Evaluating the White Queen

July 28, 2015:

The decision has been made to possibly allow Emma Frost to join the X-Men, at least on an ad hoc basis to assist in a few missions. Before that, they need to evaluate her tactical abilities. Naturally, Elizabeth Braddock is selected to guide Emma through the process. Jean shows up midway through the process to prod things along.

Danger Room -- Xavier Institute -- Westchester County New York

It's the Danger Room. C'mon, you know what it looks like.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Emma had been putting Betsy through the wringer for almost two solid weeks. It had not been for naught- the mental exercises, punishing as any workout, had been a rigorous self-development for Betsy. A harshly demanding teacher, Emma seemed to have that talent for sensing a student's limits and pushing them to drive themselves just to them without overstepping them. Moreover, her perspective on many things- life, mutants, telepathy- had resonated in Betsy's mind, and as they'd worked, she'd discovered things about her talents and herself she might not have ever unconvered without Emma's steadfast if at times harsh coaching.

Though it hadn't been formally offered, a discussion of bringing Emma along on a mission had been subtly broached, with the understanding that Betsy was tacitly endorsing Emma and vouching for her to a receptive Jean. The White Queen would make a formidable ally, but her presence in a tactical environment was yet to be tested. A brief and enigmatic conversation had preceded an invitation to let Betsy 'reciprocate' some of the training she'd received.

So after bringing Emma down a set of stairs hidden behind a retina-locked passwall, Elizabeth had escorted her through hidden tunnels under the school to a heavy industrial vault door, inside a room so deeply blue and rounded that the walls seemed infinitely far away.

"We call this the danger room," Betsy says, wearing yoga pants and a comfortable racerback top. The katana sheathed on her back is at odds with her bright pink and yellow running shoes. "It's a combination of holograms and AI controlled training robots. Your talents are immense," Betsy says, making no effort at flattery, "but it's important that we know how you respond and move in a crisis- and there is always a chance of encountering a foe you can't control or influence psychically. You're in no real harm, here," Betsy assures Emma, "though it will sting if you're injured. Do you have any questions?"


Of course, Emma has followed along the breadcrumbs of thought and idea as Elizabeth has laid them out, and she has carefully avoided being either too dense, or too insightful; she doesn't want to scare off the interest she has garnered, even if it wasn't really what she was thinking of when she began the process of helping Betsy. Emma would never admit that - not even really to herself - but it's true. Instead, she manipulates herself almost as much as she does the others, in arranging for this to unfold.

Emma's response to the Danger Room is silent. Truly silent, she doesn't snark aloud or mentally as she takes it all in. She does not hesitate to skim the thoughts Betsy is making available, which lay out the basic principles of how the room functions, its strengths, its weaknesses and the like. But she does not pry for more, like details on the scenarios programmed for today's session. Of course, Emma knew the X-Men had training facilities advanced enough to serve. She'd even picked up thoughts of the Danger Room by name. But seeing it is something else, to be sure.

Emma isn't exactly dressed for a tactical training exercise. But Emma rarely is, so perhaps that makes all of this more realistic? She doesn't question this arrangement, though most likely would. After all, who fights in Manolos? But the pale blonde merely eyes Elizabeth momentarily, and then nods. "Very well, Elizabeth. If this is something you wish, we will indulge the exercise. I promise to 'play fair', and I will not mind-control the two who are running the computers." Because her name is Emma Grace Frost, and that is /exactly/ what she would do, otherwise. Get real!


Who indeed? Betsy has, however, been known to do battle in Louboutains, so no remonstration would ever come from the kunoichi about what the most fashionable accessories in a battlefield are.

Moreover- and unsaid, but stated quietly- is the growing appreciation she has for Emma's presence. Unassuming is not the right word, but cooperative is perhaps shades closer; they can process two or even three full conversations simultaneaously, expressing thought, memory, and even factoids while retaining all the nuance of body language and subtle conversational cues. It's just so /easy/ communicating with Emma, a rare relief for a woman like Betsy who is in many ways, a bit uncertain about how to properly make herself understood.

