Hardly Incoherent

May 27, 2015:

Cyclops responds to word that Psylocke, lost and presumed dead, has been collected by SHIELD.

The Triskskelion

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

An email was forwarded from an untraceable address to the X-Red servers, seemingly mass market spam. There's a code phrase at the bottom though that indicates that it's more than that. Once decoded, it turns out to be a message for Scott Summers.

"Betsy Braddock is alive and at the Triskelion. Been through a bit. Go see her or contact me for more. And give my regards to the Red team. - Aspect."

No time was wasted upon receiving the message. Suiting up to adopt his X-Men identity as Cyclops, Scott prepped the Blackbird and sent message to the SHIELD channel adopted for Agent May. The message was quite simple. 'Request clearance to land at the Triskelion, approximately 45 minutes.'

Forty-five minutes later, the SR-73 'Blackbird' hovers in the airspace over Manhattan's East Side. The sophisticated aircraft is rigged for silent running, her engines muffled as they go into a hovering mode in the clear zone above the SHIELD Headquarters' landing fields. There, Cyclops waits until he's given clearance to land.

*

Clearance to land is given within seconds of the SR-73 moving to hover in the Triskelion's landing fields. The air traffic control personnel are unsurprisingly completely unflustered by a vehicle capable of VTOL.

Agent May stands just outside of the landing fields in the direction of the Triskelion, waiting for Summers to land the gorgeous old bird. She might have to talk to him about that at some point, but not now.

As soon as the plane is settled she tests the waters in an very subtle way, using her ley line Pendulum to reassure Scott that Psylocke is well enough. Regardless of his response, though, she remains professional in demeanor and leads him into the SHIELD building and straight to where Psylocke and Cadet Agent Thompson are waiting.

*

Psylocke and Agent Venom have been exercising. Well, kind of. Psylocke had rapidly started to get frustrated with the 'voluntary confinement' SHIELD had extended her, and a happy compromise had been to encourage her to work out as much as possible, which she'd been doing in the recent period following her rescue from The Hand. With Agent Venom around, it'd turned to sparring, and only gotten out of hand once or twice.

"No- an inch to the left," Betsy says, pushing Venom's hand a little. She's showing him some of the nerve strike techniques she'd employed during their last sparring match. "You need to compress the nerve thusly, while the latissimus is compressed." She flexes the line of muscle in her back, visibly, and nods at Venom to try the strike again.

*

And for his part, Flash didn't mind the occasional bumps and bruises that had been the price for learning a few of these tips and tricks from Psylocke. Ms. Braddock was an efficient teacher, if perhaps a touch severe in her manner. They'd kept up with each other, and occasionally in the middle of a session they'd get a small crowd of other agents watching the speed and impact of each fighter matching against the other.
Right now, however, Agent Thompson's attention is on the delineation of musculature that is on display, his brow furrowed as he concentrates and presses the knuckle of one fist into a particular point, then withdraws and steps back. "I think I see. Going to take a fair amount of practice."

*

Simmons has been observing Ms Braddock over the time. Having received a message from May, Simmons is sitting in a corner of the training room, watching as Betsy explains.

*

The Blackbird is set down carefully into her designated area. Scott is busy going through the post-flight procedures when he senses the whispering of May's voice coming from the Ley pendulum tucked safely away inside one of his pouches. A sense of gratitude is transmitted in return, and it only takes a few moments for the aircraft to cycle down and settle into a locked down, idling position.

Departing from the craft, Cyclops is dressed in his black-with-red-trim ensemble. He doesn't need to glance about for his escort; May is spotted immediately. He approaches, giving her a single nod of his visored head. "Agent May." He briefly glances over his shoulder, just to confirm that the Blackbird's ramp is locking herself up. Indeed, the ramp rises and locks into place. Barring someone from SHIELD trying to hack the poor thing, no one is getting in there until Cyclops' proximity sensor triggers the can to open.

The X-Man falls into line behind Agent May, following her wherever she may lead.

*

Melinda May leads the way to the training room at a brisk walk, though once they're past the security checks — and no, she does NOT let Security mess with Scott's visor — she can't help but comment idly, "We need to talk offline at some point." She is intentionally cryptic, though, not saying what about before stepping into the training room where the others are and making any agents slacking on their own exercise to watch the pair sparring scatter like birds in a field. She calls across the now-open space as she walks closer, "Braddock. Thompson." Yes, she sees Simmons nearby and gives her a small nod as well.

