15501/Call A Mortician

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Call A Mortician
Date of Scene: 19 August 2023
Location: Danger Room
Synopsis: Betsy and Scott spar to relieve stress. Oh and she decides to inform him about recent mutant deaths. It goes better than expected!
Cast of Characters: Psylocke, Cyclops

Psylocke has posed:
Betsy Braddock does like to surprise people. It's the ninja in her.

Inside the X-Men base, Cyclops has eyes everywhere -- sees all, knows all. In the past, Betsy has pushed the limits of that awareness, finding places out of sight and ways to access or exit the structure unseen; an old game that at times, would end with a pointed look at a camera, as if in challenge for him to discover and patch up whatever weakness she availed herself of. Since she's returned, though, she's not played that particular game. Until now.

It's late, and yet Scott is where he often is -- in the X-Men base, reviewing, researching, preparing. The things a leader takes on. The long and lonely grind. It's almost like Betsy knows, because she appears behind him, silently, as always.

"Come and spar with me," her familiar voice cajoles.

Betsy is dressed in her uniform -- the tight black outfit, her hair swept up into a pony tail. Sparring as a kind of release -- mental and physical -- is a long practiced tactic inside the X-Men. At least where Psylocke is concerned. Some have accused her of enjoying it a little too much.
Cyclops has posed:
When Scott is in the X-Men's hidden base underneath Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters? He's always Cyclops. He has his eyes and ears on every corner of the school. Numerous camera systems cover the outside grounds and even in some of the public areas for security reasons. Though Cyclops doesn't spy on the students, he most certainly keeps his eyes open for anything out of the ordinary...like Mystique shapeshifting or Toad camouflaging.

When Psylocke manages to find him, Scott is looking at a myriad of holographic screens. Each one of the mhas a different - yet common - enemy of the X-Men: THe Purifiers, Juggernaut, Magneto, Sentinels, Bolivar Trask...

THe list goes on and on. He seems to be updating some of the files. He's currently working on one for Sinister.

'Come and spar with me'.

If Scott wasn't so used to telepaths, sneaks, sleuths, and LOGAN sneaking up on him all the time, he'd probably jump out of his chair and ready an optic blast towards whoever was speaking. Instead, all Psylocke gets is a sudden and quick turn-around. He was dressed in his own uniform, colored black with red pipelining, his visor resting over his eyes. "Heh." Scott chuckles as he stands up, walking towards her.

"What's the occasion?"
Psylocke has posed:
Is it coincidence that Betsy chooses now, that particular file, to interrupt him on? It's certain she's aware of it, the flicker of her gaze catching sight of it. There's no change in her expression, however.

"No occasion," Betsy says, with a tilt of head to keep her eyes on him as he walks towards her. "You need it. And we need to talk. Kwannon is pleased by the efficiency." That might well be a joke, judging by the laugh that spills from Betsy -- and it is Betsy -- a second later.

It should be said Betsy's never been shy about telling Scott when he's overdoing it. This is just another way of saying it.

She leans past him, gestures to the holographic screen, and gestures the flick to turn it off. With a knowing smile sent his way, she turns and leads the way towards the gym.

It's late, and while other X-Men are prone to strange hours, they pass no one else in the halls as they walk.
Cyclops has posed:
Scott. Doesn't. Rest.


Even the attention of Jean Grey has never been able to get Scott to take a break. He takes a break when the job is done or he's in the medical wing under Hank's microscope. Other than that? Scott is a workaholic. Certified and diagnosed. Yet, even still, the laughter that spills from Betsy is slightly contagious and causes Scott to break out a small grin.

"Alright, fine."

He could use some more sparring practice. And the thing is? He's /very/ good at it. He might even be better than most of the X-Men. For the guy with plans upon plans? He's spent a good deal of time learning how to approach his fellow X-Men if they were ever under telepathic control or worse...betrayed the team.

"Well, this should be fun."

Though he catches that knowing smile and he gives her a look through the shine of that red gleam that says 'you can't blame me'.

She really can't.

Planning is Scott's entire thing. IF Batman was an X-Man? You're looking at him.
Psylocke has posed:
"I'll remember that you listen better to Kwannon than I and hold that against you." There was a time when Betsy fought, hard and violently, against the merged presence of the ninja of the Hand in her mind. It says a lot that, these days, she's relaxed enough to joke about it, her smile deepening at no prompt, but undoubtedly whatever reaction that remnant personality has in her mind to the sentiment.

It softens her features. Turns her from the ninja to the warm presence she was when she first joined the X-Men, before her kidnapping by the Hand. Rarer these days, but still present.

Betsy's snort, too, might be familiar. "I know exactly what you're thinking, Scott Summers," she tells him, as she pushes through the door into the gym. She reaches behind her -- the katana shimmers into his awareness -- and pulls the strap over her shoulder, setting it down out of the way as she walks over towards the mats.

"You're thinking: what has she learned in the last two years? Did she learn new tricks? How can I beat her?" Her smile widens. "And no, I didn't cheat." And read his mind. "I just know /you/." Still, it's true: she doesn't blame him. It's who he is.

