15429/Cafe - Eifel tower view: High tea in style

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Cafe - Eifel tower view: High tea in style
Date of Scene: 05 August 2023
Location: Paris, France
Synopsis: Betsy met Sinister on her birthday. In Paris, france. Because sometimes, the gesture has to live large. There was discussion, honesty and eventually a deal struck.
Cast of Characters: Sinister, Psylocke
Tinyplot: Shadow Prophecy

Sinister has posed:
Occasionally, money has a very specific purpose, other than to buy goods and services. /Occasionally/ it's for being ridiculous with.

There was an invite delivered by courier, on fine acid-washed parchment, in the most excellent of calligraphy, brought to Betsy Braddock's appartments. All it said was:

        High Tea? ~NE~

But it did come with a valet who had a very fine rolls royce, who knew the best routes to drive to JFK airport where a very sleek looking black private jet was housed.

Queue: five star treatment aboard the plane. And landing in Charles de Galle, another valet waiting, with a quaint little motorcycle also looking rather shiny, with keys simply handed over with a dangly note: Happy Birthday. Meet me at la Tour D'Eiffel, at Four pm. I do find that Paris is so lovely in the summertime, don't you?
Psylocke has posed:
After the incident near Xavier's, it's unclear whether the lack of contact from one Betsy Braddock is due to the fact that she's realized who the man is, or just life. It could as easily be one as the other, given the recent rumors floating around that she's formed a new group of mutants together for as yet unknown purpose.

Still, Betsy is an aristocrat -- and she recognizes class and style when she sees it.

Sure, it could be a trap. Getting into a unknown car and a jet to who-knows-where. But Lady Braddock knows you can't get proper High Tea in the states -- only in Europe. If she's being watched, her reaction to the motorcycle -- and the note especially -- is a lift of eyebrows and a laugh.

Only a few minutes after four PM, she arrives at the Eiffel Tower. Betsy Braddock's dressed like a local: at least in as much as she's wearing clothing that reflects the current fashion trends: a faux-fur pale blue cardigan, a brown pleated skirt and two-inch matching heels. She's also wearing a white scarf knotted loosely around her neck, and carrying a pale blue Birkin bag. Paired with the diamonds at her ears and designer sunglasses, few would doubt she belongs here.

Especially since most people here are staring up and around at the tower in wonder, while Betsy merely watches the world behind her sunglasses, her mind carefully feeling for a presence she still knows she won't sense -- but it's not only Nathaniel Essex she's searching for. She does have plenty of enemies, after all.
Sinister has posed:
Aah, sometimes it isn't paranoia, they really ARE out to get you. Such is life with an abundance of precaution and a natural tendancy to have a few moments of incoming precognition at your disposal -- Essex is abominably hard to sneak up on, he always seems to know when people are there, or about to arrive. It makes positioning oneself an artform.

This is what happens when she shows up, looking chic and as if the fashion week should be envying her at the moment. By contrast, Essex looks as if he ought to be enjoying a yacht in the C'Ote d'Azure, with a /pristine/ white shirt, casually rolled up -just- so, a tailored waistcoat in black velvet with gold brocade, leather pants and wing-tips. Raebans are his shade of choice, mirrored. He also looks human, up a little ways away from the parkade that leads the eye to the spectacular view of the tower. The cafe overlooks the Sienne, where river cruises are in full swing for those tourists that might want to indulge.

He's also lounging, in the way that people with inherited poise can muster, when fine breeding and good schooling collided in the right proportions. Like one of the lions of Trafalgar square, all regal laziness.

The smile he wears on spotting her is genuine and quite charismatic, but that's never something he lacked. That's what makes him worrisome, is in many ways, the bastard is likeable.
Psylocke has posed:
That charisma is an energy matched -- at least when she's fully Betsy Braddock. Once she locates him, the Englishwoman's expression is effortlessly warm, the smile that lights her features seemingly genuine, or good enough that one can't tell the difference.

She walks the way all models do: with a long stride and a sway of her hips that over time has become unconscious and natural in her heels. It pulls gazes here and there, even in a city where so many occupants have a claim to looking chic and fashionable.

Betsy's hand extends towards Nathaniel. "You give delightful presents, Mr. Essex," she says by way of greeting.

