A Handful of ninja

June 27, 2015:

Psylocke and Spider-Woman look into Hand activity in rural New York. Not one of their more professional moments, though.

Abandoned farm, rural New York

It's hard to say precisely what the facility might have been- an old barn, a big industrial facility, maybe even a small military or civil patrol base. It's been worn down and rebuilt so many times it's hard to say. A good five miles from any major city, it's the sort of place that most people would never find on their own, and the locals go about their business absolutely ignoring it.

Characters

NPCs: 101 Neenja

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF NEW YORK:

"That's a /lot/ of wannabes," Betsy murmurs to Jessica, looking down at a hundred red-robed clad men and women, shouting and punching at the air in martial rhythm. The two women are atop the roof of a dilapidated four-story structure in the wee hours of the morning, before proper twilight has begun. It's hard to say precisely what the facility might have been- an old barn, a big industrial facility, maybe even a small military or civil patrol base. It's been worn down and rebuilt so many times it's hard to say. A good five miles from any major city, it's the sort of place that most people would never find on their own, and the locals go about their business absolutely ignoring it.

Betsy is squatting on a four-inch wide shelf, one hand above her for a bit of balance and support from her position a good sixty feet off the ground. Unlike Jessica, she doesn't have spider-themed powers; just really strong hands and excellent balance. She brings a small thermal camera up to her eyes and roves around the small encampment, looking through the lenses. "I'm seeing a heat bloom from that outbuilding there," she says, pointing at a two-story block building with a pitched roof. She hands the camera to Jessica. "That might be where they're processing the leaves." The Hand is like any other criminal organization- they've gotta make money to take money, and sometimes an infusion of rare Asiatic drugs derived from herbs can make a quick buck in the city.

Eyeing the crowd of red-clad people below, making a ruckus and going through martial art forms, Spider-Woman purses her lips. Clad in her black and red outfit, Jess is perched next to Psylocke, crouches against the flat wall of the old building in a way that just flat out looks weird. She's upright, and her knees are bent, with her feet flat against the wall beneath her, and her rear-end and back pressed against the wall as well. The benefits of that strange clinginess coupled with a superhuman physique. "You take the ninety of the left, I'll get the ten on the right," Jessica suggests dryly, green eyes flicking aside to the purple-haired woman with a brief grin.

Reaching out a hand for the camera, Jess lifts it to her face, scanning the area down across from them. She focuses briefly on the building Betsy had indicated and nods a little, "So, what are you thinking? Sneak in there, smash the place up?" Passing the camera back, she muses, "A fire might draw enough attention to get them out of the area, if they can't contain it themselves."

Betsy rolls her eyes minutely at her friend, but there's a little tugging at her mouth that suggests a smile. She takes the camera and hooks it to the small of her back. "I have to admit, I like having pockets again," she confesses to Jessica. The new catsuit, fresh from THINK, has room for all the accessories for a ninja on the go. And it doesn't look like she bought it at Ninja Stripper Discount warehouse. She considers the floorplan and layout patiently, eyes flittering around at the movement taking place.

"A fire would need at least three to five minutes to become a proper conflagraton," Betsy says in her cultured aristocratic tones. "Longer if they have any kind of suppression systems. We'd need to make sure it's a bonfire before we leave. I'm good," she concedes, "but even I would have a hard time escaping ninety Hand trainees- not to mention there's almost certainly a mentor here somewhere who might prove a more difficult challenge." She brushes her fingertips together and rests her jaw on her palm, an elbow balanced on a dark-clad knee.

"We can drop in over there," she says, leaning into Jessica's space and pointing at an old milk run. "That's our ingress. I'm sure we can find something inflammable. But if we alert them to our presence, we'll have to scarper fast." She looks up at the woman next to her. "Any objections?"

"Pockets are handy," Jessica agrees, having only recently ditched the body-paint-esque costume for her more casual or, as it might seem, more 'idgaf who knows who I am'-esque costume. Shaded by clear yellow lenses, Jess' green eyes idly sweep across Psylocke and the new catsuit while the woman is considering the scene below. Not for the first time, either.

Her attention returns pretty quickly to the matter at hand though, listening to the kunoichi's comments, "Hmm. Could disable the suppression system if there is one?" A pause and she remarks playfully, "I'm sure you're a hundred times the ninja anybody down there is. And you've got me."

