Fighting the Good Fight

March 20, 2016:

Jean seeks out Ripclaw for a his thoughts and a conversation about X-Men and his Cyberforce "team".

Somewhere Brooklyn

Characters

NPCs: None

Mentions: X-Men, Nate Grey, Ravager, X-23, Charles Xavier, CyberData

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The mere mention of Ripclaw set Jean's nerves on edge. One would think that when she said she had somewhere to be earlier was that she was going out on a mission on her lonesome but instead she decided to walk. One thought, one tread of a lingering psyche was on her mind, there wasn't any rhyme or reason to the path she takes only a nice warm coat and gloves and those cool little things that cover your ears and pants that fit well and boots to match.

Didn't hurt to wear a hood, too.

People were made to be this warm and comfortable, especially on a walk. Especially on a walk that takes a person to a rather strange building with no way in and probably no way out. Alright, there may be a way in. But something tells her to stop there and just. Wait.

Ripclaw didn't summon Jean, not here, this is CyberForce's hidden territory and the Ghost Warrior isn't the open sort so when Chip is yelling about someone walking around outside it sets nerves on end, an easy hidden exit and Robert Berresford in civilian style garb consisting of jeans, cowboy boots, a leather jacket with a hoodie pulled up is striding towards the woman, a coffee thermos in hand with steam coming off of it, these are some odd hours for a walk.
That preternatural sensory capability kicks in and he slows, from sort of stalking fast casual to an almost crawl, "Odd place for a walk."

"You chose it." She winces just a little, then gestures him on to move away from the building. She didn't want to be there, she'd rather move away. "Chose it as in.. where ever you go, I seem to find you there? You're a bit odd to me in that regard anyways."

At least she wasn't upset with him, though the way she stalked out of the mansion she might as well be. "I thought that it was best to have a face to face. Other than." Shoulders shrug a little as she draws her hands from her coat. "Nate has brought you up more than once, and I'm starting to think that the man is fond of you." She smiles a little, biting back a slight giggle. "Too fond of you."

"I chose it? Ah, right, our interesting bond." Ripclaw smiles slightly, "Other than noncorporeal means. Still… " He glances behind him at the abandoned structure and motions towards the street, "Let us walk and talk."
The mug is offered over towards Jean, freshly brewed black coffee. "Nate? He's an interesting sort. Well minded and focused, I think he finds me curious possibly intriguing, I don't know. I can't honestly speak for him but we're amicable if not still learning one another in terms."

Jean reaches out to take the mug, her fingers wrapping around the cup as she brings it to her nose to sniff first then sip. It warmed her enough, her cheeks slightly coloring as she looks up towards him with a smile. "Thank you." She nods faintly. "Yes Nate." Her jaw quirks slightly, but she does get right to it. She at least had to be on her way home soon.

"I honestly think he may be looking to you as a likeminded individual that could help his cause. And possibly he yours. Whatever that is." She sounded a little annoyed, not knowing, not willing to pick anothers brain apart just to figure out what they're thinking or doing. She takes another sip, then offers the mug back in kind. "It's almost like he's picking people that are housed from the mansion and directing them to you. Someone named Laura? Or X-23? Which, I don't mind. People are free to do what they will."
"We do share the same goals and like minded is relative in those regards. We'll see to what length." Stopping by the road Ripclaw looks down the street at a dumptruck rolling by. It is early or late however you wish to look at it. "Mansion? I learn more and more about your set up the more each of you speaks. Those he has introduced me to so far, this Laura, the assassin girl. She is as damaged as any SHOC I ever met. I think he just likes linking up kindred spirits. Rose, myself, Laura, even him. Guessing you're concerned?"

Late. Jean considers this late. While she would have been in bed, she probably wouldn't have been sleeping. Staring at the wall or reading, more like. She doesn't speak as the truck rolls by, waiting for it to pass as she gives a slight grin. "I'll show it to you one day, when it's not so busy. Spring break is coming up soon." Though she does shake her head a little, and since the coffee wasn't taken she continues to sip, considering her words.

"Yes. And no. I guess I could thank our connection for that. What I suppose is concerning me is.. the representation and the explanation. He can be oddly passionate about things."
"Representation and explanation? Go on." Ripclaw's walk carries on and he thrusts a thumb in to each pocket, just studying the dark yet slowly lighting horizon. "What do you think is being poorly represented? I'd like to know what you think is transpiring." No birds right now, pigeons mostly or even seagulls its the city and animal life beyond scavengers and those creatures that can some how make it here are present on occasion, not right now. Plenty of stray cats and large rats too.

"What do I think?" Jean smirks a little. "Us as a whole." She stops walking then, gesturing just a touch. "What Nate knows and possibly has spoken about it a little piece of the puzzle. The teams. The dream that our founder has for us all. Government agencies and their offers and their deals. The people we pick up and try to care for and send out into the world as willing protectors and.." She stops herself. Take your pick, Robert."

