Shaking off the Jetlag

October 13, 2015:

Betsy finally finds out why Brian has come to the Colonies - and it's not all a social call.

Xavier's Institute - Guest Suite

One of the many Guest suites in the Institute for visitors and prospective students.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

"It's a security thing, Brian," Betsy says with a frustrated puff of air. "You're not even supposed to be /here/. I had to ask for permission from Charles specifically, and as much as he likes you, he said it was for one night only." Standing in Brian's guest suite- which though well appointed, isn't particularly spacious- Betsy has opted to lean her shoulderblades against the door, arms and legs folded in front of her. Neither of the Braddock twins are what someone would consider on the small size, after all.

"We can go run on the track if you like, or work out a bit at the gym, but I'm not about to let you go soaring off into the wild blue in full regalia. I don't know if you've realized it, but the Union Jack sort of /stands out/ a bit in the Colonies," she says. Her prim British tones have become decidedly more clipped in the short time she's been back in her brother's company.

Already having slipped on his uniform, Brian stands next to his bed with his helmet in his hands. "I understand security, Bets." He's his land's guardian, of course he understands security. Turning around to face her, he chuckles. "If someone sees it as an invasion, it's a bloody well late one, wouldn't you think?" he asks her with a lift of a blonde brow. "And I believe I have seen quite a few Union Jack shirts in the stores in America, if I recall right?"

Blowing out a breath, he shakes his head. "You don't understand. And I don't expect you to until I explain it, but I have to do this." he says, rather insistant on the matter. "Once upon a time, as you know, Captain Britain couldn't even leave the Isles. The rules have changed. And it's for good reason."

Betsy scowls at Brian when he drops into his resonant baritone. It's a sure sign he's going to lecture her about Something Important. "Fine." She flicks her hand upwards in a dismissive wave and pointedly walks past him- a bit through him- to get to the lone chair in the room. She hooks a leg with the point of her toe, swings the chair around, and drops into it with an impassive stare, crossing her legs and keeping her arms folded across her chest. "Well? What's that nutter and his daughter done this time? Don't tell me you're so desperate that you're here to recruit /me/ again. I cocked it up rather badly last time, if I remember correctly."

"I'm not passing the costume to you, Besty." Brian says, moving to the side as she storms past and he moves to take a seat on the edge of the bed, setting his helmet on the edge of the bed. "And you did your best, and that's all that could ever be asked of anyone." Her words sting, intentionally or not, he knows that he put her right in the middle of that mess by passing the mantle to her. "How much have I told you about Jasper's Warp?" he asks. The place he was training for when she had the mantle.

"Not much," Betsy admits. "And that doddering old fool wouldn't tell me anything, either. His daughter wasn't any better. Those two have Charles well cornered on paranoid secrecy," she tells Brian in a wry tone. "The most advice I got from them was 'Do your best' and 'Don't screw up'. It was very helpful."

"Has something happened, Brian?" she asks her twin, a bit of real, soft concern touching her voice. "I guess I should rephrase- something's /always/ happened," she amends. "You don't have the gem or the sceptre, but you're looking like… well, like it's working," Betsy says with a vague gesture. The correlation between Brian receiving the first blessing from Merlyn and his suddenly growth spurt had always been recieved suspiciously in Betsy's mind.

Brian blows out a breath, picking up the helmet and sets it in his lap. "The powers of the Amulet of Right and the Star Scepter are no longer.. needed. They are infused directly into me." He decides to start with that. "However, I need the costume in order to recharge at times. Have to keep up appearances and all of that rubbish and tobbyrot." There's a warm smile given to his sister, but she can see the gathering stromclouds in his soul through those clear blue eyes.

"Jasper's Warp wasn't a warp at all. It was an Earth." he finally starts with an explanation. "Roma called it Earth-238. It was an Earth where the entire world was under the rule of the British Flag, and it's represenative was Captain UK." he starts the explanation with a simple enough - tell her the two goods first, then the bad. "Their superheroes looked just like the ones that mum and dad used to tell us fairy tales about when were young. Miracleman, Android Andy, so on and so forth."

"A world that properly submitted to the rightful rule of the British Empire," Betsy supplies helpfully, if not wholly sincerely. Imperialism is one of those terrible ideas that the peerage was often baffled by the failure of. The whole 'other worlds' bit doesn't seem to particularly phase her, either. It's apparently an issue she's encountered before.

"I don't suppose there were alternate versions of ourselves, there?" she asks, unable to resist that strange impulse to peer into the looking glass. "I've always fancied a peek at alternatives. You know… where…" she trails off, glancing down at her fingers in her lap. It takes a microsecond to compose herself and she looks at Brian, then gestures politely for him to continue.