Just in the same way Betsy is who /she/ is. It's why she closes, quickly: she expects him to be restrained until they engage, but she's never had that problem. She aims to get a hand on his wrist, to get a foot between his to tangle any chance of adjusting his balance as she seeks to pull him off his center of gravity.
Cyclops has posed:
Scott snerks at that. Honestly, it felt strange talking to Betsy sometimes. There were certainly moments where it felt like it was uncertain if he was talking to Betsy or Kwannon. Yet, at the same time? It didn't matter. She was still the woman he trusted, still the woman who tried to keep him honest and watched his back as much as he watched hers.

"...remind me not to share too much." Bug this was good. Let her look close. Close as she wants to. It'll blind her to his actual movements. "Well...I happen to have deep experience fighting telepaths. I had good teachers. You, Jean, the Professor..." Scott goes on, and it's then that she grabs his wrist. She tries to trip him off of his center of gravity, but his weak leg is in front.

String leg behind him.

He rotates his wrist against her thumb, identifying it as a weak point in the hand, all so he can try and switch her throw on her in the heat of the moment, trying to take control of her wrist, thrust his hip into her front for momentum into a classic Judo throw!

But she's athletic, flexible, and acrobatic. At any point if she's quick enough she could try to counter!
Psylocke has posed:
"...you fought Charles? Like... punched him in the face, fought him?" Betsy is, understandably, dubious.

Betsy's fought with Scott long enough to know where his strengths and weaknesses are. So it's probably a good guess she anticipates that he's going to throw her. What he might not expect is that she doesn't counter the throw -- not to stop it, anyway.

As his hip is pressing into her, she wraps other hand around his neck so that when he throws her, she's pulling him along with the momentum he's started, down on top of her. She isn't finished though, as her back hits the mat, her legs are drawing upwards and pushing out to shove against him with the intent of launching him over her.
Cyclops has posed:
"In the Astral, yeah. When I was young, Charles brought me into his mind and taught me CQC from his military days. Don't sleep on the Professor." Cyclops remarks candidly. He's dead serious about this, judging by his straight face.

He manages to quickly throw her over his shoulder, but she's a wolf one. The hand around his neck does force his body to follow where she's guiding, though as he's coming down on top of her as he back hits the mat, his hands find and grip her thighs and as she kicks him over, he pushes off of her strong base to push himself like a springboard, landing on his feet away from her, his back leg shifting behind him as he steadies into a stance.

She knows him.

He knows her just as well.

He doesn't look nervous or pressured. He's focused and ready. "Your move."
Psylocke has posed:
Betsy's brows just go up. This is, apparently news to her, and oh-so-interesting. "Noted." And she smiles. "And here I thought that I knew everything there was to know about you, Scott Summers." She's probably teasing. Sure, she's a telepath. But she's probably not listening. /Probably/.

A half laugh escapes her as he pushes off her, landing neatly, approving. The moment they break apart from each other, Betsy flips back onto her feet, ready and waiting a second later. "Oh, no," she counters, with the brightest smile. "I went first. It's /your/ move." Her posture is easy, hands at her sides, eyes on him.

She'll wait -- until he makes his move, until he engages her -- before she speaks. "I've been finding a few mutant bodies. Three so far."

Just as the way she fights, few if any of Betsy's interactions with those around her are anything but carefully considered and sometimes, to a greater or lesser degree, staged. That she's chosen this moment, mid-combat, to reveal that information is deliberate. It gives him an immediate outlet for whatever reaction he might have to the news.
Cyclops has posed:
"Heh. Plenty you don't know about." Scott opens his palms up as he stands, since clearly it seems as though grappling will be met with similar results - a stalemate - as the last time. He stands tall and he suddenly lunges forward!

His move. A series of kicks is sent Betsy's way, kickbox training hard at work. A roundhouse aimed for the head, a few kicks aimed for her gut. Simple, easy to block. Feeling her out and trying to see what mode she's in.

Then the bombshell drops.

Three mutant bodies. Aa soon as she says that and it registers, he suddenly brings his back leg forward to try and trip her off of her feet in a final attack of his 'turn'!


How did they die? Man-made like bullets or...more unique cases that only a mutant of metahuman could cause
Psylocke has posed:
He might get some kind of clue as to what's coming, merely for how the purple-haired ninja reacts. The series of kicks is either dodged or blocked, ducking under the roundhouse, the first two kicks at her gut missing.. the third hitting, solidly. He knows she could've easily dodged. But she didn't. Letting him get that strike in before she drops that bombshell.

So, too, does that 'trip' work, landing on her back, even as she kicks out towards his feet to try and unbalance him and keep him on his toes. She rolls, leaps to her feet, and closes fast. Open palmed strikes are aimed at vulnerable points -- his face, his neck, his body. She's anticipating them being blocked, but she keeps up the relentless pressure, anyway.

