August 29, 2016:

Following their mission to Donald Pierce's home, Emma and Elizabeth work on healing and recovering, and start assessing the data they've gathered and what to do next.

Private Suite - Xavier Institute - New York City

Several interior walls have been knocked down to form a close but comfortable living space for three people, turning the one-person dorm rooms into a suite with a common area. The common area has a small dining table near the kitchenette, atop tile floor, and a big bay window in the kitchen to let light pour into the room. A living room of sorts includes a sofa, high-backed reading chair, and a massive beanbag chair all turned to face one another with a television pushed into the corner.

One bedroom is decorated with a tasteful if Spartan view, a combination of baroque British Imperialism and sparse Japanese aestheticism wrangled into a relatively pleasing juxtaposition.

The northmost bedroom looks more like a study, with a large desk and computer station against one wall and a rumbled queen bed against the other. Books are everywhere, from novels to reference materials, and it's obviously someone's workspace.

The third bedroom is divided precisely in half like a cheap photo trick. One full half of it is done all in steel and glass, looking precisely like a high-rise corporate office complete with workstation. The other half sports white carpet, a four-poster bed with white sheets, and white furniture that costs as much as a midsize sedan. The room is surprisingly well noise-insulated, too.

Obvious Exits:
*<O> leads to Xavier's Institute [NYC]


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Donald Pierce, Selene Gallo


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Once the school day is over, finally Emma can head back to her shared suite. Which means, with a bit of an unlady-like groan, she toes out of her heels and carries them to her closet, putting them away with the other half-million dollars worth of high-end shoes, and just stands still to squidge her toes in the carpeting for a bit. Then she pads barefoot into the little kitchenette in the common area of the suite, tapping controls to start hot water for tea. ~// Are you back from class yet? ~
Yes. I took the day off.//~ Betsy groans and gets out of bed, hobbling towards her door, and leans against it, wearing a brief silk kimono in salmon pink and amethyst abstractions, her long legs on display. Bandage is visible on her thigh beneath the hem, and inside the v-neck of her robe. "Energy burns are not comfortable. Gelpacks and bandaids," she says, wryly, tuggin open the hem of her robe a bit more to show the soothing, cool blue of a burn healing kit at work.

"How were your classes today?"
"Get in bed, silly woman." Emma protests firmly. "If you took the day off and you're healing, then get back in bed. I'll bring you some tea as soon as it is ready. Then we can work on stretching out your legs." Honestly, hearing Emma Frost being mothering and concerned about another's welfare has to be disorienting. But as usual, she is unrelenting and bitchy about it. How else would she be?

"Classes were … tedious, to be honest." Emma admits, as she starts escorting Elizabeth back to her room. "But, I prefer to meet my obligations. And unlike you, I ended last night's festivities with nothing more than a substantial headache. I do need to check on the reconstruction program for the data from Pierce's computer. When you checked, how did the camera fare?" It'd be a shame to have gone through all they did and come up empty.

"If was laserproof, I'd have climbed into an oatmeal bath instead of a gelatin tank," Betsy mutters. She allows herself to be helped back to bed, and is indeed limping
not a good sign. Betsy can suppress a surprising amount of pain, but only deep tissue damage can make her body fail to respond.

Crawling into bed with a wince, she leans heavily against stacked pillows to hold her upright, curling her knees together. "The camera, fortunately, did better than I." She points at her computer, the camera plugged into it— dinged, battered, but still ticking. "Hank recommended I not bring a five-dollar disposable with me, and I'm glad he did. There's a treasure trove of financial data, transaction records, even written personal correspondance. I've been trying to sort it, as best I'm able, but… I've not been completely lucid all day." She glances at her medicine kit— fortunately, the very strong stuff is kept in medbay, firmly out of reach.

She reaches for a tin of dermagenerative lotion and with a pained grunt, leans forward, daubing it onto her legs. Smashing through the window and dodging lasers had given her a fine little spray of sharp little cuts and bruises from calf to hip— her bodysuit was tough and durable, but fragmented glass razors could still slip through the weave here and there.
"And rather than tell me how badly injured you were while we were still in the City and I could have called one of my medical teams to help, you let me drag you all the way back here so that you could hide out in your room, and not even in medbay?" Yeah, Emma sounds a wee bit amped up, at this point. Looks it, too. Cranky, our Emma Grace.

