15437/Patronage and other animals

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Patronage and other animals
Date of Scene: 06 August 2023
Location: Club Lux, Melville
Synopsis: Psylocke got to visit Lux, meet its owner, come to her own conclusion and go psyche-diving into dangerous territory, in search of an answer or two. And meet the Devil in all his glory.
Cast of Characters: Sinister, Lucifer, Psylocke
Tinyplot: Shadow Prophecy

Sinister has posed:
Yesterday was a fine day. It started off bright and early, lots of things were done and Sinister was busy in Paris most of the day. But he did bring back very fine pastries, a lot of cheese, some wine samples and some very fine gallois cigarettes. Duty free is meaningless to some individuals.

There was also a casual mention that there was a young woman that positively -had- to meet the devil and be thoroughly scrutinized. Because we cannot possibly -not- put Betsy Braddock to the test and let the fun commence, can we? That wouldn't be sporting and we do need to have our fun somehow.

Sinister waits in the VIP section of the club, up on high and watching the dancers and the people at the bar with only half an eye; they are background drone and he's anticipating something. What that is, well, it might not yet have been decided on yet, but tonight will definitely be /interesting/.

"She's british aristocracy, x-man, but not like the white hat crowd. She asked as nicely as she could conceivably allow, for help with setting up her covert ops crew and I insisted, given that inevitably you'll have a hand in some of it... that you meet her. I might have ... suggested she keep an open mind." He murmurs, to possibly thin air. One doesn't have to be in the same room as someone when you're him and you've established certain ... connections... to be able to communicate.
Lucifer has posed:
The weekends are always busy for Club Lux and thus Lucifer's attention is usually on the club itself for at least a night or two. Mostly making sure things don't get too crazy and he ends up in more trouble than what any night of debauchery and general sin is normally worth. Although... that ceiling price is a lot higher than most people anticipate.

And the Devil has his way out of things.

He is not in the VIP lounge, although he can listen to what his lover has to say even when he's in another part of the club. Lucifer, himself, is impecably dressed in a fine three piece suit of black with a red undershirt and red handkerchief tucked into his left breast pocket. His hair is slicked back some, and stark blue eyes look out and around those who have already gathered within the club. His usual 'nesting' point being where he can see both the top and bottom levels of his club, and he plucks a whiskey off a tray of a wandering server passing him by. "Well, she sounds absolutely delightful...and it will be nice to meet someone of the X-men ilk who isn't a strict rule book thrower...a little grey area will be refreshing." He speaks back, to no one in particular except the one he's actually responding to.
Psylocke has posed:
In most clubs, the little black dress is the default uniform of most women. It makes it easy to look good and not think too much about what to wear -- and really, fashion is lost within the press of bodies and darker lighting, anyway, right?

Betsy Braddock doesn't think about those things. Choosing an outfit that reflects the persona she wears -- the outgoing model -- is just par for the course. She wears an emerald green handkerchief top -- tied around the neck and at the back -- with no bra, leaving her shoulders and most of her back bare. It pairs nicely with the short white skirt and matching thigh-high leather boots with the two-inch heels, putting her on part -- if not taller -- than many within the club. Her hair is half caught up, pinned by clip with a dark green stone, a shade that precisely matches the Hermes bag she carries. Her outfit, while both fashionable and alluringly sexy, isn't half as sinful as some of the outfits worn in Club Lux: likely a thing she'll take note of for next time.

She does so hate to be out done, in fashion, and may other things.

Betsy is someone who doesn't need to wait in lines, whether or not it was arranged. It's rare that she even needs to use her abilities; someone like her, looking like she does? They lend mystique and allure to any club she goes to, and the velvet rope is held aside with barely a pause.

Once inside, she pauses. Almost immediately there's a bid for her to join the dance floor by a man wearing shorts and nothing else, and she smiles with that kind of half promise, half excuse way as she navigates the crowd, a sway in her hips. As she mounts the stairs to the second floor, Betsy pauses to take in the crowd, not just visually, but mentally, too, just a habit to sense any threats or anyone particularly interested in her. All the while, that tight, psychic shield she has is kept up, concealing her psychically -- though she won't be hard to spot, regardless, with that lush, vibrant purple hair of hers.
Sinister has posed:
Sinister turns his eyes to his phone, laying his pinky finger on the edge of it, just to make contact with the touchscreen. Camera views pan rapid fire, tracing the outside crowd, washrooms, vestibules, entrance. Aha! So, although all eyes might be on her as she sways past, but there's the additional feel of the cyber-eye tracking. THere's a vague little half-smile, as Nathaniel murmurs "...and she has arrived. I don't think she's a neat whiskey type, but..." -- images are shared in mind, the tall, to-die-for figure, dark purple hair, all in green, ascending -- "...she by the by, was the one that split the ghost amalgum, allowing Identification. My word. I'm sure that outfit is breaking a few laws of physics..."

He rises though, coming out of the dark of the alcove enough to lean against one of the ancient transplanted pillars, arms loosely folded and nonchalantly hipshod. His hair's down today, which makes of itself a ravenwing curtain and he looks mildly gothic; all in black save for silver stitching accent, with black painted nails in leather and silk, the collar undone and upper buttons undone. He has a ring on his ring finger though, a raven with a serpent in its claws, a ruby red stone embedded in it.

And because sometimes you just HAVE to... "Find the place alright then, did you?"
Lucifer has posed:
Someone comes along shortly after the shirtless shorts-only man was trying to lure Betsy onto the dance floor only to get denied...to deal with the shirtless man. He's not employed by Lux and therefore has broken the attire policy. The club has standards despite the barely clad and naked caged dancers in random spots above the dance area.

As Nathaniel moves to meet the woman who is slowly making her approach, Lucifer takes a sip of his whiskey while slowly turning to watch the moment live. He loves to make an entrance, but he also knows not to spoil the entrance of a lady. Bad form that would be.

Besides, this is entertaining, if not for anyone else but himself.
Psylocke has posed:
Is Betsy aware of the discrete, rapid ejection of her would-be paramour? The slight turn of her head suggests yes -- but only because she was tracking him mentally. The tiny curve at the corner of her mouth might speak to approval, or merely interest at the rapidity of the response.