Her pace continues, one hand now upon the cup and the other within her pocket. "Seems the passion doesn't fall far from the genetic tree. But, ask me something. While I can suspect that he's spoken to you at length about what we do, I have not had a chance to ask -what-."

"Honorable things to concern yourselves with. The good fight, right?" Ripclaw shrugs his shoulders as he stops in their walk through the brisk night air, "I don't ask much about what your X-Men do or what your set up is. What I learn comes from what is said to me in conversation by your people, Nate, perhaps has been the most forthright with that info but it is nothing harmful or damning. So those concerns can be put aside, I am also a secret person and I don't like to share my own or others." The irony in his words causes a small smile to appear once more and this time he is studying her expressions watching her with those animal red eyes.

"Yes. The good fight." Jean was settling into that easy conversation in the real world. Finally finding that spot between comfortable and familiarity. There wasn't much to say. Jean didn't have to test him or his faith, or analyze him or guess to his motives. He was genuine. She felt that.

"I trust you." She says simply, glancing towards him with a quick look away and a smile. She had to stop walking all together then just to rub at the back of her neck. "Nate.. is apart of a team that Rose fielded along with a few others. They call it X-Black. X-Force, it doesn't matter. She brought it to me nearly a year ago, wanting to take a few other like minded individuals into their cause to take care of threats in ways that.. our Founder doesn't and will never agree upon." She frowns a little, keeping her gaze away. "A necessary darkness to protect.. everyone."

A grin now, Ripclaw's sharp canines are visible,"As I said like minds, one of my teachers always liked to say, when an Indian must fight, he fights to kill. It holds some water but I think he just liked to quote Chief Joseph in his own way. We know how that went don't we." A click sound of claws scraping against each other and the mutant shifts his stance so he is not walking anymore and just facing her. "Sometimes absolutes are necessary."
Now he takes back the coffee thermos and drinks. It's coffee, no one ignores coffee for long.

"No. But I could imagine." One last sip was taken before it was 'stolen' away from her, a little pout given towards the larger man and a grin given in return. "I believe that there's always another way than the absolute." But she wasn't going to lecture him. That argument could go on for too long and the only one who would wind up in tears would be Jean. And no one wants to see her cry. It's horrible.

"But lately, a man came to us to offer us.." She clears her throat a little.. "..them a deal. To sign away on the dotted line and they'll have protection. In other words. They scratch the back of the organization, and the organization would return the favor." She wrinkles her nose a touch. "Politics. To add to it all they've been cleaning up after us since I was a young girl so we were never any secret to them. I suppose it's all in good faith that it comes up now.." Was she looking for advice, maybe. Either way it wasn't her decision to make. She does reach out to try to grasp his hand, she's never really.. really touched him before.
"Part of me agrees with you on that to be honest. But… " Pain flashes through his emotional state all tethered to memory, pain that turns in to a burning barely contained rage. Ripclaw's face never changes expression. Composure. He has it. "Yes. Our philosophies we can save for another time."

"Organizations and collectives of any kind make me uneasy. Anonymity and being able to retreat in to shadow and smoke in a moments notice is what has kept me and mine safe, I can't speak for yours. You all seem to have been fortunate enough to operate with some level of freedom, perhaps it is your guardian angel, but honestly, I wouldn't put stock in that. How much is signed away on the dotted line? How much do you trust this person? And how much can they hurt you?"

Relief, she felt it almost immediately. It was too late to get into something too deep, even if the darkness surrounding them called for it. But she was studying his hand, suddenly letting it go to draw her own into her pockets.

"Well, the reveal of us being watched somewhat took that small comfort away from us." She shakes her head. "An agreement nor meet has been set yet. One says no, the other is on the fence, one comes with terms.." Her eyes squint then refocuses upon him again. "I don't know. And I think that's the problem right there. Not knowing. I don't know if I could trust the man and I'm damn sure they have more than enough to hurt us all."

"But they haven't yet. Maybe they don't watch you as much as you think and don't know your capabilities or they are not a threat. Or at least an imminent one." Ripclaw shakes the coffee tin, "If there is any question of trust… go with your gut or ask the spirits." He says that like he is serious but it is hard to tell. He is faintly smiling. "This was on your mind enough you drove from Upstate? I suppose a lot of lives are in the balance. Question, this team, are they better off with this person or do you think keeping them away from him will keep them safe? What about their interests within this?"

"If you were in my shoes, would you really take that chance? Besides, in the teams initial carnation there was a thought to go to this government agency in the hopes of transparency but they somewhat beat us to it. But when you say spirits, I'm likely to think after I drink a bottle of Bourbon to it's corners." She laughs a little, that smile retaining it's tiny bit of happiness.