"Your indulgence is appreciated," Betsy tells Emma coolly. She loosens the katana against her back and turns to put her shoulders behind Emma's, facing opposite her. "I've asked it to be something of a surprise. Our AI is quite skilled, and can even affect a semblance of psychic presence," she says. The blue wavers and then resolves into a warm ocean breeze blowing in from a bay- the Golden Gate puts them somewhere in San Francisco.

At that moment, the first 'wave' of attackers appears, in the form of a mob of angry men and women with signs and chanting rhetoric, advancing steadily on the duo with an eager half dozen spurring the others on.

~Linking in,~ Betsy projects, her thoughts hooking neatly into Emma's, projecting more than just words to the other woman. ~An angry mob- how do you handle such?~ she asks, letting Emma have a full rein to do as she wishes.


Emma has never - EVER - fought with a partner. It's just not done. The White Queen depends on no one, dares trust no one. Feeling another moving to cover her back - even Elizabeth, whom she has found herself trusting with increasing depth and no small amount of confusion on her own part - makes Emma's shoulders tense. She cannot help that instinctive response. When even those one loves the most cannot be trusted, it is a painful and oft permanent lesson that none can be, save oneself. It is the lynchpin of understanding Emma.

The networking of their minds still leaves them as individuals, but it is a connection with a level of intimacy few even other telepaths could truly fathom. After the untold hours these two have spent in deep telepathic communion, most would lack the words to even describe it, let alone how easy, natural and graceful the interlink is. Even though Emma is rigidly defensive, their link still forms, her mind naturally opening up passageways through that indomitable barrier for Betsy and Betsy alone.

~// How one handles such a threat depends upon one's end goals. Tactical awareness requires strategic awareness. Do we need them alive? Do they have anything we need? Is speed of the essence? Are they a cover for something or someone more important to the overall mission? //~ Emma inquires, her thoughts flowing through the British telepath's mind like an ice cold river of logic.

On another level, Betsy can already seem Emma assessing the thoughts of the crowd, narrowing in on the 'pain points', those driving the mob. Each is singled out, identified, analyzed as she prepares to act. Swift telepathic strikes could render those unconscious, making it possible to disrupt and confuse the mob. Alternatively, but much more difficultly, Emma could simply enfold Elizabeth and herself in a telepathic cloak, disappearing from their perceptions and enabling the two women to make their way past this threat without ever engaging. Also mixed in are a variety of physical confrontation options, including handguns, fisticuffs, and something else. It is only a flash, momentary, but it likely leaves an impression: the sight of Emma, gleaming and crystalline, literally driving through the crowd, snapping the necks of the crowd's leaders before coming out the other side, their blood running off of her gleaming skin like water off a duck's back.

"Rules of engagement?" Emma inquires, aloud, for everyone's benefit.


Approval rings in their psychic communion. Many fail at this point in their evaluation- eager to prove their strength, their speed, their viciousness or their brilliance. They rush in with their best gun, their best move, the 'showstopper', and without taking those fractional seconds that managing a crisis truly demands.

And in her mind, Elizabeth's estimation for her immaculately heeled friend- yes, friend- goes up another notch.

"Avoid fatalities," she tells Emma aloud, tones cool and controlled. "Then, avoid casualties whenever possible. Finally, whatever force you deem minimally necessary to solve the problem. Remember," she says, turning her head over her shoulder, speaking to Emma. "This is a campaign. You can win a battle so thoroughly that it costs us the greater war. Ours is a mission that calls for tact and dissembly as much as strength."


The White Queen considers, rather unhurriedly, various options. "Zero fatalities, minimal injury, minimal threat. Very well." It is by no means the way that Emma Frost on her own would deal with such a problem. But she decided to come down here because she could prove to Elizabeth and her friends that Emma could be a valuable ally. She can only prove that upon their terms, infuriating or childish as they may be.

