Just a Touch of Honey
Roleplaying Log: Just a Touch of Honey
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Elizabeth Braddock investigates into what's been bothering the team's telepaths and finds an unpleasant surprise.

Other Characters Referenced: Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost
IC Date: May 29, 2019
IC Location: NYC Harbor
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 02 Jun 2019 21:36
Rating & Warnings: PG
NPC & GM Credits: NPCs by Emma Frost
Associated Plots

It's there again.

In the middle of the night, a pulse that only the city's psychics will feel.

In such close proximity, a telepath of Elizabeth Braddock's calibre will be able to feel the nuanced undertones of it. There's regret and shame, almost entirely lost beneath a crippling fear.

The city of New York is never silent; it never sleeps. But in the quieter hours, when so many people are respectably in bed, it's perhaps just a touch easier to hear the call as it echoes across the astral plan in something that sounds like a hoarse whisper. Female, but of a different feel than what overtook the psions in Westchester. This is someone different.

=« Heeeeelp meeeee. »

——

Betsy has been leaving herself open as much as she can, in order to try and catch the odd feelings that she and others have discussed. In spite of Warren's concerned suggestions, the British model had returned to reside in her Manhattan townhome, to hopefully catch more. Surprisingly, she's also been making forays into the streets, because no one believes Shaw's word that Emma just left town. Not with all this going on suddenly.

Respectably or not, Betsy had been in bed, albeit with a book. It falls from her hand, thumping shut and losing her place, at that whisper across her mind. Her power will reach out, like a hand towards someone drowning, trying to offer comfort, hope, and power.

«Where are you? I'll come help. Just tell me where.» She will fall silent, trying to let the other mentality reach out less, conserve whatever energy they have to reach out. Clearly something is hampering them.


There's a long pause, and it might feel like forever that Psylocke must wait. But the waiting will pay off, as that presence calls out again. A little less strained, a little clearer.

=« The harbor. I'm so tired. Please, help me. »

Despair taints her words, surges like the tide.


She may have been in bed, but she had not actually changed to sleep. So she will hop up, jamming her feet into sneakers before she's heading for the door to her balcony. This is no time for taxis or the like. Instead, Betsy will take a deep breath to steady herself, and there will be something like the skip of a heartbeat in that connection, as the Brit uses her telekinesis to take to the sky. She has to go high enough to clear buildings, and stay low enough to avoid being detected. This is trickier than she would like, especially in the age of registration …and she's refused to do so.

There's a brief mental shout out to Warren, as she's flying across the island of Manhattan towards the harbor. The buildings start getting lower, and she will use the shadows between two to land with a sharp drop. She will take a few breaths, closing her eyes. «I'm here. Talk to me. I will find you.»

It is a dangerous choice to take to the skies, not only in the age of New York's registration laws, but the age of its flying Sentinels. Tonight, fortune seems to be on Braddock's side, and the hazy glow of the New York skyline yields not one of the ominous shadows.


The woman on the other side of the connection fades in and out. And so much of what she says is a mere repetition, little more than a murmur. Help. Help me. I'm so tired.

You would think that, perhaps, that hope would come into the equation at some point. But no. No, it doesn't. Just that dreadful weight, and it grows. That weight will probably be the best beacon Psylocke has, and it will guide her to the docks.

And when she lands so nearby, when the connection should be the strongest of all, there's a final word so soft that it's like she's whispering again in the telepath's mind. A number. « One-forty-tw— »

And then, silence.


Psylocke tries to reach out, as if she can shake the other psionic awake, keep them going. There's a little aside back and forth with Warren, before she's following the feel of the mind that had been in contact. Lucky for whoever it is, Betsy has the ability to track a mind, much less a fellow psychic.

In the meantime, there's a telepathic illusion cast around her as she searches. Anyone who doesn't have the power or fortitude, will see a slender woman, long brown hair, dressed plainly, a little mousy. No need to announce her presence.


Where once there was a telepath's power, there are now just plain thoughts, plain as any standard issue human but wrapped in a warm lethargy. She doesn't offer any thoughts back, save the thick repetition of the same plea, although that too is drowning beneath the warmth.

As she rounds the corner of one warehouse, a security guard in a blue uniform—private security—nearly bumps into Psylocke. His hand immediately goes to his sidearm, but doesn't withdraw it.

"Hello, miss," he says, voice tense and cautious. "Kinda late for you to be out here alone, ain't it?"

And then there will be the feeling of numerous other minds starting to slowly converge on their location if she's got a mind to sense it.