She continues to climb the stairs.

Betsy finds Sinister, not through her mental reach, but through visual inspection. The casual lean against the pillar, stark black outfit: it immediately draws a laugh from the purple-haired woman, but it has a warmth that feels genuine and appreciative. "I see you have a flair for the dramatics, Nathaniel," she greets, offering her hand out towards him. Her genteel elegance is, unlike many from New York, trained and reflexive rather than airs put on for whomever might be watching.

The woman is used to being watched; she senses it.

"This wasn't quite what I expected. For some reason I had pictured in my head pure debauchery; I feel like I should apologize to your partner for the unkind assumption," Betsy continues.
Sinister has posed:
"Says the lady dressed as Luck incarnate..." chuckling, Sin inhales, shakees his head gently. "That would be uncouth," bowing over the hand and once again kissing the air above it, rather than making actual contact, the fingers are once again set free as if they were a hummingbird to be set to flight once again. "That's why there's a dress code; human psychology tends to like to not see as much as it actually does. We love having our imaginations played with, don't we?" He gestures at the table. "He'll be with us shortly. And he's probably going to be nothing like you think he'll be, at the same time as being a paradox of everything you thought you were anticipating and more. Can I have something delivered? THe mixology here is one part inspiration, one part artistry."

He doesn't mention another of the house rules, that's for someone else to share.

"There's bar food because they said we had to have it. But there's also actual food with genuine nutritional content, if you feel inclined."
Lucifer has posed:
The greeting was simple enough, and Lucifer gives a little smirk at it. Then he straightens his tie a bit (as if he has to) and steps forward towards the entrance to the VIP lounge. "It's lovely to see your guest has finally arrived, my dear Raven. And that this all has you in good spirits..." Offering this to Nathaniel before his attention goes to Psylocke.

"Ah, Miss Braddock. Your reputation and your presence preceed you...as I heartell you're visiting at Doctor Essex's request. It's a pleasure to meet you." He offers and then holds out his hand, palm up and open, for her to place her hand within should she desire. "I am Lucifer Morningstar. Yes, that's my given name. Yes THE one and only. No, you do not have to believe me..." That Devil's Grin(tm) is held while he introduces himself to the woman.

"Yes. Whatever you wish to drink can likely be made for you, I even have acquired some drinks that you will not see on any other bar's menu as they come from off this planet's surface. The usual spill is that your first drink is always free. After that you can pay per drink or open a tab." He pauses. "However, for tonight, as you are the Doctor's guest, anything you wish is all on the House."
Psylocke has posed:
Betsy's smile at the compliment is effortless, but not without genuiness, too. She really does find Nathaniel charming: that, and he gets points for the British chivalry that feels so familiarly, achingly, like /home/ to the aristocrat as he completes the ritual of the air kiss.

"Less is more," the model agrees, "Such things the fashion magazines learned early. Playboy, I'm afraid, not so much." When he gestures towards a seat, Betsy settles in gracefully, setting her back on the table in view. "Mm," she sets eyes on Nathaniel as he gives her that warning. "Honest, with a side dose of ramping anticipation. And a little dread, too," her lips part into an easy smile. "But something light for me tonight, I think, given all such warnings. A Burgandy riesling, perhaps?"

In honor of their recent trip to France? Or merely because some of the best wines come from that region? Both, undoubtedly.

The slight wave of perfectly manicured fingers decline the offer of food. One doesn't come to a place like this to eat, no matter how nice the food might be. Her head turns as Lucifer approaches, a slight parting of lips as violet eyes trace over him, little hiding her appreciation and curiosity. She stretches out her hand to lightly touch his, her smile genuine and brightening her features. "Please," she says, "Call me Betsy. Nathaniel has talked you up so much I feel as if I barely know you, and yet very much want to rectify that."

She's not at all immune to that smile. Who would be, really? She doesn't hide the response, the slight dilation of pupils, the faint shift of her heartbeat. "A very tempting offer," Betsy pauses. She's talking of the drinks, of course. "Though I feel it would be remiss of me not to have my wits about me, with not one, but two handsome, intelligent, and dangerous men at hand." Flattering? Yes, and not afraid of showing it. Nor her wariness, despite her easy demeanor.
Sinister has posed:
There's a grin for the choice of wine and as he settles, Sinister pushes his phone aside. It's enough to transmit the request via text to the barkeep -- and for the server to be swiftly bringing a ridiculously frilly pink bellini with a full asortment of rim fruits over, along with cognac, whiskey and the requested glass of wine, all as Lucifer's giving the additional rule and exemption for tonight.

Grey eyes slide between the lady and the tall dark and handsome, the grin getting a little wider with a wicked little chuckle. "Ah Betsy, I know you like to live on the edge...." he comments, then leans in to Lucifer's auspices to give the devil a kiss at the corner of his mouth and a little nose-to-nose boop with it, settling back down with his leonine laziness in abundance.

"It helped that veracity was confirmed in our last meeting, Betsy. It saved a good deal of trouble in convincing that I do know what I'm talking about. That can get terrifically droll after the umpteenth time." Cigarettes, the gallois he brought from Paris, are tapped out with due measure and set on the table in invite, though there's no lighter to be seen.
Lucifer has posed:
Lucifer lifts that placed hand to his lips only, unlike Nathaniel, the man with the slicked back hair, stunning blue eyes and British accent does gently brush the knuckles with his lips. "It truly is a pleasure to meet you, Betsy." Lucifer offers as he gently slips his hand away from hers and then side-eyes Nathaniel, a slight nod given as he knows the man has already put in the drink order.

That kiss to the corner of his lips and the boop to his nose comes next, the Devil smiling even wider at that. "None the less, this will all be on Doctor Essex's dime." Which really means no one is paying for anything, but at least it's a premise that something is being paid for.

...Just not with money per se...