And a pox upon that damned mental voice inside that gleaming Astral castle, lecturing her that part of the whole point of the message was that she needs to do things she would never do on her own, so as to avoid the outcome she has born witness to all too often in her nightmares of late.

~// Hold steady here. Approaching will only exacerbate their tensions and reduce the timeframe we have to act before physical conflict becomes unavoidable. //~ Emma sends to Betsy through their enmeshed minds, even as the earlier intel she assembled is put to use. She does not simply melt the minds of the leaders. She does not fry them into drooling vegetables. Instead, she reaches inside … and in short order, she puts them to sleep. They won't even wake up with headaches, more's the pity. They deserve so much worse!

A figure is projected into the minds of the others assembled, gleaned from a dozen figures in history, most notably Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Jack Kennedy, and Charles Xavier. A speech is projected into their minds, lecturing them on non-violence, showing them that angry words will not solve anything. Change must come from reason, from care and attention, from compromise solutions. The waves of calm and gentle confusion wash over the crowd, as Emma holds her position with Elizabeth, awaiting the outcome. It's more power than she would like to use, doing it this way. But the subtlety of the effort is worth it, based on the tactical goals espoused.


Betsy surveys the scene dispassionately, monitoring many things- Emma's emotional state, the 'power' used to incapacitate the simulated minds, the harmonic echoes of her words. Illusions and memories, but still- they're evoked with such power that something in Betsy's chest stirs, despite herself.

"End scenario," she says, working past a bit of a lump in her throat. She waits a moment to regain her voice, then speaks again, the holoimages vanishing and the 'people' becoming sticklike, shambling humanoid robots, who get up smoothly and walk back into a nearly invisible storage room.

"That was very well done," Betsy tells Emma, trying to keep thick emotion and some admiration for the lovely blonde from overly colouring her words and thoughts. "The crowd was pacified, the leaders neutralized. An ideal solution to the problem."

"Load scenario four," she says, her voice going into that cool place of internal focus and preparation. The rooms shivers into a Canadian wildnerness at night, the smoke and dim heat of a fire at their feet failing to subdue the brilliant stars overhead. "This is the Sentinel training program," she tells Emma. "We will likely face no opponent more dangerous than one of those robotic monstrosities." All of her knowledge of the Sentinels flickers into Emma's mind in a trice- their many strengths, their few weaknesses. "This is meant to measure your ability to /survive/ in the field," she tells Emma, stepping into her own position of attack some distance away as ground-shaking thumps approach them. "The rules of engagement are 'do not die'," she advises, drawing her katana and balancing it in a reverse grip.


Emma stands dispassionately, clearly pulling into herself as she lets go of the projection, trying to recoup as much of the energy she has had to expend as possible. She can tell, even as Betsy is lavishing her with suitable praise - of course the White Queen did an excellent job, what else would one expect? - that something more is coming. And she needs to be ready. As ready as she can be.

Emma examines the changing scenario as it unfolds, and waits while things are explained to her. The mental thrust of information is collected, collated and organized, then examined in detail. Betsy has seen glimmers of Emma's ability to rapidly assimilate others' memories before, but never has Emma quite revealed just how well, how quickly, or how damned thoroughly she can do so, until now. One might almost expect to hear Kuneau Reeves uttering, "Whoa. I know kung fu." or some other inanity. Instead, there is only Emma Frost, nodding.

"You missed on salient point, Elizabeth." Emma intones, as she moves forward through the snow despite the impediment of her heels. "'do not die' must also include 'do not let my partner die'."

Wait. What? Partner? Oh, damn, assimilating memories often includes an overshadow of the mind from whence they came. And apparently Emma has temporarily assimilated Elizabeth's ethos. What a bother.