Wound up and frustrated, Emma backs away from the bed and starts pacing, visibly - and mentally - restraining herself from venting more spleen over the situation. She knows what's done is done. She knows they did the best they could do. But for some reason, this has her wound up all out of proportion. They've both come home from ops a mess before. She hasn't reacted like this to any of them.
"To what avail? The wounds were not so urgent we couldn't return to the Insitute for treatment, and frankly in the field of combat medicine, it's difficult to equal Hank and Jean's combined efforts."

Betsy rubs the lotion into one leg with a low hiss of suppressed pain, then eases back onto the pillows, exhaling. She might have a bruised rib or two. "I'd just as soon rest in my bed than in medbay, and as I don't need IVs, and they're monitoring my vitals remotely" she shows Emma the little EKG medallion behind her ear. "I'll rest where my slippers, tea, and favorite people are all close at hand." She looks at Emma pointedly, and tries to coax some calm from the White Queen with a curl of her lips.

"Lie back, damnit." Emma protests sharply, as she reaches out a hand and lays her fingertips over Betsy's temple. A moment or two of concentration, and the pain is just … gone. Emma really is that good.

"You still should have told me." Emma comments a tad bitterly, as she steps back and turns around, settling on the edge of Betsy's bed. "Now, lie back and relax. We can review the images of the documents later, along with the data from the hard drive. Let me go check on the hard drive's progress, and then I'll check on the tea."

That said, Emma gets up from the bed and walks barefoot back out of Betsy's bedroom.

Betsy sags in relief at the touch to her temple
a telepath's pain inhibitors can only go so far before the body fights back, pain being an uncomfortable but necessary part of the healing process. She almost falls asleep for a moment, and by the time Emma's back, Betsy's struggling back up to a seated position, amethyst eyes flickering to Emma's baby blues.

"Anything immediately useful from the drive?" she inquires, daubing her wounds again.
"Would you please lie back when told to lie back?" Emma complains, as she comes back into the room with a tray of tea in hand. She comes over by the bed and sets the tray on the bed, then extends her hand and pushes Betsy back into her pillow nest once more.

While Emma prepares the tea, she fills Betsy in - and makes sure she stays laid back. No more stretching while the pain has been turned off. "The drive rebuild appears successful. I've started the data mining programs, using some parameters from what I'd seen on the system while the copy was running. I still don't understand why the system came up while the copy was running; that's not at all normal." Her tone makes it clear she's worried that may have been what set off the trap they fell into.

Emma hands Betsy cup and saucer of tea, prepared just the way she knows the Brit likes hers. Then she takes up her own and sips. "If the images are uncorrupted, why don't we feed them to the Intuitive Character Recognition system. That will give us the content of the documents in forms we can make better use of with the data mining programs later."

"I don't know why ,either, but
the psionic assault. That was a very specific trap," Betsy points out to Emma. She accepts the cup and saucer, and with long practice lifts the cap to her teacup in her index fingers and sips around it. Because it's more civilized that way.

"That's not a bad idea. With the sheer bulk of data we have, Cerebro is much better suited for pattern cognition. I have at least a hundred sheets of paperwork and there's no telling what's on your drive."
Emma frowns and nods at the mention of the psionic assault. "I know he's no telepath. I don't know how he could manage that attack." She goes silent as she watches Betsy sip her tea, and smiles just a little. Somehow, it does her good to see Betsy doing so.

"Alright. I'll get the images processing, and then add them as a new datastore for review." Emma offers. She finishes her own cup of tea, and then puts it down, reaching over Betsy to fetch the laptop, tapping keys and inputting commands until she has shunted the images off to the network for ICR. Then she puts it back on the other side of Betsy.

"Would you like more tea, dear?" For the moment, Emma is apparently mulling things over, rather than trying to work out aloud how it is that a non-telepath could have made such an attack on them, or detected them at all.
"Yes, dear, thank you." Betsy holds her cup out to Emma, lid held neatly aside, and accepts a topoff.

She steals a kiss on the cheek from Emma while the blonde's leaning over her bed, smiling at the woman with undisguised affection and stroking her opposite cheek once, gently, before her hands settle in her lap.