"I can assure you, my dear, with or without your wits you will find no harm to be had here. However, I admire the candor. Quite refreshing to be honest. I hope I do not come off as too dangerous.. though I suppose that all depends on the company I am keeping..." Which has him glancing back to the club. All sorts to mingle here, do their business and wander off. So long as peace is kept, the Devil is happy.

A cigarette is taken, then another, both placed upon his lips and lit with a snap of finger and inhale of breath. One lit cigarette is then offered to Sinister before he motions. "Would the lady wish to imbibe on a smoke or does she keep her lungs clean?" Asking as he, finally, takes a seat at the table - closer to Nathaniel than not.
Psylocke has posed:
The half-lidding of Betsy's eyes when Lucifer kisses her knuckles could be affectation. Could be, but it's not: the warmth, his eyes, the accent -- the woman's not a machine. She responds as well as any woman might, if perhaps with a veneer of British refrain on top. "Am I then to take it there is always a price, Mr. Morningstar?" she asks, with a smile, one that turns into a tip of her head.

Betsy's hum becomes a laugh of concession at Sinister's observation. "You do have me so well pegged, Nathaniel," and the look she gives him could bear the hallmarks of recrimination, if it weren't for the amused curve of her lips. "I very much do like to live dangerously. You, assuredly, have the advantage of me."

She'll /start/ with the riesling, the server given a warm, approving smile. There's plenty of time for further drinks. The display of affection between the pair might, for many people, make them look away out of respect. Betsy, however, watches with an interest and a deeper smile, like she's savoring it. Much in the same way she savors the drink: she's used to only the best, and the fine wine gets an appreciative hum as she rolls it around her tongue.

"It is a gesture I appreciate, Nathaniel. Though we both know I'm going to face some... opposition, regardless of my views on it." That is not a conversation Betsy's looking forward to having with Warren. The offer of a cigarette is met with a shake of her head. "I'll settle for breathing it second hand. Truly, it does remind me of my father's club in London -- an all male club, mind -- though I used to sneak in as a young girl. The servants pretended not to notice, as did, I think, my father." Her smile is reminiscent; a distant affection for a long dead figure. "That, and your accents, truly: if I didn't know any better I'd feel you were setting me up to feel entirely /too/ comfortable. So yes, you do not come off as dangerous to the eyes -- except in the expected way, Mr. Morningstar," her smile deepens, acknowledging an awareness of someone attractive in a devastatingly dangerous way, "--though I expect you won't be surprised to find me wary all the same. Self-preservation and experience wear scars into one's soul that shouldn't be ignored. It is not personal, however. Nathaniel has lauded your praises."

Betsy /does/ look relaxed, in fact, leaning back, crossing her legs as she openly admires the two. There is a sea of interesting people out in the club but all her focus is on the two most interesting inside of it.
Sinister has posed:
Sinister draws on the cigarette as it's handed over, smiling at the flavour. Sometimes, one has to get the best fresh from the source, for that extra bit of indulgence. He exhales through his nose, sliding a sloe-eyed regard toward the tall green drink of woman at the table as if wondering what she'd be like with a twist of sours and a slice of lime. Lazily he blinks a couple of times, then nonchalantly rests his arm along the back of the bench seat, so it rests behind the celestial club owner. Ash is flicked and travels unerringly to the tray. "I have similar memories of smoking lounges -- it seemed so very risque, the potential of being caught where one does not belong. I am afraid I -did- have my ears boxed once or twice..." he draws again on the smoke, then picks up the ridiculous pink drink and takes a sip, holding the stem with the littlest amount of contact possible, cigarette curled in between ring and index finger expertly.

"Aaah, nothing like alcoholic slush. Delightful. Now..." he lowers the glass, regarding Betsy critically for a couple of moments. "How are you going to handle the protests, I wonder? A good portion of me thinks the deal should likely be sweetened and appreciated a while before it's mentioned, because otherwise you'll face an entire squad of knee-jerks and although they're prefereable to the kind that doesn't come with a hyphenated add on, they're still irritating."
Lucifer has posed:
"No such need for formality, my dear, you can call me Lucifer. I prefer it, actually." Is the first thing the Devil says before he gives a slight nod joined by a smirk. "And yes. There is always a price to be paid somewhere by someone. Just, in my line of businesses the pricing can be..." He thinks and then, "..fluid."

He nods to her decline of a direct cigarette and takes an inhale from his own. The smoke trails upwards a bit and then seems to dissipate entirely and while there is a hint of it lingering in the air it's not as strong as one would think it should be with two people smoking right there. The Devil has many tricks. He reaches for his half-finished whiskey, drains the glass of it's entire contents and like seeming magic a server is there with a fresh glass and takes his empty. "Can you bring us an order of onion rings and...oh what else shall we munch on? Chicken tenders? Yes. Thank you." The server nods and saunters off with Lucifer watching as he goes.

Nathaniel begins talking a bit of business, which Lucifer takes as a sign for him to be quiet and simply listen. He doesn't have a finger in this particular pot as it were.

At least...not yet.
Psylocke has posed:
"It helped," Betsy says with a smile, "That my father owned the club. Also that I stuffed my hair up under a hat. A little club around the ears was worth it." At least as far as now adult and long removed Betsy observes. "I went to the Devonshire some weeks back," one of those gentleman-only gathering places, meant for smoking and talking business without woman around, "And it caused quite a stir, though these days no one would dare clip me around the ears." Her smile is bright at the recent memory, amused for the ruckus caused.

She's a dangerous one in her own right. She's also not unaware of that speculative look from Sinister, even if she can't read his mind. Not at all a coincidence that as he's regarding her in that way she lifts her glass to sip at it, finger catching the fruit hooked enticingly onto the rim and bringing it to her lips.

There's probably a warning out there about becoming too familiar with the devil. It only makes Betsy smile, however. "Lucifer," she says, her eyes on him as he weights an answer about payment, the word he lands on winning a bright laugh from her. "The knowledge is duly noted... and appreciated."

When Sinister talks of protests, she turns the stem of the wineglass lightly between manicured fingers. "Delicately, and one by one. So it would be helpful to keep this between us in the short term, while I pave the way, if you're amenable?" Betsy's head tilts, interest unhidden in her gaze as she says, "I thought I might start with Logan. How /is/ your relationship with him these days?" It can never hurt to be pre-prepared, especially when Logan's reactions so often involve violence.

