so well.
Psylocke has posed:
Betsy senses the figure flying above. It's familiar, and it makes her smile in a fleeting way. It's been two years since she's seen Rogue. However, that smile slips abruptly. A crease of brow reflects Betsy's sudden awareness of a mind that doesn't want to be found -- nor intruded upon. It's not like she can actually be mad, given she herself reflexively hides her presence from other psychics. Still, it proves very interesting indeed.

It also means that she pulls her BMW over onto the verge of the road, not far from where the black SUV is parked. She walks towards it, trying the doors, and if it opens, she'll rifle inside for any paperwork -- license, or registration. Always helpful to know //who// you're dealing with before you encounter them -- and because she usually has the advantage of knowing, it's not something she's readily willing to give up.

Once done, she steps towards the woods. Not an easy thing to keep one's balance in heeled boots, and yet Betsy shows a grace and deftness that speaks of long practice. She keeps up her psychic shields as she approaches, hesitating when her target merely calls out.


Probably. Still. No reason not to spring it, especially knowing Rogue is nearby. Betsy steps between trees, teleporting from one shadow to another to come from the side. "It's dangerous out in the woods," comes her warm, surprisingly amused voice. No hostility -- not openly, yet, apparently willing to see how this plays out.
Rogue has posed:
Rogue isn't as shadow-hopping as Betsy is. Instead, as soon as she sees that flashlight shine, she dives down to land just aside Sinister. There's a tilt of her head to the left and right and then she chuckles. "This is a hell of a place for your car to get all fucked up, Sinnie." Saying this to the man before she glances over to Betsy.

"You might wanna steer clear of this one. He'll have your head warped around his finger so quick you won't know what hit ya." A side eye to Sinister as she gives a wink. "Seriously tho... why the hell are you travelin' so close to the school? You know the moment Jean or Scott catch wind of you it's the devil to pay.." A pause. "...No pun intended."
Sinister has posed:
"The highway is not privately owned and I was coming this way... investigating. Still keeping an eye on things in this neck of the woods, it's..." And Sinister seems to realize that that doesn't sound particularly good, all things considered. Elaboration is needed: "...rich with history, lets just put it that way. And there's something here. My car battery died suddenly and I have it on a regeneration cycle at the moment, but..." he looks from Rogue to Betsy Braddock then, down and up from the heels to the sleek purplish hair. "Well, that does explain the psionic probing. Yes. It's dangerous in the woods. Worse south and east of here."

There is a groan at that thought. "Augh, now I have that in mind, also."

Well. This is certainly not normal. Nathaniel Essex is often quite cordial, but not usually so peculiarly normal.
Psylocke has posed:
It isn't intentional, the way Betsy poses with a hand on her hip. It's just years of being a model make such things a default stance. If anyone looks like they don't belong here, it's Betsy Braddock. And yet her manner is completely at ease, even with Rogue's warning. "When you tell someone to stay clear in the same breath as you greet him with a diminutive, I kind of doubt your sincerity, Rogue," Betsy says, and yet she's smiling all the same.

"How are you?" That seems to be directed at the woman and not the strange man, though Betsy is unspecific.

Rogue threatening the man with Jean or Scott gets a delighted, open laugh. "Well, are you going to introduce me, Rogue, to this 'Sinnie' of yours?"

Everything is kept casual, and at ease. And yet Betsy did indeed hear the man's words. He might or might not be telling the truth. It's barely a stretch of her abilities to psychically reach out further, southwards and eastwards, to see if there's any truth to his claim.
Rogue has posed:
Rogue shrugs. "Well enough." Offering this before she chuckles again. "Doctor Nathaniel Essex, meet Psylocke. Psylocke, meet Doctor Nathaniel Essex." Yes, she called him 'Sinnie' but that's just because she feels like she can. It helps him know - perhaps - that she still feels a certain way about him even if she keeps a second face around those who would rather her NOT keep any sort of relationship with him.

The way Nathaniel is speaking and acting sort of has her a bit off guard. "For investigating something wholly dangerous...you seem a bit...casual. It's not like your usual demeanor. Everything okay?"
Sinister has posed:
"Oh, I suppose I'm riding high on the coattails of having stood off against an entity that could've annihilated the entire american continental landmass, or at least caused some severe damage along innumerate fault lines. It leaves a body prone to feeling slightly immortal," he grins faintly at Rogue at this one, then hints the ghost of a wink at her. "Betsy Braddock, your fame does spread far and wide. Also, your family ties..." inclining his head to her, Essex is inherantly English and upper class at that, no bostonian twang or new England backwater traces in his tone.

