|What Betsy Did|
|What: Despatched by the charismatic Erik Lehnsherr to deal with a group of anti-mutant thugs terrorizing a small community, Betsy finds herself taking unexpectedly extreme action in the name of what's 'right'...|
Sometimes, being a hero feels decidely unheroic.
Life is not a movie. It is not a pulpy airport novel, where terrible things happen to good people only in the name of retribution. Where an ultimately greater good waits to prevail. Awful actions are taken by seemingly good men and remain nothing but heinous crimes against humanity, never redeemed in truth - because an action taken is exactly that. Done. Gone. Of course, despite these facts it remains never so simple as black storming white, or white turning black. The difficulties a so-called 'hero' faces can be overwhelmingly, heartrendingly complex...
"Round up the rest of your kind and get out of our city, genejoke!"
A flung rock catches the plain-dressed, middle-aged man across the left temple, spinning him through ninety degrees and forcing a chaotic stumble through the debris of the wasteground separating one neighbourhood from another. Groaning, he opens his mouth to reply, but all that comes forth is a guttural croak. A look at the hand stabilizing him also reveals rough webbing between fingers. Not all mutations are of benefit to those who have them; and this poor soul is what his tormentors call him, a cruel parody of evolution.
As the bloody-minded mob closes in, another figure covers the distance to the scene in quick strides, the material of a fashionable beige trenchcoat rippling as the mutant known as Psylocke finds her purpose here today. Stern as the warrior she is, mouth a grim line, she interposes herself between the two sides in this conflict, standing tall with chin defiantly raised.
"That's enough. You need to leave this man - and these people - alone."
Her words meet alternately snorting and grinning faces. This won't be as easy as /asking/.
"They're not people, sweetcheeks," replies one of the men, a rugged workaday type in a thick coat, "How about you stand aside and let us decide what goes in our own neighbourhood? Hop along home and make a noodle pie or somethin'."
That putdown elicits a sequence of chuckles and guffaws from the likeminded collective, one of them clapping the speaker upon the shoulder before stepping forward and unceremoniously shoving Betsy aside. He's surprised when she yields too easily, turning from her centre and using his own momentum to send him flying past her to the same rocky ground as his erstwhile victim.
"Don't make me repeat myself. I said--"
"Th'hell d'you think you are, lady?!" It's a menacing half-yell, taut with violent tension, enough that the telepath has no problem seeing what's coming her way. A calloused, lumpy fist swings forth as though its owner were tossing a haybale, all power and no grace. She sways back, allowing it to whistle past her stern countenance, violet eyes blazing a warning as they angle past the over-extended arm. Her reply is cut short, however, as another of the mob use the moment to close distance with the downed, mute mutant.
|"I said THAT'S ENOUGH."|
Surprising herself with the instinctive ferocity of her act, the Violet Butterfly's wings of electric fire explode into being to either side of her face. That psychic shout is so much more, resonating in the minds of these much-maligned mundanes with a force greater than any physical blow they've ever received. It runs deep, and it's incredibly dangerous. By the time she realizes fully what she's done, one of the men has curled into a foetal ball, quivering all over as blood trickles freely from his ears and nostrils. The others nurse their heads, disorientated and afraid at the woman that faces them, colour draining from her olivine cheeks.
She came here to stop violence, and as those still standing begin to recover she knows with certainty that she's only going to cause more problems for her downcast fellows living a most unfortunate stone's throw away. There's only one thing she can do to stop this-- and she does it, assuring herself in her haste that this is for the best. That the sacrifice is worth it. Extending her telepathic powers once more, she reaches out to each of the simple minds in fluid turn, lacking the time - and, truthfully, the fine control necessary - to be too gentle as she works to alter their memories. Erasing any recollection they have of what's transpired here... and, too, their awareness of the nearby mutant community.
Her work will do their sanity and their life expectancy no favours - she's like a medical student forced to perform a triple bypass. Aware of what she's doing, but lacking the gifts required to do it well. In so doing, she trades a small number of human lives for the hopeful preservation of a slightly larger number of mutants. The abused man is assisted up, and seen back to his home where she receives a hero's welcome, but Betsy Braddock is shaken...
There's no taking back what she's done. Well-intentioned or no, this was the work of an extremist.
This was not the work of an X-Man.