The illusion of the mousey brown-haired young woman looks up at the security guard. "Not really. My dog ran off, and he loves water and fish, so I was hoping maybe he's down here somewhere. Have you seen a dog, maybe? A big brown and white mutt, looks a little pit bull-ish with a red collar?" Betsy will keep talking, accent all but absent, even as she feels those minds coming this way.

No time to really debate or think it over too much, a hand that gestures towards the water to distract the eye, the other closing around the handle of her psi-katana to try and lash it through the security guard. Just enough to knock him out, she doesn't dare try for more. Not in these circumstances.


The guard starts to look on instinct, but stops halfway and moves to draw his pistol on Betsy instead. He finds a surge through his mind instead as the psi-blade plunges in. He crumples to the ground in a boneless heap after a cry of alarm. A cry cut short.

Those other minds are converging more quickly now, though are difficult to read with any clarity. It's like they're wrapped up in a hum of interference. The sounds of their footsteps is unheard, though, lost beneath the sounds of the harbor as they move between the warehouses—lessened though it is by the hour.

They're trained, well so, and their hunt is a quiet one. And they're armed with rifles of some sort, although it's hard to tell the make in the dark.


Betsy knows what is coming, and she keeps that illusion going. "Oh god help! Help! Someone call 911! Please someone!" She will lure them closer, even as she crouches close to the security guard, as if she's checking for a pulse.

She can't tell the sort of rifles being carried, she doesn't even dare look up as she makes it look like she's doing some sort of CPR on out cold security guy. She knows he'll wake up later with a doozy of a headache, but she has to keep up the act. She will, on the other hand, put a TK dome over herself, at least until she can feel out the rifles for safety switches, or maybe she can pull the firing pins with her TK…


Is it really luring when they're already on their way? As soon as they have sights on Psylocke, night scopes searching for the target. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the hunting field, the way that warehouses are lined upon it, and Psylocke's current position nestled between them, they don't get the benefit of their weapon's maximum range. The first shots come from roughly 90 meters away.

And they're darts that hit Psylocke's TK shield, not bullets.

When those fail, they close in tighter. There's maybe fifteen men gathered for the job.

Psylocke keeps up the act, because what else can you do? The darts that strike her tk hover, before she will shoot them back out along the trajectories they came in from. Bullets would have been much harder, but darts are almost fun. She will pull out her phone to dial 911, looking distressed. She will play this until she can not anymore, and well, maybe calling for emergency services might help.


When they finally draw as close as they dare, the men in their black uniforms begin chattering onto their radios, and there's a metallic sound as now the bullets come out to play with Braddock's shield.

One man pulls back from the man line his colleagues are forming. "No," he tells someone on the other side of a radio system, and then pausing long enough for their response. "Understood."

Then, to the man beside him, he offers quietly, "Get the other one out of here, and drop this one… Otherwise, just leave her."

And, in response, the rear line of guards moves to split directions, some this way, and some that. The ones that aren't presently trying to drop Braddock by any means necessary.


She screams as bullets come her way, pretending to fall over the guard in a dead slump. She will shrink her shield to a couple of inches away from her skin, to keep herself protected. She will lash out telepathically, to the other mind. Giving it the equivalent of a physical shake. « Wake up!»

She has to make a choice, now, her heart beating in her ears. She should have waited. Waited and seen if she could have gotten back up. But the voice had been so tired, so quiet.. With a rare, brief prayer, Betsy will lash out—her shield will drop, and she will try to lift and fling the men with rifles pointed at her.


There is one warning for Psylocke, in the form of a particularly loud thought from above: «Incoming.»

There is no warning for the men on the ground. Only the sharp descent from above, in a hundred mile-per-hour stoop, of a winged shadow. That plunging raptor shape slows, wide wings flaring, only just enough in order to try to snatch up two stragglers at the back of the group without breaking their necks.

«At least, I assume that's you,» Warren notes. «Running a distraction.»

If he gets purchase on those men, he will translate altitude into speed and shoot straight off again, bearing away the two men into the night sky and towards the open Hudson River.


The other psychic is lulled out of sleep, but there's the same hollow feeling. She can't access her powers anymore, and the drug that is coursing through her system is strong. « M'sorry. » Depending on how long Psylocke allows herself to remain in contact, the feelings of helplessness may possibly wash over Braddock the way that they do this other mind. The other telepath's body is jostled as she's lifted up, and there's a dull metallic clinking. Then that mind falls asleep again.