For a moment, he has the entirety of her focus. It's not a mental probe, but she's studying him intently behind those sunglasses. "I take it you are well?" the question isn't merely courtesy, though it's also that. She saw the report of what happened after she passed out. "I admit to a curiosity I hope you'll indulge."
Sinister has posed:
Sinister rises up to his full Collosus-level height, bowing lower over her hand and kissing the air above it, his other hand tucked into the small of his back at the fullness of the gesture. When he straightens, he releases her fingers as if they were a butterfly, with a light elevation. "There are women in the world that would appreciate different kinds of fashion -- but I thought you more the kind that might enjoy ennervation. If you get stuck in a tricky situation, press the hidden button. You'll find it I'm sure, when you've truly indulged in putting her through her paces. Just make sure you've got plenty of road ahead of you..." spoken as he straightens, he takes a single side-step to pull out her chair just so, not settling himself until she's comfortable.

Parasols shade the table from the hot August sun and the breeze from the river is rather pleasant. And he seems entirely relaxed in his demeanor, but that could just make him an exemplary actor.

"I have had much worse days, miss Braddock. May I call you Betsy?" He pauses for a moment of assent or denial. "That matter was taken care of before I arranged this rendez-vous. It would not have been possible without your interaction. I ...take it you know who I am, now?"
Psylocke has posed:
"Now you truly have me intrigued," Betsy admits, the smile lighting her features an indication of her curiosity and interest -- something that will have to wait for experimentation, later. Her lips curve upwards into a smile when he kisses the air over her hand, and she lowers herself easily into the seat he pulls out, setting down her bag on the table and pulling off her sunglasses to settle beside them.

Her eyes are a vivid violet in the brightness of the day, and she watches him with undisguised interest.

"If I might call you Nathaniel," Betsy allows. "Or do you prefer Nate?"

The slight hesitation suggests that the news that the matter has been dealt with hadn't reached her; the inclination of her head that follows indicates she very well knows who he is. Strangely, there's a deepening of her smile. "Indeed. I hadn't guessed. You have quite a reputation. No wonder Scott and Jean wish you to stay away from the Mansion. I assume you're aware of their antipathy -- and yet I find it interesting you chose to pursue that anomaly, given its relative position." Perfectly manicured nails -- a light blue to match her top -- tap briefly on the table's surface. "I can only conclude it to be some personal matter, rather than any kind of declaration of intention." Her sculptured brow lifts, as if seeking his confirmation or disagreement.
Sinister has posed:
There's a tiny little half-smile that suggests he's not telling. Half the fun is finding out.

"Nathaniel. You know," settling with the same leonine lethargy, Sinister's own shades are folded and hooked nonchalantly on the 'v' of his waistcoat, even as a tea-cart is rolling up, "I tried Nate on for size a few times, it doesn't really seem to suit me all that much. A younger man's name, I suspect?" Although he doesn't look more than in his late thirties, early forties. There's also no suggestion he ordered -for- her, as she is aristocratic: a true high tea doesn't offer one choices, it gives you all of them. The selection of teas is for their delectation, from the orient to more local climes, traditional or fruit and herbal.

Storm grey eyes settle on her, giving her the same interest that's being shown him, though both their reasons may be quite, quite different.

"You make logical conclusions. They are a little... left of the target, but not far off. I have been feeling responsible for certain events and though I could let them play out on their own, they -nag- at me. It's not a feeling I'm accustomed to having, but then... lately a lot of things are rather new."
Psylocke has posed:
For a moment, those violet eyes tick over his features, like Betsy's testing out the feel of that name on him. "No, you're right. Nathaniel works so much better for you," the model concludes, with a smile, "Though not because of your age."

She takes a small, cut finger sandwich, a mini berry pie, and a sweet potato scone, though she touches none of it while she waits for the tea -- and it's proper English tea -- to be served under her watchful gaze. Apparently it's acceptable, because the waiter is bestowed with an approving and warm smile that later, might lend him to slipping her his number.

Betsy's attention, however, is otherwise wholly focused on Nathaniel. "Responsibility?" She guesses. "Guilt?" with a lift of brows, though she quickly dismisses that one. "If you are you attempting to disabuse me of the unwelcome parts of your storied history, Mr. Es- Nathaniel, you need not bother. I would not have accepted the invitation if I was in any way uncomfortable."