Then again, Betsy's no stranger to that, either.
Sinister has posed:
Sinister lowers his chin a fraction at the inquiry, gazing at her beneath brows for a couple of interminably long seconds. There's a soft 'hrrrmph' and a short sigh that follows. "Strained and wary, I'm afraid. But he at least logics things through, which sounds like the /last/ thing he would be inclined toward. He hasn't the reason to hate me quite as much as some, but he does so by proxy. And with a lot of second and even third thoughts. He's also very close to Jean, which although it isn't a given, is liable to make it awkward convincing him to keep his trap shut." This is punctuated by the full stop of a shrug of the none-backrest-occupied arm. "As to me, I have no reason to brag. The only one I'm likely to tell in any rush, already knows." He chinlifts toward his partner, turns to look across the bridge of his nose at the devil and allows the crooked smile some license for a moment or two. Then sobriety returns as he looks back.

"I didn't share the why of that though. I felt it might be more appreciable, with added explanation and reflection--" he nods toward Betsy, but his words are for the devil. "She's seen the same oncoming destruction, albeit from a different direction, as I have. The timeline matches the Apophis meteorite as being a herald."
Lucifer has posed:
Lucifer lets the two talk for a moment. It's when the Apophis stone is mentioned that he gives a bit of a head tilt. "You didn't tell her about the whole..." Wait. Are they both telepaths? All he knows is that she's part of the x-men which means she's a mutant but he doesn't know her powers. Not that it's easy to get a lock on Lucifer's mind. The only one with full privy to that is his partner.

"Anyway. I feel like I'm missing some information and the both of you are sort of skirting over the middle of it. Aside from the fact that something is going to happen and I take it this is all the beginning of a group that's going to try and stop it?"
Psylocke has posed:
The way Betsy regards Sinister with her violet eyes could be read in one of two ways. Either she's reading his body language as he's talking and getting a feel for the truth of his words, or she's merely using it as an excuse to admire him while he does the same. There's too much intensity for the way she gazes at him to be anything other than those. "Few things rile Logan more than threats to those he's close to," Betsy admits. "Which one can hardly blame him for. And Jean helped excise that part from you --" she spreads one hand, not voicing any conclusions to come out of that.

The gesture Sinister gives to Lucifer pulls Betsy's attention towards the devil. As if she could forget his presence. With no prompting, she says: "I will take another drink. Something off your secret menu. Anything of your choosing: something you think I'd like." It's surely, in its own way, a test. Betsy's undoubtedly interested as much in what he might choose as what he sees of her.

"I get... prophetic visions. Sometimes they're useful. Sometimes they're so obscure as to be useless except after the fact. Two years ago, I began getting one in particular. Different versions of the same one, to be more precise. Different places in New York, different people, but always the same outcome. Dark clouds in the sky, something trying to push through -- and despair, destruction and death left in its wake." She says it with the disassociation of one who has become immune to the horror of it, after so long. "I spent two years consulting with experts over the world. Those who could foretell the future, those who could read signs. And it all confirmed what I feared; that it was a thing coming. Not in months, but in years."

The disassociation doesn't last. Betsy drinks not to savour the wine, now, but to finish it, to wet her throat and give her a moment to compose herself. "I rather suspect what I'm seeing is another aspect of what Nathaniel has felt. A thing that has come before and is due to come again. It cares not for factions, for politics, for mutants or humans." Betsy exhales a breath, as her gaze comes back to Lucifer's. Daring, to look so boldly at the devil, without fear. "I've spent the last couple of months gathering mutants. Ones willing to... skirt the lines, shall we say. Ones willing to cross the line for the right cause, to deal with the threats and get messy about it where needed. The X-Force. Not, of course, to be confused with the X-Men, given it's bankrolled entirely by myself, Warren, and-" a gesture towards Sinister, with a nod of acknowledgement.
Sinister has posed:
Sinister merely listens now, because that was the whole point, in part of the vetting process here; to paint the whole picture, more or less and get other inspections and calibre of character out of the way in as honest a fashion as can be, all things being equal. He draws the last of his galloise and hands it to Lucifer, reaching for the cognac he had delivered along with his bellini. That's sipped for the fire and the flavour. "They have cash. But they don't have our level of cash, my dearling. And neither of them have my expertise with technology and invention, nor my resources. And we -both- know how blastedly tedious it has been to try and get reliable help to get work done, have we not?" He looks to the devil then, eyes tracing over those features hither and yon. THen? Abrupt kiss, of the 'mwah!' kind and he looks back. "Just can't get the help these days, without having to go through all the explanation and the humdrum and the yes I'm evil, no I'm not trying to lure you all into my sordid clutches... etcetera ad nauseum."

And more sombre again. "We were wondering what it might have been that the cult of Apophis were using the Apophis stones to power. We might be able to get more of an answer now. And worrisomely, it might be problematically enormous."
Lucifer has posed:
Lucifer looks between the two. Listening, nodding, and following along the whole time. Food gets delivered. He sips whiskey and then reaches for an onion ring, dipping it in the provided ranch dressing before popping it into his mouth and chewing. It was still steaming. He doesn't seem to mind.

"So. You won't need me for money, because you have that covered. I appreciate knowing what it is you're up to. But aside from knowing your plans of sort... is there anything I am needed for in this scenario or do I just get to watch it play out from the sidelines?"
Psylocke has posed:
"I doubt you need my particular help with that," Betsy says, of getting answers out of cultists, her smile towards Sinister genuine. "But if you need manpower -- that's part of the intent of this. We put aside all grudges for the greater good. Though I suspect that will be easier for some than others. But I'll deal with that as it happens." She sounds confident. And why wouldn't she be? It's not like she'd use her powers to get an edge off her team, right?


