3035/A Night at the Circus

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A Night at the Circus
Date of Scene: 22 August 2020
Location: Inostraland
Synopsis: Psylocke and Gambit answer a distress call in a far off land.
Cast of Characters: Remy LeBeau, Betsy Braddock

Remy LeBeau has posed:
INOSTRALAND -- a small nation somewhere near the line between Europe and Asia

A small home in the countryside. Quaint, but nice in furnishings; a beautiful family sits at a small dinner table eating some sort of dish made from pork and cabbage.

<And school today?> Miroslav asks the young daughter who picks at her food.

<It was great, daddy! My teacher brought a fish to school today. It's going to be our class pet!>

There's a warm smile from Miroslav as his eyes trail to his wife, Olga who brings a glass to her lips.

<Mir, it's almost time for you to leave for the show.>


There aren't a ton of people at Xavier's right now, which is sort of an issue. It looks as though they'll have to take who they can get for this particular mission.

Remy LeBeau, codename Gambit, is cracking his knuckles as he boards the X-Jet, curious as to who else is showing up.

A call has gone out to any available X-men. Information will be provided on the way.

Betsy Braddock has posed:
Betsy Braddock, codename Psylocke, has never been opposed to pitching in as necessary. And with most of the team distracted by the Atlantean crisis, someone's got to remain available for the other inevitable crises that pop up. Like, perhaps, this one.

It helps she's a pilot.

Thus, when Gambit reaches the X-Jet, she's already running through a pre-takeoff checklist.

She glances up at the cajun arrives, aware, perhaps, of his approaching presence at the edges of her telepathy -- for all that she holds that talent firmly in check. "Anyone else coming?"

Remy LeBeau has posed:
"Dun appear t'be, chere," Remy says as he takes the co-pilot seat. He smiles like cigarettes and aftershave. Perhaps it's a good thing that this high tech machinery can fly so fast.

A computer readout gives Psylocke all the needed information, or at least as much as is currently available. Since Remy is only an associate, it looks like she's the top of the chain of command here.

DETAILS: In the small nation of Inostraland, we have uncovered an underground carnival where mutants are forced to fight each other in an underground betting ring. To this point, not much is known regarding the defenses or particulars, other than there are at least a dozen mutants being held against their will. Our mission is to liberate these mutants and bring back any who desire to be brought to America, at which point we will funnel them through our networks.

Gambit looks over to Psylocke with a quizzical look on his face. "What's a Inostraland?"

Betsy Braddock has posed:
Oh, lucky Betsy. She scans the briefing readout. "Oh, this should be fun," she says dryly, British accent clipped. "Underground mutant fight clubs are always messy."

At his question, a violet brow arches. "Inostraland is a where, not a what," she tells him. "Small country in Easter Europe." Probably one of those poor, former Soviet breakaways. But she doesn't know enough about the place to say more than 'Eastern Europe'.

She leans back in her chair and moves automatically through takeoff, the jet shortly airborn and climbing to a quick cruising height. "You ever break up a fight club before?" She has. She's also been forced to be a part of one. Not a fun place to be.

"I don't know how much support we'll get from the locals. It'll depend on just how nasty their overseers are."

Remy LeBeau has posed:
"Can't say dat ah'have, chere," Gambit replies. His hand reaches down to the side of his chair, hoping against hope that there's some sort of recline to this stuffy thing. Apparently not.

"You need help wit anyting, chere? Dis whole mission ting pretty new to ole Remy."


Miroslav descends into an underground bar and is immediately handed a clipboard with the schedule of tonight's fights.

<This is good. I'd like to see the one with earth powers against the one that uses water.>

The assistant makes a few notes on his own clipboard. <We can accommodate that sir.>

Miroslav checks the time on his high priced cellular phone. There's a lot to do before things get going this evening.

Betsy Braddock has posed:
"It's just going to the two of us," Psylocke says with a shrug. "I'm not entirely familiar with what you can do, but I'll tell you right now that I favour stealth and quick, surgical strikes to general mayhem." Because... *Ninja*!

She ponders just what they're going to need to do when they get there and her fingers tap lightly on the info screen, calling up additional information. "We need to get a feel for the lay of the land and just what we're facing." A beat. "I hate going in blind." Of course, she *is* a telepath. So, she's never entirely blind. Not even when she was actually blind.

