2020-07-11: Into Dark Reflections

Players: Betsy & Volk

BetsyF_icon.jpg ConnorF_icon.jpg

Summary: The key to save everything is in the past, so two warriors attempt the impossible… to bridge back in time to give the present-day time a fighting chance.

Date: July 11, 2020

Into Dark Reflections

Rating: R

England - Braddock Manor

Braddock Manor is a stately mansion out in the middle of the English countryside, near the east cost of Britain. Since the war in America, and the disappearance of Captain Britain, the Manor has grown disused, although the Housekeeper, Emma, does her best to keep things in order. Most of the rooms are closed down, but she keeps the main lobby, kitchen, and a few of the bedrooms dusted in clean in case any of the Braddocks make their way back.

In the corner of the main stairwell, in a pool of shadow cast by the banister, two forms emerge from the shadows, stepping out of it like a portal. Betsy is still clad in her combat fatigues, with her shoulder wrapped up with where Deadpool's blade bit into her shoulder. Fortunately the cut was shallow so that all it did was bleed profusely. The other shape is Volk, whom she brought here since this is as safe a place as any for younger Connor to be should their experiment work.

Stumbling a bit as he steps out, Volk smirks back at Betsy, minus his balaklava and armor jacket, his injuries recently rebandaged in a much more professional fashion. Carried with him is a duffel bag with his supplies, clothes, and weapons, and a cache of drugs for his younger self. Looking around for a long moment, he grunts once, and then straightens himself a bit, before growling out gently, "They're… going to… notice soon. Sorry… this is goodbye. You realize… if this works… I may… cease to exist."

Betsy gives Volk a gentle smile, saying, "So may I. Remember, I'm dead in the past, and somehow I'm not dead here. But if we can keep this horror from happening it's a sacrifice I'd be willing to make again and again." She looks around the lobby for a moment before calling out, "Emma? Are you home?" There comes a shuffling from one of the wings and an elderly, kind looking woman comes in, dressed as if she was a housekeeper from the fifties. "Oh! Ms. Braddock, dear! I didn't know you would be coming, or I would have made you some tea." Betsy gives the woman a warm smile and shakes her head. "It's okay, Emma. I didn't know I'd be coming, and before you ask, this is Connor. He'll be staying here for a while, so take care of him like you would me." Emma gets a knowing gleam in her eye as she shuffles over to Connor. "A pleasure to meet you, dearie."

Giving a little bit of a greeting nod, and a bow afterwards but remaining silent for the time being, Volk looks around the place for several moments, and then turns to look at Betsy for a moment, "I'll… pick a bedroom. You… explain what's going to happen…" Slipping a hand from his pocket, he has a piece of paper folded up which he hands to the asian woman, "Here's… the medication… regimen." That being said, he moves closer to the maid, and says softly, "Bedrooms, Emma? I'll… take my own… things." His almost lupine growl obvious even in more polite tones.

The elderly caretaker doesn't seem to be all that phased by Connor's manner of speech, directing him to where the open guest bedroom is. Betsy takes a few minutes to explain to what's required of the caretaker and hands over the medication timetable. Once she's sure that Connor has settled in she climbs up the stairs and meets him in the bedroom. "Emma will be good for your younger self," she explains. "She's… special. She died not long after Jamie moved out and when he came back to the mansion he decided that the house was missing her touch so he…. resurrected her."

Connor has just finished recording something in a small handheld device, and has you come up and settle in, he clicks the stop button and sets it to one side. Standing up, the man walks over and cups Betsy's cheeks for a moment, inhaling softly before kissing those lips and then saying in a murmur, "Hopefully… the library will keep… me busy. Now…" And he sighs once before letting go, "Let's start.. Mindlink." That said he moves himself over to the bed, and takes off his boots, pulling the knife from them and putting it inside the nightstand. With that he flexes his toes and starts a relaxation breathing exercise.

Betsy scoots one of the comfortable plush chairs next to the bed and sinks down in it, closing her eyes so she can concentrate on the task at hand. «Okay,» she sends. «It should be easier to access the Nexus here. The walls of reality in this house are very, very thin.»

Connor rests his head back as he opens his mind, «I've been thinking on this, and the best way to do this will be you to guide me. First things first… you need images of me in your mind from ten years ago. From there, we're getting into darker waters… things we can only guess at. You might have to knife me to short out my active mind and take control.» Eyes closed as he thinks this, hands resting on his chest as he begins to focus inward, drawing the mindlink back into his Center.

Betsy follows Connor into the link, delving deep into his psychic landscape. «I hope it doesn't come to that,» she says. «But we'll see.»