A dark van with shaded out plates emerges from a nearby warehouse soon afterwards. It tears off in a separate direction, even as men continue firing on Betsy. Keep firing…

…until at least all but the furthest few feel their rifles fly up and their feet lose contact with the ground. That isn't the only trick that they've got, however. They're about to change tactics and weapon selection, when all of a sudden two of them are heading skywards without use of a chopper. There is, as one might imagine, much screaming involved as Angel carries them off.

All hell breaks loose on the ground after that, and there is a sudden and desperate scrambling and retreat as the entire playing field seems to change. One incoming could only be the start of what's incoming, and they've no desire to see who comes behind. They were only prepared to fight the one, lone telepath. Backup requires a different strategy. And… they're not up to that tonight.


Warren will feel a flash of gratitude, a whisper of thanks in his mind. Because she needs the focus, the bulk of her 'firepower', to do something stupid and dangerous. « Hang on! » She shouts into that sleepy mind, before she will /yank/ as hard as she can at the rear axle and tires of that van, momentarily forgetting to shield.

There's a burn, and a scream from the telepath as she gets hit by a bullet, her psi-katana flashing into being. She will turn, that illusion falling away to reveal the model with her long, purple hair, stalking towards them with that invisible TK shield before her. Warren had come to help, so now she needs to do what she does best—Be the only supermodel ninja she knows.


When the axle of the van bends hopelessly out of shape, the vehicle careens to a stop in a shower of sparks and at a tilt with its side against a warehouse wall. The rifles emerge anew, although these are far more powerful AR-15s, of the unmodified and highly illegal in the state of New York variety. Without even trying to hide it, two men haul out the limp body of a young woman not more than 24 and one of them hoists her up and drapes her over his shoulder.

"We need you to come to us," he says into a radio on his shoulder. There's a staticky response back. "Understood," he says, and then he's making off at a jog away from the fight with the other man covering him.

Everyone has stopped their attempts to see Elizabeth Braddock immobilized. Everyone's suddenly onboard with seeing her very much dead.

Except for one man who throws a stun grenade in her direction to attempt to buy their team time.


Will they never learn? You'd think what they had seen by now would have revised their plan, but no. She will simply use TK to throw that stun grenade back at the one, like a line drive hit by a pro baseball slugger. She's walking, picking up the pace to a jog as she makes to chase after the one man with the woman over his shoulder. That katana glows an unearthly pink-purple as she heads to give chase, her shielding shrunk close to her body like a second skin, as she feels blood seep down her left side where she'd been hit.


The problem is when you only have so many resources to adjust the plan. But the force assembled is doing the best that they can. The flashbang hits near the man who threw it, and three men now suddenly can’t see a thing after the blinding white of it passes.

Which means that they only barely miss being hit by a black Lincoln Towncar that comes racing onto the scene and floors the gas pedal once it has Psylocke centered in the middle of its hood.

At the same time, a second van is screeching its way on the other side of her, behind where the two men are racing with their bait in tow. When it screams to a halt, and the side door slides open, there is another pair of men in there, one of whom is frantically waving. “Come on! HURRY. The psychobitch is gaining!”

And without so much of a glance backwards, the one starts running faster. The other finally abandons his attempts to level Braddock with semi-automatic fire.


The mote of gratitude receives an equally brief mental imprint in answer: of course.

The fate of the two men carried off by Warren is probably better not contemplated, though two distant splashes might give a bit of a clue. At the least, the Hudson isn't nearly as vile as it used to be years ago.

All this does take some time, so quite a bit actually transpires while he is away. The van is crippled, but other vehicles arrive on the scene in order to enable the remaining men to make good their getaway. The one with the girl over his shoulder books it immediately. The other lingers, taking shots at Psylocke to cover the first man's escape.

He should probably have stopped shooting just a few moments sooner, because by the time he does and turns to try to make his own escape, what is already in motion cannot be stopped.

Angel drops straight down from the sky above him, wings open for stabilization, aiming to land square on him and drive him facefirst into the ground. He'll stay right where he is afterwards, too, balanced lightly with the man pinned beneath his feet.

It will neutralize the shots at Betsy, at the least; and Warren seems intent on claiming at least one source of information.


One would think they would be smarter than that, but clearly, these are not the brains of the operation. Betsy will actually blow a kiss to the man in the Lincoln… as she simply rises up over the hood. Why run, after all, if you can fly. So she will give airborne chase after the girl.