The mental probing elicits very little close by, except that there's a truth to what he said about something here. When LOOKING for it, there's a kind of cold feeling in the vicinity, an absence of mindfulness that is chilling. The further south and east she goes, the feeling is a little forboding, but nothing appears to be -close-.

"This caught me by surprise, honestly. But it's not to the level of threats I've been poking at lately. It just feels... peculiar, I suppose."
Psylocke has posed:
Any other time, Betsy might choose to leave the situation in Rogue's hands. And yet something keeps her present. Maybe it's the way Rogue's interacting with Sinister after threatening Jean and Scott's imminent presence. Maybe it's Sinister himself.

It's probably just because there's a mystery to be had, and it's not that strange, cold feeling she senses deep in the woods. A thought is sent, tight and focused, towards Xavier's to touch the nearest trusted teacher, to warn that all students and faculty should stay indoors for now.

Although Betsy's outward appearance reflects an Asian heritage, there's something haughty and completely detectable in her tone that betrays her heritage as British aristocracy. "I'm afraid I can't quite say the same, yet I'm sure you've probably playing polo or golf or some such with one of my brothers at some point." If there's any resentment that such connections happen between men, and not women, it doesn't show in her expression.

"Well, Mr. Essex. Would you care to lead the way?" Betsy invites, with an unerring gesture towards that sensation she feels. It as casual as if she's inviting him for tea, or something.
Rogue has posed:
Rogue raises a brow and then points upwards. "I'll tail you all from above... I don't like walking when I can fly..." She offers this and without another word, takes to the skies because she can.
Sinister has posed:
"I would be up there myself, but I would stand out more in the air than on the ground," Sinister waves toward the departing southern belle, looks sidelong through his smokey glasses to Psylocke and lightly shrugs. "It was you that I'd heard of, not your brothers. You've gazed at me from a few pages of glossy magazines a time or two," in some circles, that could be exceptionally lewd, but not the way he says it. Esquire, more than Playboy, no doubt.

The car with its hazard lights on, the black Lexus SUV, makes a single 'bleep' noise that seems to indicate the charge might be half way, which punctuates the silence in a startling manner. "I just hope that it doesn't sweep past again and cause another EM phenomenon," he murmurs to Betsy, staring at the darkness of the woods or a few long moments. He then switches off his cellphone flashlight and sends it floating off into the dark, a tiny muted glow in the dark, levitated telekinetically into the woods.

Bait perhaps?

Silently, he motions for her to go right, circling left but doing so broadly.

For the psionically gifted, there is something in the woods closest to the highway. It's colder than it should be. Gives a mental chill, but doesn't seem to actively be a -mind- per se. And it's Eerie! For the not so psychically endowed, it's the silence. There's no twilight noises of the animals, no dusk chorus from the birds. Nature, is avoiding.
Psylocke has posed:
Betsy tracks Rogue's departure with a silent look that might or might not be significant. Her violet-eyed gaze soon returns to Essex. Either she judges that he has enough English blood to understand the gesture, or she's attempting to push boundaries, as she seeks to slip a hand into the curve of his arm, if he'll allow it, to escort her like a true English gentleman.

"I have heard that said many a time," and Betsy's response suggests she's heard it in far more lewd contexts, the faint trace of gratitude that he does not subtle, but present for his ear to detect.

"You and I shall have tea together," the purple-haired telepath decides. "And we shall talk further." Stepping away from Nathaniel, she takes two steps and vanishes all together -- stepping through the shadows much closer to the thing she senses. She's as silent as the creature she's hunting, one of the gifts of being a ninja.
Cyclops has posed:
Speak the devil's name and he will appear.

Okay, well, Scott Summers was more of an angel than a devil. But, that call from Psylocke was one that was carefully heeded. If Sinister is even nearby, it's enough to pay attention to his actions. They weren't perhaps on the greatest of terms, but he's willing to investigate /before/ he comes in guns blazing. So he's driving in the car, with Jean Grey in the passenger seat as his eyes stare forward onto the road.