*

Wearing gym attire that would probably get a regular SHIELD agent in trouble, Betsy is either unaware of the looks she's getting (for a variety of reasons), or doesn't care. Her laserlike focus remains on Flash, hands splayed on her hips as she cocks her weight over one foot. "The temptation, particularly with boxing-trained fighters, is to bludgeon the impact site. Nerve clusters are a small target, though. If you don't strike it precisely, your blow is wasted. It's important to learn how to compress the nerve precisely. Less is more."

Hearing her name being called, Betsy turns and looks at Melinda. Then she sees who she's with. The only concession to her extremely mixed feelings regarding Scott's presence is a slow and very adroitly controlled breath, and then she starts walking towards Melinda and Cyclops with a determined, long-legged stride.

*

At the arrival of Melinda May and Cyclops, Flash lets his attention slip from Psylocke over to them, past her shoulder. He gives a nod towards Agent May and responds with a simple, "Ma'am." Then takes a step back, signifying his withdrawal from the conversation for the moment. Best to let the big wigs talk it out and all.
He does spare a brief moment to glance over at Simmons, perhaps having missed her arrival earlier. He cocks an eyebrow asking a silent question, but leaves it that way and turns back to look at the trio.

*

As May enters followed by Cyclops, Simmons looks up from her data tablet. She'd been recording notes about the training session.

Returning Mays nod, Simmons rises from the chair and takes a step or two closer. Not too close though, she'll wait till May includes her, for now she's here to observe. Flashs' questioning look gets a small smile, she's not quite sure what he's asking, but now is not the time to chat.

*

"Alright." Cyclops' answer to May's cryptic request comes without flair. He knows not to probe; it isn't the time or the place. He slows a bit as they approach the training room, only to look toward the people May has summoned. Behind the visor, he looks from Braddock to Thompson, then back to Braddock. Simple process of elimination there.

Only this is not the Elizabeth Braddock he's familiar with. Not in appearance, at least. The only sign of this, of course, is the rising of his eyebrows. The expression in his eyes remains hidden. He'd have asked if this were some sort of joke, but it wouldn't be in Trent and May's nature to pull something like that in such a professional environment. Hell, they're likely not to pull a prank like that at all.

Instead, the X-Man folds his arms over his chest and casts a glance toward Melinda, before looking back toward Psylocke.

"Braddock?" he asks. The tone is professional; whatever history they have, it doesn't exist in this facility. That being said, he does require some confirmation that this is, in fact, Psylocke.

*

Melinda May steps aside to let Summers and Braddock speak directly, but stays close enough by that if things go pear-shaped she's right there to put a stop to it. She does beckon the other two agents to confer with them quietly while giving the other two a semblance of privacy. "Thoughts?" she asks the pair quietly.

*

"It's me, Cyclops," Betsy says, stopping within speaking distance of May and Cyclops. Even in flat-soled running shoes, she's tall enough now to look Scott in the eye (visor). There are bits of her face that once belong to Betsy Braddock- her lips, her nose, particularly. But the rest of her features, from her eyes to her high cheekbones, belong to a woman none of them have ever seen before. And she's built like the proverbial brick house, with muscle that Betsy Braddock never had.

"I might as well do this the fast way." She narrows her eyes and focuses on Scott's face, pushing her thoughts out towards the X-man's. His mind's eye floods with a wealth of images and memories, ranging from missions and operations to moments of life at Xaviers to- and diluted by waves of anger and sadness- moments of intimacy between the two of them that only Scott could know of, and only the real Betsy Braddock could generate from her own perspective. But her 'voice' doesn't sound like her. The woman communicating with Cyclops psychically may have all of Betsy's memories, but her notions, prejudices, opinions and emotions are different in many ways, some gross, some subtle.

*

Holding a towel over his shoulder and looking between the two of them, Flash frowns to himself as he likes to think he's at least gotten… some small measure of competence at reading Psylocke's manner. As far as one can get in such a short space of time. His jaw tenses a moment, but then he looks to Jemma… then back to May.
Quietly, he answers Agent May in a tone of voice that doesn't carry. "S'gonna be rough. Family. Love and all." He lifts a hand to his mouth and wipes at his brow, then adds quietly. "She'd probably find it easier to handle a room full of ninjas than to do this."

