Not Legally Champions

June 03, 2015:

Ulani goes in search of Surfacers to meet… and that she does

New York Harbour - New York


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Ulani, Envoy to the Blue, has been tasked with finding out more about the surface and Surfacers. It's time she did just that.

A brunette woman wearing not much at all, pulls herself up onto one of the docks. In bare feet, she makes her way up past storage containers and terminals where dock workers pause to watch her go by. As can be expected, the normal catcalls and wolf whistles abound, and Ulani stops and turns to look at the loudest group of dockworkers, an enquiring expression on her face. Slowly, she makes her way towards them.

Betsy and Flash happen to be out taking a walk. It's summer, and it's gorgeous out, and not far from the docks themselves is a nice marina pier with a variety of little restaurants and entertainments. Having shed her superheroing outfit, Betsy's changed into a summery ensemble of a white sleeveless blouse and light blue jeans. Her dark brown wedge sandals push her up to a height on par with Flash, with whom she's walking very closely and talking casually, if not a bit awkwardly.

"Have you considered doing something after your tenure with SHIELD?" Besty inquires, brushing some wind-whipped hair back behind her neck and looking at Flash from behind a pair of wide-lensed sunglasses that partially obscure her features. She looks around at the whistling sound of catcalls, face unreadable behind the field of grey covering her face.

Walking along with Elizabeth Braddock, Flash seems to be decently at ease, surprisingly. His hands in his pockets and a casual gait gives him a terribly relaxed manner as he smiles at her sidelong, "Figure I'll try to get that Sports Medicine degree, just so I can have maybe the option to be kind of respectable and get a real job."
His words trail off as he too hears the noise coming from the dockworkers. He rounds about and pauses, footsteps halting as he tilts his head to look on the situation. "Hnh," Flash says insightfully. But as Ulani starts to walk towards the men his spider-sense starts to sound and he frowns marginally. "C'mon." With that he starts to walk in that direction.

There is a dragon. In this part of the harbor. Okay it's kind of an urban legend but they say there's a big dragon that suns itself out on the rocks at the far edge, away from all the buildings, at the end of a long, thin arm of the bay. And it seems… that is the case. A large, feathered, six winged lizard is reclining. Right there. Not particularly looking concerned about anything.

As the Blue female approaches the dock workers the 'invitations' get considerably bawdier and more graphic. Ulani cants her head and one of the dockworkers starts to move to 'meet' her. There's a look of confusion on her face "I thought Surfacers considered that type of thing, inappropriate."

Betsy nods at Flash and starts moving off on a tangent, a tingling touch of her thoughts lingering in his mind. <Get their attention. I'm moving to the fish stall over there.> The leggy ninja steps out at a brisk pace that eats up a tremendous amount of ground very quickly, walking in a loose circle around Ulani's location. She gets a couple of catcalls herself, but she's not a blue girl in a thong seashell bikini- for once, Betsy is not the center of attention in the area. And she likes it that way, disappearing behind a stack of boxes and pallets to approach more stealthily on the group, while allowing Flash to move ahead and do his 'valiant white knight' routine. Perhaps valiant black knight would be a more appropriate analogy given his uniform, though…

Ah great, get their attention. Flash accepts his role, however, and continues strolling ahead. In his blue jeans and t-shirt he seems like just about any Joe Everyman, save perhaps how he fills out that particular t-shirt. He closes that distance and puts himself in a place to the side of the onlookers and the Blue female. He slides his hands from his pockets, opening them wide as he says, "Hey fellas, you know the way to the beach?"
He steps forward and casually places himself in harm's way obscuring the view the guys have of Ulani as he says lightly, "I mean I know if I walk about a mile and some that way there's that lil local thing, but what about that way?" He gestures the other direction, acting a bit oblivious to what's going on as if he were a tourist, which considering the way he's acting might not be so unconvincing.

The commotion has got Rowan's attention. And he starts to come over. As a dragon. The dockworker's know he's fairly harmless if left alone but very few of them have ever seen him up close. And all of them are rather understandably worried by the prospect of a flying thirty foot lizard making its way to them.