"How do you think we should appraoch this? I'm thinking diplomatically. If he's been here this long and nothing's blown up, no reason to resort to violence or threats immediately."

He lifts his hand to his chin. "And if Psylocke and Rogue are there...there's not much any foe could do in a quick bind." He remarks softly. But soon enough, the car is moving down Greymalkin Lane. Scott looks up ever so slightly. "Hm...think Storm is doing that?"
Phoenix has posed:
Jean Grey frowns softly, glancing at Scott with concern evident in her gentle jade eyes. She's aware of his stormy history with Sinister, although the man has not caused the Xmen any trouble recently. However, he hasn't really done anything to convince her that he can truly be trusted either. It doesn't help that he and Rogue are unusually cozy or she chose to come to him for help instead of any of the Xmen..

But perhaps that's just water under the bridge at this point..?

"It would be wise to approach the situation diplomatically, perhaps his car simply broke down, or.." her frown deepens, brows furrowed with quiet concern, "Another social call to see his 'buddy' Rogue..I know she's not a child and he has not acted outwardly hostile towards us lately, but we should still approach the situation cautiously. Figure out why he is here and send him on his way as quickly as possible.."
Sinister has posed:
The taking of his arm it must be said, is responded to with the absolute epitome of fine Gentleman manners. He could have gone to finishing school and like as not did take certain classes regarding societal manners. It might ring pleasantly in Betsy's core, to know that if he were her escort on a date, there would not be a social faux pas of using the wrong piece of cutlery at a high society dinner! It is the poise, the grace, the exact correctness of angle, even if the contact was fleeting when more pressing matters required attention. "I would be -delighted to have tea with you miss Braddock. I shall give you my calling card ah.... after this is taken care of."

And when she vanishes into the shadow, Sinister pulls a different trick -- a mind is hard to find if it thinks of being quiet, deflecting prying eyes or strange entities away from the current location. However, this is going to be interrupted as he fades into the foreground, by the arrival of /another/ car. "Betsy, we have additional company. Oh, Gordon Bennett..." the cellphone remains a beacon in the shadow, but he emerges from the edge of the wood to gaze at the incoming automobile. The hazard lights are flashing.

And it might be then, that whatever this thing is, passes through the car toward the other side of the road, then darts back again. A chill in the air, a shiver down the spine, but the engine? The battery loses ALL power.
Psylocke has posed:
There's something to be said for one trained to courtly manners by British peerage and upper class -- it can't be replicated in its entirety outside of that environment. So many play to it and lack the fine finesse, the natural movements that come from such an upbringing. It earns Nathaniel Essex an approving smile from one Betsy Braddock, before they part ways.

The warning was intended to keep the vulnerable of Xavier's inside, protected. Betsy isn't surprised it brought its protectors out. "I can guess who that is," she answers Nathaniel in a low voice.

<<Careful.>> It is not Sinister she warned of before, and it's not Sinister that Psylocke warns the two approaching mutants of, now. There's something else out here, something that raises the hair on the back of her neck. Something to be dealt with, swiftly and decisively.

Which she does. Even as the car abruptly loses all power, Betsy takes two steps, disappears into the shadow, and emerges into the path of the thing, unable to see it, only sense the emptiness where it is hiding, like looking at a negative. Purple flares to life in her hand, the psychic knife lighting the woman's features as she seeks to make contact. Many are mistaken for thinking her knife merely a weapon used to cause physical damage. Its true strength is being a conduit of her powers, able to pierce into the heart of whoever -- or whatever -- she strikes at with unerring precision.

Of course, some doors are better off not being opened. Try and tell that to Psylocke, though.
Cyclops has posed:
It hasn't been smooth sailing.

And he knows he's been hostile in the past, but Scott is trying to be more patient, more present, and more understanding. To be a team leader, he has to actually support the team instead of just throwing commands and orders out all the time. Yet, as he drives, he occasionally looks over at his fiance to hear her point of view on things. Understanding that she thinks it's smart to go diplomatically as well, Scott nods in agreement. 'Then that's what we'll try. But if he acts up...all bets are off." Because you always need a backup plan!

He hums softly. "Rogue is a big girl who can make her own decisions...I just worry about the consequences of our decisions." Scott suggests. "But you're right. We should be smart."