A beat, and she reaches to coil fingers around the handle of the tea cup, taking the lightest sip. "I admit, I haven't felt anything quite like that- before. A personal matter, perhaps?"
Sinister has posed:
"Elizabeth Taylor," Sin murmurs, smiling softly to himself and lowering his gaze from her, to look somewhere into his past, perhaps. "THat was nonsequitur--" with a bark of a chuckle, he looks up again, crow's feet at the corners of his eyes where they crinkle with self-amusement. "--Your eyecolour.. I've only ever seen it once before and I believe you wear it better."

Now that that's taken care of, he indicates earl grey with the edge of his sunglasses, in lieu of the long pointer that they /used/ to use once upon a time, so that those that should not touch dirty things, did not have to do so. "Citron, monsier?" "Oui." - returning full focus upon his companion of the afternoon, a mille fuelle and cucumber and watercress sandwich levitate of their own accord to his plate, but the waiter doesn't even seem to notice until he turns back from the tea service. To give the young man credit, he only blinked and checked the cart visually, no comment made.

"I accept fully what I have been and what I have done. That wasn't my intention at all, merely laying down a conversation trail from the past to the present, Betsy. I am glad you are comfortable, else this tea would be -quite- awkward, would it not?" He shakes his head. "No, that's hardly a secret. As to the event..." un-named, but they were both there after all "...not precisely, either. Connected to me. I don't know if you are aware that I used Cerebro a while ago, to find a fracture of my own psyche that had been forcibly ejected by a hand not my own. I did not ... reabsorb it. I allowed it to be imprisoned by Jean and the others. My hate."
Psylocke has posed:
The invocation of the long dead actress gets a lift of a single brow from Betsy, her intrigued regard taking in her companion's reminiscent expression before he brings himself back to the moment. His clarification gets an amused smile from the woman. "I am very glad you chose a renowned and glamorous actress to compare me to, rather than some cartoon character." Anime, she probably means anime, but she doesn't know the difference.

Nathaniel's open and visible use of his power credits him with a quiet regard from Betsy, waiting until after their server has vanished before she speaks. "I take it then, you do not much try to hide your identity. It isn't the same for all of us." A pointed reminder that Betsy Braddock isn't associated with Psylocke, nor her powers.

"Oh, I don't know. I find the routines of high tea comforting, a way to ease my personal discomfort. Certain behavior is expected, and it feels familiar and warm, like an old blanket." Betsy's smile is a shade reminiscent, and genuine also. The news that he had used Cerebro -- and it is news -- is the first thing that seems to unsettle the purple-haired woman at all. "No," she says, quickly. "I was away on business." Vanished unexpectedly, or so the rumors around mutantkind go. Most figured she was dead.

Betsy sips at her tea, while she absorbs her companion's words. "I see," she finally says. And maybe she does: it certainly explains his earlier words feeling responsible. "This fracture, then -- it escaped?" she guesses. And then she expels a breath. He can feel it, the moment she connects the dots, like a little psychic pulse that escapes her for a moment, not intentionally: just a measure of a momentary loss of control as she relives that agonizing moment, all those deaths centered to the point of her psychic knife and cutting to the heart of herself even as she peeled back the layer of it.

"Was it you, then? The village?" Her hand stays steady, a coolness in her voice that wasn't present before.
Sinister has posed:
"I just don't advertize." Sinister's initial reply is given with the lightest of shrugs. He does not hide. But he doesn't explode buildings or move the golden gate bridge, either. Secret identities are what they are, his is accidentally secret. But then the question is posed with the conversational deep freeze with it. He looks up sharply, meeting her gaze.