"Is there anyone well suited for this sort of work? Someone with good pattern-cognition skills? I can assist but… to be honest, this is not my area of expertise. I'm more the pointy end of the sword," she says, in a dry wit.
"Cypher is the best I know at that sort of thing." Emma admits, not that she's likely to get much help from him. Who the heck would dare to trust her? Especially from his group? Emma just shakes her head. "The algorithms should manage a lot of what we need. I'll take a look after they're done, and if that doesn't get it done, I'll use one of the intelligence analysis contractors I have on file."

Emma ducks her head at the kiss on her cheek, then slowly brings her pale blue eyes back up to regard Betsy carefully. "You have to stay down while I'm blocking the pain. You know that, right?" she admonishes, gently. Then she sips her own refreshed tea. "Without more detailed scans, we have no real way of figuring out how they knew we were there. Was it a trap? Did they draw us in on purpose?" Was it Freki setting them up? "I just don't know. And we need to know, before we can make another move."
Betsy sighs at Emma's pointed rebuke, and settles meekly into her pillows. "Yes, dear," she says, properly chastised.

"There's a point in action where too much preparation is more dangerous than going in blind," Betsy points out to Emma. "If we idle too long, we risk surrendering the initiative to the enemy. We do know they— whomever— are prepared for psychic intrusions. They're ready for /us/. That gives us a better focus in our search for these individuals. Moreover, next time, we'll go in cloaked and under psy-inhibitors, if need be. Uncomfortable," she admits, "but potentially a necessary evasion."
Emma shakes her head. "I know all about not surrendering the initiative. But acting without proper intelligence means being reckless, and often stupid." And Emma has no tolerance whatsoever for being stupid. She won't be acting without some intelligence and planning. But she will do her best not to wait too long or let the initiative fail.

"Psi-inhibitors." Emma frowns. "I still want to know where he got the technology. His mind is impenetrable." She gently squeezes Betsy's hand. "Anyway. As soon as we have something … I'm wondering if it might not be worth going to Selene. She wants to know who is misusing the funds. She's convinced it's someone trying to attack the Club. If we use the evidence we have, and whatever we can gain from this, we could get her to turn on him." And there are few enemies more implacable. "But I don't know whether she might not decide to 'shoot the messenger.'"
"A dangerous game. Baiting the tiger trap with a snake has a way of going badly for the gamekeeper," Betsy says, wryly. Her fingers curl a bit weakly around Emma's. "This might… be outside of our scope," Betsy admits, with a sigh heavy with finality. "The two of us are quite dangerous— as long as we are not expected. If we're to approach Selene, we need to do so with incontrovertible evidence. Half-baked theories will only stir her suspicions against us."

"So the question remains, what /proof/ can we offer that is above reproach that puts her against him?"
Emma frowns but nods, clearly agreeing regarding the potential danger of her solution. She's not naieve at all. "The financials we've gathered are proof he's behind the transfers, and thusly behind the Purifiers and the Reavers. But I think we need something that will tie him to the tech thefts, along with the analysis Hank has done on the Purifier and Reaver technologies, in order to seal the deal." Emma isn't going to just rush in blindly. "You said there was a good deal of personal correspondence in the material you gathered. Hopefully, I'll find more of the same on the drive. I think I will. We'll see what we find."
"Indeed." Betsy leans back into her pillows, then gives her tea a suspicious look. "This is calming me down quite a bit. Emma, darling, you didn't spike this, did you?" she asks, without a trace of heat in her voice. "I'm feeling extremely … mellow. Maybe it's the lack of pain, which is equally delicious. Burns are tricky," she admits, sighing languidly and stretching her long legs out, the hem of her robe shifting. "It's hard to keep those blocks in place and— well. You know," she says, smiling as her eyes start to lid a little.
"Nothing in the tea." Emma promises, with a tender little smile. She reaches out and lightly strokes her fingertips through Betsy's purple hair. "Just rest, Elizabeth. I'll keep the pain blocked, and help you to stay still while you sleep. The sleep will do you good. We'll talk more later." Emma doesn't bring up slathering on more of the dermoregeneration gel. But surely that'll happen. "Just rest." Emma murmurs, and waits for Elizabeth to close her eyes.

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