There's a shiver down the spine for a moment. Something is off. Really off.

"...is it just me, or is goosebumps a bit more...severe?" Scott questions Jean. "Can you sense anything?" and sure enough, the car drifts to a steady stop as he looks at the car with hazard lights on.

"...why does this feel like a trap?" and he notices Psylocke making ready for defense.

This is a trap.
Phoenix has posed:
Jean Grey nods in agreement to Scott, touching his arm lightly, reassuringly. "You are right of course, I will follow your lead and I've got your back..Whatever happens." yes, backup plans are useful things. "Yes, she is, and I should not worry so much about her, I'm sure she knows what she is doing.." Sinister however, that remains to be seen, but she is a forgiving person too..

As they get closer however, she frowns softly, her grip tightening on her arm, jade eyes narrowed on something that moves through the stalked car. "What...Was that..?" even as Betsy moves to intercept..Whatever it is, she narrows her eyes tensing slightly as she focuses on the car.

Her body glows with a soft aura, getting ready to protect herself and Scott from whatever is there. "I sensed a strange cold presence in the car..Be careful Scott.." but it seems Betsy is already on the move, and she waits to see what might happen next.
Sinister has posed:
A trap? Surely not. For once, such forced engagement is nothing to do with the scientist known as Nathaniel Essex, at least not directly.

"Blast it..." as whatever thing it is moves past and across the road, compounding the issues already present with the dynamic duo of Scott and Jean, Psylocke strikes. It's admirable and something that needs to be appreciated, if only in the split second that it takes for the not-so-good Doctor to thrust his hand out, limned in red energy as it is, to 'curl' the air.

In the instance when he does so and Betsy strikes with her psi-knife, nothing becomes something. There is a shriek, felt rather than actively heard, a surprised pain that to a psychic is much louder, but to even the plebian fellow with no psionic resonance, feels like the echo of a scream long gone, half-heard. The psi-knife strikes nothingness, but in that moment, silvery grey energy explodes like a grenade, landing in molten plasmic puddles all around in a twenty foot radius.

These are people, some of them coughing, some of them gagging for air, some of them recumbant on the ground, staring upward at the sky. Men, women, children also, all connected with a thin skein of white energy into a central anchor point that pulses with the self-same glow.

Which is anchored on Betsy Braddock's punch dagger.

But the world is a thing of instant gratification. The worldly wise take a first glance and a second thought. These individuals are dressed oddly in their ghostly mein; they look like puritans. Pilgrims. The clothing is not of the modern day -- snoods and bonnets are visible, as are the rememberance of hessian surcoats. These ghostly shapes are from centuries past.
Psylocke has posed:
Psylocke has died before. She has felt other people die before. She has has even had the unfortunate experience of having been psychically connected to someone when they died, so she knows what it feels like. She knows the sheer terror and raw agony of it.

This is worse. Indescribably so, magnified and reflected dozens and dozens of times, whipped into a moving, almost living entity -- if one can describe a psychic resonance as such. Her psychic knife pierces the heart of that balled trauma, and in turn, it's reflected in her as she splits it open and the apparations surround her.

Betsy Braddock screams.

She's not one prone to dramatics. Despite her upbringing, she's suffered a lot, and it's turned her into a hardy woman, not prone to whim or dramatics. She screams because there's no other way to release the agony, she screams because she's echoing a trauma of scores and scores of people, she screams because they cannot and she /can/.

At least, until it overwhelms her entirely, and she collapses into unconsciousness. Some might call it a mercy.
Phoenix has posed:
Jean Grey'Seles widen as ghostly apparitions start appearing, followed by a pained psychic scream. Instantly the psi shields come up around herself and Scott, a defensive reflex as. she tries to make sense of what on earth is going on. But she is not in the focal point of..Whatever is going on..

As Betsy screams she frowns, jumping out of the car once it stops but keeping a safe distance. "Betsy, hang on!" Jean ignores the apparitions for now, more concerned for Betsy's safety as she moves quickly to her side, doing a quick psychic scan to determine her mental state. "Scott, we need to get her out of here. Now."

Sinister is eyed warily, uncertain if this is his doing somehow, or if he is truly an innocent bystander. "What on earth is going on..?"
Cyclops has posed:
The trap may not be in Nathaniel Essex.