Emma goes with the flow, for now, grabbing Elizabeth's forearm and tugging her as she goes tromping off through the snow, seeking out cover. The fire's light will draw the robot's optical sensors, and if she can get them into the lee of some cover, it will give them precious moments to assess numbers and locations before they have to engage. Telepathy against these things will be loughably useless, even pointless. But telepathy with her partner - damn, that overlay of Elizabeth's mind is holding firm, so long as she keeps assimilating and using the knowledge of those memories - will provide silent, untappable communication and coordination.

~// Until we have the right opening to get your blade to their vitals, I strongly advise you fight your instincts and stay behind me. I cannot be sure I will prove immune to their blasts. But I can be sure I'll be more resistant to them than you will. //~


Betsy allows Emma to drag her into cover, following along closely and almost noiselessly despite the realistic crunching of the snow. The *thump* of heavy machinery increases, and a towering, skull-like head with empty red eyes looms over a twenty-foot tall pine tree.

«MUTANTS LOCATED. HALT. SURRENDER. YOU ARE TO BE DETAINED. HALT. SURRENDER…» begins the litany in a dull, vaguely masculine monotone voice. The Sentinel brings a hand up, palm out, and red energies start to coalesce inside a red emitter set into the gauntlet there.

Where Emma might weather a blast or two easily, Betsy is far more fragile. She is, however, much faster, and her first instinct is to knock the snow from the tree limbs. All the snow, in fact, for a good fifty yards.

~Infrared is temporarily obscured,~ she explains in a flickering thought. She leaps into the low, dense boughs and starts running along a branch that can't be more than two inches thick, leaping nimbly from one low pine tree to the next and cleverly avoiding the tell-tale shake of snowfall that might betray her presence.

The Sentinel casts around in mechanical confusion, senses confounded and hand lowering slightly. «STOP. HALT. YOU ARE IN VIOLATION OF LAW. YOU SHALL SURRENDER IMMEDIATELY OR BE DESTROYED,» the Sentinel continues to grate, over and over again.


Emma is grateful for blocking the infrared tracking, but that'll be of no use once those robotic optics sweep her actual position. Emma can't be sure if her diamond form would be the same temperature as her human body, but the law of conservation of energy implies that it would be, meaning that while it would rapidly cool off, it would be unlikely to do so sufficiently and quickly enough to avoid her detection. And there's no way Emma can follow Elizabeth across those tree limbs like that.

Separated, Emma stays under cover for as long as she can, waiting out the damned mutant-hunting robots. Normally, she would seek out the operators of the robots and exert her influence there. Or she would find the humans meant to back up the robots, and control them. But in this programmed scenario. she has neither available, unless she intends to break her vow and mind-control those running the simulation; she refuses to do that.

Once the robots manage to clear her position's cover and Emma is discovered, she breaks into a run. But she does not run away from the robot; instead, she runs right towards it along the shortest, fastest path she can, closing rapidly. She has no weapon, no energy power, nothing to make her a threat to the robot, and she's betting its programming will allow her to close before bothering to fire, on the chance she is moving to surrender.

The platinum blonde telepath holds herself ready, waiting for the vocalizing bot to indicate an intention to fire. If it does not before she reaches its position, then she shifts then, rather than continuing to wait, and leaps up to swing, pounding her diamond-hard fists into the armored shell at the ankle joints, doing her best to distend the armor sufficient to get a hand inside and start tearing up the gears, disabling balance and mobility to bring the tremendous foe down to her size, and perhaps create an opening for Elizabeth to strike more vital locations, like the head or neck.


The Sentinel does indeed react too slowly to Emma- they're tremendous war machines, but size does come at the expense of speed. The palm turns, then hesitates, then turns again, but by then Emma's smashed into the armor plating at the ankle. It's redoutable stuff- nearly hard as diamond, a synthetic ceramic that can weather even extremes of temperature and duress. Emma's no wilting flower in that empowered form, however, and with a few sharp and well-placed blows, she cracks open a fair sized gap in the Sentinel's armor.