"I find cutting off the head of the snake to be the most reliable way of shutting down resistance. If we can figure out who the ringmaster is--" they *are* heading to a carnival, after all -- "then we can probably nip this in the bud fairly quickly." Get in. Do the job. Get out.

Remy LeBeau has posed:
"Ole Remy can do quite a bit of sneakin' if dats what you wishin', chou," Gambit says with a nod. "Part from dat--pretty good in a fight and when de time is right for explosions, ah can do dat too."

Gambit nods at Psylocke's plan, "Makin' a lotta sense, chere. You jus do de tellin, and I'll be doin' whatevah you need."


< Do we have everything? > Miroslav asks to the men in the bar. There are about 20 of them, heavily armed, and look big enough to run interference for any American crime syndicate.

< I believe so sir. >

< Let's head over. Should be a good night to make a lot of money. >>


Betsy Braddock has posed:
By the time the jet gets to Inostraland, Betsy is finding herself far readier for a fight than she'd first expected. But, then, there are a few triggers built into the mission for her. Most underground mutant fight clubs she's run across tend to be very good at the subdue-and-kidnap routine. And that gets under her skin pretty quick.

Thus, when she's set the stealth jet down in a fallow field some ways from the lit-up soccer stadium that is their distination, she tells Gambit, "I don't have a problem razing this operation to the ground, once we've freed the mutants. Are you alright if I make a mental link with you, in case we get separated?" The perks of being a telepath. "I can disguise our appearance with my telepathy so we should get in undetected, providing they're not scanning for mutants at the gate."

If they are, she'll go with Plan B... which is a whole lot less quiet, but possibly even more ninja-y than Plan A.

Remy LeBeau has posed:
"Jus' be careful bout what you see in dere, chere. Ole Remy has some crazy thoughts sometime," replies Gambit with a tilted head towards Psylocke.

He unbuckles and checks his bo-staff before constricting it to better fit inside his clothes.

"Whatevah you do, make me beautiful," Gambit says with a wink as he descends the ramp towards the field.

As the pair get in line, it all seems pretty normal fare. Almost like a small stage sporting event. There's a small line, a ticket booth. Security seems to be pretty light, but the bad news is that every single person in town seems to be here. Everyone wants to see the freak show, I guess.

In the middle of the field sits a large walled cage, complete with a caged roof to keep the inhabitants inside and, presumably, unable to run away. People are still getting their seats.

"Popcorn?" Gambit asks as he offers some over to Psylocke. It's unclear where he got it from, or when.

Betsy Braddock has posed:
Psylocke smirks at Gambit's request, resisting the urge to make him the spitting image of one of the supermodels who was with her at her last shoot. A buxom blonde with long, shapely legs and a dazzling smile. But only because she'd attract too much attention. As it is, most of her effort is spent on making their features unremarkable. No one gives them a second look.

At the offered popcorn, she arches a brow and then chuckles. "Why not?" Not like they won't burn off the calories in short order.

Tossing a couple of kernels in her mouth, she moves fluidly through the crowd, now, wanting to get a look at the setup near the cage, scoping out security and sliding her mind into that of the nearest guard for a look at just what they're up against.

Remy LeBeau has posed:
Psylocke will notice that there is normal security who are unarmed that line all of the ends of aisles down on the field. In all there are probably 15 and they are there, clearly, to prevent any of the fans from rushing the field.

There's a pathway back to the locker rooms, though, that houses all of the mutants and there is a score of men with machine guns. Those are the real trouble.

The nearest guard, the one near where Gambit and Psylocke finally find a seat, is thinking that he hopes this gets over soon because he just got a new video game and wants to go online and play it. And you get the feeling that this job doesn't pay a lot.

The pair are down by the field, as close as the general admission tickets will get them.

< Ladies and Gentleman! Place your bets! Our first matchup of tonight's tournament is Roxor versus Deluge and it's going to be a good one. And remember our rules--last one alive is the winner!!!>

The two mutants make their way out of the locker rooms, tethered by long metal poles connected to some sort of device around their neck. Their hands are shackled and the Rock guy is struggling against his bonds.

Gambit whistles and shakes his head. "Disgustin'"

Betsy Braddock has posed:
Psylocke's violet eyes glint. "I've got other words for it," she says softly, "but yes. That one will do." She glances around apparently casually, but her eyes are marking each of the security men -- particularly the ones with weapons.