But whatever may have followed him here. As Scott stops the car to get out of it, he starts to notice things. Starts to notice peple are coughing and gagging for air. Something is very...very wrong. And yet, those ruby-quartz covered eyes sees Psylocke scream to release herself from her agony until she falls into unconsciousness.


Adn Scott is on the move, turning to Jean. "Jean, I need you to expand your telepathic protection. Can you stretch it over the three of us?" He asks Jean. Psylocke can pick up the telepathic weight if she can wake up, but Scott's going straight for her!

No diea what's happening. This is a psi battle most likely, and those abilities are beyond him.

But if something can materialize? This visor is practically /bleeding/ with the concussive energy.
Sinister has posed:
Sinister's hand that was outstretched and limned in red circles at the wrist palm up and makes a 'cupping' gesture, aiming at catching Psylocke before she falls to the ground -- if successful, he gently ferries her toward the X-men. His other hand is thrust out, this time in a 'clutch' gesture overarm. The shapes of ghostly people get that red outline also and perhaps a little more colour. He looks like he's straining to concentrate though, a swirl of that kind of personal wind machine going on with his own telekinesis, he calls over.

"I can hold their essence here, but I don't know which one is the root of this. They're... they're an amalgamation..."

Electricity arcs out of HIS car and forks in a zigzag arcing toward the surreal tableau of ghosts.

"Aaaugh!" And once again, his battery goes flat.
Psylocke has posed:
With the boneless, unchecked way Betsy was falling, Sinister's reach for her with his telekinesis spares her a concussion at the least. She hangs limply as she's ferried towards Jean and Logan, not at all stirring or reacting to their presence.

It's unusual, actually being able to 'feel' Betsy's presence, more so for Jean given she's not met Sinister before. Normally the purple-haired telepath is merely absent from the metal landscape of any given telepath -- but right now she registers as in deep unconsciousness, the kind of trauma response the mind does to protect itself.
Phoenix has posed:
Jean Grey frowns as she cradles Betsy's head, "Hmm, she's still alive but in a deep unconscious state..We need to get her out of here.." she nods to Scott, already expanding a soft pinkish glow of her psi-shield over the three of them as she is carried back to the car..

They could leave now, leave Sinister to his own devices but glancing over at those ghostly figures, Jean has to wonder if there's more to this than meets-the eye. "Those people..Who are they..?" although it's a bit of a strain, she keeps the shield over Scott and Betsy while reaching out to try and psi-scan the ghostly figures, trying to get a feel for their signatures. Are they ghosts? humans? time displaced perhaps or in some sort of distress? Hopefully she can figure something out that might help.
Cyclops has posed:
Psylocke's body floats through the air, compliments of Sinister, towards his arms. Scott slides towards her, catching her and lowering her gently to the ground. His hand rests on her neck to check for life.

"I've got a pulse."

Jean confirming the same makes him nod as he lifts her off of the ground and walks her back to the car to set her in the back seat.

He turns towards the ghastly figured, his hand lifting to his ruby-quarts lenses. "We'll have to find who the source is..."

And...When in doubt? Try someone else's playbook. In this instance, try to do what Logan does.


A beam of red energy surges out of Scott's eyes roared one of the ghastly figures! Let's find out if they have any mass.
Sinister has posed:
The chosen ghost figure seems to disrupt, almost like watching interference on an old TV screen. The concussive blast is disruptive alright and soon, with a silent yell, the figure evaporates into ectoplasm. Only a few more to go, but luckily the one example of such a thing working is all a quick mind needs to add to the thinning of the masses.

With Psylocke in tender hands and heading carward, it frees Sinister's other hand to flinging his own crimson energy at others in the diorama across the roadway. Several more explode and evaporate into nothingness...

Each dissipation makes the others seem more 'there' than they were, becoming more solid.

And within mind of a potent telepath, each dissipation is also making a consciousness come into nascency. The lynchpin, the core. THe original death, perhaps, or maybe the last one -- there is a Pastor in the middle of the amalgamation, a puritanical fellow who seems to be more aware of his surroundings as his flock are destroyed. The mind is there, life of a variety is there, but these are ghosts. Somehow... embodied ghosts that feed on electromagnetic energy, hence the dead batteries.
Psylocke has posed:
Safely tucked away in the back seat of the car, no one's there to witness Psylocke in the moment that Scott's eyebeam transmutes the ghostly figure into nothing more than apparition. Nor to see her when Sinister's energy is flung out and evaporates still more. Her twitching reaction suggests that, despite her unconsciousness, she's still connected to them in some way, a path forged and door opened that has not yet been closed.