The Sentinel brings a hand around in a vicious, swinging arc and bats at Emma with a one-ton backhand, attempting to knock her away from her position on the ground.

A moment later, Betsy leaps from the shadows in a tree and lands on the Sentinel's pauldron with a soft *thump*. Her katana in hand, the blade is limned with a soft amethyst energy precisely the color of Betsy's eyes. Normally, simple steel would prove little advantage against a monster that size, but Betsy strikes the blade home with a sharp twist of her wrist, driving it in nearly to the hilt. The Sentinel's eyes flicker and dim momentarily, but it comes online and swings clumsily at its own shoulder, trying to brush Betsy off of it. She leaps away, sword in hand, and lands in a tucking roll, before vanishing into obscurity again.

She makes an attempt to contact Emma telepathically, but finds no luck in doing so. For the moment, the two will have to find a more subtle means of communicating.


Just as Emma gets a hand inside the armored ankle, preparing to rip, tear and smash through the joint's precious framework and connectors, she is batted away and goes sailing, sailing, sailing to whumpf into a snow bank.

Telepathic contact? Nope, no one here. Sorry. Emma totally missed Elizabeth's amazingly executed landing and attack, not to mention her talented escape from the robot's counterattack. But she's not done yet, at least. She lays in the snow, waiting while her diamond form loses heat rapidly, cooling off to a point that should render those heat-sensing optics nigh-useless. She's also waiting for the robot to move closer, exploring in an attempt to find its prior targets. Patience is a virtue.

When the Sentinel gets close enough, Emma launches herself out of the snow and closes on the ankle again, proving her agility, her dogged determination and her lack of other options. This time, however, she doesn't need several blows to bend and pierce the armor, so she drives her arms deep and starts decimating everything she can reach inside. "Get ready!" she shouts for Betsy's benefit, working on tearing apart that joint to bring their foe low.


The door opens to the young/old redhead with a cane attached to her arm, the same cane that she thought she had rid herself of a few days prior only to find herself with it again anew. There was a little hint of jealousy at that, the Danger Room was being tested even though a few wires had been hanging from the ceiling, sight unseen. The scene itself unfolds.. Sentinels, the point of contention for the X-Men and the reason why it felt like Jean's word was falling apart.

Perhaps, you were not meant for this world.

That voice said. But Jean often pushes it away as she settles down into the chair that Hank would usually take up, gloved fingers draping along the curvature of the wood, chin resting upon her knuckles as green eyes watch with clear interest. The two women were fast, skilled. They almost had a flow like water, but a few fine tunes and tweaks to get used to one another was needed. Perhaps, Betsy and Emma both knew that all along, hence why they were here.

The tablet was soon picked up from it's surface, Jean pressing a few buttons here and there, her hurt leg soon kicked up upon the console as she watches one of the oldies that used to air on HBO.

In Treatment.

Gabriel Bryne is an old hottie.


Betsy does wait- and patiently. She watches with approval as Emma drives into the Sentinel, using the environment to her advantage. Adaptability and intelligence is a better ally than even superhuman strength or speed, after all. When Emma drives into the Sentinel, her first blow misses, but the second slams through an actuator that helps stabilize the monstrous robot. It staggers and then goes to one knee- a fairly hefty amount of metal to be falling even fifteen feet- and slams a palm into the ground to try and catch itself, metal shrieking and groaning and cracks appearing in the blast-resistant armor on the Sentinel's frame.

Betsy takes full advantage of the opening and from the upper boughs of a tree, leaps again, easily clearing the twenty-foot distance and landing on the Sentinel's lower back. A glimmering psionic katana emerges from her fist, matching her real blade in length, and she swipes it through the Sentinel's central actuator column, what passes for a spine. It temporarily disables the robot, forcing its hips to sag to the snow-covered ground.