Then the devil is asking her what he can do for her. What an offer. Betsy looks at Lucifer steadily for a moment. She doesn't seem to mind that he hasn't chosen her a drink: this moment is better done sober anyway. "I know of your legend, of course, Lucifer, but I'm afraid I'm not exactly sure... what your strengths are. I know it's usually rude to ask. Should it help ease things, in addition to my precognition, I'm capable of telepathy and telekinesis." Also the teleporting Sinister witnessed, but she chooses not to mention that: hard to say if the omission is deliberate or not a thing she thinks of as 'hers'. "Truthfully, I'd rather have the devil on my side than not. I'm sure we can figure something out." If only she knew how willing he was to eat alien space rocks.
Sinister has posed:
"Outsourcing, see I knew it was workable," Sinister chuckles at himself at this, inhaling with a happy sort of sound and ending with a soft 'aaah, me.' -- He steals an onion ring and contemplates it from various angles before dipping it -- Now 'tis his turn to be quiet and listen to the interaction, playing visual ping-pong between the two.

He knows a lot, but he isn't going to say a damn word.

Night full of tests and probes this is.
Lucifer has posed:
"Well, you sort of have a Devil's Pass if you will. As I will never go against Nathaniel Essex. Which may sound a bit obsessive, but then you have to understand that we sort of come as a power couple..." Lucifer says this while thinking on something and his eyes move towards the bar for just a moment. Yes. That will do.

"Outsouring. You're the one with all the information about what an apophis stone can do to even an immortal type being like me." He looks back over to Betsy. "I'm guessing he didn't tell you the role I've already played in this. I'll give you the short version. Once upon a time, while researching a piece of the stone, a Devil went back into space to get more evidence of said stone. When he returned, he decided that the best way to test it, was for him to swallow it. Chaos ensued. The doctor had to surgically remove the stone. It was horrible and funny at the same time."
Psylocke has posed:
Betsy's lips part. The Devil's Pass? Some part of her is sorely tempted to press. If Nathaniel weren't sitting right there -- oh, but he is. There's an easy solution to that, though. Honesty and forthrightness aren't usually her go-to, but there are benefits.

"No," Betsy agrees with Lucifer, about Nathaniel telling her little. "While he was very open with me about himself, he was exceptionally discreet about you. Which suggests you're both very important to him, and someone he greatly respects." Violet eyes flicker towards Sinister, taking in his silence, then back to Lucifer. The tale isn't one she disbelieves: not when she saw it through the eyes of one Nathaniel Essex. So that's not the reason she does this.

Some people are just the sort to reach out and stick their fingers in the goop -- or in this case, the mind of a devil -- just to see what might happen. Lessons are often learned. And Betsy Braddock is a reckless soul, at her core.

Her hand stretches out, resting atop the table, palm up. An offering. An invitation.

"Show me?" she asks, with a tilt of her head and a smile on her lips.
Sinister has posed:
Modesty isn't something Sin is often known for, but the appraisal of his 'keeping mum' regarding Lucifer's full... meaning to him, has him softly clearing his throat and looking to the archangel in question. And it's because he's facing that-a-way when he should be facing THIS-a-way that he initially misses the proffered palm. And it might just be a tad too late when he notices and offers "Erm... that might not be such a good..." but Sinister knows. He /knows/. It's what Lucifers do, you see. They do this sort of thing and although there's a modicum of alarm in his tone, it's hard to tell which one he's alarmed -for-.

At least he can drag himself along for the ride, his hand that rested along the back of the bucket bench slides swift from the apolstery to the Devil's neck.

Skin contact does make everything that much easier. That much is absolute.
Lucifer has posed:
Lucifer hesitates a moment. He has to filter his mind of a LOT before letting her see into it. Otherwise, it's certain death. And such is not an overstatement. To glean the mind of the Devil himself is to learn of ALL of his millenia of existing.

Fortunately, he feels Nathaniel's hand go to the back of his neck. That helps. Because he can focus on the memories they share of that particular moment. Though, he cannot filter everything...this much is certain...but Devils will do as they want and slowly but surely Lucifer shifts to place his hand into Psylocke's own.

The club fades away. There's only darkness for a moment. Maybe longer than a moment. This is going to be a four-dimensional trip. One can smell the sulfur, feel the fires of Hell itself. There's a creature there, black winged, red skinned like it's all been burned off. A sword covered in black fire in one hand and a scale in the other. The judge and jury of all souls who come to him. Ready to give their sentence, to pass on the price of their penance. Screams fill the void then, thousands of them. Millions perhaps even. And just when it reaches a pinnacle of height, it all goes away again.

Now comes into view a living room. Lavishly furnished, a full open kitchen, bookshelves along one wall. Fireplace. Piano. A well stocked bar. And there on the couch is one Lucifer Morningstar, pale faced and in agony, sweat pouring out of every pore. The Apophis Stone feeds on the life force of whomever it attaches to...and the Morningstar...well....

Sinister's voice, "What did you do?"

Lucifer's reply, "Likely a...very bad thing...I swallowed it."


"The stone..."


"....Seemed like a good idea at the time..."
Psylocke has posed:
Could it be deliberately timed? Is Betsy that good, that deliberate in her machinations that she chooses the moment Nathaniel looks away to stretch out that hand, the physical gesture itself familiar enough even before the question is asked? If she has any doubts about this venture, it isn't apparent. The faint sense of alarm in Sinister's voice should be cause for concern, but Betsy's committed, staring into -- falling into -- Lucifer's gaze, into darkness. Or so it feels like to her, the moment he makes contact with her, and she reflexively reaches out, into his mind.

Betsy is an extraordinarily powerful telepath: but one that lacks the fine control of Charles or Jean. One thing she does seem to excel at is her own psychic shield. It's strong, but there's no way even it would hold up under the firehorse that would be millenia of life. Fortunate that Lucifer allows her to live, then.

It's the smell, rather than the press of the heat, that sears this moment in the psyche of Betsy Braddock. She's died before, yes. But she didn't go to Hell then, and this is an entirely new and increasingly regretful experience. The smell cloys and lingers in her nostrils, while the screaming is a backdrop of cacophany, the siren song of souls being punished for sins. To say she is afraid is to put it mildy. One would have to be insane not to be. Reckless, yes -- mentally unstable... well. Kwannon's presence might indicate yes, but there's a soldiness to the mental presence of the ninja's fused psyche that steadies the purple-haired woman. She stays upright, mentally, even while that smell clings to her, making her heart race and hands shake.