"I didn't go looking us up, I didn't have time." Brian admits with a rueful smile. "There's always a Captain Britain, no matter what name they choose - England, Abilon, United Kingdom…" he trails off, getting back to the story at hand. "There was a member of Parlaiment. His name was Jim Jaspers - and he had pushed hard for their to be a superhero registration act. And it was approved. I arrived on this world several years after that approval. Jim Jaspers was a mutant that could bend reality to his will. The Earth their was nothing like the Earth here. It was warped.. Crooked, even. Jim Jaspers fancied himself at the Mad Hatter, pulling the strings on the rest of the world. And hunting super powered beings for sport. Their Captain UK had just escaped - fled from the world - and I was sent in as her replacement."

He pauses for a moment, to allow that to sink in. "For five months, I was part of the resistance of that world - what superhumans that were left going bravely against what was simply known as The Fury. An unstoppable killing machine, designed to kill anyone with powers, except for Jim Jaspers himself."

"How horrible," Betsy murmurs. "Why on Earth would he do such a thing? We've dealt with a few nutters ourselves here in America, but nothing on that grand scale. A pogrom?" she shakes her head, shuddering minutely.

"Please go on," she invites.

"You remember Jawdraw? The little Otherworld elf, used to follow me around everywhere? He died on our first day there. Neck snapped like a twig." As Brian gets further into the story, he develops a stare. It's no longer at her. It's the same type of stare that combat veterands get when they've hit just about their point when recounting something. A thousand yards, or 300-someodd dimensions away, it makes no difference, he's fixed on that point. "He wanted to rule the world - and by taking out the heroes and villains, he would. And he succeeded. The Fury finally found where the resistance was and crashed in." he says, fingers trailing over the helmet easily.

"Captain UK had returned, but in the final attack, her husband sent her away again. I have no idea where she is." Brian admits with a frown, fingers crushing against the sides of the helmet. "They were quickly overrun, and I had survived, but had no choice to retreat. He was too much, Bets. Entirely too much. I made it to a field near the Parliamentry building. The graveyard of their heroes, as it were." he turns and looks up at her, the bottoms of his blue eyes brimming with wetness at tears that dare not fall. "I died next to the grave of Captain UK, cursing Merlyn the whole way for foresaking me as the Fury blasted me into nothingness."

Betsy retreats into stoicism. What can one say to that? There aren't any words of comfort or assurance to mend those wounds. That moment where you confront your mortality, and stare into the void /knowing/ with certainty you're falling into it forever- it changes a person.

It had changed Betsy.

The only mercy she can offer is to sit quietly and give Brian the space to find his own equilibrium and regain his comportment. She looks down at her meticulously groomed fingernails, trying to find any flaw in them while he settles his inner turmoul.

It only takes a few moments. Both of the twins have faced death - and come out of it differently. "Roma came to Jasper's Warp and found my remains. Lock of hair, jawbone, and my left.. no.. right foot. From that, she and Merlyn resurrected me." he turns his eyes back to Betsy. "While they were doing that, they made a decision. Without consulting the Watcher, or any of those other beings out there in the Cosmos.. they destroyed Earth-238 utterly. So not only had I died, but I had failed to protect my objectives and it was seen fit to destroy it rather than let it survive. And the reason for that.. is also on me."

"Mad Jim Jasper had deduced that his Captain UK was female, and I was a male Captain Britain, there must be more than one dimension out there." he explains. "And with his powers and abilities, he could reach out to those other planets and fold himself into them. It was easier to destroy the planet with him on it, then to try to fight what he was trying to do."

"Bullshit," Betsy says, scorn in her tones. "Those daffy faeries threw you to the wolves." A hand slashes through the air, the motion disturbingly bladelike. "You don't take a star scrum forward, send him to Albania, and then sack him for not winning the World Cup single-handed. It takes a team to win, Brian— there's reason I stay in America, aside from the pleasant weather and the shopping. I'm part of a team here, and no one looks crossways at you for asking for help."

"The only sensible thing those two did was blast that charnel house into a wasted heath," she says. "I'll give Merlyn this, at least he doesn't dally around looking for permission to act when there's only one clear course of action. If this… Jaspers bloke had attacked the Nexus, the damage could potentially be catastrophic. Incaluable," she points out. "Thousands of worlds, thousands of realities, hundreds of billions of lives, all at risk. No measure is too extreme."

He doesn't need to be a psychic to feel his sister's anger. Not that it helps Brian any as his fingers /crush/ the helmet he was holding in his hands, but he seems to be paying it no mind. "The Fury escaped." he finally says, the anger and worry in his voice. "And if what Roma showed me is true - what's happening here? The Registration talk, the anti-mutant sentimentalities, the fear of anything in a cape or cowl.. it'll find us. It'll come." he looks up at her.

"That's why I'm here. I do not know how long I have. Or where it is. But the Fury is coming. And I must have a team together to face it - or this world will be the next to be notched for destruction." his voice is cool, calm, but the thin well of anger is still there. "It's why Merlyn changed the powers to imbune me directly. And bound me to Avalon, not just to the Isles."

