Push it to the Limit

June 05, 2015:

Zoe and Audrey train in the danger room with Instructor Betsy

Xavier Institute

The Danger Room


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

When Betsy says she is a demanding coach, she isn't kidding. The Danger Room course she's set up is one of the better ones- a demanding combination of agility, raw speed, and endurance. There are ways to go fast, points for solving obstacles creatively, shortcuts to be had. It's one of Hank's better metrics systems and it works tremendously well.

Betsy had gone first, flying through it with the effortless grace of a ninja- vaulting over walls, leaping through barriers, picking locks and even dancing through an array of lasers. Then she'd made Zoe and Audrey run it.

Five times. Now she stands in the center of the wide course, watching the girls struggle through it in an attempt to get the best score possible.

Zoe took a moment to center herself before she ran the course. Flushing toxins through her system, creating adrenaline, increasing muscle density. She had control of her body in ways few did thanks to her mutation. Dressed in a pair of track shorts that hung loosely on her legs and a black tank top. "Ms. Braddock! Are there any rules like what we can and can't do?" She asked speaking up and then offered a smile over towards Audrey as the young Brunette offered her a hand. "Hey I think I've seen you around the school. I'm Zoe."

Audrey goes through the course with the dogged determination of a trained soldier. If she has a weakness, it's that she tends to go for the more conservative course, sacrificing time for assured success. Failures are met with stoicism, and a determined look for how to avoid it the next round. At least she doesn't usually make the same mistake twice. "Audrey," she smiles faintly to the other girl, taking the offered hand in a brief, firm grip. "Or Lux, as the case may be."

"Why are you asking me?" Betsy asks, a cold scorn in her voice. No sympathy, here! "You know what the standards are for this course. Efficiency is the only thing I care about. However you have to solve it to get that done- whatever skills you have- you need to learn how to use. If it's faster to blast the door down, do that. If you can only pick the lock, do that!" she says, walking along as the girls jump and run through it. "Whatever it takes to get it done as /efficiently/ as possible," she says in that cultured but sharp British accents.

Zoe listened to her as she was approaching what looked like a car park with a overhead door and a standard door that could probably be lock picked through. Zoe took a deep breath and jumped feet first towards the overhead door and as her running shoes collided a circular section of it seemed to break free and she landed. Skating on the detached section of it down along the parking structure. Hands out for balance as she did her best to transmute the bottom into a more curved shape for better control as she leaned forward swiftly heading downhill thanks to her little improvisation.

Audrey glances up toward Betsy for just a moment, but she doesn't comment. Complete the mission, that's what matters. She's also watching Zoe, though, trying to get a feel for what she can do. Where Zoe jumps, Audrey pulls out a gun, spins on a silencer, and shoots into the lock on the door. Even then, she pushes the door open with her back against the wall, clearing the area before she steps inside. She moves at a ground-eating jog, but it's one that gives her the chance to look around herself as she moves, alert for ambush. Physically, she doesn't seem to have any particular advantages. Methodologically, she's certainly practiced.

Betsy follows along at a steady jog, moving on the 'instructor' path that gives her a view of the two women. Zoe starts pulling ahead and Betsy nods approvingly, looking to Audrey. Her quick defeat of the door gets another look of approval. "Good attention to security," Betsy informs Audrey. "Zoe, clever use of your environment." She glances up at the giant holographic timeclock ticking silently up in the air overhead.

Zoe's eyes widened a little. "Ah geez, hey Audrey jerk holes!" She said as she skated down the pavement and was coming close to about four guys that looked rather menacing. Their outfits similar to Hydra soldiers and even holding the futuristic energy rifles they tended to have. "You get the ones on the right?" She said and ducked down low before jumping and kicking off that section of garage door she was riding as it started to flip towards two of the soldiers in the air. Tumbling she landed on her knees and extended a beam of blue chaotic crackling energy at the flying bit of metal expanding it out as it started to reflect the incoming blasts of energy from the fake soldiers before suddenly growing thin and thickening on the outer edges into black balls. Turning into a set of bolas that wrapped around and knocked the soldiers on their asses.

When Zoe points out the attackers, Audrey disappears. Literally. To the eyes, at least. Invisible, she continues to jog toward the soldiers to where she can get a sure shot. In the meantime, veils of darkness fall around the Hydra soldiers' heads, blinding them to the mutants coming up on them.

She warned Betsy. Audrey was trained as a soldier, and when it comes to armed threats, she behaves like one. The guards on the right get bullets aimed directly to their heads.

Betsy nods approvingly as the girls clear the final obstacle, looking up to check the time. "Time," she calls, stepping towards their position. She stops not far from them, where they make three points on a triangle. "A respectable time. You two worked together to address threats, though your times overall might have been better if you were cooperating from the very beginning," she points out in those cultured tones. "Obstacles can be as dangerous as enemies. Remember, X-men never leave someone behind- we move and fight as a team."

"Zoe, what could you have done better?" she asks the girl, turning those brilliant amethyst eyes onto her.

