Mount Yoshino, Japan:
Teenage Jean Grey sits next to Psylocke, trying to meditate. Odinson had told her about the importance of weapons before becoming embarrassingly drunk. Jean figures she will need some good weapons to defeat the Phoneix. So here she is meditating with the world’s foremost PSI-weapons expert.
Jean asks about a rough estimate on how long this is going to take. Psylocke sighs. Jean complains about the pins and needles in her legs. Betsy explains the point of this is clarity of mind. To remove all distractions and enter a state of serenity. Athletes call it “the zone.” Impatience defeats them. Jean needs to relax and let it happen. No timeline then, Jean sighs. Cool.
Betsy continues that the power she seeks is in her mind. But it is buried underneath all the other rubbish. Let the rest drift away and focus. Sounds great, Jean thinks, if you are a purple, ninja lady and serenity is your thing. But she can’t sleep without the TV on. Quiet doesn’t turn her brain off. It turns it up. She is actually getting more anxious. She gets up and swears. This is not working. Silence and solitude suck!
Plan B then, Betsy decides and calls the munching Bamf Pickles. Moments later, he has teleported them to a noisy night club, Club Shred, in Philadelphia.
Jean sputters. Betsy explains the music is Jericrow and criticizes the latest album as a bit soft. Jean wants to know why they are here. Betsy reminds her she didn’t care for the cherry blossoms. Perhaps silence isn’t her thing. Let’s try noisy. She tells her to dig deep. Find her weapon.
Jean figures this is better at least and is about to manifest something when somebody runs into her. Instead of apologizing, the two guys give her grief and she telekinetically pushes them away while everyone else cheers. Plan C, Betsy figures.
Pickles teleports them into what Betsy calls subterranean death caverns, where they are about to be attacked by mindless irradiated mole monster. As a monster leaps at her, Betsy tells Jean not to overthink it. Just do her thing.
In desperation, Jean creates two small psychic shards to bury in her attacker’s skull. She is excited when she realizes she is manifesting a psychic weapon but, when another vampire moloid grabs her from behind, her weapon disappears again. Psylocke decapitates him with one elegant move and orders Pickles to get them out.
They land on a rooftop in Madripoor. That was exciting, Betsy remarks. And they have learned a thing or two. She kills the Moloid they have accidentally taken along and continues that Jean’s issue isn’t focus. Neither clarity of mind nor death metal distraction helps draw out her inner weapons. They came at moments of peak fear. Her fight or flight response. Is that bad? Jean asks. Just a bit late, is all, she is told. Ideally, they’d have her ready and armed at the start of this crap. Not near the end when she is pinned down and desperate. So how do they fix that? Jean asks. How else, Betsy replies. Trial by fire.
The basement of this building houses the largest Hand resurrection chamber ever built. She opens a trap door. Someone resurrects hands? Jean asks. Ninjas Betsy clarifies. Sort of Frankenstein zombie ninjas. They mass produce them here. Jean gets to stop it. She wants her to jump down there and fight an army of ninjas? Jean asks. Betsy corrects she wants her to sneak in there, set a load of explosives which she hands to Jean and sneak back out. Then Betsy will implode them and bury the chamber under a ton of steel and concrete. Point is, strictly black ops. No big loud brawls. No fight or flight.
As Jean climbs down, Betsy telepathically instructs her to end every encounter swiftly. Use her weapons wisely. Dagger, not chainsaw. How is she supposed to—Jean begins. Betsy interrupts, She is an omega level telepath with a mindscape roomy enough to contain a blazing god bird. Get out of her own way for once. Suss out what headspace she needs and go there. No more handholding. Jean complains that Thor’s pep talks are a lot nicer. She’s British, Psylocke retorts, unimpressed and sober.
Around the corner stands the first ninja guard. Psylocke telepathically suggests Jean start small with this one. Small blunt objects. Sneak up behind him and knock him down.
Another mental voice suddenly suggests Jean could use her powers properly instead. Pop into his zombie ninja mind and turn off all the lights. “Would you hush?” Jean mutters. What was that? Psylocke asks. Nothing, is the reply.
On Betsy’s instructions, Jean manifests a club but also gains the sentry’s attention. She is panicked as she defends herself. Betsy explains the purpose of the exercise is to stretch herself. The other voice suggests she ignore her and jump. Jean levitates herself telekinetically as a second Ninja comes running. Psylocke is pleased with her decision and suggests she end this swiftly. Jean complies.
She sneaks onwards, complaining how stressful black ops is. Betsy urges her to use her fear. Jean climbs down a ladder to run into another ninja. Pretending to be Wolverine, she creates some psychic claws to attack.
On the roof, Betsy and Pickles are having sushi and ramen. Psylocke informs Jean the next level has nine sentries. Jean protests she can’t do nine. Of course, she can, Betsy replies. Center herself. Jean thinks cherry blossoms then monsters. No flight, this is all fight. Now she’s talking, Betsy agrees,
Creating a succession of weapons, Jean takes care of them. The ventilation shaft next, Psylocke informs her after praising her.
Inside the shaft, Jean hears a noise. Betsy figures the bolts are pulling loose. Ventilation shafts aren’t made to hold human weight. Just go through it quickly. She’ll be fine. That’s her advice? the voice pipes up. To the omega level telekinetic? Scurry faster? Jean mutters at the voice to shut up. The voice suggests she use her TK to hold the shaft in place while she crawls through it.
Jean focuses. Betsy asks her why she is stopping and urges her onward. The voice tells her to keep at it. Jean shouts at them all to shut up. She loses concentration and the shaft and her with it fall down. On the ground, she finds herself surrounded by a group of angry ninjas. Flight came back, she tells Psylocke. It’s flight time!
On the roof, Psylocke sighs and orders Pickles to get her to Jean. He informs her that he has to eat first. Since when is there a Bamf limit? Betsy asks in disbelief. It hadn’t occurred to him to tell her earlier? What if they had gotten stuck in the Moloid caves? She climbs down the ladder. Unimpressed, Pickles continues eating
In the building, Psylocke begins mowing down ninjas. Teenagers, she figures. What’re you gonna do? However, she is in for a surprise when she reaches Jean, as Jean has dispatched of all her foes.
Jean explains Betsy had told her fight or flight is her bread and butter. So when she got for real freaked out, she slathered up a slice and used it. Lesson learned, she guesses. Nicely done, Betsy commends her.
As they leave the house a little later, Jean asks why they still have to blow up the building, if all Franken-ninjas are dust. Betsy replies the facility runs another 20 floors underground. Hundreds more ninjas there. Not to mention the resurrection chamber they came to bury. She offers they can get back and fight some more, if Jean likes. Jean assures her she’s good.
Betsy asks who was talking to Jean in the ventilation shaft. Voice sounded familiar but she couldn’t— What? Jean bursts out. She could hear that? Loud and clear, Betsy replies. That fool nearly got her skewered . She detonates the explosives.
Betsy assures her she is not hearing imaginary voices. Someone was talking to her. In Jean’s shoes, she’d want to find out who.