As Betsy leans close and stretches an arm out, Jess looks to the indicated spot, "Seems like the best route. Somebody'd probably notice if I just tried to glide over them." Looking back to the purple-haired woman, Spider-Woman absently touches a gloved-hand against Betsy's knee as she nods and then says, "After you? You're the ninja queen." Drawing her hand back, the dark-haired woman cocks her arms in that odd gesture to engage the 'webbing' beneath her arms and along her sides.

"That's still our one-hundred and ten units of ninja versus one-hundred enemy ninja," Betsy points out. "You're bad at math, but you're cute, so I forgive you." She nimbly climbs up and rests a hand on Jessica's shoulder and kneels on her lower back. It's a good thing Jessica has super-strength, because Betsy's built like the proverbial brick house.

"Okay, jump and glide. I'll give us some lift," she says, eyes narrowing in concentration. She starts gathering her psychokinetic talents to her, ready to give Jessica a boost in order to offset the extra weight riding on her back.

"One hundred and ten is bigger than one-hundred. Math," Jess retorts before feigning hurt, "And come on, you're supposed to go 'oh, Spider-Woman, you're worth more than ten ninjas'!" And then the leggy kunoichi is slipping atop her, and Jessica helps facilitate that a bit by leaning forward until it's mostly just her feet and rear pressed against the wall.

"You do remember I can't actually fly, right," she wonders in amusement. "Gliding is kind of more like simply 'falling' when you increase the weight by double." Despite her words, the dark-haired heroine trusts in the other woman. Shifting slightly against the wall, Spider-Woman launches herself (and her passenger) away from it, like a swimmer getting a kick-off start against the wall of the pool. Spreading her arms out to fan those 'wings', Jess aims for the milk run Betsy had pointed out. Meanwhile, the psychic might be getting a face full of black hair as the wind whips by.

"Well, all right, then focus on falling towards the milk run," Betsy mutters. She glances at Jessica, then at herself, and sighs, long-suffering. "More like triple," she mutters, poking at a muscular thigh.

When Jessica pushes off, Betsy pushes /up/, and for a good second, they're gliding along quite nicely. A faceful of hair is a pretty decent tradeoff for covering a good two hundred feet at a smooth glide. But there's a difference between piloting a light prop aircraft and piloting a Spider-Woman, and it's not just the lack of propellers. Feeling them descending, Betsy's instincts kick in and she 'brakes' Jessica, momentarily forgetting she's not a light cargo aircraft. She drops a few feet, and Betsy slips, then starts to fall, and accidentally collapses one of the wing brackets. "Oh bloody hell-" she gasps, and then she's freefalling a good fifty feet, arms pinwheeling. She manages to arrest her motion a bit and correct her flight attitude, but she still barely avoids a face-first pratfall by a very small margin. And the ground is soft, which helps.

"Owww…" she grunts, trying to get to her feet as quickly as she can- and staring at a hundred one-percent Betsy units of Hand, scattered around her in surprise.

The fact that they remain up in the air at all instead of plummeting pretty quickly is sign to Jess that whatever Betsy is doing is working. Well, until it isn't, and they start dropping. "Don't sto—," Jess begins to call over her shoulder before feeling the other woman slipping off her back. Not good. Spider-Woman snaps one arm back in an attempt to grab at the kunoichi.

Which leads to Psylocke tearing through the webbing under one arm that lets Jessica glide, and then they're both falling even faster. Twisting in the air, in a clearly practiced fashion, the dark-haired woman tries to grab at her friend again. Missing, Jess grimaces, figuring she herself is the more likely of the pair to endure the fall without suffering any lasting injures.

Unable to grab the other woman and try to cushion her fall, leaves Spider-Woman to worry solely about her own fall. All done in the matter of fleeting seconds this whole scenario plays out. When your powers involve clinging to skyscrapers and gliding around, you kind of get used to the whole 'falling' thing. Spreading her arms and adjusting her path a bit, Jessica hits the ground in a practiced manner, feet first with her knees already bent slightly, and then her hands.

Remaining in the crouched position she lands in, a short distance from the kunoichi, Jess' gaze flicks across the surrounding red-clad figures. "Psylocke, you okay?" She calls, even as her body tenses like a spring waiting to explode into motion.

"Nnnngghh." Betsy looks fairly well dazed, struggling to get up off her hands and knees. A fifty-foot freefall is part of the standard bag of ninja tricks, but that's assuming you're more or less ready for it. Caught between too far to fall and not enough time to do it in, Betsy looks like at best she kept herself from breaking anything.

"All right, so…" She gets to her feet and draws her katana, dropping the tip of the blade into the ground, and points a finger at the Hand operatives. "You're all surrounded. Surrender now… and I won't have my friend kick all your arses," she says, pointing at Jessica, clearly stalling for time. "Because she will. Alphabetically, then by height."