The seared edges of pain as those figures dwindle down and what remains becomes stronger pulls her closer to consciousness.


<<NO!>> Psylocke's mental voice lashes out. Impossible to tell if it's warning, or pain that drives the response, as her body has yet to cooperate in recovering from the overload, hand flailing out weakly. She loathes being weak, and so she fights it.
Phoenix has posed:
Jean Grey flinches at the display of explosive evaporations..But what is this, some sort of extreme religious group? "Wait, I don't know if blasting them is the right thing to do..Is it making their leader stronger?"

She peers at the Pastor, reaching out with her mind in case he cannot hear her words, <<Who are you? What do you want?>> she demands.
Cyclops has posed:
Ghost figures dissipate immediately each time Cyclops unleashes an optic blast! Though the core ghastly figure seems to only be strengthened by each dissipating figure. When Jean stops him, Scott puts his glasses back on and he analyzes the situation.

"You might be right...I'm not sure the congregation is willing either."

"I can try blasting the preacher."
Sinister has posed:
There's a silent howl from the core being, the preacher entity. His hands reach to his ears, perhaps because something in him can hear the psychic scream, perhaps because it can hear Jean herself. As if dazed, he looks about, fixing on the X-men, then at Sinister where his eyes are beginning to glow ferociously vividly -- the flare of hellish fire seems to lick his eyebrows and yet they do not burn.

No? No to what? No to this, that, the other thing? Or simply refusal. Rebellion. That did not seem like a plea for mercy. But Psylocke can feel, in her mind's core, where the psyche struggles, a nugget of negativity that does not belong in this world. she pierced through it, after all. Connected with it viscerally with her thoughts and gifts.

<<I don't know that they are conscious enough to understand words, even those given by thought with meaning attached to language that has changed. Can you feel there's a negative energy in there, like... an anchor point?>> Sinister can feel the darkness. Of COURSE he can. <<I do not think tonight is a night for mercy.>> His gaze flames brighter, then flashes almost white-hot, basking the road and the trees on either side like a camera negative for an instant. Then there's nothing in the road, no cruelty, no pain, no chilling afterimage, just silence and cars that need to be jumpstarted.

"I'll take him somewhere where a priest can do what they need to do. He is with me, now." Sinister taps his temple slowly. "I'll leave as soon as my car battery has enough charge. You should take care of Betsy..."

He nods to that, then turns to the car and goes to... wait there. And he will indeed, leave. When he can.
Psylocke has posed:
If Betsy could control her body, could sit up and watch -- it would occur to her precisely who Nathaniel Essex is in this moment. But she misses the burning fire in his eyes and instead merely suffers with the roof of a car that she doesn't see, because her thoughts and focus are elsewhere.

She feels it.

It's not in Betsy's nature, perhaps surprisingly to Sinister, to be merciful either. It's one of the things that's made it difficult in the past for her to work with the X-Men on, though she does her best to temper that side of herself. It is just a seed, a tiny thing. But even small things can grow in time, and connected to her, it could feast, and hurt not just her, but others.

<<NO MERCY!>> The cold tones aren't Betsy's, but Kwannon's. For once the pair is in full agreement, the force of it pushed out in a wave that chases that white-hot flash that accompanies Sinister's mental stroke.

The sense of it disappears, and with it, she finally lapses back into an exhausted sleep.
Phoenix has posed:
Jean Grey frowns softly as she struggles to find some measure of humanity in the preacher to latch onto. But instead she finds something cold, something..Sinister..Which causes her to shiver. And then Sinister himself entraps him somehow and her frowns deepens.

"Wait! Is that a good idea? Why don't you...?" she wants to say she can help, they can help so,show, but can they really trust him, especially with that darkness now in his mind?

And then she catches Betsy's thoughts, her head jerking back towards the car, "Betsy..?" she's already hurrying to the car to check on her. "Is she still connected? We should take her back to the mansion.."

One final, thoughtful glance is given to Sinister before she returns to the car, waiting for Scott.