Perhaps moving too aggressively, though, Betsy's next move is met with a flailing backhand and she's sent flying through the air with a grunt of pain, to smack into the base of a tree and collapse in a purple-haired shadowy heap, falling silent.

The Sentinel's gears and motors whine, an almost distressed sound, and the monstrous robot raises a palm at Betsy, energies coalescing with a flickering hesitance behind those thick-armored fingers.


She is the White Queen!

Emma shouldn't need to remind herself of that fact. It is engrained into her, a part of the very fabric of her being. But there are moments when she almost slips. She finds those moments rather disturbing.

The White Queen would just continue her efforts to tear apart the Sentinel. Allies are expendable resources, and she owes them nothing. Especially not in what Emma knows is simply a simulation, a testing scenario. What price could there possibly be for allowing the Sentinel to target and blast Elizabeth, meaning it cannot be targeting or blasting Emma, while she finishes the robotic monstrosity.

That's what she should do.

Instead, however, Emma launches herself from the ankle and rolls through the open space of the kneeling form's legs, charging through the snow as she rolls up to her feet, launching herself at the last moment …

and taking that crimson blast of energy squarely in her diamond back!

Propelled by the blast, Emma sails barely clear of Elizabeth's unconscious form, bouncing once or twice before coming to rest in the snow once again. The blast was powerful, enough of a physical shock to rattle Emma's indomitable mind. Enough that when she comes to a stop, she is shaken, turned around, confused …

And no longer in diamond form. She lies in the snow, dazed and helpless. A prime target.

That's when the thought surges through her mind, compelling Emma to try, to struggle against the limitations of her merely mortal body, trying to get up, to move, to activate her diamond form again. Anything …


… but this.

..And do you think you've deserved the two lives you lived? How can you manage this third?

Jean lays the tablet down as soon as Betsy's hit, her body sprawling causes a slight wince to appear across gentle features. The cane was soon gripped and leaned upon as she pushes herself to a stand, righting her back with a slight arch as she lets out a groan in despair. A hobble.. a limp.. and soon she was on the move, tablet tucked beneath her arm and cradled against her body, manuvering herself easily with the wooden assistance as the door to the Danger Room itself was opened.. and entered.

..What will you do when it happens again? Will this be the your end?

Her steps were slow, her eyes surveying the scene, not reacting once Emma's back is blasted out and her diamond form taken away by sheer shock and dismay. She leans against the cane, a slight frown curling her lips as the tablet was soon untucked and punched around, halting the little show to bring up the schematics of the scenario. "You've set this one too high." Jean mutters, the sound of her voice catching her within the sights of the Sentinel, who soon turns its mechanical mass to face her to bear down upon her person.

"Way too high." It seems as if she really didn't care that it was there, her fingers were swiping and tapping along as she finally glances up as soon as the red beam ejected from it's armor. Cane was tossed down with the quickness as that hand rises, her entire body coating with a shocking purplish red, eyes filled with glittering stars as a single blast emits from her palm and..

/— THOOM! —/

The concussive force was enough to knock the Sentinel back, tripping over the previous fallen to land hard upon it's back, the beam crackling through the simulated air as she soon rises to float her way towards the two fallen women. "I'm like an old woman with a cane and I could knock it down no problem. And you have the nerve to call me rubbish." She holds out her hand, drawing the cane towards her grasp with her TK, then soon levels the curved handle towards the women.

"Get up. You two got this."


The Sentinel had started to struggle to its feet, overcoming the disruption to primary circuitry with a surprising speed. Despite their size, the Sentinels were intelligent enemies- smart, adaptable, utterly self aware. Dangerous in packs, they were often more a threat while operating solo as they distributed less of their awareness to distributed processes and focused on internalized logic cores.

Jean's hit, though, takes it by huge surprise, and the machine is momentarily downed, red eyes flickering and dimming as it struggles to reorganize scattered processes and disabled motors.

