Give me a Hand

June 15, 2015:

Jessica and Betsy meet by accident; they discuss the Hand in New York.

Tenement housing

New York

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Betsy moves as quietly as she's able- and for the psychic ninja, that's almost cheating. Between knowing where a target is looking, a talent for Jedi Mind Tricks, and being able to turn flat-out invisible at will, the kunoichi with the dark purple hair makes it effortlessly through the tenement facilities. It's an old run-down building in the Projects that's long been abandoned, and through abuse and neglect, is barely standing on its own. It's the sort of place that attracts unsavoury characters, so it's small wonder that the Hand has established one of the zealots there to 'train' ambitious street thugs in the mysterious ways of the ninja clan. It mostly amounts to a lot of garbage mysticism and learning a few martial stances, but it does tend to make the average street thug a bit more dangerous.

Betsy hears a handful of Hand trainees rounding the corner ahead of her in the hallway- she glances around and then pitches out the window, crawling across a half-inch wide crack by her toes and fingernails and waiting for the Hand to pass.

It might be pretty low on SHIELD's radar, but the Hand establishing training grounds is definitely on there somewhere. And it's something pretty well suited to Jessica Drew's talents. So here she is. Clad in black and red, with a spider-emblem across the midsection of her jacket, the dark-haired woman launches herself from the rooftop of another nearby raggedy building, webbing spread between her sides and elbows allowing her to glide towards the one the Hand is supposedly using.
Touching down with a just barely audible thud of her feet hitting the roof, Jess lands on the edge of the rooftop in a crouch, arms cocking back briefly in an odd posture to seal the 'wings' of her costume away. Green eyes scanning the rooftop from behind yellow lenses, the dark-haired heroine twists around to look down towards the ground and along the wall of the tenement, for windows. Which is when she spots a lithe figure climbing out one of the windows below and to the side a bit. Brow arching in curiosity, Jess stares down at the other woman, remaining still in an attempt to avoid drawing the woman's eye.

If she notices Jess, it doesn't show. Psylocke clings to the side of the building, face inscrutable as she catches the sound of more trainees moving through the hall she'd just abandoned. With a curiously sinuous motion (spider-like?) she starts scaling the side of the building, fearless despite the lack of climbing equipment and the precarious position. Using the barest of cracks and ledges, many of them just a result of shoddy construction, Betsy opts tos cale the outside of the tenement with careful and deliberate motions, agile, athletic, and clearly a practiced freeclimber. At one point she leaps to the side and grabs a protruding exterior light with her fingertips, then pulls herself up one-armed and with a coiling of lithe muscles, then continues her free climb until she's not far below Jess' position.

As the woman below begins to start climbing, Jess studies her carefully, green eyes watching how she climbs. And it's pretty quickly apparent the woman below is in fact -climbing- and not cheating, like Spider-Woman or one of the other Spider-people. A dark brow arches again with the woman's leap and the one-armed pull up. Impressive to say the least. One of the teachers, maybe? Shifting her position slightly, Jessica leans forward and down, with a confident display of almost unnatural balance. Reaching to plant a gloved hand against the wall below her feet, the dark-haired woman begins to climb downwards.
It's pretty obvious something wonky is going on, with the red and black clad woman climbing -down- the wall, upside down, and showing almost no exertion for doing so, aside from struggling to keep her hair out of her face. The whisper of her hands and limbs moving across the wall may be noticed. Noticed or not, once the two women are closer together, Jess pitches her voice down to the purple-haired ninja, a faint European accent in her quiet words, "You have about three seconds to convince me not to knock you down."

Betsy isn't exactly on guard for someone scaling the building face-first /down/ at her, so Spider-Woman takes her by surprise. She flinches, automatically grabbing firmly at the handholds around her, and tenses like a coiling panther.

"It seems you have me at a disadvantage," Betsy says, pursing her lips and speaking with equally low tones that can't possibly be heard more than a few feet away. "I assume you're not with these would-be Hand trainees. And I would hardly be freeclimbing this facade if I were with them." She speaks with an eloquently cultured British accent, diction impeccable and smacking of blue blood. She glances at the rooftop above the two of them. "Perhaps we can continue this conversation in a less precarious location?"

Green eyes staring down at the Japanese woman assessingly, Jess cocks her head slightly as she listens. Her lips curve up on one side, into a smirk at the assumption that she's not with the Hand, "No. Definitely not." As Betsy finishes speaking, Spider-Woman jerks her head in the direction of the roof, "Alright, come on. Guess it's a bit harder for you to sit here than it is me." The smirk turns to an amused grin briefly before the woman is twisting around to re-orient herself and scale back up the short distance to the roof, pulling herself up and over.
Looking back down, she follows the other woman's progress, and then steps back. On the roof, Jess maintains what seems like a relaxed posture, but a more discerning eye can likely tell she's ready to spring into motion.

With a short nod, Betsy starts climbing, hands finally finding the edge of the rooftop and hauling her up as she walks along the wall with her toes. She kicks a foot up and hooks her heel, and fluidly kips into a low crouch on the building's balustrade. The mild wind tugs her purple-black hair and the red sash around her hips to the east, leaving her inscrutable features exposed as she regards Spider-Woman.

"You're the one they call Spider-Woman, aren't you?" Betsy asks, shifting into a low, partially kneeling squat. She's not exactly dressed for stealth, wearing a one-piece leotard and thigh-high boots with a wedge heel. "I read your dossiere over at the Triskelion. My codename's Psylocke," she explains. "Why are you here? Does SHIELD have interest in Hand operations?"