With both having travelled this way the first time, the second time is a much easier time of it… the semi-lupine Volk-persona guiding Betsy along with a prowling and almost proud gait to his step. The voices are calmer, hesitant as they sense the presence of Psylocke. Those prominent voices… the violent one, the lustful one, and the fearful one… all can be felt watching the pair as they walk the hall of carefully kept memories. Instead of going all the way through, he stops in front of a door where a much younger Robyn can be seen laying on a bed, the echoes of voices of the two having a conversation about summer vacation, and meeting Robyn's parents. Nodding once to Psylocke, «We're close… here…» And further down he stops again, and a memory twinged with worry remains in a locked room of it's own, staring at the same bed, but this time empty, «This looks about right.» He growls to the woman.

Betsy looks at the younger Connnor and the younger, and very much alive and walking Robyn and exclaims, «My God, you're all so young.» It's almost enough to give her second thoughts about this. Almost. She knows the younger Connor will understand the importance of what they do here tonight. In the next room, she sees Connor by himself and gently probes the memory, etching the scene into her own mind. Not just the physical surroundings, which is secondary, but the mind of the younger Connor. What he's thinking, how he's feeling, his worries, hopes and dreams.

Now that Betsy's got a good impression of the younger Connor, she closes her eyes in the mental landscape, and puts out a hand towards the door. Connor would be able to feel a massive amount of psionic energy pouring from the Asian woman through the door until she reaches through the door and grasps the hand of the memory. "Hello, Connor," she says. "We need your help."

This Connor is a bundle of fears and worries. Robyn was in an accident, which he'd just found out through the grapevine, and is worried about seeing him. There's a rather large lack of confident and impotence in the anger of the younger self, a plague of self-doubt, and those worrying voices so much louder in his head than the man Betsy has come to know. As the memory resolves itself, it goes to the door, and 'exits' with the intention to go see Robyn then. Volk-Self growls out, «This is ten years ago, to the day. We were in the middle of dealing with an issue with Selene. She'd possessed the body of James Palmer/packfriend on accident, and was looking to leave, but with some more power to re-establish herself with the Hellfire Club. I learned that later that night. Keep in mind the time. The last thing we need is for us to appear in the medical ward.»

The memory-construct start in alarm at the presence suddenly in the door meant to lead to the dormitories. Facing the imposing frame of Betsy there's a senssation of embarrassment, alarm, and a bit of grudging attraction, but the memory also represents the physical, and she can see the signs of body-memory engaging itself on the mental plane… for all the good it will do him, «Excuse me?! Who are you? What are you doing here… How do you even know who I am?» As the Volk-self manifests itself silently into the form of a grey wolf with a black 'slash' of color over it's right eye and along it's head. That self gives a growling gruff.

Betsy answers the past-Connor in calm, reassuring tones. «I am Betsy Braddock, also known as Psylocke. You may have heard of me.» She gestures to the wolf next to her, «This is you, in the future, and like I said, we need your help.» She tilts her head curiously before asking, «Have you heard of a man named Ahab?»

You're bombarded in a rush… the scene from New York all over again, James Palmer being struck in the chest with a rock, the futureu version of Heather trying to reach out to him… all of it in a fast mental rush followed by the young man spewing out facts that he's aware of. The wolf-form barks hard at the past-construct… who flinches and then mumbles out, «Sorry… it happens when I'm nervous miss. Elizabeth Braddock, you're in the X-men computer database, you're English but you look Japanese. You're… a telepath. Not as strong as Miss Grey or Miss Frost, but with a different focus.»

Betsy puts a hand on her forehead to keep from being overwhelmed by the memory and nods. «It's okay Connor, and, yes that would be the man. As bad as Selene is, and she's pretty bad as it is, Ahab poses a greater threat.» Her expression turns dour and she looks at the boy with serious eyes. «If he has his way, if he continues to break the timeline, he won't get the mutant-free utopia that he's expecting. He will break this universe so badly, that it will cease to exist, before the damage bleeds to the other multiverses.»

The past-construct Connor takes a moment of calm from the touch and then replies, «Right… so we're in the realm of epic not-good. What do you need me to do?» Fear and nervousness like a rabbit flowing off of him, but an undertone of willfull determination behind it all. Volk-self nuzzles up against Betsy, and growls once before looking out into the main hallway, and back again, a slight baring of it's teeth after. And from the shadows of the hall comes the bully-like chuckling of his Lust, Violence, and Fear from before, the familiar murmurs of his represented OCD with their own blue-green eyes glaring coldly into the opened memory vault.