At Jean's rebuke, Betsy stirs from her half-stunned state, shaking her head once and immediately regretting it, pain flickering past her hardened mental screens. "Oh, shut it," Betsy groans at Jean, wincing and touching her head as she staggers unsteadily to her feet. She does make it up, though, and moves to Emma, extending a hand to the other woman as she senses the return of her mental communion. "Come along, Miss Frost- on your feet," Betsy says. She's bleeding a bit from her cheek and forehead, and bruises are already forming on her lower back, visible between her athletic capris and her sports top. Apparently it was a white lie when she told Emma the Sentinel couldn't hurt them /too/ badly.

She eyes Jean again and then snaps a bit of moisture from her sword, holding it in her preferred reverse-grip style, and eyes the robot as it struggles to regain some sense of mobility.

"It's your game, Miss Frost," Betsy tells Emma, her tone quite cooly courteous. "How shall we undo this wretch?"


"I did not call you rubbish." Emma mutters darkly, as she struggles up off her back, then forces herself to her feet unsteadily. It should again be noted, Manolos really are NOT good footgear for combat. But it's what Emma had on when she was grabbed and taken on this magic merry-go-round.

The platinum blonde accepts, if a tad grudgingly, the hand offered her, and gets to her feet, her pale blue eyes almost crossing again as her body struggles to recover from the shock of the blast she sustained. And now they demand she think?

Fine, damnit. She is the White Queen!

"Get your damned swords ready, Elizabeth. You're going to be delivered via air mail, postage due." That said, Emma closes her eyes, accepting the loss of their telepathic communion as she shifts again to her diamond form. She does not wait, but immediately seizes up her partner in this fight, twists around in a tight pirouette, and launches Elizabeth into the air, heading up, up, up - far further than Emma's own arms could ever manage, but the diamond form really is incredibly strong - to the shoulder and neck of the Sentinel.

Apparently Emma trusts Betsy to know what to do at that point.


There was a slight grin towards both of the women as she lowers herself from her hovered state, landing upon two feet, cane pressed to the ground as she willfully steps out of the way. A slight nod gone to Betsy as she answers Emma in kind. "That one did." The wench! And soon, she was strolling.

The snow crunches beneath her feet as she picks up the tablet yet again, taking note of the readings, something she could defer to Hank once they were done. Sure, there was a hiccup that they did not notice, but nothing was lethal.. yet.


"I- wait what?"

Betsy emits a sound that kind of resembles a squealing yell of surprise, though as a lady, she's often asserted that she's never surprised /or/ scared. But a fastball special?! Hardly dignified!

Her reflexes are, however, impeccable, and she tenses properly and releases like a striking snake in midair. Her hands come together into a single grip, wrapping the length of that darkling katana in glimmering psionic force that reinforces the tensile strength of the carbon steel and gives it an edge of impossible precision, far more than simple steel could ever hold- more than scalpel sharp.

And fully focused, in control of her talents, Betsy is easily as strong as any member of the X-men. Flying through the air she uses all that momentum and force and with perfect timing, whips her hips around for additional leverage and snaps her blade through the Sentinel's neck actuators, nearly severing the head and badly damaging the robot's sensor suite. She hits the ground a dozen paces behind the robot, then turns and throws an imperious palm the android's direction.

A telekinetic burst of force, tinted a vague amethyst to give it context, slams through the Sentinel's distressed and cracked armor, ripping a melon-sized bundle of electronics out the front. The Sentinel groans and whirs, the flopping humanoid skull emitting sparking, buzzing words that fade into nonsense as it collapses face-first on the ground, twitching a few times, then falling still.

The snow buzzes and twitches a few times, then the entire scene fades away, leaving a bruised and sweating Psylocke, a slightly less perfectly coiffed Emma, and the limping Jean Grey standing in an infinity of curved blue walls.

"A bit undignified," Betsy sniffs, breaking the electronic silence, "but effective. High marks on the Sentinel protocols," she tells Emma. "Quite well done."