"No, that was before I came to the americas, in honesty. Why it woke up, was me. The confinement of the Monster," the capital 'm' can be heard in his tone "was exceptionally traumatic and occurred in the astral plane. It, the plane itself, reacted violently and ejected seeds of Trauma. I felt something at the time, like a myriad of scuttling things running for cover, for shelter... solace?" the slight inquiry at the end of his words come, without him bidding it and he looks momentarily a little annoyed that the intonation escaped him. He clears his throat, raising his tea, black with a slice of lemon, for a judicious sip. She'll know that as an old custom, used by those that want to recompose themselves. "Huh. Occasionally, pennies drop into place in the most surprising of circumstances, don't they?" he says with a little voiceless chuckle to chase it. "Irregardless... the seeds got into the material world and Westchester is in the heart of a region of north America that has an -abundant- share of past traumas. SOme of the seeds landed in fertile ground. That was one of them--" he sighs "--A father Riley Winston, a puritan minister, went mad when famine, the poor weather of a polar vortex and Tuberculosis struck his parish. He ended up burning his flock alive with pitch, in the center of the church he shepherded them from. The collective anguish lingered on the site and when the seed saught succor, it grew. One became many at your hand and the cause of it, the minister himself, was laid bare. Jean and Logan found the village by their own means, but... the forgotten town has been exorcized."
Psylocke has posed:
Does she believe him? Hard to say, at first. The steady, cool gaze is nothing like the natural warmth of Betsy of earlier. He may well begin to sense this is another part of her, a different personality entirely. Though her bearing retains its graceful manner, the sharpness in her eyes, and the steady, predatory watchfulness watchfulness are abrupt and jarring on the elegant aristocrat.

"Yet you feel responsibility." Manicured fingers tap briefly against the delicate china of her cup. "That is curious indeed."

Violet eyes don't part from his form as he describes what happened, and the particular outcome of the minister. It is only when he reveals that they have been exorcized that her breath exhales, and with that, that coolness disperses as Kwannon relents and gives way to Betsy once more.

"I remember it all. I felt them all," Betsy murmurs. "I carried some part of it here," she touches her chest, over her heart, eyes going distant a moment. "And I felt it ease. I did not realize it lingered until now." Dangerous, to have a seed, even something so small as that, festering. One might think it reckless, indeed, that she did nothing about it.

Reckless, too, might be this moment, as Betsy's eyes come up to study Nathaniel again. "I have read your file, and yet what you tell me paints a different picture. Tell me, Nathaniel, what are your thoughts on other mutants? I understand you have... experimented, before. But you've also helped. Warren-" she catches herself, a little too late not to let that moment of weakness as she says his name be heard, "-you helped him."
Sinister has posed:
Mutual observation is transpiring here. The duality is catalogued, the push and pull. Whatever the cause, the effect is measured and observed. And perhaps, just perhaps, that observation changes the outcome just a little bit by its nature. Such is a natural law. "He's not the only one of you I've helped," those handful of words are said very quietly. His lips purse very thin, his teacup held with care against the saucer. Once more, he wets his whistle, but this time simply to enjoy the temperature, now perfect.

"You are the future. The -better- future, at least. Not the only one, unfortunately. But you're also random. Unpredictable." It doesn't sound like he's talking specifically about people there, though, which could be worrying.

A cock of the head, birdlike and he continues, thoughtfully. "I wager you meant to leave the question open ended. It lacks specificity, after all." Sniff "I have a great deal of respect for your kind. So much so, I've made quite a thing of mutating myself. Some of that did not quite go to plan, but these things inevitably lead to new observations and discoveries --" pause "-- I've not been harvesting people for experiments for quite a while now. I don't actually need to any more, which is probably not reassuring. You can thank the police force for that; humanity wrote it into law, that once you've dropped your own biological matter and walked away, it doesn't intrisically fall under your power to control any more and can be used by any that collect it. Fundamental of forensic DNA sampling. I've been turning my attention onto what causes dangerous mutation, lately, which opened up an entirely chasm-like can of worms."
Psylocke has posed:
She's conscious that she's let something slip: let him see a true part of her whole. And yet Betsy Braddock is as calm and unflappable as ever, sipping at her tea and taking the smallest bite from the sandwich. "Helped is doing such heavy lifting. They weren't all like Warren." Betsy says that with certainty.

Still, it's obvious she's giving Nathaniel his due, letting him speak his mind and more importantly, listening. She can't, as she might normally be tempted to do, merely touch his thoughts to see if he's being honest. To do so unprompted to another psyhic would be rude -- not that that's often stopped Betsy, either.

But it's clear she's trying to build something. Trust, maybe. Or something on the way to it.

"Few will be comforted by the fact that you need not traumatize them directly to steal what is theirs, what they are made of, to change others -- or yourself," Betsy observes. "But that's not my primary concern. Yes -- it was open-ended on purpose. My kind, as you say, is in danger. Not just mine, but everyone -- everything." It's dramatic, of course, and it's meant to be. "I have prophetic visions, now and then. Sometimes they are useful, sometimes they are useful only after the fact. But I've had one specific one, near constantly, for the last two years."