Betsy absentmindedly pets the head of Volk, a caring and concerned gesture, done almost unconsciously. «Come with me and I'll explain on the way.» She turns at starts walking down the hallway towards where she knows the relative quiet of the Library will be. «To be fair, it would be too much to ask you, as young and inexperienced as you are, to fight Ahab on your own.» She rests a comforting hand on the younger Connor as she guides him through the hallway, a move meant to keep him focused on her and not the other voices. «See, you may not realize this, but your power allows your mind to touch the Nexus of all realities. You may have been having odd dreams where you aren't quite who you are, or who you have been, or who you will be. These aren't merely dreams, they're windows into your life in alternate realities.» She gives him a soft smile and gets to the heart of the matter, «We're hoping to use this to swap places between you and your older self. His experience.. his control over your powers should give him the edge we need to combat Ahab.»

«I know that… the other lives stuff, I mean.» The past-Connor construct replies, «Sleeping or in teleport. I figured it out on my own after a while. So… okay you want me to… wow…» As the rest of the explanation sinks in, the wolf-form approaches the final door, and as it paws it open, it begins to ash away, becoming dead, and then skeletal, and then gone. This makes the past-version panic a moment, and almost turn to leave as the door is opened, «WHAT THE HELL?!» Taking a step back involuntarily as past the door is the older version of himself, standing with a smile and a motion for the pair to come inside.

«We're inside your mind,» Explains Betsy as she moves into the library, nudging the past Connor into it as well. «Here is the one place the future you can be at peace.» She turns and looks around the Library, smiling faintly remembering the last time she was here.

Once inside, the pair seem to size each other up for several moments before the current-self moves back over towards the couch and sits down, looking at the current display of what looks like a future like this with a battle raging around it. The past-self looks around for several moment afterwards, and then reaches down and picks up the Dr. Pepper can and takes a sip, «Seems real enough…» To which the current-self nods and smiles. He motions towards the blackness and starfield behind the television mount, and the older voice says, «Allright, we're all here. Thank you for the book. It's been very entertaining. And… the rest.» A faint grin playing off those plain lips. The past-self comments, «Wow. I look pretty badass.»

Betsy gives the present Connor a knowing smile, «It was my pleasure.» She nods to the past Connor, turning the knowing smile to him. «You /are/ pretty badass,» she confirms. She walks up to where the television sits and considers both it, and the starfield behind it. «Okay, luvs,» she says reaching out a hand to a space a few inches to the right of the television. «Let's get this started.» There's a flare of purple as she, once again, pours psychic energy into the scene and *twists* with her hand. There's a soft *click* and a section of the starry landscape swings back like a door, with the television still mounted on it, revealing a long stone hallway lit by sconces placed regularly down it's length. «Gentlemen,» she says beckoningly.

Both reel under it as you wrap the mind-construct and push past the barriers that both the forms of the young man have in place to keep things from going out of control. Down the stone hallway it's like a million conversations playing out at once, all of them desperately trying to be heard over the others. It takes a moment for the older to stabilize himself, and then lifts up and takes the copy of Where The Wild Things Are, and shoves it at his past-construct self, but strangely a copy also remains on the table now. Connor and his past memory-self reach out and each take a hand of Betsy's as they move forwards… each step a struggle… the greater struggle for the memory-manifest.

Betsy takes the hands of both Connors into her own, and leads them down the hallway, lending them her strength. While it's true she isn't as strong as Jean Grey, or as subtle as Emma Frost, she is an accomplished telepath in her own right. «Listen to my voice,» she instructs. «Above all others, keep focusing on mine. This tunnel will lead us to the Nexus, which all three of us have a connection to.» Unnecessary to say, true, but she needs to say something to keep them focused. «Your powers bind you here, and at one point in time I took the mantle of Captain Britain in the absence of my brother. Ahead will be a vast room, the center where all realities connect, each another tunnel. There the greatest challenge will be finding the correct one. That's where /you/ come in,» she says to the past Connor. «You will lead us to it.»

As they walk, Betsy leaves a glowing purple string behind them, one end tied firmly to the door that she had opened, the other unraveling the sash around her waist. What she plans to do with it is unclear at the moment, however.