Ulani looks at Flash as he asks the question "The beach is about 800 yards south from here." She points in exactly the right direction. The obvious concern of the dock workers have Ulani turning "Ah, Rowan. I didn't see you over there." Understandable given the disposition of this dock.

The dockworkers are forgotten as Ulani turns again to Flash "Did you want to go to the beach?"

Betsy appears from almost nowhere, towering over most of the men and on eye level with the rest. Her athletic frame might be enough to suggest that she's more trouble than she's worth, but the cold set to her jaw and the glimmer of light from her amethyst eyes (along with a low level psychic field) certainly gives her an intimidating mien. She doesn't say anything- she doesn't particularly /need/ to say anything. Flash is all bumbling good guy and she looks ready to eviscerate someone.

And then Rowan starts slithering along the beach and Betsy's eyebrows go up. Ulani's lack of reaction prevents the psychic from taking a more aggressive posture, but her right hand clenches into a slow fist, her body falling into a relaxed tension as if preparing for a possible confrontation.

And good old Flash he's looking around at this curious series of events as they coincide and for an instant… a brief instant one can see in his blue eyes that he's doing the math. If they stay there, with the men growling, some fear coming at them from different angles… hey chances are they might just buck and run. But then there's the possibility that one or two of them might make a mistake and then what happens?
So he turns to Ulani and offers his most winning smile as he says, "Sure thing, ma'am. I got an idea, let's go to the beach. Elizabeth, are you coming?"
At that he starts to perhaps lead the extraction, gesturing with one hand for the young women to precede him and keeping himself in the way.

Rowan lands on the dock not to far away and approaches from the land side. He's rather… feline, in his movents, his head tilting slightly as he regards Flash, Betsy and Ulani. "Envoy Ulani, good afternoon." He rumbles. "Making some Surfacer friends?"

Ulani recognises when she's being managed and the young man next to her gets a curious look, but she moves with the large female and the man, none the less.

As the dragon approaches, the Blue Envoy smiles "Hello Rowan. I'm meeting surfacers, at any rate." Going to stand beside the dragon, probably his head, Ulani looks at the two who extracted her, if only they knew how much pain they saved the dockworkers, "My name is Ulani, Envoy to the Blue. I take it that situation was going to get …. tense?"

"Tense is an adequate word," Betsy says, stepping towards Ulani and Rowan, glancing at Flash as the little group congregates. The light in her eyes dims, becoming a cool shade of amethyst. The dock workers, slowly abandoning the area, are more or less ignored past a certain proximity.

"Undiplomatic might be better. Labourers can be a bit uncouth and they might have seen your outfit as…" Betsy quirks her lips, looking Ulani up and down. "Provocative. Their behaviour's quite unjustifiable. I'm glad we didn't have to hurt either of them." She gestures at Flash. "Flash Thompson. I'm Betsy Braddock," she tells Ulani. Her eyes swivel to Rowan, curiousity on her features, then back to the Mer-woman. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Ulani, Envoy the Blue," she says with the posh sort of elitist diplomacy that only a Brit can really do justice.

"Crowd control, nothin'. I just had like three hot dogs and didn't want to…" Flash starts to relate his tale of gastro-acrobatics, but then he looks sidelong at Elizabeth and most likely at the expression on her features. He stifles a grin and then looks back towards Ulani and Rowan.
"Well, in any case, yah nice to meet you. Just didn't want to have to do anymore paperwork really." He eyes Rowan, brows lifting in consideration. Hands sliding into his pockets. "Did you folks have anywhere you needed to get to? Figure we could mebbe escort you if needs be."

"I live here." The dragon says, perhaps somewhat inconguously. The dockworkers are busy not looking at him. "But if you wouldn't mind coming out where we can… oh wait… this is inconvenient isn't it. Hang on." He closes his eyes and starts to… smoke. His form dissolves into that of a muddy haired young man in jeans and tee. "Better. So. Walk?"