"One thing you should understand about me, Nathaniel, I despise being controlled. I've had it happen to me more than once, and I buck against the idea it. So you may understand why I took my time to make sure this was a genuine thing. That it wasn't merely some mutant trying to urge me to a particular end, some-" with a smile at him, "-mastermind, guiding me from a distance. I know with an absolute certainty that something's coming. Not immediately, but perhaps in the next year: and it won't care what lines we've drawn. It wants to pull us into darkness and despair, and feed off us, until we claw each other to death." There is nothing but quiet certainty in her British tones. "I intend for that not to happen. It's why I've put together a team of those willing to step beyond the lines the X-Men have drawn."

"Someone like you, Nathaniel-" her violet eyes flicker over him, her smile warming back into familiarity, "-you are willing to do whatever it takes, when you've of a mind. And, by all accounts, your mind is something to behold. What I'm asking is this: might I ask you for aid, now and then, as needed?"
Sinister has posed:
Now this? This brings about a spocked eyebrow. And those bastards are made for that gesture, they wing up /just/ so. Like Hugo Weaving. That man had an eyebrow superpower. But the editor digresses...

He raises a finger here, straightening himself up to be considerably less casual, resting his elbows on the arms of the sunchair by the Sienne, bringing his index fingers and thumbs together, the rest of his hands balled. "Just me?" he asks "Or everything I can bring to bear if I want to?" casually asked.

He fixes on her face again, that calm asian influence that rides her. "Control and despising it, is something you and I share. Being told that something is impossible, cannot be done, it is almost as grating. There is a lot I can brush off, but some of what tends to follow me along just grates on my nerves because of that. And all that is -not- known, for all that there is on my file. Or yours for that matter. Or anyone's. Narrow minded..."

He stops himself though. "What you're saying regarding your dreams echos research that I've been doing myself. Part of my work has been in preparing for it, but lately? I have been becoming painfully aware that I cannot do everything alone. And the irony isn't lost on me, that working -with- someone else has been in fact, rewarding at times. I would be keen to hear what you've made out of your own warnings. I could be persuaded to share what I've found on my own, also."
Psylocke has posed:
Betsy's, "Whatever you're willing to give," might, in any other circumstance, sound like a line. Certainly she does it, perhaps unconsciously, with a weight and a timbre that might suggest it is, yet Nathaniel is familiar with the haughty, knowing tones of the British aristocracy, and reads it for what it is.

An aristocrat's version of begging without quite begging.

"At this point, I'm unwilling to turn my back on any opportunity, and you, Nathaniel Essex, and how our paths crossed -- I can't read that as anything but an opportunity at the right time and place."

Betsy Braddock does not believe in fate. If she did, it would mean the horrors that she's endured were intended for her. That the ones she'll face in the future are inevitable. Her precognitive visions have shown that what is seen can be changed, and there's a hard determination in her for that.

What she's not expecting is that counter. It's so much more than she was prepared for. She was expecting a price, of course -- she /has/ read his file -- but not an open sharing of learnings. For a moment, all the model does is reach for her tea, sipping it. Giving her a moment to compose herself.

"I can show you, if you like," Betsy finally offers, as she sets the tea down, and she places her hand flat on the table, palm upwards, to make her meaning clear. Touch grants permission -- it makes it easier too -- but having such an explicit sign is only natural between telepaths. This, though, is a risk. Letting him into her head. And, while he's in there, vice-versa. There's a stillness that suggests alertness, awareness. That cold part of her personality, watchful and unrelenting.
Sinister has posed:
Sinister simply gives a small nod, nothing more than that. Some things are gauche and making bones of what is a blue blood's entreaty is /not/ what one does.

It's the gesture though, that causes this moment of hesitation. Her hand holds his focus, then her face with a measure on his own features of genuine shock. It's there, then it's gone, because he's become extremely good at not showing his cards. That's the only hesitation he has though, exhaling long and slow.

To those in the cafe, walking past, enjoying the summer in the city of love, it is a simple gesture of a lucky man holding hands with a beautiful lady that many might consider to be very far outside his league, whilst others might simply be envious. Of one or the other.

But in the contact -- the titanium fortress of whispers in his mind, slipslides her awareness all around the houses for a moment, until everything is suddenly /crystal/ clear.