With a berserk cry, a nearby Hand agent rushes at her, and Betsy snaps the katana around in a tight loop, taking his hand off with a glittering arc of the blade. She stumbles a bit. "I said /she/ will," she complains, pointing at Jessica. "Blimey, you gits, clean out your ears. I'm just here looking for your senpai. Where is the sensei?" she says. "Someone-" she points the sword at a nearby Hand ninja- "go fetch him. Meiyo no tame no ketto- I demand satisfaction."

The Hand ninja rushes off at the sharply spoken Japanese. A few start to creep towards Jessica, making grabby-hands at the thought of seizing the superheroine for a hostage.

Briefly cutting her eyes aside to Betsy, Spider-Woman nods to herself as the kunoichi starts to rise, and draws her katana. A quiet laugh escapes at the other woman's threat to the group. And then…Ouch. Jess grimaces as that hand comes off and the katana whisks the poor fellow's blood into the air.

As some of the red-clad folks start inching towards her, Jessica sighs aloud and decides to try and curb that before it even starts. While Jess has more training as a spy and assassin and not so much as a 'ninja', the type of fighting style common to herself and most of the Spider-folks makes them seem like ninjas in hyperdrive. —And Spider-Woman is nearly alone amongst that specific group with training in how to actually fight.

Lunging into motion even as Betsy's messenger-ninja dashes off, Jessica takes a couple running steps straight towards one of the men approaching her and leaps up into the air, balling into a flip and coming down with one leg extended. The heel of her foot cracks loudly against the man's skull, echoing the sudden crackle of venomous green bioelectricity running up and down her right arm as she lands. Pointing at one of the other approaching ninjas with that arm, the dark-haired woman snaps, "Right, gents. Let's not do this. You won't wake up happy tomorrow. Assuming you wake up at all."

Betsy suddenly vanishes and a familiar presence pushes up against Jessica's shoulderblades, the kunoichi's sword glinting in Jessica's peripheral vision. "Sorry, I needed a moment to collect myself," Betsy explains with a soft voice, the dazed confusion gone from her voice. "Try not to move about too much- this is difficult to do with two people."

And with that, she and Jessica simultaneously vanish and are replaced by two very convincing dopplegangers, who step several paces away from them, drawing the focus of The Hand. It's a handy distraction, but not one that'll hold up to much scrutiny, or a fight for that matter. Between the scything arc of Betsy's blade and Jessica's spectacular skull-cracking kick, they've clearly left an impression on the trainees.

"…so this is a bad time to mention this, but you smell /incredible/," Betsy says, after a lengthy pause, pressing her shoulderblades a bit more langorously against Jessica's. "Did anyone ever tell you that?"

Fortunately, right then, the Hand student returns, bowing cumbersomely to a man wearing a proper gi and not the stylized uniform issued en masse to recruits. He stops and hisses, eyes widening, and bows to Betsy's image with a cold deference. "Why, Lady Mandarin, how kind of you to return to us so voluntarily. Have you taken up flying?" he asks with a sinuously amused tone.

There's a brief tensing at first, and then Jess immediately relaxes as she realizes who it is at her back. As Betsy starts speaking, the dark-haired woman shakes her head, "I'd imagine so, that was a bit of a fall." The next bit almost has her quiet voice dipping towards confusion, "Try not to move about?" Not understanding what the psychic kunoichi is doing, Spider-Woman is about to start explaining how fighting ninety-eight ninjas is going to be a lot more than 'difficult' without moving around.

And then there's the illusionary doppelgangers stepping away and a quiet 'ahhh' escapes the SHIELD agent. Voice even quieter, Jess murmurs, "Well, handy that." Lapsing into silence, she remains still with her back to Betsy's, watching the illusions and the ninjas warily. At the purple-haired woman's compliment, and the feel of the taller woman's shoulders rolling against her back, a faint mmm escapes the red and black clad heroine. "Never anybody with a figure like yours, and never immediately after cutting off some clown's hand with a katana and ordering the crowd of that schmuck's murderous friends around." A pause, and she adds, "The new attire suits you -very well-, by the way."

When the man who at least appears to be the sensei shows up and starts talking to fake-Betsy, Jess falls silent, eyes focusing on him. Quietly, the heroine hisses to her friend, "So, what's the plan? Cut and run, come back another time?"