"Ulani, did you come with news from Atlantis?"

"Pleased to meet you" Ulani holds out her hand, because that's what Surfacers do, right? Seeing Betsy's appraisal of her, the Blue frowns a little "Provactive? It is what my people wear, there is nothing wrong with it, I hope?" She turns her head to Rowan in question before turning back to Flash and answering both his and Rowan's question "No, I simply can to explore and observe."

"Yes, Rowan, let's walk… perhaps it's best."

Betsy shakes Ulani's hand politely, fingers clasping fingers in a gentle grip, and smiles at the woman- a flickering expression that's gone as quick as it comes. "Nothing at all. But," she hedges, falling into step and inviting Ulani- and Rowan, who she gives polite invitiation- to join. "It might be wise to travel with an escort," she suggests. "Men on the surface tend to think women who wear less clothing are inviting sexual intimacy, and they can be a bit bellicose when they discover they are mistaken. A failing we're working to correct," she says, lifting one strong shoulder in a shrug.

Falling into step alongside them, Flash watches Rowan's transformation and smiles across that the fellow. He slides his hands back into his pockets and continues on his way, "Typical crowd thing. Get a bunch of guys all together in one place and IQs tend to drop abruptly." He looks up and to the side a bit, remembering most of high school and well… football. He smirks to himself but doesn't relate much on those points.

"I had not noticed that. Do surfacers really become less intelligent?" Why do they congregate in cities then. Perhaps this is why in surfacer legends brilliant people are always recluses. Odd trait. Rowan shrugs. "I'm Rowan by the way. Ulani's clothing is rather… traditional among our people."

"An escort?" Ulani's a soldier, a rather good one, before she's a diplomat, the idea of needing someone to protect her really doesn't sit well. "Men among the Blue, don't do that. And even if they did…" she let's that thought die unfinished. "Are you two… " A glance at Rowan, as she searches for the word "Champions? That was the correct term, wasn't it, Rowan?"

Betsy's not a diplomat, but a childhood spent in the rough and tumble of the British aristocracy certainly gave her a talent for polite discourse. Sensing the direction of the woman's thoughts, Betsy glances at Flash before speaking to her.

"Escort's a poor choice of words. Translator might be more appropriate," Betsy offers. "Typically our diplomats would happily do this for you," she suggests delicately. "I can't speak for Mr. Thompson, but I would hardly call myself a champion- I don't have any authority to speak for anyone but myself." She looks at Flash again, arching an eyebrow at the only official SHIELD member present.

Looking askance at Betsy he cocks an eyebrow at her and her explanation, as if considering really what they are. He hnhs to himself, scritching his chin thoughtfully and continues to walk along with the trio. "Well, mostly I do a lot of paperwork and get people coffee." His smile is wry, disarming as he looks back towards Ulani, "But I suppose you could say…"
He looks back at Elizabeth and gives a nod, "We do our odd bit of championing here and there." Those blue eyes turn back towards Ulani. "But yah, I don't think either of us would mind acting as something of a walking talking encyclopedia to help you get a better handle on things for our people."

"That would be difficult for them." Rowan notes. "Given that no surface nation has recognized any of the sea nations." Partly because they're reclusive and partly because it would require a complicated reimagining of maritime law and practice. "Yes, I believe these to be champions. The surface is rather rife with them."

Ulani listens with interest as the other two speak and smiles faintly "Sometimes an immersive look is all that is required. Walk amongst the people, speak with them, learn from them." Which is what the Blue female intends to do "My thanks for the suggestion, Betsy Braddock, but as Rowan has just outlined, the Blue aren't recognised by the Surface." Falling silent in introspection, the conflicting answer from Betsy gaining a glance "Why do you say you aren't a champion, when the others do?" Nodding to Rowan and Flash "What is the nature of your championing, Flash Thompson?"