She can feel a great deal of that held back; her own gift is a powerful jackhammer sharpened to a knife at times. His is all about incredible control of himself and by proxy, others? But she can also dimly hear the whispers of everyone's thoughts nearby. Everyone's. All of Paris, but ... as if she has noise cancelling headphones in, all indistinct and shielded from being fully heard, likely for the sake of sanity. His mind slices through with the precision of a surgical scalpel and allows the knowledge that he's been genuine. Not just now, but for the entire of the conversation. Even the birthday present was a genuine largesse and was done with actual thought as to what she might enjoy, which is just... contradictory at best.

<<I am holding most of me back. It wouldn't help this situation.>> -- a subtle knife of voice, it has a very slight warning to it too. Don't probe. It might not be a good thing for either of us.
Psylocke has posed:
Betsy's fingers are warm, from the cupping of the tea, and though she doesn't mean to, they tighten around Nathaniel's fingers when they make that contact, an outward reaction to the rush of noise and power that threatens to overwhelm her when they connect.

There are many things Betsy is good at. One is concealing herself, psychically speaking -- she's not merely a null, blank spot to psychics, she simply doesn't exist to them, and even the use of Cerebro has been hard pressed to push past that reflexive shield of hers. It has the unintentional side effect of concealing her powers, also. She is an extraordinarily powerful telepath. She is not a scalpel; she is the hammer force. The psychic knife she wields is a way of focusing that power down into a single point, but her nature is to overwhelm by sheer force of will. Given the right training, her power could be used for delicate and precise action, but those that trained her -- the Hand amongst them -- needed her will and strength, not deliberation.

Almost immediately, like a snap response, that shield she holds around herself is extended to Nathaniel, so that they have peace from that incessant whisper. It is only then, with the distractions aside, that Betsy discerns the nature of the conversation: the genuineness of it. And while she is guarded by nature, he is aware that she, too, was honest about her intentions. The presence of that other personality in her is felt more keenly here, like an afterimage hovering over her. Cold, implacable, merciless.

<<Kind of you,>> comes her British tones, unchanged in mental energy -- it has a warmth and geuineness to it.

One moment they are sitting by the Sienne, the next moment, they are in New York City. In this space, Betsy looks... different. She looks not like the Asian woman she appears now in the real world, but with the vestiges of her old physical form, the British-born Elizabeth. Nathaniel might have just enough time to absorb that before the sunlight they are standing in darkens as clouds roil in overhead, abruptly and unnaturally, plunging them into darkness. Sparse lighting surrounds them, which might be merciful given the scenes that follow.

The cloud overhead seems to pulse, like something within it is pushing for a moment. It happens again, and again, and every time it does, everything feels tighter and darker until that darkness feels like its crawling into their very limbs. It's not the clouds that are the concern, even if the entity that is inside them seems to be the cause. It's the effect it has on the inhabitants of New York around them. It's like they're watching a show that has already played out, unable to intervene. A couple eating outside at a cafe suddenly begin weeping and wailing, grabbing at each other, slapping and pulling with frenetic despair. A group of businessman walking out of an office building suddenly drop to the ground, writhing and pulling their own hair out. Other pedestrians start screaming in terror, staring at nothing that can be seen, leaping out in front of traffic in what seems to be a deliberate act. While they stand there, frozen, a dozen more horrific such scenes play out, a frenzy of violence and fear.

Everything goes silent, as if humanity itself has been extinguished. And in the wake of that silence, a presence is felt, pushing down from those impossibly dark clouds. What Nathaniel knows for sure: it is /not/ Apocalypse. Even so, it's nothing good: something cosmic and old and primal that can just as readily erase all life without too much effort.
Sinister has posed:
Paris is a long way away. Paris is burning.

Observing the moment, the moments, the horror that she's witnessed in dreams, Essex is stood. Maybe he is a pillar of solace in that vision, because surely she's shown this to SOME others and had a lot of mixed reactions. In his case, he's regarding it all clinically, unmoved. Well, not unmoved, but he doesn't wear horror or panic, or any other kind of emotion.

He looks at her, or her psychic reflection, then the sky in black is painted differently. A red star appears, a comet from the tail that can just be made out.

A snap moment, where he was in deep space, floating silently, watching an entity surrounded by a halo of white, diving into the core of that same comet. In the mindscape she knows it's the same one, just as she knows her own name. The being in white energy brings back fragments of that astral body -- cue: a knowledge, watching a very high tech piece of machinery, because it is HIS mind that is sharing this understanding... the astral body dips into subspace in its passage through the galaxy. And it vanishes from measurement for quite a bit of its journey only to reappear.