"Flattery gets you everywhere," Betsy sing-songs in a soft murmur, rolling her eyes back. She's… well, she's swaying a little bit, leaning her head back and resting it against Jess'. Just for a second. Then the Hand agent starts talking, and she snaps back to full alertness, muscles coiling smoothly against Jessica's.

~ Linking in,~ comes Betsy's voice, but only in Jessica's head. There's an odd frisson as Betsy's presence intrudes on the edge of Jessica's awareness, albeit un-invasively. ~ If we run, they'll rally and chase us down. I don't think I can walk us both out of here while shielded- this isn't as easy as I make it look.~ /That's/ an interesting new tone she's taken on. ~ But if I take him down, quickly, I can put the rest of them on their heels. If I do that, can you make sure to set the fire in the outbuilding? ~ Betsy says.

The shadow image of her gives the man a cold, flatly emotionless look. "Don't take that tone with me, peasant," she says with a haughty air that's borne from something far more cruel than mere aristocratic upbringing. "Enemy or not, you will show me due deference. I demand satisfaction," she says, the 'image' stepping away from Jessica and standing with a cold poise. "I know the rites of the Clan as well as any- and I have the right to defend my honor against those who side with my husband. Do you have the courage to represent your clan?"

The way Betsy phrases those words sends a rippling murmur through the ninja trainees, who look worried and intimidated. Playing ninja in a field was one thing- but they'd all been bested by this zealot who was instructing them. He was serious business. And Betsy seems to be dominating the conversation without a thought.

"Does it? I'll keep that in mind," is Jess' whispered response, enjoying the sway of the kunoichi's lean, muscled figure against her back. And speaking of 'in mind'. There's a slow blink of surprise, not that anybody can see it, zthough it's really not that unexpected. The spider heroine is however, suddenly worrying about every thought dancing through her mind. No, no, stop thinking about how the other woman's back feels against hers, or precisely how much she likes the purple-haired woman's catsuit. Stop thinking about her lips and how soft they probably are. Strange how suddenly -not- wanting to think about something makes it flare like a bonfire for a few seconds.

There's an awkward pause before the dark-haired woman manages to form a deliberate, worded response amongst her thoughts, ~~Ah. Uh. Right. Yeah. I can do that. Sure.~~ Even in her own head, her voice is flustered, betraying the sudden flash of color heating her cheeks.

Collecting herself a bit, and focusing on the doppelganger Betsy's handling of the sensei, Jessica's mind tosses a thought at the other woman, ~~I like the badass attitude.~~ Rolling her own shoulders, Spider-Woman looks towards the outbuilding, scanning the distance between. ~~Am I sticking around until after the fight, and then slipping away, or shall I try to disappear during it?~~

Betsy's eyelid flickers a bit, and the images of them flicker, sending a wave of consternation through the crowd of ninja. "I… uh." The words and thoughts echo simultaneously, and Betsy winces and moves a hand to her forehead. Note to self: conversation with allies about managing linkages should precede linking in.

"Oh, screw it," she growls. She rolls off Jessica's shoulder, the images vanishing into a haze, and she grabs the other woman and spins her around, grabbing the front of her shirt with a free hand.

The Hand train their ninjas and even their trainees fairly well, but it's hard to prepare someone for the sight of a pair of nearly six-foot tall ninja-trained assassins appearing from being completely invisible, and with one of them apparently trying to assault the skinner one with her lips and tongue. It's a frenetic full ten count of Betsy absolutely indulging in that side of her that the pheremones provoked, and that part of her that was more than receptive to Jessica's sensual thoughts.

"Uhh… what's this, I'm confused," the Hand operative says, nervously, slightly crouched in a combat-ready stance. "Are we fighting- is this happening? Are we doing this?" he asks, looking at the rest of the trainees.

As the images flicker, Spider-Woman tenses, assuming the gig is about to be up. At Elizabeth's growl, Jess is turning her head to glance at her friend, and is then suddenly being tugged around to face the kunoichi. As that strong hand grabs a fistful of her jacket, the dark-haired woman blinks and her tongue flicks across her lips rapidly, a sudden stream of thoughts skittering across her mind, intimate images of herself and the purple-haired woman.

Betsy's kiss is met eagerly, Jess' full lips parting beneath the demanding press of the other woman's. One of Jessica's hands settles against the curve of the telepath's hip, the other reaching up to brush along her neck, fingers curling to grip at the tightly-fitted catsuit and the flesh beneath. The black-haired heroine's thoughts splinter and fracture, everything except the closeness of Elizabeth Braddock, the taste of her lips and tongue, the smell of the woman, the feel of the body beneath that dark suit.