Switching to telepathy, she tells Gambit, <<They've got twenty or forty guards,>> she notes, highlighting them in his mind with faint violet auras. <<A little over half of them are armed. It won't take much to break the ones around the ring. They're only here to keep the fans from getting too rambunctious. We need to focus on our gun-toting friends, instead.>> As she speaks, her mind highlights the differences and the goals.

<<I hate to do it, but we need to let the combatants start -- just long enough to distract the crowd and the unarmed guards. You think you can take some of those gunmen out quickly and quietly?>> Because she can. And the fewer of them they have to face directly, the better.

Remy LeBeau has posed:
<< Could if ah can get close. Any chance you could make me look like one of the aisle guards? Or, if you want, ole Remy could make an explosion in part of de stadium?>>

It shouldn't be too difficult. They simply wear one of those bright yellow jackets that presumably say SECURITY in another language.

The two combatants have about five of the heavily gunned goons surrounding the ring and begin to fight. Slowly at first, but once it's clear that one of them will die tonight, they start picking up the pace. Rocks and water everywhere.

As Psylocke probes with her mind, she finds the one she was looking for, the one she mentioned earlier. Miroslav Volkov. Part time crime boss, part time scammer. He's in the locker room with the remaining 15 gunmen.

Betsy Braddock has posed:
Psylocke considers what they're facing. <<I can get you close,>> she says with confidence. <<Head toward the locker room. Keep the guards in there from coming out here. I'll take out the five out here, and release the boys in the cage. That should get the rest to run.>> A few well-placed mental suggestions will help with that.

<<The boss is in the locker room, with the rest of the gunman. So, be careful.>> She doesn't care if *they* get hurt. But she'd prefer Gambit keep his skin in one piece.

A beat. One more thought. <<I want to know if there are more mutants back there, or if they're being held off-site. So, try not to kill the boss too early.>>

Notice she said nothing about preserving his guards' lives.

A sharp smile. <<Let's go.>>

With that, she's moving swiftly through the crowd, brushing her hand lightly across the backs of unarmed guards as she goes. They begin to simply... wander away. Then, she's heading purposely for the gunmen near the cages, a psiblade forming in her hand.

Remy LeBeau has posed:
Gambit doesn't wait much longer to get to work. He uses Psylocke's disguise to make his way down to the field and towards the tunnel to the locker room mostly unnoticed. Those that do get a little wave and a nod, but no one bothers to stop him.

Similarly, Psylocke is out on the field now and easily approaches the guards. Since they're concerned about the mutants and not the fans, their backs are turned. There's one on each side of the large cage and another by the cage's entrance. All five have machine guns.

Meanwhile, Remy is making his way down the hallway and gets to the locker room.

<How's it goin' out there?> the guard outside the locker room asks Remy.

There's a pregnant pause as Remy doesn't know Russian.

He shrugs his shoulders and makes a face awkwardly, not really giving a response.

Betsy Braddock has posed:
Psylocke's magenta-energy katana flashes. A guard collapses before he even realized he was under attack. Then, body telekinetically enhanced, she slides around, attacking each of the guards in turn. It's only by the time she reaches the fourth and fifth that they're begining to realize something's going terribly wrong. She flips, landing between them, katana flashing like a lightsaber as she spins and they fall much like their brethren. Her sword flashes again and the locks on the door are compromised. One telekinetic blast later, they're banging open and she's shouting at the fighters inside, using her telepathy to make her English words comprehensible to foreign speakers.

"Show's over people. It's mutant liberation day!"

Remy LeBeau has posed:
The crowd erupts in screams and the unarmed security team quickly gets on the radio. There's a ton of confusion, as is to be expected, and a lot of panic as well.

In the locker room, the rest of the guards begin to run out towards the field. There are fifteen coming straight out towards Betsy and will be on her momentarily.

<<Well, lookin' like dat my queue.>>

Remy charges two cards that light his hands up in purple. A moment later he flings one as far as he can before it explodes down the hallway while the other he lets go just a second later, and much shorter, to cause an explosion closer. After the smoke settles, 9 of the guards are trapped in the space in between.

Gambit turns and looks in the locker room where Miroslav and a handful of mutants in chains sit.

The Cajun smiles.