*

Simmons watches as Betsy converses with Cyclops, her chosen method of disseminating information of interest. "Not something I would want to do" the biochemist murmurs. Flashs' comments get a nod of agreement.

*

Eyebrows pull inward. Scott has seen some strange things, but on this one, he still doubts. Fortunately, he's quite familiar with the way telepathic invasions work, so it doesn't take him at all by surprise.

The message is convincing enough, before it gets personal. In spite of that, Scott maintains his doubts, until those more recent memories are sent his way, paired with the anger and sadness he should have expected.

Outwardly, Cyclops' jaw works its way back and forth for a moment, before he turns away from Betsy and toward May. "It's her," he confirms, before his head briefly cants toward Flash and Simmons.

"What happened?" When Cyclops asks this of May, the professionalism breaks a small bit. He's not going to drill her for information if she won't give it, but he's clearly concerned about all of this.

*

Melinda May relates how Betsy came to be in SHIELD custody in her usual terse manner. "SHIELD received intel of a previously missing person affiliated with the X-Men and sent a team to recover Ms. Braddock." She nods to Psylocke. "Considering the discrepancy in her physical appearance, an external assest offered to contact you on her behalf. Ms. Braddock, you are free to leave if you choose, but Medical mightstill want to make sure there are no lingering effects." And that's pretty much it from May's side of the world.

*

"You could ask /me/," Betsy says in a hard British accent, staring daggers at Scott. "I'm hardly incoherent, just slightly uninformed as to certain details in recent events."

As if catching a frost edge joining her tones, Betsy stops herself and looks away, akimbo, and gestures vaguely at May. "No. Fine. Have SHIELD fill you in. It doesn't make a difference." She moves a few paces away from the group, her glacially composed features inscrutable as she looks out one of the large windows that admits so much light into the Triskelion's common areas.

*

For his part, Flash finds that towel so damn interesting. Man he must have been sweating a lot. He's holding that towel up and rubbing at the back of his neck and then probably realizes the end of his shoe is also a pretty fascinating thing. How did Nike make the plastic do that little swoosh thing? Probably with a mold of some kind. That'd make sense.

Though, to be fair, eventually Flash looks over at Cyclops and Bets frowning to himself. Yeah, that's not so good. He glances at May as if to gauge her reaction. Good luck with that.

*

Simmons eyebrows rise as Betsy speaks to Scott and then her head cants a little as the woman catches herself. Dropping her eyes to her datapad, the biochemist taps on the screen and then looks to AgentMay "Ms Braddock is free to leave."

*

Without looking at Betsy, Cyclops draws in a long breath through his nose, then lets it out just as evenly. He'd apologize to May for SHIELD getting caught up in this, but that would only stoke the fire further.

"You can tell me -" Cyclops turns to Betsy. "- now that I know why I had to come to SHIELD to collect you." Most likely, he's staring daggers at the woman from behind the visor. She should understand protocol. This isn't like the woman he knew. Some piece of the story must still be missing.

"Or you can tell me later, if you don't want them to know. Or, don't tell me at all." He turns back to the others, his visor landing upon Simmons. It lingers there for a moment, eye motions cueing the sophisticated device to magnify and clarify the name and designation on her SHIELD badge. R&D, Bio-Chem.

"Is it safe for her to leave?" he asks Simmons. "Your facilities are more sophisticated than mine." He's operating under the assumption that Betsy allowed them to examine her, but that very well may not be the case.

*

"That depends on if you think she'll Vulcan nerve pinch you the moment you're both outside of this building." Summers, the rare recipient of May's sarcasm and a not-so-subtle hint to Betsy that she totally picked up on what Psylocke had been teaching Thompson when she arrived with Summers. "Ms. Braddock, you are physically stable and in good health as far as we can tell. But if you feel something isn't right, know that you can contact us," she's clearly indicating herself, Simmons, and Thompson more so than SHIELD in general, "and we will assist you however we can."

*

"They were /there/, Cyclops," Betsy says. She gestures at Melinda, as if gesturing at all of SHIELD in the world. "SHIELD agents were investigating Hand operations in Asia and I was employed to foil them. Allies recognized me and helped restore … our mmeories," she says, stumbling a bit as she picks the right noun to describe her new gestalt consciousness.