«You know, if it wasn’t for Alison, I would totally confess love to you right now.» She will teasingly whisper in Warren’s mind. « Owe you drinks and a hug later, hero!»


The driver of the Lincoln doesn’t seem to care, he’s veering down a space between warehouses and making a getaway.

The van is, too, albeit in a very different direction. It’s headed straight for the brightly lit and more public areas nearby, where Psylocke will have a harder time dodging attention. And it gets there in a hurry.

They know where they’re going, and all the lights are suddenly in their favor. The lesser traffic means that they can easily whizz around the other cars… and eventually they manage to disappear somewhere in the tunnels.

But, at least they have one of them?


«I have an excellent sense of timing,» is Warren's predictably arrogant thought. It breaks off, however, as she darts away after the receding van, and he lingers behind with the captive.

Warren cants his head, birdlike, staring straight down at the very unhappy individual he has pinned. The man struggles to throw off the winged mutant standing on him; Warren shifts his right foot and plants it on the base of the man's skull, pushing him facedown — and then leaning over to relieve the man of his weapon, when he sputteringly lets it go in shocked response to this treatment.

«At least we have a lead,» is his thought, as he snaps the sling off the rifle and uses it to bind the man's wrists and ankles together. The very illegal AR-15 is laid back down beside the man afterwards. «You should have some time to get what he knows out of his head. I'll go delay the authorities.»

He opens his wings, taking off towards the approaching sound of sirens in a flurry of feathers. «When you're finished, they can have him.»


There may be some vicious cursing as they disappear into one of the tunnels, and she just doesn’t dare keep up pursuit, considering that she’s not registered and could just make more trouble. «Thanks for the help, Warren.»

She will fly back to the restrained man, a light chuckle in Warren’s head «Very nice. Your improvised restraints are impressive. » She will crouch down alongside the creepy thug, a finger along his cheek. “Spill everything you know. You really, really don’t want me to go in after it.”


In addition to everything that he’s just watched, the fact that he has his own rifle wrapped around his wrists tells the man on the ground that he’s not dealing with his own kind. Up close, his black coveralls don’t have any identifying marks whatsoever, but underneath are the thin plates of body armor. But it’s when Betsy Braddock lowers herself back into his range of vision that he pulls his face—as well as the earpiece still tucked discreetly inside his ear and curled around his ear, mostly hidden by the falls of his thick black curls—back in revulsion from her touch.

“You can try,” he tells her, his lips curling up smugly. “Because I’m sure you know it goes. I tell you everything, and then I don’t get work again. I like what I do. Protecting the world from freaks like you.”

But if the telepath even tries so much as to skim his surface thoughts, she’ll feel a very uncomfortable buzzing.


Betsy will take her time, frisking him and looking for any other sneaky weapons he may have, and he may try to deploy when he’s released. Since they were all talking to each other earlier, and she figures someone is giving him the commands, she will search for a radio or some other method of communication.

She’ll find that earpiece, and yank it free without mercy, using tk to make sure she gets it all. “Protect the world from freaks like me? You don’t even know me. I was living quite peaceably until all this nonsense. I wasn’t out running around, poking in people’s heads or anything. I don’t have any idea why anyone would care, when I keep to myself.”


There isn’t much on the man that’s easily accessible, save a few zip ties, a multitool, and an autoinjector of some kind in a white plastic housing. When the earpiece is taken, the man in his makeshift handcuffs growls unhappily. It’s likely not comfortable, having it unceremoniously ripped out.

“I know enough. I know what you are,” he says, and then he stops talking.

The earpiece may have had a lot of chatter at some point, but it and the box that it’s wired to at his belt seems to be picking up the wrong frequency now, nothing by silence on the other side.

Then, suddenly, too, that buzzing feeling will slowly start lifting, although there is no discernable reaction on the man’s part to indicate that he’s aware of it.


“You know what? That I’m a human being who has one, count it, one genetic twist you do not?” Betsy asks. “You know nothing of who I am, what I am, or what it is like to be me.” She will inform him, British accent suddenly sounding very imperious. “You don’t know what it is to be kidnapped and tortured, brainwashed and forced to live a different life, because of one gene that’s a little evolved.”

She will start to try and sift through his mind, working her way towards deeper and deeper thoughts and memories. “You don’t know what it is, to be a young, pretty girl, and hear all the perverted thoughts of men like you, and not be able to block them out.” She whispers. “Should I show you? Shall I give you that taste of madness?” She makes it sound nearly seductive.


