By the way…and I know we haven’t gotten to the way yet, but by the way, I’m toying with the idea of creating an NPC in Savage Worlds that has the Obese Hindrance and the Attractive and Very Attractive edges to make a statement about societal views on beauty.
But then, I feel pretentious even saying “societal views on beauty” and I don’t know who I would be making that statement to.
Now…on to the way. The issue of Uncanny X-Men where Psylocke holds off Sabretooth all on her own until Wolverine shows up to throw down on him is one that sticks in my memory. The cover is iconic and is just a close up of Wolverine and Sabretooth’s snarling heads and claws.
Psylocke was not my favorite character at the time, and never actually became one of my favorites, though she was a cornerstone of my favorite rosters. In fact, the version from the Australian Outback before the Asian ninja thing is the one I’m using for my Exiles. In my team, the Douglock entity takes the form of the armor she wore in that run but black and purple techno organic styling. Oh, and in my universe, her purple hair is natural.
Of course, there was one, particular part of her story that I found particularly appealing for obvious reasons. I mean, I was a nerdy teenager when this grown up model woman had an illicit romance with a nerdy teenager.
What I didn’t realize at the time is just how much history she had. Much like Star Lord, Psylocke had a long history before she ever showed up in the pages of the X-Men. She was in British comics for 10 years before she showed up in America.
And, of course, she fits in nicely with my version of the Exiles. After all, she’s Brian Braddock’s twin sister and Opal Luna Saturnyne, the Omniversal Majestrix was obsessed with that particular Captain Britain. She seems an obvious choice if the Omniversal Majestrix needed a telepath on her team.
Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock/Doug Ramsey/Warlock
Telepathy: Psypherlock is a mutant with mental abilities of Incredible Rank. She has developed her powers for use in these manners:
- Creating Mind Links of Incredible strength, allowing her to communicate with others at a distance of up to 25 miles and to read other’s surface thoughts. This is only possible with willing subjects. She can also create mindlinks that enable others to speak directly to each other.
- Performing telepathic projections with a range of 25 miles. These projections allow her to telepathically “see” the surrounding area. Note that both this and the preceding power manifest themselves as a glowing butterfly-mask.
- Perform a Mental Probe of Incredible power, allowing Psypherlock to read any deep or hidden thoughts of a live subject. The intensity of the FEAT is determined by the subject’s Psyche; she cannot read the minds of those with Psyche ranks greater than Amazing or penetrate psionic defenses with ranks greater than Amazing.
- Fire bolts of pure psionic force with Incredible strength at a maximum range of two areas. These bolts come in two varieties. Psi-Bolts are forceful attacks against physical objects; they can affect non-living targets. Psycho-Blasts are energy attacks against a victim’s neurosystem. Since the Psycho-Blast has the potential to kill by literally shredding a victim’s mind, Psypherlock does not use it unless her life is threatened. She uses the Incredible column to hit with these attacks. Psypherlock may be able to further develop her powers along the lines of Professor X and Marvel Girl, but she has not yet done so.
Equipment: Douglock Betsy is bonded to the amalgamated being called Douglock. She wears Douglock like a suit of armor though, thanks to its shapechanging abilities, it can shrink down to a small enough size to be hidden on her form. They are in constant telepathic contact and Douglock generally obeys her commands. Should she request it to do something against its will, she can overpower it with a Psyche feat check against Excellent intensity. It provides her the following abilities:
Shapechanging: Douglock can alter its shape to assume any form it desires. It can extend any portion of its body up to 2 areas away from its main trunk, including its optic sensors. It has Unearthly control over its shapeshifting ability but when under stress will revert to its natural humanoid shape.
Portions of Douglock’s body can be separated or shredded (Excellent Material Strength) and Douglock will merely regrow that part in normal healing. When Psypherlock takes more than Remarkable damage in a single round, she must make an Endurance FEAT roll or Douglock reverts to its normal form, taking on a somewhat splattered or unraveled look.
Form Change: Douglock can also assume the shape of anything organic. Using this ability, Psypherlock can imitate the form of any humanoid with Excellent ability.
Linguistics: Douglock has an Incredible facility for translating languages, whether spoken or written, and human or alien in origin. His superhuman skill also extends to his great talent in deciphering codes and computer languages. Douglock’s skill is such that once was able to make great headway in translating the written language of an extraterrestrial race in a matter of minutes.
Douglock’s talent for translating differs from the translating ability that a human who is a genius in this field, yet not a mutant, possesses, even though both people might achieve similar results with any given translation problem. Douglock’s talent is an intuitive one that works on a subconscious level, and which may, in part, be related to telepathy. A non-mutant, even a genius, would have to work out a translation consciously, step by step. Rather than working the problem out step by step, in his conscious mind, Douglock instead subconsciously solves the problem. Hence, Douglock can reach the correct solution by means that appear to be leaps of logic, and he himself may not consciously be aware of the entire process by which he reached the correct translation.