It seems that Ulani would be happy to walk and discuss this…

Betsy clears her throat, her considerable presence doing a lot to keep most curious on-lookers from approaching. "It's probably different for your people," Betsy offers diplomatically, "but where I'm from, a champion has… certain rights and duties," she says. "Flash- Mr. Thompson, isn't wrong. I 'champion' causes, but I'm not what you'd consider… oh, legally, I think is the word, a 'champion' for our people. It'd be inappropriate of me to duel someone, for instance," she says with a gallant sort of dry wit.

Flash, on the other hand, continues walking and answers with the calm reply, "For me it's sort of my job. I do what I can to try and make things better for people. Safer, I suppose." He crinkles his nose at Elizabeth as if admitting to her that she has a better command over the language than he does. So he looks back to Ulani, "So if those guys threw down on you I'd have felt an imperative to stop them from messing about. Right?"
But then, like a golden retriever suddenly espying a squirrel he pipes up, "Oh hey, Cotton Candy!" And with that he rushes over to start buying four orders.

"It's an odd thing…" Rowan notes as they walk. "These champions, some of them do it at the people's behest, others… despite them. But many seem concerned with helping and all are quite powerful. Well, all the ones I've met. King Arthur was once a champion of the surface."

Ulani had heard that about Arthur. Watching Flash run off, Ulani cants her head "Cotton Candy?" before she turns her attention to Rowan and Betsy, with a frown "I see, I think. Do you find this confusing, Rowan?" Betsy gets an interested look, Ulani hasn't noticed the on-lookers at all "Why does Rowan think you are Champion, Betsy Braddock? Surely you must have done something to allow him to think that."

"I have some talents," Betsy says with a modest shrug. She swallows her surprise as Rowan asserts a personal knowledge of King Arthur and resists the urge to grill him on the personality of one of her treasured historical heroes.

"As does Mr. Thompson. We try not to let fear stop us from defending the moral values we support. We protect the weak, defend our ideals of justice, of law. We particularly do so sometimes against very powerful or very dangerous individuals, and we don't let the risk stop us from doing so. That's in many ways what a champion /does/, even if that's not strictly- from a civil perspective- what a champion /is/," she explains.

"Also you mentioned SHIELD." Rowan smiles. "Not many would in that manner. I do not believe we have met before, though, Miss Braddock. What is it in particular that you do or… are you able to tell us?"

"SHIELD, Rowan?" Ulani casts the Blue Warrior a look "I think Betsy Braddock, that you'll find the Blue are more concerned about what we /do/." Certainly their culture appears to be very different to the Surface. As Rowan's asked a good question, Ulani falls silent with an expectant air.

"An organization of warriors and scientists who protect Earth," Betsy supplies, helpfully, to answer Ulani's question. She takes a small, steadying breath- diplomacy is not her strong suite. Stabbing things, that's her strong suite. This is turning a little tedious.

Still, she rallies gamely. "I /do/ many things, Envoy," Betsy tells Ulani, a bit primly. "Among our people, defeating an enemy without using violence is considered the highest art of warfare. I'm afraid I'm not quite so elegant as that, however. I'm a warrior and a teacher, not a diplomat."

Rowan's not really sure that's true given what he's seen of their warriors in action, but he doesn't press the point. "It was a pleasure to meet you, then, Champion Betsy Braddock. I'm about to head south toward the waters. But I can offer a ride if you'd like. Envoy? Betsy?"

Betsy's prim tone has the Envoys eyebrows rising "I did not mean to give offense, Betsy Braddock. Please accept my apologies." Nodding to Rowans offer "There are things I would discuss with you, Rowan, thank you that would be kind." Inclining her head to Betsy, Ulani offers a warm smile "I trust we shall meet again, Betsy Braddock. It has been a pleasure and thank you for your conversation."

Betsy curtseys to Ulani with surprising grace and a lack of self consciousness. "My pleasure, Envoy. I hope we can meet again," she offers. She steps a few paces away from the two and lifts her hand in a wave of farewell, watching their departure until they are quite a ways away.

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