Betsy Braddock has posed:
Psylocke takes advantage of the panic to finish dismantling the cage and free the combatants -- which means finding some way to get those damned collars off. "I don't have a lot of time," she tells them, "so you'd better move."

Then, she's leaving them to figure out their own escape as she turns towards the men still oncoming. Ninja quick, she springs, using the cage as a springboard to launch at them. She angles herself and uses her telekinetic speed to confound them when they raise guns to fire. That some of them end up shooting each other... well. Sucks to be them.

Her katana is deadly. Unlike many of her fellow X-Men, Psylocke has little remorse about utterly destroying her opponents. If they die, it's because they made their choice -- a foregone conclusion.

Of course, she may be spoiling Gambit for fighting alongside the others. Most of them are far more forgiving than she.

Remy LeBeau has posed:
What Gambit doesn't know, Rogue can't know, and that's just fine to him. He'll deal with all that later.

Right now he's running down a hallway with a handful of mutants, making his way to the closest exit. But unfortunately for him, a gunman at the end of the hallway appears. Remy holds his hand out and the whole crew come to a screaming halt.

Behind them now, Miroslav catches up to them with his own handgun pulled. They're surrounded.


Psylocke's knives easily pop off the collars giving her new friends full use of their powers, and they look pissed.

The ones she can't get to in time are easily taken care of by the others pair of mutants. Some bad guys get rocks to the face, while others, get a face full of water.

The trio make quick work and it's clear that it's the time to get the hell out of here.


Back in the hallway, the gunman pulls up his assault rifle to aim at Remy and the mutants. He pulls the trigger and the hallway lights up with the flames that release out of the barrel, but as he shoots all of the mutants disappear. . .

. . . only to appear behind the gunman. One of the mutants must be a teleporter.

While many of the captives are busy trying to regain their composure, Remy tries to bury the nausea in his stomach. Out comes his bo-staff which he uses to crack the gunman right upside the head.

Unknown to the Cajun or the others, Miroslav is slumped against the far wall, a blood stain covering the area of the wall directly behind him.

<< On our way to de jet," Remy sends to Psylocke.

Betsy Braddock has posed:
<<Meet you there,>> Psylocke replies. "C'mon," she tells the Russian mutants as they finish kicking the ever lovin' daylights out of the last of the gunman in the arena. "Our ride's waiting." One free trip to Anywhere-But-Here coming right up.

A short while later, they're out of the arena and racing across the greens to where the jet sits hidden. After that, it's childsplay to unlock the vehicle and get it ready for takeoff.

"All aboard who's coming aboard."

Remy LeBeau has posed:
<Over that way!> exclaims Deluge. There's a throng of people trying to exit the normal areas, but the mutant shows Psylocke the service entrance which is much closer and where no one is out. All it takes is one quick snap and the gate's lock is done for.

By the time that Betsy and crew get to the jet, Gambit is already there.

"Tried startin' it best as I could," Remy says with a bit of a wince. He has no idea what he's doing, it's clear.

Betsy Braddock has posed:
Psylocke shakes her head briefly, suppressing an eye roll. "Let's just go," she says, sliding into the pilot's seat and adjusting the controls so VTOL works properly and the stealth systems remain engaged. It really wouldn't do for their image to be plastered all over international satellite feeds or radar.

She glances back at the full passenger seats. Her expression sobers.

"I know a place in the City that can help us with our new friends," she tells Remy. "Get them papers so they're not so likely to get deported, or get them tickets to wherever else they want to go." It's a little side project she's been working on, since she discovered that mutant trafficking ring down near the docks. Also run by Russians.

She might have to look into that a little more closely.

Remy LeBeau has posed:
"Ahm sure they'll adapt to American cookin' just fine."

The Cajun looks over his shoulder at the crew they've just saved, giving them a slow nod.

There's a mix of faces in that crew. Fear, gratefulness, and relief are all in there.



The town mayor gives the eulogy and makes all sorts of remarks about the great man that Miroslov Volkov was. Did you know he gave lots of money to the poor? He was well known for being a family man--a great husband and better father. He'd even served in the military.

In the front row of this Eastern Orthodox Church, Miroslav's wife and daughter weep. At the end of the service, people line up to give their condolences and talk about the great loss the community has just suffered.

No one mentions anything about mutants.