Talents: Martial Arts A and E
Contacts: Captain Britain, X-Men, New Mutants, Excalibur, SHIELD, STRIKE, British Government, British Fashion Industry
Background: Elizabeth Braddock was born into a wealthy family in Britain. Her twin brother is Brian Braddock and her father was a native of Otherworld. Betsy used her connections and beauty to build a career as a model. Her purple only made her distinctive in the industry. Most assumed she dyed it, not realizing it was the earliest manifestation of her mutant nature. When her mutant powers developed, she shelved her modeling career. Recruited by STRIKE, the British equivalent of SHIELD, she developed her combat skills and self-discipline as an agent.
Leaving STRIKE, Betsy was recruited by the Resources Control Executive (RCX) a branch of the British government directly concerned with superhuman activity. In the meantime, Brian had become Captain Britain and when he quit, they convinced Betsy to take up the mantle. She was moderately successful as the new Captain Britain but during a battle with Slaymaster, she was severely beaten and blinded. This was enough to cause Brian to resume the role of Captain Britain and he wreaked vengeance on his sister’s attacker.
Betsy retired to rebuild her life and moved to the X-Mansion to recuperate while also learning how to more effectively use her powers. She quickly developed that ability to use her powers to replace her eyes.
Soon, she became a teacher as well as a student, assisting the faculty in training the next generation, the New Mutants. One of her young charges particularly caught her attention.
Doug Ramsey was a close friend of Kitty Pryde’s but was not aware for most of their friendship that they were both mutants. In fact, all of the New Mutants kept their powers and heroic identities hidden from him until one night they found themselves in battle with an unknown alien being. Suspecting that it might all be a misunderstanding, they summoned Cypher, revealing the truth not only about themselves but him, as well. Using his newfound abilities, he quickly initiated contact with the alien, the creature who would come to be known as Warlock.
Soon, both Doug and Warlock were inducted into the New Mutants and took up residence at the mansion as students. The two became close friends.
The attraction between Betsy and Doug was immediate, despite the age difference between them. Though their feelings for each other were undeniable, they restrained themselves for years until Doug came of age. He stayed on at the Mansion as a teacher’s aide while taking online classes and commuting to ESU in NYC to get his college education.
The two of them were left behind to chaperone the students one night when the X-Men were called away to New York City to stop an invasion by the Morlocks. They would not know until later that the Morlock attack was a feint masterminded by Mr. Sinister. While the adult inhabitants of the mansion were away, Mr. Sinister sent his cadre of assassins, the Marauders to attack the Mansion.
The Marauders struck with brutal efficiency and slaughtered several of the students at the Mansion in what would come to be called the Mutant Massacre before they even knew they were under attack.
Psylocke and Cypher managed to muster their forces and start a resistance against the Marauders but their young charges were entirely outclassed by the hardened killers. The two of them split up in the hopes that one group of the other would escape.
Cypher’s group was overtaken by a group of Marauders including Sabretooth. Cypher turned to face them, but only Sabretooth remained to deal with him while the remaining Marauders continued their pursuit. Cypher put up a good fight, but could not fend off the savage assassin for long. He eviscerated him but with his usual cruelty, did not finish him off, instead lingering to torment him.
It proved to be a mistake as Warlock had heard his scream of agony and came to his aid. The normally gentle alien was horrified by what had been done to his friend and struck Sabretooth down by converting him into a techno-organic being and then absorbing his lifeforce. Whether or not this actually killed the regenerating mutant is up for debate but it did stop him.
Warlock, desperate to save his friend, transformed him as well and bonded with him, using the surplus lifeforce he’d received from Sabretooth to revive Cypher, if in a new form. Even this enhanced vigor could not save the new Douglock from a Malice possessed Polaris, however. The Mistress of Magnetism caught up to the hybrid being and took great delight in taking his metallic body apart piece by piece.
Until Psylocke arrived. The Exiles had been sent into their dimension to help mitigate the massacre and, as they and the students turned the tide of battle against the Marauders, Psylocke back tracked to do what she could for Cypher, having heard his mental cry when he was attacked and sensed the change brought on by Warlock’s assistance.
As furious by Malice’s torture of Douglock as Warlock had been by Sabretooth’s torture of Cypher, Psylocke tore the psychic entity apart with her mind. The violence of her attack was so great that it damaged Polaris as well, a fact that Psylocke would feel guilt over for quite some time but in the moment, she could not control the savagery of her mental assault.
Douglock was so damaged by the magnetic attacks that he was on the verge of dying. Only by combining their hybrid lifeforce with Psylocke could they be saved. The teen boy and his alien sidekick hesitated but a gentle nudge from Psylocke was enough to cause them to agree. She was far more powerful mentally than either of the other two and dominated the new gestalt almost despite herself. Instead of absorbing her, Douglock became a sort of symbiotic suit, not unlike the many Venoms across the multiverse.
With the return of the X-Men to the X-Mansion (and with Storm now in control of the Morlocks as well) the Marauders, or at least those that survived, retreated. Infuriated by the savage attack, the X-Men and their allies set out on a crusade to eliminate Mr. Sinister and his minions.
But the newly named Psypherlock no longer felt she had a place with them and had enough of vengeance. Finding herself without a role in her world, she joined the Exiles, a choice made all the easier by her family’s long history with Opal Luna Saturnine and her guidance.