Zoe huffed slightly standing up and walking towards Betsy as she put her hands on her knees leaning over slightly as she caught her breath before taking a moment and oxygenating her blood as she stood up looking less fatigued. "I could have done a better job of setting Audrey up for a less than lethal take down.. I wasn't aware going in that she prefers firearms and because of my decisions two of the enemy soldiers are dead. It's not that Audrey shouldn't have shot them it's that I'm not comfortable with killing. Its my personal failure ma'am." She said with a half smile towards Audrey. "You moved so stealth-fully though I lost sight a few times it was kinda cool."

Audrey makes sure the safety is on before she tucks the gun away once more to rejoin Betsy once the course is complete. "It's what I do," she explains to Zoe with a brief flicker of a smile. "Light manipulation. You do matter, or energy?" she asks, trying to put a finger on what she saw during the exercise.

Betsy stands akimbo, shifting her weight over her right foot and cocking a hip out slightly. Though it doesn't show on her face, there's a smile lurking behind those eyes as the two young women start comparing notes on their respective abilities, analyzing their performance on the short but brutal assessment course.

Zoe looked towards Audrey with a half-smile. "Oh yea i call it my 'alchemical blast' I can change something about, its shape, what its made of that kinda thing even reduce the strength of the molecular bonds or outright destroy them like I did with the garage door. I gotta aim it though and if I miss it can had some weird results. Even pump up my own bodies performance a little. But /other/ people, even with my sixth sense about molecules I can't do anything other than rip them apart so I kinda try to avoid that, you'd be surprised how complicated you are inside." She said with a bashful smile looking back to Betsy. "D..did we do okay? Tell me were at least getting close to a high score for students."

"Broad potential applications," Audrey muses. "Though I'd guess it's probably not a large-scale operation, given the sheer number of molecules in any given space?" It's half question, half guess, as she pieces things together. As Zoe asks about their performance on the course, though, she looks back toward Betsy, features carefully composed. Technically, she isn't exactly a student, but there's no need to bring that up.

Betsy looks at the instructor tablet, then posts the scores up on the holodisplay with a gesture. "You did adequately," she tells Zoe and Audrey. Adequate might be a /bit/ kind- for two-person teams, they're actually in the bottom third. "But you've only run this course on this occassion. Other students have run it multiple times, or with faculty teammates. You two are still learning about teamwork and discipline, which is in large part the determining factor in getting a good efficiency rating," she says in those frostily unreadable British tones, her Asian features equally inscrutable.

Zoe smirked a little bit at the question about her limitations. "Well yea I can't turn a car into bagel lickity split or anything only about sixty pounds at a time. Denser objects are harder to transmute or tear apart." Looking to Betsy she groaned. "Ughh dangit, I'll get better don't worry! I'll train every day if I have to!" She said with a furrowed brow and a look of determination on her face seemingly disappointed she didn't come out of the gate on top of the leader boards. Taking a breath she nods. "What was your time Ms. Braddock, were we close?"

"You probably don't want to know the answer to that question," Audrey murmurs with a flicker of a smile when Zoe asks about Betsy's time. She doesn't look thrilled about her own time, but it's clear she's thinking about it, weighing out the pros and cons. Her talents aren't at their best in a purely physical test. But she did come out alive, so that's always a plus.

Betsy taps the screen once and looks skyward. Her time posts up- and it's more than a small margin faster than the girl's team scores. In fact, it's faster than /most/ of the team scores, and her individual score is within seconds of Cyclops and Logan's. "I've beeen doing this for a few years," she reminds the girls. "And I have talents that are extremely mutable and easy to adapt to varying situations." She spreads her hands in a gesture of casual dismissal. "You two aren't as fast as I am, so you'll have to work together to find a way to be more /efficient/."

Zoe sighed softly. "Dangit, if I had more time I could enhance my body more but it takes concentration to augment myself like that." She rolls her arm a little in the socket, "I'll improve enough so you can feel comfortable running it side by side someday Ms. Braddock and I bet Audrey here will too. I mean I probably couldn't been faster on some obstacles by just blowing them away but were supposed to try to limit property damage right? i mean super heroes aren't supposed to destroy the city in the process." She said as if she was confident in that.

Audrey doesn't seem to be in any hurry to reassure Betsy that she's serious about what she does. Hands in her pockets, she's actually looking at the teams on the list and their respective times. Gathering information is what she does. Talking about her plans, less so. "Isn't time sort of an arbitrary measurement of success?" she chimes in after a moment, looking back to the others.

"It's Ha- Dr. McCoy's program," Betsy says, catching herself. "He set p a number of goals to achieve, and measures factors ranging from property damage to degree of completion. Both of you missed objective four, for instance," Betsy says, looking from Audrey to Zoe.

"Really, any measure of success is arbitrary. We set our own standards for triumph. Scott is perfectly capable of annihilating Sentinels on his own- his measure of success is based on how quickly he can do it /while/ protecting innocents, and /while/ preserving property."

Zoe smirked a little. "Ms. Braddock can I mess around a little?" She said. "I mean none of its real right?" She turned about and an arc of cackling red energy seems to arc between her hands before extending outwards like a bolt of lighting chaotically slithering through the air as it collided with a large SUV blowing a hold in the side of it with a explosion of energy and leaving a small crater as she blinked eyes wide. "Woooahh I never tried that before, awesome.. I mean.. in a horribly destructive kinda way." Looking over her shoulder and standing up straight. "Ahh sorry Ma'am I've just never really gotten a chance to push myself in regard to my mutations."