"That'd be me, yes," Jessica answers easily enough, her eyes flicking over the other woman and her questionable choice in attire from behind the yellow lenses of her glasses. Then again, Jess doesn't have much room to roll her eyes at someone for their get-up. The comment about reading her dossiere has both brows going up for a brief instant before she repeats the offered codename, "Psylocke."
At the last question, the dark-haired woman waves one gloved hand in a vague gesture, "Somewhat. In my experience, they tend to ignore little things like this. Matter of resources. But, I have the time, so here I am." Eyes on the crouching woman's face, Jess wonders, "And what are you doing here? I was starting to think you were one of the teachers they found or something, watching you climb up the wall."

"This is the third Hand 'training facility' I've found in the tri-city area," Betsy explains, eyes looking over Jess' shoulder as if assuming the woman is reciprocating for her. "It's primarily a recruitment tool for a rare potential applicant, but for the most part they use these startups to fund new overseas operations. One charismatic leader will move into an area and defeat a handful of local gang leaders in a fight, then co-opt their membership into a brutal training regimine with the promised intent of turning them into shinobi. It's merely a way to indoctrinate foolish local criminals into committing crimes that benefit the Hand."

She focuses on Jess' face again, eyes narrowing thoughtfully. "Very few people investigate the Hand out of casual curiousity."

Listening attentively to the other woman, Jessica nods here and there, and then at the end, Betsy's last comment earns a brief frown. "It's a recently developed interest," Spider-Woman answers slowly, eyes drifting away from the purple-haired woman and across their surroundings while she adds, "Let's just say I really don't like HYDRA, or anything remotely similar to them, and everything I've been reading about the Hand makes me think of a Japanese flavored HYDRA, populated with ninjas and assassins who are actually dangerous instead of idiots and goons led by the occasional mastermind."

Her eyes are back on Psylocke when she finishes, arms folding under her breasts as she cocks her hips to one side and asks, "Are you here to take them out, or just doing a bit of recon?"

Betsy rises as well, resting her gloved fingers on her bare hips and shifting her weight over her foot as well, vaguely mimicking Jess' posture. She's tall, well over six feet in her wedge heels. "I was hoping to identify the cell leader," she explains. "If this is a casual effort, they'll be a relatively young associate who is simply being groomed for more advanced operations. However, if this is something more sinister… they may well be one of their more elite operatives."

She gestures vaguely with one hand. "Besides, I flushed out one of their Gotham cells earlier this week. One is dismissable as a chance encounter with a heroic agent, but two in short order might cause them to pull this operation apart entirely before I can determine their objectives."

Jess is by no means short for a woman, but Betsy in those heels practically towers over her, especially when her own footwear is almost like standing barefoot. "Do you think it might be something more sinister?" The green-eyed woman tilts her head slightly as she asks. At the latter bits, she inclines her head, flicking one hand in a vaguely dismissive gesture again, "Having them go to ground won't help anything, I imagine." A brief pause and she mmm's before continuing, "I'm content to let you get the information you want, and keep my hands out of the cookie jar, on the condition that you share if it proves to be something more serious than a training ground for some young ninja lieutenant."

"Fair," Betsy agrees. "But if it is, I'd prefer it not to become general knowledged with SHIELD. I agreed to keep them appraised of any useful intelligence I gathered, but I'm disinclined to having them stomping across the boroughs looking for shinobi. This is not the sort of foe that SHIELD is well equipped to manage as an organization."

She reaches to the small of her back and pulls out an sPhone, one of the high-end models with redundantly redundant security systems, designed specifically for individuals who need to juggle a variety of phone numbers and even social media accounts to protect their identity. "I assume you have a 'work' number. I'm also professionally on Facebook," Psylocke explains, unlocking her phone. "I'll text you."

"Won't be the first secret I've kept from SHIELD," Jessica remarks dryly before chuckling quietly at the other woman's assessment of SHIELD not being equipped to handle ninjas. When Betsy pulls out her phone, Jess nods a little, "Figure you probably don't want the number for the phone SHIELD gave me." A small smirk and amused flash of green eyes echo that comment before she adds, "I still do some PI stuff, every once in a while. I'll give you the number I use for that." <INSERT NUMBER HERE TA-DA>. After that, the red and black clad woman wonders, "Should I ask what your interest in the Hand is, or shall I just get my answers out of the file I imagine SHIELD has, when I dig it up later?"

Betsy's eyes narrow slightly at Jessica, but she can hardly argue with the woman's curiousity. She types the number in and texts Jess, then snaps a quick picture of Spider-woman with her camera, saving the image to the contact information.

"I'd just as soon you get a relatively unspeculative version of things," Betsy admits. "About a year ago I was investigating something unrelated in the Sea of Japan. There was an incident and I was presumed dead. A few days later, I washed up on an island somewhere in the area. Hand agents training there found me, kidnapped me, and then… brainwshed me," she says, struggling to stay composed.

"They used some combination of medicine and magic to blend two women- Kwannon and Elizabeth- into who I am now. SHIELD operatives found me, rescued me, and helped me get back home."

"I hope that was a good picture," Jessica mutters at the taller woman before falling silent to listen to the story. A story that has Jess' hackles rising a bit, her posture tensing, for reasons that might very well have been in her own dossier. Blowing out a deep breath, the dark-haired woman purses her lips before speaking again, "I can certainly understand why you're looking to take them down a few pegs, then."

Giving her head a small shake, as if trying to clear it, Jess flashes a small smile at the purple-haired woman, "I've distracted you enough, I think. I'll leave you to it, and be on my way. Always enough trouble around." Cocking her arms back again in that odd motion, when she draws them free, the webbing is spread underneath her arms again. "Don't forget to let me know what you find." And with that, Spider-Woman turns towards the edge of the roof, takes a couple of running steps and launches herself off the building in a jump well beyond human capabilities.

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