For the duration of the kiss, one of the red-clad ninjas could probably walk up and stab Jessica in the back without her noticing. Eventually she does draw back, though. Emerald eyes stare up into amethyst ones, red-painted lips parted and sucking in sharp breaths. "Ah…"

Losing herself in the sensual swirl of hands and lips and tongues, Betsy isn't quite as braindead to the world as Jessica- a lifetime of conditioning her brain to multitask keeps her going- but good lord, does she throw herself enthusiastically into the kiss. She returns Jess' embrace with warm sincerity, the hand holding her jacket relaxing and splaying a palm out across her breastbone and clavicle- for comfort and balance, with no effort to push her away.

When they break, she looks at Jessica, and Jessica looks at her, and she giggles. It's a fetching sound, and it goes with a slow but electrifying grin crossing her face, something sparkling in her unusually-hued eyes. She laughs again, shoulders rocking back and forth, pressed comfortably into Jessica's lean figure.

The Hand operative looks around, confused, and then straightens up to try and reassert some of his authority. Most of the guys and some of the girls seem fairly taken by the display, and he clears his throat meaniningfully. With a pretentious air, he starts to inhale for a wordy speech, finger upraised-

-and a bolt of psionic energy, fired from Betsy's fingertip, slams into his forehead. He goes catapaulting backwards and lands in a contorted position, a smoking hole in his forehead.

Betsy wraps her free hand around Jess's waist, keeping her katana out of the way, and blinks at the man. "Wow. I did not know that'd work so well," she confesses, her cheek brushing Jessica's. As if suddenly becoming aware of the Hand agents, she scowls thunderously at them all.

"Well? Anyone else want to try and ruin my special moment?" she demands, a wave of nauseating psychic fear crushing the wills of the various trainees. Here and there, then in waves, they just sort of… sit on their hands, unsure of what else to do but obey that very strict tone of voice.

"…maybe we should call this one in. I don't think I have enough room in my car for this many prisoners," Betsy suggests.

Cheeks still flushed with a bit of color, a wide grin curves Jess' lips as Betsy giggles and the heroine does her best to memorize that delighted expression on the other woman's face, that light dancing in her eyes. The hand at Psylocke's hip keeps the slightly taller, more muscular woman held firmly against Jessica.

The sound of the sensei toppling to the ground is what finally tears Spider-Woman's attention away from the leggy kunoichi. The color in her cheeks abruptly returns, even more apparent than before as she realizes how far she let herself fall into the moment. Flicking her gaze across the Hand trainees, Jess twists a bit, and then is back against Betsy when that arm curls around her waist, their faces close enough so that their cheeks brush against each other's.

As Elizabeth focuses on the trainees, the dark-haired spider heroine mmm's quietly in approval before murmuring, "Oh, yes. The badass attitude suits you very well." Watching the group waver beneath the force of Betsy's personality and her powers, Jess shakes her head a little and then asks, "SHIELD?" The hand at the telepath's neck is already drawing away to reach into a pocket.

"I don't think the police are equipped for this," Betsy agrees, looking around. "Call it in, if you would, please- I'll make sure anyone who gets up early regrets it," she says, breaking away from Jessica grudgingly. Her fingertips trail absently across her hip and belly until she's out of arms reach. Once in the clear she steps up on top of a stack of hay and stares at the Hand trainees, a glimmering amethyst blade wrapped around her right hand and her katana upswept behind her in her reverse grip.

"Also… I think maybe we should talk about this," she says, looking momentarily at Jessica. She smiles. "Over food. Maybe drinks. At my place," she offers, eyes twinkling.

"I can't wait to have to file the report that's going to follow ninety something ninjas telling SHIELD officers we just kind of fell into the middle of them and then started kissing before demanding they all surrender," Jessica remarks in amusement, her eyes following Elizabeth as the woman draws away. Retrieving her phone from a jacket pocket, she taps at it a few times and then lifts it to her ear, beginning the process of asking SHIELD to come pick up a lot of criminals.

Lowering the phone and pressing her palm over the microphone, Spider-Woman nods at the other woman's words, returning the smile warmly, "We should, yes." Lifting the phone again, her eyes continue to follow the kunoichi. Jess isn't a naive teenager dumbstruck with a crush for the first time (though she is doing a fair job of possibly seeming like it), but it's been a while since she left anyone get terribly close, and the surge of having that growing attraction returned and by someone with a number of similar experiences, has her a little overwhelmed at the moment.

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