Audrey nods to Betsy, looking over the course one more time. The inspection gets cut short when Zoe gets to crackling, brows rising slightly. "What, exactly, was that?" she asks, looking between Zoe's hands and the van. "Some sort of conversion of the air to plasma?" Opportunities to test her powers are one thing her life hasn't been short on. Knowing what they did, how they worked, and the practical applications was paramount in her life before now.

"Feel free. You two have run an adequate job. Spend some time looking at individual objectives and exploring the course. The Danger Room is, of course, completely destructible. I'll be nearby if you have questions." Betsy nods cooly at the two girls and walks off, the control tablet in her hands.

Zoe looked at the now smoldering car. The arcing crimson energy seeming to be gone as she nodded to Betsy before looking to Audrey again. "Oh its kinda the same as my transforming things only instead of pushing together or changing something I like rip ir apart disintegrate it ya know? It's actually a lot easier to do then the other method, go figure the most violent option comes easier." She said with a shrug of your shoulders. "So whats with the commando style combat and the head shots, did you used to be a spy or something like Natasha Romanov? Who by the way is like so sexy in that dangerous kinda way." She almost swooned a little.

"So more like energy released from breaking chemical bonds. Just short of a nuclear explosion. Yeah, maybe experiment carefully with that one," Audrey suggests with another of those faint smiles. She shakes her head to the question, hands in her pockets as she wanders a few steps away. "Military," she explains. "Army. I was part of a program training mutants for black ops missions."

Zoe blinked a little at that. "No kidding, they had enough to make a secret military team? I thought the Professor tried to gather up as many of us mutants as possible and get us all here. You know at least the ones of us with dangerous powers." She said a little surprise such a thing existed. "Did they take you against your will, try to create mutant? I heard the inhumans can do something crazy with this stuff called like Terrigen Crystals." Her scientific mind going a million miles a minute as if trying to think up all the different situations it could've happened.

Audrey quirks a brow, then shrugs. "No one got turned into a mutant. That's a different division. They're probably still trying to come up with a super soldier serum. Our unit did pretty much what they do here," she says, gesturing vaguely around herself. "Except with a military goal. Some people were there against their will. Earlier in the program. Then they decided to focus on recruiting younger. So it was more like military school. I was thirteen when I started. It's not that I…" She pauses, grimacing as she tries to find the right words. "My dad runs the unit. I came into my powers when one of the recruits went rogue. So I didn't exactly choose it, but…no more than any kid picks where they go to middle school, I guess?"

Zoe listened to her obviously intrigued but also donning a concerned expression a she waked over towards the controls. and spawned in a couch as she flopped back onto it with a sigh and invited Audrey over with a hand. "Wow that sounds like some serious baggage Audrey. I'm not gonna call your dad a bad guy but I don't think its cool to raise kids to be military strike teams. Since you ended up here instead of running black ops I'm guessing somewhere along the line you disagreed too. I'm kinda glad but maybe we can help get you away from using a pistol for your take downs." She said with a half-smile. "I bet your good looks could do a decent job with some guys."

"It's complicated," Audrey replies with sigh. "I didn't want to keep doing it, at least not as someone's secret, so I left. I was on my own until I ran into the Red Team when the unit was trying to recover me. So I've been with them since then." The comment about looks gets a rueful smile. "Not something I worry that much about. After all," she pauses, and the air around her shimmers until it looks like Betsy's standing there. "Looks aren't everything."

Zoe blinked a little bit. "Woah, nice trick now can ya do with again with less clothes?" she said jokingly with a little giggle. "I get ya, family is important and it was probably hard to leave. But I'm glad you're here with us and X-men Red trying to make a difference in this world. There's so much chaos and its our job to at least try to keep people safe through it all. Especially with so many jerks in the world like those Hydra guys. Still can't believe they attack the institute not a month ago now."

Audrey lets the illusion fade, shaking her head. "Can and should are two very different things," she laughs low. "I'd rather not get in that sort of trouble. As for our job?" She's quiet for a moment, looking out toward the course. "It's important, sure. I'm more concerned with making sure mutants don't end up targeted than anything else, though."

Zoe sighed softly standing back up. "Yea someones gotta protect us too I guess. Wanna go upstairs? I stashed some pizza from the other night in my mini fridge." She said with a wink and stretched out slightly. "Thats a cool ability though nice to know whats going on if I see someone else and hear your voice in the future."

"I should be getting back to the city, actually," Audrey shakes her head, pulling out her phone and checking the time. "Thanks, though. Good to work with you," she adds with a flash of a smile. "I'm sure we'll run into each other again. Assuming it hasn't already been planned to play with times."

Zoe smiled and nods. "In that case I'm gonna go and clean up, i don't think I've ever sweat that much before." She said with a little groan stretching out again and giving a wave to Audrey. "See you again soon I'm sure, the next time Psylocke puts us through the wringer."

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