SWITCH: a lab space, where the analysis of that rock shows that it contains organic matter and an element not of the periodic table. FLASH: a rat being fed a mix of that matter and literally being eaten alive from the inside, becoming cachectic and emaciated before desperately eating itself to death trying to stay alive.

FLASH: Speaking to an egyptian god. The figure is short and has red hair. The image he can see in his mind eye is seven foot tall and has the head of an ant-eater. Sutekh. Set.

"It's called Apophis. The meteor coincided with catastrophy and heralded great change and disaster..." That's his voice. "The meteorite absorbs living energy, the more powerful the better. There's people that have been gathering fragments of when a portion of it split off and hit the sahara thirty thousand years ago..." pause "...you ATE the sample??" that seemed a bit random.

Astronomical charts; the apophis meteor is due to return. In the next year or so.
Psylocke has posed:
Betsy has seen this often enough that there is no reaction in her face anymore. There probably was, two years ago, but even horror becomes numb after sufficient repetition. It might explain that coldness: but the coldness isn't the cause of this. <<I can show you dozens more such visions. Each a little different, with different people. But I have met many of them, and they live and love and breathe -- now.>>

In the vision, their hands still touch. Betsy turns her head towards him, her British features almost odd, carried as it is with the same expressivess in the real world, but a different body.

Then they are in space.

This is new, and not her own vision -- she could break free of it easily, should she choose to let go. Conversely though -- perversely, perhaps -- her hand tightens to indicate /he/ shouldn't let go. She chases this down, following the blinding white of the approaching comic, until they are in the lab. She watches the rat's death with a cold lack of compassion.

Then they are -- he is -- speaking to a God.

<<Ah,>> Betsy breathes out, in cool tones. <<What has come before will come again.>> She presses, and pulls the knowledge from him -- from his memory of this moment. <<In the next year or so?>> It would be absurd not to be a little bit afraid. Kwannon though doesn't fear death. It's only Betsy that fears, mourns, in fact, for the potential loss of all life.

Betsy turns towards him, taking in his psychic form: the brilliance of his mind, his determination -- but also all the things that make him dangerous, too. She shivers, because as detached as Kwannon is, even she fears what she can sense of his drive, his ambition, the things that make him inhuman. He is a kind of fire to her: something that might help her burn brighter, or something that will burn her to ash. <<Nathaniel Essex. This is either the start of a beautiful team up, or the beginning of the end. I think this requires a drink.>>

She breaks that physical contact.
Sinister has posed:
And all of a sudden, they are drifting hands apart in the bright august air of Paris by the riverside. The tea is probably in need of being refreshed, but that's not on the cards. "I believe you are right--" there is a pause "-- and you have the weight of Essex corp at your back. I like to tinker in my spare time. I shall have to show you the hangar. But if we find anything interesting that will further my research, I will be staking a claim. There is no reward, without a little risk." He smiles and there's that flash of hellfire red in his gaze, for a moment. Maybe he did that to remind, because it's gone a moment later. "Trust me only so far. But trust me in that I do not want my world and all that I have done, to be destroyed any more than you do."

The poor waiter is here without even really working out why he ended up over here, he just takes it in stride. And maybe she WILL take his number, he is quite cute. "Oui monsieur?"

"Champagne. Chateau la Fite. We are celebrating." And maybe, there's a bit of crestfallen. But maybe there isn't. The waiter's french after all. "You will -have- to let me know how Warren takes this. And you will have to meet my partner. You know him, at least by his infamy..." he takes his cucumber and watercress, makes it disappear. "The Morningstar."
Psylocke has posed:
It takes Psylocke a moment to remember to breathe; a moment to feel the warm air on her skin, the fresh breeze, to reorient herself back in the here and now. As Nathaniel declares Essex corp at her back, the smile she gives him is somewhat like the dawn: brilliant and unfettered, maybe touched by a hint of relief.

It is a heavy burden to bear alone, after all.

"I should very much like to see what you have going. And I have no interest in patenting the technology. I stay out of the business side of our family," she says, with a slight grimace that fades immediately, like a passing cloud. Much like the flash in his eyes. The sharpness of her gaze suggests that, yes, she saw it, and comprehends the warning. "You have been flatteringly honest with me, Nathaniel. I thank you for that, and I shall heed the warning."