She looks at May, lips twitching at the woman in something like an aborted smile in appreciation of Melinda's very British-ish dry wit. The joke interrupts the head of steam she had going and she checks her flaring temper once more, though perhaps Flash might identify the subtle twitches that give away when her blood is starting to genuinely boil.

*

Thompson sets the towel down and straightens up. He rolls a shoulder slowly and grimaces a touch, but then clears his throat. "Agent May speaks for all of us, I imagine, Ms. Braddock." Flash finally speaks up decently loud enough for the group to hear him. "And if you need some help going after those responsible… Well. I do get some time off now and then, will help with that if it looks like it's something that needs seeing to."

There's a beat, then he glances at May and murmurs quietly, "I do get time off, right?"

*

Simmons looks at Cyclops, then Betsy, then May and Flash then back to Cyclops again. "Safe is a relative term, I find." Worrying her bottom lip she considers "Ms Braddock has undergone an awful lot, much of it in the last few days. She's safe enough, in that I don't believe she's compromised." Simmons winces at the word "However, she may need additional support to process all that has happened." The biochem is not going to use the words 'psyche eval' again in front of the woman.

*

"And this is the first I've heard of any of this." Cyclops answer to Betsy isn't exactly cool. He's not happy about it. There are still too many holes. Nobody has given him the blow-by-blow, and for a strategist and leader's mind, that's beyond unpleasant, it's infuriating.

Fortunately, May's well timed quip does settle his temper a bit. His frown cracks, turning up into the vaguest of partial smirks."She's not the only one who knows the martial arts," he murmurs. Old Betsy got her ass handed to herself at least once in the Danger Room, after all, and it was at Scott's doing.

He looks to Simmons next. "Are you able to provide a record of your findings?" he asks her. "It'll stay in Braddock's possession, to be reviewed by whomever she chooses."

Flash's offer of help doesn't go unnoticed, but there's no visible reaction from Cyclops regarding it.

*

Melinda May doesn't say anything else aloud, offering Thompson a small nod at his question about time off and then a similar nod authorizing Simmons to share her findings with the pair if Betsy requests the data. She'll take the flack if it comes to that. But, while she's being silent, she uses the Pendulum again to convey to Summers that a copy of the debriefing could possibly be acquired and shared, so long as it goes no farther.

*

"Are we done here, then?" Betsy says, tapping a finger on her tricep, arms folded under her breasts. When no one says otherwise, she looks at May. "Thank you for your civility, Agent May. I appreciate your accomodating me." She looks to Jemma and nods at the scientist in gratitude, then looks to Flash and walks up to him, offering a handshake to the fellow. "Agent. I hope we get a chance to work together," she suggests to him. "I'll see you again when I come back to debrief on Hand operations."

*

Accepting her hand,Flash steps forward to return it, giving one firm shake and nodding to her, "Yes, ma'am. Any time." That having been said he releases the grip and steps back into line with the other agents. Sure a few more thoughts bubble up to the surface about wishing good luck, hang in there, it'll be ok. Nonsense that he'd offer if, you know, his boss wasn't there.

*

"Most certainly" Simmons answers Cyclops once May gives the nod "I'll have a copy transferred to a usb drive for Ms Braddock." As Betsy takes her leave of the others, Simmons offers a small smile "Be well, Ms Braddock, and should need assistance, you know where to find me."

*

The intent is clear. Scott will acquire that debriefing, and it will go no further. "Thompson. Simmons." Scott looks directly at each when he acknowledges them, the only way he can really do so without allowing them to see his eyes. Then he looks back to May, nodding his head to her. "Do you need anything else of me or the X-Men, Agent May?"

*

Melinda May shakes her head no. "Not currently. The lines of communication will be kept open, yes?" She then looks at Simmons. "Bring me the USB when you've put Ms. Braddock's medical information on it. I'll see that it's delivered."

*

"Agents." Without a second glance at Scott- even a thank you- Psylocke strides off the training room floor, moving towards the transient barracks where she's temporarily quartered, presumablyto start planning for how to restart her life.

*

Flash rocks back on his heels and looks towards the X-people as they most likely begin their departure. He rubs the back of his neck and then lets out a long breath before murmuring, "Soooo, lunch?"

*

"Not just yet." Simmons nods to Cylcops as they leave "I've got some information to put together for Ms Braddock." The biochemist nods to May "Agent May, you'll have it in about an hour." and the looking to Flash "Cadet." as she turns to head back to her lab.

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