The mind-occupant pants a bit and nods as he adds some of his own mental brute force to it, none of it elegant, but a buffer to help as the past-self continually mutters a soft prayer in Russian as he listens and follows. Every so often there's a step and the tunnel vanishes into a starfield, walking towards a great swirling vortex at the end, the mental images reasserting themselves. The truth of the matter represented as the source of the young man's power… the center of the Negative Zone, and a point that reaches all points in reality, the center the same point as the Nexus, but different in it's own way. When the room is finally reached, all the resistance ceases. The past-self detaches as somehow now the current-self resumes it's wolf-persona. «There's too many!» The younger one says, «How am I supposed to know?»

«You'll know,» instructs Betsy. «Concentrate. Think of home. Think of Xaviers» Sweat is beginning to bead her brow as the sheer amount of power invested in maintaining order in an inherently orderless place and maintaining the past-Connor construct begin to take it's toll. «But you must hurry,» she insists. «I can only hold this place together for so long. If I lose control while we're here, I'm afraid that we'll all be lost.»

The Wolf-Persona barks and starts to harry the past-self who jumps and pulls away from the beast, looking up at you and gulping before he nods again, and then looks around, stopping and listening for a few moments, «Wait… I get it… I'm listening for myself… My… Myself… where…» And he turns and begins to take off at a dead run, «This way… I can feel it…» Stumbling once and for a moment flickering a halo of purple energy before it resumes full consistency. As the race continues, the wolf lopes along beside him, occasionally a hand on the wolf-persona for comfort and bolstering. Those lupine eyes look back at Betsy, the tail flitting in an almost impish fashion.

Betsy runs off after the past-Connor, now that he has finally homed in on the right location. It takes some time to traverse the giant room, but in the end they manage to find the right tunnel to go through, all the while the purple thread marks their trail behind Betsy. «Is this it? Are you sure?»

The past-self, now looking slightly anemic and withered, hands skeletal as one point towards the image, of the halls of the sub-basement of the old X-Mansion, and the roiling thoughts of anger compiled with a strategic sense that seems uniquely him. As the memory comes to the surface of the mansion and is standing outside, «There! See? That's me… I know that… I stood there, questioning everything I was thinking… and thinking what it would take to kill someone.» Shivering a bit, the pallid, gaunt face looks back at the pair, and then gulps once, «I don't want to go back. It's frightening where I was… can't I stay here?»

The wolf-persona nuzzles at the withered hand, and then butts it's head against the frail and decaying memory, before looking back up at Betsy, and his voice returns, «It's time. You're fading, beautiful. And I can feel something forming around us both… my body's floating, and so is yours… there's… something opening above us outside, I can sense it.»

«I'm sorry luv, but you can't,» says Betsy sadly. She pulls off her purple sash and in a flash of energy, it's a dwindling ball of glowing purple twine, with one end leading back towards the Library. With a grunt, she throws the ball into the corridor of the Xavier mansion that she knew so well before it was destroyed in a sentinel attack. The ball flies down out of sight, leaving the purple thread in it's wake. Now sweating profusely from effort, she picks up the string and hands it to the wolf, and she moves down back a few paces towards where the Library is, and picks up the string there. «We need to bind the two places together,» she says, voice ragged, «Otherwise Connor might get lost in here. On three I want you to pull with all your might.» She looks at him making sure that he understands before counting. «One… Two… THREE»

There's a growling wurf as the wolf-persona, the focused aggression and warrior-spirit of Connor Blake takes up the simple purple thread in his jaws. Bracing himself, the form that has called itself Volk now long enough to feel as if Connor was a another person begins to tug and pull, like a wolf dragging a carcass, working his way towards Betsy with each grinding and impossible seeming step. Each time he steps the view fades back into the chaos-form of the singularity vortex of the Negative Zone, flickering back and forth. Growling and pulling, flashing sometimes back into his native form, he continues the heavy lifting work of trying to connect his past mind to his future body. The memory-construct finally fades with a whispery, «I see why he loves you… you're so alike. I wish I could love someone that… fiercely…» As the last psychic ash blows away.

Betsy tries so hard not to hear the last whispers of the construct she created from Volk's memory. It did it's job well in leading them to the right place, but it's words tug at her heart. She uses this feeling of pain and loss and the knowledge that if all goes well she may not even have ever existed to fuel the last reserves of her power, as she strains to connect the past and future. The glowing purple filament is thin and cuts deeply into her palms, coating the string with her blood as she struggles to pull her end to Volk. As they draw closer together the wind from the vortex grows, and the Negative Zone begins to assert itself more and more until her back finally touches that of her companion. There's a gut wrenching snap as all directions suddenly get tossed in the air, making it impossible to tell which way is up or down. Just as quickly as it comes, reality snaps back in, leaving the two in one long featureless hallway with the glowing purple string reaching out, bridging the past and the future. The wind howls between both ends of this makeshift mental wormhole, and Betsy quickly grabs onto Volk's end. «Quickly! Go! I can't hold onto this for very long!» she shouts over the wind.