Will she, though?

/We are celebrating,/ he says, and Betsy adds with a smile to the waiter, "Or possibly commiserating. Either way, champagne is the only reasonable solution." A flicker in her expression when he mentions Warren. Certainly a weak point for her. "Mm. I may leave that alone for now," she elects. "Until needs must. Once he sees the value of this arrangement, he may be more receptive to it." He probably won't be, but Betsy has faith she'll convince Warren anyway. They do have a kind of hold over each other. "The Morningstar?" she echoes. "Lucifer?" Intrigue flashes in her gaze. "Do you think he would be flattered if I admitted I both dread and anticipate such a meeting?" One would have to be a fool after all, not to wary at the idea of meeting Lucifer himself.
Sinister has posed:
"He would get a kick out of it," Nathaniel laughs a little, a shake of the head. "Between you and I, the devil has been the functional reason that you and I are having this conversation and there has been the level of stark honesty that there has been. He, like I, has aspects of him that are misunderstood. Not wrong, though. We are who we are, but... he is brutally and unequivacably truthful. He prides himself on it, in fact. But just because he speaks the truth, does not mean it is the whole truth. And that in and of itself, is a lesson well learned, I feel. Too many people trust the Truthsayers and do not question. He /makes/ you question and you're better for it. Because there will -always- be truth in what he says."

Whether or not that is a comfort or not, is neither here nor there right now. A card is placed on the table. "You have a return ticket of course, and an invite. The nightclub Lux, in Haven. He owns it. He will want to meet you, as some of his capital is going to be funnelled your way also. I know that you have money, Betsy. I've read -your- file too. But there's a difference between the levels of money you now have backing you." He doesn't elaborate further, that would be a boast that is entirely unnecessary.

"Sundays tend to be quite quiet. Also, the club is a haven, which I believe, if you're doing the kind of unsanctioned behaviour that might occasionally make the crowd at the school frown, is an important factor. Nobody is allowed to piss on hushpuppies there, it doesn't matter who you are. All are equal in Lux -- any that break that rule, in the supernatural and inhuman world, have to deal with the Archangel personally."

Definite article. Not codename. Although that would be funny if Warren impersonated sometime, for the sake of necessity.

"By my calculations, having measured his power emmisions a time or two, the Morningstar has the power to preeeeeeeeetty much rival the world's nuclear arsenal and he..." he cocks his head here "...is imprisoning most of it. It's the strangest observation I've had to make in a long time."
Psylocke has posed:
"I'm glad," and Betsy's smile backs up her words. It's clear in the way she bends her head towards him, studying his features as he talks, that Betsy Braddock is paying focused attention to Nathaniel's advice. It would serve her well to heed it, given she's never actually met the devil before... just men who think they are.

It is gauche to speak of money, and levels of wealth, and yet for a venture like this? Perhaps necessary. Betsy's gaze flickers to the card, but she doesn't take it yet. "I have heard of the club, but never been. Hm." A laugh coils through her and appears in a warm burst. "Neutral ground, then? The Morningstar's home is Switzerland?" It's a concept that seems to tickle her with delight. "Very well. I tend not to try and... urinate on anyone's hushpuppies in other people's homes."

It's when he mentions Archangel that her brow lifts -- naturally. It takes her a beat to perceive Nathaniel isn't talking of her former boyfriend, but a literal Archangel. "Noted."

"A Morningstar who can destroy the world but is self-sabotaging sounds... both unsettling and intriguing. I stand by my first impression of the idea of meeting him." She leans forward to take the card, opening her purse and dropping it in with a bare glance. The waiter returns with that bottle of champagne, just in time. It's offered first to Nathaniel to taste and approve before the waiter fills Betsy's glass.
Sinister has posed:
And here in the moment, is where things get a little more bizarre still. And possibly for the better -- "No, the lady will decide if it is up to par or not..." Nathaniel defers to Betsy to approve the champagne, with a smile. "To getting the job done."

And there is the beautiful moment concluded, under the blue summer skies, tourism and reflections of culture and artistic perfection. This deal was made where everything that makes humans -worthwhile- is characterized most grandly. A different kind of Paris accord, but no less meaningful for it.