Not a place she wants to be stuck in for eternity. That's motivation for you.

Betsy can still smell it, when they're standing in the living room. Violet eyes are wide, reflecting a natural terror that touching Hell would have, but the voices, the agony: it pulls her sharply into the moment. She takes a single step... and is beside the pale faced Lucifer. The gesture she makes, the lift of her hand, to reach out and touch his forehead, might seem one intended for comfort.

Touch helps. And she feels it, fears it more than the Hell vision she just experienced. The thing of darkness and fear and despair: she feels it and is simultaneously drawn to it, reaching for it, through the memory of Lucifer itself. Through the shared connection they have in this moment.

Mistakes are being made.
Sinister has posed:
Yes, they definitively -are- being made.

She's powerful. She really is. There's one person that's managed to go through all of the millenia and more of life that the Morningstar has endured, inserted himself into every moment, saw each and every temptation he was a party to. Saw the tricks pulled -on him- at the same time. That damn near drove him to his knees and made him utter a single short phrase when he did it 'Let me burn...' -- and then, there's the actual True Sight, which mercifully didn't get shared. Seeing an actual Archangel is a really, really, REAAAAAAAAAAAAALLY trippy experience, because of the sheer cosmos-encompassing size of something condensed into a shell to be able to properly interact. The multitude of faces was just weird. As were the multi voices. And the Six wings.

But that's all neither here nor there. Betsy can feel the hand on her shoulder in the psyche. "No." The command is firm, but it isn't actually compelled by power. This is just a reminder. Don't. Pull back.

More is shown, this from Sinister's perspective, of the sheer effort that went into removing the fragment of a meteor that went to terrible places in its journey, from a being who is impervious to 'mortal harm' -- Nathaniel Essex had to bleed, with the aid of a device that imbedded itself into his biosphere and blood stream... and infuse his own powers temporarily into a being whose very essence rebelled against being altered in any way by mortal hand. Took a bit. Had to have help from the being so involved, to willfully stop his Celestial nature from allowing him to be helped.

And then there's the stone itself. When it came out of an immortal and Lucifer IS an immortal, it was extraordinarily unstable. Like, mystically powered Uranium about to enter meltdown. So what did they do? Bottled it up and stored it in a safe. A small safe. In a wall.

Luckily, it's a very special safe.
Lucifer has posed:
Once the whole of the memory is shared, Lucifer slowly pulls his hand away from Betsy's own and lets his eyes flutter open. He takes a few slow breaths in and out before glancing over to the woman, not wanting to touch her again yet just in case it pulls them into another memory run, but his eyes are filled with kindness and a bit of concern. "Are you alright? That couldn't have been a very...plesant...experience..." He offers, his words soft in the moment.

There's a glance back over towards Nathaniel then, leaning over to nuzzle into the man for a moment. It wasn't the worst of memories, but it was still something that sort of pained him since it took a lot out of Nathaniel when trying to extract the stone from the immortal. "I tried to keep the Hellscape out of the picture, but it's not something so easily removed from my memory blocks..."
Psylocke has posed:
The motion of Betsy's hand reaching for Lucifer in the memory stops.

Is it some measure of trust, that the simple word, that single syllable, is sufficient for Sinister to pull Psylocke back from the brink of a terrible, likely deadly mistake? Maybe. But as always, it's a lot more complicated than merely a single thing. Maybe some part of her will later, realize, just what a deadly folly Sinister truly did spare her from with that single word.

Not now, though. As Lucifer breaks that contact, she sways, breathing in sharply and coughing. The scent of sulfur lingers, impossibly -- because it's in her mind, not reality -- along with the quiet terror that place brings. Pale faced, shaking, she reaches for her wine glass: only to find it empty. The next nearest is Sinister's glass, she doesn't ask permission: just grabs for it, and unless stopped, intends to down the entire contents.

She doesn't have words, not yet; she merely nods at Lucifer's question. At least she looks like she's not going to throw up.

Sinister has posed:
Sinister does not begrudge the drink being downed, rubbing idly at the nape of Lucifer's neck where it meets the shoulder. His gaze is steady on the english rose though, with her oriental twists and turns. "I think half of the shock is that it's all quite real. It makes you sit back and pay attention, but for what this is worth? It all depends on you, also... though taking that particular sight-seeing tour can make a believer out of an athiest, I know." He sniffs, watches her steadily. Carefully.

"So well done. You survived the first encounter with a not quite so mythological being and came out the other side being solicited at. It's probably one for the calendar." He makes a little 'x' in the air "...Got to see part of the actual Hell realm; check one for the bucket list."
Lucifer has posed:
After a moment a drink that is purple in color and fizzy is brought and placed in front of Betsy. "This isn't alcoholic, I asked they bring something that won't loosen your heckles any more. But I acquired this from a placed called Knowwhere. Instesting little barter town in the middle of space...somewhere." He offers. "You should take a moment to breathe, and I am sorry that I cannot purge your mind of it..." He says this is as apologetic of a voice as he can muster and still sound sincere cause he really hates that he threw the woman for a loop.

He also finds himself at a loss of anything else to say in the moment. So he goes through the motions of ligthing up two more cigarettes and then leans back, offering one to Sinister for them to smoke on again. Cause surely the others they had are long finished by now. "Do you think it's lessened it's power any? Or does it need to be drained of that in some...other manner?"
Psylocke has posed:
When the purple drink is set down, violet eyes lift towards the server, then Lucifer in mute gratitude, as Betsy takes a delicate sip to wet her throat. A lightly unsteady hand gestures towards the cigarettes. "I'll take one of those now, if you don't mind." Anything to get that scent of sulfur that lingers in her throat and nose.