"The first had no external injuries. I didn't see it in person, just the coroner's report after the fact. The second had blunt trauma to the head, and the third had been eviscerated, possibly some organs removed." The words come as she steps sideways, getting room. "He's targeting off books mutants. Ones that have never had contact with the X-Men, or Xavier's or on SHIELD's books. It's why I didn't tell you after the second. I don't want you raising the alarm; don't want anyone altering their routines or tipping off that we're aware. No one here seems to be targeted, but I want you to know."
Cyclops has posed:
First...second...third...fourth kicks all miss. That trip though? Scott knows when a boxer throws a fight. He knows when someone gets hit on purpose. Maybe it was a way for her to get to a better position to strike him. Betsy is a mysterious woman.

She works in mysterious ways.

Palm strikes incoming, she's never stayed down for long.

Scott is hard pressed to keep up even when she's going half-hearted. He's distracted with this information but he's forced to adapt on the fly. He dodged and blocks, using his strength and agility to help protect himself. He hears how these poor souls died and each one is more brutal than the last.

He catches one wrist, then the other. "Could be harvesting body parts on the third death or eaten...but the deaths are becoming gradually more extreme." Grim, yes, but potentially accurate.

He pushes off then so they can get some room, circling her. "Hm..."

She /did/ tell him. "Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I won't send us into a frenzy, but I can have our telepaths and those of us with criminal connections to do some subtle digging, see if we can get answers."

He looks at Psylocke, briefly... "Who else knows?"
Psylocke has posed:
He catches her wrists. Despite the fact that he's stronger than her, there are a dozen different ways Betsy could break free of that hold, but she doesn't. Just lets him work through his thoughts until he pushes back, and she takes her ease as he circles her.

Alert, watchful. Not just for an attack, though.

"Scott," Betsy says. Her voice is soft. "You and I... we came up with X-Force. It was for a specific reason. Let me handle this. I have a half-dozen potential leads." When he asks who else knows, there's a second of hesitation. Just a second, but it's telling. "A couple of people in the team. The rest will know soon enough, also. And I had Sinister investigate the bodies. It was he that identified that they are being experimented on. Possibly having their genes extracted, or an attempt at a process like it."
Cyclops has posed:
She's right.

They founded X-Force together and Scott put Betsy in charge of it. She reports only to him and he trusts her enough to give her the hard decision, the impossible mission for anyone with morals to handle. Some people have to die for the mutant race to survive and for the dream to endure.

"Alright. It's yours."

"You are aware that I don't trust him." Nor should he. "However, Essex is one of the worlds premier scientists in genetics...his diagnosis can be trusted, but keep him in your peripheral." Scoff advises her and yes, many of his conflicts with Essex are personal..but if it saves mutant lives, then at times working with old villains is what X-Force needs to do.
Psylocke has posed:
"Good. Because I'm telling you, not asking you permission." The way Betsy smiles at him -- with that bright, easy warmth -- might well defray any sting of the otherwise firm sentiment from the woman.

And the attack that follows might provide distraction, too. Two quick punches -- one aimed for his face and the other for his abdomen -- lead into a roundhouse kick with a bit more power to it.

"Oh, I'm aware. You and seemingly everyone else on the team. Very aware." Betsy's briefly amused, if anything, though it fades quickly enough. "I know you don't trust him. And you shouldn't. He was very clear I shouldn't, either. But he's thus far delivered on his promises and provided us some useful tools. I'm not about to turn my back on that."

"...and if he inevitably betrays me, I'll just trust you and the rest to come spring me out, or bring me back from the dead, or whatever." A little too casual about that.
Cyclops has posed:
Interesting outlook.

"If thats how you sleep better at night." Scott shoots back. Yet, he appreciated her independent nature. At times, she didn't need his permission. She knew her task and knew how to do it well. Two quick punches en route, Scott ducks first, and the second rings across his abdomen, hunching him enough for that roundhouse to come in hellish rebuke.

Only for Scott's hand to catch her foot and try to sweep her other leg out from underneath her!

"I know you know."

"And it's not easy defying death. We've been lucky to do it as many times as we've managed to. Doesn't always work." He looks at Betsy closely. "I need you. So you're not going down on my watch. Get me?"
Psylocke has posed:
He manages to take that leg out from under her. She hits the mat on her back, but keeps moving, trying to tangle her feet around his to bring him down, too.

Betsy's defied death once -- literally come back from it. Surely she's not lucky enough to face that twice. Yes -- he knows her. And he knows that part of her that is reckless, just a little bit prone to taking risks. It's inevitable, really.

"I don't plan to."

But who ever plans to die?

However the fight proceeds, it ends with a smile from the purple haired telepath. "I'd tell you to get some sleep, but I know that not only will you just go back to work, you'll turn it around on me. And I /do/ need sleep. Which I'm going to go do now. Look after yourself, Scott."
Cyclops has posed:
Scott manages to successfully sweep the leg and put her on her back! Yet, she's quick and smooth about it herself as ankles lock around his legs and trip him onto his back with a 'thud' onto the mat!

Both of them are down.

"Well, good to see you never got rusty." Scott remarks with a cheeky grin on his face. But who believes they won't die? Who can promise tomorrow?

"I'm a night owl." Scott remarks to her, but he stays down for a second. "Get some good rest, Betsy. Get me names." Scott tells her as he starts to sit up, sure enough with every intention to go back into his War Room.

For it is a war that needs fighting.