"Hell is coming, Bets. And I can't say a damned word about it, nor can you, or they'll probably call us both nutters and throw us in the looney bin."

"You've always been a nutter, Brian," Betsy says with a familiar and fond lopsided smile. "You'll fit in nicely here with the rest of us costumed fools."

"Running a team is more than just getting out in front and yelling 'Charge' the loudest, dear brother. Frankly, you should get to know Scott a bit more. As much as I want to throttle him at times, he's undeniably a brilliant leader," Betsy says, the admission clearly painful to make. "Unpopular, yes, but good at what he does. I can make some calls, too, and arrange meetings with most anyone you'd like to meet, I'm sure."

Her face settles into something cool and remote, an expression quite foriegn to even her own brother. "As for this Mr. Jaspers… I think we need to find out if there's a corollary for him here in /our/ slice of reality," she tells Brian. "And if so, it might be prudent to take some preemptive action. From what little I understand of the theory, we are often not so very different from world to world. Our Jaspers might be as bad- or worse- than the one you met on this other world."

"That is why I am planning on meeting with Miss Carter. The Embassy told me she has ties to SHIELD and perhaps can help me work better with them, since we both know exactly how /wonderfully/ that STRIKE works with me over in Britain." That is is to say not at all. Brian chuckles, looking up at his sister. "Here I was hoping to hold the cricket bat and defend the wikcet fierecly." There's only a hint of a smile as he studies his sister's complexion. "Am I still talking to Bets.. or.. that other part of you now?" he asks, the concern there as clear as day. "I will talk to Mister Summers - and I'll save asking what he did to cause you to dump him until the end." It's a poor attempt at humour, but it's what he does best.

Betsy fidgets a bit. Not many people can get her to do that, a throwback to times as a child when she got caught bluffing and couldn't think of a clever out.

"Brian, I know it was … a short reunion last year," Betsy says, with a hesitance that speaks of regret. "I wasn't quite in my right mind, for obvious reasons. Even Jean had a lot of trouble coming to grips with the changes." She sits forward in her chair, twining her arms in a limber manner and pressing her palms together. Her elbows slip between her knees and she looks at the floor, drawn up tight into herself, shoulders rounded forward. "There… there isn't 'an other' part of me," she says, her voice quite soft. "Jean and Charles thought there might be— maybe— something unique still set aside deep down. Some line in the sand between who we were and who I am. I'm not wholly Kwannon, and I'm not wholly Betsy," she explains, glancing up at Brian. "I remember seeing the Sea of Japan for the first time when we went on that trip with mummy and daddy when we were nine. I also remember seeing it for the first time when I mountaineered up Choragatake-meizan to assassinate a Buddhist monk." She shrugs, awkwardly, a fitful motion.

"Yeah, well.. I suppose.." Brian shrugs, the motion just as awkward as his sister's. It's hard to adjust - he's used to seeing a blonde, not some Asian beauty that has his sister's memories and spirit. But it is still his sister, so that's that. He chuckles. "This isn't like when we were twelve and you were wanting to wear my clothes to school because the boys keep trying to look up your skirt to peek at your knickers. We've both been through a lot - and when I was told what was, could be happening, my first thought was to find you. Because you're probably the one person that can keep me sane in all this."

Rising to his feet, he goes over and places a kiss on the crown of Betsy's head. "And I love you no matter how crazy it all gets, or what you look like, because we're family, and that's what we do. Now. Since you won't let me go outside and get some air, you have a choice. You can either let me wander this place like this.." he gestures to his Captain Britain costume. "Or.. I can hope I have enough of a charge that I can actually wander around in civilian clothes if you have something else in mind."

"You clambering lummox," Betsy sniffs, punching Brian awkwardly in the ribs. She reaches up and gives him a firm, bone-cracking hug. "I love you too." She shoves Brian away after a beat and carefully sweeps under her eyes with a tissue she makes appear from nowhere, then flicks open her ever-present portable compact and makes sure her makeup isn't smudged.

"I'll compromise with you," Betsy offers, having regained her comportment. "Put something on over that and we'll go for a short drive in the country. I can't have Captain Britain taking off and landing near the Institute, and believe me, SHIELD is pretty good at tracking flight patterns of costumed heroes. A short trip out, you fly for a while—" she shudders and mutters 'unnatural', "and then I'll drive you into the city."

"Oof." Brian accepts the punch in stride - it's what he does as an older brother, and his dad would have boxed his ears when he fought back against her. "Sounds like a fair compromise. Though I think you're just trying to get me out of here before you have to hold drawings to figure out which girl gets to sit and eat lunch at your table." There's a saucy wink before he grabs his bag to head to the closet to change back into his civilian garb, the crushed helmet left on the bed for now. He'll fix it later.

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