As the end is grabbed there's a LURCH on Betsy's self as suddenly the mental and physical are reconnected! The chair in Braddock Manor is now empty, the space several feet above the sleeping and sweat-laden form of Volk is a portal unlike any he's ever created before… black starlight with purple black-light roiling power behind it, the energy bleed-off trailing down and connecting with a familiar butterfly shape apex point above the mind chakra of the body. Inside the compressed space-time connection, Volk's mind cries out, «You can't stay in here. It will destroy you! Bind them and get out!» As the four-legged form hops up once to give her a lick on the cheek, it becomes a kiss on the lips and then that grey ghost sprints with the speed of the forest hunter off towards the other end, and then with a leap, launches itself into the mental bridge towards his past self.

Ten years ago, Connor Blake is laying down on his bed, listening to some operatic metal and trying to think clearly with the cacophony of sound. Suddenly, his body lurches up, and he screams silently as pain begins to wrack his body, motes of blacklight floating up off his skin, as his eyes shift from blue-green fire to starlight black. Writhing on the bed as more power pours off of him, tears stained with light-devouring dark trail down his cheeks.

Muscles ripple as Betsy struggles to bring her two bleeding hands together, to bind the two whens. As her hands gets closer it's easier for Volk to push his way to his younger self, and the more the winds of reality tears at the Telepath. Despite his warning, Betsy makes no move away from the vortex, knowing that she has to keep the portal open until both past and present have a chance to swap, or else all this effort would be for naught. "Go," she whispers, "Go. Save the universe."

The struggle shows in the face in reality, mirrored in the future, as both seem to be grappling with phantoms of themselves… but the Connor of 2010 has not had the years of running and fighting, the grief and struggle, nor the steely-determination of the Volk of 2020. However, she can feel the struggle, and the two minds, each with their own unique but similiar discipline facing off. It's a heartbeat of time in the real, but for Betsy, it feels like minutes pass before finally there's a grunt-like sound in the wormhole connection, the stone tunnel having faded to a blacklight smooth canal surrounded by space, «Sorry Kid.» And a pulse of vibrant life and light passes along the threads and THROUGH Elizabeth Braddock… and for a long moment she has that life inside of her, shared intimately, from childhood to the moment… that knowledge trailing off as it painfully passes to the other side, but unknowingly… a small sliver is left behind.

Betsy's back arches in pain, mouth open in a scream as the life force tears through her. She wasn't prepared for the sudden knowledge of EVERYTHING connor jammed into her head, her body all at once. Once the life force is gone, and the pain subsides, Betsy loses consciousness, letting go of the strings which fade from reality, letting it all snap back into place. However, the tiny sliver of Connor's life force acts as an anchor in Betsy, and instead of slumping down into the comfortable chair in 2020, she's flung after Volk, the worm hole expelling her with tremendous force, slamming her into the wall of Connor's dorm.

Connor lays there, breathing asthmatically as his eyes immediately flick up and over to Betsy's form carroming off the wall, and he pushes off enough to try and catch and cushion her fall. But lacking the couple of inches and the forty to fifty pounds of lean muscle his future self carries regularly, both end up in a heap on the floor. A grumble at the bang of his head on Robyn's nightstand as the young man says with tones that should not be used by someone his age, "Fuck me…" And it's a struggle to pick her up and get her to the bed, the light in the darkness flickering as the ambient light of the room… blitzed with interferance by the power being bled out of the young man's form, flickers back on. Huffing a few times, Volk looks down over his old self, and murmurs, "It worked…"

Betsy groans, as she slowly regains consciousness, her head splitting with a migraine, and her entire body aching from all the effort. "Oh, God," she breathes, as a raw and bloody hand moves up to shield her eyes from the painful light. She expect to be back in the Manor, with a very confused Connor laying in the bed. "Connor, luv, are you there?"

Connor stumbles over and flips off the light for the moment to help, his own eyes providing just enough ambience to not be hurtful. Flopping down on the floor next to Betsy, there's a chuckle as the young tenor speaks up, not any of the lupine growl of the familiar, "Good news… we did it. Bad news? Well…" And he stops to take a choking breath, forestalling some internal panic attack as he has to fight with a body not used to listening to him, "Can't say it's bad, but welcome to twenty-ten. July twelfth… say about… oh-four-hundred Eastern. Guess we're still partners, beautiful."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License