"The team.. the team.. I think should anything untoward happen to the team, he's their best option. Probably their only option." She turns sideways a little, then begins to rock back and forth upon her heels. "I feel they're scattered. I know Rose wants nothing to do with anything that's an acronym. Nate, with all of his love for Rose just might follow her but his interests are clouded to me. The others? They see the benefit. They may just vote majority and go with. But either way, I can't keep them."

She sniffs at the air briefly. "Plus, a girl can't go nearly two days without hearing 'Ripclaw' so she has to come running. Or walking. Which ever."

"My bias makes me unreliable in a proper response to what I would do but then I think you have your answer already. Just be prepared should the fangs turn on it's own tail be ready to sever." Ripclaw cups both hands and blows in to the center of them watching the heat turn to mist in the chill air. "My name has been mentioned that much? This is new for me. Usually my name is only spoken when I am to be hunted or stabbed or slapped. Women are yes, often involved in this." Especially redheads. Redheads have been his bane.

"A contingency plan? I haven't thought of that." Her lips purse thoughtfully as she turns to look towards him with amusement. The way he speaks what could she only deem as a joke with such ease actually makes her laugh, her head shaking. "This time it was Nate. As I said the guy is rather fond of you, especially if there was a need to bring your name up -that- much." She does grow serious for a moment, her jaw tense. "But.. whether you keep them or not.. or have dealings with them in the future. You'll take care of them, yes? Look out for them."

"They fight beside me they become my blood. I don't leave my people behind." Ripclaw states, "They'll be safe as long as they are prepared, I have faith in them, they are all warriors with their own pains, pains that allow them to do what will be necessary. We're taking care of some very bad people, very bad." Kneeling down he picks the coffee thermos back up off the cement, toying with it (he'd set it down a moment ago). "We may be able to help each other, we are saving people in what we do, freeing them but they don't truly go free. Many of them have lost their pasts lives or will be unable to return to them without effort… maybe your X-Men, your school has some way to help them? It's a thought. I just know we are not properly equipped to do this, any we save, they join our fight. It's the best I can give them but you, your mission… what I have been told and heard of you, if its true, you can help them."

Jean nods slightly, her gaze falling towards her feet as she leans to the side, one foot lifting to kick at an idle rock that soars down the street. "Good. That's good to hear." Though his further words do gain a bit of interest. Questions were flowing but she didn't want to pry. That doesn't mean that she wouldn't. "There's a way we could help them. Yes. It all depends on the type of help that they need."

"There are nurses there that are equipped to help. And a few that could possibly help with their memory retrieval. It's a.. long and difficult process but also dangerous I'll admit. But it could be done." She pauses, turning somewhat, then back to him. "Your fight. How bad is it."

"CyberData is protected by legalities, public face, the law, they do everything right and by the books but they're rotten to the core and responsible for things like this." Ripclaw taps a clawtip on the thermos with a KLINK. "They took me when I was young, I got in to a fight with some racist hicks who wanted to rape a girl, I beat them pretty badly but my mutation kicked in, people saw it and the next thing I know I'm on a table being chopped up. My hands were cut off. My spine and skull opened up and they're not very liberal in their use of anesthetics, they feel the shock and pain will help further activate mutations. I'm a barely a partial reconstruction, some have it much worse."

"This, this is what they do to children, to innocents. Chop them up, rip out their insides and then steal their memories, their minds, they take it and erase it. Make you a new thing meant only for acting as a puppet, a creature that cant connect to it's own spirit any longer. This is the thing I want to stop, I must stop, I have been tasked with it among many other things. A burden that must consume me or I fail to honor those who died before me and my very soul." His voice ebbs off and he goes quiet. It almost sounds like he was about to end up hoarse at the end of that either from emotion or just not being used to speaking that much. A lot of fury and inner pain was welling to the top. As a psionic with an open bond to him she could feel that.
"So, might, yes, it is fairly bad."

Active imaginations bring very, horrible visions. Along with the fury and the pain that makes her face a vision of what he could feel. She wasn't good at hiding, her poker face was complete shit but she was able to right herself within the moment. She nods faintly, reaching out to pry the thermos from his grasp, leaning in with a close of the distance to stand upon the tips of her toes to draw an arm around him in a tight hug. At least.. as much as she could offer. The guy was huge.

"Whatever you need, whenever you need. Doesn't matter. We'll try until we can't, no questions asked."
"Appreciate that. We'll have to work some things out." Ripclaw straightens up to a stand, "Lets walk you back to the tram and talk about lighter things for a few." One arm reaches up and over, draping itself across Jean's shoulders. A casual stride, easy chatter and some friendly jokes the rest of the way.

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