A knowing look is sent towards Sinister, and she lets out a quiet smile. "I have died before. I didn't experience that then, so I'm grateful. I hope you don't take it personally if I say I'd rather not return to your realm any time in the near future, Lucifer." Betsy's aware of the apology in his voice; this is her way of acknowledging it.

Finally, Betsy clears her throat. "In a safe?" something dubious in her voice.
Sinister has posed:
"Oh, it likely needs draining, but I for one have no idea at the moment how to do that safely, without blowing up half of New York State. And somehow, I think that might get us all in a spot of trouble if we blew a chunk out of the eastern seaboard." There's a pause as Sinister takes the smoke and considers it, shaving the end to a cone before shrugging his free shoulder. "Although, I dare say that there's a few that would quietly cheer from some distant totalitarian state." He twists his lips to the side, staring at what remains of his bellini, eyes narrowing down to mere slits.

"Might have to -actually- get Strange to look at it. Properly. Without being slippery and Strange..." he muses that "...or maybe one of the others. See, this is why I cultivate attempted olive branches with magic types that I have no understanding of the inner workings of. I suspect we could review your library Lucifer, but I wouldn't know where to start. Would you? Oh. Oh wait. Oh damn. I'm having a bad idea."

There's a sigh as he looks from the drink with a blink, to the belle free of hell. "Erm. Do you want me to answer that, or do you want me to smile and say everything is peachy keen?"
Lucifer has posed:
Lucifer shakes his head at Betsy. "No offense taken. From what I can tell thus far, Hell is not where you are destined to be. If that settles your mind any.." He takes out one more cigarette, lights it with a snap of his fingers and then offers it over to Betsy.

"Ah, yes. The stone is in a safe. A special safe, designed for things of that nature to be kept out of harms reach." Though he does look over to Nathaniel after a moment. "Strange? I don't know if I want to show up one day on his doorstep and go, hey we have this Apocalypse-in-the-making stone we want you to look at..." If the man hasn't judged them before he might just over a stone like that.

Another drag off the cigarette is taken as he side-eyes Nathaniel once more. "Do we get to hear this bad idea or do I have to wait?"
Psylocke has posed:
Even now, Betsy feels the pull of that stone, like a tempting memory. An echo of it has existed in her visions for two years, so long it feels a part of herself. The shift of her jaw might suggest she's ill-pleased with her own self-control in that regard, and while haughty, she is grateful. "Your note of restraint is well appreciated, Nathaniel," she tells Sinister.

No apologies about stealing his drink, though.

Her fingers, wrapped around the glass of purple liquid, have stopped shaking, so the harsher liquid has done its job. "Have you considered merely launching it back into space?" Her steady hand reaches out to take the lit cigarette Lucifer offers her with a thankful, if fleeting smile -- but the thanks is as much for his words as the material object he offers.

She breathes in the smoke deeply, exhaling with half-lidded eyes.

Betsy, too, is looking at Sinister, undoubtedly also wandering about this bad idea. She doesn't ask though, instead answers the comment directed her way: "You have set the ground rules of truth, Nathaniel. I think it works well. If you are concerned on my behalf -- I do not break, I bend." And it's true, while she certainly struggled in these moments, she recovers by visible measures, her resolve as firm as ever.
Sinister has posed:
"Then the answer to your question Betsy, is as Lucifer said. And honestly, it's as safe as it's going to get. The orbital route has its own risks, even if its taken a long way away to be detonated, such as the surface of the sun, we have no way of predicting whether that wouldn't cause a mass coronal ejection of the kind that would do devastating results to anything in its path. We could usher in another mass extinction -and- a technological dark age with the same brushstroke. The trouble is, the stone from the actual meteorite itself is unstable. Again, a bit like weapons grade plutonium, when you mine and prepare that, it stabilizes some of the unpredictable atomic loss. Something in the processing, whatever ritual was done, or treatment was given it, made the /crafted/ stones the cult of Apophis made on earth, considerably less hazardous to handle. As long as you didn't give them access to life, that is, I suppose. Maybe they handled them in canopic jars, or somethink like..." again, there's a musing and a sigh, a settle back and an enjoyment of his smoke for a few more moments before he spills his beans.

Sinister does like to drop his bombshells and clangers at the right moment after all. Timing is everythig. "We could always ask Uriel." Rather quietly said.
Lucifer has posed:
Everything said up to this point just sort of drains out of Lucifer's mind the moment his dearest one mentions a particular name. "Uriel may actually be one of the few to help us if we were nice about it..." He says this much after a moment, taking another drag off his cigarette. "Course we keep saying his name and he might just show up whether we want him to or not..."

Then there's a glance to Betsy once more. "Hang out with me long enough and you might just meet some members of my family, and I don't mean the demons I keep below. I mean the few of my brother and sister angels from Heaven who have come here a time or two. Some to try and end me, or send me back to Hell. Others have actually been...helpful." Though that's a loaded word for Lucifer to use in some regard as he glances towards the ceiling and then back again.

"I wouldn't call him in mixed company. I think we've done enough to Miss Braddock's mind for one evening..." Said with a chuckle.
Psylocke has posed:
"This... cult of Apophis. They still exist, I take it? If so, they must also realize... sense... it returning again." In the same way Betsy herself does. It's at that moment she seems to realize she was assuming this was all on a logically recent timeline. Which... is not guaranteed from either of the men across the table from her. "When- when did you last encounter them?"


That makes Betsy blink. She may not be religious, but she recognizes it as an angelic name -- and naturally her gaze goes to Lucifer, visibly curious and not trying to hide it. Anyone would think she hadn't /just/ had a traumatic experience meeting her first archangel. Even she has her limits, though. She is, after all, only mortal. /Ish/.

"Perhaps save that for our second meeting," she notes dryly in British tones, with a small smile. Something he does say catches her attention, though. "Can you not merely travel between Hell and here, readily?"
Sinister has posed:
"You know, one of these days I'm going to see if your family's post-it note specials actually work for me," Sinister murmurs, but nods. "He might. That's why I thought of it, but it could also well.... this -is- your family. Mine are all dead. Yours are perniciously not and they don't much like me. But then who does?" He chuckles at this, but also looks up at the ceiling. You know. Just in case.

