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Thoughts ... italics
Narration ... {""}
Description ... [...]
Dialogue ... normal
This story takes place after X-Men 265-7, wherein Betsy Braddock was transformed to Kwannon and Wolverine was nearly turned to an assasin of the Hand.

Slow Boat From China
       by Dean Westerman

{Night. A junk distances itself from its kindred, lazily drifting from Hong Kong Harbor to the China Sea.}

[Logan keeps a hand on the mast, smoking a cigarette, looking out at the dark sea]

{He is Patch. Madripoor's most notorious enforcer, hoping this voyage to the island principality will serve to heal his severly overtaxed healing factor.}

{He has been alone among friends often enough, but strangely, those he is among now are something altogether different.}

[LOGAN gazes at Jubilee, who is curled up in her trench coat on deck]

[Spirit forms of Nick Fury and Carol Danvers, that only Logan and now Psylocke can see, hover around Logan.]

Fury: Can't say enuff about that kid. She don't know ya from Adam and all she does is risk her life saving ya. Then she stays with ya long enuff to see that ya heal.

Logan: I always heal. That's what I do.

Fury: Yeah, but admit it, pal, after the Reavers made you do your Jesus Christ impression, even you thought your number wuz up.

Logan: Maybe I'm lucky for my taste in women, Nick.

Carol: Your taste in girls is fine, Logan. It's that taste in women I'm afraid of.

[Logan glances toward Psylocke, also sleeping on deck]

Logan: Lay off, Slick. She's an X-Man. That's all that matters.

Carol: Which one? Sure she's got the trademark purple hair, but the Betsy Braddock I'd seen was a genteel Brittish Lady, not a ninja uberbabe.

Logan: She helped against the Mandarin.

Carol: Any fate is worse than serving that Pacific Rim has-been. Even a slow boat from China with you.

Logan: Thanks, Slick. Kick a guy when he's down.

Fury: Maybe Danvers has a point, Logan.

Logan: Not you too, Nick.

Fury: Consider it, though. Is this the real Psylocke?

[Psylocke's eyes snap open and she springs to her feet]

{At the mention of her name, the ninja has positioned herself behind Patch, with a fluidity which defies description. Her psychic blade, the focused total of her telepathic power, crackles with energy at his temple.}

Fury: Well, well, speak of the devil.

Carol: Ding dong, the witch isn't dead.

Psylocke: Silence your apparitions, Logan. Since we linked, I too hear their prattling.

Logan: A moment, guys?

Fury: Awright, awright.

Carol: No fair! You always send us to bed during the good parts!

{As the spirits fade from view, Psylocke steels herself against a sudden chill breeze and gazes out at the wide China Sea.}

Psylocke: Before, Logan. You said you had no choice but to trust me. I think perhaps you were right.

Logan: What's eatin' you, Betts?

Psylocke: The X-Men, Logan. I cannot find any of them telepathically. I sense you in only the most convoluted sense. Your thoughts are raw, disjointed.

Logan: After what I been through is that any wonder? First the Reavers, then you playin' at Lady Mandarin.

Psylocke: Yes, Logan. The Reavers. When we returned from Antarctica, I had a premonition that returning to that Australian town would spell our doom. I offered them the Siege Perilous.

Logan: I know. I saw.

Psylocke: You what?

Logan: While I was bein tortured by the Reavers I had a vision of you sendin' them through. Call it psychic residue or delerium. Personally, I prefer psychic guilt.

Psylocke: Whatever do you mean?

Logan: What I mean, "Ms. Braddock," is that they didn't exactly step through that doorway of their own free will.

Psylocke: I never imposed my will upon them! How could you say-

Logan: You did! Admit it, Psylocke!

Psylocke: Never! I would never coerce my friends! My team!

Logan: Your team! That's a laugh! Where did you ever lead 'em but to oblivion?

Psylocke: I lead them to a kinder fate than the Reavers would have offerred! I gave them a chance! I pushed it on them! God-god-forgive me, I coerced my own team ... my friends.

[Psylocke begins sobbing and embraces Logan for support.]

Logan: All right, Betts, let it out. Sorry I had to push you. I wanted to see what effect the Siege Perilous had on you.

Psylocke: Effect?

Logan: Yeah. See, you changed Betsy. You're not the same Elizabeth Braddock you were before the Siege. Certainly, there's the physical change, thanks to Spiral and Mojo that can be explained. But there are other changes. The way you move, smell, speak. Similar, to be sure, but not perfect.

Psylocke: You tested me?

Logan: Uh huh. Had to be sure it was Elizabeth Braddock came through the Siege. Not something else.

Psylocke: Oh, Logan ... my friends, I killed my friends ...

Logan: I'm glad it hurts. Betsy would've hurt.

Psylocke: Logan ... if I had not shown the ... appropriate response?

Logan: You don't wanna know, darlin.

Psylocke: But I'm a psi, how do you know I'm simply not manipulating your thoughts now?

Logan: You been in my mind, Betts. Don't reckon you're too eager to come back.

Psylocke: Agreed.

Logan: 'Sides, Betts. It's a long trip and you gotta sleep. I don't. I also got these.


Logan: You do the math, Betsy.


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