The disheveled and slightly irked platinum blonde telepath inclines her head towards Elizabeth, acknowledging her words and thanking her for her praise wordlessly. "I use the weapons available to me. Which, per your instructions, included yourself." she offers, with a momentary wry twist of white-painted lips. Then she turns and walks over to Jean.

"I was unaware that you were still doing so poorly, Ms. Grey." Emma offers. After all, when last they met Jean was moving quite easily and without problems. It was Betsy who was hobbling and about to collapse, that time. "I will not upset you by asking what happened. Nevertheless, I do thank you for your interruption of the session. I accept that we would have failed the encounter, without your aid."

Yes. Emma Frost is such a proud, stuck up bitch that she's giving herself failing marks, because Jean helped save her from a rampaging Sentinel. Any questions?


There was a little laugh that came from Jean as she does away with the tablet all together once more, tucking it beneath her arm as she watches the two women finish up and.. well, speak. One gives praise and the other gives explanation. Being around those two would make any headache grow worse. What was that saying?

Just like high school all over again, yet made two times worse.

Jean straightens at Emma's approach, her brows lifting and lowering yet again, glancing down towards her braced leg as she lets out a sound akin to a 'pshaw' and gestures. "This? Happened a few nights ago." Sad to say, Jean was caught on the news. Something that she really didn't want to be. "I figure this is going to turn out to be a permanent fixture when it comes to me so.." The cane was lifted, tossed up just a touch, caught and set down again. She was going to learn tap-dancing soon. Maybe that'll stop parademons from capturing her leg.

"However, I do believe that you two would have persevered even if I was not there. I was hoping to upset you both into reacting, but you two proved calculating together. Well done." She smiles a touch, her eyes glancing around the blue room, then up towards the wires that still hang. "I suppose I can submit the diagnostics of your training to Hank to see if any further repairs are needed before the Danger Room is fully functional."


"Of course we would have," Betsy agrees, with a polite sort of confusion faintly hanging around the edges of her tone. Still, she walks over to Jean and without any preamble, gives her best friend a hug, althought it's a bit of a typically stiff, Betsy-style embrace.

"Your timing, however, was impeccable," she informs Jean after breaking away. "The Danger Room simulators worked absolutely as ordered, though I think a 'by deus ex machinae' rescue option should be included." As often as that seems to happen to them in real life, it's probably not the worst idea, right?

She looks to Emma and raises one squared shoulder in a polite shrug of agreement and apology. "I've been informed that I sometimes overestimate my capacity for overwhelming the simulator," she tells Emma. It's almost like an apology, except for how she doesn't actually apologize. "Perhaps I set the challenge factor a bit too high for the two of us. A Sentinel, even a single one, is definitely not a threat one should approach single-handed." She gestures vaguely at where the Sentinel had been, mutely dismissed evidence of the threat it posed.


Emma merely looks on impassively, wry amusement writ in her eyes as she regards Betsy. "Elizabeth, I would far prefer we overestimate our ability and practice up to that impossible standard, than toil away at lesser challenges and never truly prepare for the ferocity of reality's unrelenting dangers." In short, she is fine with getting their butts handed to them. It's practice. Mostly.

"It does seem, however, as if some are more capable of lone combat against a Sentinel than others." That is all Emma is going to say on the subject of Jean's prodigious display of power. If she is jealous, she would certainly never say so. But for now, she is ready to pack this in.

"I trust I may prevail upon you for a shower? I will have Andrew fetch another suit from the car." Along with proper toiletries, makeup and accessories. Emma is never anything less than fully prepared, even for a combat simulation on what was meant to be a visit for telepathic exercises. Time for the White Queen to get out of here. And let no one start discussing Emma's self-sacrificing move earlier. She'll deny the whole thing.

Too bad the cameras were recording all that incriminating evidence.


unfinished scene, more to come

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