“Go ahead,” he replies with a sneer, unaware of her presence in his psyche. “Take the higher ground if it makes you feel better.”

Psylocke slips in, easily, and will be able to patch together a timeline from the disjointed arrangement of memories as only a skilled telepath can. It’s like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle.

Most of the thoughts are of a very plain variety. Anger. Trying to think of a way to get out of his predicament.

He’s got a young family—he’s in his early thirties, himself. They season nearly all of the corners of his thoughts, very much separate from his professional life.

He was a soldier. Department of the Army. Hooah. He’s still in the Reserves, but he picked up a job in private security after his years were up to pay the bills in college. Mutants were not his bailiwick.

But then, in the last six months, he was recruited for an operation. It paid twice what his current job did, and there are thoughts that float up: of the things he could do to safeguard his family and provide for them. College is expensive, after all, and they’re only just scraping by. The pitch was centered around safeguarding the world.

He believed it.

But he’s seen too much abroad during foreign entanglements to think that safety for others means a clean operation.

So he’s here, luring telepaths in with one of their own. Using her as a honeypot to get them to betray themselves. Then they do the work of neutralization and handing them off to another team. He’s been doing it for weeks.

Oh, yeah, and he really wishes he could put a bullet in Betsy about now.

This is going to cost him the job. Maybe every other job he could hope to find.

This is an expensive mistake, and he’s not used to making mistakes.

He’d never admit it, but he’s scared. Except, it’s not death that he fears. There’s a good payoff for his family if he dies.

So what, really, does he have to lose?


“See, darling, the problem with telepaths is we find out the truth. But that doesn’t mean we tell. I certainly don’t. So they will be uncertain about you—if you talked, if you let me in… if I know about your wife and your children.” She leans down to whisper.

“Oh, I know you want to hurt me. You wish you could put a bullet in my brain and make sure I never know anything again. But that death payoff? Won’t happen. The cops are coming for you, my dear. And I know where your family is.” She leans up, violet eyes looking over his face.

“And that will eat you alive. And even worse? They’re going to receive money. Enough money for college funds, some nice luxuries. Maybe a spa day for your poor wife.” She moves to stand, looking down. “I’ll even pay off your mortgage. Because your wife and children don’t deserve to suffer, because you decided hate paid better than honest work. “ Her voice is soft. “We’re not the monsters your bosses made us out to be. I have mercy and compassion, in my heart. Do you?”

The British woman will turn to walk away. « Warren, he’s all theirs. Shall we regroup somewhere? »


«Finished?» comes the distant thought in reply. «I'll send some of these fellows over to collect him, then. Wrapping up a lovely conversation with them about the unacceptable levels of gun violence still happening in this part of town. 'It's Manhattan, for God's sake.' And so on.»

Warren’s thoughts are a little distracted — he's more experienced than most in carrying on a mental conversation at the same time as a verbal one, but it's still difficult. «Later. We’ll look at what was found then.»


The man at Betsy’s feet is not trained to keep her out. One might wonder, perhaps, why they would not provide some sort of psychic training to the boots they put out on the street against telepaths. Maybe it was a lack of foresight. Maybe it was a cheap way out. Cutting corners.

Maybe.

Whatever the reason, his thoughts focus now like a laser beam as she brings his family into it. At first, it’s the same boring thoughts of ‘blah blah blah, shoot her, blah blah blah.’ But then, as they say, an opportunity presents itself. His eyes lock onto her as she turns to walk away, and then he’s twisting his body, looking to sweep her legs out with his own.


Some men just never learn, do they. Betsy hears more than sees the movement, and jumps up—and hovers. “You just can’t accept defeat gracefully, can you. I was offering you a second chance, making sure your family doesn’t suffer. And what do you do? You try to lash out and hurt me. Does it really hurt your ego so much?”

She will lower to her feet, standing there to look at him.Her head tilts, purple hair shifting to frame her face. She will lock her eyes on his face, before she links to his mind. He will hear it, suddenly. All the thoughts, the mental voices, of people in the harbor area. The cacophony of mental noise that is what a telepath lives with until they learn to shield. “That. That is the disadvantage I had. And I still bested you and most of your guys.”

She will pull it back from his mind, sealing her own up. But then there’s the katana, purple in her hands. “I could kill you, with this. I could hurt you. This is all from the power of my mind. Maybe consider what you could learn from someone like me, versus trying to kill us, or enslave us.”

The katana vanishes, and then so will she—darting swiftly into an alley, and then she is gone to leave him for the authorities.

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