"Relatively recently. I came to uncover one of the stones imbedded in the stomach of a four hundred pound woman who had been admitted to one of my clinics for extreme emaciation. She had apparently taken it from a dealer in the middle east, somewhere in Dubai I think, or perhaps Morocco... as a weight loss pill. I did extract it before she passed away from starvation though, not that it did her much good. Long and short of that, it lead me down a rabbit hole and lead to me receiving a few ... lucid dreams. But yes. They know. They woke up and got busy, because they know, I believe."

With a side-eye for Betsy, he clears his throat. "Bit of a tricky subject, that last..."
Lucifer has posed:
Lucifer chuckles. "Not so much tricky as...the definitions behind it." He offers. "Yes, I can freely go from here to Hell. My wings are a form of transport, and I can also rip reality open and just walk right back." He offers this much, taking a hit off his cigarette and a sip of his whiskey.

"The difference is, they want me to go back to Hell and STAY there. And I don't wish to. I've given up my throne, so to speak, and some are none too happy about it..." Not that he cares, obviously.

As for everything else, he just listens, nods, and listens more. This is where he doesn't really have a say in anything. He's just been along for the ride. Helped where it was likely needed.
Psylocke has posed:
The English aristocrat's thoughtful gaze remains on Sinister as he explains how he ran across the a stone. "So this might come down to a race of sorts. Them to prepare, us to stop them -- if they can be stopped." Despite the speculation, Betsy seems determined. Two years of vivid visions will do that to a person: either break them or harden them down to a fine resolve. Betsy's definitely settled on the latter.

Her eyes rest on Lucifer, curiosity evident. Wariness, too: given what she just experienced. It's his admittance of having wings that gets the biggest reaction: she shouldn't be surprised. And yet little wonder, given how intimately she was tied with the Archangel -- of the code name, rather than species -- that it should get her attention. If that wariness weren't present, she'd probably push. As it is, she takes a deep inhale from the cigarette, exhaling smoke to try and purge the remnant sensations of that sulfuric, fiery memory.

"You enjoy Earth as it is?" Betsy guesses, the cant of her gaze towards Sinister little hidden: "And all the pleasures it can bring?" She hums a noise. "I am not sure I would welcome meeting your family. I suspect I would be of little consequence to them."
Sinister has posed:
"To some, you'd be very interesting indeed. And in the way you despise, I fear. There's a few of them that are as manipulative as they come -- Enoch, who ascended, became the Metatron, is one of them. He likes to think he's god's gift to just about everything. Most of the nephalim on Earth, owe their bloodlines to his choir. They're collectively known as the Watchers..." Sinister offers Psylocke's way, then glances to Lucifer. His gaze softens just a little, perhaps sensing curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought her back. Whether that shadow in the night with deadly claws has another seven lives is beside the point. "They're beautiful," he comments softly.

Inhale, exhale. "Once was the wisest and fairest of all the Host, the bringer of light. The truthspeaker. The light of the Morning Star has only just recently really owned up to that mantle, also." Grin. "Which was about time."
Lucifer has posed:
"I come with a few sets of wings. Simple feathered, sometimes leathery and bat like... or I can go full Archangel and have six sets of wings... but that requires a whole different visage." And not one the Devil is going to show in his club. At least not during business hours. He looks over at Nathaniel then before giving a shrug of his shoulders. "You speak of me so eloquently... I almost wish it were still such a truth..."

Then he shakes his head. "But yes. Stopping them before they get too far. And maybe even... isn't there something about the Apophis meteor heading for a collision with Earth? Shouldn't we redirect it somehow? Or was that a bad idea?"
Psylocke has posed:
"Then shall I amend: I would /prefer/ to be of little consequence to them," Betsy says, with a fleeting smile sent Sinister's way. She's not proud, in that way. She's not out to challenge the host of heaven. She merely wants to stop the destruction of human life. Just a little life goal.

"I'm not sure it's that simple as redirecting it. I got the sense it wasn't merely physical. It's pushing through from another dimension as well." Betsy's gaze is distant, for a moment. "Perhaps, though, worth a try. I don't have Superman on speed dial, though I suppose through channels I could slip him a 'could you please'," she laughs, at the sheer absurdity of it.

The cigarette is finished and stamped out neatly into the ashtray. So, too, does Betsy finish the drink from Space -- and in this moment she realizes that choice was probably deliberate, given the space rock -- and she laughs, abruptly and unfettered, with a little tip of her glass to Lucifer as she finishes the purple liquid.

It's somewhat of the way Sinister talks of his partner, but certainly her own curiosity too, that drives Betsy's next words as she gazes at Lucifer. "I'd very like to see you in your true form, one day, if you'd allow," she admits to Archangel, her tone a mixture of that naked curiosity and a faint want. "But not tonight. I do not like to admit my limits," stiff upper lip, and all that, "-but I do have them."

The model stands, with graceful effortless, none of her earlier reaction apparent. "You are an excellent host. I fear I may be well tempted to come again, and I mean that as a compliment of the highest order. Thank you, to you, Nathaniel, for the pleasure of introducing us."
Sinister has posed:
"Remember the meteor dips in and out of a sub-dimension on its route through the cosmos. It saturated itself in that life-stealing energy somewhere in that journey... and maybe that's the point. It heralds that which is to come, maybe even opens the way for it. That is, if there's ... enough... of a magnetic draw..." that trails off, as a penny or twelve all dropped into place. Sinister blinks several times, as if stunned, or gobsmacked. Or something. "That puts a whole different spin on things."

He glances to his partner again, twitching his nose the once. "You don't see what I see," he says in a simple, but incredibly honest tone.

And maybe Betsy might give a little echo of a measure of subtle overawe with her own words there, drawing Sin's gaze back to her with an incline of his head. "It was a pleasure. And as I said, Lux is a haven. So not tonight, but the future is filled with scintillating possibilities. It was a pleasure, miss Betsy Braddock. More than I can beggar my tongue to put to words, without waxing philosophical. And..." he smiles "...I do hope you find the secret button."